I almost got caught trying to steal a board game yesterday…

but it was a risk I was willing to take!

Oh covid… the monkey wrench you threw into my life. For those who know me, know that having a weekend at home with nothing to do rarely happens. If I am not working on an event, I am usually attending one, or travelling to new city or town to play.

I won’t lie the first 2 weeks back in March were great; I caught up on sleep, my husband remembered my name, and my dog realized two people actually do live at home! Ok – it wasn’t that bad – but you get the picture…

Fast forward 10 months, our province is on lockdown, so only essential trips to the grocery store is allowed, and obviously my industry is at a standstill. Finding things to occupy my time have been key to not completely losing my mind! All of our DIY projects around the house are completed, the weather has turned a tad colder, my bookshelf is getting bare, and if my husband gives me “that look” if I say I am bored one more time… things may get hairy

Enter in BOARD GAMES! Jesse (the aforementioned husband) and I have always been fans of board games. Fair warning – it gets competitive – not going to lie – but there have been “minor” fights about who won, “minor” disagreements how the other gloats when she always wins but overall it’s a common love for the two of us. We bring board games to my brother and sister in law’s place in Ottawa every time we visit (again gets competitive to the point we need to have a tally board), we invite friends over for dinner and game nights – but with Covid now reducing our circle to just your household – we have been having to find games that are fun just for the two of us (did anyone else’s head have Will Smith’s “Just the two of us” play in your mind…no?? How about now?)

I tend to support local rather than Amazon when we purchase our board games – I highly recommend Gaming Kingdom. They are located in Kanata, Ontario but they have a great online store and shipping is quick and seamless! They really know their stuff and have a huge catalogue of board games, video games, trading card games and more!

Ok I’ll stop talking. Here are my current 3 recommendations for games for two people (and a pooch).

Disney Villainous

Villainous allows players to take control of one of six Disney Villains, each one from a different movie. Each player has their own villain deck, fate deck, player board, and 3D character.

Each villain has their own devious objective to complete, and have unique abilities, as well as different strategies to twist and thwart your opponent’s objectives.

On each turn, the active player will move their character to a different location on their own player board, that location will dictate what type of actions can happen, they then refill their hand to four cards. Cards are allies, items, effects, conditions, and sometimes curses. Your cards will be key to fulfilling your evil plans.

The great thing about this game, is your strategy changes each time you play and your objective depends on the villain you choose. This game is great for two players – but can be played up to six.

Oh and the best part. They already have two expansions pack that allow for more characters to choose from (three per pack)

Order Disney Villainous here , and the expansion packs here

New York 1901

Who wants to time travel back in time, and build up New York City? Welcome to 1901 – a board game where you are commissioned to start building skyscrapers thought the financial district. This game reminds me of Ticket to Ride (train routes are replaced by skyscrapers, and the color of train is replaced with color of tile that you can build upon) Not only is it a fun game of strategy, but its fun to try and block your opponent from building or scoring additional points.

You first build bronze level buildings and then later in the game those buildings can be replaced by silver level and gold level buildings.

This is a game that keeps you on your toes, which street do I want to build upon, what shapes do I have left to use, how can I upgrade for my points, did I secure any extra points?

Catan – Rivals for Catan

We are huge fans of Catan, we have all the expansion packs, and it is always in our top 3 games to play with friends, so when we found out about this two player game we were excited to test it out.

In “Rivals for Catan” you are using cards – there are no longer tiles, houses and roads. Each player starts with two settlement cards connected by a road card, as well as your 4 region cards + 1 gold region card.

The region cards – lumber, brick, wheat, ore and gold all have dice rolls located in the middle, these will rotate should the dice roll result be favorable.

Each settlement is worth 1 victory point, and if you upgrade a settlement to a city, you receive another victory point.

The first player to have 7 (or more) victory points wins the basic game.

Just using settlements, and cities won’t be enough to win this version of Catan, it is also important to place heroes, build buildings and trade ships!

Start with the introductory game – it takes approx. 30 minutes to play, and will help provide the basics. Then you can move onto the challenges of the three theme sets (included), “The Era of Gold”, “Era of Turmoil”, and the “Era of Progress”. The winner gets to 12 victory points first.

Then once you have mastered the three theme sets, there is an expansion called the “Age of Darkness”, this will give you three new theme sets “Era of Intrigue”, “Era of Merchant Princes”, and “The Era of Barbarians”.

Well I hope you like today’s choices! There are a ton more in store, if there is a game you want some more info on – or that you like! Drop me a line below!

I was alone in the bath…

Imagine my surprise when I felt a tap on my shoulder! Get it?

In a previous post I mentioned that I was currently going through fertility treatments in hopes that one day – we will have an adorable mini-me or mini-him that we can love, take to Disney and call our own.

I went through so many blood tests – I am surprised I still have blood left in me to give. The doctor’s tested for everything; hematology, thyroid function, pituitary function – nothing came back glaringly off – my FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) levels were where they needed to be, no issues with my LH (Luteinizing Hormone).

We decided the next course of action would be TIC (Timed intercourse) along with Prometrium which is a progesterone hormone. It will help prepare the lining of the uterus to protect and nourish a growing baby during pregnancy. I was to take 2 pills a day.

However – this post isn’t about our first attempt – this is about one of the horrible side effects of Prometrium. Depression. The depression impact is hard. It causes anxiety, restlessness and at times thoughts of despair. Being new to asking for help when I was originally prescribed I didn’t ask many questions; if at all. My job was simple. Take the pills. Hope for the best. I was not prepared for the flooding of emotions and feelings that would come along for the ride. By the time I gained enough courage to reach out and ask for help, and perhaps answer my questions – my period came – I was to stop immediately. Spoiler alert – attempt 1 was not successful.

We are now attempt 2 – and I am being proactive – I am acknowledging what my body and my mind is going through and I am finding and asking for ways to help myself.

I found reading, getting out for a daily walk with my pooch, talking with the babe, and getting on a sleep schedule helps but what I found works the best – a bath. I know, I know what you’re thinking. Finally the blog title makes sense.

I did a little research for things I can do to help with what I was going through – and it kept bringing me to baths.

In a German study, participants with depression reported a boost in mood after soaking in a 40C bath for 30 minutes. In fact, in this experiment, regular baths proved to be more effective in aiding depression than aerobic exercise.

A Japanese study also looked into the mental health benefits of bathing, this time, in comparison to showering. They found that bathing resulted in less stress, tension – anxiety, anger-hostility, and depression, in the people who took part.

It’s believed that hot baths are particularly transformative because they warm us up. Increased body temperature at night helps synchronize our natural circadian rhythms, leading to better sleep patterns, along with improved quality of sleep and overall wellbeing.

You can read more about the above here

I started taking baths – I would fill up the tub, turn on netflix, and just chill… I found myself bored after the first 7 minutes, and often found myself more irritated than I was before the bath.

I started to change the way I took a bath. No technology. I would read instead. The bathroom light was off and instead surrounded myself with candles. I had water nearby for when I started to feel a little too warm. I began to finally relax. Enjoy the time in the tub.

I then started kicking it up a notch. Epson Salts, Essential Oils, Flowers, Milk, Honey. Here are some of the my favorites that hopefully will work for you:

Lavender – this floral scent is often known for its calming effects. Research also suggests that lavender may also help relieve anxiety, reduce stress, and promote relaxation

Milk Bath – milk baths are super easy – just choose your type of milk and pour into your warm bath water and begin to relax. Usually I add 1 to 2 cups at a time.

Honey – honey has skin-smoothing benefits thanks to its amino acids and antioxidants. I recommend mixing in about 1 cup of honey with some hot water, then pour into your bath tub. This can also be combined with the milk bath.

Lemon/Citrus  Squeeze and drop 5-6 lemons into your warm bath water. Slicing and placing them to float above the water will make a beautiful photo for the ‘gram but it won’t provide any benefits! It’s the juice of the lemons that will help refresh your tired skin.

Have another DIY bath tip or know any other surprising things to add to your bath – let me know below!

“Own your morning. Elevate your life”

It has been 11 days – 11 days of waking up at the crack of dawn – actually before the crack of dawn – at 5am. 11 days of trying to maximize my productivity. 11 days of trying to break my addiction to distraction.

My husband is thinking of switching careers, which I am in full support of, but he has some fear of the “what ifs”, so I dragged him to the book store to help find some books to help the psyche. While he perused the business, and self help section – I ran my fingers along a table with some “must read” books – I picked them up, read the back, put them back down – none of them really held my interest. Then there it was – just sitting there – the 5 am club. On the front; Own your morning – elevate your life and on the back it spoke about how this man Robin Sharma introduced this concept over 20 years ago, and it has helped clients maximize their productivity, upgraded their happiness and accomplished epic results. I put it back down – I was here to help the husband. I went over and asked how I could help – he was nose deep in a bunch of books and I don’t even think he heard me.

Ok – fine, fine – I went back over to the book. I read the message from the author. The last sentence has me hooked. “The world needs more heroes and why wait for them – when you have it in you to become one. Starting today”. I quickly added the book to his pile as we made our way to the check out.

I was excited – first off I love books – LOVE books! Fiction, non fiction, biographies, how to, cookbooks.. the list goes on.. basically throw a bunch of words on a piece of paper and hand it to me! The next day, I settled onto my couch, poured myself a glass of wine, and got ready to fully immerse myself into the 5am and prepare myself for the changes to come.

I finished the first couple of chapters – to say I felt inspired and invigorated would be a lie. I hated it. This book was not what I was expecting. This was a story of two people on a journey to the 5am club. What the heck – how did I pass over that in the description on the back – a story?! I wanted the information, I wanted to the secrets of the 5am club, and wanted to know how now. I put the book down, disappointed.

Another couple of days passed – the book was staring at me on my coffee table. Read me. Do it. Give me a chance. Nope. Just wasn’t there yet. My phone rang, and it was the MIL; she asked what I was up to – I gave her a glimpse into what I was feeling. How I was so excited for this book – but felt so let down that it wasn’t the self help book I originally thought it was. She said just try to read it again with an open mind. She said maybe you will finish and maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll find something in one chapter that resonates and that’s all you need… Yes mom….

I told myself – 3 more chapters… That would bring me to 5 chapters in total. The book was $21.00 – so that works out to $5.25 a chapter. That wasn’t too bad – I have spent more on less.

By Chapter 4 I was hooked. I was invested. This IS exactly what I needed. I resonated with the painter and the entrepreneur – I read page after page, writing notes feverishly. I read the entire book – all 311 pages and 17 chapters in 2 days. I do not want to spoil this entire book in one blog – but the 5am club really does provide a formula that you can use to wake up early, be inspired, focus, and rid yourself from distraction.

I will share my journey – not frequently – but enough to let you know how this plays throughout my day to day and work life. Just know “mastery is not a sudden event” it is going to be journey; some days are going to be easier than others. My first 11 days have been a freakin’ roller coaster. Up, down, sideways, a few tears and a heckuva lot of smiles.

I will leave a little tidbit – the 3 step success formula – and we can discuss it a little later …..

Are you a member of the 5am club? Share your thoughts below…

Want to purchase you own copy? Click here

We’re a batch made in heaven…

Red Velvet. Chocolate. Cheesecake. All in one cookie? What the heck – yes please!

Every year around Christmas time, my kitchen is filled with yummy smells, and my scale gets a workout.

I usually make around 10-15 different types of cookies, bars, cakes, etc.. and this year I was looking to change up my tried and true. I tried a couple different recipes, and I found that the below worked best.

One who is always up to test my baking is my brother Adam, Adam is also one of the pickiest eaters I have ever met – like painfully picky – so when he asked for seconds, and thirds, I knew I found a winner.

This is a cookie that takes time, you need to make ahead the cheesecake centers so they can freeze, as well as the dough needs to time to chill in the fridge – so either take a couple days to make, or throw on a few tunes, and move around in between (like I said my scale gets a workout this time of year)

I hope you love these as much as we did (especially my brother) and you know what… truly enjoy every last bite – the scale can wait another day….

“What did the receiver say to the football?”

Catch you later!!

In October – I was given a huge opportunity to lead a corporate support team in an event called the Red River Showdown in Dallas, Texas. The showdown is a college football game played annually at the Cotton Bowl inside Fair Park during the State Fair of Texas. My company partnered with the Cotton Bowl’s concessionaire in order to deliver a new “feature” to annual game. This would be the first game to have the ability to sell alcohol for its 92,000 fans, and I got to play a part in that momentous occasion.

As with most of the events that I assist with, or oversee – the hours are late and the work is hard. I am separated from my family for days – sometimes weeks, the sleep is usually less then spectacular and the hotel beds do a number on your back. However – the reward of having people leaving with a big smile plastered all over their face is all worth it. The sense of accomplishment just fills me with pride and a lust for the next “big one”. But alas this is not a post about my event – this is about what I make sure to do after every event in a different city. I take 2- 3 days to fully immerse myself in the local flavor, local cuisine, and local attractions – Dallas has been on my bucket list for a while and I was pumped to spend the next few days hittin’ the pavement – but unfortunately I had 24 hours so I had to make them count.

State Fair of Texas

Celebrate all things Texan – The State Fair of Texas started in 1886 and lasts 24 consecutive days! The fair promotes Texas agriculture, education, and community involvement through entertainment in a family-friendly environment.

Big Tex is the official greeter and star of the State Fair of Texas. He is known around the world as the world’s tallest cowboy. This giant has welcomed millions of guests annually in a billowy recording that airs in the park throughout the day.

Of course there is rides, and exhibits and can’t forget the obnoxious games – but the real reason I could not wait to attend – the food of course! I have been to a fair share of fairs but this one puts all others to shame!

Full disclaimer – if fried foods are not your thing – run – run as quick as you can (while you still can) – a few of what I saw/and tasted

Deep Fried Peaches & Cream, Big Red Chicken Bread (Big Red® -flavored frosted donut with a fried chicken wing resting in the middle), Fried Thanksgiving Dinner Balls, Deep Fried Butter (yup – I warned you). and fried bubblegum! I am so upset I do not have my personal photos ( had a fight with technology in Dallas and lost the bulk of my photos) but I made some of own versions you’ll read about a little later on – but if you cannot wait till then I suggest you buy the annual State Fair of Texas Cookbook here

West End Historic District

For some people, the first thing that comes to mind when they think of Dallas is: football, cowboys, “big” – for me it’s the city where JFK was assassinated. I know it sounds morbid – but I was obsessed with all things JFK as a kid – still am. I cannot pass a bookstore without looking at a biographical book, or history book about the JFK era. I could not take an official tour due to time constraints but I walked around Dealey Plaza, I saw the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza, The Old Red Museum, the infamous grassy knoll to spot where the former president was assassinated in 1963.

Dallas World Aquarium

I love aquarium’s – I have no idea why. I love to eat fish – and I can’t swim. I just do not know why I love them so – but in any major city I visit – I try to find theirs’ is. Luck be have it – this literally was across the street from my hotel. Fate.

This was no ordinary aquarium – this was an old warehouse, tucked into an alley between two buildings. I actually walked by it twice not knowing I had arrived at my destination. The aquarium closed at 4pm that day and it was about 2pm I think – so I was hoping I was going to have to deal with throngs of people and toddlers crying because they can’t touch. Again was I lucky – no one in line and the place was pretty quiet – it was a Wednesday afternoon mid work week, guess I shouldn’t be that shocked. The exhibits are really diverse, not your typical aquarium, they have an exhibit where you can hug a sloth, you get to see penguins in their icy open air home, tropical birds fly above your head, the flamingo’s are so vibrant you would think they had a filter on and the “pièce de résistance” is the 20,000-gallon walk-through exhibit filled with sharks (Picture taken from here)!!

Bishop Arts

This area offers just about everything your hungry heart and thirsty mouth desires! This neighborhood is filled with a mix of trendy eateries, bars, small shops, local art galleries. It reminds me of the Glebe meets Bank St when I lived in Ottawa, and the Wharncliffe area here in London, Ontario.

Before I hit a couple of restaurants and bars to dive into the local flavor – I couldn’t help but gaze in wonder at all the murals. The arts in this district is phenomenal. They are just begging to be on your instagram! If you have a couple days hop on over to the Jasminalley.com/bishop-arts-district-dallas/ They have an amazing guide – next time I am in Dallas, I am crossing every item off her list – another good blog to know where to see art all over Dallas is https://www.agirlfromtx.com/dallas-murals/

I was told by so many people in Dallas that I had to check out the following – Eno’s Pizza and Lockhart Smokehouse – so I did just that – Eno’s for lunch and Lockhart for dinner, with a nightcap at the Botanist.

Eno’s Photo credit click here

Eno’s – so I heard really great things, they buy local produce from local farmers, they use micro-breweries for their draft lineup an that they use a woods stove for their pizza’s. Let me tell you – this is not your standard pizza joint! I was hungry. Don’t judge. I ordered the Arugula Pear Salad, an Eno’s Original Pizza with a Mean Green to wash it down.

The salad was delicious – the baby arugula was just bitter enough while it swam in a champagne vinaigrette – topped with crispy bacon, fresh basil and some blue cheese. Not always a fan of blue cheese, but today, definitely.

The pie (American for pizza – learned that the hard way my first time in the states telling the server he was wrong I didn’t want to start with dessert and he rudely informed me I was an idiot) had garlic mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, peppers and salami. It was a big pie 14″ for a solo diner but just meant leftovers for the trip to the airport the next day! This was absolutely delicious. You can taste the wood fire in the thin crust, the mushroom and tomatoes were tender – I need to go back now – just writing about it

To accompany my salad and pie I had the “Mean Green:; it’s a Cucumber Vodka, with fresh lime topped with Bubbles and Tajin Seasoning (mid chili peppers, lime and sea salt). Can you go wrong with anything that has bubbles in it! One thing to remember for us Canadians – the pour is strong. Forget those 1oz (ok you know its really 3/4oz) Canadian “poor” shots.

Lockhart Smokehouse

Lockhart Smokehouse is pure Texas BBQ – now I fully get it when I tell my co-workers from the States that we tend to BBQ every day in the summer and they look at me funny. Burgers and hot dogs on a mastergrill BBQ is not BBQ. Point taken. I will never make that mistake again.

In Lockhart’s you head to the counter and place your order – they charge by the half pound, but thank the lord I was able to just order a couple slices of brisket. If I keep eating my way through Dallas I may have to pay for extra weight on the flight home.

The staff were also super friendly, helping me out with the menu and what to order. Again – you can tell they love their food and are proud to tell you all about it. I decided on the brisket, the smoked baked beans and the brisket devilled eggs (I know!!)

The brisket was moist and tender, and had such a flavorsome smoke aroma – I thought I died and went to heaven. I was in BBQ heaven at least. The beans were a little too spicy for me – but I am a baby – certified 7 month old when it comes to heat. The eggs were slap me in the face good – lil spicy but so good I’ll suck it up – the mixture of egg yolk, mayonnaise, mustard and chopped brisket just made sense! Pretty sure there was some siracha, and smoked paprika in there as well!

They have weekly specials from porchetta, prime rib to leg of lamb – so if you are in town this a place you need to get your butt to.

Botanist, Dallas

When I was trying to figure out where to head for a night cap, I looked online – normally I would be down for a wee pub crawl, but an early flight out dictated a little research to make it count. Typically I am a dive bar kinda gall, nothing pretentious, I don’t want to have to watch my posture the entire time I’m sippin’ a cocktail. I went onto yelp as saw a description for the Botanist, “a mix between an upscale classy cocktail bar and a place where frat brothers come and get wasted” , perfect I’m down.

This place is out of this world. Leather love seats, cozy arm chairs, dimly lit, just inviting, cozy and makes you never want to leave. The service was top notch – the staff were friendly, made great recommendations and overall looked happy to be there (hard to find these days)

The drink list is well priced, libations are quirkily named and are clever with ingredients; Bob Ross (Jalapeno infused beer tequila, dry curacao, lime and agave), Remembering Places (coconut washed Japanese whiskey, blended scotch, pineapple rum cachaça, bitter aperitif, angostura bitters) . They also have the classics and a great wine list.

The Botanist is open Wednesday – Sundays; 5pm – 2am so make sure you plan ahead!

Well all – that was it – that was my 24 hours in Dallas, there was so many other things I wanted to do, catch a Dallas Stars hockey game, visit the Sixth Floor Museum, take a Trolley, or head to the Arboretum, well I guess I will have to “catch you later” ….

I want to leave you with one last picture – this is the sight I saw heading to the airport – just makes you feel real small (and mildly terrified when you don’t like flying to begin with)!

Plane landing on the bridge/overpass runway at DFW Airport

What do you call it when two coconuts get into an accident?

A pina – Collid-a!!

Took the pooch for a walk this morning – starting to get a chill in the air so I wanted something warm for lunch! @mingtsai Lemongrass Coconut Chicken Soup was exactly what I needed!! If you can only smell and taste this soup! 30 minutes and I’m in food heaven!

Lemongrass Coconut Chicken Soup (serves 4)

1 tbsp grapeseed or canola oil

4 lemongrass stalks, pale parts only, crushed with flat side of the knife

2 medium onions, sliced

2 thai chiles, stemmed but not seeded

2 boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into strips

3 tbsp fish sauce

6 cups chicken broth, aim for low sodium

1/2 cup coconut milk

juice of 2 lemons

salt and pepper to taste

green scallions for garnish

How to make soup for you!

Heat saucepan over medium – high heat, add oil and swirl to coat

Add lemongrass, stir and sweat it uncovered for 2min

Add onion and chiles, stir for 1 min

Add the chicken and saute until opaque, about 1-2 min

Add the fish sauce and broth, stir, bring to a simmer and cook until the liquid is reduced slightly (15-20min)

Whisk in the coconut milk and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper

Why the heck and what the heck is sweating the vegetables? The word sweating in food is meant to describe the way aromatic vegetables (onions, garlic, peppers) are cooked before adding in other ingredients. The goal is to soften them, and release their moisture.

Did you also know – that lemongrass is considered a diuretic, tonic and stimulant. It promotes good digestion, and a preparation of lemongrass with pepper has been used for relief of menstrual troubles and nausea. It induces perspiration, to cool the body and reduce a fever. It is well known a mild insect repellent (citronella) and the essential oil is used in perfumery.

Have you used lemongrass in a recipe? I am always looking for new way to try to incorporate lemongrass, so share away!

Oh My gourd … I love this Salad

Only in the past few months or so I have been navigating through the vegetarian/vegan/plant based world of food – and I have come across some great recipes – and some not so great recipes.

I love food. My work life and real life revolves around food. I get to experiment with different flavors, different styles, and different cultures. Every town I visit, every event I am part of, there is commonality – you will always find people enjoying food. James Beard said it best “Food is our common ground, a universal experience”.

Growing up – my family was not the most adventurous when it came to food. My mom thought salt and pepper was too spicy. Seriously. We were the typical meat and potatoes type of family. I remember meatloaf was a regular at our table; smothered in ketchup. Don’t get me wrong vegetables were always included, but they were never the main attraction.

I first fell in love with “Oh she glows everyday” by Angela Liddon – her recipes were delicious, easy to follow, and opened my eyes to more plant based options. That cookbook has a TON of recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and desserts. I can honestly say I probably have 5 or 6 of her recipes in heavy rotation at any given time.

I was in Costco in early November when I came across her latest book – “Oh she glows for dinner”. Did not hesitate. I bought it. Actually come to think about it – pretty sure I may have a grabbed my copy while someone was reaching for the same book. But I got it first that’s all that matters.

For every cookbook I crack open – I make sure to make at least 7 recipes. This recipe here is for what seems like an easy salad but let me tell you – the smell of the pumpkin spice and maple is ridonkulous! The roasted sweet potatoes and chickpeas with the tahini based kale salad was so scrumptious!

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice Salad (Served 4)

For the Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Chickpeas

3 Medium Sweet Potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes

1 can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

1/2 tsp fine Sea Salt

For the Marinated Kale Salad

1 bunch of curly Kale , rinsed, stemmed and chopped

1 medium Garlic clove, finely grated

1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tsp pure Maple Syrup

1/4 tsp fine Sea Salt

3 tbsp fresh Lemon juice

1 tbsp Tahini

1/2 cup roasted Salted Pumpkin Seeds

How to make friends with Salad

Preheat the oven to 400F – Line an extra large baking sheet with parchment paper

Drizzle the chopped sweet potatoes and chickpeas with oil, toss until coasted. Slather on half of that maple syrup and toss again to coat. Spread into a single layer on the pan, sprinkle on the salt and the pumpkin spice

Roast – Uncovered for 36 minutes – Sweet potatoes should be fork tender. Do not flip or rotate the pan during cooking.

While your kitchen is getting busy with all those yummy smells, you want to start preparing the salad. Place the kale in a large bowl.

ln a small bowl, whisk together the oil, maple syrup, salt, lemon juice, and tahini until smooth. Pour over your kale. Massage with your hands until fully coated. The point of massaging is to help break down some of the tough, fibrous characteristics of kale. This makes it easier to chew and digest!

When chickpeas and sweet potatoes are finished roasting, remove, drizzle the second half of maple syrup – also add a little extra pumpkin spice …why? because you can and its tasty.

Portion the kale into bowls, top with the warm roasted sweet potatoes and chickpeas, and garnish with the roasted pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

2 tbsp cinnamon

1tbsp ground ginger

2 tsp nutmeg

2 tsp all spice

1 tsp ground cloves

Grab a jar – Put all the spices in – Give it a shake

Want to purchase Oh She Glows Everyday ? Click here

Want to purchase Oh she glows for dinner? Right now it’s on sales for $25! Click here

Infertility – When you want to slap the shit out of the person who says, “Oh it will happen, JUST RELAX”….

The girl on the left is confident, has found the love of her life, has an amazing pooch and is happy. She is a successful woman in an industry she loves. She has travelled and been able to partake in so many amazing events that it’s hard to keep track of. She has amazing friends, lives life to the fullest and you cannot tempt her with a good time.

She is loved. She is successful. She is happy.

The girl on the right is falling apart. She is continuously wondering what she has done wrong. She is wondering why she feels like a failure. She is a woman that wants nothing to be a mom, provide her loving husband a child. She feels alone. Every month of disappointment bring anxiety and depression that can last days or weeks. It comes at random minutes of the day but can feel like an eternity.

She is still loved. She is still successful. She is happy at times but know that it’s hard to be “on” all the time, it’s hard to be hopeful. It’s just hard.

In the past month I have been asked by my co-workers, spa aesthetician, grocery clerk, a server at a restaurant, and a random person at a convenience store if I have kids.

Please. Just stop asking.

You don’t know what my situation is, or anyone’s situation is for that matter. You don’t know that we went through a miscarriage, you don’t know that we have been trying ever since. You don’t know that I sat in my car and cried after that simple question.

Just please think about that the next time – you may think it’s harmless but it can in actuality cause more harm than you’ll ever know.

I know this has been a mouthful but it’s been a hard day, and this well it’s made me feel better. So I am ok with that.

I wrote the above, and posted to my Instagram back in August – I was at an all time low – didn’t know who to confide in – so I wrote to the world. Immediately comments and DM’s start flooding in, so quickly I actually had to turn my phone off because it all become to overwhelming too quickly.

After a day or so – I started to read through the messages, the support from everyone – including strangers I have never met was like a huge hug that just kept getting warmer and warmer as the messages went on. There are so many people out there coping, realizing and trying to navigate their way through their own fertility issues.

I could tell you that my husband and I have tried everything in the book up into that point when I posted my breakdown – but that would have been a lie. Before this day – I was too ashamed to go and get professional help. I was stubborn – I could do it if I tried harder. I don’t want to see a doctor – they are going to tell me I’m too old and there’s no point – I missed my chance to be a mom. All of these things I would blurt and blubber when the husband suggested maybe it’s time we get some help.

Then finally – that day in August; after 100’s of messages and stories – something inside me popped. Like a balloon in a big room. The pop was loud, and echoed through me. I need to ask for help. We couldn’t do this alone. There are reasons why there are doctor’s who specialize in this field, modern medicine have come leaps and bounds, and the support that is out there make this whole process no longer taboo like it was years ago.

The next day – we made the call and started the process with Omega Fertility… it wouldn’t start the next day or even the next week – of course we are in the middle of a pandemic!

I will continue posting my journey here as I navigate my way through fertility forums (TTC, BFN and FTTA ?!??!?!?!), testing, and of course the dreaded 2WW…..

I love to drink tea each day because it brings out my inner tranquili-TEA…

It was my husband’s turn to pick the Cookbook for My Cookbook Challenge – and he chose Simply Ming. I am pretty sure I bought this book for him over 12 years ago, and I kid you not when I went to peruse the recipes – I realized the book had yet to be opened.

In this book, Ming presents multiple techniques for bringing his east/west flair to everyday cooking. One of the things I liked most about this book is that he suggests a drink (wine, tea, soda) with every dish, along with easy tips to make this daunting challenge alot more easier!

The first recipe I chose was Tea Braised Lamb Stew using his Five Spice Chile Tea Rub – I have been wanting to find a recipe that used tea in its recipe – I could not wait to smell the aroma wafting through the kitchen and the smoky depth it would add. See below for the recipe for his rub, and the Tea Braised Lamb Stew Recipe

First and foremost – I need to warn you – this rub packs a punch and by bunch I mean a pure sucker punch to the nose and the back of your throat! But it will keep you coming back for more!

Five Spice Chile Tea Rub (Makes about 6 cups & last 3 weeks in the refrigerator)

3 cups Lapsang Souchong Tea Leaves

1/2 cup seal salt or kosher salt

1/3 cup red pepper flakes

1/2 cup chipotle chile powder

1/2 cup dehydrated garlic

1/4 cup cayenne pepper

1/4 cup dried chives or onions

1/4 cup five-spice powder

Combine all the ingredients

I found the Lapsang Souching Tea Leaves really hard to find locally, I went to quite a few grocery stores as well as some local asian grocery stores and had no luck. I ultimately had to purchase off of Amazon (link below).

Couple things about Lapsang – there is a pretty significant amount of caffeine, so if you get the jitters like me – this will put a little kick in your step. The smoky tea also has some awesome benefits on its own; helps increase blood flow for your cardiovascular health, and also a great antioxidant!

The stew was a hit in our household – but like I said – it packs a sucker punch of smoke and heat – if I were to make it next time, I would limit the rub on the pieces of meat by 1/2 – but then again I am a baby when it comes to spice.

Tea Braised Lam Stew (serves 4)

1 1/2 lbs lamb stew meat

1 cup Five Spice Chile Tea Rub

3 tbsp grapeseed or canola oil

2 large onions, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

2 cups dry red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon is my fave)

Salt & Pepper

2 russet potatoes, 1 inch dice

2 sweet potatoes, 1 inch dice

How to:

In a large bowl, combine the lamb and the rub, allow to coat for 15min

Heat a small crockpot or saucepot over high heat, add 2 tbsp of oil and swirl to coat the pot

Add the lamb and brown, remove and set aside

Add last tbsp of oil, scrape the bits, add the onions, carrots and celery and sweat for 5 minutes

Add the wine and cook for 6-8 min; liquid should be reduced in half

Return the lamb to the pot, add enough water to cook the lamb (The smells’ are INCREDIBLE)

Season with salt and pepper

Continue to simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, adding the potatoes in the last 30 minutes

Want to enjoy to enjoy with a glass of wine? The grapes in Genache/Syrah pairs well with Spicy food, and gamy meats. If you go into the Vintages sections of your local LCBO, we found the Saint – Roch Vielles Vignes Syrah/Grenache and it was delicious! (https://www.lcbo.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/en/lcbo/saint-roch-vieilles-vignes-syrah-grenache-2017-195107#.X_okFthKiUk)

Wanting to check out more recipes in this great Cookbook –https://www.amazon.ca/Simply-Ming-Techniques-East-Meets-West-Meals/dp/0609610678/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=simply+ming&qid=1610229363&sr=8-1

Cancel all my plans, I just wanna sit here and watch hot cocoa bombs explode. . .

After eight days straight of scrolling through Tik Tok – I decided that was it. I must go in my kitchen and make hot cocoa bombs. I don’t even particularly like hot cocoa – yet I was compelled to start – why because Tik Tok made me do it.

In case you have been living under a rock for the entire holiday season hot cocoa bombs are cute little balls of chocolate that you throw into your fave mug and when you pour hot milk into the mug, the chocolate melts and magically releases the marshmallows and cocoa hiding inside. Sounds amazing. I know.

I start rummaging through my baking pantry – seemed simple enough, Chocolate, Cocoa and Marshmallows – how hard could this be? I should be sippin’ in no time… Wrong. Do not pass go. Fail.

The hardest part was not the ingredients – it was trying to find the molds. Not only did Tik Tok make me do it – but also thousands of others…. every local craft/food store in the area were sold out. I had to scour Amazon for some in stock and was finally able to order some (see link below)

After quite a few tries – I finally found a method/recipe that worked best for me:

Chocolate.  Do not use the candy melts – they tend to leave a waxy residue in your cup. Also no need for the high end Calebut wafers, regular ol’ milk or dark chocolate chips works!

Microwave on high in 20 seconds bursts to melt the chocolate stirring in between. I know its a pain in the butt but trust me, the chocolate will be much smoother and pourable.

Fill the molds. Scoop about a tbsp of chocolate into the molds and use a pastry brush to push the chocolate around the mold, making sure it reaches right up to the edges. Throw those suckers in the freezer for about 10 min to set.

Repeat. Scoop about a 1/2 tbsp of chocolate into the molds and use a pastry brush to cover any spots that may have been missed the first time. Throw those suckers back in the freezer for another 10 min to set.

Remove the chocolate from the molds. Be careful – and wear gloves if you have sweaty ol’ palms like me. Gently push the half spheres out of the mold. If you are doing multiple at a time, I put the in the freezer on a baking tray until ready to melt.

Melt the edges. I used a frying pan on a low, you want it hot enough to melt the chocolate. Pick up one empty half of the chocolate bomb and place it on the pan for a couple of seconds, just until it melts

Fill. Add 1 tablespoon hot cocoa powder and marshmallows to the empty half you just melted. Pick up another half and melt that edge as well, then push the two sides together to seal.

Decorate.  Drizzle some extra chocolate and decorate with crushed candy canes, sprinkles or mini chips. Make sure your drizzle is not too hot or it will melt your bomb and you’ll be sad.

Want to really kick it up a notch? Trying using my recipe for homemade Champagne marshmallows (link here) or add some boozy goodness Bailey’s, Peppermint Schnapps or Whiskey

Amazon Links https://www.amazon.ca/Baking-Chocolate-Mousse%EF%BC%8CExtra-5-Cavity-Silicone/dp/B088BK9LXB/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?dchild=1&keywords=sphere+mold&qid=1610244962&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUFURFkxNDRIWlRaWkcmZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTA2MDIzMTcxWUhSRVBERFdWVzNQJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTAzMTQ2MzIyVkhRM1FGRk0zUTRPJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==