Good Veg by Alice Hart + Win a copy!

Good Veg by Alice Hart feature image

I don’t know how some people don’t like vegetables (and there are plenty out there!), but I’m convinced that any number of recipes in Alice Hart’s Good Veg: Ebullient Vegetables, Global Flavors — A Modern Vegetarian Cookbook just might bring them around. The key to satisfying vegetarian cooking (and one can assume, eating!) is in the contrast, Alice says — the balance of flavours, textures and temperature will elevate any meat-free meal. The U.K. author’s careful consideration to contrast and balance is evident throughout the book, which comprises some 200 recipes for mornings, grazing and gatherings, as well as “quick”, “thrify” and “raw-ish” meals. It’s aimed at “keen and interested” home cooks who want to make the most of the fresh produce available and in turn, discover new ways with fruits, veggies and grains that they’ll want to make again and again. Think Coconut-Chia Strawberry Bowls, Corn Tortillas with Avocado and Charred Scallions, Eggplant and Sweet Potato Lasagna with Walnuts, and Vegan Chocolate Mousse with Walnut-Sesame Brittle. Hello!  Continue reading “Good Veg by Alice Hart + Win a copy!”

Five things + a Netflix giveaway for two!

Plant Lady

It’s sweltering hot outside and hubby has the kids at the pool, so I thought I’d pop in here for a bit and write a quick hello and how-do. AS IF it only takes me a bit to write a post. Ha! When pigs fly. But I’ll to try to make it quick. Here’s a few pics from life lately (starting with this snap my mom took when she visited last month) and a Netflix giveaway just because.  Continue reading “Five things + a Netflix giveaway for two!”

Clear the clutter! Spring cleaning your Netflix profile #StreamTeam

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We always say our house never looks as clean as it does when someone’s coming to visit. And you can tell by the state of the house that we don’t get many visitors. But with Spring sprung and Summer just around the corner, I feel like I want to tackle some of those long-overlooked areas, including my digital spaces.  Continue reading “Clear the clutter! Spring cleaning your Netflix profile #StreamTeam”

Lola’s: A Cake Journey Around the World + Win a copy!

Lola's A Cake Journey Around the World maple pecan cake

Remember the story of the little red hen? Everybody wants to eat the bread, but nobody wants to help bake it. That’s what it’s been like around here the past week, only everybody wants to eat the cake, but nobody wants to get off the ipad and help make it. Or do much of anything else. I asked my daughter to give me a hand with this photo and what did I get? “What was I BORN for? Helping with PHOTOS or LIVING?” Yeesh. If you’re looking for me later I’ll be over here stress-eating hunks of this maple pecan cake. It’s from Lola’s: A Cake Journey Around the World. Thomas Allen & Son sent me a copy to review and they’ve got another one for one of you lucky ducks.  Continue reading “Lola’s: A Cake Journey Around the World + Win a copy!”

Because Dads like nice things too: Specter Wireless ELUX headphones for Father’s Day + Win a pair!

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I know my hubby’s not the only dad who gets the short end of the stick for Father’s Day. But it’s partly his fault since he always insists he doesn’t want anything. Unlike me, he’s not the least bit materialistic, and (also unlike me) he’s hesitant to acquire anything new when the old and/or duct-taped will do. Which has forced us to get creative with our gifts. We’ve made personalized t-shirts with iron-on letters, videos with the kids telling him what they love about him, hand and foot prints in plaster (because you can never have too many of those, ha ha) and framed copies of pictures he’d never seen. And they were all well and good and much appreciated, but you know, dads like nice things too. (Well a lot of dads, I’m guessing.) And since his headphones finally bit the dust after years of being held together with duct tape, we’re giving him a new pair. But not just any pair — they’re the Specter Wireless ELUX (clever how that rhymes with deluxe). I received them free-of-charge to try.  Continue reading “Because Dads like nice things too: Specter Wireless ELUX headphones for Father’s Day + Win a pair!”

Summer-ready with SKECHERS + Win a pair!

Skechers Heart Breaker cropped

So somehow it’s May 2-4 already and yours truly is freaking out a bit because I just realized the kids are off school tomorrow and we’ve got a four-day stretch ahead. Mama needs a cocktail. (This one will do nicely.) I’ve been swanning all over town in my cute shoes with my mother for the past couple of days while she’s been visiting from Toronto, but now she’s left so we’ll have to make our own fun. I won’t be running after my guys in my SKECHERS wedges but I totally could if I needed too — they’re super comfy, light-as-air and hello! So fun! Perfect for walks up to the library and down to the dollar store and over to the corner store for popsicles (‘tho my guys have started to get those on their own, conveniently “forgetting” to bring me the change). SKECHERS sent me these and another super cute pair to help get me through the summer. And you know, I wouldn’t turn down a cocktail either. Continue reading “Summer-ready with SKECHERS + Win a pair!”

Books she’ll love for Mother’s Day + A giveaway

Mother's Day reads HBG Canada

Yes of course I want to see my kids on Mother’s Day — I’d like to see them playing outside while I curl up inside with a book. Who’s with me? Uh huh. I see a few nods out there. Any one of these four would suit me just fine, and a tea if you’re making it, maybe a couple of tarts too. (*brushes pastry crumbs off leggings* How many days have I been wearing these?) Spring brings a bounty of new releases in every genre, and today I’ve got a look at a selection in stores just in time for Mother’s Day — two for those who love to cook and bake and entertain (alone or with kids helping alongside), one for fashionistas and another for the reluctant traveller. Because every one knows a mom who just wants time to think and read, and one of these books might make the perfect companion. (My thanks to Hachette Book Group Canada, who sent me all four to review.) Continue reading “Books she’ll love for Mother’s Day + A giveaway”

It’s so YOU! It’s so HER! Foxy Originals jewelry for Mother’s Day + A giveaway

Foxy Originals Lilo ear jacket flatlay try small things

Be it resolved that there are more important things than looks (obvs), but be it also resolved that when you take a little time to put yourself together (whether that’s a shower, jeans and a ponytail or heels, nails and a blow-out) it feels pret-ty darn good. Especially if you haven’t done it in some time. (Like since last Mother’s Day. Or maybe not even then.) And the cherry on top — besides someone actually noticing; honestly sometimes I feel like wallpaper around here — a shiny accessory or two that expresses your style. Isn’t it fun to find something that feels so you? Or if you’re looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift, something that feels so her? Today I’m sharing some of my favourite, so-me accessories from Toronto’s Foxy Originals and a chance to win one to gift yourself or someone you love. Call it a little Mother’s Day TLC from Foxy Originals and me.  Continue reading “It’s so YOU! It’s so HER! Foxy Originals jewelry for Mother’s Day + A giveaway”

Make mom’s day with Green & Black’s Farmhouse Chocolate Banana Bread + A giveaway!

Green and Black's Farmhouse Chocolate Banana Bread with jam on a sliec try small things

After packing house and downsizing a couple of times over the past few years, my mom insists there’s few things she wants or needs. That’s not to say she doesn’t light up at a little sparkly somethin’ to draw attention to her impossibly delicate wrists or ample bosom (oh she does!) but usually she says “If I can’t eat it, drink it or read it, I don’t want it.” I likely won’t see her for Mother’s Day (we live 500 kms apart) but she’s planning to visit a couple weeks later and I know just what I’ll give her: a steaming cup of tea, a slice of homemade chocolate banana loaf and my undivided attention (provided the kids are outside or something — and even then they’ll be in and out the door every two minutes, you know how it goes) while we take some time to catch up. And I think she’ll be happy. Green & Black’s did a Mother’s Day survey and 57% of moms said that spending time with family and loved ones is the most valued gift, followed by 32% saying that feeling appreciated is really what they want. (Only 1% said receiving a luxurious gift was the most important.) So maybe join me in making something sweet for the special mom in your life (your mom, your neighbour, your buddy) and make the time to enjoy it together. I’ve got just the recipe — Green & Black’s Farmhouse Chocolate Banana Bread — and a little giveaway to go with.  Continue reading “Make mom’s day with Green & Black’s Farmhouse Chocolate Banana Bread + A giveaway!”

The Greenhouse Cookbook: Plant-Based Eating and DIY Juicing + Win a copy!

The Greenhouse Cookbook cover try small things

You know when you climb into bed with a great cookbook and wind up equal parts ravenous (‘tho too lazy to get up and fix yourself something), inspired, and more than a little bit charmed? That was my experience with The Greenhouse Cookbook: Plant-Based Eating and DIY Juicing by Emma Knight (with Hana James, Deeva Green and Lee Reitlelman), and I have a sneaking suspicion it’ll be the same for many of you too. It’s the first book from the creators of Toronto’s wildly popular cold-pressed juicery, The Greenhouse Juice Co., and features 100 plant-based, gluten-free meals and drinks that promise to nourish and energize with nutrient-dense delicious goodness anyone can make and adapt (vegetarians and omnivores alike). Penguin Canada was kind enough to send me a copy and allow me to share one of my favourite recipes from the book, the Tuscan White Bean Soup with Dinosaur Kale.  Continue reading “The Greenhouse Cookbook: Plant-Based Eating and DIY Juicing + Win a copy!”

Anxiety and the fitness studio: How I pushed through The Dailey Method’s 30-day challenge and not only didn’t die, but came out stronger

TDM barre April 13

I don’t talk about it much because I’m afraid how people react and worry that no one will want to be around me if they know, but I struggle with anxiety a lot, particularly social anxiety. (I’m still not sure I’m going to actually put this out there but if you’re reading this, well I guess I have.) And it’s not just new people and large groups that freak me out (‘tho they do) but even the prospect of getting together with a girlfriend I’ve known for years. I worry that I’m not smart enough, funny enough, interesting enough, thin enough (!) — just enough, period. I avoid more things than I try and fret obsessively in the lead-up to the things I’ve said yes to, and then overanalyze every little perceived misstep afterwards. (If I haven’t cancelled at the last minute. Which brings its own set of worries.) It’s exhausting. And isolating. I’m telling you all this because I know there’s got to be someone reading this post who can relate, someone who feels crippled by anxiety like I do, someone who really has to push themselves to try small things. If it’s you, I want you to know that you’re not alone, that you can do things even if you think you’re going to die. And you might come out the other side better for it. (You might still overthink things ’til you’re a wreck, but you might be proud of yourself too.) What do I know about it? Well I’ve spent the past month doing a 30-day challenge at a local barre and cycle studio, The Dailey Method, and as much as it was physically challenging, it was an exercise in mental and emotional toughness even more so. The Dailey Method comped me a free month in exchange for a post, and I want to share some of the things that helped me not only meet my goal, but exceed it, and come out feeling stronger all-round. As the instructors often reminded us, the mind is ready to quit long before the body. Here are some of the strategies I used to help me push on through. I hope they’ll help you too.  Continue reading “Anxiety and the fitness studio: How I pushed through The Dailey Method’s 30-day challenge and not only didn’t die, but came out stronger”