Thursday, December 29, 2011

Back to Basics: Chewing.

Are you ever consiously aware while you're chewing? Probably not. These days, we tend to eat on the go, while distracted, working, thinking of absolutely anything else, but we don't focus on the art of chewing. You might laugh when I say art, but I think you'll understand after you give consious chewing a try. It's really hard.

We discussed chewing in depth in one of my classes a couple months ago. On the way home from school, I was hungry so I decided I'd practice chewing. I chewed a segment of a mandarin orange 77 times. I thought my brain was going to explode. It felt like the hardest thing I'd ever done. I'm sure my digestive system was thankful. Aside from the obvious of chewing food so that it can easily be swallowed, here are a few other reasons why you should spend time chewing:

- The body uses less energy to digest the well-chewed food, since the teeth and saliva have done some work. Food that hasn't been chewed sufficiently, requires more work from the body and takes away from other jobs it could be doing to keep you healthy!

- The molecules of the nutrients in the food are quickly released and assimilated while chewing.

- The longer the food stays in the mouth while chewing, the better the tongue can recognize all of the wonderful flavours. The tongue then sends a message to the brain and the brain sends a message to the digestive system. This allows the digestive system to release the appropriate digestive juice needed for that particular food!

The next time you're eating - count how many times you chew each bite on average. Slowly try to increase the amount by focusing on what you're doing. Do your digestive system a favour!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sweet & Sour Chicken.

I said I was going to get better at making meals in advance. Mission accomplished. Now, let's just see if this can contine. Dan bought me some beautiful glass locking food storage containers that I've been eyeing up for awhile, so I was excited to use them. I despise using the microwave, so I'm excited to be able to reheat my food in these little gems using the oven at work.

I started by making the Sweet & Sour Chicken. It smelled amazing and proved to be a successful dish! Who wouldn't love these tender chicken morsels with pineapple, garlic, and ginger?!

Sweet & Sour Chicken from Clean Eating Magazine


1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp raw honey
2 cloves organic garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1/4 tsp organic crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless organic chicken breasts (about 4 breasts), chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 organic medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 1 cup)
1 organic medium green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 1 cup)
1 organic small yellow onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 fresh pineapple, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1 3/4 cups)
12 sprigs fresh organic cilantro, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice, optional


In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger and pepper flakes. Place chicken in a large shallow dish. Pour soy sauce mixture over chicken, tossing gently. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and marinade and sauté for 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Add bell peppers and onion and cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables are slightly tender. Add pineapple and cook for 2 more minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve immediately over rice for a complete meal, if desired.

I didn't use brown rice, and instead used quinoa spaghetti from Gogo Quinoa. If you or someone you know, is Gluten intolerant, this pasta tastes like the real deal! It is delicious and I'm so excited that I get to eat this wonderful, clean food for lunch today!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Back to Normal.

I'm over halfway through my Christmas break from school, and I know the later half is going to fly by. Time off just has a way of doing that. I haven't accomplished any school work that I had planned on, in order to make my New Year just a bit easier, but I suppose I do still have some time!

Tonight's New Year preparations will include making homemade marinara, Sweet & Sour Chicken, and Gardener's Shepherd Pie all from Clean Eating Magazine. Around the holidays, I am a total slacker when it comes to cooking. This results in me eating not so great foods and feeling a little squishy. So, here's to getting back on the healthy cooking train and removing the squish. I'm planning on making the few dishes previously mentioned so we have some quick "go to" meals for nights I'm at school and other busy times! Making meals on Sunday's and freezing them really needs to be fit into my schedule come the New Year.

I love the holidays, but I also love when life goes "back to normal" if there is such a thing. Getting back into a routine of cooking healthy, wholesome foods and exercising is so refreshing and puts a bounce in my step.

What are your goals for the New Year?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of my blog loves! Thank you for hanging out with me and reading my posts! Wishing you and your family all the best this holiday season and a New Year filled with love, peace, and many blessings!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve & Pumpkin Spice Pancakes!

During a Trader Joe's trip sometime in November, I bought a few cans of organic pumpkin puree in anticipation of the holiday season. My baking time was limited, so I still had three cans up until a week ago when I made these pumpkin pancakes for me and Dan.

I have to share them with you because they were delicious! They were the perfect balance of pumpkin and spice. I think I'm going to have to make them again this week, since I still have two cans left. Plus it's just really gratifying to make anything that I "pin" on Pinterest!

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
Adapted from: Annie's Eats, originally from good 'ol Martha Stewart


1 1/4 cups organic, whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp. agave nectar (or 2 Tbsp. brown sugar)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. Himalayan salt
4/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Dash of ground ginger
Dash of ground cloves
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup organic pumpkin puree
1 large organic egg
2 Tbsp. organic butter


In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, agave, baking powder, salt, and spices. Stir with a fork to combine. Mix together the milk, pumpkin puree, egg, and butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk together until combined.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Heat a greased skillet or griddle over medium heat. When hot, add a 1/3 cup scoop of batter to the pan. Let cool until bubbles begin to form on the top surface. Carefully flip with a spatula and cook the second side until golden brown. Serve with cinnamon sugar, maple syrup, and/or whipped cream. (Or, be boring and just serve with agave nectar like me.)

Happy Christmas Eve! I hope you are all stress free and ready for a fun day tomorrow filled with family, love, and food!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Favourite Things: Christmas Blog Swap.

I have to give a huge shout out to Leigh and Lindsey for putting together such a fabulous blog swap for Canadians! Sometimes we can feel a little left out up here in the great, white North, but we had a blog swap of our very own!

My swap gift came from Bonnie, who was SO sweet. My package arrived at work and made my day. Unfortunately, some (uhh, most) parts of it are missing from the photo. What can I say, she sent me some homemade granola that was out of this world. It's all in my belly. It was made from cranberries, sun butter, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds! Packed with nutrition, just the way I like it! She also sent me an adorable frame ornament. I'm going to put in a photo of me and Dan from this Christmas! She also sent me a running magazine, and some yummy Cranberry scented bath lovelies from The Body Shop. It was absolutely wonderful and I can't thank her enough! Here is my lame photo with half of the gift missing.

I will use this magazine to motivate me to get back into a good running routine post Christmas madness!! I'm looking forward to it!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Sticky Buns!

I've been seriously missing around the blog world. I miss writing posts, but even more than that, I miss reading yours. I can only imagine all of the Christmas fun I've been missing. I have fun stuff of my own in store - a secret santa swap, pumpkin pancakes, and cinnamon sticky buns!

Tonight, cinnamon sticky buns! I was watching Barefoot Contessa today with Dan, specifically her Christmas special "Barefoot in London." I enjoyed. I have actually never watched her show before, but she has taught Dan a few things previous to today - which are apparently top secret. I was going to tell you, and then he looked over to see what I had written and said "you can't publish my secret. How am I going to be the best if everyone knows?" He was serious. haha

You may have watched the special, but if not, she made some sticky buns with puff pastry. They looked amazing and reminded me of some cinnamon buns we had at our employee appreciation last month. These needed to be made.

Dan is very sick right now, so I went to the store to get ingredients for grilled cheese and soup for dinner (delish!) and knew I just had to buy the few ingredients I needed for the sticky buns. We were both excited after dinner and were watching the clock to see how much time had passed in anticipation of the thawing puff pastry.

Well, friends, they are as good as they look! I made 6 with raisins (not a fan, but someone else in the house is) and 6 with dark chocolate chunks. I should have put the chocolate on the top after baking, but you live and you learn. I baked it into the sticky buns and most of it crisped up on the top, but there are a few chunks baked in between the rolls which make them even more delicious.

Holiday Sticky Buns
Adapted from: Barefoot Contessa


12 Tbsp unsalted organic butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 package frozen puff pastry, defrosted

For the filling:

2 Tbsp. unsalted organic butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine 12 Tbsp. of butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Place 1 Tbsp. of the mixture in each section of a 12 muffin cup pan.

Lightly flour a wooden board surface. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry. Brush the whole sheet with 1 Tbsp. of the melted butter. Sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of brown sugar, 1 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, and a 1/4 cup of raisins. Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly. Trim the ends of the roll about 1/2 inch and discard to even edges. Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces, about 1 1/2 inch each. Place each piece, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups. Repeat with the second shed of puff pastry to make 12 sticky buns.

Bake for 30 minutes (or less, keep an eye on them!), until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. Allow them to cool for 5 minutes only, then invert the buns onto a non-stick surface, and cool completely.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


One of my favourite delights around Christmas time is eggnog. I'm not a fan of all the sugar and weird modified milk ingredients is the conventional brands. As of yesterday, I cut out dairy from my diet too, to try and eliminate some respiratory issues I've been suffering from. This obviously was somewhat upsetting to me since I adore the nog.

I'm a google fanatic, so this prompted me to "google" (yes, it is a verb) vegan eggnog. I came across the Post Punk Kitchen recipe, that you can find here. I was intrigued that it had avocado in it, but assumed it was for thickening and I believe I was right!

Oh my word, blog friends. This vegan "eggnog" is amazing! If you're vegan, or you're just a eggnog loving health fanatic like me, I highly suggest you make it! It is the perfect consistency and just filled with love!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Happy December!

Where have I been while I haven't been blogging?

- Finishing up my Business & Leadership courses! (DONE! Super big yay!)
- Falling in love with my MacBook Pro!
- Working on my first case study for holistic nutrition!
- Listening to Christina Aguilera's Christmas music - my fav!
- Welcoming my boyfriend home!!!!!!

The beginning of December has proved to be very busy and exciting! I have lots of fun recipes I want to share with you to help me (and you!) get into the festive spirit.

Tomorrow I'll be making vegan "eggnog" along with some vegan "eggnog" cookies (totally made them last week and used baking soda instead of baking powder - whoops!) and will be sure to post about them!

I hope you're all having a fabul0us December so far! School break starts on the 15th and then you won't be able to get rid of me!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Birthday! Happy Monday! Happy Graduation!

First of all, Happy 30th Birthday to my sweet boyfriend who is once again stuck in the field!

Annnd, Happy Monday to all of you! I had the most amazing run this morning (despite the rain and slushies) and can already tell it's going to be a fabulous week!

I have some other exciting news, I graduate from my BCIT program this week! I have my last final to do on Wednesday and then my many years of part time classes are over! I still obviously have my nutrition program, but it's just nice to be done one chapter! So, I guess I'm a qualified business manager and leader now? Haha.

As a graduation present to myself, and partly as a Christmas present from my loved ones, I bought myself a MacBook Pro! I couldn't be more thrilled! I ordered it online (whyyy I didn't just go to the Apple store is beyond me!) but I'm practicing patience, or trying to, and awaiting its arrival in 8 short days! Until then I will just stare at it longingly...

I hope you all have a fabulous week!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Boundary Bay Moustache Half Marathon!

Oh boy, I'm SO glad that is over. This half marathon was filled with learning experiences. Let me share those with you.

1. Always charge your iPod the night before. I was so focused on making sure my Garmin was charged, I totally forgot about my iPod. I could have used my iPhone, but I updated it last week on my new laptop and have yet to transfer music over. First fail.

2. The first 5K were great. At that point, I stopped for some gatorade/water. The gatorade did not agree with me at ALL. I felt awful and sick to my stomach for the remainder of the race and many hours post race. In the future, I will stick to water only.

3. I will not sign up for long races past August or warmer months. It was freaking cold. Thankfully, I went to the Running Room and bought gloves, but my muscles had a very hard time warming up. Not to mention the course was right on the water so that added to the cold.

4. I will also not sign up for small races. The Chicago Rock 'N Roll Half was obviously huge compared to this one. There is something to be said for the energy the crowd and fellow runners bring to such an event! The location for this race was beautiful so there are definitely no complaints there, but it's hard to maintain motivation when you feel like you're running alone! If it wasn't for the pylons/markers, often times I would have thought I wasn't racing at all!

Before the race!

Home stretch!

I'm so glad I went and ran it. I got my cute, little moustache medal!

First major event down for November!

Friday, November 4, 2011

November Excitement!

Blog friends, I feel like I'm bursting with excitment due to November's arrival! I used to loathe the Christmas season. I'm not sure why, but that is no longer the case. Over the past few years, I have grown to adore Christmas and everything it brings - warm, hearty foods, Peppermint Mochas from Starbucks, advent calendars, decorations, gingerbread, and family time.

Things have been busy around these parts, but while procrastinating from studying, I've managed to start my Christmas shopping and even wrapping? *gasp* I know. Productivity is at an all time high. (PS. My grades have not suffered so it's all good.)

Anyway, I thought I'd share my exciting November events with you! I know my presence has been fleeting lately, and I can't promise that will improve over the next couple months but bear with me.

This Sunday, November 6th, I have the Boundary Bay Moustache Half Marathon. Part of me thinks I should give myself a break and just bail on it since I haven't had time to train, or even run for that matter, but I miss it. If it's frosty and rainy like it was this morning, I can't make any promises, but if it's sunny, I'll give it a go! I don't need to be a superstar - I just want to finish get my moustache medal (so cool!).

After another week of school madness, I leave next Friday to go to Detroit for my friend Jamie's wedding! I couldn't be more excited to be there for her special day!

Other November events are my mom's 50th birthday, Dan's 30th birthday, and Dan finishing up his course on November 24th and making his journey home! So.freaking.excited. Approx. 28 days!

That is my month in a nutshell. I'm looking forward to everthing this month brings! I will do my best to document the events to share with you!

Happy November to you!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I can hardly believe it's already Halloween weekend. Last year I had a surprise visit from my love which involved us buying Halloween costumes and heading out to party. I was a cat and Dan was a tequila slinger. He was so freaking cute it's not even funny. Anyway, I will relive his cuteness while I'm celebrating this Halloween. What am I doing you ask? Oh, you're going to be so jealous.

This year, I'm going to "dress up" as none other then the precious Sleeping Beauty.

Not only will I dress up as sleeping beauty, but I will be playing the part. This girl needs sleep in a big way. With school three nights each week, I've been in the groove of not going to bed until 12am (every night, whoops!), which is late for me. This week I must get my sleep and it will start tonight. Tonight's agenda - study cards and sleeping.

I hope you all have a fabulous night dressing up and celebrating this fabulously fun holiday! Stay safe!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Celebrate Organics!

Let's celebrate Organic Week!

Some of you may be wondering why on earth it's so important to eat organic foods - especially fruits and veggies! I'll tell you why!

1) One of the most obvious benefits is the fact that organic foods aren't grown with chemical fertilizers and pesticides, nor do they contain traces of chemicals so there is no negative affects on the body.

2) It tastes better! Many people may think it all tastes the same, but honestly knowing that it is produced organically, and often locally, makes it a million times more fresh tasting to me.

3) Organic food is good for the environment! Not only do I not want to ingest chemicals, but they aren't any good for our soil, air or water either. It's not safe for our generation or responsible due to the harm we're causing future generations!

4) When it comes to dairy, meat, and poultry, going organic has become a big deal to me. I am much happier when I know the animals have not been confined in a cage for their lives while eating God knows what. When explaining to anyone why I choose organic eggs, for example, I say "I like happy chickens!" And it's true - love the happy chickens.

There is a vitality in food. When a carrot, or other vegetable has to fend for itself without chemicals, it becomes stronger and offers many more nutrients for use in our bodies. There are so many elements to consider - like soil quality, location of farms, and ethical treatment of workers. It is up to each of us to decide what resonates with us and what we feel is most important.

Many families can't afford to buy all organic food, but if at all possible, focus on organic when buying the "dirty dozen" fruits and vegetables. They include: apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, imported grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, red raspberries, spinach, and strawberries.

What is one food item you are going to buy or eat this week that is organic?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Giving Thanks.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day in Canada, so it was a weekend filled with festive celebrations! We had family dinner both Sunday and Monday night - how fabulous! I was in charge of cooking the turkey - I took a crappy cell phone photo for you all.

Tom was a beautiful little bird. I also made stuffing and it was fantastic. I almost want to make it again this week - is it wrong to make stuffing when it isn't Thanksgiving or Christmas? Why don't we eat it more often? Hmmm, strange. Anyway, I want to share the recipe with you, but I forgot to take a photo and something about posting a recipe sans photo seems so wrong. I guess I have an excuse to make it again? It had butter and bread obviously, pine nuts, parsley, fresh sage, shallots, onions, and spices. Yum.

Since it is Thanksgiving after all, I should list some things in my life that I'm grateful for. You know, every year that passes, I just become more blessed in life, and feel an immense amount of gratitude for absolutely everything.

I am grateful for...

1. Skype - I can "see" Dan even when we can't be together for the holiday.

2. My family - immediate and extended - they are such amazing, beautiful people and I'm so blessed to be able to spend my life with them.

3. Nanny's Trifle - My mom and her parents were born in England so traditional British foods are made to perfection!

4. Opportunities - There is really nothing in life I feel held back from or feel I can't do. This past year, I went on my second adventure to Thailand, (almost) completed all of my business program, began my RHN program and love it, all while spending the majority of the past year separated from my best friend and love.

I hope all of my fellow Canadians have a fabulous holiday that gave you much to be thankful for!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Happy October!

Not to wish life away or anything, but I'm ridiculously excited that it's October. First of all, I can hardly even believe we're this far into 2011. I swear it was just the new year. I've been told that as I get older, the years will pass even more quickly which is a scary thought.

Why am I so excited for October? It means Dan will be home in two months! He's been gone three months so far and it's a great feeling being over halfway. We're both looking forward to his return and the fact he won't be leaving any time soon after!

I celebrated October 1st by spending the day in Cawston, BC with my parents. There is an organic farm, Harker's Organics, 4 hours away from home. We haul their produce into Whole Foods, so we thought it would be nice to check out the farm and support them during their annual Harvest Moon Festival. I'm so glad we went!

We arrived and immediately fell in love with all the fall décor. It provided some inspiration for me to pack up my flip flops at home. I've been having an unusually difficult time attuning to fall this year, but the festival definitely helped. They had a chef on site bbqing and creating fabulous food made with the organic produce. Along with the organic fruits, the farm owners, Troy and Sarah, use the fruits to make organic wine. It was so delicious! They have approximately 30 acres of land, but it is so inspiring when you see for yourself all that they are producing in that "small" area!

Here are some photos from the day!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Five for Friday.

1. The way your face lights up when my picture initially loads on skype.

2. Watching Dinner Party Wars with you. I can't watch it when you're not here.

3. How I have to always hang up the phone when our conversation is over because you don't like to.

4. Cuddles on the couch that turn into me falling asleep. I swear I stay up late when you're not here, it's just that your so cozy.

5. Greeting you/being greeted after a long day.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How to Procrastinate...

Anyone need help in this department? I am pretty sure I would be qualified in discussing how one goes about procrastinating. I have perfected the art.

With my new school program comes a lot of tests. A LOT, friends. As in each "course" is approximately two and a half weeks long meaning the "midterm" comes one week and the "final" comes the following week - every.single.week. Yep. I'm realizing this is my demise for the next year (actually 11 months! Woohoo!) so I better get used to handling the stress. I have a test tomorrow so the studying procrastination has begun.

First thing this morning I watched an episode of Dead Like Me. I am currently addicted to this show and have been watching it on Netflix. Then, I had to drink some Kombucha and make some breakfast. (Okay, so being well nourished might actually be important in terms of studying.) I ate a piece of Steady Eddie bread with almond butter on it. As I'm eating it, I realise I actually despise my toast with regular old almond butter - I like the chocolate stuff! (We have discussed this love previously.) When I ran out of the yummy chocolate goodness, I decided I should rotate to reduce sugar consumption and eat the plain almond butter, but I think I'd rather not eat it at all. I had already made the trip to Costco and bought the big jar of Maranatha Almond Butter before having this revelation, so I had to find a way to use it. A little search over at Pinterest gave me an idea: Flourless Sugarless Almond Butter Cookies. Sounds good, right? Well, sounds good FOR you but are they really tasty? I just had to give them a whirl.

Coming out of the oven they smelled amazing. They were quite crumbly, but taste absolutely fabulous. Who even needs chocolate almond butter now? Honestly. I have wild ideas of making this healthy treat completely unhealthy by crumbling it on vanilla ice cream. Delish.

Ingredients: (adapted from I Heart Wellness)

2 flax eggs (mix 1 Tbsp ground flax and 3 Tbsp water (or almon
d milk) PER "egg")
2 cups all natural or organic almond butter
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1/4 cup carob chips


First, mix the flax eggs in a medium sized bowl and let them sit for 5 minutes. After the "eggs" are ready, add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Once mixed, spoon mixture onto a parchment lined or greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Voilà!

Well, it's almost 10am now and the procrastination must end. Excuse me while I go study. Happy Wednesday!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Wild Fermentation Workshop.

As I mentioned in my previous post, this past Wednesday I went to the Wild Fermentation Workshop, hosted by The World In A Garden and Julie Beyer of For the Love of Food. Julie actually goes to my school and has just begun the second year of the two year program to become a holistic nutritionist. I met her a few weeks ago at the Whole Foods Living Naturally Fair and was mesmerized and inspired by her knowledge!

The workshop was great. I knew next to nothing about fermenting foods before we began the session, and I left with so much knowledge. We made fermented beets, ginger carrots, kimchi, and sauerkraut. I'm not a fan of sauerkraut, especially after a bad experienced with juiced cabbage a couple months ago but I was excited about the other concoctions!

Honestly, it was a lot of work. Seriously I give people that actively ferment, can, jar - whatever you want to call it - serious props. Fermented foods are incredibly good for your digestive system and fermenting also reduces the amount of anti nutrients found on our live foods. (I will discuss anti nutrients with you soon! It's something I learned this week and previously had never even heard of!) Here are some photos from the event:

The workshop was held at Organic Lives and I highly suggest that if you live in Vancouver, BC, you take a visit! The food looks amazing and I'll be returning asap to have a wholesome and delicious dinner! Their smoothies look out of this world as well! Also, their macaroons are absolutely fabulous! It looks like some of their products can be shipped to different countries so US foodies check it out!

Photos courtesy of Alicia from The World In A Garden

Friday, September 23, 2011

Five for Friday

I have had such a crazy week and have SO much to blog and share with all of you, but I honestly don't know where to even start. I will articulate my thoughts over the weekend and hopefully have some interesting blog posts produced for next week. Maybe you can help me out - what would you like to know more about in terms of healthy eating or maintaining a healthy lifestyle? Digestion, clean foods, fermenting (learned a lot about that at a workshop on Wednesday night so you'll likely hear about it anyway), organic foods, vitamins/minerals, water purification? What interests you? I'll leave you to ponder that - please leave a comment with any suggestions!

Now, for my five for friday -

1. You remembered I had a test this week and wished me luck even though I know you're ridiculously busy with your own work/tests/stress. :)

2. You miss me lots. I love that.

3. Butter is allowed. ;)

4. You listen to my countdown nonsense. Almost half way!

5. You are so so cute and help me with directions even when you're across the country.

I love you and can't wait to see your sweet face again!

PS. I'm literally smiling at my computer. :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ashley and Dan take on North America!

It's been just over two months since I took an amazing trip with Dan across North America. It was last minute, quick, and tiring but nothing short of absolutely perfect. There may never be another opportunity to drive across this large continent ever again and it was so fabulous to take on this "first" together.

Did I mention the drive was quick? Ha. I was sad to leave Dan knowing I wouldn't see him for five months, but pretty happy to get back to work for a "break." Spending 14+ hours in the truck was tiring. I did help drive but Dan was a determined super trucker and kept going when I would have been inclined to find the nearest hotel. Since the purpose of the trip was to get to New Brunswick as quick and safe as possible, there weren't many opportunities to stop and enjoy the scenery. I was pretty sad we didn't get to stop in Wisconsin for some cheese, or venture off route and go see NYC but we'll save that for another time.

First stop: Seattle: We were waiting for his route letter, or what my American friends would call "orders." We were anxious to get on the road, but didn't want to go too far from home just in case there was a quick change of plans. We ended up spending the night in Seattle waiting, and waiting, until we finally got the call. The road trip begins!

We drove through Washington, quickly through Idaho and Montana, stopping approximately an hour or so outside of Billings for a night's sleep. I think my favourite part of this entire day was while driving through Idaho and me and Dan saying back and forth "Idaho" - "no, youdaho!" I think you had to be there, but it brings a smile to my face just thinking about the entertainment Idaho brought to the oxygen lacking truck cab. It was a mostly dark drive, and I'm sad that we didn't get to see much of Montana in the daylight because in the morning we saw from a distance the mountains we drove through and they would have been fabulous to see (I think!). We slept at a truck stop - this little Canadian was very impressed with how nice most of them were! In the morning we drove for awhile and then stopped in a small town, of which I did not catch its name, and had breakfast in one of three restaurants. It was the only one open. I felt like I was in some alternate universe, but it was fun in its own right.

We got some pretty photos in Idaho, but they are on Dan's camera since I was driving.

I think this was Montana! It's hard to remember.

Look close: "Home On The Range" - loved that! North Dakota

I'm pretty sure this was the Largest Holstein Cow, in ND. Important stuff.

Really excited to hit Minnesota (purely for the Mall of America!) although we did not stop. Haha We did stop in St. Cloud, Minnesota for some much needed rest.

Interesting. Our friend in Wisconsin.

Hi cheese, bye cheese. :(

You know your desperate for touristy photos when...

Chicago! SO excited to see a big city!

Michigan! Home of my sweet friend Jamie! I was very excited to see this state!

Pretty sky. We met Jamie soon after this for a very late dinner and drinks. It was amazing and while we didn't take a photo (Hello! After many hours of driving and very little sleep over the last couple days I was in no state for a photo documenting our visit!)

After we met up with Jamie and her fiance, Ryan, we drove through Michigan and back into Ontario, Canada. In this photo you can see the bridge connecting the US and Canada and at night it was so beautiful but unfortunately I was too preoccupied trying to find somewhere to sleep and not so much interested in photos. Oh, this is the morning when we also thought we lost our passports. Driving until 3am is not good!

Dan drove through Ontario and we came back down into the US through New York. There are no Ontario photos because I was extremely tired and pretty much slept the entire day. Poor Dan. He was content, I swear.

We had no money left after all of the NY tolls. Sad day. Haha

EW! I almost forgot that I don't like this state because it houses Boston, who took the Stanley Cup away from our precious Vancouver Canucks last season. I refused to buy any souvenirs (the Stanley Cup Champion glasses made me sick!) and I drove through this state like a bandit! I will not condone what they did to us! ;)

We drove through New Hampshire late at night and slept in Portland, Maine, I think. I know it was Maine! It was extremely late and I think we got three hours of sleep that night. We were SO close to New Brunswick and Dan was anxious! I, on the other hand, was miserable and cranky.

We got to stop at Dunkin' Donuts - finally! I wasn't terribly impressed. I'll stick to Tim Horton's.

Back in Canada and almost at our destination! It was exciting!

Base housing - looks familiar!

We made it! Thankfully, even after the lack of sleep, I have very fond memories of this trip. Dan had to inprocess right away and I flew out the next morning after a cancelled flight. I wish we had more time to enjoy each other and all the wonderful states, but we made the best of it! I hope I didn't bore you to tears with these photos. I really just wanted to document it for myself so we can look back and remember the wonderful trip!

Have you been on a long road trip? Where did you go?
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