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. VoilĂ !

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?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Quinoa Casserole.

In honour of Slow Food USA's $5 Challenge coming up on Friday, September 16th, I made this delicious quinoa casserole. While I don't live in the USA, nor is Slow Food Canada participating, I've decided to participate in this wonderful event myself. Basically, the $5 challenge is to make a slow food meal for friends, family, or neighbours that costs no more than $5 per person. Slow food shouldn't have to cost more than fast food.

Here is the perfect recipe if you would like to do this in your own home! It was definitely FAR less than $5 per person especially with the amount of meals it made.


2 medium squash or zucchini, sliced
1 28 oz. can of whole or crushed tomatoes
3 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 large onion, diced
1 whole red pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic
1 pound ricotta cheese
pinch paprika
pinch of fresh or dry thyme
olive oil
salt and pepper
Mrs. Dash seasoning
Parmesan cheese (optional)


First, prepare the zucchini. Slice it (not too thin!) and place them slightly overlapping on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. You want them to soften slightly but not soggy.

While the zucchini is baking, prepare the sauce. Add 1 Tbsp. of olive oil to a medium pot on medium-high heat. Once it is hot, add the onion and peppers. Once partially cooked, add the canned tomatoes along with a pinch of salt and pepper, some paprika, and thyme. Stir this together and let it simmer for a few minutes.

Then add the quinoa! Let it simmer for a few more minutes until it thickens. Once the zucchini and sauce is ready, it's time to put it all together. In a buttered 9x9 baking dish, spoon a thin layer of sauce in the bottom. Then ad a layer of squash/zucchini and crumble on ricotta. Continue layering and finish with a layer of sauce.

As you can see from the photo, my casserole didn't end with a layer of sauce. It was good with the zucchini and ricotta on top too! This recipe is so versatile. In the future, I'd love to add some mushrooms and be a bit more generous with the spices. I was concerned it was going to be too overwhelming with all the Mrs. Dash (I'm obsessed!) I was adding, but it actually could use more flavour. If you want to make it even more hearty or meat lover friendly, beef could be added too!

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes and then serve.

Do you have a favourite healthy, economical, "go to" recipe? If so, please share! I'd love to try it!

Monday, September 12, 2011

New look!

How fun is it when you rearrange your bedroom or another space in your house? It's fun, right? It makes you motivated to keep it clean, provides you with great sleep, and in general, gives you a happy feeling!

Well, that's what I've done here! Fran, from Small Bird Studios , gave my blog a much needed makeover! I was looking for something cheerful and inspiring rather than the dark, black space that existed before. This new look will inspire me to get to know my blog lovelies better and give more of myself to you.

I am loving RHN school and have fun things to share with you. I promise my blog won't become some soapbox where I rant and rave about all things nutritional. I just want to provide inspiration for others to lead a wholesome life. After all, this is why I'm taking the program in the first place. Over the past two weeks, I've learned many things and think "I need to share this on my blog!" There are so many misconceptions (like butter being bad for you - the fact that it isn't totally bloggled my mind) and other fun things that you would benefit from knowing!

So, here is to a new space, inspiration, and blog growth! Thank you all for following me on this journey!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Five for Friday.

1. You text me asking how my test went.

2. We're skyping right now now and you left me to go get your laundry. haha Thank you because I almost forgot to do my five for Friday.

3. You are cute when you vent about work.

4. You finally caved and got the internet which I'm grateful for since we can have skype dates! yaaay!

5. You think I'm pretty even when I feel grungy. I love you for that! :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Delicious Chocolate Vita Muffin Knock Off!

Who doesn't like Vita Muffins? They are the perfect little treat when you're trying to watch what you eat. Who likes that they cost $6 for 4? I'm sure quite a few people would put their hands down. While I'm perfectly okay spending more on things that are healthy for me, I'd much rather bake my own if possible. Well, blog friends, it's totally possible. In fact, these muffins aren't as good as the Vita Muffin version, they are far better. That's just my opinion though.

I've been eating really whole foods lately. Avoiding sugar, excess flour, and sodium. I've basically been sticking to a "clean" diet filled with fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Well, usually, when it's time for PMS, I'm all over anything with those sweet, little, white, granular bits. Not this time! I baked these muffins to give me the chocolate I crave but without flour, refined sugar, and all those other nasty ingredients.


1 3/4 cup oats
3 egg whites
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp cream of tartar (or 1 1/2 Tbsp. vinegar)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup hot water
1 cup sugar substitute or 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp stevia (I used 1/2 cup agave nectar)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I may have used slightly more...)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 cup muffin pan with foil cupcake liners, or spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
In a blender or food processor, mix all of the ingredients together, except for the chocolate chips. Blend until oats are ground and mixture is smooth. Place mixture in a bowl and gently stir in 1/2 of the chocolate chips. Scoop mixture into prepared muffin pans.
Place muffin tins in the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove muffins from the oven, distribute the other half of the chocolate chips on top of each muffin. Place muffins back into the oven and bake for an additional 2-5 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

This recipe makes 12 cupcakes at 116 calories per muffin! Perfection! You can find the original recipe here.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Protein Trail Mix Cookies.

First Pinterest love. (I have multiple now, but these cookies got me hooked.) They are healthy, delicious, and just plain amazing. I made them for the second time last night and love eating one (or two!) with fresh berries for breakfast or an afternoon snack. I just love that there is no refined sugar in them.


3 Tbsp flax seeds (ground into meal)
3/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (I used carob chips for fun and love them!)
1/4 cup raisins (I don't like raisins so I substituted for a bit of the other nuts/carob chips)
1/2 cup vanilla protein powder
3 Tbsp honey (I used hazelnut flavoured Agave nectar)
3/4 tsp salt (omitted)
1/4 tsp vanilla
stevia to taste (I didn't find this necessary)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine ground flax with milk and set aside. In a large bowl, combine all other ingredients. Add flax mixture to dry ingredients and combine. The mix may seem dry, but this is normal. To make cookies, spoon the dough into your hand and pack cookies. Place the cookies on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until slightly browned. Let them cool completely on pan before transferring to an airtight container.

Please just do yourself a favour and go buy all the ingredients for these tasty (and healthy!!!) protein packed treats and try them for yourself! They are SO simple!

PS. Look forward to Monday's post! You are in for a serious treat. While these cookies were my first Pinterest love, they are no longer my favourite!!!!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I have a problem...

I'm addicted to Pinterest. I'm in love with the site, just like pretty much everyone else. At first I refused to sign up because I already have a StumbleUpon account and really, why would I need something so similar? Boy was I wrong!

With Stumble Upon, everything is scattered and completely disorganized. With Pinterest everything fits onto its sweet little board in utter perfection. The best part is I've actually made a couple recipes that I've pinned (with great success I must add!) and even used one of the inspirational quotes I pinned as my Facebook status update. It's all so wonderful.

I will be sharing a recipe tomorrow that I made that is absolutely fantastic! I also have some great plans for my other pins coming up so stay tuned!

Follow me!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Five for Friday.

1. You helped me figure out my bluetooth that you bought for me two Christmases ago. I'm sorry I failed it for so long but I LOVE it now! :)

2. You thought of flying home to surprise me for the long weekend. The saying "it's the thought that counts" totally applies here. I wish flights didn't cost a fortune!

3. 7 weeks down, approximately 14 to go. Must be thankful for small mercies. We rock.

4. I'm always thinking about you which in turn makes me happy.

5. You are always concerned that I'm getting out and having fun. It's cute.

I love you! Happy Labour Day long weekend!

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