Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Business Luncheon

Hello all!

I am actually posting tonight to get some help from all of you (that is assuming that someone might actually comment this time... I promise I don't bite!).
My class has recently been given a new project. To make a long story short, we have to prepare, from beginning to end, a business luncheon for ourselves, all of our professors, and the heads of the program. The class was split into four groups, and they are as follows:

1) Bread and butter, invitations, menu

2) Soup and dessert

3) Salad and side dish (es)

4) Main course

Each group is in charge of one of those categories, and we are supposed to spend an entire day prepared the luncheon, from buying all of the groceries and preparing the food by hand to decorating the venue and setting the tables. The logic for having a bunch of Veterinary Medical Students do this is that it a) helps build teamwork and b) as future employees in administrative positions, we may be required to plan barbecues or meetings for the workplace. I'm actually kind of looking forward to it, it should be a lot of fun.

I volunteered myself for the 'salad and side dish' group, and we have chosen to make both a generic Caesar Salad and a Spring Mix-type Salad (with strawberries, almonds, red onion, etc). I'm in charge of the Caesar Salad and, while I'm not overly happy because I don't really get to stretch the creative part of my brain, everyone is bound to like it and I might try to jazz it up a little bit nonetheless.
We know that we want to do vegetable-only side dishes (there are a few vegetarians in the class), but this is where I need your help!

What are some of your favorite (and delicious) vegetable side dishes??

Friday, September 30, 2011


Hello lovelies!

I know it's been awhile since you've seen me around, but things have been crazy-busy (ergo, this blog and its title). I'm at the point now where I keep hearing about this thing called "sleep", but I'm not quite sure if I even know what that is anymore... I'm back for a quick post today though! I only had class for three hours this morning and I don't have to work tonight (GASP) so I have plenty of time for doing homework posting on my blog.

Speaking of class this morning, it was AWESOME! Friday's I have my 'Applied Veterinary Procedures' class. Great teacher and fun class, what more could you ask for?! Every single time we get to do hands-on activities with animals, it just cements even more the fact that this is what I feel I am meant to be doing, and I love it. This morning was no exception. We're currently learning animal restraint (for when animals need blood drawn, procedures done, etc), and we got to practice on a few dogs and cats. Some of it was quite a challenge, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

On the food front, I'll be perfectly honest with you when I say that my creativity has been a bit lacking. I've been trying to keep things interesting and new with my meals so that I don't get bored, but when you're so busy all of the time that can be difficult. This week has consisted of a lot of salads (me and salad are best friends though, so I don't mind too much) and a LOT of leftover stoup.  There is one veggie that I wanted to talk about though, that I have sort of rediscovered this week.

The avocado. 

I went through a pretty big avocado phase a few months back (I swear, I think I was making a batch of guacamole just about every weekend. And you'd better believe that I was NOT sharing). They seemed to be getting more expensive at that point though, so I sort of stopped buying avocados regularly. They're back with a vengeance though, and I think I forgot how delicious they can be! I've just been adding them into my salads at dinner (I probably should have just used 1/2 per day, but they were too delicious! BAD ME).They make what could potentially be a somewhat boring meal that much more exciting!

Many people (especially those people that are trying to diet) shy away from avocados because of their high fat content. Avocados DO have a high fat content, but they contain healthy fat that our bodies require to function, and these fats are also shown to have tons of health benefits. As long as you're not sitting down to a bowl full of avocado in front of the television every night (shhhh....), these guys have been shown to be great for the following reasons:

- they increase the bodies absorption of key antioxidants/ antioxidants help rid our body of toxins and waste that can be detrimental to our health. Why wouldn't you want to eat a vegetable that can increase the absorption of these antioxidants to between 200 and 400%?!

- a major portion of the fat found in avocados has been proven to have anti-inflammatory benefits/ avocados have actually been documented to help improve the mobility in patients with arthritis.

- fat found in avocados also contains Oleic acid/ Oleic acid helps our digestive tracts better absorb fat cells and break it down, instead of letting it hang out and make us, well... overweight. It has also been shown to help lower our risk of heart disease.

- avocados are a great choice if you're diabetic/ avocados are quite low in carbohydrates (carbohydrates are transformed into sugar via the bloodstream, so carbs are what a diabetic has to keep their eye on) but high in fiber, unlike many other vegetables which don't contain very much. They have also been proven to help naturally stabilize blood sugar levels.

If you haven't had an avocado in awhile... GO EAT ONE. Or a half of one, as the case should probably be.  I happen to find them delicious even just with a little salt and pepper over top, but they can also be used in salads, or sandwiches, or as a killer guacamole. Perhaps I'll make up a batch this weekend and share...

Until then, have a great Friday. :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Steaming bowl of deliciousness

That is exactly what I have for you today, a steaming bowl of deliciousness. This recipe actually should have been posted on Sunday (you know, when I did the actual cooking) but I've been crazy-busy since then and haven't had a chance! Don't hate me.

Anyway, the recipe that I have for you today is for Sweet Potato Stoup. A stoup is a word (that may or may not actually exist) for a pot of food that is neither soup nor stew, but somewhere in between. And this is a delicious example of just that.


- 1 white onion (medium), diced
- 2 to 3 stalks of celery (depending on your preference)
- 1 to 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut up into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tsp garlic powder (or 2 cloves minced garlic)
- 3 tsp chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 1/2 can (28 oz) of diced or chopped tomatoes
- 2 cans (14 oz) of any kind of bean (kidney, pinto, chickpeas even... I used kidney this time)
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- salt/pepper to taste

Melt a small amount of butter in the bottom of a large stove top pot. Add onions, celery, carrots, sweet potato, garlic, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cook on medium for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring often. Add in your tomatoes, beans, and vegetable stock. Bring that mixture just to a boil, then cover, and simmer on lower heat for about 25 minutes (or until sweet potato and carrots are soft). Season, add any toppings that you prefer (cilantro or other herbs, a dollop of sour cream, etc) and enjoy!

(I am well aware that I have no idea how to properly photograph food. I'm still learning! In the meantime, please bear with me, and keep in mind that the food really IS delicious. )

This recipe will make a HUGE pot of this awesome stoup (which is conducive to my being a student and not having a ton of time to cook, this will probably provide me with 4 or 5 dinners and lunches). I've made this a couple of times now, and I really cannot get enough of it. It's one of those meals that just warms your insides, and all the spices used will fill your house with the most comforting of aromas.

I hope you all have a wonderful week, I should be back later (when I have a minute or two to breathe) with more posts. Until then, happy eating! :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Saturday is here!

Aaaand I shouldn't be so excited. NOTE TO SELF: Saturday's are no longer a day off for me. It has been a little difficult adjusting myself to being in school. When I was working at my job full-time, my schedule was Monday to Friday, 7-3:30 only. Unless I wanted to earn some overtime I didn't have to work weekends, so now that I'm back to working closing and weekend shifts, it's been an adjustment! Now my weekends consist of working on Saturday and running around like a chicken with my head cut off (poor chickens!) on Sunday.

Being that I work the late shift today, I thought I'd cure a little bit of my morning boredom with another blog post.
First things first...

Doesn't she look so impressed with me? I am an evil, evil dog owner. I don't generally believe in putting clothing on dogs, but I was in the midst of doing a big wardrobe project for one of my classes, and I wanted to add a picture of Harley into the powerpoint presentation that I was doing, so I had to stick her in her little pink sweater. You have to admit that it's DAMN cute. :)

Okay, I'm getting back on track now, I swear.
Breakfast this morning was pretty straightforward. I have to admit, I'm at the point just before my next grocery shopping trip (that'll be a tomorrow errand) where my fridge and cupboards are just about empty from the last trip, so I've had to get a little creative with my meals the past couple of days. I had some oatmeal this morning, and I didn't even have any fruit to add to it! SOB. To spruce up my little bowl of plain oatmeal, I just added a drizzle of honey and a small scoop of almond butter. Not the most exciting of breakfasts, but still tasty.

Lunch is going to have to be a bit interesting as well. I think I may just make a simple veggie wrap, with hummus. There's nothing that I like better than a good wrap, and I have been OBSESSED with hummus lately. I have actually been meaning to try my hand at making some homemade hummus (I keep hearing how simple it is), so I may try that this weekend. In the meantime, however, I've been buying Sabra Mediterranean Hummus. It is made with quality ingredients, comes in so many different flavours, and it's absolutely delicious. My favourite flavours (that I've tried so far) are the Roasted Red Pepper, the Roasted Pine Nut, and the Chipotle. If you don't have time to make your own hummus, try this brand! I would definitely recommend it.

I'm going to check back in tomorrow with a recipe for you guys! I have plans to make Sweet Potato Stew! I've made it before and it went over really well with both myself and the boyfriend, so I'm going to make extra tomorrow and freeze some for lunches and stuff. So I hope to see you here tomorrow for that!

Have a good weekend everyone!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sick as a dog

Hello all! Me again (because you were expecting somebody else??). I am not actually sick at the moment, as the title of this post would suggest, but I WAS feeling a bit paranoid at the beginning of the week that I was coming down with something, so I thought I'd write a post on it. Doesn't sound all that exciting, I know, but generally when I feel like I'm coming down with a cold there are a few things that I like to do in order to try to avoid becoming sick. I thought I should share those things with you.

(Where did the saying "sick as a dog" come from, anyway? My dog has never been sick. And generally when I do come down with a cold, she's sitting as far from me on the couch as possible, staring at me as if to say "do not let that snot come any closer to me". Hmm.)

Vitamins, vitamins, and more vitamins - If your household was anything like mine was growing up, you might have learned to hate vitamins with a fiery, burning passion. That probably sounds a little bit overdramatic, but honestly. The second my brother or I even BEGAN to sneeze (whether it was due to getting a cold or not), my mom would drag us into the kitchen and start to practically shove vitamins down our throats. It became one of those things that we would avoid doing at all costs, simply because we would be forced to take them every time. Then, around the age of 16 or so, I came to realize something. VITAMINS ACTUALLY WORK. There's nothing worse than having one of those colds that make it difficult to breathe, where you're snotting on anything and everything and you can't even find the motivation to get up out of bed, let alone actually make it to school or work. So when I finally figured out that vitamins actually did a lot to help me avoid becoming sick like that, it was a pretty big revelation. Now, anytime I even have a tickle in my throat, I go straight for my two default vitamins.
1) Vitamin C - Not only does Vitamin C help to boost our immune systems and protect against the common cold, but studies have also shown that it may actually help to protect against cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling! Find some here.
2) Echinacea - Echinacea is a pretty amazing little herb. Again, my mom would force this stuff on my brother and I. She generally bought it in liquid form and would add it to juice, and it tasted DISGUSTING. Now I buy it in capsule form and pop one once or twice a day when I think I might be getting sick, and I either don't get sick at all or it's much less severe. According to research done, people who take echinacea on a semi-regular or regular basis have heightened immune systems (they fall ill much less frequently, experience milder symptoms, and recover more quickly). I just buy mine from my local grocery store (Safeway).

Drink plenty of fluids - Most people do this when they're sick, but I want to mention it anyway. Whether you're drinking orange juice (this will give you added vitamin C as well), tea (I recommend green tea, especially when sick), or water, the more fluids you can get into your body, the better.

Get lots of rest - The less sleep you get, the more likely you are going to get sick to begin with. So especially when you're worried that you are coming down with something, get as much rest as possible.

Those are the basic things that I try to do when I feel like I'm coming down with something. Most people are aware of the theory behind these things, but few people actually put them into practice. I promise you, they do work, and they've helped me avoid becoming quite ill many times.

I'll be back soon for another post, but in the meantime... stay healthy. :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

You call that research?

Hello friends!

I just got home from school, and this is what half of my day consisted of:
How can you say anything bad about a college program that sends you out to an Equine Center to play with horses, and calls it "research"? Best afternoon ever.
Now that I'm home though, I have another book review for you guys. This one is pretty important to me, so even though this blog isn't really meant for doing book reviews, I hope you'll bear with me. 

The book is called Operation Beautiful. It is written by Caitlin Boyle (her blog is where Operation Beautiful originally started, you can find it here). Caitlin founded Operation Beautiful after years of putting herself down, calling herself fat (what she refers to as "fat talk"), and just not being very nice to herself overall. Looking in the mirror one day, she mentally scolded herself for behaving this way and, as a visual reminder, she wrote a few words about how beautiful a person she was on a post-it, and stuck that post-it to her mirror. The idea ballooned out from there, and now thousands and thousands of people around the world have taken up writing little notes on post-its and leaving them in public places, in books, or around their own homes to help remind them and everyone else that we are all beautiful, and that "fat talk" is only poisoning us and keeping us from our full potential.
Her book is full of pictures, anecdotes, and stories on some of the post-it notes that have been left by people or found by others around the world, and it is so heartfelt and genuine. We ARE all beautiful in our own ways, and this book serves as a wonderful reminder of that.

This is a topic that hits close to home for me, as well. I have struggled with self-doubt and "fat talk" my whole life. I will be honest with you, there are days even now where I don't want to get out of bed because I feel like I'm not good enough. Thinking logically, however, I know this is crazy thinking. I know how frustrated I feel when any one of my amazing friends puts themselves down or calls themselves fat or belittles themselves, so why is it okay for me to do so? It absolutely is not okay, and reading a few pages of Operation Beautiful each day have been helping me to keep that in mind.

This book would make a great gift to a mother or a sister or a friend. Or better yet, buy it as a gift to yourself. Because you are beautiful, each and every one of you. Because you are you. :)

Happy reading!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Gorgeously Green

Two posts in one day?! How did that happen? I had no intentions of posting twice today, but I decided that while I was out running errands today, I needed to make a stop at the closest Chapters. I had a gift card burning a hole in my pocket, can you blame me?! And I found a great book that I needed to share with you.

I've been having such a hard time lately making up my mind on what books I want to buy when I go in there. It seems like I hum and haw over about 15 different books each time, and then I end up leaving with nothing! Which I realize is much better for my wallet, but it's still frustrating.
So anyway, I went in there today and actually ended up finding a great book that was ON SALE! Go me. I've been on a quest recently to learn as much as I can on eating "green" and organic foods (part of what motivated me to start this blog), so a book called "The Gorgeously Green Diet" caught my eye. It's written by Sophie Uliano, and it's filled with so many facts and so much great advice about changing your eating habits to not only create a more "gorgeously green" you, but also about how those changes can affect the world around you for the better! It shows you how shopping intuitively can lessen your ecological "footprint", and that by buying organic where you can and cutting certain meats (or all meats, if you choose) out of your diet, you will not only become much healthier and more fit yourself, but you'll be bettering the lives of so many animals stuck in horrible factory farms out there.
She doesn't once come across as 'preachy' with any of these things (at least not that I've read so far). She talks about how everyone will have their own comfort zone and her book is geared toward those people that may want to go vegetarian immediately, but also towards those who might just want to try out a few meatless meals, or try to be a little more environmentally friendly every now and again.

I would 100% recommend this book to anyone. Even if you just buy it for the great/healthy recipes in the second half, it would be completely worth it! I'm planning on trying out a bunch of them myself.

Happy reading!

(Also, just as a side note... I'm almost at 100 views! Don't laugh, this is a big deal for me. I wish you guys would start to comment though! Even just to say hello. Don't be shy!)