Archive for the ‘Things I Love’ Category

Hope, believe, love



August and Everything After

The west, so far, has been very good to me.

I’m slowly piecing myself back together, feeling my heart begin to heal and I finally feel alive again. The haze has lifted and the sun in beginning to shine brightly.

I’ve found a job at a great bar filled with the most amazing people who have embraced me as part of their big, crazy family. They really, REALLY care about each other and after such a short time here, I am secure in knowing there are good people who have my back. I’m spending my time with people who make me feel things again, who make me laugh, who are helping patch up my bangs and bruises, defrost my heart, challenging me and supporting me as I begin to define life under my own terms. I’m settling into a new apartment and making it into my own little home. Every single day I’m mountain climbing, running, biking and camping and letting the mountains work their magic to soothe my soul.

There are moments when I miss my old life like crazy. Moments when I cry thinking about my pups and how desperately I wish I could cuddle with them, have them underfoot, have to sweep 10X each day. There are moments when my family is all together, and my nieces and nephews are giggling, that I would give anything to be with them all. Moments when I miss the familiarity of “my people” and Paisley. But this fresh start and new scenery are what I needed and this trip that has turned into a move (Temporary? Permanent? I’m still operating with no plan…) is proving to have been the best thing I could have done. I’m slowly beginning to figure myself out and enjoying getting lost in exploration along the way.

Nihahi Ridge

Stampede Night Out


The Girls

View from the Summit of Temple Mountain


Temple Mountain Summit (exhausted, cold, exhilirated and proud!)

Kananaskis Lake

Fernie, BC


Heading West

Trip is AMAZING so far! As soon as I get back into Canada I will post stories and photos.



Raw, vegan banana chocolate-chip soft serve

This post very well might, definitely, change your life.

I posted a picture of this delicious treat tonight and was asked for the recipe. You’re going to laugh at how insanely easy (and delicious) this is and you can thank me for introducing you to your new favourite “treat” later!


frozen bananas (I take perfectly ripe bananas, peel them and cut them into a few pieces, toss them in a container and then put them into the freezer – just makes it that much easier to make the soft serve! I generally make at least 2 bananas at a time.)

raw chocolate nibs (SUPER high in antioxidants – a true superfood. For Bruce County folks – I buy mine at Fine Fettle in Kincardine.)


Toss the peeled, frozen banana into your food processor (you can use a blender too but the food processor seems to whip the bananas up better and creates the best texture). Hit the on button and whiz the bananas around for 4-5 minutes, stopping every once in awhile to scrap it down, until they become light, smooth and fluffy. Toss in a teaspoon or two of raw chocolate nibs and whiz it all for another 20 seconds or so (just to break up the nibs and incorporate them into the bananas).

As an alternative to adding the nibs, you can make some raw chocolate syrup by combining 2 tablespoons of agave nector with 1 tablespoon of raw cocoa powder and make yourself a little sundae. Or throw some nuts in there. Or you can add some frozen strawberries to get banana-strawberry soft serve (but you still need the bananas for the right texture…). Or do all of the above. Possibilities are really endless.

You’re welcome.

B’stilla (Moroccan Chicken Pie with Dates)

I love to cook. I can happily spend hours in the kitchen playing with recipes and random ingredients to create a meal. I experiment and use friends and family as my tasters. Sometimes my experiments don’t work out, but generally (and judging from the feedback of my rather honest and blunt testers), I think I do pretty well and tweak recipes according to taste and comments. Since I spend so much time cooking, I figured I might as well start sharing my creations!

I haven’t made B’stilla in a long time and was craving it today so this is the first recipe I am sharing!

I remember the first time I had this dish. It was at a lovely little Moroccan restaurant in Ottawa and I was having dinner with our Model United Nations (CANIMUM) team, from Laurentian University, after a very successful (and slightly scandalous) conference.

From my very first bite, I fell in love with the delightful and delicious combination of both savoury and sweet flavours.  In addition to the fantastic flavour, this dish looks really beautiful when served. It works great as a dinner combined with sautéed vegetables (beans and carrots) or, alternatively, with mixed greens, pomegranate seeds and orange slices (my personal favourite way to serve and eat it).


2 tsp vegetable oil

3 chicken breasts, bone in

2 ½ cups onions, finely chopped

1 Tbsp garlic, finely chopped

1 Tbsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cloves

1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp chili flakes

½ tsp turmeric

1 cup chicken stock



3 large eggs

1 cup dates, coarsely chopped

¼ cup golden raisins (optional)

½ cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

½ cup slivered almonds, toasted

8 sheets phyllo pastry

½ cup unsalted butter, melted

icing sugar and ground cinnamon for garnish


1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).

2. In a Dutch oven, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Sauté chicken breasts until browned on both sides and then remove from pot. Chicken will not be fully cooked at this point, just browned.

3. In the same pot, add onions and cook until golden (should take about 10 minutes). Add garlic, cumin, ginger, cloves cinnamon, chili flakes and turmeric. Stir.

4. Put chicken back in pot with onions and spices, add chicken stock and season with salt and pepper. Cover with lid, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

5. Remove chicken from pot and let cool. Shred the meat off the bone into bite-size pieces.

6. Stir chicken together with the contents of the pot, add eggs, dates, raisins, cilantro and almonds. Combined well and season to taste.

7. Place 1 sheet phyllo pastry lengthwise on your work surface, brush lightly with melted butter. It does not have to be completely covered. Place second sheet on top of this, sideways to form a plus sign. Repeat this process until the 8 sheets have been layered; the last sheet does not need to be buttered.

8. Place sheets in a buttered 9-inch cake or springform pan. Fill pastry with chicken mixture and spread out evenly. Enclose by pulling the overhanging pastry up and over chicken mixture. Brush the top with melted butter.

9. Bake pie for 40 minutes or until pastry is golden and chicken mixture is heated through.

10. Serve hot with sifted icing sugar and ground cinnamon overtop.

Puppy love

I know they’re not puppies anymore, but to me they always will be.



365 days to 30

Today I turned 29. With 365 days remaining until the big 3-0, I have decided to make some positive, healthy changes in my life in order to ensure I enter my next decade with the energy, confidence and spunk I need to tackle the next challenges in life.

There was a time when I lived incredibly healthy. I ate the right food, I trained for hours each day and I devoted my energy to my sport (biathlon); all of which made me very happy. I entered my 20’s in excellent shape and never gave any thought to my body beyond what I could push it to do. Throughout the past nine years, I have fallen in and out of my (considerable) vices; smoking, drinking, eating garbage food and not dedicating the time I should to exercise and sport. I have allowed myself to think of my body in terms of how it looks rather than in terms of what it can do.

No more.

I will not make a grandiose statement that I am going to completely ditch my vices and eat 100% clean. For me that is simply unrealistic. I enjoy a good party far too much. I also love a cold beer on the beach, a nice glass of wine by the fire and cheese – any kind, anytime- far too much for such declarations. That said, I am going to make a conscientious decision to eat at least 80% clean and consume the sorts of food that make me feel good.I am going to work on putting nutrients into my body that will provide me with the energy I need to accomplish my daily goals.

I am going to continue to slowly work on recovering from my back injury and find new ways to strengthen it to prevent future injuries. I am going to work on creating my own modifications in order to be able to return to all the activities I love as my back strengthens and allows it. I am going to swim, cycle, and eventually, I am going to hit the pavement running again. I am going to do everything I possibly can to put my gloves back on and get back to boxing. I am going to work on improving my flexibility, something I have long neglected, through extensive stretching and yoga. I am going to push myself forward every single day.

365 days from now, as I enter my 3rd decade, I intend to do it with a running leap forward. And I intend to be healthy and feel good.

Let the countdown begin!