Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Finding reasons to be thankful

Ever notice that if you're having a bad day and someone asks you "what's the best thing that happened to you today?" or heaven forbid, "what are you thankful for today?" your first response is a snarky "NOTHING"....or maybe I'm the only one that feels like that on a bad day! Well, even if you are one big ball of sunshine, this post still applies to you! 

I've been really trying to get a hold of negative thinking lately, to capture the thought immediately and think, is that ACTUALLY true? It's SO easy to stew about the crap in life or the negative things people have said, or the negative things you feel, but in the end where does it get you?......feeling REALLY negative. Now the secrets out! you now know that I am not some freakishly happy, chipper person all the time!! ; ) It's really amazing and quite remarkable though, how immediately evaluating negative thoughts and replacing them with positive ones has been changing my perspective on life. I am so much happier! I have so much, so much to be thankful for. And that made me think of a very Martha Stewart of me. Haha : )

This is what's been sitting in the entrance way of our home the last few weeks, and will stay there until thanksgiving. 

At Christmas I usually have tiny little ornaments hanging from the branches, which was kind of the inspiration for this. I just thought it would be fun to take note of some of the things we have to be thankful for, big and small and write them down. 

I thought the entrance way would be a good spot for it, and that way people that come into our home are able to add some too! I cut a bunch of circles out of orange scrap booking paper (I contemplated cutting out leaves...but that quickly passed!) and used Christmas ornament hooks to hang them on the branches. Nothing crazy or fancy, but kind cute right? Even the branches are leftover from a friends wedding, pulled out from our Christmas decs. Being creative with what you have is the name of the game here folks! The letters are from Dollarama and the vase is filled with acorns I collected and brushed with leftover gold paint.

I just stacked a bunch of random black books together, but I love how His Needs Her Needs is
 right on top of Frankenstein ; )

We've been slowly filling the tree as we think of things. It's amazing how many things you have to be thankful for if you take a moment. Now, before you go thinking my life's all awesome and perfect which is why I can find a million things to be thankful for, it's not. It's not perfect, it's a little bumpy at times, we've had major disappointments, we struggle...but I do have a ton to be thankful for!! The majority of the things we have hanging on this tree aren't huge I-was-just-given-a-million-bucks kind of things, they are the everyday things we overlook. It's about appreciating life. 

Just noticed now there are two baby ones in this shot.  It IS baby season!! my goodness

We're having fun doing it (it's always fun to see what the other person wrote) and I think we will make it a yearly tradition. How fun would it be to save all of the circles in a little ziplock bag each year, and then reminisce about the past years (and laugh I am sure) when you read the old ones? It will be fun when there are kids and "I'm thankful for my little peeing pony" makes it on the tree ; )

How about you? Have any thanksgiving traditions that you've started with your family? 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

He's preeeetty sneaky....

I had to laugh when I looked out the window and saw this's the wreath hanging on my shed

Yep. You're sneaky lil squirrel alright. No one with ever find that one ; )

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

AKA the best thing you've ever tried!! Often I feel so frustrated because I just want something "good" (which usually means something dairy or something junky, but it tastes good!) Sometimes I just feel like chips. Or cheese on everything. Or dip with my veggies. And sometimes I do decide to just have a tiny bit....and it takes about 5 mins to realize it was a TERRIBLE and very regrettable choice.  : ( If you struggle with allergies or food intolerances, you know that feeling!

I won't lie, I get that "I just need something good" feeling a lot, and I am most excited to tell you that THIS dip actually hits the spot. It's delicious, packed with flavour (not to mention protein!) and so suuuuper creamy....I can almost pretend there is feta in there! This is a recipe you must try, not only because it tastes amazing but it because it contains a magical ingredient that will ward off the colds and flus that are going around! Gooo garlic! Everyone I know seems to be getting something, so I have been adding garlic to everything imaginable! haha, did I mention it can ward off husbands and friends too? If you need some alone time, a good helping of garlic should do the trick! ; ) Just for your info:

People have been using garlic for centuries (think Egypt at the time of the Pyramids) to prevent infection, but it’s only recently that scientists isolated numerous sulfur-containing compounds in garlic that have potent antibacterial and possibly antiviral effects. These sulfur compounds destroy germs' ability to grow and reproduce, much in the same way as penicillin fights infections. A well-designed study of nearly 150 people supports the value of garlic for preventing and treating the common cold. In this study, people received either garlic supplements or placebo for 12 weeks during “cold season” (between the months of November and February). Those who received the garlic had significantly fewer colds than those who received placebos. Plus, when faced with a cold, the symptoms lasted a much shorter time in those receiving garlic compared to those receiving placebos.

 Great huh? Anyways, here is the recipe!

adapted from Oh She Glows recipe


2 cloves of garlic, roasted OR minced and sauteed
2 1/2 cups of chickpeas (or 1 can) drained, but reserve 2 tbsp of liquid
2 roasted red peppers
1/4 C tahini
3 1/2 tbsp of fresh lemon juice
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes (I've made it with and without, both are amazing)
1tsp sea salt

Directions: Roast red peppers whole at 400, turning until browned (close to blackened) on all sides. Cool slightly, then place in a ziplock bag for a while. The steam will help the skin of the peppers to slide right off. Remove skin and seeds. If you are going to roast your garlic, do it at the same time with the peel on. It will just slip right out once roasted. You can also add it raw, but this way it gets rid of the garlic "side effect" : ) Alternately, saute it a few minutes until slightly brown.

Add the rest of the ingredients, minus the salt and cayenne, and blend until smooth in a food processor. Add salt and cayenne to taste. Grab a bunch of cut up veggies, pita wedges or chips and ENJOY!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Don't waste a moment

My heart feels so heavy tonight. We just received news that the husband of a good friend of ours died suddenly tonight. No warning, nothing. I just can't even BEGIN to imagine the devastation and loss his family must be feeling right now. The futility of life has been on my mind and heart a lot lately...specifically after the anniversary of September 11, listening to one heartbreaking story after another. You just never know when this moment is your last. When it's your husband's last. Or friends. Or mom's. You can never take the moment you have for granted, because that may be all you have. Life is just too short. It's too short to be selfish and self-absorbed.

It's been on the forefront of my mind the last few days as I prioritize my day and get caught up in the craziness of work and life and house and bills. We pass up so many moments for something that we would have never wasted our time on, had we only known that this was our last, or our spouses last.

I would call my mom to tell her how much she means to me and how I appreciate her SO much, instead of cleaning the house
I would go to bed and snuggle with my husband, instead of staying up late on the computer for pointless things
I would resolve the petty disagreements and make up, instead of hold a grudge
I would love more, instead of protecting myself or being reserved
I would tell more people about what Jesus has done for me and about eternity, instead of worrying about being too forward or offending someone
I would have people over for pizza, instead of NOT having them over because I didn't make a home cooked meal
I would spend money on vacation and spending time with my family, instead of fixing the house that I can't take with me
I would greet the love of my life at the door, instead of yelling hi from the other room
I would love more. Spend more time with the people I love and less time with "things" and cleaning "things" and fixing "things

Would of, could of, didn't. I don't want that to ever be me. I don't ever want to live with regrets. And I don't want you to go hug the person you love. Make up. Tell them you appreciate them. Don't put it off for "later", because later may never come. Savour the moments you have.

Sarah xo

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Some Fall Lovin'

I have a confession
. I've been drinking Tim Hortons Pumpkin Spice tea for the last couple of weeks. I made pumpkin lattes the last three mornings...and last night.  James and I have had pumpkin pie oatmeal for breakfast the last two mornings....It's my favourite time of year!! The coffee shop even started serving their new fall "Maple" coffee today! *YUM* 

I walked home after work today and couldn't help but get excited about the beautiful leaves changing and the crisp fall air...I just LOVE it (I love it more than christmas *gasp*), I savour every second of fall!! I brought my cozy sweaters, fall candles and fall decorations out to celebrate : ) 

Mantle BEFORE fall swept through....


Enjoying the candle light

*We will now take a brief intermission to appreciate...

10 AWESOME things about fall!!

1) Tim Hortons Pumpkin Spice tea and donuts 
2) crisp evening walks
3) 99 cent lined paper & pencil crayons on sale! (that used to be my fav part)
4) carving pumpkins and roasting the seeds
5) apple picking and hot apple cider
6) cozy sweaters and boots
7) gardens are bountiful and ready for harvesting 
8) there is now an entire year to work on getting in shape for swimsuit season, haha
9) fall fairs!              
10) endless corn and corn mazes

Come on, you know you love it!!

yummy fall candles...

What are you doing to celebrate fall?? Or am I the only who gets crazy excited about it?


Sunday, September 11, 2011

realize what you DO have. realize all of the blessings around you. appreciate the little things. let go of the things you can't control and just TRUST GOD, it's not like things get any better stressing over them. if you keep waiting for the "right moment" or things to "get better" that may never come, so seize the day, stop waiting! life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful. and's perspective : )

Friday, September 9, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Latte

vegan latte
It's beginning to look like fall!! And that calls for a cozy sweater and a crisp morning walk....and maybe a warm latte....and pumpkin anything. I'll admit, when it comes to this time of year it's pumpkin everything around my house! I've been dreaming (yes, actually dreaming) of Pumpkin Spice Lattes for days now. You know, the ones that I always see on the Starbucks sign that I can't have? Yeah. Those ones. : ( It gets me down every year. They are my absolute favourite!! So this year, I thought I would search the internet and play around in the kitchen to find the perfect pumpkin spice latte, sans dairy and sugar. The end result....DIVINE!
pumpkin spice latte
Pumpkin Spice Latte
(Serves One)
  • 3 T canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 scant tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/4 cup of coconut milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1-2 ounces of espresso (or strong coffee)
  • sugar, maple syrup or stevia to taste

Whisk everything but the espresso in a small pot until hot, but not boiling. Add the espresso, sprinkle with a pinch of pumpkin pie spice if you like and ENJOY! The espresso covers a bit of the pumpkin pie taste, but it still comes through with incredible flavour. If you don't enjoy coffee or just want a nice fall drink (just like pumpkin pie in cup!), skip the espresso and it is equally as delicious.

AND for an extra special treat, try making this dairy-free whipped cream and top off your drink!

Coconut Whipped Cream 
(sugar-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and gluten-free)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • sugar, stevia, or powdered sugar to taste
  • optional: fruit (banana whipped cream, anyone?)
  • optional: cocoa powder (for chocolate whipped cream!)
Open your coconut milk, and leave the can (or transfer to a bowl) uncovered in the fridge overnight. It should get very, very thick. (If it doesn’t, you’ve gotten a bad can that won’t work for the recipe. I highly recommend Thai Kitchen Organic or another brand that doesn’t have “water” listed as an ingredient.) Once thick, transfer to a bowl and whip in your sweetener with a fork, or even beaters, if you want to be really fancy. Stored uncovered in the fridge, the mixture gets even thicker!
I promise you, once you taste this lovely drink you will be happy to make the transition from summer to fall!! 

Happy pumpkin dreams to you! xo