How to Sneak “Super Foods” Into Your Meals

Happy Sunday! These past few days (or weeks I should say) have been extremely busy for me. With summer coming, weddings, birthdays, travel plans etc., it is difficult to find time for myself and stay healthy. I am a very routine oriented person and love to have everything planned out. What I have learned recently is that everything isn’t going to go as planned and that’s okay. Something else I have learned though is the importance of getting enough sleep, taking supplements, and eating healthy. It can make the world of a difference. Especially when I’m not eating a well balanced diet I feel more tired, my skin is dull and I can feel my body struggling to keep up. That is why I make it a point to sneak my favourite “super foods” into my day where ever possible! Eating gluten-free makes it that much more important to find ways to eat the right foods and keep your energy levels high.

FullSizeRender

Coconut oil: I have recently discovered my love for coconut oil. I have always loved the taste of coconut but never really found ways to incorporate it on a daily basis. Everyday I add a teaspoon of coconut oil to my coffee. I know it sounds a bit bizarre but it adds a yummy coconut flavour AND due to the high fat content I stay full in the morning until I get a chance to eat something. Coconut oil can also be used to bake, cook, make homemade body products…the list is endless. (P.S. I also use coconut oil to take my mascara off!)

Hemp hearts: I have been adding hemp hearts to my meals for a few years now. Currently I am loving them in my morning yogurt! They have a bit of an “earthy” taste to them so I add them to my vanilla greek yogurt with some fresh berries. These little seeds are high in protein, omegas, fibre, and magnesium.

Chia seeds: I have a love hate relationship with chia seeds. In terms of flavour I much prefer the hemp hearts but I fully recognize their awesome nutritional value so I find ways to sneak them into my meals. Chia seeds are high in fibre, manganese, phosphorus, and omegas. My favourite way to eat chia seeds is to make a chia seed pudding. I add 2-3 tablespoons of chia seeds to chocolate almond milk along with a dash of cinnamon and vanilla extract to make a chocolate chia seed pudding!

Pepitas or pumpkin seeds: When I think of pumpkin seeds the first thing that comes to my mind is hulling out seeds when carving pumpkins at Halloween. But what I didn’t know then is pumpkin seeds or formally pepitas are packed with all sorts of nutritional value. They are high in fibre, protein, and magnesium. These seeds are yummy to snack on alone, sprinkled on salads or a great addition to baking. One of my favourite ways to eat them is baked into Love and Lemons Carrot Quinoa Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies.

What are some of your favourite super foods? How do you sneak them into your meals? Let me know in the comments below!

Michelle xo

Road Tripping: A Getaway Guide to the Blue Mountains

If you live in the Toronto area you probably have visited the Blue Mountains once or twice in your life. The Blue Mountains are located in Collingwood, Ontario, a quick two hour drive from the city. The Blue Mountain Resort is particularly known for boasting an Aspen inspired village at the base of the mountain where you can find multiple restaurants, bars, and shops. Matt and I had visited the Blue Mountain resort once together in the past and loved every minute of our stay so a few months back when we were both craving a weekend away we decided to book!

FullSizeRender

The previous time we visited the Blue Mountains village we stayed at the Westin Trillium House which was obviously a little nicer then anything we had stayed at in the past but to keep our wallets happy we decided to stay at the Blue Mountain Inn (a 5-minute walk from the village). I did some research prior to booking and read that they had done extensive renovations to the hotel. Some areas of the hotel were more updated then others. It was no Westin but for the price we paid I couldn’t complain!

The first night we arrived we decided to take a stroll in the village, grab a bite to eat and indulge in happy hour. We found ourselves at the Twist Martini Restaurant & Lounge. This restaurant had a great atmosphere with reasonably priced drinks and apps and probably one of the best live bands I have ever heard! This guy played hit after hit. Highly recommend this spot in the resort. After going back to our hotel and getting ready for the night we went back out to Kaytoo Restaurant & Bar to grab some more food. We ordered two apps that were good but nothing overly exciting.

FullSizeRender_2

FullSizeRender_1

The next day we spent the better part of the afternoon hanging out in the hot tubs. I think one of Matt’s favourite things he looks forward to when we go away during the winter months is basking hours away in the hot tubs – I certainly don’t complain about that. Hours later we decided to get ready and head back to the village to get something to eat. This time we hit up the well-known Rusty’s, which is located at the base of the mountain where you can find all the ski bums coming in for a pint. The atmosphere is fun, light and turns into a popular spot at night. Definitely a must on your list when you are visiting the Blue Mountain village. We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering the village and taking in the picturesque views which undeniably turn into some photo ops!

Later that evening we went back to our hotel to get ready for dinner at Tholos. I was a bit hesitant to go to this restaurant as it doesn’t offer a vibrant atmosphere like many other restaurants in the village. Sure enough I was wrong, it ended up being our favourite meal of the weekend. The Greek inspired menu provides variety and fresh ingredients in comparison to the pub-like food we ate the majority of the weekend. Overall the meal was well worth the agony of my indecisiveness.

The next morning was our last day in Collingwood and we had booked a snowmobile and snowshoe excursion for the day. It was very mild out which made the activities much more enjoyable (I am typically cold ALL the time). I had never been on a snowmobile before or used snowshoes. The snowmobiling was really fun – those machines can go fast!- and the snowshoeing, what a crazy good workout!

IMG_1589

Some tips when visiting the Blue Mountain resort:

  • Make reservations for dinner’s during high season. There were times where Matt and I would try multiple restaurants before finding one that could seat us.
  • Check the resort website before your trip. I was really excited to go skating on the pond to learn that it was closed for the season.
  • If you are living on a budget definitely consider the Blue Mountain Inn for accommodations but if you are looking for the “Aspen village” feel then I recommend staying in one of the village hotels.
  • If you are staying longer then a weekend I would consider staying in a hotel with a kitchenette. The meals can be pricy and you may begin to feel that there is a lack of variety, unless you are willing to hop into your car and travel to Collingwood.
  • Parking, parking, parking. During high season free parking comes at a cost – driving around for upwards of an hour tracking down the next person who is leaving. Give yourself a lot of time to find parking and be patient!

Matt and I loved our mini vacation out of the city. I’ve been blessed to grow up with a family cottage so sometimes I forget how nice it is to get out of the city. Change it up every now and then, hop in your car and go on a road trip!

What are your favourite locations to road trip to in Ontario? Let me know in the comments below!

Michelle xo

Spirits: How to make a Rum Old Fashioned

Matt loves to make cocktails. Especially cocktails made with rum. He has a much more sophisticated palate then me when it comes to drinks and really appreciates the simplicity of a good cocktail. So a few months back when he offered to make me a new cocktail, I hesitantly accepted. And I am so happy I did! Matt made a Rum Old Fashioned. Traditionally an old fashioned is made with bourbon but being Appleton Estate’s number one fan, naturally he made a Rum Old Fashioned. The drink was sweet but not too sweet and perfectly balanced with a hint of orange. Now old fashioned’s are a go to cocktail for us and we enjoy trying them on our travel adventures or visits to new restaurants. Here’s how to make this simple but delicious drink…

DSC_0651

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 ounces of rum
  • 1  ounce of simple syrup
  • 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • Orange peel (for garnish)
  • Ice

Note: To make simple syrup combine equal parts of water and white sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Allow it to cool prior to making a cocktail.

DSC_0634

DSC_0638

Directions:

  1. You can either use crushed ice or one large ice cube to make your drink. A large ice cube is preferable but we didn’t have any prepared so we went with crushed ice. First, peel a large portion of an orange and add to the glass. Then fill your glass with ice (or a large ice cube).

DSC_0645

2. Next, add the dashes of bitters and pour the rum and simple syrup over the ice. Stir.

3. Lastly, use any remaining peel left on the orange to zest over your drink. This adds a little extra orange flavour.

4. Enjoy!

DSC_0655

What are some of your favourite cocktail recipes? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Love Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day! I like to refer to it as love day because regardless if you are in a relationship or not you should spend the day with the ones you love. Valentine’s day happens to fall on a long weekend here in Toronto, a day before Family Day. So it’s the ideal weekend to cozy up (it has been FREEZING in Toronto this weekend) and spend some quality time with loved ones.

Matt and I aren’t ones to go out on Valentine’s Day to fight the crowds and eat off expensive prix fixe menus. We usually plan a relaxing night in. This year was no different. We decided to make homemade pizza and snuggle up on the couch to watch a movie…of my choice.

Earlier in the day I had a itch to do some baking so I decided to make a batch of heart shaped sugar cookies for my valentine (it also helped that I had a roll of sugar cookie dough lying around). I quickly ran out to the store to pick up some red icing and heart shaped cookie cutters and then whipped them up. Side note: It seems like every time I make cut out sugar cookies they never keep their shape. Help! What can I do to make them keep their shape? I’m not sure if it is the recipe itself or my oven?? Let me know!

Before making the pizza I made a small appetizer for Matt and I to share – Boursin stuffed mushrooms. This is the MOST simple people pleasing appetizer you can make. I adopted this recipe from a girlfriend of mine when we had our annual get together over the holiday season. Before I tell you this very simple recipe you should know that I LOVE mushrooms so I was all in when my friend brought them over. Matt doesn’t love mushrooms as much I do but I knew he would enjoy these and sure enough I was right.

Boursin stuffed mushrooms: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Then, clean and stem your mushrooms (you can use either cremini or white button mushrooms). Using a spoon stuff the mushrooms with Boursin cheese – I use the garlic and fine herbs one. Place the mushrooms on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Let them cool and enjoy!

Next, it was time to make our pizza! We have become masters at making homemade pizza after many trial and error moments. Usually once a week I will go to the local gluten-free bakery and pick up a freshly made pizza dough. If we plan on making pizza that day I’ll leave it in the fridge and if not I will throw it in the freezer for the next time we want to make pizza. Typically we have our go to toppings, one side is a classic Hawaiian with sliced ham, pineapple, and cheese and the other side is herbed goat cheese with sautéed onions and mushrooms. I try to roll the dough as thinly as possible, usually we can get a whole pizza the size of the baking sheet which leaves left overs for the next day. Matt and I both agreed that this was the best pizza we have made yet!

FullSizeRender_2

Once the pizza was ready we cozied up on the couch and put on The Intern with Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro. It was pretty good, classic feel good movie. I particularly loved Robert De Niro’s character. He plays a widower who is bored of his life in retirement and applies for an internship. His character was just plain adorable!

That was my Valentine’s Day and it was perfect. I wouldn’t want it any other way. What are your plans for Valentine’s Day? Are you doing the same? Let me know in the comments below!

Love,

Michelle xo

 

Dreaming of…the Drake Dev

This past fall my sister, cousin and I took a quick road trip from the city to the Drake Devonshire Inn in Prince Edward County. Let me tell you, this place was gorgeous! It was a hot & sunny day in October and my cousin was preparing to leave for Whistler for the winter. We couldn’t have picked a better outing for the day. As you might know the Drake Dev is in association with the well known Drake Hotel in Toronto. So I was expecting good food, good drinks and a relaxed vibe. It did not disappoint & we were lucky enough to snag a spot on the patio overlooking Lake Ontario.

Since we went over Thanksgiving weekend we all ordered their seasonal punch to start. The punch had an apple cider base with hints of seasonal spices, some of my favourite flavours blended together. It was really tasty. Next, time to order some food! The menu is small but has a good variety of dishes. We all tried different items from the menu which allowed us to taste each other’s. My sister definitely had the best dish, their ‘Buckwheat Pasta Carbonara’ – it was soooo good.

After lunch we took some time to wander the beautiful property, enjoy their art exhibits and appreciate the “summer weather”. They even had a photo booth inside where we obviously took some goofy photos.

Sitting here right now on a cold winter night, I’m dreaming of this beautiful day and location. I will definitely be going back very soon. I highly recommend to take a trip out of the city to visit this picture-perfect place!

Have you ever been to Prince Edward County or the Drake Dev? What was your favourite spot?

Mocha Butterballs

This recipe for Mocha Butterballs is a must in our household during the holiday season. Over the holidays I ate my fair share of these cookies and I’m pretty sure I might have an addiction now. A few days ago I had a craving and thought why not whip up a batch to share with you guys! I’m not sure where the recipe came from originally but my mom has been making this recipe for as long as I can remember (I mean I use to bring these homemade goodies to my grade school parties). The cookie resembles a short bread with a rich mocha flavour (thanks to the cocoa and instant coffee). Here’s the recipe!

1 cup softened butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

2 tsp. instant coffee (mix with a drop of water before adding to the mix)

1-3/4 cup flour

dash of salt

Preheat oven to 325 F. Cream the first three ingredients until light and fluffy. Then add the next four ingredients, mix well. Roll the cookies into 1″ balls on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Let the cookies cool on a rack, sprinkle with confectioners sugar and enjoy!