Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Justified Absence.

Ok lovelies I know I've been gone for a few days- but I promise I have a really good excuse, which I will share with you in it's very own post tomorrow! But first, here are the quotes from the past few days of the 30 Day Challenge...

Day 8

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.”
-Henry Ford

Day 9

“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection”
-Mark Twain

Day 10

"Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion."
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Day 11

“Courage is like a muscle. We strengthen it with use.”
-Ruth Gordon

Day 12

“The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time”
-Abraham Lincoln

Day 13

"All great achievements require time"
-Maya Angelou

Day 14

“Do or do not. There is no try”

So how have I been feeling the past week? AMAZING. I am thankful each and every day that I decided to do this challenge. I feel more alive than I have in months :)

One my of goals of this challenge has been to lose some of the weight I have put on in the last year. I can already feel my body strengthening and making its way back to it's most healthy place.

What I think is even more amazing though, is that this challenge is helping me accept my body for what it is each and every step along the way. It is really a powerful thing to accept that on a given day your body may be not exactly as you would like it. And beyond that, to accept that each day is an important step in the journey to your healthiest you. My body is not perfect today, and it may very well never be- but my body has worked hard today, and for the past 14 days, and for that, I am proud of my body as it is right now.

I am also trying very hard to appreciate the benefits of poses that may not be my favorite, like this one...

Bow pose, or Dhanurasana, is definitely not one of my favorite poses. In fact there have been days where I have flat out just decided not to do it. But on days when I start to think about how much I don't wanna do it I try to think about all of the benefits my body will receive if I just smile and breath through it.


(taken from the Yoga Journal)
  • Stretches the entire front of the body, ankles, thighs and groins, abdomen and chest, and throat, and deep hip flexors (psoas)
  • Strengthens the back muscles
  • Improves posture
  • Stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck

Anyway my loves, I am super tired, and am hoping to hit up the 8 am class tomorrow. I'm gonna head to bed, but I'll be back tomorrow with my big news, and the mid-point update!

xo April

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

End of week one :)

Today got off to a bit of a late start- I was a little anxious about the upcoming changes in my life (updates soon I promise)- so I stayed in bed a little longer than usual.

Breakfast was nothing out of the ordinary, but was still pretty tasty.A nice big bowl of Kashi Go Lean, with a sliced banana and a drizzle of raw agave :)

Once I was ready for my day I headed in to the lab to set up for some experiments I am gonna do tomorrow, and to analyze some data I've been putting off for a while.

Since data analysis doesn't really require me to be in the lab, I decided to head over to Just Us! for lunch. I grabbed a paratha and a cup of their "12 Apostles" single origin coffee.

The paratha was just enough, and super delicious (I am addicted to the tamarind sauce they serve it with!). The coffee had a really nice flavor, but I just wasn't feeling coffee like I thought I was so I didn't drink most of it :(

After lunch I decided to stay and do some work at the cafe, after all the view from the window seat is a lot more pleasant than staring at the wall of the student office in the lab.

Plus, there weren't a lot of people upstairs when I was there, so it was really easy to concentrate on my work.

I worked until about 430 then headed back to the lab to set my experiments up before heading home to make supper. I was kind of full cause I had been snacking on fruit all day, so I just made up some brown rice macaroni and stirred in a teaspoon of vegan margarine, some nutritional yeast, sea salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and spinach that I wilted in the microwave first.

It was not fancy by any means, but it was tasty, and the perfect amount to eat before heading to yoga.


I decided to go to a late night class tonight to mix things up a little. Thankfully I registered online, cause by the time I got to the studio there was a line up of people! I forgot how busy classes are in the evening compared to in the morning.

The quote of the day for day 7 is...

"If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile and blossom like a flower, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace."

-Thich Nhat Hanh

There was a lot of focus on smiling again this evening which I really enjoyed. It can never hurt to be reminded of the many benefits of smiling :D

On my way to yoga I snapped this picture, which I think goes nicely with the peaceful theme of today's quote.

A pretty rainbow over the water behind the supermarket! It's always nice to see a rainbow after a day full of showers. Thankfully it's supposed to be super nice tomorrow, fingers crossed for dress weather!

Night Lovelies, see you tomorrow for the beginning of week 2! xo

Monday, June 6, 2011

20% Down, 80 more to go!

“Do not aim for success. If you want it, just do what you love and believe, and it will come naturally.”

-David Frost

Day 6 was a bit of a struggle today- I'm not sure what it was, maybe I ate too close to class, or didn't have enough water, but I felt really sick today. I spent a good portion of the class in various resting postures- and felt nauseous throughout my practice.

I called in sick to work, and came home and made sure to drink lots of water and have some lunch. I rested for the afternoon and caught up on the last episodes of Greys Anatomy and Private Practice for the season.

At about 2pm I went to help my friend Bhreagh get some last minute things for her upcoming trip to Australia (she leaves Friday!). She is going for two months, and is going to have such an amazing time, I wish I could go with her, but I know she is gonna have so much fun!

Bhreagh and I a year ago at our convocation.

After our little shopping excursion Bhreagh and I went back to her place where her boyfriend made us a delicious stir-fry for supper!

Onions, red and orange peppers, broccoli, asparagus, shanghai bok choy, and peanuts over rice- it was DELICIOUS!

After dinner Bhreagh and I headed across the bridge to coach our special olympics gymnastics team :) I hadn't been in a long time, and it was so good to be back. It was Bhreagh's last day, so we ended a little early and had a special treat that the other coach and her daughter had made (amazing gluten-free brownies that I sadly did not get a picture of).

We do a but of yoga with our girls as well, which is super fun! Here is a picture I took a while ago of the athletes in Childs pose. So awesome!

That's it for Day 6, I'll be back tomorrow with Day 7 updates!!

xo April

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Day 5!

Today's quote is one I have heard many times over the years, but that certainly does not make it any less true.

“Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.”

-Henry Ford

I am a firm believer in the power of positive thinking, not only in situations like the 30 Day Challenge, but in day to day life as well.

I was skeptical about even doing this challenge, because as I mentioned before, I had a number of reasons why I couldn't make it to yoga everyday. But when I really took a look at everything I have going on this month, and though I can totally do this challenge, it made the world of difference. It is so easy to convince yourself that something is impossible without ever really giving it a chance.

I am so happy that I decided to go ahead and sign up for the challenge, because even though I am only 5 days in it has already been an amazing experience. The simple act of doing something for myself, and doing something I love, after months of ignoring the things in life that make me happy has quite literally been life changing.

The past few days have involved a lot of decisions regarding my future, and as much as I wanna share them, I still have a few things to take care of before I can put it all out into the blog world. Let me just say that exciting things are going down in my life, and I can't wait to share them!

I'm off to bed, Day 6 starts bright and early tomorrow (I'm gonna aim for the 8am class!)

Night Lovelies xo

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Weekend Kickoff

Good morning friends! Happy Saturday :) I hope all of your weekends are off to a great start- mine is looking good so far. I let myself sleep in a bit this morning cause I was up a little late watching movies. Instead of going to the morning yoga class today I decided that I'd go this afternoon and take the morning to get some things done around the house.

First things first I decided to have a real breakfast this morning, as much as I love my pre-yoga banana I've been craving some cereal for days now! So I fed my craving with a bowl of Kashi Go Lean, with a sliced banana, some coconut milk, and a drizzle of raw agave to give it a little sweetness :)

Once again I apologize for the quality of photos- for a phone the iPhone does take pretty good pictures, but it needs better lighting usually, haha.

Now I'm just doing some laundry - 30 consecutive days of hot yoga = frequent washing of yoga clothes and towels haha. I'm about to throw them in the dryer and hit up the market before yoga- it's my first market trip of the summer so I'm super excited!

Before I go, here is the quote for Day 4:

"Smile, breathe and go slowly."

-Thich Nhat Hanh

It's like a little reminder of yesterdays lessons on smiling, haha. I'm gonna try extra hard to apply this one today, on and off the mat.

I'll update on today's class and my market adventures a little later!

xo April

Friday, June 3, 2011

Day 3!

I completed Day 3 of the 30 Day Challenge this morning with a 930 class before heading into the lab. I really like going to morning classes- It wakes me up, and gets me pumped up for the rest of the day. Don't get me wrong, it is a great feeling to unwind with a nice 9pm class- but the energy I get from practicing in the morning is really fantastic :)

The instructor this morning kept reminding everybody to smile, especially during the really difficult poses. She told us about a video that she had watched all about the wonderful benefits of smiling- you should definitely check it out!

Before I move on to today's eats- here is the quote for Day 3!

“Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well. “

-Mohandas Gandhi


The morning was started off with the usual pre-yoga banana, but since I was up for a few hours before class I had a Peanut Butter Lara Bar as well- it was just enough food to get me until the end of class. And of courseI made sure to have a giant glass of water this morning too! After class I went to the little grocery store across the street to pick up something for lunch, and to grab a post class treat :)

I went to the salad bar and got my lunch : spinach, carrot, red cabbage, red and green onions, chick peas, mandarins, craisins, trail mix, and berries with a sesame thai dressing- delicious! (but sadly forgot to snap a picture)

Pete's Power Booster :)

For my post yoga snack I grabbed a Power Booster Juice (apple, carrot, lemon and ginger). This is my favorite juice at the juice bar- really yummy, and a great wake up drink.

I had some experiments to do in the lab today- so I spent most of my day there. I had to be there a little late tonight so I grabbed a snack around supper time to last me until I got home. There is a Starbucks near school ,and even though I don't like to drink coffee from there (I'd rather one of the local cafes) they have a really good salt and pepper popcorn snack that I love!

It's a nice light snack (only 150 calories in the whole bag!) and it has a pretty minimal ingredients list. Plus it's only 1.50$, so it's a win win win snack, haha.

For supper I made some Crispy Tofu from a recipe that the bf's mom gave me. I'm not really sure where it's from, cause I just have the photocopy- I'm pretty sure it's from a magazine but I have no idea which one.

The recipe is super easy though- you just drain some medium firm tofu, cut it into 4 1-inch slices, and dry it on some paper towel for ~20 minutes. Then heat 1/2 cup of peanut oil over medium heat. Just before adding the tofu to the pan, coat the pieces in corn starch and fry them for 8-10 minutes, turning them once. They should be golden brown when they're done:)

On the side I made up some Vegan Yum- Yum's Chili-Almond Asparagus !

For dessert I did up some more Banana soft serve, but this time I added strawberries. The verdict? AMAZING. It is definitely going to be a staple of mine on warm summer days.

Now I am relaxing and watching A League of Their Own before heading off to bed. I think I used to watch this movie once a year when I had cable- so good!

I've got a fun filled morning of yoga and the farmers market tomorrow before one of my very good friends comes into town for the day!

Later lovelies!

xo April

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Staying in the moment.

Good afternoon lovelies! Hope you all had a great morning! I sure did. Today is day 2 of the 30 Day Challenge, so I kicked off my morning with a nice 60 minute yoga class :) Let me share today's quote with you!
"Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is the only moment." -Thich Nhat Hanh

I like this quote because it is something I really need to focus on in my practice- staying in the moment. Not thinking about the pose that just happened, or the poses to come, but focusing on my breathing, and how my body feels in the pose I am in in the moment.


I started off my morning with a nice tall glass of water and a banana like yesterday so I wouldn't be too full (or too hungry) before yoga. The banana wasn't quite enough today though, cause about 15 mins into the class I could feel my stomach begging for more food- luckily I packed a ton of snacks so I grabbed a Carrot Cake Clif Bar after class was over.

I picked one up last night on my way home cause it was on sale, and it sounded pretty yummy. It was good- but definitely not my favorite. It did taste surprisingly like carrot cake- but I think it was a bit too sweet for me. Maybe I would like it more as a dessert snack, and not when I'm super hungry like I was this morning.

Anyway, I have some experiments to do this afternoon, so I'm off for now!

xo April

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

30 Day Challenge: Day 1

Today was the official first day of my Moksha yoga 30 day yoga challenge!

What is the 30 Day Challenge? Well, it's exactly what it sounds like, a challenge to attend 30 Moksha Yoga classes in 30 days.

I've been practicing Moksha yoga fairly regularly for about 3 years now, but haven't been making it out as often as I like lately. I've either been too busy, or too tired, or too poor - you name it, I had an excuse for not going. When I received my May email from the studio announcing the 30 Day Challenge for the month of June I decided it was time to stop making excuses and to get back at it.

When I was practicing regularly I just felt healthier in so many ways- I was less stressed, had nicer skin, ate better food, was thinner. The list of benefits goes on and on, but most importantly, I am a much happier person when I am attending yoga on a regular basis.

Now doesn't that girl look happy?

“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.”
-Dale Carnegie

That is the quote for Day 1 of the Challenge (we get a new quote everyday). I think it applies to most things in life- if you truly enjoy doing something you will be so much more motivated to work hard at it.


Since I was heading to yoga at 8am this morning I didn't want to eat a lot when I woke up, so I just grabbed a banana and had a nice tall glass of water to kick start my day. After yoga I drank about 1/2 of an Odwalla Original SUPERFOOD smoothie and continued to pound back the H2O.

I usually like to make my own smoothies, but this one was on sale yesterday when I went to stock up on veggies, and is super delicious!

As far as actually meals go for today I had a very "Oh She Glows" day- I have been following Angela's blog for a while now, and finally decided to try a few of the recipes.

For lunch I had some leftovers of last nights supper- I whipped up the Lightened Up Protein Power Goddess Bowl.

This was absolutely delicious. I used quinoa in mine and added in some red pepper flakes - incredible. I can see this becoming a summer staple- super easy to make, really filling, and delicious!

For supper I decided to try out another recipe I had come across, the Asparagus and Potato Salad - and I topped it off with some Banana Soft Serve for dessert!

The salad was absolutely incredible! I love the taste of dill- and it went perfectly in this salad with all of the other flavors. I used red skin potatoes in mine because my roommate bought some at the market and they needed to be used before they went bad.

The soft serve was a perfect dessert- I added some chopped up dark chocolate to mine instead of the cocao nibs, and had more chocolate on the side instead of graham crackers haha.

After dinner I went on a nice long walk with my friend Bhreagh around the city, and finished the night off with some green tea at a nearby coffee shop.

I hope the rest of my week goes as well as today! Now I'm just finishing up some laundry before bed and watching Pleasantville on Netflix!

I love watching a good movie that I've already seen before bed, it's nice and relaxing, and if I fall asleep it doesn't really matter cause I already know what is gonna happen :)

Well, the dryer is buzzing, so that's my cue to sign off.

xo April

Monday, May 16, 2011


Good afternoon Friends! I hope everybody has had a good start to their week!

My Monday was pretty good as far as Monday's go. I got a bit of a late start to the day, and spent most of my day in the lab. The weather here has been awful (aka rainy) for about a month now though, so being inside isn't all bad. I had planned on heading to the gym after work to get in some cardio/weights- but when I sent my friend a message to ask her to join me she convinced me to join her for a little late night Moksha Yoga instead.


(alas I was not outside- but the hot room was a wonderful alternative the the wet outdoors!)

I was really looking forward to the gym, but I am glad I was convinced to change my mind, because as it turns out Yoga was exactly what my body needed last night. The instructor just happened to be one of my favorites, who is sadly leaving at the end of the month :( She is however going to be opening her own studio in St. Catherine's Ontario, so it is good news for her.

Anyway , I got there, not too sure if I really wanted to be there- I had to use a rental mat, and the clothes I had weren't ideal for the hot room, but I decided to really push myself to my edge and get the most out of the class. It was like Tracy new exactly what I needed to get out of the class- and that is what she made it. It was amazing, one of the better sessions I have been to in a while.

One thing that really stood out for me was the encouragement to "come out of the mirror, and into your body". I find too often I will get caught up with trying to make sure my alignment is right by looking in the mirror- when really I should feeling if my body is properly aligned, and not letting myself get distracted by my reflection, and the reflection of everyone around me. I think next class I'm gonna try and go to the back of the studio, where it is almost impossible to see the mirror, and really challenge myself to feel my way through the class.

After class last night I decided that I definitely want to do the 30 Day Challenge during the month of June. Without course work, and with 10 classes a day on weekdays, and 4 on weekends I can surely find at least one a day that fits into my schedule! Plus, my friend (slash former pseudo roommate) Heather has agreed to do it with me! I'll make sure to post more details as the Challenge approaches, and you can look forward to regular updates about my progress next month!

I saw this 23 Questions thing on Gabriela's blog today, and decided to do it myself, so here goes...

1. What is your mom's best friend's name?

2. Where is the weirdest place you have a mole? I don't think I have any in weird places.

3. Who was the hottest teacher you ever had? I don't remember his name, but I had a pretty attractive student teacher in high school.

4. Have you ever made out in a movie theater? sadly yes, haha.

5. What body part do you wash first? My hair.

6. Do you hover over the toilet in public bathrooms? It all depends on where I am, and how clean the bathroom seems haha.

7. What is the strangest talent you have?

8. Do you have an innie or outie? Innie.

9. Do you parallel park or drive around the block? I don't drive haha- but I like to think I could parallel park if I had to.

10. What shoe do you put on first? right?

11. Have you ever been cow-tipping or snipe-hunting? No...never saw the point really.

12. If you had to choose to never wash your bed sheets again or never wash your towel again, which would you rather not wash? I love having clean sheets, so I'd have to give up towel washing, I'm sure I could find an alternative.

13. What was your childhood nickname? April-D.

(Such a little fashionista, haha)

14. When was the last time you played air guitar? right now- I'll blame it on the power of suggestion, haha.

15. Have you ever bitten your toenails? I have not, I remember trying once when I was little cause I read that one of the spice girls did. I couldn't reach though, thank god.

16. How do you eat your cookie? I tend to break off little pieces instead of biting right into the cookie.

17. When working out at the gym, do you wear a belt? nope.

18. Name something you do when you're alone that you wouldn't do in front of others. sing, it's for the protection of my loved ones haha.

19. How often do you clean your ears? More than I should- I'm a little neurotic about it to be honest.

20. Do you scrunch or fold your toilet paper? Scrunch.

21. Do you have any strange phobias? I'm afraid of seagulls, and really most birds.

23. Do you freak out when you feel a sneeze coming on when you're driving? Again, I don't drive, but I think I'd be ok with a quick sneeze.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday the 13th!

Happy Friday the 13th Friends!

Sorry for the super long hiatus- life has been crazy busy! But, I am officially done all of the courses I will need to take in my masters, so hopefully that will equal some free time to do more of the things I enjoy, and less studying :) I will still be spending most of my days in the lab, getting my research on, but without course work in the way I'm hoping that will start going more smoothly as well.

I won't bore you with all of the details of the last 3 months of my life, instead I'll just jump in at today and we'll go from there!

My Friday was no different than most, kicked it off with the usual lab meeting and spent the day with my science. On my way home I hit up the gym with the following treadmill workout (from a recent issue of SELF featuring Jillian Michaels).When I first saw this workout it almost looked too easy, do not be deceived, it kicks my butt!! In a good way of course. I followed up my cardio with the 20 min Fit-Fix circuit and then headed home.

Now I'm catching up on some much needed housework while watching some Gilmore Girls.

This was my favorite show when I was in Junior High and High School- and I recently obtained the entire series and am quickly making my way through (on season 6 of 7).

Anywho, I have to get back into the lab bright and early tomorrow morning, so I shall sign off for now.

I promise more frequent updates, perhaps even one tomorrow?

xo April

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturdays are the best days!

Happy Saturday friends! - I hope you had a wonderful day :)

I kicked off my Saturday with a trip to the local farmers market with an old friend for breakfast.

I stopped by the Crêperie where I used to work (Crêperie Mobile) for a delicious vegan crêpe!

I got my usual...

and honey mustard vinaigrette

all folded into a delicious 100% buckwheat and vegan batter! (It looks a little messy there-but it was FANTASTIC.

While there I also picked up some pretty flowers for my room

I tried for a better picture, but the lighting in my room was awful today!

And I picked up a yummy chocolate vegan cupcake from Susie's Shortbread (the have a market booth in addition to two locations around the city).

For lunch I made an enormous and wonderful salad (just like the one I made last week with my pita pizzas!)

And for supper I heated up some butternut squash soup (This company called Imagine makes amazing, and mostly vegan, creamy soups that are just perfect on a cold day).

Other than that I have had a relaxing day at home, it is nice to have a full day all to myself!

Enjoy the rest of your day lovelies!
xo April

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Good food with great friends!

Two posts in one day? I can barely believe it myself! But I just had to post about the amazing evening I had with two of my great friends Bhreagh and Lindsay!

We met after work for a long discussed (as in a year in the making) dinner at one of my favorite local vegetarian restaurants, The Heartwood.

The food there is incredible! Everything is vegetarian, and most meals can be made vegan/gluten free if they aren't already. Plus, everything is made from fresh and local ingredients where possible!

We got started with the always delicious hummus and guacamole platter- which (as you can see below) comes with fresh veggies, tortilla chips, and nice warm focaccia bread :)

Bhreagh had the bean burrito which came with rice and more tortilla chips! It looked really good (and she said it was, haha).

Lindsay went for the daily special, which was chana masala on brown rice with a side of cucumber and rice salad.
and I had my absolute favorite the classic vegan pizza. Which is covered in artichoke hearts, spinach, veggies, tofu, and an out-of-this-world garlic sauce (all on a kamut crust). It is by far the best pizza I have ever had, vegan or otherwise. Behold.

What I love most about this pizza is it is always a little bit different depending on what they have at the time (once they were out of spinach so they put kale on instead- so good!)

We all saved half of our meals for lunch tomorrow to make sure that we had room for desert. They have a fantastic selection, but we decided to split a slice of the peanut butter chocolate "cheesecake" which is 100% vegan (and 1000% delicious- and no I did not add an extra zero by mistake, it is that awesome).

After our great dinner we decided to hit the gym, since none of us had made it early in the day. We were way to full to hop on a treadmill, so instead we took over the yoga studio and did a nice hour long work-out routine that includes some great exercises for arms, legs, and abs, and finished it off with a round of the 20 minute circuit, which conveniently targets all your major muscle groups :) It would have been nice to get some cardio in, but alas, I had no desire to make myself sick. All in all it was a really nice workout, made even better by the great company.

Off to bed now though, I have an early morning lab meeting!

xo April

I've got the fever...

...and no I (thankfully) do not mean Bieber fever.

I have MAJOR puppy fever.
It's bad people- very bad.

(Specifically I want a lab puppy- or a puppy that is part lab!)

Growing up I always had several pets at a time (at one point we had 4 dogs and 3 cats)- and although having everything I own covered in hair got a little old from time to time, I loved having them around. When I left my parents house it was weird at first to not have any pets around, but I quickly got used to it.

However, lately, every time I see a dog my heart just melts. I want one sooo bad.

I spent 30 mins this morning looking at dogs to be adopted through the local animal shelter. I fell in love with pretty much everyone I saw, and It breaks my heart to know I can't take any of them home with me :( I live in a place that doesn't allow dogs, and sadly I know that I am just too busy to give a dog the time and attention that they would need right now.

BUT! I found out something really cool that I can do instead of bringing a dog home right now, that is still (hopefully) going to help get them out of a shelter and into a loving home. Perhaps this is only news to me, but in some cases shelters will allow you to sponsor shelter animals! You can help find a home for an animal by paying part of the adoption fee - therefore making it cheaper for someone who wants to take that animal home! So cool! Also, fostering animals is another possibility! So if you can't commit long-term to having a pet you can temporarily give an animal a break from the shelter life, and maybe help train that animal for their future family! Some animals might have some bad habits that will prevent them from going to a good home. By fostering one of these animals, and working with them, and training them, hopefully they will be more likely to be adopted! Plus, while you are fostering an animal the shelter will have space for another animal, so in the end you might help two animals find loving families, even if you aren't able to adopt one yourself!

So that's it folks, if you are passionate about helping shelter animals find homes but just aren't able to adopt one yourself, there are still a whole bunch of ways that you can help out!

Has anyone of you adopted a fur-friend from an animal shelter? How did you find the whole experience?

I might not be able to bring a friend home just yet- but I will be, and I wanna know as much as possible about the process!

xo April

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Still going strong :)

I want to start this post off my saying how thrilled I am that it is nearly the end of January and I have been working hard at keeping each of the goals that I set for myself this year.

That is not to say that I haven't slipped up at all- just the other night I went to a local cafe for dinner instead of going home and making my own- and while it was ok, I would have been much more satisfied had I made something for myself.

As far as saving money in general goes I have been doing very well for myself- I usually have trouble with buying clothes a lot, and just spending money on things I don't need at all. The only things that I have bought for myself this month are a strap for my yoga mat, and a new tank top for the gym (which I got on sale at lulu lemon!).

I am already noticing improvements in my health as a result of heading to the gym frequently. I try to go every day, but am happy if I at least make it every second day. I am able to run longer, and faster already, after less than a month! (I have never been a runner, although I would really like to be, so being able to run for a 18 minutes of a 20 minute treadmill session is quite an improvement for me.)

I am going to try to mix in more yoga throughout the week with my gym routine for some variety, and also because it makes me feel so good.

I have a delicious new recipe to share! It isn't completely mine, although I did change it up a little, but it was suggested to me by a friend in my lab- and it is amazing!

It doesn't really have a name, but we'll go with...

Spicy chickpea tomato goodness ( with spinach!)

1 large red onion (or 2 small)
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
red pepper flakes to taste
2 cans of chickpeas
1 can diced tomatoes (I used some that were seasoned with garlic and olive oil)
hot sauce to taste
lemon juice
3 large handfuls of spinach

Step 1: heat oil ( I used coconut )in a pan on medium heat, add onions and heat for 5-10 mins (or until onions are translucent)

Step 2: add spices and cook for another 2 mins or so.

Step 3: add the chickpeas and tomatoes- mix. (I drained my chickpeas and used the juice from the tomatoes to add moisture- however you might find you need to add water as it cooks to keep everything from being too thick). Add hot sauce, mix, cover and let simmer for about 20-30 mins.

Step 4: Add lemon juice and spinach, cover and cook for another 5-1o mins (until spinach wilts)

Step 5: Serve and Enjoy!

As you can see this recipe makes quite a bit of food! I stored mine in the fridge to eat as lunch for the next couple of days (and it was just as delicious ,if not better, the next day)

FYI I take all of my pictures with my iPhone, cause I don't have a good camera- so the quality isn't great, but It will have to do for now.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I have been horrible at updating these past couple of days (ok couple of weeks :S) But! I had a paper and a presentation that I really needed to get done for my supervisor, and now that they are done I have more time for the important things in life (ie. cooking, living, and blogging about it :) )

Two nights ago I made a HUGE pot of vegan mac and cheese! It is 100% delicious- I don't find it tastes very "cheesy", but I don't even care, because it is amazing, and the cozy familiarity of mac and cheese is definitely there. I had some for supper, and some yesterday and today for lunch! I cooked a whole box of pasta, haha, so it will last me several meals I think.

As for the recipe, I found it over at Chef Katelyn's Blog! I mixed some steamed broccoli into mine, and sprinkled a little extra nutritional yeast on top- so good!

I munched on some trail mix (raw cashews, tamari almonds, goji berries, dried cranberries and dried blueberries), a yummy organic brown rice cake, and a pear today to get me through the lab day.

I finished my science early today and was able to make the triumphant return to yoga that I have been longing for.

It happened to be snowing and very pretty on my way from the lab to the studio...

...(although because I live in Halifax the snow turned to rain by the time I finished my 60min yoga class and the walk home was less pretty)
I go to my local Moksha yoga studio where I practice in a heated room - it is fantastic. If you have a Moksha yoga studio near you I highly recommend you check it out- it will quite literally change your life! For more about Moksha check out their website!

After a wonderful class I marched my super sweaty self home to make some dinner. What did I make you ask? I thought about having more mac and cheese, but I really don't wanna overdo it and get sick of it (plus that is way too much pasta for one day if you ask me!)

SO, I made a DELICIOUS pita pizza, and an even better salad to go with it.

For the pizza I had to make my own sauce cause we didn't have any pizza sauce on hand, so I just mixed some tomato paste with italian seasoning, garlic powder, and chili powder. I spread that on a whole wheat tortilla wrap and topped it with cherry tomatoes (cut in half), mushrooms, red onion, asparagus, red pepper, and spinach. Then I sprinkled some nutritional yeast and red pepper flakes on top :) I heated it up in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 min, and then switched the oven to broil (high) for ~ 5 mins (or until the sides of the wrap start to brown).

To go with the beautiful pizza I made perhaps the greatest salad ever (or at least the best one I have made for myself in quite a while.

Spinach + cherry tomatoes + red onion + mushroom + strawberry + avocado + sliced almonds + a sprinkle of nutritional yeast and dressed with a wonderful fig balsamic salad dressing (made by Kraft).

Other than yoga today I have been doing really well with the gym lately though! I have been going at least every second day- and am definitely seeing improvements already!

That's all for now, I'm gonna go watch some gilmore girls and head to bed so that I can get up early tomorrow and hit the lab/ the gym.

April xo

Monday, January 10, 2011

Holy stress batman!

Sorry for the few days of zero updates- I promise I haven't fallen off the planet. I've just spent the past few days with my nose buried in a pile of research papers attempting to get the first paper of the semester done and submitted for first review. I'm happy to say that it is finally off to my supervisor and I don't have to think about until the edited copy comes back to me.

Sadly I haven't made it to the gym in a few days either- but that I'll head back tomorrow and get back in the swing of things.

Saturday I made myself some Chana Masala for lunch and took the rest to work (although thanks to the longest shift ever I didn't get to eat it until like 1130 at night when I finally got off and was STARVING!)

Quick and easy Chana Masala

1/2 onion
several cloves of garlic
1 can chickpeas
juice of a lemon
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. turmeric
(the recipe usually calls for garam masala but I didn't
have any so I used turmeric instead, it was still delicious!)
1 large handful of spinach

Heat oil in a pan and add the onions and garlic- cook a few minutes until the onions go clear.
Add the chickpeas straight from the can- including the water (or if you'd prefer you can rinse them and just add water I'm sure it would work just as well)
Add the lemon juice and spices.
Cover and simmer for 10-15 mins.
Add the spinach and let it cook until it wilts
Serve and Enjoy :)

I've also been making some DELICIOUS green smoothies the past few days, I am officially addicted all over again :)

Yesterday morning I woke up in what seemed like a winter wonderland! We haven't had any snow all winter, and then I woke up to a beautiful snow covered city- I wish I had snapped a picture!

I spent my day camped out at Uncommon grounds , another great local coffee shop here in Halifax :) I had what they call a vegan bar for breakfast (It's kind of like a banana bread with carob chips inside- so good) with a fantastic half sweet soy London fog :)

After a long day of paper writing I treated myself to some take-out pad thai for supper (and had the leftovers today for lunch!)

Last night my fantastic roommate made some glorious vegan cupcakes for her bake sale today (that and a bunch of other really yummy ). As the vegan of the house I got to have one to make sure they were good (and they were fantastic- I might make some of my own later this week!)

That's all I've got for now! xo

Friday, January 7, 2011

Life is sweet...

I found out some absolutely fantastic news today!

But, first a little back story...

I don't know about the rest of you, but since going vegan (2 years ago :)- yay!) I have definitely had slip ups here and there, "cheated" if you will. One of my favorite things to "cheat" on my veganism with have been these absolutely delicious cupcakes from a local place called Susie's Shortbreads. Now I've really only had maybe 3 of these cupcakes in the past 2 years, but they have been INCREDIBLE.

Well, this morning, I went on twitter, and guess what?!?!


I was so excited! and they gave out free samples today, which are just as delicious as the non-vegan ones (maybe more-so) , but without the guilt of cheating!! (I wish I could have snapped a picture of them to share, but they pretty much look like the ones featured above- although the trial cupcakes were plain vanilla).

I spoke to the woman behind the cupcake, TJ Peach, who told me that after polling the twitter world for substitution suggestions she settled on coconut milk to replace the milk, Earth Balance in place of butter, and apple sauce as an egg replacer!

She already offers gluten-free cupcakes, and mentioned that she hopes to be able to offer cupcakes that are both vegan AND gluten free in the future.

If you are ever in Halifax NS and you want a delicious vegan treat you need to try one of these cupcakes!

On a different note I made it to the gym this morning for about an hour and felt fantastic! I think starting my day off with a workout is a fantastic idea- it completely pumped me up for the rest of the day!

After a fun filled day of getting my student ID replaced, dealing with student loans and paper writing I returned home and attempted to figure out something for supper. I settled on some over roasted sweet potatoes (Inspired by a recipe I noticed over at Snacking Squirrel ), some asparagus, and a nice yummy green smoothie (mango + OJ + water + flax +spinach)

I tossed my potatoes (sweet, and red skinned) in some olive oil and a mix of Italian spice, chili flakes, black pepper, and poultry seasoning (don't worry there is no poultry in it ;) )- I baked them at 375 degrees for about 45mins-1hr (just until they are soft and start to brown slightly)

For the asparagus I tossed them in a little sesame oil + chili flakes + poultry seasoning + crushed black pepper + crushed almond slices + a dash of sea salt. I baked these at 450 degrees for about 7 mins, and then broiled them until the tips started to brown.

It was fantastic, and filling after a long busy day!