If this is what I do for a living, I'm never going to "fail", right?
I'm human, with a chaotic family and life. Sometimes I fall off the wagon, too. I know you know what I mean- all of us have done this proverbial "falling of the wagon", in relation to any number of things.
It's human to stumble, and it's ok- forgive yourself and move on. Get up and keep going.
Meal planning on its own is easy. It's a list of foods you want to eat, and that's usually a pretty easy list to make for most people. It isn't a cure-all, fix-all, one-size-fits-all sort of deal. What makes meal planning magical is the execution of it. It's a process of life-changing proportions, constantly changing and evolving with you as your life shifts and evolves. It's a constant leaning in, figuring out what trips you up and what works; what you can keep in your toolbox and what needs to be replaced. The biggest shift I've had to do to make meal planning work for me consistently is to change how convenient I make it for myself.
Let me encourage you today to take a look at your meal planning skills and find one thing you can shift to make it easier for yourself. What works for one situation may not be what works for another, and it may take some trial and error to figure it out, but when you do I can promise you that your life will change.
Have a great week, friends!
After breakfast at our air bnb we joined in a Historical Food Tour (with samples!), starting at Victoria Public Market. It was so great! There will be more details about this in a future blog post. Suffice it to say if you enjoy sampling local food and hearing stories from the purveyors, this is an activity you want to take in.
For lunch we wandered up to the Irish Times Pub. I ordered a lamb burger with a side house salad while Mike ordered the Times Cheese Burger with an Irish Flight of beer. We sat outside under a big red umbrella and enjoyed the activity going on all around us. For dessert we shared a Guinness Chocolate Brownie.
The lamb burger was delicious. I wasn’t sure if the apple chutney would be too sweet for the burger but it was, in fact, a perfect complement, even though it was a bit messy and "slidey"- it kept sliding out of the bun. And I highly recommend their house salad. If you’re going for beer, the Smithwick’s Red Ale was the right pairing with the lamb burger out of those 4 beers.
Mike enjoyed his Cheese Burger but it was the different kinds of beer that he enjoyed sampling the most.
Dessert was another story, however. We were rather disappointed and didn’t even finish it. The brownie was good, absolutely, but the whiskey toffee sauce was so granular it felt like we were biting into chopped up sugar cubes, and there was so much of it (the sauce) there was no real way to avoid it. It could have been amazing, but it wasn’t.
This was our actual 20th anniversary, and we enjoyed some time walking along Willows Beach. I think I could stay there forever- in fact, I found my next house- just $2.5M! It’s going to take a little time to save for that, right? I would love to live right there on the beach and have that kind of day every day. Who’s with me?
For our anniversary dinner we enjoyed dinner at “Lure”, the Delta Ocean Pointe hotel in-house restaurant. The view from the windows was amazing, the staff attentive, and the tables large enough that none of us felt crowded in. We were able to watch the float planes fly in and see Victoria from an angle we don’t normally see it from.
We shared a starter of mussels with my brother and his family and I ordered the Columbia River Steelhead. What caught my attention (besides the fact that steelhead trout is my favourite fish) was the bacon jam and duck-fat roasted potatoes it came with. Mike ordered (halibut) fish and chips. For dessert we shared an ice-cream sandwich.
The mussels were delicious and the broth spicy. There wasn’t enough bread to soak it all up with though, and they happily provided more so that none of that goodness went to waste. It’s definitely a starter dish meant to be shared as there was a lot served.
Yes to the Steelhead! It came with corn succotash which was ok, and the duck-fat potatoes were nothing to write home about (I like my roasted potatoes way more, in fact). But the trout was cooked perfectly, a lovely crispy crust even, and the dollop of bacon jam was to die for. I actually put it on my list (well, my husband’s) to learn how to make.
Mike thought the fish and chips were good. They would satisfy anyone who doesn’t like a “fishy” fish because Halibut is nice and mild. It was cooked beautifully, not overdone and dry, and the fries were good as well.
I think we’d both say “no” to the ice cream sandwich again. I fully appreciated the level of imagination that went into creating it, but the cookie was so rock hard it was difficult to actually get a piece of cookie to eat with the ice cream, and I didn’t fall in love with the flavour or texture. I actually think I would have preferred the cookies my nephew and niece got to enjoy after their dinners instead.
Our last day of Island Life was spent wandering the beach in Gonzales Bay. We even got to see a Lion’s Mane Jellyfish that had washed up on shore. My absolute favourite thing about Vancouver Island is hanging out with the ocean. There is something magical about how the water pulls away anything negative and just replaces it with calm. I will always love the ocean- I'm pretty sure it's in my blood.
For lunch we returned to Bin 4. This time I ordered the “Chicken of the Sea” with house potato chips and Mike ordered the Pre-Season Favourite and fries. We ate at the location that’s right in Victoria. Same great service and food as the other we visited our first night.
Oh, for all that is wonderful and good, eat the Ahi tuna burger. It was so fresh, flavourful, and satisfying. I think I will probably go back to eat that burger every time we go to Victoria: it was that good.
My husband knew exactly what he’d order because he tasted my leftovers our first night there, and he was just as impressed with the Pre-Season Favourite hot and fresh as he was when it was day 2 leftovers.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my food adventures as much as I enjoyed eating and experiencing them myself. If you head to the Island, be sure to drop me a line and let me know where you ate and what you ate- and what you thought about it!
Next time I post I will tell you about some of the fun stuff you can do in Victoria. Until then, ciao, friends.
For all the years I’ve spent reiterating to my boys to pay attention to their bodies, to listen to the cues that tell them they’re tired, hungry, thirsty, upset, hurt, depressed, anxious, etc- my son told me he thought it was broken and I told him it was fine.
That was a curveball moment I wasn't prepared for.
In my defence, I’m really sick. The horrible bug that kept my boys home from their last week of school finally latched onto me. I’ve been trying to listen to my body too, but life goes on and there are things to do. Yesterday all the “things to do” ended up being way too much. Mike had a lot of work waiting for him because we were gone so much longer than we expected. We had just gotten home and I was letting myself relax into a nap when he came in from a bike ride to tell us he thought it was broken.
We figured dislocated, so Mike popped it back in place. Even after, the kid said “no, something’s wrong”. I groaned, gave him an ice pack and an advil, and said “Let’s wait and see”. Then went back to bed.
It wasn’t a complete mom fail. Instead of napping, I arranged for his grandpa to take him somewhere. After hours care is hard to find in our city, and all the walk-in’s were full to capacity, so grandpa took him to emergency. And after many hours of waiting and an x-ray, it’s confirmed…the growth plate in his thumb is fractured.
The moral of the story? Listen to your body. And if you need something at the expense of someone else, ask for help. No one can do it alone. Life is long and sometimes hard.
If you missed my email yesterday, I sent out a request for beta testers for my online course, Fabulous and Frugal in the Kitchen. Click here to join my email list.
"Fabulous and Frugal in the Kitchen" is a web based course arranged in modules you can take at your own speed, though my beta testers need to have it done for me within a day or 2 of starting. Most slides are around 30 seconds in length, and though there are several modules, they are a quick study. And because each video is short, you can pause and come back to it easily. There are supplementary videos, worksheets, and recipes included. It's all about trimming your food budget without trading good food for boring.
In exchange for a free run through my course, my testers need to provide me with a review (for my sales page), feedback (what you like, don't like, suggestions for improvement), and comment on pricing. I know what I'd like to charge- I want to see if you all agree.
My newsletter people are the ones who get first dibs, but you are all awesome. I have a spot left for just 1 more person. Interested? Hit reply and let me know, then sign up for my newsletter.
All the best today, friends
You are enough, just the way you are.
Counting calories is NOT the best way to approach nutrition. It is only one measurement out of many.
You can count calories to lose some weight. You will definitely lose weight in some way on a calorie deficit, although it may not be the right kind of weight to lose.
For example, losing muscle rather than fat is the wrong direction to take. If you are not approaching weight loss as part of an overall goal to improve your health in general but from a place of frenzy, you will not keep the weight off. In fact, you may even gain. You will find yourself riding that roller-coaster of guilt, shame, and despair.
Friends, come close, lean in, and listen to me tell you something you need to hear because I care about you so much.
You are enough, just the way you are.
Really. Counting calories is not going to make you the person you always wanted to be. You will never be fully happy with yourself “after” you lose a bunch of weight if you aren’t there now. Trust me on this. I rode that obsessive roller-coaster for literally years, more than half my life.
It breaks my heart that the most common standard for health advertising for women is the constant promoting of weight loss. “Lose weight now” “Lose 10 lbs in 10 days” “Get that beach body now”. “Detox to Slim”
You want to know why I do what I do?
Because I’m so passionate about health. Your health. Your mom’s health. Your kids. Not just that they’re at the “ideal weight” (Don’t even get me started on BMI!), but that they are actually healthy,
Are you sick of being sick? Or tired of being tired? Eating the right foods can take you from surviving to thriving. We only get this short life- don’t you owe it to yourself to really grab on for all you’re worth? Because you are worth it.
You are worth your time and commitment to taking care of yourself. Let me help you get started on your journey. I know it’s confusing, but I’m here because it’s my passion. Let me help make it more clear for you.
Click here to book a free assessment.
This is my passion, and I’m so grateful I get to share it with you!
“How are you doing that?” my oldest son asked, leaning against the counter and watching me. I was grabbing random jars of spices and herbs from the pantry, taking their lids off, sniffing them, and keeping some out while putting others back.
He’d been watching me for a couple of minutes while I measured random amounts of spices, adding them to my prep bowl and tasting or smelling as I went along. It was a test-kitchen day, and I was working on a new recipe.
“I don’t know,” I answered after considering for a minute. “I just do it. I was born to do this”. And it’s true, I realized.
Before I cooked, and long before it was trendy, I played with essential oils. I used to blend perfumes and massage oils, bath salts and bath bombs. I devoured books and studied everything I could about beneficial properties of different oils, the best oils that worked together, and the different ways to use them.
I remember just “knowing” what scents would work well together, which ones would help when I had a chest cold, which ones would soothe sadness or a headache, which ones would wake me up during a mid-day slump at my boring office job.
Spices and herbs contain essential oils, and recipe development comes naturally to me. I truly was born with this ability, and it’s all I want to do. There are days where I’m desperate to start working on a project that’s been growing in the back of my mind, but I can’t because I don’t have the time. Those days frustrate me because all I really want to do is cook. Then there are the days where I get to spend the whole day in my kitchen, and those are the days that light me up.
This is my passion, and I’m so grateful I get to share it with you!
Please follow me Facebook and share me with your friends! Imagine what a world we could live in if we gave ourselves the gift of real food and greater health and joy.
If you need a hand figuring out how to make food and nutrition work for you, give me a call. We can chat for a few minutes to see if I can help. Sometimes you can't figure it out on your own, but I love that you are trying. If you're at the point where you know you've tried everything you can, hiring me might be your next step.
Enjoy your week, friends!
I've been a mom for almost 14 years. We're making plans with my oldest about his high school, and that's unbelievable to me, but I can console myself that I still have a little at home to snuggle with and do the small child things. When I think about it in those terms, it's no wonder I get a little weepy when my "baby" outgrows his young-child activities and embarks on his own journey toward adulthood.
He's almost given up on baths, my 7 year old. He doesn't play anymore, and it's not a big joy to have bath time- he'd rather have a shower. And I do celebrate that, because it's not my favourite activity to lean over the tub and wash/rinse his hair while he howls about soap in his eyes. But last night he had a bath, and said the magic words I've been looking forward to ever since his older brother started having baths on his own, "Mom, you can get rid of the bath toys now. I don't need them anymore".
At first I was excited. I can't wait to get rid of the clutter than consumes my life. But then I started contemplating what that actually means. Sure, we don't step on lego or dinosaurs anymore like we used to, but that means that he doesn't play like he used to, either. His imagination is taken up with more the mature themes and ideas he's picked up from his brother. Books like "The Cat in the Hat" are replaced with Beast Quest and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. And he's into clothes and hair and developing his signature "style". He's hilarious, and empathetic, and the sweetest, most tender little person. But he's not really so young, anymore.
Life is change. I know we celebrate that, marking time on our calendars and celebrating the usual annual celebrations. Without change, there would be no life. But for all these years of parenthood I didn't stop to think about what it would mean when we reached each milestone. I'm proud of our boys; they are kind, thoughtful, and respectful kids. They are learning independence, which is necessary. I've been deliberately fostering it, in fact. But I can still mourn a little when they need me a little less.
Let's file this under personal growth today, shall we? Enjoy your day, and come check in on Facebook on Friday for the recipe for Honey Garlic Almonds.
When it comes to improving our "eating in experience", one of the easiest ways to pull ourselves out of our boring meal route is to try something new.
This came up in a recent Facebook conversation. When I asked about what it would take to improve our eating in experience, Shelley and Chantel both commented, "Being more creative with menus; sometimes we get caught in a rut and eat the same things!!", and "How to make my own sauces and dressings taste as good as in a restaurant!"
It's surprisingly easy to stay with what you know when it comes to food. Trying new flavours or textures isn't always a guaranteed hit, and it's hard to make the effort when you're pretty sure you'll hear "eww, gross" or "that looks weird" or "I hate this so much!". The truth is, not everything you try will work. Honestly, I've heard it all before from my family. But don't let the fear of failure prevent you from trying. It's not a failure if your family doesn't like it- it's a win for being brave enough to even put it out there.
Sometimes the simplest changes can make a boring meal plan a little more exciting. And if you don't like it, the worst that will happen is you will make a note not to try it again. RIght? In the larger scheme of things, a failed meal isn't the end of the world. Trying new foods and flavours can broaden your sense of taste or your enjoyment of texture. It can transport you to a new place. You will further your nutritional edge when you experiment with new foods, and maybe discover new favourites. There's not a lot to lose, and so much to gain.
10 Ways to Try Something New
Another way to try something new is to hire a meal planner such as myself. You will receive recipes that use the foods and flavours you like, but are put together in different ways. You may receive something completely new to you, too. Grocery lists are included to make it even easier. Why don't you take my meal planning for a test run today?
Enjoy your week, friends!
Yesterday morning our fridge just stopped working. It was unexpected...it might be 3 years old. Luckily, family came to the rescue, and we now have a temporary fridge to use until ours gets repaired.
It was supposed to be a full day of cooking ahead and getting ready for school, with a full day today for baking and finishing up on those other little miscellaneous things to get ready for school. Just like I posted previously, though, we don't always get advance notice about those curveballs. I'll do what I can, and let go of the stress of what I can't.
Baking can wait until some down time next weekend as I've still got to finish off my cooking and household responsibilities...and add "clean out the fridge" to my list so it doesn't go nasty while we wait for repair.
This week I started practicing the discipline of daily gratitude. This was the perfect opportunity to be grateful- I'm grateful for realizing how much we enjoy our fridge, for the fact that my sister in law was getting rid of hers just when we needed to use one, and that my father in law was available to help us get it to our house from hers.
What are you grateful for today? Has life thrown any curveballs at you lately?
There is no shortage of weight loss programs and health-related posts and stories early on in each new year. Earlier this week a story ran on the news that covered this topic, and the usual solutions to post-holiday problems were offered, with a new one I hadn't heard before- "sleep naked".
That was unexpected!
In my world as a meal planner I am just like everyone else. I seldom do it all perfectly or have it all together. There are days I fall off the wagon too, but I usually dust myself off and climb back up. I don't give up when most people would. I'm here to encourage you to try the same.
If you fell off your health and wellness goals over the holidays, know that you aren't alone, climb back up there and keep going.
Today is about "special" foods: any special diet food promoted everywhere this time of year. Everyone wants a quick fix and companies make their money on those desires.
The thing you need to remember is most of these products have fine print somewhere that states something along the lines of "in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle including plenty of water, exercise, rest, and balanced food choices"... You might lose weight when you buy these overpackaged, overprocessed, and overpriced foods. Or you might not. It depends on more than what special brand of diet food you pick today for dinner or snacks- it's all about overall healthy choices.
You will reap rewards for your health with simple, manageable changes, such as:
Have a wonderful day, friends!
The Meals Maven 2016