Coconut Curry

I came across a post about a Gluten Free Expo that was taking place in Vancouver, and I instantly went to the site and purchased a ticket. I went to a VegExpo a few months ago, and while it was good, the list of vendors for this Gluten Free Expo was a LOT bigger and quite a few more names I actually knew.

Luckily, Saturday was a dry day so I was able to walk to and from the expo and get some glorious natural Vitamin D absorbed through my skin!

I had decided to not let the potentially large crowd at the expo get to me so that I could view each and every vendor/booth. I arrived around 10:40 am (it opened at 10:00 am) and I finished seeing, tasting and buying around 12:50 pm! I absolutely took my time, asked questions, ate or drank samples, accepted freebies, and spent readily!

The 3rd booth I visited was the Spice Works booth and they were sampling their Butter Chicken and Coconut Curry “All In One” spice blends – prepared without meat, but as directed on the package.

I ended up buying one of each, plus a Satay blend and a Jamaican Jerk blend. And when I got home, I checked my cupboard for additional ingredients …

I needed chickpeas and coconut milk … both of which I had!! So I decided my “recipe of the week” wouldn’t be from a book, but rather from this product.

I’m very happy to say Spice Works is sold locally in some British Columbia locations (Vancouver being my main concern), but you can also order online!!! BC orders over $60 receive free shipping; whereas under $60 gets shipping for only $10.

On to the recipe … makes 4 servings



  1. Drain & rinse chickpeas. Pour insert package from Mix over chickpeas and toss with 2 TBSP each olive oil and water – allow to sit, stirring to coat as often as you’d like (I think my chickpea mixture sat on the counter for 2 hours and I stirred to coat perhaps every 30 minutes)
  2. Cook Rice/Quinoa in 2 cups of water (I use a rice cooker … takes about 20 minutes)
  3. In saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Turn to low and whisk in remaining Mix – let simmer for about 1 minute
  4. Add in coconut milk and whisk to combine – let simmer for another 4 minutes or so
  5. Add in chickpea mix and stir to combine – let simmer until you’re ready to eat
  6. Serve chickpea coconut curry mix over rice/quinoa in individual bowls


You could easily use cubed, skinless, boneless chicken instead of, or even in addition to, chickpeas. I found this blend of foods to be very filling!

Here is the nutritional breakdown (hope this link works!):


This is absolutely a spice mix that I will track down and make again and again! So easy – so delicious!!!

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Roasted Garlic Quinoa & Chia Bean Patties

I had originally planned on making a raw Pad Thai dish for Week 2, but after looking at the recipe in detail, it had upwards of 35 ingredients. That did not sound appealing!

Now, today is still technically in Week 1, but I am going to be out of the house for the majority of the day tomorrow, so I took the day today to make my Week 2 recipe.

I had a quick look through the Whole Foods to Thrive book and came upon 2 recipes that I thought might compliment each other. I made a list of the ingredients I didn’t already have and headed out to pick them up. I am happy to say that with just the few ingredients shown below, I am able to make both recipes!


Now, I’m sure you can imagine that I won’t need ALL the contents of some items (i.e. massive tub of coconut oil!) but how exciting that I can make 2 recipes with such few ingredients!

I made a couple of small changes to the recipes … such as using a sprouted rice & quinoa blend instead of just quinoa. I also substituted the brown rice in the patties for this blend.

So I roasted the head of garlic, which made my apartment smell SO GOOD!!! I wonder if there is a roasted garlic or fried onion candle … LOL

I also made the rice/quinoa in my rice maker. I needed 5 1/2 cups cooked, in total, so I needed to make 2 batches as my rice maker is a nice small appliance.

When I usually make the rice/quinoa, I melt in some butter/margarine after it’s cooked, and then toss in salt, pepper and garlic powder. It’s my absolute favorite flavor for this blend.

The Roasted Garlic Quinoa recipe has such great flavor because of the roasted garlic and holy smokes – this may just be my new favorite flavor for this blend! Something so satisfying about the taste of roasted garlic *nom nom nom!

For the patties, as noted above, I subbed in rice/quinoa instead of brown rice. I also didn’t have quinoa flakes, so I used quick oats. And I omitted the miso as I didn’t have any. The recipe calls for “minced” celery, carrot, and onion … but I was too impatient, so I threw them in my Vitamix and blended them up! I think this actually turned out better because it created much smaller pieces that I could have chopped by using a knife. It also allowed much of the moisture/water come out of the vegetables, which was perfect given the omission of miso.

While these patties are good, they could use something more. Perhaps some more potent herbs and spices. They have sufficient salt, so I know that’s not missing. I will likely HAVE to make them again so that I can experiment with seasonings.


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Takeaway Taco Salad

During the last bit of 2016, I was wondering what I would do to challenge myself in 2017. And since I’ve recently (re)found my love for cooking, I thought that a great challenge would be to test a new recipe at least once per week!

I’ve looked through and flagged many pages in 6 of my top choice cookbooks (in no particular order):

  1. The UnDiet Cookbook, by Meghan Telpner
  2. Whole Foods to Thrive, by Brendan Brazier
  3. Oh She Glows Everyday, by Angela Liddon
  4. Forks Over Knives – The Cookbook, by Del Sroufe
  5. Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking, by Dana Shultz
  6. Thrive Energy Cookbook, by Brendan Brazier

For Week 1, I decided to try a simple-looking recipe … Takeaway Taco Salad from The UnDiet Cookbook.

The base recipe has only 8 ingredients, with 2 sub-recipes with 6 ingredients each.

The first sub-recipe is Cashew Cream Cheese and is noted to be “the perfect dairy-free, creamy, cheese-y alternative” and can be made thinner to resemble sour cream. I’m always skeptical on cheese alternatives …

Well yet again, (author) Meghan has proven herself and her recipe to be great! This recipe makes about 1 cup of “cream cheese” and is noted to only last refrigerated in an airtight container for 4 days … so I’ll be finding ways to use this!

The second sub-recipe is Tahini Dressing and I’ve made this a couple of times before with the Dressed to the Nines Sweet Potato recipe, so I know it’s awesome!

On to the base recipe! The theory of this recipe is to pack it into a mason jar and have it ready to go … on the go! But I’m trying it at home, so I’ve simply placed the ingredients in a bowl in a pretty fashion so that I could take a picture:


Then I poured them all into a larger bowl, added the called-for amount of Cashew Cream Cheese (1 TBSP), mixed it up … then checked the recipe for how much Tahini Dressing to use. But it wasn’t specified.

So I opted for approximately 2 TBSP of Tahini Dressing and mixed it up. Once all combined, I poured it back into a more reasonably-sized bowl and dug right in!


The recipe makes 1 serving … something I absolutely ADORE since I’m only one person and live with no others!

You’re only required to use 1/4 avocado … so I know I’ll have this at least 3 more times to use up the whole avocado. But I think this recipe could very easily come into regular rotation!

I made the dressings this morning so they could marry and thicken in the fridge during the day. But honestly – this recipe was so very easy!

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It is with a Heavy Heart …

It’s only heavy because it’s working so hard to pump blood to my unhealthy, overweight body!

Today, January 1, 2017 … I weigh in at 241.8 pounds (109.6 kg).

Today, January 1, 2017 … is the heaviest I will be in 2017 … and beyond!

Today, January 1, 2017 … I bundled up (it’s a balmy 2 degrees in Vancouver today) and walked to the Robert Lee YMCA and signed up for a membership.


Today, January 1, 2017 … today is a new day, a new year, a new chance!


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Happy New Years Eve!

Wishing you all a very Happy New Years Eve!

The past week has been great for me. I went “home” for Christmas to my parent’s house.

I call it “home” because I think our parent’s home will always be home, but my apartment with my furries is my home.


I flew in on Christmas Eve morning and Mom picked me up from the airport. The flight was great – none of the normal Penticton turbulence! We had a nice mellow day, made homemade pizza for dinner and Wayne made (cooked) saganaki for our appetizer.

Mom and I had a lovely hot tub before dinner … so nice because it was cold outside!

And since I was up at 5:00 am to catch my flight, I was actually falling asleep on the couch at 8:00 pm. So I retreated to my room and watched some CraveTV before going to sleep.


On Christmas morning, I was up around 4:15 am … yes, what the f**k!? It wasn’t because I was Christmas-excited … I was just done sleeping. I stayed in bed watching YouTube until maybe 6:00 am.

Then we popped the champagne top and had some mimosas! Wayne was up around 7:00 am and we got settled for our stockings. Now … we agreed to do only stockings and a budget of $50 each.

So I was beyond surprised to have presents AND to have the $50 budget totally blown! I got the one item I asked for … a corksicle! And of course the usual socks! I also got my can of black olives and Christmas orange.

I also received gift cards from the Cactus Club, Sephora, BC Liquor Store, Walmart, and Costco! Plus Mom gave me a card with $100 cash! All in (cards and cash) I was up to $250 … and that doesn’t include the side gifts!


Boxing Day I took Mom’s car and went to meet my bestie and her fam for lunch at Salty’s Beach House. Her man absolutely LOVES the Angry Chicken dish, so we know we can make it happen every year! It was so great to see her, her man (whom I introduced each other to!), her brother, her mom, and of course her 3 beautiful chicklets!

After lunch I popped across town and hit up Bulk Barn (because the closest to me in Vancouver is not close) for some nuts & seeds, and also Sally Beauty Supply (again, closest to me in Van is not close) for a glass nail file and more pure acetone.

Then I headed back to Mom’s where we were hosting an Open House for friends and family to come visit. We ended up having 15 – 20 people attend and it was a great afternoon. My grandma (Mom’s mom) and her new guy even attended!

By 5:00 pm everyone, except our close friend Jimmy and his girlfriend, had headed out, so I was able to turn on the TV for the IIHF World Junior Championship hockey tournament and the Team Canada game!

I finished watching the game in my room and then started to get a headache. So I had a hot shower and headed to bed … around 8:30 pm.


On the 27th my flight was set to take off at 6:55 pm, so I needed to be at the airport around 5:45 pm. However, I opted to have my folks take me there around 3:45 pm as they were bickering and I don’t tolerate it well at all. I felt, for my own sanity and to avoid further anxiety, that I should leave their house and spend more than necessary alone at the (small) airport.

Luckily the time went by quickly, I was able to watch the Team Canada hockey game live through the TSN GO app, and right around 6:55 pm the plane was in the air.

By 8:45 pm I was home, unpacked and loving my fur babies!


On the 28th I didn’t do much. I went to Costco to pick up some cauliflower, frozen fruit (pineapple & mango), chicken “nuggets” (I dislike the work nugget as I feel it suggests formed meat … but the pieces I got are from chicken breast), and romaine lettuce.

Next I headed to Safeway and got some garlic, tart shells (going to make more mini quiches), tahini, rosemary, chicken broth … and maybe more!

I made a quick batch of roasted cauliflower & garlic soup. It was so simply … literally roasted cauliflower and garlic, and chicken broth!


On the 29th I met up with a friend from my Saskatchewan days – we hadn’t seen each other since the summer of 2010! We went for lunch and I had planned on walking around to show her some of Vancouver … but it was raining … a lot!

So after lunch we simply went on our way. I got her to the skytrain and on her way, then headed to Indigo and picked up the FitBook to keep me on track and focused in the new year.

Then I decided to check Bath & Body Works for the Winter Cedar candle that I received for Christmas from a manager, and they had them … ON SALE!!! So I got 2 of them, and 3 new body lotions (also on sale)!

Finally I stopped into Sephora and used my GC to get some new liquid eyeliner and mascara.

At home I watched the next Team Canada game.


On the 30th I picked up some more cat food as the prices are going up effective January 1st. I also treated myself to a movie (La La Land), of course with a water and popcorn!

After the movie, which was a matinee, I remembered I had a $15 gift card from Joey Restaurant, so I headed down the block and had some yam fries and a couple of Happy Hour beers!

On the way to the movie I stopped into the Robert Lee YMCA and got some details on pricing and what’s included. At work, we get a $500 annual taxable fitness benefit (reimbursement) and I’ve been contemplating what to use it on. The YMCA is $60 per month (plus tax, of course) … so a full year would only cost me about $300 out of pocket. And in the $60 monthly fee you get access to EVERYTHING … pool … gym … gymnasium … aquafit classes … fitness classes …

And an added bonus is that they are waiving the $50 sign-up fee until the end of January. So I am highly considering signing up on the 1st. I would like to give it a try … test out the classes … definitely do some swimming!


Today is now New Years Eve! My plans for tonight are the same as they are almost every year … probably get woken up by the fireworks! LOL

I was considering making a nice meal and renting a movie (Shaw on Demand … likely the movie “Sully“) … but I woke up wanting pizza. And not just any pizza but my favorite pizza from Famoso! It takes me about 45 minutes by skytrain and bus to get to the restaurant, but I’m willing to take that time out of my day for this pizza – especially tonight! I’ll have to call them when they open to find out what time they are open until.

Team Canada plays Team USA at 12:30 pm, so I’m booked watching the game until at least 3:30 pm.

I did some great YMCA planning and made Sriracha Chicken Caesar Salad for dinner.

I’m pretty well caught up on The Affair … so perhaps I’ll move on to renting a movie!

Happy New Year to all my readers and followers! I look forward to a stunning 2017!!!

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Blogmas Day 23


There were 3 of us at the office in our group. So I plugged away at some tasks, did some Merry Christmas saying, and headed out the door around 1:30 pm.

On the way home I stopped by Pomme Natural Market and picked up a few more flavors of kombucha. I had planned on taking a couple bottles with me to my folk’s place … but then thought twice about packing them in my checked bag …

The bottles say “do not shake” so I thought it may not be best to pack them in a bag that will get tossed around. So I could forgo having any for 4 days, or I could stop and pick up a couple of bottles when I get into town.

I did one load of laundry, opting to wait until I’m back before washing my duvet cover. I’ve packed … and decided to keep to sweat pants/lululemon/pj bottoms and leave my jeans (that are feeling too tight) at home.

I ordered Pizza Hut for dinner and now I have not only a food baby, but I feel like going into a food coma pretty quick! The crust at Pizza Hut has to be a favorite of mine for take-out pizza.

I’m watching Suicide Squad and about to sip my daily tea!

Advent Calendar Day 24: Santa’s Secret


“Ever wonder how Santa manages to deliver all those presents in just one night? Well here’s the hush-hush formula. He uses a special combination of Chinese black tea, peppermint leaves and spices – all sprinkled with real little candy canes. It’s both energizing and remarkably soothing. All Santa needs is one cup and his motto changes from “ho ho ho” to “go go go”.”


I decided to have Day 24 on Blogmas Day 23 as the option for Day 23 is a chai blend and I’m not a fan of chai. So that actually means that I’ve left Day 21 and Day 23 untouched (Day 21 because I couldn’t open the tin).

This tea almost tastes like cotton candy with a hint of peppermint! It’s really cute with itsy little candy canes, too! If this one is around after Christmas (next week maybe) I will get some more.


Tomorrow I won’t be posting for Blogmas as I’m leaving the house for the airport at 6:30 am and won’t be taking my computer with me.

I want to thank all that have joined me on my very first Blogmas journey and I hope it hasn’t been too mundane! This is simply my life and while it’s pretty simple, it’s very enjoyable!

If there is anything you’d like to suggest for content, please be sure to check out my Contact page!

Merry Christmas!!!

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Blogmas Day 22



Work was good – it went fast enough. One of my managers and I took some food & cash donations to the food bank today. And when I got back from lunch, he left a gift basket and card on my chair!

How nice! The basket had a bottle of wine, can of Pringles, box of microwave popcorn (will have to see how one pops microwave popcorn without a microwave!), Lindt chocolates, and a book!

One of my other managers gave me a Bath and Body Works 3-wick candle and Starbucks gift card.

Another manager left me a small box of Merci chocolates. And the partner of the group gave me a bottle of wine and a gift card to a group of restaurants!

I was going to return some Old Navy items I’d ordered online, but after getting the Christmas treats, my bag was heavy and I decided to wait until tomorrow for the return.

I came home, fed the furries and had a shower to wash my hair. Then I did my nails, had some wine and then remembered I still needed to have my Advent Calendar tea!

Advent Calendar Day 22: English Toffee


“Need a toffee break? This rich and decadent, all-natural blend of pu’erh, cocoa beans and caramel is the perfect sweet treat. With its mouth-watering aromas of caramel and browned butter, even steeping it feels like a luxury. But with all the benefits of pu’erh – and next to no calories – this is one little indulgence you can feel great about drinking. Try it with hot frothed milk and a shot of coffee liqueur. It just doesn’t get sweeter than that.”


It smells lightly like English toffee and the taste is slight too. I like English toffee, but thought this tea might be a bit sweet. I was pleasantly surprised to the (nice) lack of sweet!


I’m hoping for a 1/2 day tomorrow. None of the managers will be in-office, and while I have stuff that I could do that I’ve been putting off, I would like to scoot away early!

Only 3 more sleeps!

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Blogmas Day 20 & 21


What did I do yesterday … aside from totally forgetting to type blogmas and forgetting the advent calendar!?

We had our admin Christmas social and I’ll use that as an excuse because there were mimosas and wine!

After work I had my cat-sitter over for a visit and a nice visit. We go over things that have changed from last time she sat and talk and drink wine! LOL

Advent Calendar Day 20: Cardamom French Toast


“Something about cardamom just puts us in a festive frame of mind. We love its rich, fragrant taste any way we can get it. One of our faves? The buttery, cardamom-scented Christmas breads popular in Sweden and Finland. And since cardamom toast is so great, it only stands to reason that cardamom French toast would be out of this world. With black tea, cardamom, cane sugar and cinnamon, this rich, sweet blend tastes just like the decadent breakfast of our dreams. Only this is one brunch item you’ll be wanting all day long.”


This one definitely smells like cinnamon. And tastes like it, too. But it’s not one that I’m over the moon with. It’s lacking the french toast side!


Now – this tea was sampled today, on Blogmas Day 21 …


I didn’t sleep well last night in anticipation of my doctor’s appointment to review my blood work.

I headed out the door around 7:50 am and was able to get in early to see my doctor. While the results weren’t good, I was more put off by one of her comments.

She said (something along the line of) “maybe this will make you do something about your health”. WHAT!? Are you fucking kidding me!?

Let’s review …

My weight is down. Not much, but down is DOWN!

My cholesterol is on point!

My blood pressure (which used to be sky high and I used to be on meds for it) is also on point!

So my blood sugar is going up. Last November it was at 6.5 and this December it is at 7.2 and this is not good. When you receive 2 readings above 7, you’re diagnosed a diabetic. I’ve always had readings in the 6’s … making me pre-diabetic.

But also, diabetes is very apparent in my family. Both my grandmas have diabetes. I believe both grandpas also have it, too. And I know (and truly believe) that our genetics are NOT our destiny.

Last year when my reading was 6.5, my doctor recommended that I speak with a nutritionist – which I did. And the nutritionist looked at my food diary and recommended that I DON’T CHANGE MY DIET as it’s relatively great as compared to many people’s diet.

So my doctor agrees that I don’t need to change my diet. But suggests that I do more cardio.

And I walk … a LOT … most of the year. In Vancouver, it rains … a LOT … and that creates a deterrent to getting outside for a walk. So while most (dry weather) work days has me walking to work (2.25 km = 26 minutes) and potentially home from work (2.25 km = 26 minutes), she wants me to “aim to do 30 – 45 minutes of cardio 3 times a week at lunch”.

I’d say I’ve got a good head start doing 30 – 60 minutes of walking 5 days a week. Man – she frustrates me!

I’m bummed out. It’s not the diagnosis I hoped for. But I’m not giving up (ok I kind of did for a bit today, but that’s just me being all “woe is me”). I’ll “aim” to do 30 – 45 minutes of cardio 3 times per week … and I’m preparing for a better result on my follow-up test which I’ve scheduled for March 15, 2017.

As for Advent Calendar Day 21 … I couldn’t open the tin. Maybe tomorrow I’ll have 2 teas!

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Blogmas Day 19


Loving the new bronzer/contour I’m using! I can’t remember the brand … Mineral something … oh and my lovely new hair cut!


So it snowed yesterday. And it snowed over night. And rained. And froze.

And since it rarely snows in Vancouver … then rained, then froze … the city stopped.

The buses weren’t functioning. Cabs were nowhere to be seen. Which left me to walking to work.

And since it was already 4 degrees, the frozen rained-on snow was melting … fast. So I was walking through puddles on puddles on puddles!

Luckily I have waterproof winter boots! Which reminds me … I should re-spray them soon!

Here’s a drinking game I played at work today:


Also since it snowed, and rained, and froze … my co-workers didn’t make it to the office. Out of the 7 people who aren’t on holidays, 1 made it in! LOL

I was productive, but I don’t know what I did.

On Friday I had some bloodwork done and the tech said the results will take about 3 days. What I didn’t expect was 3 calendar days (or less)! My doctor’s office called this morning and my doctor wants to see me … meaning my results aren’t good. I go in Wednesday morning, so I’m trying not to stress and worry.

After work, I stopped by Safeway and picked up what I needed to make BBQ Chicken Caesar Salad.


Advent Calendar Day 19: Organic Sweet Almond Green


“Our favourite part of the holiday season? The treats, of course. And those little almond-scented cookies have an extra-special place in our hearts. Buttery and sweet, with the nutty crunch of an almond on top, they’re a dangerously delicious part of any festive cookie spread. But with a nutty kiss of almond and an organic base of green tea, this sweet and subtle tea is our guilt-free version of the classic treat. Because indulging yourself should have no strings attached.”


The almond aroma is intense! Although … upon further wafting … it smelled very “artificial extract” like. It tastes a bit artificial, too, but it’s an ok flavor.


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Blogmas Day 18


What a snowy day here in Vancouver!! It seriously did not stop snowing all day long!

I was up early … like 5:00 am early. Just because. Well just because, and my bladder, and a headache …

But I was able to get back to sleep and slept until around 7:30 am when Waszabi decided I had slept long enough and she was hungry!

I fed the furries and then went back to bed to hang out. I watched a bit more of The Affair and just enjoyed my morning.

When I got hungry, I had a couple of mini quiches and yesterday’s advent tea. Then I got my shit together and took care of a few things …

Vacuumed the apartment. The filled up my Bissell Little Green carpet cleaner and did quite a bit of spot-cleaning … thanks to Waszabi (she tends to bring up almost every morning because she’s hungry and wants fresh water).

I also was able to get 2 large loads of laundry done … one of clothes and one of sheets & duvet cover. I’ll do another round (probably 2 more loads) on Friday evening so that I can have clean stuff when I get back from my folks’ from Christmas.

But aside from those few chores, I haven’t done much! It was nice to have the day Friday to get errands done, and to have 2 full weekend days to really do nothing! Today was especially nice because I could sit on the couch and watch the snow falling outside!

Advent Calendar Day 18: Sleigh Ride


“Falling snow, popping chestnuts, cold hands and noses… yep, winter has arrived. But don’t worry, we have the perfect tea to warm you up all December long. Cinnamon, apples, raisins, almonds, and hibiscus combine for a tea that is sweet, tart and earthy. And beet pieces make it as nice and rosy as a caroler’s cheeks. So hop in your sleigh, snuggle up, and pass a thermos around. It’s lovely weather for a Sleigh Ride together.”


WOW! This tea really stands up to its description! I could absolutely smell the cinnamon when I opened the tin, but now that it’s been steeped and cooled a bit, I can really taste the cinnamon, the sweetness of apple, a bit of raisins, and for sure chestnuts! WOW! This one is awesome!


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