Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Top 10 treats I hope to find in my Easter basket

This week is draaaaagging.

And I know why.

It’s the home stretch to Easter, and chocolate and Easter eggs and jelly beans and pancakes and Hummingbird cake, and I’m so so close to being able to consume it all. 

Yet it STILL feels SO SO SO FAR AWAY.

I woke up this morning thinking it was Thursday.  It’s not Thursday.  It’s only frigging Wednesday.  Yes.  FRIGGING Wednesday.  *sigh*

I’m totally ready for this weekend to finally arrive!  For many many fun reasons – movie date with friends & family, family Good Friday Fish & Chips dinner, sleepover with the kids, baking Easter treats, and of course the joyfulness that is Easter Sunday & the wonderful meal we have planned – but most of all…

The candy.  I can try to wax poetic about a million other things, but at the end of the day, I’m allll about the candy.

People say when you give up sugar, you eventually stop craving it.  I call bullshit.  All I can think about is sugar and syrup and icing and peanut butter and honey and chocolate.  all.i.can.think.about. 

And as much as I love fruit, I’ve had juuuust about enough of the mango, my friends.

In order to drive myself totally insane, I’ve decided to compile a list of the top 10 treats I hope the Easter Bunny leaves for me in my Easter basket.  Some are treats that I already know will be there.  Because, let’s face it, I can’t count on the damn Bunny, and I’ve already gone ahead and bought many of my own Easter delicacies.

A few of the items, though, are not already in a bag, double-knotted and hidden in the closet of the spare room upstairs.  I can still hope for a little Easter Bunny magic, can’t I?

Here we go…

10.

robin-eggs

Robins Eggs -  I didn’t even know that these were called Robins Eggs until this year!  I just knew I really enjoyed the Whopper-style eggs, the malted milk ones.  My mom has an Easter Tree on her table this time of year, and when I saw her adding the Robins Eggs on the weekend to the base of the tree, I suddenly wanted to eat them all.  I didn’t.  But apparently she did.  They seem to have disappeared, anyways…

9.

EE Easter Milk Chocolate Eggs

Gold-wrapped peanut butter eggs – As a child, these were my favourite.  They were plain, a generic brand, nothing really special about them. But when I saw those gold wrappers, I might as well have found real gold.  When Maddy egged me a few weeks ago, I was delighted to discover some of these eggs in the treats she left for me.  At least, I think they are the ones I fondly remember from my childhood.  I guess I’ll have to wait until Sunday to find out for sure!

8.

caramilk egg

Caramilk Eggs – In my mom’s Easter tree, each branch holds a large egg, and there are almost always a few Caramilk Eggs in there.  I have to have at least one!  Mmmm… Caramilk… I don’t care about the secret, I just want one.  In mah belly!!!

7.

russell-stover-easter-traditions-103073

White Chocolate Bunny – As kids, our Easter egg hunt was always full of excitement and fun, and the best part was discovering our big baskets, which would also be hidden around the house, and the baskets always held the “big” chocolate bunny.  That Rabbit knew that my sister loved white chocolate, but sometimes he forgot that I did too – so if I found my basket with a white chocolate bunny in it, it would make the day that much more special.  I honestly don’t remember the last time I had a white chocolate bunny, but in all my sugar cravings of the past 6 weeks, that’s one that keeps coming to mind.  So I picked up an el cheapo to satisfy that desire!!

6.

easter jelly beans

Jelly-Rabbits-1806-xl

Jelly Beans & Sugar-coated Jujubes -  Another key component of my mom’s Easter tree… what’s Easter without pastel-coloured jelly beans & sugar-coated bunny-shaped jujubes??  Droool….

5.

Cadburys-creme-eggs-001

Cadbury Creme Eggs – They always make me think of those Easter commercials, with the bunnies that would cluck like a chicken and lay Creme Eggs.  I was never a huge fan of them as a kid, but I’ve acquired a taste for them as an adult.  I only need one, but I look forward to it!

4.

Easter-MMs

carrot cake m&m's

M&M’s of all shapes & sizes! – I’m a big fan of the Peanut M&M’s, so why not get excited about them in EASTER colours?!  I already picked up a pack, just for me!  (OK, OK, also to go on top of some cookies that I’m going to bake.)  This year, I was elated to discover such a thing as Carrot Cake M&M’s… I had never heard of them until I spied them in WalMart last Friday afternoon!  You can darn well bet that I grabbed a bag, and it’s taking all the willpower in my body not to tear into them this week!

3.

Cadbury Mini Candy Eggs

Hersheys-Eggies

Cadbury Mini Eggs (or Hershey Eggies) – These are definitely one of my all-time favourites.  The Cadbury version are my favourite, but I had trouble finding them this year, and thus was forced to go with the Eggies instead.  But then I found the Mini Eggs in Wal Mart last week and got some of them too.  Not all for me… for the baking.  I promise.

2.

reeses

reeses_egg

american-reese-s-easter-peanut-butter-cup-miniatures-11oz-bag-20477-p

reeses eggs

Reece’s Peanut Butter Eggs & Peanut Butter Cups & Peanut Butter everythingThe PB eggs are what I’m all about.  Literally dreaming about them these days.  I think I grabbed a package of every single Easter treat that Reece’s makes.  Big eggs, little eggs, cups… I’ve got one of everything.  And I will salivate until I get one of each in my mouth.  I anticipate this will be the first thing I eat when I crawl out of bed on Easter morning.  In fact, I may leave one on my bedside table so I don’t even have to get out of bed.

1.

gold-bunny-lindt

The Lindt Gold Bunny – Here’s the magic I’m hoping for.  The piece de resistance.  I haven’t actually purchased one for myself.  It’s like I feel they are too precious and special to buy or something. I’ve held them in my hands, and always end up putting them back on the shelf.  I really don’t understand why.  Because Lindt chocolate is my absolute favourite, and every time I see a Gold Bunny commercial, I dream of having a Gold Bunny just for me.

I know.  I’m a total whackadoodle.

So there we have it.  The top 10 treats I hope to find in my Easter basket this year.

The one thing I hope isn’t there?  Those stale ol’ marshmallow eggs and bunnies we used to get as kids.  Blech.  No thank you, Easter Bunny!

IMG_0739

DareMarshmallowRabbits-2 

Actually.  Nevermind.  Even they sound good to me right now!!!!

What’s your favourite Easter treat?  (Or your top 10, if you’re as crazy as me?)  I mean, is it possible that I could’ve forgotten something?! 

Are your teeth aching?

C’maaaaaaaaaaan EASTER BUNNY!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A sugar-free single girl’s definition of heaven.

Mother Nature’s on crack today, dudes.  I mean, I had to drag my damn long johns back out.  And then had that wonderful dilemma of “what outerwear do I put on?”  Half-way through April, and they’re calling for everything from rain to freezing rain to ice pellets to snow.  Yesterday, it was +25-ish.  Today, it’s supposed to drop to –4 this afternoon.

I ended up in my winter coat and rubber boots.  I seriously have no idea if this was an appropriate choice.

I’m good with April rain.  Really, I am.  April freezing rain & snow??  Not so much.

Anyways.  Nothing we can do about it, right?  No point in whining.  Moving on.  To happier topics.

I don’t know how it happened exactly, but yesterday I discovered heaven.

I think it somehow developed when I couldn’t stop day-dreaming about my sister-in-law’s sugar-free vegan chocolate walnut cake, which I told you about yesterday.  I googled, looking for the recipe.  Couldn’t find anything that sounded like it.  But somewhere between there and Pinterest and God only knows what else I was clicking upon, I somehow came across it…

Chocolate Covered Katie.

Have you guys ever heard of this blog?  This blog… this blog totally made my day.

Chocolate Covered Katie is a dessert blog.  And not just any dessert blog… it’s a healthy dessert blog.

On a day when I couldn’t stop day-dreaming about chocolate cake, Chocolate Covered Katie came to the rescue with this little recipe called “One Minute Chocolate Cake In a Mug”.

I’ve seen recipes before for easy-to-make desserts, whipped together in mugs and baked quickly in the microwave.  But this was the first time I’ve actually tried one.

And ohmygodiminserioustrouble.

This was amazing.  Sinful.  Decadent.  Delicious.  I still can’t believe I made it in a mug.  And it was sugar-free.  And it only took a few minutes.

How the hell am I NOT going to make this dessert every.single.day.?!?!

You can find the original recipe here.  I made a few adjustments to mine, so here’s my twist on things:

One-Minute Chocolate Cake In a Mug

  • 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. Stevia in the Raw
  • 3 tsp. coconut oil, melted
  • 3 Tbsp. unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine dry ingredients in a mug and mix very well.  Add liquid and stir well.  Microwave 30-40 seconds (mine took a minute, but my microwave doesn’t seem to be very powerful).

And… ta-da!

chocolate-mug-cake-2

Then, Chocolate Covered Katie suggests, top it with a healthy fudge frosting, such as her Reeces Pieces Frosting.

Well, sure, why the hell not?

Here’s my take on that one:

Reeces Pieces Frosting

  • 1/4 cup of PB2 mixed with 2 Tbsp. water to create peanut butter (or just use 1/4 of real peanut butter)
  • 4-8 tsp. pure maple syrup (I used 6, it was a bit too sweet)
  • 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 4 tsp. unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix everything together vigorously.  (She says to blend in a food processor or Magic Bullet… I just whipped it together by hand).

She also says to store leftover frosting covered in the fridge.  To that, I say, “What leftover frosting????”

Yes, this frosting recipe probably made enough for 2 mug cakes.  But I only made one cake, and I someone managed to lick up every drop of icing… So sue me.   Mine didn’t turn out really the consistency of what I consider to be icing – it was thinner, more like what you’d find come oozing out of chocolate lava cake.  Next time, I might try less milk and syrup. But regardless, I poured it on top of the mug cake, and then when I got down a layer, I poured more in, and it was… so.freaking.amazing.

The scary part is that this was so easy to make, that I could definitely see myself on a low-willpower-day going back to make a second one.  The good news is that yesterday, I didn’t have enough cocoa powder in the house to make more than one.  Otherwise, I could’ve been in major serious big-time trouble.

It is really awesome, though, that many of the desserts and recipes on her blog are single-servings.  If I could ever get my willpower under control, it really is the perfect place for me to turn to when my sweet tooth gets the best of me.  Healthy dessert recipes that taste delicious, and seem tailor-made for the single girl?

It really is my kind of heaven!

And even by eating all of the frosting, the whole shebang was only about 250 calories.  Based on the nutritional information off the website, and the little tweaks I made to the recipes, I figure the actual cake part was about 140 calories and the full go of icing was 100 calories.

I can see myself turning to this website often in the future, as there were so many tempting recipes to try.  I’ve talked a lot over the past few weeks about my intentions to over-dose on sugar on Sunday (and probably for a few days after that), but in truth, I’d like to keep myself as sugar-free & healthy in the dessert department as possible.  It’s just that some days, fruit doesn’t cut it.  From what I can tell from the website perusing I’ve done, Katie will be able to come to my rescue again and again on those particular days.

I think tonight I shall try her Single-Lady Carrot Cake

Monday, April 14, 2014

Taking a cosmic breath… feeling grateful

Good Monday morning, friends!

Well, it was a busy weekend.  A really busy weekend.  You know it’s been busy when you find yourself looking forward to the peace and routine of a regular ol’ Monday.  (?!?!  I know.  weirdo.)

And yet, our minister Rev. Nancy spoke during her Palm Sunday sermon yesterday of pausing for a moment to take a cosmic breath.  Have things stand still for a minute, and just look around, soak it in, and be grateful.  I found myself doing that this weekend, even in the midst of all the busy-ness.  What a lovely idea… a lovely notion.

I feel grateful.  For so much.  Here’s a list of the little things that I took away from this weekend that make me pause, take stock, soak it up, and be ever so thankful.

  • The little people in my life.  With Baby Sam’s arrival, the happy news that my circle of friends will be expanding in the coming months with even more little ones, and spending time with my own nieces and nephew, I am ever so grateful for all of the children I know & love.  They make my heart swell.

Jill and kids

  • Friends.  I’ve always claimed that my friends are the best in the world.  This weekend I was thinking of how they know me so well, they understand my quirks, they accept me for who I am (in all my nutty glory), and they just… get me.
  • The anticipation of sugar… The past few weeks have been tough, as Lent dragged on and I realized that giving up sugar & sweeteners (and then peanut butter & honey) is definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever given up for Lent.  Harder than I ever expected it to be.  But now that we’ve reached the last week, I’m no longer grumbling about it… I’m looking forward with deep & utter anticipation!  It’s a fun feeling to have, that excitement!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • … and the beauty of discovering that being sugar-free doesn’t mean going without.   God bless my sister-in-law Amanda.  With my mom’s birthday this past weekend, my sister and I struggled with what to do about a cake.  We both gave up sugar for Lent, yet we didn’t feel it was right to make our poor mother sacrifice a birthday cake because of us.  However, we both had so much on the go this weekend that we didn’t know how we were going to figure it out.  And then, Amanda offered.  She had found a recipe for a sugar-free vegan chocolate & walnut cake, and she said she would make it for Mom’s birthday.  And it was amazing.  Rich, decadent, moist… like, go-back-for-a-second-slice amazing.  Kara & I both felt like we were cheating, it was so good.

cake

  • Pleasant surprises.  Like, showing up at church yesterday morning and having the minister’s grand-daughter bring me an Archie Double Digest!  She handed it to me, and said, “My nana got this for you.”  I swear, I couldn’t wipe the grin from my lips.  I thought it was so sweet of Nancy to pick one up for me, after I wrote last week about how I was feeling the need to re-visit my youth & my love for Archie comics.

ArchieDoubleDigest_250-1This is the exact one I got!! 

  • … Also, showing up at our favourite spot for brunch after church, and finding two of my mom’s siblings & their spouses there awaiting us for a special birthday breakfast with her!   As we walked in, they all broke out singing “Happy Birthday”.  I didn’t know they were all going to be there, so it was a really nice surprise, especially since I haven’t seen Aunt Nora & Uncle Elson since they left for Florida last fall!
  • Watching a group that I love grow even stronger.  And by that, I mean our Quyon Canada Day Committee.  We’ve had a few new members join this year, and we all teamed up on Saturday to host our first event of 2014 - another successful poker tournament.  Personally, I played the worst game of poker I think I ever have in my life, and I felt down-right rusty and dopey while actually playing.  But when I looked around and saw everyone working – helping – volunteering their time – bringing in food – cleaning up afterwards (in record time, I might add!) – I felt very proud to be a part of it all.  We work well together, and it makes things so enjoyable when you’re part of a good team.
  • Spring thundershowers.  Everyone knows I don’t like storms, but last night, it just seemed to be gentle thundershowers rolling through, and I have to say… I loved it.  When we got home from Mom’s birthday celebration, I cleaned up my kitchen, then crawled into bed early with my new Archie.  Cozying up with the rain pattering against my bedroom window and the sound of thunder rolling in the distance … it was pure bliss.
  • The smell of spring.  It feels like we’ve waited extra-long this year, but spring has finally sprung.  The snow is almost all gone, and the signs of new growth and new life are beginning to pop up.  Little shoots of spring flowers in the beds, a vivid green beginning to take over the lawns… and of course, that fresh, earthy scent that I love so much.  Taking that deep cosmic breath is so much better when that’s what I’m breathing in.

spring

  • Looking ahead to a really fun weekend!  It ties back in to that feeling of excitement and anticipation I mentioned earlier… but this coming weekend is really more than just the Easter eggs and pancakes and dessert on Sunday.  It’s looking ahead to a 4-day weekend (usually bittersweet for me, since it’s always been my “last long weekend”, but since I started back full-time earlier this spring, I get the long-weekend-excitement just like everyone else for a change!)  It’s the culmination of Holy Week – a week of somber reflection and prayer, mixed in with the exciting prepartion.  It’s looking forward to going to the movies with the kids, and a Good Friday meal of Fish & Chips at Mom’s.  It’s looking forward to a sleepover with the kids, and all the fun things I have planned for us (probably more than we can even squeeze in!)  It’s the anticipation of preparing food on Saturday for our Easter meal.  And then, of course, one of my favourite days of the year.  The absolute thrill of Easter Sunday.  A delicious meal.  Easter eggs all day long.  Time spent with family.  I so can’t wait!!!

I’m so very grateful for it all.  What are you breathing in and feeling grateful for this Monday?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

C’mon, now. You can’t kill off ARCHIE.

I’m digging deep, here, people.  Because all I want to write about is Lent and Easter and sugar and peanut butter Easter eggs dipped in honey.  And I KNOW you’re all sick of it.  Because that’s ALL I’ve written about.  For weeks.

I’m sick of reading my own blog posts myself, so I don’t blame you.

So today, I’m digging deep, and I’m talking about something else for a change.

One of the fond memories of my youth, even though I’d kind of forgotten about him, to be honest:  Archie Andrews.

archie

Yes, there was a time when I was a big fan of the Archie comics.  Like, a really big fan.  I remember my mom introducing them to me when I was a kid.  I don’t think it was really an “introduction to reading” thing for me, like it was for some kids, as I always loved to read (The Babysitters Club & Sweet Valley High, anyone??) – but Archie was a special treat.

ArchieComicsLogo_sm

I remember the feeling of excitement when I discovered one of those comics in my stocking on Christmas morning, or in my Easter basket amidst the chocolate eggs and skipping rope (sorry, last time I say the word “EASTER” today, promise).  It was always a thrill if I was with my mom when she got groceries (I always hated grocery trips as a kid!) and at the check-out, she’d tell me it was OK to grab an Archie if I wanted.  Double Digests… I always went for the Double Digests, if she’d let me!

2194949-archie_double_digest_226

In my early teen years, it was with absolute glee that I discovered my neighbours Wayne & Brenda were also big Archie fans, and so when I was babysitting for their kids, after the littles had gone to bed, I literally had tons of Archies to choose from for my reading pleasure.

I loved Archie.  Really, seriously loved him.  I loved Pop Tate’s shoppe.  I loved Archie’s old jalopy.  I loved Jughead and all of his delicious-looking hamburgers.  I loved the love triangle with Archie, Betty & Veronica.  I loved Moose and Midge and Reggie… I loved it all.

Gang at Pop's_FR

It’s been years since I’ve read one, though.  A really, really long time.

And yet still, I was shocked yesterday when I heard them talking on the radio that Archie was going to be killed off in the near future.

What??  What?!?!

Dudes, seriously.  You can’t kill off the title character of a comic series!  What would Archie comics be without… ARCHIE?!?

archie (1)

It reminds me of that time in the early years of Grey’s Anatomy, there was like a 3-episode arc where Meredith Grey almost drowns, and there’s this whole “will she live or will she die?” thing happening.  Despite being caught up in the drama of it all, I kept telling myself, “It’s called GREY’s Anatomy.  They’re not going to kill off THE Grey!!”

Alas, it is true.  Archie is going to be killed off.  I researched it myself this morning.

But things have changed in the world of the Archies since I last read them, apparently.  There are different series going on.  The one that Archie is being killed off in is “Life With Archie”, which apparently has been following Archie as an adult.  Archie beyond Riverdale High, beyond the Chok’lit Shoppe, beyond…well… the 1950’s.  (BTW - Did you know Archie picked Veronica?!  I can’t believe it!) 

life with archie

Apparently Archie will die to save a friend.  A hero.  A humble guy always there to help others.  Just like the Archie I remember from my youth.  The creators are calling it “a natural conclusion for the Life With Archie series”.

However, I’ve been assured not to despair.  There will still be Archie Andrews in the world.    The original Archie series is going to continue – WITH Archie – and there’s apparently also a Zombie Archie series?  (yeah… things have really changed in the Archie world since I last picked one up, evidently!!)

archiezombie

In any case, I was relieved to know that Archie’s not going to completely go the way of the dodo bird.  Because all of this Archie talk has me really wanting to pick one up again, for old times’ sake.

It’s been a long time since I’ve checked in with one of my favourite freckle-faced redheads.

And I think Archie and I are long over-due! :)

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Wednesday Ramblings

Happy Wednesday, friends!  Let’s ramble on…

  • I’m starting to wonder if it’s ever going to warm up around here.  The snow is going, slowly but surely, and the sun is shining brightly today, but it still feels so cold… I dream of going for a walk without a coat and toque!!
  • Ah, who am I kidding.  There is no room in my life for other dreams.  And by other dreams, I mean any dream that does not involve sugar.  Or peanut butter.  Or honey.  I have been consumed by the sugary desserty chocolatey peanutbutterandhoneyey dreams.

cake and candy

  • Pleased, though, that I’ve now gone two and almost a half days without the PB&honey.  So far, so good!
  • I mentioned that I bought all my Easter candy last weekend, and then received more in the “egging” that took place at my house last Sunday.  So, where are all of these treats, you ask?  How am I resisting them?  They are hidden.  Double-bagged, with knots tied, and stowed away in a closet, upstairs, out of sight.  That is the only way I can trust myself to stay away.  When things are out of sight, I can usually keep ‘em out of mind.

easter eggs

  • I’ve got a busy weekend on deck.  An eye appointment Friday afternoon, Book Club Friday evening, Canada Day Committee Poker Tournament on Saturday, and Palm Sunday, as well as celebrating my mom’s birthday on Sunday.  Wooo!  Gonna keep me on my toes, but I’m looking forward to it!
  • THE SIGN IS GONE!  THE SIGN IS GONE!!  WOOOO HOOOOO!!  As my fellow Quebecers – and probably most Canadian friends – know, we had a big election in my home province this past Monday.  About a month ago, the political party that I despise the MOST posted one of their electoral signs pretty much right outside my house.  I have scowled at it for weeks.  In fact, I threatened many times to take it down, but my mom insisted I wasn’t allowed to touch it – apparently it’s a criminal offence to tamper with electoral signs.  It really stuck in my craw that it was there, though, and especially so close to a church (right next door to me).  Didn’t seem right.  Tacky & tasteless.  In any case… that political party, the Parti Quebecois, which held a minority government going into this election, went down in flames BIG time, as we elected a majority Liberal government, and it was with great delight that I discovered this morning that their sign had been removed sometime during the night.  We can all rest easily again, my friends!!

Quebec election

  • I am so super-excited for Easter this year.  With it being so late, and combined with no-sugar-Lent, it feels like I’ve been waiting forever for it to arrive.  On Good Friday after church, I plan on taking my niece and nephew to a matinee movie, and then have them over for a sleepover.  I’m planning on baking some Easter treats with them either Friday evening or Saturday morning, and taking them to rent a movie at the store, as well as to buy some snacks for a little movie night, too.  I doubt they are as excited for this as I am! haha!  Then, after they leave on Saturday, I’ll have the rest of the day to prep food for our Easter dinner on Sunday.  I can’t wait!
  • It’s all going to be lots of fun, but the part I can’t wait for the most is the Easter Eggs.  Lord, what I’d give for a peanut butter Easter Egg RIGHT.NOW.

pb eggs

  • I’ve been planning Easter dinner in my head for weeks.  My menu has changed many times, but after discussing it with my mom (and, in turn, her discussing it with my sister), we have settled on ham, meatballs, scalloped potatoes, baked beans, salads, buns, pickles & cheese, and yet-to-be-determined dessert (although I’m still rooting for Hummingbird Cake).  Drooling.  A month ago, I was fighting for turkey dinner, but as the long winter dragged on, I eventually completely lost my appetite for turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes with gravy.  That screams “CHRISTMAS” to me right now.  And even though Christmas is my favourite time of year… I’m dying for “spring” tastes right now!!
  • I was sad to hear that one of my favourite Ottawa Valley restaurants went up in flames earlier this week.  It was almost one year ago that we took my mom to TOSH in Arnprior for a huge family gathering and celebration in honour of her & my cousin Dave’s birthdays.  I haven’t been back since, and unfortunately, it looks like I won’t be for some time due to the catastrophic damage.  I hope the owners are able to rebuild, as it was one of the nicest places in our area.

TOSH Fam & friends at TOSH, almost one year ago…

  • And now, because it’s sunny out & I’m feeling upbeat, here are a few of my current fave tunes:

“Shake” by Walk Off The Earth

“Not a Bad Thing” by Justin Timberlake (yes, purposely chose the vid from his performance on Jimmy!!!)

“Higher” by Classified ft. B.o.B.

“Wild Wild Love” by Pitbull ft. G.R.L.

Hope you’re all enjoying a wonderful Wednesday!! :)

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The latest challenge. I know. Lord love a duck.

That’s right, folks.  I have LESS than two weeks to go with this no-sugar-or-sweetener Lent BULLCRAP that I am putting myself through, and I have decided to give myself ANOTHER challenge.

There’s something mentally wrong with me.

But the fact is, I have an addictive personality.  I’ve always known this.  When I loooove something, I really love it.  Like Wade Redden.  And chips and dip.  And Prison Break.  And Jimmy Fallon.

When I gave up sugar & artificial sweeteners for Lent, my main concern was that I would then be inclined to replace that addiction with something else.  My goal was to NOT fall victim to that trap.  Can’t have cookies and jelly beans and mini marshmallows for 40 days?  Fine, but do NOT decide to replace them with chips and honey roasted peanuts!

I’ve done that before, see.  I can talk myself into anything.  I gave up chips before (they are my biggest weakness in life, I think) – but then somehow convinced myself that Cheesies and Doritos and White Cheddar Popcorn were not chips, so I was allowed to eat them.

It’s really a vicious cycle in my brain.

Anyways.  So for Lent, I gave up desserts and sweets and Coffeemate and Diet Pepsi, and made it a goal to not replace them with another vice.

I have failed, friends.  I have failed.

Back during the 7-day Clean Eating Challenge that I took part in, a few of the girls in the group were lamenting over how much they really missed chocolate and sweets.  And I was all like, “Hey ladies, I gave up sugar for Lent and I’m already a few weeks in, trust me, the cravings pass!  It gets easier!”  All swagger.  All cocky-like.

And then, one of the other girls shared her remedy:  “When I get hit with a craving and can’t suppress it with a cup of tea, I have a spoonful of natural peanut butter drizzled with honey.  It helps.”

And then Jill goes, Hmmm… never thought of doing that.  It doesn’t violate any of my Lenten laws…  I’m allowed honey…  And I have a jar of natural PB in the fridge… I should try that!

Boom.  New addiction.

pb

honey-jar

And you can bet your ass that this kid can NOT stop at just one spoonful.  Barely able to hold myself to five or six.

For the past few weeks, PB & honey has been my gig.  Most evenings, you would’ve been able to find me standing at my counter, hovering over my jars of PB & honey with spoons, pretty much whimpering with delight.  Sweet heavenly Jesus, it was good stuff.  I didn’t need bread or biscuits or banana slices.  Just my spoons and my jars.  That’s it.

It quickly became a problem.  I had promised myself that I would not replace my sweet tooth cravings with anything other than fruit & yogurt for dessert, and even though the PB & honey was within my rules, it had absolutely, 100% become the new addiction.

pb and honeyI seriously might as well have filled a bowl like this… 

I felt very guilty about that.

So I gave myself a new challenge.  Two weeks left to go for Lent 2014.  Can I go the rest of the way without my new favourite treat?

Yesterday was Day 1, and I’m proud to say I was successful.  Even though my mind drifted to the PB & honey many times during the evening, I held firm.  I didn’t crumble.  I kept myself busy all evening, doing laundry, dishes, some food prep for the rest of the week… and I successfully stayed out of the jar of peanut butter AND the jar of honey.

One day at a time.

Only 12 more days to go.

When I wake up on Easter morning, the first thing I’m going to do is eat a chocolate-covered peanut butter Easter Egg.

reeses_egg

…I might even dip it in honey.

Monday, April 07, 2014

A good weekend. A really good weekend. :)

Yep.  I have to say, that was a really good weekend, for sure!

It kicked off with a wonderful phone call on Friday morning from one of my best friends, Lindsay, to share the happy news that she and her husband Ryan safely welcomed their new baby boy the night before!

Samuel

I was pretty pumped, especially since I correctly guessed that it would be a boy (I NEVER get those predictions right!!), and I also correctly guessed that he would be named “Samuel”.  Samuel Ryan William weighed in at 8 lbs. 8 ozs, and is just as cute as can be!

Our company Team Meeting was on Friday at work, and I was given permission to leave early as soon as the meeting was over (pays to work for Baby Sam’s fam! haha!) to run up to Shawville to do groceries and to go meet the newest little man in my life!  I was so happy to snuggle with him and visit with the new mommy & daddy.  Everyone looked great, and he’s such a precious little bundle.  I could’ve held him for hours.  I just love to have a newborn in my arms!!

Jill & Sam

Jill, Linds & Sam 

When I got home from Shawville, I called my mom to come join me for supper, as I had put on a big pot of my new favourite  Chunky Potato Tomato Soup (recipe here).  It was a blustery, cold, sleety/rainy evening, and so it was nice to sit down to a big hot bowl of hearty soup!  I was pretty zonked after the busy, exciting day, so I went to bed early and put on a movie – I think I fell asleep about 2 minutes in, though!

Saturday morning I was up early to work out, then lounged around catching up on some PVR’d TV shows, before getting ready to head out for a movie date with my mom, my sister, and my sister’s mother-in-law.  We decided to catch a matinee showing of Noah.  I enjoyed the movie, although I was a bit confused by parts of it (I guess they’re right when they say it doesn’t really follow the Bible story that closely, because I don’t remember there being any giant rock monsters in the Bible…) We had a lot to talk about after it was over, that’s for sure! 

noah

We headed to Boston Pizza afterwards, where my brother-in-law met us for supper with the kids.  I treated myself big, buttery popcorn at the movies, Cactus Cut Potatoes and a small Tuscan Pizza at Boston Pizza, because I had reason to celebrate:  the workout accountability group that I have been part of since early January had hit 90 days!  It was a 90 day challenge group, and I never missed one workout or shake, so it was time for a big reward!!

Sunday morning started out with a big surprise, as I stepped out the door to head to church and was shocked to see a bunch of brightly coloured Easter eggs all over my front walk way.  My first thought was that the Sunday School kids must be having an Easter Egg hunt at church that day, but then I thought, “Huh?  They wouldn’t be doing that 2 weeks before Easter…”  It was then that I spotted a hanger on my door, which said that I had been “egged”!  It stated that 12 Easter eggs had been left in my yard.  I got to keep the treats inside for myself, but I had to refill them and egg one of my neighbours in return to keep the fun going.  Talk about putting a smile on my face!!

After I had collected my eggs and was heading over to church, my friend Stacy pulled up with her kids, and as we walked over to the church together, I was telling her daughter Maddy all about the surprise I’d found a few minutes before.  Maddy acted all aloof, like, “Whatever, no idea what you’re talking about,”  but I had my suspicions that she might’ve been my “mystery bunny”.  Sure enough, I saw this picture posted on Facebook later that day!

Maddy eggs

I had fun re-filling the eggs (luckily I had bought all my Easter candy on Friday afternoon, and I seemed to have gone a bit over-board in anticipation of the end of No-Sugar Lent, so I had plenty to share!!), and I took my turn at “egging” a neighbour up the street this morning before work!  I hope there are 2 excited little girls today when they discover the eggs, and I hope they didn’t catch me in the act! haha!

Sunday after church, Mom and I rushed off to a bridal shower for an old friend of mine, Jackie.  We were treated to a delicious lasagna lunch, while Jackie was showered with gifts!  After the shower was over, we decided to pop in on the new parents and babe again, as Mom had a gift to drop off.  (And of course, I just couldn’t wait to see Baby Sam again!!)

Baby Sam & Mom

When we left Lindsay and Ryan’s, it was almost supper time, and after trying to decide what we had between us in our fridges, we decided to splurge again and go out for supper.  We ended up in Portage at the Bateau Royale, one of my favourite local restaurants, and treated myself – AGAIN! – to an appetizer of Bruschetta (they make the BEST Bruschetta!!) and an absolutely drool-worthy platter of Fish & Chips.  (but that’s it for the treats until Easter now! haha!)

It was the perfect way to cap off such a wonderful weekend!! :)