Peanut Butter Chocolate Crispy Cookies

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When I was a kid my Grandma used to make these peanut butter chocolate balls every December. More often than not, my mom would try to hide them in the freezer but my sisters and I always found them. We would gorge ourselves on their chocolate-y goodness and come Christmastime, there would be none leftover! To this day they’re one of my favourite treats and they’re the perfect for any occasion.

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 2 cups of crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 cups of rice crispies
  • 1 lb of powder sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1 package of semi-sweet chocolate chips

What to do:

Start by melting your butter in a saucepan. Once it’s hot stir in the peanut butter until smooth. Add your vanilla then pour into a large bowl. Mix in the powder sugar and rice crispies. Use your hands to make sure the ingredients are all mixed together then roll them into small balls. Stick them in the fridge for 2 hours.

Melt your chocolate chips in a bowl over a pot of boiling water. Stir continuously. Once the chocolate is melted dip the peanut butter balls in and place them onto parchment paper. Sprinkle with Himalayan pink salt. Set the chocolate covered treats in the fridge for a few hours until hard.

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That’s it!

Is there anything better than peanut butter, chocolate and salt?? BEST COMBO EVER.

xx

Ursula

Why I started eating meat again after 8 years

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The more I learn about nutrition the more I’m convinced that it’s an intensely individual thing. What works for one might not work for another. All we can do is listen to our bodies and give it our best go.

I’m nervous to write this post because I feel like my personality has been somewhat built around the fact that I was a vegan/vegetarian for almost a decade. I know that sounds silly but it’s true! I’ve always been attached to the concept of healthy eating, but overtime my understanding of what it means to eat healthy has become narrow and rigid.

When I was a wee little twenty year old, I went abroad to the Netherlands. If I could wrap up the experience in one sentence it would be “greatest time of my life”. Aside from hanging out with a great group of friends, frequenting cafes, traveling, and drinking delicious beers, I also became a pescatarian. Ugh, I don’t even like the word ‘pescatarian’ because it conjures up images of really snotty cartoon characters, but alas, that’s what I was.

Within six months I was a vegan and I loved it. Becoming vegan reintroduced me to the concept of food as a source of nutrition and health. I learned to love the taste of raw vegetables and savour things like nutritional yeast, fresh plums and organic cashews. I learned to cook and to recognize how my body felt after eating certain foods. Not to mention my weight became consistent and it stopped fluctuating every couple months. And I was a strict vegan. I wouldn’t touch anything with modified milk ingredients and I avoided all baked goods that didn’t come from vegan sources.

Flash forward five years to when I moved to northern Canada and decided to start training for my first half-ironman. I was diligent about eating but I just couldn’t maintain my energy levels and I started to become an ‘unhealthy vegan’. I ate things that were vegan but nothing that was nutrient dense and my body suffered as a result.

I know there are tons of elite athletes who swear by a vegan diet. I admire them greatly but it requires diligence and time. For me, it was it too difficult and I started eating eggs and dairy. I stuck to a mainly vegan diet (about 85%) with the occasional animal product to help me recover faster from my big training sessions.

Eight years after giving up meat (beef, pork, poultry) I find myself feeling the consequences. My energy levels are really low and my hair started falling out (you might remember this post). The results of my blood tests showed that I had dangerously low iron stores and my B12 was almost non-existent. Neither of these things are that uncommon in people who eat a mostly plant-based diet. I was able to maintain good nutrient levels for years but over time the body can deplete most of its stores and long-term this can have serious side effects. Not to mention I was low on essential amino acids. I met with two separate nutritionists who both told me that if I wanted to improve my symptoms in a timely manner I needed to eat meat.

With much thought and reflection, I have slowly started to eat some red meat. I’m adamant that the meat be local, hormone free, free-range and organic. Lucky for me I live in a part of Canada where it’s easy to find meats that come from well raised family farms. I won’t compromise on this because factory farming is what led me to becoming vegan in the first place. I rarely eat beef because of the huge environmental impact methane gas has on our planet. And I believe that even meat eaters should limit their meat intake to only a few times a week. In today’s day and age the average north american eats meat 2-3 times a day! Not only is that unhealthy it’s not environmentally sustainable.

I can’t say I’ll eat meat forever. I still feel strongly about living a mostly plant-based lifestyle. All I can say it that right now, my body is craving something and I need to be responsive.

I want to add that this post is not to criticize a plant-based diet. Like I said, I’m a big supporter. I think we all could do to eat more fruits and vegetables and less processed food. Being a vegan or vegetarian helps you eat amounts of plant foods required for a healthy diet, but my experience is that it can also be challenging to meet all your nutrient requirements over the long haul.

Have you ever struggled to introduce something into your diet? Are you a vegetarian or vegan? How do you listen to your body? 

**I’m not a nutritionist or doctor. These thoughts on diet and nutrition are mine alone and are not intended as medical advice **

Ursula

Do You Want to go to the Seaside?

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Recently, the weather dropped to -43 C in FSJ. To say it was cold would be an understatement. It was frigid. Burn-your-hands-and-lose-your-toes-frigid.

Normally, when the temperatures drop below -40 C, I start to lose feeling in my nose I console myself by dreaming of the seaside. The birds, the smells, the sounds of the waves….I long for it all.

You wanna go to the seaside with me?

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Shall we pack our bags already??

xx

Ursula

Quinoa, Kale, Apple & Pumpkin Seed Salad

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Is it me or is January a healthy month? In our house, we look at it as an opportunity to detox our bodies from December’s shenanigans. And boy oh boy do we need detoxing! I can’t even begin to to count the amount of chocolate and cheese platters that loitered around over the holidays.

In the hopes of cleaning up our meals, I made this quinoa salad and much to my delight it was light and flavourful. Added to that, it’s jam packed with nutrients and there are no added sugars. So baaaaaasically it’s a winner.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 2 gala apples
  • 2 cups of chopped kale
  • 2 tbsp of chopped green onion
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2.5 balsamic vinaigrette
  • salt and pepper to taste

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What to do:

Start by filling a pot with 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil then let simmer for 15 minutes. Once cooked, set aside.

Wash and chop your apples and kale. In a large skillet, lightly pan fry both until they are slightly wilted (approx. 3-5 minutes). Next throw in your pumpkin seeds and cook all together for an additional 2 minutes. I didn’t add any oil to the skillet and I used a cast iron pan. Be sure to stir frequently and your ingredients won’t stick.

Next combine your quinoa with the apple, kale and pumpkin seeds. Toss with olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette. Finish off the salad with green onion, salt and pepper to taste then serve warm.

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Do you clean up your meals come January? 

xx

Ursula

1 Headband 3 Ways

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Can you believe it’s 2015 already? Crazy! I swear this past year just flew by. I love the start of a new year because it feels like the start of a new opportunity. It’s another chance to accomplish the things you set out to accomplish the year before. Ian and I have big plans this year, mainly we plan on getting hitched. I also hope to continue to live our lives surrounded by good people and the great outdoors.

In other news, I made a super simple black velvet headband a few months ago. Basically, I took one long piece of fabric that was tapered on the ends. I folded it over and sewed the edges together and then flipped it right side out. I hand stitched the ends shut and next thing I knew I had a fancy head band that has been fun to play around with. To all my non-sewing friends out there, this craft requires little to no sewing skills. If you wanted you could even sew the whole thing together with a hand-stitch (although it might take a bit longer).

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Hair style number one is a simple up do (aka a lazy bun). I love this tutorial by Treasures & Travel. I never thought to tease my hair before putting it up in a top knot but it makes it look a thousand times better.  After securing the bun, I used a handful of bobby pins to hold the bun in place then finished off with a head band tied at the back.

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This is my favourite look. I tied the head band in a bow at the top of my head and then shifted it slightly to the side. So easy and it helps keep hair out of my face.

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Third and final style, I pulled my hair into a low pony tail and tied it with a bow. I used a few bobby pins to hold the sides in and that was it!

Done and done.

Do you ever wear head bands? Ever made one before? 

Happy New Year! xxx

Ursula