Organic Layered Gardens

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So it seems I’ve been preoccupied lately with things that revolve around real world scenarios and less to do with the hubbub of the online world. For the past six years, I could say I was truly drawn into that world of instant gratification…of status updates, likes, follows and so on. But in the past few months, I’ve truly embraced the idea of unplugging myself from that dystopia. True enough, I’ll never truly let go, as I’m always one to keep up with politics, real world international news, my friends in faraway lands and music (which is much more easily accessible via the web as opposed to in real life)…but I’m much happier visiting with friends for coffee in the flesh, gabbing on the phone (who knew these things had phones?!) instead of texting and so on.

But what I really want to share with you is what I’ve been spending all my time doing, besides hiking the nearby mountainscapes (as I’ve already told you about in my previous posts).

Anyone who has followed my blog for a few years knows my obsession with organic gardening, urban agriculture and supporting local food. I’ve lived in rented or purchased houses for the past seven years, having escaped the clutches of the apartment/condo part of my life for good. Although the low maintenance attraction of condos and apartments was good when I was young, I now crave the ability to be able to wander through a yard whenever the whim strikes me. When I am the owner, I usually make it a priority to remove as much grass as possible, as I’m not a big fan of mowing…but sometimes even that can be therapeutic. I plug in some tunes, pull that cord and away I go…
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Heart Health Month 2015

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If you didn’t know already, February is Heart Health Month, put on by the people behind the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. This charity is near to my heart as my father-in-law has suffered from strokes and turned his whole life around to be a healthier, fitter, stronger version of himself. He really showed me that anyone of any age and background can really change their ways, they just need a little motivation. The key is to get motivated before it is too late.

So I’ve partnered with Staples Canada for the month of February on the #GetOutAndGoto campaign to set some goals and talk about health, fitness, diet and something many people forget to mention, happiness. All of these things are truly intertwined. It’s hard to be happy when you don’t feel healthy or your poor diet makes you sick. Many factors contribute to a decline in health, such as stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, abuse of alcohol or drugs, etc. 
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Escargot and Mushroom Flatbread

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When I asked my lovely followers on Facebook what kind of mushroom related post they would like to see me write in the coming weeks for my lovely friends at Mushrooms Canada, I received a pretty overwhelming response. Most people came up with some delicious way to cook them like sautéed in butter, or flash fried with tempura, but a good portion of responders said they hated them. How can this BE?!

There are ENDLESS varieties of mushrooms out there, and even though the grocery stores usually only stock crimini, white and portobello, other varieties of mushrooms are just waiting for you to try them out. They don’t all taste the same, and they definitely do not all have the same consistency or mouth feel, so why hate them? My personal take on not liking foods is to question the reason, if they are adults, that is. Kids have weird reasons for not liking foods, like textures or colours, but they they also have difficulties explaining to you why they don’t like something. So when you ask them why, and they can’t tell you, it all breaks down and no one is happy, but when an adult says they don’t like a food (barring allergies) I always ask, “but why?!”.

To me mushrooms are kind of a background bit of kind of spongy goodness that soaks up flavours like butter, salt and garlic (always a good mushroom combo right there) and that serve as little dishes to bring me other wonderful eats, such as crab and cream cheese or escargot. So let’s talk about that one right there, escargot. Another weird kind of food that only a select few awesome people eat. I get it, they’re snails…which are like bugs and are all slimy and gross and have antennas. The world is headed toward more bug eating though, as we find that the foods we do eat are harder to sustain. So why stick to the same old pork, beef, chicken and fish? Branch out! Eat some snails!

This flatbread is a great way to introduce escargot to anyone that has never tried it as they are chopped up quite fine and blend in with the mushrooms. My kids don’t usually eat onions, mushrooms and especially not snails, but they gobbled this “pizza” up like any other. Head on over to the Mushrooms Canada Blog to find the recipe and let me know what you think!

New Year, New…

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You? Diet? Fitness plan?

I have said every year for at least the better part of a decade that I don’t make resolutions. What purpose is there in making arbitrary resolutions on a certain date and time? When I want to make a change in my life, I make it. Whether it’s a Saturday in August at 3pm or in the depths of Winter in February on a chilly evening, when I feel like something in my life has lost purpose, makes me unhappy or no longer fulfills a need, it’s gone. Why hold on to dead weight?

Something that my internal voice seems to scream louder and louder at me every year, is the infinitesimally small amount of time we have on this beautiful, mixed up, crazy planet. We spend so many years coming of age, finding a career, looking for love, raising children, paying bills, driving, sleeping, eating, watching Netflix, but how much time do we spend reflecting on how we, as people, enrich the lives of those around us? Or how beautiful this tiny green and blue marble really is, how special, how utterly unprecedented it is to live on this rock flying through space around and around a radioactive ball of fire? I mean, think about that for a second. Remember how tiny and completely insignificant we all are, but oh the things we can achieve in this short time! 
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Speculaas Cookie Butter and More!

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There’s something I don’t really talk much about around here that is somewhat of a contentious issue in the blogging world: freebies. When I first started this blog way back in 2009 it was purely out of boredom and wanting to have an outlet where I could display all my talents and hobbies, namely cooking, writing and photography. Fast forward five years and I’ve made a bit of a name for myself in the oversaturated world of food blogging (what some deem to be a dying trend).

In those five years, I’ve been approached by countless companies, brands, PR firms and individuals business owners to try out their product, test a recipe, give them free exposure on my site, talk to you about something, etc. I can honestly say that I turn down a good 50% of the offers I get, but some are just too lucrative to turn away and some I feel need the modest exposure I can offer.

So it was with an email I received a few months back asking me to test out a now smoothie recipe in my Blendtec. Funnily enough, at the time, I didn’t own a Blendtec. Being the snarky chick that I am, I replied with just such a comment. To my surprise, I was offered a Blendtec right then and there. To say I was happy would be an understatement. I have pined after Blendtecs for years. The “will it blend?!” campaign had reeled me in like no other advertisement in the history of late night infomercials (except Ron Popeil…remember him?!).

So I obviously, excitedly, nervously, over ecstatically said yes! And so it was that this was how I acquired the unbelievably amazing Blendtec Designer 725 with Wildside jar and additional Twister Jar to boot. I have been using this thing for about four months now, maybe a bit longer. I use it daily and I freaking LOVE it. You couldn’t pay me to say bad things about this blender, seriously.

Before we get to the pros (which are numerous), let’s cover the cons (of which there are two): price and noise. Being that this a ridiculously powerful blender that can turn your iPhone into dust in seconds, it’s not hard to believe that it wouldn’t be cheap. Prices range from about $649 anywhere up to $1025 which is quite a commitment for your morning smoothie, but with an 8-year warranty, you’ll probably never need to buy another one. That being said, it’s loud. But again, not surprising considering the powerful motor and 100 speeds you can choose from. So on to the pros, by which I mean features:

  • 1725 watt, 3.8 peak horsepower motor
  • Illuminated, capacitive touch interface
  • Preprogrammed cycles: Smoothie, Salsa, Ice Cream, Whole Juice, Hot Soup, Clean
  • 100-speed capacitive touch slider
  • Illuminated display indicates remaining blend time

SmartBlend Technology

The Blendtec Designer 725 is truly the blender with a brain. Our exclusive SmartBlend technology senses and identifies potential problems that could interfere with the perfect blend-including loading errors, overheating, or air pockets – and then tells users how to fix them. (Note: This is So cool! The blender stops and tells you there’s a problem, so you don’t have to worry about overheating it or blending up some nut butter)

100-Speed Capacitive Touch Slider + Multi-Speed Pulse

Get seamless precision speed control for 100 speeds with the slide of a finger. It even tells you which speed to use for stirring, chopping, mixing, blending, or pureeing. Use Multi-Speed Pulse for an added burst of power at any speed.

Preprogrammed Cycle Suggestions

Six preprogrammed custom cycles enable one-touch blending perfection: Smoothie, Salsa, Ice Cream, Whole Juice, Hot Soup, and Clean. The Designer 725 even suggests additional uses for each cycle so you know how to get the most from your blender.

“Add 10″ Feature

With a single touch, add 10-second blend intervals to completely customize your blends.

Blend Rewards

Get rewards for using your blender! The Designer 725 tracks your blends, then displays reward codes at certain milestones. Redeem the code online for recipe books, gift cards, kitchen utensils, jar discounts, and more. (Note: I just redeemed my first 5 rewards and they are pretty good. The more you get, the better the rewards…but I won’t spoil the surprise).

So FitFluential decided to work with Blendtec on a campaign, and of course…I was ALL over that! I was asked to create two recipes utilizing the many possibilities this blender offers. I decided on one that would be tough in a regular old blender, cookie butter and an easier one, strawberry cream scones with brown butter glaze. See below for recipes!

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