Our Engagement Story

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This past week, Michael and I took a trip to Calgary to visit with his family over New Year’s. We had a wonderful time catching up with his parents and brother, celebrating a belated Christmas, eating some delicious meals, and perusing through old albums of Michael as a little munchkin. Of course, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit beautiful Banff, just a short drive from Calgary.

The Banff Springs Hotel truly emulates its title as “A Castle in the Mountains”. The architecture is stunning, authentic, and being in an old castle surrounded by the Canadian snow-topped Rockies is nothing short of magical. Which is probably why Michael decided this would be the perfect location for a proposal.

The morning of the proposal, we had an amazing buffet breakfast in the Fairmont dining room. Michael didn’t give anything away as he was super calm and ‘going with the flow’. We even watched some Ellen DeGeneres in our hotel room and had a casual lunch. We were scheduled to meet a photographer for a mini photo session after lunch. It was then, while we were waiting for our lunch to arrive, that Michael went back up to the room to get his cell-phone (read: ring) so he could contact the photographer if we got lost in the huge castle.

We met up with the photographer and took some shots around the beautiful hotel, where we eventually came upon a mostly-quiet room with large windows and a fireplace. There, mid photo shoot, Michael got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! I was so stunned for a few moments, but of course, I said “yes!” without hesitation.

Banff is a place I visited twice with my family as a teenager, so, along with its obvious beauty, it holds a special place in my heart for the fond memories I have of being there. And now, I am lucky enough to add another incredibly special memory by experiencing one of the biggest milestones of my life there, with the person I cannot wait to begin forever with.

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Breakfast: A Photo Essay

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.”
-A.A. Milne  
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Overnight Oatmeal

It’s been over two months since Christmas and I’m still spiralizing my heart out. I have lots more recipes and photos that need to make their way onto this blog… Oh, and ‘spiralize’ still has not yet become a real word in the English language. *sigh*

Anyway, all that to say, although I’m still hooked on veggie noodles, I’ve recently developed an obsession for another cooking “theme”.

Mason Jar Meals!

Because, seriously, there’s just something about that little old fashioned glass jar that makes my soul happy. And stuffing it with food, well, that just amplifies the happiness.

:)

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I adapted this recipe from a post I found on Pinterest and it works like magic. You can have healthy, delicious, dessert-like breakfasts for the week in 10 minutes–max.

Per jar/serving:

– 1/4 cup oats

– 1/4 cup yogurt (I used 0% plain greek yogurt)

– 1/3 cup milk (I used vanilla soy milk, but regular milk or almond milk will work just fine too)

– 1 tablespoon chia seeds (I put those little super seeds in everything I can)

– 1 teaspoon maple syrup

– a couple generous scoops of fresh or frozen fruit to top (I used frozen mixed berries and frozen cherries)

1) Place all ingredients except fruit in each jar.

2) Add lid and shake until combined.

3) Remove lid and add fruit to top of jar.

4) Replace lid and refrigerate overnight.

 

Crispy Carrot Salad

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So, I think it’s safe to say that I’m inspiralized. I’ve had my spiralizer in business for five days and I’ve already spiralized four vegetables (cucumber, carrot, butternut squash and potato), and made three spiralized meals. I’ve been getting some inspiration from www.inspiralized.com and dreaming up many of my own ideas as well. I’ve also been practicing photographing my creations for use in my blog (and possibly in a cookbook someday?).

If I ever do write a cookbook, I’ll have to work on giving more precise measurements. My cooking style is more of a “eyeball it and hope for the best” approach, rather than using precise measurements of quantities. In many cases, as in this carrot salad, exact quantities aren’t worth the fuss. Here is a list of what I used, and you can add as much or as little of each as your inner foodie desires (about a handful of each should do).

– 2-3 large carrots, peeled and spiralized

– crumbled feta

– candied pecans (see previous post for recipe)

– dried cranberries

– sesame seeds

– snow peas, halved or left whole

– grape tomatoes, halved

– balsamic vinegar to dress

– 4 poached egg whites

– pepper

1) Spiralize carrots and place in large salad bowl

2) Poach egg whites and season with pepper

3) Add remaining ingredients to carrots

4) Top with poached eggs

Serves: 4

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Butternut Squash “Pasta” with Marinara Sauce, Candied Pecans, Goat Cheese and Fresh Basil

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Santa brought me a spiralizer! And I’m already addicted.

Yesterday marked my first spiralized creation, and hopefully a year full of many more to come. This one was inspired by the Butternut Squash Ravioli that I adore from Milestones. Instead of stuffing ravioli with butternut squash, as they do at Milestones, here, the butternut squash IS the “pasta”. I added many of the same toppings to give it the same great taste; a healthier (and way easier) version of a delectable dish!

For the “Noodles”:

– 1 butternut squash (cylindrical part peeled, and bulb part discarded)

1) Spiralize on the “spaghetti-like” setting of your spiralizer.

2) Place in steamer and steam about 5-10 minutes or until tender but firm enough to not turn into mush when scooping into bowls.

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For the Marinara Sauce:

– 2 large tomatoes, diced

– 1 onion, chopped

– 1 clove garlic, crushed

– 1 cup jarred tomato sauce

– 1 tsp olive oil

– ~2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped finely

– pepper to taste

1) Sautee onion and garlic in olive oil on medium heat until soft

2) Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes

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For the Candied Pecans:

– 1 cup pecans, halved or chopped

– 2 tbsp brown sugar

– 1 tbsp olive oil

– 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1) Spread pecans out on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and broil on medium for 2-3 minutes or until lightly toasted

2) Combine olive oil, brown sugar, and balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat until gently bubbling

3) Add toasted pecans to mixture and stir until well covered

4) Return pecans to baking sheet and spread out to allow coating to harden

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Putting it all together:

– 1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled

– 2 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped

1) top butternut squash noodles with marinara sauce

2) sprinkle pecans, crumbled goat cheese, and fresh basil on top in any order your inner foodie desires

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Voila! Simply spiralized.