Saturday night stay-in

This past Saturday I strategically went home to my parent’s house when I knew my brother was working, my mom was out for a birthday and my dad was at the cottage. Why would I do such a thing, you ask?

So I could have a night, completely alone.

I’m not sure about you, but sometimes living in the city can be exhausting. I think we all need a day to sit back, relax and enjoy a glass (or bottle) of wine.

After spending a Saturday night alone, I noticed some awesome things about it.

1) You do what you want to do - I went to Flavourtown
We all have those things we say we’re going to do and we just don’t. When you’re home alone and relaxed, you do it. It really doesn’t even have to be productive. For me, it was binge watching Food Network over a double pepperoni pizza.

2) It’s relaxing, not boring
Some people think they’ll get bored if they just stay in. They’re wrong. These days our lives are rushed, so when we stay in we feel like we aren’t accomplishing anything. In reality, the act of doing nothing (aka relaxing) can help clear your head and de-stress. At least that’s what I found.

3) There’s a lot of thinking involved
I think a lot as it is and last Saturday was an overload of thoughts. Since I was alone, I had time to actually look at my thoughts in perspective allowing things to become a little bit clearer. As clear as it can get for a 25-year-old at least.

4) Motivation happens
With all this thinking happening, motivation is inevitable. Thinking about what you want when you’re alone creates an energy to step up and make it happen. I sat down and actually made a couple of goals for myself that I’ve managed to keep up with (for 6 days at least).

5) It’s not scary to say “I’m staying in tonight”
This staying in on a Saturday night in your mid-twenties stigma is silly. Everyone wants a night alone, don’t be scared to do it. Just remember, those people giving you funny looks are about to spend lots of money at the bar tonight and will probably wish they stayed in when the hangover kicks in.

Chicken Caprese with Arugula salad

I have been waiting to make this Chicken Caprese dinner for months. Thanks to Pinterest and The Novice Chef I was able to make it with only one hiccup - a blistery burn.

Warning – if you decide to make the delicious garlic bread, don’t put your oven on broil and think you can grab that pan with just a towel. Oven mitts are your friends.

Here is what you’re going to need:

  • Chicken breast
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic cloves (minced)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Basil leaves
  • Buffalo mozzarella slices
  • Balsamic vinegar

Now, I’m not putting measurements in since really, you can put however much you want to eat. Plus, don’t think I want to expose how much garlic I used in this meal.

  1. Start off by heating a bit of the olive oil in a pan. After it’s heated put the chicken breast in until the bottom is browned, then flip it and cover to let it cook through.
  2. While you’re waiting, cut the cherry tomatoes in half, mince the garlic and chop the basil. In another pan heat some more oil and add the garlic, followed by the cherry tomatoes.
  3. Once the cherry tomatoes begin to blister take it off the heat and stir in the basil.
  4. At this point, your chicken may nearly be done cooking. Grab some arugula and lightly mix in some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  5. Add a slice (or two like I did) of the buffalo mozzarella on top of the chicken and the cherry tomato mixture to the pan.
  6. Cover, and let sit until cheese is melted.
  7. Serve immediately with some balsamic vinegar.

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If you’re feeling crazy and want to add some serious goodness to your dinner, here’s how I make garlic bread.

  1. Turn the oven on broil.
  2. Grab a fresh bun and  cut it in half.
  3. Melt a some butter in the microwave.
  4. Add minced garlic (I usually add two cloves or so) to the butter.
  5. Pour the mixture on top of the bread and throw it in the oven.
  6. It doesn’t need long, make sure you’re checking it almost constantly.
  7. Serve immediately.

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At the grocery store a stop at the wine shop was also a priority. I went with one I hadn’t tried before, the Trius Cabernet Franc (featuring my dog Boomer) a perfect pairing and also a new favourite.

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Give this recipe a try! It won’t disappoint.

PAINTED: RAD

Last year, I somehow managed to run 10k. Since backpacking Europe, I’ve managed to do the bare minimum when it comes to fitness. It was in February I decided that needed to change. My solution? Sign up for a run that isn’t going to stress me out – Color Me Rad.

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It all started on the right foot, I was using my gym membership for once and eating healthier. By healthier I mean attempting to cook and only eating pizza one to two times per week . After a month of success I switched gears. To a lower one. I virtually stopped going to the gym and was eating pizza and Smoke’s Poutine (double pork to be exact) a little too often, but I was okay with it.

Until it was May 24th.

I had to do this run in one week.

The panic attack ensued.

Then I remembered, this will be fun and a good motivator to start running again. I mean, I did run a 10k last year right? I can do this. So, I went for a couple runs that week, did some yoga and ate healthy. By the time May 31st rolled around, I was ready to go.

All I can say is, everyone should try and do Color Me Rad at least once in their lives. This run is about being carefree, having fun and living life. The best part about it, there’s no pressure. It feels like you’re at a festival, with hundreds of people around you dancing, covered in different colours and letting go, something I think many of us need in the midst of our hectic lives.

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The aftermath – covered in colour!

My first shuck

If you’re a Food Network junkie like me, you see people shucking oysters all the time as if it’s no big deal. To shuck one myself however, is a big deal. That’s why when a friend of mine asked me to join her for an iYellow Wine Club event to taste some wine, eat oysters and cheese, obviously my answer was yes.

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Stoneleigh was the wine of the night, and we tasted two Sauvignon Blanc’s and two Pinot Noir’s. Usually I go for the wine on sale, or try and stay under $10, but after tasting these, my radar for a great wine has gone up a notch.

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After two whites, we had the guts to try shucking an oyster. I was feeling pretty confident, after all my obsession with Chopped and Iron Chef America automatically makes me a food professional, right? We put on our gloves, grabbed our oyster knife and started the process. Don’t kid yourself, muscle is needed and I don’t have much. While my friend ended up shattering the top half of the shell (clearly she has muscles of steel), I could barely get my knife in. My struggles were so apparent I was given an oyster easier to shuck. Bottom line, once given this one, it was much easier and I managed to get it open and eat an oyster I shucked myself.

One simple item on the bucket list, checked!

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Check out what iYellow Wine Club has to offer!

Spaghetti squash with mushrooms and parmesan

After trying this recipe, my love for spaghetti squash came back in full force. So much can be done with it and it’s probably why so many people have fallen head over heels for this special squash.

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This recipe has stolen my heart. Especially because it incorporates three of my other favourite things, mushrooms, garlic and parmesan.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 small spaghetti squash
  • 1 tbsp of thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves (or 3, if you’re obsessed with garlic like me)
  • 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups button mushrooms, roughly chopped (depending on your mushroom love level, you might want to add more, I did)
  • 1/8 cup of chopped onions
  • 1/4 parmesan cheese (I decided to add much more than that, it was a great choice)
  • salt and pepper to taste

That’s it!

1) If you haven’t cooked spaghetti squash before, it takes a while. Put the squash in the oven whole at 380 degrees for about an hour. If you can put a knife through the outside easily, it’s ready!

2) In the meantime, cut up the mushrooms, onions and garlic so it’s ready to go.

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3) When the spaghetti squash is done, let it cool a little bit while frying up the onions and garlic until soft. Then add the mushrooms.

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4) While all that is cooking down, cut the spaghetti squash in half and remove the seeds. Then use a fork to scrape the inside into strings.

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5) Add the the spaghetti squash strings to the mushroom, onion and garlic pan and mix them together. Followed by the thyme and some parmesan.

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6) Serve hot and add a bit extra parmesan for all you cheese lovers out there!

What you end up with, is this deliciousness.

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Happy eating!

 

This recipe was found at Pickled Plum

Nemo is in Toronto

It took me way too long to get to Ripley’s Aquarium.

We didn’t do the aquarium the way it was intended. We did it backwards. No, not walking backwards, we started at the end point. How you might ask? Well, here’s my first tip, don’t look to your left and get excited about petting sting rays outside of the gift shop. This is the problem we had and it could make you do the whole entire thing backwards, which is likely just as much fun. If you do happen to get so excited that you can’t help it, no one will understand more than me.

We realized we were going the wrong way when we reached the moving sidewalk. You can step off of it when you see something you just HAVE to stop for and trust me, that will happen. So, our solution was to walk past as fast as possible, not looking at any fish so that we could experience it the right way.

It was awesome, we even had a sawfish smile at us.

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Oh, and a sting ray.

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There was also this cool looking shark.

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Jellyfish all covered in pink were there.

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This crazy fish also joined the party.

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Lastly, I kind of got to swim with Nemo. No big deal.

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