Where I’ve Been

Where I’ve Been

Guess who’s back… back again…

Oh man, I feel like this happens a lot, but possibly this is just my perception of it. The get going, the break and the revival. I hate the revival. It’s taken a while to pick it back up again if I’m being honest, my “in-my-head” got the better of me, and convinced me that not re-starting again was better than re-starting AAAGGGAAIINN. Yaknow what I mean?

But it’s not.

So here I am.

Again.

Life took a turn for us a while back, when we got word that our home was going up for sale… again. House number two. In a row.

The rental scene in the Okanagan for families was nearly non-existent at the time… in that vacancies rates were less than 1%. Even worse for dwellings with 3 or more bedrooms that also accepted pets, which were less than few and far between. The ones that were available were so incredibly unaffordable families were having to find other families to live with in order to pay rent. To add salt to the metaphorical wound, the amount of people looking for rentals far out numbered the amount of rentals available, so you might be 1 in literally 100’s of other people wanting that same rental. On rental forums in the area were only ever ISO posts and posts of stories of young families forced to live in tents or shelters, forced to leave the lives they’d built, forced to give up their family pets, some forced to give up their children. It was the most discouraged, painfully hopeless and scared I have been in a very long time.

Long story not-short (because my stories are neeevveer short), Jeff and I made the decision that we were NOT going to go through this again. We needed out of the rental “game”. like. yesterday. With the help of family, our governments HOME partnership program and lots of luck, sacrifices, prayer and hard work, we managed to make a plan to buy.

With sheer luck Jeff found an opening for a job in his same field of work in a small town in an area of BC that also happened to have affordable housing prices, and we even got an accepted offer on a home.

Using the HOME partnership program added a lot of extra steps to our journey, a lot of stress, a lot of uncertainty if it would even work, and then added to that was the wrench of having to back out of our first offer at the last moment and start from scratch.

By then we had already given our notice to leave our rental, and now we had less than 30 days and no place to call home.

With much stress, once again we started the process, found a house, made an offer, and got the ball rolling with the partnership program. Many hiccups, lots of re-doing paper work, a lot of packing, moving, storage units, and an elongated visit with Grandma and Grandpa, we had a home.

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Between June and the middle of November we went from renting in the Okanagan with next to no money, and not a hope in our hearts that we would even be able to buy, to owning in the Kootenays. Since then we have been spending our time un-packing and settling into life.

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In the back ground I was also working on finishing my course in Sports & Fitness Nutrition and beginning on my course in Vegetarian Nutrition. On top of that came all the normal being a human, being the wife to a human, and being a parent to tiny humans as well as trying to keep it all together.

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So here I am, back again, again. Ready to settle into life and embrace this new year in our new home, in our new home town, a real new start and Sweat & Cinnamon will continue as it always was, a place for love of food and activity and life.

Stay tuned!

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The Whatever Salad : 4, and more, easy summer salads.

The Whatever Salad : 4, and more, easy summer salads.

I feel like I say it a lot, I “fly by the seat” when it comes to food. Nine out of ten times I don’t bother with measurements, in fact when I do bother it is likely because I am writing it down to share with you all! I decided, instead of measuring and tasting and tweaking and more measuring and calculating and writing it aaaalllll down, that this time around I would get you guys on board this flying seat that is my kitchen!

How about if you just started building your idea bank of good flavors and food ideas, so you could start playing around on your own! For those of you who don’t know where to start when it comes to just throwing things together, it can feel like you “just don’t know how to cook” and you “never will”, but I promise you not only can eating healthier be delicious it can be super easy too! For those of you who already fly-by-the-seat, here are some more ideas!!

I call it The Whatever Salad…. cause sometimes I’m clever and sometimes I’m not…. this being one of the latter… but the name is also fitting, so I’m sticking with it.

The Whatever Salad

What you will need

1)      Chickpeas, sweet corn, baby tomatoes, green onions, pepper, garlic powder, olive oil, white wine vinegar.

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OR

2) Tuna, sweet corn, baby tomatoes, chopped celery, chopped onions, green onions, sunflower seeds, pepper, red chili flakes (only a little, they are very spicy), and mustard.

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OR

3) Shrimp (pre-cooked, tails removed), chickpeas, sweet corn, cilantro, green onions, sesame seeds, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, pepper and garlic powder.

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OR

4) Black beans, kidney beans, cucumber slices, sweet corn, white onions, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a little sugar, pepper and garlic.

……sorry no picture for you, you’ll just have to make it…..

What you’ll need to do

Throw all these ingredients together a spoonful at a time and then the liquids and spices to taste, until you get to where you like it! Seriously, it’s that simple.

Use canned or frozen corn if you like, though frozen may taste more fresh. If you are using canned beans obviously don’t forget to rinse’em and if you are using dried beans obviously don’t forget to soak’em.

The reason I say a spoon full at a time is based on the idea that you are making a single bowl for just yourself. If you are making larger amounts for more people you just go ahead and add more at a time, though you should ALWAYS leave your seasonings for last and add a little at a time to get it to where you want it, tasting as you go (< that’s the extra fun part.)

Once you have made it, even just once to your liking, then every time after that will be a little bit easier, knowing how much of each thing YOU KNOW you prefer!

What else can you do?

*Add couscous, quinoa, brown or wild rice to any of these to add extra fibre or volume and other nutrients (quinoa with the black beans and couscous with the shrimp are my favorites).

*Boil your grains in chicken or veggie broth for extra flavour.

* Add chunks of chicken breast, crumbled ground turkey, cubes of tofu or crumbled smoky tempeh, sweet bell pepper, shaved carrots, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, chopped apples, crushed almonds or walnuts, dill, oregano, literally add whatever you’d like

 

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With couscous boiled in chicken broth, dill, and orange bell pepper added!

 

You could literally make a different salad every time just by switching up the flavors, the add in’s, the WHATEVERS.

You’ve got the basic idea, now go play around!