fried udon noodles

I LOVE cabbage. Love it. I didn’t really like it before, but something in the past year just made me LOVE it. And it’s good for you so hurray!

So I don’t remember where I got this recipe… I was just flipping through my recipe book on what to make for dinner and came across it. I might have gotten the recipe from Alicia Silverstone’s “The Kind Diet.”

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I did change it up a bit, due to what I had in my fridge. Normally you can cut an onion in half-moons and sauté those up in the mix, and I decided to add mushrooms as well (because I LOVE mushrooms). I used smoked paprika and chili flakes to add some spice, and I added soy sauce and sesame oil for some Asian flare.

Fried udon noodles

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  • 1 head of cabbage (any type of green cabbage will do)
  • 1 package udon noodles
  • half a bunch parsley, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 6-8 crimini mushrooms
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

1. Cook your udon noodles according to the instructions on the package (basically boil water in a pot, pop in the udon noodles, cook for approximately 6-8 minutes). Drain the noodles and set aside.

2. Heat oil in a pan, and saute the garlic and chili flakes for a couple minutes. Add the cabbage. Now cook the cabbage for a good 10-15 minutes. If it gets dry on the bottom, add a bit of water. The idea is to wilt the cabbage down completely.

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3. Add the mushrooms and cook until they are soft. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, paprika, and some salt & pepper. Mix thoroughly.

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4. Add the udon noodles and mix thoroughly again, so that the noodles are completely coated.

5. Serve with the parsley as a garnish (I added some fried garlic to garnish as well!)

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Eat and enjoy that cabbage/mushroom/udon goodness!

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kitty portraits

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I got this lovely idea from our all time favourite blog A Beautiful Mess. The ladies on the blog decided to paint a portrait of their super adorable puppy, and I thought ‘hey I have two little kitties of my own who wouldn’t mind a nice portrait of themselves above their food bowls!’

I decided to find some paint (if you’re not a huge painter, or no painter at all, check out your nearest dollar store for some paint that will get you by) and a miniature canvas. The size of the canvas depends on where you would like to hang it. I bought mine in a set of three, which allowed me to practice and perfect my Picasso skills.

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If you’re no good at painting consider tracing what you would like to paint beforehand.

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At this point you probably think that I am crazy for naming my cats after The Wire characters, but it happened, my cats were named after Stringer Bell and Avon Barksdale 😉
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Without having to drill a hole in your wall, consider placing a thumbtack and putting a paper clip on the edge of the canvas. Also, be considerate of the little guys, they aren’t very tall so consider placing them at their eye level, so that they can admire their beauty all day (and night) long 🙂 Oh and remember when I mentioned how bad I am at painting, well I got the images from a quick google search! These kitties were just too cute not to trace, and so that’s exactly what I did. Look at Strings eating from his food bowl!

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squash my spaghetti

When I first went “vegan,” I sort of stopped eating so much bread and pasta. I didn’t do this consciously, but I think I stopped eating those things because I was so focused on a whole food diet. But recently I’ve had some cravings, and while I fulfilled them, I didn’t feel very good about them. While I miss eating pasta like I used to, I just can’t handle it any more (secretly I have a sad face but such is life).

So I was excited to find out about spaghetti squash. If you have not heard of this, then you should really get on this bandwagon. It is so easy to make! Basically it is a type of squash that shreds into pasta-like strings and it is absolutely delicious!

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Spaghetti Squash with Chili Garlic, Tomatoes and Mushrooms

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp crushed chilis
  • a good handful of mushrooms (crimini, button, whatever you like)

Preheat the oven to 350. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place the halves on a pan with the open sides facing up, drizzle with olive oil, a little salt and pepper. Cook in the oven for about 45 minutes.

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Once ready, take the squash out and let cool. During this time you can prep your other vegetables. Chop the mushrooms and cherry tomatoes, and finely dice the garlic cloves.

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Now for the easy part! Take one half of the squash, and with a fork, just start shredding! It should be very easy. Do the same with the other half. Set aside in a bowl.

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Heat a pan with some olive oil. Put in the minced garlic and chili flakes and saute for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes and mushrooms. Once they are cooked, add the spaghetti squash and turn off the heat. Toss thoroughly and serve!

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I love this because I can still fulfill those pasta cravings without all the complex carbs and calories, and you can treat it exactly how you would pasta. Go ahead and make a dense tomato sauce, or alfredo if you please. The spaghetti squash is not too crazy flavourful (just enough that you could eat it by itself!) so you can really play around.

Enjoy! 🙂

please feed me.

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My recent internet infused obsession with indoor plants has also made me realize that I am a natural born killer – ok… well maybe not THAT extreme. However I have had some difficulty remembering when and how much to water my plants, resulting in an untimely death. Although, there is no one answer for everyone, as different plants require different things, I have come up with a nifty way of reminding myself of what to do. I created small labels that I wrapped and clipped onto my pots so that I could remember something as simple as ‘give me lots of light’ and ‘be sure to water me at least once a week’. This simple project requires very little of you and if you’re quick about it, it’ll take you no more than 10 minutes to make.

Materials you will need (or may have laying around the house):

– string or rope

– card stock paper

– miniature clothing pins (or large ones if you can’t find something small enough) I bought mine at a craft store

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Before you cut up your paper and write the directions out look up the care instructions for your plant and be sure to copy down exactly what you need to do. For some, a few details is all you need, for others you may want to add as much information on these handy little tags as possible. There you have it everyone – practical and nifty plant label tags to keep your plants well fed and happy!

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put a little spring in your cleaning

So I thought I would share some tips on spring cleaning, because I love spring cleaning — this is my favourite time of year. Normally, I am extremely enthusiastic about spring cleaning and I get started too early. But these past couple of months have been a bit busy and hectic, and my mind hasn’t  been quite in it… until now. I realize that making a list is enough to get me in the mood. So here are my tips that help me make my spring cleaning much more enjoyable. 🙂

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1. So first tip: make a list. Even if you aren’t in the mood but you know you have to do it. Make the list and it will actually get you excited about that wonderful feeling of having a super clean home. Yes, think about the result — you’ll have plenty of time to actually enjoy the process.

2. Go crazy with that list. Take a few days to compile it. Walk around your home, make note of all the things you want to clean. Then start a new list and organize all those listy things and sort them out by room. This will help you stay on track and get it done. If you clean your window in one room, and then clean the carpet in the other room, it won’t feel as accomplished. And remember how good it feels to check things off a list. 

3. Ok you’ve got your list, now what? Aren’t you excited? I am now! Plan it out. You could do it all in one day, maybe. But don’t rush it, and don’t overwhelm yourself. Plan a couple days, and make time for other things. Plan it out over a week if you have to. Just remember to go room by room.

4. Multitask your cleaning. Start the laundry before you actually start cleaning, so once those curtains or sofa covers are dry, your room is super clean to accept it back into it’s home.

5. Work from top to bottom. This is especially true for the kitchen, so all the dust and stuff falls to the floor and then do a massive floor clean. And dust then sweep/vacuum — you want to make sure you catch all that dust!

6. When you’re ready to clean, play some damn music, and play it LOUD. It helps if you can sing along.

7. When you are all done, sit back and have a drink. Just don’t have too many so you don’t make a mess in your freshly clean home. Maybe take it outside by that point. 😉

 

Remember that cleaning doesn’t have to a chore. It can be extremely therapeutic, and it can help clear your mind of all those jumbled thoughts that collected over the winter. And you will thank yourself for all your hard work because it might even help you keep it clean longer. Happy spring!

how to make your very own terrarium

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Winter you big tease! Unlike the mild weather Vancouver gets, Ottawa’s winters are frigid. However, mother nature eased up on us a little and the temperatures reached above the zero mark – until this evening. Here I was getting everything prepared for spring, packing my clothing away and buying all kinds of different pots for my balcony garden. Sigh – oh well, I guess I’ll have to weather another wintery snow storm before I can do all of that.

In the meantime I posted a simple how-to on terrariums. I’ve been seeing these pop up everywhere – Pinterest, blogs and most recently at my friend’s house. She was the one who advised me on where to go to get supplies and how to put it all together. It’s really simple – just watch out for the prickly cactus!

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A list of supplies you will need:

– You will need a terrarium. I got mine at Homesense for $9.99 – the prices can range depending on the size you want. When purchasing one think about the types of plants that you want to put inside along with the size of your coffee table or bookshelf – wherever it is you want to display it. Since our coffee table is pretty tiny, I went with a small terrarium.

– Potting mix – I read that it’s best to get the dry kind of potting mix (that is when you wet it, it doesn’t clump, instead it falls apart) this type of potting mix is best for drainage.

– Pebbles or gravel (not pictured) – this again is great for drainage

– Plants – I decided to find a cactus and succulent (you may recognize the cactus from one of the other posts I did). I bought a different type of cactus (pictured above) but they were too big to place in the terrarium (be careful and don’t make the same mistake I did). Consider visiting this site for additional types of plants that you can put into your terrarium.

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There is really only one step to all of this – put the pebbles or gravel at the bottom of the terrarium, fill it with about 2 inches of soil and make sure that when you are planting your plants that you make a little hole in the soil for the plant to fit. Be careful of the cactus as it is prickly. Once you are done planting everything, water your plants with just a smidge of water and there you have it ladies and gents! And before I forget, depending on the plants you chose consider where you place it in your house or apartment so that it gets enough sunlight. I have learned that Cacti and Succulents don’t like direct sunlight, and they prefer to face North as they get sun throughout the day, but they are never directly saturated with it. Happy terrarium making 🙂

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a sweet morning smoothie

It was such a beautiful day in Vancouver this Sunday that I knew it was a perfect day to make this sweet and energizing smoothie, despite losing an hour of sleep. This smoothie recipe is inspired by that juicing place I keep mentioning (I get most of my juicing ideas from them), Sejuiced. There is a real natural sweetness with mango, dates and a banana, and some almond milk to help it bring it all together. I didn’t add it this time, but a great addition for a nuttier taste is a big spoon of almond butter!

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Mango, banana, date smoothie

  • 1 mango, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 4 dates, pitted
  • 1 banana

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Blend and enjoy! (Mind my brown banana — I had it in the freezer!) This could serve 1 or 2, depending in whether you want to share. 😉

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