Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy Holidays!

We will be back January 2nd with some new posts on all things wisdom, inspiration, and even some new recipes!

Have an incredible holiday season and a Happy Happy New Year - we are looking forward to seeing you all again in the New Year!

May 2014 be the year that you spread your wings and FLY :)


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Freedom


Be Not Afraid of Failure... Welcome It!

'Nuff said

Let's Talk About... Kadampa Buddhism

(Almost) every Monday night for the past couple of weeks, my sister, my husband, and myself have been attending Kadampa Buddhist teachings at the Akshobya Kadampa Buddhist Centre here in Calgary.
Life-changing.
You can check out more about the centre, and Kadampa Buddhism, here: http://www.meditationalberta.org/kadampa-buddhism/

Kadampa Buddhism is a Mahayana Buddhist school founded by the great Indian Buddhist Master Atisha (AD 982-1054).
In the word, ‘Kadampa’, ‘Ka’ refers to Buddha’s teachings, and ‘dam’ to Atisha’s special Lamrim instructions. Kadampas, then, are practitioners who regard Buddha’s teachings as personal instructions and put them into practice by following the instructions of Lamrim.
By integrating their understanding of all Buddha’s teachings into their practice of Lamrim, and by integrating their experience of Lamrim into their everyday lives, Kadampas use Buddha’s teachings as practical methods for transforming daily activities into the path to enlightenment.
(from http://www.meditationalberta.org/kadampa-buddhism/)

Get Cultured... Take A Magical Adventure

I've blogged a bit on the importance of education and my views on the matter: we need to create an unbiased curriculum for the people in "Third World" or "low-income" countries to learn how to use the supplies that "First World" countries send to them, how to become sustainable, conflict resolution, and allow these people to form their own, unbiased, opinions on how they want to help the world grow! Can you imagine the benefit that we would see - environmentally, economically, and spiritually? Can you imagine a world with little to no need for weapons, a world where smog and air quality was not a concern? 
The Western World can learn much from the rest of the world, too. The Western ideology is that we make the technology, we make the money, we distribute goods, we can only learn from ourselves.... well, no. The Western World needs to take off the "know-it-all hat" and put on the "open-minded" glasses. How can we advance if we are no longer willing to learn? How can we become tolerant and balanced if we are not willing to see past our own issues, our own wrong views?

Take an adventure! Get out there- talk to people! If you're feeling down because of someone, if you're feeling like someone has wronged you- talk to that person! Guaranteed you'll feel better, the other person will feel better (because, although we can't read minds, we can read signals... sometimes its pretty obvious), and you will be closer to reaching a sense of inner peace.

Isn't that what we all strive for - peace? Peace comes from an open mind, a soul that is open to new experiences (travelling, trying something new, etc.), and a heart with the utmost compassion and good intentions, intent on ending suffering.
Be not afraid to be who you really are
This does not happen overnight - it is a work in progress! But I have faith that it will be worth it and I strive to change for the better. 
Join me!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Come From A Place Of I CAN!

Man... spin class kicked my ASS today but it was so worth it!Afterwards, I felt like I had accomplished something and it felt GREAT :)
Instead of coming from I place of "I can't" and start thinking "I can"! 
So many people dread working out (I am one of these people), but it feels so good and even better when you finally see the results.
So, my new mantra for this is:

I am grateful for this opportunity to be healthy.
I am grateful for this opportunity for me to improve myself.

 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Kick Your Sandwich Into High Gear

I looooove a good duck pate. I just do. I know, it's a liver spread, but wow is it ever good! I blame my Grade 7-9 French teacher for this... 
But keeping pate and making pate are hurdles that I don't think that I'm really qualified to jump over just yet, so I have to make do with what my imagination and skills provide.
So, I present my take on the pate spread to light a fire under your boring sandwich's butt!

(FYI: This does not include any actual liver; but it will spread and look like a pate)
Also, you'll need a crockpot for this one.

Turkey & Avocado "Pate" with Sauteed Red Peppers and Caramelized Onions

500 mg lean, fat-free ground turkey
lightly toasted pieces of gluten & dairy-free bread
1/2 bottle of light, sodium and fat-free gluten/dairy free Italian salad dressing
1 tbsp pepper

In crockpot, combine turkey, Italian dressing and pepper thoroughly. Turn crockpot to low and leave for 7 - 8 hours (do this first thing in the morning). When time is up, turn crockpot heat to high and leave for 1 more hour.
Turkey should be a deep brown colour and finely minced.

While waiting for turkey, make avocado mixture and veggies:

2 avocados, pitted
2 tbsp lite mayo
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp pepper

1/2 or large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 tbsp Becel vegan margarine

Mash avocados in medium-sized bowl along with mayo, garlic powder, lemon juice, and pepper (I like to leave chunks of avocado). Cover and refrigerate.
Melt margarine in medium-sized frying pan. Add onion and pepper, stirring frequently until onion is caramelized.

Once timer rings for turkey, add to avocado mixture and combine thoroughly. Avocado-turkey mixture should take on the consistency of a pate. Spread across toasted piece of bread.

Top with caramelized onion and red pepper and sandwich.

Enjoy!
(c)FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary

Daily Dose of Buddha

If for just the time of a finger-snap a monk produces a thought of loving-kindness, develops it, gives attention to it, such a one is rightly called a monk. Not in vain does he meditate. He acts in accordance with the master's teaching, he follows his advice. How much more so if he cultivates it.

- The Buddha (Shakyamuni)


Namaste 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Get the Good Facts on Good Fats

Avocados are PACKED with good fats and have been branded a "superfood". That's right, move over quinoa! Check out Best Health Mag's post about health benefits of avocados here. The thing I find with avocados, though, is that they rarely take centre stage in a dish (except for guacamole), and they rarely get any credit for lending that lasting, buttery taste we all so crave.
So, I created this simple, avocado-featured salad to quench your good fats craving and satiate your stomach.

Ahhh-vocado Chicken Salad
2 avocados, without skin and pit
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast - cooked and pulled apart
1/2 cucumber, diced
3/4 leek, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
2 small red bell peppers, diced
1/2 large carrot, julienned
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 small apples, diced
2 tbsp. lite mayo
1 tsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
sprinkle of curry powder
1/2 tbsp. black pepper, crushed
dash of paprika
dash of salt

In large bowl, combine all vegetables (except avocados) and chicken breast.
In small bowl, mash avocados until chunky-smooth. Add mayo, lime juice and spices and stir thoroughly. Combine avocado mixture with veggies and chicken thoroughly. Serve with my chicken tenders or tofu sticks.
Enjoy!
(C)FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary



Lovely, Lovely Lentils

This is an awesome, vegetarian recipe! Lentils are very high in protein and pack a nutritious, low calorie punch to spice up your dinner routine! Go meatless at least 4-5 days a week if possible.
(When I say 'gutted', you say 'fight'! No, but seriously... when I say 'gutted', I mean cored - cut the top off of the pepper and shake all those little seeds out from your lovely, gutted pepper)

Note: this recipe has been updated a bit since I first posted it almost two years ago :)

Lovely Lentil-Stuffed Peppers
2 bell peppers, gutted
1/2 cup red lentils
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp. lite mayo
1/4 cup Kinnikinnick gf/df bread crumbs
1/2 cup gf/df, low sodium vegetable broth
(note: for non-veg, use beef or chicken broth)
1/4 cup medium salsa
2 tbsp. crushed pecans
2 stalks green onions, chopped
1 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. yellow curry powder
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1/8 tsp. basil
2 large bay leaves for garnish

In small stove-top pot, bring broth to boil. Add lentils and black beans and stir often. Once mixture is thick and soft, use masher to make it smooth, and then add the remaining ingredients. Stir after each addition.
Cover lentil mixture and let stand for about 5 minutes.
Pipe or spoon lentil mixture into each bell pepper (if lentil mixture is too runny, add more breadcrumbs or pecans).
Serve with salad or home fries (or grilled veggies - OM NOM NOM!)
Enjoy!

Also (amazing idea) - you can use the extra lentil and bean filling as a kind of burrito filling for tomorrow - YUM!

(C)FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary

Let's Talk About... Change

"Everything changes, nothing remains without change." - The Buddha

I feel like the word "change" is just an overall loaded word. I also feel like it's connotations are highly feared when they should be celebrated. Should we replace "change" with "metamorphosis"? "Growth"? "Blossoming"? These all have positive connotations - when we think of metamorphosis we usually think of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, or a flower "blossoming" from a plain, green bud into a thing of beauty.
So.... why can't we be that beautiful butterfly or that flower? Let's go back to kindergarten for a sec and be that beautiful butterfly!
 Maybe "changing" the world wouldn't seem like such a colossal task if we switched our train of thought to "assisting in world growth" or, to make it sound a bit more creative and less stick-up-my-butt, "telling the world to grow up!"
 We all have ideas about how this will happen, and that is why I love the internet. It is a world-wide forum on how we live our lives, how we achieve (and do not achieve) peace in our own lives, and our ideas about everything. Yup, every single little thing - haven't you ever perused the YouTube comments section?
Believe it or not, this is helping you to grow/change. You are taking a stance in what you believe in, whether or not you agree with something, and maybe even educating you on a topic that you wouldn't naturally stumble upon. Like.... the gluten and dairy free diet and controversies about it, perhaps?
 Growth/change can be the hardest thing. I am slowly growing up past my fears of failure, my fears of doing something wrong, my fears of letting things go, amongst others... not to mention to massive growth that it took to identify my allergies, discover cooking with them, and creating this blog!
But I am growing... and it is exciting! The new opportunities that have opened up to me are terrifying, fascinating, exciting, and will continue this never-ending growth spurt!
I am proud of myself.
Say it to yourself now. I AM PROUD OF MYSELF!
For:
- list your accomplishments, big or small (if you can't think of any, you're not trying hard enough)
Now, what needs to change? What do you need to grow past? Are you holding onto something that is preventing this growth?
Chances are, you probably answered yes to at least one of those questions. If not, you're not thinking hard enough - you can always improve!
Think of the quote from Buddha above; where would we be if we hadn't changed/grew?
When I think of who I was, especially in high school, I see much growth/change. I see my Self hurdling over obstacles to GET WHAT I WANT TO BE HAPPY.
What do you want? Write it down, blow it up, frame it. WHAT DO YOU WANT??? Will you be happy and true to your Self?
How are you going to get it? I bet that it will involve change/growth - I bet that it will take a bit of life revision to say "I need to change this" or... "I need to grow up".
Our mantras:
"I am proud of myself"
"I am ready to grow"
"I can be that beautiful butterfly"
"I am going to be true to my Self"
"I am going to be happy"

Namaste.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

It's So Delicious!

So Delicious Dairy Free Nog, Pumpkin Spice, and Mint ChocolateStop the presses!
You can be dairy free this Christmas without cheating and taking a sip of that lactose, dairy-packed egg nog at the holiday party and totally regretting it later.... we've all been there - don't deny it!

So, take a taste of So Delicious Coconut Milk in three holiday flavours this holiday season to stick with the Dairy Free Diet!

Alisa at Go Dairy Free has written an awesome review about it here:


Ch-ch-ch-check it out!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Easy, Delicious Dessert!

I love a good dessert... something that love goes into, something homemade, something sweet! When I was a teenager living at home, I took great pride in cooking for my parents. So, one night I made a fabulous dinner and then felt the need to top it off with a dessert. They loved it and it has been sitting at the back of my mind for a looong time - I think I've only made it once since then! Now, this isn't a "healthy" recipe per se... so it is NOT for those who are doing the whole clean eating thing as it does use sugar. But, it is a delectable delight; enjoy!

Sugared Vanilla Banana Dessert
2+ bananas, peeled (depends on how many you are making for)
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tbsp white, granulated sugar
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of cloves (ground)

sorbet/ ice-cream (optional)

In small (large enough to hold an entire banana) pan, heat vanilla on low. Once vanilla begins to bubble, stir vanilla to ensure that it does not stick to the pan. Turn heat to simmer. 
Place bananas in pan and sprinkle sugars, cinnamon, and cloves on top. After 1-2 minutes, turn over and sprinkle sugars, cinnamon, and cloves on the other side. Once both sides of bananas slightly caramelized, cut banana in two and serve over sorbet (vanilla) or ice cream (dairy free or not),

Enjoy!
(C)FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cleanse Your Mind

The most prominent diet or health phenomena going on today is that of the "cleanse". People are cleansing by means of the Paleo Diet, the 'Clean Eating' (ie. no sugar) diet, the GLUTEN AND DAIRY FREE DIET (yay!) and also 'juicing' (NOT steroids, but consuming fresh juice from fruits and veggies - watch the documentary about it here). These are all awesome, and we all know that it takes a healthy body to have a healthy mind... but are we putting enough emphasis on the mind part of this equation?
We have to remember that we need to cleanse our minds, too! To often we focus on achieving optimal bodily health (the societal expectation of the "perfect body") and not enough on making sure our minds achieve optimal health.
To do so, we should focus on happiness and peace; what achieves this for us? Is it dancing to our favourite song or spending time with those we love the most? We could enjoy a massage, or a day out with our friends. I often "detox" my mind by listening to my music, or having a drink with a friend! Tom and I also talk about how we are feeling, and relay our ideas off of each other - even planning for the future relaxes my mind and creates a cleansing sense of happiness that lasts!
This is then, of course, motivating to keep the other part of the equation - the body - in good health, too! We should always have the health and wellness of our mind as our top priority... and trust that the whole "healthy body" thing will come once we achieve clarity of our minds!

Namaste.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Let's Talk About... Cell Phones

I am still in university - after five years I have finally discovered my PASSION for writing! Hopefully it shows and you beautiful readers can benefit from it!
Anyways, for one of my English assignments, I had to read this article by Micheline Maylor. What an intriguing read! So intriguing - and inspiring - that I think I might take the challenge...
I CAN live without my cell phone... I CAN live without my cell phone... right?

Wish me luck!

Love always,
Kath

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Let's Talk About... Being Mindful

Last night, on Twitter, I sent out a tweet about "mindful eating"; that is, eating to enjoy and appreciate the food, instead of shoving it willy-nilly into your face like we all are guilty of at one time.
Being mindful isn't just about eating, of course, but everything! Everything should be done by being mindful and present in that moment.
This is an easy mantra to remember: "Be Mindful" or "Be Present". Saying this in your head, or even out loud, can make you stop, slow down, and think about being present and mindful in that exact moment. This is also helpful when making a tough decision like "Should I take the job overseas?" or something trivial like "Should I post this Facebook photo?" - stop, be mindful and present and think about it! Why do you want to do that? How will it affect you, and how will it affect the environment around you? Will it affect other people negatively or positively? How will this decision aid in bringing peace to your life and environment? Those are only a few questions to ask yourself. 
In a way, it is similar to meditation - you are truly meditating for a few moments on this question by being present and mindful!!!
If there is ever doubt or a question you ask yourself that you cannot answer, then you know where you have to focus some of your energy on. If you are doubtful whether your relationship is truly making you happy, if it is what is the best for you in your life to bring peace and happiness, and if it is affecting your Self and/or others negatively, then you may need to meditate on a larger question: "What is my decision?"
Remember that this is not by any means a question to be answered immediately, but one to sit on and mull over - keeping your intentions and thoughts mindful, present and positive.
You will find your Path and your Self will rejoice upon it.
 


“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it. (21)”
Thích Nhất Hạnh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Navigate the Holidays

There are three words I think of when I think holiday season: "OM NOM NOM!"
Sometimes, however, eating with a gluten and dairy allergy can become a major annoyance when you get a beautiful turkey stuffed with white bread chunks and Panko bread crumbs...  so much gluten!
Do NOT brush off your allergies and think, "Oh, I've been good - one night won't hurt."
Just don't do it. I made that mistake and I paid for it. A moment on the lips and a world of hurt for your colon!
Now, though, I usually bring my own food with me if the family member we are visiting doesn't know how to cook gluten and dairy free or, more often that not, doesn't want to.
Here's a recipe for turkey stuffing for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, or just dinner!
(Try this in a sandwich with some leftover turkey, mayo, and pepper - yum!!)
This makes for about 4-6 people

Gluten & Dairy Free Holiday Stuffing
4 pieces of gluten and dairy free bread, toasted and crumbled
1/2 cup Kinnikinnick Panko style gluten and dairy free breadcrumbs
1/2 sweet onion, chopped and carmelized
1/4 cup vegan margarine (I like Becel)
1 tbsp. plain, unsweetened coconut milk
poultry seasoning to taste (put as much of this stuff in it as you want - it makes it!)

Mix ingredients together and stuff into turkey. Following cooking directions for turkey and leave stuffing inside until turkey is removed from oven.
If turkey drippings are available, mix about 1 tbsp. into the stuffing after it is placed into a separate bowl to be served.
Enjoy!
(C)FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary

"Mawigge.... " (Princess Bride)

Yay! Tom and I said "I do" on October 5th! It was the most exciting and memorable day of my life, filled with moments of love, laughter, and happy tears!
I have to apologize that I have been absent from the blogging world for the past few months; my only excuse is that planning a wedding is much like having a full-time job!
However, now that things have settled down, I can avert some of my focus to French Onion Soup Blog and bringing you the most cutting-edge and yummy gluten and dairy free recipes.
HUGE THANK YOU to my beautiful cousin Lara and her partner Kevin from BrightSide Weddings for their amazing DJing! The wedding was so much fun and we could not have done it without them! Check out their website here. Much love :)

The new Mr. and Mrs.!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tom's Tasty Taters

I have to laugh at the title - alliteration at it's finest!
Anyways, here's a quick recipe by Tom for some very tasty veggies. Quite simple, really, but delicious all the same. You also get a bonus; his "recipe" for his Cajun BBQ spice - yum!


Tom's Tasty Taters
4 large russet potatoes, washed
1 large red onion, chopped
2 handfuls baby carrots
1-2 tbsp Montreal Steak Spice (original)
1-2 tsp Cajun spice mixture
1 tsp lime juice, drizzled
1 tsp maple syrup, drizzled
2 tsp Becel Vegan Margarine, evenly distributed
sprinkle of brown sugar

Cajun Blackened Spice Recipe
2 tsp paprika
3 tsp thyme
2 tsp onion powder
3 tsp garlic powder
1/2 - 1 tbsp white sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Place vegetables on doubled-up aluminum foil sheets. Combine ingredients and package up in aluminum foil. Place on BBQ on medium for 20 minutes, flip after timer rings and BBQ for another 20 minutes.

Enjoy!
 

Everything In Moderation

When you are trying something new, like a diet, you have to remember the moderate and PORTION! The diet has worked so well for me because I read the ingredients and consider the daily value... but I also measure each item. So, below I've listed a few of my "everything in moderation" tips that have worked for me.

1. Measure & weigh your food! Buy a small scale and keep it in your kitchen - don't put it in a cupboard or drawer - keep it out in the open and weigh as much as you can... do the same with measuring cups/spoons
2.  Get creative! Stop eating the same old boring chicken; jazz it up! I am a huge advocate for chicken... and look how many ways I can cook it! If you have a thought for a recipe, try it!
3. Read the back. Consider the daily intake values for each ingredient you use; I do much of my thinking in Weight Watchers Points - consciously asking myself, "How many Points would this be?". If it feels like it would make my Points go up, I reconsider using it.
4. Plan ahead. Buy a magnetic whiteboard at the Dollar Store with a dry-erase marker. Now, plan your week of dinners. This is especially helpful if you have a spouse like mine whose favourite thing to ask is, "What's for dinner?" Make sure you stick to your schedule; check it in the morning to see if you have to defrost anything, and try to have at least three meat-free days/week.
5. Take the time to have breakfast. There's a reason that they call for three meals a day; make time to get them all! I usually try to have egg whites and a smoothie or fresh fruit for breakfast, or I enjoy 1/4 cup of quinoa cereal with 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk. If you find that eating that early in the morning makes you feel a little queasy, then make yourself something that is easy to take with you and eat it at your desk in the morning.
6. Get a lunch kit. Seriously, just do it. It will make your life, and your lunch, much easier - trust me!
7. Pack a Snack. Have a healthy snack several times during the day - it's an excuse to take a break from work and it will stop you from gorging yourself. I take fruit, nuts, veggies, and sometimes applesauce with me if I have a long day ahead. 
(Note: If you are newly dairy free and are a yogurt junkie, then buy almond yogurt - it is just as tasty and packs a whole bunch of calcium! Also, check out Daiya brand cheeses for a gluten and dairy free cheese alternative!)
8. Get Your Daily Dose. Take your vitamins! They have adult chews now, plus a daily Karma Wellness Water will give you your recommended dosage... so you have no excuse as to why you shouldn't be getting them.
9. Get Happy! Set a positive outlook on your goal - tell yourself you will get there- and feel GOOD about it; a healthy diet and regular exercise is your ticket to a better you.
10. Stay Committed. I do use the word "diet", but I really mean "lifestyle change". This truly is a lifestyle change and it won't happen overnight - it will be hard, but it will be worth it!
da mo 2413 Daily motivation (25 photos)
  Image courtesy of theberry.com

Namaste!


Friday, July 12, 2013

A Healthy Indulgence

Time for another recipe! This is quite the indulgent recipe, but it is lean and mean and a fat-fighting machine! Lean, ground turkey has a ton of protein and it is so versatile. With a low-fat and calorie count, these turkey meatballs are sure to feel like you're cheating on your new "diet" but, trust me, you're not. Everything in moderation! These can be made with lean ground pork or lean, ground, grass-fed buffalo. You could also make these with lean ground beef, but remember that beef has different properties than the meats I described above.

Ground rosemary can be one of the absolute hardest things to find! However, we found it in abundance at the Calgary Farmer's Market! Check out your local Farmer's Market and amaze at what you can find.
I also prefer Kinnikinnick brand for the bread crumbs and bread.

Lean Turkey Meatballs in a Garlic "Butter" Sauce
500 g (usually one package) of lean, preferably grass-fed turkey
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup gluten-free Panko-style bread crumbs
2 pieces gluten-free bread, toasted and crumbled
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tsp ground rosemary
1 -2 tbsp water
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
2 tsp minced onion
pinch of salt and pepper
pinch of paprika
handful of spinach, finely chopped

Garlic "Butter" Sauce
3-4 tbsp. Becel Vegan Margarine
3-4 tbsp. coconut flour (or all-purpose gluten-free flour mix)
1/2 - 2 cups plain almond milk
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp thyme
pinch of coriander
pinch of garlic powder
pinch of onion powder
salt and pepper, to taste

In medium-sized mixing bowl, combine all ingredients for the meatballs thoroughly. roll turkey mixture into balls and place in oiled frying pan on medium heat.
Cover frying pan.
Place garlic in small frying pan and saute until lightly browned (watch your garlic - it will turn bitter if you leave it on the heat for too long). Add margarine and let it melt, stirring frequently. Once margarine is melted, add flour and milk and stir until mixture starts to become thick. Add spices and reduce heat to simmer, stirring frequently.
Once meatballs are cooked through, check sauce and serve with gluten-free pasta, rice, or veggies. 
Pour sauce over balls - remember to portion everything! As much as you'd like to eat a million of these meatballs with this awesome sauce, remember that portioning is always key.
Enjoy!
(C)FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

High River Flooding 2013

My uncle lives in High River and owns just under 20 rental properties. We were down there helping them out (along with several other of my AMAZING cousins who had been at it all week) and these are the pictures...
Our hearts and thoughts are with Toronto and the GTA today, too. Stay strong, we are with you! 
 
Please donate your time and funds to the people affected by these devastating floods!
You can donate to www.redcross.ca
or check the City of Calgary and Town of High River's Facebook, Twitter and website pages to keep in the loop in how you can get out there and help out!
A community is built by it's people... and boy, are there some amazing people!
 
FOSBlog's Tom and cousin Sophia covered after cleaning out one rental property

Boat floated here and has not been moved (this is 1st street)


A Wee Bit Of Wisdom

There will always, always, always be people and situations who are there to challenge you, cause drama and controversy, and upset you throughout all aspects and times in your life. The solution isn't to expect them to change or to immediately sway to how you would like things to be, but to promote positivity and bright energy in how YOU handle that person or situation. You must be the driving force in conflict resolution and creating a sense of balance to create peaceful happiness for all. Be open to change, be open to other's opinions, be peaceful. Practice mantras... they even are working for me (formerly known as The Most Impatient Being) slowly but surely.
 
YOU can do it!
 
Namaste
 

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Importance of Giving Back

Tonight was amazing; I am so speechless. 
We drove down to a low-lying NW community and stopped at the first house we saw and asked if they needed help. After 2 1/2 hours and a promise to return as soon as possible, we came out of it with a lifelong memory of the incredible, amazing resilience and spirit of the homeowners and our fellow volunteers. We are so much more than just a city - we are community!

Below I've shared pictures of the incredible homeowners and our volunteer group. We were complete strangers, but it was harmony - not one negative thing was said, not one frown to be found. The smiles were plenty and the hugs were too. I will forever be inspired and humbled by Joan and Ray and all of our volunteer team from tonight!  

Please donate to www.redcross.ca - Tom & I have donated as much as we can right now and it feels amazing.
Make sure to monitor the City of Calgary's & Calgary Police's Facebook and Twitter feeds for opportunities. You can fill out a form at www.yychelps.ca or visit www.volunteercalgary.ab.ca to keep up to date. Everyone needs the help that they can get!
Muddy but so worth it!
Muddy Tom


Thumbs up for helping out!

Us and some incredible people

Amazing people!

IMPORTANT Post RE: Calgary and Southern AB Flooding

All posts will be postponed until further notice as we help Calgary clean up!
 
The devastation to our beautiful city has been nothing short of heartbreaking and we are committed, as always, to helping Calgary.
 
You may also donate to www.redcross.ca for those who have been affected by the terrible floods.
Beware of the sad souls who may try to take advantage of your donations - The Canadian Red Cross is, of course, legitimate and is your absolute 'safest' bet.
 
French Onion Soup was fortunate enough to not have been affected.
 
Please visit www.yychelps.ca to register to volunteer or stay tuned to City of Calgary and Calgary Police Service's twitter and Facebook feeds for opportunities!
We volunteered at the Calgary Drop In Centre this past weekend, and they are still in need of many clothing items!! They are headquartered temporarily out of 4804 Edmonton Trail NE.

For some FOS goodness, please feel free to review past posts :)
 
Love,
Katherine, Thomas & The FOS Team

Monday, June 17, 2013

Shine Through!

Challenging times can be... well, challenging... and can drive even the most strong - hearted to give up. But, even in these dark times, make sure that you have one goal; shine through the darkness!
Think of it like the light shining through the dark clouds. Dark clouds carry stormy, tough times but the sun always seems to shine through; this sunlight that carries such hope and bright "alive-ness". Yet, the light seems to have no "substance" to it; we can feel it hot on our faces but we cannot touch it or taste it - it's just... there. Think of that as you; even if you feel like you have no substance or place... or like you're just "there"... you can still shine through!
Just like the sunlight shining through, breaking up the darkness to reach Earth, you can break through the darkness surrounding you and brighten your life!

Namaste.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Have Your Vitamins and Drink Them, Too!

Karma Wellness Water; what a suitable name! I love it; you get all of the nutrients and vitamins you need for the day, it tastes great, and it has only 3g of sugar as compared to the whopping 13g of sugar in other brands... might I add you get more vitamins in a bottle of Karma than you do in said other brands?

Karma Wellness Water boasts all natural ingredients, NO artificial sweeteners, NO preservatives, and NO artificial colouring. Plus 110% of 7 essential vitamins... I can't say anything but great things about this water!


Vitamins mixed into Karma! Taste is amazing


Pineapple Coconut Karma - see the vitamins in the KarmaCap above

 
 
 
Orange Mango Karma!





The following is Karma's introduction to their Wellness Water:

"Karma Wellness Water is a delicious line of natural, nutrient-enhanced water formulated for your mind, body, spirit, balance, and vitality (which happens to be the names of our 5 functional varieties)!
The driving force behind Karma is the fact the water-soluble vitamins lose their potency while sitting in water or when they are exposed to moisture. Additionally, vitamins suffer degradation when they are subjected to UV rays, oxygen, or heat. The loss of strength is greater when the vitamin contents are spread across the full contents of bottled beverages, causing premixed vitamin drinks to lose their potency over time. This is the challenger we see with many current wellness drinks on the market.
With Karma, we're hoping to make a healthy decision easy. All five functional varieties contain 110% (or more) of the recommended daily allowances of vitamins A, B3, B5, B6, B12, D, and E, and the vitamins and nutrients are protected in a KarmaCap until the consumer is ready to drink. At that point, they just push, peel, and shake to turn water into wellness."


I have one of these daily and I feel incredible. My skin, attitude, everything has been improving and my doctor no longer tells me to take Vitamin D pills! They taste amazing, too, so it is really easy to get your daily dose of Karma.

They also keep the vitamins separate as their premise is that vitamins deteriorate when sitting in water. So, they keep the vitamins in a top which you push down to disperse the vitamins and then shake. It dissolves quickly, so you don't have to shake it forever... which gets so annoying.

They have several different varieties of vitamin water, and all are gluten and lactose free (note: specified as lactose free).
I've posted a few pics of their different varieties in this post.
 

Check out Karma Wellness Water; visit their website here.

Please Tell Me What You Think!

We love cooking and educating about the gluten and dairy free diet.
Which is why we want to continue and escalate our efforts to educate and provide easy, quick, healthy, and gluten and dairy free recipes to the world!
 
 
Please visit our Facebook page by clicking here. Like our page and vote in our poll to show your support!
The two seconds that it will take you to vote will mean the world to us!
 
Thank you so much,
 
French Onion Soup Blog

An Amazing Woman



Monday, May 13, 2013

Gluten Free YYC!



I love that more and more restaurants are hopping onto the gluten-free boat! This restaurant is a place that my family has been visiting for years (no joke). When my sister and I were kids, this restaurant was within walking distance, but relocated. I introduced Tom to it and we are hooked. Thankfully, they are able to accommodate ALL of my allergies... one of the few, if the only, Vietnamese restaurant in Calgary to do so.
They do gluten-free spring rolls (made with rice paper - keep in mind that they are deep fried so cross-contamination is possible), they do not use dairy, and they have an imitation "fish" sauce! So delicious - you can enjoy what you love and not have to worry about your allergies!

Visit the Taste of Saigon website here. Enjoy!

Logo

Something To Think About Today

Happy Monday!


Friday, May 10, 2013

Daily Dose Of... Zen

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”- Thich Nhat Hanh


Namaste

Good Ol' Ham Sammy's

Nom. I love ham; it's a bit obvious since my post on Wednesday was about bacon but I digress.
These are quite filling, so you can eat them traditionally for lunch or dinner!
Gluten and dairy free as always.
Making for two.
Kath's Ham Sammy's
4 slices of ham
1 cup coleslaw mix or shredded lettuce
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup water chestnuts, chopped
5 tbsp lite mayo
1 tsp yellow mustard
1 tsp salsa
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp rice vinegar
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp onion powder
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp basil

2 tsp Becel vegan margarine
slices of gluten and dairy free bread, lightly toasted

Combine ingredients 2 - 16 in large bowl until thoroughly combined. Toast bread lightly, and spread margarine on each slice. Place two slices of ham per sandwich, and top ham with lettuce mixture. Top with other piece of bread and enjoy!!

(C)FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary
 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Gluten and Dairy Free YYC!

YYC is amazing for many reasons, but it has an incredible gluten free community! Sandra's Original Gluten Free General Store, Design District Urban Tavern, and more! We've just discovered a new member to our gluten and dairy free community; Ed's Restaurant on 17th!

They create all of their gluten and dairy free foods on-site, so you know that there is no cross-contamination and that the food is truly gluten and dairy free. I haven't had a burger at a restaurant in forever, and I had one at Ed's. It was incredible.

Click here to visit Ed's website.

Daily Dose of Buddha

“In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.” - The Buddha


Namaste.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Everything Really Is Better With Bacon

Does anyone else remember when there was supposed to be a bacon shortage this year? Is that still a thing? Anyways, I don't usually eat red meat but, let's face it, pork truly is the "other white meat" so generally I can handle it pretty well. However, it's pretty greasy so portioning is key when eating bacon. This recipe incorporates that portioning, but also allows you to truly enjoy the incredible taste that we all love... bacon! With protein-heavy meals, I like to have a side dish of a small salad or veggies/fruit! Gluten and dairy free as always.
(Even with some foods that you would never think would have gluten or dairy in them, always always check ingredients!)
Kath's Bacon-Wrapped Chicken
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 bacon strips
1/2 cup red wine
2 tsp Becel Vegan margarine, melted
1/4 cup ketchup
1/8 tsp hot sauce
1/4 cup medium salsa
1/8 tsp Chinese 5 Spice Powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tbsp cumin
dash of cayenne

Wrap each chicken breast with 4 strips of bacon. If needed, keep bacon strips in place with toothpicks. Spray frying pan with cooking spray or use olive oil and turn heat to medium. Place wrapped chicken breasts in oil and cook, turning often. Remember to watch out for bacon spits!
In medium-sized bowl, combine the remaining ingredients thoroughly. After the chicken has cooked for 7-8 minutes, pour in red wine mixture, reduce heat to simmer and cover.
Chicken should simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until cooked through. Be sure to turn chicken every so often to ensure that the bacon gets cooked evenly.
Once chicken is cooked through, serve and use spoon to evenly coat remaining wine mixture over chicken. Enjoy!!
(C)FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary

The Brilliant Mind of Eckhart Tolle

"To end the misery that has afflicted the human condition for thousands of years, you have to start with yourself and take responsibility for you inner state at any given moment. That means now." 
- Eckhart Tolle



Namaste.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Gluten and Dairy Free and Missing Pasta? Try This

Pinterest is a fabulous resource, even for those of use with gluten and dairy allergies. On Pinterest, there is a recipe for "dressed-up pasta"! You can find the pin here.

Now, the pin's recipe is not gluten and dairy free... but keep in mind that you can always, always tweak recipes to be gluten and/or dairy free. You just need the right ingredients! I like to peruse Pinterest often, and I know that you probably do, too so I will make an effort to post recipes from Pinterest tweaked to our unique allergy needs!
Anyways, here's my gluten and dairy-free "tweaked" recipe for this Pinterest Pasta recipe:

Pinterest "Tweaked" Gluten and Dairy Free Pasta
1 cup gluten free corn pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp dairy free, "Vegan" Becel Margarine
1 tbsp gluten free Italian-style "breadcrumbs"
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 onion powder
1/8 tsp paprika
dash of pepper

Cook corn pasta as per directions on back (I recommend Mrs. Leeper's corn pasta as, even if you mistakenly cook it for longer than supposed to, it doesn't get mushy). Once pasta is to your liking, toss pasta with all ingredients thoroughly and as evenly as possible.
Enjoy!!
 

Daily Dose of... Buddha

These past two days seem to be on the theme of weightloss, and I'd like to continue the motivation! The hardest thing for me is waiting - I need to train myself to have more patience!! We all need to promote patience within ourselves; we need to remember that things do not happen overnight, or at the snap of our fingers. This seemingly simple quote from The Buddha helps to remind us of this.

"A jug fills drop by drop." - The Buddha


Namaste.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Getting Active In Alberta

It's shoulder season for Alberta hikers, and while the snow is still deep, the trails are marked and ready for your boot-clad hiking feet! Such was the case when Tom and I visited the Baldy Pass trail this past Saturday with our energetic and surprisingly awesome hiker dog! I've posted some pics below; what an awesome day to enjoy the incredible beauty that our Earth has given us! We felt incredibly fortunate.

 


Here's a quick-fix for beginners from beginners: If you can, buy a Day-Hiker backpack (specifically) - Atmosphere, MEC, and other outdoor stores will have them marked. They may have male/female varieties for weight displacement, but the big difference between a day-pack and a backpack one might use for school is the rigid back. If you don't have time or funds to acquire a day-hiker pack, a quick-fix (keep in mind this won't work for long-term) is to take a cutting board and place it against the back of your pack. This will mimic the rigid back of a day-hiker pack, and will save your back 
from getting overly sore like a soft-back school pack would.




Why I Will Always Be Gluten and Dairy Free!

I don't usually do "selfies", but I'd like to share this one! When I got engaged last August, I was at my very heaviest. I was dealing with an un-diagnosed gluten and dairy allergy and, although I was happy in all other areas of my life, I really wasn't feeling good about myself. So, I decided to make a change. I began exploring the gluten and dairy free diet (and blogging about it!) portioning, and tracking and maintaining regular exercise. Since then I have lost 40 lbs to date with a goal of losing 20-25 more pounds. The feeling is incredible; I feel so much better, more energetic, and more willing to do things I never would have before. My wedding dress even needs to be taken in! All thanks to my diet, exercise, and determination! I can't wait to continue down this healthy road and, through my blog and other activities, help others to get healthy and love themselves for the amazing human beings they are!! I know I will reach my goal soon!

 This is why I will continue to explore everything I can when it comes to the gluten and dairy free diet, and I am dedicated to helping others with their gluten and dairy allergies... and their weightloss!
Stay tuned for more great recipes, tips, etc. as we navigate these allergies together!
Please message me if you have any questions or any recipes you love that you would like posted on French Onion Soup Blog!

Much love,

Katherine