A Good Breakfast...

Lately I've been noticing the benefit of eating a hot breakfast first thing in the morning.  Upon the reccomendations of my parents, I made a big pot of steel cut oats and had plenty of leftovers every day last week.  Now that they're gone, cream of wheat was on the menu this morning.  I decided to make a batch for the rest of this week as well. 

Eating cream of wheat brings back memories of my childhood, since my mom would often make it for us.  I remember that she often forgot to stir it, so we would find some lumpy parts.

Well, I miss the lumpy parts.  I make mine on the stove, and it's not only the consistency that has changed.  I no longer ice it with brown sugar like I used to, but sweeten it with some cut up dates, adding a little bit of almond milk.  It's still delicious, but I find myself reminiscing nonetheless. 

Thanks, mom, for giving me a love for all things food.  You broadened my culinary horizons, and now I broaden yours...

Here's to many more adventures in the kitchen, and I'm still going to let you make the icing every time!



Mornings like these...

Breakfast, or my first attempt at steel cut oats

Wake up, completely disoriented, head muddled, belly grumbled, eyes wide shut, dreaming of that yester-land.

Breakfast, coffee, devos, and journaling ---- that's what mornings like this are made of.



Pears on the desk...

Working hard or hardly working??!

Every week when Jake and I go grocery shopping, I try to buy the fruits and veggies that are on sale and in season. By the time we reach the check out, the majority of the buggy is filled with produce alone. This week I found some reduced veggies, and found a bundle of 6 pears for $.79. They looked to be in good condition, so we bought them.  Now, the troublesome thing with pears is that they don't transport well. When I bring them to work, they get all bruised and mushy, but taste even sweeter than before. I like to save my fruit until the last hour of my shift, that way I can go home feeling somewhat full.

I like seeing it there on my desk. It reminds me to be patient.  Sometimes I'm impatient, and eat it early. I pay for it later with a rumbly tummy. I find that drinking a coffee or chewing gum helps to distract me from wanting to eat the food I brought all at once. I have noticed that my eating patterns are regimented throughout the day, and that sometimes I force myself to wait until the hour or half hour to dig in.  This also happens with bathroom visits, and stretch breaks.

My work habits reflect my life: I like the patterns and reliability of the day.  This week Jake had to stay home from work for a couple of days due to being sick. Even though I was excited to have him home, my internal schedule was completely thrown off. 

I find myself wishing that I were more laid back and flexible, a "just-roll-with-the-punches" kind of person.  But alas, God is still smoothing out the rough edges in me.  I might never be that kind of person, but hopefully one day I will be a little more relaxed.

In the meantime I'll keep practicing patience by waiting to eat my pear, and maybe one day I'll mix it up and consume it earlier than I had planned!



Apple pie smoothie ...

As some of you may have noticed on Facebook, I have started experimenting with "green" Smoothies.  This simply means that I have been adding some extra green, leafy vegetable to my drink for the added health benefit.  Many people might shy away from the idea, and I completely understand why. Green drinks look like they should taste nasty, plain and simple.  However, I'm happy to say that there is literally no change to the taste, just a delightful  change to your insides.  A friend of mine introduced me to a website that highlights the basics of a green drink, and since then I have been trying to find the perfect combination.   The apple pie smoothie is one that I created, so drink up and enjoy!
-1 apple of your choice
-1 bunch of greens (kale, spinach, or Swiss chard)
-1 cup milk (any kind... I used almond)
-cinnamon to taste (I probably used just under a tsp)
Directions :
Cut the apple into wedges and cook in the microwave to soften (about 3-4 min). You can peel it if you desire.  Then blend it all together.  Get creative... I added some raw oatmeal to it as well.  You can also add some sort of sweetener if you desire.
Drink up and get healthy :) 
P.s. don't knock it unless you've tried it.  I love Jake's motto: "Try something three times and then decide if you like it or not. "

This attempt ...

I'm sitting at my little desk waiting for people to call for taxis, excited that I only have two more hours left.  I've been getting to know my co-workers a little bit. This is a great shift...one that is going by so fast. I'm excited about my new schedule because I get Sunday and Monday off every week.  It's a relief since the topic of working Sunday shifts never came up, but I'm not completely comfortable with working on Sundays.  How about you? What are your thoughts on working Sunday shifts?

Until next time ...


Hopefully it shows up, but here is a picture of the sunset tonight.  What a gorgeous day we had!


Irresponsibly yours...

So.  I started a new job, and in the last four days alone I have worked 28 hours there and 9 hours at my other job.  Welcome to the world of full time employment, my friend, I say to myself (at least I can say it amicably!)  I haven't seen this side of work in a very long time, and I'm finding it both rewarding and exhausting.  Not to mention, it's bringing out an impossibly irresponsible side of me.  I'm triple booking myself, forgetting to find a replacement for things I've volunteered for, and taking forever to get back to people who have emailed, texted, or called me.  (Sorry if that's been you!)

I've been wanting to write a blog all week, but I've been reserving my extra time for exercise, cooking and spending time with Jake.  And probably in that order.

My priorities have been a bit off I think (actually, I know), but God is still there, patiently waiting for me to spend some time with Him, and stop being so distracted. 

On another note, the highlights of this week have been the beautiful weather (which is a treat to run in), and a cake pop made for the cafeteria staff by some of the students from ladies' residence.  I ate mine slowly, savouring each bite, as I was grateful for the little taste of chocolate and spiritual encouragement by the people that I see every day. 



Sunday: From the Lens...

My view of Galt from work

Ice remains even in the late afternoon sun

My handsome husby

Jake and I on our trail walk

Beautiful sunset after church

My newfound workstation and the best Wifi hotspot in our apartment.  I'm writing this blog there right now.

Jake got a vanilla milkshake.  And this is all that I should be having at this unhealthy caloric cesspool.
Three small cups of stale and burned coffee later, I received a large, freshly brewed decaf, on the house :) 

A happy, long and satisfying Sunday = FTW

Love, Ashleigh


My Last Day...

The time has come for me to move on.  After today, I will no longer be babysitting those little boys that have worked their way so dearly into my heart.  Despite all that we have been through-the whining, the screaming matches, and the enlightening talks about Jesus, Satan, and the real version of Christmas- I will miss them.

I have a new job, something that is full time and will be a blessing financially.  Working for a taxi company is an interesting prospect, and I'm sure it will be quite an adventure.

And yes, I'm eager to try something new, and to provide some stability to our income as well.

But I pray for those young hearts that have opened up to me.  You see, it's not easy to be small.  I can see that through their eyes now.  There are many pressures and bullies, and stressors that only they can feel.  Expectations and misunderstandings.

I hope that I've helped to plant a seed.  God must use the next person to water it.  Their hearts are impressionable, and they need to feel loved by the One who created them.

Jesus is reaching out to them, wanting to wrap His loving arms around them and show them the Way to life.



Run by the River...

In the past couple of days, the only exercise that I have managed to do is walking.  I couldn't resist getting out for a run this morning, especially when I heard that it was going to get up to 13 C today.  There is a river and a pond near our house, with a trail snaking along beside it.  During the wee hours of the day, it is quiet and serene, with the sun streaming brightly across the water, and the birds calling out to one another.  As I ran, I raised my arms up to the heavens, shouting towards the blue sky in awe of our wonderful Creator who makes days such as these.



Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook...

I'm not sure how many of you have heard of Tosca Reno, but she has become famous for many things, not the least of which includes her famous Eat-Clean diet.  This diet is revolutionary because it is simply this:

Eat clean! Stop eating processed sugars and bad fats, and enjoy the vegetables and legumes and lean meats that we have available.

Essentially, everything that we already know we should be doing, she took the time to write a book about it.  I am technically not following this diet, but since I have been trying to eat less processed foods and avoid bad sugars, I have been following it in a roundabout way!

She has come out with a couple of cookbooks which are really excellent.  The reason I love them so much is because they promote recipes that are wholesome and unprocessed, relying on the natural tastes of vegetables and spices to rev up the food.

When I first started this post, I wanted to tell everyone about a really neat recipe, thinking that it came from this cookbook.  I forgot that I found it in a different one, so I'll let the Eat Clean Diet Cookbook be for the moment.

The recipe that I made yesterday was lentil sloppy joes, found in this recipe book.  It's revolutionary, really- just mix cooked green lentils with some chopped up carrots, red pepper, and onion, add some tomato paste, soy sauce, dijon, and ketchup, and voila! You have a delicious sloppy joe mixture.  I added a fried egg to it as well.  Topped with some avocado and pickle slices, and a little bit of grated parmesan, this incredible sandwich is a must-make.




DIY Jam...

Since I've started eating healthier, I've been avoiding certain processed foods that contain an exorbitant amount of unnecessary sugars.  Jam, unfortunately, is one of them.

I usually make soup once a week, and make a loaf of whole wheat bread in the bread maker to go with it.  The past couple of mornings, I've been enjoying a slice of toast with peanut butter.  This morning, however, I wanted to add a little bit of jam.  Since I couldn't use the processed stuff in our fridge, I realized I should make my own.   Here's how:

-pour a few berries into a shallow dish and defrost them in the microwave (If I hadn't been so impatient, I would have done this over the stove)
-Cook them for a few seconds once they are defrosted to heat them up (again, if you do them over the stove, they will defrost and heat at the same time)
-mix them around and mash them up so the consistency becomes more jam-like

**Optional**-add some agave nectar/honey/stevia/real maple syrup for desired sweetness (naturally)
-spread on toast




The Winter Blahs...

So, yup, I've got them.  These unexplainable mid-Feb-March doldrums.  Even though I had a good night's sleep (due to a wonderful naturopathic sleep aid) I woke up feeling out of sorts and completely discouraged.

It's reassuring to know that God is there through it all, and I can talk with Him whenever I want/need to.  He listens to me whine and gripe and cry and rant, and still He gives more grace.

That's enough to put a little sunshine in the day, don't you think?