Dealing with Obstacles & Yummy Garlic Knots

Earlier in the year I set out to bake bread.  But I had a hard time making it happened (read about how I kept falling short/loosing inspiration about it in my weekly goals from the summer).

I felt like crap for being so vocal on my blog about wanting to do something and then not being able actually to do it.   I am OK with putting out my goals and not being able to complete them mainly because I enjoy the process – but I really really wanted to make bread!

And then, on a whim I found a super easy recipe that totally jived with my way of cooking (simple ingredients / minimal steps).  And ✷poof✷ just like that – I made bread!!

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Plate | Cutting board | Tea Towel | Knife

But I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about obstacles that come in the way of the goals you set for yourself.

I think with the older I get, the more I realize that obstacles are a way to grow.  This was not always the case – I used to think that obstacles were something telling me that my goals were never going to be reached.  Although not being able to bake bread because I didn’t have the right tools isn’t a serious obstacle, it was definitely a set back in reaching a goal.

So there are three things I/you can do when you are met with obstacles on the journey to your goals.

  1. Check/Understand/Accept your feelings
    It’s completely normal to feel defeated and sad.  It’s also important to let yourself feel those emotions.  Take some time to recover and then allow yourself to move past those feelings as well.  I say this because even though baking bread may not seem serious but it’s more about the principle behind it reaching the goal.  (i.e.:  I told myself I wanted to bake bread, I told the blogosphere/anyone who read the post I wanted to bake bread, I was excited for the challenge/take my cooking skills to the next level etc)
  2. Focus on research and creativity and set smaller milestone goals
    Sometimes hitting an obstacle means you need to re-evaluate your efforts and plan. It’s possible that there is another way of reaching your goal and it takes hitting an obstacle to make you realize that.  This is also totally fine and it’s a great way to appreciate the journey.
  3. Know that you will get there one way or another
    I read the other day that humans are self talkers by nature.   The only problem is – most of our self talk is negative.  I think it’s totally OK to tell ourselves that our goals are achievable and we’ll be able to make it happened.  I don’t think it makes us conceded instead it adds to our confidence.

Okay – those are my thoughts on obstacles.  Now back to the bread!

These super simple garlic knots were sooooo good. The hubz and the girls loved them – Miss S had 2-3 and Ellie could have easily had 2.  They use all purpose flour and fat free greek yogurt (that is soo cool to me aka no yeast)!

They are a real treat (crispy on the outside, soft on the inside) and smothered in a garlicky butter …YUM!   I think next time I’ll try this recipe with half all purpose and half whole wheat to up the healthfulness.  And although I personally didn’t feel the need for a dip I am totally down for one…(would a white garlic dip be too much garlic?? ;) lol!)

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Some more notes on meal planning

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So we are just over mid way through the week (I’ll be honest I started writing this post on Tuesday Evening and it’s now Thursday Morning) and I wanted to check in with my meal planning status.  As mentioned before – I am trying to get into good habits because March 2018 it’s GO time.

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This is the plan I had for the week and what I prepared on the weekend. #ThankGoodnessForGoogleSheets

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And this is how it’s gone so far.  As you can see things changed which is OK!

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Okay so first thing, my in laws dropped off some food for us so I didn’t have to take out the food from the freezer (aka the slow cooker Daal).

Secondly, I didn’t make the bread loaf pan omelette yet (although I plan to this evening – which I did yesterday).

Thirdly, having food cooked (that isn’t necessarily a meal) but that can be put together as a meal is awesome!  I had steamed some broccoli, peas and carrots and put that in a salad (with quinoa and other uncooked/raw veggies) for lunch!

Fourth, I love that I am not actually making food during the day (especially as I am on Mat Leave).  Just having to heat up food is so convenient – and knowing that its home made makes my heart smile.  My freezer pasta is something I’ll need to freeze on the weekend but I’ve realized that it needs to thaw on the counter during the day and be cooked the night before we want to eat it (I won’t have enough time to cook it the night of).

And lastly, fifth, having options is incredible especially when there are picky eaters.  I won’t go into this much but it’s much easier (aka we can avoid dinner time tantrums) when I offer a choice.  “San, do you want this with this or that”, “ummm I’ll have this with this”.  It gives up some of the control and makes my kiddo feel important (which she is OBVIOUSLY!)

Other than that, I just have to work on the snacks portion of my meal prepping. Although I have some ideas (this bean dip, these pancakes/chewy “cookies”, and even this granola with a cup of non dairy milk) I haven’t actually prepped them.

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Yep – I totally used an old pasta sauce jar as my “mason jar” but they can also be purchased in bulk too!

A new years Life Lately post

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I say life lately – but this is more of a brain dump!  (I started writing this post on Monday and it’s now Friday and I am finally getting around to hit the publish button)

Weekend Recap
We actually had a nice weekend.  Friday we were at a first birthday/Lohri party for a dear friend of mine’s daughter.  The party was at an Indian Banquet hall and I have to say it was so well done.  A play area for the kids, candy bar, amazing decor, well planned table games, even the entertainment was something new.  Although now I am more convinced to do a small intimate celebration for our Ellie.  I do feel kind of guilty for not doing the same things with both kids but I do have keep my sanity!

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Starting Meal-Prep
I did meal prep on the weekend in an effort to practice for the real deal in a few months.  Here is what I made:  Breakfast options included 2 days of oven baked omelettes, 2 days of green smoothies (to be paired with pb on toast), 1 day of oatmeal.  For mains I made slow cooker eggplant parmesan, buffalo cauliflower and we made a huge batch of brown rice.  Also I had a coconut chickpea stew in the freezer that I pulled out for dinner and lunch!  I’ve been eyeing these meal prep containers for over a year – I should just get them!

So what have I learned from meal prepping / using my slow cooker (honestly I feel like I am the only person not using an instant pot to make rice in 4 minutes) is that:

  • Meal prep 2.5 mains for use during the week as lunches or dinners
  • Prep veggies/legumes as the 0.5 for 1) above.  So things like the roasted cauliflower, roasted chickpeas, cooked black beans or steamed broccoli or peas (which I am doing next week).  These can be added to anything to make a meal more full (or to pasta or rice for kiddo meals).
  • Make a big batch of grains for use during the week.  I like to add some to a big salad and it can obviously be used as a base.
  • Prep some healthy snacks like energy bites or protein cookies (I didn’t do it this time but I will try next time)
  • Have tons of sauces, spreads, toppings and garnishes on hand.  I made a ranch dressing out of mayo, milk, onion powder and dill – it was so good and I was quite impressed.  I hate buying store bought dressing to only use it once or twice and then have it be a complete waste.   Other things we have used this week: cilantro, hot sauce, roasted sesame seeds, almond butter, cacao nibs etc
  • Plan your grocery run and make sure you have a list
  • Do the groceries before the weekend (if you can).  I find it very tiring and impossible to do the groceries on the weekend with the kids in tow and then to some how find the time to prep the food.  I haven’t figured out when to make the food (right now it’s a little at night and little in the morning and lots in between) so having the food in the house gives me some leeway.

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Watching
I am heavy into some royal history on Netflix.  Reason being two fold – I the modern royals fascinating and I get a history lesson along the way.

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Fitness
The mister and I are trying to find out new norm for working out.  Gone are the days where we could spend upwards of an hour at the gym.  Having kids changes everything.  Do cardio, resistance training, some abs and of course stretch all in one session.   We’ve realized the best we can do is 15 minute intervals.  So we are starting again, starting small and slow.
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Reading
I just finished reading The Rushing Woman’s Syndrome.  It was actually a really great read for the point in my life where I am now.  I hope to do a review and share my favourite parts of the book in a later post.  I feel even more empowered to care for what I eat and how I treat myself #Selfcare.  I started reading Overdressed, and it’s already grabbed my attention.  And I still have to go back and finish reading Ishmael.

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PS: All images are from Tumblr (credited as found)

The Best VEGAN Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I have been on HUNT for an amazing HOMEMADE cookie recipe. (Read more about my cookie obsessions here, here and here).

And I think this may be it. And considering it is VEGAN makes me even happier.

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We had our first snow fall yesterday midday into this morning. To me, cold snowy days just   calls for gooey chocolate chip cookies.  These did not disappoint.  And the fact that they contain no refined sugar or flour makes them even more delectable & guilt free.  The Hubz and I easily ate 10 each!

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What you need:

1 can of chickpeas
4 tbsp flour of choice (I just grinded up some quick oats using my blender)
3 tbsp sweetener of choice (I used agave)
2 tbsp nut butter (this is the one I used)
1/2 cup of plant based milk (we use this one)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
Chocolate chips (this is a good vegan one)

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What you do:

Preheat oven to 375
Blend up all the ingredients (except the chocolate chips) until smooth
Fold in chocolate chips
Place tbsp portions of the cookie mix on a parchment lined baking pan
(You may need to spread/flatten the cookie)
Bake for 6-8 minutes (shorter if you want it more gooey, longer if you like more of a cake like consistency).

Enjoy!!

Our visit to @CafeLandwer

Last week, the Hubz and I (okay… and #EllieHaze asleep in her car seat) checked out Cafe Landwer.  And ohmygoodness it did not disappoint.

We went for brunch but the menu is chalked full of so much goodness.

The restaurant itself has got this cute vintage yet modern looking style with Instagram worthy tiles on the floor.

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Maybe it was the sleeping baby, or the cozy atmosphere, or the fact that we hadn’t been out together in a long time but this place definitely hit the spot.  We ended up getting the Landwer’s breakfast for 2.  It came with 4 eggs cooked to our choice (we went with omelette of veggies and cheese) + a huge tray of bread and a variety of dips.  I swear I felt like royalty eating this :)

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We are definitely going to go back for the coffee and desert and maybe with Miss S to check out the kids menu ;)

How a Desi family celebrates Canadian Thanksgiving

We have officially entered that time of year where every family event imaginable occurs one after the other after the other.  Let me break it down for you.

Our wedding anniversary
Husband’s birthday
Rakhi

My sister/brother in laws wedding anniversary
Thanksgiving
Karva Chauth
Diwali
Tikka

My Birthday
My Dad’s Birthday
My brother in laws Birthday
Halloween
My Mom’s birthday
My sister’s birthday
Christmas
NYE

I colour coded it to display events broken down by month.  That is August, October, November then December.  And sometimes this crazy thing is that events may fall on the same weekend or one day apart during the work week or even on the same day!!!! (This year Thanksgiving was the day after Karva Chauth and Diwali is on my birthday).  Also I forgot to mention that majority of these celebrations are celebrated twice (one with my family and once with my in laws).  So undoubtedly it makes for a very busy and intense few months.  It takes a lot of brain power, planning and calmness to make it through these months.  

Now if you aren’t Indian (aka Desi – the word used in the title of this post) you probably won’t know what Diwali, Karva ChauthTika and Rakhi are. 

Anyways on to our Thanksgiving celebration.

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This was my first time hosting.  It was kind of oxymoron because the day after I fasted for my husband we were cooking a faest for 8 adults (well a few items for that feast – we had help because it was kind of a potluck).  We had my parents, my sister and her hubby and my cousin, his wife and their kid – along with us and our mini girl gang.

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On the menu was:

Light Appies
veggies
breadsticks
melba toast
3 homemade dips (Roasted red pepper, hummus and tapenade

Dinner
1 small chicken
10 tandoor drumsticks
Mini corn
Brussel Sprouts
Salad
Vegan Mash Potatos
Spicy indian pasta
Stuffing
Gravy

Dessert
coconut vanilla bean nice cream
mini vegan apple pies
our peanut butter favourite cookies.

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