Faves of Spring 2014

It’s common knowledge on the East Coast that this past “Spring” was the shortest ever. This is because selfish Winter continued to steal Spring’s spotlight for far too many weeks; I mean, there was snow in April for god sake! So while I started this post in March, I never felt right posting it because it never felt like Spring. And with the blink of an eye, it is now over (and gorgeous summer has arrived today in full force). So here are a few of my favourite random things … They don’t really have anything to do with Spring, I just thought about them then 😉

1. Renee’s blue cheese dressing – Chunky, creamy, perfectly tangy and very distinct but at the same time not overly pungent (let’s not lie, blue cheese isn’t for the faint of heart). Not only is this an amazing dressing, it’s thick enough to serve many other important purposes including raw veggie and hot wing dip.

2. Nutritional yeast – I have been hearing more about this hippy/vegan food (and I don’t say that with any judgment, just observation) but not yet ventured out to buy or try it. Given I love to experiment with all sorts of nutritious and weird things to balance out my obsession with rich and fried foods, I thought I’d give this a go. It’s often substituted in vegan or dairy free dishes to provide a cheese-like flavour. I sprinkled it on cooked cauliflower with pizza sauce and hot sauce and it actually tasted more like cheese than it smelled! Even better, I used a lot of it in a broccoli soup I made with unsweetened almond milk and fresh pepper and it turned out super! Not the same as cheese by any means, but nutritious and an interesting addition to sprinkle onto any dish (almost like an herb). I guess I shouldn’t be putting this into my “faves of Spring” because I would still choose real cheese over nutritional yeast any day but it’s not really meant to be a substitute – it’s kind of in that little category of healthy food additions I suppose we could all aim to have in our pantry (like chia seeds and hemp hearts).

3. pB2 – Again, while I still prefer real natural peanut butter, I’ve put pB2 on my list because it’s a nifty substitute for peanut butter that is lower in fat and calories and works well for shakes (or mixed into yogurt) because it’s a powder. It’s basically dehydrated peanuts and has some sugar added; the texture looks like hot chocolate powder but colour is more beige. A tbsp is 20 cals instead of 80-100 and the fat% is lower – for those of you watching your cholesterol or calories it may be a good option! I have tried it mixed with water as per the instructions, which turns it into a paste similar to PB … But I wouldn’t eat it this way if I has the option of regular PB (which just tastes better and has a more delectable texture). In a berry shake or Asian stir fry with soya sauce and ginger though, it’s really good!

4. Coursera – A website that offers a plethora of online courses on pretty much every topic under the sun, with instructors from all over the world (professors from well known universities, actually, such as Princeton, Stanford, UBC, etc.). If you take a course and do the work, you obtain a certificate of completion after and can use this for professional development or even – depending in your field and/or your college or regulatory body – could possibly count this towards your continuing education hours! Alternately, you may just want to take a course on childhood nutrition or investment or addictions. How cool! I hope to do a course sometime soon.

5. Songza – if you haven’t already heard of it, this is definitely something you should be using. You can go to the website on your computer or get the application free on your iPhone or iPad (or android equivalents). It’s basically millions of songs, and you can search by different decades, genres, moods or situations (e.g dinner party, working from home, romantic evening, dance lastly, pre-gaming, house cleaning, the list goes on!) What you get are playlists curated by experts. You’ll never get bored or have to repeat the same music (though you’ll likely save your favorite playlists and go back to them time and time again). You can relax and enjoy a worry free night of hosting, without having to change the CD or make a playlist ahead of time … The system is so advanced it will do all the work for you 🙂

6. Naturally infused H20 – OK, So … I really don’t like water. I mean I love it to bathe in and understand its a necessity for the world, but drinking it plain and cold is just boring and I tend to dehydrate myself rather than sip or gulp on a glass of the stuff. I’ll drink hot water in the winter (or fall/spring, haha, I’m always cold) but not cold water. So instead of using Mio or Crystal light (fake sugars and chemicals) I have started making jugs of water with 5-6 green tea bags, some lemon juice, a few stevia packets or drops, and sliced cucumbers. Sometimes I’ll add mint too and sometimes I’ll just do the water and cucumber. It’s not ground breaking or anything, but just a nice option for the summer months.

7. Songs – Over the last few months I’ve been really into a few songs; they’re catchy and unique and complex. One of them is by Mo feat. Diplo – XXX 88. The other is by We are Twin – The way we touch. Finally, Little May – Hide.

Thanks for stopping in and Happy First Day of Summer!!

Xo

Daniela

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