Monday, October 31, 2016

Mare's Music Monday: Lady Gaga

You had to see this one coming.  Lady Gaga is back with her fifth studio album Joanne.  If you are looking for a revival of songs like Just Dance, Bad Romance and Born This Way, this is not the album for you.  But if you are looking to see an artist continue to evolve and extend her musical prowess, this is for you. 
I've said this before: I respect artists who try new things and sounds and evolve their sound with their age and experiences.  Gaga does just that.  I'd say Joanne is a mix of her previous dance-influenced sound and her foray into jazz with her Grammy Award-winning album Cheek to Cheek.  (That is another gem!)  Joanne is a mix of folk, country, rock, pop and electronic.  It just works.  Gaga is a vocal powerhouse and her lyrics are raw and relatable. I know some people will be disappointed with the record but it's easily one of my favourites of the year. I far prefer it to ARTPOP, her third album.  A sense of raw honesty runs throughout each song.  The standout tracks to me are Perfect Illusion, John Wayne, Joanne and A Million Reasons
You've probably heard her first single Perfect Illusion, but check out this acoustic version: 
I cannot wait to see what Gaga does as she performs next year's Super Bowl halftime show! 
oxox Mare

Monday, October 24, 2016

An Easy Self-Care Tip

This may look like just another photo of a pile of magazines.  It actually represents a change I trying to make in my life.  We all know we should be limiting our daily amount of screen time.  As someone whose business relies on hours in front of a computer screen or iPhone, I am working on fitting breaks into my day on purpose.  I am definitely guilty of falling asleep scrolling my phone but it's a work in progress!

I've been reading Amy Schumer's new book but wanted something that I could pick up when I have a five minute break or am having a snack. I also find reading lulls me to sleep, so picking up a book at anytime besides bedtime can be dangerous!  

This magazine deal is one of my favourite things to treat myself to. I only do it a couple times a year, but it brings me so much joy! At the WalMart check-out they have certain magazines for sale, three for $10.  That's a huge savings!

Picking up a magazine may seem like a simple act to you but to me it is much more.  I've been slacking on self-care as I talked about in a recent video: 

Taking a few minutes as a break from working and flipping through one of these magazines is almost a forced act for me some days.  I'm constantly thinking of the next task on my to-do list and have to stop myself from feeling guilty from taking a break.  Having a son with special needs transitioning into Kindergarten is definitely wearing on me lately.  He's tired and grumpy from such full days and I am finding my patience wearing thin.  

I'm much more productive after a break.  I know I create better content after a break.  I'm a calmer mum after a break.  It's a learned skill I'm working on and I know I'm not alone. 

Yes, flipping through a magazine may not seem like much to you, but it is to me. 

What do you like to do to give yourself a break? 
oxox Mare

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Pad Thai

Pad Thai is currently my husband's favourite dish and so instead of eating Thai food at a restaurant once a week (as I am sure he would love!) I decided to try to make it myself. I do like Pad Thai but now that we don't eat meat, it seems a bit ridiculous to order it at a restaurant and ask for no chicken or shellfish. I also find that most places fry it so it can taste drenched in oil. So, I made it at home! 

(Fun fact, the first time I attempted this we had a friend staying with us who had just returned from travelling in Asia for more than a year. No pressure!) 

I posted the above photo and got tons of requests to share the recipe I used. I actually combined two different sites to make this dish. It was super easy and delicious. (Even our friend gave it his approval by asking for seconds!) 

For the sauce, I used this super easy recipe from PETA's website:

2 Tbsp. peanut butter
Juice of 2 limes
3 Tbsp. sugar
Sriracha, to taste

Whisk together. 

See? Easy. 

For the dish itself I turned to my Vegan Gurus at hotforfood:

200 G brown rice fettucine noodles (or flat rice noodles)
350 G medium firm tofu
2 tbsp coconut oil (for frying)
½ cup thinly sliced onion
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 cup finely chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups broccoli florets
3 cups bean sprouts
2 tbsp finely chopped green onion
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
2 tbsp finely chopped roasted cashews (or peanuts)

Drain the water from the tofu and let it sit in paper towel for 10-15 minutes to get rid of excess moisture. Then cut into cubes.

Bring a pot of water to a boil for the noodles. Once the water is at a rolling boil, toss in the noodles and stir occasionally while they cook for approx. 10 minutes. Cook to al dente, drain, and set aside in a colander.

Meanwhile heat a large pan to medium heat and add 1 tbsp of coconut oil and cubes of tofu. After 4-5 minutes flip the cubes to another side to crisp. Flip the cubes every 2 minutes to get the rest of the sides golden brown.

When the tofu cubes are golden brown all around add ¼ cup of the sauce to the pan and coat the pieces evenly cooking over the heat for another minute. Remove tofu from the pan and set aside. You’ll toss tofu into the vegetables and noodles near end of cooking time.

In the same pan over medium heat add another 1 tbsp of oil and the onions, carrots, and celery. Cook for 2-3 minutes stirring frequently. Then add in minced garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Then add in broccoli and sprouts (you might want to leave a small amount of raw sprouts aside as a garnish on top of the finished pad thai), and cook for another 4-5 minutes stirring frequently. Then add in half the amount of sauce remaining, toss to coat all the veggies and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Add in the cooked noodles and remaining sauce, turn the heat down to low, toss to coat everything in sauce, and cook for another 3-4 minutes. At this stage you can adjust the spice level if you desire by adding another 1-2 tsp of sriracha. Serve immediately and top with green onion, cilantro, raw sprouts, and chopped cashews (or peanuts)

Let me know if you make this recipe. I absolutely love it. In fact, just typing about it is making me hungry! 
oxox Mare

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Swell Reward

You know how much I love to drink water. It's actually become a running joke among Mareathoners how many drinks I usually have on the go.  (In case you are wondering, I try to drink 3.5 litres a day.) 
As I have been working on losing weight and becoming a healthier person, drinking water has played a vital role.  But, I am also struggling with shifting my go-to habits of rewarding myself with food.  This is going to be a long struggle for me.  I was raised with food being a reward, just like I think most of us were.  Don't get me wrong, I still love a good treat!  But as I set goals for myself and work on baby steps with my physical and mental health, I am looking for different rewards. 
Enter, this water bottle. 
I decided that I wanted to treat myself to a S'well bottle months ago.  I heard about the technology's incredible ability to keep water cold for hours, even in a hot car.  So I decided to buy one of these pricey babies online once I finally came off my anxiety and depression medication. 
And I did! This bottle not only represents my insane water habit, but also reminds me daily of the intense work I have put in and continue to put in on my mental health. 
I wanted to share this somewhat random story with you as encouragement for you to do the same.  Find something you really want and set a goal to go along with it. Not only will you be so pleased you waited, it will mean more. 
oxox Mare

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A Night in Manning Park

Friday, October 7, 2016

Join Me!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Jer Reads: Sully

A "Fun Fact" about me is that I"m fascinated by plane crashes. Whenever a big one takes place, I follow the story very closely. So when a plane crashed into New York City's Hudson River on January 15th, 2009, needless to say, I was captivated! 

When I found out that a movie about it, starring Tom Hanks was being made, I was so excited. Despite the exsistence of a movie, I decided to do the opposite of what I did a couple of times in high school, read the book instead of watching the film.

I've heard nothing but good things about Sully the movie, but I'm here to tell you that the book wasn't that good. I was expecting it to be about the flight, the crash and events afterwards but it was more of an autobiography. The first half of the book was mostly about his life leading up to the Miracle On The Hudson. I don't need to know that his dad built his childhood home by hand or what the Air Force Academy was like. I found myself skipping over pages and entire chapters to get to the main event. It was like waiting through the lame opening act at a concert before your favourite band headlines. The chunk of the book about the flight was terrific, as it was thrilling to read about his quick reaction to the situation (it was only 3 minutes from the bird strike to the Hudson River) and how he pulled off the only water landing ever where no one died.

In conclusion, go see the movie. The popcorn is delicious!
- Jeremy
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