Going back to school.. at 27

Ok well I am only 26 but in just one short month I will be 27 and entering my third semester of college. If you’re wondering if this is the first degree/program I have taken it is not. This will be my fourth program that I have taken, yes I am indecisive, yes I have had multiple jobs and yes I like school.

When I finished high school at 17 I was so eager to move out of my families home and go to college that I looked up a few programs at schools an hour or more away from the town I grew up in and just chose one. Which may not have been my best decision I’ve ever made.

I decided at 17 to go to school for cosmetic management, which when I saw it online I was like that sounds like fun! But I should have thought wow that sounds expensive and like something I won’t be interested in 5 years from now. Don’t get me wrong doing makeup and management in a retail setting could be someones idea of a dream job but not mine. This program was easy, fun, far from home and I got to play with makeup. However it was not challenging for me and I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do forever once I had finished.

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From doing cosmetic management… not so much. However I am an expert in all things makeup if thats your question.

Needless to say I worked in the cosmetic industry and retail management for the next 4 years and decided that I needed to try something new. Something challenging. So when I turned 23 I went back to school for the second time for something completely different, pre health sciences. This program prepared me to enter a bachelors degree in science and nursing which was the next direction I thought that I wanted to take. But hey guess what one year of pre health sciences and one year of my bachelors degree in nursing I decided that that was defiantly not what I wanted to do. I seriously commend anyone that it is a registered nurse, not only is it a hard degree but it is a tough job. So kudos to all of you!

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So fast forward 3 years later after a failed attempt at becoming a nurse, working as a retail manager, moving to multiple cities and moving on with my life. At 25 I decided to go back to school… one last time. Currently I am enrolled in occupational therapy assistant/physiotherapy assistant program. I am now in my third semester, 4 months of in class school and 4 months of placement and I will graduate, I will be done! This time for good!! This program has been challenging, exciting and I cannot wait to be done and start my career in this field and develop my skills.

I want to encourage anyone who is nervous or scared to go back to school because of their age and just go for it! If you’re not happy in your current standing, change it. If you’re not happy with you’re career, change it. If you want to go back to school and go after that job you’ve always wanted, do it! It will motivate you, encourage you and help you decide the path you want to take. You know why because you can change any time, we can change our lives at any time. We are our own creators, do what makes you happy!

So 8 more months of school for me and I will be done. This time for good… I hope!

xx

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Meal Prep Spaghetti Squash Bowls

Looking for a quick and easy dinner recipe that anyone will love? Look no further! This spaghetti squash bowl is healthy, full of flavour, full of protein and delicious to eat everyday of the week.  Spaghetti squash can be made and prepared so many different ways and you can switch up the vegetables or beans used in this recipe to use your favourite ones and make it your own.

Spaghetti squash has so many benefits, full of vitamins, minerals, aids in weight loss, lowers cholesterol and helps regulate blood sugar. Spaghetti squash has become popular as an alternative to pasta as its contents are lower in carbohydrates then a regular white pasta or rice. Not only does the squash have a low carbohydrate content but it is also low in fat, calories and high in fibre.

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This recipe works for anyone as it is gluten free, vegan, oil free and made with whole food ingredients. You can choose to fill the bottom of your pan with water when cooking or use oil this part is up to you! Either way is just as delicious. The most difficult part about this recipe is cutting the squash in half. What I prefer to do before cooking the squash is to place the whole squash in the microwave for 5 minutes and then let cool for 5 minutes. This helps to soften the squash so that it is much easier to cut in half and to scoop out those seeds!

Season your squash with cilantro, lime or your favourite side. Store in the fridge up to four days and enjoy!

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Meal Prep Spaghetti Squash Bowls

Prep Time: 10 Mins

Cook Time: 40 Mins

Total Time: 50 Mins

Ingredients

One large spaghetti squash, halved (and scooped; seeds removed)

1/3 cup water (or 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, rubbed on inside of squash)

Black Bean Filling (Or substitute with your favourite beans)

1 15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup of corn (or canned/frozen sweet corn)

1 cup of your favourite vegetables (I used zucchini and spinach)

1 Small onion diced

2 Cloves of Garlic

1/4 teaspoon of paprika

1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast

Salt & Pepper to taste

Avocado Mash

1 ripe avocado, mashed

1 Tablespoon of lime juice

1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon cumin

Salt & Pepper to taste

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  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon, like a pumpkin.
  3. Fill a roasting pan with 1/3 cup water or use oil over the squash. Lay the squash cut side down in pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until soft and tender.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium-sized pan cook diced onions, minced garlic and veggies of choice at medium heat until throughly cooked. Season with salt & pepper.
  5. Once vegetable mix has cooled in a medium size bowl mix together all ingredients for Black Bean Filling. Next, in a small bowl, mash the avocado and mix in all ingredients for Avocado Mash.
  6. Remove squash from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Scrape the squash with a fork to resemble spaghetti noodles, then fill with Black Bean Filling and top with avocado mash.

Nutritional Facts (Based upon 1 cup of squash mixture & specific vegetables listed)

Serves: 5-6 cups

Serving size: 1 cup

Calores: 135 Calories

Fats: 6.5 G

Carbs: 12 G

Fibre: 5 G

Protein: 7 G

 

Hope you enjoy!

Roasted Chickpea Tacos & Creamy Lime Slaw

These tacos are seriously so easy and so delicious to make. Chickpeas, cauliflower, coleslaw and an avocado dressing. Sign me up! Eat these tacos as an app, a dinner or for  breakfast. They are that good!

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As I have written about before in my chickpea muffin recipe. Chickpeas are well known as one of the most popular beans in the world next to the soy bean. Chickpeas have been consumed for hundreds of years and are still being eaten by some of the worlds most healthiest populations across the globe. Chickpeas are a legume that have a vast variety of nutritional benefits as well as being versatile when it comes to cooking!

These little beans will:

  • Boost your energy
  • Protect your skin
  • Digestion health
  • Promote weight loss

I could make a whole blog just about chickpeas and recipes on how to cook with them but for now I will let you enjoy this amazingly delicious taco recipe!

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Roasted Chickpea Tacos & Creamy Lime Slaw

Prep Time: 35 Mins

Cook Time: 25 Mins

Total Time: 60 Mins

Ingredients

1/2 – 1 head of cauliflower

1 14 ounce can of chickpeas

1 teaspoon olive oil

Corn tortillas or your go to wraps

Chickpea & Cauliflower Rub

1 teaspoon cumin or all spice

1 1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon coconut sugar (regular sugar)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Creamy Lime Slaw

1 bag of cole slaw mix

1/2 cup of veganasie, or mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon maple syrup

1 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon celery salt

1 pinch black pepper

1 teaspoon water

2 tablespoons of lime juice

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  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Make the slaw: In a medium sized bowl add all of the slaw dressing ingredients. Mix ingredients together until a creamy sauce has formed. In a large bowl, add the cabbage mixture and pour dressing over. Mix until everything is combined. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  3. In a small bowl add all of the rub ingredients and mix together.
  4. Separate all of the cauliflower florets and chop them into bite size pieces. Place florets and chickpeas onto a large sheetpan and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with BBQ rub. Depending on the size of your head of cauliflower you may not need to use all the rub. Toss everything together with your hands so that cauliflower and chickpeas are coated with the rub. Place the sheetpan in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, flipping once.
  5. If desired, warm up corn tortillas on the stove or in the oven. Add about 1/4 cup of cauliflower and chickpeas to each taco and top with a few tablespoons of slaw. Top with onions, tomatoes, or your favourite topping.

** For my recipe I added a Avocado Cilantro Lime Sauce which I highly recommend! **

Avocado Cilantro Lime Sauce Ingredients

1 ripe avocado
3/4 cup cilantro, stems removed
2 tablespoons of lime juice
2 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. agave/honey
Salt & Pepper

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend. Add a touch of water to thin if necessary and add seasonings according to personal preference.

Nutritional Facts (Based upon 1 wrap & 2 Tablespoons of slaw dressing)

Serves: 4-5 people

Serving size: 1 wrap

Calores: 169

Fats: 5 G

Carbs: 28 G

Fibre: 7.5G

Protein: 8 G

Hope you enjoy!

Eastern Canada Road Trip

So we went for it, we decided to take the journey 6,000 kilometres from Ontario all the way to Nova Scotia. There is no better time then summer to take a journey across Canada in your vehicle and thats exactly what we did. We set out on a 7 day road trip starting in Quebec, then heading to New Brunswick, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and back to Montreal. We aimed to hit all of the tourist spots and take in as much beauty as we could! If you are planning on an east coast road trip or a road trip in general I encourage you to read on!

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If you are planning to do the same trip or any road trip, plan it out! Unless you are experienced road tripper with an unlimited amount of time, then make sure you plan out each day.

Day One: Barrie, ON – La Maurice, Quebec

During our road trip we camped most of the way to stay organized and save a bit of money on travel and food costs. La Maurice is a national campground situated just a few hours outside of Quebec City. It was by far my favourite campground out of them all as the drive to the actual campsite was beautiful and the campground itself was very clean and the people were very friendly.

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Day Two: La Maurice, Quebec – Saint Quentin, New Brunswick

At the start of the second day we decided to make a stop in Quebec city as neither of us had been before, it was a gloomy day but it was worth the side trip. We went and visited the Chateau Frontenac, got some poutine (I got a veggie burger), drank some coffee and took in the scenery. After we had left Quebec City we headed on to Saint Quentin, New Brunswick. This was our next stop for the evening at the provincial park of Mount Carleton. This spot has a vast array of hiking trails, views and is close to our next stop Shediac.

Day Three: Saint – Quentin, New Brunswick – Cheti camp, Nova Scotia

During our drive to our next destination we made a pit stop in Shediac, New Brunswick. Shediac is well known as they have one of the largest lobsters in the world, they are also well known for their lobster rolls and beaches.

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My boyfriend got a lobster roll, we stopped at parlee beach provincial park for some rock collecting and we moved on. Our next drive was a long stretch to Cheticamp. Cheticamp is situated in Cape Breton along the Cabot Trail which is where we stayed for the next two days.

Day Four: Cape Breton

On day four we stayed on the cabot trail once again in Cape Breton as there is so much to see and this destination deserves at least two days. Driving the cabot trail is so much fun on its own let alone all the amazing hiking trails and beautiful scenery that is out there. This is a spot that should be on everyones bucket list. When you go to the cabot trail make sure that you hike the skyline trail it is the most popular trail out of all of them and when you hike it you will know why. The view, the animals, the fresh ocean air, it was nothing I had experienced before.

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Day Five: Cabot Trail, Cape Breton – Halifax, Nova Scotia

Unfortunately we had to move on from Cape Breton, which was one of my favourite parts of the whole trip. We were off to our next destination, Halifax. We knew there would be a lot we wanted to see and do so we got up early and headed on the road. First we stopped in Lunenburg to check out this historic little town filled with so much history, shopping and great little eating spots. We made our next stop at Peggys Cove which is obviously one to see on everyones list and it stood up to its name. One of the most beautiful towns and sights I have ever seen. Then after our day of adventure we were off to downtown Halifax. Fortunately this was one of the nights we actually had a hotel, we stayed at a bed and breakfast downtown called commons inn. It wasn’t the most pleasant of rooms but it was only for one night and was a 15 minute walk to downtown so no complaining there! I did some research and found an amazing vegan restaurant right near our inn which was called EnVie a Vegan. It was so delicious and a nice change of pace from veggie dogs and hamburgers. After that we went downtown to a bar called the lower deck, met some nice Nova Scotians, danced to keltic music and had a great night. One for the books!

Day Six: Halifax, Nova Scotia – Fundy National Park, New Brunswick

For our last day out east we were staying at Fundy National park and we had to make this stat a quick one. We set up camp, woke up early and went for a hike along dickson falls. It was a quick hike with a beautiful waterfall at the end of it. Our next journey for the day was driving from New Brunswick back to Montreal, Quebec.

Day Seven: Fundy National Park, New Brunswick – Montreal, Quebec

After our 10 hour drive to Montreal we were in another hotel for the night. We decided to tour around old Montreal and find another vegan restaurant that I could drag my boyfriend too (he actually loves vegan restaurants). We found a trendy spot in old Montreal called LOV, if you’re in the area I highly recommend you check it out. This spot had a lot of options for both vegans and vegetarians at a reasonable price but if you do decide to go make sure you make a reservation! We took it easy for our night in Montreal as the next morning we made a quick stop in Ottawa to visit the parliament hill and then headed home to Barrie.

All in all our trip was amazing and one of the best adventures I have had thus far. I missed a few things on the list of things we did, to keep things short and sweet. If you do decide to do a road trip make sure that you plan out your trip beforehand, stay on track and are well prepared for the journey ahead!

 

Chunky Monkey Banana Nice Cream

Been a few days since I posted any recipes. I was out exploring eastern Canada and what an amazing adventure it was! Got me realizing sometimes how hard it is to live a plant based life style, especially in provinces or countries where veganism isn’t as well known and restaurants are not as accommodating. However it did open up my perspective on how to accommodate myself when it comes to staying on track on the road and at home.

There are always alternatives to make a recipe accommodate your food choices or make a recipe completely you’re own by adding your favourite ingredients. This recipe does just that! So besides chips one of my favourite foods has always been ice cream. Ice cream can be made in so many different variations and I’ve tried to put a spin on it by keeping it completely vegan and sweetened with natural sweeteners.

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Ice cream can be good for your health too! There are more advantages in a plant based recipe for ice cream but hey any type of ice cream can satisfy those cravings and give us a little boost.

  1. Source of vitamins (due to high fruit content in this recipe specifically)
  2. Provides energy
  3. Source of minerals
  4. Stimulates the brain

So go ahead try this recipe and eat all the nice cream your heart desires, you deserve it!

Chunky Monkey Banana Nice Cream 

Prep Time: 20 Mins

Cook Time: 20 Mins

Total Time: 40 Mins

Ingredients

1 cup pitted dates

¼ cup oat flour

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided

Pinch of salt

4 frozen bananas

1/2 cup non-dairy milk, plus more if needed

Dash of cinnamon

½ cup walnuts, chopped

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  1. In a blender or food processor, add dates, oat flour, cocoa powder, applesauce, ½ teaspoon vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Pulse until a dough forms.
  2. Pinch off little bits of the dough and place onto a place or baking sheet. Repeat until all the dough is used up. Place in the freezer for at least 15 minutes. I had extra so I made mine into date balls!
  3. In a food processor, add bananas, milk, cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon vanilla. Process until it forms a smooth ice cream texture, adding a little milk at a time if needed.
  4. Add walnuts and frozen brownie bits to the banana mixture. Stir to combine thoroughly.
  5. Pour the ice cream into aa freezer-safe container; I used a loaf pan. Place in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.
  6.  

Nutritional Facts 

Serving size: Based on one cup of 6 servings

Calories: 232 Calories

Fat: 11.8 Grams

Carbohydrates: 42 Grams

Fibre: 6.5 Grams

Protein: 5.4 Grams

 

Hope you enjoy!!