Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Recipe of the Week ~ The Best Vegetarian Chili in the World

When I made this chili, I didn't expect there to be so much! I also didn't expect it to be so yummy! It's a little spicy, so if you don't like spice too much, I would lay off the jalapeno peppers, or maybe even cut it down to 1 pepper.

I found the recipe and photo here.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon salt
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chile peppers, drained
2 (12 ounce) packages vegetarian burger crumbles
3 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn


1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and season with bay leaves, cumin, oregano, and salt. Cook and stir until onion is tender, then mix in the celery, green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, garlic, and green chile peppers. When vegetables are heated through, mix in the vegetarian burger crumbles. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 5 minutes.
2. Mix the tomatoes into the pot. Season chili with chili powder and pepper. Stir in the kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 45 minutes. Stir in the corn, and continue cooking 5 minutes before serving.
Prep Time: 15 MinCook Time: 1 Hr Ready In: 1 Hr 15 Min
Servings: 8
Calories per Serving: 342
Total Fat per Serving: 7.7 g
Cholesterol per Serving: 0 mg
My Notes:
- I wasn't able to find Garbanzo beans so I got a can of mixed beans. That worked out really well.
- I couldn't find chili peppers either, so I put in some chili flakes.
- Warning: this chili is a little spicy!
- Some of the ingredients can be purchased fresh instead of canned (recommended). Just be aware of the additonal prep time.
- When reheating, you may need to add a tiny amount of water. Add to desired consistency.
- I used TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein). I'm not sure if it the same as the Vegetarian Burger Crumbles mentioned in the recipe, but it works amazingly well. My dinner guest thought he was eating chili with ground beef!
- I served this with garlic bread (toasted with olive mixed with crushed garlic). It can also be served with crackers, but the bread was extra yummy.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Clarisonic Competition?

No doubt, the Clarisonic gets mostly rave reviews. This product claims to cleanse the skin so well that it will help skin to look & feel younger as well as to absorb skin products a lot quicker. Of course, it comes at a hefty cost (there are several packages, most in the $200.00 range).

Photo from here

Being on a more modest budget, I opted for something that has a similar concept but costs much less:

Round Handle Facial Brush from The Body Shop. Total cost: $3.00 CND (I actually bought mine on sale for $2.50).

When I first tried this brush, I immediately noticed smoother, softer skin. I use a cream cleanser in the morning and an apricot scrub in the evening. My skin also does seem to absorb cleansers more. It takes just a minute to cleanse your entire face with this brush. When finished, rinse & store. The brush has a plastic cap so that it doesnt have to sit directly on any other surface (to prevent bacteria). I never completely snap the cap back on so as to allow the rinse water to evaporate from the brush.
I imagine that this brush brings very similar results to the skin as the clarisonic. For about $200.00 less, I'll take this one!
I would love to recieve comments or questions from anyone! It would be really motivating to know I have readers :) Thanks!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mini Haul ~ Foundation

Yesterday I went by the mall & stopped in Sephora to see if they had any Brush Guards, introduced in this video by Michelle Phan. The brush guards were nowhere in sight, but I remembered my recent split with an old bottle of MAC foundation. I was previously using MAC's SPF Cream Foundation in NW20. Probably due to age, the foundation was beginning to look really streaky. I sadly had to throw it out with 1/4 foundation remaining (anyone who knows me knows how hard it is for me to throw things out!).

Since I've heard so much about Smashbox & Make Up For Ever, I took a look at their cream foundations. I ended up with the following:

1. Smashbox Photo Finish, Oil-Free, Foundation Primer: $44.00 CDN

3. Make Up For Ever, High Definition Powder: $34.00 CDN

Total Cost: A whopping $119.10 CDN

I can justify this because when the associate helped me to find some products, she put them on my face and proved that these are great products. I haven't used them on my own yet but I'm pretty excited! I'll do a review after I get more experience with them.

Do you use foundation? If so, which products are your favourite?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Vision Board ~ Always in Progress!

Ah! I just finished about 99% of my post and it was deleted! Back to the drawing board!

Many people have heard of the concept of the "Vision Board", which gained popularity by the movie "The Secret".

I not only remember creating a variation of a Vision Board in high school, but I still have it in my old bedroom at my parent's house! There is something so very personal about it that inspires me to hold onto it forever. However, many of my goals have changed since that class in a stuffy portable.

Shortly after I moved into my new home, I was sitting at my desk and looked at the barren white wall beside me. I thought, I'm not going to paint this place for awhile, so I might as well cover it with something else for now. Aha! I'll make a Vision Board.

It started as a small collection of pictures cut out from magazines and junk mail ads, but has quickly grown and is ever-evolving. It has costed me nothing aside from the cost of tape (very little tape required!), and is extraordinarily fun to work on. I didn't paste onto any kind of backing simply because I originally believed this would be temporary, however it is really growing on me. I often find myself sitting back and looking at this beautiful collage, processing what I'm seeing even if not consciously thinking about what each picture means.

This is what it looks like as of now:

To the right is a 4-month wall calendar, also useful!
As I know from experience, there are many benefits to having a vision board:

- Inspirational
- On bad days, just look at some of those dreamy pictures of beaches and sunshine, and you'll feel better
- Helps to prioritize tasks in every day life
- Quicker movement toward reaching goals
- Filters into the subconscious mind after looking at them without a second thought
- Fun to find, cut out and place pictures
- Can be done with others & as a family

Note that vision boards are very personal and often very private. If you want your vision board to be for youre eyes only, do not paste the pictures directly on the wall! I chose to do so because I wanted to make it unavoidable to look at. I also wanted to be proud enough of my goals so that anyone could look at it. However, if you know anyone who likes to shoot down your ideas, it's good to either keep them away from the vision board room or to have a mobile board that you can hide during particular visits.

Do you have a vision board? If not, would you ever consider having one?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Procrastination can be very bad for your health!

Hi all! Happy Friend's Day, Valentine's Day & Family Day! What a weekend! My 1 year anniversary with my boyfriend also fell on this weekend so we're celebrating today by going to Niagra Falls (woohoo!).

Anyhow, I haven't been posting on my blogs for so many reasons, but it really comes down to one thing - procrastination!

As I've posted before, I'm taking a course for the first time in a couple of years so I'm quite rusty on my studying mentality. I've also been busy with work, health related issues/queries/research, writing in a journal again, trying to adjust my schedule to fit stretching & yoga sessions in the mornings, & so on.

My time management has not always been a strong point. It really behaves like a roller coaster. I suppose that due to all of the changes I've been making lately, some of my hobbies have fallen to the wayside (such as blogging, cross-stitching, having a social life, etc!). They'll be back though!

I'm really excited to share the new discoveries & experiences that have been so positive for me!

Just remember, procrastination only causes stress & chaos!!! Get things done when they need to get done, & you will be a much happier, peaceful person. I'm working on it, & I'll see you soon! :)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Recipe of the week ~ Avocado Sandwich, Grilled Balsamic Portabella Mushroom Burger & Garlic Press Review!

2 recipes this week! One is pretty close to the standard sandwich so it's not really a new recipe...but its the most delicious kind of sandwich that I've ever sunk my teeth into!

The main recipe is the Grilled Balsamic Portabella Mushroom Burger. The sandwich & the burger sort of tie in together at the end and make a great combination if you really like trying new things.

Avocado Sandwich

Avocados are absolutely full of healthy nutrients & healthy fats. They are not only good for our bodies, but it is said that they can help ease ailments such as depression.

I personally love to have pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, cucumbers, olives & mustard on mine (it makes a pretty big sandwich). All of these ingredients go great with avocado. Unfortunately I forgot to buy the olives, the grocery store didn't have alfalfa (I searched in the vegetable section 4 times!) & I couldn't open the bottle of pickels (whoops). At home I used my hamburger buns instead of sliced bread (it's all the same). This is how it turned out:

YUM. I ate TWO for lunch :)

Grilled Balsamic Portabella Mushroom Burger

When I feel like eating a burger, I usually crave vegetarian burgers. Throw in my favourite kind of mushroom & I'm a happy camper :)

You can see the full recipe here.


4 large portabella mushrooms, 5 inches in diameter

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon sugar

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

2 tablespoons olive oil

Raw portabello mushrooms


1. Clean mushrooms with a damp cloth and remove their stems. Place in a glass dish, stem (gill) side up.

2. To prepare the marinade, in a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, water, sugar, garlic, cayenne pepper and olive oil. Drizzle the marinade over the mushrooms. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for about 1 hour, turning mushrooms once.

Marinade pic with flash: reflects the olive oil

Marinade pic without flash: shows garlic

One of the mushrooms bottom-down on marinade, ready to be put in the fridge for 1 hour. The stem is cut off the bottom for maximum soakage, but I saved it (as you can see below). The only dish I had that was large enough to place all four mushrooms was much too large, so I opted for one shallow soup dish per mushroom.

3. Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill or broiler. Away from the heat source, lightly coat the grill rack or broiler pan with cooking spray. Position the cooking rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat source.

4. Grill or broil the mushrooms on medium heat, turning often, until tender, about 5 minutes on each side. Baste with marinade to keep from drying out. Using tongs, transfer the mushrooms to a plate and serve immediately.

My Notes: I broiled the mushrooms in the stove & although it is a good alternative to grilling, I think grilling would be the best choice. You can use this as a side or as a burger as I did:

To tie to two recipes together, I threw some sliced avocado in the mushroom burger & voila!

This was DELICIOUS. The only problem I had was keeping it all from falling out of the bun!

P.S. ~ I always find that good garlic presses are hard to find. I bought this President's Choice garlic press at the Superstore. I think it costed somewhere between $8.00 & $12.00 & was worth every penny. It makes garlic mincing effortless.

I hope you'll enjoy these yummies as much as I did!

P.S.S ~ I totally didn't purposely make links for some of the ingredients above. I tested them & each ingredient leads to a detailed definition ... ? I would love to know how this happened, but it works for me.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Products I would not purchase again (but they aren't necessarily bad!)

I was inspired to make this post by juicystar07's Products I Regret Buying video blog. I can't honestly say that I regret buying these products, but I just know I would not buy them again for various reasons (explanations below!). In no particular order:

1. Bathtub Tea Bags

This is one of the products that I actually really liked, but was a little dissapointed in. I was actually planning to do a review on these alone, because I thought the idea was so neat! I experimented with hanging these in the shower & also putting them right in the bath.

I got Clarity Bathtub Tea, Refresh Bathtub Tea & Love Bathtub Tea.

The problem with putting these in the shower is that the smell, although very nice, is so subtle that any other scent from a shampoo or body wash will easily overtake it.
Hanging from my shower caddy

The problem with putting these in the bath is that again, the smell was really subtle if you like to squish the tea bag like me (I'm like a kid, yes), it will eventually break. Just make sure you have one of those drain strainers to catch everything as you drain your bath water.

I might not have good a sense of smell as other people, so if you want to try it, you can find them at http://www.hydrasoap.com/. Otherwise, I'm not sure where you can buy them as I bought them in a small privately owned store in a tiny little town!

2. Crest Whitening Expressions Cinnamon Rush Paste

I bought this toothpaste because it was on sale, and it was something new. Although it's a pretty red, sparkly toothpaste, I just feel like it might be made more to motivate kids into brushing than anything. I guess you can call me old fashioned, but I like good old fashioned tooth paste. This one doesn't lather up on my teeth like other pastes do, & it tastes a bit like candy. I don't have that clean & fresh feeling that I enjoy after using other types of paste. So, I have no problem with crest tooth pastes, I just don't like the new fancy pastes that all companies have been making lately.

3. Victoria's Secret Body 3-In-1 Wash for Shower, Bubble Bath & Hair

As you can see, I'm almost finished with the Juiced Berry. I'm excited to move on to the Coconut Craze because a) the scents are fabulous & b) I can't wait to move on to a body wash product that seems worthwhile. Am I contradicting myself? Perhaps.

Again, I am glad I tried these out because they are really fun colours, really nice scents & in nice packages. I won't buy them again because I strongly prefer more natural and exfoliating products to wash my skin, which just goes to show how personal product reviews can be! As for hair cleansing, it left my hair really dry. That is one thing I will not use this for.

I think almost anyone would really like this, but not everyone would continue to use them because they have so much stuff in them & don't seem to have any positive effects on the skin (besides making it temporarily smell good). Now I'm starting to sound like a tree hugger :) haha

4. Atmosphere Tea Tree Oil Facial Wash

Why do I feel so sad as I add this product to the list? Well, it promotes health, is made in Canada & is not tested on animals (I'm not sure if the other products are tested on animals - how can one find out?).

I don't know about how other's skin would react to this, but mine did not do well. This is what I started using right before I started to break out so badly. Is this the cause of my acne explosion? I may never know. All I know is that it did not help the situation!

I have combination skin. I get really really oily in the T-Zone, & although I can get slightly oily in other areas, it tends to dry and flake quite easily. While I was using this, the oiliness and flakiness just skyrocketed. However, it could just be a skin sensitivity.

I think that this product might work for you if you have very oily skin. I also would probably use it every other day instead of every single day.

I'm definitely still interested in this company though. They might just have something that works for me!

If you have any products that you would not use again, I would love to know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!