Sunday, November 12, 2017


Things have been a bit crazy lately so I haven't had much opportunity to work on a couple of posts I started a while ago. My mother's health has been very up and down and I have spent a lot of time in hospitals, sometimes due to calls at ridiculous hours of the night.  She was improving and set to head home and then came internal bleeding which took her recovery off the rails. So I have been pretty low key and sluggish the past few weeks.

I have been feeling rather frustrated with the current situation and how busy and tired I am given I had decided to take time off work to focus on my own wellness. I'm not frustrated with my mother, I know she doesn't want to be sick, I am frustrated with the situation. Watching my parent wither away slowly and painfully to a person I barely even recognize is a difficult thing.  I don't even see the vivacious woman she once was anymore and it hurts my heart. I do not turn off the sound on my phone because the two times I have turned it off I missed calls that my mom was critically ill. Every time the phone rings late at night I anticipate hearing she is gone. It as been a long journey, and my heart and soul are tired. I feel selfish for wanting to focus on my own health, when I am her person. Hopefully things level out a bit and I can get my wellness back on track.

I had some physical issues brought on by running and have started physiotherapy. It appears I have aggravated my piriformus muscle and it is quite inflamed. This sacrum pain started very early in my running, but I was in denial that the running was causing it, until it got so bad that I couldn't sit without horrific shooting pain. It only hurts when I sit, but spending long hours sitting in a car or at a hospital it got to the point I couldn't handle it anymore. I went to my doctor and the x-ray showed it was clear so it was a muscular problem. I have been going to massage therapy regularly and my massage therapist suggested I add physiotherapy so I did. I have been twice and have been given some exercises, and then some adjustments to the exercises as my piriformus once again was inflamed. I have a goal of getting back to running for January and my physiotherapist thinks that is a reasonable goal. A friend is trying to talk me into doing the Goddess Run in Victoria in June and if I am back to good health by January that should be a reasonable goal. I will keep you posted on my progress. Strangely I have found myself missing it, so I am very hopeful that will be back in my routine in the new year. My sweetie and I have been getting out for walks which is good, and most days I am meeting my goal with my step tracker, so I am still staying mobile.

Recently I listen to a very insightful podcast on Pregnancy Loss by CBC Out in the Open hosted by Piya Chattopadhyay. I encourage you to give it a listen.  I really appreciated the different perspectives and a lot of what was shred resonated with me. For a moment I felt a little less alone.

Despite the craziness I have managed to continue eating healthfully, for the most part...
This past summer I was having toast with peanut butter and banana and a boiled egg for breakfast nearly every day. Lately I have been changing it up and adding Raisin Bran cereal, and Red River cereal with maple syrup and added ground chia seeds. 

I tried out a new Pinterest recipe which is a Slow Cooker Jambalaya, I only made one adjustments to the meat, and used prawns and scallops instead of chicken, and used chorizo sausage. I had basmati rice on hand so that is what I used. I found after the suggested cooking time the rice was still a bit crunchy, so I would add a bit more broth and cook it a bit longer next time. I added the cooked prawns an scallops just before serving. This was so delicious, and we will be sure to make it again.

I purchased pumpkin filled ravioli triangles from Superstore and made a brown butter sage butternut squash sauce to go with it.  I roasted cubed butternut squash tossed in olive oil, sea salt & pepper at 425 until browned. While the butternut squash cooked, I put butter in a frying pan and once hot added fresh sage. Once the sage had browned and was crisp I took it out and cut it up and set it aside. When the butternut squash had browned I put the cubes in the Vitamix and added veggie broth until the desired creamy consistency. I also added some of the melted butter from browning the sage, chopped yellow onion, and 1/8 tsp dried red pepper flakes. Once the pasta was cooked according to the package directions I drained it and put it back int he pot. I added enough sauce to cover it and the fried sage. once plated I sprinkled it with fresh grated parmesan cheese. I served the yummy pasta alongside roasted asparagus, mushrooms, and fennel tossed in olive oil, sea salt & pepper. I had lots of sauce left over so I popped it in the freezer for another dinner.

I'd love to tell you my Russian Broscht recipe is an old family recipe handed down through the generations... but it's not. My grandma's borscht recipe is more red and I am heavier on the purple ingredients. I think borscht is something people are often quite particular about (myself included). I love this recipe!

In place of the one cup tomato puree I add one can of organic tomato sauce.

I serve mine with a generous helping of cashew cream and dill. This time I had a slice of sour dough bread with cheese broiled in the oven.

The only way out is through. ~Robert Frost

Thursday, October 12, 2017

An Upcoming Project

I don't know about you, but I loooooove the fall. The beautiful autumn colours, the cooler nights that give you a good excuse to curl up with your sweetie, soft cozy fall sweaters, delicious soups & comfort food, and if your anything like the bears (and me) preparations for hibernation.  As I hibernate in my home I have some big plans for this winter...

October 11 was a day of reflection. It marked 2 years since we received the gift that changed our lives forever.  Had you told me then that I would experience such a devastating loss and continue to endeavor this arduous road to experience the gift of being a parent I would not have believed you. I would not have believed I was strong enough, determined enough, courageous enough or perseverant enough, and yet I am still here and still rising up to the challenge. It has been a challenge like no other in my life, and has shown me that I am built of strong stuff. I don't always feel that way but we have not yet reached the point where enough is enough (trust me this is a topic I have contemplated on numerous occasions).

It is a part our life we have quietly navigated with the support of a very few close friends. It has meant that most of my friendships have gone by the way side because I can't ever make plans and often have to cancel, because our life revolves around fertility treatments, and all the things that go with that, including the emotional highs and lows, that can knock me off my feet for periods of time. When I do actually get out an socialize people ask me what I am up to and I don't even speak to the biggest part of my life, which leaves me little to talk about. I have never been very good at the small talk stuff and am a person who yearns to connect with people on a deep level so I can only discuss the weather for so long. I have gotten very skilled at the art of deflection, and generally speaking it's actually quite easy because we live in a time where people rarely ever feel like they are heard or have someone to talk to. Besides I was born to be a listener so it's easy for me to fall into that role.

27 months, 13 procedures, 1 pregnancy, 1 devastating loss, more vitamins, essential oils, supplements, pills & injections then I can count, numerous acupuncture, chiropractic & massage therapy sessions. It has been a very tumultuous journey, and I have reached the point that I am going to bare my vulnerability... I am writing a book!

I have been working on an outline and pulling bits from my journals and blogs and have decided that if one person can feel like they are not alone on their fertility journey it will be worth it. I am making a conscious choice to be my most vulnerable self, and write about the journey at the most raw level I can. I know that I will be judged, but if I can't be my authentic vulnerable self then why bother doing it? I will not censor the ugly darkness and moments I no longer wanted to live, or the moments of joy, hope and strength. This story is for the person walking the fertility journey and having to make difficult decisions every step along the way, and asking themselves when is enough enough? This story will be for the person walking the fertility journey and wants to punch the person in the face who tells them it will all work out in the end. This story will be for people who want to connect with another person's most raw vulnerable self.  I also intend to speak to what has helped me get though this journey including the grief and loss, and the things that I found helpful and unhelpful along the way. So here's to my winter project! I have no idea how long this will take, it could be years, but I intend to follow it through until it feels ready to share. If nothing else I suspect the writing will be a big part of my healing.

My sweetie and I were lucky we had a little getaway to Saltspring Island at a friends place, which gave some time to disconnect from the outside world and truly relax. It was a great 4 days with lots of sleeping, reading, writing, walking in the woods, wildlife watching, sitting on the dock, and yoga. It was exactly what we needed, and I left recharged with a great sense of grounding.

There was an abundance of beautiful crabapples in the orchard.

We left Saltspring with a bag of crabapples so I decided to make one of my childhood favourites, crabapple jam.

My mom no longer has her crabapple jam recipe so as usual I turned to Pinterest.  I used this recipe for Crabapple Jelly but didn't strain it as much and made a jam. I also didn't add quite as much sugar, but it was still sweet enough for me.

Mine turned out pinker then my mother's did when I was a kid, but it was still yummy.

Since I had the canner out I figured I might as well make cranberry sauce too. This was my first time canning cranberry sauce so I thought I should try a recipe for canning. I found this Jellied Cranberry Sauce recipe on Pinterest and it was very similar to my usual recipe so I went with it. It was so good that I was eating spoonfuls of it!

Finished crabapple jam & cranberry sauce.

I quickly made a turkey dinner for my sweetie and I.  I put a breast and thigh in the slow cooker and cooked it with some chicken broth & poultry seasoning & a bit of butter under the skin. I was short for time so I cooked it on high and kept my eye on it with my meat thermometer. While teh turkey cooked I sauteed some kale in olive oil, sea salt & pepper, and then set it aside to add to my mashed potatoes.  I cut up brussel sprouts, parsnips, and carrots to bake in the oven, potatoes to boil for mashed potatoes, and sliced green beans for steaming. I took 2 cheats and used stove top stuffing, and a package of gravy. Honestly I only had a few hours, so something had to give in the name of efficiency. When the turkey was nearly at temperature I got the vegetables going & shazaam before you knew it turkey dinner was done! This was the perfect opportunity to break out that cranberry sauce:) This dinner was the perfect amount for one dinner a night of leftovers, and a few turkey sandwiches. No turkey overload.

So in the spirit of giving thanks, I am thankful for those who have helped me stay strong along this journey, most especially the love of my life who helps lift me up when I feel I have nothing left in me.

Owning our own story can be hard, but nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky, but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy- the experience that makes us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light. ~Brene Brown

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Getting Grounded

I have been giving a lot of though to the topic of suffering since reading No Mud, No Lotus. I am still processing a lot of what I read, and just starting to make some sense of it all.

I feel like I have been so thick in the suffering and feeling broken down, so the only direction to go is up with growth. Like a forest after the fire I will regenerate and rise up.

Now I feel like it is the time to figure out who I am and who I want to be moving forward.  It feels like such a huge part of me has been so consumed by my grief that life has carried on and i have been going through the motions, but not really giving any thought to how to want to be living.

So  have been taking some time to get grounded, reflect, & think of the future and what I want as I move forward.

I have been thinking about when I feel the most grounded and my first go to place is the beach. I was having a rough day so I decided to just go sit down on the beach and spend some time there mindfully.

I appreciate that mother nature as given us a long summer full of sunshine which has carried into the fall.  I know those grey days with sideways rain are rght around the corner so I am soaking up every minute I can get!

Right now I am reading Brene Brown's Rising Strong. Brene Brown is one of my favourite writers. This one may take me a while to get through, but I will keep you posted if any thoughts come up that inspire me.

I happened to flip on the tv and the Rachael Ray show was on with guest Chef Curtis Stone.  He was making chicken a few different ways and it interested me so I decided to watch.  Immediately afterward I went to the website and got the recipe for Chicken Piccata. It was super easy and we both really enjoyed it. I served it with a recipe I shared on my Faceboook Page for Mushroom Rice (which was delicious!) and steamed carrots, brocolini, and cauliflower.
It's been a while since I made this recipe, which my sweetie declares is his favourite dinner ever. Saffron Chicken Tagine with Honey Raisin Couscous, which I also shared as a guest post on the Dairy Free Betty blog.

Just as delicious as I had remembered it!

I made my quick go to dinner using a spinach & ricotta stuffed ravioli tossed in olive oil and Italian seasoning, which I served with sauteed mushrooms. I seared scallops in butter cooking wine, sea salt & pepper. I steamed some green beans and asparagus and piled some fresh basil on top. Yum! Still my favourite easy default dinner.

I have something that I am working on that I am going to share, but will wait as I feel it will take an entire post rather then being an after thought. Stay tuned for my next post!

When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too. ~Paulo Coelho

Saturday, September 30, 2017

5km Goal Reached!

It's been a while... Somehow I have found myself with 3 blog posts in the works, none of which are complete, I am not sure how that happened??? So this post is from roughly 3 weeks ago and I will work on getting caught up. There will likely be a couple more posts in the near future...

I did it! I reached my 5km goal! I was feeling very hell yeah about it, at the same time still not enjoyig it so I have not reached full commitment to be a runner. The last 2 weeks before reaching my goal were ridiculously hard and I really wanted to give up. The final week I pulled a muscle in my thigh which resulted in 5 days without running. It was not easy for me to get back into it. I find for things to be lasting with me, it needs to be consistent. I knew I was at the final stretch so I added another week and got through it. 

I also learned running with my sweetie really isn't a good idea because he runs with much more ease then me, which results in me pushing myself a bit harder then is good for me. I curse him as he makes it looks so effortless, all the while I am sucking wind and forcing my body forward haha. After I reached my goal I focused on increasing my speed because, well, I am turtle slow. I have already knocked off a minute and a half. Here are some shots of the trail I run through and you can sure see the early signs of fall.

My sweetie and I have gotten into a pattern of leaving he house at the same time & going in opposite directions.  Last week I left a little ahead of him and we crossed paths on the sea walk on my last km. He enthusiastically gave me a high five which helped push me to keep going, because I wanted to quit just before I spotted him running in my direction. It made me reflect the final part of my run and how that is such a metaphor for our life when things get to the point I want to give up he helps me get through it. I am one lucky gal! This is some of the view from the sea walk.

My cousin and I got out kayaking for a few hours and it was great! It has been a long time since I have been in a kayak and I was way overdue. I love me some cousin time!

Recently I made pulled pork sandwiches, and with the left over pork I made pulled pork pizza.  I brushed some barbecue sauce on the crust then added some pulled pork, chopped red onion & apple, and some white cheddar.  When it came out of the oven I added a generous helping of chopped fresh cilantro.

Another gem I found on Pinterest is the Vegan French Dip Sandwiches. I make them vegetarian and add white cheddar. I served them on delicious Portofino pretzel buns. I had fallen so in love with this recipe I over used it, but was happy that after taking a short break from it we will have it back in the roster of recipes.

This Pinterest recipe for Panko Crusted Snapper has become a regular around here.  I have been using fillet of sole instead of snapper as I find it a milder fish and it has been on sale the last couple of weeks. The only alteration I make to the recipe is adding grate parmesan to the panko mixture.  This time I served it with corn on the cob, steamed green beans & carrots, and roasted baby potatoes tossed in olive oil & Italian seasoning.

On the days I don't have any obligations in the morning I enjoy a poached egg on toast after my run.  This particular day treated myself to some bacon too.

I am an avid reader and podcast listener, so I thought I would start adding what I am reading or listening to. Right now I'm reading No Mud No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering by Thich Nhat Hanh. From my perspective it is about leaning into our suffering rather then pushing it away and being open to joy, all from a place of being fully present an acknowledging that neither suffering or joy are permanent. It isn't a very long book and is a pretty easy read. I also appreciate that it has a lot of meditations in it to try out.

Non-human animals instinctively know that stopping it the best way to get healed. ~Thich Nhat Hanh