Simple pomegranate kitchen hack

Pomegranate season is in full swing and I couldn’t be happier since it’s definitely one of my favourite fruits! It’s also a powerhouse of nutrition – so not a bad favourite fruit to have!

However, I used to hate eating them because it was so hard to get the seeds out and would always make such a HUGE mess! Buying the seed on their own can be overly expensive. Until I discovered this kitchen hack…

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Here are the top 3 reasons I love pomegranates so much (on top of them tasting amazing):

  1. Powerful antioxidant: antioxidants protect your cells and help ward off disease and inflammation. There are actually three different types of polyphenol antioxidants in pomegranates: tannins, anthocyanins and ellagic acid.
  2. Protect your heart: pomegranates can improve blood flow to the heart, support healthy blood pressure levels and prevent damage to your artery walls.
  3. Improve memory: I need all the help I can with this… A study found that pomegranate juice can significantly improve memory and brain function by increasing oxygen-rich blood to the regions of the brain needed during such tasks.

I encourage you to go out and get yourself a pomegranate so you can smash it repeatedly. It’s actually very therapeutic at the same time. Just don’t wear a white shirt while you’re doing this 😉

Enjoy!

M.


Last days of challenge

Pumpkin and bowl of chickpeas

Halloween pumpkin and dried chickpeas from the pantry

These final days of the grocery challenge were quite… well… “challenging”. There were a lot of repeat meals and another supper out at the restaurant (oops). I did not buy any additional groceries and continued to use “existing” and “new” ingredients to fill our plates. However, I found the week to be EXTREMELY stressful.

Grocery shopping is actually one of my favourite things to do. I would rather buy food than any other item – that is always my splurge. So limiting myself at the grocery store and not going back at all during the week made me slightly miserable.

On the bright side, I did learn to make better use of the food I already have. I went to the back of the pantry and found dried legumes I’ve had for way too long and started soaking them. That Halloween pumpkin we have? It’s time to bake something with that!

I also found it stressful to not have as many healthy options in the house. I like to have a large variety of different vegetables, fruits, superfoods, etc. Limiting my groceries also meant limiting the different types of smoothies I could make during the week and I’m getting tired of broccoli as a side dish…

All in all, I discovered I will have to plan MUCH better if I want to succeed at this.

Any tips and tricks?

M.

(PS – I spent $169 on groceries for this coming week and feel soooo much better already!)

 


Challenge day 2 & 3

Triple chocolate cake

Triple chocolate cake

Day 2 of the challenge was a bit of a cheat day… we basically had the same thing as yesterday for breakfast and for lunch. The afternoon and evening was a bit of a disaster from a health perspective. I didn’t mention this earlier but our household can include anywhere from 2 – 5 people at any given time. It just so happened that on day 2 we were five… and I definitely didn’t have enough snacks in the house to satisfy everyone.

So this happened:

snacks on kitchen counter

I’m still having nightmares about this

The family went to the corner store without me and stocked up on missing staples, apparently. Note to self: next week, make sure to buy better snack options!

In the evening, we celebrated a birthday and so we ordered take-out and bought a cake. I unintentionally bought a ton of food so we had some leftovers for lunch on day 3. For breakfast, however, I made my homemade granola. All ingredients were existing except for the cranberries and walnuts, which I bought on Friday.

Day 3 supper

Homemade beef stir-fry consisting of:

  • Ground beef (new)
  • Broccoli (existing)
  • Mushrooms (existing)
  • Rice (leftover from day 2)

Leftover birthday cake

I’m a bit worried about the next few days. I get the feeling I will have to start getting creative tomorrow. Plus, I have to prepare a school lunch and I’m wishing I had a few more items.

Time to rummage through the pantry…

M.

 


Day 1: grocery challenge

Inside of fridge

Stocked up on food for the week

Today I felt good as the fridge had most of our necessities. I knew from the get-go what would be on our plates for the day and minimal creativity was required.

Just a few words on lingo… “Existing” means we already had these items in the house; “new” means I bought this during Friday’s grocery

Breakfast

A smoothie consisting of:

  • Banana (new), frozen mango (new) and goji berries (existing)
  • Kale (existing), parsley (new) and cucumber (new)
  • Hemp seeds (existing), protein powder (existing), holy basil (existing)
  • Water

Hard-boiled eggs (existing)

Coffee / Matcha green tea (existing)

(The smoothie was gross, btw. I never do them for taste, I always do them to pack nutrients. Usually, adding a date makes them more palatable)

Lunch

Our favourite – antipasto (although, we had less antipasto goodies than usual):

  • Dry pork sausage (new)
  • Cashews (existing)
  • Olives (existing)
  • Rice crackers (existing)
  • Hummus (existing)
  • Salad – kale (existing), celery (new) and carrots (new)

Americano / Cappucino (existing)

Snack

Homemade vegan brownies (existing)

Supper

Mom and dad took us out to restaurant and paid 🙂

I’m guessing it won’t be this easy as the days go on… stay tuned!

M.

 


All-organic grocery challenge

List of organic grocery items

My first all-organic grocery shopping excursion since my change in financial situation. Total cost = $122.71.

I’m undergoing a significant change in my financial situation. One of my first thoughts was that I was going to have to stop buying organic from my favourite little shop down the street because we all know organic is wayyyyy more expensive. Right?

Well, before I wallow in self-pity, I am going to test out that theory. My challenge: see how well I do with tonight’s groceries until next Friday while also using any existing food we have in the house. I can report in advance that my parents are taking us out for supper Saturday evening and I budgeted to order in this Sunday for Peter’s birthday. Keep that in mind… I will also disclose any “extras” that may be bought during the week.

My first win was tonight’s supper. Leftover balsamic chicken, mashed potatoes, salad including existing kale, carrot plus homemade dressing with some celery I bought today.

However, my first fail was that I was planning on only spending $100 in groceries for the week. That didn’t work out… I overspent by $22.71. We’ll see how that works out…

M.

 


Bye, bye ear ache

Stuffed animal and bottles of peppermint, tea tree, lavender and basil essential oils.

This magic potion helped ease ear pain: a combo of peppermint, tea tree, lavender and basil essential oils.

Recently, we encountered a situation where a 7-year old boy in our home experienced terrible ear pain. The fun of the day quickly vanished and tears started to shed. This had been a common occurrence and so I didn’t panic but I definitely wanted to ease the discomfort as soon as possible until it was possible to see a health care professional.

I immediately reached for the following three essential oils and diluted them in fractionated coconut oil. I then applied them around and behind the ear with a cotton ball – never put essential oils directly in the ear!

  • Basil: This oil is great for anything related to the ear. Ear aches, ears popping in an airplane, etc.
  • Lavender: This is a wonderful calming oil – whether it be for calming the skin, body or mind.
  • Tea tree: This is one of the most antiseptic of all essential oils. Great support to address infections.

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Along with the pain came a burning sensation around the ear so I also grabbed my peppermint essential oil roller-bottle. Peppermint offers a soothing, cooling sensation plus helps “drive” the other essential oils into the skin (this practice is called “layering”). This oil is also great for pain.

Within less than 10 minutes, the boy felt relief and there was a significant reduction in pain. The tears disappeared… mommy win!

I hope this helps. There are also nutritional steps you can take to support this type of issue and I encourage you to also explore them…

M.