Check out my Health & Fitness page for today's post about staying healthy during the holidays! It's just 5 tips to help you get through in one piece (and hopefully close to the one piece size you started at!) : )
Well, to motivate you today I want to encourage you to be kind to those around you! However you celebrate the season, everyone can show kindness!
Some simple ideas are smiling, holding the door open for someone, or paying for the bill of the person behind you in a drive-thru. You can do small things that'll make a big difference to someone!
Well, ya know I love to laugh, so I'm sharing some funny Christmas stuff to cheer you up for the week leading into Christmas day!
The Holiday Treats
The Christmas Gifts
The Christmas Card
Perfect treats, perfect gifts, perfect card. Perfect Christmas! Hahaha, I love it so much.
I hope everyone is ready (emotionally!) for this week! We have more get-togethers to go to, we plan to see more friends and family, and can hopefully stay positive and enjoy ourselves!
I've had a few good workouts since getting here (including my Extreme 10 Minute HIIT), but, uh....I forgot my sports bra, so they've been very humbling workouts. Hahahaha, overshare?!? Well, fear not, I went to Winners today and acquired a sports bra so I can feel a little more confident during my workouts!
Well, peace be to you all, many happy returns of the day, kind regards, etc. etc., the end.
Background info: I saw a beautiful recipe on Pinterest from Iowa Girl Eats. It's a pretty simple recipe for Spicy Shrimp & Sausage Skewers. I loved how it sounded, so I was going to make it! I had the shrimp ready, the sausage thawed, skewers soaked and ready....then I was like, "huh....I don't feel like bbq-ing because it's cold and rainy.....", so then I was like, "I guess I could make the skewers and just fry them up in a pan...", then I was like, "If I'm just going to fry these in a pan, why the heck would I take the time to put them onto skewers....?" Oh, the other problem was how small my shrimp were (they were shrimpy, haha, get it?). I couldn't find (or afford!) the really big shrimp that would have made these pretty (which is an important element to me in my meals!), so I was just going to alternate between shrimp & sausage instead of making them look amazing by having the sausage piece tucked into the shrimp (go check out the recipe at Iowa Girl Eats to understand what I'm saying!). Anywhooooooo.....
I really added a dash of lazy to this recipe, but I loved how the salad turned out anyway! It still tasted great, and was a real filler!
Because I was originally going to eat a salad and have the skewers to the side but on the same plate, (not on top), I wasn't concerned about the dressing for my salad. But once I decided I was going to cook everything and throw it onto my salad, I suddenly needed a perfect dressing for it! I sometimes get a little obsessed about the dressings of my salads being exactly right!
When I eat sausage I enjoy it with plain old mustard, so I wanted to create a very mustard-y dressing to go with it. My husband was extreeeeeeemely leery of a "mustard dressing", but he really enjoyed it because it was wonderful! It was sweet and tangy, you could taste the mustard which went really well with the sausage and the spicy shrimp! I also added some sour kraut to the salad....oh man, that was a perfect addition! Winner!
Spicy Shrimp & Sausage Salad and Mustard Dressing
Makes 2 Huge Servings
For the Salad Dressing:
For the Salad:
Honestly, this salad is soo good. I want to eat it every day, but alas, we don't have sausage and shrimp on hand in an endless supply! Booo hoo!
I know the sour kraut might seem a little weird too, but it added this whole different taste and texture element that created such a fantastic salad! So, if you like sour kraut normally, and perhaps usually eat it with your sausage, then you'll want to add it on this. Just trust me.
So, this weekend marks the beginning of our families Christmas holiday! We head South-West today to stay with & visit family. We shan't return home until the 28th, so it's a long haul! Some years the 10 days have gone by terribly, some years it's been amazing, but most years are a mix of the two! Between the kids and not knowing how they'll behave/react/cope, Adam and I trying to (and failing to) properly communicate, and pleasing family & friends it can be a roller coaster ride! But we are always happy to visit for Christmas, and the kids love seeing cousins and it somehow seems to work out. We know the outcome of the time away depends largely on our attitudes, so we've been working on keeping them in check and enjoying the season, regardless of the external factors!
Well, so, leave a comment just to say "hey", or to tell me what you think about this salad, and especially to tell me if you tried it!
Have a wonderful weekend!
I keep thinking I need a theme song for motivational Monday....anybody want to write me one...?
Well, a theme song would go really well with the new Christmas Classic story I told on my Health & Fitness page. I jest....but you should go and read it. : )
What I was really sharing about over there was High Intensity Interval Training (or HIIT) and how amazing it is! It's quick, it requires no equipment, and it'll leave you feeling like you've just run a marathon....but you've only been giving it your all for a short, 10 minute workout. I know, amazing. So check it out by clicking........here.
So, motivating you today is my motto for life...
....am I right?
Full disclosure time. Adam is working at the same place but is temporarily on strait days (meaning he works 7-4 everyday). But this means he doesn't carpool anymore because not everyone works strait days.
Well, I am left home now without a vehicle at all. So, I wake up, get the kids ready and on the bus for school. I do the animal chores, fill the outdoor wood stove, then I do the dishes....yadda, yadda, yadda. The day ticks by and I remain in my p.j.'s because, well, why the heck would I take them off!?! I'm not going anywhere! No one is going to see me! I do wear coveralls when I do the chores outside so my jammies don't get poopy or sooty, but that's about all the caution I take. So, that funny little quote up there is me in a nutshell (look, it's me in a nutshell!).
Want to know when I do finally get out of my p.j.'s? When it's time to workout. Usually between 1-2pm I will workout, and that'll get me out of my sleepy clothes! Because even though I may not care if I look like someone who just rolled out of bed, I want that bod under those wrinkled pajamas to be in great shape!
So, read the Health & Fitness post about getting in an awesome HIIT workout, invest a little into yourself, and have a wonderful day!
I have been sorely lacking in anything Christmas oriented on the blog this season!!! Thumbs down!
I have a pile of recipes I've been working on that are not geared towards the holidays at all, I've been busy with art shows & working on paintings, and have just been busy with regular life, so anything that could be even remotely helpful for this busy season just hasn't happened!
So, I did have a different post ready for today, but yesterday as I was looking up my own recipes and baking my butt off, it occurred to me....why reinvent the wheel!
Some of my favourite, go-to Christmas recipes I posted my first year blogging!
So, today I am going to share with you the recipes from Bushel & A Peck that I've been making the last few days! A lot of the recipes from here are gluten-free, but can be easily made gluten-full if you have no dietary restrictions.
So, first up, a fantastically buttery whipped shortbread that only have 5 ingredients, and is very customizable! Add chocolate chips, caramel chips, butterscotch or white chocolate chips! How about an entire caramel, or whipping in some finely ground tea, like in my Earl Grey Whipped Shortbread! Yummmyx100000!
Making and eating these plain is amazing too, so if you're looking for a strait-up easy, freezable, and crowd-pleasing cookie-this is the bees knees!
My buttery cut-out sugar cookies use basic ingredients, and turn out with a nice crisp outside, but with a soft, buttery inside.
They can seem like a labour of love because you do need to chill these before cutting into shapes, and the cutting into shapes can seem overwhelming, but it's really simple work that makes a big impression! Iced cut-out sugar cookies are quintessentially Christmas, and I know I personally always look forward to them!
This year I used a different icing for my cookies, and it worked wonderfully! My usual icing (pictured above) is tasty and simple, but I needed the icing to dry a little harder so that they could be easily stacked into airtight containers, and this icing did the trick! The recipe is from Sally's Baking Addiction, and you can find the recipe in the post with her cut-out cookies.
Sally Says, "If it is much too thick, add 1/2 Tablespoon more water. If it is much too thin, add 2 more Tablespoons of confectioners' sugar. If you drizzle a little of the icing with the whisk, the ribbon of icing will hold for a few seconds before melting back into the icing. That is when you know it's the right consistency and is ready to use. If desired, add liquid or gel food coloring. You can pour some icing into different bowls if using multiple colors. If not decorating right away, cover the icing tightly and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days"
My fudge (The Easiest Fudge Ever!!!) is so simple, so quick to make, and freezes too, so, why not make a batch and stash it away in the freezer to have available to bring to a party, to serve to guests, or to add to a plate of Christmas treats you're giving away!.......or to snack on when you need a sugar fix! : )
Chocolate & peppermint are flavour favourites, yes? Ok, not to all people, but to those who like them together, these peppermint infused fudge-y brownies topped with crushed candy cane are a beautiful dessert to add to a plate or package of treats! Here's the recipe for Gluten-Free Candy Cane Brownies!
More gluten-free treats!?! Yes, sorry! Because my son can't eat wheat, I like to make sure I have a variety of sweets I can bring him so he can wonderful Christmas treats like everyone else!
Also, can I say that brining a g.f. dessert to a function isn't a bad idea! There are so many people avoiding wheat & gluten, and why not make a few things that can be enjoyed by them! In my experience, it is always greatly appreciated!
So, here are my Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies, they have a nice crisp outside, but a soft inside, and sturdy enough to decorate (my son's favourite part!)
These simple, Peanut Butter Macaroons have been included in a few lists for Christmas cookies, including on the Roasted Roost (a list of 50 gluten-free Christmas cookies!!!), and on Only Taste Matters (with a list of 25 gluten-free Christmas Cookies!), and I shall add them here to my own list!
I love that these require no baking (just a little stove-top time), use simple ingredients, & stay fresh in an airtight container for up to a week, so they can be made ahead of time (they can't be frozen though).
Can we also for a minute just talk about that crazy stack of cookies pictured above!?! I'm not 100% sure how I managed to get them to stay like that, but I did! Haha!
So, how's that for a list of Christmas treats! These are all tried and true recipes in my house, so I hope you'll find a few to make and add to your collection must-make holiday sweeties!
I hope everyone has a good weekend!
Late Motivational Monday!
This day got away from me in a big way! I really started the day feeling overwhelmed with what I needed to do, then I took a few deep breaths....and made more coffee. : )
I had a really good weekend though, it was busy, but festive and fun! There is a strange lack of snow 'round here, but what can you do!?! I love Canada still, with or without snow! It did make all our activities this weekend easier though because of not needing to bundle up so much! Thumbs up!
Anyway, over on my Health & Fitness Page, I share a website called I'mperfectlife.net. Andrea, the author and fitness buff, is a motivation to me!
She is a real woman, with a real body. She is strong, works hard, and is confident in who she is! She challenges the way I think about my body, and about passing judgement.
So, head over to that article, "I'mperfect Life Inspiration", and see if you aren't challenged about how you see beauty & strength!
Today, right here, the motivation I want to pass on another reason to laugh! I can't help it! Laughing just makes you feel better!!!
.....Ok, just one more!!! : )
Nothing says "welcome to the Christmas season" like lasagna! Am I right? It's just so gosh-darned warm & comforting, full of amazing flavours, and it's a great make-ahead meal to have ready for when guests come over!
Whenever I made lasagna in the past, I just followed the super simple and basic recipe from Delallo, an Italian food producer's website. It's just the sort of as plain as you get recipe that gives you room to add things, take away things, ya know.
We haven't had lasagna lately though. There are gluten-free noodles in the market that I could use, but with me eating limited grains, it would still leave me without something to eat....and the torture of seeing smelling it baking & watching my family eat lasagna without me! Thumbs down!
Recently I came across something on Pinterest that made me go, "oh yeah!". Lasagna noodles made from sliced zucchini! I had eat such a thing before, I eat zucchini often, but I had just sort of forgotten about it! So, thanks to Monique over at Ambitious Kitchen, lasagna has been revived in this house!
I took the tips and tricks from her zucchini lasagna, and just shmooshed them into my basic lasagna recipe.
Zucchini "Noodle" Lasagna
Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen & Delallo
Sorry about that. : )
Well, that's all she wrote! Is there anything "special" you add to your lasagna that you would love to share with me!?! Please do!
Leave a comment, say hello, join me in my "cheeeeeeese" attack, whatever.
I am really looking forward to this weekend, friends. We have Adam's work party, which I always enjoy so much! Then Saturday is the Tweed Santa Clause Parade, which Abigail & Keziah get to be a part of on their school float (they are over the moon excited!). Then we'll head over to O'Hara Mill Homestead (a pioneer village of sorts) to take part in their old fashioned Christmas, then Sunday is the Christmas party for the kids (through Adam's work). A lot to do, but it'll be so much fun!
I spent this past week being (un-necessarily) upset about a Christmas planning glitch we hit. Truthfully, I'm still feeling upset about the whole thing, but the reason why is because I don't want to let people down, and I love to visit friends and family during the holidays, so I get a little autistic (hate plans changing!!!) when things start to unravel.
However, selfish moments like these remind me to reflect on my life, and on what's really important. It reminds me that I am blessed beyond measure to have too many people to squeeze into one trip while we're home for the holidays! It reminds me that, beyond family, I am blessed to live in a country where I am free, my life is not in danger, I live in a beautiful town filled with strange and beautiful people. I have an amazing & handsome husband, and three freakin' adorable (and loud!!!), healthy, bright children. I have friends who love me, and help and support me. We have our smart dog, our beautiful horses, and my new cat who insists on jumping up onto the keyboard while I'm typing!!!
My very insignificant problem I'm facing isn't resolved, it likely won't be. We will miss out on seeing family, or we'll be stressed and rushed getting from one place to the other. But I will choose happiness. I will choose to look at a little baby in a manger who came here for me & to rejoice with the angels who welcomed his birth!
Thank-you for letting me rant.....I needed that. : ) I feel better about my situation, no resolution in the actual situation, but a resolution in my heart. That's what matters most.
Now go make some lasagna.
Hi, I'm Amy-Lyn!
I am the lady behind this here blog! I live in the sticks with my animals, my super handsome husband, and my
3 amazing kids!
Here you'll find things from recipes (gluten-free, paleo, and strait up junk food!), DIY ideas, thoughts on raising a son with autism, and whatever else pops into my brain! : )
Read more about me by clicking here!
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