Simple Living

This past weekend has been about keeping things simple. Simple eating, simple schedule – Just simple living.

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Tis the season for Fiddleheads!

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Simple Lunch – leftover Fiddleheads and pasta

Simple eating is probably the best start and I know no other way than taking advantage of the very short time fiddleheads are at peak. The season for picking them is very short and while we resort to just buying them at the local market, it’s worth making the time to head out and buy them!

We had them with our dinner one night sauteed in butter with shallots and garlic. I had just enough left over along with a little leftover pasta for lunch Saturday afternoon. Perfect combination, especially with a cold flute of organic sparkling cava.

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Freshly cut lilacs

Saturday morning, Doug took Hobbes out for a walk and found some wild lilacs by the side of the road. He clipped a couple and put it in a glass bowl filled with water. It is now a center piece in our living room and brings me great joy to take in the lovely aroma.

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Blueberry blossoms

Sitting out on our patio yesterday, drinking our morning coffee, I noticed our blueberry plant was covered with these lovely white flowers. We weren’t successful last year when we first brought this plant home but with all the rain we’ve been getting, and all the blossoms popping out everywhere, there is hope we actually might get to see berries!

Sunday – I am taking it all in slowly. There were dishes to be done and I’m still doing laundry, but I took a bath (after weeks of not taking time to practice this de-stressing luxury) and I may even take another one before bed.

After 2 solid weeks of go-go-go, I finally am taking just a little time to slow down.

Chai Coconut Latte and Diana Krall

Being extremely spoiled by my best friend Ada during my mid-20’s, I’ve never been able to have the store-bought, pre-made Chai tea bags. Nor the cafes that make the latte’s from boxed, sugary (too sugary), processed liquid mix which they add to black tea. Nope. Sorry – that’s just not real Chai tea.

Ada, see, would invite us over after we went out for dinner somewhere in walking distance from her 1-bedroom apartment on Queen St (downtown TO). She would, from scratch, create the most luxuriously, smooth and creamy Chai latte for us. The process would take at least 30 minutes but the wait was so worth it.

She often commented the tea was so rich and velvety that it was enough to pass as a dessert (even though it had a fraction of the calories from any typical dessert order one would make from a restaurant menu).

20 years later, I still have fond memories of her Chai tea latte she made for us. When I found the following Bobby Flay recipe for Chai Coconut Tea Latte, I knew I had to give it a try. I used all unsweetened coconut milk and passed on the brown sugar. The coconut milk does not froth as much as regular milk but not being one to drink dairy milk, this was my personal option.

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Homemade Coconut Chai Tea Latte

It was heavenly – crushing the spices fresh for this process is worth the time and really, very little effort! I have made this twice for my husband and I on the weekends. I add a touch of 10% cream and a little sweetener but my husband enjoys it as is.

We had this, in fact, for dessert last night. Sitting in our living room, we sipped our hot mugs of the Chai concoction with Diana Krall in the background.

It was the perfect way to end our day. And I really enjoy these introverted weekend days I have with my family. It’s a chance for me to slow down and recharge my batteries.

The Art of Staycationing

stay·ca·tion
ˌstāˈkāSHn/
noun; informal
noun: staycation; plural noun: staycations; noun: stay-cation; plural noun: stay-cations
  1. a vacation spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.

We had gone over and over again how we wanted to spend our family week off during Chaeli’s March Break. Ideas included a Mexican cruise, Disneyland, Portugal, renting a cottage and of course, what we’ve been doing these past two years – skiing in Quebec.

Turned out, what we really need was a staycation. We needed to have no plans. We needed to chill out and have a loose schedule. We needed, also, to do some sorting and chucking. But mainly, we just needed to do a lot of nothing.

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I could start everyday with this avocado toast and scrambled eggs!

Of course, doing a lot of nothing usually amounts to doing something. But without the pressure of ‘having to see this’ and ‘having to do that.’

This past weekend was a bit more work – I spent a lot of my time sorting and chucking a very neglected walk-in closet. It’s nearly done – and I can’t wait. The last time my walk-in closet was this clean and organized, I would find myself sitting on the floor in the middle of it with a glass of wine, marveling at my results.

And you bet I’m going to do it again! Only this time it might be with a cold flute of Prosecco or Sparking Cava. My level of sophistication has elevated throughout the years after all.

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The final beautiful view of a frozen pond mid-point of our hike before we made our way back.

The real staycation day started today. My day played out wonderfully, starting with a 1 hour cardio at the gym while the lazier family members (i.e. everyone but me) slept in. When I came home mid-morning, I made a healthy breakfast for all then we went for an hour winter hike.

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Our reluctant teen who rather have stayed home to spend all day on the PS3

Whenever people hear how often we like to go adventuring outdoors – whether it be hiking, snowshoeing or camping – they share the same sentiment with one another, You guys are setting such an example for your daughter! She is so lucky to live such a rich life!

Not so sure she would agree. I remember in St. Maarten, one of the cruise ports, we explored by feet, sometimes going off the beaten path. She watched in horror as we went further and further away from the port until the vision of the ship became a disappearing small dot in the horizon. The thing is, she is young. But it’s evident Doug and I are more athletic and have more stamina.

I’m sure one day she will look back and really be thankful of what we ‘make’ her do. And even though she’s not as enthusiastic when we’re getting ready for our hike, once she gets going, she does get into her own meditative state. And I can see it relaxing her. Of course, that state seems to disappear as she runs into the door when we arrive back home and before I know it, she’s jibber-jabbing away with one of her friends on Facetime.

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At least our other ‘kid’ is crazy about outdoor adventuring – plus his fur matches the backdrop of the woods

I’m pooped now. The hike took over an hour and after a rest upon returning home (and a nap on the coach), I did some strength training, P90X3 style. My body is feeling it which is why I’m indeed having some Sparking Cave, listening to Sarah McLachlan and was just reading A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding. I’m halfway through and enjoying it very much.

This. This is my ideal way of enjoying a staycation. To work on my body, mind and spirit.

Plus – it will prove for a restful sleep tonight!

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Hobbes the dog will be one pooped dog for sure!