MIMM #11: Thanksgiving Weekend

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, which means I have today off but this weekend has still felt much too short. I suppose that is nothing new since time spent at home in the company of my marvelous family is never too long. This Thanksgiving definitely felt rushed. Last year I had the opportunity to press leaves, pick pumpkins and help my mom with fall decorations, but this year I barely had time to eat pie let alone bake one! MiMM

My mom and Emma came to pick me up on Friday morning after the completion of my three-hour morning Nutrition lecture. I was all packed and ready to go, so what should have been a fun and marvelous class seemed to drag on. I fed them lunch at my cafeteria before we headed back onto the highway (thankfully with minimal traffic) stopping only briefly at Ikea to look for a highchair (unsuccessfully). I did find a duvet to layer beneath my quilt since my residence room is already starting to get pretty chilly.1385625_351530854982699_1631944843_n

Three weeks away from home was much too long. Friday evening I caught up with Elyse, Caitlin and Carly over a marvelous bonfire. I never really realized how complimentary chocolate, roasted marshmallows and graham crackers could be since I usually eat them separately as opposed to in a s’mores. By 12:30 a.m. I called it a night, which was hard to do since we had so much to discuss.1373539_351530628316055_375718286_n 1384731_351530618316056_1310684331_n

We hosted Thanksgiving appetizers and dinner on Saturday for my Grandparents. Besides a batch of brownies I barely baked but I have a few recipes to try out later today before heading back to University. I’ll save the meal for Wednesday’s post but the eats were more marvelous than ever. With a 21lb Turkey and only 10 guests (…but Lottie prefers sweet potatoes so really 9) there were lots of leftovers for sandwiches. Lottie definitely entertained us for the night with her smiles, giggles and waves. She’s sitting proudly on her own and I can’t wait to see her again dressed up for Halloween. Last year she was not born yet so we were all very thankful to be blessed with her company this weekend. 1377174_351530868316031_810513216_n 1379028_351530624982722_165337714_n

Sunday we were all still tired from the turkey’s tryptophan (kidding), which meant a later start to my studying session. I worked on a Library Assignment and I reviewed a bit of Psychology and Chemistry for my upcoming midterms but I was easily distracted by PVR (I haven’t watched television in 5 weeks) running errands with my dad, preparing homemade turkey soup and baking gingerbread cookies. A less eventful but equally marvelous day to say the least!1380896_351530621649389_2025998700_n

Today I’m meeting Joyce and tonight my dad will be driving me back to residence. It seemed short but I guess that’s partly due to the commute and the fact that schoolwork isn’t easing up. No complaining here, Thanksgiving was marvelous. I’m so thankful for my entire life including but not limited to my family, friends, health, home, education, food, emotions, challenges, privileges and abilities. What are you grateful for?  Don’t forget to check out Katie’s MIMM roundup – Friday she featured some marvelous snacks and marvelous advantages of being a mom and this morning she posted a picture of Rocco (Now 15 weeks) as baby Dracula! He is so precious!  Here’s to making Mondays a bit more marvelous even if it means I have to go back to school and leave my family! ♥ Molly

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

WIAW: Mercato Café

From sandwich bar to a variety of soups, wood fire pizza ovens to fresh baked healthier pasties, I’m definitely in a cafeteria catered toward food and nutrition students. How often do you find fresh smoothies or sushi in a dining pavilion? I suppose this only makes sense since Brescia is home to one of the few (and best) dietetic programs in Ontario.IMG_7844 IMG_8139

What I love about the cafeteria is that it is designed so that you are bombarded with fresh options as soon as you enter the cafeteria. The less healthy options are on the outer corners of the perimeter and tucked away from plain eyesight. What I don’t like is that those options are still cheaper than many of the fruits and vegetables, however nutrition is definitely worth my penny and I have to spend my meal card right? Not is it nutritionally beneficial to buy an apple, but you obtain “stamps” after purchasing fruit which add up towards free fruit.IMG_8056 IMG_8171 IMG_8105 IMG_8071Filled with a selection of typical fruits and vegetables, the salad bar is my favourite part of the Mercato Café within my residence. For a base of my salad I usually use quinoa or argula but they also offer romaine, spinach, mixed greens, bulgur wheat and even wild rice. I normally add plain tofu, lentils or tuna for my protein but others might prefer their hardboiled eggs, kidney beans, chickpeas, bacon, ham, chicken or shaved turkey. There is quite the selection of fresh premade salads such as potato, cucumber and tomato, greek pasta, macaroni and tuna, rice and lentils, coleslaw, almond apple, couscous and vegetables or even a Mexican corn and bean, but a lot of them aren’t guaranteed to be nut free. That’s okay though because within their selection of vegetables they typically have olives, golden beets, mushrooms, and pickles which allow me enough variety. For topings there are “superfoods” such as goji berries, pumpkin seeds (which I cannot have), chia seeds and flaxseeds not to mention dates, raisins and dried apricots for some natural sugars.

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If I am not eating at the salad, I tend to lean towards the soups, my preferences being the sweet potato soup, carrot ginger and apple parsnip.  I was adventurous and tried a Portobello quinoa burger which was a bit bland, but the side of sweet potato fries really hit the spot.IMG_7848 IMG_8102 IMG_8123

 There is always a “home cooked dinner” option which I’ve never tried but does look good. It is composed of a protein (usually chicken or roast beef, occasionally salmon), vegetable (green beans or broccoli/cauliflower/carrot mix) and starch (potatoes of some form). I always go for the Global Cooking Bar, which they prepare in wok’s in front of you which gives you more control of what goes into your meal. I enjoy the stir fry (tofu, chicken or beef over rice noodles, rice, egg noodles or quinoa), seafood soup (mussels, halibut and shrimp in a tomato broth), taco bowl (chicken, beef or bean in a whole wheat tortilla with vegetables, fresh cilantro, sour cream, homemade salsa and guacamole) but I’ve seen Macaroni Bar or Homemade Pizza bar as well.1373026_343724812429970_961238998_n1376063_343724805763304_1196948331_nIMG_7770 IMG_8147 IMG_8055 IMG_8028

The dining pavilion is great at accommodating allergies, intolerances and preferences by providing nut, gluten and meat-free dishes. They usually have a warm vegetarian dish such as ratatouille and baked tofu for each meal and not only is a salad offered in replace of a bun  (i.e. Chicken breast on Caesar/Greek salad) but there are gluten-free breads as well. IMG_8126IMG_7847

Breakfasts are also quite good although I’ve been cutting costs by making this meal in my room. I have tried their crock-pot oatmeal once which was unreal and I’ve also heard they have quinoa, home fries, hash browns, breakfast sandwiches, bacon, eggs and omelets bar.IMG_7754 IMG_7753 IMG_7756

There is always yogurt, whole fruit, cereal, toast, bagels, muffins and cookies if you are just wanting a quick snack, or if you wanted more typical cafeteria food there are burgers and fries, pizza and pre-made sandwiches for convenience. For the most part the café is fresh, but there is a selection of candy, chips, pop and ice cream novelties. They can’t expect the entire residence to want to eat broccoli pizza so it is thoughtful to make more traditional takes on pizza too.

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So while this isn’t a standard WIAW post, I hope it gives you a feel about what Brescia’s new cafeteria is all about. I do miss home cooked meals seeing as eating in a dining pavilion feels like I’m “eating out” and spending money that I could be saving if I purchased items in bulk. Regardless it is definitely convenient and I don’t think I would have time to balance school and healthy eating if I had to cook. I feel that there is enough options to suit a variety of needs and wants, but not too much that it overwhelms me. Did I mention I can use my meal card at our school’s Starbucks Kiosk? I’ll save that for another post. Happy Wednesday!  ♥ Molly

“Human beings do not eat nutrients, they eat food.” – Mary Catherine Bateson

MIMM #3: Birthday Celebrations

First off, I just wanted to thank everyone who wished me a happy 20th birthday on Thursday. It was so kind of people to take the time to acknowledge my special day, and none of those comments went unappreciated. My birthday was definitely marvelous!

To say this past week was “busy” would be an understatement. From shopping in Toronto to driving lessons in Oakville, appointments to eating almost every meal out, each minute has been spent on the go. I’ve been waking up earlier and going to bed later than normal, and many nights haven’t been slept in my own familiar bed. While it’s been fun and the constant shuffling is a distraction from my anxieties, I was definitely pushed out of my comfort zone a majority of the time. Thankfully supportive people surrounded me so most of my worries and challenges went unnoticed. While I enjoyed eating out, I do miss saving money by cooking for myself. Shopping was fun and I found so many purchases that I wanted to buy, but again trying on clothing and spending money on myself isn’t one of my strong suits. One regret I didn’t have, was watching “High School Musical” and “Glee” during my Toronto sleepover with Megan. I might be twenty but the dancing and singing performed by Vanessa and Zac were just as enjoyable as when I was 13! Megan and I share similar personality traits, and we can be pretty boring when it comes to boys and bars. We both find cheesy lyrics and chemistry class a bit too fun but we are also able to laugh at our quirks. It’s marvelous.

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Since my birthday falls in the middle of July, which is prime vacation time, many of my birthdays have been spent in travel. Honestly, I’d have it no other way. It’s marvelous to celebrate abroad! When I was little, the added attention of “Birthdays” didn’t seem to phase me. I loved hosting a party, eating cake, and appreciated the gifts. Over the years, I’ve begun to feel undeserving of my celebration and the extra acknowledgements, so on my actual birthday it’s easier to be doing a family activity than something centered around me.

Sometimes we are at cottages, last year we were in France and this year we decided to venture into Buffalo for some shopping. For all of you who live in the States, I envy your assortment of Goldfish Crackers and Chobani! You also have some pretty cool coupon clippings! When we got home around 8:00p.m. I decided to open up my presents. I noticed there was a very appropriate theme going on which all had to do with baking and ice cream. If you read yesterday’s post you know that I’ve never enjoyed ice cream more than I have this summer. My sister Caitlin, her husband Aaron and her daughter Lottie all gave me an ice cream maker with some cute ice cream cups. They match my residence room perfectly. They also included a marvelous ice cream cone card. Emma is very crafty and as one of my gifts, made a “neapolitan” ice cream cone using a base she purchased from Anthropologie and pom poms she made out of wool. She wrapped hers using ice cream cone stickers. My brother is an avid Poker player so he made me “Win” my present. We played a round of simplified poker in which I dominated and won a generous monetary gift. Amongst many clothes and other things, my parents gave me money towards my trip to Myrtle Beach, Lululemon and Ivivva, an individual cupcake platter that has a glass bell and this really neat “memory” stamp.

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Of course, my friends don’t let me escape all of the attention. Joyce showered me with gifts, Megan took me out for Frozen Yogurt and I went for appetizers and drinks with Caitlin and Elyse. My friends are marvelous to say the least. Caitlin and Elyse made me a “Because I love you…” memory box. I’m definitely going to be talking more about how much I appreciate inspirational and sentimental gifts later this week. This present hit the spot and left me in tears of joy all night. I am so blessed to have such incredible friends and family. I really couldn’t be more fortunate!

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The last marvelous thing I want to mention about the week was receiving marvelous birthday “perks”. Does anyone else enjoy signing up for birthday “perks”? I was able to receive a free lipgloss and mascara from Sephora and I have yet to redeem my coupons for a free ice cream at Marble Slab, a free starbucks beverage or food item, a free meal at Milestones and a free yoga class (plus I can bring a friend) at both Kula and The Clarity Centre… and those are just the perks that interested me most!

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So there is a very brief (well actually pretty long) summary of my week, although I am sure more will come out through WIAW. After all, I have to share some of the neat eats and treats that I enjoyed.  Don’t forget to check out the other MIMM posts linked up at Healthy Diva Eats. Katie celebrated her husband Mike’s birthday this past weekend. Happy Birthday Mike! Thanks again Katie for hosting MIMM, it’s such a great way to reflect on the marvelous life that I live, and to look forward on the great things that are planned in my upcoming week. What do you like to do on your birthday? Are you a fan of the added attention? What was marvelous about last week and what marvelous events are to come? ♥ Molly

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou (… And I will never forget how happy and special everyone has made me feel throughout my birthday week. I am so grateful.)

Color Me Rad

This past Sunday I participated in my first ever colour run! Words cannot even begin to describe how much fun I had! I was reunited with a friend that I hadn’t seen in over a year which made this “first” experience even more memorable. I also ran into some unexpected acquaintances which was coincidental and neat.

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While it was 5km (A decent length for “newbies”), it wasn’t a race to set a PR at. The layout was designed to challenge beginners, but for the more advanced you had the flexibility of setting your own pace. The race was definitely less about speed than it was about colour and amusement. In fact, a lot of parents brought their children as those under 7 ran for free. I was impressed at how many little kids were successfully running the full 5km. Sometimes I forget how much energy I had when I was younger!

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Color Me Rad is an organization that hosts races throughout Canada and the United States and the moment I heard they were coming to Toronto, Ontario, I signed up (It sold out so fast)! Downsview Park was an ideal location, as it is accessible by foot, car, bus and subway. It was a fairly flat course (Hooray!) and was mostly paved. The event was very hot as the trail was not shaded and the sun beamed at 40 degrees . In compensation I stayed extra hydrated even though I am not a fan of having much liquid (heavy) in my stomach when I run.

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Our location was sponsored by Larabar so they were handing our “Cashew Cookies” following the race. Unfortunately I am allergic to nuts, but I did manage to score a Vitamin Water that they were handing out. There was also the opportunity to participate in a “Pepsi Taste Challenge” or get free Red bull. For some reason those beverages never really appeal to me, especially pre or post-workout!

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For those of you still wondering what a “colour run” is, let me explain. The idea is that you start out very clean, wearing mostly white (for effect). We were provided with sunglasses that are designed to protect your eyes from sun and colour. I went as far as making white tutus for my friend and I to wear (they absorbed the cornstarch too) as the idea was to be “rad”. Many sported high socks, side pony-tails and white shorts as well. Throughout the run (in my situation it was each kilometer) you are coated with non-toxic, dry, coloured cornstarch. I was sprayed by wet coloured cornstarch at kilometers 2 and 4 which definitely helped to cool me down. At the end of the race I got my own “Colour Bomb”. This was similar to a ziploc baggy filled with a coloured cornstarch. We got our cameras ready and popped the bag for an ultimate explosion. My friend captured most of our memories, as I was too scared to ruin my phone! The organization also had photographers situated throughout the course and there was a photo booth at the end of it all. I can’t wait to see how those pictures turned out.

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Today I am still living a “rad” life as some of the colours have yet to come off of my stomach. Similarly, I got a mild sunburn on my arms and back so there is an outline from my black “rad” tattoo. I guess it protected my skin from the sun but I am hoping that the tan line soon fades. I am already looking into running another “themed” race, as “Color Me Rad” was very enjoyable. Thank you again to all that volunteered or helped organize Toronto’s event. From the Zumba warm-up class, to the colour bomb squad, every detail was well thought out and planned. It is a race I would recommend to anyone provided they aren’t allergic to cornstarch and don’t have severe asthma. There is really nothing I would change about the race, except maybe spelling “color” with a U since it was a Canadian location! I am so grateful for having been provided with this opportunity. ♥ Molly