Let’s Listen & Talk, Conquering Mental Illness

Let’s LISTEN to one another, TALK about, bring initiative too and break the chains of stigma surrounding mental illness once and for all. Today holds a lot of significance for mental health awareness, as many of you are well aware through social media initiatives that it is Bell’s, Let’s Talk mental health day. Bell started this conversation in 2010 to bring awareness to mental health in Canada and it has blossomed into something truly incredible. Bell’s total donation to mental health programs now stands at $79,919,178.55 and they are close to donating at least $100 million through 2020 as per Bells website. This number is staggering and makes me feel hopeful for the future, it also reflects that many have clearly either struggled with mental illness or have been affected by it in their lives at one point or another.

One in five Canadians will suffer from mental illness at some point in their lives,  this statistic was truly astonishing and eye-opening to me, even as a nurse. It is a sobering reality, we just can’t sweep mental illness under the rug any longer, we need to tackle it head on and have support in place for those who acquire it. One of the largest struggles surrounding mental health illness is the stigma and negativity that is associated with it. If we can get past being ashamed, opening up and talking, being supportive and listening to someone in need, I think we can kick ass in creating a world where mental illness is treated like any other medical illness!

How do we do all this? I cannot express how necessary it is to educate yourself on mental illness, get to know the facts and through that we will break the barriers of myths and stigma. Education is the key and sharing the actual facts and not being afraid of talking will help our mental health initiatives tenfold! Don’t be afraid to ask and listen. Asking can be tough, I understand that, but asking someone in need can be monumental in them opening up and receiving the support/help they deserve. Listening shows you care and can be one of the most supportive actions for those that are reaching out for help and battling their struggle. Of course, as Ellen has taught us, be KIND! From a simple smile, a light squeeze of someone’s hand, a hug, making time for one another, let’s be kind and show our love.

There is a crucial need for action and it starts with you. Let’s join together, be advocates and make mental health awareness an every day journey. Let’s break down the stereotypes, educate ourselves and love one another. Let’s create a world where those struggling with that internal battle are not ashamed to reach out and are provided with timely and appropriate help. I know we have all been affected in way or another by mental health, so what are we waiting for!

Now, my way of starting to spread the love and bring a smile to your heart is through a big ol’ piece of healthy, creamy pumpkin pie… why not bake this for a friend in need?! My Crustless Chai Pumpkin Pie is luscious with restoring and comforting spices, it is always a huge hit with those I’ve served it too! Even better, it is packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals and comes in at only 50 calories a slice. Now to bring this pie to the next level, I whip up some coconut cream and smother it on top, or check out the recipe page for a product recommendation, real coconut whipped cream I found in grocery stores! Um, you’re welcome!

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Gratitude – The Quality of Being Thankful

  grat·i·tude

noun

the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness

It’s a snowy, crisp Monday which means the beginning of a new week, which I know holds endless opportunities for all of us! I know Monday’s can be difficult, as a new work week begins and the weekend of adventure is behind us, but let’s re-create Mondays, in fact every day, through one simple action, let’s practice gratitude. I will start by sharing that this Monday marks one week of my blogging journey and I want to focus on my feelings of gratitude and extending my thankfulness to each and every individual who has supported me and  jumped on board!

In starting this food blog venture, I hoped to maybe inspire a handful of individuals to get into their kitchens and create food that is whole and nourishing – not just for the body, but mind and soul as well. I hoped to have perhaps sparked a creative outlet for your lovely souls in the kitchen, to bring love, warmth, vitality and comfort to your tables at home. I hoped my blog and posts would transport you into a different world temporarily and perhaps bring a slight smile to the corner of your lips. I truly wasn’t sure what to expect the first week of my blog, if my hopes would become reality and what would transpire, not even remotely!

Well, I am speechless, (for once in my life) by all the love! This is where I want to humbly express my absolute gratitude to each and every of of you (yes you!) for your unwavering support, endless positivity and transpiring my dreams into reality. During the last week I have graciously received countless encouraging messages and phone calls, had beautiful, deep and inspiring conversations regarding body image, nourishing food choices, and how to balance every day real life with a maintainable healthy lifestyle. I’ve been continuously inspired by your feedback and comments, your confidence in my abilities and encouragement of my recipes/pictures and blog posts drives me. Your outreach has been immensely appreciated and know I genuinely thank you and appreciate each and every one of you. Your feedback, big or small, is a stepping stone in the foundation of A Pinch of Nurse! I’d more than love to stop and chat, answer any questions and I’m always up for a discussion surrounding recipes/health/lifestyle/travel at any moment, please contact me!

These feelings of gratitude in my heart fuel and fill me with happiness, which led to me thinking, I need to hold onto and cherish these emotions somehow! Then a light bulb went off and well… I realized these feelings transpired from being grateful and thankful for the people and relationships in my life, not things in my life. So, I decided to write you all a gratitude letter and I hope to practice gratitude daily to continuously find happiness in such simplicity. I would be elated if you wanted to join in on this daily practice!

Now… let me show you my love the way I know how to, through food!  Uh huh, finally, food talk! This recipe came to my mind and heart immediately when I pondered what recipe to share next and express my gratefulness through. It is the epitome of warmth, comfort and pure bliss! I aspire to bring to your table tonight my, Guilt Free Butter Chicken, a recipe that is packed with soul filling flavors, without the hours of labor. I spent many nights perfecting this recipe and filling it with authenticity, I hope you fall in love with it as much as we do in our home!

 

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie

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It’s Weekend Time, What To Eat & Do?!

It is Friday everyone, this means weekend time is around the corner and I always relate weekends to perhaps getting a little more sleep, getting out and doing something adventurous and creating delicious breakfasts that you can indulge on (with that giant cup of coffee in your hand)! Most of you know that I am a nurse, which entails working weekends, so when I get a weekend off I make it count! Let me introduce you to my perfect weekend breakfast of creamy vanilla oats, caramelized bananas and crunchy energizing almonds. After a great morning work out, I love to treat myself to my creamy Brûléed Banana Nut Oats. With this nourishing breaky, you can take on the weekend!

After you inhale your scrumptious bowl of Brûléed Banana Nut Oats, it’s time to get exploring the city. I am always looking for different activities to do around the city and I thought I would share with you some events in and around Calgary that you can go check out, especially during these gorgeous winter days. There is a lot going on in and around Calgary this weekend, here are a few to check out, make time for you this weekend!

Feeling like you need your musical fix? I recently heard about BIG Winter Classic 2017 January 19th-22nd, it is an event full of arts, music, local craft beer and includes over 60 bands, 5 stages being featured at 3 different venues.

I love to immerse myself in new cultures and experience traditions other than mine, I hope to be able to get down to the Chinese Cultural Center to celebrate the Chinese New Year Festival! Experience Chinese culture through food, games, activities and performances over the next couple weekends.

Now that we aren’t experiencing sub zero temperatures, it’s great to get outdoors this weekend. Last winter i decided to tie up my skates and show off my ridiculously amazing skating skills… let’s say I remember being A LOT better when i was younger, but it was such a blast! Gather up those skates, mittens and toques and hit up the numerous skating rinks in Calgary open this weekend, click here to get skating!

After your day of skating why not go check out the pros? Calgary Flames vs Edmonton Oilers, this Saturday at 8:00pm, Go Flames Go!

Want to get out of the city and enjoy the mountains, without hitting the slopes? This is a must do on my list and I hope to go next weekend to take in all the excitement at the Ice Magic Festival in Lake Louise! I mean just your surroundings are breath taking and then add in an ice carving competition celebrating and honoring Canada’s 150th birthday, I can’t wait!

So take some time this weekend for delicious and nutritious eats and go try out a new experience! Happy Weekend everyone!

Also, if you want to continue to enjoy my recipes and posts, subscribe today to get updates and recipes first!

 

 

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Get Out Your Sombreros, it’s Fajita Night!

Hola everyone, well it’s a gorgeous winter day , sun is out and shining bright which brings a smile to my face and a hop in my step! The recent warm weather and golden rays of sunshine have me thinking of summer and beach vacations… in fact, the Mexican topic/theme has come up in my life several times in the last couple days, so I took it as a sign and I’d like to introduce to you your dinner for tonight! Drum roll please… I know you are going to LOVE my Zesty Fajita Squash Boats with my Cilantro Avocado Drizzle! They are a low carb and healthy twist on fajitas, not to mention so much fun eating out of a squash bowl!

 

Let me take you back to some of the best fajitas I’ve had and how that sizzling plate of deliciousness inspired this recipe! My husband and I took a summer trip to Whitefish, Montana a couple of years ago for a golf couples getaway. If you’ve never been to Whitefish, you absolutely have to experience this small town nestled in the Rocky Mountains, it has an old historic rustic charm about it, abundance of boutique shops, multitude of outdoor activities and of course a variety of culinary experiences!

Anyways, back to the golfing getaway and food inspiration… there we were golfing away in Whitefish, almost completed our 18 holes and famished, when all of a sudden a giant grizzly bear barreled past our golf cart and down the fairway! Before we even knew what happened, I armed myself with my golf club (smart and quick thinking, I know!) and unsure of what to do next, we just sat in our cart and let that bear do it’s thing! We skipped the last hole, too terrified to keep playing and decided with all that excitement we needed a darn good meal (since we didn’t end up being meals ourselves). You know when you are so hungry you don’t really even have the slightest care where you eat, that you just stop at anything that resembles a restaurant and hope it’s good? Well that was the case that day! We saw a small, old, barely visible sign for Mexican food and decided Mexican sounded darn good. We got out of our car and couldn’t really make out where this restaurant actually was, we were in some isolated parking lot… then we spotted a door to a very sketchy looking building, we weren’t turning back now! Well, I’ve determined over the years of travelling that these restaurants are typically the BEST and usually authentic, haha… usually.

We were seated at a cute little table, in a dimly lit small restaurant that was surprisingly full (I still wonder to this day where these people were parked). Faint Mexican music played in the background and the mouth-watering smells of Mexican fair filled the air. Now I’m sure you can guess what we ordered… yep, FAJITAS! So, you know when you are waiting for your food at a restaurant and someone else’s food goes by looking damn amazing and you think… wow I wish I ordered that. Well for once, that was our sizzling, bright, beautiful skillet of fajitas! I felt everyone’s eyes jealously peering over at our table. Now these fajitas were simply incredible, the flavors were so balanced, the vegetables cooked perfectly, the lime juice on top with that zesty kick, the subtle smokiness to the dish was the key. I still to this day don’t know what the name of the restaurant is or even where it is located, I keep intending to go back and find it one day. I decided that day that I needed more fajita in my life and I was going to create a spice mix and recipe that rocked my fajita world. Over the last couple of years I have, what I think, come up with a pretty darn good fajita recipe and I’m going to share that with you tonight!

For the recipe click here!

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In the Beginning…

 

Well today is the day and my food blog dream is no longer a dream, it is officially existent and very much alive! I am embarking on this crazy and wonderful food blog journey and I am shaking with excitement, motivation and perhaps a tinge of nervousness. I am so delighted to have the opportunity to share my creativity with and passion for healthy, wholesome delicious food with you through my blog! My recipes are inspired by my travels, my cravings and remembering to maintain a balanced healthy lifestyle.

So let’s go back to the very beginning, now I can honestly say a lot of my childhood I remember yearning to help my mom or grandma in kitchen, I remember thinking I was such a help but I’m sure I was a nuisance… (right mom?) Whenever i heard the “click” of the whisks being released from the hand mixer, I scurried over and hoped I’d get that silver whisk handed to me to lick off after the hard work was done (back when nobody made a big deal about eating raw dough!) I am fortunate enough to have had incredible culinary influences in my life through my mom and grandma, both exemplifying exceptional cooking skills, creating authentic tasty Czech dishes frequently! This is where my passion/creativity for ingredients and food was ignited!

Things got really interesting in the kitchen when I wanted to get cooking independently. I still remember sauntering through a Scholastic Book Fair (yes, remember those!!) at school when i was a mere 8 years old and my eyes were immediately drawn to cookbooks for starting chefs! I begged my mom right then and there as I had decided I absolutely had to have these in my life, no questions about it. Well guess what, she said no… my tiny dreams were momentarily crushed. Don’t worry, low and behold I received, “Starting Cooking” and “First Cookbook”, the next day for my birthday! Phew! Did you feel bad for me temporarily? Haha.

I was on my way to becoming a master chef! Sort of.. I chose to make “Eggy Bread”, it doesn’t even sound appetizing… but it was a recipe in my book I decided to bestow upon my family members frequently, i never did hear bad reviews though! So fast forward 21 years and here I am, with more experience, a seasoned traveler, culturally inspired and through this I have created my own recipes for you to try out. I truly hope you get the enjoyment out of cooking my beloved recipes (and devouring them, duh!) as I do! Put love into every wholesome ingredient, turn up that music, and let’s get cooking!

 

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