24 November 2012

Thanksgiving Recap with Awesome Vegan Stuffing!

All-Vegan Gluten-Free Thanksgiving!

This year brought a quiet Thanksgiving my way. 
I had already celebrated with my parents and I will be heading down to Atlanta on Sunday to visit with my sister and her family.
I was looking forward to a calm week at work and Thanksgiving day with friends.

Matt and Constance are the kind of people everyone needs in their lives.
They are unfailingly wonderful, kind and honest.
They have two beautiful daughters who light up the room and provided ample amounts of entertainment on turkey day.
Matt's sister and her family were also over and she is every bit as wonderful as her brother.

One of the best things about having Matt and Constance as friends is that they always will supply endless amounts of vegan goodness for me to feast on.  Without question or comment.  It's just one of the many reasons I love them!

I contributed a vegan stuffing for the festivities (inspired by Heather Hands over at Flourishing Foodie) and even made a gluten-free version for Matt.

The stuffing was rich and sweet.
Apples and cranberries lighten the load of the bread and rice.
I added a good dose of chopped celery (because in my mind, nothing goes better with caramelized onions than celery) and omitted the vegan sausage (I'm not a big fan of fake meat).

The stuffing was a success and I think I like the gluten-free version better!  I've included my version below, but be sure to check out Heather's version on her site.

Hope you are all having a great weekend!

Heather's (inspired by Heather's!) Vegan, Gluten-Free Stuffing 

1 cup brown rice (cooked to package directions using vegetarian broth, not water)
2 celery stalks, sliced thin
1/2 sweet onion, chopped into small pieces
2 cups baby portobello mushrooms, chopped into small pieces
1 apple, peeled and cubed (small pieces)
1 cup dried cranberries
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp vegan "butter"

Cook rice according to package directions.  I substituted veggie broth for the water to give the rice a lot of flavour and eliminate the need for salt.

Put cranberries in a bowl and cover with just boiled water.  Let sit for 10 minutes and then drain out onto a towel.  Put aside.

While the cranberries are in the water, chop your onion, celery, mushrooms and apple.

Heat up a large frying pan on very low heat and (without adding ANYTHING), heat up your mushrooms.  Heather notes this releases the flavour...I have to agree.  Once they have turned brown and start releasing their liquids, turn out onto a towel and let sit.

In the same pan, turn the heat up to medium-high and add your "butter."  Saute your onions and celery in the butter until the onions start to brown and get sweet.  Once that happens, add your mushrooms, apple and cranberries.  Season with the sage and thyme (and any other seasonings you feel like adding).  Stir and get everything nice, coated and glistening.  Remove from heat.  

Once your rice is done, add it to the pan with the seasoned goodness.  Toss all of it together.  Add more seasoning if needed and turn up the heat a little if it is not warmed through.  

Put in a pretty bowl (or plastic container!) and serve to good friends and family!

Most of all...enjoy!

The Matt and Constance Spread!
Such a great looking family!
Thanksgiving Walk...
A warm and windy Chicago on Thanksgiving Day

22 November 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Give time, give thanks.
Just give.

This year in honour of Thanksgiving I am donating to Women for Women International.

What are you giving today?

21 November 2012

An Early Celebration

Two weekends ago, I celebrated Thanksgiving a little early with my parents.
We wouldn't be spending the actual day together, so I wanted to get some quality time in.
My parents live on the coast of New Jersey...so the timing after superstorm Sandy was also good so I could check in and see how things were.
I didn't grow up in New Jersey, but parents have lived there for over a decade now and I care very much about what happens to the residents there.
It was pretty amazing to hear the stories of those affected and see huge trees toppled                            over like Lego towers.

It was just another reminder about how much we have to be grateful for.

We did Thanksgiving right...complete with stuffing, apple pie, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and everything in between.  
We even took a lovely drive out to Peddler's Village in Pennsylvania to walk along the paths, drink hot apple cider and get some holiday shopping out of the way.

It was a great weekend and I'm so glad I got that time with my folks!

Hat for the holidays???

Around the village...
A holiday tradition...the apple pie.  My dad and I
always peel the apples together before the baking begins and then
my mom and I take over the baking.
What a spread!

20 November 2012

"Psalm of Life" by Longfellow

Looking for some inspiration...just read these words...



Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream ! —
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real ! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal ;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way ;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle !
Be a hero in the strife !

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant !
Let the dead Past bury its dead !
Act,— act in the living Present !
Heart within, and God o'erhead !

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time ;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate ;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

19 November 2012

Giving Thanks...

Moose Jaw, SK

Friends, it's the most wonderful time of the year.
Lights are starting to twinkle in store windows, my favourite music is being piped over loudspeakers and it's time for the long-standing Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade to once again grace our televisions with it's over-the-top presence and Broadway songs!

As the year winds down, I notice I begin to take stock and reflect on everything that January 1 through November 19 has brought my way.  It's been a whirlwind of a year and I cannot believe all the goodness that's come my way. 

With Thanksgiving on Thursday, I thought I would share some of the things I am most thankful for...

Dave.  He is my everything and I am so lucky to have him as a partner in life.
My family.  They are incredible, talented and inspirational.
All the friends, mentors, coaches who have made an impression on me and provided encouragement when I've needed it the most.
My health.  This year, more than ever, I have learned that you can't take it for granted. 
The experiences I've had from coast to coast...I've traveled a lot this year and each plane ride and car trip has introduced me to new people and new things to try.
Crisp, cool air and the first snowflakes.
The brillant colours on the trees this fall.
The roof over my head right now...for that, special thanks to C and D. 
For major life-changing decision-making (more on that one later, but things are happening, folks!)

To those in Canada who celebrated their Thanksgiving over a month ago and to those in the United States who are celebrating this week, I wish you all a very happy holiday and continued love and joy.

18 November 2012

Special Guest: Courtney Thompson!

Hello, readers! 
I am so excited to introduce you to one fabulous woman...Courtney Thompson!

Courtney and I have known each other for some time now and I am constantly inspired by her energy, enthusiasm and her personal brand.
Courtney is full of life and fun and I thought everyone should get a chance to know her.

I asked Courtney five questions to answer...
So, without further ado...Courtney!


1.     How did you start blogging?

My background is in journalism and I’ve always loved to write but I had nothing to write about!  A good friend of mine has a great blog that I really enjoyed reading.  So much so, it made me want to write.  I began to think of things I could write about and the first thing that came to mind was me!  I was recently single and I thought writing about my recent life change would not only be therapeutic for myself but it just might help others as well. Hence… Table for One!

2.    What do you like most about blogging?

I love that there’s no pressure.  I can be exactly who I am at all times and not have to worry about saying the wrong thing or making good impressions.  It’s just for me and the fact that others care to read it is a plus! It’s like I’m talking to myself but the rest of the world is there… Pretty awesome!

3.    Where are you originally from?

I am from the best city in the world! Chicago… Where dreams come true! LOL

4.    What are your likes outside of work?

I love to hang with my friends and family! They are the people who accept me despite my flaws.  We dance, sing, cry, laugh, eat, drink and everything else in between… Precious moments.  I also like to sing karaoke every once in a while! People have to suffer through me singing my favorite songs and I make them clap even when I don’t deserve it!  Good times…

5.    What is your biggest fear?

It’s funny you ask this question, because it’s one I’ve been asking myself for a while now.  My biggest fear is being alone.  Meaning, by myself and I’m not just speaking in terms of a romantic relationship.  I’m talking all across the board.  I love that I have people around me that I can turn to for everything and sometimes nothing at all (if that makes since).  I am who I am because of the influence others have had on me and I’m just working on being the same for others.

You can find out more about Courtney in a bunch of different places! 
Check her out here!

04 November 2012

Settling In...to a New Place

I am a moving maven.
I move a lot.
And by a lot, I mean I've lived in at least 24 different spaces in my life.
By my estimation, that a lot of spaces in not that much life!

This week was no exception as Dave and I packed up my studio apartment and moved me in with good friends.  It was decided that since I'm on the road so much, it wasn't worth the cost of keeping up an apartment I hardly get to see.

So, here I sit, unpacked and settled into a new place.  
Special thanks to C and D for letting me crash in their pad!


In addition to moving, Dave and I had a fun week together full of cooking in the kitchen, drinking tea together and enjoying some of our favourite haunts in the city.

We enjoyed a double-date on Thursday to celebrate the 50K, Marathon and my birthday at Slurping Turtle and I introduced Dave to the awesome tapas and atmosphere at Cafe Iberico.

And...we took time to just walk the city streets, admire the first smattering of holiday cheer going up in  storefront windows and catch up on us.

I'm always so sad to see him go, but I'm always so grateful for the time we have together in person.  Those moments are to be cherished and I'm so happy he was here to support me during the race (couldn't have done it without him!) and help me get from one living space to another.  

I'm a very lucky gal!