Chocolate Peanut Butter Delights

For the last five years, I basically cut refined sugar from my diet.  We all know what the experts say about it, and for me, they were right.  Often, I had awful migraines, a couple forcing me to stay in bed for a week, and when my acupuncturist suggested cutting refined sugar, I felt desperate enough to do anything.  Little did I know the difference it would make in my life.

Even though I felt lively and healthy, there were so many moments when my cravings for something sweet were almost unbearable.  Fruit was okay, but it didn’t satisfy that chocolately need that I wanted.  These treats saved me, and so, many years later, I thought I should share in case they can “save” someone else’s sweet tooth.

I absolutely LOVE baking, but when I bake in general, I often eye ball my measurements.  Hopefully my eye-to-true measurements are accurate enough!

Ingredients:
2 cups of pecans
2 cups of dates
2 cups of dark chocolate (source carefully and check the label!)
1 cup of peanut butter (natural, only peanuts! Add more if you want it more of a peanut butter flavour)

Steps:
1) Dump your pecans and dates into your food processor and blend until it starts clumping on the sides (around 2 minutes).
2) Pour the blended mixture into a 9×13 pan – or really any size you have. The smaller your pan, the thicker the squares will be. You might want to line your pan with parchment paper or tin foil so your clean up is essentially none! Spread out evenly into the pan, and pat down with your hand.
3) Melt your dark chocolate and peanut butter on low heat, on the stove top, stirring constantly.
4) Pour on top and spread evenly over the crust.
5) Refrigerate for a couple of hours, until hard, and then cut and serve!

Enjoy!

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Paddling the Bow

Upon awaking early Canada Day morning, I grabbed my phone in bed and checked to see the latest news on Facebook. A free kayaking ride picture posted by The Paddle Station caught my eye. For those who don’t know me well, I love nothing more than a good deal, and free is the best deal of all! I commented on the post, and low and behold an hour later Daniel and I were heading to Shouldice Park for a kayaking adventure.

Now, the worst part about floating down the Bow is the car situation. Whose car do we leave where? Where will our ride end? The list of organizational questions is vast. Due to our limited time before our ride was beginning, we had to make a decision fast. The Paddle Station’s starting location is at Shouldice Park, and excitingly much to our surprise is in a Car2Go zone! Problem #1 solved!

When we arrived, we were greeted by the enthusiastically friendly owner, Ravi. Meeting business owners can be an interesting experience, to say the least, but Ravi is made for the job. He’s so humble and passionate about his business that it’s refreshing to be around. His team was setting up their station for the day, and went above and beyond our expectations. We were given an adorable waterproof blue tooth speaker, and a much needed (which we found out later!) dry bag. Because our ride was free, we were asked to wear Paddle Station flags as we floated, which we happily did. We signed the waiver, hopped into our double kayak, and began our mini adventure with our river tunes playing.

Around 1.5 hours later, we saw a friendly wave as we arrived at our destination stop in St. Patrick’s Island. We were paddling hard to make the inlet pit stop, and before I knew what happened, we were flipped into the Bow River. I guess that’s what we get for complaining about the heat! Thank goodness for that dry sac! We were offered a towel to dry off, thanked them for the awesome ride, and walked through St. Patrick’s Island on route home.

Often people feel like they need to escape from the city and reconnect with nature to refuel. I’m of course, guilty of this too. But on this day, not only did I do these without leaving the city, but my love and appreciation of Calgary grew even more. Paddling along, listening to the birds chirping and the waves rolling, I felt like I could have been anywhere but a city.

If you’re looking for a way to spend a morning or afternoon, or want to float down the river and don’t want to spend a fortune, I highly recommend checking out The Paddle Station. You’ll have an overwhelmingly amount of fun while supporting a wonderful local business!

One Year Ago Today…

…I lost my friend, my comic relief, my dad. This past year has been the hardest of my life with uncontrollable emotional outbursts and continual flashbacks, but I’m learning to cope. I’m learning that memories last a lifetime. I’m learning that these strange nuisances and occurrences are messages from you. I’m learning to live each day to its fullest and to love unconditionally. I’m learning that your inherited stubbornness can be used for the betterment. I’m learning to sing out loud and not care if it’s in tune or not. I’m learning to laugh everyday because it truly is the best medicine. I’m learning that if you watch Jeopardy every night you’ll get more than one answer correct. I’m learning that an ice cold Coors in a frosty mug can actually taste okay. I’m learning that beans really are a magical fruit. I’m learning that the beach truly is the best place to be. I’m learning to embrace my unique or rather quirkiness. I’m learning to be a forever kid. I’m learning to shoot for the stars. I’m learning that anything is possible if you set your mind to it and believe in yourself. I’m learning to tell those important to you that you love and care about them everyday. I’m learning that although you aren’t here in body, you’ll forever be here in spirit. I’m learning that I will never forget you, but that your memories and attributes will continue to live on through others. On today especially Dad, I’ll remember you. I love you forever and always! 

At 10:47am Ontario time, and 4:37pm France time, Daniel and I found a little café in Lyon to do a cheers to Dad. It was a bittersweet moment, but as the sun shone brightly upon us, I knew it was Dad shining his pearly whites through and cheersing us back. 

Thanks for watching over me Dad, for keeping me safe, and for loving me unconditionally. I can only hope that when I have my own children, they’ll always know how much I love them, just as I knew with you! 

It’s Nice to be in Nice!

Awakening bright and early at 530, we quickly got our things organized and headed to the Bordeaux airport for our flight to Nice. Around an hour or so later, we arrived in the rainy city, ready to check in and begin our exploring. 

We strolled through the narrow streets of Vieille Ville, surrounded by bright yellow colours and fresh mix of fish and pastry smells. As the rain sprinkled overhead, and the skies became dreary, we didn’t let that stop us from our short visit here. We walked along the beach lined street and climbed Colline du Château for spectacular views of Nice. This park contains gardens, waterfalls, view points, and old ruins that are simply spectacular on all levels. 


The rain continued to pour, so after a visit to the cathedral, we stopped for an essential coffee and our first crepe!

We continued on route for more exploring before a delicious three course local dinner!

All About Me: Spanish Style

At the beginning of January, my students wrote an All About Me Book, only this book was in Spanish. They discussed their name, described themselves, and talked about some of their favourite things. As a way to make this activity more interactive, we decided to create an electronic, bilingual book. The students used the app book creator to select a picture, write the words in English, and then speak the words in Spanish. It was a fun activity, that they were all excited about, but the best part was when they showed their parents. Their parents were able to hear them speak another language, that they couldn’t, but could also understand what they were saying through the English words.

Here’s an example of one of their finalized projects: