31

It’s a wrap! The big 3-0 is over and I must admit being a bit sad about this end, but last night, while doing a recap of everything that happened in the last 12 months, I was pleased. The year was exactly how I hoped it’d be on January 15th 2014. On that day, I was pretty anxious about turning 30, but I can say without a doubt it was one of the best year ever and it has a lot to do with the freedom I had and the choice I made to take advantage of this new reality.

It could sound weird to some, but living on my own at 30 with all that this implies, gave me a strong and powerful feeling that I could do anything. I felt I was beginning a new book and I could write every fantasy I had and actually realize them. And it goes for every life aspect, not just relationships. Think about it: no boyfriend, still less marriage, no kids; I could do whatever I wanted to. It was like I was being born again.

I had to go through the most painful installment of my life to be where I am today and all the tears shed have been worth it. Not that I recommend or wish you to live such a cruel situation, but for me, at that time, it was a necessary evil and if it hadn’t happened, I would never have really met the person I deeply am and I kinda like this girl a lot! In fact, I think she’s awesome!

Last year, the title of my birthday post was 30, single and fabulous (exclamation point). I could have certainly turn this Carrie Bradshaw quote into a new version like 31, taken and still fabulous and use it once again, but somehow I wished for something new and fresh. Because a lot of new things happened to me in the last 12 months and very exciting projects are on their way for 2015. Lesson learned: ask and you shall receive!

Given that every item I wrote down on my secret wish-list a year ago can be checked, I’m a bit caught off guard for this year’s list. What could a 31 year-old woman wish for? I could certainly pray for a brand new wardrobe, dozens of high heels and a shiny ring (this will make some girlfriends smile), but we always get tired of our material stuff (except for the ring, of course!). So for this year I decided to set myself some goals to achieve.

First, I started at the beginning of the week my 16-month interior design course. I know it will be very demanding, but I don’t want to find myself buried under the work and overwhelmed by all the tasks that have to be done. Therefore comes the #1 goal: doing everything in time and finding the perfect balance (hello planning!).

Second: a couple’s goal. A major project began during the Christmas holidays and the more time will progress, the more it will certainly ask us time + energy. With my course, I can foretell we’ll have less time to just hang out together, but those moments we share just the two of us are precious to me and I want to make them a priority in this upcoming busy new year. So goal #2: taking time to be together (even if this means watching a movie full of guns and explosions!).

Third, since I moved in with M, going to the gym had became a real pain in the a** for me. I had to quickly eat my dinner between work and gym and I was back home only around 8… That’s not my exact take on a fun night. Instead, I thought I could turn all those Just Dance living room sessions into some physical training and added a Zumba “game” to our collection. And it works! And you know all those 30-day fitness challenges we see on Pinterest? We’re trying one right now, and beside making us sweat (I’m talking about fitness here), it always makes me laugh, so it’s a good sign! Also, the recent excesses of the holiday season resulted in a desire to eat lighter and I have to say that so far it is rather successful! So I give myself the challenge to go on this path for the entire year. Goal 2015 #3: having a healthy lifestyle.

While some of last year’s goals has been achieved, others were abandoned, but I think those three new targets are achievable with a little motivation and perseverance. Being 30 was amazing and I’ll keep many great memories of this year and I hope the one starting today will be just as sweet as the last one. And now let’s enjoy this special day!

Goodbye 2014

I can say without a doubt that when I woke up on January 1st after a great and, let’s face it, a very alcohol fueled New Year’s Eve, I knew that 2014 was going to be good to me. And by good I mean heartwarming. After going through some painful time in 2013, I made a list of everything I dreamed of for the 12 following months and a year later, I’m proud to announce that every item I wished for can be checked! Lesson learned: always be positive no matter what, because when a door is closed, a new and better one is waiting to be opened.

To close the loop on this beautiful year which is ending pretty soon, here’s a recap of the best moments and memories from the past four seasons. Happy 2015!

Winter

Winter 2014

fav recipe: obviously my 4-layer pink birthday cake – so so sooo yummy!

fav song: Pumpin Blood by NONONO

Spring

  • celebrating my very best friend’s 30th birthday
  • going out with someone I hadn’t seen for 20 years
  • falling in love with him
  • spending time in my hometown
  • enjoying the warmer weather in a new car!

Spring 2014

fav recipe: couscous salad

fav song: Riptide by Vance Joy

Summer

  • running my first 5K
  • seeing Michael Bublé AND Justin Timberlake in concert
  • having wonderful summer vacations
  • spending quality time with family and friends
  • being back in the kitchen

Summer 2014

fav recipe: cranberry + pistachio granola bars

fav song: Love Never Felt So Good by Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake

Fall

  • embracing the beginning of a new comfort food season
  • officially moving back to my hometown
  • taking major decisions for 2015
  • making new holiday traditions
  • wishing for the next year to be even better than 2014

Fall 2014

fav recipe: the one I never get tired of: pasta with sausage and dried tomatoes

fav song: Mother & Father by Broods

Friday Love

Receiving an unexpected call sayingI’m coming back home tomorrow morning” is the best way to start the weekend and that’s exactly what happened to me last Friday. No need to tell you I had a hard time trying to get asleep, I was like a child on Christmas Eve! No more cold nights since Saturday night, my heart is all warmed up.

But before my man came back, I had a great Friday night with the girls and the kids. It was a lazy dinner, because we left our aprons aside to order pizzas BUT we made a sundae bar that was really appreciated by the kids AND the ladies.

I spent my Sunday afternoon with two lovely girls and we cooked a veggie soup + a grilled squash and cauliflower soup + carrot and nut muffins. All this while chatting and having a glass of wine, to me it was a perfect day!

Have a nice weekend! xx

*Linkin up with Lauren from Lauren Elizabeth and Jennifer from The Diary of a Real Housewife.

Friday Love 96

  1. enjoying the autumn sunshine
  2. grilled butternut and cauliflower soup in the making
  3. comfort food marathon in full swing
  4. tasty carrot + nut muffins
  5. Hunter boots. With socks. I’m in fall heaven.

*For more pics, follow me on Instagram!

*Earlier this week: Grilled shrimp and scallops over a summery orzo salad + #1picaday September recap

#1picaday September recap

#1picaday September recap

Once again, the last month has passed at the speed of lightning. Perhaps because of my new training schedule that I carefully followed (you can insert a very proud girl emoji here).

Having a new boyfriend is amazing, but when he comes with great friends, it’s like paradise on Earth. Especially when there are a few that you haven’t seen since ages. It’s good to spend time with them after all these years and get along as well as we do.

During September, workout has taken over, a lot of food was cooked and great memories were made. Now that October has knocked on our doors, we can get into a scary Halloween mood! I have no plans yet for October 31st, but I’m pretty sure it’ll be a bit different from last year. I might take out my Poison Ivy costume again, it could certainly please somebody!

Happy first day of October!

More #1picaday recaps: JanuaryFebruaryMarchApril – May – June – July – August

*If some of you would like to join us for the July challenge, you just have to share one pic each day on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #1picaday and let us know, so we can post a link to your Instagram and Twitter accounts on our blogs. You can follow Mila, Heather, Jana and me over herehere, here and here.

Grilled shrimp and scallops over a summery orzo salad

Grilled shrimp and scallops over a summery orzo salad 01

Fall has made its way into our kitchens, bringing along his share of meals made out of pumpkin, painstakingly prepared dishes and quick solutions for school/work lunches. If you’re a bit like me, you‘ve probably already started filling the freezer with savory homemade dishes for those busy weeknights when we‘re in a hurry to eat between an aerobic class and a hockey game. But for the weekly meatless Monday and/or the evenings when we don’t feel like eating a heavy meal, here’s a simple seafood recipe to bring a touch of summer in your plate.

Grilled shrimp and scallops over a summery orzo salad (original recipe by Country Living)

Ingredients: (serves 4)

  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) olive oil
  • 1L (4 cups) (about 6 ears) fresh corn kernels, or frozen whole-kernel corn
  • 4 clove(s) garlic, minced
  • 1 package  (16-ounce) orzo, cooked according to package directions, drained, and cooled
  • 1 pint  cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 1 large lemon, juice and zest
  • 250 ml (2 cups) shrimp
  • 250 ml (2 cups) scallops
  • mixed herbs for seafood (chives, dill and tarragon)
  • salt and pepper

Grilled shrimp and scallops over a summery orzo salad 02

Directions:

Mix together chives, dill and tarragon with olive oil, salt and pepper and marinate the shrimp and scallops for a few minutes.

In a large skillet over high heat, sauté the corn with some olive oil for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 more minutes or until corn become fragrant and tender. Let cool.

Grilled shrimp and scallops over a summery orzo salad 03

In a large bowl, combine corn, orzo, tomatoes and stir well. In a medium bowl, combine shallots, 1/2 cup olive oil, lemon juice and zest, salt, and pepper; whisk to combine. Pour dressing over salad and toss well.

Grill the shrimp and scallops and serve them on top of the salad. Salad can be made up to 6 hours in advance; serve cold or at room temperature.

Grilled shrimp and scallops over a summery orzo salad 04

Friday Love

I am currently fighting against a nasty cold (probably the first one on a long list for the upcoming winter if I look at last year’s), and all I dream of for the weekend is a hot cup of tea, warm pajamas and a conforting blanket. But what I need the most are certainly the arms of my man who’s been out of town for over a week now and let me tell you how badly I miss him. I don’t know when he’ll be back, so I can’t do any countdown and it’s killing me. BUT when all the men are away, the girls take the opportunity to see each other and that’s exactly what we’ll be doing tonight. On the menu: 4 “single” girls, pizza and chocolate! This should definitely relieve my cold for a few hours. Well, I hope so!

I wish you a great weekend, have fun! xx

*Linkin up with Lauren from Lauren Elizabeth and Jennifer from The Diary of a Real Housewife.

Friday Love 95

  1. picking up fall goodies
  2. my first time @ motocross races
  3. indulging myself with a smile cookie from Tim Hortons
  4. celebrating the third anniversary of a charming little boy
  5. rude awakening

*For more pics, follow me on Instagram!

*Earlier this week: Mini chocolate chip cookies + Favorite summer buys

Favorite summer buys

I will never understand people who shop for clothes only two or three times a year. It’s so satisfying to come home with some bags full of brand new clothes wrapped in pretty tissue paper! Am I the only one valuing this feeling? Anyway, today I wanted to share with you my favorite summer buys from local stores I love and from the shopping I did during my vacation in the USA. What has been your best buy of the summer season?

Favorite summer buys

1. maxi skirt (similar here) {Jacob} 2. push-up bra + hiphugger panty {Victoria’s Secrets} 3. handbag {Aldo} 4. sandals {Aldo} 5. sleeveless top with zipper {Smart Set} 6. chambray short {Smart Set} 7. t-shirt {Banana Republic} 8. black and white printed short {Smart Set} 9. denim vest {American Eagle} 10. hoodie (similar here) {Tommy Hilfiger} 11. little pink dress {Smart Set}

Mini chocolate chip cookies

Mini chocolate chip cookies 01

I never miss an opportunity to prepare some dessert. So when M and I were invited to our friends’ chalet housewarming party, I wanted to bring something cute + sweet to please everyone’s sweet tooth during the day. While browsing around the internet to find the perfect recipe, I stumbled upon this one from Yammies’s Noshery (check out Yammie’s amazing food blog) on Pinterest and then I made dozens of mini chocolate chip cookies.

Call me crazy, but they looked too delicious to pass. And they were perfect for all the little hands! I tell you, they were a big hit, all gone without time. The baker in me was delighted to see everyone making one bite of all these cute mini cookies.

Mini chocolate chip cookies (recipe by Yammie’s Noshery)

Ingredients: (makes about 12 dozen mini cookies)

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) softened butter
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) brown sugar
  • 65 ml (1/4 cup) white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract
  • 85 ml (1/3 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 250 ml (1 cup) cake flour
  • 1 ml (1/4 teaspoon) salt
  • 3 ml (1/2 teaspoon) baking soda
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 180ºC (350ºF) and place rack in the center of oven.

Mini chocolate chip cookies 02

In a large bowl, mix together butter, brown sugar and white sugar.

Mini chocolate chip cookies 03

Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Sift in all-purpose flour, cake flour, salt and baking soda. Mix until just combined and stir in the chocolate chips. Refrigerate until firm or throw the dough in the freezer.

Mini chocolate chip cookies 04

Scoop 1/2 teaspoons of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 5-8 minutes or until desired doneness is reached. Press some extra chocolate chips into the top at the end if you want (you know you want more chocolate!).

 Mini chocolate chip cookies 05

Friday Love

I’m so happy that fall is – according to cooler weather we had this week – finally here! Not that I don’t like wearing cute dresses and sandals, but there’s nothing better to me than cuddling on the couch with a big blanket and a hot + sweet drink (hello hot chocolate!!). Sure, it’s a bit cold early in the morning, but it’s a great way to get more human heat, don’t you think?!

So last Friday I went out with a friend for dinner and then we saw for the umpteenth time Rémi Chassé on stage. Accompanied by his usual band, Rémi and the guys have once again given an excellent performance. We spent a wonderful evening and the best was to realize how happy they were to play together that night for a second consecutive sold-out evening.

Before wishing you another amazing weekend, let me tell you that my goal of getting back in shape is going very well and I’m proud to confirm that all 7 classes of week #2 are completed! Yay!

Enjoy the weekend! xx

*Linkin up with Lauren from Lauren Elizabeth and Jennifer from The Diary of a Real Housewife.

Friday Love 94

  1. dinner last Friday night before the show @ Jaja La Pizz
  2. the guys on stage
  3. the last signs of a great summer
  4. comfort food season started strong with this traditional dessert from Quebec made with maple syrup - sooo yummy
  5. leisurely evening

*For more pics, follow me on Instagram!

*Earlier this week: Cranberry + pistachio granola bars

Cranberry + pistachio granola bars

Cranberry + pistachio granola bars 01

It’s that time of year again: back 2 school! And back to cozy sweaters, soft tights and evenings spent on the couch watching our favorite television series.  All of this won’t happen right away because we still have a lot of nice warm days ahead of us, but I can’t wait to get into cocooning mode.

Back to school also means back to making lunches. I’m lucky enough to work near my house and have time to eat in my own kitchen everyday (or at my parents’ house), so I don’t have to prepare any lunch. But being myself one of those who must eat a snack during the morning to get to dinner time alive, I wanted to have a healthier solution instead of those chocolate covered chewy bars we can find at the grocery store. And because eating an apple opens my appetite instead of stuffing my stomach, I needed something substantial. 

Those granola bars may not be safe for school since they include pistachios, but they sure are a great after-school snack!

Cranberry + pistachio granola bars 02

Cranberry + pistachio granola bars (recipe by Table for Two)

Ingredients:

  • 500 ml (2 cups) oatmeal
  • 250 ml (1 cup) shelled, unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 250 ml (1 cup) dried cranberries
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) chia seeds
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) honey
  • 85 ml (1/3 cup) packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 ml (1/2 teaspoon) vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Lightly grease a 13×18 inch baking sheet, set aside.

2. In a large bowl, stir together oatmeal, pistachios, cranberries, and chia seeds. Set aside.

Cranberry + pistachio granola bars 03

3. In a medium pot, melt the butter, honey, and brown sugar together until it comes to a bubble. Reduce the heat then cook for 2 minutes more. Add vanilla to the pot and stir.

Cranberry + pistachio granola bars 04

4. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients and mix together until just moistened.

Cranberry + pistachio granola bars 05

5. Pour onto prepared baking sheet and press out to about 3/4 inch thick – if your sheet is too big, you can press them all to one half of the baking sheet to make them thicker.

6. Let cool in refrigerator for 2 hours then cut them into bars.

Cranberry + pistachio granola bars 06

Notes:

These bars are very soft, unlike regular granola bars. Just keep that in mind that after you take them out of the fridge and cut them, sitting at room temperature, the bars will soften.

Cranberry + pistachio granola bars 07

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