Greek Yogurt & Berry Breakfast Bars

So its Wednesday, which means its morning again.. but it is hump day, so we can do this!  I have mentioned before I am not a morning person, I tend to be stumbling out the door in my stilettos and running late to my car.. Sometimes my tendency to be in a rush has me skipping breakfast, which is really not ideal as you should start your day with a boost of protein. Always.

One of my favourite breakfast combo’s is yogurt, granola and berries.. but it’s not very portable or if it is, you have to eat it quick or the granola gets soggy and disgusting. Greek yogurt is a great source of protein, calcium and yes fats, but the good kinds! I believe in eating full-flavor. natural whole food; not low-fat, low-sugar, low-carb garbage.. and this absolutely beats a breakfast sandwich! Proper portion control and quality food are really important for a healthy diet, if you are portioning and eating in moderation its okay to eat what you like (read: chocolate).

I decided to turn this yummy basic into a portable Popsicle inspired breakfast, perfect for rushing to work on these summer mornings, or for an afternoon snack to fuel up for a work-out. How-to is below, and don’t forget to pin-it using the button so you remember to make this later, its super yummy and super easy!

Greek Yogurt and Granola Berry Breakfast Bars

YOU NEED:

1 Tub Fruit Flavor Greek Yogurt

Plain Granola

Assorted Berries

Cookie Cutters

or

Cupcake Liners

AND THEN YOU…

  1. Scoop all the yogurt into a mixing bowl using a spatula, if it is the fruit-bottom kind, mix it before adding your other ingredients.
  2. Next, use the empty yogurt tub to measure an equal amount of granola (perhaps just a little less than equal) and add it to the bowl.
  3. Add your berries, because I chose strawberries I quartered them and measured a yogurt tub full (blackberries or raspberries or all of the above would be amazing too and not need cut!)
  4. Mix it all together (it looks pretty gross) and then use the spatula to scoop it into your cookie cutters. I used these because I didn’t have cupcake-liners like I thought I did, but they actually worked out really well and there is no wasted paper left behind, they just pop right out. if you use the cupcake liners just use a dollop and flatten it out, remember you have to eat it, you don’t want some giant rock of frozen yogurt to gnaw on.
  5. Once its all separated into little individual “bars” put it in the deep-freeze for a couple hours (I just left it over night) then test out your yummy frozen yogurt bars!

frozen yogurt breakfast bars

I also recommend keeping a little extra yogurt on hand, my picky side (after testing them out) says that it would be better if the granola didn’t get exposed to freezer air at all.. so you could spoon a little yogurt on top and smooth it over to just give it that nice smooth outside coating.

Otherwise, I was super happy with how these turned out! They are yummy, convenient, and just enough to start off the day.   I know a lot of people who say they never eat breakfast or eating breakfast makes them feel sick; I used to be one of them! Eating something good in the morning is really important to start up your metabolism, this is a good way to start small, and soon your body will be hungry in the morning!! Besides, this feels like a treat but it’s actually provides the energy you need to rock the day, without crashing later!

Starting the day off sweet is a nice way to do it I think, have a wonderful Wednesday beautiful girls!

xo, aiyanajane

Below are a couple of my favourite blog’s for recipe and fitness inspiration.

Be sure to check them out for way more (and better) ideas 😉

BIKINI BODY MOMMY   +   UNDRESSED SKELETON   +   BLOGILATES

Home Made Herb & Garlic Cream Cheese

Easy BreakfastI’m in the home stretch of school now (7 days…) so I haven’t had much time, especially in the morning. (So not a morning person.)  I love bagels because they are the perfect grab and go food.  One day I shall go to New York and sample all their marvelous bagels.  Until then, I make my own herb and garlic cream cheese.  I know, you can just buy it in the store, it sits right next to the plain cream cheese – but I like everything better when its home made.  I try to avoid eating as much processed food and unnecessary additives as possible, so by adding my own spices to plain cream cheese I avoid a whole lot of questionable additions to my digestive system.

You can really use whatever you like for spices, that’s the great thing about it – you can use all your favourites!  I LOVE spicy food, so I used lots of Chili flakes, a little dill tones down the spice and some oregano just because I love it.  I also use at least one big clove of garlic diced as well, the more garlic the better!

Buy a big tub of cream cheese and dig yourself a hole to pour the spice mixture into. Dice up the garlic (you could add green onions too, yum!) and add spices to taste, I used about a table spoon of each spice (a bit more of the chili flakes) mix well and spread it on your bagel, my favourite is kind everything. For a little protein I’ll add a slice of black forest ham – a breakfast with carbs and protein is essential for me to start my day off non-grumpy.  This mixture lasts me a few weeks and really spices up my breakfast bagel! 

xo, aiyanajane

 

Healthy Avocado Pesto Pasta

I honestly LIVE off of this recipie.. it is my very favorite way to eat AVOCADOS – CREAMY GREENY PASTA SAUCE!

Switch out your regular pasta for a whole grain version, I use a frying pan to quickly cook a small portion with less water. I like to save any extra paste I have left over to use on wraps, sandwiches or as a dip! Avocado fills you up and gives you energy to last all day!

Avocado pesto pasta

add pepper or for an extra kick top with CHILI FLAKES

Whole Grain Pasta15 Health Benefits of Avocado

xo, a

Healthy French Toast

One of my favourite breakfasts is French Toast. Its warm and delicious and most importantly, extremely quick and easy to make!

I use 2 slices of Dempsters Ancient Grain’s Bread, one egg, a splash of skim milk and cinnamon to taste. Combine all ingredients in a shallow bowl and whisk together. Dip bread and fry on medium heat for ~1 minute/side. Serve hot with butter and maple syrup. To cut calories use only the egg white.  

This is a good source of protein and fiber to start your day off with energy.  I feel very Canadian in my love for Maple syrup but there is honestly no substitute for it!  Same with real butter… Becel is NOT butter. I believe in dairy not petroleum products.

This is a quick, easy and yummy way to start the day, especially in the chilly winter!! It takes only minutes to make and devour!

ALSO BECAUSE I CAN QUOTE THIS

xo, a

Pin It!

decor ideas: pashmina curtains

 

save space & brighten up any room with

PASHMINA CURTAINS!

Recently I moved into a very small room, it only has a teeny little basement window so I decided to fake a large looking window (and add some color) by hanging a curtain rod above my bed and displaying my pashminas. This is a functional, cheap,  easy and pretty way to brighten up a room and show off your favourite scarves. I absolutely love pashmina’s I cannot stress how much of a difference wearing one can make in your style and your warmth!

Another great item to display? Your jewelry collection- accessories as art!

all the pretty pashminas

As you can see, I have a major love for leopard print!

Do you like my home made body pillow cover? Cedric sure does! fake a window using a curtain rod to hang up your scarf collection

What really makes a house a home is the heart. For me my animals are my heart; Cedric is my everything and  I love my fish- an aquarium as a display is serene, relaxing and beautiful. My favourite way to unwind is to light the candles and watch the fishies swim. The soft light and their fluid movements are very peaceful. In every home you should have a place where you can feel peaceful and meditate.

xo, a

DIY – Nutella Chocolate Christmas Ornaments

The holiday season often means a great deal of gift giving, which adds up quickly. Save cash and impress your friends, family or co-workers with yummy home made chocolates, inspired slightly by my love of Ferrero Rocher, made to look like cute little ornaments, and not to be opened until Christmas!

I used Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Chipits, because that’s what I had available, but I recommend hitting up a bulk chocolate bin- superstore sells Bernard Callebaut!

You can buy pre-made chocolate molds in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but I had this empty egg carton which I figured would recycle perfectly for my purpose! Make sure to use plastic, not paper cartons if you choose to re-purpose your egg cartons as well!

Then set up a double boiler, boil water in a small pot on the bottom, with a metal bowl  resting on top; this will melt the chocolate smoothly and evenly. Be sure to stir consistently.

  1. Pour melted chocolate into the molds, and use a spatula to ensure the entire surface is evenly covered
  2. Sprinkle mixed nuts into the chocolate shell, I used whole walnuts and almonds, approximately 5-7 nuts per chocolate. (Significantly more went into the big almond walnut bark bar.)
  3. Pour remaining melted chocolate into the molds, until even and full. I ran out of chocolate at this point (mental note, one bag of chocolate chips is not enough) so I melted down a half bag of white chocolate chips and made half the batch with that. Sometimes the best things come about by accident.
  4. Place tray in the fridge or freezer to cool, (you can leave it out at room temperature it just takes longer and I have no patience when it comes to matters involving chocolate)
  5. Once fully hardened, spoon a tsp of Nutella onto one of the chocolate halves and squish the other half on top, smoothing out any extra Nutella that comes squishing out of the edges. I used one half milk chocolate and one half white chocolate.
  6. Wrap in tinfoil, twisting at the top. Tie a knot around the tinfoil twist and make a loop using ribbon. Secure with tape if necessary
  7. Then tie a bow around it to cover the tape and ensure again that the loop is secure. If you like, add a color to the tinfoil using paint or permanent marker!

nutella filled chocolate, almond, walnut egg ornament

These are the perfect little bobbles to give to anyone on your list – provided they don’t have a nut allergy. Hang them on the tree and unwrap on Christmas morning for a super yummy and festive treat! I’m sure I will revisit this idea when Easter rolls around!

happy holidays! XO – A

home made pho

One of my favourite foods is Vietnamese Pho! Its also really easy to make at home, I like making soup because I can basically just throw in vegetables and spices willy-nilly until I get the taste just right! This is my made up recipie for fridge-pho! Soup is great for using up everything in the fridge.

eat pho

HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE CHICKEN PHO:

  1. Fill a large pot half full of water, use the carcass of a rotisserie chicken to make your soup base. Boil chicken bones, dice up one large white/yellow onion, one clove garlic, and peeled ginger root (about the size of the tip of your thumb) add a package of Chicken boullion and 1 TBSP sea salt, allow this to boil for ~30 minutes or until chicken is falling off the bones.
  2. Pour soup mixture through a strainer, use tongs to pick out all the chicken bones and cartilage- keep the meat and onions.
  3. Continue boiling soup broth on low heat. Chop carrots, green onions, snow peas, baby bok choy, jalapeno pepper and what ever other vegetables you fancy. Carrots take the longest to cook so add those first, working your way backwards by cooking time, snow peas and bok choy take hardly any time at all. Add the bean sprouts last, just before the noodles go in.
  4. Boil ~3 cups of water in a kettle. Using the tray from the chicken (dont wash it out, there will be gelatin stuck to the bottom that will add lots of flavor) unwrap the rice noodles and place in the tray, sprinkle a second package of chicken bouillon seasoning over top, then pour boiling water over top and let sit until noodles are soft.
  5. Add 2 TBSP each of oyster and hoisin sauce to the noodles and broth, then combine with the vegetable soup base, boil for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly and enjoy steaming hot!
  6. Chicken can easily be substituted for beef, traditionally beef would be sliced thinly and cooked in the boiling broth, but I like to fry it with onions, garlic and ginger to brown it, and to get more flavor for the stock. Once its browned, then add the water and follow steps two through five.

home made chicken pho by citystylecountrysmile

Pho is best served fresh (it does keep but the noodles get soggy) and this makes a HUGE batch. Invite some friends over and dazzle them with your culinary skills, they will thank you pho sho.

xoxo, aiyana jane

Mini Avocado Omelette

Start your day off right with this healthy breakfast.

One of my favourite foods is avocado- yummy and its SO good for you! They are packed with more than 25 essential nutrients, including vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, copper, iron, phosporus, magnesium, and potassium, avocados also contain fiber, protein and help protect against various disease and illness. more

 

1 avocado + 1 egg + spices to taste + cheese + salsa

  • First cut your avocado in half, I saved the second half to use later- avocados will turn brown once exposed to air, prevent this by dripping lemon juice onto it, and covering in saran wrap, as air tight as you can get it.
  • Score the flesh using a knife, using your fingers to pull the skin open
  • Whisk up the egg mixture- I used an egg, chili powder, basil, oregano & salt
  • Pour the mixture into the scored avocado half. One egg makes enough to fill two avocado halves. I used a cupcake wrapper to prevent spillage.
  • Broil on high in the oven for ~5 minutes, then take it out and poke the inside down to test if its cooked. I hate runny eggs, and with this method the top cooks and underneath its still raw,poke it down so that it will cook more evenly, then top with cheese and broil for another 5 minutes or so.
  • If its still a little under-cooked for your liking, zap it in the microwave for 15 seconds, then the inside will cook in no time at all.

Top avocado omlette with salsa and enjoy

AVOCADO OMELETTE topped with mozza & salsa

Want a simpler option? Just crack an egg directly into the avocado & bake.

 I’m a bit particular when it comes to eggs- taste wise I don’t even really like them, I find the yoke tastes too strongly which is why I always scramble my eggs with tons of spices, and don’t even get me started on the runny egg texture, yuck! With the right flavorings though, this makes a delicious, easy, healthy and filling meal.

Don’t be afraid of the high-fat content in avocados, they contain the GOOD fats that your body needs, and provide a big boost of protein to fill you up and keep you feeling satisfied. Skip the cheese if you want to cut some extra calories, but I personally love dairy products and would rather just not worry about it and enjoy the melty, cheesy goodness.

xo, aiyana

workout, eat cake, repeat

It was an absolutely beautiful day in the city yesterday, by Calgary in the  middle of November standards anyways.. something like 6 degrees! It might as well be a sauna. I spent the day relaxing, reading on the deck, catching up on my laundry and getting organized for my first day of school *tear* and job interviews afterwards. But first, I worked out using this routine in my fancy yoga room! It was so lovely I finished with some light yoga outside to cool down.

 Then onto a healthy *cough* breakfast of mini Christmas oranges, earl grey tea and Skor red velvet cake. Yeah, I’m going to let that sink in. SKOR RED VELVET CAKE. This is why I work out you guys, because I legitimately have the biggest sweet-tooth of all time. My friends make fun of me because I always have candy in my purse, and cake in my fridge, but I believe in the little indulgences. Dieting has never been my thing, restricting myself from comfort food makes me sad. Chocolate makes me happy. So everything in moderation, I say!

xo, a

All Moved In

Well, I’m all moved in! Classes begin Friday morning and I have been job hunting like crazy these last few days! I’m feeling so thankful and excited to be  living with a family friend who is honestly one of the most interesting and inspirational women I know! I thought you might like to see my new home, so here’s the virtual tour!

Welcome to my humble abode, come on down!

Sitting Area, featuring the one and only Cedric Diggory!

The view from Cedric’s Cage. Note the giant bowl of candy. This is my happy place.

The study area. Elephants never forget, hopefully I wont either?

I get to fall into this comfy bed after studying my little heart out!
Check out the body pillow case I made! (Its leopard print, of course!)

In the morning when I finally roll out of bed, I go straight to the makeup counter to beautify!

Re-purposed Secretary Desk to Makeup Counter. Click to DIY!

lipbalm and gloss, eyeliners & mascaras, lipstick and stain

eye shadows + lotions + hair care + perfumes

And of course, the most important part of any fashionista’s home- the closet. Isn’t it beautiful!?

Boots + Sweaters + Denim = Fall Essentials

And finally, the most amazing part of the whole house is the yoga studio! Beautiful.
How lucky am I to live with a woman who has a whole ROOM devoted to yoga?! Love.

I always feel more settled once my home is organized, decorated and clean.

Having art on my walls and animals in my room makes it feel like home!

I’m really hoping that after the last few months of seemingly never ending bad karma that now things are going to change! I feel like this is a step in the right direction that I’m so glad to be taking. I’m really excited to be moving forward, and even if karma decides she’s not done with me, I’m ready for another round! When things seem to be piling up against you, and like nothing is every going in your favor, the only thing that can make it worse is if you believe that to be true. Believe in your strength, know yourself, stand true to your beliefs and celebrate the ordinary things every day. Be happy for what you have, but never settle for less than you deserve. Strive every day, work hard every day, learn something, make something, be a good friend. Eventually what you put in will come back out. Remember, everything will work out in the end. Find what you love.

xo, aiyana

DIY- Refurbished Secretary Desk

Hello my lovelies!

So I’m moving this weekend to a place where I will be sharing a bathroom… wait, shared? Whats a girl with a massive collection of makeup, skin and hair care products to do?! Since its shared space I don’t want to overtake the counter so I refinished this secretary desk I’ve had for years. I used it as a makeup table before and it was awesome, but it was getting pretty beat up so I gave it a makeover!

BEFORE:

Put down newspaper (or something of the sort) then remove all drawers, handles, shelves and screws. Sand down rough edges and any scratches. This should be done in a well ventilated area.

Spray paint the entire unit- use multiple THIN coats for even coverage that doesn’t run. Then spray the drawers- I chose to use two different metallic spray paints- silver for the body and gold for the inserts.

To replace the old handles, I painted these seashells curtain shower hooks blue and cut the wire backing down to the right length. Then use hot glue in the hole and the original backing to secure it.

Hand paint the edges of the piece with gold acrylic. On the fold-down shelf I spray painted the outside silver, and the inside gold. When its dry attach hardware and re-insert the drawers.

1. BEFORE 2. Base coat 3. Gold and Cobalt detailing 4. AFTER

AFTER:

MATERIALS: Krylon Spray Paint ( nickle, gold & silver) Folk Art Acrylic Paint (gold, cobalt) Sandpaper, Screwdriver, Seashell Curtain hooks, Hot glue gun and sticks, wire cutters, pliers, paintbrush.

refinished secretary desk diy

I have to admit, I’m very pleased with the result! And as a bonus the whole project took me about 8 hours, including drying time! The hardest part was cutting the curtain hooks, which could have been avoided if I hadn’t been too lazy to search out regular fake seashells, but Drumheller Walmart has a limited selection so I just made do. Its amazing what a difference a little paint and some hot-glue can make!

Maybe this post will inspire you to revamp a worn in piece!

xo, a!

zucchini pizza bites

If you or anyone you know has a garden its quite likely that you are about to have more zucchini than you know what to do with!

Its  not  a  big  favourite  for  most  but  this  easy  recipe  makes  it  palatable  for  even  the  most  picky  eaters  by  turning  icky  zucchini  into  yummy (and cute!)  mini  pizzas!  Make this  easy,  gluten-free  and  low-cal  option  for  a  BBQ  or  dinner  with  the  family  and  watch  it  disappear  right  before  your  eyes.

To make it super easy use a pre-cooked roast chicken (available at most grocery chains) and sandwich ham. Slice your ingredients first and then fry the zucchini and add toppings quickly. Use low-cal cheese if you want, although I am part Danish and we are all about the whole dairy fats so I used Mozzarella and Havarti.. mmm, cheese. Salsa makes a great and super easy pizza sauce. Over cooked zucchini is awful, and will get soggy, so keep a close eye. Total cook and prep time is under 15 minutes.

lets get real here…

.. even though I’m living back in the country now, Stampede kicking off is still an excellent excuse to slack, so I’m goin’ with it.

SO…. I`m only posting once a week now.. but after this I PROMISE TO STICK TO ONCE A WEEK!  Besides, twice a week is a bit ambitious when I have a full time job and its summer… I mean come on, I have rafting and drinking and rodeo-ing to do.. plus this stuff takes time!  WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME ?!? ACTUAL POSTS?! PSHH.

 

But seriously, In the mean time I won’t be slacking. I think I may have gotten a bit ambitious with my 2 posts per week plan.. I want QUALITY posts, not quantity. Right? So that’s why I teamed up with a friend of mine whose photography you can expect to find up in next Wednesday’s post!! Hint: Its snake themed..

 

Now, if I go down to less than one post per week its very important that someone give me a shake and tell me “REMEMBER THE DREAMMMMMM!!!” and be dramatic about it too.. drag ‘dream’ out kinda like how Mel Gibson yells ‘freedommmmmmmm’ at the end of Braveheart.
What a badass.

 

What could possibly be worthy of such melodrama?
The answer to that my friends, is simple:
MY OWN PERSONAL HOBBIT HOUSE.
Yes, its a beautiful dream….
spending my days blogging from my hobbit house which I WILL build even if it takes me 50 years.
SO YES, ITS HAPPENING (eventually) THE ULTIMATE DIY PROJECT : A HOBBIT HOUSE.
Click here (don’t think, just do it!) for my inspiration! http://www.simondale.net/house/index.htm

 

There is nothing that would complete my life any more than to have my own Simon Dale inspired, Peter Jackson-esque hobbit house on the land I grew up on.  How sick would that be?!! It would be the ultimate retreat, and it would be MY place.. No one else gets to live there (I KNOW I`M SELFISH OKAY, YOU CAN VISIT, BUT ONLY I GET TO LIVE HERE, SORRY BRO, BUILD YOUR OWN.) I would fill it with cats and dogs and fish and maybe bunnies too and my horses would live in a near-by pen.  I would fill it with books, and art and music and tea and delicious, delicious food. It would actually be the greatest thing of all time.. not only that, but maybe we can get a whole Hobbit community going… WHO WOULDN’T WANT THIS? Plus, think of the money you’ll save in the long term! (and the resale value is excellent, this is a GREAT neighbour hood!)

 

I’ve already got the location all picked out.. floor plans are forming in my mind..
Really though, I think its my just inner hippie coming out.. cause all I wanna do is chill with my pets, in my hobbit house, get baked and do crafts…  If that’s wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

before I go, a sneak peek at next week:

hope your summer’s going great, find your dream and make it happen!
(even if it is totally weird and hippy-ish)

peace, a

lazy spaghetti

I’m not anything super special in the kitchen, and this is not a food blog.. However what I am is lazy, and hungry. I usually end up putting off eating in favor of the internet and only get off the computer when I’m starving.

Enter lazy spaghetti. Its a quick, healthy and (somewhat) eco-friendly meal.

Most people cook spaghetti in a big pot with lots of extra water, and then dump it all down the drain after. Forget that! Get a frying pan, wide and deep works best (mine is from ikea $20) and fill the bottom with about an inch of water (or about half full). Then crank the stove to max, and add spaghetti, I used that “smart pasta” because the boyfriend doesn’t like whole wheat, so I sneak it in. (Heh heh heh) once the water is boiling and the pasta is on start chopping up your carrots. (I used 2 small ones- 1/person) By the time your finished chopping the carrots the pasta should just be starting to get soft, then you can add your carrots. Let that boil together while you chop up the spinach and get the corn, you can really subsitute any vegetables in that you want, I just used what I had in the fridge.

Keep the stove on max, to boil off the water and to make it cook faster because I’m very impatient. I added “italian herbs blend” to the water while the carrots and spaghetti were simmering. One they are nearly cooked and the water is getting closer to boiling off, add the corn and the chopped spinach, stirring constantly to avoid sticking and/or burning.

Once the spinach looks cooked (it won’t take long) then add a tablespoon of basil pesto and some salt and pepper.

Total prep and cook time was just under 15 minutes. I served mine over some fresh spinach and it was mmmDelish!