Thursday, April 29, 2010

Well, that was lame.

Our cheap date? Kind of a bust.

I mean, we did still go on a yoga-dinner date. The yoga (BodyFlow) was good, as usual, even better than usual because it wasn't as crowded as it can be, and we did the new release class, which is killer on the abs and legs (love it).

When we got to Milestones at 9:15 pm (thinking that surely the dinner rush would have died down), they told us it would be an hour and a half wait to be seated. I'm not sure who waits until 11:45 to eat (especially when the restaurant closes at midnight!). No, thanks. I had, by the way, called last week to make a reservation, but was told they weren't taking reservations for the date night (they did last time). Booooo.

So we drove back to the mall where the gym is, and ended up having dinner at the Pickle Barrel. And it was about 20% bad and 80% mediocre. The restaurant was very quiet, with only a few other diners inside. We stood at the entrance for about 10 minutes before the host noticed we were there. Meanwhile, we examined the decor and determined the theme was "the 80's threw up all over rustic Italy".

We hadn't eaten there before. I was happy to see lots of vegetarian options on the menu. I opted for a roasted veggie and smoked gouda wrap, with fries instead of a salad (lettuce doesn't sit well with me). I asked for couscous (offered with their burgers) instead, but they said no. Serious loss of points for not trying to work with customer needs. It's not like the kitchen was too busy for custom orders. And it's not like I wouldn't have paid a little more if necessary.

The wrap was decent - but it had lettuce in it. So I was picking out soggy lettuce throughout. And the fries on my plate and my husband's were cold. We had matcha green tea smoothies, which were okay.

It was really nice to spend a night out with my husband, but both of us agreed, we won't be returning to that restaurant in the future!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I'm a cheap date (and a little heads up)

I am. I'm a cheap date. If by cheap, you mean frugal. So tonight is date night, because Milestones is having a great deal for today only - when you get an appetizer and/or meal for yourself, your date's app and/or meal is free! Awesome. We're there. (After a good BodyFlow session at the gym, that is.) So - what are you waiting for? Make a date. Hire a sitter. Get out and have a nice meal and enjoy some quality time with your partner :) No, it's not a sponsored post or anything... just a great deal I think you should take advantage of! I know I am!

AND I am very excited to tell you that I will have another review and giveaway up soon. All this body busting at the gym has me a little desperate for some new workout clothes. I was super lucky and recently won a gift certificate to over at Trying to Stay Calm. I'll let you know what I got, and you'll have a chance to win a gift certificate of your own - coming soon!

Monday, April 26, 2010

A funk.

I'm been in a bit of a funk lately. Not eating too well, although I have been going to the gym with my husband three to four times a week (by the way, if you do those BodyAttack classes at your gym, you have my utmost admiration... we've done two and they are killer!).

Today, honestly, I ate a lot of junk food interspersed with some fruit and yogourt. Okay, we did have a Rice Bowl last night which was relatively healthy, but heavy on the peanut sauce and avocado (and I ate the whole bowl, which I don't need to do). Sometimes when I'm feeling sorry for myself I eat (I'm not alone there, right) - and I know I'm doing it - but it's hard not to. I try to make good choices when I catch myself doing that, like having a glass of water instead, or choosing grapes instead of chips, but of course that doesn't always happen. I know it's just a phase, but I think I need a little kick start to get myself off this track. Any ideas?

We are having a patio put in next week (finally!), and my husband has designed a set of pergolas that he's going to build (probably with my help). He's really great at figuring things out and making plans, so that when it comes time to build things there's no guesswork and it's pretty straightforward. I can not wait until we can use our backyard more, and put up the pretty hammock we bought on our weddingmoon in Mexico!

I only wish our neighbours weren't so noisy - and meaty. Their kids throw things over the fence into our yard (this morning it was toys and garbage), and they're always out there barbequing. I know, it's summer, it's their yard... but the smell fills up our yard and as a vegetarian it really grosses me out. Occasionally they'll do fish, and I'm gagging and running inside. And they play their music outside, which I just think is rude. It makes it impossible to enjoy the nice weather, birdsong, and some peace and quiet in our own yard when Shania Twain is blasting. Not nice.

I also have to get on planning out the gardens that will surround the new patio. I know it's hard to picture, but imagine this - we have a lot that is half a storey higher at the front than the back, and it's on an inside corner, but not right on the corner - so it's like a rectangle plus a triangle in shape. The vegetable beds are on the square side behind the house, and the patio is going into the triangle part. A new shed (another husband design and build) is going in between.

We have bought a compact Stella cherry that will go in at the top of the hill, and we are also trying to pick out a big(ish)tree for some shade. We wandered five nurseries on Sunday trying to find the perfect tree. It's hard, because we want something tall (upwards of 40'), but relatively narrow (up to 30' in spread). It can't be poisonous, ugly, or too columnar. I like locusts (small leaves, no raking, dappled light!), but my husband doesn't. He likes maples but I don't (for this yard - it's too small for beautiful big ones, the columnar varietals are too tall and skinny, and I don't like raking leaves). We also have clay soil to deal with. Anyway. It's an ongoing thing.

I'm feeling pretty drained (just fatigue - or maybe my poor food choices today!), but I have a class to teach tonight. If you have the night off and you're wondering what to do with yourself, take a few minutes and enter the two giveaways I'm hosting! Enter here for some lovely organic soap (we're using it now and it smells so herbal/spicy and good) plus non-toxic nailpolish from EcoMom, and head here for the new giveaway for Tropical Traditions organic coconut peanut butter (yum).

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tropical Traditions Organic Coconut Peanut Butter Review & Giveaway!

***Giveaway Closed***
The lucky winner is Pam!

All of the products from Tropical Traditions that I have tried - the Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, the Organic Whole Golden Flax Seed, and now the Organic Coconut Peanut Butter - have been really fresh and yummy.

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to try out the Organic Coconut Peanut Butter. Doesn't it just sound delicious? It is! I do like to use it as an ingredient rather than straight, mainly because I would find it hard to stop eating it (it really melts in your mouth and is sooo good) and it is pretty high in calories. Compared to the all-natural, just peanuts peanut butter that we eat, it has a lot more calories (284 compared to 90 in 1 tbsp) and a lot more saturated fat (5.4 grams compared to 1.5 grams in a tbsp). So for us it is a treat rather than an everyday kind of food. The flavour is perfect in my favourite Thai dishes as well as in baked goods, and a little bit is really enough to add the rich taste of coconut.

I actually used this tonight, substituting it for a third of the peanut butter in the Rice Bowl of Deliciousness - wonderful! If you've been reading along, you'll know I used it in my variation on Pad Thai as well!

I also have made granola with the Coconut Peanut Butter - which was also really tasty, but left something to be desired in the consistency department, being neither cereal nor bars (I will have to work on that recipe a bit more before I share it!).

Tropical Traditions has a Referral Program, so if you place an order with them as a first-time customer, please select “Referred by a friend” and in the box that says “How did you hear of us?” enter my sponsor ID number 5687267. By telling Tropical Traditions that I referred you, you will receive a free copy of the book Virgin Coconut Oil: How it has changed people’s lives and how it can change yours! by Brian and Marianita Shilhavy with your first order! This book is filled with testimonies and research showing how healthy coconut oil is, and it also includes over 85 recipes showing how one can incorporate coconut into their diet. There are also lots of recipes online here!

As promised - one of my lucky readers is going to get to try the Tropical Traditions Organic Coconut Peanut Butter! I am really happy to have this in my pantry and I hope you will be too!

The giveaway: A 16 oz. jar of Tropical Traditions Organic Coconut Peanut Butter

How to enter: Head over to Tropical Traditions and let me know one other thing you'd like to try, OR one thing that you learned there. Make sure I've got a way to contact you if you're the winner!

Extra entries (please leave an extra comment for each. If you already do any of these things, leave the comment - you do get the entry for it!):
  • Subscribe via email to the Tropical Traditions newsletter
  • Become a fan of Tropical Traditions' Facebook page (click right at the bottom of their main page; leave your first name and last initial for verification please :) )
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  • Tweet about this giveaway for ONE entry, this is not a daily! You can use this if you like:
    Yum! Win Coconut Peanut Butter from @TropTraditions at Emily's Latest @emilyisland US/CAN 5/10
  • Follow my blog (publicly) – 2 entries, leave 2 comments
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I will be verifying comments so please actually do the things you say you do ☺

Please be sure to include your email address if it’s not public in your blogger profile! Anonymous comments without a way to contact you will be rejected. Canadian or US mailing addresses only, please. Giveaway ends May 10th at 11:59 EST. A winner will be drawn the next day, announced here, in a separate post and emailed!

Prize will be shipped by sponsor. Note for Canadian entrants: Tropical Traditions is not responsible for customs or duties that Canada may charge if you decide to participate in this Tropical Traditions sponsored blog giveaway. (FYI - it's unlikely to have a charge, being well under the $60 that incurs duty charges! There was no extra charge on my jar, which came to Canada quickly and packaged well!)

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.