Healthy Fast Food – Hummus and Avocado on toast

One of my favourite foods on the planet is definitely the humble avocado. It’s full of the good kind of fats that we actually want and need to eat (it helps with the good cholesterol), it has a ton of healthy fiber, and a decent amount of potassium, folate, and vitamins. On top of that, they’re really tasty! I sometimes have great intentions of doing fun things with my avocados like turning them into guacamole, adding them to meals, or baking an egg in them, but honestly I almost always cut them in half, sprinkle them with seasonings and oil, and eat them with a spoon.

However, if you’re looking for a healthy “fast food” snack or even a savory breakfast, this is quick and easy and it pairs deliciously with one of my other favourite foods – hummus!

Avocado and Hummus Toast

Avocado and Hummus Toast

It’s so simple it’s almost silly to call this a recipe, however, here’s all you need:

  • Two pieces of toast (you can use gluten-free bread if that’s your thing, I’m just using whole wheat)
  • About 1 tablespoon of hummus for each slice (I probably used a touch more, I love hummus!)
  • 1 avocado
  • Optional: Salt, pepper, oil

After toasting the bread, just spread some hummus on each slice. Cut your avocado in half, remove the pit, then slice and scoop it right out of the skin and onto your toast. I topped mine with a tiny sprinkle of salt (I’ve drastically cut back my salt intake, a tale for another day), a good shake of black pepper, and I have a tasty olive oil that’s been infused with basil, so I squirt that on as well. It’s completely up to you if you want to use these toppings or not, and feel free to use other spices too.

Before eating make you hold onto your eyeballs because they’ll be rolling back in your head – it’s THAT GOOD.

I know, there’s not much to it and so it seems that it shouldn’t be that exciting but it really is. It makes a great snack in the evening, much healthier than cookies or chips. It’s also a perfect breakfast because both the avocado and the hummus have protein so it will sustain you for quite awhile without being too heavy. I was home sick for two days and I ate this both days because it was easy on my tummy while still being really nourishing.

And did I mention that it’s ridiculously DELICIOUS?

Because it is. Let me know if you try it!

Meditation to help you fall asleep (when your brain won’t stop)

I want to preface this with my official disclaimer: For the most part I am an excellent sleeper. I’m not very good about actually getting myself into bed; I’m usually up until at least midnight on work nights and when the weekend hits? Well, weekends are when I just might be up until 3 or 4 am for whatever reason. I’m just a night owl, and it’s pretty difficult for me to change myself into an early to bed, early to rise girl (I’m a late to bed, early to drag my sorry self off my mattress person).

However, once I finally manage to get myself into my bed I’m pretty much out like a light. I’ve always joked that if George needs to tell me something important and needs to have a discussion then it needs to be started before my head hits the pillow or there’s a good chance that it’s not going to happen. It’s not too often that insomnia strikes and keeps me tossing and turning. It DOES happen though.

Even more likely, I’ll fall asleep quickly but then I’ll wake up in the wee hours to use the washroom (I really should stop drinking so much water right before bed), and in the time it takes me to walk there and back my brain wakes up enough to tell me all the things I need to worry about. That’s when I find myself trying not to think about how little time I have left before I need to get up for the day and start telling myself to stop stressing over things that can’t be resolved at 4 am.

You’ve probably experienced it too. And you’ve probably tried really hard to stop over thinking anxieties and worries. It doesn’t usually work. The more you try to stop your brain, the harder it churns and the less likely you are to get the rest you so desperately need. When this happens to me, that’s exactly when I turn to this super easy and effective meditation.

Most nights when I have to use it, I’ll find myself not even making it all the way to the end because I just drift off half way through. And if that’s what happens to you, that’s absolutely okay. The goal is not to finish the meditation, the goal is to relax that tense part of your brain so you can sleep.

It’s definitely a much better way to spend your night than beating your fists on the mattress, wishing for sleep. Let me know if you try it!

Fast & Easy Baked Salmon

I love salmon. It’s so versatile and delicious and as long as it’s caught wild as opposed to factory farmed it’s a super healthy fish too. It’s packed full of omega-3 fatty acids which is great for your heart. And did I mention delicious? Because it is.

Strangely though, as much as I love it and as frequently as I’ve ordered it or inhaled it when I’m out somewhere, I’ve never actually made salmon for myself. I don’t really know why. I guess part of it was that George isn’t a salmon fan and it seemed silly to buy something that we won’t enjoy as a family (although Hayley does love it too!) One night he was going to be out playing at a gig so on a whim I told him to grab me a piece of salmon for my supper. I just had to figure out what to do with it. It ended up being super easy and I’ve made it a couple of times now – so yummy!

salmon

Since it’s baked in the oven it’s healthier than battering and deep frying other fish for fish and chips. It’s also so fast and simple that it was absolutely no big deal to make it after getting home from a busy day at work.

Here’s the easiest way to make a delicious salmon dinner for yourself.

  • One large piece of salmon, more if you’re feeding several people
  • Oil
  • Seasoning that you like; I used Greek seasoning, a yummy blend that we bought recently, however you could use whatever flavouring you enjoy

Yes, that’s really all there is to this! And you don’t need more, the salmon has such an incredible flavour on its own that it doesn’t require a lot to pep it up.

Putting it together is ridiculously simple. First, DO NOT PREHEAT YOUR OVEN. Don’t. Take a baking sheet and place your salmon skin side up on it. Drizzle some oil over the skin and brush evenly to help reduce sticking.*

Flip the salmon over and drizzle a little bit of oil on top and brush that in too. Sprinkle a good amount of your chosen seasoning all over. I used about two tablespoons of my Greek seasoning.

Put the baking sheet into the cold oven, then immediately turn it up to 400 degrees. Bake about 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness.

Serve immediately with your sides of choice. I prefer it nice and hot but Hayley was more than happy to take leftovers cold for lunch the next day both times.

It tastes so amazing that I couldn’t stop telling myself how amazing it was for HOURS.

Are you a salmon person? If so, please share your favourite recipes in the comments! As much as I enjoyed this I’m always looking for new ideas!

Being thankful

I gave a lot of thought to gratitude and being thankful this week because Monday was Thanksgiving (since Canadians get Thanksgiving a month earlier than Americans and I love turkey, I like to celebrate both months!). There are a lot of opinions about what the holiday is meant to be, but I know what it means to me.

I know some people get stressed out about the family get-togethers and the meal preparation but I don’t let it get to me. We don’t really do be family meals now anyway since we moved away from “home” so our Thanksgiving (and Christmas, and Easter) dinners are pretty much just the four of us. That takes a lot of strain and pressure off.

We divide up the food duties too. George handles the turkey as well as the black eyed peas & rice. I do all the other sides. It works well and we get the meal on the table quite easily.

So that leaves a whole lot of time for being thankful. As I said in a recent blog post, I find my life increases in joy and decreases in anxiety when I take the time to show some gratitude. It was working so well that I decided to keep a notebook with a minimum of three things I’m grateful for every day.

Notebook full of joy

Notebook full of joy

I’ve missed a couple of days but overall I’m doing well with consistently jotting things down and I find it helps a lot to make myself sit down and think of things that were wonderful that day. It doesn’t matter whether it’s something big (today, for instance, I’m grateful to have a day off from work to be home for George’s birthday) or whether it’s something small (reading my book outside in the sun). As long as it’s something that made me smile, it’s worthy of my gratitude.

notebook2

Because of this new habit I’m finding it’s harder to hold on to the unpleasant or negative things that may crop up during the day. I’m pushing myself to see the positive every single day and it changes my whole outlook.

And speaking of grateful, right now I’m grateful that I get to announce a winner for my Simply Straws giveaway from last week!

Congratulations to Randi! Randi said she would like to use her straws to drink her Pepsi and that she loved that the straws are easy to clean. Yay! Randi, please email your mailing address to heysherry@justsherry.com and I’ll pass it along to the good people at Simply Straws.

Tell me! Do you keep a gratitude journal? Do you use a pre-made journal or a notebook like mine? How has it changed the way you look at the world around you?

Simply Straws = I will never buy plastic straws again! (Giveaway)

I have two kids who love to drink anything and everything out of straws. The thing is, straws are great for avoiding stains on your teeth and they’re fun, but I hate constantly throwing out the flimsy disposable straws (or worse, finding them strewn randomly around the house).

Even the washable plastic straws aren’t much better. Yes, they cut down on waste and that also means they’re a better value than a one-time use straw, but I always found they had a weird plastic taste. More disturbing than that is that if I drink something strong in flavour, that straw just might still taste that way next time since it gets right into the plastic. As someone who doesn’t have a dishwasher, they’re also really tough to clean.

I started hearing about Simply Straws from friends and how better their glass straws were than the typical plastic ones (disposable or otherwise). I was intrigued so I checked them out and really liked what I saw. I contacted the company to find out more about what the buzz was all about.

Let’s just say I’m hooked!

Just chilllin' and sippin' on some juice

Just chilllin’ and sippin’ on some juice

Because the straws are glass, they don’t taste like funky chemical-laden plastic. That means they don’t affect the flavours of my drink any more than the glass itself does. I really REALLY like that. As a bonus, they’re easy to clean since they come with a little scrubbing brush similar to what you probably used to clean your test tubes after Chemistry experiments in high school. I love that they’re so easy to clean! Not even thick smoothies will get trapped inside (eww) to taint your next drink, thank God.

Carrot-apple-celery-ginger juice with my beautiful green straw

Carrot-apple-celery-ginger juice with my beautiful green straw

Now obviously it’s great that I love the straws (I’ve used them for water, for my homemade carrot-apple-celery-ginger juice, and for a smoothie), but who cares? We all know that kids are the ones who are really drawn to sipping everything through a straw. So what do the tough critics say?

Hayley with her straw

Hayley with her straw

Well they thought they were pretty damn cool.

Breanna with her straw

Breanna with her straw

I wouldn’t recommend these for very young children since they ARE made of glass, which means they’re obviously breakable. However my two, at 11 and almost-eight, were fine with them. They were also big fans of the fun, bright colours.

With the carrying case, I found that it’s easy to carry my Simply Straws with me to work, and the cleaning brushes fit right inside so I can clean them right away with no problems. I know I keep talking about how easy they are to clean but honestly. Do you know how many plastic swirly-bendy novelty straws I have hidden in the back of the cupboard just because they’re too much of a PITA to bother with? Spoiler: TOO MANY.

So you know my kids love them and you know I love them. I’m wondering if you’d like to love them too. It’s time for a GIVEAWAY!

giveaway

If you’d like a chance to win your very own goodie pack of Simply Straws all you need to do is leave a comment below telling me your favourite drink to sip through a straw. That’s it, do that and you’re in to win!

However, if you’d like a chance to win extra entries, you will get one extra entry for each of the following:

  • Tweet this! (click to tweet it automatically) Plastic is so yesterday! Win glass straws from @simplystraws http://bit.ly/sherrystraws
  • Join my newsletter to keep up to date on what’s going on and for exclusive material (you’ll also get a free downloadable tip sheet, woohoo) – sign up here.
  • Like my page on Facebook!
  • Remember those last three are totally optional (tell me which ones you’ve done in your comment along with the drink) but if you want to win you MUST leave a comment! Be sure to use a valid email address so I can get in touch if you win.

    Contest remains open until 11:59 pm Wednesday October 16th, winner will be announced Thursday. Please note that due to shipping, this contest is only open to Canadian and U.S. residents.

    Hurry up and enter!

    ***Disclaimer: Simply Straws provided me with samples for review and for giveaway. However, all opinions expressed are my own.***