Friday, August 30, 2013

It is finally Friday! A long weekend awaits us here in Canada, and I couldn't be more happier! I am in need of a long weekend! So, to help kick-start this weekend, I have a couple videos for you all! Have a great weekend!

Happy Blogiversary To Me!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Today Taste of August turns ONE!
One year ago today, I decided to venture into the land of blogging and start this little blog of mine! Over the past year, I have met so many wonderful bloggers, learned so many things, and discovered a few talents I never thought I had (such as web maintenance, development, etc!).

A few things I did this past year and shared with you all....

Revealed my final basement transformation

Renovated my bathroom

Gave you a peek inside my stockpile (and confessed I am a couponer!)

Completed the Insanity workout program (and officially lost 20 pounds since starting my pre-wedding workout!)

And shared a few (okay...over 60!) recipes I fell in love with!

I just want to say a big THANK YOU for reading my blog, sharing your thoughts through comments, your lovely emails, and for helping me grow both as a blogger and as a person!

Book Review - The Defining Decade

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hello all! I have been spending a little bit of my summer doing some reading. While I never seem to find the time to read during the summer months, I finally decided to sit my butt down on my cozy couch at nights and curl up to some nice and enjoyable reads. One book in particular that I have been reading is "The Defining Decade: Why your twenties matter - and how to make the most of them now". This book spoke to me in ways I don't think many adults could. It told me that it was okay to be where I am in my life now, that it isn't me or my ever-growing work skills or contract jobs that is keeping me where I am, that I am not the only one that is going through it, and that it is all perfectly okay to feel the way I am feeling. If you are a twentysomething and find yourself in a quarter-life crisis, feeling like you are stuck right where you are, then this book is for you!
I landed a job in my field of study during my first year of graduate studies. At that time, I felt great to have been able to apply my knowledge while gaining work experience. This was a contract job and I knew that it wasn't going to last. But I still had high hopes that once my employer saw my collection of skills and my grad research thesis, they will for sure hire me full-time. After more than three and a half years of contract work, applying for many jobs and attending interviews with no job offers, I am still where I was. Before reading this book, I came to a point where I felt hopeless. I felt like my work experience combined with a Bachelor's and a Master's degree was worthless, like it didn't matter to employers. After my last interview with a great company but no job offer, I wanted to email them and ask what they were looking for exactly! I checked off everything they had asked for on their application and the interview was great. What was I missing!? I felt like I was behind, like everyone was moving in the fast lane while leaving their dust behind with me. After buying this book last month and reading it, I feel like what I am doing now is laying a good foundation for my future. I am not wasting my twenties working these contract jobs, working at underemployment type jobs, or partying every night. While I would like to be further both family- and career-wise than where I am currently, I am taking each day as a brick towards building my foundation.
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In her book, Dr. Meg Jay talks about the twentysomething years as being the foundation to your years ahead. Many times, she mentions that these years are not for wasting your time thinking that it will all fall into place once you hit 30, which is the perceived notion these days. Numerous times I hear people my age say "I will have my life figured out when I'm 30", "these are the best years of your life", and so on. However, Dr. Jay believes that these are the most important years.

Her book is organized into three sections: Work, Love, and The Brain and the Body. The chapters in all three sections use current psychological research, and examples from both her own twentysomething years as well as her clients to draw insight on current issues among twenty- and even thirtysomethings. The statement "30 is the new 20" is becoming a norm - work, relationships, and family are happening later than what our parent's experienced in their twenties. In this book, Dr. Jay tries to help twentysomethings, like myself, reclaim their twentysomething years. That these are not years meant to be wasted but rather spent creating a foundation for the rest of our lives.

Here is a snippet of what she talks about in her book!

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts?

This was not a sponsored post. I am in no way affiliated with Dr. Meg Jay or her book. I just wanted to share this book review with all my 20 and 30 something readers!

Guest Post - Meet Emily!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Hello hello! Welcome to this beautiful Monday; the last Monday of August 2013. Make sure to do something memorable today! Maybe one of those can be reading a guest post for today from Emily! She is a true sweetheart and I am so happy I have gotten to know her these past couple of months! Between our emails and reading her blog posts, I found out we have quite a few things in common (one of them is baking cookies...recipe to follow!). So go ahead and say hello to Emily!

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Hello wonderful Taste of August readers!  My name is Emily and I blog over at Just the Stew of Us. First, let me say Happy Blogiversary to Jovana because that is a fantastic accomplishment in the blog world.  As a new blogger myself, I definitely think it is reason to celebrate.  Secondly, it is so nice of Jovana to ask me to guest post.  This is actually my first guest post ever so bear with me!  Kidding, kidding.Onward.

Here are few little tidbits about myself and my wee little blog:

I am currently living in San Diego with my husband who is a helicopter in the Navy and our German Shepherd pup, Bruce.  Bruce had a floppy ear for the longest time so here is a little throwback to those early days in his young pup life.

We are total foodies and make it a point to try a different restaurant every time we go out to eat.  Whether it be a hole-in-the-wall restaurant or a nicer place, we love trying new food.  Speaking of food, below is a recipe for the most delicious chocolate chip cookies on this planet.  Sometimes you just need a good chocolate chip cookie, ya know?  I found the recipe last year on here and have not used another one since.  I’ve actually eaten two while typing this if that’s any indication.  Brain food, right?

1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup shortening (Crisco sticks works best)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 scant teaspoon salt
lotsa chocolate chips (upwards of two cups! do it!)
flaky sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cream together butter, shortening, sugars, vanilla and egg until fluffy
Add sifted dry ingredients (minus sea salt) and mix till combined
Fold in chocolate chips and drop by spoon onto greased cookie sheet
Sprinkle with sea salt before baking
Bake at 350 for 6-10 minutes (I usually pull them out at about 7:30)

Enjoy!  Thanks again to Jovana for letting me take over her blog for the day!

10 Easy Egg Breakfast Ideas

Friday, August 23, 2013

Everyone says breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it is! Are you getting the nutrients you need for the day from your breakfast dish? Here are some easy and tasty breakfast ideas to help make breakfast a little more hearty! Some of these you can even prepare the night before and just re-heat or bake in the morning.

Dill Feta Scramble

Hate Letter Against Autistic Son - In The News

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

While this has been news here in Canada for the past couple of days, I just read about it this morning and thought I would lightly share my thoughts. For those who have not heard of the news, an anonymous letter was sent to a family of a 13-year-old autistic boy near Oshawa, Ontario. The letter writes:
See a larger image here
While I am no mother nor can I relate, this just breaks my heart to think that one mother would write such horrible and disgusting things to another mother. It makes me think what kind of world we live in. What horrible, inhumane person would dare write such hatred words to anyone? What are we ultimately teaching our children? We go against bullying in schools, teach our kids to love and respect one another. Yet it is the grown-ups, the "mature" adults that children look up to and model after that seem to need some schooling. I always see parents setting such horrible examples for their children. Many times I think of what these kids will bring to our future society, what they will be teaching our grand kids. Aside from the words and hatred this mother expresses, the last paragraph really sent chills down my spine. How can anyone tell a mother to "euthanize" their child? This left me just speechless.

I am sure you will all have something to say about this letter, and my opinions might mirror yours. So I will keep this post short and to the point: any person who calls themselves a mother should never ever say these sickening words to another mother, especially not to a child. 

What are your thoughts?

Spicy Green Beans and Spinach Toss

This dish is so yummy and nutritious to eat either as a main dish for lunch or as a side dish to your meats or pastas. With green beans still in season, this will surely be a hit to all your barbecue dinners. I will definitely be including this dish for future barbecues to come. I love how bright green the presentation is of the beans and spinach, with a subtle tone of the mushrooms, Parmesan cheese and chili flakes. I am sure everyone at your dinner table will be impressed when you bring this out! Enjoy!

Spicy Green Beans and Spinach Toss
Prep time: 10 min        Cook Time: 10 min           Yield: 2-4 servings

- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced thick
- 1 lb green beans, ends trimmed and cut into thirds
- 1 tsp Herbe de Provence
- 1 bunch spinach, rinsed
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

1. Warm oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add mushrooms, green beans and Herbe de Provence. Cook until beans are almost tender.
2. Add spinach and cook until spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes. Add chili flakes and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Pour into serving dish. Garnish with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

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Where I link up my posts!

Guest Post - Meet Charity!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hello all! As I continue to grow and expand my blog, I am also coming across new blogs and meeting new friends along the way. There are some amazing girls that I have met through blogging, and I cherish our friendships! I love reading about their lives and getting to know them more and more through their blog posts. Today I would like to introduce you to a sweet gal I recently met! I love her blog posts as she always speaks from the heart! Here is Charity from The Word of A Nerd!

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Hello lovely Taste of August Readers! My name is Charity and I blog over at The Word of A Nerd. I am delighted to be sharing here in Jovana's space because she's a total sweetheart - which I am sure you already know. Thanks for having me girl! In lieu of her Blogiversary Jovana has asked me to share how I started blogging and one of my favorite recipes. So here we go!

November of 2012 I began a blogging challenge with a few friends of mine for one month. During that time we answered questions in regards to our faith. When the 30 days was over I stopped blogging and you know what? I got emails from a few people telling me that they missed my posting and I honestly missed blogging too. So in December 2012 I decided that I would give blogging a third and final chance - I haven't looked back since. My blogging journey could not have come at a better time as I was in the middle of a huge transition, I had moved from Florida to New York City. I left my friends, family, church and business all behind. Essentially I was starting my life from scratch and my blog was a place to put down all the stuff that was in my head.

On my blog I share a lot about my faith. I am not a bible beater but I really love Jesus and I make sure that's known in my space - because it's a huge part of who I am.

I have been married for 8 years to my awesome husband whom I affectionately call Mr.FixIt. We've been married since I was 18 and he was....older. You can read more about how we met here.

I try my best to be honest with my readers by sharing both the joys and the trials in my life. Recently I shared about my hearts deepest desire and the outpouring of support was more than I could have ever dreamed of.

Since I'm a part-time homemaker I share a lot of tips about making my home greener and cleaner all while saving money. Every now and again I also share awesome DIY tips like the one pictured below.

Each week on my blog I share wonderful vegan or not recipes. It was really hard choosing one of my favorite recipes but this Chubby Chocolate Chip Cookie is definitely in the top five. Not only is it super easy and fast to make it is seriously thee most delicious cookie I have ever tasted and I make them at least once a week.

My lifestyle blog serves as a catch all for my adventures as a Christian Wife, a City Dweller, a Traveler of Time, and a self proclaimed Vegan baker/chef. I hope you will stop by to ride the waves of life with me, as I eat, pray, and love.

GIR Spatula {Review + Giveaway}

Thursday, August 15, 2013

I love cooking and baking, as you all probably know. I also love a good set of tools and gadgets in the kitchen to help me make delicious meals. There is nothing worse than not having what you need, or at least having a poor quality tool, when you are working in the kitchen. It goes along with other things in life - you need a pencil when doing math homework, a paint brush when painting, and scissors when cutting. Imagine having a dull pair of scissors to cut your paper, or a small brush to paint a large wall. So what is that one gadget in the kitchen that I probably cannot live without? A spatula! Without a spatula, you cannot spoon out yummy chocolate cake or creamy Alfredo sauce. After receiving a spatula for review from Get It Right company, I can really see why their company name is what it is!

One thing that I absolutely love about this spatula is the fact that it is made with a single piece of high grade, heavy-duty silicone rubber. This means you can use it in hot foods to mix, stir and saute. It is heat-resistant to 464F, so it makes chocolate melting so much simpler! I used to use a wooden spoon for melting chocolate, for example, but the shape of a wooden spoon always restricted me from folding in the melted chocolate and butter from the edges of the bowl.
The spatula is also flexible but firm. While I was making my banana bread, which is a thicker consistency than the brownie batter pictured, I was able to completely scrape down the sides of the bowl and spoon into the prepared baking dish. 

I also tried it out with the potatoes that I fry in a pan on the stove. My wooden spatula always turned my potatoes mushy, and my previous spatula was too flimsy to even stir the potatoes. I am happy to say that I was able to serve actual potato cubes not "mashed" potatoes for dinner!

I would like to introduce you to my (former) spatula. It is a two-piece spatula with a sturdy wooden handle and a silicone head. It was good, at one point in my life though. After a few times in thick batters, the head kept coming off. Also, it is so flimsy that it wasn't able to hold a heavy batter.
And another amazing benefit to the spatula? The range of colours they come in - 11 bright and beautiful colours! They sent me the lavender one, which fits perfectly with the colour theme of my blog! I now always look for the lavender spatula when reaching in the drawer! It just makes me super happy!

Would you like to have your own GIR Spatula? Well, a lucky Taste of August reader is going to win one of these amazing spatulas! Just fill in your info into the Rafflecopter below and cross your fingers!

Giveaway will run from today, August 15th  until Thursday, August 22nd. Open to Canadian and US residents only. Winning entry will be verified so please, play nice :) Good luck all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mediterranean Style Chicken with Summer Grilled Veggies - Guest Post

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hi friends! Nothing says fresh to me than some fresh summer veggies grilled on the barbecue with some juicy seasoned chicken. I always try to incorporate veggies when I grill up anything on the barbecue. This Mediterranean Style Chicken with Summer Grilled Veggies is our favourite go-to recipe during the summer months. It is healthy, easy and delicious! Today I am sharing this recipe over at The Best Blog Recipes, so make sure to stop on by Shauna's blog and check it out!

Guest Post - Meet Chelsea!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Happy Monday all! Hope you all had a great weekend! Mine was busy with a nice girl's night dinner on Saturday, which I will share the details with you later this week. August is the month I started this blog of mine. And in honour of my blogiversary, I will be featuring a few great bloggers and giving you all a chance to get to know them! Today I would love to introduce you to a sweetheart I met a few months ago and really got to know! Chelsea from Anchors Aweigh. Take it away Chelsea!

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Hello fabulous Taste of August readers! My name is Chelsea, and I blog over at Anchors Aweigh. I was so excited when Jovana asked me to guest post because, well, I love her blog and that girl is the sweetest. In honor of her one year blogiversary coming up (whoop whoop!), I thought I would share a little about my blog, why I started blogging, and of course my favorite recipe ;).

Hi, I'm Chelsea!

My husband is a Naval aviator, and we are loving this crazy Navy life that always seems to keep us on our toes. I started blogging to document everything I didn't want to forget. Life moves so quickly and everything ends up being a blur at the end, so I love blogging about our adventures, faith, DIY projects, yummy recipes, and of course our pup Jenny.

A Few Fun Facts:

My husband and I have been married 2 years, and I have blogged about every detail of our wedding.

I have an identical twin sister, and we switched places twice in high school. You can read all about that here. It was an experience, that's for sure! Let's just say she was meant to run track, I was meant to play tennis, and not the other way around. We have different hair now, but the face is still pretty similar!

Jenny is our rescue pup and she lights up our lives! You can read more about the dog behind the blog here. She has a rough life that includes sleeping 17 hours a day, eating peanut butter, and chasing cats.

And as promised, my favorite recipe I have blogged about...Nutella Banana Bread! The name really does say it all, doesn't it? Go make a batch right now! You won't be disappointed :)

 I'd love for you to stop by Anchors Aweigh and say hello! Thank you Jovana for letting me take over your wonderful blog for the day!


Camping 2013

Friday, August 9, 2013

This summer we went on two different camping trips in two different parks. I finally downloaded all the pictures from the camera to my computer. I have a tendency of keeping photos on my computer for a while until I literally have to force myself to transfer to the computer (laziness, procrastination, call it whatever you want!). I have combined the two camping trips into one. Both were super fun and super exciting!

The first trip we went to was at Long Point Provincial Park. On our first night we ended up experimenting with a neat feature our friend's camera had using our flashlights. They turned out very funky!

The park was amazing. The beach was so clean and just down the road from our campsite, and the campsite was very nice.

Even our fur-baby loved camping! He was all for high-fives!

We played pictionary to pass the time...

...and walked the beach trail both day and night. The starry night sky was just breathtaking; however I could not take a picture of it! It was like being in those domes with the stars projected on the ceiling. Just magnificent!

We stayed only three days, two nights. We were all sad to leave, even Sparky!

This past weekend, we visited Craigleith Provincial Park located right on the Georgian Bay.

The park is right across from Blue Mountain, an alpine ski resort in Ontario. The views driving in the area were just spectacular.

Many of the campsites are so close to the road that the noise of the cars was  sometimes too loud. But we were closer to the Georgian Bay shore that the waves overpowered the noise from the fast-traveling cars. We were just steps away from the beautiful scenic view of the shale bedrock along the shore and the clear waters of Georgian Bay.

The sunset made it that much scenic and breathtaking!

We decided to drive up Blue Mountain and hike atop the 420 metre scenic view. Such a beautiful view of the entire city and bay!

We made some yummy food on the barbecue! Some traditional European hamburgers, stuffed tomato and cheese portobello mushrooms, spicy chicken shish kabobs, baked potatoes, and corn-on-the-cob (separate nights, not all in one day!!).

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