Foodie February! COSTCO Favorites.

Hello everyone,

Welcome back to Foodie February! Today I will be sharing with you my Costco favorites with you, I love going to Costco because you can get everything in bulk. Some items are worth buying, while others not so much. So today I will introduce my favorites, unfortunately, some items were discontinued but some of my other favorites are still in stock.

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Let’s begin and enjoy!

 

 

If you need to munch one something sweets and you don’t want to be unhealthy, these dried figs are a great choice. They chewy and delicious.
I love putting walnuts in my salads, granola and smoothie bowls. I cannot recall the price but I think it better to buy this from Costco rather than Bulk Barn.
I love Caesar salads, and of course, croutons are essential. I have discovered that buying a regular bag from the grocery store is not worth it because the bag is half full. Buying a package from Costco is more cost efficient.
I don’t always have time to boil and mash potatoes, so buying a package of these saves me a lot of time.
Annie’s macaroni and cheese, and their crackers are divine. I get a pack of these mac n’ cheese for days when I don’t feel like cooking and I need something quick and easy.
I love quinoa, it is a healthier alternative to rice. This costs around $20 but it is worth it because it lasts me for a long time. 
This is my favorite brand of healthy pasta, regular pasta makes me feel very bloated and sick. So I’ve switched to this one made out of chia, quinoa, and amaranth. It is delicious and even better.
I’m not much a soup lover, but this soup is delicious. If I don’t want to have a heavy dinner, I have this soup instead with some leaf lettuce.

 

 

I’ve been buying this for years and I put it on everything. On my salads, soups and other meals, I cook.
This is my favorite brand of cereal, I discovered it back in 2012 and when I found Costco had it in stock I was absolutely ecstatic. 
I drink green tea a lot so, buying this in bulk is a life savior.
I love these mini quiches, I make them for dinner or for lunches at work with some salad.
Ok, so I know this product has chicken but before I became pescetarian I used to eat this all the time. It was quick and easy to make.
My favorite section in the entire store is the produce section. I buy a lot of items from here.
A bulk of grapes is always a good idea, and here is a tip. If you are craving sweets, take some grapes and freeze them. They will taste like candy. 

 

 

Already chopped broccoli is a time saver, I dislike washing and cutting broccoli so this is great. 
I’m a huge avocado lover when I discovered this guacamole I was so happy. It is delicious, you should all try it!

 

 

Last but certainly not least, it is baby spinach. I buy this for my smoothies and salads. 

Thank you all so much for reading and see you soon!

 

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Foodie February! Eating Out (February 5-12, 2018)

Hello everyone,

Welcome to Foodie February, this month will be all about food. Let’s be honest here, food is pretty much on my mind 24/7. However, now that I have to eat healthy 24/7 because of stomach, I am going to use this months theme as a motivation to cook more.

Last week was fun because it was my birthday, therefore, I went out a lot to eat. Today I will be sharing where I went and what I had to eat.

Let begin.

My birthday week began with a surprise birthday breakfast with my coworkers at Panagio’s All Day Grill. The atmosphere and food was good and the location is at South Etobicoke near the lake. The prices were very reasonable so if you’re on a budget, this is the place to visit.

I am pescitarian but because of my health for a little bit I have to add protein to my meals.

On February 7th, I had a day off from work and I decided to go to TIFF Bell Lightbox to watch a movie. After the movie I went to the TIFF Lounge to read my book and have a delicious cup of chamomile tea.

Later on that week on Friday, I went to a Korean restaurant with my friend in Koreatown. I was in the mood for tteokbokki which is a rice cake dish. It is my favorite Korean meal and it is also a popular Korean street food.

The tteokbokki came with noodles and some veggies. Typically tteokbokki is a spicy dish but since I cannot have spicy food I requested the non spicy version. My friend also shared with me her black bean noodles, which were delicious and I just try next time I go to Koreatown.

The next thing we had was a potato pancake.

I like to think of it as a giant hash brown, it was delicious but a bit oily. I’m not a fan of oily meals.

Our meals came with side dishes too, this is a typical thing you get in Korean restaurants.

We had tofu, pickled radish, kimchi which is spicy cabbage, cucumbers, and I think we got spicy bean sprouts. I don’t know what the sauce was and I didn’t try it because it looked spicy.

On Saturday I went out with my friends to a ping pong bar and I had a veggie burger with fries. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures but it looked like a typical burger. I always get a vegetarian burger and I’ve tried a few that don’t taste very good, but this one was delicious.

I typically do not eat out often anymore, but it was nice to go to new places and have some yummy meals.

Thank you for reading and see you soon!

Foodie February! Foodie Tag.

Hello everyone,

Welcome to the first post of the monthly segment that I call Food February.

I would like to call myself a foodie because I enjoy trying out different cuisines and go to new restaurants and cafes. I never used to be so open to eating exotic food from other cultures. However, in university, I tried sushi for the first time and I loved it. I think this is what made me more open-minded about eating various types of foods.

Today we will take a look at more of my food preferences so you can get an idea of what I enjoy to eat. This month’s segment will include recipes, food guides to my favorite cuisines in the city and listing my favorite restaurants and cafes.

Now let’s take a look at which foods I enjoy to eat.

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1. What food could you eat every day?

I could eat pizza, sushi, and pasta every day.

2. What’s your favorite restaurant?

I have many but I love Cibo, Pickle Barrel, Sushi Sky, Kyoto Japanese Restaurant, Kinto Ramen, Luma Restaurant, and Azura Restaurant and Bar.

3. What city has the best food you’ve ever had?

I loved the food in Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, British Columbia. Portland has an amazing pizza place, called Sizzle Pie and I highly recommend it. I liked the food in Vancouver because the sushi restaurants were always cheaper than the ones in Toronto.

4. What do you get on your sub?

I don’t eat subs anymore, the last time I went to Subway was 2012. I don’t like their food anymore and I don’t find it filling.

5. What do you get on your pizza?

It’s nothing exciting, but I get olives. I prefer regular cheese pizza without any topics.

6. Is there a food you’ve always wanted to try?

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I always wanted to try omurice, which is a popular Japanese dish.

7. Tell me about your worse restaurant experience

I haven’t had one, I had some food from a Vietnamese restaurant years ago and later on that day I felt sick. I don’t know if that counts as a bad experience.

8. Who’s a better cook; your mom or you?

My mom for sure, she knows how to make delicious meals. However, I’m catching up with her.

9. What is one food you just fail at making?

I tried making omurice, but I failed. Omurice is basically omelet rice, you cook the omelet and then you put rice inside and fold it the omelet. I failed at the folding part.

10. Name your least favorite foods

I don’t like beans, peas, peppers, kiwi, apples, there is some Bulgarian food I dislike too.

11. Raw or cooked veggies?

I definitely prefer raw veggies, but I don’t mind eating cooked ones too.

12. How do you like your steak?

I’m actually a pescetarian, so I haven’t eaten steak since 2014. However, back in the day I liked it well done, seeing pink in the meat made me feel sick.

13. Do you enjoy cooking or baking better?

I’m not good at baking so I prefer cooking.

14. What’s your favorite fast food place & can you name 5 items off of the menu?

I don’t eat Mcdonalds anymore, but when I used to I would order the cheeseburger, chicken nuggets, big mac, apple pie and their salad with the thousand island dressing. I do not order these items all at once, of course.

15. Name a food place you wish was closer to you.

Sizzle pie, this pizza place was heaven and they made the best gluten-free pizza.

16. Ultimate favorite dessert?

Cake, any type of cake is good for me.

17. What food do you gravitate more towards at a party or get together?

I gravitate towards fingers food, I like getting chips, cookies and etc.

18. Favorite food to eat at Christmas?

I love my mom’s Tutmanik, which is a special bread filled with cheese. It is a traditional part of our Christmas Eve dinner.

19. What’s the first food that comes to mind… NOW?

Sushi, I haven’t had raw fish in a while because I am not allowed, therefore, I am craving it a lot.

20. Do you have any weird food habits?

I do, I love to put ketchup on my rice. I don’t know if that’s weird but it makes the rice taste so good.

21. What holiday is your favorite for food?

Definitely Christmas time, I love the traditional Bulgarian food we cook on Christmas Eve. Let’s not forget the sweet treats too.

22. What’s one food you would NEVER try?

Oysters, snails, and clams!

23. Do you know your best friends favorite food?

Yes, my first friend loves cupcakes, my other friend loves beef, I have another friend who loves anything deep fried and finally Italian food.

24. What’s the best thing your mom makes?

I love the moussaka my mother makes, it’s the best comfort food.

25. What’s your favorite style of eggs: Scrambled, boiled, poached, over easy or sunny side up?

Definitely scrambled, and I like to add some crumbled feta cheese. I don’t always do this, but when I add the cheese it adds a nice flavor to the eggs.

26. Name your favorite restaurant that closed down

Luckily, my favorite restaurants are still open so I don’t have one yet and I hope it stays that way.

27. Do you like your bread toasted light or dark?

I like it dark because the burnt flavor is actually to my liking.

28. Do you like spicy foods?

Growing up I wasn’t a fan of spicy food, but as I got older I developed a tolerance for spicy foods. The hard part is I cannot have spicy foods right and the struggle is real.

29. Do you like seafood?

Yes, my favorite types seafood is lobsters, crab, and salmon.

30. The first food that comes to mind that is green?

Spinach, because I am currently having a spinach and banana smoothie for breakfast or lunch I should say.

I hope you all got a brief insight into my foodie life, and I can’t wait to start posting more this month.

Thank you for reading and see you soon!

Self Care January! Bell Let’s Talk.

Hello everyone,

Welcome back to the final day of Self Care January, today we will be talking about mental health.

Today is Bell Lets Talk Day, an important day to raise awareness about mental health. There is so much stigma surrounding mental health, and there are still people not acknowledging it something that needs to be treated. That’s a problem, that’s why starting a conversation is so important. It’s ok to say you are depressed, it’s ok to say you have anxiety, it’s ok to feel these feelings. There is a cure, there is hope and do not let anyone belittle your mental health.

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Mental health is tricky to understand, not everyone will take you seriously or your symptoms. It is difficult for someone to understand what it’s like when they don’t have experience with mental health. Even if you try to explain yourself, they still won’t understand. This can be hurtful, but it is the sad reality. That’s why talking about it will raise awareness of what it’s like to struggle daily. If more people understand, more will be educated about the topic, and know how to help a friend, family member, or coworker.

I’m no stranger to mental health, when I was in high school I battled depression due to bullying. Now as an adult, I struggle with anxiety. It’s crippling, you worry about everything even if there is nothing to worry about. Every little challenge is blown out of proportion and it can be damaging to your health. Some people do not understand, but the important thing is to know how to talk to someone who is suffering. Telling them to “get over it”, or “be positive there is so much to be happy about” is not helpful. If it were that easy people wouldn’t be suffering. Here is what you should say:

1. I’m here to listen, even I don’t really understand what it feels like to suffer so much.

2. It’s ok you feel this way.

3. I’m here for you.

4. You matter.

5. You are important.

6. You are worthy.

7. You are not a burden.

The way you speak to someone who is struggling daily is very important. Saying the wrong thing can trigger their symptoms and sometimes their reaction is beyond their control. The important thing to remember is this condition will not last forever but we have to talk about it. We need to treat mental health the same way we treat physical health. Treat it with kindness, compassion, and understanding.

I encourage you to start a conversation in my comment box. You can say your name and what you’re struggling with. I’ll go first! Hi, my name is Radostina, I struggle with anxiety. Now it’s your turn ✊🏻

Thank for reading and I sincerely hope you write a comment, this is a safe space and no one will belittle you.

Now that we reached the end of Self Care January, I am going to introduce the new topic for the month of February. Everyone welcome to Foodie February, next month will be all about food and cooking. I hope you are excited as much as I am!

Thank you so much for reading and see you soon!

Self Care January! Dealing With Stress.

Hello everyone,

Welcome back to Self Care January, today’s topic will be about stress and how to cope with stress.

We are all going through daily life stressors, and then there are also the bigger stressors in our lives. Stress is not an easy thing to deal with because it affects your judgment and emotional response. In addition, prolonged stress can lead to negative effects on your physical and emotional health. The best way to handle stress is to begin by recognizing the signs and how your body reacts. Being self-aware is so important for our physical and mental health.

When you are self-aware you can apply the necessary coping strategies to deal with the stress before it becomes excessive. Obviously, you can’t fix yourself in one day this requires constant effort. So today I decided to share a list of strategies that can help you cope with stress.

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Let’s begin.

   1. Meditation.

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Meditation is wonderful because it teaches your mind how to focus on the present moment and bring your mind inward. It helps you focus on your breathing, in addition, paying attention to any bodily sensations. Are your shoulders tense? Are you sweating from the stress? Has your breathing increased? When you are aware of these factors, you can meditate to bring down your adrenaline levels and breathe. Meditation is all about being aware of your surroundings, being aware of the noise around you, what you see, what you feel. I am not the greatest at medication, my mind wonders around a lot, but I do my best to teach my mind to focus on the present moment. Meditation is great whenever you feel like you are about to have an anxiety or a panic attack.

2. Writing in a journal.

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Sharing your personal struggles with people all the time is not something they are always open to hearing. I’m sure you might have a few people or one person to turn to, but you want to make sure the sharing is not excessive. I started using a journal to write down my thoughts, anything negative or positive for the sole purpose of venting. Sometimes when we are emotional we may say things we regret, so writing in a journal you can write whatever you want because it’s only for your eyes to read. It has proven to be helpful for me, I can be myself and be authentic.

3. Socialize.

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After my friendship breakup last summer, I became anti-social, I started to prefer spending time alone. This is not a bad thing, but we are human beings and we crave contact. Even the most independent person will start to feel lonely. Going out with friends will distract you from your life worries, and make you have some fun. I went out recently for lunch with my best friends, and it made me feel more relaxed. It made me remember how good it felt to go out and have some fun with friends.

4. Aromatherapy.

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I rely heavily on aromatherapy to relax me, I have the worst anxiety but when I use my diffuser and it fills my room with the relaxing scents, and it makes me feel better. I typically prefer lavender and eucalyptus mint.

5. Adult Colouring Books.

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Adult coloring books are absolutely wonderful, I feel like a kid again when I use them. The reason why I chose to include them on this list as a stress reliever is because they allow you to be fully focused on one task. When I first started using adult coloring books, I was fully focusing on coloring in the details. It took me two or three hours if I am committed to coloring more pages. During that time I didn’t really think about anything else, but the task at hand. I really enjoyed it and in a way, it is similar to meditation. It helps you focus on a task in the moment.

6. Therapy.

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Sometimes applying these coping strategies may not be enough to cure your stress if it’s been going on for a long time. Seeking the help of a therapist is nothing to be ashamed about and it doesn’t mean you are weak for seeking their help. In fact, you are strong enough to realize stress is affecting your well being and you need a professional to help you. There is a negative stigma attached to seeking a therapist, with the idea of you being crazy for going to therapy. This is not the 1900s, in our world today mental health is more prevalent than the past, therefore, making an appointment with a therapist could be helpful.

7. Excercise.

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Many people say that with exercise you get those happy endorphins, and it is true. I remember a time when I went to the gym and I was feeling very overwhelmed with my job. I had no energy prior to going to the gym, nevertheless, I decided to stick to my regular routine. When I started doing my workout, I started to feel energized. I don’t know if it was the groovy music I was listening to, but I felt so hyper and completed a full hour of workout. I was smiling more and I stopped thinking about my job woes. According to Harvard Medical School, exercise has the capacity to exhilarate and relax, to provide stimulation and calm, to counter depression and dissipate stress. I agree with this statement 100% it really helps your physical and mental health.

8. Yoga.

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To add to the workout point, yoga is also great because it allows you to fully stretch your body. Any muscle aches or soreness that you may have will feel more relaxed with yoga, and yoga allows you to focus fully on the present moment.

9. Getting enough sleep.

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Believe or not, but when your body is not fully rested it will affect your cognitive abilities. It will make you feel fatigued, cranky, and easily prone to stress. When we are not getting enough sleep we are also most likely to feel irritated easily or respond strongly to the stressor. Getting up to 7-8 hours of sleep is very important, when you are well rested you will feel better and think adequately about the situation.

10. Nature walks.

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Nature has a healing effect on my mind, body, and soul. In 2016, I was constantly sick and also very stressed out from work. That year I went on a trip to Vancouver for two weeks, on that trip I hiked with my friends and we were constantly around nature. I suddenly felt very at peace and forgot all of my troubles. Being around nature, and seeing its beauty was very calming for me. Now, I prefer to go out for a walk around the neighborhood to the nearest park. I sit with a book, or simply sit on a bench and enjoy my surroundings.

I hope these tips were helpful for any of you who are going through a lot of stress right now. Remember, healing and taking control of your stress does not happen overnight. It requires constant effort and works, but it is worth it.

Thank you for reading and see you soon!

 

Self Care January! Embracing Change.

Hello everyone,

Welcome back to another Self Care January post and today’s we’ll be discussing how to embrace change. This post will include lots of personal life examples of my struggles to love change.

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Change is a natural part of life that brings you to the next chapter in your life, change can bring you a lot of positivity. However, I’ve always had a negative attitude towards change. As a child, I embraced change well, but I after I immigrated to Canada when I was 13 I began to have a negative attitude towards change.

When my family and I first moved to Toronto, we lived in a bigger apartment which was not necessary for newcomers to Canada. I remember vividly the day my mom came into the room and told me we might have to move to another place to pay for cheaper rent. Looking back on that day, my behavior and reaction were overly dramatic. I began crying and being a brat because I would miss having a view of the CN Tower from my bedroom. I also really liked the size of my bedroom and I didn’t want to move to a smaller apartment. We eventually moved and I began liking the building, it was closer to the bus stop, it was closer to the plaza with all of the shops and closer to the other parks. In the end, it turned out to work out for the better.

This is an example of a time when I had to go through a change that has a happy ending, however, as an immigrant teenager, there were changes that were not positive. When I was told we were immigrating to Canada, I was so excited to move to a foreign country. But I never expected the challenges I had to face, some of the changes I went through gave me a negative outlook on change. As an adult, I realized I hate change so much because in the past change was negative for me. Holding on to comfort became something I cling on for dear life. Change scares me, leaving something that brings me comfort is unsettling.

I noticed recently that I am holding on to change because I am afraid if the next step will be successful or not. Here is a very recent example of this circumstance. I am currently employed at a company I’ve worked for five years, but from the beginning, I didn’t like the job. I work split shift, I start work at 7:30am and there is a lot of moving furniture and cleaning. For those of you wondering, I work as a teacher/assistant supervisor at a before and afterschool program. There have been many moments where I’ve been close to quitting the job, at least a few times per year. The only reason why I still work there is that of my students. They are the most precious, beautiful and kind children! I only stay for them, but the thing is the company has many flaws so staying long term won’t make me any happier. But here I am still working for this company because I fear change and whether or not the next step will be better than my current situation. I am going through a career change to work in my dream field, and I’ve been working hard on this for the past few years. Therefore, the change that awaits me is supposed to be positive, but again my insecurity about change is a barrier in my life.

As soon as I began to realize why I dislike change, that’s when I started to take action and fight those negative thoughts. What I do now is write down why I am scared of the change and then I write the pros and cons of the potential change. If the pros list is longer than the cons, that’s how I know I am making the right decision.

In other circumstances, change will appear negative in the beginning but as time passes you will see why it was good for you. I’ll give a quick example, last summer one of my long-term friendship ended with a friend who was like family to me. It was heartbreaking and I couldn’t make sense of what was happening. It felt like the end of an era and hated going through this change of losing a friend and not having this friend in my life anymore. However, for a few years I was going through something tough and when the friendship ended I got a rude awakening to start my own healing. In the end, this change that seemed so negative turned out to be beneficial for my well being. I still miss the friendship, but you never know how life will unfold and who comes back into your life.

My point with sharing these stories I’ve shared today is that change is not easy, but in the end, it is the best thing for you. Everything happens for reason and how life will lead you down your chosen path.

Fear of the unknown kills more dreams than anything else. The change means growth, change means living a better! I am still a work in progress and I am still working on embracing change, but one day I’ll learn to love it. Look at change as a way of taking you closer to the life you’ve always imagined.

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Thank you so much for reading and I hope you found this article helpful!

See you soon!

 

Self Care January! Dealing With Toxic People.

Hello everyone,

Welcome back to another Self Care January post, I hope you all have enjoyed them all so far.

Today’s topic is toxic people! We have all encountered toxic people at least at one point in our lives. This may be a strong word to use, but I refer to them as emotional vampires. It feels as if they suck out your positive energy and you’re left feeling drained. I have dealt with all kinds of toxic people, coworkers, friends, and family.

Over the years I have learned that prolonged exposure to toxic people can be detrimental to your physical and mental health. It is important to learn how to deal with such individuals in an effective and healthy manner.

Before I begin listing ways of dealing with toxic people, I will proceed to explain key characteristics of a toxic person.

  1. They absolutely refuse to admit they are the problem, however, keep in mind sometimes they do not realize they are the problem. I had a boss who was very toxic, the difference with her was she knew what she was but she refused to change. Which brings me to my next point.
  2.  Toxic people cannot change. Either they refuse to change or they are not aware they need to change. Not all toxic people refuse to change, some may realize they have a problem but it has reached a point where it is too difficult to change. Keep in mind though, if this person genuinely realizes one day they are the issue then I don’t see why they can’t be given second chance. I am all for giving second chances if someone genuinely realizes they were toxic. Of course, I don’t mean anyone who has done something extreme.
  3. They are very good at making you feel guilty. They know exactly what to say to make you feel like you are the problem. It is very important not to give in to what they say about you and believe you are a good person. Of course, be self-aware if you have done anything. Sometimes we could react in a strong manner but in most circumstances, the toxic person is the challenge, not you.
  4. They are emotionally needy. There is a difference between someone going through a tough time and needing a shoulder to cry on and someone who makes you feel like you are responsible for their life. As people, we are only responsible for ourselves, we are not obligated to babysit anyone.
  5. They are manipulative. They are very good at saying the right thing to make you do what they want.
  6. They are judgemental and are critical of everything.
  7. They do not apologize.

These are a few of the characteristics toxic people possess, now we will talk about how to deal with them.

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1.Do not react.

Do not react in a strong way to their criticism or bad words, if you do you will look like the bad guy. It’s best to count to ten before you respond to any disrespectful remarks. They want you to react, so do not give them the advantage of doing that.

2. Set Boundaries.

When you set boundaries you let them know you are not tolerating their behavior and you won’t allow them to disturb your peace. You can set boundaries by limiting communication, walking away if they try to start an argument and simply calling out their behavior. I did this with my old boss, and she bothered me less after I put her in her place.

3. Find the triggers.

Find what triggers a toxic person and avoid putting oil on the fire, unfortunately, it’s like walking on eggshells but that’s how it is with a toxic person.

4. Cut ties.

This happens in extreme cases when there is no change to your circumstances, it’s hard to do this with coworkers. I would suggest having minimal communication with your coworkers unless you absolutely have to speak regarding work-related matters i.e. completing an important project.

5. Speak up.

As much as we want to avoid confrontation, it is important to stand up for ourselves when people are being disrespectful to you. Put them in their place and let them know it is not ok to be treated this way.

6. Do not engage in fights.

Toxic people like to stir up conflict, do not engage in it and simply walk away. Remeber to pick your battles, do not engage in anything if it will disturb your

7. Have a conversation.

Try to have a conversation and understand the underlying reasons for why they are acting this way. Sometimes they might be going through a tough time and they are lashing out. This doesn’t excuse the toxic behavior, but it allows to see what’s going on and what steps are necessary to take to fix the situation.

These are a few of the tips I have for you that have helped me when I am dealing with toxic people. It’s very easy to let their words affect you, but in the end, you have to remember that they are the problem. The moment I realized my old boss was the problem I began to have more peace.

I hope this was helpful, my next Self Care January post will be about embracing change.

See you soon!