Summer vegetable soup

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Summer vegetable soup - Refreshed and FitWe are getting quite a heat wave here where I live!  Yesterday was 29 degrees celsius, which is about 84 degrees farenheit.  Today and next week are going to be even hotter.  Yikes!  We are not used to this heat in the Pacific Northwest.  I work one more night shift and then I have two weeks off!  I’m looking forward to the nice weather.  We have a road trip planned on the Harley for a few days and other than that I’ll be home trying to get some projects completed.  I’ll also be lounging in my back yard with a good book :)  No doubt about that!

Summer vegetable soupWhen it’s hot outside I like to make really quick and easy meals.  I prefer mostly to barbeque and use the stove top.  I love making soups, because, they’re so easy and quick.  You can change the ingredients up to fit your mood and what you have available.  I like to clean out my fridge and use up what I have. 


Tomatoes for summer vegetable soupThis is a simple soup I make, with ingredients I have on hand, which always includes tomatoes in the summer.  I buy lots of them and if I haven’t used them up when they are at their peak and a little too “soft” for a salad, I throw them into the pot and make a summer vegetable soup out of them. 

Onions and garlic for summer vegetable soup

Carrots for summer vegetable soup

Potatoes for summer vegetable soup

Kale for summer vegetable soupThis summer vegetable soup is so quick to put together!  I love how it looks too when the vegetables are all simmering in the pot… so healthy!

Summer vegetable soupI puree my soup with a hand blender in the pot until it’s a smooth consistency.  I prefer this soup without any chunks in it, but, that’s totally your preference. 

Summer vegetable soupServe it with a hearty slice of a rustic rye bread and you’re in comfort food heaven.  At least I am!

Summer vegetable soup - Refreshed and FitThe recipe here is a guide only.  Add as many veggies as you like and adjust seasonings to your taste. 

Have a great weekend!!

Refreshed and Fit


Summer vegetable soup
  1. 8 fresh tomatoes or as many as you like
  2. 1 medium to large red or white onion cut into quarters
  3. 4 - 6 carrots, peeled and chopped into large chunks approximately 1/2 inch in length
  4. 4 large potatoes or 6 - 8 medium potatoes peeled and cut into quarters
  5. 4 cloves of garlic whole
  6. kale approximately 8 large leaves pulled off the stalk
  7. organic vegetable bouillon cube
  8. 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger or a 1/2 inch length of fresh ginger grated
  9. pinch of salt
  10. pinch of pepper
  1. Add all ingredients to a large pot and add water to pot to just cover all the vegetables. Bring pot to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Check vegetables after approximately 10 minutes. When vegetables are soft to a knife touch take off heat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Then use a handheld blender to puree vegetables. The more liquid in the pot the soupier the soup!. Taste test and adjust seasoning as needed with salt and pepper.
  1. Use any vegetables that are in season and you have on hand. Be adventurous and try different combinations. Remember if you would like a more hearty pureed soup, just barely cover the vegetables with water.
  2. This is only a guide. Use your imagination!
Refreshed and Fit

NYX butter gloss, Too Faced lip liner, plus lippy talk

 My four favourite lip liner pencilsI’ve been very successful in my “no buy month” in fact, I’ve enjoyed it so much I’m extending if for a few more weeks!  It’s freeing not to expend energy checking out flyers or ads.  There is no point, because, I’m not buying anything… no matter how great the deal is!

I’ve been using up what I have and making an effort to really decide what I like and the reason I like it.  I find that I can get caught up in the hype and buy things on impulse when really it’s not suitable for me at all. 

Here’s a two examples.  They may seem trivial to some, but, it’s all these little things that add up and are a waste of hard-earned money and create clutter.  I’m enjoying using lip liners again.  I didn’t use them for a while, but, now I am again.  One thing I’ve done now a few times is buy a lip line and even though I may like the colour, I can’t stand using them, because they smell like an old-fashioned HB pencil!  That smell is fine for doing all your “pencil” work, but, not for your lips especially when your lips so close to your nose :)  I remember buying an expensive lip liner once and loving the nude pinkish colour and I just couldn’t stand using!  Well it’s happened again.  I bought the Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics 100% vegan & cruelty-free lip liner in the colour TRICK and I can’t stand using it!  It smells like one of those HB pencils!  I love the colour, but, the smell just gets to me.  I bought it on-line from Sephora for twenty dollars (CAD). 

The second the thing I don’t like at all is glitter on my lips.  There are a lot of rave reviews about Buxom lip gloss in CELESTE.  I bought it.  I never use it.  My lips look like I have sparkle all over them.  Not cute on me.  Probably my age and that’s fine.  But it’s something maybe I should have caught on to earlier, but, I just wasn’t into make up as I am now :)

 Too Faced lip liner in perfect nudeMy all time favourite lip liner is the Too Faced Perfect Lips in PERFECT NUDE.  It’s perfect for a nude lip or a natural lip or when you want to tone down a bright colour and you use this all over your lips first.  It’s perfect for me!  The texture is creamy, so, it glides on effortlessly.  I like the roll up tip, so, you don’t have to sharpen it.  And it lasts on your lips.  Here’s a blurb from the Sephora site:

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
– Parabens
– Sulfates
– Synthetic Fragrances
– Petrochemicals
– Phthalates
– GMOs
– Triclosan

I really like the Too Faced company.  I have a few of their lipsticks and they are some of my favourites.  I’ll show them to you another time. 

Fovourite four lip liner swatchesMy runner-up favourites, and very reasonably priced, I might add, are the NYX lip liners.  I love the NUDE lip liner and for summer I bought the SOFT PINK one to use with brighter colours.  I tend to go for more cool tones in lip liners, lip sticks, and glosses in general.  If they lean towards being warmer or have a hint of orange to them my teeth don’t look as white… not a good thing!  The Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics lip liner is probably the warmest of my lip liners and because of that, and the HB pencil smell, I won’t repurchase it. 

NYX soft matte lip cream favourite swatchesI’ve also been wearing lip gloss again, especially at work, where I tend to get really dry skin and lips (because the air is all recycled), so, I’ve bought some NYX lip creams and butter glosses.  The lip cream’s definitely dry to a matte finish and I have to put some gloss over them, otherwise my lips just pucker up and wrinkle up!  The two that I have right now and really like are the ones in the picture.  Stockholm is great for the natural look, but, I have to use one of the NYX butter glosses over it, so, it’s not looking too matte.  Istanbul is pretty, especially, when I have a fake tan!  I have to use a gloss over it also or it’s too matte.

NYX soft matte lip creamThe NYX soft matte lip cream and butter gloss do have a scent to them, but, I actually like the scent.  It’s very soft and has a hint of vanilla.  It doesn’t bother me at all and the scent dissipates very quickly or at least I don’t notice it once applied.

NYX butter glossMy favourite is NYX butter gloss!  These lip glosses are great!  They are under ten dollars, they look pretty, they are glossy not glittery, and they stay on your lips. 

NYX butter gloss swatchesThese are so much better than using a glittery gloss at least for me.  I use these glosses alone, or with a lip liner, or over a lip stick or over one of the lip creams.  My favourite NYX butter gloss right now is the MAPLE BLONDIE.  It’s such a pretty pop of colour in the summer.  This is what I like… a gloss that makes my lips look moist (which gives the illusion of volume) not sparkly. 

When I end my, no buy month, probably in mid June, I’ll have to repurchase some of the NYX butter glosses, because, I’ve been using them up.  I really want to make more conscientious decisions about even what may seem like small purchases, such as makeup.  All those mistakes really do add up.  I know Sephora has a great return policy, but, sometimes it’s not convenient to either send something back or spend the time going back to the store.  Time is money too!  I for one stay away from stores when I’m not interested in spending money. 

What are your favourite lip liners and glosses?  Have you discovered things about yourself that you wish you had known earlier?

Refreshed and Fit

Walking for exercise

Walking for exerciseI’ve been walking and walking and walking… almost daily.  When I’m at work I’ve logged over 12 000 iPhone steps in a shift sometimes.  So, I really think I walk enough.  I’ve walked more than I’ve ever walked in my adult life.  So, why oh why do my clothes feel so tight?!?  I’ve been eating healthier than ever.  Hardly any added sugar at all. And I’m drinking bucket loads of water!  It’s as if the second I turned fifty my metabolism called it quits!

As well as all the wonderful walking for exercise I’m doing, I’ve been getting other exercise also in our home gym.  I’m lifting weights, using body weight, and doing various circuits.  All in all I’m doing much more than I used to do, say, in my twenties and thirties.  So, now I really do understand that it takes a lot, and I mean a lot, more work to stay fit once you hit this age.  So unfair!  I really feel like whining!  Young ones out there… listen up… appreciate what you have… it most likely won’t stay that way forever!

Walking for exerciseYesterday I enjoyed yet another one of my daily walks on a somewhat overcast day.  I have a beautiful stretch of seven days off from work right now.  I just wish the weather would cooperate a bit more :(  That is the nice thing about working long hours and working shifts… the longer stretches of days off once in a while.  I must say I really am lucky to have such beautiful nature so close to me.  I can just step out my door and start walking and literally be on the alert for bears and cougars (yes cougars) while enjoying the beautiful forests around me. 

We also have horse back riding trails around here still.  Even though development has really sped up around here… unfortunately, you can still hear the occasional horse hoofs on my street as they head for the trails.  We have a few large equestrian centres close by here, so, there are actually quite a few riders on the trails.  We also have a lot of filming that happens here and I see the horses from these equestrian centres being used quite a bit.

Walking for exerciseWhen I walk I try to walk at quite a brisk pace.  I’m not a runner, so, my walking tends to get quite fast sometimes, so, it’s nice to be on the trails instead of on the street for everyone to see :)

Walking for exerciseIsn’t nature beautiful and odd?  I have no idea what this huge growth on this tree is.

Walking for exercise - catching bugsThen I passed these funny containers that were attached to some of the small trees at the side of the road.  Apparently the city checks out the various bugs that get themselves caught in the traps to keep track of any new infestations.  Good to know. 

Walking for exercise - flowers in the weedsI was admiring these pretty flowers in amongst the weeds on the side of the road when a lady called out to me and asked me if I liked the flowers?  Apparently she had leftover wild flower seeds that she threw into the field across the street from her house.  She was saying she wanted to get in there and weed. Huh?

Walking for exerciseWeeding around the flowers would be an insurmountable task as it’s a complete forest that she was talking about!  I’d say let the flowers grow amongst the weeds. 

Walking for exercise - squirrel in treeThen I ran into this monstrosity of a  squirrel.  Sorry for the blurry pic! He was one huge, healthy, well fed squirrel!

I’m loving my walks!  Tomorrow I’m going for a nice hike with one of my sisters and then we’re going to have lunch… of course.  Then later in the week I’m going for a hike with a new friend that I’ve recently met.  I got to know her blog first which is iFOODreal.  Olena is a clean eating FREEK!  Check out her blog for great tasting, easy to make family friendly recipes.  Bonus… it turns out she lives in my neighborhood:)

That’s about it for now.  I’ve a bunch of new workout routines that I’ve been really enjoying doing that I’m going to share with you soon, as well as, some makeup favourites.

If you’ve hit fifty (or you’re close to it), any tips on keeping the midline svelte and trim????

Refreshed and Fit

No buy month – update

Simple lifeMy no buy month has been going really well.  I have had no desire to buy anything new for myself.  I’m not sure if that speaks to my self-restraint, or, that I really do have an excess of “things”.  Either way I’m actually planning to continue the no buy month beyond the month.  It’s also taken some pressure off.  I don’t even bother looking at my emails from shops or save them to check out later… I just delete and it feels good!

I’ve only been buying food and any household necessities like cleanser, soap, toothpaste and so on.  I haven’t purchased any face or body creams, hair products, make up, clothes, and knik knacks.  As I said in my original post, I did buy one book, that I had been wanting to get that was available at Costco.  I’ve got so many partial bottles of hair care products (handed down to me by my daughter) that I should be good for quite a while.  Skin care products are another story though.  When I need sun screen I’ll definitely repurchase and when I’ve used up all my skin care products I’ll definitely need to repurchase as needed. 

What I’ve been doing is writing a running list of things that I think I need.   Some of its clothes and shoes, and, some of its things like self-tanners I’d like to try (I’m trying to stay out of sun and use self-tanners only for added colour).  As the weather is getting really warm here, I’ve started to pull out my summer clothes and I see that I can really use a few new things.  But, I’m holding off buying and just writing my list :)  In June I’ll review the list and see what I really, truly need to buy. 

My biggest craving is to get some things for the home and out-door space.  I’m in the mood to start doing some small home reno’s and finish things that I’ve started.  So, some of the things on my household list are a dish rack for my kitchen counter.  The one I have, I swear, is twenty years old!  I just can’t scrub it to look clean any longer!  I also was looking into getting an ice cream maker a while back.  Something simple and not too expensive.  For my front patio railing I need to get some planters!  I got rid of the ones that I had which your ones you line with moss… I was so done with those ones! 

Old dish rack with dishesWhat did I tell you… this rack has seen better days and has been well used and loved.  Time for a new one.  Believe it or not I’ve been reading reviews on dish racks on The SweetHome and a few other sites.  I fell in love with this one.  It’s stainless steel, holds quite a bit, and drains well.  It looks more compact than the Simple Human one that I’ve been eying.  This one is a little more sleek and probably easier to store. 

Zojila Rohan Stainless Steel dish rackI love the look and functionality of the Rohan Dish Drainer from the Zojila company!  It’s bloody expensive though!  But, if I can keep a basic rubber dish drainer going for years and years, maybe I can upgrade to this one now. 


 YonanasInstead of getting an ice cream maker I’m really intrigued by this Yonanas thing-ma-jig.  I watched this YouTuber using it during her “vegan challenge” and it looked really good.  Since I try to not use dairy this would be a perfect tool to use fruit to make a soft serve type treat.  Here’s the video if you’d like to check it out.


 Well I think that’s if for now.  As you can see I’m keeping busy window shopping :) 


Refreshed and Fit

Road trip on Harley

We are planning another road trip, on the Harley, for the end of June beginning of July, when I have two weeks of holidays.  I’m so looking forward to it!  We are really enjoying these road trips on the Harley in our old age.  (I’m still feeling the sting of turning fifty!)  We’ve been having the best time.  No arguing at all.  Just having fun.  I guess when you can’t really talk for long periods of time there’s less chance of getting on each others nerves :) 

Keith is planning the trip and it looks like we are heading into Idaho and Oregon.  His goal is to find the windiest most, scenic roads.  We’re not planning all our stops, but, he’s making sure there are some interesting towns we pass through, so, that when we want to stop and stay the night, we can.

Road trip on HarleyThis is just a small section of the route we are hoping to take.  We will be heading down the Oregon Coast, and then going inland to John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, and then north to Lewiston Idaho, and back home, or the other way around. 

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument OregonThese Painted Hills in Oregon look amazing and they’re listed as one of the seven wonders of Oregon.  It’ll be fun to park the bike and go for a hike!  It’s amazing how much there is to see so close to home.  One thing I’ve noticed, also, is that I take a lot more in of the sights on the back of the bike. 

Road trip on HarleyThis is what my face looks like when I get off the bike when we arrive at our destination.  Somehow all the dirt misses Keith and lands on me, because, he’s never covered in as much grime as I am.  It must be some weird tunneling effect that gets it on me while I sit behind him :)

It’ll be fun just to get away and see the sites, stop when we’re tired, and stay the night when we feel like it.  No agenda, but, an idea of a route and a few sites we both want to see.  My ideal road trip is to have warm, sunny weather, interesting places to stop, great places to eat, and really comfortable hotels for the night… and when I say really comfortable, I mean luxurious! :)  Nothing like getting off the bike all covered in road dirt and getting into a nice warm bath, then, having a nice comfy robe to cuddle into. 

Road trip on Harley


no buy month

No buy month

I decided to do a NO BUY MONTH until June 1st.  I’ve been going a bit overboard on shopping for makeup and clothes for the past several months. I’m sure to most what I’ve bought is barely anything, but, compared to how much I’ve spent on myself in the past, it’s been substantially more.  

I haven’t bought anything too frivolous.  Mostly things like trail runners, summer sandals, loafer type shoes, some shirts, and a light coat.  Makeup on the other hand is another story!  I’ve bought several lipsticks, lip liners, powders, and more.  I barely go through make up!  I have to throw most things out because they get so old or outdated :)  So, I really have no need to keep buying more.  A couple of thing that I’ve been burning through, which is totally strange for me, is my favourite lip liner and the Anastasia eye brow pencil.  My make up drawer is over flowing which is very unusual for me.  While it has been fun to buy all this pretty makeup I really need to stop for a while and take an inventory of what I actually have now. 

This NO BUY MONTH happened while my sister and I were in Washington shopping on my birthday.  We both just felt like we were buying and spending money when we really didn’t need to.  Of course we both love to shop, but, we are both also saving for some substantial expenses coming up.  I was feeling that I don’t really need to get anymore “things”.  I should use up what I have at home and see how it goes.  This was April 21st.  We decided to not buy anything other than groceries until June 1st. 

Today was a bit tougher.  I went for lunch with my daughter and my niece in a really cute little town and window shopped in some really nice home decor stores.  It was great to leave without spending a dime.  I’m a few weeks into it and I haven’t bought a plant, a lip gloss, a moisturizer, not even a pack of socks at Costco!  Ok… I have to confess that I went to Costco last week and I saw a book that I had heard about recently which was getting really good reviews… and I bought it.  I was going to look for it once the NO BUY MONTH was over, but, I gave in and bought it.  I’m going to tell you about the book another time.  Let’s just say if what the book talks about works I’ll be a very happy person :)

Field during my walk

Pretty view from my morning walk

Update on my drink more water challenge :)  Well let me tell you… I have been living in a dream world!  I was not drinking nearly enough water.  I haven’t yet been able to drink four litres of water in a day!  What I have learned from this is that I was not drinking enough water!  I’m lucky if on some days I drank four cups (one litre) of water.  The most I’ve been able to drink in a day is 3.5 litres.  I’m not stopping though!  Even if I don’t drink four litres of water in a day I’m drinking at least twice as much as I drank on some days, which is a good thing.

The weather is beautiful here in Vancouver, very summer-like right now.  This can change in a quick flash, so, we have to make the best of it while it’s here.  My husband and I both have the weekend off which is nice and he was talking about insuring the Harley and maybe going on a long ride.  Sounds good to me!

                                                               No buy month