Comfort food recipes

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Comfort food - Crispy almond coated chicken roasted with artichokes and lemonHello end of summer!  Where have you gone?  I’m getting a little sad that the lazy days of summer are almost over… just kidding.  My youngest is eighteen and I don’t have much for vacation time in the summer months, so, really it’s been pretty well business as usual except for the extremely hot temperatures we have been having and the drought that has affected us here in beautiful British Columbia.

Since it’s been a tiny bit cooler the past week, I’ve had more of an urge to cook and bake.  I’ve actually turned the oven on again!  I’m getting tired of the barbeques… especially since my last attempt.  Lets just say I will never buy chicken thighs with skin again, ever!  It was an inferno!  I had to pull the fire extinguisher out… just in case. 

I prefer to eat a vegan diet, but, the rest of my family doesn’t :(  My daughter would probably not mind skipping meat, but, my son and husband really do like their chicken and steak.  When I cook for everyone, I usually just eat the side dishes and it works out really well, because, my cooking is mostly dairy and egg free due to my son’s allergies, which makes the side dishes usually very vegan!

Here are some of my favourite blogs with recipes that I’ve tried recently and we all love!

Petite Kitchen

Love this blog!  I’ve been making the crispy almond coated chicken roasted with artichokes and lemon since last fall and it’s still a favourite!  I’ve only used skinless, boneless chicken thighs when I make it and I usually I forget to add the lemons at the end, and it’s still perfection.  I love the artichokes and pumpkin seeds.  The other day when I made this dish I was running low on almond flour, so, I mixed some whole wheat flour with the almond flour and it turned out just as great. 

Comfort food - Crispy almond coated chicken with roasted artichokes and lemonDishing up the Dirt

I love everything about this blog!  I love the pictures they post. I love what they are doing.  And I love the recipes they post.  I’ve tried many of their recipes and I haven’t made one that I haven’t loved!  The latest recipe that I’ve made from this blog is the tomato harissa coconut bisque.  It was so delicious!  My daughter said it was like a “fancy” tomato soup :)  I didn’t have any Harissa spice blend (nor did I know what it was until I looked it up), so, I used some hot peppers I had in the fridge.  I think it turned out excellent.  A creamy tomato soup with a bit of a kick to it.

The Green Forks

I have made these coconut oil banana muffins over and over again.  They are one of the few treats my son can eat that I can make really quickly and without a lot of fuss.  They are moist and delicious with no egg or dairy in them.  We all love them!


This blog has great family friendly healthy meal ideas and recipes!  One of my favourites from this site is the no bake black bean brownies.  I was lucky enough to taste test these before they were even on her blog!  This is another treat that is safe for everyone in my family to eat.  I just love them!  If you go check the brownies out on her site, you will not be able to resist making them, I guarantee you, they look that good!

Laura in the Kitchen

Her blog has all the recipes that she shows on her YouTube channel, which, I much prefer.  So, I watch the episode and then I go to the website for the exact measurements if I need them.  What I have recently made is the virze rise (Italian cabbage with rice), so, good.  It’s a real comfort food, like a savoury rice pudding, but, I guess that’s what risotto is:)  I always say that if I wasn’t Finnish, I would want to be Italian! I just love food from all parts of Italy!  Here is the Virze Rise episode from her channel.

So, that is all for me right now.  I hope you check out some of these blogs for meal prep inspiration.  I used to watch the food channel on TV for inspiration, but, now that it’s all just competition type shows, I’ve found great blogs and great YouTube channels that I much prefer.

If you have some go to sites for healthy recipes and vegan recipes let me know in the comments.  I’m always searching for new ones to check out.  Have a great week!

Refreshed and Fit


Summer vegetable soup

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