My BuJo version, or how I stay organized

A few weeks ago, I launched my planner, the LEAFY planner. I love this planner because it’s beautiful and includes all the organization tools that I need as well as mindfulness and well-being practices. However, before I made this planner, I used notebooks as my daily organizers.

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I loved using notebooks because it is creative and customizable to whatever you might need. I was inspired by bullet journaling, but I tried to keep things simple and manageable. Here are the basic parts I always included.

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1. Trackers: After deciding on my goals and priorities at the beginning of the year, I made some tracking grids that I used all year long. Those grids helped me stay accountable and on track.

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2. Weekly spreads: I used this on a day-to-day basis to keep track of appointments and things to do. At first, I used an hourly to-do list to help me stay productive while working from home. When I got the beat of this, I then switched to a daily to-do list which was more flexible.

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3. Creative space: I always made sure to keep some space to take notes, doodle, draft out posts or work on my projects. I liked having that room to be creative because it meant that I always could write down ideas or draw, even on the go.

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4. Interior pockets: I love adding pockets onto the interior flaps of the notebook’s cover to put some business cards or important papers. This made the notebook a lot more practical.

5. Tabs: I used tabs to have the current week’s spread easily accessible. This also meant that I didn’t have to flip through the entire notebook when I needed to take an appointment or something. It also meant that other people didn’t have a look through my creative notes but only my weekly spread, which I liked.

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I really hope this was helpful to you. I really enjoyed using a notebook as I was able to create my own system and make it really practical and relevant to my own needs. I strongly encourage you to try it out and to create your own system!

Sweet Potato Tricks \\\ Trucs de Patates Douces

(version française plus bas!)

Sweet potatoes are a staple in my kitchen, and I find myself putting some in everything I eat these days. That’s why I had to come up with some tricks to make sure that I always have some yummy sweet potatoes ready to be eaten. It’s probably the simplest part of my meal prep, so I thought I would share it with you!

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  1. Choose your sweet potatoes well. Make sure they are firm and even-toned: you don’t want too many black spots on them. To help the cooking process, try to select sweet potatoes that are similar in size. That way, they will all be cooked in the same amount of time. I usually buy 5 to 7 at a time as this is enough for me and my boyfriend for an entire week.
  2. Wash them just before you cook them. Using a gentle bristle brush, clean the sweet potatoes under water to help get all the dirt out. Doing this will enable you to keep their skins on which will help make the cooking mess-free, and you will also get a ton more of nutrients that are in the skin. Avoid cleaning them unless you are ready to cook them as the humidity will accelerate their decay.
  3. Cook them all ahead of time. Nothing is more simple. It’s oil free, mess free and will guarantee that you always have healthy carbs on hand. Poke your sweet potatoes with a fork all the way around. Line a cookie sheet with some aluminum foil and place all your sweet potatoes on it. Place that into your oven set at 350F and bake for 60 to 75 minutes, or until you can poke them with a fork right to their center without any resistance. Let them cool in the oven, wrap them up in the aluminum foil you used for baking and keep them in your fridge. Ta-daaa! Sweet potatoes available and ready to be eaten!
  4. Use sesame seeds to pan-fry them. This is what I do when I want to warm up the sweet potatoes. Just add 1 tsp of sesame seeds per sweet potato you are frying up to a non-stick pan. Warm up on medium heat and add your sliced sweet potatoes in a single layer. Let sit for 5 minutes on each side and enjoy delicious slices of goodness.

That’s it! I hope you will use these tips to add more sweet potatoes into your life! They are so rich in vitamins and minerals and are a healthy source of carbs and fibers. Plus they add so much colour to any of your meals. Let me know what your tricks are!


On retrouve toujours des patates douces dans ma cuisine, et, ces jours-ci, j’en mets un peu partout dans mes recettes. C’est pourquoi j’ai dévélopé quelques petits trucs pour être certaine que ces délicieuses patates soient toujours disponibles et prêtes à être mangées. C’est probablement la partie la plus simple de mes préparations de repas, alors je me suis dit qu’il fallait que je partage!

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  1. Choisissez bien. Assurez-vous d’acheter des patates douces bien fermes et dénuées de taches noires ou brunes. Pour aider à la cuisson, choisissez-les également de tailles comparables. Comme ça, elles seront toutes prêtes en même temps. J’achète habituellement 5 à 7 patates douces à la fois comme cela suffit pour une semaine à deux personnes.
  2. Lavez-les seulement avant de les faire cuire. Utilisez une petite brosse douce pour nettoyer vos patates douces sous l’eau. Cela enlevera les residus de terre à la surface de leur peau tout en préservant cette dernière qui est pleine de nutriments. Garder la peau facilite également beaucoup la cuisson. Évitez de les nettoyer si vous ne les cuisez pas tout de suite: vous les garderez ainsi plus longtemps.
  3. Cuisez-les à l’avance. Rien n’est plus simple. C’est sans huile, sans dégats, et cela guarantie que vous aurez toujours des patates douces à disposition. Faites des trous tout autour de vos patates douces propres à l’aide d’une fourchette. Placez du papier d’aluminium sur une plaque à biscuits et placez vos patates douces dessus. Enfournez dans un four préchauffé à 180C (350F) pour 60 à 75 minutes, ou jusqu’à ce que vous pouviez les transpercer de part en part, sans résistance à l’aide d’une fourchette. Laissez-les refroidir dans votre four éteint, enveloppez-les dans leur papier d’aluminium de cuisson et gardez- les au frigo. Ta-daaa! Des patates douces prêtes à être mangées!
  4. Utilisez des graines de sésame pour les réchauffer. Voici ce que je fais lorsque je veux réchauffer des tranches de papates douces. J’ajoute 1 c. à thé de graines de sésame par patate coupée en tranche à une poêle anti-adhésive que je chauffe à feu moyen. J’ajoute mes tranches de patates douces en une seule couche et je les laisse chauffer 5 minutes de chaque côté. Savourez!

Voila! J’espère que ces petits trucs vous aideront à incorporer plus de patates douces dans votre alimentation. Elles sont si riches en vitamines et en minéraux, et elles ajoutent une belle touche de couleur à toutes vos assiettes. Et vous, quels sont vos trucs?

 

Christmas 2016- Surviving the Holidays! \\\ Survivre aux fêtes!

(Version française plus bas!)

With less then a week to Christmas, it’s easy to get high anxiety and to feel overwhelmed between gifts, cards, food and planning. All this extra work is also happening at the wrong time: I’m usually super tired from the cold setting in and a general lack of sleep. So, this year, I really thought about how I would deal with the holidays without using the last bits of energy I have. I also realized that being a ball of stress was probably not fun for the people surrounding me. Here are some questions that helped me destress and prioritize for a stress-free holiday season.

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  1. What are my priorities? This is probably the most important question to ask yourself: what is it that you want out of this holiday season? Personally, I want to feel refreshed, energized and happy. I want to spend as much time as possible with my family, in my pj’s, reading, watching movies and having a good time. I want to see friends, but also to reconnect with myself a little bit and to take care of myself. Do I need to spend a gazillion hours in front of the stove for that? No. That’s settled then! I really feel like sitting down and writing down some priorities helped me get rid of unattainable standards that got into my mind at some point. There’s nothing wrong with a little downsizing!
  2. How much time do I have? Christmas this year is on a Sunday, which means that most of us will be working until Friday and start celebrating on Saturday. That doesn’t leave a lot of extra days to do last minute shopping or cooking. It’s important to recognize that and to realistically count how many hours will be available and to work with that number.
  3. How much money do I have? Gifts really are the perfect thing to make you feel cheap and poor (always a great combo!). This year, I set myself a very clear gift money budget and really stuck to it. I also wanted to make Christmas more personal by making most of my gifts myself (see DIY gifts), which meant that I didn’t have to spend as much money to have really cute and fun gifts. Having a clear limit really helped reduce my anxiety levels because I tend to let myself go overboard when it comes to Christmas gifts, which usually means that I start the year completely broke and stressed out. Not good!
  4. What can I prepare ahead? Finally, once everything is planned and clear in your head, try to give yourself a break by making things ahead. For example, I’ll be serving some curried cauliflower soup . Well, it’s already made and sitting in my freezer, ready to be warmed up on Christmas day. That’s one thing I will not need to worry about. I also grated a lot of carrots and beets for a colourful salad, and made some sauerkraut as a side dish. During this week, I’ll also be making some bean dips, salad dressings and cut out the veggies ahead. That way, it will be a simple matter of roasting and assembling. Stress? What stress?
  5. What can my guests bring? I really think that assuming everything is the worst idea one can have for Christmas. Don’t be shy and ask your friends and familly to bring some things to0. It’s the season for sharing, isn’t it?

I really hope these few tips will help make your holiday season less stressful and more enjoyable. Do you have any other tips?


Je suis tellement excitée que Noël soit dans moins d’une semaine! Ça pourrait également être stressant: les cadeaux, les cartes, la nourriture, l’organisation… il y a de quoi paniquer! Surtout que les fêtes de fin d’année arrivent alors que je suis fatiguée par l’hiver qui commence et beaucoup de travail. Cette année, j’ai vraiment fait un effort pour ne pas utiliser mes dernières pépites d’énergie en vue de passer des fêtes heureuses et reposantes. Il n’est également pas très agréable d’infliger la version stressée de moi-même à ma famille et à mes proches. Voici quelques questions qui m’ont aidées à rendre cette saison des fêtes la moins stressante possible.

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  1. Quelles sont mes priorités? Cette question est sans doute la plus importante de toutes: qu’est-ce que j’attend de cette saison des fêtes? Personnellement, j’ai envie d’être énergisée, reposée et détendue à la fin des vacances. J’ai également très hâte de passer du temps avec ma famille, en pyjamas, à lire et à regarder des films. J’ai envie de voir quelques amis, mais aussi de me reconnecter et de prendre soins de moi. Est-il donc nécéssaire que je passe milles heures devant mon four? Non. Voilà une chose de réglée! Je pense vraiment que de prioriser ses objectifs est primordial pour éviter de se mettre des standards incroyablement élevés en tête. Après tout, c’est aussi le temps de se gâter un peu!
  2. Combien de temps m’est disponible? Comme Noël tombe un dimanche cette année, ça veut dire que la plupart des gens vont travailler jusqu’à vendredi et commencer à célébrer samedi. Cela ne donne vraiment pas beaucoup de temps pour faire le magasinage de dernière minute et la bouffe. Il est donc important de compter le nombre d’heures qui pourra réalistiquement être allouées à la préparation de Noël et de s’y tenir.
  3. Combien d’argent m’est disponible? Les cadeaux de Noël, c’est parfait pour se sentir pauvre et radin. Cette année, pour éviter de me sentir mal, je me suis fixée un budget de Noël, et je m’y suis tenue. De plus, j’ai eu envie de rendre mes cadeaux plus personels en en fabriquant une bonne partie. Avoir un budget clair m’a vraiment aidée à faire mes choix et à reduire mon niveau de stress en m’empêchant d’exagérer et de commencer l’année complètement fauchée.
  4. Qu’est-ce que je peux préparer à l’avance? Cette année, j’essaye de me laisser une chance de profiter de la journée du 24 en préparant autant de choses que possible à l’avance. Par exemple, j’ai déjà préparé mon entrée: une soupe au curry et au chou-fleur. Elle est déjà au congélateur, prête à être rechauffée et savourée! Une chose en moins sur ma liste. J’ai également préparé des carottes et des betteraves pour faire une jolies salade colorée, et j’ai mis de la choucroutte à fermenter pour un petit à côté. Cette semaine, je vais également préparer des tartinades de légumineuses, mes saucess à salades et découper les légumes pour que le 24 ne soit plus qu’une question d’assemblage et d’enfournage. Parfait!
  5. Qu’est-ce que mes invités peuvent apporter? Si vous recevez des gens pour les fêtes, il est probablement déraisonnable de tout assumer. N’hésitez pas à faire participer vos amis et votre famille! Après tout, c’est la saison du partage, non?

Voilà! J’espère que ces quelques questions vous aideront à passer de belles fêtes avec le moins de stress possible. Et vous, quels sont vos trucs?

 

Simple Pasta with Smoked Tofu, Perfect Lunch!

We usually bring lunches to work, and I know it can seem daunting to prepare extra food for the next day. To avoid this, I usually make sure I cook two extra portions that we can enjoy the next day. This recipe is perfect for this. It’s so simple and easy to make, it’s perfect for busy weeknights or lazy Monday nights. Plus you can cook this ahead of time and have lunches ready to go!

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Here is what you need:

  • 4 cups dried pasta (I used gluten-free penne)
  • 1 tsp peppercorn
  • 2 laurel leaves
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 block smoked tofu (300g) ( If you can’t find smoked tofu in your area, you can marinate regular firm tofu with 1 tbs of tamari sauce and 1 tsp of liquid smoke overnight.)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 4 stalks green onions
  • salt, pepper, and red chili pepper flakes, to taste

Here is what you do:

  1. Place 8 cups of water (or enough to cook your pasta) in a large stock pot. Add the laurel leaves, peppercorn and a few pinches of salt. Bring to a boil and cook the pasta according to direction.
  2. While the water is warming up, dice the zucchini and tofu is small cubes. Chop the green onions finely. In a saucepan, add the coconut oil and warm up on medium heat. Stir fry the zucchini, half the green onions, and tofu until golden.
  3. Cut the cherry tomatoes in halves.
  4. Once the noodles are cooked, drain and return them to their pot. Add the zucchini, tofu, green onions and tomatoes. Season and stir well. Enjoy!

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I love this! It’s so fresh and simple. Perfect for busy days and great for lunch, this will keep you fueled up and satisfied. Let me know if you try it out!

A few tips for vegans… and other humans!

In the last few days I have looked at different things I do in order to save time, be happier and generally make my life easier. I hope these tips will help you out too!

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  1. Keep your space positive: I feel that as a vegan it is very easy to get overwhelmed by negativity: videos/articles/pictures of animal suffering filling your digital space; people criticizing and judging your decisions and looking at your everyday choices like if it were their business; and even self-doubt sometimes.
    • I became vegan because I love animals, and I do not want to passively or actively participate in their suffering. Seeing animal cruelty videos does not reinforce this resolve: it makes me sick, sad and depressed. I’m not saying that this type of information is not relevant. A lot of vegans made their choice after being exposed to such information, and people should know what it going on. But in my case, the images stay in my brain and create a negative blur that prevents me from focusing, creating and feel good. So, I have taken the habit of systematically blocking groups that diffuse this type of information. It doesn’t mean that I don’t see any of it, but a lot less. I prefer to focus on the positive things about being a vegan.

    • With time, I found out that trying to justify my veganism was not a good strategy when faced with people ignorantly and aggressively judging it. When faced with such situations (and it happens), I usually say that being vegan is my personal choice, that each person is different and that this suits me. The discussion usually ends there because I try not to fuel the deb20141231_182853ate. Over time, I find that this strategy and being a positive example of a healthy vegan helps people not feel threatened and encourages them to be curious, in a more respectful way.
    • Self-doubt is normal! I find that every time I do anything, from changing coat to becoming vegan, a fair amount of self-doubt is involved. And it’s healthy too! Without self-doubt, how could we evolve? When this feeling is pulling me down, I look at my cat and think of all the reasons why I became vegan in the first place. This usually does the trick!
  2. Take the time to meal plan: Sitting down with my cook books once a week and selecting recipes that I want to try out has two advantages:
    • I get to really use my cookbooks. It also keeps the meals interesting as I try out new recipes regularly.
    • I make a shopping list with only what I need for the week. Like this, I avoid over-buying and waste.
  3. Buy legumes in bulk and dry: This is less expensive, and it usually involves less packaging: good for your wallet and the planet!

  4. Prepare legumes ahead: As a vegan, a good portion of my proteins comes from legumes. A good idea is to mix a variety of dried legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas for example) in a big bowl and let them soak overnight before cooking them for an hour or so. It is important to mix them to make sure you have the full spectrum of amino acids everyday: each legume type usually contains only a partial number of amino acids. By combining them you have a greater variety of amino acids which makes your body happy! I store a big batch of these in the fridge so that I can add them to everything all week long.

I hope these are helpful! Let me know if you have tips of your own: I’m always on the lookout for ways to make my life easier!