Sprouting at Home

Here at Things that are Awesome, we love food, but we also love our bodies, so most of what we eat (at least at home) is clean, fresh and nutrient dense. Sprouted grains, nuts, beans and seeds are an easy source of multiple nutrients, including vitamins A, B, C and E and can be readily incorporated into almost any meal. Unfortunately, sprouts lose a whole lot of their nutritional punch in transit and can play host to a variety of bacterias, so the best way to get your sprout fill is by sprouting them yourself at home. But good news: at home sprouting is not only super easy to do, but also cheap!

Supplies: Glass jars, water, loose burlap or other breathable material (it also needs to be porous enough to be able to drain water) cut into squares big enough to cover the top of the jars, elastic bands, a drying rack, and your seeds of choice (for this post, we sprouted alfalfa, crunchy beans and crimson lentils).

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Step 1: Put a tbsp or 2 of seeds into the jar. If you’re sprouting alfalfa, be sure to use a fairly wide mouthed jar as it needs room to branch out. Fill the jar about half to 2/3 full with water, cover with burlap and secure with elastic band. Give the seeds a swish to rinse, drain the water, then refill. Let seeds soak overnight (with the burlap cover), for about 24 hours.

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Step 2: After 24 hours, drain the jars, flip upside down on a drying rack, and leave for three days, filling with water to swish and rinse (draining through the burlap) 2-3 times each day (a good rule of thumb is to leave your sprouting jars in the kitchen and to rinse with breakfast, lunch and dinner).

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Refresh your Running Playlist

This weekend in Toronto the temperature is going up to an incredible high of TWELVE DEGREES CELCIUS!! sarcasm.

Truth be told, this buffer between cold and warm is my favorite temperature for running. Throw in the fact that I have found a few friends in my new-ish neighbourhood who also plan on crushing the Sporting Life 10K race in May, and suddenly we have ourselves a new running club that hits the pavement a few times a week.

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A friend transplanted in New York saw this running group picture and asked for a playlist to help get her motivated to run.  I love getting requests for specific posts, so ask and you shall receive!  My playlist needed some refreshing, so after some digging, prodding and listening to remix after remix, here you go – a spring playlist refresh to help move your legs. (N.B., Alex: if you plan on running another marathon, this won’t suffice – it’s just over an hour of music ;) )

The challenge I’d love some help in resolving is getting this mix to my phone. Soundcloud has a free app for streaming, which is one way of getting this to work. Any idea how I can download/copy this to my phone so I’m not reliant on having a healthy signal? Advice is appreciated!

Happy running/gymming/listening and hoping this helps to usher in spring!

Spring(ish) Wardrobe Refresh

Although I managed to get away with shoes without socks twice this week, I don’t have high hopes that us Torontonians will be baring our legs or arms to the elements any time soon, which means one unfortunate thing: more of the same everything you’ve been wearing for the past forever. I don’t know if it’s been a particularly long winter or a lack of wardrobe expansion thanks a a tight budget, but on a daily basis I look at my rather large, very full closet and proclaim “Uggghhh, I have ABSOLUTELY nothing to wear!” This, of course, couldn’t be further from the truth. I have plenty to wear, I’m just (a) sick of it, (b) not quite sure how to style it, or (c) don’t know what shoes to wear with it in this strange and unpleasant climate.

Hence my “participation” in Dean Street Society‘s “Style Me April Closet & Instagram Challenge.” The premise is simple: each day has a theme to help provide some outfit ideas and hopefully get you thinking outside of your go-to-outfit box. I referenced my “participation” in quotes, because the idea behind the challenge is merely to provide inspiration. There are no real rules and certainly no prizes, except, perhaps, a new way of looking at your existing wardrobe. Moreover, I’m currently unemployed / quasi working from home, so getting dressed in anything but lulu’s isn’t even a thing that happens every day. That said, in honour of a new month, this evening’s date, and this blog post, today I will be living up to the challenge and “Skirting Around Town.”

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Any other tips for breaking out of the winter wardrobe doldrums?

Earth Hour

This Saturday March 29th, from 8:30-9:30pm local time I’d like to extend the WWF’s (World Wide Fund for Nature) invitation to turn off your non-essential lights and electronic devices as a symbol of your commitment to our planet.  If the CN Tower, Times Square, the Las Vegas Strip, the Acropolis and the Sydney Harbour Bridge can do it, so can you.

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For those of you not already familiar with Earth Hour, the event is a global environmental movement that started at a lights-off event in Australia in 2007 as part of a campaign for action on climate change.  Earth Hour has since become the world’s largest mass participation event in history with hundreds of millions of individual participants in over 7,000 towns and cities.

Obviously turning the lights out for an hour has only a small impact on the environment, but that’s not the point.  Earth Hour’s mission is three-fold: (1) to bring people together through a symbolic hour-long event; (2) to galvanise people into taking action beyond the hour; and (3) to create an interconnected global community sharing the mutual goal of creating a sustainable future for the planet.  As an avid user of electronic devices living in a huge energy suck of a city, it is my hope that participating will help promote energy awareness and appreciation while bringing together families, friends and communities during a brief reprieve from iphones, television, and stereos.

Unbeknownst to my husband, while writing this post I decided that I would host an Earth Hour party at our place.  As someone who loves candlelight and board games, I don’t anticipate having any difficulty with either atmosphere or entertainment; however, I’m expecting some debate about the necessity of powering down our smart phones.  If you’re hosting a party yourself, I recommend making some adjustments to the “first one to touch their phone buys dinner” rule. Perhaps the guilty party buys the first round post 9:30?  Drinks the King’s Cup?  Handwashes all the party dishes?  Why not make a night of it and get creative.  You won’t have photographic evidence of what goes down, so feel free to punish electronic users accordingly.

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Warby Parker

So, I’m sorry to report this, but it appears that summer is never coming. Ever. And I wonder why I’m not at all inspired to  shop when I walk past stores with my fur-lined hood blocking my peripheral vision. Except one thing happened last week: the SUN came out! I’ll still grumble about the cold, but the sunshine definitely helps. The moral of this long-winded story is this: forget spring shopping because it’s not coming – but definitely buy some new sunglasses, because you may need those. This is how I’ve decided to update my wardrobe for the upcoming “season”.

I started searching the trends of the eyewear season (yup, it’s a thing) to update my classic aviator look. The fashion consensus is as follows: cat eyes, embellishments, coloured frames and plastic “james dean” looks are all the rage. Timing couldn’t have been more perfect for Kelly and I to get an email from our favorite eyeglass outfitters Warby Parker asking us to share the launch of their latest sunnies. Suddenly my spring shopping list is complete:

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Maybe I should back up for a minute. Are you familiar with Warby Parker? These are ultra-stylish, cheap (read: from $120 pair, including prescription lenses) glasses that are delivered to your door. I wasn’t entirely sold until I visited a showroom in New York City and tried the frames on, but I am now and they haven’t left my face. Kelly ordered hers by mail and now we are Warby Parker twinsies, only I wear the Percies and she wears the Holcombs.  The at-home try-on system lets you pick five frames, have them sent to you by mail to try on, gives you 5 days to live with them and send them back (free return shipping), then you can place your order. Once you place an order, a pair of glasses gets made and sent to someone in need, too. A charitable spin is always a feel-good thing.

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