The Benefits of Collagen

A few months ago I started supplementing collagen into my diet.  Collagen is one of the most important structural proteins in our bodies, but as we age we slowly start losing it.  I was curious to see if all of the amazing potential health benefits I had been hearing could actually be true. I have to say I am really pleased with the results I have been noticing.  My hair feels thicker and shinier, my nails seem to be growing stronger and I swear my skin has more of a glow to it.

the Benefits of collagen

The Benefits of Collagen:

(Information is quoted directly from the Vital Proteins website which is where I get my collagen)

“Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and helps give structure to our hair, skin, nails, bones, ligaments and tendons in our body. Thanks to collagen, we’re better able to move, bend and stretch. Collagen is also behind helping hair shine, skin glow and nails stay strong.

As we age, and the more stress we put on our body, the greater the impact on collagen production. Getting collagen in a balanced diet can help our bodies regenerate what’s been lost of broken down.

Collagen is a protein made up of amino-acids: glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine, all of which help our body’s connective tissue, skin, hair, nails, as well as gut health stay as healthy as possible.

Collagen protein is different than whey and casein protein because of these high levels of amino acids. Muscular growth, joint health and an overall glowing appearance can be partially attributed to the amino acid blend in collagen that can’t be found anywhere else.”

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

How to Take Collagen:

I have been using the Vital Proteins unflavored Collagen Peptides above.  I add a scoop into my regular coffee every morning and another one into my afternoon smoothie.  The serving suggestion is 1-2 scoops a day.  It completely blends in and you can’t even notice anything has been added.  There are also recipes on the Vital Proteins website if you are looking for additional ways to add collagen into your daily diet.  Not only does collagen have amazing benefits for your hair, skin, nails and bones, but it is also an easily digested source of protein.

collagen peptides

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Along with the majority of the general public I am sure, one of the goals I set for myself in 2019 was to try to maintain a healthier lifestyle.  I injured myself last January and am currently waiting for knee surgery for a torn meniscus.  Due to this injury I have been letting my fitness slide a bit and of course I completely overindulged in all things decadent over the holidays!  I am slowly beginning to introduce low impact exercise back into my daily routine and eat cleaner.  These Collagen Peptides are gluten free, dairy free, sugar-free, Whole30 approved, and paleo friendly so they fall right into line with what I am trying to stick to. I have also heard that an additional benefit of collagen is increased muscle recovery and joint health.  As I am just starting to slowly workout again, I will have to wait and see if I notice any improvement in these regards.

benefits of collagen

Collagen benefits

I feel like it is important to mention I am in no way a dietician or health expert!  I am simply sharing my personal experience and how pleased I have been with the results.  I would love to hear about your experience with collagen if you are also supplementing with it!

 

Shop this post:

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides // Initial Necklace // Turquoise Sweater 

 

Thank you for reading!

Shannon xx

The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe!

The best sugar cookies

Merry Christmas Eve everyone! I figured it would be fitting to share my Mom’s delicious sugar cookie recipe today 🙂  I don’t only use this recipe at Christmas time, it is also my go to for baking throughout the year. This recipe makes the PERFECT sugar cookies!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg yolk, slightly beaten

3 tbsp. milk

1/2 tsp.vanilla

best sugar cookies

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees

Cream butter, add the sugar and mix

Add the egg yolk, mix well

Add dry ingredients alternately with milk

Add the vanilla

Chill your dough thoroughly

Roll 1/4 inch thick

Bake  at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes

Wait for the cookies to completely cool before you ice them

delicious sugar cookie recipe

Enjoy!!!

I hope that you all have the most wonderful Christmas with your loved ones.  I am SO excited to wake up tomorrow morning with my little loves!

Thank you for reading!

Shannon xx

Easy Mummy Rice Krispie Squares

I made the simplest Halloween treat with my kids yesterday! It was only three ingredients and super simple.  Perfect for a last minute Halloween treat.  I am by no means a Pinterest mom, so I promise you these are the easiest thing in the world to whip together!

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Ingredients:
  • Box of Rice Krispie squares (or you can be more ambitious then me and make your own… LOL!)
  • Fruit Roll Ups
  • Edible Candy Eyes

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Directions:

Slice fruit roll ups into 1 cm strips

Wrap fruit roll up slices around Rice Krispie squares like mummy bandages

Stick 2 candy eyes at the top onto your squares

Rice Kri

I placed mine into individual bags to give at my kids daycare and schools. Ta da! Super easy and adorable treat for them to give to their friends 🙂

Rice Krispie Mummy treats

I think they turned out super cute 🙂 I hope you all have a wonderful Halloween!

Thank you for reading!

Shannon xx

Flowers are Cliché, Send a Brewquet

One of the big reasons I started my blog was because I wanted to share products, clothing and places that I love!  Whenever possible, I try to shop local and support small businesses.  This is why I am beyond excited to be teaming up with Brewquet!  If you haven’t heard of them before, Brewquet is a Vancouver, B.C. company who offers unique gift baskets featuring a selection of craft beers and yummy local goods.  On staff is a cicerone (essentially a sommelier for beer!) who curates all of the beer selection to ensure that only the best seasonal and local offering are always chosen!  Brewquet is currently serving areas within three hours of Vancouver and free delivery is offered to Vancouver, Burnaby, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Richmond and New Westminster.  For other areas, you can contact them directly for a quote.

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I’m not sure about you, but I have a handful of people in my life who are always a challenge to buy for!  Who wouldn’t love a bucket full of cold ones?!  Such a unique alternative to sending a bouquet of flowers!  As their website states “Be clear, say it with beer!”  A perfect gift for the upcoming Holidays, Birthdays, a big thank you, or really any occasion you just feel like giving someone a fun, delicious and creative gift!

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Another feature that I appreciate, is that 90% of offerings are earth friendly in that they are either recyclable or biodegradable.  The shipping boxes are recyclable, the paper crinkles found in the ice buckets are made from recycled paper and the burlap wrap is biodegradable.

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Featured above, the Kitsilano which includes:

  • 6 local craft beers (you can choose from IPA’s, Pale Ales, Lagers or a variety pack)
  • 6 Non Alcoholic Craft Sodas are also an option
  • Jerky Baron’s Mount Pleasant beef jerky
  • The Nut Merchant’s Maple Siracha Pecans
  • The Brewquet stainless steel ice bucket & signature bottle opener

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I can already think of a few people who I will be giving a Brewquet to!

As an added bonus, Brewquet is offering my readers 10% off of their purchase… just enter code SSF10 during checkout 🙂

 

Thank you for reading!

Shannon xx

Cranberry Apple Moscow Mules!

 

Cranberry Apple Moscow Mules

 

Back in the summer I posted a delicious drink called the Kentucky Mule.  This new beverage has been modified to give it a bit more of a Fall feel!  We have a fridge full of apples from our U-Pick adventures and a bunch of fresh cranberries so I figured why not play around and make a yummy Autumn version of this cocktail!?  Introducing the Cranberry Apple Moscow Mule 🙂

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 Ginger beer
  • 4 oz. Vodka
  • 1/4 cup of Cranberry or Cranberry Apple juice
  • Ice
  • Fresh apples, cranberries & lime for garnish

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Directions:

Fill mule mug (or glass) with ice

Add vodka & your choice of cranberry juice

Pour in your favourite ginger beer

Squeeze fresh lime juice & mix

Garnish with fresh apples & cranberries

Enjoy!

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Not only are these Moscow Mules delicious, but the red and green make it a perfect Christmas cocktail!

Do you have any favourite Fall & Winter cocktails to share? I would love to hear about them!

Thank you for reading!

Shannon xx

Baby E’s 1st Birthday Party

We threw my son’s 1st Birthday party a few weeks before he actually turned one.  I promised my husband I would keep it simple this year… (Apparently I have a tendency to go overboard… lol!)  Both my boys are summer babies which is fantastic because it makes it easy to have a pool or beach party and keep the chaos outside!  This post is for the parents like myself that cannot necessarily afford to purchase lavish cakes, decorations and catering for their parties.  Absolutely no offence to anyone who does, it is just not in my budget!  Trust me, I love reading about and seeing pictures of the extravagant parties!  I just wanted to share some pictures from his birthday to show that you can throw a cute Do It Yourself party without spending a fortune.  The kids had a blast which is really the most important part right?!

We call him our little Beast, so I decided to go with a Monster theme this year:

Monster Cake

Disclaimer: this wasn’t how I originally planned the cake to look, however icing the cake in 30 degree weather proved a little difficult and it started to melt a bit… lol!

Monster crafts

Crafts for the kids… Build a monster!  Free printable from somewhat simple.

Rice Krispie monsters
Rice Krispie monsters edible eyes & dipped in coloured white chocolate… yummy!

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Photo booth props that I ordered from Etsy (also used these to decorate the monster punch & anything else that needed eyes or a scary mouth!

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Mini monster jello.  Plastic cups & eye stickers from the Dollar Store

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I made this Monster ONE sign with some crafts from the Dollar Store & Michaels

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Monster Punch

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Monster water bottle labels I ordered from Etsy

 

How did we ever have parties before Etsy & Pinterest?! 😉  It makes it so easy to have a fun and simple DIY themed birthday!

Thank you for reading!

Shannon xx

 

German Plum Cake (Pflaumenkuchen)

Happy Monday everyone!  We made this plum cake a few weeks back (twice actually because it got inhaled the first time… lol!)  It is just too good not to share 🙂  Let me know if you have a chance to try it!

My husbands German plum-cake recipe, just like Oma and Opa used to make!

U-Pick Plums
Our U- Pick Plums

Directions:

Start with the simple dough recipe:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup of butter (3/4 a stick)
  • a pinch of salt (1/16 teaspoon)

Mix the above ingredients into a bowl, cutting the butter into small chunks.

  • 1 egg
  • Milk (read below)

In a small measuring cup, crack the egg, and then fill to 1/2 cup with milk. As the size of eggs can vary, it works out roughly to 3 oz of milk. Beat the egg and milk together.

  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mixed together to make your dough.

  • 18 – 20 plums (late summer, fall fresh picked Italian Plums) cut into quarters, pit removed.

Spread the dough over a thin cookie sheet. The dough is supposed to be thin, similar to a thick crust pizza. Layer the plum quarters on top, overlapping each row cut side up.

  • Bake at 350 to 360 degrees for an hour, edges should be golden brown

Remove from oven, and let sit for 5 minutes, you’ll notice the plums will start sweating, at that point sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of sugar on top. This adds a nice contrast to the tart of the plums with some sweetness!

Making German Plum Cake (Pflaumenkuchen)

German Plum Cake (Pflaumenkuchen)German Plum Cake (Pflaumenkuchen)

German Plum Cake (Pflaumenkuchen)

 

This is a really delicious cake and it definitely does not last very long in our house!! Hope you enjoy 🙂

 

Thank you for reading!

Shannon xx

Apple Picking!

I love summer so much but one of the things I enjoy about the beginning of Fall is taking the kids apple picking 🙂  We are lucky enough to have a couple local farms to choose from.  Our first trip this year was to Willow View Farms.  We actually managed to get there on opening day for apples and plums.  It is such a fun place to visit.  There is the cutest little general store where you can get delicious apple cider slushies, pies, syrups, fresh corn, potatoes, adorable crocheted toques and so on!  Later into the fall there is a petting zoo,  hayrides and a pumpkin patch that opens so you can guarantee this won’t be our last trip of the season.  We usually visit quite a few times as the kids love running around, picking their own fruit (and later choosing their pumpkins), feeding the chickens and petting all the animals!  It is a great place for a family outing, you can easily make a day of it.  There is a covered picnic area where you can bring lunch and a big climb on play area for kids.  I love this farm because it is family run and you do not have to pay any sore of admission to get in, you just pay for the fruit you pick.

Willow view farmsWillow view Farms

My strong boy, pulling the wagon out to the U-Pick field
My strong boy, pulling the wagon out to the U-Pick field

You Pick ApplesWillow View farmsU-Pick Plums

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The U-Pick Apple Field
The U-Pick Apple Field
Riding the tractor.. his favourite!
Riding the tractor… his favourite!
Enjoying an Apple Cider Slushie!
Enjoying an Apple Cider Slushie!

 

*Update: Since I wrote this post, Willow View Farms actually had a devastating fire that destroyed their country store and cooler building!! They have managed to reopen for U-pick, but if you are thinking about visiting I would recommend checking out their website for updates!  Wishing them a speedy rebuild!  They can probably use local support now more than ever 🙂

Thank you for reading!

Shannon xx

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Sangria Popsicles!

We threw my son’s first birthday party a couple of weekends ago.  I felt that I needed to make my girlfriends something yummy to drink to thank them for coming to celebrate with us on a beautiful, sunny Summer Saturday so I whipped up a big batch of pink sangria.  Being as it was a huge bowl that we were not able to get through, there was a bit leftover so I decided to turn it into “adult popsicles!”

Sangria Ingredients: 

  • Bottle of Wine
  • 3 cups of Vodka
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 4 cups of water (to cut some of the sweetness)
  • 2 cans of lemon Sanpellegrino- I like it to have a bit of fizz
  • 1 frozen can of juice (I used Strawberry Fruitpoia because that is what I had in my freezer!)

(Please remember this made a GIANT punchbowl full of Sangria!)

Directions:

  • Place all of your berries in a bowl & pour vodka overtop (I like to leave my fruit to soak overnight in the fridge)
  • In a large punch bowl (or pitcher) pour in the wine
  • Add fruit mixture & vodka to your bowl
  • Pour in frozen juice, water & sanpellegrino
  • Stir to mix all the yumminess together & enjoy over ice!

I’ve found that sangria will usually keep for up to 48 hours in the fridge, but in this case I had just enough to pour it into 6 popsicle molds…. They were delicious and super simple to make!  The only tricky part was explaining to my children why they couldn’t eat “Mommy’s popsicles”… lol!

Making Sangria Popsicles

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Popsicle Cheers :))

 

Thank you for reading!

Shannon xx

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Lunch at the Winery!

What better thing to do on a beautiful Friday afternoon then have a delicious lunch with a couple of my best girlfriends at one of our local wineries?! Maybe follow that lunch up with a wine tasting? Sounds like a plan!  That is exactly what I was fortunate enough to do a few weeks back and it was fabulous.  My two girlfriends and I met up at the Bacchus Bistro at the Chaberton Estate Winery.  We sat out on their lovely little back patio in the sunshine with a glass of wine and a light lunch.  When we finished up our meals we unanimously decided that we were not finished visiting yet and should probably stroll over to the wine shop and do a quick tasting ;))

For the wine tasting you get to choose from 4 of their available offered monthly selections for a fee of $5.00.  Upon purchase of a bottle, the fee is waived.  I am a fan of sweeter white wines and their Reserve Siegerrebe is one of my favourites!  Quite honestly, I enjoy most of their wines.  Let’s just say I have yet to pay the tasting fee on any of my visits as I tend to leave with a few bottles in hand!  Chaberton is one of my favourite local spots to go.

I have a couple more wineries close to home that I plan to visit before the summer is over… Stay tuned!

Blue Linen & Chambray off the shoulder dressesBacchus Bistro at Chaberton estate wineryLunch at DomaineChambray off the shoulder dressChaberton estate winery Langley, BCin the vines at Chaberton Estate Winery Langley BCChambray off the shoulder, Green maxi dressesLunch at Domaine- Tasting Room

If you have any favourite sweeter whites or Rosés to suggest to me, I am always looking for new favourite wines!

Thank you for reading!

Shannon xx