Saturday, February 9, 2019

Motherhood: First Trimester Pregnancy Must Haves

A Few of My Favourite Things to See You Through the First Trimester

Every stage of the pregnancy journey so far has been awe-inspiring and challenging in its own way.

Captured by Oottum Fine Photography

When I think back to the beginning though, I think the first trimester was the scariest.

It is a time of excitement and anticipation but there's also the fear of the unknown, the faith you need to muster that things will work out...and if you decide to keep the news to yourselves for awhile, like we did - there's also a sense of loneliness.

It can be an isolating time when you're feeling all these new sensations but cannot talk to your friends about it, since you have yet to make an announcement. That was honestly, something I found to be extremely difficult as a first-timer.

Captured by Oottum Fine Photography

I turned to Youtube quite a bit to ease my apprehension and to get through a time when I needed to "talk," but wasn't ready to share.

It really helped to watch videos of other girls discussing their favourite items, their symptoms and their pregnancy updates week by week.

As a Youtuber myself, I knew I would want to return the favour when I could. So here is my first Youtube Pregnancy video. I plan to do a short series of my favourite things to get me through different stages and will add on videos as they are requested.

In this first video, I'm talking about my favourite foods, clothing and products that got me through the first three months.

I hope that these little updates will help other ladies who are trying to conceive or navigating various phases of the journey to Motherhood.
If you're struggling through this period, I'd suggest some good books, a few binge watching sessions on Netflix, lots of rest/relaxation and healthy eats. Use the time to reconnect with yourself and recenter as much as possible and you will get through it.

Lots of love and all the positive vibes for a peaceful and healthy journey ahead...



Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Recipe: Moroccan Orange Salad

Travelling Through Taste

One of my favourite souvenirs of my travels are photos. The other- recipes and dinner inspiration. I love trying different foods when I'm exploring but even more so - I love playing around in my kitchen once I'm home again to try to recreate the different dishes I've tasted abroad.

Visiting Morocco was amazing because there were so many delicious foods to eat and try - many of them were ones featuring fruits and vegetables.

Since it's a freezing February day, I thought I'd share this recipe which takes me back to the exotic rooftop restaurants of Marrakech.

This dish was literally a show stopper and the reason was the spice blend that was sprinkled on top: Ras-El-Hanout. In Arabic it means, "the best of the shop" and is often a combination of cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, anise, mace and various peppers. All I knew, was I wasn't leaving Marrakech without a bag full of these fresh ground spices in my luggage.

If you don't have Ras-El-Hanout, you can get a similar taste by using cinnamon.

This dish can be served as a super simple salad or as a light and refreshing dessert plate.

Either way, it's an incredible combination of spice and sweetness, which always transports me back to Morocco.

Moroccan Orange Salad

Serves 2
Preparation time: 10 minutes


2 navel oranges, peeled and sliced
1 tsp. Ras El Hanout or Cinnamon
1 tbsp. crushed pistachio
1 tbsp. pomegranate seeds
mint for garnish

Step 1) Arrange the sliced oranges on a beautiful plate. (You eat with your eyes first)
Step 2) Sprinkle the spices, pistachios and pomegranates over the oranges.
Step 3) Garnish with mint leaves.


It's really that simple. Just one word of advice, slow down and really taste the flavour combination if
you do make this at home- for a minute, you may just forget that you haven't left your kitchen.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Update: Something Sweet is Baking...

Something Sweet is Baking...

It's been a little quiet over here on the blog these days, I know. But there's a very good reason. I've been working on a little baking project that has taken a lot of my time and energy these days - and it truly deserves it.

There's a little bun in the oven!

My hubby and I are super excited, grateful and blessed to share that we will be expecting our first baby in late February of 2019.

For those of you who have been through this life phase before, you know that it is truly all encompassing and life-changing!

While we are very conscious of holding on to our life and who we are as people, we know that this is a time of transition and nurturing a new identity- we're becoming parents!

I am feeling all of the feels these days- excited, nervous, anxious, hopeful...

Babies truly are a miracle and walking this path has clearly shown me just how many things have to go right to get to the place where you can hold your baby in your arms.

We are so conscious of that, and that's why I have been waiting to share this news - it's a journey of uncertainty and one where you just have to stay positive and take one step at a time.

If you are reading this and in your own time of waiting and praying- know that we are sending you positive vibes for some great news to come your way too.

While I am taking some time to really be present in this life-changing moment of our life, I
am definitely looking forward to sharing more of our parenting journey on the blog in a new section called "Family".

The Lifestyle File began as a food blog but over the years has really become a part of me, including all the things that make me feel alive. We as a community have grown together over the last five years. So as I adapt to this new role in life, I will continue to share my favourite food, travel and lifestyle tips here but it makes sense for me to also include bits and pieces of my journey to motherhood, tips and tricks as well as products that make the transition easier.

Also- we are open to advice from other parents on their own journey. If you have a suggestion, tip or insight please let us know- it takes a village and we need ours too!

So Dear Readers, thank you for all your love and support always and I look forward to this new year, new beginning and new job description.

Thanks for joining on my journey and for the positive vibes along the way.

Wishing you all a warm and bright start to 2019 too!

A special thank you to @oottum / OOTTUM FINE Photography/ for collaborating on this post with their stunning photography. 

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Recipe: Baked Apples with a Turkey Sausage Stuffing

Sweet and Savoury Stuffed Apples

If you're like me, you look for any excuse to extend the festive season and that includes Thanksgiving. A traditional turkey dinner is my absolute favourite meal of the year and there's no way I'd be satisfied unless the combination of sweet and savoury flavours ended up on my dining table multiple times during the year.

That's why I'm always looking for ways to bring that festive feeling to my table with recipes that are quick, healthy and simple enough for a weeknight. 

I have to say, I'm pretty proud of my latest experiment - a stuffed, baked apple with Lilydale's Turkey Breakfast Sausage. It was delicious and made for an amazing side dish at my Dad's birthday dinner. The combination of sausage and apples is perfection if you ask me - and these are easy enough for anyone to prepare on any day of the week!

So get ready to wow your dinner guests - this dish will definitely bring all the special occasion vibes to your table. 

The Star of the Dish: Turkey Breakfast Sausage

I was so excited to partner with Lilydale on this post and found their turkey breakfast sausage to be the perfect star for my dish!

Lilydale is a brand I trust in my kitchen - with 75 years under their belt, they are well-known in the culinary world for their premium products. (They use only responsibly farmed, nitrite-free, 100% Canadian turkey and chicken.)

Bonus- in addition to their variety of breakfast sausages, they also have seasoned, oven-roasted turkey breast available - perfect for those days you're craving a special meal but don't want to slave away in the kitchen for six hours roasting a turkey. 

The ready to eat oven-roasted turkey breast would also be perfect for weekday lunches or dinners and I'm planning to use it in wraps, on salads and in pasta dishes too!

But first thing's first - you have to make these amazing stuffed, baked apples for your next big get-together. I'm willing to bet you'll have some very happy guests.

Baked Apples with a Turkey Sausage Stuffing 

Makes 10 individual servings
Preparation Time: 40 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes


1 package Lilydale Turkey Breakfast Sausage
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
10 small apples (I used gala)
2 pieces of bread, toasted and buttered
1 Tbsp canola oil
3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme, stripped
1 lemon wedge
salt and pepper
pomegranate seeds or cranberry sauce to garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit


Step 1) Using a sharp knife, cut the casings of the Lilydale Turkey Breakfast Sausages and discard. Place the turkey sausage in a bowl and then mash it with a fork.

Step 2) Add salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Mix to combine.

Step 3) Prepare the apples by making a cut at the top (about a centimetre from the top)  and a smaller cut at the bottom to create a flat surface for the apple to sit on as it bakes.

Step 4) Using a melon baller or a spoon, scoop out the core and middle portion of the apple. 

Step 5) Squeeze lemon juice on the cut portions of the apples to prevent browning. After a few minutes, remove the excess juice from the apples and season the insides with light salt and pepper. 

Step 6) In a pan, heat the oil on medium. Add the chopped onions and brown. Add the Lilydale Turkey Breakfast sausage to the pan and mix to combine it with the onions. 

Step 7) Prepare the toast and cut it into small cubes.

Step 8) Add the cubed bread to the pan and mix to combine. Add a splash or two of water to help the bread combine with the meat. Let it cook for a few minutes but you don't want the turkey sausage to be more than halfway cooked. 

Step 9) Using a spoon, stuff each apple with the turkey sausage and bread mixture. Add some thyme to the top of each apple. Place the apples on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Step 10) Bake the apples for about 20 minutes or until the apples are tender. 

Step 11) Remove them from the oven and transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with fresh thyme and pomegranate seeds or cranberry sauce. 

Let's Dig in!

These baked, stuffed apples are guaranteed to make your house smell amazing and they make a delicious side dish or even an entree if you serve two to each person. 

These are such a pretty little showstopper and the taste is worth the little bit of extra effort that it takes to make them. I served these with Lilydale's Seasoned Oven-Roasted Turkey Breast, some mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans. It was the perfect way to make a holiday meal a little more accessible for the everyday. 

And trust me, now that this recipe is under my belt, you'd better believe it's going to be getting festive a lot more often around here.

Hope you try this recipe for yourself and let me know how it turns out! Leave me a comment below or on Instagram @angeliesood

A special thank you to my friends at Lilydale for partnering on this blog post. As always - all views and opinions are my own. 

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Lifestyle: Five Things I've Learned in the First Five Years of Marriage

Learning With Love - A Five Year Reflection

On October 20th 2013, my husband and I tied the knot. It was a beautiful, meaningful ceremony and we were surrounded by the love of friends, family and well-wishers. We were ready, committed and excited to begin our lives together. 

But now, looking back, I realize what a leap of faith that was - because how much can you truly know about being married until you actually live it for yourself?

Experience is a great teacher and I think now I can say, I've learned and grown so much since our wedding day, five years ago.

I'm so thankful for the challenges, windy roads and twists and turns, because those have brought us to where we are today - my husband is my best friend in every sense of the word. 

So what are some of the big lessons that 5 years of marriage have taught me? Sharing them below as a personal reflection on this milestone anniversary. 

1) The first year is the hardest

Yes, you're in the honeymoon phase, but you also get hit with the reality of sharing a life with someone. It's challenging to combine schedules, family time, your likes/dislikes, the finances and to learn all sorts of things about one another that you couldn't have known until you shared a roof. 

My hubby, for instance, learned that I need to be reminded to turn off the lights in a room once I leave and that all of the kitchen cabinets will remain open while I make a big meal. I learned that he wants to watch sports or listen to music at all times and is meticulous about putting things away.

The first year is a great lesson in bonding and romance but you also end up discovering all those little habits that can get under your skin, leading to arguments and annoyance. It's tough and you may even wonder if you ever really knew the person at all. All I can say, is ride it out and get to number 2.

2) Acceptance is Key

One of the biggest lessons I've learned is how to accept your partner for who they really are. Not the person you met on dates or at parties but the person they are all the time - at home with their family, at home alone, at work, in social settings, when they are happy or feeling low - the first year gives you a glimpse into who your person is on so many levels - and who YOU are. Seeing yourself up close and through someone else's point of view, is extremely eye-opening. 

Accepting yourself and your spouse for who he/she is and digesting each other's quirks takes time and endurance. This lesson was one of the most important ones for me, because it gets you to a place where you can be at peace with who you are as individuals and begin to establish who you will be, going forward, as a married couple. If you can start to laugh lightheartedly at the quirks (yours and his/hers), you're getting into a good place.

3) You're Two Different People

This one sounds like rocket science, I know, but really - marriage or any relationship, is about two separate people with different interests, personalities, upbringings, experiences and skill-sets coming together and trying to walk as one.

It will take awhile to walk step by step and get a rhythm. It's healthy to disagree at times and you learn to remind yourself that you can't expect someone to think or react exactly like you under every different set of circumstances.

Learning to celebrate what makes us different, aka giving up on "being right," was tough in practice because we had no idea we were doing it! Once we began to expect the other to have an alternate view, the more happily surprised we were when we seamlessly agreed on something. 

4) Communicating is hard but well worth it

I've heard my whole life how important communication is. Learning to communicate in marriage though, means so much more because there are a lot of tough conversations that have to take place to build a life together. You won't always agree and how you get your point across becomes extremely important. Not only in disagreements, but also in expressing your love and happiness. Two books I read early on, which really helped internalize this lesson were Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus  by John Gray and The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. They won't make you an incredible communicator overnight (I'm still working at my own skills), but both are excellent reads that affirm how individuals communicate differently and how we all receive love in different ways. 

5) Changing your thinking from 'Me' to 'We'

I think one of the greatest lessons I learned in these five years is that it takes time to go from the single mindset to one of togetherness. No matter how long you've known the person you're with, or how well you know him or her, this is a life transition that takes time - your brain literally has to rewire to work for your new life and goals.

I am one of the most compassionate, family-minded people you will meet, but it still took some time to truly understand how to adjust my expectations and actions to suit my partner's needs (and I'm sure he'd say the same).

Going from me to we is a shift that happens gradually; communicating and trying to put yourself in the other's shoes really helped with this one. 

It's only now that I really understand what our family priest, Pt. Bhoj, said at our wedding ceremony five years ago: "(it's about) no longer saying MY parents, YOUR parents, MY family, YOUR family - it is OUR parents and OUR family and OUR life together, starting from now."

And really, I couldn't have said it better. 

Looking forward...

These are just some of the more important lessons I've learned in these past five years being married to my love and forever friend. Sitting down to write this post was so important to me, in reflection and appreciation of all the growth that has taken place for me as an individual and all the changes that we have gone through together as a pair.

Have to thank him for walking through this journey with me - it's not always easy and by no means perfect, but as we are learning; year by year, challenge by challenge, it only becomes more meaningful and more and more worth it with time. 

Here's to all of the growth, challenges and changes in all of the beautiful years to come - cheers! 

A special thank you to the talented Joti From Oottum Fine Photography for partnering with me on this post with our 5 year anniversary photos. As always, all views and opinions are my own.