Monday, 30 April 2012


One of my must-haves for this summer? A staple for summer music festival-goers: the fringe bag. But, even if you didn't go to Coachella and aren't planning to hit up Lollapalooza, it doesn't mean you can't take fringe to the streets. Take a cue from these gals, who show you how a little fringe can add some boho chic to any outfit. 

Basic black fringe and on a budget? No problem, go here for style and a deal.

Go for low-slung and suede like Vanessa Hudgens, find hers here or try this one.

Don't want all-over fringe, but still want fringe detailing? This one's for you.

What about this saddlebag-style with embroidered detailing? Find a similar one here or another cute option here.

Or go for colour like Ashley Tisdale. Find a bright blue one here.

What's your favourite pick? Or do you have another summer bag trend that you're gushing over?

Monday, 23 April 2012


My thesis is due in one week, which means that this week is going to be a very busy one. The one thing keeping me sane other than my dearest family and friends? Dinner breaks--trying to think up delicious dinners that are quick and easy to make.

Here are some of the things I've cooked up in the past couple of weeks (recipes to come!):

Chicken Fried Rice with Egg, Veggies, & Coconut Milk

Spicy Chicken Stir Fry with Peppers & Soba Noodles

Braised Chicken Thighs with Tomatoes, Red Onion, Garlic, & Olives

Steamed Mussels with White Wine, Garlic, & Tomatoes

For all those cramming for exams and working on end-of-term projects (or anyone else who has just had a long, hard day), what are your favourite ways to de-stress?

Wednesday, 18 April 2012


Today marks the one year anniversary of Tomfoolery & Bright! I started my blog a year ago today as a place where I could share all of the things I love--fashion, food and nutrition, health and wellness, styling, fitness, DIY, and so much more. While I continue to grow, I want to thank everyone who has read my blog (you know who you are!). So many of you are friends and family I know and love, and who discuss my blog content with me in person. Others of you come from far away and send me lovely e-mails expressing how much you love the blog. To all, I thank you!

Happy reading! (I love your feedback)

Friday, 13 April 2012


This week at Tomfoolery & Bright: 

Heidi Swanson's Grain-ola with a twist
every body is different, find what works for you
and Quinoa with Sautéed Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Red Onion, & Cilantro 

It's going to be a lazy days kind of weekend. That's code for "I think it's going to rain". 

What are your favourite things to do on a rainy day? 

images via sequined serpent, salt water wishes, and pinterest


With my extra busy schedule lately, I've been eating a lot of quinoa. It's so easy to cook up a great big pot, add some veggies, and voilà (!) lunches to last you throughout the week. 
Here's an effortlessly delicious recipe that you can put together in a flash:

Quinoa with Sautéed Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Red Onion, & Cilantro 

1 1/2 cups quinoa, uncooked
3 1/2 cups water
2 cups mushrooms, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup green olives, pitted and sliced lengthwise
handful of cilantro, chopped
olive oil
salt and pepper
fresh lemon juice (optional)

1. Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a medium-sized pot. Turn down to medium, cover, and let simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a frying pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil and sauté mushrooms until golden brown.

3. Once quinoa is cook, fluff with a fork. Add mushrooms, tomatoes, onion, olives, and cilantro. Mix well.

3. Dress quinoa mixture with olive oil and salt and pepper, to taste. Drizzle with fresh lemon juice just before serving, if desired.

Makes 5 servings. 

Try This: Quinoa can be prepared sweet or savoury. Get creative in the kitchen and let me know your favourite way to enjoy quinoa!

Thursday, 12 April 2012


Last week, I briefly touched on the importance of nutritional literacy--and how, in a world like the one we live in today, consumers are constantly bombarded with nutritional information that is often contradictory and that which leads to ‘nutritional confusion’. And, as I pointed out, it is important for individuals to educate themselves about health and nutrition in order to lessen the confusion. That’s possible, right? Ultimately, to be nutritionally literate is to self-educate, to learn about and to understand health and nutrition information, including the sources that are providing this information, and finally, to recognize that there is no absolute. Nutritional information is in constant flux. And, what works for one person might not (probably won’t) work for another. As I mentioned in my previous post, health and nutrition is personal.

(warning: this is a long one)

Lately, my friend W has been asking me a lot of questions about her own health and nutrition. She, like so many of us, is looking to tone up and get beach body ready for the coming (warmer) months. And, like so many of us, W is confused. Out of all the people I’ve met who are either really into nutrition and/or fitness, W has read a lot about either topic and while I consider this a good thing (educate yourself, right!?), it can also be a cause for concern when you’re led astray. How many calories am I supposed to consume in a day? Should I be exercising more or less? And, the big question that W has: if I am eating healthy and exercising regularly, why aren't I seeing results?

With W's permission, I wanted to share some of the concerns that she has been having in terms of diet and nutrition. When it comes to being nutritionally literate, W is not uninformed about certain foods and products--in fact, I would argue quite the opposite--however, because of her vast knowledge about various diets and meal plans, she is confused about what to eat (and when). W leads a very active lifestyle--she loves to run and practice Pilates, she often joins me for boot camp and boxing classes every week. But she just doesn’t know what to consume in order to sustain her energy levels, burn fat, and develop lean muscles in the process. Recently, she described a day of meals to me. And, we’ve talked about different recipes and things we like to eat. She’s no stranger to healthy foods (like real, whole foods). She strays away from ‘bad’ sugars and ‘bad’ fats. But, W still claims that she isn’t seeing results in terms of her physical appearance (personally, I think she looks great--but everyone is their own worst critic, right?). So, she’s supposedly eating really healthy (oatmeal for breakfast, salads for lunch, eggs and cheese for snacks, etc.) and working out lots, but nothing’s happening?
Well, I have a few pieces of advice that I can offer, take 'em or leave 'em. Based on personal experience, I can tell you that if you’re working out consistently and the workouts are difficult (whatever that may be to you), you need to make sure that what you are putting into your body is going support what you are putting out. The boot camp classes that W and I have been doing recently are not easy. I consider myself a fairly fit person, particularly when it comes to high intensity workouts such as boxing and HIIT (high-intensity interval training), but even I find these classes challenging. If you are doing some form of exercise that requires a ton of energy, you need to be replenishing whatever energy is being used. I think a huge problem for a lot of women who exercise and who are looking to burn fat and gain lean muscle is that they don’t eat enough. They often need more calories than they are consuming in order to support their workouts and then see results. That said, for some people who are looking to lose weight, a low-calorie diet might be an option. It really depends on what results you are looking for and your body composition. Remember, every body is different.

For W's diet, my main piece of advice was to include lean protein with every meal. For whatever reason, I think a lot of people--at least in my experience--dismiss protein whenever consuming a meal or snack. But protein is what helps you feel full over a long period of time. True, the right fats (healthy, unsaturated fats) and dietary fibre (from whole grains and produce) can also help to slow down digestion and keep you full for a lot longer than say, saturated fats or simple sugars found in processed foods. But, if you include lean protein with every meal, you can avoid excess calories and ward off hunger. Some of my favourite sources for lean protein include:

Eggs and/or egg whites
Raw nuts
Almond or soy milk
Whey protein
Plain, low-fat yoghurt
Canned tuna
Beans, such as garbanzo or black beans
Chicken breast or thighs
Pork tenderloin
Beef flank steak
Salmon or basa filets

What's your favourite source of lean protein?
Something else that W isn't sure about is consuming carbohydrates (what I will refer to as ‘bready carbs’, because let’s face it, carbohydrates are basically in, when I say carbohydrates, I mean grains and starches). First of all, anyone who tells you that they don’t like carbohydrates is lying. I love carbohydrates, and if you’re going to support hard sessions at the gym (even if you’re just going to do yoga!), you need this super nutrient. I think that a common mistake is that people consume these ‘bready carbs’ covered in unhealthy fat, salt, and sugar or that their portion sizes are too large, and this is why they do not see results at the gym or they try to cut carbohydrates all together and find their body later craves them. This is not to say that you cannot follow a low-carbohydrate diet--for some, this actually benefits weight loss. It also depends on your activity level. If you're really unsure about your carbohydrate consumption, talk to a nutritionist. Otherwise, join me with some of my favourite 'bready carbs' carbohydrates:

Brown rice
Steel cut oats
Sweet and/or regular potatoes
Soba noodles
Brown rice pasta
Rice noodles
Whole corn tortillas

I now follow a gluten-free diet, but for anyone who is not gluten-free, I would recommend consuming whole grains. Check the package, especially for pastas and breads--manufacturers are good at sneaking in unhealthy ingredients like 'enriched wheat flour'.

Since W was a little unsure about introducing more carbohydrates into her diet in order to support her increased workout--as she has been following a fairly low-carb diet for a while, but at the same time feels that she isn't seeing results--I recommended that she start the day with a ‘bready carb’ like oatmeal, include another carb like brown rice or sweet potato with her lunch, and then taper off the end of the day with lean protein and vegetables for dinner sans 'bready carbs'. But again, do what works for you. I often eat brown rice or potatoes with my dinner as well--everything in moderation, right?

Then, there’s fruit. W has heard from numerous sources that fruit should be eliminated from one’s diet when trying to lose weight and tone up. Me? I couldn’t imagine cutting fruit from my diet. First, my mum’s side of the family are fruit farmers—my grandparents, and now my uncle have maintained a beautiful fruit orchard in the B.C. Okanagan. I spent summers there as a child, getting lost amongst the trees, picking cherries, and playing baseball with rotten apples. Okay, the last memory is not so admirable. The point is, I love fruit. Since eliminating refined sugars from my diet, I’ve become a firm believer in the whole “fruit, Mother Nature’s candy”. It really is. Have you ever eaten pineapple in Jamaica? I don't really know if pineapple has any super food-worthy health benefits, but it's certainly tasty. That said, there are tons of fruit that do have health benefits, and so I think everyone should include a little fruit in their lives. Now, I know the issue with fruit is that some may think it is high in sugar. True, if you’re diabetic, you might have to watch your intake of too much fruit. For everyone else, though, there are a lot worse things that you could be consuming (ahem, refined sugar). Eat an apple.

In the end, though, W and I both agree that in order to be healthy, happy, and see results, the most important thing is to have a positive attitude. If you are eating healthy and you maintain an active lifestyle, then know that you're doing all that is required and you'll quickly start to feel and look good (trust me on this one).
This blog post simply shares one example of some common assumptions that individuals make when considering health and nutrition. Only after trying the whole 'low-calorie, low-fat' fad years ago myself and then struggling for years after to find the appropriate balance that now exists in my diet today, I am able to comment and critique the 'nutritional confusion' in which so many people find themselves. 

I, in no way, intend for readers to follow any of the advice given. We are all unique and we all have different nutritional requirements. Educate yourself and discover what works for you as an individual.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012


Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks has to be one of the first food and recipe blogs that I ever started following. I don't even remember how I came across the website, but what I do remember is falling in love with so many of her recipes and learning from her tips and tricks in the kitchen, like how to build a natural foods pantry (Thanks, Heidi!).

In addition to her blog, Heidi has also published two cookbooks, Super Natural Cooking and Super Natural Everyday. I don't own either--although I should, in mere support of the gal--but I recently checked out Super Natural Cooking from my local library and jotted down a few of her famed recipes in my notebook, recipes for Spring Minestrone with Wild Rice and Otsu, a soba noodle dish dressed with pan-fried tofu and a ginger sesame sauce (a recipe that can also be found on her website--lucky you!). One recipe that I got right at work re-creating in my kitchen, though, is for Heidi's Grain-ola.

You may remember a while back I posted a recipe for my Un-Granola Granola--basically just raisins, nuts, and coconut, but a delicious topping to yoghurt nonetheless. And, let's not forget, completely gluten-free and paleo-friendly! For those of you who are okay with consuming grains, though (or if not, get gluten-free rolled oats instead!), I put together this recipe for a fabulous granola that's easy to make and can be stored for weeks (or days, depending on how long it lasts in your home!).

Grain-ola with Goji Berries & Mango
adapted from Super Natural Cooking

2 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3/4 cup dried unsweetened mango, chopped
1/4 cup goji berries
zest of 1 large lemon
1/4 cup agave 
1/8 cup coconut oil

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients.

2. Place agave and oil in a small saucepan. Heat on low until well combined. Once combined, pour over dry mixture and coat evenly.

3. Divide mixture evenly between two small baking sheets. Place in oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until golden brown, turning mixture about every 10 minutes.

4. Remove from oven and let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Makes about 5 cups.

Try This: First of all, I recommend doubling the recipe if you have the space (and the mouths) to store and enjoy this lovely mixture. R doesn't eat granola, so I only made enough for myself.

Enjoy this granola with your favourite yoghurt or milk. And for other ideas, why not pack in baggies for snacks? Or, add to uncooked baked goods like muffins or other sweet breads for a faux streusel topping!

Friday, 6 April 2012


Happy Easter, everyone! How will you be spending the holiday weekend? Other than getting some work done on my thesis (I'm in the final edits!), I'll be spending time with family and friends, and I think maybe some goodie-making. Every year, R's family gets together for a big Easter dinner and I think it's my turn to bring along some baking.

Here is what's inspiring me now:

What do you think? Should I go for an ombre cake with whipped cream and strawberries? Or pastel layers with an easy meringue buttercream frosting? How about strawberry shortcake in a jar? Om nom nom. Maybe I should just stick to my specialty cupcakes? I'll let you know by the end of the weekend! 

In the meantime, here's what you may have missed this past week at Tomfoolery & Bright:

do you dare to mix your prints this season? 
one potato, two potato, three potato, more! My (gluten-free) Sweet Potato Latkes recipe
start your day with a healthy indulgence, the Chocolate Monster 
and the importance of nutritional literacy (or something like it)

Have a fabulous weekend, friends!

images via babble, call me cupcake, picky palate, and pinterest    

Thursday, 5 April 2012


I'm still surprised with the number of people who are uninformed about health and nutrition. Especially with the rise of obesity and chronic illness facing North Americans today, you would think that more individuals would have a greater concern for their health. From what I've observed, there is still a vast amount of ignorance about the topic of health and nutrition. And even when people think they are informed, they're often just confused.

Whether it's because I'm writing my thesis on nutritional literacy and the idea that the lack of nutritional literacy prevalent in society today is a threat to consumer health, or because I'm recognized by many of my friends and family as leading (or at least trying to lead) a healthy lifestyle--particularly with regards to diet and fitness--I get a ton of questions about what's 'healthy', what's not, what people should be consuming, what kind of exercises they should be doing, why they aren't losing/gaining weight, etc.

Well, I'm no nutritionist. I'm also not a personal trainer. But I do read a lot about either topic and through my own experiences with trainers, nutritionists, and medical professionals, I have obtained a great deal of information (not to mention, it is part of my thesis). Whether or not this information is adequate, though, is up to me (the consumer) to decide. Ahem, and you.

'Nutritional confusion' is a term first developed by sociologist Gyorgy Scrinis and later popularized by scientific writer Michael Pollan. The term describes the state in which consumers find themselves when faced with constant, often contradicting nutritional information. This confusion is dangerous insofar that it perpetuates an ignorance about nutrition. Even for someone who tries to stay informed about health and nutrition, I'm often faced with an uncertainty about a particular food or health product (often because of contradicting information) and have to either do further research to uncover more information about this so-called product and/or make a personal judgement call about whether or not I think this product is worthwhile.

When friends and family ask me about particular foods, diet plans, fitness routines...I always offer my informed opinion, but I also encourage them to research whatever it is on their own or or to seek the help of other individuals well versed in the topic or even professionals who might be able to offer some guidance. Health and nutrition is personal. The ways in which one person conducts his or her life in terms of diet and fitness is not necessarily going to be the same for another person. This is why I think self-education is so important. Individual health and nutrition should start here. Whether through literature or with the help of others, every person must find what works for him or her. You can try different diets (vegetarian, vegan, raw, low-carb, gluten-free, paleo), try different eating routines (several experts recommend six small meals a day to keep your metabolism boosted and your blood sugar levels at bay, but some people do just fine with four meals a day?)...whatever it is, every body is different. Find out what works for you. 

Stay tuned for more on this topic, including my take on health and nutrition. 

Wednesday, 4 April 2012


Here's another one of my new favourite shakes coming at 'ya. It's chocolate-y delicious. It might as well be iced hot chocolate (in fact, it would be divine if warmed and enjoyed as hot chocolate), and it's my Chocolate Monster.

Okay, before you get too excited, it's basically my Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie with one extra ingredient: cocoa. But oh baby, does cocoa ever work wonders. 

Chocolate Monster

1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup low-fat plain yoghurt
1 heaping tbsp. dark cocoa powder (Dutch-processed cocoa is perfect)
1 tbsp. agave nectar (or other liquid sweetener of your choice)
1 banana

1. Place all ingredients in blender.

2. Blend until smooth. Serve over ice, and enjoy!

Try This: This shake is so rich and chocolate-y, I really do think that it would make a wonderful hot cocoa option. Once combined, place mixture in a small pot and heat on low-medium until warm? Give it a try and tell me how it turns out! 


What started as me wanting to make a few potato latkes for dinner turned into me and the cat having a latke-making party. No one told me the difference between a medium and a large potato! 

I accidentally made way too many of these the other night. But that's okay. Despite R having been away, I still managed to eat them all. Over the course of three days, that is!

Sweet Potato Latkes

2 medium or 1 huge sweet potato, peeled 
2 eggs
1/4 cup coconut flour 
1/4 cup ground flax seed
salt and pepper

1. Using a cheese grater or a food processor, finely grate potatoes. Once grated, transfer potatoes to a few layered sheets of paper towel--this is to absorb all of that extra moisture in the potatoes. Try to squeeze as much liquid out. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl.

2. In same bowl, add eggs, flour, flax seed, and salt and pepper. Combine well.

3. Heat a large pan on medium-high with about a 1/4-inch of coconut oil covering the bottom of the pan. Form small potato patties and place in hot oil. Fry each latke for about 2 to 3 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of your patties. 

4. Once the latkes are cooked, remove from hot oil and place on a plate lined with paper towel--this will help to absorb any excess oil. Season hot latkes with sea salt.  

5. Continue to cook latkes until all of potato mixture is used. Serve immediately with plain yoghurt and unsweetened (homemade!) apple sauce.

Makes a whole lotta latkes. 

Try This: I actually made latkes using both sweet potatoes and regular potatoes. I found the sweet potato latkes tasted better the next day cold! Okay, maybe that's just me.

Monday, 2 April 2012


What's hot this season? Mixing prints. From tie-dyes, graphics, and Aztec prints to stripes, florals, and polka-dots,  skip the matchy matchy and go wild with unexpected combinations.

Whitney Port's cute printed shorts with a loose-fitted tee.

Danni of Denj's nautical-floral look.

This bright coloured clutch gets this season's approval, but what about floral on floral?

Finish off your mixed prints look with bright accessories like Blake.

More mixing, less matching. Happy Monday!

images via denj, tuula, pop sugar, and pinterest