My journey to a healthier me

Tales of my life

Recipe: Turkey Veggie Stew

This is something I make a lot.  It’s quick and easy and you can add anything to it.  Each time I make it, it tastes a little bit different.  That’s the great thing about soups and stews.

I like to post on Facebook what I’m making for the week.  I don’t know why, I just do.  Anyway, I’ve been making this stew for several weeks now.  And a few of my friends have asked me to post the recipe.  The thing is, there really isn’t a recipe.  I throw things into a pot.  Okay, maybe it’s not quite that simple, but it’s not overly complicated either.

My friend Aidan has been the most vocal about getting my recipe.  So in her honour, I’m writing this post about how I make it.

I only cook for myself, but I cook for the whole week, so I make a large pot.   But you don’t have to make a ton.  You can make it as large or as small as you want.  You just adjust the amounts.

This is how I made it this week:



4 lbs ground turkey

1 onion

5 stalks celery

15 baby cut carrots

2 red peppers

4 pkgs cremini mushrooms

1 large can diced tomatoes (no-salt added)

1 small can green chiles

spices of your choice


1. I start by chopping the mushrooms into large chunks.  After chopping the mushrooms, I put them in a large bowl, add a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Then I put them on a pan and roast them at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.  This deepens the flavour.

2. While the mushrooms are roasting, I chop the other veggies.  I like to chop them all so they are ready to go.

3. Once veggies are chopped, I preheat a large pot on medium heat.  Once hot, I add a little olive oil to the pan.  Then add the onions. Cook the onion until starting to brown.

4. Once the onion has started to brown, add the ground turkey.  To make it easier to break up the meat and mix it, I use a potato masher.  Once the meat starts to brown, add the spices.  Add whatever you like.  I use a no-salt spice mixture, garlic powder, red chili flakes, and tumeric.  I will occasionally add others as well.

5.  Keep cooking until the meat is no longer pink.  Now you can start to add the other ingredients.

6. First I add the tomatoes.  I also add some water.  Then I add the chiles.  Then the mushrooms.  Then the celery, carrots, and peppers.  Keep mixing with each addition.

7. Once you’ve added all the veggies, put a lid on it and let it come to a boil.  I usually let it boil for a little while, then turn down the heat to low and let it simmer for a couple of hours.  Be sure to stir it occasionally.

8.  When it’s done, I turn the heat off and let it sit to cool down.  After it cools, I divide it into portions and put in the fridge.  Now I have meals for the whole week.


If you’re not a big fan of ground turkey, you can use whatever ground meat you like.

Use whatever veggies you want.  Sometimes I add spinach or edamame.  Be creative.  Mix it up.

I will sometimes add a can of beans.  Always buy the no-salt added kind.  And make sure to rinse them before adding them in.  Add them at the same time as the veggies.

Use whatever spices you want.  And in whatever amounts you want.

I always buy cremini mushrooms, but get whatever kind you like.  I buy whole ones, but you can certainly buy the pre-sliced to save some time.

I always roast the mushrooms before adding them to the stew.  I think it deepens the flavour of both the mushrooms and the stew. You can also just saute them, or add them in without precooking them.  Your choice.

I always get the baby cut carrots, but you could use regular size carrots too.


And there you have it.  That’s how I made my turkey veggie stew this week.  Next week it might be different.  The nice thing about this stew is you can add whatever you want.  That’s why it’s a little bit different each time.

This made a rather large pot of stew.  Enough for me to have lunches and dinners for the whole week.  And it freezes very well too.

Remember, a recipe like this is more of a guideline.

Now go cook something! 😉

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5 years ago today …

5 years ago today I was sitting in a doctor’s office …

5 years ago today I was anxiously and fearfully waiting for test results …

5 years ago today I heard the words I never thought I’d hear …

5 years ago today I learned I had cancer.

5 years ago today my journey to change my life and be a healthier person began.


Growing up, I never feared cancer.  It doesn’t run in my family, so I never really gave it much thought.  What scared me was heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.  Those were/are the things that run in my family.

I’d known for many years that I was leading an unhealthy lifestyle.  I was very overweight; I was pretty sedentary; I ate a lot of junk food/overly-processed food.  I’d try different diets, but would ultimately go back to my old ways.  I’d try to be more active, but again, I’d eventually give up and go back to being a couch potato.  Deep down, I think I knew that some day something would have to change.  But it wasn’t enough to make me want to change.

Growing up, I shied away from cameras.  I didn’t like my pictures taken.  I didn’t like how I looked in them.  Even my wedding pictures. But it wasn’t enough to make me really want to do something about it.

I often had trouble finding clothes that fit properly.  It seemed like all the stylish stuff, all the pretty stuff, was for “normal” size women, not for someone like me.  But it wasn’t enough to make me really want to change.

My mom started getting sick when I was in my 20s, she was in her late 40s (not much older than I am now).  She had problems with her heart.  Over the years, she had a few heart attacks and strokes.  And she was a diabetic, and had issues with that too.  But it wasn’t enough to make me really want to take better care of myself.

When I was 38, I started getting sick.  I knew something was wrong, but I was scared to find out what it was.  I suffered for close to a year before finally talking to my doctor.  I have a great doctor.  He really listened to me.  He sent me for tests.  When those results came back, he explained that there was an anomaly so I needed to go for another test.  He said it could be a number of things, and not to panic.  Hopefully the second test will give us the answer.  The second test revealed the cancer.

And that was enough.

That was enough to make me realize that that day was the day.

And so it began.

That day was the day my journey to a healthier me began.

5 years ago today.

What a ride it has been.  Lots of ups and downs, twists and turns.  I’ve learned a lot, about life and about myself.  I’ve done a lot, more than I ever dreamed possible.  And I’m not done yet.  There is still so much I want/need to do.

The universe has repeatedly tested me to make sure I’m serious and I’m not giving up. Seriously, universe, you can stop that now, I’m not giving up!

Along the way, I’ve made new friends, and lost a few old ones.  I’ve taken a few detours, but have managed to find my way back.   I’ve laughed a lot and cried a lot.

And through it all, I’ve learned I’m much stronger than I ever realized.  I’ve become a much better version of myself.  I feel like I’ve found myself.

5 years ago today my world changed.

And I wouldn’t want it any other way.




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Who Inspires me …

We were having a team building session yesterday at Celebrate the Hero.  We have some new people in the office, so we were going around the room asking each other questions, getting to know each other a little better.

My friend Jessica, asked me a great question — “Who inspires me and why?”

I had to think about that for a minute.  Since I began this journey, I’ve had the privilege of meeting many inspiring people.  So I really had no shortage of people to choose from.

I’m sure I’ve written about inspiring people before.  I’m lucky to have many people in my life who inspire me in different ways —

– My sister-in-law Trish inspires me to be a better cook.

– My friend Nick E. inspires me to be a better writer.

– My friends Karen and Aidan inspire me to become a better runner.

– My friend Liz inspires me to become a better blogger.

– My friend Joe inspires me to get out and enjoy life more.

I could go on and on really.  We all have people in our lives like this, whether we realize it or not, whether we admit it or not, who inspire us.

But to answer Jess’s question, I was thinking about who inspires me most?

I came up with 3 answers …

First would be my best friend Jeff’s dad Alan.  Alan is an amazing man.  He’s warm and kind and funny.  He is going through his second bout of cancer.  In spite of that, or maybe because of that, he has an incredible zest for life.  He takes things in stride.  He doesn’t seem to let things get to him.  When I’m feeling down or out of sorts, I often think of him.  When I’m having a bad day and just want to give up, I think of him.  He inspires me to keep going, no matter what.  I’ve told him before how inspiring he is to me and many other people.  I’m not sure if he realizes just how true that is.  He is someone I’d definitely call a Hero to many!

Next I’d choose my friend Tyler.  I’ve mentioned him in many of my blog posts.  He is a dear friend and a very important part of my journey.  Tyler has this very infectious happy-go-lucky attitude.  To him, every day is the best day ever.  It’s one of my favourite things about him.  You can’t help but be in a good mood when you’re around him.  He inspires me to be a better person.

And last, I’d choose my friend Nick Foley.  Nick is a very remarkable man.  He founded Celebrate the Hero, where I volunteer.  He wants to make the world a better place.  And he works very hard to achieve that.  He’s funny and kind and charming.  He’s a great writer and a fantastic speaker.  And his face lights up and his eyes twinkle when he talks about his daughter.  He has this energy about him that is contagious.  You just want to be around him, want to hear what he has to say.  I’m not sure if he even realizes that, but it’s true.  I always feel better when I talk to him.  And when I’m working in the office, I always come home feeling like I’m on cloud nine.  He makes me want to make the world a better place too.

So there you have it.  Three of the people that inspire me the most.  I could talk about them all day.  They each inspire me in different ways, in ways they may not even realize.

My life is better because they are in it.

The world is a better place with them in it.


So tell me … who inspires you?



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