Welcome to From Panic to Plate!

Welcome to a safe place where you can read about two different things which are often connected: my experiences with anxiety and my experiences with food.

Read my story in the About section to learn about my journey of being diagnosed with Panic Disorder.

I look forward to inspiring your minds by both keeping the conversation regarding mental illness open and honest and by sharing recipes with you I have enjoyed making over the past few years.

Cheers,

– M.

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Four Years Later.

The concept of time is so strange. I’m laying in bed and it feels like no time has passed while simultaneously feeling like a lifetime since I last heard your voice.

Grief has no timeline. There are the five stages, sure, but past that, there is no telling when one feels certain emotions and thinks about certain things. I haven’t stopped missing you. I could never stop missing you. You gave me life. You gave me two sisters who I am also so grateful to have in my life to check on me and be there for me as I continue to transition through new stages in my life.

I had a breakdown the other night. I sobbed and sobbed over the first major snowfall and having to drive without snow tires. It was a bad breakdown. One of my largest in a while. And it wasn’t just because it was dark out and I had to find my way home. It wasn’t just because it was my first time driving in the snow all season. It reminded me of that day. This day, just four years ago. Except I was getting my tires put on. And the garage was down the street from the hospital. And instead of going straight home, I stopped in to visit. And it was my last time holding your hand and saying goodbye. Then, it started to snow harder. Although you did not have the energy to tell me, I could hear your voice telling me to drive home before it got worse. And it did get worse. The snow diminished the visibility on the road. I drove slow. I made it home. And I got the call.

The reoccurrence of the heavy snow, the limited visibility, it all brought me back to that day. And it felt like I was re-living it all over again.

But then I sit here and think about how it has been four years. So much has happened in this time that I wish you were here for and I mean, physically here for.  I would love to hear your voice during the dark times. To get advice. To have you listen. To tell me when I’m overreacting. To tell me not to worry about things I can’t control, even though I do. I can’t help it. It’s a trait I got from you.

For the limited time I did get to spend with you, I am grateful. I am so grateful. It wasn’t all good. And that is something I have been coming to terms with a lot in the past year as I continue to grow and learn about who I am. But I did gain some valuable life lessons from you, many of which I am only coming to appreciate now, at this point in my life, and memories I will hold near and dear to my heart forever and for always.

Love forever, your little leftover.

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Soup Sunday: Chili Edition

It has been a strange week, weather-wise with fluctuating temperatures and not quite knowing when to wear your jacket.

It wasn’t quite soup weather at the beginning of the week so I didn’t make anything until the end of the week.

I didn’t make a new recipe, but I did make changes to an old recipe.

I made chili from the Whole 30 book – one of my all-time favourites. It’s beanless, so I thought it might qualify for Soup Sunday.

Unfortunately I can’t post the recipe due to copyright, but I will tell you the recipe calls for: onion, garlic, lean ground beef, bell peppers, diced tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, paprika, and mustard powder with salt and pepper, and beef broth.

Typically when I make this recipe, I double, sometimes triple the amount of chili powder, paprika, a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, and cumin for extra flavour.

This time when I made it, I also added a jalapeño pepper, cored and diced. This added a bit of spice to eat bite which I loved. I also added a few mushrooms. I don’t overly love bell peppers and since this recipe is beanless, the chili is mostly comprised of them so I wanted to add more chili-like vegetables.

Overall, this dish is very hearty and perfect for the cool, fall weather.

Soup Saturday: Sausage, Sweet Potato, and Kale Soup

This week, I made a soup that is not really new to me but one that I haven’t made since my first round of Whole 30. It is paleo-friendly, gluten free, and dairy free as well.

The flavours mix together well and it is very filling for a lighter soup.

The recipe can be found at Tastes Lovely. Variations I made to the recipe:

  • I used hot Italian turkey sausage instead of sweet Italian pork sausage. This was primarily due to cost. The turkey sausage was on sale and had to be used up right away. However, in the future when making this recipe, I will likely buy hot Italian over sweet Italian because I LOVED how the the sausage made the broth have a little bit of a bite to it. It definitely added extra flavour.
  • I used one very large sweet potato instead of 2 large ones. It yielded about 4 cups.

Tasting notes: It tasted really good immediately upon trying it but it tasted even better the next day for lunch. My mom was a big fan of this soup as well.

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October Goals & Thoughts

1c44ec573cf32b667c07692f6fe40770.jpgAs #MotivationMonday comes to a close, I am finally in bed with a chance to reflect on the past month and what’s to come.

September was a month of re-adjusting to a busier work schedule, catching up with friends, and catching my first cold of the season.

Today, on October 1st, I added the BCBA (Board Certified Behaviour Analyst) Course Sequence to the mix as I started my coursework through Florida Institute of Technology. It is supposed to be a demanding set of courses, requiring a minimum of a B to pass. I’m excited as it is particularly applicable to my career and the direction I want to go with my career, but I am nervous for the same reasons. I want to be knowledgeable in my field and do well in the courses that will lay the foundation for that knowledge.

With that, I will have to re-introduce the juggling act of balancing a social life, coursework, and my job while also continuing to eat well and try to get in some exercise.

I have continued to practice gratitude daily and meditate at least once a day, typically in the morning, and occasionally just before bed to help me sleep.

This blog will continue to be a safe place to share my anxious thoughts and keep my goals in written form so I can stay accountable. Stay tuned for a new soup recipe this week and weekly rants about my progress.

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Soup Sunday: Dill Pickle Soup

When browsing through soup recipes, one I would not have thought to make is Dill Pickle Soup. However, through the recommendation of a friend, I thought I would venture out of my comfort zone and give it a try.

I love dill pickle chips – they’re high up there on my list of preferred chip flavours. I also enjoy a good tasting dill pickle.

The soup was incredibly easy to make. The recipe comes from Genius Kitchen.

Variations I made to the recipe:

  • I used baby dill pickles as they were the only ones I could find in my house (only to find larger ones later). I used 5 baby dill pickles.
  • I used instant mashed potatoes to save time

Thoughts:

  • The soup was actually much better than I thought it might be. At first thought, it sounded good but it also came with unfamiliar territory
  • It was more potatoey than it was pickley which made it taste more like a dilly potato soup
  • I would likely make this again but like the jalapeno popper soup, it only made 4 servings.
  • Worth a try for anyone who likes dill pickle 🙂

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Soup Season

Anyone who knows me personally can tell you how much I love soup. While I could honestly eat soup any place, any time of the year, autumn is truly when it starts to feel like soup season.

As I am also trying to increase my food-making repertoire, I have decided to challenge myself to make a new soup a week until the end of (at least) December as part of my meal prep. Two weeks into this challenge and I have already been successful.

Last week’s soup: Creamy Tortellini Soup with Sausage by Gimme Some Oven0-1.jpg

This soup was incredibly easy to make and made lots of servings. Variations I made to the recipe:
– I used Italian turkey sausage instead of pork sausages
– I used 1.5 cups of milk and 3 large heaping tablespoons of sour cream to make it creamier rather than the 2 cups of milk

This week, I made Jalapeño Popper Chicken Soup by Closet Cooking.

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Although my picture of the soup isn’t the prettiest, it sure tasted great! Cheesy with a bit of a bite from the jalapeños and some delicious bacon as well! I did the chopping of ingredients in the morning and through it all together in a pot in the evening which resulted in less mess and a quick meal. The (only) downside to this soup is it only yields 4 servings so it isn’t quite enough for lunch for the week. I did not add corn to my soup as it states in the recipe.

I’d say these two are keeper recipes. I can’t wait to try something else next week!

Have a wonderful Monday!

Get Em to the Gym

Earlier today, I was sitting outside my client’s house thinking, “wow, it’s already almost September.” The month of August has seemingly flown by so quickly we are almost onto a new month and a new school year.

While I am taking an academic break until October, I have had the opportunity to work on some personal goals including one that is difficult for so many people: going to the gym.

I was on a roll before! I was going to yoga twice a week, or working out at home, or doing yoga at home. In August, I have made more of a conscious effort to start going again regularly. While I am not proud of how little I have been to the gym, looking at today in isolation, I am proud that I made it there.

Prior to the gym, I was sitting in my car thinking about what I was going to do after work.

I could go home and make something for dinner. 

I could see if one of my friends wants to meet up. 

I could go to the gym. 

It certainly wasn’t my first thought. In fact, after work, the entire drive to the gym, I was making up excuses in my head.

I didn’t bring headphones. 

What if the gym clothes in my bag aren’t clean?

Well, I have an extra pair of headphones that have taken permanent residency in my gym bag and I also have two pairs of gym clothes in my bag (and yes, they are clean). So realistically, my excuses were useless. I parked my car, went in and hopped on the elliptical.

The gym was empty. Maybe 3 more people trickled in while I was there. I love when the gym is like that. I don’t have to fight over machines. I don’t need to be self-conscious about people watching me while working out. I put on my Spotify playlist and off I went.

Why is it so difficult to get yourself to the gym?

Honestly, as a goal-oriented individual, I struggle with this thought a lot. I want to lose weight, have better endurance, and build strength. To do this, I should eat better and go to the gym. It’s simple, really. I’m doing really well with eating better but why is it so hard to get myself to exercise?

There’s an article outlining the scientific reason behind this and it’s interesting to read about the evolutionary basis for it. Here’s a link to the article: https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/the-scientific-reason-its-so-hard-to-make-yourself-go-to-the-gym.html 

I will remind myself of the reinforcing feelings that accompany this goal and continue to strive for a better self.

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July Check-In

The month is just about halfway done so I thought I’d do a mid-month check-in to see how I’m doing so far in July.

Mental Health

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While I have not been super relaxed so far this summer, my anxiety has had its ups and downs thinking about the future. My dad’s words of “don’t worry about the things you can’t control” are being replayed in my mind but I can’t help but worry sometimes. I think that’s human nature amplified by the effects of living with anxiety. I haven’t had any major breakdowns and my best friends (and my boyfriend, who doubles as a best friend) have been absolutely amazing.

Goals

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I really didn’t set any specific goals this month, which is a bit unlike me. The only goal I had in mind was to enjoy my time not in school, work hard, and take some time to enjoy myself with the company of friends and family. I’d say I have done that so far. I’ve made plans with friends more after work and made more of an effort to check in on friends and see how they’re doing. I have also been reading more books for pleasure. This is often something I complain about not having the time for when I’m busy with school work.

Goals in mind for the upcoming weeks:

  • Less emotional eating – I see myself starting to slip on this. Stress eating chocolate or unhealthy things to cope with certain emotions. I need to nip that early.
  • Practice more gratitude. I fell off the Five Minute Journal train. I stopped practicing daily gratitude. I need to start back up on that to start and end my days on positive notes rather than anxious ones.
  • Do more active things. In Montreal, I went for a walk with my aunt every night I was there. I have started doing more of this here, usually in the evenings when it cools down but it has been great to get out and take a nice 20-30 minute walk in the neighbourhood.
  • Focus more on my weight loss journey. While I haven’t been very strict on food choices in the last few weeks, I may look towards making smarter choices rather than be super restrictive. My work schedule has not been very consistent so far this summer but maybe next week I will get in the groove of when I can go to the gym after work as well. It’s never too late to try again.

In a couple weeks, I will write out my goals for August and share them. HM_press_release_infographic-1001x1024.jpg

 

Three New Places I Discovered in Montreal

When I was little, I used to go to Montreal once or twice a year, sometimes more. Several members of my mom’s side of the family lives there so I have seen many of the wonderful sights Montreal has to offer.

A couple weeks ago, I went to Montreal for a conference. While there, I stayed with family, visited friends, and took some time alone to explore the city. It is such a beautiful place.

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During my stay, I found three new places I have never been to that I absolutely MUST recommend.

  1. Tommy 

Tommy is a café located in Old Montreal just a few steps away from Notre Dame Basilica. Its multi-level establishment has plenty of room to find a cozy spot to enjoy a coffee, pull out your laptop, read a book, or just sit and stare at the beautiful architecture (all of which I did). I tried an iced coffee and caramel cocoa vegan ice cream and it was perfect for the hot summer day that it was. I wanted to try the avocado toast with smoked salmon on top but I had just finished a meal and couldn’t quite stomach a snack that big. However, a lady at a table nearby ordered it and it looked so delicious.IMG_20180708_225156_588.jpg

2. Muru Crêpe

What an adorable and very delicious brunch spot! Water was served in a glass wine bottle. The caramel macchiato I ordered was picture perfect and tasted just as good as it looked.20180629_101712.jpg

I sat by the window so I could watch the busy street action and before I knew it, my food arrived very quickly. I wish I tried their crème brûlée crêpe because the picture looked scrumptious but I was not disappointed with my choice. I can’t quite remember what it was called but I can tell you it had chicken, thin sliced potatoes, mushrooms, and cheese in a delicious sauce. I devoured the entire thing, it was so good. Will definitely be returning on my next visit to Montreal.

Instagram: @murucrepe

3. Ca Lem 

Ca Lem is the perfect hole-in-the-wall ice cream shop I could ever ask for. Its bright colours of the building and delicious flavours are worth the visit. You can sample flavours if you are undecided (I know I was). They feature two new flavours each week for their Swirl Cones. This was my pick and the flavours when I visited were lemon and raspberry. It was the perfect combination for a hot day. IMG_20180629_151737.jpg

As if their ice cream wasn’t already picture perfect, inside they have a wall with different backgrounds you can use for that like-worthy instagram shot. How cute is that!20180629_152344.jpg

Instagram: @calemcreamery

Honourable Mention: Orange Julep

Gibeau Orange Julep is not a new place to me so I couldn’t add it to the list but it is so good, I had to rave about it. It’s a great place to stop in and get a hot dog and, of course, a famous Orange Julep drink which they also serve as a frappe! Want to know about Gibeau’s Orange Julep? Here’s a link from Mtl Blog about the history of this iconic treasure: https://www.mtlblog.com/lifestyle/the-real-story-behind-montreals-orange-julep

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What’s your favourite place to visit in Montreal?

Monday Morning Rambles

A new week is upon us and there are so many things to look forward to (and be anxious about).

This week, starting tomorrow, I will be attending the annual Canadian Psychological Association conference in conjunction with the International Congress of Applied Psychology. I am both excited and nervous about this opportunity.

Here are my racing thoughts:

  1. It is not my first conference. I have done this before. This year is not much different.
  2. It’s in a new city.
  3. It’s a city I’m familiar with – a city I visited multiple times a year from birth until the age of 12. I can handle this.
  4. I have to say a speech in front of a lot of people on opening day.
  5. Public speaking is a strength. I can do this.
  6. I feel very unprepared for my presentation.
  7. But I won’t be alone in my presentation and I have presented on it before. It’s on a topic I live and breathe.
  8. I’m missing a week of work – that’s a lot of money to make up.
  9. I’ve worked a lot of long days to make up for the week – it will be fine.
  10. I have to navigate the public transit system completely on my own (AKA without my mother being here for support).
  11. I did not need to use Google Maps to find my way from the bus station to the metro. I got on the right subway track. I got off at the right stop. The rest of it will be fine as well.
  12. I have plenty of friends and family here in the city who will be here to help me through this week. 5b7d7fec914146e9e1124eb18dd643c9.jpg