Foodie Friday: Roasted Chick Peas

Are you planning on staying in this weekend with your Netflix? Instead of snacking on popcorn, try roasted chick peas.

Chick peas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a vegetarian source of protein. They are also rich in fiber, and provide a great source of manganese and folate. Roasted chick peas also make a great snack on-the-go or a salad topper.



Photographs courtesy of


To make roasted chick peas, you need: 

  • 1 can of chick peas, rinsed and dried using a paper towel
  • Olive oil
  • Your favourite spices. Try smoked paprika, garam masala, cayenne pepper, garlic salt, or anything else you might be tempted to use.

How to roast chick peas: 

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F.
  2. Toss your chick peas in some olive oil and spices in a bowl, making sure they are evenly coated.
  3. Spread your chick peas in one layer on a cookie sheet.
  4. Bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring them around every 10 minutes or so.
  5. Keep an eye on them after 20 minutes to make sure they don’t burn.

Heat them while hot, or store them for later in an air-tight container. If you like this recipe for chick peas, check out our recipe for Black Bean and Yam Salad we posted about for the year of the pulse.




3 New Books in our Caregiver Library

We’ve ordered in some excellent resources for the library. If you have not used our library before, come check it out the next time you are at the North Shore Community Resources office at Capilano Mall. We have books, CDs, films, and periodicals that are helpful to our community of caregivers.

This month, look for these 3 new book titles in our library:

  1. Feel the Fear…and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers, Ph.D51ND2xeH0ZL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

“If everybody feels fear when approaching something totally new in life, yet so many are out there “doing it” despite the fear, then we must conclude that fear is not the problem.”

– Susan Jeffers, Ph. D

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway is a classic book on the topic
of fear and anxiety. It offers tools, techniques, and tips for turning your fear into action, decisiveness, and power. Dr. Susan Jeffers inspires readers to take control of their fears and live a more fulfilling life.

2. Healing Conversations Now: Enhance Relationships healing convo nowwith Elders and Dying Loved Ones by Joan Chabourne and Tony Silbert

“It is through conversations, silent and verbal, that caregivers are able to support the dying. They may help them to celebrate life, clarify wishes, take action, and die peacefully. Sometimes words aren’t needed. Sitting quietly together maybe taking a hand or placing your hand on the person’s shoulder, are all that is needed.”

-Joan Chabourne and Tony Silbert

Do you want to start a healing conversation with your elder or dying loved one? This book offers practical advice on what to say and do to open this new type of dialogue. Stories from other loved ones inspire caregivers to initiate conversations for a better sense of peace between you and your loved one.

mindful way through anxiety3. The Mindful Way through Anxiety: Break Free from Chronic Worry and Reclaim Your Life by Susan M. Orsillo, PhD and Lizabeth Roemer, PhD

“Learning how to take a mindful stance toward painful thoughts and feelings decreses their intensity and inhibitive power, freeing us up to pursue valued life directions. Mindfulness increases our willingness to experience the full range of thoughts, emotions, and sensations that arise when we are fully engaged and participating in life.”

Susan M. Orsillo, PhD and Lizabeth Roemer, PhD

Whether you describe your anxiety as worry, fear, or stress, this book offers mindfulness practices specifically tailored for anxiety in its many forms. Step-by-step strategies can help caregivers to identify their feelings and ensuring that they do not escalate . Free audio downloads of mindfulness exercises and other resources are also available on the authors’ website:

Do you have specific book titles that have helped you? Please share them in the comment section above.




Mindful Monday no. 27 – Progressive Relaxation

Has this Monday been particularly tense? Take a minute out from your busy Monday to try this progressive relaxation exercise.


How to do the progressive relaxation exercise: 

  1. Breathe in deeply through nose.
  2. Hold your breath while tensing your arms for 5 seconds.
  3. Release and exhale slowly through your mouth.
  4. Breathe in through your nose.
  5. Hold your breath again but this time tense your abdominal muscles for 5 seconds.
  6. Let go as you exhale slowly.
  7. Repeat as you move through the different muscle groups.

As you slowly tense and relax your body, focus on the present moment. Progressive relaxation will help you feel more grounded.

How was this exercise for you? Perhaps, you would rather try our square breathing exercise.


Relaxation Poetry


Readers, did you know? There is a whole world of relaxation poetry out there.

Relaxation is defined as: ” a state of refreshing tranquility.” You can access many relaxation poems, including the one below at Poetry Soup.

Here is one by Paul Callus called “Unspoken Words”

I often scribble in the sand

The words I find so hard to say

And hope the wind will come along

And blow them all your way.

Here is another called ‘Sweet Moon’ by A.L. Andresen

Silver sprinkle moving across the dreams

Silhouetted by the moon

O…such a peaceful night.

There are many many more for your reading pleasure.

Sweet Dreams!

Calm Pond

Helpful Article: “How to be Support Group Savvy” by Kristine Dwyer

Karyn came across this great article, Support Group Savvy, by Kristine Dwyer of Today’s Caregiver. The article covers those often asked question such as:

  • How to find a support group?
  • Why you should join a support group?
  • What kinds of groups out there?


Here is a quote from the piece: 

“According to Webster’s dictionary, the word “support” means to give courage or faith to; help, comfort; to carry the weight of; to give approval to, be in favor of or uphold. All of these words describe the framework around which support groups are built. They offer a place for caregivers and families to learn together, deal with feelings of frustration, sadness or isolation, and “link arms” with others that have a mutual understanding. Support groups can also validate a caregiver’s identity and give them permission to care for themselves throughout the caregiving journey.”

What did you think of this article? Let us know in the comment section above.


Life Writing no. 2 – Reflect on Your Family Tree

Do you have stories you want to tell? Studies have shown that life writing can help to lessen symptoms of stress and depression. In our new blog series, look for exercises and prompts to help facilitate your own life writing.

Reflect on your family tree

Knowing where your family comes from offers an insight into your own identity. Our family trees are filled with stories, rich enough to write books. In my own writing practice, I was inspired by the story of my great-great grandmother who survived a class 5 tornado in Saskatchewan. I wrote a suite of poems about her experience, filling in details with what I imagined happened. The process made me feel more connected to my roots.


How to start life writing from your family tree:  

  1. Sketch out a family tree using a pencil on a large piece of blank paper.
  2. Fill out the details of your immediate family and work your way out to more distant relatives. If there is a famous, distant relative,  put their name on the margins of the paper.
  3. As you start to recall the faces and names of your family, make a few notes about what comes to mind when you think of them. These notes could include their background, their jobs, quirky habits, or their claim to fame.
  4. Remember the times you met, visited, or connected with your family members. Sometimes, we see certain relatives only one or two times in our lifetime. What do you remember of the people you met and who you’ve lost touch?
  5. Reflect upon your relationship with the elders in your family. They heard their elder’s stories first-hand. Do you remember if they told you any tales?
  6. Once you feel the spark, don’t put your writing off or you’ll lose the drive. Set your family tree aside and start writing as you are now. Details can be filled in later if you can’t recall.
  7. Pull out your old photographs and albums if you feel like you want to dig deep into a story or a character from your family tree. (See our last life writing post on using old photographs as prompts!).

As you write your own stories based on your family tree, you can stick all to the facts or get creative and imagine what happened. If something really captures your interest, visit the local libraries on the North Shore to see what genealogy resources they have available. Who knows what you might find?



Mindful Monday no. 26 – Labeling Emotions and Thoughts

What happens to you when you sit for a few moments of peace and quiet or when you rest in meditation? Thoughts, emotions, sensations, urges pass through our mind within a few minutes of quiet, especially if we are just getting accustomed to a mindfulness practice.

One technique to combat this constant stream of distractions is labeling emotions and thoughts  as you bring your attention to them. Labeling reminds us to make note of the interference and then to let it go. This technique is also known as mental noting for meditation practitioners.


Here’s how to start the practice of labeling emotions and thoughts:

  1. Sit in a comfortable position on a chair, the couch, or even on the floor.
  2. Breathe naturally and fix your eyes before you so that you can draw your attention to within yourself.
  3. If you feel an urge to scratch your nose or get up, label it in your mind or with a whisper: an urge.
  4. As thoughts arise in your mind, instead jumping on that train of thought, label it: a thought.
  5. If you feel any body sensations, like a foot tingling or a body ache, label it: sensation.
  6. A feeling of worry comes over you after the intrusive thought so label the feeling: worry. Repeat the word as necessary and notice how many times you need to say it.
  7. You can get as specific as you like with your labels or keep them general. For instance, if you hear a noise, you can label it: hearing. Or, if you are wanting to get up, you can label the feeling: wanting.

Begin a practice of labeling your thoughts and feelings so that you can resist the temptation of attaching to them during your practice of mindfulness. Labeling helps us detach and draws our attention back to the present moment.

The point is not to judge the feelings or ourselves for having these thoughts and emotions but to learn to allow ourselves some time for peace. If this is a struggle, practice some self-compassion.


Foodie Friday: Healthy Energy Drinks

Do you feel your energy crash in the mid-afternoon? At around 3 pm, we face the daily temptation of another cup of coffee or something sweet to give us a little mid-day boost. Considering the effects of caffeine on the amount of restorative sleep we get each night and the anxiety level we feel through out the day, it’s good to limit our intake.

Healthy energy drinks are an alternative to caffeine. They can also be made in advance so that you limit the necessity for quick-fixes. Blend the ingredients in your blender in the morning, then take it with you in a mason jar. Store the jar in the refrigerator for a cold afternoon pick-me-up.

Here are three healthy energy drink recipes for you to try: 


Berry Citrus Energy Drink 

According to Hello Glow, the fiber and natural sugar in berries slowly release energy through out the day so they make an excellent ingredient for a healthy energy drink. Here is their recipe:


1 cup mixed berries

1 cup tap water

1 lime

4-5 mint leaves


Citrus Coconut Milk Energy Drink

Because this recipe includes yogourt, this healthy energy drink has protein that will tie you over until dinner. Here is the recipe courtesy of Tablespoon:


1 medium orange

3/4 cup of light coconut milk (substitute regular milk if unavailable)

1 tablespoon of honey

1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed

3/4 of a cup of low-fat vanilla yogourt


Strawberry Banana Coconut Water Energy Drink

This healthy energy drink recipe uses mineral-packed and potassium-rich coconut water as a base. Here is the recipe adapted from Lifehack:


1 cup of strawberries (frozen or fresh)

1 banana, chopped

1 1/2 cups of coconut water (or until smooth)

Full of vitamins, these healthy energy drinks leave you feeling energized to get through the rest of your day. If you like these recipes, see our recipes for infused waters!


Mindful Monday no. 25 – Walking Meditation

But on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, a gentle wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

Many caregivers survive the challenges of their responsibility by focusing only one what is right in front of them. In other words, they put one foot in front of the other. Walking meditation is a way to bring the focus to your body and out of the stress of the everyday.


How to do a walking meditation: 

  1. Stand still for a moment and bring your attention to your body.
  2.  Slowly, focus on how the soles of your feet as they make contact with the ground. Take your first step.
  3. Begin to walk naturally, loosening the tension in your ankles with each stride. You can either walk at a comfortable pace or slow down your movement.
  4. Note the rhythms of your body as you take each step and as your arms swing. Relax your arms with each movement.
  5. Settle into your hips and release the tension store in that part of your body.
  6. Pay attention to you neck: Is it stiff or strained? Let go of the tension with a few gentle neck rolls.
  7. Breathe as you settle into the movement. Extend the time it takes to exhale to calm your nerves.
  8. If you mind wanders, bring your focus back to your feet and notice how you roll the sole of your foot on the ground with each step.

By focusing on your body’s movements during your walking meditation, you enter into a state of mindfulness one step at a time.

How was it to try walking meditation? Let us know in the comments above.



How to Choose a Home Care Agency

Being a family caregiver can involve wearing many hats. Whether you are caring for a spouse or a parent, your role may involve being a driver, cook, housekeeper, companion, health advocate, or financial planner, just to name a few.  Avoiding caregiver burnout is so important but often overlooked, as most caregivers focus solely on the care recipient and not on themselves.  As a family caregiver, you shouldn’t feel shy about asking for extra help, whether that be from other family members or from professionals.

Private care is a growing industry, and with the multitudes of agencies offering home care support, knowing how to choose the right one can be an intimidating task.
There are quite a few factors to consider when hiring a caregiver for the first time.

Why should you hire a caregiver?

Hiring a caregiver can relieve some of the stress being experienced by family members who are trying to do all of the caregiving themselves. However, before making the step of hiring a caregiver, consider discussing the following within your family:

  1. Who is in your current care team? This may be a mixture of family and friends. What are their caregiving contributions and how much more capacity do they have in terms of time and energy to help the care receiver? Is there someone who can take on a little more, or conversely, are the family members who are getting burnt out and need a little bit of relief?
  2. What are the tasks that the care receiver needs help with? Everyone ages differently and therefore attention must be given to the exact tasks that require help.   Some common tasks include transportation to appointments, medication reminders, housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation, grocery shopping, outings and general companionship. Some may need help with personal care such as dressing, bathing and hygiene.

Finding a caregiver

Once you have made the decision to hire a caregiver, choose one or two agencies that you may want to interview.  An online search will produce a long list of possible agencies.  Think about whether you want to hire a small local agency or one that is part of a larger national (or even international) group.   Consider whether you have any special requirements for the caregiver, such as language skills, or prior experience with dealing with a particular illness or condition.

Laughing Mum & daughter

Here are some questions that you may want to ask when interviewing a care agency:

  1. How long have you been in business?
  2. What are the services that you offer and what do most of your clients hire you for?
  3. Where do you find your staff?
  4. What training have they received and what prior experience or certifications do you require from the people you hire?
  5. Do you do criminal or background checks on the people that you hire?
  6. How long has the average caregiver been working on your team?
  7. What are your hourly rates?
  8. How will the family be kept informed of what goes on during the visits by the caregiver?
  9. What will the agency do if one of the caregivers calls in sick or has an emergency?
  10. Do you have any references of current or past clients that I can speak with?

Once the agency has matched one of their caregivers to the person requiring care, try to attend one of the visits in the first week to observe the interactions between the caregiver and the care receiver. If you don’t feel the personality and skill set of the caregiver are the right match for your loved one, don’t be shy about asking the agency to send someone else.

Finding the right caregiver can lead to many benefits – the development of a friendship between the caregiver and care receiver, added safety and security inside the home to allow the senior to continue living at home, and decreased stress for family.

Stephanie Chan, Home to Home.

Read Stephanie Chan’s other guest post, What I Wish I Knew Back Then: Lessons Learned from Family Caregivers.