Monthly Archives: September 2010

The Best Day of the Week

It’s Wednesday!!

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What, you don’t get irrationally excited for hump day too? ;)

We all know that around these parts, it’s not just any old boring weekday. It’s…

Waffle Wednesday!

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I have two days worth of waffles for you today. First up is a batch of whole wheat protein waffles (recipe below) I made Saturday morning. This batch was particularly special as it came after my first outdoor run since my visit to Chicago a month ago. A nice and easy 40 minute jog along Lake Ontario. The weather was perfection and it was nice to work up a sweat in the fresh air again!

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Saturday was all about the dipping sauce – strawberry yogurt + sugar-free syrup + almond butter. Whisked together for a sweet and nutty topper. It was spectacular and perfectly filled that post-run belly.

I’ve got a new 6am client on Wednesdays which throws a bit of a wrench into my Wednesday waffling. However, both my morning clients cancelled today, which left me in my flannels until noon.

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Whipped up a batch of those whole wheat protein waffles with another stellar dipping sauce.

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Today’s was 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce, 1/4 cup sugar-free table syrup, 1 tbsp almond butter, pinch ground ginger, handful ground cinnamon. Mmmm… very fall-like. Will be even better when apples are in season and I can make my own apple sauce.

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Whole Wheat Protein Waffles

Makes one serving – 2 small waffles or one big one.

  • 1/4 cup unflavoured soy protein powder
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (less if using real milk)

Can also be used for pancakes, or what I like to refer to as “flat waffles.”

Of course, what’s breakfast without dessert??

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Tim Tam + Coffee. No Tim Tam Slam happening here. This was my last one and I wanted to savour it. Thankfully, I’ve discovered that you can buy the regular and caramel varieties of Tim Tams at Loblaws in Toronto :)

 

Updates!!

I spent my unexpected morning off doing some much needed blog updates.

To the Ways To Move page:

Chest/Triceps weight workout
Leg Killer Part II
Fat Blaster cardio + strength routine

To the Things To Eat page:

Tofu, Parsley & Quinoa Salad
Shrimp Burger
Spicy Black Bean Turkey Burgers
10 Minute Sweet Potato Chips

 

Clickclickaway! Feels good to finally get some new stuff up there.

And with that my friends, this girl is going to bed to study for her Nutrition & Wellness course. I am learning so much already. Expect a post on it very soon ;)

 

Question of the Day: What is your favourite fast and healthy breakfast? With my new slew of early morning clients, I’ve taken to preparing breakfast the night before and eating it on the streetcar. Usually a mix of yogurt/cottage cheese, fruit, oats and nut butter. Although, I’ve got a leftover waffle sitting in the fridge right now all ready for reheating bright and early tomorrow ;)

Ready, Set, Blog!

For you non-bloggers, you may have wondered what that banner on the side of my website is. Always changing, always featuring mouthwatering dishes. Foodbuzz is a social networking site for food bloggers. Even better, they sponsor food blogs. By showing their banner, my wallet gets a small boost every month. Foodbuzz is an awesome community that brings us blogging foodies together, and it has proven to only enhance my blogging experience.

Case and point: Project Food Blog.

I’m one of almost 2000 food bloggers competing in the contest. It consists of a series of food blogging challenges, with one blogger named the top foodie. He or she gets $10,000 and a regular feature on the Foodbuzz website.

Not bad, eh?

The competition kicks off this week, with voting opening on Monday, September 20. The following is my first submission for the contest. Expect to see a lot of food bloggers writing similar posts over the week. If you like mine best, I’ll remind you next week to support me with a simple click. Deal? Deal. Now let’s get to it.

 

“Why are you taking pictures of your food??”

Anyone who is a food blogger has probably received this question at some point. In restaurants, cafes, food fairs, even by roommates or family members. I first began food blogging with a site called Trying For A Tri. Its purpose was to chronicle the trials and tribulations leading up to my first triathlon. Much of that included what I was eating daily to fuel my training.

When I started The Great Balancing Act, I wanted to expand my horizons. Food and fitness are large part of healthy living, but I wanted to focus more on taking those two areas and balancing them out with family, friends, work, LIFE. There is no doubt I am borderline food-obsessed, but I love the idea of sharing food that works in an everyday lifestyle. That includes the good, the bad, and the ugly ;)

Sometimes, I eat really healthy.

I like to share these meals because they show how easy it is to incorporate simple, healthy foods into your everyday routine. They can also introduce others to new ways of combining foods!

I love to cook, bake, and generally just spend time in the kitchen. Sometimes I make up recipes

…and sometimes I follow them.

Then sometimes, I don’t make anything at all. I eat food just for the sheer ridiculousness of it.

 

“But you work out all the time, so it’s okay.”

Actually, no. I am just another girl trying to make good decisions for her body all the while having a little fun. Yes, I am a personal trainer, and yes, I do work out frequently (not all the time!). But this doesn’t mean I can eat whatever I want, or that I eat super healthy all the time! Like the name of my blog suggests, it’s all about balance.

I lost 30 lbs two years ago by overhauling the way I ate. Not necessarily for the better, but I’ve been doing the best I can ever since. It’s so easy to be too strict or too relaxed with your eating habits. Even worse, it’s too easy to become obsessed with your eating habits. My blog is a way to not only balance out those good and bad foods, but balance out food in general with the rest of your life.

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“Does that camera ever leave your side?”

No. No it does not. My camera is my baby. An extension of myself. In a former life, I worked as a reporter with a focus in broadcast journalism. I hosted a TV show, interviewed people, while regularly hiding behind a microphone and camera lens. Permanently documenting the events around me is a second habit. To whip out my camera in public and say “I have to take a picture of this!!” is just who I am.

Taking pictures of my food has never remotely irritated me. I love putting together a fabulous dish, finding a good pocket of light, and letting the shutter loose from a gazillion different angles and perspectives. I sometimes feel like I view the world through the eyes of a picture frame and am always excited when I can capture that and put it on screen for others to see. Besides, food is beautiful. Even oatmeal.

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“What makes your food so special?”

It’s not. And that’s the point. I don’t use crazy expensive ingredients. I’m not a vegan/vegetarian/onlydrinksjuicetarian. I don’t spend hours slaving behind a stove, nor do I have a big family to cook for. I hate washing fancy kitchen appliances and when I’m hungry, I won’t wait hours to prepare a dish.

For me, it’s all about using just a few simple ingredients to make stellar flavour combinations. Friends, I am all about the food combos.

Dates + cashew butter, smoked salmon + jam, hummus salad dressing, carrots + salsa, cream cheese + marshmallow fluff, bacon peanut butter. I’m not writing the next Joy of Cooking here, but I do like to think I share some of the simplest pleasures of food.

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“How do you find the time?”

Easy. You make time for the things you love. Blogging about my food has never felt like a chore to me. I look forward to sitting down and writing a blog post every day. Writing about food, and blogging in general, have changed my life. When I first began, I saw it as a good way to do some recreational writing and keep myself on track with triathlon training. Now it is one of my greatest joys. Even more, I am beyond thankful to have amazing people who choose to read it every day. I can sit here and ramble about food and exercise all I want, but it doesn’t really begin to take shape until those words are read and interpreted by others. So thank you for playing such an important part in this great balancing act of mine :)

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La Dolce Vita

Hello friends!! How were our weekends? This my last free weekend before I start my part-time job at the running store so I tried to make the most of it!

This morning started off with one of the goodies I scored for helping out The Simply Bar at Toronto’s Vegetarian Food Fair yesterday (recap here).

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Simply Bar is known for their protein bars made with soy crisps. Now they have a new Simply Protein Oatmeal made with the same crisps!

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I mixed 3/4 cup with an equal amount almond milk and nuked it for 2 minutes. It’s strawberry flavoured and I wanted to get a good taste of it plain, so I only added almond butter to the top at first.

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But then I spotted the strawberry yogurt in my fridge and knew it was meant to be!

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I like my yogurt on top of hot oatmeal like a frosting, but my mom prefers it on the bottom with the hot oatmeal on top. To each her own ;)

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Ooohhhh yeah. Honestly, I reallyreally enjoyed the oatmeal!!! It was nice to make oatmeal without having to add extra protein in the form of eggs or powder. I need protein in my oatmeal, as just carbs in the morning leave me hungry and lethargic for the rest of the day. The strawberry flavour is just sweet enough, and the soy crisps didn’t get lost in the mix. Can’t wait till this stuff hits the stores!

The oatmeal was also incredibly filling. It got me through a free hour-long hatha yoga class at Lululemon, and then a loooong wait for brunch.

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My roommie and I have been wanting to try Lady Marmalade here in Leslieville forrevverrr. It’s gotten several good reviews, but more so, we just wanted to see what this line-up is about!!

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Every Saturday & Sunday there is a line-up at this place going out the door. We figured the food had to be good if so many people are willing to wait for it.

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After an hour our third new roommie (!!) showed up and we were finally seated.

By that point we all knew what we wanted after staring at the menu for so long ;)

Both of my roommies (soon-to-be and current) got the organic buckwheat fresh fruit crepe w/ lemony yogurt, house-made cranberry-almond granola, berry coulis & honey.

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Ummm yeah. That thing was a beast!

I went for something a little more savoury: organic tofu scramble w/ shitakes, bokchoy, spinach, scallions, sesame & a bit of a kick, served w/ basmati brown rice or potatoes, toast & a salad.

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I asked for the potatoes and my toast dry. Didn’t really make a difference though because the scramble was still sopping with oil :(

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I was expecting a smaller tofu scramble, similar to scrambled eggs. This was just okay. The potatoes and bread were great though, so that’s something. It’s our goal to visit all the brunch places in Leslieville, so now we can officially cross this one off the list!

Current roommie and I then bid adieu to soon-to-be roomie and we wandered the ‘hood for a little bit.

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We decided that Leslieville (East Toronto) consists of three things: brunch places, stores for dogs or babies, and specialty antique shops. I don’t want to break out the “Y” word, but some may describe it as a little yuppie ;)

With Sunday morning yoga and brunch out of the way, there were just two things left to do: grocery shop and cook!

This week I’m trying out some light meal planning. Since I’m only one tummy, it doesn’t get that complicated. Essentially just a couple dishes I can have for lunch & supper leftovers this week.

First up, something cold I can bring to work:

Tofu & Quinoa Salad

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I knew exactly what I wanted for this, so instead of following a recipe, I created my own! (Chef Michael Smith anyone?)

  • 1 cup dry quinoa, cooked with 2 cups water
  • 1 block extra-firm tofu, cubed and browned in a pan
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup chickpea broth (from the can, or the water you cook it in)
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped (around 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • pepper to taste
  • optional: 2-3 tbsp olive oil

All mixed up and chilled for several hours.

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I’ve been reading about how wonderful parsley is in my nutrition textbook, so I threw it in with reckless abandon. Fun fact: it has twice the iron of spinach! The taste turned out just as I’d hoped. I’ve now got some waiting for me on top of spinach for lunch tomorrow :)

Now, onto a hot dinner!

Not Your Average Shepherd’s Pie

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This one comes from a recipe over at Foods of April and can be found here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of lean ground turkey breast
  • 1 cup low sodium broth (I used organic beef broth)
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 cups green beans (I defrosted some)
  • 1 cup of corn (I defrosted some)
  • 1 1/4 cup cauliflower “mashed potatoes”
  • Pepper
  • Garlic seasoning

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook ground turkey with onion, pepper, and garlic seasoning until well done.
  3. Place turkey in a casserole dish or oven safe deep dish container.
  4. Cut up the green beans (optional) and layer on top of the turkey.
  5. Add the corn.
  6. Pour the broth over the veggies to coat.
  7. Spread the “mashed potatoes” on top of the veggies.
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the “mashed potatoes” start to brown and look like a crust.
  9. Cut into 4 servings and eat!

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I made it just as the recipe suggests, however my cauliflower is a little different. First, I was too impatient to let it cook all the way, so it didn’t quite “mash.” I have made it several times before though, so rest assured it will get creamy like potatoes if you have an ounce more patience than I.

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I added chili powder to both the turkey and cauliflower for an extra bit of kick. Instead of cream cheese, I added cottage cheese to the cauliflower. My only complaint is that the broth made it soupy, I would definitely omit that next time!

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Of course, what is shepherd’s pie without a healthy dose of ketchup??

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April is so cute. Her recipe says it makes four servings – I got three. And a very satisfied belly afterward ;) Comfort food at it’s finest. Can’t wait to have it again for dinner tomorrow!

 

Yup, yoga, brunch, grocery shopping and cooking. Can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday. Well, maybe. Next week I’ll be talking running all day and getting paid for it! Life is sweet my friends :)

 

Question of the Day: What is your favourite dish to eat for leftovers? Okay, when I was a kid my mom used to make giant pots of spaghetti. I would always eat the leftovers for breakfast reheated in the microwave with half a pound of melted cheddar cheese. It was awesome.

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