Blog Archives

A New Kind of Normal

image
Welcome to Toronto I guess??

So nice of the city to greet me with excruciating heat, humidity and a smog advisory :P For my American friends:

image

So far I’m doing okay in the heat, but there are no signs of it letting up for at least the next week, which may eventually pose some problems. As of right now, I’m learning how to cope with being a sweaty mess 24/7 ;)

The heat, combined with the decadence displayed over the last several days, has led to many simple meals on my part.

IMG_9314

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling and seeing the after-effects of my eating over the last month. I was more than happy to participate in the wonderful food opportunities I came across, especially seeing as I might never get the chance to participate in such things again. (read: a giant bison burger in Banff, my first gelato experience, or a homestyle Jewish brunch).

IMG_9316

I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t ecstatic to start eating kale and hummus salads again on the daily. We eat the way we do for a reason – because it works for our bodies. A deviation from that can be fun and welcome for a short period of time. But we’ll always desire to fall back into our natural patterns for the long-run.

IMG_9309
Grocery shopping in Ontario is proving to be a fun experience. Many of the same products as in New Brunswick, but I’m finding a few new-to-me things!

I’ve never found hummus to be overly caloric to begin with, but the foodie in me was intrigued by Wendy and Barb’s Skinny Dips Hummus.

IMG_9311
15 calories per tablespoon. Okay, so maybe this is good if you’re prone to eating hummus by the half-cup (I can’t be the only one!!)

IMG_9312
The ingredients are all very normal. It seems they simply cut out any oil to eliminate some calories and fat, something I do when I make my own hummus at home. Not great if you rely on hummus as a healthy source of fat though. Taste wise, it’s pretty good. So long as hummus has chickpeas and garlic I’m good. Texture-wise, it’s a little on the watery side.

Dessert!

IMG_9319

Ikea chocolate. Yes, a $1 chocolate bar from Ikea my sister insisted on getting. And by “insisted” I mean she pointed to it and I fervently agreed. I’m on a hazelnut milk chocolate kick and this fits the bill. No Lindt though. Lindt will always be my favourite.

I’ve also finally started cooking in my new place!! This is where all the magic will be happening…

IMG_9320

A much larger kitchen than in my old place, which was literally smaller than a closet. The fire alarms are all working, which may be a necessary quality with my cooking methods. I predict many great things coming from this kitchen!! :)

The living area just off the kitchen:

IMG_9321

Please excuse the mess, we are still doing a lot of unpacking and cleaning. Table is off to the side, which will be perfect for eating off of.

We have stairs!

IMG_9323

Which lead up to a hallway that includes a bathroom and three bedrooms. I have two roommies who I met in J-school (and played in a band with!!). I’m sure you’ll be seeing lots of them on the blog soon :)

Meet my Ikea bedroom:

IMG_9325

Note, that is not a comforter but a sleeping bag I brought to Banff with me. Bedding will be arriving at the end of the month.

To the immediate left is my giant closet.

IMG_9330

Hi!! Full length mirror came with place, score. So did this TV:

IMG_9326

Double score. This is the opposite wall at the foot of the bed. There’s another small closet there that is currently empty because most of my belongings are still in Moncton! I still need to find fun things to put on the walls too.

That weird halo lighting comes from these:

IMG_9327

Two skylights above the TV! Pretty neat, however I can’t open them which makes it pretty warm and stuffy in my room. Also, I’ve taken to wearing an eye mask because I have yet to figure out how to put curtains on them. Honestly though, I should have started wearing an eye mask a long time ago. I’m always up with the sun, and now I’m sleeping 8+ in pitch black. It’s heavenly.

I also have a second home here in Toronto:

IMG_9331

The coffee shop just down the street. We still don’t have internet at the new place, so I’ve been spending my afternoons hanging out in here and it really does feel like a second home! I just finished that above iced tea.

IMG_9333

And I maaaay have just had a coconut cookie. But the only evidence of its existence are a few mere crumbs on a plate in front of me. Hmm. Second homes with delicious baked goods could be dangerous.

On that note, I am off to discover my third home here in Toronto. My nearest gym!! I haven’t worked out in five days and feel like I just need to get in there and move my body. I’m still sick as a dog, but maybe getting my blood flowing will help this cold along.

Oh! Oh! And thank you for the good luck wishes on my interview today! I have a second interview tomorrow morning so they must have worked :) Keep ‘em coming!!

 

Question of the Day: I am starting to feel out of touch with my bloggie friends, name one exciting thing that has happened to you in the last week!

Home is where the workout is

Hello friends! Hope everyone had a good weekend, or long weekend if you had one of those too ;)

So today was my last shift at Starbucks. I had high hopes of getting up early, shovelling the wall of snow at the end of my driveway, and heading to the gym for a treadmill date before work. Yeah. Looked outside and it was still dark and raining. Tackling the snow boulders the plow leaves behind didn’t sound too appealing at that hour. Luckily, Chris and I turned my apartment into a workout friendly place last night! Check it…

This is what my bachelor apartment looked like before…

There was a lot of debate about how to set up my small space when I moved in. My mom and sis were adamant on having my dinner table in the living room. But it didn’t leave me much space in there, and left my sleeping area open to the rest of the apartment.

After a little rearranging, here’s what I’m now working with…

IMG_2267

IMG_2269

IMG_2271

The coffee table is pushed to the side in that photo, but it still provides much more open space than before. My bed is now behind the couch, so my sleeping area is sort of “cut off” from the living room. It’s how I originally wanted the couch, and as soon as Chris and I moved it, I immediately felt a sense of comfort in my own home. Something I haven’t really had yet. My mom believes in all that Feng Shui stuff, and I can see why now. I feel so much better in my space already!

The kitchen table is also where I originally wanted it…

IMG_2272

The microwave stand that was there is a little awkward in it’s new spot, but I’ve only got so much space to work with.

IMG_2275

My first living room workout turned out to be a stellar one!! I started with 40 minutes speed intervals on the trainer. I originally planned on 20 minutes, but then figured and extra 10 wouldn’t hurt, then pushed out another 10! It helped that I was being entertained by the television (watching one of my old classmates do live hits on a national news network!!!!).

The trainer itself is kinda fun. It was nice to be on my own bike. Unlike spin bikes, mine is set up to fit me perfectly. It was weird having the back wheel spin though! I was a sweaty mess. I’ll have to put a mat underneath it. The lack of fancy air system in my apartment made a big difference.

As you probably spied in the above photos – I tried Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred for the first time!

IMG_2263

I did Level 1 which consists of three circuits. Each circuit has 3 minutes strength, 2 minutes cardio, 1 minute abs. I’ve heard Level 1 is easy – but I found it quite challenging! Albeit, I was kinda wiped from my bike sesh. But the quality of a workout is always the quality of the work you put in ;)

Oh, and the best part? I burned 500+ calories in 67 minutes! In my living room. Love it :D

 

Now how about some random eats? Some highlights if you will ;)

Last night I tried a new-to-me product – quark!!

IMG_2241 
I remembered Ellie telling me about this stuff she can buy in Scotland that resembles Greek yogurt (which I can’t buy here). Pretty sure my eyes bulged out of my head when I spotted it in the grocery store.

Apparently, quark is a cheese. The nutritionals are awesome.

IMG_2243

IMG_2245

Ellie said it’s quite thick, but this stuff was more just like a thick yogurt. But with a slight cheesy taste underneath the typical yogurt “tang.” I ate it the usual way…

IMG_2250

With stevia, vanilla extract, strawberries, ground flax and unsweetened coconut. Messed up, of course ;)

IMG_2258

I really, really liked it! If it wasn’t so dang expensive, I’d add it to my regular rotation. Alas, it will have to remain a special treat.

Other random eats include a new-to-me Simply Bar flavour – Lemon Coconut.

IMG_2278 IMG_2280 IMG_2291

It was “meh.” Too much lemon, not enough coconut. The lemon flavour reminded me of the Lemon Zest Luna a little, but not nearly as sweet. If anything, it was a little too plain.

 

I got sent home from work early today because the mall was d-e-a-d. Apparently, no one else wanted to attack their driveway snow boulders. It was pretty sweet, as I was definitely not feeling my last shift at the Bucks today. Plus, I got to come home and bake!

IMG_2299

Carrot Cake Protein Bars 

I found this recipe here but I can’t find the original on Jamie Eason’s website. Here’s what I used:

  • 1 cup oat flour (made by putting rolled oats in my coffee grinder)
  • 2 tsp 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp allspice 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup 1/2 cup Splenda
  • 1/2 cup fat free low-fat Ricotta cheese
  • 24oz 7oz baby food carrots
  • 2 scoops vanilla whey protein
  • 1 cup quick cooking rolled oats

Mix up dry ingredients, add the wet stuff. Pour in a 9×9 pan and bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes.

IMG_2301

I cut it into 16 squares, each having 74 calories, 1g fat, 5g carbs, 1g sugar, 1g fibre, 10g protein. Not too shabby! The best part is that they actually taste good!!! Yes Deb, even with the protein powder! :P Next time I’ll add a little shredded carrot, golden raisins and walnuts, but like this they are quite edible.

 

I tried out another random recipe for dinner: Indian Cauliflower Stew.

IMG_2314

Ingredients

1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 med. carrots, chopped
1 med. onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. curry powder
Salt
2 1/2 C vegetable broth
1 med. head cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 (15 oz.) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 C chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 C plain lowfat yogurt

Directions
In a dutch oven, heat oil and add carrots and onion. Cook 10-12 mins or until tender. Stir in ginger, curry, and 3/4 tsp. salt into mixture, cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add broth, cover and heat to boiling. Stir in cauliflower and chickpeas. Cover and cook on medium 15-20 minutes longer, gently stirring until cauliflower is tender. Stir in chopped cilantro and yogurt. Serve over rice.

I pretty much followed the recipe to a tee. Only changes were that I added 1/2 tsp ground ginger instead of the fresh stuff, 1 tsp ground cumin, and ate it over top a bed of shredded chicken ;) I loved this. I don’t make a lot of Indian food at home, I should!

 

Last but not least, here’s a photo I swiped from the New Year’s party – better late than never!

NYE 
There’s obviously a lot more, but I don’t really want to post pics of Chris’ friends without their permission! I was a little overdressed for the party, but I didn’t give a damn. It was New Year’s – I wanted to feel pretty!

 

Hm. This post was kinda all over the place. Keeping ya on your toes ;)

 

Question of the Day: What’s your favourite “ethnic” food to make at home? I guess I use the term ethnic lightly here, perhaps “regional” would be more appropriate. Mine’s mostly North American, but I like making Greek-inspired stuff. I also much prefer my homemade Chinese-inspired dishes to the stuff I buy in restaurants.

 

See ya tomorrow for a recap on my first day at my new job!! Eeeee!!!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 485 other followers