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Mumbo Jumbo + A Breakfast Oatcake Recipe

Wonderful comments on yesterday’s post, Blogging About Healthy Living – Is It Healthy? And thank you for indulging me in my observations and opinions :)

This post is going to be all over the place – much like me lately!

First things first, a recipe.

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Four times a week I roll out of bed at 5:15am to be on the streetcar by 5:45am and work by 6:30am. Essentially enough time to clear the sleep from my eyes, brush my teeth, put on mascara, and stuff my gym clothes into my bag.

I suppose I could get up earlier than this to have a proper sit-down breakfast. But seeing the number “4” on my alarm clock freaks me out.

Because of this, I’ve been eating breakfast literally on-the-go most days of the week. Usually during my 15 minute streetcar ride to the subway station. Breakfast needs to be quick, cold, and something I won’t spill on my lap.

My latest on-the-go breakfast creation was actually inspired by the traditional Scottish oatcakes I made for the second Project Food Blog challenge in this post.

I begin my mixing the following ingredients:

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  • 1/2 cup dry rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup soy protein powder (optional, can be replaced with flour)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (okay, I actually use way more than that)
  • 2 pinches baking soda (around 1 tsp)
  • 2 packets stevia (can use honey, brown sugar, mashed banana, etc)
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter (again, optional!)
  • fun add-ins! This batch has TJ’s flattened banana bits and mini chocolate chips
  • Little mix of warm liquid like water or milk

Mix it all up, adding the liquid just until everything is slightly soft and dissolved. Form mixinto little patties. Throw on a medium-heat greased frying pan and cook until brown and firm.

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Suddenly I’m left with three little oatcakes with good nutritionals that I can eat ALL of for breakfast!

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I make these the night before while I prep my coffee and lunch. Store in a little baggie to grab-n-go at 5am :)

The oatcakes also get a much better reception from my fellow streetcar passengers compared to creations such as these…

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That would be cottage cheese with nut butter, oats and dried fruit. This tupperware filled with mush generates a lot of weird and disgusted looks. Much worse however are the days I choose to bring boiled eggs. Not everyone appreciates it when I stink up the back car!

Secondly, I am currently without internet at home.

I’ve actually been without it since last Thursday and won’t be online again until this Friday. For someone who spends a HUGE chunk of their day on the world wide web, it’s proven to be a little difficult. A nice vacation from it all I guess, but it’s also causing me to fall way behind on important work commitments. Le boo.

This means I’ve been spending even more time leeching off free wifi in cafes.

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Which is saying a lot, because I pretty much live at Starbucks between clients anyways. I live too far away to scoot home during the longer breaks, so I just haul my laptop around with me!

This also means that sometimes, I fall victim to the cafe food case.

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Yesterday, I had a Santa Fe Chicken Panini from Starbucks. It was pretty decent!! Expensive though.

Thirdly, the leftovers from my beer filled dinner party just keep giving.

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For lunch yesterday I ate a whack of leftover Chicken & Tofu in a Peanut & Beer Sauce. Seriously. This dish is bomb. Peanut butter and beer really do make everything better.

Today I also had two Guinness Stout Brownies for breakfast. But there is conveniently no photographic evidence that ever actually happened. We’re moving on ;)

Finally, I added tuna to the Pale Ale Cabbage Slaw to turn it into a main dish!

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I was left with two extra bags of pre-mixed slaw and ate a whole bag for lunch. Veggies stand no chance in my presence.

Fourthly (??) I feel like I should let you know that the party didn’t end after the dinner party on Saturday night. Friends, I was up until 5am. Not what you think though. Ohno, we kept it classy with art exhibitions!

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…in the street. Every year, Toronto hosts this event called “Nuit Blanche” from dusk till dawn. The whole city is taken over by pieces of mostly modern art. The streets were packed with people ALL night!

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Unfortunately, we didn’t see much. By staying out so late, we also ran out of steam and only stumbled across two pieces. The above van with holes and lights.

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And the screening of The Beatles movie Hard Days Night. Sloooowed down to run for 12 hours and accompanied by a string quartet playing veeerrrry slowly.

Ohyes, and there was that creepy dollhouse that is unfortunately not an exhibit but real life. Perhaps it’s better we just forget about that.

Fifthly, I received a very pretty package today.

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Aahhh, even Deb knows I keep it classy ;)

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The “crack” being Trader Joes Sunflower Seed Butter. My favourite!!! Along with some Luna Chocolate Peppermint stick flavour that we also can’t get in Canada, and little bags of mysterious Japanese nuts. (yes, I know how that sounds)

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Okay, technically they’re Mini Broad Beans in a soy sauce-like flavouring. Verrrry good and the perfect little treat! THANK YOU for perking up my day Deb!!!!

Sixthly, this is really cool chocolate.

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I love Ritter Sport brand to begin with, but this kind has Cornflakes in it!

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Just a little crisp added to the soft milk chocolate. Definitely recommended.

Lastly (but definitely not leastly!)

Voting is still open for Project Food Blog! Are you sick of these prompts yet? This week’s challenge goes from 200 to 100 bloggers, with the final blogger getting $10,000. I feel so lucky to have made it this far, as the whole process has turned out to be pretty fun. Also a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has supported and voted for me thus far. I’ve been playing with ideas of things I could do with that money, and I definitely want it to involve my readers and the greater good somehow! To keep me in the running, click here, sign up and give me a big ole’ heart! :)

Question of the Day: It’s time for Q&As!! If you have any questions you want me to address in a post, leave it in the comments or e-mail me at thegreatbalancingact@gmail.com I’ll be addressing all sorts of topics, silly, serious, personal, fitness related, food related, anything!

Immediate Onset Muscle Soreness

Finally, I did it.

I went to a kettle bell class!!

Few gyms in my old neck of the woods offer kettlebell classes, so when Darryn suggested we try one out here in Ottawa I was all over it!

Now, I may be a personal trainer and fitness enthusiast, but I was still a little scared. I’ve heard this shit (sorry) is tough. Which in some twisted way is also why I was so attracted to it.

We went to an “Intro to Kettlebells” class. Thankfully, it was just me, Darryn and the instructor, which made it feel like our own private session!

Essentially, kettlebell training is a lot like plyo, but with the addition of swinging around one or two of these weights. It requires a lot more balance and fluidity than I was expecting, and perhaps also why they recommend you go barefoot.

 

We did a lot of squats and lunges, some with jumping, a few with presses. I think the sit-ups with the shoulder press killed me the most. Apparently the intro class is mostly easier moves with fewer reps. My heart rate definitely got high towards the end of each circuit and I could really feel my muscles working – the best of both worlds!

With all that said, it is pretty torturous. But some people dig torturous (maybe even this girl?). I’d love to find a beginner class in Toronto where I can learn more moves, and maybe even incorporate into some training plans for advanced clients!

And in case you’re wondering, I am hella sore. Inner thighs mostly, thanks to all those squats. No “delayed” onset muscle soreness here. It’s all immediate ;)

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After, Darryn and I found our way to the Byward Cafe. She had her heart set on a salad, I on a coffee and sandwich. They had all three!

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For the sandwich, I went for chicken and marinated vegetable. Very good actually, for something that sounds so simple.

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For the salad, I got the greek + mixed greens.

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For my coffee, I went for an Americano. Yummmm.

Darryn and I chattered away and had a lovely lunch together!

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Have I said that I love blog friends? I love blog friends. Everyone is so wonderful, one of the main reasons why all the work I put into blogging is worth it!! Not to mention, more people in the world who love to ramble about food and exercise with me ;)

After we said our goodbyes, I continued on my journey to the National Art Gallery. This is the place I was trying to get to when I got lost in Hull.

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Apparently it’s hard to miss because of the large, frightening spider out front. Disgusting egg sack and all. Aragog??

The gallery had a Pop art exhibit on! Including this one:

Lots of Warhols which were pretty neat to see. Some other things from the 80s and early 90s that I actually recognized from my childhood. The most “interesting” thing in the exhibit was a video of Kirsten Dunst singing the song “Turning Japanese.” No joke. I had to do a double take. Watch it here.

My faaaavourite thing from the gallery though were the Canadian works of art!!

The National Gallery has a lot of Group of Seven paintings which I lovelovelove. This one by Tom Thomson is one of my all-time favourites.

This one caught my eye immediately, and I smiled when I read the info card next to it.

“Red Currant Jelly” by Mary Pratt – an artist from Fredericton!! She’s one of the most famous painters to come from New Brunswick :)

Of course, this one also caught my eye…

“A Meeting of the School Trustees” by Robert Harris. Aka the source of the “Both of you know I cannot read a word” Heritage Minute!! It is slightly sad that my knowledge of Canadian history comes mostly from those Heritage Minutes…

I tried to power through the gallery as I still had a 40 minute walk back to my sister’s place and my body was starting to feel worn out. Made up a giant veggie plate the second I burst through the door.

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Carrots, bell pepper and cucumber with tofu spread.

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Tofu spread completes me.

Dinner featured a new-to me veggie.

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Artichokes! Okay, I’ve had the bottled artichoke hearts before, but I’ve never dealt with the whole thing before.

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I didn’t really look up a recipe before I spontaneously decided to cook them tonight. I took the hard leaves off, sliced them lengthwise, and let soak in red wine vinegar with shallots before sautéing.

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Eaten on half a pita with a cut up bison burger, mayo, mustard, spinach and tomatoes.

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Honestly, I think I prefer the jarred variety, but it was still a fun food experiment!

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Roasted broccoli and sweet potato on the side. Burnt it a little, which actually made it better! Crispier! Yumyum :)

 

Sara and I had planned on an Ashtanga class tonight, but she can’t make it. I’m secretly glad because I’m pretty sore from kettlebells ;)

Question of the Day: What is your favourite fitness class? One you’re dying to try? My favourite is either spin or step but tomorrow I’m making it to that Gliding class – mark my words! ;)

 

**Angela from Oh She Glows and I are organizing a big Toronto blogger meet-up at Calico Cafe for July 11th to celebrate my moving there! E-mail me at the greatbalancingact@gmail.com asap if you think you can make it – space in the restaurant is limited!

The Saturday Market

Happy weekend everyone! I’ve been workworkworking away. ‘Tis the tale of my weekends. But worry not, I’ll be livin’ up on my days off mid-week when all you normal folks are back at it ;)

Last night was my first “early night” in the new place. Ugh. Chris text messaged me and woke me up at 9:30, then the people upstairs started vacuuming at 10 pm. Needless to say, it was not awesome.

You may have heard me complain in the past about working every Saturday morning during our city’s Farmer’s Market hours. Well, a co-worker gave me the great idea of rearranging some of my work tasks in the morning to clear up time to go. Genius!

I really wish I’d taken pictures today, but I was too focused on getting food and back to work on time. So I present you with photos taken circa March 2008 for a photojournalism project I did on the vendors of the Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market.

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That was fun actually! Brings me back to when I shot these photos. All super nice people. That old lady just warms my heart. Also, that juice man refused to stop juicing so I could take his picture. He was in “the zone” I guess…

Anyways, here’s my loot!

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  • Plums
  • Kale
  • Heirloom tomatoes
  • Blackberries
  • Purple potatoes
  • Zucchini
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  • Pita bread
  • Dolmadas (stuffed grape leaves)
  • Baba ghanoush
  • Smoked liverwurst

I actually went there with the goal of getting smoked salmon, but I came across this liverwurst and remembered loving it when I was a meat eater.

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Immediately brought me back to eating it on crusty bread when my family and I travelled around Germany and Western Europe. Yum!

The other items were bought at the Lebanese stand, which is always my favourite at any market. The baba ghanoush is the good stuff, made with eggplant and tahini, and not eggplant and mayo like many store bought varieties.

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Kinda like the eggplant’s version of hummus :)

I put many of my market goodies to use for dinner.

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Lets get a little closer, shall we?

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I stuffed a chicken breast with baba ghanoush and grilled it on my new George Foreman. Then I finally tried some of Kath’s kale chips. I tossed kale in a little olive oil, kosher salt and parmesan then baked at 350 F for about 15 minutes. They really did turn out crispy! Except, I accidentally over-salted, and didn’t end up eating them. I should have known better, I don’t like salty foods!

I did however eat these up, plus some :)

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I was pleased to find a few chickpeas in there! I dipped them in plain yogurt and went back and got the two extra ones since I didn’t eat my kale. Sosososo good. My dad used to buy Lebanese food at my hometown market., so I grew up loving this stuff. My mom always joked he was having an affair with the old lady who was Lebanese vendor :P

 

While not eating (or having power naps) I spent the day cleaning and unpacking. I didn’t realize how much I still have left to do, even though all the important items are unpacked. I started decorating too!

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This one’s for Janetha’s roommate who also loves elephants! That’s just a snippet of my elephant statue collection.

Some of my favourite art…

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I have a rule that I only hang prints of paintings I’ve seen. Impressionism is my favourite, so I’ve always gone out of my way to check out exhibits when they come here or when I’m travelling. I’ve got way more too, but you’ll have to wait until the official tour ;)

It’s no secret that I’m a messy person. So I want to work really hard to keep my new place clean. Health comes from many places, including the environment you live in. So want to surround myself with things I love and treat them well!

Question of the day: What are some of your favourite items in your home? Obviously, I choose my prints. But I also love having my instruments on display, music makes me happy!

And with that, it’s my bedtime. One of my neighbours is playing club music. Ugh. I may have to invest in earplugs…

Nightynight!

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