Blog Archives

Lake Louise!!

Hello friends!! To be perfectly honest, I sit here typing up this post in a hostel in Calgary. However, I will likely be at my sister’s place in Ottawa when this post actually goes up.

I’m a tad sad that my mountain adventure has drawn to an end. I’ve had a fabulous time exploring new corners of the world with people I’ve never met, yet already know will be good friends with forever.

My recaps of the trip thus far can be found here, here and here. It’s been an experience I’ll never forget – and I feel the need to recap it not just for my readers, but so I have a record of it all for myself.

Let’s get to it – shall we? ;)

Today’s post is all about probably the most beautiful spot we visited here in Alberta – Lake Louise.

Holly, Karen and I started early Sunday morning after a rocky nights sleep in the tent. We didn’t buy many additional groceries for camping, so I threw together a mishmash of things to make a decent breakfast.

This would be an almond butter sandwich on the Silver Hills bread. with the lovely addition of straight up soy protein powder. Yes, I sprinkled it right onto the sandwich. I’m weird, because I really dug this.

Now please prepare yourself for a slew of earth shattering scenery.

Meet Lake Louise. A lake located about an hour from the town of Banff.

The area is just simply stunning. I love how the mountains on either side come down to frame the lake, and the white-capped glacier in the back. Of course, there’s also the signature turquoise water…

There’s a trail that leads to the back of the lake and you can hike up to the glacier. We ended up walking an hour along the lake, soaking up the sights.

Fuelling up with some Canadian made protein bars along the way ;)

This is the view from the back of the lake. That’s the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise off in the distance. Can you imagine staying there and waking up to this view every day??

The lake wasn’t the only eye candy. The shirtless rock climbers didn’t hurt ;)

By the time we made it back to the other side of the lake, we decided we were much to hungry to wait and find a cheap place to eat. I mean, when you’re at the Chateau Lake Louise, you might as well live it up.

We chose the tea room upstairs to eat, and were seated on the balcony with this stunning view:

Holly, Karen and I all talked ourselves into getting the Afternoon Tea… but appaaarently you need to book that sort of thing in advance. So we just settled on individual pots of tea.

I got the cinnamon apple spice. Usually, my favourite kind of tea, but there was a lot of sweetener already in the tea – honey probably.

Pip pip! (It’s what the English say Holly!!! :P )

We didn’t just drink tea though. Ohno. For we were also here to feast. Expensively.

I went for the Smoke Gouda Reuben: thinly sliced brisket, braised red cabbage, dijon mustard on light rye bread, caraway & ale mustard dip.

When in Lake Louise, right?

SO GOOD. I tried a brisket at the beginning of the trip and was still kinda “meh” about it. But this brisket was smoked. I love any and all smoked meats. Especially on this sandwich.

Soon after we said goodbye to Karen (sadface!) who had a job to return to (jobs?? what are those? :P ) Holly and I trekked along without her.

Starting from Lake Louise, we hiked up one of the side mountains to Lake Agnes. Mostly because there was a teahouse at the top. How cute is that!?

The hike wasn’t that bad. A little steep, but only about an hour long. Let me tell you, nothing like a trail on an incline to remind you just how in shape you really are.

But we made it!!

There was tons of snow at Lake Agnes which made it even more fun.

And a waterfall on the other side pouring down the mountain.

Every mountain should come with its own quaint teahouse at the top.

Holly and I were actually too hot to drink tea and were pretty bummed when we found out they were all out of lemonade. Boo!

We chose the trail less traveled on the way back down. Erm, it may be less traveled for a reason. But we found some new pretty views!

On our way down, Holly and I had a very serious discussion about what to do for dinner back at the Lake Louise campsite. All we had left on us were items we brought for snacks. With our imaginations combined, we came up with grilled pita pizzas.

Ohyes my friends.

On one side we have a pita with an almond butter sauce, topped with green apple and dried apricots.

On the other side we have a pita with an almond butter sauce and chocolate cherry trail mix topping.

Sweet melty action. Omg.

And because a dessert pizza requires a dessert…

Maple fudge!

We then fell back into a food and sugar coma and watched the clouds pass us by.

Another perfect end to another perfect day in the Canadian Rockies!

Thank you for indulging me in my vacay recaps!! I’ll be back with our final day in Banff and a fun blogger meet-up in Calgary. And of course – all the fun goings on here in Ottawa!! I’m in Ottawa until the end of the month before I move to Toronto, so let me know if you’re in the area and up for a meet-up! :)

Question of the Day: What’s your favourite kind of tea? Spiced apple is mine! Chai and peppermint aren’t far behind though.

Mountain WoMan

*peers in*

Hiya!

Well, Holly and I are back after a weekend of camping in the Canadian Rockies. We haven’t showered in a while and reek of campfire. But we both agreed that blogging would come first ;) LOVE travelling with fellow bloggers!

Saturday started off with another one of our now famous maple-y oatmeal concoctions.

IMG_8136

I believe this was Nature’s Path cinnamon raisin oatmeal cooked with soy protein powder and a banana. Topped with maple fudge, cinnamon peanut butter and maple jelly. Every bowl of oatmeal now must be topped with fudge. I’m ruined.

Saturday was our first legitimately beautiful day weather-wise. Around 23 C and not a cloud in the sky.

IMG_8138

We couldn’t see the mountains very well when we first arrived, but they popped in the sunshine. Here’s another shot of the main strip in Banff with Cascade Mountain in the back. Never gets old!!

We hit up Evelyn’s Coffee Bar for our morning coffee. Holly and I are a little useless without that one (big) cuppa joe in the a.m.

IMG_8140

The heat called for an iced latte with skim milk, an extra shot of espresso and sugar-free vanilla syrup. Hit the spot, fine work Evelyn ;)

Somehow, after coffee, we ended up wandering into this tea shop called the Banff Tea Co.

IMG_8142

There were probably a hundred different kinds of loose teas lining the walls. Every sort of flavour you can imagine. The little canisters in the front were for smelling – I whiffed on a lot!

IMG_8145

IMG_8143

I’m not a big-time tea person, but I definitely appreciate a spot like this. It was so cute!!

Karen is a huge soccer fan and was excited about Saturday’s US-England World Cup match. So we all agreed to watch some of the game at a local pub/restaurant.

IMG_8149

IMG_8159

Navigating menus on this trip has been so hard. Everything looks absolutely delicious. We haven’t been doing much snacking – mostly just three big meals a day to keep us fuelled for long spurts of activity. Saturday’s lunch was chosen with just that in mind ;)

IMG_8147

Manitoba Bison Bruger? Yesplease!

IMG_8154

I haven’t been overly concerned with choosing low-cal or super healthy foods on this trip – but doing things like asking for the mayo on the side, or getting the bun un-buttered at least helps the cause a little.

IMG_8157

Omg. This burger was spectacular. Second favourite meal of the trip thus far (elk stew still sitting at number one) Bison is a really lean meat, so it can sometimes end up on the dry side. But this burger was thick, juicy, and perfectly seasoned with spices reminiscent of a sausage. YUM.

And let’s not forget our vegetables ;)

IMG_8155

Sweet potato fries count… right??

Dessert were goodies we spied with our little eyes at the Wild Flour Bakery.

IMG_8146

Raw desserts have always intrigued me, and cinnamon rolls are one of my fave treats!

IMG_8164

It came with a soy frosting. Unfortunately, this was not great. A little bland from being made with ground flax, and waaaay lacking on the cinnamon.

Karen got an almond square that was a little better.

IMG_8163

I think the chocolate coating was made partially with dates? And the base was coconut based. Oddly enough, after all the meat I’ve been eating, the raw desserts have so far been the most disappointing!

A guy working at the hostel recommended we go up and check out Lake Minnewanka just a short drive up the road from the town Banff. Karen had her car with her… so why not?

IMG_8179

My travel buds Holly and Karen:

IMG_8182

Moi et Karen:

IMG_8193

Minnewanka Lake is a glacial lake fed by the Cascade River.The water here is the most gorgeous shade of turquoise. I’ve been trying desperately to capture it properly on film, but it just won’t work.

IMG_8198

Even the gorgeous shimmers in the water are dulled on film.

We also checked out Two Jack Lake just a hop skip and a jump away. Everywhere you turn here, there is something more beautiful from the last!

IMG_8190

There were also an unusual amount of goats in the area.

IMG_8202

I think we saw around 30 altogether? Don’t be fooled by these creatures. They may look cute from afar, but their eyes are bright orange. Creepy.

After much wandering, we eventually hit the road for Tunnel Mountain.

IMG_8221

IMG_8223

The Tunnel Mountain Campground is also very close to the town of Banff. Many of the trails in the area lead straight through the town.

However, we were more concerned about setting up camp.

IMG_8214

But we’re pros and got the tent up in no time!

IMG_8217

This is where I conveniently leave out the part that the folks at the mountain equipment store gave us a tutorial on how to set it up ;)

We also learned that coolers are not bear proof.

IMG_8220

No worries here though, for coolers are much too classy for gals like us ;)

IMG_8225

Holly claims she’s a dolt when it comes to campfires, but the old camp counsellor had one flaring immediately.

IMG_8248

My only experience in lighting fires is doing it in my kitchen :P

Between the three of us, we pretty much had enough snacks to forage together a meal.

IMG_8228

I opted for a sandwich – campfire style.

IMG_8234

One half consisted of gouda cheese and sundried tomato tuna.

IMG_8236

The other half was almond butter + gouda.

IMG_8237

Amazing combo you guys!!!! The unsweetened almond butter paired perfectly with the melty cheese. Don’t just take my word for it – try it!!

Karen also had the brilliant idea of pairing smoked salmon pate with Mary’s Herb Crackers.

IMG_8240

And of course – what’s camping without a brew??

IMG_8243

We opted for the Big Rock Pale Ale as a pale seemed perfect for some fireside drinking. Big Rock is an Alberta beer too – thumbs up!

Honourable mention goes to the seedy bread we enjoyed with dinner.

IMG_8241

Silver Hills Bakery sent me some coupons to try their bread a while back, but I couldn’t find any in New Brunswick. We found a wide array of their breads at Nester’s Food Market here in Banff. I immediately remembered those coupons and Silver Hills came to the rescue!!

IMG_8246

All of their breads are sprouted grain, but not frozen like your more popular ezekiel brand. The Hardy Hearty Harvest seemed like the perfect choice for hiking and camping, you can check out the stats and ingredients here. The bread is Susan, Holly and Karen approved! Can’t wait to try out some of the other varieties!

IMG_8250

A tired Susan, but a happy Susan :)

This is where this post ends… but I’ll be back with Part 2 of our Camping Adventure – Lake Louise!

IMG_8211

See you soon!!

Question of the Day: What’s your favourite camping food? Mine is beer by the fire. Beer totally counts as food.

P.S. For more trip pictures, check out Holly’s blog and Karen’s blog! We all ended up with a variety of shots!

Made At Home

Well hello there! Hope everyone had a fantabulous weekend!! Mine was near perfection. I finally got the 8 hours sleep I was craving last night, then made myself a pancake feast.

IMG_2915

My usual protein pancake recipe (found under the “Eats” tab!) topped with a mixture of 1/2 tbsp almond butter, 2 tbsp banana baby food, 1 tbsp molasses, 1 tbsp sugar-free syrup. A random assortment that was ooohhhsogood.

I spent the morning in bed doing blog updates! I made a new header and some minor changes to my About page, The REAL Story and Fave Posts. More updates will continue next weekend. I’m going to add an exercise page with my favourite cardio and weight lifting workouts. It’s gonna be good! (I hope)

I eventually made it to the gym for some treadmill + upper body weights.

Treadmill – 1% incline

Minutes MPH
0-5 3.5
5-6 6.0
6-7 7.0
7-9 6.0
9-11 7.0
11-14 5.8
14-17 6.8
17-21 5.8
21-25 6.8
25-28 5.8
28-31 6.8
31-33 5.8
33-35 6.8
35-36 5.8
36-37 6.8
37-40 3.5

Back + Shoulders

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Assisted pull-up 75 lbs 6 3

Chest + Back

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Dumbbell bench press 20 lbs ea 10 3
Seated cable row 55 lbs 8 3

Triceps + Biceps

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Skull crusher 20 lbs 10 3
Barbell curl 20 lbs 10 3

Shoulders + Abs

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Dumbbell shoulder press 15 lbs ea 8 3
Plank bw 60 sec 3

First, I gotta give Janetha credit for the treadmill intervals. Or, her mom anyways ;) I started out too fast. I wish 6.0 mph was a “jogging” speed for me, but it’s more my legitimate “running” speed. So I had to take it down to get rest between the faster spurts.

As for the weights, my arms are mush. I barely made it through those shoulder presses!

Came home and refuelled with an breakfast sandwich and sweet potato cheetahs.

IMG_2929
Yummm!!! I always crave eggs after weight lifting, I have no idea why.

I hit up the grocery store after and had an exciting food find!!!

IMG_2935

Kashi Dark Chocolate Coconut Fruit & Grain granola bar. For the longest time we just had the Kashi chewy bars here, and only just got the cereal ones. I embarrassed myself yet again at the Superstore upon finding these bad boys.

IMG_2936

They also had the pumpkin flavour, but this one obviously caught my eye first. Dark chocolate and coconut? Yes please!! It was pretty small, and tasted borderline stale. But my goodness the chocolate on top is goooood.

After my snack I got to work in the kitchen! First up: Beek’s Coconut Chia Granola.

IMG_2958

You may recall Bekah sent me some of her famous granola over the holidays. I LOVED it. I offered Bekah the opportunity to come here and make the granola for me on a regular basis, but instead she told me to make it myself :P

IMG_2944

I followed her directions almost perfectly…

Bekah’s Coconut Chia Granola:

recipe adapted from the back of the Let’s Do Organic brand of coconut flakes:

  • 3 cups rolled oats, gluten-free if necessary
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2  cup pure maple syrup (I use Grade B.)
  • Vanilla extract and cinnamon to taste. (I like a lot, probably 1 t of each, and then some.) 1/2 T of each
  • 2 T safflower oil canola oil
  • 2 T chia seeds

Mix allllll together in a bowl or directly on a cookie sheet, bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes, making sure to mix up the granola one or two times while baking, to ensure even coloring (NOT burning!)

I pulled it out to stir every five minutes or so, burning my tongue on a nibble every single time :P

IMG_2956

Best. Granola. Ever. Seriously guys, go make it yourself. The sooner the better.

Next up was another batch of my homemade protein bars. Pretty much the same as last week, but with a touch less water.

IMG_2945

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 4 scoops chocolate whey protein powder
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 2 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp mini chocolate chips
  • < 3/4 cup water

All mushed together and pressed into a 9×9 baking pan. No baking though, just put in the fridge to harden.

IMG_2952
Then cut into 8 pieces and wrapped up for the week!

IMG_2978

I changed the recipe just a tad, so the stats are slightly different: 174 calories, 6g fat, 17g carbs, 1g sugar, 3g fibre, 15g protein. Still not too shabby!

Then it was on to Homemade Sunflower Mustard Hummus.

IMG_2970

Yes, you read that right mustard hummus.

  • 1 can garbanzo beans (+3 tbsp of their liquid)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seed butter (I used Deb’s!)
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • salt + pepper to taste

I added the mustard because I’m out of lemon juice. Oddly, it turned out quite sweet!

Last, but definitely not least, I made my meal for the week. I stumbled upon this Mark Bittman chili recipe in Runner’s World that’s chock full of veggies. Sign me up!

IMG_3001

Bean and Vegetable Chili

3 tablespoons olive oil Canola spray
1/2 pound ground beef, pork, turkey, or chicken – 1 whole pound
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 small one big eggplant, cubed
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 cup 2 cups mushrooms, quartered
1 fresh or dried hot chile, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 cup canned tomato, seeded and chopped 1 can no-sodium tomato sauce
4 cups canned 2 cans kidney beans, liquid reserved
Vegetable stock as needed (about two cups)
Fresh cilantro for garnish

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium; add the meat, season with salt and pepper, and cook until browned. Remove meat from pan and drain off all but three tablespoons of fat.

Heat the pan over medium-high. Add the onion and garlic; cook for about a minute. Add the vegetables; cook for 10 minutes or until they start to caramelize and dry out.

Add the seasonings and stir, then add the tomatoes and beans with enough of their liquid to submerge everything (use the stock if there isn’t enough).

Bring the mixture to a boil and cook about 15 minutes. Garnish with cilantro. Serves six.

IMG_2991

I thought it tasted a little bland so I topped my bowl with salsa.

IMG_2999

MMmmm…. love me a chunky chili full of veggies :D

Now I am officially ready to start my work week :)

Those of you who expressed interest in the Banff Blogger Trip should have gotten an e-mail update on it :) Our dates are June 8-15 with tons of fun things in between. If you’re interested and didn’t get the e-mail, let me or Holly know: thegreatbalancingact@gmail.com or healthyeverythingtarian@gmail.com

Some things are just a no-brainer:

lake-louise-708811

SO excited!!!

Okay, it’s waaaaay past my bedtime. I need my beauty rest for spinning tomorrow!

Question of the Day: What store-bought items do you usually like to make at home? I love making my own hummus. And I must say, I’m really getting into this homemade protein bar thing. SO much cheaper, and I feel better eating them knowing the ingredients aren’t as scary.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 485 other followers