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Bread Maker

I’ve been baking again.

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It can’t be helped. I keep getting all these ideas, and I must put them to the test in my mother’s kitchen.

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It’s another rainy day here in New Brunswick. I’m much too sore from my full-body lifting workout to exercise. This kind of weather calls for movie watching, laundry, and now apparently baking.

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I gathered up my cast of characters.

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The key ingredient here is baking soda.

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While having our afternoon scones yesterday (which both Ellie and my Nana have informed me are pronounced “sk-onn” and not “sk-own”), my mother started talking about the soda bread of her childhood.

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Apparently soda bread is an incredibly simple loaf to make, something our ancestors lived off of in the barren northern climates.

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My mom says Nana used to make soda bread and serve it with cheddar cheese and molasses as an after-school snack. Don’t even get me started on how intrigued I am by the thought of a cheddar cheese and molasses sandwich.

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Once again, the seed was planted. I got the idea of baking in my head and I couldn’t shake it. I scoured the internets for the best recipe I could find. I ended up going back to basics. The same simple bread our ancestors made, with the addition of a little whole wheat for good measure.

From The Food Network

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups buttermilk

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and sprinkle with a little flour.

Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in buttermilk. Using one hand, stir in full circles (starting in the center of the bowl working toward the outside of the bowl) until all the flour is incorporated. The dough should be soft but not too wet and sticky. When it all comes together, in a matter of seconds, turn it out onto a well-floured surface. Clean dough off your hand.

Pat and roll the dough gently with floury hands, just enough to tidy it up and give it a round shape. Flip over and flatten slightly to about 2 inches. Transfer the loaf to the prepared baking sheet. Mark with a deep cross using a serrated knife and prick each of the four quadrants.

Bake the bread for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400° and continue to bake until the loaf is brown on top and sounds hollow when tapped, 30 to 35 minutes more. Transfer the loaf to a wire rack and let cool for about 30 minutes.

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Renee wrote a post a while back about how baking makes her happy. It got me thinking about how I myself have fallen in love with baking.

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Baking used to intimidate me. At least with cooking, you are always in control. A tweak here, a pinch of something there. It’s fun to throw ingredients together and see what you can create.

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But with baking, all you can do is assemble the ingredients the best you can – and then you wait. Praying, wishing, hoping that the preparation you put into it will deem a delicious result.

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There is something SO satisfying when you pull your creation out of the oven, smelling, looking and even better, tasting perfect. The happiness that comes from baking a perfect product goes a lot deeper!

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And lets be honest with ourselves here. There are few things greater in life than putting a smear of butter on a slice of bread warm out of the oven.

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Bliss.

 

I haven’t just been baking bread today!

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Pancakes were had to celebrate Pancake Sunday. Dairy-Free (ish) Protein Pancakes to be exact. 

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With the addition of sliced almonds, coconut and almond extract to make Almond Coconut Protein Pancakes.

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So fluffy. So good.

I also polished off the Meatloaf Pizza for lunch.

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Avec une salade.

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Dressing was laughing cow cheese whisked with buttermilk. Nothing short of amazing.

But I don’t know how this got on my camera.

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I don’t eat chocolate. Especially not Belgian dusted truffles. Disgusting. Who’s teeth-marks are those? :P

This afternoon, I made my own version of strawberry shortcake using Homemade Wholegrain Maple Oatmeal Scones.

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Except, we didn’t have any strawberries, so I used raspberries.

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And I’m not the world’s biggest fan of whipped cream, but I do love yogurt. Stellar snack!

Soon the smell of freshly baked bread was replaced with that of bbq chicken

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Once again, my mom pulled together a fabulous meal.

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A chicken thigh in a sauce of bbq sauce, ketchup, soy sauce and top-secret spices. Paired with roasted parsnip, carrots, sweet potato and potato. This meal was to die for. I think I may just bring my mom to Toronto with me instead of bothering to come back here :P

 

Some links!!

Apparently a lot of reverse photoshopping is done to too-thin models to make them look healthier. You hear so much about editors tucking in little pudges and rolls, that I never considered that some women need to have their bony bodies hidden. This deeply saddens me. Read about it here. One editor blames shrinking designer sample sizes, so magazines have no choice but to hire too-thin models to wear them.

A recent study says that you can burn more fat by skipping breakfast before your morning workout. They claim that without stored carbohydrates to pull on, your body will look for fat to fuel activity. I only have basic training on how these energy systems work, but I do know that the fatty acids in your muscles aren’t the same as the fat that sits around your tummy. Why would you want to risk being in a catabolic state and breaking down your muscles? A better idea is to have at least 100 calories worth of simple carbs (fruit juice, a banana, yogurt, etc) before your morning workout. It will give you tons more energy, and I betcha you’ll burn a lot more calories when you aren’t dragging through your workout hungry and dizzy.

Finally, this is the most awkward exercise I’ve ever seen. Please don’t ever do this. Thank you.

 

Question of the Day: Now that I know all about your favourite kinds of pizza – what’s your favourite kind of bread?? Brown bread over here please :) Or, if flatbreads are included (why not, it’s my question after all!) I luuuurve naan.

The Non-Backyard BBQ

Happy Waffle Wednesday!!!

Confession: I couldn’t wait until Wednesday this week, and ate up my waffles on Tuesday. I was waffling in spirit though :) Actually, today was more of a Weightlifting Wednesday. Alliteration Wednesday??

In my unemployment, I’ve become accustomed to waking up at 7am every morning when my mom’s boyfriendlifepartner wakes up. I make breakfast, drink coffee, relax, then go to the gym with my mom when she’s ready. This really is the ideal workout situation for me, as I’m adequately fuelled and caffeinated for when the real work begins.

However, life was not always so agreeable. Back in my working days (almost a month ago!!) I was up at 5am every day to hit up the gym before my office job. I got pretty used to this routine, and my body adjusted to the early morning beating.

Suffice it to say, this is no longer the case :P This morning I woke up, gobbled up a banana, and was on the elliptical within 30 minutes of rising. Whoa. Shock to the ole system. Took me much longer to get into the groove, but once I did it was gooood!

Warm-up: 15 minutes on the elliptical, increasing resistance

Straight set (x3)
One arm dumbbell snatch (shoulders, quads, glutes)

Superset (x3)
Wide-grip lat pulldown (upper & mid back, biceps)
Single leg squat (quads, glutes, inner thigh)

Superset (x3)
Cable twisting chest press (chest, front of shoulder, triceps, obliques) 
Single leg romanian deadlift (hamstrings, glutes, lower back, hips)

Superset (x3)
Dumbbell front raise with a side lunge (front shoulders, top back, thighs, glutes) 
Standing calf raise (calves) 

Superset (x3)
Incline curl (biceps)
Kickback (triceps)

Superset (x3)
Cable horizontal woodchop (obliques)
Reverse crunch (lower abs)

Solid, solid lifting workout folks! Lately I’ve been alternating between upper-body and lower-body moves with my full-body workouts. I used to do all compound moves, but I’ve noticed more results with a few extra isolation moves thrown in there. Whole thing took me an hour. Doing supersets helps me speed through it.

Oh yes, and why exactly was I up working out so early when I’m unemployed?

I had things to attend to of course!

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Fun things :) Friends of Sister Jane were in town playing a show. Bette & Wallet play vamped up folk music, you can listen to them here! And while we’re on it, Sister Jane is a musician as well. She’s currently working on her third album, and you should most definitely go listen to her music here.

There, I think I have all my shameless plugs accounted for.

The only thing that could have made this concert better was some free food. Wait! It had that too!

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There was a “backyard bbq” theme. Despite the event actually being held on the stage of a theatre. I showed up hungry and figured I could snack on the veggie tray until I found something better after we left. Little did I know it was going to be good food!!

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Albeit, not the “healthiest” food. The options were beef chili, seafood chowder, dinner rolls, bbq drumsticks, ribs and a raw veggie tray.

As soon as I saw the chili I knew I was good. Chili is surprisingly a good choice at times like these (if you love the beef). It’s not made with cream, is chock full of veggies, meat and fibre, and relatively low-cal. I had one scoop of the chili (~1 cup), a piece each of the ribs and chicken just to get a taste, and filled the rest of my plate with veggies.

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It was the perfect serving! I got to try some of the yummy stuff, without feeling gross and overstuffed after. They were also offering black forest cake and carrot cake, but I put my foot down to that. Ohyes, and I think I may have a new addiction to ribs ;)

That held me over for a long time while we visited with my Nana after. Only needed a small snack to hold me over till dinner.

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Homemade Maple Cinnamon Protein Bar made with rolled oats instead of oat bran, and added raisins. Never fail!

Dinner was yet another feast. I have definitely been eating well lately!

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Mother dearest put together a tossed salad.

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While Mark made the dressing – 2 parts apple cider vinegar, one part canola oil, and some secret seasonings. He tells me that Dr. Oz says this oil/vinegar combo can make you burn an extra 50 calories a day doing nothing. Fact: so can adding one pound of lean muscle ;)

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Taters! And the star of the show:

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Baked trout. I love trout, I definitely need more of it in my life. I always seem to gravitate toward salmon instead.

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My plate! Notice the new design? My mom replaced the old 1970s plates with ones from the cottage.

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Fish + veggies is my favourite meal EVER.

Then we dropped Sister Sara off at the airport :( It’s okay though, I’ll be seeing her again in Ottawa in three weeks!

 

Okay, I was totally going to blog all about the Perfect Plank tonight. But honestly, my mommy is downstairs watching the Idol finale and I want to join her! Tomorrow, I will yammer about plank exercises. Promise :)

 

Questions of the Day:

1. What is your favourite kind of fish? Salmon if it’s fresh, tuna if it’s canned.

2. How do you feel about catered events? Do you partake? I never used to, but they don’t frighten me as much anymore. If worse comes to worst, I can have a dinner roll and that emergency protein bar I always carry in my purse :)

Houseguest

My apartment has been thoroughly sniffed and I think it passes inspection…

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I’ve got this little bugger staying at my place for three weeks while my mom is in Florida! I am so excited to have Archie here. First, it’s nice to have another body wandering around my place, but I also like having another creature besides myself to look after. He’s a 13-year-old apricot miniature poodle by the way, and his full name his Archibald Dylan. He’s pleased to meet you all :)

Was in bed early last night and slept a full 8.5 hours!! Wooo! That never happens. I felt like junk when I first got up, but my cold has progressed into a light cough. So it’s going through the motions at least!

Breakfast was so good Saturday I had the same thing today.

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Eggs on ezekiel bread with an orange (need my Vitamin C to fight this cold!)

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Except today I scrambled my eggs and switched out the butter for bacon. I never have fresh bacon like this and it was sooooo good. Must put on grocery list ;)

I didn’t work out again today. Figured I’d rather take another rest day than just aggravate my cold. I’m not in a spot where I worry about falling off the workout bandwagon, so a few days rest is refreshing once in a while.

So guess what I did today instead? I studied! Ahhh, so many muscle fibres, joint movements and program recommendations to memorize. There’s a reason I did Liberal Arts in university ;)

Lunch was a ginormous salad, using up all the ingredients in the house! Oops sorry mom.

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I heated some chicken strips in Bull’s Eye steak sauce and topped it with feta cheese a la Lori.

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Bbq and feta really is a combo that can’t be beat!

I’ve spent aaaalllll weekend studying, I hardly got to hang out with my mom while home! Only in between online course modules…

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And I hid behind my laptop the whole time ;)

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I looked kinda zoned out there. Eyes glazed over from trying to remember the difference between abductor and adductor.

We did get to see my Nana though!! I snacked on some baked Lays chips she randomly had out (Nana’s always have bowls of munchables out).

Not only that, but she packed me an egg salad sandwich for the road!!

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Nana’s egg salad sandwiches are the best everever.

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Cut in the little squares just like she always does – and the crust was even cut off!

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<3 Similar to the little sandwiches you get at church functions, but better :) I had it for supper along with a macinstosh  she packed me that I cut up and sprinkled with cinnamon.

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And the remnants of a bag of sugar snap peas I discovered in my empty veggie drawer.

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Groceries are definitely on the schedule for tomorrow, along with 6am spin class, work, showing my apartment, and of course spending every spare moment with this pup.

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But as for now, Archiekins and I have some golf to watch ;)

P.S. Why am I watching golf???

 

Question of the Day: Do you have pets? Tell me about them!

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