Blog Archives

Five Things You Should Probably Know

1. There be a dog in this house. 

IMG_3912 

His name is Murphy. Not Murphy Brown. He belongs to my roommate’s sister and we get to doggy-sit while she’s away! I LOVE dogs and can’t wait until I settle down and get one of my own someday. Until then, feel free to drop yours off at my place for a week. I’ll get him/her started on a jogging program stat.

IMG_3904

 

2. Speaking of roommates, living with fellow foodies is awesome.

IMG_3968

Megan made homemade toasted coconut marshmallows and I get to reap the benefits. She used this recipe and said it was incredibly easy (and cheap!). Don’t let the use of a candy thermometer scare you. Y’all know I have an unreasonable obsession with marshmallows and these turned out amazing!

 

3. Adding fruit to a savoury sandwich is a great way to get a gourmet meal at home.

IMG_3903

I set out to make a grilled ham and cheese sandwich when the idea of adding sliced apple popped into my head. It made what would have otherwise been a boring sandwich a million times better! I also love doing this with pears, dried fruit and preserves.

 

4. I haven’t bought shampoo in over five months.

IMG_4014

Seeing as I work at a gym 5 days a week, I just wait until I workout and shower using the shampoo and conditioner provided there. I stockpile samples to keep in the house in case of emergencies. My hair isn’t that affected whether I’m using a fancy or cheap shampoo. I’ve had to cut costs in all areas of my life since moving to Toronto and taking on wage jobs. This is just one of my sneaky ways of doing it!

 

5. I know I have yammered on about eye masks before, but it’s time to give them the credit they deserve.

IMG_4016

I bought this three dollar travel mask at a drugstore when I moved into my current place. I’ve got skylights in my ceiling and the eye mask was cheaper than curtains.

Simply put it has changed. my. life. I used to sleep horribly back in the day. Up at 6am every day no matter what time I went to bed. I slept lightly, waking several times throughout the night. I would often wake up feeling still tired and frustrated. Turns out, I’m a lot more affected by even the slightest light than I thought I was. My alarm clock, the moonlight, and the sun rising in the morning.

IMG_1942

I sleep like a rock now. A solid eight hours without a twitch throughout the night. I often wear my hair in a ponytail and wrap the headband around it so it doesn’t fall off in the night, but you could also bobby pin it. I don’t care if it makes me look like a princess, at least I’m a well rested princess ;)

Thanks to Janetha for taking this ridiculous picture of me.

 

Question of the Day: What is one thing that’s on your mind you want others to know? As Holly says, sharing is caring!

Oatmeal and Beauty for Dummies

Woowoo!! Tomorrow is Fridaaaay!!! I contemplated going home this weekend, but the weather is going to be nasty and I don’t want to take the bus. So next weekend it is. I have personal training material to study anyways!

Also loved reading your comments on my Single Lady post. Such a wide variety of people who are with their high school sweethearts, single and ready to settle down, married for decades, engaged, or in a brand new relationship. I definitely forgot to mention that a person’s happiness in or out of a relationship depends on the people in their lives. Duh. It takes two to tango!

So I fiiiinally get to answer another Q&A today. I’ve been waiting until I made oatmeal!

Susan –
I actually do have a question for you … do you think that at some point you could do an oatmeal for dummies post?  I see your oatmeal combinations and think they all look just stellar, but I don’t know the first thing about buying oats or cooking them.  I’m also really intrigued by these custard oats that you keep making, but since I don’t know about making regular oatmeal, I really don’t know when I’d mix the egg in!
Thanks – hope you’re doing well!
Amy

Thanks for the wonderful idea Amy!! Oatmeal does not actually have to be all that intimidating. First off, oats are just another grain, much like wheat, barley or buckwheat. Oatmeal is just the oat grain ground up for easier cooking and consumption.

IMG_4308

The different kind of oatmeals you see on the shelves are all just different kinds of cuts. Steel cut for example is the least processed of the bunch. They’re the whole grain “groat” just cut up into a few pieces. Rolled oats are the groats rolled out into a “flake.” Instant oatmeal is the same kind, just smaller and thinner so it cooks quickly. Oat bran is the outer layer of the grain, known mostly for its fibre content. The nutrition info varies slightly with cut, but overall is generally the same. Especially when you compare the volume after cooking.

Since today was a well-deserved rest day from the gym, I had time to make stove-top oats before work. I obviously opted for my new favourite combination – custard oats.

First, I put a small pot on the stove and set the burner on slightly below high.

IMG_4236

Yes, my oven is old. It’s got character ;)

I added 1/2 cup rolled oats to the pot. 

IMG_4238 IMG_4239

Then dumped in 1 1/2 cups water.

IMG_4240 IMG_4242

Once the water is in, I add one whole egg.

IMG_4244 IMG_4245

And whisk!

IMG_4247

I keep an eye on it, whisking frequently, as within a couple minutes it starts to show signs of bubbling. 

IMG_4250
Then I immediately turn the heat down to medium/low.

IMG_4251 
Keep whisking!!!

IMG_4253

You don’t want little clumps of egg whites popping up, so keep stirring, and keep the heat low so it doesn’t cook too quickly. The slow simmer is also necessary for optimal creaminess ;)

This is usually when I make my coffee or pack my lunch, or this morning I emptied my garbages :)   (Garbages is apparently not a word??)

After about 15 minutes, my oatmeal is looking good, but is missing a key ingredient – cinnamon!

IMG_4254 IMG_4256

And depending on my toppings, I’ll add a little sweetener to the mix. Sometimes it’s brown sugar, maple syrup or molasses. Today’s was stevia.

IMG_4258 
You may have noticed I also traded my whisk in for a spatula. Or rubber scraper. What the heck are these things called?

IMG_4261

It keeps it from sticking to the sides. Once the oatmeal starts to thicken, I start stirring with this puppy.

And just when it seems like it can’t get any thicker, I take the oatmeal off the heat and stir in a couple pours of unsweetened vanilla almond breeze.

IMG_4264
Oatmeal will continue to absorb liquids even after you remove it from the heat. I find stirring a little extra liquid in after cooking ups the creaminess ;)

Then pour the mixture into a bowl and top with whatever you’re in the mood for!

IMG_4268 
Today I was in the mood for sliced banana, peanut butter and even more cinnamon (cause you can never have enough cinnamon).

IMG_4270

If you can cook rice, you can cook oatmeal. You don’t have to do the slow-simmer method like I do. On the mornings I’m a little more rushed, I opt for oat bran which is a finer cut. Takes about 5 minutes for it to cook up on the stove!

In other news, I joined the world of the professionally groomed today.

IMG_4273

New hair straightener!!! A Chi kind. I think it’s one inch? And the plates wobble. And it gets HOT. Everywhere I went told me it was a good one.

IMG_4275

That’s my polka-dot ironing board by the way. I don’t have a working outlet in my bathroom, so I have to groom in the hallway.

I washed then blow-dried my hair. Here’s what the rats nest looks like brushed after blow-drying.

IMG_4280

I think you may now see the problem here :P

I sprayed in some TRESemme no frizz mist before straightening. Not exactly the proper protector, but will do for now.

IMG_4281

After straightening, I put in my essential product – serum. In this case, John Frieda Frizz-Ease.

IMG_4288 The “after”:

IMG_4291
Hmmm…it was alright. My hair was still a little damp in places, and I didn’t have time to pin it up while ironing. So I didn’t quite get all the kinks out. Plus, my straight bangs were pissing me off, so further styling was required…

IMG_4298

I tried to get a shot of the back for you guys…

IMG_4293 
And tried again…

IMG_4294

Success!!

IMG_4295

Definitely think I need to work on my technique. But hey, baby steps! My co-worker almost died the other day when I told her I only recently bought my first bottle of nail polish. Make-up is the only girly thing I ever got into, and that was because thick black eye-liner was a must as a teenage punk rocker :P

I didn’t think about supper at all while at work today (rare!) and didn’t feel like cooking when I came home. Thus, I had the classy meal of a peanut butter sandwich.

IMG_4303
PB+Protein to be exact, with one side of the bread spread with my protein powder/water goo. A gorgeous red delicious on the side, because apples and peanut butter sandwiches are made to be together.

 

Well that’s all folks! A pantry tour is coming soon, as well as my usual monthly wrap-up. Looking forward to writing posts over the next few days! Hope you all have a fabulous Friday and start to your weekend!! xoxo

 

Questions of the Day:

1. What’s your favourite cut of oatmeal? I’ll always be an old-fashioned rolled oats gal. I love the chewy creaminess of it :)

2. Beauty product you can’t live without? Mine’s concealer, mascara and that hair serum. I’ve even admitted to leaving my mascara on at night so it’s still on when I go to the gym in the morning!! :P

Cleaning up and Clearing up

Hiii!!!!

100_8809

I got my hair did!! Not sure if you can tell by the picture on the side, but my hair was getting looooong. I’m pretty sure the longest parts were midway down my back! I didn’t let it go on purpose. I got a trim before my graduation in May, then forgot all about it!! You can tell where my personal priorities lay – gym first, grooming second :P

I also picked up a medium mahogany brown colour to dye it as well. I’m naturally quite fair-haired, but it washes me out, so I darken it. Don’t worry, I’ll obnoxiously take pictures of that as well :P

On to the day at hand…

As you could probably tell from my post last night, I was not on the top of my game. Thus, no breakfast cookie was prepared before my drug-induced sleep. I slept almost solid because of my handy dandy Nyquil. Reading the news on the radio irritated my throat all morning, but I’m hopeful after another 8-hour coma + rest day tomorrow, I’ll be back to somewhat normal :)

Oh, yes, no breakfast cookie. Breakfast sandwich instead.

100_8779

Back in my pre-weight loss days, I used to eat a fried egg sandwich for breakfast almost every single day. Except, those old-school sandwiches were made with two whole eggs, thick-sliced old cheddar, huge pieces of “birdseed bread” and lotsa butter along the way. Today’s was dry, with one egg, and a pre-sliced piece of light cheddar. For the most part, I really enjoy my “new” foods. But I gotta admit, this did not live up to its former glory.

I chased it down with an orange, in case you were dying to know :P

I rushed through my early morning tasks so I could head to the farmers market before it got busy. I was there at 7am and it was still pitch dark out!! I think it was a little too early, as not all the vendors were set up. It was pretty slim pickings.

Got back and snacked.

100_8781

I really enjoy these caramel ReBars. 12g protein and 4 servings of fruit & veggies.

100_8786

I mean, they taste like they have four servings of fruit and veggies, but I genuinely enjoy it! Put chocolate and peanuts on anything and I’ll like it :)

Lunch was from the market. Dolma:

100_8787

Aka grape leaves stuffed with rice and a few surprise chickpeas.

Pita bread with hummus and tabbouleh.

100_8791

It was like a pizza! A very messy, garlicky pizza.

My afternoon snack featured more market goodies. Homemade smoked herring.

100_8795

On crackers with laughing cow. The lady I bought this from is known for her smoked salmon, but I bought the herring because it was cheaper. Ohmygodsooogoooood. It was the first time I ever had smoked fish that actually melted in my mouth. Definitely splurging on the salmon next time!

I partnered it with a small McCowan apple.

100_8797

The vendor told me it was “a very good eating apple.” Which I would have to agree with. Very crunchy inside and out with a nice hint of tartness. It reminded me a lot of a McIntosh.

Aaaaand a quick Google search just told me it’s the child of a McIntosh! Also known as a Macoun. I probably won’t be eating a lot of them though. I bought a big bag which is destined for apple sauce and other baking projects.

Then it was off to the mall to get my hair done. Dangerous location for a hairdresser, as I also did a little shopping after. I swear I really needed that purse and matching wallet!

If there’s one good thing about doing an 8-hour work day so early, is that it allows me plenty of time to prepare dinner after. I decided today was the perfect day to step up to Janetha’s kitchen clearing challenge. While I may not be moving, I do have tons of dried legumes and grains in my pantry that should really be used up. Personally, I prefer getting my grains from bread and oats, so I never feel inclined to cook them with dinner. Plus, I’ve somehow convinced myself that it takes tons of time, which it doesn’t!

Kitchen clearing dish #1: stuffed bell pepper.

100_8816

  • 1 package Yves Original veggie ground round
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 jar basil tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa, cooked with 1 cup water
  • 2 laughing cow cheese wedges
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • parmesan cheese to garnish

Every single one of those ingredients, minus the cheeses, have been taking up room in my kitchen for-ever! Even the bell pepper, I bought a huge bag of them weeks ago!

Kitchen clearing dish #2: Dazzled carrots with pears and balsamic

100_8821

This dish was 100% inspired by Zesty Cook, whose original recipe can be found here.

I cut the recipe in half, using about 4 carrots and half a pear. I have a few pears in my fridge that are starting to look sad, so I knew this dish was a must when I saw it! I also didn’t use chicken stock because I don’t have any. Instead, I cooked the carrots in a little water, onion, garlic and parsely, then added the pears and balsamic until my tastebuds were happy. This was a stunning dish – I loved it!

100_8823

Overall, a delicious meal that I couldn’t even finish.

I would also like to add that the $25 I spent at the market today is the only money I’ve spent on groceries in over 10 days. I need to buy some essentials (*cough* yogurtandcottagecheese*cough*) soon, but I’m pretty pleased with myself. I spend soooo much money on food!

Time to wrap this giant post up with some questions:

1. What’s your favourite kind of apple? Honeycrisp, galas, and red/yellow delicious :)

2. How often do you get your hair done? I typically only get it cut/dyed every six months. I’m pretty sure that’s too long though! I always get a few horrified looks at the hairdresser :P

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 486 other followers