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All Shook Up

Ever have one of those days when you wake up with a lump already in your throat? You know something big is inside of you, and if you don’t tiptoe around it, it’s going to explode out all at once… You can try to keep it locked in all you want, but sometimes bigger forces are at play. Sometimes the ground starts to move, and it literally shakes it out of you.

But let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

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Today started off in a big way – I was reunited with my waffle maker!!

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I’ve been waiting until Waffle Wednesday to bring this bad boy out ;)

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Whipped up my usual protein waffle recipe:

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup egg whites
  • 1/3 cottage cheese
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • cinnamon
  • vanilla extract

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The waffles were a little rough around the edges because I didn’t have spray to grease the iron with. I rubbed a little butter in the creases instead.

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I doubled the recipe for Sara and I, then made a topping for both of us made up of a mashed banana, 1 tbsp almond butter and around 1/4 cup sugar-free syrup.

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Ohyes. This reunion was worth waiting for. SO GOOD.

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The banana topping is what made this batch. Especially with the crunchy almond butter. Ohmy.

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The decadence continued after breakfast with a coffee and a President’s Choice Two-Bite Brownie. Canadians, you know what brownies I’m talking about ;)

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Unfortunately, it was not all I’d hoped for. I can make something better than this!

I was all excited to try out something called a “Gliding” class today at the gym, using those little hand and feet gliders…

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Fuelled up with a High Protein Banana Bar. The nutritionals I provided on these by the way were a little off – they’re actually 170 calories and 11g protein. Score!

Unfortunately, I missed the Gliding class!! Boo :( I went early to get 20 minutes of intervals in on the elliptical. But I got into a groove and did an extra 5 minutes, and by then the class had filled up!! They only do it Wednesdays at noon, so I am determined to get there good and early next week.

I ended up finishing my workout off with 20 minutes of extreme incline walking on the treadmill (trying to stay in hiking shape!! ;) ) and 10 minutes on the rower. Ended up being a pretty good sweatfest without the gliders anyways.

I walked home and immediately got started on lunch to feed my growling belly. I threw some kale chips in the oven and leftover black bean patties on the stovetop. It’s no secret what happened next.

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My sister’s 10th floor apartment started to rumble and shake. At first I thought there was a construction accident nearby, but after a few seconds I could feel the building swaying. The power went out and I immediately got really pissed off. I was hungry and an earthquake just ruined my damn lunch.

It was just a 5.5 magnitude, the epicenter only 33 miles north of Ottawa, where I am now. Thankfully no damage, although my sister said some windows broke in her office building. 

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Even after the ground stopped shaking, I still was! What a nerve-wracking experience!! Umm… can I go back to the Maritimes now? We only ever get hurricanes.

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Because the power went out, I ended up throwing the half-cooked kale chips in a bowl with tuna and hummus. Munched on baby carrots while I wandered around the dark hallways trying to find out what was happening. No internet or cellphones… what’s a girl to do!?

Actually, I then immediately jumped in the shower to get what was left of the hot water and changed out of my sweaty gym clothes. If there was an aftershock, I wanted to be clean and well dressed for the evacuation ;)

Thankfully, the one tremor was it, but it seemed to set off a series of tremors within myself. It literally rattled me enough to turn that lump in my throat into a weeping mess. No explanation really needed here. I have an anxiety disorder and panic attacks come with the territory. It was nice to get it out. I’ve been going through a lot of life changes, too bad it took an earthquake for me face them!!

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Once the power came back on, I soothed myself with a little cooking therapy.

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I really, honest to goodness, love everything about cooking. It’s one of my top favourite ways to pass the time.

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I think my favourite thing about it is just standing in the kitchen and putting things together. The tastes and smells are all great, but the motions of the activity just please and entertain me.

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Remember that elk stew I had in Banff? Well, I’ve had it on my mind ever since. As you may know, once I get it in my head to make something, I can’t shake it.

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When I saw organic stewing beef in my sister’s freezer, I knew it was meant to be.

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I’ve been drooling over Julia Child’s boeuf bourguignon for years now. I love a good meaty stew, and of all her recipes, it seems like the most doable. 

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And the wine, let’s not forget the wine. I hate to drink it, but my gosh I love to eat it.

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Because my sister doesn’t have a dutch oven, I followed this recipe on how to make beef bourguignon solely on the stove-top.

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I changed it around a little because I was only working with one pound of meat, but I essentially followed the directions.

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My sister, the “vegetarian by nature,” suggested we perhaps have a salad with our meat. Pfft.

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I also roasted sweet potatoes instead of the traditional white.

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And the stew??

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It turned out really good!! I got confused by the cooking time because I was working with a smaller pot. I probably could have simmered it a bit longer to get the meat more tender. Otherwise, it was really rich and flavourful. Too bad it’s like a gazillion degrees today – Sara and I were both sweating as we “mm mmm-ed.”

 

Thank you for all your kind thoughts and well wishes for my family, as well as those of you who got in touch after the earthquake!! I hear it was felt all the way down to Ohio, so I hope all my mid-Eastern friends made out okay!! xo

The Final Frontier

Howdy!! Wait, I am no longer in Alberta, I can’t say that anymore. I am currently sitting in my sister’s apartment in Ottawa having a lover’s reunion with my laptop. As much as I would like to sit here all day and reunite with it, I have a new city to explore – Ottawa!

But first, I must recap my last two days in Alberta. For those of you catching up, I spent a week in the wild rose province with my blogging soul-mate Holly, traveling through Calgary, Banff and the Rockies. Other recaps can be found here, here, here and here. I don’t even care if you read them all – but the pictures are definitely worth looking at! Canada is incredibly beautiful, I think something a lot of us may take for granted!

Also, for those of you who may not know the area – here’s  a handy dandy map of where we were:

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Circled are Calgary, Banff and Lake Louise. All within a couple hours drive. That green area are the Rocky Mountains which border Alberta and British Columbia and stretch far down into the US. It’s seriously one of the most beautiful places on this side of the earth!

Unfortunately, the skies clouded over again by the time we returned to Banff from camping on Monday. But it did make for some spooky mountain views ;)

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I’d gotten a recommendation for The Bison. We had no idea what to expect walking in, but who are we to turn down a stunning recommendation?

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It was a nifty little lunch-type place with a long list of sandwiches, wines and interesting cocktails.

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I actually don’t typically order sandwiches when dining out, but it seems like it’s all I got in Alberta! All the options looked amazing!

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I took a break from the red meat and went for the House Smoked Tuna + Aged Gouda: olive tapenade, fried capers, fresh tomatoes, romaine.

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Yumyumyum. The seedy baguette enclosing the inside goodness was definitely the highlight of this sandwich.

Highlight of the meal though, surprisingly, was the side salad!

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Greek salad, but more along the lines of a traditional Greek with no lettuce and cubes of all the usual suspects. I dug this. A lot.

This is where Holly and I spent the afternoon in an internet cafe… LOVE traveling with bloggers! ;)

Seeing as our trip was starting to wind down, our bank accounts were looking a little smaller. We opted for a cheap-o dinner in on Monday night. Thankfully, that also included well over a serving of vegetables. Perhaps my first the whole trip (well, that wasn’t bacon-wrapped).

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An egg scramble of sorts with broccoli slaw we found on sale. However, it was missing a little sumthin’ and at the last minute, we threw in smokehouse almonds. YUM. The almonds totally made this dish.

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Rounded out with a piece of buttered Silver Hills bread and dried apricots.

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There seems to be evidence of a saltwater rum taffee after this meal, however I see no reason to believe this ever happened ;)

Our oatmeal stores had run out come Tuesday morning, but we still managed to come up with a lovely breakfast.

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Or Holly did anyways, as my soft-fried egg was a little, err, scrambled ;)

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But the maple jelly and almond butter toast was to die for.

We made our last Evelyn’s stop…

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The “Again” part is quite appropriate, as there is an Evelyn’s on literally every block in Banff. Why walk two blocks for coffee when you can just walk one? ;)

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Extra extra large of Evelyn’s house blend. Ahhh… and all is right with the world again…

There was also this guy…

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Every time we walked past The Fudgery while in Banff, we were harassed by an array of deliciously sweet smells and a mouth-watering window display.

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I’d like to blame Holly for finally getting me in here… but let’s face it, I’m an easy sell.

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That my friends, is a vanilla coconut drop straight from the heavens.

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Similar to a macaroon, but smoother. Mostly because it had more butter and sugar than a macaroon, which as we all know makes everything better.

I may have eaten this for lunch while waiting for the Greyhound bus. Just sayin’.

Tuesday afternoon we went back to Calgary for our final night. I tried one more Banff goody once we got to the hostel (macaroons don’t make for filling lunches)

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Salmon jerky. I apologize to my fellow hostel-mates, because this definitely stank up the room.

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I have a soft spot for jerky though, and I love salmon, so this was right up my alley. A wonderful snack!

Holly and I needed to bring a little class back to the trip, so we visited the Glenbow Museum in Calgary for an Impressionist Print exhibit.

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I lovelovelove Impressionist art. Van Gogh (seen above) is probably my favourite. I blame my parents for taking me to the Van Gogh Gallery in Amsterdam when I was young and impressionable (no pun intended).

Unfortunately, Holly and I aren’t very good at this “class” thing. We soon found ourselves getting rosy-cheeked at a bar.

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A Big Rock Grasshopper at Lounge Burger to be exact. We were waiting for Allison of Eat Clean Live Green fame!! You would think we’d be sick of burgers after a week of non-stop red meat. But a classic Alberta beef burger was the perfect way to leave with a bang.

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Alberta’s Own: From Alberta’s own butter beef ranch, hormone free, ranch raised beef, served with blue cheese and caramelized pears on a kaiser bun.

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I seriously do not know how I was a vegetarian for 8 years and honestly thought veggie patties were a sufficient substitute for the real thing.

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Not even close.

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The three of us ended up chatting for hours (as these bloggie meet-ups usually tend to go) and we were so distracted we forgot to snap a photo!! Boo! I guess that just means Allison and Holly will have to come visit me in Toronto ;)

Well my friends, that wraps up my week-long adventure in the Rockies. I can’t remember how Holly and I cooked up the idea to gallivant through the mountains, but it was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve made in a while. In the past, fear probably would have held me back from doing something like this. But really, the only thing I need to fear is perhaps a little indigestion from too much red meat ;) And to think – the adventure is really only just beginning!

See ya tomorrow for a Banff trip exit interview with Holly, and a sneak peek at what I’ve been doing in Ottawa since arriving on Wednesday!!

Ohyes – and have a great start to your weekend!! xoxo

A Day in the Kitchen

Well first off, I want to say how impressed I am no one chewed my head off for counting calories again! Everyone understood my personal need to “check-in” on how I’m doing with maintaining my weight loss. That’s why I love you all :) For the record, it’s not entirely to track the number of calories I’m eating, as I’m pretty sure I’ve done a decent job at keeping that steady. But I want to take a look at how much sugar I’m having, and how I’m doing with protein. Plus, I’m a nerd and get a kick out of seeing the numbers sometimes :P

Moving on! I have a ton of food photos so I’m going to skip over the morning food.I did however make it to my favourite step class. I don’t know what was up today, but I was feeling kinda “meh” about it. I got that vibe from the whole class. I just wasn’t in the mood for jumping over a bench for an hour. Too bad I didn’t figure that out until I started! Oh well.

I made up for it with a noon-hour yoga class. Yes, I like to spend my days off doing exercise classes :P It was a 45-minute BodyFlow class and it was juuuust right. I’m really happy I committed to doing yoga three days a week this month. I love it so much more when I do it often!

I must share my lunch, as it featured my version of a “crack wrap.”

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Crack pita ;) Sabra red pepper hummus, swiss cheese on a whole wheat pita toated in a frying pan. And yes, it is so good, it’s just like crack.

On the side I had my leftover roasted tofu and veggies on top of spinach and tomatoes. I’m a volume eater, so the spinach made my plate look more full :)

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Aalllll together now!

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Yum! Such a treat to eat a hot lunch. I can only have cold ones when I’m at work. 

Work lunches don’t often include dessert either.

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80% chocolate seems to be juuuust right for me. 90% is too intense, and 70% is too bland. The best thing about the dark stuff is you don’t even need a whole square to satisfy that sweet tooth.

My afternoon was then spent in the kitchen!

First up: Pumpkin Spice Roasted Chickpeas.

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I’ve been hearing amaaaazing things about these all around the blogosphere. I don’t know what I was expecting, but these just tasted like chickpeas to me (duh). Clearly I need to quadruple the cinnamon in every recipe :P

Next up were some of Seth’s Low-Fat Chocolate Muffins:

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I haven’t tried these yet, but I’m a little wary. I never screw with baking recipes, because I don’t really know the first thing about baking. But I subbed out the sugar and cocoa in this recipe for chocolate protein powder, left out the applesauce and added 1 tbsp ground flax. I also accidentally overcooked them because I was busy snacking and forgot about them. I’ll let you know how they turned out tomorrow!

Oh, but what was I snacking on? A persimmon! 

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Kinda looks like a tomato, but it’s actually a sweet fruit. I’ve been seeing a lot of these on blogs lately as well. I believe it’s because they’re in season, also why they were on sale at the grocery store (Sobey’s).

I had no idea what to expect when I cut into it, or how to eat it. So I just sliced it up and ate the whole thing!

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I would say it’s like a firmer, milder peach. Apparently you’re not supposed to eat the skin, but I thought it tasted good! It was a little tough, like a mango’s (but I’ll eat mango skins too). I think this one was just slightly under ripe, as it was quite crispy like an apple in the center, and then really soft like a peach towards the outside. Overall, downright delicious!! I hope they’re still on sale – I want more! :)

Then it was back to the kitchen for my third and final dish of the day – chili!! Probably one of my favourite meals ever, and my first batch of the season. I eat a lot of chilis, soups, stews, etc, in the winter.

Typically, I like to do fun recipes for chili, but I wanted my first batch to be old-school. So I just winged it.

 

Thick n’ Spicy Moo-Beef Chili

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  • 1 spanish onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 lb extra-lean ground beef
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 1 14 oz can red kidney beans
  • 1 14 oz can black beans (I used the Eden Organic no-salt kind for both beans)
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (again, organic no-salt kind)
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (I used Frank’s)
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 tbsp unpacked brown sugar

Sautee the onion and green pepper until slightly soft, then add beef and jalapeño. I did this in my pot because it’s giant and has a wide bottom. Then stir in the rest of the ingredients and let simmer for 45-60 minutes.

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This is my first real-beef chili since childhood! (hence the name) It tastes so different, even from turkey. It’s definitely thick and meaty. A “man’s” chili if you will ;) 

Well, I know it’s Flashback Friday and all, but I’m going to have to skip this week. My bedtime is quickly approaching (work at 5am tomorrow!) and I still have this to deal with:

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Yes, that’s the size of my whole kitchen. Enough counter space for one cutting board. At least it’s less surface to keep sanitized! (and no mops required, floor can be hand-scrubbed in 5 minutes ;) )

Hope you’re all getting a wonderful start to your weekend!!

 

Question of the Day: Do you prefer cooking or baking? I definitely feel more in my element making meals. Add some flour or sugar to the mix and I get totally lost!

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