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Goals and Reader Challenge!

A thought just occurred to me as I was uploading my food photos from today. Ever find it strange that other food bloggers say calorie counting is too much work? Or that it’s obsessive and makes them think about their food too much? Um, I don’t think anything requires more work or is more obsessive than taking pictures of what you eat and posting it on the internet. Just sayin’!

So last night I slept for 8 hours for the third night in a row. I had three people tell me that I looked good today, including my boss who asked what I was doing in Saint John because I looked “healthier.” Well jeez louise. Perhaps there’s something to this “sleep” thing after all? :P Okay, no more telling myself 6 hours a night is sufficient – 8 hours every night this week. If I blog about it, I have to do it. Anyone else with me??

All the sleep helped me power through a stellar spin class this morning. I was on my ‘A’ game and it felt gooood. However, realizing I forgot my post-workout iced coffee in my fridge at home was not good. Had to make a mad dash to the cafeteria for the hot stuff as soon as I got there.

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I love the taste of coffee, but I have to admit, I really don’t care for hot drinks. I think I may actually prefer it iced now!

Breakfast was odd but super filling!
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That would be a Maple Nut Clif and two boiled eggs.

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I really dug this breakfast. I’ll have to recreate it with my own bars ;)

Speaking of my own bars – I had a Cherry Dark Chocolate as a snack.

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Lunch was leftovers from last night.

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My hamburger/bean/tomato sauce mix was super duper filling and I didn’t even make it to the carrots. Beans are the most filling food ever. No contest!

After eating at my desk, I did the impossible. I drove to the grocery store, picked up a week’s worth of food, drove to my apartment and put it away, then drove back to work, all within my hour-long lunch break!! Phenomenal. I love grocery shopping on the weekends, but hate doing it on weekdays. I think I may have spent less money too because I didn’t have time to scour the aisles and buy random products :P

My poor office mate, I then subjected her to the stench of canned smoked herring this afternoon.

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On top of a couple rye crackers. The smell of boiled eggs seems to go away pretty quickly, but the fish smell definitely lingered! I eat and drink like an old man.

Came home to a fridge full of fresh ingredients, so a big ole’ salad was the natural choice.

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  • spinach
  • red onion
  • tomato
  • bell pepper
  • mushrooms
  • pickled beets
  • green olives
  • feta cheese
  • grilled pork chop (cut into pieces)
  • tzatziki

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My new favourite thing is pickled beets! Try ‘em! Beets are so sweet that they aren’t as “pickly” tasting as cucumbers. Also, you hardly need any dressing if you add them to a salad (although tzatziki never hurts).

I’ve been buying pork chops lately as my weekly “raw meat” purchase because they’re one-third the price of chicken breasts. Crazy! $3 for two chops, $9 for two breasts. I was asking my dad about the price difference, because he knows the answer to everything. Well apparently, he asked his dad, my Grampie the same thing. He went into this big thing about how the pork industry in Canada is in rough shape. They can’t compete with the high production of corn-fed pork in the States.

I’ve been doing a lot of research into the Canadian meat industry ever since watching Food Inc. Surprisingly, there are a lot of differences. For example, it’s illegal in Canada to use hormones or steroids on chickens to make them bigger, which we know is not the case in the States. Also, the Atlantic Superstore gets their beef from the US, which means it’s subject to all the things cows in the States are allowed to ingest. Instead, we deport all of our great Albertan beef! Boo.

 

Anyways, where was I? Oh yes! Monthly Goal Check-In!

1. Work on getting my car sold and apartment subletted. My subletter was here just an hour ago to sign an agreement!! Consider that one MAJOR check on my to-do list :D The car thing is going slower, I may have to get my mom to sell it after I leave in June…

2. Apply for a bazilion jobs in Toronto. Fail. But I did make some good contacts this week in terms of freelance writing work.

3. Take more initiative at work so I can finish my contract knowing I made a mark. This is proving harder than I thought! I already have so much on my plate, it’s hard to bring new things forward. I did knock off a kick-ass recruiting video last week which I’m pretty proud of :)

4. Learn as much as I can about personal training. I clearly did the best at this one! I already feel a gazillion times more confident AND excited about personal training after just one weekend of classes. I talked everyone’s ear off about it today :P

5. Run outdoors again. Check! Got my second outdoor run of the season in on Wednesday. A 4-miler in the beautiful evening sunshine. Unfortunately, the weather here as taken a turn for the worse. I woke up to snow this morning and it’s going back down to freezing this week. What a tease of spring!

 

Question of the Day: Anyone else in for a sleep challenge this week? I’m thinking a giveaway might be a nice motivator for this one. Pledge to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night, then next Monday I’ll take giveaway entries by asking how many hours you actually got. It’ll be fun! Well, in a sleepy kinda way ;)

Meatloaf Pizza and Goal Check-In!

Ooohhhh maannnn. Anyone else have a rough Monday? I think it was a combination of having a busy weekend, plus the time change. I didn’t have a great sleep last night and felt like a cranky zombie until about 2pm. Spin class didn’t even do it for me. It was far more torturous than it usually is. In fact, most people had that “just been run over by a truck look.”

Oh, and my day totally got started off on the wrong foot. I went to put my contacts in first thing this morning, except, they weren’t in the case. I dug my finger all through the solution and couldn’t find them. After a couple minutes, I realized they were still in my eyes. Even worse, they’d been in since Saturday!! I woke up with crusty eyes Sunday morning and briefly thought I was getting pink eye. Then I forgot all about it and wore my glasses all day! Then I woke up with super dry and crusty eyes again today and was really grossed out realizing they were still on my eyeballs. *shudder*

Aaaanyways, moving on! Desk-breakfast was solid today. I’m finally starting to get used to these! (I used to hate cold breakfasts)

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Greek yogurt, almond butter, stevia, fresh strawberries, homemade granola. It’s a classic combo for a reason.

Lunch was the exact same salad I had last night, just in giant tupperware.

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Highlights of the salad were definitely the pickled beets and tzatziki. SO good! It also contained pieces of my first ever attempt at cooking pork. I over-cooked it, which I suppose is better than under-cooking it :\ I picked it up because two pork tenderloins were one-third the price of two chicken breasts. Holy shit.

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I always put half the spinach on the top so I’m not left with a bunch of dry spinach at the end.

Highlight of the day definitely came at 2pm (when my mood improved!). My boss lent me his car to run an errand and had The Beatles’ Rubber Soul album in the CD player. I cranked it, rolled down the window to let the spring air in, and sang along to Think For Yourself. Good times :)

Dinner was, ahem, “inspired” by this magazine I stole from my mom’s house (busted) which you can get for free at Sobey’s. (Canadian grocery store)

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Always on the lookout for high-protein dinners, this Crustless Meatloaf Pizza caught my eye.

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From the website:

1 cup Compliments Balance Tomato & Herbs Pasta Sauce, divided

1/3 cup dry unseasoned bread crumbs (I used panko)

1 egg, beaten

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp dried Compliments Italian Seasoning (I used Kirkland no-salt seasoning)

1/4 tsp each salt and pepper

1 lb extra lean ground beef (I used extra-lean ground turkey)

1 cup Compliments Finely Shredded Pizza Cheese Blend (used 3/4 cup Kraft shredded old cheddar)

2 cups assorted vegetables such as sliced onion, red and green peppers and mushrooms (I used artichoke hearts, onions, mushrooms, yellow pepper, spinach and tomatoes)

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Place 3 tbsp (45 mL) pasta sauce in a large bowl; stir in bread crumbs, egg, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Crumble in the beef and mix gently to combine. Press evenly onto a 12-inch (30 cm) rimmed pizza pan.
  2. Spread the remaining sauce evenly over the beef. Sprinkle with cheese and top with vegetables. Bake, on the lowest rack, for 15 to 20 min. or until the pizza is set and the cheese is bubbly. Cut into wedges and serve.

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My kitchen takes crappy photos, but I wanted to get a shot of it as a “pie” :)

The yumminess in some natural light with steamed veggies topped with coconut…

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HOLY CRAP YOU GUYS. This was so good. If you like meatloaf, make it now!!!

I went back for seconds ;)

 

Okay, it’s Monday, which means it’s time to check in on my March Goals:


1. Work on getting my car sold and apartment subletted.
Apartment is 85% subletted! I have someone who has offered to take it, but I still need to get a deposit and signature from him (should be Wednesday). As soon as that happens, then it’s officially done! I also cleaned out my car and took pictures of it yesterday, so I’ll be posting ads for it soon too.

2. Apply for a bazilion jobs in Toronto. Definitely lagging on this. But I’m not stressing about it that much. I know no matter what I do, I’ll have enough money to at least survive, so that’s comforting…

3. Take more initiative at work so I can finish my contract knowing I made a mark. I’ve been really busy at work, but people are at least noticing the time and effort I put into it, which means a lot :)

4. Learn as much as I can about personal training. I lagged on this last week! I still have to complete my online lessons, which will be time consuming. Hoping to get that done in the evenings this week – I start my in-class learning this Saturday at a gym in Saint John!!

5. Run outdoors again. CHECK!! I got three, surprisingly “easy,” miles in on Saturday. I’m hoping to get another outdoor run in after work this Wednesday :)

 

Question of the Day: How are you doing on your goals for this month?

Bonus question: Do you sing in the car? I do. No shame.

Beets, Birthdays and Boats

Thank you for all the birthday wishes!! Y’all are too sweet. I’m kinda in that part of my 20s now where they all blend together. Won’t have another exciting birthday till I’m 30 ;)

Started the day off wonderfully – I slept for almost nine hours!!! Insane, most nights I’m lucky if I get seven.

I brought a packet of multigrain instant oats with me to my mom’s. Mixed it in with some of Mark’s vanilla protein powder and topped with banana+PB.

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Check out Mark’s bowl! I had a little breakfast envy :P

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I believe he said it was Kashi Honey Almond Flax, yogurt, berries, banana and cinnamon. All mixed up into a yog mess of course ;)

After some caffeine and digestion, it was time for the gym! Went to the co-ed Nubody’s downtown as they have a better weights section than the women-only gym. Why do they do that?? Women need good weights too!!

Elliptical 

Minutes Level Effort
0-3 10 low
3-5 11 low
5-6 15 high
6-8 12 low
8-9 16 high
9-11 13 low
11-12 17 high
12-14 14 medium
14-15 16 high
15-17 14 medium
17-18 17 high
18-20 14 medium

 

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
One-arm dumbbell snatch  20 lbs 8 3

 

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Assisted pull-up  75 lbs 8 3
Incline push-up bw 12 3

 

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Single-leg romanian deadlift w/ row 20 lbs 6 ea leg 3

 

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Cable horizontal woodchop  35 lbs 8 3
Plank bw 60 sec 3


Treadmill

Minutes MPH
0-1 3.0
1-3 3.5
3-4 8.0
4-6 3.5
6-7 8.5
7-9 3.5
9-10 9.0
10-12 3.5
12-13 9.5
13-15 3.5

 

For some reason, I just could not get my heart pumping and my muscles didn’t feel that exhausted. I think I was partially half-assing it, and part had way more energy than I’m used to from the sleep.

After the gym, I met up with my dad for a noon-hour brunch (yes, I get that’s technically lunch). We were both craving eggs and fresh fruit, so Cora’s was the natural choice.

I ordered Peggy’s Poached.

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One poached egg, one piece of toast, cottage cheese, mixed fruit.

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Not shown is how I massacred that egg on the toast, and poured the cottage cheese all over the fruit. It was delicious!

And a steamy Americano to go with.

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My dad got eggs benedict with ham.

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Totally hit the spot!

After br/lunch, I went shopping with my mom and nana. Some bee-day purchases included a nice purse to hold my DSLR, bread pan, measuring spoons and a vegetable peeler. Tomorrow I’ll be conquering the Running Room!

Dinner was yet another amazing meal – my mother and I went to a local sushi place called Pink Sushi.

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I love celebrating my birthday with my mom. I kinda feel like it’s just as much her day as mine. I mean, she actually did all the work ;)

We wanted a little bit of everything, so ordered the sushi & sashimi combination boat. 

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It started with some miso soup that I didn’t eat. I don’t really care for miso – too salty!

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And then our boat of sushi arrived.

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I totally failed at capturing its sheer magnificence on film. It was a thing of beauty!

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Every birthday should involve a boat of food ;)

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It really did have a little bit of everything, but I think my favourites were the rolls with teriyaki sauce, and the plain pieces of salmon.

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My mom and I were in food heaven the whole time. It was amazing. We totally killed that boat.

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Until next year my friend…

And what’s a birthday without cake!?

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Cake I made myself of course – that’s half the fun!

After much debate, I decided on red velvet cake as I’d never had it before. But my mom isn’t the biggest fan of food dye (she was a microbiologist, so with good reason). We tracked down a decent looking recipe that uses beets for the red colouring. So I basically made a beet cake for my birthday :P

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Yes, one is now “over the hill” after the age of 24. And yes, I’m “still cookin’” ;)

Low Fat Red Velvet Cake (Chocolate Beet Cake)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup  1 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1-1/4 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened dutch-process cocoa
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1-1/3 cups non-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup egg substitute 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups beets, peeled and shredded 4 large beets, cooked and mashed

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flours, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk in buttermilk. Beat in butter, egg substitute and vanilla. Add beets. Pour in prepared cake pan. Bake 45 minutes. Cool, then frost with low fat cream cheese frosting.

Low Fat Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 8 oz. Neufchatel cheese 250g light cream cheese
  • 12 oz. 20ish oz fat-free frozen whipped topping (Cool Whip), thawed
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Using an electric mixer, beat Neufchatel cheese until smooth. Stir in thawed whipped topping and powdered sugar.

I then decorated it expertly…

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Then cut myself a giant piece. It’s my birthday – I’m allowed a giant piece of cake!!

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It’s reddish, perhaps a nice mahogany? It’s a wonderfully dense and moist cake. You can almost taste the beets, but I think it gives it a really nice earthy sweetness. And the cream cheese frosting is of course to die for. 

Now I’m just relaxing with the fam. I bought some nail polish today (which I haven’t owned since the age of 13) so I’m thinking of giving myself a manicure. I wouldn’t want anything more on the day of my birth than to relax and be with the people I love!!

 

Oh! And check out my horoscope that was in today’s paper:

In the year ahead, there are indications that you could become involved in an endeavour that would yield a second source of income, which could grow into something bigger. But you’ll have to be extremely patient.

 

How cool is that!? I’m hoping it’s PT or blog related – or both! :D

 

Question of the Day: What’s your zodiac sign? Do you believe in that stuff? I’m an Aquarius and I totally do. Yes, horoscopes are generalized, but I like to believe there’s some mysterious meaning behind it all ;)

Hope you’re having a great weekend too!!

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