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Starting The Week Off Right

No better way to start off the week than with a plate of pancakes.

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Dairy-Free (ish) Protein Pancakes to be exact. I almost scrambled them in my pre-coffee Monday morning daze. But I managed to save them and ended up with crispy edges instead. Score!

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Dipped in 1 tbsp cashew butter whisked with 3 tbsp sugar-free syrup.

Then for my mid-morning snack I had an amazing combo – rosemary biscuit + pear cardamom butter.

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I whipped up a batch of these rosemary biscuits for the crew at the running store this weekend. The flavour paired amazingly with the spiced pear butter. I luuuuurve rosemary!!

Finally, I thought this was an odd thing to find at the grocery store last week:

IMG_5208 Frozen figs! I’ve seen fresh ones, but never packaged frozen ones. Seems like an odd fruit to freeze because of the mushy centre…no?

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They aren’t the little figs either. In fact, quite ginormous.

I defrosted one in the microwave and chopped up the mushy fruit to add to a yogurt mess.

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The usual – yogurt, protein powder, chia seeds, raw oats, cinnamon, almond butter and maple syrup. And of course – fig! The frozen kind was only $2.75 a bag and would probably be decent for cooking or baking with.

 

Simply Switch Check-In

It’s been a week since I talked about the switches I committed to, inspired by The Simply Bar. Time to re-visit them to stay on track!

1. Switch out sugary desserts with natural sweets.

I was thinking today about how much my sugar intake has decreased even in the first two weeks of this year. I can now go full days without any sort of chocolate, which was virtually unheard of just a few weeks ago. I still have a piece here and there, and I still have dessert when the occasion allows. But I don’t feel like I need something sweet after every single meal. And if I do want something, I grab a clementine or small handful of grapes instead.

2. Switch out 5 minutes of internet time for meditation time.

I am struggling the most with this one. I’ve probably only done this one-third of the days so far. It’s not so much giving up the internet time, but sitting and doing nothing for 5 minutes that feels difficult. It’s hard channelling energy inward when I’m so used to sending it outward!

3. Switch out one workout a week with yoga.

I was doing this until I fell onto my death bed with ebola or whatever illness it was that I had. Then I didn’t workout for 10 days. I’m currently working on group coupons for three different yoga studios in Toronto, and I’m reeeealy excited about all of them. So I don’t see this being all that challenging!

4. Switch out unreplied e-mails for replied ones!

This is taking a very conscious effort on my part. It’s like my inherent messy and lazy nature is seeping into how I manage my online inbox as well. Most days when I read an e-mail I have to talk myself into responding to it right away. But I am doing it. Except on weekends. My clients joke that I am unreachable on weekends because I just don’t have the attention span or time to sit down at the computer until Monday mornings.

 

Other switches include grabbing healthier snacks – check! Exploring my city more – got an itinerary planned for the week! Switching my morning munching with my morning vitamins – check! And switching out my afternoon coffee or tea with more water instead – check!

How about you guys? What are your Simply Switches this month and how are you doing with them?

Food. Good food. And lots of it.

Bonjour!! I am in a bilingual city, I can say that here ;)

Wonderful questions and feedback on my last post: Ripped Arms: A How-To Guide. I made some clarifications in the comments section if any of you are interested. In terms of designing an arm workout, 2-4 sets of 8-15 reps of each a shoulder exercise, triceps exercise and biceps exercise, 1-3 times a week, is enough to do it. Got that? Just don’t forget about your other muscles too! ;)

I also got a great comment from Averie:

10 yrs of yoga gave me a foundation for everything, 4 mos of lifting is giving me some size :)

Couldn’t agree more. If you’re already athletic, but still want to see more arm definition, heavy weight lifting will get you where you want to be in no time.

Now this is where I seamlessly transition to talking about FOOD.

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I really just want to show this pic of Sunday’s breakfast because my toes are stealing some of the spotlight in the bottom right of the frame :P One of the reasons why I love reading food blogs, as opposed to professional food publications, is the level of “real life” you get from photos such as these. Hello toes!

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Rainier cherries are continuing to rock my face off. They taste milder than regular ones.

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The last of my homemade rosemary yogurt biscuits topped with eggs and bacon. If it’s been a while since you last had this combination, I highly suggest you get on it. This is the best post-run weekend breakfast. The HEAB-ster just posted an even easier biscuit recipe just in case ;)

 

Okay, now that we are done ogling at breakfast, I must introduce you to Sunday’s lunch!! Sister Sara had tickets for a play and the theatre is conveniently located across the street from an amazing vegetarian buffet called The Table. I grabbed a little scoop of everything that struck my fancy. I’m a sampler.

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Beet salad and carrot ginger salad.

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A tofu patty topped with this sweet & sour onion sauce. They were highly recommended.

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Some sort of black bean loaf.

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Braised onions, roasted mushrooms and a tofu skewer.

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As well as a bit of lentil quinoa salad and dandelion greens. The salads were a little lacklustre (surprisingly!). The hot foods were my favourite. Especially the braised onion and tofu patty. I want to recreate both!!

As we were leaving, Sara heard that you get 20% off if you’re going to see a play. We’d already paid, but we wanted our discount!! So we went back after the play for tea and dessert :)

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I was still stuffed from my meal, so I stopped myself from grabbing a gazillion cookies and went with what looked unique.

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Not your typical coconut pie. It was surprisingly light and fluffy, not at all chewy like a macaroon. A touch bland though, so I topped it with this:

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Vegan rice pudding. I’m assuming it was made with coconut or soy milk. Made for an excellent pie topping actually!

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Apple & mixed berry crumble with whipped cream. This was my favourite of the desserts. You can never go wrong with cooked apples.

And the tea!

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The perfect flavour to pair with the desserts I’d chosen. I love me some chai!

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Sara being her usual social butterfly self.

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Me, being my usual contemplative self.

Another highlight from Sunday was biking down to one of Ottawa’s beaches. It may take a while for the idea of a beach not meaning “ocean” to sink in.

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Sara and her sweet new bike pump. She’s a cycling queen.

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Me just looking awkward :P My biking adventures in Ottawa have been my first of the season. It would be an understatement to say they came with a little apprehension. In fact, I had a moment of sheer panic within minutes of being back on the bike. But yesterday I started to feel relaxed again and less like I was chained to a death trap. Also impressed by how strong my legs got over the winter – hills are nuthin’ to me now!

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Because of my new-found ease, we opted to take the long way home and enjoy some of the (weird) sights Ottawa has to offer.

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Inukshuks on the river!!

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Clearly, we had to stop and take silly photos with them.

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I just wish I’d read this sign first. I maaaaay have decapitated a statue :\

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Today’s breakfast had a significant lack of biscuits.

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Eggs and bacon were instead eaten between two seedy pieces of bread with mayo, lettuce and tomato.

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I made a fruit salad for us using watermelon, banana, cherries, lime juice and some of this stuff:

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Peppermint honey!

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From Alberta! It was very pepperminty, but added a nice refreshing kick to the salad.

Let’s see… there was also a notable breakfast dessert.

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I love that my sister agrees with me that it is very important to have quality chocolate in the house at all times.

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Camino Coconut gets a thumbs up!

It took me a really long time to get motivated to go the gym today. I am having motivation issues lately. I’m thinking it may be resolved once I finally get settled in Toronto (moving Thursday!). Until then, I forced myself to do a full-body lifting workout.

Started with a 10-minute run to the gym. I did three sets and 10 reps of everything. Colour-coded to indicate which exercises were supersetted together (ie no rest in between alternating sets).

Exercise Load Target
Sumo squat  70 lbs Quads, glutes
Wide-grip lat pulldown  60 lbs Back, biceps
Good morning  45 lbs Hamstrings, glutes, lower back
Incline push-up  bodyweight Chest, abs, front shoulders
Forward lunge  30 lbs Quads, glutes
Arnold press  15 lbs ea Shoulders
Overhead cable extension 30 lbs Triceps
Seated calf raise  90 lbs Calves
Incline curl  10 lbs ea Biceps
Captain’s chair  bodyweight Abs

I went up in weight on my squats… yayy!!! Only 60 lbs left to go until I reach my lifetime goal of squatting my bodyweight – ha!

Ohyes, then I ran the 10 minutes back to my sister’s place. Mygosh it was hot by then. Brutal.

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Sister Sara said I had to try these tofu cutlets they carry at an organic food store called Herb & Spice.

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I cut it up cold and put them on top of a salad (dressed with watered down hummus). I would have to agree with my sister, these are amazing!! It almost tasted like they were baked in cream of mushroom soup, but Sara says the spread vegepate on top. Genius.

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Salad also included some wonderful local spinach – yum :)

Late this afternoon I continued my quest to find a decent cottage cheese in Ontario… IMG_9094 
Half a cup of Liberty 1% cottage cheese on top of the leftover fruit salad from the morning.
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It was good but still not great. Also, Liberty is significantly more expensive than other brands.
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I miss my Scotsburn 50% less sodium cottage cheese!! They need to supply outside of the Maritimes!

For dinner, I made Sara and I bison burgers using my mother’s method of locking all the juices in (start with a hot pan, then lower it down to cook)

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Sara doesn’t keep  ketchup in her place (the horror!), so I loaded up on the tomatoes, and ate it on pita bread. A Susan version of a hamburger thin if you will ;)

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Roasted corn in the oven. So easy. Throw it in, husk at all, and cook at 400F for 30-40 minutes.

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Yellow zucchini roasted in rosemary and olive oil. I could never find this anywhere back home!!

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All yellow vegetables tonight :)

Sara and I then sat around contemplating what we could do this evening. We both agreed dessert was in order, but I’d already eaten three pieces of chocolate today (as I do every day, fyi).

Somehow we decided it was a good idea to walk 30 minutes to this delightful place called Oh So Good near the Byward Market.

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We got a little lost on the way, but the extra walk was worth it. They had a wide array of different cakes and sweets. My eyes immediately set on the white chocolate mousse cake.

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Seriously you guys, I’m not a huge cake person, and I loved every bite of this. Incredibly light and fluffy, with shaved white chocolate on the top. Both Sara and I agreed that the small layer of jam in the center made the cake.

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Sara got a slice of the chocolate truffle cake. The chocolate was definitely of high quality and fresh because it was the first piece from the cake!

We both enjoyed our cake with a cuppa tea. We briefly discussed the calories in each slice, and agreed it was a pleasure too great to pass up.

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That’s why you walk to the cake ;)

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See you tomorrow!! xoxo

Sweet Tooth

Heyo!!! How is everyone’s weekend going? I will keep this short. Why? Because I instruct you to go soak up some of your weekend once you’re done reading :)

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I got my eggs and biscuits!

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My tummy was still off for the most part of the day, but I could at least still fill it with good stuff. Including my homemade rosemary yogurt biscuits. Sara and I have nearly demolished the whole batch already.

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Eggs were scrambled with a little butter, pepper and half and half. Avec du crispy chicken bacon!

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And citrus. Whether juice or whole, there must always be citrus.

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I piled the eggs and bacon on the biscuits. This was an amazing combo. Biscuits > english muffins. Just sayin!

(p.s. Ellie and I did extensive research today on the difference between scones and biscuits. Read here for more very important bread info)

Shortly after my sister woke up and reminded me we’d planned on running this morning. Damn. It was cold, and raining, and I was just not into it. Somehow, she convinced me out. It was so humid it felt like I was running through pea soup. Pretty sure I wheezed the whole time and had to take a couple walk breaks. Got through the 4-ish miles though. Thank you to my sis for hauling my butt out. But I was damn glad when it was over ;)

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A nomination for world’s ugliest food photo.

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For lunch, I mixed up a heaping scoop of unflavoured soy protein powder, cocoa powder, stevia, almond milk, a tbsp almond butter and a banana. This was a lot of chocolate, even for me. It’s just too tempting sometime to eat chocolate for a meal! It was however very filling :)

After this Sara and I hit the road to visit an old friend outside of the city. We munched on a special Luna bar in the car.

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Chocolate Raspberry is not available in Canada, I had my girl Holly smuggle it in for me.

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One of my top fave flavours!

Even though we feasted on some delicious hamburgers at our friend’s place, Sara and I were still a little snacky later on.

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We picked up some Tartinade au Tofu aka Tofu spread ;) I am obsessed with tofu in spreadable form.

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And dill cheddar!

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My first time trying rainier cherries. Delicious.

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Solid snackage happening here folks. However, it was more like an appetizer to things to come…

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GELATO!!

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My first gelato ever!! I’ve never had the opportunity to try it in during my sheltered Maritime upbringing. As soon as I saw Pure Gelato on Elgin Street, I told Sara it was meant to be. I’m not a huge fan of ice cream because it is too sweet and creamy for me, but gelato is made with a lower butterfat and sugar content. I went for cinnamon, apple pie and pistachio.

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Sara got hazelnut, chocolate mint and pina colada.

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Excitement!!! We both agreed that pistachio was the best, closely followed by hazelnut. I did indeed enjoy it more than ice cream, and it took all my strength not to get it in a waffle cone (despite the differences, it seems gelato is similar in calories to ice cream). My new place in Toronto is apparently close to a gelato place. Danger!

 

Okee dokie bloggie friends. I am off to cuddle up with the sis and watch Alias. Now you go off and enjoy your free time!! xoxo

 

Question of the Day: Ice cream, gelato or frozen yogurt? Favourite flavour? So far I love real frozen yogurt the best, with fresh raspberries mixed in.

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