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The Burger, The Croissant and The Cookie

First things first, here’s what my elbow is looking like today:

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I need to get another surgery in about six months to take out that bottom screw. They put a big one in there to make sure it held, but it will hit my other bone once I’m able to move my arm again.

To quote my surgeon: “Your elbow is holding together well given the likelihood it could fall apart.” Awesome.

I’ll have to continue regular follow-ups with a surgeon in Moncton to ensure that it indeed does not fall apart.

I also need to step up the physio and work on moving it more. Which I’ve only been doing gently so far because it’s so painful to do.

Overall, I didn’t leave the appointment feeling great. But there’s also nothing I can do to make it magically better. Just gotta wait it out I guess!

Anyways, in order to start fresh in New Brunswick next week (!!!) I have a few more “bloggables” from the Tee Dot I’m going to handily wrap up all in one post.

Three places: A burger place, a bakery, and a Holy experience. Let’s get started, shall we?

1. The Burger

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You may remember back in December when my roommie and I checked out The Burger’s Priest. A teeny tiny burger joint in the East End that has burger enthusiasts foaming at the mouth. I liked it a lot, but I didn’t love it. I feel like I still needed to find “my” burger in Toronto. 

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Great Burger Kitchen at Gerrard and Jones is supposedly also one of the best. Megan and I came here on a whim one Sunday evening because that’s what we did when we had spare time and no recipes to be made at home.

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We may have gone home after and watched Rockstar Supernova circa 2006. We may have re-watched the whole Rockstar INXS series at one point too. Watching old reality TV shows is fun. You feel like you’re from the future.

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Anyways, GBK. It looked like they had great poutines. I can’t confirm this as I was after the meat only.

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I had the classic burger which comes with lettuce, tomato, red onion, ketchup, mustard and pickles.

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Made with all natural Ontario beef served on a bun from the well known local joint Brick Street Bakery.

First, the patty. Flavour-wise it was all there. I loved how thick it was, compared to the thin and salty patties at The Burger’s Priest. It was however a touch too dry for my tastes.

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Also, the patty-to-bun ratio borderlines absurd. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the bun. Actually, it was probably the best hamburger bun I’ve ever had. White, fluffy, but sturdy enough not to crumble in the presence of the burger. But it was twice the size of the patty. I’d say half my bites were easily bun only and contained no meat.

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FYI: eating giant hamburgers with one hand is tricky business. I could probably teach a class on eating with one hand by this point.

2. The Croissant.

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Right. So y’all know I have this undeterred fondness for pastry wrapped in butter. I never specifically set out to find the best croissant in Toronto. Amazing croissants are the kind of thing that find you, ya know?

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But again, in my intense foodie research, I found that Clafouti on Queen West was consistently praised for their croissants.

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I walked in on a late Sunday morning after brunch not sure of what goodies would be left.

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Roommie Megan snatched up the Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Croissant. Ohyes. But I had my eyes on something else.

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An almond croissant. I feel like apart from chocolate and butter, almond croissants are about as “classic” as you can get. And I’ve never had one!

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I tucked it away in my purse, having just scarfed down brunch and all, and gingerly pulled it out come dinnertime. Okay, I only made it till 4pm.

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The croissant easily broke in half, each side coated with a sweet almond paste. Nothing like the marzipan found in chocolates. This was a like a nutty, sugary, dreamy spread.

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The centre of the croissant was soft, but dense! And a little tough on the outsides. I’m not sure if all almond croissants are this thick. I’m better versed in the airy, flaky, greasy sorts. Overall though, it was a damn good croissant. I polished it off with an apple and called it a balanced meal.

3. The Cookie.

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Remember when my sister took me to Le Gourmand at Queen & Spadina?

She actually brought me there for croissants, which I will say were quite good. But I spotted these trays of cookies and knew they were mine. Walking past there the other day I popped in to get the cookie that’s been calling my name ever since. They only had chocolate chip and chocolate chip walnut. I went with the latter.

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I brought it home and immediately broke a piece off to taste. An inch thick and almost the size of my hand, one cookie is actually equal to about four. It was SO soft. With the perfect sized little chocolate chips. I thought about it for the rest of the night.

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The next morning I took another piece at zapped it in the microwave. It was at that point I melted into a giant puddle in the middle of my kitchen floor. Just like Alex Mack. I was in confectionary heaven.

So that ends my torrid tales of foodie adventures in Toronto. Just in time too, because my last pair of jeans are starting to get tight. Now it’s time shape up and get cooking in my brand new kitchen. Which you’ll have to wait till Sunday to see. Have a great weekend!

Beer, Bread, Burgers, Ohmy.

Aahhh… you know what is even worse than a Sunday evening? The Monday after a long weekend. Three days is enough to completely check out of real life. Having to face it again on a Monday night is always a rude awakening!

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Another bummer is the fact that I am out of Trader Joe’s Sunflower Seed Butter. Sound the alarms. This is an emergency situation.

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I stuffed the near-empty jar with cottage cheese, peaches, raisins, cinnamon, coconut flakes, raw oats and sugar-free syrup. I ended up putting my finger in there to ensure no seed butter remained. Then shed a single tear *sniff* Trader Joe’s needs to come to Canada.

I ended up spending aaallll morning in bed watching MTV shows on my computer and catching up on a few blogs. It was grand. Even though it’s a holiday, my gym is still open and I had a client who wanted to work out this afternoon. Not quite a holiday for me! Lunch before work:

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Pan-fried ham slices with swiss cheese, sautéed red pepper, spinach, on an english muffin. Then squashed and melted in the hot pan. Not pictured is the plethora of baby carrots and salsa that accompanied this. Yum.

Thank goodness I had that client today though because it got me to the gym! I was definitely bit by the lazy bug today, but I still managed to squeeze out a decent back/biceps workout. I am really enjoying my new lifting split! I feel like my workouts are a lot more efficient. It’s easier to wrap things up in an hour when I only have two muscle groups to focus on.

Even though I am officially on a Buffalo detox, my day did involve a little more Blue Moon beer. (brought back across the border)

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But not straight up. I had some flour and sugar with it.

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Not separately, ohno.

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Mixed all up in my roommate’s Kitchenaid mixer.

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And placed into a bread pan.

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You know where this is going ;)

April’s Beer Bread

3 cups of self-rising flour

1/2 cup of sugar

1 can or bottle of beer

mix ingredients and put in loaf pan

melt 1/2 stick of butter and pour over top

bake at 375 for 45 minutes!!

I used 1 cup all-purpose flour and 2 cups whole wheat, then mixed in 3 tsp baking powder and 1 1/2 tsp salt because I didn’t have self-rising flour. Also, I definitely did not use that much butter – maybe like 2 tbsp ;)

It rose!

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Avec du beurre…

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It turned out very dense and sweet.

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I of course tried a piece right away with a little smear of Lori’s pear cranberry jam.

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Good!! And SO easy!! Baking with yeast admittedly scares me, so the idea of pouring beer in sounded a lot more appealing. You really can’t pick up that much of a beer taste because of the sugar. Next time I want to try Guinness for the beer and molasses for the sweetener. So many possible combos!

I wasn’t just baking beer bread for the hell of it though. Something this good needs to be shared!

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BBQ. Labour Day style.

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This is not my backyard. My backyard is a parking lot. And there is a definite lack of bbq back there.

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What is happening in these photos? I do believe it is a foot high five.

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That girl on the left was in Schindler’s List. True story!

Seeing as I’m on a Buffalo detox, I made a point of keeping my bbq grub somewhat healthy.

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Earlier in the day I threw together a pound of ground chicken with some chopped red pepper, spinach, a couple scoops of salsa and a few shakes of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. I formed the mix into patties and brought one of them to the bbq with me.

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Spicy spinach chicken burger? Yesplease!! And yes, that is my second english muffin of the day. It made for a killer bun.

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For veggies I put a chopped sweet potato on the ‘cue but I couldn’t finish it all. My chicken burger was too huge!

But there’s always room for dessert ;)

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My roommie Megan brought chocolate crinkle cookies that her mom always makes. They were deeeelicious. Kinda like a cross between a cookie and fudge. Rolled in icing sugar. The perfect little chocolate treat.

And for those of you fretting over the start of your work week or school year, don’t worry…

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As seen outside an Indian restaurant on Queen West in Toronto ;)

As Madeline would say – make it a good one!!

 

Question of the Day: What is your favourite thing to grill? Mine is bread!! We used to go to this restaurant when I was a kid where you could pick flavoured butters, different kinds of bread, then grill it yourself. Amazing.

The Job Collector

Please, do not adjust your monitors.

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Yes, I know it is Thursday and not Waffle Wednesday. But some weeks, one day of celebration is just not enough.

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Same protein waffle recipe as yesterday. But today topped with Lori’s buckwheat honey marshmallow fluff and almond butter mixed with syrup. 

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So much decadence for 9 in the morning. I almost couldn’t handle it. But then I got a grip on myself and gobbled it all up :)

Other wonderful eats from the day included a homemade shrimp burger. I remember seeing shrimp burgers on the menu of a burger place in Calgary. I desperately wanted to try it, but knew that when in Calgary, you eat the beef. Needless to say, the idea of a shrimp patty has been teasing my taste buds ever since.

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Started with a dozen large raw shrimp (bought frozen then defrosted). Cut up small then mixed in:

  • 1 tbsp bread crumbs (I used a smashed up rye cracker)
  • 1 tbsp egg whites
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise (Yes a whole tablespoon. Do it.)
  • Pinch dried garlic
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Pinch black pepper

It’s not a sticky mixture like beef or turkey burgers. Very wet and sloppy because shrimp is so, well, wet. I plopped it on my George Foreman grill, but you could also put it in a frying pan or the oven. Just make sure it’s at a low temp and as time to cook on one side so it doesn’t crumble when you try to flip it over.

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Makes one large patty. Eaten on an english muffin with spinach, red onion, ketchup and mustard.

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Ohmy. It was goooood. The mayo in the mix is what really made it tasty. I have a feeling my taste buds will be wanting this more often!

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On the side I had some of my microwave sweet potato chips. All you do is slice up a sweet tater real thin, spread it out on a plate, season, and nuke for a ludicrous amount of time. For these, I microwaved them for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Once cooled, they get crunchy like a chip!

 

While not eating today, I was also exercising. Almost done the first week of my new lifting split and I really like it! My body was completely hammered after a week off exercise. Major DOMS after my first couple days. Even from just doing sprints on the elliptical! Anyways, if you’re curious, here is what my Shoulder/Abs workout looked like today:

Warm-up: 5 minutes walking on the treadmill + 1 mile run

Straight sets:
Arnold press @ 10 lbs x 15
                         15 lbs x 10
                         20 lbs x 5
                         10 lbs x 10

Alternating sets (x3):
Cable lateral raise @ 2.5 lbs x 12
Cable horizontal woodchop @ 12.5 lbs x 12

Superset (x3):
Mountain climber x 60 sec
Plank ups x 10

Superset (x3):
Russian twist on bosu 6lbs x 30
Plank on bosu x 60 sec

Superset (x3):
Squat with front raise x 20 (holding swiss ball)
Prone jackknife x15

Cool-down: 1 mile run + 5 minutes walking

 

That opening press set killed my shoulders. It was all downhill from there ;) And in case you can’t tell, I hate doing crunches. Give me a plank any day!

 

Kind of ironic that I just started myself on a weight lifting focused workout routine, as I suspect I may now be doing a lot more running!

You see, I got a part-time job! At a running store!!

Even though I am a full-time personal trainer, I still don’t work the usual 8 hours a day. My client base is still increasing, but I am finding myself with a lot of down time. Especially on weekends. So I’ll be selling running shoes, clothing, gadgets and apparel to Toronto runners in my spare time. The extra money will be great and I’m really looking forward to meeting some more fitness-minded folk! They also do a run club and running clinics that I’ll probably start participating in as well. I’m pretty stoked about the employee discount. I’m desperate for a new pair of running shoes!

I’d just like to say, as for my full-time job of training, I am loving it. I’m to the point now where I’m starting to see results with my clients (one guy has already dropped 8% body fat with me!) and it is so rewarding. Not to mention, I’ve already had a few clients renew training packages with me, so it’s nice to know they like and respect me enough to want to keep working with me!

Now I am off to pack! I’m heading to Buffalo, NY for weekend with some friends. A special edition Fitness Friday post will be going up, but it will have to last you until I’m back on Sunday. Have a great weekend everyone! xo

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