Blog Archives

10 Things That Have Something To Do With Nothing

1. I ate french toast every single day for at least 100 days during my last year of high school.

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2. Walking to the grocery store and carrying groceries home is an excellent way to save money. That giant jar of pickles suddenly doesn’t feel so necessary…

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3. Sweetened coconut tastes better than unsweetened. Let’s face it.

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4. After 10 weeks of unemployment, I am physically incapable of waking up in time for a morning spin class. Thank goodness for noon-hour ones.

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5. My dad and little step-sister are coming to visit me in Toronto next week and I am really excited. Especially because I now have someone to go to the Harry Potter exhibit with.

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6. Your bicep contracts most when your forearm/wrist is twisting, as opposed to the motion of the traditional bicep curl. Touch your bicep and try both movements. Now try a twisting bicep curl :)

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7. The neighbourhood butcher sells the most ludicrously large marinated chicken breasts. Meet 9 lbs of mango poppyseed, paired with a sweet potato covered in butter, syrup and cinnamon.

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8. I don’t know how I’ll ever find another date when I’m turned off by the act of most men flirting.

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9. Pesto + lemon juice is giving hummus + water a run for its money as my favourite salad dressing.

 

10. Thank you!! For all of the congratulatory and kind comments regarding my new job and blog anniversary. You are all awesome. Yes, even you, the lurker ;)

 

Question of the Day: Give me one random tidbit from your day!

Bread Maker

I’ve been baking again.

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It can’t be helped. I keep getting all these ideas, and I must put them to the test in my mother’s kitchen.

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It’s another rainy day here in New Brunswick. I’m much too sore from my full-body lifting workout to exercise. This kind of weather calls for movie watching, laundry, and now apparently baking.

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I gathered up my cast of characters.

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The key ingredient here is baking soda.

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While having our afternoon scones yesterday (which both Ellie and my Nana have informed me are pronounced “sk-onn” and not “sk-own”), my mother started talking about the soda bread of her childhood.

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Apparently soda bread is an incredibly simple loaf to make, something our ancestors lived off of in the barren northern climates.

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My mom says Nana used to make soda bread and serve it with cheddar cheese and molasses as an after-school snack. Don’t even get me started on how intrigued I am by the thought of a cheddar cheese and molasses sandwich.

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Once again, the seed was planted. I got the idea of baking in my head and I couldn’t shake it. I scoured the internets for the best recipe I could find. I ended up going back to basics. The same simple bread our ancestors made, with the addition of a little whole wheat for good measure.

From The Food Network

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups buttermilk

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and sprinkle with a little flour.

Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in buttermilk. Using one hand, stir in full circles (starting in the center of the bowl working toward the outside of the bowl) until all the flour is incorporated. The dough should be soft but not too wet and sticky. When it all comes together, in a matter of seconds, turn it out onto a well-floured surface. Clean dough off your hand.

Pat and roll the dough gently with floury hands, just enough to tidy it up and give it a round shape. Flip over and flatten slightly to about 2 inches. Transfer the loaf to the prepared baking sheet. Mark with a deep cross using a serrated knife and prick each of the four quadrants.

Bake the bread for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400° and continue to bake until the loaf is brown on top and sounds hollow when tapped, 30 to 35 minutes more. Transfer the loaf to a wire rack and let cool for about 30 minutes.

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Renee wrote a post a while back about how baking makes her happy. It got me thinking about how I myself have fallen in love with baking.

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Baking used to intimidate me. At least with cooking, you are always in control. A tweak here, a pinch of something there. It’s fun to throw ingredients together and see what you can create.

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But with baking, all you can do is assemble the ingredients the best you can – and then you wait. Praying, wishing, hoping that the preparation you put into it will deem a delicious result.

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There is something SO satisfying when you pull your creation out of the oven, smelling, looking and even better, tasting perfect. The happiness that comes from baking a perfect product goes a lot deeper!

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And lets be honest with ourselves here. There are few things greater in life than putting a smear of butter on a slice of bread warm out of the oven.

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Bliss.

 

I haven’t just been baking bread today!

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Pancakes were had to celebrate Pancake Sunday. Dairy-Free (ish) Protein Pancakes to be exact. 

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With the addition of sliced almonds, coconut and almond extract to make Almond Coconut Protein Pancakes.

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So fluffy. So good.

I also polished off the Meatloaf Pizza for lunch.

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Avec une salade.

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Dressing was laughing cow cheese whisked with buttermilk. Nothing short of amazing.

But I don’t know how this got on my camera.

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I don’t eat chocolate. Especially not Belgian dusted truffles. Disgusting. Who’s teeth-marks are those? :P

This afternoon, I made my own version of strawberry shortcake using Homemade Wholegrain Maple Oatmeal Scones.

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Except, we didn’t have any strawberries, so I used raspberries.

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And I’m not the world’s biggest fan of whipped cream, but I do love yogurt. Stellar snack!

Soon the smell of freshly baked bread was replaced with that of bbq chicken

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Once again, my mom pulled together a fabulous meal.

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A chicken thigh in a sauce of bbq sauce, ketchup, soy sauce and top-secret spices. Paired with roasted parsnip, carrots, sweet potato and potato. This meal was to die for. I think I may just bring my mom to Toronto with me instead of bothering to come back here :P

 

Some links!!

Apparently a lot of reverse photoshopping is done to too-thin models to make them look healthier. You hear so much about editors tucking in little pudges and rolls, that I never considered that some women need to have their bony bodies hidden. This deeply saddens me. Read about it here. One editor blames shrinking designer sample sizes, so magazines have no choice but to hire too-thin models to wear them.

A recent study says that you can burn more fat by skipping breakfast before your morning workout. They claim that without stored carbohydrates to pull on, your body will look for fat to fuel activity. I only have basic training on how these energy systems work, but I do know that the fatty acids in your muscles aren’t the same as the fat that sits around your tummy. Why would you want to risk being in a catabolic state and breaking down your muscles? A better idea is to have at least 100 calories worth of simple carbs (fruit juice, a banana, yogurt, etc) before your morning workout. It will give you tons more energy, and I betcha you’ll burn a lot more calories when you aren’t dragging through your workout hungry and dizzy.

Finally, this is the most awkward exercise I’ve ever seen. Please don’t ever do this. Thank you.

 

Question of the Day: Now that I know all about your favourite kinds of pizza – what’s your favourite kind of bread?? Brown bread over here please :) Or, if flatbreads are included (why not, it’s my question after all!) I luuuurve naan.

Exercises for the Cable Machine and Archie’s Debut!!

Hiiiiii!!!

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How are we all doing today? Good I hope! I am working hard on keeping my smile up :)

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Unfortunately ezekiel french toast is not that photogenic. For such a decadent breakfast, it was pretty healthy though!! Two eggs + a splash of skim milk, cinnamon and vanilla, all whisked together then soaked up with sprouted grain bread.

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Dipped in sugar-free syrup. The little eggy end parts are the best ;)

After this I made the executive decision not to work out today. Good thing I did, as I ended up having family obligations that took up a huge chunk of the day. For all you positive thinkers out there – please send some this way for my dad and his family. They could use a few extra good vibes!!

Then I drove into oncoming traffic on the Gunningsville bridge. Stuck by a median. Holy heart attack. Rain + drifting thoughts = dangerous driving on my part.

I perked myself up with a new ‘do. It’s in a ponytail right now, I will primp properly tomorrow and show you. Getting rid of hair has a therapeutic effect, no?

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So does chocolate. Even when it’s cocoa powder mixed with soy protein powder. I gave a bite to the little step-bro and he said it tastes like chocolate mousse! I didn’t even tell him to say that!!

Mom pulled out all the stops again for dinner tonight.

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Roast chicken – my favourite. With roast carrots, turnip and sweet potato.

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I swiped the thigh and leg as I like the dark meat best. Yes, I used to be a vegetarian and now I eat it off the bone ;)

Tried a little scoop of these random preserves my mother handed me. I thought they were cranberry.

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Got quite the surprise when I took a bite and found out it was sweet cherry! Turns out Sister Sara bought it back when she was living in Edmonton. I’m thinking it would be much better on waffle ;)

In other news, I found a new kind of gum today!

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It’s no secret that I’m a mad gum chewer. It’s a problem. I’m [not] working on it.

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It’s fruity, yet refreshing!! I think it’s some sort of grapefruit concoction. Tasty.

 

Cable Exercises

A long, long time ago, Lori asked for a post on exercises to do on the cable machines at the gym. I told her I’d get around to it that week. That was around three months ago.

Coincidentally, I gave my mom a mini-training session on the cable machine and she wants me to write down what I showed her. So I’m covering all my bases! :P

Since I got my personal training certification, one of the most common requests I get from people is how to use the above cable machine, or ones similar to it (some only have one pulley).

First we must understand how it works. Most can be adjusted by pulling out a knob on the side and sliding the pulley up or down. There are several different attachments you can clip on.

 

We’re mostly concerned with the above attachments. Not pictured though is the velcro strap that fits around your ankle. Usually these parts are hanging out somewhere around the machine, or you may have to remove it from another machine to use. Don’t worry, most of the following pictures clearly illustrate which one you’ll need.

Before we get into the exercises, I need to make a very important point.

Don’t let the cable boss you around. 

When trying out new exercises on a cable machine start at a low weight. As the weight plates drop on the machine, the cable will pull forward. It is SO important not to let it jerk you with it. Stay strong and balanced. If you’re struggling, lower the weight. Sometimes we can’t go as heavy on cable machines as we can with dumbbells. That’s okay. You’ll see better results when you actually hit the intended muscles ;)

Legs

A stiff-legged deadlift to work your glutes and hamstrings. You can also do a regular deadlift where you bend your knees. A straight bar would be needed for this one.

The cable pull through hits mostly your glutes, but you’ll get a little thigh work in there too. Please keep your back straight and supported!

The one leg cable kickback is actually one of the best butt exercises there is. Want a bubble butt? This is one for you.

 

Cable thigh pull can work either your inner or outer thighs. The motion pictured above will hit your inner thighs. If you turn around and pull the cable away from your body, you’ll hit the outer thighs. Remember to pull the weight with your thigh muscles, don’t just put all the work in your hips.

Chest

The cable chest press is one of my favourite ways to change up the boring ole’ chest press. You can do this two arms at a time, or one arm at a time. Remember to push through your chest and not your shoulders.

Back

Standing cable row. I like doing this one best in a squat position to activate my legs as well. This is an important one to keep your upper body stable on. Try not to round your back when the cable pulls away from the body.

Cable face pull. This one targets your upper back and shoulders as well. Make sure to keep your shoulders down and neck soft. Arms should be parallel to the floor.

Shoulders

  

Pictured above is the lateral raise. This will work mostly the top of your shoulders. It requires very little weight, and if you’re on a machine with two cables, you can set it up so they cross in front of you. You can also turn around and pull your arms out in front of you to do a front shoulder raise.

Triceps

The cable pushdown is one many people are already familiar with. Pleasepleaseplease do not move your shoulder joints in this exercise. The only joint that should be moving is your elbow, which should also be tucked in by your waist. You’ll be able to feel the difference in your triceps!

Cable overhead extension. The thing to remember for this is to keep your shoulders down, try not to shrug them up with the movement. Again, make sure only your elbows are moving!

Biceps

It’s only fitting that Ahhhnold demonstrate our bicep exercise ;) The one and only cable curl. Set the cable at the bottom of the machine, take on a staggered stance and curl up. Broken record time – only bend at your elbows!!

Abs

 

Cable woodchop. Above is the diagonal version. But you can also set the cable in the center and twist horizontally for the cable horizontal woodchop. Thing to remember here is to keep your arms straight, and pull through using your abs first.

 
For some reason I get asked about the cable crunch all the time. Maybe because it looks hardcore. I personally find it’s awkward. In the above picture, the guy is twisting diagonally to hit his obliques, but you can also just go up and down for a normal crunch. Again, keep the work in your abs here, and try not to curve your spine too much.

All the demonstrative pictures are hyperlinked, so click away to get more info on the exercise behind the photo :) Of course, these aren’t the only cable exercises you can do, but it’s at least a good start!

 

Last, but most certainly not least, I have a video to share!! Clickclick to see the one and only Archibald in action.

 

Haha, my mom says he looks scared in the video. He must be camera shy ;) Also very cute is that is got SO confused when I played back the video!! He kept looking at me and wondering why my mouth wasn’t moving when my voice was coming out of the computer :P

 

Question of the Day: I want to do a vlog before I leave my mom’s place – what would you like to see? Recipe? Exercise move? Rambles and silliness?? Let me know!

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