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Sweet Saturday

Uff. I am soooo full of sugar right now. I spent all night baking, and sampling those baked goods :\ At least I had a decent day leading up to it.

I fell asleep watching “The Goods” with Chris last night. Not a very funny movie. However, we watched “Zombieland” before that and it was awesome. All together, I think I finally got 8 hours sleep. Yesss!! Went for a simple breakfast.

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Everything bagel with crunchy PB on one side and strawberry jam on the other. In the back is an egg white pillow to round the meal out. I was scared a bagel wouldn’t fill me up – but it totally did!! I think I’ve finally found the secret to a filling breakfast for me. It’s got to be around 400 calories and have significant amount of each protein, fat and carbs.

I had a stellar gym visit this morning. I think the extra sleep put more of a bounce in my step.

Warm-up:
Walk/jogging on the treadmill for 5 minutes

HIIT:
incline = 1%
0:00-1:00 – 6.0 mph
1:00-2:00 – 6.2 mph
2:00-3:00 – 6.4 mph
3:00-4:00 – 6.2 mph
4:00-5:00 – 6.4 mph
5:00-6:00 – 6.6 mph
6:00-7:00 – 6.4 mph
7:00-8:00 – 6.6 mph
8:00-9:00 – 6.8 mph
9:00-10:00 – 6.6 mph
10:00-11:00 – 6.8mph
11:00-12:00 – 7.0 mph
12:00-13:00 – 6.8 mph
13:00-14:00 – 7.0 mph
14:00-15:00 – 7.2 mph

A1 – Front squat push/press:
3 sets @ 40 lbs x 8

B1 – Underhand-grip lat pulldown:
3 sets @ 55 lbs x 8

B2 – Barbell upright row:
3 sets @ 15 lbs (ea) x 8

C1 – Seated cable row:
3 sets @ 50 lbs x 8

C2 – Dumbbell fly:
3 sets @ 20 lbs (ea) x 8

HIIT:
@ 0.0 incline -  2 min @ 5.5
@ 0.5 incline – 1 min @ 6.0
                           1 min @ 6.5
                           1 min @ 7.0
@ 1.0 incline – 1 min @ 6.0
                           1 min @ 6.5
                           1 min @ 7.0
@ 1.5 incline – 1 min @ 6.0
                           1 min @ 6.5
                           1 min @ 7.0
@ 2.0 incline – 1 min @ 6.0
                           1 min @ 6.5
                           1 min @ 7.0
@ 0.0 incline – 1 min @ 3.5

Plank: 90 sec
Side planks: 30 sec each
Stability ball rollout: 15 reps
Jackknifes: 15 reps

HIIT:
incline = 0%
0:00-1:00 – 3.0 mph
1:00-3:00 – 3.5 mph
3:00-4:00 – 8.0 mph
4:00-6:00 – 3.5 mph
6:00-7:00 – 8.5 mph
7:00-9:00 – 3.5 mph
9:00-10:00 – 9.0 mph
10:00-12:00 – 3.5 mph
12:00-13:00 – 9.5 mph
13:00-15:00 – 3.5 mph

Cool-down:
Stretching

The HIIT was tough, but I felt sooooo good when I was done :)

Came home to a wonderful lunch!

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It was delightful! I love cumin :)

Today’s plan was to pick up the last of my presents and brave the grocery store the weekend before Christmas for baking ingredients. It called for a solid snack.

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Three light wasas, soy nut butter, honey, raisins, cinnamon. This is probably one of my favourite snacks and always fills me up :)

I survived the grocery store and got straight to baking!

Warning: a plethora of pictures featuring baked goods devoid of any nutritional value follow. 

You guys. It’s Christmas. Healthy treats are for the rest of the year! :P

First up: peanut butter cup cookies that I actually first saw on Hallie’s blog.

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Mmmm….hydrogenated oil…

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Generic PB cups, no Reese’s to be found!

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My first mini muffin pan :)

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Slice up cookie dough into inch-thick rounds. Then cut each round into quarters and drop into greased pan. Baked for about 5 minutes at 350 F until just slightly golden.

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They naturally started to sink into the pan!

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Don’t forget to unwrap your PB cups ;)

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Drop PB cups into fluffy or sunken dough, and bake for an additional 3-ish minutes. It smells crazy delicious. But you have to wait until fully cool before removing from the pan. Don’t want to mangle all that doughy chocolate nutty goodness!
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Then it was onto Brie’s famous cake balls. Aka Bakerella’s red velvet cake balls.

Except I’ve never seen red velvet cake around these parts. So I grabbed the yummiest cake flavour I saw. People were trying to hustle me out of the aisle – I almost lost my ankle to a shopping cart!

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I followed the box instructions exactly. While that bad boy cooked, I sat down to a healthy dinner of a tofurkey + jarlsberg lavash wrap. At least I got lots of veggies with my sugar today ;)

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Dessert was… what else!? A peanut butter cup cookie! 

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I’ve been obsessed with trying these ever since I first laid eyes on them. And with good reason!! I mean, how can you go wrong? Chris loved them too. He promptly popped two whole ones in his mouth.

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Thankfully, he brought the bulk of the cookies back home to his parents. That is, if they made it there :P

Somewhere along the way, my cake came out of the oven and had the chance to cool.

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I then got to rip it all apart and mash it up with this even healthier product:

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I then rolled the mixture into a gazillion little balls, and stuck them in the freezer to harden.

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While my balls were hardening (I’m not going there) I got started on my next baking project! This one I’ll call “homemade turtles” and got from Zesty’s blog.

I looked everywhere for waffle-shaped pretzels and could only find giant ones and sticks. I went with the latter.

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More cups!! This time in caramel.

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And the final piece of the puzzle – pecan halves. Which I quickly threw in the oven to roast first.

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I tried to shape my pretzel sticks like pretzel waffles, but Chris said they looked like pretzel rafts :P

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Put this in a 300 F oven until the first sign of melting (2 minutes maybe?) Then take out and squish the pecans on top!

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I did three batches of this, then stuck it in the fridge to harden. While those babies were hardening in the fridge, I pulled my now hard balls out of the freezer (seriously guys, I am not going there).

More chocolate was needed to coat my cake balls. I couldn’t decide on milk chocolate or dark chocolate with almonds. So I chose both and melted them together :)

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Two chocolate bars weren’t enough to coat all the balls though! I ended up melting one of my beloved Lindt 70% bars (cause ya know, I happen to have a lot of them lying around). But that wasn’t enough either! So I dug around my cupboard and found some yogurt chips that I melted with unsweetened coconut. The result was a variety of balls…

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Butter pecan cream cheese cake balls in a chocolate almond coating, dark chocolate coating and yogurt coconut coating.

And as those dried, I wrapped up my hardened homemade turtles!

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These packages are going to the kiddies in my family. Grandparents will be getting cake balls, and any leftovers are going to buttering up my new coworkers ;)

I don’t know how all of you bake without licking/sampling. I actually did good on the spoon and bowl licking front (kept it minimal anyways). But I still had to sample one of each of my goodies. Way more treats than I usually have and now I’m in a sugar coma. And maybe a hydrogenated oil one :P Uff.

On the bright side, I have a 90 minute spin class to look forward to for tomorrow!! Seriously. Can’t. Wait.

 

Question of the Day: What’s your favourite holiday goody? Mine are candy canes and my Grammie’s peanut butter balls :)

Healthified with a Few Answers

Hiya! Hope everyone got a good start to their weeks :) Today I realized I’m doing a “real” work week. Work till Friday then have a WHOLE weekend off!! Sweet damn!

Did the ole 2-10pm closing shift at Starbucks tonight, so I had the morning to myself. Would have been wonderful if I didn’t wake up at 6:30 am with a charley horse (ie severe cramp) in my calf. So. Painful. Needed some comfy oats to make me feel better.

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Custard oats!! I followed Tay’s method of whisking a whole egg into the pot as my oats cooked. It turned out amazing! I love my oats really thick and creamy, and that’s exactly what happened. Topped with some dates and homemade maple pecan butter. Epic.

Then it was off to my favourite Monday morning step class. It’s the same ladies there every week and we’re starting to bond. I just love it :) It’s one of the few times I get to just let loose and get a silly sweat on.

Replenished after with a Janetha inspired lunch.

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  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup garbanzo beans
  • 1 tsp ranch seasonin
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • chopped onion
  • 1 tomato
  • kale

All mixed up and eaten out of a giant bowl. This was really filling!! Except, I used up all my fresh produce in it, which meant no giant pita to bring to work for supper tonight. Instead, I opted for the Subway in the food court.

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It’s a 6 inch veggie delight on whole wheat with every veggie available. Then I brought my own pouch of tuna and added it to the sub, with a drizzle of Italian dressing I got on the side. Tuna subs used to be my favourite thing ever, and they’re one of the worst subs you can get (helloooo goopy mayo!). So this is a healthified version of my old favourite. It was awesome!

I’m actually not allowed to take pictures at Starbucks – it’s a corporate policy. But I managed to sneak one of my drink tonight.

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Tall unsweetened iced black tea lemonade. I can’t find the nutrition facts for the unsweetened version of this drink. The lemonade is about 1/3 of it and has some sugar, so it does have calories. How many, I don’t know! Not that much I’m assuming, maybe 60 cals?

P.S. I discovered the coffee frappuccino bases have high fructose corn syrup today for anyone out there who watches that stuff.

I also broke my “no buying any more mugs or tumblers with my sweet partner discount” rule. It was just too good to pass up!

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An insulated cup just for cold drinks. Just think of all the Deb inspired smoothies I could fill it up with!

 

Okay folks, time for the first round of questions and answers.

I got some excellent questions from y’all! I’m going to answer a little each day this week, as some deserve well thought-out answers. Since I’m short on time tonight, I’m going to tackle the easiest ones first ;) Don’t worry if yours isn’t featured here – I will be answering all of them in the days ahead!

 

Emily (The Experimentarian), said:

ooh! Question time! let’s talk about travel! Where is the coolest place you’ve ever been? Where would you like to go?

What is your favorite hobby besides blogging and working out? Is it crafting? Ha ha. Yay for arts and crafts! xoxo

Okay first, I’d have to say fitness is my number one hobby!! Chris is a huge car hobbyist, and one day I was complaining to him that I don’t have any hobbies. He was just like “Umm, Susan, you spend all your spare time at the gym or thinking about it.” Which is totally true. When I’m not working out, I’m reading about it, planning for it, talking about it. It kinda consumes me :\ 

But I do really enjoy playing my guitar when I feel inspired. I’ve also been known to knit on occasion, which I took up five years ago to help me quit smoking. And I know this is a lame hobby, but I still love the news! Watching it, reading it. I love keeping on top of current events.

As for travel, I wouldn’t say I’m a globe trotter, but I’ve been to some pretty neat places. The list: America (duh), Mexico, Cuba (twice), Jamaica, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg and France. Of all those places, I think the trip to Mexico with my mom to visit my sister (who was studying there at the time) was the most memorable. We stayed with a Mexican family in a city called Cuernevaca. We did a lot of travelling to the surrounding cities and got to see some of the real Mexican countryside. The food was also fantastic ;)

Right now there are a lot of places in the United States I really want to go to – Las Vegas, Washington DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Austin, to name a few ;) Overseas, I reeeeeally want to go to the UK. Ellie, I’m coming someday, I promise!!

 

julie,said:

i wanna knowww what’s your fav starbreezies drink!? now that you work there and all :)

I think my favourite coffee drink of all time (besides plain coffee) is a dry latte with two shots of espresso and a squirt of vanilla. I love my lattes foamy, but I prefer only a hint of sweetness and not the overpowering one that most Starbucks drinks have.

But, my favourite Starbucks-only drink is an iced caramel macchiato. There are many others I once had love affairs with, but unfortunately have been discontinued :(

Lori (Finding Radiance), Said:

My question would be: How do you plan on building your personal training business? Will you start at your current gym with advertising (guess not if you are moving?).

This is a good question, seeing as I never really went into how I plan on using my personal training certification. My goal now, is to get a job at my current gym chain. They’re the largest in Canada and are constantly hiring full and part-time trainers all over the place. Their trainers don’t have to seek out clients, but the clients are paired with trainers through the gym. So the “business” side of it would be taken care of.

That’s my short-term goal anyways. There are some privately owned and smaller gyms in the area that I’ll be looking into as well. There are also a couple companies around here that set trainers up with businesses who want them for their employees.

Long-term, I plan on getting my my Nutrition & Wellness certification so I can do a little fitness-based nutrition counselling as well. And of course, I want to do some freelance writing! Put all this knowledge out there to share :)

I’m still iffy about being a group fitness instructor. But ya never know, it could lead there. At the moment though, I’m more focused on working with individual clients.

 

Ashley Said:

So….I looked into buying a waffle iron the other day, because I love the look of yours (they are photogenic!) but the only one I could find was like $80. Which is a lot. I can buy a $20 one online and I was wondering whether its hard to go wrong with a waffle iron? Do you think I can get away with a cheapie? (I realise this probably isn’t what you meant when you invited questions….!!!)

I thought this deserved to be answered in a post because I get a lot of comments from people saying they want a belgian waffle iron. There are some nice ones out there that do all the fancy flipping stuff, but mine is just a “press.”

It’s a Proctor Silex Morning Baker Waffle Iron. I bought it at Walmart for close to $30. I have absolutely no complaints about it. It cooks up fast and makes giant fluffy waffles! I’d just be wary of the non-belgian style irons. I had one before that did two small rectangular waffles at once and it took forever to cook.

 

Well that wraps it up for today! I’ll be delving into some more of the “deep thought” Q’s tomorrow. If you have a question you’d like to add, leave a comment or send me an e-mail at thegreatbalancingact@gmail.com :)

 

Question of the Day: Any old foods you used to love but now “healthify?” I used to be a french fry person, but now I make all sorts of fry substitutes. Like butternut squash fries, yuca fries and most recently green bean fries!

Bites & Nibbles

LOVED reading all the jobs you guys have held. There were some good ones:

  • Brie drove a beer cart on a golf course
  • Heidi is an usher at an amphitheatre where she gets to see concerts for free and even Obama!
  • Deb was a sales person at a large-sized women’s shoe store
  • Jenn decorated cakes at Dairy Queen (I have major respect for this, because my friends and I used to be “those people” who would ask DQ workers to write inappropriate comments on the cakes :P )
  • Angela was a reservation agent for Hooters airline (yes, Hooters, as in the restaurant)

I don’t know why, but I get a kick out of hearing about other people’s random jobs :P

Moving on!

I get a big FAIL for sleep last night. 6-ish hours. I’m usually up several times throughout the night, but last night was bad. Starting at 5am I was waking up every 15 minutes! Boo.

Thankfully, I had some steel cut oats soaking in the fridge. Lori posted a quick cooking method for steel cut oats yesterday. All you have to do is soak the dry oats in the water overnight first, then they’re supposed to cook up much quicker in the pot the next day.

Unfortunately, this did not work for me. Maybe it’s the oats I have? I let them cook on the stove for almost 20 minutes until I couldn’t wait any longer. At least I had the perfect dish to eat them out of :)

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Oats in a jar. Aka “OIAJ.” 

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I mushed up half a banana in there too because my serving of oats looked so small. There actually wasn’t much almond butter left in the jar. I have a hard time saving a tablespoon’s worth for the morning!

Today is my day off, so I spent the morning in bed watching the Today Show and getting lost in the vastness that is the World Wide Web. My sweet tooth (and belly) kicked in during Regis and Kelly.

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These taste kinda weird, like a bar full of vegetables (duh) but I really like it!

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I enjoy the crumbly (yet sturdy) texture of the bar and the chocolate on the bottom. The ingredients are pretty darn good too, you can check them out here.

Then the cleaning madness began, and I breaked for a delicious lunch during The View.

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Egg salad sandwich and carrot sticks. The sandwich is two whole boiled eggs, mayo, onion, tomato and spinach.

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Dare I say egg salad is my favourite kind of sandwich? I’m especially a sucker for the little triangle egg sandwiches at church functions. But nothing beats my Nana’s ;)

I was going to take the day off exercise and just clean today, then yoga tonight. But the sun was shining, and we surpassed our predicted daytime high. The weather was just taunting me to go outside and run! I succumbed. It’s going to start snowing soon, and I probably won’t be able to run outdoors anymore. It’s illegal to run on the roads here (I’m in a very busy spot) and the sidewalks are dangerously icy!

Anyways, I kept it short, doing 5k in 28 minutes. I’m pretty happy with this! I haven’t run just 5k in a while, I’ve been doing a lot of looong and sloooow runs. It was nice to see I’ve been able to maintain a little of the speed I gained in late summer :)

I also whittled my middle when I got home. I’ve been getting quite dizzy lately when I do regular planks. I think it’s from being horizontal with my head down. But it’s concerning enough that I’ve cut it short the past few times. Does this ever happen to anyone else? I’ve been known to faint in the past (although, never when working out) so I get concerned when I start getting so dizzy I’m blurry-eyed.

Also odd, is that running short and fast distances always suppresses my hunger. But I always like to get a little somethin’ in me after a workout, so I snacked on some pumpkin spice roasted chickpeas while I iced.

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Unfortunately I did not get back to my cleaning after the run. I knew that would happen! I did however make a wonderful dinner, so that’s something ;)

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Shrimp “alfredo.” It’s whole wheat spaghettini, shrimp, broccoli and cauliflower. The sauce is two laughing cow cheese wedges thinned with a liiiittle bit of plain yogurt with some parmesan, pepper, onion powder and teeny pinch nutmeg. Heated in the microwave to melt slightly before tossing it with everything else.

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I was really craving shrimp pasta for some reason! Which is weird because I don’t usually care for noodles, and that shrimp has been in my freezer for-ever. It was delicious though, everything I wanted and more ;)

But no meal is complete without a little chocolate.

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I nibble away at it so it takes me almost five minutes to eat one piece. Mmmm…

Despite my short run, I really didn’t want to bail on yoga class tonight. I was looking forward to it! One thing I don’t appreciate about the Les Mills classes, is that it’s the same for several weeks at a time. Same songs, same moves. Gets dull after the first three times. But our instructor switched it up a little so it was fun. Hips are appropriately open, hamstrings are adequately stretched :)

Well, that’s just about everything I ate today! There was a handful of soy nuts and a few chocolate chips with my morning coffee, but that about sums it up :) Rare that I ever actually do that. I am about to go make a snack of pita bread and tofu spread so it’s not exactly everything. But you get the gist ;)

 

Questions of the Day:

1. What’s your favourite kind of sandwich? Egg salad here! My Nana also makes these asparagus sandwiches that are deee-licious. I think they’re just canned asparagus (mushiness is optimal) rolled up in bread with margarine and cream cheese.

2. What’s the best thing you ate today? Mine was dinner! But who knows, the snack I’m about to have could knock it out of its place ;)

 

Now I’m off to go log my day’s calories. I haven’t done it since breakfast and it’s going to take soooo long. This tracking thing is getting old pretty quick! But I want to have a week’s worth of numbers before I stop, and it’s only been five days.

See ya tomorrow!

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