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Mumbo Jumbo + A Breakfast Oatcake Recipe

Wonderful comments on yesterday’s post, Blogging About Healthy Living – Is It Healthy? And thank you for indulging me in my observations and opinions :)

This post is going to be all over the place – much like me lately!

First things first, a recipe.

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Four times a week I roll out of bed at 5:15am to be on the streetcar by 5:45am and work by 6:30am. Essentially enough time to clear the sleep from my eyes, brush my teeth, put on mascara, and stuff my gym clothes into my bag.

I suppose I could get up earlier than this to have a proper sit-down breakfast. But seeing the number “4” on my alarm clock freaks me out.

Because of this, I’ve been eating breakfast literally on-the-go most days of the week. Usually during my 15 minute streetcar ride to the subway station. Breakfast needs to be quick, cold, and something I won’t spill on my lap.

My latest on-the-go breakfast creation was actually inspired by the traditional Scottish oatcakes I made for the second Project Food Blog challenge in this post.

I begin my mixing the following ingredients:

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  • 1/2 cup dry rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup soy protein powder (optional, can be replaced with flour)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (okay, I actually use way more than that)
  • 2 pinches baking soda (around 1 tsp)
  • 2 packets stevia (can use honey, brown sugar, mashed banana, etc)
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter (again, optional!)
  • fun add-ins! This batch has TJ’s flattened banana bits and mini chocolate chips
  • Little mix of warm liquid like water or milk

Mix it all up, adding the liquid just until everything is slightly soft and dissolved. Form mixinto little patties. Throw on a medium-heat greased frying pan and cook until brown and firm.

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Suddenly I’m left with three little oatcakes with good nutritionals that I can eat ALL of for breakfast!

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I make these the night before while I prep my coffee and lunch. Store in a little baggie to grab-n-go at 5am :)

The oatcakes also get a much better reception from my fellow streetcar passengers compared to creations such as these…

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That would be cottage cheese with nut butter, oats and dried fruit. This tupperware filled with mush generates a lot of weird and disgusted looks. Much worse however are the days I choose to bring boiled eggs. Not everyone appreciates it when I stink up the back car!

Secondly, I am currently without internet at home.

I’ve actually been without it since last Thursday and won’t be online again until this Friday. For someone who spends a HUGE chunk of their day on the world wide web, it’s proven to be a little difficult. A nice vacation from it all I guess, but it’s also causing me to fall way behind on important work commitments. Le boo.

This means I’ve been spending even more time leeching off free wifi in cafes.

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Which is saying a lot, because I pretty much live at Starbucks between clients anyways. I live too far away to scoot home during the longer breaks, so I just haul my laptop around with me!

This also means that sometimes, I fall victim to the cafe food case.

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Yesterday, I had a Santa Fe Chicken Panini from Starbucks. It was pretty decent!! Expensive though.

Thirdly, the leftovers from my beer filled dinner party just keep giving.

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For lunch yesterday I ate a whack of leftover Chicken & Tofu in a Peanut & Beer Sauce. Seriously. This dish is bomb. Peanut butter and beer really do make everything better.

Today I also had two Guinness Stout Brownies for breakfast. But there is conveniently no photographic evidence that ever actually happened. We’re moving on ;)

Finally, I added tuna to the Pale Ale Cabbage Slaw to turn it into a main dish!

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I was left with two extra bags of pre-mixed slaw and ate a whole bag for lunch. Veggies stand no chance in my presence.

Fourthly (??) I feel like I should let you know that the party didn’t end after the dinner party on Saturday night. Friends, I was up until 5am. Not what you think though. Ohno, we kept it classy with art exhibitions!

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…in the street. Every year, Toronto hosts this event called “Nuit Blanche” from dusk till dawn. The whole city is taken over by pieces of mostly modern art. The streets were packed with people ALL night!

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Unfortunately, we didn’t see much. By staying out so late, we also ran out of steam and only stumbled across two pieces. The above van with holes and lights.

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And the screening of The Beatles movie Hard Days Night. Sloooowed down to run for 12 hours and accompanied by a string quartet playing veeerrrry slowly.

Ohyes, and there was that creepy dollhouse that is unfortunately not an exhibit but real life. Perhaps it’s better we just forget about that.

Fifthly, I received a very pretty package today.

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Aahhh, even Deb knows I keep it classy ;)

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The “crack” being Trader Joes Sunflower Seed Butter. My favourite!!! Along with some Luna Chocolate Peppermint stick flavour that we also can’t get in Canada, and little bags of mysterious Japanese nuts. (yes, I know how that sounds)

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Okay, technically they’re Mini Broad Beans in a soy sauce-like flavouring. Verrrry good and the perfect little treat! THANK YOU for perking up my day Deb!!!!

Sixthly, this is really cool chocolate.

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I love Ritter Sport brand to begin with, but this kind has Cornflakes in it!

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Just a little crisp added to the soft milk chocolate. Definitely recommended.

Lastly (but definitely not leastly!)

Voting is still open for Project Food Blog! Are you sick of these prompts yet? This week’s challenge goes from 200 to 100 bloggers, with the final blogger getting $10,000. I feel so lucky to have made it this far, as the whole process has turned out to be pretty fun. Also a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has supported and voted for me thus far. I’ve been playing with ideas of things I could do with that money, and I definitely want it to involve my readers and the greater good somehow! To keep me in the running, click here, sign up and give me a big ole’ heart! :)

Question of the Day: It’s time for Q&As!! If you have any questions you want me to address in a post, leave it in the comments or e-mail me at thegreatbalancingact@gmail.com I’ll be addressing all sorts of topics, silly, serious, personal, fitness related, food related, anything!

Food Matters

Hello friends!! Hope everyone had a great start to the week! Mine has been pretty darn good. A full day of great training clients, then seeing one of my favourite chefs/authors in person!!

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Mark Bittman, first and foremost, is the author of several of my favourite Runner’s World columns. He’s also the man behind The Minimalist. Always my favourite food column in the New York Times.

Ohyeah, and he’s got a bunch of those things… books?? :P

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Tonight, he spoke mostly about the content in his Food Matters book to promote the new Food Matters Cookbook. It’s all about eating consciously. I’m actually more familiar with How To Cook Everything, which is one of his awesomely simple and easy to follow cookbooks.

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I went in armed with not only my camera and foodie excitement, but also my trusty notebook. I’m an old journalist after all, I can’t help but take notes! Here are some of my favourite points from the Q&A:

  • Americans spend only 7% of their income on food. A very low percentage representing how many are living off cheap processed food.
  • “Pay the farmer, not the hospital.”
  • Ideally, our diets would consist of 90% plants with 10% coming from everything else (meat, processed food, and “junk”). An alarming number of people take in the reverse percentages. Bittman says we don’t have to be perfect – we just need to “seesaw” to get those numbers closer together. i.e. More plants, less of everything else.
  • Bittman thinks veganism is the highest form of conscious eating, but admitted  he personally will never get there. Instead he does a vegan diet until 6pm every day, then might have animal products with dinner. He said it doesn’t matter if you are a vegan, so long as you take steps in that direction.
  • Drew several comparisons between cigarettes and processed foods. Mentioned that only a few people quit smoking when the surgeon general’s warning against it came out in 1964. It took mass coercion and enforcement to see a big change in the number of people smoking. He used this to demonstrate that warning about the health risks of processed foods may not be enough. Also pointed out that much like cigarettes are linked to cancer, some foods are linked to diabetes.
  • “Cooking is not a spectator sport.” Bittman is not a huge fan of the Food Network, saying, “People are too busy watching other people cook on television.” Touché.

Overall it was a fun Q&A! I raised my hand to ask him about how running changed his perception of food, but my hand was never picked. I will say he’s exactly how I pictured him. Brutally honest, funny, self-deprecating and personable all in one.

 

Now how about I start showing you some food!

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I’ve had a few stellar food combinations recently. Beginning with this bowl of spicy oats.

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1/2 cup rolled oats cooked with water, a pinch of salt, bacon, and a scoop of cream cheese. Topped with two soft-fried eggs and Frank’s hot sauce.

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The cream cheese made the oats just that – creamy and cheesy! Runny yolks on hot oats is something you must try if you’re in to that sort of thing. It’s dreamy!

I’ve also been mixing cream cheese into salsa.

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Makes it something a little reminiscent of that neon-orange Tostitos con queso dip and awesome with carrots!

I paired this combo with a ham + swiss sandwich. Except I added a little kick with fresh herbs.

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In this case, a oregano under the melted cheese. I remember Leah posting about keeping fresh herbs on hand so I’ve been giving it a go. Wow! They make everything taste a million times better!

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Just like that, with a little cream cheese and oregano, my dinner turned from blah to extraordinary :)

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Dessert lately hasn’t been too classy.

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Some days I crave the fancy dark 80-whatever chocolate. Other days I just want some old-school Jersey Milk.

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Hits the spot. Reminds me of childhood when I only ate milk chocolate.

 

Another childhood favourite is sloppy joes paired with corn. I don’t know why my mother always made this particular combo, but now every time I eat sloppy joes, corn needs to be had. I polished off the lentil-based Snobby Joes the way they were meant to be eaten… on a bun. 

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Much better warm on a bun as opposed to cold on a pita like I’d been eating it.

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With the corn and green beans! Perfection.

There happens to be a fruit and vegetable stand a block away from the running store I work at. Their baskets are brimming with local Ontario apples and I can’t help but snatch some up every time I pass!

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Including this GINORMOUS honeycrisp. I put it in front of this crappy DVD for size comparison, but I realize you’re not getting the width of it here, which was very respectable indeed.

I ate it all.

Last, but not least, I’ve been snacking on Scottish treats!

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And by “snack” I mean I came home tonight and completely demolished the rest of the traditional Scottish oatcakes. Left side topped with PB + fluff, right side with almond butter + chocolate chips. Too bad I don’t have any jam in the house – it would be perfect! Guess I’ll just have to make more ;)

 

**If you’ve got a few seconds**
 pleasepleaseplease click here to vote for my Taste of Scotland post for the Project Food Blog contest!

And thank you if you already have! I just worked out a really fun concept for the third dinner party challenge and I really want to share it!

 

Question of the Day: What famous chef would you like to meet? Obviously my pick here is Alton Brown. I <3 that man!

Health Food, Fun Food and Food of a Questionable Nature

The great thing about being a personal trainer is that people don’t like to train on weekends or holidays.

As a result, I typically get Saturdays off work.

Why then, would my alarm go off at 5:30 this morning?

And why was on I on the streetcar eating a yogurty mess for breakfast at 6am?

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For a race of course!!

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No no no, I was not running. All my race goals for the season went out the window when I decided to be a vagabond then move halfway across the country this summer.

Instead, I was up early to hand out healthy protein bars to the hungry runners at the Toronto Women’s 5k & 10k :)

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That would be me and Cathy, creator of The Simply Bar, handing out the goods.

Cathy and I e-mailed a little bit before I moved to Toronto about how much I love the bars. I told her I wanted to get involved somehow when I got to the city and she introduced me to their ambassador program. Today was my first official event with them!

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For those of you that don’t know, The Simply Bar is a high-protein, low-calorie bar similar to a flavoured rice krispie square. No, I am not getting paid to be an ambassador. But I do get a lot of free deliciousness for my time ;) I genuinely love the bars and just hope I can get more people loving them too. It’s all about spreading the foodie love, ain’t it?

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I had a lot of fun hanging out and chatting with Cathy, fellow ambassador Lauren, and all the people at the race! Running events are so much more relaxed when you’re not one of the participants.

After handing out healthy treats to people all morning, my day took a very sharp turn in the other direction.

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First, I fuelled with carnival-inspired eats – veggie dogs on an english muffin (the only bread in the house), carrots, smoked cheese and pickles. Admittedly, there was a little too much ketchup on there, but it did get me ready for the Canadian National Exhibition! Basically like the exhibitions we have in New Brunswick, but a million times larger :P

Usually I’m not into big crowd-fests such as these, but there were two things I really wanted to experience at the CNE.

1) Canada’s favourite TV chef making chocolate chip cookies

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My roommie and I got stuck in some kind of streetcar hell on our way to The Ex, so we arrived 20 minutes late for the demonstration. Thankfully he was still into it when we got there.

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Chef Michael Smith hosts a Food Network show in Canada called Chef At Home based out of his house on Prince Edward Island (yay Maritimes!). He’s one of those chefs whose recipes line up exactly with “my kind of foods.” He uses all simple ingredients, putting them together easily. Not to mention, I am totally jealous of his pantry.

We missed part of the cookie demonstration, but he did stress that it’s okay to be laid back when making cookies. Nothing needs to be that precise. Also, he said baking the cookies on top of two stacked cookie sheets will help keep them from burning on the bottom!

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The place was packed!! Callie and Sarah’s heads are in there somewhere. I briefly got to say hi… but you should check out their recaps since they saw the whole thing!

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No. Thank you Mr. Smith. I’m available for breakfast at your P.E.I. home any time.

Sarah also tipped my roommie and I off to a Vitamix demonstration at the back of the giant building we were in.

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Megan and I then proceeded to get sucked into four demonstrations including two fruit smoothies, a hot broccoli and cheese soup, and ice cream. We were lucky we made it out while we did, or else we would have been there watching those things pulverize ice all night. Amazing.

Instead, we stumbled outdoors, for we had a second mission in mind.

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First, we needed a refreshment.

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M-m-megan! She’s my roommie. And loves foodie adventures as much as I do :)

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The sign didn’t lie. This stuff really is freshly squeezed, shaken, and loaded with half a cup of sugar. Approximately.

Next, we needed something of substance for our final mission.

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I have never heard of mini donuts as a popular fair food before. But then again, I haven’t been to many fairs.

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Action shot of the teeny rings of dough being plopped into a vat of hot oil by a giant machine. And a reflection of my pasty legs.

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I am such a sucker for powdered sugar. Especially when fried dough is involved. I had two and they were crispy and delightful!

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Then we were off in search of the item we really came all this way for.

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At last, we found the building that housed it.

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I always thought this kind of stuff was a myth up until now.

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Apparently, we were not the only ones on such a quest.

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We waited in line for almost an hour, during which I watched them take cubes of butter, cover it in a doughy batter, then bathe it in bubbly hot oil.

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That, my friends, is deep fried butter. I had heart palpitations just looking at it.

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Finally, it was our turn at the window…

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Megan and I ordered what we waited almost an hour for…

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What?? You think I care about doughy butter or a twinkie on a stick?? No way!! I want me some of the bacon covered in chocolate!!! (not to be mistaken with chocolate covered bacon, which does not sound nearly as extreme).

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People around us were going nuts over this food. They were either extremely excited or moderately horrified. There is a lot to be said for novelty.

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Thoughts?? My bacon peanut butter is better. The bacon was too thick while the chocolate too thin and runny. Definitely more of a bacon flavour here.  Megan and I are opening our own stand at the CNE next year. One that sells thin crispy bacon covered in a hard chocolate shell, and deep-fried marshmallows in a crispy cornflake-like shell. Our tent will be plaid instead of pink. Or in the colour of jeggings ;)

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Just when I thought things at The Ex couldn’t get any crazier, we watched a man in a bear suit go down a zipline. It was in this moment that I finally understood why all the Toronto locals told me I had to come experience this event. I feel like there are some things about this city I really get now :)

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Including this majestic looking arch which I never knew existed until today!!! I swear I discover new places here every single day.

The rest of my day was very simple. Cuddled up watching MTV reality shows. Ate a dinner consisting of tuna salad and a sweet potato covered in Trader Joe’s Corn Salsa.

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Dessert was simple as well – a Simply Bar ;)
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The newest flavour – Caramel. In a 100-calorie (10g protein!) snack-sized bar.

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Cinnamon may have a new contender as my favourite flavour. Wow. This one is a winner! At first it tastes very peanut buttery, but then I got tastes of burnt caramel, then buttery caramel. Mmmmm…

I think I’ll take that over bacon covered in chocolate any day ;)

 

Looking forward to what Sunday has in store! Have a great one! xoxo

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