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A New Kind of Normal

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Welcome to Toronto I guess??

So nice of the city to greet me with excruciating heat, humidity and a smog advisory :P For my American friends:

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So far I’m doing okay in the heat, but there are no signs of it letting up for at least the next week, which may eventually pose some problems. As of right now, I’m learning how to cope with being a sweaty mess 24/7 ;)

The heat, combined with the decadence displayed over the last several days, has led to many simple meals on my part.

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I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling and seeing the after-effects of my eating over the last month. I was more than happy to participate in the wonderful food opportunities I came across, especially seeing as I might never get the chance to participate in such things again. (read: a giant bison burger in Banff, my first gelato experience, or a homestyle Jewish brunch).

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I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t ecstatic to start eating kale and hummus salads again on the daily. We eat the way we do for a reason – because it works for our bodies. A deviation from that can be fun and welcome for a short period of time. But we’ll always desire to fall back into our natural patterns for the long-run.

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Grocery shopping in Ontario is proving to be a fun experience. Many of the same products as in New Brunswick, but I’m finding a few new-to-me things!

I’ve never found hummus to be overly caloric to begin with, but the foodie in me was intrigued by Wendy and Barb’s Skinny Dips Hummus.

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15 calories per tablespoon. Okay, so maybe this is good if you’re prone to eating hummus by the half-cup (I can’t be the only one!!)

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The ingredients are all very normal. It seems they simply cut out any oil to eliminate some calories and fat, something I do when I make my own hummus at home. Not great if you rely on hummus as a healthy source of fat though. Taste wise, it’s pretty good. So long as hummus has chickpeas and garlic I’m good. Texture-wise, it’s a little on the watery side.

Dessert!

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Ikea chocolate. Yes, a $1 chocolate bar from Ikea my sister insisted on getting. And by “insisted” I mean she pointed to it and I fervently agreed. I’m on a hazelnut milk chocolate kick and this fits the bill. No Lindt though. Lindt will always be my favourite.

I’ve also finally started cooking in my new place!! This is where all the magic will be happening…

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A much larger kitchen than in my old place, which was literally smaller than a closet. The fire alarms are all working, which may be a necessary quality with my cooking methods. I predict many great things coming from this kitchen!! :)

The living area just off the kitchen:

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Please excuse the mess, we are still doing a lot of unpacking and cleaning. Table is off to the side, which will be perfect for eating off of.

We have stairs!

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Which lead up to a hallway that includes a bathroom and three bedrooms. I have two roommies who I met in J-school (and played in a band with!!). I’m sure you’ll be seeing lots of them on the blog soon :)

Meet my Ikea bedroom:

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Note, that is not a comforter but a sleeping bag I brought to Banff with me. Bedding will be arriving at the end of the month.

To the immediate left is my giant closet.

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Hi!! Full length mirror came with place, score. So did this TV:

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Double score. This is the opposite wall at the foot of the bed. There’s another small closet there that is currently empty because most of my belongings are still in Moncton! I still need to find fun things to put on the walls too.

That weird halo lighting comes from these:

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Two skylights above the TV! Pretty neat, however I can’t open them which makes it pretty warm and stuffy in my room. Also, I’ve taken to wearing an eye mask because I have yet to figure out how to put curtains on them. Honestly though, I should have started wearing an eye mask a long time ago. I’m always up with the sun, and now I’m sleeping 8+ in pitch black. It’s heavenly.

I also have a second home here in Toronto:

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The coffee shop just down the street. We still don’t have internet at the new place, so I’ve been spending my afternoons hanging out in here and it really does feel like a second home! I just finished that above iced tea.

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And I maaaay have just had a coconut cookie. But the only evidence of its existence are a few mere crumbs on a plate in front of me. Hmm. Second homes with delicious baked goods could be dangerous.

On that note, I am off to discover my third home here in Toronto. My nearest gym!! I haven’t worked out in five days and feel like I just need to get in there and move my body. I’m still sick as a dog, but maybe getting my blood flowing will help this cold along.

Oh! Oh! And thank you for the good luck wishes on my interview today! I have a second interview tomorrow morning so they must have worked :) Keep ‘em coming!!

 

Question of the Day: I am starting to feel out of touch with my bloggie friends, name one exciting thing that has happened to you in the last week!

Perdue Dans La Belle Province

Today was a wonderfully relaxing day. I have been feeling the need to relax more than usual here in Ottawa. Decompressing after my week trekking through Alberta, and preparing myself mentally for starting a new life in Toronto on July 1st.

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Today was the first day in a while that I woke up naturally after 8 hours of sleep. You know the kind – when you roll over, sigh, stretch out long, and let your thoughts wander to the kitchen.

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Or, my first thoughts are always in the kitchen anyways. I need breakfast in my belly a-s-a-p!! Today’s was a breakfast sandwich with an egg, mayo, and chicken bacon.

I have issues buying real pork bacon. I think it’s because I’m a label reader. No matter how hard I try, I can just never muster the strength to throw a package into the cart.

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Today’s coffee is brought to you by Ottawa’s own Bridgehead Cafe. Ethiopian! It was a little lighter than expected, but otherwise good. I think that’s a wonky heart shape in that mug, or a whale. Or the Twitter bird. Or maybe the Twitter whale? Also, I feel like I can legitimately drink out of an Alberta mug now that I’ve been there. Both my sister and my dad lived in Edmonton!

My body was scrreeeeaming for a rest day today, so I gave it what it wanted. I didn’t even go to a Hatha Yoga class. Nope. I just sat on my butt. Ironically, it’s my glutes that are screaming.

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Lunch was made up of leftovers.

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The black bean burgers were half-cooked from the earthquake fiasco yesterday. I finished cooking them today and stuck them on some pita.

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Worth the wait – these are my best veggie patties yet! Click here for the recipe :)

It poured rain for the first half of the day, but then it cleared up. I was getting antsy from being inside all day, so left on a mission to visit the National Art Gallery.

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This is part of my running route here! Gorgeous scenery! Only complaint is the paved trail, my body prefers soft gravel.

People who know the area may be cluing in to the fact that this picture is not in the direction of the Gallery. Or at least I don’t think it is. I wouldn’t really know, since I never made it there.

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I somehow managed to walk to Hull. I should have clued in when the signs on the giant bridge I was crossing started reading French first. For those of you who may not know, Ottawa borders the Quebec city of Hull. Apparently, it’s really easy to accidentally wander over there!!

Or perhaps I was just naturally drawn La Belle Province with it being St-Jean Baptiste Day and all ;)

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Thankfully, I ended up only about 2 km from the Canadian Museum of Civilization. It’s no National Gallery, but good enough for me!

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Plus, admission is free Thursdays after 4pm!

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Historical museums aren’t really my thing, I’m more of an art gallery or science centre gal. But I did stumble across some interesting exhibits.

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Look familiar? It’s Lake Louise! I was just there!! I kinda miss the mountains already…

Look who else I ran into.

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Bahahaha, I love how it says Flamboyance! on the poster behind him. Pierre Trudeau was Canada’s rock star prime minister in the 60s and 80s.

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These heritage commercials never get old. They were playing the Nellie McClung one, but I think this Superman one is my favourite. “Strong man in tights Joe, but it’ll never fly!” “Fly, no. But he can leap over tall buildings…”

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Some of Ottawa’s tall buildings on my walk back to the Ontario side.

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I think that’s the hill Sara made me run up the other day!! Damn. That was tough. I want to do it again.

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Some nice Dutch lady took my photo in front of the Parliament buildings. I am going to have to come back when Parliament is back in session so I can see our elected officials at work. (*nerdalert*)

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It took me a while to get back what with my unexpected detour and all. I went for the quickest thing ever – tuna salad with hummus and mustard on bread. Notice how I had a sandwich for every meal today? Oops.

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Paired with an apple. Simple, yet incredibly satisfying. Hey, I can’t make boeuf bourguignon every day!! ;)

 

That wraps up the shenanigans for today. I am going to go cuddle up with a book :)

 

Question of the Day: What fitness topic would you like me to cover? It’s been a while since I did a fitness-focused post. Let me know if there’s something you’d like me to explain!

Bonus question for Canadians: What is your favourite Heritage Minute? My second favourite is the one with “Patrick, Patrick O’Neill.” ;)

The Final Frontier

Howdy!! Wait, I am no longer in Alberta, I can’t say that anymore. I am currently sitting in my sister’s apartment in Ottawa having a lover’s reunion with my laptop. As much as I would like to sit here all day and reunite with it, I have a new city to explore – Ottawa!

But first, I must recap my last two days in Alberta. For those of you catching up, I spent a week in the wild rose province with my blogging soul-mate Holly, traveling through Calgary, Banff and the Rockies. Other recaps can be found here, here, here and here. I don’t even care if you read them all – but the pictures are definitely worth looking at! Canada is incredibly beautiful, I think something a lot of us may take for granted!

Also, for those of you who may not know the area – here’s  a handy dandy map of where we were:

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Circled are Calgary, Banff and Lake Louise. All within a couple hours drive. That green area are the Rocky Mountains which border Alberta and British Columbia and stretch far down into the US. It’s seriously one of the most beautiful places on this side of the earth!

Unfortunately, the skies clouded over again by the time we returned to Banff from camping on Monday. But it did make for some spooky mountain views ;)

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I’d gotten a recommendation for The Bison. We had no idea what to expect walking in, but who are we to turn down a stunning recommendation?

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It was a nifty little lunch-type place with a long list of sandwiches, wines and interesting cocktails.

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I actually don’t typically order sandwiches when dining out, but it seems like it’s all I got in Alberta! All the options looked amazing!

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I took a break from the red meat and went for the House Smoked Tuna + Aged Gouda: olive tapenade, fried capers, fresh tomatoes, romaine.

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Yumyumyum. The seedy baguette enclosing the inside goodness was definitely the highlight of this sandwich.

Highlight of the meal though, surprisingly, was the side salad!

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Greek salad, but more along the lines of a traditional Greek with no lettuce and cubes of all the usual suspects. I dug this. A lot.

This is where Holly and I spent the afternoon in an internet cafe… LOVE traveling with bloggers! ;)

Seeing as our trip was starting to wind down, our bank accounts were looking a little smaller. We opted for a cheap-o dinner in on Monday night. Thankfully, that also included well over a serving of vegetables. Perhaps my first the whole trip (well, that wasn’t bacon-wrapped).

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An egg scramble of sorts with broccoli slaw we found on sale. However, it was missing a little sumthin’ and at the last minute, we threw in smokehouse almonds. YUM. The almonds totally made this dish.

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Rounded out with a piece of buttered Silver Hills bread and dried apricots.

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There seems to be evidence of a saltwater rum taffee after this meal, however I see no reason to believe this ever happened ;)

Our oatmeal stores had run out come Tuesday morning, but we still managed to come up with a lovely breakfast.

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Or Holly did anyways, as my soft-fried egg was a little, err, scrambled ;)

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But the maple jelly and almond butter toast was to die for.

We made our last Evelyn’s stop…

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The “Again” part is quite appropriate, as there is an Evelyn’s on literally every block in Banff. Why walk two blocks for coffee when you can just walk one? ;)

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Extra extra large of Evelyn’s house blend. Ahhh… and all is right with the world again…

There was also this guy…

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Every time we walked past The Fudgery while in Banff, we were harassed by an array of deliciously sweet smells and a mouth-watering window display.

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I’d like to blame Holly for finally getting me in here… but let’s face it, I’m an easy sell.

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That my friends, is a vanilla coconut drop straight from the heavens.

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Similar to a macaroon, but smoother. Mostly because it had more butter and sugar than a macaroon, which as we all know makes everything better.

I may have eaten this for lunch while waiting for the Greyhound bus. Just sayin’.

Tuesday afternoon we went back to Calgary for our final night. I tried one more Banff goody once we got to the hostel (macaroons don’t make for filling lunches)

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Salmon jerky. I apologize to my fellow hostel-mates, because this definitely stank up the room.

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I have a soft spot for jerky though, and I love salmon, so this was right up my alley. A wonderful snack!

Holly and I needed to bring a little class back to the trip, so we visited the Glenbow Museum in Calgary for an Impressionist Print exhibit.

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I lovelovelove Impressionist art. Van Gogh (seen above) is probably my favourite. I blame my parents for taking me to the Van Gogh Gallery in Amsterdam when I was young and impressionable (no pun intended).

Unfortunately, Holly and I aren’t very good at this “class” thing. We soon found ourselves getting rosy-cheeked at a bar.

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A Big Rock Grasshopper at Lounge Burger to be exact. We were waiting for Allison of Eat Clean Live Green fame!! You would think we’d be sick of burgers after a week of non-stop red meat. But a classic Alberta beef burger was the perfect way to leave with a bang.

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Alberta’s Own: From Alberta’s own butter beef ranch, hormone free, ranch raised beef, served with blue cheese and caramelized pears on a kaiser bun.

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I seriously do not know how I was a vegetarian for 8 years and honestly thought veggie patties were a sufficient substitute for the real thing.

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Not even close.

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The three of us ended up chatting for hours (as these bloggie meet-ups usually tend to go) and we were so distracted we forgot to snap a photo!! Boo! I guess that just means Allison and Holly will have to come visit me in Toronto ;)

Well my friends, that wraps up my week-long adventure in the Rockies. I can’t remember how Holly and I cooked up the idea to gallivant through the mountains, but it was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve made in a while. In the past, fear probably would have held me back from doing something like this. But really, the only thing I need to fear is perhaps a little indigestion from too much red meat ;) And to think – the adventure is really only just beginning!

See ya tomorrow for a Banff trip exit interview with Holly, and a sneak peek at what I’ve been doing in Ottawa since arriving on Wednesday!!

Ohyes – and have a great start to your weekend!! xoxo

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