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Home is where the workout is

Hello friends! Hope everyone had a good weekend, or long weekend if you had one of those too ;)

So today was my last shift at Starbucks. I had high hopes of getting up early, shovelling the wall of snow at the end of my driveway, and heading to the gym for a treadmill date before work. Yeah. Looked outside and it was still dark and raining. Tackling the snow boulders the plow leaves behind didn’t sound too appealing at that hour. Luckily, Chris and I turned my apartment into a workout friendly place last night! Check it…

This is what my bachelor apartment looked like before…

There was a lot of debate about how to set up my small space when I moved in. My mom and sis were adamant on having my dinner table in the living room. But it didn’t leave me much space in there, and left my sleeping area open to the rest of the apartment.

After a little rearranging, here’s what I’m now working with…

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The coffee table is pushed to the side in that photo, but it still provides much more open space than before. My bed is now behind the couch, so my sleeping area is sort of “cut off” from the living room. It’s how I originally wanted the couch, and as soon as Chris and I moved it, I immediately felt a sense of comfort in my own home. Something I haven’t really had yet. My mom believes in all that Feng Shui stuff, and I can see why now. I feel so much better in my space already!

The kitchen table is also where I originally wanted it…

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The microwave stand that was there is a little awkward in it’s new spot, but I’ve only got so much space to work with.

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My first living room workout turned out to be a stellar one!! I started with 40 minutes speed intervals on the trainer. I originally planned on 20 minutes, but then figured and extra 10 wouldn’t hurt, then pushed out another 10! It helped that I was being entertained by the television (watching one of my old classmates do live hits on a national news network!!!!).

The trainer itself is kinda fun. It was nice to be on my own bike. Unlike spin bikes, mine is set up to fit me perfectly. It was weird having the back wheel spin though! I was a sweaty mess. I’ll have to put a mat underneath it. The lack of fancy air system in my apartment made a big difference.

As you probably spied in the above photos – I tried Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred for the first time!

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I did Level 1 which consists of three circuits. Each circuit has 3 minutes strength, 2 minutes cardio, 1 minute abs. I’ve heard Level 1 is easy – but I found it quite challenging! Albeit, I was kinda wiped from my bike sesh. But the quality of a workout is always the quality of the work you put in ;)

Oh, and the best part? I burned 500+ calories in 67 minutes! In my living room. Love it :D

 

Now how about some random eats? Some highlights if you will ;)

Last night I tried a new-to-me product – quark!!

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I remembered Ellie telling me about this stuff she can buy in Scotland that resembles Greek yogurt (which I can’t buy here). Pretty sure my eyes bulged out of my head when I spotted it in the grocery store.

Apparently, quark is a cheese. The nutritionals are awesome.

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Ellie said it’s quite thick, but this stuff was more just like a thick yogurt. But with a slight cheesy taste underneath the typical yogurt “tang.” I ate it the usual way…

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With stevia, vanilla extract, strawberries, ground flax and unsweetened coconut. Messed up, of course ;)

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I really, really liked it! If it wasn’t so dang expensive, I’d add it to my regular rotation. Alas, it will have to remain a special treat.

Other random eats include a new-to-me Simply Bar flavour – Lemon Coconut.

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It was “meh.” Too much lemon, not enough coconut. The lemon flavour reminded me of the Lemon Zest Luna a little, but not nearly as sweet. If anything, it was a little too plain.

 

I got sent home from work early today because the mall was d-e-a-d. Apparently, no one else wanted to attack their driveway snow boulders. It was pretty sweet, as I was definitely not feeling my last shift at the Bucks today. Plus, I got to come home and bake!

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Carrot Cake Protein Bars 

I found this recipe here but I can’t find the original on Jamie Eason’s website. Here’s what I used:

  • 1 cup oat flour (made by putting rolled oats in my coffee grinder)
  • 2 tsp 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp allspice 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup 1/2 cup Splenda
  • 1/2 cup fat free low-fat Ricotta cheese
  • 24oz 7oz baby food carrots
  • 2 scoops vanilla whey protein
  • 1 cup quick cooking rolled oats

Mix up dry ingredients, add the wet stuff. Pour in a 9×9 pan and bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes.

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I cut it into 16 squares, each having 74 calories, 1g fat, 5g carbs, 1g sugar, 1g fibre, 10g protein. Not too shabby! The best part is that they actually taste good!!! Yes Deb, even with the protein powder! :P Next time I’ll add a little shredded carrot, golden raisins and walnuts, but like this they are quite edible.

 

I tried out another random recipe for dinner: Indian Cauliflower Stew.

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Ingredients

1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 med. carrots, chopped
1 med. onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. curry powder
Salt
2 1/2 C vegetable broth
1 med. head cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 (15 oz.) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 C chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 C plain lowfat yogurt

Directions
In a dutch oven, heat oil and add carrots and onion. Cook 10-12 mins or until tender. Stir in ginger, curry, and 3/4 tsp. salt into mixture, cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add broth, cover and heat to boiling. Stir in cauliflower and chickpeas. Cover and cook on medium 15-20 minutes longer, gently stirring until cauliflower is tender. Stir in chopped cilantro and yogurt. Serve over rice.

I pretty much followed the recipe to a tee. Only changes were that I added 1/2 tsp ground ginger instead of the fresh stuff, 1 tsp ground cumin, and ate it over top a bed of shredded chicken ;) I loved this. I don’t make a lot of Indian food at home, I should!

 

Last but not least, here’s a photo I swiped from the New Year’s party – better late than never!

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There’s obviously a lot more, but I don’t really want to post pics of Chris’ friends without their permission! I was a little overdressed for the party, but I didn’t give a damn. It was New Year’s – I wanted to feel pretty!

 

Hm. This post was kinda all over the place. Keeping ya on your toes ;)

 

Question of the Day: What’s your favourite “ethnic” food to make at home? I guess I use the term ethnic lightly here, perhaps “regional” would be more appropriate. Mine’s mostly North American, but I like making Greek-inspired stuff. I also much prefer my homemade Chinese-inspired dishes to the stuff I buy in restaurants.

 

See ya tomorrow for a recap on my first day at my new job!! Eeeee!!!

To my mom…

Today she turns fifty-fi…I mean forty-five ;)

My mom is the person I look up to most in the world. She studied for and obtained her third degree while raising three children.

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She taught me the importance of education, hard work and dedication.

She’s also the type of person who will entertain a room and is the life of any party. She’s passionate and opinionated, quite fiery despite her 5’2” stature.

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Ever since my Papa passed away in January ‘08, she’s been caring for my Nana. I know it’s been a big life change for her, and I hope she knows her efforts are not going unnoticed!

Finally, she is a mother through and through. Growing up, she was full of love for her children. Even through some rocky times, I never once doubted she was there for me, 100%.

During my high-school years it was just me and my mom living together in the house. We did a lot of bonding during those years. Watching her struggles has taught me how do deal with my own. She is the strongest person I know. Every valuable life lesson I learned, I learned from her.

Happy Birthday Mom!!

My mom is also a great cook, who always fed us healthy, homemade meals. However, she’s not much of a morning person. Luckily, I learned how to make myself breakfast at a young age :P

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Went a little savoury this morning – egg, cheese, Yves veggie sausage patty, ketchup on a whole grain english muffin. Then a pear sprinkled with cinnamon on the side. I love my sweet bowls of oatmeal in the morning, but sometimes I just want some eggs!

I finally polished off that coleslaw for lunch today. It was getting close to the end, but still very flavourful!

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I mixed up some salmon salad to put on a whole wheat hamburger bun. The salad was canned salmon, canned peas, red onion, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, curry powder, pepper.

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Yum! I always forget about canned salmon. Tuna and sardines are usually my go-to’s. But this was pretty darn good!

I stayed with the curry theme for dinner. It started with some Amy’s organic butternut squash soup.

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I’m not a huge fan of “drinking” my meals though. I like to bulk up my soups! So I chopped up the rest of my wonky butternut squash and 1/3 block tofu and tossed it in maple syrup, curry powder and cumin. Then roasted/baked it.

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It was still missing a little green though, so I dug into my freezer and found some broccoli.

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Threw it all in a pot and let simmer to blend the flavours, then served in a giant bowl.

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Ohmygosh, this was delicious. One of my best “impromptu” meals in a while! The sweetness of the maple syrup blended amazingly with the sweetness of the soup. Then the curry gave it an exciting kick. I also loved having the chunks of squash with the puréed soup. 

Of course, it may have been my hunger talking as I’d just come back from the gym. I’d been psyching myself up for a bike today since the weather was absolutely perfect. But when the time came, I was so unmotivated. If you followed me during my triathlon training, you know I’m not very good at forcing myself to do to scheduled workouts if I’m just not feeling it when the time comes. For me, exercise is fun. And I never want to do anything to take the fun out of it!

I hardly ever blow a workout off unless I really need the rest day. So I considered my options and what jumped out at me the most was spin class. It felt like such a cop out, trading in a legitimate road bike ride with a spin class. But ya know what? I had a blast in class!!

The room was packed full of enthusiastic people, it was my favourite instructor, the tunes were awesome (how can Paradise City not pump you up?). I was able to put my whole heart into the workout, and loved every minute of it, even when my legs were screaming at me!

So my lesson today is if you’re going to be active, make sure they’re activities you really want to do instead of just going through the motions :)

Okay, time for me to go watch the last half of the Biggest Loser! By the way, you guys reminded me of so many shows I forgot about in my last post. I’m really bad at keeping up with things on a weekly basis, it’s so hard to keep track!

Question of the day: I bragged about my mom, tell me something awesome about yours!

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