Blog Archives

My Favourite Restaurant

Of all the things people ask me about moving home from “the big city,” two questions come up over and over:

1) Aren’t you going to get bored?
2) How will you eat??

The answers are actually quite simple.

First, a girl can make her own fun wherever she is. Trust me. It’s pretty darn simple to be in a big city with a million things to do and still feel bored and lonely. Sometimes you just have to be a little more creative in smaller towns ;)

Secondly, one word: Calactus.

Actually, one of my best friends told me that I won’t miss any of those Toronto restaurants because Moncton’s Calactus is all I really need.

Exaggerated, yes. But still not that far from the truth.

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I’ve been blogging about this place for years now. It’s my favourite restaurant. Ever. And all right here in my hometown.

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I first started going to Calactus over a decade ago when it was in a small old house on Mountain Road. It was around the time my family first started eating vegetarian, and this vegetarian/vegan restaurant helped introduce a whole new style of eating to me.

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Calactus is also home to the world’s best veggie burger. Seriously. This coming from a girl who spent eight years as a vegetarian and has choked down a lot of veggie burgers in her day…

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But the even better thing about this restaurant, is that they are more than just one standout dish. Everything is good. All house made, fresh, flavourful. The kind of meal that doesn’t weigh you down, but leaves you feeling healthily satisfied.

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Like with they’re Burrito Bandito.

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Or their extravaganza pizza with tomato sauce, veggie pepperoni, falafel, red onion, green pepper and cheese. Along with a beet and goat cheese salad.

I have yet to try their pakoras, but their munchables are amazing.

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The Thousand and One Nights with chapati bread, feta cheese and olives, falafels, hummus, tofu cream and veggie sticks.

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Their falafels are the bestest. Perfectly seasoned, crunchy on the outside, soft in the middle, without being greasy. Their tofu cream still alludes me. They put it on a lot of their dishes. Like a garlicky tofu hummus or tzatziki of sorts.

My latest visit to Calactus was on Saturday for lunch and my midday cravings wanted something rolled up in bread.

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I went with a “Flute” which is essentially a wrap. Falafel flavour, because as I said, their falafel is out of this world.

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With sprouts, lettuce, red onion, tomato, and a drizzle of that savoury tofu cream. My oh my it was good! Their house made chapati bread never ceases to amaze me. Always so soft and fluffy. A million times better than the usual flour tortilla.

The tabbouleh is something to write home about as well. Rather than being pre-mixed, it’s couscous with the dressed parsley and tomatoes dolloped on top. Tastes almost like a bruschetta on couscous.

Then of course there’s Christie and Tiffany.

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My Calactus lunch-mates on Saturday. We’ve lunched manymany times together over the ooohhh 20 years (?) we’ve known each other.

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They’re both living back at home now too. So the three of us live just down the street from each other like we did growing up!

Except you know, with a few extra stories to tell from along the way.

Told ya, a girl can find some good fun and good food just about anywhere ;)

The Perfect Push Up

Lookie what I got!!!

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SO excited!! For those of you who may not know, the Healthy Living Summit is a conference for “healthy living” bloggers and readers. For two days, I’ll be joining 200 like-minded folk to listen to presentations and talk about all things food and fitness related. Tickets sold out quickly last night and I’m elated to be able to take part this year!!

I was up later than I should have been last night, then up way earlier than I should be this morning.

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My nose and head were all stuffed up while my belly was completely empty. Breakfast needed to be quick and comforting. It was a no-brainer.

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And then I ate a cookie.

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I dunno, for some reason, an oatmeal-chocolate chip-coconut-maple-raisin cookie seems to make the cut as an acceptable breakfast cookie.

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I am majorly impressed by these Super-Charge Me Cookies. I took these photos this morning and there are only two left. The 6 people in this house have successfully demolished them in one day.

After breakfast and breakfast dessert, I immediately preceded to go back to bed. I woke up an hour later feeling much better, although my mom still looked at me and said “Susie, you’re looking a little rough this morning.” Harumph.

A giant mug of strong brewed coffee helped out my situation a lot though.

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As well as snacking on multiple Mr. Freezes and a giant medjool date stuffed with almond butter.

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These pictures don’t do it justice. I honestly don’t think I will spend the money on medjool dates again because they are just too much for me. One of these bad boys has 16g of sugar crammed into two bites. I think I will stick to my baby dates :)

Lunch was nothing special, a ginormous salad with tuna, hummus, feta and pickled onions.

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I seem to be cleaning out my mom’s vegetable crisper every two days. Her boyfriend, Mark, makes a salad every day for lunch. Between the two of us, no fresh veggies stand a chance in this house.

Clearly, today was a rest day from exercise. Sometimes I get really lazy on rest days and do nothing but lay around. Other days I get antsy and feel like I need to be productive. I did get a few things done today – my main project being grooming the poodle.

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No fancy poodle cuts here. Archie is incredibly well-behaved, so we just cut him ourselves with a pair of scissors. He politely stood still while I hacked away at his fur.

I thought he might hate me after, but he still jumped up and helped me read blogs ;)

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And then I plotted how I could get away with smuggling him to Toronto with me ;)

Dinner featured one of my favourite foods from my vegetarian days – falafel!

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I do believe these are Veggie Patch Falafels that my mom bought at Costco.

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I ate them on top of a bunch of frozen veggies tossed in garam masala spice. I think I overdid it on the veg. My tummy was ready to bust with brussels sprouts after. I had to roll back to the living room. My family keeps teasing me for the size of my veggie bowls  – and in this case they may have been right :P

 

The Perfect Push-Up

I got an e-mail from Hallie the other day about proper push-up technique. For being one of the best exercise moves out there, it’s damn tricky!

 
Having good form is imperative to doing the exercise properly. I know I always nag about having good form, but it’s how you ensure you hit the intended muscles. Bad form means no results. Or worse, pain and injury. This is me pointing my finger at you and giving a stern face.

So what is good push-up form?

  • Your body should make an imaginary straight line from the top of your head to your heels. Make sure your butt isn’t up in the air by tucking your pelvis in and shifting some extra weight back into your toes.
  • Hands are under your shoulders. They should not be up by your face when you come down.
  • Keep you chin tucked in and don’t strain your neck. Remember that straight line!
  • For a regular push up, space your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep your elbows around 45 degrees. The main movers here are your pecs. Sticking your hands and elbows out too far to the side will hit your back too much, and tucking them in will engage your triceps more (unless that’s what you want to do)
  • Bring your chest far enough down so that it almost grazes the ground.
  • Practice doing them in a mirror, so you know what that straight line feels like!

The above picture is a tricep push up. You’ll notice her narrow hand grip and how her elbows are tucked in.

Now I know many people (not just women!!!) can’t do the standard push up on their toes. Many of you know the traditional knee push up.

However, I would suggest putting your feet on the floor to support your back and posture more.

Personally, I’m more of a fan of progression into toe push ups by starting on an incline. If you’re a beginner, the wall is a great place to start.

   
As you get stronger, decrease the incline. I often still do toe push ups off a bench.

When the bench gets too easy, grab a step to push off of.

 
And before you know it you’ll be cranking out 20 on the floor! ;)

I know some of you are way past the stage of incline push-ups, and there are tons of ways to make them harder. My two favourite ways are putting your feet up on a bench or a stability ball.

And the T push up!

The above pictures are all hyperlinked to their original sources if you want to check them out as well :)

 

Question of the Day: Push ups – love? Hate? Favourite way to do them? I only just got to the point where I can squeeze out a few on the floor off my toes. I’ve always struggled at supporting my bodyweight with my upper-body, and push ups are torturous for me!!

Be sure to come back tomorrow for what may be the cutest/funniest/most embarrassing Flashback Friday ever. I’ve been holding on to these photos since my mom pulled them out last Sunday, at which point we both starting crying with laughter :P

I’m not dead! Just dyed.

Good morning! I’d apologize for not posting last night, but to be honest, I’m not that sorry! :P I was feeling c-to-the-rappy yesterday and didn’t want to spread my sickness through blogging.

My sore throat has progressed to a cough, and I got a solid 8 hours of sleep last night (a rare occurrence for me). So things are at least looking up this a.m. I am currently fisting a giant mug of coffee and sporting my new hair colour :)

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A little less red than I’ve been wearing lately, but no doubt will fade into a red shade anyways. And yes, I do not exaggerate when I say a giant mug of coffee. You can tell my wrist is working hard to hold it up in that picture. 

Yesterday was very uneventful. I had to be at work earlier than the usual 5am. I was starving by the time I got to my breakfast cookie.

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Same mix as last weekend. It’s amazing how long a bag of M&Ms can last when you only eat a few at a time! “Old Susan” would have polished those bad boys off a long time ago… “New Susan” is enjoying savouring them :)

I was very excited to try out a new bar as my snack. For the longest time, we’ve only been able to get the Kashi chewy bars in Canada, but the cereal bars have made their way here!!!

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At 120 calories, they’re pretty dinky. Not to mention only 2g of fibre and protein each.

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I’m not the biggest fan of cereal bars actually, but I thought this was still pretty decent. However, I ate it with a cheese string, and my tummy was growling 90 minutes later. So it doesn’t make for a very sustainable snack.

I dug into my lunch mega early. Thankfully, it was also mega filling and delicious :)

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Salami, laughing cow, tomato, field greens, mustard on whole wheat bread. The salami is from the market. I was really excited to find it from a safe and healthy source, as the packaged salami in grocery stores is super sketchy. I’m learning that my city’s market is not always the greatest for deals on produce – but it’s awesome for fresh meat!

I also munched on edamame.

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I find these single-serving packages of edamame in the freezer section of my grocery store. They’re great for packed lunches!

I was a hungry hungry hippo yesterday. A lot of snackage happened that went unphotographed. When I finally broke for dinner, I figured it was time for more kitchen clearing.

I rescued a box of Casbah falafel mix from my very top shelf.

(Recycled photo). I’ve tried many times to make falafel from scratch – but this mix still makes the best kind! Not the best ingredients compared to what I could make at home though. Just add water to the mix, shape into little patties, and bake till hard :)

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Falafel salad.

  • 6 falafel patties
  • hummus
  • tabbouleh
  • tomatoes
  • red pepper
  • onions
  • field greens

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Yum! I love me some falafel :) Although, I think this would have been better in a pita… with tzatzkiki…

I spent my evening watching Glee. I’ve been hearing a lot of people talk about this show, but I haven’t caught it on Canadian TV yet, so I downloaded the episodes I’ve missed. So good! Chris stopped by and proceeded to make fun of me for watching it though :P

More snackage occurred, including another kashi bar. This time seven whole grain and almond kicked up a notch with some almond butter.

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Divine :) I definitely snacked more than I like to yesterday, but I also felt legitimately hungry at times. I just don’t have it in me to not eat when I’m hungry. I was also awake for 20 hours… which I guess gave me plenty opportunity to eat!

I started my morning off today on the right foot with a delicious bowl of savoury oats.

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  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp Earth Balance spread
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1 breakfast sausage
  • 1 soft-fried egg
  • salsa

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Have you tried savoury oats yet?? If not, what are you waiting for!? I think nothing tastes better with soft egg yolks than a creamy spoonful of oats. Yummmmm…

 

In other news, today is my third rest day in a row. You may recall that I hurt my hip at the gym on Friday, so I took the weekend off all activity. It actually feels pretty good today, but I feel like it’s better to be safe than sorry in cases like these. I much rather take a week off exercise at the first sign of injury, than push it and have to take months off down the road to heal a more serious injury.

I think I need the rest anyways, for the first time in a while, I don’t have an inkling to exercise. I just want to work on getting my hip better, and getting rid of my cold. Then I’ll be able to give it my all when I get back to it :)

I also probably won’t be posting again tonight. I’ve got a 10-11 hour work day ahead of me and I just don’t think I’ll have the energy. I’ll be back Tuesday! Have a great start to your week!!

Question of the day: Do you dye your hair? What colours? I’ve had every colour of the rainbow – including pink, purple, blue, green, orange and fire-engine red :)

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