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The Tourist That Wasn’t

 My family is here!!!

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Well, a small fraction of my family anyways. There’s a lot of us ;) My step-sis Sarah and Dad drove from New Brunswick and picked up my big-sis Jane in Quebec City along the way!

They showed up with an SUV filled to the brim with things I had to leave back in NB when I left. The world is such a better place when you have a rotating stand fan in your living room.

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We were all hungry when they arrived, so we went to a nearby spot called the Ceili Cottage. (where I also went with my other big sis!)

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The special of the day was an 8oz burger, which seemed too ludicrously huge for me. So I went for the Ontario Berkshire ham, soda scone, hot mustard.

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Also came with some cabbage…

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Yummm. I love old-man food and this hit the spot for me :)

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Jane et moi! I must give Jane credit for about half the photos in this post. She is much better paparazzi than me ;) Jane is also a full-time musician, you can listen to her music here!

After dinner we hit up the friendly neighbourhood coffee shop.

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Deciding on what tea to drink is serious business.

We then all went home and read books like the nerds we are. I was delighted to wake up this morning and have a group of people to make breakfast for!!

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Fried up a large batch of scrambled eggs with bacon, whole wheat toast with a variety of nut butters (I chose dark chocolate dreams).

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A fruit salad made with apple, orange, banana, coconut, cinnamon, maple syrup. I topped mine with cottage cheese. Fruit salads are way too underrated.

Then we hit the streets of Toronto!!

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Funny that I’ve only been here three weeks and I’m already showing people around the city. The best part though was that I got to do some of the touristy things I’ve missed out on so far.

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Including visiting the CBC Mothership (aka the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s headquarters). This building is ridiculous, but as a former broadcast journalist, it’s the kind of geeky thing I love.

It was also within these walls that I found the coolest thing I’ve seen in Toronto.

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 Mr. Dressup’s tickle trunk!!! I loved this show as a kid.

Even more…

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The window from the Friendly Giant!

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The trolley from Mr. Rogers! Man, I loved his cardigans. Anyone outside of Canada ever watch these children’s shows? Jane and I got all giddy over these things, but they were a little before my step-sister’s time :(

Other touristy things included going up the CN Tower.

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…and being sniffed for bombs on the way up. Thank you for capturing this moment in time Jane ;)

All the signs everywhere said the CN Tower is the tallest structure in North America, or something along those lines.

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Nice view!! The place was like a mosh pit of tourists though.

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Sarah and I were all over the plexi-glass floor.

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It wasn’t really as scary as I was expecting. The elevator ride down was worse :\

Even though I haven’t been here for long, I knew just the place to bring my family for lunch downtown…

Fresh! I knew they’d love the healthy vegetarian fare.

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Started with a beet root frappe: apple, beet, carrot, nutmeg, ginger.

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Definitely the most “vegetable-y” one I’ve had yet – but it was at least cold!

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I’ve already tried their salads and bowls, so today I opted for a wrap. I got the magic tofu: savoury coated tofu steaks with tomato, lettuce, cucumber, red onion, alfalfa sprouts, grated carrot & vegan mayo.

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Omg. This was good. Sounds so simple, but the vegan mayo had a wonderful flavour, and the tofu steaks were marinated to perfection.

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It came with a “coleslaw” and I ordered a side salad with their vegan caesar dressing. Another Fresh success!!

Fresh on Spadina is just a stone’s throw from Chinatown.

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Chinatown still has the cheapest produce. And most unique ;)

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By the time we made our way through Chinatown, we were all beat. I had to scoot off to the gym I work at for a “practice” training session. It went really well and I’m really appreciative that my new gym is taking the time to help me hone my skills as a trainer. Good thing too – I’ve got three clients starting at 5:30am Monday!

Now it’s time for me to sign off and spend these last few hours with the fam. Tomorrow marks the beginning of a new weekly series on my blog – so be sure to ch-ch-check it out!

 

Question of the Day: What touristy thing is your town known for? In Moncton, where I’m originally from, we’re known for the “Tidal Bore” when the tide comes in on the river. It’s as boring as it sounds. But we’ve got good seafood! :)

Food. Good food. And lots of it.

Bonjour!! I am in a bilingual city, I can say that here ;)

Wonderful questions and feedback on my last post: Ripped Arms: A How-To Guide. I made some clarifications in the comments section if any of you are interested. In terms of designing an arm workout, 2-4 sets of 8-15 reps of each a shoulder exercise, triceps exercise and biceps exercise, 1-3 times a week, is enough to do it. Got that? Just don’t forget about your other muscles too! ;)

I also got a great comment from Averie:

10 yrs of yoga gave me a foundation for everything, 4 mos of lifting is giving me some size :)

Couldn’t agree more. If you’re already athletic, but still want to see more arm definition, heavy weight lifting will get you where you want to be in no time.

Now this is where I seamlessly transition to talking about FOOD.

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I really just want to show this pic of Sunday’s breakfast because my toes are stealing some of the spotlight in the bottom right of the frame :P One of the reasons why I love reading food blogs, as opposed to professional food publications, is the level of “real life” you get from photos such as these. Hello toes!

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Rainier cherries are continuing to rock my face off. They taste milder than regular ones.

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The last of my homemade rosemary yogurt biscuits topped with eggs and bacon. If it’s been a while since you last had this combination, I highly suggest you get on it. This is the best post-run weekend breakfast. The HEAB-ster just posted an even easier biscuit recipe just in case ;)

 

Okay, now that we are done ogling at breakfast, I must introduce you to Sunday’s lunch!! Sister Sara had tickets for a play and the theatre is conveniently located across the street from an amazing vegetarian buffet called The Table. I grabbed a little scoop of everything that struck my fancy. I’m a sampler.

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Beet salad and carrot ginger salad.

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A tofu patty topped with this sweet & sour onion sauce. They were highly recommended.

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Some sort of black bean loaf.

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Braised onions, roasted mushrooms and a tofu skewer.

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As well as a bit of lentil quinoa salad and dandelion greens. The salads were a little lacklustre (surprisingly!). The hot foods were my favourite. Especially the braised onion and tofu patty. I want to recreate both!!

As we were leaving, Sara heard that you get 20% off if you’re going to see a play. We’d already paid, but we wanted our discount!! So we went back after the play for tea and dessert :)

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I was still stuffed from my meal, so I stopped myself from grabbing a gazillion cookies and went with what looked unique.

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Not your typical coconut pie. It was surprisingly light and fluffy, not at all chewy like a macaroon. A touch bland though, so I topped it with this:

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Vegan rice pudding. I’m assuming it was made with coconut or soy milk. Made for an excellent pie topping actually!

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Apple & mixed berry crumble with whipped cream. This was my favourite of the desserts. You can never go wrong with cooked apples.

And the tea!

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The perfect flavour to pair with the desserts I’d chosen. I love me some chai!

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Sara being her usual social butterfly self.

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Me, being my usual contemplative self.

Another highlight from Sunday was biking down to one of Ottawa’s beaches. It may take a while for the idea of a beach not meaning “ocean” to sink in.

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Sara and her sweet new bike pump. She’s a cycling queen.

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Me just looking awkward :P My biking adventures in Ottawa have been my first of the season. It would be an understatement to say they came with a little apprehension. In fact, I had a moment of sheer panic within minutes of being back on the bike. But yesterday I started to feel relaxed again and less like I was chained to a death trap. Also impressed by how strong my legs got over the winter – hills are nuthin’ to me now!

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Because of my new-found ease, we opted to take the long way home and enjoy some of the (weird) sights Ottawa has to offer.

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Inukshuks on the river!!

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Clearly, we had to stop and take silly photos with them.

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I just wish I’d read this sign first. I maaaaay have decapitated a statue :\

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Today’s breakfast had a significant lack of biscuits.

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Eggs and bacon were instead eaten between two seedy pieces of bread with mayo, lettuce and tomato.

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I made a fruit salad for us using watermelon, banana, cherries, lime juice and some of this stuff:

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Peppermint honey!

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From Alberta! It was very pepperminty, but added a nice refreshing kick to the salad.

Let’s see… there was also a notable breakfast dessert.

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I love that my sister agrees with me that it is very important to have quality chocolate in the house at all times.

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Camino Coconut gets a thumbs up!

It took me a really long time to get motivated to go the gym today. I am having motivation issues lately. I’m thinking it may be resolved once I finally get settled in Toronto (moving Thursday!). Until then, I forced myself to do a full-body lifting workout.

Started with a 10-minute run to the gym. I did three sets and 10 reps of everything. Colour-coded to indicate which exercises were supersetted together (ie no rest in between alternating sets).

Exercise Load Target
Sumo squat  70 lbs Quads, glutes
Wide-grip lat pulldown  60 lbs Back, biceps
Good morning  45 lbs Hamstrings, glutes, lower back
Incline push-up  bodyweight Chest, abs, front shoulders
Forward lunge  30 lbs Quads, glutes
Arnold press  15 lbs ea Shoulders
Overhead cable extension 30 lbs Triceps
Seated calf raise  90 lbs Calves
Incline curl  10 lbs ea Biceps
Captain’s chair  bodyweight Abs

I went up in weight on my squats… yayy!!! Only 60 lbs left to go until I reach my lifetime goal of squatting my bodyweight – ha!

Ohyes, then I ran the 10 minutes back to my sister’s place. Mygosh it was hot by then. Brutal.

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Sister Sara said I had to try these tofu cutlets they carry at an organic food store called Herb & Spice.

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I cut it up cold and put them on top of a salad (dressed with watered down hummus). I would have to agree with my sister, these are amazing!! It almost tasted like they were baked in cream of mushroom soup, but Sara says the spread vegepate on top. Genius.

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Salad also included some wonderful local spinach – yum :)

Late this afternoon I continued my quest to find a decent cottage cheese in Ontario… IMG_9094 
Half a cup of Liberty 1% cottage cheese on top of the leftover fruit salad from the morning.
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It was good but still not great. Also, Liberty is significantly more expensive than other brands.
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I miss my Scotsburn 50% less sodium cottage cheese!! They need to supply outside of the Maritimes!

For dinner, I made Sara and I bison burgers using my mother’s method of locking all the juices in (start with a hot pan, then lower it down to cook)

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Sara doesn’t keep  ketchup in her place (the horror!), so I loaded up on the tomatoes, and ate it on pita bread. A Susan version of a hamburger thin if you will ;)

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Roasted corn in the oven. So easy. Throw it in, husk at all, and cook at 400F for 30-40 minutes.

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Yellow zucchini roasted in rosemary and olive oil. I could never find this anywhere back home!!

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All yellow vegetables tonight :)

Sara and I then sat around contemplating what we could do this evening. We both agreed dessert was in order, but I’d already eaten three pieces of chocolate today (as I do every day, fyi).

Somehow we decided it was a good idea to walk 30 minutes to this delightful place called Oh So Good near the Byward Market.

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We got a little lost on the way, but the extra walk was worth it. They had a wide array of different cakes and sweets. My eyes immediately set on the white chocolate mousse cake.

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Seriously you guys, I’m not a huge cake person, and I loved every bite of this. Incredibly light and fluffy, with shaved white chocolate on the top. Both Sara and I agreed that the small layer of jam in the center made the cake.

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Sara got a slice of the chocolate truffle cake. The chocolate was definitely of high quality and fresh because it was the first piece from the cake!

We both enjoyed our cake with a cuppa tea. We briefly discussed the calories in each slice, and agreed it was a pleasure too great to pass up.

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That’s why you walk to the cake ;)

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See you tomorrow!! xoxo

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