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Highlighting The Week in Food

Hello friends! Here we are again at the end of another week. My weekend will be spent packing and possibly brunching. I only have SIX days left in Toronto! Holymoly!

Anyways, I like to keep it light here on Fridays seeing as most people are “checked out” for the weekend. Here are some highlights from my eats at home this past week…

1. The world’s fluffiest protein pancake

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That picture really doesn’t do it justice. It is so thick!! Here are the ingredients, but the instructions are the important part:

  • 1/4 whole wheat flour
  • 1 scoop (30g) soy/pea/hemp protein powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup almond milk

Mix the dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, vigorously whisk together the peanut butter and egg whites for a few minutes. If you have an electric mixer, you can use that to fluff them up more. Combine with the dry mixture, adding almond milk until batter is still very thick. Pour into greased pan on medium heat. The smaller the pancakes, the more likely they are to fluff up. Also, don’t over-flip them. They really should only cook once on each side. But knowing when is the right time takes practice!

 2. Canadians! President’s Choice has Greek yogurt!

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For some reason, Canada is waaaay behind on the strained yogurt trend. We only just got Greek yogurt here about a year ago and it was a so-so and very expensive version of it. Now Loblaws, one of the country’s largest grocery chains, has their own version of it. Which means it’s 1) more accessible and 2) cheaper! Plus, it’s significantly thicker than the Liberte brand. At $4 for 500g, I could see myself splurging on this a lot more often.

3. It’s mine. All mine.

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I happened to get care packages from both Brie and Theresa on the same day, and they both contained my favourite goodies from Trader Joe’s!! You have no idea how ridiculously excited I was to open not one, but two jars of my favourite nut butter. I’m blown away by the support from my blog friends since my accident. This week in particular was a bad week for pain and recovery. These packages were a definite bright spot through all that. And no, I will not share ;)

4. Canada’s got some competition.

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Dare cookies better watch out. Trader Joe’s is making a much better version of their maple leaf cream cookies. There is so much filling in these babies. I still maintain Canada makes the best maple syrup (sorry New England) but these American cookies rock my socks.

5. Sweet quinoa is the best thing since savoury oatmeal.

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I combined two of the above foods with cooked quinoa – Greek yogurt and sunflower seed butter. Along with some sugar-free syrup for sweetener and more sunflower seeds and raisins to garnish. I love the texture of quinoa. The little chewy balls of quinoa paired perfectly with the creaminess of thick yogurt. Plus, it kept me satisfied for a really long time.

6. I’m a tea drinker!

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Well, kind of. Ever since my injury, I’ve been sipping on liquids to prevent me from boredom munching because I’m in the house all day. And by “liquids” I mean Diet Coke. In efforts to reduce my Diet Coke consumption, I started subbing it out with tea. I’m up to about two cups a day! Rooibos is my tea of choice, whether with spicy chai, sweet vanilla or creamy cinnamon apple yogurt.

7. Kitchen sink granola.

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Y’all know the drill. The panic and frenzy of eating up your pantry and freezer before moving. I made quite the dent on my pantry today by throwing together all the random grains, nuts and dried fruit I had in there. Here’s the basics:

  • 6 cups “grains” (5 cups rolled oats + 1 cup graham crumbs)
  • 1 cup nuts (sunflower seeds)
  • 1/4 cup oil (coconut oil)
  • 1/2 cup liquid sweetener (pure maple syrup)
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • Add ins! (2 cups dried coconut, 1/4 cup crystallized ginger pieces, 1/3 cup raisins)

Mix the grains, nuts, oil, sweetener and spices together. I included the coconut in this as well. Spread evenly on two large baking sheets and bake at 300F for about an hour. Checking on it frequently and mixing it around a few times. Let cool before eating. Trust me on this.

Now I’ve got a HUGE bowl of yummy granola that I think I’ll divide and give away as thank-you gifts before I leave. On top of that – a near empty pantry!

Happy Friday everyone! Have a great weekend!

It’s All About the Food

Hello friends!! Hope your weeks are off to a great start! I was all grumpy about returning to work yesterday, then I showed up and remembered how much I like it and had a pretty good Monday! :)

As promised, today’s post is all about the food. If you’re catching up, here are my other Chicago/Healthy Living Summit posts:

Chigaarrgoh
Deep Dish
The Summit

First off, I need to give props to my favourite treats provided during the conference. On Saturday, Athenos stepped it up for their sponsored break and had some delicious goodies.

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All “my kind of food.” Tortilla chips with a feta dip (crazy delicious), hummus stuffed cucumber, chicken and feta skewers, watermelon/basil/feta skewers, legitimately tasty pita chips with more hummus. Thumbs up!

My favourite meal came on Sunday with the Bagel Thins sponsored breakfast.

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They had a table set up where you could pick plain or low-fat cream cheese and choose all sorts of mix-ins for it. They then whipped up your speciality cheese on the spot. I thought it was a really neat idea.

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This breakfast was already in line to be my favourite because I showed up starving after getting lost on the fun run. Any food at that point would have been scarfed down and claimed as the best meal ever! :P

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Above photo credit goes to the amazing photog Arnold/Oroweat had around all weekend. Check out the photos here.

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I was feeling something savoury after the hot and sweaty run. I called mine Upstream Cheese and added salmon, capers, cucumber, carrot, scallions, and a pinch of salt.

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Taking pictures of taking pictures ;)

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The bagel thins were just okay. I’m not a huge “thin bread” person. If I ate more bread it may be an issue, but I only have a couple slices a day, so I like to have the real hearty stuff when I do.

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Where’s the rest of my bagel?? :P

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I also jumped for joy when I saw Sunday’s breakfast had eggs + sausage. Saturday’s breakfast was all carbs and left me feeling icky after. This body needs some protein :)

A lot of bloggers were also handing out goodies over the course of the weekend. So happy I ran into Valerie! ;)

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The only thing better than homemade business cards are business cards that come with chocolate…

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After the satisfying breakfast on Sunday, Callie and I hit the road. But not without a very important stop first…

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Sad fact: there are no Trader Joe’s in Canada. I’ve been reading about this store foreevveerrr on blogs and on the internets and was superduper pumped to finally check it out. For Canadians that have never heard of it, it’s just a healthy/organic store that carries a lot of neat products under the Trader Joe’s brand.

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Happy shoppers!! (ps the above photo was taken with Callie’s camera!)

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I got tons of great TJs suggestions from you guys, but I tried to keep my goodies to a minimum. First, because I already had two full bags of food to bring home with me. Secondly, it had to last the nine hours back home!

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I picked this up to eat for lunch in the car.

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The whole container was only 100 calories and 14g protein. The taste was a little off though, egg salad needs mayonnaise and egg yolk, this had neither.

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Eaten on top of these crackers, which are quite tasty.

Callie and I then proceeded to snack on our Trader Joe’s goodies for the whole drive home. Me more so than her because I had both of my hands free and nothing better to do ;)

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I had some of Callie’s peanut butter filled pretzels. I purposely did not buy these because I knew they would be a “danger food” to have in the house. They were beyond delicious, reminding me of a better version of peanut butter Ritz crackers.

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I’m not crazy about these, but they make for a good quick chocolate fix, and the stats are a million times better than peanut M&Ms.

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We have dried mango in Canada, but it’s always really hard to find dried fruit that isn’t sweetened. Why do they always add extra sugar to it??

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Reminds me a lot of fruit leather, and very mango-ey.

The first time I saw this stuff on Paige’s blog, I freaked out. It looked amazing.

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I was so amazed when I pulled out the banana and realized it was one big flattened piece! 
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At first, I sandwiched some almond butter between it…

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But the flavours weren’t quite right, so I added a little more AB and rolled it up.

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Omgamazing. I can see this being the perfect pre-workout snack.

Callie and I also had a bunch of coupons in our swag bags that could only be used in the U.S. We stopped at a Krogers in Michigan to put them to use, but unfortunately they didn’t have a lot of what we were looking for. I decided to try out a Chobani for $1.19 (which is a crazy good price for Greek yogurt compared to Canada)

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Topped with a Mix My Granola sample also from the Summit swag bag.

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Loved the texture and flavour of the Chobani, plus it was super filling!! I wish we could get little tubs like this in Canada, it’s such a great way to get a little protein in.

Also bought at Trader Joe’s…

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Clif flavours you can’t find in Canada, also at half the price they’re sold for in Canada.

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Suflower seed butter and corn salsa.

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New blue cheese Laughing Cow flavour that hasn’t made its way up north yet.

I always wondered how the U.S. Laughing Cow slices are 35 calories a piece while the Canadian ones are 45 calories for two. Check it out!

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American version on the left, Canadian on the right. Who knew??

I combined my new Laughing Cow and corn salsa for lunch yesterday.

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On a sandwich with smoked tofurkey.

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Maybe an odd flavour combo, but it was positively delicious.

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Meanwhile, I tried out the sunflower seed butter for breakfast this morning – on top of a yogurt bowl mixed with protein powder, blueberries, oatmeal cinnamon and syrup.

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I’ve had plain, natural sunflower seed butter before and found it to be good, but a touch bitter. The Trader Joe’s stuff is lightly sweetened and salted and so much better. My gosh, I really loved it.

Last but not least, I picked up some new gum flavours!!

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It’s a well-kept secret that I am an obsessive gum chewer. Truth of the matter is, I really love gum. So finding these new-to-me flavours was really exciting. So far the Stride citrus mint is my favourite!

 

I still have a lot of leftover coupons from the Summit that I can’t use in Canada. Once I get them organized I’ll be giving them away on the blog as a little consolation prize for those of you who couldn’t make it to the Summit – so stay tuned!

 

Question of the Day: What would be in your specialty cream cheese? I wish they had maple syrup at the table, because maple salmon would be mine!

Fitness and Exercise Resources

Heyyyy friends! Whaaaat’s happening. This is me pretending to be perky. It’s not working :P Today’s been an odd day with a lot of heavy things on my mind :( I spend far too much time worrying about things I shouldn’t. I’d ask if anyone else has this problem, but I know I’m not the only one!

On the bright side, I slept for over 7 hours last night and felt pretty good when the alarm went off! Finally! I was nice and energized for my upper-body weight lifting session today. You may notice I do more upper-body than lower. This is because 1) I torture my legs enough with running, biking, step-class and other forms of cardio and 2) I’m actually trying to bulk up!! I have naturally scrawny limbs so I’m trying to get some solid definition happening. I still do at least one full-body workout a week, but an excess of squats and lunges aggravates an old hip injury.

Anyways! Today’s workout was stolen from the March issue of Oxygen Magazine. I don’t love a lot of fitness magazines geared towards women, but this one I do because it has real and useful information. (and THANKS to Janetha for the subscription :D ) The moves were designed to be divided into different days, but I threw them all together :)

 

Exercise Weights Reps Sets
Alternating Chest Sets:      
Machine chest press 40 lbs 6-8 4
Incline dumbbell fly 15 lb dumbbells 6-8 4
Alternating Back Sets:      
Barbell bent-over row 60 lbs 6-8 4
Close-grip lat pulldown 75 lbs 6-8 4
Alternating Shoulder Sets:      
Seated dumbbell shoulder press  17.5 lb dumbbells 6-8 4
Cable lateral shoulder raise 5 lbs 6-8 4
Alternating Bicep Sets:      
EZ bar preacher curl 30 lbs 6-8 3
One arm cable curl 12.5 lbs 6-8 3
Alternating Tricep Sets:      
Forward tricep extension 20 lbs 6-8 3
Bent-over dumbbell kickback 12.5 lb dumbbells 6-8 3

Heckyes. I warmed up on the elliptical for 15 minutes first, then I finished it off with 10 minutes on the stepmill and a random assortment of crunches and planks. My arms were shaking by the end!

I was a hungryhungryhippo by the time I primped and got outta there. I usually have my lunch bag open before I even get my office door unlocked.

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Same thing as yesterday! Greek yogurt, stevia, strawberries, almond butter, homemade granola.

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Love that little peek of morning sunshine :) I know I was all “what’s the big deal” about greek yogurt in the beginning, but I think I was able to truly appreciate its greatness today. It’s nice to not have to add extra protein to yogurt. Plus, the thick texture is pretty amazing. Kinda like Cool Whip, which I admittedly have a huge soft spot for.

Snacks – yes snackS, because I ate two today – were a fresh batch of homemade protein bars. This time in Cherry Dark Chocolate. Take that Kashi!!

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  • 2 cups (dry) rolled oats
  • 2 scoops (60g) vanilla protein powder
  • 2 scoops (60g) chocolate protein powder
  • 5 tbsp almond butter
  • 2 tbsp dried cherries, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chocolate chunks
  • 1/2 cup water

All stirred up until powder is just dissolved, and mix is crumbly/sticky (not gooey!!). Flattened into a 9×9 pan and left to harden in the fridge. Makes 8 bars. I haven’t calculated the exact nutritionals on these, but I assume they’re around 200 calories each and 16g protein. The basic recipe is always the same, I just change the add-ins, kinds of nut butter, and protein powder flavour.

Oh yes, and it was delicious!! Both times! ;)

I was out of the office editing a promotional video all day, so I got to come home for lunch. I thought of making something fancy, but got lazy and just ate my packed lunch while watching The View.

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Maple smoked salmon sandwich with laughing cow cheese, honey mustard, fresh dill and spinach. Between the honey mustard and maple flavour, it was sweet!

The usual beta carotene on the side…

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Speaking of the View, I am so sick of hearing about famous men having marital affairs. Ugh. Can we please stop giving those men airtime? Thanks.

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Look familiar? My meatloaf pizza was so good yesterday, I wanted to eat it the exact same way today!

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Just as delicious the second go around. This is definitely being added to my list of favourites!

 

I don’t have much to ramble about today, but I thought it would be useful to share some of my favourite weight lifting resources. I will fess up – I have two big goals I want to achieve with this blog: I want to address anxiety disorders, and I want to get women weight lifting! Different, kind of, but I’m sure connections can be made.

Anyways, if you’re looking for some weight lifting inspiration, get click-happy!

Men’s Health
Women’s Health (although Men’s Health is better)
Bodybuilding.com
http://exrx.net/
Oxygen Magazine
Fitness RX

And my absolute bible for weightlifting moves can be found here:

http://www.exrx.net/Lists/Directory.html

It’s a directory of copious amounts of moves. I still like reading other magazines like Shape and Fitness from time to time. While I think they’re mostly fluff, I have stumbled upon some great moves and workouts in them before. Basically, if it’s got fitness in it, I’ll read it! :)

 

Okay, so let’s expand on my list: what’s your favourite fitness and exercise resource?

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