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New ‘Do + New-To-Me Recipes

Peek-a-boo!

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I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend!! Mine has been pretty low-key. Exactly what I needed after a couple hectic weeks.

Instead of hitting the streets of Toronto Friday night, I opted to lay in bed and read in my flannels. I’m currently hooked on this:

Between reading blogs and fitness/nutrition literature, I’ve reintroduced myself to adult fiction (there were a few years of only young adult fiction :P ). I’ve gone through about six books since June. At this rate, I’ll blow through The Lovely Bones in just a couple more days. Highly recommended!

The plan was to go for a run as soon as I woke up Saturday morning. But my body did that “awww hell nah” thing. So I opted to wake up slowly with a big ole’ bowl of oats.

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Mmmm… It’s not often I have hot oatmeal anymore!

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Topped with Lori’s pear cranberry jam + peanut butter. I let it digest for a couple hours and then hit the road running. I still wasn’t feeling very motivated, but seeing as I was out of coffee, I told myself I could stop for some on my way home.

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Having a Starbucks at the end of my running route could be dangerous! I’m trying to get into the habit of running on the weekends. Saturday I covered 4.5 miles in 45 minutes (I’m a solid 10-min pacer no matter what) along the lakefront trail. Unfortunately I was troubled with all kinds of pains. Knee pain during the run, hip pain lasting all day after the run. I need new running shoes!!! But I’m holding out until I get my new employee discount at the running store ;)

I came home and put a bag of frozen corn on my hip, then incorporated it into lunch.

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Corn & Cheddar Omelette. Mixed up a couple whole eggs with egg whites, milk and corn kernels. Then added old cheddar and Frank’s hot sauce for the filling. Awesome combo!

Saturday’s main event was a brand new haircut!!

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I feel so narcissistic for posting this :P I’d been tweeting about it though so I wanted to show the results! Nothing major in terms of length or style. But my last haircut cost me $12 and was so bad I didn’t like wearing my hair down. This new one was done by a legit big-city stylist thanks to my big sis <3 He kept calling my bangs a “fringe” and even showed me how to style it wavy without blow-drying. Most hairdressers insist I wear it straight!

On the way home I passed this scene:

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I try to act all blasé about seeing TV and movie sets in Toronto. I mean, I probably come across one once every few weeks now. But the curious person in me absolutely loves it. It looked like they were filming a winter scene. Some dude was shovelling snow on the street and all extras were in winter coats. Of course, the Toronto International Film Festival has also been going on!

Seeing as Sunday promised to be a busy day, I opted to do my weekly food preparations Saturday night. First up: Janetha’s Spinach Turkey Muffins.

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  • 20 oz lean ground turkey breast
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 package knorr vegetable soup mix
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • cumin, thyme, salt & pepper to taste (eyeballed it all)

Mix it all up and scoop into a muffin pan. I used a pound of turkey and adjusted the measurements a little. Also, I omitted the flax and added a pinch of dried garlic flakes.

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Baked at 350F for 45 minutes. They came out perfectly!

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Not pictured is all the ketchup that accompanied these babies. Ketchup is a must. 

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The veggie soup mix really gave these meat muffins a little extra sumthin’. Thanks for the awesome recipe JG!

Next up is Irish Brown Soda Bread. I found this recipe through Madeline who loves quick breads as much as I do ;)
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From My Recipes

Yield: 1 loaf (about 1 3/4 lb.)

Ingredients

  • 1  cup  all-purpose flour
  • 2  tablespoons  sugar
  • 1  teaspoon  baking powder
  • 1  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  cold butter or margarine
  • 2  cups  whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4  cup  regular or quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1 1/2  cups  plain nonfat yogurt
  • Milk

Preparation

1. In a bowl, mix all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture forms fine crumbs. Stir in whole-wheat flour and oats.

2. Add yogurt; stir gently. If mixture is too dry to hold together, stir in milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, just until dough holds together; it should not be sticky.

3. Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and knead gently 5 times to make a ball. Set on a lightly greased baking sheet. Pat into a 7-inch circle. With a floured knife, cut a large X on top of loaf.

4. Bake in a 375° oven until well browned, about 40 minutes. Cool on a rack. Serve warm or cool.

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As far as I can tell, the only difference between brown soda bread and the regular variety is that it’s partially whole wheat with a little sugar and oatmeal added.

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Uh-mazing. Because it’s a soda bread, it has a taste reminiscent of biscuits or scones. The crusty exterior is the best part though. Ohmy.

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I had a piece immediately out of the oven slathered in butter. It’s the one rule to making your own bread at home.

I was stoked to have more of the bread for breakfast this morning. But I couldn’t decide what to top my toast with…

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On one side of the ring we have more of Lori’s cranberry pear jam.

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On the other side was butter + vegemite.

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The bread was even more amazing toasted because it’s so crumbly. Both toppings were winners!

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Of course, what’s a Sunday morning without a little bacon and eggs ;)

From breakfast I went on to a free Vinyasa Yoga class at Lululemon which was amazing per usual. Then it was off to my first shift at my new job! I’m still personal training full-time, but now I’m working in a specialty running store 2-3 shifts a week as well. A little extra money, a way to meet people, and something to keep me out of trouble. I already learned so much about running gaits and how running shoes are constructed. Expect a post on it once I finish my training!

And with that, I am off to prepare my meals for my 15 hour work day tomorrow. Yes. You read that right. I’m looney tunes.

 

!!Don’t forget Project Food Blog voting opens on Monday! Click here if you would like to vote for me. You can check out my contestant profile here. Or read my first challenge entry: Ready, Set, Blog! I’ll be annoying you about this daily – thank you for any and all support!

 

Question of the Day: What’s your favourite thing to eat on toast? Mine is soft poached eggs. Although I supposed it’s something I dip my toast into ;)

Homemade Scones and an Awkward Flashback

Whoawhoawhoa.

How is it Friday again already?? And where did this day go?? One of those days that started out with a long list of things to do, then all of a sudden it was 4:30pm and only one of them got done.

Well, I did also pound out 6 miles on the treadmill thanks to a stellar new iPod playlist and The View being on the gym TV. It’s been rainy all week, so I took it indoors, going for my favourite 6-mile tempo run.

Then I met up with my mom and Nana at a diner where I enjoyed a big juicy hamburger and strawberry shortcake for dessert. Somehow this feast managed to escape the camera’s eye ;)

It did get me thinking about baking though. The strawberry shortcake was made with scones, and I’ve never made scones before. Once I get something in my head, it’s hard to shake it. I came home determined to whip up a batch of my own.

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Mom doesn’t have a whole lot of ingredients currently on hand, so after a lot of perusing, I decided on this Whole Grain Maple Oatmeal Scone recipe.

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From Eggs on Sunday

Ingredients
1 1/3 cup oat flour (such as Arrowhead Mills brand; if you can’t find that substitute King Arthur white whole wheat flour) whole wheat flour
1 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
8 tbsp (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup yogurt (preferably Greek or whole-milk)
2 tbsp pure maple syrup

*Note: you can substitute 2/3 buttermilk for the milk + yogurt if you’d rather.

For brushing and sprinkling on top of the scones:
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp oats

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I mixed together the dry ingredients, then pulsed them in the food processor, adding the butter one hunk at a time.

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Once it started to get crumbly, I put it back into the mixing bowl and poured in the syrup, milk and yogurt.

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I looked into why instructions always say to mix the wet and dry ingredients separately. Some sources said because the dry ingredients are more evenly distributed. Others said because powder/soda will begin to react immediately when they get wet.

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Short answer is that it’s how good bakers always do it, and so it’s what you should do too ;)

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Instead of rolling the dough out into one big round, I divided it into two, shaping 6 triangles out of each.

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And of course, we must make it pretty with a little oatmeal glaze ;)

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Baked for 15 minutes exactly and they came out perfectly!!

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They smelled sooooo good. It was just my mom and Mark home this evening, but even they were starting to wander into the kitchen once the scent hit the air.

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I am proud of my first batch of scones! Even more, impressed by how easy they were! I’ve never considered myself much of a baker, but it’s a really fun hobby when you have a nice kitchen to do it in :)

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They are very crumbly and biscuit-like, but with a sweet oatmeal and maple flavour. Mark gave them a “gold star.”

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Baked goods must be enjoyed almost immediately out of the oven with butter slathered on top. It’s the rules!!

For the sake of balance, I paired my scone with a salmon salad for dinner.

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Hamburgers and homemade scones all in one day. It was a good day :)

 

Flashback Friday – The Awkward Years

I don’t know what is wrong with me, but I seem to be all too enthusiastic to embarrass myself on this blog. Hence, the theme of this week’s Flashback Friday.

I thought it would be fun to go back to the dozens of different hair colours and styles I’ve had over the years. I couldn’t find a picture for each, as the colour and cut were at times changing monthly. I’ve had my hair buzzed short and grown to the middle of my back. It’s been black, brown, red, purple, pink, green, blue, blonde, orange, and all the lovely shades in between.

I first started dying my hair when I was 13 years old. I was a natural blonde, so obviously I wanted to go dark. 

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I get a kick out of this picture because it’s before my mom’s kitchen was renovated! It looks so different! That plant in the back is where the stove/oven is now – we didn’t have one back then!

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When I was 14, I chopped it all off in the back and dyed the front pieces pink. I thought it was so badass. This was 10 years ago when my big sis Jane graduated high school!

Jane went on to La Belle Quebec, and we visited her when I was in Grade 9.

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Awkward growing out stage with the hair. When it got long enough I wore it in pigtails all the time. This was also the beginning of my baby-bang phase. Sigh. Why?

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I think this is the Christmas I was 15. Posing with my sisters and their beautiful natural hair. Me in my black hair and baby bangs.

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When I was 16, I went to Mexico with my mom to visit Sara who was studying there at the time. Everyone had been telling me to go back to blonde… so I bleached it. Shortly after returning home, I dyed the whole thing hot pink.

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I think this was the summer I was 17? This is close to my natural hair colour! But I specifically remember dying it strawberry blonde. The bangs are at least more under control. Don’t ask about that t-shirt. I found it in a Salvation Army bin, then traded it for a sweet 1970s Boston shirt with one of my friends ;)

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My high school grad photo, taken in the fall I was 17. My best friend Desiree had died my hair the night before. I forgot to add that I used to braid my wet hair at night to make it wavy like that. Awful.

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I went blonde again by the time prom rolled around. Notice the pretty girl on the right? That’s the bestie Meghan!! The girl on the left is Desiree, and she was my date. My boyfriend at the time was in the army and off training. Me and Des did the whole walk thing together when we arrived. It was hilarious.

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Cropped Sister Sara out of this one because her eyes are closed, and I hate to embarrass anyone besides myself here ;) I think this was taken the summer after I graduated high school and moved to Fredericton with that army ex-boyfriend of mine. I actually kind of like my hair in this photo!

So what does it look like today??

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Normal!!
Haha. It’s not that different than it was in the pic in the sidebar – but I just got a bunch lopped off. I dunno, maybe I’m getting old or something, but long hair drives me nuts now. I’m also growing out my natural hair colour which is more of a dark-blonde these days. I did it a couple years ago, but it was when I was co-hosting a TV show and the light colour didn’t look all that great on camera. In person though, it’s still what everyone says looks best on me. Guess we’ll see – I’m too broke to keep dying it! :P

 

I can thank this gorgeous lady for my unruly locks…

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That’s okay. I’ll take it if I can age as well as she did too ;)

 

Question of the Day: What were some of your worst hair offences? I showed you mine! Tell me about yours!!

Bonus Question: What’s your favourite kind of scone? Meghan used to make amaaaazing cream cheese and chive scones!

Oatmeal and Beauty for Dummies

Woowoo!! Tomorrow is Fridaaaay!!! I contemplated going home this weekend, but the weather is going to be nasty and I don’t want to take the bus. So next weekend it is. I have personal training material to study anyways!

Also loved reading your comments on my Single Lady post. Such a wide variety of people who are with their high school sweethearts, single and ready to settle down, married for decades, engaged, or in a brand new relationship. I definitely forgot to mention that a person’s happiness in or out of a relationship depends on the people in their lives. Duh. It takes two to tango!

So I fiiiinally get to answer another Q&A today. I’ve been waiting until I made oatmeal!

Susan –
I actually do have a question for you … do you think that at some point you could do an oatmeal for dummies post?  I see your oatmeal combinations and think they all look just stellar, but I don’t know the first thing about buying oats or cooking them.  I’m also really intrigued by these custard oats that you keep making, but since I don’t know about making regular oatmeal, I really don’t know when I’d mix the egg in!
Thanks – hope you’re doing well!
Amy

Thanks for the wonderful idea Amy!! Oatmeal does not actually have to be all that intimidating. First off, oats are just another grain, much like wheat, barley or buckwheat. Oatmeal is just the oat grain ground up for easier cooking and consumption.

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The different kind of oatmeals you see on the shelves are all just different kinds of cuts. Steel cut for example is the least processed of the bunch. They’re the whole grain “groat” just cut up into a few pieces. Rolled oats are the groats rolled out into a “flake.” Instant oatmeal is the same kind, just smaller and thinner so it cooks quickly. Oat bran is the outer layer of the grain, known mostly for its fibre content. The nutrition info varies slightly with cut, but overall is generally the same. Especially when you compare the volume after cooking.

Since today was a well-deserved rest day from the gym, I had time to make stove-top oats before work. I obviously opted for my new favourite combination – custard oats.

First, I put a small pot on the stove and set the burner on slightly below high.

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Yes, my oven is old. It’s got character ;)

I added 1/2 cup rolled oats to the pot. 

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Then dumped in 1 1/2 cups water.

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Once the water is in, I add one whole egg.

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And whisk!

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I keep an eye on it, whisking frequently, as within a couple minutes it starts to show signs of bubbling. 

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Then I immediately turn the heat down to medium/low.

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Keep whisking!!!

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You don’t want little clumps of egg whites popping up, so keep stirring, and keep the heat low so it doesn’t cook too quickly. The slow simmer is also necessary for optimal creaminess ;)

This is usually when I make my coffee or pack my lunch, or this morning I emptied my garbages :)   (Garbages is apparently not a word??)

After about 15 minutes, my oatmeal is looking good, but is missing a key ingredient – cinnamon!

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And depending on my toppings, I’ll add a little sweetener to the mix. Sometimes it’s brown sugar, maple syrup or molasses. Today’s was stevia.

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You may have noticed I also traded my whisk in for a spatula. Or rubber scraper. What the heck are these things called?

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It keeps it from sticking to the sides. Once the oatmeal starts to thicken, I start stirring with this puppy.

And just when it seems like it can’t get any thicker, I take the oatmeal off the heat and stir in a couple pours of unsweetened vanilla almond breeze.

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Oatmeal will continue to absorb liquids even after you remove it from the heat. I find stirring a little extra liquid in after cooking ups the creaminess ;)

Then pour the mixture into a bowl and top with whatever you’re in the mood for!

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Today I was in the mood for sliced banana, peanut butter and even more cinnamon (cause you can never have enough cinnamon).

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If you can cook rice, you can cook oatmeal. You don’t have to do the slow-simmer method like I do. On the mornings I’m a little more rushed, I opt for oat bran which is a finer cut. Takes about 5 minutes for it to cook up on the stove!

In other news, I joined the world of the professionally groomed today.

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New hair straightener!!! A Chi kind. I think it’s one inch? And the plates wobble. And it gets HOT. Everywhere I went told me it was a good one.

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That’s my polka-dot ironing board by the way. I don’t have a working outlet in my bathroom, so I have to groom in the hallway.

I washed then blow-dried my hair. Here’s what the rats nest looks like brushed after blow-drying.

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I think you may now see the problem here :P

I sprayed in some TRESemme no frizz mist before straightening. Not exactly the proper protector, but will do for now.

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After straightening, I put in my essential product – serum. In this case, John Frieda Frizz-Ease.

IMG_4288 The “after”:

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Hmmm…it was alright. My hair was still a little damp in places, and I didn’t have time to pin it up while ironing. So I didn’t quite get all the kinks out. Plus, my straight bangs were pissing me off, so further styling was required…

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I tried to get a shot of the back for you guys…

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And tried again…

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Success!!

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Definitely think I need to work on my technique. But hey, baby steps! My co-worker almost died the other day when I told her I only recently bought my first bottle of nail polish. Make-up is the only girly thing I ever got into, and that was because thick black eye-liner was a must as a teenage punk rocker :P

I didn’t think about supper at all while at work today (rare!) and didn’t feel like cooking when I came home. Thus, I had the classy meal of a peanut butter sandwich.

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PB+Protein to be exact, with one side of the bread spread with my protein powder/water goo. A gorgeous red delicious on the side, because apples and peanut butter sandwiches are made to be together.

 

Well that’s all folks! A pantry tour is coming soon, as well as my usual monthly wrap-up. Looking forward to writing posts over the next few days! Hope you all have a fabulous Friday and start to your weekend!! xoxo

 

Questions of the Day:

1. What’s your favourite cut of oatmeal? I’ll always be an old-fashioned rolled oats gal. I love the chewy creaminess of it :)

2. Beauty product you can’t live without? Mine’s concealer, mascara and that hair serum. I’ve even admitted to leaving my mascara on at night so it’s still on when I go to the gym in the morning!! :P

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