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Beer, Bread, Burgers, Ohmy.

Aahhh… you know what is even worse than a Sunday evening? The Monday after a long weekend. Three days is enough to completely check out of real life. Having to face it again on a Monday night is always a rude awakening!

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Another bummer is the fact that I am out of Trader Joe’s Sunflower Seed Butter. Sound the alarms. This is an emergency situation.

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I stuffed the near-empty jar with cottage cheese, peaches, raisins, cinnamon, coconut flakes, raw oats and sugar-free syrup. I ended up putting my finger in there to ensure no seed butter remained. Then shed a single tear *sniff* Trader Joe’s needs to come to Canada.

I ended up spending aaallll morning in bed watching MTV shows on my computer and catching up on a few blogs. It was grand. Even though it’s a holiday, my gym is still open and I had a client who wanted to work out this afternoon. Not quite a holiday for me! Lunch before work:

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Pan-fried ham slices with swiss cheese, sautéed red pepper, spinach, on an english muffin. Then squashed and melted in the hot pan. Not pictured is the plethora of baby carrots and salsa that accompanied this. Yum.

Thank goodness I had that client today though because it got me to the gym! I was definitely bit by the lazy bug today, but I still managed to squeeze out a decent back/biceps workout. I am really enjoying my new lifting split! I feel like my workouts are a lot more efficient. It’s easier to wrap things up in an hour when I only have two muscle groups to focus on.

Even though I am officially on a Buffalo detox, my day did involve a little more Blue Moon beer. (brought back across the border)

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But not straight up. I had some flour and sugar with it.

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Not separately, ohno.

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Mixed all up in my roommate’s Kitchenaid mixer.

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And placed into a bread pan.

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You know where this is going ;)

April’s Beer Bread

3 cups of self-rising flour

1/2 cup of sugar

1 can or bottle of beer

mix ingredients and put in loaf pan

melt 1/2 stick of butter and pour over top

bake at 375 for 45 minutes!!

I used 1 cup all-purpose flour and 2 cups whole wheat, then mixed in 3 tsp baking powder and 1 1/2 tsp salt because I didn’t have self-rising flour. Also, I definitely did not use that much butter – maybe like 2 tbsp ;)

It rose!

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Avec du beurre…

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It turned out very dense and sweet.

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I of course tried a piece right away with a little smear of Lori’s pear cranberry jam.

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Good!! And SO easy!! Baking with yeast admittedly scares me, so the idea of pouring beer in sounded a lot more appealing. You really can’t pick up that much of a beer taste because of the sugar. Next time I want to try Guinness for the beer and molasses for the sweetener. So many possible combos!

I wasn’t just baking beer bread for the hell of it though. Something this good needs to be shared!

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BBQ. Labour Day style.

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This is not my backyard. My backyard is a parking lot. And there is a definite lack of bbq back there.

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What is happening in these photos? I do believe it is a foot high five.

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That girl on the left was in Schindler’s List. True story!

Seeing as I’m on a Buffalo detox, I made a point of keeping my bbq grub somewhat healthy.

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Earlier in the day I threw together a pound of ground chicken with some chopped red pepper, spinach, a couple scoops of salsa and a few shakes of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. I formed the mix into patties and brought one of them to the bbq with me.

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Spicy spinach chicken burger? Yesplease!! And yes, that is my second english muffin of the day. It made for a killer bun.

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For veggies I put a chopped sweet potato on the ‘cue but I couldn’t finish it all. My chicken burger was too huge!

But there’s always room for dessert ;)

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My roommie Megan brought chocolate crinkle cookies that her mom always makes. They were deeeelicious. Kinda like a cross between a cookie and fudge. Rolled in icing sugar. The perfect little chocolate treat.

And for those of you fretting over the start of your work week or school year, don’t worry…

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As seen outside an Indian restaurant on Queen West in Toronto ;)

As Madeline would say – make it a good one!!

 

Question of the Day: What is your favourite thing to grill? Mine is bread!! We used to go to this restaurant when I was a kid where you could pick flavoured butters, different kinds of bread, then grill it yourself. Amazing.

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! :)

Pigs n’ Bunnies

Happy Easter.

Do bunny suits scare the crap out of anyone else?? When I was a kid, Easter used to scare me because I thought a man in a bunny suit was breaking into our house to hide things. Not a friendly man either. But the kind that stinks of bourbon and cigarettes, with furry eyebrows and deep growl for a voice. This was my innocent mind as a child. Thankfully, my parents were bad at pretending it was someone other than themselves hiding the chocolate behind the couch :P I will however say, they expertly put money under my pillow whenever I lost a tooth. That Tooth Fairy thing was a real shocker.

I loved hearing the diverse genres of music that everyone listens to while working out in my last post. Some fun ones:

Madeline admitted to listening to blasting the pop music, although she listens to indie the rest of the time.

chillel said classical music makes her feel powerful while working out.

Ellie is hooked on Glee because showtunes pump her up.

…and John ran 10 miles to NO music today. Whoa. I am thoroughly impressed.

 

Anyways! I was up at 6:50am today. Babysteps. Maybe I’ll crack 7am tomorrow. I know it’s Pancake Sunday and all, but I am not one to argue with the Waffle Monster.

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Two Nature’s Path Flax Plus waffles topped with a mix of cottage cheese, cashew butter, maple syrup, cinnamon and raisins. 

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That’s how you make freezer waffles filling :)

Actually, a little too filling! I had my two hour group exercise medley at 9:30, and I didn’t want to go without something extra in my tummy. I reached for a homemade apple cinnamon protein bar for that long-lasting energy.

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Thankfully, we didn’t start with Body Attack, or I would have thrown up :P

The breakdown went a little something like this:

30 minutes Body Pump – For a girl who loves weight lifting, I just can’t get into this class. Doing squats and chest presses for 5 minutes each is not fun, and my joints don’t like it.

30 minutes Body Step – I was not expecting there to be a step block! I got all excited when I saw the crazy step instructor there today. Favourite part of the day. She even referred to me as one of the “seasoned steppers” for all the newbies to follow :)

30 minutes Body Attack – Ever do “high knees?” Well it’s all that, all the time. Except, we did one song from the Hairspray soundtrack where we jumped side to side and waved our hands in the the air like we just didn’t care.

30 minutes Body Flow – I was SO sweaty and tired by this point I was ready to collapse into the pool of sweat that gathered on my mat. I don’t think the instructor for this one adequately planned, as she had us doing a lot of challenging warriors, when we really just needed to chill and streeeetch.

Overall, a fun day of exercising!! I wish they offered these medleys more often, they typically only do it on holidays when they don’t do the regular class schedule. Two hours may sound like a lot, but it’s all about pacing yourself and knowing when not to push too hard so you don’t crash.

After this I went straight to the after hours medical clinic. I don’t have a doctor in town, so I can’t just schedule an appointment with one (there’s a waiting list). So I have to go to the drop-in clinic. I finally broke down and went, because my arms are essentially covered in rashes, and I can’t put up with it anymore!!

After a three-hour wait, I walked out with some cream and pills.

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The cream is a type of cortisone cream for my arms, which the doctor said looked like eczema. The pills however are for my legs. I’ve had skin problems there for well over a year now. The doc said it looked like it might be a bacterial infection in the hair follicles, so he prescribed a form of antibiotic. I’ve got to go back in a month to see if it helps. I really hope my arms clear up – the itching is driving me batty.

Oh. I ate a ham sandwich during the wait. And studied. Then I came home and had more ham. It’s freakin’ Easter!!

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For the veggies, I tossed broccoli and butternut squash in bacon peanut butter and maple syrup and roasted them.

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Since I did maple syrup for the veggies, I skipped it for the ham. Instead I pan-fried it and topped it with sauteed onions and a sauce made from laughing cow cheese, almond milk, dill and garlic powder.

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Excellent, excellent meal. Not a bad Easter dinner for one if I do say so myself :) After dinner I called my Nana who is also home alone today. Kicking myself I didn’t just go stay with her instead!

 

I’ve read a billion blogs today, here’s a couple you should check out:

Lisa wrote a great post about control issues with food and body image.

Tam made the prettiest waffles I’ve ever seen.

 

Happy Easter!! Don’t let the man in the bunny suit get you!!

Question of the Day: Did you believe in the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy or Santa Clause as a kid? As for Santa, I found out he didn’t exist by matching “his” handwriting on the presents to my mother’s. It was much too girly ;)

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