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Herb n’ Pig

Happy weekend!! I’m on the eternal weekend over here… I’ve been unemployed for exactly 8 weeks now! Or, I should say, “without work.” It’s an intentional stint of unemployment, but I am getting antsy to get my hands dirty again :)

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There is chicken bacon in the fridge that needs to be eaten up, but I also really wanted pancakes for breakfast.

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So I made both.

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Mixed up a double batch of my oatmeal cottage cheese protein pancakes (minus the sweeteners) and threw in the cooked bacon.

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I do not recommend this cottage cheese.Watery with a rubbery taste. Ew.

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Bacon and maple syrup are an amazing combo… too bad I’m hooked on the sugar-free stuff.

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Just another piece of evidence that bacon does in fact make everything better.

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As a side note, Sister Sara ate hers with real maple syrup and half a banana. She’s a girl who knows how to do it right ;)

I spent all morning putting 118 Banff photos on Facebook so my dad can see them.

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It was a gruelling task that had to be fuelled by a High Protein Banana Bar with greek yogurt. Parfait a la K!

Then I received this text message:

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That was all the push I needed to get my butt in gear and to the gym!!

I ran the 7 minutes it takes to get the gym. I LOVE being able to run to the gym. It makes weight days seem so much easier. I just run there, do my thang in the weight room, and run back. None of this cardio machine silliness.

Another full-body day with an emphasis on the upper body. My glutes are still hammered from my last session!

 

Exercise Weight Reps Sets Target
Step-up (alternating legs) 50 lbs 20 3 Quads, Glutes, Calves
One arm dumbbell row 25 lbs 10 3 Back
Stiff leg deadlift  50 lbs 10 3 Lower back, hamstrings, glutes
Incline dumbbell fly  15 lbs ea 10 3 Chest, front of shoulders
Dumbbell pullover  20 lbs 10 3 Chest, front shoulders, top of back
Side lunge with dumbbell front raise  7.5 lbs ea 10 3 Glutes, inner thighs, quads, front shoulder
Standing calf raise (on machine) 85 lbs 10 3 Calves
Cable pushdown  60 lbs 10 3 Triceps
Plank off bench n/a 60 sec 3 Abs
Standing dumbbell curl 12.5 lbs ea 10 3 Biceps

Colour coded again! Matching colours = alternating sets. Even though I only did one isolated ab move, I feel like I got a good core workout with this one. Those dumbbell pullovers require a lot of stabilization in that area.

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Refuelled with a big ole’ green salad in anticipation for my rib feast later. Just the typical garden salad with tuna for my protein, mozzarella cheese for my fat, and watered down hummus for the dressing.

Then it was on to my special project for the day.

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I had a whack of rosemary left after making boeuf bourguignon. My mind immediately went to Banff. The yoga studio we went to was located above a bakery that smelled like herbed focaccia. It was mouth watering.

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For some reason though, I didn’t feel like focaccia. No, I wanted biscuits. Something I could eat with eggs in the morning, or perhaps a rack of ribs ;)

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Buttermilk biscuits are traditional, yes, but silly when you also have a tub of yogurt in the fridge waiting to be used.

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A quick Google search lead me to this Emeril Lagasse recipe.

Rosemary Biscuits:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup buttermilk 3/4 cup plain greek yogurt

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Work the butter into the flour with your fingertips or a fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the rosemary. Add 1/2 cup of the buttermilk a little at a time, using your hands to work it in just until incorporated and a smooth ball of dough forms. Add up to additional 1/4 cup buttermilk if necessary, being very careful not to overwork the dough or the biscuits will be tough.

On a lightly floured surface, pat the dough into a circle about 7 inches in diameter and 1/2-inch thick. Using a 1-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 12 biscuits.

Place the biscuits on a medium baking sheet. Bake until golden on top and lightly browned on the bottom, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve warm.

Yield: 12 mini biscuits (I got 20)

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No cookie cutters were found in my sister’s kitchen, however there was a nice assortment of shot glasses.

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I really hope my new apartment in Toronto is well-cooled. I don’t know how I’ll survive baking with a 450F oven otherwise.

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They were done in 10 minutes flat and smelled heavenly. Almost as good as Rocky Mountain Yoga!!

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I calculated the nutritionals on these, and because they’re so small, one biscuit is only 44 calories. #win.

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As per the baking rules, I had one immediately out of the oven with butter.

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My first ever batch of biscuits were not only downright delicious (toot toot) but also crazy simple!! I keep passing all these wonderful bakeries here in Ottawa, and then think to myself that it’s so much more fun to just bake at home :)

Afterwards Sara and I went to a 90-minute Hatha Flow class. It was pretty fun! I did this:

Just with the assistance of two people and a couple straps ;)

Then it was time for RIBS. Ohbaby.

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Ottawa has this thing called Ribfest where a bunch of restaurants set up grills down a pedestrian street and sell nothing but pulled pork sandwiches and ribs.

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People get pretty excited about it, but I can’t think of a more messy food to eat on the side of the street.

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Sara was down there over lunch and picked up extra for me!

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Paired with a baked-fresh Rosemary Yogurt Biscuit. 

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And my first ever pulled pork sandwich!! It was good, although a little too much on the sauce-y side for me. How is it that ribs don’t taste like the rest of the pig??

Anyways, as you can see this was all incredibly delicious. But mygoodness I am paying for it now. Too much barbecue sauce for this tummy. It’s awfully hard to indulge when my stomach insists on rebelling like this!!

I hope it’s better for eggs and biscuits in the morning :)

See ya tomorrow!! xoxo

Mind Your Qs and As

Hi friends! Hope everyone’s week has gone by swimmingly. Mine’s been pretty relaxed – definitely needed and appreciated :)

My alarm went off at 5:45 am and I had second thoughts about going to the gym. Actually, I do not hop out of bed bright-eyed and bushy-tailed every morning. I’m quite grumpy until I get some food and caffeine in me. I think the key is to just know that the haziness doesn’t last long.

Sooo, I hobbled into my gym clothes, walked into a few walls, ate half a banana and PB, chugged back a glass of iced coffee and stumbled out the door. Today was a treadmill day. Yup – straight up treadmill, because I FOUND MY IPOD!! Wooo! Here’s how my hour of running and entertaining tunes went down…

*on a 1% incline

Minutes Speed – MPH
0-5 3.5
5-10 5.6
10-20 1-minute intervals of 6.0 and 6.4
20-30 1-minute intervals of 6.2 and 6.6
30-40 1-minute intervals of 6.4 and 6.8
40-50 1-minute intervals of 6.6 and 7.0
50-55 6.0
55-60 3.5

Loved being back at it! It’s been a few weeks since I’ve ran anything over 3 miles, but I did 5.3 pretty “easily” today. Next week I’ll get up earlier and do 10k ;)

Showered and went straight to work, where I risked my life to eat yogurt.

Liberte Greek yogurt

I mixed up the remainder of my Liberte Greek yogurt with cashew butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, shredded coconut and dates last night, then I left it out on the counter!! It was in my insulated lunch bag, so that probably kept it temperate for an extra couple hours. It smelled/tasted fine this morning so I just went for it. That’s $3 worth of yogurt right there!!!

Liberte Greek yogurt
I sprinkled on some fauxnola granola at the office. Dare I say, it was delicious! Nut butter in Greek yogurt is much better than in regular yogurt.

Chased down with some more iced coffee.

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I actually prefer my coffee hot, but the iced stuff is quicker to drink in the morning. It’s also more thirst quenching after the gym ;)

Work was uneventful, I came home to a deep dish salad. 

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  • spinach
  • onions
  • mushrooms
  • tomatoes
  • yellow & orange pepper
  • pickles
  • capers
  • smoked mackerel

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For the dressing, I mixed up a laughing cow cheese wedge, yellow mustard, 1 tsp olive oil and pickle juice. It was reallyreally good!! Probably one of the better homemade dressings I’ve ever made!

Dessert was a few of these bad boys:

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I often get comments from people noting how I can eat only five M&Ms or one Hershey’s Kiss at a time. First off, I don’t view these as a “snack,” but a teeny sweet treat after a meal. I usually have at least a couple sweet treats like this throughout the day. I rather spread it out than eat it all in one sitting. Plus, I suck on these eggs until they melt in my mouth – it takes almost five minutes!

Shortly after dinner I found the energy to go to yoga class. I’ve been putting it off all week, but was motivated by knowing tonight’s instructor does mostly gentle hatha. Plus, I got to wear my new Lululemon pants!

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And apparently do jazz hands. Props to my Canon self-timer for taking this photo ;)

Yoga was actually challenging tonight! She had us doing a bunch of “bladder friendly” poses. Picture lots of frog poses and equally embarrassing legs-spread bum-in-the-air type things :P

I was pretty hungry by the time I came home again, so I immediately made another carrot peanut butter protein cake.

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  • 1 scoop (30g) vanilla whey protein powder
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp egg whited
  • 2 tbsp carrot baby food
  • 1/2 tbsp peanut butter

All stirred up in a mug and popped in the microwave for 90 seconds. I topped it with marshmallow fluff watered down with almond milk. And sprinkled of course! Yumyum :)
 

Q&As

I’m getting some great questions for my next round of Q&A’s! I’m going to dedicate whole posts to a few of them, and then just sprinkle them throughout other posts. Today’s questions come from the ever-talented Sophia:

1) What was your dream job when you were little? Was it journalism?
2) ‘fess up! Ever crave fast food? ;-)

1) When I was little, I thought I was going to be a veterinarian. That idea was soon lost after getting an electric guitar for my 14th birthday, after which I was convinced I was destined for punk-rock stardom. There were brief periods where I though I wanted to be an English teacher, flight attendant, career barista, and MTV host. I think the most recent dream jobs have all involved communication to some degree, and that’s probably why I ended up doing journalism in university. It’s still my dream to communicate what I’m passionate about with people. That’s why I’m pursuing personal training, and hopefully will find a job writing about it!

2) Yes! More specifically – Burger King veggie burgers. I used to eat them all the time when I was a vegetarian and I love them. Even the sketchy mayo that comes on top. But I was a vegetarian between the ages of 14-22, what I would consider to be the fast-food “formative years.” So I never had a chance to develop a taste for greasy burgers and chicken nuggets. Also, I never liked fast-food french fries. I’m a Maritimer, I need a good potato!!

 

Now it’s your turn! What was your dream job growing up? And what’s you favourite fast food??

Remember, if you have a question, anything from food, fitness, or personal fun stuff, leave me a comment or e-mail thegreatbalanacingact@gmail.com

See ya tomorrow!

Celebrating the small things

I just got back from a wonderful yoga class at my new gym! I’ve only ever done Iyengar classes before, so I was curious as to what it would be like. It was a class unique to our gym (rather than the pre-choreographed “Bodyflow” class). It was mostly Hatha style. Very light with a few tough holds and pretzel poses ;) Our instructor was awesome, very real and not intimidating in any way. We’ve got another winner at the new gym! :D

This was the view of the river from my new place when I got out of bed this morning:

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Just the inspiration I needed to make Belgian waffles. Yup! I splurged on a Belgian waffle press. Not one of the fancy spinning ones, but it gets the job done ;)

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I used my protein pancake recipe. In the blender went:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • cinnamon

I topped them with fresh blueberries and a fake syrup/maple syrup mix.

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They came out so fluffy! The belgian press also works much faster than the small rectangular one my old roommie had. Makes having these on a workday much easier :)

I had more delicious food for supper…

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Another reason why I love my new place! Unlike my old top-floor apartment, it’s in a basement. So even though it was 28 C today, I could still use the oven! Those aren’t fries, but an Yves veggie chicken burger cut into slices for fun dipping into plum sauce. That corn you see up there was the best I’ve had all season. I baked it in the husk for close to 30 minutes. I don’t have any salt or pepper (got lost in the move somewhere) so I just ate it straight up. So good! Corn is so sweet and juicy, there’s no reason to dress it up. I’ve learned my lesson.

I’m also all out of dark chocolate, so dessert was another great bite-sized sweet.

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Dates! Stuffed with almond butter. I buy small soft dates because they’re cheaper. The big medjool ones are $12 a carton!!!

And look what the lovely (hilarious, inspiring, smarty pants, etc) Janetha sent me!!!

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Made. My. Day Week. It should come as no surprise that the way to my heart is with food. Especially when that food is protein packed ;)

Most excited to try the cinnamon flavour!!

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Thanks JB!! You’re the bestest!! :D

 

You may notice a huge chunk of my workday is missing from this post. That’s because I was busy as hell. My boss had me covering four events between 9am and noon. Sometimes I get the feeling he does this just to see if I can actually get to them all. Instead of being annoyed by this though, I get inspired. I am totally up to the challenge.

Taking on challenges and stepping out of comfort zones is something I talk about a lot. I’ve been very open about my history with social anxiety and agoraphobia. I truly believe that what has allowed me to overcome my anxiety disorder is learning to challenge it on a daily basis. If I haven’t done something that sends a surge of panic through my body, then I haven’t tried hard enough for the day.

My love for exercise definitely stems from this desire to challenge myself. I love putting my body through the wringer and seeing exactly what it can do.

Part of challenging yourself though, is recognizing your accomplishments. You have to remember to celebrate the small things. Today, I made it to all four events before noon, and ended up with a million great stories for my radio station. I was proud that I accomplished something that almost seemed impossible.

So how did I celebrate? I went to a yoga class and challenged myself in a room full of strangers. For the record, people with social anxiety disorders do not tangle their bodies up while surrounded by people they don’t know. But this is just one of the many things I force myself to do on a regular basis, because in the end, I never regret it.

So in celebration of my small accomplishments today, I’m asking you to do the same! Tell me one thing you’re proud of that you’ve done recently. Something that challenged you and you overcame, no matter how big or small!

 

And to finish it all off, I want to give a shout-out to Brie. She’s one of the many wonderful people I’ve met on the internet through my weight loss process. She just started her own blog: The Fit Bride. She’s planning her wedding and loves weight lifting as much as I do! :D (and is damn strong to boot)

Okay, I’m off to get all my stuff ready before my long run tomorrow. Seventy minutes planned! Night night!

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