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A Peek Into The Camera of A Food Blogger

Hellohello friends! Before we even get into today’s topic, I first want to thank you for the kind and supportive comments on my last post. If having a balanced life was easy, then everyone would be living a perfect life! I just do what I can :)

I woke up not a happy camper today. I think it’s a combination of being run-down, fighting off some flu-like symptoms, and the fullness of the moon lately (yes, I believe in the effect of lunar cycles).

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Thank goodness it’s Waffle Wednesday or I may have just resigned to my bed for the rest of the day. Now this is something worth getting out of bed for!!

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Whipped up a batch of protein waffles (recipe found here) and topped with a mixture of plums, raisins, sugar-free syrup, cinnamon and sunflower seed butter.

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Adding the topping just a bit at a time. I do not like soggy waffles!!

Now usually, I would stop here with the enticing waffle photos, but today I’m doing something a little different.

I want to show you the food photos that didn’t make the cut. Here are the ones you would have otherwise missed out on (all taken on my Canon EOS Rebel XS):

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I usually take anywhere from 5-15 photos per dish. I aim to get a view from the top, from the side, and close-up. Most of the time photos are not used because they’re not as crisp as the others. Crispness is key. If it’s the least bit fuzzy, I don’t use it.

Lunch!

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Chicken slices and laughing cow blue cheese on a pita with onions, tomatoes and spinach. I’m back to eating pitas and carrot sticks every day. One meal that I never tire of!

If this were a regular post, I would keep it to that one photo. But here are the other ones I captured…

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I’m not a huge fan of the composition in the top photos. The bottom part of the pita that is closest to the camera is not what’s in focus. For some reason I get really bothered when the foreground is blurry and the background is focused. It’s my “thing” I guess. Also, the loser photos are either too shaded or too blanched out from the light. It’s tricky getting sunlight to hit textures juuuuuust right.

Lunch was polished off with an Adora disk. I got a bag of these for free at the Healthy Living Summit. I reallyreally like them. 30 calories a pop for a little piece of calcium infused chocolate.

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The shots that didn’t make the cut:

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One of my pet peeves is when people review a packaged good and don’t reveal what’s inside of the package. Instead of taking a shot of the chocolate in the wrapper, I decided to capture what the chocolate actually looks like along with the packaging. You get the best of both worlds in one frame :)

Also, I went for the angled shot here so you can see both the width and height of the chocolate. That way you get a better feel for its size. The last loser picture is very similar to the shot I chose. The only difference is that the chosen one has more of the chocolate in focus when enlarged. The area of focus on the loser one was too small.

Finally, there was dinner.

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Stir-fried tofu, grated carrot, zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, onions and garlic with pesto and laughing cow cheese.

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This bowl also got a lot of camera lovin’…

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I really like doing long shots with plates and bowls because you get a feel for just how overflowing they can be. Plus, I kinda liked the packaged Ikea bed slats as the diagonal background ;) The close-up shots in this series unfortunately all turned out blurry, so they were ditched. The bottom two turned out okay, but were too similar in composition to the first photo I chose. If I’m going for more than one photo of a dish, I want them all to come from noticeably different angles.

 

And that my friends is a little peek into my camera!! I always joke that if someone were to steal it on me, they’d think they stole the camera of a crazy person. Which I guess may partially be true ;)

I’m taking the day off from blogging on Thursday, but if there are any requests for what you’d like featured on Fitness Friday this week, let me know!

 

Question of the Day: Food bloggers – do you photograph all your food? How many shots do you take per dish? I obviously don’t photograph everything. But I do admit to sometimes featuring boring food on here just because I think the picture turned out pretty :)

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:

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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!

Going with the Flow

Hey blog friends!! Wow, is it just me, or does it feel like a while? My blog schedule is all screwed up. But really, it’s only been since Monday!

Here’s what I’ve been doing in the interim:

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Asking the hard questions.

I got to interview former Canadian New Democrat (NDP) leader Ed Broadbent after he gave a speech called “Inequality and Poverty.” I really like interviewing retired politicians. Wish I could say the same about the ones still in office :P

How about some eat highlights

There was some yogurt with a Kashi blackberry cereal bar crumbled on top.

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I see a lot of my fellow bloggers do the “crumbled bar on yogurt” technique. It’s something that never occurred to me before – it’s delish!

There’s been a lot of salami and cheese sandwiches.

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One of my favourite things about eating red meat again is that there are many meals, like this one, that take me back to my childhood. Salami on pita with some melted cheddar cheese was something I ate a lot as a preteen. (back when I could eat half the kitchen and blame it on a growth spurt).

Laughing cow cheese on pear.

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This was uh-mazing. Is there anything that laughing cow doesn’t taste good with?

Flat waffles (aka pancakes)

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The usual protein pancake recipe (found under the Eats tab) Dipped in a mix of almond butter and syrup.

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A “controlled” yogurt mess.

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As far as flavoured low-fat yogurts go, Source is my favourite. The ingredients aren’t the best (it has Splenda), but the price is right. This is a new product to me and I just had to try it. I liked it :)

Oh, and I’ve been stuffing things with leftovers to the point of explosion :P

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Same stuffing I used in red pepper the other day. Except this time I put it in a squash I picked up at the market. I gotta say, I liked it better in the squash! My tastebuds just go crazy over squash, they can’t help it ;)

As far as my sickness, I wouldn’t say I’m better, but it’s at least progressing. Hoping it doesn’t decide to linger for too long!

Now onto other things…

Going With The Flow

While reading Diane’s post today, I realized that I am a very rigid person. I’m good at making decisions for myself, and creating plans, but when it comes to changing them, I freak out a little.

I want to talk about this in terms of taking a rest from exercise.

Today is day 4 of no exercise for me. This break was unplanned. I hurt my hip in the gym on Friday. From past experience, I knew it could turn into something a lot worse if I didn’t lay off it until it was 110% better.

In the past, this would have bothered me. Even though I’m not training for anything (yet! got a half mary in May!), I still schedule out all my workouts for the week on my Google Calendar. I put a lot of energy into that plan, making sure I fit in all my runs, weight sessions and favourite group classes around my ever-changing work schedule.

When I first started doing this, I would get really anxious when something would come up that would change or delay something in that schedule. Going out of town, or a shift change at work, would throw me into a tizzy of figuring out how I would fit it all in. As a university student, I worked really hard not to let my hectic school, work and social life get in the way of my gym time. That meant I was sometimes too strict with it.

What I’ve learned since training for the triathlon, and taking time off from hip injury #1, is that sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

That’s not to say you can blow off whole weeks of exercise because it’s “too cold out” or your favourite TV shows are on :P It just means, when life happens, it’s okay to skip or change a workout.

More importantly, when your body starts giving you clues that it needs a rest – take it!! There’s a fine line between being too lazy and too tired to work out. It’s up to you to learn the difference, and listen to your body when it needs a rest. Learning to pick up on your body’s clues is more important than the perfect training plan ever will be.

I think the mental aspect of it is just as important. Even if there’s nothing wrong with your physical state, sometimes we just mentally burn out from all that activity! It’s okay to take a few days off just to kick back and rejuvenate. It’s worth it just for the enthusiasm and dedication you’ll have upon your triumphant return to the gym.

My number one rule is always that it’s better to take a day off so I can put the extra effort in the next day, rather than just half-ass it because I’m hurting or don’t have the energy.

So why bring all this up? I suppose because this week, instead of letting the coloured boxes in my Google Calendar dictate my decisions, I went with the flow. I listened to my body, which was both hurting and sick. I took a mental break, and didn’t feel an ounce of guilt for lounging around, or even not changing my eating habits to reflect that. Hopefully my body has had the chance to heal, I know I’m already getting anxious to return to my favourite exercise classes!

Ironically, I’m going to a BodyFlow class tonight, which will be a gentle mix of tai chi, yoga and pilates. Tomorrow, I’m going to test the waters with a 3 mile run. I woke up with a Charley horse in my calf muscle last night, which is strange for me, as I usually get them as a result of too much activity. I think it was my muscle saying “Okay! I’m ready to work now!!” :P

Questions of the day:

1) Have you ever been set back by an injury?

2) How often do you take a rest?

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