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Cottage Country

Peek-a-boo!

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I’m baaaaaack!! :D

How was everyone’s weekend? Or, I suppose start to the work week now :) I’ve got lots of cottage pictures and tales to share so I’ll get right down to it. But first I have to thank Diane and Caitlin for wonderful contributions to my Blogger Interview Series as well as all the funny feedback on my Flashback Friday – Babies! So. Much. Fun.

So first things first, I had a stellar full-body weightlifting session on Saturday morning thanks to this magazine:

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I’m partial to designing my own workouts, but sometimes it’s fun to try out something someone else made up! I really recommend this special edition of Women’s Health. It’s got tons of great moves and recipes in it. Here’s the workout I stole:

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Except, instead of the bodyweight lunge, I did a power kick:

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Lovely.

Came home to the best breakfast sandwich I’ve had in a while.

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Egg, ham, real mayo, tomato, onion, lettuce on ezekiel. With watermelon and grapes in the back. Ohman. It hit the spot.

Then it was off to the cottage!!!

Victoria Day weekend, aka “May Two-Four Weekend” is known as the time when Canadians open up their cottages and drink copious amounts of beer. My family is no different.

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My family cottage is on the Northumberland Straight in Nova Scotia overlooking New Brunswick and PEI. It’s downright beautiful.

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Wait. Do you see something in the photo?? Let’s look closer…

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I do believe that is a poodle running free!!

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Pretty sure the cottage is heaven on earth for these dogs. One of the few times we let them off the leashes and run around like the animals they are. I love seeing them so happy in that element :)

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We don’t have much of a beach, but we aren’t the type of family who goes to the beach as an excuse to wear bikinis anyways. That’s what Shediac is for ;)  (sorry, local humour)

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Beautiful Sister Sara underneath the chestnut tree.

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Et moi!

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The best thing about my cottage is the giant deck that overlooks the Baie Verte.

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Also notable, is that we don’t have full walls. Not very good for keeping secrets.

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My family has been coming out here since before I was born and then some. I’ve lived in many houses in my life, but this spot has always been the one constant. I quite literally grew up in it!

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As did many other people – it was built in the 1930s.

Another great thing about the cottage is the FOOD! We always eat well there.

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Saturday night my mom roasted a chicken. We had some more of that glorious roasted corn on the cob and steamed potatoes and butternut squash.

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Come Sunday morning I knew the leftover squash and potato would make for a perfect hash.

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Fried up after a glorious 4 mile trail run through the nearby provincial park with my big sis. Trail running is super challenging. It felt like I was running so slow because of all the obstacles, but my heart rate was super high!

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We’d picked up some thick cut bacon at the nearby country corner store. Paired with scrambled eggs and it was quite possibly the best post-run recovery breakfast I’d ever had.

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I know I’m “off” the dairy for the time-being, but I put cottage cheese in the eggs. My secret to the perfect texture and cheesiness :)

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Cribbage players will appreciate this mug. I spent many rainy days at the cottage playing crib with my Grampie in his cottage next door.

Our real reason for being out there this weekend is because my sister Sara is now the owner of my grandparent’s cottage next door! We had a lot of cleaning to do to get it habitable again. My 86-year-old grandfather made the trip to show us the ropes.

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This included a lesson in basic plumbing.

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Note: this is not what a well pump should look like :\

T’was a tough morning getting everything opened up, and my mom once again saved the day by whipping up a wonderful meal.

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Salmon sandwich and fruit.

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And while I didn’t partake in any of the above beer, that’s not to say I didn’t join in on the sweets.

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I’m sure there is a rule out there that one must indulge in warm cinnamon rolls when at the cottage. Right??

Sara and I worked our tails off cleaning up our “new” cottage this weekend!

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It’s wonderful to think that the cottage we spent so much time in as children, will get to be the place where we bring our own kids someday :)

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My Grammie fed me so much chocolate pie and ice cream on that countertop!

We also found some neat old-timey things while cleaning up. Including this copy of The Financial Post from 1959!!

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Maybe it’s the newsie in me, but I found this completely fascinating. Newspapers have oddly not changed that much in the last half century.

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I also read my fair share of up-to-date newspapers this weekend. As well as the book Skinny Bitch.

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I’m sure many of you have heard of this book, written by two former models who say eating a vegan diet can make you thin. I didn’t really care for it. Having already spent a near decade of my life as a vegetarian or vegan, I now feel like I’ve heard it all before. It was also very short, so it didn’t elaborate on anything. I found myself wanting to know exactly why these things are bad for me, instead of just being told I’m a fat moron because I eat them.

I’ve also come to terms with the fact that I eat animal carcasses. My body likes it, and the descriptions in the book didn’t phase me in the least.

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Case and point: meat pie.

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A blend of animal meats stuffed into a pastry crust. The meat filling was frozen from Christmas!

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Meat pie = love. I know some people can appreciate a savoury pie with me ;)

Mommy dearest also made a parsley and lentil salad to go with.

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There is no recipe for this as she made it up as she went along. It was delicious though – think of it as tabbouli but with lentils and sunflower seeds instead of couscous.

After a trail run and a day of hard labour on Sunday, I woke up positively wiped this morning.

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My mom, sister and I had some hope of doing an outdoor bootcamp this morning. But we all immediately agreed that our bodies were already in rough enough shape! My feet are completely wrecked. So, I put them up, read, and ate a bowl of apple cinnamon peanut butter oatmeal instead. So worth it.

However, today was another hard day of cleaning, scrubbing and moving things around. The highlights of my day today were definitely eating up the yummy leftovers.

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Leftover falafel from a long time ago, with the last of the parsley and lentil salad on top of a much larger salad.

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I added a little extra dressing made up of mustard, canola oil and white wine. Mygosh it was good. White wine is almost better than vinegar!

Other leftovers included a verrry yummy soup my mom made with the leftover roast chicken.

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She taught me how to save the juices on the bottom of the roasting pan, scrape the fat off, then make soup with it. I am so doing this next time.

Well, that pretty much brings us up to speed! Believe it or not, I have another busy week of unemployment ahead of me. How does that happen?? I’ve made some new travel/moving plans which I’ll mention tomorrow. Right now, I’m ready to go pass out on the couch with the dogs. See ya tomorrow!! xo

 

Question of the Day: Do you have a cottage? What’s it like? If not, what sort of cottage would you like? Our cottages our out in the middle of nowhere away from any form of civilization. There aren’t many people there. It’s quiet and positively beautiful. I think it’s the real reason why I’m a country girl at heart!

I Don’t Monkey Around

Hello friends!!

I have tons of yummy food pictures for you today, so let’s get to it!

I slept in until 8am today. Apparently, it takes four days to break out of your sleep routine. Noted.

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However, the late wake-up call meant I was rushed this morning. Started off with a bowl of cream of wheat which always cooks up quick.

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I don’t think I’ll get through this box before I move. However it was delightful topped with All Bran, molasses and almond butter.

Then I got straight to work in the kitchen. A co-worker from my now old-job, celebrated her birthday today. I promised I’d show up with a treat, and to be honest, I couldn’t give up the chance to bake for somebody!

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Last week, she was on the quest for the perfect cinnamon bun. I tucked this away back in my mind, and when word of her bee-day came up, I knew she was destined for some monkey bread.

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I’ve never had or made monkey bread before. After many google searches, I decided on this recipe. The only change is that I used two cans of biscuits, 1/2 the pudding mix, and added 1/2 cup brown sugar.

I’ve heard they call it “monkey bread” because it’s “so easy a money could do it.” I would have to agree.

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Cut each biscuit into quarters, dip into melted butter, then shake up in your cinnamon sugar mix.

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And build your loaf of bread!

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It’s traditionally done in a bundt pan, but I don’t own one. Nor was I adding to my kitchen collection when I’m about to pack it up.

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After that first piece, I got a little wise and started doing eight at a time. Went much faster.

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Popped in a 350F oven for 35 minutes.

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Mine browned a little on the top, which is a shame. But it was a sacrifice I had to make to cook the center.

I had some of the cinnamon-sugar mix left, so I mixed it up with the remainder of my melted butter.

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And spread it on top of the loaf. Mmmmm…

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I couldn’t stick around for the loaf feast at the office, but it got nothing but good feedback. Hopefully it cured my co-worker’s cinnamon bun craving!

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Instead, I snuck a piece fresh out of the oven as a little pre-run snack ;)

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Totally against my “no refined sugars” thing. But exceptions must be made in certain instances! This is most definitely one! I must say, the butterscotch pudding totally made this recipe. It gave it a sweet caramel-y flavour. I highly suggest you add it to your next monkey bread :)

The refined sugars of course were the perfect fuel for a quick 4 miler along my favourite trail. Holy beautiful day!!! Bittersweet, as it’s probably my last run along the riverfront trail. The same trail that taught me how to love running :) Additionally bitter because I got a sunburn. At 10am. In May. With sunscreen on. Ridiculous.

The rest of my day was a whirlwind. It included donating 4 boxes of books to the library. Times like those I’m glad I lift weights! I did a lot of deadlifts with those things today :P

I also went to the doctor as a follow-up to my skin thingy. I’ve been on antibiotics for a month now because of an infection of the hair follicles in my legs. It’s cleared up a lot in the past month, but the doc wants me to continue taking them for two more months to ensure it’s completely zapped. Unfortunately there’s a worldwide shortage of tetracyclene or something, so that issue is not sorted out yet. Nothing is ever easy, is it? I’m not really keen on being put on stronger antibiotics for any length of time either…

At least I had yummy snacks to keep me going :)

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Totally forgot I put maple in the homemade protein bars. Got a pleasant surprise when I bit into it!

Dinner was leftovers made into a salad. 

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The lentil-bulgur-hummus-feta-tofu mash up, baked into little patties.

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On top of some “sweet potato chips.” Ie thinly sliced sweet potato dusted with salt and spices.

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I drizzled some balsamic on the spinach, and the flavours happening on this plate were out of this world. Tangy, sweet, salty, good times.

This evening, I added three more bags to my garbage pile. Throwing shit out feels awesome! Goooooodbye baggage! :)

Just finished up a microwave protein cake.

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30g peach-mango whey protein powder, baking powder, cinnamon, 2 tbsp applesauce, 2 tbsp egg whites.

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Topped with almond butter. The fruity whey powder made an awesome tasting cake.

 

Now it’s time for me to get back to packing! I’m catching up on Gossip Girl while doing it, which is making it a little more bearable (and scandalous).

So, here’s a breakdown of some things happening:

  • Final meeting with landlord and subtenant tomorrow. Could go badly, hoping it goes well.
  • Doing my personal training practical exam on Wednesday!! *insert hyperventilating here*
  • A BIG giveaway announcement tomorrow, Wednesday. I highly suggest you come back for that one ;)
  • Thursday, I am hoping to pack my Ford Focus up with as much as I can, and drive it to my mom’s
  • Thursday will also have a post on tips for staying healthy in college
  • Seeing as I’m feeling overwhelmed, moving to mom’s may happen Friday
  • Saturday, come pick up my big furniture with my dad and a truck
  • Sunday, hopefully relax, and celebrate Mother’s Day :)

Right now I’m just trying to focus on the short-term and doing what needs to get done each day. Thinking ahead elevates my heart rate too much.

Breeeeeathe.

Phew. That felt good.

If for some reason, I’m not back tomorrow, it means I just fainted doing my practical. No worries :P

The Perfect Protein Bar- One Step Closer

It was close, but crunchy nut butter won out over smooth 9 to 7 ;) These are important global matters people!

I was up early with a growling belly again today. Whyyyyy.

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Something quick and speedy – egg, laughing cow, smoked salmon breakfast sandwich.

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Ever since destroying my toaster oven I’ve been making my toast under the broiler. It’s a tricky process!

As a side note – I dropped an oven mitt on the oven element today and it caught on fire. Thankfully I was able to grab the mitt and fan it out. But I lost another year off my life from the moment of panic. I’ll be lucky if I make it to 50 :\

What was I making??

Homemade Maple Cinnamon Oat Bran Protein Bars

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  • 2 cups oat bran (I like Quaker)
  • 1 cup unflavoured soy protein powder (I use “Purely Bulk”)
  • 1.5 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 4 packets stevia
  • 1 tsp maple extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar-free table syrup
  • 4 tbsp almond butter (crunchy!!)
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup water

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Mix it all up until the powder is dissolved, but mix is still crumbly. Flatten into a 9×9 pan and bake at 350F for 15 minutes.

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Makes 8 decent-sized bars.

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image 

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My third attempt at a baked bar and my best one yet!! The extra cinnamon and maple really added some flavour. The best thing about the baked bars is that they’re stable at room temperature, so they’re much easier transport :)

I didn’t stop there though! Maple Pecan Peanut Butter.

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Threw 2 cups roasted peanuts, 2 cups roasted pecans and 2 tbsp pure maple syrup into my food processor.

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The processor gave out on me just as it was about to turn into that wonderful creamy consistency. Still pretty freakin’ good though.

Dinner put a dent on my overflowing cupboard!

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Cooked up one cup dry bulgur and one cup dry green lentils. Then added some chopped carrots, crumbled tofu, feta, hummus, garlic, parsley, dill and turmeric.

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This was definitely one of those meals where I just kept adding things to the pot with no forethought. It was good though! I think I may try to make patties out of the leftovers tomorrow. I didn’t feel like doing that extra step tonight.

Kept me full for a while, but not so much that I went without a bedtime snack ;)

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Microwave protein cake made up of 1/2 cup soy protein powder, cinnamon, stevia, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 cup applesauce, 2 tbsp egg whites. Microwaved in a mug for 4 minutes.

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Topped with some of that Maple Pecan Peanut Butter ;)

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While eating this, I was amazed by how large it turned out. That’s when I realized I used half a cup of protein powder when I meant to use a quarter!! Oops. I contemplated putting the other half in the fridge for later, since I usually stick to a regular serving size for snacks. But then I realized I was being silly, and that maybe it would be nice not to wake up hungry tomorrow :)

 

Food aside, today was my first day of unemployment! Eek! By 8:52am I was already restless and unsure of what to do with myself. I ended up being fairly productive though. Packed up all my clothing, which I’ve downsized to just two laundry hampers. Donated the rest (3 garbage bags worth). Also started throwing out some old junky decorations and things no one will ever need. Felt good to purge it all!

I also hit up the gym with an old co-worker to run through what I plan on doing for my practical exam on Wednesday for my personal training certification. We had to go figure out how to use the weight machines – I’ve never used them at my gym before!! Hopefully I sound like I know what I’m talking about come test day :\

And with that, I leave you today’s Archie picture.

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Yesterday it was one running shoe, today he cuddled up with three :)

 

Question of the Day: Bloggers – do you listen to music when you blog? Watch TV? Do it in silence? I always used to blog with the TV on in the background, but lately I’ve been listening to music and it makes the process a lot more fun. Tonight’s post was brought to you buy the new George Harrison “Let It Roll” cd :)

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