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Another Fabulous Sunday in the City + Those Goals

Ahhh, another weekend, another two days of amazing adventures in Toronto!!

I was a good girl and in bed sober and early last night. Set my alarm for 8am and was up and ready before it even went off!

I was excited for what I had planned this morning – free yoga at Lululemon!

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Most Lululemon locations offer free yoga classes on Sunday mornings. Something I’ve never been to as New Brunswick doesn’t have a Lululemon retail location yet.

I was a little nervous about what I would be walking into. I went to the Eaton Centre, expecting to be surrounded by yoga experts dressed to the nines in Lululemon gear. So not the case! There were about 15 of us in the cleared-out showroom. The instructor led us through 50 minutes of Baptiste Power Yoga. A style I’ve been apprehensive to try, but it really wasn’t that hard! I’m strong enough now that vinyasa doesn’t tire me out like it used to and I’m starting to move through it more quickly.

After two months of no yoga is was SO nice to do it again. My body absolutely loves it. I’m realizing it’s an important activity to include in my workout mix, so I suspect I will take advantage of many more free classes until I get the funds to join a studio :)

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I had some time to kill afterwards before a very important date downtown. I decided to wander up to Yonge/Dundas Square. The great thing about Toronto is that it’s guaranteed something will be happening there on any given weekend.

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Today I happened to stumble across the Live Green Toronto Festival. How ‘bout that!

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There wasn’t much going on though. I poked around at some of the vendors then wandered across the street to something that was a lot more eye catching:

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Forever 21. A clothing store I’ve heard manymany people rave about but have never been to. It was pretty cheap! I was thisclose to buying a dress I probably don’t need, until I looked at my watch and realized I was about to be late for my very important date!

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With a food blogger of course! ;) Jessica was in town visiting her family this weekend. Always on the lookout for a dining partner, I told her we had to get together to eat.

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We opted for The Queen Mother, a cute place on Queen West  known for good vegetarian fare (although not a vegetarian restaurant).

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Both Jessica and I took a quick look at the menu and decided on the same thing right away. I’m typically a fast decision maker (maybe sometimes too fast!) and appreciate eating out with people who are too!

We went for The Q.M. Burger: a high protein vegetarian patty of grains, nuts, herbs and mushrooms, covered in melted cheese and served in a whole wheat pita with our own special sauce, romaine lettuce and tomato.

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You had me at “pita.”

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What I wasn’t expecting was for the burger to be delicious. Dare I say… the second best veggie burger I’ve ever had?? Yes, I think so. I loved the combination seedy and soft texture, with chunks of whole peanuts. It was spiced perfectly. Their sauce of ketchup + something creamy paired with it wonderfully.

If you’re wondering, my favourite veggie burger still comes from Calactus in Moncton, New Brunswick. That will be hard to trump. I’ve got that burger on a pedestal.

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Me and Jessica! I had a lot of fun chatting and enjoying good food with her today. I have yet to meet a fellow food/healthy living blogger I don’t click with. What is it about us that makes us all so friendly and easy to get along with each other? Anyways, she totally convinced me that I need to take the train to Montreal some time. Soon!!

Just as I started getting settled back at home, this tweet happened :

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Don’t need to tell me twice.

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The bake sale was going on outside the Ceili Cottage, a wonderful Irish restaurant/pub in my neighbourhood. I originally went for the sticky toffee pudding, which I hear is amazing.

Then I saw this.

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It was love at first sight.

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I’m not sure if y’all know how much  I love cinnamon buns. Cinnamon rolls are great. But the white, doughy, fluffy, sweet n’ sticky bun is where it’s at. Perhaps Holly can tell you about how I drool at the mere sight of them. She watched me do this in every bakery we visited in Alberta :P

The above heavenly treat comes from a Leslieville bakery I’ve been meaning to try – Sweet Bliss Baking Company. Just another reason to snatch one up. They’re what Toronto Life calls the “best cinnamon buns in the city.” Fret not, in the spirit of moderation, I only ate the outer layer. The sticky center is now wrapped up and hiding in the cupboard. I can hear its muffled cries from here.

 

After missing a couple weeks, I do believe it is time for the second and final check-in on my Monthly Goals For August.  

1. Eat out twice a week, at no more than $15 a meal. Surprisingly, I did pretty good with this one!! I know I typically only blog about my meals out, but I brought all my food to work with me and often ate at home before going out. Even in Chicago, I only ate out once!

2. Read more. Finished The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which was good. Slow to start but turned out pretty scandalous. Love the main characters in it, which is the number one thing I look for in a book. Currently half-way through Generation A by Douglas Coupland. It’s a look into the not-so-distant future where bees are extinct. Until five different people around the world are stung. Told through the eyes of each of the sting-ees. In typical Coupland style, the unusual and impossible occasionally happens out of nowhere, but a good criticism on how we treat our planet.

3. Do at least one outdoor activity a week. Walkwalkwalk. Walking to the next subway stop instead of the closest one, getting off the streetcar early to walk the rest of the way home, choosing a part of the city to explore on foot… I did a lot of walking this month because that’s the only outdoor activity I can think of that doesn’t cost money and won’t kill me in the heat.

4. Look for part-time work and volunteer work. Spent some time with Simply Bar yesterday and paperwork is out for another volunteer opportunity! I may or may not have a really cool part-time job interview lined up for this week, but I’m not talking about any of that until I get a job offer. No jinxing!!

5. Update my blog pages. Changed the page names, including a new “The Girl Behind The Blog” section. Not the overhaul I wanted to do, but something is better than nothing.

6. Lose weight. Ugh. I’m tired of devoting mental energy to this. I was doing well, then went to Chicago and now feel unchanged. I’m playing around with my eating patterns and exercise schedule. As I wrote about in this post, I’m having difficulty adjusting to certain areas of my new life. I don’t want losing weight to top my list of priorities anymore. It’s tough when I’m looked to for fitness and nutrition inspiration and feel like I don’t look the part. I just want to eat well, be active, and enjoy doing all of it. It seems I’m happiest in my body when I’m not thinking about it too much. So this goal was not achieved, nor will I be setting it again.

 

And with that, I’m back to the Emmys!

Question of the Day: How did you do on your August goals?

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!!!

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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!

Spicy Thursday

I’m on my weeekeennd!!! Tomorrow, I will be arriving here:

Sigh. One thing I will miss about the Maritimes is being so close to the ocean. My mommy always used to bring me to Halifax when I was a kid and ask me if I could see England :P

But let’s be realistic here, a good chunk of my time will be spent here:


Lululemon! I’ve been saving up. That should allow me to buy one pair of pants :P

But I’m getting ahead of myself here. It’s still Thursday!

I got up this morning for a cardio machine workout. I’ve been doing a lot of these lately because I lost my iPod. I used to run on the treadmill for my cardio days. But 60 minutes on the treadmill without music sounds mind-numbingly boring to me. So instead I did the now-usual 35 minutes intervals on the elliptical, 10 minutes on the rowing machine, 10 minutes on the stair mill. The elliptical intervals get my heart pumping, the rowing machine works my upper body and the stairmill does a number on my lower body. Perfection!

Then it was off to work for another successful cold breakfast.

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  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • cinnamon
  • raisins
  • 1/2 chopped apple
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter

Another winner!! Well, as far as cold breakfasts go. We have a microwave at my office, but the room it’s in is always locked till later in the morning :(

Morning snack was a peanut butter & jelly Larabar.

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I think this may be my new favourite Larabar flavour? I still have to try the peanut butter cookie, then a real decision can be made.

Lunch was spectacular!!

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I know, looks like a boring sandwich and orange. But for the sandwich I spread on 1 tbsp peanut butter then mixed 1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder with a touch of water to make it into a thick goo. Then I spread it on the other slice of bread. Omg. So. Good. It tasted like nutella!! Plus, it was a great way to add some protein to a PB sandwich :)

Afternoon snack included baby carrots and Olive & Feta Hummus.

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I had to cut the baby carrots in half again – they make them too big!!

Also, I tried another Yogi tea in my attempts to be an office tea-drinker.

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I expected this to taste like NeoCitran, but it was really good! More ginger-y than lemon-y. For some reason, I don’t like fresh ginger, but I love ginger-flavoured things. Plus, it totally cleared up my sinuses :)

Came home and tried something different for supper – parsnip fries!

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And by “fries” I mean, “sliced in small strips and sprayed in oil, salt and paprika.” I do the same exact thing with all root veggies and call them “fries.”

Next to the fries was an egg scramble.

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Featuring an 1 egg, 1 cup egg whites, onions, tomatoes, spinach, old cheddar and a minced chipotle pepper.

Aaalll together now!

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This was only my second time using chipotle, and hot damn those things are… hot. My lips were burning! But I really enjoy the smoky taste of it. The parsnip fries were quite good as well. They hold up really nicely, and don’t get floppy like some other veggies tend to.

Well I wish I had more exciting things to ramble about, but I jut finished putting all the posts up for this weekend and I’m all blogged out! I will miss you guys this weekend… but not too much ;) Have a great Valentine’s Day! <3

Question of the Day: What’s your favourite spice? Four of the C’s get the most use in my kitchen – Cinnamon, Chili, Curry and Cumin. Sometimes all together! ;)

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