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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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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 :)

Healthified with a Few Answers

Hiya! Hope everyone got a good start to their weeks :) Today I realized I’m doing a “real” work week. Work till Friday then have a WHOLE weekend off!! Sweet damn!

Did the ole 2-10pm closing shift at Starbucks tonight, so I had the morning to myself. Would have been wonderful if I didn’t wake up at 6:30 am with a charley horse (ie severe cramp) in my calf. So. Painful. Needed some comfy oats to make me feel better.

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Custard oats!! I followed Tay’s method of whisking a whole egg into the pot as my oats cooked. It turned out amazing! I love my oats really thick and creamy, and that’s exactly what happened. Topped with some dates and homemade maple pecan butter. Epic.

Then it was off to my favourite Monday morning step class. It’s the same ladies there every week and we’re starting to bond. I just love it :) It’s one of the few times I get to just let loose and get a silly sweat on.

Replenished after with a Janetha inspired lunch.

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  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup garbanzo beans
  • 1 tsp ranch seasonin
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • chopped onion
  • 1 tomato
  • kale

All mixed up and eaten out of a giant bowl. This was really filling!! Except, I used up all my fresh produce in it, which meant no giant pita to bring to work for supper tonight. Instead, I opted for the Subway in the food court.

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It’s a 6 inch veggie delight on whole wheat with every veggie available. Then I brought my own pouch of tuna and added it to the sub, with a drizzle of Italian dressing I got on the side. Tuna subs used to be my favourite thing ever, and they’re one of the worst subs you can get (helloooo goopy mayo!). So this is a healthified version of my old favourite. It was awesome!

I’m actually not allowed to take pictures at Starbucks – it’s a corporate policy. But I managed to sneak one of my drink tonight.

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Tall unsweetened iced black tea lemonade. I can’t find the nutrition facts for the unsweetened version of this drink. The lemonade is about 1/3 of it and has some sugar, so it does have calories. How many, I don’t know! Not that much I’m assuming, maybe 60 cals?

P.S. I discovered the coffee frappuccino bases have high fructose corn syrup today for anyone out there who watches that stuff.

I also broke my “no buying any more mugs or tumblers with my sweet partner discount” rule. It was just too good to pass up!

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An insulated cup just for cold drinks. Just think of all the Deb inspired smoothies I could fill it up with!

 

Okay folks, time for the first round of questions and answers.

I got some excellent questions from y’all! I’m going to answer a little each day this week, as some deserve well thought-out answers. Since I’m short on time tonight, I’m going to tackle the easiest ones first ;) Don’t worry if yours isn’t featured here – I will be answering all of them in the days ahead!

 

Emily (The Experimentarian), said:

ooh! Question time! let’s talk about travel! Where is the coolest place you’ve ever been? Where would you like to go?

What is your favorite hobby besides blogging and working out? Is it crafting? Ha ha. Yay for arts and crafts! xoxo

Okay first, I’d have to say fitness is my number one hobby!! Chris is a huge car hobbyist, and one day I was complaining to him that I don’t have any hobbies. He was just like “Umm, Susan, you spend all your spare time at the gym or thinking about it.” Which is totally true. When I’m not working out, I’m reading about it, planning for it, talking about it. It kinda consumes me :\ 

But I do really enjoy playing my guitar when I feel inspired. I’ve also been known to knit on occasion, which I took up five years ago to help me quit smoking. And I know this is a lame hobby, but I still love the news! Watching it, reading it. I love keeping on top of current events.

As for travel, I wouldn’t say I’m a globe trotter, but I’ve been to some pretty neat places. The list: America (duh), Mexico, Cuba (twice), Jamaica, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg and France. Of all those places, I think the trip to Mexico with my mom to visit my sister (who was studying there at the time) was the most memorable. We stayed with a Mexican family in a city called Cuernevaca. We did a lot of travelling to the surrounding cities and got to see some of the real Mexican countryside. The food was also fantastic ;)

Right now there are a lot of places in the United States I really want to go to – Las Vegas, Washington DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Austin, to name a few ;) Overseas, I reeeeeally want to go to the UK. Ellie, I’m coming someday, I promise!!

 

julie,said:

i wanna knowww what’s your fav starbreezies drink!? now that you work there and all :)

I think my favourite coffee drink of all time (besides plain coffee) is a dry latte with two shots of espresso and a squirt of vanilla. I love my lattes foamy, but I prefer only a hint of sweetness and not the overpowering one that most Starbucks drinks have.

But, my favourite Starbucks-only drink is an iced caramel macchiato. There are many others I once had love affairs with, but unfortunately have been discontinued :(

Lori (Finding Radiance), Said:

My question would be: How do you plan on building your personal training business? Will you start at your current gym with advertising (guess not if you are moving?).

This is a good question, seeing as I never really went into how I plan on using my personal training certification. My goal now, is to get a job at my current gym chain. They’re the largest in Canada and are constantly hiring full and part-time trainers all over the place. Their trainers don’t have to seek out clients, but the clients are paired with trainers through the gym. So the “business” side of it would be taken care of.

That’s my short-term goal anyways. There are some privately owned and smaller gyms in the area that I’ll be looking into as well. There are also a couple companies around here that set trainers up with businesses who want them for their employees.

Long-term, I plan on getting my my Nutrition & Wellness certification so I can do a little fitness-based nutrition counselling as well. And of course, I want to do some freelance writing! Put all this knowledge out there to share :)

I’m still iffy about being a group fitness instructor. But ya never know, it could lead there. At the moment though, I’m more focused on working with individual clients.

 

Ashley Said:

So….I looked into buying a waffle iron the other day, because I love the look of yours (they are photogenic!) but the only one I could find was like $80. Which is a lot. I can buy a $20 one online and I was wondering whether its hard to go wrong with a waffle iron? Do you think I can get away with a cheapie? (I realise this probably isn’t what you meant when you invited questions….!!!)

I thought this deserved to be answered in a post because I get a lot of comments from people saying they want a belgian waffle iron. There are some nice ones out there that do all the fancy flipping stuff, but mine is just a “press.”

It’s a Proctor Silex Morning Baker Waffle Iron. I bought it at Walmart for close to $30. I have absolutely no complaints about it. It cooks up fast and makes giant fluffy waffles! I’d just be wary of the non-belgian style irons. I had one before that did two small rectangular waffles at once and it took forever to cook.

 

Well that wraps it up for today! I’ll be delving into some more of the “deep thought” Q’s tomorrow. If you have a question you’d like to add, leave a comment or send me an e-mail at thegreatbalancingact@gmail.com :)

 

Question of the Day: Any old foods you used to love but now “healthify?” I used to be a french fry person, but now I make all sorts of fry substitutes. Like butternut squash fries, yuca fries and most recently green bean fries!

Staying Accountable!

Love all the questions I’m getting! Keep ‘em coming, I’m thinking I’ll do a series of posts answering them this week :)

My body clock got the hint today and let me sleep till 7am. Thank you!! I had spin class at 8:30, so I kept breakfast light.

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Two Nature’s Path maple cinnamon waffles with peanut butter and strawberry jam on top. Not very photogenic is it? On the bright side, the days are going to start getting longer again after Dec 23. So it soon won’t be dark at 7am anymore!

After a couple days of lacklustre workouts, today’s RPM spin class was just what I needed!! My legs finally felt recovered after my day off work yesterday. One of the instructors showed up to take the class, but ended up hopping up front to help teach it. Can I just say that all the instructors at GoodLife Fitness in Fredericton are awesome? I always talk about my “favourite” ones. But really, I love them all. They’re what make the classes so fun and motivate me to keep wanting to go back!

I was hungry when I came home, so I had a small snack to keep me going till my early lunch.

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Three puny dates stuffed with PB and a PVL Peach Whey Cooler.

I worked 12-5pm today, so I ate lunch before I left.

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I call this an “egg torta” because it’s just like the ones I ordered when I was in Mexico. Really, it’s just fried eggs (1 whole + 2 whites), cheese, mayo, tomato, onion, sprouts and spinach on a toasted bun. Holy yum. On the side is a sliced braeburn with a healthy dose of cinnamon.

Work wasn’t so bad today. I stuck to the cash register and stayed relatively clean. I had one customer tell me I’m the only barista he’s seen smile profusely while taking an order. I told him it was the endorphins from spin class ;) In my experience, it’s a lot easier to be nice to people than mean or rude to them.

I haven’t been taking pics of my work eats lately, but Clif bars have become one of my new favourite snacks to eat on break. Especially the Carrot Cake flavour.

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I like them because they’re a little larger than the other bars I usually eat, so they hold me over for longer. I usually go 3-4 hours between breaks at work with lots of activity in between. I need the extra energy! I also had a short skinny vanilla crème today. Basically, 8oz of steamed skim milk with a couple squirts of sugar-free vanilla syrup. For 70 calories, I feel like I’m having a decadent treat :)

For some odd reason, I reeeally wanted chicken stuffed with laughing cow cheese and spinach for dinner. I had to laugh at myself when I lifted the lid on the george foreman grill. I may have been a little too keen and overstuffed just a tad ;)

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As always though, the messiest dishes are the tastiest!

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I had my chicken with some broccoli + cauliflower in Bragg’s and kale chips. Awesome meal! I always combine the foods on my plate. There were a lot of mouthfuls containing all three foods :)

In other food news, I made my first jar of nut butter!!!

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I knew I wanted my first batch to have maple syrup, which seemed to pair perfectly with the big bag of pecans I conveniently had in my cupboard. I didn’t have the patience to blend it until absolutely smooth. The food processor was starting to get hot and I was getting a headache! I also completely forgot to toast the pecans first. I was just too excited to get started on my first batch. It still turned out absolutely delicious though. My goodness. I licked the food processor clean! Can’t wait to top my oats with some maple pecan butter tomorrow :)

Checking in on those December goals…

Spend 30 minutes everyday cleaning something in my apartment.
I think I did this maybe 5 of 7 days? Not bad! Still not enough to keep my place clean though. I’m like the Tasmanian Devil. I leave a mess behind wherever I go :P

Stop procrastinating.
Again, I didn’t have much time to procrastinate! Any leisure time I took this week was decidedly so. I didn’t spend much time putting stuff off.

Read more.
I didn’t read anything besides articles this week. Not even Breaking Dawn!

Read at least one chapter a day from my personal training textbook.
I did really good at this one :) I’ve started bringing my textbook to work with me, and getting the chapter read on my breaks. Now I just need to start doing the online work and set up job shadowing…

Listen to my body.
I think I’m doing okay on this. I’ve definitely been eating a little more and not depriving myself. Still trying to figure out how not to exercise when I’m sore from work. I really like working out and get bummed when I can’t do it :(

Try more recipes.
I didn’t follow any recipes this week. I have tons of stuff planned for the holidays though, including making treats for gifts and dishes for Christmas dinner. I’ll get lots of new recipes in at some point!

Spend less on groceries.
I had to do a big grocery haul this week and feel really good about how much I spent. I have a bad habit of picking up everything that looks good to me. But this week I stopped and asked myself if I reeeeally needed 8 different kinds of fruit to get me through the week. I can actually survive on much less than I thought!

Get a grip.
I don’t quite know how to measure this one. But I can say, I am entering this week much more confident than I did last week, or the week before last. I feel like my mind is a lot more clear now that I’m not worrying and stressing about work so much. Going into Starbucks everyday requires no extra thought outside of my shifts. This alone has helped me become a lot more focused and get a sense of order back in my life.

 

Question of the Day: How are you doing on your goals this month? Anything you still want to achieve in these last couple weeks of 2009? Honestly, I’m just looking to get out of this month alive :P

 

Don’t forget you can still leave a question for me in the comments or e-mail them to thegreatbalancingact@gmail.com. It can be any sort of question, blog related or not. I’ll even get personal ;) First series of answers will go up on Monday. See ya then!

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