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Sweet Gifts and A New Routine

Reason #592 why I love blogger friends.

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Because even when I can’t have lunch with some of them, we can still share food :)

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A ginormous THANK YOU to Lori who thought of me after making homemade buckwheat honey marshmallow fluff. She immediately popped a jar in the mail to spread the fluff love.

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If you know anything about me, you know that I immediately popped the lid off and scooped it out with my finger.

Ohmygoooood SO good! I love the honey flavour in the fluff. I must try making this now that I’m finally all settled in a kitchen!

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As a bonus, she included a jar of homemade pear cranberry jam. I’m not going to beat around the bush here. This jam is uh-mazing. Love the combo of these two fruits, juuuust sweet enough, and the chunky texture is fabulous.

Lori, that coffee shop we’re opening can’t come soon enough! ;)

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I picked up the goods last Thursday night and had to try them all on my oatmeal Friday morning. A trifecta!

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Too bad I ate this at 6am before natural sunlight made it through my windows. These kitchen photos don’t quite to it justice.

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And because I neeeeed nut butter on my oatmeal – almond butter.

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The pear cranberry jam made a reappearance for breakfast this morning.

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Made protein pancakes by mixing:

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup unflavoured soy protein powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stevia packet
  • cinnamon, lots of it
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 cup almond milk

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I thinned out a tablespoon of almond butter with almond milk to get more out of it.

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PB&J pancakes on a Monday morning?? I’ll take it! ;)

 

My mid-morning snack had been waiting patiently for me in the cupboard since yesterday.

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I heated it up in the microwave first before unravelling to the gooey centre.

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That right there is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Hands down.

 

Fret not, I haven’t just been eating sweet things.

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On Friday, I “healthified” a meal I used to love – beans and wieners. Oddly, this is not a dish I grew up eating like most people, but introduced to me by a boyfriend when I was 18. Same boy who introduced me to fluffernutter sandwiches as well. His childhood was apparently a lot tastier than mine.

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For this, I mixed together:

  • 1 can soy beans in a tomato sauce
  • 3 veggie hot dogs
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1/4 onion, carmelized with a clove of garlic
  • few handfuls spinach, cooked
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 can herbed tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp ketchup

I ate it plain on Friday, then re-heated on top of spinach with cheddar cheese tonight. Such comfort food!

 

Finally, I want to talk a little bit about my own personal exercise schedule. I’ve gotten so much into the habit of talking about exercise for other people that I forget some people like to hear what I am doing myself!

As mentioned in this post, I took a little break from exercise. This is something I do quite often. Every three months or so I take several consecutive days off all intense activity such as weight lifting, running, spinning, etc. It’s a welcome physical break for my body, which gets put through quite the beating with my workouts everyday. But it’s an even better break for my mind. Working out all the time can really drain you mentally.

This summer has obviously been a little hard on my workout schedule what with moving, getting a job in a gym, then giving up my old gym membership. Even worse is that I like to rely on the outdoors in the summer months for my exercise. But I only do it when it’s enjoyable – and running in the heat is not enjoyable. We’re on track for being the hottest summer on record here. I have been without a working bike since the spring. I eventually got bored of my same ole’ gym routine snuck in between clients. I burned out.

After 5 days of complete rest, I hopped on the elliptical last Friday for 50 minutes. Nothing too hard, but I still found it exhausting. I took Saturday off again, then did some yoga and a lot of walking yesterday.

I’m happy to report that I’m finally feeling recharged and enthusiastic about starting a new chapter of fitness for myself. After perhaps too much thought, I’ve decided to start a split weight lifting routine. The only split I’ve ever done before is upper/lower body. My new split will have me working these muscle groups on separate days:

  • Back/Biceps
  • Chest/Triceps
  • Shoulders/Abs
  • Legs

I’ll be throwing a lot of cardio intervals into the mix, with a few fitness classes, yoga classes and hopefully running outdoors again if the heat ever stops. This is just my “starter split” and I expect to be experimenting a lot more as time goes on :)

Also – I’m leaving my heart rate monitor at home on lifting days. Of all the exercises in the world,  I love weight lifting the most. I’m seeing this as just staying at the gym to do an activity I love. No pressure of burning calories.

I won’t be posting every single one of my workouts in the main blog posts anymore because it’s just too time consuming for me. But I am going to work harder at constantly and consistently updating my fitness page with workouts y’all can try out for yourself :) I’ll also get better about including workout tidbits and new moves I learn in the regular posts because I am learning SO MUCH now as a working personal trainer.

 

So thurrr ya go!

Questions of the Day:

1. Weight lifting or cardio? I find most people are either or. I’m sure it says something about you!

2. Favourite kind of jam? Mine is blueberry! Or plain strawberry. Nothing with crunchy seeds please.

Things I Learned The Month I Found A New Home

Having a bed and a closet to put your clothes in is luxury I previously took for granted.

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Things have a funny way of working out. I definitely make the decisions, but the universe still nudges me around.

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Gaining weight is not the end of the world when trying to maintain a weight loss. But when you’ve been maintaining for so long, trying to lose again sucks.

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There is a very real possibility that this healthy living blog will exclusively turn into a waffle blog.

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I spent years being sleep deprived when an eye mask was all I needed. I now sleep close to 9 hours a night in utter darkness.

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Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter whisked with sugar-free syrup makes for a most excellent dipping sauce.

There is such a thing as too much bacon.

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I shouldn’t feel pressure to blog every single day, nor should I. In order to blog about my life, I have to live it :)

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I am a nerd of epic proportions, proved by squealing with delight at Harry Potter props with 13-year-olds.

This country girl may have a bit of a city girl in her.

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It’s possible to wake up one day and be living the life you always wanted.

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Marshmallow fluff makes the world go round.

Kensington Market eludes me.

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Getting paid to meet wonderful people and put them through workouts is amazing.

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I have a lot more drive and energy than I ever gave myself credit for. 

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It’s really important to actively stay in touch with people. Old friends, new friends, relatives. Don’t always count on others to make the connection.

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Pitas make the best easy pizza crust. No, really.

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I’m finally in a place where I can go out to bars with people, stay sober, and still have tons of fun. It’s taken a long time to get here.

No matter where I am or what I’m doing, I can always find a sense of comfort.

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Going to bed last night, I looked up and spotted the moon through my skylight. I spent a long time looking at it, just as I did as a little girl while sitting on my bedroom window seat. I think it would be so easy for me to feel an overwhelming sense of drowning in this big new city. But my heart is so full, my eyes so wide, and my mind so peaceful. Following my gut was the best thing I ever did.

Question of the Day: What did you learn in July?

Weekend Delight

Hellohello!! Hope everyone had wonderful weekends :) I went MIA yesterday, but hopefully my new Fitness Friday series was enough to hold you over! I’m trying not to get all bent out of shape about posting every single day anymore. When it comes to writing, I’m a true believer in quality over quantity. But I’m happy to finally be sitting down to share my weekend with you!

Let’s get to the highlights, in a topical and orderly manner.

 

Breakfast

I like to think of Friday’s breakfast as the black & white cookie of oatmeal.

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Dark chocolate dreams + marshmallow fluff atop protein oats.

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Post picture, I swirled together the two melted toppings. My father said marshmallow fluff is not appropriate breakfast fare. I beg to differ.

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I can’t get my new protein waffle recipe off my mind. On Saturday, I made another fluffy batch with date pieces cooked in. Dipped in a sauce of syrup and almond butter. It was nothing short of amazing.

This morning, I wanted more waffles, but was missing an ingredient.

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Next best thing – coconut walnut french toast. Bread dredged through a mix of two eggs, almond milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, flaked coconut and walnuts. Ohyes.

 

Snacks

A dark chocolate vitatop smothered in my Easy Peasy Cream Cheese Icing and flaked coconut.

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Just how easy is it? One wedge of laughing cow cheese + one tablespoon marshmallow fluff = instant deliciousness.

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New tasty snack thanks to Lynndates stuffed with cream cheese. Sugar and cream cheese were meant to be!

 

Music

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My friends rocked it out on Friday night. I’m trying to learn how to take decent band pictures. The low light and movement makes it pretty damn hard! The pictures don’t do them justice either, you can listen to The Station Agents here ;)

 

Exercise

During my fitness assessment last week, I realized that I’ve been ignoring my core a little too much. Okay, I hate working my abs. But I know having a strong midsection is so important to not just sports and exercise, but everyday mobility. So here’s the ab-focused full-body strength workout I came up with:

Exercise Sets Reps Load Target
Assisted pull-up  3 12 70 lbs Back, biceps
Push-up  3 12 Chest, triceps
Swiss ball crunch with dumbbell pullover  3 12 10 lbs Abs, upper back, chest
Curtsy lunge  3 24 30 lbs Quads, glutes
Swiss ball leg curl 3 12 Hamstrings
Prone jackknife  3 12 Abs
Front raise with lateral open 3 12 5 lbs ea Shoulders
Back extension on roman chair 3 12 10 lbs Lower back, glutes
Captain’s chair  3 12 Abs, hips
Cable pushdown  3 12 40 lbs Triceps
One arm cable bicep curl  3 12 12 lbs Biceps
Cable horizontal woodchop  3 12 25 lbs Obliques

I did these in mini-circuits of three exercises, indicated by the different colours. With a 15 minute cardio warm-up, whole thing took me 65 minutes :)

 

Beer

I did pretty well in terms of beer this weekend. I went out both Friday and Saturday nights, which provided ample opportunity to consume mass quantities of alcohol. I waited till Saturday night to splurge on any, and they were worthy splurges indeed.

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Mill St. Lemon Tea Beer: “Sunset-coloured (orangey-amber) slightly sweet, malty palate with dry lemon-tea finish. Beer made with addition of Black tea leaves and lemon in aging tank. Very smooth and quenching; unfiltered.”

Smelled like tea, tasted like beer! A good tasting beer, thumbs up.

On an impulse, I treated myself to my new favourite beer, Fruli.

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I know how some people feel about fruity beers, but this strawberry white is downright delightful.

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The view at Sin & Redemption pub isn’t too bad either. Nice bike, no? ;)

 

Sausage

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Because you can’t attend a barbecue without grilling up some of the delicious sausage prepared by your neighbourhood butcher. Featured here is a handmade garlic mushroom sausage. Probably one of the best sausages I’ve ever had. No joke. Not pictured is the sauerkraut that was eaten on top. Not audible are the “MmmMMmMmmms” made while eating this.

 

Salad

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Because there’s no better way to wrap up a weekend than with a giant bowl of greens. This one here included some kale, tuna, olives, mozzarella cheese, and a dressing made up of pesto and lemon juice whisked together.

 

Last but not least, I bought a watermelon for two dollars today. A pretty stellar end to a pretty stellar weekend, I’d say :)

 

Question of the Day: What are your weekend highlights?

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