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New ‘Do + New-To-Me Recipes

Peek-a-boo!

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I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend!! Mine has been pretty low-key. Exactly what I needed after a couple hectic weeks.

Instead of hitting the streets of Toronto Friday night, I opted to lay in bed and read in my flannels. I’m currently hooked on this:

Between reading blogs and fitness/nutrition literature, I’ve reintroduced myself to adult fiction (there were a few years of only young adult fiction :P ). I’ve gone through about six books since June. At this rate, I’ll blow through The Lovely Bones in just a couple more days. Highly recommended!

The plan was to go for a run as soon as I woke up Saturday morning. But my body did that “awww hell nah” thing. So I opted to wake up slowly with a big ole’ bowl of oats.

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Mmmm… It’s not often I have hot oatmeal anymore!

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Topped with Lori’s pear cranberry jam + peanut butter. I let it digest for a couple hours and then hit the road running. I still wasn’t feeling very motivated, but seeing as I was out of coffee, I told myself I could stop for some on my way home.

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Having a Starbucks at the end of my running route could be dangerous! I’m trying to get into the habit of running on the weekends. Saturday I covered 4.5 miles in 45 minutes (I’m a solid 10-min pacer no matter what) along the lakefront trail. Unfortunately I was troubled with all kinds of pains. Knee pain during the run, hip pain lasting all day after the run. I need new running shoes!!! But I’m holding out until I get my new employee discount at the running store ;)

I came home and put a bag of frozen corn on my hip, then incorporated it into lunch.

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Corn & Cheddar Omelette. Mixed up a couple whole eggs with egg whites, milk and corn kernels. Then added old cheddar and Frank’s hot sauce for the filling. Awesome combo!

Saturday’s main event was a brand new haircut!!

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I feel so narcissistic for posting this :P I’d been tweeting about it though so I wanted to show the results! Nothing major in terms of length or style. But my last haircut cost me $12 and was so bad I didn’t like wearing my hair down. This new one was done by a legit big-city stylist thanks to my big sis <3 He kept calling my bangs a “fringe” and even showed me how to style it wavy without blow-drying. Most hairdressers insist I wear it straight!

On the way home I passed this scene:

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I try to act all blasé about seeing TV and movie sets in Toronto. I mean, I probably come across one once every few weeks now. But the curious person in me absolutely loves it. It looked like they were filming a winter scene. Some dude was shovelling snow on the street and all extras were in winter coats. Of course, the Toronto International Film Festival has also been going on!

Seeing as Sunday promised to be a busy day, I opted to do my weekly food preparations Saturday night. First up: Janetha’s Spinach Turkey Muffins.

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  • 20 oz lean ground turkey breast
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 package knorr vegetable soup mix
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • cumin, thyme, salt & pepper to taste (eyeballed it all)

Mix it all up and scoop into a muffin pan. I used a pound of turkey and adjusted the measurements a little. Also, I omitted the flax and added a pinch of dried garlic flakes.

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Baked at 350F for 45 minutes. They came out perfectly!

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Not pictured is all the ketchup that accompanied these babies. Ketchup is a must. 

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The veggie soup mix really gave these meat muffins a little extra sumthin’. Thanks for the awesome recipe JG!

Next up is Irish Brown Soda Bread. I found this recipe through Madeline who loves quick breads as much as I do ;)
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From My Recipes

Yield: 1 loaf (about 1 3/4 lb.)

Ingredients

  • 1  cup  all-purpose flour
  • 2  tablespoons  sugar
  • 1  teaspoon  baking powder
  • 1  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  cold butter or margarine
  • 2  cups  whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4  cup  regular or quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1 1/2  cups  plain nonfat yogurt
  • Milk

Preparation

1. In a bowl, mix all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture forms fine crumbs. Stir in whole-wheat flour and oats.

2. Add yogurt; stir gently. If mixture is too dry to hold together, stir in milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, just until dough holds together; it should not be sticky.

3. Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and knead gently 5 times to make a ball. Set on a lightly greased baking sheet. Pat into a 7-inch circle. With a floured knife, cut a large X on top of loaf.

4. Bake in a 375° oven until well browned, about 40 minutes. Cool on a rack. Serve warm or cool.

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As far as I can tell, the only difference between brown soda bread and the regular variety is that it’s partially whole wheat with a little sugar and oatmeal added.

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Uh-mazing. Because it’s a soda bread, it has a taste reminiscent of biscuits or scones. The crusty exterior is the best part though. Ohmy.

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I had a piece immediately out of the oven slathered in butter. It’s the one rule to making your own bread at home.

I was stoked to have more of the bread for breakfast this morning. But I couldn’t decide what to top my toast with…

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On one side of the ring we have more of Lori’s cranberry pear jam.

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On the other side was butter + vegemite.

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The bread was even more amazing toasted because it’s so crumbly. Both toppings were winners!

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Of course, what’s a Sunday morning without a little bacon and eggs ;)

From breakfast I went on to a free Vinyasa Yoga class at Lululemon which was amazing per usual. Then it was off to my first shift at my new job! I’m still personal training full-time, but now I’m working in a specialty running store 2-3 shifts a week as well. A little extra money, a way to meet people, and something to keep me out of trouble. I already learned so much about running gaits and how running shoes are constructed. Expect a post on it once I finish my training!

And with that, I am off to prepare my meals for my 15 hour work day tomorrow. Yes. You read that right. I’m looney tunes.

 

!!Don’t forget Project Food Blog voting opens on Monday! Click here if you would like to vote for me. You can check out my contestant profile here. Or read my first challenge entry: Ready, Set, Blog! I’ll be annoying you about this daily – thank you for any and all support!

 

Question of the Day: What’s your favourite thing to eat on toast? Mine is soft poached eggs. Although I supposed it’s something I dip my toast into ;)

Favourite Food Pairings

Well, we are at the hump. A little more frightening than usual, because I only have 8 days of work left! Jeez louise. I’m trying really hard to finish up all my ongoing projects so I don’t leave a bunch of half-finished stuff for the girl coming back to the position (I was filling in for her as a communications officer for 4 months). So much to do! I’m also kinda bummed I won’t get to be involved in some of the fun future projects. There’s never a shortage of things to do at the university!

So as I alluded to in my last post, I decided to try out a different gym this morning. I’m quite lucky here as my gym membership allows me access to four different locations in town, and on top of that, I can use the facilities at the university I work at.

I am very attached to my campus gym. It was inside those walls that I fell in love with exercise during my undergrad. It’s a little bare-bones, but full of memories nonetheless. I got there right when they opened at 6:30am, and immediately noticed some of the same regulars from when I was a student!!

Went in planning on doing an upper-body workout, but felt like doing some squats (what??) once I got there. Here’s how it went down:

Warm-up on treadmill:

Minutes Speed – MPH Incline
0-3 3.5 0
3-4 5.5 0
4-5 6.0 0
5-6 6.5 0
6-7 7.0 0
7-8 5.5 1
8-9 6.0 1
9-10 6.5 1
10-11 7.0 1
11-12 5.5 2
12-13 6.0 2
13-14 6.5 2
14-15 7.0 2
15-16 5.5 3
16-17 6.0 3
17-18 6.5 3
18-19 7.0 3
19-20 3.5 0

I pretty much made up the weightlifting as I went along. I started with a compound move that works my whole body, opting for a lighter weight to warm-up my muscles a little more. Then I did alternating sets between lower-body and upper-body moves. The justification behind this was to get my heart rate up working my legs, because it goes down during the arm moves. Here we go!

Exercise Weight Reps Sets Area
One arm dumbbell snatch  20 lbs 10 3 Legs, Shoulders
Alternating Sets:        
Step-up  40 lbs 10 3 Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Calves
Barbell bench press  45 lbs 10 3 Chest
Alternating Sets:        
Stiff leg deadlift 50 lbs 10 3 Hamstrings, Glutes, Lower back
Wide-grip lat pulldown  50 lbs 10 3 Back
Alternating Sets:        
Sumo squat 55 lbs 10 3 Quads, Glutes
Dumbbell shoulder press  15 lbs (ea) 10 3 Shoulders
Alternating Sets:        
Cable bicep curl  25 lbs 10 3 Biceps
Cable pushdown  25 lbs 10 3 Triceps

I finished of with one set each of plank, roll-up, side knee drops, bicycle crunches.

Awesome, awesome workout! When I was thinking about going to the gym to lift weights last night, I was feeling really uninspired (and lazy) about it. But then I had the idea to go to a different gym. The thought of something new immediately energized me and I was looking forward to this. Sometimes a change of scenery is all it takes!

I don’t have a picture of breakfast, but it made me realize kiwi needs to be added to my banned foods list along with pineapple. I had some with yogurt this morning, and abdominal distress immediately followed. Something that happens often with kiwis. While my reaction isn’t as bad as pineapple, I don’t believe kiwi is tasty enough to endure a couple hours pain. Also, it makes my mouth feel kinda itchy??

Moving on! Here’s a picture:

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Leftovers. Salmon and quinoa to be exact. 

Paired with one of the best pairings there is.

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Carrots + salsa. Better than carrots and hummus, or carrots and almond butter.

Afternoon snack was another killer combo!

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Orange + almond butter. Spread a little AB on each slice. Y-u-m.

Dinner!

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A monstrous omelet. Rawr.

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Stuffed with turkey, hummus, feta, olives, spinach, tomatoes, among other things. Hummus + eggs = another winning combo!

After dinner, I finally took my antsy poodle for a walk. The skies cleared up and it was even warm!

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Archie is actually really good at walking right beside me. Sometimes he gets hold of a “scent” so I humour him while I pees for the 105th time.

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“Scent” in quotation marks, because I don’t think he has much of a sense of smell. Of course, this coming from a girl who grew up with a basset hound.

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Heyyy, what’s up.

I think it’s time the trees start growing leaves already…

 

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Getting impatient for summer to arrive!

We were out for about an hour, and both crashed when we came home (after a few downward dogs, of course). My legs are beat after these past few days of exercise.

Now I’m just nibbling on some more no-bake protein cookies.

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Made with an extra tbsp of protein powder tonight, but otherwise the same. I sense a new snack obsession!!

I’ve also got a new batch of homemade protein bars setting in the fridge – chocolate banana peanut butter! Will share tomorrow :)

 

Question of the Day: What are your favourite food pairings? I really want to know! This is something I think about a lot. Some of my faves are:

  • dates + cashew butter
  • butternut squash + peanut butter
  • salmon + maple
  • chickpeas + cumin
  • tofu + eggs
  • turkey + hummus

Oh, and you’re not allowed to say banana and peanut butter, chocolate and peanut butter or PB&J! Haha.

See ya tomorrow for Waffle Wednesday! xoxo

Strength Training at Home

Personal training classes are officially done!!

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All I have left are my written and practical exams. Written exam will be multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank on April 16. Practical exam will be sometime after that. I’ll have to design an hour-long program and guide someone through it while being observed by my PRO trainer. Eek! I feel like I could use a lot of practice on spotting and explaining things properly. Hopefully I’ll be able to practice on a few people I know before then.

Alarm went off at 6am today, which is mega-lame for a Sunday. I did however make that hot breakfast I promised ;)

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A sweet omelette Ellie style. One cup egg whites, mixed with 1 scoop vanilla protein powder and cinnamon. Fried and filled with mixed frozen berries and almond butter.

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Topped with sugar-free syrup because it just felt right. Good times y’all. This will definitely get a remake!!

No pictures of snacks today. I need a break from my boiled egg photos. For our last personal training class, we just went over some of the business aspects. I have no idea where I’ll be training. I was all gung-ho on a Goodlife Fitness gym, but the feedback I’m hearing on it isn’t that great. Of course, I’ll take whatever I can get when I’m in Toronto, but it would be neat to try something different like boot camps or work on wellness stuff in offices. Of course, writing my little heart out too! ;)

Oh, also notable, I got lost on my way home. I missed the turn-off to my city and ended up on the road to the U.S. border (to Maine). Oops! I managed to get turned around pretty quickly, but there were definitely a few panicked moments and cuss words thrown about.

Dinner was whipped up in 10 minutes, and I was sitting down to eat by 5pm!

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Tofu pan-fried in sesame oil and Bragg’s, with a whack of Europe’s Best Imperial Blend. It’s got edamame, water chestnut, snap peas, mushrooms, bell peppers, carrots and bamboo shoots.

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All topped with Diana’s teriyaki sauce and black sesame seeds. The bamboo shoots almost remind me of pineapple in both texture and taste. Or, from what I remember of pineapple, since it makes me sick!

Requisite after-dinner chocolate…

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President’s Choice European extra-dark. It’s alright. I think it’s 85% which is a touch too dark for me, 70-75% seems to be what my tastebuds like best.

 

Strength Training at Home

M. Said:

Could you do a post on this pretty please?….

if one was going to buy a few workout items for home (cheap hopefully!)

what kind of free weights do you recommend and at what weights/how many?

what else-a balance ball?

Would be awesome to know if one could use above items to cover strength training(and abs) at HOME,cause I can’t afford a gym…

Would be SUPER GRATEFUL for a post with advice/tips/what to do!

Thanks if possible.I would be happy if I knew I could get enough strength training in for all body parts at home somehow with free weights….

Merci!

Ask, and you shall receive!

You actually don’t need much to get in a decent strength training workout at home. All you really need is your body! Think about it, our bodies are 100+ lbs of weight to throw around, that sounds like a pretty hardcore workout to me ;)

I did a post on bodyweight exercises waybackwhen, but I see some of the pictures and links in it have expired. To recap, some awesome equipment-free things to do include:

Squats
Lunges
Squat jumps
Lunge jumps
Push-ups
Dips
Planks
Burpees
Mountain climbers
Jumping jacks

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! There are a million variations of those moves, and the great thing is they’re not only resistance training, but will also keep your heart rate up.

Now, as for specific equipment, you will need a mat. Especially for floor exercises. Carpet can be really uncomfortable when you have to kneel on it. Not to mention the fibres get stuck on you when you’re rolling around on the floor sweaty :\

As for weights, these Bowflex adjustable dumbbells are my dream item:


But, they can also cost almost $500. Something that’s a little more affordable would be closer to this weight set.


You can usually find these for under or close to $100. They’re kind of flimsy, but you get a barbell that adjusts into two dumbbells and over 100 lbs of weight.

If that’s not up your alley, then 5, 10, 15 & 20 lb dumbbells should be a good starting point. That’s enough for most women, or newbie men (although 30 lbs + would be required for intermediate men). Most exercises that require a barbell can be adjusted for dumbbells, and that’s always an additional investment you can make further down the road if you want to.

If you’re lifting weight, a bench is also something to consider.

This could run you another $100, reeeeally nice to have, but not necessary. As mentioned, a ball can be subbed in for many of the exercises you would need a bench for.

  
I also can’t forget tubing/resistance bands.

You can buy tubing in a variety of widths, all at a different resistance. There are a gazillion exercises you can do with tubing. Everything from the seated row seen here, to shoulder presses, bicep curls, donkey kicks. etc. I don’t personally use bands a lot, just because I prefer adding load in the form of actual weight. But these bands work your muscles just as well, and you will be sore the next day! Google can give you better exercises than I can, a quick search led me to this page full of fun animated demonstrations. I just have to stress, that when using bands it’s all about FORM. Don’t let the bands own you, keep it a nice and controlled movement, otherwise you could pull something and do unintentional injury!

Question of the Day: Any at-home strength training items you think are a must? As mentioned, I’m a strong believer that all one needs is their body, imagination, and a sense of humour ;)

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