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When one door closes, another one opens…

Phew! What a day! I worked my last shift at the radio station (old job) and then went straight from there to work at Starbucks (new-ish job). 5am – 5pm. I’m wiped!

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? I’m sorry if you’re tired of looking at breakfast cookies. I’m actually looking forward to having a hot breakfast again tomorrow!

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  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 scoop chocolate whey protein powder
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • M&Ms
  • 1 tbsp marshmallow fluff
  • splash almond milk

I ran out of coffee again and had to resort to gas station coffee. Not cool.

My snack isn’t photogenic, but the best ones usually aren’t ;)

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Plain yogurt, one scoop vanilla protein powder, cinnamon, raisins. Yum. I love how raisins get all soft when they sit in yogurt overnight.

Luuuunch, eaten at 10am (for the last frickin time!)

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Bagel breakfast sandwich (yay Sammie Saturday!). Just a toasted whole wheat bagel with a microwaved egg and marble cheese.

And a battered pear.

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All eaten while reading blogs, in this case Hallie’s (I’m still drooling over the thought of the Reese’s cookies that could have been…)

I had a perfect assignment for my last day at the radio station – I got to cover a local 5k race! It was fun :) And I ran into reader Faith Ann (hi!!!).

It was definitely strange cleaning out “my drawer,” throwing out literally years worth of old press releases, council agendas, court dockets and government reports. It was strange to listen to my noon newscast and think, “This may be the last time I hear myself on the radio.” Which, after two and a half years, was something that I still got excited about.

I didn’t leave without a little memento though:

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My personal mike sock. We all had our own to prevent the spreading of germs. Ooohh the news that was told through that thing…

That wasn’t it for work though, I was scheduled to work at Starbucks immediately after. How’s that for a transition?

I fuelled up for my afternoon of Saturday mall madness with two Peanut ButterNut Squash Muffins.

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My little fat bombs I like to call them ;) Each muffin has 12g of fat. 10g of it comes from the PB, 2g from the canola oil. That’s good news for me, as my diet is always too low in fat. Not to mention, it makes them mega filling!

Starbucks was crazy busy! Today was my first shift on the floor (I’ve been doing training books up to this point). I immediately got back into “my zone” and I just felt like I was back home. It flowed out of me so naturally. All the sad feelings I had leaving the station today disappeared. Once I got there, I could feel it in my gut I’d made the right decision.

At some point I had the chance to sit briefly and eat this:

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I was too busy to even notice if I was hungry. But eating it actually started to stir my hunger!

Before leaving for the day, I also got to bring home probably the best work perk.

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A free pound of coffee. A week. Which works out perfectly, because I just ran out of coffee, and I go through exactly one pound a week! Suh-weeeeet!

I jazzed up my pasta sauce again for dinner. I was going for fast and easy.

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Stuffed peppers. Or rather, pasta sauce dumped on pepper halves and baked. With parmesan cheese on top. Kinda looks like snow, which fits the Christmas theme of the peppers ;) This was another delicious way to use the sauce – and filling!! Stuffed peppers always, well, make me stuffed.

 

Now I am currently sprawled on my couch. Nursing a little foot and back pain from running around on my feet all afternoon (need comfy work shoes stat!!). I also smell heavily of mocha syrup, and I think I may have whipped cream in my hair. I’m exhausted from my 12 hour day, but, I’m happy :) I can’t explain it, but things are beginning to feel right again. I wish I started listening to my gut a long time ago…

 

See ya tomorrow for the goals check-in!!

Final monthly goal check in!

Loved hearing all your favourite muffin varieties!! I’m a big muffin head. I blame it on my mom, who didn’t let me eat them as a small kid because I would crumble them everywhere and make a HUGE mess (don’t worry mom, you made up for it by teaching me how to make a mean chili). One muffin variety that piqued my interest were Ellie’s “kitchen sink muffins” with carrot, zucchini, raisins, banana, and walnut. Doesn’t that sound fab? Must add that to my ever-growing list of things to bake…

Moving on!

I caved and bought dark chocolate M&Ms yesterday, so you know they found their way into my breakfast cookie today.

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  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • M&Ms
  • splash almond milk

All mixed up, flattened out on a plate and set in the fridge overnight :) One of my coworkers came in a FIVE A.M. this morning while I was chowing down on my cookie. It scared the crap out of me! But it was nice to see a friendly face. Normally I’m there all by my lonesome on the weekends.

Snack was one of my chocolate banana protein bars muffins.

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I put peanut butter on it last night before wrapping it up again, that’s why it looks funny. I also heated this up before eating, as that usually makes bad baked goods taste better. But it made it squeaky :\ Like, it squeaked in my teeth. It was still edible with the PB though. And surprisingly filling!!!

“Lunch” (I always put that in quotation marks because I eat it at 10am) was a smoked salmon bagel sandwich. 

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I finally found decently priced local smoked salmon at my grocery store – it’s my new favourite thing! It had laughing cow cheese, mustard, onions and spinach as well. There was an orange in there too, but I trust you know what that looks like ;)

I immediately dug into my Peanut ButterNut Squash Muffins when I got home from work.

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Wait. You hear that? Oh, that’s just me tooting my own horn. *Toot toot* :P I’m in love with these muffins! Besides the perfect marriage of the PB and squash flavours, the texture is perfection for me. Soft, dense and a little crumbly. Nomnomnom.

Then I read a chapter of Eclipse, and proceeded to conk out for an hour. One of those naps where I just remember closing my eyes, then all of a sudden I open them and it’s an hour later. I laid around for a bit, waiting for my post-nap drowsiness to subside. Then had another snack in preparation for a long gym visit:

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Bananas, dates and almond butter. I don’t always photograph it because it’s redundant, but if you’re reading about a workout on here, you can just assume I had some variation of this beforehand. Never fails me.

My gym visit today was ohsogood. I’ve been doing a combo of HIIT, upper-body weights and abs on Sundays lately, so that’s what I stuck to. Since I only ran once this past week, I decided to do all my cardio on the treadmill. I ended up with three separate variations of HIIT on the treadmill. It was awesome. I felt h-core.

Warm-up:
Walk/jogging on the treadmill for 5 minutes

HIIT:
incline = 1%
0:00-1:00 – 6.0 mph
1:00-2:00 – 6.2 mph
2:00-3:00 – 6.4 mph
3:00-4:00 – 6.2 mph
4:00-5:00 – 6.4 mph
5:00-6:00 – 6.6 mph
6:00-7:00 – 6.4 mph
7:00-8:00 – 6.6 mph
8:00-9:00 – 6.8 mph
9:00-10:00 – 6.6 mph
10:00-11:00 – 6.8mph
11:00-12:00 – 7.0 mph
12:00-13:00 – 6.8 mph
13:00-14:00 – 7.0 mph
14:00-15:00 – 7.2 mph

A1 – Wide-grip lat pulldown:
3 sets @ 55 lbs x 8

A2 – Dumbbell shoulder press:
3 sets @ 15 lbs (ea) x 8

B1 – Seated cable row:
3 sets @ 50 lbs x 8

B2 – Dumbbell bench press:
3 sets @ 20 lbs (ea) x 8

B3 – Tricep dips:
3 sets @ bw x 8

HIIT: (a la Janetha)

incline=0 – 2 min @ 5.5
incline=0.5 – 1 min @ 6.0
                       1 min @ 6.5
                       1 min @ 7.0
                       1 min @ 7.5
incline=1.0  – 1 min @ 6.0
                        1 min @ 6.5
                        1 min @ 7.0
                        1 min @ 7.5
incline=1.5 – 1 min @ 6.0
                       1 min @ 6.5
                       1 min @ 7.0
                       1 min @ 7.5
incline=2.0 – 1 min @ 6.0
                       1 min @ 6.5
                       1 min @ 7.0
                        1 min @ 7.5
incline=0 – 2 min @ 5.5

A1 – Swiss ball crunch:
3 sets @ 11 lbs x 15

A2 – Russian twists:
3 sets @ 11 lbs x 30

A3 – Reverse crunch:
3 sets @ bw x 8

HIIT:
incline = 0%
0:00-1:00 – 3.0 mph
1:00-3:00 – 3.5 mph
3:00-4:00 – 8.0 mph
4:00-6:00 – 3.5 mph
6:00-7:00 – 8.5 mph
7:00-9:00 – 3.5 mph
9:00-10:00 – 9.0 mph
10:00-12:00 – 3.5 mph
12:00-13:00 – 9.5 mph
13:00-15:00 – 3.5 mph

Cooldown:
Bah! Accidentally skipped it! I was so hungry when I finished, I ran out of the gym. But no worries, I foam rolled and stretched at home while my dinner heated up ;)

This workout took me almost 90 minutes and I loved it! HIIT on the treadmill is so much fun, I ended up covering just over 5 miles. And Janetha, I lovelovelove your routine. I was a sweaty mess at the end of it, and I even skipped the final sprint because I knew there was more in my future.

As previously mentioned, I was ready to eat my arm off when I finished. I grabbed the quickest, most filling thing I could thing of when I got home. Frozen leftovers of moo-beef chili.

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I realized I was lacking in the green department today, so I heated two big handfuls of spinach into it. Hit the spot! Just what I needed.

 

Final November Goals Check-In!

I cannot believe it’s almost December. Wow. This was my first month checking in every week on my goals, and it really kept me motivated. With that said, I feel I only accomplished maybe half of them. I don’t see that as a bad thing though, I may never have accomplished any of them had I not set the goals in the first place!

Have fun workouts.

Monday – Step class at the women’s gym. Sosososo fun. I LOVE this class.

Tuesday – 5 miles speedwork on the “dreadmill,” except I really enjoyed it!!! I swear, I really did ;) I’m a sucker for intervals, they make anything fun.

Wednesday – Rest day.

Thursday – Body Pump at the gym, followed by HIIT on the elliptical. It was “meh” but got the job done.

Friday – Spun my little heart legs out in spin class. I pushed myself and it felt good!

Saturday – Rest day. Broke my quads in spin.

Sunday – HIIT extravaganza on the treadmill with some upper-body weights and abs. Best way to spend a “lazy” Sunday afternoon :)

I also did no yoga this week! My schedule didn’t jive with yoga classes, and I suck at getting motivated to do it at home.

Be less complacent with food.
I’m still feeling okay with this. I definitely feel like I’m “on track” and my food choices are for the most part deliberate.

Get more sleep.
Again, it’s hard to switch from early morning shifts on the weekend, to evening shifts throughout the week. But I did okay once I got into the swing of it. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had 8 hours though…

Make it through the last month of work with a positive attitude.
My co-workers set up a going away get-together for me!! How sweet!!! I’m not incredibly close with any of them, so I’m very touched by the gesture. My schedule for this last week is going to be tough, but having that in there should make it easier :)

Try my best to not let anything hold me back.
Um, I registered to get my personal training certification this week. I finally followed my heart and took the plunge. I say I excelled at this goal.

Figure out a way to get into the holiday season.
I’ve been smiling at all the pretty lights that are starting to pop up :) I’m getting really antsy to see my family again too. Definitely feel like I’m entering December with a positive attitude.

Spend more time with my grandparents.
I really wish I did better at this one, as I only got the chance to see my Nana once. I still have two other grandparents in another city that I never get to see.

Be more honest with people.
Check and check. This goal has been on the back of my mind a lot this month. I think I moved forward a lot by being more honest with people, it’s something I’m definitely going to continue to think about and strive to do.

Look for a job.
How about got a job :D Albeit, it’s just another temporary gig at Starbucks. But a paycheck is a paycheck my friends.

Start playing music again.
This is my biggest fail of the month. I don’t want to push it though. I’ll start playing again when I feel inspired again.

 

Re-reading that, I feel pretty good about it actually. Tomorrow, I’ll do another instalment of “Things I Learned This Month” and then Tuesday will be a whole new set of goals for December!

 

Question of the day: What’s one thing you feel you accomplished this month?

You Win Some, You Lose Some…

I just realized something. When I finish at my job next weekend, there will be no more weekend breakfast cookies!! *Tear* Perhaps it’s something I will have to keep up on the weekends. Especially since I like to do “weekend breakfasts,” like waffles, mid-week anyways ;)

This morning was my new favourite – a s’muffernutter breakfast cookie.

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  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 scoop chocolate whey protein powder
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • splash water (didn’t have almond milk last night)
  • marshmallow fluff
  • mini chocolate chips

Snack was another favourite – chopped pear and cottage cheese.

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Dude. Bartlett pears are 74 cents a pound at the Atlantic Superstore. Sorry $2.49/lb honeycrisp apples. You’ve been replaced.

Lunch” was egg white pillows on a whole wheat bagel with laughing cow cheese.

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And edamame.

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Love these little single-portioned containers. Perfect for lunches!

After a quick stop to the grocery store, I came home and got my bake on. First up, Peanut ButterNut Squash Muffins. Y’all know I have an aversion to pumpkin but peanut butter on butternut squash is one of my favourite things to eat. So why not make them into muffins?

I adapted this recipe from Meghann’s Pumpkin Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins which was apparently adapted from VeggieGirl’s Banana Peanut Butter Bread which was apparently adapted from the Veganomicon Cookbook. Phew! These muffins have been around!

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  • 1 cup mashed butternut squash (I cooked one in the microwave and just scooped it out)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/8 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze, added to the batter as needed

Mix the flour, baking soda and spices together. In a separate bowl, mix the squash, applesauce, oil, sugar and maple syrup. Slowly add wet mixture to the dry, and add almond milk to get it to that “muffin consistency” (hope you know what that is!) Bake in a 350 F oven for 20 minutes (it took mine longer for some reason). This made 12 decent sized muffins.

I of course had one immediately out of the oven slathered in Earth Balance!

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Ohmylanta. Uh-mazing. Now, you must understand, my baking expectations for myself are pretty low (you’ll understand when you see my next experiment). But these are the best muffins I’ve ever made!! Both the butternut squash and peanut butter flavours shine through, and are perfectly balanced. The texture is very dense and soft, not sickly moist like when you bake with pumpkin. I also may have quadrupled the cinnamon from the original recipe, which I think helped a lot ;)

Now. My next, uh, experiment. Well, I was not nearly as pleasantly surprised with this. I had a bruised and battered banana that needed to be used, but didn’t want any more muffins in my apartment. So I wracked my brain (and internet) and ended up with chocolate banana protein bars. They’re based on the Strawberry Banana Meal Replacement Bars I found here.

  • 1 cup raw oatmeal
  • 5 scoops of strawberry protein powder ( 90g of protein) – I used 6 scoops of my chocolate whey protein powder
  • 1/4 cup fat free cream cheese – I used 4 laughing cow cheese wedges
  • 1/2 cup non fat dry milk powder – Omitted, ran out
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup water – Replaced with 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 1/2 bananas, mashed – Just used one
  • 2 tsp. canola oil

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9×9 square pan with cooking spray & set aside. In a medium bowl combine oatmeal, protein powder & dry milk. Set aside. In another bowl beat together with an electric hand mixer, cream cheese, egg whites, bananas, water & oil. Add the oat mixture & continue to beat until the two are combined. Pour batter into the prepared pan & bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

First and foremost, they are not muffins. But I don’t own a 9×9 baking pan, or anything remotely close. So I made what I thought would be “circular bars.” Except they puffed up!!!

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I have no idea how this happened! :P The mix was super liquidy and I was expecting them to just harden in the oven. Apparently not. They’re a little squishy, but texture-wise not too bad. It’s just the protein powder. I love the taste of protein powder. But it’s too sweet for me in baked goods. At least in chocolate form anyways. I’m still going to eat them though. Anything is edible with nut butter on it ;)

I was going to make hummus after this, but I ran out of garbanzo beans!! I always have a can on hand so I didn’t bother picking any up at the grocery store. Boo :(

I kept my oven working for dinner, roasting (or baking, whatever) a chicken breast, sweet potato, mushrooms and onions.

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I covered the chicken in some Kirkland organic no-salt seasoning then topped the sweet potato with cottage cheese. Wonderful meal, the chicken was SO juicy!! I think I’m starting to get a hang of this poultry thing.

Now I’m stuffed!! I snacked a lot while I was in the kitchen and cleaning today. But alas, tomorrow is a new day. I took a rest day today because my quads are still wrecked from Friday’s spin class. Now they should be good to go for one of my notorious Sunday afternoon gym visits ;)

Hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend!

 

Questions of the Day:

1. What is your favourite kind of muffin? Mine is carrot (no surprise there) but runner ups would be apple oatmeal and banana nut.

2. What is your worst baking FAIL? My first attempt at cupcakes in high school was probably my worst. The pages in my mom’s cookbook stuck together, and I accidentally added three whole eggs to the dozen-sized batter. They turned into little egg cakes :P

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