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Working Girl

Before we even get into things, I have to address several comments I got in my last post that deeply concerned me.

Some of you do not know what marshmallow fluff is!!

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Marshmallow fluff my friends, is made up of sugary pillows sent straight from the heavens.

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In all reality, it’s a lot like spreadable marshmallows. Fabulous with anything peanut butter or chocolate related.

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I typically only ever use a tablespoon at a time, which only sets me back 24 calories.

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So there you have it! I typically don’t allow sweets like cookies or pastries in my pantry, but dark chocolate and marshmallow fluff are the two exceptions that must always be made :)

 

You may have noticed that I was MIA again yesterday – and with good reason! I’ve been working! After 2.5 months of being unemployed “between opportunities,” it’s nice to get up and have a job to go to. My days have a sense of purpose again. Plus, I was starting run out of things to complain about ;)

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Monday had a late start, so I took my time preparing my new protein waffle/pancake recipe.

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup unflavoured soy protein powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • several shakes cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/3 cup skim milk (it seems skim milk produces a different consistency than almond, before I used 1/2 cup almond milk)

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These weren’t any ordinary pancakes, ohno.

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I also added a tablespoon each of flaked coconut, walnut pieces and chopped dates.

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Made better only by the presence of iced coffee.

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In these troubling humid times, iced coffee is a must.

Now, y’all know I am not about fancy or complicated recipes. To me, the idea of simple food pairings is tasty enough. On Monday, I got to put together a pairing I’ve been dyyyying to try.

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Watermelon + feta cheese. It was delightful!! I love pairing berries with cottage cheese, or apples with cheddar cheese, and this combo was just as tasty. Watermelon is very sweet and juicy, which paired wonderfully with the saltiness of the feta. Thumbs up!!

I then proceeded to spend the rest of the day training clients at the gym! My very first client that I trained last week was back in and said she already felt a giant increase in energy and gained a ton of confidence at work. After a week! I was brimming with pride for her :D

T’was close to my bedtime by the time I made it home, so I opted for a light and simple dinner.

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A small chunky salad tossed in cottage cheese, feta & hummus. Looks gross, but I assure you, it was awesome.

Before I knew it, my alarm was blaring at 4:30am to get up and ready to hit the gym once again. It was eerily familiar to the days when I worked the morning shift as a radio newscaster.

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My years of getting up at 4am have turned me into a pro for these early mornings. I had these overnight oats and iced coffee waiting for me in the fridge. For the oats, I just mixed up some yogurt with a dash of milk, scoop of oats, raisins, fresh apricot, cinnamon, maple syrup and a dollop of almond butter. The measurements here don’t seem to matter, as I’ve noticed the outcome is always different for everyone. Experiment! :)

Today, I was shadowing one of our best trainers at the gym. He specializes in functional training, something I’m not overly familiar with, so it was really fun and interesting to watch! It’s not something I can see myself specializing in, but I really appreciate aspects of it, and would love to start incorporating more of it into my programs.

Even though I kinda wanted to go back home and pass out, I stuck around the gym for a workout of my own. Full-body:

Straight set x1:
One arm dumbbell snatch 12 x 20 lbs

Alternating sets x3:
One arm dumbbell row 12 x 25 lbs
Plie squat 12 x 25 lbs

Straight set x1:
Alternating Step-up w/ forward knee lift for 1 min
Alternating Step-up w/ back leg lift for 1 min

Alternating sets x3:
Standing one arm cable chest press 12 x 25 lbs
Bulgarian split squat 12 x 10 lbs

Straight set x1:
Mountain climber for 1 min

Alternating sets x3:
Barbell upright row 12 x 30 lbs
Good morning 12 x 45 lbs

Straight set x1:
Reverse lunge w/ forward kick 20 each leg

Alternating sets x2:
Skull crusher 12 x 30 lbs
Barbell curl 12 x 30 lbs

Straight sets x 2:
Plank 60 sec

Whole thing with 15 minutes warm-up on the treadmill and 5 minutes cool-down stretching took me 65 minutes and burned 450 calories. It also left me unable to run up and down the stairs in the subway station without my legs wobbling ;)

After the workout, I was ready to come home and nap. I closed my eyes and fell asleep for what felt like an hour, only to find 10 minutes had passed. I claimed defeat and made lunch.

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Giant kale salad topped with shrimp, egg whites, and a dressing made of pesto/laughing cow/lemon juice. The egg whites were an afterthought, and a delicious one at that! I just zapped half a cup in the microwave and added the bits to the salad. Such an easy and delicious way to add protein.

I also polished off this Chakra Bar that I hate half of on Monday.

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I purposely left the price tag on because $2.99 is pretty frickin’ steep for a granola bar. But if you look closely, there are two servings, which sort of justifies it. And in all honesty, the full bar is kinda huge (110g).

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Not gonna lie, I was attracted to this bar because of the ingredients:

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See that?? The first ingredient is love!! Not any kind of love, but organic love!! I’m such a sucker.

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The spirulina is what makes it green. According to the Chakra Bar website, spirulina  is “a blue-green algae and is known as a green "superfood". It has over 60% digestible vegetable protein, is jam-packed with vitamins and minerals and is a great source of chlorophyll (antioxidant).”

Taste-wise it had that “grassy green” taste to it, but I don’t mind it. It was a little sticky from the syrup, but I liked the additions of the seeds. I probably won’t buy it again because it’s $$$. But it was fun to try!

It is approximately here where I dropped off the face of the planet for three hours.

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I read the final Harry Potter book when it first came out, and forgot completely what happened!! It was like reading a new book all over again. But now I’m depressed it’s all over. Anyone else ever suffer from post-book depression? I think I may stick with this theme and re-read the final books in the Twilight and Golden Compass series. I love children’s fantasy novels, I cannot deny it. Plus, it is summertime and I want something that won’t make me think too hard ;)

I did eventually stumble out of my room, disoriented, to make a quick dinner.

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That would be grilled pork in a mesquite flavouring with a microwaved sweet potato slathered in Heinz BBQ beans. Classy :)

 

Now it is time to get my things ready for another 4am wake-up call. But I’m excited for my morning client. He wants to bulk up, which means some old-school heavy weightlifting, my favourite!!

 

Question of the Day: What’s on your summer reading list? Any recommendations for the class? As Holly would say, sharing is caring!!

Fabulousness + Rawlicious

Today was a day of fabulousness. <—Also fabulous is that “fabulousness” is a word according to my Windows Live Writer.

Anyways, here are all of the day’s fabulous events in order of occurrence:

1. Andy Schleck edged out Alberto Contador for the yellow jersey in Stage 9 today at the Tour de France.

2. I received three times the amount of money I was expecting for my tax return.

3. I got that job I interviewed for yesterday and reallyreally wanted (!!!!)

4. I celebrated all these fabulous things with a fabulous meal with fabulous bloggers tonight :)

 

Okay. I will stop using the word fabulous ;)

So about that job? I’ll be doing personal training in a Toronto-area gym starting next week! It really is the perfect gym and ideal situation for me and I could not be happier about it :D Of course, I won’t start making any money until I get clients, so that extra boost I got from the government today definitely helps!!

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For all the wonderful things that happened today, it was actually a pretty lazy morning and afternoon.

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Started with a Toronto-style bagel topped with butter + mixed berry jam.

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With a side of microwaved egg whites topped with laughing cow cheese. All on a Wall-E plate ;)

I had full intentions on going to the gym before lunch, so I thought a Run Glo Bar would be an appropriate pre-gym snack.

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I love the idea of a small nutrition bar meant specifically as pre-run fuel.

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Again, I liked how you could really taste the peanut butter, and it had dates! Those are always my go-to pre-run snack! I can totally see this being easily digested for energy before a run.

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Except, I didn’t end up going to the gym after eating this. I got caught up in the last 20k of today’s Tour de France, and then the Harry Potter book I’m reading started calling my name.

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I eventually had to break from all this laziness for lunch.

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I mixed some of my leftover white bean-pork-mushroom-pesto with chopped green pepper, red onion, zucchini, beets and feta. Holy delicious. I ate it cold like a salad and it was awesome!

I eventually did make it to the gym late this afternoon. Walked the 25 minutes there because I was too lazy (or impatient) to wait for the streetcar. I know this doesn’t make sense. Can you tell I was in a mood today?? :P

Went straight to the weight room and tortured myself thusly:

 

Exercise Load Reps Sets Target
Deadlift 65 lbs 12 3 Lower back, glutes, thighs
Forward lunge  40 lbs ea 20 3 Quads, glutes
Reverse fly  10 lbs ea 12 3 Upper back
Jump squats bodyweight 20 3 Quads, glutes
Dumbbell bench press  20 lbs ea 12 3 Chest
One arm dumbbell snatch  20 lbs 12 3 Shoulder, quads, glutes
Lateral raise w/ side lunge  5 lbs ea 12 3 Top/side shoulder, inner thighs, quads
Cable pushdown  45 lbs 12 3 Triceps
Single arm cable curl  10 lbs 12 3 Biceps
Prone jackknife  bodyweight 12 3 Abs
Stability ball leg curl bodyweight 12 3 Hamstrings, hips, calves

Colour coded to indicate straight or alternating sets! I really hated doing the jump squats between sets, so I know it was good for me :P I then proceeded to walk home in the humidity. I was starved by the time I got back!

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One thing I’ve noticed about Ontario is that the produce is cheaper than in New Brunswick. Cantaloupe is only 99 cents. 

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I’ve been eating excessive amounts of fruit now that it’s so hot out. That’s what summer is for I guess – it tastes so fresh and delicious!

I also snacked up on a little extra protein…

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Yes, protein desserts are still in my life. This is just a scoop of chocolate whey powder mixed with a tablespoon cocoa powder + stevia and a splash of water. Super rich and satisfying :)

I may have also been filling up on protein because of the blogger meet-up I had in store!!

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Angela got a recommendation for Rawlicious and we immediately had to try it!

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They have a mostly all raw-vegan menu and a super cute dining area!! We were in a room called the “Zen Den” hanging out on pillows and chatting away per usual.

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Jess, Angela, Laura, Kristin, Sarah, Me, Jessica, Jenn. Missing is Callie, she’s the photographer ;)

Rawlicious has a juicer on hand so I figured I might as well take advantage of it to continue the fight against this never-ending cold I have.

Veggie juice: celery, cucumber, parsley, carrot.

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Not bad actually. It tasted mostly of cucumber. I now know that juice is supposed to be drunk warm for whatever reasons, but seriously. Will a couple ice cubes really hurt?

We also ordered a Nacho Platter for the table: the classic trio of Guacamole, “Sour Cream” & Salsa, served with sliced green olives, green onions, hot banana peppers and a pile of Rawlicious Nacho Chips.

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Excuse the blurry picture, but I had to just say the raw tortilla chips were awesome! As was the “sour cream.” The consensus was that it was probably cashew based. I say it was based of deliciousness.

Everything on the menu sounded so unique and amazing. I finally ended up with a Taco Wrap: Seasoned Nut-Loaf, Guacamole, chopped Tomatoes, Red Onion, shredded Romaine, Salsa and Nut Cheese.

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Thumbs up!!! I asked for it without the guacamole (“allergic”) but otherwise everything on it tasted great! The nut-loaf was a little spicy and had a great crumbly texture. The nut cheese reminded me a little of hummus. I really enjoyed this, and for being a raw meal, it was pretty darn filling!!

When the waitress asked if we wanted to see the tea menu after the meal, I couldn’t help but take part.

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Knowing it was getting close to my bedtime, I chose one of the “non-caffeineted” ones, Rooibos Samarkhand: Rooibos, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, Calendula & Rose Petals.

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All served in a cute little mug to boot. Good for my sinuses!

There may have also been a little raw dessert action…

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Much better than my last raw dessert experience. Y’all know I’m a butter and sugar girl, but this raw brownie was definitely tasty! It was mostly coconut based, but my favourite part was the icing, which I think had something to do with coconut butter.

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Fun fact: Callie (right) and I are driving to Chicago together for the Healthy Living Summit!! Blogger road trip?? Yesplease :)

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I’m pumped that Sarah (left) and Angela (right) will also be at the Healthy Living Summit! Also, props to Jessica (mid-right) for suggesting the restaurant. It was a total win, and I have a feeling we’ll be going back to the “Zen Den” till we’ve tried everything on the menu!!

I should also thank Laura for her TTC tips (Toronto Transit Commission). Thankfully, I didn’t have to act crazier than the crazy people on the subway to stay safe on the way home. Another win!!

 

And with that, I bid you a goodnight!! *muah!*

A Blogging Fiesta

Hellooo!! How was everyone’s weekend?? Everyone watch the soccer match? Don’t care? I’m indifferent, it’s Tour de France season people!!! :P

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I have this bad habit of walking into bakeries, not to buy anything, but just to drool over the things they have on display. I found one not too far from my new place that had some Toronto-style bagels (as opposed to Montreal style). I asked the clerk what made them Toronto style and she had no idea. Thanks.

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I had one for breakfast on Saturday topped with laughing cow cheese and egg whites.

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I don’t care what style of bagel this is, it was delicious. Getting things fresh from a bakery makes a world of difference. A million times better than any bagged stuff at the grocery store!!

After blogging yesterday, I really did drag my sorry butt to the gym. I told myself I’d take it easy, and that’s just what I did. 35 minutes of sprint intervals on the elliptical, 10 minutes on the rowing machine, and 15 minutes of torture on the stepmill. Amazing how good an hour at the gym can make you feel for the rest of the day!!

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Popped the rest of the tempeh in the toaster oven with chopped onion and bbq sauce. Stuffed it in a pita with feta, tomatoes and romaine.

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I perhaps owe my first born to Lori for introducing me to the bbq-feta combo. SO good!! I still enjoyed the tempeh, however be forewarned, it’s not for everyone. I’ve heard it get compared to stinky feet before.

For dinner I went in the opposite direction. Traded in my vegetarian protein for some animal protein.

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Went to the grocery store and found these pork loins on sale. I then made up the following combination in my head as I browsed the grocery store aisles. Most of my dinners are created that way!

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Seared the chops on either side first, then cut them up and added white kidney beans, whole mushrooms and pesto to the pan.

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Meanwhile, I prepared a salad of simple garden veggies, including beets and olives because they rock my socks.

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You know what happened next…

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Haha, you can see the difference between the low light in my kitchen and the natural light in my living room. Anyways, the pork-bean-mushroom-pesto combo was amazing. Another great grocery store brainwave!!

And would you believe it if I said I was in bed before midnight last night? Yup! My body needed it as it’s still trying to fight off a stupid cold.

I woke up 9 hours later and immediately threw on my running gear for what ended up being a very hot 4-4.5 miles. I’d had intentions of being out earlier to run before the heat set in, but I slept too long!! It actually wasn’t that bad for being my first run in almost two weeks. But I am so happy I didn’t sign up for a half-marathon this year. I can’t imagine training in this heat. I’ll take the stepmill in my air conditioned gym anytime ;)

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I was still sweating even after taking a cold shower. I’d dreamed of thick and fluffy oatmeal pancakes but somewhere something went horribly wrong.

I made my usual protein pancake recipe (with 1/3 cup measurements) and didn’t bother blending it. They stuck to the pan!! I ended up with what looked like scrambled oatmeal.

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Some people may have thrown them out, but not I. Instead, I slathered them in almond butter.

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Then topped with yogurt, strawberries, blackberries and sugar-free syrup.

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And you know what? They tasted fantastic!!

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Best scrambled oatmeal ever. I’d actually make this again and again it was that good.

I made sure not to fill up on too many pancakes though, I had to save my appetite!!

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Suddenly, I don’t feel so strange for taking pictures of my food ;)

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Angela and I decided that a big healthy-living blogger fiesta was in order once I arrived in the city. She picked Calico Cafe based on their yummy looking vegan brunch menu and their ability to take large reservations! SO happy so many people could make it.

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Angela, Jess, Jenn, Therese, Callie

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Jenn, Kristin, Angela, Laura.  

Seriously you guys, how freakin’ lucky am I to be surrounded by so many fabulous women?? Also, anyone else ever notice that healthy living bloggers are always gorgeous and well dressed?? Just sayin!

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I ordered a chai iced tea to drink. Picture on the left was taken with my stock Canon Rebel lens, picture on the right was taken with Callie’s 50mm lens. Apparently they’re only 150 bucks or so and take stunning food photographs! I want one.

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Like many vegan restaurants, the menu at Calico Cafe is very unique. I ended up with a vegan omelette: creamy seitan filling, with potatoes, salad, toast + jam.

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The waiter told me the omelette was a mix of tofu and cornbread, but wouldn’t reveal anything else ;) This was my first time trying seitan and I really enjoyed it. It had a similar texture to tofu and was perfectly spiced in this dish.

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Thank you for coming out everyone!! I had a blast gabbing with them about everything from photography to seaweed to yoga. Next Sunday we’re doing a blogger potluck picnic, so if you couldn’t make it this time, e-mail me at thegreatbalancingact@gmail.com for details!! :)

While delicious, my meal wasn’t very filling. I was hungry again by the time I got home.

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Angela was sweet enough to bring Glo Bars for everyone. I pretty much tore into mine the second I bust through the door.

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Impressed by the nutrition stats!

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I really enjoyed the taste of this bar. The peanut butter really stuck out, and the huge chunks of cranberry were nice. I also really dig the incredibly gooey and crispy texture. Thank you Angela!! Hopefully I’ll get to see you in Oakville soon ;)

 

On that note, I am going to wrap up this incredibly long post and leave you to the rest of your day. I’m off to read a book. Don’t be fooled by how smart that statement sounds, I’m reading Harry Potter for the gazillionth time ;)

 

Question of the Day: What was the best thing you ate all weekend?? I love asking this question because I always get such great answers!! Mine was the above “oatmeal scramble.” Kitchen disaster turned kitchen fluke!

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