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How Do You Like Them Apples?

Listen. I’ve had enough.

I know y’all love your pumpkin. But my head is going to explode if I see one more pumpkin recipe.

I’m just being real yo!

Truth of the matter is, the mushy orange stuff makes me a little squeamish. I love me some cinnamon and nutmeg, but tasteless baby food from a can makes me gag a little. Just a little.

When it comes to fall flavours, I am all about the apples.

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I’ve been dreaming about homemade apple sauce ever since I made a batch around this time last year. When walking past a fruit stand on Saturday, I saw Ontario empire apples on sale for 99 cents a pound. I knew the time had come.

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I bought four pounds for four bucks. Last year, I went McIntosh, and the empires reminded me of a slightly crispier and less grainy version of them.

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Cored and chopped the apples until my pot was overflowing. No bother peeling them. The peels are the best part!

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I tossed in a cup of water and let the pot simmer for around half an hour. Until I noticed the apples getting mushy. That’s when I added one tablespoon cinnamon and got to mashing.

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I like my applesauce chunky, so I didn’t bother blending. No sugar either, these puppies are sweet enough as is!

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Learn from my mistakes and do not taste the sauce immediately. You will burn your tongue.

Instead, I incorporated some of the warm sauce into supper!

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Yup. Waffles for supper :) The usual protein waffle batter:

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup unflavoured soy protein powder
  • pinch cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger
  • 2 stevia packets
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

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Along with the apple sauce, I added molasses and maple syrup.

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My oh my. That is fall flavours at their best ;)

 

Okay. Confession time. I’m not 100% against all things pumpkin.

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I’ll make exceptions when chocolate is involved ;) Like my roommie’s pumpkin brownies!

 

Q&As

How do you find the time to write such creative posts and still live life (and work/volunteer so much)?  How do you balance everything in your life without ‘burnout’?

 

This is a great question, because sometimes my biggest “balancing act” is finding time to write The Great Balancing Act!

First things first, I started my blog during my last year of an undergraduate degree. I was doing school full-time, working two part-time jobs and one unpaid internship. Apparently, I didn’t think I had enough on my plate ;)

Since then, I’ve continued my blog through working wonky hours as a broadcast journalist and the mind-numbing hours of an 8-5 desk drone. These days my hours are all over the place. I’m at the gym by 6:30am every day to train clients. I have anywhere from 4-6 clients a day, but don’t usually wrap up until 7pm. Because I live so far away from the gym, popping home in between isn’t really an option. So I’m away from my house at least 12 hours a day. I also have a retail job in a running store that will sometimes keep me working until 10pm, and of course every Saturday and Sunday. 7 days a week, 12+ hours a day. And yup, I do volunteering on top of that!

My number one trick recently has been bringing my laptop with me to work so when I get an hour or two of spare time, I can scoot to the nearest Starbucks to work on my blog. Blogging time (usually takes an hour) often gets pencilled into my day so it never gets put to the back burner. I often pre-write posts, which is the biggest benefit to not doing a “daily diary” type blog. For example, my Fitness Friday posts are rarely actually written on Friday, which gives me Friday off from writing!

Right now, I think what is keeping me from burning out is knowing that this is what I came to Toronto to do. In my old life back in Fredericton, my desk job was my only commitment over the course of the day. It was kind of soul crushing. Now I thrive off the zillion projects I have on the go and actually find energy in participating in so much!

With that said, I do carve out downtime as well. I make sure there is one day a week where I can stay in my pajamas until 3pm doing absolutely nothing. It’s what works for me to “recharge.”

Finally, blogging is how I prefer to spend my time! Writing is second nature to me and has never felt like work. On days I don’t feel like blogging, I don’t. But that doesn’t happen often because I always want to blog. Even after all this time! Some people watch TV or or play video games with whatever spare time they have. I blog :)

 

Question of the Day: What are your feelings on pumpkin? It’s like buying canned mashed potatoes.

Seasonal Fare

Hellloooo! How is everyone’s week going so far? I’m all screwed up from the holiday. Hell, I’m screwed up all the time :P

I thought my turkey dinner + slice of pie was enough food to replenish me after those 9 miles yesterday, but I woke up at 4:30 am staaaarving. For the first time ever, I actually contemplated getting up in the middle of the night to eat. But I somehow managed to force myself back to sleep for a couple hours. Then I couldn’t take it anymore. At 6:30, I sleepily made a breakfast aimed at getting it in my belly asap.

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Fried egg sandwich (with cheese) and a ginormous honeycrisp. As you can tell from the photo, it was eaten in bed. This is because I promptly fell back asleep until 8am after this. Ahhh, sometimes I love working the evenings!

I skipped the gym today to give my body a full and proper rest after my long run yesterday. This wasn’t my original plan, but I figured I’d be in better shape for more intense workouts this week if I was fully recovered. Glad I did! Instead I stayed home and got a lot of housework done.

I was all excited about eating up a sweet potato for lunch today. Alas, it went wrinkly on me. Don’t you hate it when that happens? So I went with plan B – white potato.

I cooked it in the microwave and added it to a garden salad with cottage cheese.

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It was delicious! The poor white potato has gotten such a bad rep. But it’s quite good for you!! It’s high in vitamin C, which helps absorb its iron content. It’s also high in minerals such as potassium and magnesium. It’s chock full of B vitamins and folate. It’s even a rich source of antioxidants! Of course, you have to eat the skin to get much of this. You can read more about the wonderful tuber here.

During my cleaning fest today, I found a bar I bought in Detroit and forgot about!

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I’ve heard lots of good things about the Kind bars, but I can’t get them around here. So I jumped on this cranberry & almond flavour when I stumbled across it.

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Ingredients: Almonds, Macadamias, Dried Cranberries (Cranberries, Sugar, Sunflower Oil), Honey, Glucose, Puffed Rice, Soluble Dietary Fiber (Maize).

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Oh. My. Gosh. Thiswassogood!!! Whole almonds, macadamia nuts and cranberries held together with sweet honey and some crunchy bits of cereal. I loved every single bite. I didn’t even mind that it left my hands crazy sticky after.

Unfortunately, dinner was not as successful. You’ve heard me complain about canned pumpkin, but I knew I couldn’t fully judge pumpkin until I made it myself.

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I picked up a mini one and considered a million different recipes until I decided on straight up roasting.

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I slathered the slices in peanut butter and a dash of pumpkin spice.

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To be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan. It was still tasteless and mushy!! Actually, it was almost watery. The whole time I was eating it, I was wishing it was butternut squash.

My protein for the meal however was awesome.

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My other Gardein “chicken breast.” It’s official, I love these!

We’re supposed to be getting our first snowfall of the season tonight! When did it all of a sudden become winter? Wasn’t I just complaining about the heat??

Question of the day: What’s your favourite season? I know this has been asked on other blogs, but I’m curious! Personally, I’m a spring gal. I love the melting snow, and being able to wear ballet flats for the first time. Plus, there’s always so much excitement in the air because there’s a full season of warm weather ahead :)

The Pyramids of the Weight Room

Before I get into this post, I have a confession to make.

I don’t like canned pumpkin.

Fresh roasted pumpkin I love. Pumpkin cream cheese muffins make my mouth water. Pumpkin pie is one of my favourites (okay, I like all pies).

But I cannot stand the mushy tastelessness of the canned stuff. I have to add a whole container of pumpkin pie spice to make it edible in anything, and even then it just makes things… mushy.

So there ya go.

While we’re at it, I don’t like Christmas. But I’ll save that for another day :P

You know what I do like though? Waffles!

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It’s an addiction, I know. Before these though, I had a stellar weight lifting workout.

I picked up the September issue of Oxygen magazine for the first time after hearing Janetha say good things about it. I always shied away from this magazine because it’s full of scary looking fitness models, but it’s got great weight lifting info for women!

One of the tidbits in there is about pyramid sets. In a regular pyramid, you start off at a low weight with high reps, then increase the weight and reduce the reps with each set. It allows you to overload the muscle gradually. A reverse pyramid is just the opposite, starting with a heavy weight and low reps, decreasing the weight and increasing the reps with each set. This allows you to use the heaviest weight at the beginning while your muscles are still strong.

The heavy weight sets will build strength, the medium ones will build lean muscle and the lighter ones will improve endurance and recovery. Mixing these up will shock your muscles instead of letting them adapt.

So I hit up the gym this morning with this in mind. I decided to go old-school with the exercises, and take my time to really focus on the weights I was using and my form.

Warm-up:
15 minutes on the elliptical, increasing the resistance every 2 minutes

Barbell squat:
65 lbs x 8
55 lbs x 12
45 lbs x 15

Wide-grip lat pulldown:
40 lbs x 8
30 lbs x 12
20 lbs x 15

Lunge:
10 lbs x 24 (alternating legs)
15 lbs x 20
20 lbs x 16

Dumbbell shoulder press:
10 lbs (ea) x 15
15 lbs x 12
17.5 lbs x 8

Single-leg Romanian deadlift:
40 lbs x 8 (ea)
30 lbs x 12
20 lbs x 15

Tricep pulldown:
30 lbs x 8
20 lbs x 12
10 lbs x 15

HIIT:
15 minutes on the elliptical, 1 minute sprints, 2 minutes recovery

Cool-down:
Stretching

T’was a good time! I really like switching it up in the weight room. Part of the reason why I’m contemplating not doing another lifting program this winter. I like picking and choosing what I want to focus on :)

Theeeen it was waffle time :)

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The usual. Maple cinnamon waffles with almond butter, yogurt and strawberries. I am singing my love for this combo from the mountain tops! :)

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And a little protein juice to chase it down, otherwise known as PVL peach whey cooler. Not the prettiest photo – I was thirsty!!

I’ve also been quite vocal in the past about my dislike for wraps/tortillas. I’ve just never been a fan of the chewy denseness of them. Plus, all the full to medium-size ones around here are 200+ calories with little fibre and protein. But I found these in the freezer in the health food section the other day and decided to give them a whirl.

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Ezekiel organic sprouted whole grain tortillas. Nutritionals on these are the best I’ve found yet.

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For lunch, I packed one of these babies with leftover curry salmon salad, cottage cheese and romaine lettuce. Then I took an exceptionally bad photo at the office.

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Sorry! I got busy with work once it was unwrapped. The tortilla was alright. Still dense, but at least not chewy. Very seed-y, and quite thick. I think it would be better grilled, or as a quesadilla.

I just got groceries, so I had way too many options for dinner. I couldn’t wrap my head around it, so I just went with the simplest things possible.

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Tempeh burger broiled with a string cheese and dipped in barbecue sauce. A bowl of honeydew melon on the side. Eaten on the couch. Just one of those days!

Except, I’m kinda hungry again. The water in the melon only temporarily filled me up.

Question time!

1. Any popular foods you dislike? I also don’t like rice and pasta. I’m more of a sauce-y gal ;)

2. What’s your favourite holiday? Mine is Halloween. But that’s just because I like dressing up and little bite-sized candies.

Also! I’m going away to Windsor next weekend and I won’t be blogging on my usual schedule. So I’m putting out the call for guest posts! I need 3-4 posts :)

Okay, the boy is here and he keeps staring at me while I blog. I think it’s time I go pay attention to him. Later!

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