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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.

Holly + Susan: The Banff Exit Interviews

Happyhappy weekend!!!

I’m kicking the weekend off with a fun set of questions Holly and I asked each other at the end of our week-long adventure in Banff, Alberta. (recaps can be found in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5). This exit interview was created over a Big Rock Grasshopper in what I lovingly now call Cowtown. It’s the perfect way to wrap-up the trip – and will ensure I remember all the wonderful details!!

 

Holly.

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(1) Describe your trip in three words. Meat, soreness + FUN!

(2) What was your first impression of Susan? Honestly, I felt like we were already friends. She was just as sweet and friendly as she seems on her blog and had the most delightful Canadian accent ever…eh? ;)

(3) What is something you learned about Susan on this trip? Something I learned about Susan: she is incredibly prepared (she deserves all kudos for our oatmeal bowls) and is one tough cookie. Something I learned from Susan: Canadian geography!

(4) Best breakfast. As much as I loved me some fudge on my oatmeal, I think our Maple Maple Maple Oatmeal (maple nut oatmeal, maple jelly + maple almond butter) bowl we enjoyed on day #2 had me at hello.

(5) Best lunch/dinner meal. Bison burger baby! I had never tried bison before, but it was DELICIOUS, especially paired with chipotle mayo!

(6) Best dessert. Per Susan’s advice, we went to COWS for 16% milkfat ice cream lovingly mixed with toffee, chocolate and caramel and scooped into a chocolate nut waffle cone. It was heaven.

(7) Best local brew. My fave was the Rickard’s White Ale – delish!

(8) Worst food consumed. Those raw desserts we half consumed in an effort to be healthy. Never again. I will take my dessert baked with extra butter, brown sugar and carbs please. I know Susan agrees with me on this one.

(9) Favorite homemade meal concocted on the trip. The pita pizzas we concocted at the campsite – almond butter + trail mix on one pizza and almond butter + sliced apple on the other. I will definitely be recreating these at home.

(10) Favorite activity of the trip. The first hike we took up Sulphur Mountain with Karen. It was long, gruelling and had me panting for air, but the reward of the spectacular view from the top was worth it. Completely worth it.

(11) Most memorable moment. Getting hit on SIX times in one night with Susan + her friend Brynne. Hilarious.

(12) Most embarrassing moment. Burning myself…wearing green + white fuzzy socks in public places…finishing my meal before other people had eaten less than 1/2 of theirs…taking an intensely hard yoga class with intensely good yogis…

(13) Favorite person we met. It was definitely Florian. He was 19 years old, fresh off the plane from Dresden, Germany and was desperately looking for a friend. I know Susan agrees with me, right?

(14) The next place you want to travel to. International: Argentina. Domestic: Grand Canyon.

(15) Would you travel with Susan again? YES! She is one of the best travel partners I’ve had – she likes breakfast as soon as she gets up, wants coffee after that, says things out loud right before I am about to say the exact same thing, has no shame in downing DELICIOUS food + beer and is the yin to my yang. In fact, I already told her we need start brainstorming our next trip :).

 

Susan.

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(1) Describe your trip in three words. Decadence. Hamstrings. Outdoors.

(2) What was your first impression of Holly? That she is the same person in real life that she is on her blog – energetic, outgoing, hilarious, compassionate, smart, and gives excellent advice ;)

(3) What is something you learned about Holly on this trip? Holly can eat me under the table. Which is saying a lot, because I can put back a lot of food. That girl’s got talent.

(4) Best breakfast. Day two breakfast – maple fudge oatmeal. The texture and sweetness of buttery fudge melting on top of hot oatmeal is in fact the meaning of life. True story.

(5) Best lunch/dinner meal. The elk stew I got at the Rose & Crown for our first meal in Banff. I watched the Food Network on the flight over and Laura Caldman made a boeuf bourguignon that had me drooling in my seat. The stew zapped my craving and then some. Perfectly spiced with hints of red wine, and the elk meat was amazingly tender and flavourful. Served on top of roasted root veggies and mashed potatoes, it was perfection.

(6) Best dessert. This is incredibly difficult. I want to say it’s the vanilla coconut treat I got at the fudgery… but I think it was reeeally the Cow’s ice cream we got in Banff. Nothing beats a waffle cone. Nothing. Also, let it be known Cow’s is from the Maritimes – 16% milk fat baby ;)

(7) Best local brew. Big Rock Grasshopper. All of Big Rock’s beers had a really nice finish to them. The Grasshopper was a paler ale and quite refreshing.

(8) Worst food consumed. Ironically, the worst food was the raw cinnamon roll we got at the Wild Flour bakery. Here we are trying to be healthy after days of eating nothing but red meat, and we were sorely disappointed. I have a mild obsession with cinnamon rolls too, and nothing will replace my love for a white, fluffy, sticky bun :)

(9) Favorite homemade meal concocted on the trip. I really dug the pita pizza with the almond butter sauce and dried apricot topping. Honourable mention goes to our egg scramble at the hostel in Banff. When in doubt – add smoked almonds!

(10) Favorite activity of the trip. I think this will have to go to climbing Sulphur Mountain on our second day in Banff. It was a tough hike at times, but we also had tons of fun pushing ourselves through. Plus, reaching the top was amazing. I also have to give an honourable mention to Mindy at Rocky Mountain Yoga. No instructor has ever gotten that many chaturangas out of me :P

(11) Most memorable moment. Gah! SO many! When I think back on this trip, I will always remember that first night in Calgary when we got hit on by all the creepers then lost on the "wrong side of the tracks." I will always remember drinking tea at Lake Louise with the girls. And that image of Cascade Mountain at the end of Banff Avenue is forever etched in my heart.

(12) Most embarrassing moment. I can’t chalk it up to one "moment," but shuffling around the mountains with a hiking bag, duffel bag and GIANT wheelie suitcase was definitely embarrassing at times. When people at bus stations asked incredulously "is that all yours!?" I felt like yelling back "I’M MOVING!! IT’S ALL MY WORLDLY POSSESSIONS!!" But instead I just said yes, and wished I was a hip backpacker instead…

(13) Favorite person we met. I fell in love with a British man making his morning Earl Grey at the YWCA in Banff. He was 60-something and traveling all around Canada. He told us to spend our money wisely while we’re young, so we can travel like he is when we’re older. Shit. I think I got that one backwards…

(14) The next place you want to travel to. My mom and Nana are in St. John’s Newfoundland right now, and I really want to go after hearing them talk about it. That will probably be next, unless I make it to Scotland first. I AM going to Scotland. Mark my words. I’m going to spend the next year saving up for the trip.

(15) Would you travel with Holly again? Without a doubt!!! It would get eerie sometimes, because our plans always matched up. When I would say "we should do this, this, then this." Holly would say "I was thinking the same thing!!" Holly is also the perfect yin to my yang. I have a tendency to be shy sometimes, so her outgoing nature is the perfect travel buddy for me. And let’s face it, Holly could probably use my navigation skillz ;)

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Thank you for being such a fantastic partner in crime Holly!! Speaking of crime, I stole two of the above pictures from her blog ;) I also need to send much love over to Karen who rounded out the Three Stooges for much of our stay in Banff. You better believe I’m hitting BC the next time I’m out West!

 

Now, what’s next you ask?? I’ve been in Ottawa for almost three days and have much to report from this side of the country…

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See ya tomorrow!!

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