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A Picnic Fit For Bloggers

Good news!!

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I found my new running trail in Toronto!! Gravel path, waterfront, pedestrians only… LOVE :) I ran down there today for about 40 brutal minutes. Yes, brutal. It was HOT at 9am!! I reallyreally hope it cools down in August. I’m starting to feel like I’m losing some of my running season :(

However, I at least worked up a good appetite for the blogger potluck picnic!

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You guys, there was so much food.

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But first, the recipe for my contribution!

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Tofu balls
from the Post Punk Kitchen. I don’t do a lot of vegan cooking, but that’s always my go-to site when I need something that’s animal-free.

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My only changes were that I used Bragg’s for the soy sauce and panko for the bread crumbs. Oh, and I couldn’t find fresh basil! So oregano it was…

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I also tripled the recipe to get a ludicrous amount of balls. Fried them in a little bit of sesame oil for additional flavour.

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While the recipe calls for a traditional Italian-type sauce, I wanted to keep it Asian themed.

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I e-mailed Averie for one of her vegan dipping sauce recipes. She suggested this peanut sauce and I knew it was perfect!!

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Loved the sauce. So easy to make. I think I may now always make sure I have some of this on hand ;)

Now, back to the important part. My plate!

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Starting at 12 o’clock and going clockwise: tofu balls, pita wedges, hummus, carrot sticks, pasta salad with goat cheese, couscous salad, fruit salad, smoked salmon sandwiches, caprese salad skewer.

Round two!

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Bread and cream cheese, black bean brownie, Loblaw’s The Decadent chocolate chip cookie, fruit salad, edamame salad.

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I was totally impressed by Sarah’s black bean brownies!! They were really rich and had a really light texture. 

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Oh yeah, and there was a half of Callie’s green tea cupcakes. With a sweet red bean paste in the center. Yum!!

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For people who blog about eating, we didn’t make much of a dent in all this food :P

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Sarah, Christina, Jenn, Kristin.

Sorry about the pictures of people blinking! Gah!

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Callie, Morgan, Miranda.

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Me, Nienke.

What a chill day! The weather was perfect and the park beautiful. I had so much fun hanging out on blankets, eating, and chatting it up :) Let’s see… some highlights of discussion included the Healthy Living Summit, Whole Foods and tight rope walkers. 

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Yeah, we spent like 40 minutes watching this guy set up bands between trees. I left before the real action started. One of those instances that had me saying “only in Toronto!” ;)

After digesting, I hit up my “new gym” (aka my place of employment) to test out all the equipment. Yeah, today was a two-fer kinda workout day. Why not, it was fun!

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Was a little detoured coming home thanks to me mindlessly stepping on the wrong subway. Whoops!

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I was so hungry by the time I got home, I assembled a mountain of a salad that my roommie exclaimed to be my biggest one yet. Topped with a couple spicy black bean turkey patties and a dressing of hummus + mustard + water.

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Including raw hunks of jicama. Loved it raw!! Sort of like a sweeter version of water chestnut.

 

And with that, I bid you au revoir! I think I’m going out tonight, and the camera is being left at home. It happens! ;)

 

Question of the Day: What’s your favourite picnic food? Fruit salad and bread right here!

Tourist For A Day

My oldest sister is so cute.

She and I are very alike in some ways. We both laugh the same way at the same things, we share a mop of unruly hair, and a love for cinnamon rolls.

However, she is also very different from me. More motivated, driven, passionate. And apparently requires less sleep than I. This is why I thought she was a madwoman when close to midnight last night, she suggested we set the alarm for 6am to go run before she left for work.

I am a princess and require my 7-8 hours every evening otherwise I get cranky and anxious and all around miserable. Sara however lives off 6 hours every single night. She says it’s the only way she has time to work out in the morning. When I suggested going to bed at 11pm instead of midnight every night, she claimed “I’d never thought of that before.”

Ahhh, to be ambitious.

The tables definitely turned this morning when it was her getting my lazy butt out of bed to run (I’m usually that annoying person saying working out at an ungodly hour “will be funnnn!”)

She took me on her usual loop, full of steep hills I would normally avoid, but beautiful sights I would also normally miss. And while I didn’t really wake up until my heart maxed out at 178bpm somewhere around mile 3, I should probably thank her for getting me up. But next time, we’re going to bed earlier ;)

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Post run breakfast is the same thing I have every day. It’s what I craaaave.

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A fruit salad made up of plum, banana, pear, cherries, honey and cinnamon.

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And those runny egg yolks. Get me every time.

Because I was up and running first thing this morning, I waited until I was alone after breakfast to do my 20 minutes of meditation per my Challenge of Silence. I was actually nervous for my first day of meditation, not knowing what to expect. I set my cellphone alarm to go off after 20 minutes, and promised myself I wouldn’t open my eyes to look at the time. I perched on the sofa and sat in dead silence the whole time.

What did I do? A body scan. One of the main reasons why I’m so excited to start this is to get in touch with what my body is feeling. I’m keeping a journal of my meditation experience each day… and here are some things I noted on my first day:

  • I have a tickle in my throat that I didn’t notice up until this point
  • My hands feel very warm
  • My lumbar spine is under stress

Not bad, eh? Surprisingly the 20 minutes flew by and suddenly I could hear the distant noise of my cellphone alarm. As a side note, I am also really hoping this experiment in meditation will help me cope with my social anxiety, seeing as now is a time when I need to manage it the most.

I also hit up a Hatha Yoga class at noon to get in a few sun salutations for summer solstice ;) I am loving this 2-week pass I have!!

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Lunch featured something I found in my sister’s freezer…

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Pipsi, aka dried arctic char, that she bought while in Iqualuit, Nunavit. I know, how cool is it she got to go to Nunavit!?

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I ate it on a bagel with hummus. Verrry interesting! More like “fish chips.” The only seasoning on them is salt, and you couldn’t really taste it. Odd, because I’m so used to dried meat being so salty!!

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Milk chocolate hazelnut Lindt?? Yesplease.

Today I also played tourist.

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Canada’s Parliament!! For those you who may not know, Ottawa is Canada’s capital, and this is where all the governmental happenings…err… happen.

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That would be a stage they are building on Parliament Hill for the Canada Day celebrations on July 1st. Thank goodness I am leaving here on June 30th. That is a mess I do not want to be a part of (aka thousands of dudes drunk off Molson).

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Parliament has three main buildings – the East Block, Center Block and the West Block. I took a  free tour of the Center Block. It was pretty lame, but I did get to see some notable spots.

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Don Newman fans may recognize this location. It’s often where reporters gather to pounce on members of Parliament as they exit the House.

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As we approached the House of Commons, a young girl beside me said “Hey! It’s the green room on TV!”

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Not surprisingly, it was way smaller than expected. And the chairs looked really uncomfortable. No wonder they get so cranky by the time Question Period rolls around…

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Back in the day when Ontario and Quebec were known as the “province of Canada” and before the Western provinces were part of it at all.

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Unfortunately, Pamela Wallin was nowhere to be found near the Senate Chamber.

Up top there was a beautiful view of Ottawa!!

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That my friends, is what I’ve been running next to since coming to Ottawa. Actually, you can see part of the trail we were on this morning to the left of the photo!

All this tourist work stirred up my appetite.

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A High Protein Banana Maple Bar. Pretty dense, and surprisingly filling! 

However, it was late by the time my sister got home and we were simply staaarving. The gorgeous day called for one thing: drinks on a patio.

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Sangria – the only way I like to drink wine.

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I ordered the Gringo Chicken: A grilled, marinated chicken breast. Served with Mexican rice, black beans, salad, avocado slices, and a side of tomatillo sauce.

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Of course, I dumped the green salsa all over everything and mixed it all up to create a big messy plate (minus the avocado – I’m “allergic”). Delicious!

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Sara got the vegetarian enchiladas which were also very good. Although I still think the sangria was my favourite part ;)

After dinner we went out to another pub patio for drinks with Sara’s friends. Their excuse for drinking on a Monday night was that it’s summer solstice – good enough for me!! :)

 

Question of the Day: What is your favourite thing to order at a Mexican restaurant? I actually lovelovelove taco salads.

Hometown Runner

Mmmm… can you smell the bacon??

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Damn, no wonder I wake up starving every morning. My belly is already awake in anticipation for the goodness that’s about to enter it.

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Breakfast was ready in 5 minutes flat. Egg + bacon + laughing cow + ezekiel.

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Citrus on the side as always. Why have orange juice, when you can just have a juicy orange ;)

Breakfast needed to be quick, so I could digest sooner. It was shaping up to be a hot day and I wanted to get a long run in before it got too unbearable. I’m a bit of a goldilocks when it comes to running outdoors – the climate has got to be juuuuust right ;)

I decided to test out my new and improved mummified foot by re-introducing the long run. I’m working on building up my mileage over the summer months, and this week’s was a 6-miler.

One of the challenges of moving back to my mom’s place has been finding decent running routes. There are a couple lakes that I can loop around, but both loops are short, thus better suited for shorter runs.

My mom and Mark told me the city improved on their waterfront trail. Waterfront trails are my favourite running routes ever. The surface is agreeable for my body, the view is fantastic, and the people are always friendly. My favourite trail in Fredericton ran along the St. John River. I took that trail for every single outdoor run, and loved it more with each outing.

So not surprisingly, I got quite excited by the idea of finding my very own riverfront trail here in Moncton. Now, those of you who know the area are probably beginning to clue in to what I’m getting at here, because there is a glaring difference between the two rivers. Fredericton’s St. John River is beautiful. Moncton’s Petitcodiac most definitely is not.

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It’s a pile of mud. With flocks of seagulls. When the tide is out, it smells like sewer and boiled eggs. Oh yes, and see that little hill on the left? That’s where much of the trail is. Looks like a nice mound of grass, doesn’t it? It’s a landfill.

So no, my run wasn’t as beautiful as Fredericton, nor was it as pleasant to the olfactory. BUT, it is still the best trail I’ve found in Moncton so far. And I guess the landfill provides some fun challenging hills. Actually, it was a pretty darn good run :)

I made it back home just as the sun was starting to beat down on me. I immediately refuelled with half a bunch of grapes.

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Other half was consumed for my pre-run sugar ;)

Gave my muscles an extra good stretch and iced all my hot spots (ie trouble areas).

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Then sat back with an article on Bieber Fever.

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It was actually a really good article on how his management team used a new internet marketing model. I didn’t know he sold “mini albums” online. Neat-o.

Eventually, The Hunger kicked in and I had to get up to make a meal.

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A pita stuffed with sautéed tofu, red pepper, onion, mushrooms and kale.

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Carrots + salsa!

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Hit. The. Spot. So good. So filling.

I used a new-to-me pita bread for the sandwich. I was quite excited to discover it at the Superstore!

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It’s made in Halifax, but what really got me is that it’s only 80 calories!

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Mind you, it is a very thin pita, but I much prefer it that way.

I also tried out a new dip on the pita.

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It’s no hummus, but I love red pepper anything.

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Despite being thin, the pita bread held up perfectly. Sticking it in the microwave for a few seconds keeps it from tearing when you assemble it.

I played chauffeur to my mom and Mark all afternoon. Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around? Snacked on a couple Maple Nut Oaties.

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I also stopped by a new cafe in town called Cafe Codiac. I was very excited to check it out as the building used to be a liquor store, and I wanted to see what they did with the place!

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Got a soy sugar-free vanilla iced latte. Verrrry tasty. I will have to go back with my camera, they had a vegepate sandwich I was was eying. If I was staying in Moncton, I would 100% apply for a job there. I was at one point a career barista afterall ;)

I also got roped into going over to my mom’s friend’s place on a whim. She told me there would be free chicken burgers. Who am I to turn that down?

Just finished off my evening with my new favourite protein snack.

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Hmm. Doesn’t look very appetizing, does it? I thought the image looked a little yellow-ish. Then I remembered I can change the white balance on my camera.

I watched this video, and figured out how to do it.

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Et voila!! C’est magique!

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Neat, eh? I think I will keep manually adjusting the white balance, I’m almost embarrassed that I wasn’t already!

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Ohyes, and the snack! It’s 5 tbsp unflavoured soy protein powder, 2 tbsp hot chocolate mix, 1 tbsp flaked coconut and enough almond milk to dissolve everything. The soy protein powder has a completely different texture than that of whey powder. It’s very fine like flour and puffs up instead of getting gooey. Instead of being like a protein pudding, it was like a protein mousse cake!

 

Now I am off to finish up this fine Saturday by catching up on Gossip Girl. My step-sister says the season finale was shocking, and I have to know what happened! See ya tomorrow for a final goal check-in!!

 

Question of the Day: What is your favourite thing about your hometown? Your least favourite? I actually grew up in a smaller town across that muddy river. My favourite part is that everyone knows everyone. My least favourite part is that everyone knows everyone!! :P

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