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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!

Snow Problem

This is the view out my window today:

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It’s been snow storming all day. We’re could get up to 20 cm (~9 inches). Sooo not looking forward to shovelling out of my driveway to get to the gym before work tomorrow! I’m contemplating going out and doing some of it later tonight. I hate shovelling. With every ounce of my being,

Anyways, so last night Chris and I found a great website called DSLR Tips. It seriously has everything you could want to know about the settings and options on an SLR camera. As you know, I got a Canon Rebel XS for Christmas. I know a little bit about photography from taking photojournalism and broadcast television in school, but I still have a lot to learn!

So after watching the videos last night I started playing around with my aperture settings. Here it is at F3.5…

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And F22…

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Neat eh?? I also learned about taking cool action shots, scenic photos and finally figured out my manual focus. (I’m not very good at reading manuals, I’m more of a “experiment till I figure it out” person)

So far I have no immediate plans to get a new lens, because I think the one I have now (18-55mm) is good enough for my current purposes. However, I want to get one of those little table-top tripods asap, and might start looking into getting a detachable strobe flash. Fun!! :D

Okay, now I’ll get to the food photos I took with said camera (which reminds me, I should really put that battery back into my smoke alarm…).

One notable thing from yesterday was the Primal Strip that Deb gave me.

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It’s meatless beef jerky made out of seitan. I’ve never had this before and I was so excited to try it! Definitely a good pick on Deb’s part ;)

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I really liked it. I ate it plain, but wished I had some crackers and cheese to pair it with. Also, now I really want to try real beef jerky again – I haven’t had it since I was a kid!

Speaking of Deb, I attempted a bowl of protein pimped oatbran for breakfast.

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There’s a wonderful pictorial of what to do if you click on the above link. Basically, you mix egg whites till they puff up,and add them to your oatbran to make it uber fluffy. I don’t have a hand or stand mixer, so I attempted to puff my egg whites using an immersion blender. Didn’t go so well. I got a few big bubbles, but it mostly just increased in volume a little. No major pouffage :(

The bowl was still mega delicious though, and the egg whites did make for a more voluminous bowl. I also stirred in some of Emily’s dried apples and topped it with almond butter and white chocolate chips. 

After finally getting my Google Reader down to zero, I braved the winter storm for an awesome lifting workout. I actually pre-planned this one before leaving. I wanted to make it a full-body workout, and alternated my sets with ab moves a la Janetha ;)

Warm-up:
20 minutes “MIIT” (medium intensity intervals) on the elliptical
3 min @ level 10
2 min @ level 12
1 min @ level 16
2 min @ level 13
1 min @ level 17
2 min @ level 14
1 min @ level 18
2 min @ level 14
1 min @ level 17
2 min @ level 13
1 min @ level 16
2 min @ level 12

Assisted pull-up: 3 sets, 75 lbs x 8
Plank: 3 sets, 60 sec

Barbell lunge: 3 sets, 30 lbs x 20 (alternating legs) 
Side plank: 3 sets, 30 sec each side

Barbell curl: 3 sets, 20 lbs x 15
Skull crusher: 3 sets, 20 lbs x 15
Barbell upright row: 3 sets, 20 lbs x 15

Medicine ball squat: 3 sets, 11 lbs x 12
Russian twist: 3 sets, 11 lbs x 24

Dumbbell pullover: 3 sets, 20 lbs x 15
Plank up: 3 sets, bw x 8

Cool-down:
Stretching :)

Good times. The New Year Resolution-ers are starting to show up at the gym, but they seem to stick to the cardio machines. The weight area was just full of all the usual suspects.

Lunch was my typical fare. Can never go wrong with a sandwich or pita midday :)

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This one had Italian tofurkey slices, spinach dip, olives, pickles, pickled onions + spinach. Veggies with a little hummus on the side. Yum! I’m still on a pickle kick. I promise you I am not preggers.

I decided to head back into the storm this afternoon for groceries. It was either today or wait till Tuesday night. Yeah, wasn’t gonna make it. Had a snack first in case I got stuck in the snow somewhere.

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The third and final flavour of my Vega bar haul they sent me to test – Chocolate Decadence. 

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So my first bite was kinda icky. It tasted like chocolate mud. But, the more bites I took, the more i got into it. I’ll basically eat anything with chocolate in it. However, I don’t think I’d ever willingly spend my money on this flavour. Again, the nutritionals that accompany this bar are awesome, but if I want “chocolate decadence,” I’m cracking into my 80% Lindt.

My grocery trip was successful. My fridge is now full of ingredients to make meals and snacks for my first week at my new job!

Dinner had to be warm and comforting because of the weather. But it also had to be easy so I could clean while it cooked. Enter: roasting pan dinner.

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Directions: throw a protein source and appetizing veggie combos on a roasting pan. Season, and bake! This mix is tofu, brussel sprouts, red onion, mushroom, sweet potato, garlic and Kirkland no-salt seasoning. Took 30 minutes to cook – just enough time to do my dishes and scrub the floor ;)

 

So I kinda feel like today was my first day “back on track” from the holidays. Not gonna beat around the bush here – my pants are tight. Nothing major, around 3-ish lbs with some nice tummy bloat. Yesterday’s eats weren’t documented, but I ended up going to Chris’ parent’s place for a roast beef dinner. Delicious, but definitely the end of the line for me. Time to get back to my simpler eats :)

Also, I’ve devised a new workout schedule for myself! I’ve been anti-schedule for several months now after all the training I did in the summer. But I find myself wanting something to follow now, and working Mon-Fri at my new job should make that much easier. Here’s what I’ve got planned for this month:

Monday: 60 min spin class
Tuesday: Yoga/Rest
Wednesday: 40 min run, shoulders, abs
Thursday: Yoga/Rest
Friday: Lower body, abs
Saturday: 60 min run, chest, abs
Sunday: Step class, biceps, triceps

So normally I do full-body or upper-body workouts, with a lot of compound moves. But I’ve decided to try separating my muscle groups and pairing some of it with cardio. There’s no specific reason why I’m doing this, I just thought it would be nice to change it up for a while. Don’t want to get bored with my routine!

It also bears mentioning that I’ll likely only do yoga once a week, and take one total rest day. I’ve also designed it so my hardest workouts are on the weekend (my days off) and that there’s some flexibility with trading out days, or doing morning/evening workouts.

Again, this is just for this month to see how it works. Next month I’ll probably start thinking about half marathon training :)

 

Phew! This was a rambly post. Hope you’re not putting off anything important to get through it all :)

 

Question of the Day: What does your usual workout schedule look like? I’m genuinely interested, I always love to hear about what other people do for workouts!

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