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Can’t Stop the Heat

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It’s hot people!!!

I am sitting here in front of the fan with sweat dripping off me. It’s gross. But I felt the need to share.

Some great “keep cool” tips and recipes shared in the comments yesterday!

Jennifer suggested squeezing lemons and adding stevia for a fresh and low-sugar drink option.

Tamizn shared a healthy sundae recipe.

Angela suggested her strawberry rhubarb frozen yogurt.

Yes to all of them :)

After posting yesterday, I hit up the friendly neighbourhood sausage shop. I walked in and bought just one sausage. I felt so silly. But it’s all I wanted for dinner!

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I took my lonely sundried tomato chicken sausage and chopped it up to pan fry.

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Thrown on top of a garden salad with hummus, olives and feta.

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YUM to the sausage!! Living so close to a sausage and butcher shop is going to be awesome. I want to try all of their sausage flavours now, one lonely sausage at a time.

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Cantaloupe + cottage cheese was all I could muster in the heat this morning. I briefly thought about running early before the heat set in, but it was already 26C by 8am!!

Instead, I went to the gym and it’s actually really growing on me!! The number one thing I was upset about leaving Fredericton over was my gym there. I’d really grown to love it. But I get good vibes at my new gym here in Toronto – way important!! You’ve got to love the gym you go to, or else you’ll never make it there.

Ohyes, I suppose you may like to know what I did there ;) Full-body weightlifting day!

The following exercises are all in straight sets, meaning I did the sets for each exercise all in a row with a short rest time in between. Normally I alternate, but it’s fun to switch it up from the norm sometimes.

Exercise Load Reps Sets Target
Sumo squat  70 lbs 8-12 3 Quads, glutes, thighs
Barbell split squat  60 lbs 8-12 3 Quads, glutes
Cable twisting chest press  17.5 lbs 8-12 3 Chest, front shoulder
Seated cable row  60 lbs 8-12 3 Back
Good morning  50 lbs 8-12 3 Lower back, glutes, hamstrings
Standing calf raise  50 lbs 8-12 3 Calves
Barbell upright row  30 lbs 8-12 3 Top/side of shoulder
Cable pushdown  30 lbs 8-12 3 Triceps
Preacher curl  25 lbs 8-12 3 Biceps
Captain’s chair  b/w 15 3 Abs

Oh, and my warm-up was a torturous mile on the treadmill. Running is sonotfun when you’ve got a stuffy nose. And when it’s hotter than a sauna. Otherwise, awesome weightlifting workout! :)

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Post-lifting snack = protein powder + banana. Whipped up some of my favourite protein goo (ie chocolate whey with a dash of water). Stellar snack!!

Then I rush-rushed (and sweat-sweated) off to Kensington Market for a reader meet-up!

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Please excuse our “I just stepped out of an oven” look. It’s the fashion in the Tee Dot right now ;)

Jamee moved to Toronto on the same day as me!! She took the plunge coming all the way from British Columbia. It was so much fun bouncing things off someone who is brand-spankin-new to the city as well.

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Jamee is a vegan and had already scoped out Hibiscus Cafe for us.

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Their menu consisted of mostly delicious looking buckwheat crepes. I ended up with one that popped out at me immediately: pear, pecan and chutney. The flavours together were fabulous. Jamee got a yummy looking salad that I want to come back and try…

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It also must be noted that we sampled one of their vegan peanut butter crisp bars and it was amazing. Like, reallyreally good. Definitely recommend!

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Afterwards, Jamee and I wandered around Kensington Market, peeking into many of the shops and things on the street.

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Including shopping in an organic market!! I may suck at clothing shopping, but I’m happy in any grocery store ;)

Jamee and I then said goodbye, but I have a sneaking suspicion we’ll be seeing lots of each other. She was so sweet and fun to hang out with!

I wandered back down to catch the streetcar, stopping through Chinatown along the way.

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The rumours are true – Chinatown really does have the cheapest produce!! Left with a 69 cent head of romaine and a $1 pint of strawberries :)

Ohyes, and another drink to beat the heat after walking around for so long.

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Fresh watermelon juice.

Aka the best dollar I’ve spent in a long time. 

Now I’m off to go heat up more leftovers and shower for the second time today.

Ohoh!! And I got another job interview at another location. I totally wasn’t expecting it so I’m pretty pumped about it – it’s on Monday :)

 

Question of the Day: What’s the best dollar you spent recently? ;)

Toronto Restaurant Tour: Round 1

Aaaaand I’m back.

Hope everyone had a fabulous weekend!! Mine was action-packed, which would have been fabulous if I wasn’t coughing up a lung. After two months of living out of suitcases, sleeping in strange beds, and literally traveling across a continent, my body is finally saying “enough.” Okay body, you win. Instead of exercising, I’ve been feeding it. There seems to be no better way to celebrate moving to Canada’s biggest city than a weekend of testing out all the wonderful food it has to offer.

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There’s a lovely place down the street that serves cheap big salads. I don’t use the term “big salad” loosely, it is definitely Susan-sized.

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They also have a wood-fired stove and have really good pizza. Lots of toppings, amazing crust. Good price. I can see myself coming here a lot :)

Also close by is this quaint little coffee shop, where I currently sit, filled with comfy chairs and a welcoming staff.

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Pictured is a chocolate cinnamon pastry of sorts. It tasted much better than it looks. Their pastries are all dense, but super flaky, which in my opinion is the best way to have them. Apparently they come from a popular bakery in Toronto called Miss Cora’s Kitchen.

Remember that giant enchilada from our first day here?? Well Sara and I got two more meals out of it.

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For breakfast on Saturday, we cut the leftovers in half and topped each with a fried egg. Voila! A Mexican breakfast! This was SO filling. Eggs + beans + cheese = no hunger signals for five hours.

Once again, the sustenance was required, for we had another long day ahead of us.

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Shopping!! Sara and I had big plans of starting on Queen West and making our way to the second-hand shops in Kensington. But we never made it off the first street!! I picked up some very cute items which I’m sure you will see over the course of the summer. My wardrobe was reduced to one suitcase before I left New Brunswick, so my circulation these days is pretty small :P

We eventually started to get the hunger tickle around 2pm. Sara mentioned there was a great place called Fresh around the corner and I jumped. I’ve heard all about this place from Angela!

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It’s a pretty popular vegan restaurant in Toronto that also offers up great juices. I highly suggest you peruse their menu. It was so hard deciding on something!!

I started with a juice.

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I’m not a huge juice person, but I thought it couldn’t hurt with my wicked cold. Went with the Immune Boost: carrot, beet, apple, ginger, vitamin C, echinacea.

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It was actually really good! Only complaint is that it was warm, could have used a few ice cubes.

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Sara started with a carrot coriander soup.

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Which I had many bites of, for the sake of “the sickess.” The toasted coconut on top was a nice touch.

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Sara also ordered a big salad, but I can’t for the life of me remember what kind it was. The crispy tofu on top was really good though!

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Fresh is famous for their “bowls” so I knew it’s what I had to go for. I settled with the Jerusalem: hummus, grilled spinach, tomato, cucumber, parsely, red onion, sunflower sprouts, olive oil, tamari, mixed herbs, lemon & chili powder.

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I asked for it on soba noodles, but they brought it rice. I also asked for marinated tofu cubes for extra protein. It was a huge bowl!! I couldn’t finish it. Which is saying a lot.

The waitress asked me if I wanted hot sauce and I thought why not…

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I have no idea what this hot sauce was, but it was good!! Fresh will definitely be a re-visit for me :)

The eating didn’t end there though, ohno. By 6:30 we’d made our way to Lemongrass too meet up with our Aunt Heather. Apparently it was the first Thai restaurant to open in the city!

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We all started with a spring roll appetizer, I went for the “non-crispy” kind with chicken.

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That peanut dipping sauce was to die for. Omg. It took everything I had not to stick my finger in it and just eat it that way.

The three of us then split three dishes:

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Holy Basil Crab. Delicious, but super messy to get into. The crab wasn’t shelled but covered in sauce. Tricky!!

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Bok choy. The token green.

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Pad thai. With chicken and shrimp. I’m not a huge noodle person, but really enjoyed this!

My plate:

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My plate, times two. 

Dessert was honey ginger tea, again, for the sake of “the sickness.”

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This tea was SO good!!! Not my usual kind of flavour, but I would get it again and again. I have a feeling they made it themselves with real honey and ginger, and not from a tea bag.

Me and Heather!

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Thank you for everything Heather!! I’ve already promised to take her out to “Toronto’s #1 gelato place” when I get my first pay check :)

The family bonding didn’t stop there. We then rushed off to meet up with my two cousins, one of which was my bestie growing up.

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Some of my best childhood and teenage memories were shared with Ellen! I’m super excited to be in the same city as her again. We’re amidst cooking up a stellar fitness plan, so I foresee more fun times in our future :) I may be leaving some family behind, but it’s pretty nice to be close to other family now!

In all, Sara and I were out and about for 12 hours yesterday, leaving at noon and returning at midnight. Thanks to a newly bought eye mask, I conked out for a solid 8. I could have slept longer, but alas, we had more eating engagements to attend.

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Sara was super excited about brunch today at the Free Times Cafe. As soon as we arrived, I understood why.

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The owner started chatting with us and said she started the Sunday brunch years ago as a nod to a huge brunch your Jewish grandmother may have made. Everything is made at the cafe, including the breads and smoked fish. Yesplease.

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First trip included pita, hummus, beet salad, a pickle, some crab cake thingy.

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Challah french toast and smoked salmon scrambled eggs. The french toast was my favourite of this plate. I’ve been told that challah is the best bread for french toast and I am now a believer!!

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Potato latke topped with an apple sauce and a cheese blintz topped with a berry sauce. The latke was amazing because it was deep-fried. And let’s face it, deep frying things makes them delicious. The blintz I could have gone without. The texture was weird and I didn’t like ricotta. Not for me I guess!

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Did I mention there was live Klezmer music?? There was live Klezmer music.

Second plate!

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I missed some of the breads the first time around, so I grabbed two pieces. One topped with a homemade smoked salmon cream cheese the other with havarti and smoked herring. In the back was my second favourite thing from the buffet – a beet and smoked herring salad. Sounds strange but it was dreamy!! I think the base for it was cream cheese or sour cream or something. Awesome.

The desserts!

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Not entirely sure what all of these are. The thing in the back is an apple streudel of sorts. The pinwheel in the front had a date puree. The chocolate square was like a chocolate mousse cake (excellent). That brown clump was pretty interesting. My first thought was that it was a butterscotch fudge thinky, but it had little sugary pieces in it reminiscent of cotton candy!! Sara said it could have been halvah, but I’m not sure if it fits the bill. Anyone out there know??

 

Well, that just about wraps up my first weekend of eating in the city!! I’ve already been exposed to so much new food, and it’s only just a small microscopic dent in what Toronto has to offer. However, once I hit publish, I’m walking down to the closest store to pick up a giant bunch of kale to make a green salad the size of my head. I am then going to lay in bed reading a book for the rest of the night. It would be nice if I no longer sound like I smoked a pack of cigarettes and downed a pint of Jack Daniels before my job interview tomorrow!! Operation: Get a Job is now in full swing. Wish me luck – I might need it!

 

EDIT: Don’t forget! There’s a Toronto meet-up happening next Sunday. E-mail me at thegreatbalancingact@gmail.com for details!

Someone is the Owner of a Brand New Waffle Maker!

Whooaaa, thanks for all the compliments on my photoshoot!! Haha. They made me feel nice as I read them this morning, in my giant flannel pants, smudged mascara and gnarly hair :P

Okay, I won’t beat around the bush here. I know you’re eager to find out who won the free Belgian waffle maker!! Drumroll pleeeease…

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Woo! Congrats Sarah!!! I’ll be sending you an e-mail to get all the necessary info :)

I apologize to those of you who didn’t win, as I’m about to tease you with another Belgian waffle photo.

Seeing as I’m almost fully off the dairy now, I have to come up with a new protein waffle recipe. My old one consisted of cottage cheese, oatmeal, and egg whites. So today I mixed up a few things as I went along.

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2 tbsp soy protein powder, 2 tbsp whey powder, 2 tbsp whole wheat flour, 1 tbsp ground flax, 1/4 cup egg whites, 1/4 cup almond milk, 1 tsp baking powder, cinnamon.

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It got super crisp and crusty! I bet this would be okay as pancakes, but definitely needs tweaking for waffles. Anyone got a decent high protein, low dairy waffle recipe?

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Topped with strawberries, homemade maple pecan peanut butter, sugar-free syrup and sweetened flaked coconut.

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I usually buy unsweetened coconut, but we needed the sweet stuff for a cake recipe. Um, it’s rad.

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Supah filling!!! 

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Archie watched me from afar, he so wanted some.

I spent the morning applying for personal training jobs in Toronto! Not getting my hopes up though, applying for jobs online is a suck hole. People still like the old-fashioned resume drop-off.

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The rain cleared briefly before lunch, so I had a sugary snack before heading out for a planned 5-miler.

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Two of the medjool dates I bought at the natural food store yesterday, stuffed with almond butter. I usually buy teeny tiny honey dates because they’re cheap. Whoa. These medjools are ginormous and mega sweet. Two was definitely one too many for me, which is saying a lot.

I actually mapped out the run today beforehand, planned for two loops around the lake.

 Source 

Not to be a complainer or anything, but I really miss my trail in Fredericton!! Wain! I miss my gym too, learning to exercise in different environments may be the hardest part of moving for me.

On the bright side, there are a few hills around here and I was able to challenge myself in a new way :) Oh, and I totally ran past an old high school boyfriend on the sidewalk. Thank gaaawd I was disguised in my ballcap and sunglasses.

Came home and iced my feet, ankles and knees while eating a big ole salad.

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My mother’s usual salad bowls no longer cut it, I had to revert to one of her mixing bowls.

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Apparently running up hills makes me hungry for whole romaine hearts??

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With leftover spicy buffalo buffalo meatballs in mustard/mayo/olive oil dressing.

On the icing, I remember getting a question a while back on why/when to do it. I ice after long runs to prevent pain after. I never get pain in my muscles or joints during a run. If I do, I stop. But often when I do longer runs, I’ll get pain in my feet, ankles and knees a few hours later, and it can last a couple days. Bringing the inflammation down with ice, and sometimes ibuprofen, gets rid of it 99%.

Despite the super sweet dates earlier, my inner chocolate monster still needed to be put to bed.

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Please disregard the flour on this bar – it’s from making the homemade doggie treats ;)

Pretty stellar ingredients for a chocolate bar, no?

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And it was on sale! Oh yeah, it was delicious. It was chocolate ;)

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This afternoon I whipped up another batch of homemade protein bars.

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Much like this recipe, except I used two cups oat flour (ie oatmeal ground in the food processor). I also left out the raisins and used 2 tbsp pure maple syrup instead of the fake stuff. I seriously missed not having these at my mom’s!!

The rest of the afternoon was spent shopping with my Nana! Yes, my 87-year-old grandmother was looking at yoga pants with me, because she does yoga too!

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I ended up getting a pair of Merrell hiking shoes for my trip to Banff, Alberta in June. I’m hoping they can double as walking shoes, as my feet DO NOT like walking in my running sneakers AT ALL.

As a side note, while I was at the shoe store, three different women came in looking for Reebok Easy Tone shoes. Sigh. The salesperson was thankfully knowledgeable, and warned the women they could lead to further pain down the road. When I asked him about it, he said he’s never seen a shoe sell as much as that one! Double sigh.

Back to the food.

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Baby food to be exact.

And no, I’m not on the baby food diet.

I mixed it with some of this stuff…

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Soy protein powder, baking powder, cinnamon and egg whites.

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Popped in he microwave for a couple minutes, and a protein cake is born.

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Topped with more homemade maple pecan peanut butter.

 

Now. Did anyone make it this far, or did you check out at the giveaway winner? :P Don’t worry, I’ve got some free food coming up in the weeks to come!

And with that, I’m off to bed. Tomorrow shall be a fun day – spin class with the pops, lunch at my fave vegan restaurant, and a play at my old middle school! See ya then!!

 

Question of the Day: Runners- what sort of routes do you prefer? Out-and-back? Loops? Pavement? Trail? Treadmill? Flat? Hills? I realized today that I much prefer out-and-back routes to loops. Loops just feel longer! And I love a soft squishy trail, no pavement or sidewalks please.

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