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Starbucks For Dummies – The Tutorial

Eeee!!!! I am officially on vacation!!! Just finished working the world’s loooongest closing shift. Now I don’t work again till next Tuesday!!! I’m leaving for my hometown tomorrow afternoon. It’s only a 90 minute drive, but I’m praying the snow lets up so the roads are clear by then!

Anyways, despite my excitement, I am seriously sleep deprived. I was up way too early this morning to fill my empty tummy.

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Pecan protein pancakes!

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice
  • 2-3 tbsp roasted pecan pieces

All blended up and cooked to deliciousness. Seriously, this was an awesome batch.

I was feeling kinda “meh” about the gym today, but it was just pure laziness. I dragged my butt over there and got my weight workout in. Trying to beef up the weight lifting – gotta look the part of a personal trainer too! ;)

Warm-up:
10 minutes on the stairmill
10 minutes on the rowing machine

A1 – Squat w/ heels raised on plates:
3 sets @ 30 lbs x 10

A2 – Dumbbell shoulder press:
3 sets @ 15 lbs ea x 10

B1 – Step-up:
3 sets @ 40 lbs x 10

B2 – Underhand grip lat pulldown:
3 sets @ 50 lbs x 12

C1 – Horizontal woodchop:
3 sets @ 35 lbs x 10

C2 – Back extension:
3 sets @ 4kg x 10

C3 – Hanging leg raises:
3 sets @ bw x 10

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

I went down in weights a little so I could focus on my form today. I like doing this from time to time, keeps me in check ;)

Was a hungry hungry hippo, and running late for work by the time I made it home. Whipped up a quick lunch.

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Two scrambled eggs, onion, red pepper, spinach, laughing cow and Franks hot sauce on a Lavash wrap. Couple small tangerines on the side. Clementines are better.

Then it was off to work, which was surprisingly not that busy tonight!! Even though I was running late, I still threw together a packed supper before leaving. No five-buck sub for me tonight.

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Obviously, as simple as it gets. Hummus + tuna sandwich and a pear. There were obviously snacks in there too. Including a short nonfat sugar-free hazelnut steamed milk and an unsweetened black iced tea lemonade.

 

Ever since returning to work at Starbucks, I’ve been fielding a few questions about what kind of drinks I would suggest. Both Lara and Averie suggested I do a “Starbucks Tutorial” of sorts to clear things up!

First, I published a list of Starbucks How-To’s a while back with tips to order smart. But today I’ll get a little more detailed so you reeeeally know what you’re doing ;)

First, lets start with the basics – espresso.

espresso.jpg (440×586)

Sources for images can be accessed by clicking on the picture.

Espresso is essentially condensed coffee. A little bit of water run through densely-packed coffee grinds. It actually doesn’t contain as much caffeine as most people think. One shot, or 1 oz, has about the same caffeine as 6 oz regular brewed coffee. However, drinking it straight can mean you’re consuming your caffeine more quickly – so you may get a bit of a head rush!

Next up is the latte. The latte is the heart of every Starbucks drink. They may sound fancy and complicated, but they are really just different flavoured lattes.

A latte is just espresso + steamed milk and a lovely dollop of milk foam on top. That’s it!

Starbucks uses flavoured syrups in all their drinks. Anything like a pepermint mocha, gingerbread latte or caramel macchiato are just lattes with said syrups added for flavouring.

Every store is different, but here are the syrups my store is currently offering:

  • Vanilla, Sugar-Free Vanilla
  • Caramel, Sugar-Free Caramel
  • Hazelnut, Sugar-Free Hazelnut
  • Cinnamon Dolce, Sugar-Free Cinnamon Dolce
  • Toffee Nut
  • Raspberry
  • Classic (an unflavoured simple sugar syrup)
  • Peppermint
  • Caramel Brule
  • Pumpkin
  • Mocha (a rich chocolate sauce)
  • White mocha (another “sauce”)
  • Chai

Now, one thing that confuses people the most about Starbucks are our weird cup sizes. There are four, although the smallest isn’t usually advertised.

How much syrup, coffee and milk goes into these cups depends on size. I’ve made a handy-dandy chart for you to understand it. It must be known that 1 pump of syrup = 0.25 oz and 1 shot of espresso = 1 oz.

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So if it’s the caffeine you’re after, you can get away with a short instead of a tall, or a grande instead of a venti.

The iced sizes are almost the same, but the iced venti cups are 24 oz, 6 pumps and 3 shots.  It’s a beast of a size.

There are three more drinks worth mentioning. A cappuccino.

Ha, not all of them are pink!!! I chose this picture because you can clearly see the distinction between the milk and foam. While a latte is espresso and milk with just a dollop of foam, a cappuccino is espresso + half milk + half foam. Usually, you just “free pour” the milk into the cup (i.e. don’t hold foam back with spoon) and the milk and foam will naturally separate like this. They’re a little stronger tasting because there’s less milk to dilute the espresso.

There’s also an Americano.

caffè americano

This is just espresso + hot water. Almost like a stronger tasting coffee (except so much better!)

Finally, the Misto.

Café Au Lait

This is half brewed coffee + half steamed milk. Sort of like a weaker version of the latte, but also lower cal because it has less milk.

 

Okay, so how can you take all this info to order yourself a drink? You can…

  • Ask for different milk – skim, soy, lactaid or eggnog
  • Ask for a sugar-free syrup
  • Ask for less or more pumps of syrup
  • Add a syrup flavour to a plain drink, or try combining flavours
  • Ask for one less or one extra shot of espresso
  • Turn your coffee or tea into a misto
  • Ask for more foam or extra foam (extra foam will cut the cals a little too)
  • Ask for no whipped cream (or extra!)
  • Ask for it in decaf, or just get it without the espresso

So hopefully that helps!! I know there is a lot of “lingo” involved at Starbucks, but that’s really designed to help the baristas, not scare away customers. With this information, I can decide I want a latte with a mix of SF Vanilla and Caramel syrup, skim milk, an extra shot of espresso and extra foam (yes, that’s one of my fave drinks!). It doesn’t matter if I can call that out as a “double-tall-sugar-free-vanilla-caramel-nonfat-extra-foam-latte.” All you need to do is double check with your cashier and barista to make sure they got all your requests!

 

Question of the Day: What is/would be your Starbucks drink?

 

P.S. I will be maintaining a somewhat regular posting schedule while home for the holidays. I’m bringing my laptop and my mom has wireless internet. It might not be at the usual time, but short updates will be going up! It will give me an excuse to take a small break from the family craziness everyday ;)

Healthified with a Few Answers

Hiya! Hope everyone got a good start to their weeks :) Today I realized I’m doing a “real” work week. Work till Friday then have a WHOLE weekend off!! Sweet damn!

Did the ole 2-10pm closing shift at Starbucks tonight, so I had the morning to myself. Would have been wonderful if I didn’t wake up at 6:30 am with a charley horse (ie severe cramp) in my calf. So. Painful. Needed some comfy oats to make me feel better.

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Custard oats!! I followed Tay’s method of whisking a whole egg into the pot as my oats cooked. It turned out amazing! I love my oats really thick and creamy, and that’s exactly what happened. Topped with some dates and homemade maple pecan butter. Epic.

Then it was off to my favourite Monday morning step class. It’s the same ladies there every week and we’re starting to bond. I just love it :) It’s one of the few times I get to just let loose and get a silly sweat on.

Replenished after with a Janetha inspired lunch.

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  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup garbanzo beans
  • 1 tsp ranch seasonin
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • chopped onion
  • 1 tomato
  • kale

All mixed up and eaten out of a giant bowl. This was really filling!! Except, I used up all my fresh produce in it, which meant no giant pita to bring to work for supper tonight. Instead, I opted for the Subway in the food court.

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It’s a 6 inch veggie delight on whole wheat with every veggie available. Then I brought my own pouch of tuna and added it to the sub, with a drizzle of Italian dressing I got on the side. Tuna subs used to be my favourite thing ever, and they’re one of the worst subs you can get (helloooo goopy mayo!). So this is a healthified version of my old favourite. It was awesome!

I’m actually not allowed to take pictures at Starbucks – it’s a corporate policy. But I managed to sneak one of my drink tonight.

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Tall unsweetened iced black tea lemonade. I can’t find the nutrition facts for the unsweetened version of this drink. The lemonade is about 1/3 of it and has some sugar, so it does have calories. How many, I don’t know! Not that much I’m assuming, maybe 60 cals?

P.S. I discovered the coffee frappuccino bases have high fructose corn syrup today for anyone out there who watches that stuff.

I also broke my “no buying any more mugs or tumblers with my sweet partner discount” rule. It was just too good to pass up!

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An insulated cup just for cold drinks. Just think of all the Deb inspired smoothies I could fill it up with!

 

Okay folks, time for the first round of questions and answers.

I got some excellent questions from y’all! I’m going to answer a little each day this week, as some deserve well thought-out answers. Since I’m short on time tonight, I’m going to tackle the easiest ones first ;) Don’t worry if yours isn’t featured here – I will be answering all of them in the days ahead!

 

Emily (The Experimentarian), said:

ooh! Question time! let’s talk about travel! Where is the coolest place you’ve ever been? Where would you like to go?

What is your favorite hobby besides blogging and working out? Is it crafting? Ha ha. Yay for arts and crafts! xoxo

Okay first, I’d have to say fitness is my number one hobby!! Chris is a huge car hobbyist, and one day I was complaining to him that I don’t have any hobbies. He was just like “Umm, Susan, you spend all your spare time at the gym or thinking about it.” Which is totally true. When I’m not working out, I’m reading about it, planning for it, talking about it. It kinda consumes me :\ 

But I do really enjoy playing my guitar when I feel inspired. I’ve also been known to knit on occasion, which I took up five years ago to help me quit smoking. And I know this is a lame hobby, but I still love the news! Watching it, reading it. I love keeping on top of current events.

As for travel, I wouldn’t say I’m a globe trotter, but I’ve been to some pretty neat places. The list: America (duh), Mexico, Cuba (twice), Jamaica, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg and France. Of all those places, I think the trip to Mexico with my mom to visit my sister (who was studying there at the time) was the most memorable. We stayed with a Mexican family in a city called Cuernevaca. We did a lot of travelling to the surrounding cities and got to see some of the real Mexican countryside. The food was also fantastic ;)

Right now there are a lot of places in the United States I really want to go to – Las Vegas, Washington DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Austin, to name a few ;) Overseas, I reeeeeally want to go to the UK. Ellie, I’m coming someday, I promise!!

 

julie,said:

i wanna knowww what’s your fav starbreezies drink!? now that you work there and all :)

I think my favourite coffee drink of all time (besides plain coffee) is a dry latte with two shots of espresso and a squirt of vanilla. I love my lattes foamy, but I prefer only a hint of sweetness and not the overpowering one that most Starbucks drinks have.

But, my favourite Starbucks-only drink is an iced caramel macchiato. There are many others I once had love affairs with, but unfortunately have been discontinued :(

Lori (Finding Radiance), Said:

My question would be: How do you plan on building your personal training business? Will you start at your current gym with advertising (guess not if you are moving?).

This is a good question, seeing as I never really went into how I plan on using my personal training certification. My goal now, is to get a job at my current gym chain. They’re the largest in Canada and are constantly hiring full and part-time trainers all over the place. Their trainers don’t have to seek out clients, but the clients are paired with trainers through the gym. So the “business” side of it would be taken care of.

That’s my short-term goal anyways. There are some privately owned and smaller gyms in the area that I’ll be looking into as well. There are also a couple companies around here that set trainers up with businesses who want them for their employees.

Long-term, I plan on getting my my Nutrition & Wellness certification so I can do a little fitness-based nutrition counselling as well. And of course, I want to do some freelance writing! Put all this knowledge out there to share :)

I’m still iffy about being a group fitness instructor. But ya never know, it could lead there. At the moment though, I’m more focused on working with individual clients.

 

Ashley Said:

So….I looked into buying a waffle iron the other day, because I love the look of yours (they are photogenic!) but the only one I could find was like $80. Which is a lot. I can buy a $20 one online and I was wondering whether its hard to go wrong with a waffle iron? Do you think I can get away with a cheapie? (I realise this probably isn’t what you meant when you invited questions….!!!)

I thought this deserved to be answered in a post because I get a lot of comments from people saying they want a belgian waffle iron. There are some nice ones out there that do all the fancy flipping stuff, but mine is just a “press.”

It’s a Proctor Silex Morning Baker Waffle Iron. I bought it at Walmart for close to $30. I have absolutely no complaints about it. It cooks up fast and makes giant fluffy waffles! I’d just be wary of the non-belgian style irons. I had one before that did two small rectangular waffles at once and it took forever to cook.

 

Well that wraps it up for today! I’ll be delving into some more of the “deep thought” Q’s tomorrow. If you have a question you’d like to add, leave a comment or send me an e-mail at thegreatbalancingact@gmail.com :)

 

Question of the Day: Any old foods you used to love but now “healthify?” I used to be a french fry person, but now I make all sorts of fry substitutes. Like butternut squash fries, yuca fries and most recently green bean fries!

Tips for Working Out in the Morning

Hey everyone!! Well, as promised, here are my morning workout tips! Most of you know I’m a big fan of getting up mega early and doing my workout before my day’s commitments. I assure you, I haven’t always been a morning person. But these are some of the things that helped me acclimatize. Read on!


The day before:

  • Don’t workout after work Tuesday, then expect to wake up before work on Wednesday for another tough workout. Two workouts within 12 hours is hard, and tiring. Try to allow 24 hours between your workouts.
  • Mentally prepare yourself for your routine the next day. Keep reminding yourself that you’ll be up a little earlier to work out the next day, instead of ignoring it or putting it out of your mind.

The night before:

  • Prepare every last detail. Get your pre-workout snack ready, any coffee you need/want to drink beforehand. I even fill up the water jug in my fridge so there’s lots to hydrate with.
  • Get your clothes/gear ready. I put my workout clothes, down to my underwear and socks, at the end of my bed. On days I’m especially tight on time, I’ll even sleep in my workout clothes. I pack a bag with my wallet, iPod, water bottle, sweat rag and sneakers to grab on my way out the door.
  • I don’t wash my mascara off the night before so I still have a little bit on when I go to the gym in the morning. This way I’m not technically putting make-up on to go to the gym. But at the same time, it keeps me from looking like death at 5am. I have no shame in admitting to this technique.
  • If I know I’ll be tight on time in the morning, I’ll prepare my breakfast and food for work the night before too. (I live close enough to my gym that I can come back home and shower before going to work).

The morning of:

  • Don’t waste time laying in bed!!! I keep my alarm clock on the other end of my bed, so I have to sit up and crawl to turn it off. Do not lay back down at this point!!! That grogginess feeling wears off after 15 minutes or so. Do not let it fool you into thinking you’re too tired (unless you actually slept for 4 hours. Then go back to bed).
  • The first thing I do is put my gym clothes on. It’s hard to talk myself out of it once I’m up and in those clothes.
  • Drink at least 16 oz of water. I always wake up feeling super dehydrated, so this one is easy for me. I chug a glass every morning anyways. But if there’s one thing you should remember in your morning routine, it’s this one. Working out in a dehydrated state is not cool.
  • Have a small snack and caffeine (if you swing that way). This is the difference between a stellar workout and a “meh.” workout for me.

My pre-workout snack is usually around 100-150 calories consisting of nut butter + simple sugar and sometimes a complex carb. Since I start activity about 15 minutes after this snack, the sugar is more effective for energy than the complex carb, but that complex carb can be important for sustained energy. Examples:

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Dates + PB

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1/2 Banana + PB 

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1/2 Banana + PB + toast

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 Smooshed dates + PB + wasa bread.

I don’t vary a lot from these combos because it they always sit well in my tummy and give me lots of energy! Doesn’t mean it will work for you, so I encourage lots of experimenting on your part to find that magic combo :)

The real magic though, is my iced coffee.

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This is my secret weapon to morning workouts. I make a french press the night before and stick it in the fridge. In the morning, I mix half of the french press with almond milk and stevia (in my Jamaican frosty mug, of course). The coffee and snack is downed in about 5 minutes flat, and that’s when my energy soars. I practically bound out the door at that point! (the other half of the french press is consumed with breakfast)

 

So there you have it! I assure you, I never used to be a morning person. In fact, I have old blog entries to prove that fact. But the good of working out first thing far outweighs the negative!

  1. I get the luxury of coming straight home after work and have the time to prepare a nice dinner
  2. I don’t have to spend a good chunk of my day battling mentally whether or not I should go to the gym after work like planned
  3. Working late, or other unexpected reasons don’t get in the way
  4. I have the whole day to replenish my hunger, instead of an evening workout where I spend the rest of the night starving
  5. I get to strut around all day knowing I ran 5 miles while most of my coworkers were still asleep ;)

As a side note, I find my best workouts are often in the morning. Personally, my body performs best when there’s less food and stress from the day to wear me down.

 

And because I can’t leave you without any fun food from the day – I tried a lamb burger! Chris and I went to our favourite restaurant, Isaac’s Way.

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Curried lamb burgerGround lamb seasoned with curry, grilled, and topped with out roasted red pepper pecan spread, spinach, goat cheese and fresh red peppers.”

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I almost went for a “lighter option” on the menu. But this burger is what I really wanted, and I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied without! So I opted for a side salad and got the burger in all its glory. It was delicious. The pecan spread was amazing with the goat cheese. I couldn’t detect a huge difference with the lamb though. The bun overpowered the meat a little.

Chris got one of his standbys.

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Nachos bathed in horrible flash photography.

We were hungry.

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After dinner, we went Christmas shopping – for me!!

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I upgraded from my old Motorola Razr to an LG Xenon :D Phone cost me $10 with a rebate, and I get the browser on it for only an extra $5 a month. HOLY DEAL! I can also e-mail and Twitter from it. I’m in nerdy heaven :)

 

Lastly, I just gotta tell y’all that I brought my own ingredients to make a banana Chocolate Amazing Meal smoothie at work today. Pretty sure it was the healthiest smoothie I’ve ever had out of a Starbucks cup ;) My co-workers already think I’m crazy.

Hope you all enjoy your Friday!!!

 

Question of the Day: When is your favourite time of the day to work out? If I’m running, I do it best as soon as I wake up. But other activities I prefer to do a couple hours after a hearty breakfast. Come afternoon, I just start to drag.

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