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A Day in the Kitchen

Well first off, I want to say how impressed I am no one chewed my head off for counting calories again! Everyone understood my personal need to “check-in” on how I’m doing with maintaining my weight loss. That’s why I love you all :) For the record, it’s not entirely to track the number of calories I’m eating, as I’m pretty sure I’ve done a decent job at keeping that steady. But I want to take a look at how much sugar I’m having, and how I’m doing with protein. Plus, I’m a nerd and get a kick out of seeing the numbers sometimes :P

Moving on! I have a ton of food photos so I’m going to skip over the morning food.I did however make it to my favourite step class. I don’t know what was up today, but I was feeling kinda “meh” about it. I got that vibe from the whole class. I just wasn’t in the mood for jumping over a bench for an hour. Too bad I didn’t figure that out until I started! Oh well.

I made up for it with a noon-hour yoga class. Yes, I like to spend my days off doing exercise classes :P It was a 45-minute BodyFlow class and it was juuuust right. I’m really happy I committed to doing yoga three days a week this month. I love it so much more when I do it often!

I must share my lunch, as it featured my version of a “crack wrap.”

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Crack pita ;) Sabra red pepper hummus, swiss cheese on a whole wheat pita toated in a frying pan. And yes, it is so good, it’s just like crack.

On the side I had my leftover roasted tofu and veggies on top of spinach and tomatoes. I’m a volume eater, so the spinach made my plate look more full :)

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Aalllll together now!

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Yum! Such a treat to eat a hot lunch. I can only have cold ones when I’m at work. 

Work lunches don’t often include dessert either.

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80% chocolate seems to be juuuust right for me. 90% is too intense, and 70% is too bland. The best thing about the dark stuff is you don’t even need a whole square to satisfy that sweet tooth.

My afternoon was then spent in the kitchen!

First up: Pumpkin Spice Roasted Chickpeas.

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I’ve been hearing amaaaazing things about these all around the blogosphere. I don’t know what I was expecting, but these just tasted like chickpeas to me (duh). Clearly I need to quadruple the cinnamon in every recipe :P

Next up were some of Seth’s Low-Fat Chocolate Muffins:

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I haven’t tried these yet, but I’m a little wary. I never screw with baking recipes, because I don’t really know the first thing about baking. But I subbed out the sugar and cocoa in this recipe for chocolate protein powder, left out the applesauce and added 1 tbsp ground flax. I also accidentally overcooked them because I was busy snacking and forgot about them. I’ll let you know how they turned out tomorrow!

Oh, but what was I snacking on? A persimmon! 

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Kinda looks like a tomato, but it’s actually a sweet fruit. I’ve been seeing a lot of these on blogs lately as well. I believe it’s because they’re in season, also why they were on sale at the grocery store (Sobey’s).

I had no idea what to expect when I cut into it, or how to eat it. So I just sliced it up and ate the whole thing!

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I would say it’s like a firmer, milder peach. Apparently you’re not supposed to eat the skin, but I thought it tasted good! It was a little tough, like a mango’s (but I’ll eat mango skins too). I think this one was just slightly under ripe, as it was quite crispy like an apple in the center, and then really soft like a peach towards the outside. Overall, downright delicious!! I hope they’re still on sale – I want more! :)

Then it was back to the kitchen for my third and final dish of the day – chili!! Probably one of my favourite meals ever, and my first batch of the season. I eat a lot of chilis, soups, stews, etc, in the winter.

Typically, I like to do fun recipes for chili, but I wanted my first batch to be old-school. So I just winged it.

 

Thick n’ Spicy Moo-Beef Chili

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  • 1 spanish onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 lb extra-lean ground beef
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 1 14 oz can red kidney beans
  • 1 14 oz can black beans (I used the Eden Organic no-salt kind for both beans)
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (again, organic no-salt kind)
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (I used Frank’s)
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 tbsp unpacked brown sugar

Sautee the onion and green pepper until slightly soft, then add beef and jalapeño. I did this in my pot because it’s giant and has a wide bottom. Then stir in the rest of the ingredients and let simmer for 45-60 minutes.

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This is my first real-beef chili since childhood! (hence the name) It tastes so different, even from turkey. It’s definitely thick and meaty. A “man’s” chili if you will ;) 

Well, I know it’s Flashback Friday and all, but I’m going to have to skip this week. My bedtime is quickly approaching (work at 5am tomorrow!) and I still have this to deal with:

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Yes, that’s the size of my whole kitchen. Enough counter space for one cutting board. At least it’s less surface to keep sanitized! (and no mops required, floor can be hand-scrubbed in 5 minutes ;) )

Hope you’re all getting a wonderful start to your weekend!!

 

Question of the Day: Do you prefer cooking or baking? I definitely feel more in my element making meals. Add some flour or sugar to the mix and I get totally lost!

Top of the Muffin to You!

I’ve got a lot of food photos for today! Some days I don’t bother taking pictures of all my eats, others I’m all over it. Today was the latter, so let’s get to it shall we?

I reeeally wanted to make protein pancakes for breakfast this morning, but my plain cottage cheese had gone bad. I know tasting foods is always the best way to tell – but ew. Sour dairy freaks. me. out.

Anyways, the alternative was pretty stellar regardless – oats in a jar!

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It was 1/2 cup oat bran, 2 cups water, 2 tbsp protein powder, cinnamon, raisins and almond butter, of course ;)

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Looks disgusting but it’s ooohh sooo good. This is the best way to use up the hard nut butter at the bottom of a jar :)

 

I had the morning off, which meant time to go to step class! It was a different instructor today, she wasn’t as awesome as the last one. But the class was packed with energetic ladies, which perked me up! The moves are starting to come a little easier now. I noticed it felt like I wasn’t working as hard, so next time I’ll add a riser to my step (now that I’m almost sure I won’t fall of :P )

I was a sweaty mess when I came home. My shirt was soaked through! I stuck it out though so I could have a snack first.

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Half of a homemade protein bar and a couple clementines. Or tangerines. Little citrus fruit??

Since I was eating lunch at home today, I skipped the usual bread or pita and went straight for a giant salad. 

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  • romaine lettuce
  • yellow pepper
  • onion
  • tomato
  • sundried tomato tuna
  • Mediterranean cottage cheese

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The awesome thing about putting cottage cheese on salads is that it not only ups the protein but acts as a dressing. Yum!

And since I’m photographing everything today, there’s the usual sweet ending.

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I feel like I need something a little sweet to end every meal. So I like having half a square of Lindt chocolate. It’s only 25 calories, so it’s not like I’m breaking the bank. This is the fleur de sel kind. Just enough richness to tame that sweet tooth!

Unfortunately, big salads never hold me over that long. So I was snacky all afternoon.

I had some Mary’s crackers with soy nut butter.

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For some reason the soy nut butter tastes awesome with these crackers. This was my first time buying them. They’re alright – really hard and crunchy. I’ve never been much of a cracker person though, so I probably won’t spend the $4.50 on them again.

I haven’t been having the best day mood-wise, so I decided to give the whole “baking therapy” thing a try. I’ve been wanting to make muffins forever, so I went to the queen of healthy muffin recipes – Steph Chows.

I opted for the Cinnamon Roll Muffins based on the ingredients I had on hand. I don’t have any pumpkin though, so I subbed it out with a banana.

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I think I may have been a little too aggressive with my “swirling,” a lot of them just came out looking mangled! :P

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I of course ignored all cooling rules and had one immediately.

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With a little melted earth balance. Do I even have to say it was good? They taste more like cinnamon-y banana muffins.

The baking did help my mood a little too :)

Supper was totally random. Which in my kitchen always = delicious.

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A tempeh sweet potato quesadilla and broccoli.

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A wonderful combo actually! I pan-fried a cubed tempeh burger and miniature sweet potato in cajun spices then put it on an ezekiel tortilla with mozzarella and bbq sauce.  Squeezed in the george foreman and dipped in salsa!

I’m leaving for Windsor on Friday, so I’m trying to go the week without getting food. Should be interesting!

Work this evening was a boring city council meeting, but included the highlight of my day. My dad stopped by!! He’s a lawyer, and in town working on a case. Our schedules don’t really match up over these next couple days, so he popped into the media booth to say hi. I’m a total daddy’s girl, what can I say…

More muffin snackage happened upon my return to the office.

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Stuffed with a little PB… times two. This is why I don’t bake!!! I actually froze half the batch. Cheapest frozen muffins I’ve had in a while. Take that VitaExpensive. :P

Now I’m curled up in bed. Anticipating the results of my first slow cooker experiment.

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Ooooh…. What could it be?? :P Gonna have to wait till tomorrow! Night night!

Step It Up

Happy weekend everyone! I got my weekend off to a most excellent start – with a Friday off!! Ooohhhh, it was glorious. I slept in until 8am, but after a very late evening, so I sort of felt like I’d been run over by a truck. I was croaking for two things – coffee and waffles.

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Maple cinnamon waffles with almond butter and blueberry jam and a few grapes on the side. This was supposed to be a light breakfast because I had step class an hour later. But the behemoth-sized mug of coffee I had filled me up soooo much! Oops.

To be honest, I was kind of scared for BodyStep. I’d watched the videos of the moves online. Or rather, studied, full of hesitation and fear. I thought I’d be lucky to make it out of the class alive, or even with my ego intact! Here’s a breakdown of what the class looked like.

  • Warmup
  • Step warmup (easy moves on the step)
  • Step orientation (more easy stuff, but a little faster with some jumps)
  • Step athletic (lotsa moving, getting the heart rate up)
  • Mixed strength (a mix of steps and squats)
  • Power peak (intense, confusing)
  • Step recovery
  • Party step (fun and silly, kinda do what you want)
  • Speed step (on a low step, moving your feet super fast)
  • Recovery/Push-ups/Abdominals (to get a little whole-body work in)
  • Cooldown/Stretch  

So my verdict? I absolutely LOVED it!! Who woulda thought? I’m a really clumsy person, and thought I would be in over my head. Granted, at times it was a little too complicated for me. But I think I could really get into it after a few more classes.

I also took this at the “women’s only” location, so it was smaller and more “communal.” The instructor was amazing. And everyone in the class was at all different levels, doing a variety of different step options that I could mimic.

Oh, and I burned almost 400 calories, which is pretty good for me. I burn only slightly more in spin class, so you know it was intense!

The rest of my day wasn’t really noteworthy. Vegged out for a little bit, ran a bunch of errands around town. Had a wonderful “snacky” lunch.

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Yves veggie salami sandwich with marble cheese then mushrooms, carrots and hummus.

I was supposed to make a special feast for Chris and I tonight, but I forgot to buy the key ingredient! It was too late to go back and get it, so we ended up just going out for dinner. There’s a music festival going on downtown this weekend, so in order to avoid the crowds, we went across the river for some pub fare.

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The Cannon’s Cross Pub to be exact. The same people who own the Snooty Fox, where I frequent, um, frequently.

Chris ordered his usual mountain o’ nachos.

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So eager to dig in he couldn’t even wait for me to take a photo!

I went for the Chef’s salad, as I was really craving some plain meat and veggies.

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Just a regular garden salad topped with grilled chicken, ham and a boiled egg. I ordered it without cheese, and got some light Italian that I drizzled on post-photo.

Exciting news: Chris is going to run the race with me on Sunday!! Well, maybe. He’s never actually ran before, but we both think he could do the 5k. He’s in crazy good shape from cycling. He’d have no cardiovascular problem getting through it, it would just be a shock to his legs and joints I think. We went out and bought proper running shoes for him tonight (he liked the New Balance). Even if he decides against the race on Sunday, he’s going to take up running as it gets too cold for road biking here. Yay for running buddies!

To be honest, I think he just wants to get good enough to beat me :P

Sorry I don’t have much more for you tonight! I was actually hoping to have a video post up on how to make a breakfast cookie. But it’s a “hugh jass” file as they say, and has 10 hours left to upload!! No, I didn’t film a 4 hour documentary on the breakfast cookie, Chris just felt the resolution needed to be high enough to see my pores. Hopefully it’ll be up tomorrow!

Question of the day: Do you prefer working out alone or with others? Ultimately, I prefer alone, as my exercise time is my “me time.” But it’s really nice to have a companion sometimes, keeps it fun and light :)

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