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Beer, Bread, Burgers, Ohmy.

Aahhh… you know what is even worse than a Sunday evening? The Monday after a long weekend. Three days is enough to completely check out of real life. Having to face it again on a Monday night is always a rude awakening!

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Another bummer is the fact that I am out of Trader Joe’s Sunflower Seed Butter. Sound the alarms. This is an emergency situation.

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I stuffed the near-empty jar with cottage cheese, peaches, raisins, cinnamon, coconut flakes, raw oats and sugar-free syrup. I ended up putting my finger in there to ensure no seed butter remained. Then shed a single tear *sniff* Trader Joe’s needs to come to Canada.

I ended up spending aaallll morning in bed watching MTV shows on my computer and catching up on a few blogs. It was grand. Even though it’s a holiday, my gym is still open and I had a client who wanted to work out this afternoon. Not quite a holiday for me! Lunch before work:

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Pan-fried ham slices with swiss cheese, sautéed red pepper, spinach, on an english muffin. Then squashed and melted in the hot pan. Not pictured is the plethora of baby carrots and salsa that accompanied this. Yum.

Thank goodness I had that client today though because it got me to the gym! I was definitely bit by the lazy bug today, but I still managed to squeeze out a decent back/biceps workout. I am really enjoying my new lifting split! I feel like my workouts are a lot more efficient. It’s easier to wrap things up in an hour when I only have two muscle groups to focus on.

Even though I am officially on a Buffalo detox, my day did involve a little more Blue Moon beer. (brought back across the border)

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But not straight up. I had some flour and sugar with it.

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Not separately, ohno.

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Mixed all up in my roommate’s Kitchenaid mixer.

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And placed into a bread pan.

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You know where this is going ;)

April’s Beer Bread

3 cups of self-rising flour

1/2 cup of sugar

1 can or bottle of beer

mix ingredients and put in loaf pan

melt 1/2 stick of butter and pour over top

bake at 375 for 45 minutes!!

I used 1 cup all-purpose flour and 2 cups whole wheat, then mixed in 3 tsp baking powder and 1 1/2 tsp salt because I didn’t have self-rising flour. Also, I definitely did not use that much butter – maybe like 2 tbsp ;)

It rose!

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Avec du beurre…

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It turned out very dense and sweet.

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I of course tried a piece right away with a little smear of Lori’s pear cranberry jam.

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Good!! And SO easy!! Baking with yeast admittedly scares me, so the idea of pouring beer in sounded a lot more appealing. You really can’t pick up that much of a beer taste because of the sugar. Next time I want to try Guinness for the beer and molasses for the sweetener. So many possible combos!

I wasn’t just baking beer bread for the hell of it though. Something this good needs to be shared!

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BBQ. Labour Day style.

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This is not my backyard. My backyard is a parking lot. And there is a definite lack of bbq back there.

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What is happening in these photos? I do believe it is a foot high five.

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That girl on the left was in Schindler’s List. True story!

Seeing as I’m on a Buffalo detox, I made a point of keeping my bbq grub somewhat healthy.

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Earlier in the day I threw together a pound of ground chicken with some chopped red pepper, spinach, a couple scoops of salsa and a few shakes of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. I formed the mix into patties and brought one of them to the bbq with me.

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Spicy spinach chicken burger? Yesplease!! And yes, that is my second english muffin of the day. It made for a killer bun.

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For veggies I put a chopped sweet potato on the ‘cue but I couldn’t finish it all. My chicken burger was too huge!

But there’s always room for dessert ;)

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My roommie Megan brought chocolate crinkle cookies that her mom always makes. They were deeeelicious. Kinda like a cross between a cookie and fudge. Rolled in icing sugar. The perfect little chocolate treat.

And for those of you fretting over the start of your work week or school year, don’t worry…

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As seen outside an Indian restaurant on Queen West in Toronto ;)

As Madeline would say – make it a good one!!

 

Question of the Day: What is your favourite thing to grill? Mine is bread!! We used to go to this restaurant when I was a kid where you could pick flavoured butters, different kinds of bread, then grill it yourself. Amazing.

It’s All About the Food

Hello friends!! Hope your weeks are off to a great start! I was all grumpy about returning to work yesterday, then I showed up and remembered how much I like it and had a pretty good Monday! :)

As promised, today’s post is all about the food. If you’re catching up, here are my other Chicago/Healthy Living Summit posts:

Chigaarrgoh
Deep Dish
The Summit

First off, I need to give props to my favourite treats provided during the conference. On Saturday, Athenos stepped it up for their sponsored break and had some delicious goodies.

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All “my kind of food.” Tortilla chips with a feta dip (crazy delicious), hummus stuffed cucumber, chicken and feta skewers, watermelon/basil/feta skewers, legitimately tasty pita chips with more hummus. Thumbs up!

My favourite meal came on Sunday with the Bagel Thins sponsored breakfast.

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They had a table set up where you could pick plain or low-fat cream cheese and choose all sorts of mix-ins for it. They then whipped up your speciality cheese on the spot. I thought it was a really neat idea.

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This breakfast was already in line to be my favourite because I showed up starving after getting lost on the fun run. Any food at that point would have been scarfed down and claimed as the best meal ever! :P

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Above photo credit goes to the amazing photog Arnold/Oroweat had around all weekend. Check out the photos here.

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I was feeling something savoury after the hot and sweaty run. I called mine Upstream Cheese and added salmon, capers, cucumber, carrot, scallions, and a pinch of salt.

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Taking pictures of taking pictures ;)

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The bagel thins were just okay. I’m not a huge “thin bread” person. If I ate more bread it may be an issue, but I only have a couple slices a day, so I like to have the real hearty stuff when I do.

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Where’s the rest of my bagel?? :P

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I also jumped for joy when I saw Sunday’s breakfast had eggs + sausage. Saturday’s breakfast was all carbs and left me feeling icky after. This body needs some protein :)

A lot of bloggers were also handing out goodies over the course of the weekend. So happy I ran into Valerie! ;)

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The only thing better than homemade business cards are business cards that come with chocolate…

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After the satisfying breakfast on Sunday, Callie and I hit the road. But not without a very important stop first…

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Sad fact: there are no Trader Joe’s in Canada. I’ve been reading about this store foreevveerrr on blogs and on the internets and was superduper pumped to finally check it out. For Canadians that have never heard of it, it’s just a healthy/organic store that carries a lot of neat products under the Trader Joe’s brand.

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Happy shoppers!! (ps the above photo was taken with Callie’s camera!)

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I got tons of great TJs suggestions from you guys, but I tried to keep my goodies to a minimum. First, because I already had two full bags of food to bring home with me. Secondly, it had to last the nine hours back home!

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I picked this up to eat for lunch in the car.

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The whole container was only 100 calories and 14g protein. The taste was a little off though, egg salad needs mayonnaise and egg yolk, this had neither.

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Eaten on top of these crackers, which are quite tasty.

Callie and I then proceeded to snack on our Trader Joe’s goodies for the whole drive home. Me more so than her because I had both of my hands free and nothing better to do ;)

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I had some of Callie’s peanut butter filled pretzels. I purposely did not buy these because I knew they would be a “danger food” to have in the house. They were beyond delicious, reminding me of a better version of peanut butter Ritz crackers.

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I’m not crazy about these, but they make for a good quick chocolate fix, and the stats are a million times better than peanut M&Ms.

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We have dried mango in Canada, but it’s always really hard to find dried fruit that isn’t sweetened. Why do they always add extra sugar to it??

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Reminds me a lot of fruit leather, and very mango-ey.

The first time I saw this stuff on Paige’s blog, I freaked out. It looked amazing.

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I was so amazed when I pulled out the banana and realized it was one big flattened piece! 
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At first, I sandwiched some almond butter between it…

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But the flavours weren’t quite right, so I added a little more AB and rolled it up.

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Omgamazing. I can see this being the perfect pre-workout snack.

Callie and I also had a bunch of coupons in our swag bags that could only be used in the U.S. We stopped at a Krogers in Michigan to put them to use, but unfortunately they didn’t have a lot of what we were looking for. I decided to try out a Chobani for $1.19 (which is a crazy good price for Greek yogurt compared to Canada)

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Topped with a Mix My Granola sample also from the Summit swag bag.

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Loved the texture and flavour of the Chobani, plus it was super filling!! I wish we could get little tubs like this in Canada, it’s such a great way to get a little protein in.

Also bought at Trader Joe’s…

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Clif flavours you can’t find in Canada, also at half the price they’re sold for in Canada.

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Suflower seed butter and corn salsa.

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New blue cheese Laughing Cow flavour that hasn’t made its way up north yet.

I always wondered how the U.S. Laughing Cow slices are 35 calories a piece while the Canadian ones are 45 calories for two. Check it out!

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American version on the left, Canadian on the right. Who knew??

I combined my new Laughing Cow and corn salsa for lunch yesterday.

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On a sandwich with smoked tofurkey.

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Maybe an odd flavour combo, but it was positively delicious.

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Meanwhile, I tried out the sunflower seed butter for breakfast this morning – on top of a yogurt bowl mixed with protein powder, blueberries, oatmeal cinnamon and syrup.

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I’ve had plain, natural sunflower seed butter before and found it to be good, but a touch bitter. The Trader Joe’s stuff is lightly sweetened and salted and so much better. My gosh, I really loved it.

Last but not least, I picked up some new gum flavours!!

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It’s a well-kept secret that I am an obsessive gum chewer. Truth of the matter is, I really love gum. So finding these new-to-me flavours was really exciting. So far the Stride citrus mint is my favourite!

 

I still have a lot of leftover coupons from the Summit that I can’t use in Canada. Once I get them organized I’ll be giving them away on the blog as a little consolation prize for those of you who couldn’t make it to the Summit – so stay tuned!

 

Question of the Day: What would be in your specialty cream cheese? I wish they had maple syrup at the table, because maple salmon would be mine!

Answered – Motivated for a Healthy Life

Hi friends! I’m answering a couple more questions today, so I’m going to get right to it!!

My body clock is starting to finally adjust to my later shifts. I was up at 7:30 am today. Progress! I had to jet to the gym before work, so I ate a light breakfast while drinking coffee.

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Crunchy peanut butter and strawberry jam on a small bagel. There is nothing dreamier than melty PB on toast. I think if I’m ever on death row, that will be my last meal.

I was feeling a hardcore full-body workout today, so I opened up my New Rules of Lifting for Women book and did the first one I found!

Warm-up:
10 minutes on the stair machine (not the “mill” kind, but the death kind)
10 minutes on the rowing machine

A1 – Wide grip deadlift:
3 sets @ 60 lbs x 8

B1 – Bulgarian split squat:
3 sets @ 10 lb plate x 8

B2 – Underhand grip lat pulldown:
3 sets @ 55 lbs x 8

C1 – Reverse lunge w/ forward reach:
3 sets @ 12.5 lb dumbbells x 8

C2 – Dumbbell prone Cuban snatch:
3 sets @ 7.5 dumbbells x 8

D1 – Swiss ball crunch:
3 sets @ 5 kg ball x 15

D2 – Reverse crunch:
3 sets @ bw x 15

D3 – Russian twist:
3 sets @ 5 kg ball x 30

E1 – Plank:
1 set @ 90 sec

Cooldown:
stretching

 

LOVED doing this workout again!! I worked up a wonderful weightlifting sweat, and had fun doing lower-body moves again (I can’t do them often because of my old-lady hip). However, I switched the lateral flexion with the Russian twists and the prone cobra for the plank solely because I like them better :)

Came home and had a little protein juice before popping in the shower.

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PVL peach whey cooler. This wasn’t a whole serving, just wanted to finish of the giant canister I had.

After I was sufficiently clean, I heated up the last of the frozen moo-beef chili remains.

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I, ahem, “beefed” it up a little more with some mixed frozen veggies. This left me SO full! I was barely hungry for my snack when I took my break at work 4 hours later.

Like most things though, the fullness didn’t last. I hit up the grocery store after work for what was supposed to be a quick trip. But it’s snowing (again) and the roads are horrible. Then I ran into a fellow reporter/j-schooler and we gabbed about my career change for a while. Before I knew it I was on my way to the checkout at 6:15 pm and I was starving!!! So I detoured to the prepared food aisle and picked up some sushi which I consumed immediately upon arriving home.

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Nothin’ special, just a variety pack. I think it was spicy tuna, california and tofu.

With a side of veggies + hummus.

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For such a low-key dinner, it was amazingly satisfying!!

Oh, and dessert was a little treat that fell off the shelf and into my grocery cart.

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I used to be obsessed with the chocolate covered sunflower seeds my mom used to buy at Costco.

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These definitely did not disappoint!!!  Can you tell I’m a sucker for candy coating? :P

That’s actually a perfect photo to lead into my Q&A’s for the day.

chasingthenow Said:

Here’s a question for you: What is your biggest motivation for living a healthy lifestyle? Like, what keeps you from just eating whatever you want and drinking whatever you want and not caring?

Tamzin Said:

I have a question, How do you control your cravings ?

These are kinda similar, so I though I’d answer them together.

First, to answer Maria’s question, my biggest motivator to live a healthy lifestyle is knowing I’ve already done a lifetime’s worth of damage. Most of you know I was a big boozer, smoker, took drugs, ate horribly, and generally just hated myself. I feel really, really bad about doing that for so many years. I see now as my chance to turn things around and make up for all that lost time.

My decision to change my lifestyle did not happen overnight. It was a slow progression that just snowballed over a number of years. To sum it up, I do what I do because I don’t want to hate myself anymore. I don’t want to look in the mirror in disgust, feel embarrassed by the way I act, loathe my body, or think it’s okay to treat myself with disrespect. I did that for many years, and it’s no way to live.

Everything I do – eating lots of veggies, skipping on the beer, weight lifting, to even smiling at the customers at work. Those are all things I do that make me feel good. And those good feelings are kinda addictive! Now that I know how it feels to accept the way I am, I don’t want to do anything that will make me go back to my old self-destructive ways.

I think this links to how I control cravings too. First, I should say that I don’t ever really experience strong cravings. I constantly eat foods I love so I never feel as if I’m missing out on something.

Sometimes this means “healthifying” foods, like I did with yesterday’s Subway sandwich. Sometimes, it means having a little bit of the food I want in moderation. Today for example, I was given a free polar bear cookie. I really wanted the damn cookie (cookies are admittedly my worst weakness). But I also know they’re over 400 calories a pop. Knowing the cookie probably wasn’t worth that, I broke off the nose, savoured every nibble, then threw the rest in the trash before I had time to go back. It was good, but not 400 calories good ;)

Sometimes though, you just gotta go all out. There are 365 days in a year. I see no problem with taking a handful of those days and eating everything you crave. For me, it’s always special occasions, like Christmas will be this year!

So with a combination of healthy versions, moderation, and splurging, I really don’t experience intense cravings for any food. I’m an awful “muncher” though. Walking into the kitchen can turn into a munch-fest for me. It’s something I’m always working on. Some days are better than others. But hey, we all can’t be perfect! :)

 

And with that I ask you: what’s your biggest motivation for living a healthy lifestyle? Do you have any tricks for controlling cravings?

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