Blog Archives

Starting The Week Off Right

No better way to start off the week than with a plate of pancakes.

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Dairy-Free (ish) Protein Pancakes to be exact. I almost scrambled them in my pre-coffee Monday morning daze. But I managed to save them and ended up with crispy edges instead. Score!

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Dipped in 1 tbsp cashew butter whisked with 3 tbsp sugar-free syrup.

Then for my mid-morning snack I had an amazing combo – rosemary biscuit + pear cardamom butter.

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I whipped up a batch of these rosemary biscuits for the crew at the running store this weekend. The flavour paired amazingly with the spiced pear butter. I luuuuurve rosemary!!

Finally, I thought this was an odd thing to find at the grocery store last week:

IMG_5208 Frozen figs! I’ve seen fresh ones, but never packaged frozen ones. Seems like an odd fruit to freeze because of the mushy centre…no?

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They aren’t the little figs either. In fact, quite ginormous.

I defrosted one in the microwave and chopped up the mushy fruit to add to a yogurt mess.

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The usual – yogurt, protein powder, chia seeds, raw oats, cinnamon, almond butter and maple syrup. And of course – fig! The frozen kind was only $2.75 a bag and would probably be decent for cooking or baking with.

 

Simply Switch Check-In

It’s been a week since I talked about the switches I committed to, inspired by The Simply Bar. Time to re-visit them to stay on track!

1. Switch out sugary desserts with natural sweets.

I was thinking today about how much my sugar intake has decreased even in the first two weeks of this year. I can now go full days without any sort of chocolate, which was virtually unheard of just a few weeks ago. I still have a piece here and there, and I still have dessert when the occasion allows. But I don’t feel like I need something sweet after every single meal. And if I do want something, I grab a clementine or small handful of grapes instead.

2. Switch out 5 minutes of internet time for meditation time.

I am struggling the most with this one. I’ve probably only done this one-third of the days so far. It’s not so much giving up the internet time, but sitting and doing nothing for 5 minutes that feels difficult. It’s hard channelling energy inward when I’m so used to sending it outward!

3. Switch out one workout a week with yoga.

I was doing this until I fell onto my death bed with ebola or whatever illness it was that I had. Then I didn’t workout for 10 days. I’m currently working on group coupons for three different yoga studios in Toronto, and I’m reeeealy excited about all of them. So I don’t see this being all that challenging!

4. Switch out unreplied e-mails for replied ones!

This is taking a very conscious effort on my part. It’s like my inherent messy and lazy nature is seeping into how I manage my online inbox as well. Most days when I read an e-mail I have to talk myself into responding to it right away. But I am doing it. Except on weekends. My clients joke that I am unreachable on weekends because I just don’t have the attention span or time to sit down at the computer until Monday mornings.

 

Other switches include grabbing healthier snacks – check! Exploring my city more – got an itinerary planned for the week! Switching my morning munching with my morning vitamins – check! And switching out my afternoon coffee or tea with more water instead – check!

How about you guys? What are your Simply Switches this month and how are you doing with them?

La Dolce Vita

Hello friends!! How were our weekends? This my last free weekend before I start my part-time job at the running store so I tried to make the most of it!

This morning started off with one of the goodies I scored for helping out The Simply Bar at Toronto’s Vegetarian Food Fair yesterday (recap here).

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Simply Bar is known for their protein bars made with soy crisps. Now they have a new Simply Protein Oatmeal made with the same crisps!

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I mixed 3/4 cup with an equal amount almond milk and nuked it for 2 minutes. It’s strawberry flavoured and I wanted to get a good taste of it plain, so I only added almond butter to the top at first.

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But then I spotted the strawberry yogurt in my fridge and knew it was meant to be!

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I like my yogurt on top of hot oatmeal like a frosting, but my mom prefers it on the bottom with the hot oatmeal on top. To each her own ;)

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Ooohhhh yeah. Honestly, I reallyreally enjoyed the oatmeal!!! It was nice to make oatmeal without having to add extra protein in the form of eggs or powder. I need protein in my oatmeal, as just carbs in the morning leave me hungry and lethargic for the rest of the day. The strawberry flavour is just sweet enough, and the soy crisps didn’t get lost in the mix. Can’t wait till this stuff hits the stores!

The oatmeal was also incredibly filling. It got me through a free hour-long hatha yoga class at Lululemon, and then a loooong wait for brunch.

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My roommie and I have been wanting to try Lady Marmalade here in Leslieville forrevverrr. It’s gotten several good reviews, but more so, we just wanted to see what this line-up is about!!

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Every Saturday & Sunday there is a line-up at this place going out the door. We figured the food had to be good if so many people are willing to wait for it.

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After an hour our third new roommie (!!) showed up and we were finally seated.

By that point we all knew what we wanted after staring at the menu for so long ;)

Both of my roommies (soon-to-be and current) got the organic buckwheat fresh fruit crepe w/ lemony yogurt, house-made cranberry-almond granola, berry coulis & honey.

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Ummm yeah. That thing was a beast!

I went for something a little more savoury: organic tofu scramble w/ shitakes, bokchoy, spinach, scallions, sesame & a bit of a kick, served w/ basmati brown rice or potatoes, toast & a salad.

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I asked for the potatoes and my toast dry. Didn’t really make a difference though because the scramble was still sopping with oil :(

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I was expecting a smaller tofu scramble, similar to scrambled eggs. This was just okay. The potatoes and bread were great though, so that’s something. It’s our goal to visit all the brunch places in Leslieville, so now we can officially cross this one off the list!

Current roommie and I then bid adieu to soon-to-be roomie and we wandered the ‘hood for a little bit.

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We decided that Leslieville (East Toronto) consists of three things: brunch places, stores for dogs or babies, and specialty antique shops. I don’t want to break out the “Y” word, but some may describe it as a little yuppie ;)

With Sunday morning yoga and brunch out of the way, there were just two things left to do: grocery shop and cook!

This week I’m trying out some light meal planning. Since I’m only one tummy, it doesn’t get that complicated. Essentially just a couple dishes I can have for lunch & supper leftovers this week.

First up, something cold I can bring to work:

Tofu & Quinoa Salad

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I knew exactly what I wanted for this, so instead of following a recipe, I created my own! (Chef Michael Smith anyone?)

  • 1 cup dry quinoa, cooked with 2 cups water
  • 1 block extra-firm tofu, cubed and browned in a pan
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup chickpea broth (from the can, or the water you cook it in)
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped (around 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • pepper to taste
  • optional: 2-3 tbsp olive oil

All mixed up and chilled for several hours.

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I’ve been reading about how wonderful parsley is in my nutrition textbook, so I threw it in with reckless abandon. Fun fact: it has twice the iron of spinach! The taste turned out just as I’d hoped. I’ve now got some waiting for me on top of spinach for lunch tomorrow :)

Now, onto a hot dinner!

Not Your Average Shepherd’s Pie

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This one comes from a recipe over at Foods of April and can be found here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of lean ground turkey breast
  • 1 cup low sodium broth (I used organic beef broth)
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 cups green beans (I defrosted some)
  • 1 cup of corn (I defrosted some)
  • 1 1/4 cup cauliflower “mashed potatoes”
  • Pepper
  • Garlic seasoning

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook ground turkey with onion, pepper, and garlic seasoning until well done.
  3. Place turkey in a casserole dish or oven safe deep dish container.
  4. Cut up the green beans (optional) and layer on top of the turkey.
  5. Add the corn.
  6. Pour the broth over the veggies to coat.
  7. Spread the “mashed potatoes” on top of the veggies.
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the “mashed potatoes” start to brown and look like a crust.
  9. Cut into 4 servings and eat!

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I made it just as the recipe suggests, however my cauliflower is a little different. First, I was too impatient to let it cook all the way, so it didn’t quite “mash.” I have made it several times before though, so rest assured it will get creamy like potatoes if you have an ounce more patience than I.

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I added chili powder to both the turkey and cauliflower for an extra bit of kick. Instead of cream cheese, I added cottage cheese to the cauliflower. My only complaint is that the broth made it soupy, I would definitely omit that next time!

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Of course, what is shepherd’s pie without a healthy dose of ketchup??

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April is so cute. Her recipe says it makes four servings – I got three. And a very satisfied belly afterward ;) Comfort food at it’s finest. Can’t wait to have it again for dinner tomorrow!

 

Yup, yoga, brunch, grocery shopping and cooking. Can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday. Well, maybe. Next week I’ll be talking running all day and getting paid for it! Life is sweet my friends :)

 

Question of the Day: What is your favourite dish to eat for leftovers? Okay, when I was a kid my mom used to make giant pots of spaghetti. I would always eat the leftovers for breakfast reheated in the microwave with half a pound of melted cheddar cheese. It was awesome.

Gone Vegetarian

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Fact: I spent eight years as a vegetarian.

Fact: Bacon and hamburgers are now two favourite foods.

If you’d like to know more about how this exactly happened, you can read about it here. Even though I love my meat now, I was still pumped for Toronto’s Vegetarian Food Fair. 

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There were a lot of veggies…

…and Simply Bars!

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…and blogger friends!!

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But first, we start at the beginning.

The fair runs all weekend and kicked off early Friday evening with an event I absolutely could not miss.

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Brendan Brazier is the author of The Thrive Diet, the man behind Vega food products and one of the world’s only Ironman triathletes who follows a plant-based diet. I’ve read a couple of his books now. Even though I could never follow his diet exactly, I really love his reasoning behind why he does what he does. He mostly talked about the key ideas in The Thrive Diet. It was neat to hear it come from Brendan himself and a welcome reminder that food is so important to how our bodies function! Here some points to remember I wrote down:

 

  • Many people look to food for energy, but it’s just as important to conserve energy as it is to consume it. Try not to eat foods that require extra energy to digest (ie highly processed foods)
  • We are a generation and nation of people who are both obese and malnourished. Many people overeat because they think they feel hungry. However, oftentimes it’s a chemical in our brain that is signalling that it wants nutrients, not just any old food.
  • 48% of stress is attributed to diet. Yes, our food is causing us stress. Cortisol is a hormone released when we are stressed, causing weight gain and the body to retain fat (adipose tissue).
  • Reducing stress (and eating well) will help you go into the delta phase when sleeping. You will go into a deeper sleep, thus needing fewer hours of sleep as opposed to more hours of lighter sleep. This deep sleep also allows your body to repair more quickly from exercise and training.
  • The increase in osteoporosis is not necessarily linked to a lack of calcium in our diets, but rather losing calcium in our bones. Today’s typical diet is high in acidic foods which take calcium from our skeleton. Dairy being one of the most acidic of foods (go figure). It’s important to get plenty of alkaline foods like green vegetables to counterbalance that.
  • In terms of athletic performance, it is really important to eat foods that reduce inflammation caused by training. Processed foods, such as protein isolates, don’t actually help muscle inflammation. Better quality and whole proteins (he used hemp as an example) are better for muscle repair.
  • Studies have shown that cheese triggers a chemical reaction in the brain when you eat it. So yes, it’s possible to be addicted to cheese ;)

Neat, eh? I’m particularly interested in this now both because I’m doing a nutrition course, but also because I have vegetarian/vegan/raw clients. I want to know how they can get the most out of their diets!

After seeing Brendan speak, I wandered around the fair for a bit. I got my posture checked by the network spinal analysis booth. I would best describe it as a hippie chiropractor without the cracking ;) My sister swears by this method as a means to realign your spine, so I was already interested!

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They took my photo and analyzed it for me. Apparently my left shoulder droops and my hips pop out too much in the front. Verrrry interesting.

I went back to the fair today and met up with Morgan, Miranda and Kristin to see Meghan Telpner’s cooking demonstration.

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Meghan is a Toronto-based nutritionist who I know from her blog Making Love in the Kitchen. Her demo was so fun! Not to mention, we got to try some of the goodies ;)

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Homemade granola (delicious).

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A healthy “cookie.”

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Homemade hummus. I think it had walnuts in it? It was pretty good. Meghan also demonstrated how to make your own nut/seed milk and it was so easy! I want to try it!

More wandering ensued. You know that saying “like a kid in a candy store?”

It should be changed to “like food bloggers at a food fair” ;)

Samples included but were not limited to…

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Hemp seed butter. I was shocked by how much I liked this!

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Kale chips and veggie crackers. Big thumbs up to the ketchup kale chips. Gotta love Canadian health food companies.

Best sample of both Friday and Saturday was Coconut Bliss ice cream.

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Made with coconut milk instead of cow’s cream. I have an aversion to heavy creams and loved the coconut flavour in these!

After much sampling, we decided it was time for a real meal. It was off to the food tent chock full of vegetarian and vegan fare.

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A lot of the food was Mexican, Indian or Chinese, which while meat-free, isn’t necessarily light on the tummy. I instead opted for a Garden Salad Roll. 

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Eaten on the lawn in front of the music stage.

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With a side of overpriced melon.

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Do not be fooled, we were not in a grassy field like the above photos suggest. But on a sprawl of fake green turf in the middle of a city.

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It was somewhere around here where I said goodbye to my bloggie friends and got to work!

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Above photo stolen from Kristin As most of you know, I’m an ambassador for The Simply Bar. I lovelovelove these bars, so I help them out at events and get reimbursed with free bars. Winwin!

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The next three hours consisted of me chopping up millions of little samples to hand out to the eager fair-goers.

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We also sampled the new Simply Protein Oatmeal. I got a bag today and I am pumped to try it!!

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As well as a peanut butter coconut pea protein bar for those who can’t eat soy. It’s good. A lot heartier than the regular soy bar, which is very light and crispy.

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Overall, I had a blast hanging out at the fair and then working at one of the booths. It’s so wonderful to be surrounded by people who are as into food, and healthy food, as I am! Even if they’re…uh…a little more enthusiastic.

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Morgan, Me, Mr. Pea, Miranda and Kristin.

Just don’t tell him I came home from the veggie fair and ate a chicken sandwich ;)

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