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Homemade Scones and an Awkward Flashback

Whoawhoawhoa.

How is it Friday again already?? And where did this day go?? One of those days that started out with a long list of things to do, then all of a sudden it was 4:30pm and only one of them got done.

Well, I did also pound out 6 miles on the treadmill thanks to a stellar new iPod playlist and The View being on the gym TV. It’s been rainy all week, so I took it indoors, going for my favourite 6-mile tempo run.

Then I met up with my mom and Nana at a diner where I enjoyed a big juicy hamburger and strawberry shortcake for dessert. Somehow this feast managed to escape the camera’s eye ;)

It did get me thinking about baking though. The strawberry shortcake was made with scones, and I’ve never made scones before. Once I get something in my head, it’s hard to shake it. I came home determined to whip up a batch of my own.

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Mom doesn’t have a whole lot of ingredients currently on hand, so after a lot of perusing, I decided on this Whole Grain Maple Oatmeal Scone recipe.

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From Eggs on Sunday

Ingredients
1 1/3 cup oat flour (such as Arrowhead Mills brand; if you can’t find that substitute King Arthur white whole wheat flour) whole wheat flour
1 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
8 tbsp (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup yogurt (preferably Greek or whole-milk)
2 tbsp pure maple syrup

*Note: you can substitute 2/3 buttermilk for the milk + yogurt if you’d rather.

For brushing and sprinkling on top of the scones:
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp oats

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I mixed together the dry ingredients, then pulsed them in the food processor, adding the butter one hunk at a time.

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Once it started to get crumbly, I put it back into the mixing bowl and poured in the syrup, milk and yogurt.

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I looked into why instructions always say to mix the wet and dry ingredients separately. Some sources said because the dry ingredients are more evenly distributed. Others said because powder/soda will begin to react immediately when they get wet.

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Short answer is that it’s how good bakers always do it, and so it’s what you should do too ;)

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Instead of rolling the dough out into one big round, I divided it into two, shaping 6 triangles out of each.

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And of course, we must make it pretty with a little oatmeal glaze ;)

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Baked for 15 minutes exactly and they came out perfectly!!

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They smelled sooooo good. It was just my mom and Mark home this evening, but even they were starting to wander into the kitchen once the scent hit the air.

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I am proud of my first batch of scones! Even more, impressed by how easy they were! I’ve never considered myself much of a baker, but it’s a really fun hobby when you have a nice kitchen to do it in :)

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They are very crumbly and biscuit-like, but with a sweet oatmeal and maple flavour. Mark gave them a “gold star.”

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Baked goods must be enjoyed almost immediately out of the oven with butter slathered on top. It’s the rules!!

For the sake of balance, I paired my scone with a salmon salad for dinner.

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Hamburgers and homemade scones all in one day. It was a good day :)

 

Flashback Friday – The Awkward Years

I don’t know what is wrong with me, but I seem to be all too enthusiastic to embarrass myself on this blog. Hence, the theme of this week’s Flashback Friday.

I thought it would be fun to go back to the dozens of different hair colours and styles I’ve had over the years. I couldn’t find a picture for each, as the colour and cut were at times changing monthly. I’ve had my hair buzzed short and grown to the middle of my back. It’s been black, brown, red, purple, pink, green, blue, blonde, orange, and all the lovely shades in between.

I first started dying my hair when I was 13 years old. I was a natural blonde, so obviously I wanted to go dark. 

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I get a kick out of this picture because it’s before my mom’s kitchen was renovated! It looks so different! That plant in the back is where the stove/oven is now – we didn’t have one back then!

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When I was 14, I chopped it all off in the back and dyed the front pieces pink. I thought it was so badass. This was 10 years ago when my big sis Jane graduated high school!

Jane went on to La Belle Quebec, and we visited her when I was in Grade 9.

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Awkward growing out stage with the hair. When it got long enough I wore it in pigtails all the time. This was also the beginning of my baby-bang phase. Sigh. Why?

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I think this is the Christmas I was 15. Posing with my sisters and their beautiful natural hair. Me in my black hair and baby bangs.

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When I was 16, I went to Mexico with my mom to visit Sara who was studying there at the time. Everyone had been telling me to go back to blonde… so I bleached it. Shortly after returning home, I dyed the whole thing hot pink.

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I think this was the summer I was 17? This is close to my natural hair colour! But I specifically remember dying it strawberry blonde. The bangs are at least more under control. Don’t ask about that t-shirt. I found it in a Salvation Army bin, then traded it for a sweet 1970s Boston shirt with one of my friends ;)

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My high school grad photo, taken in the fall I was 17. My best friend Desiree had died my hair the night before. I forgot to add that I used to braid my wet hair at night to make it wavy like that. Awful.

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I went blonde again by the time prom rolled around. Notice the pretty girl on the right? That’s the bestie Meghan!! The girl on the left is Desiree, and she was my date. My boyfriend at the time was in the army and off training. Me and Des did the whole walk thing together when we arrived. It was hilarious.

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Cropped Sister Sara out of this one because her eyes are closed, and I hate to embarrass anyone besides myself here ;) I think this was taken the summer after I graduated high school and moved to Fredericton with that army ex-boyfriend of mine. I actually kind of like my hair in this photo!

So what does it look like today??

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Normal!!
Haha. It’s not that different than it was in the pic in the sidebar – but I just got a bunch lopped off. I dunno, maybe I’m getting old or something, but long hair drives me nuts now. I’m also growing out my natural hair colour which is more of a dark-blonde these days. I did it a couple years ago, but it was when I was co-hosting a TV show and the light colour didn’t look all that great on camera. In person though, it’s still what everyone says looks best on me. Guess we’ll see – I’m too broke to keep dying it! :P

 

I can thank this gorgeous lady for my unruly locks…

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That’s okay. I’ll take it if I can age as well as she did too ;)

 

Question of the Day: What were some of your worst hair offences? I showed you mine! Tell me about yours!!

Bonus Question: What’s your favourite kind of scone? Meghan used to make amaaaazing cream cheese and chive scones!

The Perfect Plank

Well, the votes are in, and salmon is the most popular fish. SO fun reading over all your favourite kinds! Mostly because I got ideas on new kinds I need to try, including walleye, sea bass, flounder, croaker, stingray and trigger.  Shellfish and other seafood is a whole other story. We will be revisiting this issue for sure! ;)

My family was up late last night, and I was actually in bed before my mom and Mark. I thought for sure I’d sleep in past 7am today. Little did I realize, my poodle also doubles as an alarm clock.

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I may have been prepared to sleep past 7am, but this furball most certainly was not. I awoke much too early to the feeling of a wet nose on my face. He was wagging his little bum and rearing to go. Okay poodle. You win this time. But you didn’t need to pass out on my lap after I let you outside. Salt in the wound.

Needless to say, it was a pancake kind of morning.

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My new Dairy-Free (ish) Pancakes.

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Janetha asked about the nutritionals on these, and without the added Benefibre, they’re 247 calories, 6.6g fat, 9g fibre, 20g carbs and 32g protein.

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I also cooked in a tbsp each of flaked coconut and walnut pieces. Oh, and I added 1/2 tsp almond extract for a little sumthin’. May-jah yums. I still can’t get over how fluffy they are!

I had a kickboxing date with my mom later this morning, and this new-to-me Banana Larabar was calling out to me as a pre-workout snack!

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I usually don’t care for banana flavoured things as I find they always end up tasting artificial. But I figured the chances of that happening with this one were pretty low.

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However, I think this may have been my smallest Larabar yet.

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Next to my lens cover. What it didn’t have in size, it made up for in taste. Pretty darn good! Didn’t quite get to the top of my favourite flavour rakings, but it’s nowhere near Cherry Pie, which is at the bottom of the list.

I also mummified my foot.

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You will notice my laptop in the background. That’s because I followed a step-by-step guide that everyone’s favourite Smoothie Girl Deb sent me. I mentioned a while ago that I was getting plantar fasciitis symptoms in my left foot, and she said taping hers up has helped her symptoms a lot. All I did was take sport tape and wrap horizontal strips on the bottom of my foot, then a vertical layer, then another horizontal layer.

I actually did this at the cottage over the weekend when my feet were bothering me while cleaning. It helped a lot! After the 45 minute kickboxing class (which despite being at a beginner level, had a great instructor) I ran 2 miles on the treadmill. Last time I ran two miles on the treadmill, I was in pain for the rest of the day – but today I feel fine! Yayyy!! Thank you Deb!!

Lunch was the usual!

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A gargantuan salad with kale, tuna and feta cheese. The dressing was hummus watered down with the juice from a bottle of olives. Gooooood stuff.

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I’m sure these big salads are getting redundant, but I honestly crave one a day now. Nomnom.

I may also crave chocolate after every meal.

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Another Newfoundland Chocolate Company chocolate. I think this one had raspberry or strawberry mixed into the center. Not like the cheap chocolates, this blended the flavours really well!

 

The Perfect Plank

After doing my Perfect Push-Up post, I got a question from Angharad on proper plank form. It’s very similar to the push-up and many of the same rules apply!

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Coincidentally, Lori’s strength training move of the week was also the plank! I asked her for this picture because she demonstrates it perfectly here :)

Some things to remember:

  • Do not stick your butt in the air. Your body will want to do this naturally, and sometimes you don’t even realize this is happening.
  • Conversely, don’t arch your back too much and let your belly fall toward the ground.
  • Elbows should be under your shoulders, or if you’re in a high plank, hands under your shoulders.
  • Keep your head down to make sure your whole spine is straight. It should look like a straight line from your heels to your head.
  • Speaking of your heels, push them back a little. We have a habit of pushing all our weight forward onto our arms, but balance that out by putting some weight back into your feet too. This will help with that straight line.
  • Tuck your pelvis in. Pretend like you’re gyrating it forward.
  • BREATHE. Focusing on your breaths will help you pull through.

As always, I recommend doing them in front of a mirror. You’ll eventually learn what that proper position feels like without having to look at yourself. Remember, this is a core exercise. If you feel it more in your back than in your abs, chances are your form could use some tweaking.

The plank, in my opinion, is probably the best core exercise there is. Isometric exercises (ones where you contract your muscles without movement) are great for your abs. It’s something you do in everyday movements without even realizing it. You’ll be able to perform activities with a lot more power and ease when strengthening your core this way.

That’s not to say crunches don’t help with core strength either, but the only time you’ll really notice these strength gains is when you’re actually doing crunches. Not to mention, many people perform crunches horribly wrong, and do more harm to their back than good to their abs.

Some other plank variations:

High plank

 

Side plank

Plank on a ball

 

 

Leg lift plank

 

Reverse plank

   

Click on the pictures if you want to see their original sources!

As usual, there are tons more plank variations, these are just the very basic ones. But you don’t need to get fancy to reap the benefits. Doing 1-3 sets of Lori’s version above, holding for as long as you can, will get the job done :)

 

Question of the Day: What’s your favourite ab exercise? The cable horizontal woodchop is probably mine :)

 

I’m hitting publish early folks! Off to see Shrek with the daddio and step-sis :)

Checking In On Those Goals…

Happy Monday!! Well, it was happy for me anyways. They call it “funemployment” for a reason ;)

I must say, I’ve been living back at my mom’s for a week now and I love it. I do not miss Fredericton at all. I don’t  miss living alone. For the past 10 days I’ve woken up happy. This has not always been the case over the past year. Life is what you make of it my friends, and I am so grateful I’ve been able to turn mine around :)

So what is a happy girl to do but make a pot of oats first thing?

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For the second time, I could just not get oatmeal to absorb all the liquid on my mother’s stove. It doesn’t make sense to me, and I feel like I messed up the measuring cups. Or am losing my mind. So I added a 1/2 tsp each of guar gum and xanthan gum to thicken it up. Worked like a charm!! Would highly recommend for thick n’ gooey oats :)

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I am very jealous of my mother’s oatmeal spoon/spatula. It is perfectly shaped to scrape down the sides of a pot. Must get one of these for new place.

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Topped the egg-white custard oats with maple pecan peanut butter, coconut and maple syrup.

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Check out that thick texture. Ooohhhyeah.

Hot bowl of oats + hot coffee = sweaty Susan. Definitely woke me up, but not this pup.

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And my heart just turned to oatmeal mush.

Tried out one of the new-to-mew bars I got in Halifax for my morning snack.

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The Elevate Me! bar is made out of whey protein, nuts and dried fruit – that’s it!

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The nutritionals are pretty decent. A little high on the sugar and carb side, but it comes from all dried fruit and no additional sweeteners.

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I really liked how this bar was divided into three sections. Each square is 80 calories, which would make for good fuel during activity as well.

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Soooo, how did it taste??

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Honestly, I did not like my first bite. I’ve never been a chocolate and fruit person, so I should have known better when getting something made of dried fruits and cocoa powder. BUT, I did enjoy it more with each bite. My favourite part of this bar was the texture. It was dense and crumbly, which is by far my favourite way to have a bar. At $2.50 a pop, I would not buy this again, but I’d probably try the other flavours out if I caught them on sale.

Shortly after this I hit up the gym with my mom. I still had to run last week’s 3-miler, so I figured I could do that then goof around on some of the other cardio machines.

Except, it was hard. Like, way harder than usual. I should have known better than jumping into a tough cardio session on a Monday after a weekend of hammering my body with booze, junk food, and no sleep. Alas, sometimes I must learn these lessons the hard way.

I also have to add that my left foot is killing me again. I’m scared it’s plantar fasciitis. I started getting symptoms about three weeks ago after walking 5 hours in one weekend. I stayed off it for a week and the pain went away, so I thought I was in the clear. Apparently not. It still hurts. WAIN.

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Coming out of a workout in a worse mood than how I went in is never a good thing. But the tasty lunch after helped.

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Scrambled some eggs with collard greens, put it on toast, then topped with a mix of hummus, nutritional yeast, mustard and water. Broiled to harden up a bit. Odd combo, but good.

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Paired with belly-busting watermelon (ie, it felt like I was going to birth one after. SO filling)

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And a reminder that things are never as they seem – I topped everything with hot sauce after. This has been happening a lot lately.

Spent the afternoon reading blogs and helping my mom with housework. Breaked for the world’s best muffin.

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Deep chocolate Vitatop topped with peanut butter.

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See the crystals? I like ‘em frozen. The texture is much fudgier that way. Honestly, I think I’d take this over a real brownie!

While I snacked and relaxed, my mom was in the kitchen cooking up a storm.

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She basted the turkey in the leftover hummus/mustard/nutritional yeast/water mix. Ohmy. It was delicious.

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Paired along with baked corn. THE best way to cook corn in my opinion, is to keep it in the husk and pop it in the oven for 30 or so minutes. The husk comes off much easier, and it gets all steamy on the inside. Seriously, if you haven’t done this yet, do it. My mom was sceptical, but she is now a believer.

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And some lovely sweet potato pillows in the back there. Tough on the outside, mushy on the inside. Perfection.

 

Monthly Goal Check-In:

Fitness
Strength train three times a week, with a focus in muscular power.
Only got in two full-body workouts. But those two yoga sessions this past weekend made me a whole new kind of sore. So that counts for something!
Run twice a week, increasing my mileage by 10% each week. Only got one 5 miler in. This goal may be put on hold until I get my foot thing sorted out. Honestly, I don’t care enough about running to be that upset about it – I just want to be able to walk without pain!

Food
Stop buying dairy, eating it only when out or when it’s “a must.” I did really well on this, sticking with only 20g of cheese a day MAX (if any). But then I greatly failed over the weekend with a giant piece of coconut cream topped with two inches of whipped cream. Whoops.
Stay away from refined sugars, again eating only for special occasions. I give myself a big ole’ fail on this one. I’m trying, but not hard enough. I just really like sugar. A lot. Which is why I’m trying to cut back! :P

Blog
Add and organize content, new recipes, workouts, and revised pages and categories.
Didn’t do much of this, but I did get 20+ guest posts together, so that’s something!

Life
Improve my organization. Make lists, finish them, know what needs to be done, when.
I need to get back on this. Not only do I need to plan for a big move, but I’m also going on a big trip to Banff in three weeks.
Spend time with my family. It’s all I’ve been doing :) 
Enjoy and soak up every single minute. I know this isn’t a very measurable goal, but I feel like I’m doing really good at this one. Sometimes I just stop and breathe in whatever it is I’m doing in that moment. It is making this brief time at home much more enjoyable, and I feel very thankful for it :)

 

Your turn! How is everyone doing with their monthly goals? Any new ones?

Off to work on a post for tomorrow on Easy Tone shoes. Oh yes.

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