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I spent a lot of time on the streetcar today.

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One thing I love about Toronto is that at any time of the day I can step onto the street and be whisked off in a matter of minutes. No need to ever check a schedule. The downside of course is that Toronto is a huge city, so getting around still takes time. And I had a lot of places to go today.

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Remember when I worked an 8-5 office job and complained about cold breakfasts? HA! That seems like a different time in a different world. These days I’m looking for anything but an 8-to-5er in a chair and all about the cold breakfasts. It’s hot in the mornings!

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I know this looks messy and gross, so you know it was delicious ;)

  • 3/4 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 scoop (30g) unflavoured soy protein powder
  • 1 tbsp mixed berry jam
  • cinnamon
  • fresh strawberries + blackberries
  • 1 tbsp crunchy almond butter
  • 1 tbsp coconut flakes
  • 2 tbsp dry rolled oats

Bam. One of those bowls where I throw things in as I go and the result is nothing short of amazing. As a side note, I still don’t like overnight oats (it’s cold mush! plain and simple!!), but I am loving dry oatmeal sprinkled on yogurt. Go figure!

That bowl had me bursting at the seams with fullness by the time I went off to job interview #1 at a *ahem* “very popular coffee chain.” One that I have 5 years experience working at!! It’s my back-up, and something I really love to do. Making lattes and chatting with regulars all day is a blast. I really liked the manager and store location, I think it could be a great source of income for me while I get this personal training thing off the ground :)

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I also got lost for the first time since arriving in the city. Okay, I actually showed up to the wrong place, when it was really 10 minutes down the road. Not a good way to start off an interview!! I knew ahead of time I’d be tight on time for lunch, so I’d pre-made a tuna sandwich to eat at home between appointments.

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With mass amounts of carrots + salsa! Better than carrots + hummus, or carrots + ranch, or any other combo. All in my humble opinion of course ;)

Then it was off to interview #2 for the day!! This interview is the reason why I held off on accepting the job offer at the other gym right away, and I learned today it was the right choice. I am in love with this new gym and feel like it really suits my goals for personal training. Please cross all your body parts that I get hired!!

After more running around and several subway and streetcars later, I ended up at a place called Kyoto House for sushi.

Kyoto House Japanese Restaurant
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Okay. So funny story.

Last Thursday, I’m in this corner convenience store downtown picking up diet coke that I may or may not have mixed with whiskey. But that’s neither here nor there. The real point is that while in the store, I ran into someone I knew! From New Brunswick!! Toronto is almost 1500 km away and home to 2.5 million people. It’s not like I was expecting to just casually run into someone I know from New Brunswick in a random convenience store downtown.

Anyways, clearly, a dinner was in order.

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Both of us New Brunswickers have been told that we need to experience sushi in Toronto. He was staying near Kyoto House on Dundas, which I’d been told had good sushi at a good price.

They actually offer an all-you-can eat deal, but we weren’t really feeling it. I opted for the Special Sashimi: Tuna, Salmon, Surf Clam, White Tuna.

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Yeah, I legitimately love the “raw fish.” It’s got such a sweet flavour!

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Loved the thick-sliced sashimi!! Oddly, my favourite part was the pickled ginger, and I don’t typically like fresh ginger.

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Scott went for the Sushi Special which conveniently arrived on a boat. I hate to say this, but even the rolls tasted better than the ones I tried in NB. And the miso soup was honestly the best I’ve ever had. I don’t care if that makes me a Toronto snob now… good food is good food.

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The sake was totally Scott’s idea.

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But when in a sushi house in Toronto, right?

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The best part though are the pieces of fruit you get at the end of the meal.

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It was super fun catching up with a friend from home. Now I want all my friends from back home to come visit so I can take them out to eat in Toronto. Kapeesh??

 

Question of the Day: Sushi. Yay? Nay? What’s your favourite thing to get? So far I love salmon and tuna sashimi… but I’m always looking for new things to try!

A Challenge of Silence

Last night after hitting publish on my last post, I shuffled into my sister’s kitchen to whip up one of my favourite night-time protein snacks.

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Sara gave me this free sample of Dymatize Nutrition Elite whey protein powder. 

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Nothing fancy going on here – just the powder mixed with a little bit of cinnamon, coconut, and enough milk to dissolve into a thick batter.

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Topped with almond butter, of course ;)

I was quite excited to have protein desserts back in my life, but this powder just did not do it for me. Perhaps it would be decent in a shake, but if I don’t like it straight up, chances are I won’t bother trying to mask its flavour in something else.

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That includes dipping dried apricots in it ;)

I was in bed early last night in anticipation of my sister’s 6:30am alarm. You see, she’s out of town this weekend, but forgot to turn the alarm off on her blackberry. I don’t know the code to get on and change it! At least it’s had me up and being productive these past few mornings…

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A “light” breakfast, although still calorie dense. Two servings of Liberte Mediterranee strawberry yogurt with a banana and a dash of granola for good luck.

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Dare I say it?? Mediterranee yogurt is quite possibly better than Greek yogurt!! It’s true. Its thickness doesn’t come from straining, and it’s not high in protein. But mygosh, that 7% milkfat makes for the best taste and texture.

The light-er breakfast was in preparation for two things! First:

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My first ever Yin Yoga class!! I’ve done Yin Yoga postures at home before, but never in a classroom environment. I’m not one of those people who does yoga for a workout, I do it more for that whole mind-body thang. So the idea of holding poses for up to 5 minutes at a time really appeals to me.

Funnily enough, for the first time ever – I fell asleep in yoga!! I’ve never been one to just doze off in Savasana. My mind is always racing by the end of class (usually about what I want to eat when I get home). But today, I was dozing off the whole time. I even fell asleep doing half frog pose:

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I don’t know if I should blame this on my sister’s 6:30am alarm, or that maybe for once I was finally calm enough to let myself go… We’ll see I guess, I got a two-week pass at that studio for only 25 bucks ;)

Ohyes, and the other reason for the light-ish breakfast??

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A bloggie meet-up for brunch!

One reason why I love blogging is that I feel like I have an extended friend network all over the world. Wherever I go, there is always a kind, smart and funny blogger to get to know in person!

Today, I met up with Darryn of Brio Gusto fame and her friend who is a fellow Maritimer :) Darryn is only in Ottawa for a little bit longer before she heads back to Vancouver to do her PhD. Darryn also just returned from a 7-week stay in India for a yoga teacher training course. Amazing. Check out her blog for all her recaps on it!

Funnily enough, Darryn chose this little pub called The Manx for brunch. My sister showed it to me the other day saying it’s got the best food on Elgin Street, and is therefore always packed.

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But we got a table!

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Note: this is not the full brunch menu. I believe there was also a “bruncher” and “brunchist?”

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That would be the Eggs Zucchini: two poached eggs with grilled zucchini and spinach-feta pesto sauce on an english muffin.

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It came with smashed potatoes! I call them “smashed” because they weren’t whipped and still had skins, my favourite way to have them. The best part however, was the spinach-feta pesto on top. I need to make this for myself!

After the wonderful brunch, I went shopping. And not the clothing kind.

Is it strange that I’m mildly excited to not have a car anymore?

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Perhaps I’ll spend less on groceries now that I have to walk home with them. P.S. If anyone has a recipe I absolutelymust try with those artichokes, do share.

It feels like ages since I last baked (11 days maybe?) so I picked up a few choice ingredients to turn my sister’s black bananas into high-protein goodies.

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This is where I would usually google “protein banana bread” or the likes, but I was feeling reckless.

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I mean, maybe this baking thing isn’t so hard afterall?? The recipes do start to all look the same after a while…

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Here’s what I came up with:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup soy protein powder
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk

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Put it in a 375 F oven for 30-35 minutes, then mixed up a topping.

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1/4 cup walnuts, 2 tbsp shredded coconut and 1 tbsp maple syrup. Spread on top and broiled for just a couple of minutes to make crunchy.

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It smelled divine coming out of the oven, and dare I say… edible??

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I cut them into 12 little triangles for no reason other than it made for a fun serving size.

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These are definitely good, or else I wouldn’t have shared the recipe. But you want to know the funny thing about baking?? A quarter cup of butter would have made these fantastic ;)

In other news, I’m making up for lost time on my greens.

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I barely had a serving a day while in Alberta last week. Not only have I not eaten meat since arriving in Ottawa, but I’ve been loading my belly with fruits and veg.

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It’s not a guilt thing. I just give the bod what it wants :)

Speaking of which!

*segue*

 

A Challenge of Silence

Okay, so this is more of a challenge for myself, but I encourage anyone else out there to participate!!

First, let me explain.

So, I’m reading the book Eat, Pray, Love. I bought it in Banff for some airplane fodder based on Holly’s high praises. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, it’s the true chronicles of a recently divorced 30-something who went to Italy to experience decadence, India to experience devotion, and Indonesia to find a balance between the two. I’m at the India part.

Last night I read the chapter on the author’s experience with meditation and how she learned to quiet her mind, or “ego.” Then today in yoga, our instructor was talking about the same thing. Then I fell asleep.

Ellie mentioned meditation to me today, and I responded that I wanted to try it. She asked, “What’s stopping you?”

Good point.

So this is a roundabout way of saying I am committing to A Challenge of Silence. Starting tomorrow (Monday) I will take 20 minutes out of my day to sit or lay still and meditate. Twenty minutes can either be a short period of time for some, or an eternity to others. I’m going to attempt to do it each morning as soon as I wake up. I want to quiet my racing mind and inner ego while learning to listen and feel my body. It may sound new-age hippy-dippy, but nothing is too silly if it means good health and happiness.

I don’t really have a set period of time for this. Ideally, it will be something I find beneficial and practice indefinitely. But for now, in the sake of “challenges” I’ll settle for every day for 30 days ;) I’ll update you on any progress or revelations along the way!!

 

Last but most certainly not least, Happy Fathers Day!!!

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My dad doesn’t read my blog. I’m pretty certain he only uses the internet to stream the Tour de France when it’s on. But I love the old man just the same ;)

Oh. Em. Gee.

Heyy! I’m stopping by for an early post tonight – I’ve got a jazz concert to go to :)

Thank you so much for all the kind comments regarding my latest vlog (click to watch if you haven’t yet!). I got a kick out of many of you saying you’d never have the guts to film one. It’s all about embarrassing yourself in as many formats as possible on the internet :P 

Also interesting to hear your thoughts on participating in races. As I said, I’m debating whether or not I want to compete in any this year. I love the idea of them, and who doesn’t love crossing that finish line? But I’m not a person who reacts to stress well, and I don’t find the pressure and anxiety that comes with races to be productive for me. Not to mention, I’m not competitive at all!

I think racing is great for a lot of people, because it gives them a goal to work towards. A lot of people need that goal to get them out the door everyday. It was really helpful for me when I first started getting active, but I don’t feel like I need to make such a commitment to get me to the gym everyday. If anything, I’m more dead set on doing a pull-up! Gah! It feels like I’ll never get there!

Anyways, I do have a half-marathon in Toronto picked out for September. But this summer is shaping up to be crazy, so I am not signing up for it until I know for sure I can do it. No pressure! I am a stress-free zone! (or, that’s what I keep telling myself :P ).

Got up this morning and ran a little over 5 miles on the treadmill doing my favourite speed intervals. It was rough! I got really sweaty and my face felt like it was on fire.

Had the usual dairy mess once I got to work looking presentable.

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Yogurt, IsoLean peach-mango protein powder, benefibre, strawberries, Grape Nuts, almond butter. This was not filling. Boo.

I’ve also cut down to one coffee a day, instead of the usual two. After going through caffeine withdrawals on Monday, I decided a whole french press might be a little excessive for me. So I’ve just been chugging one glass of iced coffee before I go to the gym, and then skipping the second one I usually have once I get to work. I have no plans to give it up entirely, but cutting back where possible :)

Oh! Happy Waffle Wednesday! I celebrated at lunch with my new favourite flavour combo:

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Freezer waffle, laughing cow cheese, blueberry jam and smoked salmon. SO good. Sweet and savoury is where it’s at.

Hey! Speaking of which…

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Turtle pretzels. I ate three. My officemate and I have successfully demolished these in two days. Can I still claim “healthy fat” on these? :P

I arrived home from work today to a yummy package!

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Hahahaha. I love Deb. She is smart, hilarious, and also the maker of verrrry delicious homemade nut butters.

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It’s my consolation prize for participating in her “The Good, The Bad and The Funny Contest.” We had to submit a photo representing each. She sent me a copy of my “bad” photo, holding a pack of cigarettes! I smoked for 6 years, something I wrote about here.

As for the goodies – xanthan powder, cocoa almond butter and the OMG OMG OMG (hazelnuts, cocoa, stevia, cardamom). I taste tested each right away. OMG is right!!!

I could have eaten the bags of nut butter for dinner, but whipped up this beast of a salad instead.

 

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  • spinach
  • red onion
  • bell pepper
  • tomato
  • sugar snap peas
  • mushrooms
  • pickled beets
  • black olives
  • pickles
  • feta cheese
  • rotisserie chicken
  • hummus

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This salad gets an “OMG” too. Yummmm!

That’s all from me! I’ve got to go change for the concert. I spilled beet juice on my dress :\

 

Question of the Day: What food has you going “OMG” lately? I also pick that wafflewich combo shown above!

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