Monthly Archives: September 2010

New ‘Do + New-To-Me Recipes

Peek-a-boo!

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I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend!! Mine has been pretty low-key. Exactly what I needed after a couple hectic weeks.

Instead of hitting the streets of Toronto Friday night, I opted to lay in bed and read in my flannels. I’m currently hooked on this:

Between reading blogs and fitness/nutrition literature, I’ve reintroduced myself to adult fiction (there were a few years of only young adult fiction :P ). I’ve gone through about six books since June. At this rate, I’ll blow through The Lovely Bones in just a couple more days. Highly recommended!

The plan was to go for a run as soon as I woke up Saturday morning. But my body did that “awww hell nah” thing. So I opted to wake up slowly with a big ole’ bowl of oats.

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Mmmm… It’s not often I have hot oatmeal anymore!

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Topped with Lori’s pear cranberry jam + peanut butter. I let it digest for a couple hours and then hit the road running. I still wasn’t feeling very motivated, but seeing as I was out of coffee, I told myself I could stop for some on my way home.

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Having a Starbucks at the end of my running route could be dangerous! I’m trying to get into the habit of running on the weekends. Saturday I covered 4.5 miles in 45 minutes (I’m a solid 10-min pacer no matter what) along the lakefront trail. Unfortunately I was troubled with all kinds of pains. Knee pain during the run, hip pain lasting all day after the run. I need new running shoes!!! But I’m holding out until I get my new employee discount at the running store ;)

I came home and put a bag of frozen corn on my hip, then incorporated it into lunch.

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Corn & Cheddar Omelette. Mixed up a couple whole eggs with egg whites, milk and corn kernels. Then added old cheddar and Frank’s hot sauce for the filling. Awesome combo!

Saturday’s main event was a brand new haircut!!

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I feel so narcissistic for posting this :P I’d been tweeting about it though so I wanted to show the results! Nothing major in terms of length or style. But my last haircut cost me $12 and was so bad I didn’t like wearing my hair down. This new one was done by a legit big-city stylist thanks to my big sis <3 He kept calling my bangs a “fringe” and even showed me how to style it wavy without blow-drying. Most hairdressers insist I wear it straight!

On the way home I passed this scene:

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I try to act all blasé about seeing TV and movie sets in Toronto. I mean, I probably come across one once every few weeks now. But the curious person in me absolutely loves it. It looked like they were filming a winter scene. Some dude was shovelling snow on the street and all extras were in winter coats. Of course, the Toronto International Film Festival has also been going on!

Seeing as Sunday promised to be a busy day, I opted to do my weekly food preparations Saturday night. First up: Janetha’s Spinach Turkey Muffins.

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  • 20 oz lean ground turkey breast
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 package knorr vegetable soup mix
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • cumin, thyme, salt & pepper to taste (eyeballed it all)

Mix it all up and scoop into a muffin pan. I used a pound of turkey and adjusted the measurements a little. Also, I omitted the flax and added a pinch of dried garlic flakes.

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Baked at 350F for 45 minutes. They came out perfectly!

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Not pictured is all the ketchup that accompanied these babies. Ketchup is a must. 

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The veggie soup mix really gave these meat muffins a little extra sumthin’. Thanks for the awesome recipe JG!

Next up is Irish Brown Soda Bread. I found this recipe through Madeline who loves quick breads as much as I do ;)
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From My Recipes

Yield: 1 loaf (about 1 3/4 lb.)

Ingredients

  • 1  cup  all-purpose flour
  • 2  tablespoons  sugar
  • 1  teaspoon  baking powder
  • 1  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  cold butter or margarine
  • 2  cups  whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4  cup  regular or quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1 1/2  cups  plain nonfat yogurt
  • Milk

Preparation

1. In a bowl, mix all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture forms fine crumbs. Stir in whole-wheat flour and oats.

2. Add yogurt; stir gently. If mixture is too dry to hold together, stir in milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, just until dough holds together; it should not be sticky.

3. Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and knead gently 5 times to make a ball. Set on a lightly greased baking sheet. Pat into a 7-inch circle. With a floured knife, cut a large X on top of loaf.

4. Bake in a 375° oven until well browned, about 40 minutes. Cool on a rack. Serve warm or cool.

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As far as I can tell, the only difference between brown soda bread and the regular variety is that it’s partially whole wheat with a little sugar and oatmeal added.

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Uh-mazing. Because it’s a soda bread, it has a taste reminiscent of biscuits or scones. The crusty exterior is the best part though. Ohmy.

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I had a piece immediately out of the oven slathered in butter. It’s the one rule to making your own bread at home.

I was stoked to have more of the bread for breakfast this morning. But I couldn’t decide what to top my toast with…

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On one side of the ring we have more of Lori’s cranberry pear jam.

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On the other side was butter + vegemite.

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The bread was even more amazing toasted because it’s so crumbly. Both toppings were winners!

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Of course, what’s a Sunday morning without a little bacon and eggs ;)

From breakfast I went on to a free Vinyasa Yoga class at Lululemon which was amazing per usual. Then it was off to my first shift at my new job! I’m still personal training full-time, but now I’m working in a specialty running store 2-3 shifts a week as well. A little extra money, a way to meet people, and something to keep me out of trouble. I already learned so much about running gaits and how running shoes are constructed. Expect a post on it once I finish my training!

And with that, I am off to prepare my meals for my 15 hour work day tomorrow. Yes. You read that right. I’m looney tunes.

 

!!Don’t forget Project Food Blog voting opens on Monday! Click here if you would like to vote for me. You can check out my contestant profile here. Or read my first challenge entry: Ready, Set, Blog! I’ll be annoying you about this daily – thank you for any and all support!

 

Question of the Day: What’s your favourite thing to eat on toast? Mine is soft poached eggs. Although I supposed it’s something I dip my toast into ;)

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Fitness Friday – 5 Most Common Weight Lifting Mistakes

I don’t take for granted how very smart and knowledgeable you readers are. Many of you are already weight lifting regulars, or at least well versed with fitness. That being said, there is a good chance you (or someone you know!) are making at least one of these mistakes. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not perfect in the weight room. I am always checking in with myself and learning on how I can exercise better. It’s important to constantly remind ourselves of these things and spread the word!

 

1. You’re using bad form

Not only do I go by “personal trainer” but I now also go by “professional nag.” (My mother will find great enjoyment in this) This is because I am always nagging people to keep up proper form.

“Keep your shoulders down.”

“Face the floor/ceiling, keep your spine straight.”

“Elbows tucked in.”

“Heels planted to the floor.”

The above are just some of my most common nags. Thankfully, my clients never get too annoyed. They understand that my constant attention to detail ensures they’re working the right muscles – which means they’ll get the results they’re after!

Think about it – those bicep curls are getting hard. You let your elbows float out from your waist, your chin dips down, your shoulders shrug up. Your biceps? Not doing much! Suddenly, you’re putting undue stress and tension into all the wrong areas of your body. Know your forms and check in with yourself on every single rep. It makes a world of difference. You’ll be sore in all the right places the next day ;)

 

2. You’re lifting too light

My rule of thumb is that if you can get up to 20 reps and still feel like you could push out more, you’re not lifting heavy enough. Depending on the type of program you’re on, anywhere from 8-15 reps should be your max. On those last two reps, I want you shaking, grunting, sweating and doing all sorts of funny facial contortions. Dude. I want those last two reps to be hard.

If you’re doing bodyweight exercises that feel too light, add some load, resistance, instability or extra distance. Grab on to dumbbells, pull a cable with you, do it on a bosu ball or on a step. And don’t forget to constantly be increasing the weights you’re using. It should always feel challenging, even as you get stronger!

 

3. You’re doing the same exercises

Weight lifting programs can stay the same for 3 months at the most. Your muscles are highly adaptable. They will stop working as hard if you’re doing the same exercises day in and day out. In order to keep stimulating muscles, you want to keep surprising them with exercises that are new and different. Always be introducing new moves and routines to your weight lifting regimen. Especially important as your level of fitness increases. You’ll need new, more advanced exercises to keep your workouts effective.

 

4. You’re not resting

The basics of gaining muscle are this: when you lift weights, you create microscopic tears in your muscle fibres. The muscle then repairs these tears with a few extra fibres to make it stronger. Then you tear them again with a weight lifting session and this growing repair process continues. In order to gain muscle, you need to allow your muscles adequate time to go through this repairing process. Otherwise, you’re just tearing them down over and over. The general rule is that you rest the worked muscle groups 48 hours between sessions. Although, don’t be surprised if sometimes it feels like you need a little longer.

 

5. You’re not doing it!

My friends, everyone, everywhere, needs to be doing some form of weight or resistance training. Plain and simple. Call me stubborn (it’s okay, I am) but this is something I truly believe in. Modern life doesn’t allow for a whole lot of muscle building or retention through our regular daily activities (unless you’re, say, a warehouse worker). It’s important to take time every week to grow some muscles and keep challenging them!

Aside from things like improving your metabolism and aesthetic, being strong is important to your every day function. Carrying groceries home, lifting your kids, doing laundry, walking up and down stairs. Even if you consider yourself an already fit person, you will not believe how much easier these things become with a little extra muscle on your frame. Okay, okay, and the metabolism and aesthetic thing ain’t all that bad either ;)

Early Riser

Ohboy.

So. I had an 8:30 client today. I like to leave my house an hour early to make time for inevitable streetcar and subway delays. I set my alarm for 6:30am. It goes off, I hop out of bed, wash, dress, groan about how dark it is in the mornings now.

I go to put on a pot of coffee and notice the clock says 5:27am. I whip my head around to look at the stove – the numbers 5:27 glow back at me. Finally, I run to my computer, which is always right on time. 5:27. W.T.F.

Suddenly, a fuzzy memory returns. It’s somewhere around 1:30am and I’m fumbling around with my alarm clock next to my bed. Why I am doing this, I have no idea. Nor do I know what I did to my clock in the very wee hours of the morning. I try to go back upstairs to get back that 90 minutes of sleep I just lost But my mind and body are awake. I am angry at my subconscious self and already dreading the long day I have ahead of me. What is a girl to do?

Make pancakes. 

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Using the same whole wheat protein waffle recipe as yesterday.

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As my flapjacks flat waffles cooked in the pan, I finally got to that pot of coffee. I decided I might as well enjoy these quiet, dark hours before my busy day began.

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For dipping, I mixed up 3 tbsp sugar-free syrup 1 tbsp peanut butter, 1 tbsp marshmallow fluff.

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That’s right, fluffernutter pancakes ;)

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Suddenly, my day didn’t seem like it was off to such a bad start. As for that alarm clock, it’s being moved far, far away from my bed. I have a feeling my sub conscience will be too lazy to get out of bed to make any future changes to my wake-up time ;)

 

September Goal Check-In

Has it really been a week since our last goals check-in? Wasn’t it just Labour day? Am I in a sci fi movie??

1. Get organized. I would be getting at this famously if I stopped accumulating extra projects!! :P Finally got my personal training schedule sorted out to allow for part-time shifts at the running store. I’ve started working on my laptop during my down-time between clients. I stress “work” and not “reading blogs.” This way I’m getting better at not falling behind my e-mails and commitments!

2. Professional development. My Nutrition & Wellness course has been postponed!! Gah!! I was supposed to take it next weekend and now I have to wait until November. The same thing happened with Can-Fit-Pro when I was trying to do my personal training course. Must keep telling myself these things happen for a reason…

3. Turn on the oven. I made Shepherd’s pie this week! I meant to make bread but I never got around to it. I’m still giving this one a check.

4. Love my workouts. I have honestly been loving my new weightlifting split. Weightlifting is my favourite form of exercise and doing it four times a week opposed to twice a week like before just makes more sense for me! I had a glorious outdoor run on Saturday and made it to a relaxing Hatha Yoga class at Lululemon on Sunday. Did I mention the instructor was cute? It helps.

 

Question of the Day: How did you make out on your goals this past week? Any new ones?

Bonus Question: Got any funny sleep stories? Have you ever sleep-walked? I’m typically a deep sleeper. Nothing wakes me up and if it does I don’t remember it by morning!