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The Christmas Issue…

Ohmygosh you guys. I slept for almost nine hours last night. Amazing. I believe the last time that happened was last March when Chris and I were in Cuba. For some reason we slept like 10 hours a night when we were there. The rum maybe? I swear I wasn’t drunk last night :P

Aaaanyways, there was only one thing that could follow such a stellar night’s sleep. Fluffernutter oatmeal. On top of my TV (watching CBC’s new televised version of Information Morning).


  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla whey powder
  • cinnamon
  • peanut butter
  • marshmallow fluff


MMmmmm… Fluff is so dreamy when it goes all melty on oats…

I put my tofu spread to work for lunch today, by mixing it with… more tofu!


Crumbled tofu (cooked in the microwave for a couple minutes first) mixed with tofu spread, bell pepper, onion, tomato and mushrooms then crammed into a pita.

By the way, I don’t picture everything I eat at work! Well, I don’t picture everything I eat period. I’m a snacker, so there’s a lot of snacks that happen in between meals that don’t get shown on the blog. It’s especially difficult for me to photograph everything I eat at work as it’s usually consumed while doing something. For example, I had some homemade trail mix this morning while sitting in on a government hearing. Didn’t really want to whip out my camera and take pictures of the plain ole’ nuts I was eating. Especially while listening to a presentation on infanticide with the province’s attorney general, ya know?

But I did have time to photograph the crazy delicious supper I made :D


A hummus frittata:

  • 2 whole eggs
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 a red bell pepper. chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 2 large mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small tomato, sliced
  • dash paprika and onion powder
  • 2 tbsp red pepper hummus
  • 1 piece of whole wheat toast

Sautee the veggies in paprika and onion powder. Beat eggs together, pour into pan, and cook on medium-low heat until mostly solid. Stick pan under broiler for a couple minutes until top is slightly browned. Top with hummus and toast pieces.


I thought about putting the bread pieces in the frittata, but I didn’t want it getting lost in there. And what I really wanted was some toast. Hence the random pieces on top – but it was delicious!! And hummus and eggs are a wonderful combo too :)


The Christmas Issue…

Ahhh….yes. The Christmas issue. It’s one of my November Goals to “get into the Christmas spirit” this year. You see, I don’t like Christmas, and I’ve gotten a lot of questions as to why. I figured I might as well get it out of the way as we’re only getting closer to the damn thing.

I actually don’t like talking about why I don’t like Christmas. Most people who know me, know I’ve never been into it. But I doubt even my family knows exactly why it bothers me. Although, the reason shouldn’t be the least bit surprising to them.

That’s because my dislike for the holiday is because of my family. Wait! I lovelovelove my family to pieces! But that’s exactly the issue.

My dad moved out on the second day of grade 7. I was 12 years old. It was rough. I will never, ever, go into the details publicly. I do not share them with even people I know personally, so don’t expect to ever see it on the blog. Those first few months of my parents separation were, to put it bluntly, awful. Everyone in my family could probably attest to that. Many arguments were had, tears shed, and lives changed forever.

That first Christmas, as you can imagine, was just as awful. It’s something I’ll never forget. My “perfect” family was shattered. None of us were “healthy” in several senses of the word. It was just a very depressing and heart wrenching time for us.

Christmas has since improved with every passing year. My family is apart, but we are all now happier because of it. I would never wish for things to be the way they used to be, because I can see how much better they are now. But that doesn’t change the longing I feel during the holiday season. I think of the happy Christmases I had as a child, contrasted with the awful ones that followed. Now, my holidays are spent between two homes, with two “new” families.

Again, I need to reiterate that I love my family the way it is now. The holiday season just conjures up a lot of emotional issues I have surrounding that dark period in my family’s history. Not to mention, it’s kind of awkward to separate a holiday between two parents. I guess the idea of “togetherness” may have to be modified to fit today’s modern family.


So there ya go. I just totally spilled my guts, and to be honest, feel really vulnerable about it! At the same time, you can understand why it’s important that I learn to overcome these emotions and really learn how to embrace the Christmas season. Everything happened so long ago, and yet sometimes it feels like the wounds are still very raw. This year, I’m going to help heal them a little :)


So to help my efforts in learning to love Christmas, I ask you: What is your favourite thing about the holiday season?

And with that, I’m off to y-y-yoga. Juuuust what the doctor ordered :)

Run With Me & Goals for November

I loved hearing the things you guys (girls?) learned over the last month. Some made me giggle, but some also really made me think. The comments are always worth reading through! :)

Reader Jenn (hi!!) asked me what route I took for my 10 mile run. An excellent question, because I’m quite attached to my trail. When I transitioned from the treadmill to outdoor running this spring, I hated running outdoors. But I eventually learned it wasn’t running outside that I hated, just my route. I was running on sidewalks and busy streets, when my heart belonged on the trail! So today I brought my camera, and subsequently you, with me! :)

No nap was needed after work today (thanks Daylight Savings!) but I did fuel up with a tootsie pop first.

Worked pretty well actually!

I’m lucky that my trail is literally across the street from my house. Was definitely a selling point for me when I found my new place.


I only see maybe a dozen people on my runs. Most are pretty friendly. Too bad the leaves have all fallen – would have been a lot prettier a couple weeks ago.

Part of the trail runs directly along the St. John River.


My hometown Moncton has a river that’s known as the “Chocolate River” because it’s so muddy and gross. So I never take the beauty of Fredericton’s river for granted.


The other side of the trail is littered with gorgeous homes. Some have beautiful backyards and gardens. 


There’s also a little farm country along the way (I saw horsies on my 10 miler!)


And don’t worry mom, it’s not totally deserted! There’s an Irving gas station along the way (I am in New Brunswick after all…)


The worst part however comes on the last kilometre when I actually run past my house. I like to do a little loop, so I get a 7 minute cool-down walk in at the end.


This is usually where I start running fast. I can’t help it. My brain was all set to keep my pace for the last 5-6 minutes today, but my legs just started moving faster on their own! :P

This was supposed to be a 45 minute run, but turned into 50 minutes with the photo taking. I was running close to 9 minute miles the whole time too, so I actually covered close to 5 miles. I was feeling good after resting Friday then just doing yoga on Saturday.

I also have to share the stellar breakfast cookie I had this morning.


I’m not sure whether to call this a s’mores or fluffernutter breakfast cookie.

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 scoop chocolate whey powder
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp Fluff
  • 1/2 tbsp mini chocolate chips
  • splash almond milk

It was pretty decadent – even for me!

However, not all my eats were stellar today.


Store-bought apple sauce will never be the same now I’ve experienced the glory that is homemade apple sauce.


It was borderline gross. I think I’ll save this for baking and get a bag of apples for sauce-making asap.


Today also marks the start of a new month! Which means it’s time to set a new set of goals for the days ahead.

First, let’s check in and see what goals I set for October:

  • Manage my time better so I get more out of my day.
    • I kind of sucked at this one. It’s a work in progress!
  • Continue using my new tiny kitchen to the fullest.
    • Check! There was lots of activity in there last month :)
  • Complete my first double-digit run
    • Check!!! :D
  • Do some freelance writing. Preferably paid.
    • No check. Unfortunately, since I sucked at goal #1, I didn’t have time to set this up. But this is something I’d still like to continue to work on.
  • Make a trip home.
    • Does one meal at home count? How sad is that, especially since my hometown is only a 90 minute drive away. Luckily, I’m heading there on Tuesday, so we’ll just call this one “late” :)
  • Get the guts to take a Zumba class.
    • Check!! Glad I made this a goal, otherwise I would have continued to chicken out.
  • Be more social. Join groups and reconnect with those I’ve lost touch with.
    • This didn’t happen. However, I think quitting my job is a step in the right direction toward this. Hopefully, I’ll be able to join groups when I’m working normal hours for once.

Now, for November?

  • Spend less on groceries. Seriously, time to batten down the hatches.
  • Have fun workouts. No training plans this month, no workout stress!
  • Be less complacent with food. This will be explained in further detail in tomorrow’s post.
  • Get more sleep. This is an ongoing issue that I think is more than just scheduling and bad time management. There are reasons I can’t sleep, and it’s time to get to the bottom of it.
  • Make it through the last month of work with a positive attitude.
  • Try my best to not let anything hold me back.
  • Figure out a way to get into the holiday season. I hate Christmas, but it would be nice to not be so miserable and grouchy about it this year.
  • Spend more time with my grandparents. I am lucky to have three left, and they need to see more of my face, and I need to soak in more of their warmth and wisdom.
  • Be more honest with people. I tend to sugar-coat things, and sometimes that does more harm than good.
  • Look for a job. Not just for security, but one that will ignite some passion in me.
  • Start playing music again. I haven’t picked up my guitar in seven months.

It’s quite the lofty list! Last month was my first month doing this, so I maybe didn’t take it as seriously as I should have. But this month I really want to commit myself to this. So every Sunday, I’m going to be checking in and updating on how they’re coming along.


Question of the day: What are your goals for November? Better make them good, I just might check in with you too! ;)

Giveaway AND Video Post!!

Oooh, exciting things in store my friends! It’s all at the end though. I won’t be hurt if you scroll through, but just know you are missing out on a lot of muffin and apple pictures if you do :P

Apparently, my camera uses a lot of battery power while not being used, because the batteries were randomly dead this morning. Thus, no office eats! You’re not missing much. I dropped a raw egg on the break room floor while trying to make lunch. I almost cried. I never thought I could be so attached to one egg.

I made up for it when I got home though :)


Usual frozen deep chocolate vitamuffin with a smear of PB. But what’s that white stuff you ask?


Oh yes. I did.

I was actually on a mission for mini marshmallows, as I thought they’d make a great addition to my candy bowls of oats. But then this jar caught my eye, and I was sold.

I mean for something that’s essentially sugar, the ingredients aren’t that bad. I’m pretty sure the M&Ms I’ve been eating are worse…



I can blame an ex-boyfriend for introducing me to this dreamy product, and the fluffernutter sandwich. This was the kind of stuff that was never allowed in my house growing up.

Some people do ice cream. I do fluff :P

The muffins didn’t stop there though. I finally attacked the bag of macoun apples I bought at the market last weekend.


First, I got to work on apple oatmeal muffins. I followed Rhodey Girl’s recipe for Apple Walnut Raisin Muffins.


The only changes I made were that I omitted the raisins and walnuts for more apple-y goodness, and substituted a 1/2 cup of flour for 1/2 cup rolled oats.


I of course had one immediately out of the oven, with some Earth Balance spread (the only way to eat baked goods straight from the oven in my opinion).


While all that muffin business was going down, I was also working on some of Brie’s applesauce. Three ingredients: apples, water, cinnamon. Doesn’t get much easier than that! Well, actually, it was quite labour intensive to peel and chop a dozen apples. May have helped if I didn’t break my apple corer last year trying to get it through a gigantic honeycrisp…

Yay flash photography!


Okay, to be honest, I really wanted to add a shot of whiskey to this process. Doesn’t whiskey apple sauce sound awesome? I held back though. That will be for my special “after lunch” batch ;)


The end product was amaaaaazing.I kept dipping a spoon in here to lick it up :)

Afterwards, it looked like an apple orchard exploded in my kitchen. So once the clean-up was finished, I wanted a simple dinner.


  • mixed greens
  • romaine
  • shredded carrot
  • spanish onion
  • red pepper
  • tomato
  • mushroom
  • zucchini
  • lemon juice
  • Gardein mustard “chicken breast”

Eaten while tweeting and msn-ing.

Today was my first day using tweetdeck, I like it!

Oh, and another apple oatmeal muffin for dessert…


With peanut butter. Yes that is my third muffin today! It could have been worse, I could have put Fluff on this one too! :P

Okay. Congrats, you’ve made it to the end.

Drumroooollll pleeeeease……..

Oh wait! it’s in a video!

(turn you speakers WAY up for this one)

So in case you couldn’t hear, I’m giving away a free jar of almond hazelnut butter!


This stuff is seriously, seriously good. The two nuts blend together perfectly to create a rich and versatile nut butter.


I’m kinda jealous that I’m giving this away, because I think it would taste really good on my mocha oats!

So how do you win??

1. Leave a comment telling me what your favourite nut butter + food combination is. For example, some of my favourite combos are cashew butter + dates, peanut butter + bananas, or sunflower seed butter in hummus!

2. Tweeeeeet a link to this post. Just include @balancesusan so I know ya did.

3. Link back to this post on your blog.

4. Add me to your blogroll and leave an extra comment saying you did (or that I’m on your blogroll already).

So there ya go! It’s open to anyone and everyone no matter where you live. I’ll be taking entries until Tuesday, October 27 at 5pm Eastern time. I’ll announce the winner in Tuesday night’s post.

Now I’m off to go do some more food experimenting. That’s what weekends are for! :)