Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Christmas is coming! What? Who said that?

I don't want to alarm you - but unless you have been living under a rock since Halloween - you will know that Christmas is coming. CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!!!

I was a bit hesitant to mention Christmas before December 1st - and then I decided that it was ok.

I love Christmas. I am excited that the holidays are among us. I won't do 'Christmas' before December 1st. I may buy a few Christmas presents, I may start thinking about our holiday party and what will be on the menu, I may start making my Christmas list, I may purchase wrapping paper, and I may plan a craft evening with my bf to make Christmas tags.

Thankfully December 1st is a Saturday this year - so I will start the decorating early. If you want to come and help - I will serve eggnog and candy canes - and have cookies baking in the oven. I NEED HELP PEOPLE! Well not really - I just like it when I am not alone decorating playing Alabama's Christmas album and Dolly and Kenny over and over again. Actually - I do like it. As long as husband is there to pack up all the boxes and put them away - I'll be happy.

Ok, instead of a recipe tonight - I thought about posting a few things for Christmas to get you in the spirit. If you are not wanting to be in the 'spirit' yet, I apologize.

How about this for a nice Christmas gift?

IMG_1808 

  Homemade soup mix

1 glass jar
3/4 cup dried soup base/mix (I used a base that I found and Lifestyle Market)
2/3 cup dried green peas
1/2 cup pearl barley
2/3 cup orange lentils
1/2 cup dried onion flakes
1/2 cup dried yellow beans
2 1/2 tsp dried italian seasoning
1/2 cup pasta (shells or macaroni)

Instructions:

1 onion - diced
1 pound of ground meat - beef, turkey or chicken
Kosher salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 14 oz can of tomato sauce
4 qts of water or stock
Vegetables if desired

In a large skillet, add the olive oil, and saute the onion with a pinch of kosher salt. Saute for 6-8 minutes. Add in the ground meat. Saute until the meat is browned. Add in the stock, tomatoes and tomato paste. Add in all of the soup mix and let simmer for at least an hour. Stirring regularly. Add in any vegetables that you like in soup - corn, celery, carrots...

IMG_1809 

I gave these as gifts last year with soup bowls, soup spoons and fancy crackers. Wrapped in cellophane with a big ribbon - they made great gifts.

Alrighty - I need to go and start my Christmas list.

Dear Santa....

Loves.

Enjoy!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Spinning with my dad

For my dad's 50th birthday we got him a mountain bike. It was when mountain bikes were just becoming popular. It was a Norco - white - probably 10 speeds or something - and we bought it from Schooley's Sports.

We all piled out to the driveway to surprise him with it. He was surprised. Loved it! He got on the bike, and just before peddling off he said 'I am going to climb mountains with this'. As he rode off - he rode over the garden hose and fell off. Ha!

slideshow_0027 
My dad and I dressed up as my mom for Halloween 

 Years and years later, my dad did climb mountains. He rode in a bike race from Pr. Rupert to Terrace (I was his pit crew - and I didn't do such a good job). He rode his bike to Stewart and Hyder, Alaska - then ferried home - and rode back from Pr. Rupert. He also rode his bike to Pr. Rupert again, and then rode through the Queen Charlottes. All by himself.

It sort of breaks my heart to think of him doing it on his own - but at the same time - he was very independent and loved the time to himself. He loved it. He was destined to be a cyclist. He was amazing. He was strong. He was encouraging. He was a machine.

This morning at 5:30 AM, I left the house to pick up Pilar, and head down to an early morning spin class. Being at the gym before 6 AM to spin is something that makes me feel like I am torturing myself - but part of me loves it! Working hard before most people are up and out of bed - is super satisfying for me.

Anyways today - as I was 'push pulling' saying words like 'motha effa' and 'help me Jeezus' under my breath, and panting like it sounds like I am having a mild heart attack, I thought about my dad. I thought  about him joining a class. Him working his butt off. He would be wearing grey cotton sweat pants, a grey sweat shirt, white sport socks, probably his Nike's or his moccasins, and a sweat band. He would be spinning beside me - and probably saying things like 'C'mon Poodsin's you can do it'.

slideshow_0031 

I have heard that when you think of someone that is no longer with you in this life - that at that exact moment - they are with you. Although I think of him so often - I love it when I do think of him at times like this - when I really do feel that he is with me. I know that he would be right there with me - waking up way before the crack of dawn to head somewhere that is good for you. Good for the soul. Good for the heart.

It's times like this - that I know he would be proud of me. That he would be loving life. And it's these times that I embrace him standing beside me - sitting on my handle bars - turning up my tension - I just know that he's there. And I know that I will never be on my lonesome.

No recipes tonight - I have a few new ones to share. Stay tuned.

In the meantime - for this coming weekend - try one of these goodn's.

Seafood Chowder

Breakfast - Baked Eggs

Ice cream sandwiches

Alrighty friends. At the end of such a great day - a day full of hard work and dedicating to myself, and being reminded that my dad is always around - I am also so excited to meet our newest friend - Avery Frances Marie - Steve and Alanna's new baby girl. We are going to spoil that little bundle. Can't wait to  meet her and squeeze her. Ok - I promise I won't squeeze her - but I do plan on taking in a big breath of new baby smell.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mmmmuffin


IMG_3534

Muff-in.

I think that if you are being conscience of what you are eating, and you are trying to lose weight, and you are a health freak, then muffins aren't probably something that would be recommended for a special treat. BUT. But, what if you found a healthy, low fat, low sugar, and super tasty muffin recipe? Well? Would you try it?

Go on. Give it a try.

IMG_3524

Not your typical Muffin

3 cups of flour - whole wheat, a mix of whole wheat and all purpose - or any type of flour you desire
3 tbsp of baking powder
1 1/2 cups of apple sauce*
1 cup of non-fat greek yogurt - I love the Astro brand
Pinch of salt

*Apple sauce: Peeled, cored and cubed apples. Add to a pot, cover with water. Boil on medium heat for about an hour. Mash with a potato masher and then use a hand blender or blender to puree. You can add cinnamon and cloves for a bit of flavour - or just leave as is. Deelish.

Add ins:

IMG_3527

Apple Cinnamon Muffins
2 cups of apple - peeled and cubed into small pieces
1 1/2 tsp of cinnamon

IMG_3526

Lemon Blueberry Coconut
Zest of one lemon
2 cups of frozen blueberries
1 cup of unsweetened coconut - see if you can find the thick organic kind - it's so worth it

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

In a large bowl mix all of the dry ingredients with the apple sauce and yogurt. Mix well.

IMG_3536

If you want to make both flavours, divide the batter in half - and separate into two bowls. Mix all together - and that's it.

Using a light cooking spray - spray the muffin tins. If using large muffin tins - you have enough batter for 12 muffins. Regular size tins - at least 18 muffins.

Bake at 350 for 37-42 minutes.

IMG_3532

They are fresh, they are sweet from the natural flavours, they are super moist, they are good for you, and best of all - they are DEELISH!

Loves.

Enjoy!

Monday, November 12, 2012

One down...

Well I am not sure about you - but I have successfully made it through a fabulous Monday.

I like to say 'one down, 4 more to go'. I am referring to the weekend, just in case you weren't sure. Could you imagine if I was like, 'one down, 4 more to go, and then two days until we have another Monday! Wahoo, I love Mondays!!!'. No seriously, could you imagine?

I actually don't mind Mondays at all. Don't get me wrong, I prefer Fridays over Mondays - but I am not a 'disliker' of the Monday. Sort of like how I am a morning person instead of a night person. I like the mornings. Now don't get me wrong, I do enjoy not having to get up and go-go-go in the morning from time to time - but I would much rather get up early and rested than staying up until all hours of the night. In my younger years, I could stay out late, and get up early. Now I really have to take one or the other. If I stay up late - I might as well just book the next day off. I like my sleep.

Wow - I just re-read what I wrote - and can pretty much guess that you all think that I am some wild and crazy girl. I still can be - I just have to plan for it months in advance. Like this coming weekend - my BF - Tracy (check out her new website HERE) - and I are going to be living it up 'crazy style' in the big city. We are thankfully on the same page when we define 'living it up crazy style'. We'll probably have a drink or two, have a nice dinner somewhere and then hang out on the couch with the tele on just talking. Hm, I maybe should have checked with her before I wrote this - because she could be really wanting a crazy night.

Alright - I intended to have this post dedicated to some butternut squash. I love that stuff! It's the best time of the year for it - so stock up on it - it's in abundance - it's deelish and it's good for you!

IMG_3511 

Butternut Squash Chili

Ok - disclaimer - I am not sure if I can really call this a 'chili' but I am.
Also - this dinner makes enough for a A LOT of meals. Perfect for freezing.

1 large onion - diced
2 packs of lean ground turkey
1 large butternut squash - peeled and cut into small bite size cubes
2 red peppers - diced
2 cups of sliced mushrooms
5-6 stalks of celery - sliced
2 large cans of diced tomatoes
1 small can of stewed tomatoes
2 cans of white kidney beans - rinsed (or use whatever beans you love)
1 large garlic clove - diced or shredded
3 tbsp of chili powder
1 tbsp of ground cumin
2 tbsp of oregano

In a large pot, over medium heat, drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil and add the onion - with a pinch of kosher salt. Saute the onions until they are translucent and golden. Add in the ground turkey. Brown the ground turkey - until it is almost cooked. Season with all of the spices and the garlic.

Add in the butternut squash. Stir so that the butternut squash is covered with all of the onion and turkey. Add in the remaining vegetables and stir it all together.

Next add in the tomatoes and beans.

Add in more seasoning if you like it spicier.

IMG_3510 

Stir everything together. Cover, and let simmer over low-medium heat for at least 30-45 minutes.

And that's it. A full, dinner in no time.

Top with a dollop of non-fat plain yogurt - and you have a deelish dish.

*This dish could be made vegan or vegetarian so easily - just omit the turkey. Add tofu, extra beans or more mushrooms for it to be heartier - without missing the meat.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Program - Week 7

I hear the voice inside of my head. It says 'Your day is planned. You are going to have an amazing workout. You will be afraid that you will struggle. You will struggle. You will feel that everyone is watching you. You will think that you are the only one that finds each step, each jump, each push, too hard. You will get through it. You will achieve what you set out to. You will feel strong when you are done. You are making yourself more healthy. You can do it. You will do it.'

Then I get out of bed.

I head to my workout, with different thoughts and voices in my head. I am not crazy. I am not hearing voices that shouldn't be there. I am hearing the voices that I have grown accustomed to for so long.

These voices are sometimes my cheerleaders. These voices are sometimes my worst enemies.

I recognize that these voices almost only come out when I am struggling when it comes to physically challenging myself.

As I drive, I think about how I long for the day that I could stay in my pj's until 10. Sipping hot chocolate or tea. Watching Sunday morning junk TV. Planning the day - but not planning it too fast.

As I drive, I remind myself that this is only week 7. That those days are not gone. I remind myself of how fortunate I am that I am in a place that I have the option to do this - but at this time - I am making it   a priority.

I arrive to the studio. I no longer have butterflies.

I tell myself that I am here - that I will make this workout worthwhile.

I run. I run hills. I breathe heavy. I catch my breath. I run again. I run fast. I climb stairs. I struggle. I laugh. I wince. And then I run again.

I celebrate the day. I celebrate my fellow friends and their accomplishments.

I go home. I feel the pain and exhaustion from battling with my body. I am home in time to have breakfast, walk my pups, read a magazine and plan a full day. Home in time to realize that it was all worth it.

And as I get up off the couch, or come upstairs - my body aches. The aches are reminders of a hard day - but remind me that this is all a journey. And although some days may be painful - they won't all be like this. And although there may be days that I am not confident in my abilities, and that there will be struggles - I just have to tell myself that I am doing this. I can do this. And I will do this.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Simple dinner

Week 6 of the New Program - is going pretty good. So far, I have worked out 2 days out of 3 where I sweated buckets (literally), used cursed words that a lady shouldn't say, and made it through. I look at the 'sweat' as an indication that I am working as hard as I can. I look at the 'curse words' as a reward for my struggles as I work hard. And when I am done at the end of the day - it's refreshing to know that I made it through, I didn't die, and I will do it all over again.

One thing that I struggle with, is not seeing the results that I am wanting to see. I feel that I workout hard at least 5 days a week; I am really focusing on what I am eating; I am getting lots of sleep; I am drinking lots of water - and still nothing. Week 4, I lost 4 pounds. Wahoo! Week 5, gained a pound. Curses. And then, that little voice in my head, reminds me that it took me many, many years to get to where I am now, and it will take me many years to get to where I want to be. And then I have to remember that this isn't a temporary program - but a change in the way I live my life.

Tuesday's are my day off - unless I need t miss a workout on any other day besides Friday. It's nice to come home from work - walk the pups, and make a dinner that should last us for another couple of days.

Tonight's dinner was something that I have wanted to make for a couple of weeks now. I am sort of addicted to making a dish that I can count for protein and making enough of it to last a couple of days. It's all about planning. Planning people!

IMG_3490 

Individual Meatloafs - Italian and Mexican

Italian Meatloaf
1 pack of lean ground turkey (I am not sure the weight - but you can pick up a pack of 4 for $20 at Costco!)
2 tbsp of tomato paste
1 egg
2 tbsp of Italian seasoning*
2 tbsp fine whole wheat bread crumbs

*If you don't have italian seasoning - you can use dried oregano, garlic powder, chili flakes

Mexican Meatloaf
1 pack of lean ground turkey
2 tbsp of tomato paste
2 tbsp of fine whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tbsp of ground cumin
1 tsp of garlic powder
Dashes of tabasco sauce (depending on how hot you like it)

Pre-heat the oven to 400. Mix all of the ingredients together. Using either a small loaf pan - like THIS one - or muffin tins - spray the pans with cooking spray - or a olive oil (I have my olive oil in a spritzer bottle). Divide the meat into 4 and place it in the tins.

Bake for 40-45 minutes.

IMG_3493 

Serve with mashed cauliflower (instead of adding butter, I used 2 tbsp of goat cheese - oh hello goat cheese, I love ya), salad or a sweet potato.

IMG_3492

Alrighty oh. I am off to see who won the American election. Actually, I'm not. I am off to find a pair of rainboots online.

Loves.

Enjoy!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

My new program.

Wow - it's been forever since I have written. It's November - what happened to October - and pretty sure that we will be saying that in no time when it's December.

There are a couple of reasons why the absence:

1. I have started a new 'program' and I am trying to eat healthy and be fit. As a result, I am eating many of the same things over and over and over. And did I mention that I eat them over and over again?

2. I am short on time. After a day of work, dog walks, workouts, dinner, snack/lunch prep for the next day, when the day is done, I just want to sit on my Royal Canadian and watch The Voice, Jersey Shore, The New Normal, or my dogs wrestle (in no specific order).

3. I worry that what I am writing will be boring, uninspiring, unappetizing.

4. And I don't want anyone to think that I am putting my story out there for 'high-fives' or 'atta-girl' - but more that it's a good way for me to journal - what I'm eating, how I'm feeling, and how I am progressing.

So, there we have it. I am starting week 6. Although the weight loss is not going nearly quickly enough - I do feel better. I feel stronger. I feel healthier.

My friend, Pilar, is the one that told me about the program - and she is doing it with me. She is a huge support - and it makes things a lot easier having someone to encourage you and go with. I have also met some really great people in the program too - and they are full of support - and encouragement.

The goal of the 'every day' eating plan - is to have a protein with every meal, 3 litres of water a day, 2 complex carbs, as much veggies as I want, and having 6 meals a day, instead of 3. I have been focusing on this quite well for the past few weeks. A lightbulb sort of went off when I realized what I should/could be eating - and when I really started to think about what I needed to eat.

Getting the proteins in was hard for me in the beginning - b/c I didn't realize how little protein I actually ate in a day. Most of it was at dinner. Having a protein with every meal really helps fill you up.

Our fridge is stacked with fresh veggies - as it normally always is. Our freezer has a lot of different proteins for the week. And our cupboards are full of beans, canned tomatoes - and that's really about it. Oh except for that fig plum relish that I made and canned about a month ago. Hm, not sure if I'll be sharing that recipe quite yet - as it's so tart - it's not too deelish.

I commit to 4 workouts a week. 3 are 1 hour long and 1 is about 1.5 to 2 hours. And then I try to go to at least one other class a week. A majority of the classes are like a drill/boot camp style - we do lots of running and lots of ab stuff. I attend 1 early (very early 6 AM) spin class before work one day a week. I love it. I love to spin. I sweat my butt off - but it's a great workout. I have also started running around the hood with Magnum as my running partner. He is so good! He takes advantage of the short walks that I do between runs - and keeps up and is so good on his leash. Jozie... not so much. I haven't even tried it with her - b/c I know that she would have me pulling her the entire time - as she does a fake pee - b/c she wants to catch her breath. Hm, I wonder where she learned that from :)

My breakfast is always the same sort of thing - with just a bit of a variety of what I put in it. I posted about my NutriBullet breakfast HERE. Except - at this point our NB is a bit 'broken' so we have been using the blender - it works perfectly - it's just harder to clean. I always put an ounce of almonds in for the protein for that meal. I love them - I love the freshness - and the fact that I have about 4-5 servings of fruit/veggies before 7AM.

Around 9ish - I usually have baked egg whites - you can find that HERE - minus the bacon and cheese. Today's were made with just broccoli, a bit of dried oregano and egg whites. I do these every Sunday and make 12 at a time, and then keep them in the fridge and have 2 at work each day.

Lunch is usually the same. I will have a bunch of cut veggies, or a salad. And then maybe some homemade Hummus - you can find that HERE (I use more lemon juice, less olive oil, and less garlic so that when I am sweating my butt off I don't smell like Fabian who I dated when I was 18)- or half a boneless/skinless chicken breast, or 1/2 a can of salmon - or maybe a cup of cottage cheese with some cut up cantelope. I try to switch it up a bit - so that I don't get too tired of the same thing. Fortunately when I have a salad, I don't need a dressing - so I am able to cut a bit of what I don't need out of my diet.  And then I usually have a piece of fruit - maybe an asian pear, apple or a mandarin.

In the afternoon - if I'm hungry - I find that I'm not usually - I will have some non-fat plain yogurt and some berries. And then before I know it, it's dinner. For tonight, I am making a huge batch of spaghetti sauce - using tomatoes that I roasted from the garden, and some canned, and then adding boneless/skinless chicken breasts, and a ton of veggies. I am going to make a whole wheat spaghetti, and I will have a bit b/c I haven't had any complex carbs today. So this will be my treat. And to me, it's a good one.

I am baking the chicken in the oven, and I have an extra piece leftover that I will use for two salads this week - Monday and Tuesday.

DRINK. DRINK. DRINK.

Water. Not booze. Well, you can if you want.

Water is so good for you. For so long it was a huge chore to drink water. It was super psychological for me and I just didn't like the taste. I am SO over that now. But I get it, if it's hard. Try adding a bit of lemon or lime to it for a bit of extra flavour. Or freeze some strawberries or grapes - and add them. I think that if you're not a water drinker - I get that it's so tiring for people to say 'water is so good for you' - but it really is. For me - it makes me feel alert - refreshed. I know that sounds odd - but it really does. I have a 'water' story for you. When my dad was sick in the hospital, before he passed - we would be at the hospital with him for at least 12-14 hours a day. For anyone who has stayed beside someone who is very sick, you know that this can be a huge strain on your body - emotionally and physically. After a week or so - I started drinking water from the ice cold water machine which was around the corner - from my dad's room. I started out with a drink here or there - and before I knew it - getting up to get the water, and drinking at least 6-8 glasses a day - became a part of my routine. And I totally felt a difference. I felt more awake, less hungry, and less like a loafer just loafing around. Unfortunately, I didn't keep this habit up after we left the hospital - but I wish that I had. But, for a long time now, I OD on water every day.

I keep having those 'ah ha' moments. Was that what Oprah called them? Mine are actually more like 'oh shit, why didn't you realize that sooner, you duh' - but that is a lot to get out at one time - and if people hear/see me saying that they will probably think that I am odd.

My moment for today was - when I was doing the dishes. And I was thinking about the dinner that I whipped up for myself on Thursday night after our trek to Costco (egg whites, romaine, spinach, edamame - so worth the drive out there) - I whipped up the fastest salad with tomatoes and peppers and a bit of plain yogurt with lemon juice and dried oregano. I am not sure why I thought about that - but for me - Thursday and Friday nights are sort of the start to the weekend. Thursday is Chris' Friday - and  well, Friday is my Friday. Thursday is the start of the end of the week - and I always wanted a treat for dinner instead of having to make something. So maybe we would pick up a Subway or a Burrito, or a burger (not fast food honestly). And I was just thinking of how I thought that was a good way to reward myself for a hard week. And then I was thinking of how easy it is to make something healthy - and reward yourself that way. As much as I want to eat ice cream all the time, and drink apple juice, and eat lasagna every night - it's just not what my body needs.

So this is my commitment to myself. My need for change. It's like I am Running for My Life - all over again.

I want - sorry please let me rephrase. I WILL lose weight. I WILL be strong.

If you have any questions about this - let me know - I would love to chat about it. I am still planning on cooking - just not with butter or cream or chocolate (well not for right now anyways - we all need a cheat meal once in awhile) - but I will share what I am having - and you may like it.

Loves.

Enjoy!