another day, another lesson learned

March 31, 2009 at 7:47 pm | Posted in exercise, food, plans | 2 Comments
Tags: , , ,

when you make cookies, you gotta mix up the dough properly, even when it’s really stiff 😉 cookiefail. they were delicious though, but not quite as good as the second batch that i made using martha stewart’s blackforest cookie (sour cherry chocolate) recipe. i didn’t have enough sour cherries so i made half the batch black and white.

i iz cuuuuuute. that shirt generated a lot of comments at the office. i’d say we have a 70-30 split on raisin haters and lovers. i must say: it’s not that i don’t like raisins. i don’t mind them that much. especially in trail mix. and especially if they are my home-dried concord raisins, from niagara. but in cookies, i find that anywhere there is a raisin, a chocolate chip could probably have done the job better. who’s with me?

road trip this weekend was super fun! the boy and i hit up our big (little) capital for a separate but together vacation. we were visiting different friends but somehow we ended up staying 5 minutes apart and eating breakfast at the same restaurant (though different locations). we BOTH ordered the waffle 😉 i didn’t take any pictures while i was away – highlights of the trip included a hike around a bog and an evening at a comedy club, which was surprisingly hilarious (i never thought i’d really be into that humour but i laughed pretty hard). it was great to catch up with old (and one new!) friends. a possible move there is in the works for the future, and if things work out, i think i’d really love it.

today’s speedwork run, as per the plan, was awesome. caitlin wrote about speedwork today, so if you’re curious, go find out more info about how this training technique will make you faster. today i did 400, 600, 800, 1200, 800, 600, 400 at consistent speeds with varying rest intervals (i used my heart rate as a gauge). it was hard. the whole time i really had to push myself but the rewards at the end were worth it!

i had hoped to bike to work tomorrow for the first time this year but it looks like rain is going to get in the way. i’ll wake up early to reevaluate. baby jake wants to hit the roads!

is anyone getting up to any monkey business tomorrow? i can’t think of a really awesome april fool i’ve ever pulled off. i suspect it’s because i don’t have a good poker face.


the stars align

March 26, 2009 at 7:09 pm | Posted in exercise, food, plans | Leave a comment
Tags: , , ,

even though it’s the last full week of the fiscal year and there is all kinds of crazy nonsense going on at work and we didn’t have the most lovely weather, i am still having a great week!

lots of good:
– fun package in the mail
– a great job interview
– a weekend road trip to look forward to
– a sad but very inspiring retirement party at work (we are losing a legend)
– a few quality runs. the training plan is hard, in fact, i’m not quite fast enough yet but i’m working on it! today’s tempo run wasn’t as good as the intervals but i’m still happy
– some new (to me) awesome tunes (discovered through working on the below project. who knew punk would be so fun to dance around to?) the album is indestructible by rancid
– i have a batch of potentially delicious tuffies, waiting to be enjoyed with some tea
– i finished the fun bike video that i’ve been working on. enjoy!

(blerg! wordpress does not embed vimeo and youtube is obnoxious. so. i’m just leaving the link here. i encourage you to check it out because it’s fun fun fun!)

clip on, right foot, clip off left foot

March 24, 2009 at 7:45 pm | Posted in food | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , ,

clip on, clip off, breathe in through the nose, out the mouth.

this weekend, i took my bike out for it’s first sunshine spin of 2009. for my birthday (around christmas time), my boyfriend got me a set of clipless pedals + cleats. i’ve been practicing the getting in and out on my trainer all winter, but it doesn’t compare to doing it on the road. it was an extremely humbling experience. i fell off my bike twice, skinned a knee and wound up with a bruise on my hip. i forced myself to get right back on and keep trying because i knew if i gave up then, that would be it. jon was extremely patient with me. after a second day of practice on my own around the baseball diamond near my house (so if i fell, it would just be on soft grass), i’m feeling a lot more comfortable. clipless pedals make me feel so much more pro on the bike! i’m not just a girl with a bike, i’m like a for real cyclist. i have a few actual cycling jerseys too! logistics pending, i am also going to sign up for a bike race that is semi-off road (farm lanes, trails and gravel roads). i have a cyclocross bike, which is pretty ideal for this type of terrain (it’s road bike like, but designed for off roading. but not like mountain bike off roading), so i’m excited! (i’ll only be doing the 35 km ride, while the boy will do the 60 km one. i wish we could do it together but this is an important training race for him and there’s no way i can handle 60 km!)

in other weekend news, we did a major cook once, cook big. jon buys the cans of campbell’s soup. the last time we were at the grocery store because he was out, i saw that they’ve gone up to almost $2 a can, and they are really not at all tasty. he is on a tight grad student budget and he does love soup, so i volunteered to make him some delicious soup, all from scratch, to keep in the freezer. i fell back on my two old favorites, the minestrone and the chicken chowder. the stock came from 3 chickens that i skinned and butchered up myself! he helped me, and together we were the most organized team ever! everything was prepped and ready to go. we had three simultaneous pots on the stove AND we managed to keep the kitchen pretty clean the entire time.
this was the result

20 meals worth of yummy, healthy, low sodium soup for probably less than 50 cents each! i snagged the 3 small portions for lunch this week.

today was my first day of running speed work. i’m not gonna lie, i was a little anxious about it all day. 12 repeats of 400m at a pretty fast pace with 90 seconds in between. it went so well! i felt awesome the whole time (well. i didn’t FEEL awesome but i felt awesome about what i was doing and how fast i was going). i ended up being an average of 8 seconds faster than my plan said, but my 12 times were fairly consistent, and i think that is what is important. i hope this sets the tone for the rest of my interval work! i ran about 4.5 miles in 36 minutes of actual running time, which is insane for me – i’m more of a 9 – 10 minute/mile person. and i burned over 500 calories. woohoo. i know i’ll be in pain tomorrow though. yoga to the rescue! (after our bike ride this weekend, jon did yoga for cyclists with me. i think he really liked it! yay. maybe another convert)

i’ve got another crazy week at work. have a good one. don’t forget to breathe! very important.

if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?

March 21, 2009 at 2:25 am | Posted in food | 1 Comment
Tags: , , ,

why change a great thing? well, if no one ever did, how would we have things that are greater than great? fantastic even? you gotta take that risk.

if i do say so myself, i make some freakin’ awesome banana muffins. i use tyler florence’s recipe for the ultimate banana bread, obviously making changes like substituting the pecans for chocolate chips and making them in muffin form rather than a loaf.

the bananas i bought last weekend went ripe ridiculously fast for my liking (i had to stop eating them around wednesday because i like my bananas yellow with a tinge of green), so by friday, it was high time for action in the kitchen. last night i decided i wanted something a little different – something tropical. so i went about throwing caution to the wind and making crazy substitutions left and right. i was heavily rewarded this morning with a muffin cup of deliciousness.

Here is tyler’s recipe, with my changes in brackets

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (i used 1.5 c flour and 0.5 cups unsweetened coconut)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 overripe bananas (i used 5 because that’s what i needed to get rid of)
  • 1 cup sugar (i always cut this down to 2/3)
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled (i only put in 1/3 of the butter, for the rest of the fat, i used some cream cheese i needed to get rid of and the balance in coconut butter)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (skipped)
  • 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped (instead, i chopped up several rings of pineapple that i dehydrated this week)

I love how Tyler whips the bananas. I’m not a big fan of mashing things and I truly believe that the whipping with the sugar makes all the difference in the excellent muffin texture. He says to whip half, mash half for texture (banana chunks?) but I always just whip all.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  • Mash 2 of the bananas with a fork in a small bowl so they still have a bit of texture. With an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk, whip the remaining bananas and sugar together for a good 3 minutes; you want a light and fluffy banana cream. Add the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla; beat well and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated; no need to overly blend. Fold in the nuts and the mashed bananas with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Give the pan a good rap on the counter to get any air bubbles out.
  • Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Don’t get nervous if the banana bread develops a crack down the center of the loaf; that’s no mistake, it’s typical. Rotate the pan periodically to ensure even browning.
  • Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes or so, and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

training to run

March 17, 2009 at 8:11 pm | Posted in exercise | 4 Comments
Tags: , , , ,

as promised, i have fleshed out the first part of my training plan for this season, which will take me to race #1. the plan i am planning to follow this year is from runners world. it is called the FIRST training program from this book (which i highly recommend if you are into running!). it is a 3plus2 plan, where you run intensely 3 days a week and do 2 “plus two” days of cross training. my cross training will be primarily on the bike (they also recommend swimming).

it seems like a good plan for busy people. each workout has a specific purpose – there aren’t a lot of “junk miles” and you only run every other day or so to allow your body to recover on the days in between. recommended cross training are less joint-intensive impact activites, like swimming and biking. rowing is also an option. i plan to incorporate lots of yoga and i hope to also continue to do some strength training on my cross train days.

i am going for a 2:07 half marathon run on may 23 so this is what i have come up with. the key issue with my season is that i have an 18 week plan but my season is 8 weeks till the 1st race, 16 weeks between the 1st and 2nd, and 4 weeks between the 2nd and 3rd. i’m working on the wiggling. i’ll post the next section when i’ve got it done.

i work in metric units, so i had to do some calculations to switch from miles to km. it’s 1.6 km to the mile.

the perfect shirt

March 17, 2009 at 12:35 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

it’s in the mail, i’ll be wearing it shortly 😉stupid raisins get out of my cookies

back in the saddle

March 16, 2009 at 6:42 pm | Posted in exercise, hobbies, plans | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , ,

after a glorious weekend filled with fun, it’s back to work for me! luckily i came home to a nice big box on my doorstep full of the running and biking wear i ordered from mountain equipment coop. i was able to score a ton of stuff on sale (including some arm warmers and seamless undies!). all but one shirt are made in canada and everything is either mostly or completely made from organic and recycled fibres! awesome. you’ll be seeing them on me in the near future. i think that looking cute makes me faster 😉

i went for my first (and second!) outdoor runs this weekend. i cannot tell you how fabulous it felt getting back out on the road after a winter of riding my bike indoors. the bike has definitely made me stronger because even though i haven’t run in 4 months, i still felt really strong. i don’t officially start my training (next post) until next week – 9 weeks before my first race – so this week is a gradual easing back in to running. the weather looks like it is going to cooperate, and i have a ton of awesome stuff to wear! (today i was out in capri tights and a long-sleeved freeride jersey. no layers or gloves, headband, neckwarmer or anything. how fantastic) last year i was down on spring but right now i am lovin’ it!

the weekend was full of fun. i went to the bike show, like i mentioned. getting there was an adventure in itself. i don’t take ttc enough, it seems. i got on the wrong streetcar trying to get to exhibition place and somehow ended up on the streetcar heading uptown. it was a lovely ride through the city – kensington and china town, and i was afforded lots of interesting people watching.

the bike show itself was great. i scored some excellent new louis garneau bike shorts, the chamois of which is super padded! i also picked up a half priced camelbak because i’ve been wanting one for ages but didn’t want to pay $60 for it. i can’t wait to take it out on a long bike ride or hike. i also got a pair of fingerless riding gloves for cheap, so i can protect my hands and have better grip without overheating.

i took some excellent video at the bmx stunt course and the 4 cross races, and my first ever video is in the works. i’ll be sure to post it here for your enjoyment when i’m done! imovie rocks.

medieval times was quite underwhelming, though i had no expectations. the highlight was when i caught one of the horses pooping in the arena. this plus eating dinner without any utensils doesn’t really make for a great dining experience.

i’ll leave you with a picture of me, rocking our friend’s new downhill helmet. those things are super padded on the inside!


March 14, 2009 at 7:25 am | Posted in food, plans | Leave a comment

this weekend is supposed to be *gorgeous*! we’ve got a high of 7° today and maybe even up to 10° tomorrow (that’s around 45 and 50 for you fahrenheit folk) with sunshine. do you smell spring? i sure do!

lots of potentially fun stuff on tap. today we are going to the toronto international bicycle show and then later we have tickets to celebrate a birthday at medieval times. i’m hoping to get some new bike shorts (and maybe a jersey or two) from the show, as well as see some really cool stuff (there’s a bmx trick course).

yesterday i got a request from the boyfriend to pack a lunch to take to the show because our food options there will likely be “crappy and expensive.” i take these requests seriously! i’ve got multigrain chiabatas, with home-roasted pesto crusted sliced chicken, roasted red peppers, cheddar and extra pesto, fresh apple chips, citrus segments, and a few of this week’s batch of cookies- martha’s oatmeal raisin (this time i had wheatgerm, so i followed the recipe almost exactly, except for an obvious substitution for the raisins. yesterday i used half chocolate chips, half peanut butter chips left over from christmas baking). i will also pack some fun drinks. i’m sure we’ll be the envy of all our friends, as they have to eat $10 egg salad sandwiches. i would have made lunch for everyone, but we might not even be all together at the show and that many sandwiches would have taken me far too long!

tomorrow is wide open for outdoor fun. we don’t have plans yet, but i feel a good hike might be in order. i hope you are enjoying lovely weather too!

challenge yourself

March 7, 2009 at 7:55 am | Posted in food | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , ,

this is me, in my past life.

i admit that i have a problem, squirreling things away. i like to stockpile and i feel better knowing that i’m not going to run out of anything, but i suspect it has reached an unreasonable extreme. i am fairly certain that if there were to be an apocalypse tomorrow, i’d be the last one alive, for a few more months.

this is my cold store. you can’t even see all of it, because it is a whole room and there is a lot of stuff on the floor (more squash, potatoes, the remainder of my last half bushel of apples, a 25kg bag of flour etc).

as you can see, i have nuts to feed a thousand squirrels for a season, a shelf of my own canning (a few jars of jam left, lots of apple sauce, more pear and apple butter than i know what to do with. hello pork tenderloin), tomato products, a variety of squash (i actually think i have to toss the ones on the shelf because they are past their happy time), campbell’s reduced sodium chicken stock to make at least 13 batches of soup, etc etc. i know. it’s ridiculous. i’m not even going to show you my kitchen pantry, the fridge/freezer or the nut/dried fruit cabinet in the kitchen for fear of ridicule.

i’m pretty good with money. i don’t spend a lot (almost never go out to eat, for example) and i am an extremely dilligent saver. putting money away (just like putting food away for the winter, i guess) makes me kind of giddy – i do it right when i get paid, instead of waiting till the end of the month and saving whatever is left over, which does not work.

in these difficult economic times, we all need to be more careful with our money. food is clearly where most of my spending goes and i am aware that this needs to be cut. my challenge for the next month (or two or three!) is to keep my grocery bills to a minimum of perishables (fruits and veg though even these i don’t need too much of since my freezer is stocked with raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, other wild berries and other frozen vegetables like peppers and corn, and dairy).

i don’t really know what is a reasonable amount for one person to spend weekly, since 1 is somehow more than half of what 2 would need. how much do you spend on groceries?? i’ve also noticed that prices of stuff are starting to go up here again (even though gas is down). i’m giving myself $30 a week, which i feel is pretty fair. it won’t result in deprivation (which i don’t need to resort to, clearly) but it will force me to eat what i’ve got a bit more creatively. if i find that 30 is too much and not getting any results, i’ll scale back.

so far this week, i’m at $29.30 i did buy a bunch of chocolate milk that was on sale and a few staples (like cans of coconut milk and some wheat germ). i still have a drawerful of citrus and carrots, so my fruit/veg purchases were limited to bananas, sweet potatoes, and kale.

since my sam’s club recently closed and i don’t have a car, driving around to different grocery stores to shop the sales isn’t very feasible. i guess i will just do what i can. i’ll let you know how things go.

my faves

March 5, 2009 at 8:15 pm | Posted in food | 3 Comments
Tags: , ,

i decided to put together a list of my top five kitchen appliances that increase the quality of my life.

1) the immersion blender. i use this almost every day, sometimes twice. it’s fantastic for smoothies, hummus, soups, apple butter, etc. i like to refer to it as, from c&z, le mixeur girafe.
favorite application: butternut squash soup

2) the ice cream maker. when i originally expressed interest in having one of these a few years ago, there were many naysayers. “you will never use it” and “it will collect dust on your shelf” etc etc. well, lucky for me, david lebovitz wrote an awesome book and making your own ice cream is all the rage these days. i love ice cream. i love making really yummy things. i love being able to make fantastic kinds of ice cream that i probably would not be able to afford on a regular basis, which are totally natural and made with whole foods and local ingredients.

favorite application: goat cheese ice cream sandwiched between double chocolate cookies.

3) the rice cooker. i scored this one for free with grocery store points, which makes it doubly awesome. i make way more than just rice in here – oatmeal, rice dishes with mixins (my favorite so far is coconut milk, frozen peppers and edamame), bulgar, wheatberries, etc. i love that i don’t need to babysit it. i can throw some grain in, push the button and go to the basement to work out or have a shower or do something that is not staying near the stove to keep an eye on my pot of rice. i eat rice a lot more than i ever did because it is so easy!
favorite application: stuffing for acorn squash – 1/2 brown rice, 1/2 bulgar, craisins, chopped up dried apricots, and other dried fruit you’ve got around. 2X liquid – chicken stock is good but water works. apple cider is excellent in a pinch. bake the squash while the rice cooks, and when it’s done scoop the filling in and top with some goat cheese. yum.

4) the slow cooker. another appliance that needs no babysitting. do you see a theme? nothing better than coming home to delicious smells and supper (or something else) ready to go, right into my tummy!
favorite application: chili. apple butter is also a winner, because it takes freaking forever and have i mentioned i hate babysitting my food? i made a crockpot roast chicken a few weeks ago and it was awesome.

5) the food dehydrator. like with my ice cream maker, there were many anti-folk. the dehydrator is an appliance that you’re supposed to borrow from friends. well. i don’t have any friends that own food dehydrators. i love dried fruit. took the plunge and it has been delicious. it’s a great (and really easy! no babysitting! i set it up on a plug in timer because they don’t come with autoshut offs) way to preserve food. you can make your own camping meals, it contributes to my eating local longer throughout the year, and it cuts down on the amount of packaged stuff i have to buy.
favorite application: niagara seedless concord grapes make kickass raisins! i never thought i’d ever make my own raisins, but these are the best i’ve ever had. rings of pineapple are also really yummy. apple chips make a great crispy super healthy snack. i haven’t made fruit leather or beef jerky yet, but there’s no stopping me!

so there you have it. these are the things i would be sad to have to live without!
up next: favorite tools (or gadgets, it depends how you look at it)

Next Page »

Create a free website or blog at
Entries and comments feeds.