Monthly Archives

June 2011

fitness, get strong on the cheap

get strong on the cheap: part 3 (lower bod)

Okay so you’ve been workin hard and your arms & core are getting WAY STRONG but you’re looking for a little lower body action? Get ready. This workout is mainly plyometric meaning it uses bigger, more powerful movements to strengthen your muscles fast while adding a bit of extra cardio to your routine as well.

Modifications: Any moves that involve jumping can be difficult for beginners or those with knee injuries/strain. If you fall into either of these categories pleeease start by doing low-impact (jump-free) versions of these moves. Then I won’t have to worry, mmkay?

Reps: I usually attempt about 30 reps of each of these moves and try to run the circuit through 2-3 times. This set is shorter than the previous two but trust me you will definitely feel the burn. So take it easy. Ease your way in by starting out doing just the basic moves without any jumping and then gradually add intensity when you get a little more comfortable. Continue Reading

cities, inspiration

if bicycles took toronto

did anyone else take the ttc over the broadview bridge on sunday to witness this?

Photo Credit: PL Tam

bicycles took over the dvp & the gardiner to raise money for the heart & stroke foundation.

the view from above was inspiring but also kind of reminded me of a cover of Adbusters circa 2004 (when I was in high school…and still thought it was cool to read Adbusters)

healthy treats, recipes, snacks

baking up some sunshine

It has been crazy hot outside in Toronto and I must say I do not mind a bit! Yesterday morning I woke up early to enjoy the cooler hours playing my first full game of tennis ever. Can I just say right now I have a whole new respect for the folks who play this sport? My arms are beyond sore today. Thank goodness I spent the rest of the afternoon engaging in some other less strenuous activities such as:

  • lazing around in the shade
  • colouring
  • putting on lipstick
  • gettin my gossip on with friendz

This recipe was just perfect for the gettin’ lazy part of my day…while also helping me refuel from the gettin’ sweaty part! These little treats are a little bit scone, a little bit macaroon cookie & a whole lot of adorable.

Spread with a dab of nut butter, earth balance or preserves or enjoy as is with a tall glass of iced tea.

banana mango sunshine “scookies”

makes about 16-18 small scookies or 8-12 larger ones

Wet Mix

  • 1 large brown bananas
  • 3/4 cup frozen mango
  • 1 egg + 1 egg white OR 2 tsp ground flax blended with 6 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt (i used a soy variety)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tbsp honey or agave
  • pinch of turmeric (optional, for colour)
Dry Mix
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour (or sub for white, spelt or more whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour 
  • 1/4 cup toasted unsweetened coconut, plus a little for topping
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (optional)
  • pinch of salt salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
Directions:
  1. Blend together fruit, milk, egg, honey/agave, yogurt, turmeric & extracts in a blender or food processor until smooth.
  2. Stir together dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add in MOST of your blended mix (reserve about 2 tbsp) and stir until smooth. You may find it a little too thick, in which case just add an extra tbsp or so of milk.
  3. Add any additional mix-ins you like (raisins, cranberries, dates or pumpkin seeds would be lovely).
  4. Scoop out cookies onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet using a 1 tbsp measure. Top each cookie with a little of the remaining wet mix and a small pinch of additional coconut flakes.
  5. Bake at 350 for about 15-18 min or until browned on top.
Lets make Sunday afternoon Summer Tea-Time a thing. 
90s, dinner, recipes, reflections

apple braised kale & my history as a child hoarder

When I was a kid I used to keep a map of all the Cracker Barrel restaurants in America in my jewellery box. It just sat there all year long, beside my other treasures such as:

  • Lisa Frank stickers I’d snuck from my sister’s room
  • necklaces I’d swiped from the game Pretty Pretty Princess
  • chocolate covered bon-bons I’d pilfered from my bubie’s stash
  • notes to and from my imaginary friend Mamilla
To say that I had a fixation with Cracker Barrel would be like saying …since we’re already on the subject…that a crack addict has a “fixation” with crack. Its true, but it doesn’t go far enough in describing my relationship toward the popular American restaurant chain. As far as the map goes? I would take it out of its prized location in my jewellery box once a year on family road trips, when I would force my parents to plan our entire journey around which rest stops did or did not contain a Cracker Barrel. Something that combination of toys, muskoka chairs & lard was utterly bewitching my younger self.
Today as I make summer plans to go on several road trips, some of them to America, I can’t help but get a little of that ol’ Cracker Barrel fever (one must always use folksy shorthand when referencing a Cracker Barrel). This recipe is inspired by their Turnip Greens & Ham.

Sweet n’ Savoury Apple Braised Kale

  • olive oil
  • 1 shallot, diced finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 slices of finely chopped veggie/turkey/standard bacon OR a few dashes of hickory flavoured liquid smoke
  • 1/2 bunch kale, lower stems removed
  • 1/2 apple, diced
  • 1 cup veggie broth
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar 
  • 1 tbsp grainy dijon mustard
  • pinch of sugar
  1. Heat a small amount of oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add shallot, garlic and bacon if using sautee for about a until fragrant (and meat is mostly cooked, if using). Add kale and stir to combine.
  2. Add broth, liquid smoke (if using), apples, mustard, 1 tbsp of balsamic & sugar. Bring to a boil and then reduce to  low simmer for about 15-20 min or until most of the liquid has cooked off and apples are cooked.
  3. As a last step, raise heat once again. Add in the last tbsp of balsamic and quickly reduce, tossing to combine with the greens for about 30 seconds-1 min or until they are well coated. Serve immediately.
Optional: Remove greens and add 1 more cup of water or broth to the cooking liquid. Add protein of choice (fish or thinly sliced tempeh are ideal) and poach in liquid, serve on top of greens. Reduce remaining liquid by half and serve as a jus. 
breakfast, recipes

eat yer oats


 Its no secret that oatmeal for breakfast is good for you. But eating bowl after bowl of regular rolled oats can get a little dullz. Enter: the oatbran parfait!

Oatbran has all the same benefits as oatmeal but with a little extra fibre and a much creamier end result. I cook it up with 1/2 water, 1/2 almond milk and egg whites and it always ends up fluffy and delicious. Then I layer it in a tall glass with berries (fresh strawberries are my fave), creamy greek yogurt, flaxseeds, nuts, granola or crunchy cereal for a tasty twist on the classic bowl of oats.

Basic Oatbran Parfait:

  • 1/3 cup oatbran
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or preferred milk)
  • 1/2 cup water (or more…I usually end up adding extra as the oatbran thickens)
  • 1/3 cup egg whites (about 2 egg whites) OR Vegan Option: 1.5 tbsp ground flax mixed with 5 tbsp water
  • sweetener (optional)
  • vanilla (optional)
Directions: 
Add oats, egg whites or flax egg, milk and water to a medium sized non-stick pot and heat until just boiling. Then reduce heat to very low and slowly simmer until mixture thickens and starts to fluff up, stirring often. I usually end up adding anywhere from 1/2 cup-1 1/2 cups of additional liquid as it cooks to get it to the consistency that I like. Once the oats are cooked and creamy, you can stir in the vanilla and honey/maple syrup/agave.
Then find a tall glass and layer up with whatever fruit/nut/cereal toppings you like!
coffee, cooking tips, diy, recipes

hot town, sweat’n in the city

If you live in the Greater Toronto Area you experienced an early taste of summer yesterday. The good parts: short skirts, popsicles & sunshine. But also the not-so-good: smoggyness, muggyness & sweatyness. Oh the sweatyness

So naturally today I’m sharing one of my favourite iced coffee creations with you. This is a somewhat unique preparation that I stumbled upon one day when I was almost out of coffee and almost out of tea…you see where I’m going with this. In the end I loved how it turned out and have made it time and time again to keep cool while satisfying my fiendish caffeine addiction all summer long.

Tea Infused SpICEd Coffee

I used a 6-cup french press & a 1 quart  mason jar for this recipe.

  • 9 scoops of coursely ground coffee (or 1.5 times your usual amount)
  • 1 ginger teabag**
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
  • ice
  • dairy or non-dairy milk of choice
  • sweetener (optional)
Directions:
  1. Add coursely ground coffee, cinnamon & the contents of 1 ginger teabag to the bottom of your french press and stir to combine. Add water as usual and brew for at least 5 minutes.
  2. As your coffee is brewing, fill a large mason jar 3/4 of the way with ice.
  3. Once coffee is brewed, pour over ice. Add in your sweetener of choice at this point. If you are using granulated sugar, pour hot coffee directly over individual spoonfuls rather than mixing it all in at once. This will help the sugar to dissolve.
  4. Top off coffee and ice mixture (which will have mostly melted at this point) with your preferred milk.
  5. Pop in the fridge and enjoy with a little extra ice whenever your coffee urge hits.
**I’m sure you could use lots of flavours to infuse your coffee – chai, vanilla rooibus or fruit teas like cherry, pomegranate or blueberry all sound tasty to me. I would avoid anything with notes of citrus.