Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Dabbling in Healthy Desserts

Wishing I had grabbed my SLR when I took the spring form pan off this amazingness, because this picture does NOT do it justice.  This my friends, is PEANUT BUTTER PIE.

Raw, gluten free, and pretty much healthy for you. 

Mine didn't turn out perfect because the instructions were a bit vague but it's definitely a must try again!

Chocolate Fudge Crust
  • 1 Cup Raw Peanuts
  • 1 Cup Raw Slivered Almonds
  • 1 Cup Pitted Dates
  • 4 Tbsp Cocoa
  • 1/4 Cup Water
Peanut Butter Filling
  • 1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/2 Cup Natural Peanut Butter
  • 1/3 Cup Pitted Dates
  • 3 Packets Stevia
  • 2 Tbsp Pure Maple Syrup
Chocolate Ganache
  • 1 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 Cup Cocoa
1. Grease a spring form pan.  I used coconut oil.

2. Food process/blend peanuts and almonds until desired size (you still want it to be a bit chunky, not a flour).  Add in the rest of the ingredients and blend until a dough forms.  Pack into the bottom of the pan.  Stash in the fridge so it firms up while you complete the next step.

3.  Blend the peanut butter filling until smooth.   I would suggest chopping the dates before throwing them in.  I had to blend like crazy.  Pour over the crust layer and put in fridge.

4.  Blend ganache layer.  Pour on top.

5.  Pop into the fridge or freezer for about 3 hours.

*Added suggestion:  Refrigerate until the ganache is semi-solid and pre-score your slices.  I think it would be best served frozen, but it'll be easier if your top layer is already cut.


Monday, 17 September 2012

Being Gluten-Less

Earlier this year I jumped on a bandwagon.   That bandwagon was the Wheat Belly bandwagon.

After becoming increasingly frustrated with my inability to lose weight (and ability to put pounds on), I started to get wrapped up in the idea of becoming gluten free.  I read Wheat Belly, which made some excellent points while being a little repetitive and boring at times.   On top of the inability to lose weight, I was bloating all the time.  I would walk by a mirror after a meal and break down because I looked so "fat" and joked that baby Harris had arrived.  It was not a good time.

I decided to go gluten free earlier this year for a month just to see what would happen.  The answer: not much.

Without fan fare, on August 15, I decided to try it again.  One month gluten free.  But this time it came with some other "rules".

1) Don't replace gluten with more carbs - One of my issues last time was gluten free pasta and gluten free beer.  While not off limits per se, I had pasta maybe 1-2 times in that month.

2) Increase protein intake - Protein powders have made a comeback!  So good.  I bake tons of treats and make my shakes and really found they help keep me satisfied.  I also made sure to have a large portion of whatever I ate be protein.

3) Decrease sugar - aka stop the Starbucks - Honestly, part of this was the fact that my sugar came with gluten in baked treats that I'd 'just have a bite of' so in reducing gluten I was decreasing a lot of my not so great treats.  On top of that, an iced coffee with syrup was a normal occurrence even though I like my coffee with just milk most times. It's okay though, I found some awesome substitutes.

4) Work-Outs - I've actually worked out LESS in the last month than I was in the month before.  What's changed?  Making them count.... um... literally.   I can't count reps for the life of me.

5) Decrease stress - There's been a lot going on behind the scenes right now and I took several steps to make life a lot easier on me.  Including getting rid of the Mazerbatty.
Me just over 2 years ago with my first car.

6) Stop counting calories/get rid of the scale - I did it.  I got off MyFitnessPal.  I haven't been on the scale for a month.  What happened?  A lot of good things.

The rules going forward:  To be gluten-less.  I'll still have homemade pasta and pizza and beer sometimes.... but after seeing those two pics, it's going to be a heck of a lot less than it was. 

Friday, 14 September 2012

Why I disapeared (again)

Gosh I'm crummy at posting.

I'm aware that part of it is not having a plan.  I need to sit down and get a feel for what I want to write when.

Part of it had to do with something bigger.

I've been a social media junkie since the days of ICQ and dial-up.  Serious.

It was only a matter of time before I had a public blog and since I spend an unforgiving amount of time on healthy eating, food, and exercising blogs, plus spending a lot of time doing the aforementioned things, it ended up being about my struggles with my weight, and working out.

Last week I did a lot of awesome things I wanted to post about (and soon will), but there was something nagging at me that I couldn't decide if it should enter into the realm of the blogosphere.

But here it is.  I'm saying it.

I am not always a happy upbeat blogger and that is my thing.  I embrace that. 

But there are some things that I just can't accept for me in what I read on these blogs.  And that's okay too.

And I doubt that the people who write these things realize how I took what they put down in words in a tweet, on an instagram, or in a blog.  Again, that's okay.

I also realize I could just stop reading.  

But I'm going to express things anyways.

What are the things I don't understand??

1.  Implying that a certain weight is just "too big" on a certain frame.

I just spent the last month working on getting rid of the scale and not even focusing on my pant size.   Just because I may weigh something like 160-170lbs and I'm 5'1, doesn't mean my body isn't healthy.  It doesn't mean I don't go to the gym.  It doesn't mean I indulge all the time.   It's what my body has decided to plateau at.  And yeah, I'm eating better, and working harder to achieve some of my goals, which include seeing some abs, but I'm not about to tell you that I think 170lbs is just too much for my body to carry around.  It seems to be doing okay right now.

2.  Telling the world that eating one fast food, one calorific meal, a bagel, or drinking is a horrible, horrible, thing. 

Yup, those things are actually pretty bad for you.  WE ALL KNOW THAT.  Or at least I hope we do.  But some days, I just really want a friggin glass of wine.  And maybe some times I want some wine several days in a row.  And sometimes, I eat a pound of wings and decide on fries.  And that's okay.  Clean eating is a really awesome thing for our insides.  But we are not failures if we eat something crummy.  I admire your strict clean eating but don't make me feel bad that I chose moderation and a sweatathon at the gym.

3.  Not allowing fruit in your diet.

Ahhh I get it, I do.  We're a society who loves our sugar.... but fruit?  Really?  Sigh.  This makes me sad. 

There's more probably but I'll leave it there.  I'm going to prep my healthy take on some meals and desserts and get ready to drink my wine!

Standard fare.  Vino with a glass of eau.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

My Head is Spinning

Over 3 years ago, I attended my first spin class at Heritage Fitness (Carleton Place) and it was good, but I wasn't smitten with it.  That said, I linked to this gym because if you ever find yourself in my hometown or surrounding area without access to a gym and you like lifting heavy things, this is an awesome place to go.

A few weeks after that, I moved to Ottawa/Barrhaven and ended up here: GoodLife - Strandherd.

My roommate and I fell into the routine of 9:30am Friday classes.  Such an awesome instructor and worth rushing to work for noon.  Even though some days I couldn't stand the repetitiveness of Les Mills RPM, I still go a good workout and loved the social aspect.  Spinners are loyal to their time, their bike, and their instructor.  Mess with one and let the fun begin. 

And then I moved to big bad Toronto.  Let me tell you, I'm all about convenience.  All of the gyms I've attended (except for Carleton Place) have been walkable.  So gone was Goodlife, and in was a new one just 3 blocks from my house.  Which meant new spin classes!  Oh my. 

My gym operates spin classes with an All Terrain feel.  Each instructor has their unique way of teaching, and can choose the pace of the class, music, etc.  I played around with the classes I could take and after hating every class I went to with one instructor, finally fell into Wednesdays at 9:30am with Anna.

Totally hooked.  Great workouts (uh hello, let's just put 16min of tabata in the middle, whooookay) and a friendly and motivating personality.  I found my class.

It was with a sad heart today that I attended what will probably be my last Wednesday morning class.  My job is switching hours to a normal pace 3 days a week (9-5) so I'll have to find a new class on the schedule to hit up.  So far it looks like Wednesday night!

We'll see how that goes when I get to it.  I'll probably have to miss a couple weeks of spin (the horror!) because of life. 

You'll probably never see this, but thanks Anna for being a kick ass instructor!

Monday, 3 September 2012


It's really time for me to fess up on this one.  I've been holding it in, feeling like I failed, but the reasons behind my choice are sound.

Earlier this summer I did this:

And it was all kinds of awesome and made me really proud of myself.  I pushed myself to complete 2 hours of activity while not kicking myself in the ass for being last in the pack. 

Unfortunately, I also realized that I needed to kick into gear with my running (yes, common theme always) as I was pretty slow.  Of course, as per usual after the race, I couldn't get back into it.  I promised myself I would start training August 6 for the Ottawa Fall Colours, and just yeah.

On top of the fact that I hadn't paid for it yet, I couldn't get motivated.

Now it's September, I'm not signed up, and I haven't been on a real bike in forever.

I think I'm dipping out of the race.  I'm mentally not there again just yet.  I need to build a strong base.

AND I have 2013 goals that are making me want to really start to work at it again.

I'll save that for another post though...

Saturday, 1 September 2012

And That's When it Clicked + Recipe

Excuse my absence, this week has been a littttlllle bit stressful, as will be the following few weeks.  There's a lot of stuff going on around here and it's all leaving me feeling a little unbalanced.  The biggest thing for me this week is to focus on sleep, and eating right.  Because I want to stuff my face with everything in sight.

I'm trying to offset that by swaying on the healthier side of my comfort foods and watching my portions.  Believe me, it's been a challenge.  There's a container of fro-yo screaming my name.

The title refers to what happened just after this picture.  I've been lifting weights off and on for the better part of 5 years.  It all started off with my friends laughing at my terrible form and wondering why the heck I was bicep curling 5lbs to a million reps (No, I'm not really sure why I was either).

I've pushed myself at times over the years, and others I've got stuck in my routine.  A few months ago, I was within 1 stage of finishing New Rules of Lifting for Women and dropped off.  Now, I'm back at it with Jamie Eason's Live Fit trainer, and dragging Gregers with me. 

After 5 years, two things clicked:

1.  I can't count.  No really, I can't.  At work, I have a running tally on my fingers when I'm getting clients to do multiple reps.  I figured I was double counting some reps, but I didn't know how bad until Greg started counting with me.  Whoops.

2.  What it feels like for a muscle to be completely exhausted by the end.  With someone watching over me who is learning from me, I've really been careful to watch my form while challenging myself on the weight.  I have pushed through for 1-3 more reps when I really didn't think I could.   And you know what?   I'm finally seeing results in my muscle tone.  YES.

Okay, enough rambling, are you ready for my breakfast this morning?

Gluten-Free Protein Pancakes

(Adapted from

These babies were the closest I've ever come to the real deal.
1 scoop protein powder
4 tbsp almond meal/flour
1/4 cup egg whites
1/2 mashed banana
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 tsp baking powder
Cinnamon to taste
Pinch of salt

1tsp coconut oil for frying

Mix all ingredients together.  Heat pan on medium-low (this is key to using almond meal!!) and melt coconut oil.  Cook until bubbles form, flip, et voila!  

I topped it with pb, bananas, coconut, and a little maple syrup (which these ones honestly didn't need).

So.  Good.

I leave you with one more photo from last night:

My baby girl is 1 today!  No longer a kitten!