Friday, 5 June 2015

It's the most wonderful time of the year - #nationaldonutday

I don't think it would be an understatement to say I look forward to National Donut Day with an anticipation that rivals that of Christmas.

I have been counting down the days for longer than I care to admit. Why? I can't even really say. It's not like I woke up and had a bunch of boxes of donuts to open that had been delivered overnight by Saint Berliner.

I guess it's just my general love of donuts and the excuse to be able to go bat shit crazy posting about them without being judged. Kind of like this:

mean girls halloween gif

So in honour of National Donut Day, here is a recipe:

This recipe came to be after Earth Day this year when I decided to be vegan for the day. The first thing I did was Google whether or not donuts were vegan, when I learned they were not, I set about putting together a recipe for one I would love. It was inspired by this one from Can You Stay for Dinner? and this one from Knead to Cook.

Gluten-Free Vegan Donuts (or, GFV Donuts)

- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup apple sauce
- 1/4 cup arrowroot flour
- 1/4 cup brown rice flour
- 1/4 cup oat flour
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1.25 tsp cinnamon 
- .5 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1.5 tsp baking powder

- 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 2 tbsp white table sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon

1) Preheat oven to 350 and grease your donut pan
2) Mix all the Donut ingredients together until just combined
3) Put the mixture into the donut pan, it should fill each tin generously
4) Put the pan into the oven for 22-25 minutes. The donuts should be firm but not dry
5) Put the donuts on a rack to cool and make the coating. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a container that would fit one donut and has a lid. Then, brush each donut with the melted oil, put the donut in the container, with the lid on, and shake it around to coat it entirely. Do this with each donut (obviously - unless you want some plain ones, but why would you?)
6) Enjoy! I like to store any uneaten ones in the freezer for best freshness results.

Calories: 193 / Fat: 3g / Carbs: 41g / Fibre: 2g / Sugar: 24g / Protein: 2g

Also, my co-worker turned me on to this. So obviously:

Happy National Donut Day!

Monday, 1 June 2015

Random June challenge

My blog has not been a place I've wanted to be for the last little while - it's not very pretty. I will hopefully be migrating to Squarespace in the near future, but that means having to organize my online life and I'm just not ready for that sort of time commitment. Until then, we have to work with what we have.

June is normally an extremely happy month. It's the official month of summer, Donut Day is upon us, and it's supposed to be warm. Hot even? But, as everyone knows since Canadians only talk about the weather, it is absolutely miserable outside and I can't help but feel gypped each and every day I get out of bed and look at the forecast. I used seat warmers in the car today - WTF!?

Bitching aside and completely unrelated to weather, I've been disappointed with my workout regime since returning from a trip to Italy almost two weeks ago. I knew I would be eating sweets and pizza and I knew I needed to put some measures into place so I wouldn't return noticeably heavier as I had done three years prior (greeted by my dad at the airport with: "It looks like you ate well.").

So, along with keeping an eye on calories (but not limiting myself from trying anything), I packed my skipping rope, resistance band, and a yoga mat so I could do a mini skip circuit as often as possible. And I surprised myself by doing it almost everyday. It only took 20 minutes and I always felt great afterwards (doing a skip circuit on a terrace in Sicily overlooking the ocean may have had something to do with it). I thoroughly came to enjoy that time as the sun set each day.

making do
But since I've been back, I've only done the circuit once. The reality of my life is that it is more busy and complicated than it is when on vacation. I'm more tired, I have less free time, less outdoor space available. But I find myself disappointed that I can't even put aside 20 minutes and get it done. 

So, for the month of June I am embarking on a mini challenge for myself: do at least 20 minutes of exercise every day. If I complete it, I will have to think of something fun to buy or eat for myself. Hopefully this will inspire a few others to join me, goodness knows I'll need the motivation.

And for your information, here is the circuit I would do:

0:00 - 1:00 - Skip
1:00 - 2:00 - Squats with or without weight (basically whenever I could find something heavy)
2:00 - 3:00 - Skip
3:00 - 4:00 - Chest push ups
4:00 - 5:00 - Skip
5:00 - 6:00 - Back - supermans (lie on your stomach and lift up your chest)
6:00 - 7:00 - Skip
7:00 - 8:00 - Tricep push ups
8:00 - 9:00 - Skip
9:00 - 10:00 - Biceps - stand on the resistance band, grab the ends, and do curls (grabbing the band lower than the ends will make this harder)
10:00 - 11:00 - Skip
11:00 - 12:00 - Lunges left side
12:00 - 13:00 - Skip
13:00 - 14:00 - Lunges right side
14:00 - 15:00 - Skip
15:00 - 16:00 - Shoulders - stand on the resistance band, grab the ends, and do rows (grabbing the band lower than the ends will make this harder)
16:00 - 17:00 - Skip
17:00 - 18:00 - Side plank - each side 30 seconds
18:00 - 19:00 - Skip
19:00 - 20:00 - Plank

I'm pretty sure you could Google any of these moves if you needed clarification. And of course feel free to ask. It's a sweet little workout and it costs next-to-nothing. I use the SIT timing app (free) which lets me play my music at the same time.

Happy sweating!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

"There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them." - Sylvia Plath

I've been fighting strep throat since Friday. Knowingly, anyway, probably. But likely since Wednesday. And I'm sorry to those I've accidentally put in peril with my proximity and hope you didn't immediately put your fingers in your mouth/eyes/ears/nose after coming into contact with me. I can only say that I was also a hapless victim of someone who should have stayed home when they were sick.

I can't complain too much, though. I've binge watched Friends and second-rate horror movies since Thursday night. Today, I finally had the energy to bathe myself. But I was feeling brave - why not actually take a bath?

About a month ago I came across this formula for a detox bath:

2 cups of Epsom salt, 1/2 cup baking soda and 10 drops of lavender oil

This is called the "UltraDetox Bath" as prescribed by a Dr. Hyman (not a joke). I read about him and his entire detox plan on Dr. Oz's website (whom I usually dislike). You can find the rest of those details here. (I attempted his detox and successfully completed one day, book-ending it with double Suzy Q doughnuts)

Despite the failed detox attempt, I did manage to spend all the money on the ingredients for the superfood breakfast smoothie, a new blender (which I actually just over-heated today), and the bath ingredients.

So I set the scene:
- Bath and Body Works Peach Bellini 3-wick candle lit
- a "calm / relaxing / quiet / winter / love" playlist on 8tracks called "cold love" that I am obsessed with
- a couple of magazines and a book set on the toilet, and my phone in another room

I drew the shower curtain, started the water (from the shower head - this is key and you will see why), and poured in my ingredients. As a personal preference, I sometimes put coconut oil in my hair and let it sit for 30 minutes before washing out, I thought this would be a good time to do that. 

Then I  got in. It was the nicest feeling I have ever experienced. It wasn't that "it's-so-hot-it-hurts-and-feels-good-at-the-same-time-feeling" (which I also love) that you can get from a hot tub or a bath faucet (that will quickly dissipate). It was like steam room that doesn't suffocate or blind you. It smelled lovely and was warm all over, not just where the water was running. And because the shower head doesn't fill the water as quickly as from the faucet, I didn't feel guilty about having it on as long as it was. It also felt fun. Like a grown-up relaxing in a private spa and a kid playing in the tub combined. I didn't even read, I just enjoyed the water and the music.

Not too sound too hippy-dippy, but I actually felt like I was giving myself a really great gift. That I can use many times, for under $20.

- essential oil: this is what will set you back the most, it's about $13 for a small bottle (I bought mine in the vegan section of the Real Canadian Superstore but the bottle will last a while
- epsom salts are not very expensive
- nor is baking soda.
- Bath and Body Works candle (optional): if you're smart, you will wait to get the  when they have 3 for $33. But any candle will do.

After about a half-hour or so I drained the tub and went about my regular showering procedure. I feel as rejuvenated as one can for being on antibiotics. And my skin has never been so soft. Someone seriously needs to come here and touch my face.

Monday, 5 January 2015

The official new year: a guide to the new you.

As many others, I determined that today, Monday, January 5, 2015 was the official start of the New Year. The first official day of reality, clothes, underwear, and leaving your home. No longer will we be subsisting off leftovers, booze, and delivery.

With this, everyone's resolutions rev up, going strong the first week or two until they slowly start to falter; the doughnuts look too good, you'd rather sleep-in than ice-pick your way to your car for an early gym session, you'd rather watch all the Seinfeld reruns than read. There is even a day dedicated to the demise of the resolution that I'm sure was selected based on careful data analysis: January 17 - ditch your New Year's resolution day.

I am not unlike every other person that would like to be thinner, stronger, smarter, and an overall better version of their 2014 self. On Sunday, January 4, 2015 (the eve of the real New Year), I sat with French toast and a bag of pretzels already in my belly and only three waking hours to speak for.

While lounging on the couch, still in pyjamas, I began speculating what this year's diet would be with my boyfriend. He told me about the 4 Hour Body. You can Google it if you want more information, but basically you eat protein, veggies, and legumes for 6 of 7 days, with one no-limits cheat day per week.

Excited, we planned our grocery list for the following day and, most importantly, all the yummy things we would eat for dinner that night.

*side note* shopping for diet foods with your significant other whilst discussing all the amazing things you're going to eat on your first cheat day is probably one of the cutest things you can ever do.

We enjoyed all-we-could-eat Chinese food (Vietnamese food? God I'm sorry for my ignorance) followed by two-bite brownies, ice cream, and Chicago mix popcorn. I went to bed painfully full and excited to start a new day, year, and diet.

When we awoke this morning we started the day off with our allowed foods like good New Year people. But as the day continued on, the anxieties started sneaking in.

So, no dates? No figs? No almond butter-up-to-my-elbow? I tried to console myself by thinking about my cheat day and how f*cking glorious it would be, but no such luck.

Then I started to think about what I wanted and what I was (and wasn't willing) to do for it.

1) I want to lose a healthy amount of weight.
2) I don't want to give up my favourite foods.
3) I want to eat mostly "clean" foods, but I don't want to feel like an asshole if I eat a SuzyQ doughnut.
4) I don't really want a massive no-holds-barred cheat day because then I'll feel like shit.
5) I don't want to feel like I have to go to the gym if I don't want to.

Basically I want to eat everything and still look good.

But, if there's one thing I'm good at (other than list-making), it's pulling and organizing information. As a proprietor of fad diets, I've tried a lot. I've liked some and hated others, but I think I learned enough from each to make myself a plan I can stick to.

1) protein is important.
2) carbs and fats are also important.
3) calories do matter, some people are just better at using their internal counters than others.

But with all three, where they come from is a huge determining factor of your health. I, personally, feel better when I'm eating whole foods, when my proteins are from animals, my carbs from veggies and fruits, and my fats from nuts, avocados, and the good oils. Unfortunately, I am not one of those internal calorie counting people and I can eat almond-butter and dates until I throw up. Actually, I probably wouldn't even throw up.

So, taking this all into account, I've already given up on the original New Year's diet (sorry boyfriend) and have devised one specifically for me:

1) Keep an eye on your calories, on paper (apps make me anxious).
2) Eat whole foods 80% of the time - but don't just eat almond butter.
3) The other 20% - don't feel like an asshole if you eat SuzyQ doughnut. Just don't inevitably binge eat because the day is "ruined".
4) Alcohol calories do count. #sorry.
5) Eat out less.
6) One day a week, don't think about calories at all (not a free-for-all, just no tracking)
7) I don't HAVE to go to the gym, I'm busy, I serve part-time, and play soccer twice a week.
8) Don't stress - whatever you're doing today is better than yesterday. And when in doubt, eat a square of dark chocolate.

So, after that plethora of information, all I really want you to take away is that some diets work for lots of people, maybe even you, but they might make you miserable. There's at least five (and probably more) months until we can consistently walk around in public in our shortest shorts so find something that will work long term even if whittles away at your waist rather more slowly than another diet would.

That and use the stepper.


Monday, 10 November 2014

15 struggles as a result of a couch-potato life and all the extra computer/phone/social media time.

For the past week I have been home sick resulting in a continuous cycle of sleeping, sweating, watching Seinfeld, and my phone being in my hands. 

I additionally spent a good deal of time trying to figure out how George Costanza got dates. Like ever?

Also, isn't it interesting that most of the Seinfeld episodes would not have been able to come to fruition had they had cell phones?

I started thinking about all the things that phones and smarter computers have done to make our lives easier, but then, through my own experiences this week (and stories from others), I started compiling a list of daily struggles as a result of these conveniences. 

1) Actually having to say "I just laughed out loud" because "lol" is used to fill the space when you have nothing better to say.

2) Everyone now feels entitled to a free licence to complain about everything. When did everyone get so sensitive? Get off the Internet and FIND SOMETHING BETTER TO DO.

3) Dropping your phone on your face as you fall asleep whilst Pinning in bed.

4) Having to explain how you got a black eye from Pinning in bed.

5) Have embarrassing auto-correct moments. When did "Nicolina" become "no colons"?

6) When you've become so reliant on auto-correct that you expect all your typing programs to do the same. Get with it, Word Perfect.

7) Thinking you can use the "ctrl+F" command when you're reading a book. You can't.

8) The ruining of casual dating. Just f*cking ruined. "I sent that FOUR HOURS AGO. Why hasn't he responded?!"

9) Or worse... "I can see that he's read it - WHY HASN'T HE RESPONDED?!"

10) Feeling that absolute moment of panic when you're at less than 10% battery. Must. Preserve. Energy.

11) Phones all of a sudden getting bigger again? Is that a book or your phone? 

Remember when progress meant making things smaller?

12) Unlimited information at our fingertips. Is this making us dumber? "Let's Google it."

13) Drunk texting, calling, facebooking, etc. Don't drink and text!!

14) Always being expected to be reached. And then having to explain yourself if you don't answer the phone. Maybe I was at yoga? OK I JUST DIDN'T WANT TO TALK YOU.

15) Phone screening.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

These muffins though. Happy pumpkin month!

There's this girl, +CCK Katie, she has a blog. It's a food blog. A few years ago I came across her baked oatmeals which are unreal. I've made a few of them, the chocolate peanut butter one is an all-time favourite.

But, in the interest in keeping them as accessible as possible and involving pumpkin for this gloried time of year, here is my version of her pumpkin boatmeal (baked oatmeal = boatmeal):

The recipe originally makes two larger servings, I prefer to double the recipe and make 6 smaller ones.

- 1 cup oats
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp tsp nutmeg
- 3 packets of stevia sweetener (or 3 tbsp maple syrup)
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (or applesauce or banana - but that's defeating the purpose)
- 1/2 cup liquid of choice (regular milk, dairy-free options, water, juice - I've even used egg whites) *if using a liquid sweetener, scale this amount back by 1 tbsp*
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 cup of chocolate chips/raisins/nuts 

Preheat the oven to 380. Grease or line your muffin tin (with cute pink silicone muffin liners if you have a nice friend who got them for you for Christmas one year).

Put everything into a bowl and stir well. Fill the tins evenly, pop in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Lastly, set your oven to broil for 3 minutes to give them a final firming up. 

They are dense, filling, easy, and cheap to make. Can be kept in a tupperware out for a day but then should be put in the fridge. The freeze very well too.

Nutritional info (for using stevia as sweetener, unsweetened coconut milk as the liquid, and chocolate chip add-ins):
calories: 119
fat: 5.3g
carbs: 16.7
protein: 3.5

Proof that they freeze well - the one on the left is just out of the freezer so I could take a stupid photo since my other photos are on my external hard-drive which is in need of recovery software FML. Anyways, it still looks good even after being in the freezer.


Enjoy - there is more pumpkiness to come. 

Monday, 22 September 2014

12 things servers HATE.

I love serving. I love food. I love a fast pace. Most of the time, myself and my fellow servers really actually are happy doing what we do. But sometimes you do things that just make us so mad.

1. When you seat yourselves. If there is no sign that says "Seat yourself", assume you should wait for someone. If you seat yourself we can easily miss you and you won't be served. Then you'll be hungry and upset. Also, it's rude.

2. Not making a reso. I don't get this, why wouldn't you? And then why would you be upset if there's a wait? This is not our fault. It takes a minute to call and most places have online reservations. And you probably have a phone that could do both of those things.

3. Telling us you're ready to order but you're really not. And then making us stand there like knobs while you have a conversation with the menu/your dining partner/yourself about whether you want a side Greek salad or side Caesar. During busy times, seconds really are precious and I promise you my skin is crawling while I stand there.

4. When you don't read the menu properly and then complain about something. I'm sorry that you are a vegetarian but why didn't you read the menu description that tells you this item has chicken!?

5. When you treat us like we're not there. I don't need to have a full on conversation with you, but if you don't even have the common courtesy to smile as I refill your water and instead halt your conversation and look deadpan ahead until I'm gone - again, rude.

6. When you think you should be treated like the only one there. Can you not see that I am running around like a chicken with no head!?

7. When you think we are all the same server. Apparently you cannot tell that I am not my blonde counterpart and you think it's entirely appropriate to stop me as I am carrying three dishes to my table so you can tell me you'd like to order another beer.

8. When I come to your table with the pepper grinder and hold it, poised and ready for action, while you and your dinner partner hum and haw - neither one wanting to make a decision for fear of upsetting the other. See number 3 again - making me look like an idiot and time-wasting.

9. Snapping at us. Just don't.

10. Motioning for the bill by making that hand gesture that you are writing something. Especially when I am RIGHT NEXT TO YOU. Use your words.

11. Couples with the bill. Do you know how awkward you guys make things for us sometimes? When we ask you if it's one bill or two? And the girl looks at the guy and waits about 3 seconds for him to say something before she says, a few octaves to high, that separate is fine? It's horrible. Do us all a favour and when your last dishes are cleared and you know you don't want anything else, just tell us you want it and how you want it.

12. Don't steal my pen. Ever.