Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pineapple Banana Muffins

These are moist and soft; more dense due to the coconut and oats. Partner loves these for an afternoon carbohydrate to get through the afternoon energy slump. He pairs his with a protein shake to get a mix of protein and carbs. I make these GF by using the alternative listed below the recipe- but save these as a treat.

Pineapple Banana Muffins

3 medium bananas mashed, (about 1 1/2c)
1/2c fresh pineapple, chopped (or canned, but drained)
1/3c vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten
1c whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3/4c turbinado sugar
2/3c flaked coconut
1/2c slow-cooking oats
4Tbsp ground flax seed

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 12-muffin tin. Combine wet ingredients. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Fold together wet and dry, spoon into tin and bake for 20 min. Gluten Free Alternative: To make this a GF batch, replace wheat flour with your fave GF flour mix, use GF oats and also, soak 4Tbsp ground flaxseed in 1/4c hot water for 15 minutes and add to the wet ingredients.
Modified from: Karen's Pineapple Banana Muffins, p. 100 The Salt Spring Experience: Recipes for the Body, Mind and Spirit.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fell off the Wagon

Supposed to be my rest day, but I failed at resting today. I knew I should have just stayed out of the gym, off the treadmill but I didn't. Dammit! 30 min cardio, 4.0 speed, 7.0 incline. I'm not looking forward to training the rest of the week now that I didn't give my muscles a rest. Tomorrow's 5k in the AM is going to HURT!
I did it because I thought that I had to work my lunch off- when in reality, it was just fine.
Goal: Rest on Saturday- total, utter rest.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Obesity at 700 calories a day

This article "Living with Obesity at 700 Calories a day" described what I'm going through right now. I am not obese, but the similarities lie in the body's reaction to getting good whole foods and moving out of starvation mode and the effects of it. Interesting point in the article: most obese people are actually consuming very little calories, but doing so in binges or one large meal a day. A colleague of mine at work lost 14lbs just by eating breakfast everyday- just goes to show how important it is to fuel your body in a timely, consistent way with whole foods. Even the smallest changes make a big difference.
Sticking to a maximum amount of cardio a day has been very very stressful. I'm always calculating, oh! I could do an extra 10 more min here or there. Also, eating all my prescribed food has been tough- but I'm doing it. My body was starving before, too much activity and not enough food; now that I'm resting and eating more it's inevitable to gain a few pounds- but this will drop once it's returned to a balanced state and doesn't think I'm in a famine.
I have been trying since Sunday to upload pics and recipe of my fave tropical muffins but to no avail. I'll keep trying.
I'm on track for my 1/2m training, this morning i did three hills, according to the training schedule mapped out for me by my clinic. In all, I ran 5k this morning. Yesterday it was a flat 4k run. I'm enjoying a new, warm but breathable running sweater I got from my sister these chilly mornings (I can see my breath at 445am).
I will try a new bi/tri workout later today, and do no extra cardio. Once I have completed this week on my new weight training program I designed I will share it with a review. I'm still tweaking it a bit; it's a 2 day repeated split (so train 4 days a week with weights). I'm not training my legs at all because they are getting it with the hills and running I'm doing. Let's see if it keeps them lean without too much muscle mass. So look for a new weight program later in the week, and hopefully some tantalizing muffin shots.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

My Birthday Story

As I sit here writing, the above picture is what I see. I can smell my flowers as well, and I'm thankful for such a mild, lovely morning. I just finished my brunch of an egg while omlette with sauteed mushrooms and roasted red peppers with a bowl of creamy rice cereal. Black coffee tied the brunch up nicely. I finished my 10k run just before brunch- and it felt great. I'm back into my healthy routine after an extravagant birthday.

It began with a good old fashioned sleep over with my truest friend, M. She went all out, drinks and appy's the night before my birthday, then stayed overnight with me and we had a wonderful brunch on the patio and mani/pedis and shopping during the day. So lucky to have you my darling!

These are the roses Partner gave to me on my birthday, with a few of the mini-bday cakes I made, and an empty glass of red wine. He took me to the River Cafe for supper that night; I had an Elk carpaccio to start, then the feature duck breast with confit salad rolls and we split the grilled apricot on toasted pound cake with creme fraiche for the sweet. My dinner cocktail was a lemon splash- a nice white wine with fresh made lemonade. Impecable- the entire experience. The Folk Music Festival was on the island, and we got the benefit of the incredible music as we sat on the patio, lazily enjoying dinner as the river flowed around us. Some of the musicians were having drinks behind us- very artsy. What an experience.
We then walked around the island. He had given me a fine, royal purple, 3 tiered designer jewellery box on Wednesday (he can't wait to give me the presents he gets me- inevitable we celebrate Christmas in November because we get so excited) and so I was shocked when he pulled out a little tissue wrapped box. It looked like something that could fit into my new jewellery box- and it was. Just at the spot where he knew my Dad proposed to my mother, and not far from where Partner proposed to me a year and a half-ago, he gave me another wedding band. A beautiful white gold band I can wear when I'm training, baking and cooking without having to worry about bending the diamond setting or getting my other rings scuffed up. I'm so grateful, and so overwhelmed.

GF Reece PBC layer cake

This was made of my daydreams. I scoured the internet and took the best of several recipes that I wanted to try. First I new I had to try Elana's GF chocolate cake recipe, then I had to try a peanut butter ganache, and finally, the Barefoot Contessa's PB icing. It all came together for my 26th cakes. The cake in the photo is about 4" high and 4" in diameter- perfect for sharing between me and husband. I used full recipes, so I made a couple of these layer cakes, and gave them away to my friends and some cupcakes too.

Here is the recipe in it's entirety:

Coconut Flour Chocolate Cake (GF) adapted from Elana's Pantry
¾ cup coconut flour, sifted
¼ cup cocoa (I used Mayan cocoa from Mexico)
1 teaspoon salt (I used Himilayan fine grind)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2oz best quality chocolate, melted
10 eggs
1 cup coconut oil
1 ½ cups agave nectar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (I used my Mexican vanilla)
  1. In a small bowl combine flour, cacao, salt and baking soda
  2. In a large bowl using an electric hand mixer, blend eggs, oil, agave nectar, vanilla and melted chocolate
  3. Add dry ingredients into large bowl and continue to blend
  4. Oil (2) 9 inch round cake pans and dust with coconut flour
  5. Pour batter into pans and bake at 325 degrees for 35-40 minutes
  6. Remove from oven, allow to cool completely then remove from pans
  7. Frost and serve
I used 6 4"x2" circular pans and made 8 cupcakes too. I covered the top of the cakes with tinfoil halfway through to prevent the tops from burning. I then wrapped the cakes in plastic wrap and froze for two days. My birthday was on Friday, I made these on Wednesday. They froze well. The cake itself is very moist and mid-weight (not heavy, but not airy- I like heavier cakes, but this was a nice compliment to the heavy ganache and lighter icing).

Peanut Butter Chocolate Ganache adapted from Sparkpeople recipes
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp salted butter
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1/3 - 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate
Combine cream, butter and peanut butter in a microwave safe container, heat for short periods at a time until melted. Stir in chocolate until smooth.
I made this on Thursday night and stored in the fridge until it was time to decorate. Remove from fridge at least 1 hour before frosting, to return ganache to a spreadable consistency at room temperature.

Peanut Butter Icing from the Barefoot Contessa (best icing I've ever had!)
Kathleen's Peanut Butter Icing:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

I made this on Thursday as well, and stored it overnight in the fridge, returning it to room temperature before spreading.

The cakes were different, one layered with chopped mini reeces and icing in the middle and icing around the sides topped with ganache. The others were layered with ganache and full mini reeces cups and topped with icing. The PB M&M's added some color.

Friday, July 25, 2008


Thank you everyone for your birthday wishes. Good friends like you make life so rich. Love, sincerely.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Heart and A Start

Training today:
4:45am- 5k run (approx 30 min- Garmin battery died again!) 6:36 pace
9:00am- Sets of 25/20/15/12 of
Superset 1
Tricep dips (tris), DB lateral raise (shoulders), DB curls (bis)
Superset 2
Overhead BBll extension (tris), BBll front raise (shoulders), BBll curls (bis)
10 min treadmill incline 7.0 speed 4.0
My arms are super sore after this. My chest really complained when I used it to stabilize during the tri dips and extensions from yesterday's Crossfit workout.
Nutrition- on track according to my meal plan, up to meal 3. 3 more to go!
Part of getting back to a more balanced health regimine is limiting my training and sticking to my meal plan. For each day that I do only my planned workouts I give myself a heart in the corner of my log book; and for each day I stick to my meal plan I give myself a star. It's nice to accumulate such little tokens but it means a lot to me. And while on the treadmill today, as tempted as I was to just go and go and go, I stepped off at 10 min.
Do whatever you gotta do...

My Big Pink Geraniums

Diet Coke Marinated Chicken Breasts

So I ran across a recipe forum that talked about marinating chicken in Diet Coke, but no one posted a recipe. I thought I'd try it out- there is no shortage of Diet Coke at our place. Diet soda really helped curb sweet cravings while I was dieting for the show; I've since cut back to maybe one a week, but we've got a lot left over.

Diet Coke Chicken Breasts

8 chicken breasts

2 cans diet coke

1Tbsp grated fresh ginger

1 Tbsp sesame oil

1/4c soy sauce

Dump all ingredients into a large freezer ziploc bag, or marinating container of your choice (I have a nice tupperware meat marinator). Stir or swish until well combined, add chicken. Refridgerate at least 8 hours. Remove chicken breasts from marinade and place on broiler or grill. If broiling in oven, cook at 350F for 25-30 min (depending on the size of your breasts :)) and if on the grill, about 6 min per side.

I make a bulk pack every Sunday, chop into slices as you can see and put in salads, on top of rice or in wraps over the week.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Today's Training

Another Crossfit workout, modified. See the original Workout of the Day here.
5 rounds for reps:

Bench Press: 65lbs for 62 reps
Pull Ups: Assisted for 88 reps
I modified the workout because I cannot yet bench my body weight, nor do unassisted pull-ups...but there is hope that with continued strength training I will. The beauty of crossfit is that today it's a strength exercise, tomorrow it could be speed, and the next, endurance. A nice balanced training regime for functional fitness- and it's fun!
This AM I ran my scheduled 3k for 1/2 marathon training and then after weights I hopped on the treadmill for 10min incline treadmill walking. Limited to 30 min cardio overall today and sticking to it. Must continue to heal from overtraining and exercise addiction. Feelin good!

Cooking with Coconut Oil

Lately, I have been cooking with coconut oil. The taste is mild, but one can definitely taste the coconut once foods have been cooked in it- which I think is great, but others may not. In the morning, I use 1-2Tbsp to cook my Egg White (EW) omlette in and it tastes fantastic. On Friday night I used it to fry up some beef strips for a coconut-ginger stirfry and it was also a nice, subtle flavour. I have totally switched from olive oil, to coconut oil; for vinagrettes, cooking and soon, for baking it will replace my vegetable oils and perhaps butter, depending on the recipe.
Organic Facts quotes the following heatlh benefits to using organic, virgin coconut oil in your diet:
  • Less calories than other oils
  • This natural fat does not accumulate in your heart or arteries
  • Increases metabolism
  • Controls blood sugar
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Improves digestive health

Go to your natural health store and get!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Lemon, Sundried Tomato,Basil Quinoa

A very nice summer salad cold, although Partner prefers his warmed. Lemon, basil and sundried tomatoes- how much fresher can you get?
Lemon, Sundried Tomato and Basil Quinoa

1 1/2c uncooked Quinoa
1 3/4c water
2Tbsp chicken stock
1 lemon
Fresh basil
5 sundried tomato halves (dried-not packed in oil!)
dash cayenne pepper

Reconstitute dried sundried tomatoes by soaking them in water overnight, or by placing them in water and microwaving them for 1 min. Drain and let cool. Chop.
In a saucepan, combine quinoa, water and stock. Bring to a boil over med-high heat, turn to medium heat and boil for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let sit until all the liquid is absorbed. Use approximately 5 fresh basil leaves and their stems, chop finely. Put in a bowl. Juice fresh lemon over the basil, then zest the lemon into the mixture as well. Add chopped, reconstituted sundried tomatoes, cayenne pepper and salt. Stir basil, lemon, tomatoe and spice mixture. When quinoa is cooled, toss with dressing mixture. Serve cold.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Symptoms Explained

After putting the body through prolonged stress and nutritional manipulation it will begin to break down. Lately I've been very tired, feel weak and mildly depressed even thought I am normally a very energetic, upbeat 'sunny-side' person. I valued being able to find delight in every situation, and lately I haven't been smiling or laughing as much. As most of you know, I'm also inexplicably gaining weight very fast although following a strict healthy diet and exercise regime. Confused? I was until my nutritionist mentioned Adrenal fatigue. I now understand the complex relationship between cortisol and epinephrine produced in the adrenal gland, and how chronic stress causes many of the symptoms I've experienced. Now, I can move forward in healing with proper natural supplements and support.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rest Day

It's driving me mad not working out at all today- stark raving lunatic mad. I feel gittery and expectant- like I'm waiting for something that will not happen. I have yet to completely accept the value in a rest day but I trust the advice I've received about taking days off and so will not work out.
I am tempted to decrease my calorie intake, to make up for the fact that I won't be burning as much today as I'm used to- but that is not healthy. I'm sticking to my meal plan, so my body knows what nutrients to expect day to day and won't go into panic-starving-fat storing mode.

So it's more of a mental challenge. I left my gym bag at home, complete with my ipod, Garmin, socks and gym clothes. If I had brought it, I would have said *&%^ and just gone to the gym, or headed out for a run. I also packed my meals for the day carefully and thoughtfully, making sure I packed ALL of the prescribed food, though I was tempted to leave a carb meal at home.

I'm skeptical of course and if I didn't know my nutritionist so well, I probably would have scoffed at the idea of working out less, and eating more to control my metabolism.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

12 Step Program- sort of...

"Have you ever tried taking 2 days a week off?" made my heart race and my eyebrows raise. He's got to be pulling my leg- "Like, two days of no training at all?" I choked out, hoping we'd laugh together and it wouldn't be true. He was serious, my nutritionist/trainer/friend is always serious about training and nutrition; I worked with him successfully for the fitness competition and now am working with him to return to my pre-competition weight. He's an expert and I put my recovery in his fully capable, nutrition-degree-holding, bodybuilding pro hands.

I've been working like a demon in the gym and dieting since the competition to restore my weight to what is was pre-competition but have steadily gained lbs. I'm convinced it's muscle, because my clothes fit just fine- but I don't want this much weight on my frame. So with J's kind, but determined guidance, I'm increasing my calorie intake, and decreasing my training and yes, taking days off to rest, in an effort to return my body to it's happy, relaxed and healthy state.

If you are out there, training and dieting, and not seeing the results you want go find a professional to talk to about it. You can read and read and get recommendations from friends, and even this blog, but nothing will be YOUR program until a professional designs it for you. A friend of mine was getting a healthy-eating program designed by J as well and I was intensely struck with how different it was from the one he had just designed for me. We have similar goals- lose lbs, but totally different programs.

So today, I ate more food, and restricted my cardio to 1hour. I didn't do a crossfit workout (Today's WOD was to run 5km- I already did that before breakfast for my 1/2m training). I did a brief, but great bi/tri workout and 1/2h incline treadmill walking. I know, it's still a lot but I'm taking it one step at a time...walk with me?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Inspiration for Clean Eating

Thank you to Laurel for posting 10 Inspirational Nutrition Quotes. These two struck me:

To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art. -La Rochefoucauld
Those who think they have no time for healthy eating, will sooner or later have to find time for illness. - Edward Stanley

Filthy Fifties

No, it's not a mid-life crisis term, it's the Workout of the Day from Calgary Crossfit. See it here.
My time was 24:43. After which I followed up with 30 min treadmill incline walking 7.0 incline, 4.0 speed.
Going to see my nutritionist, Jason at Balanced Energy Systems this evening for a consult. Looking forward to seeing someone so positive and motivational!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Basic Brown Rice Pilaf

Hiding vegetables in Partner's food has been a weekly challenge. The carrots, peppers and celery are not indistinguishable in this brown rice pilaf, but they are chopped finely enough, I wonder if his time is worth picking out the small, colorful bits of nutrients...well- it must be (or he must be rather bored at work) because his containers routinely come home entirely void of grilled chicken and brown rice, but conspicuously dotted with finely chopped vegetables.
This is a staple recipe for me, easy and healthy as can be. I take 1/2c for a 10am meal with chicken breast and Partner takes a 2 1-cup measures a day with either chicken or other lean meat. Make a bunch, portion it and freeze it for the week.
Basic Brown Rice Pilaf
1/2c carrots, chopped finely
1/2c red and yellow pepper, chopped finely
1/2c celery, chopped finely
3 cups dry brown rice
7 1/2 cups water
3Tbsp chicken stock
1Tbsp grated fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, mashed
1tsp cumin
S&P to taste

Preheat oven to 350F. Coat a large casserole with cooking spray, or rub with olive oil.
Saute carrots in a dash of olive oil until soft, add peppers and celery. Add ginger, garlic and cumin. Salt and Pepper. Saute until soft, but not mush. Remove from heat, transfer to casserole dish. Dissolve chicken stock in water and add to casserole. Add uncooked rice, stir, cover and put in oven for 1 hour until all the liquid is absorbed.

GF Banana Yogurt Muffins

My gluten free (GF) baking adventures had been failures, until I made these muffins. They are moist, aromatic and packed with goodness. Filling and hearty, these are great to pack in a backpack on a hike through our Rocky Mountains or on a trail run.
Adapted from: Recipes for the The Salt Spring Experience:Body, Soul and Spirit.

Banana Yogurt Muffins (Gluten free, egg free) Makes 1 dozen.
5Tbsp ground flax
5Tbsp hot water
1 1/2c brown rice flour (or GF mix of your choice)
1c GF oat bran*
1tsp baking soda
1/2c turbinado sugar
1/2c chopped walnuts
1/2c raisins
1 1/2Tbsp ground flaxseed (additional from above)
1c mashed banana (about 2 med. bananas)
3/4c yogurt
3/4c melted butter
Preheat oven to 400F.
Soak 5Tbsp ground flaxseed in 5Tbsp hot water for 15 min. Also, for plumper raisins, soak in warm water as well (TIP: I soak mine in warm water spiked with a touch of vanilla). Drain raisins before adding, do not drain flax (you won't be able to, it creates a mushy pulp)
Combine the dry ingredients, in a mixing bowl, including the dry flaxseed. Combine the wet ingredients in a separate bowl, including soaked flax. Fold wet and dry together and spoon into greased muffin tins. Bake at 400F for 20-25min.
*To make GF oat bran, pulse GF oats in a food processor till fine. For those who do not need GF materials, try using your fave fibre cereal instead (Fiber 1 would be fantastic!).

Friday, July 11, 2008

CrossFit Friday

Fun! Fun! Fun! Seriously, I skipped to the gym today with doing a Crossfit session in mind. I had to switch up my routine, I know I'm ready for a change when I start trolling the Internet looking at new training ideas. I modified this Workout of the Day (WOD) from Crossfit Calgary.
WOD: For time- 20 Dumbbell (DB) Deadlifts 15lbs & 10 Burpees
Time: 8:02min
I reduced the weight significantly and did higher reps for the deadlifts- I'm not looking to gain any more muscle. I was underchallenged though (HR only about 65% max) and so will try less modification of their workouts next time as they look difficult. I plan to incorporate Crossfit workouts into my routine at least 2 times a week. My body feels well-worked and my mind is clear and excited about a new challenge. After this I did 30 min incline treadmill walking. I started the day with a 4k steady run (6:36 pace).
Crossfit is functional, competitive training; you engage in training sessions that give you speed, agility, strength and endurance- depending on the day. Their workouts appear to be totally random, but are really well designed as a balanced weekly schedule. It surprises your body, and keeps your mind occupied. A complementary nutrition plan is suggested: the Paleolithic or Caveman Model.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


All I want to do is post one of the recipes I have stored to do, and until I get the time to edit the images, I can't get them up. I'll probably spam my blog myself this weekend posting all the recipes from last weekend.
Coming this weekend:
  • Gf Yogurt Banana Muffins
  • Brown Rice Pilaf
  • Sundried Tomato, Basil and Lemon Quinoa
  • Sundried Tomato and Basil Turkey Burgers

As you can probably tell, I got my hands on some fab fresh basil and sundried tomatoes at the market last Saturday, which inspired my meals this week.

Coming next week:

  • Marinated Chicken Breasts
  • Tofu mousse
  • Lemon-ricotta tart
  • Protein Muffins
  • Protein Cookies

And for logging purposes, sorry to bother you with my training I:
0800: Full body circuit
0830: 30min incline treadmill walk, ~70% max heart rate, 7.0 incline, 4.0 speed
1830: 3K steady run with running club (an evening run instead of morning run. had the hardest time staying in bed today. I was up and ready to go at 5am, but for the health of my body, I knew I couldn't do both an am run and pm run). I should have gotten up and done some Yoga. Maybe next week I will do that on Thurs morning.

0630: 6 egg whites (EW), 1/4c mushrooms (omlette), 1/8c creamy rice, 1Tbsp raisins, 1Tbsp flax (groung) 1Tbsp Chia, 1c black coffee
0930: 4 plain rice cakes, 3oz turkey burger, 1Tbsp hummus
1230: 3oz chicken breast, 1 1/4c carrot sticks, 4 cherry tomatoes
1530: 3oz chicken breast, 1 1/4c cucumbers, peppers, celery sticks (mixture of fresh veggies I cut on the weekend)
I'm not sure when I'll get my last meals in today, run club starts right at meal 5 schedule. But it's a priority to eat regularly, so I'll make it work somehow.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Just logging what I'm up to today for posterity:
5am: 4K tempo run (hills) ~85% max hr
9am: 30 min incline treadmill walk, 7.0 incline, 4.0 speed

Total: about 1hr cardio total today. No weights. My arms and chest are still sore from yesterday.

0700: 6 egg whites mixed w/ 1tsp horseradish (yes, it's great!), 1/8c creamy rice cereal
10:00: 3oz turkey burger, 1 plain rice cake, 1tsp hummus (open face GF turkey burger!), 1 banana
1300: 3oz cranberry chicken breast, 1.5c raw vegetables
1600: 3oz plain chicken breast, 1.5c raw vegetables
1830: 3oz tuna, 1.5c salad
2130: 1/2c yogurt, 1 scoop choc protein powder

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Temper Treatment

Get to the gym; no kidding. This morning I could have kicked Muhammed Ali's a#$ (or at least gotten in the ring, turned and run high tail)-I was so rearin' for a fight. I couldn't even see straight I was so angry.
But pumped out the best total body circuit I have in a long time, and forced out a half-hour incline treadmill walking. The sweat felt great, the music fine (on my new ipod from Husband). Sprints this morning before breakfast were a delight- really getting longer sprints in- I enjoy speed work. Not looking forward to a tempo hill training session tomorrow morning.
Good news! I contacted my nutritionist again- finally. And he's going to help me get rid of this post-competition weight; just to get me back to where my body is comfortable (ie. before the competition). There is no subsitute for the coaching and support of an expert- make the investment and contact a professional. For the health of your body and mind- put your care in someone's hands who knows exactly what they are doing.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Spring Rolls

A cool idea for lunch- no heat required. Great for a summer day when it's too hot to cook.

Spring Rolls
Rice paper (available at any grocery store, in the international foods section)
Shredded iceberg lettuce
Bean sprouts
Grated carrots
Small Shrimp
Peanuts, chopped
Rice vermicelli (noodles- available, probably beside the rice paper in the groc. store)

Depending on how many you want to make, the amount of the above ingredients will change. It's all in how you want to make them.

Dipping Sauce (for approx. 6-8 rolls)
2Tbsp tahini
1Tbsp peanut butter
1tsp rice wine vinegar
1tsp soy sauce
ground ginger, salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together. Serve with rolls.

Assembling the rolls: See here for a nice tutorial on rolling rice paper.
Fill a pie plate or large dinner plate with water. Put one rice paper in. Dry a surface of your counter-top or cutting board. Make sure all ingredients are ready before soaking rice paper. Rice paper should soften in approximately 1 min. Remove paper from water carefully, let excess water drip off, place on counter-top. Arrange vermicelli, shrimp, lettuce, carrots, sprouts on the rice paper, closer to one side than the middle which helps when rolling. Sprinkle peanuts on top of ingredients.
Begin rolling, folding top and bottom towards the ingredients and then rolling from the side closest to the ingredients, over. The edges should seal themselves (rice paper is great for that). Repeat until you have enough rolls to fill a hungry stomach.

Low-carb variation -not pictured-(I love these! My husband has the above recipe, and I use this one): Use Nori (sea-weed wrap) instead of rice paper and omit the rice vermicelli from your rolls. Use more lettuce in place of noodles.

Friday, July 4, 2008

10-minute Challenge

Sitting in a computer lab for staff training for the last 3 days has not been very conducive to bronzing my skin for the summer. The sun is out, the party atmosphere has begun for Stampede and I encourage you to enjoy it. Take your break outside today, even if it's just walking up and down the street in front of your workplace, or finding a grassy plot to sit upon. Soak up the sun, feel the warmth and breath. You'll feel like a new person- I know it. I'll go out at 1030am and 230pm- anyone else?

Day off from 1/2m (1/2 marathon shorthand from now on) training this morning. I did get up and consider doing a 'junk' run, just because it feels so good in the mornings to get out. But my body screamed at me to get some rest- my muscles are so sore and feet hurt. Since getting back from the indulgent weekend for my Sister's wedding reception (where I think I ate 2lbs of chocolate-chili cake- delicious!) and waterskiing, I've been hitting the training really hard. My tempo run is steady at 5:50 pace (although I have to slow myself down- thanks to my new Garmin GPS it's easy to keep pace). My fartlek training was fun- sprinting around my neighborhood towards random landmarks (ie. lightpost 100m away). Weights were great on Wed, another session today after classroom training. Yesterday I had to cut my elliptical short, only getting a sum of 55min of cardio in the entire day, but I suppose it's ok. Today I will do my weights then 30min incline treadmill walking.
Tomorrow I'm stuck in classroom training again, but that's ok because I'm closer to the gym at work than I am from it at home. I'll do my steady run in the am before class and then do 30min after class in the gym.

as a side note- grad studies are kicking my a#@. Quantitative research methods is a demanding class. The curriculum is easy enough, but the pace is quick and the assignment load is unbelievably heavy. So forgive me friends, if I don't join you outside on the patio as much as I'd like to in the next 5 weeks.

Love and Peace- VV

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Travelling Alberta

Looking for a rejuvenating get-away? Want to reconnect to the planet? See this video about Travelling Alberta.