Bright coloured nikes laced up with strings…

27 Mar

These are a few of my favourite things…

1. Winners – see photo – enough said…. winners

Favourite thing # 2. Friends that you never see, but yet over coffee, hikes, lunches, and Thai food, you feel like you haven’t been without them for even a day! You know who you are… and if you don’t HINT HINT – I saw you over spring break ❤

Favourite thing # 3. A tank that speaks for itself…

fave things 1

Did I mention that it arrived with a cute little pouch of m+m’s that are my favourite “colours” (shades of grey, white and black), and also say “Elle Est Forte”….

 

Favourite thing # 4 ~  hidden vegetables…

When I was “larger” I would literally consume the thick legit Belgian waffles at every opportunity. Complete with fruit (which made them healthy?) and copious amounts of whipped cream…. when I couldn’t have the real deal, I would get the Safeway Select buttermilk Belgian waffles and pop them in the toaster. Now that I am allergic to gluten and eggs, breakfast just isn’t the same…

Luckily I stumbled across an AMAZING Protein Waffle recipe… tried it, LOVED it, and the cool thing is… the main ingredient is BEANS… So long story short… you are “eating eggos” without the flour, eggs, sugar, butter, etc. and getting in your legumes, which are a great source of protein!

The recipe yields between 10-12 waffles (depending on the size of your iron) so it is even more fabulous, because I can freeze them and grab a bag while running out the door, to pop into the toaster at work! I top mine with yogurt, berries, and copious amounts of cinnamon (because I am obsessed)….

Protein Waffles

Soak about 1/2 cup soybeans (or pinto beans/garbanzo beans) in about 4 cups of water for approx 8 hours.  This should make about 1 cup soaked beans. fave things 2

1 c. soaked soya beans
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
2 cups water (use liquid egg whites if you are lucky enough to be able to eat eggs…. sigh – I miss eggs.)
1 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
1/4 tsp salt
Your fave spices/extracts: I used cinnamon & vanilla

Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth (pancake batter consistency).  Pour into pre-heated hot waffle iron sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake for approx 10-13 minutes until golden brown.  If they seem heavy, bake a little longer.  Can enjoy fresh or frozen. Top with yogurt, fresh fruit, cooked berries, low sugar jam, syrup, chocolate/coconut powerplant spread, PB, chocolate chips= the possibilities are endless!!

Nutrition (per waffle – if you made 11 with egg whites ):  Cals: 98  Fat: 2.4g  Carbs: 10g  Fibre: 2g  Sugars: 0.4g  Protein: 9.5g

You can find the original recipe at my all time favourite recipe site Busy But Healthy by clicking here.

Short and sweet… that is all I have time for… which will lead me into a future post about being “busy”….

~carrie

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“Sweets” = Sanity

13 Mar

So… to put it in words as quickly as possible – my life has been a too busywhirlwind… I don’t know what has happened to February and meanwhile March has sailed right on by! Multitasking has become my mode of survival – calls are always made in the car (via bluetooth of course), and (sadly) all of my actions serve a purpose! I don’t have a minute to “waste.”  I didn’t realize how busy I actually was until I saw Miles’ family for the first time in months. When I uttered the words “sorry I haven’t seen any of you – life has been crazy,” Miles replied with “don’t feel bad because I live with her, and am home all the time, and I never see her!” Oooooops…

Luckily the people in my life have taken excellent care of me, this includes picking up Costco staples, making delicious meals that double as lunch for the next day (and are ready when I finally fly through the door), and making me happy and full of laughter through texts, love, and at work each day.

Even my fitness instructors are bringing me treats… which leads me to my post today (which I only am making time for since people have requested these AMAZING recipes from me! On Valentine’s Day, one of my favourite people Miss Jackie Simmons (pal since highschool/fitness instructor/teacher extraordinaire) brought me chocolate! Two fun facts regarding this chocolate…. 1. It happened to be 6:45 am when I consumed it and 2. It is healthy stuff! She got the AMAZING recipe from another fitness instructor extraordinaire Rachell Doell and the recipe can be found on her (amazing) blog http://dailyroutinefitness.com/.

Homemade – so “healthy” you can eat it before 7 am – chocolate!

What you’ll need to round up:

  • 3/4 cup organic coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup cocoa/cacao powder
  • 3/4 cup liquid sweetener (I used honey – agave, molasses etc. would also work)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt (can omit if you’ll be salting the finished chocolate).
  • Optional: Coarse salt (I used pink Himalayan because that’s all I had, but you can also omit (which I’ve also done) or use Fleur de sel like the original recipe.

Now Make it:

  1. Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan, then add in the rest of the ingredients (except the salt). Whisk together thoroughly.
  2. To make the bars, line a baking dish with parchment paper, and pour in the chocolate. (Note: Do this fast after mixing or the honey tends to gravitate).  
  3. Pop in the freezer (or fridge if you have patience) until hardened. Add the salt when they are almost hardened if you choose to use it!
  4. Then, either cut into bars or break into chunks. Thats it!

If you want reasons as to why chocolate is good for you, or want to see the original recipe, check out Rachel’s blog.

 

Now, you should really invest in a pass at Oranj, because a few weeks later, Miss Ayla Graham treated our Sunday spin class with the most amazing “raw energy bites” ever….

Raw Trail Mix Cookies (Original recipe can be found at: http://madetocreateblog.blogspot.ca/2012/08/raw-trail-mix-cookies.html) trail mix 1

NOTE: I didn’t use the above recipe… I wanted to make them JUST like Ayla did, so you can find what she and I substituted in brackets below.

Ingredients: 
1 cup raw cashews (*subbed pecans)
1 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup organic, shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
1/3 cup dried figs (or dates, pitted and chopped) (*subbed apricots)
2 tablespoons organic raw agave nectar
2 tablespoons water (*used probably double this)
1/3 cup dried organic cranberries (*subbed dried cherries, and only used about half of this amount)

1/3 cup chocolate chips (again I only used about half of this – they are pretty sweet with the cocoa powder)
1/3 cup raw pepitas (*I used hemp seeds) – also I had to ask what pepitas were – they are pumpkin seeds lol.

1. In a food processor, combine the cashews, almonds, and coconut. 

2.  Add in the raw cacao powder, and pulse to combine, then add the dates and agave nectar and pulse again for a few seconds. Then add in the 2 tablespoons of water (I had to add more as it wasn’t sticky enough). Pulse until the mixture is one big sticky ball.

3. In a mixing bowl, combine the dried cranberries, pepitas, and chocolate chips. Transfer the sticky chocolate nut mixture from the food processor to the mixing bowl, and with your hands (this part will get your hands super messy), knead it into the mix-ins until they are fully incorporated. Now, with your messy hands, roll balls of the trail-mix cookie mixture in your hands and flatten them into disks (mine were round “balls” – see below for picture). Place them on a large plate, lick all the delicious chocolate goodness off of your hands, and freeze the cookies on the plate for about 10 minutes. Then transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. Serve cold, and enjoy your healthy and delicious no-bake treat!trail mix

Today I crumbled one of these suckers on vanilla yogurt… unbelievable! Then I had another one… note: they don’t get less unbelievable the more you eat, so here’s hoping you have more self-discipline than this girl when she is on her last week of work until spring break!

Thank you family, friends, and fitness instructors for keeping me sane the last few months! Hopefully you will see me out in public soon (meaning I am healthy again and perhaps less busy – but probably not)! Enjoy these treats and the spring sunshine!

~c

Doughnuts for Breakfast

16 Feb

When I was a kid, I would BEG for toaster strudel for breakfast… and if I didn’t use the entire icing packet… I would just eat it. Appetizing right?

Well I am telling you today that you can stick to your healthy lifestyle and have DOUGHNUTS for breakfast (a half dozen if you’d like).  Let’s rewind to last week… if you talk to ANY teacher they will tell you that February is arguably the craziest month of the year! The staff room table was filled with baking, cakes, and doughnuts to carry us through our parent teacher conferences, and thankfully it was ridden with gluten so I couldn’t touch it. Unfortunately, this led to a MAJOR craving of icing (random right) that I couldn’t ditch. Combine this with my procrastination from master’s assignments endless instagram scrolling… and I hit the jackpot… PROTEIN DOUGHNUTS!

3 Ingredient Protein Doughnuts
1. In a blender, combine 1/2 cup almond milk (I used almond breeze unsweetened), 1/2 cup raw oats (I used Only Oats GF oats), and 1 scoop protein powder (I used about time Cinnamon Swirl the first time I made them, and vanilla whey the second)
2. Pour into sprayed doughnut mold (I got mine at Target) and bake at 350F for 8 mins  protein donut

THAT’S IT…
Now here’s the amazing part – you can literally custom make these bad boys to your liking (by adding berries, dark chocolate, cinnamon, chocolate powder and almond milk, chia seeds, etc).
AAAANNDDD… your topping options are endless… (honey or agave nectar and cinnamon, shredded coconut, your favourite jam, melted frozen berries, peanut butter, greek yogurt, melted coconut oil combined with cocoa powder (to make a dark chocolate drizzle) or my personal favourite….

Protein powder frosting
combine: 1 TBSP protein powder (I used vanilla) , 1 Tsp honey
and enough almond milk to make a paste (I also added even more cinnamon – I have an obsession).

The possibilities are endless with this simple recipe! If you are really feeling festive (or want your kids to eat them) add sprinkles, chocolate chips or cinnamon! My recipe yielded about 5 doughnuts… so I ate 4 of them for breakfast, and was nice enough to gift one to a coworker (it is the month of love after all)…

~carrie

 

The Month of LOVE

8 Feb

February is the month of love. It is also a month where people tend to complain about ABSOLUTELY everything… the weather, their lack of motivation, their workloads, the fact that there is nothing to do… etc etc. If this is you right now, I urge you find this book… twitter It honestly takes about six minutes to read and you are guaranteed to laugh and find at least one “First World Problem” that you are lucky to have…

Now that I have you in the right state of mind (hopefully in a non-complaining, passionate-appreciation for life filled attitude)… think about what you could do this month to truly LOVE. At my school the Me to We Team is asking each family to give something up for the month of February, and donate the money they would have spent on that item to the children’s unit at KGH. Last year, I gave up my Tuesday lunch dates with my faves Miss Dhami and Miss Dawson and donated the $40 (hey its better than nothing), to the cause.  

monthofloveOn the day that I handed out my month of love hearts to my class, and poured out my passion and appreciation for this initiative, I was sent a link via Facebook that broke my heart. A friend of mine, who I was also fortunate to work with (and be buddy classes with) has been diagnosed with leukemia, and has been sent to the coast for treatments. I am sending ALL of my love, blessings, and prayers to him and his gorgeous family at this time, and my month of LOVE donation will be put towards his cause.

So I urge you this month to NOT buy roses, frivolous chocolates, and $7 dollar cards, and invest time into those you love.  Tell them you adore them, that they are an essential part of your life, and invest any “extra” funds (if they exist) into causes that truly benefit. Honestly, what is a month (the shortest month at that) of home-brewed lattes and DIY pedicures. Who could benefit from the $10 you find in last years ski jacket? Choose a charity that is meaningful to you and know that your heart will grow from the love that you have given away!

Speaking of love… I love food… and have been wanting to bake something sweet for months now… but have had ZERO time. So I have been eating fiber-packed protein bars! Sounds awful right? But honestly Quest Bars are AMAZING. My favourites are white chocolate raspberry, chocolate chip cookie dough, lemon cream pie, and cinnamon roll. I just keep them in my filing cabinet at work, and nuke them into “cookies” most of the time, but here is an AMAZING recipe that you can treat your “fit and healthy” loved ones this Valentine’s Day.

Quest “Cinzeo Rolls” cinnabon

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cinnamon Roll Quest Nutrition Bar
  • 1 Tbsp. Vanilla Greek yogurt (I only had plain so I added a couple drops of Vanilla stevia)
  • Cinnamon (NOT optional in my opinion – I am obsessed)
What to do:
  1. Preheat oven to 350, and grease a cookie sheet.
  2. Use a rolling pin to roll the Quest bar to about 1/8th of an inch thick.
  3. Bake at 350 for 2 minutes (This isn’t a mistake! The time is very short because the bar is so thin – THANK GOODNESS I don’t have a lot of time on my hands!)
  4. Let cool for 1-2 minutes, then cut the bar lengthwise into 4 even strips (a pizza cutter works great for this).
  5. Spread the tablespoon of Greek yogurt over the four strips. Sprinkle with cinnamon
  6. Roll each strip into a “mini” cinnamon roll, and shake the heck out of your cinnamon shaker some more (if you are like me).
Here is the direct link to the original recipe. Though I didn’t sub/change it much. While you devour these bad boys, think about the things in your life that bring LOVE to your days. Each day my intention is to show appreciation for all the individuals and things in my life that make me so extremely blessed and grateful. Here’s to health, happiness, and helping others… HAPPY MONTH OF LOVE everyone!
 
~carrie

How to make it stick this year….

25 Jan

So I LOVE Christmas, and everything associated with the holidays…. but personally I could do without January. The gym is packed with resolution makers, and there is not a lot to look forward to in the ways of family time, weather, and fun. It is back to work, back to routines, and summer is seemingly SO FAR AWAY. Personally, I have NEVER made a new year’s resolution, but lately, a lot of my friends have been asking me how I was successful in dropping my weight. First of all, I want everyone to know that I failed several times. I tried cleanses, diets, and all sorts of stupid supplements. 2 years ago this February started my weight loss process (February is nothing special either but it was when my gym happened to implement a 90 day challenge). I am happy to report that I have hit my goal weight (pre holiday indulgences that is), and am now working towards maintaining it, and increasing my level of fitness.  I can’t possibly put all the information I have learned into a single blog post, and am definitely NO EXPERT. What I have done is successfully found a system that works for me, and it will take time for you to develop the same.

1. Change your mind. Emotions and behaviors affect your weight TREMENDOUSLY. I was NEVER in the right mindset to lose weight and get healthy, so honestly if you aren’t in it to win it, why bother. You can never be successful until you believe that you are strong enough to succeed. I never realized the importance of mindset until now. I continued to doubt myself and have “negative self-image moments” until I was basically already at my goal. Another  reason why I feel that I was never successful in the past is that I went at it alone. Now, I am not saying you need to work out with a friend or make your spouse follow your new eating plan (Miles definitely DOES NOT), but  it’s important to build a support system and communicate with them about what your goals and struggles are.  

2. EAT WELL. Make small changes to the way you eat. For me this meant starting by educating myself about calories. Now, many of my favourite bloggers and fitness experts are entirely against calorie counting, but for me this is what worked.  Ask yourself – How many calories is your body burning daily? How many calories are in the foods you are eating? How many do you burn when you exercise? You can measure this is many ways, I met with a nutritionist and calculated things like my BMI, resting metabolic rate, and came up with a starter plan that worked for me. I would suggest when meeting with someone to make sure they know what you like/dislike in the ways of foods and your lifestyle. There is NO use paying for a plan that has eggs daily for breakfast when you hate eggs (or have an allergy as I do). An eating plan should feel natural, and not like a diet that you are required to follow. There are also some AMAZING blogs online that have seriously unbelievable recipes that don’t make it feel like you are eating healthy at all. See the side bar on my blog for some examples! I also love blogs because when it’s 3 o clock and you are wanting to stop at Wendy’s on your way home from work instead of the grocery store, Heidi Powell or Jillian Michaels will email me a quick and easy recipe that can be whipped up in 20 minutes!  BAM!  

3. WORK OUT! When balancing your calories in/calories out formula, you need to add exersize (especaially if you eat the amount of food I do). Exercise is the best way to get those “calories out” and burn fat. Learn what you love… and what the “best practices” are. You do NOT need to work out long if you are effective with your form of exersize. I work out for a maximum of an hour, and am SPENT after the hour.

4. START SMALL and BE PATIENT. Huge goals are great, but seemingly impossible when you are starting out. Attainable goals will make you feel confident and successful.  

 Image

I hope some of these things will help you in your journey, and this will be the year that you become your best. I am thankful to be in the best shape of my life, and look forward to continuing my health and fitness journey!

Lastly, here is a recipe (altered ever so slightly to make it GF) from one of my FAVOURITE bloggers. We usually double the recipe to feed the Strukoff clan at my mother’s house. Harold and I eat a lot!

Kale and Brocolli Peanut Sauce Stir Fry (with Prawns)Image

Ingredients
  • 4 cups chopped Kale (or just buy the bag of baby kale at costco – pre chopped and washed – BAM).
  • 2 cups packaged broccoli slaw
  • 2 tablespoon sunflower seeds (you could sub peanuts/almonds/nut of choice)
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • Prawns (I buy the peeled tail off ones from costco – easy!)
  • Sauce:
  • 3 tablespoons creamy natural peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons rcoconut aminos or Braggs (use soy sauce if you aren’t GF/enjoy salt)  
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (or a few dashes of garlic powder)
  • ½ teaspoon crushed chili flakes
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger or 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • ½ packet powder stevia (or cane sugar/sugar of choice)
  • 2-4 tablespoons water
 Instructions
  1. Whisk together sauce ingredients until smooth (add more water to get a thinner sauce consistency)
  2. Heat a non stick pan or wok at medium heat. Cook Prawns so that they are slightly undercooked.
  3. Add kale and broccoli slaw. Cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes, or until vegetables are crisp-tender, the kale has wilted, prawns are fully cooked and they are coated in the sauce.
  4. Serve over hot cooked brown rice (or quinoa) and sprinkle with the sunflower seeds.
  5. Make extra for me please. It is my favourite meal (and I honestly do not like brocoli).  

Here is the link to the original…. http://www.nutritionistinthekitch.com/2013/02/22/easy-kale-broccoli-slaw-rice-bowl-with-a-spicy-thai-peanut-sauce-and-fave-five-friday-kale-recipes/ 

Enjoy!

~ carrie

Tis the Season for new Kitchen Appliances!

30 Dec

Fa la la la la la la la la!

I am one lucky gal! I recieved all sorts of fun new things this Christmas! My loved ones know me well…. lululemon, new sparkly jewels, warm winter wear, kim snyder’s cookbook, and many more things to keep me happy all year long!

Though I recieved (and consumed) SEVERAL treats this year, my favourite gifts this year are things to make delicious and healthy guilt free “treats” at home.

1. THE DESSERT BULLET – Never knew I ever wanted this but THANK YOU MILES! The inner fat girl ice cream lover in me rejoices. I am planning on trying this amazing piece of machinery tonight after some Bai Thong deliciousness.  The User guide says you just pump through frozen fruit and (optional) milk of choice and voila! I will keep you posted on the true “voila” factor later!

2. Spirolli – Thank you to my brother’s girlfriend Dani for recommending this amazing device! I knew it would be a winner when she said that my brother Derek (a hockey playing, pasta loving, carb consuming male) polished off a mounding plate of zucchini noodles! Being gluten free, one of the main things I miss is pasta!  I don’t eat pasta a lot, but it’s funny how even when you don’t eat something often, if you know you can’t have it anymore, you instantly miss it. Plus always being cold in the winter makes me CRAVE warm “hearty” meals.   

Thankfully, I stumbled across an amazing blog at http://www.inspiralized.com  and have a new tool to make “noodles” out of veggies. *Note you can purchase one yourself for $30 including shipping at amazon.ca ** Yum yum…. Literally you make noodles of your choice (squash, zucchini, yam, etc.) in the device, and throw on your favourite pasta sauce… first up for me will be zucchini noodles in a lean ground turkey “meat” sauce… the texture of zucchini noodles is actually SO similar to that of pasta, and if you use a yellow zucchini, it looks almost identical (if you are trying to fool the spouse/kids).   

For more AMAZING ideas head to http://www.buzzfeed.com/getinspiralized/25-healthy-meals-you-can-make-with-a-spiralizer-e0hh?sub=2545587_1540748  

And check out this picture for inspiration – curly fries… okay I have to go before my drool ruins my keyboard…

~carrie   

Eliminate HANGER by eating FAT!

29 Dec

MERRY (very belated) CHRISTMAS! Hope you all had a blessed holiday filled with the things and people you love most! be merry

 

I apoligize for NEVER blogging.  The later half of November and December have been crazy. Report cards, unexpected life events, and completing my first masters semester left me with literally no time to sit. Because I was always moving and on the run, I started to also eat this way. I was still prepping snacks/meals and eating clean, but I was eating half my lunch in the staff room, a quarter during a meeting, and finishing it at my (very cluttered) desk in the afternoon.

Though I was continuing to eat “normally” I was finding myself increasingly HUNGRY. Hungry turns to HANGER (anger+hunger) quite quickly for me if I do not have food, so I started to consume a lot more food within my days. I tend to listen to my body, so I felt that my body must be missing something, and that this extra food would help it stay healthy and maintain my energy levels. Instead, I got MORE HUNGRY. Even Miles was starting to notice my continuous ability to down food, even minutes after consuming dinner!

After a couple weeks of this, I decided to make a visit to a nutritionist to see what was up. I was clearly missing something my body needed in order to be this hungry all the time, and I was starting to eat meals that were smaller in order to “save food for later.” What she told me was that I was eating TOO often which was actually messing with my body’s metabolism (my words).  Studies have shown that many people don’t feel satiated following a small meal, which can then cause them to overeat later, to make up for it. My new plan: Eating every 3 hours. Try it: Your body will use your energy stores and burn more fat!

I was also missing healthy fats from my diet. 18% of your diet should come from healthy fats (think fish, nuts, seeds and healthy oils). fatThey are also critical for hormonal balance and in supporting your Adrenals (which for me were a bit overworked).  I really have to work at this one to make sure I include fat each time I eat… here are some ways I have made this work:

  • adding chia or flax to my breakfast (smoothie, oatmeal, etc
  • putting nuts on my salads (healthy trail mixes are also great but I tend to overdose on trail mix when I have it in the house)
  • switching up my normal proteins for some “fatty fish” like tuna, salmon, or halibut – YUM.
  • using coconut or EVO oils when cooking veggies/meat/stirfries (or making dressings using these oils)
  • My nutritionist also made some other suggestions that I have yet to try: coconut oil in your coffee, avocado (wish I enjoyed them), and hemp seeds.

Here is one of my favourite post-workout breakfasts….

POWER OATMEAL with Blueberries

  • 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed, hemp or chia seeds (I use flax mostly)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (&/or ginger powder), plus more for sprinkling (I don’t actually measure this – just sprinkle the heck out of my cinnamon spice shaker – slight cinnamon addict on your hands)
  •  3/4-1 cup water (use 3/4c for thick and 1c plus for thin oatmeal)
  • 1/2 scoop no-sugar vanilla protein powder (I use
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Make it:

  1. Combine oats, flax and cinnamon. Add water and mix well. Don’t add the protein powder or it will become overcooked and clump grossly! Microwave for one minute.
  2. Remove bowl from microwave and stir in protein powder. Return to microwave and set timer for 2 minutes, stirring every 20-30 seconds until your desired consistency is reached. Watch carefully because the protein powder will puff and you don’t want a mess! HOT TIP: I watch mine through the microwave window – I have had small disasters making this at work, where you cannot see the bowl through the window!!
  3. Add blueberries and stir – I like warm blueberries so I return the bowl to the microwave for another 15-20 seconds. Sprinkle with a little more cinnamon if desired (you can never have TOO much cinnamon)!

 Nutrition information per serving (depending on your brand of oats/protein): Calories 286 | Carbs 37.6 g | Protein 21.1 g | Fat 5 g | Sodium 35 mg | Sugar 8.4 g

Hopefully you are getting in some (healthy) fats this holiday season, and if they are the wrong type… don’t sweat it – sweat it out!

~carrie

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