A Labour Day in the Kitchen

After an exciting three nights in Whistler competing in the Meet Your Maker 50 relay, I got home EARLY this morning and emerged from my kitchen many hours later!

What came out of my experimentation…

  • Steel-Cut Oat Muffins — adapted from Busy But Healthy (adapted from sugarfreemom.com)
  • Raw Cinnamon Buns — from Health Damy
  • Potato Salad

Steel-Cut Oat Muffins

My typical breakfast has been home-made granola and plain greek yogurt for the past…MANY years. So in a quest to switch it up a little, I found this beauty, which I altered slightly in an attempt to make a half batch and not use applesauce (mine had been sitting in  my cupboards for longer than I care to remember).

1 1/4 C Steel Cut Oats
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 Tbsp Ground Flax
1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
Pinch Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1 Mashed Banana
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 C Milk (I used Rice Milk)
1/2 C Water
1 Egg White

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 Minutes
Combine dry ingredients, combine wet ingredients; mix together
Fill muffin cups — I put Strawberry Jam in the middles; to do this, fill 1/3 muffin cup, add dollop of jam, add more batter

Raw Cinnamon Buns

My wheat-weakness is Cinnamon Buns so this recipe has been on my “to-try” list for a while now and I finally got around to it…and…although good, they won’t be replacing the real deal any time soon! But they ARE good. 

I followed this recipe pretty closely so I’m not going to write it out; however, the change I’d suggest is to cut down on the sugar!! I don’t think I’ll use any Agave next time as the dates are sweat enough.




Potato Salad

I always forget how much I LOVE red potatoes! Potatoes aren’t a staple in my diet, but I definitely have a soft spot for them and summer, although it’s nearing an end, just screams red potatoes!

3 Hard Boiled Eggs
6 Cooked Red Potatoes
1 Small Red Onion
3 Green Onions
1/2 Bunch Kale

Place chopped Eggs and Red Onion into a bowl
Mix in HOT cubed Potatoes — adding them hot soften the Red Onion just enough and really helps the flavours
Add Green Onion and chopped Kale

An Evening at Home

I’ve been running around, a lot, recently and tonight, instead of going to a yoga class (as I had hoped to), I made the decision to spend some time at home; making some food I keep meaning to make — zucchini pasta with home made pesto followed up with a blueberry-strawberry crisp 🙂 I feel like I made a good decision!

1 Large Garlic Clove
3 Tbsp Shaved Parmesan
1 Bunch Basil — I used one of the packages from Safeway
3 Tbsp Toasted Walnuts —I wanted to use the traditional Pine Nuts, but my local Safeway didn’t have any and I didn’t want to go to another store
5 Tbsp Olive Oil

Place Garlic, Parmesan, Basil, Toasted Walnuts into food processor and let it run
Scrap down the edges
Drizzle Olive Oil into the bowl while the food processor is running
**Adapted from the Cuisinart Food Processor Guide

Zucchini Pasta
Peel skin
Using a peeler, peel one area until you get close to the seeds, then work your way onto the next side
Place “pasta” into lightly oiled frying pan and soften
Add 1 Tbsp of Pesto and warm —stir a few times
**I wouldn’t suggest this as a full meal, but definitely an amazing side dish for some white fish or something

Blueberry-Strawberry Crumble
1 C Frozen Blueberries
1/2 C Frozen Sliced Strawberries
1/2 tsp Cornstarch
1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/3 C Earth Balance —or Butter, or whatever you use
1/3 C Brown Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 1/2 C Oats —I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free

Pour Berries into a baking dish —I use a 4×4 CorningWare one for these proportions
Sprinkle and stir in Cornstarch
Sprinkle with Pumpkin Pie Spice
Melt Earth Balance and Brown Sugar
Stir in Cinnamon and Oats
Pour Oat mixture over Berries
Cover with tinfoil and bake for approximately 15 minutes at 350
Remove tinfoil and bake until golden —approximately 10 more minutes

The Great Peach Experiment!

After a somewhat successful Pumpkin Experiment, I decided I wanted to try peaches! And this is what came out of it…

Aren’t those cups cute!?

They collapsed a little bit because I tried to add some streusel topping – I need to work on my gluten-free streusel!

The (approximate, as always) basic recipe is:

1/2 C Ground Flax
2 Peaches – blended
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp Honey (*my peaches weren’t fully ripe so I felt a little extra sweet was required, but I’m sure this can be omitted without hesitation)
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1 Egg
1 tsp Coconut Oil
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder

Whisk all ingredients and scoop into muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes – until tops are golden.
You can try with the streusel – I combined sugar, Earth Balance, almond flour and cinnamon.
As with the Pumpkin Loaf, you can sub the egg to make these dairy-free as well as grain- and nut-free!
These came out eggier than the Pumpkin Loaf so I’m thinking less peach and/or more flax and/or some oat/almond flour next time.

Random Ginger Pumpkin “Loaf”…

I’m not really sure what to call this because, during all of my many moves, I have ended up without my mini loaf tins AND my muffin tins 😦 Both are on my “to buy” list!

I think this batter will definitely lend itself well to being a loaf and/or muffins and turns out extremely moist.

I finally did it! I made something gluten-, grain- AND nut-free! It could also be dairy-free by using egg replacer and vegan protein powder.

The following is a rather bland recipe and I will need to tweak it a bit, but it currently ticks off all the boxes that I needed it to! *Note: measurements are approximate.

1/3 – 1/2 C Ground Flax
1 1/2 Tbsp Grated Candied Ginger
1/2 C Canned Pumpkin
1 Tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 Egg
Pinch Salt
1/8 C Coconut Oil
1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda

(*I should have added 1 tsp Vanilla, but didn’t; I think I will also add Raisins next time)

Mix all ingredients (I used the whisk attachment of my hand blender). Pour into tin of choice and bake for approximately 20 mins at 350 degrees, until a knife/toothpick comes out clean and top is golden.

Vent Sesh

I’m going to apologize in advance for this post as it might not be the most positive, but I feel it needs to be said and this is my way of saying it.

I was out and about in beautiful, sunny Vancouver today and I was drinking in to-go cups (I try not to do this regularly) and eating out of to-go containers and didn’t have anywhere to put any of them! Vancouver’s current government is striving to be the Greenest City by 2020 and they’ve made some changes to help us achieve that goal, but I feel that some VERY basic changes are WAY overdue for a city of Vancouver’s size.

1. Compost!! Most to-go containers in this city are now compostable, which is awesome and I applaud the private companies for making the switch; unfortunately, there aren’t any composts to compost these compostable containers in! Riddle me that one people in charge of these things. Apparently people in detached houses have city composting; however, most of the population in this city doesn’t live in detached houses!

2. Recycling in public places. Recently a private recycling company rolled out 60 recycling bins around Vancouver, specifically at parks and beaches, woohoo, it’s about time! So tonight, after enjoying the meal created by playing my favourite game, Salad Bar Roulette, I went to use one of these new bins, only to find out that they’re for bottles and cans only! Seriously!? What is so hard about placing a compost/paper/plastic bin every other bus stop? I know it will be expensive, but so is disposing of unnecessary garbage!

I’ve also heard that there is such a thing as a recycling sorter!? Apparently this means everything goes into one bin and the sorter does all the work! One bin on the streets and one expensive sorter, or multiple bins on the street with the current method. Either way, I’d love a place to put my recyclables when I’m not close to home! And my compost when I am!

Hulk Shots!

As part of my morning routine, I always have a cup of hot lemon water with honey and I make a smoothie.

My typical smoothie is:
1/2 Frozen Banana
Frozen Fruit (right now I’m enjoying frozen strawberries)
1 Scoop Whey Gourmet Naturelle Vanilla Bean Protein Powder
1 Scoop Amazing Grass Green SuperFood
Original Unsweetened Rice Milk – to cover the above ingredients

I blend this all up with my hand blender and enjoy and it’s wonderful!

As amazing and clean as the above is, I thought I’d try to bump it up a bit! And voila the Hulk Shot was born!

My first attempt includes:
Whole Foods Unpasteurized Carrot, Apple, Celery juice
Bunch of Kale
1 Avocado
1 Kiwi
Splash of Lemon Juice

It all went into my blender and I put it on the “crush ice” setting. They don’t look good, but I think (hope) when mixed with my 1/2 Banana, Protein Powder and Rice Milk!

Fear is a funny thing…

2012 has been a goal-crushing year so far: I got laser eye surgery, ran my first 10 km race, maintained a strong (almost) daily yoga practice, paid off my Visa, completed my first half marathon and jumped out of an airplane! Here’s the thing, I’m STILL terrified of losing control; this fear severely limits my ability to crush my goals of feeling comfortable in forearm balance and handstand, not to mention falling in love.

I recently ran into an old yoga friend of mine from Kelowna and we got talking about yoga and my recent goal-crushing and I had an ah-ha moment during our conversation. I realized that I’m happy to be in control or completely hand over control to someone I trust, but I can’t LOSE it. Here’s the difference: when I went skydiving, the person I jumped with had already earned my trust and had already proven his ability to maintain control so I was perfectly comfortable handing him full control of the situation; however, when I go to invert, there isn’t someone there to take over control; it’s me, and only me.  Here’s the sad part of this realization: I don’t trust myself enough.

My distaste for losing control is partly positive; it means that I don’t have the desire to try drugs and won’t allow myself to get drunk. On the other hand, I think it might have something to do with my fear of commitment and falling in love. Oh, and it is obviously hindering my yoga ASANA practice; however, not my YOGA practice as working through this IS my yoga practice.

I had hoped that jumping out of an airplane would help me break through my fear of losing control, but because I was able to fully hand control over that didn’t happen; so now it’s up to me to build up my CONFIDENCE IN MYSELF instead of being scared or putting my trust completely in someone else.

Bucket List Goals!

Well, it’s a stormy summer night in Vancouver, and I’m not watching Batman like I was supposed to (see earlier post), so instead, I’m post-happy!

Last weekend I did something I NEVER thought I’d do! I went skydiving! O-M-G!

I think I mentioned in an earlier post not to judge yourself and what you think your life will be like and this was one of THOSE experiences! So here’s the story, maybe you can learn from my “mistakes” (read: be careful of the commitments you make, but allow others to help you push your boundaries).

Once upon a time, I was crushing on this guy who loved to skydive. After 11 meetings, he asked me out and we started dating. During our first few dates we talked about his love of skydiving and my fears of jumping out of perfectly good airplanes; he shared that his goal was to become a Tandem Master and, being a “girl in like,” I told him that when he achieved his goal, I would celebrate with him by jumping out of a perfectly good airplane strapped to him. Well, this summer, three years after I made this commitment, he achieved his monumental goal, and, even though we are no longer together, he strapped me to him and we jumped out of a perfectly good airplane together…and it was AMAZING! I think sharing that moment with him was just as amazing as jumping out of the plane 🙂

There are only a few people in this life that are able to give us the support to push our limits; allow them to do that!

Best “cookies” EVER!

Thank you to a random post on my facebook news feed between two friends, I was introduced to this most amazing “cookie” recipe from Kumquat; she calls them breakfast cookies, but I find myself eating these any time, any place!

My interpretation is as follows:

1 1/2 C Oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free)
1 C Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
1 Tbsp Ground Flax
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 C Pecans (this last time I used Pecans & Walnuts)
1/2 C Dried Blueberries (I usually use a combination of Blueberries, Cranberries, Raisins & Chocolate Chips)
3 Ripe Mashed Bananas (I use my hand blender to get them really mushy)
1/4 C Liquid Coconut Oil
1 Tbsp Agave (I have some Agave that I need to use up, but once it’s gone, I’ll probably change this to Maple Syrup or Honey – here’s some information on Agave)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash/blend bananas, mix in coconut oil, vanilla and agave. Combine with all other ingredients. Press 2 tablespoons of mixture into a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, until golden, rotating approximately half-way through. I store mine at room temperature in an air-tight container for about a week — if they last that long!

Disappointment – How do you deal with it?

Apparently I don’t deal with it very well…apparently I become a bit of a b*tch about it — not some of my proudest moments. The worst part is that my knee-jerk reaction (focus on the jerk) is to take it out on the person closest to me; tonight that was a good friend.

Really, I’m only posting this in an attempt to make myself more accountable in an attempt to avoid lashing out in the future; and, I have a feeling, I’m not the only one out there who needs to work on this…

Pumpkin Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Sometimes life gets crazy and as much as I’ve wanted to post, I’ve also wanted to get some sleep at night! Novel idea, I know!

I went to bed last night with the best of intentions to go on my second LSD (long slow distance) run since signing up for my first half marathon (which, btw, is on August 11, but let’s not talk about that right now…dun dun dun), BUT baking won out when I woke up this morning!

I’ve been meaning to play around with making gluten-free cookies that don’t focus on nuts (just ’cause) for a while now and I finally got around to it this morning! And they aren’t bad! I feel that they might be better as muffins, but that will take a little more playtime (read, a few more months)…

But for now, here are the basics:

1 C Oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free)
1/2 C Almond Meal
1/4 C Honey
1/2 C Canned Pumpkin
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (or some random combination of yummy spices)
1 tsp Coconut Oil
1 Egg
1 scoop Protein Powder (I love Whey Gourmet Naturelle Vanilla)
1/2 C Raisins

Combine all ingredients – I excluded the raisins from the whisking; then stirred them in.

Bake on parchment paper (or greased cookie sheet) at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes – I rotated the sheet three times so they’re golden all the way around.

So for this first batch, I totally forgot to put in some baking soda and, after making them, I think the baking soda will turn them into great muffins!


What do you want your kids to experience?

Recently The Globe and Mail published the article Bucket list for kids: 50 things to do before they’re 12. We all know our lives are too sedentary and kids, especially, aren’t as active as we were when we were growing up. I know I took my childhood for granted! Saturdays were spent riding bikes, “playing” tennis, swinging on swings, climbing trees, jumping on my net in the woods, finding deer bones on the ridge, building boats out of bark, combing the beaches…today, kids…um…watch tv?

I’m not a parent yet, but reading this list, and a recent visit to my childhood home, has definitely reinforced how important it is for parents to ensure their children get to experience at least some of these activities!

I also feel that you’re never too old to play, and, whether you have children to do these activities with or not, try to cross off a few more activities from your list!

Happy Playing!

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

I feel like my last couple of posts were quite deep and serious, so it’s time for another recipe!

This is from a few weeks back, but with a picture that looks this good, you know it needs to be shared! For the most part, staying wheat/gluten-free hasn’t affected my life; however, I MISS PIZZA!! There are many pre-made gluten-free crusts out there, but I have two issues with them: 1) they don’t taste very good, and 2) they’re typically made from white rice flour, tapioca starch and other things that have zero nutritional value and spike your blood sugar through the roof! Sooo, when I learned about Cauliflower Crust, I had to give it a shot! And I’m SO HAPPY I did because, frankly, it changed my life!

There are many recipes out there for this amazing crust, but I’ve stuck to the following one from the word go — it’s easy and has passed all picky eater tests.

Hanna is about six! My friend’s fiance also exchanged his pita crust version for ours the first time we made it.

So, without further ado (thank you to Eat. Drink. Smile.)…

1 C riced, cooked Cauliflower
1 C shredded Mozzarella
1 beaten Egg
1 tsp dried Oregano
1/2 tsp crushed Garlic
1/2 tsp Garlic Salt
Pizza sauce and toppings of choice

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. Rice the cauliflower — place chunks in a food processor and pulse until the cauliflower looks like grain
3. Place riced cauliflower in a microwaveable bowl and cook for 8 minutes (no need to add water)
4. Mix the beaten egg, oregano, garlic and garlic salt together
5. Add the cheese and egg mixture to the cooked cauliflower
6. Dump the mixture onto a sprayed/greased cookie sheet and spread out VERY thinly, leaving the edges a little thicker; don’t worry, it will all come together as you push it around
7. Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, until golden
8. Remove from oven and top — some tips here: make sure toppings that require cooking are pre-cooked, avoid toppings that add moisture, make sure toppings are light and spread thinly
9. Broil until cheese starts to bubble
10. Remove and enjoy!!

I haven’t tried this, but I’ve been told that goats cheese will melt appropriately for the crust so can be used instead of full fat (yes, you need the full fat kind as this is what holds the cauliflower together) cows milk mozzarella.

Surprise goals

2012 has become my year of “yes”…well, at least as far as pushing my boundaries and what I thought I could do. Maybe I’m not doing “one thing a day that scares [me]”, but definitely more things this year than any year before, or even all those years combined!

My good friend and I recently had a discussion about the next five years of our lives and one of the things that came out of that discussion was that we had two years to really dig deep and check off a whole shwack of items from our bucket lists. I actually didn’t really have a bucket list, so 2012 has become the year of not only developing a bucket list (of things I didn’t know I wanted to do), but also crossing them off! Run a 10k? Sure! Done! Join a relay team to run a 50 mile trail race through Whistler and Blackcomb? Why not!? Train for my first triathlon? Ok! Jump out of an airplane? Ok…that one’s taking a little more effort to persuade me to do, but I know it will happen. And today, Fun. is playing the after party for lululemon’s SeaWheeze…Well, ok, I guess I could run a half marathon (in 56 days); why not!?

My point is, surprise goals CAN be fun! And they ARE like getting hit with an inspiration bomb! And you really don’t know what you can do until you kick that little voice that keeps telling you “that’s not who you are” and “you can’t do that” OUT OF YOUR THOUGHT PROCESSES!

When do you practice yoga?

I’ll get back to that, but first, I need a white board in my shower! One that would work in a shower. I find that all my best thoughts come to me mid-shower and I end up rushing to get out, grasping those thoughts!

Ok, back to the original thought process… A new yoga studio opened in my area recently (I’m sure I’ll write more on that in the near future) and I was super excited to try out this teacher my friends have told me about. Everything was going according to plan and the class was starting off pretty good, then the woman one person over stopped and the teacher came over…the class ended up being cancelled due to a medical emergency (she seemed to be ok, but needed medical attention to make sure everything would continue to be ok). This raised the question: when do you practice yoga?

This question has come up for me quite a lot recently. A little background; I’ve been doing yoga for close to 10 years now; however, I’ve been practicing yoga for about three years. I say I was doing yoga during those first seven years because I was, what my friend liked to call, a ‘clock-watcher’; I would show up, do the poses and constantly think about all the things I did that day or needed to do that night, or the next day, or the coming weekend…and then I would tell myself off for not focusing. About three years ago (could be four), Rockstar Yoga Teacher Laura said something in class that has stuck with me; she said, something along the lines of: watch your thoughts like you’re watching leaves floating down a river; don’t try to reach in and grab the thought, just watch it pass by. It’s ok to have thoughts, but just see them float along. That changed me. Now, I practice yoga and I find myself practicing yoga everywhere, during every situation. It’s ok to think things as they happen, but I don’t hold onto the thoughts or situations, I just let them float on by.

It’s very easy to get caught up in a situation and how it makes you feel, and how you feel about how it makes you feel, but really, it’s just a temporary moment and a temporary feeling.

When things don’t go according to plan, or a coworker annoys you, or you make a mistake, or, or, or…try watching that moment/thought/situation float on down that river (it might be a slow river and that’s ok) and allow yourself the freedom to not grab at it and hold on and squeeze it and look at it from all different angles and agonize over it…just let it float… Oh, and if you do grab it, just unclench your fist and let it float off (watching the judgement thought that’s sure to follow float on down that river behind the original one…because I know it’s there).

That’s when I practice yoga everywhere, in every situation; it’s not just about the perfect asana practice – they both come with time 🙂

Grain-Free Protein Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Are you ready for the sharing to begin!? I’m IN LOVE with these cookies and have adapted the recipe from Detoxinista.

1C Nut Butter (I use a random combination of smooth peanut butter, almond butter and cashew butter)
1/3C Honey (I love honey so am totally ok using the full amount, but I’m sure you can mix and match with Agave and/or Stevia)
1 Egg (you can also use a Flax Egg, but I haven’t experimented with that yet)
1/2tsp Salt (if your nut butters are unsalted)
1/2tsp Baking Soda
1/2C shredded Coconut (optional and no modifications are necessary with omitting)
1 scoop Protein Powder (I used Natural Vanilla by Whey Gourmet and added about a tablespoon of  Original Coconut Milk to avoid the cookies becoming too dry)
1/2C Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350. Combine everything but the chocolate chips – I throw it all into a bowl and use the whisk attachment of my hand blender to combine. Fold in the chocolate chips. Scoop onto a greased or parchment covered cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 mins (until golden), rotating half-way through. Leave on the cookie sheet to cool as they come out of the oven very soft!I tested them on my friend’s fiance and they passed with flying colours!

Welcome to SimplyLifeFoodFitness!

Thank you for stopping by! I intend for this to be a blog about simply living life; enjoying good, healthy food; and achieving fitness goals 🙂

Life: I work a full-time office job and am a group fitness instructor before and after work. I’ll share my goals as we go along 😉 I am an aunt to four amazing kidlets and am extremely close with my family!

Food: Diet matters (not to be confused with “diets”); I believe in a life of balance and that includes allowing yourself to have “off” days without punishment! Each morning is a new opportunity. I have been (mostly) gluten/wheat-free for over three years, but am just starting to learn how to bake again 🙂 I try to stick to organic, whole foods, but we all have our moments of desperation… The food/recipes I post on here will showcase the 90% good, but I’m not a superhuman and know there is 10% not so good that happens too!

Fitness: Oh fitness…I actually got my only D, ever, in PE in Junior High! Now, I couldn’t imagine a life without daily activity; this has taught me not to judge myself, and what I can achieve, by looking at who I was. I am a BCRPA certified group fitness instructor with 100 hours of Maya Yoga teacher training; and will be completing an additional 200 hours of vinyasa yoga teacher training with Tiffany Cruikshank in January 2013. Currently I teach at least three spin classes per week, attend a minimum of six yoga classes, and try to go for a run/hike at least once or twice a week. I recently completed my first 10k race (the 2012 Vancouver Sun Run); am part of a team to complete the Meet Your Maker relay race in Whistler in September; and plan to complete my first triathlon in 2013.

I look forward to sharing my adventures with you and learning about your adventures through Life Food Fitness!

~A 🙂

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