Friday, February 27, 2009

Power Yoga in the Morning

Good morning bloggies!

I woke up this morning and finally decided to try a bit of my Rodney Yee - Power Yoga DVD. Since I have to head to work I only had time to do 30 minutes but wow!

I used to be one of those people that thought yoga was a lot of stretching. Over-hyped up stretching. I have long since changed my mind! Honestly I defy anyone to try a workout like this and not sweat. I'm pretty sure I'll feel it in my legs come tomorrow.

For now I have to take a shower, make today's Green Monster, and head to work. I'll finish the rest of the workout in the evening and then I'll be ready to review it! For now I'd say it's a great workout but probably not the best if you are just starting with yoga. I'm a relative new-comer to the practice but I'm managing. So far. lol We'll see what the next 40 some-odd minutes bring.

Have a happy day bloggies! It's Friday!!! :o)

PS: I took that picture, flat on my stomach on the grass. It's taken from a view point in Victoria, British Columbia looking across the Juan de Fuca Strait (essentially part of the Pacific) at the Olympic Mountains in Washington State. It sure was beautiful there!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Unleashing the Beast: The Debut of my Green Monster

Today was a VERY good eating day. I had a completely delicious dinner and had my first ever Green Monster (inspired by Oh She Glows and Strawberry Shortstuff).

Let's start with breakfast . . .

I went to work armed with fruit and a protein shake. I was about to start noshing on my breakie when one of my co-workers said "You should eat one of the treats we have in the office!" Knowing that treats likely meant something high-sugar/high-fat I politely declined. I asked who baked the scones (those were the treats) and I was informed that they had been bought at a local store. Assuming I would not insult anyone I declined again. Oh boy was that a mistake. It turned out they had been brought in by the lady who is retiring tomorrow. And I could tell I had insulted her by declining the treats. So I cut half and partook in the goodies.

In the end my breakie ended up being a banana, water, and half of a very large cranberry scone.

I was so busy I didn't have time to be hungry. At lunch I headed home and busted open my shiny new red Oster. I was excited to finally make my very first Green Monster. But before I move on to that let's take a moment to admire my blender . . .

Purdy isn't it? To be honest it's not nearly as heavy as my previous one and so I was worried it wouldn't be up to the task. Boy was I wrong! I gathered my ingredients and came up with a small fat free strawberry yogurt (about 1/3 of a cup), a heaping handful of spinach, a small handful of kale, one cup of Almond Breeze, about 1/4 of a cup of lightly thawed frozen berries, and one banana. At the last minute I also added a sprinkling of flax seeds.

In went everything to my blender!

And out came my very first Green Monster in all it's glory! :o)

And the results? Pretty awesome! Based on other bloggies experiences I thought this combo would come out tasting like strawberry-banana yogurt. I was wrong! It kind of tasted really really fresh. Kind of like cucumbers. I don't really know how else to describe it. It was SUPER refreshing! Even the boy liked it! :o) I think we have a winner here boys and girls! I'll be having one of these everyday.

Because this was my very first Green Monster experience I had some pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, and almonds as "dessert." This was mostly because I feared I would be hungry having only drank my lunch.

I was SUPER impressed in the afternoon when I discovered two other fantastic benefits to Green Monsters! First I didn't feel bloated and over-full at all. Usually, after I lunch I feel weighed down even when I try to eat light. There was no such heaviness associated with the Green Monster. I honestly just felt energetic.

The second benefit was the one that just blew me away! Usually, I hit a wall at about 3pm in the afternoon. I get somewhat irritable and low in energy. That's when I know it's time to fuel my body again. This afternoon I was in my office and thought to myself "Oh, I wonder when it will be 3pm. I guess I'll have to find something to snack on." When lo and behold it was 3:45pm!!!!!!!!!!! I was stunned! I was totally full of energy and never hit my wall. Amazing I tell you!

And then there was tonight's dinner - another hit. This past weekend I found some beautiful ahi tuna at Costco in the States. It only cost me about $10 (USD) but I knew I could get many rolls out of it. So tonight was spicy tuna roll in the Toronto Girl out West household. We paired it with some Yogi green tea and miso soup. Although I have to admit I was full from the tea and the sushi so I didn't have my miso.

Yummm spicy tuna roll - my favourite:

My $10 of ahi tuna went really far! Both the boy and I had a good serving of sushi and there was still enough left over for me to make some extra rolls for the boy to have for lunch tomorrow. As for me I'll be heading to a local buffet restaurant for a retirement dinner. And I'll be bringing my camera with me!

Nighty night . . . .

Lunch Yuminess Update

I was looking through this morning's post and noticed I somehow completely managed to forget to post the picture of yesterday's lunch! :oO

Don't know why because I thought it looked particularly inviting. Above is my spinach, mushroom, oven roasted turkey, and tomato stir-fry (without the sauce) and a side of oatmeal bread toast with a small piece of goat's milk feta.

Now I have to run back to the office (I came home for lunch - it's one of the really good things about living in a small city). I'll be back later with tales of my first Green Monster. As a heads up I was VERY impressed! Now let's see if it holds the hunger at bay!

Inspired by Dane from The Biggest Loser - Becoming a Runner

Last night I was feeling kind of ill in my belly so I didn't post about my eats. No worries though I'll cover all of that this morning!

But let's start with a moment that TOTALLY caused me to choke up last night. Most of you probably know that I love watching The Biggest Loser. I find it inspirational. I love seeing people change their lives! Mind you I haven't enjoyed this season quite as much - that was until last night.

On yesterday's episode a player named Dane was voted out. In a short time at the ranch he managed to lose 100lbs!!! At the end of the show he was sent home. Likely because he was the biggest threat. Although I was sad to see him go I was thrilled to see what he accomplished when he got home.

Once Dane was home he ran a marathon in under four hours with his beautiful wife. Seeing them cross the finish line together totally made me choke-up! (If you're reading this in google reader head on over to the blog and watch the video - I'll wait :o) )

Not only did this cause me to get emotional but it reinforced something - I want to run a half marathon!!! Yesterday, I posted that the thought of running a marathon of any kind sort of terrifies me. But that doesn't matter. I want to prove to myself that I can do it! And I will do it!

So stay tuned for future posts as I attempt to turn myself into a half-marathoner!!

And now on to yesterday's eats . . .

On the whole I have to admit that my stomach felt largely upset yesterday. I wasn't feeling the whole eating thing. I hope I'm not catching something. Anywho, yesterday's breakfast consisted of a small bowl of Kashi cereal and bananas eaten at work.

Lunch was actually kind of yummy. I came home and made a quick little stir fry (no sauce added) of spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, and oven-roasted turkey slices. I paired that with a slice of toast. And imagine my surprise when I read Angela's blog (Oh she Glows) and I saw she had a very similar lunch. Great minds! :oP

By dinner I was feeling really yucky. I kind of picked at my dinner which consisted of sauteed ground beef, tofu, mushrooms, and broccoli.

During the day I snacked on grapes at work and a Skinny Cow ice-cream cup after dinner. The latter because I managed to convince myself that something sweet would make my stomach happy! HA!! :oP

And here comes the medicinal Skinny Cow! Ahahha . . .

That's it for yesterday. Today I'm feeling slightly better but I may baby my tummy and stay away from things like difficult to digest protein. For breakfast I think I'll make my first ever Green Monster!!! I'll show you how that went later!

Hope you have a good day - and remember - tomorrow is Friday!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

Surely most of you have heard about the note spreading around Facebook like wildfire! You write a note telling your friends 25 random things about you and then 25 of your friends have to reply with their random things. And so it goes!

Well last night I finally wrote my note so I thought I would share it with you and call it my morning post. :o) For the most part it's the exact same note I wrote on Facebook with a couple of slight modifications.

25 Random Things About Me

1) In my first week of articles (working as a Junior lawyer in training) two stun grenades were detonated mere feet from my office!

2) When I eat pretzels I scrape all the salt off of them, then I eat them

3)I got my driver's license at the ripe old age of 27

4)I was born in El Salvador

5)My family left El Salvador because of the civil war

6)It was all on the up and up - I was never an illegal immigrant

7)My favourite place in the whole world is a small mountain town called Gimmelwald in Switzerland

8)I think God must have taken an extra long time when making Switzerland - it's THAT beautiful!

9)Three years ago I weighed 215lbs

10)I will NEVER weigh that much again

11)2009 is the year I hope to run a half-marathon

12)The thought of running a marathon kind of terrifies me

13)The first thing I ever cooked/baked/made was a recipe for scones. It came out of an old Canadian Living Cookbook. It was from the page that featured Victoria (B.C.) and high tea

14)When I ended up in Victoria (B.C.), I remembered that cookbook and it made me smile :o)

15)When I was 22 I lived in Paris

16)I lived in Paris again a few years later

17)Those were the good old days

18)I love to stalk wedding photography blogs

19)I don't trust hairdressers in my current city - I'm not sure they should be allowed to wield scissors

20)My maternal great-grandmother is still alive - she's almost 100 and healthier than most 25 year olds

21) I lost several pounds during my crap-free week

22) I once went bungee jumping - but didn't know it was naked day (you got to do it for free if you jumped naked)

23) I saw more naked people than I ever wanted to see in my life that day

24) I paid $100 for the privilege of retaining my dignity (!!!)

25) This one is an addition recommended by my trainer: Several years ago I was running with my trainer and I tore my ankle ligaments two-minutes into a run. I pushed through for another half an hour. Because I'm that hard-core! :oP

So now you know a bit more about me! How about you? What are 25 random things about you? I think it would be fun for bloggers to play this so I am going to suggest that whomever writes the note tag five more bloggers. They then have to write their notes and tag three more!

Got it? :o)

TAG you're it:

Runner's Rambles

Tales of Expansion

Daily Goods

Healthy Lawyer

That Pink Girl

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Coming Out as a Food Blogger

I started off the day with good intentions. I made a wonderful bowl of oatmeal. It was autumn inspired and contained honey, pumpkin puree, apples, sunflower seeds, vanilla, and a splash of Almond Breeze. I packed it all up with plans to eat my oatmeal at work.

And then I didn't. I drove all the way to court (I was in a far away locale today), walked in and immediately started to work. It really didn't allow time for me to eat my beautiful oatmeal. Boo! So instead I just ate a piece of fruit.

It worked out alright in the end though. I was so busy I barely had a chance to notice I was hungry. That was until I stopped. And then I knew I needed some food to satiate my mungriness (mad hungry)! A bunch of us headed to a lovely Lakeside restaurant. I have only visited in the winter but it's lakeside locale tells me it will be beautiful in the summer!

The great thing about this restaurant is the fact that they serve a small but well-done lunch buffet. It's not really about going back time and time and time again. It's more about being able to make a choice about what you want to eat. Today's buffet featured some nice salads, a really yummy home-made tomato sauce with some lovely tomato chunks, a baked ham, and some other carbolicious goodies I avoided. I was quite pleased with my lunch; I paired my food selections with a small whole-grain bun. Num num num!

I was kind of hoping for a dessert but they only had cake and cheesecake. The waitress was SUPER kind and had the chef made up a fruit cup just for me! It was especially well presented and I think that may have something to do with the fact that one of my co-workers said "Make it pretty! It's picture is going on the internet!" lol :oO That's right! My food blogging ways are now common knowledge.

Up to this point I had avoided taking pictures in front of my co-workers. But really running back to my office to take a picture, only to re-emerge 10 seconds later wasn't so much fun. So today. In a public place. With co-workers around. I took pictures of my food! :o) You can be that everyone was full of questions. "Food blogging? Did I hear this right?" or "What's food blogging?" and then there was my favourite "You want to take a picture of my food!?!?" LOL Yes there was some ribbing but it was all in good fun. And on the whole I have to say people were really supportive. One of the people at the table even volunteered that he was most successful at losing weight when he kept a food diary so he could totally see how this would work.

I was pleased with my outing! Now I can take pictures freely. Besides it got me this:

I gave the waitress a good tip. She took really good care of me! :o)

Eventually I got back to the office and had a quick afternoon snack. For some reason I got hungry quite early. Maybe the whole not eating breakfast thing threw my day off.

Shortly thereafter one of my co-workers, who happens to be retiring this week, popped her head into my office. She was kind enough to share her box of retirement chocolates. So I chose one (white chocolate lemony goodness) and made sure to savour it's uber-yummy filling.

Dinner tonight was quick and relatively straight-forward. A grilled chicken breast in a dry rub, spinach salad with tomatoes and a couple of mists of dressing, a tiny bit of goat's milk feta, and half a whole wheat pita toasted. 'Twas good indeed!

All in all it was a good day - best of all because I can take pictures of my food with my co-workers around. The secret is out! I'm a food blogger and proud of it! Work it girl! :oP

Contest Alert: Visit Missy Maintains to win a bottle of Country Bob's All-Purpose Sauce - find the contest here! Also, visit Hangry Pants to win a box of Zoe's Foods Granola - find the contest here!

Tales from the Grocery Aisle and a Kashi Happy Sunshine Review

Hello bloggies!

I seem to have fallen behind on food blogging in the last couple of days. So I say we wipe the slate clean! How about some Tales from the Grocery Aisle to start off a Tuesday morning?

This weekend, Tales of Expansion posted a picture of her grocery purchases and how much they cost. She managed to get a really good number of items all four about $25!!! Colour me impressed! She lives in the New York area, eats healthfully but still managed not to over-spend. Tales of Expansion and I had a bit of an email back and forth and she said she would be looking forward to what I could get with my money, here in the Canadian Rockies.

With that in mind I spent a good amount of time on Sunday scoping out all the coupons and online sites of all three of the local supermarkets. I made a list. Checked it twice and headed out. Here's what I ended up with:

TOTAL: $42.08!! I would say that's not bad at all! What did I get for my money? Oatmeal bread, lots of bananas, mushrooms, a good bunch of apples, a huge box of dates (for snacking and for homemade Larabars), wholewheat baked pita chips, FOUR Almond Breeze containers, kale, and parsley.

Biggest get? The Almond Breeze!! It usually costs quite a bit here but I managed to find a sale of 2 for $5 so I stocked up and bought four. :oP

All in all I would say that I'm quite pleased with the outcome of my well-planned out shopping expedition. I think I'm going to stick to doing it this way. Checking coupons, making a list, and heading to the store for that specific purchase. I'll likely spend less money that way.

I would say, however, that I was somewhat disappointed in one of the three grocery stores. They had some AWESOME sales but nothing in stock. Boo! :o( I inquired about re-stocking and one of the sales girls told me that they re-stock daily but items are usually gone by 5pm in the afternoon. With that in mind I left work dead on time (usually I stay a bit longer) and ran to the grocery store. I got a pile of seedless grapes (at 87 cents per pound!!!) and five avocados ($2.50 in total!!). The grapes in particular have turned out to be firm, juicy, and not overly sweet. Quite proud of that get!

And what about that Kashi Honey Sunshine Review? I have one word for you. YUMMERS!!!!
We don't have access to this cereal in my corner of Canada so I picked it up this weekend in Montana. In fact I was so excited I bought two boxes.

I had seen similar cereals in a lot of bloggies posts so I figure it had to be good. For starters the little puffs are smaller than they look on the box. They're very small but quite dense. Not really airy like I imagined they would be. But that probably means you get more bang for your money in the box. This is what my breakfast looked like on the Sunday morning of my taste test:

Positives: the texture is awesome, they hold up really well in the milk, they're sweet but still good for you, they don't taste healthy, they have loads of whole grains

Negatives: probably a bit too sweet to have on a daily basis

All in all would I buy them again? Definitely! But like I said they are really sweet for my taste so I would probably not eat them on a daily basis. Cost? I think they were just slightly over $3 at Target.

That's in for now bloggies - I have to get ready and head off to work. But look for me later tonight with the return of food blogging! Happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Meandering in Montana

As most of you know I recently moved to the Canadian Rockies in British Columbia. That's a long way from my beloved Toronto (and my equally beloved Paris where I studied on two occasions)!

Because this area is very new to us, when we have time off together the boy and I like to head out and explore. Sometimes we explore up and down the Canadian Rockies. Sometimes we head to Spokane. Sometimes we head to Idaho (Coeur D'Alene and Sandpoint are fan favourites). And sometimes we head to Montana.

That's what we did this weekend - we meandered in Montana. :o) On Saturday morning we woke up early, got ready and ran for the border. Because we were heading to the U.S. I was limited in what we could pack to nibble on. We try to cross the border without any food so I relied on my usual mix of dates, dried cranberries, and almonds. I ate those in the car on the way down. (I had already eaten most of my mix by the time I remembered to take a picture)

When we arrived at our destination we decided to do some shopping. Funny thing is for the most part we emerged empty handed from stores. I guess we have pretty much everything that we need or want at the moment. Sure there are things for the house I'd like to buy but we've made a decision to hold off on purchases like that until we buy a home (first comes engagement [soon], then comes marriage, then comes home).

There were some things I was definitely on the look-out for however. What you say? Well all the goodies you bloggies have been tempting me with on your blogs!!! Chobani? Yes please! Barney Butter? Hook me up! A multitude of Kashi cereals? Holla' at your girl! I don't know if the majority of bloggers realize this but in Canada we don't get a lot of the health products that you get South of the border.

I wasn't entirely successful but I did manage to score a few goodies. Want to see?

We have Craisins in Canada but I live in a small city that doesn't have a Costco. As such my Craisins cost me a bundle!!!! I eat them quite often and use them for home-made Larabars so I was thrilled to pick up a bundle for something like $8USD at Costco. I also scored some Honey Sunshine and Popchips. I'll do reviews on those in another post but as a heads up . . . YUMMERS!! I didn't take a picture but I also bought a new Oster blender at Costco for a steal of a price! I'll use that to make green monsters.

I also hit up Target (I kind of love it there) and scored a Rodney Yee Power Yoga DVD (Yaaay for not having to pay for shipping) and two 10lb kettlebells.

I'll try both of these today. I'm excited because neither of these are available locally. Besides they help me make some head-way on my $1000 fitness dilemma (for the record I spent about $212 on a three month gym membership, and about $300 on six-months of personal training and fitness assessments, thus far).

After our Target stop we headed South. Why? Because! We had a day off! :o) We passed some incredibly stunning scenery. Particularly beautiful was the area surrounding Flathead Lake. Apparently it's the largest lake in the Western U.S (if you don't count the Great Salt Lake because technically that's an inland sea). The lake skirts the Western edge of Glacier National Park. The mountains reflecting on the water make for gorgeous views. I imagine it's even more lovely in the summer. We plan on visiting that area again.

Eventually we ended up in Missoula. At that point (about 4 1/2 hours South of the border) we decided we should turn around. But before we did we had lunch. Now this is not usually where I would eat but the boy has a love of Taco Bell. You see he's from Vancouver Island (where there is no Taco Bell) and where we live now there isn't one either. So when in Rome . . .

Behold the zesty chicken bowl! lol It's basically a bit of grilled chicken on a bed of mostly lettuce with a small amount of Mexican rice at the bottom and a teeny amount of beans too. That's topped off with a small sprinkling of cheese and about a tablespoon of pico de gallo. Not bad. I paired it with a small cup of unsweetened iced tea.

Once we arrived back in the Whitefish/Kallispell area we headed to a sushi restaurant. Sushi!!! This was what I had been looking forward to - ethnic food. :o) I'm seriously deprived of ethnic goodies in my Rocky Mountain town. There is however a wealth of meat and potatoes. We specialize in Wiener Schnitzel.

This restaurant (called Midori, right by Target off of the highway) was super cute. You could tell the owners really took pride in the place and that made eating there all the more enjoyable. We started off with a lovely green tea. It was made from loose leaves, with nary a taste of bitterness.

This was followed by miso soup and a salad. The salad was kind of meh.

But the miso soup was seriously some of the best I have ever had in my life. If I had to guess I would say that they started off with a light chicken broth base and then added the miso.

We finished it all off with two sushi rolls, one for each of us. The boy had a tempura shrimp, salmon, and cream cheese roll. And I had a variation on a spicy tuna roll. Mmmmm . . .tuna . . .

When all was said and done we headed home happy to have spent the day together, thrilled to have seen some beautiful scenery, and with some loot to boot! All in all I'd say it was a good Saturday! :o)

Until next time Montana . . .

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Friday Eats and a Quinoa Tabbouleh Recipe

Time to play catch-up! Today's post will feature my account of my Friday eats and the recipe to my Quinoa Tabbouleh.

Breakie was another batch of my oatmeal cookies. For some reason these took a bit longer than cook than usual. But they were still yummy! I added some flax seeds to this new version and I think I'll stick to that practice.

For lunch I once again met-up with the boy for a meal out. I ordered the house specialty - which amount to about half a grilled chicken breast with some shrimp and scallops on top in a bit of a pico de gallo type sauce. I ordered the side salad with this meal. It was pretty good but nowhere near as good as the quesadilla! lol I think I'll be hitting-up that other place again!

For dinner I made another batch of my quinoa tabbouleh-style and ate it with a portion of meat which I seared one my stove-top and finished off in my oven. It was delicious despite the fact that I over-cooked the meat a little. Want to see? Voila!

Note the complete absence of snacks. Good idea? Not so much! I was starving come dinner and narrowly missed a 3 PM slump (must have had something to do with the fact it was a Friday).

But I bet you're thinking "Enough about the food! Where is the recipe?" Fret not! :o)

Toronto Girl Out West's Quinoa Tabbouleh Recipe

Quinoa is very yummy and incredibly complex carbohydrate. In fact it has more protein than any other grain out there! Made from the seeds of the goosefoot plant it was traditionally eaten by the Incas (who clearly knew a good thing when they saw one). Today it's available in bulk food sections or at many grocery stores. If you can't find them there then head to your local health food grocer.

1. Grab your quinoa and measure out a cup of the grain

2 - I have read that depending on the type of quinoa you buy it can have a bit of a waxy build-up. If you cook it like that it will produce a slightly bitter end product. To be safe I washed my quinoa in water for about 10 minutes. (Steps 2-4 are optional but recommended)

3 - Once you have finished washing your grains strain them using a fine sieve or a cheese-cloth. If you're slightly less well equiped, like moi, use your hands to prevent the little grains from sliding out.

4 - I chose to toast my quinoa next. I cooked the quinoa, stirring frequently, over medium heat. Basically I was looking for a slightly golden colour. It took about 10 minutes for me to reach that point. Toasting your quinoa will increase the nutty flavour of the grain. If you want you could toast quinoa ahead of time and store (when cool) in a sealed glass jar. Or you could omit this step all together and your grains won't suffer too much.

5 - Cook your quinoa using 2 cups of water in your rice cooker. I like things easy like that! :o)

6 - While the Quinoa is cooking prep your ingredients. Take about half a cucumber and chop it into nice small pieces.

7 - Take a large tomato (or more if it's summer time and tomatoes are inexpensive to come by - the more the better) and cut into small pieces.

8 - Take a small handful of parsley and mint and chop both the herbs finely. These are going raw into your quinoa so make sure they're small enough to eat easily.

9 - When your quinoa is done let it cool slightly. Put quinoa in your bowl of choice. Add all your chopped ingredients into the bowl.

10 - Take half of a large lemon and squeeze into the ingredients. Try not to drool!

11 - Take 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil and mix it into your quinoa. Could it use more? Yes. But I'm trying hard to be good so I limited myself.

12 - Now this is the part that takes the recipe from good to am. az. ing. Take some goat's milk feta or goat cheese (goat cheese is naturally lower in milk fat percentage than cow's cheese). Cut a chunk of the cheese, I used about 1/3 of a cup of feta, and toss it into your quinoa. The heat will melt your cheese ever so slightly and make it happy, happy, happy!

13 - Stir all the ingredients and season with salt to taste. Enjoy!

This recipe takes a minimal amount of prep but yields delicious results. I was able to get multiple servings out of this one recipe. And I can't wait until summer when I can make this with beautiful ripe tomatoes.

Contest Alert: For a chance to win the 2nd Strawberry Shortstuff Contest head over on over here!

Just What is the Deal with Toronto Girl out West (yours truly)?

Lately many of you have stumbled upon or discovered my blog. I'm so very happy to have you here!


Because you're newbies I thought I would point you to two posts in particular that can give you a bit of background to my journey:

Post #1: Goals - Including a before and after - here you'll see my before and after picture. The first one is not so cute, the second one is much better. I'm very proud of how far I've come - this post shows you why!

Post #2: Three Years Ago Today!!!!! - I wrote this post on the 3 year anniversary of my wellness journey; I took some time off to reflect on how far I've come.

I've come far and I want to come further still! In fact I had a bit of a set-back this year and gained a bit of weight back. But that's what life is about . . . you do your best and if you slip-up you pick yourself up and keep going!

Wellness is a journey not a destination!

Friday, February 20, 2009

I Carry a Torch for You

Yesterday, I hung out with some furry friends . . . Vancouver 2010 Olympic mascots! It still makes me laugh to think how excited I was. You parade an overgrown stuffed animal in front of me and I turn into a five year old. Hahaha love it.

The Olympic Torch was also present at yesterday's celebration. One of the great things about being the second largest country in the world is that you have a lot of room. A lot of room! As a result, the torch relay for 2010 Olympics will be the longest torch relay to take place in one country. That means that the vast majority of the population will be less than an hour drive away from a relay route:

Wouldn't it be so very cool to see the torch go by? Definitely. You know what would be better!?!?! To carry it yourself!!! That's right - Canadians have the opportunity to enter one of two contests (run by Coca-Cola and The Royal Bank of Canada respectively) to carry the torch. You can find all the information for how to enter HERE.

I for one think it would be crazy amazing to start a blog entry with "I went for a run today . . . with the Olympic Torch." Too. Cool. for. Words.

Still not sure you'd like to enter? Maybe this video will change your mind. Behold and be inspired:

Go ahead! Enter! You've nothing to lose and something huge to gain! Hopefully in 2010 you'll see this Toronto Girl out West on the relay route!

Happy Friday :o)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Slip-Up and Quatchi, Miga, and Sumi!!

This morning I slept in quite a good deal. I was so beat from my workouts that I fell asleep and was out cold. Nothing woke me up. Not even my alarm this morning. So I had scarcely enough time to get everything together and then head to work.

Once at work I neglected to bring in my camera to take a picture of my breakfast. It was my usual oatmeal bowl; this time with pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, vanilla, bananas, and almonds. Filling as usual!

For lunch, the boy and I decided we would meet up for lunch. He and I have very different work schedules so it's not often that we get to spend quality time together. On days when he has the day off and I'm at work, we do our best to meet up for lunch.

Today we headed to a local restaurant where I ordered a grilled quesadilla with tortillas, cheese, tomatoes, olives, and grilled chicken. This came with a side salad that had everything but the kitchen sink in there! It was great!! But way too big so I left 1/3 of the quesadilla and all of the sour cream. The waitress packed it up for me and the boy took it home to snack on later.

A close-up of my incredibly yummy and filling salad:

And then came my slip-up. I headed back to work where there was a celebration going on. A party to welcome some new people to the office. I was at first determined to be really good so I brought some dates, nuts, and dried cranberries into the gathering.

Good start right? Yeah but then I got talked into a piece of cake. In my defence I asked them to cut it as small as possible and they gave me the thinnest piece they could cut without the cake falling apart. So far not that bad. But then I mindlessly ate a handful of chips. I don't even know why! They were sitting there and I ate them. :o( I have to work on my self-discipline. I know part of the reason I'm so good at home is because I control what comes into the house. I need to work on improving my discipline. Next time an office gathering takes place I think I'll bring in a healthy platter. So at least I have an option. I'm also going to sit as far away as possible from the chips.

Dinner tonight was a hit!!! A HUGE hit! In fact I made my first batch of quinoa ever and I was super impressed with how delicious it turned out. First I toasted the quinoa to give it a nutty depth of flavour, cooked it in my rice cooker, and then added some parsely, a teaspoon of olive oil (for three servings), cucumbers, tomatoes, and lemon juice (Editor's note: I also added a small bunch of mint). It kind of turned out like an impromptu tabbouleh. To top it all off I added a bit of goat's milk feta. I think I'll have to measure everything out and post a recipe here soon.

The chicken breast was simply cooked in a dry spice rub in which turmeric features prominently. When it was done cooking I squeezed a bit of lemon juice on it to create a bit of a sauce. But really the quinoa was the star of the show.

But BY FAR the highlight of my day was going to downtown for a 2010 Olympic Rally. We're now a bit less than a year away from the Winter Olympics and Canada could not be more excited!

Today, the Olympic torch (which looks suspiciously like something you'd smoke) and the Olympic mascots came to my town. And without further ado I introduce you to Miga (part killer whale and kormode bear) and Quatchi (he's my favourite and a Sasquatch - like a Canadian Big Foot):

And also meet Sumi (he wears the hat of the orca, flies with the wings of a thunderbird, and runs with the strong legs of a black bear - he's basically a real life totem pole and a tribute to the First Nations of Canada).

Can you tell I was excited!??! :oP Honestly I think I ran to the front of the line when they said you could take pictures with the mascots. They're super cute! And I for one am very excited for the Olympics. The boy and I will be there for at least a portion of the games. We managed to score tickets to the luge semis and finals and the men's hockey semi-final game!!! That's like pure gold to a Canadian.

All in all it was a very good day in my corner of the Rocky Mountains