Archive | November, 2011

2012 Competition Plans

30 Nov

The IDFA’s 2012 competition schedule went up the other day, and after talking it over with my nutritionist I’ve decided that my next fitness/figure competition will be in Montreal on March 31st.  That gives me 17.5 weeks to cut down, which should be plenty of time!  Diet-wise: The plan for now is to clean up my diet (no junk) with one cheat meal per week, and I’ll start full-out dieting at the beginning of January.  Workout-wise: This week I’m doing a ton of circuits and plyometrics to kind of shock my system and get me going, then after that I’ll switch to a hypertrophy (muscle building) phase for 4-6 weeks.

After the March show, I really really really want to run a 10k race!  The Ottawa Race Weekend is held at the end of May, so that’ll give me plenty of time to gear up for it (I’m not hoping to win, I just want to finish under 60 minutes).  The only thing I’ll have to worry about are my recurring leg fractures, so I’ve gotta take it nice and easy building up.

Finally, I want to do one more show this year in Toronto.  I promised my mom that I’ll do a show in Toronto so she can come see me compete.  There are two in Toronto – one in July, and one in November.  I’m not sure which I’ll end up doing, as this’ll mostly depend on how I’m feeling around April.

It looks as though 2012 is going to be a busy year!  I’d better get crack-a-lackin’!

-Tess

Advertisements

Hummus Freak

29 Nov

If I was able to plan my last meal on earth it would have to include hummus… and chocolate, and bread, and wine, and… I’m getting off track.

As much as I love carbs, hummus also holds a special place in my heart. To me, it is the perfect condiment- dressing, spread, dip, it does them all and don’t even get me started on flavour variations.  Garam Masala Hummus, anyone?

Clearly, I am not alone in this obsession.  In 1995, hummus was a $5 million industry, today Hummus sales top $350 million in the US.  Suffice to say, this Middle-Eastern gem has taken up a mainstream place in the grocery aisles and refrigerators of North Americans alike.  We love hummus and food companies have jumped on the bandwagon to make sure we get our tahini-filled fix.

source

While I’m not one to balk at putting my hard-earned money towards quality (and healthy) food items, I find it hard to reach for my wallet and pay the upwards of $5 every time I crave hummus.  When you see how cheap chickpeas are, it’s hard to justify that cost. This is why more often than not, I’ll make my own, and by that I mean once a week.

Making your own hummus is an extremely quick and painless process- so long as you have a food processor anyway.  If you don’t own a food processor, well Christmas is less than a month away.  Maybe write to good ol’ Santa and tell him I told you to ask for one so you can make this hummus.

Though I have many hummus variations in my culinary repertoire, I decided to start things off with the basic recipe.   Master the basics and then move on to the fancy stuff.

You will need:

Chickpeas; if you’re Martha Stewart go ahead and soak and boil them, otherwise buy a can but make sure it’s the no salt added variety- drain and rinse.

1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped

Juice from 1 lemon

¼ c. Tahini paste

2 tbsp water

1 tbsp olive oil

¼ tsp sea salt

Directions:

Put all the ingredients into the food processor:

Pulse until smooth. You may have to scrape and pulse a few times until you get it to the right consistency.

Taste and adjust seasonings.

Refrain from eating it by the spoonful out of the processor bowl

Enjoy!

-Jess

Gulp….Gulp… Aaaaaaah!

28 Nov

Following this weekend’s Shenanigans, I’m still feeling a little bit dehydrated this morning.  Anybody who knows me knows that I drink water in quantities that would rival those of a camel (though my bladder is comparable to that of a skittish puppy) and I am never without my water bottle.

Sadly, 75% of North Americans are living in a state of chronic dehydration.  Go figure, since we have some of the most accessible clean water on the planet!  Some people may blame a lack of information, but I find it hard to believe that 3/4 of our population have never heard the words “drink 8 glasses of water per day”.  Maybe they just don’t understand the value of these words.

Two thirds of our bodies are made of water and they are in constant need of replenishment.  Just as a plant will shrivel up and die if you stop watering it, the same is true to the human body.  Water helps to regulate the body’s temperature, aids in digestion, elimination, circulation, joint lubrication, enables the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to cells, and maintain proper metabolism….. amongst other things.

You DO need to drink water and no, coffee/juice/pop are NOT water equivalents!  Sorry.  Whatever site or article or “friend” told you that is either misinformed, or is lying to you.  Caffeinated drinks contain diuretics, which cause the body to actually lose water.

 Quick Facts:

-For every 1% your cells are dehydrated, they lose 10% of their power to produce energy

-Most of the time people think they’re hungry, they’re actually just thirsty!  The hypothalamus controls both hunger and thirst, so it sends the same signal regardless of which you are experiencing.

– You will know if you’re drinking enough when your urine is very pale or clear.  Dark urine indicates that your kidneys are working too hard to concentrate the urine.

-You can live without food for several weeks, but less than 1 week without water

Symptoms of Dehydration:

You may be dehydrated if you begin experiencing dry mouth, dizziness, nausea, heart palpitations, weakness, decreased urinary output, and cramps.  But don’t just wait until your mouth feels dry to start drinking water – by that point you’ve waited too long and damage has already been done to your body’s cells, resulting in the current symptoms.  If you are consistently ignoring your body’s cries for hydration, you put yourself at risk of developing more serious conditions that are caused by chronic dehydration.  Some of these complications include, but are not limited to: fatigue, depression, kidney stones, ulcers, digestive disorders (acid reflux, heartburn, constipation), headaches and migraines, high/low blood pressure, osteoporosis and joint pain, respiratory issues (allergies, asthma) weight gain (obesity, diabetes, water retention), eczema and acne, and UTI’s).

Water Consumption Requirements:

100lbs – 50oz

150lbs – 65oz

200lbs – 70oz

Another quick-and-dirty rule is to drink half your bodyweight (in lbs) in ounces of water per day.  For example, I weigh 125lbs so I should drink 62oz.

And remember, if you’re active you should drink extra water before exercise, during (at least 1L for every hour of exercise), and after your workout.

Tips For How To Drink More:

As with everything health and fitness related, consistency is key; you cannot drink gallons of water one day then none the next, and simply chugging back a few glasses after reading this post will not make up for your previous weeks or even years of deprivation.  Moreover, it is highly unlikely that a person who is so used to dehydrating themselves will suddenly and drastically change their behaviours.  Therefore, start slowly.  I don’t mean that you should limit yourself, I just mean that making small changes to your water consumption will go much further than trying to do too much all at once.  Here are some easy first steps:

-Make a point of drinking water at these crucial points in your day: when you first wake up in the morning, with every meal/snack, and before bed.  If you can do that, you’ll be getting at least 5 of your 8 daily glasses of water!

-Switch 1 of your non-water beverages (coffee, juice, soda) to water every day.

-Tea counts!  If you really don’t like the taste of water, try drinking tea instead.  You can drink it hot or cold and there are hundreds of flavours to choose from.

-Again, if you don’t like the plain flavor, consider adding cut up fruit to your water.  You don’t have to stick to the classic lemon/lime either – try strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, or oranges.

*A note about calorie-free flavored bottled water: these drinks are full of chemicals that make it possible to basically drink juice without any guilt.  Personally, I would stay far far away from them.  It would be better to take in those extra few calories by adding fruit to your water than to pump your body full of those horrible toxins.

-Carry a bottle full of fresh water with you ALWAYS!  If it’s there, you’re more likely to drink it.

-Next time you think you’re hungry, drink a glass of water first and wait 5 minutes before reaching for a snack.  If after that time you’re still hungry, then by all means!  No harm done.  If it turns out you were just thirsty, you’ve just saved yourself a bunch of calories 😉

Chug-a-lug-a-lug!

-Tess

Morning-After Brunch

27 Nov

Yesterday Jess drove up to Ottawa to visit TESS for her birthday which is today! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TESS!!

Tess and our other good friend, Tanya, had a joint birthday party last night and so Jess decided to join in the fun, and oh the fun we had! We’ll be posting some pics into the “shenanigans” page soon, so stay tuned for that one!

Following an evening of eating, drinking and dancing, we all woke up with sore feet and hungry bellies so we decided to fix that asap.

Is there anything better than a filling, yet healthy, brunch after a long night of poisoning your body with alcohol?  We think not.

In attendance of last night’s festivities was our friend Mike who invited us over to his place for brunch and to see their new puppy!!! Yay puppies!

In exchange for Mike and Murray playing host to our group, we figured we would bring brunch to their lovely table.

Now, being that we live in separate cities, the opportunity for us to cook together does not present itself very often.  So this morning, in spite of our dehydration and overwhelming desire to sleep in late enough to rival college student living, we dragged our sorry butts out of bed to cook up a mean Sunday brunch.

No Sunday brunch is complete without a killer fruit salad.  Tess went to work creating a beautiful masterpiece filled with Apple, Mandarin, Banana, Blueberry, Strawberry, Grapes, Pineapples, Pears and Pomegranate.

The pomegranate was an interesting venture.  Following her post on the best way to eat a pomegranate, Tess spotted this contraption at the grocery store and, at John’s insistence, purchased it and Jess decided to try it out.

Step 1: cut your pomegranate in half:

Gotta love the no-make up pics (not)

Step 2: Place pomegranate over contraption.

Step 3: Place a plastic bowl over top of pomegranate….

…. and smack it with a spoon.

Epic. Fail. After managing to get 5 seeds out,  Jess switched over to a fork.

Tess then showed her up big time on getting the seeds out. Jess being the stubborn creature that she is kept at it with the fork. It did not work out very well.

After being defeated in the pomegranate race of 2011, Jess went back to her strengths on throwing a recipe together for this simple frittata.

Tess had some baking potatoes, broccoli and a red onion that were soon put to good use. Combined with some seasoning and Swiss cheese, this created a really awesome main course for brunch.

Cut your veggies up into bite-sized pieces

Bring a pot of water to boil, and par-boil your potatoes, followed by your broccoli- remember you’re baking this in the oven so you don’t want to overcook them! Then heat olive oil in a large frying pan, add in onion and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes until fragrant then add in your veggies and herbs of choice.

Pour into a casserole dish and add in your eggs and cheese.

Bake until set, serve and enjoy (almost) as much as we all did 🙂

Rustic Country Frittata

Ingredients:

2 Large baking potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks

1 bunch of broccoli, cut into pieces

1 large red onion, cut into 1 inch pieces

2 cloves of garlic

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp dried basil

1 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp dried dill

Salt and pepper to taste

7 large eggs

2 c. egg whites

½ cup shredded Swiss cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 375

Bring a large pot of water to boil, add in potatoes cook until nearly ready, drain and set aside.  In the same pot of water boil the broccoli for 2 minutes until it turns bright green, drain and set aside.

In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat then add in your onion and garlic.  Sauté for 2-3 minutes until fragrant then add in your veggies and seasonings.  Remove from heat.

Combine eggs and egg-whites in a bowl, whisk together.

Now pour your veggies into a casserole dish and then add in your eggs and Swiss cheese.  Place the dish in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until set and slightly golden around the edges.

Serve with Fruit salad and toast.

Serves 6-8

-Tess & Jess

 

 

 

1 Dish, 2 Spoons: Couscous

25 Nov

Tess’ sister, Kim, emailed us this week requesting some recipe ideas for couscous; we agreed that this was the perfect ingredient for this week’s 1D2S.  Couscous is insanely fast to cook (boil water, add couscous, cover pot and let sit for 5 minutes), cheap to buy (especially if you get it from the bulk bin), and is very versatile (as you’ll see from this post!).  So Kim, we hope you enjoy these and find inspiration in them 🙂

Tess’ Take

So I have this Acorn Squash….  I bought it last week during a wild night of vegetable shopping (seriously y’all, it was out of control) and since it’s one of the slowest vegetables to go bad, it’s been sitting on our counter ever since.  When my sister suggested couscous for a recipe, my mind immediately went to my rotting idling squash and thought: Stuffed Acorn Squash!  Now, I’m not as creative as Jess is when it comes to cooking, so I looked up a recipe on-line.  Here’s what I decided on:

Moroccan-Style Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • 1 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 large acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 stalks celery*, chopped (*I didn’t have celery, so used asparagus instead)
  • 1 carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 7 oz can chicken (or vegetable) broth
  • 1/2 cup uncooked couscous
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Step 1) Cut your squash in half, scoop out seeds, place on a baking sheet (cut side down) and bake for 30 mins at 350 (F)

I'm saving my seeds so I can bake them later 🙂

Step 2) Heat the oil over medium heat, then add carrots, celery/asparagus, and garlic.  Cook 5 minutes.

Step 3) Stir in the beans, raisins, s&p, and cumin.  Continue cooking until veggies are tender.

Step 4) Once squash is cooked (fork tender), dissolve the sugar in the butter and brush over the cut sides of the squash.  If your couscous is still going to take a while, you can then turn off the heat on the stove and put the squash back in to keep it warm.

I like to poke holes in my squash to get the butter all the way through the "meat" 🙂

Step 5) Add in couscous and stir until completely integrated.  Pour in vegetable stock.  Cover pot, and remove from heat.  Let sit 5 minutes.

Step 6) Spoon couscous mixture into squash and enjoy!

Both John and I liked this recipe (we ate it for dinner along with a piece of baked chicken breast) and thought it was pretty good.  BUT…… I didn’t realize until just now, as I re-typed the ingredients, that I forgot to add the cumin when I made this!!!  GAH!  That’s such a key ingredient!  So, the only thing to do is to make it again 😛

Jess’s Take:

When Tess told me she received an email from her sister asking for couscous recipes I became immediately excited for two reasons:

1)      Someone is asking us for recipe suggestions, and

2)      I rarely cook with couscous so I’m always up for a challenge

Being a runner, a vegetarian, and an unapologetic carb-whore, many of my meals (if not all) will usually involve a carbohydrate of some kind but rarely will I turn to couscous.  Well, after tonight’s experiment I think I’m a convert!

Couscous is made from semolina that has been formed into tiny little balls and hails from the north-African countries of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.  Commercially dried couscous (the most common variety available) is very easy to prepare and it cooks similarly to grains such as rice and quinoa. Just remember to add 1 ½ times the amount of liquid to couscous instead of a 1 to 2 grain to liquid ratio.

With a subtle nutty flavour, couscous is most commonly associated with the popular Middle-Eastern dish: Tabbouleh which incorporates mint, parsley, and lemon juice.  While I could have gone down the route of creating a Tabbouleh inspired dish for you all, I wanted to explore some different yet still delicious flavours that North-African style cooking has to offer.

Dried fruit is a common ingredient in many North African dishes

This couscous dish, while simple in preparation, packs in the flavour with hints of cardamom, ginger, and cumin that makes it the perfect companion to a rich Vegetable Tagine (hint, hint, for next week). Overall, I really loved the simplicity of this recipe complimented by the rich colours and sweet/smoky flavours; it’s the perfect sort of dish to bring warmth into your November darkened kitchen.

Like all my recipes I started off with a sweet flavour base:

I tossed them into a large sauté pan with the oil heated over medium-high heat

From there, I added in my eggplant to give it a chance to cook for 5-7 minutes.

Once it was nicely browned I added in the rest of the veggies, dried fruit and beans before adding in my couscous, stock and orange juice.  Then I removed it from the heat, covered it and within 5 minutes I had dinner.

Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Couscous

1 tsp vegetable oil

1 clove of garlic, minced

¼ tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp ground cayenne

¼ tsp cardamom

¼ tsp coriander

½ onion, diced

¼ cup chopped dried apricots

¼ cup dried currents

2 c. chopped vegetables (I used bell pepper and eggplant)

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 c. couscous

1 c. vegetable broth/stock

½ c. orange juice

Directions

Heat oil over medium high heat, add in onion and cook for 2 minutes, until softened.  Add in your garlic and spices, mix well and cook for another 30 seconds before adding in your eggplant.

Cook eggplant for 5-7 minutes until well browned and then add in your bell pepper, chick peas and dried fruit.  Let them cook through for another 3-5 minutes.

Add in couscous, vegetable stock and orange juice. Stir to combine then cover and remove from heat to allow the couscous  to absorb the liquid.  After five minutes stir to fluff up then serve.

This will easily serve 4 people as a main dish, or 6 as a side.

How to run outside in the winter and keep your a** warm

24 Nov

Yesterday, I woke up to the glorious site of snow on my balcony! Winter is officially here! For some runners, this means they may be retreating back indoors for the season.

I know I’ve said this before, but I will do almost anything to avoid training in the gym.  Believe you me when I say that I’ve tried time and time again different ways to motivate myself to work out in one. From personal trainers, to setting SMART goals or trying out different classes, you name it; I’ve tried it, and hated it.  Sorry Tess 😉

So I’m sure this comes as no surprise when I say that I’d rather run outside in the dead of winter than drag myself to train on the gerbil wheel, I mean, treadmill.  Since I can’t ski every day in the winter, I may as well get outside and run, right?

A little more enthusiasm, please?

I know there is some controversy over whether people feel its “safe” to run outside in the winter. I always get slightly amused by these comments because really, we as Canadians do numerous activities outside in the winter months from hockey, to skiing, snowshoeing, and everything else in between.  Like any other winter sport, winter running is perfectly safe so long as you dress properly for it.  You wouldn’t ski dressed like this:

source

So it’s safe to say, you’re not gonna run dressed like this:

source

My best advice for running during those frigid winters we Canadians are so famous for is to dress in layers.

Layer 1: Baselayer

This is the layer you’re wearing right next to your skin, so you need something that’s going to wick away the moisture.  Moisture=bad because if it’s just going to sit there, you can bet it will start to get cold FAST no matter how much insulation you have on top.  I typically wear a wicking layer on my core and sometimes on my legs as well (when it’s really, really cold).

Layer 2: Insulation

You gotta keep the heat locked in.   There are many mid-layer pieces available to runners that offer many different kinds of insulation: fleece, down, primaloft, etc… My recommendation is that you stick with something that is relatively lightweight so it doesn’t feel like you have a weighted vest on.  Also, it’s best to note that many mid-layer pieces do not offer any wind-resistance so if it’s windy or snowing that day, you’re going to need layer #3:

Layer 3: Waterproof/Windproof jacket

Now that we’ve wicked away moisture, and added some heat we need to keep it in place.  A running shell that offers you water and wind protection is your final layer that will keep you warm and dry on your run. I’d also recommend some pants that are wind/waterproof as well just to be on the safe side.

Accessories:

You can’t forget your hands and head.  Gloves are important because not only do they keep you warm, they’ll offer your skin some protection if you take a stumble.  Watch that ice! A hat is equally important otherwise all that effort you’ve gone into securing warmth in your body will leave your head just as quickly.  If you’re worried about either one getting too hot, I’d recommend you have a jacket that has pockets so you can stow these items during your run.

Footwear:

I know there are many people that like to purchase shoes that have a bit of waterproofing on them for their winter runs.  Personally, I’ve never bothered because I’m not usually out for longer than an hour in the wintertime and tend to avoid deep snow. However, there are options on the market that offer a bit more traction and waterproofing for you to consider.  Oh and those YakTrax are excellent when you’re on the trails and don’t feel like eating dirt every time you hit some ice.

Well there you have it, Jess’s guide on how to run in the winter without freezing your a** off.

-Jess

What are your thoughts on winter running? Do you have any tips you’d like to add?

Pomegranate 101

23 Nov

Ever since reading the Greek mythology story of Persephone as a child, I have been intrigued by and in love with pomegranate.  (For those of you who are unfamiliar with the story, Google “Rape of Persephone”.)

The only problem with pomegranate?  All the work involved with getting to the seeds, then the cleanup!  If you try to cut the seeds off, you end up wasting a lot of the fruit and losing a lot of the juice.  If you use your hands, you get juice and pith all over yourself!

Last week I was at the grocery store and there just happened to be a free instructional pamphlet at the pomegranate bin, demonstrating the easiest way to seed a pomegranate.  I don’t know why I never looked this up before.  For anyone who has ever struggled with this amazing fruit, this post is for you!

Step 1: Lay a piece of paper towel over your cutting board to minimize mess.

Step 2: Chop off the top and bottom of the pomegranate (about 1/2″)

Step 3: Score the pomegranate, cutting until you hit the white pith.  Cut from the top to bottom, into 4 sections.

Step 4: Over a bowl full of water, separate the seeds from the skin and pith.  Discard the skin, but let both the pith and seeds fall into the water.  The seeds will sink to the bottom while the pith will float on the top.

Step 5: Remove pith using your hands or a strainer.

Step 6: Drain water, and pick out any leftover pith.

Step 7: Enjoy!

All told, this process took me about 7 minutes.  True, it’s a little more labour-intensive than something quick like an apple or grapes, but when you consider all of the antioxidants in a pomegranate and the health benefits that come along with eating them…. not to mention their DELICIOUS taste…. it’s definitely worth the effort 😉

-Tess

Goal Setting

21 Nov

“Goals in writing are dreams with deadlines” – Brian Tracy

One of the first questions any trainer will ask a new client is “What are your goals?”.  Most people have a general idea of what they want (lose weight, feel better, become healthier) but haven’t taken the time to create specific, measurable goals…. never mind writing these goals down or  sharing them with others.

I worked at lululemon a few years ago and they were really big into Goal-Setting.  Now, I’ve always enjoyed writing down the things I want, but lulu helped me turn my “wish list” into a clearly organized set of goals.  I wrote my goals onto a nice piece of paper, framed, and decorated it 🙂  Every now and then I’ll look back to see how I’m progressing, though it’s also interesting to see how goals can change over time.

Let’s go over some strategies, shall we? 🙂

Create S.M.A.R.T Goals

Specific — Get detailed!  The more thought and detail you put into creating your goals, the more real they seem, the more invested you become, and the more likely they are to turn into a reality.  So don’t just say you want a job, say  “I want to work as a Human Resources Manager at CIBC”.  Ask yourself the questions: What do I want? Who is involved? Why do I want this? What are my constraints?

Measurable — How will you know when you’ve achieved your goal?  Saying you want to lose weight is fine, but that could mean anything from 1-50 lbs!  Make your goal measurable.  “I want to lose 7 lbs” or “I want to fit into a size 8 dress”.  Questions like: How much/many?

Attainable —  Voyons donc... If your goal is unrealistic then how will you ever keep up the long-term motivation that’s needed to attain it?  I would LOVE to be a millionaire by next year, but that’s not going to happen; “I want to save $5,000 this year” sounds a little more manageable.  Having said that, don’t set mediocre goals.  Your goals should be something that evoke a strong, emotional desire within you to achieve them…. something that makes your mouth salivate!

Relevant — Setting lofty goals is great, but if it has no real bearing to your life, then what’s the point?  “I want to be an astronaut”…. huh?  How about “I want to become a world-class Personal Trainer”.  Ask  yourself: Does this seem worthwhile?

Timely — Remember how in school you only did work when there was a deadline involved?  Same thing here.  Put a “by when” statement at the end of your goal sentence:  “I want to clear my debt by September 2012”.

Use Positive Statements

You’ll be more likely to pursue goals that create a positive feeling than those that focus on negative feelings.  For example, instead of saying “I won’t cheat on my diet anymore”, say “I will stick to my diet for the next 7 days”.  Also, changing the beginning of your sentence from “I want to” to “I will” can be a powerful mental trick:  “I want to go to the gym 4 times this week” vs. “I will hit the gym 4 times this week”…. just seems like less room for doubt and deviation, doesn’t it?

Compartmentalize

Don’t just limit yourself to a couple goals, create multiple categories: Financial, Personal (family, fun, travel, etc), Physical, Career, Education, and whatever else you dare to dream of!

Think Ahead…. Then Way Ahead

Set short, medium, and long-term goals; the shorter term ones can be precursors to the longer term goals, or they can be completely separate.  I like to organize mine into 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years.  But you can range them anywhere from 24 hours to 25+ years if you want!

Write It Down

Don’t just sit here and think about your goals…. reach over to your printer, grab a paper, and start writing them out!  It’s amazing how much more organized your thoughts become when you write them down.  And you may be surprised at how many things come out once you get going!  Then, once you’ve finished writing them down, don’t just throw that paper away – put it up on the fridge or in the bathroom or bring it to the office.  Share it with your friends, spouse, and kids (better yet, why not make another shared list of goals WITH your spouse and kids?!).  Let them get excited with you and help you to accomplish your goals.  “Committing your goals to paper increases the likelihood of your achieving them by one thousand percent!” – Brian Tracy

Here are some of my goals (they’re actually more detailed on paper, but this is the gist of it): “By the beginning of my next contest prep (at 17 weeks out), I will weigh 117lbs”, “I will have 3 Personal Training clients by January 2012”, “I will clear my debt by December 2012″,”I will have traveled to every continent by the year 2026”.

“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve” – W. Clement Stone

-Tess

Peace and Kale Salad

20 Nov

Let me preface this by stating that I am, without a doubt, a city girl.  Growing up in the suburbs and then spending four years studying for my undergrad in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere really made me realize that.  Nothing makes me happier than the fast-pace and anonymity of city living.

However, every once in a while I get urge to get out of the city to unwind and chill out.  Lucky for me I have the perfect escape hatch.

Whenever the pace of the city or my work schedule gets a bit much I’ll hop in the car and visit my parents’ cottage for the day.  Situated a mere hour and twenty minutes outside of Montreal, the cottage is located in the beautiful Eastern Townships of Quebec where I’m surrounded by mountains, farmlands and the cutest pond known to mankind.

When I pulled up in the morning, I was super excited to see snow on the ground!  Montreal weather has been milder than normal so it was nice to see signs of winter.

This didn’t last long as it warmed up soon after and I decided to take advantage of the sunshine and headed out for a nice run along the country roads.

This was taken at Thanksgiving

Running in the crisp country air felt amazing- until I was downwind from a farm.  I’m pretty sure inhaling the scent of that much manure is a health hazard. See what I mean- city girl!

Anyway, post run I was pretty hungry, but luckily for me I’d brought along some food and decided to play in my Mom’s kitchen before heading back to the city.   Why is it that Mom’s kitchen will always be neater and much more organized than your own, no matter how hard you try?

One of the items I’d brought along with me was a huge bunch of kale that I decided to put to good use.  Using some staple pantry items I managed to put together a delicious warm kale salad featuring a sweet and sour mustard vinaigrette.

+

=

This salad was to-die-for and I really recommend you try it out stat.

You will need:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 bunch of kale, stems removed, torn into bit-sized pieces

Vinaigrette

1 tbsp honey mustard

1 tbsp Tarragon white wine vinegar (you could also use regular white wine vinegar)

3 tbsp Olive oil

Directions

In a small bowl, whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together, set aside

In a large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat, add garlic and sauté until fragrant- about 30 seconds. Add in your Kale and cook until softened, about 2-3 minutes and then add in your vinaigrette. Note: I didn’t use the whole amount of dressing, only 2 tbsp’s.

Remove from heat, and mix kale with vinaigrette to thoroughly combine.

Season with salt and pepper, serve and enjoy!

This was the perfect ending to a perfect day.  Now I’m refreshed, recharged and ready for another week!

-Jess

Mashed Cauliflower “Potatoes”

19 Nov

Here’s a simple swap you can make that’ll save you hundreds of calories and help you meet your daily vegetable requirements: in mashed potato recipes, use cauliflower instead.  It’s super easy.

Step 1: Cut up cauliflower.  No need to remove the stems or cut into little pieces since it’s all going to be blended up anyways.

Step 2: Place cauliflower in a pot of boiling water (you can also use a steamer).  Cook until very soft.  Season with salt and pepper, and mashed potato-style seasonings, such as thyme and rosemary.

Step 3: Drain water before pureeing cauliflower in a blender.  I like to leave a few chunks to give that real mashed potato consistency.

Step 4 (optional): you can add more herbs like fresh parsley and re-heat over the stove.  Otherwise, serve and enjoy!

So next time you’re wondering what to do with that leftover cauliflower, or want to make a “comfort food” but need to stick to a diet, try this!  By the way, a 1/2 cup serving of mashed potatoes, nothing added, is 150 calories.  The same portion of cauliflower is 25 calories.

-Tess