Archive | May, 2012

I’m Pregnant!!!!

27 May

I’ve been waiting weeks… WEEKS… to finally be able to announce that John and I are expecting our first child. 

We found out the day we left for our honeymoon that I was expecting.  I had been experiencing some pregnancy-like symptoms the entire weekend of our wedding, so I finally decided to take a test.  Though I knew what the result would be before I even saw it.  Have any of you moms ever had that overwhelming feeling, and you just KNOW you’re pregnant?  Needless to say, it was a very exciting week all around, between the wedding, the honeymoon, and the news of the baby.

I was about 6 weeks along at that point and we decided to wait to tell everybody until the 12 week mark.  For anybody who doesn’t know, the first 12 weeks (aka. the first trimester) is when you’re at the highest risk for miscarriage. 

So today I’m at 12 weeks, and our official due date is December 12th, 2012 (or 12/12/12).  We’ve already had an ultrasound and the baby looked to be healthy at that point with a strong heart beat.  I can’t even tell you how exciting it was to see our little one on the monitor, wiggling around.  I could actually SEE its heart beating…. miracle indeed 🙂  (I have a picture that I’ll post in a couple days… it’s a PDF and I’m still trying to figure out how to upload it lol)

Mommy is healthy too.  I’ve only gained about 3-4lbs since the wedding, though I had also dieted down for the event.  The doctor has given me the green light to keep on exercising as I usually do, though I did experience some significant drops in energy for a few weeks after the wedding (fyi, that’s why I was slacking at the gym!!) and certaom ab exercises are too painful/awkward to do, even this early on.  Good thing I have a big repertoire of exercises to draw from 😉  But, my energy levels are back up again thanks to 9+ hours of sleep per night, I’m not feeling nauseous anymore, and with all this beautiful weather I’m ready to be ACTIVE again!! 

10 weeks – not much to show just yet

No major food cravings at this point (I’m not actually sure when they’re “supposed to” start), but I will say that salty food is especially appealing, with my interest in sweets rapidly decreasing – a complete reversal of my usual food behaviour. 

That’s about all the info I have at this point.  We don’t know the sex yet – those tests can only be done around the 20 week mark – though I’m willing to bet money that it’s a girl.  Just a feeling. 

A final quick but BIG congratulations to Jess as well as our friends Mike and Murray for competing in the Ottawa Race Weekend, who all set new PB’s this weekend.  Jess will fill you in more thoroughly in a later post 😉

-Tess

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Book Review: Metabolic Typing Diet

23 May

A couple weeks ago I met with a respected trainer, Predrag Stojnic, about nutrition for fitness competitors.  The two hours I spent with him were incredibly helpful; I could have sat and picked his brains all day but Mr. Stojnic is a busy man!  I asked him instead to refer any good books that he’d read so that I could learn more about the concepts he was telling me about.

The #1 book he recommended to me was a book called The Metabolic Typing Diet.  I bought it as soon as our meeting was over and have been reading ever since.  I’m not even halfway through and already it seems like everything I thought I knew about dieting has been turned up-side down.

In a nutshell, the authors show us that every person is different both on the outside, and on the inside –  just as two people do not have the same fingerprints, nor do they have the same metabolisms.  Why, therefore, have we all be led to believe that there is one universally right way of feeding ourselves?  We are a species that has come to cover the globe – we have people in the Northwest Territories eating whale blubber, people in Asian living on rice, and people in warm climates consuming mostly plants.  And they’re all thriving!  The truth is, the quick-and-dirty rules that the government and media have given us (through the Food Pyramid and fad diet books) do not fit every body and every metabolism.  Case in point: obesity and chronic illness are still on the rise!  So instead of trying to make our bodies to adapt to what other people have told us is “right”, we should instead be listening to our own bodies to figure out what our individual needs are.  The book goes on to explain how one may come to find which foods are best for one’s metabolism, even giving a condensed self-quiz to help figure it out.

All the information seems to make sense to me.  I’d love to hear what you all have to say about the book!

-Tess

Kerr Street Cafe Orzo Salad

22 May

Two weeks ago, I told asked Dustin if he wouldn’t mind helping me out at an event I was working in Toronto.  Little did he realize that event would require him to get up at 5:30am and help me make upwards of 500 grilled cheese sandwiches and countless custom t-shirts for thousands of people.   Gotta love event marketing 😉

To thank him for putting up with me, and not being too grumpy for getting up super early on a Sunday morning, I treated him to lunch at one of his favorite spots in Oakville- the Kerr Street Cafe.

Random fact: we both grew up in Oakville, went to the same high school (in the same grade) and managed to spend those four years without actually speaking to each other.  Funny how these things work out, eh? <—-I’m not at all Canadian…

Anyway, Dustin insisted that we get their Orzo salad to share with our mains (a delicious chana masala for me, Chorizo frittata for him) and I was immediately blown away by the flavor of this salad.  Truth be told, I am not the biggest fan of pasta salads. I usually find them bland and mushy and would rather have greens than grains/pasta mixed with my veggies and dressing.   That was so not the case here.  This was sweet and tangy, and the unexpected hints of curry totally brought me over to the dark side.

Obviously, I had to put my own spin on it and give you the recipe.

Two things are now for certain:

1)      You need to make this salad

2)      Dustin will probably never again agree to help me at an event

To all the Oakville-area people, I definitely recommend you head over to the Kerr Street Café to check out their menu and amazing cappuccinos.  They will even make you one with almond milk should you be so inclined.

Orzo and Wild Rice Pasta Salad

1 c. dried orzo

Water for boiling

½ c. wild rice

1 c. water

½ c. dried cranberries

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 medium carrot, grated

1 c. sunflower seeds

Curried sweet and sour dressing

¼ c. white wine vinegar

Juice from 1 lime

1 tbsp curry powder

¼ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp ground coriander

1 clove of garlic minced

½ c. olive oil

2 tbsp freshly chopped cilantro

Directions

Bring a medium sauce pan of water to boil, add in your orzo and cook until al dente.  Drain and rinse with cold water and then set aside.

In a separate small sauce pan, combine water and wild rice, bring to a boil and cook until liquid has been absorbed.  Remove from heat and allow it to come to room temperature.  Mix with orzo.

In a small bowl, combine vinegar, lime juice, spices, garlic, cilantro, and olive oil.  Mix well to combine, taste and adjust seasonings.

In a large bowl combine orzo and wild rice, carrot, bell pepper, sunflower seeds and dried cranberries.  Pour over dressing and toss to combine.  Season the salad with salt and fresh ground pepper and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Bon Appetit!

Jess

1 Dish 2 Spoons: BBQ

19 May

Like Jess said, it’s just not the long weekend without the BBQ.  Here, Jess and Tess give you their take on what’s good on the grill.

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Jess’ Take

Dustin and I arrived at the cottage yesterday to blue skies, green grass and this baby taking front and centre.  Yes folks, the BBQ will generally take front and centre at the cottage all year round.

While yesterday’s BBQ involved ribs and tofu on my part (with a delectable peanut sauce that I will share with you at a later date), tonight we did something a little different.  Tonight, Dustin and I took the reins, or tongs, and got to cooking/ grilling dinner for my parents.

Using up extra tofu left over from last night for me, and chicken for the carnivores, we came up with a chili lime marinade.

After letting the meat and soy chill on the counter for a little over 2 hours- giving us ample time to enjoy the amazing warm weather and a few cocktails- we got down to business.

The beauty about cooking chicken and tofu is they will actually take about the same amount of time on the grill.  I know that may seem strange, but you will want to get the tofu a nice caramel colour with some grill marks- this well help you achieve the desired texture.

So whether you’re a carnivore or herbivore, give this marinade a shot for your next BBQ- you won’t regret it.

Chili-Lime Chicken and Tofu

1 tbsp Chili Powder

2 tsp red pepper flakes

2 cloves of garlic, minced

Juice from 1

6 green onions, roughly chopped

1 tsp black pepper

¼ c. olive oil

¼ c. water

2 chicken breasts,

½ block tofu

Directions

Sandwich tofu between two plates, place large weighted item on top and allow moisture to press out for at least 4 hours.  Cut into 1 inch cubes and set aside.

Remove tenders from chicken breast and butterfly the breasts.  Set aside.

In a large bowl combine chili powder, red pepper flakes, garlic, lime juice, green onions, black pepper, and olive oil.  Mix well then add water 2 tbsp at a time to reach a desired consistency.  Taste and adjust seasonings to taste.

Place Tofu and Chicken breasts into 2 separate bags, pour ¼ c. marinade into tofu bag and the rest into the chicken bag.  Massage bags to crush onion slightly and ensure marinade gets into the meat/soy.  Let marinade for at least 2 hours.

Heat grill to medium-high, spear tofu cubes onto wooden or metal skewers and place tofu and chicken onto grill.  Cook, turning occasionally, for 10-15 minutes until juices on chicken run clear.  Serve with your favorite salads.

Jess

Tess’ Take

There are so many options with a BBQ theme: chicken, corn, veggies, ribs, steak, shrimp… but what caught my eye while perusing the Martha Stewart cookbook was a recipe for Greek-Style Mini Lamb Burgers.  I had made this recipe before when I had just started getting into cooking, but things hadn’t gone well and my dad (the consumer of the burgers) wasn’t keen on lamb.  Here we are, 4 5 years later and with some more experience under my belt, not to mention a John who love lamb (weird coincidence that both my dad and husbands names are John.  I even have a brother-in-law named John!)  Anyways, I decided to give it another go, and the results were 100% better this time around.  It can be difficult sometimes to find a recipe by Martha that lives up to my clean standards, but I was pleasantly surprised with the simplicity of this one.

Greek-Style Mini Lamb Burgers (serves 4)

Ingredients

(Burger)

-1.5 lbs lean ground lamb

-1/2 small onion, minced

-1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

-1 tsp dried oregano

-s&p

(Toppings)

-4x 6-inch pitas

-2 medium tomatoes, sliced

-shredded lettuce

-tzatziki sauce

(Tzatziki)

-1/2 english cucumber, peeled, seeded, and grated

-1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt

-2 tsp fresh lemon juice

-1 small garlic clove, minced

-s&p

Directions

1. Heat the BBQ to high.

2. Prepare tzatziki sauce by combining all ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate until time to serve.

3. Make the burgers by mixing all burger ingredients in a bowl.

We can send a man to the moon, but we can’t figure out how to prevent tearing while chopping onions??

Use your hands – get in there!

4. Form 16 small patties.  Tip: the skinnier the better.  Burgers shrink in diameter but get fatter on the BBQ, so make them as slim as possible before hitting the grill.  About 3/4 inch thick.

5. Grill patties until medium-rare, about 2-3 minutes per side (trust me, you don’t want to overcook these things.  I learned that last time).  When patties are just about done, throw your pitas onto the top part of the BBQ to warm them up.

6. To serve, cut the pitas in half and fill with tomato, lettuce, tzatziki and 2 burgers.

Mini Greek Lamb Burgers and Cantaloupe Bocconcini Salad

We ate our burgers with a healthy side-salad, also from Martha Stewart.

Cantaloupe and Bocconcini Salad (serves 4)

-1 ripe cantaloupe

-8oz bocconcini (small)

-2-3 slices prosciutto, cut into strips

-1/4 cup mint leaves, torn

-1 tbs fresh lemon juice

-s&p to taste

Scoop the cantaloupe into small balls with a spoon or a melon baller if you have one.  Combine all ingredients.  Toss salad, and serve 🙂

Happy May 2-4 everyone!

-Tess

Confessions of a Gym Rat

18 May

You may remember me challenging myself to 2 weeks of consistent yoga.  Well, I have a confession: I’ve been cheating on yoga with the weight room.  I can’t say I didn’t see it coming.  Who am I kidding?  I’m a gym junkie, and I wasn’t ready to give up my substance of choice.

Actually, I think it was the yoga that drove me back to the gym.  You see, last week when I went to my friend Leslie’s yoga class it was being held in her studio/gym.  Something about the smell of sweat and all those shiny dumbbells must’ve triggered my addiction.  Yes, I blame it squarely on the yoga!

Even though I still don’t have any clear goals for my strength training sessions, it’s been nice to just be back “home”; my lifestyle, my vision, and even my body all seem to make more sense when I training.  So here’s my tip for the day: any activity is good activity.  Who care if you skipped your run and went for a bike ride instead?  Why does it matter if you prefer to be in a weight room with 30 stinky men instead of outside hiking?  As long as you’re doing SOMETHING, then that’s really all any of us can (and should) ask of ourselves.

Happy training everybody!

-Tess

10 Things To Do this Long Weekend

17 May

Long weekends are pretty much the best thing ever, in my humble opinion.  Having that extra day off just makes the world seem like a happier place.  Unless of course your job requires you to work on weekends and/or the long weekend, then it seems like your own personal hell…

…  Awkward.

But, since I have the long weekend off and it will be my first day off in close to 12 days, I feel slightly entitled to be happy.

To me, long weekends are meant to be a time spent outdoors as much as possible, especially if there’s no rain.  It’s May, people.  We’ve been cooped up indoors for the past 6 months, let’s get out and enjoy the sunshine, shall we?

So with that in mind, here are my top 10 favorite things to do on the long weekend.

1)      Go running.  Oh yeah, I’m sure that one shocked you guys.  As you’ll remember, I have 2 more races coming up in the next couple of weeks so I’m still training my little heart out.  I’ll probably do my best to get out and run at least twice this weekend, but no more than 10-12 km each.

2)      Go to the cottage: I’m blessed to have a family cottage just over an hour’s drive from Montreal. Over the 5 years I’ve spent in this city, the cottage has become a personal retreat of sorts.  Even if I go up just for the day, just being there allows me to decompress and recharge.  So looking forward to that.

3)      BBQ- If there are two words that go hand in hand it would be: “long weekend” and “BBQ”.  Yes, I know that’s technically three words. Just go with it, please.  So dust off that patio set and invite your friends over for some good ol’ fashioned BBQ.  For the veggie in your group, can I recommend Portobello Mushroom burgers?

4)      Read- My schedule has been INSANE these past few months weeks and it’s sadly cut into my reading.  I’m an avid reader who loves cozying up to a good book and I hope to catch up on some of that this weekend.  My picks for the weekend:

5)      Catch-up with friends and family: I get it, we’re all busy and we all have things to do but sometimes it’s nice to just chill out and catch up with some friends over a cup of tea or a cocktail. Whichever your preference.

Love this pic of my parents. Note- the BBQ in the background.

6)      Cook- similar to bbq’ing but relegated to the kitchen, I love catching up on developing new recipes for you guys on my weekends.  This is when the natural light comes in handy for photography purposes and hopefully I can do a bit of that this weekend.  Keep on the lookout for a fun new recipe this Sunday as an FYI.

7)      Beer- after a long, hard week, chilling out on the deck in the country with an ice cold beer is pure heavenly bliss. Try and tell me otherwise. I dare you.

8)      Explore a different part of your city: for all you Stay-cationers out there, look at the long weekend as an opportunity to explore a new (to you) area of your city.  Go to that museum or art gallery exhibit you’ve been meaning to check out.  Make reservations at that funky new restaurant that just opened.  Do something new and different to make your stay-cation feel like an escape.

9)      Camping: believe it or not, I grew up loving camping; I even spent a summer as a camp counselor back in high school.  Sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows, going on hikes, sleeping in the fresh outdoor air, so much fun.   I also discovered how much fun camping can be in your mid-20s with a group of 20 other people, last summer.  So grab that scarred tent and worn out sleeping bag, ditch the make-up and gather up your friends for a weekend of memories you’d sooner forget than remember. #advil

Frisbee and beer pong (not) optional

10)   Sleep- I’ve been averaging between 5-6 hours of sleep per night for the past… I don’t remember for how long.  Sleep is on the agenda this weekend.

Jess

What will you do this long weekend?

Tropical Chicken Tacos

16 May

Is there a better family meal than tacos?  Everybody gets to dress their taco exactly the way they like.  They’re a special treat.  And they’re EASY.

Here’s a fun spin on the classic Old El Paso taco recipe.  Just as delicious, and maybe even healthier….?

Tropical Chicken Tacos (serves 4)

Ingredients:

Chicken

-1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

-1/2 cup low-fat coconut milk

-1/4 cup red onion, minced

-3 tbs pineapple, minced

-1 tsp ancho chile pepper (or regular chile pepper)

-1/4 tsp each sea salt and fresh ground pepper

-4 4oz boneless skinless chicken breasts (I also halved mine lengthwise to reduce cooking time)

-1 tsp EVOO

-12 corn tortillas, warmed

Coconut Pineapple Salsa

-1 jalapeño pepper

-3 cups pineapple, cubed

-1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro, chopped

-1/2 avocado, cubed

-1/4 cup red onion, minced

-1/4 cup unsweetened coconut, toasted

-1/8 tsp sea salt

Directions:

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine jalapeño, milk, onion, pineapple, chile powder, s&p.  Add chicken and marinate 30 minutes in the fridge.

2. Meanwhile, prepare salsa by combining all ingredients.  Cover and reserve until serving time.

3. To cook chicken, you can either grill it or pan fry.  Either way, heat your source up on medium-high.  Remove chicken from marinade (discard marinade).  Cook, turning once, until cooked through.

4. Meanwhile, warm up your taco shells.

5. To assemble, slice chicken into thin strips and divide among tortillas.  Top each with salsa.  Enjoy!

Enjoy!

-Tess

One Dish, Two Spoons: Mother’s Day Special

13 May

In honor of this weekend’s celebration of Mothers’ Day we’ve decided to each showcase one of our mothers’ classic recipes. With a clean twist.

Tess’ Take

The dish I will forever remember my mother for will be her tuna casserole.  There’s just one problem: I HATE tuna casserole.  It has nothing to do with how my mom cooked it – all my other siblings seemed to really enjoy it.  Maybe it’s because in the early years tuna casserole nights were also ballet lesson nights, which I dreaded.  Perhaps the two have been fused together in my memory.  So no matter how strongly I felt that this was my mom’s signature dish, I just could NOT bring myself to cook it for this post.

After much deliberation and consultation with my sisters, we decided that my mom was known for cooking: Chinese Hekka, anything with mushroom soup, chili, stew, garlic bread, pork chops with apple sauce, scalloped potatoes, tuna melts, and meatloaf.  I realized while reading this list that I have actually never made meatloaf, so that’s what I chose to cook tonight.

The ingredients in my mom’s version included: lean ground beef, tomato sauce, bread crumbs, eggs, chopped onion, and s&p.  So while the goal of this post was to clean up one of mom’s classic recipes, I realized that there really wasn’t much to improve on.  Still, for a change of scenery I decided to make my way over to Dave Ruel’s Anabolic Cooking website for a (Mini) Muscle Meatloaf recipe.

Muscle Meatloaf (serves 4)

Ingredients:

– 1 lb extra lean ground beef 
– 1/2 onion, finely chopped
– 1/2 tsp garlic powder
– 1/2 cup rolled oats
– 1/2 egg
– 1/2 tbs dried parsley
– 1/8 cup low fat parmesan
– 1/8 cup 1% milk
– 1/2 tsp oregano
– s&p

Directions:

1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.

2. Press mix into a bread pan.  Or, try making Dave’s version by filling muffin tins with the mix.

3. Bake at 375 for 30-35 mins until cooked all the way through.

I enjoyed my meatloaf with a side salad… then seconds of the meatloaf 😛  All in all, I thought there was a bit more flavor to this version because of the parmesan and spices.  However, I still like the way mama used to make it.  Isn’t it always better when mom makes it though?

I love you mom.  Thanks for everything you gave us, and gave up for us growing up.  And thanks for all the good food!

-Tess

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Jess’ Take

When Tess and I decided to make dishes in honour of Mother’s Day, there was one meal I knew that I had to make.  Growing up in a family with two meat-loving brothers and a father, steak was a popular item on the weekly menu (much to my disgust).  What better to go with steak than baked potato and caesar salad? My Mom’s thoughts exactly.

So while I obviously do not eat steak and I prefer sweet potatoes to white, here is a vegetarian spin on the steak and potato dinner:

Portobello Mushroom with Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes and Homemade Caesar Salad

Portobello Mushrooms

2 Portobello Mushrooms

2 tbsp Olive Oil

2 tbsp balasmic vinegar

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp thyme

1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

Directions

Heat brill or broiler over medium heat and broil or grill, flipping halfway through until tender and juicy.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

2 medium sweet potatoes

1 medium parsnip, grated

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 tbsp fresh sage

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400F

Wash potatoes and poke several holes throughout (to prevent any explosions).  Place on middle rack and bake for 20-30 minutes until tender.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Once cool enough to handle, slice off top and scoop out potato with a spoon, leaving outer skin intact.

In a mixing bowl combine potato, parsnip, oil and spices. Mix well to combine then scoop back into potatoes.  Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes until tops are slightly crispy.

Homemade Caesar dressing

2 egg yolks

1/4 c. red wine vinegar

1 c. olive oil

4 cloves of garlic

1 tbsp dijon mustard

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tsp worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp tobasco (we like it spicy)

In a blender combine egg yolks, red wine vinegar, garlic, mustard, lemon, worcestershire, and tabasco.  Blend until smooth.  Keeping a low speed, slowly add olive oil allowing it to emulsify, blend for an additional 30 seconds.  Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with crisp romaine, croutons, parmesan cheese and a lemon wedge.

Thank you Mom for all the wonderful kitchen memories, I look forward to creating new ones soon.

Love,
Jess(ica)

 

 

Jess’ Top 10 Spring Fruit and Vegetables

10 May

Spring to me means new.

New flowers, new vegetables, new shoes…

Everything is green and lush and rejuvenated.  It also means I can say goodbye to heavy meals and hello to Kale every day.

I’m serious; I would eat Kale every day if I could.  #issues

So in honour of spring, I give you my top 10 list of favorite spring fruits and vegetables.

1) Artichokes- “It might’ve choked Artie but it ain’t gonna choke Stymie” thank you Little Rascals for ensuring I always think of you whenever I see artichokes.  Don’t like artichokes? Well, then I don’t like you. Kidding. Sort of.  Love them or hate them, you have to admit, their flowery shape and bright green colour just scream spring is here! Enjoy them stuffed or indulge in a savory spinach and artichoke dip for an indulgent treat.

2) Asparagus- again, a love it or hate it kind of veggie, asparagus are among my favorites (obviously).  You really can’t go wrong with my balsamic and garlic asparagus as the perfect side dish to any fish, poultry or vegetarian main.   Oh and have you ever tried them on the barbeque? Best.Thing.Ever!

3) Fennel- I love the slightly bitter-sweet licorice taste that fennel will bring to your dishes.  My all time favorite way to enjoy them? Thinly sliced with red onions, navel oranges (another spring item) and slivered almonds, tossed together with a dash of white wine vinegar.  Top the mixture onto a bed of greens and you, my friends, of a wonderful spring-time salad on your hands.

4) Leeks- offering up a lighter, almost sweeter, taste to savoury dishes than your typical onions. Leeks are great for adding flavour to dishes such as soups and quiche. Or try them in my mushroom and leek pasta.

5) Lemon- Give your dishes a fresh squeeze of lemon for a citrusy burst in flavour.  A main stay in many of my hummus recipes; use them as a base for salad dressings, or even make your own lemonade.

6) Peas- I admit, there was a dark period in my childhood where I absolutely despised peas.  I have a feeling this was due in large part to my dear grandmother who insisted on boiling all nutrient value out of them.  Mushy peas= gross.  It wasn’t until much later in life when I realized just how tasty these little guys can be.  Add them to soups, stir-fry’s, even salads.  For a colourful side dish sauté snow-peas and matchstick carrots with a bit of sesame oil and garlic- works great alongside salmon or tofu in an Asian-style glaze.  Hmmm, recipe forthcoming.

7) Rhubarb- Dustin would kill me if I didn’t include Rhubarb on this list.  A sure-fire sign it’s spring is when you see those delightfully tart stalks of pink goodness in your grocer’s produce aisle.  When you combine them with sweet strawberries (aka my absolute favorite fruit since I was 3) you have a match made in heaven.  Hmm, maybe that’s why Dustin and I are so compatible? #NotNormal

8) Spinach- a long time favorite chez Tess and Jess, we enjoy spinach in a myriad of ways: in our green smoothies, in massive salads, stuffed into mushrooms, pasta dishes… etc… I could go on, but I’m sure you get the idea.

8 1/2) Salad Greens- while I’m on leaf-talk, pretty much most of your greens varieties are now at their peak season.  Go ahead and give that Kale a try, buy that Swiss chard or collard.  Challenge yourself to try a new green every week this spring to shock and please your taste buds out of your romaine rut.  Do it.

9) Strawberries.  See #7.  My favorite fruit since I was a little kid, strawberries make not only my top 10 Spring list, but also my top 10 list of favorite foods period.  I love them in smoothies, pies, salads, tarts, alone, dipped in chocolate… I could go own but you’ll get bored.

10) Vidalia Onions- Sweet and light, the natural sugars in Vidalia onions means they were made to be caramelized in my humble opinion.   Bursting with a rich and slightly smoky flavour, caramelized onions will give a flavour boost to any dish- salads, pastas, pizza, hummus, or even grilled cheese.

Yes, you heard me- grilled cheese.  You want the ultimate comfort food treat? Go and buy some bakery quality thick-sliced bread and 3+ years aged cheddar.  Top one slice with the cheddar and some caramelized onions, sandwich it with a second piece of bread.  Lightly oil or butter the bread and grill on both sides until golden and crispy and the cheese is gooey and melty.  Serve with your favorite Dijon or honey mustard. You can thank me later.

What are you most excited about for spring? Did I leave out any of your favorite vegetables or fruits?

-Jess

Need some new goals

9 May

Hey everybody, sorry for my lackluster posts lately.  Lately I’ve been going about my days (more specifically, my workouts) with less enthusiasm than usual, and I finally realized why: I don’t have any short-term goals set for myself!  My last goal was to look great at my wedding which, obviously, I accomplished 😉  But what now?

Without a competition on the horizon, I don’t have much need to put on any more muscle.  And with John and I trying to get pregnant, I don’t want to lose too much weight for fear of interfering with my hormones (I typically get hormonally out of whack somewhere around the 15% body fat mark).  So I find myself in that awkward state of “maintenance”.  Do any of you find maintenance to be as tough as I do?  I’ve never cared much for it.

So with that said, I need to set myself a new goal and challenge my body in a different way.  I’m going to pull an old school Jess (circa Montreal Veggie) and do a 2 week yoga challenge, starting this week with my good friend Leslie’s class this Sunday 🙂  My goal is to get to 3+ classes every week and to try a couple new styles.  To keep my accountable, I’ll be posting quick recaps of my classes.

This should be fun!

-Tess