Perfectly Permanent Birthday

IMG_5477Another year has come and gone, and I am once again incredibly blessed in all aspects of my life.

For my 26th birthday today, I booked the day off, and spent it EXACTLY how I wanted.

I slept in until about 8:30 when the sun was just starting to rise and my Dad called. [He is always the first person to tell me happy birthday-he always beats G because he calls first thing in the morning, I love it.] I had a nice hot shower while I listening to my new Adele CD (a birthday gift from G along with a beautiful rose gold band and my favourite perfume), and put on some simple but pretty makeup and blow-dried and straightened my hair. I got into my favourite cute-comfy clothes.

 

G and I hoped over to the mall where I had a nail appointment for a pedicure. I was pampered and Graeme had his own hair cut and then got us both a starbucks.[BTW. It ALWAYS snows on my birthday..and of course in december-fashion it was snowing a bit when I came out with my sandals on :)]

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Next we went and purchased a variety of gluten free cupcakes from my favourite Cupcake Conspiracy downtown before returning home.

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We had about an hour before our next event which was perfect time for G to shower/shave [clean face just for me!] + put on some cologne [also a big deal, he hates cologne and I love it]. While home I got my Indigo delivery from black friday! Whoooo! Total surprise to receive a package on the weekend (Im assuming long hours for christmas)- but it contained some stocking things for G…as well as 3 candles I got for amazing deals. They all smell amazing! Happy Birthday to me! I also got to chat with my mom on the phone for a bit.(Mom + Dad contributed to our refugee sponsorship for my birthday which I appreciate wayyyyy more than a gift!:))

After we were done at home, we headed over to pick up my brother and then went to Famoso-my favourite pizza place for a casual lunch with a bunch of my friends! [some had to work and what not][the BEST gluten free pizza…and  I have NEVER been contaminated accidentally which is a huge feat at such a restaurant!]

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We had about another hour and a half before we had to head to a very special appointment so we came home. I had a cupcake and tea while cuddling with G watching my favourite show of the week: Last Man Standing on netflix. I was also able to finish up my goal list for the year! Fun things coming up!

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Finally, we went for the most anticipated part of the day. MY TATTOO!!!! Shannon at Alchemy Tattoo was AMAZING,  warm, kind…and didn’t seemed bothered at all by my type-A nature. She stencilled out my design twice, the first one was a bit small, the second perfect, and then she put the stencil on my arm around FIVE times while I hummed and hawed about exactly where I wanted it (I wanted it to be relatively straight even when moving…which is tough on the area I chose). Finally once I had decided, she reassured my fears of the pain, and started. Within 5 minutes, and essentially no pain [I have had paper cuts and running chafe that hurt more], it was done!!:) I absolutely adore it! My only regret is not going sooner. (Keep in mind the photo is five seconds after it was done, so all the blue is just from the stencils, all that will remain in a couple days is the black ENOUGH..and hopefully a  lot less redness. I’ll post a good pic when it is healed up.)

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After the tattoo we came home to do exactly what I wanted- to hang out at home! We are now relaxing on the couch, watching youtube videos, reading, sipping tea.

The only plans left are to watch my favourite movie, Marley & Me, maybe wrapping my final stocking gifts for G for xmas, and bed early for work tomorrow! [I planned a lunch out for this purpose…I’m a morning person!]

I am so incredibly thankful for this beautiful life I have, with so many wonderful people. Thanks for coming along for the ride. 🙂 Here’s to 26!

 

 

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A Day In The Life

Woke up today at 6am and then rested in bed for about 15 minutes before getting up for my long run, feeling relatively rested after 7.5hrs of sleep (I usually need 9). I ate a banana and about 4 or 5 baby dill pickles along with two glasses of water. Filled up my fuel belt with another two cups of water and some dates.

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Headed out for a slightly epic run with one of my besties, Grey Robin. I call it epic because I was pushed beyond what I thought was my physical limit as well as my mental limit at this point. We setting out to hit 18km, at what I thought would be my average pace of 7:45-8:25….typically long runs are mostly in the 8 minute or more mark. After 1km, GR took my garmin away from me as I was already starting to obsess over my pace. She directed me to just take it easy and go with how I felt [she should really get certified as a run coach, she really knows how to encourage and inspire]. Fabulous. We took a route on our normal trail but much further south in a part I haven’t been. It was beautiful and slightly hilly dirt trails. At 5km, I was surprised to find out I was only at 37 minutes (40 minutes is my norm. lately) and feeling great. Around where I thought was about 8 or 9km I started trying to push myself a little harder because I thought I might be slowing down, telling Becky I would like to hit 10km in less than 1:18 (norm. is 1:20 lately). She giggled a bit as I was huffing and puffing and fretting about slowing down and told me that I only had 900M to go until 10KM giving me enough time to actually WALK and still hit 1:18. I rolled past 10KM at 1:14!!!! I was actually running at a 7:05 and 7:07 pace for the 9 and 10th KM. WAHOOOOO!!! I couldn’t breath, and tears were welling in my eyes. I am so much stronger than I think I am. We continued along the dirt river-side trails for the last 8KM which were definitely tough mentally. I literally felt like crawling into the grass and going to sleep. Grey Robin pushed me and pushed me and LITERALLY…EVEN PHYSICALLY PUSHED ME and got me to the end in 2:21:53! Major Success. Even if I run 8:15 minute KM’s for the last three on race day, I will PR by about a minute. I seriously have no idea what I would do without GR’s constant support!!=) Through the run I only ate about 3 dates and 3 cups of water. 

After the run I had 25 minutes until church started so I made a mad dash for a cold shower and got ready to arrive at church about 10 minutes late, iced coffee, pickles and a banana in hand. After service the hubbie and I headed home for some relaxation and lunch. We ate leftover lo mein and watermelon. I had 3 glasses of water also.

We spent the afternoon watching episodes of The Mindy Project, which the hubbie is still catching up on while I stretched and foam rolled- seriously painful.

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Around 2:30 we settled in for an afternoon nap as we were both beat. I sleep for about an hour and a half. Woke up, hung around the house, wasted time on the internet snacking on some potato chips and finally decided upon sushi for dinner. [Oh and treated my running chafe while drinking a cherry dr. pepper]

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Now we are just spending the evening at home relaxing/watching TV and probably having an early-ish bedtime! Our simple, boring sunday in a nutshell, and I loved it!

Lo Mein [Gluten Free, Vegan]

Two weeks until the last marathon of the year. This means its time to clean up my diet, and put only good things in. This also means it is time to start introducing a few extra carbs! Here’s a way to do both, while satiating a chinese take-out craving [something that doesn’t come gluten-free in my city].

Low Mein [Gluten Free, Vegan]

All Veggie servings are approximate as  you can just use what you have/need to use up for this recipe. I just kept adding until my pan was too full! This recipe takes about 20 minutes start to finish and reheats well.

Makes 4-6 servings

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400g Rice noodles

1 onion, chopped

1 tbsp canola oil

3 cups stir-fry mix (Mine had broccoli, carrots, sugar peas…all pre-chopped)

1 cup bean sprouts, chopped

1.5 cup baby bokchoy, chopped

1 can drained water chestnuts

1 can drained mini corn

2 cups broth (I used vegetable)

2 tbsp corn starch

Sauce

3 tbsp tamari + extra according to taste

1 tbsp minced ginger (I used ginger paste)

2 tbsp raw cane sugar

2 tbsp sesame oil

5 cloves garlic, minced

Heat frying pan over medium heat. Add oil and onion and cook until onions are translucent. While onions are cooking, make rice noodles. Cover noodles in a bowl with boiling water + 1 cup broth, drain once noodles are slightly firmer than al dente. Whisk sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Once onions are translucent, add stir fry mix and cover with lid. Cook until crisp but tender, aprox 2-3 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables, including water chestnuts, as well as the final cup of broth. Add sauce. Allow vegetable to soften, aprox. 2 minutes.

Drain vegetables, reserving the sauce. Add sauce back to pan along with rice noodles and corn starch which has been dissolved in a small amount of water. Allow rice noodles to finish softening. Once noodles are soft, toss in vegetable mixture. Heat until sauce has reduced slightly, aprox. 1 minute.

Once removed from heat, drizzle with sesame oil and serve. If you desire more flavour, drizzle with extra tamari.

To reheat, add a few tbsp warm water to a pan with serving, or put in microwave with a cup of water beside dish to retain moisture.

NOTE: If you would like to add some protein, chopped firm tofu, scrambled eggs, or chicken would be best added with onions at the beginning. I prefer to keep it vegan.

Buh-Bye Sugar!

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Due a general interest in increasing my energy, mood and health, I have decided to challenge myself to one month free of refined sugar or carbs. If you remeber from last summer- I began seeing a naturopath. Part of my journey to health involved cutting out refined sugar and carbs (as well as about 15 allergens and caffiene) for 6 weeks….but slowly over the year all the sugar snuck it’s way back in. I have been indulging in soda WAY more than appropriate (having a soda stream dosen’t help), as well as other ‘junk’. Being summer, it’s the easiest season to eat healthy…so why not! I’ll be travelling this week, so I am planning to start my plan May 29 and go until June 19. Wish me luck!

As I learned last year around this time, success is all in the planning. I know that cravings will come and I need to be prepared for both salty and sweet snacks. I also will need to amp up protein and fat to keep me satifsfied. I will try to share my meal-planning in case any of you want to follow along!=) I work shift work, so if I can do it…all of you 9-5er’s certainly can as well!=) FYI: I usually plan leftovers for lunches, hence no lunch categorie. For the 12 hour work days- I also bring leftovers for one meal plus eggs for another and tons of fruit and veg typically.

Breakfasts:

Omelettes (2-3 eggs + salt + pepper + almond milk + spinach + onion + mushroom + pepper + tomato)

Egg Cupcakes (bake shredded yam hash + sausage + eggs in cupcake tins in oven)

Monkey Salad (cashews + coconut chips + banana)

Fruit

Coffee and Vegan Creamer (Coconut Milk + dates + vanilla)

Snacks:

Monkey Salad

Fruit

Boiled Eggs with Salt

Dill Pickles

Turkey Wraps (Turkey + avocado + spinach)

Dinners:
May 29: Travelling, 7km run- Cobb Salad (bacon, egg, rotisserie chicken, tomato, avocado, cucumber, lettuce, black beans + vegan ranch)
May 30: 12 hr Day Shift
May 31: 12 hr Day Shift

June 1: 12 hr Day Shift

June 2: 12 hr Night Shift, Yoga- Baked Salmon (lemon, salt, pepper) + Kale/Mushrooms/Onion + Yam with coconut oil

June 3: 8km Run(last 4 race pace)- Yam Hash, Eggs, Sautee Kale or Spinach

June 4: 4km Run- Salad + Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken + Guacamole

June 5: 16km Run- Creamy Spiced Cauliflower Soup

Happy Eating!

Dairy/Gluten Free Eggs Bene

Cooking is a funny thing for me. It’s in my soul. Some people say they were born to nurse, or born to run, or born to paint; I think I was born to cook. I don’t remeber an age that I wasn’t in the kitchen helping my Dad whip up big dishes full of love and palate tingling excitement. On my deepest, darkest days cooking brings a sense of calm that makes me feel whole. Memories of a beautiful simplistic childhood. One dish can have so much thought, hardwork, love. As the clinche says, it’s the blood, sweat and tears.

For the first time in months, I have a recipe to share. As I woke at 3:32am (not abnormal the day after working nights) and the rain drizzled down I felt that urning inside of me to be challenged; to be with my family; to eat. Poached eggs and hollandaise sauce have intimidated me from the beginning of time. Dramatic? Maybe a little. Any history I had with the two produced memories of too-lemony-greasy sauce and undercooked, falling apart eggs from amature attempts or terrible diners. While neither of these were things I grew up eating, I grew up cooking. I take pride in conquering the seemingly impossible [Oh that mind game…] in the kitchen. Thus, today was the day. My husband was (obviously) still in bed, so it was just me, Julia Child, numerous food blogs and 3 dozen eggs.

Fortunately, it ended up being much simplar than I ever anticipated, and much more decadent than I could have ever imagined. I didn’t waste even one egg. I attempted to do some quality photography along the way but lighting on the dreary early morning, and lack of a camera stand kabunked that idea.

Dairy and Gluten Free Eggs Bene

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Serves Two

8 Stems of Asparagus

Olive oil

Salt & Pepper

4 egg yolks

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup dairy-free solid fat (I used 1/2 vegan margarine and 1/2 coconut oil)

4 whole eggs

First, get your asparagus rolling. Chop off the ends, rinse and place on a foil-lined pan. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and pop in a 375 degree oven until tender.

Wisk egg yolks and lemon juice until fluffy and doubled in size. Next, over low heat, wisk mixture continuously-being careful not to boil or overheat- until starting to foam around the edges. At this point, begin drizzling in melted fat SLOWLY until incorperated. You may need to remove the mixture from the heat for the last half as to not scramble your eggs- I knew to do this as my egg mixture had thickened to my desired custard consistency. Once the fat has been incorperated, add a pinch of cayenne pepper and a pinch of salt. Taste and season accordingly. Cover with a dish cloth and set aside.

Bring 3 inches water to a boil, and then turn down to less than a simmer-you should only have a few bubbles but a lot of steam. Crack eggs into spice bowls. Lower the bowl to the edge of the water and slowly slip in the egg. Cook for 3 minutes for soft, 3 1/2 minutes for medium soft, and 4 1/4 minutes for hard. Pull out of water and submerge in an icebath to stop cooking process.

Top asparagus with two eggs, and desired amount hollondaise sauce and enjoy the best breakfast of your life. I served mine with bacon and cantalope. If you have leftover sauce (you should)- just add a dash of hot water and wisk to bring back to life to use at a later time.

Race Jitters!

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Well, time is beginning to escape me! ONLY ELEVEN DAYS until the first half marathon of the season. I have one more long run and the a week of rest. My long run last week went exceptionally well thanks to some fantastic friends. I had one friend join me for the first 10km, and the second friend joined in at about 7km for 6km which brought me up to 13km total with friends. I was then on my own to run home after dropping off friend #2 at her car. My watch malfunctioned for about 1.5-2km, so I ended up running somewhere between 17.25 and 17.75 km total. I felt great through the entire run, and I think I have finally mastered fueling! This was an afternoon run, so I was able to sleep in a bit and then I enjoyed some delicious Coach’s Oats- Oh She Glows Cookbook Apple Pie style!=) [I loveeeeee cooked apple dishes since I am allergic to raw ones.] If you haven’t tried Coach’s Oats, DO IT. I found them at costco and they aren’t rolled oats (no gluten)…rather unprocessed oats! Healthier and they cook in just a few more minutes!

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I ate these about 3-4 hours before the run topped with drippy almond butter, maple syrup, shredded coconut and sunflower seeds on top! YUM. I drank 2 litres of water + 1.5 Nuun tablets before the run. As for mid-run fueling, I took a package of watermelon Gu gummies. I also brought some shot blocks just in case but didn’t use them. I drank nuun from the camelback whenever I was thirsty (750ml H20 + 2 Nuun tabs) and started eating gummies at 4.6km. By 15km I had run out of water, but I was close enough to home that it was okay, and I had eaten all my gummies. Zero stomach yuck during or after the run! Sucess! My body felt tired, but no aches or pains. The next couple days I did have some back pain, but I think this is due to my lack of abs and could be easily cured with a massage! Anyways, long winded……I am excited to conquer the first race of the year!

Today I am working a night shift, so I am spending the day making sushi, watching HGTV (the hubbie got suckered into buying cable for 6 months *roll eyes*) and meal planning while waiting for G to get home from his first day at his new job!=)

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I’ve planned our meals for up until race day! Yay!! Trying to plan in some indulgences so that I dont go crazy and eat fast food or something right before the race- healthIER indulgences. 

I go on vacation starting tomorrow morning, so I will be home every day to make food, stretch and do some easy runs. Grocery day is always friday, so I have a ton of freezer stuff to use before then.

Here’s the plan:

Friday- Pad Thai

Saturday- Spaghettie Squash with ground turkey + mushrooms + peppers

Sunday- Marinated Steak (Ive been promising G for weeks) + Strawberry Spinach Salad + Baked Potatoes

Monday- Leftovers + Potato Omelet Breakfast Bites (pinterest) for breakfasts + One Bowl Vegan Chocolate Cake

Tuesday- Vegan Cheesy Alfredo + GF noodles + Zuchinni

Wednesday- Homemade chicken fingers (crushed rice cereal and spices) + Homemade yam fries + corn

Its all on the up and up from here!! I can’t wait to run this race/prepare for this race as well as watch my husband earn his first half-marathon medal + one of my besties, Grey Robin, earns her first full-marathon medal!

 

GF Pumpkin Spice Crepes

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G and I were hungry for some delicious food, and with a bulk package of bacon in the freezer from costco, and a container of homemade pumpkin puree I made in the freezer…I was just itching to make some pumpkin infused breakfast food!

I perused pinterest and found this recipe: http://www.thebakingbeauties.com/2011/10/gluten-free-pumpkin-crepes.html

I adapted it to what I had in the house and what I can actually eat…so here is how I made it…

Makes aprox. 12 crepes

1 1/2 cups Bob Red’s Mill All Purpose Flour

1/2 tsp xanthan Gum

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp nutmeg

2 tsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup home made pumpkin puree (if using canned, Id probably use 3/4 cup as mine is runnier)

1 1/2 cup almond milk + 2 tbsp (again, if using canned pumpking you may need a little more)

2 large eggs

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla

Mix all of the ingredients in a stand mixer. Heat non-stick skillet to medium high. Pour 1/3 cup of batter at a time onto skillet, using measuring cup to spread out batter while still liquid. Turn over once bubbles have formed. Fill with coconut-whip and strawberries. I imagine pumpkin pie filling would be AMAZING!