Food Time Friday – Flavoured Cheese

It is that time of the week again when I attempt to bring you a delicious and healthful recipe.  This week is inspired by the Tea Party I had last weekend.  As the tea party landed right smack dab in the middle of the Gingersneezes Eats Clean challenge my co-host and I wanted to do our best to make sure everything that was served was clean, healthy, and most importantly delicious.  For the most part I would say we were wildly successful, however I think that I might need to work a bit on my “moose” for the next time, I have some good ideas I will be trying out in the future.

One of the recipes that I whipped up and was actually pretty surprised at how well it worked out was a flavour infused goats cheese.  Yes, of course you can just buy the cranberry or fig or herbed goat chesses in the store but with that comes some additives and likely some sulphites, so the morning of the party I decided I was going to give it a go and make my own flavoured goat cheese spread. It was ridiculously easy and super fresh and dillicious (I am dill-obsessed I couldn’t help but try and put it in). It went great with some Mary’s Organic Crackers (they are gluten, dairy and nut free), but would also be great with some veggies or rice crackers, and would also probably go great as a spread on toast.

Dill and Cucumber infused Goat Cheese:

Dill and Cumber Cheese

1 140g log (the small log) of plain goat cheese (organic if you can get it)
1/4 of cucumber
2 tbsp fresh dill (1 tbsp if using dried)

  1. Place goat cheese in a medium sized bowl and mash up so it is no longer in a log.
  2. Cut 1/4 of cucumber in half down the middle.  Remove seeds with a spoon.  Once seeds have been removed grate the cucumber with a cheese grater.  This should make about 1/4 cup of grated cucumber. Depending on the size of you cucumber you may need to cut more.
  3. Take grated cucumber and in a fine mesh colander press out access water. Once water has been drained place cucumber in the bowl with the goats cheese.
  4. Add in chopped fresh dill, and mix together until.  Transfer mixture to a small serving bowl and enjoy.  There is no need to let the mixture sit the flavours are so fresh they will burst through right away.
  5. This can be made the night before to save you some time when preparing for a party.

Hope everyone is looking forward to the weekend. I know I am, it is my 10k race this Saturday evening and I couldn’t be more excited for it!

Happy Friday!

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Weekend Round-Up – Overeating Confessions

So this past weekend it was a pretty great one but I have some major confessions to make and some big apologies to make to my insides.

Firstly, this weekend was pretty great, I went shopping with my mom Friday and followed that up with a date night with my husband. Saturday was filled with movies and a Nightmare Kitchen marathon and Sunday was spent gardening and hanging out in the beautiful and sunny 22 degree weather. It was pretty much perfect.

Secondly, for whatever reason I felt the strong urge to completely ignore my regular diet and to eat crap all weekend. I decided that with the challenge coming up, and having been healthy for so long it wouldn’t so much matter if I went completely off the deep edge.  Oh my goodness was I wrong, and how I am paying for it now. Apparently your body gets used to eating fresh healthful foods and when exposed to the bagged and box food world of grease and empty calories it tends to revolt.  And revolting it is.candy-junk-food-story

I have once again learnt that as fun and tasty as dairy is my body truly hates it. I have learnt that no mater what the flavour of chip it is never worth it, and that there could never be any flavour of food that would make me want to feel the way I do right now ever again. Perhaps I am being dramatic, but I truly feel awful.

It feels as though in an effort to teach me a lesson and remind me why I had changed the way I ate in the first place my insides have decided to tie themselves into knots and with a knives embedded in the middle. So today I feel the consequences of dairy (nothing wrong with it unless you have an intolerance like I do), wheat, and other inflammatory food products. I am happy to learn this lesson and sad to know that I let myself get so out of hand that I am in physical pain. As awful as it is, it is also nice to see that the food changes I made throughout the past 6 months were actually beneficial and probably one of the main reasons why I had been feeling so great.

Luckily today is another day and I am given another chance to right myself and make all new decisions. This past weekend is also great motivation for me to stay on course for the 50 day challenge and a reminder that no matter how challenging it might feel in the moment making healthy choices are the way to go if you want to feel great and energized.

I figured I would share this hiccup with everyone,  I assume most of us can related. Sometimes no matter how dedicated to being healthy and fit sometimes we all fall off the edge and need a bit of time to pick ourselves back up.  Don’t get discouraged, just keep moving forward and remember your lessons learnt.

I hope you all had a great weekend and were hopefully more responsible with your food intake than I was.

Happy Monday and remember to love your insides as much as your outsides.

Eating Abroad

So….eating that fun little thing that gets stuck at the back of our minds when we are trying to get in shape, tone up, or lose some pounds. It can sometimes manifest itself into this idea that you have to do everything perfect at all times to be successful and achieve your goals. It can also drive you a little batty especially if you have hit a plateau or are outside of your regular surroundings.

You might have thoughts such as; “am I eating too much?” “am I eating the right things?” “is it okay to have this drink?” “will this indulgence through me in a tailspin and ruin my progress?”, and the list goes on and on.

I myself being stuck on a bit of a plateau right now and having the opportunity of going on a vacation was blessed with a bit of a double whammy in the way of panic in regards to eating and properly fueling my body. Before leaving for vacation I had set out a plan of attack which is something I do when I will be out of my regular routine (re: Christmas) to make me feel a bit more calm and to help me be a bit more lenient on myself.

Also before leaving for vacation Alannah and I had a brief conversation about what my goals were and what I would do to stay on track. Being fortunate enough to have a trainer helped to motivate me to stay on track because I had someone other than myself to be accountable to. I have said it before and I am saying it again having a buddy when it comes to exercise is the way to go, whether it is a personal trainer, a running friend, your significant other, or anyone you can share your goals with and will help to keep you accountable.

So with my plan, my discussion with Alannah and with my thoughts haunting me about derailing my progress I set out for a nice relaxing vacation. Once I arrived at my destination and was finally able to see what would be available in the way of food it was a bit. I am sure most would have thought it glorious had I been a normal person but with my numerous allergies and food restrictions I found it pretty challenging to find things to eat, let alone stay on “track”.

Although I was not as strict with myself as I would have been had I had full control over preparing and serving my meals I was always able to create some type of salad, every morning there were delicious make yourself omelettes which they would make with just egg whites and there was always plenty of fruit. There were always veggies but often covered in nuts (which are deadly to me) or lathered in sauce and meat was always in abundance but always marinated in something or in a sauce which may have contributed to my eczema outbreak. All in all there was always something to eat just not as clean as it would have been at home.

Besides it being a bit of a struggle to find things that I would normally deem as “healthy” for eating I was able to bring apples down to the beach for a morning snack and the a-la-cartes were great and always had large nut free portions of veggies as sides. It also didn’t hurt that you get to dress up and our wonderful server brought us this loving message written in sauce.

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So my take back from this experience is mainly that yes it is a vacation and it shouldn’t be a total free pass to be destructive and derail your progress, but also yes it is a VACATION and you are allowed to enjoy yourself and to indulge in some things that you normally wouldn’t otherwise.

It is important to point out that during all of this, and eating maybe not in the healthiest of ways I did definitely workout, but more on that later.

Happy Wednesday everyone!! Is anyone else as excited for the weekend as I am?

What’s Your Stress Response

So a while back I had mentioned that I was going to attempt to look at my stress triggers and what my stress responses tend to be. This activity has been particularly challenging for me, because looking inward isn’t always one of my strong suits – I think this might be an challenge many people are faced with. But as a part of my training, I agreed to give it ago and to look at what I am doing in moments of stress; do I eat, cry, scream, smoke, drink, run, sleep? How do I respond to stress?

Originally this was going to be a little personal journey I was having a tough time so I figured I wouldn’t have much to share but then yesterday while sitting at work thinking of everything I have planned for December and everything I still have to do before going to Edmonton at Christmas I was completely consumed with anxiety. It felt overwhelming like there weren’t enough hours in a day (even though there definitely are) but this lead me to thinking that maybe it might be helpful to share what I have learnt about myself in past couple of months when it comes to stress.

Firstly I have learnt that there are so many “triggers” in life it is actually easier to focus in on what my stress responses are. From that I have identified three main stress responses, one is pretty healthy and the other two compete for unhealthiest (perhaps you can help decide), so here they are:
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My number 1 stress response is to avoidance. To completely retreat from everything, stop doing anything that needs to be done. I know this sounds irrational but stress responses aren’t always the most rational things in life. So basically I try and hide in my bed, on the couch, basically anywhere I feel that there may not be any expectations of me, I think I am hoping magical fairies will take care of whatever needs to get done for me. This stress response hasn’t been such a successful tactic in the past, I’m looking at you multiple years of university and last minute essay writing – shutters.

My number 2 isn’t triggered right away, it takes a bit for it to sink in, but then my logical half speaks up and tells me to do something active. Without running, yoga, weights, or sweating in general I become a pretty unpleasant person to live with (ask my husband, although I am sure he will tell you what a pleasure I am). I find that running especially helps with any frustration type stress, as I often find it to be more of an aggressive workout.
animal-mammal-rongeur-686952-oMy number 3 is carbs carbs carbs and more carbs, with a side of cheese. I will start craving a delicious poutine (this is French fries, cheese and gravy for my non-Canadian friends), a whole family sized baguette with a wheel of brie, a massive lasagna, or anything else layered with carbs, dairy and fat. Heck I once ate pancakes rolled up with cheese and peanut butter inside. if G.I. Joe has taught me anything “knowing is half the battle”, and I know this isn’t the most healthy response so I do attempt some self talk before indulging. I try to slow down a little and ask myself if I really “need” a poutine, sometimes this works sometimes I eat a poutine.

So these are my number three responses. I also do other things like act a little irrationally or burst into tears at the drop of a hat, but these are my top three stress responses. From my homework assignments from the personal training, I have been able to recognize what is going on instead of just going through with whatever impulse I feel at the time. I am starting to learn to pump the breaks a bit and take a step back. But mostly I have learnt that you can’t control feeling stressed but you can make a choice about how you respond to that stress.

I think it is important to point out that I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, so no I don’t always go out for a run, or perform some type of physical activity instead of stuffing my face or sleeping a day away, but I am definitely less likely to do so now that I am aware of what I am doing. I have found that paying attention to my internal queues has helped me approach this whole health and fitness deal with a bit more mindfulness and confidence.

How do you deal with stress?

Happy Thursday everyone!

Let’s Recap

So this past weekend was the last insane weekend of November (mostly because it was also the last weekend in November to be insane), and I can’t tell you how excited I am for some relaxation and the pace to slow a little bit. This month has been great with family celebrations , visits with family, parties and learning but I am ready for just a bit of relaxation.

Several months ago my exercise buddy brought a Canfit Pro about nutrition to my attention. After some initial humming and hawing over how busy my November already was as well as the cost of the course,  I eventually decided that it would be a great thing to take. It could only add to the health journey I am on and I was sure it would teach me something new.

The course was pretty interesting. It was definitely a huge motivator to be in a room of fitness professionals; hear about what they eat, healthy combinations they suggest and the teacher was super knowledgeable  There was some stuff that I didn’t so much agree with, while there was also some stuff that made sense to me. I took a lot out of it, and now I have a lot of studying to do for my exam, but the course all in all was pretty worth it.
outdoors Weekly goals, so last week I kinda skipped the weekly goals but by the time I started thinking of it it was Wednesday so I figured it would be okay to let it go. Anyways here is a little recap on how I have been doing.

1. Eating clean: eating clean has been going pretty awesome, it probably sticks about 80% of the time (yesterday I went a little nuts on my After Eight consumption). No dairy for 2 weeks was both a success and a failure. Dairy was drastically reduced (success), I went 8 days no dairy and then one evening I came home starving and before I thought about what I was doing I had eaten pizza (failure). But I figure slip ups here and there are all a part of the struggle journey.
2. Yoga: I have gotten pretty solid on making sure to practice yoga at least 2 times a week, the introduction of some DVD’s has made it less likely for me to skip, but I have still yet to get to 3 times a week, which to be honest is a little frustrating.   Seeing I haven’t “met” this goal yet I will be leaving it on my weekly goal list.
3. Running: I totally rocked this goal! My exercise buddy and I finished our app off in record time, and actually ahead of the schedule we had initially set out for ourselves.
4. Sleeping: I am proud to say I rocked at this one too.  I think it was a good goal to put on the weekly list just to remind myself that even during hectic days, weeks, months that it is so important to get enough sleep. I actually think making sure to get 8-9 hours of sleep is what saved me the last two weeks.

So now in the spirit of building on my successes as well as my not so successful attempts here is this weeks edition of my weekly goals.
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Happy Monday and  I hope everyone had a great weekend! 

What are you goals for this week?

Comfort Food Round Up

So this week has been a little nutty, catching up after a week of being sick always seems to feel a little hectic.  Unfortunately I haven’t had the opportunity to test out any new recipes this week, so this weeks Food Friday will be a little different.

I figured seeing I am unable to provide a new and delicious fall recipe for this week,  I would do a little round to highlight some past dishes and hopefully inspire you to create something delicious for yourselves this weekend.

With the weather cooling down and fall taking over I figured it would be only suiting to highlight some of the comfort foods that have graced Gingersneezes in the past. So here it goes some of my favourit creations to date.

The delicious and one of my favourite go to meals the Burrito Bowl
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Another favourite for suppers with guests, or when I am looking for a large amount of left overs Salmon Risotto.  I sometimes switch up the salmon for tilapia or other lighter fishes, but I truly feel like salmon is the most delicious way to go.
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I love cabbage rolls but I am not a fan of all the work that has to go into them, I normally feel like it is a two person job, mostly because I can be a bit of a wimp and the cabbage burns my fingers.  This is a great way to have all the delicious flavour of a Cabbage Roll Casserole with a quarter of the work!
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And I have saved the best for last.  This dish is so incredibly easy and delicious. It seriously is the ultimate comfort food in my books.  Although not the healthiest thing out there, Chicken Carbonara is great as a treat on especially chilly evenings.
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Happy Friday everyone, have an awesome weekend. 

And all the little things

This week was a pretty quick one – for work at least. With only three days in the office and pretty decent weather I don’t have much if anything to complain about.

As mentioned previously I have been exploring my new Looneyspoons cookbook and I am totally in love. The recipes are low fat, most using whole foods and clean food and so far all so easy to make. Seeing I am slightly obsessed with the book right now I probably won’t be posting too many recipes, unless I make some pretty major changes to them, but I will continue to post pictures of the creations I make.

Here for example is some delicious dill and mustard chicken with orange infused bulgur salad with cranberries.
UntitledSeeing how I am on a food topic, here are some other pictures of some of my favorite snacks or breakfast meals.

This “protein snack” is completely amazing for when I forget my lunch or just have no food in the house. Fruits cheese, peanut butter, and two hard boils eggs! It is a perfect combination of delicious.
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Some fruit salad. In my books no fruit salad is truly complete without pineapple, and this one had a ton of it.

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And lastly one of the tastiest lunches I had this week. Organic tofu burgers with mustard and dill pickles in a whole wheat pita pocket. I am not sure if anyone has noticed a trend on the blog yet but I am totally obsessed with dill.
UntitledThis week I finally got around to testing out a new yoga studio.
Yoga studioI tested out one of their yoga classes for athletes, although I am not really an athlete my hips were in desperate need of stretching. The studio was great, staff was super friendly and the studios were decorated with awesome art and plants, I will for sure be going back for some more classes.

Well that is a quick caption of my week. Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend.