Although I haven’t written about running in a while, I promise you I have been running.
I was recently bestowed the great honour of joining some of my favourite Calgary bloggers on a relay team. The Little Bloggy Blue Birds team was established last year for the Banff Ekiden Relay and you can tell by the photos these ladies know how to have a good time and in style! One of last years members was unable to make the event this year and I was offered her spot. I immediately accepted and jumped into the outfit planning process.
What is Ekiden?
An ancient Japanese system of mail delivery. Couriers would run from station to station in a task called Ekiden. We didn’t deliver any mail, however we did carry a unicorn! The Banff Ekiden relay is 5 legs of varying distances that combined equal 42km or a marathon!
These ladies are a boat load of fun! We met for coffee a couple weeks ago so I could meet Cori (some how our paths haven’t crossed until now) and avoid the awkward “Hi, I’m Lindsay. Now lets hang out all day” situation. The team decided on a rainbow/unicorn theme which quickly exploded with the most ridiculously funny hashtags ever! If you followed our Twitter and Instagram posts you know what I’m talking about.
We ordered unicorn rainbow sharting socks from sockittome.com and when the package arrived we found a stow away – Donnie Wahlberg! As you’ll see the Donnie trading card became the official mascot for the day. We even named our unicorn after him.
Leg 1 – 7.8km
Sue strapped Donnie the unicorn into her pack, secured “The Shart” (rainbow unicorn tail) and started us off with a 7.8km run past the Cave and Basin.
Leg 2 – 13km
Deemed the baby of the group I offered to take the longest leg of the course. Sue came up the hill and the crew quickly disassembled “The Shart” with nascar pit stop like speed and reattached to my backside. I took Donnie and strapped him into a water bottle holder and away we went. My section of the course started down a huge hill and all I could think about was having to go back up it. The day before the race I thought it was a good idea to do stairs and bootcamp with a friend; needless to say my legs were feeling pretty heavy. This leg was primarily through the Fairmont Banff Springs golf course which is unbelievably stunning.
I came across a herd of Elk hanging out on the green. On the way back I caught a beautiful view of the waterfall.
The home stretch is up a very, very long hill! My team was at the top cheering me on and waiting for the handoff.
Leg 3 – 4.3km
Cori was up next. She had a fractured leg earlier in the year and has been nursing it back to health. Ekiden was her comeback to running and she rocked it. Leg 3 starts up hill (Tunnel Mountain), drops down and then climbs back up that horrible hill to the start/finish. Cori mentioned that Donnie the unicorn talked her up that silly hill!
Leg 4 – 5.4km
We had a bit of a rocky start to the 4th leg as someone was taking a potty break. Michelle was scheduled to run the MEC marathon the day after so requested a shorter leg. Michelle and Donnie breezed through the canoe docks and back up to meet tina for the finale.
Leg 5 – 11.7km
Tina is a powerhouse. She just recently finished an ultra Regnar Relay in New York and is set to do another in Vegas next month. She was also scheduled to run the MEC half marathon the next day but assured us that this distance would work perfectly for her back-to-back training. Tina had a minor annoyance with “The Shart” but Sue was kind enough to run alongside Tina to make adjustments. Tina’s leg was hilly but that didn’t stop her from putting out a strong effort. We herd our number being called and eagerly went out to the finish to cheer her home!
From the race organizers to volunteers and post race lunch this race was exceptional! The volunteers were so cheerful (which could have been because we were the only ones dressed up) and the lunch was impressive. We planned to go to Nourish Bistro for lunch after the run so I settled on a couple cookies but the chili looked and smelled heavenly.
Cori puts Martha Stewart to shame. She hand made unique medals for our team and got us these super cute bird necklaces. She’s a rockstar and the best team captain ever.
Almost everyone on the team has a food allergy so Nourish Bistro was the perfect choice. I ordered a veggie burger but everyones dishes looked scrumptious. I’ll have to go back for dinner one of these days.
We got home around 6pm and I was bagged. A day of running, cheering and full belly laughing is draining. I took a nice warm bath while watching the Walking Dead and passed out before 9pm. I’m so happy the “Little Bloggy Blue Birds” invited me to join there team and hope to do another relay with these ladies again.
Oh and a big thank you to SPUD Calgary for keeping us fuelled for the run with organic bananas, apples and Larabars!
Cori put together a pretty sweet Storified if you’d like to reply the day (click here)
Happy Friday! I’ve been horrible at cooking at home this week. I was in Kelowna over Thanksgiving, had dinner at the Longview Steak House for my mom’s birthday on Wednesday and a couple friends came over for dinner last night (one of them made dinner for me!). So long story is, I don’t have any recipes to share this week,
I am excited that a beautiful new cookbook found it’s way to my office while I was away! One of the restaurants I work for is featured in the book and I’ve been dying to get my hands on a copy.
Calgary Cooks is a collection of recipes from Calgary’s top chefs. I opened the book and was shrieking with joy at the very first recipe – Anejo’s guacamole! Yes, guacamole seems like such a simple dip but you haven’t had guac until you’ve had Anejo’s made fresh at your table. Now it will be made fresh in my kitchen.
Another goldmine, the recipes from UNA Pizza + Wine which is my all time favourite pizza place in Calgary. The tiny little restaurant is a popular spot and you have to get there early to get a seat. I took my sister to UNA a couple years ago and she was blown away! One of our favourite dishes (so many favourites) is the meatballs. Well, guess what recipe is in Calgary Cooks? The meatball recipe! I immediately send to my sister.
I’m in love with this book. It has extremely high-quality photos, lovely bios of the chefs and most importantly some beyond amazing recipes. I’m delighted that Calgary’s chefs shared so many of their signature recipes and can’t wait to try them.
Some other dishes that excite me:
- Roasted Garlic and White Bean Soup with Truffle Honey – The Coup
- Elk Lasagna (if I can find Elk) – Cucina
- Sticky Toffee Doughnuts – Jelly Modern Doughnuts
- Black Truffle and White Cheddar Fondue – The Living Room
- Tiramisu – Teatro
- Kale Caesar Salad – UNA Pizza + Wine
- Chicken Fattee with Rice, Flatbread and Spiced Yogurt – The Cookbook Co. Cooks
- Pan-seared B.C. Halibut and Spot Prawns with Morel, English Pea and Chorizo Ragout – Catch & the Oyster Bar
Do you have a favourite cookbook or a new one for the Fall?
The 21 Day Fall Reset ended on Sunday and for the most part I’ve been able to keep up with many of the healthy habits. During the last week of the reset a friend emailed me a recipe for cinnamon buns and couldn’t get the image out of my mind. So in celebration of completing the reset I made a batch.
I’ve been working on mastering the cinnamon bun for about a year. These are seriously deadly and taste just like the ones you buy at the mall! Oh and there is nothing healthy about them!
Makes about 12 cinnamon buns (with extra icing)
Ingredients for the dough:
1 package quick rising yeast
1 cup almond milk (or dairy milk)
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup butter (room temp.)
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
Ingredients for the filling:
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tbsp ground cinnamon
½ cup butter
Ingredients for the frosting:
½ cream cheese
1¾ cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 drops lemon flavour
Directions for the dough:
1. In a small glass bowl dissolve yeast in luke warm milk. Add a tbsp of sugar to active the yeast and allow to sit for 5min to activate.
2. While yeast is activating, cream the butter. Add the yeast mixture, remainder of the sugar, eggs and salt. Mix on low until incorporated. Add flour one cup at a time until dough forms.
3. Knead the dough into a large ball, using your hands. Place back in the bowl and cover with a damp tea towel and place in a warm area (I turn the light on in my oven and let the dough rise there). Let the dough rise for about 1 hour or until it’s approximately doubled in size.
4. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface in the shape of a rectangle. Dough should be about 1/4 inch thick.
Directions for the filling:
1. In a small bowl melt the butter in the microwave. Add brown sugar and cinnamon and stir.
Directions to assemble:
1. Spread the filling evenly over the dough, leaving about 1 inch border. Gently roll dough into a fairly tight roll.
2. With a serrated knife, cut into 12 pieces and place into a lightly greased rectangular cake pan.
3. Back at 350° for approximately 12 minutes or until the buns turn golden and filling bubbles.
Directions for frosting:
1. In a Kitchen Aid mixer blend the cream cheese and butter for 3-4min on a low speed.
2. Switch attachments to a whisk and whip for 6min on med-high speed (about 6-7 speed).
3. Add half of the icing sugar and mix on low until incorporated. Add the remaining icing sugar and mix for another min on medium speed.
4. Whip frosting for 1 more minute.
5. Frost the cinnamon buns when cool and store in an air tight container.
*I microwave my cinnamon bun for 20 seconds and add a touch more icing before diving in!
I’ve been really enjoying active dates with friends lately. I find it difficult to get together with friends in the summer but now that the corporate world is settling back into routine (and school is back for some friends) it’s becoming easier to see everyone. I’m lucky that most of my friends are fairly active individuals and agree to do things that allow us to catch-up and move at the same time.
My 5 Favourite Active Friend Dates!
1. Smoothie + Walk
Grab or make a smoothie-to-go and stroll through a unique neighbourhood, park or path
2. Morning Run + Breakfast
Find a new route or old favourite and enjoy a morning run followed by breakfast at a diner or someones house! You’ll usually beat the “hangover” crowd for breakfast too
4. Hiking + Picnic
If you have good hiking trails in your area pick one and pack a lunch to enjoy at the peak or along the way. I’ve had so many fun hiking trips with girlfriends and you never have to worry about running into a bear… the constant talking and giggling will scare them off :)
5. Yoga Night
Not always the best place to talk, however you’ll get a good stretch and you can always go for a herbal tea when you’re done
Active Nation Day
September 28th was Active Nation Day in celebration of all things active, healthy, and authentic. Want to see what all the buzz was about? Check out social media using #ActiveNationDay to get ideas on how other people are getting out there and what they did yo celebrate yesterday! Download the free LJ App to track your movement and contribute alongside others.
It’s not too late to learn the#LJMove and post your own video for your chance to win $1000! Visit nowmoveit.com for more information, register in your nearest city, and get involved!
What did I do for Active Nation Day? I met two girlfriends for an early morning run around the reservoir and enjoyed a wonderful home cooked breakfast with them after. I also wrapped up my last day of the Fall Reset: 21 Day Clean Eating Challenge!
What did you do?
This week has flown by and I’m only 2 days away from being done my 21 Day Clean Eating Challenge! I’ll post about my last week and the final results of the Fall reset this weekend.
This is probably the shortest and easiest recipe I’ve ever posted. It’s also one of the most important/enjoyable snacks through this challenge. Making nut butter is so incredibly simple and cost effective I can’t believe I’ve been buying it pre-made for so long.
Note: You can make this without roasting the almonds first but it will take 3 times longer in the food processor…. and nobody likes to listen to that sound!
Homemade Clean Eating Almond Butter
Makes approximately 500ml
3 cups almonds
1 tsp. vanilla
1. Pre-heat the oven to 325° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
2. Pour almonds onto baking sheet and place in oven. Roast for 15 min, stirring occasionally to prevent burning
3. Remove pan from the oven and let almonds cool for about 10min. You want the almonds to still be warm, just not hot!
4. Pour almonds into your food processor and set on low. Leave for a few minutes and then stop to scrap down the side. Continue to let the processor run on low for about 10 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down.
5. When the mixture starts to look creamy add in the vanilla and continue processing until you reach the desired consistency
6. Transfer the butter to an air tight container and store in the cupboard or fridge for up to 3 months (if you can stop yourself from eating it that long!)
It’s day 12 of the 21 Day Fall Reset Clean Eating Challenge and time to check in!
I’m very proud of myself for saying no to so many tasty and tempting treats around the office this week. I work for a company that has it’s own bakery soI’m sure you can imagine the distractions looming around me.
This week I wasn’t as organized as last due to the fact that the weekend was very busy. Still I managed to make salads and chicken for lunches, peach cobbler and a new dinner dish every night. If anything I’m eating more during the day than normal, the difference is in the quality of food I’m eating. The only times I’ve truly been craving wheat or sugar is when I’ve left too much time between meals. On Monday night I met a friend after work for a run then had to pick up groceries. The grocery store was horrible, everything looked so delicious and I just wanted to eat everything! I held it together and didn’t leave the store with anything not on my grocery list.
Overall I’m feeling great! My stomach is as happy as can be, however I have noticed a difference in my workouts. I’m running slower than normal and the effort feels much harder. I’m trying to eat more fruit and foods with iron this week. I’m also eating more grains this week which should help!
Weekends are the worst as food and social activities tend to come hand-in-hand. I have to confess that I had a couple small cheats from last weekend; I had a small piece of chocolate cake at a friends wedding and had a champaign toast on Sunday (celebrating a very important moment). Every morning I get an email from Laura (the Fall Reset expert) and yesterday’s said “progress is not perfection”. I think this is an excellent point and probably the number one reason why “diets” don’t work. I have made so many wonderful choices over the past 12 days that these 2 little cheats seem minor in the grand scheme. I was actually thinking yesterday that I’d like to remain eating this way after the 21 day challenge is over, with the exception of being less strict 24/7.
Now for this weeks recipe. I’ve experimented with lots of dishes this week but this one has to be my favourite! I’ve been wanting something bread-like and found a recipe for Macadamia + Coconut Muffins on I Quit Sugar’s website. It’s dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free and sugar-free – perfect. I made a few minor adjustments based on user comments and they turned out amazingly.
Macadamia + Coconut Muffins
with homemade coconut butter
Makes 12 muffins
2 cups almond meal
2 tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt (very small pinch)
¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
½ cup macadamia nuts
½ cup melted coconut oil
3 tbsp cup coconut cream
1 whole egg
3 egg whites (I use egg whites in the box but you could use whole eggs)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp maple syrup
Coconut Butter Ingredients:
3 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Pre-heat oven to 350° and line muffin tins.
2. Combine almond meal, baking powder, salt and shredded coconut into a medium size bowl and stir.
3. In a separate bowl whisk together the coconut oil, coconut cream, eggs, vanilla and maple syrup.
Coconut Butter Directions:
1. Place shredded coconut and vanilla into a food processor.
2. Turn on to a low setting and process for 10-15 min, pausing to scrap down the sides every couple minutes. The butter should be smooth. You can store in a mason jar in the cupboard.
Recipe adapted from I Quit Sugar
I’m on day 5 of my Fall Reset Challenge and am doing better than I ever expected! As I’ve said before I’ve done traditional cleanses before where you limit calories and restrict pretty much all food which makes temptation so much stringer. I honestly haven’t had many moments where I really need to talk myself out of anything, however I have a wedding and birthday to attending over the weekend and the desire to have cake is going to be very strong! Wish me luck.
I even kept a dinner date with Ange on Wednesday because she agreed to make adjustments to our menu. Originally I was going to make her my “famous” pizza from scratch but would involve many ingredients I’m not currently eating. Instead we got creative and made a cauliflower crusted pizza with pesto, tomatoes, mushrooms, goat cheese chunks, with a drizzle of balsamic! So yum. It smelled so good that we couldn’t even think about taking a photo before devouring it. The crust turned out much better than I expected but I still prefer the real dough kind. Ange and I also attempted to copycat the unbelievable Polenta Yam Fries we ate at Heirloom Restaurant in Vancouver but it was an epic fail!
Today was the only day I didn’t have a lunch pre-made as I was meeting a friend outside of the office. Luckily there’s this new company, Lettuce Beets, that makes the most amazingly healthy salads around! I found her on the second floor of Holt Renfrew and ordered my favourite salad – Lettuce Thrive!
The boyfriend and I were in the Okanagan for an extended long weekend and I came back with 20lb of fresh peaches…. how could I resist? I really wanted something dessert-ish this week so I found a healthy peach cobbler recipe by Amy’s Healthy Baking and made a few adjustments to “clean” it up even more. I was going to call it “Clean Peach Cobbler” but that just didn’t make a lot of sense.
Clean Eating Peach Cobbler
One of the biggest challenges I experience after every training season is maintaining/cutting back my calories. I would say that I eat fairly well and during training I’m usually burning more than enough calories to justify a couple treats
here and there daily. That being said, it becomes habit so when I’m not training I keep eating the way I do when I’m training. I can feel a difference! My body is thankful for the rest but I’m ready to change things up a bit and there’s always room for improvement. I’ve done a few cleanses over the years but always end up cranky by the end of them and never continue with any of the habits. Most cleanses restrict calories, carbs and (in my opinion) foods that are actually healthy. As an active person, restricting carbs just doesn’t work!
I heard about Laura’s 21 Day Clean Eating Challenge and was immediately excited to join. Laura is a holistic health coach and runner which heightens my trust in working with her. She’s so organized, encouraging and quick to answer any questions. She even put together a Facebook group so we can all encourage one another. I’m confident that I can do this challenge without being carb deprived and unable to exercise.
The goal of this 21 day challenge is to switch to a whole foods diet to help release stored toxins, bloat and inflammatory symptoms through a simple diet cleanse emphasizing real food so that YOU can have a clearer mind, unlock fat stores and kick start weight loss (if needed), have more energy and feel refreshed.
Foods I’ll be avoiding
- Sugar (except a little maple syrup and honey)
- Wheat and white flour products
- Cow’s Milk (I already do this as I have a dairy sensitivity)
- Processed food
What I will be eating
- Nuts and seeds, nut butters
- Coconut & almond milk
- Whole Grains (oats, rice, quinoa, etc.)
- Chicken, seafood, lean beef
- 8 glasses of water/tea (per day)
What are my foreseeable challenges
- Eating enough! I don’t actually snack at work but I’ll be trying to eat at least 1 snack between meals
- Time Meal planning, grocery shopping (thank god for SPUD) and hours of prepping means I need to be on the ball and organized
- Real dinners I’m so used to just making something quick and easy like breakfast for dinner, or tuna salad on toast (ummm I love tuna melts)
- Social gatherings! We have a couple dinners lined up and I’m nervous about keeping my focus and saying no to cake
What I’m looking forward to
- Changes! I’m so excited to see how my body reacts
- Cooking I love cooking but I don’t do enough. I’m looking forward to testing out new recipes and being creative with ingredients
- Healthy habits I hope to take away some new eating habits and really feel like I’ve reset my cravings
Week 1 Prep
I devoted my entire Sunday to getting ready for the challenge. Did I mention the boyfriend has also decided to jump on board which means more portions to prep but way more support at home! Prep work takes care of breakfast, lunch and some snacks.
1 hour – to food plan for the week, look up recipes and create a grocery list
2 hours – grocery shop
4 hours – cooking!!!
- Salad in a jar, roasted chickpeas, herbed tahini dressing
- Almond butter
- Overnight oats
While in Vancouver for Sea Wheeze Krystal and I took an afternoon to explored the market and shops in Granville Island. A few days before I saw really cool post on Instagram from Erin Ireland (Vancouver Food Reporter) of a new shop called Delish General Store. This little gem is a mason jar haven! I had the opportunity to meet Erin, who is a fellow SPUD Ambassador, and she insisted I visit the shop if possible.
My sister and I purchased some products from The Mason Bar Company a few months ago and I’m in love with the way it transforms a mason jar into the perfect smoothie cup, iced tea tumbler, infused water jug, etc! Needless to say, I was very excited to find Delish and I wasn’t disappointed when I walked in. They have a great big, design-it-yourself, mason bar wall!
I was thrilled to see that they carry Mason Bar Company lids, a variety of jars, spouts and straws. What I was most excited about was the BNTO container that transforms mason jars into glass containers! You simply put your wet ingredients into the container, place in the jar and screw on the lid. It’s brilliant!
I have every intention of using my BNTO for salad next week but have really been loving it for breakfast. The blueberries I received in my last SPUD order were unbelievably delicious. Paired with strawberries, granola and almond milk make for the perfect grab and go breakfast that I can enjoy at my desk. I found this great home-made granola recipe from Elizabeth Rider and have to share it.
Mason Jar Berry Parfait
Granola serves 4-6 |Parfait serves 1
- 2 cups raw whole rolled oats
- ½ cup raw nuts, chopped
- ¼ cup raw seeds (I like sunflower, pumpkin and flax)
- ½ cup unsweetened dried fruit, chopped (optional but I like apricots)
- 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup or raw honey (I combine both, half-half)
- 2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
- ½ tsp almond extract
- 1 large pinch fine Himalayan salt
Mason Jar Parfait Ingredients:
- 1 cup berries, cubed or sliced (I like blueberries, strawberries and bananas)
- ¼ cup of granola (I like Highwood Crossing if you don’t have time to bake)
- 1 tbsp. hemp seeds
- ½ almond milk
1. Preheat the oven to 300º F.
2. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and use your clean hands to mix well and toss to coat. Be sure to mix the coconut oil through the other ingredients so there aren’t any chunks.
3. Spread the mixture in a thin layer on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until very lightly toasted.
4. Cool before serving or storing. This granola can be kept in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks.
Mason JarParfait Directions:
1. Cut up fruit and place in bottom of the jar.
2. Layer granola and hemp hearts next
3. Pour almond over ingredients and enjoy!
With triathlon season over, getting used to “normal” has been anything but easy. During training I get so used to eating what I want and when I want it. News flash, less workouts mean less treats! September is my month for focusing on eating well and on Monday I’ll be starting a “Clean Eating Challange” (more on this next week).
As part of the Sweat Pink Ambassador program I was given the opportunity to try out and review three new bars from AMRAP Nutrition. As soon as I read ” dairy-free” I was sold on trying these! I received three flavours: Almond Honey, Cashew Vanilla and Fig & Cacao. These bars were sent to me for free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are strictly my own.
I’m a big fan of eating products that have the least amount of crap as possible. As a dairy-sensitive individual I’m a very big fan of dairy-free!
AMRAP bars are:
- 100% Paleo
- clear of artificial sweeteners
You’d think with a list like this these bars would taste horrible… not the case these bars are tasty! AMRAP bars were designed for cross-fitters and people living a paleo diet (I’ve noticed that both usually come hand-in-hand). The paleo lifestyle doesn’t call to me but I can relate to the healthy, clean eating side of things and can therefore see the benefits of endurance athletes (such as myself) consuming these yummy bars and here’s why:
- They are delicious! Seriously, usually high-protein bars are chalky in flavour, overlay sweet or just downright yucky. AMRAP bars are loaded with flavour. My favourite bar out of the three was the Almond & Honey which has the perfect balance of sweet and salty.
- They are high in Fibre and Protein It’s not often that you get the best of both worlds. I find that you usually sacrifice one for the other.
- They are made with clean ingredients There are less than 10 ingredients per bar and I can pronounce each one of them. Actually I can find almost all the ingredients used in my cupboard!
- They are convenient I know anything shaped as a rectangle and neatly packaged is generally convenient but the AMRAP bar has actually saved me from hangriness. I’ve kept one in my purse for the last week in order to test it’s effects with hanger strikes… and it worked wonderfully.
- They are great for recovery I’m horrible at eating after I run because my tummy is usually a little off. I had an AMRAP bar right after Seawheeze and my stomach was as happy as could be. They contain the optimal amount of protein to carb ratio for muscle recovery.
The only thing that I don’t like about these bars is you can’t order them in Canada, yet. The company has reassured me that they are expecting to open a warehouse in Canada within the next couple of months! That being said, my Canuck friends can still enjoy these great bars for FREE if you enter and win my giveaway (see below).
Based on nutrition content, ingredients and taste I will surly order more and keep in the house… or purse.
AMRAP has been so kind to offer a little giveaway to my readers! Not one, or two but three lucky winners will receive a AMRAP 8 Pack of their choice (Almond Honey, Cashew Vanilla or Fig & Cacao) Please enter through the Rafflecopter link below by September 11th 11:59pm! I’ll announce the winners on my Foodie Friday post on the 12th.
a Rafflecopter giveaway <<<<< ENTER TO WIN!