Monday, 25 June 2012

Homemade Protein Bars + Clean Protein Powder

Hi all!  Forgive me, I've been so distracted lately I haven't had time for many posts.

I wanted to share this great recipe that I found for gluten-free, clean Pumpkin Protein Bars.  I've made it twice now, with a few modifications, and I'm completely addicted.  They're healthy, but they definitely taste sinful!

I've been following Jamie Eason's Live Fit program for the last few weeks, sticking to the workouts and trying my hardest to follow the meal plan.  I swear that I already notice a difference.  I am limiting my fruit to 2 servings a day and I think that (along with the intense weight training) is what's doing it.  I have been getting wicked sugar withdrawl headaches though - no joke!  I read that keeping sugar under 35 grams per day is the magic number, so that's what I've been shooting for.

Pumpkin Protein Bars

(modified from original recipe, here)




I love that this is a one-bowl recipe.  No need to get fancy with the wet and dry ingredients.  Should take you 5-10 mins to throw these babies together.

 

Ingredients:


  • ¼ C Splenda Brown Sugar blend (or, use ½ C of Xylitol if you don't like artificial sweetners)
  • ¼ C unsweetened applesauce (I use one lunch-sized packet)
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 large egg whites (or 1/2 C of egg whites from the carton)
  • 1 - 796 ml (15 oz.) can of raw pumpkin (ensure it's NOT the pie filling which is loaded with sugar)

  • 2 C oat flour (buy it premade or grind your own oats in a blender to make flour)
  • 2 scoops vanilla whey protein (I used About Time Whey - Birthday Cake flavor)
  • ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ½ C chopped walnuts (optional, but highly recommended)

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F
  2. Spray a 9x13 Pyrex (glass) dish with non-stick spray
  3. Combine first 10 ingredients and mix well
  4. Add the final 3 ingredients (4, if adding walnuts), and mix until incorporated. Spread batter into the Pyrex dish and bake for 30 min
  5. Makes 24 squares

They are about 65 calories each (with walnuts) and 50 without.  Each square offers about 4 grams of protein.  The Live Fit program recommends a serving size of 4 squares for a small meal, but I find that 2 is often enough to satisfy my sweet tooth.




And while we're on the subject of protein, my body sometimes does not like artificial sweetners and dairy so finding a protein powder that works for me was difficult.  I recently came across About Time Whey, which claims to be "the cleanest protein on the market" so I went ahead and ordered some from Low Carb Canada (not sure if there are any stores in YYC that sell it right now).  The flavors I ordered were Peanut Butter, Birthday Cake and Chocolate.  Amazing, right?

There are only 4 ingredients - all natural.  The taste is really good - much better than all of the other "natural" ones that I've tried - and it mixes well with water and almond milk.  One scoop is only 103 calories and 24 grams of protein. 




My current smoothie of choice is this one:

Chocolate, PB and Banana Protein Smoothie


  • 1 scoop About Time Whey, Peanut Butter flavor
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1 C unsweetened chocolate almond milk
  • ½ banana (optional, only if I'm working out right before or after)

Blend for a few minutes and enjoy!


Happy eating, loves!


PS - They are opening a Low Carb Canada store in Calgary (14th and McKnight NE) on June 30, so we will be able to buy About Time in store soon!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Weird Trend: Double Frontal Slit

So I was watching the MMVA's yesterday (Canada's version of the MTV Music Awards) and a couple of ladies were sporting dresses with what I can only describe as a "double-frontal slit".  It doesn't look so bad when they just stand there, but the part I found offensive was when they started walking.  The middle piece of the skirt literally goes back between the legs.  Like a loose diaper. 

I am appalled.



See what I mean?  Shenae Grimes in Amanda Lew Kee

Carly Rae Jepsen (designer unknown), love her, hate the slits


Anna Friel, all kinds of wrong (she was not at the MMVAs)

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Summer To-Do List

Many of us make New Years resolutions in January only to forget about them by summertime.  Summer, however, is a great time to identify and accomplish new goals.  Though short, there's something about the fleeting sunshine that motivates us to do things sooner than later.

With that, there are a few things I wanted to share that are on my to-do list this summer. 

 

Plant a patio garden


I should say, rather, that I want to keep my patio garden alive.  I planted a few colourful pots last weekend and they are currently alive and doing well.  They make me so happy just to look at and I so hope I don't kill them.  I'm going to make a concerted effort to keep them watered and in the sunshine.


Pretty patio garden

Run in two or more 10K races


I am currently registered for two races later in the summer, the Calgary Women's Run (August 26) and the Calgary Corporate Challenge 10K (September 9).  I am going to do my best to train properly and stay injury free so I can follow through on my goal.  I've done both of these races several times over the years and they are great fun.  I find that registering for a race that is far into the future is a great way to stay motivated over a period of time.

 

 

Learn the basics of photography


This may be the most expensive item on my to-do list because I do not currently have a proper camera.  I have always wanted to take good-quality photos but have been both intimidated by the complexities and unwilling to haul around a giant, ugly SLR camera.   Enter, the Nikon 1 J1.  This camera is about as big as a typical point and shoot model (with detachable lenses), but has the functionality of the larger high performance cameras.  It's marketed to the serious amateur (which I aspire to be).  I want. 

Nikon 1 J1 White
Nikon 1 J1 compact camera, around $600

 

Create a kick-ass travel itinerary


My wonderful boyfriend and I are headed to Eastern Europe in September, and for the first time in my life, I've agreed to wing it.  Sort of.  I'm a planner, I like to be prepared and I find spontaneity highly annoying.  So, we've come up with a compromise.  I can blow my brains out googling possible hotels, sights, and restaurants ahead of time, but we won't pre-book anything.  We want to keep our trip as flexible as possible, while minimising the possibility of sleeping in a Czech slum.  I plan to make a binder with hotel options, city maps, tour contacts and must-see attractions that we can carry along with us.

Prague, Czech Republic (one of the cities we plan to visit on our trip)

 

 

Hike Mount Yamnuska


This mountain is one of the first you see when driving west from Calgary into the beautiful Rocky Mountains.  While the view in the photo below looks quite intimidating, there are well marked routes up both sides and the circuitous hike is classified as moderate difficulty.  We love to hike and try to get out on most weekends in the summer.  The reason we haven't done this one yet is because in order to complete the circuit, there is allegedly a cable at the top that you must hang on to while traversing a particularly treacherous edge.  But, it's time to man up and get it done.  Isn't that what life's about?


Mount Yamnuska, near Canmore, Alberta


What's on your summer to-do list?

Sunday, 10 June 2012

My Beauty Staples Part 1: For the Hair


A sampling of my faves

I am a tough cookie when it comes to beauty products. I'm willing to spend the dough to get the good shit, but I seem to always be disappointed when the products only yield a marginally cleaned up version of myself.   Like, how much do you have to spend to look like an airbrushed, photoshopped supermodel?

Of all the thousands of dollars I've spent, and all of the half-used mystery tubes in my bathroom cabinet, I've narrowed it down to my absolute, can't live without, buy again and again, beauty essentials.

I'll start with the hair:

1.  Klorane Oil-Supressing Dry Shampoo


Klorane Oil-Supressing Dry Shampoo, Shopper's Drug Mart, $16

I consider this product to be slighly dangerous, as it kind of negates the need to shower. Nevermind about that B.O. thing... they have stuff for that too, like deoderant. Spray it on greasy hair and it absorbs all of the nasty stuff, leaving a fresh scent. It is a powdery formula, so maybe not the best for really dark hair, but for my light brown ombre color it's perfect. Just be sure to brush it out a couple minutes after you spray. I've tried the "clear" dry shampoos and they don't do anything to absorb the grease situation - go with the powder. Downside is that the bottle runs out pretty fast, after about 10-15 applications (don't worry it's not too expensive - around $16 - and goes on sale frequently at Shopper's Drug Mart for even less).

2.  Pureology Hydrate Shampoo and Conditioner

Pureology Hydrate Shampoo and Conditioner, hair salons, about $55/Litre

This stuff is a bit on the expensive side, but as hard as I've tried to find a more affordable option, I keep going back. I've been using Pureology for about 8 years now. My favorite thing is the amazing scents, the shampoo is a luxurious aromatherapy blend of Ylang Ylang, Bergamot, Anise and Patchouli and the conditioner has a tingly peppermint kick. Furthermore, Purology is sulphate-free which means it won't fade your color. It leaves my hair so incomparably soft that I am positively addicted.


3.  Label M Sea Salt Spray


Label M Sea Salt Spray, hair salons, $21

I like for my hair to look a little grimy. Since I have fine, thin hair I need a bit of texture or it just looks limp. This is the first product I've found that adds texture without a greasy or waxy feel. It perfectly mattifies the hair and gives it that I-just-rolled-out-of-bed-but-not-really look that we all so covet.

That's it for now, people.  I'll be back very soon with my essentials for the face and for the body.

Thanks for reading!

What are your beauty staples?

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Eat Less Fruit

I'm a little late this month, but I wanted to share my self-improvement focus for June.  OK, y'all are going to think I'm cray-cray, but, I want to:

EAT LESS FRUIT



Yes, less.  Not more.

Why?  I am a fruit monster.   I probably eat 8-10 pieces of fruit on average per day.  Fruit is raw, natural and has lots of nutrients.  Trust me, I get it.  But it is also straight up sugar and carbs.  My goal is actually to replace a portion of that fruit with veggies and protein.  I need more protein if I want to achieve my goal of having Madonna's arms. 


No thanks
Ok, not Madonna.  That's gross.  Maybe something a little less freaky, like Jessica Biel. 

Yes please


So, according to Jamie Eason, who is (in my opinion) the most fit person on earth, one should limit themselves to two pieces of fruit a day and stick to berries when possible.

Wish me luck people, this is going to be a hard one!  I always have fruit as a snack so I'm going to need replacements!

Anyone have any veggie or protein snack ideas?

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Bachelorette Emily's Casual Style

Ok, so, by now we know that I love watching the Bachelorette and I am totally down with Emily.  She's gorgeous and pretty and nice and all of that stuff.  The only thing I can fault her for is wearing too many sparkly dresses. 

Apparently her wardrobe budget was over $350K (source).  I have to say that I much preferred Jillian Harris' Bachelorette wardrobe (also, way more affordable!).  In fact, Jillian recently made a few stylish suggestions on her blog for swapping out some of the tacky less desirable pieces in Em's wardrobe.  I get what she's saying (and mostly agree), but the way she comes off makes me things she's a tiny bit jealous, non? 

The one thing Emily has been really on-point with is her casual looks.

My favorite outfits so far have been these two:

Generation Love cropped sweater with skinny jeans and flats
Joie blouse with Wildfox shorts

The basis of Emily casual digs is usually denim shorts or skinnies.  Word on the street is that she's really into Rag and Bone jeans (sold in Canada at Aritzia and Holt Renfrew).  She's also worn shorts by both Joe's and Wildfox. 

Surpisingly, a good pair of denim shorts will cost you.  I've been eyeing these Rag and Bone shorts for a while now, but can't quite swallow the $155 price tag.  Available at SSense (online store based in Canada) and in person at Aritzia.

rag & bone Official Store, RGBN-2325 Mila Short - Moss, rag-bone.com
Rag and Bone Mila Short (also, my legs look pretty much exactly like these)


I do, however, love my American Eagle cut-offs and think they look almost as good.  I found a good higher waisted pair last year and they have become my go-to summer bottom.  If you can stand to be in the company of horny teenagers and excessive amounts of plaid, American Eagle has several styles of denim shorts, most of them around 30 to 40 dollars.

My American Eagle denim shorts (similar)


I was surprised to find out that as soon as the Bachelorette episodes air, the clothing Emily wore sells out almost instantly.  It becomes totally impossible to obtain, even online.  So, I've scouted out the best "Emily inspired" pieces that are readily available on the Internets or at a mall near you.  All of my recommended online shops ship to Canada for free or close to it.

Piece #1 - Slouchy cropped sweater as worn on Emily in Episode 2


Generation Love cropped sweater, $140


My recommendations:

T by Alexander Wang sweater, $205 at SSense


TNA Newport Tee, $35 at Aritzia.  Buy a size up to wear off the shoulder.

Splended Sahara Stripe Sweatshirt (on sale!), $51 at Revolve

 

Piece #2 - Striped blouse as worn on Emily in Episode 3


Joie Aceline blouse

My recommendations:


Equipment Anabelle Blouse, $248 at Revolve Clothing



Falling Softly polka dot blouse, $36.99 at Ruche


Splendid Loose Knit Striped Sweater, $74 at Revolve



She's also been wearing a lot of Haute Hippie... a line I love!  It can be found in small quantities at Holt Renfrew or online at SSense.

Hope you love these looks as much as I do!  Happy shopping!