Saturday, 31 December 2011

2011 Wrap Up

I ran with my group this morning and set out to do 10k.  I just wasn't feeling it.  No matter how hard I tried I just couldn't get into this run.  I turned around early and ended up doing 6k.  I think the weather was a huge factor.  It was wet, slippery, foggy and gross.  I was tired and cranky.  By the time I returned to the store my crankiness was gone, but I was still tired.  I'll try running tomorrow but for today, I'll listen to my body and be nice to me.

As I said in my last post, I love this time of year to reflect on the past year and look toward next year.  Today after I settled in from my not so awesome run and being away for a few days and catching up on the usual laundry, grocery shopping and house tidying I sat down with one crazy mother of a hot chocolate

and reflected..

Here are my 10 favourite running related accomplishments of 2011!

1. The Grimsby Half Marathon:  I ran this race before I started this blog and haven't gotten to the race wrap up.  This half was a tune up race in my 2011 Around the Bay training.  It was a bit of a comedy of errors as far as races go but ended very well.  I missed the start - yes the gun went off and I was 2 blocks away.  By the time I got to the start I could just make out the last of the runners.  I ended up passing over half the participants which probably added extra distance but boosted my confidence.  Despite the messed up start and running throught 3k of snow covered vineyards I finished in 1:54 which is to date a half marathon PB.

2. Around the Bay 30k:  I trained with Simon for this race and ran it with Rick.  This race was one of those races you dream about it felt good the whole time.  I took off 30 minutes from my time the year before finishing in 2:50!

3. Starting this blog:  I love writing, I love running and this blog lets me combine them both. 

4. The Ottawa Full marathon:

I didn't run this race in my goal time but I ran the entire thing on my own and finished strong.  I do love the Ottawa race weekend and the City of Ottawa.

5. Family camping in Kilarney:

This trip was a lot of fun with the kids - swimming, hiking, campfires, sneaking away for a run and a bear sighting.

6. Warrior Dash 2011:

This race was really fun.  It was the first race my husband ran in and we finished it together.  Plus you all know how much I like dressing up.

7. Yoga:

Yoga has had benefits beyond improving my flexibility.  I love how it is teaching me to listen to the ques my body gives me and learning how strong I can be.

8. Half Marathon Clinic:  This was the first clinic I had taken in two years.  It helped me get back into shape physically and mentally after easing up through the summer.  I also met amazing people in this clinic and had a great time during my speed workouts and long runs.

9. Personal Training Course:  This course helped me realise how much I have neglected the rest of my body by only focusing on running.  It has also given me a basis to give other people advice on running and working out.  I still have a long way to go... the exam.  But the course was intense and a lot of fun.

10.  Greece: 

Hands down or in the case of these pictures hands up the running experience of the year and maybe the decade.  This race was the most amazing racing experience to date.

2011 has been a pretty remarkable year.  It has been fun reflecting on these accomplishments.  I'm ready to celebrate with my family and friends.  Here's to a wonderful year and looking toward building upon these accomplishments in 2012!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Day Three and Classroom Portion Complete

Today was the third and last day of the classroom portion of my course.  We didn't finish until 4:55 this afternoon.  I think the whole class was hoping for an earlier finish to avoid rush hour traffic, but there was too much material to cover.  Although it was a bit hard to not be home with the kids, I am happy I signed up for this training when I did.  Our class was a perfect size and the instructor was great.

Although the girls say they missed me, they still had fun.  Here's a shot from Disney on Ice that they went to today.

I still have to study my butt off for the theory exam and then work on the practical portion of the exam.  There is quite a bit of studying and work I have left to do.  But for the next few days I will be taking it easy and enjoying time with my family.  I also find it nice to reflect back on the year past and think about goals I would like to set for myself this year.

Right now I am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed with my own house sounds around me.  I've had a few days of early mornings.  Tuesday I was up at 4:30 to leave for Toronto, Wednesday I was up at 5:45 to make sure I had enough time to catch the subway in the morning and this morning, I woke up at 4am to maintenance staff working on a water problem until I left for class in the morning.  I did complain to the staff at the front desk and they paid for my parking which was almost the cost of one night at the hotel... so I felt a bit better.

During our stay in Toronto, it statrted to snow.  The drive home was a little slow due to the weather.  Gina did a great job drive and we had a little giggling fit on the way home about the way slush sounded under her tires.  We both thought the sleep deprivation was getting to us.

I arrived home to a winter wonderland. 

We will be able to go tobogganing and build a snowman tomorrow.  I am also hoping to go out for a run tomorrow as well... time for those gortex shoes again.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Day 2... and feeling it.

Well its 8:53 and I am ready to crash.  Yesterdays early morning wake up and a full day of working out has taken its toll.  Today we learned or re-learned proper techniques for weight lifting and cardio machines as well as alternate forms of exercise.  It was a lot to learn and very interesting.  I've been finding myself thinking about my training and how building strength in the areas I've neglected will help me with my running.  Its tough to try to come up with a plan to take the time to build strength and fit in the training I want to do for my races.

Since I'm no allowed to post pictures in the gym I took a picture to my lunch. 

Thrilling I know - a veggie burger with grilled veggies from Casey's.  I would not recommend this lunch before a maximum heart rate test... just saying.

While I was busy learning how to train people at the gym, Dan and the girls went to the Science Centre.  He sent all kinds of pictures of the girls playing and learning. 

Whoo - cool picture. It was a great day for them.  Tomorrow they are going to see Disney on Ice before heading home.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Day One is Done!

I've been up since 4:30 this morning and am still going relatively strong.  It is only 8:20 so I hope I can last a bit longer.  Gina picked me up this morning at 5:30 to head out to the city.  We made great time and were at the Goodlife Fitness Centre at 7:20 - the class didn't start until 8, but its was nice not be rushed.

The morning flew by, actually the whole day did.  We didn't work out but spent the entire day in the classroom.  Tomorrow we will be in the gym in the morning, then back to the classroom.  I've learned a lot in just one day and am looking forward to applying everything we've covered.

After class I met up with Dan and the girls.  I think I mentioned we booked a room at the Delta Chelsea through Price Line.  The girls love this hotel.  The rooms are on the smallish side for 4 people, but the staff is great.

Here is the view straight down from our balcony.  You can see the slide that goes outside.

Before we went swimming we walked to the Pickle Barrel for a dinner that was just ok.  The lights are still up for Christmas and with the falling snow they looked very pretty.

I'll check in tomorrow and let you know what else I've learned.  Dan and the girls are going to the Science Centre tomorrow so I'm sure they'll have lots to tell me.

Monday, 26 December 2011

My Bags are Packed and I'm Ready to Go!

Like I just said, my bags are packed. The kids bags are packed and we are ready to to.  Gina will be picking me up at 5:30 tomorrow morning.  I have everything by the door.  My coffee maker is set and I have two alarms set.  Dan will be driving down with the girls later in the day to check into the hotel.  I'm sure they'll have swam for at least an hour before I see them.

I've packed a bit of food for breakfasts and snacks. Here's a bit of it...

heaven forbid anyone's stomach should growl.  I do find it much less expensive and easier to have breakfast in our room and at least a few snacks for me and definately the kids when we are travelling.  The girls will be having cereal and fruit and I'll be having Vegan Overnight Oats.

I'm not sure what will be going on in our course.  We've been told to bring our books, workout clothes and enthusiasm.  Which there will be no shortage of with Gina around.  I won't be able to post any pictures from the course, but I'll try to check in between swimming with the kids and trying not to be too tired and let you know how it goes.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Dear Santa...

I guess you've seen what a good girl I've been this year.  Thank you for my awesome new presents you brought me this year.

I love my new hooded sweater.  It will be great to wear after I get back from running or before the start of a race.  I'm very excited to try out my new compression socks they really help my calves feel better while I'm running.  The gloves, hat and pants were perfect for the run I went on today to help work off my food baby I built up at brunch before making another one at dinner.  But most of all Santa, thank you for my shiny new purple laptop.  It will make blogging and everything else I do at home on a computer so much easier.  I'm glad you didn't put me on the naughty list if you heard me while I was trying to post the pictures from Greece.

Thanks again for all of my wonderful gifts.  I'll have a much shorter list next year - promise.


Crazy Mother Runner

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas Eve Appitizers

Isn't it crazy how we all run around in the days leading up to Christmas and then bam! its here?  This week was really busy with Christmas parties and visits but everything was fun and I caught up with friends and was able to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.  This morning I had a festive run.  I didn't get a picture of myself to post but let's just say it involved red and green polka dot socks and a head band with candy canes.

We've had Christmas dinner in the early afternoon at my mother and father-in-laws house.  With 8 kids its was Christmas mayhem which is expected and fun for the kids.  We're now back at home.  The girls are staying up later than usual watching the Sound of Music and playing with their new toys.  I made an appetizers to have just to tide us over until tomorrow... because we haven't eaten enough today.

Puff Pastry Goat Cheese Pizzas

1 sheet of puff pastry thawed
1/2 cup spreadable goat cheese with herbs
1 onion
4 mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
1/2 red pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
freshly ground pepper

Saute onion and mushrooms in the butter and olive oil.  When then onions are soft and golden add the red pepper and cook until heated through.  Unroll the pastry.  Cut into 9 squares and pinch a rim around the outside of each square (it doesn't have to be pretty).  Spread the goat cheese on each of the squares.  Top with onion mixture.  Grind pepper on top of each piece.  Bake for 20 minutes or until crust is golden at 375.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

At the Juice Bar

Let's be brave!  Let's break out the juicer that's collecting dust in the basement, crack open the veggie tray, pull out a bunch of produce before it gets gross and make something out of it.  Something that is supposed to be super healthy and make us feel great.  And we will drink whatever the concoction we come up with because its good for us!  Whatever.

Seriously I've never been a big juicer.  It is a lot of work.  It takes a lot of vegetables (vegetables that I think I should really be eating to get all of the fiber and other important stuff vegetables give me) to make one little glass of juice.  Then after I have my little cup of juice I have to clean all of that up... and will all of my effort even taste good?

I've read a lot on line about how great juicing is and I do see the reasoning behind it.  All of those vegetables pulverised into that glass.  Truthfully its a lot easier to go to booster juice and get them to make it... but if you're feeling brave... and ambitious you can make them at home.

I've come up with 4 different kinds of juices.  I have 2 types of juicers.  I normal one

and a citrus one

I used both for these recipes.

I'll start with the juice that started it all....

Ginger Beet Juice


1 beet (peeled)
2 apples
1/2 cup grapes
2 inch piece of ginger peeled

Put all ingredients in juicer.  Enjoy!

Tangerine - Grapefruit Juice


1 grapefruit
4 tangerines

Juice using a citrus juicer.

Pineapple Grapefruit Pomegranate Juice


1/2 pineapple
1 apple
1 pomegranate peeled
2 grapefruits

Juice pineapple, apple and pomegranate in regular juicer.  Juice grapefruit in a citrus juicer.  Combine.

Crazy Green Juice


2 cups of spinach
1/2 English cucumber
5 ribs of celery

Juice the above vegetables.  Drink as fast as you can.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Happy Birthday Yule Log

I am really doing more than just baking - although today it feels like that's all I've been doing.  Baking and visiting. But.... yesterday I ran.  I wanted to bail - it was really cold outside.  It was minus14 with the wind chill.  A bunch of runners from my group were doing a 10k route that I've ran a bazillion times and is not my favourite.  And another smaller group was going around 15k.  I ended up running with the 15k group.  The first 5k of the run I ran on my own, and the rest I ran with Mike and Bob.  It was fun, we chatted about running (ironic) and Mike talked about all the different races he's ran.  It didn't feel like an hour plus long run.

Today I baked a yule log for my mother-in-law's birthday.  I named it a Birthday Log.  I combined a recipe for the cake with my own recipes and it turned out amazing if I can toot my own horn.  I didn't get a really good picture of this cake before everyone arrived, but take my word for it - it was delicious.  This cake is really really rich so make sure you have lots of people around to help you eat it.

Birthday Yule Log

Cake - inspired by Joy the Baker


4 oz semi sweet chocolate, chopped fine
6 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Melt the chocolate in the microwave.  Stirring every 30 seconds until smooth, making sure chocolate doesn't burn.

Beat egg yolks with sugar until light yellow and they form a ribbon like texture - about 5-7 minutes.  Stir in melted chocolate.  Beat egg whites with remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and salt until stiff peaks form.  Fold chocolate mixture into egg whites.  Spread on a parchment lined jelly roll pan and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.  Cover cake with a damp tea towel.


250 ml (half a package) of cream  cheese softened
3/4 cup of icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup of whipping cream - whipped

Beat cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth, stir in vanilla.  Fold in whipping cream until mixture appears uniform.

4 oz semi sweet chocolate, chopped fine
6 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 cups of icing sugar
3/4 cup of cocoa powder sifted
1/2 butter softened
1/4 cup coffee

Using electric beaters, whip butter until fluffy, gradually add icing sugar and cocoa powder.  Gradually add coffee until the icing is the desired consistency.


Carefully peel cake from parchment paper.  Spread the cream cheese filling evening over the cake.  Roll the cake into a jelly roll from the long side.  Once rolled, place the cake on a serving tray.  Ice the cake making it look like bark on a tree if you would like.  Dust with icing sugar to look like snow.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

A Little Christmas Procrastination - maybe

I have reluctantly started to read my manuals for my personal training course.  I'm not sure why I've been putting it off.  Normally I'm all over any on line articles about fitness.  Maybe its because there is a test involved and my performance anxiety is creeping up again.  I made a deal with myself that if I read the first chapter and completed the on line component I would post about something fun. 

So my lesson is done and no - I didn't get everything perfect.  Nothing happened when I got the answer wrong by the way.  I'm not sure what I thought would happen - maybe some super fit trainer with chiseled abs would yell "WRONG ANSWER!" at me.  I actually did enjoy it and contemplated going ahead with chapter two over posting... but I have pretty pictures.

This post has nothing to do with running... again.  But it is about travelling.  Over the past few years I have travelled a bit.  Some of my trips were with my kids and some without.  We decided on our first trip to buy a Christmas ornament for wherever we were.  I've read that some people think its hokey, but these decorations are some of my favourites.  Every year when we decorate our tree and pull out these ornaments, they remind me of the trip I was on when I bought them.  I find that I am usually reflecting on the past year during the holidays and the ornaments help remind me of the amazing vacations I've been on.

So in my order of vacations here are the ornaments.

St. John's Newfoundland

I went on this trip with my family when my girls were 15 months old and 3 years old in 2007.  It was a fun trip.  We saw icebergs and toured around the island for a bit. 


We went to Banff in 2008.  We stayed in a condo style hotel which had a great water slide and indoor playground for the kids.  The scenery was beautiful, but the hotel made the trip for the kids.


Our whole family went to Jamaica for my sister's wedding in 2009.  It was beautiful.  The resort we stayed at was a family resort with a great water slide and pool for the kids.  The girls have been asking to go back every year.

New York City

My husband and I went to New York in 2009 and 2010 - without the kids.  I love love love this city. 


You all know about Greece this year.  There were tons of ornaments being sold at all the tourist places, but I only saw this bell in two shops.  I thought it was perfect for our tree.

As you can see not all of the decorations are typical ornaments - the key chains from Jamaica and the bear bell from Banff, but each one brings back great memories.  And hokey or not I love this tradition.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Big News - for me at least!

Remember a week or so ago when I said my friend Gina came over and I'd talk about our discussion later well...
yesterday a package came in the mail for me

and inside were these !!

 OK not quite as hip looking as I had hoped but still exciting for me nonetheless.  

In case you haven't guessed I've decided to take a personal training course.  I've been talking about signing up for this course for almost a year now.  Whether I switch careers and become a personal trainer or not isn't really on the horizon.  But I am really excited about starting something new and learning ways to improve my overall fitness and knowledge.

The timing of the course has meant a few changes to my overall running plans for the rest of the year.  I had almost signed up for the Boxing Day Race in Hamilton, but when I was at Gina's party, she mentioned she was going to take this course and I asked if I could tag along.  The course runs from December 27-29th and is in Toronto so I felt I couldn't drag my family to a race and then leave them for three days during the holidays.  

We are actually going to work this into a bit of a get away for the girls.  We'll be staying in the big smoke for two nights.  Dan will take the girls to the ROM and an ice show while I'm at the course and then we'll all go swimming and hang out in the evening.  Gina is staying at the same hotel and is an 'Aunt' to my girls so they will be thrilled.

I'm really hoping that I learn techniques in this course to help balance the stress running puts on my body.  I am also hoping to get strong in other areas besides my legs (ie my upper body) and hopefully improve my overall running skills.  As the year is winding down, I've been reflecting on my past accomplishments and missed goals and where I want to go for next year.  I think I'm going to look at this course as an early New Year's resolution.  The timing of this course has also created a bit of extra work for me during this Christmas season because I have to review the course material before the classes start.   Oh well, at least I find this stuff interesting.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Chocolate Covered Protein Balls

I used to make at least 5 different types of cookies each Christmas.  I would eat a ton of cookies and then package them up and take them to my co-workers, neighbours and family members.  Now I make my favourites - chocolate chip shortbread, chocolate covered peanut butter balls, ginger cookies and sometimes chocolate almond bark.  Typing that out, it sounds like a lot but they are all very quick cookies to make -  none require rolling out or cutting.

This year I decided that I would try to modify my chocolate covered peanut butter balls from basically a mixture of peanut butter and icing sugar to make them a bit more nutritionally dense.  I decided to use non bake protein bars as a base.  There are tons of recipes on line for protein bars.  I modified mine from this recipe . from Oh She Glows - I seem to have a cooking crush on this website lately.

 I added my favourite protein powder that I used in a lot of baking  - cookies, muffins or pancakes and it works great.  Since all of the baking I use it in is sweet, the vanilla flavour works perfectly.

Chocolate Covered Protein Balls


2/3 cup of cashews
1/2 oatmeal
3/4 cup protein powder
3/4 cup smooth natural peanut butter
5 medjool dates pitted & chopped
5 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup hemp hearts
1 cup chocolate chips
1 tbsp margarine


In a food processor, process the cashews and oatmeal until they form a fine powder.  Add protein powder, peanut butter, dates, syrup, vanilla and hemp.  Process again until the mixture forms a rough ball.  Roll dough into bite size balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Place cookies in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

Melt chocolate chips and margarine either on the stove top or microwave, watching closely as chocolate can burn quickly.  Using two forks, dip and roll the protein balls in the chocolate.  Once coated, put back on cookie sheet.  When finished, return to the freezer until the chocolate has set - about 30 minutes.  Store protein balls in a covered container in the freezer. 

Follow up taste-test

I do wish these were a bit more peanut buttery tasting but they are still great and I'm happy to add a bit more protein to my diet.  Maybe next time I would add less cashews and more peanut butter.  I did taste the vanilla flavouring in the protein powder, but it was not over whelming.  The real taste test will happen when my husband discovers these.  If I still have some left in a week - either he didn't find my hiding spot or doesn't like them.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Burlington Santa Claus Run 2009

I haven't posted any race recaps for a while.  So here is a suitable seasonal one.  My tenth and final run of 2009 was the Burlington Santa Claus Run.  This was a fun run.  Everyone in this race is dressed in a Santa Suit including a beard.  I have to admit that I had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction.  My belt (along with hundreds of others) broke in the cold weather.  They ended up all over the course.  But given the fact that thousands of inexpensive Santa Suits are required, a quality belt may not be high on the priority list.

This race is pretty cool to run in because everyone is in red and white.  I did not consider this race anything more than a training run or a form of entertainment.  You are wearing a Santa suit after all.  I would suggest having a meeting spot picked out for after the finish line prior to the the race in case you end up separated from your group. 

There is a great breakfast following the race and given the popularity of the race in recent years, new venues have been added to accommodate the increase in runners.  The year I ran this race, you could not buy breakfast for spectators so we ended up going somewhere else for breakfast, but the people who I spoke with who did stay said the food was great.

Group shot before the race - a perfect day for a run
Look the real Santa even made it for this race!

I would love to run this race some year with my kids.  I think they would love it.  Maybe next year....

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Still Chilling Out? - Maybe

I have been trying to follow my own advice from my last post.  My workout schedule for this week has been:
Monday - 50 min plyometrics class
Tuesday - 5k run (easy) & 90 intense yoga class
Wednesday - 7k tempo run
Thursday - 1 hour gentle yoga class & 5k run (fast - for me 23min 30 sec)

Tomorrow I will do a step class and Saturday I will run at least 10k at an easy pace.  So the working out is covered.

I also recreated the ginger beet juice I had in Greece.  I'll post that recipe later along with a few other juice recipes.  Other than that I have been eating pretty well.  Nothing too outrageous.  Next week may be another story.  I have 2 lunches out and a Christmas party both Friday and Saturday.  But like I said in my last post - its not worth stressing about overeating, just try to balance it out.

As for the chilling out part.... today was one of those crazy days.  The full moon is supposed to be Saturday so maybe weird things were just getting a head start.  My husband left this morning on a guys weekend and I had to have him dropped off on my way to work to leave for the airport.  We also had to put our kids on the bus.  Here's where the wheels fell off... I forgot my parking pass in a different vehicle (long story), when I put my daughter on the bus, I forgot to hand her her skates she needed for school today.  When I dropped her skates off (which made my husband late) I didn't see her teacher.  No one noticed the skates in the classroom, my daughter was calling me and my father-in-law to bring her the skates... you get the picture.

Remember this guy... that was me this morning.

By the time the afternoon rolled around things were much better.  I was feeling like Murphy's law was no longer ruling my life.  In fact, I had survived the morning and what doesn't drive you batty only makes you... who knows.   I felt brave enough to take care of some of the stuff I need to for Christmas.

First I made this for the party I'm going to tomorrow night ..

Here's the link to the recipe -  Its a brownie pumpkin pie with pecan topping and its vegan! This is amazing

While the brownie was baking I also made this for my front door.

I know its like Martha Stewart invaded my body. 

After my craft time I was left with a bit of a mess

No worries - I own a Dyson.  That baby can suck up anything... well maybe not...

Yeah - that stuff that was stuck in the power head is from Halloween.  Awesome.

So here's to number 5 on my list.  No words necessary.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Keeping it Together Through the Holidays

What I am about to post is not life changing or anything you haven't heard a million times before about avoiding weight gain during the holiday season.  This information is more like my goals I am going to try to achieve during the holidays to avoid having to add loose 5 pounds to my New Year's Resolution list.  Feel free to join me or add your own thoughts.

  1. Get enough sleep.  I put this first because I really believe that sleep is the foundation to good health.  I know how crappy I feel if I don't get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. (I know to some of you that is a lot).  But when you feel tired you don't have energy to work out and speaking for myself, I will reach for sugary foods or coffee after coffee to give me the pick up I need to get through the day.
  2. Exercise - duh!  I am aiming to workout everyday even if it is just a half an hour walk.  My workout schedule for the next few weeks is pretty intense to finish up some of the classes I've signed up for.  Some days I am working out twice, but its usually yoga and running.  If I feel tired I lessen the intensity. I think its a pretty safe to assume we are all exposed to and eating foods that are higher fat and calories than normal.  These extra calories need to be burned.  Also exercise releases endorphins and helps us cope with the extra pressure we feel this time of year.  I know its easy to think - I don't have time.  But if you make yourself I priority, I feel its much easier to handle the extra stress that we have around this time of year.
  3. Eat right - duh and duh.  (Told you this wasn't earth shattering).  I love food.  I don't think its a big secret that I do.  I like buttery, sugary cookies and rich creamy stuff and sometimes I eat it a bit like cookie monster.  But I try to balance out big dinners and treats with the good stuff.  If I'm going to a party I make sure I have healthier breakfasts and lunches partly so I feel less guilty about indulging later and partly so I don't feel like crap from eating terrible food all day.
  4. Chill out.  This is the last and most important point in my opinion.  This is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year - right.  So why are we so uptight about buying the perfect gift for our kid's bus driver, baking 80 dozen different cookies and sending Chirstmas cards to your fifth cousin who you haven't actually ever talked to.  (I don't actually know anyone who does those things, but you get the point).  The bottom line is that we need to figure out what is really important at Christmas - your kids, your hubs, the parents - YOU.  The rest are nice to haves.  The thing I am looking forward to the most in the pre Christmas frenzy is watching Elf with my girls, baking cookies with my mom and my 'work' dinner with my husband.  I will have fun at the other engagements and will enjoy being with my friends and family but all of those events are happening because I've decided I want to attend those other events as well and am grateful to have those people in my life.
That's it for my unsolicited advice on holiday weight and stress gain.  Its really about balancing all of the above.  We need to cut ourselves some slack and not expect perfection.  Chill out and have a happy festive season.  As for me - I'll try not to completely lose it when I bake my absolute favourite Christmas cookies.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

High Tea at my House

So we've begun the month of December and in with it comes the season of parties and eating - at least for me it seems.  I'll post more about my thoughts on the food workout balance during this time of year later this week.  Today I have a post for an awesome - but admittedly high fat and not very nutritionally dense treat but it is very delicious.  It is after all just that a treat.

Two things motivated this recipe for me.  The first was my visit to Langdon Hall last month where I had the most amazing scones.  My favourite was the maple scone with honey butter that felt like it melted in my mouth.  My second inspiration was at a recent get together I attended at my friend Gina's house.  Here's a shot taken by Dan.  Can you guess the secret ingredient?

If you guessed the wine - you'd be close.  Just kidding I'd rather drink it that bake with it.  The cranberries.  And Gina was coming over this afternoon to discuss something rather big coming up for both of us in the near future that I'll post about soon. (No - its not baby related). 

This afternoon I attempted to recreate the scones I had at Langdon Hall with my own twists added.  I have a go-to tea biscuit recipe I use all the time so I modified it.  I used real butter instead of margarine, added vanilla and cinnamon, and substituted some of the sugar for maple syrup.  I think next time, I'd substitute out all of the sugar for maple syrup.

Maple Cranberry Scones


1/4 cup butter
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup butter milk (or sour milk add 2 tsp lemon juice to 1 cup milk)
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup chopped fresh or frozen cranberries tossed in 2 tsp of sugar (do not thaw if frozen)
cinnamon sugar for sprinkling on top of scones


In a bowl whisk together dry ingredients.  Cut in butter.  (A lot of recipes say to use 2 knives.  I've never figured out how to do this.  I find a fork works better).  In a separate bowl, mix together wet ingredients.  Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour the wet in.  Mix together until just combined.  Mix in cranberries.  I think the key to light tasting flaky scones or tea biscuits is to handle this dough at little as possible.  Form into a circle and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.  Using a pizza cutter or a large knife, cut into 8 wedges.  Separate and bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes.  Let cool.  Serve with honey butter and marmalade. 

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Greece Wrap Up

It has taken me a lot longer than I thought it would to go through the pictures from Greece and create this post.  Between a sick child requiring multiple visits to the doctor's office and a vehicle that has been parked inside a mechanic shop for awhile I haven't had the time I'd like to pick a few pictures from our vacation.  Almost all of these were taken by my official race photographer - my hubs.

It was really nice to go through these photos again especially when this is what my front yard looked like this morning...

Baby its cold outside.

Without further ado.... I present GREECE!
Look I'm tiny ;-)

This is not Greece.  This is Rome on the tarmac where we landed after flying from Toronto.  We had to take a bus, go through crazy Roman security, race to our gate, get on another bus which dropped us off at the same spot we had gotten on the first bus.

This was what most of the streets around our hotel looked like.  I think this terrain actually helped my legs recover faster after the marathon.

On our second day in Greece, we went to the acropolis and wandered around through the Plaka district and the Roman Agora.  This is me at the acropolis or more accurately the Parthenon.

This is a view of Athens from the acropolis.  The city sprawled as far as you could see on all sides.

Here are some restaurants and shops in the Plaka district
 We took this boat to Hydra.

Shots of Hydra

We went out West a few years ago and drove through the Rocky mountains.  We didn't see any mountain goats there ... but they were on Hydra
Our Hydra tour dog - Tropha

The day after we went to Hydra, we took a tour to Delphi to see the Temple of Apollo.  I didn't find the Oracle, but we had fun.  At this point in our vacation, another couple had also joined us - Brad and Carey.  The tour group was a little slow for our pace, but the bus ride to Delphi was quite nice.

I think at this point Brad & Carey are the only ones in our group still paying attention.
Tracey & I
The stadium at Delphi

Tracey taking a picture (obviously) me - not sure what that's about.

After we went to Delphi, we went out for dinner at a restaurant called Strophi.  Tracey & I are drinking ouzo the proper way - over ice and sipping it. Opa!
Another shot from the restaurant.  You can see it has a great view.

After we ran the marathon we went out for dinner at a place that had Greek music and dancing.
Other amazing shots

Oh... and these pictures too.

Temple of the Olympian Zeus these are the tallest columns in Greece at 54 ft!
The reconstructed ancient agora

The Roman agora

There were so many shots I'm missing.  But its wayyyy passed my bedtime.  I have gone on a few other vacations with great pictures that I think I will post on.  Look for New York in the near future.  Sadly I have yet to run there... but someday!