Friday, 30 March 2012

Spinach Salad with Sweet Potato Crisps & Foodie Pen Pal Reveal!

The Lean Green Bean

I think I mentioned a while ago that I was participating in a foodie pen pal exchange arranged by Lindsay and The Lean Green Bean  My pen pal was Meghan at A Dash of Meg - the awesome girl who sent me a box of goodies in the mail.  Thanks Meghan!!!

Here is what she sent me!  How lucky am I !?!

She sent me wonderful tea from DAVIDsTEA that has become one of my favourites along with flavoured agave syrup - coconut.  It was amazing in my cappuccino! It has a very subtle coconut taste that wasn't overwhelming but made my coffee super yummy.

She also sent me two things that I was really excited about - the first was walnut oil.  I had never tried it before - AMAZING!  Meg suggested I try it on its own as a salad dressing - which I did.

Meghan also sent me beets.  This was really delicious and funny for me.  When Meghan and I were paired up and she checked out my blog my post was beet hummus and guess what Meg was making beet hummus... dodododo (twilight zone music).

The beets were super good!  I put the walnut oil and beets into a salad...

Spinach Salad with Sweet Potato Crisps

by Denise Boyd Dunlop
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Keywords: entree salad vegetarian
Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 4 - 6 cups washed and torn baby spinach or baby green salad mix
  • 1 sweet potato peeled and sliced as thinly as possible (I used a vegetable peeler)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 pickled beets chopped
  • 1/4 cup goats cheese crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons walnut oil
  • 1/2 lemon cut into wedges
Preheat oven to 350. Toss sweet potato slices in olive oil. Lay slices on parchment paper lined cookie sheets and place in oven. Turn sweet potato slices over after 10 minutes of cooking. Watch carefully to prevent crisps from burning. Remove from oven when they are starting to brown and are cooked through.
Spread salad greens on plates. Arrange chopped beet on outside parameter of plate. Pile sweet potato crisps in the centre of the salad. Sprinkle with walnut oil. Serve with a lemon wedge, if desired.
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Sunday, 25 March 2012

Around the Bay - the Relay

Around the Bay is over for another year... I really feel like this year was the best one yet.  I know I only ran the relay.. only 10k of the course... but it was the toughest 10k and I still got the glory of the finish line.

I also got to see the front runners run float by.  Seriously - I don't think their feet touched the ground.  It was pretty amazing to see Reid Coolsaet racing.  I am so thrilled for him that he won as well.  Amazing!

As for me and my team... how did we do...

Well here's pre-race...

and here's post race (thanks to Gina for the photo)

As I mentioned yesterday there were last minute substitutions so my chip time isn't actually mine... its Mike's - thank you Mike. 

My chip time was Katherine's... which was 51:57 which is a p.b. for me!!!! I know wtf a p.b. on the final leg of Around the Bay.  But yes... I did it by 12 seconds! And I made time to high five the little guy at the bottom of the hill from Hell.

Overall our team finished 15th overall out of 232 relay teams and 3rd overall for the mixed open.  Combined with a p.b. its an awesome way to start my racing year. 

I am planning on running the Good Friday Race, the Marden Marathon 5k and provided all of the stars are aligned a race somewhere super cool the following weekend.

Here's also why this race rocked... the best shirt for all four of the years I have ran it!

I should also thank Paul and Mike for filling in so that I was able to run in the race.  And congratulate Mark and Scott for running the whole 30k - they did a fantastic job.  And to Larry and Dorothy for running the 5k. Also a very special thanks to Katherine and Gina (my p.b. good luck charm) for cheering and all of their support! 

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Saturday Morning Coffee

See this...

this is the perfect cup of coffee... made by moi

I've been totally into this coffee. 

I am a bit of a coffee snob.  I only have one or two cups of coffee a day and I don't want to waste it on yucky coffee.

I know you're thinking big deal coffee, Saturday, whatever.  But here's why its a big deal.  Usually my Saturday morning coffee is at Hooligan's next to the store I run from.  Its great coffee too and a lot of fun to hang out with my running group for a bit drinking coffee as our sweat dries... wow... that sounds gross.

So today when I would normally be getting ready to go running sitting at my computer drinking coffee listening to the kids watch Saturday morning cartoons is a bit of a break from the routine...  I'm racing tomorrow, so I'm taking today off from running.  In a bit, I'll be hanging out with the girls maybe a trip to the mall is in order who knows.

I've had some major changes to my race plans and relay situation tomorrow.  First my team of Grand River Running Girls has been slightly modified... Its now Grand River Running Girl and Two Guys.  Two of the girls are injured/recovering and otherwise unable to run. 

My realy spot has now been changed from number 2 to number 3.  Meaning I get the horrible hill that starts around 20k and THE HILL around 25 k.  I do get to run downhill for the last 4k and into Copp's Coliseum.  But I will also be running 10.5k instead of an even 10.  My time goal is now switching from 54 min to under 1 hour.  We'll see.

I am really happy that I was able to get some last minute subs... and I'm super excited to see the lead runners come through... especially Reid Coolsaet!  I'll let know how things go tomorrow!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Hiking with Sweet Potato Hummus

Today we took off to Hockley Valley Provincial park - which is a day use park for a hike.  The weather has been so amazing this week and is going to continue to be for the next few days.  Yippee!

Parts of this trail are on the Bruce Trail which is a massive trail system in Ontario.  I love hiking portions of this trail and have been thinking about attempting trail running... but after today maybe a hike is good enough.

The loop we hiked today was 4.6 km and took us about an hour and a half.  We had lots of stops along the way.

I love hiking and force encourage my kids to come out and enjoy nature as much as I do.  My husband and I have taken our girls hiking on tons of different trails.  I find there are a few things that make hiking with kids much easier.
  1. Always go a shorter distance than what you think they will walk - even if they have energy at the end, it's better to finish on a high note than whinny one.
  2. Play games and sing songs (I actually learned this one from my friend Tracey - who also taught me all the words to 'Doe a Deer')
  3. Pack lots of snack and water.
  4. Finally when they ask 'When will we be done' reply with 'Never - we are going to be hiking forever'
This was a great trail - there were people of all sorts of ages and fitness levels hiking which was awesome to see.

The start of the trail.

A super fun valley. This would be beautiful in the fall.

Counting rings... this tree was 66 years old.

Checking out a small creek.

An icy section - how often is it you can walk on something like this dressed in shorts and a t-shirt?

A fun fence ladder for the girls to climb over.

And one of our snacks.

Sweet Potato Hummus

by Denise Boyd Dunlop
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Keywords: blender appetizer gluten-free vegan
Ingredients (serves 8)
  • 1 sweet potato cooked (roasted, boiled or cooked in the microwave)
  • 1 can of chick peas drained and rinsed
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon of your favourite chili seasoning
  • (I used Sweet roasted chili spice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • water to thin
Peel cooked sweet potato, chop roughly. Add all ingredients to food processor. Blend until smooth adding water in small amounts as needed. Allow to sit for 30 minutes for flavours to develop. Serve with your favourite veggies and crackers.
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Sunday, 11 March 2012

Catching up

OK - I kind of fell out of the blogging world last week.  It had been my intention to pre-write a few recipes and post them throughout the week - but it didn't happen. 

I would like to say that I taught 6 classes in addition to working a full week and doing all of my usual yoga classes and training runs.  (Pat on the back).  I loved teaching.  My first few classes were OK, but I really felt like I had found my groove by Friday.  In fact after the class on Friday -two of the people said I should teach it every week.  It was the best compliment I could have received.

But Saturday morning I was zonked - who am I kidding - I was done by 4 pm on Friday.  Thankfully the beautiful weather woke me from my coma today.  I ran the funnest 12.5k I've ran in the longest time with my very first running friends - Scott & Katherine.  I feel re-engergized and back to myself.

I'm ready for my next exciting thing - the Foodie Penpal exchange - set up here

Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean as set up the amazing penpal exchange that pairs up 'foodies' from Canada and the US to send packages to each other on a monthly basis.  I'm so excited about this exchange - its great to get to know other bloggers and share ideas.

My foodie penpal is Pamela at The Pamcicle -

I've been shopping at a few places over the past week and can't wait to send her package off to her.

I've been paired up with another awesome blogger named Meghan at A Dash of Meg -

Both of these girls have fantastic blogs and they both live within a two hour drive of me.  I'm so excited to part of this exchange - did I say that already?

I will be posting some recipes soon... there will be some food changes around here - which will ultimately be for the better... more on that soon.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Its a Great Day for a Run

Do you know what these are?  

 Aside from ugly office carpet?  Muddy running shoes.  Yep - my responsible big sister shoes got a little dirty today.  It was a beautiful warm but windy run and the first one I've enjoyed outside for a while.  

With my teaching schedule this week, I've had to juggle a few of my workouts.  I swapped out yoga for run I'd planned for on Thursday.  I'm scheduled to teach two classes plus my scheduled yoga class tomorrow ... 4 workouts in one day might be over doing it... just saying.

I think I've said before how pleasantly surprised I've been with how supportive everyone has been with my new venture.  My class on Monday was a definite departure from what the class was normally taught.  I think the women liked it, but preferred a more structured class.

The spin class I taught last night was so much fun!  Everyone had a great workout and were sweating up a storm.  My playlist and the routine worked really well.  I'm teaching two more spin classes this week and am keeping the same routine.  I have one more cardio sculpt class to teach which I'm switching to a traditional aerobic style class.  I am also teaching a class at my work gym on Friday which will be full on H.I.I.T. boot camp style.

After that I will be having a giant nap.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Wasabi & Roasted Beet Humus

I'm winding down the weekend and preparing for the week ahead.  This is the first week that I will actually be paid for teaching fitness classes!  I am so excited.  Its strange that for at least the moment I'm not feeling any anxiety... typically I would be a bundle of nerves before I start something new.

Maybe its because I have had a lot of other stuff on my mind that make this new venture seem inconsequential or maybe I just really know my stuff.  Let's say its the latter of the two.  I am completely prepared to teach for the week.  I have covered off almost every detail I am in control of.. all I have to do is sleep well and eat properly.  The rest I can deal with.

In all honesty I am really excited about instructing these classes.  I have researched and planned the classes and put together what I feel is a super fun play list.  I've combined my favourite exercises and music, so at least I'll be having fun... hopefully its contagious. 

I am also completely blown away by how supportive everyone around me has been.  From my mom to the director of my department at my real job each person I mention my new certifcation to has been encouraging and a quite a few people are planning to attend the classes I'm teaching!  It will be nice to see a familiar face if I feel any nerves during the classes.  I'll let you know how it goes!

Wasabi & Roasted Beet Humus

by Denise Boyd Dunlop
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Keywords: roast blender appetizer vegan

Ingredients (makes approx. 1 cup)
  • 1 medium beet
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 1 can chick peas drained and rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon wasabi or more if you like
  • salt and pepper to taste

    To Roast the Beets
    Cut beet into quarters leaving skin on. Coat in oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap in tin foil and roast in oven at 350 for 45 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven and allow to cool before peeling.
    To make humus
    Chop beets into smaller pieces. Place all ingredients in food processor. Process until smooth adding small amounts of water to reach desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
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    Saturday, 3 March 2012

    Toblerone Cookies to help finish a busy week

    This week has been quite hectic.. so busy in fact that I haven't had time to do any 'fun' stuff.  Next week will be busy too, but I promise to post a bit more than I did last week.

    I am happy to report that I did complete all of my scheduled workout that I posted last Sunday.  Today`s run almost didn`t happen.  We had crazy winds and it was bitterly cold this morning.  I almost talked myself out of running and my husband said to me as I headed out this morning `You`re crazy`. 

    But as I head down the road, I was met by flashing red lights and a fire truck blocking the road.  The high winds had blown down hydro lines and the road I needed to drive down to meet my running group was closed.  I turned around and headed home.  I still needed my run, so I packed my girls up and headed to my parents.

    I`m not sure if I ran at my goal pace, but I did run 12k and my kids were entertained.  All was well in my world.  Now for the cookies...

    I showed a picture of these a few weeks ago and am finally getting around to posting them.  To quote a well know TV cooking host... Yum-o!

    Toblerone Cookies

    by Denise Boyd Dunlop
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 30 - 45 minutes
    Keywords: bake dessert cookie
    Ingredients (6 dozen cookies)
    • 1 cup butter softened
    • 1 & 1/2 cups sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 3 cups flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 small toblerone chocolate bars chopped
    Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt until combined. Add chopped toblerone chocolate stirring until mixed throughout cookie dough.
    Using teaspoon, spoon dough creating a round mound. Set on parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake in 350 oven for 12 minutes or until slightly golden on bottom.
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