All I want for Christmas is…

I was up far past my bed time finishing The Hunger Games. Haven’t done that since my Harry Potter days! I can’t wait to get to book number two, I feel like a bit of my life is on hold until I do.

Lazily rolled out of bed for breakfast

PB&J + a Greenmonsta -banana, chia seeds, spinach, coconut milk (from a carton)

I’ve decided that I do not enjoy So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk. So far, I’ve tried it with cereal, oatmeal and smoothies. I find it thick but watery, bland and almost cardboardy. Not coconutty at all! Well, I impulsively bought a shelf-stable six pack of it from Costco and it is tolerable in smoothies so I’ll slowly but surely be working my way through it.

After breakfast I curled up onto the couch and watched The Help with my mom, amazing movie, I wish I had read the book first!

Eventually I peeled myself off of the sofa to go to The Yoga Passage for my karma cleaning shift and a hot class. Perfect little Sunday.

Christmas is around the corner and here are all the things I’m asking Santa for

Kindle

Source

Now that I’ve been bitten by the reading bug again (for a while there all I read was blogs and nutrition facts panels…) I have a huge list of books that are on my radar. There is a certain comfort that comes with reading a ‘real’ book, but I’ve never been the type to read a book more than once. Therefore I see a Kindle in my near future, whether santa gets me one or not.

iPhone 4s

Source

My Blackberry is alright but I realize that an iPhone probably suits my high maintinence requirements better.

Bolster

I was introduced to bolsters when I accidentally took a restorative yoga class last year. Not only did I find a new appreciation for slow, deep restorative practises, but I don’t know how I went so long without bolsters in my life! Once I drape myself over one of these, it’s very difficult to get me off.

Source

Manduka Mat

Source

my yoga mat is starting to tear where my hands and feet are placed in downward dog. Time for an upgrade!

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The Twins 21st

I just got home from a wonderfully relaxing weekend in Banff with my friends Torrie and Brittany for their 21st birthday

wandering the quiet streets of Banff, napping and sipping on Mexican Hot chocolate by day

Feasting, partying and YOGA by night

Banff Bites

Oatmeal with blueberries, pinches of bran muffin and peanut butter

Huge pancake (that’s what it’s called on the menu) scrambled eggs, salsa

Warm bread and garlic butter

amaaaazing minestrone soup, lots of BEANS

mediterranean chicken salad

Beer that I had three sips of, then donated. Yuck.

Chicken with roasted mediterranean veggies, sweet potato mash, green things

Vegan carrot cake + Gingerbread cupcake

It was so nice to have a few care-free days, back to the craziness that is December, meetcha there!

How to: Eat half a trey of cookies and avoid slipping into a downward spiral of self loathing

Hello!

So, yesterday I found myself home alone with an itch to make a mess in my kitchen and bake some cookies.

In my third week of cleansing, I found myself researching recipes for ‘the best chocolate chip cookie’ so that I had them on hand to make as soon as that crazy time was over. I found one, bookmarked it, and saved it for another day.

So I made my mess, I baked some cookies, I almost cried when I realized we were almost out of chocolate chips, but luckily we had a lot of left over Halloween candy (which, might I add, would not be the case had I not been on the cleanse) so I improvised with a bunch of Smarties.

Good decision!

In no time at all I had two trays of huge, piping hot chocolate chip cookies just waiting to be devoured. I waited 0.000000988657 seconds and devoured one.

It was perfect. Chewy and melted in my mouth and left my hands greasy from all the butter! I had to have another! Then another! Three cookies and one unhappy tummy later, I rolled myself to bed.

This happens. People can be embarrassed about it and hide it all they want but to avoid it from happening on a regular basis, it’s best to talk blog about it.

 Ask yourself: Self, why exactly did that happen? 

There are two possibilities here, either I was drowning my sorrows about being a boring 20-year-old, hanging out alone in her kitchen on a Friday night making cookies while listening to Coldplay’s Christmas album OR there was a tray of delicious smelling cookies staring me in the face and I simply wanted to eat a lot of them.

Think big picture:

How often do you really sit at home alone on a Friday night stuffing your face with delicious cookies while listening to the Coldplay Christmas album? Not too often right? Well the stuffing my face with cookies part, I’m kind of an old lady and more often than not I’m in bed by 9:30 on Friday nights. Sigh.

You should probably work out.

Don’t go into this with the attitude of ‘GAH I just ate a million calories in cookies, I have to burn off every single one and stay at the gym for four hours until they’re all gone OR until I puke which would only be helping in this situation.

No.

You go work out because it will give you a confidence boost that you might need at the moment. Because it will show you how amazing your body is and why you should treat it nicer. Because it will pump happy endorphins through your veins that no cookie could ever give you!

Eat.

Ya. You can still eat. Oh, and I don’t mean black coffee and egg whites and celery leaves. Don’t go trying to convince yourself that you aren’t hungry or restrict yourself to make up for your gorge fest. That can lead to a vicious cycle that no one needs to get involved in.

Eat another cookie.

Seriously, though. Chances are you didn’t eat the whole batch, and they are still lying around. If you want one, don’t avoid them. Don’t give them the stink eye every time you walk by. Don’t make this more complicated than it needs to be! Eat the cookie, taste the cookie and move on. The reason for this is because you want to avoid developing a restrictive attitude towards the cookies. Tell yourself you can’t have cookies; you will want the cookies more. And the cookies will win.

It’s a new day and there are no hard feelings between the cookies and me.

The Cookies:
Lightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 5/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, browned and cooled
1 cup packed (7 ounces) light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 c. chocolate chips
3/4 c. smarties

1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Either by hand or with an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in the chips to taste.

4. Roll a scant 2 tbsp into a ball. Hold the dough ball with the fingertips of both hands and pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate the halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, join the halves together at their base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth the dough’s uneven surface. Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart.

5. Bake until the cookies are light golden grown and the outer edges start to harden yet the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the sheets. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets with a side metal spatula.

Oh blogger, where art thou?

I haven’t forgotten about my blog, honest, I’ve just been facing some serious technical difficulties. What is going on with the world (wide web)? It takes me hours to put together a simple post and my internet goes into shock each time I try to upload an image. Pain.

Maybe it’s a sign from the guys up in triple-W-land begging telling me to stop. with. the. pictures. of . oatmeal.

While we’re on the subject, how does one spell the word ‘W’? double-you? Double-ewe

Luckily my painful sessions of screaming at my computer to OBEY ME should be over thanks to an hour-long conversation with a friendly internet geek, who I could tell by his tone was appalled at my lack of technical knowledge, and a shiny new router. I need to blog consistently otherwise I start talking to myself. True story.

I’m entering week three of cleansing. I feel pretty dang good. It sucks. Because it proves that certain delicious foods don’t make my stomach happy. ohwellwhatchagunnado? I think that some foods that are eliminated on this cleanse don’t actually have any negative effect on my digestion (caffeine, tomatoes, potatoes) but it’s only a month so I will be sticking with the plan.

After this cleanse is over, I do think that I’ll continue to scale back on wheat, dairy and sugar. More than anything, I think that wheat and dairy contribute to my bloat and blah-feelings. With that said, I will never be 100% gluten, dairy or sugar-free.  I wouldn’t cut any foods out of my diet unless I HAD to.

As far as cravings go, I would really like a coffee (now that there are beautiful white sprinkles on the ground!)  and cheese. Oh, and peanut butter! Not together though. I used to think that I couldn’t go an entire hour day without peanut butter but here I am, fourteen days later.

I’ve learnt that gluten is convenient ie. sandwiches, wraps. I’m aware that gluten-free breads and wraps exist and I do eat them, but I prefer them toasted otherwise they are inedible! Plus they’re pretty nutritionally devoid so I’ve been leaning more towards oats, brown rice, sweet potatoes and quinoa for my starches of choice.

Finally, I’m eating meat (chicken and turkey) on the regular. I think that this cleanse would be really difficult without!

Cleansing bites:

Brown Rice Pasta with Pumpkin ‘cheese’ Sauce, ground turkey and spinach

Ground turkey with spinach, roasted squash and hummus

Brown Rice Tortilla with almond butter, pumpkin, apple and cinnamon

Overnight Oats – oats, almond milk, flax, banana, strawberry + coconut butter on top

Home made chicken (brown rice)noodle soup + buttered brown rice bread

Banana oats topped with almond butter and a crumbled raw date bar

That’s all, hopefully back to regularly scheduled programing tomorrow!

 

When was the last time you felt fantastic?

That is the slogan of the clinic that I work at, and it stares me in the face every single day. I see people come in and out making changes to improve their current state of health and start to feel fantastic again

For the last three and a half years, I’ve been dealing with digestive issues, I won’t go into detail, because poop talk makes me squirm, but I’ve gotten used to feeling not 100% that I’ve just continued on with it for a very long time. There are days that my head is in a fog, some days I have the acid reflux of an 80-year-old man, and often I go to bed and appear to be six months pregnant. Sometimes there’s pain, sometimes it is a thick, heavy feeling right in my gut. I’ve become accustomed to bloating, cramps, and am never sure how any given meal will make me feel. Because I’ve still been able to go about my days relatively normally, I’ve come to terms with the fact that my stomach is kind of whimpy. Though I can deal with frequent bloat –hooray for flowey shirts!—I worry a little when I think about what’s going on inside.

So, of course, I was on board when a couple of girls are work mentioned trying out an anti-inflammatory cleanse! For 28 days, I’m cutting out gluten, dairy, refined sugars, caffeine (tear), tomatoes, red meat, alcohol and peanut butter. I’m also limiting sugar in general i.e. honey, maple syrup, molasses etc.

Questions I’ve been asked:

What CAN you eat? 

Vegetables, fruit, rice, quinoa, millet, oats, meat, fish, eggs, nuts (except for peanuts), seeds, beans, lentils and on and on and on.

Is this to lose weight? 

Not even a little bit. I’m pretty sure that I’m eating more than I normally do.

Why are you doing this again?

Because 3.5 years is a long time to just feel O.K.

Things I’ve noticed

  • Reduced bloating immediately! I’ve had a happy tummy for seven whole days, the only exception being after I ate the skins of a buttercup squash, my intestines did not appreciate that.
  • Throbbing headache on the first and fourth days which I am attributing to caffeine withdrawal. Normally I drink coffee 2-3 times a week but drink black tea every morning. I wasn’t expecting to experience any symptoms from cutting out my cup of tea but there they were! I don’t find myself craving tea in the morning, but having tea in the morning keeps me full from breakfast longer, so I’m hungry for lunch super early! The headaches and the early lunches are all a small price to pay for a noticeably happier stomach though.
  • Energy is normal, I feel the lack of caffeine durring morning exercise
  • It’s nice to know that I can go without that cup of coffee or peice of chocolate that I would usually convince myself that I needed
  • Without fruit I might die.
  • As long as I’m keeping full, I don’t crave any foods that are off the plan.

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and luckily is pretty easy to make wheat/ dairy/ sugar free.

Pumpkin Pie Quinoa

Pumpkin, chopped apple, cooked quinoa, pecan butter, walnuts

Breakfast Cookies

 Oats, banana, cocoa, almond butter –> mashed and spread onto a plate overnight + Coconut butter ‘icing’

Oats – Banana – Strawberries – Vanilla – Chia – Coconut Butter – Raw chocolate cake crumbles

Now, if you’re rolling your eyes at me for doing a cleanse, I don’t blame you, cleanses get a pretty bad rep. This cleanse is very basic and turns the focus on whole, easy to digest foods. If I start talking about my new appreciation for the flavour of tree bark or replacing meals with some lemon juice/ cayenne/ maple syrup concoction, feel free to intervene.

Yogi Food

Last Wednesday, I received a phone call from one of my yoga teachers at The Yoga Passage, she said there was an event on Sunday that needed food. She knows of the blog and gave the event coordinator my contact information. Cool, right!?

The event was great, it was a fundraiser to provide scholarships to students of Yoga teacher training programs.


It consisted of two hours of free, meditative dance. While I snapped these photos I felt the same energy in the room that I usually feel after an amazing yoga class. People were beaming and had tears in their eyes at the same time!

I was happy to provide something for the dancers to refuel! Unfortunately my workout from the day before left me all but immobile, so there was no dancing for me.

I really hope this kind of event happens again very soon! I definitely love a good dance-like-no-one-is-waching session.

What, oh what do you feed a bunch of yogis? I put together a healthy, vegetarian menu of finger foods and sweets

Caprese Bites: baby bocconcini – cherry tomatoes – fresh basil

Assorted Wraps

Curried Quinoa: Whole-grain wrap – Quinoa – Carmelized onion – Apple – Rainsins – Curry Powder

Feta-Squash: Whole-grain Wrap – Roasted Butternut Squash – Feta Cheese- Hummus – HOT SAUCE

Vegan Lentil Walnut Loaf: Recipe

Raw Chocolate Truffles: Recipe

Granola Bites:Recipe

Pumpkin Gingersnap Cookies: Recipe

 

 

Steak Night

“Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter-faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a damn.

To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living.

Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit, an affront to all I stand for, the pure enjoyment of food. The body, these waterheads imagine, is a temple that should not be polluted by animal protein.”

-Anthony Bourdain

A bit over a year ago, I watched Food Inc, decided I would cut back on meat and stopped craving it all together. I told people I was a vegetarian because that is just much easier to explain.

I enjoyed filling in the gaps of my meals where meat used to be with spoonfuls of peanut butter and hunks of cheese, though I was never one for supplementing my protein intake with powders. They taste like crushed chalk and death and sadness.

I felt no deprivation because I was enjoying my favourite foods still and it made me more creative in the kitchen. I still ate fish frequently.

Recently, however, I’ve been missing the meat! Like, meat, meat. Tofurky and Soy Crumbles creep me out, what can I say. I did my best to ignore it, but then asked myself, why ignore it? Didn’t you stop eating meat because you truly didn’t want it? So if you WANT it, and you are DEPRIVING yourself of something that you WANT doesn’t that go against every thing you believe in?

Yes. I suppose it does.

While I don’t see myself making meat a daily, or even weekly thing, I’m truly happy to have it back! Growing up, every Saturday night was steak night, and my parents still make steak a few times a month. For the last year, I would happily make my own dinner, but a couple of Saturdays ago, we sat down to dinner and…

Too bad, I don’t have this almost vegetarian label to make me feel cool anymore.

Of course, I will do my best to eat meat from a good source, which shouldn’t be too challenging, I live in Alberta! There are cows in my back yard.

The most exciting thing about this is broadening my foodie horizons. For the past year and a bit, if I came across a recipe that included meat, I completely disregarded it, or found a way to vegetarianize (totally a word) it. I think I’ll start with roasting a whole chicken!

Disclaimer: I don’t actually agree with that quote by Anthony Bourdain, I think vegan food is delicious, I do, however, think he’s hilarious.

PumpKing

Hi friends! Hope everyone is having a relaxing start to the long weekend.

I took a 9:30 BodyPump class this morning to make my muscles cry.

The lunge track made me want to fall into the fetal position. It was so rough, in fact, that I couldn’t bike home! I rode my bike to the gym, but the ride home is up-hill which is always challenging but doable. Not today. I barely made it ten feet before declaring it impossible. So my bike is currently chained to the bike racks near the gym and I hobbled walked home instead, will hopefully get it back today if my quads allow!

Once I came home I refueled with greek yogurt, pumpkin, maple syrup and PUMPKIN granola sprinkles.

Pumpkin tastes so delicious in September

So Long, Summer

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each. Let them be your only diet drink and botanical medicines.”
-Henry David Thoreau

Things I’ll miss about summer:

General sense of less responsibility. My birthday. Berries. Skirts and sandals. Smoothies and fresh juices. Frozen yogurt. Long, aimless walks. Sun dresses. Bike rides and freedom runs, Street festivals, Pedicures, Iced coffee, Smell of lilacs and barbecue, Spontaneous get togethers. Music: Bob Marley and Death Cab for Cutie

Why I’m excited about fall/ winter!

Boots and jeans
Cozy winter wear! Sweaters, scarves, mittens, socks, house coats
Roasted Squash
Stews and soup
Expensive Starbucks drinks
Watching Snowstorms from inside a well heated building
OATMEAL
Christmas music ♥
Holiday parties
Perfect apples
Afternoons spent baking
Less frequent leg shaving
Good television! Gossip Girl, Criminal Minds, Glee
Loitering in coffee shops all day

 

 

 

Did I miss anything?

My Cup of Tea

I could never maintain a diary as a little girl because I was self-conscious of my messy hand writing. I did, however, want to document the exciting happenings of my life, and trust me, I was a fascinating child. Thanks to modern technology, I’ve found a way to record the exciting parts of my life, without having to worry about my messy writing.

I started this blog as The Student Kitchen: a blog about the health savvy nutrition student who shopped on a budget and maintained a healthy lifestyle while keeping up with the demands of school.

But what if school wasn’t very demanding and my parents still pay for my groceries… The name made no sense, it wasn’t me.

So, one evening, I came home from a particularly inspiring yoga practice, and stayed up into the wee hours of the night flipping through the archives of Smitten Kitchen thinking:

Boy, I love yoga. Boy, I love food. These are the two things that DEFINE ME and I should dedicate my blog to them

And so, Sweet Ohm Cooking was born.

I blogged on, posting recipes, rants, adventures and so on, but I had this nagging voice in the back of my head. It kept telling me that if I were to stumble upon my little corner of the blogosphere, I would wonder why on earth this blog was called Sweet Ohm Cooking. It’s not all about cooking, and it’s not all about yoga. And I don’t connect with it, and I still feel a little weird in yoga classes when the teacher tells me to join him or her in ‘three beautiful ohms’ at the end of practice. There, I said it. The name made no sense, it wasn’t me.

Recently my blog has been experiencing a bit of an identity crisis. Every time I would hit publish on a post, she would stare at me through the computer screen screaming WHO AM I !?

I wish I knew, girl, I wish I knew.

I guess the ‘rule’ to having a successful blog is to maintain something consistent that has a certain theme or something that your readers can come to expect. Well, if there is one thing I am consistent at, it is inconsistency! I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m always changing, and that’s kind of exciting. If I’m always changing, and the blog is a place that I use to write about my life, then, inevitably, the blog will always be changing.

HOWEVER. I would like to keep that strictly to CONTENT and not the actual NAME of the blog. What kind of mother will I be? I’ll name my child, get sick of the name in a few months, tell people I don’t connect with it anymore, and change the kids name several times before child services takes it away from me (did I really just call my future child an it?)

So with that said, I promise, this is the last time!

Welcome to my living blog: My Cup of Tea. Not a food blog, or a yoga blog, not a fashion, rants, fitness or nutrition blog. Just a blog about a few of my favorite things

August 26th was the blog’s first birthday, and so I decided as a gift, I would give her the new name that she desired and a complete make over

Why the name?

Idioms:

cup of tea

1.    Something that one excels in or enjoys

Exactly what I want to write about.

As for the make over, the site also received a complete over haul! It took many hours of frustration, many bowls of ice-cream and many head stands to allow some blood to rush into my head after HOURS in front of the computer, but I’m proud of what I have come up with.

Click around! I have updated all of the pages and even added a few new ones. I’m excited about the direction that this blog is heading, grab a cup of tea and enjoy the show!