Communal Table, Thanksgiving and Recent Eats

A new program has been established at the University of Calgary called The Communal Table. Every month, a group of us takes a crop from a local farmer, prepares it and eats it together. For the first event, we used locally grown potatoes, hand harvested by some of the participants in the program and made gnocchi from scratch.

The objective of the program is to bring back a sence of community and connection in terms of food. It’s rare that in the hustle-bustle of our lifestyles that anyone stops to harvest, cook, share and eat a meal together.

We baked, peeled, mashed, mixed, kneaded, rolled and sliced our way to beautiful little pillows of poatoey dumplings, enjoyed with a fresh salad with local beets and carrots (that tasted like candy) and a dessert of organic berries with honey and cinnamon.

We were also fortunate enough to be addressed by Rod from Leaf & Lyre — a family business using SPIN (small plot intensive) farming to cultivate backyard gardens in the city.

It was a real pleasure to see Rod’s clear passion for local and sustainable practises in an urban environment as well as embracing traditional practices that bring food and people together.

*Insert awkward transition here*

HI! Here’s some brand new information: It’s been busy. I keep trying to remind myself that blogging is much like cleaning my room. Take a little time to do it daily, or wait for it to pile up into a big mess that my mom eventually cleans up out of frustration. 

But some days, when you have every minute stuffed from 5:30 to 11:00, taking pictures of, editing pictures of, and posting pictures of your food just doesn’t happen. Here’s a quick update though!

A few weeks ago I had an incredible green Thai curry with yams, coconut milk and chicken. I recreated it at home with tofu, sweet potato, mushrooms, and broccoli.

Perfect protein pancakes with almond butter and grilled bananas

French toast with cinnamon spiked pumpkin, almond butter, and grilled bananas

One of my favorite combinations —  grilled carrot/ cinnamon/ almond butter wrap

We had our usual Thanksgiving dinner with the family this past weekend. It’s always a great evening of food and family, but the days leading up are nothing less than blood, sweat, tears, screaming babies and shattered glass. I love the holidays.

We are 100% incapable of taking a decent picture together.

On my plate was a heap of salad {my uncle has a secret/ AMAZING dressing recipe. There are rarely any salad left overs}, green beans, mashed potatoes n’ gravy, mac & cheese, and perfect turkey with home-made cranberry sauce. After a full day of cooking and very little eating this plate disappeared in a flash.

After a bit of digestion we dug into dessert which is always my project during the holidays. I joked that I woke up a few weeks ago in a cold sweat after dreaming up this dessert.

1st layer: Browned butter pumpkin blondie
2nd layer: Salted pecan praline
3rd layer: Village Ice cream Salted Caramel Ice cream
4th layer: Cinnamon whipped cream.

Just ridiculous and thoroughly enjoyed, but this week was back to the usual, starting with a neon green beverage.

Romaine, spinach, lemon, apple, ginger. Good news, it’s almost the weekend — aaaand I’m working every day of it. Sad Trombone.

Well Fed/ Rested

Well.

{Salad of spinach, roasted beets, olives, artichoke, lentils, sweet potato, and feta}

It took me exactly one week to burn myself out. Going from 5:30 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. feels great and productive at first, but it is draining and I crashed so easily.

{Overnight oats with berries, bananas, chia seeds, granola and peanut butter}

I’m going to try to say no more often. I am quick to find ways to pick up extra work shifts, pile one the yoga classes, and run (un)necessary errands. I need to remember that my priorities are school, my health, and my family and friends. Over crowding my schedule causes all of them to suffer.

{Quesadilla with smoked turkey, sliced pear, brie, and kale in a spelt tortilla}

 

Days go by

Where did we leave off?

Thursday morning I started my day at the yoga studio for a warm flow practise. It was a perfect, sweaty start to the day ahead. Breakfast was toast with banana, almond butter, honey and granola with a side of summer fruit that just won’t quit

I was invited to a sneak peek at the Calgary Home and Design show, I brought along my friend Torrie since she is obsessed with interior design. We wandered around looking at all of the vendor booths, I paused for a good chunk of time to drool over a Vitamix and wrapped up our tour with a visit to the Fiasco food truck for some gelato.

We also tried one of their Belgian waffles which heavy and doughy and heavenly. I scooped spoonfuls of my cappuccino gelato onto every bite of my half of this monster.

I invited my friend Shifrah over for dinner, wine and Glee, so as soon as we got home we started cooking.

On the menu: Quiona with roasted butternut squash, kale and feta, and broiled tilapia with pesto.

I had also been bitten by the baking bug, so we whipped up a quick batch of vegan almond butter blondies with dark chocolate chips and raspberries stirred in. Serve with a scoop of banana soft serve spiked with coconut cream which I HIGHLY recommend.

Despite a sugar/ white wine hangover, I was recovered enough on Friday morning to go to Body Pump. I’ve been going pretty consistently so I upped the weights and wanted to die by the end (in the best way possible) that is what I love about the pump, it never, ever gets easy.

I took advantage of a short break in my day to catch up on some reading and inhale my lunch — some chickpeas/ quinoa/ hummus/ veggie mix. It’s the quickest, most filling healthy meal I can throw together

Class – Work – Dinner – Crash.

Saturday I was up bright and early, gobbled up an almond butter blondie and caught an early hot class before work. I dilly-dallied on my way home since it was such a beautiful day out and I work in one of the most beautiful parts of the city.

Once I finally made it home I put together a big salad heavy on the toppings

Wild rice mix, green lentils, chopped pear, red onion, blue cheese, walnuts, home-made honey-balsamic dressing over spinach.

Then I proceeded to sleep for 11 glorious hours. I am sad to report that my lingering cold snuck up on me again! I caught it early at throat tickles and pumped myself full of Echinacea and vitamin C and I think that did the trick, except for my obnoxious right nostril which refuses to unplug.

Today was most certainly not a day of rest but was probably my favorite day this week.

3 Course Breakfast:

  • 1st course: Echinacea
  • 2nd course: Emergen-C
  • 3rd course: Smoothie with banana, blueberries, almond milk, perfect fit protein, peanut butter, spinach

Then I hopped on a bus and a train to spend the day down at Eau Claire for the AIDS Calgary Walk for Life. If you’ll recall, I’m a volunteer photographer with the society so I was fortunate enough to spend the day capturing moments of fun at the event.

{The extra F in my name is for Fabulous}

I was so, so impressed with every aspect of the event. The passion for this cause is so inspiring between the members of AIDS Calgary Awareness Association, all of the sponsors, volunteers and participants.

I wrapped up the day at Yoga Passage for a fast, hot, and sweaty class that I ended with a few minutes of head standing to try and clear out my sinuses.

Sleep tight.

House Keeping.

Excited as I am for school having finally started, this week doesn’t really count. This is the house keeping week where professors explain the layout of the class, tell us which textbooks we need (always the expensive ones) and spells out the NO. CELLPHONE. POLICY.

Sunday breakfast: Overnight oats

1/2 c. oatmeal, 1 tbsp. chia seeds, 2/3 c. almond milk, 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds}Soak overnight
+ bananas, raspberries, nectarine and grapes

Lunch

Spinach, roasted green beans, roasted beets,  Sweet Dijon Salmon, goats cheese, hummus and crackers

My house has been a construction zone for the past two weeks. My lungs are coated in saw dust, wood staining fumes AND paint fumes. But my house looks fantastic. I’ll put up pictures when it’s not in shambles.

Because of renovations, my parents had to camp out in the living room right next to the kitchen. Obnoxious as I am, I couldn’t bring myself to bust out the blender when they were still sleeping ten feet away.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Sunday night they moved back into their bedroom and Monday morning after a sweaty 6 am spin class, I blended 1/2 banana, 1/2 c. blueberries, 1 c. almond milk, 1 tbsp. peanut butter, 1/2 scoop vega sport performance protein, and ridiculous amounts of spinach.

It’s getting cooler in Calgary so though delicious, I had to crawl under the covers for a bit next to the space heater for a while. I have Raynaud’s phenomenon, when the cold causes blood vessel spasms and blocks the flow of blood to your extremities. After this smoothie my fingers were ghost white and numb. Worth it.

I spent the bulk of the morning putting my room back together (I was living out of my laundry basket in my basement for the last two weeks) and made a quick lunch before heading to school.

Brown rice tortilla, tempeh, tomato, spinach, hummus and Dijon mustard with grapes and snap peas. The Brown rice tortillas are awesome for quesadillas or tortilla pizza type things but are not meant to wrap things up.

Have I mentioned how obsessed with my schedule I am? I love it. After class yesterday, I headed to Yoga Passage for the 5:10 Ashtanga 2 class. It’s a shorter class, 60 minutes, opposed to 75, but perfect after my morning spin class which twists knots in my hips every time.

I think that catches us up!

Crazy Sexy Adventure Day 19: Kitchen Cleanse

How is it possibly August already?

This morning I made yet another green smoothie

Frozen banana, cherries, chia seeds, almond butter, cinnamon, almond milk, and a new to me protein: Vega Vanilla Almond.

I liked the taste but there was a wee bit of chalkiness in the texture. I’d have it again though.

More Dexter, some Body Combat, and then it was time for lunch!

Kitchen sink salad: I needed to pack in the produce today in order to avoid any food waste. This had romaine, cucumbers, snap peas, olives, tomato, fresh corn, black beans, banana peppers, nutritional yeast, and hummus. I’ll be making cucumber juice tomorrow to take care of the surplus of them in my fridge.

I went to work for the afternoon and dinner was a strifry of tofu, broccoli and snap peas with  sesame oil, braggs, fresh orange juice, garlic and ginger.

Once again, this is not all I eat! Picture a Macrobar, a hundred fistfuls of blueberries, some pieces of frozen mango, and a couple of peanut butter dipped spoons after and in-between meals 🙂

Operation kitchen clean out is a go! I should probably start packing…

Crazy Sexy Adventure Day 17: Rest Days

Sometimes I have trouble deciding whether I am listening to my body or just being lazy when I take a day off of exercise. I’m usually pretty energetic and have the physical capability to do something every day. I don’t formally plan rest days because I just figure eventually life will get in the way and I won’t have time to exercise (it does), or there will just be a day that I’m not feeling it. Like today for example. I laughed in my alarm clock’s face when it tried to get me to go to spin this morning (to be fair, I had gone to bed only four hours before) and felt very apathetic towards a yoga class after work. Instead I skipped on home, I am now in my stretchy pants and I have no regrets.

I also made an awesome salad. Spinach, celery, cucumbers, grapes, sunflower seeds, tofu ricotta and home-made balsamic dressing.

Crazy Sexy Adventure Day 13: New Protein and Dining Out

Doop-doop dingle ding ding-ding-ding.

I slept through the sound of my alarm (above) for eight whole minutes this morning! This never happens. I wasn’t tired once my eyes actually opened so I pulled on some stretchy pants and headed to Body Pump.

6 am classes are fun because for the first half I have no idea what is even happening. How did that bar bell get there? Why am I doing push ups right now? What is this!? By the time I fully wake up the workout it half done and my endorphins have taken over.

Green monstrosity.

Not long before I started this cleanse, I began incorporating organic whey protein into my smoothies. I really enjoyed the texture, flavour, and staying power that it offered. The ingredient list was short and recognizable and the stats impressive. Since the cleanse is dairy free, I have eliminated my protein from smoothies (subbing in a few tablespoons of chia seeds, coconut flour or a hefty scoop of nut butter) but I decided to sample a vegan source of protein. Yesterday I picked up a sampler pack of Vega Sport Performance Protein: a plant-based protein supplement with a blend of pea, sacha inchi, sprouted brown rice, hemp and alfalfa proteins.

It offers 26 g. of protein and 8% of your daily fiber requirements per serving. It is also delicious! I have heard that plant-based protein powders are notoriously bitter, grassy and gritty, but this was lightly sweetened with stevia and vanilla and blended well with the ingredients in my smoothie (frozen banana, cherries, almond milk, cocoa powder, and spinach)

I met my friend Natradee for a lunch hour yoga class. It felt amazing to stretch out my muscles from this morning’s Body Pumping. Afterwards we headed to lunch, I realized that it was my first restaurant meal on the cleanse!

Playing it safe, we went to Gratitude Cafe, since many of the entrees there are already cleanse friendly, however my friend Christa recently wrote a post about how to take control and enjoy a healthy, vegan and gluten-free meal at any restaurant.

We each started with smoothies. Nat had the banana ginger with e3live and I enjoyed the mango basil with e3live.

Both were delicious and unique flavour combinations and absolutely perfect after yoga.

For lunch I had the I am grateful: Raw Mexican enchilada lettuce cups. I subbed hummus for the guacamole since I can’t do avocados.

This dish was so satisfying and flavourful. Light but packed with so many different tastes and textures. I cleaned my plate.

I also had a bite of Natradee’s Eggplant Canape with cashew risotto which was rich and buttery, but maintained a wholesome, healthy appeal. I can imagine how delicious this dish would be on a cold winter’s day.

Once playtime was over, I headed to work for the evening where I also had dinner: a quick salad from home and a cup of celery-cauliflower soup that I took to go from Gratitude. There was also a few pieces of raw, dark chocolate with hazelnuts enjoyed.

I just ate a million mini red grapes and am ready for bed. Tomorrow was supposed to be a juice fast day but I think I’ll push it to Saturday as I am still pretty low on produce. Costco trip in the a.m. !

Crazy Sexy Adventure Day 11: Kittens, Oatmeal, Veggies, Yoga

My friend Jessie is a new yoga teacher and wanted some head shots but the only time that worked was early in the a.m. For convenience sake, I slept over after yoga last night and we were up bright and early to get some pictures of her pretty face.

I packed a green juice. Nerd.

We took a quick snap, snap, met some nice people with a bag of kittens.

Literally a bag full of kittens. 

Once I arrived home I ate some delicious overnight oats in an almost empty peanut butter jar with tonnes of fruit and a little sprinkle of granola.

 

I had a pretty lazy morning which included laundry and a Girls marathon. I had a late lunch of curried lentil soup and a giant salad. I also had some Mary’s Crackers on the side.

Eventually I peeled myself off of the couch and headed to yoga.

My mom once told me that when living in New York she often enjoyed the Hallmark slice of street car pizza for lunch. One day, her boss came to work with TWO slices for herself. The thought had never occurred to my mom that one could eat TWO slices of pizza. I think of that every time I do a yoga double. 4:10 ishta + 6:10 Hot (half an hour in-between classes). Crazy Sweaty Bliss.

Once I got home I threw together some sautéed veggies, brown rice noodles and a generous serving of spicy almond butter sauce.

Goodnight!

 

Crazy Sexy Adventure Day 9: BBQ

Quite the jam-packed Sunday!

Woke up to a giant smoothie – banana, cherries, cocoa, almond butter, spinach, chia seeds, almond milk, bzzzzz-, went to Body Combat, work, and back home for a family BBQ

Family barbecues usually revolve around the usual meat and potatoes (and BEER)  but I snuck in a little goodness.

Dug into a big bowl of greens with olives, lemony tahini dressing, grilled corn, zucchini, eggplant and peppers. The best part of my salad used to be the feta cheese but now I’m all about the olives. Salty and buttery I can’t get enough. I found some big green olives, each stuffed with a pickled garlic clove. I know, it baffles me how I’m still single too. I think salted pistachios would be another awesome vegan salad topper to offer that addictive quality of feta cheese.

Crazy Sexy dessert of grilled pineapple and coconut milk whipped cream. The whipped cream is simply the lucious, fatty coconut cream that floats to the top of your can of coconut milk. Scrape it away, leaving as much of the water behind as you can. Add a squeeze of agave and whip until smooth and dreamy.

Hope everyone’s weekend was fantastic! I am 10 days away from being on a plane to Miami !!!

Crazy Sexy Adventure Day 8: Hot Hot Heat

A green smoothie sounded so delicious this morning but there were no frozen bananas to be seen! I popped a few into the freezer and had a bowl of quinoa granola and fruit with almond milk instead.

I had work at Yoga Passage this morning and broke for lunch around noon

a beastly salad out of an old peanut butter container – no tupper ware to be found!? Afterwards I took the (extra) hot restorative class. The weather in Calgary is absurd. Hot and delicious. My body craves the restorative class by the time Saturday rolls around. Today’s class paired with yesterday’s juice fast has left me feeling squeaky clean, like a reset button has been pushed on my entire existence!

I came home dead set on an icy cold smoothie. Walking through down town I walked by no less than four ice cream trucks! I needed something refreshing and cleanse friendly and then I remembered a smoothie combination that my friend Christa from Edible Balance recommended:

1 c. frozen mango, 1/2 c. almond milk, 1 c. coconut water and a hunk of ginger. Amazing.

Dinner was another salad beast this had Spinach, lightly steamed broccoli, sweet potato,saur kraut, eggplant bacon, olives, snap peas, edemame millet burger and lemony-tahini dressing. Essentially everything within arms reach went in.

I have no further plans today than to laze around and watch Community. Toodle-oo