Thursday, March 31, 2011

And A New Recipe Is Born

In the  name of colour, I pulled out the hefty bag of Baby carrots we bought at Costco.
I was going to turn it into my usual Carrot Loaf, only to discover that I was missing several ingredients.
Oh well, but I had lovely fresh mushrooms on hand...
What to make?
Well, Carrot and Mushroom Loaf, of course.

I took the end slices of a whole wheat bread - turned them into bread crumbs (w. the help of my trusted food processor.)
Then, processed a small piece of Gruyere that was just hanging out in my fridge.
Next, I tossed in a whole lot of carrots and grated those.
I switched to the cutting blade and chopped up two small sweet onions.

I put the onions, carrots into my cast iron frying pan on med. heat.  In the meanwhile, preheated the oven at 350F.
While the veggies were softening, I chopped four nice large white mushrooms and added them to the mix. Lowered the heat, sprinkled on a bit of salt, covered the pan and let it cook gently for about 10 - 15 minutes. Once all the veggies were tender I let them cool off.
Next, I added 1/2 cup of Tahini, 1 tsp of Tamari Soy Sauce,  a few TBSP of Ajvar *(an eggplant/pepper spread)  the breadcrumbs and 1 beaten egg.
I mixed everything well, then transferred them into a parchment-lined loaf pan and baked it for about 30 minutes. At that point, I added the grated cheese and baked it some more till the cheese melted.

*Ajvar could be easily substituted with some tomato paste, pasta sauce, with some seasoning. It would work just fine.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Training Ups and Downs

Now, our weather has improved. Today it reached 7 - 8 degrees C. Notice, those are POSITIVE numbers:)

I started brief runs during lunch hour. No, it's not what my training  should be but it's better than waiting for  ideal running opportunities. On Sundays, I will do my scheduled long run. In the meanwhile I will get in as many brief ones as possible. I do a lot of cross training so Cardio is not likely going to be a problem.

I also started (first thing in the morning) Sun Salutations. Just a couple to get my body moving.
So far, so good.



Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Moksha and Greens

Just came across this. Sounds like a good idea ...

Speaking of "green".
Look, how beautiful:
(Those were turned into a lovely soup:)  )

Monday, March 28, 2011

Buckwheat and Yoga

I've been meaning to give buckwheat a chance...
Just came across a recipe:

Might just give it a try:)

Yesterday, I got to enjoy a great Yin Yoga class. It opened up all those areas that tightened up throughout the week. I actually fell asleep during the poses...  yes, I know, I was not supposed to do that :) but it surely felt good.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I suppose, I was elated post-run last weekend, so much so, that I never got another run in all week...
I worked out: 2 spinning classes, yoga, stationary bike, Sculpting class but no running.
The weather went from spring-like to snow and down to -10 C at night. I need to change my plans and get to a gym for a run.

Adding Colour

A Family Favourite - Rice Salad
Absolutely any veggie can go in it. I make it with brown rice, peas, red onions, carrots, red peppers, a little mozzarella, Sundried Tomatoes and home-made dressing.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

First Annual Spring Brunch

We have colour:)
Pineapple, Mango, Kiwi

Crepe with Ricotta and Fruit, Mushroom Cheese Strata with  Whole Wheat Bread,  Potato, Leek and Turnip Gratin

It's as light as can be:
Crepes are made with light Ricotta, Strata with Egg Whites and Evaporated Milk, Potato Dish with Evaporated Milk. Very filling, regardless.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Novel Way To Get Colour Into My Diet

My little dog has no appetite.  Sometimes he'll eat his own food, sometimes he wants "gourmet" meals,
(meaning- my cooking) . Since he is on insulin, I need to make sure he eats.

We work through a "menu":
dog food ? -no
perhaps canned dog food? - no
maybe an egg - not today
how about some tofu pieces ? - nope
ok, then lets try veggies- cooked carrots? - forget it.
I'll just pop a yam into the oven -  an hour later  - YES!

But now, I have 3/4 of a yam left - no more time to make ME breakfast... what to do, what to do?
I know: I'll have it for breakfast : It's colourful, fiberful, tastes good:)

Studies have confirmed that it's good for us to have pets:)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My New Focus: Colour

One of the problems with winter is the loss of colours in our food, as well as around us.
Sure, there are tropical fruits, but other than that?
So, my challenge for the week is to keep my meals colourful - without the addition of food colouring (yuck!) of course.

What does Colour have to do with Getting In Shape?
Colour makes food appetizing.  It also translates into a variety of nutrients.  Most so-called superfoods are bright colour.
Whatever is good for us, has to do with Getting in Shape. Did I mention that I don't like counting calories?

If I eat good, home-made food without an excessive amount of sugar, salt and fat - I am on the right track.

Today's colours:

Now these are Canadian-grown eggplants. I am guessing, hothouse - grown as I'm looking at the snow outside:)

And, here is today's colourful lunch:

Red Pepper and Broccoli Rabe Frittata - approved by the young and the old:)

Editing to mention the
Turnip and Broccoli Rabe Combination Frittata Recipe I just found. (Link posted under Recipe Links:) )

Shall We Move On?

From Fiber  to...
Let me sleep on that:)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I never made Succotash - never even knew what it was... Sure, I'd heard of it but for some reason, never took the time to find out about it.
Once I learned that it involved Lima beans I was interested:) I used Mollie Katzen's recipe and it was delicious even though I only had dried Tarragon on hand.
(Tofu, a bit of rice noodles and Succotash made a lovely, if not traditional lunch for us)

As for workout:
I did a fabulous class at Spynga - a good mix of Cardio (on the bikes) and strength workout.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Lunch Break

I thought I'd pop in and post one of my super simple, easy lunches.  It might not be the greatest choice but I try to make it reasonable with the addition of a couple veggies.

I still had leftover soup - and just today, I got this in my e-mail:) :
Vegetarian Times - White Bean and Kale Soup
Different seasoning but otherwise similar soup.

Grilled cheese on the panini maker...
No added fat -

I spread the Whole Wheat slices with Hummus,
Add a Slice of Provolone,
Add a slice of Roasted Red Pepper (I just do it on the panini maker while I'm preparing the bread)

Put them in the panini maker and a couple of minutes later - lunch is ready.
This time I added one of those lovely Pickled Peppers, Stuffed with Sauerkraut. A little more sodium than usual but I'll balance it out during the day.:)

It's not just lettuce... or tofu...
need a balance.  If I eat too much food like this, I feel bloated, not necessarily comfortable.
Variety is key. Have I said that before?

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Since fiber is my focus - I might as well share yesterday's fiber-story.
I went to the supermarket, hoping to get inspired by the produce.
When I saw those Heirloom Carrots, I just knew I had to use them. Remembering my leek and celery in the fridge drawer, the can of Cannelini and the Tuscan Seasoning I already had at home, I picked up some kale and
cooked up a lovely pot of soup:

One really does not need a recipe for a soup... just grab what you have or what appeals to you at the time and enjoy it:)
This turned out delicious.

(Re: Heirloom Carrots - the maroon one is very good but discolours soup quite a bit so I did not put it in here)

I can't wait for June when the Farmers' Market opens. I count the months from January on...
Until June, it's just the memories of last summer:

Tune Up Run

The second tune up run took place this morning. We missed  the first one - it was way too cold.
This morning it was much better:)
I picked up some coffee - a must before a run. sidetracked by the glow :

It's amazing how deserted Yonge Street is on a Sunday morning...
Somehow, as I was putting my camera away, I snapped a picture ... of me:)

It was still early when we arrived with my daughter and son-in-law:

but soon enough, people gathered:

and we were off.
The first mile or so took me by surprise. The cold air made it difficult to establish a rhythm. I was also surprised to see several uphill sections.... This early in the season those are tough...  The three of us separated early on: my son-in-law was way ahead. Age and long legs were helping him along:)
I assumed that my daughter was with him but she decided to follow people who seemed to know which way to go... only to find out that they were headed to a restaurant. As she saw nobody else from our group, she ran an extra 2 K:) She did good time, too - arrived at destination about 5 minutes after me...
What took me so long?

Well, I had to take some pictures ...
The trail that will look "oh, so pretty",
in a month or two.


Residential area

Birdfeeders near a school

Almost there.

Unfortunately, my Nike Ipod thingy did not cooperate: about half-way through I pressed the wrong button, never found out what my time was. But, my Daughter won a Yoga For Runners DVD in the draw:)

It was good to find out that we are "on track" - we have another six weeks till the RUN.

Friday, March 18, 2011


I am not talking about alcohol:)

Water, first and foremost.
Tea - herbal, Roibos  can substitute from time to time (without added sugar).

The other drinks - coffee, green and black tea  have caffeine, therefore should not really be counted for hydration purposes.

Milk is actually food. It can contribute but it's not the liquid of choice for this purpose.
Obviously, soups and other liquids also help, so do vegetables and fruits with high water content.

Carbonated drinks are just evil - best to stay away from them.
Fruit juices - they'd be fine in much smaller quantities - but it's obviously a better choice to eat whole fruits.

As for me:
I drink about 2-3 cups of coffee. I drink herbal tea most of the time, Chai (mostly in the winter) and lots of water. I never keep carbonated drinks at home - and really lost taste for them over time...

Thursday, March 17, 2011


All the good stuff:)
From left to right - Wild Rice - Dulse - Coconut Sweetener - Rolled Oats - Quinoa Crisp - Almond Milk and Soy Milk.
In Centre: a few (new to me) jkgourmet bars. They are absolutely delicious: no grains only nuts and fruits. (jkgourmet website is here) ( I only use the bars for (during/post) workout emergencies).

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Eat Your Vegetables

I came across some good articles, recipes on this site -
will be adding  the link to my List of Links:

As I have mentioned:
I am vegetarian .
The above concept makes a lot of sense for those who are trying to reduce their meat consumption for one reason or another.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Wonderful Meal:)

All the goodness of fiber, both from grains and vegetables - with some "good-for-you" mushrooms AND good taste...

Without further ado:
Savoy Cabbage with Mushrooms and Rice
(to be exact:  Savoy Cabbage Layered with Mushroom Paprikash and Rice)

Original recipe came from a Hungarian food blog. I changed it ever so slightly to accommodate the ingredients I had on hand. It worked like a charm and looked "oh, so pretty" :)
(English version is posted on Recipes page

And the fruit of the day:

A great little fruit with a whole lot of nutrients AND fiber.


We tend to think of them as something negative... Well, they can be.

I must confess:
I give in to many cravings.  There was a time when I intensely craved pistachios. Now, it's not something I normally eat or keep at home.
There was a time (recently) when I just had to have Sour Cherries. Nothing else would do.
Or in the past couple of weeks: Savoy Cabbage.
Those are cravings I accommodate. I think those are "real". I'm guessing, I might be lacking some vitamin/mineral/enzyme... and that is the way I get re-balanced. (No science  behind this - just my guess).

When it comes to  processed food "cravings" - it's much harder to figure out what to do.
It might be a desire to have some salty or sugary snack. It just might be smarter to substitute with a home-made version:
home-made popcorn, Kale chips, muffins, etc.
Calorie-wise there may not be great savings, but I control the amount of salt, sugar or other undesirable item that goes in it...

I've also discovered that sometimes I am looking for snacks simply because I need a break. Eating is always a justifiable break...  This was the case when I was having a lot of coffee, an inordinate amount of tea, too. Scheduling breaks might be a better solution.:)

Monday, March 14, 2011

My Run

Beautiful, sunny day - with minimal wind. Temperature? Around 1 or 2 degrees Celsius (34-36 F)
2.5 mile run mostly on side streets.
It feels so good :)

Music - appropriately:

It's My Life :) - now, if I could only run like the young man in the video...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

More on Detox

Detox diet types, benefits, and controversies |

Announcing My New Focus

So far I have covered sugar and grains. It has helped me to keep an eye on those and made me a great deal more conscious of my choices.

Lets move onto something else:


While I focus on fiber, there is an additional item that must come into play....
Yes!   - more fiber means more water. There must be more water or there will be a problem.
How to get more fiber into my diet:

Whole grains are a good start.
Legumes - a must.


Beautiful Movement

We Have Little Time

"We have little time and lots to do, lets take time for everything we do."
Oscar Wilde

I always loved Oscar Wilde's wit. 

I took the time this morning to work my muscles in a Sculpting class. I figure, the alternatives aren't so nice. 
I know they have drugs for osteoporosis but the side effects ?!
Sculpting class is a small price to pay to avoid or delay these problems:)
Not to mention, it's always nice to see familiar faces.

Friday, March 11, 2011


It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.

Charles Darwin

Now, if someone knew - he had to know...

This was the quote Sparkpeople e-mailed yesterday for healthy reflection.

This is a topic that has fascinated me for a long time.
I, for one, knew myself as a person who always had a terrible time  dealing with change. It is only in the past few years that I consciously challenge myself to deal with change. It is surprising just how adaptable we are.
A good recent example is Hot Yoga. The first few times you feel you won't make it. Sweat is running in every direction. As you do a forward fold, it's blinding you, runs into your nose... You are drinking insane amount of water to replace the fluids. Then... one day you bring your water bottle home with barely a sip missing...  you notice that your towel is not drenched... you recall that your eyes were no longer stinging during Forward Fold. You are tougher.
This is the physical aspect.
Once you experienced this, you can carry it with you to other, real life situations. You might just become more successful with day-to-day changes.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


An absolute must for workouts. Over time, after lots of repetitions our muscles start anticipating the movement. It's actually funny for me:

I've got used to certain music, that I may not ordinarily listen to, in my Spinning classes.
Here is an example:

Hearing this on my Ipod will make me burst into a sprint, quite spontaneously. Not necessarily a good thing when you are trying to keep an even pace during a race :)

Zucchini-crusted Pizza

If you don't expect Pizza, you won't be disappointed :)
Here is the recipe

Jogging Along

Grey skies, drizzle, snow and ice patches on the ground, huge puddles. Still, the temperature is above freezing and it feels SOOOO good to be outside after a long, cold winter.
I breathe better, my mood is elevated, I remember why I started running in the first place.
It was a brief run (or rather jog): only 1.5 miles, I came home soaked (not from sweat) but it's a start.
It's so different from indoor running - my body is currently acknowledging that:)
(or perhaps, the combination of  sculpting class in the morning with the run)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


One of those buzzwords...

I don't believe in it.

There - I said it.
Or perhaps, I should explain:

I think a good sweat (as in workouts) is beneficial, as long as we avoid dehydration, of course.

It's good to (re)evaluate our food from time to time. It's definitely smart to eliminate or minimize those  food items that are not serving our health. I seriously doubt that we have a need to do "cleansing", that we need to adopt any extreme diet,  or employ some chemical that will somehow magically remove 10 or more years worth of toxins from our bodies.

I think we are equipped with the "right stuff". Our bodies are able to deal with a lot of things. Give them good fuel (food), keep them mobile and they'll do their job.

Those who were living on fast food diets do see the benefit of a "detox" - and perhaps, that is what may give them a good start toward a healthier life-style.  Still, they should keep it sensible.

I can see the benefit of elimination diets if one suspects an allergy.

It makes sense to try and work with the seasons and  use local produce as much as possible. It makes sense to educate ourselves about organic farming practices etc. It's smart to buy and eat the freshest possible food. We'll benefit from that.

Detox is the current equivalent of past fad diets - at least that's what it seems like. It's also huge business.
Buyer beware.

Simple Is Best

Today's lunch:

Broccoli Rabe with Garlic, Red Pepper Flakes and Farfele
(in a little Olive oil with a bit of Parmesan Cheese)

A bit of indulgence  - pasta
A bit of virtue  - Broccoli Rabe, a cruciferous (good-for-you) vegetable.
All in all - a fine balance:)

Did I mention this was my first time cooking this vegetable? I'll be doing it again:)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


of the Cruciferous kind...
Even those, who don't like them, are willing to eat them roasted, with a bit of  olive oil, salt, crushed garlic or some garlic powder. Or, as in the case of the cabbage pieces, olive oil, salt, and caraway seeds.
It's much easier to focus on what to eat than on what not to eat.

Moving for a Cause

It seems running, walking, yoga  etc. all come easier when there is an external factor motivating us.

This event took place a couple of weeks ago:

Power of Movement

My daughter and I enjoyed taking part in it.

Eating At Night

A LOT of articles have dealt with this subject. A LOT of people who are on a mission to lose weight are trying to stop themselves from eating in the evening past a certain time.
All my life I ate snacks at night. By snacks I do not mean potato chips, or other junk food. (I don't have any in the house) I mean cereal or oatmeal, some fruit, sometimes a sandwich etc. Many times my workout ends after 8 or after 9. I'm always hungry then. (If I don't eat, I wake up in the middle of the night really hungry and I must eat then:) )  It never created a problem for me.
I would think there are individual variables with this, just like anything else.

This FitDay article deals with the topic

Monday, March 7, 2011


In the past I have (successfully) used Hal Higdon's Training for a 10K, then later, Training for a Half Marathon. I recognize that there are many ways getting there. This time I tried a different training schedule - and have been fighting with myself ever since:)
So, I'm officially returning to my TNT Hal Higdon's Training schedule.
My strength training is usually a sculpting class (1 hour or 1,5 hours in length) -
Cross training is either Spinning or Yoga class.

Tonight, I went back to the track, did 4K running (jogging).
Tomorrow, I expect to do a Spinning class
On Wednesday I'll do a running session.
On Thursday I'll do a Sculpting class and a short run
Friday - Spinning class
Saturday Sculpting
Sunday - Long run

I take a day off when either I feel overtired or overwhelmed with other things.

Instead of a Sandwich

Didn't I say I'd make it enjoyable?

Cabbage Strudel in Spelt Fillo -
I use Olive Oil / water mix between the layers.  It's light and delicious and gives me a serving of Cruciferous vegetables. As for the Phyllo : you can't tell the difference between white flour, whole wheat or spelt. I've tried them all .

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Making It Enjoyable

When we think of changes in diet or exercise we tend to think of restrictions, or a form of "punishment". If I look at it that way, it's not going to work. We seek enjoyment, pleasure - not punishment.
Learning to appreciate food as it was meant to be, without chemicals or insane amount of processing is actually more enjoyable than it sounds. I call it "extending my food vocabulary".  Trying different ethnic foods, new spices, is certainly fun.
Today, I finally took the trip to a special spice store with organic spices from all over the world and this is what I got:

I am looking forward to using them. I LOVE Tuscan food, so Tuscan Seasoning should come in handy.
I've never used Vanilla beans, surprisingly. The Four Pepper mix was too pretty to leave behind...
And, I'm all excited about  the whole nutmeg. It should bring a whole new flavour dimension to my cooking:)

I might just have to visit this store again.

Grains I Enjoy

There is actually a good variety there:

I love rice . I enjoy brown rice and all the other varieties. I have not tried black rice yet.

Wild rice (technically not even rice) is also wonderful and adds a different dimension to old dishes.

Quinoa, which is not a grain, yet we tend to count it as such, has wonderful properties: high protein content is just one of them.  My favourite is the black one:) Great addition to casseroles, good mixed
with other grains.

Barley.  It tends to be a family favourite. Black Beans and Barley are a great combination. Mushroom Barley Soup is heavenly.

Millet -  Unassuming but surprisingly also very beneficial.

Bulgur - just think Tabouleh:)

Buckwheat - oh, those Soba noodles...

Oats - Rolled Oats, Steel-cut Oats - they keep me going

Corn - we all love corn. Trying hard not to think about genetically modified food...

Spelt - I am not a great fan of it but it's fine in some foods.

There are some I have yet to try:
amaranth, teff,

Each have their own benefits - variety is always good.
Time to cook my oatmeal:)

Friday, March 4, 2011


Bread - mostly in the form of sandwiches - is my main problem.
I do try to make sure that it is whole grain at least. At times, even that becomes challenging. I was buying a good organic Flaxseed bread for months before I actually took the trouble to look at the Ingredients and find, much to my surprise, that the main component was white flour...  Of course, I know that "organic" doesn't translate into whole grain but foolishly, many of us tend to associate healthier products with that term.
What saved me was the fact that I buy and make a variety of breads, so the occasional lapse is not of great consequence. In fact, variety is my motto with foods as I believe that is probably the best insurance to reduce allergies, to acquire most necessary nutrients and to avoid problems (weight gain/loss) with nutrition.

Bread becomes a problem when I get overly busy. I tend to reach for a sandwich for  quick energy.
Yesterday was such a day. As I was cleaning out kitchen shelves and drawers I had no time (or space) to prepare something more substantial so sandwiches became my meals.
Knowing this, and planning for days like this can help change my habit - hopefully:)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day of Rest

It took me a while to recognize the need for it.  (I am a slow learner, what can I say...)
When I started training for 10K, 10 miler, Half Marathon, it became obvious that those who write the training manuals do have an idea what they are talking about:)
I don't necessarily observe rest day on the assigned day - I play it by ear. Whenever it becomes too difficult to make it to the gym or if I feel overwhelmed, that becomes my  day of rest.

Today was a day or rest.

New Focus and Evaluation

Sugar -
It just comes down to less baked goods. Otherwise, I feel, I'm doing reasonably. Since we are moving toward warmer days (hopefully), it's likely that I won't be baking quite as much. :)

Next focus:
Salt would be a natural choice, however, I know that I'm fine in that department so....
the next one is FLOUR.

Bread and pasta, pizza, cookies, cakes, crackers, biscotti...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

To Weigh Or Not To Weigh

There was a time, when I was weighing in every morning, without failure. It becomes part of the routine, it's painless, no fuss. You note the changes day to day- too little fiber: uh-oh, I'm up. Ate my oatmeal - back to normal. Then, as you reach the desired weight, it becomes less and less important. After a while, you drop the habit and then.... somehow,  your pants get a little more snug. The size that you normally ask for in a clothing store is not quite right...
So, I checked my weight. It's ok, it is my normal winter-weight.  I know I can get to my goal.