DIY Iced Coffee

I recently shared this video on instagram and why no one can figure out the recipes is beyond me hahahaha!


So since time lapse is so fast I thought I would share a quick post with the recipe.

Homemade Iced Coffee

1 cup Cold Brewed Coffee of choice (I used Hatch) = 17.5 calories

1/2 cup Almond Milk = 14 calories

1/2 tsp Agave Syrup = 8 calories, 2g sugar

Ice

Total= 39.5 calories (if I did the math correct hahaha)

This is 354ml as opposed to Tim’s 380ml which has 120 calories but is still a healthier option overall as the fast food place ones usually have saturated fats and such in them.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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Essentially A Cook

Let me start by saying, I am in no way employed, paid to endorse or asked to promote the following product (I wish I was!).  All my posts are purely out of the goodness of my heart (aren’t you lucky?!).  I share things because they have been life changing (seriously this thing has been) or enhanced my life (it really has!) in some way and I think others could benefit form hearing my experience(s).

You may know that I am an awful cook (if you didn’t know, now you do).  I have good intentions and ideas but rarely do they turn out to be anything resembling what they should be (I can burn oatmeal).  I can however bake, oh can I bake, but that means someone has to eat said baked goods.

I have always been on a mission to learn to cook.  However, have never remotely come close to achieving this mission.  Until… the Instant Pot!  If you aren’t familiar with what the instant pot is, let me enlightening you.

The Instant Pot is a multi function small appliance.  It is first and for most, a pressure cooker.  But has the ability to be a slow cooker, yogurt maker and other things depending on your model of choice.  This post is all about the pressure cooker feature.

I, at first did not get all the hype of this little gadget and thought it was a waste of money, especially since I am missing a cooking gene.  But friends of mine convinced me to give this little pot a chance.

Enter the Instant Pot into my life.

I get this pot thing (seriously had no clue what I was getting myself into), open the box and am instantly intimidated.  So, I read online posts, join the Facebook group, scour Pinterest, do the “water test” (this is suggested to be done before starting to use it) and then I stood there.  I stared at this thing as if it would magically tell me how to use it or make me dinner.  I had no idea where to start!

 SIDE NOTE:

You should know another thing about me, I can go from “yay this is great” to “this is the worst thing ever” in about, oh, 2.2 seconds.

I instantly went into regret mode! Why did I waste my money on this thing?  I still can’t cook and this thing isn’t going to change that!  Now I’m stuck with this stupid thing, that I paid for and still have nothing for dinner!  The emotions were real.

But after a few deep breaths, help from a friend, let me tell you, once I got over the first hurdle of how the heck do I use this thing, wonderful things happened!  Things I never imagined could happen!  I CAN COOK!  Every meal I have made is edible (imagine that!).

Not only has this little pot that could, allowed me to make meals that I never dreamed I could make, it has saved me so much time!  Meals can be prepared in record time.  Would you believe it if I told you it cooks chicken breasts in 12 minutes?  Cause, it does! The Instant Pot is no joke and can help turn you into a cook, a time saver and meal prep-er (yeah I made that word up).  Honestly, if it can work for me, it can work for anybody.

Let me delight you with a list of some of the things that have been made all in my Instant Pot:

  • Chicken Fried Rice (which is basically a super good chicken, rice and veggie dish). Made this several times! SO GOOD!
  • Chicken Wings
  • Chicken Breasts
  • Let’s just say every part of the chicken I have cooked in the pot
  • Roast (pork and beef) with potatoes, veggies and gravy (yes all in the one pot) x 2 times
  • Sweet and Regular potatoes
  • Mac & Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Cheesecake
  • Banana Bread
  • THE BEST meatballs and gravy x 3 times
  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Potato Chilli x 5 times (yeah we like this one)
  • And More!

All these things were made fully in the Instant Pot (very little dishes to wash), with the help of the abundance of recipes I found online.  However, now I am at the point that I am starting to “wing” it and create my own recipes (Gasp!).  Something I never imagined in a million years possible (remember I’m missing the cooking gene).

The time and energy this thing has saved me is incredible.  So much so that I bought a second one (don’t judge)!  Yep, I am essentially a Pot Head (that’s what us obsessed with the Instant Pot are called).

Meet….

It’s more than S’well, it’s S’welltastic!

I’m going to do a bit of a product plug here.

Thanks to social media, I had been seeing many Hollywood celebrities using these bottles called “S’well”.  Not really familiar with them, but wanting an interesting new gift idea, I purchased a few for some family members as Christmas gifts last year.  My Mom was the lucky recipient of a 17oz bright orange one (birds of paradise).  And so our S’well bottle ownership began.

My Mom was using her bottle to bring hot water to work so she would be able to make a tea in the afternoon (yes, she watches Coronation Street).  We quickly learned how well this bottle worked for keeping the water HOT.  The water in the afternoon was still piping hot after being in the bottle for hours.

I was never a fan of stainless steel bottles.  I found that they changed the taste of the water and I didn’t like the taste of the spout.  I always used a glass bottle or ceramic mug for any of my beverages.  But I decided to give the S’well bottle a try.  So my Mom and I each ordered the larger 25oz. bottle.

This might be the best bottle I have ever used!  I started using mine in the winter months just like my Mom was using hers, to bring hot water to work to make tea.  The 25oz bottle is a good size, so some days I wouldn’t even use all the water and yet when I would get home after 10 hours the water was still piping hot!  I know this because I tested it and poured it on my hand and it was HOT, not luke warm, or kind of hot BUT extremely hot!

Lately with the heat wave we have been having, I was finding that my water was getting warm in my glass bottle at my Crossfit “box” and if you are anything like me, you need a good drink of cool/cold water after a WOD, warm water doesn’t cut it.  So finally after about 4 months I switched from my beloved glass bottle to my S’well bottle and all I can think of now is, why did I wait‽  This bottle not only keeps my water cold but there is no stainless steel taste to my water at all, in fact I swear my water even tastes purified and better!  These bottles are amazing!

S’well bottles claim to keeps liquids hot for 12 hours and cold for 24 and I am now a believer!  They really do work!  They also come in such great and fun colour options (mine is bikini pink!) that you can find the flashiest one to the plainest one to fit everyone’s style!  Everyone needs a S’well bottle!  Why wouldn’t you want a great functional bottle that looks stlyish to carry and will increase your water intake because let’s face it, we all need to drink more water, so do it in style!10806334_10155256536135014_8172721612859552133_n

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Tip: People ask me how I get in my daily water intake and the answer is, I have my bottle(s) with me all the time. I carry them with me, place them beside me in my car, in front of me at work, everywhere I go and I sip all day.  I don’t wait till I am thirsty, I just sip throughout the day and before I know, it I’ve gone through two or three refills on my 25oz. S’well bottle.

Home

For my Canadian friends, we ordered ours from fenigo.com and they shipped very fast! 

Eating Right, Feeling Great!

Just over twenty-one days ago (and still going strong) I embarked on what has been one of the best journeys (after joining Crossfit) thus far, in remodeling my life. I started a new nutritional plan. Nutrition has always been a passion of mine but also has been the thing that gets put on the backburner. I would constantly say “ok, next week, I’ll start”, and then next week came and went. This cycle continued until now! Thanks to my Mother for making us jump right in! The day we decided to make this change, was the day we planned and started (we tend to go all in or nothing).

I’m going to call this a nutritional plan or dietary change, not a diet. The reasons for this is, first, when people look at me they immediately say “WHAT!? Why are YOU on a diet??” They just jump to the conclusion that I want to lose weight (I’m actually trying to gain weight in the form of muscle). Second, I want everyone to feel that they too can try this plan and succeed. Diets scare people into thinking it will be hard, bland, boring and that they will be hungry. But this nutritional plan is far from that! And I’m excited to share some information and results with you.

As you probably have read in my previous blog, I am following the Bad Ass Body Diet, by Christmas Abbott. I encourage anyone interested in really learning about this dietary change to read her book, but for now, I am going to tell you about my experience and what has made this change in my nutritional habits easy.

I’m writing this post twenty-six days after we started. The first stage of this program is to do a “21-day detox”. What that entails is that you follow the program for 21-days with no “cheats”. The reason for this is you are working to reprogram your body, habits and lifestyle and that doesn’t just happen overnight. Committing to the 21-day detox program is a HUGE step into changing your dietary habits, for good.

Now, you hear detox and are probably are worried. A lot of detoxes have some pretty bad side effects such as headaches, flu like symptoms and skin breakouts. But this “detox” program isn’t like doing an intense one (such as a juice fast). However, everyone will be different but what I found in this program is when you eliminate something, you also have a healthy substitute to help you out. For me, I thought eliminating sugars (because I have an unhealthy obsession with it) from my diet would cause my body to rebel but I was able to use healthy fruits as my “sugar” for those times when I felt I needed it. This prevented a lot of those nasty detox side effects.

Some of my results include: INCREASED ENERGY! A BIG result! The energy boost I get from this program is unbelievable. I have been working with my naturopath for years to try improve my energy. I used to say, “If sleeping was an Olympic sport, I’d be a Gold medalist”. I would yawn constantly all day, even when I had a good nights sleep. Since being on this nutritional plan, I wake up and feel rested and I go through my busy day feeling energized.

The next thing I’ve noticed is my DIGESTION is better. I know I’m not the only one who constantly suffered from gas, bloating and gas-ie bubbles after eating (cue any yogurt commercial here). Well those days are gone! I have also noticed an IMPROVED APPEARANCE to my skin And what I’m sure you are all waiting to hear, I’ve gained weight! My goals in the weight department are to gain muscle weight and that I have, I PR’d my back squat by 10lbs to hit a whopping 120lbs (I currently weigh 105lbs and was 95lbs when I first started Crossfit). For those that are interested in losing weight, I can tell you, my Mother and few friends that are also doing this program have lost upwards of 10lbs (in the first and second week).

Now, how have I achieved this? Well first of all I read the book and was lucky to be able to attend Christmas’ seminar. Then I attacked this with my Mom! I am SO extremely lucky to have been able to do this with her. Not only because my Mom is pretty damn awesome, but because doing this with someone really did help. Being able to talk, plan and be accountable to someone, other then just yourself, helps more than you can imagine (and my Mom is really competitive and I couldn’t bear to tell her I had a candy, so I stayed strong).

Next, make a cheat sheet. Have a sheet in your kitchen, on your phone, in you car, everywhere! Have it list your proteins, carbs and fats and the amounts. You then basically pick a protein, carb and fat to make a “brick” and you have a meal! This is not meant to be complicated. If you are having a large meal you chose, lets says, three proteins, three carbs and three fats, to make three “bricks” and you have a decent sized meal (you do not go hungry on this plan). If you have a sheet with many of your options it makes it easy to put together a healthy meal and avoid grabbing something that isn’t healthy.

PLANNING! I cannot stress enough how this step is the most important part in the success of this nutritional plan. You have to plan and be prepared for your week. Many people will plan and prep all their food for the week on Sunday. Here is how we did it. Sunday we planned and purchased our food for the coming week’s snacks and lunches. We cooked up our meats and pre-portioned it, along with some of our fruits and veggies. Each night I will prep my breakfast and put together and pack my snacks and lunch for the following day. We decided to cook our dinners the night of, so that we got fresh, hot dinners instead of warmed up leftovers. Again, I cannot stress enough how planning and prepping is how you will succeed in this. I have also gained an extra 20 minutes each morning! Since everything is already packed and ready to go, I get to sit and enjoy my breakfast with the extra 20 minutes I’ve gained (and to think I hardly EVER even ate breakfast before this).

The weekends, for me, were the toughest. Sticking to the plan when you want to kick back with a bag of chips (or glass wine, in my Mother’s case) and watch a movie has proven to be the most difficult part for me. But when you are feeling great and seeing results, you continue forward. And after the 21 day detox you can add in a few “treats” to help get through the weekends.

I know this sounds like a lot, but I can honestly say that it has been so much easier then I could ever have imagined. Getting into the swing of things took only a few days and the way I feel now, is so worth it. Eating clean and right will make anyone feel like a million bucks. So grab a family member, a friend, or ME and plan your first week! You will not be disappointed!

This was our very first Sunday of planning and prepping 

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Finding MY Right Nutritional Plan

Working on my dietary habits has been a constant battle. I went to school for holistic nutrition, so I’m well educated on the good and the bad of eating “right”. I am also a firm believer that everything in moderation is ok and that you need to be happy, as well as, healthy and fit.

For the past few years, I wouldn’t say I was eating bad but, I was allowing myself more of the moderation stuff, like eating out, sugar (oh how I love my sugar) and carbs (the bad ones). Since getting serious about Crossfit, weight training and, exercise in general, I have really started looking at what I eat to “fuel” my body.

I’m a small person, always have been. I come from small parents and I have never really had to “watch” what I eat (other than for health purposes). So when I increased my physical activity, I did what I thought was right. I increased my food intake. Hey, I was burning a lot of calories a day, so as long as I ate a lot of food, it didn’t matter what I ate, right? Wrong!

I, as many others, am really good at being able to increase my carbs and fats. Extra pasta, yes please! More potatoes, sure! But what I wasn’t doing was balancing my meals properly. Sure I know about nutrition and eating healthy but I never really invested the time to learn about eating and fueling my body for the amount of physical activity I have started to do. Again, something new to consider, another area for me learn about (I LOVE LEARNING!).

First, I started by talking to my naturopath. I began taking some supplements and started to really increase my protein. But when I increased my protein, I increased my carbohydrates as well (and then added a nice desert because, of course I deserved it after all my hard work). I looked into paleo and well, some aspects of it look good, other parts of it did not make sense to me (and I don’t like bacon).

While in my search for the correct nutritional plan for myself, the lovely Christmas Abbott conveniently wrote a book (#TheBadAssBodyDiet) and shortly thereafter, held a seminar in my city. After attending the seminar, I decided to try the first part of the plan, the 21-day detox.

I’m not going to get too in depth with what the entire plan involves (because you should read the book) but basically, you eliminate a lot of the bad (sugars, processed foods etc.), balance each meal and snack correctly and eat for your body type (size, weight and goals).

Now, I’ve been told that this is common knowledge in the physically active community, to balance your proteins, carbs and fats in a 40/30/30 ratio. But sometimes it takes someone that inspires you, that reminds you of where you came from and where you can go, someone that has been there – done that to show you the way (be it new or old). Sometimes, even though it may already be out there (in some form) they were able to shine a light on something that might just work for you, they help you through it and make it attainable. This is what I have found. It doesn’t matter how I found it or how long it took me, it’s that I think I have finally found the right fit for me, my body and my activity level. I hope that through my experience I can encourage others to find the right nutritional plan for them or to even try this one.

Stay tuned for my next blog on how the 21-day detox went.

 

A little glimpse at what my snacks and lunch planning looks like!

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Learning to Like Protein Powder

I have always battled with very bad headaches. I used to get headaches several times a week, some on the verge of migraines, some lasting for days (I have even experienced 7 day headaches). This
has been an on going struggle for many years. I tried several different things to cure them. Chiropractics and massage helped, especially while I had the headache. But I wanted something that would keep the headaches away, long term. I tried acupuncture, which helped a lot, but they kept coming back. I had a long list of things that would sometimes help and sometimes not (hydrotherapy, icing, stretching).

I could attribute many of my headaches to low blood sugar. I always skipped breakfast, but my love of sugar, caffeine (that’s a meal right?), and high stress usually led to less nutrient intake throughout the day. I have been told many times over the years to “make a protein shake”. Well that’s great advice, to someone that doesnt hate the taste of protein powder!

Having tried many different types of protein powder and experimenting with many different ways to disguise it, I just gave up. Protein powder shakes were just not for me. No matter what I put into the shake, all I could taste was powder! And the only thing that worked to change the flavour for me was banana….while I like me some banana bread, I’m not the hugest fan of the flavour of raw banana.

When you start training as much as I have, and when you work and go to school, you need to find easy and quick ways to eat and get your protein in. So it was time to change my mind about protein powder, once and for all.

I started by adding a lot of things that I liked. I love fruit, so I threw a lot of fruit into it, especially berries. Vanilla flavoured greek yogurt also helped a lot and makes it a bit thicker and its also a source of protein! Next I started to add ice. I find that I like my shakes better when they are really cold (frozen fruit also works). Since I was adding the greek yogurt, I started by using just half a scoop of protein powder to hopefully condition my taste buds to liking protein shakes.

Well it worked! I just kept at it and I started to slowly like them. I’m to the point now that I can even take a scoop of protein powder, mix with half a cup of water and drink it! Never did I imagine that would happen.

Shakes are so easy now! They are very quick for me to make to take in the car with me on my way to the gym or work and, they are a great way for you to get the things you don’t like, but really should have, into your body. I add hemp seeds, spinach and kale to almost all my shakes and rarely do I taste the kale. I also use rice milk to add flavour.

If you are like I was, I think you need to work on changing your palette and eventually you will learn to like them and you will LOVE how easy they are to make and the amount of nutrients you can get into your body with one shake. Come on try it! Embrace the protein shake! You will be glad you did.

Since starting to work on my diet (healthy eating and increased eating) and working out, I am happy to report that I only get the odd headache!