Sunday, March 25, 2012

Guide to "Greens"

Whoa two posts in two days! Crazyness.

I had an idea for this post today while making dinner.

I have been experimenting with different greens. And by greens I mean lettucey type things. About 2 years ago I didn't know the difference between swiss chard, kale, and had no idea what rapini now that I have had my fair share of these forgotten greens I thought I would share my knowledge.

Disclaimer: I am no food expert. This is just my general knowledge of greens from the interweb and personal experience.

Ok..from wikipedia
Leaf vegetables are typically low in calories, low in fat, high in protein per calorie, high in dietary fiber, high in iron and calcium, and very high in phytochemicals such as vitamin Ccarotenoids,luteinfolate as well as vitamin K.

To most of us, leafy greens mean lettuce (romaine, red, green) and spinach. One good tip I have heard is that the darker the leaf, the better it is. Therefore iceburg lettuce doesn't count as a leafy is pretty much like water...nutritionally void. I rarely eat iceberg lettuce, and when I do I feel like I am wasting my time. 

Moving on to the cooler greens. 

Other lettuces:
This is probably familiar territory for most people. Romaine is my favorite in Ceaser salad, and it can even be grilled, if you are allowed to have a BBQ..unlike me :(. I like red lettuce in a salad with lots of other veggies, and boston lettuce is good for lettuce wraps. I don't have much experience with arugula but it is delicious with goat cheese!

Next up is the most versitile (in my opinion) Spinach! 
I love spinach salads, and cooked spinach and even spinach in a blender hidden in a smoothie (like this from Real Food Katie's Way)!
Spinach is really good for you, and it tastes pretty good too! Spinach was as far as I got into the leafy greens until 2 years ago, when I first attempted to cook swiss chard...

I made a "diet soup" that involved swiss chard. It was disgusting. So gross that I had to beg Mike to try it again recently. I think the key with swiss chard is to not cook the stems. With most leafy greens the stems are really bitter, so they aren't the best to eat. 

I finally gave swiss chard another shot, and cooked it with this Moroccan inspired meal.
I simply removed the stems and sauteed it. When in doubt with leafy greens..just saut the heck out of them with lots of EVOO and garlic. That makes anything good. 

I don't really remember swiss chard, but it wasn't too bad, just not my favorite. 

And then there is Kale. 
It is the "healthy living" blog world's pet leafy green. It could be the mascot haha. Kale is really tasty. My favorite way to cook kale is to make kale chips. It can also be sauteed, or used straight in salad.

Just last week I tried rapini for the first time. I had heard about it from cooking shows, and thought it looked nifty, so I picked some up:

I didn't really like it at guinea pigs (Mike and his cousin who was in town visiting) had some, and both agreed it wasn't the best. But they were good sports. I rewarded them with brownies later.

And that brings us to tonight: Collard Greens
These were surprisingly really good! I boiled them, and then sauteed them. They tasted like a mild fiddle head, which in my opinion is awesome!

So there you have it, a mini summary of greens. I haven't included all of them, and some like dandelion greens I really want to try. 

I got a lot of the photos from, which is a good site with more information! I see a few I need to add to my list of things to try!

So I dare you, expand your tastebuds away from lettuce and spinach, and see what you think! 

Anyone else loving the greens? Anyone have success with Rapini??

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Photo Dump and Everything Else I Missed

Hi peeps!

Whew what a hectic month. March is flying by, and it has been jam packed with fun stuff. I have documented most of it like donating blood, hot yoga, tutoring, hanging out with friends, shopping etc. But some of the stuff I did/eat/wanted to write about didn't now I have a free Saturday to get caught up. This post may be random..but hey that is just the way I roll.

Firstly, since I had a whole post last year about St. Patrick's day I'm going to recap my epic fail of a St. Patrick's day.

It started out on a good track. I had a green outfit prepped..(actually 2 or 3), and I had even made chocolate mint browines/cake for work to celebrate:
Aero Mint!
Side bar: ZOMG I hate baking. I don't know why I even decided to do it. Erica over at the Elbow is a fantastic baker, and I am in awe of her cupcake skills. Yes my cake was edible, and yes the brownies were delicious, but it dirtied every bowl in the process and covered my entire kitchen in green icing. I am like a child. Yet I still managed to impress people at work. I'd love to see their reaction if I busted out my actually decent cooking :). 

Ok back to how St. Patrick's was a failure. Katie, Travis, Mike, Brittany, myself, and our friend Kareem all decided to go to a pub. Along with every other young Torontonian south of Bloor. King St. West was ridiculous. But we were naive and tired to go to Finn's of Temple bar, and there was a short line up but that was just for the patio. They had drinks, and lobster rolls to hold people over as they waited in the 2-3 hour line up for a table. Mike and I scarfed down a lobster roll, and then we decided to try else where. We found a restaurant on front st. with only a 45 minute line up. 
The girlies waiting to get in
The line up meant that the restaurant was not packed and the service was good. Food was ok, but on the last bite of my supper I started feeling really really sick. I can't even blame drinks, because at that point I had one measly ceaser. So we left the pub, and headed back to Katie and Travis's apartment. Everyone else chatted and had a few drinks, and I ended up napping the whole time. I think the lobster roll disagreed with me. Not the evening of drinks and dancing we had planned. I joked with Brittany that I am getting old, because just the prospect of going out made me sick. St. Patrick's day fail. Half of the fail was that St. Patrick's Day made me really halifax homesick. Maybe next year we should plan a weekend trip to Halifax haha!

In other news the weather here has been fantastic! Mike and I have been taking advantage of the time change and the gorgeous weather. Any night I have free we have been walking around downtown to enjoy the weather:
March 13th, if this is embracing winter, I'll take it :)
Some other photo's I found that I wanted to share were food related! 
First, after our trip to costco at the beginning of the month to buy copious amounts of meat, we aslo got a giant piece of salmon. I was hesitant at first, but once I cooked it for supper it was AMAZINGSAUCE. 
Om Nom Nom
I paired with some broccoli, and a simple Greek salad with feta, balsamic vinegar and EVOO. 

And this week I made a sushi salad with some of my leftover sushi stuff. I cooked some rice, mixed up a bowl of cucumber, carrot, fake crab, avacado, and Nori. Throw in some soysauce and wasabi, and a little bit of ginger..and BAM sushi in a bowl:
Way easier than rolling!
And there you have it, my forgotten pictures from March. I am enjoying my free Saturday by watching Ocean 11 on tv for about the 7th time. Eventually I need to not be lazy and go clean and make some food. My big exciting plans for the rest of the weekend are to reorganize some stuff in my apartment. Super fun. 

Anyone else have a St. Patrick's day fail? Anyone else impressed by Costco fish?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Challenge Accepted!...and Mission Accomplished!

Apperantly when I set my mind to a goal I am pretty determined to meet it!

Within a week of writing my last post, I went and donated blood!

On Thursday I was thinking about it, and was getting all light headed, and I stopped myself and said "Self...what are you actually afraid of?" It wasn't the pain, or unrealistic fears of something going horribly what was it that I was actually afraid of?? And the answer was nothing. Absolutely nothing. And with that thought suddenly my light headedness went away. Just like that. I can be a very rational person sometimes. 

So then on Friday I decided that it was the day! I called and made an appointment at the Mississaugua clinic for the evening, and read over all the details on the website.
(Side note, Mike thinks I was silly for taking a picture of the screen..but I wanted to document the process..and there was absolutely no way I was taking a picture of the actual this is what you get)

After making the appointment I  became a pest and bothered all my friends who have given blood with a million questions. I also ate a bunch of pumpkin seeds because they were high in Iron. 

And off I went to the clinic, and I wasn't even nervous. I was on a MISSION! 

I got to the clinic, they did the finger prick and it was slightly painful, and I passed my iron check, then I went and answered 1,000,000 questions, and finally it was time for me to face my fear! 

I will spare the glory details, but about half way through I started to feel lightheaded, but I told the nurse I wanted to keep going. She gave me a cold towel for the back of my neck and then I felt fine again. And before I knew it I was done. was one of the longer 6 minutes of my life..but I did it!!! 
I even looked at the bag of blood after the needle was gone. It was a significant amount! 

After giving blood, and drinking some juice and getting a cookie, Mike and I headed to dinner with some friends of the family. I don't know if was the post nerves or whatever but my appetite was non-existent. All I wanted to eat was fruit but luckily we were at Manaderin Buffet, so I could eat all the fruit I wanted. Yesterday I kind of felt weird too, but I think I just didn't drink enough water. 

That all being said even with the feeling icky part, I would probably do it again. I don't know what my blood type is, but my mom thinks it is O- (universal donor), so I feel obligated to donate more! It made me feel so happy to do something that is good for others, and also something that I thought I would never be able to do!

Notice the photobomb
Peeling off that pink dressing was way more painful than the actual my opinion. And the best part of all this was...I got to eat liver and onions tonight to replenish my iron! (I am a strange person who actually likes liver and onions!)

So there you have it. Goal accomplished with lots of time to spare! Done and Done. 

I have lots of other things to write about in the next few hopefully I will fit in some blogging time!

What did you do on Friday evening? Is it that weird that I like liver and onions?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Trying New Things and a CHALLENGE

Hi Blog Friends!

It has been a while! After my crazy busy weekend two weekends ago, I haven't stopped! Work has been busy, tutoring has started up, and gymmage has been happening, and Professional Practice Exam studyage has been going down. Don't worry I still have time for fun things, like heading up to the Kortright Conservation Centre in Vaughn with my friend Brittany, and Mike. We went for the maple sugar festival, but also got to check out the super cool Archetype Sustainable House.  Click the link for a virtual tour to experience the AWESOMENESS. Warning: may only be cool to nerdy peeps like us who were pretty much kids in a candy store the whole tour. We also took super awesome photos:

After a successful woodland adventure, we went on another adventure to Vaughn Mills for le Shopping! 

As much fun as Saturday was it isn't the main focus of this post.

The point of this post is on Sunday I went to Hot Yoga. I wasn't feeling well but I made myself get up and out of bed, and I went. And it was awesome as per usual, and it made me feel 100 times better. 

What gave me inspiration for this blog post was from hot yoga. There is a quote on the wall:

"Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still"

And then the instructor was talking about being proud of trying new things, and challenging ourselves by doing hot yoga. 

This got me thinking about how many times I have been at the gym and heard "I can't do Zumba", "Body pump is terrifying" "I can't, I won't" ETC. It drives me nuts! And the crazy thing is two years ago I was totally one of those people. I didn't want to do hot yoga for a really long time, and I didn't want to do body pump, and now I am obsessed with both of those things. 

I wish that anyone who said "I can't, I won't" tried whatever they were afraid of, just once or twice. Then if you don't like it that is cool, but just give it a shot. You may be like me and find out that you love it. At first I was painfully bad at yoga/zumba/body pump etc. I was "growing slowly" but I wasn't standing still. And now I am very comfortable with the classes, and want to share the love!

I hate being afraid of things. I always try the "strange" food, I always will go for new experiences, I guess I am slightly adventurous, within reason. One of my fave things to do is to accomplish something I couldn't a 5k in 35 minutes, drive in Toronto etc.
Even during city chase, I faced one of my fears and held a tarantula...let's relive this:
It's so FLUFFY!
And now spiders aren't that bad.

But I have one big HUGE fear left. One thing I can't stand watching on TV and thinking about it gives me the Heebeejeebees. I am super afraid of needles, specifically needles in the arm, as in IV's and blood tests. 

So here is my new mission. Before I turn 24 I will try to donate blood. (I say try in case I go and have low iron before my bday. I will try again after that if that is the case.) That gives me a month to donate. At first I put before I'm 25, but that gives me too long of a timeline. It bothers me that I am so afraid of a completely normal thing. I bothers me to have something that could hold me back. And it bothers me that I could help someone by getting over my fear. 

So here is my challenge to you all. In the next Month you should try something new, whether it is easy as trying a new food or a new gym routine, or as extreme as facing a major fear. Do it and I am sure you will feel awesome..or weak and fainty after giving blood..ONE OR THE OTHER!

Please share your goal with me :)

So who is with me??? Who had to go get a glass of juice because they were so faint from writing about giving blood???...just me...uh oh.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Life in the Fast Lane

If there is one thing I know about myself is that I have two speeds, vegetable, and SUPER CRAZY BUSY. When my schedule is not packed to the brim, I tend to be really lazy about everything..apartment is a little less clean, Ethics exam studyage is a little last minute, gym time may get put off etc. But when I have less time to fit it all in, some how it all gets done. That's just how I roll. I blame 4.5 years of crazy busy-ness at school.

Luckily it is always busy at work, so that goes well with my personality, but at home I was starting to get bored. It started right after my trip to Morocco didn't happen. I realized that I had nothing major to do on my to do list, and that makes me sad. I can only go so long without having an plan.

So I made a list, every weekend I was going to tackle a project (organizing my photos, scrapbooking, dealing with some apartment things). Then I made my new fitness resolutions, so I had that plan too. I had a list again. But the funny thing was, now that I had made the list of stuff to do in my free free time suddenly disappeared!

This weekend was one of the busiest weekend's I have had in Toronto and I loved every minute of it. I hit up Body Jam on Friday as per usual, then came home and chilled. On Saturday I had to get up early because I had an interview with the Tutor Doctor Program (same company I tutored with in Halifax last spring). I decided that one of the things I could do on my free time (and make some spending money) was tutoring. So I met up with the tutor doctor guy, and signed up to start tutoring 2-3 students, that will definitely keep me busy!

After the interview, which was near Yonge and Bloor, I had to go to HOT YOGA at King and Bloor. I had a lot of time to spare, so I grabbed a coffee, read a paper, and then walked over to the Subway. I had just paid my fare, when the subway BROKE (there was a flood at one of the stations, so all south bound trains weren' t running) so I decided instead of waiting for a packed shuttle bus, to walk to Yoga. It seemed like a crazy thing to do, but I just googled mapped it and it was only 2.5 km, which is a good hike, but nothing insane. The insane thing was doing that and doing a hour and a half of SUPER hot Yoga. I was done by the end of the class, but it felt amazing!! (Side bar: I did 4 hours of exercise last week! Yay!)

After yoga, and recovering from yoga by eating an entire Mango, Mike and I hit up Costco for copious amounts of meat. Seriously we bought enough meat to last us 2-3 months. Crazy! After Costco/ normal groceries we quickly drove home unpacked the copious amount of meat and went to a lacrosse game! We splurged at got a hotdog and some beers. It was the best hot dog ever. After that we came home and watched Unstoppable on Netflix, it was actually a pretty good movie.

Whew writing all that makes me tired. And it didn't stop there! On Sunday one of my friends from Halifax was in town visiting her sister, so we met up for lunch at a really good Japanese noodle place near Bloor and Spadina, and then we walked around Kensington Market. All the hipsters were out. It was a pretty cold day and this one hipster was like "I don't like wearing jackets" as he froze to death wearing a blazer. Oh Kensington market.  I came back home and pretty much immediately headed back up to Spadina and Bloor to meet up with a childhood/highschool friend who is doing her Masters in Toronto. It was really nice to reconnect with her! We grabbed a coffee, and chatted for a few hours!

I came home and had a quick phone chat with my friend Lynsey, and then with my famjam, then I finally got around to cleaning and prepping for the week. Even with doing all that I (with big help from Mike) had a delicious steak, sweet potato, and asparagus supper (favorite supper ever!) and then I put together a cabbage roll casserole in the slow cooker for tonight's dinner. Whew!

Today I went to work and then went to Zumba, and then I tutored, then I came home and ate the above mentioned cabbage roll casserole, and then finished up the dishes. And now I am blogging. And very soon I will be asleep. Whew.

The crazy thing is all the laundry is done, groceries are done, dishes are done, and gymmage is happening even though I was that busy! Nutso. Only thing I didn't get done was taking pictures for the blog. Oh wells! Can't do it all!

At some point this week I am planning a more fitness/gym related post, so stay tuned!

Anyone else get more done the busier they are? Anyone else buy a copious amount of meat this weekend?