10/13/2014

Healthy Pumpkin Bread


A pumpkin recipe! You are NOT a food blogger if you don’t post at least one pumpkin recipe in October. Or during fall in general.



Speaking about fall and all things orange. If it wasn’t for midterms, October would very probably be one of my favorite months. At least while I live in Montreal. The colors of the trees are incredible. This is my 5th October in this city and I still get excited when I see the trees starting to turn red, orange or yellow. You want proves? Just look at my Instagram feed…there’s lots of orange from the last 2 weeks. And I have no intentions of stopping those pictures from coming :)



Ok let’s get into this recipe. I’ve noticed that I have deep love feelings for a good home made bread. I slice it and eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I top it with cheese, turkey ham, eggs or peanut butter. It’s just delicious! By using whole wheat flour, lots of pumpkin and reducing the sugar, I made a healthy version of this pumpkin bread recipe. In my house it only lasted 2 days…I guess it really is delicious. I hope you enjoy it too :)



Serves 1 loaf pan, ready in 50 to 60 minutes

Ingredients:
-3/4 brown sugar
-1/2 cup olive oil
-2 eggs
-1 cup pumpkin puree (Not pumpkin pie filling! I bought one that lists pumpkin as the only ingredient. You can also do it yourself.) 
-1/2 cup water
-1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/5 teaspoon salt
-3/4 teaspoon cinnamon 
-1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)

Kitchin-it!
1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Lightly grease a loaf pan with olive oil or butter.
2. Using a mixer, beat sugar and oil together until incorporated in a medium-big bowl. Then slowly add eggs, pumpkin puree and water. Mix well.



3. Incorporate the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix well again. 



4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes. Start checking at 30 minutes by poking the bread with a knife. If it comes out clean, the bread is ready. 




5. Take it out from the oven, let it cool a bit, slice it up and enjoy!



9/26/2014

My 10k Race Experience!

(Photo by Zoom Photo

So here’s the post I’ve been wanting to write since I got subscribed in the 10K race. I wanted to be able to finish the race and tell you all about it in a post. Or maybe just have it documented here so that I can read this in a few months or years from now.


First of all, I want to admit that my Runny Mondays posts didn't work out. At first, I had a lot of free time and running and writing the posts was something I could a easily fit into my schedule. Then life got a little bit more busy. I started a summer job at a summer camp for little kids and spent a big part of my days jumping, running and moving around 5-year-olds, which meant that by the time I got home in the evenings I was exhausted. I should also add that every single day I went to the job and came back home by bike. It was easily 25-30 minutes of biking each day and so I felt like running was something I didn’t want or needed to do.

After the summer job was over, le boyfriend and I headed to California to road trip the west coast for 10 days. When we got back and started classes I realized I had 3 weeks left for the race. I decided to do my best and train as much as I could.


Before starting the summer job, the furthest I had run was 4km. And I want to mention/remind you that I started running by doing 1 minute walk, 1 minute run intervals since I couldn't run more than that without feeling exhausted. When we came back from California, I was determined to run up to 4km the first week, 6km the second and 8km the third. That is exactly what I did. Before the race, I had never run 10k but I had run 8km and I knew I could do 2 more. I was just telling le boyfriend the other day how training is not only important for your physical capacity but also for your psychological state. If I had never done 8k before the race my “mentality” during the 10k would have been very negative and I would have probably had thoughts like “10k is too much! I can’t do that!”. But, since I had done 8k, during the race I couldn't stop thinking “I know I can do it! I know I can do it!”. Everything I wanted was to finish without stopping or walking. And I did!


Race details:
-I finished in 1 hour and 6 minutes. 
-We had water stations at about 3k, 6k and 8k.
-They gave us a big plate of fruits at the end.
-There were photographers near the end of the circuit.
-We had to do 2 times 5k, so 2 times the same circuit. 
-A few hours post race and during the next few days my knees were hurting a lot. I put ice on that and it helped.

If you would like to run a race someday, DO IT! I highly recommend it as an exercise. I would love to run another 10k but this time I would like to improve my time. Unfortunately I live in the north so the weather will not allow me to train outside (and I hate running in gym machines…). I guess I now have a goal for next summer :)

Please let me know if you have any questions, I'll be more than happy to answer and chat about this!

PS: I thought I looked terrible in this picture until I saw the woman behind me :)

(Photo by Zoom Photo)

You can find the old Runny Mondays posts by clicking on these: 
The beginningWeek 2Week 3Week 4Week 5Week 6

9/21/2014

Sun-Dried Tomato Vegetarian "Meatballs"!


As I type this, I’m overwhelmed with happiness! Today I ran my first race ever - a 10k! - and I finished it without stopping or walking, #feelingproud! I’ll talk more about the race and the details in another post, for now, I just wanted to share the good news and this delicious recipe of Sun-dried Tomato Vegetarian “Meatballs”. 


I usually prepare this old recipe of mine (which I adore!) when we want to eat meatballs. But, the thing I love about The Recipe Redux is that it pushes me to think outside my comfort zone! This month’s theme was about showing how we dehydrate or enjoy using dehydrated fruits or veggies in a healthy way. I’m just glad I now have this recipe to alternate with the other one!

I hope you enjoy them as much as we did :)


Serves 18 “meatballs”, ready in 40 minutes.

Ingredients:
-180g of soy meat
-1 egg
-2 tablespoons of water
-1/2 cup whole grain bread crumbs
-1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, then mince them in a blender or food processor
-1/3 teaspoon salt
-A pinch of pepper

Kitchin-it!
1. Pre-heat oven to 350*F and line a baking dish with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine egg, water, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Mix well and then add the sun-dried tomatoes. 



3. Incorporate de soy meat and combine the mixture with your hands. 
4. Form little balls and place them on the parchment-covered baking dish.



5. Bake for 20-25 minutes and serve as you wish! I added some low-sodium tomato sauce and poured a portion into some whole grain linguini. Delicious!



Adapted from About Food

9/19/2014

California Roadtrip Vacation!

{California Roadtrip Tips, Advice, What to do, What to eat and Where to stay}


If you follow me on Instagram, this is old news. I went to California with le boyfriend and we road-tripped the coast for 10 days. We had an AMAZING time, seriously!



I’m proud about the fact that I planned every single detail of the trip using only Google Maps and Pinterest…and it turned out to be perfectly timed and fun. This is why I decided to share bits of our experience so that you can find this helpful if you ever decide to do a similar trip (which I totally recommend!)



Day 1: 
-What we did: we left Montreal in the evening and arrived in LA at about 10:30pm (local time). 
-Motel: we slept in a motel near the airport called “Lotus Motel LAX”. We didn’t really like this place since it was very old and bit dirty. It was fine for a single quick night but I would never consider staying there longer than that.
-Food: airport food, nothing special



Day 2: 
-What we did: we woke up early, ate breakfast at IHOP and headed south to San Diego. We visited Old Town and a little bit of the city. The sky and the sunset were AMAZING. 
-Motel: no motel for that night! We stayed at my mom’s best friend (since high school!) and her family’s house. 
-Food: we had delicious Mexican food in Old Town! 




Day 3:
-What we did: we woke up early again and left to visit Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Long Beach. 
-Motel: Days Inn Motel. We really liked this motel, it was clean and spacious. Nothing fancy since it’s still a Motel but perfect for one night. I wouldn’t mind staying there longer if I had to! 
-Food: we ate at Duke’s Barefoot Bar in Huntington Beach and I had the Veggie Mango BBQ Burger. It was DELICIOUS!






Day 4:
-What we did: we went to Disney! Specifically, Disney California Adventure. We loved it and are already thinking about going to Orlando some day!
-Motel: we slept at Hollywood Travelodge that night and we also loved that stay. Clean, well equipped and spacious. Plus, it’s located in Hollywood and very close to most touristic places.
-Food: we ate in an italian restaurant in Disney. The food was good but the price? Super expensive! If you’re planing on going to disney make sure you bring your sandwich and snacks! I also had a Mickey Mouse ice cream sandwich because it was just a must.




Day 5: 
-What we did: we were tourists in LA! We saw the Hollywood sign from The Griffith Observatory and from Lake Hollywood Park (the latter was even better, a lot closer!). We also went to the Walk of Fame and thought it was nothing special, there are people trying to sell you stuff everywhere and the street is just a plain normal street you can see anywhere else in the world. We also met with some friends who were also visiting the area and went together to Rodeo Drive, it was a nice walk. We wanted to go to the Getty Center but it was too far and expensive, we didn’t think it was worth it. 
-Motel: same as the previous night, Hollywood Travelodge!
-Food: nothing special, a random rest somewhere in Melrose Avenue.





Day 6:
-What we did: we woke up early and continued our roadtrip! We stopped at Venice Canals, Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Malibu, Santa Barbara, Lompoc, Avila Beach, Montana de Oro State Park and arrived late in the evening to San Simeon. We loved this day but if we had to re do it, we would probably do it in 2 days instead of 1. Each of our stops were of about 20 minutes each, so we didn't really have time to go in the sea or chill in the sand. 
-Motel: San Breeze Inn San Simeon. It was a very nice motel, just as the previous ones. Plus, the breakfast included waffles!
-Food: we basically snacked during the entire roadtrip since we didn’t want to waste time sitting at a place (I know, I know…not a good thing to do!). We ended up having a big meal when we got to San Simeon in a (rather expensive) restaurant near the motel.



Day 7: 
-What we did: road-tripped and enjoyed the views very much this day. We stopped every time we saw a beautiful landscape (ever 2 minutes!). Some of the places in which we were include McWay Falls, Point Sur, Bixby Creek Bridge, Point Lobos, Carmel and arrived to Monterey in the evening. Apart from the beautiful landscapes on this day, we also enjoyed very much seeing animals in their natural habitat (like, literally just 10m away from us, happily swimming in the sea). We saw sea lions, elephant seals, whales, dolphins, otters and deers! 
-Motel: that night we slept at Discovery Inn Monterey Bay, it was a very nice motel but the breakfast the next day was just sad…it was like 1/4 of a muffin and coffee.
-Food: same as the day before! (insert a embarrassed face here!)









Day 8: 
-What we did: we woke up early and headed straight to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We adored the jelly fish and seeing the animals get fed. We were only there for about 3 hours and then left to San Jose. Le boyfriend’s sister was visiting her boyfriend in San Jose so we did a quick stop there to have coffee with them. Later that night we arrived near San Francisco to my dad’s lovely cousin’s house.
-Motel: so for the rest of the trip we stayed at her house! BTW, she has grapes growing in her backyard, isn't that awesome?
-Food: my dad’s cousin received us with a delicious pasta, salad and some red wine. 




Day 9: 
-What we did: we woke up early and took the BART to San Francisco. When we got there we met again with le boyfriend’s sister and her boyfriend and rented bikes! We biked along the coast and then through the Golden Gate Bridge all the way to Sausalito. We then took a ferry back to the city and returned the bikes. We had to be at 3pm near the piers since we had scheduled a visit to Alcatraz! (If you're interested in doing that, make sure you reserve at least 1 to 2 months in advance!)
-Food: we had lunch at a decent restaurant near the piers. I don’t remember the name but it was nothing super special.




Day 10: 
-What we did: we visited Muir Woods to see the redwoods and sequoias! It was very nice and we enjoyed it. Later that day we visited Lombard Street which is kind of amazing itself but you don't really see the street as the pictures you see online…I mean, those pictures must have been taken from the top of a building or a helicopter. 
-Food: after walking around, we decided to eat at Hard Rock Cafe. We only ordered entrees and they took ages to bring the food, therefore they gave us everything for free! So that was nice to our wallets :)






Day 11: 
-What we did: we spent the entire day driving back to LA to get on a plane before midnight. 

Other thoughts:
-We bought plane tickets and rented a car through Cheaptickets. We found an incredible deal and so we went for it. The bad news for us was that when we got to the place where we rented the car, they charged us a 600$ fee that they hadn’t mentioned before (including things like liability and under 25-driver fee). That was unexpected but we got over it a few minutes after. 
-The only thing I wish I had done on this trip is visiting Yosemite Park. But you know, I now have an excuse to go back :)