Foodie Pen Pals – August

It’s hard to believe it’s already the end of August.. but here it is… and today I get to share with you all the awesome goodies that I got from Christina who was my Foodie Pen Pal for August.

First is a cute card with a recipe for Christina’s Curried Cauliflower.


And onto the goodies…


The best thing about the goodies?  They’re all items I’ve never tried and never really noticed in the stores.  So I’m super excited to try them all out – I am a little nervous about the wasabi peas though.. hehe

So what came in the package?

freshii snacks – Wasabi Peas – they really look delicious.. but I don’t usually have wasabi when eating sushi, so I’m nervous about trying this.. hehe

Harry & David – Honey Roasted Sesame Sticks – I remember having these as the snack offered on airline flights, that was quite a while ago so I’m sure these are going to be delicious

Mrs. McGarrigle’s – Balsamic & Cracked Pepper Mustard – definitely excited to try this, the extend of my mustard use is French’s..

Wai Lana – Cassava Chips – Lime Chili flavor – these look delicious too.  I’ve never tried cassava before, so it’ll be neat to see how they compare to a potato chip

Oskri – Fig Bar – don’t think I’ve ever eaten a fig before, so again this is going to be a brand new food for me to try (this was hidden behind the chips in the picture above)

A huge thank you to Christina, my foodie pen pal for sending me these goodies!


Doesn’t the Foodie Pen Pal thing sound like so much fun? It’s a great opportunity to try products from different parts of the country and you get to meet great people.  And really, who doesn’t LOVE receiving a package in the mail full of goodies!!? If you’re interested here are the details…

  • On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
  • You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
  • The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
  • You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
  • Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
  • Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.

If you’re interested in participating for September, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

A series of unfortunate events…

It looks like my Vancouver visit may be ending early..

The original plan was that once I checked out of the hotel (work only covers the hotel stay for the duration of the course), I would stay with friends.  First unfortunate event.. friends were to return from their Hawaii trip on Tuesday, but they’ve gotten stranded due to overbooking airline seats.. they’ve been stranded for 2 days now.  So staying with them unfortunately isn’t an option.

The backup plan was that I would see if I could stay with my cousin (hubby’s cousin).  I stayed at her place on Saturday night.  But on Monday I received news that her grandma had passed away and she’s leaving today to travel to the funeral.  So she won’t be here.  Her boyfriend may or may not be joining her, so staying at their place might be an option, but at this point I’m feeling like I should just go home.

I’m a little bummed that I won’t be staying longer in this beautiful city and won’t be visiting with family and friends but at the same time I’m looking forward to being home with my family and can get back into my daily routine.

I should have my plans figured out my mid-morning.


$10 bike ride… So worth it!

Today’s after work (course) activity was a bike ride around Stanley Park.


It was such a nice bike ride with breathtaking scenery.
Even though I’ve been to Vancouver numerous times, I’m always amazed at the scenery.

The total distance of the ride was approx 6kms and a 30 minute walk to and from the hotel. So a good amount of cardio today. We did have ramen noodles for supper (again!) But I probably only ate 40% of the bowl.

It was so delicious but was just too much food.
More walking tomorrow and shopping too.

Too early for bed…

But I can’t help it. Vancouver is 2 hrs behind Winnipeg so my body thinks it’s 10:40pm but local time it’s only 8:40pm. I’m trying to stay awake but I’m so close to calling it a night.
Today was another nice warm day. I definitely didn’t do as much walking today, my legs are a bit sore from yesterdays walk. I spent a couple hours shopping and hung out at the hotel.


Very luxurious bedding. And the suite has two TVs! Crazy!


Nice view of downtown and all the tall buildings. The clouds came in early evening so my coworker and I grabbed dinner at a restaurant nearby. We were both hungry so we picked the restaurant closest to the hotel.  The restaurant is called URO and was quite expensive but very delicious. I had the roasted chicken breast and shared the crab cake appetizer. Total cost: $50!


I’m a little disappointed that the hotel I’m at doesn’t have a fitness facility so I will have to do alot of walking hehe…
While staying at the hotel I really want to try the different food trucks all around downtown.
Okay that’s it, I’m done…

Vancouver – day 1

My flight left at 7am this morning. Close to 3 hours later and I landed in Vancouver.


Today is a beautiful day. The sun is shining and the air is so fresh. I dropped my luggage off and headed out right away. Wasn’t sure where to, but I started walking. First stop, Granville Island. There were so many fresh baked breads that I wanted to try but I settled on a full breakfast with eggs, toast, hashbrowns and sausage. I knew I had a full day of walking ahead of me so I didn’t feel  too bad about having the  sausages and hashbrowns.


After breakfast I hooped on the aquabus, crossed the water and headed into downtown Vancouver. Walking straight down Robson I headed towards Stanley Park.


Walked along the seawall and back through Stanley park. I loved seeing so many runners, rollerbladers and cyclists out enjoying the weather. I thought if I lived out here there’s no way I couldn’t be active outside.


On the way home I passed by a ramen noodle restaurant with a line up of patrons waiting for seats to open.


So I thought it had to be good. There were only a few items on the menu, so whatever they served had to be spectacular right?
I ordered the ramen noodles with bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, bbq pork (fatty cuts) and a boiled egg.


It was pretty good but I found it too fatty, so I wasn’t able to finish the bowl.
I continued on my walk home. In total I walked a total of 5 hrs. My legs are killing me esp my knees. It really reminds me that my knees aren’t in great shape any more. And has made me reconsider doing the grouse grind. The steep inclines of some of Vancouver’s streets really worked on my legs too.


So I’m taking it easy tonight. We’ll see what tomorrow has in store.

Vacation mode already?…

Not much cooking happening these days, not much meal planning either.

My original goal  was to eat as clean as possible this week in preparation for my Vancouver trip next week.  I haven’t been eating poorly, but I haven’t been eating as clean as I would have liked.  And that’s okay, I don’t want to beat myself up about it.

One thing I’m really struggling with is finding that balance between clean eating and indulging, cardio and workouts.  A part of me feels like I need to be more diligent with my clean eating and exercise, but if I miss a workout or indulge in my food for the day, what does that mean.. really?  I do have goals set, and I am working towards them, but not very aggressively.  Then again, if I look in the mirror and aren’t 100% happy with what I see, shouldn’t that be motivation enough to be more focused? 

On Instagram I’m following individuals who are extremely focused on healthy clean eating and fitness.  They post their recipes, workouts and progress shots.  And it’s all very motivating and I love seeing the definition in their muscles, the lean/flat tummies.. but maybe it’s the fact that the thought that runs through my head is “wow.. it would be nice to have that body” and not so much “wow.. I WANT that body”

Anyway, I feel like my mind is all over the place.  I just need to get through 2 more extremely hectic days at work and at home, and need to get organized for my trip.  AHH!  Time to write down my to do list and start tackling those tasks.

Taco Tuesday and other bad eating habits..

There used to be a time in my life when I had tacos for lunch every Tuesday.  The fast food chain Taco Time had 99 cent tacos every Tuesday, and I would always have them with meat & cheese only, forget the veggies!  There was a time when I had a full breakfast every morning.  2 eggs scrambled, bacon/sausage, hash browns and toast.

It’s amazing how much I allowed myself to eat and how unhealthy my choices were.  And yet I thought that limiting myself to 2 tacos instead of 3 was being health concious.  And have multigrain toast without butter was being health concious.  I can’t imagine eating that way again, I suspect it would make me feel tired and sluggish.

Today has been another hectic work day.  Falling behind but there’s not much I can do…


If you see my calendar for the day, there’s just a small chunk of time where I wasn’t in meetings, where I was given the opportunity to eat lunch at my desk.  I hate eating lunch at my desk and I hate the fact that it’s a beautiful day outside, summer is almost over, and yet I’m not able to go out and enjoy a walk.  Then again, I accepted all the meetings and if I really wanted to go out for a walk, that could have been booked into my calendar.  No one’s fault but my own 😦

Head is pounding and it’s going to be a rough bus ride home.  The plan is to rest for a bit once I’m at home but to hit the gym as soon as possible so that I can continue with the rest of my evening and spend the rest of my evening with the kids.  And once the kiddies are in bed, I’m hoping I can do an hour of work, just so that my workload tomorrow is a little less hectic.

Monday mix…

Currently sitting in the car at the Boston pizza parking lot. Original plan is to take the kids for dinner but on the drive here not one, but both fell asleep. I’ll let them nap for 30 minutes before we go in. anyway this gives me the opportunity to write a post, finally!
Not much new on my end hence the “Monday mix” post title. There are alot of little things.
– travel arrangements have been finalized for Vancouver! So excited to jog, walk and hike while I’m there. I’m also very motivated to eat as clean as possible, since I know I’ll be eating alot of seafood while I’m in Vancouver. Hoping all the walking around will offset the eating… Hehe
– prior to Sunday, the last time I ran was two weeks ago so I really want in a position to increase my mileage. I wasn’t even sure if I could safely run 8kms. But bring stubborn, I pushed myself to run 10 kms and now my joints are paying the price. my knees and hips are killing me! Although my legs aren’t as sore as I thought. So for the next couple days, workouts will be focused on upper body and core.
– had Sunday lunch with hubby’s side of the family. Each time I see his aunt she asks me if everything is alright, if I’m sick or stressed because I look “too skinny”. She even lectured the hubby saying how he was so big while his wife is so skinny. I assured her that I was ok. But even coworkers seem to enjoy watching me eat stating that I can’t afford to lose any more weight. I don’t think I want to lose weight either but definitely want to gain muscle and lean out.
– work is still kicking my butt and I may have to shuffle my vacation plans but my concern is that when I’m stressed at work, I want to eat and constantly want to munch on something. It’s a good thing I’ve got almonds and fruit at work. But there are those moments where I just want to pick up an order of extra crispy fries.

Ok well it’s time to wake up the kids and eat.

Hope everyone is having an awesome Monday!

Mental exhaustion..

is always worse than physical exhaution..

(esp when this is the 2nd time I’m writing this post.. I lost my first attempt)

I don’t think I have the energy to re-type the whole post again, but the post was about how work is kicking my butt and there’s no end in sight.  It’s busy enough that it’s making me reconsider whether I should go ahead with my vacation days off.  I’m taking the next couple Fridays off as well as the first week of September off.  The first thought that comes to my head is the amount of work that will be waiting for me when I get back from vacation.  Is that stress really worth it?

One nice thing about work, is that they’re sending me to Vancouver for a few days at the end of August for some training.  Yay!  I’m looking forward to going out there and visiting family and friends and also doing the Grouse Grind.  A part of me is wondering if I can take a couple extra days off that week and stay out there for the entire week.  Of course I’d have to try and get some work done while I’m out there so that my workload doesn’t suffer too much.

The last time I was in Vancouver was for hubby’s competition – the 2009 CBBF National Bodybuilding competition.  Can’t wait to go back!



Love long weekends… and surprises at the gym..

This past weekend was a long weekend here in Canada (Civic Holiday) and it was a great weekend.  It rained on Saturday so we spent some time at the shopping mall.  I finally cleaned out my closet of clothes that no longer fit and realized that I needed some new work clothes.  As I went through my clothes, it felt great to know that I had to put the clothes away because they were too loose.  A part of me was thinking maybe, just maybe I should hold onto some of the clothes just in case I needed them (in case I made a negative lifestyle change and ended up back at my starting point).  Then I told myself that I simply couldn’t let that happen.  And so the clothes are ready to be donated.

Sunday I was prepared to sleep in but the hubby woke me up so that we could go for an early morning run.  It was a beautiful morning after a stormy Saturday, the sun was shining and the air was so fresh and crisp.  We went on a nice 8km run and I’m hoping this upcoming weekend I can make it out for a 10km run.  The plan is for me to go on the run by myself and have hubby meet me at the end location.  I find that it’s easier for me to go from point A to point B for the entire distance, rather than run out and back home.  The thought of getting to a certain point and realizing that I have to turn around and get back home is a little more daunting, than just running to get to the end goal.  Does that make sense?

After we got home from the run, we had breakfast with the kids and then got ready to head out to the beach.  It was a windy day and the water was a little cool, so we didn’t spent too much time at the beach.  I did have a nice relaxing nap while hubby and kids made sand castles.

Monday started off by making whole wheat cottage cheese pancakes w/ blueberries and dark chocolate.  These pancakes are definitely going to be made on a regular basis in this household.  I even brought a couple to work today and they were still great.  Also made a spaghetti sauce with extra lean ground turkey, onions, garlic and carrots.  Added some whole wheat pasta and dinner and today’s lunch was done.

We also took the kids to the zoo, so that was 2 hours of walking – at times carrying J since he didn’t want to sit in the wagon but was too tired to walk.

ImageWish J was looking at the camera.  Oh well, with kids it’s always hit and miss when it comes to taking pictures.

I hate to admit it, but I never made it down to our gym once the entire long weekend.  I did do a couple short cable workouts, but that’s about it.  So needless to say, I was dreading going down to the gym today.  Today’s workout was chest and triceps.  It had been awhile since I did a focused chest workout so I wasn’t looking forward to having to lift a lighter weight.

But that’s where I was surprised.  While doing chest press with dumbbells, I first warmed up with the bar (45lbs) and it felt comfortable.  I switched over to dumbbells and completed my 2nd set with 25lbs x 12reps.  Still felt good, so I increased the weights and completed my 3rd set with 30lbs x 8 reps.  It was a little tough but I was still feeling good.  So I had the hubby spot me and completed my 4th set with 35lbs x 4 reps.  The last set was definitely tough and my arms were shaking as I did the reps, but I was very surprised that I was able to lift with 30lbs.  To be able to kick the weights off my knees and lay flat on the bench with the weights in starting position is a huge accomplishment for me, so today it really caught me by surprise.  Even with my incline press with the bar caught me off guard when I was able to press 65lbs. I guess I am getting stronger.  Definitely motivation to keep going hard and stay focused.

Today was also a great day for eating healthy.  I did have a small blueberry muffin stump, but with how things have been going lately (giving into my salty fried potato cravings) that little stump was a minor slip up.  I actually looked forward to every meal and snack that I had today.  

One month away from my 33rd birthday and I’m excited, focused and motivated.  I even decided on what I want for my birthday.  I told hubby that for my birthday I want to invest in a one-month Cross FIt membership.  So excited!!