Becoming Little Miss Bikini – Season 2, Episode 2 – Stay Inspired

 

10 weeks out & feeling firm, fit and rested.

 

As everyone is aware, this season I’ve decided to go all out. In more ways than one. I’m doing at least 5 shows this year which will be demanding and probably drive me right nuts…I’m also working on a new fitness product which will have me traveling and attending seminars for R&D, we have had to fire up a new Engineering Services company to survive the oil downturn, our traveling budget has been sliced next to nil so I will be looking to run teaching vacations to get us out of town whenever I can AND I’ve applied for a grant for a 12 month mentorship program to re-energize my training business by attempting to infuse this new fitness product into it.

Oh ya, did I mention I’m running my second 90 day transformation in 6 months and we have a couple of inventions on the back burner that we need to find time to look at feasibility studies for? Am I/are we nuts? Yes. Do we have heaps of time? No. Am I still going to give it 110% while I still have 110% to give? There’s only one answer.

This week will be 10 weeks out until my first show. I’ve managed to make a few surprising back gains and am feeling really great. 4 weeks off bulking mode and I’m still not tired or hungry or too irritable.

Fasted cardio in the morning starts this  week, also adding more exercise in to blow up my shoulder area…cardio PM and I’ve changed up my ab routine because I’d really like to bring in a bit more defined musculature for Spring/Fall ’16.

Practicing Flexing

I’ve decided on a suit colour for this year – and I’m keeping lucky green as a back up for sure! Can you guess which one I’ve chosen? I’ve also decided on a jewel pattern that I think will look stunning….going to try out some new connectors as well.

 

 

 

All this and I’m still trying to stay in the kitchen and develop new and interesting recipes for my lifestyle, clients and the kids I teach a nutrition series for at Earl Grey School in Calgary monthly.  This month we completed our sugar unit, last month was Salt, next month is Eating in Season ~ kids are pretty inspiring.

This go around is going to take a lot of inspiration. A lot of digging deep and more mental preparedness than the last. Holding fast while the storm beats you down….yep, I’m ready for it.

IMG_6985

Anastacia & I working out a new recipe for sugar free vegan cookies – it bombed, 3 times. Master baker I am not.

I am excited for Spring Break as well as we have managed to (on points and searching for deals for weeks) find a cheap as hell family vacation to Cancun for 10 days at a hotel with a full gym AND kids club. It seems like while the Oil Gods are raining down hellfire and damnation the Adventure Gods are showering us with the gift of travel once again. Something I couldn’t live without and will never give up. Be sure to stay close to see how I made out during the trip ~ my coach will be altering my plan for the equipment I have access to.

I suppose I feel like this time around I really have a burning sense to remember that you only live once and there are so many excuses you can make for not leaving the house or getting out of your pajamas, but there is a giant world to see and so many positive changes to make that I can’t see how folks waste theirs in front of a TV or not doing anything.

My point here being, if you’re considering doing something that you feel is drastic, that you have no time for and are just all out overwhelmed – do it any way. There are enough hours in the day.

Replace the mantra “I don’t have time” with “I haven’t made that a priority in my life” and see how motivated you feel.

Today is rest day and I am going to go for a beautiful hike in the mountains with my family, feed your soul and you’ll find all the time you need for everything you truly need in your life.

 

xxoo

S

 

Creamy Vegan Cashew Dressing

 

20140402-172254.jpg

Sauces make the greatest accompaniment for salads, sandwiches, toppings, marinades, dips and drizzles. Once you have a good couple of ingredients you know how to work with (how to correct, increase and decrease a basic flavouring) you’re ready to get cracking on some adventurous numbers.

This recipe, is a great starter sauce you can build from this with spices and other interesting oils and flavours once you are comfortable.

Ingredients: 

1/2 cup grapeseed oil

1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp (or more) water – to thin out

1/3 cup cashews

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp miso

2 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp himalayan salt

cracked black pepper to taste

 

Method: 

 

Mix all ingredients with a hand blender until you reach your desired consistency. Add water as needed to thin out dressing.

Will keep refrigerated for 5 days.

Sundog days of Winter

Winter amazingness

Winter amazingness

Have you ever been lucky enough to see a Sundog or phantom sun? No?

Well, apparently they are easier to find/see in the winter on the Prairies. Lately there have been a few to see while making the drive out from K-Country to the city and I thought I might share a bit of information on them with you because they are SO interesting and quite the beauty sight.

I like to think of them as the guardians of the sun and enjoy reading and hearing about their native roots – not that I’m partial or anything. (wink wink)

However, I know that there are also some very interesting facts  about their occurrences outside of storytelling. Our science-y friends call them parhelions.

A ring of light is sometimes visible around the sun or moon. When this happens, it’s because light is refracted through ice crystals in the atmosphere. Another solar phenomenon is the sundog or mock sun. It also produced by refraction of light through ice crystals. When the sun is near the horizon, a sundog would appear as brightly colored spots on either side of the sun. This means there are more clouds with ice crystals and therefore wetter weather may be on the way!

The Lakota call the sundog Wi’ace’iciti (we-AH-chay EEE-chee-dee), which means the sun makes for itself a campfire. The Plains Indian sign language, a mutually intelligible gesture language in use for communicating among the many tribes, articulates the sundog with the sign for sun (thumb and index finger making nearly a closed circle, tracing the sun’s arc in the sky) and the sign for fire (one hand, back down above the palm of the other, fingers of the top hand wiggling to and fro mimicking dancing flames).

Read the rest of this neato article HERE. 

Keep watching the skies. There have been so many amazing things to see lately out here. In the last while we have seen massive shooting stars, the Northern Lights,  beautiful eagles and hawks and even a few of these Sundogs.

The earth is alive. The skies are a fortune teller.

Sources: About.com, wikipedia

Vegetarian Naan Pizza in 15 minutes

A meal on the fly.

A meal on the fly.

It was another one of those nights when you get home to “nothing” in the fridge or cupboards. I remembered (luckily) that I had a couple of frozen balls of naan bread dough in the freezer & with our recent local and organic fresh food order, we had PIZZA!

By far, Pizza  has to be our favourite fast food meal and if done right, isn’t unhealthy in the least. I opt out of any type of traditional pizza sauce with this one so that the flavour of the bread can be enjoyed.

Enjoy this one.

Ingredients:

1 small yam grated

1 cup spinach packed

1 tomato diced

1.5 cups broccoli florets

1 cup cheese or cheeselike product shredded

1/2 red pepper sliced

1 jalepeno cut into small rings

Naan – enough to roll into a 8-10 inch thin crust for pizza. Follow THIS RECIPE for my homemade Garlic Naan.

Method:

Preheat oven to 500 degrees and let run at this temp while prepping.

Roll out Naan dough on floured surface until SUPER thin.

Layer all ingredients however you wish onto naan. Top with cheese OR top with cheese and finish with jalepenos in case they are too hot for you. This way, the cheese absorbs some flavour and you can still pick off the hot bits before chowing down.

Place on baking sheet or pizza sheet or pre-heated pizza stone.

Cook in oven for 5-7 minutes or until edges begin to brown.

Enjoy.

Serves 2 starving adults or can be sliced up into small squares as an appy.

Health tips: 

Broccoli – full of iron & vitamin Common cold killer.

Spinach – loaded with protein, high in potassium and magnesium. Great for Veg-heads.

Creamy Vegan Cashew Dressing

 

20140402-172254.jpg

Sauces make the greatest accompaniment for salads, sandwiches, toppings, marinades, dips and drizzles. Once you have a good couple of ingredients you know how to work with (how to correct, increase and decrease a basic flavouring) you’re ready to get cracking on some adventurous numbers.

This recipe, is a great starter sauce you can build from this with spices and other interesting oils and flavours once you are comfortable.

Ingredients: 

1/2 cup grapeseed oil

1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp (or more) water – to thin out

1/3 cup cashews

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp miso

2 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp himalayan salt

cracked black pepper to taste

 

Method: 

 

Mix all ingredients with a hand blender until you reach your desired consistency. Add water as needed to thin out dressing.

Will keep refrigerated for 5 days.

Vanilla Bean Sugar

With a moment to spare in between travels I had the strangest desire to make Vanilla Bean sugar. I think my anticipation of the SWEETNESS of summer brought this craving to me…and now to you, today.
This recipe is uber simple and requires very little time. With the finished product you can: add it to baking, coffee, as a topping for freshly cut fruit or home baked desserts. You can also use this as a rimmer for sweet cocktails or as an ingredient for rubs.
Ingredients: 
2 medium vanilla beans
1 cup raw, organic sugar
Method: 
Slice open bean pods with knife and cut in 1/2.
Add sugar and beans to food processor and pulse until mixed as well as you can. Note: the sugar will “smoke” up in your processor if you leave it on low/high…less likely when you use the pulse option.
Once mixed use a sieve or pastry sifter to sift out any large pieces of vanilla bean.
Voila! Instant vanilla bean sugar. Be sure to keep the remainder of the vanilla bean chunks to add to your very own homemade vanilla extract.  
Decorate your mason/glass jars with fancy material lid covers and bows, give these away as gifts!

Homemade – Vanilla Extract

Many of you may know that I am a Master Herbalist as well as a Vegan Chef and overall foodie. One thing I adore is homesteading. Why? Well, it allows me to be super creative and in control of my food as well as reduce the amount of waste that comes from my kitchen.
Food waste has to be one of my biggest pet peeves. After mega shopping malls and GMO’s that is.
Today I made Vanilla Bean Sugar which is SO delicious. You should try the recipe HERE. After that process I had some extra vanilla beans left over. I simply cannot throw these things out!! They’re extremely costly and still completely useful in their ratty pieces.
So, I checked my pantry for any spare bottles and happened to find an nearly empty Vanilla Extract bottle…Bob’s your Uncle – I decided on Vanilla Extract.
Extracts are easy to make – you could call this recipe your first adventure in Herbalism if you like – because it is.
Once you’ve made this simple extraction, you will be itching to start on making your own oils, salves, lotions and medicine!
But, lets start with the cooking component first.
Ingredients: 
2 oz pure, Russian Vodka
1.5  tbsp chopped/leftover vanilla bean pods
Method: 
Add pods to glass container, pour vodka over top seal with lid and label with date.
Shake mixture at least 1once daily for 30 days. Once 30 days are up, you will have your vanilla extract.
This bottle was 2oz. I used just under that much Vodka.
Add the Vodka & the lid here.

BOOM! You’re done! Apart from shaking and waiting, this is your extract. Some side notes and benefits of this tincture are:  *Reduces Nausea *Weightloss Aid – metabolism regulator *Anxiety depressor *Wound healer – topically *Soothing during menstruation *Aids in enzyme synthesis *Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Iron, B-complex