Daily Green Smoothie – Weight Loss Goals

As I’ve mentioned on the blog a few times before, I love my green smoothies. They help set the tone for a healthy day, and they make me feel better on those days when they’re the only green thing I eat.

While I’ve been trying to go to bed earlier, I really struggle to get myself out the door in the mornings, and I think I’ve only ever succeeded once or maybe twice in making a smoothie before heading to work. It just doesn’t happen. So to make sure that I don’t miss out on my smoothie, I try to make a big batch once per week, so that my freezer and fridge are stocked and I can just grab-and-go.

green smoothies

Recently when I made a weekly batch, I decided to measure all my ingredients so that I’d be able to calculate the nutritional information. I’ve recently started using MyFitnessPal.com to log my daily food and exercise, so I wanted to be able to add a more accurate entry for my daily green smoothie.

Have you ever used MyFitnessPal.com before? I’ve used it here and there before, but I’ve found it hard to log consistently and I run into a bit of a challenge in finding that right balance of using it as a useful tracking and motivational tool versus getting a little calorie-counting crazy. That said, I’m giving it another shot, since I want to lose some weight this year for two big events: my trip to Costa Rica and, of course, my wedding. I have about 3 months until my trip to Costa Rica, so with some consistency, I should be able to slim down a little, so that I can look and feel great. That’s always easier said than done though, isn’t it?

My plan of attack is: green smoothies + MyFitnessPal.com + Kimberly Snyder’s Glowing Lean Meal Plan + my 10K training. While I try my hardest to make all of that fit into my real world life, which is also full of social events and beer and the treat table at work, while maintaining my sanity and perspective.

Daily Green Smoothie
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 7
Ingredients
  • 3 heads romaine lettuce (1025 g)
  • a few handfuls of mixed greens (20 g)
  • 1 stalk celery (400 g)
  • 3 pears (300 g)
  • 3 apples (370 g)
  • chunk of ginger (50 g)
  • frozen banana (200 g)
  • Vega protein & greens (60 g)
  • scoop turmeric (15 g)
Instructions
  1. Blend in 3 or more batches
  2. Add greens to blender with 2 cups of cold water and blend until smooth
  3. Add remaining ingredients and blend
  4. Refrigerate or freeze in mason jars (allow room for freezing)
  5. Refrigerate for up to 2 days

 

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Sweet Potato Noodles

sweet potato noodles

It’s winter and it’s cold and it’s dark and it’s the time of year when I look for comfort in big bowls of hot and saucy pasta. But it’s also the New Year and only a couple weeks into January so it’s way too early to be giving up on those New Year’s resolutions, right? Eat healthy, eat less chocolate, hit the gym, all of that. Well thank goodness for my spiralizer because with these Sweet Potato Noodles I can dig into a great big bowl of pasta for only a fraction of the calories.

While I’ve been obsessed with my spiralizer for quite some time now, this is actually the first time I tried spiralizing sweet potato. So quick, so delicious. I tossed in a handful of edamame, which made this extra filling, but these sweet potato noodles can be dressed up in a million different ways, just like regular pasta. They’re even the perfect, healthy base to balance out that favourite heavy meat or rich cream sauce.

sweet potato noodles

Sweet Potato Noodles
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and spiralized
  • ½ Spanish onion, chopped
  • ½ cup edamame
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1 tbs olive oil
Instructions
  1. In a small pot, bring water to a boil and add frozen edamame, cook for 4-5 minutes, strain
  2. Heat oil over medium heat in a large pan
  3. Add onion and sweet potato and saute until tender, about 7-10 minutes
  4. Add marinara sauce, cooked edamame and spices

sweet potato noodles

 

Gonna run a 10K!

I’ve decided to sign up for the SportingLife 10K in May. Woohoo!

That gives me about 4 months to get ready. I haven’t run a race since primary school, so I’m excited but nervous. They say that this is the easiest 10K there is, since it’s slightly downhill, so that works for me! This time last year I wasn’t even able to run 5 minutes straight, had never run 5km, and would never ever have considered running a 10K, so I’ve already come a long way.

I was running pretty consistently in the summer and fall with my running group at work, and I made it to just over 5K before having my surgery in November. Since then I haven’t done a whole lot of running because, well, surgery, and also because my running group has paused for winter. But now I’m going to get back into it. My surgery was less than 2 months ago, but I’m feeling great and my surgeon gave me the go-ahead.

I bought a new (used) treadmill last month but have only run on it for a few minutes at a time since it makes a horrible clunking sound and we’re waiting for the repair guys to come take a look. But now with this 10K to prepare for, I’ve committed to going for lunch runs with a coworker and her running group, which is way more hardcore than ours and has continued running in this brutally cold weather. Feels like -20, ahhh! At least there isn’t much risk of getting sweaty, right?

I went for my first run (4.5km) with the group on my lunch break yesterday. Running in the cold is definitely a challenge, but I bundled up and it wasn’t too bad. My lungs were aching from the cold air, and it didn’t help that I’m still getting over the flu, but overall it wasn’t as awful as I’d feared.

To get myself in shape for the 10K in May, for the most part I’m going to try following the running program that was provided by the running group coordinator at work. I downloaded the plan that has us starting off running approximately 4K and ends at 10K after 8 weeks with 3 runs per week (Checked off runs 1 and 2 already this week!). Other than the lunch time runs, I think I’ll be doing most of my running on my treadmill, since I’m not sure that I’ll be able to motivate myself on those dark, cold nights.

Running Blogs?

For inspiration, I’m looking for some great blogs about running. A few of the blogs that I follow that used to be about running have been taken over by cupcakes and babies! Totally great, but I want some running content, too, please!

I found this girl, who is pretty hardcore.

Even just reading this first 10K recap gets me all excited about it.

And here’s a great post about the same 10K I’m going to try.

But then this one just kinda scares me.

Do you have any running blog recommendations?

Running Apps?

I’m looking for a new running app. Ideally I’d like to plug in a distance and then have it track my distance and give me a heads up halfway so I know to turn around.

I used this C25K app last summer. I liked it for intervals, but didn’t use the GPS function because it was always pretty off. Now that I’m moving from a training plan based on time to distance, I want something that will accurately capture distance.

10K Runner seems really great, but I have an Android and I can only find it for iPhone. Might have to borrow Mike’s iPhone for this one!

Or I might try RunKeeper, which has really good reviews.

Have you used any of these? What’s your favourite running app? 

Happy New Year!

christmas-market-distillery

And the New Year has begun!

2014 was a wonderful year, and there’s a lot coming up for 2015, too. I’m so excited for all that is in store for us. Right now the biggest things on the horizon are wedding planning (YAY and ACK!) and my trip to Costa Rica in the spring with my girlfriends (WOOHOO!).

This year, I have two New Year’s Resolutions. They’re nothing crazy, but they’re things that I think I can realistically stick with, and should seriously improve my quality of life.

In 2015, I resolve to:

1. Get more sleep.

Lately, I’ve really been struggling with getting to sleep on time, which makes each morning miserable and leaves me perpetually exhausted. I usually stay up late watching TV, just because after work and chores I feel like I deserve that me time. But that just makes me feel awful the next morning, hitting the snooze button until I need to scramble out the door. Then I feel tired, unmotivated and just generally BLAH all day. More sleep in 2015!

2. Eat without distraction.

We eat dinner in front of the TV all the time. We’re going to make an effort to shut off the TV and actually eat at the table. And no more eating in front of my computer at work. I’m going for either quality conversation or quality thinking time.

Thanks so much for continuing to read my blog. Wishing you all love, health and happiness in 2015! 

xo, Jill

Kimberly Snyder Meal Plan | Week 4

weekly shopping guide

My Week 4 Shopping Guide is now available for download! Complete the form below to access the new shopping list.

If you haven’t gotten started with the Kimberly Snyder Meal Plan yet, this download also includes everything you need to know to get started with Weeks 1, 2 and 3, too.

My shopping guide provides a day-by-day schedule along with the ingredients you’ll need on hand for each day of the Kimberly Snyder Glowing Lean Meal Plan to help you stay on track. The Shopping Guide also includes a shopping list for the week.

Remember, this Shopping Guide doesn’t contain any of Kimberly’s recipes. You’ll need to purchase the 30 Day Meal Plan to get all of her properly combined recipes.

To download, just enter your information in the form below to subscribe. You’ll receive an email requiring you to confirm your subscription, and then you’ll receive a link that will allow you to download the Week-by-Week Shopping Guide. If you already subscribed, you can simply return to the download page. If you’ve lost the link, just re-register by completing the form below.



Christmukkah Dinner

christmas channukah dinner

I hope everyone enjoyed celebrating the holidays with friends and family. We had a wonderful time visiting with my Mike’s parents, who were in town from British Columbia. Mike’s mom hosted us for Christmas where we enjoyed a delicious turkey dinner, and we now have a fridge nicely stocked with leftovers.

The weekend before, Mike and I hosted his parents and our siblings and their partners for a Christmukkah dinner. On the menu was: matzoh ball soup with jewdles (Jew+Noodles, get it? ha ha ha), brisket (I followed Tori Avey’s recipe), steamed beans, honey-roasted carrots and rosemary potatoes. For dessert I made the little apple tarts we made at our cooking class in Paris.

In typical holiday dinner party fashion, some things went smoothly, while others ended up burnt and in the bin. But the brisket was tender, the smoke alarm went off only once, and we ate, drank and were merry.

matzoh ball soup

 thyme rosemary roasted potatoes

christmas brisket

 christmukkah dinnerfrench apple tart

Last-Minute Grocery Store Gifts: Holiday Gift Guide

Ok, so you had the very best of intentions to get all your Christmas shopping done weeks ago, but now there are only a few days until Christmas and you’re still a few gifts short. Don’t even worry. There’s no need to brave the madness at the mall. Instead, pick up some easy grocery store gifts. Wrap them up in a pretty basket (or draw a Christmas tree on that brown paper shopping bag and tie it up with a big red ribbon) and you’ll pull it off like you totally intended to shop for your gifts in the produce section.

A cozy night in, for two:
soft cheeses and cured meats
crusty French bread
strawberries and chocolate sauce
a bottle of red

Me-time for a best friend:
chocolate-covered almonds
peppermint tea
nail polish for holiday parties
a scented candle
her favourite trashy magazine

For the kids:
gingerbread house kit
hot cocoa mix
marshmallows
a holiday colouring book

For a friend newly out on his own:
a cutting board
cooking utensils
holiday dish cloths
a rack of spice essentials
plants for a bright kitchen

Italian pasta dinner:
a box of noodles
pasta sauce
a hunk of Parmesan
braided garlic
a bottle of red

Time for tea:
a pretty box of tea
lemon-infused sugar cubes
short-bread cookies
holiday tea towels

For easy Christmas baking:
holiday ovenmitt
a roll of cookie dough
a tub of icing
red and green sprinkles

Fancy ingredients for your favourite gourmand:
caviar
black-truffle sea salt
vanilla beans in a glass jar
saffron
dried mushrooms
specialty butters
infused vinegars
sweet and savory olive oils

For friends that party:
rimming salt for Caesars
rimming sugar for Martinis
olives in a jar
a tray of nuts
a bottle of booze

 

Do you have any great grocery store gift ideas?

{ Photo from Bon Bon Break }

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

homemade salted caramel hot chocolate

I recently shared the Homemade Chai Latte mix that I’m gifting this year, and today I have another holiday drink mix for you. The Salted Caramel Mocha is my favourite seasonal indulgence from Starbucks, and now I can enjoy it at home for a fraction of the cost. I have been enjoying a hot mug of this Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate nearly every evening. It’s so smooth and creamy with just the right hit of salt and caramel.

salted caramel hot chocolate recipe

I used this recipe from Seeded at the Table, and it was really easy. I made the caramel, let it harden overnight and stuck it in the freezer for a couple hours before breaking it up and pulverizing in the food processor. I read that some people ran into issues with the caramel warming up and getting sticky, so I froze it first to ensure that I’d end up with a nice dry powder. It worked out perfectly. I like to use 2 tablespoons of the mix (instead of 3)  in a big mug of hot water (instead of a cup of milk) for a wonderfully rich, but not overly sweet or salty drink.

Along with the Homemade Chai Latte mix, this Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate would make a great Christmas gift, especially done up in a mason jar along with marshmallows and a little bottle of Baileys!

salted caramel hot chocolate recipe

Distillery Christmas Markets

Toronto Distillery District Christmas Market

This weekend we checked out the Christmas Market in the Distillery District (which is also home to one of our top possible wedding venue options!). The day wasn’t very Christmas-y, since is was wet and mild, but the overwhelming crowds and overpriced wares put me right into the holiday spirit. Ba-humbug, right?  We still had a great time, and maybe we’ll squeeze in another visit when there’s a bit of snow on the ground.

The holidays are always a busy time, and things have been extra busy for me lately because I have a big deadline coming up at work. I’ve been doing a ton of crafting lately (including my mason jar gifts, and many more that I hope to share soon), so my apartment has been in perpetual disarray.

But this week I’ll be wrapping up my work project and my finished Christmas gifts, just in time to host a holiday dinner this weekend. We haven’t finalized the menu yet, but I’ve got some Christmukkah deliciousness in the works, for sure! Coming to my belly and blog soon :)

Toronto Distillery District Christmas Market

Toronto Distillery District Christmas Market

Toronto Distillery District Christmas Market

Toronto Distillery District Christmas Market