Apple Crisp

My family is big on desserts, especially my Dad. So lately I have been trying new recipes around some of our favourite desserts so that I can still indulge as well. Today I made apple crisp, which is one of my family favourites. It turned out delish, and was relatively easy to make with minimal dishes.

 

Apple Crisp Dessert

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What your sexy self will need:

2 Gala apples (or whatever kind you perfer)

2 TBSP cinnamon

1/4 c Bran Flour (or oat flour)

4 packets of Stevia

1 c Oats

1/2 c unsweetened applesauce

Base:

1. Core, peel, and slice apples into pieces and place in a medium size bowl

2. Add 1 TBSP of cinnamon, a packet of stevia, and half of the 1/4 c of bran flour

3. Mix thoroughly until all apples slices are covered

4. Place in bottom of a pan, I used a small bread pan

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Topping:

1. In a bowl mix together the other half of the 1/4 c of bran flour, 1 c oats, 1/2 c apple sauce, 1 TBSP cinnamon, 3 packets of stevia

2. Once topping is mixed thoroughly, pour on top of the apple slices in the pan

3. Make sure it is spread evenly across the apple slices

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Bake:

1. Pre heat oven at 350 C

2. Bake for 30 minutes, or until apple slices are soft when you slice into them

3. Let cool, and dig in

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Lessons Learned

This week is my final week at Brock University, the place that has been my second home for the last four years. As you can imagine I’m feeling all sorts of emotions right now; happy, sad, excited, nervous, anxious… you name it I’m probably feeling it.

During this past year I volunteered at the Community Care Access Centre every Monday morning. Initially, I began to volunteer because I thought it would help boost my resumé. But today, on my final day, I realized that, that is not why I was doing it.

This volunteer experience has brought me some of my most rewarding experiences of this school year. Even though I only worked in the clothing room where I help sort clothes and bag peoples findings up, I learned some valuable lessons and skills that I will carry with me into my future adventures.

1. Never take anything for granted

Many people that use the Community Care Access Centre don’t have much. Some people come in looking for a pillow because they don’t even have that. Sometimes we have some, and sometimes we don’t. You know how hard it is telling someone we don’t have a pillow to give to them, knowing that I have four pillows sitting on my bed at home, 3 of which I don’t even use. Point is count your blessings, even if it is just a pillow.

2. The most important lesson isn’t learned from a textbook

Coming from someone who is currently in the process of getting a University Degree, sometimes the most intelligent people are not the ones who go to University. Sometimes the most valuable lesson can’t be taught in a lecture hall. The most important life lessons, are the lessons that we learn from our struggles in life.

3. Developing meaningful relationships

I worked with the same ladies every week, and working with them over the course of a year I developed a relationship with them. All these ladies were much older, and most of them had children and grand children. Despite the age difference between these ladies and myself, we were able to have fun, and laugh, which was a huge factor in having a great experience with volunteering at the community care access centre. Surround yourself with individuals that share similar interests, values and beliefs as you, no matter what life stage they may be in.

4. The reward of helping others

I don’t think there was one Monday that went by that I didn’t feel satisfied after my shift. People that come to the Community Care Access Centre typically do not have a lot. Helping people find what they need whether it be a shirt, dress pants, blankets, pillows, or winter coat, is more satisfying than you think. When peoples gratitude is physically visible, its the best feeling knowing you contributed to them feeling that way. Giving someone your time to help them and have a conversation with them, can be more beneficial then we may realize.

You may be wondering, this is great but what does this have to do with health? Well actually this has everything thing to do with health. The Community Care Access Centre not only helps people in need, but it brings the community together. It gives people a sense of belonging, and it reminds people that someone cares.

Never underestimate the power of helping someone, so take care because I care 🙂

Banana Split

One of my favourite treats in the summer use to be ice cream. It was the best, so many possibilities. You could eat it just by itself, as a milkshake, or even as an extra to a slice of pie. One of my all-time favourites was making banana splits.

As I was scrolling through my Instagram newsfeed, there were some pictures of ice-cream and naturally I began to crave some myself. I decided I would try to make a healthy alternative for a banana split. Needless to say it turned out amazing, and could be debated that it was better than the real thing.

 

The Ultimate Banana Split

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What your sexy self will need:

1. 1 banana

2. 3/4 cup plain greek yogurt

3. 1 TBSP all natural peanut butter (smooth or creamy)

4. 1/4 cup strawberries

5. 3 drops of stevia

6. 1 TSP cinnamon

Peel a banana, cut it in half and place in a bowl. Heat the banana in the microwave for 30 seconds.

In a separate bowl, mix together the greek yogurt and stevia, and once the banana is finished in the microwave put the greek yogurt mixture down the centre of the split banana, and sprinkle the cinnamon on top.

Then drizzle the all natural peanut butter on top of the greek yogurt. It may help to put the peanut butter in the microwave for 30 seconds to make it easier for drizzling.

Finally, cut the tops off of the strawberries, wash them, and cut them into smaller chunks. Place them in a bowl and add a tiny bit of water to the bottom, and microwave for 30 seconds to a 1 minute. Once the strawberries are done in the microwave pour them over top of your banana split.

This is the perfect treat to satisfy cravings for something sweet and delicious, but doesn’t compromise your healthy eating. This delicious treat can be personalized by added whatever fruit you prefer such as, blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries. If you like a bit of crunch, any type of nut can be added on top, or if you prefer chocolate, dark chocolate chips can be melted and drizzled on top as well.

Happy eating 🙂

 

 

Banana Protein Muffins

I’m always on a mission to find new recipes that put a create, delicious spin on healthy foods. Not going to lie sometimes I miss indulging in a muffin or a cookie. But just because I eat healthy doesn’t mean I can’t still enjoy these treats. Last night I found a recipe for banana protein muffins, that turned out amazing. These muffins are low in calories, and jam packed with whole foods that will help fuel your body. These little bad boys will be great for a post-work out snack.

Banana Protein Muffins

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What your sexy self will need:

1. 1 2/3 cups rolled oats

2. 1 scoop of protein powder

3. 1 TBSP baking powder

4. 1/4 TSP baking soda

5. 1 TSP Cinnamon

6. 2 ripe bananas

7. 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

8. 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt

9. 2 large egg whites

10. 1 TSP vanilla extract

In a bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients: oats, protein powder, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon.

In a separate bowl, mash the bananas, and mix with all the wet ingredients: applesauce, greek yogurt, egg whites, and vanilla.

Once the wet ingredients are mixed well, combine them with the dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. Let the batter sit for 2 minutes so it can thicken.

Divide the batter into 12 muffin cups and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

To add a personal touch, I added chopped walnuts on top of the batter. Feel free to personalize your muffins to your preferences by adding chocolate chips, nuts, berries, or dried fruit to the batter.

These babies were so delicious it was hard not eat all of them at once.

Happy eating lovelies 🙂

Chocolate Banana Cookies

Every Monday I volunteer at the Community Care Access Centre for a couple of hours, and every time I’m there they have a tubber ware box… ya a box I shit you not… of delicious looking cookies, muffins, scones, danishes… you name, its in this box.

When we go for break everyone usually grabs a goodie from this box to have with their tea or coffee, but I have some how managed to resist doing this for the whole year. I haven’t found it to be that hard to say no, since over the winter I was a little more slack on indulging in little treats here and there. But over the last couple of weeks I have started to become more strict with my diet, as summer is quickly approaching. Need to get beach bod ready!

This past Monday I found resisting the box of treats more difficult than usual… probably because I haven’t had anything sweet in about two weeks. I basically sat there drooling while watching this man indulge in not one, but two of the biggest, most delicious cookies I have ever seen.

It is now Wednesday and I am still craving a cookie. So I decided to whip up a batch of homemade cookies this morning, that were of course healthy.

 

Chocolate Banana Cookies

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 What your sexy self will need:

1 medium size banana

1 cup of rolled oats

2 tsp of all natural cocoa

Peel the banana and place into a bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds (unless the banana is really ripe already). Take the banana out of the microwave and start to mash it with a fork. Once the banana is roughly mashed, mix in the oats, and cocoa. Using a fork mash, and fold the ingredients together until it is well blended. Place the mixture on a cookie sheet that is covered with parchment paper. Divide the mixture into 6 evenly sized cookies. Bake at 350 C for 10 minutes.

These bad boys only took about 15 minutes to make with the bake time included, and wow are they delicious. These cookies are perfect for a snack before or after the gym. Happy snacking 🙂

Call me Crazy…

Some call me crazy…

To some getting up at 6:30 am every morning to hit the gym, may seem crazy. To me its crazy that people are so lazy that they would rather sit on their ass all day, than get up and be active.

All my life I have been an active person, I was highly involved in sports all throughout my life. I was a gymnast, played basketball, was on the swim team, was a runner, danced, and played soccer just to name a few.

I started going to the gym when I was 15 years old, but ever since last summer I have totally changed my life. I started taking the gym, and lifting weights more seriously. I became very strict on eating healthy, and loving every minute of it. I started looking at food as a fuel for my body instead of some kind of reward, or indulgence.

Although, I am relatively new to this whole healthy lifestyle compared to some I have become very familiar with the things that have made me successful so far in my journey to a healthier me.

1. Meal Prep

The first step to success is meal prepping. Failing to plan is planning to fail. If you have meals prepared you are more likely to stay on track, and less likely to end up buying take out because you have ‘nothing to eat’. Sound familiar?

Hint: Just remember eating healthy does not mean that food has to be boring. Trust me there are several ways to enjoy your favourite foods such as pizza, pasta, fries, and chicken nuggets, that can be created in a healthier alternative way. Google can always help with these alternative recipes ideas.

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2. Consistency

Consistency is key. Having a regular bedtime and wake schedule, exercising regularly and for roughly the same amount of time, eating every 2-3 hours, and maintaining a clean eating ‘diet’ of whole foods can do wonder to your body. Just remember these things take time, it did not take one day to become the person you are now, which means it will not take one day to become the person you want to be. Be consistent and you will see results.

Typical early morning workout

 

 

3. Surround Yourself with Positive Influences

Sometimes finding motivation to hit the gym, and eating right is a very difficult task. Surrounding yourself with people that are positive, and share the similar goals and interests as you, will make staying motivated easier. Having a gym partner, allows you to motivate each other. Being around people who are just as dedicated, and motivated as you are, will reduce your chances of others trying to influence you to make unhealthy lifestyle choices, whether that be drinking, smoking, or eating junk.

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4. Track Progress

In order to continue to keep moving forward and avoid hitting a plateau, its important to always keep changing things up. Its essential to not only always change up your workout routine, but also your meals, and the goals you are working towards. Once you achieve one goal, you should make another, always have something to work towards to make a better you. Change up your meals so eating healthy continues to be enjoyable. Change up your workout regimes so that you never end up dreading the gym. A good way to track your progress is taking progress pictures so you can physically see the change over time. It also helps to keep a journal where you can track your workouts, meals, and your feelings. This will ensure that you can continue to move forward in your fitness, but also writing down what you eat and how you are feeling helps with emotional eating.

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5. Have Fun

Never let this kind of lifestyle consume your mind. If this happens, it becomes less enjoyable. Allow yourself a cheat meal once a week, and make sure you enjoy it. Believe it or not, this will help you stay on track. Also base your success on your level of happiness, how well your clothes fit, and how you feel mentally and physically. Whatever you do, do not base your success on the numbers on a scale. The scale does not take into consideration lean muscle mass, how hydrate you are, what you have eaten that day etc etc. Becoming obsessed with the scale will suck the fun out of living a health lifestyle.

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Just remember that everyone is different, and what works for one person may not work for you. It is all about trial and error. Most importantly, remember that whatever others think or say about you, it doesn’t matter. Do what makes you happy, and be the best version of you that you can be.

 

Happy lifting 🙂

Kale Chips

So its late at night, your home alone, and you’ve rented a movie to pass the time. What goes better with a movie than a bag of chips? Well…. not much.

Its almost like you can hear the bag of delicious, crunchy, salty, chips whispering, “Eat me! One won’t kill you!” But, seriously when was the last time you only had a handful of chips and left it at that? Hmmm… let me think…. well never.

Lately, I have been trying new healthy food substitutions for all the things I use to love, but are horribly bad for me. Some have been a great success and others have been an epic disaster. Lets just say… somethings are meant to be left unhealthy.

One tasty treat I did come across, which turned out to be a great success was kale chips. I know its probably something that most people have heard of but it definitely is a must try. It is a great substitution for those crispy, crunch, salty, high in fat and calorie chips.

Kale Chips

What your sexy self will need:

1. A head of Kale

2. Olive Oil

3. Any seasoning ( I use garlic, ground black pepper, and a pinch of salt)

Wash the kale thoroughly, and pat dry with a paper towel. Cut out the stems, and slice the kale leaves into smaller squares.

Put the cut up kale into a bowl and add a teaspoon of olive oil. Lightly mix kale, and rub the pieces with your fingers to make sure each piece is covered with oil.

Then add your seasoning. You can spicy these babies up however you like, but remember to use herbs and spices (such as Miss Dash) that do not contain salt or sugar.

Lay the kale chips out in a single layer on a baking sheet that is lined with tin foil. Bake at 350 for 8-15 minutes – usually depends on what type of kale you use, but always keep checking because there is nothing more disappointing than burning your delicious treat.

TA DA! you have a delicious, crispy, tasty snack! Caution, they are so delicious you may or may not eat the whole bowl!

Enjoy 🙂

Tis’ the Season

xmas treats

This weekend I heard Christmas music playing on the radio. So I guess it’s safe to say, tis’ the season of hot chocolate, candy canes, christmas cookies, turkey dinners, holiday parties, and of course alcoholic bevies.

The majority of people indulge in the bulge during the Christmas holidays, and find it difficult to stay committed to their healthy eating. But it doesn’t have to be difficult.

In every diet, it is important for people to indulge in a cheat meal, every once and a while. Notice how I said cheat meal, and not cheat day! Having a cheat meal on rare occasions suppresses your cravings, and increases your chances of staying loyal to your healthy eating. There are a few secrets to cheat meals:

1. Keep them in proportion. Just because they are your cheat meal doesn’t mean you can go overboard.

2. Eat your cheat meal slowly, and thoroughly enjoy it. You don’t get cheat meals very often, so savour the moment.

3. Once your finished your cheat meal, forget about it and move on. Get back on track with healthy eating, and don’t let one meal discourage you to the point that you make your cheat meal into a cheat day… or week.

So just remember that over the holidays, it is okay to indulge in a few Christmas treats, but keep it in proportion, enjoy it, and don’t let it discourage you!

Gonna be a Good Day

We’ve all had those days, you know those days where nothing seems to be going your way. Today was one of those days for me. I slept through my alarm, burnt my eggs, spilt my water bottle all over the counter, and to top it all off I lost my student card, which is also my gym membership and bus pass, on my way to the gym.

Life is like an arrow

Life is like an arrow

Needless to say, things didn’t seem to be going my way. As these series of events occurred throughout my morning I was starting to believe that it was going to be a bad day.

When I was walking to the gym, I decided that I wasn’t going to let the morning events ruin my mood or my day. Instead, I was going to take out all my feelings of annoyance and irritation at the gym.

As I was finishing up my workout, I got some exciting news that my first blog as a feature blogger for Brock University’s Get Involved blog was published. My mood immediately changed, and what I thought was going to be a bad day, turned out to be a great day.

With every difficulty that life throws at you, comes something great. So even though it may seem like today is not your day, don’t let a couple of mishaps ruin your mood. Life is to short to be wasting it on a bad day.

Stranger Talk

As I was walking downtown this morning, on my way to the Community Care Access Centre, where I volunteer every Monday morning, I was stopped by an older woman asking me for directions to Court Street. It just so happened I was walking toward Court Street so I offered to walk with her.

As we were walking, this woman told me that today was her first day of school. She told me that she had always wanted to go to college, but then life happened and she never made it. So now at age 54, she had decided to go back to school to update her twelfth grade high school English credit so she could finally pursue her dream.

She continued to explain that her children, now all grown up, didn’t understand why she wanted to go back to school now, at her age. She said, “I’ve always said I was going to go to college, so now I’m doing it!”

I thought it was amazing that I just so happened to run into this woman. Being in my last year of University, I have been stressing about what I’m going to do next year. I want to do my masters in Global Health, but what if I don’t get accepted? … then what? … am I going to apply for a different program? … am I going to find a job? … travel?… take a year off?…. Someone please just give me the answer!

She made me realize, even if things don’t work out for you right away, or as you planned, doesn’t mean you won’t ever reach your goal. Things have a funny way of working out the way that they are suppose too.

Even though this woman, who was lost and nervous, thought I was doing her the favour by walking her to school, she was really helping me out in a way she will never know.