29 May

day 124: decisions decisions

So, last night I bit the bullet and went bikini shopping. It wasn’t as terrible an experience as I expected, but that could be because I new I was just browsing and not buying (a decision this big needs second opinions, and possibly thirds, and maybe fourths… you get the idea.)

I took pictures of myself in all the bikinis I tried on, except a couple of bandeaus I tried accidentally (I thought they were halters on the hanger) because, in all honesty, I would be afraid to see that image again. If you want a mental picture, imagine your favourite football lineman in a bandeau. Yeah, not pretty.

Anyway, I sent all the pictures that I did take to my sister Vicki in Chicago for her scrutiny. I’ve left you here with some images of just the swimsuits.


I thought this one was pretty cute. Kind of a ’50s pin-up girl style. The bottoms weren’t the greatest looking on me though.


I really liked the top of this one because it covered up a lot and it had a thick band beneath the cups.


This one was cute. Classic surfer style. I was surprise that the top was flattering since it was the only one that I tried that had no support cups or padding. Matt actually thought this style top looked best on me. The bottoms looked cute with the blue top above too.


I really liked these bottoms. They look so fun! I couldn’t find a top at the store to go with them. (I was wearing a bright yellow bandeau here) Maybe something solid black?? Or a yellow halter if I can find one.


This top was quite flattering. The bottoms were good too because they covered up my chicha (aka muffin top) in the back. I’m not sure they go well together though.


Same top with matching bottoms.


This was another cute ’50s pin-up style one. I really liked the fabric of this one– it was mostly nylon and felt almost water-resistant.


I don’t know that I’ll be able to stomach anymore swimwear shopping but if I do I’ll post more pictures here.

Well, what do you think? I would LOVE some feedback!

28 May

day 123: health news

Here are some interesting news articles that piqued my interested as of late.

The worst drinks in America

An “eat this, not that” that hones in on when you should eat 20 Reese Peanut Butter cups or 6 Kirspy Kremes rather than quenching your thirst. (Design Verb)

Added Fibres

Your best best is to go with whole food sources of fibres. Find out which added fibres can upset your tummy.  (RealAge)

Raw Chocolate

I don’t know if I buy into the raw chocolate hype, but I can tell you that ChocoSol’s dark chocolate has a delicious nutty, coffee flavour. (Globe & Mail)

Canada’s teen birth and abortion rate drops by 36.9 per cent

Attributed to Canada’s “balanced, sensible approach to adolescent sexual health“. (Globe & Mail)

Childhood Peanut Allergies Triple over Past Decade

Attributed to reduced exposure to bacteria. Hmmm…. (Food Production Daily)

Vitamin Water: Marketing a Myth

Get your water from the tape and get your anti-oxidants from real fruit, not sugar water. (Huffington Post)

For better tone, try fewer reps and more challenging weights

I’d really love to see more ladies doing heavy lifting at the gym! (NY Times)

How Much LifeForce Energy is in Your Food

Foods that contain and emit the most sunlight energy. Their cells are capable of capturing and maintaining greater amounts of ultraviolet rays from the sun. (CrazySexyLife)

The Fatter we Get, the Less We Seem to Notice

“Overweight individuals today are less likely to classify themselves as “overweight” in contrast to overweight individuals surveyed over a decade ago”. (Obecity Panacea)

Great charts showing GMO Crops in the US:

The increase in the amount of GM corn, soy, and cotton in the US over the past 10 years is astronomical! (Food Politics)

26 May

day 121: how to fit a wonky shape

I’ve decided that this weekend I’m going to put myself through hell go bikini shopping. (I contemplated putting an exclamation mark at the end of that sentence, but frankly I’m not that excited.)

I’m not a shopping. In fact, I detest shopping for clothes and succumb to shopping rage (think road rage for the emotionally insecure) when I can’t find something that makes me look amazing. I contemplated hiring a high school kid to be my personal shopper and sending her out with a wad of cash and a shopping list of one item: Figure-flattering Bikini. I decided against it since I’d fear for her life when she’d inevitably returned with a swimsuit that didn’t make me look like Kim Kardashian.

So I did some research today to arm myself with the knowledge of what bikini will best accentuate my assets thus avoiding an emotional breakdown in a poorly lit dressing room.

Here are the facts:

Chest: 93cm
Waist: 78cm
Hips: 103cm

(that’s ~ 36″ – 30″ – 40″)

So that basically makes me pear-shaped. That’s cool, I like pears. But this doesn’t really account for the fact that at 108cm (~ 42″) my shoulders are huge (we’re talking 1980s Dynasty huge– but without the shoulder pads).

So realistically, I’m more like a poorly designed hourglass.

According to all the articles that I have been sifting through, hourglasses can wear pretty much any kind of bikini they want. I think I`ll need to tweak that a bit. This is what I want my new bikini to do:

  • hide my stomach (not likely in a bikini)
  • show off my upper back
  • give the ladies a perky lift
  • cover my whole butt
  • make me look like Kim Kardashian

Is that too much to ask?

This is what I need:

  • Thick strapped halter up top help make my shoulders look more proportional.
  • V neckline to draws the eyes up towards the bust and the face, away from my belly
  • Lower cut legs to cover my butt

Good luck to me, and godspeed.

25 May

day 120: salmon challenge

I was stoked a few weeks ago when Matt came home from the grocery store with fresh salmon fillets. Matt doesn’t like salmon, so whenever we have it in the house I get to make whatever I want with it. I had homemade lox on the brain (something Matt hates most).

There was a catch though. Damn.

He says to me, “I bought this so you can make me a salmon recipe that I’ll actually like.” With that, I tossed the fillets in the freezer to be forgotten for 3 long weeks until today when I came across the PERFECT recipe. Italian-style shallow fried monkfish scalopinne in a red wine sauce from my favourite Italian cookbook Molto Italiano.

I thought it would work really well with salmon and gave it a go.

As a bonus I got to use the first of the fresh sage from my herb garden:

And how did it turn out?

Okay, so it’s not the most photogenic meal ever, but it was a definite SUCCESS!

To quote the husband: “This is restaurant quality. Maybe even better.”
Best Compliment Ever.

I guess I just have to work on my presentation skills before I can start serving this dish up to the masses.

Salmon Scaloppine with Red Wine and Sage

Adapted from Molto Italiano

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup durum semolina (or all purpose flour)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1-pound piece salmon fillet, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c. diced white onion
  • 8 fresh sage leaves
  • 12 small manzanilla olives, sliced
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce of choice
  • 2 Tbsp cold unsalted butter

Directions

Place the flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper.
Pound each salmon slice with a mallet to a 1/4-inch thickness.
Heat the olive oil in a 12- to 14-inch nonstick pan over medium high heat.
Dredge the fish in the seasoned flour and sauté in the hot oil until golden brown on both sides, 5 to 6 minutes total.
Remove the fish and keep warm.

Add onion and sage to the pan and sauté 3 minutes, until softened and starting to brown.
Add the wine, the tomato sauce, and the olives and bring to a boil.
Reduce temperature to a simmer and return the fish to the pan.
Add the cold butter, and simmer for 5 minutes. The sauce should thicken slightly to coat the fish.

Man I love Italian cooking 😀

24 May

day 119: may two four

Today was a beautiful Victoria Day. … and by beautiful I mean 88 degrees and muggy. But at least the sun was shining!

Matt and I decided to take advantage of the warm weather and the day off of work to have a picnic in the park — Euro style.
When we were in Europe for our wedding and honeymoon two years ago we totally fell in love with the idea of picnicking in the local parks with bread, cheese, and wine. There’s nothing like dining al fresco in Europe.

Paris, France

Paris, France

Picnicking in Windsor is just not the same. First of all, there are no other picnickers, so you feel a bit awkward sophisticated doing it. Secondly, the scenery doesn’t compare. Third, there are mosquitoes which are evidently non-existent in Western Europe. And finally and most importantly, you can’t bring wine to the local park. Well, you’re not supposed to bring wine to the park anyway.

Not Paris

We made some Montreal smoked meat sandwiches on rye (which, sadly, I didn’t bake) and some quick kimchi salad (which, sadly, I forgot to bring forks for). Pears and apples made for a yummy dessert.

Now I’m off to dream about being in Paris again and eating fresh baguettes with wine and cheese.

21 May

day 116: beauty routine follow-up

(source)

Wow, thanks for all your amazingly insightful comments on my thoughts about whether or not a person’s beauty routine has an influence on their happiness.

Most of you seemed to agree that beauty radiates from confidence. You can’t put confidence on your face in the morning. You can’t buy confidence at the mall. It’s something that comes from somewhere within. Beautiful clothes, great hair, and perfect make-up are just placebos that create confidence in women. We’re so convinced that we need them to look good.
A huge part of getting myself into a bikini this summer is going to be developing the confidence in my body to strut my stuff poolside. The kind of confidence that comes from something other than these placebos. To me, this is going to be a bigger challenge than eating well and exercising.

Here were some of my favourite comments:

Sophie @ Yumventures

In my mind, it’s not to do with attractiveness, but rather how you hold yourself and your confidence. If a girl is confident she can be wearing sweats and a hoodie and she will still turn heads. Whereas I’ve seen some girls completely dolled up who look miserable and it makes them seem unattractive, even if they are conventionally beautiful.

Erin @ The Healthy Apron

I think you should do whatever makes you feel happiest and confident.

Sarah

I’m sure some might say it’s problematic to have your sense of self worth connected to your appearance, but I’d say it’s only problematic if your sense of self worth is ONLY tied to your appearance.

Kenzie @ A Healthy Purpose

Nobody wants to be vain to think that looking good is important but it does make me feel better about myself too. . . I’d say it’s worth the effort to feel better, but it doesn’t make it any easier.

There’s a great 2 part series at Eat the Damn Cake that talks about body image which is so well written I think it should be required reading for all women and girls. Take a look here and here.

Here are my favourite quotes from this post:

. . .I’ve found great liberation on shifting my efforts at self-improvement from my body to my career, my relationships, my life skills. Does this mean I don’t care at all about being beautiful anymore? No, of course not. I live the real world, where beauty matters. But there’s a big difference between caring, and caring too much. And while this difference is bound to be subjectively defined, I’d say that nearly every woman I know could probably afford to care less.

. . . my self-assurance is greater than it used to be, and this is mostly because it’s no longer tethered exclusively to how I feel about my looks on any given day. There are other, more unchanging things that anchor my sense of self. . . My looks are a part of that that sense, too—I can’t remove them altogether, and wouldn’t want to—but they aren’t at the heart of it.

In some ways, there’s almost as much pressure nowadays for us to love our looks as there is for us to be beautiful. Flip through a beauty magazine, and you’ll find weight loss ads flanked by articles on self-acceptance and confidence. Not only must we look pristine, but if we happen not to, we must love ourselves anyway. It’s all a bit much.

Yesterday I wore bright red pumps to work in a vain attempt to feel a bit sexier. I didn’t. But maybe that’s just because there is nothing too sexy about working in a cubicle with no one to talk to.

19 May

day 114: beauty routines

In spite of the fact that people tell me that I would definitely look good in a bikini, I still feel uncomfortable with my appearance and am extremely self conscious about the way I look.

Isn’t ironic, then, that I spend so little time trying to beautify myself? My morning beauty routine involves:

  • washing my face with cleanser
  • moisturizing my face
  • putting on deodorant
  • brushing my teeth
  • flipping my hair and fluffing up my curls with my fingers (and possibly tying it into a ponytail)
  • putting on the least wrinkled, most comfortable top I have
  • putting on pants — probably the same ones I wore the day before

On weekdays I tend to think, “It’s just work, no one is going to see me anyway”. …this thought process has taken over and has become, “Who cares what I look like? I’m just going to the gym.” and “I’ll just put on a baseball cap.” and even “The movie theatre is dark, no one will notice how frumpy I look”.

I guess I don’t really have a problem with my unenthusiastic beauty routine, that is, before I leave the house. When I get to my destination and see people dressed in their Sunday best I shudder with a combination of embarrassment and jealousy as I remember what I looked like for that brief second I glanced in the mirror before leaving home.

Would it be of any benefit to me to put more of an effort into my daily routine? If I left the house in a great outfit with shoes that don’t have puppy chew marks and hair that’s actually been combed, would I feel better about myself? Would I be less self-conscious when I run in to people I know on the street? Would I be happier?

. . .I`m afraid that it would make me happier. Afraid because, well, do I really want my happiness tied to my own perception of my attractiveness?

It`s just food for thought.

18 May

day 113: protein pudding

I don’t like drinking protein very much, but I always have it after my workout. I prefer to mix it with a little bit of water to get a pudding-like consistency and eat it with a spoon. You can add in any toppings you want, just like a bowl of oats (hell, you can even add in oats!). I find it much more satisfying than plugging my nose and chugging a goopy, gross protein shake.
I thought the one I made today was beautiful. So I photographed it many times.

I had some leftover sprouted wheatberries from my last batch of sprouted grain bread that kept sprouting little alien-like tentacles. I decided to toss them on top for extra fibre, nutrients, and digestive enzymes.

Sprouted Protein Pudding


Ingredients

  • 2 scoops of protein powder of choice
  • 3-4 Tbsp water
  • 1 banana
  • 1/8 tsp ground clove
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp molasses
  • 2 Tbsp sprouted wheatberries

Directions

Mix the protein, water, and banana with a food processor or immersion blender until the desired consistency is reached. Add more water if necessary.
Pour into a bowl and top with spices, molasses, and wheatberries.

Enjoy!

16 May

a celebration of American flavors

. . . and speaking of bizarre chemicals found in our “food” . . .

This is why you’re unhealthy:

Williams Sonoma Maple Pecan Waffle & Pancake Mix

A sweet celebration of American flavors

Because nothing says “American flavors”  like dextrose, sodium aluminum phosphate, and 36 other factory produced, difficult to pronounce ingredients.

Yum.

15 May

day 110: love for new things

Kisses

On Thursday on my way in the door at work I grabbed a Hershey’s Kiss out of the candy dish, unwrapped it, and popped it in my mouth. … and then I said, “what the fuck?! this tastes good.”

I don’t like Hershey’s chocolate. It tastes inferior. I call it “fake chocolate”, but these Kisses were different. Better. I swear.

I guess I’m not up to date on the chocolate zeitgeist because apparently Hershey’s introduced “smoother and creamier” kisses in Canada in February and a lot of people are in a tizzy about the switch (check out the comments on their FB fan page). So last night I rushed out to buy a pack for Matt to taste (he hates Hershey’s as much as I do, if not more) and he loved them. They really are smoother and creamier! I feel like I’m a Hershey’s billboard right now.

I checked the ingredients on the label to see if they changed their formula, but their US website didn’t have the ingredients list. I did find the ingredients list here which is identical to what is in the new Canadian version.

Ummm, what the hell is polyglycerol polyricinoleate? Oh! It’s a chemical that cheapens the chocolate quality! How lovely.

Apparently it helps smooth out the chocolate and my guess is that if the new Kisses are smoother and creamier then there is probably more of this PGPR garbage in it.
Damn. Just when I find something I like I have to go reading the ingredients label. I guess I’ll stick with my Lindt chocolate bars (or Guylian if I can find them).

…And what does this have to do with my Bikini Birthday? After eating a bag of chemical laden Hershey’s my confidence in having a bikini body has plummeted to new lows.

Enter scotch oats:

Scotch Oats

So I keep seeing these on The Edible Perspective and became intrigued by the texture. Since I ran out of my usual rolled oats I decided to jump on the Scottish bandwagon.

Scottish oats are different from rolled oats because they are produced by grinding the whole oat kernel between two giant mill stones.  Rolled oats on the other hand are whole oats that are toasted, hulled, steamed and then flattened with giant rollers.

Mmm… fantastic. I nuked them, because I’m lazy like that (they only take about 5 minutes on high). Despite a minor explosion in the microwave (tip: use a bigger bowl than you think you need) they turned out pretty tasty! They are much creamier than rolled oats, but still grittier than cream of wheat.



Unlike the delicious Kisses, these are a keeper. Ingredients: Whole Grain Oats. Perfect.

Dear Bob, I love you and your Red Mill.