15 Feb

a break for hope.

(Source:Etsy Print)

I know it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me. My daily blogging has gone out the window this past week.

I have some crazy family stuff going on right now that involves doctors, a hospital out of town, piling mileage on the car, and lots and lots of visiting hours. My dad is sick so I’m taking a bit of a break.

I wouldn’t know what to write about anyway.

I haven’t been cooking, or baking bread, or weightlifting, or running, or doing yoga. I haven’t been doing much to be honest. …except maybe stress eating. I have made fast friends with chocolate.

If you’re a faithful person, I would welcome prayers. If you’re a spiritual person, I would welcome positive thoughts.  If you are neither of these, then I would at least welcome your hope.

09 Feb

BL Weigh In #1

So month 1 of our 2-month-long office Biggest Loser competition is over. I had my weigh-in the morning: Weight lost : 7.2lbs

This caused the eyes of the girls who weighed me in to widen. Mine too, actually.

I didn’t really lose that much weight in a month. According to my home scale I actually lost 3.5lbs, which I really am ecstatic about. I feel so much better and more comfortable in my body. Not gonna lie, I love the way my marathon training booty is looking these days too (even if it is bigger than before).

I have been maintaining my “get comfortable” plan including marathon training, regular yoga, and weightlifting. I have also been meticulously food journalling because my appetite is seriously out of control from all my running mileage. (My long runs are up to 14 miles!! Go me!) It has all been working very well for me and I am LOVING how energetic I feel right now.

But 3.5lbs? That’s pretty far off from 7.2lbs. Where did the rest go?

Well. . .

In an effort to win this thing I tried to make myself as heavy as possible for weigh-in #1 (does this make me a cheater? possibly. you tell me.)

The morning of weigh-in #1 I had eaten a huge breakfast and drank about a litre of water. I tried not to use the bathroom before I got on the scale. I wore the heaviest clothes I own and even wore winter boots. I contemplated wearing ankle weights too but thought that would cross the line between questionable practices and actual cheating, so I refrained. Today I did the complete opposite to make myself as light as possible.

Yes, I am THAT competitive.

But all these tactics aren’t going to help again next month. I’m going to have to actually lose some more real weight for the final weigh-in at the beginning of March. That’s going to take effort rather than cunning. Too bad. I’m so much better at cunning.


P.S. I just started a new weightlifting routine: Strength Training for Football. Not that I play football or anything, but I found this routine from a Strength Conditioning for Football book that my brother-in-law lent to my husband who coaches high school football. I thought it looked fun.

07 Feb

Dance Party

Latin Dance

(source)

Sometimes (read: often) when the house is empty I blast my favourite music and dance around my living room. I’ve taken to doing it when my husband is home and, luckily, he doesn’t seem to mind too much.

I think it’s a habit that I picked up at the age of 6 when I got my first cassette tape: Madonna – The Immaculate Collection. Classic. The habit hasn’t waned much over the years, except maybe during my teens when I was far too cool to dance at all. Unless there was a DJ and strobe lights involved. But my childhood home lacked such frivolities.

The at-home dance party wasn’t necessary during my university years when the Saturday night club scene was enough to suppress my dancing urges until the subsequent weekend. I had to revive the at-home dance party when I moved out on my own and started feeling too old to be hitting the clubs. It’s been going strong ever since.

I’m not a great dancer—most of my “moves” just involve me jumping around—but it makes me happy to let out my energy to some upbeat music; to move however the hell I damn-well please – no choreography, no proper position, no mundane movement.

Sunday morning’s dance party was different though. It started out as ‘homework’. Matt and I started taking Latin dance lessons a couple of weeks ago and the instructor encouraged us to practice our hip rolling at home because, as he put it, “Eeet’s all in zee heeps”. I thought I was rather competent at shaking my money maker, but during the class the instructor kept coming over to me and demonstrating how to do it properly. Something about keeping your toes pointed outward, and rolling your knees inward, and popping your hip up whilst dropping the corresponding shoulder down. It was a lot to think about and I was quickly losing confidence.

So when Matt was out of the house I parked myself in front of a mirror (something I never do during my dance parties), blasted some Celia Cruz through my headphones, and started to practice everything he said while trying not to look too confused. I don’t know if I was doing it exactly the way the instructor had shown us but it didn’t take long before I thought to myself: I look amazing.

As my hips rolled and popped and my shoulders rolled and dropped, I noticed my curves. And the softness of my belly as my hips and shoulders moved in opposite directions. And how sensual my movements were. Seeing myself in the mirror I thought: I want to dance with that girl. She’s hot.

It was the first time in a long time that I looked in the mirror and was really impressed with my body. Maybe it was just the endorphins from the dancing, or maybe it just was the music, or maybe it was just the girl in the mirror reminding me to take a second look at her every once in a while.

06 Feb

Bikini Confidence: Jessica

Jessica Finds Confidence after Battling Anorexia

I recently discovered Jessica’s slice of life blog, Daly Authenticity, in which she opens up about her family, faith, and healthy lifestyle, and shares some delicious looking recipes.
I was overwhelmed when she e-mailed me her guest post for Bikini Confidence. You see, Jessica recently struggled with disordered eating. This woman has a tremendous amount of courage to speak so candidly about how anorexia has affected her (which she first revealed in this post Daly Authenticity) and I am so proud that she is willing to share her story with you.


jess1

Hello!  My name is Jessica of Daly Authenticity.

Bikini confidence is an interesting concept to me. When I first found Samantha’s blog, I was impressed that someone actually wanted to write a blog based around this thought.

You see, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the mere thought of a bathing suit for so long.

As a child, I grew up in a very balanced house hold, where food was a means of fellowship, and weight was never discussed. I was always tiny for my age, and never felt the need to lose weight.

All of that changed when I turned 18. I was faced with life decisions and I needed something to control. Not knowing what else to control, I chose food. It was the stupidest decision I have ever made in my entire life. What followed was 7 years of abusing my body by calorie cutting, and succumbing the Anorexia. Although I grew up loving my body, in the throes of an eating disorder, I began to hate every little thing about my body. I did not view my body in a healthy way at all.

In January 2010, I decided to get my life back together and finally get healthy and gain the weight that it would take to be healthy again. I had dreams of becoming a mom, and I was so tired of being the “sick” one for so many years. I also realized that I was not honoring the body that the Lord gave me.

t and j

I am proud to say that over the past year, my life has taken a 180 degree turn. I have learned to feed my body nourishing healthy foods, have gained enough weight to finally get my period back after 7 years of not having it, and can now exercise in a healthy manner, and I have learned to embrace the changes that my body has taken over the past year.

I still struggle to think about getting in a bathing suit, as my body has changed since the last time I put one on (although the last time I had one on, I was so ashamed because my emaciated state was so sickening).

I would be lying if I said there weren’t still days where I look in the mirror and critique the “new” me. But now, instead of feeling like a little girl, I feel like a woman. I have found new confidence in the fact that my body will one day carry a child, and in the near future hopefully carry me to the finish line of my first half marathon.

us 2

My faith in God has changed dramatically in the past year, and through that renewed faith, I have found the confidence to embrace the body that He has blessed me with. Before, my confidence came from the number on the scale. Since then, I have “broken up” with my scale, and no longer own one. Getting rid of the scale has allowed me to find my worth in who I am in God, rather than the number that was staring up at me in the morning. I can be confident knowing that I am finally taking care of my body. I can be confident knowing that my husband and I can finally have a healthy relationship without the baggage that comes with an eating disorder. I can be confident knowing that my family and friends no longer have to worry incessantly about whether I would live to see another year of life. I am finding that confidence, and slowly, baby step by baby step, I am re-evaluating my view of myself and the world.

It’s a hard journey: one of many tears and pain. But I am learning that the exploration of who we are at the core of ourselves is worth the discovery!

You can read more about my journey to confidence at www.dalyauthenticity.blogspot.com


The Bikini Confidence Series is a kick-ass collection of guest posts from readers who share stories of their relationship with their body.

If you have a story to share about your own struggles with body image or your opinion on how women’s body image is affected by media or society please feel free to e-mail me your idea at samanthaamenzies [at] gmail [dot] com.

Take a look at the great stories posted in this series:

And, of course, my own Bikini Birthday post!

04 Feb

Food Blog Friday: Chick-picata

It is Food Blog Friday!

This week’s recipe was another hit: Post Punk Kitchen’s Chickpea Picata

I love the lemony tartness of chicken and veal picata so I was excited to make this vegan version, particularly since the recipe didn’t call for tempeh or seitan or any other meat poser.

I followed the recipe pretty closely only substituting sweet onion for shallots and sweet sparkling wine (it’s all I had in the fridge) for dry white wine. I also used a BIG bunch of fresh thyme instead of a little pinch of dried– I really, really like thyme.

The aromas in my kitchen from the garlic, onion, and wine were absolutely amazing. I was so stoked to dig in to meal. I definitely “tasted” the sauce a lot while it was cooking. You know, to make sure the flavours were spot on and everything.

The recipe recommends serving over mashed potatoes and arugula. I passed on the ‘taters and stuck with just fresh mixed greens.

I liked the detailed directions in this recipe and the fact that it came together so quickly and easily. I didn’t find myself questioning what temperature? how do I serve this? what do I do now? I also like that there are nutrition facts to go along with it. Score!

The end result of the chick-picata was delicious. I am definitely going to be making this again!

So I give this recipe…

3 Spoons!

Find the recipe for PPK Chickpea Picata here.

Addendum: When Matt read this post he said. “Three spoons? I would’ve given it two.” I probed him as to why and the best he could do was that he prefers the traditional recipe. You know, the one with meat. So, if you’re expecting this chickpea version to be as awesome as picata made with chicken or veal, I’ll be honest, it’s not. But setting your memories of meat picatas aside for a minute you’ll see that this is a very flavourful and tasty chickpea dish.


Food Blog Friday recipes are ranked on the scale of 0-3 spoons

0 spoons – That was fucking horrendous
1 spoon  –  I doubt I’ll be making that again
2 spoons – I’ll probably make that again with some tweaks
3 spoons – That was perfect

02 Feb

Jackie Warner: DVD Review

As I mentioned on Monday, I tried out a couple of DVDs to get myself out of a weightlifting slump. First, I reviewed Tracy Anderson Mat which, in a word, sucked.

Pretty much anything would have been better than that “workout” so I’m going to try not to let the fact that I hated that DVD to influence and overly positive review of the next DVD I tried. Jackie Warner came highly recommended by some bloggers like Toronto Girl West and The Healthy Apron so I gave this DVD a try:

One-on-One Training with Jackie Warner

Thumbs WAY Up.

The video comes with three 20 minute workouts: Upper Body, Lower Body, and Core. You have to option to do one, two, or all three of the workouts and you can add to your viewing line-up in whatever order you want. I like that kind of flexibility.

Each 20 minute workout includes a short warm-up and cool-down (about 2 minutes each). The workout itself is composed of 3 different exercises performed for 1 minute each followed by 1 minute of cardio. This is structure is repeated three more times but all the exercises are different. So basically you’re doing 12 different exercises in each workout and 4 minutes of cardio.

It sounds pretty easy. But, if you know me, I think everything sounds easy. Chin-ups? Easy. 100 pushups? Easy. Hiking Mt Everest? Easy.

You need to have a couple of dumbbells for this workout, especially for the upper body portion. I’m a gym junkie so I don’t have any hand weights at home. But, I’m relatively resourceful, so I used two 4L jugs full of water that weighed about 9lbs each. I wish I had something a little bit heavier though.

I know JW has her own TV show, but I’ve never seen it before so I really didn’t know what to expect from her training style. I was pleasantly surprised. She wasn’t over-the-top and in your face like some trainers or annoyingly perky like others. She’s more like a buddy, with really good tips (and really great abs). I kinda want to be her friend. For reals.

Jackie uses 4 of her trainers to demonstrate the exercises. She explains in detail how your body should look and feel so there’s really no question about what the right form is. She also explains how to modify the exercises so they are either easier or more difficult. I was really impressed by her commentary.

The music in the workout is a disappointment though. It’s slightly annoying and I’m guessing it was an afterthought. Jackie seems so cool, so bad-ass. I guess I was hoping for something that reflected her personality a bit more– preferably something upbeat from an unsigned indie punk band.

As for the exercises…

The upper body portion wasn’t too difficult, but I found myself panting and sweating after the leg workout. A1! Just what I was looking for.

I thought 20 minutes of core exercises to be a bit excessive though. That might be because I rarely do ab or oblique work on my own. Naturally, this portion was a serious struggle for me and I was getting annoyed by how easy she made everything look. I had to swallow my pride and do the easy modifications. A LOT. I’m hoping that if I keep doing this core workout I’ll end up with Jackie’s killer 6 pack. . .

Is it weird that I can’t stop staring at her?

. . but given my propensity for cookies (mmm…oreos) my mid-section will likely stay doughy. Let’s just call that “feminine curves”, shall we?

For me, exercise is practically dogmatic (true story: everyone in my family goes to the gym on Sunday mornings while all the good Christians are at church). So if Jackie Warner were a religion, I’d be a convert.

01 Feb

OREO

DSCF4598

Yup. I went there. Oh yes, I did.

I recreated the 100 year old American classic and it just might be better than the original.

I didn’t intend to stray from this Oreo copycat recipe by Thomas Keller one bit. I mean, he’s Thomas Keller for God’s sake. I’m sure the cookies are called TKOs for a reason (besides the acronym, of course). My plan was to follow the recipe exactly. I didn’t want any screw ups.

but of course, there was an inevitable screw up.

The first thing that caught my eye in the recipe was the yield. 6-8 cookies. 6-8 cookies?!? Nearly a pound of butter for a measly 6-8 cookies? I thought, These cookies must be real good.

DSCF4593

FYI, this recipe does not make 6-8 Oreo cookies. At least, not 6-8 Oreo-sized cookies. I got somewhere between 25 and 30 sandwich cookies. I could have yielded much more had I not entered into a self-induced diabetic coma from overconsumption of cookie dough, but that’s pretty standard for baking cookies is it not?

Keller’s recipe for the chocolate butter cookie (aka Sablé, if you’re feeling frisky) was spot on. I must admit that I was a bit apprehensive at first. The dough didn’t seem to be coming together. It was all crumbly and dry. I was afraid it was going to be a huge failure. But after working the dough I eventually got it to form a ball that I could refrigerate and later roll out.

Then came the actual failure, the White Chocolate Ganache filling. I’ve eaten a lot of Oreos in my day (and I’m particular to the double stuf variety). I’m pretty damn positive that the filling of an Oreo is not ganache. It’s not a whoopie pie Tommy, it’s a cookie. A cookie with icing in the middle. But I followed the recipe anyway. All was going well until. . .

My immersion blender broke.

I was using it as a whisk and it just died right while I was starting to whisk the chocolate and cream. Fuck.

I thought maybe I would be able to whisk it by hand but after doing that for about 10 minutes I realized that the ganache was still a liquid and my arm was about to fall off… so I just tossed a shit tonne (which is about 8oz in my world) of icing sugar into a bowl and gradually added the cream/chocolate mixture to it while stirring until I got a very thick frosting consistency.

Thing is, I think this was better than the TKO filling. It actually tasted much more like the overly sweet centre of an Oreo that I love so much. I’m kinda glad that I fucked up was so resourceful.

DSCF4597

Anyway, these cookies are amazing. More amazing than real Oreos and probably more amazing than the original TKO recipe (although I never ended up getting to try that, so I’m just speculating).

Now if someone can just direct me to a copycat Fudgee-O recipe then I will be ecstatic.

I can’t seem to find one anywhere online and I’m starting to think that Fudgee-Os are actually only Canadian (can I get a Yankee to confirm this?)