Coconut Cranberry Granola

Are you hungry?

USEGRANOLA4

Let’s hope so. You do NOT want to miss out on this. ūüôā

I’ve been craving granola in a bad way recently. The¬†“coconut chia”¬†and¬†“dark chocolate strawberry”¬†labels have been CALLING to me. Non. Stop. But the ingredient lists never fail to make me sad. And on the rare occasion that I don’t actually break a sweat trying to figure out what exactly is in said packaged granola, the price makes my wallet too sad.

So, the solution was simple.

USEGRANOLA2

Just like everything else, granola is WAY better homemade. I originally wanted to use coconut butter in this, but it turns out that leaving a jar in the back of your cupboard for 7+ months does not have a very appetizing result! Go figure! I substituted LOTS of delicious coconut flakes to give this granola a nice kick of my favourite flavour. The cranberries and honey pump up the sweetness without being overpowering, and really compliment the coconut.

This granola is PACKED full of nutrients from the cranberries and whole grain oats, plus delectable healthy fats from the coconut. I hope you give this a shot! ūüôā

USEGRANOLA3

Cranberry Coconut Granola:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries (I used sweetened because that’s what I had, but feel free to use unsweetened)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Combine oats and honey, mixing until no lone oat flakes remain
  • Add in coconut and cranberries, mixing in evenly and thoroughly
  • Bake for 20 minutes, stirring every ~8 to make sure it all gets toasted
  • Let stand on the counter for ~15 minutes, or until crispy!
  • Devour.

MAYBEUSEGRANOLA

This post is linked up with Recipe Friday over at CandyFit, one of my favourite Canadian blogs!

A Day in the Life: Post-Exams!

Good morning! The title pretty much says it all. Yesterday was filled with a whooole lot of doing¬†whatever the heck I wanted. After three weeks of nothing but stress and anxiety, today was all about rest recovery. I’ve been seeing these “Day in the life” posts floating around lately, and while yesterday was certainly not my most exciting day, it was definitely one of my favourites in a looonnng while. I honestly believe that it is¬†so¬†important to just kick back and relax once in a while. Speaking from experience: burnout & breakdowns are not fun! So this is what I did to reboot and prepare myself for the upcoming semester!

8:30am:¬†I rolled over and was shocked¬†at the time¬†(usually I’m bounding out of bed before 6), and proceeded to scroll through instagram and Bloglovin‘. It was glorious to be able to do this guilt-free. I looked through lots of workouts (PB Fingers¬†has my favourites!) and found a million recipes I NEED to try. This went on until my stomach informed me it was time for breakfast.

chia cookies These are currently #1 on my to-make list. [source.]

 9:30am: A leisurely omelet and toast was enjoyed in bed (because, where else?), where multiple WIAW posts were enjoyed via my phone. No picture because I fail at omelet-flipping. Seriously. Anyone want to help a girl out? I always end up with at least three broken pieces!

10:30am: My stomach happy,¬†I jumped onto the computer to comment on the posts I read! I ordinarily only have time to get through a few, so it was fun to connect with other bloggers I wouldn’t have otherwise.

11:30am:¬†My workout ended up being¬†way¬†sweatier than I was expecting! I started off on the treadmill because my poor little Garmin didn’t want to go outside in the -15 blizzard. I wonder why?! I decided I was in the mood for a short and speedy workout, since I ran 7.0 miles on Monday. I ran for one song at 8mph, one at 7mph, and repeated that until I had run 2.5 miles. I then increased at random intervals until I was sprinting the last 0.1 of my 3.1 miles at a 6:00 pace! (10mph). Ouch. Ordinarily that would have been enough for me, but I will NOT allow strength training to slide while training for this half marathon, so I hopped on over to the weights section to complete an upper body workout.

I ordinarily only do full body circuits when I strength train, but I knew I wanted a workout tomorrow that didn’t involve running, so I opted to save my legs for then! This is one my absolute favourite circuits, and it never fails to leave my arms and abs quivering.

Upper-Body-Core-Strength-Circuit-Workout[source.]

12:30pm: FOOD! After that workout, I was beyond starving. Less than 60 seconds after walking in the door, I was heating up the pan to grill myself a hummus, avocado and turkey sandwich! Yum. Sadly only a tiny bit of the avo was salvageable, but it was delicious nonetheless.

hummus sandwich

The couple of hours after that went by in a bit of a blur. I browsed through Pinterest, typed up some blog ideas, and texted friends! Like I said, I’ve been on a strict time frame¬†forever¬†so I wasn’t remotely concerned about being unproductive.

3:30pm:¬†Time to venture into the world of the living! My mom recently got a Jawbone¬†and has been absolutely raving about it, so we went to get me one as well! I won’t be using it to track my calories, but I’m loving the idea of monitoring my activity and sleep! Although I won’t be actually counting my calories, I think it will be a nice reminder for me of how much I am actually burning, just on the days I need that extra boost to eat a little more. ūüôā

jawboneup24_2-100068976-large

6:00pm: I got home and was frozen to DEATH. Plus starving. So I curled up on the couch with a blanket, food, and Allegiant. What a tough life I lead, hey?

6:30pm: Realize I should probably make myself semi-presentable so as to not scare off the general public.

7:00pm:¬†Movie! I met up with a few friends and we saw American Hustle, which was okay. I’m not a movie person AT ALL, so it’s very rare for me to walk out of one thrilled.

10:30pm: Two words. Fro. Yo.

11:00pm:¬†The five minute walk home in -17C might as well been a 5 mile run considering how long it felt. A steaming hot shower was immediately followed by bed. No staying up past midnight for this girl, even when I don’t have school/work the next day. What can I say, mornings are my favourite time of day and I don’t like to miss them!

I hope that this wasn’t terribly boring! I had big plans to do some recipe creating today but I just couldn’t make myself. Have an amazing day!

What’s your favourite thing to do to relax?

Mornings: Yay or nay? 

What I Ate Wednesday: Treat Yourself!

Hello there!

It’s a great day, today, isn’t it?

Hope-your-having

Scratch that, it’s a FAN-FREAKING TASTIC DAY.

Why, you ask, is today so marvelous? With a low of -24C and winds blowing like no tomorrow you would think that I would be curled up in a ball on my couch today…but that couldn’t be farther from the truth!

Diplomas are over, my friends.

I don’t have to spend three hours writing exams worth half my grade for another 4+ months! That is a cause for celebration in my opinion, so it’s lucky that the WIAW party is ready to celebrate!

Okay, so I realize that was basically THE cheesiest intro in the history of EVER, but I’ve been a ball of stress for three weeks, so cut me some slack, mmkay? Let’s just jump into the WIAW shenanigans before I ramble even more!

Because today was my last exam, I treated myself all. day. long. I threw “rules” about healthy meal components and ate exactly what I was in the mood for. And you had better believe I started with breakfast.

In hindsight, this may not have been the best idea for breakfast, but¬†was it good.¬†I topped vanilla greek yogurt with strawberries, blueberries, and chocolate chips.¬†Swoon.¬†I say it wasn’t super smart because I ended up STARVING during my exam and suffered a major sugar crash later on in the day, but it was 100% worth it.

yogurt2Chocolate at breakfast is always a good idea.

Please forgive me for editing the heck out of my pictures. I am currently fancy camera-less and happen to live in an arctic wasteland where the sun rises at approximately 2pm. And that’s just a slight exaggeration.

Lunch hit. the. spot. This summer (aka 5+ months ago!) I tried a bite of my friends tostie, a Dutch grilled sandwich, and have been dreaming of my own ever since.

tostie

This one had edam cheese, ham and pineapple, and was delicious. I need to start adding fruit to my grilled sandwiches! Beyond genius.

tostie2

It felt¬†so¬†good to 100% satisfy a craving. There was zero guilt felt afterwards, and I proceeded to lay on the couch for most of the afternoon, skipping my workout. It’s been a rough three weeks, girl needs some R&R!

I snacked on some random veggies from the fridge and sipped multiple cups of tea throughout the afternoon Рit may not have been quite as cold yesterday as it is today, but the chill was definitely there! Hot beverages to the rescue. I probably consume upwards of five per day, no exaggeration.

I failed as a blogger for dinner. There were no pictures. I was STARVING! My greatest apologies are extended. It looked scarily similar to this, however.

dinner

Grilled chicken breast, mashed sweet potato and a spinach salad with goat cheese and blueberries! I went back for about 3x that sweet potato. ūüôā

Aaannnnnd, because it is 900% impossible for this girl to go to sleep without eating¬†something¬†after dinner, I finally got around to making Amanda’s pumpkin mug cake for dessert! I am obsessed with her chocolate¬†version, so it was only a matter of time before I tried this one as well! I do not yet possess the skills to take an attractive picture of them, however, so you just have to use your imagination! Or, you know, head on over to Spoons and stare at her jaw-dropping photos. I would go for the latter.

What’s your favourite way to treat yourself?

What NOT To Do While Running

Yesterday was my longest run EVER. I went for 7 beautiful miles! I’m a little shocked, though, that I made it that far alive. We’ve been having a¬†seriously¬†mild winter here (read: 20-30 degrees WARMER than usual), so I think I may have forgotten where I live. I also made a few choice errors that could have set the stage for a horrific run. I did NOT need a repeat of my last run, where I clocked in mile #1 at¬†thirteen¬†minutes. I’m really hoping the GPS was just off…Anywhoville, next time you head out for a run or walk, don’t follow my lead and:

1. Ignore the weather forecast.¬†I¬†did¬†check the weather app on my phone, and was less than delighted to see -15C. However, I saw “sunny” and decided that “it couldn’t really be that cold”. Coming from the girl who has been shivering in 0 degrees this winter, that was not a smart move. My ears froze 0.03 seconds into my run and I ended up running with my hands covering them for a solid 15 minutes before I realized I could pull my headband over them.¬†Classic.¬†My mesh, moisture wicking shirt meant for weather more like +30C was also not the most comfortable attire. Needless to say it was a wonder I was even alive when I got home.

COLD2

I am also quite sure my inability to move made my attempts to get my key out highly entertaining.

COLD

2. Expect people to have eyes in the back of their heads.¬†I always do this! I run up behind people and wonder why they don’t move for me. This makes for extremely awkward swerving between groups of people and lampposts/ice patches/etc. It’s not that hard to say “On your left.” Do it.

tumblr_inline_mig3voOiG81qz4rgp¬†Or you’ll just end up like me.¬†

3. Decide to start “pushing it” before a MASSIVE ice patch.¬†I was around 5.5 miles when I was starting to feel ready to be done. I wasn’t exhausted yet but I was kind of bored and just wanted a hot shower and a big bowl of oatmeal. The faster you run the faster you’re done, right? Well, actually, if you hit the ice the wrong way, crash to the ground and require an ambulance to the emergency room you will not be home for much longer. Luckily that didn’t happen to me (shocker) but I had a very close call! It makes for some awkward stares, too.

oatmealWORTH IT.

BONUS: WHAT TO DO: Grin like a maniac at every runner you see. They will either

a) Smile back

b) Ignore you

c) Turn around immediately and call the police

It’s fun to see what will happen!

What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever done before a run/working out?¬†

The Finest January Finds: Music, Running + More!

I feel like today is going to be a good one. I cannot tell you how long it’s been since I’ve slept until 8am, and I’ve now done that THREE nights in a row. I know exactly why I’ve been able to, though, and I don’t like it. More on that in an upcoming post. ūüėČ

It’s also going to be AMAZING because of the amount of support I got on my last post. I was honestly floored by the comments made and you all have no idea how much it truly means to me.¬†Thank you from the bottom of my heart. ‚̧

As it’s somehow January 27 (anyone want to tell me when September ended?), I realized that I have actually found a TON of great new things this month, and wanted to share them! So, without further ado, here are my¬†January favourites:

Food:

HUMMUS! I have¬†known¬†about hummus forever, of course, but it wasn’t until January that it spiralled into a minor obsession. I put this on¬†everything¬†now. My favourite sandwich as of late is a hummus, avocado, and turkey sandwich – holy yum. The grilled sandwich addiction is going strong, friends.

hummus sandwich

I’ve also been loving hummus and eggs on toast (try it with hard boiled, too!), as well as hummus in tuna salad plus the ever-present veggie-dipper.

eggs + hummus

 

Avocado¬†has also been making its name in the same situations – toast, sandwiches, and tuna salad! I haven’t tried dipping carrots in it yet. Something about putting vegetables IN fruit just sounds a tad off to me. I never really ate avocado before, not because I was scared of the fat, but because I thought it would be a waste – I wouldn’t really be able to taste it and I should have nut butter instead! (Answer: there is always a time for nut butter) However, I couldn’t have been more wrong! It adds such a unique flavour to ANYTHING and makes meals so much more satisfying.

avocado

Now that the warm spell has finally broken (tear), and we’ve gone from this:

IMG_0199

to this:

weather

I’ve been needing something to warm me up, and badly! Organic cocoa powder and Forever Nuts tea by David’s tea have become my new best friends. Any hot drinks, really, but I have found myself drinking multiple (like 5+) cups of those two a day! I have a problem. It’s okay.

Running:

My Garmin! Does that even need to be said? Swoon. 

garminI don’t run with my phone now so I don’t have any other pictures yet. Sorry ūüėČ

Hey Brother by Avicci

music

I found this song on the Winter 2013-2014 workout playlist posted by Housewife Glamour, and I have been loving it! It’s a great change of pace from my usual Eminem/SUPER fast paced music. Lorde’s new album has also been ROCKING!

Reading:

As I have said before, I currently have 5(!) books on the go, but I am BEYOND sucked in to The Cuckoo’s Calling right now. I can literally feel JK Rowling in the writing and every sentence is just so captivating. I’m in love. What better way to put off studying, right? ūüėČ

cuckoo's calling

Life:

It’s no secret on the blog that I am OBSESSED with Jillian Michaels. Some love her, some hate her, but I am definitely a fan. I just love her “no-shit” approach to life and fitness, and find her¬†so¬†inspiring. I’ve been listening to her podcasts before going to sleep lately, and it’s been a fantastic way to end the day in a great frame of mind.

The TV show¬†Samantha Who¬†has been really fun to unwind with at the end of the night as well! 20 minute episodes about an amnesiac make for an enjoyable evening…let’s just leave it at that. ūüôā

Instagram¬†has also been consuming far too much of my time as well! This is my last full day of studying so I don’t even really have an exam anymore, right? (Wrong.) Oops.

instagram-food-pictures-photos-meals-confession-ecards-someecardsGuilty as charged.

Favourite song, movie, or book: GO!

I Will NOT Be Beaten.

Good morning! I have a little bit of a heavier topic on my mind today that could potentially be triggering. If you feel like this could harm you, PLEASE just close this window immediately. I debated whether or not I wanted to post about this, but I ultimately decided that I need to

a) Stop denying the truth and

b) Keep my blog honest

So, that being said, let’s just cut to the chase. I’ve been struggling lately. With eating. I have been denying this for as long as it has been happening, both in my life and on the blog. I haven’t intentionally tried to play up a false image or pretend that I wasn’t struggling. I just hadn’t admitted it to myself.

When I was at my worst with food, it was a total control issue. Yes, I wanted to lose weight, but it was primarily not knowing what was in my food that gave me the most anxiety, not necessarily the amount of it. And with all of the exam and life related stress I’ve been dealing with lately, I’ve found myself resorting to some of my old coping mechanisms (read: weighing peanut butter, “Do I really need this snack?”, etc.)

yogurtI wish I couldn’t tell you the exact amount of every single thing in this picture.¬†

For example, yesterday I was hungry when I got home from my biology exam at 12pm, but I tried to put off eating lunch until 2pm because that is my “acceptable” time to eat on Thursdays. ¬†I don’t like eating a snack at work (we’re usually really busy and I get self-conscious eating in front of people) and don’t get home for dinner until around 7pm, so I put off lunch as late as possible to avoid hunger. I know that it doesn’t make sense and I have zero problem with eating (pretty hefty) afternoon snacks all other days, so I don’t know why it bothers me so much on Thursdays.

cucumbersNOT a snack.

I cannot let this continue. I just registered for my half marathon, and will be burning a TON of energy in the upcoming months. There is no way that I will allow myself to lose more weight and/or get another injury because I was being stupid with my eating habits.

tumblr_mzbd2xQUgZ1sf5q9yo3_400This was me less than one month ago! And it will be again. 

I know what the answer is. I have to suck it up, put the scale away, and not care if I have 1.3 tbsp of almond butter instead of 1. I need to realize that just because I whip out a granola bar at work does not mean everyone is suddenly going to stop everything that they are doing and judge me. All in all, I need to get with the program.

This applies to exercise too. Though I did have a hard time with lunch yesterday, I chose not to go for a run. I had intended on it, but I was tired from my exams, I had exercised Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday already, and my shin splints were acting up. I could have ignored those signs, but instead I cancelled my run, and promptly laid on my bed reading blogs before doing some serious foam rolling.

frantically-rushing-home-relax-friendship-ecard-someecards

I want the experience of training for my half marathon to be FUN! I don’t want to feel pressured to run all the time, and I¬†especially¬†do not want to lose the muscle I have worked so hard to put on this month. <– Seeing arm definition is a fun feeling! ¬†I may be battling some old demons again, but I will NOT be beaten.

Thinking Out Loud: A Million Things To Celebrate!

How’s that for the cheesiest title of all time?

It’s okay, though, because yesterday morning just happened to be one of the best mornings of my life. Which is why I am linking up with Thinking Out Loud today, so that I can share all of the unrelated awesomeness that is currently in my life!

Thinking-Out-Loud

GUESS. WHAT. I. DID. ?!

1. I registered for a half marathon!

calgary marathon

I am sort of in shock that I actually did it…I have been planning on this race for several months now but always had some reason to put off registering. Then I realized how ridiculous I was being, bit the bullet, and signed myself up to run 13.1 miles!

Sooner or later I will realize the immensity of what I’ve done and freak out. But I’m sort of still on a high from the fact that…

garmin

2. I bought a Garmin! I could NOT be more excited. I took her out for a spin less than 24 hours after I got it. It would have been sooner, but you know, that thing called life kinda gets in the way. <Рwhat a jerk!

I absolutely loved my run. It was beyond amazing not to have to hold my phone and unlock it every time I wanted to check my pace/time. Although, I probably looked at my watch less than four times for the entire 5 miles! I will not be a Garmin slave. I will not be a Garmin slave. I will not be a Garmin slave.

Annnnnnd, guess what else?

toronto university

3.¬†I applied to my dream school! The University of Toronto has the¬†perfect¬†program for me: Professional Writing & Communications. I want to do some type of writing or work in publishing, so this is an ideal degree for me. Not to mention the fact that the campus is STUNNING. Now it’s just the waiting game – I can last until April…maybe.

4. I have put ZERO thought into my grad dress.¬†Speaking of university, there’s this little thing called graduating high school that usually comes before it…A TON of girls got their dresses in SEPTEMBER. But me? Weeellll, I’m just gunning to actually have one by May 23/24.

nina

 

5. I need hand cream. STAT. And not the Bath & Body Works hand cream. Something that will actually make a difference in eliminating the dragon scales that have formed on my hands. They have been SO beyond dry lately, to the point where they basically bleed if you touch me.

6. I love being Canadian.¬†If the absolutely stunning whether we’ve been having lately wasn’t enough of a reason, Canada now has a better economy than the United States! According to the HuffingtonPost, we are the second best country in the world to do business in, second only to Hong Kong. I’m not trying to make any of my Southern friends feel bad – it’s just fun to sometimes get a leg up on you since you seem to dominate everything else!

Canada-1Nope…I definitely do not hate living within driving distance of this beauty.

I used to be really annoyed by the fact that I lived in Canada and not somewhere exotic like Paris or exciting like New York City. And while I would still absolutely love to travel around the world, I think I am quite happy in what feels like my own little corner of the world.

Happy Thursday!