Archive | December, 2012

Fun Food and Workout Tips

30 Dec

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Hello!

It’s the Italian flag! A total coincidence that made a simple lunch even more delicious.

In two days it will be January first and our plans for the new year involve going to Toronto with some friends to celebrate. As we sat trying to decide what to bake for the new year we were kind of stumped actually. What seems to be a New Year’s treat (other then alcohol of course ;)?

Months and moons ago we had written a post about our June goals. Running was the main goal that month and we’re glad to report that we were extremely successful with that one. We had gone on lovely morning runs twice a week. We can be quite dedicated when we set our minds to it. However, when the summer seemed to get busier our fitness goals fell by the wayside, a completely natural effect. However, it’s January and we do have some fitness goals that we would like to renew. Denise wants to get back into the gym more regularly, so does Laura, who also wants to renew her love for yoga with a little more dedication this year. How do we plan to make this happen you may ask?

Well, our plan goes as follows:

1. Always schedule in gym time (ALWAYS). Otherwise it becomes too easier to skip

2. Work out with a buddy (We share a room, when the alarm goes off in the morning we both know we have to get up, especially if its a gym day).

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3. Love your workouts. It’s simple, if you hate it you won’t want to do it.

4. Workout close to where you live. Fortunately, we have a gym a few floors down of our apartment, which makes for a ridiculously easy “commute” to the gym.

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5. Spend some time outdoors. Fresh air invigorates and energizes, a few moments outsides wakes ya up and gets you moving.

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6. Never workout hungry. Nothing like feeling hungry and sluggish to ruin a workout!

7. Get motivated. Sometimes all you need is to pump yourself up a bit and channel that awesome feeling you get after a good workout.

8. Rest. Necessary for muscle repair and sanity.

Obviously, we are not professionals in this field but we are smart when it comes to working out. Clearly, we love to bake and experiment in the kitchen but that is only a small part of our healthy lifestyles. Baking brings us joy and so does maintaining a balanced lifestyle in general. We truly believe that exercise important to our studies and definitely worth our time. We’ll talk more about out specific goals soon too. And maybe a bit about what we are studying in school even because what we are studying largely shapes how we approach our lifestyle choices. We’re kind of nerds because we LOVE what we learn so much.

To end this kind of random post with something baked…

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Cupcakes that we made YEARS ago when we started to really enjoy baking together. It works, Denise knows how to actually bake things and Laura likes to take pictures and write about them. Tag teaming it all the way.

Anyway, until next time!

Denise and Laura

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Reflecting over Fresh Bread

28 Dec

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Home baked bread is just one of those luxuries that we cannot get enough of. 

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Which got us thinking a bit. How is it that making things from scratch has become an anomaly by today’s standards? As people become busier making quality food has drops on the general list of importance. Yet, it is something that is so important to our health and our sanity. This home baked bread contains only a tea spoon of sugar and a table spoon of salt. It is made with fresh herbs, not dried, and fresh ground parmesan cheese. It is soft, chewy, and delicious. Just like a home-baked chocolate chip cookie is in comparison to the conventional store bought brands. There really is no comparison though between fresh baked bread and store bought breads. Although, having freshly baked bread is a luxury for us. For most of the year we eat the store bought frozen variety, as it makes for simple sandwiches during our busy school days. Oftentimes, we do opt for the healthier multi-grain and sprouted versions but ultimately these simply do not compare to the warm bread produced from our bread maker. 

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This is not a rant against the conventional brands but more of a reflection on how we value food production. Perhaps even just a few decades ago freshly baked bread was a staple and common in the majority of Canadian homes. Today, in our lives anyway, it has become a treat. More so, how we value these home baked goods reflect how we value the use of our time. Is it a waste to spend time baking and cooking for hours? Is it productive? Does it produce a valuable source of income? Is it pleasurable? These questions are important to ask ourselves because they reveal how we structure our time and what we value in our day to day lives. As well, we think it is important to spend time thinking about where get our foods and their quality. Eating junk and low quality or fast foods may be a reflection of how we view ourselves, how we value our body and our health. 

Anyway, New Year’s is just around the corner and soon we will be entering a new year so of course we are being a little more reflective. It is a time that calls for reflection and re-evaluation afterall. This year we hope to pay more attention to our food, where we buy our ingredients from (perhaps smaller businesses, local, organic), what we bake, and the impact our food choices have on the environment and ourselves. It should provide for some interesting conclusions.  

However, on another note. Laura’s mom picked up this treat from a local chocolate shop:

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Rosemary chocolate is something we had never come across before but it was very good! Flavoured chocolate doesn’t spark our tastes too much but perhaps we should give it more of a chance. 

On another random note, it still looks like this outside:

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Ah winter. Beautiful. 

What is your opinion on food production today? How do you value baking and cooking? Is it a priority or a luxury in your life? Is there anything you want to change this coming new year? Please share! 

Until next time,

Denise and Laura 

After Christmas

27 Dec

Hi there!

We didn’t get much snow for Christmas this year but boy were we surprised on Boxing day! 

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There’s nothing like cuddling up on Boxing day evening with a snowstorm outside while watching season two of the Walking Dead (for the second time of course). The holidays are good my friends. 

As for our baking, it was quite successful. Of course we were not the only bakers bringing delicious treats to our friends and family this holiday season, which meant that we were inevitably left with tons of goodies leftover. 

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I would love to make this mix (given to the family as a present):

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But I fear it is too soon…there is only so much baked goods my family can handle right now. 

This afternoon we have plans to visit a fun tea shop for some loose leaf tea and quality coffee. As a huge coffee lover I think that some coffee induced recipes should appear on this blog. Chocolate is great but I think we’ve had enough for a little while…until January at least. 

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Well, were off to enjoy more of our break! 

Peace,

Denise and Laura  

A Chilly Eve

24 Dec

Good Morning All,

It’s a cold and gloomy day without a speck of snow in the air on this Christmas Eve.

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There may not be any snow but there sure is a lot of ice. 

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That’s alright though because we have bark to warm our spirits.

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And biscotti too.

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The holidays certainly tend to sneak up on us and before we know even realize it’s Christmas Eve. Baking desserts always helps us to get more into the Christmas spirit and sharing them with our appreciative family is a great incentive too.

The bark was very, very easy to make. We melted chocolate covered almonds and more chocolate, then sprinkled it with cranberries and sprinkles, and then refrigerated it. Easy. We found that preparing bark is a nice addition to any dessert. 

Maybe there will be a snowfall tonight? We shall see!

Peace,

Denise and Laura 

A Cake!

23 Dec

ImageHi everyone,

So we made a cake! This is a BIG accomplishment for us. I mean no doubt we had some minor issues…as in half the cake did not come out of the pan at first so we had to patch it on top and just spread a whole lotta icing all over it. But that’s just minor details right? It looks okay! 

Sure, we made a few mistakes but we learned a lot in this process. Patching a cake together is not easy let me tell you 😉 

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Yet, in the end this cake turned out just lovely. We plan to take it to our big Christmas eve family dinner tomorrow night and know that our family will enjoy it. Sprinkling a cake with crushed candy canes is one of those little tricks that make a cake seem more festive and unique. Regarding the cake proponent, we used a simple chocolate cake recipe and ended up having to double the batch. It was simple and full of chocolate (clearly, a recipe designed for us).

Along with this very decedent cake, we make chocolate bark, our gluten-free brownies, and our pistachio biscotti. 

Anyway, our bark experience was quite adventurous as well… as much as making bark can be considered adventurous! 

If we don’t have a chance to check in tomorrow to share our bark recipe, we wish everyone reading a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! Happy Holidays! 

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 Peace, 

Denise and Laura 

 

Coming Soon!

20 Dec

Hi all!

We have been gone far too long! Our absence was due to the increase of hours in our summer jobs and then the dawn of a new school year, which required a rather time consuming move. Unfortunately, all these changes left us less then inspired in the baking department. However, this is about to change because the Christmas season just begs for baking. We have some big plans coming up, including making our very first cake! Things may get a little messy over here. 

Regarding blogging in the upcoming year we do hope to post semi-regularity. Hopefully we can maintain this rather hefty goal (we are students afterall). Wish us luck though! 

Christmas goodies to come very soon!

Peace,

Laura and Denise