Stretching Saturday

I can’t believe how lazy I have been!

Reading:

I finished my latest book, Take a Hint Dani Brown by Thalia Hibbert. I find her books start off oddly, but end wonderful sweetly. I enjoyed the book and if you’re looking for fluff it’s a great option.

Shopping:

I grabbed milk and later in the day I picked up my new trails and road running shoes. It was an expensive day!

Family:

I got a text from my nephew asking me to see his name on his jersey so I did go over and pick it up.

Knitting:

I am trying to get a toque done for a friend’s birthday by Thursday so I started today. I got it almost completely done when I realized it was going to be big and I was going to run out of yarn, so I have ripped it out and will start again.

Exercise:

Thought about running because I didn’t hurt, but decided a day of rest wasn’t a bad thing. I did do a ten minute cardio and core workout from a NourishMoveLove and started her HIIT AMRAP workout, but didn’t get to finish it.

Have ten weeks today until my birthday and would like to feel more in shape by then so I’d better pull up my socks with my eating and exercise!

Baking:

Last year I had done some of the Sally’s Baking Challenges and this year, Abbey and Kathy and I decided to all do them.

This month the challenge was a cinnamon swirl quick bread. I actually made it earlier in the month and found it quite easy to make. I used Bob’s Redmill all purpose gluten free flour, Earth’s Own Unsweetened vanilla oat milk and Earth Balance vegan buttery spread. Otherwise I followed the recipe exactly.

I would not put the topping of cinnamon sugar on as thickly as they call for in the recipe again as I found it just brushed off, and I may add raisins if I make it again, but otherwise I was happy with the recipe.

I took it to work to share with friends and two of them loved it, but unfortunately I dropped it on the floor before anyone else got to enjoy it:(

Well I think that’s my day in a nutshell.

Have fun!

AJ

Stretching My Skills with Sally and an Asian Slaw

My weekends are not super exciting, but I kind of like life like that!

Exercise:

My hip has been really bugging me since Friday so I have spent lots of time rolling and stretching this weekend. Saturday I fit in an upper body weights workout and on Sunday I had a run with Sarah and Dennis and got in 8.26km. I’m not really sure how to fix this hip if the stretching, rolling and more rest than usual, doesn’t, so let’s hope it does!

Knitting:

I have been plugging away on my Weekender sweater and have gotten to the shoulder shaping. I’m leaving that for tomorrow when I’m fresh though. I have come to accept that the boxy style probably isn’t the best for me and so this will be a comfy, cosy, home sweater most likely. I love the colour enough to enjoy it.

Reading:

I decided that at night I would read real books so that I wouldn’t be looking at a screen and it would also get me through the pile of books that have accumulated in my house. Well, I started The Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber on Friday night and then spent lots of Saturday finishing it. I found the second book in the trilogy on the library app and so have spent a lot of Sunday reading it.🤣. If you like a sweet book about women’s relationships this would be a good trilogy for you.

Baking:

Last year I had done some of the Sally’s Baking Challenges and this year, Abbey and Kathy and I decided to all do them. I’m sorry I was supposed to post about this yesterday.

This month the challenge was breakfast pastries which to Sally, means danishes. I made mine up on Thursday when I had an unexpected day at home.

For this recipe I only had to use gluten free flour and Earth Balance vegan butter to make it safe for me. When I made up the dough it looked dreadful as it was more batter than dough. However, after its first time out in the fridge, it behaved quite well. The danishes were pretty easy to make, however, my yeast was old so they didn’t rise much, which allowed the filling to escape and went everywhere.

I tried one lemon and one raspberry and gave all the rest away. The feedback was that the raspberry was better than the lemon and that they were quite heavy and rich.

I may try them again with new yeast and see how it goes.

Cooking:

Yesterday I made up my chore schedule so I can get back to having a clean and tidy house. I have been spectacularly bad at this all summer. Well, sunday is grocery shopping and meal prep. I had decided while at my parents that I wanted to work my way through this salad site I had found. I am actually following through and made the first salad today.

It is an Asian Summer Slaw from Love and Lemons. I picked up the ingredients this morning at the grocery store and it cost about $20 for the ingredients I needed. I have to admit I cheated and got a bag of coleslaw mix as I didn’t want to have cabbage hanging around all week. The recipe went together quite quickly and was super yummy! I think I will make this again, actually I’ll have to as I now have a large container of miso paste.

I added chicken on top of mine and cut up the peaches into the salad so it could just be ready to eat all week.

I will warn you that if you don’t like cilantro- this is not the recipe for you. However, I loved that it used a large amount of the cilantro bunch I bought and all of the basil! It drives me crazy when I have bits of these leftover!

Home:

I have been quite productive for a change. I got plants bought and put into the containers on my deck. Now I should have some nice fall colour:)

I got a schedule of chores made up and posted on the fridge. I have chosen one job to do each week so that hopefully my house will stay clean.

I got my shredder set up so that I can deal with the mail immediately. I also got through all the paper on my counter and dealt with it. Wow I have so much more counter space!

I finally got my medical claim done. Now I just have to wait and see if they send me money.

Well that’s it for me. Oh and I’m trying a new type of title to see if I can find things in my blog better.

Have fun!

AJ

Stretching My Skills with Sally

Well it was a busy day that unfortunately included a dud.

Exercise:

I had my day planned out and knew I had to get my run in early if it was going to get done, especially with the heat. I got a lovely 5.5km to the mill and back.

This afternoon I did some weights. 36 each of: bent over rows, banded front raises, bicep curls, overhead tricep extension, pullovers, chest press, shoulder press, plank, crunches, bicycle crunches, reverse crunch with a toe tap, Russian twists, scissor legs, heel touches, squats, curtsy lunge, plié squat, adductors, calf raises, banded side shuffle, and hip bridges.

I’m sure there’s muscle under the heat wave bloat!

Baking:

Last Saturday I was supposed to share my July baking challenge, but I was waiting until I had somewhere to take the cake so that I didn’t eat it all.

Today I grabbed ingredients at the grocery store and got to work early before it got even hotter. I had decided to do lemon cupcakes with cream and blueberries. I decided on the cupcakes so that it would make it easier to divide up, during this time of Covid when no one is supposed to share food.

The cupcakes were quick and easy. I only had to change the butter to vegan butter spread and the milk to oat milk for these. They didn’t rise much, but they had a great lemon taste.

I had decided to use coco whip as my cream because dairy free whipping cream uses full fat coconut milk which is often too rich for me and the light doesn’t turn into whipping cream.

I got the cupcakes, the whip and the blueberries out to start the process, only to learn that coco whip doesn’t like 33 degree weather.

It was a disaster!! The coco whip slid right off the cupcake and took the blueberries with it.

I ended up not taking these anywhere and scraped the remaining coco whip off and froze the cupcakes.

Make sure you check out Abbey (Three Cats and a Girl) and Kathy (Sewing etc) to see how their baking challenge went. I’m sure better than mine!

Socializing:

I met up with my friend Anna and her two sons at a local park and were lucky enough to have it pretty much to ourselves. The distancing was a little tough but we did our best and avoided direct contact. It was awesome to see them as I haven’t since February!

I then grabbed Gus and we went to have ice cream. It was a quick trip as he had plans to go fishing with a fiend so I dropped him off on my way home. I’m happy with even a short Gus fix:)

Knitting:

After a 2.5 hour nap, I spent some time getting a few pattern repeats on the shawl done and a couple of rows towards the 3″ of knitting stockinette in the round I have to do for the sweater.

That isn’t day!

Have fun!

AJ

Stretching My Skills with Sally

Last year I tried a few of Sally’s Baking Challenge items and quite enjoyed the challenge of trying new things. Most of the people in my life asked why I was doing this, thankfully there are people like Abbey! I was talking with Abbey of Three Cats and a Girl and we decided to both try these challenges and then link up to talk about our results, so please check out her attempts too. I was really interested in doing this because I knew she would be doing the recipes as called for while I would need to convert them to gluten free and dairy free. I should say that I change as little as possible and just sub in gf and df ingredients to see if the recipe will still work.

It is so cool that when Kathy read about Abbey’s and my challenge she decided to join us so make sure you go read about her baking adventures! They always look professional and yummy!

The June baking challenge was for ice cream sandwiches. Now I love creamy deserts so this sounded really good even if it had chocolate in it.

I knew this weekend would be busy so last weekend I whipped up the brownies. Just like Abbey, I had to cook mine longer and they still were a little gooey in a few places. I was just hoping the freezing would help. The only difference in my brownies was that I used Bob’s Redmill 1-1 Flour and Earth Balance vegan Buttery Spread. The brownies were easy to make and I had no trouble spreading them like Sally did.

The most difficult part of this recipe was finding enough dairy free ice cream without going broke. Now o don’t keep ice cream in the house and usually just go to the local ice cream parlour when I have a craving, so when I looked in the frozen foods section it was a shock! The cheapest option was fourteen dollars and it only went up from there! There was no way I was spending fourteen dollars on ice cream for a recipe when I had already had to buy sugar, cocoa and pans! I checked out three different grocery stores and finally found some Breyers Dairy free that was an acceptable cost, though it was vanilla with peanut butter ripples. I thought it would be okay as peanut butter and chocolate go together.

I smooshed the ice cream onto the bottom brownie, though I really should have let it sit out longer first, and then topped it with the top brownie and popped it into the freezer overnight.

This is what came out of the freezer. I took these to work for my crew of friends there and they inhaled them. One friend did say they were very rich, but everyone raves about them and they were easy to make. I would count this baking challenge as a success.

Now for my Saturday:

Exercise:

I wanted to start out my holiday on a good note. I stepped on the scale to face reality and then headed out for a run with Sarah. We were running Hyde Creek again (where we ran into the bear last week), but decided to do the other side of the river. We were going along great until 2.44 when Kula, the dog, went crazy. We couldn’t see the bear, but decided to just turn around and tack on at the end. It turned out to be a slow but nice run:)

House:

I have spent most of the day doing the last of the laundry and packing. I have packed way too much and still think I’m missing some key things- like shorts! Oh well, my dad always said to pack half the stuff and double the money and thankfully I’m going somewhere with stores and laundry this year.

I did take a little time out and walked over for an ice cream. I’m really going to miss my ice cream treats while I’m away. I got ice cream two days in a row because I couldn’t figure out how to take some with me.

It was a lovely treat to sit on this rock and enjoy the ice cream in the sunshine. Callie was so sweet to give me a little taster of some of the other vegan kinds on top of my raspberry pistachio.

Reading:

I have started a new book today called Beach Read by Emily Henry. This book was recommended to me by Mildly Granola. I’ve only hit chapter four, but so far I am really enjoying it!

Well I’d better go get my garbage and recycling out since I’m being picked up very early tomorrow.

Have fun!

AJ

Stretching Our Skills with Sally

Baking (Stretching My Skills with Sally):

Last year I tried a few of Sally’s Baking Challenge items and quite enjoyed the challenge of trying new things. Most of the people in my life asked why I was doing this, thankfully there are people like Abbey! I was talking with Abbey of Three Cats and a Girl and we decided to both try these challenges and then link up to talk about our results, so please check out her attempts too. I was really interested in doing this because I knew she would be doing the recipes as called for while I would need to convert them to gluten free and dairy free. I should say that I change as little as possible and just sub in gf and df ingredients to see if the recipe will still work.

For May the challenge was mini fruit galettes. I have been trying to only bake when I have somewhere to take the results and thankfully earlier this month I had an outdoor social that was the perfect event.

The recipe was a simple crust recipe that I subbed Bob’s redmill All Purpose Gluten Free flour and Earth Balance Vegan Butter. The fruit, sugar and cornstarch filling was fine as called for. I found the recipe very quick to put together.

The one thing I found was that my filling leaked and burned which I peeled it off, but didn’t like the little remainder it left.

It is so cool that when Kathy read about Abbey’s and my challenge she decided to join us so make sure you go read about her mini fruit galettes too:) She posted them last Saturday and they look amazing!

Thanks Abbey and Kathy for taking on this challenge with me:)

Knitting:

First thing this morning I got a couple of pattern repeats done on my current toque. I only have three repeats left so I will hopefully be done this week!

Family:

It was a great day as I spent it with my mom. We didn’t do anything exciting. I made my duvet cover smaller by sewing up two of the sides. I am much happier with it now. We also started the puzzle we had bought for Christmas. It is much more difficult than we thought it would be! We also watched some Hallmark movies. I would like to think these easy, quiet days are good for my mom as she has done nothing but work for the past year!

Well I have a run in the morning!

Have fun!

AJ

Stretching My Skills With Sally

Baking (Stretching My Skills with Sally):

Last year I tried a few of Sally’s Baking Challenge items and quite enjoyed the challenge of trying new things. Most of the people in my life asked why I was doing this, thankfully there are people like Abbey! I was talking with Abbey of Three Cats and a Girl and we decided to both try these challenges and then link up to talk about our results, so please check out her attempts too. I was really interested in doing this because I knew she would be doing the recipes as called for while I would need to convert them to gluten free and dairy free. I should say that I change as little as possible and just sub in gf and df ingredients to see if the recipe will still work.

For March the challenge was crepes!

I have never made crepes before and I was a little nervous as they seem so fancy!

With the situation we are in, I hit WiFi and took pictures of the recipe, but didn’t get to watch any of Sally’s videos so that probably would have made a big difference! I found the recipe simple and easy to follow and I liked how it could chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or up to a day. I made the batter in the morning but then had the crepes for lunch.

My batter used Bob’s Redmill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour, Earth Balance vegan butter, and Earth’s Own Oat milk that was unsweetened vanilla. Everything else was just normal ingredients.

My batter made six crepes and boy did I learn a lot between the first and the last. I started with a pan that was way too big so after the first crepe I switched to a smaller pan. After the fourth I realized it worked better to just pour the batter into the very centre and let it spread by itself. On the sixth crepe I figured out the crepe didn’t have to be the size of the pan.

Mine are probably more brown than they’re supposed to be, but they still tasted good!

I had no idea what you put in a crepe as I’ve never actually ordered crepes before so I did one with herb cream cheese, one with peanut butter and one with cream cheese and jam. I think my favourite was the cream cheese and jam.

One thing I definitely learned is that crepes are not a diet food! The batter isn’t bad, but the amount of butter in the pan is crazy!

It is so cool that when Kathy read about Abbey’s and my challenge she decided to join us so make sure you go read about her crepe adventures too:)

Thanks Abbey and Kathy for taking on this challenge with me:)

I obviously wasn’t finished on the kitchen after the crepes because I also made hearty beer bread from my book, The Allergy Free Cook Bakes Bread. I used ginger ale instead of beer and it turned out great! I think I will make more tomorrow to use up more of the ginger ale, but I’ll know to only leave it in for the lesser time.

Exercise:

I forced myself not to run today and to do yoga instead. I spent about a half hour this afternoon and did feel as though I was stretching some muscles out. I know I need to do more of this right now since I can’t go for massages, but it’s really tough to not run since I don’t seem to be racking up the mileage very quickly this year:(

Knitting:

The whole rest of the day was spent knitting. I was very determined to finish my newest sweater and I did!

I did the Love Note sweater by Tin Can Knits. I had bought the pattern at Knit City last year. I love Tin Can Knits patterns because they come sized from newborn to extra large in one pattern.

This sweater is done in Ancient Arts superwash Blue Faced Leicester in Water Lily Blue and Georges Picaud Tricheuse. I quickly learned that my mohair was obviously not lace weight as it’s much thicker than the pattern pictures, but I was determined to finish this sweater because I loved the colour it was coming out! I had to switch mohair halfway through but I can’t even tell where I did it so I’m happy. The modifications I made were to do short sleeves and I didn’t do the high low hem. I just knit until I was almost out of yarn and then did the ribbing. The sweater only took two days with this thicker yarn, but I still want to make a finer gauge one too!

It’s back to the meditate cowl for me now.

I finished the evening off with a zoom conversation with my friends from work. Boy did two hours go quickly!!

Well I have a run in the morning so I’m off to bed.

Have fun!

AJ

Stretching My Skills with Sally

I had another AJ day and it was as wonderful as ever. My only problem is definitely a first world problem!

Exercise:

I yet again couldn’t sleep in, so I was up in plenty of time for my run with Dennis. He picked me up and we went to Burnaby Lake Park with the plan to run the end of the Central Valley Greenway which runs from the lake to a very busy road. This bike path does carry on, but only on roads so I vetoed going further.

I had warned Dennis this morning that I wouldn’t be able to run fast as I was concentrating on weight loss right now (read being very careful with my calories) and I had heard on a podcast that if you’re concentrating on weight loss you can’t expect speed.

Well my run started slowly, but then the next four kilometers were all very close to 6:00 kilometers. At the end, I was five seconds off of my fastest five km ever and boy was I kicking myself for that slow start.

This path would be a great place to try for a 5km record as it’s 2.48km out and it is about as flat as it gets around here.

This evening I also did 28 minutes of yoga. When I was at the library I took pictures of a yoga sequence in a magazine and decided to try it out as I know I need to do more stretching. The sequence was okay, but I ended up adding a whole bunch of other moves to it. I really need to sit down and make a list of yoga moves as when I’m doing them, I can’t think of any!

Reading:

I hit the library to return a book today and though I was not supposed to get any more books, I of course came home with four more. I plan to go curl up in bed and read as soon as I get this post up!

Cooking:

I knew I had no choice but to get at least one of my Fresh Prep meals cooked up today. I decided on the Veggie Machine Tahini Bowl. This recipe said it would take 25 minutes, however it took me 40 minutes. You start by roasting sweet potato and chickpeas and cooking rice. You then marinate kale and red cabbage and make a tahini dressing. You layer these ingredients and top with cilantro and avocado.

There was nothing difficult about this recipe and it did have a good kick of spice to it. Fresh Prep did forget to include the rice spice, but they have given me a credit for it, so that was kind of them and I didn’t notice it’s absence. I would definitely get this one again, but also feel that it would be quite easy to alter at home according to personal taste.

Baking (Stretching My Skills with Sally):

Last year I tried a few of Sally’s Baking Challenge items and quite enjoyed the challenge of trying new things. Most of the people in my life asked why I was doing this, thankfully there are people like Abbey! I was talking with Abbey of Three Cats and a Girl and we decided to both try these challenges and then link up to talk about our results, so please check out her attempts too. I was really interested in doing this because I knew she would be doing the recipes as called for while I would need to convert them to gluten free and dairy free. I should say that I change as little as possible and just sub in gf and df ingredients to see if the recipe will still work.

For February, the challenge was Perfect Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting. I have to admit that I had no idea what this frosting was as I hadn’t heard of it. After making it, it reminds me of the frosting on a DQ ice cream cake and that used to be one of my favourite parts of that cake, so I’m glad I made it.

The recipe only takes five ingredients- egg whites, sugar, butter, vanilla and salt. I was doing really well with the egg whites and sugar and I did get stiff peaks, however, once I added the butter and vanilla, my frosting was quite runny. I put it in the fridge like Sally suggests for this problem, but it never recovered.

The recipe didn’t seem super tough, but maybe I shouldn’t say that as I wasn’t particularly successful. One thing I would say about this recipe- I wouldn’t attempt it without a really good stand mixer!!!

These are my poor cupcakes which I will force upon my running buddies tomorrow.

Thanks Abbey for taking on this challenge with me:)

Knitting:

All the rest of my day has been taken up with knitting (oh and a little stitching so I have something to show for the SAL next week).

I seem to be averaging a Hat a day, so today’s hat is he Kitimat – another free pattern on Ravelry. This is actually named after the city North of me by many hours. The pattern page shows it in gray and white which I loved, but I also really liked it in my purple and white worsted weight. The pattern was really simple to follow, though I did find it a bit long. I also learned that I may use my Michael’s gift card for a Pom Pom market!

Finally I also made another small headband which got me to my stash goal. Every skein used now is just gravy!

That is my big problem- I want to make a sweater, but there are so many I want to make that I just can’t decide. It has gone past fun to debilitating. I am wondering how everyone else chooses what they are going to knit next?????

Well my books are calling me… right

Have fun!

AJ

No Plans Changed

Yesterday morning when I was with Lyndsay, she asked what I was doing this weekend and all I had planned was a run on each morning. Well that sure changed…

Exercise:

I slept in this morning and then had to rush to be ready for my run with Dennis. It was pouring out again so it was a good thing that I was meeting him. We ended up doing 6.52km. It felt fast and when we were on the way back I looked at my watch and saw it was at 4.67km and I could possibly set a new PR for 5km, so I tried to step up the pace. It worked! My old PR was 31:45 and now I’m at 31:18. My goal is 30 minutes (fast for me but slow for everyone else). I was very happy to be finished and change into dry clothes!

Socializing:

I met up with Dennis and his wife Martha for coffee and couldn’t believe how loud and noisy Starbucks was!

Later in the afternoon, Michelle who is Life of a Canadian Girl texted to see if I wanted to go for coffee. She asked if I had anywhere new on my radar and I told her the o my two I had were about an hour away. She had nothing else going on, so agreed to try one out. (Yes she just shot to friend #1!).

We headed out to The Polly Fox. It was a very cute spot- white furniture, exposed brick wall, and natural wood tables. The small fridge case was slightly bare as we were there later in the day, but it all looked very yummy! They also had a full blackboard of drinks ( including four non dairy alternative milk), and two page breakfast and lunch menu. I got a chai latte and a cinnamon bun to eat and they were both wonderful. It took me a few mouthfuls to identify that the strong flavour in the cinnamon bun was coconut, but it was definitely not a deterrent. Michelle had a London fog and a vegan cashew bar that she finished and said was good.

What I enjoyed most about this cafe and bakery was that it was quiet and the tables were spread out so you didn’t have to eavesdrop. It was a lovely change from Starbucks!

Baking (Stretching My Skills with Sally):

Last year I tried a few of Sally’s Baking Challenge items and quite enjoyed the challenge of trying new things. I was talking with Abbey of Three Cats and a Girl and we decided to both try these challenges and then link up to talk about our results, so please check out her attempts too. I was really interested in doing this because I knew she would be doing the recipes as called for while I would need to convert them to gluten free and dairy free. I should say that I change as little as possible and just sub in gf and df ingredients to see if the recipe will still work.

For January the challenge was artisan bread. It was a very simple recipe of flour, salt, yeast and cool water that was left to rise for two- three hours and then you were encouraged to leave it for up to three days to build air bubbles in it.

I actually ended up making this recipe twice. I made it on Monday night and couldn’t leave it any longer than the two hours. I liked how this bread looked as it was a lovely browned dome, but unfortunately it didn’t rise a lot and it ended up being undervalued:(. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of this one, but I cut off a thin slice from all four sides and then threw the rest away.

On Thursday night this week, I gave the recipe a second try. I had made the dough, using Bob’s Redmill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour (the recipe calls for bread flour but I don’t know if any gf bread flour) on Wednesday night and after leaving it to rise for the full three hours, I covered it and put it in the fridge. I have to admit that once again, it didn’t rise much in those three hours. On Thursday, I shapes it into two long loaves and then baked it. They only took about 18 minutes to cook rather than the 20-25. This time they were fully cooked, but it was a very hard and chewy bread. I ate all of it because even bad homemade bread is better than store bought, but I don’t think this is a recipe I will come back to again.

Thanks Abbey for taking on this challenge with me:)

I’m so grateful that my boring day at home turned into a fun day out with a friend:)

Have fun!

AJ