Author: Queen City Girl

WAKE UP TO A BREAKFAST ALREADY MADE

Dear Fancy Lacy Community,

On Sunday night I was in my pre-bedtime web-surfing routine when a post from the Super Healthy Kids showed up on my Facebook newsfeed. FIY, I’ve been sourcing my most fabulous recipes from their website, so if you’re a foodie like myself, you have to subscribe to the SHK.

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Anyway, back to Sunday night. I’ve been meal planning for a while so I had a breakfast solution for the next few mornings yet somehow I felt uninspired. But, along came the new post from the Super Healthy Kids, and seconds later my kitchen light was on as I prepared to test yet another one of their brilliant meal ideas. This time, I was in for a whole new oatmeal experience.

Yes, I’ve been having oats for breakfast for years, so there’s nothing special or new in that. Recently though I’ve started using steel-cut oats which are less processed hence better for you than the old-fashioned or rolled oats. But even that is not the most spectacular part of this new oatmeal fix. I had always had to make breakfast in the morning – even if I did some prep work the night before. What blew me away in this recipe is that my breakfast was going to cook itself while I was sleeping. Literally! All I had to do was throw and mix the ingredients in the slow cooker, set it on low, head to bed, and wake up to a homey smell of baked apples and cinnamon. Not only did it smell great, it tasted even better. The porridge was creamy yet retained the distinct texture of steel-cut oats. As I sat down to savour my porridge, all I added to it was some nuts and a spoonful of honey. And, whereas, usually, when I cook porridge on the stovetop, 1 cup of oats yields 2 servings, this time I’ll be able to stretch it into 4 servings!

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Of course, I’m not going to have oats for every breakfast, but when I do, I will let the slow cooker do the work. I’m super-excited to share this new trick with you, and I suggest you, too, stock up on steel-cut oats and start waking up to a warm, delicious breakfast already made.

All you need to know about making apple cinnamon oatmeal is right here.

And if you’re wondering about alternative – non-oatmeal – slow cooker breakfast ideas, have a look here.

Thank you for reading,

Anna

Photo source: 12

TGFQ: THANK GOD FOR QUINOA

Hello Fancy Lacy Community,

A few posts ago I bragged about my part-time teaching job that left me the time to do the things I enjoy, such as going to the gym and experimenting in the kitchen. Well, the first week of 2016 was a whole different story. I was called in to sub for a sick teacher; so not only did I continue teaching my evening classes, I was also subbing during the day – working two shifts, so to speak. I had very little time to exercise although I still managed to start my day with a brisk home workout in the mornings. And I had very little time to cook properly. However, I still ate well, all because the mother of all grains – quinoa – came to my rescue.

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Basically, I cooked a whole bunch of plain quinoa (doubled the recipe) and used my creativity to serve it for breakfast, pack it for lunch, and have it again later for dinner. The recipe for making quinoa can be found here. And no, there’s no such thing as too much quinoa, especially if you know of all its health benefits.

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So here goes a day’s worth of quinoa-based meals!

Breakfast

In the morning, I put however much quinoa I needed into a bowl with a splash of almond milk (if you’re into warm spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg – it’s the time to add them). I microwaved it until it was nice and hot, and added the desired toppings – my personal favourite are banana and walnuts sweetened with honey. You can also add berries, dates, dried fruit, nut butters, and coconut flakes. In other words, treat it like oatmeal!

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Lunch

Quinoa is a universal side that you can serve with pretty much anything. It goes perfectly with stir-fry, fish, chicken; I especially enjoy having mine with spicy tofu and oriental vegetables. For lunch I had tofu, quinoa and lightly cooked broccoli, dressed with my favourite Sriracha hot sauce. It was a very flavourful and filling meal. There’s no real recipe here, because you cook everything separately but serve together. For healthier tofu, consider baking it in the oven instead of frying – it’s on my to-try list! Here’s a simple way of doing it (I like my tofu spicy so would also season it with just a pinch of cayenne pepper).

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Dinner

I had quinoa for dinner, too. I don’t think I could do it every day for the rest of my life, but I’m certainly happy to have quinoa 2-3 times a week. My evening solution was a warm quinoa salad with broccoli, chickpeas and cranberries. Again, the recipe tells you to cook everything together from the start, but since your quinoa is ready to go, cook broccoli, chickpeas, cumin and salt, and then mix the two together, adding cranberries and lime juice. I like mine warm, so I would microwave it; alternatively, enjoy it as it is!

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Every time, the concept is different, and so is the taste. There are many other ways to use quinoa – for example, to make a cream of broccoli soup and black bean burgers. But all in good time!

If you haven’t yet tried quinoa, it’s time to give it a go. Be adventurous! And if you discover any other quick and easy quinoa recipes, give me a shout!

Thank you for reading,

Anna

Photo source: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

INSPIRATIONS FOR A HAPPIER 2016

Dear Fancy Lacy Community,

I would like to wish you a very Happy New Year.

For those of you who had a super-mega-fantastic 2015, I hope the coming year will still beat the record.

And for those who struggled more so than flourished, I pray that 2016 will compensate you generously.

We will shortly be embarking on a 366-day journey through seasons, birthdays and anniversaries, graduations and promotions, and many other exciting (and not) moments that make our lives unique and special. Remember – this year we have an extra day to make a difference! Appreciate it, and embrace it!

As I’m getting ready for the new start, here is what resolutions are shaping in my mind:

  1. Appreciate and maintain your health. It’s the one thing that physically enables you to go after your goals and dreams.30ee926f55d2f9b07c49b82bcd4fe8bd
  2. See your health as a combination of healthy diet and active lifestyle. Eat more whole, nourishing foods and exercise regularly. Both habits are so rewarding!
  3. Surround yourself with positive people. We become like the people we are around most, and I choose optimism and enthusiasm over negative thinking!
  4. Learn to feel good about the quiet time. Every now and then, it’s okay to not fill every minute of your time with chores. Take time off screens; learn to relax in silence and stillness.
  5. Aspire to growth. Learn ways to get better at what you do. There’s no limit to enlightenment and education.intellectual-growth-should-commence-at-birth-and-cease-only-at-death-quote-1
  6. Enjoy what you do. Love your work, and if you don’t – consider alternative options. Life’s too short to waste a third of it on something you find no satisfaction in doing.
  7. Learn to cope with stress. Stress is inevitable, so have coping strategies prepared.
  8. Try new things. Go into a “Yes-Man” mode from time to time, you never know what’s waiting to happen. It may end up being the best time of your life.Untitled
  9. Be kind and patient. Both make us human. Both have the potential to make a difference.
  10. Remember what’s important. Decide on your priorities and act accordingly.new-year-wallpaper-hd

Until next year!

Thank you for reading,

Anna

Photo source: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

CAREER VS LIFE: IN SEARCH OF THE BALANCE

Dear Fancy Lacy Community,

It’s the season to be merry and my post is hardly going to be cheerful, but as the end of the year approaches, there are a few important things to consider for a more balanced, healthier life in 2016.

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A friend of mine has recently had a work-related nervous breakdown followed by immediate hospitalization. This person is a career-driven, hardworking woman and has given her job a lot time, energy, and – as recent events demonstrate – a lot of her physical and mental health. Unfortunately, she is one of many who work long hours at the cost of quality family time and healthy lifestyle. Given the state of the economy, we should be grateful that there is a job to go to, right? Well, yes, and no. Sacrificing yourself in the name of work and income may sound noble, but I would like to question this all too common scenario.

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Just to be clear, I’m not speaking generally about everyone. I’m certainly not referring to the low-income families whose livelihood depends solely on the hard work of their providers. A lot of people have to work whatever jobs come their way in order to merely survive; while some others choose to become workaholics. And then there are some people who get caught up in their work and lose track of time and priorities. I’ll go as far as to suggest that at some point in their lives most people have experienced how “going with the flow” may have taken them to places they did not want to be.

The dreadful experience that my friend had to go through is an extreme example of how an imbalance between work and life may affect a person. While you do not always end up at the psych ward as a result of work pressure, stress undeniably takes an enormous toll on your health and relationships.

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I may not be in a position to judge, since my part-time work leaves me with enough time and energy to look after my health and lead an active lifestyle. But here is something I’ve learned from her story: it’s all about setting the priorities and acting accordingly.

work-life-balanceFamily is of great value to me, and a family-friendly job was high on my priorities list. I’m currently working as an English teacher to newcomers to Canada. I enjoy it and on most days come home happy; I feel that I’m making a small difference in the lives of others; and I have the time to do other things I enjoy – spending time with my husband, running the household, implementing a healthy diet, and maintaining a good physical shape. I may not be making quite enough yet but that will hopefully change once I transition into a full-time employment. I’m not implying that everybody should get out there and look for teaching jobs. Of course, not! What I’m trying to say is that you need to remember your values when you are looking for ways to support them, because, at the end of the day, your job is a means to an end, and not an end in itself. Or is it?

And if the whirlpool of life starts to blur your vision making it harder to focus on your priorities, don’t panic. Reboot – reflect and re-evaluate – and restart.

Let this post be a reminder to embrace your priorities in the new year.

Thank you for reading,

Anna

Photo credit: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

THE MIRACLES OF MEAL PLANNING

Hello Fancy Lacy Community,

Throughout the month of November my husband and I planned our meals on a weekly basis. Although meal planning isn’t a novelty, I somehow never thought of integrating it into our routine. Live and learn, I guess. It was a good way to see how well we could make plans and follow through with them, and also to see how scheduled meals would affect our daily life. The experiment was a success and we’re going to continue with this practice for weeks to come.

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I’m actually so pleased with how meal planning has turned out for us that I have lovingly labeled its benefits as “miracles”.

Miracle 1. Leave the stress behind.

As is usually the case in our fast-moving lives, little thought is given to food before your stomach starts growling. And then come last minute decisions that tend to be unhealthy and soon fill you with guilt and regret, all because they put you in a very awkward situation: either you eat something bad because you are too hungry to cook anything decent, or the pantry/fridge supplies are running low leaving you with few ingredients to fix a healthy meal. Both scenarios are stressful; however, both can be avoided with careful planning. Every weekend, my husband and I sit down and discuss our meal options for the following week. We try to make our menu diverse, alternate simple and more sophisticated dishes, and also make one bigger meal to stretch over the course of two days. That way, we know exactly what we are eating during the week, get the needed groceries beforehand and enjoy our meals stress-free.

Miracle 2. Plan well – eat well.

I hate getting really hungry because I stop thinking rationally – my primitive instincts take over and urge me to overeat or turn to unhealthy food. Hunger in itself is not an issue; it’s how well prepared you are to respond to it that makes the difference. Without a plan in the moments of weakness you’re more likely to choose wrong. Meal planning helps me stay on track: with a set healthy menu for the week, I feel a sense of direction and act accordingly. Since junk food is not part of the plan, there are very few temptations. I’m programmed to do well and I do well – it’s that easy.

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Miracle 3. Shop smart.

Just like many other people, I don’t mind grocery shopping. Sometimes I even enjoy it. My husband, on the other hand, is hardly a fan of shopping. He must have been literally subjected to mental torture when we used to slowly walk up and down the aisles in search of ingredients for hypothetical meals. Not surprisingly, we ended buying stuff that we didn’t need – thus adding an unnecessary expense – and not getting what we actually needed. However, as of last month, our approach to grocery shopping has changed: our shopping lists are now based completely on the menu we’ve decided on, and we practically storm through the grocery store, ticking the items off the list. We occasionally buy things that weren’t planned for – to have extra food on hand in case we have company or if we decide to tweak the menu a little. During the week, we use up what we have, plan meals for the new week and buy more groceries. Because our purchases are carefully planned, we spend money more efficiently.
FYI, you can find a variety of meal planning templates and shopping lists online. They are very convenient!

menu-planMiracle 4. Reduce food waste.

For a while, our fridge used to be so full that we couldn’t tell what groceries we had until they were past their expiry date. Since we started planning our meals, we have been wasting significantly less food, if any at all. All because we plan the week’s menu and then buy our groceries based on the upcoming meals. Everything we buy is used during the week, so nothing goes to waste. If you find yourself throwing out rotten fruit and vegetables, and mouldy leftovers, it’s definitely worth considering meal planning. You’ll start saving your food, which will translate into saving money.

 

Miracle 5. Make it a family project.

I am especially pleased with the fact that both my husband and I participate in the process: we negotiate meal choices, brainstorm the shopping list and pick up groceries together. If you have kids, meal planning is a great way to include them: let them express their tastes and preferences, and educate them about the importance of eating well. Involve them in the meal preparation process, too. What they will learn from this will help shape their future eating habits for years to come.

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Think ahead, plan your meals, and save your food, money, time, and health!

Thank you for reading,

Anna

Photo source: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

HEART-WARMING TREATS FOR A SNOWY DAY

Hello Fancy Lacy Community,

So here we are at last, in the white and windy kingdom of Saskatchewan. Winter has come after all, despite my sacred wishes for an even longer fall. It’s my first snow season here, in Regina, SK, and if I dare complain about the freezing temperatures and icy roads, I’m being reminded that I should be grateful for the spectacular weather we had enjoyed right through the middle of November. And, actually, if you think about it, it’s the very thought that winter was on the doorstep that made us appreciate the last warm and sunny autumn days that much more. So, here it goes: Thank you, winter.

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“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” – Edith Sitwell

It may be obvious by now that the “good food” would be my favourite part of the quote and I truly believe that delicious, homemade food is one of the things that will help us make it through the winter. And what better way to bring your body temperature up and add some holiday cheer than to indulge in warm, mouth-watering goodies?

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If you like peanut butter as much as my husband does, you’re going to be head over heels for this recipe. According to him, baking blondies fill the house with “the smell of love”. It’s actually my all-year-round recipe, but when it’s freezing outside, I especially enjoy a bite of still warm blondies with a cup of latte.

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I used to make banana bread all the time until one day I decided to reduce the amount of processed foods in my diet and eat as clean as possible. The original banana bread recipe I used called for quite a bit of sugar and oil/butter, and that no longer worked for me. However, recently, my friend shared this healthier version of my all-time favourite treat, and I was hooked again! This recipe uses significantly less flour and sugar, and no butter at all. I’m not a fan of raisins so I use cranberries instead, and I also add chopped walnuts (while my friend adds a generous amount of chocolate chips).

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This cake represents everything I love: it’s moist, chocolaty-rich, and practically harmless by dessert standards. My Birthday is coming up and I know exactly how I’ll treat myself on the day. If you happen to be a chocoholic like myself, this is a perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth. Help yourself to the cake while it’s still warm. In my family, dessert (be it apple crisp, pumpkin pie, or brownies) is usually accompanied by ice cream. However, just like with the peanut butter blondies, I prefer mine with a cup of latte.

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These muffins are an indulgent treat and come at no cost to your waistline (unless, of course, you decide to devour all of them in the middle of the night). I have a freezer full of blueberries, and if it was summer, I would have them in smoothies as much as I could. But, in this weather, smoothies don’t sound all that appealing to me. So, I ventured on an online hunt for blueberry recipes and came across this one. These muffins taste absolutely great; it’s also hard to make them any cleaner than that, so I feel very pleased with my discovery.

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I’ve never had so much pumpkin in my life. Since I arrived to Canada, I’ve used pumpkin in cookies, muffins, breads, and pancakes. What I then discovered is that you can use pumpkin in drinks, too! Many coffeeshops offer chai latte variations – the last time I bought one at Toronto airport, it cost around $7 for a large cup. Seriously? The taste didn’t justify the cost either, so that made me even keener to try making my own at home. This recipe uses almond milk – which on any other occasion I would support – in this case, I enjoy the dairy taste a lot more (I’m still going to try using soy milk). Pumpkin chai latte is an indulgence on its own, without any goodies to go with it or even the whipped cream topping. I’m sure you’ll enjoy every sip.

If you hit the winter blues and crave a special treat, remember that these delicious recipes are only a click away.

Don’t let the frigid weather bring you down. Stay warm, eat well, and be active.

Thank you for reading,

Anna

Photo source: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

A GIVE-AND-TAKE GAME OF OUR DIGITAL DEVICES

Dear Fancy Lacy Community,

Reclaiming conversation

Last week, I stopped by the library and picked up an interesting book titled Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age by Sherry Turkle. The author talks about the role of technology in, what she calls, a “flight from conversation” – the diminishing face-to-face interactions in which the parties involved are both, physically and mentally present. The book hit the bull’s eye. As if speaking on my behalf, it grasps perfectly the way I feel about the world of tablets and smartphones we’re living in, especially my feelings of worry and sadness for the younger generations. So, today’s post will address a few issues and concerns raised in the book. Perhaps – and hopefully – you won’t identify with all of them. The fewer, the better! The chances are, though, that you will think about other people you know – and quite a few people, may I add.

Human beings are fundamentally social creatures, with conversation being the most basic medium that satisfies our hunger for social interactions. And today, we have an unprecedented diversity of means to fulfill this innate longing. We can be miles and time zones away from each other, yet with Skype and FaceTime we get to feel as connected as if we were in the same room. Ironically, though, this very connectedness and the sense of closeness come at the cost of disconnecting us in a subtle, sneaky fashion. How? Let’s see.

  • We cannot help the desire to be elsewhere.

Isn’t it astonishing that we reach for our phones even when we are in the company of people with whom we genuinely enjoy spending time? It’s like being in the “here and now” is no longer enough, we seem to have an urgent need to be up-to-date with what other people are doing, which these days is immediately shared on social media. So, yes, we may feel more connected – to the fellow Facebook dwellers – but our attention is subtracted from our immediate environment. According to the book, “average American adults check their phones every six and a half minutes”. After reading that, I started analyzing my relationship with my iPhone and realized that, perhaps, we’re a little too close. Not even two years ago I was a proud owner of a Samsung G600 and an advocate of a “simpler phone for a simpler life” philosophy. And I used to get really upset when my husband’s gaze was locked on the screen of his phone while I was trying to make conversation. Who am I to preach any more? From now on, I intend to watch and keep my why-don’t-I-pick-up-my-phone-out-of-boredom impulse under better control.

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  • Multi-tasking is the new given.

We’re torn between “here” and “elsewhere” and can no longer concentrate on doing one thing at a time. One of the following scenarios is frequently at play: we talk and text, talk and browse the net, text and browse the net, or do all three at the same time. In our chase after the highest speed and volume of interactions, we go back and forth between the apps, and in and out of our conversations. We find it hard to settle for what has seemingly become an inefficient use of time, i.e. a non-fragmented, mutually reciprocated face-to-face conversations with friends and family. My husband and I both find it frustrating when one of us unexpectedly exits during a meaningful conversation to check email or a text. Are we not worth each other’s full attention? We are. I guess the desire to see who’s reaching out to you may be worth just a little more.

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  • Our devices “spare” us from boredom and solitude.

When I happen to be alone, it’s my chance to enjoy the silence. I get sufficient TV exposure when my husband is around, and otherwise prefer to go about my business in silence. The book refers to solitude as time for “mind-wandering”. I’ve never thought about it that way until I actually started noticing how the most bizarre memories would surface in my mind in the moments of my silent self-reflection. I was cooking one day and suddenly recalled my friend Julia’s grandmother telling me a funny story about Julia’s childhood. How random is that? I heard this story over five years ago and have hardly thought about it again, but somehow my mind brought it up for my amusement. And perhaps it’s such a small thing, but travelling back in time and reliving that moment – as I was munching on homemade Russian cabbage pirozhki on a hot summer afternoon – brought warmth to my heart.

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The moral of the story: sometimes instead of looking outside – on your tablet, phone or TV – it’s worth turning inward and spending a quiet time alone with your thoughts and memories. Seriously – you never know what may cross your mind, so surprise yourself! A bit of mind-wandering and self-reflection won’t hurt; if anything, you may end up feeling more in touch with yourself and others around you. Oh, and one more thing: we don’t always have to be doing something – especially if the “something” in question involves using our phones. Less can be more.

Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age is readily available for purchase on Amazon; you can also check at your local library.

Thank you for reading,

Anna

Photo source: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

JUICE ALMIGHTY: SIX THINGS I’VE LEARNED ABOUT JUICING

Hello Fancy Lacy Community,

It’s official: winter is on its way. It’s getting colder and darker, and, as much as I like to, I can no longer live off fresh salads. I crave something warm, preferably to eat with a spoon, and having fridge-cold spinach and cucumbers just won’t do it for me in subzero temperatures. So, with my intake of fresh vegetables in steady decline, I needed to come up with an alternative route to enjoying all the benefits that vegetables have to offer. It didn’t take me long to think of one: the arrival of winter provided me with a plausible excuse to treat our family to a much longed-for kitchen gadget – a juicer.

fat-sick-nearly-dead-featured-673x1024A few years ago I happened to watch a movie called Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. It was so very inspiring that I awaited the release of the sequel with great anticipation. For those of you who haven’t already seen these movies, here is a trailer as well as a plot summary.

After his 60-day juice fast, Joe was 82lbs lighter and healed from an autoimmune disease that he believed was incurable. What’s the moral of the story? That fruits and veggies are as good for us as our parents have always claimed. I’m not intending to advocate juice fasting or drinking juice as a meal replacement. Yet I believe that all of us could benefit from incorporating juicing into our diet as an extra boost. Read more about the benefits of juicing for our health, here, here, and here.

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Meanwhile, I will discuss six things I’ve learned from juicing so far:

  1. You can drink more fruits and vegetables than you can eat.

The recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables is between 7 and 10 servings, depending on your age group and gender. Spread out this many servings on the table and you would be wondering how you are supposed to consume this much within a day, in addition to carbs, grains and protein. I very well doubt that an average person fulfills this dietary requirement. However, if you were to remove the fiber by juicing the very same fruits and vegetables, you would get a big jug of delicious and thirst-quenching juice that you could easily drink during the day (and probably ask for more).

  1. You will never want to drink store-bought juice again.

Getting to know what fresh homemade juice tastes like will make you question the contents of Tropicana and Minute Maid cartons. “Fruit-flavored sugar water” is how my husband now refers to it and keeps asking himself how he could ever think that stuff was healthy. From now on, we are not going to spend a dime on anything labeled “juice”; instead, we’ll be saving the money to buy fresh produce.

  1. The color of your juice will always put a smile on your face.

Honestly, I have never had such colorful drinks before we started juicing. The orange, purple, and green screamed “clean” and “healthy”, and I couldn’t help feeling that we must be doing something right because something that looks so authentic can’t be wrong.

  1. Your shopping cart has never looked so bright and healthy.

Last time we went grocery shopping, we picked up carrots, beets, spinach, kale, lettuce, apples, oranges, grapes, and pomegranate. We basically brought a rainbow to the checkout. I most certainly had a proud look on my face when the lady was scanning our groceries. It was an absolute guilt-free shopping experience, and I enjoyed every moment of it.

  1. Your shopping cart has never been so full for so little money.

Six bucks for a huge bag of apples? A fiver for a bag of carrots? Yes, please. I was astonished how little we had to pay for how much we bought. Of course, you have to experiment a little to see how much juice you’re getting from different fruits and vegetables, and then decide which are a better investment.

  1. Choosing the juices to try and creating your own combinations is fun in itself.

My husband and I bought a copy of the Juicing Bible along with our juicer. We have bookmarked the juices that we would like to try, and now we either choose the juice of the day or, if we are feeling particularly adventurous, we experiment with creating our own combinations based on the fruits and vegetables we like most. It’s lots of fun!

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We are very pleased with our juicer, which is a refurbished Breville Juice Fountain Elite. With the first snow on the ground, I may be eating fewer salads, but generous helpings of fruits and vegetables have become even easier to consume and enjoy.

Thanks for reading,

Anna

Photo source: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

TABATA: THE WORKOUT THAT COUNTS

Hello Fancy Lacy Community,

According to a multitude of online sources, our diet accounts for roughly 70% of our physical shape. Unfortunately, you can never out-exercise a bad diet, that’s why eating clean is such a big thing these days.

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Now, the remaining 30% depends on what we do outside the kitchen, and today I’m going to share with you my favorite workout concept called Tabata training. It’s easy to understand and implement, it’s stimulating, and – trust me – it’s one of the most efficient exercise techniques I’ve ever tried.

What is Tabata Training?

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Tabata training is a type of high intensity interval training alternating short periods of intense exercise with brief recovery periods. Basically, each Tabata set consists of 8 intervals, for each of which you work hard for 20 seconds and rest for 10. Start by selecting an exercise: let’s say body weight squats. Squat hard for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds, completing 8 rounds in total. 20 seconds is the perfect amount of time to show what you’re made of, so be sure to squat hard and make every round count; it’s called a “high intensity training” for a reason. If 10 reps is all you can manage, then be it – as long as you’re honest with yourself that it’s the best you can do at this point. Trust me, with time and practice, you’ll be able to do more! The recovery period between the sets is 2 minutes, but you can easily reduce or increase this time to suit your needs. For your next Tabata set, pick another exercise and repeat the pattern. Each Tabata set takes 4 minutes to complete, so depending on your energy levels and you time resources you may choose to do anywhere between 5 and 8 sets. As long as you exercise at a high intensity, you will not need more than that.

What to Use for a Workout Timer?

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So, with Tabata format laid out and exercises selected, there’s still one more issue to consider: how do you keep track of time if you’re supposed to be squatting for your life? Thank God for iTunes and other media platforms. iTunes carry a wide selection of Tabata tracks in a variety of music genres, Pop, Hip Hop, Dance, Latin, you name it. So, not only do you have your favorite tunes to work out to, these tracks come with a Voice Coach feature and tell you exactly when you must work and rest. There’s no need to have your eyes glued to your watch, and you can throw yourself completely into the workout.

Why Pursue Tabata Training?

Here are just a few reasons why I love working out Tabata style:

  • You are fully in charge of your workout: whether it comes to selecting exercises or deciding how many sets you feel like doing.
  • Your workout is time-efficient.
  • When you perform exercises at a high intensity, your heart rate goes up to keep up with the pace. So, if your objective is to lose weight, Tabata training will help you make it happen – your body will be burning fat during as well as hours after the workout.
  • Tabata training is suitable for both, individual and group fitness sessions, so you can easily make arrangements for a sweat-together with your friends. I personally find that working out with others makes me work harder, so I invite my husband to join in whenever I can.

tabata-workouts

Top 10 Exercises for Tabata Training

In theory, you can pick any exercise and perform it with a Tabata timer. However, from my experience, the following exercises work best:

  • Squats
  • Burpees
  • Lunges
  • Mountain climbers
  • Sit-ups / Crunches
  • Tricep dips
  • Plank
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Box jumps
  • Jumping rope

As you can see, most of these exercises do not require any equipment so you can do them anywhere.

For me, it was love at first set; maybe you’re next? You’ll never know until you try. I’ll be curious to hear from you when you do.

Until then, eat clean and train mean.

Thank you for reading,

Anna

Photo source: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

FIVE DELICIOUS AND NUTRITIOUS BREAKFAST IDEAS 

Hello Fancy Lacy Community,

As a tribute to my first Thanksgiving feast in Canada, today’s post will be about food. Food is a major part of our daily lives; and, strangely enough, it is a subject that doesn’t seem to become any more exhausted even though thousands of books and articles have been written about it. When it comes to my own relationship with food, my strategy is clear-cut: it’s all about finding the right balance between eating for fuel and eating for indulgence. I believe that food is both, fuel and indulgence, and if you’re eager enough, you will find where these two overlap and make for delicious and nutritious recipes.

Now, what better way to start the day than with one of such recipes?

1) Overnight Chia Oatmeal

Overnight-Chia-Oatmeal

The beauty of this recipe is that you prepare your breakfast the night before and will not have to do much more work in the morning, other than slice up a banana and dig in. It’s one of many overnight chia oatmeal recipes, so if you’re not a fan of dried cranberries, you will easily find something that will appeal to your taste. And you can easily double or triple the recipe to feed more people. I highly recommend this breakfast idea to people who have little time or those who simply don’t feel like investing too much effort into cooking in the mornings.

2) Two-Ingredient Pancakes

2015-04-27-Banana-Pancakes-18

This quick breakfast solution has been on my to-go list for months now. When I came across this recipe, I couldn’t believe that the only things it called for were eggs and bananas! I guess simplicity is genius, after all. Although I found this recipe elsewhere, I especially liked this website for the tips for cooking banana pancakes.

3) Chocolate Protein Pancakes

healthy-recipe-Chocolate-Protein-Oatmeal-Pancake-Recipe

There may never be too many pancakes, especially if they are as nutritious and yummy as these ones. They do call for a few more ingredients than the previous recipe and so create a little more work, but I can suggest this: prepare the mix the night before. The oats will likely absorb the egg whites, so the batter will be quite thick, in which case you could add some almond milk. Or you can leave out the egg whites and add them to the mix in the morning. Either way, these pancakes are worth trying!

4) Porridge

porridge_0

FYI, by porridge I mean old-fashioned oatmeal, and not one of those instant mixes with a whole bunch of artificial flavors and preservatives. It wasn’t until I read somewhere that having too much of the same food, however healthy it is, would eventually make you immune to its nutrients, that I stopped having porridge for breakfast every day. It used to be my staple morning food and I was never stressed about what to make for breakfast. Once you get your porridge base, which is rather bland on its own, you can make it flavorful by adding fruit and berries, nuts, honey, maple syrup and nut butters.

5) Omelette

Protein-packed-omelette1

Cooking eggs doesn’t get any easier than that. And because eggs are protein (especially if you increase the egg white to egg yolk ratio), they will keep you going till lunch hour. You can choose your filling and prepare it the night before which will save you time and work in the morning. This particular link also gives you a few more omelette variations.

Healthy can be tasty, and vice versa. Motivation, research, and a splash of creativity will help you make it happen.

Thank you for reading,

Anna

Photo source: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5