Breakfast Waffles

After my boyfriend and I took a recent visit to a Maple Sugar Farm, I couldn’t wait to pour some of our newly purchased maple syrup over something yummy to savour the sweetness. I know I’m trying to eat “healthier” overall, but I can’t help but satisfy insatiable cravings that creep up on me. I decided that waffles would be perfect.

The original recipe was found in the user guide for the waffle maker we have. For this post, I’ll provide the recipe with health-wise substitutions. I added a dollop of freshly made whipped cream and garnished with fresh berries. Heating up the maple syrup before pouring it on makes a great difference!

 

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GLUTEN-FREE & NUT-FREE BREAKFAST WAFFLES

Waffle Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs at room temperature (or 1/2 cup of apple sauce or 2 flax eggs)
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour blend or buckwheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 vegetable oil (or coconut oil)
  • 1-3/4 cups of milk (or coconut milk)
  • 1 tablespoon organic palm sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

Directions:

1. Beat together the eggs until fluffy (omit this step if substituting with apple sauce or flax eggs).
2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
3. Add the oil, milk, and eggs to the flour mixture (add in the egg substitutes).
4. Add the xanthan gum and combine well and you’re ready to make your waffles!

Tip: be sure to grease your waffle grill well before cooking your waffles or you may run into a bit of a sticky situation.

 

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O’Hara Sugar Maples

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I recently took a road trip with my boyfriend to O’Hara Sugar Maples farm in Madoc, ON.  Mid March is when Maple Syrup producers get ready for the upcoming harvesting season, and the yearly Sugar Bush festivities commence.

As a child I had the chance to visit a maple syrup farm during a school trip, but all I remember from it were tin buckets hanging on trees, a horse drawn carriage ride, and that to get maple syrup all you had to do was boil sap until it thickened into sweet, sticky goo. Pretty simple.

However, on our visit to O’Hara’s, as soon as we pulled onto the road leading up to the production (sugar) house, I saw how elaborate and sophisticated this process has become since my last visit to a maple syrup farm.

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Trees are tapped with “lines” (tubes) that lead to much bigger lines, and these funnel the sap from the trees through down to the production line via the “extractor”, a vacuum like machine – O’Hara’s Sugar Maples have about 44 Kilometres of lines running throughout their trees!

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It then flows through to an osmosis machine where as much water as possible is reduced. Once this process takes place, the sap is sent to the boiler to be boiled down into delicious, lip smacking, maple syrup. Prior to being bottled, the syrup passes through a finishing system to ensure it’s crystal clear.

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MAPLE SYRUP FACTS

  • 40 litre of sap = 1 litre of maple syrup
  • Sap looks just like water. If you were to put a glass of water next to a glass of sap, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
  • If your maple syrup has mold on it, you don’t need to toss it. Just remove the mold and re-boil it to 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Contains trace amounts of minerals and vitamins including vitamins B2, B5, B6, riboflavin, amino acids, manganese, folic acid, calcium, zinc, magnesium, and iron.
  • Great to use as a sugar substitute in cooking and baking.
  • If you get a bottle of maple syrup with crystals at the bottom, it’s considered a good thing – it’s sugar crystals!

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Heather and her colleague were incredibly helpful and knowledgeable. They explained the process in perfect detail and the story of their maple syrup making history. Aside from maple syrup, O’Hara’s makes maple candy and maple butter (which has won numerous awards). I’ve never tried maple butter and will definitely have to make another trip to get my hands on some.

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After seeing the entire process, we were able to enjoy a fresh, warm sample of a medium syrup which definitely enticed us to purchase a 1L bottle. Immediately, all I could think of was “what can I pour this stuff over and devour?!” I thought of a few cakes I could make, but that would take some time. Eventually I decided that a nice fresh stack of waffles would be perfect. Check back soon for a follow-up post with the recipe!

I have not received any commission for writing this post, nor do I have any material connection to the brands and products mentioned.  All views and opinions expressed are my own. 

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Cold Pressed Juice

As I try to stick to my health and fitness goals, I’m always interested in learning about new health practices, whether it be food or fitness related.

I’m fortunate enough to work in an environment where just about everyone strives to be healthy in some way, shape, or form. It’s a great little network we have in which we share fitness tips and yummy healthier choice recipes (and a great network for sharing fashion finds too!).

A few coworkers (and friends of mine) have tried juicing as a way to loose weight and rejuvenate their bodies from the inside out. I’ve heard about this in the past, but it’s become the huge “it thing” lately and so I decided to check it out online. I found that there were quite a few juice bars that recently popped up around Toronto, and that one, Greenhouse Juice Co., had opened last January just down the street from our office.  I decided to venture in and see what all the juicing fuss was all about.

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It’s quite a cute little shop they have! Very simple but still warm and inviting. They have a sample bar where you can try a shot size amount of juice before you buy and a fridge that looks like it’s storing a rainbow (of juices).

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Pro’s:

Con:

Below are the juices (and milks) I’ve tried. My favourite ones are indicated with an ‘*’.

 

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Product images sourced via www.greenhousejuiceco.com
Top row left to right: Almond Milk, Deeps Roots, East of Eden*, Gold Rush*
Bottom row left to right: Pink Milk, The Giver*, Wake Up*

 

As a bonus, when you return 10 empty bottles you receive a free 250ml juice and a pass to the Roots Yoga Studio.

While I believe that cold pressed juices could be quite beneficial to one’s health by giving our bodies a break from products filled with chemicals and dyes, it’s not something I personally would use as a meal replacement.  It’s more so a nice way to wake-up my insides and give them a good stretch in the morning.

I usually treat to myself to a bottle of cold pressed juice once in a while to start my day, rather than having a cup of coffee. If I could afford it, however, I’d have one each morning!

I have not received any commission for writing this post, nor do I have any material connection to the brands and products mentioned.  All views and opinions expressed are my own. 

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Health Conscious Kick

I’ve been telling myself (and others) that “I need to get back to the gym” and “back to my healthy eating habits” for the past several months.  And I say “get back to” as I moved in with my (incredibly wonderful) boyfriend last summer and the gym facilities at my previous residence VS my current, differ immensely. This made it quite difficult to stay motivated and keep up my gym regime. Aside from that, we both love to cook and so we’ve been cooking some fantastical weekday dinners that often take us into a late dinner hour, which turned out to work against me as we were recently invited to a Bat Mitzvah.

Knowing that these types of affairs can be quite debonair and over-the-top, I was on the hunt for a new dress. Now, I knew that I had gained about 12 lbs over the past several months, as much of my clothing doesn’t fit like they used to or at all anymore, and that I would probably have to buy a size up. Sadly, after a few shopping trips to the mall I didn’t find a thing that I felt amazing in. This was the kick on the butt that I needed.

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When I shared this weight gain with friends and family, they immediately responded with “But you’re so tiny! You look fine!” I know I’m petite, but regardless of what size you are, a 12 pound weight gain is noticeable to the person wearing the new pounds.  My bust is bigger, my hips and thighs are fuller, and I’ve gained about 4 inches on my waist. Don’t get me wrong, I am VERY happy to have the extra weight, I just want to tone it up a bit.

Since having my body confidence crushed just a smidgen (and losing a close family member to cancer), I’ve buckled down and am aiming to work out at the gym for 30 minutes, 3-5 days a week, and am making a serious effort to be mindful of what, how much, and how often I eat – everything in moderation. By no means am I following a fad diet or becoming a health fanatic, but I am determined and committed to doing what I feel is right for me and will get me to my health goal – which is ultimately to feel healthy from the inside out and have some toned limbs.

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I have two weddings to attend this summer and will need (fine…I want) dresses for both – I intend to have better luck shopping this time around! Hopefully you’ll follow me as I try my hardest stick to my health commitment. I’ll post recipes (and any progress) along the way that I hope you’ll enjoy too!

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All About Timing

“Q: When is the perfect time? A: Who can say, but probably somewhere between haste and delay – and it’s usually most wise to start today.” ― Rasheed Ogunlaru

So, I’ve attempted this blog thing a good handful of times and up until now,  I never really understood why my blogging experiences always fell flat and fizzled out after a couple of posts.

All of my past blogging attempts had a couple of things in common – they were the result of desperation to earn extra income and always the product of acting in haste.

Here I am again, writing my first blog post on my latest blog. But I feel good about it. Really good about it. I think the reason this venture will actually stick is because my focus and intentions are quite clear and honest, I’m surrounded by incredibly supportive family, friends and boyfriend to boot, and most importantly, it’s FUN!

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Blogs contribute in a huge way to the information that can be found online on just about anything! When I’m looking for a recipe or instructions on a DIY project, my search will more often than not, lead me to a very helpful blog post, and I want to be a part of that. I want to be a part of that online community so that I can share and help others on their search, whether it be for a great brownie recipe, an awesome winter stew, a chic DIY design project for the home, or the cutest accessories trending the shops for the current season. That’s it. Sharing and caring is what it’s all about this time around.

I hope you have fun reading my posts and that at the end of them you can take something of value away from it for yourself in some little or big way.

 

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