Monday, 30 September 2013

Baked Hot & Zesty Ceasar Fries

Hola my beautiful readers! I have (again) been away from the blog for a little while. This time, I was on vacation in the BEAUTIFUL Montreal, QC. It was my anniversary (our 1st) so we went there to revisit the spot we got engaged! It was TRES Romantic!

Where we got engaged 2 years ago!
 While we were there, my lovely friend saw on Twitter I was on the look for some Poutine and suggested we try a restaurant called Resto La Banquise. It was a mission and a half to get there by foot, but I trusted my esteemed friend who is the mastermind behind Doodler's Revue. Jon wasn't so sure, so he complained the whole walk there.

Now, I've eaten A LOT of poutine in my time. Along with Cupcakes & Ketchup Chips, Poutine a weakness of mine (I call these my Weakness Trifecta, or the Willpower Incinerators). So, I was a little skeptical of just how great this place was going to be. Then I saw the menu and knew I was home:

I ordered La Matty and Jon ordered La T-Rex...

La Matty
This was BY FAR, the best poutine I have EVER had in my life. In fact, I still think about how good it was. The fries were so crispy and delicious. The Curds we perfect and even a little squeeky and the gravy has just the RIGHT flavour. Not to salty, but had a very good presence. I kid you not, I'm drooling at my computer right now.

Here is La T-Rex...
Needless to say, poor hubs was in a bit of a meat coma for the rest of the day. What you're looking at is ground beef, hotdogs, sausage and bacon. Serious biz.

So, to make a long story short, if you're ever in Montreal Area, GO HERE.

Now that I'm back from vacation, I'm going through poutine & french fry withdrawl. Hubby suggested we try to make something we usually get at a wing place here where they toss some fries in some sauce.

Side Note: I loooooove sauce. Hubs and I are sauce people. We will pretty much dip everything we eat into something.

Anyway, we concocted these: Baked Hot and Zesty Ceaser Fries. So good, so easy and SLIGHTLY (very slightly) better for you than what you'd get in a restaurant because these are baked! PLUS they make a perfect side to some BBQ Chicken and veggies (okay, we didn't have veggies, but would still be good!) 

Baked Hot and Zesty Ceasar Fries
By Me and Hubs
5-6 Medium Potatoes (this made enough for 3 people)
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/3 cup Creamy Ceasar Dressing
3-4 tbsp of Franks Hot Sauce


Preheat your over to 450 degrees F.

Cut up your potatoes either using a French Fry cutter or knife. I use a knife, so I just cut them in half, then put the flat side down, cut 4 slices (horizontally) then cut each one of those slices in half again (horizontally). It isn't perfect, but it works!

Put your cut potatoes into a large bowl and toss in the oil and the salt and pepper until evenly coated. Transfer to a greased cookie sheet and spread out evenly. They will look like so:

Toss them in the oven for 8 mins. Take out and flip (with a spatual or tongs). Put in for another 8-10 mins or until they are slightly browned. They shouldn't be TOO soft, but you don't want them to be raw either.

When they are done, spoon the fries into another bowl and add the Ceaser Dressing and Franks and toss until evenly coated.If you like hot, add more Franks, that part it up to you!!!


Thursday, 19 September 2013

Maple Pecan Struesel Pumpkin Bread

Okay, I have a confession. I have this weird aversion to ALL pumpkin related food and drink. It wasn't until YESTERDAY that I had my first Pumpkin Spice Latte (or PSL, for all those in the know). I've never had pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin scones, nothing. There is something about pumpkin that grossed me out.

However, in the spirit of my Fall Baking Series for the blog, and the apparent LOVE that everyone else on the planet has for pumpkin, I decided to try out this Maple Pecan Struesel Pumpkin Bread. I like maple, I like pecans and I like I could maybe get around the pumpkin.

So, the first thing I had to do was find canned pumpkin. For some reason I started in the canned vegtable aisle, but was informed by a very friendly FreshCo employee that it was actually in the baking section. Next, I needed Pumpkin Pie Spice. I couldn't find it ANYWHERE. Not at Walmart, not at FreshCo or NoFrills, not even at Bulk Barn. I finally found a teeeeeeeeeeny tiny can of it at Loblaws for 5 FREAKING DOLLARS. For spice.

Given that I don't even LIKE pumpkin, this hurt me to spend, but again, for the sake of the blog, I obliged!

I have to admit, when I was spooning the pumpkin out of the can into the measuring cup, I almost puked. However, when all was said and done, I actually couldn't get enough of this bread. We had it for breakfast almost every morning (while it lasted, which was really only 2 mornings). It goes amazingly with a fresh cuppa joe!

I hope you try this one, it was SUPER easy and SUPER yummy and is such a scrumptious fall treat!

Maple Pecan Struesel Pumpkin Bread
adapted from Hot Polka Dot

For the Bread
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt 
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup (use the real kind, trust me)
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil  

For the Struesel
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp granulated sugar 
1/4 tsp pumpkin spice
1/4 cup UNSALTED butter (this time, deffo use unsalted)
1/4 cup pecans, chopped

Place your rack in the oven in the middle of the over. Preheat it to 375 degrees F.
Butter a 9" loaf pan with butter (I don't have an actual loaf pan, so I had to go out and buy the one-time use one that I think was 8" but still worked!) Next, fit a piece of parchment in pan and make sure there is enough hanging over the side!

Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl!

Using your mixer, combine the pumpkin puree (yeeeeeeeeeeeeuck!) sugar, maple syrup, egg and oil.  Next, mix in the dry ingredients until JUST combined. (For the record, I don't know what JUST combined means...I just make sure it looks blended but not totally mixed...if that makes any sense)

Not going to lie, I was completely shocked that the batter was orange. Why? Wishful thinking, maybe?? Either way, it actually kind of looked like baby poo. So far, this wasn't helping my total distaste for pumpkin. 

Next, making the Struesel...what is Struesel? I have no idea...up until last week, I thought it was a type of pastry, soooooo this was an interesting experience. 

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, sugar and pumpkin spice together. Next, cut in the butter (again, wtf does this mean????) until the butter is pea sized. Make sure you use UNSALTED. I used Salted and the top of the bread was, well...quite salty! 

Kind of Pea Size?
Next, pour the patter into your loaf pan and smooth out the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the struesel on top 

Place in the oven and bake for 30-40 mins or until you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean! Because my pan was shorter, it took mine a little longer. I also didn't have a toothpick, so I had to use a wooden BBQ skewer.

Let it cool in the pan for 5-10 mins and then remove by lifting it out by the parchment paper!

So, with great fear, I cut it up...

...and had a bite. 

Yummmmm. So very good. I'm totally hooked now. My husband has been asking me to make this almost every day. As I mentioned though, next time I will use unsalted butter. The crust was really yummy, but just a TAD too salty!

If you try this one out, please let me know! I'd love to hear what you think about it! Actually, come to think of it, if you every try any of the recipes I post, please let me know what you think! I'd love love love to see your creations!!!!!

Happy Baking!

Monday, 16 September 2013

GUEST POST: Paleo Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

I am SOOOOO excited to share with you, my very FIRST GUEST POST! It is very fitting that this post comes from my dear friend Carianne. As she explains below, we first met at Zumba and we became fast friends as we bonded over our love of food and fitness. She is also the very sweet lady that kindly designed my Running to Bake logo for me (and it's so perdy!). She is a wonderful person, inside and out and I'm SO lucky to call her my friend!

Cari and I at COLOR ME RAD this year!
She was also the first one to introduce me to the world of Paleo Eating. While I don't follow the diet, I think it is quite interesting and I admire her commitment to it. I was also pleasantly surprised by the amazing muffins she'll tell you about below. She brought them as a post-workout snack to a class we did together and I couldn't believe how delish they were. I'm going to go ahead and say I enjoyed them even more than the kind made with regular flour.  

Read on below for how SHE was introduced into the world of Paleo, her incredible story and for her amazing muffin recipe! 

- Lisa
Hello Running to Bake readers!

My name is Carianne, and I am so excited and honoured to be featured on the blog today! Lisa and I met a few years ago at a fitness class, both near the beginning of our journey to health, and became fast friends. While we both already had experienced some success, we had not yet found our niche. I am so excited and proud of the both of us to now find ourselves here, feeling fantastic, and making the right choices for US.

I also love to run, bake and eat. I must stress the eating part. I love to eat. Most of my day is spent deciding what I will be eating next, and how delicious it will be! However, food is both my friend & foe. Although it seems to comfort me when I’m down, it very quickly becomes an enemy when I’ve devoured an entire bag of chips and that bloat starts to set in. I found myself at a weight a few years ago where I knew it was time to make a change. Change is SO hard! I joined a weight loss program, lost a bunch of weight, and was so proud of myself. Then I got bored, and lazy, and started ‘rewarding’ myself for all my hard work. However, my ‘rewards’ started outweighing my healthy choices. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t seem to claw my way back to that lifestyle.

While continuing my struggle with food, my husband got very ill. Fast forward a tough year, and a tough diagnosis of Lyme disease, we found ourselves presented with a very difficult diet plan for him to follow. We struggled through the first six months trying to figure out what we could prepare for him, when we stumbled across the paleo lifestyle. It fit perfectly with his new rules of eating! He had not eaten a baked item in close to a year, and the first paleo muffin recipe I made blew our minds! Thinking back on it now, and it was nothing compared to what we make now, but it was a start! It took awhile, and a lot of courage before I decided I would do this with him and commit to leading a paleo lifestyle. I was super nervous, and to be honest not that confident that I could do it. I was so pleasantly surprised when I had been eating this way for a month, had lost a few pounds, felt INCREDIBLE, and didn’t crave any of my old food choices! I also love to cook, and this gave me the opportunity to try so many new recipes and learn new ways to prepare some of our old favourites, but with just a few substitutions.

I have been following this lifestyle for about a year now, and although I’ve ‘fallen off the wagon’ a few times, I’ve never found it difficult to re-commit myself. Today I am so excited to share with you one of my FAVOURITE muffin recipes! I do hope that you’ll give it a try, and let me know what you think!

Paleo Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
Makes 6 muffins

Dry Ingredients
1/3 cup coconut flour, sifted
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp sea salt

Wet Ingredients
4 eggs
¼ cup pure maple syrup
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
2 tsp lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
¼ cup coconut oil, melted

Add In
2 tsp poppy seeds

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Place the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
Add the wet ingredients, except the coconut oil, and blend well with a hand mixer.
With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the coconut oil. Blend well.
Stir in the poppy seeds.
Fill 6 paper lined muffin cups two-thirds full with batter.
Bake 21-25 minutes, or until golden brown on top and the center of each muffing springs back when pressed lightly.
Cool 5-10 minutes in the pan. Serve! You can store any leftovers (which I doubt there will be!) in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze them!

Thank you SO much for having me here today, and letting me share my story with all of you!

Happy Baking everyone!

- Lisa
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest too! 

Thursday, 12 September 2013

I Want to Get Active & Enjoy It...but How do I Get There?

**Author Note: These are all my OWN personal opinions, and are based on my experiences. This does not mean what I'm writing will work for everyone or that everyone should do what I say. I make generalizations. I am by no means a fitness expert. The sole purpose of my post is to help others like myself who has HATED exercise their whole life, but have reached a point where they are ready to get moving but don't know how to start**

"I want to get active, but how do I get there? How do I enjoy it?"

Ahhhh....the age old question and struggle SO many of us face. We REALLY want to get healthy and get fit, but lets face it, the idea of working out, grunting, sweating, moaning and groaning does NOT sound appealing. Not only do we work our asses off all day (either at work, or being a full time parent), but finding time to fit in exercise feels like the LAST priority on the never ending list of To-Dos.

However, we also don't WANT to exercise. We're afraid of it (I know I'm being very general here, obviously some people LOVE working out and all the power to them!) It takes time, energy, effort, patience and stamina to stick to something. Plus, when it comes to working out, whether you're doing it to loose weight or to tone, it takes TIME to see the changes, which can be discouraging.

Also, all over the internet are pictures like these, which to the average person, does not make fitness look appealing:

Click HERE for a very interesting commentary on images like these
Crawling while crying and puking in a puddle of your own thanks. I would NEVER enjoy that no matter WHAT the gains are.

So where do you start?

Below are 5 things that REALLY helped me get my lazy butt off the couch and got me moving. Now, I can honestly say, I enjoy being active and working out. Not all the time, but more than I ever have in my life!

5 Tips on How to Start Getting Active and Enjoy It

(1) Most importantly, find something that you like. This initial activity will act as a "gateway drug" into the whole "getting active" process. For me, my gateway drug was Zumba. I love to dance, I love to be rediculous and Zumba was a perfect match for that. Once I started, I didn't want to stop. I gained confidence in my body and what it could do, and started to see positive changes.

For you, it may be walking, or cycle class or pilates. Whatever it is, I guarantee there is something out there that you will enjoy. It doesn't have to be a hardcore, puke inducing, muscle fest. Just something that gets your heart rate up. 

(2) Once you find something you enjoy, figure out a way to fit it into your busy schedule. On Saturday/Sunday, I'll look at my upcoming week and see what I have going on. Then, I'll find where and when I can fit my workouts in. When starting out from scratch, aim to be active at least 2-3 times a week.

Sometimes, you MAY have workout in the morning (yech). You can totally do it though, it's hard and it sucks sometimes, but you feel like a warrior when you're workout is done before you've even started the day.
In any case, set yourself a schedule and stick to it. I find it helps to have incentives as well. If you stick to your routine for the week, get yourself a little something (non-food related) as a reward and a reminder that you can do it!

Also, As much as I want you to stick to your routine, sometimes, sh*t happens. Kids get sick, work runs late, whatever. Instead of throwing up your hands and saying "Well this week is ruined" pick a different day and try again. Life isn't perfect, and neither will your active routine.

(3) As you get comfortable with getting more active, encourage yourself to try something new! Go try out that "Ebb and Flow Spirit Dance" class you're curious and intrigued by, but totally terrified of. Allow yourself to try it out 100% no hold barred. Sure, you may look like a newbie, but everyone in that class was a newbie at one point and probably looked just like you!

It's also okay if you don't like everything that you try. I'm not a boot camp girl, I don't like be yelled at. However, some people SWEAR by it. It's all about what works for you and your body.

(4) Be patient and kind with yourself. Some days, you will slip up. You'll miss a workout and binge on a bag of chips. OR you may feel like you're working so hard and not seeing any changes. Be patient, you will see them if you keep it up. Just keep saying "I can do this, I can do this"

(5) Be Fearless - this is a really cool tip I picked up from Gillian Michaels when she presented at CanFitPro this year.  She didn't mean fearless in the "YOLO, Imma rob a bank" kind of way, she means don't be afraid of your workout. I truly believe that the majority of people don't want to work out and get active because they're afraid of it. Afraid of failing, afraid of the pain, afraid of looking stupid.

If you're doing your best, and putting the effort in, no matter WHAT you do, at least you're doing it! So what if you can only run for 20 seconds before you run out of breath? So what if you go to Zumba and muck up all the steps? So what if you try a cycle class and have to stop halfway through? The point is, you did it. When you go back next time, you'll achieve a little bit more. We all started there. Anyone who is active today, was at on point in their life NOT active and had to start from scratch, just like you.

Let go of your fear and just give it a shot. What's the worst that could happen?

What are YOUR tips for getting active? What has worked for you?

Monday, 9 September 2013

The ULTIMATE Healthified Buffalo Chicken Dip

I am SO HAPPY to finally be back into the swing of things. The last month or so has been absolutely crazy, and a lot of posting/baking/working out etc. got pushed to the side. Not only did this make me sad (the not baking part) but I also felt totally gross.

 This summer I did the occasional lazy run and a couple of Zumba classes, but I ate poorly and just stopped taking care of myself. Not for any other reason than because I was tired, over-worked and stressed out (which really, is the MOST IMPORTANT time to keep active, know). I quickly forgot how much exercising helps me to get my sh*t together (even if all I want to do is sleep and eat).

Last week though, I pulled up my socks, put on my big girl (stretchy) pants and made my way to Zumba/Running/Tabata. I may have gained *gulp* 10lbs this summer, but I'm not letting that change how I feel about myself. Onwards and upwards! :)

Onto to the recipe! This is the first recipe in my Fall Baking Series - I figure since Football season is starting AND because this dip it is warm and buffalo-chickeney, it works perfectly!

I had seen this AH-MAZING recipe for this "Healthified" Buffalo Chicken dip awhile back, that I've been dying to try but never really had a reason.  This weekend however, was my AMAZING Mum's birthday! We were having a soiree at her house on Saturday and I was in charge of bringing an appitizer. PERFECT!

I cannot express to you how amazing this dip is. It is warm, gooey, cheesy, buffalo-y and healthier than your average Football Sunday dip. Don't get me wrong, it is in NO way low-cal, but it IS healthier.

I also did a couple of things for the first time trying this recipe: I poached chicken (who knew?) and shredded chicken for the first time! Whoot!

Again, you MUST try this dip. I could eat this every day for the rest of my life. I love it so much.

The ULTIMATE "Healthified" Buffalo Chicken Dip

2 poached chicken breasts
2 packages of low-fat cream cheese
1 cup of low-fat sour cream
3/4 cup Franks Hot Sauce (you can use the Buffalo style one, I just used regular)
1 tsp garlic powder
1.5 cup reduced fat cheese, shredded (I used full fat, old cheddar. Added a nice ZING)
Chips, baby carrots, pita slices etc. for dipping


To poach your chicken breast (in case you're like me and didn't know what that meant):
In a large pot, put your chicken breast so that they are laying flat at the bottom. Cover with water up to a 1/2 inch is over the chicken. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat until water is simmering and leave to cook for about 10 mins. Then, remove from heat and leave for another 10-15 mins. 

To shred your chicken: I just used 2 forks and literally just shredded the chicken. Basically I scraped at it until it pulled apart. I was quite proud of the end result:

Pre -heat your oven to 350 degrees F

Mix all the ingredients (Except for 1/2 cup of cheese) together either by hand or by mixer (the paddle attachment on my Kitchen Aid mixer worked perfectly!)  

*Note* To keep true to the recipe, you can use low-fat cheese. However, I LOOOOOVE me some old cheddar, so I used that instead and I think it added some amazing flavour to the dip!

Once it is all mixed, it will look a little bit like barf:

Next, transfer it to a loaf pan or any sort of baking dish that you think will work best for you. I used a Pyrex baking dish!

Sprinkle the remainder of the cheese on top and pop into the oven for 15 mins. Then, switch to broil and let it sit for another 1-2 mins to get the cheese all nice and bubbly!

It's quite hot when it comes out of the oven (duh!) but as per usual, I couldn't help myself! I brought the Multigrain Scoops with me and they worked perfectly! In this picture however, my sister is using blue corn chips (she's a "Glutard" as she affectionately refers to herself).

Seriously, I'm drooling right now. I could eat this stuff by the spoonful.

Anyway, this dip was a HUGE hit, definitely something I'll be making for future get-togethers and potlucks!


Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Color Me Rad, Pickles and the Future!

I can honestly say that this was one of the BEST weekends I've had in awhile. It incorporated everything that makes me happy and then some.

First, I want to talk about COLOR ME RAD. For those of you who don't know what this is, it is a 5KM "run" where throughout the race you get COVERED in coloured powder. As an example, you start the race out like this:

Hubby and I, all nice and clean...
And then you END the run looking a little something like THIS:

This was Hubby's first 5K ever and he did AMAZINGLY. I was so so proud of him. We stopped a few times to walk with the peeps we were running with, but he was RARING to go the whole time. I think I see a new running buddy in my future....(maybe) :)

Here is our AMAZING TEAM - Do or Dye:

DO OR DYE - clean
DO OR DYE - Coloured!
So you may be asking yourself "Why would anyone in their right mind want to RUN 5K and get pummled with coloured powder?"

I don't really have an answer for you other than - it was so much damn fun. Everyone from the wee tots ...(like my amazing little friend here): us old folk had a blast. The race isn't timed, there is no pressure, it's just a perfect excuse to let loose, get dirty and have a good time doing it. Everyone who did the race was so fun and so excited as well. There were gratuitous high-fives given, smiles were EVERYWHERE and honestly, it was so hard to contain your excitement. Sure, the powder in the mouth wasn't the most pleasant thing, but honestly, you barely noticed. You just wanted to get as colourful as possible (I MAY or may not have rolled around on the ground w/ my friend L to get more colourful.)

It's been three days since the run and I'm still thinking about it and smiling. I'm still going back and re-living the whole thing. I think what was so great about the experience is that it didn't matter how much of a runner you are, or how much you trained, you still enjoyed it. It was also amazing to see friends who I have been training with & had JUST started running embrace the run head on, and go crazy with it (You know who you are. A & K & S). Friends have that NEVER run before did the same thing (and did so like total champs).

Also, we ran by a field of Sunflowers, which for those of you who don't know, are my favourite flower of all time. Sooooo, that pretty much sealed the deal for me.

Anyway, to close off this part of the post, if this run (or any of the other similar races like Run or Dye or The Color Run) ever comes up in your area...GO. Even if you aren't a runner, even if it totally terrifies you to get this messy. DO IT. It is SO LIBERATING! It's impossible to not enjoy. To see if they're coming to a town near you, check out Also you get awesome swag, like sweet sunglasses, a shirt and a RAD tattoo...let's face it, it's all about the swag :)

 So after our crazy colour adventure, Hubby and I headed over to my Dad's place to make some Pickles. Yes, you read that right...Pickles. I have a Mennonite heritage and although I don't necessarily practice, I still embrace many parts of my background. One of these things is canning. I have been making jam, pickles, tomato juice etc. for my whole life and I'm not about to stop now!

My grandmother's pickles are PRETTY MUCH the greatest pickles ever. I KNOWWW, you probably have a recipe as well that is amazing, but this one is...I can't even tell you how good they are. I'm actually drooling right now thinking about them.

Here are a few shots from our Pickling Adventure:

Grandma, Grandpa & my Dad

It all starts with the base...

Jars are stuffed and topped with fresh dill

In just two months time, these will be perfect!
YUMMMMM, I can't wait until these are ready. Probably my favourite thing to break into when the weather gets cool. Also a fave part of Thanksgiving. Pickles, Tomato Juice and Turkey! EEEEK!

So what's next?

I have some great things to share with you soon! I have been working on a few posts about how to overcome a plateau, how to stay motivated and "Exercise - the Lazy Girls Way" All of these have been started and I will be posting them as they are finished!

ALSO, for the upcoming season of Fall/Thanksgiving,  I'm going to post a themed treat/food every week. As it is Fall, some will be pumpkin-flavoured treats, but I'm not a huge fan of pumpkin, so some will just be autum related (like Apple goodness...mmmmmm) or cold weather related (like a new soup or stew).

For Christmas, starting November 1st, I'm going to post treats that I think would make GREAT holiday gifts. If you're on a tight budget like I am, making treats for others not only makes a yummy gift, but also shows you put thought and effort into it, and this Christmas, that's my goal!

Finally, there are only 4 month left of 2013 - I have a few more items on my list to check off including, but not limited to: losing this Summer 10lbs I've put on and to start practicing Yoga on a weekly basis.

I'm going to do everything in my power to make the next four months REALLY count! Who's with me?????