Fitspiration

Oct
24

Sometimes I get a little excited about fitness goals and I just go full throttle.

scorpion

I've been REALLY all about arm balancing lately. It's fun and I'm finally at a phase where I can do fun cool things on my hands and for a few weeks straight all I wanted to do was practice, practice, practice! 

I have a history with forearm injuries and if I'm not careful they will flare up again. It's happened in the past whenever I've tried adding in handstands to my workouts and normally I just take a few days off and my wrists feel better. This time I ignored the warning signs and just let them flare up. It got bad. I couldn't even do a plank for two weeks because my wrists were so tender.

I saw my sports doctor – Andrew Sullkowski on wednesday and he confirmed that I had no tendonitis and that I had in fact sprained my wrist. Bummer. But the good news is it is already feeling WAY better. Nothing like a little rest!

The lesson I'm learning and re-learning with this injury is that it is SO important to listen to your body at the first sign of pain. I think if I had listened to the warning signs would not have had this injury at all! One day I know I'll get to handstands and super cool arm balances but it doesn't have to happen all in one week … I guess that's part of what really makes them cool in the first place! I'm inspired to get better and get back upsidedown soon.

Have a healthy and happy weekend!

Lightened Up Chicken Potpie

Oct
23

There's just something about cold weather and hot chicken potpie that go so well together.

chicken stew

When I was little this was my absolute favourite thing for dinner ever. I LOVED the crust and was crushed when I was told that was the unhealthy part! I have tried just making this stew on it's own and yes it is healthier but really one teddy bear biscuit won't hurt! And what's cuter than teddy bear biscuits?!

teddy bear biscuits

I made this on monday and we are still working our way through it! It would also be perfect to make in advance of a dinner party because you can just heat it up when your guests arrive and are ready to eat!

IMG_8648

This dutch oven was a wedding gift and I'm SO in love with it. I have wanted one for years and now that I have one I've used it at least once a week. It's the perfect pot. 

chicken stew2

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken into large dice. You will have 4 to 6 cups of cubed chicken.

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock.

In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the cubed chicken, carrots, peas, onions, and parsley. Mix well.

Transfer your dutch oven into the oven and bake with lid on for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the teddy bear biscuits.

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is the size of peas. Add the half-and-half and combine on low speed. Mix in the parsley. Dump the dough out on a well-floured board and, with a rolling pin, roll out to 3/8-inch thick. Cut out twelve teddy bears/hearts/stars whatever your heart desires with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter. Remove the stew from the oven and arrange the biscuits on top of the filling. Bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the biscuits are brown and the stew is bubbly.

Note: To make in advance, refrigerate the chicken stew and biscuits separately. Bake the stew for 25 minutes, then place the biscuits on top, and bake for another 30 minutes, until done.

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Ingredients

For the Stew:

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts 
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  •  5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 6 tablespoons of butter or ghee (I know this sounds like a lot but it makes a lot of stew!) 
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups medium-diced carrots (6 carrots), blanched for 2 minutes
  • 1 10 -ounce package frozen peas (2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley

For the Biscuits:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Fall Form

Oct
22

I waited for years to find just the right leather jacket.

fall uniform

:: All Saints – leather jacket, Aritzia – tank top, Fidelity – jeans, Zara – scarf (old), Zara – booties (old) ::

When we were in England (four – yikes feels like yesterday!) years ago now I first discovered All Saints walking through Notting Hill in London. At the time I had zero income so I decided to pick lunch over leather and passed on some beautiful jackets. Then it came to Canada! The jackets found ME!

I know I will be wearing this with absolutely everything!

fall style

I finally took the jump this fall and I absolutely love this jacket – the side zip, small quilted detailing and really slimming cut are all winners in my book. This with jeans, fun boots and an oversized scarf blanket is what I am living in on weekends this fall.

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Oct
21

Last week I invited my friend and client and fitness superstar trainer Jill to come try her first Bod Squad class!

lion hug

Today at her first personal training session since the class she told me how awesome of a time she had AND loved how friendly and nice everyone was. 

I realized then and there how much I really do take it for granted just how awesome our Bod Squad community is. I don't mean to brag but I'll just come right out and say it – Bod Squaders are the nicest people ever. Everyone is just supportive and friendly and sweet … and if they aren't then I MAKE THEM BE THAT WAY. Kidding! … But not really. I have a zero tolerance policy for meanness mixed with sweatness.  

When I first started my classes I knew that I wanted to create a space where people felt welcome, challenged and safe. Everyone knows everyones name, if someone does something great I always point them out and everyone cheers them on. It's awesome. We are all in this together!

I can't tell you how many fitness classes I've been to in my 26 years and been just blown away at how bitchy/rude some the atmosphere can be. Listen: there is no such thing as a reserved spot in an aerobics class. And if you're 25 minutes late you really have no business coming in and running to the front of the room. I've seen someone try to turn the heat up in a hot yoga class! I saw a lady yelled at a young girl once who tried to open a window in Pilates – how dare she want fresh air! Can't we all just get along?! I do absolutely see it as my job to set the tone as the teacher but ultimately it's up to everyone. 

The next time you're in a fitness class try putting away someone else's weights – you're going back to the rack anyway what's two more things to carry? Maybe offering them a towel if you're going to get one. If they are super strong – tell them that you're impressed with them! A little goes a long way. After all we are all just humans here with the same goal: to look great naked and be younger next year. 

Casa Loma Staircase Run

Oct
20

What an exciting weekend for runners in Toronto!

casa loma stair run

The Scotiabank Marathon, half and 5k happened just yesterday! I went to cheer on my sister in law Amie who ran her first half in an impressive 2:01! At the finish area I bumped into my superstar running friend Vicky who WON the 5km in 17:17!! YAYA fast friends!! It was just the inspiration I needed to head into to a great week of workouts.

casa loma steps

One of my favourite (and least favourite) things to do is run stairs. In the wintertime I like to run the 31 flights of stairs in my condo 4-5x … now that's when I'm feeling really reckless haha!! 

st clair stairs

:: My favourite outdoor stairs in Toronto are the ravine stairs at Yonge and just south of Davisville ::

My second favourite Toronto steps are at Casa Loma. They are a bit shorter but the view of the city and the castle is pretty spectacular. 

casa loma run

My best time is 28 seconds. I'll run this case 10x in a workout. I love it here because it is very busy with other runners and often I find someone to race up them for a few rounds! 

casa loma stretch

What to do If Stairs are New!

Running up stairs is SO good for you. It helps with encouraging knee drive and they will absolutely elevate your heart rate and help you on future hill runs! I love to suggest hills or stair training to my clients who are just starting to get involved with running intervals because they are a sure bet way to challenge your body. There are no break buttons on the stairs!

For your first stairs workout make sure you get a good warm-up of at least 5-10 minutes of flat ground running. When you get to the stairs make sure you do some dynamic stretches – for ideas check this out. No matter how long the stairs actually are for the first time try to go for time and not for distance. I like to start with 20 seconds "on" then walk down. See how far you can make it up! If you can get through 8 rounds of 20 second bursts then that is awesome! The next time try to increase to 30 seconds with 8 rounds. Then build up to the full length of the stairs.

Good luck! These are SO much better with a workout buddy! Have a friend meet you at the stairs if you can – even a fluffy friend is a great motivator on these.