Friday Finds: Outdoor Gym Equipment at Johnny Flag!

August 2010 057
On Sunday morning, after we unloaded our kids, Richard and I biked to
Jean Drapeau Park in Montreal. We are not really bikers.  I know this because we don’t have padded bike shorts and spandex shirts with pockets on the back.   Also, Richard has a hybrid bike and I own a 20
year old Trek mountain bike.   I really love
my bike and I just go it tuned up so it rides fast and furious and handles all the bumps
Montreal roads have to offer.  We bike for
recreation whenever we can.

August 2010 063
What we discovered on Sunday at Jean Drapeau was pretty cool.  They have an outdoor playground just for adults!  How fun is that?  Right next to the pool and the kiddy playground is brand new outdoor gym equipment provided by Trekfit.  I read about this in the Gazette the week before and so I came prepared to do some training.  The objective is to do a circuit workout.  Pictures were posted with explanations at all the stations. They also have workouts on their websites in PDF. format that you could easily follow.
This equipment is really just a modern twist on old school exercises.  The tried and true chin up, push-up and squat are all just a little bit more fun when done outside on some pretty cool equipment in a gorgeous park.

August 2010 072
I think this a trend that needs to catch on in our city.  People are biking for transportation,
recreation and for exercise more than ever before (think Bixi).  So why not install adult equipment in various locations?  I just heard that the City of
Cote Saint Luc will be doing just that.  As early as this fall we could start seeing people working out for free outside!  Cote Saint Luc is also building an inter-generational aquatic centre and that could be complete by next spring!  I love staying active but sometimes boredom sets in.  Having a variety of convenient activities to do is very motivating! Thanks Montreal and Cote Saint

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Friday Finds: Dessert Par Angela

July 2010 087
I was picking up some fruit
and vegetables at the local Fruiterie in deep Cote Saint Luc with my son Trevor
the other day.  Whenever we go in there,
he wants a chocolate chip muffin because his mother never bakes anything.  We were looking through the selection when I
came upon a new flavor zucchini, carrot and pineapple.  I picked it up and saw that it wasn't a house
muffin it was from a new supplier called Dessert Par Angela.  I looked at the ingredients and found them to
be what I would deem homemade.  I bought
a few of these muffins and ate one when I got home.  It was very moist, dense and with a hint of
sweetness.  All what you would expect
from a muffin made with whole wheat flour, fruit, vegetables and sweetened with
a bit of fruit juice and baked with a relatively small amount of oil.  In my opinion, this was a perfect
muffin. (Sorry no picture I ate it before I thought to photograph it)

July 2010 122
I tracked Angela down to a
small storefront in
Outremont.  It turns out this is the same Angela formerly
of Eatz Encore in
Westmount.  What intrigued me most about Angela is how
she created most of her recipes from scratch. 
In fact, they aren't even written down. 
She just knows how it goes. 
Baking is a science and generally speaking recipes are necessary to
create a fabulous end product.  It takes
some serious talent to bake without recipes. 
Angela said she wanted to make baked goods with healthy ingredients like
whole wheat flour.  She basically
experimented until she figured out which ingredients work well together.  It took a lot of patience and a lot of trial
and error.

July 2010 086
What I found in her store
was a plethora of home baked goodies and wonderful homemade salads.  I brought home a just out of the oven banana
chocolate chip loaf to Trevor's delight. 
I had to stop him from eating the entire thing.  Jason doesn't love chocolate (very weird) so he enjoyed the apricot-cranberry
cookie instead. 

Angela makes several fresh
salads every morning for the lunch crowd. 
I sampled the carrot-raisin, coleslaw and potato salad which I enjoyed
with my veggie hot-dog for supper.  I
picked up some cream cheese brownies, carrot cake and pecan pie.  Apparently, Angela specializes in pies but
was all sold out of the fruit ones by the time I got there.  I put those treats into the freezer to enjoy
at a later date with Richard or whoever might drop by.  Hint.

July 2010 105
Here's the thing, since I
hate baking but know I should provide my kids with wholesome treats in their
lunch box, this the alternative.  I am
happy to let someone else do the baking and include it in my weekly grocery
budget.  I would rather use my time to
focus on home cooked meals.  Angela's
treats are kid friendly and very traditional. 
However, if you prefer non-traditional, organic, and are not picky about
what you get perhaps you might like the folks at
Sweet Revenge. I do both.  I get a delivery every two weeks from those
guys and I supplement with baked good from Angela's.  Just remember these are treats.  Portion size is important and moderation is
the key. 

July 2010 093To get in touch with Sweet
Revenge click here. Angela delivers to 5 Saisons in Westmount, National in
Westmount, The Verdun Hospital, Quality Fruits in Cote Saint Luc or you can
drop by her store in Outremont at 1570 Van Horne.

Friday Finds: Nuts to You Nut Butter

This week’s Friday find is nut butters.  Before you read any further you should know
that this is a very high fat, high caloric food. I am not even going to bother posting
the nutrition label.   But, will you eat

We live in a fat phobic society and people are literally
afraid to eat fat.  The common belief is
that if they eat fat they will get fat.  The
truth is if you eat high caloric, high saturated/trans fat and high sugar foods
often enough you will get fat.

It is essential to have some fat in your diet to absorb fat soluble
vitamins like A, D, E and K. However, it is the type of dietary fat that is
important.  Saturated fast like that
found in animal based products (meat and full fat dairy) should be consumed in
moderation.  Plant based fats are healthy
and can be eaten more often.  Sprinkle
nuts and seeds into couscous. Enjoy olive oil in salads and
poured from the bottle over whole grain pastas. 
Use fresh avocado in salads and dips. 
Spread nut butters on crackers and thick whole grain breads.

Fat does other stuff besides absorb fat soluble
vitamins.  It helps you feel full and
helps regulate blood sugar especially if you are diabetic.

It would be remiss if I did not tell you that fat contains 9
calories per gram as opposed to 4 calories per gram in protein and carbohydrates.  That is pretty much why fat containing foods
are high in calories.  If you are
watching your weight there is no need to avoid fat, simply watch the portion
size.  That means don’t eat peanut butter
from the jar with a spoon.

Pb 002
The nut butters featured here are delicious and wonderful.  They are all natural without any additives or
emulsifiers.  An emulsifier keeps liquids
from separating.  Without an emulsifier natural
nut butter has a film of fat that sits on top. 
I keep my nut butters in the fridge and mix them well each time before
spreading.  I never use more than 2
tablespoons for my sandwiches.  I always have
nut butters on hand and can therefore always make a quick healthy sandwich or
snack in a pinch.  

p.s. This company is from Ontario and does NOT have a website or an email.  I bought these nut butters at my neighborhood IGA.

Friday Finds: Ryvita Muesli Crunch

July 2010 004

July 2010 008I was grocery shopping at the IGA
in Cote St-Luc last week when I found myself in the frozen foods section.  I was standing there daydreaming at 9:30 at
night when I turned around and was confronted by the RYVITA shelf.  I thought to myself, hmmmm these crackers are
known to be healthy why haven’t I ever tried them?  I am not a big fan of the flavour of rye
which is probably why I have overlooked these gems for so long.

July 2010 005I am always on the look out for
healthy portable non-perishable snacks. 
I don’t usually buy granola bars, which is a popular choice for most,
because they are mainly filled with sugar and other garbage.  Most crackers are over processed too. 

The muesli on the box appealed to
me (as did the color) so I picked up the box and scanned the ingredients and
the nutrition facts label.  2 slices of
Muesli Crunch gives about 2 teaspoons of sugar, 3 grams of fibre and 2 grams of
healthy fat.  2 slices are equivalent to
1 serving of grain product (1 slice of bread for example) according to
Canada’s Food

July 2010 007
While I was spending way too much
money at the supermarket I picked up some almond/hazelnut butter and macadamia
butter and some superfruit spread.  I use
these delicious spreads over the Ryvita and it is killah!  Couple this flatbread with a protein like nut
butter, cottage cheese, a cheese slice or even some tuna.  It’s a good combination rather than eating
the flatbread alone because it makes you feel full. 

Listen to you hunger cues.  Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are

Friday Finds: Spelt with Red Pepper

June 2010 029
I swear I do not work for Loblaws.  I guess the Blue Menu stuff really appeals to
me and they have a ton of new products. 
I thought this spelt one looked good. I was wrong.  To be fair, I have never eaten spelt
before.  Spelt is a whole grain and whole
grains are good for us. 

Nutritionally speaking, the ingredients read well.  The food label indicates 4g of fiber per
serving of 170 calories, not bad.
not too high in sodium and there is not much sugar. 

June 2010 032

June 2010 031I knew I was in trouble when I opened the flavour sack and
it smelled like cheese. Yuck KD flavoured spelt.  I added about 3 cups of water to a medium
sized pot just like it said and then dumped in both pouches.  I brought it to a boil and then simmered it
over medium for 20 minutes.  The spelt
became engorged with water and the sauce thickened.  I removed it from the stove and let it stand
for 5 minutes.  It wasn’t pretty.  In fact, it looked nothing like the
picture.  The food designers who set up
the picture on the box deserve an award. 
My concoction looked ugly and unappetizing, kind of like a pan full of maggots.  It tasted ok-ish but I wouldn’t buy it

June 2010 036
There has got to be a better way to eat spelt.  Does anyone know of any products or recipes?

June 2010 043