Welp, I survived the first Kettlebell 101 class last night. My first impression is that I'm going to like the class, and that it's going to benefit my legs, core and behind more than anything. We started with a mile run around the track and some dynamic stretching (shout-out to Mike Cerimele at Velocity Sports Performance in Allentown as he's who I think of every time I hear those words) before learning a handful of basic kettlebell drills as well as some core exercises. We did two short circuits, around three minutes each, and before I knew it, the class was ending with stretching.
Today, the snow continues to fall on Alberta, and the only thing on my mind is warm comfort food. So I'm digging up a recipe from when we first moved here: Hearty Bison Stew. Why bison you might ask? Well here in Alberta, bison is fresh and plentiful. In fact, the bison that I used in this stew was fresh from Thundering Ground Bison Ranch, just 40km southwest of Edmonton. TGBR is at our market every Saturday so it's very convenient to purchase fresh, high quality meat. Also, bison is extremely nutritional. Bison is low in fat, high in protein, and has a greater concentration of iron, zinc and essential fatty acids than other meats. I encourage you to give it a try sometime!
To make the stew, I started with bison stewing meat and a small bit of olive oil over medium high heat. I would imagine peanut oil would also work well here.
As the bison was cooking through, I added a chopped onion and sea salt and pepper to taste.
Next came some beef broth and flour to thicken. I used Bob's Red Mill GF All-Purpose Flour.
Then some chopped carrots and small potatoes - all from the market, for me - were added. No rhyme or reason with the amount, just whatever looks good to you! Let the ingredients simmer together on low heat. I tend to think my stew is just right before the carrots get mushy.
Please excuse the appearance of the 'final product' below. Like I said before, this was right after we arrived in Edmonton and we didn't have any belongings, hence the paper plates & plastic cups!
To make this a well-rounded meal, I would add a simple salad of mixed greens dressed lightly in olive oil and lemon juice on the side. You can't beat the 'stick to your bones' goodness of the stew!
With my grocery shopping done, it's time to keep plugging away at some to-do's until we head to the bike shop for spin class tonight. That's if these two don't steal me away to cuddle first.
What are your favorite warm, comfort foods? Any recipes to share?
I woke up this morning feeling like we were off work and home with a snow day. Maybe this had something to do with that?
That's actually what we woke up to yesterday, and it was as awesome as it looks. After a productive morning deep-cleaning the house, baking some pumpkin oatmeal and cheering the Steelers on to victory, we loaded up the pups and hit up one of our favorite dog parks.
Fun Edmonton Fact: Edmonton has 40 off-leash sites for dogs, with many bordering the river valley for easy playtime & drinking access. I've never lived in a city with such great areas devoted to pups, and we're excited to keep exploring!
Lots of trails to explore and snow to dive into!
Can't forget to play 'find the stick and continue to eat it' in the snow!
We stayed for about an hour and then I got cold. Note to self: must wear wind pants over Nike Pro Combat fleece-lined tights and invest in heavier gloves. Time to start buying tons of Patagonia gear on eBay.
We kept organizing the condo once we got back, and I am happy to say that we are about 98% settled. Just need to make a few more furniture purchases, but all of our boxes are finally unpacked and every item has a home. It feels so good to be DONE.
We kept it light and healthy for dinner with some fresh wild salmon and broccoli from the farmer's market. It feels good to eat clean.
As soon as Shaun finishes a call, we're off to FINALLY pick up our car. Yes, you're reading that correctly. It just arrived in Edmonton. Here's hoping it's in one piece.
Tonight is also another night of 'firsts' for me as I registered for a Kettleball 101 class at the gym. Really hoping to love this class as the TRX Boot Camp is full.
For everyone on the East Coast, stay safe! We are thinking of you up here in Canada!
So remember when I started this blog and titled it Swim...Bike...Running on Empty, leading you to think it was loosely triathlon related? Well, mama's got her groove back, and so does this semi-triathlon-themed blog.
Let me fill you in. When our bikes were shipped to Edmonton, they were literally tossed in a moving truck. No crating, no wrapping, nothing. When the truck door opened, I think Shaun's jaw had to be lifted off the ground. Bonus points if you can find my bike in the photo below.
So with the help of Google Maps, we took our bikes down to the local bike shop (conveniently just five blocks away) for some TLC. We knew we were in for a treat when the bike shop mascot Kiera, a chocolate lab, came bounding out to greet us. Following a trip to Pittsburgh and NYC, we came home and our bikes were ready to go, and so were we with the shop's fall spin classes.
This morning was our first class of many more to come, which meets on Saturday mornings and Tuesday evenings. The class is in the bike shop and I honestly don't think could have been any better. Everything about the class was awesome, and the people were even better. It's true what they say about Canadians: they are the friendliest in the land, and it's been so comforting to meet people that are so genuinely nice and share similar interests. We got our bikes set up on our trainers and settled in for a 90-minute ride.
My spin class history has been limited to gyms and FlyWheel so I've never done anything like the above, and I was thankful to have a nice couple setup next to me that explained everything from the get-go and helped me at one point when my bike needed some adjusting. What I loved about the above workout is that 1) it was humbling and awesome 2) the music was right up my alley 3) Paula Findlay was there so you know it's legit and 4) I really learned something while on my bike today. I certainly have a long way to go and my legs are currently pleading with me, but I can't wait to see how much I improve from even just now through December. And then we will dive into a more hardcore class in the spring. Perfect for Ironman training, eh? Yes, I just said that. More to come...
After class, there was hot coffee and pastries for everyone. Attempting to not ruin my entire workout, I ate two bites of a gloriously amazing cinnamon roll and downed two large cups of coffee like it was my job. I'm currently at home drinking my third. Don't judge me. We met some other cyclists and chatted with the shop owner more who really encouraged us to make the shop a second home. I really loved that, and look forward to spending a lot of time there learning from everyone and pushing myself to become a better athlete.
With our workout logged for the day (and my farmer's market shopping already done at the crack of dawn) it's time to shower and get settled in for the game.
GO STATE, BEAT THE (UNDEFEATED) BUCKEYES!
Another beautiful weekend in the books. Our time was spent shopping at the farmer's market, watching football, cooking and hanging out with the pups.
Luckily, the football games went as they were supposed to, i.e. Penn State beat a ranked Northwestern team and the Steelers were able to pull off a win against the Eagles. Can I just say how amazingly proud I am of Penn State football this year? These student athletes have had to endure more than most adults do in their lifetime, and they are persevering like no other. Truly an inspiration to me.
On Sunday, we met up with the Edmonton Off Leash Dog Walking group that we found via meetup.com. If you are new to any town, I strongly encourage you to browse around on MeetUp for groups you may want to join. It's a great way to meet people, and in our case, get the dogs (and ourselves) some exercise!
Yesterday was Canadian Thanksgiving and Shaun chose to work so that he could take American Thanksgiving off. That left me with a lot of time to clean and continue organizing our apartment. I also managed to make cinnamon applesauce from scratch! You can do it, too - here's how!
I started with six large local Jonagold apples from the farmer's market. The key to apples in homemade applesauce is picking sweet ones. Red delicious are also great but they were not available at the market, so Jonagold it was.
Next, peel, core and chop all apples and toss into a slow cooker. You can also do this on the stovetop but I tend to appreciate the slow cooker more.
I added 1/2 cup of water, 1/8 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon. The water just helps to get the cooking started, and having not made the applesauce with Jonagold apples before, I wanted to make sure it was sweet enough, hence some sugar. I also added a lot of cinnamon as the goal was a rich, cinnamon applesauce. If you don't like cinnamon, you can always add it after that fact when scooping yourself a bowl.
Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce (makes four servings)
*6 large apples (any 'sweeter' apple will work well)
*1/2 cup water
*1/8 cup sugar
*1 tbsp cinnamon
Peel, core and chop the apples and place them into a slow cooker. Add water, sugar and cinnamon and mix. Cook on high for 2 hours and then reduce to low for 2 hours. Enjoy warm or cold. Makes four servings.
See? Told you the homemade applesauce was easy! What wasn't so easy - well, should I say, so clean - was the homemade fish and chips that I made for dinner.
A few weeks ago, we picked up some fresh haddock that was caught just north of Edmonton. With food prices being so expensive around here, the case of haddock seemed like a steal, so it came home with us and into the freezer. And for some reason - why is beyond me, as I can't stomach fried food well if at all - I decided fish and chips seemed like the perfect idea. Actually, fish and onion rings. Not chips.
Those suckers required a lot of time and effort which I didn't feel like documenting, haha. But the fish recipe is from here and the onion rings can be found here. Shaun really enjoyed the crispiness of the onion rings (I credit the panko bread crumbs I used) while I really enjoyed the flavor of the haddock with some fresh lemon juice.
And today, we join the gym :)