Monday, 25 November 2013

Healthy peanut butter chocolate bars

This post falls under the "and stuff" of Skates and Stuff.  I love baking and desserts but sometimes it can be hard to make some healthy-ish options.

I was sitting at home taking an extra afternoon off to recover while the rest of my group was training and was really in need of some comfort food.  I found this recipe online, experimented with it a little and was really happy with how it turned out.  So I'll tell ya what I did and leave the recipe at the bottom.

The original recipe called for half a cup of brown sugar but I only used a quarter cup and mixed it with 1 cup of peanut butter, 2 teaspoons of vanilla and then on a whim I decided to add half a banana.  The banana was a little hard to mix in but I figured that no one would really complain if they got a chunk of banana in their bar.
This smelled so good I could have stopped there and just licked the bowl
Next up was one cup of flour (whole wheat because that's how stupidly healthy I am), a cup of oats, a teaspoon of baking soda, and a quarter of a teaspoon of salt (I don't know if it makes any difference at all but I use sea salt).

It was all a little crumbly until I added the milk.  I used half a cup of chocolate almond milk instead of regular milk (and that also accounted for some of the sugar I left out).  I put in half a cup of chocolate chips but you could also put in raisins or nuts or whatever else. 
I pressed it all in a greased pan and put it in the oven for about 17 minutes. 
The finished product was almost suprising to me since I had never experimented on a recipe that much.  The bars are kind of somewhere between a banana bread and an oatmeal cookie, they're soft in the middle which probably comes from the banana.
They're a little bit healthier but still good.  I ate three that first day.

1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter (all natural)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 banana 
1 cup flour (I used whole wheat)
1 cup oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/2 cup milk (I used chocolate almond milk)
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F
Mix brown sugar, peanut butter and vanilla 
Add the banana 
Mix in flour, oats, salt and baking soda. Slowly add milk and then chocolate chips (may need to use your hands to mix it all together)
Press into a greased baking pan and bake for 17-20 minutes, or until the bars start to brown around the edges 

Canadian Open

If you read my last post you will remember that I was in Montreal for National team trials #1 (aka Canadian Open).  I worked very hard to qualify for that competition and was looking forward to carrying that hard work and the success I had at National Qualifier to these races.  I don't want to go into too much detail but I will give you a small recap of what happened.

I had some good races, some ok races, and some awful races.  I was able to pull off longer distances like the 1500m and 1000m but I struggled with the sprint distance.  It was very upsetting, I felt like I was going in slow motion, I was losing, and to top it off that was the day that a lot of my family had travelled down to watch me and my cousin.  I managed to turn it around the next day and skated alright but it still affected my overall ranking and I finished lower down the list than I wanted to.  I guess that just means I'm going to have to work on strength and power in the weight room and technique and starts on ice before the next trials in March, new training block starts today.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Traveling and Training Essentials

I recently left Calgary to travel to Montreal for 10 days for the Canadian Open competition.  I travel a lot so I thought I would share with you some of my traveling essentials.  Keep in mind that I'm traveling for a speed skating competition so the things that I packed will be different than what I would take with me if I was just going on vacation.

I like to start off packing for any trip by doing all the laundry I've been putting off for a week all in one day and then sorting it all on my bed so that I have to either pack it or put it away before I can go to sleep.
I hated myself for doing this but then I actually packed so I guess that was good
The first things into my bag were my training essentials, everything I need for training and warming up off the ice.
Oooh so much spandex
First up, tights! I love tights. You can work out in them and don't have to worry about people seeing things they shouldn't and they're oh so comfy. Also you know sometimes rinks and arenas are cold and tights keep the muscles warmer.
From left to right: tights - lululemon, crops - lululemon, tights - lululemon, compression pants - under armour
Next up shirts.  This new long sleeve from lululemon is one of my best purchases in a long time.  It's nice and thick so it keeps you warm and then it has mesh down the back and under the arms so you don't overheat and the mesh looks kind of lacy so that's fancy.  Also pictured is my favourite lululemon sports bra (seriously I want 12) and tank.
Sports bra, tank and long sleeve all lululemon
And finally if I'm not wearing tights or if we're doing weights where it's warmer I am all about the spandex shorts.  I swear I didn't mean for this to be a lululemon ad but they just make such good quality clothing and it lasts forever, I have a pair of lulu yoga pants that I've owned for more than 5 years that I'm still wearing.
shorts: both lululemon
Next traveling essential is my travel humidifier.  Hotel rooms can get really dry so I set this up with a bottle of water and then hope it helps keep me from getting sick.
This one is Bell+Howell and you just have to put a water bottle in the top
Some other random essentials are St Ives Mineral Therapy hand cream (I have the big body lotion pump and it is incredible, best lotion I've ever used), deodorant (duh and this one smells good), shampoo and conditioner in little travel bottles so that my bag doesn't way too much (I got these ones at the drugstore for around two dollars), and Neutrogena Oil-Free face cream (this is very light and not greasy so I feel like I can use it every day and work out and my skin won't explode).

The next step in my packing process is to throw the rest of my clothes and skating stuff into the bag, cry when it's overweight because all the skate sharpening things weighs too much, take clothes out and then try to fit as many things as I can in my carry-on.
Carry on: sweater that wouldn't fit in the suitcase, running shoes, skates (because those are allowed on Canadian flights), helmet, water bottle, supplements (e-load, ultragen and whey protein), school books, personal book, and notebook.  (And, of course, my laptop.)
Always pick a comfy plane outfit, no one cares what you look like. Honestly. Always go for comfort not style. This is also a great way to bring another outfit you wanted that maybe you couldn't justify bringing or couldn't fit in the bag.
Tights: ivivva, sweater: H&M, scarf H&M
And that's everything because then I got overwhelmed by packing last minute and stopped taking pictures.  If you like posts like this let me know and maybe I can do a travel makeup essentials or supplements, or clothes, or what to do on a plane or something like that!
All my travel things by the door ready to go.