Bomb Diggity Healthy Chinese Takeout – Shrimp Noodles

I have the upmost respect for those that work full-time that still find the time and energy to train like a beast and compete at a high level. I have even more respect for those that work full-time, go to school, and still manage to train at a high level. I am currently trying to juggle my office job, an international business course, and training and I am not quite managing it. I have to admit I am feeling a little burnt out and the dedication to school and running has not been up there this summer. I rarely ever get any school work done on weekdays when I get home from my 7-9 class or my workouts which means I try to dedicate weekends to readings, doing cases, and working on that international opportunity project.

This weekend started with high schoolwork production expectations. I even tried to establish a high productive environment by kicking off Saturday morning with an early Elliptigo ride on the roads (an adventure in itself that left my heart racing due to the close proximity with cars that didn’t quite understand my workout tool). But between the 80 minute ride and hitting up the awesome, fun, and just plain amazing Track and Roll Meet (thanks Lululemon!) I ended up being too physically exhausted to do much but laze around the apartment making waffles. I tried to do some readings and work on an industry analysis, I really did! but when dinner time rolled around all I had done was read food blogs. For some reason the readings left me craving Chinese takeout (maybe it was the little research I managed to do on the HK beer industry – I promise it’s for that group project!).

I was too lazy to dig around the freezer for chicken so dinner had to contain shrimp for the protein component. I was inspired by the cravings for sweet and sour pork and threw together a fun, healthy, and quick meal that fulfilled all my Chinese takeout cravings. I had no expectations for this dish (to be honest I thought it would be another mishap) but when I took a bite straight from the pan the only phrase that came to mind was “Bomb Diggity“.

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Bomb Diggity Chinese Takeout – Shrimp Noodles

(I’m going to guess this is a low carb meal, and if you use gluten free soya sauce this can be made gluten free!)

Macro Ingredients:

  • 1 package of deveined shrimp, peeled (I used a 400g package of tiger shrimp)
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1-2 servings of sweet potato vermicelli (found in Asian grocery stores, I get mine from T&T)
  • 3/4 cups of broccoli chopped into florets
  • 2 tablespoons of soya sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon of lime juice
  • oil

Micro Ingredients for the Sauce:

  • 3-4 tablespoons of ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon of soya sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon of lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
  • dash of garlic powder (or just use a clove of garlic to saute the shrimp)

Prep:

  •  Cook the sweet potato vermicelli according to package instructions
  • Spiralize the zucchini
  • Sauce it up by combining the micro ingredients listed above

Assembly:

1. Oil the pan, saute the shrimp until pink over medium heat, add sauce to pan when shrimp is pink. After sauce is added turn heat up to high and continue sauteing the shrimp until hot & cooked (for that “wok hey”). Remove shrimp from pan and set aside.

2. Saute the broccoli in the now-empty pan with a 1T of the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the zucchini noodles when the broccoli no longer tastes really raw (taste test method!). Throw the cooked sweet potato vermicelli into the pan before adding the soya sauce, lime juice, and the last 1 T of sesame oil. Stir & make sure the components are all fully incorporated.

3. Add cooked shrimp back to the pan, turn heat onto high and toss until all components are smoking hot. Serve with red pepper flakes if desired.

 

 

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Life is not a Chick Flick. Life Continues.

Girl meets boy at a bar. Life carries onwards without boy.

A few months later, girl meets same boy at a work event. Small talk between the girl, her boss, and the boy was made. Life carries onwards without boy.

Flash forward a few weeks, girl meets the same boy at a bar. Girl and boy exchange numbers. 

When girl returned home later that night the roommates claimed it was fate and the girl and boy were destined.

I am in the girl from the 4 lines listed above. For two weeks I starred in a real life chick flick.

The boy was picture-perfect.

Tall. Smart. Ambitious.

He was adoring. He was goofy. He was hungry. 

He liked ice cream. He was employed. He made her laugh.

I ended things with the boy last week. We had a nice two week run with some typical chick flick drama embedded but little personality things and the timing prompted my need to end things.

Like the movies, compromise on my part would have been necessary but unlike the movies I stood my ground. Also au contraire, I am not emotionless, I am not moping, I have not just thrown myself into work and am unable to enjoy the colours swirling on a daily basis.

Had thoughts of the boy and what could have been crossed my mind in the last week? The answer is yes. But that doesn’t mean I can’t continue to laugh over gelato with a girlfriend, spend a chunk of my last paycheck on a delightful Club Monaco dress, or make attempts at balancing the hectic life of a full time job, base training for the upcoming fall cross country season, and an international business course. In chick flicks the female protagonist is often showed as shaken over a break with the boy and their character development is altered by the incident but in the real world that doesn’t always happen and at times that shouldn’t happen.

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Ontario 2014 Election: Why I Won’t be Voting – Voting isn’t as easy as they say

I have some pretty strong opinions about each of the leading candidates for the Ontario election that takes place tomorrow but I am one Ontario citizen that will not be voting. That is not to say I do not care to vote or have a lack of care about the future health of my province and its people or that I simply do not care for any of the parties or leader. I will not be voting tomorrow as I am stuck in a rather tricky situation that I’ve realized many other individuals in my age demographic is experiencing.

The address listed for the purpose of claiming voting rights is about two hours by public transport from my place in the city. The reason why this address is still listed is that my downtown apartment is considered temporary (due to the nature of something called university I’ve moved 3x in the past 3 years). I work and live in the city and on a normal day it is rare to have returned home before 8PM – long story short there is no way for me to travel to the assigned voting station in time before the polls close.

Can’t vote on voting day? That’s what advanced voting is for.

Wrong. Again, there was no way I could have travelled back to the electoral district on a weekday in time before the polls closed. I did for some reason assume that advanced polls would be open on weekends. I learnt that was a wrong assumption over the weekend.

I find this type of situation quite ridiculous and concerning. Talking to other individuals of the same demographic revealed that many are facing a similar situation and the end result is that votes are not being cast. The “Youth” the “Younger Generation” is urged to vote and is criticized when turnout is low but this situation reveals that it is not that this demographic does not care but rather the voting opportunities are surrounded by booby-traps. And, it is not enough to do the homework on how to disable bobby-traps because some require special tools to navigate.  That being said, as much as I would like to, I will not be voting tomorrow.

FYI,

If I could throw something at our secondhand television every time I saw a Tim Hudak Million Jobs commercial (blatant lies, numerous economists have stated that these claims are nonsensical AND deficits are not always bad! a must-be 0 deficit financial plan can cost the province more money further down the road! – did someone miss the lecture on leveraging & NPVs?) the television would be broken and unrecognizable

Also, apparently the NDP ads are hilarious and contradict themselves.

As much as I am skeptical about Wynne, her slow running, and somewhat concerning running form I must say she may be the candidate that cares about Ontario the most.

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Hungry Athlete Staples: Turkey Meatballs

With the hustle and bustle of classes, studying, and workouts, dinner is generally my only meal of the day where the food is: 1. self-prepped 100% and 2. warm. Dinner is the next daily step after practice or just a simple run+bike+core combo. This post-workout meal is an integral part of my day whether it is eaten peacefully at home or packed and warmed up for a night class. One important thing to know about my eating habits is that dinner has to have 3 components: protein, vegetables, carbs. Lately with the help of my roommate’s spiralizer vegetables and carbs have been interchangeable.

I am not a very adventurous cook in the meat/protein category – dinners were a rotation of salmon, chicken, tofu, and shrimp. A few months ago I made an adapted and more general version of Asian Turkey Meatballs from SkinnyTaste and meatballs have since entered the rotation. These meatballs are packed full of protein, female track athlete-approved, versatile, and super easy and quick to make. I’ve made these meatballs and varying accompanying components within 30 minutes of getting through the front door, by the time the post-workout appetite loss is gone dinner is ready. BOOM.

Turkey Meatballs for that Hungry Athlete:

Ingrediants:

  • 1 package of ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4C italian bread crumbs
  • 3 stalks of finely chopped green onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced – I really like garlic 
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Assembly – preheat oven to 460

1. Whisk the egg

2. In a large bowl combine the ground turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, green onion, garlic, salt, & pepper

3. Shape spoonfuls of the meat mixture and shape into balls before placing onto an aluminum lined sheet, bake for 15-18 minutes (depending on size & whether the oven is housing other dinner components ie. oven fries or broccoli or your roommate’s salmon)

My favourite ways to incorporate this protein source into dinner include throwing them into soup with rice noodles or over zucchini noodles with a load of that White Linen pasta sauce from Costco (I could eat that sauce straight from the jar!).

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Meatballs w/tomato sauce, crispy oven baked hand cut fries (tip: 460C, avocado oil), roasted cauliflower 

 

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Meatballs overtop rice noodles, cucumber noodles, carrot noodles in chicken broth

Topped with pepper & a squeeze or Sriracha Sauce

 

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Meatballs with zucchini noodles, sauted yellow peppers, & a sesame sauce

 

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Kara Goucher, Oiselle, Brand Awareness

Earlier this week while browsing Letsrun.com during a study break a post caught my eye, one of the most well-known female marathon runners, Kara Goucher, had made the move from Nike to Oiselle.

I had no brand awareness of Oiselle until that moment. Within seconds of reading the post on Letsrun.com a new tab was opened and Oiselle was plugged into the search engine. Oiselle was founded by Sally Bergesen for the recreational runner’s market. From my quick skims over a few blogs, forum posts, and the company website, Oiselle is positioned toward affluent female recreational runners. The price point is similar to that of Lululemon and to my untrained eye the designs are relatively similar (but then it seems the majority of female workout clothing now sport the thick waistbands that Lululemon made so popular).

Many in the sponsorship industry argue that this is a space that is growing and has much potential but a recent article published in Canadian Running reported that brand sponsorship recognition is at a low with the 18-24 demographic. From the interest the Kara Goucher move generated, I believe if an athlete has a large fan base and close relationships with that fan base a story can make the sponsorship successful. Kara Goucher has just that from the love she has received from the RunnersWorld crowd and the obsessions of track fans (whether out of love or whatever strong reason Letsrun.com users feel).

When I read the Letsrun.com post on Goucher’s move to Oiselle the first question that popped into my mind wasn’t even the simple “Who is Oiselle?” but rather, “How many hits have the tagline of Oiselle + Kara Goucher gotten on Google?”. Whether Kara Goucher has already created brand resonance between her fans and Oiselle yet is not known but what is of certainty is that Kara Goucher has already increased the brand awareness of Oiselle in a multi-fold. The media launch day of the Kara Goucher to Oiselle move must have been an exciting day for Sally Bergesen, Kara Goucher, Lauren Fleshman, and the Oiselle website tech & social media team.

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#RunHappy

With the conclusion of my 9ish-10 day running break I hit the roads last Monday. The body felt sluggish, running felt foreign, and the pace was just not fast but one thought lingered in my mind the whole 45 minutes. The run on Monday was the first spring time run I’ve done since my first year and the first approved run over 35 minutes since last September. The day was a balmy 5C, I was in a tshirt and a pair of spandex, the precious pink compression socks were becoming damp from the backlash of puddles but I was just so happy. I had the goofiest smile on my face.

It has been a week since this run but I can still recall the glorious joy radiating from my self. The goofiest smile was plastered on my face and no matter how hard I tried to contort the lips into a more appropriate running shape the smile won over. By the 22nd minute I no longer tried to restrain the smile. Instead I made it my mission to share the joy I was feeling. I smiled at young high school girls on their way home, I smiled at hyperactive dogs, I smiled at the mom pushing her son in a stroller, I even smiled at the stressed out looking business man on Bloor. I wanted to share the joy I was feeling.

I have been so focused on trying to battle injuries, battle the perpetual SI joint problems, and other health issues to run fast that I’ve pushed my body and my mind too far in the last year. Although I had still enjoyed going to workouts to push myself and work to that goal of excellence I now realize that by the end of the season I was no longer actually enjoying the running itself. This 9-10 day break full of cake, friends, and just a wee bit of whiskey allowed for the body and mental to experience life without the constant push and drive to run faster and be better. Having this mandatory time off, having the need to run, taken away from me for this ever-so-long period let me re-realize the joy of running. As much fun as the break was I’ve realized that the normal student life isn’t for me, I want that constant drive for excellence fueled by my passion for my sport.

I love running.

#RunHappy

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Top to Bottom Disconnect – the Grocery Store

During a market research class last semester my prof shared the basis of a project she had worked on. She revealed that for one project a lab created  mock grocery store shelves and invited participants to test displays. This particular project tested the organization of the shelves of the baking aisle in chronological baking order. From what I could gather a rather large amount of resources was invested to design the baking aisle in such a manner.

It seems like large investments are made by companies every year in establishing the “right” retail environment and positioning of products. I have sat in and participated in numerous class discussions over the reasonings of specific product placements instore and techniques used to plan and execute the researched placements. I remember after reading of some Paco Underhill findings my trip to the local grocery store turned into a quite interesting trip as I compared his findings/suggestions alongside that of the current layout. In general I had felt that the research was being employed and applied at the store level as intended.

I always do my grocery shopping on Tuesdays now that the local Metro offers a 10% student discount. I always pick up the necessities of the week in the same order, baby carrots from the produce section, greek yogurt from the dairy section, and then juice from the edge of the refrigerated section. But last week I almost left the grocery store without the greek yogurt and the juice despite taking the exact same route as usual. I had walked past both the juice and the greek yogurt.

Two of the stock boys had decided to reposition the entire refrigerated section of the back wall. The greek yogurt and juice were now placed quite far away from their original spots. I was curious as I am quite often a believer in “why fix what ain’t broken” , especially when familiarity is an important factor (it is in my mind when grocery shopping is done in a rush!). The curiosity took over and I just had to question the two boys as to why the display was now entirely repositioned. The answer? “We don’t know, it’s because we’re idiots and felt like it”.

Now, I’m not sure how much the chain may have invested in research to establish the most revenue maximizing positioning scheme but the lesson that I learnt is that expensive research is useless unless applied and employed at the storefront level.

FYI, I almost walked away from the grocery store without greek yogurt during this week’s Tuesday trip when I couldn’t find the familiar blue tube at first glance.

Also, I wonder how suppliers feel when they realize the product placement spot they pushed hard for isn’t where their product actually lies. #disconnect

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