Monday, July 29, 2013

Lake Louise - Banff National Park

Chateau Lake Louise from across the frozen lake.

Snowshoe along the lake and across to a sheer ice wall.

Enjoy the clear skies and mountains on either side.

And rest.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Troll Falls - Kananaskis

Named aptly because of the weird rock formation protruding from the rock face, Troll Falls is an easy 3km trail located near Kananaskis Village. Great for snowshoeing or hiking, the trail is a moderate elevation gain and the falls are worth the visit, beautiful in the winter when the water freezes to sheer ice.



Head west on Hwy 1 to Hwy 40 by the casino. Head south to the Kananaskis Village turnoff. Go straight and take your first right into the Stoney Trail Day Use Area. The trail starts just past the gates.

It's a gentle climb through the trees on a reasonably well-marked trail. There were some signs that didn't make much sense and required a little guess work to figure out which way to go but we managed and made it to where we were going.

After the short hike, head up to Kananaskis Village from some lunch and to warm up. Great way to spend a Sunday.
I haven't tried this trail in the summer but I imagine the falls are just as nice. Visit Hike Alberta for more information and more pictures.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Not Enough Protein

I read somewhere not too long ago that we should be getting approx. 75% of our body weight in protein. So if you're 130lbs, you should be getting 97.5g of protein every day. If you're 200lbs, you should be getting 150g of protein. That's a lot of protein but it's good for you.

  • Builds lean muscle.
  • Helps burn fat.
  • Keeps you full longer. And better than other not so healthy choices. 

But the sad reality is many of us don't get enough of it. Or have no clue just where you can get it, naturally.

I'm like many of those. Sure I know meat (fish, chicken, turkey, beef, pork, eggs...huge protein.) But you can only eat so much meat.

The answer?

An extra boost of protein everyday?

Protein shakes.

I have grown to love these babies. And you can make them incredibly good. So good, in fact, how can they possibly be good for you?

You can add essentially anything into a protein shake. Ice cream, for example. Maybe not a great choice, but yummy nonetheless.

I don't add ice cream to my shakes.

Try this the next time you find it hard to swallow down the protein poorly blended in water or milk because you're in a hurry.

In a blender, add 1 scoop of your favourite protein powder.
1/2 cup of water or partly skimmed milk.
1/2 cup of yogurt (any flavour will work)
1/2 cup to 1 cup of frozen fruit (or fresh fruit works, too. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries.)
1 banana
A handful of spinach (fresh or frozen)
A handful of kale
A handful of swiss chard
1 T of peanut butter

(Note: I don't always add peanut butter but without it, the leafy greens can have a bit of an unpalatable aftertaste. So to avoid wanting to scrape your tongue, do it. Or don't add the leafy greens. But they're good for you.)

Put the lid on the blender. This is an important step if you don't want to be cleaning shake off the walls and cupboards. Press blend on the blender. (A child's finger works best for this. especially if they're almost 5 and want to help all the time, because really we couldn't push the button ourselves...not THAT early in the morning. If you don't happen to have one, your index finger works just fine.)

You may need to stop and smoosh down the leafy stuff so it blends. Or maybe that's just my blender.

Blend until...well...until it's blended. There's no magic number for this. You can tell.

Pour into a glass and enjoy. (Don't forget the 5 yr old's serving as well or you'll never hear the end of it.)

Many variations can be made so the shake is great.

Use your judgment.

It doesn't have to taste gross to be good for you.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fullerton Loop - Kananaskis

Located west of Bragg Creek on Hwy 66, the Fullerton Loop is an approx. 6.5 km moderate hiking trail. Turn into the Allan Bill Pond parking area and walk to the east end of the lot. The trail takes you under the bridge on Hwy 66 and along the river for a few meters before moving into denser tree cover.

The path is well-marked so no worries of getting lost and could be done by the whole family. It's pretty flat as you wander along the river and through the meadows.

Once you approach the actual beginning of the loop (marked by signs) it gets pretty steep for a few km. Recommend only small children with good stamina.

You can head up a set of stairs before this bridge or cross the bridge and follow the loop that way. Taking the stairs, you'll be under tree cover for awhile but eventually it opens up to spectacular views of Allan Bill Pond and the river.

Again you'll wind through the trees for a stretch and more up hill that seems endless, but I assure you, once you reach the summit it's all downhill.

As you start down you're again in dense trees for awhile but eventually it opens up again.

The trail was muddy in a lot of places. We arrived just ahead of a hail storm but as is the norm with Alberta weather, it didn't last long and cleared into a brilliant, warm day. Perfect for a 1-2 hour hike.



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Puffed Quinoa...Huh!

Awhile back I bought a bag of puffed quinoa at the Bulk Barn. I'm not overly familiar with this little grain so didn't really know what I was doing but figured what the heck, I'll figure out something to do with it. It sat in the cupboard for awhile with me occasionally taking a spoonful of peanut butter and dipping it into the bag of puffy goodness for a quick little treat. I love peanut butter. And I seem to like things puffy. Puffed grains, that is.

Well yesterday I decided to get creative. After numerous searches on The Google for puffed quinoa recipes, I settled on what I love best. Peanut butter and chocolate. I did it my own way though. I rarely measure when I cook. I'm more of a wing and hope for the best type of cook. (I've resigned myself to the fact that MasterChef won't be calling me anytime soon. Gordon Ramsey would laugh me into a hole and I couldn't handle that kind of ridicule.)

Anyway, what I came up with actually didn't turn out so bad.

Puffed Quinoa Peanut Butter Balls (makes approx. 30 balls.)


About 4 cups of puffed quinoa
3-ish cups of creamy smooth peanut butter
Maybe 1/2 c of shredded coconut
Melted chocolate (semi-sweet chocolate chips or bakers chocolate)
Some vanilla extract (if you bake much you can guestimate how much is enough)

Seems simple so far, huh?


Dump the puffed quinoa into a bowl. In a sauce pan, mix the peanut butter and vanilla extract until even creamier and smoother than you started with. Add the coconut. (Interesting note, the inside of a coconut is referred to as meat. Huh?) Mix. Pour peanut butter mixture into the puffed quinoa and stir well. Put in fridge to cool.

When the mixture has chilled and is kinda firm again, roll into balls on a wax papered cookie sheet. I say "kinda firm" because as you roll into balls it gets warmed up again and is a little difficult to make it stay ballish.

Also recommended to leave the water tap running and have a dry dish towel beside you. This stuff is STICKY! And if you're like me: lick, rinse, dry and repeat.

Once rolled into about 30 balls (maybe more depending on how big you rolled them) put the whole cookie sheet back into the fridge for awhile. Go watch some TV or read a book or write a story. Or think about writing a story. When you've finally gotten that idea for a story slick and ready in your mind, forget about it, the balls should be ready and lord knows peanut butter is far more important that writing. Oh. And chocolate.

Start melting the chocolate in a sauce pan. I wished at this point I had a double boiler. (Do they even still make those.) As the chocolate becomes liquidy, start dipping your balls. Careful, cause melting chocolate is fricking hot. Dip, put back on cookie sheet, and repeat. Put back in fridge to cool.

And there you have it. A gluten free, high peanut butter and chocolate dessert.

Now you can write your story.

If you can keep your fingers out of the fridge.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

List of Nothing. Or Something.


Popcorn ceilings.

Loud music.


Twitter plagued.


Writing. Not. Writing.


Angry child.






Friendships lost.