Homemade sweet potato fries

April 25, 2009

So I loved the sweet potato fries at Boston Pizza so much that I had to try making my own last night!

I browsed a few recipes online to get an idea of spices and came up with this, based on what was already in my spice cupboard:

  • oregano
  • salt
  • ground coriander

Cumin was also another popular seasoning, as well as paprkia, so cominbations of any of these would probably be delicious!

First, I preheated the oven to 425F. I sliced the potato in half, then cut it in long strips, which were halved again to make pretty thick-cut fries – definitely like what you’d get at a chip truck. I mixed up the spices with a couple tablespoons of olive oil (light tasting extra virgin but other types would probably be just as good) and rolled each fry in the oily mixture before putting it on a non-stick baking sheet (some recipes suggested parchment if your baking sheet isn’t super non-stick). Toss the fries in the oven for about 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes and rotating the pan in the oven – do this or they’ll be black on one side! Even turning them, I still had some that ended up a little toasty!

I served them up with some homemade dip – light mayo with ground coriander stirred in – but they were still tasty plain.

Et voila:

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I decided to have them as the main feature of my meal with some broccoli and cauliflower (with some grated sharp cheddar) on the side – you can just barely see them hanging out in the corners of the picture.

Sweet potato fries are my new addiction. So tasty!

In super awesome great news: I finished the first draft of my thesis! AHHH! Huge relief. My supervisor is taking off to Spain tomorrow (ugh… if only) so I had to have it in today if I wanted edits before May 13 when she gets back – um, yes please considering my mark is due by May 22. I can’t belive I’m so close to having it done!

Today is supposed to be a hot one! Not sure what to do on the exercise front – it’s already hot hot hot in my bedroom where the elliptical is. I do have a window air conditioner but it seems so wrong to need to use it in April! We’ll see – I’ll try with just a fan blowing and throw the A/C on if it gets too hot. I thought about a run but it’s already 19C at 9:30am! Holy moly! I know that’s not blazing hot, but it is when we’ve been used to 10-12C for the past while. That’s one reason I’m looking forward to getting the treadmill from my parents – I hate being all warm and sweaty and gross while working out, which is why I probably won’t run outside too often in summer.

Hope everyone has a great Saturday!

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Warm weather please?

March 24, 2009

Brr, it was chilly on my run this evening! Thankfully I wasn’t running into the wind for more than a couple minutes or I think I might have become an icicle. Ok, so maybe that’s a bit of exaggerating but it’s cold for officially being spring! We still have mini snowbanks on our lawn. Something isn’t right here.

Anyway, my run was good. I added in about a half to a full block extra on each running interval to work on my endurance. I think it’s getting better! And my body is adapting well – I’ve had no pain (I was worried about my knees because I’ve heard it’s a more common pain to get from the impact) and my muscles have not been the least bit sore since the day after my very first run! Yay!

Other good news: my parents are willing to give me the treadmill we got from my grandpa! So even when it’s raining or ridiculous hot in the summer I can still run. And if I put it in the basement, it’ll be like working out in a nice air conditioned gym – ok, well, not quite, but at close as I’ll get. Our house does not have A/C but the basement is the place to be when it gets above 30C! So basically, I’m going to have a little fitness centre down there. Maybe I’ll even move the elliptical trainer out of my bedroom so all the exercise stuff is in one place. It might be nice to free up some space in my room – it’s 10′ x13′ which is big enough, but not when I’ve got an elliptical trainer (even though it’s not a massive one) along with all my other furniture (bed, desk, dresser, bookcase, the usual).

School is finally deciding that I’ve endured enough stress and is giving me a break! Well, sort of. My crazy crunch time is over except for the thesis poster conference on Thursday. Oh, I got a copy of the program today – it was so cool to see my name in print, even though it’s just a school event and not a big time academic conference. Anyway, once the conference I’m going to be relieved times a million! I think it will be fun, even though it’s a stressful thing for most people – and afterwards we get to go to the grad pub for free pizza and some mingling with fellow students and profs.

I was excited to pick up my poster today and thankfully the colours turned out alright. Apparently the printer has this habit of turning things more purple, which it did to mine but I almost prefer it to my original colour scheme of navy and powder blue, so it’s cool. It’s currently safe hiding away in the lab. I’m glad I had somewhere to store it because it’s pretty awkward to carry around – it’s 40″ x 56″ so even rolled up it’s huge! People were definitely giving me funny looks as I walked from the printers to the lab!

Anyway, I’m about to wind down the evening with either a peach or a little bowl of sweet potato soup. I think I’m feeling something warm but peaches are awesome so I’m not entirely sure yet! After that it’s into bed – I’ve been tuckered out by 11-11:30 each night. Yay for a regular sleep schedule – it only took me all term!


Leave me alone, school!

March 12, 2009

I made a list of school deadlines the other day and posted it on my wall. I really wish I hadn’t. Yeah, it’s nice to see what I’ve got coming up but it’s very overwhelming. I’ve only crossed off 2 things out of 8 things I have to get done by the end of the school term (this is before my one exam and when my final thesis paper is due in April). Yikes! I though it would be motivating – you know, I see how much stuff I need to do and it jump starts me – but it’s not been working.

Instead, I feel so stressed. I’m deciding whether or not I should leave it up. I want to be organized but I don’t want to feel panicked every time I look to my left!

The last month of school is always so crazy! I just need to tell myself that this will all be over soon. After March 26 (poster conference… eek), I have one paper due (just a shortie, only 4-6 pages), one exam and my final thesis. I’ll have one month to do all that. If I can survive all the stuff I have now, that will be a breeze.

Last night my housemate wanted to get out for a run – he just bought new shoes (Nike+ compatible) and some jogging pants so he was itching to get out even though the weather was ridiculous. I thought about being lazy and lounging the rest of the night after finishing my seminar paper, but I’d glad I got out. I swear I’ve already built up some stamina – and I’m going to have to if I want to keep up with my housemate. He’s not super in shape, but he’s 6’3. I’m 5’3 so I set the pace and it’s much easier for him to keep up with me because his stride length is longer so he can go a little slower. So he actually ran for a couple minutes straight each time I ran. I think it’ll be nice to have a running buddy so we can keep each other going.

He’s also willing to sign up for the CIBC Run for the Cure with me in October. I checked out the website and the date is already up – Sunday, October 4th. So, lots of time to get ready for that. Technically, you can walk the 5k as well, but I’d like to be able to run all of it. So that’s a longer term fitness goal for me!


Run

March 4, 2009

When I woke up this morning, this is what it looked like outside:

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How could I not get outside for some exercise on such a beautiful day? So after eating breakfast and giving it some time to settle, I got ready to head out, deciding that today I was going to run! I needed some music so I grabbed my trusty mp3 player that is ancient but still works great. Unfortunately I can’t seem to remember how to set a playlist with it. How sad is that? I’ve owned it for 4-5 years now! I’m so bad with some technology!

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I took my sunglasses too since that sun was bright! Anyway, the run was great! I got about 10 minutes of running in overall, spread up into smaller chunks of a couple minutes each. That’s much better than what I expected at first! Since it was my first time running, I had these images of being out of breath after a couple seconds. But I guess the elliptical and all that walking had me in better shape than I thought!

Tonight I have my reading program. I have decided that those kids are definitely getting spoiled! They’re each getting a box of pencil crayons (meaning I stuffed my bag full of 10 boxes of them in addition to the usual school stuff). My boyfriend saw my open backpack last night and this is what he saw:

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Initially he was very confused until he realized what they were for! As much as I love colouring, there’s no way I need 10 boxes of pencil crayons for myself. So, as I was saying, those kids are spoiled with prizes! I love it. Going to the dollar store and picking out stuff is so fun! Here’s the selection of prizes for this week:

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I think my boyfriend is secretly jealous! I’ve caught him eyeing the bouncy balls and wind up cars I bought! Haha! I think I’ll have lots of leftovers – which I think I’m going to donate to the after school program if they want it. It’s mostly pencils and erasers but I’m sure they could use it! I definitely don’t have a need for a gazillion pencils. However, those Disney stamp markers are pretty sweet, I must say!

So after the program, I’m heading to Bulk Barn to pick up spices for sweet potato soup. I’m excited to make it! It may have to wait until tomorrow night, or Friday, but that’s alright. I’m sure it will be amazing! After that I’m off to SportChek to pick up my Nike+! I was initially going to wait to hear back about my tax return, but my dad kindly lent me some cash to buy it now! Thanks Daddy!


Hello March!

March 1, 2009

I can’t believe it’s already March. On one hand I’m glad that spring (and summer) are that much closer, but on the other hand it means I have a lot of school work coming up and those end of term deadlines will be here before I know it! I have a lot of prep to do for the thesis poster conference at school (on March 26.. less than a month away now) – writing my abstract, making the poster and writing a handout. The handout is essentially a more simplified version of my thesis – but it can only be 5 pages single-spaced. This may seem like a lot of room to work with but my proposal (which doesn’t even include full results or a discussion) was 16 pages (19 with references). Yeah, I’m going to have a lot of editing to do to stay within the page limit.

Overall I had a productive weekend. Yesterday I got a new pair of jeans (on sale at Old Navy) and dress shoes to wear for job interviews. They’re pretty nice and they’re backless so they will still be good to wear in the summer. Plus they were only $30! I tried on a pair of size 8 jeans at Old Navy but they didn’t fit (they buttoned but would not have been comfortable to wear). At first I was discouraged but then I remembered that I only bought a pair of size 10’s at the end of January so it’s doubtful I would have shrunk another size, considering my weight loss is no more than 1 pound per week. So I’m okay with it and I know I’ll get there soon enough. Today was grocery day and I bought tons of fresh fruits and veggies – peaches, bananas, strawberries, broccoli, baby carrots, asparagus, sweet potatoes and spinach. I also bought more sunflower flax bread because I love it and it’s not that much more expensive than regular brown bread (although you get a few less slices I think). But it’s way better for you – more fibre, more protein, omegas, more magnesium and other vitamins and minerals. I think it will be a regular purchase from now on, especially when it’s on sale (they have 2 for $4 sales of it at Zehrs every couple of weeks).

Last night I had fun. We didn’t end up going out anywhere, but we stayed in and played Rock Band 2. My roommate has a Wii and we all split on the cost of Rock Band 1 when he moved in and then buying Rock Band 2 was much cheaper since we already had all the instruments. For the amount of entertainment we get from it, it was well worth the money!

I have good news on the Nike+ front. One of the lovely ladies over at Blog To Lose told me that you can get the Sportband in Canada, at SportChek at least. So that’s good! I’m still not sure I can buy just the chip and not the kit (that comes with the iPod plug-in). I’ll have to look into that, but either way it will cost $80-100 for this. So I’ll need to find out how much I’m getting back on my tax return before I go spending. And I want to make sure I’m going to stick with running before I go dropping that much money.

Tomorrow is weigh-in day. I’m excited for it and dreading it all at the same time. I’m sure I’ve lost some weight, even if it’s minimal but TOM started today and sometimes that means weight gain. I’ll just have to keep that in mind so I don’t get discouraged if the scale hasn’t changed or is only down a fraction of a pound. I may weigh myself again on Thursday or Friday once TOM has gone away to get a more accurate reading. We will see!


Nike+

February 28, 2009

I think I’m going to start running sometime this week. The weather is supposed to be nice and sunny until Wednesday and nearly all the snow is gone. To help stay motivated and track my running progress, I’m looking at getting Nike+. I know a lot of runners that have it recommend it, so I think I’m going to hop on the wagon, if I can.

Unfortunately I don’t have an iPod nano (both my roommates have iPods, but they are older so they’re not compatible). This means I will have to buy the Sportband, which according to Running Room’s website, is not available in Canada. I hope it actually is somewhere – otherwise it’ll be pretty difficult for us Canadians without iPods to use Nike+! One good thing – my shoes are Nike+! They have the slot in the bottom of the shoe for the chip, which I just discovered this afternoon. This means I don’t have to spend $10 on an external clip at least. But I will have to drop the money for the chip and Sportband which could run me about $100 from the looks of it. Yikes! I’ll have to wait for my tax return and a gas mileage reimbursement from a grant I got to run my thesis research (so far I’ve been paying out of my own pocket for gas so it’s made me short on cash). I know Running Room and SportChek both sell the Nike+ kit which comes with the iPod connector, but I’m hoping you can buy it without so it might be less than $40. You can buy just the chip on Nike’s site for $19 plus shipping, but for some reason I can’t purchase from Canada. I have to purchase from the US site. Ugh… I hope everything works out because I’m really looking forward to being able to use this!

I’ve spent some time this afternoon working on my geography paper. I’m on page 3. We have a weird page requirement – 7-10 pages which includes maps and diagrams (at least one is required). So technically I could write a 5 page paper and have 2 pages of maps and meet the minimum requirement. It’s very strange. I’ll keep on working at it this afternoon.

My roommate wants to go to a bar tonight for some drinks but I’m not sure about it. 1) I don’t have much money and 2) I’ve been so good with eating healthy this week that I don’t want to spoil it by having even one beer (if I’d known sooner I could have worked it in, but I’ve already eaten two meals today and had a half-coffee/half-hot chocolate from Timmy’s so it’s not looking like it). It’s too bad since I’d like to have a fun night out. I’ll see what I feel like – I feel kind of bad since my life is so consumed by school work that we hardly get to hang out (he’s working full time now while taking a break from school so he has tons of time but I don’t). Maybe I’ll see if he wouldn’t mind taking a raincheck, or staying in. He can have a beer and I’ll stick to something lighter 🙂


Weather, what’s the deal?

February 27, 2009

When I went to school this morning around 10am it was 8C outside – beautiful, even though it was overcast and drizzling but I’ll take it if it means warmer weather. But it’s now -7C outside! And the windchill overnight is supposed to be -29C! What’s going on? Is spring ever going to get here? Looking at the 5-day weather forecast, it doesn’t seem like it. The warmest day from now until Tuesday will be -5C. Yuck!

I’m not sure whether to go out for a walk tonight or stay in and do 30 minutes on the elliptical. I really do prefer getting outside for a walk, since I get bored on the elliptical, even if I watch some TV while using it. I’m not really sure why. But if I don’t go for a walk, I definitely need to get some exercise in so I’ll just suck it up and do it. After, it feels amazing but it’s just motivating myself to do it in the first place. Gotta focus on the feeling I get after working out!

I did well with eating healthy again today. I was really tempted to get a half-coffee/half-hot chocolate at Tim Horton’s on campus today but I resisted and got a green tea instead. Of course, I didn’t win anything on Roll up the Rim, so I’m 0/3 still! Anyway, I had oatmeal for breakfast, a chicken sandwich for lunch and for dinner I’m going to cook up some chicken meatballs and asparagus and have a spinach salad on the side. I decided to experiment last night by making some of my own dressing. I mixed a bit of olive oil with lemon juice and added some dried herbs. It was actually much better than I though it would be. I think I’ll try it again tonight, especially since I need to use up my spinach pronto! Some of the leaves are getting that slightly wilted look to them so it won’t be good for too much longer.

I may post again later with some pictures of dinner (if I remember.. I’m usually halfway through eating before I remember) but I do need to get going on that geography paper. I have written a single word yet! I’d better start soon if I’m actually going to finish it by Sunday!