Monday, April 21, 2014

Easy Homemade Fries Supreme

Are you, or were you ever a fan of Taco Bell's fries supreme? I know that I used to be, until the last few years (probably around 2008) when I noticed that the quality was no longer there.  You used to get a fair serving of fries with a generous layer of cheese sauce, topped with a scoop of taco beef, a scoop of sour cream, and a sprinkling of diced tomatoes and green onions. Now the quality has gone so far down hill that you're lucky to get even a teaspoon on beef or sour cream, and you might get 3 pieces of diced tomato, and if you're lucky, you get a small sprinkle of freeze-dried chives (not even green onion anymore).

With all that being said, I find that many people that I have asked agree with me that it isn't even worth getting a fries supreme from Taco Bell anymore, especially because when you do you are just completely disappointed. So why not make your own fries supreme at home?!



Ingredients:
frozen fries (or homemade if you wish)
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 pkg. of taco seasoning
1 jar of queso cheese sauce, heated
sour cream
green onion, chopped
tomato, chopped

Directions:
Preheat oven and cook fries as directed on the packaging.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, brown ground beef oven medium-high heat.

Once beef is browned, add the taco seasoning mix and 1/4 cup of water. Simmer until mixture has thickened, then remove from heat and set aside.

Remove lid from queso cheese sauce and heat in the microwave until warm (1-2 minutes, depending on your microwave).

Once the fries are done, place them on a platter (or individual plates), and top with the warmed cheese sauce, taco beef, and sour cream. Sprinkle the top with chopped tomatoes and green onions.

Now serve & enjoy!

I can guarantee you that you will not be disappointed with this recipe, especially compared to what you would get these days from Taco Bell.


Take Care,

Leanne.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Rainy Day Runner's Workout

Have you ever started exercising outside, like running, only to have the weather ruin your planned workout?
That recently happened to me, and I was not pleased; after a solid week of nice double digit weather, we got a dumping of snow and ice covered the sidewalks, making my outdoor run close to impossible (unless I wanted to risk twisting my ankle on a patch of ice).

So, if you don't want your workout thwarted by Mother Nature, here's an awesome "Rainy Day Runner's workout" that will work your legs and core in 25 minutes.



Do each exercise listed for 1 minute, resting 20 seconds in between each exercise. For example; 1 minute of walking lunges, followed by 20 seconds of rest, then move on to your 1 minute side plank (30 seconds on your right side, then 30 seconds on your left side).
Once you have gone through the list, repeat 1-2 more times for a total of 2-3 sets.


Take Care,

Leanne.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

DIY Striped Walls

If you've read some of my most recent posts, you will know that I am in the process of moving to my new apartment. With that, I will be repainting some of the rooms in the apartment, and am planning on painting an accent wall in the living room as well.

As a result of this, I thought it would be fitting to write today's post about how to paint your very own striped accent wall, and also, how to decide on the direction of the stripes, and which wall to place them on.



First thing's first; pick a wall. If you pick an end wall, it can trick your eyes, making a long room seem more grounded and equally proportioned. the opposite effect can be achieved by painting a front or back wall.

 Now, choose the direction that your stripes will run. Painting vertical stripes can make a room with a low ceiling seem higher, whereas painting horizontal stripes can make a narrow wall seem wider. For me, I am painting an end wall to make my living room not seem so long, and painting horizontal lines to make the room feel deeper.

Finally, how to paint your striped walls:
The director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams, Jackie Jordan, explains in an article on  the DIY Network that "Stripes should be between four and twelve inches wide. A width of less than four inches becomes too narrow and busy, and more than twelve inches becomes too wide and heavy. However, if you have really tall ceilings or just want super, bold impact, make your stripes over twelve inches wide."

Using a leveler and coloured chalk, draw your lines on your walls according to your preference of direction and size. Now, tape to the outside left of each chalk line, using low tack painters tape. After that, you are ready to get painting. Once the paint has dried, you can remove the painters tape carefully and pulling it away from the wall on a 45 degree angle.

Now site back and enjoy your hard work!


Take Care,

Leanne.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Homemade Orange Sherbert

When you think back to your childhood, is there a favourite dessert or treat that comes to mind? For me, it's orange sherbert; whenever I have orange sherbert it brings back memories of having dessert with my mom in the summer at our patio table on the deck in our backyard.

It's been so long since I've had this dessert that recently I decided to find a recipe for homemade orange sherbert to add to my recipe collection. So without further delay, here's a quick and easy recipe for you to enjoy!



Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups orange juice 
3/4 cup sugar 
3 cups milk, scalded and cooled 
1 (15 oz.) can crushed pineapple in natural juices

Directions:
In a bowl, combine orange juice and sugar and blend thoroughly. Add milk and mix. 

Place in chilled ice cube trays without dividers or a shallow pan; freeze until mushy. 

Place mixture in a mixing bowl and whip. Add pineapple and juices. 

Return to trays or pan and freeze.


Take Care,


Leanne.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Simple Core Challenge Workout

Have you recently started working out and noticed that your core strength is lacking? Have you also noticed that you tire easily in other exercises as well? If you answered "yes" to either (or both) of these questions, then you may want to keep reading.

A weak core can result in other weak areas of the body. The reason for this is that your core is your center and your main source of power and strength in your body; if your center is weak, how will you support the other areas of your body?

With that being said, why not work on strengthening your core with this core challenge workout?!



This workout is easy to follow but will challenge your core; just follow the arrows.

The Workout:
- 50 Crunches
- 15 Push Ups
- 1 Minute Plank
- 30 Second Side Plank (Right Side)
- 1 Minute Bridge
- 15 Push Ups
- 1 Minute Plank
- 30 Second Side Plank (Left Side)
- 50 Crunches
- 1 Minute Raised Plank
- 2 Minute Bridge
- 50 Crunches

Not only will this workout be great for your core, it also will tone your chest and arms with the puch ups and planks!


Take Care,

Leanne.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Grey & Yellow Living Spaces

When renting or buying a new home, there's always the chance that you will not love the colour scheme chosen by the previous owners. This is exactly the predicament I am in with the new apartment that I will be moving into in a month; there are bright yellow walls throughout the space, and I am personally not a huge fan of yellow painted walls.

I have been wracking my brains for the last few days on what I will do to "fix" this issue I have; at first I was going to repaint the entire space, but now I have decided to work with what I have by keeping the existing yellow walls in the kitchen (since there is hardly any wall space there that isn't covered by a tile backsplash, and then painting 3 of the 4 walls in the open concept living room attached to the kitchen in a medium grey. In this way I will achieve a feeling of connection and continuity between the two spaces by linking the colours used in both rooms together.


The bathroom above shows how, when used sparingly, bright yellow walls can look quite nice. This is especially so, when pared with a grey wall.


Another way to tie the yellow in, is to make a pattern on the walls that will act as a decorative accent wall. I think I may do something like this, or stripes,  to keep the yellow to a minimum; less is more in my opinion when it comes to bright colours.


Take Care,

Leanne.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Korean Beef & Rice Dinner

If you're anything like me, you like cooking, but hate having to make things that require a lot of preparation time. Ideally, dinner would take 30 minutes or less total, including preparation and cooking time, and it would be absolutely delicious every time!

This is why when I find a recipe that looks promising to be delicious, and is quick and easy to make, I have to give it a try. So without further adieu, I give you this delicious recipe for ground Korean beef.



Ingredients:
1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 - 1 teaspoon crushed red peppers (depending on how spicy you like it)
salt and pepper
1 bunch green onions, diced
Rice, cooked

Directions:
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and brown hamburger with garlic in the sesame oil. 

Drain most of the fat and add brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, salt and pepper and red peppers. 

Simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors.

 Serve over steamed rice and top with green onions. Now enjoy!


Take Care,

Leanne.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Roll Out The Tension {Foam Roller For Calves}

Spring has arrived, and with that I have noticed more people outside running. Whether you're a new runner or and experienced runner, sometimes we can over do it and the end result tends to be sore muscles.

Sometimes I find the most painful sore muscles can be the calf muscles, so with that being said, I thought I'd provide you with an excellently effective foam roller exercise that will take away that tension in your calf muscles.


How To:
Sit on the ground with your legs straight, left leg crossed over the right, with the roller under your right calf.

Lift your bum off the ground so that your weight is supported by your hands and the roller.

Roll the length of your calf from the back of your knee to the Achilles tendon.
Repeat for 30 to 60 seconds and switch legs.

Tip: When you find a really sore spot, stay still and let the flesh of the muscles sink into the roller.



Take Care,

Leanne.

[Photos courtesy of: Core Performance Women (Penguin)]

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Maximizing Space {Desk Nook}

One of the toughest obstacles in furnishing and decorating a new home is awkward nooks and niches. I myself had niches like the one pictured below in my home growing up, and it proved to be a delightful challenge in decorating and space planning a room.



In my home we used these niches as reading nooks with an armchair and small accent table, etc. But as you can see, there is plenty of potential to get creative and maximize space.

Why take up valuable space in the main areas of a room, when you can utilize a niche for a built in desk or workstation? Or, you can take a more traditional take and install a window bench with a cushioned seat.


Take Care,

Leanne.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Cheddar Bacon Chicken Bake

Ladies and gentlemen, if you need a quick and easy dinner tonight that is sure to please, then look no further! I give you: the Cheddar Bacon Chicken Bake.

I made this for dinner last night after I got home late from work and it was so quick and easy to make; in the time that the oven was preheating I was able to whip everything up, and only 30 minutes to cook. It's simple, delicious, and you most likely have most, if not all of the required ingredients on hand.





Ingredients:
2 pkg. (120 g) Stove Top Lower Sodium Stuffing Mix for Chicken
1 lb. (450 g) boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
2 cups frozen cut green beans , thawed, drained
1 can (10 fl oz/284 mL) condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup Oscar Mayer Real Bacon Bits
1 cup Kraft Double Cheddar Shredded Cheese

Directions:
Heat oven to 400°F.

Prepare stuffing mix as directed on package; set aside.

Combine chicken and beans in 13x9-inch baking dish. Stir in soup, water, bacon bits and cheese; top with stuffing.

Bake 30 min. or until heated through.


I promise you that you will not be disappointed in this dish; not only can you whip it up really fast, but it's delicious too!


Take Care,

Leanne.

Monday, April 7, 2014

20 Minute Full Body Tabata Workout

If you are a fairly regular reader of Decor Lust, you will know that I love HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and Tabata workouts. The reason why is that these workouts take very little time and can give you amazing results!

With that being said, here is one more awesome Tabata workout that targets all areas of your body and will make you sweat; the best part about it, is it only takes 20 minutes.



No excuses here people, you can literally do this workout while dinner is in the oven!


Take Care,

Leanne.

Friday, April 4, 2014

DIY Entertainment Center

Have you recently started looking for tv/entertainment units but find that either what you like is more than you want to spend, or the price is good but the aesthetics are lacking? I hear you on this one, I have been going through the same dilemma lately.

I'll tell you something that a noticed recently though, and I'm a little embarrassed that I never thought of this before; entertainment units are either 1 of 2 basic options - a console table/hutch unit with possible some drawers or doors, or a console table with 2 book shelves on either side (maybe an open shelf in the center above the tv).



With that being said, why spend $800 or more at IKEA for a media unit that are basically these components but technically sold as a single unit, when you can source your own individual pieces and create your own media unit?!

Just for fun, I looked around at Canadian Tire, and even Walmart online and found an open shelf base cabinet and 2 tall bookshelves (all in the same finish) that I could piece together myself and would in the long run cost me between  $150 - $520 plus taxes. What a huge difference in price from basically the same idea from IKEA which could run you past $5000 just for a media unit.

Not only can putting together your own tv/media unit be less expensive, it also can give you the opportunity to put together something unique that others most likely won't have in the same configuration as you in their own homes.


Take Care,

Leanne.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Sinfully Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars

What could be better than cookies and cheesecake? Cookies and cheesecake made into 1 delicious dessert, that's what!

I stumbled upon this delicious recipe for two of my dessert vices in life; chocolate chip cookie cheesecake bars, and I don't think I will ever look back. To me, this is the ultimate dessert for those whole love cookies and cheesecake. Forget chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake, this gives you the best of both worlds complete with the distinct textures of both desserts.



Ingredients:
2 Tubes of Pillsbury Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough 
 1 (8 oz.) Brick of cream cheese, room temperature 
1/2 cup sugar
 1 egg
 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 

Directions: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Line a 9×9 pan with nonstick foil and press in 1 tube of cookie dough. 

Beat the remaining 4 ingredients until smooth and pour over the cookie dough. 

 Flatten the remaining tube of cookie dough the best you can on a clean flat surface(I use a cutting board) and then place the flattened cookie dough on top of the cheesecake mixture.

Bake for 35 minutes, or until the cheesecake is set (cover the bars with foil if they are browning too much).

Cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator and serve cold with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!



I cannot wait to make these, and I think they may just become a regular girls' night treat. I hope you enjoy them (I know I will).

Take Care,

Leanne.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Running For A Happier Life

Have you ever stopped and wondered what if everyone in the world did 1 thing, made 1 change, and what difference would that make? I know that I have thought this quite a few time in my life about various things, but I have to admit, I never asked myself the question "what if everybody ran?".

Well, although you and I may not have asked ourselves this question, luckily for us an athletic apparel company, Mizuno, did ask this question, and with the help of the University of North Carolina, they found out some interesting answers.



As you can see from the pictograph above, if everybody ran not only would it help people on an individual basis, but it would also affect communities, and even the world.

I think that based on these statistics, the world could be a happier and healthier place if everyone ran. What do you think?


Take Care,

Leanne.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Upgrade Your Coffee Table {DIY Wallpapered Table}

If you're like me, you have what used to be a decent table from a store like IKEA where you put it together yourself and it serves its purpose, that has now unfortunately now seen its better days. My coffee table now has a few surface scratches that I cannot stand; even if I was to fill in the scratches with a furniture pen it would still bother me to no end.

So, my solution to this issue (which I found many other people have shared the same thought) - using wallpaper to cover the table top!


The table pictured above was from IKEA and what the person did was apply their favourite wallpaper to the surface, and they also added some extra detail and charm by hammering silver metal thumb tacks along the perimeter.

What my plan of attack is for my table is to wallpaper the top with a subtle geometric print, then place a piece of plate glass over the top to keep the new surface safe from scratches and water damage.

This is such a simple and easy way to upgrade your table tops and make something old look brand new!


Take Care,

Leanne.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Cheesy Beef & Rice Casserole

Are you looking for a quick and easy dinner to make tonight, but don't have a whole lot kicking around the house in your pantry and cupboards? If so, look no further, I have a casserole for you that requires very little time and ingredients; most of the stuff required you should already have laying around the house.

Ladies and gents, I give you; Cheesy Beef & Rice Casserole!

I found this recipe recently on the blog "Hungry Little Girl", which may I add also has a bunch of other delicious recipes for dinner, desserts, and so much more. I made it for dinner the same night I came upon the recipe, and I promise you, it did not disappoint.






Ingredients:

1 lbs ground beef (lowest fat amount possible)
2 onions, diced
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 small can tomato sauce
1 cup cooked rice
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup sour cream (I use fat free)
2 cups shredded cheese
salt, pepper, oregano
1 cup frozen peas



Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Spray a skillet with cooking spray and turn on the heat to high.
Saute the onions for a few minutes.

Add ground beef and garlic to the skillet, brown the ground beef completely, turn heat to medium
Spice with salt, pepper and oregano how you like it (I like to add a bit of chili powder & cayenne pepper).

Add rice, peas, tomato sauce, 1 cup cheese and broth, let simmer for 3 minutes.

Transfer everything into a casserole dish and bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile combine the rest of the cheese with the sour cream
After 15 minutes pour the cheese and sour cream mixture on top of you casserole and bake for another 15 minutes.

Let stand for 5 minutes. Serve & enjoy!

It's that easy, and trust me, you will not be disappointed with this dish.


Take Care,

Leanne.


Friday, March 28, 2014

POP Pilates Inner Thigh Toner

If you've never tried Pilates before, trust me, you need to give it a try. The leg workouts alone will give you amazing results, and I can personally stand behind that statement; back when I was in high school I used to do a Mari Winsor Pilates thigh workout dvd 3-5 times per week, and by the end of a month or so I had dropped 1 full pant size!

The following picture shows some of the key exercises used in Pilates that give you lean and toned thighs in no time:



Just follow the easy steps in the picture above doing 20-30 reps of each movement (30 for each side when doing the single leg raise and heel pulse) and you're done!

Trust me, you will love how easy this is, and you'll love the results you see even more.

Take Care,

Leanne.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Baked Sweet Potato Fries {Weight Watchers' Recipe}

Back when I was in high school, one of my best friends' mom was on the Weight Watcher's diet...that or she just really loved using their recipes. Whenever we would have roasted chicken, or other items that may usually come with fries, her mom would always make sweet potato fries from her Weight Watchers' recipe book - all I can say is that recipe is what started my obsession with sweet potato fries.

The recipe is so easy and fairly quick to make, and in the end you have tender and delicious sweet potato fries.


Ingredients:
2 lbs large sweet potatoes, scrubbed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Half the potatoes, then cut into 1/2 inch wedges.
Toss with oil, salt and pepper in medium bowl.

Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on a nonstick baking sheet.
Bake, turning once, until browned and crisp, about 35 minutes.

Serve & Enjoy!


Take Care,

Leanne.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

15 Minute HIIT Fat Blast

If you are like most people, you are very busy. So busy in fact, that there doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done, and with that being said, one of the things that you sacrifice when in a time crunch is your workout.

Well hopefully we can change that with this 15 minute fat burning circuit. Now you may be thinking "how is 15 minutes enough?", but with HIIT training your body is constantly being put through high intensity work, followed by a very brief rest period which makes your body work harder and therefore burns more calories than if you were to do a typical workout session at the gym for 30-60 minutes. And let's face it, 15 minutes is really nothing; people will waste 15 minutes on Facebook or browsing the web while waiting for dinner to finish, so why not replace that couch potato activity with high intensity physical activity?!



So what you will be doing here is 1 minute of exercise, followed by no more than 30 seconds of rest (I suggest 10 seconds of rest for best results). For example: 1 minute of fast jumping jacks, 30 seconds of rest, 1 minute of burpees, 30 seconds of rest, etc. 

You will go through the entire list at least once; or if you would like to kick it up a notch and feel like you want more, repeat 1-2 more times!


Take Care,

Leanne.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Maximize Space {Closet Office}

By any chance do you want a home office space, but aren't quite sure where to put it in your home?
Okay, now do you have a random closet that you barely use in a spare room, or other area of your home?

If you answered "yes" to these questions, or are even just a little bit curious as to where I'm going with this, then read on.



As you can see in the image above, using a closet for another purpose, other than storing clothes, can be both beautiful and functional.

You can make it as simple or elaborate as you wish; just add a small desk inside with some shelving and desk organizers and you are well on your way to creating your very own office nook in a closet.

I would also like to point out the clever use of a mirror on the interior of the closet; this gives the illusion of a bigger space and can also brighten the closet up by reflecting any light within this small space.


Take Care,

Leanne.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Beef Enchilada Stuffed Shells

Have you ever tasted the delicious dish, enchiladas? Okay, now have you ever tried Beef Enchilada Stuffed Shells?!

Growing up in a home with Italian influence, stuffed shells became one of my favourite meals, and as I got older and tried more foods, Mexican food grew to be one of my other groups of favourite foods. With that being said, you will understand my sheer joy at finding this recipe that combines 2 of my favourite foods into one dish.


Recipe:

Ingredients:
Box of Pasta Shells (stuffing size) Boiled to al dente and cooled
2 Pounds Hamburger browned, drained (seasoned with taco seasoning optional)
Large Can Refried Beans
8 oz Block of Colby Jack Cheese (shredded)
8 oz Block of Pepperjack Cheese (shredded)
2 Cans Enchilada Sauce
Green Onion chopped

Instructions:
Spoon a little enchilada sauce on bottom of 9x13 pyrex dish.

Mix refried beans, cooked hamburger and 3/4 of the shredded cheese.
Spoon bean, cheese, meat filling into the boiled and cooled shells.
Place into pyrex.

Cover shells with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese.

Bake covered at 350 till bubbly.

Top with chopped green onions and serve.


Take Care,

Leanne.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Putting Weight Into Perspective {Fat vs Muscle}

If you've been working out for a while and have been trying to lose the last 10 lbs (or even more) but haven't seen the number on the scale budge, do not get discouraged yet!

I know that many people have been told, muscle weighs more than fat, but sometimes you need to see it to believe it.



The woman pictured above started out at 123 lbs at the beginning of her fitness goal, and by the end she is super fit...but notice that she is actually 14 lbs heavier than when she started?! 

There you go folks, the proof is in the picture. So next time you are getting hung up on the number on your scale, use the way you look and feel as a gauge of your progress instead.


Take Care,

Leanne.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Comical Kitchen Decor

Did you grow up in a home where if you didn't want to eat what your parents made as a child, you would basically go hungry...but not actually because you were hungry? That's what I grew up with; you eat what your parents' made or you go hungry, none of this "what would you like to eat tonight?" and special menus for your picky eater.

So in honour of my childhood, and everyone out there that experience the same stance on dinner time in their homes, I give you this hilarious kitchen wall decor!



I am seriously considering buying one of these for my kitchen. What do you think?


Take Care,

Leanne.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

No-Bake Key Lime Cheesecake

What's better than cheesecake? No-Bake Cheesecake!

It's no secret that I love cheesecake; I could eat it every day for the rest of my life and be happy...much like my love of peanut butter. A few years ago I tried key lime cheesecake and have fallen in love with it ever since (although New York Style Cheesecake will always be my favourite). So, when I found this recipe for No-Bake Key Lime Cheesecake, I had to share it.



Ingredients:
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tbs. unsalted butter, melted
1 8-ounce package of light cream cheese, softened
1 8-ounce tub of whipped topping, thawed
1/3 cup fresh key lime juice
1 tbs. lime zest (optional...but it will make it taste even better with it)
1/3 cup fat-free sweetened condensed milk

Directions:
Melt the butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Divide the graham cracker crumbs evenly amongst individual serving bowls or ramekins and press down to make a crust. Drizzle some of the butter over the crumbs in each dish. Place the bowls in the freezer.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, whipped topping, key lime juice, zest, and the condensed milk until well-combined.

Remove the bowls from the freezer. Pipe or spoon the filling into each bowl. Add additional whipped topping and other desired toppings. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving (overnight is best).

Now serve and enjoy!


Take Care,

Leanne.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Preventing Shin Splints {Treadmill Tweak}

Are you a runner that suffers from shin splints but don't know how to prevent them? If that sounds like you, or you have a friend or family member with this problem, read on!

Even if you do not currently suffer from shin splints, you could one day if you don't take proper precautions, so you may want to read on just to save yourself unnecessary pain later (trust me, shin splints can be brutally painful and make tasks like driving difficult).



To keep it simple; when running on a treadmill you are running on a flat surface. This repetitive motion causes added stress on your joints and muscles which can lead to muscles tears that can cause shin splints - even when you think that you are running on flat ground outside, you are always on a slight incline, whether you realize it or not. So to sum up; running on a flat surface or decline will contribute to shin splints.

So how can you avoid  getting these awfully painful shin splints? Simply increase your incline on the treadmill to at least 1.0 (this mimics a fairly level running surface that you would experience if you were running outside). 

This simple adjustment that you make to your treadmill can save you much pain later on.


Take Care,

Leanne.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Apartment Hunting Checklist {Want vs Need}

Are you currently at a new and exciting chapter of your life and are looking to move to a new apartment or home? If this sounds like you, stay put, because I am going to give you some handy advice on apartment (or house) hunting and how to narrow down your ideal fit!



Very recently I ended a 3 year relationship and am now faced looking for a new apartment; it is a situation that is filled with mixed feelings but overall I know it is leading me to a new and exciting chapter of my life. I also have one of my best friends who is actively searching in Toronto for her first condo. Recently we had a conversation about house hunting and she was expressing how she was a bit overwhelmed on finding a place that was the right fit. This is when I explained to her the apartment/house hunting checklist.

How the checklist works is that you have 3 columns; "Need", "Want", and what I like to refer to as "Bonus". Now comes the fun part; make a separate list of all the things you would ideally have in your dream apartment/home. Once you have this list, look at each item and really think hard; ask yourself questions like "if the place doesn't have this item, is it a total deal breaker?" (for me, if a place doesn't allow dogs, it is out of the running 100%), also ask "is this something that is nice but I could easily live without?".
 These are the questions that will determine which category your items will go into. 

Once you have a complete list of "Needs", "Wants", and "Bonuses" you can bring that list as a reminder when you go apartment/house hunting and take notes on what each place has to offer. This way you can sit down later and consider all of your options fully and come up with your best fit!

I hope that this post will make your hunt/move a little less overwhelming/stressful.


Take Care,

Leanne.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Homemade Corn Dogs

When you think back to the foods that you used to eat during your childhood what comes to mind? Pizza? Rice Krispie Squares? Baked Beans & Hot Dogs?

For me one of my favourite childhood foods were corn dogs! Even as an adult, these are still a delicious treat that I always look forward to when my town's fall fair comes around. I know that you can buy these at most grocery stores, but nothing is as good as homemade, so I thought I'd share an easy recipe for homemade corn dogs with you!




Ingredients:
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup white sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
1 1/8 cups milk
1 quart vegetable oil for frying
2 (16 oz) packages beef hot dogs
16 wooden skewers

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, salt, pepper, white sugar and baking powder.

Add milk and egg to the bowl and whisk well.

Heat oil in a large pot on stovetop until it reaches 350 degrees F.

While oil is heating, insert wooden skewers into hot dogs.

Dip/roll skewered hot dog into batter until completely covered.

Cooking 2-3 corn dogs at a time, cook in oil until golden brown in color, about 3 minutes. Set on paper towels once cooked to drain off any excess oil.

Now serve & enjoy with your favourite condiments!

Take Care,

Leanne.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Spiderman Push-Ups

About a month ago I tried a different type of push up that I am going to share with you today; Spiderman push ups.

This push up is super challenging and works your core and arms even more than a regular push up. I was so impressed with these that now they have become a regular part of my fitness routine.



Here's how you do it; start in a regular push up position with your hands placed on the floor under your shoulders with you toes on the floor (your body should form a straight line).

Now bend your elbows and bring your chest down towards the floor (like a standard push up) but bring your knee out to the side and up to your elbow. Bring your knee back in and return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side.

That's 1 rep. Keep going until you have reached 8-12 reps, then take a quick break for 30 seconds and repeat 2 more times.


Take Care,

Leanne.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Painting With A Popcorn Ceiling

Recently I painted my apartment and found it very frustrating due to my popcorn ceilings; I couldn't get a straight line across the top of the walls due to the textured ceiling.
Go figure that I would come across some useful advice after the fact that I have finished painting, but I thought I would share it to keep anyone who is painting their home that has textured ceilings from experiencing the same frustration as I did.



Here's the simple trick: 
Before you paint, drag a narrow flat-head screwdriver lightly along the ceiling. You'll get a clean paint line and no one will ever notice that the bumps are missing.

That's it! Simple as that. No go ahead and paint without the annoyance that I experienced and learn from my mistakes. I can guarantee you that I will be using this trick from now on.


Take Care,

Leanne.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Loaded Chicken & Potato Casserole

A few months ago I came across this recipe and thought it looked good so I gave it a try. Guess what? It's amazing! I have made this recipe a few times now and have found ways to make it more to my taste (I like things spicy so that's the main difference between the original recipe and my spin on it). I promise you, this recipe is a crowd pleaser and you will not be disappointed if you try this.



Loaded Chicken & Potato Casserole:
Ingredients:
1 lb boneless chicken breasts, cubed (1″)
6-8 medium skin on red potatoes, cut in 1/2″ cubes
1/3 c olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp hot sauce (I use 6 tbsp of Franks Buffalo Sauce to make it spicy)

Topping:
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup crumbled bacon (I like to use the pre-packaged bacon bits from the grocery store - it distributes more evenly)
1 cup diced green onion (I usually use 1 whole bundle)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 9X13″ baking dish with cooking aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray..

2. In a large bowl, mix together the olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and hot sauce. Add the cubed potatoes and chicken and stir to coat. Carefully scoop the potatoes and chicken into the prepared baking dish.

3. Bake the potatoes and chicken for 55-60 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes, until cooked through, crispy, and browned on the outside. While the potatoes are cooking, fry your bacon (unless you are using the crumbled stuff like I do).

4. Once the potatoes and chicken are fully cooked, remove from the oven. Top the cooked potatoes with the the cheese, bacon, and green onion. Return the casserole to the oven and bake for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Now serve & enjoy!

Take Care,

Leanne.

Monday, March 10, 2014

How To Break A Plateau


If you know what a weight loss plateau is, you know that it sucks; if you`ve experienced one, you know that it`s frustratingly annoying. If you do not know what a weight loss plateau is, let me enlighten you; simply put, a weight loss plateau is when you have been getting results, only for them to suddenly stop and no matter how much you are working out and eating well, you no are no longer seeing progress in your results.

So if you think that you`ve hit a fitness plateau, here are some of the most common reasons why, and tips on how to fix it:


If you have followed these tips on breaking through your plateau, and you are eating well but are still not seeing results there may be other underlying issues. If this is the case, you may want to consult a doctor as some issues with weight loss can sprout from health issues such as, but not limited to, an under active thyroid, hormone imbalances, or food sensitivities (most common issue can be gluten and/or dairy intolerance). Just remember to consult a doctor before making drastic changes in your diet and exercise.


Take Care,

Leanne.