Monday, June 22, 2009


Okay, I had to blog as soon as I got home. I was wrong about the no uphills :S
I forgot about the other side of the new bridge...heading into's an uphill...and it's quite

But I'm here blogging, so obviously I made it!!! :)


Yes! It's officially here!! Oh how I love summer! Yes, I do say that Fall is my favorite season, but it's only because my most favorite day is a crisp fall day with a clear sky and the sun shining. However, it's probably only by a percentile that it takes that title...Summer, how I love thee!!!

D's been driving my car. I had to switch to automatic from my standard, because of my was making my plantar fasciitis worse. Saturday, because we were having a garage sale and I've been trying to sell my car, we decided to keep it in the driveway on display at the sale, so he took his car to work. Well we've had some problems with is afterall, very close to the 200 thou km mark....So when he got home Saturday, something else happened. I said of course. When you take it to work, something happens. I could have it for however long and nothing. So to make a long story short, lol, it has forced me to finally bike to work. I figure, today is the 2nd day of summer, it's about time!

When we lived in our other house, I had biked to work a few times and loved it. We lived on the southside and so I took the new bridge. Since we've moved to the Horseshoe, I have been putting off doing the ride. I would have to cross the old bridge....AIYEE!! I also wasn't sure about time either. It kinda seemed like it might take much longer. So, this morning, I finally took the plunge! And it worked out to be about the same timing...


It was oh so painless as well! And the great thing I'm thinking about, is the ride home. When I was going the other way, I had to battle the hill coming up from the old bridge. I'm going the other direction this time. I don't even think I really have any uphills.

Isn't it funny, how you get something in your head and you can put it off and put it off and put it off. It's that fear that holds us back...the fear of the unknown. You know, I can't think of any situation where my fear was holding me back and then when I actually faced it, it wasn't even as close to being bad at all. Oh the mental game of it all!!!

So I know for our challenge, we were supposed to do something that took us out of our comfort zone, like every day. Well, this is what I wanted my challenge to be for me...and I finally did it! The final day. Better late than never.

I did it!!!

Oh, I also pool jogged in my pool yesterday...I had been wanting to do that, and I finally did.

Summer, how I love thee!!!!!!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Team Terra Fit Challenge 4

Hello Team Terra Fit,

I hope you are all enjoying the beautiful weather we’ve all been blessed with; however, let’s hope it hasn’t hindered your fitness goals too much?! It is the temptations we must resist that go so well with the heat: many margaritas on the patio, too many chips on the beach, and an overdose of ice cream to cool off…

Remember, try not to reward yourself with food, but rather use the weather to perhaps think about all of the great activities you can do outside with friends and family: bocci ball in the park, a swim at the lake or in a pool, croquet in your back yard, Frisbee in the field, hitting a bucket of balls at the driving range – the list goes on and on!

This is the last 2 weeks of your current program – keep it up!!! Hopefully, you’ve made progress with the amount of weight you’ve been able to lift and/or the number of repetitions. As far as the challenges you’ve been given, keep up the cardio challenge but try to push yourself just a little more over the next 2 weeks.

As far as the push-up and triceps challenge, I’d like for you to decide which of the 2 you feel like doing each day. Perhaps you’d like to alternate to give yourself a break and to mix it up?!
This week and next, you all have a “Support” Challenge. This is something that you all must take the initiative to do AND post on the site to share with each other! You all must try something physical you’ve either NEVER tried or HATE doing (because you’re either not good at it OR had a bad experience in the past) 2 times during the week…a TOTAL of 4 things that may be perhaps, out of your comfort zone.

This exercise is not only good for the body, but also good for building your spirit and soul! As far as the “post” you can decide to either share your experience with everyone OR simply share the activity to give others some more ideas. This is meant to build you as a person, not to frustrate you. It’s good to do something once in a while that scares you or challenges you and I KNOW you are ALL up for the challenge.

Some examples I can list are as follows:
  • Baseball (ask around if anyone needs a spare or get a group together for a game in the park)
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Golf
  • Bowling
  • Swimming
  • Dance lesson
  • Bocci Ball
  • Croquet
  • Touch Football
  • Skateboarding (it’s WAY harder than it looks…my brother made me try when we were younger and I fell flat on my ass…but I will never forget that I at least attempted it!
  • Hiking
  • Rock climbing (if available in your area)
  • Curling
  • Skating
  • Rollerblading
  • Kayaking
  • Canoeing

Okay…a good start to the list! Remember the magical number of 4(minimum).

Have fun with it. Take your camera and take some pictures…it may be a great experience that you want to remember not only by thought, but by many photos too?!

Be strong, Be active, Be all that you can be, Be empowered by who you are and what you can do!


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Team Terra Fit Challenge 3

On top of what you are doing, we’re going to now add another strength challenge as well as introduce LSD Training into your workout week.

“LSD” or “Long Slow Distance” can also be known as steady state training. This is great for a number of reasons: One of those reasons is that it will help with the efficiency in burning fat. Often doing long walks, runs, swims, bikes at 60-70% of your maximum effort for a long duration (1+hours) you are in an aerobic state, which means you are mainly burning fat for energy. Over time, doing these work outs, you will get more efficient in the aerobic energy break down process (fuel for the body). Another reason is that it will increase the capillary density in the muscles. Capillaries are small “net like” areas in the body where the oxygen-rich blood and oxygen-depleted blood are exchanged. When you develop more capillaries you become more efficient in getting fuel to the muscles and getting rid of the waste – improving your endurance levels. You will also increase both your artery and vein diameter, allowing for more blood to pump through the body, resulting in more energy getting to the muscles faster – again making your body more efficient at getting rid of any byproducts. AND you will also increase the mitochondrial density in your cells. Mitochondria are responsible for the breakdown of sugars, which gives you energy. More mitochondria will help you go faster and again, more endurance.

Challenge 3


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Team Terra Fit Challenge 2

On top of your routine that you are doing, let’s add a 2 week challenge for both your cardiovascular and Muscular strength/endurance levels. We are going to focus on toning the back of your arms, your chest muscles as well as wrist strength by performing….wait for it…more PUSH UPS….and some INTERVALS!!!

Challenge 2

Keep up the great work ladies! Remember to love your body, it is what is going to get the work done. Remember to listen to your mind, your determination, is what is going to get you through the work!

Be proud of what you’ve accomplished so far, and be excited, knowing that you are going to accomplish so much more on our journey together as a team of dedicated women, looking to make a positive change in life!

Keep us posted on your progress.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I am just reeling in excitement right now.

I just came from my first visit with a naturopathic doctor. If any indication of how it went, is my getting into my car afterwards and just bawling, from sheer joy and happiness, then it went pretty well. I couldn't believe it. Finally, what I have been looking for! FINALLY!

I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 16 years old. It has been a long battle. For those who know PCOS, you'd probably be able to tell that I have it. But for those who aren't familiar with it, you'd never know.

I could sit here and tell you all about it, but to save time, here's a link to the wikipedia article:

PCOS on Wikipedia

Since my time of trying to get a diagnosis and up until now, I have been to an endodrinologist, 3 ob/gyns, 3 family doctors and now finally a naturopath. I have done quite a bit of research into this, and when you're looking for answers, you know in your heart, you can't stop looking and you want to know more.

When I was diagnosed, I was put on the pill and told to lose weight. That losing the weight, would help control the pcos. Well hello! Easier said than done. Along with the pcos, I am insulin resistant. This is what makes it that much more difficult to lose the weight, along with all the mental issues.

Insulin Resistance on Wikipedia

So since we've decided that we wanted to start a family, I knew that I was really going to have to get things into motion. I'm still not 100% sure if I will be able to get pregnant, but I'm not even thinking that at all. As long as I keep my thoughts positive, and put that out there, that's what I'm focusing on. I have to have faith and believe in the power of attraction. What's meant for me, will be.

So I was absolutely thrilled when I found out that my naturopath knew so much about PCOS. Usually, when you talk to a doctor about, you end up with a blank stare and some silly blurb, which has been heard over and over again. She has treated women before with PCOS. So yes, I was thrilled, when I did NOT get a blank stare.

I just want to take a moment to say why I'm talking about this. A lot of women want to keep this private. It can be embarrasing, a lot of the symptoms that come along with PCOS. The excess facial and body hair, the thinning hair, the obesity and the list can go on. I used to be one of those women. But why I'm talking about this now, is for awareness. This syndrome, is not very well known. It's not out there in the mainstream. But there is a lot of women affected by this. Sure, the number may only be 5%, but still, that's 1 in 20 women. I'm a very open person, I never used to be, but I think now, the more we can talk about it, the more people who can know about this, maybe I'll reach that one woman who's been looking for answers, trying to figure out what's going on. Maybe I can help her.

So one thing that I have grown very tired of, is the medication. Since I've been 16, I have been on some sort of medication, every day, to help my body work. I want my body to function on its own, naturally. We came into this world, drug free. That's how I want to be. My main concern was fertility. But what I have realized, is that I'm #1 here. It's not just my reproductive system that I have to be concerned about. It's my whole system. Everything is connected. I've finally found someone who will listen to my concerns and help me. So yes, by the time I was done, I was so overcome by emotion, I just sat and cried. This is a new beginning.

I love to learn and I'm always excited when I find out something new. Especially about the body and its relation to food and nutrients. I'm very excited at the plan we have started to put in place. I'm very excited at the possibilities. I will probably post more about this later. I just had to share my experience. And of course, the first person I called, while I was bawling my eyes out in the car, was my mom, who's been there from the very beginning of it all....Thanks Ma!

Monday, May 11, 2009


Well first of all...let me mourn the Canucks............OK!

I can probably count the times that I have tried to get my act together and really do this once and for all. Except, every time that I've been able to get into a routine and get it down and start doing really well...something always happens to me! Always!
Now whether it's become something mental where it's like I'm expecting it, so I bring it on myself, I'm not too sure. But it's happened...again...but this's different!

My plantar fasciitis. Oooh, I just want to wish it away. It's come back with a vengence in my left foot. I've suffered from it in both my feet, but my left foot, ohh it's painful. So this is why I haven't been on. But why not, you might be asking. It's not fingers that were broken that could prevent me from typing, lol. Again, it's all mental.

I said this time, it's different. Yes it is. Because before, I would just end up feeling sorry for myself. I would fall back into bad old habits (oh so easy to do!) and would just end up back at square one. But this time, yes it's different. Sure I felt some self-pity. I wasn't able to do the work outs as I had wanted. But I still got to the pool (except last week). Okay, so maybe that was a bit of a fib, but I missed one week! But what's different, is that I kept at it in my mind. I didn't stop what I was doing. When I was feeling down about my foot, I didn't comfort myself with food! I didn't comfort myself with food! That is a huge step! I still kept planning. I still kept making sure I was eating what I was supposed to be eating. That is HUGE! I can proudly say, that I have been eating well, eating what I should be, to help with my pcos. Yes, I have PCOS. I will get to that another time. I just feel so proud of myself for not letting my emotions control what I eat. I have been eating for fuel. Not for comfort. Not for pleasure. Eating to live, not living to eat. YES!

So, we're still going strong. I might not be able to totally do the challenges as I'd like. But I'm going to modify them, to fit my needs and my stupid foot :)
I got my orthotics adjusted today...and instructions to stretch my calves for 5 minutes, 3x times/day! So hopefully, this will help. And! I've decided to trade in my car, which I think is making my foot worse. It's a standard. My clutch foot, is the bad hopefully we can find something soon!

I should be getting an update for the challenge tonight from Jenna. So it should be posted by tomorrow. I love how everyone is getting involved. This is so great! So cheers to everyone! and HERE WE GO!!!!!!!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Team Terra Fit

I know Jenna posted the Week 1 challenge today, but we've decided that we're going to run this set from May 1st-Aug 15th. That gives this challenge 15 weeks. The reason for this, is that Jenna is going to be up here the week of August 10th and she said what she'd like to do is have a wrap-up boot camp and ladies' lunch! I think that sounds like such a great idea!

So what she'd like is for anyone who wants to join Team Terra Fit and follow this challenge to "sign-up", so she can get an idea of who's in and she can help you with your progress and such.

If you have a google account, you can let us know in the comments for this post. It's pretty easy to get one, If not, you can send Jenna an e-mail.
*Note - If you really don't want to get a google account, I've just changed the comments settings so you can now leave comments as "anonymous", but we'd love to know who you are!

Let's get everyone involved! Tell your friends about Terra Fit. Get them to tell their friends! I think this is going to be so much fun and we're going to get healthy and LIVE life at the same time!!!

We both look forward to hearing from you! We can do this!!

Goooooo Team Terra Fit!!!

Challenge #1

Good morning Team “Terra Fit”,

Welcome to your first week of your fitness challenge. Before I begin explaining the first routine, I want to make it clear that I am available for any questions or concerns you may encounter over the next 4 months of your program. YES…4 months to stick with this together to inspire and motivate you to become a healthier you. We are going to start with this program and add some minor changes to it in 2 weeks…we want to keep you engaged and challenged, but not overwhelmed with trying to remember too much too soon!

I would like you to get a journal and label this your “Workout Journal”. On the front page, you are going to set a goal. This goal needs to be measurable and timely. Let’s put August 15th 2009 down as the date you would like to achieve this first goal. For example, if you would like to lose “x” number of pounds, write that down or if you want “x” clothing to fit better, write that down. Remember, 4 months isn’t a long time; so be realistic with your goal. Once we achieve that goal on August 15, we can set another goal and put a time line on that. We should feel good when we reach our goals, not feel bad or discouraged for not reaching them – especially if we set that goal too high from the start! (If you’re not sure if your goal is too zealous, you may e-mail me to ask for feedback

This front page should also include your current weight and the circumference of your waist (let’s say navel level), biceps (even distance between elbow and shoulder), thigh (even distance between hip and knee), chest (nipple line).

The 2nd page of your journal should include the actual Terra Fit Challenge #1.

Click here for Challenge #1

As you can see, it is laid out in a 6 day rotation. This is up to you when you start or finish (trying to have only 1-2 days off in the week. You can decide if you take a break after day 2 or 3….or if you need a break after any of the other days, making sure you still do the next day of work in order.

Cardio is a MUST! Try and squeeze in at least 30 min each day. The format is up to you (just write down in your journal what you did on that day).

Writing in your journal is VERY important. There are 5 “MUST ANSWER” questions that you need to write in your journal EVERY Day and you can find these in Challenge #1. Writing down your answers with as much detail will be most beneficial to you and it will keep you honest with yourself. These answers will help me help you down your journey to success. If you don’t write down these answers, how will we know the progress made or the changes needed to help you with your challenges?

To clarify question 3: “How hard you worked?” Refers to what is called a “modified Borg Scale”. This is a scale that looks at how difficult you’re working. The Figure below will indicate the difficulty of work, related to your breathing. Again, as you become healthier, you’re going to be working harder to try achieve a higher number on the scale (a good thing).

Figure 1. Modified Borg scale.

Again, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to send me an e-mail.

Remember, you are strong – MIND over Muscle…you can do it!!!!

Jenna - Terra Fit resident expert

Sunday, April 26, 2009

What happens when you fail to plan

Did I not just write about planning? What was that quote? Oh yeah..."Failing to plan means you're planning to fail" Hello!

That's exactly what happened on Thursday. I woke up without a plan. I was a bit out of my routine as I had been on-location at McDonald's all week with William. Nonetheless, that's no excuse.

I find when I don't have a plan, I don't eat enough during the day. Then, that leaves my body wanting more calories at night, which will 99.9% of the time end up coming in the form of carbs. If I don't plan, I'll have whatever I can throw together without one, but I'll forget to eat snacks. Those snacks are so important!

So Thursday is also my tv day...sooo not a good day to not have a plan! I've got The Office, Survior and Grey's Anatomy. Oh why do they all have to come on the day?! The funny thing is though, is that I can plan how to watch them! I tivo Survivor at 5, so that it's already started to record when I get home from work, then I set The Office to record at 6. So I watch Survivor and then The Office, then Grey's Anatomy at 9! See I can easily plan my tv on the fly...why is it so tough to plan your day's menu on the fly?!

So we threw on a frozen pizza to eat while watching Survivor and The Office. Definitely not the greatest choice. I could see if maybe it was on a whole wheat crust, but it was white crust. Not good. Maybe even if we had a salad with the pizza. But it was just the pizza. Split between Dave and me.

We also had to go get a few things at the store for the yard, so off to Wal-Mart we went. Well I saw they had a new flavour of 100 calorie packs of chips - Sour Cream n Onion Ruffles..ohh yumm! In my head, I'm telling myself..."Tara, it's potatoes, you can't have potatoes." Then there's my other little, though mighty powerful voice..."But they're only 100 calories!" So into the cart the box went...URGH...I knew better.

After we left Wal-Mart, we were both feeling pretty hungry. Well it's no doubt. Refined carbs in the pizza crust. In a normal person, that just gets immediately turned into glucose and gets burned off quickly and doesn't have any lasting power so it wouldn't be long before one would feel hungry again. For me, that gets turned into fat.

So I suggest McDonalds. Yes, I had been at McDonalds all week and my willpower was getting worn down. But I thought (yes, always trying to rationalize a poor decision) if I make sure that there's a fairly decent choice, I'll be okay. We decided on splitting a 10 pc McNugget meal with rootbeer and large fries AND split a Chipotle Grilled chicken snack wrap.

Well let me tell you where I went wrong on all levels. Though I did try to justify my choice by getting the grilled chicken over the crispy chicken in the snack wrap. The McNuggets are deep fried - helloo! It was just bad over all. I ate half the fries...I can't have fries! Potatoes! Deep fried McNuggets! White flour wrap! Pop! OY! Oh, the double oy is coming...a bit after eating the McDonalds...I went upstairs and grabbed one of the Sour Cream N Onion Chips! OY OY! Ohhh did my stomach give me a talking to later that night.

So that's what happens when you fail to plan.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This girl rocks!

From day one I have been cheering for this girl. She is absolutely amazing. She just has this attitude that is so infectious, it's incredible. She was always talking about how she was on Biggest Loser for a reason and that was to help other people. To let them know, that if they were just like her, that they could do it too. That there was hope!

I truly believed that Kristin was going to be Bob's first Biggest Loser. She was afterall, the first woman ever to lose 100lbs while on Biggest Loser - in 12 weeks! Kristin lost 100 lbs in 3 months! Holy cow!! However, $$$ was in someone's eyes and Kristin was voted off last night. In her update at the end, she's now lost 140lbs!! I can't wait for the finale! We'll be picking our jaws up off the floor!

She is featured on the cover of this week's Life & Style weekly and in the article she said something that struck me and I just started crying.

If I could have one message, it would be this: Don't wait for your Biggest Loser moment. Losing weight is more mental than anything else. When you start to lose motivation, close your eyes and envision what your life could be if you push forward and keep up the weight loss. I promise, it will be worth it.

So through my tears, I closed my eyes. I saw it. I saw my life and I knew... it was worth it.

Click here to read a snipit of the article.

My girl Kristin and Bob Harper

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What I'm Eating

Well due to my insulin resistance I'm having to adjust to eating a different way. Really, I think this is the way that everyone should be eating. I think if everyone were to eat this way, we would be an extremely healthy people!

I'm not following a specific diet, but what I am doing is using the principles of a low glycemix index diet, the concept of the Zone Diet and eating clean. Basically this consists of lean protein, fruits & vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats. Mostly what I'll do, especially for dinner, is use a smaller dinner plate and do 1/2 veggies, 1/4 protein and 1/4 carb. I will also try to not have any more than 2.5-3 hours between eating. I am also trying to consume 3 litres of water a day.

Here's an example of my menu:

Breakfast: Muesli (1/2 cup steel cut oats, 1 scoop vanilla whey protein, 1/4 light soy milk, 1/2 low fat yogurt, 1 tbsp slivered almonds, 1/2 cup chopped strawberries, 1/4 apple chopped and 1 tbsp dried cranberries)

Snack: 1/2 banana & 1/2 protein bar

Lunch: Tomato Cucumber Salad (10 cherry tomatoes halved, 3/4 cup cucumber chopped, 1 tsp olive oil, salt & pepper) and Ham & Hummus Pita (1 whole wheat pita, 1 tbsp hummus, 2 lettuce leaves, 4 slices of lean ham)

Snack: Creamsicle Smoothie (1/2 cup fibre-rich OJ, 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt, 1 scoop vanilla whey protein, ice cubes)

Dinner: Chicken and Lentil Stew and 3/4 skim milk
Chicken (skinless chicken breast sprinkled with salt & pepper, cinnamon, cumin and coriander - baked (4-6oz serving))
Lentil Stew (onion, celery, green pepper, eggplant and garlic sauteed with some olive oil. 1 can of lentils and 1 large can diced tomatoes. Season with cumin, coriander, salt and pepper (1 cup serving))

Snack: Cottage Cheese and strawberries (1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese and 1/2 cup chopped strawberries)

Grocery shopping, I make sure I stock up on all my staples needed to fuel my new lifestyle. I then take about 10 minutes before I go to bed and plan out my following day's menu. I have a wipe board calendar in my kitchen with a notes section and I write the menu right on there. This is working wonders!

My girl Kristin from The Biggest Loser had a saying, I think I saw it on her Facebook profile, "Failing to plan means you're planning to fail". How true is that?! You come home hungry, no plan in sight, you go to the cupboard or fridge and the only thing in your head is EAT! So you just grab whatever and it usually ends up being a poor choice. If you have that plan in place...your only choice is SUCCESS!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy Monday!

First I'd like to thank Tara, the best sister in the world, for inviting me to be a guest on her blog and the lovely introduction to you. I have been a leader in the fitness industry for nine years and I have a wealth of knowledge that I am excited to share with all of you!

I am honoured to be included in Tara's journey to health and wellness via the internet, knowing that it's not as perfect as being able to work with her in person, but it's the next best thing! I hope that as readers, you can all benefit from my expertise by participating in the online fitness routines I will provide, as well as share your thoughts, struggles and accomplishments. Together you will have fun, yet challenge yourselves with exercise, on a road to a better you - from the inside out. All of the exercise options can either be performed at your home, your gym or even in the outdoors to enjoy that glorious fresh air and sunshine!

This week, I would like to get an idea of what type of (at-home) fitness equipment you all have access to. I will then be able to better set up routines. I would also like to find out what type of exercises you would be interested in trying as well as how often and how long you can commit to exercise each week.

My idea would be to post a new routine every second Sunday and see how everyone enjoys it. Comments and questions will be welcomed and encouraged throughout the two weeks.

I look forward to hearing from you throughout this week!

The first workout will be posted this Sunday.

Yours in fitness,

Monday, April 13, 2009

Welcome Jenna!

Just like Oprah has her experts, so will Terra Fit!

I'd like to welcome Jenna to Terra Fit. Jenna is a group fitness coordinator with the YMCA. She is also a Registered Massage Therapist. Jenna instructs a variety of group fitness classes and she is also a certified Pilates instructor. Jenna has an extensive athletic background having played hockey and softball. Has competed in track and field and triathlons. She is an active long distance runner and competes in various marathons. She is also my sister.

Jenna will be lending her ideas on the fitness front providing us with different work out ideas, routines and exercises. She might even provide us with some great massage tips as well! She will also be available to answer any of your questions. Jenna, we look forward to your contributions here at Terra Fit!

I'm Back

Well I wasn't ever really gone. But in the blogging sense, I definitely was. I don't think I lost inspiration, but I lost motivation - after one post nonetheless. But, I am back! I read a quote today. It was from The Biggest Loser's Kristin. It was her status on Facebook today.
Wanting it isn't enough. You have to work for it.
That one really hit home because how often I find myself trying to figure out how come I couldn't do this. How could me wanting to start a family so badly not be enough for me to conquer my unhealthy relationship with food and sedentary lifestyle. So it did hit home. Because wanting it isn't enough. I have to work for it.

Monday, March 09, 2009

I'm the solution.

The other day I was talking to my new fabulous friend and I was talking about how I had been struggling. Struggling with lack of energy, zero motivation and not being able to figure out why. Then I was telling her about a profile that I had read that morning on Sparkpeople and how it had really spoke to me.

A lot of people ask me how I acheived my weight loss. They think there is some kind of all powerful secret that I can share with them that will make all of the puzzle pieces fall into place and melt the fat from their bones. Thing is, there is no secret. You just have to watch what you eat, exercise, drink water and most importantly, believe you can do it.

Or at least be able to fake that belief until you really believe it. Faking it is a-ok in my book...that's how I had to do it for the first 50lbs!

The most important thing I have realized through this process is that wanting to be thin isn't good enough. Wanting to wear cute clothing isn't good enough. Wanting to be accepted by others isn't good enough. Essentially, wanting the end result isn't good enough. You have to want the whole package. The good, bad and ugly. The triumphs AND the failures. The losses AND the gains. You have to be ready to take the steps to get healthy and make a commitment to yourself to follow through. Until you are ready to make that decision, all of the diets, websites and urging from others won't help you.

But when you're ready, anything is possible.


I realized, that was me. As much as I hadn't really thought so, it was. I have countless books on diets and fitness and I'm always looking for more. Do those pills in the aisle on the backside of the protein bar/vitamin aisle at Wal-Mart really work? I'm always looking for that right plan for me, for that website built just for me. I'm looking for that magical's me......I'm the solution..........holy crap.....I think I just had, as Oprah calls A-HA moment...and the tears flowed.....

I was always looking for someone to blame. To blame for my lack of motivation, for my poor eating, for not exercising. Usually at the end of that blame, was my husband. Sure, he should shoulder some of it, but I have to take 100% of that blame. Every decision was my own. But what I hadn't completely realized, was that I was also the solution - to it all.

I really am grateful for having such wonderful friends, new and old, whose support on this journey has been, is and will be surmountable to my success - K, R & T.

My family has always been there for me, loved me for me and cheered me on in this life long journey and I love every ounce of their beings!

I am determined to persevere. I'm ready.

This is, Terra Fit.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

A Love Affair

I am in love with avocados! So much so, in fact, that the paint colour in our rec room is 'Guacamole'! Well we didn't do that on purpose. I'm also in love with green and the shade we wanted just so happened to be that - a match made in heaven!

Yes avocados are high in fat, but it's good fat - monounsaturated. They have also been shown to decrease both LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglyceride levels by 22% and raise HDL levels (good cholesterol) by 11%. Avocados have 60% more potassium than bananas, are rich in B vitamins, as well as vitamin E and K and they have the highest fibre content of any fruit. I could go on forever about the health benefits of this gem, but I have to finish painting my bedroom...not guacamole, though it is green.

If you're not that familiar with avocados, when you're buying them, Haas avocados are most readily available in grocery stores. A ripe avocado is relatively firm, but will yield to gentle pressure when you give it a slight squeeze. Color cannot always be trusted to determine whether or not an avocado is ripe. The squeeze test is the way to go. If you plan to use the avocados right away, then buy the ripe ones. But if you want to buy them a few days before you plan to use them, get them when they are hard and do not yield to squeezing. Then just leave them out on the counter and wait for them to get ripe.

So how do you you cut the avocado? There's not really any wrong way to do it, but there a couple of quicker, easier ways to do it: Grip the avocado gently on one side with one hand. With a large, sharp knife in the other hand, cut the avocado lengthwise around the seed. Open the two halves to expose the pit.

Now, there are a few ways you can proceed to remove the pit from the avocado half that has the pit. One way is to make another cut, lengthwise on the avocado half that has the pit, cutting around the pit, exposing it so that it is easier to remove. You can also use a spoon to scoop out the pit.

Another way to do it is a bit trickier and if you're a bit nervous, fold up a kitchen towel and use that to hold the avocado half with the pit. Gently tap the pit with a knife with enough force so that the knife edge wedges into the pit, but not so hard that you cut all the way through it. Tap it very gently a few times, with increasing pressure each time, until a cut is made in the pit sufficiently to twist the pit out. Getting the pressure just right takes a little practice. With the edge of the knife, twist the pit out of the avocado and discard. Then just tap the handle of the knife on the edge of the sink once or twice and the pit will come off the knife.

Then you can either scoop out the flesh with a spoon or you can cut the chunks into the flesh while still in the peel, then scoop out with a spoon.

I love to put avocado on sandwhiches, in salad, burgers and my most favorite of all...Guacamole!! This is one of my signature dishes. Now I usually just throw all the ingredients together and go by taste, but I've put it into a recipe to share with you. Enjoy!

Tara's Guacamole

5 avocados, cut into small chunks
1/2 medium red onion, diced
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1-2 tsp lime juice
salt & pepper to taste

Chop the avocado and put into a bowl. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of the lime juice to prevent it from going brown. Chop the onion, tomato and cilantro and add to the bowl. Combine until mixed, but still chunky. Add salt and pepper to taste and remainder of the lime juice, if needed. Chill. Serve.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Coconut Lemon Squares

I love lemon! Well except for lemon-flavoured hard candy - not a huge fan. But yes, I'm really beginning to develop a love for lemon! Lemon tarts, lemon squares, lemon muffins, lemon loaf! Lemon! Lemon! Lemon! I love how lemons just exude freshness! You smell lemon and you instantly think fresh, clean! But I also love the tartness. When you take a bite of something with lemon in it and you get that tart taste in your mouth and then it just makes you pucker...MMM!

At Christmas, I made Lemon-Cranberry Scones which were simply delish, so those will make an appearance at Terracotta Cafe at some point. Since then I've been wanting to do another lemon recipe and I've had lemon squares in the back of my mind. It doesn't help that I had an absolutely delicious lemon tart at Don Diego's on my birthday, so I've had lemon on my mind since.

So the other night, I whipped these up and they were super easy. The combination of the lemon and coconut was just magnificent!

Lemon Coconut Squares (16 squares)

1 cup flour
1/4 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup dessicated coconut
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 lemon, juice and rind

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix flour, icing sugar and butter together thoroughly. Press crumb mixture evenly into an 8-inch square pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Then sprinkle with coconut.

Beat remaining ingredients together. Pour over the top. Bake for another 20 minutes. Cool and mark into squares with wet knife. Chill. When cold, cut completely and remove from pan. Serve.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Dave's Jalapenos

My husband Dave, isn't afraid to get in the kitchen. Just last night while I was watching The Biggest Loser, he was upstairs making dinner - Spicy Seafood Penne (his own recipe) - he has built himself quite the repertoire!

One day while watching Guy's Big Bite on The Food Network, he saw a recipe that he just had to try. We love our Southwestern/Mexican cuisine, so this was definitely a must try. Dave didn't have the exact ingredients which lean more towards of an italian flair, so he just kind of followed the "template", but created his own version. He's now made them twice and each time tries something a bit different. They've been a complete hit each time!

Here's the recipe from Guy's Big Bite:

Italian Stuffed Jalapenos (4-6 Servings)

15 jalapenos, preferably red, cut in 1/2, seeded and deveined
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 pounds mild Italian sausage, casings removed
2 cups mascarpone or cream cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Minced chives

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Place jalapenos on a sheet tray and roast for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Heat the oil in a medium saute pan. Add onions, peppers, garlic and sausage and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove and place in a large bowl. Cool to room temperature, then add mascarpone, and Parmesan. Mix ingredients thoroughly and season with salt and pepper.

Place approximately 1 tablespoon of mixture into each jalapeno half, and top with 1/2 teaspoon of mozzarella cheese.

Place the sheet tray of stuffed peppers in oven and bake for 5 minutes or until mozzarella cheese melts.

Garnish with minced chives and Parmesan. Serve.

Dave's version with a southwestern twist: He replaced the sausage with lean ground beef, and used a taco seasoning. He omitted the mascarpone cheese and parmesan cheese. He added black olives and topped with cheddar and mozzarella - DELICIOUS!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Red Velvet Cupcakes

This was my first attempt at making Red Velvet Cupcakes. I'm going to go back to the drawing board with this one, but thought I would post them anyway - afterall that's what this is for!

A lot of the recipes I came across had reviews saying how oily the cupcake was. So I was a bit worried, wondering if this recipe would come out dripping - Not moist enough! Also, I also used
1 1/2 bottles of red food colouring - not red enough! And, I'm not sure why, but it was like when the cupcake baked, the food colouring was drawn to the centre so when you unwrapped the cupcake it looked like it was a chocolate cupcake. When you bit into it, was when you saw the red. That was kind of cool, but I want to see ALL red! So the Red Velvet Cupcakes will go back to the test kitchen!

Red Velvet Cupcakes (Makes 24)

3 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
6 tbsp red food coloring
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners and set aside.

In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla.

Add to the batter and beat well.

In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk.

Add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat.

In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well.

Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth. Divide the batter among the cupcake cups. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting with Shredded Coconut

8 oz. Cream Cheese (I used light)
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups *powdered sugar
2 cups shredded, sweetened coconut

With an electric mixer, blend together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Turn mixer to low speed and blend in powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Turn mixer on high and beat until light and fluffy. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to use. If refrigerated, the frosting will need to be brought to room temperature before using (after frosting softens up, beat with mixer until smooth). Pour the coconut onto a plate. Lightly roll the cupcake tops in the coconut so that it's covered. Serve.

*If you want a thicker frosting, more powdered sugar can be added (up to 4 cups).

Monday, February 23, 2009

Strawberry Scones

A few weekends ago there was some strawberries on sale at Safeway, so I picked up a couple of containers. We had some with brunch the day after I bought them. They were not very tasty at all. I really should know better - it's not the season. But, I figured it was close to Valentine's Day and they usually bring out some good strawberries around that time, so why not. With one bite, I remembered why not. So I told Dave that I would wash and hull them and throw in the freezer - smoothies! Well as the week went on, the strawberries were forgotten about and they got pushed to the back of the fridge.

The day I made the banana muffins I was flipping through the recipes and came across the Strawberry Scones recipe. I thought hmmm...I've got those strawberries that need to be used...bookmarked!

So the recipe actually called for dried strawberries, but I thought I'd try it out with the fresh strawberries to see how that would be. I would have to was an experience. Because I used fresh instead of dried, the dough was MUCH stickier. The recipe calls for you to roll the dough out and then cut into the triangles. Well, I plopped the dough on the counter and I plopped it right back into the bowl. There was no way it was going to roll out or have been cut into triangles. So, I just used a 1/2 cup scoop and scooped them onto the parchment paper and just let them bake freeform - which turned out alright. If you like an unsweet scone, this is a great recipe to play with - I'd definitely add some orange zest.

Strawberry Scones (makes 12-16 large scones)

4 cups flour, plus 1 tbsp
2 tbsp sugar, plus 1 tbsp
2 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups cold butter, diced
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream (I used skim milk)
3/4 cups small diced dried strawberries (I used 1 cup diced fresh)
1 egg beaten with 2 tbsp water or milk for egg wash (I omitted this step)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 4 cups of flour, 2 tbsp sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in the cold butter at the lowest speed and mix until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and quickly add them to the flour and butter mixture. Combine until just blended. Toss the strawberries with 1 tbsp of flour (if using dried), add them to the dough and mix quickly. The dough may be a bit sticky.

Dump the dough out onto a well floured surface and be sure it is well combined. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. You should see lumps of butter in the dough. Cut into squares with a 4-inch plain or fluted cutter and then cut them in half diagonally to make triangles. Place on a baking sheet lined parchment paper.

Brush the tops with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the outsides are crisp and the insides are fully baked.

Recipe taken from:

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I love bananas - But they have to be just right. A banana for me has to be just coming out of its green stage. It has to be firm and can't have any brown spots or be too yellow. The riper it is and the more banana-ey it tastes, no thank you. I can't stand a sweet banana! Though, they do come in handy. My bananas always tend to just sit on the counter. A couple of them will get eaten, but then they'll just sit there...and get ripe - ew! So, I used to just throw the whole bananas in the freezer to use at a later time, and they would pile up. But one thing I've been doing lately is either chopping or slicing them in half and sticking them on a parchment lined cookie sheet in the freezer (to prevent from sticking together). Then once frozen, I throw them in a ziploc bag in the freezer - perfect for smoothies!

A couple weekends ago I had some bananas sitting on the counter and already had a pretty good stock of frozen ones in the freezer, so I decided to make banana muffins. This is the recipe I made (slightly altered from the original recipe). They were absolutely delicious! I would definitely make them again. Thanks Ina!

Banana Crunch Muffins (18 large muffins)

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
3/4 cup skim milk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup mashed banana (2-3 bananas)
1 cup banana, medium diced (1-2 bananas)
3/4 walnuts, small diced
3/4 granola
3/4 coconut, medium unsweetened
diced banana chips, granola or shredded coconut (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line 18 large muffins cups with paper liners. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. (If no mixer, use a wooden spoon.) Add the melted butter and blend. Combine the eggs, milk, vanilla and mashed bananas, and add them to the flour and butter mixture. Scrape the bowl and blend well. Don't overmix.

Fold the diced bananas, walnuts, granola, and coconut into the batter. Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each one to the top. (I use a click handle ice cream scoop.) Top each muffin with dried banana chips, granola or coconut, if desired. (I used granola.) Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly, remove from pan and serve.

This recipe taken from:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Valentine Sugar Cookies

I wanted to do something different for Valentine's Day and I remembered the sugar cookies my mom used to make when we were younger. She would make sugar cookies, dye them pink and cut them out in hearts. So I wanted to make these sugar cookies, but with the Terracotta Café touch.

Sugar Cookies (3-4 dozen)

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 to 4 minutes). Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough.

Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about one hour or until firm enough to roll.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove one half of the chilled dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch. (Keep turning the dough as you roll, making sure the dough does not stick to the counter.) Cut out desired shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter and transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheet.

Bake cookies for about 10 minutes (depending on size) or until brown around the edges. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Royal Icing

2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
6 drops red food colouring
red sugar crystals

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the egg whites with the lemon juice. Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined and smooth. Add the food colouring and beat until fully incorporated. The icing needs to be used immediately or transferred to an airtight container as royal icing hardens when exposed to air. Cover with plastic wrap when not in use.

Frost the cookies and sprinkle with the sugar crystals. Be sure to let the royal icing dry completely before storing. (This may take several hours.) Frosted cookies will keep several days in an airtight container. Store between layers of parchment paper or wax paper.

Welcome to the Café!

In my grade 12 yearbook write-up, my two future ambitions were to be on the radio and to own Terracotta Café. I took the radio program at BCIT after graduation and it's hard to believe that I have now been working in radio for 8 years.
I always loved being in the kitchen, experimenting with recipes and trying new foods. I love to cook for people, to see the smile on their faces when they see what I have prepared. In this blog I will share with you the recipes I create and make as I explore my passion.