The Average Girl's "How To" Guide

Advice on how to live a well-balanced lifestyle

Tag: Food

How To: Keep Fit and Have Fun

by Rachel

I cannot rave enough about the fitness app My Fitness Pal by Under Armour. I have never had such an easy experience losing weight, to the point where I have accidentally lost beyond my original goal. To my surprise and delight, I am currently three pounds less than my original goal!
The key aspects I have found most helpful are:
1. It has taught me about the underlying habits in reaching the goals as opposed to just the goal itself.
2. It is much, much easier to get back into a routine with this app after holidays/trips etc that make it so hard to get back in the swing of things.
3. The numbers. Seeing the numbers in front of my face are all I need. Seeing I only have 100 calories left means I only eat 100 more calories for a bedtime snack and then I know I am done.
4. I exercise more because I want to eat more… And that’s good for all parts of the body.

Guys, if you need to, try it. Give it a few days to make it a habit because it does take time to enter your info but is very, very worth it.

What’s Yo’ Beef #44

by Rachel


When you don’t know how much dry cleaning costs so you get a Groupon thinking you will save money, and in the end you actually lose $3 because it’s SO EFFING CHEAP! I lost money on a Groupon deal… How does one do that?


Man, so I got a sweet haircut today. Probably the best one I’ve ever had. A woman even tapped on the glass of the haircutting place and mouthed she loved my hair – SERIOUSLY. But now I have nowhere to go! (Okay, I did have a BBQ invite, but I’m headachey so am not going.) Wait. Is this now about haircuts and nowhere to go, or headaches? I can’t decide. Both! Everything!

What’s Yo’ Beef #43

by Rachel

It’s beef day y’all!


This guys, this is my beef. When the muffin cups stick to the muffin, are hard to get off and tear your muffin apart!




Well guys, today I’m moving! So while I love going through stuff and arriving at a new destination and having to buy new stuff, packing, unpacking, and cleaning all suck. They suck!

How To: Achieve That Elusive Work-Life Balance

by Shannon

Dude, just take a vacation. I know that sounds like a quick-fix solution, and maybe it is, but after a week of being back from NYC, I’m still riding high from it.

I typically work 75 – 80 hour work weeks. Every week night, and every weekend, for sure. When I got back from vacation, I was on such an absolute high from it that I just couldn’t keep that up. All I wanted to do was think about how awesome my trip was!

I obviously still have work I need to get done, but somehow it’s really helped me mellow out a bit and realize that work isn’t my main reason for surviving. While I love my job, and really, really love what I do, it’s still a means to an end to do other stuff I also love to do, like go on trips, and meet new people, and eat hamburgers.

Who knows how long this feeling will last, but I guess that just means I’ll have to take another trip.


What’s Yo’ Beef #37

by Rachel


When you get takeout, and take it home and get all excited, and they give you french fries, when you asked for sweet potato fries… Life is so hard.


My beef is personal hygiene. It’s such a bitch, you know what I mean? I’m all for being clean and everything, but the never ending cycle of wax this, pluck that, shave everything, trim your fingernails, get a haircut, brush your teeth… ugh, it just really gets to me sometimes. Life would be easier if I was a robot, that’s for sure.

How To: Be Just Super Weird

by Shannon

If you know me at all in RL (real-life, noobs), you’ll know that I’m just super weird. I’m pretty big on oversharing, and I don’t have a great filter. I figure, if you’re into me when I’m being my level of normal, then at least you won’t be terribly surprised if I’m covering it up, and then all of a sudden one day you hear me talking about ghosts while eating a Hot Rod and wearing short-shorts because they make me feel good.

Anyway, in high school, it certainly got me into trouble. One specific incident was when writing in my Live Journal, I would just rave and rave about this band that Rachel and I were really into, Dharma Love.

Man, those guys were awesome. They were so nice to Rachel and I, and would look excited, rather than creeped out, when we would drive from Fenelon Falls to Uxbridge just to see their shows. Anyway, as you’re probably not surprised, they found out, and it got preeeetty awkward.

Oh God, where am I going with this? Man, sometimes I even forget.

Right – so, the point was, whenever they would do something small, like offer me a wheat stock from the hall where we were watching them play, or look pleased when we rolled up to Tim Hortons with them after the show, it would just fill me with joy. Not even necessarily because I totally wanted to just snog Phil-with-the-nose-ring into oblivion, but just because it’s really nice when someone likes you. Not even necessarily like-like, but just in a friendy kind of way.

So this brings me to being 27, and married. I still get major friend crushes on people, when it’s not “romantic”, but it’s just really nice when someone laughs at your jokes, or wants to hang out with with you, or says yes to getting that one last pint. I get friend crushes on girls, I get friend crushes on guys, I get friend crushes on people getting onto elevators that just look cool and think it’s funny when I give people dirty looks who get off on the second floor when they got on at the first.

Friend-crushes make you feel good. They’re a nice highlight in some otherwise shitty days. They make you want to put on real pants instead of sweat pants, and to share your flax crackers instead of hogging them to yourself. They make you a better person, and a nicer person, and in turn, the type of people that maybe other people get friend crushes on.

So here’s to triple bunk-beds, to morning gossip sessions in hotel rooms, to making robot helmets, to mani-pedis and weird massages, and to just generally having a pretty awesome time at everything lately.

Friend crushes! Go and get one!

How To: Have A Great St. Patrick’s Day

by Shannon

With St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Monday this, I did my main celebrating Saturday with Liam and some friends, and man, we had a blast.

I’m a strong believer that St. Patrick’s Day can be totally fun, without having to pay a $15 cover and cram yourself into a room that seems to have more elbows than bartenders and vacant bathrooms, with the former constantly being shoved in your face. Last year, Liam and I did a sweet College Street pub crawl with a friend that worked out awesome – non-Irish bars get ignored during this holiday, so we had great service, and the bartenders were fun to chat with. This year, we went for the same idea.

Once everyone found the place, we all huddled into Duke’s Refresher, which is a relatively new bar on Gerrard at Yonge. It has a great beer selection, the food was killer (as was my beer milkshake. What!?), and the band kept playing Beatles songs once they realized we loved them. We sat around, played Truth or Dare, ordered multiple Moosehead‘s, and the band even dedicated a song to me.

From there, we booted over to Jack Astor’s for some Woodchuck Ciders, then over to Beer Academy to wrap up the evening. By the time my facepaint was wearing off and Liam and I had demolished the Chinese food we brought home to devour during House of Cards, I was tapped, but I’d had one awesome St. Patrick’s Day.

In honour of my awesome day, I’ve put together a small list of rules that should help you have a wonderful holiday without being stupid.

1. Always make friends with the band and bartenders. They’re so often really cool

2. Ain’t nothing wrong with painting your face. Just ask my mom, who still faithfully does it every year

3. If you have to pay cover at a normally coverless bar, it probably isn’t worth it

4. Eat, eat! You’re skin and bones

5. Green dye will make you feel gross

6. Friends are better than no friends

7. Sing along, clap your hands, laugh loudly. If people can’t hear how much fun you’re having, you’re not having enough fun!

8. At the end of the day, make sure you curl up with a glass of water, a good book that you’re fanatically reading because it expires from the library in two days and you apparently can’t renew e-books, and someone who loves you (even if that someone is just a poster of Keanu Reeves)

How To: Make A Fancy Snack

by Shannon

I used to work in Public Relations, and one of my clients was Loblaws. I loved working for those guys, and one of the best perks was a holiday “gift” they gave us, where we attended a class at their Maple Leaf Gardens locations and learned to make some kick-ass food with Chef Maria.

We made a few dishes, but the one that really stuck with me was easy, delicious, and pretty damn fancy. Here’s the gist:


  • Sliced Baguette
  • Black Label Cherry Shiraz Jam
  • Sliced Granny Smith Apples
  • Old Cheddar Cheese
  • Maple Syrup
  • Oil

First, spread some oil lightly over your slices of baguette, and throw them in the oven until they just start to get crispy. I’m not going to tell you for how long, or at what temperature, it’s not rocket science. (It’s probably around 350 degrees and for 6 minutes, for those of you who freak out and follow recipes to the T. COUGH my husband.)

Take them out, and spread each slice with a bit of the jam. You could probably use any jam for this, but the Black Label really makes a difference. Then, place your thinly sliced apples on top, add some cheese, and very lightly drizzle the maple sizzurp over everything. Put back in the oven until the cheese is melted to your pleasure.

Eat, and enjoy. Perfect for fancy parties, impressing your boyfriend’s parents, or just to you know, treat yo’self.


What’s Yo’ Beef #26

by Rachel


I work in a clinic with a receptionist and people have to make appointments to see me. Very often people don’t show up for their appointments. This in itself is annoying (unless it’s the last client and I get to go home early), but what is enraging is when they try to blame it on us. “Oh, nobody called or emailed to remind me…” How old are you? 40? 50? Old enough, I’m sure, to take care of yourself. Our receptionists have 30-40 appointments to be aware of in a day and you can’t keep track of ONE?! Furthermore, with today’s phone technology, calendars and alerts that can be set, do we really need to be making phone calls to remind you about your appointment? Forget today’s technology, how about an AGENDA?!?! You forgot, I get that, but don’t try and blame others for it.


I donated blood last night, which has left me feeling pretty good. It was even pizza day, which I didn’t even know was a thing! The nurses were great, they raved about my iron intake (thank you, Vitamins), they even asked me for platelets because my blood type is so in demand (what up!).

All in all, it was a great time. Free food, free juice, I can read my Kobo while I’m donating, and yeah, it makes me feel like a good person. So today, I have two beefs. The first is people who don’t donate, but can. These are the people who aren’t afraid of needles, aren’t pregnant, or haven’t travelled lately, or whatever. The people who just don’t think of it, or who are too lazy. Now, I get it – it’s kind of inconvenient to go do it, and book the appointment, and keep it (though they call and remind you a lot. Rach, you’d love it!) But man, it’s so important to do. Think about if you or someone you knew needed blood, and they just didn’t get because people were too lazy to donate.

Second Beef – not letting gay people give blood. Now, I don’t know all the reasons why they don’t let gay people do it, and I’m not going to get political about it all, because I don’t know nearly enough about it. I’m just gonna say, the more donors, the better, right?

Also, the more donairs, the better.

How To: Make Perfectly Popped Pop Corn

by Rachel

I used to pop stove top popcorn on the regular, but in the last few years I lost my pop corn popping touch; I burnt it, had too many kernels and often got soggy popcorn. Popcorn changed, I changed… but I have been taught the proper, scientific way of popping stove top popcorn AND have had great success twice in a row. This is a step by step guide, stressing important tidbits.

1. You need about half an inch of oil. Do not skimp on the oil! This causes burning.
2. Heat the oil on high for a couple minutes, and be sure to use an oil with a high smoking temperature like sunflower, safflower or canola.
3. Take the oil off the burner and put a single layer of kernels on the bottom of the pot in the oil. Let the kernels heat up to the oil temperature for a minute before putting it back on the heat.
4. Put a piece of paper towel or newspaper over the top of the pot and put the lid on top of the paper. This prevents steam from dripping onto the popcorn.
5. The tricky part comes next… When to take the popcorn off the heat. I wait until there are few seconds between single pops… I always end up with a few kernels left because I am too paranoid it will burn. Kernels are better than burnt popcorn.
6. Pour lots of salt on and put it into a bowl, allowing it to cool a bit for the best crunch.

Its seriously delicious.

Add on: you can melt toffee in the double boiler. Add a small bit of coconut oil and milk to make the toffee liquid. Pour it on the popcorn and mix it up. And add chocolate chips… If you want.


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