Homemade Granola Bars

homemade granola bars

What do you do when you have a bunch of close-to-expiry-date grains, nuts and dried fruit?
Chewy granola bars!

Here’s my recipe (no baking required)

🌼 Ingredients

•1 cup rolled oats
•1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
•1/4 cup raisins •1/4 cup dried cranberries
•1/4 cup slithered almonds
•2 tbsp sunflower seeds
•1 tbsp sesame seeds
•3/4 honey
•1 tsp vegetable oil

🌼 Instructions:

•Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl
•Mix honey and oil together
•Pour honey and oil mixture to the dry ingredients
•Mix well until blended nicely
•Add mixture in a pan lined with parchment paper
•Press down firmly
•Refrigerate overnight
•Cut the granola bars into desired shape (side note: since these are not baked you’ll have to store them in the fridge to maintain their shape)

🌼 Enjoy!


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homemade Granola bars

Beginner’s Guide to Running


by Eric Gillis

Running is a wonderful activity because it’s something we can do straight out our front doors, alone, or with friends. Everyone is genetically built to run no matter the age, or athletic ability.

The key is to manage expectations when you first begin. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Proper pacing

Proper pacing is a runner’s best-friend. I like telling beginner runners, and reminding experienced ones, that you can’t go ‘too easy’ on an easy run.

For pacing an easy run, you should be able to comfortably hold a conversation with someone and not feel winded at the end of the run. Most of my training is done at this easy run pace, 75-80% of all miles run. If you’re like myself, and many other runners I know, you’ll have to remind yourself to slow down. Speeding up is a treat we give ourselves only a few times per week.

Location is key

For your first run, it’s best to pick a location like a track, where you feel comfortable with your surroundings. Starting on a track is pleasant because it has consistent footing, and no hills 😀 You can more easily control variables and work on proper pacing.

Set a goal

Have a goal time or number of laps in mind before starting.  With running, it’s easy to bite off more than you can chew, which can be discouraging for your next run. So, like a lot of things, less is more! If you can bike moderately for an hour, but have never ran before, start with 15 minutes, a sensible length of time for a beginner run.

Use the ‘run-walk’ technique

You might find that it helps to break up the 15 minutes into run-walk intervals: run for 3 minutes, then walk for 1 minute. Run for another 3 minutes, then walk again for 1 minute. Repeat this 5 times.

Recovery time

Getting back on your bike the next day, or simply walking, is a great way to recover from the previous day’s run.

Final thoughts

I’ll leave you with this quote, which I really like. I heard Alex Hutchinson, a running/science journalist say it in an interview:

“Most beginner runners overestimate what they can do in the short term, and underestimate what they can do in the long term” – Alex Hutchinson

Run easy and run for fun my friends 😀

Eric Gillis
Marathoner & Olympian
Cross Country and Track & Field Head Coach
St. Francis Xavier University, Athletics Dept.

You might also like:

Staying Active With Persistent Pain


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Salmon and Haddock Fish Cakes

fish cakes feature


This is a wonderful weekend recipe that can be made with fresh or leftover fish in no time. A delicious alternative to crab cakes for those who suffer from seafood allergies.





♦ 1 cup smoked salmon
I like using pepper smoked Atlantic salmon

♦ 1 cup cooked haddock
(bought fresh-frozen and boiled for 5 minutes, or leftover cooked haddock)

♦ 1 cup breadcrumbs

♦ 2 eggs

♦ 1/4 cup chopped green onions

♦ 4 tbsp vegetable oil or margarine


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In a bowl, flake the fish with a fork (or fingers)

Add breadcrumbs, eggs and onions

Mix well together

Form small fish patties in the palm of your hand

Heat oil or melt butter in a frying pan

Fry fish cakes on medium heat for 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown

Remove from heat and place on paper towel to drain excess oil

Serve with creamy tartar sauce


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salmon and haddock fish cakes pin

Aldona’s 5 Healthy Holiday Tips

Aldona MacNeil

by Aldona MacNeil

Break out the Stretchy pants!  The Holidays are upon us and so begins the Season of indulgences and Holiday Cheer.  It seems like every other weekend there’s another Holiday Party where we’re surrounded by treats and sweets and eggnog, etc; all the things we enjoy but also add a couple notches to our belts if we overindulge. We don’t have to let the Holidays undo all our hard work and progress we’ve made this year.


We can enjoy ourselves and make it through the Holiday Season unscathed if we go in with a plan and enjoy our Holiday Cheer in moderation.  Here are my top 5 Healthy Tips to help you do that.

1. Make a Plan

Take a look at your calendar and mark off your “Holiday Cheer” days; the days you have a party or an event or when you’ll be surrounded by Holiday indulgences.  Now that you see your month at a glance, you can make a plan for those Holiday Cheer days and the days surrounding them. Indulge only on those days; every other day in the month is just a normal day so you should be eating healthy nutritious meals/snacks in the right portions.  On your Holiday Cheer days, eat healthy nutrient dense meals/snacks leading up to the party so that you are not starving when you get there.   People will often “save their calories” and not eat all day because they are saving themselves for the party.  This is not a good idea.  You will arrive feeling famished and overeat on the things you should be eating in moderation.


2. Moderation Not Deprivation

The Holidays are not the time to deprive yourself of the things you enjoy.  Tis the Season to be Jolly after all.  Depriving yourself of the things you enjoy will just turn you into Scrooge; but the trick is to have your treats in Moderation.  On your “Holiday Cheer” days enjoy the treats you love but don’t go overboard.  So instead of filling your plate with everything available, you might have 1 or 2.  Put your food on a plate so you can keep track of what you’re eating.  Slow down and savor every bite.  You’ve been waiting all year for these special treats so take your time and enjoy them.

holiday cookie

3. Survey the Buffet

When you walk into a party and see all the yummy foods, it’s easy to just grab a plate and dive in.  Instead take a step back.  Take a look at what’s available and decide what you’ll have before you start making your way around the table.  Decide on Healthier options first.  Once you know what you’re going to have, grab a plate (a smaller size if you can) and make your way around.  You don’t have to have everything at the buffet… a little bit of everything adds up to be too much.  So be selective and choose which items you’ll have and enjoy them in moderation.  Make one trip; don’t keep going back for more.  If you are bringing a dish to the party, bring a healthier option so everyone can enjoy something nutritious.  Pass on the foods you can have any day of the week; instead choose foods that are Holiday specials.  For example, during Christmas dinner pass on the potatoes and dinner rolls (you can have those any day) and choose dressing instead.   Or pass on the chocolate chip cookie and go for a peanut butter ball.  Choose foods that are special and that you only get during the Holidays, and pass on the basics that you can have any other day.

holiday buffet


4. Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can lead to overeating because it brings about the same sensations as being hungry, and often times when we feel hungry we’re actually dehydrated.  Over the Holidays we enjoy socializing with Friends and Family, and we tend to do this with a beverage in hand.   And because we are drinking “liquid”, it’s easy to forget to drink water.   Try and drink at least 8 cups of water each day, more if you are physically active.  It’s important to stay Hydrated if you want to feel energized and healthy over the Holidays.


5. Love Yourself 1st and Stay Active

The Holidays bring Joy and cheer but can also be a time of stress and anxiety.  It’s easy to feel tired and worn out at the end of the day with all the hustle and bustle we do to get things done.  We are so focused on creating a perfect Christmas for everyone else, we sometimes forget about our own needs.  If you want to be the best YOU over the Holidays, be sure you are taking care of YOU.  That includes staying active and doing activities that you enjoy.  Getting your workouts in early in the day will not only give you energy but will also help relieve some stress and anxiety.  Some people think that exercise makes you tired, it doesn’t, it energizes you and gets the endorphins pumping, and it will help burn off some of that “Holiday Cheer”.   You’ll feel so much better and have the energy to make it through the crazy chaos of: shopping, baking, cleaning, decorating, wrapping gifts, etc.  Engage in activities and exercises that you enjoy and have fun with it.  Taking care of your Health and Fitness during the Holidays will be one of the best gifts you can give yourself and the ones you love.



The Holidays are meant to be enjoyed and are not a time to expect perfection; just do your best and forget the rest!  If you go in with a plan and the right attitude, you will find greater success than if you just wing it.  Accept that there will be days when you will overindulge, miss a workout, and not check everything off the “to do list”.  Don’t let guilt or negative feelings take away the joy of the Holidays.  Instead, just let it go, and focus on what you need to do to make these Holidays the Happiest and Healthiest you can.   One bad day is not going to derail you, but a month of bad days will.  So if you have a bad day, just let it go and nail the next day and the day after that.  Look forward to your “Holiday Cheer” days, and do your best to stay on track the rest of the time.   That’s really all you can do.  Every positive healthy choice adds up so make the best choice you can in that moment.

Wishing Everyone Health & Happiness this Holiday Season and all the best in the New Year!


Aldona MacNeil

Aldona MacNeil
(BSc.Phys.Ed., M.Ed.)

Aldona is a senior lab instructor in the Human Kinetic Department at St.FX University. She is a certified Fitness Instructor and Healthy Eating and Weight Loss coach with CanFitPro.   She teaches fitness classes in the Antigonish area and also coaches clients online to help reach their health and fitness goals.  If you are looking for advice or support with your health & fitness, you can reach her at www.tenacity.fitness


aldona macneil