Foodie Swellness: Cooking for Chinese New Year

Braised mushrooms with sesame bok choy

Did you know that February 16th is Chinese New Year and it’s the Year of the Dog? While I haven’t celebrated in any formal way since I was a little kid, I will always use any excuse to cook and eat something delicious, and much of the new year revolves around food so I think it’s time to fire up the stove!

I find myself often craving Chinese dishes I grew up with, but I can never make them as well as my mom does. And while she has shown me how to make a few things, it’s hard to learn because it’s always, “add a little of this, a little bit of sugar, and that’s it!” I need precise measurements, Mom! In any case, I have been attempting to make more dishes I grew up with as I don’t get to eat my mom’s cooking often since she lives in another city. I now make congee and fried rice occasionally, my sister just recently taught me how to make wontons and I also made hot and sour soup for the very first time using a recipe I found online.

For Chinese New Year, I think I’ll make this recipe for Braised Chinese Mushrooms and Sesame Bok Choy (I made it recently to test it out first before making it for friends). It was surprisingly easy to make and the best part is that I didn’t have to make a trip into Chinatown for the ingredients because Real Canadian Superstore carries all of the ingredients at great value. And I know they’re authentic brands because I recognize them (brands such as T&T and Rooster) from my mom’s kitchen.

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So creating a dish for Chinese New Year, or just when I’m craving Chinese food with the best (aka mom-approved) authentic ingredients, is easy because I can just pick them up during my regular weekly grocery trip. I know my mom is very particular about the ingredients she uses, and I love that I can get everything she would use at an easy-on-the-budget cost at Real Canadian Superstore (because let’s face it: I’m way more likely to cook these dishes I love from my childhood if I can get the ingredients easily). Now, I’ll just have to hound my mother for more precise recipe instructions so that the dishes taste just right!

Oh, and here’s the recipe for the Braised Chinese Mushrooms and Sesame Bok Choy. I actually had all of the ingredients on hand except for the mushrooms and bok choy, so this dish cost me next to nothing to make.

Happy New Year, and happy eating!

(sponsored).

 

Leave a Comment February 8, 2018

Healthy Swellness: Brita Longlast Filter

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If you’ve followed me for a little while, you may know that I don’t drink very much water. Wine, cocktails, juices, coffee, tea but drinking water (other than during my runs) has always been a struggle.

Both my Bonne O and my SodaStream have helped, though, so I now happily hydrate more often. Not a lot by any means, but even just a glass or two a day (I now have about two a day) is very much an improvement for me.

Having filtered water has also helped, and I was happy to learn about Brita‘s new product, the Longlast Filter. Because if you’re anything like me, you’re maybe not so diligent about changing your Brita filter when you’re supposed to, and their BPA-Free Brita Longlast Filter ($39.99 for a pack of two filters) provides up to six months of filtering. That means you only have to change it twice a year—do it now with the new year here and you’re good until June!

This is three times longer than their standard filter, and this new filter is also able to filter out contaminants like lead, asbestos and cadmium from tap water (but it leaves in the fluoride, which, as you may know promotes dental health).

At the P&G roundtable I attended a couple of  months ago, we all talked about how drinking water is so important. Janet Tamo encouraged drinking plain tap water, but I need the bubbles and lime or lemon to make it a little more palatable, and I’m going to try to add drinking one cup with lemon in the a.m. as a new morning ritual (but I’m not giving up my coffee!).

The Brita Longlast Filter is in stores now, by the way, where you’d expect to find them (Amazon, Canadian Tire, Walmart, etc.).

Happy hydrating!

 

Leave a Comment January 26, 2018

Healthy Swellness: Making sleep a priority

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Although I’ve gone through periods of insomnia, for the most part, I”m a pretty good sleeper. I fall asleep quickly, and generally stay asleep through the night. My main issue is that I don’t make sleep a priority. I’m naturally a night owl and spoke to sleep experts a couple of years ago about this, and one doctor noted that my main problem is just not valuing sleep enough.

And he is right about that. I always see more things to get done on my to-do list, or there’s another TV show I want to watch, or maybe there’s something super, super important someone posted on Instagram that I must see ASAP (PSA: there never is). And yet I continue to struggle with making sleep a priority, and that’s even knowing that my body needs that downtime to recuperate. Knowing that it’d help with my running. And knowing it’d help me feel refreshed for the day instead of like I need an IV of coffee to get me feeling human.

And so, this year I’m looking to make sleep more of a priority. Self care is so important and I need to make that my focus. My goal is to get a good eight-hours of sleep a night, on a regular schedule. This will not be an easy task; I’ve been struggling with this ever since writing that article about being a night owl.

But I’m going to approach it with a plan now. I’m going to set an alarm to remind me to start winding my night down with taking Billie Jean for her evening walk, doing my nighttime beauty routine, etc. And I’m going to make my bedroom a sleeping haven with a new mattress and pillows. My current mattress is probably about a decade old and there’s definitely at least one spring out of place.

To replace it, I’m welcoming an Endy mattress and pillows into my home. Why Endy? To start, I like that there’s a 100-day trial period; I’ve always found it hard to judge from a quick lie-down in a store. This Canadian company (another selling point!) also features three layers of foam, which I hear are medium firm (I tend to prefer a decent level of firmness). Another standout feature? I run really warm; I’m not a furnace like I used to be (that was thanks to my overactive thyroid) but still warmer than most folks.So Endy’s top layer, infused with cooling gel, is designed to release body heat. Plus, its foam is non-temperature-sensitive—so while other foam mattresses sink in the summer and feel like a rock in the winter, Endy retains the same firmness year-round.

Stay tuned for updates on how it goes with my new soon-to-arrive Endy and whether I become the sleeping beauty I aim to become.

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Also, this probably calls for some cute new pyjamas, too, don’t you think? I’ve been coveting the Sleep Shirt for more than a  year now…

Disclosure: I am an Endy partner and am receiving Endy products for review.

Leave a Comment January 22, 2018

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