Filed under: Foodie Swellness

Fitness Swellness: It’s Bike Month in Toronto!

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I’m always for making your commute into a way to keep active whenever possible. So I was super into helping to launch Bike Month with Bike to Work Day last Monday in partnership with CLIF Bar.

Bike Month, if you’re not familiar with it, is an annual event to promote cycling in Toronto and Hamilton running from May 28th until June 30th. It’s the 29th anniversary of this event, which brings together cyclists at events, races, tours and more through the month of June. In fact, have you heard that every Wednesday during the month of June Bike Share in Toronto is free!

I rode Bike Share for the first time this Monday for the launch event during which we rode from Yonge and Charles down to City Hall with Mayor John Tory. The police shut down traffic so we could do the ride there and it was a fun leisurely ride that, hello, ended with a CLIF-powered pancake breakfast, some speakers and photo opps (check out the cute CLIF Bar bike below, couldn’t resist getting a fun shot with Hawley Dunbar of Sidewalk Hustle and Gracie Carroll of Edit Seven).

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I don’t ride my bike to commute that often but I’ve been slowly trying to do more. Last summer, I rode my bike to a few dance classes and to get to an event or two (and then got a flat but I just got my tired fixed so I’m back on the road!). I will admit that I am a little afraid of riding my bike on the busy city streets but with careful planning using the Toronto cycling map, I can usually find a route with a bike lane or a quieter street i can take where I can confidently ride to get where I need to.

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As for CLIF Bar, did you know the company was born on a bike? Founder Gary Erickson was exhausted and craving a good tasting and nutritious energy bar dying a 175-mile bike ride in 1990. Talk about the perfect match, Bike Month and CLIF Bar. Their bars are what I pack in my bag when going on a hike or for a bike ride (or eat before I head out for one) so I can be sure I’ve got the energy I need for my adventures of the day. And whether you bike as a means to commute to work or just a fun ride on the trails or in the Leslie Spit (where I’ve ridden to view some epic sunsets) there’s a CLIF Bar variety that’ll tempt your palate. And by the way, if you need something new to tempt your tastebuds, just launched in Canada are two new CLIF Nut-Butter Filled energy bar varieties: Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter and Caramel Chocolate Peanut Butter. My fave of the two is the sweet and savoury Caramel Chocolate Peanut Butter.

Plus, a little hat tip to Canada: those oats in the Nut-Butter Filled energy bars? None other than organic Canadian oats and the Nut-Butter Filled Bars are made in Canada!

With a both a Bike Share membership and my bike, and a new helmet, I’m excited to bike more often during Bike Month and beyond! I’d love to see where your bike takes you, be sure to share with the hashtag #feedyouradventure and #bikemonthTO!

If you’d like to learn about more Bike Month events, be sure to check out the site!

(sponsored)

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Leave a Comment June 4, 2018

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).

 

1 Comment February 8, 2018

Foodie Swellness: The ultimate hibernation meal, homemade “Hamburger Helper”

Homemade hamburger helper

Is this dish full of veggies and fibre? Nope. Paleo? Nuh-uh. A rainbow of ingredients chockfull of vitamins and minerals? Not really. It’s pretty beige. But sometimes, like when it’s colder than -30C out and a bomb cyclone is hitting the east coast, you just crave plain old comfort food.

I didn’t grow up eating Hamburger Helper. I actually am not sure if I’ve ever had it. I have always thought it looks delicious in commercials, though. Meaty, creamy, carby. So I suppose I should state that I am not sure if this tastes at all like the boxed HH.

In any case, my recipe is inspired by this one from Dinner Then Dessert, except I added milk to make it creamier and some spices. And the result is everything I wanted for my winter dinner (warm and hearty), eaten tucked under a blanket all cozy, while watching The Mindy Project. It’s the ultimate winter hibernation meal.

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Homemade Hamburger Helper

  • 1 pound large elbow macaroni
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 ½ cups beef broth
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 to 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded (depending on how cheesy you want it!)
  1. Cook the macaroni according to the package directions and drain.
  2. Meanwhile, brown the beef in a large skillet.  Remove beef from skillet.
  3. Add butter to the beef fat in the skillet and saute onion and bell pepper for about five minutes.
  4. Add beef back to the skillet.
  5. In a bowl, mix the beef broth, milk and cornstarch together.
  6. Add the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, paprika and beef broth mixture into the skillet.
  7. Cook about three minutes until the sauce thickens slightly.
  8. Add the macaroni to the skillet and mix together gently.
  9. Remove from heat and stir in grated mozzarella.

I’d love to hear from HH fans if this is at all what the boxed variety tastes like. I like the idea of making it from scratch versus using the powdered ingredients and am so pleased with this stick-to-your-hones results of this meal. I rounded out my dinner with a glass of Cabernet but a nice crisp green salad would be a nice side (I just didn’t have anything for a salad in my refrigerator at the time).

Happy hibernating!

4 Comments January 5, 2018

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