Tag: carbloading

Foodie Swellness: From Italy with Amore at Loblaws

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Can’t we all use #moreamore in our lives? More specifically, more Italian cuisine made with authentic Italian ingredients?

I say sì! And I recently had the chance to learn to learn how to make some dishes from Chef Massimo Bruno at Loblaws. Bruno is from Puglia, and has lived in Toronto for about 16 years, and he said that when he first moved to Canada, it was hard for him to find the Italian ingredients he needed to make his dishes. This is not the case anymore because Loblaws carries more than 350 authentically Italian — they’re certified by the Italian Trade Commission — including many of Bruno’s favourites such as Lupa cheese.

Chef Massimo Bruno at More Amore

It was such a treat to get to learn from Bruno; I’ve been keen to go to one of his monthly supper clubs for ages but now I was getting to learn to cook alongside him. We made a few dishes: fettuccini with tuna and lemon, and a fresh pasta with tomatoes and garlic.

I learned a lot from Bruno over the course of the evening about Italian cooking:

  • When cooking with pecorino romano, be careful with how much salt you add to your dish as the cheese itself is quite salty, so add salt sparingly (if at all).
  • Don’t cheap out; spend the extra $5 on authentic pecorino romano (he likes the romano lupa) as it’ll really make your dish sing. When you buy a bottle of olive oil, go for a quality one, such as the President’s Choice Extra Virgin Olive Oil From Tuscany.
  • When making a sauce using ingredients like fresh tomatoes and garlic like the one we made, prepare it and let it sit so that the flavours come together.
  • There are two types of gorgonzola, dolce and piccante. Dolce is sweeter. Bruno recommends using Dolce if you’re cooking since many people find gorgonzola to be quite strong, so Dolce is a safer choice given it is more subtle.
  • There is no such thing as too much parmigiano reggiano.
  • There is also no such thing as too much fresh basil. Pile it on, says Bruno. He says you’ll never get a complaint, “Oh there’s too much basil in this.”
  • When using tomato purée to make your pasta sauce, add a little bit of water. If you don’t, your passata will cook off and become too thick and paste-like.
  • A quality dried pasta will have a slightly rough texture to it before you throw it into the pot of salted boiling water. (And don’t be shy when salting the water, Bruno threw handfuls into the water; he says it’s essential to cooking the noodles that the water be well salted).
  • You can trust in the imported Italian food products with the DOP label. This label is the product’s certification, which means you can be confident the product has been locally grown and packaged in Italy using traditional methods. DOP stands for Denominazione di Origine Protetta, which translates to Protected Designation of Origin.

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Besides all of these foodie lessons, we ate so well (above is a beef dish Massimo prepared for us) and that fettucine we all helped prepare? It’s so simple to make and you can be eating in about 10 minutes, which is exactly the kind of recipe we all need when we get home and it’s late and we’re too tired to cook, right? Here’s the recipe:

Fettucine with tuna, lemon and basil

Fettuccini with tuna, lemon and basil

In a large bowl, add one can of Rio Mare tuna, drizzle with olive oil. Add the zest and then the juice of one lemon. Add some fresh basil (you can just tear the leaves with your fingers) and season with pepper. In the meanwhile, cook your pasta in salted boiling water as per the package. Take about a half cup of the starchy water the pasta has been cooked in and add to your tuna mixture (this will make the sauce easier to mix with your noodles). Drain the pasta and add the noodles to the tuna sauce and mix to combine.

And you’re done! Dinner is on the table. So simple yet so good.

Here’s to more amoré in your life! Buon appetito!

(sponsored)

 

Leave a Comment November 3, 2017

Foodie Swellness: #TrainWithGrains GIVEAWAY

savoury oats

 

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Congrats to @blondefriesen who is the winner of this prize!

I’m in training for a marathon about 45 weeks out of the year for the past five years. And I’ve been called a machine by many people. I actually use this idea of being a machine to help me during a run; I try to really think of myself as a machine, one that can keep on keepin’ on without feeling any of the agony and pain marathon training can entail. I’ll likely be thinking of this next weekend when I’m running the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon as I work towards my summer of sweat #keepsweating goal.

To keep this machine performing well for training and racing, grains are key part of my diet. Healthy whole grains help the body to recover from a tough workout and they help provide the energy our muscles need to get through the training (whether it’s speed work on a track or an easy recovery run) or the 42.2 kilometres of the big race day.

Another great aspect of whole grains? They will have you feeling full so I’m a fan of having a bowl of steel-cut oats for breakfasts, and especially so before a morning run. And while I’ve been eating it simply (usually with just a touch of honey and a small handful of nuts), I’ve started trying it as a savoury dish.

avocado, bacon, eggs, oats

 

With a splash of soy sauce and chopped scallions, it reminds me a lot of congee (that soupy rice that’s a comfort food I grew up with).  Thanks Mark Bittman for the idea. Post-run, I have more time to cook so one of my new favourite savoury ways to eat my steel-cut oats is topped with some crumbled bacon, avocado and a fried or poached egg (I finally tried poaching eggs using a mesh strainer and, yay, success!) and some chopped chives and sriracha. I think it’d also be delicious with some caramelized onions and a soft-boiled egg, and maybe even some blue cheese, hello, stinky but yummy breakfast bowl!

Whether you’re just kickstarting a new workout routine or are a fitness buff, #trainwithgrains and you’ll have the fuel and improved recovery your body needs to perform at its best. Want to add this to your diet! Well…I can help you with that!

To help you #trainwithgrains for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon ( or your personal fitness goal, Grain Farmers of Ontario has given me a $50 President’s Choice giftcard to give away to one lucky fitness fan in Ontario. This way you can create your own delicious recipe with barley, grain corn (think corn meal, flour or starch), oats, soybeans or wheat so that you can ensure your body is getting the wholesome, clean fuel it needs to help you perform your best.

N.B. To enter this Good in Every Grain Giveaway, you must be a resident in Ontario.

You can enter to win the $50 President’s Choice giftcard in four different ways:

  1. Email me at healthandswellness@gmail.com with your name and address (please put “Good in Every Grain” in the subject line).
  2. Twitter. Follow me on  Twitter (@healthswellness) and tweet:

I want to #trainwithgrains and enjoy the good in every grain by winning this @healthswellness #giveaway! http://bit.ly/1N0VYz6

  1. Instagram: Follow me on Instagram (@healthandswellness), “like” the photo of this savoury egg, bacon and avocado oats bowl, and tag a friend who you think would also benefit from the good in every grain.
  2. Facebook: “Like” the Health and Swellness page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/healthandswellness)–not just the photo but the page for Health and  Swellness — and comment on the savoury oats photo about what grain dish you think you’ll make using the giftcard if you’re the winner.

This giveaway is open to Ontario residents and you can enter up until 12 p.m. EST, Tuesday, October 13, 2015. The winner will be chosen at random and notified via the method they’ve won. If they do not claim their prize within five days, another winner will be selected at random.

Good luck! And stay tuned for another tasty grains dish from me next week!

 

Leave a Comment October 8, 2015

Fitness Swellness: My Gatorade #KeepSweating progress and the importance of hydration

Gatorade and G2

As you may know, I’ve got a big fitness goal for this fall: qualifying for the Boston Marathon, and to help me, Gatorade has partnered with me to help me work towards that goal during what we’re calling the Summer of Sweat. They’ve provided me with a supply of Gatorade, G2 and Gatorade Protein Shakes for hydration and recovery, plus I’ve joined the Pace & Mind team, so I have help from running coach Rejean Chiasson.

Since officially kicking off this Summer of Sweat program, life has been a whirlwind. I now somehow find myself with less than 40 days until the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (it’s on October 18, 2015) and I barely felt like I’d officially started training and I’m all of a sudden running the longest distances we will be doing for training. I think I was caught off guard because it took me awhile to decide on a goal race, so while I was maintaining and slowly building distance, mentally, I wasn’t officially in marathon training mode.

It didn’t help that in August, I was home in Toronto for only 11 days. I can manage shorter runs when I’m traveling, I prefer to run my long distances at home. My busy schedule also means that I have yet to make it out to run with my Pace & Mind teammates as a group. I’ve run with one team member and am regularly in contact with Rejean about my training. There’s a lively group chat of some very enthusiastic runners in the group, though, so that’s a new element to my training. The next few weeks are less travel-heavy so, it’s a goal of mine to train with the Pace & Mind team.

Given the hectic pace of August, I managed to maintain a consistent schedule for training, but I have slacked on the speed training, which is precisely what I need to get me to my goal. So I definitely need to focus, work hard and #KeepSweating from now on.

As luck would have it, Toronto was also hit with some extremely hot and humid weather, which made sure I kept sweating. My pace for long runs decreased significantly and I can’t help but find that stressful. I can’t even meet the slowest pace that coach has assigned me but he assured me that the pace he refers to is during ideal conditions (i.e.: when it’s not 38 Celsius outside).

Given the conditions, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to hydrate with Gatorade during my runs. My favourite flavour is Cool Blue, but as it gets closer to my goal race, I’ll likely try to stick more to the Lemon-Lime since that is often served on race courses.

I see so many runners without water and it boggles my mind. Even on a run as short as 5K, I feel parched; on a 32k run last week, I drank two-and-a-half bottles of Gatorade and a one-and-a-half bottles of water, and immediately downed a chocolate Gatorade Protein Shake (which has 20 grams of protein and rings in at 270 calories) as soon as I got home to help with muscle recovery. I always try to be really careful with hydration when I run since I’m not so great at consuming enough fluids from day to day (a habit I still struggle with improving) and I’m a heavy sweater. Like, seriously heavy. I think this is why I dislike sweating so much; I don’t experience just a light glistening of sweat like other girls in my NTC class. I am dripping and my gear is absolutely drenched with sweat.

If you’re not too clear as to how an electrolyte sports drink like Gatorade helps you when you work at high intensity, well, when you sweat, you lose sodium and potassium, Gatorade contains 210 mg of sodium and 55 mL of potassium per 500m to help replace what you sweat out. For more information on the importance of sodium and potassium and the science behind Gatorade, check out www.gatorade.ca

This is why I tend to only drink sports drinks on my long runs (which last for more than one hour), but not so often during my other training runs. My easy runs are a much shorter distance so I can hydrate with water or G2 (I’ll drink the G2, which is lower in calories depending on the intensity of my run and other factors such as the temperature outside.

During a recent 32k run last week that lasted over three hours, based on what I’ve read, it seems I may be on the low end of carb replenishment based on how much Gatorade I consumed, but I also ate several Honey Stinger electrolyte gummies during my run as well. I’ve taken note and will now try to up my intake since I believe I sweat more than the average person.

By the way, when running, it can be easy to fall into a zone and forget to drink so to make sure I hydrate regularly; every two kilometres I take a big sip. (If you run with regular walk breaks, say if you’re running 10s and 1s, use your one-minute break to hydrate.)

With 24 days to go until the Scotiabank Waterfront Toronto Marathon, stay tuned because my next Gatorade #KeepSweating post will be my marathon recap! And in the meanwhile, follow along with my training on Instagram and on Twitter.

 

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Leave a Comment September 23, 2015

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