Tag: foodie

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: 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

Foodie Swellness: Gnocchi with bacon, spinach and mushrooms

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I find I need new and different tastes all the time.  What can I say, my tastebuds get bored easily. I’ve never understood how people can eat the same exact meals every week (well, of course I have some things I do eat regularly, like what I have for breakfast is pretty consistent).

But I do return to certain recipes a few times a year like this pasta dish, for one, and this frittata recipe will become a regular now. And I get pretty excited when I try making a new dish and it’s so yummy that I know it’ll be added into my annual rotation. Especially when it’s a super simple thing to cook but tastes so damn good. Like this gnocchi recipe.

The other night it was freezing cold out and after a few days of eating turkey, I was craving pasta. And then the idea of gnocchi popped into my brain. I used to rely on packaged gnocchi a lot as a fast meal to prep on nights I didn’t feel like cooking but I’ve fallen out of that habit. Well, hello old habit, you’re back in the rotation! Gnocchi always feels to me a bit fancier than pasta, is it just me or do you feel the same? I’ve never made gnocchi from scratch, but I have made gnudi (which is similar to gnocchi except it’s made with ricotta instead of potato), which was most wonderful!

A few quick searches online and I decided I wanted to use bacon as well since I had some in my fridge. I picked up the gnocchi and the other few items and I was ready to go. I think the stewed tomatoes with olive oil and garlic not only added a lot of flavour, it also helped me skip having to mince garlic, so hurray for even simpler prep! Here’s the recipe.

Gnocchi with bacon, spinach and mushrooms

  • 1 package of gnocchi
  • 5 slices of thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 19-oz can of stewed tomatoes with olive oil and garlic
  • two handfuls of mushrooms, sliced
  • half a bag of spinach
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon chili pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • pepper and Parmesan, to taste
  1. Fry bacon to desired crispiness in a large pan. Before bacon is entirely done, add mushrooms so that they’re cooked through.
  2. Stir in tomatoes, sugar, chili pepper flakes and balsamic vinegar and cook for about five minutes until flavours are blended. Season with pepper.
  3. In the meanwhile, cook gnocchi in a pot of boiling salted water until done (the gnocchi will float once cooked through). Add spinach and cook for about 30 seconds until wilted.
  4. Drain gnocchi and spinach and add to the pot with the sauce. Stir to combine.
  5. Grate as much Parmesan as you wish! I used Lupa cheese, which chef Massimo Bruno recommended.

Another great thing about this recipe is all the veggies it includes (I’m always looking for ways to eat more veggies). Plus you can easily swap in your fave veggies or use up the ones you have lurking in your fridge. Not a fan of mushrooms? Toss in some chopped carrots instead!

If you’re not in the mood for bacon, I think you could likely make this vegetarian by simply sautéing a chopped onion in a glug of olive oil instead of frying up the bacon to start the sauce (although that bacon fat likely adds a lot of depth of flavour to the sauce…). I haven’t tried it this way but I did consider adding onion to the dish.

Do you have any fave ways to make a quick meal with packaged gnocchi?

Leave a Comment December 30, 2017

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