Tag: foodie

Fitness Swellness: How I get stronger with protein

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My schedule is always pretty full. Sometimes too full (I think it’s just my nature to try to pack in as much as possible) and then, yes, I take a step back to find more balance. But I’ve accepted that it’s just my personality to maintain a busy, demanding schedule. I’m often rushing from meetings and lunches to hopping onto conference calls and then over to events. Besides work demands, I also am working out whenever I can—I’m trying to fit in more dance classes, more workouts like yoga and Pilates, and to learn how to play tennis during the warmer months. And you may also know that I’m a runner. The fitness in my life gets way more intense when I’m training for a marathon since this calls for running up to five times a week.

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(And we haven’t even touched on a social life yet. I also cram in movies and dinners with friends and hikes and play time with my dog, Billie Jean, too).

This post isn’t a humble brag about how busy I am, I promise! It’s about how I power up to have the stamina for all of this. After all, to power through my workouts and life, I have to make sure I have the energy and feel strong enough and so what I eat is really important—and getting enough protein in my diet is a crucial part of that. Many of us know that protein is essential to our health (it helps boost the immune system and helps to build and repair muscle tissue). And while meat is often what comes to mind when you think protein, dairy is an excellent source of high-quality protein, too.

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How do I get my dairy, which contains two kinds of protein—whey and casein, to help power me through my day? On a regular weekday, I don’t have time to have a huge breakfast, but I do need something satisfying and filling. The solution? One of my favourite breakfasts is Greek yogurt topped with berries and something for a bit of crunch (that might be hemp hearts, nuts or granola). For an everyday snack, I need something I can prepare quickly, so I’ll often just grab some cheese (I always have cheese in my fridge!) and either an apple or some whole-grain crackers. And 50 grams of cheddar contains 12 grams of protein.

When I am training for a marathon, the most satisfying post-workout replenishment, especially so in the summer, is a smoothie with yogurt in it or an ice-cold chocolate milk. I swear that during a long run, it’s probably around the 15k mark that I start craving and salivating about the smoothie or chocolate milk that I plan to have right after that run. Besides being thirst quenching, the protein in these drinks help your muscles to recover more quickly. Research has proven that. And besides protein, milk products also contain up to 16 essential nutrients.

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An interesting fact about protein: Did you know that your body benefits most from protein when you spread out your consumption over your meals throughout the day? It should break down roughly into 30 grams per meal. Which I think works well when it comes to getting your protein from dairy, since I find it easier to incorporate milk products into my meals than meat. The right cheese can top most any dish, for example; I can easily cube some cheese to throw into a salad at lunch or with my eggs in the morning compared to having to cook up some chicken or fish (which I wouldn’t have on hand at home anyways; that’s not how I personally stock my fridge).

Roasted broccoli mushroom mozza frittata

What’re some of your favourite ways to power up with protein through dairy sources? I know I mentioned chocolate milk after a run in the summer, and I’ve now found an option for lunch to warm me up after a run on a cold winter morning: roasted broccoli mushroom mozza frittata. You can find the recipe on dairygoodness.ca (but I’ve also included it here in this post). Round out your lunch with a leafy salad and you’re all set! I’d love to hear about your favourite recipes for fuelling up on protein, please share!

Roasted broccoli mushroom mozza frittata close up

Roasted Broccoli Mushroom Mozza Frittata

Prep time: 20 minutes. Cooking time: 40 minutes. 4 servings.

Ingredients

2 cups (500 mL) small broccoli florets
1 cup (250 mL) quartered mushrooms (halved if small)
1 tbsp (15 mL) butter, melted
1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper, divided
1/8 tsp (.5 mL) salt, divided
6 large eggs
1/4 cup (60 mL) milk
1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried basil or thyme
1 cup (250 mL) shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided

 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425 °F (220 °C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Butter a 9-inch (23 cm) glass pie plate or 6-cup (1.5 L) shallow baking dish.In a medium bowl, combine broccoli, mushrooms, melted butter, and half each of the pepper and salt. Spread on prepared baking sheet. Roast for about 15 minutes or until tender and browned. Let cool slightly. Reduce oven temperature to 350 °F (180 °C).In the same bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, basil and remaining salt and pepper until frothy. Stir in half of the Mozzarella.Pour egg mixture into prepared pie plate Sprinkle broccoli and mushrooms evenly into eggs, pressing to immerse slightly.Bake for about 25 minutes or until evenly puffed and almost set. Remove from oven and sprinkle remaining Mozzarella on top. Broil for about 3 minutes or until cheese is until melted.

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Pilates photos shot on location at Misfit Studios in Toronto. Photographer, Sean Pollock.

 

Leave a Comment December 18, 2017

Foodie Swellness: Delicious Olives from Spain

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Although I did not grow up eating olives from Spain (I actually was probably an adult before I tried them for the very first time), but they’re now something I can’t live without. I’ll regularly crave them (coincidentally, one of my cats loves tapenade, she is so much my spirit animal!).

I don’t see how one can’t love olives from Spain. They’re so versatile, for one. A simple bowl of them with your cheese and charcuterie boards. Or add olives from Spain for a brine-y bite to your salads or pasta dishes (pasta puttanesca is a classic favourite!). Baked into a focaccia so that each doughy bite has a bit of olives from Spain. And what about chicken? On it’s own, a pretty bland protein. Incorporate lemon and whichever variety of olives from Spain you can find at your local supermarket into your sauce, though, and you’ve got one mouthwatering, flavourful main course.

The different ways you can enjoy olives are practically endless when you also consider that there are so many wonderful varieties from Spain. I’m not an olive connoisseur but I try to pick up a variety I’m unfamiliar with when I’m shopping at the market.

And did know they’re loaded with antioxidants that research has shown to be anti-cancerous, and they also contain iron and inflammation-reducing oleic acid? So many good reasons to incorporate them into your snacking and cooking repertoire  if you don’t already.

Next time you’re adding olives from Spain to your shopping list, some you might want to try out: hojiblanca, gordal and manzanilla. I feel like most people I know are partial to black olives, and while I do gravitate to them, I do love gordal, too; These large, fleshy green olives from Spain have a great bitter-salty balance, making them great for snacking. The same goes for manzanilla olives when it comes to snacking; they’re nice and round and plump and since its pit is easy to remove, you’ll often find them stuffed (think anchovies, peppers or cheese)—delicious! And hojiblanca? These olives from Spain have a slight fruity and nuttiness to them, which works well for stews and marinades.

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With the versatility of olives from Spain, I started dreaming of Canadian dishes where I could incorporate them, and bannock came to mind. Let’s face it, I dream of carbs so it’s not shocking I thought of bread. I’ve never made bannock before, a bread that comes to us from our First Nations. I did a little research about it and discovered that bannock can be baked or fried, and although traditionally prepared and enjoyed quite simply, modern versions include cinnamon bannock rolls and bannock breakfast sandwiches  Light and fluffy bannock with some chopped olives from Spain warm from the frying pan sounded like it’d be the ultimate savoury treat…and it was! Here’s the recipe:

Fried Bannock with Olives from Spain

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • chopped olives from Spain to taste (I used about a ¼ cup of Hojiblancas)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¾ cup water
  • vegetable oil for frying
  1. Whisk together dry ingredients.
  2. Mix in olives (I used Hojiblancas) and olive oil, and add water, until almost combined.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, knead a handful of times but do not overwork.
  4. Divide into 6 balls and flatten with your hands. Fry at medium heat in a frying pan generously oiled on the bottom of the pan until both sides of the bread are golden brown.
  5. Drain on a paper-towel lined plate.
  6. Enjoy warm!

Given the simple ingredients and method, I’m thinking this could be a great bread to make the next time I go camping or for brunch. Although, it’s not camping I’ve got on the brain now, it’s escaping to Spain I’m dreaming of!

For more recipe ideas for olives from Spain, be sure to check out olivesfromspain.ca

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1 Comment December 14, 2017

Foodie Swellness: 3 reasons to celebrate the holidays at The Keg (+ GIVEAWAY!)

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The holidays are all about getting together with friends and family, right? Even though we have all year to get together, somehow we’re all compelled to make the extra effort to reunite this month. I guess we all feel a little more festive this time of year.

If you’re anything like me, you have high standards about where to get together. Throw in just about everyone having some sort of diet restriction, and this can make choosing a place to eat and drink that pleases everyone stressful. And extra stress is not what any of us have on our holiday wish list. Which is why The Keg is a great spot to to celebrate the holiday season–there is something for everyone there.

The Keg bar

I’ve got three reasons The Keg is an ideal spot to get together for your holiday merriment–I even went there for dinner this week with friends to research this (I am thorough, people!):

The Keg crispy cauliflower

1. The menu has so many choices. Yes, the Keg is known for steaks, but there are plenty of other choices, too, such as the pistachio-crusted salmon a few of my friends considered. A few of us wanted escargots to start, but we compromised and got the lobster au gratin special instead, along with the crispy cauliflower, calamari and baked brie (yes, my friends and I have healthy appetites!).

The Keg lobster tails with filet mignon

When it came time to decide, for our mains, we did all end up going with steak (the New York strip loin I ordered was heavenly and cooked perfectly medium-rare). And because two of us were indecisive between beef or seafood, we each added some surf to our steak entrees: I went with king crab (so meaty and delectable) while my friend got the Atlantic lobster tails, which I wanted to grab from her plate, they looked so incredible. You know it’s a good dinner when the conversation lulls because you’re all devouring your food.

The Keg striploin with crab

People with restricted diets can easily find dishes to enjoy, too. The items that are gluten-free are clearly marked (the heirloom tomato and burrata sounds like heaven on a plate); so you don’t have to grill the server about what gluten-free options you have (although they, of course, will gladly answer your questions — we had many about the different cuts of steak and sauce choices). For vegetarians, you’ve got some options, too, but I think the one that sounds most delicious is the cauliflower “steak'; with chickpea and sundried tomato relish and asparagus.

And by the way, if you’re counting calories, those, too, are clearly indicated on the menu.

We also ordered several dessert to share. I was very into the Billy Miner pie (I love mocha ice cream!) whereas my friends really liked the creme brulee, which was incredibly smooth and creamy and which had a slightest hint of salt to balance the flavours.

The Keg desserts

2. Let’s talk about the affordable wine and cocktails at the Keg. No word of a lie, the cost of the wine and cocktails at The Keg had all four of us (1) very surprised, and (2) planning on making it a regular place to meet for drinks. In fact, we ordered a bottle of prosecco to start (which I believe was $26), and then a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon to enjoy with our meal. I usually only order a bottle if I’m feeling like splashing out but with the prices being so reasonable, it just made sense to order bottles.

The Keg dining room

3. The cozy atmosphere. While I’ve been to other locations of The Keg, this was my first visit to the location on King St. West in Toronto. It’s modern and dimly lit and it just feels cozy inside. There’s the sleek bar closer to the entrance; we sat in the dining room in a comfortable booth. The design aesthetic manages to be both refined and comfortable. I’d also say it’s a touch more masculine in design (the dark wood tones, for example), but it’s definitely a place a group of girlfriends would feel at home in as well. It’s a spot that is entirely appropriate for a client dinner and yet also somewhere you can go with a date or out for a fun evening catching up with friends.

Sold on The Keg yet? Guess I’ll see you there. You’ll find me trying the escargots dish we didn’t end up ordering and sipping on some of that delicious, affordable wine!

(And by the way,  if you’ve got a secret Santa exchange you need to shop for, a giftcard to The Keg is something everyone can make use of — with several locations, and all of the reasons above, it’s a stocking stuffer that I think most everyone would enjoy).

UPDATE: I’ve got a $100 giftcard to The Keg to give away! How to enter to win? Comment on this blog post about what you’d order at The Keg! The giveaway ends at noon E.S.T. on Thursday, December 14th. For additional ways to enter, visit my Instagram! The winner will be chosen at random.

Disclosure: I have partnered with YMC and The Keg and have received compensation for this post. All opinions in the post are my own.

 

 

75 Comments December 5, 2017

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