Nov 30, 2010
For me being healthy isn't just about clean eating and avoiding processed foods. Exercise also plays a big part too. Exercise has been known to improve a person's mood, strengthen muscles, make the heart more efficient, help combat diseases, help with weight management, boost energy levels and promotes better sleep.
I have always been active. I enjoy walking, running, participating in exercise classes, kickboxing, etc.. Last year I did a few bootycamp sessions and enjoyed every minute of it. I lost a few inches and increased my endurance. Too bad I didn't lose any weight though...I gained 3-5 pounds instead. Oops!
When I was pregnant with my daughter I had gained 55 pounds. Luckily I was able to get back down to my regular size within a few months by doing a lot of walking -- my daughter was colicky so walks in the stroller was sometimes the only way I could calm her down. This was 6 years ago and I have successfully maintained my weight.
There's always room for improvement though...When I was in the best shape ever at the age of 19-20 I was 145 pounds, a size 7 and had abs! Currently, I am 157 pounds, a size 9 and don't have abs any longer. My goal is to be 145 pounds again. That's a 12 pound weight loss!
Hmmm...I guess I've made myself accountable for this now, eh? I can do it!
I was at the YMCA earlier this evening and ran on the treadmill for 20 minutes and did 2000 metres on the rowing machine. Pretty good start I think! I'm looking forward to going back and doing more next time. If anyone wants to meet up with me for a class or for a few laps around the track let me know!
I think the biggest challenge for me will be getting to the gym despite my husband's frequent travelling. Luckily there are some programs for my daughter to enjoy while I work out so we'll see how it goes! So far she's signed up for basketball and the sports variety which both start in January. She's excited! I'm excited! We're all excited!
Nov 27, 2010
Cabbage is a great winter vegetable to have around when most of the other leafy greens are out of season. Actually, cabbage is available during all of the months of the year in Ontario except for the month of May.
A coleslaw salad is by far the most popular cabbage dish but other common recipes include cabbage rolls, cabbage soup and sauerkraut. I like adding cabbage to my soups or in my egg salad sandwiches (adds a little crunch).
Some benefits of cabbage include:
- it's inexpensive and several dishes can be created from one head of cabbage
- it's high in Vitamin C
- it's low in calories (one cup = 15 calories)
- it's high in Vitamin C
- it boosts the immune system
- has been known to be a fat-burner (aka - cabbage soup diet)
- also interesting - cabbage leaves soothes breast engorgement for women who are breastfeeding
- 2 italian sausages
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cabbage (shredded)
- 1/4 tsp chili flakes
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
Slice sausages into bite-sized pieces and cook until browned. Add water and cover. Continue cooking until sausages are cooked through. Add the cabbage, chili flakes, cumin, vinegar, sugar and salt. Cook until cabbage becomes tender.
Nov 23, 2010
It was my friend's birthday today at work. Since I was the last person to have a birthday it was my turn to bring in the cake to celebrate. I wasn't sure what I was going to make at first but then decided to surprise my friend (who is from Colombia) with a traditional Colombian cake.
Other than the eggs, butter and flour none of the ingredients were local but that's okay. As we get into the Winter months I do purchase other fruits such as oranges, pineapple and bananas for variety and to be able to have fresh fruit on hand (other than apples). That being said, I only buy these because they cannot be grown in Canada. You won't catch me buying berries or peaches in the off-season, that's foresure!
Here is the recipe for a traditional Torta Maria Luisa:
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups sugar (yikes)
- 1 cup butter (yikes again) **at room temperature
- 6 large eggs **at room temperature
- zest of 1 lime
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 cup orange marmalade
- icing sugar for garnish
Divide the batter into two prepared cake pans (buttered and floured) and bake at 350F for 35 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool for another hour on a wire rack.
To assemble, arrange 1 layer flat side up and spread the marmalade evenly. Place the other layer on top and sprinkle with icing sugar.
Nov 20, 2010
I remember watching the "100-Mile Challenge" on the Food Network which was filmed in Mission, B.C. and feeling terrible that they weren't able to locate wheat to produce local flour. It definitely made the challenge that much more difficult for them. It was eventually found but, again, it wasn't in large quantities.
Here, in London, we have our very own flour mill just north of the city in Arva. And, the wheat that they mill is grown just 2 miles north of the store. How convenient is that?
The Arva Flour Mill is just so cute to visit. It's like being brought back in time. In fact, the mill is Canada's oldest continuously operating water powered flour mill and perhaps the oldest in North America. For a full history of the mill see their website at http://www.arvaflourmill.com/ .
In the store there are several varieties of flour available (and yes, it's certified organic flour!):
- cake and pastry flour (white and whole wheat)
- hard wheat flour (white and whole wheat)
- spelt flour (white and whole wheat)
- cracked wheat
- cream of whole wheat (one of my favourites for breakfast!)
- white bran
- red bran
- spelt bran
Nov 16, 2010
My daughter was being such a ham (my drama queen!).
It isn't just about me though. There were a couple of other awesome videos profiled!
100-Mile Mel (Melanie Ebb) is from Guelph, Ontario. Her blog is www.onehundredmilemel.blogspot.com.
Cubits (Laura Watt) is from the Beaches area in Toronto, Ontario. Her blog is www.cubitsorganics.com
All of the videos were so well done. Everyone did a really good job. Thanks to Foodland Ontario for including us in their project!
Watching these I'm so proud to be included with these girls. Actually, it's interesting to see how much we all have in common. For instance, we all seem to be within the same age group, we all have freezers full of food and cupboards of preserves, and we all share the same passion for local foods and farmers. And, strangely enough, we've all been following each other on Twitter--and I'm so glad that we do! I've learned so much from all of my new 'friends' and look forward to future tweets and blog posts and meeting even more people who share our interests.
Note: I believe there is another video or two still to be posted. I'll update with more links soon!
Nov 13, 2010
We also decided to do BBQ for dinner tonight to take advantage of the warm temperatures. My husband's suggestion was Beer Can Chicken.
Here's the can of beer we used:
We used Sleemans as our beer of choice today. Based out of Guelph, Ontario it's definitely a local choice. We lived in Guelph for a few years so we're partial to this particular brewery.
Anyways,...to BBQ our chicken I simply washed it, dried it, oiled it, and then rubbed it with a spice mixture - I used a mix of coarse sea salt, freshly ground pepper, brown sugar, dry mustard, and paprika (note: I found some Ontario paprika at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair from Meleg's Lakeview Orchard in Kingsville, Ontario).
I used some more of the spice rub inside the chicken's cavity and then put the remainder into the beer can itself. I also added a couple of garlic cloves into the can for an added little something.
To BBQ cover the beer can with tin foil and position the chicken on top of it. Place the chicken into the BBQ with an indirect heat. We put the heat on low beneath the chicken and medium/high on the opposite side. BBQ for 60 -90 minutes until internal temperature reaches 165F in the breast and 180F in the thigh.With the chicken we had roasted potatoes and a side of brusell sprouts. For dessert I made a Carrot Pudding. Very yummy!
- 2 cups milk (I used 1% - Organic Meadow - also from Guelph!)
- 1 cup peeled and shredded carrots
- 2 tbsp long-grained rice (i.e., basmati)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp butter
- 1/8 tsp ground cardamon
Stir in sugar and butter and cook until the mixture has a pudding-like consistency, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cardamom.
Nov 11, 2010
We decided to try 'The Only On King'. I had seen many good reviews about the restaurant online and had also been intrigued by the fact that they were voted number 6 of "Canada's Best New Restaurants" by EnRoute magazine in 2008. What really sealed the deal for me, however, was their focus on seasonal and local ingredients - this is always a hit with me.
Their meat, for instance, is purchased from Field Gate Organics (Covent Garden Market), Far Ben farms in Belmont and Everspring Farms in Ilderton. The local fish on the menu comes from Purdys Fisheries in Point Edward while the non-local ocean fish is procured sustainably through Sheridan in Toronto. The produce comes from a few local suppliers, such as Soiled Reputation, Encounter Farms and Havaris Produce. It doesn't stop there either--the Arva Flour Mill supplies their flour for their breads and pastas while Montforte Dairy from Stratford supplies their cheeses.
Other than their long list of local suppliers, another sign of a seasonal and sustainable restaurant is an ever-changing menu. The Only on King falls into this category. The menu is updated daily on their website (www.theonlyonking.ca).
My meal consisted of a veal scallopini with speck, melted edam, fresh chanterelles, gnocchi, and Madeira jus with a pumpkin custard brulee for dessert. My husband, on the other hand, decided on the chicken, sausage and shrimp gumbo with dirty rice. For dessert he had the sticky apple pudding with cinnamon ice cream--which was heavenly! To drink, I had the pear bellini and my husband tried the hot buttered rum.
Overall, our meal was delicious and the service was exceptional. We'll definitely go back again!
Nov 4, 2010
They had seen some of my tweets on Twitter through Foodland Ontario and were able to access my blog. They liked what they saw and wanted to know if I'd be interested in participating in a video about people who are passionate about local (Ontario) foods.
I thought it was a great project and decided to let them film me. They would follow me to a local farm where I buy my food and then back to my home to see me make dinner.
Today was the big day! I was excited but also nervous. I had never been taped for anything before. I got to wear a microphone and everything. I thought that was pretty cool.
Nick Wilson (pictured below) was my 'video guy' for the evening. He was lots of fun and was easy to talk to. It looks like he was able to get a few good shots; despite my daughter's unwillingness to cooperate today, which I feel really terrible about. She's normally so quiet and sweet but tonight she decided she would be rude and noisy. Yeesh!
The farm we visited was Adelaide Farms, which is located on Adelaide St. just North of London between Medway Rd. and Nine Mile Road. I love Adelaide Farms because it's convenient for me to get to and they have so much variety there. He always has a freezer full of beef, a lot of different seasonal fruits and vegetables, as well as some jams and cookies. I also love that he remembers me and my daughter when we visit. We chat about the weather, family, or about his produce. My daughter loves going because she sometimes gets an oatmeal cookie. The best part, however, is that he's open 7 days a week so he's always there when I need something.
While we were there today I purchased some lean ground beef, apples, brussell sprouts, turnip, broccoli and a really large head of cauliflower.
Once we got back home we filmed the interview and then me tending to the dinner. Here was the menu:
Slow-Cooker Chili: Ground Beef from Adelaide Farms, Bison from Blanbrook Bison Farm in St. Mary's, a couple slices of Ontario bacon, diced Ontario onion, diced Ontario green pepper, diced Ontario tomatoes, tomato sauce, 1/2 can of rinsed white kidney beans, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt/pepper.
Fresh Vegetables and a Homemade Onion Dip: Ontario Broccoli, Ontario greenhouse cucumber, Ontario red pepper. The Onion dip contained 1 cup caramelized Ontario onions with 1/2 cup Hellman's mayonnaise, 1/2 cup plain organic yogurt, 1 tsp minced Ontario garlic, 2 tsp worcestershire sauce, dried chives, salt/pepper.
Apple/Cranberry Crisp: Ontario apples, Ontario cranberries from Johnston's Cranberry Farm, flour and oatmeal from the Arva Flour Mill, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, Ontario butter and a drizzle of Ontario maple syrup on top when served. (to see the full recipe go to my November 8th 2009 archive).
To drink, a Grape and Apple Juice: I used some of the last of the Ontario concord grapes that I found last week at the Covent Garden Market (Doris Produce) and processed them in my Vitamix along with 1 peeled Ontario apple. I then strained the juice to take out the thicker parts (grape skins). Yummy - REAL grape juice!
Luckily the food turned out well and Nick was able to leave with a full stomach--he had two bowls of chili.
Overall, it was a fun evening. I'm looking forward to seeing how the other interviews went. Apparently they were going to be interviewing a handful of us; and strangely enough it looks like we all follow each other on Twitter.
The video should be up in the next few days. When I get it I'll be sure to post the link and discuss it further. Sit tight!
Nov 1, 2010
Pumpkin & Pecan Oatmeal
Put 1/4 cup of oatmeal and 1 cup of water in a pot and bring to a boil. Add 2-3 spoonfuls of pumpkin puree and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg (I also added some raisins). Cook on low-medium heat until the oatmeal thickens up. Sweeten with maple syrup and top with toasted pecans.
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
In a blender mix together 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree, 3/4 cup of vanilla yogurt, 2 tsp of brown sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp nutmeg and 4 ice cubes. Blend and enjoy!
I was excited to make this recipe. The 'special' kids in our neighborhood received one of these at our door. Can't go wrong with this one - apples, honey, cream, and vanilla!
In a saucepan warm 1 1/2 cups of cream and 1/4 tsp salt until steaming but not boiling. Add 1 1/2 cups of honey and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and bring the temperature of the mixture to 260F (about 30 minutes), stirring consistently.
Add 1 tsp vanilla extract and stir to combine. Set the pot into a large bowl of ice water and stir until the caramel starts to thicken. Once thickened dip 6-8 apples with lollypop sticks attached into the pot and swirl around to cover the apple. Cool the apples in the fridge for an hour or so.
If you can't wait slice up an apple and dip into the remaining caramel in the pot. Yum!