Tag Archives: summer

Port Credit: my first long distance bike ride

IMG_20160806_192656

I had always wanted to visit Port Credit, Mississauga for no apparent reason other than I have passed it many times on the GO Train and have always wondered what was there. A couple of weeks ago, my roommate and I decided to take the ride via the Waterfront Trail and it was awesome. A couple things I learned along the way:

  • If there’s a will, there’s a way. I haven’t ridden a bike in a very long time and having only started recently, I didn’t think I could take such a long journey (45 kms is not an easy feat, at least not for me) but with determination to get out of the house and see a new place, I did it!
  • Bike riding is a great way to see and explore new places. The last time I did something like this was when I visited Niagara-on-the-Lake vineyards in 2013 (rented bikes and rode to each one, it was a spectacularly fun and exhausting day).
  • Always wear sunscreen. I learned the hard way and slightly burnt my nose and have a wicked farmer’s tan.
  • Getting lost is part of the fun. We were following the GPS but it is sometimes different from real life – it happens. Since we weren’t in a rush, we backtracked and eventually found our way. Also met some nice ladies that led us back onto the trail!
  • Being carefree. Since the ride took longer than suggested by Google Maps – 1 hr 50 mins to get there and 1 hr 30 mins to get back, we spent a lot of time outside and it’s a joy being able to stop and look at the clouds in the sky; without a worry to be had. Also, when you’re riding and you feel that summer breeze passing you, there’s something inside of you that says everything is going to be alright.

For a first long distance trip, I think it was well worth the couple of hours it took and I maybe fitter than I think since there weren’t any muscle aches afterwards. Also, the mint chocolate ice cream bar helped 🙂

Tagged , , , , ,

Cooking on Sundays: Nicoise Salad in a Jar and Baked Salmon

Now that I’m done my travelling for this summer, it’s back to cooking and eating better. Vacation took a toll of my body – who can resist having seafood everyday in Halifax? The inspiration for this week’s menu came from having dinner with a friend and her talking about wanting to cook in larger batches so she wouldn’t have to cook everyday. We got talking and I was telling her that there are many ways to cook in larger quantities in a more efficient manner, such as using a slowcooker or baking multiple items in the oven at the same time. This allows for you to complete other tasks without having to stand at the stove top and have to keep an eye on things.

Vegetables for the week

I chose a Nicoise salad because it’s packed with vegetables and protein. Also, it’s easy to store it all in a jar and take it to work. I made the dressing and stored the tuna separately so that it wouldn’t make the salad too wet and last longer. I had frozen salmon in the freezer so it was easy to pair it with roasted vegetables. I was craving green things this week so that’s what I got.

Nicoise salad in a jar

Nicoise Salad

Ingredients

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

For the salad:

  • 5 large eggs, sliced
  • 15 fingerling potatoes, sliced
  • 3 handfuls green beans
  • 2 5-ounce cans tuna packed in oil, drained
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 3 cups salad greens (I got to use some greens from my balcony garden!!)
Greens from garden

Kale and greens from my balcony garden

Directions

  1. Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, minced garlic, mustard, salt, and pepper. Add the oil, and whisk continuously until the dressing is emulsified.
  2. Cook the eggs, potatoes and green beans.
  3. Slice the potatoes and eggs into 1/2 inch slices.
  4. Assemble the jar in the following order:
    • grape tomatoes
    • green peppers
    • green beans
    • potatoes
    • salad greens
    • eggs
  5. Serve with dressing and mix with tuna.

Baked salmon and veggies

Baked Salmon and Roasted Vegetables

Ingredients

  • 4 frozen salmon, defrost and pat dry
  • 2 zucchini, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 500g cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 4 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven at 350F.
  2. Defrost the salmon overnight in the fridge or in the microwave.
  3. Chop up the zucchini, cauliflower, mushrooms and green pepper.
  4. Place in a large bowl and toss with 3 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Put the vegetable pan into the oven for 30 minutes.
  6. Spread the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, Dijon mustard and salt and pepper over the salmon fillets.
  7. Put the salmon pan into the oven with 15 minutes left on the vegetables.
  8. Portion out the salmon and vegetables into containers.

Happy cooking 🙂

Tagged , , ,

Popsicles!!

Popsicle4

I was on vacation this past week and didn’t actually cook anything (re-heating fries on the stove doesn’t count). After getting home, the summer heat has arrived and what better way to cool down than with popsicles! I came across this cucumber mint green tea popsicle recipe from Cake Over Steak and decided to give it a try. They turned out delicious and perfect for a hot summer day 🙂

Cucumber Pear Mint Green Tea Popsicles

(adapted from Cake Over Steak recipe)

Ingredients
For the mint simple syrup:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 large sprigs of fresh mint
For the popsicles:
  • 1/2 cup mint simple syrup
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened green tea
  • 3 tsp fresh lime juice (from about one lime)
  • 1/2 English cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 pear, roughly chopped

Instructions

To make the mint simple syrup:
  1. Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan. As soon as the sugar is dissolved, remove from the heat and stir in the mint leaves. Let it steap until it cools. Strain out the mint leaves and store in a glass jar in the refrigerator.
To make the popsicles:
  1. Add all of the ingredients to a blender (I used a Magic Bullet) with the liquid in the bottom. Blend until smooth. Give it a taste – it should be a little sweeter than you might want it to be, as it will lose some of its sweetness when you taste it frozen. Add more lime juice or simple syrup, etc. to taste.
  2. Pour the mixture into your popsicle molds and freeze for 4-6 hours or overnight. Enjoy!!

Popsicle1 Popsicle2 Popsicle3

Tagged , ,

Summer Fun

We went through a heatwave two weeks ago where temperatures went up to 40 degrees Celsius with humidity!  It was insanely hot and were advised to stay indoors when possible.  Since then, it’s been a busy three weeks so I finally had some time tonight to put together a rundown  what I’ve been up to:

I can’t believe how quickly this summer has gone by, August is this week!!

Rather than explaining my experiences, they are being depicted by pictures – enjoy 🙂

Tagged , , , , , ,

Canada Day Weekend!

Happy Canada Day!

This was a very fun and wonderful long weekend. I just can’t believe it’s already been a year. Our charity’s golf tournament has always fallen on the Tuesday after Canada Day so I spent a late Friday night at the office trying to get everything done so I didn’t have to go into the office during the weekend. Everything is done, so it’s a matter of getting through the golf tournament tomorrow – fingers crossed that everything goes well.

On Saturday morning, I went to have lunch with my grandparents. This was nice and we have been trying to see them at least once a month or every two months. We often find ourselves too “busy” to take time out of “busy” schedules to do anything and often don’t end up doing everything we want to do but I have been trying to spend more time with family this year. It’s so important because I now realize that not only are my grandparents getting older each year, but my parents are also getting old – so no matter how busy I am, there’s always time to spend with them.

I had a first this weekend. The bf has been really into home brewing in the last couple of years and we have been talking about making our own beer but had not found the time to do it until this weekend. We spent Saturday late afternoon brewing beer, the Summer Wheat from Brooklyn Brew Shop. It was surprisingly easy to do since all the instructions are posted their website and it’s  matter of having a couple of hours and patience to do it. The bf had all the equipment so, it was a matter of taking the time to do each step correctly and waiting another 4 weeks to bottle and then enjoy some homemade beer 🙂 Also, it’s completely legal in Ontario to brew as much beer as you want and give it to whoever we want – the only thing you can’t do is sell it.

After brewing, we went to the new Amsterdam Brewhouse located by the water in downtown Toronto. A much anticipated trip since we had been running along in the area and seen the construction for the past couple of months. Definitely had a lackluster experience. The service was just not up to par (given that they have only been open for two weeks). We waited over an hour for our food, which was delicious when it arrived – I got the smoked burger with fries and the bf got fish and chips. The beer selection was limited and we didn’t get asked if we wanted to try a flight of beer. There was a different menu for that, it can be seen on Blogto’s review. We really wanted to like it since it was a beautiful space and yummy food so we’re definitely going to go back!

On Sunday, we baked cookies before heading out to the Pride Parade.  Since we had the mash leftover from the previous day’s brew, I wanted to make cookies with it instead of just throwing it into the compost. We found a recipe on The Rowdy Growler and made around 4 dozen chocolate chip beer mash cookies. They were delicious!!! We took them to the Pride Parade (the bf’s first time) so that we will have a snack while watching the parade as well as were going to bring them to a friend’s place for drinks after the parade.

The Pride Parade was awesome! The floats and people on them as well as most participants have so much energy and are so enthusiastic to be a part of the celebrations. As the bf describes it, “it’s like Halloween celebration but in daylight”. It’s one big party and everyone has a great time. There were so many rainbow-coloured signs and balloons. One of my favourite parts is when people squirt water at other with waterguns – I think we’re going to have to get some next year and spray the paraders with water. It was also really refreshing since we were standing in the sun for 2 hours. Afterwards, we went to a friend’s place who lives in the penthouse with a huge rooftop patio and had a couple of drinks and ribs.

Monday morning was a tough one…events from the night before were a little blurry but I ended up in the right bed with the right person and I didn’t sleep with my contacts in so it was a win 😉 For Canada Day, we went to the beach with my siblings and played some beach volleyball and just hung out. It was a great day to play because it wasn’t too hot and sunny. I also realized that my shoulder has not been doing well, it was hurting a lot to just serve the ball overhand so I’m going to try and book a massage in the next week or so and have someone undo the knots in my shoulder. I can barely lift my right arm above my head without being in pain.

With that said, an amazing long weekend and a golf tournament tomorrow that will go well, as it always does and a short work week!!!

—-I will try and post photos later this week, too tired right now—-

Tagged , , , , , ,

Summer is Here!!!

Wow, what a way to start the summer! My first order of business was to have a pants free week – only skirts and dresses because it’s too hot to have clothing cling to my legs 🙂 Next, a visit to the beach was a must. On Friday night after work, 8-10 of us went and set-up a volleyball net and just played doubles. It was so great to be in the sand again.  Then I went to my first summer birthday party – pre-drink was at a hotel in the heart of the city and then off to a local pub. It was a fantastic Saturday – good company, drinks were flowing and lots of great laughs!

That is until you have to run a race the next morning, then you don’t feel so well.

color me radI had signed up for a 5km race way before I knew this birthday party was happening but it’s was also a really close friend’s birthday, so I knew I had to do both. The good thing was, it was a fun race and I wasn’t being timed. The race is called Color Me Rad. How it works is that, you “Start out as clean as a newborn babe, and throughout the run, you’ll coat your chaffing thighs with Color Bombs of blue, green,pink, purple, and yellow until your face, shirt, and body come out silkscreened like a tie-dyed hippy on the other side. Each section of the run adds a new explosion of color to your clean, painter’s palate until you cross the finish line into a final blitzkrieg of color. ”

It was a lot of fun! Many people were dressed in costumes and there were a lot of families that were running with little kids.  I see it as a fun way to promote fitness without the pressures of having to compete with others. It was just a run that you can do at your own speed and you got colour-bombed along the way 🙂  BlogTO.com wrote an article about it and had posted some great pictures. Check it out here.

I will definitely sign up again next year – if they’re running it. However, there were a couple of things that I’d do differently:

  • Sign up with friends (I ran by myself because my friends couldn’t get a spot – both Saturday and Sunday sold out really quickly)
  • Have a costume because it’s way more fun than just wearing a white t-shirt and shorts
  • Don’t bring any bags – they didn’t have bag check so I had to run with my backpack on
  • Wear sunscreen – slightly burnt my face

Overall, it was a great experience and have convinced others to join for next year.

color me rad 2 color me rad 3

My next race is the Bum Run. The run will be helping increase awareness and promote early screening for colorectal cancer. The bf was really keen on it, really just because he liked the name of the run. We registered yesterday and came up with the team name: Burrito Jetpack Initiative. Our team is now up to 5 members and we’d love for more people to join. It’s a great cause and only a 5km run, so super achievable! We have to have a team meeting soon to figure out a fundraising goal and start promoting. Our team page is really generic right now but hoping to get it more personalized within the week.

I can’t wait for more festivities next weekend – plus it’s a long weekend so time for extra fun!!

Tagged , , , , , ,