Thursday, April 30, 2009

Refreshing Quinoa and Shrimp Salad

About a month ago I was looking for a quinoa recipe to shake up my quinoa repetoire and came across a recipe in the NY times. I printed it off and kept it in my recipe folder (which is bulging and badly needs proper organizing!) putting a reminder in my blackberry for the following week when we go grocery shopping.

So I picked up a couple things that I didn't have fresh (cilantro and scallions) this weekend knowing that I wanted to try this recipe this week. I replaced a couple of ingredients as I typically do to make it a bit 'better/healthier'. It took about 25 minutes start to finish - it would have been less if we used leftover quinoa.

In a mixing bowl I put 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice, 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar, 1 tsp minced fresh ginger, 1 small garlic clove minced, pinch of sea salt, pinch of cayenne, 2 tsp sesame oil and 1/4 cup sunflower oil (original recipe called for canola). In a separate bowl I wanted to make a substitute for the buttermilk the recipe called for - 2 tbsp soy milk and 1 tsp lemon juice. I let the soy milk sit for 5 minutes before whisking it into the rest of the dressing.

I made the dressing while Chris made the quinoa and then we chopped up the cucumber (1/2 English cucumber, halved, seeded, and thinly sliced), 4 scallions (sliced thin), and 1/4 cup cilantro. We also stir-fried a half bunch of asparagus and a half a fennel to round out the meal.

After the quinoa was done we mixed everything together and tossed in 12 cooked and peeled shrimp (we always have a bag in the freezer for a quick protein) and dove in!

It was so refreshing. A bit of a nice bite with the ginger. Great summer salad for entertaining I think. I may toss in some cubes of avocado next time or try to concoct something that would be detox-friendly!

Ok now to find the episode of LOST we missed.....

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine Flu - Wash Your Hands Everyone!

1. Do you have a NEW or WORSE cough or shortness of breath?

Please put on face mask and wash your hands thoroughly with soap.

2. Are you feeling feverish?

If the answer to BOTH of these questions is YES:

Best common practice to avoid unnecessary spread: stay home if you are sick, wash your hands thoroughly and often, and do as much as possible to keep your immune system healthy and happy.

Watch your sugar and alcohol intake both of which decreases your immunity. Make sure your are getting a variety of fruits and vegetables and get enough sleep.

We've seen this before with SARS and with the Spanish flu in 1918. Everyone is a little more prepared this time. Unfortunately we don't know how swine flu will spread and what the impact globally it will have. So everyone has to do their part and stay informed!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Coffee Before Exercise and My McMaster Supervisor!!!

One of my best experiences at McMaster was doing my thesis on "Gender Differences in Carbohydrate Loading" with Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky in my 4th year. The faculty at McMaster, specifically in the Kinesiology department was and is first rate and am grateful I was able to learn from such a great group of people. The practical experience I got in a lab and actually seeing and organizing a study was phenomenal. Not too mention all the research studies that I had to read gave me a greater appreciation of the human body and its potential.

The other area of exercise physiology that had a large amount of research at the time was the use of caffeine in endurance exercise. Even at that time (eek 10 years ago!!!) the consensus was that caffeine improved fat burning and increased length of endurance time, essentially being a performance enhancer.

One of my friends from McMaster is currently finishing med school out East (Becky!)and she recently emailed with a NY times article that reminded her of me and our times at MAC. Reading it reminded me of my supervisor and also the question I often get from my patients about drinking coffee before going for a run or exercising.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Parents Coming Over

What a beautiful day! I just managed to finish seeing patients at the clinic and go out for a quick run before the rain showers! I'm glad I got to enjoy a bit of the day. Tomorrow my parents are coming over to see our vacation pictures so we just spent a little time cleaning up the house (all those dust bunnies that only my mother manages to find!!!) and planning what we're going to have for lunch.

The last time they came over my dad was surprised I knew how to cook and cook well. In his mind only Zofia (my mom) knows how to cook so he's always a little suspicious of anyone elses' food especially his daughter, who again in his mind thinks is still 6 years old. Last time I made tofu frittata and roasted root veggies and the key lime pie (raw avocado pie) for dessert. He was a touch skeptical but ended up loving everything, having seconds and making sure mom got the recipes from me.

This time I'm going to go with a house family favourite that's easy but quite "creamy". I may have even blogged about this before? Arugula, roasted beets, avocado and goat cheese... the dressing is olive oil and balsamic vinegar, honey, sea salt and pepper. Half is drizzled on the beets while they are roasting and the other half is reserved for the salad.

Chris and I will run over to Roncessvalles before they get here to get some fresh rye bread and I'll have to get some butter (yes it's true - bread and butter - only for my parents!).

Tonight we're having rainbow trout, sweet potato fries, and salad. We may even have a little port as a little apertif - in Portugal at one of the wine cellars they told us it's common to have white port with tonic water and a slice of lemon.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Back from Vacation!

Oh my! It's been forever since I've blogged. It's always so crazy before you go on vacation and then afterwards you are well rested but running around catching up with everything you missed.

London and Portugal were great. Chris and I didn't relax too much - we were busy running around trying to see as many sights, get as many checkmarks in each city as we could.

It was my first time in London - wow is it ever expensive. I paid 2 pounds (approximately $3) for an apple one afternoon for a snack. That's an expensive apple. Great city. I think more manageable than New York but still something to see around every corner. Great people watching, amazing shopping, and lots of history. Did Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, National Gallery, British Museum, Tate Modern, Portobello Market (lots of fruits and veggies!!!), Chris rowed me around the Serpentine in Hyde Park, saw the Diana Memorial Fountain, Harrods...... we were definitely busy.

Portugal was a food and wine bonanza. I don't understand why the Portuguese serve FRIES and rice with almost every dish but nonetheless they do. Chris was happy but by the second day I was getting smarter and ordering the caldo verde (I think kale, cabbage and potato?) and the salada mista (mixed salad) for most lunches.

The antioxidant filled vinho tinto (red wine) was also very much in supply; as well as the port wine in the 6 of 60 wine cellars we visited in Porto. The seafood was delicious - we ate A LOT of cod and we even tried this fish called Sea Breem!

The timing of dinner was a bit tricky in Portugal. I grew up eating dinner at 5:00, sometimes even earlier if Dad had to go back out into the fields to do some more work. Chris and I usually eat at 7:30 but in Portugal most restaurants didn't even open until 8 and if we were there at 8 we pretty much ate alone until our last few bites. Of course being on vacation means shifting your eating habits and schedule ... Most of the time people were out having a bica (I'm sure their 5th or
6th espresso of the day!) when we were walking to dinner! Last but not least I have to mention all the pasteleria's with those tasty custard tarts. They are everywhere.

Obrigado Portugal!