Monthly Archives: December 2013

Physical Activity Experiences of 2013

I keep active most days of the week, and the activity is required to balance the taste experiences! Here is my list of memorable physical activity experiences of  2013 in no particular order:

Yoga class with Dharma Mittra:

I attended a session with 73 year old Dharma Mittra in March at the Toronto yoga conference and was very much positively affected by the practice he led. Breathing and meditation followed by physical practice is a highly effective formula.

Circus at Circability:

I tried the trapeze, aerial hoop and silks for the first time at Circability in April. Great instructors that guide you into fun ‘tricks’ even on your first try.

The fun of inverting during lesson number one

The fun of inverting during lesson number one


40 second sprints up to a vineyard in Tuscany:

With professional pride at stake, a few workouts with 40 second sprint repeats up to a vineyard in Tuscany brought me home leaner as I proclaimed. Very challenging, and a great experience.


Running by the Kahala:

Going for a run in Hawaii is always a magical experience.

the Kahala view

the Kahala view

Short hike at Gros Morne Park:

We took a short hike into the Western Brook Pond…this was a hauntingly beautiful experience to say the least. A wind whipped pond, a bog that houses pickled life underneath and then the glacier formed pond.



Running on Fogo Island and meeting a fox:

Fogo Island is the edge of the earth, which brings a peaceful feeling. Looking up at ledge of rock and having a little fox stare intently curious at you is incomparable.

Ultimate Spin with Vlad Radanovic:

Vlad has taught me indoor cycling for over a decade. His music is a lot of fun, complete with his turntable. He has opened his own amazing gym Ultimate Athletics and teaches his awesome classes many times a week.

Gravity workout at Evolution Fitness:

The gravity machines have been around for a few years now. I was invited to try a Gravity workout at the new Evolution Fitness, 101 Yorkville Ave by owner Conor Kelly. Definitely a unique experience that combined strength training with the fluid movement of the Gravity machine. The most challenging upper body workout I’ve had in recent memory.

889 Yoga:

I quite enjoy the experience of yoga at 889 Yonge, at the Four Seasons and very occasionally at the Thompson hotel. The instructors are fantastic and the space is the right balance of clean and zen. Special acknowledgement to Jodi Fichstein and Sunny Smith, teachers I am grateful to see regularly.

Happy New Year with best wishes for an active and healthy 2014!

Taste Experiences of 2013

There were many incredible taste experiences during the course of 2013. Here are few memorable moments in no particular order:

Sweet potato fries with Nutella at the Canadian National Exhibition: Hot, crisp sweet potato fries drizzled with Nutella and sprinkled with icing sugar. A highly memorable taste combination that kick started a new love for Nutella. I even tried dipping healthy dehydrated sweet potato chips in Nutella, an interesting snack.

Fig and walnut panforte from Volterra, Italy: Perhaps it was the hillside drive to Volterra, however, fig and walnut panforte from this small town in Tuscany was outstanding. Chef Melissa Saunders created a version in time for Christmas, the perfect accompaniment to cheese.

Holy Chuck  burger and truffle fries: I like a good burger. At the urging of friends and colleagues in the neighbourhood, I finally tried a Holy Chuck burger this year. Truly one of the best burgers I have had. The fresh black truffle fries with cheese are also a taste sensation.

Ahi musubi at the Kahala: These are fried balls of rice with a center of ahi poke, the Hawaiian national dish. This dish served at the Kahala resort reminds me of arancini, the Italian fried rice ball with a Hawaiian slant in the poke centre and Japanese twist in the seasoning with furakake. Here is the recipe (I have not ventured to try it yet):

Growlers caramel icecream: Their caramel icecream is the best, with a delightfully rich taste and texture. Fogo Island is a bit of a journey, however, if you ever go there, Nicole’s Cafe and Growlers Icecream are a treat to be had.

Sauteed turnip greens with lemon: Turnip greens were an interesting discovery I made on Fogo Island. We picked up some items in what appeared to be a convenience store, and I noticed bags of turnip greens, so we bought some. Prince Charming sauteed the greens and seasoned them with lemon, very tasty and a new veggie discovery! Apparently turnip greens are usually boiled in Newfoundland, and we can certainly say sauteed can be tastier.

Gingerbread cupcake at DLish: This was a limited edition cupcake that I loved at first bite. Great texture with the right mix of cinnamon cream cheese icing. The DLish gingerbread cupcake is on par with a perennial favourite, the miette gingerbread cupcake in San Francisco


Recipe: Gluten free Gingerbread Waffles

Gingerbread waffles are a Christmas time favourite of mine and many friends. After much testing, here is a gluten free version that I am happy to eat and share. This particular blend of various flours (sorghum, millet, chickpea, buckwheat, amaranth, brown rice flour) is a one that I like for taste, texture and nutrition-Making Life Good recommends.

Feel free to experiment with other gluten free flours. The key is variety of flours, some starch and xanthan gum.

3 tablespoons sorghum flour

3 tablespoons millet flour

2 tablespoons chickpea flour

2 tablespoons buckwheat flour

2 tablespoons amaranth flour

2 tablespoons brown rice flour

2 tablespoons tapioca starch

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon cardamom

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon allspice

1 egg

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup molasses

3/4 cup buttermilk

3 tablespoons softened or melted butter

2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger

2 tablespoons currants

In a medium bowl, stir together various flours, baking powder, baking soda. Add spices and combine well.

In another medium bowl, whisk together egg and brown sugar. Whisk in molasses, buttermilk, then butter. Add dry ingredients, stir until just combined. Stir in crystallized ginger and currants.

Heat waffle maker to medium. Pour in half the batter into the center of the grid. Cook waffle to desired degree of brown or until the maker beeps. Repeat with the other half of the batter. Makes 8 waffles.

Enjoy immediately with maple syrup, apple butter, ice cream, or passion fruit curd. These waffles can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 days or frozen and reheated in the toaster.

Recipe: Herb Lentil and Rice Soup

This is my favourite soup lately for the cold weather and as lighter fare for the holiday season. The brightness of fresh herbs and lime juice adds an interesting zest of flavour.

1 cup red lentils, rinsed

1/4 cup rice, rinsed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

1 plum tomato, finely diced

1 bay leaf

5-6 cups vegetable stock

1 lime, juiced

1 cup chopped dill, cilantro and parsley

salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat and saute garlic, onion, carrot, celery until softened. Add tomato, saute for another minute. Add vegetable stock, bay leaf, lentils and rice, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes or until lentils and rice are desired texture. Season with salt, pepper, lime juice. Stir in fresh herbs and enjoy.