Category Archives: recipes

Eat-Clean Cookbook giveaway!

Training for the marathon continues and we’ve entered hill territory — four repeats last night and five next Wednesday. In addition, I continue to chug away at the 22 minutes in 10lbs challenge I set for myself a few weeks ago (five pounds down, five to go). But to get on with the topic of today’s post — Food and a giveaway!

Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook

The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook is by Tosca Reno — a successful author (of ten books), motivational speaker, wellness consultant, media personality and model (gracing the covers of Oxygen Magazine). I was first introduced to her books by my parents of all people. After my father retired, they made some dietary changes based on Tosca’s books that were very successful. Beyond weight loss, the recipes in this cookbook are healthy, easy to make, and most importantly, tasty.

In addition to giving me permission to post some recipes from the cookbook, the people at Robert Kennedy Publishing have been generous enough to also provide a copy for me to giveaway to a Fartlek Runner reader! Here is how it’ll work. Each Friday, for the month of March, I’ll post a recipe from The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook. Simply post a comment to any or all of the Eat-Clean posts, and I’ll enter you onto a list in the order that I received your comment(s) (make sure to include an e-mail with your comment so I can contact you). A winner will be chosen using a random number generator, and announced in the Wednesday, March 31 post. Easy peasy and you could win an awesome cookbook to fuel your running!

To kick things off on a light note, this is one of my favourite recipes to have with veggies in my lunch at work. I make this dip at least twice a month. It’s very low in calories and fat, making it a guiltless way to make cut raw veggies and crackers more interesting. To repeat, this recipe is from The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook, by Tosca Reno and published by Robert Kennedy Publishing.

Tofu and Curry Dip

Makes 12, one-TBSP Servings


  • 6oz / 168g silken tofu
  • 1½ Tbsp / 23ml fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp / 30ml best-quality olive oil
  • ¼ tsp / 1.25ml sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp / 30ml chopped green onion
  • ½ tsp / 2.5ml curry powder
  • 1 Tbsp / 15ml parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced


  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until just combined. Do not over-process. Cover and refrigerate.
  2. Serve with crudités as a healthy dip alternative, spread on wraps with grilled chicken, or anywhere else you would like a delicious shot of creamy flavor.

Nutritional value per one-Tbsp serving:

Calories: 28 | Calories form fat: 22 | Protein: 1g | Carbs: 0.5g | Dietary Fiber: 0g | Sugars: 0g | Fat: 2g | Sodium: 43mg


Thrive pizza…

February is drawing to a close and with it, many of us are approaching or entering the next phase of our training for our spring races. My marathon is at the end of May and I’m finishing up week five of 18 of my training schedule. After next Wednesday, I’ll be moving from the base phase into the strength phase, with the addition of hills training. I love me some hills! (This will likely kick off the Toronto Hills series I mentioned in this post)

As training progresses, I’m becoming more and more focused on one particular element of my training: nutrition. For me, this is one of the most important aspects of training, because if one’s nutrition sucks, their body will not be able to adequately recover, and as a result their running will suffer.

In addition, with my personal 22 minutes in 10lbs challenge, I’m trying to choose more wisely where my calories are coming from in order to maximize the nutritional content without too many empty or excess calories.

I’m a huge fan of Brendan Brazier’s books Thrive and Thrive Fitness, and have found a ton of useful nutrition ideas from reading these books. Brendan is a Canadian 50k ultramarathon champion, professional Ironman triathlete, bestselling author and creator of an award-winning line of whole food nutritional products called VEGA. Brendan also offers a free video and e-mail program at that I highly recommend — and in case you missed the word before video, it’s FREE ;-). Here is a quick video about the program:

In keeping with the idea of “high net gain foods” I made a “pizza” tonight from Brendan’s book Thrive. I put “pizza” in quotes here because this dish resembles a pizza only in that it has a base or “crust” on which there is sauce and then toppings. The recipe for this pizza can be found at Canadian Running Magazine’s website, but there was a difference between the online version and the printed version, which added 1 1/2 cups of buckwheat groats. For my pizza, I added the groats, mostly out of curiosity (I hadn’t had them before), and found that they added a really nice crunch to the crust. So thumbs up to the groats.

This pizza is made completely from plant materials and cooked at a very low temperature. To start, I took all of the ingredients for the crust and put them in a food processor:

Then I formed the crust (mmm, groaty goodness!):

While this was happening, I roasted the red peppers in the oven, and then placed them and the rest of the ingredients for the sweet pepper hemp pesto (the “sauce”) into the food processor:

…and coated the “crust,” sliced up some veggies, toped the “pizza”, put it in the oven, and…. Voila!

I had quite a bit of the pesto left over, which will be perfect as a veggie dip for the next day or so.

Red Lentil Dahl

One of my favourite dishes to cook at this time of year is red lentil dahl — a warming, nutrient-packed dish that is perfect after a run. Dahl is a flavour-packed dish found in Nepali, Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi cuisine. It’s made from various types of lentils that are split and reduced to a mushy consistency and then have various spices and vegetables added in.

Lentils are one of those wonderful foods that are great to cook with, but can be kind of daunting at first. They’re packed full of protein, iron, dietary fibre, folate, B1 and various minerals. Served with rice, lentils make a complete protein (meaning together, they contains all of the essential amino acids required by humans dietary needs), which is convenient, because dahl is best served over basmati rice!

The following is a family recipe gifted to me by a close friend, and is Marathi in origin. I reduced the amount of oil called for (the original was four to five tablespoons), and as presented, it is of a medium spice, but can be made more or less hot by adjusting the chili powder accordingly.

Red Lentil Dahl
Serves 4


  • 1 cup dry red lentils
  • 3 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander, ground
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Rinse lentils under cool water until water runs clear. Place water or broth into a large saucepan and bring to a boil before adding the rinsed lentils.
  2. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to simmer the lentils until they resumble a thick paste.
  3. While the lentils are simmering, heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onion, garlic and ginger, sautéing until soft.
  4. Add the curry powder, red chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper to the onion mixture and continue to sauté for an additional two to three minutes.
  5. Add the diced tomatoes and continue to sauté for another three to five minutes.
  6. Add the contents of the frying pan to the lentil paste, stirring until thoroughly mixed.
  7. Cook the combined mixture for another 15 to 20 minutes until the mixture resembles a thick stew.
  8. Serve over basmati rice, with roti.

Marathon politics and food…

Toronto Marathon(s?):

The 2009 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon start line boasted an impressive display at city hall.

After a week of speculation and intrigue over the future of the two Toronto fall marathons, the city has extended a final opportunity for the two groups to figure it out. They now have two weeks to decide which of them will move to the spring, or the city will begin accepting RFPs, including third party bids.

If you’re not familiar with the situation, Toronto has two marathons — the Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon and the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon — that are three weeks apart from each other. This past fall saw  years of rivalry between the two races come to a head when many in the city were fed up with the various Sunday road closures being so close together. I’m sure that it’s an election year in our grand ol’ city doesn’t help the situation either.

Aestus, myself and Thomas at the starting line of the 2009 Goodlife Toronto Half Marathon.

So now we Toronto runners get to wait some more to see what happens. There seems to be progress according to the story appearing in the Toronto Star yesterday. Jay Glassman of the Goodlife marathon is quoted as saying, “we’re open to moving.” Given the self-described “grass roots” feel of the race, it might make more sense for it to move to the spring, despite being the older of the two races.

Allan Brooks of the Scotiabank marathon talks in the same article of bringing in more elite athletes from around the world to add “star power” to the event.

Regardless of promises, both camps have until the February 22 city council meeting to come to a resolution.

Now on to lighter topics…


A while back I heard about how great quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”) is. Shortly after, I picked up a small bag of organic quinoa that has sat in my pantry. That was, until last week.

Last week, while reading in the blogosphere, I came across a post on Frayed Laces, where she mentioned that she cooked her quinoa in a rice cooker. This peeked my interest, because I thought it had to be done by some miraculous method that I had no clue had to do. I had a rice cooker. I had quinoa, and I had water — I could do this.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=quinoa&iid=5281095″ src=”1/f/e/2/Quinoa_full_frame_d6ab.jpg?adImageId=9839986&imageId=5281095″ width=”234″ height=”236″ /]If you don’t know what I’m talking about, quinoa is a seed that originated in the Andean region of South America and is related to beats and spinach. It functions much the same way as rice, but is known for being somewhat of a super food. It is very high in protein and contains a balanced set of essential amino acids (making it a complete protein). It is also easily digested, gluten free, a good source of dietary fibre, phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron.

Frayed’s instructions are to put 1 cup of dry Quinoa to 2 parts water (or vegetable broth) into the rice cooker. It turned out perfectly. Last week was all about putting something on a bed of quinoa.

This week’s theme is somewhat similar, but with a small difference: it’s all about mixing things into the quinoa.

Enter Mr. Carrot and Ms. Leek. I bought a bag of the ginormous carrots this week, so I took one of those and grated it (yielding roughly 2 cups). I then took the leek and chopped that up. I heated a tablespoon of oil in a skillet and combined the carrot and leek with is and sautéed for 5-10 minutes. When it was done I mixed this with a batch of the quinoa. It looks like this:

It tastes fantastic! Once this batch is gone, I’m going to try a Mediterranean theme — sun-dried tomatoes, black olives…

If any of you have quinoa recipes and are holding out, please share!

New Years, food and the Hair of the Dog…

I’m back from being up north! There is something about being up there that allows me to actually relax, because there is nothing that I have to do. Long runs on quiet rural roads, snow shoeing in the snowy forest, playing with the dogs, and lounging around made for some major battery recharging time. Of course, now that I’m back in Toronto, there are a million and one things I should get to. But all of that can wait till next year.

I went back to the gym this morning for the first time in a week (in my defense, there was no gym where I was). I was planning on doing two classes (an hour each), but after the first one, decided I should ease myself back to the intensity I was going at. It feels great to be back at it though.

A four-bottle Fuel Belt, Body Glide, new running shoes and a marathon clinic were waiting for my under the tree in the form of gift cards!

Yesterday, I had a chance to go and spend my gift cards for my local running store, and picked up a bunch of the things that were on my X-mas wish list. Shoes were also purchased, but my size had to be ordered in from a store in Quebec City (not because I have ginormous feet, but because my size is common and they were out ;-). I apologize for the quality of the photos in this post – my camera is on the frits and possible dead. I’m currently sourcing out a new one and for the time being, pictures will either come from my phone (booo) or my camera if it decides to work again.

Tofu-spinach "ricotta"

Initially, we were planning on going to a friend’s party tonight to ring in the next decade, but due to the hubby coming down with a nasty cold, we’ll be celebrating at a house party for two, complete with a homemade meal and some new DVD’s. I’ve whipped up a tofu-spinach lasagna dinner for us. I know most of you will be thinking “ewww… vegan lasagna”. But seriously, this recipe is really good.

Lasagna in progress..

Of course, lasagna isn’t complete without Caesar salad, so I also whipped up a vegan Caeser dressing from Laren Ulm’s Vegan Yum Yum (based on her award winning blog, — an invaluable website for amazing vegan recipes!).

Caesar dressing:

¼ cup sliced almonds
¼ cup plus 1 tbsp miso
1 tbsp plus 2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
4 pinches salt
6 oz silken tofu
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp water (to thin).

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a food processor, and well, process.

Tomorrow, I’ll be meeting up with a bunch of my running buddies who are running the Hair of the Dog 9k (complete with peach schnapps at the 4.5 km mark!) and will have a report of that at some point this weekend. I’m not running the race, but will be my own little cheering squad for the Terrible Tutus!

Happy New Years everyone!

’tis the season…

to bake! I’m cramming a fair bit of baking and cooking into this weekend — some friends are having a pot-luck tonight to which I’m contributing:

Butternut Squash dip

I got the recipe for this dip from Yoga Journal last year (I can’t find it on their website to link to and am not sure about the legality of reprinting it here). Every time I make it I get requests for it again. It’s similar to a hummus, but without the chickpeas, and is excellent with veggies or breads.

Stuffing Balls

My grandmother used to make these for various holiday meals. She would also make stuffing the traditional way, buts she’d make extra and form them into small balls and then bake them, basting them as they cooked. For these, I tore up a loaf of bread and let it go stale over night. I then seasoned the bread with powdered sage, savory and rosemary. I  sautéed a diced onion and two stalks of chopped celery and then added those to the bread along with a cup of vegetable stalk and “mushed” everything together, forming them into balls. The balls in the picture are still not cooked.

Apple pie with lattice top

This got a little crispy in the oven. But it’s still tasty. Nothing beats apple pie for comfort food! I also baked a bunch of shortbread last night, that had to be taste tested of course. ;-)

However, I did get out this morning for a shorter run. Tomorrow won’t be able to do my normal LSD because I’ll be out visiting family, so I went running with a buddy for 11 km. We ran the belt line, which was covered in ice. Great for the stabilizing muscles, not so great for speed or confidence in not falling on one’s face. We made our way over to Mount Pleasant and down to Union Station. It was cold, but beautiful and sunny.

I’m now off for that most glamourous of jobs… the dishes!

Chocolate blueberry energy bars

I’m pretty particular about my diet and the foods that I eat pre-, during and post-run. If at all possible, I prefer to make my own workout foods, which allows me to control not only the content, but also the quality of the ingredients that I’m using. This sounds like it could be a lot of work, but it’s really quite easy.

On days that I’m strapped for time, this can be as simple as downing a handful of dried dates (with agave, if I think of it) and heading out the door. I also really like the work of Brendan Brazier (professional Ironman triathlete and two-time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion) and the information he presents in  The Thrive Diet and Thrive Fitness. One of my favourite recipes to make for running is Brendan’s chocolate blueberry energy bars.

These bars are very simple to make and can be wrapped and frozen in the freezer for quick grab-and-go energy sources for longer runs. Because there are a lot of essential fats in the bars, they don’t freeze solid. Here is how to make them:


  • 1 cup dried dates
  • ¼ cup almonds
  • ¼ blueberries
  • ¼ roasted carob powder (or cacao to make 100% raw)**
  • ¼ cup group flax seed**
  • ¼ cup help protein**
  • ¼ cup unhulled sesame seeds**
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • Sea salt to taste
  • ½ cup frozen blueberries

** Ingredients marked with the double asterisks can all be substituted for 1 cup of chocolate flavour Vega Complete Whole Food Optimizer.


  1. In a food processor, process all ingredients, except the frozen blueberries.
  2. Remove the mixture from the food processor and put on a clean surface.
  3. Lay frozen blueberries on the surface and knead mixture into blueberries.
  4. Flatten mixture on the clean surface with your hands, forming it into a brick.
  5. Cut brick horizontally into small bars, as if you were cutting a loaf of bread. Allow the bars to dry out in the open for one hour.
  6. Individually wrap bars in plastic wrap and place extras in freezer for future use.

For those who work better with visuals, here is a video of Brendan making the bars: