My life has been in transition for the past few months. I have been working on a creating a permanent lifestyle change that involves finding balance, eating healthy and getting more exercise. As you have read in my previous posts, I have taken up cycling and walking. Now I am going to start running.
I started this process by committing myself to a 32km walk this September to raise money for Cancer research. Then I bought a bicycle and started riding it all over Toronto. This week I decided to make things more interesting by making a commitment to run in my first 5km run with my daughter.
It has been a long time since I ran on a regular basis and I have never run a 5km race. I am going to step up my training routine to include daily runs and power walks to get ready.
Each of these physical activities has brought its own unique set of challenges. For each one I found it helpful to set mini goals that push me farther toward my ultimate goal. This 5km run may be the most challenging of them all.
The best part of my healthier lifestyle is that I enjoy living more each day. I am learning to live in the moment and to see the world through a positive lens. I have lost weight, dropped a few dress sizes and my blood pressure is under control. This has started out to be one of the best summers ever. Life is good!
Summer is also about the great flavours of fresh local produce. Farmers’ markets are brimming with fresh fruits and vegetables. One of my favourite flavours of summer is the taste of ripe, fresh tomatoes from the garden or farmer’s field. That is why Summer Caprese Salad is such a regular dish at my dinner table. The combination of sweet tomatoes, soft mozzarella cheese and the bite of fresh basil are a combination made in heaven.
Summer Caprese Salad
Makes 4 to 6 servings
8 oz. (250 g) fresh mozzarella, sliced ½ inch (1 cm) thick
1 lb. (500 g) field tomatoes, sliced ½ inch (1 cm) thick
Leaves from 2 large bunches basil
1 cup (250 ml) balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. (15 ml) Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp. (2 ml) salt
¼ tsp. (1 ml) freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup (75 ml) extra virgin olive oil
To make vinaigrette, in a small saucepan, bring balsamic vinegar to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until reduced to ½ cup (125 ml). Let cool. It will thicken as it cools.
In a bowl, whisk together reduced vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in oil, whisking until emulsified.
Arrange cheese, tomatoes and basil leaves on a platter. Up to 1 hour before serving, drizzle with vinaigrette.
Recipe from In My Mother’s Kitchen by Trish Magwood