Exercise – Cycling

Recently at work I was assigned to a new account that requires me to work on-site at the client’s headquarters. Unfortunately, this happens to be twice as far from my place as my home office. Frugal me was angry; now I’m going to have to pay for this? I’m not a fan of city transit, why pay for something you don’t like? Well, I could always ride a bike there.

Now I ride my bike to work daily. It’s only been a couple weeks now, but I can feel a difference in my legs and my energy levels. Biking to work isn’t so bad after all. I was fortunate enough to inherit my bike from my father’s friend, who recently left the country for retirement. I had a helmet from childhood; this will need replacing soon. I was also gifted a lock, a rear light, and a front light from my father. It never hurts to see what your family has kicking around before you go out and buy something. Thanks, Dad!

I did have to buy one thing to improve my bike’s security. I picked up a pair of Rockbros Antitheft Skewers to prevent my wheels from ‘walking away’. They were super easy to install with the provided tool and they feel very robust. Worst case scenario, I have to pack my seat when I park my bike at my home office, but otherwise, everything else detaches or is locked together.

The City of Toronto also offers some great resources to cyclists. You should check them out!

Be safe, secure, and pedal hard. These are the keys to a happy commute.

-Mike

Staple Groceries

I’ve talked before about the benefits of shopping at discount grocers, making things from scratch, and buying more raw ingredients. Today, I’m going to talk about the food items I need on hand at all times (and why). There will be some overlap, but this is much deeper dive into keeping a cheap, delicious, and healthy source of food available at your fingertips.

I grew up in a household that ate a lot of pasta, so that’s huge for me. Other than that though, my mother and father would cook up all source of hearty Canadian meals. During my travels around the world, and travels around the various restaurants of Toronto, I’ve added all sorts of cuisines to my recipe book; this list reflects that as well.

Happy cooking!

-Mike

Dry Goods

  • Basmati Rice: Everyday, tasty rice
  • Short Grain White Rice: Useful for asian cooking, sushi, and more
  • Dried Penne: Great for red sauces, holds onto meat well
  • Dried Spaghetti: Excellent for red and white sauces
  • Unbleached Flour: Make pizza dough, bake stuff, whatever
  • White Cane Sugar: Baking, pizza dough, coffee, etc
  • Brown Sugar: Useful for baking and cooking, making sauces and richer dishes
  • Black Beans: Beans and Rice (Gallo Pinto) was a favourite from costa rica. Soups and cold salads also benefit.
  • Chickpeas: Great for cold salads, substitute for dried pasta, and more

Spices

  • Iodized Table Salt: Add to boiling water to prevent spillover
  • Sea Salt: Tastes better than standard salt, and comes in various sizes for unique flavours. Sprinkle by hand.
  • Black Peppercorns: Buy a pepper mill that will last you forever. You can get varying grinds, and can use different peppercorns for different dishes. 
  • Bay Leaves: For making pork and chicken stock
  • Chili Powder: I like spicy and it’s useful for making sauces for stir-fry and more

Liquids

  • White Vinegar: Useful for cleaning and so much more
  • Balsamic Vinegar: Oil and balsamic dressing is the healthiest dressing for salad available)
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Use for mayo, and cooking
  • Red Wine Vinegar: Excellent for general cooking needs
  • Olive Oil: Healthy, Flexible cooking oil. Keep a small bottle of high quality, and a big bottle of standard extra-virgin olive oil(EVO) on hand.
  • Vegetable Oil: Milder oil for asian meals, frying, and more
  • Coconut Oil: Good for baking, asian food
  • Red Wine: Cooking and consumption. Drink responsibly 🙂
  • White Wine: Cooking and consumption. Drink responsibly 🙂
  • Lemon Juice: Cooking essential
  • Worcestershire sauce: Useful for cooking and essential for making caesars

  • Soy Sauce: Essential for asian cooking and rice dishes.

Sauces

  • Ketchup: French’s made from Leamington tomatoes in Canada.
  • Yellow Mustard: Make this from dry mustard powder
  • Mayonnaise: Make this from scratch, use apple cider vinegar for Japanese style mayo
  • BBQ Sauce: Make your own from scratch to taste. 

Canned Goods

  • Skipjack Tuna: Sustainable tuna, easy tuna with mayo meal

Produce

  • Tomatoes: Salad, Sandwich topping, etc
  • Lettuce: Salad is a super fast and healthy meal
  • Onions: Cooking staple
  • Garlic: Cooking staple. Also used to make aioli and garlic olive oil
  • Potatoes: Versatile food, keeps very well, calorie dense, cheap

Cold

  • Eggs: Simple breakfast, cooking staple