An Ale For What Ails You

It seems like wherever I look university and college students are sipping hot soup and tea between bouts of studying for finals, while folks at the grocery store stock up on Vitamin C and Buckley’s cough medicine. As warmer weather crawls its way toward Corner Brook, cold-and-flu season hangs on for dear life.

So when I recently discovered this recipe for homemade ginger-ale, I knew it was just what the doctor ordered to get rid of winter’s remaining ails.

Simply chop one cup of fresh, peeled ginger. Add the ginger to a medium saucepan along with one cup of filtered water. Add 3/4-1 cup organic cane sugar.

Add 2 teaspoons of ground ginger for zip.

And simmer over medium-low heat for 1/2 an hour.

Strain and discard solids. Add two or more tablespoons of the ginger-syrup to a tall glass and top with sparkling water.

And with a couple of soda-crackers, a warm blanket, and your favorite flick, you’ll be ready to conquer the world, and Corner Brook’s sunny weather, in no time.

Fuel for Fun

With endless trails, hills, and scenery, Corner Brook is an ideal place for athletes to play, train, and race (triathlon anyone?).

Image Courtesy of Positively Digital via

An athlete (and triathlete) I am not, but I do enjoy running in Corner Brook. In summer and autumn, the Corner Brook Stream Trail makes an invigorating trail run. Riverside Drive is equally suited for longer distances (watch the traffic), and the city’s endless hills are perfect for torturing yourself a refreshing challenge.

Corner Brook Stream Trail Glynmill Inn Entrance

And, when the weather turns adverse, there are always plenty of vacant “dreadmills” at the local YMCA and Pepsi Centre, as well as cross-training options at Blow Me Down Trails and Marble Mountain.

Image Courtesy of Tom Cochrane at

Corner Brook’s rugged terrain and intense hills call for the right fuel for the long haul. Something like this:

Date and Nut Bonbons

I call these little energy boosters, Good-Good Bon-Bons, and I often enjoy one or two as a delicious (and healthy) post-run snack. And, like most athletes (and those of you who are living a marathon-like schedule), I also enjoy how easy these snacks are to make:

Simply grind 2 cups of pistachio nuts in a food processor (or place them in a resealable bag as I did — due to lack of food processor — and smash them up with a kitchen mallet) and set them aside on a plate.

Pistachios Before the Punch

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine 500 grams chopped, pitted dates,  1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon cardamom, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons of this…

Orange Blossom Water

…which you can find here. Add a tablespoon of grated orange peel, and cook over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture forms a conglomerated paste.

Remove from heat and add 1- 1 1/2 cups of ground almonds and 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts. Stir until the mixture combines (it will be really thick) and loses some of its stickiness. Form the date mixture into 1 inch balls and roll in ground pistachio nuts. Set the balls on parchment paper and refrigerate for one hour to let the flavors meld.

Good-Good Bon-Bons

These bonbons can be stored in an airtight container for two weeks. They’re small and completely transportable, so you can easily keep two on hand in your duffel bag and refuel after your workout, or keep them at the ready as a post-hill reward. Your body, and taste buds, will thank you.

(Recipe generously adapted from Food and Wine.)

Found Hiding in the Corner

Today I want to tell you about my Uncle Marvin. When I was 9 or 10, I taught my Uncle Marvin how to inline skate.

Another Old Guy Rollerblading (NOT Uncle Marvin) –Image Courtesy of Travelin’ Librarian via Flickr

To my surprise, Uncle Marvin enjoyed the sport so much he bought himself a pair of roller blades and made inline skating part of his daily exercise routine. And when that got boring, Uncle Marvin taught himself how to roller blade backwards.

Last June, my Uncle Marvin celebrated his 73rd Birthday. Looking as fit as ever, I asked him to share his secrets of youth and health. He replied:

Inline skating and Cod Liver Oil.

Although I suspect he has retired his roller blades, Uncle Marvin takes a tablespoon of Norwegian cod liver oil daily and attributes his nearly un-interrupted health to this routine.

After researching a bit more about cod liver oil, I tried to emulate Uncle Marvin’s discipline and take a spoonful daily, hoping it would truly be the fountain of youth. The problem is, however, that cod liver oil tastes about as delicious as it sounds. Worse, its flavor has a tendency to linger, making everyday social situations potentially embarrassing.

That’s why I was excited to find this at Whole Health:

It’s NOW Foods Lemon-Smoothie flavored cod-liver oil. Sure, Lemon Smoothie sounds delicious but I must admit I’m not entirely ready to chug a cupful of the stuff right away. It is, nonetheless, not unbearable. Most importantly, it’s full of all the good stuff to keep my heart, joints, skin, and vision in good repair, so that on my 73rd Birthday, I’ll look as healthy as Uncle Marvin