Archive | September, 2010

Chilli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Broccoli…oops, sorry.

22 Sep

So clearly I haven’t quite gotten myself onto a regular blogging schedule, but give me a little slack for the next couple of days *cough*weeks*cough* and I will definitely get back on track.

Yesterday (see, at least I didn’t say ‘last week’), I got home after work and all I could think of was:

a) I was absolutely exhausted

b) I could eat my arm

So I set my keys and my purse down and immediately went foraging for something that would enable me to keep my arm intact.

I came up with some of Todd’s homemade chilli (I’ll post that recipe next time he – or I – make it) with some melted mozzarella and shredded cabbage on a sundried tomato focaccia.  Random, eh?  heh, I said eh…  :)

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It might have been random, but it was delicious and exactly what I needed.  Clearly my lunch must have been a little light on the protein and fat.

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Look at those gorgeous hunks of sundried tomato!!!  …just wish that the focaccia was made with whole grains…

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Once I finished eating, I realized that I had the whole evening ahead of me and no plans.  A night with absolutely no plans?  Sign me up!

After tidying up the house, getting my clothes and lunch together for the next day (yep, I do that all the night before – I like to be very organized in the morning), and pushing away my exhaustion, I decided to take another look in the fridge.

No, I wasn’t hungry already, I wanted to see if inspiration hit.  And it did.  The weekend before I had gone to the market and picked up a cauliflower for a mere $1.69.  It was gorgeous.  Oh, and it was 5 pounds!!!  The vendor actually joked around with me that he should charge me by the pound for it.  Ummm, no.

I had been hacking chunks off of it for lunch for the past several days, but hadn’t even made a dent.  Knowing that I would eventually have to eat again (I’d like to call my chilli sandwich, my after school work snack), I decided to make two cauliflower dishes.  Also knowing that I do love leftovers…

First up,

Mashed Cauliflower

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Start with a head of cauliflower (in my case, it was most of a head of cauliflower)

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Chop it into floret size, to enable it to cook faster.  Add a cup of chicken stock, 2 cloves of garlic and a 1/4 tsp to a 1/2 tsp of salt.  Cook until the cauliflower is tender.

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Add in 1/2 cup of milk, 1 tbsp of butter.  And that’s it!!!!  Mash it with a potato masher, or put in the food processor (I use this) and puree it to your preferred density.  That’s right, I brought out the high school words… ‘density’  :)

Doesn’t it look delicious?  And completely like mashed potatoes?

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I’ll list the ingredients at the end of the post…

While I was making the mashed cauliflower, I was also making one of my other favourite dishes.  This doesn’t have a name, I just add whatever I have on hand, but it always starts with an eggplant, cubed and then steamed.

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This time I added in some broccoli and cauliflower (because I had soooo much), which I steamed separately.

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Speaking of steam…

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And added in some chopped garlic…

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And some soy sauce.  I like the Kikkoman for the flavour and VH for the saltiness, so I use a little of both.  I also don’t drain the water in the bottom of the pan and between that, a couple of tablespoons of this,

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And about a tablespoon of this,

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(mixed together with a little water)

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You end up with a delicious and simple sauce.  The amount of soy sauce you use to the amount of vegetables you have, doesn’t leave it salty – just tasty.

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mmmmmmm…

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Oh wait – I forgot one last thing!!!!

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Along with having to use  the cauliflower up, I also had some sprouts in the fridge that I’d already cooked and wanted to use.

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Yum!!!

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And altogether, for my actual dinner.

Kind of looks like beef stirfry and potatoes… weird…

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Tonight I decided to keep it VERY simple…

*Actually I fell down a few stairs today as I was leaving my house in the rain and really jarred my back (major back issues here), and had no desire to spend a second in the kitchen that I didn’t have to*

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Part of a multigrain baguette with pizza sauce, mushrooms, green peppers, spinach, garlic, oregano and cheeesssseeee….

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Under the broiler and then slapped together submarine style… Mmmmm…

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Ooey Gooey… and words could not describe this….  sdkflkshlskd   see?

I added Frank’s Buffalo sauce to half and it was so good that I added it to the other half too.  And enjoyed every single bite.

Tomorrow will likely be some sort of concoction as I need to use up alll sorts of leftovers.  I’m not one to throw anything out.  When in doubt, freeze it.  You can freeze just about anything (although you might need to use it in a different manner).

Have a great night!

Mashed Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower
2 garlic cloves
1 cup of chicken stock
1/4 –1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp butter

Cut the cauliflower into florets.  Place in large pot with the stock, garlic and salt.  Cook until cauliflower is tender.  Add milk and butter.  Use a masher or food processor to puree cauliflower mixture to desired texture.  Awesome with a little bit of black pepper cracked on top.

Easy!  Enjoy!

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Looks can be deceiving…

19 Sep

I seem to have gotten a little bit behind in my posting…  So excuse me as I try to reach back into the past…

Still eating (and loving!) the Butternut Squash and Chickpea Soup that I made a few days ago…

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I’m alsoloving leftovers.  I don’t know how people don’t like eating leftovers.  Todd and I always intentionally make extra food so that we’ll have lots for future meals!

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This mess of items is leftover grilled vegetables, leftover grilled chicken, and leftover linguini with cracked pepper right in the pasta (which was very yummy and you could really taste the pepper!!!).

 

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I also added in a *bunch* of these,

 

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And tossed it all with a couple tablespoons of this.

 

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Not my favourite Sweet Chili Sauce, but not bad.  I really find that each SC Sauce that I try is so much different from one another.  I guess the recipe must be *quite* subjective.

I warmed up the leftover mixture and put it in a flat out wrap (love these!).  I then made some easy coleslaw for the side.  I switched the Hellman’s for Trader Joe’s garlic mustard aioli and it was awesome.  It really gave it a nice tangyness.

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Ready to eat.

 

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Each end actually looked like a completely different wrap…

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Looks absolutely delicious…. 

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Except that it wasn’t  :( 

Absolute fail.

I’m generally VERY good at throwing together a myriad of flavours and enjoying the uniqueness.  This was definitely unique – as in, ewww.  I think it was the combination of the flat out wrap flavour with the leftover mix.  I opened the wrap and ate the inside and it was good. I’m wondering if the wrap might have been a little old…  I’ve never found that the flavour of the flat out has interfered with the whole dish before before.  I ate most of the inside and said goodbye to the wrap.

I can’t say that the coleslaw made up for the ditched wrap, but it really was phenomenal and I will definitely be making that dressing again.

I guess you have to have a fail every once in a while in order to appreciate the successes!

I wouldn’t Trade Joe for the world…

15 Sep

Today I had a fantastic day at work.  It went quickly, I got a lot done and there were very few mistakes made by other people that affected me.  That’s sounds like a successful day to me!

I started this morning off with a Green Monster and a piece of 12 grain with an egg puck.  This (or oats instead of the toast and egg) is my usual go-to breakfast, and has been for about 6 months – ever since I tried my first Green Monster (which I make my way and will share my recipe soon – unfortunately I ran out of spinach today :(  booooo!)!

However, I’ve noticed with the last couple of mornings, I’ve been coughing (blech, asthma) as I’m walking from my car through the parking lot into work.  The cold air does make me cough, but it’s only cool right now.  I’m wondering if it’s the combination of the cool air and the coldness of the Green Monster (which I drink in my car, on the way to work) that’s irritating my asthma and causing me to cough…  Oh how I hope I’m wrong…  What will I do all winter???

Onto happier thoughts, look at what I had for lunch…

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It’s butternut squash and chickpea (yes, chickpea) soup and it was absolutely delicious!  The recipe is actually at the end of this post.  I hope you try it out – it’s soooo easy, not to mention hearty and tasty!

Dinner tonight was brought to you by Trader Joe’s.  But, wait a minute… don’t I live in Canada?  Trader Joe’s isn’t in Canada!  …and what a shame that is…  I actually live in Windsor, Ontario, which is right on the border with Detroit, Michigan.  So every 8 weeks or so, we make the 50 minute (including border crossing time…it could be muuuuch longer) trek to Northville, MI and enjoy every minute.  I just wish that this particular Trader Joe’s was larger.

Dinner was chicken breast marinated in Trader Joe’s Soyaki, grilled vegetables (thanks for grilling Todd!) with a mix of red onions, red peppers, broccoli and button mushrooms.  On the side is my favourite grain mix – Trader Joe’s brown rice, black barley and daikon radish seed medley.  It’s amazing and if you haven’t tried it – you should!

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Doesn’t that look delicious?  After the picture I put Trader Joe’s (it’s a little bit of a love affair…) mustard garlic aioli on the chicken.  Mmmmm.

I have to wonder why people mainly eat processed stuff out of boxes (of course, in moderation, anything is fine…), when real food not only looks this delicious, but tastes even better.

And speaking of real food,

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Soup

This soup is tasty and filling, being as it has a protein punch!  It starts out with the star of the show, a 2-3 pound butternut squash.  Ignore my fuelbelt bottles in the pic – that’s where I let them dry out after a run.

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This baby was crazy hard to peel, I felt like I had won a small war once I was done.  *I swear the rest is easy!*

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All chopped into cubes…or cube-like shapes :)

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Next up, chop a small onion.  Grab a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat and cook the onion until translucent and soft.

I should have written “take a picture” into the instructions.  Oops.

In the same pot, once the onions are ready, put in your stock and the squash that you’ve cubed.

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Pretty, no?

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Next up, add the chickpeas to the mix, but be sure that you rinse your chickpeas really well.  If you don’t, it’s not only kind of gross, but it also changes the taste of the chickpeas.

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Everyone in the pool!  Simmer the soup for about 20 minutes, or until the squash is tender.  Once the squash is tender, take the pot off the stove and allow the soup to cool.

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The soup is cool enough for your blender when there’s no steam coming from it.  I actually broke the glass part of my blender this past winter, because my soup was too hot (and I *thought* it was cooled!), great way to ruin your blender, your day, and a batch of soup.

This is actually when I add in Greek yogurt.  I’m sure you could add it in when the soup is hot, but it kind of creeps me out adding the cold dairy yogurt to the hot soup….and so I wait until it is cool.

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I use about a cup (a cup of precious Greek yogurt that I can’t find ANYWHERE in my city!!!).

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Mix it all together and pour into your blender (in batches of course, no one has a blender that big! …Wow, that size of blender would be loud…).  Blend, pulse or puree to your desired smoothness.

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I like mine pureed until it is completely smooth.  Yum.  Hope you like it!

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Ingredients

1 butternut squash (peeled and seeded), 2-3 pounds
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 small onion
6 cups of chicken stock
1 19oz can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
1 cup Greek yogurt
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

After peeling and seeding your butternut squash, but it into 1 inch chunks.  In a large pot, melt the butter, and cook your onions over medium heat until they are softened and translucent.  Add your stock, chickpeas and squash to the pot and bring to a simmer.  Cook until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes.  Take the pot off the burner and allow to cool.  Leave until you see no steam when you stir the pot.  Add in the Greek yogurt and stir.  Pour into blender and puree until at your desired smoothness.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!!!

The moral of the story is EASY!!!

14 Sep

*I had planned to talk about my running issues tonight, but I had one heck of a hard workout today and I’m exhausted!!!  So you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to read those insightful words :)  I’ll also be sharing an ammmazing butternut squash soup recipe*

I got up, I ate breakfast, I went to work, I ate lunch, I finished work and went to the gym.  It was a whirlwind and I don’t know that I even remember what happened!  Three cheers for productivity!

So let’s start from where I can remember…

When I got back from the gym, all I could think of was, EASY.  You can’t get much easier than pre-grated coleslaw!

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I mixed  about 2 cups of this with a Tbsp of 1/2 fat Hellman’s, 2 Tbsp of white vinegar, 1/2 tsp of apple cider vinegar, a shake of garlic powder, a few turns of cracked black and a couple shakes of salt.  Yum.  Look at that, doesn’t it look fresh, crisp and tasty?? Well, it was.

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To go along with the easy theme (as my body was telling me it was time to start replenishing some calories stat!), I cut a couple slices off of this loaf we picked up on the weekend.  This also makes up for the bread I forgot on the counter this morning…(boy was I disappointed when I opened up my lunch).

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This is a treat for us, and get it once every couple of months to satisfy that craving.  Just check out those jalapenos!

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And to make the meal complete – 3 zucchini roasted carrot patties.  I made these last night, and what’s easier than leftovers that just need to be reheated!?  I ate these with the side of ketchup you see – they’re also good with sour cream, Greek yogurt or even a little bit of white vinegar.  The recipe is at the end of this post.

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After eating, cleaning up and getting my things all ready for tomorrow morning (I like to be organized when I wake up), I realized that I was feeling more than just peckish, I was downright hungry again.  I wasn’t sure what I felt like (as I’m not really a dessert person – the horror!), but when I saw the container of cereal in the pantry, I knew I’d found a winner!

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Todd and I make our own cereal mix.  We use 3/4 of a bag of puffed millet, 3/4 of a bag of puffed kamut and a box of Nature’s Path Multigrain flakes.  It’s the perfect mix of flavours and crunch, without all of the unnecessary ingredients.  This way I can add my own, better ingredients.  Today was PB, walnut pieces, dried cherries and kefir.  Yum.

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This was perfect, not overly filling, but satisfying.  And now as I sit here typing and watching Iron Chef America, I have to think: how did I stay away from the blogosphere for so long???  But perhaps the better reason is why…  But, I digress…

Hope you had a great day today and that your day is even better tomorrow!

Zucchini and Roasted Carrot Patties

This recipe is very easy and absolutely delicious!

Before you begin, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.  First up, grate approximately 2 cups of zucchini.  I saw yellow zucchini at the market the other day and couldn’t resist its’ beautiful colour.

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See, isn’t it pretty?  Kinda looks like cheese actually…

IMG_3561Next up, grate or mash (depending if the peel has been left on them) 3/4 cup of roasted carrots.  This is a great way to use up those leftover carrots that you roasted earlier in the week.  True story ;)  IMG_3566

Add approximately 1/3 cup of your favourite cottage cheese.  If there is a lot of liquid in the cottage cheese, throw it in a colander and let the excess drain out.

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Toss these ingredients into a bowl, along with 1/2 cup of whole wheat bread crumbs, 1 large egg and one egg white.  I also added ~1/4 cup of grated parmesan – just the stuff that you shake out of the container because that was what I had on hand – I’m sure actual parm would have made this even better!

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Mix it altogether to incorporate everything and to make sure that the egg and cottage cheese coat everything.

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After I mixed everything together, I said a big fat “Duh!” out loud and realized that I had forgotten to put the seasoning in!  I added 1/2 Tbsp oregano, 1 Tbsp chopped garlic and salt and pepper to taste. *This was actually a little more oregano than the 1/2 Tbsp I intended… I inadvertently opened the big end of the spice container.  Good thing I love oregano!*

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Now allllll of the ingredients are accounted for and you’re ready to form your patties!

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I find that using parchment paper crisps up and prevents sticking for just about everything in the oven.  Unfortunately this was the end of the roll and just didn’t want to cooperate.  Not to worry, I showed it who was boss ;)

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You should end up with 6-8 patties, depending on how big you make them.IMG_3585

Look at the pretty colours!

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I added a couple shakes of parm and a couple turns of cracked black before I put them in the oven.

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And twenty minutes later, Voila!!!

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Mmmmm, crispy on the outside,

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And soft and fluffy on the inside…

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Zucchini and Roasted Carrot Patties

2 cups grated zucchini
3/4 cup grated/mashed roasted carrots
1/3 cup cottage cheese (drain if need be)
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 large egg
1 egg white
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/2 Tbsp oregano
1 Tbsp chopped garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
  • In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. *talk about easy…*
  • Form the mixture into 6 – 8 patties.  Place patties on a baking sheet that is sprayed with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper.
  • Sprinkle small amount of parmesan and black pepper on top of patties if desired.
  • Place in oven and flip after 10 – 12 minutes.
  • Place back into the oven for another 6 – 8 minutes.

Enjoy!!!

Aaaaannnnd she’s back!!!

13 Sep

So I was gone for the summer.  What have I been doing?

Well, I went to the zoo with two of my bestest friends in the whole wide world and got to see this guy,

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And a whole bunch of these guys.  The Toronto zoo actually redesigned their Polar Bear Exhibit not too long ago and the way it’s set up, you feel like you could walk right over to them – the fences were kind of hidden.

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I also spent a lot of time with my garden.  Between planting it,

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In this location,

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And then digging the entire thing up to put our new shed in this location (and replanting the garden at the back fence).

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And then destroying the old one

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But of course, even though there was lots of work, there was also lots of play.  Like when we went here,

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and here

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And the cherry on top, watching two great friends devote themselves to one another for life.

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So it’s been a great summer!!!  I’ve been busy, but I’ve been living and enjoying my life.  This summer has taught me a lot about what’s important to me.  My blog is definitely important.  Seeing as I’ve been blogging for *gasp* 8 years, my voice and what I’ve wanted to say has changed throughout that time.  What started as a way to vent, turned into a creative outlet.  I’ve gone from talking about my day to day life, to food journaling, to realizing that my actual voice is a combination of this.  I won’t be journaling everything I eat from now on, I’ll be more selective in what I show (simply because I tend to eat the same things for breakfast and lunch is inevitably some variation of dinner the night before = boring).  I’m also going to talk more about what goes on in my daily life (although I really don’t do very exciting things) and the quirks and blunders that I see in life.  I also hope to talk more about my running (and my struggles with running!) and incorporate more recipes into my posts – because I’m not sure why I haven’t been sharing them up until now – lol!

So what to do when you decide to make your grand re-entrance (to your 1 reader you have left?) to the blogosphere?  Well, you change your theme and do your best to make your amateur blog look somewhat decent!  If my html skills, or my pocketbook, were better, it would be better too, but alas, I’m pleased with what I have right now.

So when it’s a beautiful day and you need to do some updating on your blog, you bring the laptop outside.  Then you drag the little tv out and watch the football game as you edit.  Then things get even better when your husband pours you each a glass of wine and sits down beside you  :)

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Also in attendance was Miss Moxie, who was basking in the sun.

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She was basking by our back deck, which we built after we tore our old shed down this summer.  We lose the sun on the deck attached to our house fairly early in the day/evening, so we built this to have a little bit more sunshine time.

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Which is exactly what we did.  With the help of a big, fat extension cord, we continued with our escapades.  I actually got a ton done, and Todd was trying to do re-con for our trip to Vegas in December.  And yes, Todd is eating with our dog sitting on his lap…I swear this is not the norm…lol!

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Speaking of eats, Todd made some brown jasmine rice, so I tossed about 2/3 of a cup with some iceberg lettuce, feta cheese, and soy sauce.  So simple, so delicious.

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It’s amazing how pictures using natural light are soooooo much better!

Blogging again feels good!!!!  …it also took forever for me to compose this.

I’ll be back tomorrow – with a yuuummmmy recipe with zucchini and roasted carrots and a chat abou howt the summer ruined my running confidence (but how I’m much better now!).

Until then, everyone get a great night sleep!

It is time…

12 Sep

I’ve been working on my layout, and am finally *mostly* happy with what I see.  This means that tomorrow will mark by return to the blogosphere! …I promise!!!