Monday, May 31, 2010

Supper worthy Salad

I could not get the olive oil taste out of my mouth last night! I tried cleaning my teeth, eating ginger,drinking water, drinking almond milk....nothing worked! I was very glad on waking to be free of it finally.

I had planned to bike to work as today is the first day of Bike to Work week But it was absolutely disgusting outside with more of the rain we've been having for what seems like weeks. I decided today was not the day and I committed to ride on Tuesday instead. Consequently, after waking and making my decision, I dozed in bed for a little too long and was running late so banana and squeeze pak almond butter were tossed in my bag to be consumed at my desk.

Leftover chorizo pasta
I shared this with Ms MJ in the staff room and we were very impressed that it was impossible to tell that the pasta was of the rice variety vs wheat as it tasted so good. Cooking my own food is always a pleasure but sharing it with those I love is the icing on the cake (EVOO free cake, that is)


crispy roasted seaweed sheets

The apple was a Gala that I bought on Saturday but it was not very sweet and I think I will revert back to my trusty Fuji's next time. A few weeks ago I purchased a giant Fuji apple that was probably 3-4 x normal size. They still had some in the store this weekend so I think I'll get another next time.
Another of my favourite snacks is the roasted seaweed sheets. They come in a small 5g package and the sheets are very thin and crisped up with olive oil and salt. They are really satisfying and cost about 50cents per pack. The big downside is the packaging though, there is way too much so I try to limit how often I eat this snack.
For more information click here . Seaweed contains Iodine which is essential in any diet. It is added to table salt for this reason but with the increase in the use of natural sea salts and the like, some people may not be getting enough iodine so the seaweed is great for that. Personally I just like that it's crispy and salty...yum.


My office mate had a bag of chocolate covered blueberries and acai berries. She had me at chocolate covered.....I was going to be good and just have a couple but they were so good and so moreish and it was the dangerous time of the day (3pm) where willpower is at it's lowest and the physical need for chocolate is at it's highest. we both kept going back to the bag and I contemplated throwing it down the back of the desk but I knew that would not be enough. We caved and decided to finish the bag.

BBQ Salmon salad

After a solid lunch and just a couple too many chocolate covered berries, dinner was planned to be light. I constructed a dinner-worthy salad of spinach, black olives, capers, avocado and shelled edamame. The main player of the salad was some barbecued salmon I bought last night. I made a quick vinaigrette from Clean Eating magazine which was exceptionally good and I think was maybe my favourite part:
Dijon Vinaigrette
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
3/4 cup EV olive oil ( I had just enough left)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp sea salt

I put it all in a tupperware container and shook it up to emulsify. Saves on washing up as no need for a whisk and then you can store it in the same container.

I used half the salmon and will recreate the salad for tomorrows lunch. I noticed that my meals have been heavy on the meat (steak, chorizo, chicken) lately so I'm aiming to go lighter with fish and vegetarian food for the next couple of days.
I have attempted to go vegetarian for a few weeks before but found it challenging seeing as I can't eat eggs or dairy but I may try it again soon, maybe for a week or so.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cooking Confessional

I had finally got all the ingredients I need to make my favourite smoothie from the Thrive Diet by Brendan Brazier. Brendan is a professional IronMan Triathlete who regularly logs 40 hours of exercise a week. He is completely vegan yet still manages to be at the top of his field. I highly recommend the book as it talks a lot about stress management and the importance of the right type of diet as well as how he manages to get all his nutrients from a raw diet that is meat, dairy, wheat, sugar, gluten, soy and corn free. Amazing. I could not follow this eating style 100% and Brendan does not try to impose that on readers as he knows it quite extreme but there are lots of recipes in the book and the smoothies are particularly good.

Chocolate Almond Smoothie
1 banana
2 fresh dates
1 cup cold water
1 cup ice
2 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp hemp protein
1 tbsp ground flax seed
1 tbsp cocoa powder or carob powder

Throw it all in the blender. It's so thick and chocolaty, the perfect way to start the day and also a great for post workout refuelling.

I had it for breakfast in preparation of my cardio kickboxing class I was attending at 11am. Thank goodness I was fuelled. The class involved, among other things, 100 sit ups in a row and doing squats while carrying someone on your back. When I got home I was starving and was very happy to have leftovers from last night ready for instantaneous hunger zapping. I was so hungry, I didn't even heat it up but it still tasted good.

I met a friend for tea and talking at 3pm and we chose Brazza on Lonsdale as it's a nice cosy place AND they sell delicious gelato. They serve loads of dairy free ones which makes me happy and I chose my usual 2 scoop combo; 1 scoop mango, 1 scoop Belgian Dark Chocolate. Hard to believe there is no dairy in these, they are very decadent and indulgent.

Pasta hotpot with Chorizo

Once I got home, I started to make what would be my meal for the evening as well as tomorrows lunch. I did not follow a recipe but knew it would taste good purely because it contained Chorizo. I cooked some rice pasta and while that bubbled away, I browned the chorizo, added chopped red pepper, garlic, a tin of chopped tomatoes, broccoli and sundried tomatoes. I added the cooked pasta and then mixed in some parsley. I served myself a portion and sprinkled with rice parmesan and liberally applied hot sauce. There were plenty of leftover so I texted Ms MJ to tell her I would bring lunch to work for both of us tomorrow. I have a bottle of hot sauce stashed at work for this kind of occasion.

After eating, I had enough time to make something to take to my book club meeting later on. I had a delicious brownie recipe from another friend and they were the most decadent rich brownies I've ever had so I got the oven preheated and assembled all the ingredients.
you can find the recipe here I had all the dry ingredients mixed and had added the eggs and vanilla essence (tip: always use the real stuff, artificial vanilla is not even comparable). The only thing left to add was the vegetable oil. No wonder these are really decadent brownies, there is a LOT of oil in them! I reached into the cupboard to find I only had about 1/3 of the oil I needed. Arggghhh...what to do? I had no time to go and buy more and the rest of the ingredients would be ruined if I left them til tomorrow as the eggs were already mixed in. So....I pondered over whether to use the other oil I had...Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO for short). I knew it had a pretty strong taste and was not likely to be suitable but at this point the brownies were destined for the garbage before they got anywhere near the oven so I had nothing to lose and maybe the vast amount of chocolate and sugar in the recipe would cover up the distinct EVOO taste. So I put it in, finished mixing and poured the batter. It looked really good but I could definitely smell the EVOO. Maybe the cooking process would eliminate it.
They finished cooking and looked divine. As they cooled, I cut out a gooey, decadent mini square for sampling. Mmmm, chocolately goodness....and a very clear bitter olive oil after taste. Dammit! 'Twas clearly not meant to be although brownies were apparently in my destiny as the book club hostess, Ms KC, has made brownies too! I did not mention my failed attempt but did tell the group that I had a funny story that I would be posting to my blog tonight. This is it. I'm sure you will all remind me for a long time to come...maybe as long as the olive oil after taste is going to last in my mouth.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Hooray for Hummus

I generally do not plan my weekend meals as I have time during the days to decide what I want to cook and can go out and buy what I need during the day. Today I actually did do some advance planning but still left some details open.

Overnight oatmeal
Of course, I had to plan this meal as it was started on Friday night. I again used almond milk for the soaking liquid. I tried to determine how the oatmeal is different from the cooked variety and the best way I can describe it is that it's more like rice pudding in texture. It's smooth and mushy but still has some structure. I added dates and cinnamon but I think next time I make it I will soak the dates in with the oatmeal overnight and see how that turns out.

Mushroom and barley soup
I prefer to make my own soups but I saw this at Real Canadian Superstore and it caught my eye. I heated it up and ate it with some crackers. It was good but I could tell it was from a can. Homemade soup is always better but today I did not have time between the gym and my other errands for the day.

Masala Hummus and crackers
I love hummus. I love curry. Curry flavoured hummus=genius? I saw this also at Real Canadian Superstore and wondered if it would indeed taste so right or so wrong. It was so so right...why did I not think of it myself?

peppercorn steak with balsamic caramelised onions and oven baked baby potatoes

I had taken some steaks (courtesy of Mr and Mrs J) out of the freezer on Friday night but had not decided what to make with them until my guest, Ms K, arrived at 7pm. I began to list off some possible recipes but got no further than the first one suggested. I have made it before and I was secretly hoping she would choose it, which she did. Great minds (or should that be palates) think alike. We sipped wine and chatted as I stirred the onions and Ms K crushed peppercorns for the steak in my pestle and mortar. I served the dish with wilted garlic spinach. Simple, tasty and bright green.

Suitably stuffed, we retired across the room (a distance of about 6 feet) to the couch to continue our evening over a box of mint thins for dessert. They were not After Eights but pretty similar except the chocolate was a little thicker. No problem there.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sushi Surprise

After Thursday night's overindulgence, I needed Fridays food to be a bit healthier.

Apple and green tea with honey

A small breakfast, likely because I was still going on calories from Thurs night. I was still thinking about the chocolate fountain too.


Several of my co-workers headed out to the nearby sushi restaurant, Genji, for a quick lunch. I was about to leave the building when I was called upon to assist as a first aider as someone playing badminton had twisted their ankle. After ice and a tensor bandage were applied, I hoped I still had time to eat with my co-workers who had gone ahead not knowing where on earth I had disappeared to. I raced over there and luckily, I know what I want to eat so don't have to waste time deliberating over a menu. I chose miso soup, avocado roll and split an order of tuna and salmon sashimi with Ms MJ. It was all good, it always is there. Their avocado is always perfect and my co-workers and I determined that they were particularly buttery. I wonder who their supplier is? another co-worker ordered the bento box and each day there is a "surprise" component. Today it was hard to tell what it might be. It looked somewhat like a deep fried sea urchin about the size of a ping pong ball. Ms MJ was brave enough to try and it and passed some on to me too. It turned out to be a deep fried ball of mashed sweet potato and yam. It was really rather good and I would order it again. I have never even noticed it on the menu before so I was really happy to have tasted something new.

Leftover chicken curry (yes, again)
I went for a workout after work. It was a stellar workout and I sweated out at least half of Thursdays list in the process. I didn't get home 'til close to 8pm and was very happy to know that I had one more portion of my curry left that I heated up right away and tucked into. I know I have eaten this meal 3 times in the past 3 days but it was really delicious AND I hate wasting food. I rarely cook a meal that just serves one.It's so much more satisfying to make a big pan full of food, isn't it? I lead a very busy life and so leftovers are essential and they always prompt curiosity and questions from those around me and I love talking about food so that works for me!

Today I have felt very inspired as a result of the event I was at last night. Matt Hill and Stephanie Tait were guest speakers at the event. They are the founders of They ran all around North America for one year, covering 11000 miles which means they ran a marathon every day for a year. Yes you read that correctly. They are from Vancouver and did a lot of their run training in North Van. I was lucky enough to chat with them before their presentation and WOW were they inspiring! The goal of their mammoth task was to raise awareness about being environmentally kind and helping our abused planet. I am inspired to do something big, bigger than I am, but I am not sure what yet. I think I will start small for now, I already do a lot of green things but I could do better and will. This weekend I am starting my vegetable garden and I'll ponder about bigger things as I dig and sow my seeds.

Culinary Confessional

There are two posts today as I didn't manage to get Thursdays post up in time.
This is Thursdays recap:
overnight no cook oatmeal
Technically it started on Weds night as I prepared my breakfast. Ms MJ had recently discovered that you can prepare oatmeal by soaking it overnight in milk or water and then in the morning it's ready to go, no cooking required. I was keen to try it and used almond milk as my soaking liquid. It all went to plan and when I checked on it in the morning, it looked well and truly ready. I added some chopped dates, chopped apple, cinnamon and honey. MMmmmMMM it was exceptionally good, I'm definitely hooked and really like the quickness of it and having less washing up to do.

Leftover chicken curry
I was on a course and as predicted sandwiches were the lunch provided so I was happy to have bought my own leftover curry. I located a man who had access to a microwave and hey presto...lunch is served.

The rest of the day is all lumped into one list because, well, that's the best representation of how it occurred. I finished the training course, went home for about 30 mins, back to work for an evening event and then to the Raven pub after and then stayed over at Ms P's house overnight. I'm not going to include the amounts of each food. I contemplated not posting anything for this day but I committed to write about what I ate and...yes, I ate all this:

baked beans
soy cheese
marshmallows covered in chocolate from chocolate fountain
pineapple covered in chocolate from chocolate fountain (a surprisingly delicious combo)
mini cupcake (from Cupcakes)
edamame (steamed soy bean pods)
mini ribs
red wine
ginger lemon cookies
dark mint chocolate

And that was Thursday. It was a lot of fun but Friday needs to look a leetle bit different.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Curry Craving

Last night I was so tired and went to bed earlier than I had in weeks. I was hoping it was just tiredness and not illness but on waking I was even groggier but as always, I commit to get up, shower and dress to see how I really feel. I did all that and still felt groggy. My head was heavy and my eyelids like lead. Was this payback from all the wheat I ate/drank on Monday? If so, I only had myself to blame. I suspected however, it was just fatigue post-race so the plan today was to eat for energy. That means no processed foods, high quality protein and lots of fluid.


Instant oatmeal
Due to the aforementioned grogginess, I was running late again and did not eat breakfast at home. I have a stash of instant oatmeal packets at work for this occasion and a quick boil of the kettle provided my morning sustenance and my all important green tea hit. Technically I fell at the first hurdle with my goals today by eating the instant oatmeal as it is somewhat processed but it's not got additives or stuff added and it's still inherently a grain, just rolled out a lot.

Tuna rice mix
I threw together an assortment of things for lunch. Brown rice, avocado, canned tuna and hot sauce. I actually love this lunch but usually I make it with salmon for the calcium hit seeing as I don't do dairy. It's clean, tasty, very balanced with carbs, fat and protein and most importantly.....there's hot sauce!
My hot sauce of choice is Franks Red Hot although I haven't tried many others really but I'm totally satisfied with Franks so why look elsewhere?
My friend and co-worker Ms MJ had a huge bag of snap peas with her so I tucked into them too and as we chatted I accumulated quite a sizeable pile of snap pea pod ends and then proceeded to throw them one by one across the room into the huge garbage can hoping I did not accidentally spear anyone who walked in mid throw.

Chicken Curry on Baked Potato
I had defrosted some chicken thighs overnight and had been thinking all day which direction I wanted to go in. I opted for a curry seeing as the weather has been distinctly un-Spring like and more November like so comfort food was where my craving was at. I knew I had all the ingredients I needed except a curry paste to base my sauce on so I stopped at the grocery store on the way home. Who knew curry paste was so expensive? This one set me back $45. Well, technically the paste was only a few dollars but I walked out of the store $45 poorer but with a bag jammed full of other food purchases including spicy chorizo sausage, Yogi chai rooibos teabags, cocoa powder and canned artichoke hearts...all staples in the cupboard Chez Sally.
I was very happy to discover that the store now stocks organic crystallised ginger in the bulk section. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this stuff and previously had only found one pre-packaged version which, while very tasty, was quite pricey at $3.99 for a 3.5 oz bag. The bulk ginger was the same price but for 5.5oz which basically means I will be eating more of it from now on.
Back at home I set to work on dinner by first putting my baked potato in the microwave for 10 minutes to pre-soften before putting it in the oven to crisp and fluff up. It's not quite the same as cooking a potato slowly and at low heat for hours but I did want to eat my curry before midnight.
As that was in progress I chopped the onion into wedges and fried them in my dutch oven briefly before adding the quartered (boneless and skinless) chicken thighs.Most people use chicken breast for curry but I prefer the richer flavour and texture of the thighs. I put the curry paste in as well as some tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, frozen peas and carrots and a mini can of coconut cream. it all simmered away until ready to serve when I added some spinach and fresh cilantro leaves as well as a little bit of spelt flour to thicken the sauce a touch. The curry was a success although not spicy in the slightest but that didn't bother me today, I just needed big flavour and I got it.
As usual I made a big batch and so have enough for lunch tomorrow and another spare portion too. I might not need it as I am on a course all day where lunch is provided but that usually means sandwiches with cheese and mayo and of course, bread. My triad of allergies/ intolerances all rolled into one delicious, mouthwatering temptation on a platter. They key to success here? Assume there will be nothing I can eat and take my own food. And hope they have a microwave. My curry was good but I have no desire to eat it cold.

In case you were wondering, I did consume some chocolate too. MJ shared her last square of Lindt Dark Orange Intense with me mid morning. She is a true friend. I also had the last few chocolate covered pomegranate seeds from yesterday although in order to get them, I had to crawl under my desk, move my desk drawer unit out and stick my hand through a very small hole for cables to get the packet. My office mate accidentally threw the packet down the back of the desk yesterday in her attempt to not eat the whole lot mindlessly as she worked. Unfortunately she misjudged the throw and assumed they were gone forever. With some verbal direction from above the desk, I was able to retrieve the packet and pull it through the hole and we both tucked into the salvaged treasure.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Berry bonanza

The day after the race and back to normal eating. It felt like Monday all day due to the long weekend and although it threw me off a bit, I soon got over that. It's always a nice feeling to know you are a little bit closer to the weekend and all the possibilities that holds.

I haven't been proper food shopping all week, just going meal to meal, so today's food was a bit of a mish mash of whatever was in the house.

I was running a little late for work as I was pretty tired on waking due to yesterday's exertion and adrenalin high so breakfast was quick. I was going to have my usual of banana and nut butter but I thought of my blog and how many times that meal is on there and I felt a little boring so I whipped out my blender and made a very random smoothie of strawberries, banana, frozen blueberries picked last summer, almond milk, almond butter, cocoa powder and hemp protein (it's about the only protein powder that I can stand the taste of-i.e. it has no taste). One of my favourite smoothies is from the Thrive Diet book and it's chocolate almond. When I next make it, I'll post the recipe. Today I made a poor imitation of it as I did not have all the ingredients and the strawberries really needed using up. The resultant smoothie, although healthy and nutritionally balanced was not the most inspiring way to start the day. But, I'm happy I used up my strawberries and got lots of antioxidants from my concoction.

Mid morning snack

Chilled Gala apple with cinnamon peanut butter squeeze pak
I prefer my apples chilled. I also prefer to slice them but did not have a suitable knife to do this so I took a bite and then squeezed the nut butter onto the open flesh and then took another bite. Repeat, repeat, repeat. I ran out of apple before I ran out of the nut butter so just ate it straight out of the squeezy pak for maximum usage and indulgence.


Leftover chicken/cranberries/onion etc from Sunday night
I put it all on a plate at work and put it in the microwave. It was a much larger lunch than usual and so I decided I would have a smaller evening meal as a result. I was mightily impressed with the standard of my leftovers today though and had a good chat with my co-worker, who was also eating lunch, about balsamic vinegar and all it's wonderfulness.

Chocolate fix
I did not have any of my own chocolate on hand today (I'm not counting the cocoa powder in my smoothie as eligible) but as luck would have it, my office mate had purchased some dark chocolate covered pomegranate seeds on her break and placed them within range at exactly 2:30pm when I was starting to experience withdrawal symptoms. The universe really does conspire to make me eat chocolate every day. What can I do but surrender to my fate?

Spinach Salad with tuna, avocado, potato, capers and cranberries
As planned, dinner was light and fast. I got back from my workout at the gym at 7pm and overdue for eating. The cranberries and potatoes were leftover from lunch and the avocado had reached ripeness about 2 mins before I cut it open. This was a good salad, very summery in the hopes of inspiring some equally summery weather.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Triathlon treats

Today was the big finally arrived! 3 months of focused training in the pool, gym, trails and the saddle all came together for an amazing day of fun, fitness and feasting!

Food was extremely integral to the success and subsequent enjoyment of the day. Poor pre-race and during race nutrition can make an event like this hellish and torturous.

My day started with an early rise at 6am in order to eat a large-ish breakfast early enough before the race start time of approx 9am. I went with the oatmeal cooked on the stove with almond milk and I added a chopped banana and some maple syrup for good measure. I also drank some Emergen-C dissolved in water (vitamin supplement) and a cup of green tea with some honey for the caffeine. After that I got dressed and did a final check of all my gear before taking my bike out for a quick spin around the block to check that the tyres hadn't fallen off or the brakes detached spontaneously overnight. They had not.
I then loaded up my bike on the rack and called ahead to MJ to tell her I was en-route to pick her up and would be there at 7:40am. I took with me some gels and some chocolate to snack on just before the race started.
Ms MJ was almost ready when I arrived but had not yet eaten and was debating what to eat pre-race. She opted for low fiber, high carb white bread rolls with almond butter. Good choice!
We headed off to the race to set up our transition zones and get ready. The nerves started to set in when I was changing into my swim gear and they were then calling our heat to start in the pool. Am I ready? Did I train enough? Did I eat enough/too much? Will I ever get out of the pool? I think the caffeine was hitting at this point.
The race went great, the swim was slow as expected but it was soon over and on to the bike portion. I started to feel hungry in lap 1 of 4 which was worrying but I had a gel mixed with water so that helped and I was focused and spurred on by my team of supporters at each turn. The hunger subsided as I headed into the transition zone for T2. I quickly took off my helmet and gloves and downed half a sticky, sickly sweet gel pack. Just enough to get me to the end of the race. It worked. The first 1k was uphill and hard but after that I found my pace and was high-fiving and woo-hooing all the way to the finish line where, along with my loyal supporters, an array of oranges, bananas and bagels awaited my empty stomach and weary body.

I felt really good about my race day preparations that stretched back to two days prior when I started my rest, hydration and balanced eating. I had good energy and finished strong. It could not have gone better....the saying is true "luck favours the prepared".

So now for the good race re-fuelling!
After watching my co-competitors finish and taking an array of victory photos, we got in line for a free massage which was amazing. Jen Turner from Moveo clinic spent a good 20 minutes un-tightening my upper traps and lower back. I didn't know how tight they were until she got to work on me with her magic hands. Afterwards I felt like I hadn't even done any exercise but my stomach was telling a different story and needed more than fruit and bagels.

We got changed and went to The Raven pub in Deep Cove. Always good food and hearty portions. And Beer.

Yam fries were a given but what to have with them? I opted for a sandwich which jumped off the page at me: chicken breast fillet, bacon, avocado, salad and salsa on sourdough. That's exactly what I need! I ordered it without mayo but with a beer to start. Post race celebrations, debriefing and minute by minute accounts ensued as we waited patiently for our well deserved food. The sandwich was a perfect accompaniment to the Yam fries and the sourdough was doorstep style...they must have know what we had been doing, either that or we looked in need of a good feeding.

I thought I would not need to eat anything else for the rest of the day but lo and behold hunger struck around 5:30 so I polished off the final leftovers of the mushroom ragu and tucked into a box of chocolate cookies with Ms K who popped over as she was in the area. Tomorrow I will have to get back on track with reducing my wheat content or I'll feel groggy but today was worth it. Nothing better than a post race ice cold beer with friends.

I'm already thinking about my next tri, there is one in 2 months time so I can just piggyback off my current training and hopefully improve my swim time, which leaves a lot to be desired.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pre-race pig out

Tomorrow I am competing in the North shore Spring Triathlon. Therefore eating today had a specific purpose...fuel me through a good, fast race. For this to happen I must not eat any of my allergens (wheat, dairy, eggs, sulphites) and also get a good balance of protein, carbs and fat. Off the menu was anything too rich, too salty or too processed. I also needed to reduce fiber intake and anyone who has done any kind of race before will know why!

Cornflakes and Rice Milk
I don't usually eat a lot of cereal, not for any particular reason, but I had this in my cupboard and I am currently on a quest to eat through some staples to make room for some new foods. These particular cornflakes are Nature's Path and were good and crunchy. I prefer the french translation of their name though "Flocons de Mais". Sounds more glamorous. Due to my dairy intolerance I drink and use various types of milk substitutes, mainly rice milk or almond milk. I usually buy whichever one is on sale for 2 for $5 or whatever. I actually don't miss milk at all as the substitutes are really good and they are slightly sweet so perfect for cereal.


En route to pick up our race day packages, my co Tri-competitor and good friend MJ hit up Gen sushi on Lonsdale for one of our favourite meals. We both indulge in this treat at least once a week, sometimes together, sometimes separate, at various establishments around town. We are very spoiled to have so many to choose from here and they are all good and mostly very cheap. Today we decided to share some rolls so we could eat more of a variety. I do have my favourites but branched out today. We chose to start with tuna and salmon sashimi. This is raw fish and we ordered it with spicy sauce on the side. I love this dish as it is so clean and simple and of course, tastes delicious. Before moving to Canada I had really not eaten sushi and had zero desire to eat raw fish but just try and stop me now, I'm "hooked" haha!
The slices were pretty thick but we devoured them fast. MMmmmmMMMM. We chose 3 rolls to share. Avocado roll which is my absolute favourite roll. The avocado was particularly soft today, just the way I like it. We also chose Yam Roll which had tempura batter on it but it was such as small amount that I ate it anyway and hoped the allergy gods were being nice today. Usually a small amount does not cause a problem. Our final roll was one neither of us had tried before, mango roll. We enquired as to what was in it as you never really know from restaurant to restaurant what the choose to put in. This one contained mango, cucumber and imitation crab. It was a huge roll and was covered in a bright mango sauce and topped with salmon roe. It was really good and the mango sauce was very fresh and tasty and did not seem to have been sweetened at naturel. We were both suitably stuffed and then headed off to pick up our race numbers for tomorrows race.

Pan fried chicken breast with caramelised onions and cranberries
Served with sauteed zucchini and oven roasted herbed baby potatoes
Drizzled with honey garlic balsamic reduction

I've been waiting to try this recipe from Clean Eating for a while. I went to the store to get all the ingredients and got to work. The original recipe did not have any potatoes but I wanted to add some starch to boost my energy intake. I quartered the potatoes and mixed them with olive oil, dried thyme and rosemary and salt and pepper. Wrapped them in a foil package and baked in the oven for 45 mins.
While they were cooking I started on the onions which also take at least 30 mins to caramelise properly. I also put the balsamic drizzle on to reduce down. This was also an addition to the original recipe. It's really simple and goes well with fish, chicken and also as a salad dressing when cooled.

Balsamic Drizzle

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2-3 tbsp honey
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 tbsp olive oil

put all ingredients in a small, heavy based pan and whisk together. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat and simmer 15-20 mins until it thickens.

Once the onions were caramelized, I added some organic dried cranberries. These are expensive but the sulphite level in non-organic dried fruit is so high that I get a reaction from it. I then pan fried the chicken and the zucchini and then assembled everything on the plate. It looked good but was a quite labour intensive meal. The balsamic reduction and onions both need regular stirring and then I had to keep and eye on the chicken to make sure it didn't burn. But, it was so yummy and all the flavours went well together. The sweetness of the balsamic reduction off set the tartness of the cranberries and complimented the onions which weren't quite as caramelised as I would like but I got impatient waiting and caved. As I stood over the stove stirring and sauteeing, my thoughts went to tomorrows race and I started to think about how it will all be over by this time tomorrow. I'm sure I will be smiling whatever happens in the race.

Today's chocolate of choice is Lindt Intense Mint. It's a dark chocolate and I put it in the fridge as usual. I prefer the texture change and I tend to eat less when it's chilled. So far I have eaten 2 squares but I'm looking longingly at the fridge door knowing what is just behind it is beckoning to my taste buds and can only add to my race day energy, right?

My final food thoughts of the day revolve around breakfast tomorrow. I need to eat a good breakfast but not too much that I will be too full, especially important seeing as the swim is first up. I will leave home at 7:30 am but the race does not start til 9:10am. I'm leaning towards oatmeal with honey and banana...carbs all the way, baby!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Fluffy and Flake-y

Banana and almond butter.
This time not from a squeezy pack seeing as I was at home, I could manage the jar/knife combo with ease.

Leftover mushroom ragu.
The garlic and herbs had co-mingled even more with the mushrooms so it tasted even better than last night although it was sans cheese as I had none left. I ate lunch at work. It was my day off but I had plans to meet one of my co-workers there on her lunch break so we could catch up as our shifts do not usually cross. We had a great lunch talking about big life changing things like relationships and personal enlightenment. The food took a back seat to the conversation but I still left
feeling satisfied and with more food for thought. Thanks Ms S.

Tamari roasted almonds
These are totally addictive. Crunchy, salty and moorish. Take them away from me!

Baked potato stuffed with chill, mushrooms and caramelised onions
Rhubarb crumble (modified)

I headed downtown to spend the afternoon with a friend, let's call her Ms K, at her place. We chilled and chatted over tea and then walked down Denman Street in search of something hearty and filling to tuck into. Denman Street is the perfect place to be if you are hungry. Every 2nd shop is a cafe or restaurant and you can get any cuisine you like, pronto and cheap. We settled on a place that sells gigantic baked potatoes and you can choose your own fillings or have one of their suggestions. Think pizza type toppings style; Hawaiian, Mexican, Meat Feast etc. We both opted for build-your-own and chose chili as the main topping. We were allocated 2 more toppings each as included in the $4.99 price. There were loads to choose from, kinda like a gelato shop but with bacon bits instead of sprinkles. I chose mushrooms (guess I have a craving today) and caramelised onions. Ms K also chose the onions but went for the dairy option of sour cream. Cheese was also included but I declined.
The verdict? I was clearly very hungry as I polished off the whole thing pretty quick and the potato was exceptionally fluffy inside. The chill was good but not spicy and the onions did not compare to my homemade version but they are hard to beat. All in all, great value and taste for $4.99. Couldn't have made it cheaper myself and of course the company of Ms K was top notch.
Ms K then suggested we whip up a rhubarb crumble for dessert so we cracked open some red wine (essential sipping while creating culinary masterpieces) and got to work. The topping was supposed to be made of wheat, sugar and butter but I have to be strictly off wheat this weekend in preparation for the triathlon so we substituted oats instead. It worked really well and we threw in some random additions of flaxmeal, pumpkin seeds and filberts and then pulverized it all in the food processor. While the crumble cooked, I gave Ms K an impromptu lesson in how to use Itunes.

Chocolate of the day
I've had a Cadbury's flake in my fridge for the past week. Every time I opened the door, it looked me square in the eyes and today was it's last day. I intended only to eat half and then eat half later. Haha...yeah.

Friday, May 21, 2010

swimming, salad and soy

The inaugural post!

All day I have been thinking about this post and how I want to structure it.
I'm not entirely sure how I want this blog to take shape but I'm sure it will make it's own way and find a nice route to follow.
So this is the plan in a nutshell (pistachio?); to list my daily food and then talk about it as I see fit. I will post recipes as well as reviews of food products, places I ate at and all things associated with food.

Breakfast (part 1): apple Clif C bar
I was due to be in the pool at 7am so grabbed this. It's my favourite current snack bar as it's small, moist and contains fruits, nuts and salt. Shame I have only found it in REI in the States (a huge outdoor/recreation store-basically heaven) so far. I bought a few back on my last visit and only have a couple left :-(

Breakfast (part 2-post swim
): Banana with maple almond butter

The swim was not good. It was my last chance swim before Monday's Triathlon but I had a terrible nights sleep and consequently bombed in the water. I hope that means race day will be awesome. I fear not. However, the post swim breakfast was very successful. It's one of my fave breakfasts and it was made all the better with my squeeze pouch of maple almond butter. Again, this was from REI in the states and is perfect for throwing in my bag, although I don't like the wastage from the individual packages. Not quite as easy to throw my jar of almond butter in there with a knife and all that. Can get fiddly and messy with the oil separation and it doesn't mix well with my keyboard when eaten at my desk. The sachets are great for squeezing the butter on to the banana, no plate or utensils required!

I have been making this salad all week and I'm not bored of it yet. Spinach, really ripe avocado, capers, Newmans Own Olive Oil and Vinegar dressing, canned tuna and sliced black olives. I'll be honest, it's the avocado I love the most and this particular specimen was at perfect ripeness. The capers go very well with it.

Portabello Mushroom Ragu from Clean Eating Magazine

Had not made this before but it was very easy and very yummy. everything I ever see and make from Clean Eating Magazine is delicious. I have decided to subscribe to it as it is just that good. I did throw in some sundried tomatoes to richen the sauce and then added some cheese on top. I served it over brown rice. Due to my dairy intolerance, I use soy cheese. Not all soy cheeses are created equal but Okanagan cheddar loaf is about as close as I have found to the real thing for texture anyway. You can't really replicate the tangy taste of a good cheddar. I have had to accept that and move on. I'm over it now. There are plenty of other foods I love that I focus on.

And if all this sounds dangerously healthy, I will add that during the course of the day I had a lemon popsicle and also went to the movies and ate popcorn and a kitkat bar. No day is truly complete without some kind of chocolate. That's a whole other post....