Sunday, June 20, 2010

Memories of Monday

Okay, I now remember what I ate on Monday last week. My previous post stated I couldn't recall but it was probably leftovers, salad etc. I made a gourmet salad consisting of the usual base salad leaves, avocado and some other random additions. The star of the salad though was chimichurri steak. I have various recipes for this in cookbooks and magazines but have never made it. I purchased a nice steak, when you are cooking for one,even the most costly cut is less than $10 for a decent sized portion.
Chimichurri steak originates from Argentina and is basically a spicy, tangy herby sauce. The recipe I used deviated from the classic by using cilantro instead of parsley.
Other ingredients in the sauce were balsamic vinegar, garlic, olive oil, dried oregano, chile flakes and salt and pepper. I cooked the steak rare, the only way to eat it, and took some time to slice it nicely and arrange the salad for photographic purposes. The sauce from the steak doubled as the salad dressing. The avocado was very ripe, hence it looking like a big dollop of green on the side of the salad. And all the cilantro seemed to pour out together over the middle of the steak but it did taste scrummy. I will make this again and am thinking it would taste really good over BBQ steak.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Supermarket Splurge

The last week does not really warrant more than one posting as I ate rather randomly and not particularly well although I did intend each day to start well of course.
Here are the highlights:
Sunday- I was invited for a BBQ at Ms P and Mr M's place. Originally I had offered to host a BBQ but the invite was reversed which was kinda funny. Ms P made her specialty pork tenderloin with spice rub which was cooked perfectly by Mr M and While it cooked we noshed on bread. I am not supposed to eat wheat but this was irresistible. The bread in question was the Waldorf loaf from Save-on Foods. This is the best french stick style bread EVER. I tried so hard to resist but then Mr M pulled out all the stops and presented me with some amazing EV olive oil in which to dip it and thus the defences were well and truly down. Ms P also prepared a delicious mango avocado salad with a sweet, fruity dressing she made for which I forgot to get the recipe but would like to.
The whole meal was washed down with a very special and expensive bottle of red wine that Mr M purchased in my honor (apparently i'm worth it). I felt well and truly spoiled. And full from all the bread. If I choose to eat wheat, this is the way I do it.

Monday-can't recall what I ate, probably oatmeal, salad, leftovers

Tuesday-Study group convened for our weekly session. I made the black bean mix to go with the chicken and salad. I also somehow found time to make a chicken curry to see me through a few meals in the week. It turned out great and I took leftovers to work for me and MJ the next day and we spent the whole lunch break talking about it. Yes, it was that good.

Weds-worked late as I had a photo shoot to attend for promotional stuff for work. I was in charge of purchasing snacks for about 20 people for the shoot. How awesome is that? I get to spend other peoples money on food that I get to eat and also get paid for my time to eat.I went for fruit and veggie platters, hummus, pita, cookies and 2 bite brownies. Let's just say I was in favour for the evening and maybe longer and have now been appointed the official snack buyer for future events.

Thurs-breakfast and lunch were uneventful but dinner was more exciting. I went to Commercial Drive to meet with Ms A for dinner and a catch up. We haven't seen each other since Jan or Feb and in that time she spent 3 weeks in Costa Rica which I was very excited to hear about. We decided to go to The Reef which serves Caribbean food. Click here to see the menu. We split an order of yam fries because, well, me and Ms A always do that. They did not disappoint. They were big chunky fries with no coating except oil and salt. We also were presented with a Johnny Cake which is basically a deep fried dough ball served warm with a herby flavoured butter. So much for going wheat free this day. Not gonna happen. For my main I went for lighter fare to offset the prior munchings and chose a salad and added jerk salmon to it for protein. The salad was big but simple with pumpkin seeds and a scrummy mango mint dressing but I felt the salmon portion was on the small side at about 2-3oz for $5. Or maybe it just looked small on the huge pile of salad? Anyway, overall a great meal with great company and I have always wanted to go there. It's taken 7 yrs but I can no check it off my list.

Friday-another non-eventful day on the food front, except for mid afternoon when I assisted in serving at the annual Strawberry Tea in the Seniors Centre at work. We dished up mini-quiches, salmon tarts, brushetta, ham and egg sandwiches (which were constructed and cut in such a way that I initially thought they were cakes), chocolate dipped strawberries and mini ginger molasses pancakes served with orange laced yogurt. Oh and then there was the dessert of Strawberry tart. Of course all the serving was hungry work and there were leftovers. I cannot resist free, tasty food and so indulged in some bruschetta and a couple of the mini pancakes, as well as half a salmon tart. I knew I was risking some reactions but I chanced it anyway. I headed straight for the Grouse Grind after work and didn't get home til after 6pm. I sort of grazed eating rice cakes with hummus, some nuts and a banana. Couldn't be bothered to cook and was going over a friends later so didn't have a lot of time. That is what the weekend is for.

Saturday-woke up with a very heavy, cloudy head and feeling of lethargy. Guess I didn't get away with my Strawberry Tea treats yesterday. This type of reaction is related to the egg component of what I ate yesterday and is basically a low level migraine that can last 1-2 days. My energy for the day was low, despite it being a glorious day so I canned my plans for a 2 hour kickboxing class and an afternoon bike ride in favour of pottering around the town and taking it slow. I actually ended up hitting up 4 different grocery stores during the day and stocking up all gaps in my kitchen. I should not need to go shopping for anything besides fresh produce for at least a week. I also discovered something of interest....ginger marmalade. It's made by Robertsons and anything with ginger in it HAS to be good. I bought some and spread it on a rice cake as soon as I got home. It was good, not overly ginger but then I like the hot ginger so anything less seems minimal to me. I also found a great deal on canned salmon at Save-on-foods. Usually a 213g can is $3.99 but they were on sale for $1.69 so over half off. I LOVE canned salmon, used to hate it, but love it now so this was good. I purchased 5, that will see my through a few weeks. I noticed 2 products that seem to be very pricey at the moment. Butter and apples. I don't eat a lot of butter but I do try to have it in the fridge and was surprised to see most packs in the $5 range. As for apples, at the supermarket they were approx $1.60 or more per lb but I held off and went to the smaller New Apple Farm Market on Lonsdale where they were over a $ cheaper per lb.
For dinner I made a salad with pan fried chicken although the pan was a little hot so it was more like char grilled chicken which I happen to like so no problem there. Sorry no pics today...will try to take more next time.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friend, food and futon

Okay, I have some catching up to you. Rather than do a post for each day I will summarise and just highlight the interesting things. Well, the things I *think* are interesting to my readers, whoever you are...this post is for you C-A.

on Friday last week, I had the pleasure of hosting my dear friend, K-Dub, for the evening. We have not seen each other in a while and had a lot of catching up to do. We met at my place at 5pm and headed out for a walk up Mosquito Creek and then headed over to Kokoro sushi on Lonsdale....a place K-Dub and I always go to together and that K-Dub went to frequently when she lived in North Van. I did not branch out from my usual order of miso, avocado roll, salmon and tuna sashimi (I declined the spicy red sauce as they wanted to charge me a dollar for it and it's pretty spicy so I only use literally a 1/4 teaspoon worth) and Gom-ae (steamed spinach with sesame sauce).
K-dub split the avocado roll with me and also ordered yam roll, edamame which we also split although I'm pretty sure I ate way more than half..oops, and vegetable gyoza.
We ate well and caught up on the past few months.
On the way home, I wanted to go to London Drugs to see if they had anything on sale. And by anything, I mean FOOD. K-Dub and I perused the aisles have to do this or you may miss a great deal or a very interesting food. We spent more time in some sections over others, namely chocolate, tea, cereal and crackers. I ended up purchasing a new cereal that K-Dub pointed out called Crunchy Maple Sunrise. It was on sale and it sounded like it would be mightily yummy whether eaten as directed for breakfast or as a snack at any time of day. It contained a variety of grains, although no wheat, and of particular importance was the inclusion of quinoa as this is a grain that is very high in protein. Also the maple was key. Mmmmm maple.
I also bought a big tub of almonds as they were on sale for $10 for a kg and I was planning to make Tamari almonds under K-Dubs direction later that night. Tamari is a sort of soy sauce made without wheat. I prefer it to soy sauce but it generally costs more although you don't use a lot at a time as it's so salty. Here is K-dub's recipe:

Tamari Almonds
1-2 cups raw almonds
2-3 tbsp tamari sauce

spread the almonds in a large flatbased frying pan on a low-med heat. Toast lightly for 15-20 mins until roasted. They will turn a little darker. Turn them over halfway through cooking.
while the pan is still hot, turn off the heat and add the tamari sauce. It will sizzle and get sticky so quickly stir the nuts until coated fully then leave to cool.

So simple and delicious. There is one problem though. Once you start you can stop.

Once they were made, we chatted some more and set up the futon. Just before I went to bed I prepared some overnight oatmeal for us. K-Dub had not had this before and agreed to try it. We ate it on waking and even though she's not keen on dates, she ate it and gave it the thumbs up before setting out on her 12 hour car journey home.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Apologies for Absence

I have posts ready to go...I just need to get them on the blog...I WILL update soon!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Spicy Shrimp Sizzle

Banana with almond butter

Cadbury's 100 calorie Dairy Milk Thin in Dark Sensation flavour
(these were on sale at Safeway for 69c each)

Leftover Surprise
I had nothing exciting in the fridge so delved in to the freezer in the hopes of finding something exciting for lunch. I had a few tupperware containers in there containing...something I some point in the past few weeks...who knows what.
I grabbed one of the frozen containers and hoped for the best. It turned out to be leftover spicy chorizo pasta from last week....good choice! Perfect comfort food for the continuing crappy weather that returned after the one nice sunny day.

Purdy's Fruit Jellies
These were not mine but were being passed around at the staff meeting at precisely the dangerous time of the day that makes any sugar based food, especially one that is free, irrestible to myself and, it appears, anyone else that is human. These jellies fit that description and as expected, hit the spot perfectly.

Shrimp Salsa Sizzle
I had a run on the treadmill after work with Ms MJ and we did some intervals and got our calorie burn ON! A quick stretch and foam roll on the tight leg muscles and then home for a quick meal before heading out to kickboxing. I whipped up a one pot random mix of shrimp, chopped peppers, zucchini and salsa. I had half a tub of fresh salsa that needed using up today so this was perfect. I like to keep shrimp in the freezer as they keep well and cook so quickly if short on time. Safeway often has shrimp on sale for half price or buy one get one free so I stock up from time to time. Safeway is my least favourite supermarket as they are more expensive than the others and their range of foods is usually poor. However, when stuff is on sale there, it's usually a really good price so as long as you stick to the sale items only, you can make some big savings. Salsa makes a great improv sauce for lots of dishes. You can add chicken or pork as well as shrimp, or even just veggies. My favourite fresh salsa is from Real Canadian Superstore. It's not too watery or acidic.
I served the Shrimp dish over rice with some sliced avocado on the side and ate in early enough that I would be able to comfortably kickbox later on.

Guac Attack

On Sunday I had a few friends over for a little housewarming since I have been in my place for 2 months so some nibbles were in order. Ms MJ came over early to assist me in the preparations. The nibbles list was this:
chips and salsa
homemade guacamole
brie cheese with crackers
Sundried tomato and paprika flavoured popcorn (from Real Canadian Superstore)
Homemade Brownies (see for recipe)
Chopped pineapple and watermelon

Ms MJ got to work on the guacamole while I did something else, I can't remember what but it was definitely important. I picked up the recipe while in Mexico a few years ago. The resort had a cooking demo and showed us the secret to the perfect guacamole...which I will now reveal:

3-4 very ripe avocados, pitted and scooped out
1 med onion, chopped
2 tomatoes chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
juice of 2 limes
juice of another 1-2 limes
handful of chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

So the secret is this....put the juice of the 2 limes over the chopped onion and let it sit for 15 mins while you do the rest of the prep. After 15 mins, drain off the lime juice and discard. Apparently it takes out the bitterness from the onions and that subtle step makes all the difference! Do not re-use that lime juice though or else you defeat the object.
mix all the rest of the ingredients together and Voila! you can choose how chunky you want your onions, tomato and avocado pieces and the degree to which you mash your avocado.

Once the guac was done and in the fridge, we got to work on the brownies, using the correct oil this time. They turned out perfect and went over very well with the guests.

The popcorn I purchase was an impulse buy in the grocery store. It was a new product and came already popped and flavoured. It turned out to be extremely delicious and moreish. I recommend it but it comes in a huge bag so buy it to share with the family or be prepared to run for 5 hours afterwards to burn it all off.

Soup and Samples

Again I have been rather slack on updating the blog due to general "busy-ness". Here is Saturday's post.

I was on a fitness course all day so left my house at 7am and got home at 8pm. I had planned my day well though and was well prepared with my food so I ate clean and for energy (half the day was exercise based) well as taste too!
overnight oatmeal with dates

I made my own simple trail mix of walnuts, roasted salted almonds and dried cranberries.
This was a good mix, made with leftover cranberries from a previous recipe. Usually they are expensive so once these are used up, I'll switch to raisins in the mix.


Homemade leek and potato soup
small can of lemon pepper tuna
various free samples from store

I got this soup recipe from my mum and it's really simple but very tasty and filling:
4 large trimmed leeks, chopped and rinsed
1 med onion, chopped
2 med potatoes, chopped
50 g butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1.5 pints veg stock
275ml/10 fl oz milk or milk substitute
salt and pepper.

1)ensure the leeks are rinsed well and any sand is removed
2)melt butter in dutch oven or large pan and add olive oil (the butter has a low smoking point so adding the oil stops it burning)
3)add onion, leeks and potato to pan and cover and sweat over med/low heat for 15 mins
4) add milk and hot stock and boil for 20 minutes
5) season and blend to desired consistency. If you wish you can remove some of the potato pieces prior to blending and then add them back in at the end.

I made a batch and planned to take some in my thermos so it would be hot for lunch.

It turned out to be a really warm day ( a nice change from the relentless rain of the past 2 weeks) so soup wasn't exactly the best choice but still I ate it and also a mini can of tuna for a protein boost. Prior to eating the soup, my colleagues and I were in a grocery/health store as some people in the group were buying lunch. It was heaven, there were free samples everywhere and they were delish! There were samples of breads and hummus and deli meats. We all tucked in and mmmm'd a lot over the tasty treats. Then the deli staff came out with a big tray of samples of their homemade shepherds pie!! Needless to say, I wasn't starving when it came to eat my soup so I only had half. I was also happy to find they stocked Cocoa Mole flavoured larabars too. You can buy Larabars in most places now. There are many, many flavors but most stores only stock about half of the choices. The Cocoa Mole one contains cocoa ('nuff said),dates, almonds, walnuts, cinammon and chili. It has the perfect balance of sweetness and spicy kick! So far I had only found this variety in the US so I picked up a couple to take home. As I checked out the larabar website before posting the link, I saw they now have a chocolate mint version...I HAVE to track one of these down. If you have seen one, please tell me where!!!

I also snacked on some fruit during the day and some strawberry licorice that I shared with my co-workers. You just can't go wrong with strawberry licorice. And guess what? There is no dairy or eggs in it so it's on my list of cleared foods. Yay!

Didn't get home 'til 8pm and can't remember what I ate, probably just snacked on stuff. I didn't cook, I know that much.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Mexican Munchies

so I missed a few days of posting....oops. I didn't have time but really there was not much to write as I didn't cook much, due to being so busy!

I did make one of my favourite easy dishes that I want to report on. The recipe is for Black Bean and Goat Cheese Quesadillas ( from Cooking Light Magazine) although I just made the filling and served that with rice but the quesadillas are excellent. Here is the recipe:

1 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup salsa
1/2-2 tsp cumin depending on your taste
1 can black beans, undrained
1 4 oz pack goat cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup minced cilantro
8 flour tortillas
1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
1/2 cup salsa for serving

Heat olive oil in skillet and add onion and garlic. Saute 3 mins. Stir in salsa, cumin and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 mins or until thick. Remove from heat. Mash the bean mixture slightly and stir in goat cheese and cilantro. Spread bean mixture evenly over 1/2 of each tortilla and fold over. place on baking sheet and broil for a couple of minutes per side until browned and crisped.
Cut into thirds or quarters and served with salsa and sour cream.

I made a couple of modifications on the recipe and made the bean mixture but added chopped bell peppers for extra vegetables. I didn't mash the mixture but served it over rice. It's also good in tacos or over tortilla chips, nacho style. Very simple recipe with big taste. Everyone I make it for loves it :-)

I have a hectic weekend coming up so may not post for a couple more days. Have no idea if anyone is reading this but if you are, I appreciate your patience! Oh one more thing...I'm trying not to eat chocolate for a week. So far I have managed one day, sort of. I did eat 1 chocolate chip and then stopped myself so that doesn't count, does it?

Livin' life

Just a quick note to say that I am still here and the absence of posts does not mean I haven't eaten for a few days! Been busy living my life, will post soon. You didn't miss much foodwise, I can tell you that haha!
Check back soon.....I will return...