Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Happy Hump Day!


Command Central - or - dinner alone. Dinner with the laptop. 

I was just thinking, as I was making dinner - that I did a pretty 'heavy' blog post last week and then didn't write again for almost a week. Balance - was lacking in my life. I am not sure what has happened - it's probably just the sun, moon and the stars, but I am feeling a little more 'even' this week. A chaotic household just makes me get overwhelmed. 

I loved the comments that my friends left. It meant a lot to me. I appreciate them sharing their stories, and accepting mine. I love that as women, we can relate. We can relate to one another - share what is important and help us put things in perspective. I feel blessed.

Let's talk about last night's run shall we. Actually, I am not sure if it can be called a run. I think that it could be referred to as a 'mountain climb'. Oh my, that Mena got us good. It was a struggle. I didn't run up the hills - I did a bit - and then just tried to hold myself together and walk up gracefully. Oh I hope I looked graceful.

Mena shared stories with us last night. I was listening to her opening her heart and sharing her life - and I had a thought. A moment. I thought about how I am always struggling with my speed, my breathing, my endurance and I thought how things could be so much worse. I know that my friends and family are always saying 'who cares - you are out there doing it' - and as much as I hear it and I know that it is true - but I just can't allow myself to accept that. But last night, something just sort of hit me - and that I know that I just have to do what I can do. I am running - I am getting healthy - I am spending time with a wonderful group of women and doing what needs to be done. I am improving week to week. I will continue to improve - and I will take each step, each week, each hill in stride. 

I can do it. I will do it. I am doing it. 


A tasty bowl of pasta - with lots of fresh parmesan. 

Tonight I made a batch of spaghetti sauce with lots of peppers, onion, garlic and mushrooms. I made a special treat for Chris to go with the sauce - Bison meatballs. I found a small pack of ground turkey so made a few meatballs for myself. I served it all up with a batch of whole wheat linguine. 

And here it is all mixed up. I like to eat my pasta with a spoon and fork - my grandma taught me that. I always feel very eye-talian. She used to pronounce 'Italian' with an 'eye'.

I am not going to post the recipe for meatballs - if you are interested - check out the meatball recipe HERE. I found this posting ironic - it was my first running clinic night that I talked about.

Chris pronounces 'Bison' like - bye-zun. Our friend Chrissy, says that Magnum has bison eyes. I say 'By-sun' - so we like to debate how to pronounce the word. I know - we are CRAZY. Hey - party animals. Anyways - our little guy has the cutest eyes - and I am glad that he isn't a Bison - he would be hard to clean up after. 


I am getting geared up for a great weekend. I love this weekend - I love Easter - and I love having 4 days off. We are having dinner at our house on Saturday night - Easter Eve - I have not yet confirmed the menu - but I know that I will be making a layered salad that Mrs. Sherstan (family friend) used to make each year. I will probably make mashed potatoes, probably another salad and then a special surprise for my mom. I can't say b/c she is probably reading this as she is running her bath (you're funny mom) and I want her to be excited when she sees it. I am also going to make my usual bird's nest cupcakes - I will try to make them in advance so you can see them and make them for your Easter dinner too.

Alright friends. Thanks for stopping by. 

Loves. 

Enjoy!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Vegelicious.


I love a good Mason Jar - everything looks good in a Mason Jar

Hi friends. I have been MIA. Well - not really. I have been laying low - just doing stuff that needs to get done. It's been a busy week - but a good one. So, what have I been doing? Well, I went and saw a concert*, went for lunch with a friend. watched UFC, did some cleaning, dog walks, spent some good old fashioned time with my fiance** and made some delicious dishes***.

*Hedley - so good! Callum really liked it too. They played with some other bands - that I could have passed on - mostly b/c there were two 13 year old girls screaming at the top of their lungs behind me. I seriously have never been able to scream like that. As a young girl I was always envious of the other girls - envious I couldn't get my high pitch to that squeal that breaks glass. Instead, mine was this yell - a little raspy. Now 15 years later (are you doing the math?) I am pleased that my scream can't pop ear drums or make you want to pull your hair out.  But seriously - the concert was really good. They are all incredibly talented and entertaining and you can tell that they love what they do. AND, they are good 'ol BC boys. 

**Fiance - has just come off a month of the graveyard shift. I know that it was only a month - but b/c he teaches 5 days a week - it made for a long month of us literally seeing each other for 20 minutes a night through out the week. And, it messes with his body and he is tired all the time. My dad did shift work. He did 2 12 hour days and then 2 12 hour nights. Although they were long days, he got four days off to recover. I used to hate him being on nights - and I think about my mom being home with 3 kids under 4 on her own. So... I can't complain at all, but I missed him - and I am always super paranoid being home alone. 

***Delicious dishes. Let's get to the good stuff. I have been doing some cooking. Trying to eat healthy - and be satisfied.

On Thursday I made a nice mixed green salad with salmon that was cooked in soy sauce, garlic, ginger and fresh orange juice and orange rind. This was delicious, but the celebrity of the dinner was a fresh basil and feta dressing that I made. Yumma in my tumma!


In a blender add - lots of fresh basil - maybe 10 big leaves, 1/2 cup of feta, drizzle of olive oil and 1/2 cup of plain yogurt. Season with a pinch of kosher salt - and then blend away. It turns out to be so creamy and the colour is spectacular. I love the creaminess of this and it stored nicely in the fridge for a couple of days. For dinner last night we made souvlaki wraps - and we used the leftover dressing as the sauce. So delicious. 

Last night to go with our souvlaki's, we had roasted rosemary potatoes and sauteed zucchini with feta. 

Roasted garlic and rosemary potatoes


Nugget potatoes - maybe 2 large cups full - cut into small pieces
1/4 cup melted butter (whatever - sometimes you need to treat yourself to something and then promise that you won't eat it again for a full month - we made the pledge)
3 garlic cloves - minced
Fresh rosemary - or dried rosemary (although I have rosemary bush - I used the dried organic rosemary that cuzzie Margo sent me for Christmas) - 2 tbsp 

Warning - this recipe is easy. Super easy.
Pre-heat oven to 425.  Chop up the potatoes and add them to a shallow baking dish. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and add the garlic. Pour the butter over the potatoes. Sprinkle with the rosemary and give them a gentle stir. Bake in the 425 oven for 45 minutes. They will go a golden brown and smell like heaven. 

I couldn't resist - I had to peak while they were cooking

To go with the rosemary potatoes I made a favourite zucchini dish that I first made a couple of years ago. I love zucchini and I love feta - so I combined the two. This too, is a very easy dish - and if you like zucchini and feta - then I am pretty sure that you will love this. 


Sauteed Zucchini with Feta

1 medium onion - very thinly sliced

1 medium zucchini - very thinly sliced

Saute onion for about 8 minutes in a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt. Add zucchini, and over medium low heat, saute. Stir continuously, ensuring that the zucchini and onions don't stick to the pan. When the zucchini is soft and lightly browned, remove from the heat and stir in feta cheese - maybe 1/3 cup crumbled feta. Stir in the feta - and serve warm. If you are like me - you may want to marry this dish - but then you will remember that you can't marry vegetables with feta. 

I hope that you give these a try - you will like them, I am pretty sure.

Chris just told me that he used to wear a silk black, button up shirt to the clubs in his younger years. It made me laugh out loud. Then I told him that I would have tried to pick him up if we had ever met - and then we stopped talking about that b/c it makes us laugh. And then we went back to enjoying 'How I Met Your Mother' - that show is good. Oh my - our exciting lives.

Loves.

Enjoy!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Perfect Woman.

p e r f e c t

Who is she?
What does she look like?

Do you ever wonder? Just sit and wonder what kind of woman can work 40 hours a week, run a household, take care of a family, take care of herself, exercise and everything else?

I had a bit of a 'moment' on my way home from work today. I am feeling overwhelmed. I feel like almost every aspect of my life is overwhelming. I know that this shall pass - I know that there is a silver lining - and I know that I am in a tunnel and I can see the light, but in the moment or moments it just seems a bit much.

Today - I am just feeling like there is too much chaos my life. My house is a bit of a zoo - I just feel as though I can't keep on top of it. The kitchen is clean and tidy one minute and at the end of the day - it looks like we are in the middle of a 5 course meal and no clean up has been done. My yard - spring is here - and it looks like a herd of cows could come in and graze for a week. I love cows - would love them to come and graze - but only if I invite them and not b/c I can't find a moment to cut the grass!

On my way home from work - it just all kind of hit me. For years, many years, I have done everything for everyone: made sure that the house was tidy, the dishes were always done, dinners were cooked, laundry was taken care of, dogs walked... The only thing that wasn't being taken care of was me. And now, I am doing things for myself - for my health - and now I feel that all this stuff that I used to be on top of, is just not possible. I just feel as though I can't balance it. 

B A L A N C E

I know that I can't give up taking care of myself. I am so blessed to have an incredible partner that wants me to be healthy and do things for me - so he lives with a messy house, he lives with doing all the laundry and never ever complains. 

I miss the days when I would have the pups walked, dinner on the table, dishes done, laundry put away, the house spotless and then time to sit on my Royal Canadian and watch tv. Part of me misses those days - but then I love the fact that I have a busy life, that I am getting healthy and doing now what I should have done many years ago.

B A L A N C E

I need to find that balance. I could hear a thousand times that it isn't important - but it is important to me. I take pride in my house and right now I am just not feeling proud. 

So as I struggle - I know that if someone came and told me that they were having issues with finding balance in their life, I would say 'Do what you need to do. Find out what is important for you and take care of what will make you feel better. If there is someone that can help or there is anything that can help you, then find that.' I know that it is always easier said than done.

I am searching for balance. I am searching for a life without chaos. I am searching for a life where health is my priority. I am searching for balance.

Sweet treat.

I felt like a sweet treat tonight. I think that I have found the perfect sweet. I am excited to share this. I am hoping that sharing this sweet treat will make up for my sharing from above - that was quite the story.

Yogurt with maple syrup - sitting atop of my new Kraft Kitchens magazine

I love plain yogurt - love it. I love Olympic plain yogurt and I have found a huge fondness for Safeway's O (organic) brand. Anyways, my secret for a dessert that replaces whipped cream or ice cream - is to add a tablespoon of maple syrup to the yogurt - mix well and serve with fresh fruit. 


I have been adding 1 tablespoon of maple syrup to 1 cup of yogurt. I have served it over fresh strawberries, and I am in love. 

Alright, if you happen to find balance - please tell me where and how you found it. You can tell 'her' that I am looking for her - and send her my way!

Loves.

Enjoy!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Oh bearded one.

My bearded Fiance. I have told him it has to go before our big day :)

Can you believe that this weekend has come and gone? It always goes by so quickly. It has been 'low impact' around here this weekend. Just the way I like it from time to time. Chris and I had a great dog walk yesterday morning, I went to Ferris' for lunch with the lovely Micki, I watched a lame movie, I went for a run, I did my weekly shop at the Root Cellar, and I am ending it with the Amazing Race and my pups curled up beside me. 

Life is good. Another week is about to start - and it will be a busy one. I have an appt. tomorrow with a company that hopefully will help with some wedding decor. Tuesday, I have to miss running as I am taking my nephews and sister to Hedley - it should be a fun concert! I can't wait to see Callum rocking out. 

Our challenge of last week - eating just vegetables and protein - mostly salads - was really great! I loved the freshness of dinner each night - and how I didn't feel like loafing about b/c of a heavy meal. I stalked up again today on a bunch of vegetables, lots of different salad fixin's, so I think that we will stick with this plan. The challenge will be to keep things fun and tasty. At lunch on Saturday I had a big salad - it was just mixed greens, with sprouts, tomatoes, cucumbers and chick peas - and it had a very yummy creamy feta dressing. So, I'm sure you can guess, I will be attempting to figure out that recipe this week. 

Friday night, we tried to switch it up a bit. We made burgers. I made turkey burgers for myself and Chris made beef. We used Weight Watcher's whole wheat buns - we really like them, b/c they are small and not overly filling. 
This morning, I laced up the New Balance, and with my route in my head, I returned the movie via foot instead of via car. I started out strong, ran about 5 mins, hit a hill and started to slow down a bit. Then ran again, hit a hill, started to slow down a bit. Then ran again.... See where this is going? As I was running, I think of everything. And I mean, EVERYTHING. Today's thoughts besides keep your thumbs up, relax your shoulders, don't look at your watch, pump your arms, you can do this - you will do this - you are doing this, were things like - oh man I want a donut - who is making the donuts????, oh man - is that Subway's sausage - I want a bun with sausage on it!!!!, I want the bakery's fresh bread... And just when I think that I am getting better with my struggles and I am able to tackle the goose like a trained runner*, I do a side street run. Oh my friends, that was a challenge that I just wasn't prepared for. All in all, it was a run of just under 5K. It could have been worse. And as I have beat myself up about this all day - just before I am ready to post my blog tonight, I see Pilar's comment from earlier today. She saw me running - She Saw Me Running!!!! I loved her comment - it meant so much.

*Runner - Sole Sister running clinic member :)

There is a great site that you can use to track your walk or run - www.mapmyrun.com - you can put in where you start and end and it will track the distance. 

For tonight's dinner - I fixed my craving for Barley Risotto! I love it. It's easy - much easier than traditional risotto, and I think healthier. To accompany it, I did something different with pork tenderloin - all inspired by fresh, magnificent basil from the Root Cellar. The dish turned out to be rustic and delicious.

Pork Tenderloin in a Tomato Basil Sauce

2 pork tenderloins - I used small tenderloins - sorry I didn't get the weight - sliced into 1.5 inch medallions
1 medium size onion - chopped
4 cloves of garlic - minced
1 bottle or can of stewed tomatoes
8-10 mushrooms - thinly sliced
1/2 bunch of spinach
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
Dried oregano
Pinch of sugar
Fresh basil 

In a large skillet, saute the onion in olive oil with a pinch of kosher salt. Saute for about 7 minutes. Add garlic. Saute for another minute and then add the tenderloin. Saute for about another 7 minutes. Add the stewed tomatoes, the pinch of sugar, the mushrooms and spinach, along with the dried oregano (about 1 tsp) and the fresh ground pepper, cover and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes. 


Just before you are ready to serve, add the chiffonaded basil. Let the basil simmer for a couple of minutes - and then it is ready to serve. 


And with that, I will close. I have things to do*, people to see**. 

Loves.

Enjoy!!

* - look for any sort of chocolate
** - hang out with my pups

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Run like the wind.

Well helllooooo. I got home about an hour ago - and I am still pumped. I went for a run on my own - tackled the 6 min run 1 min walk. I talked myself into this run all day long. I have decided to 'boycott' my Thursday night run club. I am not quitting it - I just feel that I will do better on my own. And I think that I did tonight.

The view on my run.

I am getting over the head games, the psychological wall that I build, and I am getting better at just focusing on one foot in front of the other. I know this b/c I don't look at my watch to see that I have only ran for 30 seconds - I am able to get to about half way and even go past that mark. I am able to make it up a hill - and if I don't and I need to stop, I only allow myself to stop for a couple of seconds and make myself start up again. When I only have 2 minutes left and I feel like my thighs will turn into cement - I tell myself that 2 minutes is less than 'Just Breath' by Pearl Jam so I try and sing it to myself. And then I realize that it is impossible for legs to turn into cement and that makes me feel better. If you have heard of this happening, please report. 

Trestle: my mid-way point
I always whine about how slow I am. As I was running tonight I saw my shadow and thought - pick it up girl. At one point I thought I heard someone yelling from afar 'Hey, standstill runner!!!' - and then I realized it was just me coming up with nicknames for myself. I came home and shared this with Chris - and he said what I have heard before - who cares, you are out there, you are doing it, and if people want to judge, then let them. He's right. He also tells me to 'run like the wind' every time before I head out. When he first started saying that, I thought he meant 'run with the wind' b/c he knew I was slow and this would speed me up. JUST KIDDING! Wheeewww - I am trying to be funny. 

On the trestle - beautiful view

Tonight as I was running - I passed a couple of other runners - both times we sort of glanced at each other and smiled. And then I clapped for them and said 'Good job!' - and I think that they were surprised - and then they said the same thing back. We all need encouragement - in whatever way we can give and take it. That is what my 'sisters' have told me. I love them for that.

My last interval stopped just as I got off the Goose - so I made myself run home. If my neighbours were watching they would have seen a red-faced, ponytailed 'lady' running down the street, clapping for herself. Oh what a show. :)
PS - the pics are of my morning commute that I took a couple of years ago on my walk to work. It's beautiful and peaceful.

After a great run - Chris and I had a delicious Caesar Salad for dinner. Very much like this ONE. I cut the chicken up into small pieces this time, sauteed it with a couple of garlic cloves and some oregano. It was lovely. I am undecided about what I will make tomorrow - but I have a big, crisp head lettuce and some ground turkey - so I may make lettuce wraps. Yumma. Since this program is working so well, and it has been so easy to prepare and be organized, I think that we will keep this going for awhile. I am craving barley - so I may take a break on the weekend and make Barley Risotto. If you want to make it with me - check it out here. I love it and haven't had it in quite some time.

So... I am ending this day very happy. Christoff and I are home watching the hockey game together, eating dinner together and just hangin'. Life is grand. The weekend is among us - oh let it be good to all of you. You all deserve it.

Loves.

Enjoy!!

PS - Jozie slept through the night last night. That tricky pup must have read my blog. :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Jozie you are NOT an alarm clock.


day 3 dinner challenge. a turkey yam salad.

Dear Jozie,

Please stop waking me up in the middle of the night for me to lift you off the bed so that you can get a drink of water. I am not a fan of this behaviour. When you do wake me up - Magnum also wakes up and thinks that there is some sort of a party going on. If you can jump out of the truck on to pavement, I am not sure why you can't jump off of the bed on to a cushy rug. 

Please consider me at 1 AM.

Loves, 
C.

Oh who am I kidding. She probably isn't even going to read this blog.

Yes!!! I am lacking sleep. 3 nights in a row - is messing with my chi. Not chai tea latte. Chi. I am goofy. I am also feeling a little bummed this evening. Just going to take a moment to vent - please go ahead if you don't want to listen to me whine. Sometimes I wish that Chris and I could have a normal* evening together. *Normal - one that we are both home from work around 5ish. We take the pups for a walk. And then make dinner together, do the dishes and retire to the living room where we laugh, dance and sing. Ok everything up until the last part is what I am hoping for. I'm just missing my beau on St. Patrick's Day. And most days. 

Day 3 of my challenge  - and all is well. I really loved dinner again tonight. I feel really good after eating it too. I think that I should have clarified - I don't always have heavy carbs for dinner - but I do make pasta maybe once or twice every couple of weeks. We have brown rice and occasionally potatoes. This challenge has been great! I like finding different options, healthy options, and having fun with it.

Tonight's dinner was inspired by turkey breasts. Turkey and salad - oh ya - very deelish. I prepared enough to make dinner for tonight and our lunches for tomorrow.


Turkey and Maple Yams Mixed Green Salad

4 turkey breasts fillets
Mixed greens - I had two small containers of mixed organic greens - there was enough greens in 1 container for 2 salads
Bunches of mizuna (pic to the right)- yum!!! I haven't used this before. Coarsely chopped.
Fresh basil leaves - chiffonaded - visit HERE to learn how to do this 
1 large yam - peeled and chopped into very tiny pieces
1 large handful of dried cranberries
1/3 cup maple syrup
Kosher salt and pepper
Pinches of red pepper flakes 

Dressing: Olive oil and apple cider vinegar - half and half - whisked together with kosher salt and pepper. 

Pre-heat the oven to 400. Season the turkey breasts with a dash of olive oil, poultry seasoning, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Cook for 35 - 40 minutes.

In a large skillet, add a dash of olive oil and then add the yams. Season with kosher salt and pepper, and a few pinches of red pepper flakes (add more if you like it hot) and then the maple syrup. Saute over medium heat, stirring continuously until the yams are soft. This may take about 20-25 minutes. Add the dried cranberries about 2/3 of the way through and continue to saute. 

Once the turkey is cooked through - slice each breast into very thin strips. Once this is done - it's time to put it all together.

In a large salad bowl, place all of the greens including the basil. Top with the turkey and the yams. Add a couple of tablespoons of the dressing, and gently toss.

You may think that it s a bit odd having the hot with the cold, but trust me, this is delicious. The greens don't wilt from the warmth of the yams and turkey. The warmth brings out the aroma of the basil making it look and taste divine. The apple cider is lovely and brings out the sweetness from the maple syrup on the yams. 

Chris LOVED this one. He gave it a 5!!! I think that this would be a great appetizer for a dinner. I will definitely make this one again.

Alright - half way through writing - my beau came home and brought a Blizzard treat. Hello!!!! It was just what I needed. Just when I am feeling sorry for myself and missing him - he is thinking of me - and brought me home something delicious (it was choco chip mint) in celebration of St. Paddy's day. 

Alrighty friends. I hope that Hump Day was good to you.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

S.S times two.



day 2 dinner challenge. spinach salad. 

Picture this:

20 women. A windy pre-spring night. Hills. A whistle that blows after 6 minutes and then again after 1 minute. 20 women cheering each other on. High fives. Pumping arms. Puddles. More hills. Encouraging words. 

Are you picturing it?

What I have described above is a typical Tuesday night with the Sole Sisters. Tonight was a great night! It was a fun night. The run was challenging - but we were all in it together. We did 6 mins run and 1 min walk - with 6 - 30 second hills. Oh those hills. A couple of weeks ago Sister Shannon, she's not really a 'sister' in a religious sort of way... I am sure that she is someone's sister - and really she could be a religious 'sister' - all I really know her as is a Sole Sister. Ok, anyways. A couple of weeks ago on one of my 'struggles' she told me to pump my arms. Focus on pumping my arms and my feet will follow what my arms are doing. And you know what, it worked!!! I have been told to pump my arms before, but it never registered. Tonight on our last hill - which was long and steep (probably close to what Mt. Finlayson is like - well I have never done Mt. Finlayson, it's just what I imagine it's like that) - Sister Shannon said 'pump your arms. keep your head down. and move your feet'. It worked. We rocked that hill!

I feel so blessed to run with such a great group of inspiring women. I met a woman named Jacqueline (sp?) who told me that she had read my blog and that she is always at the back of her group - it meant a lot to me that she came up and shared that with me. I guess someone always needs to be in the back. 

I also met Donna R - who won the watch. So happy that it went to her - she is very excited to have it. And... we also had Margot run with us tonight. If it weren't for Margot, I wouldn't have finished running the 10K last year - love her.

Alright - running - over and out. Let's get to the good stuff.

Tonight's dinner was inspired about a dressing that I have been itching to try. I have a favourite Caesar Salad dressing that is made with yogurt - so I wanted to try a spinach salad dressing with yogurt. I love plain yogurt! My next experiment will be to try and do a Caesar dressing with the plain yogurt. 

On the menu: Spinach Salad. This was a very easy and very quick dinner to prepare. It was delicious and something will be made again. This recipe is enough for 4 big salads. We had dinner tonight and lunch is in the fridge and ready for tomorrow.

Spinach Salad with Sims Style Dressing

1. 5 bags of fresh spinach 
3 roasted peppers - see below - 
2 cups of sliced mushrooms
5 hard boiled eggs - I did these last night - peeled and cut into pieces

Dressing:
2 tbsp of maple syrup
1-2 tbsp of mustard - I would have preferred to have used Dijon mustard - but didn't have any so simply used French's - I wasn't disappointed
3 heaping tablespoons of plain yogurt - Olympic brand is my favourite
Dash of kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
Whisk all together


Roasting peppers. Slice the peppers in half and place cut side down on a parchment lined or aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Place in an oven that is set to Broil. Broil for about 10 minutes or until the skin starts to blister. Let them cool and gently take the skin off. If you are in a hurry, you can wrap them in paper towel and place them in the fridge for about 5 minutes.


Place all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl - then add the dressing - give it a good toss and it's ready to go. For lunches tomorrow - I have set the dressing aside so that it doesn't wilt the spinach leaves. 

And that's it.  I loved this dressing! LOVED it. I have met day two and am ready for tomorrow's dinner. It will involve yams, turkey, cranberries, mixed greens and whatever I can find to throw in. 

Alright Tuesday fans - Wednesday is almost here. Good 'ol Wednesday. 

Loves.

Enjoy!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Healthy dinner - day 1.

day 1 dinner challenge. fish and veggies.

Tonight's dinner was delicious. Fresh halibut with fresh veggies, fresh ginger and a little soya sauce. I realized that I have made a similar dish before - you can see it HERE. Tonight's dinner was slightly different - I went out on a limb and used fresh ginger (which I haven't used before) and lime leaves. 

Day 1 of our meat and veg for dinner. So far so good! Ha - we'll see where we're at on Wednesday. I have already planned for dinner for tomorrow night. I have boiled eggs which will go with a spinach salad, and I will add a bit of shredded mozzarella, roasted red peppers, mushrooms and a delicious dressing with maple syrup, dijon mustard and a bit of plain yogurt. Stay tuned for that. 


Here is the cast characters for tonight's dinner:
4 halibut steaks
1 red, yellow and green pepper - thinly sliced
8 strawberry or cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp of peeled and finely chopped ginger
4 lime leaves (optional)
Drizzle of olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper
Dash of soy sauce

Pre-heat oven to 400.
On a sheet of aluminum foil, place the halibut steak. Place it on the bottom 2/3 of the sheet, and not directly in the middle. Season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Add 1/4 of the peppers, 2 tomatoes (be careful they don't roll everywhere) and place 1/4 of the ginger on top. Drizzle with olive oil. 

Fold the half of the aluminum foil over to cover the fish. Starting on one side, fold over the edges tightly and go around to ensure that all edges are sealed up. Before sealing it up entirely, add a dash of the soy sauce. Seal it up completely and place on a baking sheet. Do this for the remaining pieces of fish and the vegetables. 

Bake in the 400 oven for 30 minutes. 

And that's it - a delicious, easy and nutritious dinner.


I loved the aroma of the ginger and the hint of it in each bite. The tomatoes burst during the baking, so the sweetness of the tomato juices fill up with each mouthful. 

Give this one a try - it's worth it.

Loves,

Enjoy!


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Challenges all around!


Do you ever catch yourself doing something during the day, that you didn't realize that you love doing so much until you're fully in it? That happened to me today - I was rocking out to Pearl Jam and Kings of Leon - and just felt so great - it was such a great reminder of how much music can boost your spirits. And then I remembered how much I like to 'belt' out the lyrics, and think that I probably should have been a singer or a back up singer (and then I remember that I need to have the voice of an angel). I have my moves down pat, almost all of the words - and my kitchen is my stage. I am pretty sure that my neighbours have had to listen to more than one concert. It could be worse, right? :) Anyways - I just love catching myself doing something and remembering how great life is.

This weekend has been a good one. Yesterday was Tracy's 'surprise' wedding shower. For weeks she has been trying to trick me to see if I had anything on yesterday - it didn't work - and it turned out to be a great surprise for her. Her mom hosted a lovely shower - it was really great to see how surprised and grateful Tracy was and eat a bunch of delicious treats. I love wedding and baby shower food. Remember the movie 'Wedding Crashers'? - I could do a movie called 'Wedding Shower Crashers' - and it would be me going around the town crashing wedding showers and eating all the goodies. Who's with me? Hello? Anyone? 

This morning - I was up bright and early - literally. I made a batch of THESE blueberry muffins. They turned out really well - and I felt as though I could have eaten them all. But, then I remembered, that eating 6 large muffins is not attractive, and that I needed to share them with Chris. So instead, I just had one. 

After my muffin - I strapped on the New Balance - and went on a run. Yes, you read that right. I am pretty proud of how I did. My watch was set to 5 min run and 1 min walk intervals - only b/c I don't know how to change it - but it was a good pace for me. I ended up doing 8 intervals - had set out to do 7, but b/c I wasn't home - I decided to keep going. I was out for about 47 mins and think that I ran over 5 K. It was a lovely morning. I like watching the other runners - the hardcore runners seem to look straight ahead and are so serious. But everyone once in awhile I see someone who runs with 'my style' and we say 'hi' and give an encouraging look. We all need a little encouragement along the way - whatever that is to us - it always seems to help a bit.

Tomorrow, Chris and I are starting a week long challenge. It's going to be a challenge where we only eat salads. Ok, that was how the discussion first started out, but I have changed it to protein and vegetables - so whatever that turns out like. I have stocked the fridge with a bunch of fresh and delicious fruits and vegetables and a bunch of healthy protein. I bought some fresh halibut and salmon (PS - Thrifty's has some great seafood deals on this week). So each night will be a new recipe with exciting and delicious flavours. I am excited about this. I will still eat my oatmeal for breakfast and a snack (healthy one) and our main meal and lunch will be the meat and veg. I think that it will be easy - I will just need to make sure that we are organized and prepared for dinner. Stay tuned for some new recipes. 

Since this 'self challenge' doesn't start until tomorrow - I made a big batch of pasta for dinner - similar to THIS - but maybe not as healthy. I used whole wheat linguine instead of fettucini, and it was fabulous!! So... I have a bit of this for my lunch tomorrow - so technically, the challenge will start tomorrow night. 

Well, my friends, that is it for me this evening. I am feeling exhilarated after a great weekend, feel rested, and I am ready to tackle another week. Before I go to bed, I feel the need to pillage through the cupboards in search of chocolate. Dang, I don't think that there is any - but that will not stop me from looking.

Have a good night - and a fab week!

Loves.

Enjoy!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Happy Friday!!

One week down - so many more to go!

Chris and I just finished watching Zombieland it was a great movie. We treated ourselves to a pizza - curled up on the couch and just hung. Then one dog who we will call 'Grumpy' snarled at another dog that we will call 'Whiner' - and they pretty much took over the couch. Oh those little dogs of ours.

I don't have too much to report tonight. It's been a good end to the work week - and I plan on ringing in the weekend low key. I picked up a few goodies for tomorrow morning's breakfast - Chris and I actually have a morning together. 

Now, let's get to the good stuff. I am excited to announce the winner of the brand new Timex Watch. I added all of the names and put them in a crystal vase - don't worry, I am not usually that fancy - it was clean and on the table - anyways - all names were added, but only one name could be picked. 

I am happy to announce the winner of the From thyme to time contest is...

Donna R

Congratulations Donna!

Donna, I am sorry, but I am not sure who you are - but I am very excited to give you this watch. I think that it will only give you the confidence to get stronger and stronger each week, to tackle those hills and help you time each of your intervals. 

I wish that I could have given everyone a watch - each of the stories were incredibly heartfelt and very inspiring.  I feel really honoured that all of these lovely ladies felt that this was a venue where you could share your inspirations with the rest of us.

Donna - please find me on Tuesday and I will have your watch for you. 

Good weekend to all.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Inspiration comes in all different forms

Kleenex in hand - I am going to attempt to write this post without letting tears fill up my eyes so that I can't read what I am writing. I am not sure if you have read the comments from my 'From thyme to time' post - if you haven't you should. I was excited to see who would stop by and share - and to be honest thought that I would get a few answers like 'chocolate bars inspire me to cut the grass' or 'money inspires me to get up and go to work every day'; I can't believe how wrong that I was. I know that I have a bunch of incredible women in my life that pull inspiration from somewhere to get through the challenges in their lives, but, I wasn't expecting their stories to be so emotional - and for my new 'friends' I am so grateful for what they have shared. 

I can't even begin to tell you how blessed I am for what you have shared with me. I have learned so much. I have learned that I am not alone. Although I don't want people to experience what I consider are my struggles - it is a relief to know that others are experiencing very similar challenges - and in the end - we're going to be ok. We're going to make it. I wish that I had a watch for everyone. 

When I started this blog over a year ago, my intent was to post recipes and share my love for food with family and close friends. What has developed is so much more. Being able to share my thoughts, stories, woes, struggles, love story, concerns and recipes, is incredible. I am inspired by the people that read my blog and post a comment - I am inspired to do better than the time before. 

I am emotional after reading the comments for a bunch of different reasons: the loss of fathers (I can relate and after 13 years still struggle as if it was yesterday);  the struggle with weight (for me - when has it not been); the struggle of a busy life, being an inspiration for someone, the love a child (I think of my nephews and nieces and can't imagine life without them in it). I think that we all need to remind ourselves what we are doing to 'get by' or 'live life to the fullest' and I think that it is oh so important as women, to share. I just want you all to know that I am so inspired by these comments and will revert back to these regularly to pick me up when I am down. 

With all the excitement of giving a watch away (thanks again Mena) and reading everyone's posts, I used some inspiration to make - what I think - an amazing dinner. 

Tonight's dinner was inspired by Kaffir Lime Leaves. Ok, I need to back up. Tonight's dinner was inspired by Steph bringing my Kaffir Lime Leaves. Steph, aka My Assistant, has been a Guest Chef before, and is a great cook. She brought me a package of these green leaved jewels yesterday - hopefully anyone watching knew that they were lime leaves and did not think that she was handing me a package of MaryJane. 


This is my first time cooking with these, and will definitely not be the last. I am hoping that Steph will become my Kaffir Lime Leaves 'supplier'. She picked them up at Fairway. I think that they can be found in most grocery stores that specialize in Asian Cooking - and also can be found at some shops in China Town. Their fragrance is delightful. They are so refreshing and subtle. The flavour they deliver is delicious. 

I don't really have a name for this dish - but think that I have come up with one. I hope that you guys consider this recipe - it is delicious, smells incredible and is healthy.

Kaffir Lime Leaves inspired Curry Stew

1 onion - chopped
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts - chopped into small bite size pieces
2 medium sized yams - chopped into small pieces - approximately 4 cups
2 small red potatoes - chopped into small pieces
4 cloves of garlic - minced
1 small can of tomato paste
7 kaffir lime leaves
1 can of coconut milk
2 peppers - I used one yellow and one green - chopped into bite size pieces
8 oz of sliced mushrooms - approximately 2 cups
Kosher salt and pepper
1 tbsp of crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbsp of curry powder
Plain yogurt 
4 julienned kaffir lime leaves for garnish

I know that it seems like this cast of character is a lot - but as you start cooking - it isn't. It's easy = all you need is one large skillet with a lid, a cup of tea or whatever you like to drink when you are cooking, and time soak in the aroma of what is unfolding as you prepare a delicious masterpiece.

In a large skillet, saute the onion in a drizzle of olive oil and add a pinch of kosher salt. Saute for about 8 minutes. Add the chicken breasts and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the yams and potatoes and stir to ensure that everything is nicely mixed together. Then add all of the dry seasoning - pepper flakes, curry and crushed black pepper. Mix thoroughly and add the can of tomato paste - coating everything in the red goodness. Stir in coconut milk, mix thoroughly, and then add the kaffir lime leaves, cover, and let simmer over low-medium heat for about 1/2 hour - stirring often. After 30 minutes, add the peppers and mushrooms. Cover and let simmer for about another 15 minutes. 


Before serving, gently remove the lime leaves from the dish. Serve in a nice bowl, with a dollop of plain yogurt and the julienned lime leaves. I had a slice of whole wheat naan bread to go along side.


The aroma of the lime leaves is not overpowering. It is definitely fragrant and when you open wide to take your first bite, you almost think that it is going to be full of a citrusy lime flavour, but it isn't. There is a deliciously subtlety that gives you the hint of lime, but doesn't drown it.  I hope that you give this a try.

One last thing before I sign off for the night. My gf - Tracy - is a very talented artist and photographer - and is also engaged. :) It's our joke. We are both 'fiances' at the same time. Her wedding is coming soon - it's an exciting time. Ok - I digress. Tracy posted that she was inspired about my giveaway and wanted to do one of her own. Her giveaway is super cool - and would be a gift that any photographer or photographer 'wannabe' would want. Visit her HERE - and enter to win.

Alrighty - the weekend is almost here - it will bring with it relaxation and time for ourselves. Oh - how exciting!

Loves.

Enjoy!


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Run to the hills, run for your lives.

Hello friends.

Welcome new friends.

It's been a good day. A good day that has ended well too.

I ran for my life tonight. I did a bit more walking than I would have liked to - but in the end we were out for about 6.5 K which is a good haul. 

I am sure that you are all tired of hearing about my challenges - my battle with myself - my fight with my speed - and my overall struggles. I know that I am not alone - and I know that I am being too hard on myself. I know that I could be sitting on my Royal Canadian eating bonbons - and instead I am out giving what I can give. I do think that I am giving 85% - and I think that the other 15% is the part that is telling me that I am not good enough, strong enough or fast enough. 

If it weren't from the leaders of my running group, and my good friend Maegan and the other ladies in the group - I probably wouldn't make it. 

I think that we all have 'demons' - and I think that we can overcome anything that we want to. I think that we need to figure out what those demons are - and when they strap themselves onto our backs as we are pushing our way up a hill - and squish them. If it's too hard to physically crush them with your hands b/c you are pumping your arms to give you momentum - then visualize them falling off and you squishing them with your 'oh so' powerful running shoes.

When Chris got home tonight, he asked me how the run was. I told him that it was ok - pretty much the usual: I am slow; I feel so bad that my group has to loop back for me; I just am struggling. And then I said that I have such a hard time with people giving me words of encouragement and helping me get through - and he said the best thing. He said - you need those words - we all do - and because you are who you are - you know that you can pass those words on to others. That's why I'm marrying him :)

Ok friends - don't forget the C. Mitchell Presents - GIVEAWAY!! It's a good'n. Jenny has left the first comment - and it means a lot to me. She is special and so is her inspiration.

Now - I know that this is supposed to be a cooking blog - but I just have been out of the kitchen. Our Comfort Food lasted for a couple of days - which is a huge treat. 

Alright friends - I hope that your day was full of inspiration.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Monday, March 8, 2010

From thyme to time

I have a fun story. Last week at Sole Sisters - Mena called me up to the front of the group (approx. about 130 ladies)  and was trying to get me to relax my shoulders. She was getting the group to agree with her (at least I hope she was) that my shoulders weren't relaxed and one was higher than the other. 

At the time of this happening - I was horrified b/c I had the 'rash' and my face was red and blotchy and I do have one shoulder a bit higher than the other. 

Then Mena said that my left shoulder was lower than my right and made me hold up my left hand and show my ring off. I 'finally' realized what she was up to. Sneaky Mena. She let the group know that I was recently engaged - I felt a 'bit' like a rock star - just sayin'. Then she presented me with a brand new Timex watch. A new watch!!! I never win anything. It was donated by one of the Soul Sisters who owns Watch It in Mayfair Mall.


How generous!!!! So... the thing is... I had just bought almost the exact same watch the weekend before. I finally broke down after over a year and treated myself to a great watch that would help me get out and run on my own. It worked. I ran last Saturday on my own. And then again in my race on Sunday. 

Now, because I have two, and I don't really need two, I want one of you to have this watch. This is a great watch! It allows you to set intervals, it has an alarm, a light (and that's pretty much all that I know how to use at this time). Since it is the same watch that I bought, I know that it is valued at around 85 bones (that's cool talk for dollars).


Here's what you need to do:

Leave me a comment telling me what inspires you when you are doing something difficult? 

It can be anything - it can be anything from cleaning the bathroom to not eating chocolate ice cream. 

Have fun with it. I am looking forward to hearing all of your inspirational stories - because frankly, I am always looking for inspiration. 

Chris will randomly pick a name on Friday evening - winner will be announced then, so please enter before Friday at noon.

Good luck!

Loves.

Enjoy!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Life is Grand!

Hi friends. I can't believe that I haven't written since Wednesday. I kid you not - I haven't even had an opportunity to. Life sure has been busy this last week - and I kind of think that it's going to be like this for the next little while. What have I been doing? Well... Friday night, Chris and I went to The Keg for dinner - we did the Dine Around menu - and it was delicious. We haven't been to The Keg in years - and we were pleasantly surprised. One of the appy's that we shared was a warmed goat cheese - I will be trying to replicate that in the next little while - it was heavenly.

Saturday - up and at 'em early. I needed to find something to wear to Tina and Darrell's wedding later that day. In the end I picked up a little jacket to wear with a skirt and top that I already had. I am pretty sure that I looked like I was going to a business meeting. Damn. I hate it when I am not prepared for events like that. Chris looked amazing. Here is the shirt and tie combo that I picked up for him. 


The wedding was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. It was small - 20 people - family and close friends. We felt very honoured to have been invited. Tina was gorgeous. Her dress, hair and overall aura was incredible. Darrell was very handsome. And their little son, Owen, was adorable. He had a little suit, and it was oh so cute. They had the ceremony on the balcony of their Penthouse suite at the Westin overlooking the Bear Mountain Golf Course - it was so beautiful. The setting, the peace and the entire ceremony was so perfect. The dinner was delicious and plated so beautifully. Tina did such a beautiful job with the decorating - it really was just perfect. 







Sunday - today - I started the day way with a 5 k race. I started out strong, and by my 3rd interval (I was doing 5 min run 1 min walk - first time for that this week) I got a bit slow and had to walk a bit longer. I walked a bit longer on a few other spots - but in the end ran to the finish line. Mena - ran out to encourage the runners coming in - when she got to me - she turned and ran with me. She was so encouraging - it made me so emotional - and like I said last week - it takes up so much more energy to run when you are crying. I had to suck it up - and not cry. I ended up running - trying to hold back tears - and not pass out. I managed to only do the first. I wasn't crying because I thought I was dying. I wasn't crying because Mena was running at her 'slow pace' and I had to try and keep up. And I wasn't crying because I wanted to still be in bed. I was crying because I wish that I could do better. I was crying because I have such a hard time people giving me encouragement and telling me kind things that might actually be true. Oh my. Sigh.

And for of an exciting Sunday - it's Debbie's birthday today!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEBBIE!!! Jules and I took her for lunch. We ate a sensible lunch - and then pigged out on dessert - it was so worth it.


And now for this Sunday night - I am sitting on my Royal Canadian. I made a big batch of Comfort Food for dinner tonight. It was delicious! And there is enough for dinner for tomorrow night - which to me is perfect.

I hope that you are all well. 

Loves. 

Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Heart.

Hi Hump Day friends. So happy that it is mid-week. It's been a good week so far. Well, let me re-phrase - it's been a week of ups and downs - but in the end, all in all, good.

I don't want to gross you out - don't worry I won't put any gross pictures up so you will refuse to visit my blog again - but I will tell you: I have broke out in a full on - full blown rash. See - I told you!!! Gross!!! Apparently the allergy to orange juice that I had as a kid - I still have. Who knew? I guess my recent addiction to orange juice and ice cubes - was not the best thing for me. So, thanks to Benadryl - I am on the mend. Don't worry it isn't contagious. And it won't leave a scar. And hopefully I will be rash free for a wedding that I have on Saturday. Not my wedding. My wedding will hopefully be before the end of the year. I am rambling. I could be known as the Rambler!!!! You got to know when to hold it. Know when to fold it....

I ran last night. We did a 4 min run with a 2 min walk. I struggled. I am sorry if I am sounding like a broken record from week to week - it's just been a struggle. I try not to beat myself up about how slow I am - but last night was a challenge for me. I may start out in the front during the run, and through the 4 minutes I always end up in the back. Then the group will loop back, so I'm up at the front again, and then always ending at the back. One of the leaders last night, Shannon, was so supportive. She was reminding me that I was out running, and that it was only 4 minutes - just take the 4 minutes one at a time. At one point, I got so emotional. I started to welt up - I did that sort of gasp for air before you wail - and then had to talk myself out of it. I reminded myself that crying when running is not only unattractive but takes up way more energy than just running and breathing. 

I need to keep reminding myself that it's not about speed. I am running to become healthy. I am running to become active. I am running for myself. I am running for my life! It's just a hard reminder for myself when I am at the back of the pack - always watching people's heels. 

I have struggled with this over the past couple of weeks. I still am excited to run - and I am excited that I am incorporating this into my life. I was watching Oprah today, and Jessica Simpson was on. They were talking about the struggles that she has had with how the media has portrayed her weight. She is by no means overweight - but the media has obsessed about her in 'mom jeans' and how her weight is out of control. Pretty harsh. I realize that being in the limelight is what happens when you are famous - 'it's part of the job' - but c'mon - do people really wonder why we (I am not speaking for all of you) as girls and women struggle with insecurities! 

I am not a JS fan, but I do like what she said. She said, "What makes a woman beautiful, is her heart." For some reason - I broke down. I for a split second related this to my running. I thought "What makes a woman a runner, is her heart". I know, you may be thinking, Cracker, but it just tugged at my heart. I am running, I am trying and I am succeeding. So I shouldn't focus on how fast I get there, but how I get there. 

Sigh.

Now let's get to the good stuff. I haven't done a cauliflower recipe for awhile, so with 2 large cauliflowers in the fridge, I knew that I had to do something. So, on the menu for tonight's dinner - Cauliflower Gratin. Yumma.

Cauliflower Gratin
1 large cauliflower - cut in to florets and then chopped into strips - about 1 inch thick
2/3 cups of heavy cream
1 tbsp of garlic powder
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper 
Fresh chives - 1/4 cup - chopped into small pieces
1 cup of gruyere cheese - grated 
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tsp dried oregano
Pre-heat the oven to 375. Place the sliced florets into a large baking casserole. In a small bowl mix the heavy cream, garlic powder, kosher salt and pepper together and pour over the cauliflower. Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over top of the cauliflower, and then top with the panko bread crumbs and dried oregano. 


Bake for 45 minutes. Serve warm. And enjoy!!!

Thanks for listening to my rant friends. Be good - the weekend is among us - and we can soak in all of the goodness that rest can do for us.

Loves.

Enjoy!