Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter.



Happy Easter.

I hope that the Easter bunny brought you treats.

We are having Easter dinner at ours tonight. Not too many people over - but good friends and family and I am looking forward to having a good visit, watching the game and eating too much.
I finally am getting to use the beautiful cupcake stand that I got for my wedding shower. Love it!

I started prepping yesterday for Easter dinner. I cut up my onions, carrots and celery for the bottom of my roasting pan; I prepped the brussels sprouts; I browned the sausage, celery and onions for the stuffing; I made carrot cake cupcakes; and I clogged the garborator. Yep! So, the sink clogged too, and then Chris tried to fix it, and as of right now we do not have a functioning sink in the kitchen. This is not the first time I have done this. Our first Thanksgiving dinner in the house, I did the same thing. We called someone in and it was fixed right away, this time, we are not so fortunate. Thankfully we have Suite B - so I have been using that sink. I will definitely be getting my workout going up and down the stairs. Ha, I just sounded like my mom.

I have done anything different for dinner this time. I was so indecisive about what to make - I left it too long - so just bought what I found at the grocery store.

On the menu:

Turkey
Sausage stuffing
Roasted carrots in maple syrup
Roasted brussels sprouts
Broccoli - Chris' pick. This is not something that I ever make for a turkey dinner, but Chris' mom always did and I know that he always loves it.
Mashed potatoes - with rosemary garlic butter
Carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese icing and roasted coconut

I needed a quick break, so writing up a quick blog was a nice break.

I hope that everyone has a nice Easter.

I am off to do another run downstairs and wash some dishes.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Rosalyn cakes

Hello Good Friday. Aren't all Friday's good?
It's the start of a 4 day weekend for me - and I am so excited. We don't have a lot of plans - we're just going to take it easy - walk the pups, hangout, putter around the house and just relax. I won't be able to complain that I have no time to do anything this weekend - b/c I have a feeling that I won't be making the most of the 4 days. Oh well. Sometimes our body need a break. Right?

We started the morning off with smoothies - just like these ONES. Very refreshing and a good way to start out the day.

We are probably going to take a trip to the Root Cellar in a bit and get some veggies for Easter dinner. I still have no clue what is going to be on the menu - except for turkey.

Ok, enough of the small chat - now I want to talk cake. I work with one of the most talented cake maker/decorators ever. Seriously. She is incredible. Her name is Rosalyn. She made our wedding cake, she did my mom's birthday cake, she did my friend Tracy's wedding cake and cupcakes and she is forever bringing in treats to work.





Yesterday she brought in these! They were seriously the cutest things that I had ever seen. I brought one home for Chris and he said that it was delicious. The patty was made out of just baked cake and then cream cheese added to it. The french fries were sugar cookies. The display was so gorgeous, so creative.



We all keep telling her that she has to do this for a business. I sure hope that she does. She is so talented and she loves doing it. If you are wanting a specialty cake made - let me know and I will pass her info on to you.

Alright - time to think about the rest of the day. I really want to get out in that sunshine since we haven't seen it in so long. I hope that you enjoy the day!

Loves.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kale what???

I think that I will pass on talking about our Canucks for this post. It was only one game - and I am pretty sure that they will come back with a vengeance tomorrow night - and we will watch the game and we will cheer, and dance and hug and laugh... when they win. Breathe!

I mentioned that I have been going to a trainer, Tanya, for about 2 months now. She is great! She's great in the way that she is just so positive, so encouraging and just so nice. She is also great in the way that she makes my legs and arms burn, she makes me feel stomach muscles that I didn't know I had and she makes me sweat in an unattractive way. She is great in that way, IF, you like that sort of thing.

No pain, no gain. As much as that is a cheesy saying, it really is true. I know that when my stomach is so tired that I can't eat dinner, or that my legs are so sore that I can barely climb the stairs to Starbucks the next day or that my arms are so sore I have a hard time typing - I know that it is all so good for me. It is just making me stronger. It is easier at this point to just give up, I know that, but for the first time in a long time, I am asking myself - why I would even consider it.

I went to a new workout session the other day - Hit to Fit. I loved it. I can't wait to go again. It kind of cracks me up that I am excited about a grueling workout.

It's a struggle for me - and I think that it always will be. For me, getting healthy, is going to be a lifestyle change. When I started working with Tanya, she asked me what my goals were; I told her that I wanted to be healthy. That goal hasn't changed. What worries me about my goal is that when I have done classes, courses, running for my life, there is always a time when the session or course is over. This time, I can't have an end date, and that's what worries me. There has always been and end date and when the date comes, I finish what I am doing and don't carry on. I know that I need to be different this time. I need to make it a part of my life. So my goal to be healthy is still going to be achievable but I need to add to that to make this all a part of my life. A lifestyle change.

Change!

Speaking of change, I had chips last week - Kale Chips. If I had a choice I would prefer ripple or cheddar, but after I had these, I am hooked. My trainer told me about them, so I knew that I had to try them.


Kale Chips

1 bunch of kale
1-2 tbsp of olive oil
Kosher salt

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

Wash and dry the kale. Trim off the stem - apparently these are tasty to snack on. Then cut the kale into smallish - chip size - pieces. Place them in a large bowl and drizzle the olive oil over top. Try using the first tbsp and use your hands to mix it in so that the kale pieces are lightly coated. If you need more of the oil, be sure to add it.

Place the kale pieces on a lined cookie sheet - either parchment or aluminum foil. Then add pinches of kosher salt. Yumma kosher salt.

Place in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes.

The chips will be crispy - and when you place them in your mouth they will first be crispy and then they will almost melt in your mouth.

They are delicious.

Alright friends - I hope that you are looking forward to this long weekend. I know that I sure am.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saturday Sammies


What a lovely Saturday. There's something special about waking up to blue skies after a long winter of dark, grey skies. And there's even something more special about being able to laze around for a bit and not have to rush off. We celebrated this fine morning with a great dog walk and a Starbucks.

I don't normally make a lunch on a Saturday - it seems like we usually eat a late breakfast so we're not always hungry for lunch. Although Chris is usually starving after 4 hours of Kung Fu - so every once and awhile I will try and whip up something. I thought that I would bring out the panini grill and cook up some hot sandwiches.

Chris' Kung Fu Sandwiches

The only reason that I am calling these 'Kung Fu' is because they seem to be perfect after teaching and training.

2 small onions (I think that one medium may be too much) - cut into thin strips
6 large mushrooms - chopped into thin slices
2 chicken breasts - cut into long thin strips
2 tsp of dijon mustard (Dijon is on sale at Safeway this week - buy 1 get 1 free)
1 large clove of garlic - minced
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 peppers - sliced in half and grilled on panini grill - or roast in oven on broil
Baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup goat cheese
2-4 slices of panini bread - or any bread you have on hand

(this should be enough for 2 really large sandwiches or 4 just right ones)

In a saute pan, drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil, and add the onion with a pinch of kosher salt. Saute for about 6 minutes. Add mushrooms and then the chicken. Add another pinch of kosher salt. Continue to cook for another couple of minutes. Add the dijon mustard, the garlic and oregano. Stir together and let cook for another 10 minutes, ensuring chicken is cooked. The dijon mustard will make the chicken and mushrooms nice and creamy.

Meanwhile, grill/roast the peppers. Slice each half of a pepper into 4 pieces.


Now it's time to put it all together. Cut the panini slice of bread in half. Layer the sandwiches starting with spinach, add slices of the pepper, then the chicken and mushrooms and top it with goat cheese and top with the other piece of the bread.


Grill the sandwiches on the sandwich grill for a couple of minutes.

And that's it! A perfect Saturday afternoon lunch. Chris rated these a 5+.

Alright - I hope that you are all keeping track of our Canucks - and are sending good hockey vibes to them on their trip to Chicago.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

GO CANUCKS!



Please forgive me but for the next month or two, I will be pre-occupied with our Vancouver Canucks and the playoffs.

Vancouver just scored!!!!! 1-0, 7 minutes in. That's my boys!

They're not really my boys - but I have huge admiration for all of them. I love them. I love some more than others. They have had such an amazing season they can only continue. Please note that I haven't written about the Canucks this year - so if something should happen to tonight's game, I will never write about them again.

That is Jozie's hockey jersey. She is a true Canuck fan. She watches almost every game. She does not enjoy wearing her jersey - in fact, when I put it on her, she sat stiff as if she couldn't move. I think that she thinks that if she doesn't move, that I will take it off her. Don't worry we don't make her wear it - just for special occasions - like tonight - first night of the playoffs. Don't worry it's already off.

I am supposed to just be getting home from water aerobics. Please don't tell my trainer. I will tell her tomorrow while we are doing our 80 lunges, 30 burpees, 900 crunches, 40 Eff words... To be honest, I was all set to go, but something is happening in my 'womanly' area and I would rather curl up in a ball pretend that I am being punched in the gut.

Canucks just scored again!!! Did you hear me scream???? Please don't tell Chris the score if you see him before he gets home. He is PVR'ing the game and he would probably cry if he found out the score. Don't tell him? Are you calling him right now to tell him? Don't!!!!

I made a quick coleslaw tonight. I mean quick. It was a fast, easy dinner, and a great side to go with a turkey burger.

Some of you may not be impressed, but I bought the bag of coleslaw. I bought it for various reasons:
1. It was super cheap - $1.50 at Safeway
2. I didn't want to spend 4 hours chopping coleslaw
3. I was in a hurry and this is perfect

I am sure that getting a fresh head of cabbage would be much better (it is, I have done it before) but this is just so much easier and it tastes just as delicious with the dressing.


Mango coleslaw

2/3 of a bag of prepared coleslaw
2/3 cup of plain yogurt
1 mango, chopped into very small pieces
1 tsp hot sauce
1/2 cup pine nuts

In a large bowl add the yogurt and hot sauce and stir. Then add the chopped mango and stir together. Then add the prepared coleslaw to have it all coated in the dressing. Top with pine nuts and stir in.

I am trying not to use any mayonnaise so am substituting yogurt when I can. I don't actually have any mayo in the fridge at all, so yogurt is always a great substitution.

The mango is sweet but also a little tart. And so is the yogurt. If you want to take a little of the 'zing' off - I would recommend adding a tbsp of honey to the dressing before you add the mango and cabbage.

Alright, I have to go and pace.

We are all Canucks!!!

Loves.

Enjoy!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rustic Pork and Beans



Sunday evening - the weekend is winding down. It's always that calm before the storm. Not that as of tomorrow it is going to be stormy - or even that a storm is a brewing - but it's just that feeling of comfort ending, and pace is about to start. Pace - that there is always something to do and not enough time to do it in. I used to feel pace when it was the weekend too. And then something happened - not sure what, really, it just happened. Now on a weekend, even though there is a lot that I can be doing - trust me, so much - I don't feel guilty about bringing down a glass of iced tea, curling up on the couch with a blanket and watching the season final of Top Chef.

The first part of the weekend had no pace. It was lovely. My mom and I went out yesterday to do some clothes shopping. She is needing some new digs for an upcoming holiday. She had a list of things she needed. I did not. She came home with nothing. I did not. She found nothing on her list. I found stuff that was not on a list. We ended our (sorry, my) shopping spree with lunch at the Irish Times Pub with Chris - all in all a great day. You may remember the last time I was at the Irish Times Pub - click here. This time we were a little more subdued. They really do have incredible pub food there.

I haven't cooked this weekend at all. It's like I am on strike or something. For dinner tonight though, I am cooking up a batch of spaghetti sauce. I am hoping that this will last a couple of lunches and dinners. I am doing the usual - canned tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, ground chicken, garlic, onions and lots and lots of spinach - and serving it with whole wheat pasta.

I have been really excited to share this recipe with you. I saw it on an episode of Chuck's Day Off - man I love that show. I have switched it up a bit - as I don't eat veal, or use veal stock - but I think that it turned out just as delicious as if Chuck had made it. I will definitely be making this dish again.


Rustic Pork and Beans
(don't let the name fool you)

4 pork chops - bone in - at least an inch thick - thicker if you can find them
2 shallots - finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic - minced
2-3 cups of cherry tomatoes
2 cups of stock - I used chicken
2 sprigs of rosemary - chopped - about 2 tbsp
2 cups of white beans - kidney - rinsed and drained - or use dry and soak overnight
Kosher salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

In a large oven proof pot, drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil and add shallots. Cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the rosemary, tomatoes and the beans and let the tomatoes and beans be covered with the garlic and shallots. Add the chicken stock. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Place in the 350 oven and let it cook for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the lid and let it continue to cook for another 10 minutes.

In the meantime, drizzle a tiny amount of olive oil on each pork chop and season with kosher salt and pepper. In an ovenproof skillet, brown both sides of the chops. This should take no longer than 5-8 minutes. When both sides are nicely browned, place the skillet in the oven and let the chops continue to cook. 20 minutes should be more than enough time.

At this time, both are done at the same time. Place the pork chop on the plate and cover it with the tomatoes and beans and the delicious sauce.

And that's it! This dish is not only so flavourful and aromatic, but it is a perfect meal. We had a small salad with it and some rustic bread that I cut into thin slices to let us soak up the broth.

Jules and Chris both rated this a 5.

I picture that I would find this dish in Italy. An older, Italian woman, an incredible chef would serve it to us as we sit out overlooking the rolling hills of Tuscany, sipping wine. I would be just sitting there smiling and basking in all of the gloriousness of the night - and they would be talking in Italian - probably about how all I do is sit and smile. This is what dreams are made of. Food does that to me!!!!
I hope that for whoever is reading my blog is always able to pick up on how I am trying to add humour - if not - I am sorry that I sound like such a dork.

Alright friends - I hope that you are able to find and set your pace for the week - and that it goes by just the way that you would like it to.

Loves.

Enjoy!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What happens in the pool, should stay at the pool.

Tonight was the 2nd time in 2 weeks that I put on the suit and went to Aquafit. Don't worry I didn't just wear the suit to the pool, I put clothes on over top. And... don't worry, I won't show you a picture of me in it.

It's a pretty good, hour long workout. It gets my heart rate up, I can work as hard as I can, and I can feel as light as a feather. It's a good alternative to my trainer workout - lord knows that I need to do as much activity as I can during the week.

I love swimming. Love it. I love the water. I love wearing the suit. Now, that being said, I am not a huge fan of pools. I was thinking tonight after class as I was trying to be modest and hide as I was getting dressed - beside a older rather larger woman walking around in the naked talking up a storm sharing her bits with everyone - and as a group of girl Sea Cadets came in (about 20 of them) who took my hiding spot on the bench, and were asking over and over to one another if they had to wear a tshirt over their bikini and ecstatic when they knew they didn't have to - all of the memories I have of the pool as a youngster.

Here let me share:

- in grade 3, we went with our class swimming - and after in the changing rooms I got in trouble for singing out loud (very loudly) - 'In the land of Mars where the ladies wear no bras, but the men don't care 'cause they wear no underwear'.
- when I was about 8 I had just got a brand new purple sparkly comb from Field's (I loved that comb) and someone stole it out of my bag at the pool. I knew who did and approached the girl but she told me it was hers and didn't give it back to me. Why do people steal? I was devastated, Field's had good combs.
- when I was 20 my dad took my sister and bro to the Hot Spring's for a night. It was fancy :) The next day, my sister and dad were sitting on the side of the pool and my brother and I were in the pool. I told them all to watch me do a handstand. I went down and didn't realize how close I was to the bottom and my ring finger on my right hand hit the bottom of the pool when it was stiff. I heard it crack under water and I broke the bone connected to the finger in my hand. My family was laughing hysterically as I was screaming. My brother wanted to pull it out of socket. NO! And my dad told me that I sprained it. 2 weeks later I could still not move it and it was so huge as it had swelled up. We still laugh about it to this day. And I especially laugh at how I never went to the doctor to get it looked at
- this is a non pool story - but it's a good one. I like to call it 'Ride the wave'. Cuzzie Marsha knows it. Chris and I went to Bowen to visit a couple of summers ago. They have an incredible deck right down on the water - the water is very deep there - you basically just float around, just off the rocks - loving it all. Well we started to come in and climb the latter, when all of a sudden the waves picked up. I could not get to the latter. The waves got a little bigger and they were sending me flying a bit. Marsha and Chris were standing up on the deck and Marsha was yelling 'Ride the wave Shirl, ride the wave'. After about 20 minutes I made it in. Whoa. We still laugh about it now.

Ok, that is enough pool side talk for now.

I have a delicious pasta recipe to share. I LOVE this dish. Mrs. Sherstan gave it to me many years ago. She is an amazing cook - so I knew that if she made it, that it would definitely be good.

Broccoli - many people don't know what to do with the stalks and only use the crowns. I prefer the stalks over the crowns. I love them. Chris loves the crowns - so we are a perfect match :) Not only can you put them in this pasta dish, they are delicious to snack on raw and they are perfect in stir frys as well.


Bow-tie pasta with broccoli stalks

1 pack of bow tie pasta - you don't necessarily need to use bow tie but I like the smaller pieces that easily soak up the broccoli
2-3 cups of broccoli stalks chopped into very small pieces (4 stalks)
4 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp of olive oil
Kosher salt
Parmesan cheese


This is really the easiest pasta dish.

Boil the pasta until al dente. Save a cup of the pasta water for the sauce if needed.

In a pan saute the garlic for 1 minute and then add the broccoli and a pinch of kosher salt. Saute over medium heat until the broccoli softens slightly - about 15 minutes. Add some of the pasta water to make the sauce a little more saucy. Add the drained pasta to the sauce stir to ensure that it is all mixed together and then add parmesan cheese - add as much as you like.


And that's it really. Easy, quick, and super flavourful.

Loves.

Enjoy!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Smoothy-a-licious



I just sat down with my laptop and I am thinking of what tonight's post would be about. I went back to April 5th of 2010, and I wrote about Easter. Easter was so early last year - it's much later this year. Days before Easter, our little Magnum went missing. Remember THIS.

Oh that was a hard couple of days. We still feel so fortunate that we got him home safe and sound - that someone didn't decide to take him home with them and never send him home to his family. That little guy is still a huge love of ours and our friends and family - he is a gem.

There are a few birthdays today - Auntie Babs - HAPPY BIRTHDAY, and my good friend Maegan - HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

Alright - just a short and sweet post.

Sunday morning, while still on holidays, I made a healthy and delicious breakfast. Eggs, sausage, pumpernickel toast and smoothies. I had bought a bag of frozen blueberries, I had a bunch of plain yogurt and lots of fresh strawberries. Everything for the perfect smoothy.


Sims Style Smoothies

1 banana
10 fresh or frozen strawberries
1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries
1 1/2 cup of plain yogurt
1 tbsp of honey

Place the fruit in the blender and blend until the fruit is pureed. Add the yogurt and continue to puree. Through the lid of the blender, add the honey while the smoothy is still pureeing.

And that's it! They are cold, sweet, and so delicious. I love them!! They are a treat for us b/c I never have the time to make them. Or, I just don't like cleaning the blender. I think that may be it.

The colour of this is so beautiful to me - it is so gorgeous.


*I prefer to use fresh berries instead of frozen - but they are both delicious.

Alright friends, I hope you're enjoying your evening.

Loves.

Enjoy!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Guest Chef - Reido - AKA Raven Lunatic

BRRRRRrrrrrrrr....

That is the sound of me getting a cold. Come on!!!! I just recovered from the devil's sickness and now a cold. I am not happy about this one. Not ONE bit. I have to let it go. Breath in (can't, my nose is plugged). Breath out (very unattractive).

Today was my first day back after a week off. Oh what a nice week it was. Chris and I just hung around, spent some much needed time together, explored downtown and went up island to visit my cuzzie and her family. It was a great visit - short and sweet - and they spoiled us with a fresh oyster dinner. Fresh!! Fresh as in Reido and Chris (ok mostly Reido - Chris went along for the support I think) walked down to the beach near their house and grabbed them for our dinner.

I have only had oysters once before. My brother took my mom and I to Monk McQueen's, right down on the inner harbour in Vancouver. It's a very nice restaurant known for their seafood. It was my birthday - and at the end of the dinner a piano player played 'Happy Birthday' to me and I was serenaded. That part was so fun. The oyster part... not my fave. They were raw, and the texture and the idea just wasn't for me. Later that evening... the oysters didn't sit well, and I never had them again.

I was a little skeptic to try the oysters this time around - but I know that Reido is a great chef and my cousin always talks about the dishes that he is creating.

I am excited to have Reido as a Guest Chef - and the fun part about this one - is that I was there to watch him create/prepare his masterpiece.

Meet Reido

What is your favourite meal to make?
Schnitzel and speitzel

What is your most memorable meal ever?
Steamed clams and oysters on the back of my boat with my wife. And, also pulled pork sandwiches in the pissing rain surf side in Lahaina.

If you could have dinner with anyone, anywhere - who would it be, where would it be and what would be on the menu?
Franz Klammer - Raclette and Schnaps in the Swiss Alps

Raw eel or yam roll?
Yam Roll

What is your favourite dish that you make for your wee'ins?
Spagbog - Merville's slang for spaghetti

Oysters Two Ways


Deep fried oysters

Oysters
Bread crumbs
Oil for frying - Reid used a very nice deep fryer

Reid shucked the oysters and gently rinsed them in water to ensure that all the sand and bits of shells were out. Then he gently tossed them in bread crumbs. And then into the deep fryer - fried for a couple of minutes. Put them on a plate and served.

OMG - they were so delicious. I was very ladylike and only had 3 - but I would have eaten all of them if I was on my lonesome.

Oyster Motoeyaki

Now, now. If you ever have a chance to try this - please do. They were so flavourful, so delicious. The oysters were cooked perfectly and the topping of miso paste and a few other ingredients was like nothing I had tasted before. Those kids up in Merv are so creative.

I don't really have the exact recipe - so bare with me.

Oysters were put on the grill in the shells. They were grilled until the shells started to open - and then Reid opened them up and tossed the half of the shell.

He prepared the topping with miso paste and Wasabi mayo (this stuff was incredible). He mixed that together, laid the oysters and shells on a baking sheet, topped with the miso topping and then broiled in the oven until the tops were browned.

I am not sure if you'll ever get to try these on your own, if not, but you see them on a menu, then give them a try. I am also sure that if you stopped in on Reido and my cousin that they would have you in for an oyster feast. Ok, maybe not - but they are incredibly hospitable.

I love trying new things - and I love spending time with loved ones. Our visit was great - and I will be back guys!

Loves.

Enjoy!