Sunday, May 22, 2011

Remember me?




My oh my - it's been a long time since I have been here.

I went to Summerland to visit my brother and his family last weekend. I tried to do a post before I left by Blogger was down. This past week has been very busy so I finally have a few minutes to post an update.

Summerland was so great. I just love it there. My nieces and nephew are so much fun to hang out with - I wish that we lived closer together. We planted their vegetable garden - corn, zucchini, potatoes, onions, carrots, squash and cucumbers. I told them that I would be heading up there when summer is done and it's time to pick everything. My brother served me gin and tonics all weekend - and they are now my new favourite drink. I had only had one once before and I didn't like it at all - it was far too bitter - now that bitterness is so refreshing.

I am not sure if you remember, but about 3 months ago, I started working out with my new trainer Tanya. I had a few challenges - but after 3 months it's been a pretty positive experience. Two weeks ago, we did my measurements from when we started and I have lost 20 inches. I kind of can't believe that that much has come off. It freaks me out too - that I had that much - and have much more to go - to come off. I have only lost 10 pounds since then - but the inches are obviously the way to look at the success. I have a lot more to go - and I plan to keep doing what I am doing. I have joined the gym in my office building and will do cardio a couple of times a week there with also doing Hit to Fit.

I have learned from this experience, for the first time in my life, that diet and exercise does really work. I have always pretty much done one or the other. I have not been having the mindset that I am on a diet - I have just been trying to eat as healthy as possible, watching how much I am eating and not eating if I am not hungry. Who knew??? It really does make a huge difference. I love treats - so I am trying to have a healthy treat instead of eating a chocolate bar. And if there may 'happen' to be a chocolate bar in the house - then I will try to have a piece of one, instead of having it all.

I am proud of myself and know that if I keep doing what I am doing and although times can be really challenging - I know that the results are worth it. I still have a lot to go - but now that I know that it is possible it just makes me to keep going.

One thing that I am trying to do for dinner during the week is to make meat and vegetables - try to stay away from the carbs and starches. That sometimes isn't always possible - sometimes I feel like pasta or rice - but if I buy things on the weekend to make that possible, it makes things a lot easier.

A couple of weeks ago I made a stir fry with chicken, vegetables and spicy thai sauce. It was a light dinner, full of flavour and something that I'll definitely make again.

Spicy Vegetable Chicken Stir Fry

1 onion - chopped
1 boneless, skinless chicken breasts - cut into thin slices - cutting in the grain
2 garlic cloves - minced
1/2 of a red cabbage - chopped into short small strips
1 red and yellow pepper - chopped into small pieces
8-10 mushrooms - sliced
1/4 - 1/2 cup thai chili sauce
Kosher salt and pepper

In a large skillet saute the onion in a tbsp of olive oil. Add a pinch of kosher salt. Saute for about 8 minutes. Add the chicken pieces and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and let it saute for about 20 minutes - until the chicken is cooked.

And that's it. A super easy and fast dinner.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Milkshakes!



My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard... I think that song is really talking about milkshakes.

I love milkshakes. LOVE. I got that trait from my dad. He loved ice cream. I LOVE ice cream. He used to make huge ice cream cones, he loved making floats and he loved a good milkshake. I can remember my dad making an ice cream cone using two cones and having enough scoops on both of them. He would claim he was going to share with our pup, but I am not sure that she really got much.

Last week was Jozie's 8th birthday. We always treat them to an ice cream cone. We let the pups share one. They share my love of ice cream - I taught them from a young age. Oh, ice cream may not be good for dogs you're saying - but whatever, once a year won't hurt them.

I should not really have ice cream, it's not good for me, and after having it for years and years I can see that it goes right to the hips and belly - it doesn't just slide off.

Since I love it so much, I have been trying to come up with healthy options that remind me of my love for the icy treat. I am not really sure if it is really any healthier, but I like to think that it is. So, if I am 'cheating' and treating myself, I like to think that I am doing it in a healthy way. My new 'ice cream' treat is vanilla frozen yogurt - Chapman's brand - low fat, low sugar. And since strawberries are fresh and plentiful right now, I have been perfecting a milkshake - aka - frozen yogurtshake.

This recipe uses frozen yogurt - but if you want to use ice cream please do - it will taste just as deelish. I will still call it a milkshake b/c yogurtshake doesn't have the same ring.


Strawberry Milkshake

10 fresh strawberries - washed and the tops cut off
1/3 cup milk - or yogurt
5 generous scoops of frozen vanilla yogurt

Place the strawberries and the milk or yogurt in the blender. Puree the strawberries and milk until they are fully blended. Add the frozen yogurt and blend again until the frozen yogurt is creamy and silky smooth.

And that's really it.

The flavour of the strawberries is so natural and organic. The frozen yogurt is not overwhelming and is full of incredible bursts of flavour with the bits of strawberries.

This is a perfect treat for anyone you love. Love yourself!

Loves.

Enjoy!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day



Happy Mother's Day.

To all the wonderful, loving, supportive moms, grandmas, stepmoms, aunts you don't need a day to tell you how special you are - but because you do - I hope that you are having a great day with your loved ones.

I spent the morning with my mom. I took her to brunch at Aura at the Laurel Point Inn. We had a great brunch. We ate way too much. We had a lovely view of the inner harbour, and it was so nice to just spend some good one on one time together. I love you mom!

I am missing Chris' mom today. This is the first mother's day for he and his family without their mom. Everyday is hard without a loved one, but days like these often are just a bit harder remembering that they aren't here. Chris was always good to his mom on Mother's Day. He always brought her flowers and chocolate.

For dinner tonight - I think that I will just have to think of food and not actually eat anything. I am still far too full from brunch. I think that we are going to be getting together with my mom, sister and nephews for dinner. Not sure what we'll have but it needs to be something healthy. I am getting my measurements done on Tuesday - and I will need to be able to suck in the stom...

I whipped up a very fast pasta dish last night. I found it on a blog that I check out often - Framed Cooks - she found the recipe in the recent edition of Bon Appetit. I love pasta. I love rustic, easy dishes that are full of flavour. Chris' mom used to say that I should have been 'Eye-talian' because I like to cook pasta so much.

I saw this recipe and knew that I needed to give it a try. It is super easy, super quick and so incredibly full of flavour. You should try it - you'll love it.


Pasta al pomodaro

1 medium sized onion - diced
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic - diced
1 tsp of sugar
12 basil leaves
2 tbsp of butter
Kosher salt
Pepper
Spaghetti
Parmesan - freshly grated if you can - and lots of it

In a large skillet, saute the onion in a tbsp of olive oil. Add a pinch of kosher salt and saute for 8 minutes then add the garlic and saute for another minute. With a hand blender or in a food processor, blend the diced tomatoes. Add the tomatoes to the skillet, along with the kosher salt and pepper and basil leaves. Simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, boil the water for the pasta. Salt the water for the pasta - add a generous couple of pinches to it. I don't normally do this - but it really made a difference - and the pasta was delish. Boil the pasta for 6 minutes - not until it is al dente.

Add the butter to the sauce and stir to let it all melt in and remove the basil leaves from the sauce.

After 6 minutes, use a slotted spoon or tongs and take the pasta from the pot and add it to the sauce. Then let the pasta continue to cook in the sauce. Add a cup of the pasta water to the sauce.

Add a bunch of cheese and stir together. And then serve it up.

The pasta is silky and smooth - and the flavour is divine.

When I was backpacking through Europe many years ago - we were in Florence and we decided to eat out one night - which was a huge treat for us. We found this little restaurant off the beaten track and had pasta. The pasta was almost exactly like this dish. At first when it was served, I remember thinking 'uh this is it??' - and then the first taste was like an explosion of flavour in my mouth. It was a treat last night - sitting down after a long day with my love - and having a delicious bowl of pasta.

Alright - time to probably vacuum and hang out with my hub.

Have a great Sunday - and get ready for another full week.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Egg noodle Love.



I wasn't really going to write about this. I thought that I would keep it to myself and those who see me on a daily basis. Last week my doctor told me that I had Bell's Palsy. When I found out - I thought - you have got to be kidding me! I had never heard of it before - and just thought - what next? Then my doctor told me that Jean Chretien had Bell's Palsy, and I just about had a heart attack thinking that it was permanent. Bad example, doc.

I knew that something was wrong when my co-workers were telling me that it looked and sounded like I had just come from the dentist with freezing in my mouth. I hadn't. By midday on Thursday my left side of my bottom lip was a bit fat and my mouth was a bit off center.

I am self conscience about it, but I know that I am lucky that I have a very minimal case of it and that it could be a lot worse. I have to be truthful though - that I was just so frustrated that something else has come up. It's been a bit of a rough year for me for some reason. The only thing that I ever tend to get each year is a cold - and this year has been different. I will keep positive and know that all the working out and eating healthy is paying off and if I wasn't doing the workouts and eating healthy - I think that it could be worse.

For tonight's dinner I got the recipe from The Pioneer Woman. I read it a couple of months ago, a recipe with egg noodles. Since then I have been thinking about egg noodles. Wake up in the morning - egg noodles. Walk my dogs - egg noodles. Watch hockey - egg noodles. Chris bought two bags of egg noodles - one for his turkey soup, which was divine, and another bag for who knows why. Anyways - I am guessing that you know where I am going with this. That's right - egg noodle bake.

At first I was really excited to try this. Then as I was making it, I didn't think that it was going to be all that delicious, then I pulled it out of the oven and smelled how incredible it was and then tasted it - and it was definitely worth trying.

Chris got whole wheat noodles - so I didn't feel so badly for having a nice sized bowl of this. It's a hearty, delicious meal that I will definitely make again.

Baked Egg Noodles

1 bag of egg noodles
1 pound of ground meat - beef, chicken, turkey, pork...
1/2 tsp of pepper flakes
Kosher salt and pepper
2 cups of thinly sliced mushrooms
2 cups of tomato sauce - whatever you have on hand
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
1 cup of sour cream
1 1/2 cups of cottage cheese
1 cup of shredded cheddar

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

Boil the egg noodles until al dente. At the same time, saute the ground meat in a skillet and add mushrooms and continue to saute until meat is evenly cooked. Add pepper flakes, a pinch of kosher salt and black pepper. When the meat is cooked add the tomato sauce and continue to let it simmer over low heat.

Drain the noodles and place it back in the pot. Add a pinch of kosher salt, the green onions, sour cream and cottage cheese. Mix well.

Add the noodles to a casserole dish. Then top with the tomato sauce. And then with the cheese.

Bake in the 350 oven for 25 minutes.

And that's it. Serve it hot and serve a lot.

Alright friends - I hope that your Monday was good to you.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Goodbye's are always sad


Blinked - and the weekend is over. It was a bittersweet weekend. Sweet because it was full of friends, family, food and good weather, but bitter because we are saying farewell to friends who are moving across country.

Tina, Jon and pup, Penny, have packed up all of their belongings and are heading out tomorrow for a road trip to their new home in Ontario.

We are really going to miss them. Although I am sad to see them leave, I am so excited for them. I am so excited for them to start on a journey, just the two of them and their pup, starting fresh, starting new, and doing it together.

I thought of them leaving when I was coming home from work the other night - and I got really emotional. Missing them yes, but (and I hope that I don't make this sound weird) but I am a bit envious of their adventure. I love our life - but there is a part of me - that sometimes wish that Chris and I could pick up and try something new. Not sure if that makes sense? It might just be the adventure that I am envious of - an adventure with their loved one. I know that we are just young and we are full of adventures and they will be full of everything that we want them to be.

We will be heading to Ontario in September and we are hoping that we can have a visit with them and see them in their new surroundings.

For the rest of the weekend, we had my sister and nephews over for dinner. I made a variation of pulled pork sandwiches (which I just realized I have never posted and I don't have pictures - will have to make again, soon), coleslaw and mac & cheese.

This morning I had my friend, Tracy and her daughter, Emma, over for the Royal Wedding. I PVR'd it so that we could watch together with tea sandwiches, scones, cupcakes and sip out of RW tea cups. It was a great way to watch the couple in love get married.

Alright, I just wanted to touch base, and let y'all know what I have been up to. Aren't you happy now? Just kidding.

I hope that you all had a great weekend - that it was sunny where you are - and that you are ready to hit this week with full force.

Loves.

Enjoy!