Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Another love...

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Just a quick one - just to tell you about another addiction that I sort of think that I am sort of developing.  I know. It's bad. Please don't judge me. No seriously - no judging. And trust me - this is a healthy addiction. I mean - it's similar to my blueberry, cooking magazine, chocolate, iced tea, Coke Zero (which I am happy to be kicking), oh and so many more I think. These are healthy addictions, and this is just another one to add to my list.

Are you promising not to judge?

Cloth napkins!

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I know! So healthy. It's not the type of addiction where I need to have on me at all times. I don't sleep with one. I don't shower with one. I don't have one in my pocket at all times. I don't have a picture of one framed in my living room.

When I was up in Kitimat last summer for my friend, Jocelyn's, birthday - she pulled out cloth napkins for dinner. She started using them to avoid using paper napkins - helping out the environment - and I loved the idea. She bought me some for my birthday - the pretty yellow ones. And I have bought several over the year - beige (I used them the most). Green. Red ones that cuzzie Margo gave me for Christmas. Copper coloured ones that my friend Tracy gave me for a shower gift. And - when Zeller's was closing out I bought 12 crisp white ones with a matching table cloth.

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Anyways - I love how they look with plain dishes - and can change up the table setting.

It's a great investment - well not really even an investment because you can pick them up for dirt cheap. And oh how Mother Earth will love you. All of those paper napkins staying out of the garbage.

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And this is a new basket that my mom got me - I LOVE it. I lined it with a few potted plants - and have it sitting on the kitchen table.

Alright friends - time to curl up with husband and watch Jimmy Fallon.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Let me entertain you

We love to have people over for dinner, parties, happy hour, brunch, lunch, dessert... I guess that we really love to entertain. Does that sound sort of snooty? I don't mean for it to - we just really love having friends and family around us - love sharing good times with them - and cooking up a feast so that they come hungry and leave full.

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This summer has been fun. We had a - H'Appy Hour - party a couple of weeks ago. The weather was perfect. We sat out in the backyard - feasted on appies - had canoe rides - and just enjoyed the afternoon and evening with great friends.

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I made a bunch of appies - this one was a huge hit. Pork tenderloin - salsa verde crostinis. Chris grilled the pork tenderloin so that it was melt in your mouth. You can find the Salsa Verde recipe - HERE.

This past weekend - we had our friend Gwen over for dinner - and I pretty much made the same thing. Just roasted the tenderloin and served the salsa verde on the side.

And on the same day we had our faves - David and Stacey for brunch. Out on the deck in the sun - it was a beautiful morning.

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On the menu: scrambled eggs with chives from the garden, italian turkey sausages, breads, Steph's raspberry jam and a quinoa fruit salad with vanilla yogurt.

I have been seeing a lot of recipes for quinoa as like an oatmeal for breakfast - which looks deelish - but I thought about making it as a cold breakfast.

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Quinoa fruit salad with yogurt

1 1/2 cups of quinoa
3 cups of water
Cinnamon
Raspberries
Strawberries
Blueberries
Grapes
Shredded coconut
Vanilla yogurt

Cook the quinoa - I use my rice cooker. Add the cinnamon before cooking so that all of that flavour seeps into the quinoa. Once it is cooked - place it in a pan - to let it cool completely.

Cut up the strawberries into thin slices or quarters, cut the grapes in half.

Add the quinoa to the bowl. Top with all of the fruit and then the shredded coconut. Gently toss it all together.

When serving, serve the quinoa and fruit in small bowl and top with the vanilla yogurt.

If you prefer plain yogurt - this too would be so deelish.

Alrighty - I need to get off the Royal Canadian and do the dishes and find something to stop my sweet tooth craving. Curse you sweet tooth. I actually wish it was 'tooth' it's all of my darn teeth.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Refreshing

We have been having summer paradise. Super, super hot. Super, super beautiful. Super, super summer. I have had the last couple of days off - and it has been so lovely. We have stayed close to home - hanging with our little pup - since she's been recovering. At first - when we were planning some time off - I was trying to think of what we could do - where we could go. And then the time came - and we have just stayed close to home - and I have loved it! It has been relaxing. Life is always so busy - so it's nice to change the pace. We have got up early (I can't sleep in), enjoyed the deck, made poached eggs, stayed in our pj's till 10, did the chores that we have put off all year, had happy hours, brunch, and just a lot of nothing. Sometimes I feel that life is short and we should be doing so much when we can - but then I think that this type of time off is good - it makes me feel refueled - so that I can go back to what I need to do.

We have been having 'happy hour' with our neighbour. She's off for the entire month of August. We pull the chairs/loungers into the shade - and just chill. But we're not chilling because it has been so hot. Whoooweee - it's been hot.

Try this one - so good - so refreshing.

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Organic Raspberry Lemonade - I love this stuff
1 shot of Vodka
Carbonated water
Frozen raspberries*
Ice

*I just placed a container of raspberries in the freezer.

In a large glass - add a bunch of ice. Put in a shot of vodka. Fill the glass about 2/3 full with the raspberry lemonade. Top with the carbonated water. Then add frozen raspberries. Stir. Deelish.

The other thing that I have been sort of addicted to - every morning this week - is homemade iced tea.
I love it. If you told me a couple of years ago that I would be addicted to homemade 'unsweetened' iced tea, I would laugh in your face and tell you that it was nonsense. And now- it's just so deelish. I love making a fresh brew - first thing in the morning and then sipping at it all day. My favourites are anything with fruit, green tea, berries, citrus. So good.

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Iced Tea

Water
Loose tea - or tea bag

Fill a pot of water with a little bit more water than what you want to place the tea in - jug/bottle/pitcher. boil the water and then add in the loose tea - or the tea bags. Let it steep for a couple of minutes - or longer if you like it strong. Strain it into another heat proof container and let it cool. Please be careful if you pour the hot tea into something glass - or THIS may happen. :(

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Let it cool - serve - and enjoy. I added a few frozen grapes that I put on a skewer - they help keep the tea nice and cold and they are a sweet treat at the end.

Alrighty - I need to get out and enjoy the summer day.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Chicken Soup for the Dog's Soul

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Our sweet Jozie had to go in and have dental surgery yesterday. It was a bit devastating for Chris and I - we knew that her teeth were bad - but we didn't realize how bad. So, as a result she had to have them all removed. Apparently it is common for small dogs to have teeth issues - and especially for Maltese's. For our Magnum - we have been brushing his teeth religiously every night. He growls and licks his chops at the same time - I guess that chicken-flavoured tooth paste is deelish.

Please. Please. If you have a small dog - BRUSH THEIR TEETH! It will give them a better quality of life. It breaks my heart, because we love our dogs, and wish that we had prevented it. 

For the next couple of weeks - she is on a strict diet of liquids and very soft food. We have been giving her egg whites, soft bread, her kibble soaked in homemade chicken stock and I tried yogurt tonight - but she wasn't into it. Homemade chicken stock was a huge treat for her - and it helped make our dinner too.

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Chicken Salad Sandwiches

2 bone-in chicken breasts
1/2 onion
3 celery stalks

3 celery stalks
1/4 cup of mayonnaise
1 tbsp of mustard - dijon or yellow
Kosher salt 
Pepper

Peppers
Lettuce
Cucumbers
Buns/bread

In a large pot, add in the chicken breasts (keep the skin on for more flavour), the onion and the celery. Fill the pot about 2/3 of the way. Cover. And let simmer for about 1.5 hours. Remove the chicken from the pot and let cool. Drain the celery and the onion and let the stalk cool completely. Then top your dog's food with it :) Or freeze it. 

Once the chicken has cooled, remove the chicken from the bone and with your fingers, shred it. It will fall apart - because it is so moist. In a large bowl, mix in the mayonnaise, mustard, kosher salt and pepper. 

Place a generous scoop on a bun or bread, top with whatever vegetables you like - romaine, peppers cucumbers and even some cheese.

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 It was a lovely dinner for hot summer night. 

The pretzel buns that we used are from the Portofino Bakery - that you can find at The Root Cellar. They are so deelish!

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For breakfast this morning, we sliced the bun as if it was a loaf of bread. Served it with Stephanie's homemade raspberry jam. Yumma in my tumma.

Alright - keep cool friends. Stay frosty. 

Loves.

Enjoy!
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Grilled Salsa

For dinner tonight - I made the easiest dinner ever. Well maybe not the easiest - but pretty easy. What would the easiest dinner be? Toast? Toast with hot chocolate? Toast with butter that melts? And then you dip the buttery toast into the hot chocolate? Hm. Any ideas why I gained so much weight in university? Damn! Why does it have to be so good?

Ok, back on track.

This really was an easy dinner. Easy for a couple of reasons: 1. Chris did the bbq'ing. 2. I didn't actually have to cook anything. 3. While the dinner was on the grill - I texted my gf, I had a cold beer, I petted my dogs over and over, I talked about my bike ride at the gym - I don't think that anyone listened, and I played with my mini food process - I love that thing.

Man - am I distracted tonight. Lots on my mind I guess.

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Ok - these gems....

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Made this.

Served with a salad, T-bone steak and grilled Quesadillas with spinach and havarti.

Grilled Salsa Sims Style

1 pepper
1/2 an onion - we used Walla Walla - nothing like them
1 tomato
1 cob of corn
A bunch of cilantro
1/2 a jalapeno
Kosher salt

On the grill - grill the onion, tomato and pepper - keep them all whole - and just throw them on the grill. Don't add anything. Seriously, nothing. Grill on medium heat for about 20 minutes. I had boiled the cob of corn the night before - but you could grill this too.

With a sharp knife, cut the kernels off the cob. What a great sentence. Kernels off the cob.

In a food processor, chop the onion and the jalapeno. Add in the cilantro and a pinch of kosher salt. Chop that up too. Then add the tomatoes and the pepper. Chop it up. Chop or grind to the consistency that you like. Pour it into a bowl - and then add in the corn.

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Ta-da! You have a wonderful, quick and flavourful salsa.

Alrighty - I am going to try and talk my husband into taking me to Qoola. So far - the persuasion isn't going so well. I think that I will trick him and say that they are giving out free guitar lessons - or that Metallica was spotted there. So many things to trick him with.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Monday, August 6, 2012

If you can't take the heat - eat a popsicle

Oh hi. Are you loving the heat? Is it hot where you are? It's been hot here. Like super hot. Like we don't know what to do about it? It's like we all hit the panic and just act as though were melting or something. By 'we' - I mostly mean my husband and I. Well my neighbour too. And many friends. And a few family members. And this woman that I passed on the street that was doing this weird yell that sounded like 'Gollum' from Lord of the Rings. But instead of yelling 'My Precious' she was yelling 'I'm melting'. It freaked me out. I told her to get a hold of herself and have a cold shower. Ok. Fine. That didn't really happen - but I am sure that it could have.

I don't want to complain though - because we have had a crappy summer. Always windy. Maximum heat about 21. In the weather's defense - within the last couple of days my tomatoes have really been loving it. And so has my zucchini. My other plants - meh, not so much. I think that this weather hasn't been so good for them. They are slowing leaving. Fine - I have been so good to you. I have watered. Fertilized... Oh well. They were lovely while they lasted this short while.

While it's been hot, I have been downing water like it's going out of style. Question - will water ever go out of style? Can you ever picture the cover of Canadian Living - 'Water. Fashion Faux Pas'. I have been drinking a lot of it - and experts say that we should. For the longest time - drinking water was so hard for me - it was all psychological. I could drink bottled water without any problem - but tap or Brita just didn't do it for me. Then something changed and I love it. I drink a lot of it. Sometimes, I like to flavour it but adding frozen strawberries, blueberries, grapefruit slices - really whatever I feel like. No - I haven't tried chocolate and I probably won't. Don't even challenge me to that.

Ok - now for what we have really been cooling ourselves off with - besides the turbo fan that sounds like a small jet plane taking off. The thing is so loud - that last night when the fireworks were going off (BTW - I didn't get the memo about them) I thought that someone was breaking into our downstairs door because of the banging. The fan was so loud that it drowned out the loud bangs and pops from the fireworks. And when my husband asked me how I slept last night - he was shocked to know that the fan kept me awake for part of the night. Shocked - because he fell asleep as soon as his tired and hot bod (I don't mean that in a hootchy schootch way) I mean hot b/c it was still 30 when we went to bed and his head hit the pillow.

Now - where was I? Oh yes, here.

I have been working on some of these trying to come up with some different, relatively healthy, low cal, low sugar popsicle treats.

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Blueberry and Vanilla Frozen Yogurt Pop, Frozen Bellini Pops with White Peaches and 
Green Tea Frappapop

I found these popsicle molds in a kitchen shop a couple of years ago. I loved them because they weren't the standard molds - sort of looked a little retro and were a good size.

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 Blueberry and Vanilla Frozen Yogurt Pops

Fresh Blueberries
Vanilla Yogurt

Mix - spoon into molds and freeze. Ta-da! That easy.

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Frozen Bellini Pops with White Peaches

Crystal Light Peach Bellini mix
1 white peach - thinly sliced

Make up a pitcher of the bellini mix. Personally I add a lot more water than it calls for - because I find the drink way too sweet. Fill up the molds with the juice and add thin slices of the white peach. Freeze. Ta-da!

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Green Tea Frappapop

This sort of to me is like the Starbucks Green Tea  that my husband and I love.

Green tea - steeped and cooled
Vanilla ice cream

Let the green tea cool and add about 1 cup of green tea to about 1 1/2 cups of vanilla ice cream. Mix it all together - pour it in the molds - freeze - ta-da!

So although they don't cool you off completely, and they aren't the fanciest dessert - they are a nice treat on a hot day and there is very little clean up required.

Loves.

Enjoy!