Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Another chicken dinner - Sims Style

Me oh my. April has come and gone so quickly. I sort of feel like we were just planning for Easter - it came and went and now May is here and there are so many more events coming.

One thing that did happen in April was the Times Colonist 10K. I thought that I would go back and look at my series - Running For My Life - and see what race day was like in 2009 and 2010. You can read it HERE and HERE if you like. Even though they were 3 and 4 years ago, I remember them vividly. I remember my struggles that I had - but the thing that is standing out to me the most - is that I was able to really describe the race - like I was so in tune to what was happening with my body and what was happening around me. This time - not so much - but I think that is a good thing. I am realizing that my focus was on me - and just doing the race as I knew that I could. I guess all of the training that I had done worked. Instead of the playing mindgames with myself - and telling myself that I wasn't strong enough, that I was tired, that I should just walk - I just ran. And the best part of it - was that I loved it.

I am excited to think about what is next.

One thing that I have been doing over the month of April is eating. I am staying on track - planning meals, prepping for the week, shopping once for the week and having my morning vegetable/fruit drink. I am struggling with wanting treats, or having Noodle Box more than once, or the Ben & Jerry's we had the other night to celebrate race day. Sigh. I know that things could be worse - I just need to buckle down and get on track - and realize that eating well is my treat. Treating myself to healthy meals and snacks with lots of water - is what my body really wants (or maybe I should 'needs').

Here is a little dish that I made a couple of weeks ago. I saw a cooking show on tv and they were showing different options for healthy versions of cooking chicken parmesan. I sort of paid attention - but then later on I realized that I wanted it - badly - so I had try and remember what I had seen. It worked.
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Sims Style Parmesan Chicken

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts - slice then in half (lengthwise) and flatten them out so that they are evenly thin. I wrapped my rolling pin in plastic wrap and banged them out :)
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese - freshly shredded
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
2 cups tomato sauce
Vegetables that you like to add to your pasta sauce - I added spinach and peppers
1 cup freshly chopped parsley
4 slices of soft mozzrella

Pre-heat the oven to 400.

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Season the chicken breasts with kosher salt and pepper. In a skillet, drizzle a tbsp of olive oil and heat to medium to high heat. Brown the chicken breasts on both sides - about 6-7 minutes each side.

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Place the chicken in a baking dish.

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In the same skillet, add in the tomato sauce. Heat the sauce through - and add in the chopped parsley.

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Slice a nice ball of fresh mozzarella so that you have 4 thin slices. Soft mozzarella is so delicious. The Root Cellar has local cheese - that is a huge treat.

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Place a thin slice on each piece of the chicken.

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Pour the sauce over top so that the chicken is fully coated in the saucy goodness.

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In a bowl, mix together the panko breadcrumbs and fresh parmesan adding in the italian seasoning. Mix it all together and cover the sauce with the breadcrumb mixture.

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Bake in the 400 oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden and crispy.

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You can serve this along side of vermicelli whole wheat noodles, or some steamed spinach or broccoli. I really enjoyed this meal - it was a nice treat - and I didn't have any guilt eating it.

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Alright - The Voice just started - so I have to cozy in for the night and watch.

Loves.

Enjoy!


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Creamy Mustard Chicken - short and sweet

This blog post is going to be short and sweet. It's going to be blunt and quick. It's going to be quick and full of deliciousness.

I have already taken too long.

I made this dish last week for Sunday dinner. I love Sunday dinner. Sunday dinner with a table full or just with Chris and I. It is a tradition that my parents started and I am sure their parents and their parents too. I just love the idea of having a nice dinner on a night when things are slow. There is no rush to go anywhere, no rush to eat and get to bed. There is time afterwards to sip on a glass of wine. There is time to do the dishes. And there is time to just catch your breath and enjoy the meal that you have just had. *

*Except when the 'Walking Dead' is in season - and then there is a little bit of dining and dashing.

I saw Jamie Oliver (who I adore) whip this up on one of his 30 minute meal shows. I didn't have the recipe exactly - so I improvised a bit.

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Chicken in a Creamy Mustard Sauce or Jamie's Chicken

4 bone-in chicken breasts (you don't have to use bone-in)
1 tbsp dried mustard
Pinch of kosher salt and pepper

Sauce
1 medium onion - diced
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 heaping tablespoons of dijon mustard
2 tbsp freshly chopped rosemary

Pre-heat the oven to 375.

In a large skillet - heat a tbsp of olive oil in medium-high heat.

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Season the chicken breasts with the dry mustard and kosher salt and pepper. Place the chicken skin side down in the hot skillet. Cook the chicken for about 12 minutes. The skin will be nicely browned. Transfer them to a baking dish and let them continue to cook while you make the creamy sauce. About 10-12 minutes.

In the same skillet add the onion and let cook for about 7 minutes until the onion is soft. Add in the white wine and chicken stock and let it deglaze the pan and pick up all the tasty bits. Add in the dijon mustard and rosemary. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring often.

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Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes. And then what I like to do is cut the chicken off the bone - and cut it on a diagonal, then place it on a platter and pour the sauce over top.

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I served this broccoli that I quickly stir-fried with a bit of chicken stock and fresh lemon zest.

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I also roasted tomatoes in the oven while the chicken was cooking and served them on the vine.

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Alright friends - here is to a fabulous week. May it be a lovely one for each and everyone of you. I can feel it in my bones - and my bones are good these days - that this is going to be a stellar week.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Running down memory lane

In the spirit of remembering - my blog from the other day - yesterday was a day full of people, places and things that reminded me of good things. I love it when something happens, or you see someone, or you something crosses your senses somehow to remind you of pure bliss.

I will take a bit of a walk down memory lane - and share.

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We went for a run last night with my workout group. We met down on Dallas Road - an amazing place, high up on the cliffs overlooking the incredible ocean. It's a perfect place - rain or shine - the best place if you are a dog lover or love to people watch. I used to take my pup, Maggie, there almost everyday. We used to either walk there - or drive down and take a walk from one end to the other. She would be off leash, running the entire time. Barking at any dog approaching her. She would sometimes carry a ball and psych out other dogs to try and grab it from her and then attack. She was fierce. But she was fierce in a loving way and wouldn't hurt a soul.

Running along the path, reminded me of her so much. It reminded me of what an incredible companion she was. If it weren't for her, we wouldn't have walked everyday. She loved to walk down there in the rain. When there were severe windstorms. And when the sun was hot. If I close my eyes - I can picture her running back to me with a smile on her face. Boy, I miss that dog.

Running along the path also reminded me of how far I have come over the past years with my running 'career' (what I like to call it) and how years ago it would have been a struggle the entire run. For last night, my run was incredible. I felt strong. I felt confident. I felt fierce. We ran @ 5.5k - and I did it in 35 minutes. The speed isn't important to me. I realize that speed isn't what I need to focus on. What my favour part of the run was - is that I was able to run the full 35 minutes with one short minute walk after 15 minutes. I remember all of the runs that I have done over the years when I was in a running clinic - and how I would be upset that I was slow, that I would tell myself I wasn't strong enough, good enough.

I am happy to remember that all the times that I tried to tell myself that I would someday succeed at running has come true. It just goes to show that if you want something, if you trust yourself that you can make it happen.

I also ran into someone (not really) that I haven't seen in a very long time. My friend Dave, that I met years ago at work. He reminded me a time when we used to work together - where I used to talk in a native African dialect 'Click click click'. So funny. I had forgotten about it - and he reminded me - and I love that after all these years we had a great laugh about it.

So that's it for me for today. Not sure why I am feeling nostalgic - but I just love that the simplest thing can evoke a wonderful memory.

I have a great recipe to share - but not today. I feel that this chicken recipe that I want to share may need a blog all on it's own. I saw a picture of these on Pinterest the other day - forgot to pin it - so had to try and replicate it. I think that it worked out. I ended up eating all of them. What??? Remember that!

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Cucumber Chicken Salad Sandwiches

1 cooked boneless skinless chicken breast - chopped into small pieces or shredded
1 pepper - orange, red or yellow to give it some brightness - chopped into small pieces
1 cucumber - using a sharp knife, cut into thin slices

Dressing:
1/2 non-fat plain yogurt
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp dry mustard
Pinch of kosher salt

In a bowl, mix the dressing ingredients together. Add in the chopped chicken and peppers and mix together.

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Then assemble. Piece of cucumber, chicken salad, and another piece of cucumber.

Yum!

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They are easy to eat. The cucumber is substantial enough to not crumble in your hands.

If you are wanting a 'heartier' version of chicken salad - check THIS one out.

Alright friends.  I hope that your week is going well. The weekend is calling - and not so far away.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spinach salad with a strawberry dressing

I hope you remember me. It's been 2 weeks since I have written anything. Well not 'anything'. I wrote out a note to my husband last week on how to cook some pork tenderloin in the slow cooker. And I also wrote out directions on the back of a receipt so that I wouldn't get lost. But on this wee blog - it's been a long time. Not sure where/what happened to the time - but as per usual - it seems to have just flown by.

I had a bit of a flu bug that lasted for over a week. Then we had a week off of our program before the next session started. Then Chris was on holidays for a week. Then I took a couple of days off. Then we went over to Vancouver for a couple of days for a little 'getaway'. And those three weeks felt like I was sort of on a little hiatus or something. I think that the flu really wiped me out - and it took me a bit of time to recover. I think for the past 3 months - I have been so regimented that throwing a week in there where I had to get off track, was something that I really needed to remind myself to breathe. Today - should have been a good day to start things off on the right foot - but not so much. That's ok though. Although I missed my workout and I feel like I skipped school and that my parents are going to 'ground' me - I am ok with it. I have my Cabbage Roll Soup made for the next couple of nights for dinner. My chicken breasts for my Daily Salad - are all cooked and I have a plan for tonight's dinner. The food is all prepped for the week, my workout clothes are cleaned - so I am feeling confident and set to start this week off RUNNING.

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I have to share this picture.

I found this little pig at the Gourmet Warehouse in Vancouver. I love that shop. They have this great space upstairs with the loveliest gift ideas and little things like this for your home. I have been trying to find a pig with wings for quite some time now. About a month ago, I was in HomeSense, and found one that I really liked. I picked it up by it's front leg and was holding it - thinking that it was so cute - when all of a sudden it crumbled in my hand, fell to the floor, and smashed into a zillion pieces. My first instinct was to cry. Then I realized that crying wouldn't do anything - and just make me more embarrassed. Thankfully it was a Tuesday night - so it was super quiet in the store. The next row over, Margaret, yelled to her friend 'Please tell me that wasn't you Trisha!!'. Trisha yelled back 'Thank god it wasn't me Margaret!'. And I wanted to yell 'Hello Trisha and Margaret - it was me - but I didn't do it on purpose!!'  One of the staff came over and was so nice - and apologized for it breaking??? and then told me that it was probably already cracked.

Breath.

So needless to say, I didn't pick one up that night. Are you wondering why I have been looking for a pig with wings? Well, I will tell you then.

Pigs can't swim
And Pigs can't fly
Pigs can't watch the world go by
Pigs make lovely household pets when winter comes and summer ends
Early in the morning
Early in the morning
Early in the morning
At the break of day

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That was a song that my dad would always sing. I am not really sure what it means. But as I write the words out, I can hear him singing it. He would sing it with a British accent where the 'h' in 'household' was silent.

I really take comfort in the little things that remind me of someone I love and miss dearly. This is something that I feel - but when I think of someone who is no longer with us - I feel that at that exact moment they are with us - their spirit is there with us in some form. And then for those that are far away or that I don't see nearly enough - and they cross my mind - it's just a wonderful reminder of how blessed I am to know and have them in my life.

For example:

When I see a 'KitKat' chocolate bar, or a box of Purdy's - I instantly think of my grandma M. She was a chocolate lover - and I definitely (along with other family members) inherited that gene.

When I see a huge 4 door boat of a car - I think of my grandma B. - and the huge monstrosity of a car that she used to drive - and how I chauffered her around in that when I lived with her - and how it was very much like driving a tank.

When I see someone doubling someone on a bike - I think of my friend Colleen - and how in our small town we were once chased down and pulled over by the police for doubling as it was 'against the law'. And how after that incident - I wet my pants from laughing too hard. Oh my.

And when I tip at a restaurant after a lovely meal - I sometimes a reminded of my mother-in-law. Always very generous and kind when she would have outstanding service in a restaurant - and how she would go up to the server at the end of the night - slip them a toonie - and say 'this is especially for you'.

Memories are the most precious thing - and if there are things that remind of us good times and good people - then I will forever be looking for pigs with wings, or kids doubling 'illegally', or a car that should be a boat, or wonderful service worthy of a good tip.

Now - back to our wee pig. He needs a name. Any suggestions?

Alright - now I should post something about food - since that's all I seem to do is eat and cook and eat and cook. Although, I haven't actually been cooking so much lately.

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This was a spinach salad that I made for Easter dinner. Something so simple, but so tasty.

Spinach Salad Sims Style

Fresh spinach
Sliced mushrooms - about 6-8
Red pepper - sliced into thin strips
Goat cheese - crumbled
Pine nuts - or walnuts - or pecans (I love pine nuts - but unless I want to mortgage the house every time I want to use them in a recipe - I like to use walnuts or pecans as a delicious substitute)

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Dressing
8 strawberries
2 tbsp of balsamic - or creme de balsamic
Pinch of kosher salt

In a large bowl - add in your salad fixings.

In a small food processor - pulse the strawberries with the balsamic and the pinch of kosher salt. The strawberries will puree and become liquid. The sweetness from the berries and the tartness from the balsamic are a perfect combo.

Pour over the salad - gently toss - and you have a delicious salad to accompany any meal. Or be a meal on it's own. Adding a hard-boiled egg, or a chicken breast, would be a great source of protein to go with the salad.

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Alright friends - have a wonderful rest of your weekend. Enjoy a good week, and love one another.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Eggs for dinner. Yum.

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Well it's April. Seriously - what happened to the last 3 months? It has just flew by. In a good way. I am happy that spring has finally reached us here. It's beautiful. The sun has been shining, the cherry blossoms, daffodils, tulips have been blossoming, the birds are chirping, and dog walks do not involve gumboots and an umbrella. I like that.

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Easter around this house was low key. We had good friends and my mom in for dinner. The Easter Bunny didn't hide chocolate eggs - surprisingly chocolates were purchased and eaten. Oh how I love the Easter chocolate. We finished our 3 month program on Sunday - so we have a week in between - and I have sort of been eating chocolate like I haven't in months and months. Not a ton - but definitely nibbling.

I have had a flu bug for over a week now. Today is the first day - that I have sort of felt a bit back to normal. I didn't just jinx it. I know that I didn't. I haven't worked out in over a week. I have had a bit of cabin fever - I have been missing my workouts - especially my runs with my running girls. I am not sure what hit me - but apparently there is a nasty bug going around that lasts and lasts. I have been doing so good at boycotting any sort of sickness - but this one just sort of snuck up and bit me in the Royal Canadian.

For Easter, I made a ham for the first time. I am kicking myself for not taking a picture of it. It turned out really well, delicious and full of flavour. I don't 'love' ham, which is pretty much the reason why I haven't made one before. I like it in little doses, so with some of the leftovers I made up a quiche tonight.

This recipe is a crustless quiche recipe. It's full of protein and vegetables - and a little bit of cheese to give it the ooey-gooey factor. This is very similar to one of my favourite egg recipes that I love making for dinner - Baked Eggs.

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Crustless Quiche

1 small onion - chopped
1 pepper - chopped
1 small zucchini - chopped
1 1/2 cup of sliced mushrooms
2 cups of chopped ham
1 heaping tbsp of dijon mustard
6 eggs
1/4 skim milk
1 cup shredded cheese - cheddar or mozzarella
Kosher salt
Chili pepper flakes

Pre-heat the oven to 400.

In a skillet, drizzle a tsp of olive oil. Add in the onions with a pinch of kosher salt and saute for about 7 minutes. Add in all of the vegetables and chopped ham and saute over medium heat for another 5 minutes or until vegetables are starting to soften. Add in a tbsp of the dijon mustard and stir it in. Remove from the heat.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and the milk. Add in the cheese and stir it all together.

Using cooking spray, lightly spray a pie dish.

Add in the vegetables and ham.

Pour the egg/cheese mixture over top of the vegetables and ham.

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Bake in the 400 oven for 30 minutes.

Remove it from the oven - and serve it nice and hot.

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Alrighty friends - I am off to watch The Voice and avoid the chocolate that is calling me from the kitchen.

Loves.

Enjoy!