Monday, April 30, 2012

April Foodie Penpal

It's that time again! Foodie Penpal time! YAY!


This month, I got a gift from a very nice girl named Jennifer who lives in Ottawa, you can check her out here. I'm pretty sure she's in my head, because she sent me the most perfect of perfect gift for this month! Somehow, she knew how much I love both coconut and peanut butter and incorporated that into this and packed it in a cute little box to boot. She's the best! Here's what she sent:


David's Tea - Fantasy Island (the flavor), there's coconut in this tea. Winning!!
Bridgehead Whole Bean Coffee - from a local roastery and coffee shop
Coconut Cream Larabar
Peanut Butter Larabar


Cute box!


Yesssss!!!

Ok, so now that you've seen my second foodie penpal, you want to know how to get in on it...right? Here is how it works! Go to The Lean Green Bean and sign yourself up!



Here’s a detailed explanation of the program:
-On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treatsThe spending limit is $15The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.

SIGN UP! Seriously, it's awesome getting presents and it's really awesome getting to send them! This month, I sent a gift to another very nice girl named Tamara from Salt Spring Island, BC. She is a vegan and gluten-free - it was so fun shopping for her! Check out what I sent here!

Happy Reading Y'All!




Sunday, April 29, 2012

One From The Vault

Finished Product
This recipe comes from something I made quite a long time ago! I'd say the reviews were very good as my roommate (who has since moved out - Miss you Ian!), ate pretty much the whole batch over a weekend of studying! Quite frankly - I was flattered! :)

I have a "go to" Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe and I've always worked off it's base to make other variations of cookies - like Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies or Toffee Chocolate Cookies or Double Chocolate Mint Cookies. You get the idea! This was another one of those.

Chocolate Butterscotch Cookies
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup butterscotch chips

Cream the butter & sugars together. Add the eggs & vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix your flour, baking soda and salt & cocoa together. 

Then, add your sugar/butter mixture to your dry ingredients. Stir in the butterscotch chips.


Drop by the spoonfuls onto a greased or non-stick cookie sheet. I like mini cookies, so I always make them smaller so when you eat them, you can have more than one!


Bake at 350F for approximately 10 minutes! Done!
This is what I tell myself after I make something good!



 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Friday Night Cook Off

And here you have it! Post of the week....

Had myself a little cooking party last night, so I made the following:

Coconut Shrimp
1.5 pounds prawns
2 - 3 tsp ginger root
2 - 3 tsp garlic
1 can coconut milk
salt
pepper

Heat a frying pan, add coconut oil, then put your prawns into the pan, add your garlic & ginger then coconut milk. Bring to a boil. So good! 



Then, I made this...

Basil/Spinach Saute
4 - 5 handfuls of baby spinach
fresh basil, lots
baby tomatos
1/2 yellow onion
1 - 2 tsp garlic
salt
pepper


Heat a pan, add coconut oil, saute onions until translucent, then tomatoes, then spinach & basil. It's yummy!


I need a better camera! Enjoy!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Weekend Update!

It was a rather quiet weekend in the kitchen this weekend - shocking, I know! This is because 1) I got a social life, 2) I was in class and 3) I was in recovery mode, sleeping, relaxing etc. I expect a hectic week, so want to be on the top of my "A Game" for it! Plus, I'm on a 5:15am flight tomorrow morning, how cruel!! 

I was on a kale kick this week. I ate a lot of sauteed kale. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it, but it's good for you and I ate it for about 3 days, so I guess I don't feel terrible about it. Look at this little meal I made with it: Sauteed kale, mashed butternut squash and Turkey Meatloaf. Damn satisfying if I do say so myself! I ate this before Jackie and I killed our 16km run. Having a partner for those distances is WAY better. I'm never want to run alone again....at least not for that long!! 

Fueling for success!   


 So, Friday - yes...a social life! I helped my buddy Travis kick off his birthday week with some Vietnamese food. The lady was so darn cute, I'll go back there for sure! Then, I went for a tea and walk with my new found friend, Kate! She's lovely and she likes to do many of the same things I do! YAY! I met her last weekend when I was out at the family farm. I'm excited about it. After we walked, I headed to Andi's where she fed me some really fantastic Costa Rican food. I binged on rice & beans, salsa, salsa verde and corn tortillas. Gawd, that girl is a genius with the Costa Rican cuisine.
Scenery from the walk!
OK - finally getting to the point... I did try out something new this week. Again, adapted slightly and inspired by PaleOMG. She made this little ditty and I made one for Jackie and I on Tuesday, and then another today. It motivated me to run 16km and then just under 11km of hills today. It seriously tastes like a treat, like I might be eating something bad, but its not bad - its good! And delicious! And eff yes! I too was weirded out by the blueberry/pumpkin combo, but don't be! It just makes it a that much healthier for you.

Pumpkin Pie & Blueberry Protein Smoothie (original version here)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (pure pumpkin, not pie filling)
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 scoop protein powder (I used Isoflex Vanilla flavoured)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 cup Coconut Dream milk or Almond Milk (or plain old cow's milk)
Ice cubes

Put it in a blender, food processor, magic bullet, or whatever - blend. Pour (or leave in the blender if you're hardcore). Drink. Smile! 

I drank it before I got a picture. If my tongue was long enough, I would have licked out the insides of this container! It was soooooo good! Have a Happy Week People! xo




What was left! Delish.





Thursday, April 12, 2012

Blog B*tch Blog!

Yup, here I am...blogging along! I'm proud of this solid effort I have put forth thus far. I hope it keeps! So long as I have a foodie penpal to talk about, I will! :)


Not a very long work week, and I have no complaints about it!! I took 5 days off and probably could have had another 5 days and felt quite ok about it! 


I made these cookies last week. One cookie actually = 2 cookies. My friend, Erin is a Brownie leader. When we met for brunch she was selling their classic cookies and I wondered how I might make them more "good" for you. I was inspired by the numerous Oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies I had seen on various sites and probably on Pintrest.


I made these last weekend and took them to the family farm. They were gone in a day. Here goes!


Stuffed Double Chocolate Cookies
I cup margarine or butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup chocolate chips
vanilla girl guide cookies are best


Cream together your butter, sugars and eggs. Add the vanilla. In a seperate bowl, mix your flour, cocoa, baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the butter and sugars. Stir in the chocolate chips.


Now, the tricky part. Roll a ball of cookie dough. Place a girl guide cookie on top of it and flatten it. Roll another ball of cookie dough and put it on the top of the girl guide cookie. Then make the double chocolate dough connect so you can't see the girl guide cookie anymore. Try not to use too much dough. Less the better, but it takes a few times. Bake them for 9 - 13 minutes at 350F. 


When they are done, put your eating pants on (aka spandex/stretch pants) and enjoy one or a couple! Then smile and wipe the crumbs off your shirt. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

What a Weekend!

Seriously, what a crazy weekend I had - much of it in a good way.... but the catalyst for it all perhaps wasn't the best.


First things first - my 21 Day Detox went right out the window. :( I am a bit disappointed with myself, but I can do it again another time. I had a weekend of endless eating. It started on Friday (It is Easter weekend, my dad's anniversary and another funeral this weekend) and only just wrapped up today - Easter Monday.


My Uncle lost his brother last Sunday. It was sudden and very unexpected. Apart from being brothers - they were business partners, friends and neighbors. They farmed together their whole lives, lived a 2 minute walk from each other, they raised cattle and kids, looked to one another for advice and support and of course, spent a lot of hours having fun and probably sharing a few stories not meant for us. My Aunt, Uncle and cousins have been one of my strongest support networks over this past year, and my heart was hurting for them all week. Reynie left behind 2 daughters, Pam & Karen - Pam is pregnant and a he also left behind his wife, Barbara. I hurt for all of them so badly - it was only a year ago when their shoes were on my feet and I was immersed in funeral planning and executor duties with my sisters. It was a rather raw feeling, but regardless - so glad that I was able to be there this weekend. I feel privileged to be a part of such a warm, loving and supportive group of people and even met a couple kick ass girls who live in my neighborhood! Hoping I get to cross paths with them again!


So, recap of my Easter weekend:
Friday: Lunch with Kendra, baking to de-stress and then Andi & Ceara took me out for sushi and we had such an amazing visit. I have the best friends, seriously.
Saturday: Brunch with my dad's long time friend Bill & lovely wife Natalie. They fed me cheese and fresh bread until I felt like bursting. They have the most beautiful home & they are, whether they like it or not, family to me. Then, off to spend time at the farm where the endless eating started along with hugs, laughter, tears and the whole range of emotions that come with the complicated journey of loss.
Sunday: Eating, eating, eating at the farm. 
Monday: Reynie's funeral was today. It was such a nice service. I was so proud of Pam & Karen for delivering their dad's eulogy. And, I was so proud of my cousin Kirby for reading the tribute her dad wrote to Reynie. Bryden put tons of work into the slideshow picture presentation they played and it all came together wonderfully. My Aunt cooked a huge batch of chili the fed many mouths today and we all shared many hugs. It was, a sad day, but a nice day. 
I made it home and took tomorrow off to recoup and decompress. It was a hard weekend. I really missed having my sisters around for it. 


These were a hit this weekend!


Peppermint Patties
2 cups of icing sugar
2 tsp peppermint extract
1.5 tbsp margarine or butter
2 tbsp cream
8 oz chocolate
1.5 tbsp shortening, or oil.


Cream together the icing sugar, extract, 1.5 tbsp margarine and cream. Put some parchment paper or wax paper onto a cookie sheet. Spoon peppermint/sugar mixture onto the sheet. Flatten slightly with the back of a spoon. Put them in the freezer to harden.


In a saucepan, melt the chocolate and add your oil/shortening (I tried using butter or margarine, doesn't work well). Dip the hardened peppermint/sugar discs into the chocolate using 2 spoons (or whatever your tool of choice is). Place onto the cookie sheet once dipped and then put into the freezer to harder.


I went through 3 batches of these! Make them, you won't be sorry... I didn't even get a picture they went so quick!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Lunch Date!

Today, I had Kendra over for lunch. We had mini turkey meatloaf and roasted cauliflower - deeeeelicious if I do say so myself.


Turkey Meatloaf
Approx 2 pounds of ground turkey
1/2 yellow onion diced
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced/pressed
1/2 cup almond flour
2 eggs
salt & pepper


Diced, and chop your onions, tomatoes and basil. Put your turkey in a bowl and add your veggies and herbs and garlic. Shake in salt and pepper to your liking. Add the egg and flour. Get your hands in there and mix away! Bake at 400F for 25 - 30 minutes. I used mini silcone loaf pans and they were perfect!


Pyramid of Turkey Loaves. Pic does not do justice.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Wow! Weekend already. Not complaining!

Hello to whoever is reading!
This week has flown by and guess what, I am beat. Bagged. Tired. Exhausted. I don't mean to sound like a complainer, but work has been busy in the best kind of way and it's a very emotional week for my family and I (get to that in a second, food first).


So, I've mentioned having been on a mission to do the 21 Day Detox. It isn't a weight loss goal (though that's always a bonus), it's a get my eating under control goal. I've always joked that binge eating is a hobby of mine, and "Eat till it hurts" was a motto. But seriously, it's been sort of real, and not so much a joke lately. It's time to tone it down because it makes me feel awful both physically and mentally! Anyway, a few things I've noticed this week:
1) I've been eating meat and nuts WAY too much to compensate for the lack of sugar
2) Afternoons I'm tired - my arms are heavy!
3) Workouts are weak*
This could just be pure exhaustion - I'm feeling close to burn out
Going forward - going to try to fill the nuts with vegetable snackies instead! Shouldn't be too hard. I didn't miss sugar too, too much except when my department had cake 2X this week, seriously...the week my co worker and I embark on this and they have cake 2X. Do you know how much I love that thick, thick icing??? A lot. But apparently I do know how to exercise self control. It's been a good reminder of "you can do it!"


I realized last weekend that I have been so immersed in my own head between work and the time of year, that I have sort of neglected to take care of my body and listen to it. When I finally did list, I noticed a few things - my pants were getting tight, my feet were bothering me and it turned into a minor injury which is keeping me from running this week and that I am really physically tired and I perhaps just need to give myself a break. The concept of a break is a particularly tough one for me and the idea of it is sort of mind blowing. In the last 3 or so years the only times I've really felt I've given myself a break was 1) knee surgery in 2009 when I was forced into rehabing and slowing down for a bit 2) Mexico Jan 2011 and 3) Mexico Oct 2011 (kinda not really). So - I'm going to slow down for the next few days and operate at a leisurely pace - do things that I would like to do, get some rest, see my family and stop being so f$*#ing hard on myself. For a few days anyway....


Ok - now to "the time of year".... In 2 days, it will be one year exactly since my dad passed away. It was sudden, unexpected and totally shattered my world as I knew it. Some of the changes that have come with it have been good, the growth that I've had personally - while not easy has been great, but there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of my dad. Most days - his absence in my life doesn't even seem real. I've learned who my real friends are, I've really learned what I value and have been spending a lot of time reflecting and getting to know this "new" version of myself and of my family. I've been fortunate in that I have an Aunt, Uncle and cousins who have been my biggest family supports, a workplace full of great people who have been there for me all year, some friends who I have deemed to be my non-blood family, my dad's long time friend Bill who keeps in close touch and a few other people here and there who have left footprints on my heart and remind me that there is such beauty in this world. My Aunt, Uncle and cousins are dealing with another loss this week, and it makes my heart ache for them. It's ironic that it has had to happen at the same time as last year. I've been thinking of them every single day and will be going to my hometown to spend some much needed time with them this weekend. 


I read this article this week written by Robb Wolf. He's well known in the Paleo community. The part in his article that really stuck out to me was this:
"I am NOT afraid to love people. People I know, people I have only just met. I’m not afraid to look like a jack-ass or to speak my mind because I know tomorrow, I or they, might be gone. I’m moved to tears by shit that other people find mundane, and I think that’s because I have this countdown timer in the back of my head and I know all too clearly that it will either be me getting left again…or I’ll be doing the leaving. Folks with a belief in the afterlife have a built in “do over” setting in their psyche. I however think you get one chance to get it right or wrong, but either way this is the one shot you’ve got. (from here)."



I think this guy might have it right, somewhat anyway. My family and I lost my brother, Jaden in 2001. He was 14 years old. It was sudden, it was unexpected and it shattered our world as we knew it. Sound familiar? Yes, it is. My dad, and my brother. Gone. These experiences, while tragic, have given me such amazing perspective at times - I relate to the quote above about being moved to tears at "shit...other people find mundane". I once cried watching the water show at the Bellagio in Vegas because I thought it was pretty, I get so excited seeing rainbows and pretty sunrises that I will find tears welling up in my eyes and occasionally when I'm not cursing my running, I'll be smiling so big people must think that I'm crazy, silently thanking the world that I am healthy and able to get out and just enjoy things - be it big or small. These experiences have taught me to really cherish and nurture the relationships that are important to me, to let people know when I love them and tell them again and again, that if something is important to you - you'll just do it, and that if you change your perspective - you can change your world. 


Anyway - sh*t got real tonight on KitchenofKy but hey - I still talked about food. I made a stop at the Bulk Barn for some dark Bernard Callebaut melting chocolate for peppermint patties - was missing one other ingredient when I got home, so they have to wait until tomorrow and also went shopping for Foodie Penpal #2. I'm so excited! She's vegan and gluten-free so finding her treats was a fun challenge! Stay tuned!


Dad, Baby Jaden, and Me - May 1987. Miss you both. xo

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Day #1/#21

I debated announcing that I was going to make a solid effort at the 21 Day Detox. The diet is relatively simple minus the no refined sugar thing and pretty much no fruit (except a green apple or unripe banana). I debated saying anything because of my fear of failure but I also realize that perhaps by telling people I am doing it - it will make me more accountable. Yes, I did the Wild Rose Cleanse back in February, and felt great about 10 days into it. After I was finished it - I proceeded to stress eat and pretty much treat my body like a trash can. My obsession/preoccupation of the times have been bridge mixture and chocolate covered almonds. It's been really bad. So, enough is enough. I need to take control of my life and eating again. 


So, today... This is how it went. I had to run for my half marathon. I ran 12.5km. I was supposed to run 14km and then started playing with my watch and screwed things up for myself! Anyway, the run was a challenge today, but easier once I passed the 40 minute mark. I tried out a new route and it was actually really great so I'll do it again! :)


Meals:
PreRun Breakfast 
2 eggs, fried in coconut oil and sprinkled with chili peppers, salt and pepper
2 pieces of turkey salami
4 -5 baby tomatos
1/4 advocado
1 cup coffee with almond/cashew cream





Post Run
Sweet potato smoothie
1/2 cup sweet potato
1 cup coconut milk
ice cubes
nutmeg and cinnamon
Blend together. Drink.
*This would be better as a Yam or Pumpkin
1 oz spiced nuts

Lunch
Jambalaya


Snack
White pear herbal tea
Raw veggies (snap peas, yellow, orange & red peppers, celery, carrots)


Cheat (bad me on Day #1)
Starbucks coffee blended with soy (no soy allowed)


Dinner
Jambalaya
Sauteed zuchinni with onion and garlic


Snack
Applesauce
Herbal tea


2.5 litres of water


Feeling good!!

Movie + Food Blogging = Happy Sunday

Yesterday, along with having made applesauce, I also made Jambalaya. It was again, inspired/copied/adapted from paleOMG. Go here - she's good and she's funny and she does Crossfit which I really want to get back to, so all good things in my book!

Jambalaya - Gluten Free/Grain Free!
Original recipe resides right here

2 sausages, cut up - preferably some sort of spicy ones. I picked chorizo sausages up a few weeks ago at the Calgary Farmer's Market
2 chicken boobies (breast), cubed
1 cup shrimp, shelled and peeled
2 -3 garlic cloves, diced/pressed
1 yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatos
1 can tomato paste
1 head cauliflower
1 cup chicken broth (I used water because I was out of broth)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp cayenne
salt and pepper

As suggested in the original - prep everything before hand!

Cut up your cauliflower into florets and put into your food processor to make "rice". Don't let it run too long or else you get mash. Once done, set it aside.

Not a great pic but delish!
Then, dice your onions, garlic and bell pepper. Cube your chicken breast and cut up your sausages. Make sure that you clean area to avoid cross contamination and someone getting sick!

Take out a large pan or pot. Add your olive oil, throw in your onion and garlic. Let it cook down a bit and then add your green pepper and your cauliflower. Add your chicken, sausage and shrimp. Then, pour in your diced tomatos and tomato paste. Add your broth, or in my case - water. (Really, order isn't super important). Add your spices, cover and let cook. It will be done when your chicken is cooked through. 

Then - EAT IT! I ate it for dinner last night.... lunch and dinner today and it was delicious everytime! It will be filling a lot of lunches this week too! YAY!