Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October Foodie Penpal!

AMAZING! What a super great, fantastic program! I missed it when I wasn't doing it. I got paired up with wonderful lady named Ceecee who lives in Vancouver. So, of course, being in Vancouver, she had all sorts of access to delicious finds! You can read up on her and her kitchen adventures here!

So, here we are:
  • Homemade Pumpkin Chia Granola - I ate half the bag upon opening it. OMGSOGOOD.
  • Chocolate covered dried banana - Also eaten as soon as I opened the package
  • Sea Salt Fusion Veggie Garnish
  • Vancouver's Hottest Salt and a tiny cute spoon to go with it
  • Hemp Hearts
  • Espresso Bean Chocolate Bar

This was great! Thank you so, so much Ceecee!

I'm on Day #5 of the Whole30 (which I'll update on later) so I'll have to wait until after to enjoy the chocolate bar and the other half bag of granola! It'll be such a treat after.

I was paired up with Theresa in Delta, BC. I made the package a spicy theme - Black Bean Chips, Spicy Jalapeno Salsa and Chili Chocolate Bar. Hopefully she enjoyed it! :) 

I can't wait until November when I get another match! So, want to get in on it!? This is all you need to do:


-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.- Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!***If you’re in the UK, please contact Carol Anne from This Is Rock Salt at rocksalt@thisisrocksalt.com to get involved!
So, now that you know the instructions - just go to Lindsay's website and get in on it NOW!!!! Seriously, who doesn't love mail and who doesn't love presents! 
Till next month... xo

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Holy Hell!

Happy Weekend! Weekends are never long enough! NEVER. I like to sometimes think about what I'd do if I didn't have a job to go to and endless amounts of money. I think I'd travel and cook and workout and volunteer for something that I am passionate about. A girl can dream. I'd also sleep in a lot, and have a really awesome kitchen and all the accessories - like a donut pan and a bundt cake pan and silcone muffin tins. I want all but am too cheap to buy them right now. PS. Can you believe that I have to go spend money on a vacuum!? F*CK. Anyway, It was a great weekend minus the boring class I took on Saturday. Part 2 of boring class is next Saturday. I'll be glad when this little educational stretch is over! I'll be starting another one come January - the fun never ends! ha.

My current goal is to try somewhere new every time I go out to eat. It isn't hard these days in Calgary with all sorts of new places popping up everywhere and well, I live conveniently close to feed this goal. It's awesome! This weekend I was able to try 2 new places!

New places this weekend included:

80th & Ivy - Michelle and I went on Friday night. We sat in the dining room area which was quite nice. The kitchen is really open. The service was fantastic and the food was really good. We had Prawn Rolls, Mussell and Flat Bread to share. The server was probably one of the best servers I've had in a long time! He was there enough to give great service but not enough to interrupt us. I'd go back. Next time though - I'm having wine! And next time, Michelle will have a baby boy! SO COOL.
Monki Breakfast Club & Bistro - Faye and I went this morning. It was ok.... I am totally bias to breakfast because I already have a couple favorites. I had a Sausage and Brisket Hash. It wasn't too bad but doesn't compare to the hash I had at the Blue Star Diner. Faye had a Breakfast Sundae with granola. They told her it was gluten-free... It wasn't! She was sick after - no good! I'm medium about this place. I won't be in a rush to go back! Next time Faye and I have a date, she'll probably have her little girl in tow. (I told both her and Michelle to wait on their deliveries so we could have our dates! I'm selfish, what can I say!? ha)

In other news - I made some awesome things to eat this weekend! I wish I could take credit for all of them, but I can't!
1) Pumpkin Chili with Avocado Cream - HOLY HELL. This is was GOOD. The avocado cream was like candy. Seriously, so good! I halved the recipe. But really, make it for yourself. I didn't post it here because for once, I actually followed a recipe. 
2) Chicken Thai Pizza - This was a combination of inspiration from various places. I made a gluten free crust. Then, made this really awesome Sunshine Sauce. This sauce was TOO good. I made it again today for my lunches this week. The only modification I made on the sauce was using Coconut Spread instead of Coconut Aminos. The first batch, I used carton coconut milk but it turned out better today using full fat canned coconut milk. MAKE THIS. So, now to toppings - chicken breast, grated carrots, bean sprouts, green onions and cilantro. Andi helped me eat this and gave it rave reviews! YAY SUCCESS.
3) Asian Pork Meatballs - sadly again... I didn't measure things  or take pictures because they didn't look delicious (but I'm sure they will be) If you want to make them.... Here you go:
Ground Pork
A little bit of coconut flour (almond probably is better or use all purpose)
Egg
Green Onions

Cilantro
Sesame Oil

Make them into balls, then bake them in the oven at 350 until done. I hope they are good! The beauty of cooking for 1 is that if it doesn't turn out, you still eat it and no one complains. As if I'd complain about my own cooking.
4) Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies - this is the base of my go to Oatmeal Cookie Recipe. The base can stay the same and you can add whatever you like. The original asks for cherries, sliced almonds and chocolate chips. Today, I decided butterscotch was the way to go! I don't even know where the heck I got this original recipe but I've used it for a few years now.
Sift:
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1/2 - 1 tsp cinnamon (depending on your preference)
Beat together, with an electric mixer:
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp butter (or margarine is fine)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg

1/2 tsp almond extract (didn't use it today because didn't think it'd go with butterscotch)
1/2 tsp vanilla (ran out, so didn't use it)
Stir in the sifted ingredients to the beaten ones, then stir in:
1 cup oatmeal
1 - 11/2 cup butterscotch chips

Then, bake them at 325 for about 12 - 15 minutes. I didn't try one, they looked good though! I'll see how the work peeps like them tomorrow. 

Have a Happy Monday Everyone!!! 

Who doesn't like cookies!? 




Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rockin' The Apron(s)!

It's no secret that I like the time in my kitchen. My friends are total dears and help promote this by buying me cute aprons to wear while doing my time! They are all incredibly awesome and quite stylish I must say!

Friday night I found myself wearing my apron, sweeping my floor and prepping a meal for Sri to come over and eat. I felt pretty damn good about the whole thing! She brought over a couple things she made to share - Curried Turkey Mini Burgers and some Veggie Muffin things for appies. I made a Brussel Sprout, Apple and Bacon sautee which turned out well, some pork chops and a Carrot "Pudding" inspired once again by my girl crush. Both Sri and I are in the midst of a detox thing so everything had to be dairy-free, sugar-free, grain-free and legume-free. All of it was and all of it was delish!

I got into some other super (in my opinion) fantastico creations! I made some Yogurt Berry Muffins on Saturday which I didn't try but the reviews came back approved. On Sunday, I had the beautiful Stacy (soon to be Dr.Radics) over for a Pork Breakfast Hash inspired by PaleOMG once again. That girl is a friggin' genius!! I was once again wearing an apron while whipping Stacy and I up our breakfast. Stace brought over Almond Lattes from Cafe Beano. They are my guilty pleasure at this moment! That, and Americanos. Lame, I know... but they seem like a treat when doing a Whole30 challenge!

BEFORE
Brussel Sprout, Apple, Bacon Saute inspired by Martha (sorry, no measuring)
Olive oil for the pan
Brussel Sprouts, cut up
Apple, diced

Bacon, cooked then diced
Onion, diced
Balsamic Vinegar (approx 1 tbsp)
Salt and pepper

Cook up your bacon. I cooked mine in the oven because I was multi-tasking. Cut up all your vegetables and your apple. Heat up your pan, put in the oil (make sure it's not too hot or the oil will burn - yuck). Then throw in your onion and cook till translucent. Then add your brussel sprouts, apple and bacon. The apple doesn't take too long so wait on it or else it might become mush. Stir it around, make sure the brussel sprouts are soft. Then eat it! YAY.


AFTER
Now, for Sunday...

Pork Breakfast Hash inspired by PaleOMG (all measurements are approximate!)
Approx 1/2 pound ground pork
1 sweet potato, chopped

1/2 onion, diced
garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
6 eggs

Chili Powder
Cumin
Chili Peppers

Salt and Pepper

Heat up a pan and add a little bit of oil for cooking. I had some bacon fat, so I used that. Cook your pork through. Add your onions and garlic, and cook until the onions are translucent. Then, add the sweet potato and cook some more until it's on the softer side. Then, add your canned tomatoes and all of your spices. You'll have to experiment a bit and test it to your taste. I followed the original recipe amounts and found it wasn't enough for me, so just added a bit here and there. Once your potatoes are soft and you've spiced it to your liking, put your mixture into a greased baking dish. Then, make little dips to put in your eggs. Break the eggs into each special spot you made for them. Put it in the oven and bake it until the eggs are done. BUT, don't do what I did and bake it too long and make your eggs gummy! My guest was so nice that she didn't complain. It was pretty damn good! This made about 4 pretty decent sized breakfasts! :) ENJOY!
Who doesn't love Sunday brunch!?
Sorry this post was so boring. I'll do better next time! It's almost foodie penpal time! :)



Thursday, October 11, 2012

Happy Belated Thanksgiving My Peeps!

Hello! HEY. Hi! Holy. Way to drop the ball Kyla. October 1st and promising I wouldn't drop the ball and here it is, 10 days later. Well, better late than never I suppose!!

A unicorn t-shirt! A last Weds surprise from one of my lovely friends!!
Thanksgiving was a wondrous occasion!! I started to eat like a mad woman on Saturday and didn't stop until Monday evening. My eating included: my own baking (gasp* - a rarity when I eat my own creations), Peanut Butter Pie (holy sh*t - Peanut butter, dream whip, chocolate, cream cheese, oreo cookie crust.... heaven), Turkey of course, and all the fixings! I got some good friend and family time in. On Friday, I committed to a run, watching numerous occasions of Breaking Bad and then staying up until 2am baking with the mutant zucchini that was donated to me from Michelle's garden. I made a few different kinds of loaves with it, both turned out well, I think... Well, I know one did anyway! Saturday, I did some Crossfit and then visited with Ceara where we drank a lot of wine, and planted some bulbs. Her husband cooked us dinner and it so was SO GOOD. How lucky is she!? Her husband cooks and cleans and he's a handy man. I think that's the new definition of Triple Threat! Sunday, met with the Aunt, Uncle and cousins where I golfed the hardest course I've ever been on and did a terrible job of it - it was fun nevertheless and great to enjoy the beauty of a late fall! After golf, we played some Monopoly where sh*t got serious. I think families have actually split apart after a game like that, but it was super fun. Monday - TURKEY DAY. We ate and ate and ate and ate. Aunt Robin showed Kirby and I the ins and outs of making homemade buns and how to make a turkey. I know, shocking - I've cooked and baked so many other things and yet, no turkey! I got to cuddle a baby which was AWESOME. She's so friggin' cute. She was born early so she had some catching up to do and she has! She went from this tiny little 5 pound baby to this chubby beautiful 10 pound baby - they change so quickly! :)

Monopoly!!! Yes, the NHL version.


Ok, so that was my weekend in a nutshell. Before I get to the cooking/baking portion of this, I would like to share with you the list of things that I felt very thankful for this Thanksgiving. They start as follows: my stretchy pants - those things seriously have saved me,  and my new career opportunity - learning so so much. I am thankful for my family who is growing bigger and bigger with the addition of Baby Shela, Baby Petey (nickname of Kirby's baby boy in her cute belly) and of course, my new cousin (through marriage) Andy - after the loss we've all experienced in the last number of years, it's so wonderful to watch it grow. The cycle of life is a beautiful thing. I am so thankful for my friends who overwhelm me at times with the love they show me. I am thankful for my good physical health - I am getting stronger and better at Crossfit and making those gains is so incredibly satisfying. Then, of course, there are all the little things to be thankful for - Foodie Penpals, Peanut Butter, Nutella, Sunshine, the changing leaf colors in the fall, and good food. Really, this list could get out of hand, so I'll stop!

And for the creations...........

Coconut, Zucchini Chocolate Loaf, adapted from here
I tried to make it a bit healthier, so you can fatten it up if you like by following the original!

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup greek yogurt
3 c. grated zucchini
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease your pans.
Combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder in a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
Beat eggs, applesauce, nectar, sugar, and vanilla for about 30 seconds. Add the yogurt and beat to combine. Mix in zucchini and coconut.
Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. 

I made mini loaves out of it because mini loaves are way cuter than  big loaves. I also own silicone loaf pans which are AMAZING. Buy some. I tried to take pictures but they look like sh*t so just imagine how great these loaves are. This made about 4 - 5 loaves depending on how full you make them. You can make muffins too if you'd prefer.

Bake for about 35 minutes and then let cool and eat them up!!! YUM!
Stuffed Peppers - this one i came up with from different things I've eaten before
2 bell peppers, any color works - cut in half and take out the seeds or core then and set them up right
1 can of chick peas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup of quinoa (I think), cooked
1/2 cup onion
2 - 3 cloves of garlic, diced
1/2 medium sized zucchini, diced
a couple handfuls of spinach, chopped up
a whole bunch of baby tomatos, cut in halves
1/4 cup feta cheese
1 - 2 tsp oregano
1 - 2 tsp thyme
salt and pepper
Cook the quinoa as per your directions - you can use couscous or rice if you'd prefer. While that's cooking, cut up your vegetables. Heat a frying pan, and add some cooking oil like olive oil. Throw in your onion and garlic and cook a bit, then throw in the zucchini and cook it until soft. When your quinoa is done, put it into the pan as well and make sure to keep stirring so it doesn't burn. Then add the spinach, tomatos, cheese, and spices. While this is cooking, put your peppers into the oven for about 10 minutes to roast slightly. Take them out, stuff them. Bake for another 10 minutes or so. Then take them out and scarf them down! DELISH. I would also recommend trying portabella mushrooms with this filling. They were really good too! 
I cooked these for Jackie after spin class last night and she gave them a thumbs up. Just make them already!! The pictures never do justice. Speaking of which - Foodgawker app for iPhones - addicting! 
EAT ME!



Monday, October 1, 2012

And the worst blogger award goes to.....

Geezus! If I don't keep this up, no one is going to ever look at my blog. It's been a busy month, and I've been preoccupied with all of the birthday love, and big job changes that have happened in the last several weeks. I would, first of all like to say, "WOW. WOW. WOW." Talk about birthday love overload. My birthday started before my birthday and the love continued until well after... I was spoiled rotten. So much love in the form of food, in the form of notes, gifts, hugs, etc. It was insane. THANK YOU EVERYONE! 


Birthday Weekend Duathlon! YAY EVERYTHING FRIEND! xo
Sadly, today, I am home sick. I have been fighting it since Friday. I took cold meds, slept, stayed home and here it is...Monday! And sick. Cold, hot, cold, hot, and the chills, I had a 3 hour nap and the old Lipton Chicken Noodle soup remedy and for about an hour felt good enough that I might head to Crossfit but I'm afraid - No. Such. Luck. The smart part of me is going to stay home and try to shake this off. It's not overly surprising that I am sick! There's been a lot going on. I haven't slowed down for much. Job changes are always overwhelming and stressful! The new job is good, but I've definitely been overwhelmed! I got exactly what I wanted - a lot of opportunity to learn and there is a lot of opportunity to create here! I can't wait. I am going to be working with a lady that I'm very excited to learn a lot from! She's really smart and has some really great experience. I've also ran a couple races this month! I did my very first duathlon - hard work but so fun! Trail run 7km, bike 18km and Trail run 3km - I finished it in under 2 hours. I found the biking the hardest part because I wasn't familiar with road biking and got my gears stuck on the hard part going up hill! Then, Jackie and I also ran Melissa's Road Race. We did the 10KM portion of it. It was definitely a chore for me! I was not a happy runner but happy with my time since I haven't ran 10KM since June. We had to run up Tunnel Mountain - if you're familiar with Banff, it's a long hill.... I think my days of road racing are coming to an end. The trail races are much more fun for me!
Banff in September, BEAUTY!

The kitchen has been active! Don't worry there! I unfortunately haven't done a lot of picture taking with my creations, but I have been creating away! Yesterday, the lovely Michelle and I spent 5 hours getting her freezer full of meals for when her little baby boy arrives! We made Chili complete with bacon and chipolte, Shrimp curry and rice, Cheddar/Bacon Meatloaves, Lasagna and Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins. I think she's pretty ready for him to come along! 4 more weeks!

I promise I'll start taking pictures again and getting back to sharing with all of you lovelies! My cousin and I have told my Aunt we are going to be taking on the task of Thanksgiving dinner this coming weekend! I've picked out a recipe for pumpkin squares and plan on somehow incorporating nutella into it. They will be delicious, I am confident. I've also signed up for the Foodie Penpal program again to motivate me back to this blogging bit! Don't give up on me yet!! I'll get to writing more again, PROMISE!