And the reality is…Part 2

baking

With high hopes to making our way to the cabin today, 1 woke up nauseous and swearing she was going to puke. Man!! So excited and then so bummed. With all the hype of one of my favorite places, Trader Joe’s, in the news, I figured I would go first hand and investigate the buzz. I had good intentions of researching, but was so side tracked by the replenished rows of Kale, which I have not been able to get my hands on for months, and the beautiful chocolate choices above the frozen goods isle, I totally forgot all about TJ’s in the news and was in my grocery store glory. Tomorrow, the weather man says it is going to be warmer than today, so…cabin here we come? Maybe. I am trying not to plan so far in advance now…sheesh!
This evening I plan to bake my newest favorite cookie. I was in an accident, a rear end, a couple of weeks ago and have been told not to run, go to spin class, or work out for 2 weeks. It is week three and still no cigar. I am to take it super easy. Super easy to me is bake cookies. Seriously, when I am stressed, I run. When I feel overwhelmed, I run. When I feel good, I run. Now, I am not saying baking is replacing my exercise regime, but it is coming pretty close. Tonight I have been given the go ahead to start running again, but for only 2 minutes at a time…that is kind of the equivalent to eating a cookie or two. My dear friend gave me this recipe. It is from Planet Organic. I have never been before, but fancy these cookies a great deal. This isn’t the exact recipe, due to lack of ingredients on my part, but nonetheless, they are pretty cosmic, that’s for sure.

Cosmic Cookie

Inspired by Planet Organic

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups barley flakes
2 cups spelt flour or kamut
1 cup sunflower seed
3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened (optional)
1/4 cup flax seed or flax meal
1 cup granulated unbleached cane sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
2 cups dark chocolate chips or 1 3/4 cups carob chips
1 1/4 cups raisins or ½ cup cranberries
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
3/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 cup almond milk or soy

How To Play:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line two baking trays with parchment paper.
Combine dry ingredients : from oats to cranberries.
Combine wet ingredients: from water to almond milk.
Stir dry and wet together until just combined.
Portion cookie dough using 1/3 C measure or an ice cream scoop and place on baking tray.
Gently flatten cookies.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Enjoy.

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Doing Valentine’s Mexican Style in a Canadian sorta way….

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Oh Man! Bonnie Tyler may have sung, “I need a hero,” but I need a breather! I am actually listening to her as I type and it is pretty intense. A whopping 19 million others have clicked onto this video. I can’t even begin to imagine who they are, but I am sure they are all pretty cool. Happy Valentine’s! I don’t need a superman to sweep me off my feet, but I do need someone to rub them…Sean? He is actually out right now with a dear old friend he has not seen in probably 3 years, but my feet will await, slippers off with great anticipation. Today was a radically fun and dazey day. Sweet friends Ashley and Shaun would understand. We had a quite an evening last night, one in which records were played and talks of God, life, marriage, and pasts. We were all stunned and half asleep when we peered at the time and it whispered 2 AM. Wow. So, needless to say, I don’t have a clue what I packed in 1’s lunch this morning. I don’t know how I even got dressed, but life as a mom is not about standing around and asking questions, it is about getting the things that need to get done, done. I know she went to school with a lunch, what it had in it, I do not recall. Boys 2 and 3 had their haircuts late this afternoon, and as we left the salon, Sean asked what was for dinner. As I glanced at the clock in our car shouting 5 pm, I determined and willed for a spicy warm Mexican Valentine’s Dinner. Mmmmmm. I have been craving this for a week. Unfortunately my organic avocados couldn’t hang in there, so we did without them, but the meal was scrumptious none the less. We had 3 Cheese Nachos, Black Bean and Red Quinoa Salad, and cheesy refried beans!

Three Cheese Nachos

Ingredients:
Favorite Taco Chips
1 or 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and seasoned (we used Trader Joe’s Taco Seasoning)
1 Red Pepper, cut in rings
1/2 Red onion, cut in rings
1/4 cup Cilantro, roughly chopped
1 cup Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
Salsa, optinal, on the side
Sour Cream, optional, on the side
Guacamole, optional, on the side

How To Play:
Turn oven on to Broil. Spread the taco chips evenly in a large 9 X 12 baking dish. Layer with shredded cooked chicken, peppers, onions, and cheeses. Top with chopped Cilantro. Place in hot oven for 5-10 minutes, checking often to make sure the taco chips don’t burn, but cheese is melted, perhaps even bubbling. I do realize that this may be a lot of cheese, we, or perhaps it is more so me, loves cheese, so please tweak the ingredients to your preference!

Serve with refried beans (heated with shredded cheese and salt), salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and Black Bean Red Quinoa Salad.

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Enjoy.

Home Made Pizza


Today I weighed myself and I am 186.5.  That means, I have 20.5 more pounds to go.  Whoo hoo!  This is a familiar weight, I have been here 3 times now.  Last night I made a vegetarian pizza meets the meat-eater.  The great thing with home made pizza, is one can do whatever they want with whatever they have.  This pizza worked out really well for the family.  I was a bit sneaky and added chopped spinach quite finely, and no one seemed to notice.  The joys of being in the kitchen preparing for the red meat lovers.

Home-made Pizza

Ingredients:
preferred dough, whether it be home-made or store-bought (I used TJ’s fresh dough)
3/4 cups preferred pasta sauce (I used TJ’s Tomato Basil Marinara)
parmesan cheese
hand-full of spinach, chopped finely
1/4 cup red onion, chopped finely
1/4 cup green pepper, chopped finely
1/4 cup red pepper, chopped finely
12 slices of salami, chopped finely
1 1/2 cups of cooked ground beef, seasoned with salt and pepper
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup mozzarella, grated
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated

How To Play:
Heat oven to 500 degrees. Grease a baking sheet sprinkled with organic cornmeal. Prepare dough accordingly. When dough is ready, stretch out onto the prepared cookie sheet. Place in the oven for about 5-8 minutes until it begins to cook. Take it out, let it cool for about 3 minutes. Spoon pasta sauce and smear generously onto the pizza base. Sprinkle a fair amount of parmesan cheese onto the pasta sauce. Evenly lay out the spinach, red onion, peppers, and meats. Sprinkle the cheeses all around. Turn the oven down to 475 degrees, cook pizza for 10-15 minutes or until cooked to perfection.

Enjoy.

Family Favorite

Last Saturday my sister came over for dinner.  Early that morning 1 and I went to Trader Joe’s and then to the butcher shop to buy the best farmer’s sausage in the world, because for dinner, I was going to make the family favorite, perogies and farmer’s sausage with a cabbage salad. I ended up eating a simple spinach salad, because my weight loss thing is annoying.  I haven’t weighed myself for awhile, because I ended up gaining a pound, and it has given me anxiety ever since to even think about stepping onto the scales.  I should have just eaten the perogies, they smelled so good!

Perogies and Farmer’s Sausage with Cabbage Salad

Large Coil of Farmer’s Sausage

Favourite Brand of Perogies

Ingredients:
1/2 onion, sliced
sea salt and pepper
1/2 savoy cabbage, shredded
2 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
1/2 tsp white sugar
1/8 cup olive oil
1 tbsp of sour cream (optional)

How To Play:

Cut farmer’s sausage into thin slices, place into a skillet. Heat thoroughly on a medium temperature. Once it is heated, remove from skillet. Put the sausage into a covered dish and put in the oven on a low temperature to keep warm. Add onion to the sausage fat in the used skillet. (I know, this is so unhealthy, but this is my Polish Grandma’s influence). Heat the onions until they are nice and translucent. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil and add the bag of perogies with a sprinkling of salt. I do everything in guess-timations, but following the cooking instructions on the perogies package would work, too. Once the perogies are floating, remove them from the hot water, and add to the sautéed onions. Add salt and pepper. The perogies will  flavor nicely, due to the onions cooked in the sausage fat. Fry them until they are crispy on the outside and browned. To make the salad, add the vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, and oil in a small bowl, stir well and mix into the shredded cabbage. You may have to add more salt or sugar, depending on your preference. Serve warm, except for the salad, and add a tbsp of sour cream, for those in dire need of comfort food to the max kind of days.

“Interested in a Simple Spinach Salad?” Cried the spinach salad…

Spinach Salad with Goddess Dressing

Ingredients:
2 cups Spinach
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 green onion, chopped
1/8 cup orange, red, or yellow pepper, chopped
2 tbsp hemp hearts
small amount of shredded cheddar cheese (if I had feta, I would have used it, but I actually chopped up a cheese string)
2 tbsp toasted pecans
1 tbsp of Trader Joe’s Goddess dressing, or 1 tbsp of Olive Oil with 1 Tbsp of Balsamic vinegar (depending on my mood, I use either or).

How To Play:
Add the first 7 ingredients together in a bowl. Depending what dressing you are using, add to the salad and mix well with salad tongs.

Enjoy.

What a man, what a man…


Remember that song by envogue?  It popped into my head this evening when I came home from shopping at Trader Joe’s.  Sean made dinner for us and it was scrumptious.  The weather is too cool for my liking, plus add the windchill and the rain, and you have the perfect equation for feet that can’t get warmed.  He made a curry lentil dish that not only filled me up, but heated me up.  So for those blustery West Coast days, cheers to the wind in more ways than one, and try out this snazzy dish taken from Oh She Glows. I also added leftover chicken  that had been marinated in Trader Joe’s salad dressing called Goddess Dressing with my lentils.  I just love my leftovers!  This will make for a good lunch, too.  Now to convince my kids how great lentils are, right?

Curried Lentil Soup

From Oh She Glows

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1.5 cups chopped onion (approx 1 medium onion)
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped (optional)
  • 1.5-2 tablespoons curry powder 
  • 1 cup uncooked green lentils, rinsed and picked over(we used red lentils)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Sea salt & black pepper, to taste 
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges

 How To Play:

1. Heat olive oil in heavy large skillet or pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion, optional celery, and carrot and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes or so.

2. Add finely chopped garlic and stir until vegetables are soft but not brown, about 5 minutes longer. Reduce heat if necessary to avoid burning.

3. Add curry powder.  Add the rinsed uncooked lentils and 4 cups water. Season with a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper, add in lemon juice, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

4. When lentils are tender, poured about half of the soup into the blender and blend the soup for a minute.  This will create a very thick texture. After blending, stir the soup back into the skillet/pot and you will have a very thick soup with some chunky pieces left from the soup you did not process.

5. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional curry powder, if desired. Sprinkle with thinly sliced green onions and serve with lemon wedges.

Makes about 4-5 cups.

Enjoy.