Just One of Those Days

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sitting here drinking a glass of wine in front of the fireplace. I wasn’t going to blog tonight because I just spent a very long 12 hours at work, in meetings the entire time. I love my job and I love my team, I am not complaining, but I am so unbelievably tired. I have never been so glad to have fit my workout in this morning at 6:30am because it wouldn’t have happened otherwise. I had a feeling it would be a long day so I fit it in because that’s what you do when your training for your first half-marathon….you fit it in. Smile

 

I ate take-out in a meeting room three times today…I’m glad I fit it in! Right now I am craving a little comfort so soon as this posts I am curling up and reading Game of Thrones. While I will not be cooking this after what I ate today, I think you should forget the laundry, the to-do list, twitter, and life and make this mac n’ cheese. Then curl up and read a good book if you are having one of those days. Sometimes you just gotta fit it in! Smile

 

Almost Non-Dairy Mac N’ Cheese 

  • 4 cups whole wheat small pasta (I used penne)
  • 1 cup light cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp margarine or butter
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

 

Bring water to a boil and add pasta. Melt the margarine on medium low heat and then slowly add the flour while cooking until fully incorporated and there are no lumps! Allow to cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes until it starts to turn an amber/caramel colour. Add in soy milk and continue to stir and cook 3 to 4 minutes until sauce has thickened. Add in cheese and dry mustard and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes, constantly stirring. I am lactose-intolerant but I can have small amounts of real cheese, if you want this to be totally dairy-free you can swap in a lactose-free cheese. The sauce takes a total of 10 minutes to cook and pasta is generally around 12 so start the sauce 2 minutes after the pasta and they will be done the same time. Drain the pasta and add the sauce and tomatoes to the pasta and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy! I actually made this Monday which was also my vegetarian day this week, meatless Monday! (Serves 4)

 

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Favourite comfort food?

How do you de-stress after a long day?

What are you currently reading?

Halloween Weekend

I absolutely love Halloween, the parties, costumes, and of course candy! What’s not to love? The last few years we have attended different Halloween events around town, mainly Bat Dance and Mardi  Gras (George Street shuts down for this event). Both are very fun but this year the idea of going to a crowded bar and trying to get cabs for hours just wasn’t appealing, to us or our friends. So a few weeks ago everyone said they didn’t have plans and just wanted to do a house party so we offered to host! The party was last night and we went all out on the decorations:

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We even had some dry ice on hand for effect. Don’t worry the handler of the dry ice is a legit scientist!

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Bruce and I went as Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf!

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We had so much fun! Of course the most important aspect of any good party is the food. I used to buy lots of premade and frozen appetizers for parties. They’re always good but there’s nothing special about them! I always made my own cookies for parties so I decided this time to try making my own homemade appetizers. What always stopped me from doing it was the time needed to do it on the day of the party. I solved that problem by making some a few days before and freezing them. I made Eat Live Run’s Buffalo Chicken WonTons on Thursday and froze them. They were the biggest hit of the party! I could barely get out of the kitchen with them and they were gone. Everyone has asked for the recipe so if you are looking for a great party app make them! A little time consuming, but they are easy to make and so worth it! I also made candy corn sugar cookies also from Eat Live Run. So cute looking and really delicious as well.

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The other main thing I made with this adorable and yummy pumpkin cheese ball. The look was inspired from several pictures I’ve seen on the internet but the recipe I created myself, well mostly I just mixed things in that I had on hand!

Pumpkin Cheese Ball (serves many!)

  • 2 packages of light cream cheese
  • 2 cups old cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 red pepper chopped finely
  • 3 green onions chopped (save one stalk)
  • 4 tbsp bacon crumble
  • 2 turkey pepperonis quartered

Mix cream cheese, 1.5 cups of the cheddar, red pepper, green onion and bacon well. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Shape into a pumpkin like shape and roll in remaining cheese. Decorate with the green onion as a stalk and pepperoni for eyes, nose, and mouth! Refrigerate until ready to serve. I served mine with wheat thins but any crackers, chips, or veggies work! Everyone loved this one as well, plus it doesn’t have to be a pumpkin if you wanted to use it say at Christmas which I totally will be!

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What did you dress up as for Halloween?

How did you celebrate?

Any fun recipes you’d like to share?

Monday Mantra: Keep Cookin’

This week I said I would cook …. and cook I did, a lot :

Chillimy go to quick weeknight recipe. I have an amazing homemade chilli I only make during weekends and snowstorms because it takes hours, I will share it at some point the winter.

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Cast Iron Frittata – recipe coming Wednesday!

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Cajun Chicken Sandwiches (recipe coming) and Cheesy Broccoli Rice

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Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal (recipe coming)

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Soy Glazed fish with broccoli and fries (I was in a rush)

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I also baked a pumpkin loaf that is amazing, Bruce cannot stop raving about it, recipe for that coming up Friday! I have really enjoyed getting back to cooking this week. So I am going to continue this mantra this week. The only thing I struggle with in terms of cooking is coming up with side dishes. I have my dinners planned out for the next 2 weeks (love meal planning), but side dishes are always hard to come up with, I’d like to get more creative ones!

What is your favourite side dish? Share!

Italian Quinoa

I created this recipe last Saturday night, Bruce was at a bachelor party so I took the opportunity to make something with quinoa in it seeing as he doesn’t love the texture of it . It made enough for 4 huge servings which I have eaten for lunch this week. This recipe freezes well, I defrosted one and ate it for lunch today! This is a quick healthy recipe you could make on the weekend and enjoy a few times during the week when you’re in a rush.

 

Quinoa which tastes and looks like a grain is actually a seed it, “contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it a complete protein source, unusual among plant foods. It is a good source of dietary fibre and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest” (source).

 

Italian Quinoa (Serves 4 – 5)

  • 1 large bell pepper chopped
  • 2 spicy Italian sausages
  • 3 or 4 fresh mushrooms chopped
  • 1 cup organic quinoa
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 1 cup light mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 2 cloves garlic minced

 

To cook quinoa:

Bring water to boil in a medium-sized pot, once rapidly boiling reduce heat to medium. Add quinoa and cook partially covered for 7 – 10 minutes. Use lid to drain off water and serve hot. You can add quinoa to lots of dishes that call for rice or even as a substitute for oatmeal. It takes on the flavour of whatever it is added to.

 

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Meanwhile while quinoa is cooking boil an inch or 2 of water in a large pan (with a cover) once boiled reduce heat to medium. Add sausages and cook covered for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and chop up sausages into bite-sized pieces. Drain water from pan and add olive oil. Add mushrooms, peppers, and sausage and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until peppers and mushrooms are cooked. Add garlic in the last minute of cooking.

 

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Mix in cooked quinoa, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste and cook for another 5 minutes until heated through. Top with cheese and cover allowing cheese to melt. Serve and enjoy!

 

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What’s your favourite way to eat quinoa? I’d love some new suggestions!

Showers of Love Sprinkled with Happiness

On Sunday I attended a bridal shower for a very good friend of mine, Tina. I am standing as one of the bridesmaids in her September wedding. The shower was lovely! I brought wings and meatballs, the recipe of which can below! : ) Congrats to the beautiful bride-to-be! I cannot wait for the stagette in a few weeks and the upcoming wedding!

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The beautiful bride and her bridesmaids

 

Meatballs (makes 30 – 40 depending on size)

  • 1.5 pounds of extra lean ground beef (or any combination of grinded lean meat)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1.5 tsp parsley
  • 1.5 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • fresh black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl. Roll into 1 inch size balls and place on a lined cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes flipping halfway. Serve with your favourite warm bbq sauce for dipping! Just as a side note if you need to transport these to a party like I did I put them in my slow cooker (pictured below) while I got ready and kept it on warm and plugged it in when I got to the party! It kept them nice and hot.

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BBQ Chicken Pizza

The weather in my neck of the woods has not been good. When I say not been good I mean rain, drizzle, and fog …. constantly. I actually could barely see the parking lot from the office today because of the fog. This is what it looked like on my run yesterday:

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It’s downright depressing, it’s August after all. The rest of Canada is seeing heat waves and record high temps. I wish they’d send them our way for a while. I’ve stopped planning any form of barbeque into my meal plans because the weather just refuses to cooperate. So as a last ditch attempt to pretend it’s summer I’ve decided to bring the flavours of barbequing inside.

 

BBQ Chicken Pizza (serves 4)

  • Homemade (see below for my recipe) or premade frozen or fresh crust
  • 2 cooked and chopped chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup favourite bbq sauce (divided)
  • 8 or 9 grape tomatoes chopped
  • 1 green pepper chopped
  • 4 mushrooms chopped
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese (I used light)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread half the sauce on the crust and use the rest to toss the chicken in. Top crust with chicken, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or so until cheese is bubbly and golden brown. You could really add any veggies you like to this!

 

Homemade Pizza Dough (Makes 1 pizza enough for 4 people)

  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2.25 teaspoons quick rise yeast (also known as bread machine yeast)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup white flour (or you can use all white or all whole wheat)
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Mix water, sugar, and yeast and allow to sit for 10 minutes until yeast is foamy and bubbly looking on top of water. Add everything else and knead by hand or my personal lazy method by dough hook on a stand mixer for 5 minutes. Allow to rise for at least 20 minutes, roll out dough on a floured surface, and top with desired toppings! It’s better if you allow for a longer rise but if you are short on time 20 minutes is enough time. That’s what quick rise yeast is for! This is my go to dough recipe. We eat a lot of homemade pizza around here, I’ll eventually share all my topping combinations!

 

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Fun fact: this picture was shot out in the drizzle and fog on my deck. I wanted natural light so I braved the elements! I’m off to check on the progress of the renovation of my office and hopefully curl up under a blanket and watch a movie because it’s Fall here apparently. Crossing my fingers for blue skies on my morning run! Enjoy your evening : )

What are you up to this weekend?

A Weekend Around the Harbour

We left town yesterday to head around the bay, where Bruce is from, Fox Harbour. It’s Fox Harbour Festival weekend – a weekend of plays, dances, and carnivals. Last night we went to a play and headed home early because I knew I had a 40 minute run planned this morning. So I got up this morning and went for my run around the harbour with Bruce’s brother-in-law. It was the first time I have ever gone on a run with anyone in a long long time. It’s usually just just me and my iPod. Anyways it was a tough hilly 3.56 miles and without him I probably wouldn’t have stuck with my speed plan. Anyways it was a great day for running – low temperatures and overcast, here’s a few pictures from my run:

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So when we came back from our run this is what was waiting for us. Fresh bread right out of the oven, Bruce’s mom is the most AMAZING cook!

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Anyways that bread is basically all I have eaten since then because shortly after I returned from my run I got sick and have been ever since. Either I ate something that didn’t agree with me or I have a stomach bug. I am leaning towards a bug because it just hasn’t let up since and now I am stuck at the house while everyone is at the dance. However, because of that I have time to share this next recipe with you! Toutons are a Newfoundland traditional food that are typically served for breakfast. There is nothing healthy about this food at all but everything in moderation! : )

Toutons

  • White bread dough
  • Butter / margarine
  • Dipping sauces: molasses or maple syrup

 

Melt butter or margarine in a large frying pan until pan is coated. Tear dough into 3 or 4 inch size pieces and flatten them as you lay them on the pan. Fry them for 3 or 4 minutes each side over medium heat until golden brown. Serve hot with dipping sauce!

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Hopefully my stomach is feeling better for the carnival tomorrow! : )

Summer Time = BBQ Time

When the sun is shining there is no better time for a barbeque!

 

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I made the pasta salad from this recipe it was amazing. Go make it now! The kabobs were my own special blend of marinade:

Chicken or Beef Kabobs (enough marinade for about 20 kabobs)

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 springs fresh rosemary pulled apart
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients then marinate about 3 lbs of chicken or beef with 1 chopped bell pepper and 1 chopped yellow onion.  Marinate for at least an hour then thread meat and veggies on to water soaked wooden skewers. Grill as usual! These were delish! : )

 

I hope you are enjoying the food of summer as much as I am!

My Uneventful Weekend

It has been a quiet weekend so far, and that’s just fine with me! It started off yesterday with this delightful end of the week beer and pita chip combo.

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I seriously cannot stop snacking on these, plain, with salsa, or a scoop of hummus, they are amazing!! Last night I made homemade pizza and did some re-watching of Harry Potter. I am hoping to get see the new one either this week or next. This morning I awoke bright and early for some breakfast and then headed to Body Flow. For breakfast I made this:

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Banana Oat Bran (Serves 2)

  • 2/3 cup oat bran
  • 1 cup vanilla soy milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1 scoop nut butter

 

Bring the water and soy milk to a boil. Reduce heat to low-med then slowly add oat bran followed by chia seeds. Stir continually while cooking for about 3 – 5 minutes depending on how thick you want it. Stir in mashed banana and cook another 1 – 2 minutes. Serve hot topped with nut butter!

 

It was so so so yummy and a great pre Body Flow breakfast! The new release was taught today and I loved all the new songs and moves. It’s been a great Saturday – I am off to curl up in bed with a book, I have a 40 minute run + body pump tomorrow!

Mexican Fiesta Breakfast Wrap

I actually had this wrap last Sunday on a lazy morning lounging around the house and Bruce and I enjoyed breakfast on the deck. It was the perfect Sunday and these wraps were exactly what I wanted! They actually were inspired by the fact that we were pretty much out of groceries and I wanted a hot breakfast – so I had to get creative!

Mexican Fiesta Breakfast Wrap (serves 2)

  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 3 tbsp salsa
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (any kind)
  • 1/2 green bell pepper chopped
  • 2 mushrooms chopped
  • 1/4 cup plain soy milk or regular milk
  • 1 tbsp Earth Balance or margarine/butter
  • 2 whole wheat wraps
  • salt and pepper

Melt butter/margarine on a pan over medium heat. Whisk together eggs, milk, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste.  Once pan is coated and hot add eggs, green pepper, and mushrooms. Allow to cook for 3 or 4 minutes without touching it. Then add salsa and cheese and allow to cook for another 2 or 3 minutes. Then using a spatula chop up egg mixture until it looks like scrambled eggs and is completely cooked. Meanwhile warm tortillas in microwave. Spoon 1/2 of egg mixture into each wrap, roll, and enjoy! Though the egg mixture doesn’t look appetizing trust me, it is!

Eggs

 

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All wrapped up!

 

This is such a versatile egg recipe, you could really mix it up and add whatever you had on hand. I think I will be adding jalapeños next time!

I should have an interesting post ready to go at some point tomorrow – I turn 25 in just 10 minutes! Smile