Sunday, September 08, 2013

Soup Weather!

My friend Cheryl tempted me with talk of a bacon-tomato soup on her Facebook wall today.  With her permission, here is the recipe cut and pasted from a chat window so I don't lose it.
The instructions are pretty general, but hey, it's soup, not rocket science!

Cheryl's Tomato Bacon Soup

2 quarts of canned tomatoes 
 2 carrots 
2 celery stalks
 2 onions 
 2 cloves garlic 
7 cups vege or chicken stock
 6 large tomatoes*
Salt and pepper 
Sauté everything but tomatoes in olive oil. Add tomatoes and seasonings and boil. Blend in a blender.
Cook most of a pack of bacon till almost crisp and crumble into final product and let simmer a while
*The tomatoes are blanched and skin/core removed
I think this would be delicious with a grilled cheese sandwich alongside for dipping--I also envision chopped avocado and possibly a swirl of sour cream in your bowl to finish.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

You pin some, you lose some, Part 2

You should make these

This makes a great, light-tasting dessert to serve after a barbeque
Well, after the great birdseed debacle I regrouped and went with what I know:  You don't make friends with birdseed.  These recipes are at the opposite end of the nutrition spectrum as the recipe in my previous post--they even go so far as to call for processed fake ingredients like cake mix and cool-whip.  Of course, that stuff makes my kids make faces like this:
The cinnamon roll square keeps really well in the pan so it makes a nice snack to tuck into a bag for day camp or to go to the beach or on a picnic.  I usually avoid buying mixes in boxes, but I really couldn't come up with a substitute in that recipe.

I made the Eclair Cake for dessert after a barbecue.  Due to the delicate nature of the cream-puff crust and the creamy filling, the cake does not keep as well, but that really isn't a problem as we didn't have any left at all after our dinner!  I did not use instant pudding and Cool-Whip as the recipe calls for.  I made vanilla pudding from scratch and cooled it all the way down in the fridge before mixing in the whipped cream cheese.  I also used real whipped cream for the topping and home made chocolate sauce.  I don't think my filling came out as thick as the filling in the picture due to the fact the custard was only thickened with cornstarch instead of  tetrasodium pyrophosphate, but no one seemed to mind.

Have you had a winning Pin lately?

Thursday, July 04, 2013

You pin some, you lose some.

Do you ever cruise Pinterest and find some of the descriptions under the pins to be rather heavy on the hyperbole?  Do you become instantly sceptical about how fantastic said pin really is?

Me too.

Of course, sometimes that just makes me curious so I have to try the pin to see if is anywhere close to the promises made in the description.

This brings me to today's post.

If you follow people who go on random health kicks you might have seen this pin show up on your home page:

Life Changing Loaf

 If you click through to the blog post, you will find out this blogger thinks this is the best loaf of bread ever.  It takes any spread.  It makes the best toast ever.  You will feel so healthy and full of life if you eat this bread. 

I am always trying to find new and healthy and fibre-rich foods to feed my kids and I just happened to have all of the ingredients on hand, so I braced myself for a life-changing food experience. 

The instructions are pretty straight-forward.  Blend a mixture of nuts, seeds, oats, honey and coconut oil with some psyllium and water.  Let it sit until the moisture is absorbed.   Bake in the oven, tipping the loaf out onto the oven rack halfway through the cooking time (yeah, right--not in my brand new oven!) and finish baking.

My first problem came when it was time to tip the loaf out onto the rack.  I improvised with a wire rack on a baking pan so I wouldn't have to clean burnt seeds out of the bottom of my oven later--that was a good decision.  The loaf is really damp.  It didn't want to come out of the baking pan, even though my pan is flexible and nothing really sticks to it.  The bits that did come free easily crumbled to the bottom of the tray.  I kinda lumped the rest together into a blob and hoped for the best.
Problem #1. It is damp and sticky.

It maintained it's damp yet crumbly texture even after baking.
 After baking, I let it cool overnight, per instructions so it would be easy to slice.  Ha.  This stuff just fell apart when the knife touched it.  There was no way I would be getting any jam or peanut butter or hummus or anything else spread on it.

I popped a morsel in my mouth.  And then I started chewing.  And chewing. And chewing. And chewing.  This "bread" will give your jaw a SERIOUS workout.  It is very filling and takes a long time to chew so I suppose it would be good for a person who is trying to cut calories.  If you can choke it down.  To me, it sort of tasted the way I imagine damp bird seed would taste.

I gave some to Matthew.  Here was his reaction:

 With great regret, I threw that brick of birdseed in the garbage.  There was no way I could convince anyone in this house it was something good to eat.

Life changing?  Not so much.

Tomorrow I will share with you a winning pin.  I won't promise that it will change your life, but it might help you make friends on a coffee date.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Choco Banana Buzz Smoothie

I like to go running.  I find before a run if I eat the wrong things my stomach gets upset on the road, but if I don't eat I don't have the physical or mental stamina to have a good workout.  Smoothies help. It turns out if I don't have to CHEW my breakfast I can get the fuel I need to have a good workout without upsetting my stomach.  I threw this together and it was really good.  Do you need to shake up your smoothie?

Choco Banana Buzz Smoothie
Serves 1
In the bowl of your blender (or a jug if you use a stick blender like I do) toss:

1 banana, broken up
1/3 cup vanilla yogurt
1 cup plain almond milk
1 scoop Chia Seeds (1 tablespoon)
1 scoop plain protein powder
1 shot espresso (you can make it with instant espresso powder if you don't have a machine)
1 heaped teaspoon cocoa powder
1 dash cinnamon

Blend until smooth, pour into a large glass and drink.  (It  makes more than a demitasse full, I just did that for the picture!)  If you want a really thick smoothie, put it in the fridge for 15 minutes or so to allow the chia seeds to soften and thicken the mixture.

 According to My Fitness Pal the nutrition information is as follows (I used Blue Diamond plain almond milk and Astro French Vanilla Yogurt in this recipe)

Per serving: 375 calories, 53 gm carbs, 9 gm fat, 33 gm protein, 9 gm fiber, 28 gm sugar.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Carrot and Ginger Soup

Alas, it is still soup weather here.  My friend shared this recipe with me and I can't wait to try it.

Carrot and Ginger Soup

1 shallot
1 piece of ginger
20 g of butter to saute
500 g carrots
1/2-1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 L broth
100 ml cream plus 100 g creme fraiche
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon curry
salt and pepper to taste

Peel shallot and ginger and cut into small pieces.  Melt butter in a pot and gently saute  the shallot and ginger for approx 10-15 minutes--do not brown!  Wash and peel carrots. Chop.  Add carrots and saute for   a bit, then add sugar and about 2/3 of the broth.  Cook for 10-15 minutes, until carrots are tender.  Puree soup and add broth until you are happy with the consistency of the soup.
Add cream, creme fraiche and let the soup warm through.  Add tomato paste, curry and salt and pepper. Serve.

*If you want to freeze the soup, add tomato paste and spices before freezing, but do not add the diary as it will curdle when you re-heat.*

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Handy Housewife Hints

For the most part, I roll my eyes pretty hard at the housekeeping tips I find on Pinterest.  I am not interested in hoarding my orange peels to make enzyme cleanser, and I got on the home made laundry detergent bandwagon once, but quickly got off as I found commercial stuff just works better for me. (That and I found out grated soap doesn't always dissolve in hard water and can cause some nasty plumbing clogs.) Daily housecleaning schedules never, ever stick with me.

This pin, however? This pin is pure Pinterest gold.  If you have boys in your house, you need this pin.

Be warned: The first time you try this, the baking soda foam will loosen up all manner of unholy disgustingness that has been lurking under your toilet. It will be gross.  You will be revolted.  You will lobby hard for your own personal bathroom in the house if you don't already have one.

You will be so happy when that strange lingering pee smell that is always there, even after you clean is finally gone.

You will do this again and again. 

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Gord's Lemon Shrimp Pasta

I complained on Facebook this afternoon that I had no idea what to make for dinner tonight.  My buddy Gord popped this message into my inbox:

Run to the grocery store and get a $8 bag of shrimp. With kids peeled is best. I do uncooked, but cooked works too. Grab a couple lemons while you're there, and some garlic, but I suspect you have that in the house.

Defrost the shrimp in the bag in a bowl of cold water. Won't take long at all -- less than an hour. You just want them not total blocks of ice.

Put water on for pasta. Once it boils and the pasta is in, do the following:

Take a pan. Add a couple or three tablespoons of oil. Any works -- canola, olive, even butter. Actually probably butter best of all, but it's sort of gilding the lily. Cook the shrimp until they're that pink colour that says they're cooked. Add a teaspoon or so of crushed garlic. If you have whole cloves, you can take four or five of them, smash them with a knife, then before you add the shrimp cook them really well in the oil, to infuse the flavour into it, then take them out -- they'll look burnt almost. Once the shrimp and garlic is cooked, turn it to low just enough to keep it hot.

Once the pasta is cooked and drained,

Now squeeze the lemon juice into the pan and use it to deglaze, then throw the pasta in and mix the whole lot up (or put the shrimp and stuff in the pasta pot, since there's usually more room). Serve with parm cheese.

I guess it is pretty tasty since this was the post script to the recipe:

I once had a lesbian girl offer to marry me, because she thought this was so good.

Choose who you make this for wisely!!

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Swedish Waffles

My friend Christiane is the breakfast Queen.  First, it was Pfannenkuchen.  Now it is Swedish Waffles.  She shared this recipe with me on a scrap of paper, written by hand.  I made them for brunch today.  They are rich and buttery with a flaky interior and crisp exterior.  If you don't make them for breakfast, they would make a fantastic base for a strawberry shortcake or as a garnish with an ice cream sundae.

Swedish Waffles

2 eggs
100 ml /approx 3 oz water
10 ml /2 tsp sugar
pinch of salt
180 gm/approx 6 oz flour
5 ml/1 tsp baking powder
125 gm/1 half cup melted butter
200 ml/approx 6 oz 35% cream

Mix eggs, water, sugar, salt, baking powder and flour in a large bowl.  Add melted butter and cream.  Mix well.  Bake in a pre-heated waffle iron per manufacturer's directions. Serve with fruit and your favourite waffle toppings!

Makes about 4 large waffles.

According to MyFitnessPal here is a nutritional breakdown:

per waffle: 590 calories, 35 gms carbs, 44 gm fat, 10 gm protein.