Monday, August 30, 2010

quick and easy week - meal planning - menu planning monday

i share my meal plans at
omelette with cheese, red peppers, garlic and onions
fried eggs with leftover potatoes
yoghurt and fruit
fruit salad

a lot of cantaloupe
coconut rice crackers
rice crackers and hummus
veggies and dip
aji and cheese buns

  • takeout chinese (we had friends in town and this did us for 2 nights - we live steps away from chinatown so lots of good stuff...singapore fried vermicelli, squid in black bean sauce, rice noodles with beef and chinese greens, crispy beef, cantonese vermicelli)
  • pulled bbq pork and potatoes in pasta sauce - pulled bbq pork was a pork tenderloin in the crockpot from frozen with 1c water on high for 2hrs, then added 1c bbq sauce, a few drops of liquid smoke, and another 1hr on high. then pulled the pork apart with two forks

nachos with homemade guacamole and homemade salsa

i gave in to the nacho calling. dh had picked up a bag of tostitos multigrain and i was just bagged after 4hrs of sleep the night before.
yes, the calling was sleep-deprivation-related.
so...the fridge was kind of empty. i did have some chorizo, and a red bell pepper in the fridge...perfect for toppings.
a few tomatoes, a few green onions, lots of cilantro and 3 very, very ripe avocadoes - all led to nachos...

chorizo and red pepper cooked up in the pan (i always just do the nacho chips just with cheese on top in the oven at 350 and add the other toppings once cooked - i hate soggy nachos and this solves that issue)

homemade guacamole and salsa

2 large hothouse tomatoes chopped
4tbsp cilantro chopped
1 green onion chopped
2tbsp pickled sliced jalapeno (i like it spicy)
dash of salt
1.5tbsp of lime juice

i squeeze as much of the juice out of the tomato as possible and keep it in a bowl or cup (i used half of it in the skillet with the red pepper and chorizo = no oil needed!
i used a hand blender to blend it down (i like it a little less chunky
i LOVE this love love
the tomato is the star

2 ripe avocado
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tbsp tomato juice from the 2 tomatoes i squeezed and chopped
1 tbsp salsa
1 tbsp sour cream (optional
1/2 green onion chopped
tiny bit of minced garlic
dash of salt and pepper

all this in a bowl and it gets the hand blender treatment. better if it can sit for 1/2 an hour in the fridge, but no time this time. my standard guacamole. i like it a lot, tastes pretty fresh - even with very very ripe avocados to contend with.
i don't add jalapenos to this as i've already made a spicy salsa.

simple and tasty

pie/casserole using leftovers/pantry - gluten free

hehe not exactly the most succinct title - but this was a veritable mish-mash of gluten free ingredients, including my so-so gluten free bread i made...oh a month ago.

i had made a gluten free bread - sweet potato and rosemary...primarily with sweet potato puree and sorghum flour. i should have known to put less rosemary in (i'm not a huge fan of it in big doses). rather than throw it out (i had 1/2 loaf left) - i thought i'd experiment. the bread was dense - like a soda bread. i crumbled a bunch for the bottom of a baking dish and saved enough for the top.

i found one of those packet soups that i normally make dips with - this one had been in the cupboards for oh...about a year collecting dust (followed the instructions on it.

i had tonnes of leftover veggies - broccoli, carrots and cauliflower from a veggie tray so i steamed them

poured the soup over top...

then the rest of the bread on top as in the photo at the top. into a 350 oven for 25 minutes.

this was surprisingly good. finally the rosemary flavour was balanced. was really hearty. dh liked it, and i ate it again for 2 lunches.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

wordless post - salad

veggie and fruit tray and a bit bento-inspired

my 3yr old asks for veggies...this is a new phenomenon
i've upped the ante
i've made it look appealing
and it seems to be working
and it's kind of fun
living on the doorstep of chinatown means easy access to some bento molds too
so pics...ingredients vary...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

sorbet / gelato - 2nd batch and my first time in italy

view from the top of the ice cream maker

after a successful 1st batch of sorbet, i was ready to refine it last night.
the results...seriously reminded me of italian gelato.
i became a bit nostalgic about my first time visiting italy, and the daily ritual of gelato in the mid-afternoon, wandering around the old streets of firenze
crossing covered bridges
taking it in.

i've always loved travel
and willing to take risks, try something new, learn, eat, experience
i was 18
living in switzerland on an exchange program
and on the flight over from canada, i briefly met a few other students (going to different parts of the country)
and we vowed, in the air, somewhere over the atlantic, that we would all do a trip together.
i lied to my host family and said i was going with my family that lived in geneva (i did visit them, but another time)
and so for 5 nights we went to magical, macho florence and a night in milan
there was a lot of chianti, a lot of capuccino, and a lot of gelato (upon reflection it did seem to be a week of liquid dieting)
i fell in love with firenze
the uffizi
the frescos
the buildings that reminded me of mint candy stripes
even the macho men
and the gypsies who tried to rob one of my travel mates
all part of the experience
i remember all of the lights at night
that soft yellow-ish glow
the music in the streets
at 18, i just marvelled at the whole experience.
and i loved the gelato
when i came home i sought it out
and i live on the doorstep of little italy - sweet, perfect patio dessert.

the ingredients
about 2.5c of frozen raspberries
1/3c sucanat
about 7 pieces of frozen mango
3tbsp lime
1c wild raspberry 100% juice (sunrype)
about 1c water
about 4tbsp cornstarch

everything went in the pot on low
then i used the hand blender to smooth the texture
and strained the whole thing (i need to learn how to strain better - this step took a long time)

raspberries, a few pieces of frozen mango,
and sucanat (natural sugar)

the effort of straining the seeds out was absolutely worth it.
so i am not in italy
and this is not gelato - but it reminds me of it, and it was so so good. 

i think i have a new appliance addiction.

Friday, August 27, 2010

when i knew i could cook

the early part of my life i had a stunning lack of confidence in my ability to cook
i grew up with a mom who was a trained chef
and my dad who cooked a lot on weekends
i had an older sister who seemed to have always been gifted at making trifle
and a younger sister who was secure in her abilities

but not me

i would joke about it
knock myself around with a few good self-insults
i suppose i was afraid i wouldn't measure up if i tried
i didn't want to fail
i was good at other things

so when i moved out
lived on my own
went away
i found i could do more than boil an egg
i didn't burn the pasta
i was on a limited budget, and not knocking k-d, but i didn't want to eat that way
i started cooking for other cash-strapped student friends
we would pool our funds and create frugal feasts

and i smiled and enjoyed and loved it
i could cook
but that was for my newer friends

for my older friends
it was when i hosted a "gourmet" dinner when i was 24
i made lots of appetizers including glazed meatballs
i made a supper of chicken in a sour dough and spinach concoction was divine!
i put love on a plate and shared it with my life-friends
and they embraced it.

for my family
it was a pad thai i made when i was 23
my mom asked for the recipe
that was the highest compliment to me
i had passed

i could cook
i could create food memories
and i do

sweet sorbet

i just bought an ice cream maker. hmmm that makes it sound like a confession.
i ordered it online and got a great deal on a cuisinart with an extra ice cream making bowl, and it arrived yesterday.

so, late last night when the ice cream making bowl was frozen, i made my first batch - a sorbet

i had no cream or eggs in the fridge but wanted to test out the new appliance. i make lots of smoothies so i always have frozen sorbet it was

my dairy free, gluten free frozen delight...

4c frozen berries (mostly mixed and about a cup and a half of raspberries)

1/2c sugar - i use natural sugars so demerara

a few tbsp water
3 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp corn starch (had to use some thickener - it's what i had)

i put everything in a small pot on low so that the sugar would blend
as it got a little syrupy, i broke out the hand blender and blended the mix together
i put it in the freezer to cool it to a refrigerated temp (about 40min)
then put it in the ice cream maker, blended for 23minutes and it was a wonderful texture - it was like a fruit gelato
it was really rich, i think i could have added a bit more water and cornstarch to stretch another serving out of it without sacrificing flavour.

am making more tonight - the 3yr old was delighted to have "ice cream", the 11mth old lapped it up and he is cutting 6 (!) teeth at once so am sure it felt great on little swollen gums, and i enjoyed a nice serving too - dh is saving his for a midnight any minute now.

i toasted some shredded coconut in the iron skillet to have a topping option

Monday, August 23, 2010

italian/comfort food week - meal planning

the intention this week was to go all italian, and talk about some of the food memories i have from travel in italy. that's not quite what happened with the meal plan.

instead it ended up being a bit of italian, a bit of bbq, easy meals, and food for comfort.

what is great about meal planning is even with going off course, i had lots of ingredients that went well together. so when i whipped up meals together that weren't in the original plan...they worked. and some of the joy of cooking is throwing together a bunch of ingredients and seeing what happens - how the flavours blend, how they bring out something new in each other.

and that is part of what i love about leftovers...the challenge of making them into something new. the reward for being creative. the surprise in making simple food with full flavours.


and now the meal plan we just ate in the past week...

omelette pizza - omelette topped with pizza sauce, garlic and mozzarella
fried eggs with italian sausage
yoghurt and fruit
fruit salad

a lot of cantaloupe - we went through 3 jumbo sized
coconut rice crackers
rice crackers and hummus
chips (mmmm!)
veggies and dip

simple crockpot pasta/sauce with garlic pita
italian nachos
shrimp and leftovers pesto pasta
steak, salad and oven baked potato wedges
bbq lamb chops, potatoes and salad
crustless potato/leftover quiche/casserole
potatoes in pasta sauce and leftover lamb chops

thanks to i'm an organizing junkie, i got myself in gear, photographed it and wrote it down...

potatoes reinvented in pasta sauce

on the menu - leftover pasta sauce, lamb chops, potatoes, and green onions
so chopped the already cooked potatoes coarsely (about 4c)
and the already chopped green onion (about 1c)
and into the skillet with a bit of olive oil
added the pasta sauce above to the mix (my dad made the sauce and i need to get the recipe for it as it has tonnes of veggies and a little bit of meat in it and my 10mth old will eat this straight from the container!

heated in the skillet until nice and warm and reheated the lamb chops for another tasty, leftover meal.

crustless potato and leftover quiche/casserole

it was all about trying to use up the leftover potato wedges in a creative way. it was kind of rainy out so i wanted to do something that was like a quiche/casserole - a stand alone meal.
as you can see by the array of photos (still not so good with the new blog editor...yikes)
i used a lot of different ingredients.
so here is the rundown

enough potato wedges to fill the bottom of a circle pyrex baking dish
4 eggs (i use local free range eggs so they are between med/large size
8 large black olives sliced
1 tsp minced garlic
1 large tomato chopped
leftover pizza sauce (about 1/4 c)
2tbsp of asiago and artichoke dip (optional
1/2 c of nacho shredded cheese
potato wedges on the bottom
then add chopped tomatoes
and in a bowl mix all other ingredients except for cheese

pour mix as evenly as possible over the potatoes/tomatoes/olives
top with cheese
cook covered in a 375 oven for about 30-35min

this was a fun experiment that was really tasty. was good for about 4 adult servings as a main dish. didn't need anything else with it, and used up leftovers...beautiful!

lamb chops / potatoes and salad

another bbq night - this time lamb chops using the marinade as i did for the steaks and adding about a tsp of rosemary. these were done on the bbq but forgot to take a pic so the photo is from the leftover night (did about 2.5lbs of lamb chops so lots of leftovers).

paired with a simple salad and boiled 4 white potatoes.

meat and potatoes - aka steak and potato wedges

hadn't done a bbq night in a while so it was salad, steak and potatoes on the menu. pretty uncomplicated.

i marinated 3 striploin steaks in a bit of
olive oil,
soya sauce,
a few drops of liquid smoke,
1/2tsp minced garlic and
two squirts of natural honey (this is my standard marinade and i don't really mess with it - i love it and always get compliments on it)

potato wedges

1 large sweet potato, 3 medium white potatoes cut into wedges
tossed in about 1/4c kraft red pepper and parmesan dressing

i greased a cookie sheet and cooked these in a 375 oven until nice and golden in colour.

nice - and there were enough wedges for leftovers.

shrimp and leftover pesto pasta

pasta is comfort food for me. but white pasta, whole wheat pasta, etc. lead to heartburn and cramps for me. so i tend to use organic, gluten free brown rice pasta. it's good! but i should have adjusted the recipe to reflect that a bag of g-f pasta was 2/3 lb (300g) and not 1lb (454g) - so it was a bit sauce heavy - delicious but sauce heavy.

i did the sauce in the wok.

bag of g-f brown rice pasta (tinkyada)
2c italian nacho toppings (italian sausage, onion, red pepper, tomato, olives
1lb shrimp
1/4c butter
3/4c basil pesto
2c of rice milk or lite table cream
1/4c grated parmesan

i used the near 2cups of leftover toppings from my italian nachos
i cooked a pound of shrimp in the wok (removed when cooked)

butter, milk and pesto in the wok over medium heat until the sauce reduces a little
throw in the rest of the ingredients and stir and mix until well blended
add sauce to pasta

simple, easy, delicious - my 3 yr old loves shrimp, pasta and pesto so this works for him too.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

italian nachos

there's just something about nachos that makes them easy to do in many creative ways. for my italian style version i used

a bag of multigrain nacho chips
2 tomatoes chopped
3 italian sausages chopped
2 cooking onion chopped
1 cup of sliced green olives
1 red bell pepper chopped
1.5 cup shredded nacho cheese mix
1 can pizza sauce
1 tsp minced garlic

i put all the ingredients except for the cheese and chips in a skillet and cooked until the sausage was fully cooked.

then the pizza sauce in a small pot to heat.

and finally cheese on the chips in the oven at 350 until the cheese melted.

plate it all - sauce in a ramekin, chips with cheese, add toppings.

yum! these were hearty and delicious. yeah, i'll make these again. there was a lot of leftover topping mix to use in another recipe.

simple crockpot pasta sauce and pasta

just switched from the old to newer blog editor and still having problems with uploading pics...ah well, will try again later.

this supper was all about keeping it easy, so cooking pasta and doing up a sauce is it.

pasta is tinkyada's gluten free brown rice pasta

pasta sauce was a jar of marinara sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
3 italian sausages (removed from casings and torn into small pieces
2 white potatoes chopped - i just wanted potatoes!
1 medium cooking onion chopped
1 tbsp each of dried oregano, basil, and minced garlic
a few spoonfuls of red wine

turned the crockpot on high for 2hrs

for my gluten eating guys i used whole wheat pitas, buttered, added minced garlic and topped with parmesan cheese and toasted in the toaster oven...for some reason THAT photo made it as seen below

i love tinkyada g-f pasta it really does taste as good as the non-g-f version. this was a simple, comforting meal and the potatoes were actually pretty yummy in the sauce.

everyone ate this and was enough for 2 full meals.

Friday, August 20, 2010


i don't even know exactly when it was that i began this ritual
but i do it all the time
when i am cooking
i'll crack an egg and thank the chicken that provided it to me
when i am prepping a salmon fillet
i thank the fish for giving up its life
i suppose it is my way of trying to honour the source of my food.

and then i was re-reading a chapter in the tibetan book of living and dying today (somewhat inspired by a friend - t.h. who was just writing about using her tibetan singing bowls - i love my tibetan singing bowls too for focus sometimes when i am meditating, or for the end of a treatment i've given to a client - but that is o/t)
and was reading about karma
and thought that maybe the two are linked on some level

karma - really the natural law of cause and effect

"the word karma literally means "action" and karma is both the power latent within actions, and the results our actions bring."

"And as Buddha said: "do not overlook negative actions merely because they are small; however small a spark may be, it can burn down a haystack as big as a mountain." Similarly he said: "do not overlook tiny good actions, thinking they are of no benefit; even tiny drops of water in the end will fill a huge vessel."

pgs 96-97

in my life, i try to do service for others - i volunteer, i try and extend support and love where i can, and i suppose the thanking the ingredients in my meals might seem odd, but in a way it is connecting with what i am about to put into my body - positive thoughts, gratitude - and in some way considering the karma that occurs in even the smallest actions.

Monday, August 16, 2010

colombian week - meal plan

why colombia? i wrote a post here about my deep and connected travels through colombia - the food, the experience, and the love that grew into a dozen+ years of love (so far!)

omelette with salsa
fried eggs with beans (can of beans done with chopped spring onions, cilantro and bbq sauce
yoghurt and fruit
fruit salad

fruit leather
dessert bars
tostada lasagna

this menu created several leftover meals -
sancocho - approx 8 adult servings,
tostada lasagna 5-6 adult servings,
salmon topping was used in 1 further meal,
rice with chorizo was good for a full meal and as a side.

i am adding this weekly meal plan to I'm an Organizing Junkie, where hundreds of weekly meal plans are hosted during Menu Plan Monday...lots of ideas, and things to aspire to during the rest of the week.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

bistec colombiano

steak with arroz con chorizo...
i used this recipe and made a few slight modifications...
bistec colombiano
i used a leftover leek to go with the onion
i used strip loin steak
more garlic too

this was pretty good, but not as good as i had hoped. sort of a 7/10 and i try to always get at least a 9 ;)
i'm not convinced about pan-fried steak, so i think it would have been better grilled on the bbq and adding a touch of liquid smoke to get a bit of that extra grilled flavour going.

but good...worth re-working the recipe a bit.

arroz con chorizo

this was a super easy meal/side dish
i took some leftover rice that i had already cooked with a bit of turmeric and cumin (about 4 servings worth)
i used the liquid from a can of diced tomatoes, 1/2 tsp of garlic, 3tbsps chopped cilantro, about 1.5c of spanish chorizo (because i love chorizo!) sliced.

in the wok - chorizo, tomato liquid, garlic, fry for a few min
add rice and keep stirring as rice absorbs liquid
add cilantro about 2min before ready to serve.

easy-peasy and good
could add a bit of veg to make it a main, but had it as a side dish


arepas with salmon mix on top

arepas (couldn't find masarepa flour so this is what i did)
2c masa flour (precooked corn flour)
1 egg
2c warm water
dash of salt
- mix in a bowl
- form into balls and flatten to about 1cm/1/3inch thick - to whatever size you like
- fry in a pan with a bit of oil like a pancake

1lb salmon fillets cooked until flaky - i drenched these in leftover sweet onion dressing
1/3 c mayo
1/4 c chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp lime juice
s+p to taste
- combine cooled salmon with ingredients in bowl, just chop the salmon down while mixing into nice sized chunks

....yum!! lots of yum this week. as arepas, not bad - the topping was delicious and the leftover salmon was used again later in the week on top of some chipotle tostadas...
Related Posts with Thumbnails