Monday, September 27, 2010

cold and comfort week

re-used this meal plan. after the usual winter illnesses, and a few weeks of vacation, was hardly feeling inspired to create a new meal plan. so i returned to this one. lots of soup...good for the soul!
my youngest turned one this past week - in the sleepy wrap at a few weeks old - children are such a strong representation of the quick passage of time...

it was a sniffly start to fall - ugh already my first cold of the season. i was all scratchy-throat and puffy-eyed and fuzzy-feeling and it just wasn't a way to feel inspired in the kitchen. so more soup and food comforts for the week. am feeling clear and sniffle-free, but reflecting back on the week, really not bad for an under-the-weather kind of week.

omelette - easy - cheese and pico de gallo
fried eggs and pico de gallo on homemade corn tortillas
yoghurt and fruit
fruit salad

a lot of cantaloupe
coconut rice crackers
veggies and dip
sorbet - i made a pear sorbet caramel vanilla ice cream - made in the ice cream maker
chocolate peanut butter ice cream with a bit of caramel - made in the ice cream maker

butternut squash soup (a bit of curry flavour)
steak (for the marinade i used - were t-bone steaks this time) and potatoes on the grill
acorn squash soup (same as butternut but with a different type of squash, vietnamese fish bouillon, and 1 tbsp of lemongrass - i keep frozen shredded lemongrass in the freezer...tasty!)
slow cooker beef with tomatoes and green pepper
chinese takeout - was bub's 1st birthday so we went to one of our local faves - was 2 nights worth
leftover slow cooker chili from the freezer, with rice

i share my weekly meal plans at - you can find hundreds of meal plans on menu planning mondays there...helped me get back into meal planning.

potatoes for the bbq

love finishing off potatoes on the bbq
so easy and delicious and really allows for dozens of variations

8 small yellow potatoes
1tbsp fresh chopped parsley from the garden (flat kind)
1tbsp minced garlic
dash of salt
2 tbsp butter

i boiled 8 small yellow potatoes until soft with a fork
cut into cube-like pieces and into a bowl
tossed with a bit of salt
melted butter with garlic in microwave for 20 seconds
poured over potatoes and toss to cover evenly

spray some aluminum foil and put potatoes on foil and loosely close
5-10 min on the bbq

SOOOOOOO divine. i swear b(bq)+b(utter) = taste joy. so good i made them twice this week

Sunday, September 26, 2010

acorn squash soup

not too different from my butternut squash soup so just posting the modifications

.5 chopped sweet onion instead of green onions
2 cubes of vietnamese fish bouillon/stock instead of chicken stock
1 large acorn squash

1 tbsp shredded lemongrass (i have it in the freezer)

slow cooker beef (pulled) with tomato and green pepper

so the need for comforting food with being under the weather continued.
hmmm, that was an awkward sentence.
let's just say there was a great sale on blade roasts at the local grocer so pulled beef is about as easy as it gets.
i had half a can (about a cup and 3/4 worth) of diced tomatoes, and a big green bell pepper that i didn't use last week.
so that was the inspiration for easy comfort food.

3lb roast (beef blade - i think this is flank steak in the u.s. but not sure, it's not an expensive cut - was 1.99lb on sale)
1/2 can diced tomatoes
1 green bell pepper sliced in thin strips
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 small chili pepper (from china town so not sure what type
4 tbsp chopped cilantro
2 spring green onions chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp white vinegar
dash of salt
--- all in the crockpot on low for 7hrs

 i served them up on chipotle tostadas topped with a bit of nacho mix shredded cheese
easy and delicious. perfect for the sniffly soul.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

butternut squash soup

1 butternut squash - mine was about 3lbs
3 green onions chopped
1 stalk celery chopped
4.5c of stock (i used chicken stock - was out of vegetable stock - either work)
2-3c water
1tbsp cumin
1tbsp turmeric
1tsp curry powder
1tbsp minced garlic
dash of sea salt

water and stock and celery and onion in the pot on medium
bake the squash at 350 for 45min-hr - that way the skin is easy to pull off
then it is easy to chop off the narrower part of the squash and chop into pieces
the bottom half - crack open and de-seed then chop (or smoosh - mine was in the oven a bit long so i smooshed - may not be a culinary term but it is descriptive!)
add to the pot
10min in i take the hand blender and blend what i can, then add the spices and garlic

simmer for at least another 10min on medium for flavours to blend and for liquid to reduce to your preferred thickness.

what i love about butternut squash is you don't need any oil, any butter, any cream (unless you want to) because it has such a rich flavour.

i have a scratchy throat so this goes down like a dream. my boys love soup and this one is great, cheap, and easy ;)

Monday, September 20, 2010

mexican-inspired week

i love mexico.
it's a quick flight.
dh and i have been several times.
i love speaking in spanish in a real way (at home it is english and french and not many people speak spanish) i love the food and the weather and the taxistas.
the taxistas who tell it like it is - who groan about the economy and the traffic and wonder how the gringos in his cab can speak spanish
the gringos from the far north where it always is cold ;)
and i love all of that (especially la zona romantica in puerto vallarta - crowded, colonial and long walks along the malecon)

my list of dishes with recipes and pics in the links...

omelette- leftover fajita meat/veg and cheese
fried eggs and salsa on homemade corn tortillas
yoghurt and fruit
fruit salad

a lot of cantaloupe
coconut rice crackers
veggies and dip
leftovers - lots and lots of leftovers
caramel vanilla ice cream - made in the ice cream maker
chocolate peanut butter ice cream - made in the ice cream maker

slow cooker tostada lasagna 
slow cooker tamale pie
mexican rice with chorizo and shrimp
pico de gallo with mexican rice
slow cooker fajita mix made into mini mexican pizzas (yeah, not a very succinct title but this is what it was)
lot of leftovers! some of the fajita mix went into omelettes and quick nachos and as opened face sandwiches

and the non-food related recipe - deodorant recipe

shopping list (i had the staples - spices, rice)
this is what i had to buy for the week...
stir fry beef
tomato sauce
5.5 cups chicken broth
fajita seasoning mix
1 can peeled and diced tomatoes
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can sliced olives - 1/2c
2 cans black beans
corn tortillas
spanish onion
cooking onions
3 bell peppers
cup milk
shredded cheese
sour cream
see for hundreds of meal plans every week!

slow cooker fajita mix made into mini mexican pizzas

mmm fajitas
i wanted to of course keep it gluten free so i ended up taking 2c of masa harina (corn based)
and making little circle shapes like little corn pizzas

so the ingredients

1/2c chopped spanish onion
1/4c chopped cilantro
2 sliced green bell peppers
1 little hot pepper
1.25lb of sliced beef (this was ribeye bought in chinatown - what you'd use in a chinese fondue or stir fry
1 pack fajita mix
2c beef stock
...the above in the crockpot on low for 7hrs
below make the "pizzas"
1/3c pizza sauce
1c shredded cheese
2c masa harina prepped and made into 2 inch circles
...first pan fry the little corn pizzas until golden then top with sauce and cheese a 350 oven until the cheese melts

yeah...these were good...really good and i topped with sour cream and pico de gallo.

buen provecho!

slow cooker tamale pie

i have lots and lots of cornmeal to use so this recipe for slow cooker tamale pie seemed appealing.
main thing i did a bit differently was add lots of garlic and using rice flour to blend with the corn meal
and i couldn't find fire roasted tomatoes so i used sweet onion tomatoes
and cayenne pepper instead of chili powder
and spanish onion instead of cooking onion
whew... a few pics
all the ingredients in before i add the cornmeal/flour top

this was good. not great but good - i ended up serving it with sour cream and pico de gallo which made it better than the initial good assessment.

slow cooker tostada lasagna

apparently i forgot to rotate before i loaded this pic - yikes!
i made a slightly different version of my tostada lasagna for the crockpot.

i omitted the beans (wasn't in the mood) - upped the tomato content - about 3.5c of crushed tomatoes, added 1.5c of stock
and a cup of leftover mexican rice
other than that it was very similar
it worked
but am glad i had some tostadas that hadn't been put in the crockpot as it came out very, very soft. tasty, but soft
i definitely didn't need that much stock, but also would do what i did which is keep a few nice, crispy tostadas on the side to dip with.

pico de gallo - fresh tomato/onion/cilantro

this makes me think of puerto vallarta - lots of pico de gallo on everything
especially on bbq
and a corona or a more girly margarita
love mexico
and pico de gallo - simple and delicious

2 tomatoes, diced
1/4c chopped spanish onion
1/2c chopped cilantro (more if you love cilantro like i do
1/2tsp chopped hot chili pepper (mine was from chinatown so am not sure but looked like an orange version of a scotch bonnet - not quite as spicy as one)
1/2 tsp agave nectar (optional)
1/2 lime squeezed juice

all together in a bowl (i like it to set for at least 30min before i eat it all up by myself

Sunday, September 19, 2010

mexican rice morphed into something else

i used this recipe for mexican rice (except that i used long grain brown rice which i don't like plain so i try and make it into something else)
and even though it turned out well, i thought it would make an even BETTER meal if i mixed in chorizo and shrimp.
turns out, that turned out 100x better (hmmm exaggeration, but true) than the original.

so ADDED ingredients
1 tbsp minced garlic
1lb shrimp
1/2c (approx) chorizo
a few tbsp of chipotle bbq sauce (completely optional)

the original recipe - oil and plumping up the rice...
plumping rice
adding onion
lotsa liquid
original recipe - mexican rice
love watching the shrimp go from grey...
to plump and orange-y - pink
the boys all loved this - this will make it in a meal plan again! it reminded me a lot of rice dishes in mexico, and this is a good thing.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

deodorant recipe

i like to make as many of my home and body products as possible - this extends to deodorant.
part of my frustration with natural products is never finding a deodorant that really worked well for me.
so i had to come up with my own.
i stopped using commercial deodorants/anti persipirants years ago as i didn't like the idea of the chemicals being that close to a cluster of lymph nodes, let alone being absorbed by my skin and into my body.
so i started doing my research
i started detoxing (i apologized to my dh in advance for what my body would do as it released what it was going to when i stopped using those products in stick form
i started spraying my underarms in the shower with apple cider vinegar (to help restore ph balance)
and baking soda after to help cover the odour
and two weeks later
came back into balance
i found several recipes for natural deodorants (in earlier blog posts i did post a few)
but i took all of those and came up with my own
and it is pit perfection!

(makes enough for about 3mths worth)
3tbsp corn starch
3tbsp baking soda
2tbsp each of shea butter and coconut oil (the type that is hard at room temperature)
essential oil (i used about 12 drops of tea tree oil for this batch)

put all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and mix with a fork until smooth
then put in a resealable jar

YES - it's that easy!
apply a tiny bit to your armpits with your fingers
i find i can often even skip a day with this
i call it my b-o-balm

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

wood air bathing

i've lost the word in japanese for it
i was told it over a year ago - but although i lost the word in translation
i didn't lose the meaning

wood air bathing

listening to the voice of your heart
by taking the time to go for a walk in the woods
to pay attention to the senses
taking in the essence and the messages

i don't know what it is that makes wood air bathing sound so magical
and so pure
but my intention this week is to take some time
and on my own
for wood air bathing

Monday, September 13, 2010

slow cooker and prepare ahead week

it was a mostly overcast and rainy labour day last week. it's the first rain we had seen in a long time and it kind of made me want to prep what i could for the week. i work online, but being labour day, was unwilling to even check my work email. prepping ahead means my time with the boys during the day is just easier
slowing down
taking time to listen
do work during nap time
fill the rest with time together
...i've crossed the line - it's sounding sappy...time for the make ahead meal plan (well mostly).

my list of dishes with recipes and pics in the links...

omelette with leftover salmon, and green onion
fried eggs with leftover chili (blended)
yoghurt and fruit
fruit salad

a lot of cantaloupe and watermelon
coconut rice crackers
veggies and dip
leftovers - lots and lots of leftovers
roasted banana ice cream - made in the ice cream maker
chocolate ice cream with minstrels and rolo - made in the ice cream maker

(put slow cooker meals in caps because these produce at least 6-10 adult portions

...for hundreds of weekly meal plans visit

Sunday, September 12, 2010

thai-inspired fried rice

i know i have done this in the past as a rice noodle dish
but originally it was this - a rice dish
i love thai flavours
and when i was studying thai yoga massage and reflexology i often had very light, simple meals
so that my mind and body felt light and ready to soak all the new learning in.
this dish came out of those memories
i've tinkered with it
and now throw it together on a moment's notice
i made enough for 5-6 adult servings (i ate this as a main dish, not as a side one)

2c uncooked jasmine rice or rice of your choice - prep as per package instructions
3tbsp of fish sauce and soy sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp oil (i just use olive oil - could use sesame if you want more of a chinese twist)
2 green onions chopped
1 hot pepper chopped (i bought this in chinatown and there was no translation)
1 tbsp sugar (i used demerara)
4 tbsp chopped cilantro - mine came from the garden

after the rice is cooked i heat up the oil in the wok and put everything in except the onion and cilantro. stir until blended for about 5min over medium heat and then add cilantro and onion for 2-3minutes, again stirring until blended.

oh, how i love this simple rice dish. so does everyone else in my family. and this rice is GREAT for leftovers. it holds up and tastes really good, even several days later.

slow cooker lentil stew

i've had green lentils sitting in my cupboard for ages so thought that the way to use some up would be in the crockpot. then spotted some chickpeas and wanted to go in a north african/middle eastern direction.
so here it is...

4 cups of crushed tomatoes
2 c green lentils
4 c sugar peas - trimmed top and bottoms
8 small/medium potatoes - cubed
2 small onions
1 can chick peas washed and drained
2c vegetable stock
2tbsp of minced garlic, and cumin
1tsp of salt, and pepper

...all in the crockpot on high for 4hrs. this was okay. it wasn't spectacular, it wasn't bad. i blended some down for the 11mth old and he loved it. the 3yr old loves chick peas so that was good. both dh and i ate this on its own and it was solid enough to do so. but this recipe (experiment) needs a bit of tweaking before i can give it a ringing endorsement. the sugar peas were a good call as they added a nice sweetness to the meal.
it was good enough that we ate it as leftover lunch twice.
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