Sunday, January 31, 2010

Back on Track!

Hiya Tamales!

So my first "Sunday Start" was a success! After work, I slept for most of the day... but as soon as I got up- I went to the gym for my run.

Granted, that's all I did... my run, but I did do the 2 miles I set out to do in my weekly plan! It was at an easy pace (as outlined in Planet Running's schedule) - 5 miles an hour. Warm up was .25 miles at 3.5 miles an hour. As promised, here's the pic... as proof!

So I felt like a bit of a dweeb taking this pic, but let's be honest- IT'S A GYM- everyone is there to work on THEMSELVES, so that's what they're focused on... not me.

My knee started hurting around the 1.25 mile mark, but I'm not sure it's from Stairgate or just regular old age related dilapidation! I was tempted to stop and look for someones treadmill to photograph... but damn it! I kept on. I know, I know... it seems ridiculous (it's only 2 miles for God's Sake!), but I am, I think, by nature a quitter. Anyway- on the Even More Ridiculous front- I am looking forward to tomorrow's run because it's the short one of the week! I know... pretty sad.

Anyway- dinner will be the same as a few nights earlier (sans Indian feast)... the roasted cauliflower steak with some broccoli florets in balsamic...

Again, not the most interesting dinner in the world, but as I am heading to the gym in the morning, right after work- I think it's best to keep it light. Although, it just occurred to me that both of these cruciferae are PRETTY gaseous... not so ideal for the whole jumping up and down business involved in running... Screw it.

Green Monster today was brought to you by the following ingredients:

I thought you might like to know the caloric value of one of these anytime shakes!
2 cups Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (Blue Diamond Almond Breeze): 80 cals
2 cups Baby Spinach: 10 cals
2 tbsp (1 serving) Ground Flaxseed: 90 cals
2.5 tbsp (1 serving) Organic Black Chia Seeds: 77 cals
1 tsp (1 serving) Spirulina Powder: 0 cals
1 cup Mixed Fruit (Caribbean Medley): 60 cals
1 tbsp Bee Pollen: 15 cals
Total Value: 323 cals- This is easily 2 servings! You can, of course, switch this up in a million ways!

Lunch- was one cup and a half of vegetable soup (seen a few blogs ago) with some Sriracha, a whole wheat bagel and a pear. I added WAY too much hot sauce to the soup, and ended up tearing up the bagel and soaking it like chewy croutons... now if only there was a pound of Gruyere on top! Lol..

Wanted to tell you guys about Nuval- it's a new nutritional system that ranks food on a system of 1-100 points. I first heard about it on the Carrot's n' Cake blog, Tina (the author) has started a new blog called Trading Up Downtown. According to their website: "Nuval Scores summarize comprehensive nutritional information in one simple number between 1 and 100. Each Nuval Score takes into account more than just the nutrition fact panel. It considers 30-plus nutrients and nutrition factors – the good (protein, calcium, vitamins) and the not-so-good (sugar, sodium, cholesterol). And then it boils it down into a simple, easy-to-use number; a number you can trust to make better decisions about nutrition in just a few seconds."

Food and nutrition trends change so often, wonder nutrients hit the shelves all the time- I wonder if this system will be able to keep up? Or does it make it redundant, and allow us to ignore fads and stick to the basics of food rather than let us get mislead and carried away by added ingredients/promoted features? After all of the reading I've been doing on the politics of food, I wonder if the assorted lobbying powers in the US will even allow this to develop to it's full potential? I mean, if you were buying a food based just on it's Nuval score- would you be inclined to disregard the ***Added Fibre*** or ***Now! With Omega 3s!*** splashes that we see so often on labelling? Would you even pay attention to the Nuval score if you were seeking out an ingredient or property of a food source? Are the consumers who are concerned about nutrition able to let someone else decide FOR THEM the value of a food? Can people (and lets be honest- I mean women, the one's who read lables and do most household shopping) get over calorie counting? Most importantly.... What will the Nuval score be for champies?
I guess time will tell, and maybe only the border hopping Canadians will ever have to consider the option!
It seems like an interesting idea to me... but so far is only available in the states. Price Chopper is one of the chains carrying the system, so maybe that's a good sign for us Canucks!
I'm on the waiting list for Micheal Pollan's new book Food Rules, and am really looking forward to another read by this author! He's a really excellent writer, with a pretty simple outlook on food: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants. Seems basic, right? Well, his previous books have detailed his principles on this topic- primarily the first part: Eat food. Pollan argues that many of the foods we consume now are 'food-like substances' (or something like that). That through the processing and manufacturing of food sources and the industrialization of the late 20th century- we have thwarted natures design and morphed perfectly fit foods into polymer laced tummy fillers. One of the authors key points (which was mentioned in In Defense of Food, 2008) was: If your grandmother wouldn't recognize it as food, don't eat it. I imagine Food Rules will add to that tenet other simple, easy to live by axioms. Pollan was on Oprah a few days ago (should have had the whole show as far as I'm concerned) promoting the book and he was as eloquent and articulate as ever.
I could go on and on about him, Eric Schlosser and most of the NY Times food writers, but I'll pace myself... this blogging thing could last a while!
Here's an intro article to Food Rules, as seen in Pollan's home publication, the NY Times.
Have you read any of Pollan's books? Do you have any books you'd recommend on food and it's associated issues? For that matter- any great recipe (vegetarian only pls) books that I should check out?
Are food politics something you're interested in generally?
(Incidentally- wordpress seems to be screwing with my spacing in the latter half of MOST of my posts. Not sure why this is, and obviously, I have yet to fix this... please don't think I've had a stroke or just given up on the 'enter' key. It's just a weird error I'm trying to correct- I know it makes it tough to read!)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

She's a Chia!

Hiya Punkies!

I had a little "talking to" from my friend Suz.. and I must admit I have been slacking. She knows it and I know it. Even some of the days I go to the gym, I just flake out. I know for me, it's an internal mechanism that sets me off on the motivation train... but not doing anything externally to trigger that is not only foolish, it's lazy. I do know, at least, that the last month has been MUCH cleaner than the previous 3 and that I have definitely set some ground work, upon which February will be built!

So, on this last day of the month, I'm going to change my usual pattern and start the plan on Sunday! No point in waiting!

First thing I'm tweaking is my workout and run plan. While I was "going by" the Planet Running schedule, I confess I hardly glanced at it after setting my goals, at the beginning of the month. This obviously lead to being aimless at the gym and running just enough to validate my time there. That is not what this is about and THAT sort of attitude and output is not going to help me reach my goals. THIS has to change!

In an effort to get more organized, I've taken Suz's cue and gone back to our old system of treating the gym time like any other appointment! I organized my Google calendar tonight and synced it with my Blackberry. Aside from existing social plans and my work schedule of course; I've entered a time block and mileage goal for each day I've planned for the gym this week.

In following with Running Planet's schedule (starting again at wk 1- I have enough time before 5k race);

Sunday: 2 miles
Monday: Rest ( Will do my Tues 1 mile due to work on Wed)
Tuesday: 1 mile ( Will do Wed 2 mile)
Wednesday: 2 miles (Rest day)
Thursday: Rest/ Xtrain (Hoping to do 2 mile outdoor run, no time to get to gym)
Friday: 2 miles
Saturday: 2 miles (Will rest if Thursday run is complete)
Sunday: 2 miles

At this point I'm doing an 11 min mile... working on endurance rather than speed. As the week progresses, I'll let you know if that improves. I think I might even be dopey enough to take pics of the treadmill display, so I can't fudge to you guys- or myself! I figure if the cast of Brampton Shore at my gym can load up weight benches with Blackberries and laptops and hair gel- no one will notice my wee camera in the water bottle slot on the treadmill!

Speaking of the Brampton Shore... I just KNOW how pleased you must be to see that Jersey Shore has been renewed! Warms my heart... although I'm still holding out for Snookin' for Love.

I've got a new addition for the Green Monster!

Finally I can include these little bullets into my morning shake! They don't add to the taste at all... just add even more goodness!

Chia seeds have become pretty popular lately, with more and more publicity every day. While I'd hate to say I fall for fads... I do, but this one seems to be substantiated by more than
QVC and a before and after layout of an airbrushed bombshell!

Apparently, the Chia grain was so valued by the Aztecs, it was used as currency!

According to the CTV article HERE, 3.5 ounces contains:
  • the same amount of omega-3's as 28 ounces of salmon
  • as much calcium as 3 cups of milk
  • as much iron as five cups of raw spinach

Chia seeds typically contain 20% protein, 34% oil, 25% dietary fiber (mostly soluble with high molecular weight), and significant levels of antioxidants (chlorogenic and caffeic acids, myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol flavonols). The oil from chia seeds contains a very high concentration of omega-3 fatty acid — approximately 64%.[4] Chia seeds contain no gluten and trace levels of sodium.[5] (Wikipedia)

Other than getting a little stuck in your teeth, chia seeds are little gems and dissolve quickly in any shake or yogurt or liquid.

On to solid food, as I sometimes like to do... I finally made 'cauliflower steaks' yesterday. Disappointing. I saw this recipe on It's Just Food, and thought it sounded pretty good (although I did not see the final results).

Cutting a cauliflower from the centre of the head, vertically, you slice 2 or 3 'chops'. Marinate these slabs in milk (I used soy) and some seasoning salt, garlic and hot sauce ( I used Sriracha). Let those veggie clouds soak for a few hours. Next step called for these to be pan fried (which I think MAY be an essential part of this recipe), but I baked them because I was at work. At 400 degrees for 30 mins- at around 25 mins, I topped the slices with about a teaspoon of parmesan cheese each.

It absolutely tasted good... I think I was just expecting the milk marinade to turn this into a vegetable I really like. Or a steak I could eat in good conscience. Ever take a picture of a star to the hairdressers and ask for that haircut and secretly think/hope you'll look like said celebrity when the cut is complete? Same effect

What goes better with a fractal... than a fractal? Topping off the plate was some roasted broccoli.

Next on the red carpet was some excellent Indian from Shan-E-Dabar. I ordered the Mattar Paneer and Malai Kofta with steamed rice and a plain naan.

It was delicious and it was the first time I'd ordered both the Kofta and Mattar Paneer. The mattar sauce was much more creamier than I expected, which was very tasty, but not so
healthy. It came with a spicy tikka-like sauce with peas. The Malai Koftas- as I read in the menu, sounded like little falafels, but as I perused some recipes during dinner- I see now they're made with potato and nuts and mixed veg. Again, very good, but not what I was expecting. Good thing I can roll with pretty much ANY good food!
Not sure what's on the menu tomorrow... because I have an APPOINTMENT at the gym, so less time to cook. Either way, it'll involve a green monster and something. Probably just some soup... maybe something incredibly exciting!
Do you find making appointments, or formalizing obligations to yourself helps to stick with the program?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I Ain't Bothered....

Hiya Poontangs... this one is short...

I planned for a lovely cauliflower steak dinner... but this is what I had. Then I thought upon it and realized this was my only food for the day! I started cleaning and had some vino w/ Maman... and appetite was gone!

But I did buy some Chia Seeds today... so maybe that will give me some sustenance. They are a COMPLETE protein!

Ever had someone in your life that mucks everything up? Well, I had an interlude with that one today... I wish them away. Sorta... Turns my stomach, so that's good?
Anyways pumpkins, did 1.5 miles today- so that's .01 more than Monday's workout. Tomorrow will be 2 miles.... still sorta slow: 11.13 mile. Not pleased.
I think tomorrow I will visualize that certain someone and me planting some beautiful Williamsburg Heels into his... eh hem....
More Tomorrow Dollies.... And more on SCABGATE! I know you're DYING to see!!!!!!! LOL.

I would like to know a GEEK.....

Hiya Pookapunanies!

So this is the NEW media room.... (ok- total work in progress). This used to be Bellasineads room... but he's dead, so haste makes waste... Shelves still need to go in as well as a million other tech things, but I need help on that issue, so it will wait for suitable fill-in. My 2 staples in life are present... Ipod and wine.

I had a hairy day....
Still with my Lisa Loupner glasses, I went to the gym (not that I EVER wear the glasses working out... all the boys look much hotter without the specs), then took the bus back with these hotties on. Honestly, if I ever wanted to drive my car- today was the day. I'm sorta proud that my pride didn't do me in... Obviously.. otherwse no pics.

This is me confronting my weird pointy nose AND taped specs... I think I'm sort of a trailblazer!
A rogue.... A MAVERICK!
Back with Dins later...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Wounded Knee Massacre

Hiya Minxes!

In my ever graceful sashay through life... today I decided to take a little tumble down some stairs! I thought to myself: Self, what could I do that would be unexpected, a little kooky and all the while stay active? My immediate (and obvious) answer was of course: Throw myself down 9 concrete steps.

Broken Glasses: $300. Cracked Tupperware: $1.99. First Aid by Kim: 2 glasses of wine (to be awarded). Trying to explain why a grown woman has scrapes all over both her knees: Priceless.

So after a little damaged pride (not too much left in the bank at this point), a few WSIB forms and a bang up spectacle repair (in the form of Todd- who decided I should look like Lisa Loupner) I was perfectly looked after and put directly to work. These babies STING!

I've just called my Suz to let her know: I WILL be at the gym... I just don't know if I'll be able to bend and straighten my legs in any succession.

In order to heal these gashes... I voted for the omega 3 fatty acids found in tuna to keep my blood thin and my skin supple! I also found this handy as I had broken the tupperware that housed aforementioned meal and needed to consume or dispose before making my lunch bag smell like SeaWorld.

Just a can of white tuna (washed) with 2 tbsp of dijonaise and a couple of chives, stalk of celery and scallions- all served on washed Boston Lettuce. I really like the hydroponic lettuce- less grit and sand than some of the earth bound varieties- and the stalks are fairly flexible, making them good for wrapping and stuffing!

Breakfast was (wait for it....) a green monster. This time I made it with some frozen blackberries, so it turned into more of a Purple Monster. Lunch was a cheese string and some baby carrots on the bus- while watching my beloved Little Dorrit! I'm finally on the last episode and I already know that I'm going to miss these characters! I'm not one to READ Dickens, but honestly, ANYTHING Andrew Davies touches turns into pure gold. He's set to do a Middlemarch remake- which I LOVED the first time! It starred Colin Firth's brother and a Gor-Geous Rufus Sewell.

Speaking of Dickens- Today is Family Literacy Day! I try to take great advantage of my local library, and love seeing families and children there (well- as much I like seeing them anywhere really). My Mum and Da took great time and care to read to me and to make sure that it was a priority... I think it's a fabulous value to instill in children. Do you have memories of a favourite book from your childhood- or a special moment reading with your parents or children?

According to the photographic history of my very sophisticated family- I've always had a fondness for reading on the loo... Thanks goes to Kiki and Puddin' for documenting a 5 year old making her mark on the world.

So now... my peeps... I turn to you! I really need some help in the menu planning department. Trying to plan what to have and then cook most of the components is turning out to be a little more daunting than I esteemed. I AM trying to cook at least 2 new recipes a week- and am having a hard time incorporating that agenda with just getting my act together for regular meals (most of which are transported to work). I'm also finding it a pain to try these recipes while cooking for one. I'd love any suggestions you guys might have for planning/sticking to and brown bagging your meal plans.

So, because I've been a little lazy this week- I'll have to catch you up on the rest of the week.

Sunday- I found myself in quite possibly the biggest conundrum I'd been in in some time. After working a midnight into Sunday- I decided it was going to be a quiet night at home. Fireplace on and wine poured with some spinach pizza (deep dish... oops) baked for a lovely evening... I came to a fork in the road. Test the Nation-with the world's most adorable Liberal (don't find THAT very often huh?) Justin Trudeau OR Celebrity Rehab III with the INDOMITABLE Dennis Rodman. I eventually chose Dr. Drew and gang because... well, because I love a train wreck. Honestly, this guy is a disaster of galactic proportions! He tried to tell the group that he was above all the 12-step stuff and that he was smarter than them and he has reached a 'Zen state! Sure- say hi to Gary Busey in Nirvana! or Tarzana... whichever you get to first!

Monday- Robbie Burns day! 251st birthday of Scotland's Favourite Son... wee Rabbie! I celebrated by having some lunch with my Da at Boston Pizza (I have no substantiated proof that the Scots ever colonized Massachusetts, but there's no Nova Scotia Pizza in my hood).

Nah- just kidding... I had this healthy bugger!

Wasn't great... I really like Jim Treliving- but the guy needs to work on vegetarian healthy options at Boston Pizza!

Then, in true Scottish form- we carried on to my FAVOURITE PUB- Up Yer Kilt! A couple of ciders later we carried on for another couple of places til we ended up at my Da's local. There, I honoured Mr. Burns by doing my best "Ode to the French Onion Soup". Again- no real segue, but soup was all I could really muster off that menu that was vegetarian and wasn't deep fried.

Tuesday- Quiet day- 1 packet of no-name vegetable soup with one sleeve of high fructose corn syrup saltine crackers. SEVERAL glasses of water.

So that's a wrap mein liebchen... back tomorrow and let you know how the crusty kneecaps are doing! I hope I can run! Maybe I'll do a day to day photo spread so you can all see how quickly I heal. Wait for the keloids kids... that's my new talent (I'll cover my X-Men regenerating skin talent in another post- it's sorta freaky... I'm an overhealer*)


* This has not been verified by a doctor. It's been downright dismissed in fact, I was told "That's not even a thing". But like Susan Sarandon in Lorenzo's Oil, I won't let the establishment break me.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Lacklustre week...

Hiya Doves!

This has been a stupid week. Not too much going on, and no good reason not to blog... but I haven't really had anything exciting (unlike previous posts... I'm sure) to say!

So here's a quick recap- At the gym Tues, Wed and Thursday... all pointless workouts. Ran/ walked/ cycled... all half hearted. So that's enough of the gym talk.

I think it's because I was missing my energy addiction... the MONSTER.

Working midnights can sometimes mess with you a little bit, and while I was making these faithfully, I was feeling pretty good! But a failure to plan, cook ahead and pack up lunches and snacks turns me into a slave to the take- out... I do not make wise decisions under these circumstances!

So that's enough of that talk too!

Onto healthy things... sorta.

Because I ate out so much of the week, I had some seriously abandoned vegetables in the crisper come Thursday. These veggies showed their dissent by wilting, drying up and all around spoiling. Much like what's been happening in other parts of the world this week, I pulled a few survivors from under the detritus and found myself with a mix mosh of things and no inclination to be very creative. Result: Soup. While not my favourite food, by a long shot, it IS an easy and nutritious way to use a motley crew of vegetables, which is what I had.

So.. green, red, yellow and orange peppers went in with a mirepoix (carrots, onions, celery- Thank you Julia Child for "la nom posh" ), a head of Swiss chard, a can of low sodium tomatoes and some vegetable broth.

Cooked for a few hours, then throw it in the blender- and a soup is born! It's pretty tasty- and AS USUAL, I have way more than I need... so it goes in the freezer, right beside the frozen rats. Yum.

Went out for dins with Maman on Thursday - to what was purported to be "Dinner and a Makeover". Held in a trattoria in Brampton, one which Kiki and Puddin' patronize often, it turned out to be a Mary Kay presentation before dinner. So, not thrilled about that, but happy to be out with my Mumsy and her good friend Ellen and daughter Holly, we stuck it out. Dinner options were decidedly unvegetarian, so like any decent person- I decided to have the least ethical choice of them all... Veal Parmigiana

The veal WAS pretty good... and I didn't suffer any pangs of guilt until later on that evening, when I realized I had declined to buy any Mary Kay because they weren't approved by PETA. Um... should thought that one out a little more.

One of the perks (read bribes) of attending this demo were door prizes! I love pressies!

I won this hot mama just for asking a question! ( I think it may have even been the self incriminating PETA one too... groan.)

I almost gave it away when I won it because it it came in a chocolate box... not into choccies.

Tomorrow after a midnight shift, I'll be doing some cooking for the week. I'll be on afternoons... so that'll help life for a week.

Just wanted to let you guys know about something my Auntie Rachel pointed out to me. If you have or are planning to but some bee pollen for your green monsters.. or other concoctions: bee sure it's pollen gathered from bees that have fed from non-gm crops. According to her information from a beekeeper, those little black and yellow munchkins are killing their bee kids (smile) when they bring back pollen from gm crops... this is one of the reasons for the disappearing bee population. Thanks to Auntie Rachel for that info!

Do you guys ever have trouble getting motivated? Even when you've had some successes... AND you know how much better you feel when you're on the healthy train? VERY FRUSTRATING.

Better week ahead..


Monday, January 18, 2010

Caulifower Curry makes me purr..... ee.

Hiya Possums!

It's been a little while and I apologise... I know at least ONE person has been checking daily to see if I've posted! (Mwah).

It was a staycation week... and I did very little if I'm honest. I organized my spare room and FINALLY got rid of Bellasinead's mortuary. It was a hassle to move, but Joey and the Igor at Goodwill were more than helpful! That same day- Thursday I think, I went with my auntie for lunch at a new Japanese restaurant.

I have said before that 168 Sushi is the best in Brampton... well, the competition is here. More on that later!

A friend of mine mentioned to me that Bee Pollen was really helping her Mom's energy levels. Ever the slave to fad and fandangled ideas, I picked some up the other day and decided to give it a shot in my green monster.
The taste IS distinct.. nutty sort of... hard to really describe. They are crunchy little nuggets of gold that are sweet to start of with, and really lend themselves well to a shake. In with the ground flax, you'd never know they were there... save for a slight aftertaste.

As for the energy contribution... I'm sorry to say I have no definitive results. I find the shakes pretty invigorating on their own, so the added boost of pollen was lost on me if there was one. I will persevere though, increasing the amounts... Keep you posted if I leap any tall buildings!

In one SERIOUS bout of cooking, I hauled out the Vegenomicon and decided to make some Cauliflower and Lentil Curry...

Following the recipe in any book is pretty tough for me. I tend to stray after the third or fourth ingredient, so my results can not be found to be conclusive.

To prep: Vegetable stock, Red Lentils, One inch of ginger, Coriander, One head of cauliflower, Assorted bell peppers (my own addition- they were in the fridge), Onion, Garlic, Chilies, Assorted Curry Spices (cumin, cinnamon, cardamon- I added a pre mixed veggie masala spice mix)
I accompanied my curry with these sexy paratha(s) {I think an 's' is required to pluralize?}

Fry up peppers, onion, garlic and chilies in some grapeseed oil. When onions are translucent, and before garlic burns... add spices and toast them for 30 seconds or so. Next- add vegetable stock (enough to cover, plus an extra inch or so) and lentils.
So now I veer TOTALLY of the recipe's track... It calls for you to add the cauliflower after the lentils have cooked for 12-13 mins and let simmer for a while. I don't like cauliflower unless it's all broken down, so I steamed the hella out of mine and then mashed it whilst the curry was cooking the lentils.
While I was producing A LOT of dishes... I was trying to keep up with the clean up at the same time. Mrs. Garrett is off this week...
When the lentils were tender and mushy (like cauliflower- the only way I like them), I added the cauliflower mash and a can of coconut milk. This is a high calorie and fat ingredient, but it's a healthy fat and the rest of the meal is relatively low cal. The fat content definitely adds to the satiety of the meal.
There she is... with some chopped cilantro and a serious dose of lime juice!
While this was a good recipe (had I actually followed it), it needed some serious KICK and I squeezed a couple of rounds of Sriracha on top. All in all, not bad for my first curry without packages... but not great. Also, while I tried to lessen the quantities in the recipe, I had TONNES when it was complete... so Mum and Joey got some, seems nobody else I know is into curry. Cowardly Bastards!

Friday night I went to the illustrious Tonawanda. Saw one of the WORST- MOVIES- EVER: Amelia. Good golly. If I was ever a Hillary Swank fan, and I haven't been, this would have reversed such affinations in short order. Her accent kept changing from Katherine Hepburn to Eunice Kennedy. Richard Gere is is beginning to look startlingly like Renee Zellweger. Someone give these people a pocket dispenser of stevia... squinty lemon sucking eyes!

I did run into a chocolate fountain, but that's not really my thing... so I had a mini marshmallow and decided to stick a chunk of marble cheese under the wafting waves of milk chocolate. Never again.

So, now that I got my choc/cheese and Indian on... I was like the RAF and back to the Japanese! The lunch I had with my Auntie was SO good, that I decided my food loving girls needed to check this place out too! On Saturday night, we headed back to Tokyo Maki for the weekend night dinner!

This place operates similarly to 168 and Prince and has a fill-out menu that the waiters (who were very attentive- if not a little lacking in communication skills) pick up every few minutes. Food streams out very quickly from the kitchen, and these little worker bees earn every cent as they dart to and fro. Almost like Bridget Jones' mother: "A very industrious people".

A warning though: While the restaurant offers beer and wine, they do NOT offer liquor. This was an especially unfortunate notification as I was dining with this years winner of the "Girl Who Most Deserves a Drink" award and there was not a shot of rye to be found.

Among the various rolls and tempuras, we also had some Agedashi (fried soft tofu- my new favourite), tuna and salmon sashimi, edamame, teriyaki and this beautiful bouncing boy... an avocado pizza...I've had sushi pizza before, but it's not been great. This was AWESOME! The rice cake base was so crispy and warm compared to the creamy cold top, just an excellent combination of flavours and textures! Considering they eat essentially no dairy, I have no idea how the Japanese got on the mayo train- but I want to shovel coal all day and conduct that mayo train into my mouth station because I approve people... I approve!

This is my mayonnaise delight look. This is also a reminder that while green eyeshadow might look good in the powder room ladies... this does not always translate to the dining room.

More MAYJAH mayo, but on a healthier incarnation, on these adorable little cucumber rolls.
A ribbon of cucumber wrapped around shrimp and avocado with heavenly spicy mayo and sesame seeds. So basic, so delightful. I will be making these at home soon... think I will use surimi instead of shrimp. These are so light you could easily pop 5-10 in a sitting.

I did nothing at ALL at the gym last week- but I did go for a tan... if you don't lose the fat, you might as well make it less chalky.

I am currently addicted to the series Little Dorrit (it's Dickens- but Andrew Davies produced it... he did the mini series' Pride and Prejudice as well as He Knew He Was Right) and found myself perfectly incapacitated while imagining myself being rescued from impoverished obscurity by Matthew MacFayden. Also, Jamie's Ministry of Food is back on the Food Network- really educational about working class people and cooking/eating habits. I watched it on it's first go around and found it fascinating and a little sad.
New favourite show is definitely Come Dine with Me! 30 mins episodes each night have 5 strangers hosting dinner parties for each other and at the end of the week one of them wins 1000$ (it's actually pounds- but I can't find that symbol) based on the scoring of their dinnermates. I know 30 mins a day can be a bit consuming... but it's such light viewing, it's great for background noise. The commentator is HILARIOUS.

I've written off the Bachelor and Jersey Shore is coming to a premature (in my opinion) ending. I guess this means I'll have to turn off the fireplace and go outside and interact with real people. Sigh...
So it's Monday now- and I walked/ran outside for 4k, as the weather was pretty decent. I'm off to the gym in the morning, with a pretty pathetic stirfry for dinner tonight. No pics required folks... take my word for it, sad.
On a side note... I've texted twice to Rogers to donate to Haiti... has anyone else tried this? I know it's only ten dollars all told, but I thought it better than sending down my curry.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Oodles of Noodles... and not the regular kind!

Hiya Midges!

It's been a few days since I posted... and I know you're counting desperately on these updates (yuk yuk), so I apologise!

It's been a busy weekend, with lots of eating and not a lot of picture taking... but I'll do my best to recap!

Friday I had my Mum over for dinner and along with some champies, I decided to make a Shiritaki noodle stir fry. For those of you unacquainted with "The Miracle Noodle"- it's a tofu based pasta with zero carbs and a very low calorie count- pictured below is one package of angel hair, making two hearty bowls.... 80 calories for the whole thing!

You simply open the pack, drain the noodles (this part is very important... the liquid is GROSS), rinse them off in some warm water- and then heat them up in a skillet- or add them to your prepared dish! A little mushier than regular wheat pasta- they hold up well when not overcooked.

We had ours with some pesto, spinach, peppers, and whatever else was at the bottom of the crisper!
The shot is a 'leetle blurrry'.... the champies made it seem like perfect focus at the time.
The shiritaki noodles are available in several different shapes, from fettuccine size to this angel hair, so you could use them as a substitute for pasta, soba noodles, egg noodles... whatever your little heart desires.
On Saturday- I went to see Avatar. Holy-fricking-Moly! This movie was ridiculous! The special effects are out of this world (no pun intended) and the 3D version knocked my socks off! While my companion and I both commented on how anti- American, or at least how anti-colonialism the movie was... it also has a really interesting environmental message. I won't spoil the plot for anyone here, but the lessons to be learned from that VERY sexy paraplegic and his blue pals is an important one. As an aside.... alien sex is sorta HOT.

Went for japanese all you can eat after the movie and totally forgot to take pictures of what was definately the most interesting looking food I've eaten all week. Sorry. It'll have to suffice for me telling you that 168 Sushi is the best in Brampton! The rolls are plump and plentiful, the sashimi is fresh and delicious and the tempura is light and not greasy at all! The presentation is gorgeous as well... picture worthy. Next time, I promise!
So that's when things went off the rails a bit... I was at Kiki and Puddin's on Sunday night as we had to get an early start to the hospital Monday morning. We decided to order pizza and wings. We all know that some really healthy choices can be made with pizza... don't we! Lots of veggies are a great choice, thin and whole wheat crusts are an option and no meat and light cheese can make pizza a really sensible choice. Right?
Yup, well I had Boston Pizza's Perogie Pizza... a cavalcade of starch! A fairly greasy crust topped with potatoes, sour cream, cheddar cheese and bacon. God... I'm hanging my salivating head in shame even as I type this.

There is nothing even remotely healthy about this slice... or the other three that followed it. I can't even fool myself that the green onions are an excellent source of chlorophyll... It was just a big, salty, potato-y fat absess.
Following that artery clogger... we had some wings.

These are not Quorn wings or tempeh wing shaped treats... these are chicken wings. Not proud folks... not proud.

So after a long, unproductive day at the hospital (returning home Ari Nussbaum-less), I met up with my friend at Jack Astors and had a few of these bad boys... (thanks to Farmer Freddy)

The food at Jack Astors is not great- but I've got to respect a place that has a regular and large option for a glass of wine. God Bless you Jack. And your astors.

After all the debauchery of the weekend, it was high time to straighten up and fly right!
Some people think that their life would be complete with the perfect partner or a million dollars or a bangin' body. I woke up this morning and realised that what my life was missing was this...

Don't worry Ma, I haven't ventured into S&M again... This is a spiralizer! I've been eying one for a while and decided upon waking that I had to have one. Immediately.
So I went to the Apple Factory (where I espied this contraption in the fall) and picked one up. Then, just like justifying buying a new outfit to match newly acquired earrings, I decided a grocery run was in fine order. Off to Fortinos for an unplanned 200$ shop, and Bob's my uncle (or was... but that's another story)! I bought several spiralizer-able vegetables and present to you, my loyal fans, this nest of green love...
I mean- c'mon! Can you beat Zucchini Spaghetti? Me thinks not!

By placing the zuke where the apple would go (yes, this machine COULD be called an apple peeler to the uninitiated), you can create a loopy veggie ribbon that has the same shape as an endless spaghetti strand. Tossed in a little olive oil (as above) and some garlic and shayka shayka, this gorgeous girl will taste awesome nuked for a minute or so!

Tonight I'll top it with some sauteed peppers in a tomato sauce- but much like the Shiritaki noodles, the possibilities are endless! You can even try to make a zucchini Loch Ness Monster- as I've done here...

Good golly- the fun I'm going to have with this hot rod! Maybe I'll make food braids. And food friendship bracelets. And food shoe laces.

Sadly- no news on the running... this ebola cough and the activities of the weekend have kept me away (not that I fought very hard, to be honest). Once I zithromax the frack out of this chest infection I'll be back... I have a VERY patient workout partner who is relying on me, so no more slacking when the respiratory sytem is back on-line! Maybe if I make her some food jewellry, she'll forgive me!

Do you guys have any weird kitchen gadgets that you love? Do you try to buy only 'muti-task' devices? Am I an idiot for thinking most food would look better in squiggly lines?



Thursday, January 7, 2010

Squash and Snookie... Snookie and Squash

Hello Tootsie Rolls!

It's almost the end of the week and I am so pleased to say that after tonight's midnight shift... I am off for a week! It has been a pretty long stretch since December 24th, working lots of hours with a max of 24 hours off in between... and quite a few doubles in the mix! With EIGHT overtime shifts in the past 2 weeks... I am feeling quite deserving of a BIG glass of wine tomorrow night!

Gym update: Have put in 15k this week. Treadmill at gym 2x and one brisk walk (WAY too icy to run) outside. Still have this naughty chest infection, so all of the treadmill time was run/walk... got the kilometers in, but in horrible time! I have resolved to finally visit the doctors... this cough and wheezing is just not going away.

Despite all of the family stuff I have at the beginning of the week (fingers crossed pls), I am aiming for 20k for the week... at least 4x 5k. Depending on the outcome of my Da's surgery on Monday, I may or may not be spending much time at my parent's house over the next week. Not too far from my place, and the same distance to the gym... so despite some stress and a little inconvenience- I have no excuse to fall off the rails!

After all, my Mum DOES have a blender... so I have no excuse not to make one of these babies and set the tone for the day...

I've started the past 3 days now with a Green Monster... and am feeling better for it! Honestly, I can't say enough about how great these shakes are! I've given some to people at work (who accepted it skeptically) and most of them liked it! Even my Mum got in on the party tonight and had one with me before work. Now that I have the basic recipe down pat... I'm going to start playing around with some different additives. I'm thinking ginger, basil, garlic, frozen fruit, pumpkin, kale... the ideas are endless! If you haven't visited the Green Monster Movement site yet, be sure to follow the link to check out tonnes of hints for combinations!

Just as I am typing this... a friend blackberried me to ask me if I had slipped something in her drink! She had some only an hour ago and has a burst of energy! I'll ask her to submit her testimonial as proof... jk.

Another morning beverage I've been enjoying at all times of the day is bodum tea...

I was lucky enough to receive this french press for Christmas, and although I don't usually drink coffee (I save up my coffee points for really good espresso), this little device is PERFECT for loose teas. I find it makes a stronger tea, which I prefer, because the leaves and fleurs can float or sink and permeate the hot water on their own accord. They aren't caged in by a mesh tea ball or perforated spoon. The brew above is rose hip. It looks better than it tastes in my opinion. I've recently purchased Jasmine, Green Tea w/ brown rice and Japanese Green (my favourite). At some tea specialty stores, these blends can cost you a pretty penny, but at the Asian market, a large bag will run you from 2-3$. Obviously, there aren't the 'yuppie' teas we might be interested in at most of these markets, but there is a HUGE selection of oriental brews. Steeping your tea in a glass press or pot lets you really enjoy the whole ritual of the tea taking... very Zen!

In other nifty and thrifty news... I have just finished the second half of a spaghetti squash. These little nerds are also really inexpensive, make several servings and can be topped with ANYTHING! Just like nature's perfect little blank canvas!

Last night I had half of her with some baby spinach, antipasto and goat cheese.

Cut in half, seeds scooped out and then roasted downward dog with some olive oil spritz and some vegetable seasoning (shayka- shayka as it's known to Kiki and Puddin') at 400 deg f for 40 mins.
Scrape the guts out with a fork, and instantly, a thatch of spaghetti-like stands will emerge! I just folded in some baby spinach (raw- no need to steam, the heat from the cooked squash does it for you), topped with some antipasto and put a wee glob (official term) of goat cheese on top... and... VOILA!

Isn't she gorgeous? So many colours are always a good sign of something healthy (hence Smarties... ). But like every beautiful girl... after giving so much of herself to everyone else, she feels a little empty inside...
Ah she served us well! Good thing I didn't name her, this blog would be turning into a eulogy. I'm clearly taking this 'relationship with my food' thing too far.
Following in yesterdays footsteps, with half of her... shit- I mean: half of the spaghetti squash left... I decided more of the same would suit me just fine. Maybe just a different topping to change up the game a bit.

Roasted as above, but topped with some sauteed peppers and garlic and a little white wine. On the side were some baked tomatoes stuffed with some 1% cottage cheese flavoured with some Shayka- Shayka. The tri- colore effect was especially prudent as I was lucky enough to be watching Jersey Shore. I have now named this dish "Guidette Squash".

It was so filling... and I still have a quarter of the recently-broken-up-with squash at home. Tomorrow I'll have a WHOLE night at home and to myself, so I'll come up with something brilliantly exciting and creative... I'm sure.

I''ll be back tomorrow... I just watched Food Inc, so I have that to talk about. As well as my big plans to try curling in February, winter tennis, The Bachelor, The Biggest Loser, the idea of weekly/monthly challenges and other random thoughts.

Do you set weekly or monthly challenges for yourself? What have you tried?