Sunday, January 19, 2014

Will 2014 be the year of blogging?

Ya probably not... but I'm cooking a lot lately and am thinking about posting some of my favourite meals and recipes.

We shall see....

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Honey Balsamic Dressing

I know it's been a long time since blogging but since James has been away working in Alberta I have been cooking more and enjoying it. I am thinking of sharing a few posts of some of my favorites but today I thought I'd start with something simple, my favorite simple dressing. I can't buy store bought dressing anymore they taste too harsh and fake to me. It's so easy to make your own dressing too and this one has become my new go to. I usually have it for lunch on a salad with spring mix, goat cheese, some fruit like strawberries and raspberries and sometimes I add in some spiced pecans. Yum! This recipe makes enough to last me a few weeks too and I like that I don't have to refrigerate it since it because too thick and needs time to separate if you do that.

This is from the Rebar cookbook's recipe for Summer Greens and Nectarines

 Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette:

 2 tbsp honey
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 shallot minced (I skip this sometimes I will put in a shake or garlic powder instead)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cracked pepper
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

 Now the recipe says to add in everything but the olive oil and then whisk that in slowly. I don't have time for that so I combine it all in a jar and then shake it up! Done!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Let me count the ways I love you...

Happy Valentine's Day to all the Lovers out there!

This Valentine's day I am taking a moment to reflect and appreciate the love that I have. James is headed to Alberta in exactly two weeks from today and each day until then the reality of it will sink in a little bit more. He will be gone for three weeks and then back for one. It will be tough to be apart that long and then to make sure it's not forced in the small amount of time we have together. It's temporary and in the end it's for the better of our life together in the future. It's a sacrifice now so we can live the life we dream of. They say distance makes the heart grow fonder and I think this is true as you are able to appreciate them more in the time you have them and not take what you have for granted everyday. This will also be a good time to help me rediscover myself and remind myself how to be independent and not reliant on someone else. Not that I don't love and appreciate everything James does for me, but you do lose a little of yourself being in a relationship as you conform to fit your life in with another person. It's good to have separate likes and hobbies and maybe this will be a time to remind myself of things I had forgotten I was interested in or enjoyed. I am looking at this as a positive for now, though I know there will be tears, many of them, but they are tears of a love that is not gone just a little further away.

I tried to start a list of reason I love you, but really there are too many to count and many I don't realize until I'm in the moment and you make me smile.

I love you.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New year, new you?

The new year is always a time for re-invention. You can start over and be the person you always wanted to be! Yes it's just as easy as putting up a new calender.
Well until a few weeks later and you realized that actually everything is exactly the same as it was last year but you're just having to change a 1 to a 2.
It's been a long time since I've posted, was it because I didn't have much to say? I don't think so I think it's the act of writing down all the millions of things I have to say that's the hard part.
And my brain has been in overdrive for sure these past few months and this year I am focusing on calming it down and being more mindful of each moment.
I started my new year off with a bang that's for sure, jumping into the freezing cold Pacific Ocean will shock any system. To be honest it wasn't as shocking as I thought it would be, it was a really nice day, sunny, not too cold. We were in a cove that kept out the wind, it was perfect conditions. I'm sure if it was rainy and cold I would have complained a lot more!
This year I am trying to let myself live and stop getting hung up on sheltering myself from the world infront of the warm glow of my televison. While the tv will always be my first love I must learn that spending time apart is healthy and it will always be there waiting for me when I'm ready. But I don't need to feel chained to it or obligated to spend time with it, it's for pleasure not a chore.
The usual eat healthy, be more active goal is surfacing once again. This is one that is always on my mind but a new year is always a good time to remind myself of these goals and asses how I've done the previous year. I think I have been overall pretty good at trying to keep exercise in my weekly routine. While some weeks or months have been better then others I still know that I am doing leaps better then I was the year before that and even if I stray I will always find my way back eventually. I've tried many different types of excercise: gym workouts, weights, aquafit, zumba, Wii workouts, EA Sports Active, Biggest Loser DVDs, yoga.... it's just about finding something you enjoy and being able to balance it in your life so it's not a chore. That's the problem with working out, no matter how much you may enjoy the workout I know it's still not what I'd rather be doing. But then there are those moments when you feel this great sense, this rush or relief where your body thanks you for the workout, it's hard to describe but you'll know it when it happens. This is the feeling to hold onto and remember no matter what you are doing, how hard you are working out, it's all good for you and your body appreciates it.
I watched an interesting video on youtube that someone posted called "23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?" which I found really stuck with me. Can I limit my sitting to just 23 1/2 hours a day? Well sure of course I can is my first thought, but there are days when I don't that's for sure. I go from sleeping, to driving, then sitting in a desk, to driving home and then spending the night on the couch. Sure there are a few moments of standing in there but not that are helping my body. I just need to remember even if it's as little as walking or doing yoga for 1/2 hour it's still better then sitting doing nothing. It's not about the quantity of exercise but the quality, and at this point anything besides sitting is quality.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Recipe: Rebar's Red Lentil Greek Soup

I made this soup the other day and I was blown away by how easy and delicious it was! Defiantly a nice easy go to soup I will keep in my collection! I think the biggest thing that makes this soup so good is all the fresh herbs and lemon juice so make sure you don't skimp on those! Fresh does make a huge difference!

2 cups red lentils
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 tsp salt
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
1 tsp cracked pepper
1/4 tsp red chile flakes
1 tbsp minced rosemary
2 tbsp minced oregano
2 bay leaves
8 cups vegetable stock
zest of 1/2 lemon
juice of 2 lemons
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tsp minced rosemary cracked pepper to taste

Rince lentils thoroughly in a colander under cold running water. Set aside to drain. Heat oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat and saute onion with 1 tsp salt until translucent. Add garlic, carrot, pepper, chilies, herbs, bay leaves and remaining salt. Stir well and saute until the carrots are just tender. Add rinsed lentils and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered until the lentils are soft and falling apart (This didn't take long about 15-20 minutes). If you like, the soup can be pureed or left as is. If you choose to puree, remove the bay leaves first!

Season the soup with lemon zest, lemon juice and more salt and pepper to taste (I didn't find I needed it though and the feta adds more salt). Before serving, stir together the feta cheese, rosemary and cracked pepper. Sprinkle over hot bowls of soup and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Baja Surf Grill - 535 Yates St

Another Groupon, and another restaurant to check out! I went with a friend that mentioned they were interested in checking it out as well on a Saturday night. We entered just as they were opening and had our choice of seating. The inside was really neat looking with all dark wood and plants, it almost had a Balinese look to it, the day was nice and sunny so we opted for the back patio. Wasn't quite what we expected, just a few metal tables in an alleyway that also had some homeless people hanging out.

Out waitress was ok but wasn't that impressed when I just had water. We decided to share a few plates trying the Taquitos, Traditional Baja Tacos and the Tropical Crunch Roll. I had checked out the menu online before hand and it's a confusing mix of Mexican and Sushi-fusion. It's like the people that opened the restaurant couldn't decide what they wanted to cook so just did both. That's ok though as I do enjoy both types of food and it's fun to try something different. I thought we'd get our dishes separately but they ended up all coming at the same time. I started with the Taquitos which were tequila soaked raisins with a chipotle cream cheese wrapper in tortilla fingers. Never had taquitos like this before, they were ok but I barely could taste the cream cheese and overall didn't have much flavour. They seemed like something someone would through together as an appie to take to someones house.

I love fish tacos so I was excited to try the Traditional Baja Taco which was tempura battered fish, salsa, shredded cabbage and baja aioli. I was pretty disappointed. The battered fish wasn't anything special and I felt like the tempura batter didn't go well with everything else. I couldn't even taste the salsa or aioli and the cabbage had a harsh bitter taste. It seems like such a simple dish and it's something I have made at home with no experience and have had better.

The Tropical Crunch Roll wasn't much better. Panko crusted and fried California roll toped with diced mango and tobiko with chipotle mayo and sweet sauce. The roll was very bland considering everything it had on it and the sauce didn't add much flavour and punch as it should have. I enjoyed trying something new but they just couldn't pull it together. I saw the mango on top but couldn't taste it in any of the bites.

This may be a nice place to go for a drink and hang out and grab a few bites if you're drinking, but I wouldn't go here as a destination for the food.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Zambris - 820 Yates St

I've been wanting to eat at Zambris long before they moved to their new location in the Atrium building and last weekend I finally had a chance when my lovely fiance took me out for lunch.
Luckily it wasn't too busy and we were seated right away beside the window. The main dining room wasn't very big, mostly taken over by the big bar. There was an outdoor patio that wasn't open yet as well as seating inside the Atrium and a room that was closed off. They were having a private event which seemed to be people they knew watching a soccer game as cheers from the room kept erupting.

We were given a bottle of water on the table which I appreciated, though considering their glasses were the size of shot glasses it was pretty much neccesary. We also got a basket with fresh crusty bread and some tasty olives which was really nice.

There were a lot of things on the menu that tempted me so it was hard to decide but I knew I was craving pasta so I ordered the Penne with Peas and Gorgonzola which I had been eying on the menu for awhile.

To start we shared the Arrabbiata pizza which had spicy pickled peppers, smoked cheese and tomato sauce. This is not something I would normally order but I really enjoyed it and think it strongly competes with the Pizzeria Prima Strada pizzas, I may have even liked it a little more. The crust was wood fire oven cooked and was perfect, very light and tasty! The sauce was delicious and I really enjoyed the combination of the spicy peppers and smoky cheese.

I also really enjoyed the pasta, the penne was cooked to perfection, though if it wasn't I would be very disapointed. The sauce was nice and had the perfect amount of gorgonzola so that it wasn't too over powering. The peas tasted fresh and went really well with the sauce.

We also saw Peter Zambri in the kitchen so it was good to know this is a family run business that is always there making sure their standards are maintained.

It was a perfect lunch, the only negative being it was so good I ate too much! I can't wait to go back and try many other dishes on the menu! Plus I didn't have a chance to try the Tiramisu and I know I won't be let down!