Monday, 25 August 2014

Blueberry and Cornbread Muffins

I really love Pinterest, I'll admit it. It is a great way to kill some time. I have found some great inspiration there and I tack on pictures to boards I classify by type. My food board is pretty great. I recently came upon cornbread blueberry muffins. We get a Homegrown Organic produce box every week and a pack of blueberries came with it this weekend. I was pointed in the right direction. I was feeling a little under the weather and cooking always makes me feel better. So, I put on my apron last night and baked some muffins, the recipe is a cornbread recipe from the Joy of Cooking, with a few twists.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Wet and dry ingredients are prepared separately.

In one bowl, place:

1 cup of all purpose unbleached flour
1 cup of cornmeal 
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1/2 tsp of salt
2 1/2 tsps of baking powder

In another bowl, mix altogether:

3 tsps of melted butter
1 egg
1 cup of milk 

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix in a cup of blueberries and stir well. Add batter to a 12 cup greased muffin pan. Cook for 15-20 mins or until golden brown. Serve immdiately with a pat of butter.

So good! A new favourite at home.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Seoul's - Korean Restaurant Review

This is my first restaurant review. I am pretty happy about this development. I think Halifax has some great places to eat. Lots of variety, extended hours of operation (open by 6am and/or past 6pm) and it is all very economical. This is coming from SJ perspective, where food delights can be limited at times. I will never forget coming in from out of town on a Sunday night and being stuck with Harvey's for lack of wanting pizza or a dine-in dinner for supper; although, maybe times have changed. In Kennebecasis valley, where my family is from, there are even more limited options for eating out. When I first moved to Halifax, I ate out a lot. It was fun. The places to eat are just dreamy to me. There are many places I haven't been yet. I haven't been to too many fancy restaurants, but I have frequented a few places and have found some favorites. I want to share them with you. Maybe you will check out a place I reviewed, maybe you will agree with me, or disagree. It's all good.

This post is about Seoul's Korean food. It is on Duke street, between Water and Barrington, across the street from NSCAD. My friend told me about this place, and I have to say I agree with her when she said it is the best Korean place in the city.

I am a creature of habit and I always get bimimbap in a hot stone bowl when I am at a Korean restaurant. Another friend from SJ introduced me to this delightful dish and I have craved it ever since. I don't want anything else! If you haven't had it before, it is like a warm, spicy, salad topped with a fired egg and spicy beef (tofu or chicken)  and is accompanied with rice that is crunchy from the hot bowl. It is usually served with a side of kimchi.

I think these pictures speak for themselves. I can't wait to eat at Seoul's again soon!

A street view of Seoul's. 

My meal presentation: (included miso soup, kimchi, sliced egg and spicy fish). I ordered a cup of brown tea to go with my meal.

The bibimbap all stirred up and ready to eat!

As an aside, this weekend is Open City in Halifax. I haven't been to any of the events before and I want to check some stuff out this year pertaining to food!

Yay food!

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Easy Dinner Featuring Lamb Sausage, Kale and Carrots

I am a big fan of preparing and consuming a quickie dinner. There is a time and place for a complicated mealtime involving various courses, main dishes that take hours to prepare and desserts that wrap up an evening. However; healthy, whole meals are something that need to be accessible, time efficient and tasty or I won't do it. I just got myself out of a take-out/eat-out habit and it is meals that can be made quickly that take me to the place of not ordering food outside of the home. It keeps me in the kitchen (for short amounts of time, at regular intervals) which is best for me.

This kind of recipe has ingredients that can be replaced with whatever is in your fridge. I will list what I put in this pot but feel free to interchange it with something similar (a veg for a veg and a meat for a meat).

You will need:

coconut oil
lamb sausages
pinch of salt
spices (I enjoy curry spice mixes or a chilli flavor for this dish)

Add several cups of quinoa to a pot and add an inch of water to cover the top of it. Cook it until water is evaporated and quinoa is cooked. Set aside.

Add a bit of coconut oil to a cast iron pan heated to a medium heat and while it is melting, chop up garlic and an onion. Add them to the pan and while they brown remove sausages from casings and cut up into bite-sized pieces. Add sausage to the pan and cook until the meat is cooked through. Then add chopped carrot and soften. Then add chopped kale and salt and spices. Keep the kale in the pan it in there until it is browned and crispy on the sides at some points.

Add in the cooked quinoa to the cast iron pan and mix it altogether. Keep the pan at a low heat. 

Add some sriracha on top for an extra spicy flavour.

This recipe makes as much or as little as you want (which is why I didn't include measurements). I tend to make enough so that there plenty for supper and a few lunches.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Smoothies Forever

I think we have been on a straight smoothie kick since December. Most mornings involve one of us turning on the kettle and grinding coffee beans for coffee and then opening the fridge to pull items to make a smoothie with the tried and true blender.  Sometimes we have hot cereal, other times a bagel or eggs. This is hardly ever. I went for a long period of time without breakfast as a staple of my diet. Now, I couldn't imagine not having breakfast and breakfast being a smoothie.

Lately, our green smoothies are not so green due to the frozen berries that are a part of the recipe. The smoothies tend to be mostly a version of the same recipe. I have stopped adding in protein powder. A nautropath told me to stay away from the processed stuff and I have come around. I think smoothies are good to get you going first thing; and, I feel a snack mid-morning is a better way to stay satiated all morning versus pumping a plant based drink with powdered proteins.

Power smoothies (or goblin guts for the wee ones):

a few cups of frozen fruit or berries
2 bananas
some avocado, nut butter or coconut oil (if you are so inclined)
a few scoops of Greek yogurt  (probiotics, some protein and it adds a nice texture and tang to the mix)
a few handfuls of organic baby spinach (or any greens: I like steamed kale or Swiss chard)
some OJ and almond milk (the amount depends on the consistency you would like to have in a smoothie)

Blend it up and serve right away.
Extra servings can stay in the fridge but are best consumed before lunch.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Roast Chicken and Veg

I took me awhile to get myself to write about roast chicken. It is odd to think about it like that but it is true. I think part of me holds on to the vestiges of my past vegetarian self (see my sad little post about chicken dinner here). Initially, I became vegetarian because I wanted to eat more plants. That, I was successful in achieving and I still enjoy eating meals with lots of fruits and veggies. I have found my balance and then I flirt with the idea of becoming vegan. It would potentially be better for my health, is easier on the environment and respects the lives of animals. But, it isn't what I need or want to do right now.

This roast chicken dinner recipe is a simple one. I bought two chicken breasts with bone-in and skin on. I added a pat of butter to a cast iron pot with a lid and let it melt while the oven warmed up. I chopped fingerling red potatoes, onion and carrots and added them to a bowl. I drizzled olive oil on the mixture of veggies and put in dashes of salt and pepper, oregano and three bay leaves. I added the chicken breasts to the bottom of the pot and put the carrots and potatoes on top. I let it cook for about 45 minutes at 375 degrees.

The chicken was moist. The veggies browned and soft. I made a side of curry mayo and dipped my veggies. A sauce for the chicken would have been nice. I think I will work on a homemade bbq sauce and post about it later. We are entering BBQ season, after all.

~Happy eating~

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Chickpea Stirfry

Dude's been working long days in the studio and I have had to fend for myself, as it were. I got myself into the terrible habit of eating out for supper, a lot. Most nights. The effect was me feeling like crap. I didn't even have "bad" junk foods. Veggie sushi, hot Korean meals and Lebanese plates. The occasional Ace Burger classic burger with fries may have slipped in and it was worth it.

Thing is, I felt bad because I was disconnected from something I love. I like to cook. I like to get an order of weekly groceries (with the occasional pit stop) and make due with what's been bought for meals. I think having someone else doing most of the cooking for awhile threw me off. I lost my mojo. Didn't know what I wanted to eat. I have discovered that I like adding spices or sauces to dishes on a whim. Hardly ever do I stick to a recipe when it comes to dinnertime meals. And so. I found myself back in the kitchen. With the 5 o'clock hour upon me, I opened the fridge. I looked in the crisper. I checked the pantry. I inspected the shelves. And I got away with 3 days worth of meals without a trip to the grocery store; I am proud to add. 

For now, I will write about my chickpea "everything but the kitchen sink" stir-fry meal. 

It is quite simple. I don't really follow any formal cooking rules for cooking anything, so bear with me. Maybe this blog is a joke. Glup. Nah, don't care that much.  (I learned how to cook from being the oldest sibling thus responsible for babysitting and feeding said siblings when mom and dad worked late - there were a lot of ultra simple casseroles - something I have yet to post about. Intriguging). I took the veggies that were appropriate to use in a stir-fry and chopped them up. Added them to a skillet with coconut oil. I used kale, onion, garlic, sweet bell pepper, mushrooms and zucchini. Then I added a can of rinsed chickpeas to the mix. Seasoning included salt, pepper, chilli flakes, curry powder for the Mid East Food Centre from up the street, and let it brown altogether. I made a side of quinoa and in a bowl I combined the veggie mixture and had myself a lovely supper. 

I was told the quinoa could be ditched and the mix could be added to a tortilla, with sour cream, avocado and salsa. Could be good? 

To do: 

Warm up a pat of coconut oil in a cast iron pan 
add chopped onion and garlic and brown 
add in mixed veggies, stir 
add in rinsed and drained chickpeas 
add seasoning to taste 
Serve on a bed of cooked quinoa or rice 
Mix it all up in a bowl (maybe add a dash of soya sauce to the quinoa for flavour) 
and Bob's your uncle. 

Thursday, 27 March 2014

I haven't forgotten the blog!

It has been too long since I last wrote about food. A lot has changed for me. Many good things. I have been practicing mindfulness and self-compassion, and let me tell you, it takes work and it is tough stuff. The rewards are big and even though I have tough days, they seem to be dwindling in comparison to my good days. I have so much to be grateful for in this life.

A wonderful turn of events is that my boyfriend is trained as a chef and has taken courses in photography while at art school. So, guess who will be contributing with me in this little blog within the blogosphere? He will. He made the most lovely ox tail soup. Made it with plenty of vegetables and what he says is the best part of a cow, the tail. It makes a tasty and rich broth. I bought some local multigrain bread and buttered it to accompany the soup. Was darn good, too.

In any case, I have been cooking less and eating well. I do the dishes and slip in a simple meal here and there. A fair trade. I have learned some neat tricks in the kitchen from my mate. Such as: when to add ingredients to a pot, when to set things aside, how novel! How long produce and meat is acceptably good for is longer than I am ready to accept (hint: the expiry date does not tell the whole truth) and I have tried new foods. He calls his work peasant food, but being trained as a french chef,  I think it is all delicious and fancy. It is like the secret ingredient is knowing how to cook!

So, here's to nicer food pics and new recipes on the blog. I hope you stay tuned for more regularly timed posts!