Wednesday, July 31, 2013


In The Kitchen...

Quinoa is a super food - but before we go any further talking about it, first we must know how to pronounce it properly and that is "keen-wah"...not "kee-know-wah"...HA! Like some people usually, that's not right. 

Anyways...quinoa is not actually a grain but a seed from a grain-like crop and has a sort of slighty nutty flavor and its texture is firm when cooked properly. 
Quinoa is so yummy. I honestly love it. It's high in protein and is considered a complete protein, meaning that is has all 9 amino acids required in your diet. 
It's high in calcium and has good amounts of phosphorous, iron and fibre. It's gluten-free and is higher in monounsaturated {the good stuff!} fats than wheat or grain and is heart-healthy.
Not only that but it also contains small amounts of omega 3 fatty acids. 
This is why it's a super food! Come on!
Just a word of caution when cooking with quadruple's in size, so when cooking it, remember that it may look like you aren't cooking a lot of it, but trust me, you are. 
It can be substituted for in a lot of grain-like dishes and is cooked similarly to rice - just read up the instructions on the box.
Also, for an FYI, store quinoa in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-6 months or you can store cooked quinoa in the fridge for up to 3 days.
If you did just buy the quinoa and it is in a sealed air-tight package you can store it in a cool, dry place. Just make sure to check on is a seed after all.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


In The Kitchen...
I haven't posted a recipe in a bit, so let's do something that is a bit light. I have had a hankering for Greek food AND shrimp, so let's throw the two together and see what we come up with.
Well...this is what we came up with, a totally low-cal delicious meal. ;) 

Bon Appetit!

Shrimp Skewers with Tzatziki, Spinach & Feta
Tzatziki is a popular Greek sauce made from yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, and dill. In this fast, easy, fresh recipe, we've subbed in shallots for garlic and used it to top skewers of shrimp. 
Prep: 30 min // Total: 30 min 

1 cup Greek-style {2% or nonfat} yogurt
1 cup 1/4-inch cubes English hothouse cucumber
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill 
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice plus additional for drizzling
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
1-14 teaspoons aniseed, finely crushed, divided
Olive oil {for brushing and drizzling}
1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails left intact
8 cups baby spinach leaves
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Mix Greek-style yogurt, cucumber, dill, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, shallots, and 3/4 teaspoon crushed aniseed in small bowl; season tzatziki generously with salt and pepper. Chill.
Prepare barbecue {medium-high heat}. Brush grill with oil. Thread shrimp onto 4 metal skewers. Brush shrimp all over with olive oil; sprinkle with salt, pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon crushed aniseed. Grill just until shrimp are opaque in center, about 3 minutes per side. Divide spinach among 4 plates; drizzle lightly with additional lemon juice and olive oil. Top each with 1 shrimp skewer. Spoon tzatziki over shrimp; sprinkle with feta cheese and serve. 


Friday, July 26, 2013


Let's do some runway today, shall we? 
Some Haute Couture Fall 2013. 
Alexandre Vauthier.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013


In The Kitchen...

So last night I made an epic fail of dinner...I tried to make pork schnitzel and cooked and cooked and it kept coming out raw. I simply did NOT understand it...I mean, I didn't realize this until after I ate half of one. Thankfully I didn't get violently sick, but still. We were really looking forward to a yummy meat and potatoes kind of meal. 
I will have to make it up to Travis who was staaaaarving after work last I found a yummy pasta recipe {I am off meat for a while}. I have most of the ingredients at home, just need to pick up a thing or two at the grocery store. 

Bon Appetit!

Lightened Up Broccoli and Cheddar Pasta Bake
A quick and easy, lightened up recipe for Broccoli & Cheddar Pasta Bake. 
Prep: 10 min // Cook: 20 min // Total: 30 min // Makes: 4-6 Servings

1lb dry whole-wheat pasta {rigatoni, penne, or other macaroni pasta with ridges}
2 cups broccoli, cut into 1/2-inch to 1-inch pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups fat-free milk
1 tbsp spicy brown or Dijon mustard
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup low-fat sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

What To Do
1. Preheat the oven to 350* degrees. Cook the pasta al dente according to the package directions. Add the broccoli florets to the boiling water for the last two minutes of cooking the pasta. Drain the pasta and broccoli and set aside. 

2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the garlic and cook for a minute or two until it begins to brown. Add the flour, and whisk until a smooth roux forms. Add the milk, mustard and the spices and continue whisking until the mixture thickens, about 1-2 minutes. When the sauce begins to bubble, add the cheddar cheese and stir until melted. 

3. Add the pasta and broccoli to the sauce and stir until combined. Pour the pasta mixture into an oven-safe casserole dish and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake until the pasta is warmed through and the top is golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Serve warm. 



Gorgeous editorial.
Ranya Mordanova by Yossi Michaeli for Luxure Magazine, Summer 2013. 

Monday, July 22, 2013


Before I begin anything, I would just like to say that I made the lighter sesame seed chicken on Friday night and it was *to die for*! Seriously...some of the best chicken I have tasted. My boyfriend even said that he could just sit down to a huge bowl of that chicken. It was delicious and the sauce that accompanied it was awesome. I am really considering maybe it again. To make it a little healthier I might opt out on the rice and make quinoa with it instead and add a lot more veggies. It was just awesome. 
I did stray a tiny bit from the recipe...instead of using the egg whites and corn starch I used two eggs and added a bit of water to it. Whisked it up. Then instead of dredging it in the corn starch I decided on flour. Will definitely keep doing it that way. Was such an awesome meal.
You guys should definitely give that recipe a try. 
Tonight I will make a shrimp and mushroom recipe with sweet potatoes. 

On another note, the weekend {once again} went by too fast. Saturday was a lazy bum kinda day and I took hebebe {my nickname for Lou'e} to the groomers where he came out looking fabulous! Definitely will be returning to this groomer. 
Then we went for a little birthday shindig for my boyfriend's brother and stayed for a few hours. Sunday, we slept in a bit...ran some errands and cleaned like mad for the better part of the afternoon and prepped lunches for the week. 
The rest of the night was spent relaxing, watching some TV. 

Now it's back to the grind! 
I am beginning to read Eat to Lose, Eat to Win by Rachel Beller. I will keep you posted on this book as I get further into it. 
I also read the fifth Game of Thrones book and seriously, things are about to get a little crazy in the upcoming seasons for those of you who didn't read the books. 

Anyways, happy MONday everyone! :)


Friday, July 19, 2013


In The Kitchen...

So I definitely am going to have to try a new recipe tonight...I just have that itch. We ate chili all week and then regular old pasta yesterday so we need something different to try tonight and I think I might have found just the thing. ;) 

Bon Appetit!

Lighter Sesame Chicken
Say "open sesame" to a Chinese-restaurant classic that's no longer a guilty pleasure. Our chicken is sauteed in a little oil instead of deep fried. The less-sweet sauce has fewer calories than a standard recipe, and, nutritionally, brown rice beats white. 
PREP: 40 mins // TOTAL TIME: 40 mins // SERVINGS: 4

3/4 cup brown rice
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 garlic clove, finely chopped or crushed with a garlic press
2 large egg whites
1/4 cup cornstarch
1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 2-inch chunks
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as safflower
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1-1/2 pounds broccoli, cut into large florets, stems peeled and thinly sliced

STEP 1 - Place a steamer basket in a large saucepan, and fill with 1 inch water; set aside for broccoli. Cook rice according to package instructions.

STEP 2 - Meanwhile, make sauce: In a small bowl, combine honey, sesame seeds, soy sauce, and garlic; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together egg whites and cornstarch. Add chicken; season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. 

STEP 3 - In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add half the chicken; cook, turning occasionally, until golden and opaque throughout, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate; repeat with remaining tablespoon oil and chicken. Return all the chicken to skillet; add reserved sauce and scallions, and toss to coat. 

STEP 4 - Meanwhile, place saucepan with steamer basket over high heat; bring water to a boil. Add broccoli, and cook until crisp-tender, 4-6 minutes. Serve sesame chicken with broccoli and rice. 

How simple!! I am totally trying this tonight. No questions about it. 


Thursday, July 18, 2013


In The Kitchen...

I made an immeasurable pot of chili on Sunday night so Travis and I have been eating that for the past 4 days. The only bonus of that is no muss no fuss. I don't have to stand and prep the meal and there isn't much clean-up. Which is an additional compensation. 
Alas, the pot of chili has come to it's inevitable end and now I must surmise of our next enticing meal. There are so many recipes out there it's kind of overwhelming at times to figure out what to put on the table. 
You also have to admit that sometimes you can get quite set in your ways and make the same thing over and over again. Note: pasta, shrimp with mushrooms, soup...the same old stuff. So I really am trying to make a conscious effort to try new things. Though with my schedule it can get quite perplexing and I also need to dedicate at least two hours to studying each night and I like to do that right after work on an empty stomach than when full - don't ask me why, I am just more productive that way. 
So I am on the lookout for quick and easy meals lately but that doesn't mean that you can't indulge once in a while on a rich and tasty dish that takes a little extra in the kitchen. 
Anyways...I have this recipe that can be found on the Martha Stewart site and it looks and sounds mouthwatering. Now, I know that it is another mushroom pasta recipe {Travis must be getting sick of mushrooms} but it is always nice to try something particular with it as well. This is definitely a lot different than my usual mushroom pasta and will beyond any doubt give this a try.

Bon Appetit!

Baked Mushroom Linguine
Serves: 12

4 ounces dried mushrooms, such as porcini or chanterelle
4 cups boiling water
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme, plus 2 teaspoons finely chopped
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1 onion, diced
1 pound button mushrooms, stems removed, quartered
1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced
2-1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 pound linguine
Unsalted butter, for pan
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

STEP 1 - Place dried mushrooms in a bowl, and pour 4 cups boiling water over them. Let sit 30 minutes to allow flavors to infuse. Make a bouquet garni: wrap rosemary and thyme sprigs in cheesecloth, and tie with kitchen twine; set aside. Press mushrooms to release with a slotted spoon, and place in another bowl. Press mushrooms to release any retained stock, and pour liquid back into bowl; set mushrooms aside. Strain mushroom liquid through a fine-mesh sieve lined with a paper towl. You should have about 4 cups of mushroom stock; set aside. 

STEP 2 - Melt 5 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When bubbling, add flour. Cook, stirring until mixture begins to brown, about 3 minutes. While whisking, slowly pour in mushroom stock. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick. Stir in cream and reserved bouquet garni. Reduce to a gentle simmer, and cook 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

STEP 3 - Meanwhile, in a large ovenproof skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add onion, and cook until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add button mushrooms, and 2 teaspoons chopped thyme, and cook until all are tender, about 5 minutes. Add cream sauce to skillet, and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside. 

STEP 4 - Preheat oven to 375* degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until very al dente, 2 to 3 minutes less than manufacturer's instructions. Transfer noodles to a colander, and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Stir noodles into the mushroom mixture. Sprinkle with grated cheese, and bake in skillet until browned on top and mixture is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cook 5 minutes before serving. 

 I sort of didn't expect ALL THAT work, but for a weekend dinner idea I think it would be perfect. Or to entertain some vegetarian friends. 
Regardless, I am still going to make this and Trav can take the leftovers to work with him. :) 

Sounds yummy. ;)


Tuesday, July 16, 2013


A little bit of random rambling going on here today in this post. I just wanted to share some pictures that I have taken over the past few weeks. :)
I really need to take more pics as well...

I got these lovely roses from Travis a couple weekends ago. Love the colours. So summery and cute. :)

Monday, July 15, 2013


In The Kitchen...

Just LOOK at how ridiculously easy this recipe is. 
I am soooo trying this out either during the week or this weekend for brunch. 
I could even make this for dinner with a side of steamed cauliflower and have breakfast for dinner! 
Ps. I am pretty sure my Mom has the exact same mug as in the last pic. Love that mug.

Bon Appetit!

Mini Bacon Egg Cups

All you need is to wrap your mini muffin tins with bacon, fill with seasoned whipped eggs {you could also add cheese, chives, anything!} and bake at 350* for 30-35 minutes. 
How simple is that!?




What a weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed it and had a good time, unfortunately they are too short. There should be two day work weeks and 5 day weekends! ;) 
It was a really busy one too, which coaxed the weekend along in going by so fast. On Saturday morning Travis and I were able to make it to the market {with Lou'e in tow of course} and we picked up some fresh veggies. Next time I am definitely going to pick up a little bouquet of flowers. They have such pretty ones. But Travis seemed rushed and it made me feel rushed so we were only at the market for a half hour. Maybe next time. 
He helped his family move and I did a thorough cleaning of our apartment. 
We received a gift card from our great friend; Kevin, to The Keg {steakhouse}. Travis, of course, ordered steak and I ordered lobster. I have had lobster at Red Lobster, but that ain't 'real' lobster...and The Keg is a little bit expensive so you know you are getting fresh ingredients on your plate. The lobster was awesome! At first I couldn't decide between the King Crab or the lobster {trying King Crab next time} but lobster won. I really enjoyed the claws, the lobster tail was a little more chewy. Dipping into the butter sauce...heavenly! I can only imagine how many calories was in that little bowl of butter though. 
I shared with Travis and he enjoyed it too. :)
Sunday was a lazy bum day and I made delicious chili for the week {I know, I am crazy to make piping hot chili in the middle of a heat wave here in Ontario}. 
Over all, it was fantastic! I just wish it were a bit longer...and I am moving along pretty good in my Game of Thrones book. So much going on! ;) know me, I am obsessed with books and it's been a while since I shared some new books that are out that look intriguing. So here ya go! Some new books that I would completely devour in one sitting. ;) 

Eat to Lose, Eat to Win: Your Grab-n-Go Action Plan for a Slimmer, Healthier You by Rachel Beller - $18.25 CA
This books apparently changes your entire view on food and what you consume, at least this is what a lot of the reviewers have stated. Rachel Beller is a nutritionist and indeed will change your views on proper consumption and what you should be eating...even the stuff you think is 'healthy', isn't necessarily so. 
Since I am studying this, I find this interesting and am eager to see what sort of opinions Rachel has on food and diet. 

Friday, July 12, 2013


In The Kitchen...

So I tried a new recipe last night that was absolutely delicious! <3 font="" nbsp="">
So obviously, I am going to share it with you. It can be found on the Martha Stewart site and the only thing I did a little differently with this recipe was add mushrooms and some garlic since I am a huge garlic lover as well as used dried cappelini instead of the fresh stuff.
Either way, it really was delicious and a hit with my boyfriend.
And Lou'e LOVED the peas. ;)

Bon Appetit!

Fresh Angel-Hair Pasta with Bacon and Peas
Prep: 5 min // Total Time: 20 min // Servings: 6

Coarse salt and ground pepper
4 slices bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
2 shallots, halved and thinly sliced
1 box {10 ounces} frozen peas, thawed
1 cup half-and-half
18 ounces fresh angel-hair pasta

STEP 1 - Set a large pot of salted water to boil. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain {leave fat in skillet}.

STEP 2 - Add shallots to skillet; season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Add peas and half-and half; season with salt and pepper. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. 

STEP 3 - Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain pasta, and return to pot. Pour sauce over pasta; toss to combine, adding some reserved pasta water a little at a time to coat. Sprinkle with bacon, and serve immediately.

It is honestly a super-fast dish that is delicious. It actually tastes a bit like carbonara. 
It's a perfect meal for a weeknight where you are tight on time. It is easy to load up on this so make sure you portion control. ;) 
I think I am going to go out this weekend and look for neat smallish bowls to start eating dinner in. You do eat with your eyes and I think this will help me with portion control as well.
I'll keep you posted. ;) 


Wednesday, July 10, 2013


In The Kitchen...

I have always been curious about chowder...but when I tried it once in Monterrey {Cali}, I wasn't very convinced.
But maybe the certain flavours didn't jive with me during that time...I am still willing to give it another shot and am thinking of having a go at making it myself. 
I found this recipe on the Eating Well site - now when it comes to chowder, I don't want any weird mussels or squid or whatever in there. I am cool with just fish and/or shrimps so this recipe spoke to me. ;) 
On top of that, chowder can be really fatty so this is a lighter version.
So let's give this recipe a shot and give me any tips on chowder and if you yourself enjoy it. I know that in places like California {or anywhere on the Coast} chowder would be the best and the freshest. So will have to make sure I get as fresh as I can with my ingredients.

Bon Appetit!

Tilapia Corn Chowder
This light soup is a great way to slip fresh corn {and tilapia, of course!} into your late-summer menu. Make it a meal: Enjoy with a mixed green salad and oyster crackers.
Serves: 6 {about 1-1/4 cups each} // Total Time: 45 minutes

2 ounces bacon {about 2 slices}
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 stalk celery, diced
1 leek, white part only, halved lengthwise, rinsed and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
8 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
2 cups fresh corn kernals, {about 4 ears}
1-1/2 pounds tilapia fillets, cut into bite-size pieces
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 cup half-and-half
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, {optional}

1. Chop bacon and cook in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels. 

2. Add oil to the pan. Add celery, leek, salt and pepper and cook until the vegetables just begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add broth, potatoes and corn. Bring to a gentle simmer. Cook until the potatoes are just tender and the corn is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Stir in tilapia and thyme; return to a gentle simmer. Cook until the tilapia is cooked through, about 4 minutes more. Remove from the heat. 

3. Stir in half-and-half, lemon juice and the reserved bacon. Garnish with chives, if using. 

There ya go! How simple is that! It really sounds delicious and I am loving leeks lately. 
This recipe also only has 288 calories per serving! That is a definite bonus in my books. ;) 
Will definitely be trying this recipe soon. 
I might sub the tilapia with a haddock or cod...I am not a huge fan of it because it really does smell fishy. Then again, I can do what my Mom always did and let the fish soak in milk for a bit to take some of the 'fishiness' out. 
Either way, I am looking forward to trying this out. 
I am trying to lose a bit of weight and I think soups are a great go-to diet food and I love soup in general...I will even make it in the middle of a piping hot Summer! 


Tuesday, July 02, 2013


In The Kitchen...

It appears to me that my fonts are all over the place on this blog...but I figured it out rather quickly that I am using Century Gothic when posting and if you don't have that font then you are going to get some sort of generic one when you read the blog. Sorry. I love Century Gothic. :P It makes typing up posts so much more fun. Yes. I am obsessed with fonts. 

Gawd, I love the weekends. Especially in this new apartment. I woke up rather early this morning, 5am...yea, I am crazy...and been cleaning, kitchen, stove, living room, dusting...I still have bathrooms and laundry but it is only 8:16am here on my end and I decided I would already have a break. 
Lou'e is laying here with me as we peruse cookbooks as we are starting a healthier lifestyle...I was going to start it on Monday...but decided, today is a good day as any. 
A lovely friend from the UK {Hi, Jan!!} sent me a wonderful salad recipe book and I have been looking through it for inspiration. Salads are healthy after all but they don't necessarily have to be boring.
So I found one that definitely doesn't sound boring and incorporates a handful of ingredients I love. This would probably be great the next day for lunch as well. 
Here is a very unbarring salad recipe! ;)

Bon Appetit!

Couscous & Haddock Salad

175g {6 oz} couscous
125g {4 oz} cooked, smoked haddock, flaked
50g {2 oz} cooked peas
Pinch of curry
2 spring onions, sliced
1 tbsp freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 small hard-boiled egg, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
Salt and ground black pepper

1. Cook the couscous according to the packet instructions. Drain if necessary.
2. Mix the couscous with the smoked haddock, peas, curry powder, spring onions, parsley and egg.
3. Toss with the olive oil, lemon juice and plenty of salt and pepper to taste, then serve. 

There you have it!
I might buy fresh haddock and then back it in the oven if I can't find the smoked kind {smoked can get expensive too}. Definitely going to give this a try! :))
By the way, this recipe is from the book "Good Housekeeping Salads & Dressings".