Thursday, February 25, 2016

Shredded Chicken (Tomatillo Sauce)

Hi everyone! Another Go-To Dinner coming your way tonight. I posted this one before on my "big week" of the Whole30. I love this one because it's so easy. 

  Dump a bottle of the tomatillo sauce in your slow cooker. (I get this salsa from Superstore).
  Today I browned the chicken breasts before placing them into the Tomatillo sauce, but other times (in a rush) I haven't bothered. I think it's a bit better if you can do this extra step. Put your slow cooker on low for about 8 hours...
 Then shred the chicken with two forks. Comes apart so easily. Stir it all around in the remaining sauce..
Today we ate ours on top of some leftover rice, with some avocado and cilantro. Easy Peasy. 

Some other ideas...

Place the meat into a tortilla with some cooked bell peppers, avocado and cilantro...roll it up!
Add the meat into a tortilla and add cheese, peppers and cilantro and bake as a quesadilla. 
Keep the rice and chicken and add a mix of various other items such as beans, corn, salsa, veggies, spinach.......

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Baked Salmon & Asparagus

I think that if I had to chose my absolute most favourite meal/food in the world, it would be pizza. (Shocking, I know)... But if I had to chose my second, it would be this salmon and asparagus!! I know it seems an unlikely second, given that the first is basically a ball of yeasty dough covered in cheese, and the latter may actually be one of the healthiest things you could eat...but hey, I like what I like!

I decided to make this meal my second "Go-To Dinner" for a couple reasons:

1) I have found an excellent "recipe" for fish (a protein that in the past has admittedly been one that I seemed to always ruin by overcooking)
2) I have made this meal so many times in the last little while that it's a reminder of how easy it actually is
3) I really, really like to eat it

So ladies and gentlemen, here is Numero Dos:

I believe I have shared the "recipe" before, but here it is again....
The absolute magic is the low temp roasting. All I did to the fish was simply coat lightly in olive oil, salt, pepper and some Epicure lemon dilly I had in my spice drawer. But really, just S&P is good - that's all the asparagus got.

I throw both the asparagus and the salmon into the oven (convection) at the same time, but as soon as my salmon reaches 140 degrees (something you can only know by using a thermometer), I take it out and increase the temp of the oven to 400 degrees so that I can finish off my asparagus.

This follows my requirements for the Go-To Dinners...they need to be: simple, healthy, delicious, fairly quick and easy to prepare (also free of dairy and gluten). So there you have it! Try it! Just make sure you're starting out with a really nice piece of fish. Add rice or some other side if you wish. Let me know if you try it and how it turns out for you.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Who me? A Badass!? Here's to Hoping!

 Does this look like the face of a badass to you?? 
 Ok, how about this one?  (ok no - I know)

 What about if I scrunch one side of my face like this? 
 Or do a tilt and pout my lips (??????WTF?????)
Or look kind of sultry/skeptical?
K how about I just smile?

Here's my point....I am really excited about this book that I picked up for myself as a Valentines Day gift from Me to Me on Saturday. I have heard Jen Sincero being interviewed on a couple of podcasts, but haven't yet read her book. It's really good so far!

Oh, and were you aware that there is a "Selfies" album on your iPhone? Smart thing! How ever does it know? ;) (please don't answer this. I am joking)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Disturbing TV

Ok, so has anyone else been watching "Making of a Murderer"!?!?! I have only seen the first two episodes but it's a bit disturbing. Honestly, I cannot watch shows like this anymore since having a child. You can't help but become more anxious and hyper aware of the bad things that happen in our world. It's like I don't need any extra reminders of the bad stuff - it's basically why I can't watch the news anymore...but here I am watching this?! And at least at the point that I'm currently at in the series, it seems like there are some real unconscionable people in positions of authority. I am sure there is much still to unfold still, but OMG - give the poor guy a break! See, this is another reason that the Food Network is one of my favourite channels.

Before kids, I would have loved a show like this. In fact, I was all over crime shows and detective mysteries. As a child, I even used to love watching "Murder She Wrote". (I was always in disbelief at how my grandma would know who was responsible about 5 minutes into the show lol)!  Anyway, I think I am still going to continue watching as it's very interesting, but it's also kind of hard to watch! Do you guys feel the same way?? 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Collagen Experiment

Hi friends! 

I have been following the gals from the "No Sugarcoating" podcast for a while now, and they have been promoting Vital Proteins. I decided to give it a try, as I would like to find a way to add protein to my smoothies without changing the taste...AND, I have been hearing about the benefits of taking some sort of collagen supplement. So....I bought some and tried it for the first time yesterday. 

This is what it looks like....and it's 'unflavoured'. It actually doesn't smell like anything either, which I was very happy about!
So I made my favourite smoothie recipe from the girls at Simple Green's the Beginner's Luck.

And the conclusion? It was fine! I didn't really notice any 'taste' so I was happy. I used one scoop only...but it's great that by doing that, I was able to add 9gr of protein to my smoothie. 

Here's a bit of collagen information from the Vital Greens website if you're wondering about it...

"We believe that whole food based nutrition containing collagen is essential for one’s overall health, fitness and wellbeing.  Our ancestors utilized sustainable whole animal nutrition, which provided an abundant amount of collagen.  Over the past century modern food processing has removed this natural and healthy protein from our diets.  Collagen is vital for our body and is the basic building block of skin, hair, nails, bones and joints".

Saturday, February 13, 2016

What if.....

Hi friends, 
I saw this post from Perfection Pending this past week on Facebook and wanted to share it all with you here because I think it's so powerful. 
As a mom of an only child, I sometimes have these moments of sheer panic when I see a beautiful new baby or even when I spend time with my adorable younger nieces. I wonder if I should have tried harder to have more children. Should I have done IVF or gone through with the adoption process? I ask myself these things because I know well the beauty and innocence of young children and all the cute and adorable things they do...all their "firsts" and how sweet and precious it all is...
But you know what? There are just as many sweet and precious moments with my 7 year old as there were when she was 7 months old. It's just DIFFERENT. Let's try to remember that. Let's embrace all the ages and stages because they need us as they get older too. 
Anyway, here it the article...
WHAT IF THIS IS THE HAPPIEST I'LL EVER BE AND I MISS IT? What if I miss the best time of my life. What if it's right this second? 
I already miss so much. The gummy smiles of babes without any teeth. The squeaky voices of 2 year olds. The babbling of a baby that's just trying so hard to say mama. The grammar mistakes my kids make when they're talking that I don't have the heart to correct because I love it too much.
I miss a lot about those younger years that have already slipped away. 
Today I had the thought, what if this is it? What if this IS the happiest I'll ever be. For a moment, I lingered in that thought as I stood over my sink and did the dishes. I started to cry. 
Am I missing it? AM I? I felt a tug that maybe I was. Maybe I wasn't relishing enough, and enjoying enough, and being present enough.
But, then I realized, it will never be ENOUGH. Because time is our enemy no matter what. No matter how hard I try to capture memories, and memorize their wrinkled smiling faces with bed head after a mid-afternoon nap, it will never feel like enough. Ever. 
So, I'm not going to worry myself that it's not enough right now.
Instead, I'll just try. I will go on a walk when we're getting stir crazy. We'll go real slow and point things out to each other. I'll listen to the baby of the family that really isn't a baby at all anymore and I'll just be present with him in that moment. 
I'll hug when they come in the door. Look them in the eyes when they talk. Step away from the phone, or the computer, or whatever it is that distracts me and I'll be there. Not every second, but as much as I humanly can without losing my mind. 
I'll hold the giant four year old that is insisting he doesn't need a nap, until he falls asleep on me making it where I can't move for the next hour. 
I will do MY best. Not the best of the mother around the corner, but MINE. 
I will try so hard that at the end, I will KNOW I tried. And that was enough. It will have to be enough. Because every mom realizes at some point it's slipping away. 
Even the mom that stares at her child 24/7 with a heart full of gratitude and never complains, even she can't do anything to slow time down. She can just try her best, and I'll try mine. 
Worrying that I'm not enjoying every second is doing nothing for me except filling my already heavy heart with even more guilt. Because my heavy heart realizes that it's slipping away before my eyes. 
I know this. Every mother knows it. 
So, worrying will break your heart. And your heart needs to be strong to be a mother. 
Don't worry about not enjoying enough. Worry about not doing YOUR best. And your best is different than someone else's and that's 100% OK. 
So, I'm not going to feel heavy and weighed down by the fact that this could be the high point. Because it's not. This is just the beginning. There are beautiful moments along every step of the way. The little years of toddlers and messes and diapers are not the only years. Yes they are precious, but I want my kids to believe they're precious as teenagers, and young adults, and adults. I want it all to be precious. 
So, I'm not going to get hung up on the fact that some people want to point out that it goes by so fast and I better be enjoying it. 
Instead, I'm finding the beauty in this second, right now. And, I will have hope instead of guilt. Hope that tomorrow will be just as beautiful. Because it will.
For more inspiration, visit Perfection Pending
Written by Meredith Ethington ©

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Coconut Milk Yogurt

Seems I am on a bit of a recipe experiment run here...

I wanted to see if I could find a good coconut milk yogurt recipe, given that a large percentage of this household's population is dairy-free. I've made 3 attempts, but still trying to fiddle around with it. I think I have found a good recipe...which had (all along) been in a cookbook that I own. (On a sidenote here, why is it that despite all the cookbooks I have that I continue to pin hundreds of pins on Pinterest)? Anyway, the recipe is once again from the Against all Grain cookbook...and this last time I modified it slightly by halfing the recipe and using less pectin since I didn't want to waste another batch if it didn't turn out like the first two. 

The first time I tried a coconut milk yogurt, I used agar-agar (a gelatine substitute). And to be fair, I don't think I used it right because it really didn't dissolve into the milk. It was visible and just a weird consistency...So onto #2...
I don't have a yogurt maker, but found a suggestion off of pinterest (from the first attempt) that mentioned that you could potentially use your own oven as a proofer. They suggested turning on the oven light to get the right temp of about 110-120 degrees. Worked really well actually!
Attempt #2 actually had the best taste I would say. But the problem arose after it had been in the got waaaay too solid. Not the consistency of yogurt. 
Here's what it looked like after I had "scooped" some out...
 This was the third batch...this photo was taken right after I removed the yogurt from the oven-proofing. 

Batch #3 is OK. Not as good as #2 tasted. I actually think I need to try proofing it for a bit longer....I believe I let #2 go for longer. Anyway, I will figure it out. If anyone out there has an tips on this, please let me know!~~

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Crockpot Herbed Artichoke Chicken

I am on a mission to find about 10 "go-to" dinner recipes. They need to be simple, healthy, delicious, fairly quick and easy to prepare (also free of dairy and gluten). Too often I find myself wondering what the heck to make for dinners. This way, I can simply look at my 10 selections and either rotate through them, or prepare one based upon what I have in my fridge and freezer.

I made this recipe a long time ago, forgot about it, and found it again very recently. It's a really good one that meets all the requirements above, so it's going to become #1 on my list of 10 (might be slightly more by the time I am done, but let's start with 10).

Although the recipe was from a Crock-Pot magazine from one of those racks at the grocery check out, I did find a copy of it online:

We just ate ours as a stew, but I am quite sure you could eat it over rice or something else if you needed it to be more substantial. I didn't use as much chicken, used double the amount of tomatoes and added extra salt and pepper.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Paleo Waffles

I'm (slowly) learning something about paleo recipes. Even if (and especially if) it says something like "tastes just like the real thing!!!!!", your best bet is actually to not try it. Why? Because you will expect it to taste just like the real thing, when in actuality IT CANNOT. It cannot because it is paleo. Period. (I should note this applies mostly just to baking).

Now with the exception of a few good "baking" recipes (Against All Grain cookbooks would be included here), I think it's fairly safe to say that the paleo-allowable foods (outlined below for your reference)...

Grass-produced meats
Fresh fruits and veggies
Nuts and seeds
Healthful oils (Olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut)

... are really not BIG go-to ingredients in baking. (Have you seen these items down in the "baking isle"? No, no you haven't)! I am not saying that there aren't creative people out there who can make delicious "stuff" out of these things, but I don't think you can call the outcomes of these concoctions the same thing as the real thing.

For example, the "WAFFLE" recipe I tried tonight was (when not actually thinking ABOUT a waffle while eating it) not bad. But it's not fair to a poor waffle to say the almond/egg thing I made was a waffle, because it was not!

I would like to make an official 'motion' to ask the paleo bakers to rename their creations something more similar to what they actually resemble. For example, please don't call this thing I made tonight (made with stiffened egg whites) a waffle. Call it what it is: a Granular-Eggy Gobbledygook Snack. Tell people it's an excellent choice for a protein filled snack or light meal...and that it has texture (read: gritty) and depth. But don't tell them that if they add some butter and maple syrup to it, that it's a waffle :)

Now for the record, the Granular-Eggy Gobbledygook Snack does LOOK like a waffle. The eye deceives you here my friends but your palate will not. Again, not a terrible tasting thing to eat, but not a waffle. Is someone going to second me here??

 (Does this LOOK like a waffle batter to you?) 
But it sure as heck looks like a good waffle here, doesn't it? ;)

Monday, February 8, 2016

Vision Boards

Hi everyone! Happy Monday! 

Honestly, these days I don't feel like I've got too much to say....I am sure I will have plenty to say soon enough, so for now enjoy the silence :) 

This past weekend was another "Vision Board" get together. It's lots of fun to do. We're a little late into the 2016 year but it's tricky to book with everyone's busy schedules. In any case, it's done and we're all happy with our masterpieces!

Friday, February 5, 2016

February 4, 2016

Yesterday didn't start out exactly the same as others, since I was lucky to have been a volunteer on my daughter's trip to Mount Royal University in the beautiful Bella Music Hall to see the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. It was amazing! Because of this, the day started out with a latte and a muffin. Kind of a 'reward' for myself for being such a great volunteer ;) LOL

I didn't plan very well because I failed to pack a lunch, and before I knew it, it was time to leave the school and meet up with a friend for our first language exchange date! As you know, I love Spanish and once was actually quite good at it. But due to lack of practice, I suck at it right now. Anyway, this friend I met up with is native Spanish speaker and she wants to improve her English...So we have made a weekly date of getting together to practice and support each other's language learning. To make a long story short, I didn't eat lunch and so when 3pm rolled around, I was quite hungry and not in the best frame of mind to make good choices. Thankfully, it wasn't that bad. But I did have one timbit (it's Timbit Thursday for my daughter each week) and some rice chips. Too many than I should have eaten but nothing major. 

Thursday's are busy because one my daughter's activities begins at 5:30, which means we need to leave the house around 5pm. So I quickly made her dinner, and then ate some of the leftover zucchini squash from the night before. And a few more of the rice chips. (Why must they be so good?!) After we got home I had a glass of wine, two slices of that provolone cheese I bought the other day for my burger, and some olives. I love dinners like that!

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you have a great weekend. 

Waffle Experiment

Do you guys recall the non-dairy milk alternative experiment I conducted with my daughter?? Well I did a similar experiment with waffles. My daughter loves waffles and I have admittedly been lazy and have been buying Eggo waffles (WITH FIBER before you judge!) ;) 

Despite the additional fibre I know these aren't the best, so recently I went out and bought a waffle iron with the intention of trying a few recipes out. At first, I tried some gluten free recipes which were not quite a hit. Then I just decided to make them with regular whole wheat flour since I know she can tolerate it. I meant to start by following a recipe or two that I pinned from pinterest, but in the end, I just decided to try my own. 

The winner was #4 which had some banana "hidden" inside. It was really quite good. Don't believe me...Maya ate it! She even said "Actually, this is really good!". Thanks. I think. The recipe is below:

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup large flake oats
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp each of baking soda & powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch salt

1 egg
1 tsp vinegar + 1 cup almond milk (to create "buttermilk")
1 very ripe banana mashed up
1-2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Combine - don't overmix. Put in your waffle iron. Makes 4.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

February 3, 2016

Hi everyone! Been taking a bit of a break I guess...? Trying to get back at was yesterday: 
 Lunch was an old friend: salad (w/leftover chicken breast)
 I had been craving a burger for days, so made my own last night. Pretty simple: some beef, one egg, some garlic and a few tablespoons of the Epicure "burger" seasoning. 
 After lunch fruit
 mid-day snack - have you tried these? they are pretty good. A nice alternative to a protein bar...great for those of you who (like me) like CRUNCH burger with some provolone cheese melted on top, salad and some roasted squash/zucchini. Also a side of some salt and vinegar chips and a cooler! WTF? It seems I ate a lot yesterday. Judging from my dinner ensemble, it also appears that I think it's summer???

Tips for Managing Stress & Anxiety (plus a smoothie recipe!)

Read my latest blog post on You Ate: And my smoothie recipe!