Festivus Turkeyvus

This weekend marked the pass of another lovely Canadian Thanksgiving and Oktoberfesting holiday. Four relaxing days filled with family, gorgeous weather, beer and your typical turkey and stuffing feast.

I regrettably can’t say I took any photos of the feasting, or the festing.

Is it crazy to say that, with the #Instagram #trending#phase, it seems as though #pointandshoots #reallifecameras#digitalphotography are becoming obsolete?! Okay, maybe not obsolete, but I feel practically ancient whenever I pull out my non cellphone camera.

Clearly I need a cell phone upgrade.

Side note over. Everyone knows what a turkey looks like anyway, right?Turkey-Platter-Center-Cookie

[Photo from here. How cute are these!]

I can show you some of the vibrant sunflowers present for decoration.IMG_3704

can show you the type of sheer joy that Oktoberfest evokes. 1375971_751335011558788_808662955_nAnd I can say that, although there have been some years past in which this holiday hasn’t ended up being quite as lovely as I would have hoped, THIS year was a flawless treat. Made going back to the grind this morning extra tough! And also reinforced how thankful I am to have such a wonderful family :).

While I didn’t manage to have anything turkey dinner inspired to show, I do have a few other funky eats from recent days worth noting. 

The computer tech guy at work brought steamed pork and shrimp buns to share with us one Saturday afternoon, and tried to overload my stomach with these greasy, chewy pillows. He succeeded. So many delicious steamed buns were had that day.

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The next weekend, I stuck to a salad. Chicken and berries complements of the grocery store produce section.IMG_2199

I’ve also been experimenting with some eggplantIMG_3503We have some Babaganooch dip, which I hate to say I’m not sure where the recipe came from (I had it jotted down in a note in my documents), but is essentially a Baba ganoush recipe with a “cheesy” twist from the addition of nutritional yeast.

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And then we have some baba ghanoush SOUP (prepped and frozen to reheat on a rainy musthavesoupnow kinda day) from Eat, Live, Run. Get it HERE.

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Or how about a giant pan of pearl barley, lentils, chickpeas, onion, zucchini and cherry tomatoes, simmered in vegetable broth? Simple, bland according to my family, but delicious according to me. Guess we know who’s eating these leftovers for lunches!

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Naturally I’m now buying squash at every grocery trip. Feast your eyes on this perfectly dry, crumbly specimen. They seem to be really hit and miss for me (not a fan of the mushy, watery ones) but this one below is exactly what I was aiming for.

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Even though the oven has been getting a good workout, there’s still enough warmth left in the air to keep the green smoothies in regular rotation.

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As long as they’re paired with hot, black coffee, of course.

That being said, their status has been slowly bumped down from daily staple, and oatmeal is starting to make an appearance. The fact that I ran out protein powder probably had something to do with this as well.

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And one final food winner of the week? These sweet & salty popchips. I waited patiently enough to spot these in stores, and nabbed them at first sight. Worth it. 

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And there we have it – Some noteworthy eats, an especially noteworthy holiday weekend… and a shortened week ahead. Woop!

Happy (belated) (Canadian) Thanksgiving!

Realizations

Over the course of my new working stint so far (which I have still neglected to talk about – sorry about that. One of these days…soon…I hope… However, refer to #1), I have realized a few things:

1. I suck at blogging – Yeah really.
“Oh yeah, I’ll be back to regular blogging soon!”
“Oh yeah, I’ll write this, that, and the other thing about my new work scenario.”
Oh yeah… didn’t happen. I also apparently make false promises. MY BAD.

 

2. I suck at taking pictures of my food. – Yup, I essentially quit doing it. Once upon a time it was a fun hobby. And then everyone and their mother got a food blog, and a fancy schmancy camera with 10 different lenses, and fancy schmancy light box setups for optimal food photo lighting, and customized layouts to make their blogs sparkle and shine…etc etc etc.

And I did none of that. Hello simplicity. Hello tumbling downward into food blog oblivion. Hello not being excitable enough about the whole trend to do much else about it.

(Not knocking all of the stellar fancy schmancy food blogs out there. It’s pure admiration only, dears. I just don’t quite care enough to go that far myself… at least not right now!)

3. I CAN, in fact, become an early morning exercise superstar.Before, I never quite understood how people could drag their buns out of bed and find the energy enough to get a workout in before the sun rose. But it’s all mental, people. Mental and restful. Get a good night’s sleep (aka reduce your bedtime by an hour or two) and convince yourself that you want to work out in the morning (it’s ridiculously nice to have the workout DONE and the evenings completely FREE) and you’ll get the hang of it in no time. Early morning pre-workout coffee helps too.

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(A beach to run on would also be nice)

 

4. How to make the easiest, fastest poached egg EVER. – I don’t remember where I learned the technique (I’ve read at least 12 internet tutorials for poached eggs over the last year) but here it is:

Take a small ramekin or glass bowl. Fill it halfway with water and add a splash of vinegar. Crack an egg in it and poke the yolk with a fork. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Put in the microwave for 45 seconds. Check it, then put it in for another 10-15 seconds. (If I put it in for a minute straight it gets too hard.). Remove from the water with a spoon. Break that egg seal and let the yolky goodness run free.

Voila Breakfast!

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A good, ol’ flash in the pan runny egg does the trick too.

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5. No amount of green smoothies or citrus fruits can cure my invincible cold. – I’m probably the most hated person at work. I’ve had an undying cough for over two weeks now. I don’t think that’s normal. If I laugh… it immediately turns into a coughing fit. Running… I stop every two minutes to clear out my lungs.

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Why so many false promises, green drink of not-so-glory?

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Why are you not working your magic, Mr. Orange?! Such a jip. Vitamin C my tushy.

I’m going to try to squeeze myself into the doctor’s tomorrow… by this point I think meds are my only option.

 

6. Baking is one of my favourite pastimes.Okay fine, so I had this realization a long time ago. But it has only been solidified by the fact that now, even though my free time has been reduced, a good chunk of it still goes towards whipping up some of the many (many) recipes bookmarked on my computer.

Muffins!

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Chocococonut Style

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Guess who got my brother to eat BEANS in his dessert…and LIKE it…Katie did! With her Deep-Dish Cookie Pie – a MUST make (I halved it and used a normal cake pan and it turned out perfectly…and was gone in a day).

 

Well folks, the fact that I actually updated this thing is PROGRESS. And in my opinion, any progress is a good thing. So here’s to progress… and hopes upon hopes for more even better progress to come.
(I do miss this but I also hate my suffering-from-senioritis laptop that I still have yet to upgrade. Goal for the next week or so – Buy a MAC!).

Oh oh, and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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(source)

Waste Not

I don’t know about you, but I can’t waste food.

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(weheartit)

So when I have a third of a huge bag of wilted spinach sitting in the back of the fridge, I don’t chuck it right into the compost bin like a sane person might do. Instead, with wrinkled nose, I grab chunks of the soggy green mess with my bare hands and shove them fistful after fistful into the Bullet until they’re pulverised into one giant bowl of drinkable delight.

The bag of spinach left a green juice puddle on the counter, that’s how greatly rotting it was.

Not so edible but certainly drinkable as a Dark Chocolate Greens Glugger when combined as the following:

3+ cups wilted spinach, 1/2 cup chilled coffee, 1/2 cup almond milk, splash of orange juice, 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder, 2 heaping spoonfuls cocoa powder, packet of stevia, pinch of xanthan and guar gum, lots of ice.

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Now that’s a “Soup”

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Waste Not your wilted spinach!

 

As I said, I can’t waste food.

So there was no way I was wasting my curry “chicken” by not eating it fast enough.

Hence eating it virtually every day this week for lunch.

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Lucky for me I found a great new salad dressing to make the faux chicken consumption process all that much more interesting.

Welcome to my fridge, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Dressing.

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My friend’s and I had an entire conversation about the greatness of the President’s Choice brand the other night. If you have the pleasure of buying PC foods at your local grocer (Holla Canadians!), I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

Waste Not your fake chicken (That probably isn’t actually fake. I swear that stuff has to be real!)

 

I didn’t need to worry about any of this Couscous Chickpea Salad going to waste after experimenting in the kitchen the other day. My family had it eaten up in no time. Though it would be pretty hard to mess up a bean and grain salad.

1 cup cooked couscous
1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 large cucumber, chopped
1/2 white onion, chopped
1/4 cup edamame, shelled
3 Tbsp Kraft Sundried Tomato and Oregano Salad Dressing (or whatever vinaigrette style dressing you have on hand and want to use up)
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

Cook the grain, add the beans and veg.
Mix the dressing and vinegar and pour over the rest.
Chill and eat.

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This was also an attempt to use up the bottle of dressing. It’s taking up precious fridge space for a while now since I don’t love it on salads. Another perfect way to Waste Not!

Waste Not your least favourite dressing!

 

Often when I cook up spaghetti squash I have a problem finishing up the leftover strings. I’ll admit, I don’t think spaghetti squash is quite the bomb that some people seem to. I certainly doesn’t replace pasta.

But if what you’re really looking for is simply an adequate vehicle for your bowl of sauce and cheese, it does the trick quite well.

After trying out Janetha’s Faux Lasagna, I knew I’d have no trouble finishing up this batch of remainders.

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Spaghetti squash + cottage cheese + bottled pasta sauce all topped with mozzarella = darn good bowl of food.

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Leftovers sans cottage cheese but with mucho mozzarella (and a sprig of parsley for aesthetic pleasure)

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Waste Not your spaghetti squash!

Are you a food waster or a creative reworker? Be honest! No judgements here. Do you throw out that less-than-fresh produce or those boring leftovers, or do you find a way to rework them and eat them up in new ways?

I love getting creative with whatever happens to be hanging around in the fridge. It makes for some…interesting meals here and there. I usually draw the line at mould and funky smells…but I keep pretty close tabs on what’s going on with the food supply so usually I can eat it up before it reaches that point! No shame.

Busting out the Bike

You know that Groupon thing? My mom’s friend bought one good for a one-month membership at a small women’s gym just down the road. Then she decided she wouldn’t use it.

So as of bright and early this morning, I officially became a one-month gym member (thanks Katherine).

After drowning my banana boat breakfast in the deep murky depths of my stomach of course. (Priorities People! Banana + peanut butter + Greek yogurt. The first half I inhaled plain while prepping the second. I was hungry and it takes time to spread PB and spoon out yogurt)

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The gym is tiny and was pretty empty when I went in but they have quite a few classes, including spin (which I’ve only tried a handful of times before but I’ve loved) so I’ll be hitting up some of those within the next month. The Groupon membership also includes 5 FREE Smoothies. Um… you bet I’ll be taking advantage of those.

After activating the membership I moved right on to getting my sweat on…just not at the gym. Yep, I joined the gym only to turn around and walk right out, heading straight home instead to go on my first BIKE ride of the year!

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(source)

And a superb bike ride it was. One solid hour of chilly winds, slightly overcast skies, nearly empty streets and blasting tunes in my ears. I always seem to forget just how satisfying biking is until I get out there again.

 

You know your day is exciting when a bike ride is the highlight.

Well that and “Cookie Dough” aka Blondie Batter Dip aka why ever bother baking anything when the dough just tastes so. darn. good?

I made the regular (PB-loaded) and the light (applesauce) version. Both good in their own right but the peanut butter is the clear winner. Because since when is anything not better with peanut butter?

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I also whipped up a chocolate version with a bit of leftover batter dip blended with cocoa powder.

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Yesterday was a little more thrilling as I Budda Boom Budda Binged with Mario at the dinner table. Ever been to East Side Mario’s? They have unlimited soup or salad and WARM garlic loaf. Um yes please! My friend Christy (my partial name twin…except for the fact that we spell our names completely differently – C and y vs my K and ie. They sound the same though which is all that matters) is always thinking and always suggests going with the unlimited refills. I’m down! And their garden salad is awesome. As is their bread. I could eat just those two as a meal and be completely content. But because I’m not sure if that’s an option…I figured I might as well throw in a small cheese pizza too.

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My dinner photography courtesy of Google:

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Garlic Loaf

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Thanks for the meal, Mario!

We also met up with a group of friends for beers and Taco Tuesday ($2 tacos!) but I had neither since I just downed a whole pizza and I was the DD. Responsibly Ricky over here. Instead I sipped on water. Man I’m lame.

 

I also finished the very last cupcake remaining from the long weekend celebrations yesterday. Okay, 2/3 of a cupcake. I ate the other 1/3 before breakfast.

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THIS is only exciting enough to get airtime because a – it’s a cupcake and b – the only other food evidence I have from the past two days is yet another green smoothie and yet another salad with tuna.

Cold, quick and easy foods are the name of the game for summer, what can I say?

 

Do you find yourself gravitating towards easier (aka no cook) foods now that the early summertime has basically started? I can’t even think about cooking food 90% of the time right now. Fresh veg, fruit and liquids is where it’s at. Anything else makes me sweat just thinking about it. And it’s not even that hot out yet!

 

Ramble bamble.

The conclusions of this post:

  • Eat at East Side Mario’s – even if just for the unlimited warm bread
  • Bike – just do it. Though if you rarely (or never) bike, don’t choose a day that’s too hot or windy. You will regret it.
  • Don’t try to be nice and save the last cupcake for the rest of your family. For some reason they will ignore it and you will stare at it every time you open the fridge until you bite the bullet and inhale it, pretending nothing ever happened.
  • See The Hangover Part II – because I’m going to see it right now. I have high hopes!