Thursday, March 31, 2011

Coconut Oil

I have wanted to try coconut oil for about a year, and I finally bought some the other day.  I have read numerous books that have spouted the nutritional and health benefits of coconut and coconut oil. 

Have you heard the health benefits of coconut oil?

  • Coconut oil is extremely stable and does not break down when heated, making it a very safe oil to cook with as it is not releasing dangerous carcinogens
  • It helps to lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels
  • It is easy to digest and helps with thyroid and enzyme systems, as well as IBS
  • It increases metabolism 
  • Promotes pancreatic health
  • Natural antibiotic, antibacterial, and anti fungal 
  • Aids in the absorption of other nutrients
  • Promotes a healthy immune system
  • Coconut oil helps to eliminate kidney stones
  • Its fat content is easily converted to energy and does not accumulate as fat in the body
  • Has an extremely long shelf life, and will not become rancid
  • Contains powerful antioxidants
Just to name a few ...

Information Sources: 1, 2

If you are interested in the health benefits of coconut in general, as well as coconut oil, I would suggest checking out this site.  Coconut oil will be my new go-to cooking oil.

I used a teaspoon in my oatmeal this morning and it gave it an even creamier texture, with a faint coconut taste.  I added some almond butter and blackberries for an extra nutritional punch.


Do you use coconut oil?  How do you use it?
Cooking? Lotion? Hair moisturizer? Supplement?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Addicted and 10 on Tuesday

It was bound to happen.  I am addicted to juicing.  Again.

I juiced half of a cantaloupe, 1 apple, and 4 strawberries this morning.  I enjoyed it with 1 piece of French toast.


I am also addicted to cilantro.  But you knew that :-)

Lunch was chicken noodle soup and an orange, and then for dinner we had trout and quinoa (red and white mixture) topped with pico de cilantro gallo.  

I dumped ALL of this into my portion.

It wasn't enough. 

I added some of this spice to the quinoa:


10 on Tuesday: Foodie Edition

1. What is a food that you never thought you would try, but then tried and liked?
I never thought I would try a peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich, but I did and liked it.

2. Do you subscribe to any foodie publications? If so, which ones?
I subscribe to: Bon Appetit, Food Network Magazine and Fine Cooking
3. What ingredient do you find yourself reaching for the most when you cook? Cumin.

4. Are there any foods that you hated as a child, but then learned to like as an adult? Olives, shrimp, and most other seafood.

5. What do you like to eat that others may consider weird? About 1 T of ketchup stirred into my homemade chicken noodle soup.  You HAVE to try it.  It does not make the soup taste like ketchup. I also like chia seeds, PB in Source brand vanilla yogurt, etc. etc..

6. What is the weirdest ingredient you’ve ever cooked with? I am not sure what is weird anymore and what is not ... perhaps chia seeds!?

7. Do you have any major food allergies? Nope.  But the last couple of times I ate pomegranate arils plain, they made my mouth itch a little - weird!

8. Is there an ingredient that you would like to cook with, but are intimidated to try? A whole fish (with head on).

9. Do you bake? Yes, but I prefer to cook.  I also rarely eat my baking, because I would prefer to eat something else.  Like cheese.

10. If you could go on any “foodie” show to compete, which one would it be, and why? Iron chef.  I would want the theme to be either: bacon, Gruyere cheese or lime.

What are your answers to the above questions - choose one, or answer them all :-) ?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Geeeeeen Juice

If you have been reading my blog for a while you will know that my favourite fresh juice combination is a ginormous pink/red grapefruit with a bell pepper.  This morning I used a green one ...


I am always super dehydrated in the morning and have to force myself to down a large glass of water, which never seems appealing when I first wake up (although I love it other times of the day).  This was a much more fun way to hydrate.  I got pretty fast at cleaning out the juicer over the summer, so it has become less of a chore.

I also had 2 slices of toasted Ezekiel:

On Sunday evening I made a roast chicken.  I had a plate on Sunday for supper and then took a chicken sandwich to work today with an orange.

And the best part of making a roast chicken ...

Chicken soup the next few days!!  With a bit of ketchup stirred in of course :-)

I used hot and spicy ketchup by accident, but it was really good!  It gave the soup a spicy little kick.

This evening I caught up with a friend over tea.  We usually get together to visit at least once a week, and then often hang out on the weekend too.

Are you really dehydrated in the morning?  Do you enjoy drinking water when you wake up? What is the first thing you drink in the morning?

I drink water with dinner, and then at least another glass or two before bed, but I still wake up parched. I don't get it. I even eat snacks that are full of water like a giant grapefruit at night, or the half a cucumber that I am having right now. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Homework Weekend

It doesn't feel like spring where I am, but the juicy strawberries are helping  ...

I am spending most of the weekend doing homework, but I was able to sneak out for a bit with friends last night and then with my in-laws for brunch this morning.

I had a fresh juice when I first woke up.  My new juicer arrived in the mail yesterday (I haven't had one since mine broke many months ago):

Breakfast was about half of this skillet and hashbrowns:

This was one of the best breakfasts I have had in a long time. It kept me full until dinner. 

The hubby made spaghetti and meat sauce while I worked on my reference list.


Homework disgusts me.  Anyone wanna come over and do it for me?

How are you spending your weekend?  
Please tell me it is more exciting than mine.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday ...

... because the pictures can speak for themselves.

How is your week going so far?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Saturday Night Fondue

Our good friend Cori recently celebrated her 29th BirthdayHer and her husband Chris decided to have 18 of their friends over for a potluck fondue party!!!  

We were lucky enough to be invited.

Our group of friends is very tight knit.  We vacation together, go camping together, eat turkey dinners together and celebrate occasions together on a regular basis.  If there is nothing to celebrate, we get together every weekend anyway and celebrate life.  

We have a LOT of crazy friends who do a lot of crazy things ... but until this past Saturday no one was ever deranged enough to invite 18 people over to play with food over bubbling pots of hot oil.  

Over their white carpets.  

Leave it to the two who got married in blue to take things over to the wild side!

Before heading to the party we whipped up a cheese fondue, cut up some steak, and bought some bread to bring along.  The cheese fondue was SO good, and only included Velveeta cheese, butter, and mushroom soup.  I got the recipe from my friend Vanessa 

I had to sample a bit before sharing it (you know, for quality control ;-))

There was an obscene amount of food including: beef, chicken, pork, scallops shrimp, sausages, mini corn dogs, a package of spring rolls and other goodies, every veggie known to man, bread and cheese.

The above pictures only show some of the food ... there was even more!

There were 1 or 2 sauces too.

We settled in at the table for 20 and cooked the night away.

Dessert was chocolate fondue.  
I had a couple bites, but was busy playing a card game.

Do you fondue?  
What is your favourite type of fondue (oil, broth, cheese, chocolate)?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Friday Night Dinner with Friends

The hubby and I had dinner guests on Friday

We started with 2 appetizers: Guinness Battered Shrimp and Apricot Chipotle Cream Cheese Dip with Crackers.

Guinness Battered Shrimp

2 cups flour
1 T baking powder
2 eggs
1 440 ml can of Guinness Beer
30 large shrimp (peeled, de-vined, tail on)

Mix dry ingredients.  Beat eggs and add them to the dry.  Add the beer and mix well.  Hold on to the tail of the shrimp and dip into the batter.  Fry in deep fryer or hot oil (370 F) until golden.

Apricot Chipotle Cream Cheese Dip with Crackers
(serves 4 people as an appetizer)

1/2 block of cream cheese
1/4 cup apricot jam (smooth - no chunks)
1 chipotle pepper in adobe sauce (1 single pepper, NOT 1 can)

Roughly chop the pepper and stir into the jam.  Heat in a small pot on the stove for about 3 minutes while stirring.  Remove pepper chunks from the jam and toss (they are just to flavour the jam).  Spread the cream cheese in a small oven-proof dish with a lid.  Cover it with the jam and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.  Serve with crackers and enjoy!


This dip is SO good, and really easy to make!  Give it a try.

The second course was Pioneer Woman's cauliflower soup. I prepped this Thursday evening, and then warmed it up on Friday and served it in a tureen with a giant dollop of sour cream, some crisp bacon and loads of fresh parsley.

The main course was Italian Sausage Stuffed Shells, Spinach Salad and Focaccia bread with oil and vinegar.

Italian Sausage Stuffed Pasta Shells

9 x 13 pan sprayed with oil
1 box jumbo pasta shells (cook according to package)
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup bell pepper (any colour)
3 cloves minced garlic
1 small chopped onion
4-5 Italian sausages (remove from casings and chop finely)
Approx. 1.5 - 2 cups ricotta cheese
2 T milk
1/4 cup fresh parsley
3 T grated Parmesan cheese
jarred tomato sauce (any kind)

Heat oil.  Add garlic, onion, and pepper and cook until softened.  Add sausage, stirring to break up.  Cook until no longer pink.  Pour off excess fat.  Stir in ricotta, milk, parsley and Parmesan.  Remove from heat.  Stuff shells with approx. 2 T mixture.  Spoon sauce over.  Cover and bake for about 25 minutes @ 350 F. You can top with extra Parmesan before baking for a little extra love :-)

For dessert I got to try out the crème brûlée torch that the people at CSN Stores sent me to review.  It is a Bonjour brand chef's crème brûlée brushed aluminum torch with a fuel gauge.  We made vanilla bean crème brûlée and vanilla bean crème brûlée cookies.  The hubby did the torching.


He had a little too much fun!  The torch worked extremely well.  The flame came on strong and was bigger than I have seen on other torches.  It was easy to use, and it worked quickly.  It has a large base to stand on, and a comfortable grip.   

Torched Cookies:

I look forward to making many, many more decadent desserts with this torch, and I highly recommend it.

What should I torch next? 
Do you like things that taste a little burnt/ caramelized like the crust of a crème brûlée?
How was your weekend?  What did you do?