Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cliff Mojo Bars: Review

The kind people at Clif Bar & Company offered to send me some free samples of their new Mojo bars to review.  I turn down a lot of review opportunities, but I have always enjoyed the regular Clif bars, and am always looking for new, healthy snack ideas for work.  Disclosure:  These products were provided to me free of charge, all opinions are my own.

The bars are made with 70% organic ingredients.  They are also a good source of fiber, and are low glycemic.  Like all Clif products they are gluten-free and trans-fat free, with no high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavours or synthetic preservatives.  They each have 4-5 grams of protein.  Each bar is 200 calories or less, so they are perfect for a light snack and energy boost mid-afternoon. 

The new Mojo bars come in three flavour, including:

Coconut Almond Peanut

This one was really good, as I love coconut!
 Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond

It was pretty good.  I liked the big chunks of chocolate, but I am not a big fan of fruit in bars, so I'd choose one of the other two more often.
Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt

This was my favourite!!
My favourite thing about these bars are the big chunks of organic, dark chocolate.  The texture is great.  I liked all three bars, but my favourite was the dark chocolate almond sea salt, because I love the combination of sweet and salty.  If you have a chocolate craving, these are a healthy way to satisfy that craving.

Have you ever had a Clif bar?  Have you tried the new Clif Mojo bars?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ten on Tuesday

1)  Fireworks are going off like mad outside right now.  Ummmm.  No one told me there were going to be fireworks tonight!!?

2)  Soooooo, I'm pretty much a southern belle now.  I know this because I had grits for breakfast yesterday.  Cheeeeeeesy grits.

Okay, here's what you do if you want to be a southern belle too.  Bring 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup milk to a boil.  Add a pinch of paprika, and a grind or two of pepper.  Add 6 T of coarse cornmeal.  Reduce heat to very, very low, cover and simmer for a couple minutes until desired thickness.  Stir in 1/3 cup grated sharp cheddar, and if you're feeling sassy (like me), stir in 1 T of Cheese Whiz.

This makes A LOT of grits.  You might want to make this much for two people.  Or pig out.  I won't judge.

3)  I don't like not liking foods.  I was never really a fan of smoked oysters, but every time I got the opportunity, I tried one.  I think I have finally acquired a taste for them! 

Grind a little salt on the top, and they're even better.

4)  I love corn on the cob, but I hate having to dress it up at the dinner table.  My solution to this is to butter and season the corn before cooking it.  Just spread softened butter all over the cob ...

Then season liberally with fresh ground salt and pepper ...

Wrap it up in tin foil ...


Then, go ahead and BBQ it.  The butter gets all melty and it's just perfect.

5)  I don't care if it's +30 C outside, I still make chicken stock.

I loaded a chicken carcass,carrots, celery, onion, bay leaf, peppercorns, 3 star anise, and 5-6 cloves into this pot with just enough water to cover.  I brought it to a boil, and then simmered with a lid for about 4 hours.  The smell was intoxicating, and it made for a pretty fantastic soup yesterday for lunch.

6)  Sometimes for dinner we just share a giant plate of homemade perogies.  If you haven't tried sriracha on your perogies, you must.  Cover 'em in sour cream and then load on that sriracha.  And, you're welcome.

7)  I like to have Christopher's lunch ready for him when he gets home.  Today it was a giant spinach salad, with a toasted kale and tomato sandwich.  We are sandwich addicts.  Kale and tuna was on the menu the other day ...

8)  I've been researching for our trip to Montreal.  I think we are in trouble.  Poutine trouble.

9)  We rarely eat Greek salad, but we had it yesterday and were reminded of how good it is.  We had Greek ribs with it.

10)  This evening we BBQd sweet potatoes, corn, and Indian spiced drumsticks.

Brine them, then season and cook 'em low and slow for perfect, moist chicken.

What are your Tuesday things?  
Have you been to Montreal?  Recommendations?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Weekend Things

We had a wonderful weekend!  On Friday afternoon Christopher went golfing with his brother, while I spent the afternoon visiting with Mel and Vicki over iced tea.  I picked up some packets from David's Tea.

You just pour 1 L of boiling water over the loose tea.  Let it steep for a long time (it won't get bitter, so an hour or so is fine).

Then strain it into another bowl, and pour it into desired container.

Finally, add 1 tray of ice cubes and let it chill in the fridge.

On Friday evening, we went out to the Western Pizza down the street for some lasagna and a visit with friends. 

Saturday morning began with a yummy breakfast:

We then got on the road toward Indian Head to check out the church/house.

On Saturday evening our pals Shauna & Ray had us and some other people over for a BBQ.  They BBQd a turkey, and it was absolutely perfect.

We visited in their gorgeous backyard and home had a bunch of snacks and munchies (forgot to photograph most of them).

We stole one of the legs and hid in the house so no one would know we were hoarding the dark meatIt's just what we do.

Many laughs, great conversations, and logs on the fire resulted in us being a couple of the last people to leave. 

Sunday was spent relaxing with movies, and juiced fruits and veggies.

We topped the weekend off with giant bowls of bee bim bop.

Not much is better than a summer weekend.

What did you get up to?

Not Your Average Home

I'm taking a break from the average food post to share a family member's blog with you.

Christopher's sister and brother-in-law Victoria and William, bought a church out in Indian Head, Saskatchewan to renovate into their home

On Saturday we drove out to have a look at the progress they have made, and were very impressed!  They began renovations in the basement first, so that they could move in there, and then spend a longer amount of time renovating the HUGE main floor pictured below: 

The picture does not do justice to the size of this space.  It is massive!  It's going to be pretty exciting once they get started on the epic kitchen that will be on this main floor.

The basement is very close to being move-in-ready, and will make a great guest space or rental suite once the upstairs is done.

It's got a sweet laundry room, a kitchen, large bedroom with walk in closet, a big living space, and a really cool bathroom:

What a fun, challenging, and rewarding project!  Keep up with the exciting church renovation adventure on Victoria's blog.

Have you ever done home renovations?  
A small undertaking or a large one like this?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Best of the Brownies Battle - Bust

I've been on the hunt for the best brownie recipe for a while.  I'll tell you right now, none of these are the best.  There are in fact lies on the internet.  Who knew!?  I chose three brownie recipes that all claimed to be the best.  Little did I know, they'd all turn out to taste pretty much exactly the same.  I undercooked all of them by a couple minutes, as I like my brownies a little raw.  I was disappointed that these were all very "cakey", which was not what I wanted.

All of these brownie recipes were fine, but none were amazing.  And the hunt continues!

Blogger confession:  Sometimes I measure out all of the ingredients ahead of time, and then pretend I'm on a cooking show.  Christopher asked if I talked like I was on the cooking show.  I told him to never mind ;-)

First up, Smitten Kitchen's Best Cocoa Brownies:

Next up, One Sweet Appetite's The Best Brownies:

Finally, All Recipes' Best Brownie Recipe:

The nice boys of the Screaming Daisies agreed to be my judges, and taste tested all the brownies.  Christopher, Donny, Scott and I all agreed that the brownies were very, very similar, but we thought that One Sweet Appetite's recipe was the best of the three.

Do you have a favourite brownie recipe?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What's up Wednesday

1)  Sometime in June I bought a pack of hotdogs from Costco.  We finished that package the other day, and we won't be buying them again.  They are delicious, but they are also massive, and full of a disgusting amount of fat and sodium.

Don't get me wrong though ... we'll still be eating hotdogs.  We just might buy the more reasonably sized Harvest hotdogs. 

2)  In 24 days we'll be on vacation, but I really want those 24 days to draaaaag, as I do not want to wish summer away.  Our summers are so short in Saskatchewan.  And, I'm also still on holidays for the 24 days leading up to this vacation and I want those to drag on as well.

3)  On Sunday we made a stop at a little fruit stand and got some cherries, and the best strawberries I've ever had.  The smell of the strawberries was incredible! 

4)  The other day when Christopher came home from work for lunch I had a beef shanghai noodle dish ready.  Top it with sriracha, and it's even better.

5)  We watch a lot of cooking/food shows, but for some reason I didn't think we got Pioneer Woman.  I've always loved her blog, have her books, and really wanted to see her show.  Recently a friend told me (thanks Bonnie) that her show does air in Canada, and I've been missing it this entire time!  We've been catching up on re-runs, and I love it!  I think I could totally be a pioneer woman.  We're a little disturbed by her liberal use of butter, although secretly sort of love it.

6)  I'm loving this post.  Honey, time to start saving the bacon fat!!

7)  Speaking of bacon, I made one of my favourite pasta dishes for dinner the other night.  Creamy Parmesan fusilli.  The bacon makes it extra delicious.


8)  We've had a lot of cute little bees hanging around the the yard, and we don't mind the little guys at all. 

9)  I made a batch of peanut butter cookies for my mom (and some for Christopher) last week.  They are pretty addictive, and ohhhhh sooo soft.

10)  Breakfast this morning was at The Mercury with my Victoria.  I love that she's willing to go out on the town at 8:00 a.m. with me.  Who have I become!??

How's your week going so far?  What are your Wednesday thoughts?