Thursday, March 28, 2019

Trying New Food Products

Have you heard of teff?

It's the smallest whole grain in the world, and a staple in Ethiopia.  The grains are about the size of poppy seeds.  They are a strong crop that grows really well in various climates and elevations, and succumbs to fewer plant diseases than other grains.  It's gluten free, higher in calcium than other grains, and high in resistant starch, which is beneficial for blood sugar levels, weight control and colon health.  It is around 14% protein, and it's also an excellent source of fibre, manganese, and iron.

We made some as a base for a saucy chicken dish.  To make the teff we just boiled 2 cups of organic chicken broth, and then added 1/2 cup of teff, covered the pot, and simmered it for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  At first when we looked at it, we thought we weren't going to like it.  It has a different consistency when cooked, unlike couscous, quinoa, or rice.  It becomes more polenta-like in texture and consistency (grits).  We tasted some on it's own and loved it!  The chicken broth works so well with it; it was creamy, buttery tasting, and didn't need any salt or anything added.  We also tried cooking it with water, and still loved it, although it had a milder flavour.  We both agreed we like it better than couscous or quinoa.  It's our new go-to grain, and a healthy one at that!

As you might know, we love beets in our house. So, when we saw a beet crust pizza at our corner grocery store, we had to give it a try.

I liked the vegetables on top, but thought that the ham didn't really go with it.  I also didn't get too much of a beet taste from the crust.

And, because I like my pizza piping hot, I ended up microwaving a slice or two, and I think that completely ruined it.  The crust does not microwave well.  We won't be buying this pizza again.

It also doesn't look very pretty.

What does look pretty, however, is this lovely olive loaf we found at our grocery store:

I am a fan of anything with olives, so it didn't disappoint, although it wasn't very focaccia-y, for being called focaccia.  Anyway, green olives make me happy, and bread makes me happy, so #win.

We tried an amazing new snack recently - kraut krisps!

They are made from sauerkraut, so they are loaded with probiotics.  We bought the dill pickle flavour from Dad's Organic Market, and each chip was absolutely covered in real dill, and so much flavour.  The ingredients are organic, and they are all recognizable.  This was another hit!

We love to try new food products (or new-to-us foods).

Have you picked up any new-to-you food items/ products recently?

Monday, March 25, 2019

Weekend Things

On Thursday evening I made spaghetti with a rosé meat sauce for dinner, before we went to Christopher's parents' house for a visit.  It had been a while since we had seem them, so it was nice to catch up.

On Friday evening we enjoyed crab legs with Greek salad.

After sleeping in a bit on Saturday, Christopher made rosemary scrambled eggs, Hungarian paprika paste potatoes, and bacon for breakfast. 

We then spent the day in our jammies, sipping coffees, watching shows, discovering new music, and having no where to be and nothing to do.  It was really nice.  We had been looking forward to having a pajama day all week.

For dinner we made a few easy Indian dishes, including cilantro lentils, lemon-cumin rice, and saag paneer.

I'm pretty sure, between those three dishes, we used every pot and pan in our house.  There were so many dishes to do after!  It was yummy though, so totally worth it.

On Sunday morning I made a puffy oven pancake for breakfast, along with some bacon.  I put crushed raspberries and a sprinkle of powdered sugar into the middle of the pancake.

So much snow melted this weekend, that I'm starting to believe the Spring weather might be here to stay.  I'm getting super excited to sit out in the backyard, go on long walks, have BBQs, and bust out my sandals #soon.  

Dinner last night was jambalaya

Between this and the Indian food, there are a lot of leftovers!

How was your weekend?  What did you do?

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

1st Day of Spring - Yay!

We just stayed in for St. Patrick's Day, but I did make Guinness brownies!  I've made them once before, and I will continue to make them probably every time I make brownies from now on.  They are our favourite.  I bake them for exactly 32 minutes, and they come out so insanely moist and delicious.  You can find the recipe here.

These will be dessert all week.

As for meals, we roasted a chicken on Monday evening, so we've been eating the leftovers since then. 

We won't be eating too many more meals like this now that it's getting so nice out.  Both yesterday and today when I left work I didn't need a coat.  This is pretty warm for March, but everyone is sure enjoying it.  People just seem happier; the sunshine has us all in good moods.  Now that it is officially Spring, Christopher says he's most excited to fire up the BBQ, and for the day when he doesn't see any snow on the ground at all.  I am most excited to sit outside on a patio allllllllllllll afternoon.

Anyway - off to eat a brownie!

Did you celebrate St. Patrick's Day?  
What are you most excited for now that it is Spring?

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Thai Weekend ... or More?

It got so nice outside last week that Christopher rolled his car windows down for the first time in many, bitterly cold months.  Unfortunately the passenger side window was so happy to be down, that it just wouldn't go back up.  We ended up meeting at Canadian Tire on Friday after work.  After dropping his car off, we went out to grocery shop.  Once the groceries were put away we didn't want to start cooking, so we ordered in from a Thai restaurant in town, Siam.

The leftovers were lunch on Saturday.

On Saturday evening we went to our friends' place.  Cori and Chris were having a bunch of pals over to celebrate Cori's birthday, and they ordered in Thai food for dinner.

We were looking forward to this spread, as Thai food is a fave of ours.

We spent the evening visiting with friends, playing with the kids, and eating ice cream cake.  All the Thai dishes we enjoyed over the weekend really got us in the mood for our next adventure!

We're heading to Thailand next month!!!!!!

This will be my first time out of North America.  I have done a lot of traveling within North America, but have never left the continent; I always knew Asia would be the first place I headed when I did. 

Our favourite dishes in the world, and the best meal we've ever had, was from Lotus of Siam, which specializes in Northern Thai food.  We decided we'd head to the place where khao soi, and our other favourite eats, originate - Chiang Mai.  Chiang Mai is not near the beaches; it's in the mountainous regions of Northern Thailand.  The food is distinct from Southern Thai food, in that it is has more of a Burmese and Indian influence.  According to the Lonely Planet, "Northern Thai food is a world away from the dishes you've probably encountered at your local Thai restaurant at home - or even in Bangkok for that matter."  We cannot wait to experience all that the beautiful city of Chiang Mai has to offer.

How was your weekend?  
What has been your most adventurous vacation?  What continents have you traveled to?  Where do you hope to visit one day?

Wednesday, March 13, 2019


For the past ten years I've had a really cool habit of ripping these little booklets out of Food Network Magazine, throwing them into a drawer, and then never looking at them again.

So, on the weekend I decided to pull them out and actually try a handful of the recipes.

The best thing about these recipes is how quick and easy they are; they are all really short on ingredients and steps.  We made two breakfast sandwiches that were decent, but not worth making again.  The first was an herb egg sandwich:

The other was an Elvis sandwich:

I think we're just not really breakfast sandwich people.

Two appetizers/sides that we enjoyed were the Greek halloumi:

And mushrooms with rosemary:

Greek Halloumi
Source: Food Network booklet: 50 Cheese Appetizers

Combine 3 tablespoons each olive oil, chopped kalamata olives, and roasted red pepper, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1 minced garlic clove; stir in 1 tablespoon each chopped mint, oregano, and scallion, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.  Halve one block of halloumi cheese into two thin rectangles; dredge in flour.  Cook in olive oil until golden, 3 minutes per side.  Top with the olive salad, and serve with bread.

Mushrooms with Rosemary
Source: Food Network booklet: 50 Vegetable Sides

Toss 3 lbs mixed mushrooms with 3/4 cup olive oil on 2 rimmed baking sheets; season with salt.  Add 4 crushed garlic cloves, and 3 sprigs of rosemary to each pan.  Roast at 450 F for 25 minutes.  Add a splash of water to each sheet, and scrape up the browned bits.

* we halved this recipe *

I made a really simple no-bake treat, which we enjoyed.  It was hard to press into the pan without getting all sticky, so I sprayed a piece of parchment paper with cooking spray, and used that to press the mixture into the pan.

Salty-Sweet Crispy Treats
Source: Food Network booklet: 50 No-Bake Treats

Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a pot; add 1 bag (10 oz) of mini marshmallows, and stir until smooth.  Stir in 3 cups each of Rice Krispies, and broken thin pretzel sticks.  Press into a buttered (and lined if desired) 9x13 pan.  Let set, then cut into bars.

The combination of sweet and salty went well together.

For dinner on Sunday evening we made gruyére and sauerkraut grilled cheese sandwiches.  These were a hit!

Gruyére and Sauerkraut Grilled Cheese
Source: Food Network booklet: 50 Grilled Cheeses

Spread dijon mustard one 1 slice of crusty bread.  Top with 2 slices of cheese, 1 tablespoon sauerkraut and another slice of bread.  Cook, flipping once, until golden.

On the side was a bacon corn sauté.

Bacon Corn Sauté
Source: Food Network booklet: 50 Things to Make with Bacon

Cook 1/2 cup chopped bacon in a skillet; pour off half of the fat.  Cook 1/2 each chopped red onion and jalapeno in the skillet until tender.  Add 3 cups corn, cook 4 minutes.  Add chopped cilantro, lime juice, and salt to taste. (*We reduced the recipe, and did not pour off any fat, as our bacon didn't render too much; we used canned corn.)

We'll make this again for sure!

Another that we'll make again (actually, we already have) is spinach with salami.  This recipe is a great way to get in plenty of greens, while loading them with flavour.  The two of us ate all these greens in one sitting!

Often we'll have a giant bag of spinach to use up in the fridge, so this will likely be a go-to recipe for us.  A little bit of salami goes a really long way, so go easy.

Spinach with Salami
Source: Food Network booklet: 50 Vegetable Sides

Sauté 3 sliced garlic cloves and 3 chopped slices salami in 3 tablespoons olive oil until crisp.  Stir in two 10 ounce bags baby spinach; cook until wilted.  Season with pepper.

Do you have a drawer full of random recipes that are just begging to be made?  How was your weekend?  How's your week going so far?