Tag Archives: foodie

Butternut squash soup.

It’s a very rainy day and we’ve had a busy time with visitors lately, so I’m home today with the potential to get a lot of knitting done.

Unfortunately that potential probably won’t be fulfilled because I burned my pinkie while making some butternut squash soup and knitting is a bit painful at the moment, as is typing. (Recipe from Real Girl’s Kitchen.)

So although it was delicious, I didn’t really get to enjoy it as much as I would have without a pinkie on fire.

Hibernation.

I am ready to put away my Pas de Valse cardigan for a very long time, possibly forever. It just wasn’t working out. I’m not sure if my gauge was off or if I didn’t size it correctly, but the body of the sweater is about a size or two smaller than I’d prefer. It doesn’t seem to flow or drape at all. The stockinette is so open from using larger needles that weaving in ends invisibly seems impossible. It also makes my short rows very obvious and it was difficult to hide the kitchener stitch. All these things combined made me really dislike knitting it, so when Corey suggested I put it away I decided to listen to him. It’s hibernating in a box now.

I started the Boundless cape two days ago, and have been enjoying it immensely. Cables! Texture! Bulky yarn!

I’ve tried out another quinoa recipe as well, Heather’s Quinoa Recipe from 101 Cookbooks. It was delicious! Love the combination of flavours: pesto, roasted cherry tomatoes, pumpkin seeds… The tomatoes were roasted with olive oil and brown sugar before tossing them in the salad. I will definitely be making this again. I paired it with some prawns we had in the freezer, marinated in garlic and Korean ssamjang sauce.

Love for Mushroom & Herb Quinoa.

This cookbook has been highlighted at Chapters for a couple months now, and I finally managed to get it from the local public library. I would have bought my own copy, but I’m trying not to buy cookbooks without trying them out first.

Corey hates mushrooms, but I love them, so I thought I would make mushroom & herb quinoa since he was going to be out of the house this evening. He ended up staying at home because his game got rained out, but I made the quinoa anyway and it was so incredibly flavourful. I’m used to light tasting quinoa salads with tomato, zucchini, etc. This was like down home, earthy, comfort quinoa. I am definitely making it again.

The freshly grated parmigiano was perfect. Who knew parmigiano goes with quinoa? I normally substitute cilantro for parsley, but the parsley in this recipe was a great addition. All of the flavours mixed really well: the vegetable stock, butter, garlic, mushrooms, parsley, and parmigiano. I will definitely try a few more recipes from this cookbook.

Birthday sweets.

It was my birthday last week. It wasn’t a particularly exciting day, but Corey made me a delicious Korean dinner (at my request) and he even got me these adorable treats from T&T (the monster of Asian supermarkets). The cute little bear-faced treats are actually small cakes, and the pink and yellow tubes are a long tube of cake, with some cream, and the outside is some sort of doughy goodness that is common in Chinese sweets.

T&T birthday treats.

In return, I made cupcakes for Corey’s birthday five days later. I used the Flower Cupcakes from Smitten Kitchen along with the Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting from Smitten Kitchen’s best birthday cake/icing duo. The cupcakes were very good – perfectly moist with a light, mildly sweet flavour. The chocolate icing was good but I recommend halving the recipe for cupcakes – as I used less than half and now have a ton of chocolate sour cream icing sitting in the fridge. I guess this is not necessarily a bad thing.

birthday cupcakes.

I also made a no-bake cheesecake with cherry topping, but unfortunately I have no photos of that one…

It is HOT in Ontario. Apparently we are breaking some heat records. I turned on the air conditioner as soon as I got home from French class today. There was a massive thunderstorm so I thought maybe it broke the humidity and I could turn off the A/C as I hate wasting energy on it, but the air is still very warm and I greatly regret my energy-saving decision. This cold raspberry beer isn’t even helping.

In other news, I have a part-time job at a local children’s bookstore! I am thrilled to be back in the world of children’s literature. Actually, as a bookseller and aspiring librarian, I am thinking of starting a book review blog for children’s books and YA books. I’m still working out what I’d like to do with a blog like that – my biggest decision right now is whether to keep the children’s reads as a separate blog from the YA reads. I also need to figure out my audience (professionals in the field, or people who just like to read?). Hopefully that can launch soon once I work out the details. I might even just start a book blog for all books I read, just for myself, regardless of genre or targeted age group.

And now, I will melt into the couch with my beer and continue watching Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Christmas Cookies.

Happy New Year! Corey and I rang in the new year last night by going to see Tron and having Thai fondue at home afterwards. After counting down to midnight, Good Will Hunting was playing on CBC and since I had never seen it before, we ended up staying awake until 2:30am to watch the movie.

Today’s topic: cookies.

2010 Cookies

I’m not normally a baker; in fact, baking intimidates me and I never feel confident about it. Inspired by one of my colleagues though, I thought I’d try my hand at baking some Christmas cookies this year. I had dreams of baking dozens of different kinds of cookies… and ended up with four types, not including the sugar cookies I made for our children’s Christmas party at work.

Double Chocolate-Peppermint Crunch Cookies – My favourite recipe this year. Easy to make, delicious to eat, and the peppermint extract in the cookie is a lovely surprise.

Trios – Even though I didn’t make very many types of cookies, I think this would be a good recipe for balancing out all those rich, chocolate treats. I didn’t make them into “trios” though; I like them better as singles.

Toffee Squares – These were incredibly easy and delicious. You’re supposed to sprinkle chocolate on top and when it melts in the oven, you can spread the chocolate smoothly. I had difficulties spreading the chocolate smoothly. It spread, but it was a bit messy, some chips fully melted and some not.

Chocolate Hazelnut Crinkle Cookies – I left out the hazelnuts and I’m not sure how the folks at Gourmet made these cookies so beautiful with the dark chocolate contrasting the white confectioner’s sugar. Mine taste great, but they definitely don’t look like the ones in the photo.

November.

Well, we are a significant chunk of the way into November and I haven’t updated since mid-October. I’ve been keeping busy, but not really. I’ve been knitting, but I haven’t finished anything. (My Manu is so close to being finished, and I’m about 3/4 done a Noro striped scarf.) I’ve been reading but so far all I’ve come up with is a goal to read more in bed before I fall asleep (rather than playing on my computer). I’ve been reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zaf√≥n on the bus in the mornings but it’s starting to get really good so I plan to curl up with it in bed tonight. Last night I played squash for the first time with Corey and now my muscles hurt. I went on a tour of the Supreme Court last week, Ottawa Public Library this week, and the Canadian Museum of Civilization next week.

I do want to share one lovely October memory though. For Hallowe’en, Corey and I went to some friends’ Hallowe’en party. We brought graveyard brownies:

Graveyard brownies.

Corey even dug up a little chocolate grave and stuffed some gummy bears inside.

As well, I took a three hour wheel spinning class one evening and ended up with this:

I would love to have a spinning wheel at home to speed things up but they have a high pricetag on them… I might look for a secondhand one on Ebay or Kijiji in the area, but at the moment, I’ll have to contend with my drop spindle (which might explain why I haven’t been doing any spinning lately).

Photos to come on my next finished knitting project… whatever that may be!

One Week in Dinners.

As I mentioned last week, I planned to post photos of each my meals from Monday to Sunday in the hopes that I will see what I’m eating every day, and hopefully be inspired to eat healthier foods. Here are the results:

Indian-Style Yoghurt Chicken

Monday: Indian-Style Yoghurt Chicken from Kayotic Kitchen, with wild rice and salad. (I blogged about this earlier in the week.) This was a pretty spectacular meal. I marinated the chicken for only 30 minutes, but it was so easy and I already had most of the ingredients. The rice balanced it out and for greens we went with a simple salad.

Pasta and Meatballs.

Tuesday: On evenings when I work from 6-9pm, I usually eat dinner either before or after my shift depending on what I eat in the afternoon. This Tuesday, I took a nap until 5pm and I didn’t have time to make dinner before running for the bus! I grabbed some chocolates before heading out but when I came home I just made some pasta. I mixed four cheese Classico sauce with some generic Superstore brand tomato sauce, and added some Blue Menu meatballs from Superstore.

Pork Bits with Pasta and Salad.

Wednesday: I call this “Pork Bits” because I’m not sure it’s actually called, although “Pork Bits” doesn’t sound too appetizing. They come frozen from M&M Meat Shops so we heated it up, had a Sidekicks pasta, and a salad.

Wontons.

Thursday: I worked again on Thursday evening, and again I had dinner after my shift. It looks simple but the wontons are actually homemade so I wrapped them earlier in the week and saved a bunch in the fridge. I eat them with a mixture of soy sauce and balsamic vinegar, with a small teaspoon of sweet chili garlic sauce. Just microwave them and they’re good to go.

Asian-Style Perogies.

Friday: Yup, it all started to go downhill from here. Corey wasn’t home on Friday evening and I don’t really get too motivated to make a fantastic homecooked meal for just myself, so I boiled some perogies and stir fried them in soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, and sesame oil. I didn’t have any green onions but I usually chop those up and throw them in there too. The dollop of yoghurt on the side is to even out the spice – left over from Monday’s dinner!

Spinach & Artichoke Dip with Tortilla Chips.

Saturday: Here’s where it gets embarrassing. Spinach & Artichoke dip from M&M Meat Shops with chips. That’s all. Corey was also not home on Saturday evening.

Sunday: I forgot to take a picture of today’s meal, so you’ll have to rely on my description. On our last trip to M&M Meat Shops, Corey bought a small stuffed turkey breast, so we heated that up and made gravy. (St. Hubert’s gravy out of a can, but oh man is it ever delicious – it’s an Ontario/Quebec thing.) We had the turkey and gravy over bread, and then salad as the veggie part of our meal.

The Results: Well, it’s clear I’m eating a lot of processed food, or food that doesn’t really need to be “cooked,” just heated up in an oven or on the stove. Only Monday’s meal involved any real cooking, in my opinion, and even then the rice came packaged as “instant.” The wontons also show some real cooking effort, as you have to mix the meat with veggies and then wrap them in wonton wrappers (which you can get at the store), so it’s a bit time-consuming when you make close to fifty, and then you have to boil them.

What I’d really like to stop doing is eating frozen foods and Sidekicks pasta. We live right by the M&M Meat Shop, and if you’re unfamiliar with that store, it basically sells everything frozen, so whatever you buy from there, you just put it in the oven or microwave and that’s it. No cooking, just heating. They sell everything from pre-cooked packaged meals (a la TV dinners) to stuffed turkey (today’s meal) to kebobs, desserts, pizza, Chinese food, etc. I also have a weakness for Sidekicks pasta, cause I sure love sodium. Again, I would like to stop eating this stuff. Where is the nutritional value, I ask you?

I read a blog post recently where the author decided to start buying groceries from the store that only her great-grandmother would recognize. Fresh vegetables? Check. Raw meat? Check. Dried pasta in a bag with powder? Not so much. And certainly no ready-to-go frozen dinners, whether it’s a frozen pizza or TV dinner.

For awhile now, I’ve been wanting to get back into good old-fashioned cooking, as in reading recipes and spending some time in the kitchen making food. I definitely miss my mom’s homecooked meals every day (Mom, I know you’re reading this, thank you for feeding me properly and I want to cook just like you). I have a few ideas of what’s stopping me – first, I sometimes can’t spare the extra time to get some ingredients together and make dinner, so I choose convenience instead. Second, I have very little income as a student and usually can’t afford all the ingredients for seven incredible meals per week.

There are certainly a few things that probably won’t happen. For example, I’ll never make fresh pasta on a regular basis (although I’d like to try at least once). I don’t find baking bread very interesting but that could change. And I will probably continue buying pasta sauces but at least I can add some ingredients to pasta sauces (that don’t include other pasta sauces with frozen meatballs).

Last year (or the year before?), I set a goal for myself: to try cooking at least one new recipe a week. I did it for about two months before I got lazy. I think I’d like to try that again. In the meantime, I will try to make more informed choices about my eating habits, and when I go grocery shopping, I will try to refrain from buying processed, prepackaged, frozen foods. Obviously I can’t change my eating habits overnight, and I can’t have gourmet food everyday. As long as my meals are balanced and healthy, I will be pleased.

But I will never, ever give up instant kimchi noodle bowls.