Mmmm cupcakes

I received a hilarious email from my sister this afternoon encouraging me to break my “trying not to eat a lot of sugar” rule (which is going terribly btw) and run out to Starbucks for their delicious cupcakes that they have pre and post Valentine’s Day. As I was reading, and laughing to myself in my office I thought “she should blog this.” But then I thought since her blog is strictly about teaching, and since she is terrible at blogging, I should steal her email and blog about it myself!

Then I went down the hall and told my colleague about the delicious cupcakes at Starbucks, and learned she has never had one! I thought, well I MUST blog about it now – they are so delicious I must spread the word and get more people obsessed with their deliciousness!

So I am here with this message… have you had a stressful day? Are you unsure if you’ll be able to make it over the hump and through the week? Do you love icing? Vanilla? Chocolate? Or perhaps red velvet is more your style? Head to Starbucks. I like a Chai Tea Latte, with Soy extra hot, no water, no foam. You’ll get to practice your decision making skills and you’ll get a delicious treat to boot!

Let them eat cookies…

Well, you may have noticed the distinct lack of recipes in the last few days. A few reasons for that. The first, those 6 dinner recipes I shopped for – we’re still making it through them. Turns out making an actual dinner 6 times takes you much further than 1 week, especially when you spend a couple days at dear ol’ Mom and Dad’s. The second, there has been a little less marvelousness to report this week.

Monday night, after working, and then meeting with a friend for a much needed debrief and tea, I came home and the boy was ready and waiting with Chicken Souvlaki out of the Real Simple cookbook. It was delicious. The only substitution we had to suggest was using pitas instead of flatbread because the flatbread is simply too thick and not pliable enough – it breaks it’s messy and the innereds are quickly outereds and EVERYWHERE! But other than that… delightful! Plus I think things always taste a little better when someone else makes it! That’s what my mom says anyway.

Last night, D-U-D… DUD. I gave the boy a choice, both out of the Moosewood book – so both vegetarian: Pasta with zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes and beans OR Thai Red Curry. His answer, “I don’t know, whatever.” This seems to be a favourite phrase for him lately and I informed him I’ve had enough of it, but ended up picking one myself. I went with the first. Mistake #1. I picked it because it seemed simple enough, cook chunky pasta, fry some garlic, remove and cook 1 medium zucchini, add sun-dried tomatoes, beans, salt and pepper, and parsley, toss with pasta, add garlic back in. EAT!

Mistake #2: I blame Moosewood for this one, the ingredients list said 1 medium zucchini – so that’s what I got. Turns out when you read the whole sentence it says 1 medium zucchini, cut into matchsticks (about 3 1/4cups). My question is, where is Moosewood getting their “medium zucchinis?” I don’t think it’s from Loblaws in Northern Ontario, in the middle of winter. So instead we only had about 3/4 cups of zucchini… I’ll admit this may have added to the dudishness.
Mistake #3: I didn’t have parsley… so I used basil instead… they’re both fresh, and green it should count right? I guess not… dud.

The boy ate it, unhappy once again with the beans – but sucking it up all the same. I offered first that I thought it was a dud, and he quickly agreed. I saved some for lunch, hoping it might be better cold… I was right it was slightly better, but still nothing to write home about.

Solution?? Let them eat cookies. These are the days when I’m really glad to have dropped out cookies in the freezer… I made 12 we ate them all.

So not such a good day for the new No Sugar rule… but what else can you do when dinner’s a dud? Eat cookies was the only option I could find!

Spicy Shrimp

Call me a sucker for positive reinforcement! I’ve had positive feedback with the posted recipe, so I’ll post last night’s delight.

Rating:
Me – Tasty and super quick, but not so spicy – so add more spice next time.
The boy – “I prefer it over last night. It’s good but it’s not spicy at all.”

The Recipe:
Angel Hair Pasta – enough for 3-4 people. I don’t like to have too much wheat so we eat Kamut Pasta, which doesn’t have angel hair… so we used spagetti.

Cook the pasta and drain when finished.
Saute on medium heat for about 1 minute:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped (we’re garlic people so I did about 4)
Don’t let the garlic brown

Add:
3/4 cup white wine
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 lb. RAW shrimp
salt
Simmer until shrimp is opaque – about 2-3 minutes

Add:
2 tbsp butter

Add cooked pasta and toss once butter is melted
Our add ons – I’d add more red pepper, and probably put in some ground black pepper as well. It’s tasty as is, but it’s not spicy – maybe it’s my red pepper… I don’t know. Also, you may notice there’s nothing green in this recipe. We had a spinach salad with it… spinach is another one of those good for you foods – Popeye wouldn’t lie to you.

For the two of us we used about half a bag of raw shrimp – so we have enough to make this recipe again. And that makes that meal practically free!

Enjoy!

And in the 8th year they skated…

Seven and a half years ago I met a boy. And I liked him, he was so tall! He told me he used to play hockey, and I told him I was a terrible skater. He told me he’d take me skating and teach me how to skate.

The winter passed.

The next winter I reminded the boy of his promise to take me skating, and one day in late February or March we made plans to go skating. We went to Storybook Gardens in London Ontario. It was raining. There was a sign it said something along the lines of “Go home you crazy fools… it’s raining out here, and the paths are all slush.” It was a long time ago, but I’m pretty sure that’s what it said.

The winter passed… and passed… and passed… and passed… and passed… and passed… and passed…

And then we moved in together… and I got skates for Christmas! And tonight… 7 years 3 months and 17 days, after the fateful day we met… we skated.

There is a rink down the street from us, so we bundled up, and walked down after work. We had thought that perhaps we’d go skating a few times a week this winter – part of the resolution to get mobile, but when we got to our rink we learned it’s $3.50 each to go skating! Brutal. We paid, and we were the only people there, and the rink is cleared with a Zamboni, and there was music… but still charging for access to an outdoor rink? What is the world coming to?

The boy quickly realized he would be putting his teaching skills to work, and just how much work lay ahead of him, but by the end I was doing laps and drills! I went from awkardly pushing off with my toe pick to gliding* along on one skate! (*gliding may be a bit of an exaggeration)

By the end of the winter I predict I’ll be working on hockey stopping, and skating backward… only to forget it all by next year I’m sure. That is of course assuming I won’t have to wait 7 more years to go again!

(We’re working on our self-portrait skills too)

Found the Camera cord!

Check out past entries for new photos, including some from Florida and celebrating the new decade in style!

Answering the fan mail…

Well I’ve had my first request. More information about the recipes that got me to a $60 grocery bill. I should note here that the store was missing a few ingredients so I’m not quite finished yet, and I had some of the ingredients already, so I obviously didn’t buy them, but nonetheless – pretty good!

Meal 1: Italian Stew with Butternut Squash and Chickpeas.

Ratings:
Me – Tasty and Super Healthy so Good
The Boy – “I don’t like the texture of chickpeas… but it’s okay and I could eat it once a month. Throw some meat in here and I’d really like it!” (I’ll take once a month with no meat)

Source: Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health

This recipe was SO easy. One of the easiest parts about it was I already had 2 cups of butternut squash cut up in the freezer!

3 cups chopped onions
2 tbsp olive oil
salt

Cook the onions until they are almost carmelized on medium heat – 12-15 minutes

1/2 tsp Ground Carrdomon Seed
6 cloves garlic minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
ground black pepper

Stir into the onions to coat

Add:
2 cups water
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can drained chickpeas
2 cups pealed and diced butternut squash
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced bell pepper

Cook for 15 minutes or so… until the squash is cooked

Add:
5 cups (I used one bunch) chopped kale – make sure to remove the stems – they’re bitter and gross.

Cook until kale is wilted down – about 10 minutes

Add:
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil

Mix in serve hot.

We had it on it’s own just with toast, but Moosewood also suggests you can serve over rice or quinoa. I didn’t understand this when I was making it – (isn’t it stew? Why would you need rice?) but it’s actually not a ton of liquid for the amount of veggies in it. So maybe they know what they’re talking about.

Probably my favourite thing about it – other than the price of course, was the kale. I am trying to go back to eating how my Naturopath would like me to, and kale is one of those superfoods foodies are always raving about. Besides being super good for you in other ways it is also jam packed with Calcium – and since I’m trying not to have dairy, other than yogurt, getting enough calcium is sometimes hard to do.

Still not really sure how sharing stuff like this works on the internet – so just in case the Moosewood Restaurant people try and shut me down – here’s a link to their website where they have a variety of recipes posted – and of course links to all of their books.

So there you have it Kristin – the first recipe. It took me under an hour total and the cooking times between adding things let me clean up along the way – a major undertaking if you know me! By the time we ate all that needed washing was the pot and our bowls!

Delicious – and in keeping with 3 of my resolutions! Healthy, cheap, and I blogged about it! Oh I almost forgot, it makes about 8 cups, a lot for 2 people especially when one doesn’t like the texture of chickpeas… but I’ve got lunch for the week – so not bad.

The Resolutions

Well, a new year a new decade even… while I’m never much for resolutions the boy and I have made a few. In an effort to make them stick longer than January 7, I thought I’d share them… then you can keep me honest.

1. Read more.

This is mostly for the boy… but I think it’s a good one to make regardless of how much I read now… I can always do with a little less TV and a little more reading.

2. Plan more meals/eat better.

The boy and I are pretty good eaters but in the last few months things have fallen off the hinges a bit. It was mostly because we went away – so the week before we left we didn’t eat great as we tried to empty the fridge and steer clear of the grocery store.

Then when we came back we did okay for a week or so, but then it was getting close to Christmas so the same theory applied “we shouldn’t buy too much since we won’t be here over the holidays.” Well the holidays are over and I feel gross… so that means more vegetables and more meal planning.

I’m off to a good start I picked 6 recipes for dinners this week. All of them serve at least 4 I made a grocery list based on that meal plan and our grocery bill was only $60! Perhaps resolution 2 can help out with resolution 3.

3. Spend less, save more.

Our change saving efforts have been going pretty well – well mine have since the boy doesn’t use cash unless he’s at a bar – and given that we live in Northern Ontario – trips out on the town are few and far between! So my change saving has been going well, and thanks to a Christmas bonus, not from the company I work for but from the bank of mom and dad – I am now credit card debt free! (Or I will be when I get paid on Thursday)

So since I’ve all but freed myself from the evil that is the credit card company I am determined to take advantage of the low interest rates that come with a recession and start tackling that wonderful thing I call debt.

Resolution 2 seems to be helping out with this so far – or maybe that’s just because the boy didn’t come grocery shopping with me this time… I stuck to the list.

4. Get mobile

This is one both the boy and I have resolved to do. He is going to try and play volleyball and I am going to try and swim… and Santa brought us a Wii – so if we’re only hanging out at home in front of the TV we’re going to try and be a little more active while we do it.

Besides the Wii, the boy bought me skates for Christmas. So after 7 years he is finally going to fulfill his promise to teach me how to skate. We have a rink that is flooded and well lit at night so our goal is to make this our regular winter activity. Now all we need is the -25 weather to ease up a bit and we’ll be off to the races… that’s not an excuse I swear!

5. Blog more

I was very excited to start my blog and the people that follow me tell me they love reading it… of course that’s mostly my mom… but nonetheless I’ll admit I have been seriously slacking lately, and there is NO WAY I’m going to get on Oprah as a world famous blogger at this rate.

So those are the resolutions. It’s January 4th and so far so good. I think I’ll make it until at least the 14th now!

Happy New Year!
The boy and I celebrating in style!