Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Watch out Martha.

When I was in grade 8 we had to take a Shop/Home Ec class. Sewing was briefly touched on in Home Ec; we made pillows. I really wasn't in love with sewing back then. Much preferred using the saws and sanders in shop to make one hell of a basket.

Fast forward to high school. One year I had to be excused from Phys-Ed because I was having issues with my knees. To my chagrin the only other class available was a Cosmetology/Sewing class. I was not the girl to be willingly signing up for the cosmo and sewing class credit. It. was. awful. I had absolutely no interest in being in either class and showed up begrudgingly ever. single. day.

15 years or so later - damn I'm getting old - I remember jack from cosmo class. But I do remember the very basics from sewing class. And over the years those basics have helped me shorten/hem my own pants and make basic repairs. This past Christmas I was a little overzealous and decided to make a ruffled tree skirt I saw on Pinterest. The instructions looked easy enough. I finished the skirt a week before Christmas. It took a lot of frustrated hours, and lots of cursing.  Sorry for the crappy iPhone pic, but here it is in all it's frustratingly beautiful glory...

Ruffled tree skirt

This project made me wish I had paid better attention in sewing class. Hind sight is 20/20 and such a cruel bitch.

And here I am, now 33 years old, and wanting know how to sew. Really sew. Not my bastardized version. So I've willingly signed up for a Home Ec Sewing and E-Course.  I bet 17 year old me would be very shocked by this and have some choice words for 33 year old me.

I completed my first project - a gift bag. I had some left over fabric from my tree skirt so I decided to make a Christmas gift bag.  Check out my handy work (and try not to be jealous of those corners).

Sewing class project No. 1 complete!

Next up is napkins, not one, but two ways. I know. I'm excited too. :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Julia Child is always right.

So we had a three day reprieve from sickness before C came down with croup.  Seeing my child gasping for air, choking, coughing, and crying all at once is the most terrifying experience I've had as a parent. Thankfully the four day steroid treatment helped tremendously. And we made it through without any toddler roid-rage. She's 100% now. Whew. 

Oh and I didn't post last week  because I thought I was going to have my gallbladder removed. Weeeee!  I had intense upper abdominal pain for three days but thankfully my gallbladder was not the culprit. So now I'm on a temporary bland diet, cut out acidic food and beverages (no coffee..le sigh) and I'm on meds until my stomach heals. Thankfully I have a back log of photos. I don't think anyone would want to see pictures of the gruel I'm currently eating...steamed vegetables anyone? nom. nom.

So the good news is we're all finally healthy. The even better and actually, what I consider FANTASTIC news, is that I made MAYONNAISE yesterday. Yes! Finally, I. MADE. MAYO.

Why is this such a big deal? It's because I have tried no less then six times to make mayonnaise. And every. damn. time. it splits. Most people would have just given up. But, I'm a special kind of crazy. I took not being able to make mayo personally. I've never not been able to make something in my kitchen. So I couldn't let the mayo thing go. After the last attempt, I went online and read everything I could find about making mayo. I watched a couple YouTube videos. And all that did was further piss me the eff off because by all counts, I was doing everything right!

Then it dawned on me. What would Julia Child do? I don't know why this didn't occur to me sooner. I think my obsession was clouding my mind. Of course Julia would have a method/recipe! Duh!  And does she ever. She has not one, but four pages dedicated to making mayonnaise.

So yesterday I took out two eggs and brought them to room temperature. Two eggs because I was convinced my first batch would split, and I wanted an second attempt.  I followed her method and my god, I nailed it on the first batch! I tried again with my second egg and sweet mother I nailed it again! Turns out I could make mayonnaise all along, I just needed the correct method. And oh does it taste so good. I'm never buying store mayonnaise again.

Blender Mayonnaise
Adapted from Joy of Cooking



1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup light tasting olive oil
3 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar (or lemon juice)


  1. Put egg, mustard, salt and 1/4 olive oil in blender. Cover and blend on high until combined.
  2. With the blender still running, slowly add 1/2 cup olive oil (think thinnest drizzle).
  3.  Then slowly add vinegar.
  4. Again, slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil and blend until thick and creamy.

    Notes: I lowered my blender speed before starting step 2. I was nervous from my previous attempts, but Julia keeps it on high for the whole process. Also, you may need to stop and start the blender to scape down the sides. I didn't (again, afraid to stop because I was scarred from previous attempts).

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sinus Infection. Eggs. New cook book.

Two weeks ago I started feeling sick and quickly came down with an awful head cold. I passed it onto my daughter (I'm a good Mom like that). So last Friday I took her to see her Pediatrician because I suspected she had an ear infection. After looking for Elmo in her ear and not finding him, her Pediatrician turned to me and said "She looks fine. But you sound awful. Have you seen your Doctor?" I had not. I thought I was starting to get better. Apparently, I was kidding myself.

I went to our walk-in clinic that evening. The receptionist told me I had to wear a mask because I was coughing. I told the receptionist "Had I known it was going to be a masquerade, I would have dressed up." She didn't find that as amusing as I did...

masquerade time!

The Nurse Practitioner that examined me gave me the best news ever; I had a sinus infection! No sarcasm here. I was happy. This is my [crazy] train of thought... a sinus infection means I'd be prescribed an antibiotic which means I'd be feeling better in a couple of days. Opposed to feeling like a bag o' shit for another week or more if it was just a cold! My night got even better when she prescribed the Z-pack. I've taken it before, so I KNEW I'd be feeling a lot better the very next day. Yesterday I took my last antibiotic and I feel pretty much 100%. Happy days are here again.

Eggs also make me happy (I know, nice segue). The American Egg Board says that eggs are incredible and edible. I have to agree. I eat them for breakfast every. single. day. I guess you could say I'm a fan.

What's not to like? They taste frickin' awesome. Each large egg provides 6 grams of all natural and high quality protein. They are a natural source of Choline.  Provide 41 IU of Vitamin D. Yes, they have 185 mg of cholesterol. But there is a lot of research/data out there that shows an egg a day will not make a significant impact on your health. Especially if you're eating low cholesterol foods to begin with. Still don't believe me? Health Canada and the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation both include eggs as part of a heart healthy diet. Canadian's do not lie. So don't fear the egg.

I normally make a spinach or kale omelet for breakfast (2 eggs + 1/4 cup egg whites). I recently got a new cook book that I am love with. It's called The Paleo Recipe Book by Sébastien Noël. The book includes a recipe for a Cinnamon and apple omelet that I love. It had too much healthy fat in it for my liking, so I made some reductions. It turned out awesome!


Cinnamon and apple omelet
Adapted from The Paleo Recipe Book

2 eggs + 1/4 egg whites (I like All-White brand)
1 apple, thinly sliced
2 tbsp coconut milk (best if canned and chilled)*
2 tsp cooking fat (I used coconut oil)
1 tsp cinnamon

  1. In a large bowl whisk the eggs and egg whites with 1 tbsp coconut milk.
  2. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat, add 1 tsp of the cooking fat to the pan. When the pan is ready add the apple slices, sprinkle with cinnamon and  sauté until they are tender. Put the apple slices aside until later.
  3. Add the reminaing cooking fat to the pan. Add the egg mixture. To make it fluffy, use your spatula and stir the eggs gently while it cooks. This lets the uncooked egg run underneath and you get a fluffier omelet. Fluffy = nummy.
  4. Flip the omelet over when it's almost cooked. Add half of the apples. Fold the omelet in half. Serve it on a plate topped with the remaining apples and coconut milk.
*In place of the coconut milk in the omelet you can use milk or heavy cream. For the topping you could whip some of the heavy cream. I wouldn't advise making it super sweet if you do this.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Eating a little differently.

Last week I mentioned the Paleo diet/Whole 30 and promised to talk more about it "next week." Well I'm a keeper of promises and it's next week. So here we go!

Late last year I was getting VERY frustrated with my progress to be a fitter and healthier me. I had hit a wall (figuratively!) and I began getting very frustrated. I was working out HARD and I thought I was eating healthy. But my scale wasn't moving and my clothes weren't getting looser. Nothing was changing except for my frustration level.

Then my friend Susan started sharing her experience and success with Whole 30. I was intrigued and inspired. I read more about it and started slowly (read: baby steps) adjusting my eating habits in the Whole 30 direction. I finally started seeing some changes. So I decided to go full boar and I started my first Whole 30 on January 6, 2012.  When I completed it I was surprised by the results. I had HUGE successes mentally and physically. No more cravings for sugars. No more emotional eating. Discovered a will power I didn't know existed. Lost over 10" off my body. Lost over 7 pounds. Gained a shit ton (isn't that the technical term?) of muscle mass. Increased endurance and performance during my work outs. I was sleeping better. I started having more energy. I simply felt BETTER.

So what is this "Whole 30" you speak of?

First, let me explain what the Paleolithic diet is. It isn't a "diet" like a meal replacements, or some crazy ass lemonade cleanse. It's really more of a lifestyle change with the added benefit of losing weight (if there is weight to be lost). The thought is that our optimum health can be reached by eating like our ancestors did during the Paleolithic era (eating lean meat, fish, vegetables, root vegetables, fruits, and nuts). It excludes processed foods, grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugars, and some people cut out salt. There is a lot of debate over the premise of the diet (mimicking our ancestors, etc.) but I'm not getting into that. I'm just summarizing the basics.

Now, Whole 30 is something a little different. It's similar to Paleo but it's more strict.  It's a 30 day program designed by the nice folks at Whole 9. They explain it best as a "short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, calm systemic inflammation and put an end to unhealthy cravings, habits, and relationships with food." Basically, during the 30 days you do not consume under any circumstances: added sugar of any kind, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, white potatoes, processed foods, and certain types of oil.  The idea is that all of the aforementioned food is inflammatory to our systems. So by removing it, you allow your body to heal and start working properly again. Plus, all the added benefits of putting an end to cravings, bad habits, etc. Sounds like voodoo, I know! But it just works.

Since I ended my Whole 30 in February I've been trying to stick to a Paleo/Whole 30 lifestyle. I've been trying to keep my ratio to about 80% on, 20% off. Lately, I feel like I've been more 60/50. Not really where I want to be in order to reach my goals. That's why on April 1st I'm starting my next Whole 30. And no this is not a bad April Fool's joke. har har.

And that, ladies and gents, is why majority of the food/recipes posted on this website will follow the paleo, and or, Whole 30 guidelines. Whew, sorry if that was long!

Now onto food!

One thing I've had a hard time finding is a decent Stuffed Bell Peppers recipe. I've tried a couple and they were all lacking one way, or the other, and were just...gross. So I created my own. Here it is.


Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Bell Peppers 


1-2 tbsp Coconut oil
1.5 lbs Italian Sausage (removed from casings)
4 (or more) Bell Peppers, tops removed, seeds and membrane removed
10 oz Baby Spinach (or chopped Kale)
1 medium Onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup bell pepper, diced (use the tops)
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
*2 tbsp Tomato Paste


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and sauté for 30 secs then add the diced bell peppers and spinach. Sauté mixture until spinach is wilted. Let mixture slightly cool.
  4. In a large bowl combine sausage, egg, and spinach mixture.
  5. Stuff the peppers!
  6. Place peppers in a casserole dish and bake in the oven 45-60 mins (until cooked through and peppers have softened).
 *This is an after thought. I felt the stuffing could have used a little more flavour and moisture. So next time I will try adding the tomato paste and see if it improves things.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Don't call it a come back. I've been here for years.

I'm Canadian. And if there is one thing we are known for it's being polite. So let me apologize for neglecting my blog for almost...sweet mother! Has it really been almost THREE (3) YEARS?! I sincerely apologize for my laziness and neglect. I'm back and I promise to do better. And by better, I do not mean one post per year (because that is better then my current record).

If you don't know me personally, you're probably wondering what the hell happened. Well short version is I got back from Vegas and found out I was pregnant. I then suffered through the next 7 months. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed being pregnant. But during those 7 months I had some issues that made either eating totally unappealing and cooking totally painful and unpleasant. Can't really have a food blog if you're not eating anything good and don't really feel like cooking! How boring would that have been? Then January 2010 my daughter, we'll call her C, was born. And I've spent all the time since then doting on her and using my camera to document her growing up.

It wasn't until recently that I really started to miss food photography. I've also embarked on a new cooking...adventure. So I figured maybe now was a good time as any to resurrect my blog.

So here I am.

I'll go into this more in my next post. But majority of the recipes I'm going to be posting follow the Paleo diet guidelines, or the Whole 30 guidelines. When applicable, I'll make substitution suggestions for items that are not likely to be in a non-paleo eating house hold. Don't want to exclude anyone from enjoying some good, healthy food!

And this post wouldn't be complete without a recipe... :)

Cottage Flower Pie

This is the first Whole 30/Paleo recipe I made. It was delicious! It's from the website The Clothes Make the Girl. <-- Follow that link to the recipe and many other great recipes by Melissa.

As for substitutions... Feel free to use Olive Oil in place of Coconut Oil (or buy some and give it a try! I LOVE it). Coconut Aminos is a soy/gluten/dairy free seasoning sauce. Looks and tastes similar to soy sauce. The point of the Coconut Aminos (in my opinion) is to add savoriness to the dish. So you can sub in low sodium Soy Sauce, or Worcestershire sauce in this recipe. Enjoy!