Posts tagged ‘Food’

Green Monster again?!

Today I made yet another Green Monster.  I am on a huge GM kick right now, and I swear it is making my complexion clear and my skin bright.  At least I like to think so!

Today’s creation included:

1 cup of 1% cow’s milk

1/2 banana

4 large frozen strawberries

2 large handfuls of spinach

1 tablespoon of ground flax seed

I had this as part of my lunch with leftover roasted root vegetables and a Tropically-flavoured Larabar.  How come it’s so easy to eat healthfully during the day but not so easy at night?  Something to think about…

I think Henry is getting bored of all these Green Monsters.

“GM again, Mama?  How completely unoriginal!”

Speaking of Henry (something I do so well!), he is at that stage when he will just stare at the same object for an awfully long time.  Here he is staring at a toy that plays music when you pull a little handle.  He actually figured out how to pull this handle all by himself, thereby convincing me is a Harvard-bound genius.

Please send all emails exulting his cuteness to…

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I am on my own for dinner tonight and I’m not sure what to have!  We are seriously low on groceries, so I think I will have that old, pantry standby:  pasta with tomato sauce.  We have the last dregs of broccoli and mushroom I can add to the sauce and maybe I will be fancy and add some Havarti cheese on top of my serving.  Exotic, I know.

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After thinking about it WAY too much, I think I am going to purchase Crazy Sexy Diet.  I’ve watched a few of Kris Carr’s “vlogs” on youtube and read in her blog today that the book is currently sold out on Amazon and elsewhere, so that must mean something, right?  For $22.00 Canadian, I think it’s worth it.  My daily Green Monsters have been so enjoyable lately, and I want to learn more recipes for green smoothies.  I am also entertaining the thought of getting a juicer.  Perhaps in honour of Mr. Lalanne?  Maybe!

I am hesitant to get a juicer, though, because:

1.  I will go through veggies like whoa.  That isn’t frugal!  However, it is fit.  Conundrum!

2.  I don’t want to clean it every day.  Cleaning my blender is bad enough!

Ah, the ongoing problems of the bourgeoisie, eh?

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January 26, 2011 at 3:53 pm 2 comments

Sleep would be nice, but muffins will suffice!

I write to you from Exhaustion Headquarters where our CEO, Mr. Henry, had me up EVERY.  SINGLE.  HOUR.  OF.  THE.  NIGHT.

I don’t think I have ever seen every hour of the nighttime clock before, so maybe I should be thankful to Mr. H for giving me this once in a lifetime opportunity?  Let’s go with that (and let us pray it really is a ONCE in a lifetime opportunity!).

He will rob you of sleep and sanity using his overwhelming power of cuteness!

If this is what normal parenthood is all about, I am really surprised my parents decided to have me, a second child, after my brother.  And to think that if I lived in America, I’d have to go back to work in a couple of weeks!  Oh my.

But enough venting on the blog.  You don’t need to hear it.  That’s what husbands are for!  Today I would like to share with you a recipe for Date muffins!  I picked up a bag of dates on sale at Bulk Barn but they aren’t the soft and chewy Medjool dates that are delicious to eat on their own.  These are the cheapo, tough dates that are sticky and hard.  They must be used for baking purposes!

I chose this recipe because it called for a lot of oat bran rather than just flour.  Oat bran contains a lot of fibre and lowers bad cholesterol, so I figured that would help counteract all of the sugar!

DELECTABLE DATE MUFFINS

Makes 10 big muffins

(Muffins with dates, not muffins you take on dates.  Unless you really want to).

1 cup chopped dates

1 cup hot water

1 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 egg

1 tablespoon oil

1 1/2 cups oat bran

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup sour milk or buttermilk (I use one cup of regular milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice added)

1.  Mix dates, hot water, 1/2 cup of the brown sugar and lemon juice in a medium-sized saucepan and simmer until thickened.

2.  Measure remaining brown sugar, egg, oil, and date filling into one bowl.  Beat vigorously until smooth and then add bran.

3.  Add flour, baking soda, and then milk.  Stir only enough to moisten the throughout.

4.  Spoon into muffin cups and let stand for 3 minutes.  This is the runniest muffin batter I have ever made!

5.  Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes.

Two muffins are missing.  Wherever could they be?

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So I’ve been doing a pretty good job living the frugal lifestyle lately.  This is mostly aided by the fact that:

1.  I rarely leave my house because it is January and ccccccold outside.

2.  We only have one car.

3.  I don’t gots nowhere to be!

It’s only been a month since Christmas (seems longer, eh?), but I am kind of coveting this book that recently went on sale:

Reasons Why I Want This Book:

1.  Kris Carr has a rare form of cancer that she documented in the movie Crazy Sexy Cancer.  She is a charming, free spirit who has used nutritious food as a way to fight her illness, both physically and psychologically.

2.  She is the inspiration behind Angela’s famous Green Monster!

3.  I think it would be a fun, inspiring read that can help spice up my own Green Monsters and maybe help me make some healthier choices (she says while sipping her second cup of coffee!).

Reasons Why I Don’t Want This Book:

1.  I’m afraid it’s just another book about veganism (Nothing against veganism, but there are plenty of books on this topic already!).

2.  She is not a doctor.  (However, the awesome doctor, Dean Ornish, writes the foreword.)

3.  She champions a 21 day cleanse.  I am not a fan of cleanses or detox diets and even the idea of them creeps me out a bit.

4.  Do I really want to spend my precious dollars to support the billion-dollar diet industry?!!?

 

I guess I will hold off until I see it in the bookstore (when I leave my house; possibly by 2012?).  That will let me flip through it and then make my decision.  If you have read this book, can you let me know what you think?  Until then, I will continue drinking my (much beloved) coffee and eating my sugar-laden date muffins!

January 21, 2011 at 10:07 am 14 comments

Walnut Raisin No-Knead Bread

Like most other citizens of the world, I love baked goods.  Specifically, I am a fan of donuts, croissants, danishes, and bread.  I also love cookies and cake, but DCDB (Donuts Croissants Danishes and Bread!) take the cake (pun!).  The very best croissant I’ve ever had in my entire life can be purchased at Jules Patisserie on Mount Pleasant Road here in Toronto.  I have been to Paris twice, yet the chocolate almond croissant from Jules is singlehandedly the best thing I have ever consumed.  I used to live within walking distance of this bakery and made it a habit to go there every Saturday morning to buy one each for me and Husband.  A couple of months before we moved, I stopped going because I was trying to be healthy.  Big mistake!  HUGE!  Words to the wise:  When one lives within walking distance of the best croissants in the world, it is advisable to take advantage of the close proximity.

We all have regrets, rights?

I am telling you this story to clearly convey my LOVE of baked goods.  I’ve never tried making croissants, donuts or danishes before because 1) I don’t have a deep fryer and 2) handling pastry is a scary prospect, but I have attempted baking loaves of bread on many occasions.  Making yeast breads is tough, though!  It’s so hard to get them to rise.  But there is one fool-proof way to make a successful loaf of bread all on your own.  The key words, my friends, are NO KNEAD.

Perhaps you are familiar with the No-Knead bread recipe that was popularized by Mark Bittman in the New York Times in 2006.  If you aren’t, I recommend you read the linked article.  It could possibly change your life.  After reading that article, read this one.  It’s the one I read earlier this week on the Huffington Post app, most likely while breast-feeding in the middle of the night!  I liked how the author said she starts making it before going out on Friday night, and it’s ready by late Saturday morning.  Something about that little routine really appealed to me, so I decided to start my own loaf last night!

A little delirious by exhaustion; a little excited by imminent complex carbohydrates

It was truly a perfect night for bread baking, as we were dumped with a load of snow.  It turned the sky orange, which is the single best thing about winter.

Winter out my Window

The ingredients are so simple and so frugal!  A recipe after my own heart.

3 cups of flour

1/4 tsp instant yeast

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

2/3 cup walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup raisins

1 2/3 cups water

Cornmeal or more flour as needed

I followed the directions closely, but made a couple of substitutions.  I don’t have kosher salt, so I just used regular.  It calls for Thompson raisins and I just used regular raisins.  Maybe they are Thompson raisins?  I have no clue.  I am not brand savvy when it comes to my shriveled grapes!  It also says to bake it in a dutch oven or Le Creuset.  Too rich for my blood, so I just used a casserole dish.  I never covered it because Husband broke the glass lid years ago, so I just never covered it.

I like how the recipe describes the dough as soft and ugly.  I don’t know if I am just a carb fiend, but I have never seen an ugly dough!  All dough is beautiful and should be accepted exactly as it is.

You complete me

I left my non-ugly dough to rise overnight for 12 hours which – might I add – was one of those nights where the baby doesn’t want to sleep much.  Oy with the poodles already!  By the time I was ready to stick this in the oven, I was anxious to get my carb on.

And get my carb on I did

This bread is stunning.  It is crisp and crunchy on the outside, and so soft and doughy on the inside.  The walnuts and raisins are the perfect addition of salty and sweet.  If you bought this loaf in a bakery, you’d easily pay $4 or $5.  By my somewhat inaccurate calculations, I would place the cost of materials at under $1.  As I lay in bed last night, in between “Henry eruptions”, I thought of other combinations you could use in place of the walnuts and raisins.  You could try dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds or sliced almonds and chunks of dried apricot.  I am excited by the possibilities.

Warning:  This bread is addictive.  Consider yourself warned.

January 8, 2011 at 4:02 pm 2 comments

Oh Glorious Morning!

Ok, I am attempting my three square meals again today!  I am determined to lock this down.  Determined! I was going to write this post tonight after all three meals were consumed, but Angie is coming over for dinner and a movie and I don’t think I’ll be online.  Let me share my meals with you so far!

BREAKFAST:

These cold January mornings are perfect for hot cereal and I am lucky as this is the first January I’ve ever had that grants me the luxury of preparing hot cereal each morning if I so choose (and if Henry is happy enough in his swing!).  This morning I combined the last of my oat bran with enough rolled oats to make 1/2 cup.  I cooked this with some raisins and topped it with 1/2 a sliced banana, some plain, non-fat yogurt, cinnamon, and a spoonful of my beloved almond butter.  This was one FILLING breakfast!

LUNCH:

I re-heated the last of the Fakes (delicious by the way!) and had a bowl along with a Morning Glory muffin I baked this morning.  My great friend, Vanessa, gave birth to a little girl yesterday, and I plan to freeze half of the muffins and give them to her once I go visit!  I remember how grateful I was to all visitors bearing the gift of food soon after Henry was born, especially food that is easily consumed with one hand.

The vinegar is a must!

I hope this lunch lasts me until dinnertime!  A cup of decaf green tea should help tide me over…(she says while eyeing the bag of Clodhoppers!).

Since Henry is currently asleep, it’s pretty quiet around here at Chez Frugal ‘n’ Fit.  Even the cats are all mellowed out.

Being a housebound kitty in January is a fortunate hand to be dealt!

January 6, 2011 at 1:31 pm 8 comments

Maple Walnut Quinoa

Happy New Year!  2011 is here to stay.  Well, for 365 days, anyway.  Just enough time to prepare for 2012.  Eek!

We had a great time with friends last night, and have the photograph of all the food to prove it!

Excess, thy name is New Years Eve

Even Henry got a bit dressed up for the occasion — until he had an absolute conniption fit which necessitated the removal of his outfit into something a bit more comfortable.  Can’t blame the little dude.  He has only known life either naked or in a cozy sleeper!

It looks like he is trying to fly away

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To start this year off on stable footing, I thought I’d share this recipe for Maple Walnut Quinoa, a delicious, nutritious, and ambitious (?) way to commence the first day of the new year.  I adapted this from Quinoa 365.

Topped with pomegranates.  ‘Tis the season for fuschia-stained fingers (and cutting boards, and counters, and basically every kitchen appliance surrounding the pomegranate!)

Serves 1:

2 Tablespoons chopped walnuts

1/3 cup quinoa

2/3 cup water

1 Tablespoon oat bran

2 teaspoons maple syrup

Fuschia-stained handful of pomegranate seeds 😉

1.  Toast the walnuts in a small saucepan on medium-high heat.  Stir frequently for 3 to 4 minutes until the walnuts are toasted.  Remove from the pan.

2.  Combine quinoa, water and oat bran in the same saucepan.  Cover, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes.  Leave the saucepan on the burner, cover, for an additional 5 minutes.

3.  Remove from the heat and stir in maple syrup and walnuts.  Transfer to a bowl and top with pomegranates.

It just dawned on me that this recipe is also vegan, so bonus points for that!  The vegans, they love the quinoa.  It is a complete protein, after all.

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Source of picture

I am going to try something new to see if it helps me achieve my New Years resolution this year, along with some other goals too. I am going to make a list of goals for January, stick it onto my bedroom mirror, and try to achieve these goals within the month.  Achieving small goals within 30 or 31 days (or 28 — February’s going to be tough!) is much more immediate than 365 days.  I’m not going to share these goals yet — I’ll see if this little plan works and THEN I will share them.  Stay tuned for January 31st’s entry!  Ooh, another tease to get you to revisit the blog.  So clever, that one.  So very, very clever.

January 1, 2011 at 10:28 am 4 comments

Books I took(s)

Greetings from this side of Christmas 2010!  I hope that yours was an enjoyable one.  Mine involved a sick baby and a sick self, but was still an enjoyable time regardless.  One thing I have learned this Christmas is that now that I have a child, Christmas is no longer about me.  Huh, who woulda thunk?  I didn’t realize how relaxing Christmas was until now, when it no longer is.  But I am not complaining even though that’s exactly what it looks like!  I am just grateful to have a (relatively) healthy baby boy, family and friends with whom to spend it, and a giant pile of gifts all for me me me me me 🙂

I won’t bore you with tales of what I specifically received, but I will tell you about the books!  I LOVE to read, but having a wee babe 24/7 doesn’t leave much time for perusing the ol’ library looking for the next Curtis Sittenfeld or Alice Munro.  A couple of weeks ago, I actually checked out six books from the library and was excited to stimulate that part of my brain again, only to have read through a mere half of one of the books!  Piddly!  And I call myself an English Major?!  Unacceptable!

So I am very happy to have received five books this Christmas.  There is no due date so I can take my time with them.  At this rate, my goal is to complete them by the end of the year.  Way to aim low, Robyn!

Books I received for your voyeuristic information:

1.  Unbearable Lightness by Portia De Rossi

I love biographies, especially autobiographies.  I was disappointed to see there is no glossy section in the middle full of pictures of her.  However, I guess a book about struggling with anorexia and self-image doesn’t really benefit from readers staring at pictures of her during this difficult time, eh?

2.  My Booky Wook by Russell Brand

I’ve always found Russell Brand funny, but it wasn’t until I saw him on Conan about a month ago that I realized how intelligent this guy really is.  What a wordsmith!  (Note: I have never referred to anyone as a wordsmith EVER, so this really counts for something).  Since his life is pretty much the polar opposite of mine, I was interested in reading this and mentioned it to Husband in passing.  Well, he remembered and got me this!  I am already 1/4 through.  Given my recent track record, this is noteworthy and deserving of many accolades.

3.  Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

This tome is about as highbrow as I get these days.  I had this in my library queue but after seeing him on Oprah and hearing some of the glowing reviews, I figured I should own this one.  Plus, since it is so large, there is no way I could finish it within the three weeks permitted by the library.  I am hoping that once I read this, I will be ready to read heavier works that I don’t just hear about on Conan or Oprah (where, in fact, I heard about all three of these books!  Oh my).

4.  Quinoa 365

Every recipe calls for quinoa!  I am really excited to try some of these out, especially since I have two Costco-sized bags of quinoa in my possession.  Many call for quinoa flour, which gets me a bit less excited (I imagine quinoa flour is $$$).  However, I have a $50 gift card to Bulk Barn as well, so perhaps all of my culinary aspirations can come true in 2011.  Let’s hope.

5.  Muffin Mania

As the title suggests, this one just has muffin recipes.  It was originally printed in the early 1980s by a local printer and looks like something assembled in your neighbor’s basement.  It was so popular, however, that this edition was reprinted in 2008 or thereabouts.  It has about 60 different muffin recipes, including a chocolate cheesecake recipe and a “muffin that tastes like a donut” recipe.  All of the recipes are very easy and call for basic ingredients, so I thought I could challenge myself to try every recipe in 2011, like a Julie and Julia project!  Then sanity returned as I figured that baking 60 different types of muffins would turn me off muffins forever.  I’ve already tried the pumpkin recipe with success!  I am itching to bake a muffin that tastes like a donut.  I am a self-proclaimed Fritter Fiend, after all.

So there you have it.  Two biographies, two cookbooks, and one work of fiction.  Hopefully these keep me occupied and out of trouble until 2012!

December 28, 2010 at 9:42 am 12 comments

Christmas Eve Eve

You know it’s the day before Christmas Eve when my kitchen table looks like this:

You probably recognize these since I just made them a few weeks ago.  ‘Tis the season to overdose on lard and sugar, is it not?  I made four dozen cookies (not counting the “snowballs”) and plan to bring 2 dozen to my parents’ tomorrow and 2 dozen to Husband’s parents’ on Christmas.  They are loved by young and old alike!  Really, the true test of a good cookie is my very picky 9-year old niece.  She has a very refined palate (i.e. is picky), and this is one of the few things I bake that passes her barometer of tastiness.

Speaking of tastiness (nice segue, eh?), last night I tried something new!  Angie brought over Halva:

I’ve seen this before in the cheese section of my grocery store, but never thought to buy it.  When Angie described it as a flaky, less sweet fudge, I knew I’d like it, especially since tahini is the main ingredient.

It was delicious!  The tahini gave it a real “heft”, which is probably not an adjective one wants used when describing their ideal dessert, but I am a huge fan of heft (my thighs can attest to this.  Badump cha!).  It was sweet, but not overly so like fudge.  It was flaky and delicate.  In conclusion, I am now a fan of halva (bonus is that it’s fun to say.  HALVA HALVA HALVA).

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Well, the wee man and I are getting ready for Christmas today!  Now that the cookies are decorated, our next step is to pack our overnight bag.  We will spend Christmas Eve day and night with my side of the family (it’s also my dad’s birthday!), we’ll spend the night there (Henry’s first night away from home!), and then drive to Husband’s side for Christmas day.  A lot of running around, but I wouldn’t have it any other way (…says the person who doesn’t do the driving!).

Since I won’t be blogging until after Christmas, I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!  Remember:  the frugality and fitness can wait until December 26th (or January 1st if we’re really being honest with ourselves here).

Henry says: “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!  Now change my diaper, Woman”.

December 23, 2010 at 11:25 am 7 comments

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Welcome!

What happens when you love to eat healthy (and some unhealthy!) food, love to live frugally, and love to write? You start a food blog, of course. Of course!

Eating well and living frugally does not always come easy, but Lord help me, I am trying! This blog will detail my endeavor to live the best life possible. This will include pictures of my cats, odes to almond butter, and the general miscellany that makes up my life. Enjoy!

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