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Archive | May, 2015

Southwest Vegetarian Bake

31 May

I cooked! Again! This is becoming a habit that I am not sure I am comfortable with lol

Since I had success last week with making the Vegetarian Lasagna, mostly to be used as meals for work, I thought I would try again. I don’t mean try the lasagna again, I mean try making something in a large quantity that I could use for meals at work again and voila! I did it! πŸ™‚

I found a recipe on food.com called Southwest Vegetarian Bake that looked like it might be good. I then read a variation on the recipe and liked parts of that version also. So, I combined the parts of both that I liked and made my own version – always good to customize!

My biggest problem is that the recipe is from the States so measurements sucked. It was all “use a 15 ounce can of black beans” and I’m all “canned goods in Canada are in milliliters!” sigh. Even when I converted the can sizes used in the recipe I was still screwed because apparently the size of cans used in the States is different than in Canada, lovely. double sigh.

If you want to see the original recipes I stole from clickΒ here.

I did attempt to get the correct amount, which involved way too much math in my opinion and in the end I’m pretty sure I ended up using wrong numbers according to the recipe, but right numbers for me since it turned out ok. πŸ™‚

My Ingredients:

2 Cups Black Beans (canned)

1 Cup Corn (canned)

3 Cups Diced Tomatoes (canned)

1 Cup Salsa

1 Cup Shredded Cheese (I used Cheddar and Part Skim Mozzarella)

1 Cup Light Sour Cream

1 Can (114ml) Green Chilies

5 tbls Black Olives

1/2 Cup Red Onion (diced)

1 microwaveable Minute Rice – Whole Grain Brown (125g)

Mix everything except the black olives and the brown rice in a large bowl. Cook the rice, once cooked add it in to the bowl. Mix well. Pour in to a 3 Quart baking dish. Sprinkle the black olives on top. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Sprinkle extra shredded cheese on top (if you want), put back in to oven for 10 additional minutes. Take out of oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Easy peasy!

It looks a funny colour in the middle but that is because of lighting, in person the middle looked the same as the edges.

It looks a funny colour in the middle but that is because of lighting, in person the middle looked the same as the edges.

Fairly runny looking here...

Fairly runny looking here…

Mmm, dinner!

Mmm, dinner!

Some explanations though…

The original recipes said to use 3/4 Cup uncooked brown rice. I only buy the single serving brown rice cups from Minute Rice, the ones you stick in the microwave for, you guessed it, a minute. I wasn’t about to go buy more rice just so I could measure out 3/4 of a Cup and cook it. Instead I cooked one of my rice cups (each serving is 125g), added it to the rest of the ingredients and gauged how I felt the rice to other ingredients ratio was. See, I didn’t want to use a lot of rice because I am on Weight Watchers and rice is high in points, I would rather have less rice and more veggies, heck, even more beans since they have protein. I tend to view rice as nice but a waste of food, which is too bad because I actually really like rice. Ah well, the sacrifices a girl makes to get thin! lol

This recipe is a vegetarian recipe but I had intended to brown some ground turkey and throw that in there, however, my memory failed me when I was at the store and I forgot to buy any, oops! I think some ground meat would be a nice addition to the dish, especially since it would soak up all the flavours but I am still happy with it being vegetarian.

The original recipes wanted me to use Mexican Blend Cheese. When I went cheese shopping (which fyi, the cheese was the most expensive ingredient! What’s with that??) there was no Mexican Blend, or anything similar sounding so I opted for a Cheddar & Mozzarella Blend. Why did I pick that blend? Because it was on sale. πŸ™‚

The final result ended up a bit runnier than I anticipated, I think because my ingredient ratios were all wonky. I wish I had put in the kidney beans I had bought, they would have tasted great in the dish, added protein and helped make it a little less runny. I suppose I could have also added more rice but we all know how I feel about that lol. πŸ˜›

This was a ridiculously easy dish to make since it mostly consisted of opening cans, dumping everything in to a bowl, mixing and cooking lol I did measure everything as I poured it out of the can so I would know exactly how much I was putting in, I did this mostly because I needed to be able to calculate the points per serving for Weight Watchers but I think its a good idea in general, otherwise you might put in more of a higher calorie ingredient than you realized and inadvertently make the dish not as healthy as you wanted.

I was super upset about the Light Sour Cream, even with it being Light it was crazy high in points for the quantity used, not cool! It tastes good, obviously, I mean c’mon, it is Sour Cream, of course it tastes good lol but I think I’d have rather saved some of it and used it as a topping, you’d taste it more and would have the option of saying no and saving the points (or calories, or whatever you track).

If you are following the Weight Watchers Points Plus Program your point information is as follows:

If you divide it up in to 8 portions, each portion is 8.125 points (so 8 points)

If you divide it up in to 6 portions, each portion is 10.833 points (so 11 points)

I chose to divvy it up in to 8 portions. Each portion is a fairly decent size, I find it is not quite enough to be a stand alone meal so I add some toast on the side or have some fruit for dessert afterwards, just a little something to help top me up. πŸ™‚

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Stupid Move

30 May

Last Monday I got home from work, got changed in to comfy clothes, put my hair up in a messy ponytail, filled the kettle to boil some water for tea and then turned to open the fridge, only to find the fridge door open about two inches.

Crap.

Since the only other living soul in this apartment is a cat who, to my knowledge, hasn’t figured out how to open the fridge door yet, it was a safe bet that I had not closed it properly that morning when I was getting my lunch for work and that it had been open for oh, eleven hours or so.

Double crap.

I yanked it all the way open and hoped that miraculously my food was still ok. Who says optimism is dead? πŸ˜‰

The first thing I checked was the milk, because I needed it for my tea lol The carton was room temperature, and not inside of fridge room temperature but when I touched it there was no difference between the temperature of the milk carton and my hand. Not the best of signs, but I still tried to be hopeful. I pulled it all the way out, hoping to find a cool part somewhere on the carton but alas, there was none. 😦

I started checking other items and they were all the same, all room temperature.

My optimism that my living in a basement suite, a suite that is always a little chilly, might have kept the food at least a little chilled was fading fast.

You may be wondering why I was fighting so hard to stay optimistic that my food, ok ok, fine, my milk, was ok, and that is because I was already in comfy clothes and didn’t want to have to get dressed and go out again to buy more milk but I can’t survive without tea and I like milk in my tea. Oh the dilemmas a girl faces! πŸ˜‰

I decided to chance it and put some of the milk in my tea. It wasn’t the best tasting tea in the world but I’ve had worse, and hey, the milk didn’t curdle so that is all I cared about lol.

Once I deemed the milk an acceptable risk I started looking at what else was in my fridge. Unfortunately for me I had juuuust gone grocery shopping a couple days prior so I had all sorts of lovely cheeses, some greek yogurt, deli meat, and other temperature sensitive foods in there.

Triple crap.

I don’t know why but some food items I decided it was too chancy to try and they got thrown out, others I am more willing to keep and see if they are ok as I eat them over the coming days. Selective freaking out I guess lol.

The greek yogurt ended up on the “not happening” list, whereas I kept all the cheese. Hey, cheese is ridiculously expensive (even if I did buy this on sale) and I’m not willing to just throw it all out because of it potentially being bad, I need proof before I throw that money down the drain, er, in the garbage.

What can I say, I’m cheap! πŸ˜›

The next day, when I was well rested and thinking a bit more clearly, I decided the milk should go, sigh, such a waste…but I still kept the cheese! lol

I hated throwing the various food and drink items away, all because of my own stupid move, and hopefully this will teach me an important lesson, to make sure the fridge is closed!…and to not get in to my comfy clothes until I know for sure I won’t have to go back out again cause the battle between going out on what would have been a 15 minute errand and staying in and potentially getting sick from bad milk was brief and brutal and won by the tired/lazy side of me. Best to just avoid that battle if possible, no need to be faced with just how lazy I am anymore than necessary! πŸ˜‰

lazy 2

Volunteer for Yoga

29 May

A little over three years ago I signed up for 30 days of unlimited Bikram Yoga. I don’t remember why I did it, there must have been a promotion of some kind because yoga is not cheap and it is not something I can normally afford. I enjoyed it, sort of, and opted to stay on their mailing list in case I ever decided I wanted to sign up for it again and miraculously had the money to spend on it lol.

bikram yoga

Last week I got an email newsletter from them talking about all sort of things and at the bottom there was a blurb about how they are looking for Karma Cleaners.

Basically, they are looking for people who are willing to volunteer to help clean the yoga studio and in exchange they get free yoga classes. A lot of yoga studios do this and I’ve been meaning to look in to it for a while now but never got around to it. Well, there was nothing to look in to since they had emailed me (and everyone else on their mailing list) about it so before I could talk myself out of it I shot off an email asking if there were still spots available.

I got a response and eventually ended up with an interview this past Tuesday. πŸ™‚

On the drive to the yoga studio I went to take a sip of water and managed to spill it all over my shirt and my lap, classic me, sigh. Luckily it was a warm day and my shirt managed to dry fairly fast. The pants though, um, not so much. They were black so it wasn’t obvious they were wet but lemme tell ya, sitting in an interview with damp pants, not comfy!

It was a really informal interview, I think if we hadn’t of gotten along she would have said she’d think about it or something along those lines but we did get along, my availability fit with what days they had openings and well, that was that, I start next Tuesday. πŸ™‚

It seems like a pretty good deal to me, I will clean for a little under two hours a week, all in one session. I’ll be the only one there so I can listen to my music and dance around like a weirdo when cleaning (cause that’s how I roll) and it won’t matter. Also, the studio room will have just had a class in it and right when I am done another class will be starting so the room will be at the hot temperature it is at when the class is in session, which means I am gonna sweat like crazeeeeee! I’m looking at this as an opportunity to not only get an extra fitness session in to my week with the actual yoga class I will take but get an additional almost two hours of activity in to my week with the cleaning. Finding out the room will be at its hot temperature made me want to do this even more lol

I was warned to bring water and to be careful to stay hydrated, also, I was told to wear whatever I want because by the end of my cleaning session my clothes will be soaked with sweat, ew, but yay? lol I’m allowed to use the showers that are there when I am done so I don’t have to leave there looking all sweaty and gross, which is nice.

I’m not a huge fan of cleaning, but I’m hoping when I get in to the routine of being there every Tuesday afternoon it’ll just become another one of the random things I do in a week, shrug. The lady I interviewed with said most of their Karma Cleaners stay with them for quite a while, as in years, they love that they get the free classes and the cleaning isn’t that hard or time consuming.

The two options I had were (1) clean for one session a week and get one free yoga class a week or (2) clean for two sessions a week and get unlimited yoga classes. I chose the one cleaning session a week because I don’t want to over commit. Also, even if I had unlimited yoga classes I don’t think I’d be able to fit them in all that often so it’d be kinda wasted on me. For now I am perfectly content to try to find time for one class a week. πŸ™‚ I was told if I ever wanted to change that and clean twice so I could get the unlimited classes to let them know and they’d find a second cleaning shift for me.

So there we have it, I have officially added another fitness activity to my week, and one I have to stick with because I made a commitment, not one I can shrug off when I don’t feel like it, which for me is a good thing because I excel at talking myself out of exercising lol πŸ˜›

Bikram Yoga, bring it on! πŸ™‚

Bird Mafia

28 May

In four days I have had my innocent suv pooped on three times by random birds. THREE! I say it is random but I don’t really believe it. (insert conspiracy theory here πŸ˜‰ )

I think there is a Bird Mafia out there and I am being targeted! Targeted by birds who have obviously eaten something that doesn’t agree with them cause wow, those white splotches on my vehicle are huuuuuuge, ick!

They see everything!

They see everything!

I’ve been trying to decide why the Bird Mafia has targeted me, what could I have done that has meant they must exact revenge not only on me but on those I am close to.

Could it be that they discovered my master is a black and white cat who calls the shots within the apartment that I live in?

Could it be that they are starting a more visible war against us humans and I am one of the first casualties?

Could it be that I failed to interpret a sign one of the birds gave me, indicating I needed to start paying protection money (aka bird seeds) and now this is my punishment for not falling in to line?

It could be any of those things, or something else entirely, I may never know…(insert suspenseful music here)…

πŸ˜‰

This Is Why…

27 May

This is why I can’t have nice things, sigh.

My non-stick frying pan decided it didn’t want to be classified as “non-stick” anymore so it killed an omelette. My revenge was to kick it to the curb and replace it with a nice, shiny, new non-stick frying pan. When I bought the new frying pan I also picked up a new flipping thingy in that pretty teal colour that has overtaken everything – Β I swear you can’t look anywhere without seeing that colour anymore *rolls eyes*. My new items look like this…

My new kitchen stuff

My new kitchen stuff

Well, the new look of the flipping thingy lasted until the second time I used it, then I accidentally rested it against the hot part of the frying pan and melted part of the handle, oops! See, the part you can see in the picture is silicone (I think!), whatever it is it doesn’t melt when touching the hot frying pan, a little farther up though the handle changes and is made out of rubber and that part isn’t quite so immune to heat, sigh.

Not only did I melt part of the handle but the melted part then become one with the edge of the frying pan. It was like two worlds merging in to one.

Luckily the melted plastic came off the frying pan when I washed it and the melted part of the handle doesn’t affect the usability of the flipping thingy (I really need to figure out what that thing is actually called lol) so I can still use both my new kitchen tools. The flipping thingy just doesn’t look quite as nice as it once did, ya know, two days ago *rolls eyes*.

Fix It Girl

23 May

A little while ago my vacuum stopped working properly. Every time I would use it there was this nasty smell, like something electrical burning, and it barely picked anything up from the carpet, making my vacuuming attempts a complete waste of time, ugh. I noticed that when I took the carpet attachment off the vacuum worked fine, and didn’t make that horrible smell so I used what little logic I have to deduce the problem lay in this part of the vacuum…

2015-05-14 16.09.16

Figuring I couldn’t screw up the vacuum anymore than it already was I took it apart to see if I could figure out how to fix it, and go figure, I did! Crazy huh?

There is a belt inside this piece that had snapped, also, I have long hair and it was wrapped around the bristle part to the extent I thought my hair was trying to strangle the inside of the vacuum lol

I went to a vacuum repair shop, got the new belt, put it in, closed it and voila! working vacuum that no longer smells like it is about to explode, yay!

It works so much better now, so well in fact I accidentally sucked up one of the cat’s toys, oops! Luckily he has lots of toys so I don’t think he has noticed yet…

The cat was traumatized from the vacuuming I did once I got it fixed, to him the only thing worse than the vacuum is the vet so my pulling it out, fixing it, then using it basically meant his day was ruined. Poor little guy, all his spazzing after the vacuum was put away resulted in his eventual collapse…

2015-05-17 18.46.29

While I was trapped under his dead weight I enjoyed a little treat a friend of mine brought back for me from the Philippines. He is from there originally and he and his family went back to visit other family members. He brought me a keychain and these cute little cakes…

Winter Melon Cake

Winter Melon Cake

They are Winter Melon Cakes, which mean nothing to me lol There are 4 in the package, they are covered in toasted seeds and the center is soft but firm, hmm, that doesn’t make sense, it is soft without being gooey, that makes a bit more sense, I think…lol

2015-05-18 21.50.44

They have a distinctive flavour but since it is like nothing I have eaten before I don’t know how to describe it. I think most of the flavour was coming from the seeds, the center was a subtle taste of what I can only assume is Winter Melon.

I liked them, they aren’t like anything I’ve had before, which is partially why I like them, switching things up is good for you, and keeps the taste buds from getting bored lol πŸ˜‰

Ikea

22 May

I love Ikea, I am that weirdo that genuinely likes putting Ikea furniture together so buying something from Ikea is fun for me, not just because of getting new furniture but because I get to build it! πŸ™‚

I got a gift card for Ikea a couple of years ago for Christmas. It was initially going to be used to buy a new dresser but the one I wanted got discontinued and I didn’t want to use the gift card on just anything so I waited, and waited…and waited some more! Until eventually there was something else I wanted aaaand it was on sale lol Lucky for me Ikea has been having a sale, all bed frames 15% off which meant that after the gift card was used my out of pocket cost for the bed frame was not quite forty dollars, oh, and that is including the chocolate bar I bought lol

Patience is a good thing my friends! πŸ˜‰

I broke the first rule of the Ikea instructions, it showed a picture of a person by themselves and had that crossed out (like a no sign), then they showed a picture of two people with a check mark, they seemed to think it would take two people to build this piece of furniture, silly Ikea. Its like Ikea doesn’t realize that having someone help you build the furniture isn’t always an option *rolls eyes*

It took dare I say, some ingenuity, on my part, plus some muscles, to get the frame put together – serves me right, buying a metal bed frame lol but in the end the sweat was totally worth it. The bed frame went together perfectly, it looks great and I’m super happy with my purchase.

The cat however is traumatized from the disruption to his routine by my building the bed frame – oh, and he doesn’t seem too sure about how high the bed is now either lol.

2015-05-21 22.47.37

Voila! My new bed! πŸ™‚

And yes, that is an Eeyore on the side, don’t judge, he’s cute and he is a comfy pillow. πŸ˜›

2015-05-21 23.40.58

The next time you are at Ikea, if you see this chocolate bar you should grab one, it was yummy. It is milk chocolate with hazelnuts in it, can’t go wrong there! For the possible Weight Watcher in you, half the bar is 7 points (in the Points Plus Program) which some people might think is ridiculous but hey, good chocolate is always worth it. πŸ˜‰

One final thought, I feel putting furniture together should count as exercise, by the time I was done I was sweating, it was gross. πŸ˜›

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