Advertisements
Tag Archives: food

Where’s Your Village?

17 Jul

They say it takes a village to raise a kid, I think, maybe, it takes a village to do a lot of things.

Easy things. Fun things. Hard things. Sucky things.

There is almost nothing that you do completely on your own. Even if you are accomplished at something, say you write novels, or cook, or paint, you didn’t magically pop out of your birth mother knowing how to do those things. Maybe you had a talent for them, maybe you had the drive to want to do them, but you still had teachers, coaches, inspiration, along the way. Those people are your village.

Same thing when it comes to weight loss, or strengthening, or training for a fitness goal. You don’t accomplish these things alone, even though at times you might feel alone in your journey.

Your village is made up of the people that inspired you to start, taught you what you needed to know to work towards your goal, help keep you motivated when you struggle, provide guidance, and practical assistance, and the tools to get you where you want to go.

One part of my village are the chefs at my work, well, one of my works. I am spoiled at that job by the food that is considered a perk of working there. If your shift falls over lunch time you get fed lunch, same deal if you work over dinner time. It isn’t written in stone but the general idea is you eat what is being cooked that day, for that meal, with obvious exceptions to accommodate allergies, ethical food choices, and other restrictions.

Because I try to not be too big a pain in the ass to the chefs at work, but I am food picky, I generally ask for whatever the lean protein is for that day (as long as it isn’t pork, I don’t eat pork), and veggies. Or I ask for a salad with a lean protein on top. I don’t want sauces, gravies, starches, none of that stuff, which I’m pretty sure makes them cry a bit inside.

For the most part my dinners at work are either fish or chicken, with veggies. My lunches are salads with chicken or fish on top. I know it sounds like I eat the same thing all the time but each meal is different because of the creativity, flair, and seasonings, each chef brings to their dish.

I am well and truly spoiled by the chefs at work, and I do my best to never forget it, and never take it for granted.

One of the chefs has gone on vacation, one of my village, and it has tilted my food world a bit, making it hard to feel like I’m keeping on track.

Yes, yes, I know I could have taken my own lunch, but have I not already explained that I am spoiled?

I’m used to feeling like I am on my get fit journey on my own, even though I know I have a support system out there. There are few people in my village that directly affect the food I am eating on a given day. Those work meals are meals I don’t have to think about, they will magically appear, they will always fit in to my meal plan, they require no effort on my part. I am so grateful for that because I find dealing with food exhausting a lot of the time. The planning, the buying, the cooking, ugh, I hate it.

So to have one of my village gone, and being immediately affected by that loss, made me realize that the comment I have made to the chefs often is in fact true:

I would not be where I am in my journey without their help. They make it easier for me to succeed.

They, in their willingness to accommodate my food requests, make part of my journey easier, more do-able, they make my being able to stick to my plan a thing I can actually do.

I don’t think it is often we notice the people that make up our village, they are just there, their actions taken a bit for granted. Not because we aren’t grateful but because we are all a bit spoiled. And you know, I think thats ok. It’s human nature.

I don’t know if I am a part of anyone’s village, I hope I am, and I hope whatever it is that I do that helps someone I keep doing it, so I keep inadvertently helping them.

Just like I hope I keep being grateful for the people that make up my village. Without them this journey would be so much harder, perhaps impossible.

work food

Some of my work meals. Didn’t believe me when I said I was spoiled did ya? πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

Advertisements

Not My Normal Spinach

27 Jun

I came home the other day and my landlady was in the backyard working on her garden. She’s been really into the whole gardening thing this summer and has made the back yard so pretty. There are flowers I don’t know the name of, bushes I can’t identify, and a whole section of vegetables that are flourishing.

She offered me kale, which I politely declined. She then offered me spinach and I figured why not. I like spinach, it’ll save me needing to buy some, and it would help her out – something about needing to cut it before it flowers *shrug*

Uh yeah…this is what I was given…

spinach

My spinach experience is limited to buying baby spinach from the produce section of the grocery store, or buying the frozen blocks of spinach meant to be added in to soups and things.

Spinach fresh from a garden is apparently weird, and kinda creepy, looking.

I’m not completely sure what to do with it, so far I have stared at it in confusion, put it on the counter for a day while I dealt with other things, then moved it to the fridge because it seemed to be wilting, as you can see in the above picture.

I guess I’ll chop off the leaves and use it like the baby spinach that I normally buy?

I suppose if I had ever taken the time to think about where my baby spinach came from and what it looked like before being cleaned and put in packaging so it could be shipped to a grocery store I might have googled it and seen what it looked like in a more natural state. But what spinach that hasn’t been packaged for sale looks like was never high on my list, or even on my list at all, so it was never a thing I looked in to.

Makes me wonder what other vegetables I eat look different in their fresh from the garden condition vs sitting on the grocery store shelf…I mean, I don’t wonder enough to start googling vegetables, lol, but it’s something to think about on a quiet day, when there is nothing else to do. πŸ˜‰

Accidental Brownie

21 Feb

Sooooo, I sorta made a brownie-in-a-mug this evening when I thought I was going to be making hot chocolate.

Oops?

Although, are brownies ever reeeally an accident? πŸ˜‰

My mom received a cute little jar with dry ingredients layered in it and instructions as to how to turn the contents in to a brownie-in-a-mug. She oh so sweetly gave it to me…mostly she gave it to me because she has stronger will power while I tend to go off the rails a tad more often, so really, I think it was to get temptation out of her pantry and put it in mine lol

For some reason when I read the tag I thought it said it was to make hot chocolate, which confused me because the instructions say to add melted butter, and why would I put melted butter in to hot chocolate? So instead of, oh I dunno, re-reading what it was, I just assumed it was some sort of fancy hot chocolate deal and tucked it aside for when I wanted fancy hot chocolate.

Today was the perfect day for hot chocolate! It was snowy, and chilly but not cold, a great day for being cozy inside with a cup of hot chocolate and a book. πŸ™‚

Again, without re-reading the name of what I was making I poured the dry ingredients in to a mug, added the milk and melted butter, popped the whole thing in the microwave and eagerly awaited my hot chocolate.

Now, the instructions say to let it cool because it will be very hot but you can’t let hot chocolate cool too much or it becomes not as yummy, plus I have noooo patience lol. So it was out of the microwave maybe 30 seconds and I took a spoon to it – I’m that weirdo that likes to drink my hot chocolate by the spoonful instead of sipping from the side of the cup.

I dipped my spoon in and came up with some mighty thick hot chocolate *rolls eyes at self* Not to be deterred, and hello, it is chocolate so no matter what it is going to be good, I tried it and oh man was it good!

Definitely not hot chocolate though! πŸ˜›

It turned in to a fudgey, gooey, chocolate brownie….that just so happened to be in a mug.

There were milk and dark chocolate chips in it, which did not melt, but they were soft so when you got one on the spoon that bite had a little extra Mmm! to it. The bottom part of the brownie was a bit more dry than the top part, but still delish.

I did go take a second look at the instructions that came with the jar and only then noticed that is clearly says “Double Chocolate Mug Brownie”…hey, I never claimed to be super observant…

cake in mug 2

How I thought “hot chocolate” after seeing this I do not know.

cake in mug 3

The little jar it came in. The doily was on top of the lid to make it cuter.

cake in mug 5

Trust me, it tastes better than it looks!

cake in mug 1

The back of the tag – who doesn’t go “awww” when seeing those two hug?

So yeah, not quite the treat I was expecting, but lovely all the same. Now if only I could figure out exactly what was in the dry ingredients and the quantities so I could make it again! I can figure out the basics, but I’ve had cake-in-a-mug before and it was never as good as this one so something is different here…just not sure what.

Looks like I’ll be forced to taste test experiments until I figure it out – oh what a hard life! πŸ˜‰

Meatloaf…Of A Sort…

17 Jan

Does it still get to be called meatloaf if it isn’t, say, quite a loaf shape? Or any shape…

Deep thoughts to be pondered over here tonight.

When I was home at Christmas I took a pic of my mom’s recipe for meatloaf. I don’t know why meatloaf gets such a bad rap, my mom’s is really good. She was kind enough to make it when I was home and when her back was turned I took a pic of the recipe and smugly thought I could recreate it for myself anytime I wanted.

I really should know better by now. *rolls eyes*

The only thing I swapped in the recipe was Panko instead of bread crumbs, though it turns out mom actually uses wheat germ (not sure what that is, so I know it isn’t in my cupboard!). Other than that I did everything the recipe card said.

My cooking ability being what it is the meatloaf turned in to a red in the middle, setting off my smoke detector twice, mess. Oops?

Before the hour of cooking was up I heard sizzling sounds, the liquid from the meatloaf was spitzing over the edge of the loaf pan and sizzling. I started to freak out, what if it caught on fire or something? So I put a cookie sheet underneath the loaf pan to catch any flying liquid and then nervously sat staring at the oven for the remaining 15 minutes wondering if the cat and I were far enough away to not be harmed if it blew up. When the timer went off I took the loaf pan out oh so carefully (so as not to spill all that liquid that magically appeared…seriously, what is that? I used extra lean ground beef!), poured out the liquid, hastily put everything down so I could wave my oven mitt under the smoke detector to shut it off…fyi, there was no smoke so I don’t know why it went off. Then I cut in to the middle of the loaf, took a peek and swore because oh man so much red still left in there.

Obviously my oven’s 350 degrees is not the same as my mother’s oven’s 350 degrees.

I put it back in for another 20 minutes, nervously hovering and peeking through the window in the oven door…cause ya know, that’ll make everything work out better lol. When the 20 minutes was up I pulled the loaf pan out, poured out more liquid, waved the oven mitt under the smoke detector again, swore a bit louder this time, cut in to a different part of the meatloaf, discovered pink (which is a downgrade from red, so better I guess…), and put the whole thing back in the oven. sigh.

When I next pulled it out I had gotten smarter and put the oven fan on high so yay for no more smoke detector going off! I cut the meat loaf in a new spot, by this point the poor thing was in pieces, and thought it looked cooked through. Finally!

Totally got ahead of myself though. When I put the spatula in and pulled up a piece the bottom half stayed in the pan. Ok, fine, so that first piece won’t be pretty, that’s all good. Um, yeah, all of the lower half of the loaf stayed in the pan because while the top half became meatloaf-esque the bottom half did not. It was more uh, ground beef with some stuff mixed in it that I wasn’t sure was totally cooked.

I was fed up by this point so the upper half of the loaf got pulled out and put on a plate, the lower half that did not choose to take form got put in to a frying pan where I cooked it a bit longer, juuuuuust in case…hey now, no judging, nobody over here is wanting food poisoning thanks.

So this is what I ended up with…

There was more of the meatloaf that was sort-of loaf shaped, it just didn’t make it in to the picture because I’d already admitted defeat and put it in a tupperware container. I have been told the ground meat on the left would be good in a chili, I was thinking of using it as my breakfast protein for the next couple days and tossing some in with some scrambled eggs, or making a wrap or something…

The meatloaf that is sort-of loaf shaped is slowly being eaten. I ate some as-is and it was good. I also made a cold meatloaf sandwich and it was good then also. So, the flavour is right, the meat is cooked, it just didn’t take shape the way it would have for my mother.

I’m thinking maybe I had too much in the pan. It was quite domed above the edge of the loaf pan, but I thought it would be ok because my mom warned me it would shrink down, so I thought maybe it was supposed to start high…I’m now realizing that logic may be flawed and perhaps I should have either (1) used less meat (in my defence I used the amount specified in the recipe) or (2) split the mixture into 2 loaf pans.

It would be nice if these simple, logical thoughts, came to me while I am cooking, instead of the day after. πŸ˜‰

New Recipe and Frozen Pie

29 Sep

The other night a friend came over to help me move furniture. She was originally going to help me move but since I don’t have to move anymore (long story!) I decided to use her muscles to help me rearrange my living room.

In the way of friends, and moving, and all that, I offered to pay her for her help…in food. I figure you offer pizza and drinks when bribing friends to help you move, the least I could do was offer her dinner and dessert to help me rearrange furniture.

The rearranging was actually a lot easier than anticipated, which was a lovely surprise.

And the food turned out pretty decent, yay!

I got a recipe from a lady I follow on YouTube, it is called One Pot Enchillada Pasta. She got the recipe from someone she follows online (oh the wonders of the internet). The link to the video is here:

And here is the link to the original recipe…

https://www.iheartnaptime.net/enchilada-pasta/

Cause ya know, it is important to give the right people credit.

I won’t go in to the details of how to make the dish since I have just provided you with two links to that info, but here is a brief overview of my cooking adventure with this recipe.

The hardest part was finding enchilada sauce. Yup, you heard that right, that sauce was an elusive beast. I just sorta assumed it would be in the Old El Paso aisle at any grocery store so I stopped at Superstore on my way home from work to grab that and a bunch of the other ingredients, only to discover they don’t carry enchilada sauce, in any aisle, by any brand. Uhh, it is sorta one of the main most needed ingredients considering “enchilada” is in the title of the recipe! I had a sneaky suspicion that if Superstore didn’t carry it other stores might not so I then proceeded to call a bunch of other grocery stores (figured calling saved me more time than driving all over the place) and it turns out nobody had the sauce.

Just greeeeeat.

There goes that cooking plan. *rolls eyes*

Later that night at home I googled the sauce and discovered that Save-On-Foods carries it and they have the whole order online and pick-up the order whenever it is convenient for me deal so that is exactly what I did. I placed the order, timed my pick-up for after work the next day, problem solved!

The actual meal is easy to make, mostly because it is dumping a bunch of stuff in a pot lol Just brown the meat (ground beef or turkey, whatever you prefer), add the other stuff, stir, cook for a while, add a couple last minute things, stir, cover and simmer for a while, add some cheese and cover until the cheese has melted, serve.

Easy peasy.

I opted to not put the cheese on top and let it melt, mostly because the recipe called for a lot of cheese and sour cream and pasta, and is just in general a not-healthy recipe and I thought the least I could do was have us add our own cheese to our own bowls so we can decide how smothered our food was. It probably didn’t make much of a difference calorie wise at that point but hey, a girl can try!

Oh, and you can top your serving with a whole variety of things, tomatoes, avocado, green onions, sour cream, really, whatever you want. So I prepped some stuff for use as toppings and had it ready to go.

My bowl ended up looking like this…

one pot enchilada pasta

Yes, I know my ratio of sour cream to everything else is out of whack but whatever, I like sour cream and very rarely eat it, shrug. You can’t really see the actual dish I made, only the toppings, but it is under there!

It turned out tasty. Spicy, thanks to the green chilies and possibly the enchilada sauce (I’m not sure just how spicy that sauce is since I didn’t taste test it separately before adding it to the pot), but not so spicy it is hard to eat. I used regular penne pasta for mine, and I added in one cup vs the 2 cups of ziti noodles the original recipe called for. I gotta say, one cup of penne was plenty! I don’t see why you’d need more than that. I think other than the change in cheese and the change of noodles I stuck to the recipe.

I’m happy with how it turned out, it made a huge amount of food, I had left overs for daaaaays! Despite that, I probably won’t make it again, unless I am making it to take somewhere, because it is so unhealthy, but as a one off it was enjoyable.

Dessert was also served that night, in the form of a frozen pie I actually bought from the friend that was helping me. She was fundraising and selling frozen baked items and one of the things I bought from her was a peach pie. I never got around to baking it and her coming over seemed the perfect excuse.

All I had to do was pop it in the oven for an hour, it then said to let it cool for two hours, which we felt was extreme so we cut in to it sooner than that lol Whoever said patience was a virtue wasn’t waiting for a pie to cool!

The crust was nice and flaky, the peaches were delish, the glaze or sauce or whatever you want to call it that the peaches were in was interesting. Not bad, just not what I was expecting. I think they added the juice or flavouring of another fruit in there, which is odd, is it not? Maybe that’s just me…

peach pie

I was able to send left overs home with my friend and take a good chunk of the pie over to a different friend’s place a day or so later, the pie sure did make the rounds lol

All in all, it was a good pie, I could have made better (yes, I know that sounds smug but don’t hate a baker, that’s not nice πŸ˜‰ ) but it was nice to have the convenience of just popping a ready made pie in to the oven and not have to do all the work of actually making it. Which I guess is why ready made foods are such a massive industry lol

So yeah, there we have it, two yummy dishes, made and enjoyed by all. πŸ™‚

Spilled Egg

8 Aug

Why is it “spilled” when it is a liquid but “dropped” when it is a solid?

Not really the point of my post but just a thought to wonder about…at 2am…when I should be sleeping… πŸ˜‰

Tonight after rehearsal I came home and was making myself a late dinner. Usually if I have a later dinner it is super simple, and on the smaller side, and sort of breakfast related…what can I say, breakfast foods tend to be my favourite, shrug.

I opted for egg on toast, though my version also has two slices of turkey bacon on there, so the layers go: toast, turkey bacon, over easy fried egg. Simple. Tasty. Has protein. Yum!

I’ve made this often enough I have the timing down perfectly so there I am with the bread toasted and on the plate, the turkey bacon on top of the toast, and I bring the fried egg over via spatula to put the egg on top of the bacon but the egg slips and next thing you know it is flying through the air and landing sorta stuck between the front of the cupboard and a plastic bag that holds my empty pop cans (I collect them for the bottle depot). I actually had a brief moment when I thought I could somehow save the egg but then it continued it’s journey downwards (damn you gravity!) and plop, it was on the floor.

The floor of my kitchen that I haven’t scrubbed in over a week.

Crap.

I picked up the still hot egg, saw the cat hair on it, made a mournful sound, and put the still hot egg in the compost.

Trying to move on from the disaster, and also trying to fix the meal before my toast and turkey bacon went stone cold I quickly cooked another egg.

As I pick this egg up on the spatula to carry over to the toast I am more cautious, no repeats of last time thank-you-very-much!

Instead, as I transfer the egg from the spatula to on top of the turkey bacon it starts to slide and almost goes off the plate in to the sink!

NoooOOOOooooo!

Luckily I managed to save it and put it back where it belonged. Phew!

You should have seen how careful I was when carrying my plate to the chair where I sat and ate. I was half convinced the universe didn’t want me to eat tonight and was doing everything in its power to ruin my meal. Because obviously it couldn’t have been my fault, not my clumsiness or anything that might be the problem here… πŸ˜‰

egg

A Safeway Sandwich

28 Jun

The other day I had a small amount of time to grab something to eat so I stopped at Safeway and did that whole build your own sandwich deal…yeah…so not worth it.

I’ve never gotten a sandwich from there but since my options were one of the pre-packaged sandwiches, a freshly made to order sandwich, or my going to Subway, I thought this was a healthy choice.

The list of options you can pick from is out of date so the first three types of bread I asked for I was told I couldn’t have because they don’t use that bread anymore. Okaaaaay…annoying but fine. Then the guy couldn’t tell me how much my sandwich was going to cost because it depended what meat I got, I told him I wanted turkey and he was still unable to tell me how much it was going to cost. sigh. Then when he put the turkey on the bread it only covered half the bread! The meat is pre-portioned to make sure they only put a certain amount on the sandwiches but the portioned out amounts are freakishly small, so I asked for double meat. Oh, and when I asked how much it would cost for double the turkey he said it depended on how much the turkey cost…but he didn’t follow that up with how much the turkey costs, he just ended the sentence like that lol

I was starting to wonder just how much this sandwich was going to cost me. At this point I didn’t really want it anymore, it was becoming more effort than it was worth, but not like I could walk out half way through the sandwich making process. *rolls eyes*

The rest of the sandwich had mustard, light mayo, spinach, cucumber, tomato, red onion, and one slice of cheddar cheese. a fairly classic combo.

safeway sandwich

I was doing the really classy thing of sitting in my car and eating the sandwich, I would have eaten it while driving but they didn’t cut it so it was too large for me to hold and eat, while driving.

The first bite was pretty much all bread and that kinda set the tone for the rest of the sandwich, the tone being I was eating stale bread. I know, I know, first world problems! But c’mon, I paid for this freshly made sandwich and they can’t even be bothered to put it on bread that isn’t stale? Not cool Safeway.

In the end the bread was inedible, I ended up opening the sandwich up and eating the meat, cheese, and veg, then threw the bread away. So, yay on saving calories! But boo on paying for something that turned out to be a waste of money.

I should’ve just gone to Subway. πŸ˜›

%d bloggers like this: