Friday, April 22, 2011

Old favourites, new ways

Lately I've been experimenting with familiar foods done in a more diet-friendly way. Sometimes when people do this, they lower the fat and protein content, to reduce calories. In my opinion, this is not a great option. What works for me is increasing the protein and fat content, and removing carbohydrates from the mix.

These two dinners are examples of how I take regular dinners, in this case tacos and samosas, and make them work for me.

First up -tacos. Ditch that store-bought taco seasoning mix! If you read the ingredient list, you will understand why. Mexican flavourings are all about regular old spices and chilies. Dried chilies and chilies packed in oil or water can add amazing depth of flavour. Play around! Here's a delicious seasoned taco filling on salad with a generous helping of avocado and salad with lime-cilantro vinaigrette. I left store-bought dressings behind and haven't missed them once!! On the side is organic salsa and organic sour cream. Try this, and you won't be missing the tortillas!

















Second dish - samosas. I've always lived in neighborhoods with strong East Indian representation. So I've been lucky, and going to friends' houses I always got a lot of yummy Indian food! Samosas are one of my absolute favourites, along with pakoras and onion bhaji. So we made the samosa filling with meat instead of potatoes, added less peas and carrots, and served it with steamed broccoli. So good!! I put a bit of sour cream on the side because it was SPICY!


Monday, April 18, 2011

cravings


















Sometimes you have to give in to your cravings - this evening I decided to break down and eat a few potatoes. Because, really, what is better than a nice, big, perfectly cooked steak with a few potatoes on the side?! So darn good. A little jus beefed up with some cream and fresh herbs, a bright green side....this is what I call DINNER. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

B.L.D.


I've been watching too much daytime TV. There I said it - as a kind of disclaimer as to why this post includes a Rachel Ray reference. Effervescent, bubbly, and frequently an over-user of acronyms, Ms. Ray introduced me to the term "B.L.D." otherwise known as breakfast.lunch.dinner - the type of meal that is great anytime of the day or night.

I have two different meals to post today in the category of B.L.D., one of which is an omelette + salad, which is a meal I eat at least five times a week at various times, and the other is low-carb pancakes made out of coconut flour matched up with good old (organic, hormone free) bacon and sweet potato hash browns. Coconut flour is: a) more delicious than regular flour; b) high in fibre; c) gluten free. Yes, virtual high five.



















What's your favourite B.L.D.?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Chicken n' cheese

Low carb/paleo/Atkins....the list of labels goes on and on.....I'm not assigning any of them to my new way of eating. I'm also trying to stay away from the dreaded d-word (diet) and just focus on lifestyle. So for example, when I realize through trial and error that I can NOT make a successful cheese sauce without a scant tablespoon  of flour, I don't let it get me down. And I don't feel it's a big deal in the context of a healthy eating plan. What do you think? For this dinner, I simply baked some chicken legs and thighs (budget conscious and delicious), steamed some cauliflower in large florets because I like it to be extra crunchy, and made myself a cheese sauce. I like to let the cheese cook a bit long before I add the liquid, hence the brown bits in the sauce. This dinner was so delicious I almost licked the plate :P


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

First signs of spring

I picked up my first roadside veggie recently - purple broccoli! I'm truly fortunate to live down the street (like less than a kilometre) from a fabulous farm that has a gravel-lot-roadside-stand setup. I bought the broccoli because it was cheap, looked pretty, and I'm sick of kale and cabbage. Dear winter....eff off. The purple broccoli looks SO FUN:





Okay, sadface time.... the broccoli looks normal when cooked. AND it has a super bitter, more sulphur-y taste than regular broccoli. This baby needed cheese sauce, and bad. Unfortunately, I had neither cheese nor sauce ingredients. So here's the sad looking dinner that the gorgeous broccoli ended up like.



















PS. that boring looking chicken kebab is the Thai flavour skewer from the Thrify's deli - **highly recommend!!**

Monday, April 4, 2011

Cheat day adventure - making macarons!

Macarons are all the rage across the blogosphere. A good friend of mine came over Sunday morning for coffee, breakfast, and a baking adventure. It's nice to take a day off when you're on a diet, and really indulge in something decadent! Macarons are very sweet, so they're great with black tea or strong coffee. Macarons can be made in a myriad of colours and flavour combinations, since this was our inaugural venture, we kept it simple.

Here's the photo diary:

1. Trace the size of the macarons onto the backside of your parchment paper - we used a MAC fluidline

















2. Pipe the macaron batter onto parchment and bake

















3. Make the filling - we chose black raspberry for the flavour and lovely colour











4.  After they bake and cool, make the sandwiches using your cream, and enjoy!

















Hint: the macarons are even MORE delicious if you store them in an airtight container in the fridge for a half-hour, so the filling settles into the meringues.










Sunday, April 3, 2011

Who likes perogies!?

Um, yah... I do! I love perogies. In my familiy we do the boil-then-pan-fry method. With lots of sour cream, bacon, and onions on top. Ohhhhhhyeahhh. So obv. I can't eat perogies while being considerate of my waistline. So I came up with an awesome alternative! Caramelized braised brussel sprouts with perogy toppings! So here's the lowdown if you want to try it yourself: fry off some bacon and remove it onto paper towels. Cut the core out of the sprouts, cut in half, and put them cut side down in the bacon pan. let them fry for a while, until there are brown caramelized surfaces. Then add about a quarter cup of stock and a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar, and put the lid on the pan. Leave it for about three minutes. Then take off the lid, and let the liquid dry up. Put them in a bowl and add the perogy toppings. Sorry I forgot the green onions when I took the picture!! These brussels also taste amazing with just a little butter and parsley on top. Experiment! Add cheddar sprinkled on top if you want even more perogy flavour! The brussels sprouts are your oysters. (?!)