Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Five Ways To Beat That Holiday Food Hangover

We all do it, just about every year. We eat until we can eat no more. And then we eat some more... One of my favourite websites, published a great comic about Thanksgiving, but the idea generally extends itself into the new year... the print is a little small, if you can't make it out, click the picture and it'll take you to the page, trust me it's worth the second it takes.

So... onto the five ways that I think are best for beating that holiday food hangover:

1. Probiotics: 

-Actually it's best if you just take these all month. We buy these in pill form, and they just seem to keep everything on track. We take them with breakfast and dinner.

2. Bump up that Fibre: 

-Chances are, you're not going to eat out for all three meals a day. I am not for a second trying to suggest you replace holiday goodies with leafy greens or bran muffins... I mean, if you want to, go for it... I am of the opinion, though, that the week between Christmas and New Years is the one week that I am not going to miss out on food. Even if it means a couple of pounds to work off at the end of it, which buy the way if you follow rule number 5, this doesn't really become a problem. But, there's nothing wrong with adding in some Mini Wheats to your breakfast, making sure you stick some fruit into your day, or checking out some new recipes at places like, where they pretty much put bran in everything. I always find having a nice greek salad for lunch also makes me feel refreshed too.. If you want my recipe, check out the pic below.

-By the way, ideal consumption of fibre per day is something like 25-30 grams per day. Not many of that get that, but now's not the time to try! Add that to the dozen sausage rolls and 3 cups of gravy you already ingested, and talk about plumbing problems! Try fitting in an additional 5-10 grams, and make sure you get plenty of water with that (see number 3!).

3. Drink Plenty of Water:

- I've heard that we may not actually need 6-8 glasses of water per day. I happen to be a fan of water, I just think it makes you feel better. But even if you don't, around this time it's important to flush all that pie dough out and avoid it sticking to your ribs... Not to mention all of the additional salt we take in at this time of year.. Water will just make you feel better, plain and simple.

4. Walk it off

-I know most of us will not even dream of going for a walk right after a huge meal...If you can, more power to you. Do it. Even if it's 20 minutes. And if that's really not going to happen for you, go the next day. Chances are, one day through the holiday season you'll wake up feeling like you have rocks in your stomach, and taking a walk really helps things settle. You can read about it at, but essentially it helps digestion and speeds up metabolism.

5. Eat Slowly, stop when you're full. Wait till everyone else is served.

-This is honestly one week out of the year that I have a hard time practicing what I preach. The French are able to eat everything they want, and they don't usually have such horrible digestive problems. That is because they follow the above principles. It really does work.

Hope your holiday season is full of good food, good wine and good times.
Have a great day!

Monday, 26 December 2011

Easy Butterflied Baked Shrimp

As far as I know, here in Quebec, we call this Shrimp Scampi, but when I did a search for that, I came up with something totally different.... So I found this Wolfgang Puck recipe at the Food Network, but changed it a little bit because of what I had on hand. This is a great, quick one that would be ideal for serving for New Year's Eve. You could make it earlier in the day, and then it cooks in just minutes. 


  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 16 extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on (I used about a pound of large frozen shrimp)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp fresh or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves (don't go for dried...)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 4 ounces butter, melted
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Lemon wedges, as garnish

Start by butterflying your shrimp, shell on, from head to tail where the vein was supposed to be removed... but don't you find deveined shrimp always seem to have some part of the vein left? Anyway, the original recipe suggests you also make three little slits going the opposite way, but I didn't read that the first time round, and it wasn't really a big deal. 

Preheat your oven to 500°F. Mix together the breadcrumbs, herbs, s & p, and garlic. Drizzle a little butter onto your baking sheet to prevent the shells sticking. Then, it's pretty much an assembly line. Think of Chicken Cutlets... Same method, except with butter instead of eggs and milk. Dunk the opened shrimp into the butter, then into the breadcrumb mixture. Then, place each shrimp on your baking sheet, open-faced up. Single layer only!

At this point, you can refrigerate the shrimp for a couple of hours if needed (Take it out a few minute before baking if you do this) or pop it into the oven for five minutes. This recipe is so easy, and was delicious. Happy Holidays and may you eat until you can eat no more!

Have a great day! 

Thursday, 22 December 2011


So it's my Dad's birthday, and we decided against buying presents this year for Christmas, but I still wanted to do something small for his birthday (even though he told me not to). My dad really loves his beer, so I figure how can he be made at an idea like this? I've been seeing this idea all over the place, and decided it was time to steal this idea for my dear old Dad. The first place I saw this idea was over at Life of a Modern Mom. She did a great job with a few different bottles. I like her Guinness bottles best for some reason... Don't you just think that is the most attractive beer? Anyway, I myself went for festive colours, and I am happy with how these turned out.

At this time of year, we are all looking for something different to give people. Something meaningful, useful, or sometimes just plain funny. What interesting gift ideas have you come up with this year? I'd love to hear about them. Hope the remainder of your pre-holidays are filled only with that good kind of Christmas stress, and that things don't get to frantic.. Otherwise, crack open a nice bottle of beer, and chill out. 

Have a great day!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Tomato Brie Snack

So I don't know about you, but I sometimes find that it's hard to think of interesting snacks that are quick, healthy and preservative free.... The North American granola bar and low fat yogurt so do not make the cut for me.... In fact, even good, real yogurt is not my favourite to bring with me wherever I'm at... So I'm on the hunt for some interesting snacks. The checklist? Not too high in overall calories, some fat is ok though; it must have protein as my blood sugar gets a little testy otherwise; as fake-food-free as possible, and overall just good.

Pretty much every school I go to has a toaster oven in it, so I decided to combine two things I really like: tomatoes and brie. Not to mention my fridge is slightly overstocked with more cheese than I know what to do with at the moment...Not such a horrible problem to have!

I suppose you could just eat this at room temp if you didn't want to bother heating it up. And here's what I came up with I just put it in the toaster oven on 400 or so, and waited a couple of minutes. Drizzled on some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and black pepper, just 'cause.... Here's what I came up with:

You may think that I'm a nut and that I'm totally off on this being calorie frendly... I've gotta say, as a former Weight Watcher member, I can count calories in my sleep. I used maybe slightly more than an once of cheese, and a half a teaspoon of really good quality olive oil. This is certainly not more calories than one of those over-process, less than extraordinary granola bars. And for my taste, I'd pick this option any day. I've gotta say, this one was lusciously gooey and delicious. Remember, eat real food, practice moderation, eat slowly!

I'd love to hear what interesting snack options you guys have been coming up with lately, please do chime in, I'm looking forward to hearing some interesting ideas!

Have a great day!

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Monday, 19 December 2011

A Thirty Minute Meal: Cheesy French Mushroom Baguette

This is a recipe that I have made several times over the last few years. I got the idea from Rachael Ray, it's pretty similar to the original, but I sort of just throw stuff in according to what I have on hand. You can check out the original recipe here. Not only is it totally delicious, but it can also be thrown together in 30 minutes, a plus, especially around the holidays. It's a sort of a sophisticated pizza-ish meal, that is a lot healthier.

* A word on the amount of cheese in this recipe. I realize 3 cups sounds like an awful lot of cheese, and if you wanted, you could cut it down. But honestly, if this is your main meal, and you DO get 8 servings out of this, I don't think there is any reason for panic here. Yes cheese is fatty, but let's not forget that some fat does make us feel more satisfied more quickly, and literally makes us happy. Do you know that a diet that is too low in fat can be linked to depression? That would explain why I turn into a total nut-job whenever I've gone on Weight Watchers... Also, this is a vegetarian meal, and so this cheese is also an important source of protein. Moderation is key. EAT THE CHEESE, PEOPLE!

I think this recipe is VERY Mediterranean. Just have a small piece, a salad and a glass of wine, and you will be totally satisfied.

SERVINGS:  4-8 servings 
(depending how many men are around....)


2 packs of white button mushrooms, sliced (or a mix of whatever is good - price is a factor !)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3-4 cloves crushed garlic
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme (or 1 sprig fresh if you have it)
s & p
1/2 cup white or red wine (both work well, but I only ever have red in the house)
1 tsp Worchestershire sauce
1 baguette
3 cups sharp cheese (I like cheddar, but any strong cheese will do)

2 onions, caramelized, to go on top of the mushroom mixture (that takes some time...)
a few handfuls of chopped spinach, to be added to the mushrooms with the wine


If you are caramelizing the onions, go ahead and do that before anything else, because it takes quite some time. Cook on medium low with some olive oil, thyme and salt and pepper for at least 20 minutes or so. This was the first time I added that step in, and I'd say it's worth the extra effort.

Chop up all of your mushrooms, and heat up a big pan on medium to medium-high. Eyeball about 3 or so tablespoons of olive oil. Dump in your mushrooms, and stir in the bay leaf, thyme, s & p. Let the mushrooms cook until they've released their liquid. Add in the wine. I had some leftover spinach to use up, so I figured why not bump up the nutrition as much as possible. Leave it cook for just a couple of minutes.

While this is cooking away, half the baguette length-wise, and pull out some of the insides, creating a concave shape for more mushroom-y goodness.

Pile the mushrooms onto the open baguettes (get them on a cookie sheet before, to avoid a transportation disaster). If you have the caramelized onions, spread them on top of the mushrooms. Pile on the cheese, and stick these puppies under the broiler.

And there you have it folks. A marriage of mushrooms and cheese into a melty, flavour explosion... It is totally decadent.

Have a great day!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Review: Fun Foodie Find - Preservative Free Veggie KD!

So about a year ago, Kraft Dinner came out with a new line of healthier, "smart" mac 'n cheese. I have to admit. I was a doubter. But since following the Mediterranean Diet, I've made it a goal to try to consume foods with the least amount of chemicals, preservatives, and general non-food items possible. BUT I LOVE KRAFT DINNER!!! Any good ol' Canadian girl will tell you the same thing. Whether or not you put ketchup on it is up for debate (I SAY YESS!), but other than that, it's a classic! So needless to say, I've been missing KD for sure.

I decided I'd give it a try Kraft Dinner Smart Vegetable Macaroni and Cheese and let you Nervous Nellies all know how it turns out.


I like it! I've gotta say, it's not as different as I thought it would be. The vegetable being used here is cauliflower. My gut reaction was that it sounded disgusting. But, knowing that this was a product with far fewer chemicals, I went against my better judgement and gave it a shot. It was really good! Does it taste like cauliflower? Yes. But, somehow, in the best possible way. I don't love cooked cauliflower, because it has this sort of strange, back-of-your-throat taste to it that when I was a kid could make me gag. But the aftertaste of the KD was a very pleasant taste, kind of like you get when you're eating a really good cream of cauliflower soup.


This was a concern for me. I thought it might be a little mushier with all of that cauliflower in it. Well... in reality, who actually knows how much goes into the mix. By no means am I thinking this is a substitute for vegetables. Anyway, the texture was not much different from regular KD.


Here is what goes into this stuff:

Pasta (wheat flour, freeze-dried cauliflower), cheese sauce (dried whey [from milk], cheddar cheese, salt, butter, sodium phosphates, natural flavours, citric acid (acidulant), annatto (for colour)

While this is definitely far better than the original KD, here's where I have some mixed feelings... 

1. "Natural Flavours" is a very loosely used term here in North America... It basically means that whatever "flavour" they used came from something from nature originally... as for what happened to this product between it's death and the arrival in the local grocery store... well... it is left up to the imagination.

2. "Annatto" is, according to Wikipedia: "a derivative of the achiote trees of tropical regions of the Americas, used to produce a yellow to orange food coloring and also as a flavoring." I suppose there could be worse things...but I still don't know how natural this is.

3. "Sodium Phosphates" are a big mystery to me. According to, it is "Sodium phosphate is a generic term that may refer to any sodium salt of phosphoric acid." Um... well that doesn't tell me much. So I checked what phosphoric acid is. According to, it is a clear liquid that is a mass-produced chemical. It is also a good rust remover, and the ingredient in Coca-Cola that rots your teeth. Yum... I remember my grandfather telling me how in WW2, they used to use Coke to clean the blood off the streets... So... doesn't sound too great. That this KD has no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives seems like a far stretch to me, and is only true by strict definition, I guess. Disappointing.

The Verdict: I DO overall think this product is a pretty ok alternative to regular KD if you are trying to follow a fake-food-free way of living. If an old fashioned macaroni au gratin with white sauce and sharp cheddar is a ten in terms of how good and normal the ingredients are, and KD is a one, I'd give this version a 5. It tastes good, has somewhat better nutritional value, and even though it still has some ingredients I am skeptical of, it is still a much better option than regular Kraft Dinner.

That being said, stick to that sharp cheddar version of macaroni and cheese, other than a late night craving once or twice a year. And when that happens, bring out the ketchup!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Strange Things for Breakfast...

So today I decided to take the day off. As some of you know, I am substitute teaching right now, which gives me lots of freedom to come and go as I please, but yet to work as often as I need to. I've been feeling under the weather, and after a busy, busy weekend, I decided to stay home, do some blogging, rest up and tackle Mount Laundry and the Land of Dirty Dishes.

On my way home from driving the hubby into work (I need the car for groceries) I was thinking of weekly meals, and got smoked oysters in my head.... and couldn't get them out. To the point that I decided to have some as part of my breakfast. Why not? They work with all of the rules of the Mediterranean Diet. Who's to say there aren't a bunch of Greek or Italian fisherman doing the very same thing at their houses? Ok, I know sardines are a little more traditional, but who's really looking? Anyway, all I have to say is, yum... I thoroughly enjoyed my breakfast, and now am off to do some groceries!

My question for you today is, what are some of the strangest things YOU have ever had for breakfast?

Can't wait to hear what you have to say!
Have a great day.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Chicken Fajitas

So Mediterranean My Way is all about taking the principles of the Mediterranean Diet and putting them in action  in a way that is relevant to my life. Since I am Canadian, and live on the outskirts of one of the best culinary cities in North America, and maybe the World, that means my flavour palate has a really wide range, and includes ingredients from... everywhere! This is my fajita recipe, I usually make it with chicken, but it could certainly be used for pork or beef. It's always a big hit, and you'll definitely never go back to those chemical-laden seasoning packets again.

Servings: Well... Depends how many fajitas you can eat! About 6-ish.


2 bell peppers
1-2 medium onions
2 lbs chicken breast
1 tbsp chili powder
1-2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
S & P to taste
Optional: a splash of lemon, lime or hot sauce for the end (or a combination of 2)

grated Cheddar (the stronger, the better)
thinly sliced lettuce or your choice
sliced avocado or guacamole
sour cream (FULL FAT!)
hot sauce


This recipe can be whipped up in under 30 minutes for sure, start to finish. You'll wonder why you've been paying 15-20 bucks a person for ordering them in a restaurant where they come out on one of those smokey skillets that make everyone stare at you in wonder....

Slice up the peppers and onions into nice biggish slices. You want to know they're there when you eat your fajita! Fry them up in a little olive oil in a caste-iron skillet.

Do the same with your chicken breast. Then dump in the dry herbs and spices. Fry it on a medium heat (higher if you're NOT using a caste iron pan). I just want to point out why one would want to use a caste iron frying pan. Take a look at the nice colour it gives the chicken. That's flavour baby. Caste iron is the best for meat. Period.

Serve this all up with the condiments I've listed, but really... it's your fajita! Add whatever you like!

Enjoy! Don't forget a nice glass of wine, something really full bodied with a deep flavour. Think Argentinian or Chilean.

Have a great day!

Monday, 5 December 2011

The Little Mermaid Cake

So a little while ago, I ended up making two identical Ariel cakes for the very same day... it was very bizarre. I guess the Little Mermaid is the theme to have for little girl birthday parties these days. I can't believe it's lasted this long!

So I thought that maybe to kick-start me getting back into things, I would start off with a my very favourite chocolate cake recipe. I like it primarily because of the taste, but also because of it's simplicity in both method and ingredients, all key factors in my book.

If you want to get my marshmallow fondant recipe, you can check out a previous post I did about a Barbie Cake. I did make it by hand this time though.

Before the fondant went on, this cake was iced with the Wilton Buttercream recipe. For the filling, since it was a two layer cake, I took about a cup of icing, and mixed in a big ol' spoonful of dulce de leche, and then chopped up two milky way bars finely and mixed it all together. That turned out really nicely... although you can't REALLY go wrong with those ingredients, now, can you?

So this cake recipe come from, and it is now the only one I use for chocolate cake. It sort of has an Oreo taste to it if you can imagine. It's a soft, delicate cake with rich colour and an intense chocolate taste. I often find chocolate cake not as chocolatey as you'd expect it to be, but this recipe will not disappoint.  In this particular cake, I double the recipe and bake off two ten inch square cakes, which is different from the usual. I just lowered the temp and extended the baking time.

One Bowl Chocolate Cake


  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two nine inch round pans.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed of mixer. Stir in the boiling water last. Batter will be thin. Pour evenly into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Also makes great cupcakes in about 18-20 minutes!

Here are a couple of alternate views of my cakes, everything was hand made by moi, well, except the candle.

Have a great day!

Friday, 2 December 2011

Back in Action!

I'm back! So for those of you who do not know, I am a teacher. Two years ago, I made the decision to switch over to my local school board, which is pretty hard to get an English job teaching in, as I live in Quebec, and although it is one of our English school boards, it is French Immersion, meaning that the kids spend at least 50% up to 100% of their day in French. My French is good, but the grammar aspect, not good enough to teach. It's so surprising to me that people don't realize that not all of Quebec is French speaking, and that there is a substantial population who live their lives pretty much only in English. I only really started speaking French, other than obligatory, poor quality French classes in school, when I worked in a French private school as the English teacher.

ANYway.... All that to say, I decided to switch over to this board despite all of this, and wait it out and be a substitute in the meantime. I like this school board much better than the others, and there is very little travel involved, which makes a huge difference. So now that I'm subbing, I realize that I think for the time being I actually like it better than teaching. The money is just about the same, there's no planning, no parent teacher interviews, portfolio nights or report cards, no long-term stress (a bad day just means I need an extra glass of wine, and then it's over and done with), the work is regular but if I feel like taking a day off because my house is a mess, I just don't work that day! This board has an online substitution system that is just fabulous, and I basically made my salary for a good part of last year not knowing a single person in the board, yet working everyday because of this online system. So, unless I get a great offer, I plan to keep subbing, and am thrilled at the thought of the freedom it gives me.

I spent Term 3 of last year replacing a teacher on sick leave in the most wonderful grade 1 class that could ever be, and I loved it. That same teacher had a gradual re-integration this year, with a different class, and I was replacing her a few days a week up until very recently. That being said, if you look at my past posts, you'll notice they sort of dropped off in September, and then stopped altogether. I guess I got a little overwhelmed with being in that class, and just stopped writing. But now that I've finished up with that, I'm back into the swing of things. I'll be back writing, hopefully Monday through Friday, and sometimes the weekends too. I'm super excited to be back into action, and have lots of great ideas to share with you all! I hope you will join me, and as usual I would love to hear about your experiences with the Mediterranean lifestyle, weight loss and seasonal living.

Until Monday!
Have a great day!

Friday, 30 September 2011

Sometimes Something's Just Not For You.....

So a year or two ago, I saw the London episode of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. On it, he eat's at Fergus Henderson's St. John, where his favourite thing ever, apparently, is served to him. Roasted beef marrow on toast with salt and parsley caper salad. Since that day, I've been dying to try this. A year ago, I actually bought one piece of bone marrow, but it never made it to the oven, it was freezer burned. So yesterday, I decided to go for one more piece, since my grocery store happened to have them, and they only cost around $2.50 anyway.

The way I saw it, if it was Bourdain's favourite meal ever, I pretty much was destined to love it also. You can check out a good chunk of that episode below, including where he eats this:

So if YOU are interested in trying this delicacy, you essentially roast it on 450° for 15 to 20 minutes until it starts getting oozy, and serve it with the parsley salad and bread. The recipe is all over the place. 

We sit down to the meal, and I am feeling really hesitant looking at what lies in front of me. My husband reminds me that I am the one who always says to have an open mind. Oh my god. I hated this. I actually spit it out. It felt like I took some chunky slimy Crisco and rubbed it all over the inside of my mouth. I just shuddered as I wrote that. This was not for me. Oh well. Now I know. Lesson learned: Bourdain's word is not the word of God and I will not always love everything he idealizes.

On the bright side, my dinner was delicious! But I left my camera on, plugged into the computer like a genius (it's probably the 4th time this month) and we have no batteries, and I didn't get any pics of it. I'll have to make it again soon, it will become a regular thing for sure. Brick squashed chicken in a caste-iron frying pan. In the meantime, you can check out Michael Smith's recipe that I used. 

Click this link for the recipe!
Have a great day!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

A Good Idea...

So my plan today was to write about these sort of Middle-Eastern/Mediterranean-ish spiced cabbage rolls I made yesterday. It was a vegetarian recipe I'd been wanting to make for years. Every once in a while, though, a recipe is simply not good. That was the case here, and it was tremendously disappointing to me. We ended up using McDonald's coupons. SIGH.....

On the bright side, though, I did end up starting my meal with a very good idea that took about five minutes to put together. Not so much a recipe, but just something that can be thrown together and altered depending on what you have in the house. This is sort of along the lines of a BLT, if you can imagine Basil being a substitute for lettuce. Little did I know, it turned out to be a starter to my Big Mac trio.

Here's my recipe (if you can call it that), it's for two people:

4 pieces of melba toast
1 handful of cherry tomatoes (or about half a big tomato) chopped up
2 pieces of bacon, diced and fried
4-6 fresh basil leaves (or a pinch of dried basil)
2 sprigs fresh oregano (or a pinch of dried oregano)
a splash of white (or red) wine vinegar
a drizzle of really good extra virgin olive oil

Here's the oil I used, it's an award winner that I've mentioned in the past, and is really fantastic. 

Really and truly, you just need to mix it up, spoon it onto the melba toasts, or any other good toasted bread, and maybe give it another drizzle of olive oil just for extra loveliness. 

That's all there is to it! Even my non-tomato adoring husband really liked these. I think they're a great example of how you can incorporate small amounts of meat without them being the main part of the meal, yet another Mediterranean Diet principle. Just as long as you don't follow them up with a Big Mac...

Have a great day!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Chickpea Orzo Salad

The following salad is really among my favourite go-to recipes. I don't make it as often as I'd like, as my husband is not that huge on cold salads, but when I do, it's a real winner. Not to mention that if you double it, it is great to bring to a potluck. This is not an original recipe, I must confess. My mom got it from a healthy recipe magazine of some kind, but sadly, I do not know which one.

Here's the recipe:

1 cup uncooked orzo
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1 19once can chickpeas, drained
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon cold water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic

This recipe is really quick to make. While you're boiling the pasta in salted water, chop up all of the green onions, feta, and dill in whatever you'd like to mix your ingredients in. I also put the garlic, water, oil, lemon and salt into the container too... For the most part, I feel like making dressing in a separate dish is kind of a waste of a dirty dish... I've been using those glass containers with plastic lids for everything these days. I even threw out most of my plastic containers. 

Sadly, I tried to use my new pot with one of those deep colanders that you leave in the pot of water and then just slowly lift out when the pasta is done, but the orzo mostly just came sliding out of the wholes. I ended up draining the pasta in one of those really small... I can't think of the name. You know, the strainers that you'd use to rince off berries or whatever? 

Then, just mix in the orzo once it's cooled off for a few minutes. How easy is that? I really love this salad... I hope it inspires you to make it at home. It's healthy and delicious, and that's what the Mediterranean Diet is really all about. 

Have a great day!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Beet Salad

Whoa! How has a whole week gone by since my last post? It's been one of those weeks. Only had time to quickly check email and facebook and then off to the races!!!

So getting back into it, I still have had lots of beets to use up. After going to a new little cafe that recently opened up where I live, I was inspired to make a beet salad using an ingredient you wouldn't expect to go so well with beets: oregano. My replication was pretty similar, and it made enough to last me the week, which is great to do since they do last a little longer than your average salad.

Here's my recipe:

5-6 whole beets
1/4-1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
3 tbsp good olive oil
1-2 tbsp red vinegar
1 tbsp dried oregano
salt and pepper

Optional: crumbled goat cheese or feta

So I simply boiled the beets until they were fork tender. I let them cool down and then peeled them, which is so much easier when they are cooked. I cut them sort of like you would potatoes for a chunkier french fry. 

Then it was all about dumping the ingredients in and tossing them up.

I 've been eating then both with and without the optional cheese, but honestly, I'm not sure which I like better. You can't really go wrong with goat cheese, though, can you?

That's all for today, have a great one!

Monday, 19 September 2011

An Accidental Experiment: Beet Bread

So... Keeping with my seasonality theme, I was wanting to do some baking with the carrots I bought. Seeing as I did by 30 lbs of vegetables if you include the beets and potatoes I bought, I didn't really think it would be such a bad thing to leave them out. I figure, hey, that's how you buy them in the store, so why not? Well... I've been noticing a little bit of a fruit fly problem lately, which isn't shocking, because anyone who leaves fruit out to ripen in the summer has dealt with this on some level.

Anyway, so I have this carrot bread that I adore, so when there were no subbing jobs on Friday, I figured it would be a good idea to make this fantastic bread. I open up my bag of carrots, and to my surprise, a whole freakin' family of fruit flies comes storming out of the carrot bag, leaving behind about 9 lbs of carrots with black spots on them. Needless to say, the carrot bread did not make it to the menu.

I did have 10 lbs of beets to play with, however. And recently, I heard you can grate raw beets into a salad like you do carrots, so I thought, why not just replace the carrots with beets in my delicious bread???

So I did! And it turned out great! I'll have to post the carrot bread recipe another time. I also changed up the seasoning, because, well, I just did.

Here's my recipe for a 2 lb loaf:

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I ended up using a good 1/4 to 1/2 extra)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup water
1 cup finely shredded raw beet - 1 good sized beet
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter or oil
1/2 to 1 tsp dried thyme (depending if you like a strong thyme flavour or not)
1/4 tsp ground nutmet
2 1/2 tsp yeast

So I dumped all of this into the dough cycle on my bread machine, and it was a beautiful pink. I always feel like I'm making something good when the result is an intense, but natural colour like this.

Then I rolled it out much in the same way I would to make French Baguette, only shorter, because I was looking for a fatter loaf.

I rolled it up, put it on a pizza pan with some cornmeal, and then let it rise for about 40 minutes. I made some slits in the dough after this, just to let some air escape.

I baked the bread in a preheated oven on 400°F for about 25-30 minutes, or until it sort of sounds hollow all over when you knock on it gently. This is how it came out. My husband told me he thought it sort of looked like ground beef... I can't really disagree. It does sort of look like meatloaf when it's raw. 

ANYway, this turned out great. I loved this recipe and would definitely make it again. The strange thing about this bread is that, while the crust stays nice and pink, the inside sort of loses it's colour. Oh well, not that that would make it taste any different, but the idea of eating red bread was appealing to me. Sunday morning, I turned it into a bacon and egg sandwich with roasted red peppers, a little mayo and HP sauce... It was very excellent, I must say. 

I would definitely recommend trying this, if nothing else, for the novelty of having pink bread. Not to mention, it's a fantastic little loaf. 

Have a great day!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Feature Friday

Hi there folks. Welcome to another Feature Friday, in which I feature a fantastic recipe that I feel goes along with the principals of Mediterranean Living. This morning I came across a fantastic recipe for Gazpacho Soup. Michele over at My Italian Grandmother is someone who I follow, and I always think her recipes look fantastic. She lives in New Jersey, but is originally from Brooklyn. She really knows a thing or two about Italian cooking since... she IS Italian!!! 

My Italian Grandmother

Anyhow, this recipe is simple, authentic, and looks delicious. In this case the theme she was going for was more Californian, and she served it for a dinner group. I've always said I'd love to have a dinner group, maybe one day I'll make it happen... I have been known to host a theme party or two. You should really check her out, not only for this great looking Gazpacho, but also for the other delicious recipes she's created and graciously shared with us. 

If you have a recipe you'd like included on my Feature Friday, I'd love to hear all about it!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

What-You-Eat Wednesday

So folks, I've had a request to bring back What-You-Eat Wednesdays. This is the day that I list ingredients of a mystery food, and have you, dear readers, guess at what it is. I sort of let the last two that I did slide, and never got around to telling you what they were. So I'd like to take this opportunity to re-post them, but then let you know what they were.

Mystery Food # 1:


Need a clue? In its regular state, this food is a condiment that I think makes a bad day better.... You can scroll down to find the answer.

Mystery Food # 2 :
Water, Glucose-Fructose/Sugar, Citric Acid, Simulated Flavours, Sodium Carboxymethyl Cellulose , Less than 1/10 of 1% Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate , Colour  Red # 40, Blue # 1, and Yellow # 6, 
Your clue here: This is a 100 calorie treat that I love after a workout, even though it's filled with chemicals.

So, what are these foods?

Mystery Food # 1 is:

All I can say is... ew. So not worth it.

Mystery Food # 2 is:

Yum... evil, but still... So refreshing.

Mysteries solved!
Have a great day!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

A Simple Cream of Carrot Soup

So, in typical French fashion, I like to be very seasonal in the ingredients that I buy. During the summer I enjoyed the strawberries and asparagus, then the peaches and tomatoes, and now, along with apples and pears, root vegetables are starting to pop up, at amazing prices too. So how could I resist buying copious amounts of carrots, beets and potatoes. I ended up buying 30 pounds of vegetables for under six dollars! 

So, needless to say, I need to get busy and make some great things with these vegetables. They are taking up so much space that I didn't even try to put them away. I just have them lying neatly up next to my kitchen island. 

I know that Cream of Carrot Soup is eaten all over the place, but for some reason this kind of thing, sometimes called a Potage, is very Quebecois. In Quebec, possibly the most adored chef is named Ricardo Larrivée. He is the only chef I can think of that has a popular French AND English show, plus he has a magazine to top it off. Anyhow, so last year, I caught an episode of his show, and he was making the easiest carrot soup. I loved the colour and the flavours were so simple, yet worked so well together. 

And here's the recipe:

4 cups sliced carrots (about 6 or 7)
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
5 cups milk
1 pinch salt and pepper

So I chopped everything up...

Then I sautéed the carrots and onion in the two tbsps of butter for about 5 minutes. I added in the milk, salt and pepper, and brought it to a boil and simmered for about 20-25 minutes. Yes, the milk did burn on the pot a little bit... Not sure how to get around that exactly, but it didn't effect the taste of the soup. 

I just wanted to mention, that the first time I made this recipe, I was concerned that I would need to add some kind of additional seasoning. I mean, there's not a lot going into this soup. Just trust me, there is plenty of flavour, and in this case simplicity is key. This soup is fantastic. At this point, the carrots were tender. Ricardo says to put this in a blender or food processor, but I was feeling lazy, so I used a hand blender. I also like to strain this soup for an extra smooth consistency. It's not pretty, but makes a big difference. 

That's all there is to it! Stir in a little cream, you can even get fancy and write the first letter of peoples names. I did that last time, but this time, I was home by myself and just making lunch for me, so I opted for a pretty swirl. Delish... I ate this and then two pieces of Melba Toast with some goat cheese on it. What a nice lunch!

Have a great day!