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january week 1 – check-in

7 Jan

it has officially been one week of no television for me. i have to say that this week was made a lot easier by having the company of my sister-in-law and my niece for the majority of the week. we got some good workouts in and got to spend some quality time together.

tomorrow afternoon i will be photographing some maternity shots for some very close friends of mine, clay and denise – i will post pictures up once they are done.

monday i go back to work and i think this might actually be where the challenge gets a bit tougher for me. after a long day of work, i often like to come home and unwind my brain by watching t.v. so, it will be challenge trying to figure out what to do when i don’t want to do anything.

this week i was able to figure out a way to take photos of my food for this blog and i wanted to share a couple “behind-the-scenes” photos with you because i just think the set-up is hilarious:

this is my husband, jared, helping hold up our sunlight to get some light on the loaded bowl (recipe below). we pulled our black blind all the way down to cover an upside down superstore bin that creates an infinity screen. so funny. we live in a small space (ie: we live in community in a house that currently home to: jared and i, our friends wes and rachel who co-own the house with us and their son, judah, our friend josh, and our transient guests, my brother in law daren, his wife kerri and their daughter, eilir, as well as our friend who is visiting from egypt! full house!!!) – this was a creative way to capture my food while not having to find room for more equipment!

the loaded bowl – serves 12

ingredients

3 c. quinoa, rinsed and drained

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (or diced fresh vine or roma tomatoes)

1 c fresh chopped cilantro

2 avocados, pitted peeled and diced

fresh lemon juice (to prevent avocado from getting brown)

s+p

juice of 4 limes and zest from 1 of them

for the dressing

1/4 c evoo (extra-virgin olive oil)

1/4 c white vinegar

2-3 cloves minced garlic

s+p

directions
1. Prepare quinoa according to package directions. Cover and set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add beans tomatoes, and cilantro. Toss to combine.
3. Dice avocado, drizzle with lemon juice, and set aside in fridge.
4. Add all dressing ingredients to a food processor or mini chopper. Pulse until garlic is blended and dressing appears creamy. Set aside in fridge.

5. Fluff quinoa with a fork and add bean mixture. Season with salt and pepper and add lime juice and zest. Toss to combine. Serve in bowls, topped with avocado and drizzled with dressing, dividing evenly.

keeps well in the fridge for 3-4 days. note: i added chicken to make this dish a complete meal.

(this recipe is from my favorite magazine – clean eating magazine )

those of you who are journeying with me – how was your first week? have you solidified your january goal? have you found your first week to be difficult? easy?

butter chicken

25 Mar

i want to share this DELICIOUS butter chicken recipe that will please your palate in less than half an hour (it is so so easy)! my husband and i gave this a 4.5/5 (which is one of the highest ratings we’ve given a dish). the only thing we will change next time: swapping half a cup of the water for coconut milk. the following recipe includes the swap.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 1 1/2  cup chopped red onion
  • 1 1/2  tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp chili pepper flakes
  • 1 heaping tablespoon garam masala (available at superstore in the ethnic aisle)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (or sucanant)
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup water (or 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup coconut milk)

Directions

  1. add oil to a skillet on medium high heat. once warm (about 30 seconds) add the ginger and onion and cook until onion is soft and fragrant.
  2. turn the heat down to low. add the tomato paste, spices and salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. add the chicken and stir well to coat it and cook for 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. finally, add the brown sugar, yogurt and water (or water/coconut milk), turn heat up to high and cook for 7 to 10 more minutes, until chicken breast is cooked through. keep a close eye during these ten minutes as the liquid can disappear quickly leaving you with little sauce!
  4. serve on warm pita, naan, or warm brown rice! enjoy!

i hope you try this dish! it is so so good!

(adapted from the spice goddess no-butter chicken recipe found here. butter chicken photo is also from this page.)

the tomato stack

6 Sep

an effortless, beautiful, and delicious salad

it is so rewarding when my passion for food and photography can be used together. i had so much fun taking pictures of this salad i made for some friends my husband and i had over for dinner last week. this salad is simple, but because it looks fancy, it really makes your guests feel special because you took the time to create something beautiful for them to enjoy. try this tomato stacker next time you have guests coming over that you want to impress!

ingredients:

– 1 vine tomato/guest – cut from vine with stem in tact

– fresh mozzarella cheese (also known as bocconcini cheese), sliced thin

-fresh basil

-salt + pepper

-balsamic vinegar + extra virgin olive oil

to make stackers:

using a sharp knife, cut off the bottom of each tomato to create a stable base. continue by slicing the tomato three more times and discard one of the middle portions (this ensures the stacker remains stable and doesn’t become too bulky once you start stuffing the layers). next, layer a slice of the fresh mozzarella and a large basil leaf between each layer of the tomato. i suggest putting some of the balsamic, oil, salt and pepper between each layer to ensure the cheese soaks up some flavor (fresh mozzarella is like a sponge, so it is really easy to infuse it with flavor). lastly, use the oil and balsamic when plating to create a simple dressing (however, use sporadically since you’ve already put most of the dressing within each layer).

i hope you enjoy this salad as much as i do!

my clean eating journey

14 Jun

the basic idea behind clean eating is consuming food in its most natural state. it is free from processed and refined food. you eat 5 to 6 small meals everyday, which helps to regulate your energy levels . drinking 2 to 3 litres of water a day ensures you are never dehydrated. additionally, weight training and cardiovascular workouts help to tone your body. it is a lifestyle, not a diet, and it is one that will help give you energy to sustain you throughout the entire day.

the research i am doing (and will continue to do!) and the lifestyle change isn’t just for my benefit. i’m doing this for my husband – so i can help educate him on how he can reach his fitness goals, my future kids – so i can raise them to consciously think about the food they put into their body, and also for my friends and family who desire to reach their own health and fitness goals. my hope is to be a resource for the people in my life who endeavor to reach and maintain their optimal level of health.

it is easy enough to buy well fitting clothes and feel confident in them, covering up parts of yourself that you are trying hide. however, at the end of the day, when the clothes come off and you are staring at yourself in the mirror, don’t you want to feel happy about the person staring back at you? this isn’t impossible to achieve! it just takes a bit of meal planning, educating yourself about healthy food choices, and a killer work-out plan.

what is really encouraging is knowing that what you put into your mouth accounts for 80% of having a healthy body while training is only 10% of the equation and 10% is due to genetics. this is why i am so passionate about clean eating. i LOVE food and i LOVE to cook. it couldn’t get any better!

Chicken in Thai Red Curry

13 May

i’m one of those people who struggles with selfishness, and i find it overwhelmingly present in moments when there is anything having to do with food. i don’t want to share this recipe because i want it to be MINE, a recipe i bust out to “wow” friends at dinner parties. in an effort to try to take a step in the right direction of overcoming such a struggle, i am posting the most fabulous homemade thai curry recipe i have yet to taste.
some friends had jared and i over for dinner and she made us a 3 course thai feast, and this was one of the recipes. i got the name of the recipe book and bought it immediately. my husband and friends who have tasted it have enjoyed it, so i hope you try it and bless your friends and family too!

Chicken in Thai Red Curry (original recipe calls for green curry) – serves 4

10oz skinless, boneless chick breast
3 cups (2 cans) unsweetened coconut milk
2 tbsp red (or green) curry paste
2 lime leaves
1 cup water
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 cup bamboo shoot strips
1/2 medium red peper, cut into thin strips (the other half for garnish)
2 tbsp frozen green peas
20 whole leaves fresh basil

2 1/2 cups freshly steamed rice

1. slice the chick into strips that are 1/4 inch thick, 2 inch long and 1 inch wide. reserve.
2. heat 1 cup of the coconut milk in a wok on high heat, until it boils. Add curry paste and, reducing the head to medium, stir to dissolve it in the coconut milk. add second cup of coconut milk, raise the head to maximum and let cook for 8-10 mins until the oil of the coconut milk rises to the top and the sauce thickens somewhat. tear the lime leaves in thirds and add to the wok. turn heat back to medium and cook for 2 minutes.
3. add chicken, turn heat back to maximum. stir chicken into the sauce and immediatelyadd the third cup of coconut milk and 1 cup of water. stir-cook for 1 minute until the mixture is bubbling. add fish sauce and sugar and stir-cook for 2 minutes , until it is bubbling hard.
4. add bamboo shoots and stir-cook for 2 minutes. add red pepper and stir-cook for 1 minute. add green peas and 3/4 of the basil leaves. stir-cook for 1-2 minutes, folding the ingredients into the sauce, until it all seems ready to eat.
5. take off heat and transfer into a deep serving dish. tip with some additional red pepper strips and the rest of the basil. serve immediately with steamed rice.

-recipe from “simply thai cooking” by wandee young & byron ayanoglu