Monday, July 23, 2012

Bitlet's For You This Past Week: July 8th- 23rd, 2012


For some reason, I always envisioned that a gram of sugar was equal to a teaspoon of sugar. Turns out this is not the case!

Whether you eat gluten free out of necessity as in a celiac diagnosis, or out of trend because you've heard so much about it, please read this. If you read a lot of gluten free blogs, you may have already seen it, but it not- take a look!

Check out this awesome list of goodies!

Apparently Campbell's bought out Bolthouse recently... there seems to be more and more of this kind of thing going on. And it's not good.

Applying a gluten free lifestyle to an olympic athlete: better times, more energy & stronger finishes.

Why our cultural norms will be the end of us.

Carbs go in, cardio goes out... Sound familiar?

Some great natural beauty tips! 

This girl speaks the nutritional truth!

I'm getting excited about the days of mass amounts of zucchini at farmers market!

Last year I simply halved cherries & froze them, but there's a better way!





Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Peach Iced Rooibus with Watermelon Mojito Cubes

Prince George isn't a place that gets too terribly hot. Definitely not hot enough to invest in a/c. In fact, I think most people get pretty darned excited when it gets above 20 degrees. Summer weather is definitely embraced by people up here, myself included.

While I've been feeling a little under the weather lately and haven't exactly been taking in the warmth as much as I'd like, I spent a little time in our hammock enjoying the sunshine this afternoon. Which eventually led me back into the house for a cool beverage...


Last weekend in an attempt to make iced tea, I "killed" our antique juice pitcher. I was much more careful this week, and went with the cold brew/longer time method rather than the hot water/immediate steeping way of going about it. It's been in the fridge for a few days, so I figure it's about ready!

Any tea (preferably with some fruit flavor) would work once steeped (either hot or cold, long or short) and the combinations for ice cubes are equally endless.


My slightly stolen, friend of a facebook friend's popsicle almost-recipe inspired these cubes. Into the blender (and then freezer) went:

-juice of one lime
-350g frozen watermelon chunks
-100g peeled cucumber
-handful fresh mint leaves

Every summer (last year included) I buy a mint plant with the intentions of hosting marvelous mojito drinking parties. Let's be honest though, the only people we've had over to our house in Prince George since moving here have been related to us. We're not big drinkers as it is, so most years the mint plant doesn't exactly get the attention it deserves. This is at least summer number four of mint plant buying, so it's about time I've started branching out...


Do you have any favorite recipes for fresh mint? 



Saturday, July 7, 2012

Bitlet's For You This Past Week: July 01st-07th, 2012

I'm hanging out at my grandparent's house a province over this weekend for my grandpa's 80th birthday party. Sure to be filled with plenty of stories, eats & fun I'm looking forward to seeing them. In the meantime, here's a few little bitlet's for ya!

The science behind taste vs the color of tomatoes.

If you needed another reason to buy organic tomatoes, here it is!

The root of weight gain: Scientific truth to low carb v.s. low fat v.s. what the food guide tells us to eat.

Sure, food is all about moderation... but what does that really mean?

These Sea Salt Caramel Bars look super tasty!

This BLT quinoa salad was on my to-make list this week, but sadly it didn't happen. It'll be first up when I get home!

 Check out my tomato progress!


I handed in my application for the yoga teacher training program this week & now have a stack of books on my nightstand (not that this is my nightstand) to get through before I start in September! Woohoo!


I used to like being busy. Correction: I used to think I liked being busy. I remember a time in my life when I felt guilty saying "no" to the bank machine when it asked me if I was finished my banking. I still think about it when making a deposit and have a little inside laugh to myself. While I've come a long way from then, and now have the ability to tell people (and inanimate objects) no, this is exactly what I needed today. It's enough to make me want to close up shop on this blog, as it's become something I feel obligated to do now, rather than something I enjoy doing. And yet still completely self imposed. I'll never have the photography skills to "make it" as a blogger, as I don't have much of an interest in photography & live in a basement suite in Northern Canada (not a lot of natural light!). I'm not much of a recipe developer- hell I can't follow a recipe, let alone write one!

I tend to have a "go big or go home" attitude about things. And despite the half-assedness of my blog on the best of days, I'm a bit of a perfectionist. I have a very healthy interest in food, health and the environment and that's okay. I just need to let it be an interest, without attachments. I just need to let go of the expectations I've put out there for myself. I don't need to write daily posts, I don't need to trial recipes multiple times until they're perfect enough for others (Remember that part about not following recipes well? Not even my own!), I don't need to have a ton of linens & backdrops & lightboxes & fancy silverware to stage food photos. I'd rather eat the damn meal before it gets cold. I don't have a microwave to throw it into after I've snapped a few hundred photos on my DSLR. Nope, I snap one or two on my iphone & chow down. At the end of the day, it's about eating for me. I'm not much of an artist of any sort, honestly. Maybe I just haven't found my "calling"; my creative outlet. Either way, this isn't it.

Should this come to fruition, feel free to keep following me on Facebook, as I'll always have lots of little bitlets to share that my "Real Facebook friends" don't particularly care for...

Love always,

Kristin



Sunday, July 1, 2012

Bitlet's For You This Past Week: June 24th-30th, 2012

Happy Canada Day Everyone! And an early Happy Fourth of July to those of you a little further south; it's coming up quickly! If the rain kept you in this long weekend, here's a few little bitlet's to check out until the sunshine decides to join us!

Fat: You need it. Here's proof (if you really weren't convinced...)

Ayurveda anyone?

Glutathione: The healing helper.

A fantastic visual for acidic & alkaline foods

Weary about using pharmaceuticals when your littles ones have come down with something? Here's a great guide to natural alternatives for kids! 

A great case study on how boosting both the economy and your sense of community works together for everyone. It's sort of a glimpse at the past (and the future if you ask me!)

With all sorts of fresh, local produce showing up in the farmers markets, a guide to storing it properly can help avoid having to toss it all when its gone bad.

An interesting read on ancient varieties of wheat. But then, watch this:


This is a fantastic run down of the differences between Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance & Gluten Sensitivity, why you should think about going grain-free & why the intestinal biopsy isn't the best way to diagnose your condition. Worth your 37 minutes!

Eating consciously. I definitely practice most of these points, but I think the first one is worth some extra attention. Visualize what a chicken looks like:

source

Now think about the wings on that chicken. Think about her flapping them about, trying to fly. Think about this next time you go for cheap wings & beer with your friends. Think about the muscles in the front that power these wings. Those pecs? That's where the chicken breast chopped up in your stirfry came from. The chest of this animal. This is important to know & acknowledge. This animal's life was taken so that you could consume it's muscle. Muscle, just the same as your bicep, or your quads.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday: June 27th, 2012


Howdy WIAWers, Happy Wednesday! 
While I hope yours was delicious, I'll cut straight to the chase here:


Breakfast this morning was this smoothie containing juice straight from an organic orange


Before I headed out for an appointment in the afternoon I had some greens with golden raising, pumpkin & sunflower seeds & a bit of this awesome tangy red pepper & feta dressing 


The Mojave Salsa Company is a local to in Prince George that sells their salsa and other tasty hot pepper related goods (spicy peanut brittle, anyone?) I buy one of these containers nearly every weekend and always polish it off before the week is up! Which is necessary since the salsa doesn't 
have any sugar or preservatives in it- it would definitely go bad if I didn't' scarf it down by then. 
Maybe attempting to singlehandedly eat this Costco sized bag of organic tortilla chips 
wasn't such a bad idea after all!


After yoga I did the worst possible thing ever... go grocery shopping hungry. And I mean, starving! Somehow I managed to not only eat some veggies, but also wait for these to finish cooking before I ate anything- how did this happen!??! And I didn't leave the store with any chocolate. 

  

Okay, so this is what they actually look like... I tried this recipe out and needless to say, mine didn't need as much baking time as the recipe called for. I didn't have much success getting the batter to do what it was supposed to do. After breading 5 pieces, I made more breading with just almond flour and spices & they were much better than the ones where I used slivered almonds plus rice bran. Maybe a different flour would have worked better, I don't know. I was way too hungry to be recipe tinkering at this point. I ate almost the whole pound of chicken breast...
 

Despite my fullness after dinner, I somehow had room for some of these babies. Also procured at the farmers market on the weekend! Yummm... 
Now it's your turn- get on this WIAW bandwagon & share your eats!




Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bitlet's For You This Past Week: June 10th- 16th, 2012

Looks like I forgot to post this last week!


Why is it that a strawberry warm from the sun tastes much sweeter than one plucked from a cube of refrigerated plastic?

I think I'm off calamari for awhile... Ugh! And I had some yesterday!!

Wheat free weight loss diet in the mainstream media (hooray!)

Why is it that grilling a big juicy steak on the bbq is such a "manly" thing to do? This girl likes a good steak too!

A great article connecting the dots between sugar & our obesity crisis.

How healthy do you think Subway really is?

A fantastic overview of Dr.Mark Hyman's article on what the "right diet" is. What are we really "supposed to" eat?

If you make almond milk at home, what do you do with the leftover pulp? 

It's probably not a bad idea to avoid this stuff.

Help with making healthy choices on a budget (and really, who doesn't love saving a few bucks?)

I think this is a much better approach than making new years resolutions. Are you a goal-setter?





Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday: June 20th, 2012

Visit Peas & Crayons for lots more WIAW fun this week!
Here's what my day today looked like:

 Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp in bed to start my day!

Equal parts julienne potatoes & zucchini sauteed in a bit of bacon fat. 
I mixed in some leftover taco beef from last week & topped it with fresh salsa- yum!

 Organic corn chips to snack on at work! 
I should've known better than to open the Costco 
sized bag without someone else to help me eat these...

Don't worry, I snacked on some green stuff too!
I had these twice today actually!

 I spotted this yesterday when shopping for pie ingredients & thought I'd give it a try- not bad!

 I added 2 chopped up tandoori marinated chicken thighs I baked yesterday
along with some onion & had it with quinoa.
Definitely didn't finish it all until much later in the evening.

 Today was Pie Party 2012 and I baked a Citrus Meringue Pie!

 So you'd better believe I had some pie! Two slices for that matter!
And a lot of extra curd & meringue throughout the day- shh!
Definitely a sugary day for me :)

How about you? I'd love to hear about your day!



Pie Party 2012: Tangy Orange Meringue Pie

It was Monday evening when I caught wind of Pie Party 2012 leaving me only a short amount of time to pull together some sort of pastry creation to share in the event. It wasn't until Tuesday evening however that any action took place outside of a few suggestions solicited via Facebook. While perusing my options, I investigated chess pie (which I've never had before) which led me to lemon chess pie (also untasted by me) and finally lemon meringue (yum!).

My next step of action was deciding on what sort of crust: pastry or crumb. Mom voted for crumb, so crumb it was. Now what to fill said crust with? The adventure of securing a recipe in which I would base my lemon meringue pie off of began and ended rather quickly. Some time ago I made a grapefruit curd based off of Eat, Live, Run's blood orange tart recipe with great success. And so, I would use that recipe for my pie; it was done.

Off to the grocery store I went with a short list in hand. After grabbing a happy looking yellow pepper on my way, I headed directly for the citrus. Mandarins? Nope. 5 pound bag of citrus? Nope. $1.59 small grapefruits? Nope. And then I spotted them: pomellos. And then I remembered... I had one on the kitchen table. And it all came together.


I left the grocery store with that yellow pepper, two bananas, four apricots and some butter chicken sauce.

Upon arriving home, I eagerly began setting up my curd making extravaganza. Getting ahead of myself, I filled a pot with water to assemble a double boiler, just as I had done with the grapefruit curd. Taking a step back, I remembered that I needed to juice the fruit in question first. Now for those of you pomello virgins (fact: I was one at this point) this is what they look like:



Right, so the thing's huge. No big deal.

I cut into it, and realize that it has seeds (and they're also huge):


Okay, I really should have expected that. Not sure why I didn't...

It's somewhere around this point in time that I realize that:

a) there isn't any way I'm going to be able to juice this thing on my normal sized glass citrus reamer
b) there isn't any juice dripping down my wrists after cutting into it...
c) I really should have gotten the chocolate I was considering getting at the store


So what does a girl do?




Nothing.

Okay, not nothing: "When making pomelo juice, carefully peel off the outer skin. Do not discard the inner skin as it contains anti-cancerous elements. Many people mix sugar syrup or honey to sweeten very sour pomelos."

So, I try the reamer.

Nothing.

I dissect half of the fruit and put it in the Magic Bullet.

Nothing.

I put the only slightly mangled flesh into my mortar & pestle and bang the shit out of it.

Nothing.

I transfer it to my Über fine mesh sieve and using the back of a soup spoon attempt to squeeze any juice out of it. 

Nothing.

Okay, not nothing...


This is a shot glass, for the record!


Fact: It is impossible to juice a pomelo.


And so, I headed back to the (other, with later hours) grocery store, defeated.

This is what they had to say about pomelos...


Juicy my ass...

An hour or so later, I had organic Valencia orange lime curd cooling in the fridge. Pie assembling would have to wait. As is the case with many things in my life, I'm late to the Pie Party this year.


Tangy Orange Meringue Pie

For the crust:
1.5 cups almond flour
3 tbsp organic cane sugar or other sweetener
3 tbsp melted organic butter or allergen friendly alternative

Mix all ingredients in a pie plate and press into crust form.
Bake at 350F until golden brown. Check at 8 minutes, and monitor closely.

For the curd:
2-3 fruit's worth of citrus juice (of your choice)
zest of one of them
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
3 eggs (or two massive duck eggs)
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup butter or allergen friendly alternative

Mix all ingredients in a metal bowl placed over a pot of simmering water. 
You can totally use a pot crusted with last night's leftovers that need a little help loosening up.
Whisk your ingredients constantly until they begin to thicken up along the walls of the bowl.
Swap your whisk for a spatula and continue stirring until it has thickened enough to coat the spatula.
When it's done, transfer it to a lidded jar or other container and place in the fridge until it has cooled completely.



For the meringue:
egg whites
sugar

I used 5 duck egg whites because that was all the egg product that was in the house! It ended up being way more meringue than I needed (but it didn't go to waste, that's for sure!) This website suggests 2 tbsp of sugar for every egg white. Given that duck eggs are a bit larger than "regular" chicken eggs, I added one more to the count. 6 egg whites (5 duck eggs whites) and 3/4 cup sugar was a little too sweet for my liking, so I would pare it down a bit from there. Perhaps with

Whip in the bowl of a stand mixer until stiff peaks form.
Slather onto the top of your gorgeous pie & bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes until the meringue has browned slightly.


Then bribe neighbours or friends to mow your grass in exchange for a piece of pie. 


It'll work, trust me.




Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday: June 13th, 2012


aaaaaaaand welcome back to WIAW! Here's the scoop for this week: I started my day off with the last slice of an awesome pizza I made last night while I was throwing together my regular breakfast smoothie. I also grabbed an apple on my way out the door since I would be home in 2-3 hours for lunch.


When I got home I immediately started whipping up a stir fry. It's fridge cleaning out day, and I had lots of odds & ends to throw in! I pulled a ziploc bag of trimmed green beans out of the freezer with some random spinach that I discovered in there to add to the peppers, carrot, onion, mushrooms & garlic that I rescued from the depths of the fridge. There were two steaks I had thawed out a few days ago that needed to be used up as well, so those went in too. I had it with quinoa for an extra protein boost.

 

I had plenty of leftovers, but much to my surprise (they were so good) I ate the rest of them for dinner later on! Grocery shopping is definitely priority numero uno tomorrow morning! As per the empty fridge...


Yes, this is empty... those carrots, cucumber & blueberries are only there because I went to the grocery store yesterday. That's actually all I ended up getting (I only went because I had to return something). I find that I have a lot more "success" when I force myself to eat all the miscellaneous things lurking in the fridge before I allow myself to go get more. I may or may not end up finishing that hummus up there on the top shelf for breakfast tomorrow...


As I was taking the above fridge photo, I spotted some roasted garlic havarti cheese & absentmindedly proceeded to cut a chunk off of. Not because I was hungry (you have no idea how much stir fry I ate today!), not because I was craving it, just because it was there. And then I realized I would have to add it to the tally for the day. Sidenote: I really need to stop using these knives for cheese- they're impossible to clean!

Now, head on over to Peas & Crayons to check out some more WIAW fun! Maybe I'll see ya there...





Monday, June 11, 2012

Bitlet's For You This Past Week: June 4th- 10th, 2012

Hope you're getting some awesome sun drenched weather wherever you are- enjoy every last bit of summer while it's still around!

PF Chang's is coming to Canada!

The importance of clean meat (and its growing popularity- rightfully so!)

The scoop on poop!

These sweet potato & kale chicken patties look fantastic- can't wait to try this recipe out!

Bloating can be brought on by these eleven foods.

Nutrition to support your sex drive.

Enter to win Meghan Telpner's Amazing Deluxe Undiet package worth $7000!

Drying summer's bounty without a dehydrator (or the junk often found in store bought dried fruit!)

Here's a contribution from Mr.C! He's out in "the middle of nowhere" working right now & came across this adorable (and probably terrified) little one- how sweet!

I made this Yogurt Marinated Greek Chicken recently- SO GOOD! I'll definitely be making this again. I served it on a bed of quinoa rather than the lovely pitas pictured in the recipe (and I didn't even miss them!)


And finally, for your entertainment pleasure... this is generally what my kitchen looks like. Particularly yesterday around noon. I suspect that if I had much more counter space (that's most of it!) the mess would just be bigger. So now you know- I'm you're not alone.

Like me on Facebook for lots more bitlet's throughout the week!





Friday, June 8, 2012

Honey Gingered Carrots


Realizing full well that carrots are not terribly in season (nothing really is just yet...) they have been something I have been finding myself bring home from the grocery store more and more often as of lately. Admittedly part of it is the fresh, green carrot tops for our furry little critter, but the other part is simply that I love carrots.

Most people are familiar with carrots as being good for your eyes. Or even that they are good for your eyes because they contain high levels of the antioxidant Vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. Carrots are in fact all of these things, but many people don't have the full ability to convert the beta-carotene into a useful form of Vitamin A within their bodies. Carrots are actually one of a few vegetables whose nutrition becomes more bioavailable to the body by consuming it cooked.

I like to leave them unpeeled, unless they're going into a soup or stew where the peel will detach anyways. Carrots rank number 21 on the EWG's Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen Full List so I suggest buying organic if you're planning on leaving the peels on (this is a great app to have on your phone to use at the grocery store- I use it frequently to determine whether the price increase for organic is worth it).


Fun Fact: If you eat enough carrots you actually will turn orange. Similarly to how your body excretes excess Vitamin D (another fat soluble vitamin) through the skin (a sunburn!) excess Vitamin A is also excreted via the skin. It's not very often that anyone gets that much Vitamin A though!

So now that you're all pumped to eat some carrots, lets get to a recipe! My mom made these carrots for us when we were growing up. A light steaming is far better than boiling them to death. I'm sure Mr.C isn't the only one out there with an aversion to cooked carrots stemming from a childhood of mushy ones. I like to put them in the steaming tray above my rice cooker for simplicity's sake (but depending on what kind of rice you're cooking the carrots could end up being done before the rice so be sure to check on them) but they could be steamed above a pot of boiling water for pasta or anything else just the same.


Quantities for this "recipe" are definitely approximate. I don't follow recipes very well, so there's no logical reason why I would have the capacity to write one with any sort of specifics. It's just not how I cook...

Carrots- cut into your preference of sizes & shapes then steamed: enough to feed you!
Butter (or whatever substitute suits your needs)- generous but relative to the amount of carrots
Honey- we used macadamia blossom honey from Maui, but any kind would work: a 4:1 ratio of butter to honey is about what I like so that it's not too sweet
Ground Ginger- I've never used fresh, but it might work: a sprinkle or more depending on your fondness of the spice
Pinch of sea salt

Melt everything (except the carrots) together in a pot, toaster oven, microwave, whatever's handy. I had chicken thighs baking this time, so I stuck it all in a small pyrex dish and set it right into the oven since it was already hot. Stir, then drizzle over steamed carrots, toss to coat & enjoy!



Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday: June 9th, 2012

Happy What I Ate Wednesday, guys! Hope you've had a fantastic week so far (half over, right!) I had a jam-packed day of food yesterday, so without further ado, here are my noms:


Knowing that I had a couple of nutrition appointments at my office lined up, I needed breakfast to be a bigger than usual meal. While I was waiting for my egg water to boil, I threw a rosemary asiago biscuit into the toaster oven- an appetizer if you will. I'm on a mission to clean out/use up lots of miscellaneous things that are lurking in my kitchen this summer. Mr.C's out of town for the most part during the warmer months, which makes it a bit easier (to he honest). I had a partial bag of Bob's Red Mill GF Biscuit & Baking Mix that was the base for these biscuits.


So breakfast was two slices of Udi's Whole Grain toast, two poached local duck eggs with sea salt & fresh pepper along with three fresh apricots. THAT should keep me going for awhile!

 

On my way to the office I stopped at my favorite little restaurant: Sassafras Savouries. They often have gluten free baked goods, so I stop in every once in awhile to see if they have anything that day. They didn't today, but there are a few items they carry regularly that are gluten free also. I snagged two "yogi balls" to snack on after my appointments. I also brought an organic pink lady apple with me to work, as I would only be there for a few hours. It was a good idea too- I was hungry!


I got home & still had the muchies, so I indulged in some organic corn tortilla chips and fresh locally made salsa that I picked up from the farmers market on the weekend.


One simple way to get your RDA of selenium is via one single brazil nut. I've been trying to get myself into the habit of popping one tasty morsel (it helps that they're yummy!) in my pie-hole daily.


I had been planning on going to a hot yoga class in the evening, so keeping hydrated was a big focus today too. I find the number one reason I don't attend more hot classes at my local yoga studio is  because I'm not hydrated enough. Based on my own experience, I do get dizzy when I'm not properly hydrated before a class... and that's not fun.

Something else that's really important to be aware of before a hot yoga class is what & when you eat. I find that I need to give myself at least two hours, (ideally more though) to digest a meal before going to a class.

For dinner I had a wild pink salmon filet seasoned with sea salt, pepper, coriander & parsley dried from a plant in my greenhouse before class. I also had some quinoa cooked with some homemade broth & a mini bell pepper. I  had intentions of having a few more of them, but realized that I had likely eaten too much already.


Looking back, I should have saved half my salmon for after class... when will I learn??? Because I ate too much, and with not quite enough time before class I was slightly nauseous during class. Yuck.

I was hungry when I got home from yoga, so I scarfed down a Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie after I showered, then headed to bed listening to my new favorite meditation: Wishes Fulfilled by Dr. Wayne Dyer. I'm on night 3 of this, and loving it!

A few years ago when I lived in Edmonton I attended a meditation course directed at teaching people not only how to meditate, but also teaching them how to teach others. While I wasn't able to complete the course (but did do it for about 3 months), my experiences certainly changed my life. I was a much saner person then. While an asana yoga practice has certainly helped me with my groundedness in the last year or so, meditation certainly is something that I wish to continue doing. I've found that it is something that I only turn to when I "need" it such as when I am having trouble sleeping. As with many things, meditation is more effective when practiced regularly rather than applied only when a calming effect is required.