Monday 26 October 2015

Let them eat soup.

The set up made me feel so profesh - obviously a necessary aspect to a winning meal.
What is it about Autumn and the inching closer everyday frost that just makes soup sound SO appealing? I mean, I like soup just fine all other months of the year, I've never met a tomato bisque I didn't like - but I can kind of take it or leave it, ya know? But the October/November/December - even January time of year? Soup is my first choice over any other meal. It may just be a coincidence that as of October 1st I'm wearing a parka jacket that's meant for snowboarding because I hate being cold, and soup warms every little crack and crook in your body and soul. Soup is like, a big ass body hug. And while soup is not at the top of Jake's suggested meals, if I put meat in it and have some sort of bread on the side, he's a happy guy. And in turn I'm happy because I know we're eating something that's so good for us - not that he gives two shits but I know he enjoys how happy it makes me ;).

So the coconut curry chicken creation from last night not only warmed me up in all the right spots, it also had just enough meat in there to satisfy the man of the house, AND it was Thai, so everyone wins. I had a can of coconut cream that I had the brilliant idea to use in lieu of creamo in my coffee, except it doesn't give the coffee a "creamy" look or taste, and just wasn't quite cutting it. Creamo, I just can't quit you. So to avoid having it go to waste, good ol' Pinterest came to my rescue, as it often does. The recipe is from here, but this wouldn't be a Breezy recipe without some substitutions in it, now would it?

Thai Coconut Curry Soup
Serves: 6 (HUGE portions mind you, I'd say closer to 7-8 if you're having medium sized bowls)
2 cans (14-ounce/400 mL each) of premium coconut milk - I only had one can so I subbed in 1 1/3 cups of unsweetened cashew milk
1 heaping tablespoon (20 mL) of Thai curry paste - I used 1.5 tablespoons but I love curry paste
2 chicken breasts, thinly sliced
2 cups (500 mL) of chicken broth
1 carrot, shredded - I used one giant carrot and easily got 2 cups out of it - for me the more veggies the better.
4 or 5 lime leaves
2 stalks of lemon grass, halved lengthwise, woody leaves removed -
2 tablespoons (30 mL) of fish sauce
the zest and juice of 2 limes
a small knob frozen ginger * I used the jar minced ginger and used about 1 teaspoon, slightly heaped
a handful bean sprouts
a 8 ounce (225 g) package rice noodles - I had cooked white rice needing to be used so used that - wouldn't do it again though I didn't love the texture result
1 bunch of cilantro leaves, rinsed well
2 or 3 green onions, thinly sliced
* I added in 3 heads of baby bok choy because I'm obsessed with it and the dark leafs pack in a serious nutrient punch

Portioning everything out serves 3 purposes: 1) way easier to assemble, not miss any steps. 2) It looks way prettier when it's in small portioned cups and 3) I remember watching my mom do the same thing with stir fry's etc, and it makes me feel so grown up. 

Sizzling chicken in coconut cream curry sauce - heaven in my small kitchen.
Scoop the thick coconut cream from the top of just one of the cans into a large stockpot set over a medium-high heat. Melt the cream, add the curry paste and stir for a few minutes until they begin to sizzle.
Add the cilantro roots and chicken and saute until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Add the coconut juice from the first can and all the contents of the second can along with the chicken broth, carrot, lime leaves, lemon grass, ginger, fish sauce and lime zest and juice. Simmer for 20 minutes or so.

Stir in the bean sprouts. Add the rice noodles, gently pushing them beneath the surface of the broth. Turn off the heat and let stand until the noodles soften, about 5 minutes. Rice noodles don't need to simmer like pasta to cook; they simply need to rehydrate in the hot liquid.

Stir in most of the cilantro leaves. Remove the lemon grass stalks. Taste and season with a touch more salt (or soy sauce) as needed - I felt like it was salty enough however, and I like salty foods. Ladle into large bowls and garnish with the green onions and remaining cilantro leaves.
Now for the best part of this - this creamy soup is so good for you and practically guilt free - as far as creamy foods can go ;) I've been obsessed lately with using My Fitness Pal to track the breakdown of the recipes I make and was so delighted with the numbers on this one, it's going to be a new staple. There's only 305 calories per huge bowl, 37g of protein and only 15g of carbs - if you're on low carbs omit the noodles. And this gives you almost 50% of your daily intake of Vitamin C & A!
I'm not one to play with my food, but only a heartless person can ignore perfect baby bok choy roses!

Friday 16 October 2015

Everybody has a happy place.

If I were to ask you where your happy place is, would you have just one? Numerous? I myself have 3.
See? Magical.

1) Our family cabin on the Shuswap Lake, it's absolutely magical.
2) Jake - I know, how cliche, but ask me if I care ;) and...
3) the Health food store.
Diverse, eh?

When it comes to health food; supplements, what minerals and nutrients and vitamins do what for our body, how do better absorb them by pairing them with other foods/nutrients, I can't get enough - I'm fascinated. Jake was watching baseball the other day and looks over at me to ask what I was doing on my phone. "Reading up about the benefits of Coconut oil again, I forgot a few".. He looked at me with the same enthusiasm as if I had just told him I was brushing up on grade 11 chemistry, but I find it just so interesting. If you were to browse my google searches, you'd find over 75% matching "Health benefits of _________" .. the other 25% would include how to wear specific articles of clothing, product reviews (I google reviews on EVERYTHING before I buy it, almost obsessively), and lastly but almost most importantly, puppies.. Doesn't everyone? But anyway, back to my top 3, I can spend an hour easily in health food stores, looking at different products, spices, supplements, etc. In fact, I did this just two days ago. I had to go in and get bee pollen and chia seeds and ended up cruising the aisles for half an hour before finally tearing myself away. I also ended up buying like 4 more things, but that's usually just par for the course.

Chia seeds have become a daily staple for me. They're chock full of wonderful ingredients like Omega 3's (great for hair, skin & anti-inflammatory purposes), tons of anti-oxidants, minerals such as magnesium, iron, potassium and calcium, fiber galore and pack a pretty powerful protein punch - wow alliteration, that's just how excited I am. Not only that, they have a pretty handy clean-eating hack if, like me recently, you've had a little too much fun on naughty foods and went a little (lot) bit too lax on exercising: they keep you full for hours AND are a serious helper in digestion. These little powerhouses expand almost 10x their size when mixed with liquids, meaning they fill up in your belly, keep things moving along (ahem), and offer you a healthy way to get back down to normal. In the morning I have been mixing 2 cups of water (half coconut half regular) with 1.5 tbsp chia seeds, letting it sit about 10 minutes to expand, shake the shit out of it to break all the seed clumps up, and then chug the whole thing. The texture may get you a little bit, but I don't even notice anymore.
Hello my little frog babies.. Now doesn't that make it seem way more appetizing!? :P
And because I just love weird shit, if you add 1 tsp of bee pollen to your mix like I did, well you've just made yourself a clean, green energy elixir - drink responsibly ;)
 If I'm in the mood for a little sweet something that I can feel good about, I'll mix 2 tbsp chia seeds, about 1/2 cup cashew milk and a drop (literally) of english toffee stevia and mix vigorously . I say literally a drop of stevia because truthfully I hate it and the chemical taste, but one drop is enough to do the job without me noticing the after taste. Let sit minimum 20 minutes and you have yourself a yummy little powerfood pudding. Add some fruit and you have a wonderful breakfast as well.

To break it down even further, here's a quick nutritional breakdown of these little buggers:
1 ounce (2 tbsp) contains: 137 calories, one gram of saturated fat, 11 grams of fiber, four grams of protein, 177 milligrams of calcium, and 4.9 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, 23% of your daily recommended magnesium and 12% of your iron - helllo

Thursday 8 October 2015

Thanksgiving is coming..

I'm going to be honest, hard & fast with ya right now. Do you know what is most important to me when it comes to what I'm going to wear for Thanksgiving? The amount of food I can reasonably eat while still being mostly comfortable. There, I said it: my outfit has to be a direct correlation of how much food I'm planning to stuff inside me in one sitting without bursting. How do I achieve this? Easy, two outfit designs that'll be your best friend: high-waisted and or belted. You may be thinking I'm crazy, but hear me out: First of all, high-waisted keep everything tucked in, so while you're full, you don't have the added uncomfort of feeling like your food baby is hanging over your waistband- no beuno. Also if you wear something a little looser on the bottom and belt it like say a flannel dress, fit and flare dress or even a shift, again the food baby is hidden - with the added support of compression tights (insert hallejuuuuah emoji)

 Below are a compilation of the looks I will be rocking for our two dinners, one at my parents and one at Jake's grandmas. Thankfully neither of us come from families that do formal dinners, so while I like to be dressed up, I can still be cozy and comfortable - my favorite

For the casual dinner at my parents place: chic, but not sloppy or looking like I don't care. Cable knit sweaters are so cozy and feel very British, maybe that's what lends them the more swanky vibe?  Also, literally any excuse I can use to wear my faux fur scarf, I take it. I'm not exaggerating when I say it's probably the best fall/winter purchase I've ever made.

Lately I have been loving the look of dressing up plaid & flannel, and what's an easier way than wearing it as a dress?! I bought this one from Urban Outfitters which admittedly does have side slits, but that's not a dark slip underneath can't hide. It's comfortable, unsuspectingly chic, and feels so cliche Fall that I feel like I fell right out of an Autumn family photo. I'll take it ;) Add some booties and glam earrings and you have just the right amount of rustic and glamour.

Now, those of you that really do have the formal dinners, I got you covered too ;) I feel like it's every girl's mini secret that while dresses appear to make you look posh and put together (and like you spent a lot of time on your outfit), it's really the powerhouse of clothing. In the summer, it's the easiest thing to throw on and keep you cool; in the fall and winter, it takes an outfit and amps it up on the fancy meter, without doing much at all.
 And there you have it! Now all you have to think about this weekend is how to arrange your plate for optimal food coverage. You could be like my brother who makes a mote between his food so that nothing touches, but that takes up too much space. Personally I like to have everything together, family style. Last tip of the day: calories don't count during the holidays - but they do the next day so maybe throw a jog in ;)

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