Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

And here we go again:
Getting In Shape for the Summer, once more.

New Year Resolutions...
I'm not big on those - they tend to go out the window by February.

I'm always ready for a new one.
Are they always successful?  Depends what we call successful. I find them successful as long as I gained something out of them.
Are they perfect? No. Almost never.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Longest Time

It's surely been a long time since I posted...
I did not forget - I was simply too busy fixing up the house. In  fact, I still am but I thought I should drop by just for a moment and share how I was coping during this time food-wise.

Amy's frozen foods were a Godsend if a bit pricey. On the days when I had no hope of cooking a meal, I alternated between those and my own frozen supplies.  The latter ran out a couple of weeks ago, I am now trying to rebuild my stocks:). I am anxious to get back to my usual routine - during this time I have acquired a few wonderful cookbooks and I am eager to try new recipes.

Exercise really suffered.  I made it to the gym and/or yoga studio maybe 3 times in the past 5 weeks. I was most certainly on my feet all day but that is not the same...
I should be back to more regular workouts by next week.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The End

... of the Challenge, that is:)
Oh, those mini chocolates will taste delicious ...
but I  don't really need it right now:
just had some fabulous oatmeal with baking chocolate, almond butter, flax/chia seed, a couple of dried plums and a tiny bit  (less than a teaspoon) of maple syrup.

(Can you tell I was really hungry?)

Thursday, November 10, 2011


This morning, as I came in from the cold, I wanted to make a nice Carob drink. I was bargaining in my mind that one teaspoon of honey is not going to hurt me or the challenge...
When the drink was ready I tasted it before reaching for the honey and much to my surprise, it tasted really sweet...

I usually have yogurt in the afternoon or in the evening.
My latest discovery:
Greek yogurt, 0% fat, plain with fresh pomegranates. DELICIOUS!
( I may have posted about this previously)

I've been continuing the challenge, just got really busy to post...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Continuing The Challenge

My worst crime was eating in a Thai Restaurant this weekend. (my first time ever:) )
I tasted the sugar in the dipping sauce, so I stopped eating it after that...
Otherwise, I'm doing fine.
My oatmeal was sweetened by a half banana (from the freezer).
I found a  good recipe link .
Then there is this one:) It looks good...
And, of course - this one. I made this before: excellent.  It's high in calories but each of those are good for you:)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Day 3, A Couple of Slips And Recipes

Not perfect, but not bad either... Yesterday, I accidentally had a cup of coffee with a spoonful of sugar. (My son brought it and he forgot about the sugar free challenge) I'm OK with it. I got over my "all or nothing" attitude.
 Today was another day and, since I made some Quince Cheese on Wednesday which is taking its sweet time to dry (pun intended:) ) I had to check it today, so I gave it a mini taste-test. I think that amounted to about a teaspoon of sugar again... :)
 On a positive note: I prepared Alex's Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples.  The only difference:
I peeled both as they were not organic. The result: delicious!

I make a similar "recipe" -

 Butternut Squash With Pears

1 butternut squash - peeled, seeded, chopped
2 Bosc Pears (or more) - peeled, seeded, chopped
1 tbs olive oil
Cinnamon (sprinkle liberally)

My friend tells me, apples are equally good for this recipe.

I just had this urge to try the above with some Carob powder... I think it would be good.:)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Day 1 and 2 -Sugar free

It went well:)
I glanced in the direction of the jar that holds the tiny pieces of Swiss chocolate...  but, never opened it.

Frozen banana slices helped  sweeten my smoothie.
Breakfast was a rush - those muffins really helped.
It's actually helpful to keep sugar out of morning meals as it kind of sets the pace for the day.

I'm going to create a savoury snack today. What?  I don't know yet... but  I'll post.:)

Good ideas:

I tried the Savoury Mini Muffins - Gruyere/Sage version. Very good but next time I'll cut down on the salt.

Another nice treat:
Greek Yogurt (0%fat) - with some fresh Pomegranate. You don't miss the sweetener!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Starting a New Challenge

The Sugar Free Challenge:
No sugar or sugar substitutes for 10 days. Fruits are allowed- life is good:)

I was trying to post the Badge for the challenge but I failed miserably - so
here is the link,

What I hope to achieve?
A pause in sugar consumption. A lesser dependence on sweets during the holiday season.

With any challenge preparation is KEY.
On that note, yesterday, I baked a batch of Low Fat Fruit Muffins -
similar to this recipe
but the butter was replaced with one cup of unsweetened applesauce.
The result is a lovely, sweet and moist muffin.

I'm ok with no sugar in my coffee or tea.

Normally, I take a teaspoon of maple syrup in my oatmeal but a sprinkling of Carob powder or a few pieces of dried plums can make up for it.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

No More Farmer's Market

... until next June:(

I will really miss it.
It was neat to have all that goodness in my buggy ...
I did not even need to look for recipes: I'd just grab some produce and create:)
It felt like "art work" ... Almost like painting, except instead of a palette, I had veggies and fruits and instead of a brush, I used a knife and a wooden spoon:)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Walk

... on the trail by the Don River.

This time, instead of Canada Geese, the pond had many ducks

A beautiful fall day

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How It All Mushroomed

Those of you, who have been following my market-adventures, are aware how excited I have been about my mushroom finds.
Well, last Thursday, I took a chance and not only did I come home with more wonderful mushrooms but
also bought a log.
What is a log?  It's a wonderful invention: mushrooms grow on it.

I brought it home with instructions. As per instructions, I soaked it in a bucket. It soaked for about 3 hours. Then, I set it up in a Roasting pan with some pebbles, in order to keep it from direct contact with the water. I put it in a spare bedroom as I had no more horizontal space left in my kitchen. I've been visiting it two- three times a day and misting it . It's quite exciting to observe the changes from day to day.

Here is the log in the bucket.

All set up in the roasting pan

Aren't they amazing?

The last two pictures were taken today.
I'm going to have Shiitake mushrooms:)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Fresh Look

Must keep up with the times:)

I'm trying this new look Blogger calls Dynamic View.
I can always set it back to the "old way" but I think it's only a matter of getting used to it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cajun-spiced Butternut Squash Chips

Just had to try.
It works nicely:) Good contrast of flavours.

Slice the squash into very thin slices.
(Food processor helps)
Lay them on a greased cookie sheet.
Brush the slices with Olive oil. (both sides)
Sprinkle with spices.
Bake at 400 F until crispy and brown around the edges.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Great Run

We had such a good run this morning.
It did not matter that there were hills -
The sun was shining - it was great to be outdoors.


Mushroom/cheese sandwiches, grilled on the Panini grill are wonderful.

I now make 2 versions:
one, with sauteed Shiitake and Cremini with onions, the other, Oyster mushrooms, sauteed with Leeks. Both are delicious.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A New Fruit

... for me:
Asian Pear.
(Of course, it's another market discovery. ) So far, I've only had them raw. I resisted the temptation to "make them into something". They are fresh tasting, kind of a cross between a good pear and a good apple.
I'm guessing that the supermarket version may not be as great.

As the Farmers Market is winding down, and will close for the winter in three weeks, it's a timely discovery to find a market nearby that is open all year round. And, there is an organic market not too far...
Oh, the possibilities.... :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

To Market, To Market...

I made Pumpkin Butter. Why? Because I bought a pumpkin at the market and it seemed like a "fall-thing" to make. Then, because it's too much even when I split it with my daughter, I had to think hard what to use it for.  First idea - add to oatmeal.  So I did. Verdict: wonderful!

There always something new to see at the market:)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A New Favourite

Oh, the discoveries one can make...

Sauteed mushrooms*, with onions, salt and pepper, thyme (of course) -
over Whole wheat bread (with a bit of Ajvar) , sprinkled with grated Gruyere, and grilled on the panini grill...

Mushrooms were a mix of Shiitake and Cremini.

Next time I'll take pictures:)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Google It!

Silly me.
I normally Google everything. This time I did not. This time, it cost me $5.00 and a few months of looking for a spice mix - Za'atar...
I could have made it for a fraction of it: had all the ingredients on hand....
(It's a must in Middle Eastern Salads aka Fattoush. (sp?) )

Guess, what I'll be making tomorrow:)

Friday, September 30, 2011


One country is taking the problem with obesity seriously.
I wonder how effective this will be.


No, not outside...

I just keep on freezing foods.
Cauliflower Soup and Broccoli Soup.
Nothing is easier than to have those on the stove simultaneously.:)

I use Leeks for both, Vegetable Broth. The only difference is the seasoning:
for Cauliflower I used Turmeric. For the Broccoli soup, I used thyme. A little salt and pepper at the end, then blenderize them and there we go. Sometimes, I might add potatoes, to thicken the soup as needed.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bread crumbs

I think I must be losing it...
I can't believe I'm posting about bread crumbs...
For years we used to buy breadcrumbs. Then, one fine day, I discovered that it was very simple to make -
much better fresh than the store-bought kind. I never looked back since.
Now, I have an even better idea:
I should just take the two end pieces of each loaf of bread and either save them for crumbs or process them immediately and freeze them.

Monday, September 26, 2011

It Makes Sense

Here is a link for a blog.
I can't say that I've been following this blog for a long time or that I may have used the recipes on it.
It's quite possible that I don't agree with everything posted but:
I think the concept of using "real foods", staying away from packaged, processed foods or "non-foods" (as I like to call them), is good idea any day.
It is not a new idea but we all can use a little reminder.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Market Ideas

It's nice to get inspired by all the wonderful fresh food at the market.
This time, it was not the fresh food that did it: I found these lovely Royal Gala Dried Apples there and built a salad around them. The apple slices looked so appetizing with their peel on...  and they taste great.
I used a Romaine lettuce base, added some toasted Pecans, and Walnuts with small pieces of Cheddar cheese. (My choice was goat cheese  but I was voted down:( )  I sprinkled it with Shelled Hemp Seeds and Voila!

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Another one - this time at the Zoo.
I forgot that the zoo had hills... a major difference:)

Friday, September 23, 2011


I came home with some lovely mushrooms yesterday...
The beautiful, delicate Oyster mushrooms were turned into Frittatas - with the assistance of some equally delicate leeks (also from the market).
The other mushrooms were made into Mushroom-Cheese Stratas. I used Gruyere with them and froze some for future use.
I just learned that Shiitake can be frozen, as is... Next time I might just have to get some of those.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Farmer's Market

A nice discovery:
Many of the farmers bringing their produce to the market have their own blogs:

One example. I've enjoyed their heirloom tomatoes, peppers, gorgeous peaches, pears,  and more recently: squash.

Another one has the most amazing breads ( I'm sure, cookies, too) . We really enjoy their Irish Soda Bread.

Fairly new to the market is the gentleman with the nicest dried fruit.

Then there is this farm. I love their colourful cauliflowers, broccoli, beets, corn... and just about everything else.

Then, there is the stand with the most amazing mushrooms (I may have mentioned before) - with no blog but that is OK with organic mushrooms like these:

Veggie and Mushroom Loaf recipe added to my list of Recipes.
(You'll need to scroll down)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


The freezer is a girl's best friend when we get busy with "other stuff".
I've been filling it diligently for the last little while: fresh produce,  cooked meals, soups, etc.  Today, I added Ribollita to my collection.  It's a wonderful soup on cooler days. I used fresh Romano beans, aka borlotti beans for it. Delicious.
I now have 3 different soups: Coconut Red Pepper, Mushroom Barley and a Ribollita. :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

It's Been A While...

... since I made this dish.
It's wonderful - you don't need to follow it exactly. You can use veggies of your choice (read: whatever needs to be used up in your veggie drawer).  I cut the veggies small and roast them. In the end, I bake the dish in the oven. Delicious and waist-line friendly!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Terry Fox Run 2011

Ok.  Part run - part walk.
Beautiful day: sunshine, pleasant temperature. Lots of people - many families, dogs.
A great cause.

He was so young...
This was the 31st year of the Terry Fox Run
Walkers, runners, young and old...

Wild grapes growing in the park

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Almost a Week

It's been almost a week since I posted...

Another version of the Breakfast Cookies was made - and it's a hit:

The changes:
- raisins were replaced by:  chopped Dates and Carob chips (1/2 cup each)
- Nonfat dry milk powder (1 tbsp only) - was replaced by Hemp Protein powder
- chunky peanut butter- replaced by Raw Almond butter
- added 1 TBSP milled Flaxseed

Great Cookies!
I freeze some, I keep some in a jar on the counter for quick breakfast/afternoon snack.
I feel better knowing what exactly went into them.:)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Guilt-free and Delicious

... what is: Spaghetti Squash. :)

And it's in season.

So, tonight, I made the following dish:

Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and Sage with Spaghetti Squash

I roasted a Spaghetti squash (let it cool, discarded seeds/centre, shell and broke it into strands.)
I sliced a dozen Plum Tomatoes, roasted them in olive oil (at 400F)- sprinkled them with minced garlic
(I used a head of garlic) and salt and pepper. I have some fresh Sage growing on my front porch, so I added some for good measure (and apparently, good memory:) ).
Once the tomatoes  were done, I mixed them with the Spaghetti Squash and if I had some Parmesan cheese I may have sprinkled some on top. As it was, I was out of it and the dish was delicious nonetheless.

I found it delicious. The male members of the family were not so enthusiastic about it.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Run In the Dogpark

The off-leash park is a great place for a good run with my daughter's dog. Hills, stairs, uneven ground provide the challenges. At the end of it all the reward is a tired, but happy dog:).

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Discovering new foods, new recipes is always exciting.

Yesterday's find was quite amazing.  I found Black Barley in the frozen section of the supermarket. I just had to try it.  So, yesterday, I made a wonderfully fragrant  Oven Roasted Ratatouille (Mollie Katzen Recipe) - and served it over Black Barley. Well...  I love barley normally but - this is special. The texture is firmer, there is nothing mushy about it. It's more nutty in flavour.  Now, I'm on a mission to find raw Black Barley because while the frozen one is extremely convenient, it is also very expensive.

Two new foods in little more than one week is pretty good (Turkish Eggplant was the other).

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Keeping It Simple II

Rainbow Chards...
Very pretty...  -
Using the formula I do for Rapini, I wash/chop/blanch - then  I swish them around a  frying pan over some Olive Oil with a bit of garlic and Red Pepper flakes, just briefly.
Yesterday I served them over some brown rice, a touch of Tamari, some Chickpeas  and a good sprinkling of black Sesame seeds (just because I like them:) ). With a good soup (Caribbean Coconut with Tomatoes, Red Peppers and Green Cabbage) - it made a great dinner.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Keeping It Simple

It's so much easier at this time of the year.
Just pull out the veggie drawer, grab a few items, toss it over olive oil, some onion and garlic and Voila!
Supper is made!

Onion, Garlic, Eggplant, Red Shepherd Peppers, Plum Tomatoes  - in a bit of Olive Oil with Fresh Rosemary, a pinch of Oregano, Thyme and Marjoram - S&P - served over Barley just to make things a bit different. Very nice.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Market At Its Best

I wish I had taken my camera with me. This is THE perfect season:  tomatoes, peppers, peaches, berries... included gorgeous, plump blackberries...
My first stop each week is at the flower stand. They have the prettiest, freshest cut flowers. And they have Orchids. Beautiful, irresistable Orchids. Orchids tend to like me and reward me with gorgeous, long-lasting blooms. That is why I could not resist this beauty:
I promise a better photo as soon as I get a chance...
When I bought the orchid, the gentleman there enlightened me that it needs monthly feeding plus every other month I must give it a powder that encourages blooming...  He also gave me some:) As if that was not nice enough he gave me a bouquet of gorgeus red roses with a heavenly smell... I can't walk by them without sniffing them:)

I was smiling while I went to visit the lady with the mushrooms:
Yellow Oyster Mushrooms...  so fresh and beautiful:)
apparently, they retain their colour through cooking!

Of course, I picked up some gorgeous tomatoes,
(the zebra is my personal favourite)

I could not believe all the colours eggplants come in.. (the red one is a Turkish eggplant)
or those of the beans.

I am now the proud owner of some Rainbow Chards and some Kale.
A good day, I would say:)

What did I do with all the wonderful produce?
So far, I put together a lovely Roasted Vegetable Salad with Lentils, a bit of Feta cheese over fresh Leaf Lettuce, topped with a  home-made dressing of EVOO, Red Wine Vinegar and Dijon.
I'm going to enjoy the next few months with all the great fresh produce!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tomato Season

Being aware of the seasons, local produce helps bring the most fresh foods to the table.
I stumbled on an amazing (and simple) recipe:

I made it with just Parmesan cheese (and not a lot of it),  Rice and Amaranth Penne, a lovely green salad 
(Fatoush) and it was enjoyed by young and old:)

I have plans to make it as a topping for sandwiches, pizza (w. home-made pizza dough) and still thinking of other ideas... the taste, the smells are heavenly ...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Delicious Recipe

Still mindful of our food, still exercising regularly, still doing yoga AND meditation...
still conscious of nature around me:

Today's dinner was one of my favourites:
Black-eyed peas - based on this recipe.
I made double the amount- it freezes well.
Not the best picture:

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Stuffed Peppers

... the vegetarian kind.
I came across the recipe on the Veg. Times site and just had to make it. It's good for the freezer which means it's good for me:)
Here is the link.
I ended up with lots of left over stuffing - so I will make some more tomorrow.
Rice works just as well:)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Challenge

The challenge is to stay with it...
Even when certain aspects are skipped - the awareness remains.  That seems to be true about most of the challenges and it can be both positive and negative.
It's negative when I feel anxiety over the things I missed or did not do up to expectations.
It's positive when it serves as a reminder that I need to work on something a little harder. It's good to keep it in perspective that there will be other days, other opportunities to work on it.

Today, I chose a guided meditation, focused on alternate nostril breathing and ham -sa breathing.
Food-wise : I cooked a huge family dinner with all fresh market produce
Gratitude : it was all there, at the dinner table.
See, I'm still working on it.:)

Monday, August 8, 2011


Seeing that I have not posted for a few days:

A very pleasant summer "recipe"
Beans and Grains Salad

Cook 1 cup Rice, Barley or Quinoa -  (or a mix of all 3). Put in a large bowl

Chop whatever salad veggies you have on hand:
cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, green or red onions, peppers, radishes - anything goes.

Add either cooked or roasted corn (amount is up to you).
Add 1 can or about 2 cups of cooked Black beans (or kidney beans, or other beans that you have).

Add extras like chopped Sundried Tomatoes, Pumpkin Seeds, a little bit of cheese cut into tiny bits.

Mix a dressing of  1 part Extra Virgin Olive Oil and 3 parts of Balsamic Vinegar (or other vinegar you enjoy)  - season with Garlic (or garlic powder), S&P - some cilantro or parsley would be nice with it.

Add dressing to your Salad and mix well.
Refrigerate - use within 3 days . (It won't last that long - very tasty and refreshing:) )


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Another Day At The Market

Oh, the perfect time of the year!
An abundance of produce - a treat for the eyes  and all other senses.

I've even learned to deal with fruit flies thanks to  an online friend:
Apple cider vinegar in a cup with a paper cone suspended in the middle, sealed, with no space to escape.
Not too many got caught in it  but somehow it  stopped them from multiplying...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Challenge Continues

I'm doing the Blissology challenge with a friend-
we both agreed to extend it till the end of August.

On that note:

- Food awareness: I'm cleaning out my fridge- tomorrow it's market day:)
Neatballs is on today's menu with brown rice /quinoa pasta and all the veggies I can gather from the fridge.

- Nature Appreciation:
Rain, rain go away... Well, not really, it's good for our plants. A real gloomy day...
I had a helper today:)

- Gratitude:
The two dogs are getting along... Relief!

- Yoga
Planning on some Yin or Self-directed LOOOONG poses

- Meditation
I'll try 5 minutes on my own.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Nature Appreciation

Another day - another park.
I just discovered this wonderful spot .
The area around the water is most likely subject to floods. The trees, shrubs have this coating of sand on them which creates very interesting and unique colouring... Lots of dead tree trunks, driftwood complete the picture. My only regret was that I had only my point-and-shoot with me which did not allow me to  fully document the beauty of the area. But, I'll be back!
(Lots of Ducks, babies and adults, geese - and even a bunny on our way there:) )

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I've been working on my challenge every day except yesterday:
I got a puppy.

I did not want to bother her with the camera, so it's not the best shot -
she appears to be settling in:)
I guess, she might qualify for nature appreciation?
My food awareness was lacking today, as I was running around gathering supplies for the above young lady... I ate breakfast at 3 p.m....

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday Again

Blissology keeps me on track:
Yoga - part of Monday's Quickie
Meditation - from same (Somatic med.)
Nature Appreciation: I tied it together with Food Awareness:)

Aren't they pretty?
The first one is Bok Choi.
The second is Rapini.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Blissology, Running and French

It seems like I do this frequently:
I challenge myself on a number of levels:).


Running (jogging and walking) worked out as the temperature fell to normal level. We were out on the trail for almost 2 hours. :)

Yoga  did not happen... In theory, I could still do it but I won't.
Meditation: Instead of sitting down to meditate, I looked up Wikipaedia's entry on Meditation. Just as I suspected: there are so many types....

Nature Appreciation: Always...  I admired the green foliage over the trail, my Black-eyed Susans... the bees moving about from flower to flower.

Food Awareness:
Today was mostly leftovers but good leftovers: Rapini with Soba, Blueberries, Mango Lassi - delicious.

French is challenging my memory...  and I mean really challenging it.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


No, I don't speak French but that is about to change... I'm working on it in baby steps.

Today, (which is the title)
Yoga - minimal, did a few individual poses: Crescent Moon, Child's Pose, Forward bend etc.
Meditation - did not happen
Food Awareness - oh, yes. We ate dinner at a restaurant. It does not happen often:)
Multigrain Pizza with roasted Pear, Walnut, Gorgonzola, Arugula,
Banana Choc.  Cake - shared :)
Nature appreciation - during my walk I took notice of the Flowers and Trees, Robins and Doves on my way .

Friday, July 22, 2011

Nature Appreciation

and Gratitude:

I've been chasing this butterfly with my camera all week...

... and one for Food awareness:


DAY 4 AND 5:

I did Blissology Thursday Quickie - partially. 
It is my favourite segment :)

Meditation is something I need to practice... It's not something that just comes to me...