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Very productive vegetable stock

I’ve been procrastinating this week as you can tell. I haven’t posted anything for a while and I feel like no matter how much I clean my house it always feels messy. Why do we procrastinate? It just feels good I guess, knowing that you can put off whatever it is until tomorrow. Eventually though, you realize this isn’t going anywhere and it comes to the point where you take a good look at yourself and say, “Really? You’ve been on Youtube watching useless crap for the last 3 hours, you don’t have anything more important to do?”The worst part is, you’ve probably waited so long that it’s now crunch time and you can’t help but hate yourself for not doing it right away.

 

That’s why I made vegetable stock today. No matter how lethargic or crummy I’m feeling, cooking my own stock somehow makes me feel so productive. Not to mention, it makes the whole house smell so good….. It’s really quite satisfying when you make basic things like stock, in your own kitchen. It’s almost like slowing down and going back to a time when we had to make things from scratch, because you couldn’t just go and buy it from the store. Sometimes I wish we could slow down other parts of our lives….

 

Just throw in any vegetables you have: carrots, celery, onion, leeks, mushrooms, bell peppers etc.

 

You can also add some other seasonings: parsley, cilantro, bay leaves, rosemary, garlic cloves…etc.

Boil the vegetables in water for a few hours, then strain the broth. I poured mine into several containers and popped them into the freezer for future use.

 

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A Quickie Breakfast

I used to eat breakfast at home in the morning before work, but now that I get up at the crack of dawn I would rather get an extra 20 minutes of sleep, so I eat my breakfast at work. I’m lucky enough that we have a pretty decent lunchroom at my work, equipped with a toaster, microwave and fridge, but toast can get a little boring which is why I like to change it up once in a while.

This morning I had the ultimate quickie breakfast.

Chocolate Almond milk and 1 packet of instant quaker oats. Instant oatmeal is great but I don’t really like the artificially flavoured ones and it tastes quite bland all on its own, so what I like to do is pour some chocolate almond milk over the oats and pop them in the microwave for 45 seconds.

It’s not too sweet  and overwhelming with chocolate which I love and the warmth of the oats in my belly are so comforting and filling. This is a great start to any day and so easy and quick to make!

Now you have no excuse not to eat breakfast in the morning! another great thing about this is, you don’t have to worry about it getting all mushy and cold because the longer it sits the better it tastes, I often end up eating it between calls.

Spicy Shrimp and Asparagus over Rice

had this Spicy Red Thai Curry Paste in my pantry for a while now and I thought it was about time that I used it. I was in the mood for something with a bit of heat.

Ingredients: 1 bunch of asparagus (chopped), 1 green pepper (sliced), 1/2 large onion (sliced), 1 tsp chopped ginger, 3 cloves of garlic (chopped), 1/2 cup vegetable stock, 1/4 cup red curry paste, 2 cups of shrimp, splash of soya sauce.

PRINTABLE RECIPE BELOW:

http://www.box.com/embed/4gxe0ak8e3oak4k.swf

 

Lentils – A New Year’s Day Lunch

It’s been a slow day so far, as I’m still recovering from last night’s festivities, but I wanted to cook something somewhat superstitious as well as something gentle on my tummy.

Lentils are great for days like today when you feel like you’re on the verge of falling asleep every time you sit down, and as I was sauteing the onions I noticed the smell was quite comforting. Something about the smell of onions sizzling away that reminds me of those hearty meals my mom used to cook up on cold days.

What’s so superstitious about lentils? Well, they are often eaten at this time of year because they resemble little coins which symbolize prosperity and wealth for the new year. This stew would be great for eating on the 31st as well because the lentils help soak up any alcohol you may be drinking later on that evening, and if you make it on the 1st than you can use up any left-over wine you might have kicking around from the party.

You will need: 1 medium carrot (diced), 2 celery sticks (diced), half of a large onion (diced), 4 cloves of garlic (minced), 2 cups of pureed tomato, 1 tsp of paprika, 1 tsp of red pepper flakes, 1/2 cup of red wine, 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth, 2 cups of green lentils, salt & pepper to taste.

Start by sauteing the celery, onion, and carrot  on medium-high heat until softened, then add the garlic and continue sauteing for 1 minute. Add the paprika, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and salt.

Add the lentils and continue stirring for 1 minute.

Pour in the red wine, tomato puree, and vegetable broth, and cover. Simmer on low heat for 45 minutes until the lentils are tender and the sauce has thickened, add more salt & pepper if needed (this stew tastes best with lots of black pepper).

Check on the lentils every once in a while, you may need to add more liquid.

I added some baby spinach for a bit of color, you could also add some chopped parsley. Serve alongside some crusty bread and top with a bit of grated Parmesan cheese.

PRINTABLE RECIPE BELOW:

http://www.box.com/embed/0erlr7lhfm377fj.swf

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

Lunch at ‘The Naam’ – Vegetarian 24hr Restaurant

Our friend offered to take us out for lunch today and introduced us to an amazing vegetarian restaurant called, ‘The Naam.’ This restaurant  has been in business since the 60’s, serving up delicious vegetarian food 24hrs a day. They are located in the very trendy Kitsilano area of Vancouver on 2724 West 4th Ave.

Their prices range from between $9 – $15 and they serve anything from enchiladas and chili bowls, to Thai curries and veggie steak platters. The options are endless, there seems to be something for everyone on the menu, and if you’ve got a sweet-tooth they’ve got you covered as well.

I ordered the Tofu dog platter served on a chapati with melted cheese, sesame fries with miso gravy, and fresh salad.

My hubby ordered the Thai Dragon Bowl which was a coconut curry with steamed vegetables, sprouts, carrots, fried tofu, and beets served over rice.

Our buddy ordered the Naam Steak Platter which was a nut patty served with Sesame Fries and steamed veggies. Can you believe this steak is vegetarian? I’m ordering this the next time I go to The Naam it was seriously SERIOUSLY good!

So, the next time you’re in the neighborhood stop by The Naam for a Vegetarian experience, you won’t be disappointed!

Versatile Blogger Award for the Unsweetie!

With Christmas behind us I have finally found some time to post this. Two weeks ago I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by ‘TheWaiting.’ It was such a surprise because when I started blogging I never thought that anyone would read my posts or care to comment, but WordPress is such a wonderful community of bloggers that you never feel like you are alone in the world! I want to Thank ‘TheWaiting’ for thinking of me when making her nominations and thank you to all my followers as well, for your encouraging feedback and support! 

TheWaiting has an excellent blog of her own that  you need to check out. Her posts are inspiring, witty, fun to read and I find that often when I’m reading her posts I am smiling like an idiot the whole time.

If you are ever given this award here are the steps that you need to follow:

  1. Thank the award-giver and link back to them in your post.
  2. Share 7 things about yourself.
  3. Pass this award along to 15 blogs you enjoy reading.
  4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award.

So without further to do here are 7 things about me:

1. I am of Mixed Race – My father is Chinese and my mother is Austrian and yet I don’t speak either language (although one day  I hope to at least speak a little bit of both). Growing up most people assume that as a halfie you get the best of both worlds, but I always felt more that I never really belonged anywhere. Now that I am older, I enjoy the fact that I am different, and learning about different cultures, traditions. and religions has become a growing passion of mine.

2. I love Banana flavour yogurt. Bananas don’t last in my house, we buy boxes of bananas every week and we still seem to run out before the week has even ended. This is why my new favourite thing is Banana yogurt, specifically the Trader Joe’s brand Banana & Cream Yogurt. It does have quite a bit of sugar in it compared to most yogurt but I eat it as a treat when I’ve run out of bananas. The Trader Joe’s version is really yummy because it’s sooooo creamy and doesn’t have that particularly artificial banana flavour. 

3. I hate phones – I absolutely hate talking on the phone, I would much rather speak to someone in person than listen to them blab away while my ear goes numb.  The funny thing is, I work in a call centre as a rez agent for an airline, cheers to jobs that pay the bills right?

4. My favourite movie is Moonstruck. This is the only movie that I like Nicholas Cage in, and along with Cherone might think again before popping this one in to watch, but it was nominated for 6 Oscars so it can’t be that bad. This clip makes me laugh and cringe at the same time because it’s really cheesy but I still love this movie nonetheless. 

Moonstruck Clip

5. I don’t use my reusable grocery bags. I have them, I just always forget to bring them. Even if they are in my car,  I will forget to take them in with me. I don’t know why, I have so many reusable bags! It must be years and years of habit not using them that has brought me to this dilemma. I also have a compulsive disorder when it comes to bagging my grocery items. I have a certain way in which I pack, so it is extremely difficult for me to watch the cashier put my parsley at the bottom of the bag only to get smooshed by my bananas.

6. I’m a huge fan of Boney M. If you haven’t heard of Boney M. you need to youtube them right now or watch this video. Their songs are full of life and I am addicted to them!

7. My bedroom is always a mess. I keep the main areas of my house very clean, like my kitchen, bathroom and living room, but my bedroom is always a disaster. For some reason it’s my least favourite place to clean.

So now you know a little bit more about me, in no particular order, here are a few blogs that I have passed on the Versatile Blogger Award to:

Mile High Healthy – Awesome smoothie/shake recipes and a whole lot of information on staying fit, healthy and motivated.

just a smidgenFantastic blog of culinary creations, mixed with beautiful photography and poetic postings.

pretty.gritty.nycAn entertaining blog about life in New York City!

Savory SimpleAwesome recipes and beautiful photography, this lady knows how to make your mouth water!

The Jen West QuestAn incredibly inspiring weight-loss story.

Eye WateringThis site has a great layout which makes recipes and ingredient info easy to follow.

Cook.Bake.Eat.LoveAbsolutely delicious recipes!

Pasto – I swear I fall in love with just about every post on this blog about Portuguese food!

me<<make{and}take – Recipes that will soothe your soul alongside some impressive photography.

…musings of Tonya LaTorreAn inspiring blog following a family that went to Uganda to adopt a child and ended up adopting the orphanage as well!

IamSimplyTiaThis blog has some great food, but I mainly read it because of the Martini recipes!

curiouscatontherunThis woman is my hero. She came back from vacation to her office job in Australia and decided suddenly that she wasn’t gonna spend her young life toiling away at a desk job, she was going to spend it travelling without any plan at all!

Newest ObsessionA blog after my own heart, healthy recipes and adventures in life. What more could you ask for in a blog? Make sure to read the About page, she has quite a story about her health and how she came to where she is today.

thepigandthefigRecipes using fresh, seasonal and local ingredients, I find myself reading her posts over and over again because I can’t get enough!

Indulge – Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences – Lesley Carter probably has the most exciting life of any person I have encountered. Her blog speaks for itself, please visit you won’t be disappointed.

So there you have it folks!

P.S. This is the longest post I have every written!

I spoiled myself today…..

I was fortunate enough to have the day off today, so I decided to start it off right, and since I don’t normally have time to cook breakfast I wanted to make pancakes. Not just any pancakes though, Toneitup Protein Pancakes! Have you been to www.toneitup.com? You need to go there if you haven’t already, they have tons of awesome healthy recipes and tips about staying fit and healthy.

Click here if you want to watch their video on how to make this deliciousness!

My pancakes were a little chocolatey because our protein powder is chocolate flavoured.

As you can see, patience is not one of my strengths. I flipped one of the pancakes too early and it broke up with me. One tip, these pancakes can really piss you off if you don’t have a good pan, so please spray some oil on your best pancake pan, and have a little more patience then I did. At least I learn from my mistakes, the second flipped just beautifully!

To make the pancakes extra special, I topped them with the rest of the banana and drizzled on some Agave Syrup as well. I prefer Agave syrup to maple syrup because it has a really low glycemic index. You see? Treating yourself doesn’t mean you have to sabotage your blood sugar first thing in the morning.

I gave the pretty one to my husband, because I love him and I couldn’t bare serving him the broken and deformed one.

I recommend enjoying these pancakes with a cup of Goji Berry Green Tea and Christmas themed pajama pants. Yes, I change my pajamas according to the holiday.

So after breakfast I continued to treat myself with a little shopping trip, and stumbled upon this beautiful cast iron skillet/pan/grill thing by Old Mountain. I am so excited to use this you have no idea!

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Shouldn’t she be shopping for presents to give to family and friends? Normally this time of year I would be, but this year my family decided it was best if we didn’t buy each other presents since we are all financially strained this year (except for my nephews of course, that would just be too cruel). I have to say I have enjoyed this season so much more knowing that I don’t have to stress over what to buy everyone and how much money I am spending. The truth is, I’m willing to spend way more money on other people than myself, so I figured for once I am not going to feel guilty about buying myself something that makes me happy. This was probably one of the best presents my family would’ve given me for christmas in a sense, we gave each other the chance to think about ourselves for once. So I wanted to take this opportunity to thank my family for letting me keep my sanity during this holiday season and allowing me to gift myself. I hope that they enjoy this Christmas as much as I have so far!