Food

Soup Sunday: Chili Edition

It has been a strange week, weather-wise with fluctuating temperatures and not quite knowing when to wear your jacket.

It wasn’t quite soup weather at the beginning of the week so I didn’t make anything until the end of the week.

I didn’t make a new recipe, but I did make changes to an old recipe.

I made chili from the Whole 30 book – one of my all-time favourites. It’s beanless, so I thought it might qualify for Soup Sunday.

Unfortunately I can’t post the recipe due to copyright, but I will tell you the recipe calls for: onion, garlic, lean ground beef, bell peppers, diced tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, paprika, and mustard powder with salt and pepper, and beef broth.

Typically when I make this recipe, I double, sometimes triple the amount of chili powder, paprika, a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, and cumin for extra flavour.

This time when I made it, I also added a jalapeño pepper, cored and diced. This added a bit of spice to eat bite which I loved. I also added a few mushrooms. I don’t overly love bell peppers and since this recipe is beanless, the chili is mostly comprised of them so I wanted to add more chili-like vegetables.

Overall, this dish is very hearty and perfect for the cool, fall weather.

Soup Saturday: Sausage, Sweet Potato, and Kale Soup

This week, I made a soup that is not really new to me but one that I haven’t made since my first round of Whole 30. It is paleo-friendly, gluten free, and dairy free as well.

The flavours mix together well and it is very filling for a lighter soup.

The recipe can be found at Tastes Lovely. Variations I made to the recipe:

  • I used hot Italian turkey sausage instead of sweet Italian pork sausage. This was primarily due to cost. The turkey sausage was on sale and had to be used up right away. However, in the future when making this recipe, I will likely buy hot Italian over sweet Italian because I LOVED how the the sausage made the broth have a little bit of a bite to it. It definitely added extra flavour.
  • I used one very large sweet potato instead of 2 large ones. It yielded about 4 cups.

Tasting notes: It tasted really good immediately upon trying it but it tasted even better the next day for lunch. My mom was a big fan of this soup as well.

20181003_201203.jpg

Soup Sunday: Dill Pickle Soup

When browsing through soup recipes, one I would not have thought to make is Dill Pickle Soup. However, through the recommendation of a friend, I thought I would venture out of my comfort zone and give it a try.

I love dill pickle chips – they’re high up there on my list of preferred chip flavours. I also enjoy a good tasting dill pickle.

The soup was incredibly easy to make. The recipe comes from Genius Kitchen.

Variations I made to the recipe:

  • I used baby dill pickles as they were the only ones I could find in my house (only to find larger ones later). I used 5 baby dill pickles.
  • I used instant mashed potatoes to save time

Thoughts:

  • The soup was actually much better than I thought it might be. At first thought, it sounded good but it also came with unfamiliar territory
  • It was more potatoey than it was pickley which made it taste more like a dilly potato soup
  • I would likely make this again but like the jalapeno popper soup, it only made 4 servings.
  • Worth a try for anyone who likes dill pickle 🙂

0.jpg

Soup Season

Anyone who knows me personally can tell you how much I love soup. While I could honestly eat soup any place, any time of the year, autumn is truly when it starts to feel like soup season.

As I am also trying to increase my food-making repertoire, I have decided to challenge myself to make a new soup a week until the end of (at least) December as part of my meal prep. Two weeks into this challenge and I have already been successful.

Last week’s soup: Creamy Tortellini Soup with Sausage by Gimme Some Oven0-1.jpg

This soup was incredibly easy to make and made lots of servings. Variations I made to the recipe:
– I used Italian turkey sausage instead of pork sausages
– I used 1.5 cups of milk and 3 large heaping tablespoons of sour cream to make it creamier rather than the 2 cups of milk

This week, I made Jalapeño Popper Chicken Soup by Closet Cooking.

0.jpg

Although my picture of the soup isn’t the prettiest, it sure tasted great! Cheesy with a bit of a bite from the jalapeños and some delicious bacon as well! I did the chopping of ingredients in the morning and through it all together in a pot in the evening which resulted in less mess and a quick meal. The (only) downside to this soup is it only yields 4 servings so it isn’t quite enough for lunch for the week. I did not add corn to my soup as it states in the recipe.

I’d say these two are keeper recipes. I can’t wait to try something else next week!

Have a wonderful Monday!

Three New Places I Discovered in Montreal

When I was little, I used to go to Montreal once or twice a year, sometimes more. Several members of my mom’s side of the family lives there so I have seen many of the wonderful sights Montreal has to offer.

A couple weeks ago, I went to Montreal for a conference. While there, I stayed with family, visited friends, and took some time alone to explore the city. It is such a beautiful place.

20180629_094336.jpg

During my stay, I found three new places I have never been to that I absolutely MUST recommend.

  1. Tommy 

Tommy is a café located in Old Montreal just a few steps away from Notre Dame Basilica. Its multi-level establishment has plenty of room to find a cozy spot to enjoy a coffee, pull out your laptop, read a book, or just sit and stare at the beautiful architecture (all of which I did). I tried an iced coffee and caramel cocoa vegan ice cream and it was perfect for the hot summer day that it was. I wanted to try the avocado toast with smoked salmon on top but I had just finished a meal and couldn’t quite stomach a snack that big. However, a lady at a table nearby ordered it and it looked so delicious.IMG_20180708_225156_588.jpg

2. Muru Crêpe

What an adorable and very delicious brunch spot! Water was served in a glass wine bottle. The caramel macchiato I ordered was picture perfect and tasted just as good as it looked.20180629_101712.jpg

I sat by the window so I could watch the busy street action and before I knew it, my food arrived very quickly. I wish I tried their crème brûlée crêpe because the picture looked scrumptious but I was not disappointed with my choice. I can’t quite remember what it was called but I can tell you it had chicken, thin sliced potatoes, mushrooms, and cheese in a delicious sauce. I devoured the entire thing, it was so good. Will definitely be returning on my next visit to Montreal.

Instagram: @murucrepe

3. Ca Lem 

Ca Lem is the perfect hole-in-the-wall ice cream shop I could ever ask for. Its bright colours of the building and delicious flavours are worth the visit. You can sample flavours if you are undecided (I know I was). They feature two new flavours each week for their Swirl Cones. This was my pick and the flavours when I visited were lemon and raspberry. It was the perfect combination for a hot day. IMG_20180629_151737.jpg

As if their ice cream wasn’t already picture perfect, inside they have a wall with different backgrounds you can use for that like-worthy instagram shot. How cute is that!20180629_152344.jpg

Instagram: @calemcreamery

Honourable Mention: Orange Julep

Gibeau Orange Julep is not a new place to me so I couldn’t add it to the list but it is so good, I had to rave about it. It’s a great place to stop in and get a hot dog and, of course, a famous Orange Julep drink which they also serve as a frappe! Want to know about Gibeau’s Orange Julep? Here’s a link from Mtl Blog about the history of this iconic treasure: https://www.mtlblog.com/lifestyle/the-real-story-behind-montreals-orange-julep

20180629_135125.jpg

What’s your favourite place to visit in Montreal?

Spinach Dip Stuffed Mushrooms

Do you love spinach dip?

Do you love portobello mushrooms?

Well worlds collided tonight when I made some stuffed mushrooms. A few years ago, one of the local restaurants used to serve them as appetizers and it was my favourite thing to split with my mom but they have taken them off the menu. While grocery shopping the other day, I bought a 4-pack of portobello mushrooms and thought that maybe I would try to replicate them.

 

IMG_1906.JPG

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 4 portobello mushrooms
  • 10 oz of frozen spinach (I bought the packaged stuff)
  • 3/4 tsp of garlic powder
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 250g package of cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese

Here’s what I did:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preset the oven to 375.
  2. Remove the stems and gills from the portobello mushrooms. Drizzle olive oil on the mushrooms. Place on the baking sheet and set aside.
  3. Cook the frozen spinach according to the directions on the package, drain excess water, and set aside.
  4. Combine all the cheeses together (except for the mozzarella) with the garlic powder and cayenne pepper and add the spinach.
  5. Stuff the mushrooms with the spinach dip and sprinkle each mushroom with mozzarella cheese.
  6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

IMG_1907.JPG

These recipes were used as a guide in the creation of my mushrooms:

Chicken Fajitas

One of my favourite things to do when I get to see my boyfriend is cook together. He has been so supportive with all of my goals, especially those for a healthier lifestyle. The past few times we’ve spent the weekend together we’ve made an active effort to cook at least one of our meals and have it be a healthier option.

This weekend, we made chicken fajitas from scratch since we wanted something easy and relatively quick to make.

Ingredients

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1 onion
  • olive oil
  • 6-8 white mushrooms
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • half a head of romaine lettuce
  • flour tortillas
  • Shredded cheese
  • Hot sauce

What We Did

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Cover a large sheet pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Using one of those slap-chop type things, we diced the onion, bell peppers, jalapeno pepper, and the mushrooms, setting aside the mushrooms and onions, and putting the peppers on the pan.
  3. Cut the chicken into strips and lay onto the pan.
  4. We made our own fajita seasoning. After Whole 30, I have loved making my own seasonings and dressings so we made this fajita seasoning:
    • 1 Tbsp chili powder
    • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
    • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
    • 1/2 tsp onion powder
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/4 tsp oregano
    • 1/4 tsp cayenne optional
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  5. Sprinkle the fajita seasoning onto the chicken and peppers and add the minced garlic all over the chicken and peppers.
  6. Put the pan in the oven for 15 minutes (until chicken is cooked through)
  7. In a large skillet, add some olive oil (~1 tbsp? I didn’t measure this out). Once the pan is heated, add the mushrooms and onions to the pan and cook until onions translucent and mushrooms cooked.
  8. Remove the pan from the oven and add the contents to the skillet mixing everything together.
  9. Serve in tortillas with shredded lettuce, hot sauce, and shredded cheese, if desired.

IMG_1775

Whole 30 Day 2

How I’m Feeling

Getting out of bed this morning was hard. I was absolutely exhausted and, quite honestly, I felt like I did on New Years Day. I thought it was because I was over-tired – waking up presumably from the middle of a deep sleep by my rude alarm.

But then I remembered the Whole 30 Timeline and it all made sense: it’s hangover day.

IMG_2340.jpg

All the sugar and crap I have been eating for the last two weeks are finally coming back to kick me in the butt. As it says right on the Whole 30’s official website (in bold letters), “And it is definitely true that the amount of suck you experience in this phase is directly proportional to the amount of crap you consumed before you began the program.”

Apparently this is normal. I do recall feeling like this a lot in round 1 but not so much in round 2. But I have been eating especially worse with it being the holiday season, so it makes sense.

I continue to be super thirsty so I have been keeping my water bottle close by at all times.

I haven’t had any cravings today. I have cookies all over my house that have been whispering, “eat me” but I can’t give in. I have 28 more days to go.

What I Ate Today:

Breakfast: quick and easy, I made two eggs with salt and pepper.

Snack: 1 apple, sliced

Lunch: Whole 30 Chilli from the Whole 30 Book (one of my all time favourite recipes!)

Dinner: A homemade burger with lettuce as the bun, with mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes as the toppings. (Holding it was rough so I ended up using a knife and fork to eat it. IMG_1360.JPG

I hope the next few meals look appetizing. I need to make egg muffins so I have quick and easy (but filling) breakfast in the morning.

Until tomorrow!

Whole 30 Day 1

As New Years comes to a close, I must also say goodbye to some of the things I love the most: wine and cheese.

Welcome to my exciting journey to refresh the soul during Whole 30. What is the Whole 30? See my last blog post to learn more about it.

IMG_1347.jpg

Why am I doing Whole 30? (In no particular order)

  1. With stress eating and the holidays, I have not only gained weight, but I have created and re-created some bad habits with food. I want to create new habits and break (and more importantly identify) old habits.
  2. To boost my confidence – the amount of self control it takes to cut out grains, dairy, soy, sugar, legumes, and alcohol is immense! To know after the 30 days that I have been able to control what I eat and eat clean will make me feel amazing.
  3. To break the emotional connection with food. I don’t want to grab a bag of chips because I’m overwhelmed by all of the things on my to-do list. Or drink that glass of wine.
  4. To learn to cook a variety of clean eating recipes
  5. To improve my body image.

What I Ate Today:

Breakfast: Diced potatoes with onions, garlic, and eggs.

Lunch: Cucumbers dipped in guacamole (I didn’t have time to meal prep yesterday – oops).

Dinner: Baked tilapia with red pepper relish (see below) with a side salad – loosely based on the Whole 30 Recipe in the Whole 30 Book (p. 242)

IMG_1353.JPG

How I’m Feeling:

  • I craved chocolate today. And chips. I resisted.
  • I have been so thirsty despite the large amount of water I’ve drank today
  • Proud of myself for preparing lunch for the week! (Whole 30 chilli)
  • I have a bit of a headache currently but I am diffusing some essential oils and ready to tackle the next thing on my to-do list.

My Whole 30 Journey

If you creep far enough back on my personal instagram page, you would have seen various pictures of food starting on September 6th, 2016.

That was the fateful day I started Whole 30 for the first time. After the 30 days, I lost about 15lbs and several inches.

But first, let’s back up – let’s review the basics: What is Whole 30?

(more…)