Friday, 31 January 2014

Food Friday #4

This week was a pretty lame attempt at cooking and eating paleo.  I went out too much and ate not paleo and just didn't get the prep done that I wanted to.  I was also trying to use up more of what I have in my pantry/freezer, including chicken and salmon.

Here's what I did make:

1. Mustard Balsamic Baked Chicken
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The chicken is this recipe here.  I really liked it, and the other bonus is that everything I needed to make it I already had.  This one will definitely happen again.  I ate the chicken with some frozen green beans and the sweet potato hash browns I had made a while ago and frozen.

2. Tourtiere
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Yup.  I know. Not paleo at all.  But it was in my freezer, and 100% home made (by me!) and it needed to be eaten.

This recipe my dad had put together in 1999 trying to replicate the meat pie his mom used to make and so it's a combination of other recipes and trial and error.  And as you can see, it's very precise! HA!

1 lb     ground beef
1 lb     ground pork
1 med chopped onion
dash   sage
dash   savory
dash   ground cloves
dash  garlic salt
fresh ground pepper
1 med  potato mashed (1/2c)

*pie crust

Makes two 8" pies.

Brown the meats, and add onion and spices. *don't worry about draining the meat* Simmer mixture for about 30 minutes.

Add your mashed potato to the meat mixture, and adjust salt and pepper to taste before cooling the mixture.

Let mixture cool.

*Using pre-made pie crusts OR (what I did) make your own (I used the classic crisco pie crust found here) assemble your pies, making sure to vent the top crust.

Bake pies in 425*F oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350*F and bake for another 30 minutes.  There are varying opinions on what you should serve with your tourtiere.  Some people like ketchup, some people like chutney, and some people like it as is.  Your choice!

Unbaked pies do keep well in the freezer for at least a month!

3. Sad disaster or as it might also be known as, Ropa Vieja....
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This is the only photo I have of this one...sorry it's not prettier!

So I went to make this recipe for Ropa Vieja from  I'm sure it would have turned out wonderfully.  Except for one thing I messed up.

Well, I had the best intentions of making this.  So I took my frozen meat out of my freezer to defrost in the fridge. Unfortunately I didn't get to it as soon as I would have liked.  I was dumb and even though I was worried the meat might be iffy, I figured it was my imagination and that I'm sure it would be fine (it looked okay and smelled okay, but the grocery store I bought it from is not my preference for meat and dairy...I've purchased far too much spoiled dairy from there in the past to really trust their meat).  Once it was done I couldn't bring myself to eat it.  I couldn't help but think it might make me sick.  And I don't know about anyone else, but if I get that in my head, it's too late and the meal will forever taste off.  So....I threw it all out.  Without eating a bite.  Sad, I know.  *sigh* Lesson learned I guess.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Food Friday #3

This is the third post of Food Friday, where I share what I ate this week with you, and how you could eat it too.  I started eating by paleo guidelines a while back, focusing on whole, real foods, and cooking from scratch.  A lot of time people wonder what it is you eat when you cut out grains and a lot of carbs.  Well here is what I eat, I hope it inspires you to do some cooking of your own!

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1. Roasted Squash Seeds
These are really just a "by-product" from #2 but I love eating roasted squash seeds.  These ones are from a spaghetti squash.  Separate the seeds from the flesh & goop, don't wash, add a little oil and whatever you like.  I used chill and garlic powder with some fresh ground pepper and salt.  Roast in a single layer in your oven at 350F until they're crispy and brown.

2. Pizza Spaghetti Squash Casserole
Apparently I didn't take any pictures making this, but I did make my very own pizza sauce for this.  In fact, the slow cooker recipe I used makes about 4 cups, so now I have 3 cups of pizza sauce ready to go in my freezer.  Best part is I know what's in it, and it's a lot less junk than the bought stuff.  It's super easy and delicious, here's the recipe I used.

For the actual casserole I used the recipe from paleomg found here.  I totally forgot that it had the sausage in it, so I had already thawed one chicken breast, so of course that went in too.  This turned out really great and I would make it again, maybe adding mushrooms and pepperoni.  Oh, and if you have the choice, buy the "sausage meat" that's like ground beef, otherwise you're just going to have to take it out of the casing, as you cook it like ground beef.

Super tasty, I would make it again, probably a mushroom and pepperoni version!

3. Spicy Crusted Salmon with Winter Slaw
I like this recipe for salmon because it's a little unexpected.  I like the uniqueness of putting spicy with salmon.  Here's the recipe I used.  I also used chill powder instead of cayenne.  Because I'm cooking just for me, my mixture makes more of a "crust" for the salmon instead of the way it looks on the recipe picture.  I like it like this, feel free to use less.

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Winter Slaw
This one is again from Paleo Cooking from Elana's Pantry
 - purple cabbage
 - romaine lettuce
 - carrots (recipe says julienned, but next time I would use a carrot peeler for shreds because my julienning skills could use work)

Mix the veggies in the combination that makes you happy.

Tahini dressing (altered from the recipe)
 - 1/4 cup Tahini
 - 1/4 cup water
 - 3 Tbsp lemon juice
 - 1 Tbsp olive oil
 - 1/2 tsp sea salt

Mix all ingredients together with a blender or immersion blender and toss desired amount on salad!
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The salad was good, but I liked it with more lemon  juice and would squeeze an extra wedge of lemon on before eating.

4. Crab Cakes
This recipe was based on this one here. I only had one can of crab meat (which definitely does not equal anywhere near a pound of crab) and so I modified and just used this recipe as a guideline.

They turned out alright, I would actually look for a different recipe, or try harder to use the right proportions next time.  I think I did end up for the most part eating these with avocado and lime, and more of the Tahini salad. 

Friday, 17 January 2014

Food Friday #2

Welcome back for the second installment of Food Friday! Basically I show you what I've been eating all week and how you could make it too!

This week:
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1. Chia Meatballs with Carrot "Noodles"
These were the chia meat balls I made last week.  People have asked a lot about these meat balls and also the carrot noodles.  I really like the meat balls.  You don't really notice the chia seeds in them and they're tasty.  The carrot noodles were really improv-ed.  I didn't have anything to take for lunch, and I had the meatballs in the freezer, and the only other thing I had was carrots, so thus, carrot noodles.

I used my carrot peeler to make them into small thin strips, and then microwaved them for about a minute so that they weren't super crunch when I ate them with the meatballs.

2. Baked salmon with zucchini and leeks.
This recipe I've made before and it's great.  I can't wait to try doing it in foil on the BBQ in the summer!  All you do is throw everything in parchment paper and toss in the oven!  Original recipe is from Martha Stewart here.  I threw the leeks in because, hey, I had one leftover.  It was a poor choice, and I wouldn't do it again.

3.  Crock pot roast beef & Oven roasted veggies with balsamic vinegar glaze
The roast beef I just threw in the crock pot with some wine, water, onions, and a few spices.  I think I wrote it down, but it wasn't that remarkable, so I don't dig around for it.  In my travels, I did find a recipe for a pot roast where everything is basically what you'd put in a Caesar/Bloody Mary, so that I WILL be trying in the future.

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My veggie combination was again "what's in the fridge?" Pictured is golden beets, carrots, and celery.  Beets take forever to cook, and I was in a bit of a hurry that night, so I threw my veggies into a pot and parboiled them first.

Then I threw them back in their cute little bowl and tossed some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, salt and pepper on them, put them on a cookie sheet and threw them in the oven at 400F for about 20 minutes.  They turned out fantastic, and I'll definitely be doing this again!
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4. Mish-mash
I had some peppers in the fridge that were approaching their time, so I sautéed them with some onions and celery to make a veggie mix to throw into stuff like eggs.  I was also considering adding chicken and using this as a fajita base, but that never happened.

There you have it, one more week of What I Ate!!

Friday, 3 January 2014

Food Friday!

Since living by myself, I find the easiest way to eat healthy (and paleo) is by having one big cooking day and eating that all week.  I've decided that I'm going to post the summary of that here once a week on Fridays (even though I usually do my cooking on Sundays).

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1. Breakfast Sausage Patties
One of my favourite new things is having home made breakfast sausage all week long.  Yup.  Weekday big breakfasts.  I make up a batch of sausage patties and freeze them.  For the longest time I used to use this recipe from  Don't get me wrong, it's good, but the new one I tried this week blew that one out of the water! It came from Paleo Cooking from Elana's Pantry - Elana Amsterdam, the new paleo cookbook my sister got me for Christmas!

I modified it a bit because I like the texture best when using ground pork and ground turkey (pork alone is a bit greasy, and turkey is too lean and the texture weirds me out!) Below is my modification on the recipe.

1 lb          ground turkey
1 lb          ground pork
1 Tbsp     dried sage
1 Tbsp     dried rosemary (crushed up a bit more)
1 Tbsp     honey
1 tsp        sea salt
1 tsp        fresh ground black pepper
1 Tbsp    fat of choice for cooking (I used coconut oil)

Mix all ingredients (except oil) in large bowl - I use my just works better.  Shape into patties, about 1/4 cup or so each

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-low heat.  Cook patties in skillet, turning once & gently pressing down to flatten.  They're done when meat is cooked thoroughly (use a meat thermometer if that's your style!) and when the patties are golden brown.  Place on paper towel after transferring from the skillet to absorb extra grease.  Serve immediately OR let cool & freeze in airtight container.

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2.  Chia Meatballs & Sauce

I found this meatball recipe by fluke and really wanted to try it because it used chia seeds.  The chia seeds get gel-ish when wet, which is what is used to help hold the meatballs together, thus replacing egg as the binder in the this recipe.

Both the meatball and sauce recipe are from Bare Root.  I made the recipe as-is, and divided it into 4 containers with about 3-4 meatballs in each and popped them into the freezer (when cool).

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3. Paleo "Potato" Leek Soup

This is another one from  Paleo Cooking from Elana's Pantry - Elana Amsterdam.  It's super-veggie loaded and surprisingly tasty.  I'm not 100% on the "replace everything with cauliflower" bandwagon, but this one gets my vote!  Next time I would use a larger head of cauliflower for a thicker soup, but it's still good and I would make it again!

2 Tbsp           coconut oil
1 medium      leek (green & white parts) about 3 cups
1 large           head of cauliflower
6 c                 stock (chicken or veggie would probably work best)
1/2 tsp           sea salt
1/2 tsp           ground black pepper

Melt coconut oil in large sauce pan over medium heat.  Sauté the leek about 10-15 minutes until soft and lightly browned.  Add the cauliflower and continue to sauté your veggies another 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender.  Add the stock and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Using a hand blender, puree soup until smooth.  (If using a conventional blender, let soup cool for a bit and blend in small batches.  If you don't, you will explode hot soup all over your kitchen and your self. Please don't do this. It hurts and is messy!)

Stir in salt and pepper and make sure soup is heated through.  Serve and enjoy!

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4. Sweet Potato Hash browns

These ended up being too much work, and I wouldn't do it again.  I looked up how to make shredded potato hash browns and then combined a bunch of recipes and tips together.

I shredded the raw (peeled) sweet potatoes.  Then par-boiled them for a couple minutes.  After that they needed to dry.  While I figured I'd have soggy potatoes sitting around all day I threw them on a baking sheet and popped them in the oven on broil.  After they were mostly dry, I put them in freezer bags.  When re-cooking I put them in a skillet to brown.  I'm going to have to experiment with more/different fat next time I cook up a bag because they were meh.  Too mushy, and the whole process was just too much work!

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5. Homemade Grapefruit Jello

This is definitely not the most appetizing looking photo, but I have really been into making my own "jello".  It's a good alternative to the store bought stuff and gelatin is actually really good for you.

1 Tbsp     unflavoured gelatin (grass-fed, ideally)
1/4 cup    cold water
2 cups     grapefruit juice (or other fruit juice of choice - just watch sugar content!)

Sprinkle gelatin over the surface of your cold water and without stirring let soak for about 3 minutes until it has absorbed most of the moisture.  Have your juice ready at almost boiling.  Combine your hot juice with the soaked gelatine and stir until dissolved.  Place mixture in the fridge to set.

There are a million variations to this, and this is just what I did this one time.  It was tasty, and I really enjoyed it as a snack.  You could always dilute your juice with water, or add a sweetener if you find the grapefruit juice too tart.

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6. Brazilian Curry Chicken in the Crockpot

I got a crockpot/slow cooker/"wife" whatever you like to call it for Christmas from my mom.  Yay!  You'll be seeing crockpot creations likely on a weekly basis around here!

This recipe is straight-up  I accidentally added too much broth and the whole can of coconut milk, so it was a bit soupy (which was okay too).   She used one red and one yellow pepper, I used one red and one green...because I'm a rebel like that!

Well there you have it!  That is what I'll be eating this week!  How do you like to do your cooking? Do you prepare it all at once, or do you cook every night?  Are you planning to give any of these recipes a try? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

Monday, 30 December 2013

Whole Home Cleaning - January {Kitchen Cleaning}

Alright, as part of the new year, I have a new series to share with you! It's basically how to deep clean your home a little each month so that you can stay on top of things. 

This was mostly just me being inspired by the lists at  Clean & Scentsible as part of her Household Organization Diet (I do love a good list!)

I came up with my own for 2014!  I tailored them towards my specific needs, but the majority of items on here will apply to most homes. 

The first couple months are a little more intense than the rest because I figured that I'd be pretty gung-hoe at the beginning and later in the year I would be less interested.  Also, each month's theme is matched with the time of year/weather, where applicable. 

For January I thought the kitchen would be a good place to start after being ran-sacked over the holidays!

Here's your first list!
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I know it looks a little intense, but a lot of it comes down to wiping.

I'll be posting before & after's when I can.

What do you say...are you in?  What's your toughest cleaning challenge?

Monday, 18 November 2013

Wear Your Wardrobe - Week 4 Recap

I'm pretty sure that now this challenge is coming to a close.  It has been 4 weeks and I only have about enough clothes for one more sparse week!

If you missed any of this, check out what it's all about:

This week's lesson: I started getting ruthless with stuff I wanted to get rid of!  I would look at things and think "I really don't want to wear that...ever" so out it would go!

Monday - Remembrance Day
I went into the office for a little while on Monday, so I wanted something comfy.  Yoga pants and sweater dress did the trick! Smart Set white long sleeved tee, Smart Set navy sweater dress, lululemon pants.

This outfit was a bit cool for the weather, but it looked really cute! :P  I love this black tube dress from H&M.  I realized that I really need new tall boots!  Target mustard bolero, H&M black dress, Target brown tights, H&M belt, boots...from the Bay?

The weather continued to be warm, so I continued to wear skirts.  This is the purple pencil skirt's second appearance, once again a pin-spired look.  

Ricki's purple skirt, Forever 21 striped grey long-sleeved tee, Smart Set scarf, Old Navy boots.

This is actually one of my favourite outfits for sure!!  Super comfy, and I look pretty darn skinny - WINNING!
I bought this black tunic top when I worked at Lush cosmetics.  I don't even remember where it's from, but I went to work one day, hating what I was wearing, so I went and bought something new to wear instead! 
Black tunic ??, Target grey leggings, Aldo black boots, Smart Set scarf.

Friday was to be a casual day again (first day of jeans this week!)
Old Navy coral cardi, ricki's mint tee, Smart Set jeans.  

Week at a glance:'s an affaire!

My mommy and I are taking the trip out to the West Coast in a couple of weeks to help my sister out with her booth at the holiday market!
If you don't know, my sister is the wonderful mastermind over at Try to Keep Up!  She's been putting a whole bunch of news up on her facebook page, so follow along there for the most up to date news!
She's been working hard crocheting her fingers to the bone to get ready for this show, and set up some online shops! Wanna see what kind of goodies she has?
Lots and lots of combinations of infinity scarves and headbands, as well as beautiful snowflake Christmas tree ornaments! Click here to check out more of her goodies!  Here's a secret - I totally made some of those scarves for her! (Sisterly slave labour!!!) So you should definitely buy one because I might have made it :P
If you are in the BC lower main land area, come stop by and visit us!! Look for the West Coast Leslie Designs booth ... we'll look something like this:
If you say you stopped by because you saw this on Envirocraftiness, you'll get a free gift...and by free gift, I mean a high five. 
Not in the lower mainland area? 
If you're in the Edmonton area, check out Modern Sole in Sherwood Park for some of the sweet boot cuffs made by Leslie!
Alright, not in either of those places?! I have good news for you too!  Leslie just opened up an online store at StoreEnvy!! Check out all her goodies here!
Thanks for checking it out! Hope to see you in December for your free high fives!!

Friday, 15 November 2013

Easy "Freestyle" Salmon Cakes

This was one of those dinners that I realized probably almost too late that I should really blog about ASAP because I made things up myself!

For some reason my mom always looks so surprised every time I tell her I made something without a recipe.  Don't get me wrong, my mom makes delicious food, but she uses a recipe for EVERYTHING.  She is that person that uses a recipe to cook a pot roast in the slow cooker.  Yeah...I wish I was joking!

As you might be able to tell, I made this up, so you should definitely follow it to the letter, the measurements are really precise *she said sarcastically*

Salmon Cakes:

2 cans     salmon of your choice (or fresh if available)
1-2          medium carrots - shredded
some       fresh parsley
1/2 a lemon  of both juice & zest
2 good spoon fulls mayo
1-2          potatoes - cooked & mashed
1             egg
salt & pepper to taste

1) Heat a skillet with some oil (1-2 Tbsp) over medium heat.

2) Mix your lemon zest & juice, chopped parsley, and carrots in a medium sized bowl.
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3) Add remaining ingredients - mayo, potato, salmon, egg, salt & pepper.  Combine well.
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4) Shape into patties - mine were about 2.5-3" in diameter, maybe 1/2-1" thick (the thinner the better). These can be prepared ahead of time and chucked in the fridge for a few hours to hold their shape a bit better.

5) Cook your salmon cakes in your hot pan.
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6) Be patient and flip only once after they have browned nicely on one side!
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That's it! Easy as pie...or cake that is!

Like most of the things that are my "creations" there's a lot of room for play.  Change up the add ins - chopped green onions would have been great in these, other veggies, etc.

To go with these I made Jamie Oliver's Creamy Leek Bake 
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Honestly, I wasn't all that impressed, and not recipe share-worthy.  Don't let the cheesey top fool you. This is one of the few times that Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution has let me down!  I just wanted to share what I ate with these cakes! 

Monday, 11 November 2013

Wear Your Wardrobe - Week 3 Recap

Another week, still clothes in my closet, but getting closer! I've started doing some laundry, but it's not going back in the closet yet.  If you've missed any of this so far, check out the details of 

The biggest revelation I had this week was that as I'm doing this, I'm starting to be more ruthless getting rid of my clothes.  Some stuff I'm looking at, not wanting to wear, and having no second thoughts about tossing it!  I'll take a picture of my "discard" pile when I'm all done!

I liked this outfit quite a bit. :) I realized I need more of a boot selection though.  It killed me to wear my black boots with navy tights!  
Old Navy cardigan, Ricki's skirt, scarf??, Aldo boots, and tights from Target (love shopping there for tights!)

I like all of these pieces alone, but wasn't a fan of it together.  I have a tough time wearing something over shirts like this red one that puff because I feel I just look really wide.  Anyway, keeping the red top because I like it. 
Red top...last year's clothing swap, Smart Set black sweater, Ricki's scarf (super pretty, doesn't really show in this picture!) 

H&M brown sweater, Smart Set long sleeved tee (I LOVE their long sleeved tees!), Smart Set jeans, Suzy Shier necklace? 

Old Navy long sleeved tee, Smart Set black sweater, Smart Set jeans, Ricki's scarf

H&M brown sweater, Joe fresh striped 3/4 length tee, Smart Set jeans, Sketchers boots, can't remember where the necklace came from! 

Don't forget to follow along or join on instagram! @jbean86  #wearyourwardrobe

Definitely nearing the end! Here's the week in review:

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Wear Your Wardrobe - Week 2 Recap

I'm still making out fairly well!  This was a rough week for me (on top of my full time job, I was teaching 7 fitness classes in 4 days - bad idea, btw). So this week's outfits are less inspired that I would have liked, but here they are regardless!

Things I learned this week:

1) Your family and friends will get bored of your daily instagrams of your less than spectacular fashion sense - too bad for them.

2) When I'm done this challenge, I'm going to have a whole hamper full of dirty laundry and will be living indoors for a weekend doing laundry so that I can again leave the house!

Smart Set outfit! Smart Set 3/4 purple tee, Smart Set black sweater, Smart Set jeans, Urban Outfitters Scarf (picked up when I was in Vegas!!) Aldo boots.  Quite liked this outfit!  

This outfit is a total miss.  I'm not a fan of any of the pieces...and I'm not sure what my hair is doing.  Purple sweater - not sure where it's from, besides my sister as a gift.  I always found the sleeves really tight and have had a hard time finding things to wear under it.  I sounds like it will find a good home at the next clothing swap! 
Reitmans ruffle top, Smart Set button-and-fly-less stretch jeans (too much pulling up!).
You can't see them very well, but I'm wearing navy leather shoes.  I'm over them, so they'll be going to a good home with my mom (handy being pretty close in shoe size to her!)

Wednesday was another rush day! I slept in an hour and decided jeans and a sweater it would be.
This sweater also a Christmas gift from my sister - Old Navy, and I adore it, Smart Set jeans, Sketchers suede boots.

Happy Halloween!!
Yup, this is the costume I wore to work.  I made this can can costume when I was in high school or early university!! 

Wintery love! Forever 21 sweater, Smart Set infinity scarf, Smart Set jeans, Sketchers suede boots.

Today was a run around, do a few errands kind of day, so I was sporting a casual lululemon yoga pant ensemble, but if you add a scarf, it's acceptable, right? Right?!  Oh yeah, the orange top is from Joe Fresh.  Sometimes I like pairing bright scarves that you wouldn't expect.  This is one of those times.  I got this scarf as a gift from my sister probably like 5 years ago, and it's still one of my favourites! 

It was a very jeans-y week.  I'll see what I can do about that next week! Here's a quick look at the week!

I dumped 2 pairs of brown pants, and a button up shirt into the clothing swap bag.  I just don't wear them, and I wasn't going to torture myself by doing it.  I tossed 2 pairs of jeans that were thoroughly worn out in the inner thighs.  I'd definitely been hanging onto them for tooooooo long!

I've been having a lot of fun with this so far.  I've done 4 loads of laundry in the last 2 weeks, 2 of which were towels.  My hamper is filling up quick, but my closet is still looking pretty full!