29 December 2009

The Macaron Hunt Continues.

As those of you who read my blog regularly may know, I fell in love with the traditional French macaron when visiting Laduree for the first time in Paris. Amazing experience, and one that I think of to this day.

Whenever I see them, I have to try them, and during a recent shopping jaunt through Yorkville, G and I took a detour to MoRoCo Chocolat. This place is fantastic! It has a gorgeous little cafe that G and I are going to go back to when we are in the mood for brunch, and stunning white and glass cabinets filled to the brim with the blessed Macarons.

I couldn't wait to get home to break into the package. The white are vanilla, the green is pistachio, and the purple is lavender cassis. I am a purist, I love the vanilla. In fact, Laduree vanilla is the benchmark that all other macarons must meet.

Sad to say, this one was not quite there, though they were lovely. First, the vanilla was not nearly pronounced enough. Second, the filling was too light, almost more of a whipped cream. It was lovely, too, but just not quite there. That being said, I'd eat another one and would go back in a second to try the cafe.

If you've not been there and you find yourself in Yorkville, give it a go.

Breakfast of Champions!

Fried eggs, fried okra, grilled halloumi, and half an english muffin. Bring it!

28 December 2009


I often read WW blogs from the US with envy. There is so much access to low-point substitutes in the States that we don't have in Canada. So you can imagine how much I rejoiced when I saw the one point Pita Break sandwich thins! I snapped them up and headed home to try out a great hamburger idea!

Yippie! We took the hamburger buns and toasted them in the oven, cooked the hamburger patty (just super lean meat with a little salt and pepper) in a very hot pan on the stove top, mashed up some avocado with a little bit of chipotle hot sauce, sliced some tomato, and grabbed some fat free cheese slices from the fridge! It was very filling, totally delicious, and really satisfied my hamburger craving.

The hamburger buns were brilliant, though because of the holes, the toppings ran out a bit. But I really enjoyed it, and G actually ate all of the bun, which she never does with traditional hamburger buns!

I've been seeing these buns all over, so run to your neighborhood Loblaw's and get some!

27 December 2009

Sunny Days.

Bean and Bello relaxing in the sunroom. Ah. They have a hard life!

26 December 2009

Two Dinners -- Delicious and Low-Point!

Look at that pizza! It's probably been one of the most difficult things to lighten, especially since I can't seem to find any low-point pizza base ideas that I see on other blogs (other than tortillas and english muffins, neither of which I like as a pizza base)... I tend to save about half my points for dinner each day, so I often will have a 9 or 10 point dinner without any issue, and I am more than happy to give an extra point or two from my weekly allowance for such delicious indulgences.

For this pizza, I used a pizza crust that Whole Foods makes, thin crust, whole wheat and really delicious IF you spray the crust with cooking spray and sprinkle on a bunch of herbs before making the pizza. If you don't, it's a bit bland. Anyway, half of that comes out to be about 6 points. I added low-fat moz, turkey pepperoni, some low-point sauce and a TON of veggies. Really delicious and well-worth the points.

Another good alternative for a full-fat dinner? Healthy fish and chips!

Look at that! We used the President's Choice Blue Menu Haddock fillets, and I oven baked some potatoes. Look how brown and crisp they are! I have to give a huge THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to the You Tube video's that the WW Chick puts up. Her chili cheese fries was inspiring. I make the fries by cutting up the potatoes, spraying liberally with cooking spray and adding about 1 teaspoon or so of oil and salt and pepper and chili powder. Put on a well-sprayed baking pan, put in the oven (450 degrees) initially for about 5 minutes then put in the pan about three ice cubes. Close the oven and cook for another 10 or so minutes, flip over and cook for about 15 more. They get super crispy. Our nod to the Brits was to include peas, though they weren't mushy. I love this canned pea, Lucerne Canned Baby Peas. I have eaten them since I was a little girl and I really really love them. They don't really taste like peas, but they totally hit the spot.

Two great dinners for reasonable points. G loved them, too!

Dinner -- Chicken Fried Rice

I have no claim to making authentic Chinese food, and I am sure that people would scoff at the lack of authenticity of this meal... but, it was great for us and pretty low-point, too!

I basically took some While Foods frozen brown rice and cooked it in the microwave per the instructions. While that was cooking, I quickly scrambled two egg whites and set aside. Then I cooked an onion with some garlic, chopped cooked chicken and peas with a bit of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. I then stirred in the rice and a TON of freshly cracked black pepper. Tossed in the egg, and served. It was really fast, really delicious, and the points can vary depending on the ingredients you use. Just use the Recipe Builder on the WW Online site to figure yours out!

24 December 2009

Merry Christmas!!!

Look at that face. Buddy is here to tell you that we take Christmas very seriously in this house, and so should you!!!

I am home for the holidays and glad I am. We're having a pretty serious blizzard outside, and so we are all huddled in, watching holiday movies, eating pie, and basking in holiday cheer. Buddy on the other hand wants to know what all the hoopla is about! Wait til he gets his present tomorrow, he'll be impressed then!

My family bought me a new Christmas ornament this year...

It's a skinny reindeer (to celebrate my hitting my goal weight! go me!) who's making what I can only assume are light but delicious cookies. G's ornament is a penguin, celebrating her love of the animal...


We also had Christmas dinner today -- most of the pictures turned out to be kind of crap, but never fear. In addition to the two photog classes under my belt, I have now also purchased a Nikon D60 guide! (Thanks Aunt Linda for the Barnes and Noble gift card!!!) We'll ALL benefit from my taking better pics, no two ways about it!

But, I liked my photo of the dressing...

Yum! My brother makes AWESOME dressing. And this year, I decided to make stuffed mushrooms. I used an onion, celery, mushroom, and sausage mix to stuff. I finally convinced my brother to try it, and he LOVED it, so we mixed the leftover mushroom stuffing into the regular stuffing that David had prepared. It was FANTASTIC!

Also new this year was a proper holiday ham cooked on the bone and glazed...

YUM. Mom and I really liked it. D felt it had too much of a smokey smell. But man alive, it was so meaty and juicy and sweet. I really really enjoyed it.

And then we had to partake in D's pumpkin pie. Amazing.

It was so delicious.

And, I have a confession to make. We have pecan pie most years and I have always just hated it on principle. I don't know what principle that is, really, but I have never been interested in it. But, this year, I tried a bite of my mom's. OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS. Really, I could have lived my whole life NOT knowing how delicious that pie is because now I just want to go in and eat the remaining pie with my fingers! Wow.

If you are in the midwest/southern US right now, stay safe on the roads. Just looking out the windows here, I am so glad that I don't have anywhere I need to be and that we're all safe and sound inside where it's warm! :)

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

While J is away G will play

J is in OK so G is guest posting!

From my research, I see that Jamaican goat curry is a special dish that is made for the holidays. Well being neither Jamaican nor celebrating the Yuletide, I thought I'd give it a go.

The goat meat has been in the freezer since the end of our meat CSA a few months ago. J is not keen to eat it, so I thought I'd make some goat dishes while she was in OK visiting her family for the holidays. So goat curry it is.

Note: You need to start this process the night before!

First of all, I realized that Jamaican curry powder is not the same as regular Indian or the high-test Sri Lankan stuff we have in the cupboard, so I had to make my own. Happy to report that I had all the ingredients on hand so no troubles putting together this brew late at night. The main difference is that Jamaican curry powder has allspice (or pimento as it's called on the island). This is a mild one because you add scotch bonnets to the sauce later for heat. So I gathered all the indredients:
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp fenugreek
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tbsp anise/fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tbsp allspice seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp ground tumeric
Toast all the seeds in a dry frying pan.

Let them cool, then grind them in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. Add the ground tumeric and ginger and stir it up so you have a nice fine powder.

The next step is to create the marinade. Take the following ingredients, cut them up and throw them in a blender.
  • 2 onions
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 scotch bonnet peppers (or more if you're feeling extra bold)
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp of chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup of water
Waz it all up. Add more water if you need it to make a nice paste. Then add 2 tbsp of the curry powder and stir it all up nicely together.

Now add 2 lbs of goat meat to the marinade. Ours had no bones, which was lovely for eating, but generally it actually tastes better if you cook it with meat on the bone. I put it all in a baggie and got the marinade all over the meat and then slapped it in the fridge overnight.

Next day when you're ready to cook it up. Take the meat out of the fridge and scrape off the marinade. Put it in a bowl and save for later.

Then put some oil in a large frying pan and brown the meat.

Once it's good and brown add the marinade, 1/2 lb of chopped up carrots and 1/2 lb of chopped up potatoes (use WHITE potatoes as they don't fall apart when you cook them for hours on end).

Cover the whole lovely concoction with water and simmer for 1.5 hours or until the meat is tender. Add more water if you need it as you go along. I added it a few times so the lovely sauce didn't stick to the bottom.

It's okay to make this well ahead of time. It gets more delicious as it sits. I made it in the morning (and the whole house smelled very fragrant all day!) and ate it with my dad that night. Went out and bought some roti from the local Jamaican restaurant because even though I'm energetic in the kitchen, making the breads does not appeal to me. The dude behind the counter also pointed out that making the roti would probably have taken longer than making the curry, so I was glad not to have gone down that road!

So I served it up with roti, some chopped up banana (weird you say, but the bit of sweet is delicious with curries), rice and peas, and some raita (yogurt, chopped up carrot, onion, tomato, salt, pinch of garam masala). It may not be pretty but it was DELICIOUS!!!

15 December 2009

Cooking Class #3 -- I feel like chicken tonight!

My third cooking class (in SEPTEMBER! How slow am I in posting?!) had one of my favorite starters.

YUM! Cheesy toast with basil and a lightly lightly seasoned cauliflower. I was probably about four weeks or so into Weight Watchers on this one, so I made myself eat the veggies (I loathe cauliflower) but the bread was wonderful!

We started class by making a bread pudding... with full fat cream. Which meant little ol' me ate a little ol' bit and threw the rest away... but look at it...

I packaged it up before taking a photo, so there is it with the lid lifted for a photo op!

Here's the starter plate...

A chunk of bread, eggs, cream, nutmeg, booze, butter... it had the works. The recipe was pretty easy to make and Ian told us of a bunch of good alternatives to sweet bread pudding, like savory bread puddings such as breakfast strata's, etc. It was delicious!

We also made a chili shrimp...

This was so easy... we put in shrimp, chili sauce, oil, citrus... and then quickly fried it up into a delicious amount of goodness. am not a huge fan of shrimp, but this was pretty good.

We also made baked chickens...

Here it is all gussied up and ready for the roasting tray. Taking a fancy cooking class has its perks... the chicken was already all clean! There were some errant feathers, but overall, it was pretty easy breezy.

And here are the chickens cooling their heels after a sauna...

(This is probably my favorite photo from all of my classes... after I took mine, a few others took some as well!!!)

And here's my individual bird, all ready for eatin'...

That is a good lookin' bird! I brought it home with whatever else we made that night (the photos don't tell the complete story!) and G and I feasted!

As I mentioned many posts ago, I accidentally deleted cooking class 4 when I go my new camera, so nothing but the memories on that one. I highly highly highly recommend the Calphalon cooking classes. It was so much fun and I really did learn a lot about how to cook using a variety of different techniques.

13 December 2009


I realized that I haven't updated my links section pretty much since I started this blog. And that's a shame. There are lots of great blogs out there that I read religiously, and I think most of them are now in the list! You'll see some that are Weight Watchers related, some are related to my home state, and some are from the UK which I read in order to live vicariously, but they are all food related in some way or another and are written by people I feel like I know. Enjoy!

06 December 2009

Good Day at Chez HungerOverThirst.

Food is a feature in my life, no doubt about it. But today was a triumph of a different sort. I packed away my suits that no longer fit. I folded them up, gave them a pat and stuck them in the giant tupperware container that will be going down to the storage locker to sit until I know for sure they can leave the building. But having them out of my closet is an amazing feeling. As I get nearer to my goal, I can't believe that it's really happened. (And that I bought jeans on sale at Old Navy yesterday THREE sizes smaller than the jeans I was wearing over the summer AND on sale for $15 a pair!)

And so you don't think I've completely lost it... a random dinner from the last few weeks featuring lovely roasted ontario beets. I think I could honestly eat roasted beets every day.

The steak was from out CSA, the salad was just salad, and the potatoes were my attempt at a cross between potato salad and mashed potato. They were delicious. I just boiled the potatoes and then drained them, added a bunch of salt and pepper, some light mayo and mustard, and just stirred/squished it all around. Good times!

30 November 2009

Pumpkin Banana Bread.

Gina is a genius. I don't know her, but man, I can honestly say I love her! I have followed her blog since embarking on my Weight Watchers journey, and her food has yet to lead me astray.

She recently had a recipe on her site for pumpkin banana bread. I love pumpkin bread, but it's my brother's "thing", and he makes the best I've ever tasted. But I am not going home for a month still and it was necessary for me to have pumpkin bread NOW. Gina's recipe seemed like a good place to start... See for yourself...

I made a few changes to her recipe... I used diet margarine, because it's what I had in the house and it's gross on it's own. I only had two banana's, so I used a bit extra pumpkin. In sheer laziness (and my inability to tear myself away from the Sookie Stackhouse books -- finished nine last night -- Eric is the best vampire character ever), I failed to properly mash the banana's, so they all settled in the bottom of my loaf. Hence you only get a picture of the loaf itself.

I am still working with the settings on my camera, so please try to hang in there with my photos. I will get there, I am confident. After two courses at Henry's, I do think I am finally getting the hang of it, but I keep needing to refresh my memory with the notes from the course. I like this one, it's just really dark. Still haven't gotten down the whole no flash thing...

Anyway, go to Gina's site. It's fantastic!

29 November 2009

Quick Weeknight Paella.

G and I decided to have paella one night, so we bought some turkey sausage at Whole Foods and some shrimp and cooked up a quickie. It was delicious, but the sausage was once again no good. This is probably the third time that we've had sausage from Whole Foods that was less than excellent. Such a nice dinner and pretty low point!

Cooking Class #2

I seem to have deleted the photos of the last of my cooking classes. I am devastated, but will soldier on. Here's class #2...

As I have said before, each class starts with a chef's taste plate. This one was FANTASTIC!

Polenta with tomato sauce on some greens. Bring it!

After our snack, we started class with making a super quick veggie stock.

We picked up our trays...

Doesn't look like much, but it all turned into something more...


We boiled this up for about half an hour or so, then strained it thoroughly and used the stock to make soup.... We dutifully picked up our fixings for the next round...

And went back to our stations to start souping it up...

Here's the stock simmering with the butternut squash. After a spell, we wazzed it up with the immersion blender and voila! Squash soup!

From there, we made a salmon wrapped in parchment with veg...

The salmon was pretty good...especially considering I really don't like salmon...

It was cooked with red pepper and onion and had a pretty decent flavour. I really prefer salmon to be really dry and grilled. I think it's like when you first start drinking wine. You really like regular old zinfandel, but after a spell, you move on the Riojas. I think once I ease into liking dry overcooked salmon, I will start to like the softer side of salmon. Some day.

For dessert, we made pears poached in a red wine sauce. These were really really strong!

They were incredibly boozey. I brought them home and G and I had them with whipped cream. Really nice.

It was a good class. We learned to stew and steam and all those related things, and I really learned a lot from our teacher Ian...

He really worked to make it fun and informative, and I enjoyed his teaching style very much. For information on Calphalon classes, look here (and no, I don't get paid for saying it, I just loved the cooking course I took!).

28 November 2009

Chili me this Batman...

Chili. It's good. I love a big pot of chili with meat and beans and tomatoey goodness.

But G can't eat beans anymore (booooo!) and so chili has not made much of an appearance this fall. Until I decided that we would give beanless chili a go. Dare we try chili without the lovely lovely beans? Would we be forced to have it with spaghetti like Cincinnati chili? NO!

Not only does the chili not need beans, it can be full of weird stuff and still taste good. (New camera coupled with it getting dark at 4:30 means pictures are suffering once again. Sigh.)

This chili was a breeze to make, seemed a little iffy, but was absolutely delicious. I promise. REALLY! Make some...

Take some onion, carrot, yellow/red pepper, garlic, and sweet potato, chop it up to all about the same size, and cook in a little bit of cooking spray in a very hot pan. Add drips of water if it feels like it's sticking. After it's cooked for a bit, put it chili powder, oregano, dried mustard, and a sprinkle of dried ginger. Take out of the pan. Start browning the leanest ground beef you can find, breaking it up the whole while. If the meat is greasy, strain and spray with water to remove as much fat as possible (I find this is really important to ensure that any leftovers aren't overly greasy). Add the veggies and stir through. Add a big can of diced tomatoes, and heat through until a lot of the liquid has evaporated and the veggies are soft. Serve on soft polenta with a little shredded old cheddar.

We were so not sure about this one while it was cooking, but not only was it positively delicious, it was even better the next day. The chili had a bit of heat from the chili powder with just a little bit of sweet from the carrot and sweet potato. They got very soft in the cooking, so it wasn't even a little cloying. The polenta was just a nice (and low point) alternative to rice! Enjoy!

27 November 2009

Baked pasta...

Sometimes, I just can't get enough of something new that I've found that I like to eat. When that something ends up being low on the Weight Watcher's points scale, everyone's a winner.

This is my recent favorite...

It's so easy...

Take a whole wheat cheese tortellini. (If you follow points, you have to find one that fits your allotment.) Boil it until almost done, but not quite. (I made one cup (5.5 points) for just me.) While it's boiling, preheat the oven to 425. Once the pasta is done, mix in your favorite sauce (homemade or jar, up to you...the one I used was .5 points for 1/2 cup serving) and stir in a little bit of parmesan cheese. Then pour into individual ramekin, top with a bit more parmesan cheese (I used .5 ounce for the whole thing... 1.5 points) and bake for twenty minutes.

It's FANTASTIC and only 7.5 points for quite a lot of pasta. I served it with a salad with one point dressing and it was really really a filling dinner and a good comfort food warm fuzzy hug.

(About the points, I don't snack during the day, so I tend to have my points break out like this: 5 or so points for breakfast, 5 or so points for lunch, and the remaining 10 or so for dinner. This is perfect for me, as it gets me an egg sandwich (see below) or some such thing for breakfast, a tv dinner or leftovers for lunch, and then a good filling dinner. It fits the way I like to eat. I know when I've said to other people that I like something that's 10 points, they wonder how I fit it in... that's how!!!!)

25 November 2009

Diet Breakfasts.

One of the biggest changes I have made in my diet is eating breakfast. And because of I am going to eat breakfast, I want something savory, I have been making lots of breakfast sandwiches to eat as I am getting ready in the morning, or while blog reading on the weekends.

Here's a sampling...

This would be scrambled eggs on top of turkey bacon covered with diet cheese (sticks to your teeth something FIERCE) on top of a toasted Weight Watchers bagel. I am drinking out of my new travel coffee mug from Indigo. I love the "J" cozy!

Here's a closer version...

The cheese just basically plasticizes over it all. I can't imagine that this cheese food is healthy, but it's low in points, so I bought a package to give it a go. I just bought a new kind to try, so we'll see if it's any better...

This was my attempt at making a "kitchen sink" scramble:

This had leftover potato, tomato, turkey pepperoni, and a little bit of diet cheese on top of Weight Watchers english muffins. This was weird but tasty all the same!

These morning eggs are meant to fill me up, but I eat smaller versions during the week to help me get through the morning. I eat a lot of eggs, and I worry about the cholesterol but at the same time, they are just so convenient!

OH! And I've been making eggs in the microwave for sandwiches, and the Ziploc twist tupperwares, the eggs come out the right size for Weight Watchers bagels or english muffins! You basically take a plastic container and if you want, spray with just a touch of cooking spray. Then break in an egg, put in a little bit of water (or milk if you are so inclined) and salt and pepper. Scramble it up. Put it in the microwave for 45 seconds or so. Our microwave is not very strong, so I usually put it in for about 56 seconds. Put on toasted bread with some fake cheese and ketchup and five points later you're laughing!

Jack's aching stomach...

wants shepherds pie.

24 November 2009


I was just saying that I don't have enough Weight Watchers points to eat at Craftburger as often as I'd like to (which is ever), but at the end of a kick my ass Monday, nothing says good dinner like Smoke's Poutinerie.

I tried the special roast beef poutine. It was pretty good. Not great, though. The gravy was too thick and the whole thing was reallllly salty. But the fries were nice and crispy and the roast beef tasted like the boil-n-the-bag meat that my Mom used to buy D and me for lunches when we were kids. That bag of beef on wonder bread... be still my clogged artery heart!

I was kind of disappointed to be honest. I write this somewhat hesitantly (there was recently an article in Wired about food bloggers writing reviews after one visit...it made me feel bad, but then I quoted Nick Cage in Moonstruck "I ain't no paragon of virtue" and just got the hell on with it)... I wanted to love it. I wanted to be so excited to be having a big mess of fries and gravy and cheese, Weight Watchers points be damned, but I wasn't. The fries were great. The cheese was chewy and perfect. The gravy was... way to thick and kind of chickeny. If I went there again (and that would have to be in the very distant future) I would like try the mexican fries instead. Chili cheese fries were a staple of mine in my twenties...

If you've been, let me know what you thought....

Smoke's Poutinerie on Urbanspoon


Related Posts with Thumbnails