31 January 2010

Starting the Day Off Right!

I love fried egg sandwiches. For the first part of my weight watchers adventure, I made lots of eggs in the microwave. Really simple. But now, I take the two extra minutes and actually cook it on the stove, in a nonstick pan with a bit of cooking spray. Much more delicious, and while I am sure my intake of eggs may be a bit excessive, I love them no end and am happy as can be to eat my sandwich...

This one...

is pretty straightforward... fried egg, slice of reduced fat cheese, and some ketchup on a very toasted english muffin. What could be better?! (And at only five points, it's a good start to the morning.)

Bad Photos. Delicious Breakfast.

G is away at a conference, so I was alone for my breakfast hunting and gathering this morning. I woke up with a solid craving for chili and eggs and potatoes. It is also a running day, so I knew that I needed a complete breakfast that would warm me up as I headed out into the extreme cold for my run this morning!

So I pondered, and after a second and a half, I knew exactly what I wanted... chili cheese fries with scrambled eggs on top. And so I turned on the oven to pre-heat to 450 and dreamed of the deliciousness awaiting me.

First, I made the french fries...

Simple. Cut up a small to medium potato into reasonably sized matchsticks. Place in a bag, spray with cooking spray, salt, pepper, and add a little chili powder (or whatever you like). Shake it up. Spread on a foil lined sheet that is also covered in a bit of spray in a single layer and put in your 450 degree preheated oven. Cook for 15 minutes, putting an ice cube in the mix (or just in the oven) in 7 minutes. At the 15 minute mark, turn them over and put them back in until cooked and browned. Mine took another ten minutes or so to get crispy and brown.

Then take the fries, place them in a bowl and cover with heated prepared chili, grate on a little cheese, and add some scrambled eggs with a bit more cheese on top.

Now this doesn't look delicious because it's yellow (still trying to work out the lights in the kitchen) but believe me when I say that this is amazingly delicious. So much so that I am going to make myself another plate of chili fries for dinner. (Oh, and really low point. One potato was 3 points, chili was 1.5 for 1/2 cup, cheese was 1 pt, and the eggs were 2 for one whole egg and one egg white. 7.5 points for a feast fit for a queen... totally worth it.)

Despite being low point, it gave me the energy I needed to embark on my run and to successfully finish in my best time yet. And now, I am off to pre-heat the oven for fries round 2!!!

Macarons. Disappointment.

I was buying myself a Nike+ Sportband recently and noticed that the store was right near the Rosedale version of Petite Thuet. I had heard that the shop had excellent macaroons (macarons) and so of course, we had to stop in and have a taste...

They looked promising...

Lite little macarons stuffed with some sort of buttercream or frosting, but alas. And they had vanilla, my absolute favorite. I purchased two vanilla and one pistachio (G's fave) and we headed home to try them out.


Double sigh.

My sighs are not of delight, alas, but disappointment. While G found the pistachio macaron satisfactory, the vanilla was absolutely not. The top did not have enough "crust" and the cookie was devoid of real vanilla flavour. Instead, it was just an extremely sweet soft cookie with a whipped cream tasting middle. Which isn't to say it wasn't good, it was delightful, but just not the dreamy macaron of my trip to Laduree.

BUT, on that note, I did buy a macaron book to learn to make my own So, some weekend after our vacation I will definitely give it a go and post the results here. Until then, I will dream about the macaron if I can't hold it tonight.

30 January 2010

What to Eat After Facing Your Irrational Fears.

I have one major irrational fear. I fear falling. I am absolutely terrified of being in a situation where I might fall down and therefore am unable to ski or, until this afternoon, ice skate. G really wanted to take ice skating lessons, so she asked me if I would take a short four week course with her in an effort to start doing something winter related. She thinks this may make me bitch less in the winter, and that remains to be seen, but I was terrified of learning to skate, in an outside rink, without any walls to hold on to.

But I went. And while I was actually able to skate far better than anticipated, my instructor said that I still looked like I felt awkward (which I did) and that I needed to relax more in order to advance to the next level. I will keep working on that. But what she also did was make us fall down. Alot. Any time one of us fell during the lesson, she would make us all sit down and then get back up. Which I hated, but it also made me sit on the ice and get back up without having a safety net, and while I willed myself not to fall (and I surprisingly didn't), I also did get better about picking myself up off the ice and moving forward.

What we didn't anticipate was how long we would be at the rink. Whoa. We were there forEVER, and neither of us had had much to eat.

So of course, we decided that after last night's crazy family dinner, we would take our sorry asses off to Pizzeria Libretto, which I have wanted to try for forever. And so we did, and while we ate too many points, it was absolutely delicious!

We did the price fixed dinner because some of the money went to the Haiti relief arm of the Red Cross, and because we were starving. Good choice on our end, but WAY too much food. First, we had an amuse bouche that only tasted like sardines so I am skipping even speaking of it. The next was this gnocchi in a meat ragu that was absolutely beautiful with it's massive depth of flavour and tender gnocchi. It was just a tiny portion, but really packed a meaty flavour.

We then were served our pizzas, Quattro Stagione. STOP THE PRESSES. It was delicious. ANd I did not have my camera, so I can only tell you of the delight. But delight it was. This is the best pizza I have had in Toronto, bar none. The crust is beautiful, chewy and slightly charred tasting, the ingredients top notch and absolutely fresh as can be, the house made salami was perfectly roasted on the pizza and offered a smokey meaty chew to it's quadrant. Really just an absolute perfect pizza.

Here's what the restaurant has to say about itself:

Pizzeria Libretto makes the only certified Vera Pizza Napoletana in Toronto, using the guidelines set out by the Verace Pizza Napoletana Association and as set out by the Italian Government and the European Union. This strong statement is backed by our commitment to specifically selected high quality ingredients, made in a traditional manner with old world equipment. For example, the pizzas are made with San Marzano tomatoes, which come from the foot of Mount Vesuvius in Naples, with Fiore di Latte Mozzarella brought in fresh daily, and dough made from 100% organic stone ground flour. These ingredients are baked quickly in 90 seconds in a 900 degree wood burning oven. Our oven was hand made in Naples by a 3rd generation pizza builder. We could have spent half as much on a prefabricated oven from California, but we had a 5000 lbs oven shipped across the ocean because we believe that part of making a real Neapolitan Pizza is achieving the charred and blistered crust that you can’t get from a prefabricated oven, or even from a new high tech electric oven, and especially not from a gas oven.

Maybe a little too full of itself, but honestly, it was really delicious. Next time, we will share a pizza and maybe a salad. It will be much cheaper and much more Weight Watcher friendly, but the leftovers sitting pretty in the fridge are gonna taste pretty sweet tomorrow!

Pizzeria Libretto on Urbanspoon

29 January 2010

Another Roast Dinner...

Rotisserie chicken...how did I ever live without you? Truly one of my most favorite things at the moment is to buy rotisserie chickens for dinner ideas. Whether you eat it plain, mix it in tacos, chop into baked pasta, whatever, it's so easy. And at Reither's grocery store, I can at least feel marginally good about the whole meat thing.

The other day, I stopped on my way home and bought just such a roast chicken, and brought it home. Turning the oven on warming, I kept my bird warm while I made some fixin's. Quick cook polenta (LOVE IT) and a quick cook of grape tomatoes and quartered fresh mushrooms, and dinner was served!

Come on, look at that great chicken dinner!!! (And I know, the plate comes out blue because my colour is all off. If I ever can stop buying stuff for losing weight, I promise to buy a new lens and a flash...)

28 January 2010

Were we talking about chicken?

Honestly, I could eat chicken three meals a day every single day. I absolutely love it. It cannot be a coincidence that my two favorite Weight Watcher frozen dinners are the chicken quesadillas and the chicken fajita pizza (which I had for lunch three times last week!!!). I know G thinks I am crazy because of the sheer frequency of chicken breast recipes in this house, but she's slowly coming to embrace it...

For instance. While away visiting my family, G made some Jamaican goat curry, which she posted about right here on this very blog. She had LOTS of the curry mix leftover so one evening for dinner, she made a chicken curry with the Jamaican curry sauce...

She threw in some carrot and potato (because it just makes ya happy) and served it over rice. DELICIOUS! It was a really different tasting curry from the Indian and Sri Lankan curries we normally eat, milder in some respects, but with a back kick that was delicious. (And G rocks because while she made the curry sauce, she also figured out the weight watcher points in the recipe builder! It's low point!)

I highly recommend this and you should run out and make G's recipe and make some of your fave curry with it... veg, chicken, beef, you name it. It's yours. Go, I'll be here when you get back! :)

25 January 2010

Proper Roast Dinner.

I have a confession.

I have never made a proper Sunday roast dinner. Wait. That isn't correct. I had never made a proper Sunday roast dinner, UNTIL RECENTLY, when I made a proper roast dinner (with the exception of the yorkshire pudding, which just wasn't points friendly enough). So my shame is no more, and I have made a lovely roast dinner...

LOOK AT THAT!!! Meat, potato and veg, with SAUCE, on my plate! Here's the specs...

At the St. Lawrence Market, we found a small beef tenderloin (just over 1lb, sweet) and brought it home. I made up a "crusting" of shallot, mushroom, balsamic vinegar (Belazu, get it even though in North America it's RIDICULOUSLY expensive...), S&P. I cooked it up, tied up my roast, covered my roast in it as much as I could and put in a pan and cooked for about 40 minutes at about 375.

During that, I made what I think of as proper sunday roast potatoes. I cut the potatoes into big chunks, boiled them for about ten minutes, then banged them up in the colander so they got hot. Because I was worried about the amount of oil, while the potatoes boiled, I put the baking tray I was going to use in the oven and let it get really hot. I then pulled it out, sprayed it in cooking spray and added a bit of oil. Put it back in the oven so it was piping hot. Put the banged up potatoes in the pan and stirred them up to cover in oil, then baked until done. They were the CRISPIEST roast potatoes ever.

We also made some petit pois, which was pretty basic. When the roast was done, while it rested, I took the mushroom bits that had fallen off and mixed them with a little broth and corn starch in a small fry pan for a minute to make a jus for the top.

Delicious, and my first (but not last) roast dinner. It was really nice and I felt like I was really embracing my inner Brit!

24 January 2010

Dinner on Plan -- Chicken Tostadas.

We had a bit of a tostada fest in our house recently, having discovered these amazing baked tostadas...

at the Planet Organic. They are amazing (and only 1 point for THREE). I can't recommend them highly enough, and you can try to id them by the box since I somewhat ridiculously cut out the first of the name in this photo...

Anyway, food blog. Check.

G made some amazing salsas and sauces a while back, I am sure you remember. Really delicious, and we had tons of the Roasted Tomato Chipotle sauce leftover. So in the freezer it went. For this meal, we took the sauce out of the freezer and marinated some chicken breast in it, and then baked the chicken with the sauce for about 30 minutes or so, or until done. I then shredded the chicken and used it as a tostada topping. Two chicken breasts makes A LOT of shredded chicken!

It was so spicy and tender, really the perfect type of topping for tostadas!

We also used some sauteed peppers and onions...

That I "fried" in a little water and cooking oil spray. (Frying in water is a great trick, it gets the onions soft and then you can brown them with the cooking spray.) We also had some queso fresco which you can see to the side in that picture.

Our friend P had canned some corn salsa at the end of the summer and gave us a HUGE jar of it! We used that on our tostadas, too! It was really delicious!!!

Looks good!!!!

We also chopped some regular lettuce and cut up some tomatoes to top with. I also put some pickled jalapeno peppers on mine, just to get an additional kick. My lips were absolutely burning!!! It was such a great dinner and really easy to keep on the low point side because all of the toppings are vegetable based and therefore, pretty low point. We will definitely have this again... as soon as G has two days to rustle up some more sauce!

And leftover tostadas lend to some delightful egg tostadas...

That's one tostada with a schmear of low-fat refried beans (.5 point for 1/4 cup!) and one egg fried in a non-stick pan without added oil, 1 pt worth of cheese, and some roasted tomatillo salsa on top. Breakfast fit for a queen!

(I am happy to report that when in the States over Christmas, I did buy a can of Rotel in order to make some good ol' fashioned queso. Maybe Super Bowl Sunday (even though the Patriots AND Cowboy's are out of the running)???

Is it Easy??

I saw a friend yesterday whom I haven't seen in awhile who is also doing Weight Watchers Online. She gave me a compliment, which I returned (she looks GREAT!) and she said how hard it's been for her this time (she's lost before, but gained some back). She said something that gave me pause, because it's something I've said repeatedly for the last few months, "It's just been so easy for you!"

And I do keep saying that, too. All the time I say, "I don't know why it's worked this time!" with a shrug of bewilderment. But after my friend said that, it hit me. I absolutely DO know why it's working this time, because I made a 100% full commitment to it! I track my points every day, even when the points are 16 points over my daily amount. I work out, dragging myself out of bed in the mornings more often than not and do it. I have chosen to eat better, to exercise more, to make myself a priority. And that's why it's worked. I have chosen not to stress out if the exact food I ate isn't in the points tracker, I just pick something close or find something a nutrition calculator online that I can approximate with. And that's why it's worked.

So enough of this "Who knows, gosh golly." I am working my ass off here, and I am going to start walking proud because of it! I will try not to be insufferable, but can't make any promises.

And on the topic of walking proudly, I bought a pair of Earth shoes today... anyone have these? They make your posture unbelievable. They are going to be GREAT for vacation!

AND, on the topic of new kit, I bought a nike+ sportband yesterday (it's charging in the USB while I am typing this). I am really looking forward to using it to track the length and pace of my runs. I signed up for my goal 10K yesterday (it's a ways away, lots of time to get comfortable) and found the 5K I am going to do this spring. Slow pace, gradual build up. It's going to work this time. Anyone with a nike+ system, I'd love to hear how you love it. Email me.

16 January 2010

New Year's In Ottawa

G and I decided that we didn't want to spend New Year's in Toronto, so we forced ourselves upon our friends P and M in Ottawa.

Fortunately, they are good sports. Unfortunately, P had to work the entire time we were there. We still managed to fit in a trip to the movies to see The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and also had a lovely dinner at Beckta. But during the day, M played tour guide and took us on a beautiful walk in Gatineau Park.

After that icey walk, we went for a BIG breakfast at the Empire Grill in the Market area.

I had steak and eggs...

M had the Empire Breakfast... which I didn't get a photo of...

And G had the breakfast poutine. G had a lot of poutine that weekend!

It was basically home fries topped with bacon, eggs, cheese and hollandaise sauce. Heavens!

However, when we got to Ottawa, P treated us to a specialty item she had picked up...

What are mini truffle peaches? Well they taste like heavily truffled olives. The smell of the oil they were packaged in was just so musky that it was hard to sit right next to it!!!

They were delicious, though, but something you could only eat in the most serious of moderation. But that being said, I do have to confess that I am not a huge fan of truffle. It's very overpowering. I am sure with a very light touch, it would add amazing things to food, and these peaches-that-tasted-like-olives had just the slightest taste of truffle, but an overwhelming smell! Thank goodness for bubbly to wash it all down!

A great time was had by all. Well, I suppose I shouldn't speak for P and M, but a great time was had by G and I. Dinner at Beckta was really nice, but I didn't take any photos. It was a quiet night and I just wanted to sit back and relax and enjoy dinner. Now to be honest, the only thing I really remember about the meal (besides the astronomic cost) was the disappointing (and frankly gross) starter of fried ravioli and the HEAVENLY smore I had for dessert. Please sir, can I have s'more? Actually, I may have taken a picture of that smore on my phone, and if so, I will post later. But the restaurant is nice and the food was decent. I probably would have to say that I enjoyed the overall experience at Benitz Bistro more, but I have been really surprised by how cozy the restaurants in Ottawa are overall. It's quite enjoyable!

We took the train to and fro, and on the way home, we stopped at this sandwich place that specializes in Montreal Bagels (WAYYYYYY TO GO) called Kettleman's. WOWIE.

This was my delicious chicken breast toasted bagel sandwich.


was G's HIT IT OUT OF THE PARK montreal smoked meat sandwich. It was probably one of the most delicious sandwiches EVER and the next time we are in Ottawa, I am going to have one ALL TO MYSELF. G was gracious and gave me two big bites of hers. (I didn't share my chicken one!)

Ottawa is a great city and I'd love to live there. It's so beautiful and calm and green. Well, it would have been green had it not been absolutely POUNDED by snow while we were there. If you haven't been, you should go. Who knows, P and M might let you stay with them, too!

(I don't know why I am all about the all CAPS tonight. Must be the migraine medicine kicking in!)

15 January 2010

What was that, was that me?

Oh, tee hee! There's Mii and YES YOU READ IT RIGHT my BMI is officially (or as official as the Wii Fit is) NORMAL!!!!! NORMAL!!!!! It's been awhile since I've checked it, but I did this morning and that right there is the look of normal. NORMAL. Not overweight, just plain jane blink and you'll miss me NORMAL!

Bragging done. Thanks for rolling your eyes in the privacy of your own home (or office or computer lab or whatever). LONG LIVE THE WII!

Give to Haiti.

I have made a donation to the Haiti earthquake- Canadian Red Cross to help those suffering in Haiti, and I urge you to do so, too.

The Canadian Red Cross can be found at: http://www.redcross.ca/article.asp?id=000043&tid=016

Doctors Without Borders can be found at: http://doctorswithoutborders.org/

UNICEF can be found at: http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/haiti_52474.html

Feed the Children can be found at: https://secure.csfm.com/canadianfeedthechildren/index_haiti.php

Or give to any other charities that you like. But do give, every little bit counts.

12 January 2010

Oh yeah... Dinner Fit for a Queen!

So normally I am weeks (months, even) behind in posting about meals, but tonight's meal was so rock awesome and so right on the Weight Watcher's points that I had to turn on my computer, out down the book I am reading (what am I reading? well, since you asked, Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde), and blog this bad boy.

It looks like a right mess, but it was a right mess of DELICIOUS! It's what I am calling "Fast Huevos Rancheros". For those of you who know me, or read my blog like the Bible (that's right, every night before bed), you may have picked up on the fact that I love Huevos Rancheros in all it's many forms. From my first taste in Santa Fe, to the many many many versions I have made at home, I think it's one of the overall best meals on the planet. But, alas, G is not keen. *Sigh* So, which G is away tonight being all Board of Director-y, I made up a mess of dinner.

Apparently, Huevos Rancheros (Or Ranch Eggs) was essentially a meal served on the farm to fill up the men-folk who were working hard and burning a kajillion calories. It's really caught on in America (I went to an Ihop once that had a version on the menu!) and is something that I rarely order out since I really like my own. However, I've only recently started eating fried eggs on mine instead of scrambled eggs (ooh, radical!), so my new version is currently my favorite!

It's basically this: Three of the baked tostadas that we've been using (1 pt for 3)... wowie, really crunchy, really corny, hold their shape, delish; topped with 1/3 cup of low-fat refried beans (I only had 1/3 cup left... we've had lots of mexican food, you'll see in upcoming posts) (.5 points), two eggs fried in only a smattering of cooking spray (4 points), topped with two tablespoons of ready made enchilada sauce (mine was from the freezer, a batch I made months ago. .5 points), and sprinkled with 2/3 ounce of cheddar cheese (2 points), and some chopped fresh tomato (0 points). If I had been more patient, I would have put the plate under the broiler to melt the cheese, but I knew the eggs were just the perfect amount of runny yolk and done-ness, so I didn't dare! Really a fantastic dinner!

(I've had people question the eating of 8-10 points for dinner, and I have to say, it's how I function. I like having big filling dinners, and regularly spend 10-12 points on dinner alone. It works for me, I am a big fan of three meals a day.)

(And the picture, I am in a low-lit room and can't tell if the picture is really dark or if it's just me... sorry if it sucks, but I know you are used to it by now!)

11 January 2010

Matzoh Ball Soup.

Some times you just want some comfort. Matzoh Ball Soup provides that comfort. Well, specifically, G's matzoh ball soup provides that comfort! This is so great, chicken stock that G made from scratch, with some carrot mixed in because it's my favorite, and big fluffy matzoh balls. The balls are from a mix, but were really fantastic. I am not a fan of soup for dinner normally, but really enjoyed this warm soup!

10 January 2010

2010 -- New Me!

I can't believe that it's the year 2010. I don't have a flying car and I can't teleport, but I never legitimately imagine something as huge as the internet, or as awesome as my iPhone, so I suppose it's a fair trade. An enormous amount of info all at our fingertips is incredible, and something I can't believe I used to live without.

What I am MORE THAN HAPPY to live without is the 26 pounds I have lost using Weight Watchers and Wii EA Sports Active! I don't tend to post photos of myself on this blog, but I think it's funny that so many of us take photos of ourselves in the mirror and I admire those who post them, so here goes...

This is one of my new size 8 suits and the first shirt I have worn tucked in since the 7th grade, so yippie!

I can't really express how thankful I am about the whole weight loss and sticking with the diet and everything... over the course of the holiday's, my exercise became sporadic and my eating not much better but I still tracked every single day and realized that if I was able to keep tracking with all the crazy going on, then I would definitely be able to keep doing this. And I do believe that I will continue with Weight Watchers for at least the nearest long future, and I have kept with the Wii for longer then I would have ever thought possible.

So I've met my goal weight, which is awesome, and I might eventually lose more, but I might not. So far, this is really good, and I am really happy with where I am. So yeah, 2009 was a weird year, and it's the very futuristic sounding 2010, and it's all pretty dang good.


Christmas was a bit stressful in my old hometown. There was a blizzard. Yes, a blizzard. In northeastern Oklahoma. A BLIZZARD.

And then, there was the not so added joy of my brother falling on the ice while trying to clear the snow from the car and breaking his knee cap. There was the no joy adding long drive to the hospital, the no joy there sitting around in the hospital waiting to see what's what, and then the long slog home and the joyous task of getting my poor percocet laden broken knee brother through the ice and up the stairs to his room! We made it!!!!!!

From there, though, all things being equal, Christmas kind of rocked. I got some great presents (OU Snuggie, oh yeah!) and everyone seemed to enjoy what I got them. My family was impressed by my 26 pound weight loss (oh yeah yeah!) and since my brother broke his knee we spent the rest of the time that I was home cooking meals and being home together. Which was awesome. I think it was a bit of a reminder for all of us to slow-down (though I am sure D wishes he could get going faster). Most of the time when I am home we end up spending so much time running around trying to fit in all the restaurants and shopping and stuff that we want to do, that we don't get to just hang out together. So this was a very mixed blessing, but also a really nice time with my family. (Silver lining, indeed.)

Work Potluck Party.

The week between Christmas and New Year's was very short this year. Monday and Friday were holidays, and my boss graciously closed the office at 1:00 on New Year's Eve, so the work week was short and sweet. A couple of years back, I organized a potluck that occurred during this week, and it was such a success that this year, I brought the tradition back. Everyone who was working that week was asked to bring a dish to share. It was great!!!

I brought a Greek Orzo Salad.

This is a GREAT salad, oddly low-point, and delicious. It's basically just a mix of cooked orzo, cut-up cooked chicken breast, feta cheese, veggies such as olives, roasted red pepper, and artichoke hearts, stirred with some sort of oil and vinegar sauce. Spice and herb it up as much (or as little) as you like. Really easy, but I made WAYYYY too much.

One of the other lawyers made a delicious scalloped potato dish in her new slow cooker, but had a slow cooker accident and it broke! But the scalloped potatoes were saved!! Yeah!

Really delicious.

We also had some pad thai...

Which was fantastic. We also had amazing spring rolls handmade by one of the paralegal's grandmother (they own and operate a Chinese restaurant)!

We also had absolutely FANTASTIC bourek (both meat and cheese) that were hand-made by one of our paralegals who SHOULD have a restaurant (at the last potluck she made the most wonderful cabbage rolls!).

Look at those lovely bourek! Such a wonderful treat for us.

The paralegal I work with brough amazing Russian meatballs.

These were really different tasting meatballs. I am not certain what type of meat they were, but the sauce was really unique. O said that the sauce is basically a sour cream and ketchup mix that was kind of sweet, and totally moreish!

One of the other lawyers brought a great fruit salad...

This was good because we had a lot of heavy dishes, so having something sweet and fresh was very nice.

And then, there were DELICIOUS homemade custard tarts...

But wait, there's more...

These were homemade and absolutely amazing. Way to go, C, these were a total treat!

It was a great potluck, lots of fun and I really appreciated that everyone participated.


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