19 December 2011

New Local Spot!

A new cafe opened up the street from our house, and we were thrilled to have such a cute cafe within walking distance from our new digs. We decided to check it out yesterday morning while our kitchen is out of order. I walked into the bright space and made my way over to a table for two. The gentleman next to me was tucking into a Full English and I honestly think my heart skipped a beat!!!

So I ordered the same and waited excitedly!! And then it came and I tucked right in before I remembered to stop and take a photo!!

Yum! Egg, beans, toast,bacon,sausage, shrooms, and tomato with a cup of tea!! Bring it Lazy Daisy Cafe!! It was absolutely delicious and I highly recommend it if you're in the Little India area of town. http://www.yelp.ca/biz/lazy-daisys-cafe-toronto

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

16 December 2011

Christmas Time!!

Our first holiday season in our new house and I have Christmas lights!

And little reindeer!!!

Our new ornament commemorating our first tree in our new neighborhood!

It's a drawing of the life guard station down the street!!

Happy Holidays!!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

04 October 2011


What do celebrities and food have in common?

I am sure something -- celebrity restaurants, films about food... whatever.

For the purpose of this post, they have NOTHING in common.... but ME!

This is a selection of the not fantastic pics of celebs that I took at TIFF this past year...

01 October 2011

Five Guys...

I had heard of Five Guys Burgers and Fries, but had never eaten there as there wasn't one anywhere near me.  But all that has changed.  There is a Five Guys in Scarborough by all of the home improvement stores, so on a blustery fall day, we decided to try it out.  

Who knew it was going to come double patty?  Apparently everyone but G and I.  It explains the price... but was a bit much to eat.  I had the cheeseburger (gooey cheese) with tomato, pickle, mayo, and grilled onions.  Yum.  Yum.  Yum.  It was really decent and unlike the Burger's Priest, was not overly wet (or greasy).  

Orders of fries are HUGE!  Gracious, I am not a fan of sharing these sorts of things, but could have easily shared an order of fries with G.  The cajun fries were FANTASTIC and reminiscent of the fries from the Diner in Norman, which I miss.  Really really good. 

Overall, it was totally decent.  A nice taste of the USA right here in the Big Smoke.  Wouldn't eat there all the time, but ever so often, it will be a nice treat!

18 September 2011

Sweet treat with a zing

I bought some new popsicle molds recently and was excited to put them to use. J is not a big fan of the popsicle-type dessert and it's not like there's lots of traffic through the old homestead just hankering for a cool snack, so it took me a while to try something out. But I'd had a hankering to put together some mango-chile paletas (Mexican popsicles) and I happened upon a tin of mango puree on sale so thought, now's the time.

They are quite easy to do because the mango was ready to rock, no peeling or monkey around with hard-to-handle bits of fruit. So all I did was take the mango puree, add juice of 1 lime, and sugar to taste - if your puree is really sweet, you likely don't need much - and mixed them up. If it's a bit too thick add a bit of water to make it a little runnier. In terms of chile, I used a combo of regular chile powder and ground ancho chiles, which give the little flecks of colour and a bit of texture to it all. Obviously if you want to feel the afterburn put lots of chile but if you just want a little zing of heat, use less. It's hard to say how much because every chile powder packs a different punch and you need to know what you're using.

I liked it. Lipsmacking.

14 September 2011

Dinner Rules.

We've been attending TIFF so our dinner eating has been a bit sporadic at best.  We tried out the new food court, er, Urban Eatery, at the Eaton Centre last night.  Totally awesome set-up but I think G is going to cover that...

So tonight is a TIFF free night due to a scheduling conflict, so dinner was Chez Moi for the first time in a bit.  I wasn't sure what to make, but I came up with a BANG-UP dish that I totally, totally loved!

And there it is!!!  Pasta with some browned out of the skin italian sausage, with a diced tomato, peas, and some pasta water cooked for a bit.  Mix in the cooked pasta and top with lots of fresh parm reg and chow down.

I gav myself a heaping bowl full...

Really really really good.  Honestly, I have a whole tupperware of it in the fridge for tomorrow, and I could go in and eat it right this second.  Yay for me.

So try it, super easy and super good.  Dinnah is served.

08 September 2011

Tomatoes on toast, it's a beautiful thing

When I was a kid, my father always grew tomatos in the backyard. One of the things I most looked forward to during the "harvest" was tomatoes on toast. Sounds mundane but it really is a beautiful thing. Well this past weekend, we went to visit our friends P&D at their place near Cambridge. D cultivates the most fantastic heirloom tomatoes and the night we stayed over we took great pleasure in the turkey-platter sized tomato salad with chevre and tomatoes in green, yellow, orange, red, and cherry black. Both a feast for the eyes and a feast for the tummy.

They were kind enough to share their bounty and we came home with about a nice box of their tomatoes and all I could think about all the way home was having tomatoes on toast the next morning for breakfast. Which I did.

It's so simple but so fantastic. Get yourself a sharp knife and then sharpen it. You don't want anything getting in the way of the perfectly thin slices. Once you're sure the knife is good and sharp, slice your tomato into the thinnest slices you can. Toast some nice bread up and then dribble some good extra virgin olive oil on there. Add a thin layer of tomato, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a bit of olive oil and repeat until you have a few layers on there. Then just enjoy. It may be a bit messy but it's worth it. Importantly: slices need to be paper thin and go easy on the olive oil, you want to taste it but not drown everything in it. 

27 August 2011

Lameness Rules.

So I have never claimed not to be entirely lame.

Wait, is that right?

I admit I am totally lame.

I want this...

And there's this....

And I got really excited about this...

LOOK AT THAT CRAZY GIANT PACK OF KETCHUP!!!!  Yeah, it came with my veggie Hero burger the other day at lunch and I had to take some photos with my phone.  LOVE IT!  

And the Han Solo in Carbonite ice tray?  

Get yours here...


Ride in Dalek?


Happy shopping!!!

21 August 2011

Gail picked a peck of peppers

So it's the first year with my own outdoor garden. Didn't do a whole lot because, well, I don't know much about either gardening or the ins and outs of light etc on the garden in our new house. But we did put a few things in the ground and mostly, it's giving me joy to pick the few things that are growing.

We got a banana pepper plant that is going full tilt and giving us tons of peppers. Also got and planted a bit late a couple of red pepper plants. Not doing quite as well as the bananas! So far only one real pepper and I had to cut it off today even before it turned red because the slugs are snacking on it. But I'm sure it'll be delicious!

16 August 2011

The Best Fish Sandwich Ever.

I just got back from a short but enjoyable trip to Nova Scotia. Towards the end of the trip, while driving back to Halifax, we eye-spied a fish truck and made a quick pit stop to refuel. And the, my friends and family, was the most wonderful fish sandwich ever.

Oh yeah! That is awesome! So I ordered, you guessed it, the fish sandwich and G ordered the fish and chips. Mine was total money, as Guy Fieri would say. See it glisten...

Yeah, it had a big ol' slice of American cheese on it and tartar sauce. With handcut fries that were the best fries in NS hands freaking down. The fish was absolutely delicious and I could not believe our good fortune.

G's fish and chips also glistened in the sun....

Ooooooooohhhhhhhhhhh yeahhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Honestly, one of my favourite food moments of the whole weekend.

You gotta try it!

01 August 2011

Tagine in a tagine

Our friends Joanna and Gary bought us a tagine as a housewarming gift. I have not used one although I'm very intrigued. As it required a bit of beyond the ordinary, the gift ended up sitting on the shelf for a few months. So Friday, I decided I would give it a go and found a recipe online that actually cooked it in a tagine -- versus a slow cooker -- so I was ready to rock.

So you can actually use certain tagines to cook in, rather than just serve in, and the one we were given was a cooker. But that didn't make me any less nervous about putting the clay bottom right on the gas. I was somewhat buoyed by the memory of seeing big clay pots sitting over gas and coal cookers in Mexico recently so I off I went. There were a few weird things, and I'm not sure if once it's been cured and used a few times that it will be different. But the main thing was that putting oil in the bottom, it got hot but wehn I put the chicken in to brown I didn't get much sizzle. There seemed to be quite a lot of liquid. So the chicken didn't brown but it didn't matter much. The whole event was quite fun and I must say that I deboned that chicken with quite some skill!!

Anyway everything gets chucked in there and then it boils way for a bit with the lid on and steam escaping through a little vent in the top.

The final product was very delicious although I will likely mess around with the spice mixture becaxuse that's what I do. It's got preserved lemon in it, which is classic, but I'm not so sure about it. Regular lemon may just do the job. The recipe I used also doesn't include any fruit, which is also classic, but I don't really like fruit in my food, so I was happy about that.

Served over some lovely couscous. It's a meal worthy of a king! Or at least two happy-go-lucky gals on a Friday night.

31 July 2011

Lavash pizza on the bbq

J loves pizza and we've discovered the great joy of making it on the BBQ. We've done it a few times now using lavash as the pizza crust. It's ultra-thin, which I love, and very low point, which J loves, so everybody wins. And they take no time at all to cook. We whipped up a few for a quick lunch today. Max 8 minutes cooking time on the pizza stone on the grill.

Here's mine. It was light bocconcini cheese, a few really thin slices of hot genoa salami, black olives, some thinly sliced onion, tomato and hot banana peppers from the yard. Dee-licicous.

27 July 2011

Time to blog about it....


Double sigh.

It's been such a weird year.  So fresh on the high of having lost weight, I promptly forgot everything I learned, got ridiculously stressed out and depressed, and gained a bit back.  And by a bit I mean an entire stone.  I say a stone because I can't face the fact that I let myself gain 14 pounds back.


But I've learned, right?  I know what to do.  Weight Watchers works.  Exercise works.  When I work, it works.  And so slowly, I am getting back in the swing.

I've lost 4 pounds, I've run a 5K and an 8K race, and tried to stick to running 3 times a week and doing at least one Wii strength workout.  I can already see the difference in my body, and I feel better too, so I know it's working.

But for f-ck's sake, does it ever freaking end?  Is it ever just, "oh yes, there you are, normal weight, normal girl" life?

So while I relished the positives of it all...

Look at me, back in the swing!

And the post race amazing turkey sandwich, tomato and cheese salad, and potato salad...

I still feel like a giant tub o' lard.

So yeah, there's a million positives, but I still feel like a giant fatty who's kidding herself into thinking that she had ever made this whole weight loss thing work.  I mean, never mind the fact that I haven't been this weight (even THIS weight) for more than a decade.  Never mind the fact that as of my WW weigh-in this morning I am only 10 pounds over goal.  Never mind any of it.  I am just so freaking tired.

I read the book "The Amazing Adventures of Diet Girl"... have you read her blog?  So basically she lost half her body weight.  She looks amazing and has certainly had her share of ups and downs.  Parts of her story I completely related to and other parts just made me angry.  She dismisses doing Weight Watchers for the same reasons that I would never ever go to meetings, but also talks about how it is a crutch and she should be able to do it herself.  (And to her credit, she has done, so well done, mate!) but I find that I need that accountability.  I need to see those points moving along and tallying up.  I need that in order to know that I am on the right track.

One major change of the last almost two years on WW?  I love shrimp now.  I mean, this is a food that I literally would gag on and I absolutely love it now!  So score one for losing weight (while not 2 stones 2 pounds, I still can say I have lost 1 stone 2 pounds, which is pretty impressive)!

A little garden bounty

In our first garden in the new house, I planted just a few things and tonight's dinner includes a bunch. I made a potato and golden beet salad with veg from our neighbourhood farmers' market. But I dressed it with parsley and onions from our yard. Yay! Also along with our delicious hamburgers, we will have hot peppers also from our gardoonie.

10 July 2011

Yay for Italian Food!

As mentioned in my last post on San Diego, G and I ate at Bencotto Italian Kichen twice.  It was amazing and while not cheap, it was worth every single penny and would have likely cost double had we had this same meal in Toronto.

Anyway, we read about this restaurant and decided that we absolutely had to eat there.  And we fell in absolute love.  So much so that when we were leaving, we made another reservation to return for our last dinner in California!

And what a dinner it was.

Sheesh man.

I started with stuffed squash blossoms.

Delicious blossoms stuffed with ricotta cheese.  They were then lightly battered and fried.  Served on a parmesan cream sauce that I would pay to just dip my fingers in it and lick off, it was amazing. The sauce had some sun-dried tomatoes scattered over the top.  Heaven!!!  Absolute heaven.

I was really excited about my second course.  Asparagus gnocchi with cream sauce, bacon and more asparagus.  Fan-freaking-tastic.

Oh yeah.  Every single bite of gnocchi was beyond amazing.  Seriously, it could not have been better had it been even much better.  Even thought it was a huge plate of food, I still cut each gnocchi into threes just to make it last longer.  I didn't realize that I was ordering two creamy dishes, but it happens.  And it was amazing...

If you are in San Diego, I highly recommend this place.  Our first time there, I ordered two appetizers, a glass of bubbly red (which I love), and a HUGE plate of baked pasta.  With another appetizer and G's main, our bill was still only about $70 or so.  Which is a lot, I understand that, but the quality is just out of control.

Bencotto on Urbanspoon

03 July 2011

San Diego.

I went to a conference in San Diego recently and took an extra few days to spend vacationing with G.

What an amazing city!  First up, we knew we had to try fish tacos.  Staying in La Jolla, we were THISCLOSE to the beach, so off we went to a little beachside taco place to have the first round...

Tooooo yummy!  Lightly fried fish, avocado, fresh salsa and shredded cabbage wrapped in two corn tortillas.  Fantastico!

But this was not the only memorable meal in San Diego...

We also ate at this fabulous place called the Whisk N' Ladle in La Jolla...

I didn't take a photo of the food, but I had an amazing charcuterie platter followed by fish taquito's that were absolutely OUT OF THIS WORLD.  And this place has the same quote on their menu that I have on my blog, so they are obviously cool like me.  (As cool as I am, I thought you'd know this already...)

We also went to the famous Fish Market, which was really pretty decent, but the Bob Hope and Life Magazine photo tributes were better....

Super neat... we enjoyed the view while sipping some local brews...

I also had to try the local favorite, Hodad's for a good ol' fashioned American hamburger!  OMG what an amazing hamburger and fries it was...

We ate at the bar and just took it all in.  Really a great place but super small inside and we had to wait in line for about 15 minutes outside before we got a table!  But it's not too expensive (especially compared to the #1 ranked 'burger place in San Diego, the Burger Lounge), lots of fun, and a really nice vibe.  I enjoyed every bit of that burger.  (And didn't have to think to hard to figure out how I gained back a few pounds while in California!)

The conference hotel was near Little Italy, and so off we went to the farmer's market.  This is an AMAZING market and if you live there and haven't been, you really should sort it out and get there ASAP.  It's beyond fantastic.

We had some amazing tastes of local food, and bought a few treats.  I bought a vanilla macaroon that was the size of a person's head!  Only in America!

And the most amazing spicy green chile pork tamale...

Gracious, I could eat a few more of those right now!

I also almost got eaten by a shark...

But I survived.

And good thing to, because we discovered what could be my most favourite restaurant ever... Bencotto in Little Italy.  I am going to devote a whole post just to that big smackin' bunch of delicious Italian food like never ever in my life previously... Stay tuned!

Happy Canada Day!

Ahhhh, beach day.  We spent Canada Day hanging out with our fellow Canadians at the beach.  This is the end of our main street.  That's right.  10 minutes and this is at our feet.

We're too lucky by half.

Happy Canada Day and Happy July 4th!

25 June 2011

Tijuana taco hunt

It's been a bit of time for the blog, I miss it. Not sure if you miss us . . .

Well we went away to San Diego for a week so we've a few food-related things to say about it. J was down there mostly for a conference and I was there mostly to tag along, mess around, and do no work. I succeeded on my end.

I did not realize that San Diego was as close as it is to the Mexican border. But it is. You can take the trolley/streetcar from downton San Diego to the border. It's a bit of a slow go at 45 minutes, or you can drive it in about 15 minutes. I also did not realize that a friend of ours who we met on the folk fest circuit also lived in San Diego. And he was most obliging and agreed to take me on a taco tour of Tijuana.

Thus Jimmy G and I set out on the trolley for the Mexican border. We had been down a few days before to an outlet mall and were suprised to see the "border fence" going right through the parking lot. So that a bit set the mood for me. Anywho, big red trolley down to the border and then toodle across by foot. It's easier than getting on the subway, because you don't have to pay. You just walk through a couple of turnstiles, no border check, no immigration officers, nothing. Bienvenidos a Mexico!

So Jimmy G and I wandered the streets of Tijuana for many hours and stopped at quite a few taco stalls along the way. We avoided the most touristy area and wandered through the town's nice and not as nice parts. It's surely not the prettiest place but the food was good. We had a few tacos and also tried some paletas, Mexican fresh fruit popsicles, which were delicious. I was wary of the ceviche on the hot street and the delicate disposition of my stomach, so I did not take the chance. My only disappointment was that I didn't get to have a taco de lengua. Next time.

Off all the ones I tried, the best came from our first stop at Asadero el Abuelo. It was carne asada cooked right there in front me over a charcoal grill. Kept simple with a bit of onion, cilantro, guacamole and hand-made corn tortillas. Toss in a bit of radish and a spritz of lime and perfecto!

Along with it I had my first (of many that day) aqua frescas. This is why you go with someone who's more familiar, because they'll make it feel safer to try stuff you might not otherwise. The first was horchata, basically cold cinnamon rice milk. Very refreshing and delicious. Over the course of the day I also tried papya, tamarind, and flor de jamaica (hibiscus flower). By the end of our wanderings, my legs were ready to fall off but one last treat as we approached the long line to cross back into the USA: freshly made churros!! The best ones ever.

So while Tijuana is not exactly what I would call one of my favourite places, the street food was fantastic! Oh and I got a new comal and some fabulous pottery bowls for next to nothing, so I am ready for more Mexican at home!!

14 May 2011

Ah... Lavash Pizza At Last.

Years ago, before coming to Canada, I saw a cooking show where the person used lavash to make sandwiches.  I couldn't ever seem to find it.

Then, years later (or circa now), I started seeing WW bloggers talking about the awesomeness of lavash pizza because lavash is usually pretty low point.

Then even more recently, we moved and the local grocery store CARRIES LAVASH!  SCORE!  After grilled pizza (haven't read that post, it's down the line a bit), we had leftover fixin's so I made up some low point lavash pizza's on the pizza stone in the over.  And it was a total freaking hit!

See that huge pizza???  That is a SINGLE SERVING!  Now I dipped into my weekly points for some extra cheese lovin' but the whole thing was very very low point.  The lavash sheet is only FOUR POINTS!  FOUR!  FOUR!

You get the picture.

So it's been a meal twice this week and I really love it.  Go try it as I am sure you live somewhere cooler than I've ever lived (until now) and are able to get your hands on some lavash.

07 May 2011

BBQ Pizza.

Look at that beauty!  My first pizza on the bbq.  We made two and you can just see in the corner there the charcoal of the other pizza, but even burned, it was delish!

We bought a ready made pizza dough at the store this morning.  Brought it home, stretched it out into two pies.  Heated the grill to super duper hot and oiled one side of the pizza dough and plopped it on the grill.  Leave the lid open and let it cook for just a few minutes.  Don't do like I did and let it burn.  It sounds like a cool idea, I know, but it just doesn't taste nice.  And really, we get enough carcinogens from the fresh air we breathe.

After the dough seems done (just a couple of minutes), lightly oil the other side and flip her over.  TOP TOP TOP!  Sauce, cheese, veg, salami... it's YOUR pizza so make it your way.  Close the lid and let cook.  Again, notice I say COOK not BURN.  Do as I say, not as I did.

Take her off the grill after a couple of minutes, let it set and slice it up and eat it.  You will be in pizza lovin' heaven.

04 May 2011

I got the beets

I roasted a whole package of beets last week and it was really A LOT. So we made our regular and favourite beet salad the first night and then I didn't know what to do with the surfeit of leftovers. They sat in the fridge for a few days as I could not come up with another option but didn't want to toss 'em. So finally on Sunday I decided to make borscht. J said she was not keen on it but I wanted it and nothing else was going on in the kitchen on that dull and rainy afternoon.

I have not made it before so went to the bible - Joy of Cooking - to see what it had on offer in terms of recipes. There were a couple but neither seemed just right so I ended up doing a bit of a hybrid.

Now don't let the picture scare you, it was actually quite delicious and turns an excellent fuschsia colour when you stir in the sour cream. It also turned out to be totally vegetarian as somehow I ended up instead of buying regular veggie stock cubes getting ones that were veggie-beefy flavour. Anyway, it worked in this case as the stock needs to be, well, beefy. And it's quick.

G's roasted beet borscht
  • 3 small or one large roasted beet (make extra when you're doing them for something else), slivered (leave a few chunks for colour purposes)
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 4 cups of beef stock - chicken stock does not really have enough umph!
  • 1 potato, cubed
  • juice of about 1/3 of a lemon
  • sour cream and dill for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste
Put the stock in a pot and bring to the boil then add the few chunks of beets, onion, and potato and simmer until the potato is mostly cooked. It should be a nice purply colour. At this point, you can take out the chunks of beet as they have done their work. Add the slivers of beet and the lemon juice then cook for about five more minutes. Taste and season to your liking then serve with a dollop of sour cream and dill.

It's easy peasy and a good hearty soup. I didn't even bother to brown the onions, they just cook up nicely in the stock and float around. I also don't add cabbage, carrots, or even peppers like some recipes. I was pretty pleased with how it came out. A do-over for sure.

25 April 2011

I've got green balls

Now you're reading this!!

So last year I wrote about making poblano matzoh balls but there were no pictures. Well I had to recover from my matzoh ball disaster of last week as well as wanting to try making the green balls again. Am happy to report that after a good weekend of cooking, I feeling like I'm moving away from the sense of disaster that had been haunting me in the kitchen recently. Anywho, I also have to get out the good camera, the phone camera is not really optimal - but it is easy.

So to make the green balls, first thing is to char the skin of the poblano, which is easily done over the burner of the gas stove.
Using this method, it didn't get quite as soft as when you char the skin under the broiler. So in order to soften it up so it's easy to mush, I just put it in the microwave for a couple of minutes. Then mushed it up, added to a regular mix of matzoh balls at the point just before you make the balls and put them on to boil.

I will say that I made perhaps one of the best batches ever of chicken soup and these green-tinted matzoh balls make a nice change. I will probably be making them every year and maybe next year even try some red ones made with another type of chile.


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