Sunday, April 26, 2009

parque atlântico

my butt... really hurts. the incredible weather we've had the past few days have been perfect bike riding weather. i've been biking about 15km each ride. i think that's enough... for now. it would be ideal if the weather stays nice... because then i won't have any excuses not to go out.

on friday, it was so beautiful out i was inspired to make a nacho dip. i found it online a while ago, and it was a perfect way to celebrate the warmth! it's a summery meal... light... loads of flavour. and most importantly... healthy! i had to modify the recipe a bit... because, that's what i do! and i HAVE to share this one with you. it makes a lot! perfect for a party... and little does everyone know how good it is for them!

never-ending nacho dip...

first layer... the bottom...

1 can of white beans(rinsed)
1 cup low-fat sour cream
2 tbsps taco seasoning

second layer...
1 pkg frozen chopped spinach (thawed, and the water squeezed out)
1 can of green chilies (drained)
5 avocados (just the flesh, please)
1 shallot (roughly chopped)
1 tbsp cilantro
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp taco seasoning
salt and pepper (season to taste)

third layer...
1 container of whipped cream cheese
1 cup of low fat sour cream
1 tbsp lime juice

fourth layer...
1 jar of salsa (i used pace... mild)

fifth layer...
1 napa cabbage shredded
1 cup of cheddar shredded
and.. whatever else you like... red peppers, olives, scallions...

first layer...
into a food processor put... beans, sour cream, and taco seasoning. puree till smooth. pour into a large glass baking dish. cover. and refrigerate, while preparing the second layer.

second layer...
into the food processor put... spinach, avocados, shallots, green chilies, taco seasoning, lime juice, and salt and pepper. pulse till smooth. spread this over the bean layer. and then, back into the fridge.

third layer...
into a bowl (or the food processor) place... cream cheese, sour cream, lime juice. mix till smooth. pour over guacamole layer.

fourth layer...
pour salsa over the creamy cheesy layer...

fifth layer...
and whatever you choose... layer it over the salsa. lettuce, napa cabbage, other veggies... and the cheeeeese!

there you go!!! a super delicious... and what seems like never ending nacho dip. seriously... i've had it for the past... 4 meals. and my mom has had quite a bit as well... and we are only 1/2 way through it. it's tasty though... i'll have it for dinner tonight for sure!

i went shopping again today. sheesh. i went through my closet... and realized that i don't really have a whole lot of clothing. not even any t-shirts. so, that was the goal today. my mom, siobhan and i made the trek to buffalo. we were quite successful! i picked up another light dress to wear in sao miguel, and a HUGE beach bag! perhaps, i should go through my closet... and get rid of the stuff i don't ever wear. yep. that's what i'm going to do.

i found the name of the mall in ponta delgada. and then i found it's website. and then... was able to see the names of all the stores that are there. and then go to the websites... and look at all the super cool and very different clothes, shoes, bags, accessories they have. oh goodness.

102 days till aderito and i are together.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

one more time.

on sunday i attempted to make a rhubarb berry crisp. and failed miserably. i wanted it to be the healthiest version i could make. i didn't want to use butter, flour, oats, sugar. i've been gathering healthier versions of those things... but, apparently didn't quite know how to use them.

instead of sugar... stevia and agave syrup. instead of cornstarch... arrowroot. instead of white flour... soy flour. instead of oats... wheatgerm.

i'll give you the good recipe.

2 cups frozen mixed berries
1 cup frozen rhubarb
1 tsp stevia
2 tbsps arrowroot
2 tbsps cold water

all this into a pot, cook over medium heat... when the fruit is no longer frozen add the stevia. cook this for about 10 minutes... a quiet simmer. mix the arrowroot and water together. slowly stir into the simmering fruit. it will thicken up the juices. pour into your chosen crumble baking dish.

1/2 cup becel margarine
1/3 cup agave syrup
1/4 cup arrowroot
1/4 cup soy flour
1 cup wheatgerm

mix all these ingredients together in a bowl. the mixture will be like a thick cookie dough. spoon evenly over the berry rhubarb mixture. bake at 350F for about 30 minutes... or until the crumble mix is golden.

the bad crumble i made on sunday... was eaten for the most part. usually for breakfast with cottage cheese. i can't wait to be able to eat the GOOD version for breakfast tomorrow! mmm!

nanny duties have been trying lately. alex is a super good child when it is just the two of us. we march in a big circle... clapping our hands. we see who can push his truck the farthest down the hall. we share my lunch everyday... cause it's always far more exciting than his! but, as soon as his mother is around. he's a big huge handful. he hits her, a lot. he has only hit me once... as soon as it happened... he was promptly put on the naughty step. and sat there, and cried. he's never hit me again. but, when he hits his mom... she slaps both hands twice and yells... "NO"! i'm far from knowing much about parenting. but... here are my thoughts on hitting. if your child hits you... and you hit him back. doesn't it send some sort of sign that hitting is ok... even when you are yelling "no" at the same time? i've been struggling with saying nothing. but, today... i spoke up... and suggested instead of yelling and smacking his hands... try the step. she was responsive to this... until he started crying. and then went over, picked him up. well... maybe next time? good news... tomorrow is going to be beautiful! and that means... we are going outside! i'm not quite sure what we are going to do... perhaps we will make some playdough... and he can go sit outside and make a big bad mess.

aderito and i countdown together everyday. except i do the real count... and he keeps saying that there are only 100 days. i think that perhaps he doesn't want to start counting till we are at... 100. there are 105 days to go. i've continued the slow shopping... this time.. a cute bag.

one more thing... my wedding ring no longer fits. before, it was only when my hands were really cold. now... it's falling off all the time. what am i going to do?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

punching, heaping, baking...

since it's been so incredibly nice out... i thought that perhaps, i could put my curves membership on hold... or cancel it. so, i went in and tried to figure something out with the manager/owner. i left with an overwhelming desire to punch her in the head. she told me that it was no way possible to do either thing. i came home with a huge headache... from sheer frustration. i was going to go to the bank this afternoon and try to stop payment. but, i'm fairly sure that somewhere in my contract it says that i'm not allowed to do that.

and then this morning i had this thought... well... if this is becoming very complicated... perhaps it's a pretty little sign that i should just keep going. and also do the outside exercising too. so, i was ok with this part. but, i was still feeling quite a bit frustrated with that woman. apparently, not only does this situation make me think that the extra exercizing is necessary... perhaps, it was also time for me to take part in a little bit of coal heaping. "if your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. in doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you." proverbs 25:21+22. this is my go-to verse when i'm pissed off... and all i want to do is be a brutal wench. this afternoon when i walked into curves, for about the first minute i was there... i wasn't very pleasant at all. but, it didn't make me feel any better. and then i thought... that is totally what she is expecting... me to be mad and frustrated for not allowing me to put my membership on hold. but, me being a bitch isn't going to get it done either. instead, i will continue to be fun, witty, pleasant, perhaps i will bring her in a tasty sweet potato muffin. i will heap burning coals.

ohhhhh... and guess what i made today? super healthy and ridiculously tasty sweet potato muffins!! oh yes!! i had a lot of sweet potato puree left over from easter dinner. and i was checking out the pioneer woman's recent muffin adventure... it made me sooo jealous!! i want to eat tasty muffins. and then i realized that i could. i just had to be smart about it... and use healthier options. this is what i came up with in the end.

the sweet potato puree is this: sweet potatoes (with the skin left on)... cooked in water until soft, drain... toss into a food processor... puree, along with a bit of becel margarine, fresh grated ginger, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and a bit (about 1 tbsp) of agave syrup to sweeten it. chill this mixture before making the muffins. i suppose, that you could always just use canned pumpkin puree. it would be a whole lot easier!

now, the rest of the recipe...

1/4 cup of becel margarine
1/4 cup of agave syrup
1.5 cups sweet potato puree
1/3 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1 tsp baking powder

mix all of this together. till smooth.

1 1/3 cup soya flour (or any type of flour you want... )

add this to the wet ingredients.... stir just enough so it is incorporated... but, not over mixing. the mix should be enough for about 12 muffins.

i made a crumble for the top too... a handful of whatever cereal you have kickin' around (i used special k protein cereal), 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 2 tbsps sliced almonds, and 1 tsp stevia. i put all of these ingredients into a ziploc baggie... and broke up the cereal with my hand. then sprinkle it all over. it made a really good crunch... good contrast for how moist the muffins are! into a 350F oven... for about 40 minutes.

aderito offically has the tickets to sao miguel in his hands! and i've started my vacation shopping! so far... 1 dress, 1 pair of sunglasses. all tucked away.

113 days till we are together.

115 till we fly off...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

please, get off the table.

having children hasn't ever been at the top of my to-do list. i think that there was a very small period of time when i thought that perhaps it would be fun to have a "van load" of kids. but, that didn't last long. i was mostly of the frame of mind that i wouldn't have any. so, in thinking that i wasn't going to have children... i didn't really give much thought to anything that comes with having children. back when siobhan was a baby... i didn't put any thought into how she was being raised, or disciplined, or what she was eating... i just had a lot of fun with her. she was a new little mind to mould.

being married, i've allowed my mind to start thinking about kids... in a different way. like as in... having one. which will eventually happen. i figure... may 2012.

since i've been hanging out with alex though... i've started to realize that i just might be the "bad" parent. the one with rules, the one that enforces the rules, the one that is more likely to say no. that's no fun at all. when alex and i come to my house... there are very specific rules that we have. no touching the plants. no touching the bird cage (and surrounding areas). sit down on the little stool when having a snack. sitting on the big stool when eating lunch. rolling the ball on the floor, and not throwing it. saying please when you want anything. and when we are done eating... the face and hands WILL be wiped down. pretty easy, and he follows all of them. no problems. at his house? oh goodness... it's a free for all. there are no rules. there is a lot of throwing, food anywhere and everywhere, climbing. ohhhhh the climbing. i walked into the house a few mornings ago... and he was sitting on top and in the middle of the kitchen table. my child... will never ever be on the table. ever. the highchair isn't used... he is fed wherever. i've been slowly migrating the rules into his house. i really, just can't wait till it warms up a bit more... he needs to go outside. run around, breath in all that fresh air, throw stuff, climb trees. i guess i just didn't know that deep down inside i had some sort of parenting-style established. and i know that it most definitely not the same as...

oh yes, of course.. the never-ending update...

17 weeks to go, till aderito arrives in toronto. 12 weeks have passed since aderito left. not quite half way yet. april 29th is the half-way point. something to look forward to. i've started picking up a few things for the trip... most recently, a super cute dress to wear to the beach... ahhh... the beach. in the massive amount of reading i've been doing about sao miguel, one of the interesting facts i learned... was to not wear any light coloured swim suits at the beach. the sand is black. this would be because all the islands that make up azores, are formed from volcanoes. scary. there are a few that are still active, but there hasn't been any activity in quite some time. 1988, i think was the last time there were any tremors. there are 5 volcanic type systems on, or around the island of sao miguel. most recent, last known eruption... 1880. that's a while ago. it should be fairly safe while i'm there.

i haven't cooked anything incredibly exciting lately... a yummy red thai coconut curry... with spring wheat pasta. that was tasty. ohhhh... and for the first time in a very long time i ate yukiguni sushi. the best sushi on earth. it was so tasty. i still haven't had any processed sugar... i have been eating dried no sugar added fruit. mangoes, peaches, apples. they are a perfect treat. i haven't had a single cadbury creme egg... or cadbury mini egg...

and i don't miss them at all.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

brownies... black bean style.

when siobhan was born, i was 16. when i moved to kitchener, she was almost 4 years old. so, i was there all throughout her baby and toddler years. she was a really good baby... never climbed up and over everything... never ran around like a wild child... usually pretty happy to have people around, and books read. well... alex, the toddler i've been watching is the complete opposite. he is one busy little boy. spending most of his time running. yesterday.... alex and i were running around my house... when he smashed into my legs, and then whacked his face on the floor. there was blood. in the end everything was ok... and the mom wasn't mad at me for breaking her baby.

since purchasing my pretty little food processor... i've been looking forward to baking black bean brownies! partially because i thought it would be cool to try out... and partially because i miss eating brownies. or any sugary snacky tasty food in general. yesterday, i told siobhan that all i wanted to eat was a doughnut and french fries between two big pieces of soft chewy bread. according to siobhan, it didn't sound very appealing. i searched for a recipe that included ingredients that i already had at home. the first recipe that i wanted to make required agave nectar... unfortunately i don't have any yet (for sure buying some tomorrow!). i found another recipe, to give me an idea of what i needed... of course i tweaked it a bit.
this is what the recipe ended up being... it's doubled from the original recipe. fitting perfectly into my pyrex cake dish...

2 cans of beans (i used 1 can of navy, and 1 can of black... rinse them!)
6 eggs
6 tbsps becel oil
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tbsp stevia (or 1 cup splenda/sugar)

you can use either a food processor or a blender. blend the beans first... till smooth. then add in eggs and oil. blend again. then add in cocoa and sugar. blend once more. at this point, i threw in a handful of cashews and cocoa nibs... for a bit of crunch. pulsing it, to break down the nuts a bit. pour into a greased pan. and into the oven... 350F for 25 minutes.

after trying the brownies, my mom and i decided that they needed an icing! so... i used about 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate, 2 tbsps of sour cream, and 1 tbsp of peanut butter. into the microwave for 1 minute... and then spread it all over the warm brownies. it made them pretty tasty! i figure the wee bit of chocolate on the brownie is ok... as long as i don't only eat the icing and not the rest of the brownie!!

dinner tonight was soooo good too... asparagus, roasted sweet potatoes, and parmesan crusted baked chicken. super good. and lots of leftovers. love it!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

a nanny and a cupcake

not working... is boring. sure, i've been working out, cooking, doing all sorts of recipe finding. and of course... getting more sleep than ever before. too much.

when i heard that a past co-worker was looking for someone to watch her little boy, i thought... i can do that. make a little bit of extra money (shhh!), have a reason to get up... other than to go pee, and without a doubt i would be busy and moving all the time.

monday was my first day with alex. he's 19 months old. and loves to say, NO WAY. he's been pretty good for me so far. no tantrums, minimal crying, and he plays well. we have loads of fun... building stuff, making weird noises, and watching dora. the plan of action today is to come back here... i want to make dinner, and hang out... i think a change of scenery will be nice. it will be ideal once the weather is nice again! and we can go and hang out outside... go to the park or go for a walk. yeah!

this weekend that just passed was a busy one!! kel came over and we put on our creative hats!! and made cute and whimsical cupcake bites. we had a blast! there were sooo many!! a few months ago, kel pointed me towards many cool blogs... one of them being bakerella. after a few months of reading her blog, and then watching bakerella and the pioneer woman get together and make them. i thought... if they can do it, kel and i can for sure!!! and so, we did...

kel made this one!! it's beautiful! i'm pretty sure bakerella would be proud!!
we took them to our friend jen's baby shower. that was a lot of fun too... oh babies! there are so many coming into the world this year. hopefully the school systems get prepared for the great baby boom of '09!