Days 7 and 8: Maple Soy Salmon and Favourite Subject in School

Oy, I have been so busy lately that I didn’t get around to posting yesterday’s 14 Day Challenge Question, so I’m playing catch up today.

IMG_6249

This is a recipe that we use all the time. We’ve used this marinade for salmon, chicken, and tofu. It’s super easy, and makes your protein so tasty.

Mamaetmaman’s Maple Soy Marinade:

2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1/4 cup maple syrup
Freshly ground black pepper (however much you want)
1 clove of pressed garlic (optional)

Combine all of your marinate ingredients in a large closable container. Add your protein of choice and marinate accordingly. For salmon, we usually marinate for up to an hour. For chicken and cubed tofu we often marinate overnight.

After marinating, cover a baking dish with aluminum foil (makes for easy clean up) and place your protein on the foil. Bake accordingly. For salmon, we bake at 375F for 18 minutes. For chicken and tofu, we bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces.

Serve on a bed of jasmine rice, and garnish with some cilantro. Enjoy!

——————————————————–

Favourite Subject in School

As a kid living in an abusive home, I loved school. School was a place where I was safe. It was where there were adults who treated me with respect and warmth. It was where I had control over what was happening to me. To this day, I wonder if any of my teachers or guidance counsellors knew what I was dealing with at home. As a teacher myself, I wonder if being a survivor would make me more in tune with the subtle clues that a child is being abused at home? I hope so.

Anyways, I enjoyed all of the courses I took in high school, except ONE. I hated Social Studies. For some reason, remembering tedious details about events and dates in history didn’t interest me. Colouring maps and learning about Canada’s young history also bored me. To this day, I get my news filtered for me through DW, who basically reads the news from every single major Canadian newspaper everyday. I got A+’s in everything, except grade 9 Social Studies, in which I got a B+. A “B+” is also known as an “Asian Fail” (that’s a joke by the way). It’s also the type of thing that ruins an entire report card for an obsessive compulsive perfectionist like myself.

My favourite subjects in high school were Chemistry, Physics, Math, and English. Chemistry, Physics, and Math just made sense to me. I loved English because I had a passion for reading and writing, and loved analyzing pieces of literature for symbolism and hidden meanings.

When I got to university, my best subjects were math and physics, because at some point, I started to spend a little too much time chasing girls and being a little riot dyke to study or do my homework.

Oh university. Those were the days.

Advertisements

Day 2: Dinner

IMG_6249

DW and I love good food, but dining out can be kind of tricky with my Celiac issues. Generally, we stick to asian restaurants (less gluten dishes), vegetarian/vegan/raw restaurants (because they tend to be more gluten-conscious), or dedicated gluten-free places. Mostly though, we cook at home. We keep it fun and fresh by making special trips to farmers markets or organic butchers with a meal in mind. I also bake a lot, as trying new gluten-free recipes is a hobby of mine, and I must say, my homemade baked goods are better than anything that I’ve tried in a store. Recently, I’ve been on a cornbread kick.

We both like all types of cultural food too, which I’m grateful for. We have friends who are strictly into “North American” food, and it is difficult to coordinate dinners out anywhere other than at a pub or chain restaurant. There’s this awesome Caribbean restaurant in a super shady part of town and I’m craving their chicken curry with rice and beans right now. We love Indian food, but have to watch out for gluten contamination. I have yet to find an Indian place in Toronto that I can trust to have gluten-free dishes. Damn, I’m craving Chana masala right now.

The last time we went out for dinner was our date night. It was about 12 days ago, and we’re due for another dinner out soon- maybe Valentine’s Day? We don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day with gifts and special whooing, but it’s kind of fun going out for dinner and seeing all sorts of awkwardness as people in various stages of relationships try to romance each other.

IMG_6106

Juno the Dog’s Adventure in Chocolateland

Juno, our husky/lab/retriever mix is an exceptionally beautiful dog.

IMG_0218
Gorgeous right?

However, being part ravenous food monster Labrador retriever, she is also a gluttonous pig that is fixated on food, despite pretending not to be looking. She has her favourites, of course:

IMG_0598

IMG_0597

IMG_0599
These items should never be left on the table within reach of the dog!

But generally, she doesn’t go after our food. We can set a plate of dinner on the ottoman in front of the couch (knee height), and leave the room, confident that neither dog will touch it. We can drop food accidentally on the ground, and neither dog will approach it (unless given the “okay” command). Overall, we have very good dogs who we can leave unattended, and come home to nothing missing or destroyed.

That is, until yesterday….

When I came home after a long day of appointments and grocery shopping, and NO DOGS CAME TO GREET ME AT THE DOOR. This is highly unusual, so I knew something was up. (Juno experiences copious amounts of self-inflicted shame when she does something bad, and her guilt causes her to hide and not make eye contact with us.) I looked around, and found a crumpled sheet of used parchment paper, and then I remembered.

I had made a tray of very scrumptious gluten-free fudgy brownies two days before, and because they’re so decadent, DW and I had been chipping away at them slowly.

IMG_0592

You can find the recipe here.

Normally, we place things like this out of reach, but because I was in such a rush yesterday (slept in remember?), I left the remaining brownies on the kitchen table.

Well, she must’ve gotten into them, because not a crumb remained. Even the knife used to cut them was completely cleaned off.

Of course you all know that chocolate is very toxic to dogs, so after the initial shock and disappointment, I started to worry- how much had she eaten? Is she going to be sick? How toxic is chocolate really? And then I found this dog-chocolate-toxicity-meter. And not knowing how much Juno weighs, or how much brownie actually remained, I kind of guessed a bunch of parameters, and input those values. I subsequently called DW, freaking out.

IMG_0591

But while talking to DW, got more accurate values, and got this:

IMG_0594

The dog looked fine. She wasn’t panting, or acting weird at all. Actually, her and her little sister started begging for their dinner… At 3:30pm!

So we left it at that, and took them for a nice off-leash hike at the conservation area. Juno was fine, but no fudge poops to be seen yet.

And then this morning at 6am, she barked at the door desperately (unusual, as she usually sleeps in until we get up). I let her into the backyard, and hoping she had a nice big chocolately poop. I haven’t checked yet though.

So far she seems fine. I think the cocoa threat has passed. She is sleeping like a tipped cow in the living room, still getting up every 30 minutes to bark at someone on the street.

IMG_0595

I’m extremely pleased that Juno doesn’t share her steals with her little sister Clementine. The last thing I need is to try to induce vomiting in a chihuahua-pug with very sharp teeth!

Lesson learned: Don’t leave food on the kitchen counter, especially when in a rush to leave the house! That dog can’t be trusted!

Recipe Trade Off: Thai Red Curry

This lovely blogger , Ms. Bosmalife nominated me for a recipe trade off that she started.

Here are the Rules:
*Once you are nominated by someone for the recipe trade off*

-link the person who nominated you
-then upload your recipe.
-include a picture if possible.
-than link other bloggers (let’s aim for 5-10)

Recipe: Thai Red Curry
The recipe I’m sharing is what I made for dinner tonight. It’s a really easy recipe, that I use whenever I have a bunch of vegetables that I need to use up. I usually have my pantry stocked with a couple of cans of coconut milk, as well as a few jars of this red curry paste.

This recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free. It can also be made to be vegetarian and vegan by omitting the chicken and fish sauce.

You will notice that I cook my chicken separately from my curry (some people cook it in their curry). This is because I don’t like overcooked chicken, and I have more control over it if I pan fry it separately.

Ingredients:
– a 400mL can of coconut milk
– 2 tbsps of Thai Red Curry Paste
– 2 tbsps of fish sauce
– 2 tbsps of maple syrup (or brown sugar)
– 1/3 cup of chicken or vegetable broth
– a large handful of cilantro, chopped and separated into stems and into leaves
– Any veggies that you have on hand (I used cauliflower, carrot, zucchini, red pepper), cut up into bite sized pieces.
Nice veggies to use are: red peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, broccoli, and onions.
– 6 ounces of chicken (serves two), can substitute tofu or tempeh if vegetarian

Instructions:
1. Cut up your veggies into bite-sized pieces.

2015/01/img_5980.jpg
2. Melt the solid portion of the coconut milk in a medium sized pot. After it is melted, add the remainder of the can.
3. Stir in the two tablespoons of the curry paste.

2015/01/img_5981.jpg
4. Add cilantro stems into the pot and let simmer for a minute.
5. Add 2 tbsps fish sauce, 2 tbsp maple syrup, and 1/3 of a cup of chicken broth (could be vegetable broth). Stir.
6. Different vegetables require different cooking durations, so add in your heartier vegetables now, cover, and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.

2015/01/img_5982.jpg
While you wait, grease a frying pan and cook your chicken. If using tofu or tempeh, you can add it into the curry pot now. When the chicken is done, set it aside on a plate.

2015/01/img_5983.jpg
6. Add the less hearty veggies (red pepper, zucchini) into the curry, and simmer for another two to five minutes, or until tender.
7. Dish out a bowl of white rice, add the cooked chicken to the serving plate, and a generous ladle of red curry. Top with a sprinkle of cilantro leaves.

2015/01/img_5988.jpg

2015/01/img_5990.jpg

2015/01/img_5993.jpg

Nominations:
My Perfect Breakdown
Reciprocal Love
Solo Mama
Expecting to Be Expecting
Her Egg My Nest

Sorry if things don’t look quite right, I typed this up on my iPhone.

Happiness Cycle Days 17 & 18: Yard Work

IMG_5538.JPG
My wife juggling clementines (the fruit, not the dog) yesterday morning.

Today has been unseasonably warm (10 degrees Celsius), so we spent the majority of the day outside cleaning up our yard and putting up our exterior Christmas lights. By “cleaning up” I mean bringing things in for the winter, taking down trellises, pulling up dead summer vegetable plants, sucking up leaves, draining our four rain barrels, and my favourite, harvesting some fall veggies.

Right now, our lacinato and curly green kale, brussel sprouts, Jerusalem artichoke, and leeks are still doing great. Everything else is dead or wilted, and needs to be pulled out of the ground.

I had fun harvesting some baby brussel sprouts which we just had with our dinner. I sauté them with some butter, garlic, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and broth.

IMG_5564.JPG

I also dug up some Jerusalem artichoke (or sun choke) tubers, kind of archaeological dig style. They were washed, peeled, and chopped up, then roasted with some bacon crumbs, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

IMG_5565.JPG
Sun chokes are very high in inulin, which is a type of insoluble fibre, and is less likely to spike insulin than potatoes.

Speaking of potatoes, I also harvested a bunch of our giant leeks to make bacon potato leek soup.

IMG_5551.JPG

IMG_5561.JPG
These leeks are from seeds from last year’s crop, and DW did a wonderful job getting them started this year. They are super thick, and have gorgeous long blanched stems.

IMG_5568.JPG
Bacon potato leek soup- super tasty!

Today has been a high carb day for me, as we started off our day with some gluten-free pancakes. Tomorrow, I’m back to my regular diet, but for now, I’m enjoying the sugar high.

3 more days until embryo transfer!

Grain-Free (and Low-Carb) Almond Shortbread Cookies

These cookies turned out great. The texture is different from traditional shortbread, but if you bake them until they’re golden brown, they have a similar crunch. The dough is very crumbly to work with, so you really do need to chill the dough for a good amount of time. The cookies are very crumbly, so eat them over a plate with a nice cup of tea!

IMG_5492.JPG
The original recipe was for a lemon shortbread, and can be found here.

Ingredients

6 Tablespoons of melted butter
2 cups of almond flour
1/3 cup of granulated sweetener (I used Splenda)
1 tsp almond extract
0.5 tsp vanilla extract

How to make them:

1. Mix your almond flour and sweetener in one bowl and melted butter and extracts in another bowl.
2. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until combined.
3. Lay out a large sheet of plastic wrap (Saran Wrap or Cling Wrap) on your work surface, and carefully transfer your mixture onto it. Your “dough” will be very crumbly. This is normal.
4. Using the plastic wrap, roll your dough into a long cylinder, with the diameter you’d like for your cookies. Wrap it fully.
5. Chill your dough in the fridge for at least two hours, until firm. If they are not firm, they will crumble as you try to cut them.
6. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (or bake right on an ungreased cookie sheet), and preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (I have a gas oven so I bake a bit higher at 360 degrees).
7. Remove your dough from the fridge, and cut into the thickness that you want your cookies. I cut mine to a thickness of about 0.5 an inch, which yielded 16 cookies. Lay onto prepared cookie sheet. They don’t really expand, so they can be spaced close together if you need to.
8. Pop them into the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until you achieve a golden brown colour. Mine didn’t get too golden on top, but when the bottom half did, I took them out because I didn’t want the nut flour to burn.
9. Take them out of the oven and let cool completely on the cookie sheet before handling.
10. Eat over a plate, as they are delicious, but crumbly!

Happiness Cycle Day 10- Good Eats

I love love love to bake and cook. One of my favourite things to do is to “healthify” different recipes. Sometimes I try to make gluten-free alternatives, other times completely grain-free, and recently more low-carb/low-sugar. I find that I have a love-hate relationship with sugar. The more I eat, the more I crave. If I don’t eat any sugar, I don’t miss it, but I can’t ever just have one cookie or just one slice of banana bread. Baking and cooking has been fun and therapeutic for me, but I do have to practice some self-restraint when my experiments turn out well.

Today’s eats:

IMG_5491.JPG
Grain-free bacon chive and cheddar biscuits (made with almond and coconut flour).

IMG_5492.JPG
Sugar and grain-free almond shortbread cookies (made with blanched almond flour and Splenda).

IMG_5494.JPG
Rogan josh chicken- one with rice, the other with “riced” cauliflower.