Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend BBQ

Hope you all had a great Memorial Day Weekend!  I know that we live in Canada now, but as good Americans it's our duty to celebrate all our holidays.  We had a nice relaxing weekend filled with wonderful weather and good food.  It's finally shorts weather here in the great white north!

We have an abundance of mint in our yard, and we made some fresh Mojitos!  It was so refreshing on the hot day.  There is still SOOOO much mint left.  Anyone have any ideas for me on how to use it?

The hubby grilled some delicious burgers for our late lunch.  I like mine plain and simple... cheese, bacon (sometimes), and ketchup.

Of course I had to accompany the burgers with a great American classic, Mac & Cheese!  I used to have this recipe on Will Jog For Food, but unfortunately all my data from the last couple years on that blog is now loooong gone.  UGH! It's very, very, very, sad!  But, I will have this recipe back up soon.

Last, but certainly not least, dessert!  Pineapple upside down cake with homemade vanilla ice cream.  In my "must eat cake now" stupor, I didn't take any pictures of my portion.  The ice cream is another recipe I need to post soon!  I've made it a few times now and it really is the perfect vanilla.  There was only one bad thing about the cake... it was slightly dry.  I used to be a cake mix girl, but have attempted to make cakes from scratch lately. Both of the from-scratch cakes I made were dry.  I must be doing something wrong!

Did you have a BBQ this weekend?  Any tips for avoiding dry cake?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Snack Attack

Yesterday was full of errands, squeezing in a couple workouts, and then a cranky toddler.  That meant too much snacking.  I usually don't snack my way through lunch, but that was the case yesterday.  I just went for the easiest & fastest things to eat when I felt a little hungry.  I think I need to prepare better lunches in advance!  At least breakfast was good!  I made a Tone It Up protein pancake topped with some apples.  For the apples, I just chopped up a small one and threw it in the microwave for 2 minutes with some cinnamon.  It was a great quick topping!

After Wyatt woke up from his nap we made our way to Whole Foods to pick up some necessities.  It seems like the only place around to have decent organic produce.  It's worth the 25-minute trek from my house.

What's a stop at Whole Foods without an impulse buy?!  I couldn't resist opening the bag of Simply Protein Crunch and trying these babies in the car.  Super crunchy and I loved the little pieces of banana and cashew.  Basically it tasted like the best cereal ever.

Wyatt had lunch and we played around the house for a while before his nap.  During his second nap I had to sneak in my Tone it Up workouts so my lunch got pushed back.  I was gonna scarf down a salad before he woke up but his nap was a little shorter than usual.  Time for a Detour bar.

Now it's outside time!  I love taking Wyatt out for a walk around 2 - 3 to see all the school busses go by.  He LOVES to see them!  He points and actually says "bus".  I must have a genius on my hands.  After we got back home I scarfed down a handful of almonds while Wyatt threw his first of a few tantrums.  Why does he only want to do the things he's not supposed to?!

Wyatt went to bed just after 6, and it was time to relax... a nice glass of Pinot Noir always helps.  We picked up this bottle of wine when we went wine tasting in the Bench region of the Niagara area.  Gotta love the name too!

Now dinner time!  Another gem I got from Whole Foods.... King Salmon.  I hadn't had this tasty fish since living in California.  On the side was sautéed baby broccoli and cauliflower mash.

I had to have dessert of course.  Two squares of Lindt 70% Dark Chocolate.  I feel like 70% is about the highest I can go without feeling like the chocolate is too bitter.  It satisfied my sweet tooth perfectly.

That was everything I ate!  Do you ever have snacking days?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Getting Our Dim Sum On

After watching the Toronto episode of the Layover on Saturday, our goal was to hit up one of the tasty restaurants Anthony Bourdain spoke about during the show.  The last time we had dim sum was in San Francisco before Wyatt was born, so Dim Sum it was!  We made the 40 minute trek to Chinatown and went to Forestview Chinese Restaurant.  The place was packed, but luckily we were sat right away.

I have never been to a Dim Sum restaurant where the carts just roll by and you don't get a menu. The first cart strolled by us about a minute after we sat down.  Unfortunately we didn't understand the women who were pushing the carts too well.  They pointed...we pointed... they said it was good... we sometimes said yes.  Sometimes it worked out, sometimes it did not.  One case where it didn't, some type of squid dish?  Not really sure.  But it was fishy and a little tough, boo.

One dish we were 100% certain of what it was, chicken wings.  They look plain, but man were they delicious!  They were super crispy and juicy.  They had great flavor, but I couldn't pick out what it was.  They were devoured pretty quickly.

Steamed buns... something I always love and never pass up.

What we thought were spring rolls were shrimp wontons, this was definitely one the better dishes. The shrimp were perfectly cooked and the wrap was super crispy without being greasy.

We took a risk on these dumplings, which had an oniony shrimp filling.  The wrap was very gelatinous!  The flavor was good, but the texture totally threw me off, blech.

These little shrimpies looked good but fell short.  Jay ate one and said they were not worth the effort.  I didn't even try it.

We decided to let one more cart pass by before we called it a day.  Pork Shumai was one of the things I understood... done!  It was a good ending to a decent meal.

Forestview was a very interesting experience, but I don't think we will be returning.  The food wasn't that great, and the language barrier made it hard to figure out what was being carted around.  But I'm glad we went this one time.  I can't wait to go back to the city to try out more of Toronto's eats.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Tone it Up Pancake Love

Happy almost Friday!  Just wanted to share with you guys something I have been eating for breakfast for a while... Tone it Up Protein Pancakes.

healthy...topped with strawberries and a drizzle of honey
 They are very simple to prepare but take some patience to perfect.  Follow the recipe instructions carefully!  When I've tried to rush it I end up with a bowl of pancake mush instead of a proper pancake.

naughty...dulce de leche

These pancakes make for an awesome protein packed breakfast.  It is some good fuel for an action packed morning with this little guy....

You can be very creative with the toppings, and sometimes I get a little decadent with some chocolate chips and walnuts.  Shhhhh....don't tell ;)

naughtiest...choc chips and walnuts....these look a little darker because I cooked them a tad longer than usual.
Do you ever make protein pancakes? What do you top them with?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Marvelous Mother's Day

I'm a little late on the Mother's day post.  Wyatt was quite a handful yesterday and I was SO exhausted at the end of the day!  But anywho... I had a wonderful mother's day with my two boys.  Jay woke up with Wyatt and made me a delicious pancake breakfast.

After Wyatt's nap, we made the hour long drive to Ontario's Beamsville Bench wine region.  It was such a beautiful day out!  68 degrees and sunny, can't get much better than that.  Our first stop was Thirty Bench, which had a complimentary tasting that day.  We picked up a couple bottles of their red blend.

August was a restaurant that was recommended to us and we stopped there for lunch.  I had a delicious Reuben Sandwich with a Caesar salad.  What I love about this place is that almost everything is made in house.  The only thing on my plate that wasn't was the cheese on the Reuben.

Jay ordered the Mac & Cheese with a side of the Jerk Chicken Soup.  The sun-dried tomatoes in the Mac & Cheese added a great little tang to the dish.

Then we headed out to one more winery, Angel's Gate.  The view was amazing!  The picture doesn't do it justice, but you can see downtown Toronto across the lake.

After I sampled some tasty sparkling Chardonnay and Pinot Noir we played outside with Wyatt before heading home.

Then I had one more goody in store, dinner!  Jay made an amazing steak accompanied by sautéed spinach and mashed cauliflower.

Of course, a steak dinner isn't complete without some red wine.  Megalomaniac was a wonderful winery we went to on our trip to the wineries in April.  If you are in the Toronto area and love wine like we do, you must make a trip to the Beamsville Bench for tasting.  I honestly never thought Ontario would have good wines, but they do exist!

That concludes my marvelous Mother's Day.  I got to spend the day with my family, eating awesome food.  The two best things ever!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Food Fact Friday - Poutine

On Will Jog for Food I did a weekly segment called Food Fact Friday, where my nerdy self does some research on food history.  Now it's back!  Every other Friday I will impart some fun facts about my favorite foods.  Let's learn some useless knowledge together! woohoo!  Since I'm living in Canada now, I wanted to write my first post about the delicious and decadent Canadian invention...poutine!

my fave poutine so far... topped with cheddar, duck confit and foie gras sauce
The dish originated in rural Quebec, Canada, in the late 1950s. Several Québécois communities claim to be the birthplace of poutine. One often-cited tale is that of Fernand Lachance, from Warwick, Quebec, which claims that poutine was invented there in 1957. Lachance is said to have exclaimed, "ça va faire une maudite poutine" ("it will make a damn mess") when asked to put a handful of curds on some french fries, hence the name.

Gravy was allegedly added later, to keep the fries warm longer. This happened at the restaurant Roy le Jucep, where the owner claims he sold fries with gravy and noticed his customers adding cheese curds to them.

Over time the dish's popularity spread mainly across the province (and later throughout Canada). In the late 1970’s it moved down south to New York and New Jersey, where it is often sold as an "off menu" item in a modified form -- 'disco fries'. This concoction is french fries, a beef gravy, and shredded, usually cheddar, cheese. The cheese melts completely, mixes in with the gravy, and the dish is a mess, and a delicious one enjoyed by late-night partiers of the disco crowds.

Nowadays, Poutine has a lot of variations. The best one I had so far was at a tiny restaurant in Niagara wine country (now closed, boo!) It had foie gras gravy and melted cheddar cheese. I’ve also seen an Italian version with marinara and mozzarella. But the good ole classic is amazing!

traditional poutine served up at the Distillery District Christmas Market
Here are the makings of a Traditional poutine:
 • Fries: Medium Thickness
 • Cheese curds: Cheddar cheese curds are usually used. The curd size is usually slightly smaller than bite-sized.
 • Gravy: Traditionally a light and thin chicken, veal, or turkey gravy, mildly spiced with a hint of pepper. The gravy should be thin enough to easily filter down into the mass of fries and cheese curds.

the first poutine I ever had, at Swiss Chalet this past November

Poutine Pop: In 2013, Jones Soda Co. originally a Canadian company but now based in the USA created a poutine-flavored limited-edition soft drink….EWWW!

Have you ever tried poutine? What sauce and cheese would you top your fries with? 

sources: Wikipedia, MontrealPoutine.com

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday!

Wow, it's been a LONG time since I have done one of these!  I can't believe Jen is already on WIAW #172.  Yesterday was a pretty healthy day of eating for yours truly, what a shock!  The hubby and I are going on our first baby free vacation in August and I am trying to look as svelte as possible.  Let's see how long I can keep this up for.

Breakfast - Tone it Up Protein Pancake!
I have made these on and off for a year or so.  It took me a while to perfect the technique, but I finally got it down.  This one has a little fresh strawberry and a honey "driz".

Snack 1 - Wyatt and I were on the run so I quickly chowed down on a couple of handfuls of roasted chickpeas.  One huge bag is only $5.99 at Costco, can't go wrong with that!

Lunch - Drank my lunch today, unfortunately it's not a Margarita... but a green smoothie.  It had frozen pineapple, almond milk, vanilla protein powder and spinach.

Snack 2 - Mary's & Cheese
While Wyatt was napping I had time to actually prepare something that took more than 2 minutes, woohoo!  I slathered some Laughing Cow Light on top of Mary's Crackers.  I love those things!

Dinner - Chicken Stir Fry
The hubby makes a mean stir fry!  We almost always use chicken and broccoli, but sometimes mix it up with some new veggies.  I threw in a little rice because I was really feeling famished.  Tonight's stir fry will be rice free... but maybe I'll add some spaghetti squash.

What has been your fave meal so far this week?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The First Year in Photos

I still can't get over the fact that Wyatt is now a one year old.  When Wyatt was a newborn, the sleepless nights and long days definitely wore on me.  Now I miss those times when I glance over the thousands of photos of him.  He has changed so much!  Here are all of his monthly pictures...

For me it seems like Wyatt really changed from 1 month to 2 from a newborn to a baby, and from 8 months to 9 from a baby to a boy. Can I have my baby back just for one day?