Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Breakfast = Pumpkin Pancakes

Good morning!  It’s been a beautiful weekend so far which is such a treat because the forecast originally called for rain.  Has it been lovely in your area? 
This morning was the first in a long time that we didn’t have to set the alarm to get up and be somewhere so I relaxed in bed for a bit deciding on what I wanted to make for breakfast.  I was feeling pancakes, but wanted more than just the plain ole, plain ole.  Looking for inspiration I flipped open Quinoa 365 and found the perfect recipe! 
IMG_6431  IMG_6429 IMG_6430
Seeing as this is the first weekend of fall, what could be more perfect than pumpkin pancakes??  I set to work on the batter and proceeded to pump out 18 beautifully golden, fluffy ‘cakes!IMG_6434  IMG_6433
I gotta admit; I was getting a little anxious to eat about halfway through the batter!  HAHA!  Patience is not a strong virtue of mine.  But finally I was down to the last 2 that were destined for my plate.  I knew right off that my toppings of choice would not only include the pecans as suggested in the recipe, but a good glug of this raspberry syrup I picked up last night;IMG_6428
Raspberries, sugar and lemon juice make up the list of ingredients and I just knew that the combo of pumpkin and raspberry would be delicious.  My plating skills are seriously lacking, but here’s what my breakie looked like:IMG_6437
GET IN MY BELLY!!!  These pancakes were just awesome.  AND (!!) I have 16 left to go in the freezer for quick weekday breakfasts.  Cook once, eat twice…..or 8 times, right?!
What is your favourite pancake flavour?  And what do you like to top your flap Jack’s with?
Bye for now!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Weekend Update

Hi everybody!!  I hope you all enjoyed the post written by my guest blogger last week….thanks to Danae for sharing her story!  I also hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about me.  I love posting little questionnaire’s from time to time!  Some of you mentioned that you had some difficulty reading that post in Google Reader; my apologies.  Ever since I frigged up my layout I’ve been having some issues.  Oh, to be tech savvy right about now!
So the weekend was a success where my little man’s sporting events were concerned!  His hockey team made it to the semi finals in their tournament.  IMG_2048 They played 2 games on Friday, 2 games on Saturday and one on Sunday.  The most exciting though was his soccer team WINNING the league finals on Saturday morning! IMG_1971 They played like rock stars and were awarded a 5-2 win which earned them the spot of best in South Western Ontario for their age group.  I’ve truly enjoyed every minute of his soccer season.  The boys on the team are some of the best kids ever, the parents are all so friendly and easy going and the coaches are some of the most dedicated I’ve ever seen.IMG_2005   Just such a pleasure to be a part of it all.  Soccer is done now for a month, and then they will start practicing indoors mid October so a wee bit of a break there.
On the food front I’ve been really concentrating on making “stick to your rib” meals to keep us warm in the chill of fall, but more importantly to ensure that the kids are getting proper nutrition to keep them healthy and strong with school and extra activities all starting this month.  Not to mention the inevitable illnesses that come with the beginning of school.  Hello cold season!  Here are a few of the dinners we’ve been enjoying;
Poached Sole Fillets with Dilled Rice IMG_6409 This was easy and quick.  I simply chopped and cooked 4 slices of bacon until crisp, then drained the drippings out of the pot.  Next I added a 19oz can of diced tomatoes with green pepper & onions, one crushed garlic clove, chilli powder, s & p.  Once the sauce was boiling I added sole fillets, turned down the heat, covered and cooked for 10 minutes.  While that was doing its thing I made a quick pot of Minute brown rice infused with 1 tbsp of fresh dill. Voila!!!
Roasted Turkey Thighs with Cheesy Polenta IMG_6411
Tuesday was a free night so I knew I would have time to make a more time consuming dinner.  Or maybe I should say one that takes longer to cook.  After arranging 4 turkey thighs in an 8x8 baking dish I treated them to an EVOO-BBQ spice rub massage.  I covered them up with foil and popped them in a 350* oven for 45 mins, then another 15 uncovered.  Now the fun part; sit on couch and watch Jamie Oliver’s new show!  I got started on the polenta after the thighs were out of the oven “resting”.  The polenta is super easy; simply bring 2 cups of liquid of your choice to a boil.  I used water this time.  Turn down heat and slowly whish in a ½ cup of dry polenta (cornmeal).  Once smooth you can start using a spoon/spatula.  Stir, stir, stir because it comes together lickety split!  When it’s thick, stir in a ½ cup each of cheese of your choice to equal one cup.  I used parmesan and goat’s Gouda with chillies.  Serve immediately.  As you can see from the picture, we had some baby peas, aw well.
Tonight’s dinner was requested by Noah; pasta.  The kid could live off this meal, I swear it!  HAHA!!IMG_6420
My sauce is always slightly different; sometimes is ground poultry, other times extra lean ground beef.  I can even get all fancy pants and use bison!  But it ALWAYS starts with chopped onion, carrot, celery and garlic.  You will also always find dried basil, oregano and the tiniest bit of nutmeg.  I also use straight tomato sauce; not ready to go jarred sauce.   For tonight I wanted to sneak an extra veggie boost into the sauce so I grated a small zucchini and added it after sautéing the beef.  The kids never realize when I do this because the veggies “melt” into the sauce if grated.  The fam had WW fusili, I used rice fusili for my own which is what you see in the above picture.
I haven’t bothered taking many lunch photos because most times it’s leftovers from the night before.  I did, however, snap a few yummy breakfast ones. 
This French toast was prepared with some homemade gluten free bread.  I won’t link to/share the recipe because clearly bread and I do not get along and although this was edible, it was FAR from the greatness I was hoping for.  Hence the “French Toast” disguise!  I topped it off simply with some blueberry/Meyer lemon jam that we purchased at the St. Lawrence Market.
Mmmm…pancakes!  I made these using a gluten free mix.  Again, not the best BUT!!!  While watching Diners, Drive Ins and Dives one night I saw a chef add homemade granola to his pancake recipe.  Brilliant!  So I added a ¼ cup of granola to my batter which did wonders for the overall taste and texture.  Try it out…you’ll love it!
Whelp!  The new season of Criminal Minds starts in a few so I’m off to tuck under a blanket, sip a cuppa tea and watch the show!  Enjoy your evening, friends!
Bye for now!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

11 Questions

I came across this little questionnaire while reading Andrea's blog this morning and thought it would be fun to post, as well.  Please stop on her site to read her answers to the questions, too!  

Name your favorite color: Hands down, purple.  Any shade, but the darker the better!

Name your favorite song: I have many, but the first to pop into my head is Bed of Roses by Bon Jovi

Name your favorite dessert: I love my Mom’s tiramisu!

What wizzes you off? People who are blatantly rude….

When you’re upset you…dive into a good book to distract myself.

Black or white? I’m thinking black is the winner here…..

Your biggest fear: That something bad will happen to my kids.

Best feature: My eyes.  They’re a neat shade of green.

Everyday attitude: Look for good in every situation.  It will make you a happier, and healthier, person.

What is perfection? I don’t believe in perfection.  I think there’s always room for improvement.

Guilty pleasure: Sometimes I like to just order a darn latte/frap at Starbucks without making any “healthy” modifications!

I've got a few reviews lined up for this week as well as some actual food posts....YAY!  In the meantime, you can keep up with Krista's Kravings on my facebook page.  See you there!

Bye for now!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Guest Post

Good morning, all!!  I'm going to be pretty busy this week with Sarah's dance starting up, hockey practices, a hockey tournament this weekend and a final championship (YAY!!) soccer game so I thought it would be a great time for a guest post!  Enjoy and I'll catch you all up early next week....

Danae Matthews is a young graphic designer working and living in the San Francisco Bay Area. She loves to cook, be creative, run around with her friends and most of all lead the happiest life she can. For more great tips and info check out her company’s website Woman’s Health Base.

Recently I was lucky enough to land a full-time job. Lucky because I can pay rent, not lucky that my social life is non-existent, but that’s not the point. In my first few days on the job I learned about all the benefits my company had to offer, notable was a majorly discounted membership package to one of the best gyms in the city. I signed up and learned as a new member one of my “perks” was a personal training session with one of the premier trainers at the club. “AWESOME!” I thought. I had been trying so hard to maintain my weight, go to the gym diligently and now it seemed that working 40 hours wasn’t going to impede my process. I was on a high.  
The session started with some forms, some jokes back and forth, a tour and then a healthy dose of scrutiny. The PT and I went through every detail of what I ate, how I worked out and how and why all of it was bad. Then he brought out the Body Fat Analyzer and told me to hold it in between my two outstretched hands. Thirty seconds and one beep later my PT was pointing to a chart on the wall gesturing towards the scary red zone that read “obese.”
Obese who? Me, obese? When? Now? How? I didn’t feel, gulp, obese?  I looked at him like he had just told me he was an alien from planet “sh** you don’t say to women.” I could feel the air escape from the room and my heart sink. Here I was so pumped about getting back into my gym routine and in an instant I felt like I was standing at the base of a very steep hill looking straight up. It took me a week and several bottles of Cabernet to recover.
                                                                                                But then.
I did what every reasonable, smart, independent and confident woman would do in my situation, I called my mother. She told me how a few years ago she had the exact same experience with an all-women’s gym chain and how it turned her off, not from working out, but from that particular place. She told me that for her being fit is 1/3 the way she looks and ¾ the way she feels. That was all I needed to hear to snap me back to reality. I plucked my obese ass up by my 34D bra straps and I went back to that gym with the best personal trainer I know: myself. Because me, myself and I have gotten Me pretty far in the last couple of years. If I can trust Me with life decisions, like Argentinian guy at the pub who bought me a pint, then why can’t I trust Me with my fitness routine?
I realized then that I was getting too worked up about working out. The Nike campaign really had something going with their “Just Do It” campaign. All I needed to do was make a plan and execute that plan as much as possible. I had to accept the fact that summer is over and I never got into my itty-bitty tiny bikini, that working after work sucks, that I’m not going to run any marathons any time soon and that that is OKAY. I am eating better than ever before, I am more active than I ever have been and I don’t get tired when I climb the stairs to my apartment. So obese or not (although I’d say not), I know for a fact that I am on the right path. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

It’s About to Get Crazy!

The temps around here have become much cooler and the skies dreary since September arrived.  I’m just not a fan.  Summer with all its heat and sun is definitely more my style.  September also brought this with it:IMG_1796 Yes, hockey season is upon us again.  Noah was so pumped to be back on the ice.  His enthusiasm for the game makes sitting in cold rinks doable.  His soccer season will officially wrap up on September 17, although they will still practice indoors each Sunday from October to January.  Sarah’s dance classes start back up tonight, as well.  She’ll be dancing the winter away doing hip hop, jazz and modern… 2 nights a week.  What does all this mean?  That things will be getting crazy around here again very soon!  In anticipation I spent the long weekend mostly in the kitchen preparing freezer friendly meal starters.  The crockpot was put to use making homemade chicken stock (from bones I save throughout the summer from our many beer butt chickens) and pulled pork (frozen minus the sauce).  I also made a BIG pot of homemade marinara sauce and some roasted peppers.  The peppers are a cinch for me because I have a gas stove so I just use the stainless steel BBQ tongs and hold the peppers over the flame until they char.IMG_6371 IMG_6370   Then I place them in a bowl and cover with a lid for about 5 mins. IMG_6372 The skin peels off like a dream using this method!!  IMG_6373
I either freeze them as is or with some chopped garlic and olive oil.  YUM!  I also tried a new (gluten free) granola recipe that’s just awesome!IMG_6361 This one is bursting with chocolate peanut buttery goodness! IMG_6359
I particularly like it sprinkled over vanilla ice cream or mixed with Greek yogurt  :)IMG_6388
Last night Noah’s hockey team got together to do a biathlon which they raised money for to put towards the team’s budget.  The boys had to run 1km (2.5 times around the track) and bike for 2km (5 times around).  Here are a few pictures I took…IMG_6385 IMG_6387 IMG_6379 IMG_6384
I wanted to run with him but was told a very firm “NO!!”  HAHA!  I’ve been doing OK with this gluten free business that I’m trying out.  I learned pretty fast to make sure I have snacks packed if we’re going to be out for a bit or things can get tricky.  I’m sure there’s still some gluten sneaking into what I eat, but the main culprits have definitely been eliminated.  And I’m quite certain that the gluten police won’t be showing up any time soon.  Overall I have been feeling better; my tummy is upset less often and the bloating has almost disappeared.   It’s only been a month or so but these little changes are enough to keep me going.  Here are a few examples of meals I’ve been enjoying:IMG_6276 Buckwheat bread with almond butter and blueberry jam.IMG_6290 The Canadian Maple Forest is my favourite flavour yet!IMG_6293 Brown rice spiral pasta.IMG_6320 Pork chop, basmati rice with homemade marinara sauce.IMG_6355 Grilled salmon with zucchini and tomatoes.IMG_6389 Kettle corn is one of my favourite snacks!  Truth be told, I’m not much for “regular” popcorn, but kettle corn is a whole different story!  :)
So. I’m sure you’ve noticed that my blog looks different.  Yeah….that was an accident and I’m not too happy with it!  :(  I was fiddling around with templates and and for some reason hit the “apply to blog” button.  I’m definitely not techy enough to figure out how to get my old look back, though.  BOO!  C’est la vie, I suppose!
Have you ever changed something with the look of your blog that you weren’t happy with??
Bye for now!!