a simple summer salad and the shuswap

ingredients: cucumber, sweet onion, red peppers, spinach, feta cheese, olives, olive oil, lemons, sea-salt, black pepper, and oregano. 

cut all the veggies into cubes (except for the spinach) and throw into a bowl. add feta cheese and olives to it. mix the olive oil, juice from the lemon, salt, pepper and oregano together for the dressing; throw it over the salad and toss. 

enjoy by the shuswap lake. even when it’s hazy out, life is still significantly better by a lake. 

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baked salmon with a lemon-dill-garlic mayo coating


ingredients: fresh sockeye salmon, mayonnaise, dill, lemon, and garlic (or garlic powder if you’re feeling lazy). 

in a bowl, mix the mayonnaise in with some lemon juice, garlic or garlic powder, and fresh or dried dill (i used the latter of both because i was feeling lazy). coat the salmon with the mixture, sprinkle a little more dill on top, and stick it in the oven at around 400 degrees until the salmon is cooked. serve with cooked quinoa (i make mine with chicken broth to give it more flavour) and veggies. 

mushroom-spinach risotto with salmon


ingredients: salmon, arborio rice, garlic, mushrooms, spinach, parmesan cheese, white wine, chicken broth, black pepper, fresh thyme, butter, and a pinch of sea-salt. 

chop up garlic and sauté in a pot with butter. add the arborio rice, stir around for a minute, and then start adding the wine slowly. consistently stir while adding wine and chicken broth to the pot at a slow pace (i did this all on medium to low heat). 

while that’s going on, season the salmon with salt and pepper, and fry it in butter in another pan on the stove. don’t neglect the risotto though while doing this, and keep stirring/adding liquid to the pot. 

set the salmon aside once it’s cooked (i like it when the skin gets super crispy), and add more butter to the same pan to fry up the mushrooms and spinach. once done, add all that into the risotto pot (keep stirring/adding liquid!!), add the cheese, fresh thyme, and freshly ground black pepper. 

i find that knowing when the risotto is done and has the right consistency just takes a lot of trial and error (i’ve made my fair share of gooey risotto in the past). a good tip is to taste it for texture along the way. luckily, mine turned out just the way i wanted it to tonight!

this dish pairs nicely with a chilled white wine that’s light and crisp. 

making dinner with leftover white wine


i had some leftover white wine in my fridge that i didn’t feel like drinking, so my options were to either make risotto that required a moderate amount of effort, or make chicken with a white wine sauce, that required no effort at all. 

guess which weeknight dinner option i decided to go with?

ingredients: garlic, white wine, chicken, olive oil, fresh thyme, sea-salt, and black pepper. 

season the chicken with salt and pepper, and peel the garlic (i used about two and a half bulbs). heat up some olive oil in a pan and brown the chicken (a few minutes each side on high heat). remove the chicken from the pan, and place the garlic in there with more olive oil. once the garlic pieces are a golden-brown colour, add the wine and rhyme in there, and bring to a boil. add the chicken pieces, reduce the heat, cover the pan, and let the chicken cook. once the chicken is cooked, remove from the pan and serve over rice. 

ten-minute stir fry

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ingredients: garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, cooked rice, brown mushrooms, spinach, eggplant, eggs, sesame seeds, fresh basil, ginger, sea salt, and black pepper.

chop up the garlic and sauté in sesame oil. crack the eggs into the pan (season with salt and pepper) and chop up the mushrooms and eggplant while the garlic and eggs are cooking in the pan. add the mushrooms and eggplant into the pan, then add the cooked riced, and cover in soy sauce (and a little more sesame oil). chop up some ginger and fresh basil, and add into the pan. add the spinach in and watch it shrink down. season with salt and pepper, take off the heat, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve.

i’m pretty sure this post took me longer to write up than making this dish for dinner tonight.

cauliflower rice and a 12 week challenge

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ingredients: cauliflower, lime, green onions, garlic, cilantro, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

put the cauliflower in a food processor until it has the right grainy texture (not for too long, so it doesn’t get mushy). chop up the garlic and green onions, sauté in a pan with olive oil; add the cauliflower, stir around for a bit until it looks ready then place in a bowl. chop up the cilantro, add it to the newly made cauliflower rice; squeeze fresh lime all over the dish, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve with a protein like chicken.

this is the meal i had right before i took my “after” picture for the 12 week challenge at work (spoiler alert: i didn’t win).

the only reason i even entered the competition was because the company paid the entry fee, and it happened to coincide with me actually wanting to get back into shape anyway. i was hit with the “enough is enough, i feel gross, unhealthy, and fat, and it’s time to do something about it” feeling that i haven’t felt in a few years. i hid my body in loose-fitting clothes all the time, and convinced myself that everything was okay because guys still found me attractive. well, there was one problem with that… i didn’t find myself attractive.

so, i committed to making a change. one that was sustainable with my lifestyle though and didn’t force me to give up all the things i enjoyed about life (aka huge bowls of homemade pasta and wine). i monitored my calorie intake and joined an expensive gym (so i’d force myself to go, to get my money’s worth) that is conveniently located in-between home and work and has classes that fit in with my schedule (side-note: studeo 55 is one of the best gyms i’ve ever joined).

the struggle is far from over, even though i’ve made a lot of progress. i do feel healthier, stronger, and more confident with my body, which is a huge step for me. i’ve realized it’s all about balance, and finding something that works for you and your body. my method and routine works perfectly for me, but might not be for everyone.

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spaghetti squash with sausage and kale

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ingredients: spaghetti squash (get them to cut it in half for you at the grocery store – if they’ll do it, it will save you a lot of hassle), sausages, kale, garlic, onion, pine nuts, fresh parsley, sea-salt, black pepper, and olive oil.

pre-heat oven to 400°, scoop out the spaghetti squash seeds, place the pieces of spaghetti squash on a baking tray, season with salt and pepper, and put it in the oven for about 40 minutes.

while the spaghetti squash is in the oven, chop up the garlic, onion, sausages, kale, and parsley. put the garlic and onion in a pan first with olive oil – eventually add the sausage pieces to the mix, then the kale, pine nuts, and parsley.

once the spaghetti squash is ready, fork it out into a bowl and then add the sausage and kale mixture to it. season with salt and pepper.

make your leftovers taste different the next day by adding different spices to it – i recommend rubbed sage.