Tag Archives: 80/20

Recipe for a perfect Thursday

12 Aug

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1. Drive a few hours (TOTALLY worth the trip) to meet these two lovely ladies who you haven’t seen in WAY too long.

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2. Eat lunch at a cute little place in Port Elgin that your friend recommended – tomato and bocconcini salad and a Hello Dolly bar, enjoyed on a lovely outdoor patio. IMG_2540

3. Go for a walk on the Port Elgin beach on a beautiful, if a little windy, day. IMG_2543

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Be genuinely touched and surprised at the thoughtful early birthday gift (totally milking the extended birthday this year and LOVING it)from the girls – food magazines and CHOCOLATE (thanks so much ladies)! *FYI, they both loved the house-warming/engagement gifts of wine and s’mores truffles. And, best thing EVER – I walked in and gave them to my friend and she was like: “I just saw these come up on your blog!” – LOVE IT!

5. Drive home, enjoying the beautiful weather and countryside, and stopping at numerous little country markets/farmstands, eating some of the birthday chocolate (hey, put me in a card over the dinner hour with 3 chocolate bars – what do you think is going to happen?!?!), 2 peaches and a mini muffin that your friend packed you as “emergency snacks,” and then stop at Starbucks for a frappucino and a Sobey’s visit to re-stock on tofu shirataki noodles.

6. IMG_2542Arrive home, satisfy your craving for nachos for a late dinner after all your treats and snacking – made with Guiltless Gourmet chips, light shredded cheese, green onion, tomato and a mini pepper from your garden Smile, hot peppers, fat-free sour cream, refried beans and delicious homemade corn salsa that you bought at the cutest little Mennonite farm market. Eat the one s’mores truffle you saved for yourself (‘cause any more would be trouble), plus a few more snacks for dessert.

Insert contented sigh here….perfect day.

Now, because I don’t want to leave you without a recipe/food inspiration going into the weekend, I will share with you a delicious Hungry Girl recipe for PB cookies I made on Wednesday with another lovely lady I know. Try these! They are so easy and so so so good. It’s kinda a good thing that they make such a small batch, if you know what I mean (FYI, recipe says it makes 6, but those are 6 HUGE cookies…if you want ‘em a bit smaller, you can get about 8 reasonably-sized ones).

Hungry Girl’s Peanut Butter Oatmeal Softies

  • 3/4 cup regular oats (not instant)IMG_2530
    1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
    1/4 cup brown sugar (not packed)
    1/4 cup light peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp. Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
    2 tbsp. light whipped butter or light buttery spread, room temperature
    2 tbsp. no-sugar-added applesauce
    2 tbsp. fat-free liquid egg substitute
    1/2 tsp. baking powder
    1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
    Dash salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, peanut butter, Splenda, butter, applesauce, egg substitute, and vanilla extract, and mix thoroughly with a wire whisk or fork.

Add flour, baking powder, and salt, and stir until completely mixed and smooth.

Add oats and mix until they are thoroughly coated with the batter.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon batter onto the sheet in 6 evenly spaced mounds. Using the back of a spoon, spread and flatten batter into circles about 3 1/2 inches wide.

Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean.

Remove baking sheet from the oven, and allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on the sheet. Then slide parchment paper onto a cool surface, and let cool COMPLETELY. (Really, they taste best once they’ve totally cooled.) Enjoy!

MAKES 6 SERVINGSIMG_2531

Serving Size: 1 large cookie
Calories: 170
Fat: 6.25
Sodium: 160mg
Carbs: 23g
Fiber: 2g
Sugars: 7g
Protein: 4g

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Make these! You know you want one (unless you’re allergic to PB, then maybe not so much…anaphylaxis is not where it’s at)! It’s supposed to be a rainy weekend, so what’s better for a rainy day than baking delicious cookies!

 

 

Happy weekend my friends! There are, dare I say it, not that many summer weekends left – so enjoy it!

Confessions of a “healthy” food blogger

6 Aug

You’ve heard it here before. I’m not perfect. I like to eat things that are not always healthy for me (read: I am obsessed with dessert). My kitchen “experiments” don’t always turn out. I’m actually kind of jealous of Jamie of The Sometimes Healthy Living Blog for coming up with such a perfect name. I like to say that hungry comes before healthy in my blog name because I’m ALWAYS hungry and sometimes healthy. So are you ready for a round of HHH IMG_2412confessions? Fasten your seatbelts, ‘cause here we go!

Confession Number One: On Thursday night (designated as a splurge night back when I did WW, and can’t get the mentality out of my head) I ate 1.5 pieces of better than you-know-what cake and the little bit of homemade ice cream leftover from Sunday’s BBQ. I smartly gave most of it away, but kept these little pieces for myself. I didn’t post the recipe (because it’s dangerously addictive, and I care about you guys), but it’s basically chocolate cake soaked in the Nectar of the Gods (AKA sweetened condensed milk) and caramel sauce, then topped with Cool Whip and SKOR bars. It is, as Professor Harold Hill would say: “trouble with a capital T.”

I also ate a couple of jelly beans, a brownie, a cookie with PB (but both were small and low-fat), cereal, and a few frozen mango chunks (no, you’re not mis-reading, this is all in the SAME NIGHT). Oh well, just get on with things, start the next day with a workout, and it all works out in the end, right?

Confession Number One point five: This is one point five and not 2 because it relates to number one. I ate a sliver of a piece of better than you-know-what cake after my long run on Monday. Here’s my rationale: chocolate milk is supposed to be the perfect workout recovery food because it its protein/fat/carb ratio. And this cake was chocolate soaked in sweetened condensed milk, so pretty much the same thing, right? (just smile, nod, and agree with my rationalizations to eat insanely decadent desserts before noon). Winking smile

IMG_2450Confession Number Two: Inspired by Nourishing Flourishing’s Savory Summer Squash pancakes I decided to try and create my own variation on it with zucchini, adding fresh corn and black beans, and using a piece of crumbled leftover cornbread . I also added onion and fresh basil, and seasoned with garlic salt, pepper and cumin. While the results were delicious, they weren’t pancakes AT ALL.

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Everything crumbled and fell apart in the frying pan, creating what I called “zucchini hash.” Like I said, delicious, but not pancakes. I think I needed to better drain the zucchini and add some sort of binding agent. It isn’t really a “confession,” but I just HAVE to tell you about the sauce on the chicken in that photo. I made a red wine cherry onion sauce by simmering leftover onion relish (make it. Make it NOW. So good that you’ll eat it by the spoonful) with Dijon mustard, a splash of red wine and pitted fresh sweet cherries. Yeah. It was awesome. You know you want some.

IMG_2462Confession Number Three: I ate chocolate for breakfast yesterday morning. Okay, this really wasn’t a “bad”/unhealthy breakfast, it just sounds like it should be, and it was a really good breakfast and I wanted to share it with you and it’s my blog so I make the rules…okay? I had a deep chocolate VitaTop, a mix of fat-free regular and Greek yogurts, unsweetened cocoa powder, Splenda, fresh raspberries (last of my garden I think for this year) and a few strawberries. I finished it off with an iced coffee made with sugar-free caramel syrup (not chocolate, but still delicious). Mmm…if you want to get your day off to a great start, eat chocolate for breakfast! This one hit all the right spots! Smile

Happy Saturday! Do you have any healthy (or not-so healthy) eating/kitchen mishap confessions of late to share?

Burger Bonanza

1 Aug

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I’ll admit it. I had a total “food baby” after last night’s delicious BBQ supper. But it was SO worth it. You all know how much I love burgers. Add on a buffet of delicious toppings, AMAZING local corn on the cob, tasty salads, baked beans and multiple tempting desserts? Summer perfection!

 

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These pictures don’t do it justice, but here you can see the array of toppings on the burger bar. This is the third time I’ve done build-your-own-burger as a summer party, and I have to say, it’s one of my favourite ways to entertain in the summer. After all, who doesn’t love a good burger? I used store-bought burgers and buns, but the tasty toppings take it up a notch.

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To choose from, we had:

  • sliced tomatoes
  • bacon Smile
  • sautéed onions
  • hot peppers
  • sliced avocado and leftover guacamole
  • salsa
  • the standard mustard, ketchup and relish
  • Dijon mustard
  • spicy mustard (mix of Dijon, grainy mustard and Ancho chile powder)IMG_2393
  • BBQ sauce
  • Velveeta cheese slices
  • goat cheese
  • homemade pickled red onions
  • homemade dill pickles
  • homemade red wine onion relish (those last three items are from my new Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries and Shakes book – they were all pretty simple and DELICIOUS!)

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To start things off before the burgers, we had “Cowboy Caviar,” which is a tasty dip made with fresh corn (recipe says used canned, but why would I when the fresh stuff is so good?), black-eyed peas, green onions, tomatoes, avocadoes, fresh flat-leaf parsley (recipe calls for cilantro but I switched it – there’s a lot of haters out there when it comes to cilantro) and oil/vinegar/seasonings. Sooooo good! That big bowl disappeared pretty quickly! We also had a Hungry Girl cucumber dip and veggies.

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Main course was the aforementioned burgers, a salad I made, 3 other tasty salads brought by guests, baked beans Red heart brought by a guest, and LOTS of corn on the cob (I may have overestimated there just a bit – there’s quite a bit leftover – guess what you’ll be seeing in my meals this week? Winking smile). I had some of everything, and went back for more of the sides!

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Desserts. SO. GOOD. We had fruit (watermelon, muskmelon, honeydew, cherries) – gotta keep things healthy, you know? I made peach blueberry cobbler (I think what my family calls a cobbler is technically a crisp, as it has an oatmeal topping, but we’re not going to change now). Mmmm…one of my all-time favourite summer desserts. So simple, yet so delicious! To go with the cobbler, I made homemade vanilla bean ice cream – I may never buy store-bought again! And to top it all off, I made “Better than you-know-what Cake” (I think you can all guess what “you-know-what” is without me telling you, right?Winking smile). For those of you unfamiliar with this dessert, it’s basically a chocolate cake with chocolate chips, soaked in sweetened condensed milk (AKA the Nectar of the Gods) and caramel sauce, then topped with Cool Whip and Skor bits. Not for the faint of heart! But I cut back on the oil and sugar in the cake and used low fat Cool Whip, so it’s practically calorie-free, right?IMG_2421

It was a great night – tasty food, warm weather (as the shiny-ness from my sweaty face in this picture shows), and great friends. If I’m going to splurge on some 80/20 food, this is my favourite way to do it – tasty, homemade, comfort food…mmm!

I’m not going to share all the recipes with you today – but I’ll start with Bobby’s Red Wine Onion Relish. This stuff was so good, I would have no problem eating it straight up (in fact, when I got my second plate, I took a spoonful and did just thatEmbarrassed smile). And it was actually easier to make than I expected. I would have thought that you had to caramelize the onions, but the recipe only calls for sautéing for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Before I give you the recipe, let me just say, even if you don’t like wine (which I don’t), this stuff is GOOD. It definitely kicks the burger up a notch, and I think it would be good on any sandwich, or even grilled meat. You really should try it soon!

Red Wine Onion Relish from Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries and Shakes

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  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium red onions, halved and thinly sliced (I used one red onion, one Vidalia, because I have lots right now and I love their sweet flavour)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan or saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with a lid and cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium-high and add the wine, vinegar, honey and thyme and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates and the mixture thickens to a jam-like consistency, 5 to 7 minutes.

Transfer to a bowl, stir in the parsley, and let cool to room temperature. The relish can be made 2 days ahead and stored, covered in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving. Makes about 2 cups.

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Sautéing the onions. The 10 minute cook time and occasional stirring were much more low maintenance than caramelizing them!

 

 

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This is right after I removed from the heat and stirred in the parsley. I didn’t transfer to a bowl first (sorry Bobby), but by now, that shouldn’t surprise you, as you know what a rebel I am in the kitchen.

 

Ok, for the other recipes, I thought we’d try something fun. Leave a comment in the comments section or on facebook, or email me, and let me know which recipe you’d like to see on here first. Depending on the response I get, I will post whichever recipe gets the most votes in an upcoming post (don’t worry, I may share more than one). I thought I’d do a “readers’ choice” post later this week, where I share the recipe you choose and answer the questions I got last week (don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten)! So, the more you respond, the better the post will be!

Fellow Canadians, how did you celebrate the long weekend?

I did something stupid

29 Jul

…I’m not sure what. But somehow, I had a post almost completed, meant to press “ctrl B” to make something bold, evidently pressed something else, and DELETED AN ALMOST COMPLETED POST!!!!!!! Crying faceCrying faceCrying faceCrying faceCrying faceCrying face Lame!

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But I am not going to cry about it (except through my crying face emoticons above), I am just going to move on, re-type everything (while obsessively hitting save) but probably do so in a less wordy fashion, to save precious time.

First up: shoe review. Yesterday was my first run in my new Asics. I completed a wet 13 km (last week, extreme heat, yesterday, rain) in these guys. I actually don’t mind running in rain, as long as it’s not a torrential downpour (although I’ve done that too). I’m happy to report no soreness today, and no blisters from “breaking them in” (I’ve done that before – not pretty). I can tell these guys are way more supportive than any shoe I’ve had before. So far, so good!

It’s been one of those weeks where I feel like I’ve barely been home or eaten in my own kitchen. Observe: Monday: cater pool party for Aunt. Tuesday: Lunch with Lynne the Landlady in London (like the alliteration there?). Wednesday: Help with funeral food at church, lunch with sister, quick gym workout, then get-together for dinner with family friends. Thursday: market, lunch/pool party with friends, then Bible study. So that means Friday morning is being spent at home in pyjamas, putting off my workout until lunch. Smile

IMG_2318So, my Wednesday lunch was with my sister at Boo’s Bistro, one of her and my brother’-in-law’s favourite restaurants. I had a Wagjag coupon for $50 worth of food for $25, so it was a no-brainer! Since I’m trying to save on words this time around, I’m just going to give a brief description and let the food speak for itself. But let me say this – while a heavy meal and 80/20 splurge, I can summarize the meal in one word: YUM!

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Appetizers: mango salad (mostly me) and crabcakes (sister. I had one bite – not bad for crab).

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Main course: burger (both) with apple, gouda, bacon, caramelized onion marmalade. Mixed greens (me), frites (sister, but also me a bit because she shared).

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Dessert: chocolate pot de creme over top of a sweet cherry compote (shared). Delicious and adorable.

 

 

 

 

 

Thankfully, before the next food fest, I made a visit to The Athletic Club to go to UFC class, as it was the last day of my $19 one month membership. UFC is basically a high-intensity circuit class of weights and cardio. Example: burpees with a medicine ball: epic. I felt the burger at times (I am NOT used to eating such a big meal at lunch), but was glad I did the class afterward – I felt great!

No pictures of dinner – but it was a typical summer meal – beef on a bun, salads, corn on the cob, veggies and dip, cake, cake pops, fruit and ice cream. The amount I ate actually wasn’t a lot, and would have been fine if I hadn’t had such a huge lunch. I couldn’t resist a cake pop, ice cream and fruit for dessert. Needless to say, I was full when we left. Thank goodness for yesterday’s long run!

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My girlfriends and I potlucked for lunch yesterday. Nicky made tasty wraps with lettuce, tomatoes, corn and cheese in a dressing that was half Ranch and half salsa – yummy! Heather made a deliciously summer-y salad of cucumbers, peas, and onions in creamy cucumber dressing (which I haven’t had in forever and forgot how much I loved).

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I did dessert (naturally) and brought fresh cherries from the market and a quickie mini chocolate raspberry trifle I made (perfect size for a small group). Although trifle is usually a feed-a-crowd kinda dessert, you can easily make a smaller one if you have a small bowl (or do in wine glasses for individual servings and a cute presentation). And, as you know I was short on time this week, you can whip something like this up in 15 minutes if you’ve got the right stuff on hand (that’s all it took me). Here’s what I did:IMG_2314

Quick Chocolate Raspberry Trifle

Grab a bag of 5 chocolate zucchini muffins from your freezer (they may or may not have been there since last summer, but if you can’t use slightly freezer-burned muffins in a trifle for your girlfriends, where can you use them?).

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Thaw muffins in the microwave. Remove papers and crumble them (and please, eat any crumbs left on the paper liners like I did). Set aside.

 

 

IMG_2316Make a package of Jell-o fat-free chocolate instant pudding mix with just over 1 cup of skim milk. Gently whisk in about one cup of fat-free Cool Whip. Optional: add a couple teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder. I just like the added depth of chocolate flavour.

In a small glass bowl, layer half the crumbled muffins, fresh raspberries from your garden (ok fine, a store if you have to) and half the pudding. Repeat the layers, top with more Cool Whip, garnish with strawberries. Put in the fridge – you’re done!

This can easily be made with any combo of pudding/cake (or muffins)/fruit. And trifle (especially when it contains chocolate) is always a crowd pleaser!

The weekend is full of a LOT more food and fun – but thankfully, it’s all home-based, so I don’t have to go anywhere. We’ve got company coming tonight, and then we’re having a HUGE BBQ party Sunday.

Canadian friends – what are your plans for the long weekend? Whatever they are, enjoy. Hopefully, if you’re lucky (like me) you will be surrounded by good food, family and friends!

Corny

18 Jul

Happy Monday everyone! First, of all, to address the “loose ends” from yesterday’s post. If you haven’t read it yet, I really suggest you do so, it’ll make this one make a lot more sense…go ahead, I’ll wait.

Back now? Ok. IMG_2207First for the potluck summary. I sort of felt an “angel on one shoulder, devil on the other” vibe with my contributions – a big bowl of watermelon and cherries and then peanut butter chocolate gooey butter cakes with m&ms. And that, my friends, is where the pictures stop. Based on my general mood lately, I made a deal with myself that I was going to go, eat what I wanted, enjoy, no pictures for the blog…and I did. And it was fun.

I had a hamburger( with a bun…gasp!), some tasty salads, more dessert than I care to admit (mine and stuff that other people brought) and some fruit (see…I was healthy). I spent the afternoon sitting in the sun, chatting, with a bit of swimming thrown in to cool off, then ate 2 pieces of Delissio pizza (it’s been AGES since I had that stuff, and it is seriously yummy) and had ice cream for dessert. All in all,  a perfect summer day.

My “de-funking: list? I did it all. I’d love to say that I instantly and magically snapped out of the funk, but it didn’t happen quite like that (but really, when does life happen like that?). It was nice to be out of the house and with other people for most of the day yesterday to keep myself distracted. Sometimes, funks just happen, but you can’t let them take over…you just have to pray, be grateful for what you have, and move on with your life…at least that’s what I try to do.

I hope I didn’t scare any of you off with all of what I shared yesterday. It really was helpful for me though to have a place to share my feelings and be honest…so once again, thanks for listening!

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Now that we’ve got that our of the way, let’s move onto happier things – like the fact that corn is in season (now you’re starting to get the post title)! I used that corn in an absolutely delicious grilled veggie and bacon pizza creation Friday night, and I’d love to share it with you.

Friday was sort of a weird day eating-wise, with a late lunch, then a classy snack, and a late supper. So since I knew I’d be eating dinner pretty late, I prepped in advance before I went out.

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I grilled an ear of corn, a big fat slice of zucchini and two thick slices of Vidalia onion, then chopped them up and put them in a tupperware for when I got back.

I tossed the cold grilled veggies with cumin, salt and pepper. I crisped my crust as per usual in the oven, then for sauce, I used some of this absolutely delicious corn, black bean and roasted red pepper salsa I bought when we were in Buffalo (brand is Desert Pepper, but can’t find a link online). I topped it with 1/3 cup shredded light cheese, and most of the veggies (the rest of which I ate cold…delightful!), then sprinkled lots of chopped fresh parsley on top of that, and topped it all off with 1 tablespoon of bacon bits.

Now, I know that bacon bits are processed and real bacon is probably better, but I don’t really use bacon all that much, so it would go to waste if I bought it, so for that reason, bacon bits work better for me….sorry! I baked this guy to melt the cheese, just 5 or 10 minutes (although it was so late that this seemed like much longer). IMG_2188

Let’s go in for a close-up, shall we? ‘Cause this guy was GOOD! Herby freshness, just a touch of spice from the salsa, the charred taste of the veggies, gooey cheese, and salty bacon. Pretty much summer pizza perfection…so simple, but so good!

 

If you were to create a perfect summer pizza, what would you put on it?

Bites from Buffalo

4 Jul

Happy Monday! And if you’re American, Happy 4th of July! Hope you guys don’t mind that I took a little blog break yesterday. I was feelin’ the whole “lazy Sunday” thing, and figured, it being a long weekend and such glorious weather, IMG_1946you had better things to do than sit and read my blog.

But, I’m back and, as promised, I’ve got a full recap of all the delicious eats from my mini-vacation shopping trip in Buffalo last Thursday-Friday. 80/20 eats were had for sure, but I’d say overall, I made pretty good choices.

We arrived in Buffalo around dinnertime Thursday night, and opted for the IMG_1947Cheesecake Factory (can you tell I was in the mood to splurge Winking smile?). But it wasn’t all out over-the-top.  Since I knew we were going to have cheesecake (c’mon, how can you go to the Cheesecake Factory and NOT have cheesecake), I opted for the “Weight Management” (under 590 calories) spicy chicken salad, and, since the salad was so healthy, made a nice dent on the bread basket IMG_1948too. It wasn’t an over-the-top-amazing salad (I’m sure I could have recreated it at home if I wanted), but it was a good size, and full of lots of fresh flavours. It did the trick – after all, the main course was not the main event here. My mom also made me a small plate of her tomato/basil/chicken pasta, which was really tasty.

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Now, I gave you a preview of dessert on Saturday, but if you want to know exactly what we ordered, it was the “Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake,” described on the menu as: “Chunks of Reese’s® Peanut Butter Cups in our Original Cheesecake with Layers of Delicious Fudge Cake and Caramel.”

Now, I have to note 2 things about our choice of cheesecake. 1. According to this article from SeriousEats, the flavour we chose is named as the most decadent. If you’re gonna get cheesecake, why not go for the top, right? 2. This cheesecake was being featured to help charity. The menu told us that: “25¢ from the sale of each slice will be donated to help feed hungry Americans in our communities.” I mean really, that’s the only reason we even got cheesecake, our strong philanthropic beliefs and desire to help those less fortunate than ourselves! (do you believe that? Yeah, me neither). Nevertheless, this stuff was A-MA-ZING. Seriously, totally worth it. I also had an (unpictured) frozen vanilla latte (skim milk and sugar-free) at Borders later on that night.

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We skipped the provided breakfast at our hotel the next day (memories of the greasiness on my March Buffalo visit) and headed to Starbucks, where I got the perfect oatmeal (actually my first time), enjoyed with added cinnamon, Splenda and the fried fruit topping, water, and a Grande nonfat iced coffee.

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After breakfast, I headed over to Target where I got all the great stuff you see in this photo, plus a couple of cute tops (including a silk one for less than $20…I can’t wait until Target opens in Canada Smile). I just HAD to get a cute summer bowl, since I have bowl envy after a certain fellow blogger (won’t mention any names *cough*Katie) has passed on her bowl addiction to me.July 2 2011

Before returning to the mall, we did the Olive Garden for lunch. This place is packed with bad choices, but also some good ones. We both went with the unlimited soup, salad and breadstick lunch (a steal at only $7.50). I skipped the breadsticks, had two bowls of soup (one minestrone, one pasta e fagioli, both delicious) and went mostly-dressing-less on my salad (I’ve heard the stats on this stuff, and they’re just scary). Since I was sort of on vacation, and made smarter entree choices, I treated myself to a “fancy” drink – berry agua fresca (sparkling water with berry puree). Sadly, it was a little too sweet for my tastes. I liked it, but didn’t finish it all.IMG_1955

We had planned our shopping tradition, afternoon coffee break with a little something from Godiva (ever since we were little, when shopping together, my mom would buy us one little thing from a chocolate store, usually Laura Secord back at home), but discovered that the Godiva at Walden Galleria had closed since our last visit (the horror!). Never fear, we decided to try a Starbucks petite sweet with our afternoon caffeine fix. Alongside my light caramel frappuccino, I had a salted caramel sweet square. Ohmigoodness – out of this world! Although it is petite, it is definitely a splurge and not something I’d enjoy on a typical Starbucks visit. If you’re a sweet and salty fan, are at Starbucks, and wanting to treat yourself for under 200 calories, then this little bite of bliss is a MUST!

After Starbucks, I headed to the grocery store for some fun food finds (expect to see more of them in the coming days). And before continuing with this post, I have to confess to all the “undocumented bites” of Buffalo. I had a few samples stuffed my face at the kitchen store Le Gourmet Chef, ate a mini, delicious soft-baked chocolate chip cookie that was offered to me along with a cute bottle of water as I browsed at Brighton Collectibles, ate a few tasty grocery store samples (hello buffalo chicken dip on fresh bread and birthday cake ice cream) and snacked on a few of my grocery store finds while waiting to cross the border. There, I feel better!

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Supper was Applebee’s where I resisted the call of all their mouthwateringly delicious sounding burgers and chose a steak from their “Under 550 calories menu” (Canadian restaurants take note: Why won’t you follow this trend?!? Healthy eaters like to have some choice when dining out. I mean, it’s not that hard to make healthy choices when dining out, but it would be nice to have some options!!!). Okay, I had a bit of my mom’s quesadilla burger. Now, this wasn’t the best steak I’ve had. But for the price tag (both calorie and money-wise…it was less than $12 I think), it was decent.IMG_1957

On the way home, we stopped to see my sister and brother-in-law, since we wanted to see them before my sister left for her 10 day vacation to a friend’s wedding. They were out for dinner with friends, but we got there just in time for dessert (perfect timing, eh?). I (along with 3 others at the table) opted for the deliciously tart strawberry rhubarb pie, served with ice cream. I hardly ever eat pie, so this was delicious.

After a brief visit to see their new IMG_1958shelves (and eat a caramel and chocolate from their candy jars Embarrassed smile), we headed home, where I unpacked and tried to find space for all my new grocery goodies (and may have nibbled as I did so), and then we sat on the couch and finished the day by watching the highlights of Will and Kate’s visit and trying some of my new Parmesan Tuscan Herb baked Lays (YUM!).

Overall, it was a great trip. Did I eat more than on a typical day? You bet. But, for the most part, I felt like I made wiser choices, and treated myself without going totally over the top. And, I did not once feel stuffed or disgusting. For a “vacation” day, this is an accomplishment for me. So far, the new food purchases I’ve tried have been delicious, can’t wait to try more (and share with you)!

How was your long weekend?

Berried Treasure

2 Jul

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I picked these today. All of them. By myself. It only took me 35 minutes and cost $12.87! If you have the time (and don’t have a bad back), picking your own strawberries is TOTALLY worth your while. Most of these guys are destined for the freezer….so as you’re reading this I’m probably washing, hulling and freezing.

EXCITING NEWS! Remember my trip to Philadelphia in August to go to the Healthy Living Summit? Well, click on over to their home page, you might see someone you recognize! Winking smile On their facebook page, the HLS was looking for newbies and conference veterans to feature, so I emailed to say I was interested, got a reply asking me to answer some questions and submit a photo and VOILA…there I am on the homepage!

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And how was Buffalo, you may ask? Wonderful! Full food re-cap to come tomorrow or Monday….but for now, I’ll just show you a photo of the bad boy my mom and I shared at the Cheesecake Factory. Ohh….it was SO GOOD and absolutely worth every calorie.

Hope everyone is having a great long weekend so far (both Canadian and American readers)….I’m planning some good grillin’ tonight…hope you are too!

Fresh plus Frozen

29 Jun

Today marks the first day of my summer vacation….YAY! Hopefully, the IMG_1926weather will soon figure out that it is summer too and it will be sunny and warm rather than cool and cloudy.

Summertime means loads of delicious, fresh fruits and veggies. I love these fruits and veggies so much, that I freeze some every year. Typically, come May and June, I’m trying to clear out the rest of last year’s “stash” to make room for the new stuff. But at the same time, I’m wanting to eat the deliciously fresh fruit and vegetables that are available. The solution? Make dishes that use up the cache in my freezer and incorporate the fresh stuff.

The dessert in the top picture is another delicious soft serve sundae (basically the same as the one found here). Frozen stuff: strawberries (I’m almost done the last bag from last year), mango and banana (I don’t count those last 2 as stuff to “use up,” since neither one is every “locally available”). Fresh stuff: stewed rhubarb, sliced strawberries…and topped with cacao nibs of course. Winking smile

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Next up: dinner (sorry for the bad photo – the pasta was steaming hot and I was in a rush). Fresh stuff: basil from my garden, garlic scapes, asparagus, portabella mushroom, Vidalia onion and bell pepper. Frozen stuff: spicy tomato sauce that I made last year (I would post the recipe but I got it off a friend’s facebook and I don’t think I printed it out). Also topped with grilled feta/spinach chicken and turkey sausage from Costco.

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So you can see in the photos: frozen tomato sauce + fresh basil = one delicious pasta meal. All I did was saute the veggies in olive oil, add the sauce (partially thawed) and simmer for a bit, add the chopped fresh basil right at the end, a bit of the starchy cooking water from the pasta, and then the pasta right at the end. I did the sausage on the BBQ, and sliced it over the pasta and voila – ready to serve!

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The last fresh and frozen combo involved chocolate for breakfast – does life get any better than that? I made my usual smoothie in a bowl by combining 1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries with 1 cup almond milk and some Splenda, but I added in a splash of vanilla and a heaping spoonful of cocoa powder. I topped it off with blobs of fat-free Greek yogurt and 1 and 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries (that’s right, my breakfast on Monday involved 3 cups of strawberries)! Mmm…this one was a winner! Imagine eating a big, cold, chocolate-covered strawberry…at breakfast time!!! How can you go wrong? The cocoa powder gave it a nice, deep, rich (but not-too-sweet) punch of chocolate flavour.

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And speaking of frozen….there’s one more frozen thing I enjoyed last night (no fresh fruit though Smile with tongue out)…the perfect way to kick off summer….ice cream at the Marble Slab! Last night, I was in Stratford to see a concert with my mom and some friends, and we went for ice cream after (the concert went later than expected, but thankfully the Slabs are open until 11 year-round). The ice cream was certainly an 80/20 splurge, but I ate healthfully all day, ordered the smallest size and enjoyed every bite! What was my indulgence of choice? A mix of peanut butter and praline ice creams with peanut butter brownie and Skor bits for my mixins….YUM!!!!!!! Open-mouthed smile Nothing says summer quite like ice cream!

Happy summer to all my teaching friends (I’m done a little earlier since no one gets a supply teacher on the last day of school)…and to everyone else, I don’t mean to brag, and I’ll try not to rub it in too much! What food screams summer to you?

Guess what this ISN’T

17 Jun

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Happy Friday, dear blog friends! Let’s take a look at the photos above, shall we? You’re probably looking at them, and thinking, “oh, Hilary’s making some chocolate chip cookies, this sounds yummy” (unless you considered the title of today’s post). Well, if that’s what you’re thinking, then you are WRONG!

Do these pictures help you out a little bit more?

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Ok, I can’t hold it in. You are looking at several stages of making COOKIE. DOUGH. TRUFFLES. You heard me right. Yes, they are every bit as delicious as they sound (possibly even more). And yes, these guys are DANGEROUS! Make sure you have somewhere to take them and share them, because if you’re anything like me you can NOT be trusted around these little bombs of deliciousness.

I first saw this recipe on the show Paula’s Best Dishes on the Food Network quite some time ago and could NOT get it out of my head! I googled it, bookmarked it, and first made these beauties last summer for the guests at my birthday party (I hosted my own birthday party, made all the food, and take-home treats for the guests….does this surprise anyone?). I made them again this week for our Worship Team Practice at churchIMG_1782…it was our last practice before we break for summer, so I figured we should go out on a sweet note (pun INTENDED)!

Since Paula and the Food Network people have it written up so nicely, I’m just going to send you over there if you want to make the recipe. If you or a family member are allergic to nuts, please accept my deepest sympathies, as these contain pecans. *Please note, although the name of the blog is Hungry Healthy Hilary, I do like to indulge now and then. These truffles are one of those times…but anything can fit into a balanced diet…one of these is 80/20 eating at its finest! The good thing about these truffles is they are pretty small, relatively speaking. So eating one isn’t going to derail your day.

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These guys are good enough on their own, but I wasn’t about to stop there. I remembered reading on Oh She Glows about Angela making a “cookie dough blizzard” of sorts with banana soft serve. I decided that one of these babies would be a delicious option. And, since I had just one chocolate peanut butter ball left, I figured, why not chop up that little guy too?IMG_1797

Making this tremendous treat is so simple too. All you do is make basic banana soft serve (1 chopped frozen banana, touch of almond milk, process until smooth in a food processor) and add a little unsweetened cocoa powder. Then put it into a glass or small bowl and stir in your cookie dough truffle and chocolate pb ball pieces (note, just like blizzards, you could go any way with this…use a bit of your favourite chocolate bar, crumbled cookies…possibilities are endless).

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This was the perfect dessert for “I wanna be a little naughty and decadent, but not totally over the top.” You’ve got the healthy goodness of banana soft serve with the totally decadent cookie dough truffle…the angel on one should and the devil on the other are both satisfied, right?

So…speaking of being naughty… last night was Thursday Night, aka Hilary’s “treat”/temptation night. I was hoping that my little blizzard treat would do the trick, but alas, I fell into my old traps.

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I was baking, making these delicious lime cookies for a function for my Aunt. There was dough to eat, broken cookies that I couldn’t use (but couldn’t let go to waste). Then there were all the bits and bites here and there….frozen yogurt out of the container, jelly beans, other things that I can’t even remember! All that to say is, even as a “health food blogger,” I still have my struggles…I am a work in progress! But the healthier you are in the day-to-day, the less one night of not-so-stellar choices has to derail you, right? (Or so I tell myself).

On a happier note, Shape up for Summer is going well for me. In the past week, I’ve noticed that two of my pairs of “tight pants” aren’t quite as tight as I remembered….this is HUGE for me! I’ve been keeping up with hooping for 10 minutes a few times a week. And I met with my personal trainer this week who totally beat me up (arms. were. so. sore). Military Tone was cancelled again last Saturday (fingers crossed for this week), but I made up for it by pushing myself through some treadmill intervals and a few weights. And HUGE score? I got a Wagjag deal for $19 for a one month membership to The Athletic Club!!!!! Sweet! Yes, I still pay for and will go to my regular gym, but I am excited to take advantage of the pool and different classes there, to switch things up a little (plus, Donna is a member, so we can go together). I’ve been doing pretty well on the special occasion eating, but I’ve got two food-filled weekends coming up, so wish me luck and stay tuned!

Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Meat-free, the way to be!

11 Jun

…don’t worry, I haven’t gone vegetarian. Smile I just ate vegetarian suppers two nights in a row, and I like post titles that rhyme! June 10 2011

Thursday night, after meeting up with Donna for a chat and to plan our August trip to the Healthy Living Summit together (we were both relieved that we got along so well…otherwise it would be a long 9 hours to Philly), I met up with my mom and sister for a lovely ladies’ night out. We met at Devlin’s, a lovely “country bistro” (that’s what the website says) for dinner and then my mom surprised us by treating my sister and I each to a pedicure after dinner for an end-of-the-year treat (we’re both teachers) – thanks mom!

Instead of bread waiting for us, there were chips and black bean and corn salsa on the table. I nibbled on a couple, but it wasn’t anything fantastic, so I saved myself for the main meal. My mom ordered a Caesar salad, and was kind of enough to share a little bit with my sister and I (okay, so if you count the bacon bits, it’s not technically a vegetarian meal Winking smile)…we all LOVE restaurant Caesar salad.

I was trying to go for the “healthier” option on the menu, so I ordered the vegetarian roasted tomato ragout with polenta for my entree. The polenta was nice and creamy, and I liked the flavour of the ragout, but it was REALLY oily (I tried to ignore this). It was pretty good, but I fell like I could have made an equally tasty and less oily version at home. Shoulda gone with what I craved and got something else – oh well, live and learn.

Dessert was 80/20 in a BIG way! Caramel peanut cheesecake anyone? And, except for the two bites my sister had, I ate that WHOLE thing! Embarrassed smile…and had a bite or two of my mom’s rhubarb crisp too. I definitely did not need that whole dessert, but since I didn’t order an appetizer or eat a huge entree, I didn’t feel TOO horrible. The problem was that I munched on a few things when I got home (that whole Thursday night mentality). It wasn’t absolutely horrible, but more than I needed. What can I say? I’m a work in progress!

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Last night’s vegetarian effort was homemade, and, not to brag, but at least for the entree part, I enjoyed it MORE than the restaurant ragout (I haven’t quite figured out how to make a healthy cheesecake that tastes that decadent…any suggestions? Winking smile).

Since it was Friday, that meant PIZZA! Specifically, a balsamic wild mushroom pizza with goat cheese. My sides were roasted asparagus (roast at 450 for 20 to 30 minutes with PAM, salt and pepper, add balsamic at the last minute) and a simply amazing tomato and roasted red pepper soup with fresh basil. Mmmmm….the perfect spring supper celebrating seasonal veggies and herbs. I made the pizza and soup recipes sort of “in tandem” (read on and you’ll see what I mean, so I’m going to write those recipes up simultaneously.

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If you’ve read HHH for any length of time, you can already guess what I did for my pizza crust. For the base of my pizza topping (and soup), I sautéed half of a sweet Vidalia onion in one teaspoon of olive oil on medium-high heat until it just started to brown, reduced heat and cooked a bit more, then I added two cloves of chopped garlic. After cooking for a few minutes, I removed half of the onions to use later for the soup. For the pizza, I added chopped creminis, shitakes and one half of a GIANT portabello mushroom (you could use any combo of mushrooms you have).IMG_1710 I turned the heat back up to medium-high, then cooked the mushrooms until starting to brown and they were nice and juicy, then added chopped fresh sage from my garden (fresh sage and mushrooms are simply DIVINE together…try it!) and splashed in some balsamic. I let it all cook together until the liquid evaporated, seasoning with salt and pepper.

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For the sauce, I used a new Costco find (I made a trip on Monday) that is sure to become a favourite ingredient: mashed San Marzano tomatoes. It’s just tomatoes and basil, but it’s all pureed, so it’s the ideal base for sauces and soups – you can just add your desired seasonings and meat/veggies. So flavourful, but healthier than pre-made sauces with lots of additives. My pizza sauce was creamy – I combined one wedge of Laughing Cow light with a bit of this stuff, a splash of balsamic vinegar, a touch of Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.

I spread the sauce over my crust, topped with the mushroom mixture, a few spinach leaves for added colour/nutrition, and crumbled goat cheese (just LOVE goat cheese and mushrooms…can’t get over it). I baked at 450 until the cheese had melted, only about 5 or 10 minutes.

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Meanwhile, my soup was going on. In a small saucepan, I combined the reserved onion/garlic mixture, about 3/4 cup of the tomato puree, a bit of water (tip: it was the bottom of the jar and I didn’t want any of the puree to go to waste, so I rinsed out the jar with water and poured straight into the pot to get all the goodness) and salt and pepper, I brought to a simmer over medium heat. I added one roasted red pepper, 2 wedges of Laughing Cow (can’t say enough how great this stuff is for creamy soups), and right at the end (remember, add late for maximum flavour), a handful of fresh basil. I pureed with my immersion blender (really, you NEED one) and topped it off with a bit more fresh basil.

After meals like this, I think it wouldn’t be heard to be vegetarian (but then I think about it and realize I’d never last). This meal was also perfect, as it was nice and light, which I needed after Thursday night’s splurge, and a few delicious samples I consumed while shopping at the market and grocery store yesterday afternoon. Embarrassed smile

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For dessert, I was excited to try some of the Chapman’s Yogurt Plus: Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble frozen yogurt I bought, topped with some of the new batch of stewed rhubarb I made and fresh strawberries. It was ok, but honestly, I wouldn’t have guessed there was rhubarb in there if I couldn’t taste it. It just tasted like ordinary strawberry fro yo to me (it was no soft serve sundae, that’s for sure). I do like Yogurt Plus though: it’s packed with fibre and probiotics, so can’t go wrong there, right?

Happy weekend! I’m hoping the weather forecast is wrong and we can enjoy some sunshine. Sun

Do you eat vegetarian very often, or are you a carnivore to the core? (I am on a rhyming role today Smile).