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text 2018-11-05 16:22
Menu Monday

Once again, I've been struggling to convince myself to cook.  But having this photo project to contribute to has encouraged me to keep on producing better food for myself.

 

First up, Harvest Baked Oatmeal:

 

 

This provided breakfast for a whole week!

 

 

Next up was Smoky Tomato Soup:

 

 

It all started with bacon because bacon makes everything better.  Hence the bacon sprinkles on the soup surface.

 

Please also note the Cornmeal Cheese Muffins on the side.  Nummy!

 

Then, I had bits & bobs to use up, so made a Frittata:

 

 

An excellent way use up a leftover baked potato, a red pepper that was on its last legs, some Italian sausage that I had defrosted but not put to good use yet, shredded cheese that had been open for a while, plus some eggs that had lingered in the fridge for a while.

 

 

Then, it was time to bake for Book Club.  They are my guinea pigs, so I tried a new recipe for Orange Gingerbread:

 

 

This was made with quinoa flour and almond flour.  The glaze was icing sugar & orange juice.

 

 

It was not bad, but didn't get rave reviews.  I rather doubt that I'll make it again.

 

And finally, on Saturday night for a treat, I made Hoisin Pork Ribs:

 

 

This is one of my all-time favourite recipes, a real comfort meal.  These are the left-overs, because I couldn't wait to dig in once they were ready.  With rice & broccoli, they made a great cool weather Saturday evening event.

 

Happy cooking, friends!

 

 

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text 2018-10-22 16:24
Menu Monday

 

It's fall and there were lovely crisp cabbages available at the grocery store.  I couldn't resist picking one up!  As a result, this week's photos are a bit cabbage-heavy.

 

 

First up was Vegetable Soup with Rice and Lentils.  I also had some fresh rutabaga that one of my cousins had grown.  So the vegetables consisted of onions, garlic, carrots, rutabaga and cabbage. 

 

 

With a spot of toast, it made a lovely lunch.  And I've packed a small bowl for my workday lunch today.

 

 

Next up was my trusty Cabbage Roll Casserole.  All the yummy taste of a cabbage roll, but without the fuss of assembling a cabbage roll.

 

 

With a dollop of sour cream, it was a great supper.  And I have plenty left to eat as leftovers for this upcoming week, which is a bonus.

 

 

Finally, while the cabbage roll casserole cooked, I threw together an Apple-Rhubarb Crisp.  I am now officially out of rhubarb, as I used the last bag in the freezer to make this crisp.  How long until spring?  Oh right, this is Canada.  It will be a while.

 

So my friends, bon appétit.

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text 2018-10-15 20:16
Menu Monday

I really didn't have to do much cooking this past week--I coasted with turkey leftovers and scrambled eggs.

 

But, I did make Honey, Mustard & Herb Chicken, from the Yum & Yummer cookbook.

 

 

Here are the chicken thighs, fresh from the oven, with their lemon slice hats.

 

They also plated up attractively:

 

 

However, they tasted more lemony than Honey-Mustard, and I'm not sure that I'd make them again.

 

I also had two sweet potatoes that were really needing attention, so I assembled Pork & Sweet Potato Pie yesterday.  I was headed to the theatre in the afternoon, so I cooked the parsnips & sweet potatoes in the morning.

 

 

The parsnips form the base, then there's a ground pork layer, covered with mashed sweet potatoes and heated through in the oven.

 

 

My sister gave me two zucchinis, so I must get them grated up (maybe tonight) and next week's offerings may feature some zucchini recipes.

 

Bon appétit, everyone!

 

 

 

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text 2018-10-09 20:22
Menu Monday (but on Tuesday)

I am stealing WhiskeyintheJar Romance's idea of Menu Monday.  I find it difficult to convince myself sometimes to cook when its "only me."  The idea of photographing & sharing made the cooking much more interesting to me.  We just finished a long Thanksgiving weekend, hence the Tuesday-ness of my Menu Monday.

 

 

First up was Apricot-Sriracha Glazed Meatballs.  They were from the appetizer section of the Yum and Yummer cookbook, but I used them as a main course.  They were excellent and I think I can safely say that I will make them again.

 

 

Next, I made a pasta casserole (fancy Mac & Cheese) with roasted butternut squash, lots of garlic, and bacon.  Provolone cheese in the sauce, plus topped with Parmesan.  Really good, but I'm starting to think that dairy doesn't agree with me, so I don't think this will be a repeater.

 

 

More successful was this Chili Garlic Chicken stir fry.  Another sauce with Sriracha.  Very tasty and since this is the second time I have cooked it, I think its safe to say its one of my go-to recipes now.

 

 

For book club on Friday, I made this plum coffee cake.  The recipe actually called for peaches, but I had plums on hand, needing to be used.  This one was delicious and the book club women dug in!  A success.

 

 

My contribution to Thanksgiving dinner was Pumpkin Bread--I tried two recipes, both gluten and dairy free.  The one on the left was made with almond flour, the one on the right with a gluten free mix.  Both are tasty, but the one on the right is far more attractive.

 

 

You can tell in this photo that the almond flour loaf really didn't rise.  It tasted fine, but the texture was a bit soft.  The other (from Gluten Free on a Shoe String) had better texture, rise and appearance. 

 

It's challenging to cook for one and to do so gluten-free.  Plus, it remains to be seen if I can stick with this photography project!  Encouragement is appreciated.

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review 2018-07-05 17:22
The Good Gut / Justin and Erica Sonnenburg
The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long-term Health - Erica Sonnenburg,Justin Sonnenburg,Andrew Weil

Finally, a book about the gut microbiome that actually offers constructive advice! This is what I’ve been searching for, even if I am a bit disappointed with the authors’ recommendations.


First off, there are things that affect your microbiome that you cannot change—if you were born by C-section or weren’t breastfed, there’s nothing that you can about it. Neither can you change the amount of antibiotics that you took as a child.

There are three things that you can do from this moment on, however. First, don’t rush off to your doctor and demand antibiotics for every little thing. Every time you take them, there is nuclear winter for the good microbes in your gut, leaving space for pathogens to muscle in and make you sick. There are times that you will need antibiotics—save your exposures for those time. (Having recently struggled with a nasty skin infection, cellulitis, which made me very feverish and scared, I am very thankful for antibiotics).

The second thing is that we have developed the idea that ultra-clean is ultra-good. Not necessarily so, say the authors. Accept a bit of dirt back into your life. Dig in the garden, get a bit of dirt under your fingernails, pet your dog or cat, don’t stress too much about washing. Of course, clean up to make yourself comfortable and always wash your hands after toilet visits, but your kitchen does not have to have the same level of clean as an operating room. You can benefit by challenging your immune system via the gut and maybe acquire some useful microfauna in the process.

Thirdly, we are starving our good gut microbes. They need the fibre from foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains. Lots of it. Also keep in mind that our microbiome is a pharmaceutical factory, producing molecules that can affect our lives in unexpected ways. Too much meat favours microbes that produce a cancer causing substance. Finally the whole “eat less meat” message makes more sense to me, although it makes it no easier to follow. Moving away from simple carbohydrates can also be challenging, especially because we enjoy them so much, but they feed the wrong bacteria.

I find this kind of book very inspirational. It’s difficult to change life-long bad habits, but I’m always re-inspired after reading about current research and its ramifications. So I made a happy trip to the farmers’ market last night to buy cherries, raspberries and carrots and I plan to feed the beneficial bacteria as well as I can.

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