WIAW

WIAW: Week 2, Italian style

March 14, 2012

Late post today! But here is my second week of WIAW. This time, the Italian edition.

For the past year I have been volunteering each week at an Elementary school in preparation for my application to the Teaching Program. I hope to start it in September. It has been a great experience working in the classroom and getting to know all of the students. I was in a grade three classroom for the end of last year and since September of the beginning of this school year. It was fun to help them with their work, marking assignments and corrections, teaching them cursive and new math skills. The kids were all very sweet and it was sad to say goodbye yesterday, my last day, as it was the last Tuesday before their Spring Break, and when they return I will begin my final exams and projects. I would defininitely vist them again, as Adam’s cousin is also a teacher at the school! Bonus. I would love to get a teaching job in the same district.

The children surprised me with a giant thank you card. It was so sweet! I will definitely miss them too.

I did not spell check these haha- and apparently they still need a little help with their spelling ;)

And apparently I am also married according to some of them ;)

From Peas and Crayons!

Breakfast was early Tuesday. Thanks to Daylight Savings time. My 7 am wake up, was more like a 6 am wake up. Not cool. The usual, Rice Krispies with Almond milk – as per my allergy diet.

The school is in my hometown, where I lived before I moved in with Adam, and where my brother and Nonna still live. So, every Tuesday I see my Nonna for a visit or lunch, or dinner. Depending on when I make it to her house, and my schedule in the classrooms. Yesterday was lunch.

When I’m at Nonna’s, I tend to throw the allergy-diet out the window. I just can’t say no.

First course, Pasta. My Nonna said she sauteed peas in oil, with artichokes and garlic, and then poured it over the pasta. It was so light and delicious. I love oil, all kinds, and this was simply delicious.

Second course was Salad, a simple oil and homemade red wine vinegar. Note the homemade white wine also. It was noon. Nonna likes a little vino with lunch.

There was also tomato, I can assume only freshly picked from Joe’s extensive vegetable garden (her live in boyfriend/companion since my Nonno is no longer with us) Joe also makes the red wine vinegar and wine. Topped with fresh mozzarella, bocconcini with basil and more delicious oil.

I ate these by themselves and atop some crackers. I probably ate about three, before being told to “eat more!” and to “finish, finish.” Thus, I ended up eating about half of the plate of cheese and tomatoes. I was fine with that.

Dinner was the usual right now, yam/sweet potato topped with black beans, goat cheese and cranberry sauce with lettuce drizzled with oilve oil, and a non-appealing looking piece of chicken breast. The yam was the best part.

Do you participate in WIAW? 

Did you eat anything delicious yesterday??

 

 

 

 

 

Birthdays, Life, Vancouver

Birthday Cupcakes

March 12, 2012

This past week was “Adam’s Birthday Week.” Somehow his birthday lasted four days ;) Although, I declare June my entire Birth-month. So I guess it’s ok =)

Adam’s birthday was on Thursday, and it was also his last final for his third year for electrical, as I mentioned in my post about our new house, Needless to say there was much to be celebrated on that day. In the afternoon once I was home, Adam’s sister had come over for a visit with our beautiful new niece. We got to hug, cuddle, kiss and awe over her for a few hours. She is just so precious!

The night before, I had made Adam some ‘birthday cookies.‘ He said they were like the top of a cupcake, they were pillowy soft. I had to add some sprinkles to them, of course, to make them a little more special. I used Martha Stewart’s Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies recipe. It reminded me of my favourite show, Seinfeld, when Elaine goes into business selling muffin tops. These would be great for any day, even when it is not a birthday.

So, Adam thought we were going to his parents for his birthday dinner. Usually when there is a birthday in his family we have a birthday dinner at his parents house. However, I thought it would be nice to go out and celebrate seeing as how it was a double-whammy celebration that day. And, he had received 100% on one of his final tests earlier that week.

Coincidentally, I had seen a Groupon the week or two prior to a restaurant that I had recently read a review for, as it was part of the very popular Dine Out Vancouver event. Carmichael’s, located in the Hilton Vancouver hotel. I knew it would be good, so I bought a Groupon and phoned up his mom to ask her to join us.

When we left the house, I was slightly dressed up, in a dress and high heels, and Adam was pretty casual. It’s not unusual for me to dress up, but I had mentioned to him “oh, maybe we will go for a drink and dessert afterwards somewhere.” He thought we were only going to his parents, so I let him think we were. I secretly packed his dress shoes and a change of clothes for him to slip into once we arrive at their house. When we walked in, he did ask his mom why she was so dressed up. I let him in on the secret that we were not staying in for dinner, and that he should go and change, handing him the bag of clothes I secretly packed.

He was surprised, and still didn’t know where we were going. When we arrived, the restaurant was sparse, as it was a Thursday evening, but it was nice to not be in a crowded loud restaurant. We all ordered different dishes, and each was delicious. His mom had the special, a pork chop with apple chutney, mashed potatoes and a reduction with asparagus I believe. She said it was so good, and the pork chop was gigantic, she shared with his dad. His dad had the prawn and chicken linguine, also very delicious, I (swaying from my diet, and lusting after ravioli since our sampling from a Costco trip the weekend before) ordered the squash ravioli – yum. Adam, the birthday boy, had a steak. His favourite, the filet mignon was was perfectly cooked and so tender. It was a great night out.

Side note – our first four dates Adam ordered a steak, and remarked to me that “you’re going to think all I eat is steak” (which was basically true, since he doesn’t cook ;) ). I’d like to think his palate is MUCH more developed since I moved in. This boy did not eat anything when he was younger, pasta – no sauce, disliked onions, didn’t eat stuffing etc etc. I’ve heard many stories from his mom. Which is the opposite of my childhood, where my Dad sauteed liver and onions, we had whole lambs hanging out in the garage, and we ate chicken hearts with rice and parmesan cheese. Obviously you must know by now I have a love of food. All foods. There are no options in my kitchen, unfortunately, and he learned to love many new foods. Including, mussels. I know.

But, I digress. The birthday boy’s week continued, with Saturday night’s party. I had invited about 12 of our friends over for dinner. I made a giant pot of slow cooker pulled pork – my first time, and it was a huge success. I used this recipe, which worked perfeclty. I did double/triple the sauce as I had four small/medium pork roasts in one slow cooker. I got all the fixings for fajitas, guac, salsa, cheese, sour cream, black beans, lettuce, etc. and we all had a mexican themed dinner. It was very delicious. We will be eating pulled pork for days.

This has become a long winded post, but on to the cupcakes. I had seen this post by one of my cake idols, and sweet blog addiction, Sweetapolita, the queen of all pretty cake delicacies.

I knew I wanted to make them, because 1. They had Nutella ‘Cloud’ frosting, and 2. They were covered in sprinkles. I love a good yellow birthday cake, and so created the vanilla version of the cupcakes for our dinner party. I had made Adam’s sister as another ‘baby meal’  packaged it up, and gave them four cupcakes as well. Apparently they were eaten two-by-two. And I needed to include more next time ;) Everyone loved this frosting, it truly is like a cloud, not heavy, not overly sweet and a perfect component for the yellow cake base.

And to end the birthday week, we did have a birthday dinner at his parents Sunday night, with his sister and brother-in-law, along with our sweet little niece. Adam requested a Birthday Pie, as he did last year. Apple pie is his favourite. I was told the pie was a close replica to their grandmothers. A lovely compliment, as we know grandmother’s make the best pies.

Cookies, Cake and Pie. I’d say he had a good birthday. Oh, and I bought him a video game.. though I may regret that one.

Simple Birthday Cupcakes

Sometimes simple is good. No fanciness, no fondant decorations. Just good old fashioned birthday cake.

Yellow Butter Cake
Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

Ingredients:

● 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
● 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
● 1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising) *Don’t have cake flour? I recently made this cake with a recipe for it!*
● 1 tbsp. baking powder
● 1/2 tsp. salt
● 1 cup sugar
● 4 large eggs
● 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
● 1 1/4 cups milk

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Into a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined after each addition.

Divide batter between the cupcake liners, I use 1/4 cup to scoop them in. Bake for 18 minutes, until golden on top.

Let cool completely before frosting. Best served the day of.

Nutella Cloud Frosting
Recipe from Sweetapolita

Yield: Enough to generously frost 12 cupcakes (I frosted 24)

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter (227 grams/8 ounces/2 sticks), softened, but cool

1 cup (125 grams/4.5 ounces) icing sugar (confectioners’ or powdered)

2 teaspoons (10 mL) pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup (125 grams/4 ounces) premium bittersweet chocolate

1/3 cup (100 grams/3.5 ounces) Nutella

1 tablespoon (15 mL) milk

Method:

1. In a bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine the icing sugar and butter and beat on low speed (I use #2 on my KitchenAid mixer) for about 1 minute.

2. Add vanilla, and beat on low speed until well combined. Add the melted and slightly cooled chocolate and beat on medium speed (I use #4 on my KitchenAid mixer) until smooth (about 2 minutes).

3. Add the Nutella and mlik and beat on med-high speed for another minute.

4. Brace yourself.

WIAW

What I Ate Wednesday: First post!

March 7, 2012

Thanks everyone for the sweet comments on yesterdays post about our new home :) We are both very excited to move in!

You may or may not be familiar with a blogging event that happens every Wednesday here on the web. Created by Jennifer over at Peas and Crayons. Every Wednesday bloggers post what they ate the day before, usually, and share their food creations or new ideas for meals etc.

 

Jennifer says:

What WIAW is about
Celebrating one of the glorious things we all have in common: We all eat!
WIAW is about food and fun! It’s about making new friends, breaking out of a food rut, noting changes in your diet/lifestyle, inspiring yourself & others, embracing fruit & vegetables, nourishing your body with the foods that work for you, finding new ways to eat your favorite foods, and so much more <3
Celebrate blogging. Celebrate Food. Celebrate Individuality.
I’ve been blogging for almost four years, after beginning in 2008. Of course, I have only begun to blog more frequently in the past year or two. School sometimes gets in the way, but I’ve been trying to blog more often. As a part of this goal, I decided to join What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW). As Jennifer mentions on her site, people love to see other peoples meals, and get inspired to cook new and exciting recipes and ideas for eating healthier. I love reading other bloggers WIAW every week, so why not contribute as well?
This months ‘theme’ is Green. It fits because this month we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday festooned in green. It also fits in with Fitnessista’s Marvelous March - Making one Green meal a day
So! Here is my first WIAW!
Breakfast: 6:30 AM, Bowl of Rice Krispies with Almond Milk (still on my Allergy Diet, you can read about that here)
At about 10:00 am I decided I needed a little snack before the gym. I came across this post by Peanut Butter Fingers for Walnut Oatmeal Date Balls. They reminded me of Averie’s Raw Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough balls. They only have six ingredients! I altered my recipe a little to accomodate what I had on hand. I tried making these before here, but I didn’t pulse long enough to make it more of a ‘dough.’ This time they turned out much better!
Raw Vegan Almond & Date protein balls
Ingredients:
  • 7-8 dates, pitted
  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats ( I used Gluten/Wheat Free )
  • 1/2 cup Almonds
  • Spoonful of Almond Butter
  • Tbs. Protein Powder
  • Chocolate Chips (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor and pulse. Continue until everything is blended together and a dough forms. This may take a few minutes. You can add more/less dates depending on consistency.
  2. Roll the dough into balls by hand and refrigerate until ready to eat.

You can really use whatever nuts you have on hand, walnuts, cashews, almonds etc. and use peanut butter (unless you have an allergy, like myself).

These are great to grab before a workout or as a sweet snack on the go.

I can eat almonds and almond butter, as I know I do not have an allergy to them, and I’m not sure you can be allergic to dates.. though Adam always says ‘you can be allergic to anything!’ But I felt these were safe as a snack. And I now know I have a wheat allergy, and I am going back to the doctor’s this week to find out my blood work results for the celiac test, so I used gluten free and wheat free oats from Trader Joe’s.

Post Workout Snack: Green Smoothie 12:30 pm – Almond Milk, Ice, Handful of Spinach, Banana. Blend in blender until liquified. Delicious!! + It’s Allergy-Diet Friendly :)

For Dinner I had planned on making black bean soup, but I remembered seeing this recipe and decided I wanted to make Turkey Burgers! These were really simple and SO so delicious.

Dinner: 6:30 pm Homemade Turkey Burger, crumbled Goat Cheese, Spinach, Homemade Cranberry sauce from Adam’s mom, Yam (sweet potato? depending on what you call it!) and Black beans.

This was SO Good. Definitely going to be dinner again tonight!.. Or lunch, depending on how hungry I get ;)

I only had enough turkey for two burgers.

Turkey Burger
Recipe adapted from:
From Hungry Girl Por Vida  

Ingredients:

1/2 medium onion, diced fine (pulsed in food processor)

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

Dash of Rosemary

1 pound lean, ground turkey

1 egg

3 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, sweat onions and garlic. Once onions become translucent, add rosemary and saute another minute. Do not brown or the garlic may burn. Set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl combine ground turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, and cooled onion/herb mixture. Mix gently to combine. Divide meat into 4 sections and shape into patties (about 1/4-1/2 inch thick), making a shallow well in the center. Refrigerate patties for 20 minutes to firm up.

Heat a heavy skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle patties liberally with salt and pepper, cook, flipping only once, for about 4 minutes on each side.

Serve immediately.

 

So there! That’s my very first WIAW!!

Do you participate in WIAW?? Share a link to your page :)

If you don’t, what was your favourite thing you ate yesterday? Any new recipes you tried?