Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Garden Lighting: Yes/No?

When the backyard was first completed and our patio furniture was set up, I sat outside at night and thought that some lighting out in the yard would be nice. Most lights that I could find looked cheap and I couldn't bring myself to buy them. But there was a set from Costco that I liked and they recently came back in stock. Ian was always on the fence about any garden lights so it was mainly me driving it. I put them in the ground a couple weeks ago and am still adjusting to the change. I think because Canada wants to just skip over spring and the plants haven't filled out yet, the lights look out of place. Maybe when dogwoods and bushes come back it won't be so... stark? They give off a pretty natural light instead of the typical blue solar light. It's growing on me. This is a bad angle picture... they are pretty evenly spaced out.

...and a close up of them. Yes/No? I'll try to get a daytime picture at some point.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Kitchen Adventures: Sausage Fusilli and Creamy Garden Salad

This recipe was a redo... The first take I didn't put in enough pasta... so the dish was very saucy and too much tomato. The second time around it turned out perfect and even made really good leftovers.

Ingredients: Sausages, Olive Oil, Red Onion, Fennel Seeds, Jarred Red Peppers, Rosemary, Garlic, Fusilli, Balsamic Vinegar, Passata, Round Lettuce (we used Boston), Spinach or Arugula (we used a mix of both), English Mustard, Fat Free Yogurt, Lemon, Chives
It was definitely worth a second try. The pasta is really full of flavor and the sausages were super crispy. The salad was pretty simple - lemon, mustard, yogurt, chives as a dressing. I liked the taste but the salad was slightly boring. I say this mainly because one of the next Kitchen Adventures posts will contain a FANTASTIC salad... still simple but so much better. Still this recipe was a keeper!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Pond Time!

Even though it snowed on Saturday, it was still warm enough to put the pump back in the pond and get it running. It was so nice to have it back.

This is Ian putting the pump back in...

...and this is Ian realizing that it snowed the day before... so the water is going to be pretty cold.

He survived and we got the waterfall running. :D

Sing Along Time: Inner Ninja

Give it a chance. Canadian Rapper... lol.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Kitchen Adventures: Flashy Fish Stew

The full title was Flashy Fish Stew with Saffron Sauce and Garlic Bread. /drool

Ingredients: Ciabatta Loaf, Garlic, Thyme, Olive Oil, Fennel, Anchovies, Green Onions, Red Chili, White Wine, Passata, Basil, Sea Bass, Monkfish, Mussels, Clams, Shrimp, Saffron, Fat Free Yogurt, Lemon
This recipe was another exotic one. We headed to Caudle's Catch and picked up some fresh Sea Bass and Monkfish... and sadly some ALIVE (/cry) mussels and clams. The stew was wonderful.. chunky... fishy... tasty with the saffron sauce drizzled in... but the bread was so simple and soooo good. You take the loaf and slice some criss cross sections, crush some garlic over it and sprinkle some thyme. Rub the garlic and thyme into the loaf and sprinkle with olive oil. Bake in the oven at 250 for a few minutes. DELICIOUS! A bowl of the stew with a bit of the saffron sauce and part of the bread was 516 calories... pretty sure we went way over that as we had most of the bread. :}

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Swing Hard, In Case You Hit It!

Ian has been saying for a couple years now that he would like to take me to a driving range. Last Saturday, I finally relented and we had a blast. We went to the golf dome in Waterloo and I didn't hurt anyone! :) They didn't have any drivers for me to use... but I had some fun with an 8 and 9 iron as well as a pitching iron. By then end I was aiming at some targets and hitting them for the most part. I was quite sore the next day.

It was a little bit of trial run to see if I would like it... if it would be worth to get a set of clubs for both of us. On Sunday we went to Golf Town. We went to just look around but also to get a small gift for our neighbor behind us. He would frequently run his snow blower down the length of our sidewalk without us asking... I just wanted to get him a little thank you gift. We looked through the women's clubs and there were a few used sets. The price was right for this set and I think I'll be happy with it. We will see next weekend with another trip to the driving range. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Kitchen Adventures: Mexican Tomato Soup and Chili Nachos

Another 15 Minute Meal and I got to use my hand blender!

Ingredients: Green Onions, Olive Oil, Cilantro, Garlic, Basmati Rice, Jarred Red Peppers, Chopped Tomatoes, Fat Free Yogurt, Pickled Jalapeno Chilies, Mint, Limes, Cherry Tomatoes, Avocado, Feta Cheese, Red Chili, Green Chili, Tortilla Chips, White Cheddar Cheese
It turned out so good! It was interesting because the soup had a small amount of rice in it. But it was mainly used as a thickener when it was blended. Instead of a regular green chili, we used a Serrano Pepper. Oh boy. We were a little red in the face. It was probably the hottest thing we've tried so far. The soup was made with a side dish of spicy but "cooling" yogurt with mint and jalapeno chilies. A bowl of the soup plus a portion of the chili nachos was 625 calories. :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Canada Is Doing It Wrong

I don't think Canada knows how to "do" Spring. On Saturday, we woke up to this. It made me scream some expletives into a pillow. Nice way to start the day... 

It continued to snow on and off throughout the day. I filmed this little bit in the afternoon. Seriously? Seriously.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Kitchen Adventures: Grilled Steak Ratatouille and Saffron Rice

Clearly the most exotic dish we have made to date. I was highly skeptical that I would like it... but that is what Kitchen Adventures is all about. It didn't disappoint. 

Ingredients: Corgette (Zucchini), Aubergine (Eggplant), Red Pepper, Yellow Pepper, Red Onion, Harissa, Anchovies, Garlic, Passata, Balsamic Vinegar, Basil, Fat Free Yogurt, Basmati Rice, Saffron, Lemon, Sirloin Steak, Paprika, Olive Oil, Flat Leaf Parsley, Dijon Mustard, Kosher Salt, Black Pepper
This was classified as a french dish and I was worried about the anchovies, saffron and harissa. The rice was probably the best rice I've ever tasted. Light. Lemony. Fantastic. The steak was unique in that it called for a 'board dressing'. Ian chopped up parsley on a cutting board. I poured Olive Oil and some Dijon Mustard onto the parsley and mixed it right on the board, then spread it around a bit. When the steaks were done grilling, they rested in the 'board dressing' for a minute before being moved around and flipped in it. This made a huge difference. The steaks tasted very fresh with the uncooked herb and mustard. I can't wait to do this dish again. 593 calories per serving. Worth every calorie.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Max Quacks: Check Out My New Ride

Apparently when you turn 3, you get a new set of wheels. I love the pose... he's still got a little of the Max BellyTM.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Kitchen Adventures: Fish Baps with Mushy Peas

This was our first '15 Minute Meals' recipe from Jamie Oliver. In the show, he cooks everything at a high heat and it goes really quickly.... a little too quickly for Ian and I. Instead of chopping during the cooking, mainly because someone would get cut in the craziness, we chop before we start. Note: 'Baps' means Buns in silly English speak. :P 

Ingredients: Whole Wheat Buns, Sole, Cayenne Pepper, Flour, Olive Oil, Parmesan Cheese, Lemon, Potato, Frozen Peas, Mint, Gerkins, Capers, Gem Lettuce (couldn't find.. but it's just Romaine), Fat Free Yogurt, Flat Leaf Parsley
We had some issues with the fish... it was a little on the thin side so the heat cooked them too quickly. The 'baps' put together were very tasty. The mushy peas on the other hand... Ian liked them a lot especially with a bite of fish. I wasn't a fan but then again I'm not a huge fan of peas. I tend to buy into the whole 'try a food 13 times to start to like it'. So I have 12 more tastes of mushy peas. :P We are going to try this again... different fish, lower heat. Still good, especially at 665 calories. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Ice Ice Baby

We had lots of freezing rain yesterday. I assume the patio light was not happy...

Friday, April 12, 2013

30 Down

I hit 30lbs lost on April 2nd and I'm just getting around to posting a picture. I think I was more happy to hit 31 than 30... but 30 was still pretty cool. :)

I think I see a difference in this comparison... maybe that is just psychological because it's only 10lbs and I would want to see a difference. But it makes me happy nonetheless! I'm on to chase 40 down.

Brittany Upgraded By The Numbers 
Starting Weight: 308.2 
Starting BMI: 48.3
Current Weight: 277.2
Current BMI: 43.4
Goal Weight: 160

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Kitchen Adventures: Chicken and Mushrooms with Marsala Wine Sauce

This recipe had us stopping by LCBO for some cooking wine.

Ingredients: Dried Porcini Mushrooms, Chicken Breasts, Flour, Kosher Salt, Black Pepper, Olive Oil, Onion, Crushed Red Pepper, Garlic, Shiitake Mushrooms, Button Mushrooms, Oregano, Marsala Wine, Cherry Tomatoes, Basil Leaves
It turned out very good but needed something else... like a light salad or some green veggie. Still yummy though. I know the picture below looks like a dog's breakfast (never really understood that saying... maybe that it looks like dog food?) but it was still really good. The best bite was a bit of chicken, mushroom, tomato and garlic. Delicious.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Beautiful Weather

After my declaration on Saturday, Sunday rolled in with wonderful rain and warm weather. It rained heavily in the early morning and a warm breeze came through. I posted a picture on twitter of the snow at the front of the house and by the afternoon most of it was gone. We were able to go for our first walk of Spring around the neighborhood. It's in the 50s but there was definitely a wind chill factor... the wind had turned cold by the time we got out. 

The field next to our development will be turned into houses at some point. There is a spot that dips down and there's a little pond that has developed and hasn't gone away since we moved in. Ducks like to think it's a real pond. :)

We did our usual route that takes us down by the real pond. There was a pair of geese and a pair of ducks in it. I'm so happy that we could get out and that most of the snow has gone away. We weren't able to do any lawn care this weekend but will probably be able to this coming weekend. Yay! (I'm excited to do lawn work... what is wrong with me? :P)

Max Quacks: I'm 3!

Happy Birthday to this awesome little dude. So determined...

...and a bit silly. :P

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Kitchen Adventures: Chili Corn Chowder

We've been pretty lucky with the recipes we've tried so far... 5 out of 6 have turned out excellent. The lone bad recipe had far too much oil in it.. and wasn't interesting enough to try again. This adventure was a very simple, yummy soup that was pretty easy to make because I got a hand blender for Christmas. 

Ingredients: Frozen Corn, Potatoes, Vegetable Broth (we used Knorr Chicken Stock), Onion, Celery, Red Chili, Thyme, Green Onions, Sour Cream. Not Pictured: Olive Oil, Black Pepper, Kosher Salt, Butter
The green onions, part of the red chili and sour cream are just for topping. It was quick to whip up, slightly blended with the hand blender... Fantastic. :)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Professional Taste Testers

Our Sunday took a weird turn... We went out to breakfast which is something that we never do. Afterwards, we walked to Sobey's to look for a green chili that we hadn't been able to find. When we walked inside, a woman said that they were have taste testing for Taco Seasoning and they would give us a $5 gift card each for our participation. Having nothing better to do, we headed upstairs into a small kitchen. They poured us each a glass of water and then handed us a tray with 4 little cups filled with hamburger and a tortilla chip.

I only got this fuzzy picture of the kitchen... I think I was little shocked that it was something so formal. There was a person in the back who seemed to be monitoring the testing, a couple people serving and the chef. The first one I tried was awful but Ian thought it was excellent... turns out the cups were randomized. It was an interesting experience... one that we might repeat next week... it's chicken wings! :P 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

It's Spring Time!

I've decided that it's Spring whether the outdoors agree or not. I've put up the spring wreath on the front door. I'm hoping that we can fertilize the lawn this weekend and start spending some time outside!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Kitchen Adventures: Pav Bhaji

After my Adventures in Spice post, Ian and I ventured into the world of Indian food. We made Pav Bhaji and paired it with Lime Pepper Tilapia.

Bhaji Ingredients: Olive Oil, Onion, Tomatoes, Carrots, Potatoes, Garlic, Cauliflower, Pav Bhaji Masala (a mix of spices for this dish!), Red Bell Pepper, Dried Kashmiri Chilies, Turmeric Powder, Chili Powder, Kosher Salt
It turned out close to the dish that my friend at work made. It was spicy and full flavor... but unfortunately I boiled the veggies too long and when Ian mashed them, they turned to mush. It was still really good. The lime pepper tilapia was excellent; we normally make it with chicken but this was better. We got the fish from a local butcher instead of the grocery store and it was fantastic. We're definitely going to make the bhaji again and this time I won't let the veggies boil forever! :P

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bathroom Shelves

When we had the house built, I went to Pottery Barn and got some design tips for a lot of the rooms. It was super helpful because it gave me some sort of direction with the blank canvas. The ensuite is one of the most complete rooms. We went to Target and found one element - white shelves for over the bath tub. I'm still looking for knick knacky things to put on them but I want to keep it clean looking. Thanks to Ian "The Tool Man" Matheson for putting them up. :)

I tried to pan back so you can get an idea of how they look in the room... but the blinding light from the window didn't help. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Kitchen Adventures: Lemon and Herb Chicken with Mash

This was another Jamie Oliver recipe. We were a little skeptical at first... but we devoured this... specifically the 'relish' it calls for. 

Black Pepper, Kosher Salt, Basil, Green Onions, Red Chili, Thyme, Lemon, Frozen Corn, Tomatoes, Chicken Breasts, Olive Oil, Red Wine Vinegar, Baby White Potatoes
The star of the recipe is the tomato relish. Ian took the tomatoes, basil, green onions and red chili and finely chopped them up. He didn't include the seeds of the chili since it was our first time using it in a dish. I mixed them together in a bowl with the olive oil and red wine vinegar. The chicken is cooked with lemon and thyme and the boiled baby white potatoes are mashed together with the corn. It was so fresh and delicious... we needed every bit of the tomato relish. Next time we are going to add a few of the chili seeds to give it a bit of heat.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Max Quacks: Rocking Goggles

Max had his first dentist appointment recently. What a good little patient... :) 

Monday, April 1, 2013

5 More Months

Some days I miss football.. some days I'm happy our Sundays are free. But I can't wait for next season! Go Hawks!

Source: 9gag.com via Jordan on Pinterest