Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Margherita Pizza, Coors Light YOU ARE THE WORST, and a CUTE FOX!!!

Remember when I tried to make a delicious margherita pizza but it sucked?  So I was going to wait until the summer when I could use home-grown fresh tomatoes and basil to try again?  That day came, my friends.  Behold the glorious pizza:



It was a small pizza using a pita for the crust but still a pizza, using fresh picked basil and about half fresh picked tomatoes and half farmers' market tomatoes, which still count.  Maaaan there is nothing like a real tomato.  That one purple one sticks out quite prominently though which is sort of weird.  Very delicious though.


IN OTHER NEWS:


Yes, because that would be douchey like saying "beer me" or something.

Ba dum bum CHINGGG

PS, now is not the time for a rant about Coors Light ads, but if it was, I would talk about how much I hate them and how sexist their ads are.  The worst was "As cold as your girlfriend when she found out about your other girlfriend" or something.  HAHAHA yeah because it is totes manly and super cool to cheat and/or keep secrets from your partner yayy yay Coors Light jokes about it so it must be not that uncommon therefore it is okay for men to engage in this behaviour ohhhhh I hate you so much Coors Light!  Why are you such a bunch of douchebags.  Please go out of business.

IN EVEN OTHER NEWS:

This is a cute fox I saw at work.


He had two other friends who were all hanging around so I was like "I need to take pictures of cute foxes!!" so I went and started snapping away thinking, everyone is going to think I'm a big girly loser for taking millions of pictures of cute puppy-like animals, but then I turned around and everyone sheepishly had their cameras out as well and the miners were all making kissy noises to try and get the foxes to come closer.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bernard's cheaper older brother?


I saw this at work.  Who the frig is Barry Callebaut and is he any relation to Bernard, or just trying to rip off his good name?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A String of Texts from My Mom

I went back to my room after showering one night at work last week to find these on my phone:

>What temp is it there ally drove to green water them coming back here for heather wedding tomorrow them fly to van sunday yikes meg need
>Need food but have not a car she could walk i guess i wolf her up when i phoned at seven she didnt know what day it was thought it was morm
>Morning at seven and she had to get ready for work she funny must have been a deep sleep Haha

Updates on my sisters' lives, courtesy of my mom's excellent texting skills.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Best Hamburgers

If you actually like my posts about cooking you will like this one.  If you don't really care about my posts about cooking, you should still pay attention because this is one of the best recipes I have ever invented.

I'm always trying to make the perfect burger.  I've dabbled in turkey burgers and veggie burgers, both of which have turned out quite delicious in their own right, however as proven in the Parks and Recreation burger cookoff episode it's pretty tough to actually beat a good old fashioned beef patty, no matter how you dress up its competitor.

I've been inspired to try to make a healthier hamburger since learning of a Weight Watchers burger recipe that includes more chopped veggies and mushrooms than actual meat, yet still tastes amazing, so I rarely make a straight meat burger anymore because what do you have to lose by adding healthy ingredients without sacrificing flavour?

One of the problems with hamburgers though is that some of the best toppings (cheese, mushrooms, fried onions, and bacon) are hard to distribute evenly.  For example, how many of us have put bacon on a burger only to accidentally pull out an entire strip on the first bite?  Or have the cheese and other toppings get pushed out to the edges of the bun so that the middle of the burger is very weak in toppings?  I'm happy to report that last night I successfully used the Weight Watchers vegetable technique to solve some of these problems.

With that, here is my recipe for possibly the best hamburger I've ever had.  Not 100% healthy but with a ratio of approximately 1:1 "bad" stuff to "good" stuff, it's a lot better than ordering a Wendy's Baconator and tastes better too.

This recipe made 7 medium sized patties so it would probably be good for about 4 large patties.

Mix together (quantities are approximate):

1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella
4 strips of cooked bacon (crumbled)
1/2-1 cup cooked couscous
1 egg
A few tbsp barbeque sauce
1-2 cups of finely chopped, cooked and drained of excess liquid mushrooms and onions
1-2 tbsp garlic powder (or include minced garlic with the mushrooms and onions)
1 lb extra lean ground beef (you're adding extra fat with the cheese and bacon so you don't have to worry about sacrificing juiciness by using the leanest beef)
1/2 tsp pepper
DO NOT add salt - there is enough of that from the cheese, bacon, and BBQ sauce and adding extra salt will make these too salty!

Form into patties and fry on medium-high heat for about 4 minutes per side or BBQ.




My only issue is that I haven't yet figured out the best technique for cooking burgers on the stove without slightly burning them - but in this case, the black that you see didn't taste burnt at all, it was just super caramelized so no problems there!

I topped it with more mushrooms and onions, pickles, lettuce, and tomato (no extra cheese needed) and ate it on a whole wheat bun.  While it may not be the healthiest recipe, the fact that only about 1/2 cup of cheese and 4 strips of bacon were needed to add awesome bacony cheesy flavour through the entire burger actually prevents you from topping it with more cheese and bacon, so it's unhealthy topping portion control.

The couscous was something I decided to try because I had some leftover couscous in my fridge, but what a great idea.  It's like adding breadcrumbs but better because it helps the burger retain moisture and is completely undetectable in the finished product, and adds some fibre too.  I don't think I'll ever omit it from burgers in the future.

Trust me, make these and enjoy one of the best burgers ever.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

DavidsTea in Saskatoon!

DavidsTea is now in Saskatoon!  I've known for a few weeks that it would be opening soon, and as much as I love them I haven't gone yet and don't plan to go for a while because it's summer and I don't drink that much tea in the summer (I use my own herbs that I grow like mint and lemon balm to flavour water instead of drinking iced tea or other things) and it's pretty out of the way for me.

However, I wanted to mention something excellent about their customer service.  In January I emailed them asking if they were planning on opening a Saskatoon store and they replied and said they were still looking for a location.  THEN the day before the store opened in Saskatoon, I got another email from the same representative letting me know that the store was opening the next day!

I don't care if this person has folders of emails inquiring about store emails and copies and pastes the same email to all these people every time a store they're asking about opens, that is good service.  It was addressed to me by name and a reply to my previous email, not a form letter saying "dear customer, our records show you asked about a store in your location".

DavidsTea, I have always been impressed by your online customer service but this went above and beyond what I expected!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Delicious Foods from this Week

It has been a while since I've posted about food I made I think.  This blog used to be overpowered with food posts but somehow I've gotten away from those... so if you cared at all about those kinds of posts you will enjoy this one.  If you hate food and recipes skip over it.

On the plane on the way home from Montreal a few weeks ago I discovered that The Food Network has a whole channel on Air Canada flights!  What!!  I think it has been there forever but I never knew about it because it was on the second page.  Also there is an HBO channel too, but I am always so worried about what I should watch on Air Canada flights because they don't sensor anything so sometimes you sit beside kids and all of a sudden there are boobs or peeners on the screen and it is very awkward and you don't know if you should just shut it off so no one thinks you are a perv, or if there aren't going to be anymore naked butts for the rest of the movie and you can finish watching it.  But warning:  THERE USUALLY ARE.

ANYWAY so the Food Network is pretty okay and doesn't have any penises as far as I know.  So I decided to watch Jamie Oliver's 30 Minute Meals and watched him make a delicious looking ragu.  This link is about all I could find on the internet to recreate it, but here's how I made it (which is pretty much how Jamie Oliver prepared it too, but you could follow either recipe and get the same taste probs):

2 stalks celery
1 large carrot
A bunch of green onions
3 cloves garlic
~ 1 foot long Mennonite farmers' sausage (or a package of good quality sausages)
Splash of olive oil
1 box penne
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 can crushed tomatoes
Chili flakes or red chilis

Heat the olive oil in a pan.  Put the carrot, celery, onions, and garlic in a food processor until it is very finely chopped (consistency of ground meat).  Start frying it in the olive oil.  Then put the sausage into the food processor until it is the same consistency as the vegetables.  Add to the vegetables.  When the sausage is almost cooked, add the balsamic vinegar.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta.  Add the tomatoes to the vegetable/meat mixture.  Add chili flakes to your taste.  Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup or so of the pasta water.  Mix everything together.  Serve with parmesan, basil, and extra chili flakes if desired.

SO SIMPLE and so delicious.  I did not take a picture and I apologize, but it was awesome.  Will make again.

FOOD NUMBER 2:

I saw this recipe linked on my favourite food blog, The Kitchn, the other day.  Full credit goes to food + words. for the recipe but the pictures are mine (but if you want to see more deliciouser looking pictures of these babies go to the link!!).  Zucchini brownies - I had to try them since I am convinced basically everything out there that's bad for you can be made much healthier.  I'm not going to repost the recipe because I followed it exactly as linked, but here are some pictures and highlights:

There is more zucchini than flour in this recipe, as you can see from this unappetizing picture of the batter.  At this point I was a little worried but all the commenters on food + words. were raving so I decided to trust them.  And I'm glad I did...

 The finished product!  Forgive the bad lighting, it looks a little yellowy-green but that's just from the fluorescent lights in my kitchen.

How delicious and chocolatey does that look!

The best part:  they're basically healthy!  If you don't add chocolate chips, it can be made completely fat free.  It's also made with whole wheat flour.  If you grate the zucchini small, you can't even notice it when it's cooked.  I used blueberry flavoured applesauce because that's what I had lying around the house and I'm not sure if that did anything to the flavour, but mostly all I can taste is chocolate.

I wouldn't necessarily call these brownies though.  They are not quite dense and rich enough to be classified that way.  This is a bit of a downside because with regular brownies, usually one is enough because of the richness... but I could eat a whole pan of these.  (I didn't though.)  I'd say it's more like an insanely moist, slightly denser than average chocolate cake.

I think you could really take it over the top and make it actually healthier by cutting out the chocolate chips and making a chocolate sauce with sweetened greek yogurt or sour cream and cocoa - I have never attempted this but I've tasted one before and it was amazing.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Iceland - Baby Lamb Edition

Okay so I may have mentioned before that my FAVOURITE part of Iceland was all the baby animals.  If you know me, you know I love baby animals (but who doesn't? unless you have no soul).  Going to Iceland in the spring = LAMBS EVERYWHERE!!!  I know they were going to get eaten but they were soooooo cute and I LOVED THEM.

 First lambs of the trip!  We did not realize we were going to see a million more at this point.

 The one with black spots is looking at me awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
 Bahhhhhh so many lambs!

 We interrupt your regularly scheduled lamb pictures to bring you some adorable horses!!!

 HELLOOOOOOO I LOVE YOU GUYS

 Uh oh lamb crossing!  Yield to lambs.

 CUTE

 Two little guys just hanging out posing for the camera.

 Awwww they found their mom

 Sort of creepy almost

 Hahahahahaha the best was when they would be drinking milk because their TAILS WOULD WAG REALLY FAST AWWWWWWWWWWWW

 OH HELLO BABY HORSE!!!

 Lambs on the road, lambs on the road, the cutest baby lambs, on the road (that is a song I was singing a lot).

 Run baby lamb run!

 I tried to go and pet these ones but they were scared :(


There I am chasing the lambs.  SO HAPPY.

Go to Iceland in the spring if you love lambs!!!  Which I am pretty sure you do.