Blueberry Oat Bars

One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to floss more.  I can proudly say that in the last 23 days I have flossed 23 of them.  I know it sounds kind of gross to not floss on a daily basis (which is why I vowed to improve my gum health this year) but I am an individual that has not one but two permanent retainers cemented to the backs of my teeth.  That means that flossing goes from a 30 second ordeal to a 5 minute one that can’t be completed without a mirror and threaders.  If either of those aspects are missing- forget about it.  Starting to sound like way too much work?  Apparently, 50% of people do not floss on a daily basis.  73% of people would rather go grocery shopping than floss. Grocery shopping.  People would prefer grocery shopping! That makes a statement right there.

Blueberry Oat Bars

Maybe not all of you can relate, but certainly those of you who have had braces can.  And kudo’s to you if you have top and bottom permanent retainers and think I am ludacris for complaining about this.  I envy your patience, will and determination towards your impeccable oral hygiene.

With my distain for flossing I have become pretty good at avoiding foods that are prone to getting stuck in my retainer… well almost all foods…

Blueberry Oat Bars

Fresh, soft tortilla wraps are the absolute worst for reasons unknown to me.  That doesn’t mean I prefer stale tortilla wraps, I just make a conscious effort to only eat them in the privacy of my own home.  Corn on the cob is on the same list.

Blueberry Oat Bars

Oats though…oats may be one of the exceptions (and oranges, obviously).   They are nasty little culprits that I just can’t bring myself to avoid.  Funny enough, both of those ingredients can be found in this recipe.  I was standing in Starbucks one morning and made the mistake of perusing through the glass treasure box of treats when I laid my eyes on one of their Blueberry Oat bars.  Since I couldn’t afford the price or the nutritional information I scoured the Internet for a recipe I could make on my own.  I think I may have to include Canadian Living Magazine in my will.  Click here for their version of these Blueberry Oat Bars.  I would floss 5 times a day for the rest of my life to spend a minute in their test kitchen.

Blueberry Oat Bar

Why do they tickle all my fancies?  Because this recipe is about half the calories and fat of the Starbucks version, and for 24 bars is the cost of 2. Eat up!

Best,

Red

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Golden Gluten-Free Globes

The one year I actually want to watch the Golden Globes I have no cable TV and no roommates.  While Jess came to the rescue with the live stream link, it feels weird worshiping Tina Fey and Amy Poehler by myself.

Quinoa Pizza Bites

After my first week back at work and school, I am finally getting back into the swing of things.  Unfortunately my only class takes place from 5:30-6:20 three nights a week, so after working my regular 9-5 I spend 3 very tired nights hungry and unmotivated to cook.  It is these nights where I battle my voracious cravings for pizza. Hot and saucy pizza.  Be a doll and throw in some creamy garlic dipping sauce.

Quinoa Pizza Bites

Last weekend I made these Gluten Free Pizza Bites.  Tired and hungry, these got me through two more filling and tasty meals last week. The quinoa acting as the dough, these pizza bites lend themselves well to any of your favourite pizza toppings.  Plus, the taste of fresh basil reminded me of a fresh summer salad and made me feel like spring was on the horizon.  Oh wait, maybe that was the 9 degree C weather we are having in January. In Ontario… Canada. Can’t tell.

I think I have found the perfect recipe.  25 minutes start to finish, still delicious two days later, GF, protein packed and shaped like a muffin.

Quinoa Pizza Bites

Oh yeah, and if all the plunging necklines and side boobs of awards season have you “emotional eating”, don’t even think twice about scarfing down 1 or 10 of these healthy pizza bites.

Quinoa Pizza Bites

Special shout-outs to Kristen Bell and her best dressed baby belly, Kristen Wiig and her best non-dressed belly, and Isla Fisher for being the best dressed red.  None for Lucy Liu, Sienna Miller and Taylor Swift.

Best,

Red

Gluten-Free Quinoa Pizza Bites

Adapted from: So Very Blessed

1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 large eggs
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped (or 2 tablespoons dried)
1/2 cup roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup fresh spinach, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Pizza sauce for dipping, I used this recipe for homemade tomato sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the quinoa and two cups of water in a covered pot. Bring to boil and then simmer for 20 minutes or until quinoa is tender.  Mix together all ingredients, except pizza sauce, in a medium mixing bowl. Distribute mixture into a greased muffin tin, filling each cup to the top and press down gently to compact.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Broil on low for two more minutes

Veggi-Good Resolution

New Year, New Red.

Whoever just heard Amanda Bynes’ voice in their head saying “New school, new babe pool”, we are so sympatico you can have my left kidney. It’s a She’s The Man reference friends.

New dutch oven too… which happens to be red!

"Veggi"strone

So as you can see some things haven’t changed since last year, yet so much has.

After listing all of the foods I tried in 2012 I am starting this year with some 2013 new food resolutions.  For example, I would love to love eggs.  Omelets, frittatas, quiches, (I had to spell check all three of those words..) I want to love them all.  I will boycott hard boiled though, and I am take-it-or-leave-it with soft boiled.  We will be increasing the protein and decreasing the carbs.  I will never give up my honey nut cheerios in the morning though.  I should state, some things, that thing, will never change.

To all of you with your own food resolutions I wish you good luck!

I want to set an example for how serious I am about goals and about this blog so I am kicking the year off with Eating Well’s “Veggi”strone.  To most of you this looks like a healthy soup recipe, but to me it is so much more.  This recipe includes not one but two types of beans.  Beans! I don’t eat beans! I am grabbing the bull by its horns.

"Veggi"strone

The beans are just 2 of 11 vegetables that are packed into this soup.  This soup is high in protein and fiber and low in calories and fat.  As suggested by the recipe, it lends well as a base for adding a variety of lean meats or even pasta if you aren’t satisfied with the heartiness that this soup already offers.  Heck, you can try every option you can think of because this soup could feed a family of 20.  That’s at least how many minutes it took me to find room in my freezer for all of it.

"Veggi"strone

If you are planning on making this recipe, I suggest you add a bit of salt, pepper and if you like a little kick maybe even some red pepper flakes.  The broth was a bit neutral so add whatever satiates you!

"Veggi"strone

If you are wondering how a 20-some year old working-student on her own could front such a hefty produce bill, I buy all of my veggies from Fiddes Wholesale Produce (F.W.P.s) located in the West end of Hamilton, ON.  The people working there are truly amazing and most of the produce you see on my blog comes from there.  It is my Saturday morning meditation and my Sunday night dinner.

"Veggi"strone

All the best in 2013 babes and bros!

Best,

Red

Veggi-strone

Recipe by: Eating Well Magazine

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups chopped onions (2 medium)

2 cups chopped celery (4 medium stalks)

1 cup chopped green bell pepper (1 medium)

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups chopped cabbage

3 cups chopped cauliflower (about 1/2 medium)

2 cups chopped carrots (4 medium)

2 cups green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces, or frozen, thawed

8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth

2 cups water

1 15-ounce can tomato sauce

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 15-ounce can kidney or pinto beans, rinsed

1 bay leaf

4 cups chopped fresh spinach or one 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed

1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

10 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven (8-quart or larger) over medium heat. Add onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 13 to 15 minutes. Add cabbage, cauliflower, carrots and green beans; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 10 minutes more.

Add broth, water, tomato sauce, tomatoes, beans and bay leaf; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in spinach and simmer for 10 minutes more.

Discard the bay leaf. Stir in basil. Top each portion with 1 tablespoon cheese.

Refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

For nutritional information, click here.

2012

In an attempt to not make this post ridiculously cheesy and philosophical, I will start this reflective post on a lighter note, spill my cliche guts towards the middle and end on a proud high note of all of the foods I have “accomplished” this year.  If my degree in Psychology taught me anything, it is that you are most likely to forget the “cheese” if I hide it in the middle somewhere.  Is anyone craving cheese now?

I will start with my top 12 favourite recipes of 2012.  These are the recipes that are deliciously fool-proof. Every time.  Like, Canadian-Living-tested-till-perfect amazing.  I originally wrote a little blurb about each of my favourite recipes but realized I was saying the same 3 things in as many different ways as a could: 1) This is the best thing I have ever made. 2) If I had only one thing I could eat for the rest of my life it would be this. 3) If you haven’t made this yet you are denying yourself happiness.  Apply to all.

1. Vanilla Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies

Om Nom

2. Portobello Burgers with Gouda and Roasted Garlic

Grilled Portobello Burgers

3. Chocolate Layer Cake aka Death By Chocolate Cake {aka blood sweat and tears cake}

Chocolate Layer Cake

4. Perfect Pad Thai

Perfect Pad Thai

5. Chocolate Caramel Crack

Caramel Crack

6. Roasted Tomato Soup

Yum

7. Cuzzupelle

Seducin'

8. Guacamole

Dad's Guacamole

9. Gooey S’mores Cookies

IMG_1472

10. Artichoke Bruschetta Chicken

COLOUR!

11. Lemon Poppy Seed Scones

Lemon Poppyseed Scones

12. Homemade Tomato Sauce

Homemade Jarred Tomato Sauce

Aside from all of these successes in the kitchen, 2012 was a great year.  Not to overwhelm you if 2012 wasn’t your year, but these past 12 months have been the happiest months of my whole life.  At the beginning of the year I was nervous.  How could I be so happy? Something will have to change eventually so enjoy it while it lasts! Well, it lasted.  I successfully finished my fourth year of University, was offered my first real job, moved into my first apartment {alone!}, became closer with my family–which I didn’t think was possible, made new friends and realized how important my old ones were to me, and fell more in love with my boyfriend.  I worked hard and was rewarded.  I started new hobbies and not only stuck with them, but improved at them!  I figured out what type of person I want to be when I grow up and started working towards that person. I had fun.

Only after reflecting on all of this have I realized that maybe it is the weekly reflecting that I do on this blog that has brought me all of this happiness.  Good or bad I can lay it all out on the line, venting about the bad so I can let it go and reminding myself of the good so I can appreciate it.  I also need to bake.  A lot. Which has always been a stress reliever for me.

I will continue blogging in 2013.  I will push myself to try new foods and go easy on myself when I am too busy to post on time.  I will continue to learn the ways of my DSLR and photoshop and practice more yoga– the one thing I abandoned in the last 12 months.

To end the post here is some visual proof of how far I have come in 2012. In list form (obviously).

Things I tried for the first time in 2012:

Almond Butter

Almond Milk

Artichokes

Avocado

Baba ganoush

Bananas

Blueberries

Cauliflower

Chia Seeds

Duck

Eggplant

Green Beans

Guacamole

Leeks

Lentils

Matzo

Pad Thai

Parsnips

Peas

Pumpkin

Quinoa

Salmon

Scones

Strawberries

Tomatoes

Zucchini

…and of course developed an obsessive relationship with cinnamon.

Everyone have a safe and amazing New Year!!

All the very best,

Red

Ginger Bread Rock

This gallery contains 3 photos.

I have to try to sneak in a few more things for you before the Holiday season, and thus the year, is over. Now that you have warmed up to Holiday baking with my easy Almond Bark recipe, it’s time … Continue reading