31 May

19th Century Oat Cakes

These cookies are 113 years old.

Oat Cake c1898

Okay, let me back up for a minute and explain myself.

When I was 15 years old, I went to our nation’s great capital, Ottawa, with my family. My dad, sister Vicki, and I were walking down Wellington street past the National Library and Archives when Vicki and I asked my dad if we could go in. He told us of a time many years before that he and my mom tried to visit the Archives and they were turned away at the door, told it was private.

Being a lover of all things bound and historical I was disappointed to hear that we couldn’t see what was in the greatest library in the country. My mind was spinning with images of hundreds of librarians scurrying around like mice in a maze of bookshelves storeys tall.

My curiosity got the better of me and I asked my dad if we could try going in anyway. We went up to the front door. It was unlocked. We walked in apprehensively and an unassuming librarian approached us almost as soon as we walked in the door. Before my dad could ask if we were even allowed inside, the man smiled and said “Are you here for the 11 o’clock tour?”

TOUR? We can take a tour? I was so excited.

“Uh. . .sure,” my dad said.

We took the tour, which wasn’t a tour of the collections but of some specific selections that were out on display for the public. Not exactly what I had in mind, but I was happy anyway.

While I don’t remember all the details from it (only historical Canadian comic books come to mind) I do remember telling myself that I would one day come back and look through old documents and images from Canadian history.

So, back to cookies.

Oat Cakes c1898

In a recent bout of boredom I went to the National Library and Archives website. Okay, there are a tonne of sweet-ass things on that website, by the way— Censuses from Confederation, maps from every part of Canadian history, some open stock illustrations that I want to print and display in my house, and probably the best discovery was Cookbooks.

The online exhibit Bon Appetit, A Celebration of Canadian Cookbooks discusses the history of cooking in Canada from aboriginal times, includes images from cookbooks throughout history, and has archived 2 cookbooks in entirety.

The English cookbook, The New Galt Cookbook, comes from 1898. It’s a collection of recipes provided by women from, primarily, Southwestern Ontario. It has all kinds of recipes from oysters, to catsups, to pickles, to doughnuts. Most recipes have multiple versions from several different women.

After browsing through countless recipes, I settled on making “oat cakes” because I had all the ingredients on hand, I went with this recipe by Miss Maud Terry because they’re (Good).

Oat Cakes c1898

All the recipes are written out really vaguely. Ingredients are often measured by the “teacupful” or  “spoonful”, things like oven temperature and baking time are excluded, and the method described is very unhelpful, especially when you don’t exactly know what the result is supposed to look like. I guess the recipes are written on the assumption that the women reading them have a good grasp on how to make them in the first place.

Once I had the ingredients assembled, I wasn’t exactly sure how to “roll out” the dough. It was a little too moist to roll it flat with a rolling pin, so I decided to just form it into a square log and cut it into 1/2” cakes.

I baked them at 350F until they just started to brown and then let them cool on a cooling rack.

Oat Cakes c1898

End result: delicious.

These things are heavenly! Do you like shortbread? (I know, you’re thinking What the hell kind of question is that? Everyone likes shortbread!) Well this is basically a shortbread made with oatmeal. Sweet, buttery, and delicious but with the added texture from the oats, these are a great cookie to accompany a hot cup of Earl Grey tea.

I can’t wait to try more recipes from the New Galt Cookbook!

What should I make next? Scotch Haggis? Plum Pudding? Fried Fish? Scalloped Eggs? Crullers?

30 May

The Epic Mealtime Lasagna

Saturday night, Matt and I hosted one of our seasonal parties at our place. We regularly host parties that are centred around some sort of theme… a wine tasting, a beer and sausage fest, a costume party, etc. The party this weekend was a potluck. It had no particular theme—we just asked everyone to bring a dish.

Coincidentally, 2 of my friends brought an obscure (to me, anyway) Polish dish called Bigos which is essentially a sauerkraut and kielbasa stew. It was phenomenal. I have to get the recipe from my friend’s mom, I loved it so much.

Some other dishes made were: a pasta salad, Asian noodle salad, an Indian stew with rice, cheesy party potatoes, my spinach fatayer, rice pudding, peach crumble, and cookies. It was a really good spread.

But the star of the meal was this (Vegetarians and healthy people alike, avert your eyes!)

Epic Meal Time Fast Food Lasagna

If you’re familiar with the YouTube channel Epic Meal Time then you might recognize this as the

Epic Fast Food Lasagna.

It’s exactly what you think it is. Lasagna made out of fast food. This dish was impressive in the worst possible way. Imagine bacon, ground beef, and bourbon-flavoured pasta sauce sandwiched between the two layers greasiest burgers you can think of, all topped with onion rings, and shredded cheese.

This meal can be defined in 3 words: congestive heart failure.

This meal comes courtesy of Heather and Kyle and, thanks to them, potlucks will never be the same.

Let’s break it down, shall we? Here’s what was in the dish:

Epic Mealtime Lasagna

(Photo Credit to K.P.)

a 26er of Jack1657cals, 0g fat
1L of Big Mac Special Sauce 2250cals, 225g fat
2L pasta sauce740cals, 24g fat
3lbs ground beef 2915cals, 203g fat
3lbs bacon7336cals, 567g fat
8 McDonald’s Big Macs 4320cals, 232g fat
8 Wendy’s Baconators6640cals, 408g fat
2 medium Onion Rings 558cals, 28g fat
4 cups mozzarella cheese640cals, 48g fat

For a grand total of:

27,056 cals / 1735g fat  (564g sat. fat) / 63,528mg sodium

15 people ate about 1/2 of the lasagna, so assuming this recipe makes 30 portions that’s:

902 cals / 58g fat / 2,118mg sodium per serving

Holy Disgusting!

So if you were at my house on Friday and were brave enough to sample this dish, now you know that you’re one step giant leap closer to that Lipitor prescription. Congratulations.

…oh, and if you’ve never seen Epic Mealtime, here’s the very funny video this recipe is based on. It’s worth a watch (on an empty stomach).

27 May

food blog friday: White Beans and Cabbage

It’s Food Blog Friday!

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This week’s recipe comes from Steamy Kitchen, which always has delicious and simple recipes that I ogle but have never actually made. The recipe in question: White Beans and Cabbage. This recipe is actually from the new cookbook Super Natural Every Day.

I made this dish several weeks back when I had a quarter of a cabbage head left in my fridge and couldn’t think of anything to do with it.

The only substitutions I made were to double the onion and to use Romano beans instead of white beans. I would recommend sticking with white beans because they hold their shape a little better.

Beans and Cabbage

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From Steamy Kitchen

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large russet potato, scrubbed and cut into tiny cubes
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 onion, minced (recipe called for half)
One 15-ounce can romano beans (use white beans, it’s probably better), rinsed and drained
1/4 head of green cabbage, finely shredded
salt generously & pepper to taste

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Directions:

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high. When hot, add the potatoes and spread them evenly in the pan. Cook the potatoes for 8 minutes, tossing often, until each side is browned and the potatoes are cooked through.

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Add the onion and the beans. Let cook, undisturbed for 5 minutes to brown just a bit, then scrape and toss. Cook until the beans are nicely browned on both sides.

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Stir in the cabbage and thyme and cook for another minute. Sprinkle sea salt and pepper. Stir and toss again. Once the cabbage has wilted down, the dish is ready.

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Once I saw this recipe I figured the idea was a winner… it basically turns cabbage from a side dish into a meal. If your dicing skills are sharp and your knife is sharper then it takes no time at all to pull together this meal.

The flavour were fantastic. I love anything with thyme. Plus the combination of the onion and potato made the dish taste like home fries (and I was heavy-handed with the salt to emphasize this taste even further).

This is healthy comfort food. Make this dish.

Because I think the recipe benefits from extra salt and extra onions I give it:

2 Spoons!

Food Blog Fridayrecipes are ranked on the scale of 0-3 spoons

0 spoons – That was fucking horrendous
1 spoon  –  I doubt I’ll be making that again
2 spoons – I’ll probably make that again with some tweaks
3 spoons – That was perfect.

26 May

food journal 26/05/11

Breakfast

-leftover vegan oil down from dinner last night

Vegan Oil Down

Lunch

-leftover vegan corn and black bean chili from dinner on Tuesday night ( love my leftovers)
-2 spinach fatayer (recipe)

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Snack

– Gala apple with a tsp of regular peanut butter (not the natural stuff, unfortunately)
– a bit of Granola, unpictured

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Dinner

Two weeks ago I went to a local burger place and had a terrible terrible veggie burger and I was really disappointed. Tonight`s dinner more than made up for it (and this is why I prefer to eat at home)

Tofu Slider

Tofu Slider with Peppers and Onions on a Homemade Spelt Bun with a side of roasted broccoli.

In the sandwich was:
– a spelt bun that I baked
– tofu marinated in Saw`s Sauce from my Alabama care package and then pan fried
– sauteed red and yellow pepper and red onion.
– Dijon mustard
– Spinach

I had two of these though the first was so messy to eat that I just at a deconstructed version the second time around.

Tofu Slider

 

Dessert

– 2 snickerdoodles (plus some cookie dough) that I made for Matt to bring to his Track Meet in London tomorrow.

Snickerdoodles

 

All in all: 2254 Cals; 40% fat/ 50% carbs /10% protein

Workout

Leg Day 😛 I hate leg days. I skipped the abs because my abs are still sore from yesterday’s Jackie Warner workout.

image

25 May

On a Week of Food Journalling

It`s been 7 days of taking pictures of all my food as a Food Journal. Are you bored yet?
I only forgot to photograph one day. Frankly, I can’t remember what I ate all week… I’ll have to look back on the posts:

18.05.11
19.05.11
20.05.11
21.05.11
22.05.11
23.05.11
24.05.11
25.05.11

By the Numbers:

# Of Times I ate Homemade Meser Wat leftovers: 3
# Fruit: 7
# Salads: 2
# Bean Salads: 4
# Cookies: 6
# Instances of Bread: 7
# Eggs: 2
# Servings of Brown Cheese: 2
# Missed Dinners: 2 (One consisted of a Moon Pie the other was booze)
# Instances of Meat: 0 (unless you count the part of the boxty I ate before I found a bug in it)

What I learned:

I eat a LOT of bread. And fruit. And cookies. I guess it’s not a huge surprise. I like the sweetness of fruit and I bake a lot of bread and cookies so they’re always around.

My meals don’t have enough green vegetables. I try to incorporate them as much as possible but I think I fall short. I should aim to include a salad as a meal (or with a meal) at least once a day.

I seriously had 2 beers for dinner? Who AM I?

Taking pictures of everything I eat isn’t as annoying as I thought it would be but I still find it kinda embarrassing.

Favourite Meals:

Fresh pita with a mix of tahini and date molasses. Fat and sugar on carbs? What’s not to love here?

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Matt’s vegan corn and black bean chili. (And I love Matt for always making our chili vegan without putting up a stink about it)

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This modified Grenadian Oil Down that I made for dinner tonight. Delicious.

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And now…

I don’t know if I’m going to keep up the food journalling or not. I like it better than calorie counting because it’s visual but I don’t see how much I’ve eaten until the end of the day when I load all my pictures. So unlike calories counting I don’t really know how many calories I’m eating throughout the day.

I think I’ll keep it up for a little while longer. Thoughts?

25 May

food journal–25/05/11

Breakfast

– 2 little spelt buns that I proofed on Monday and baked last night; I wasn’t happy with the flavour of these guys. 1 bun was eaten with with jam (unphotographed) and the other with Norwegian brown cheese

– banana—nice and brown, just like it’s meant to be

Homemade Spelt Bun

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Lunch

-leftover vegan corn and black bean chili
-2 spinach fatayer (it was supposed to be 3 but one accidentally got stuck in the toaster at the office and burned to a char)

Vegan Corn and Black Bean ChiliSpinach Fatayer

Snack

-stress at work drove me to the candy dispenser for Skittles. 20 minutes later I sugar-crashed and fell asleep at my desk. (I only got 1 red skittle?! Damn you, candy dispenser)

– once I got home I ate another one of those little spelt buns, plain. They’re really small I swear.

Skittles

Dinner

Doesn’t this look amazing?

Vegan Oil Down

It’s supposed to be a Grenadian Oil Down but I took liberties with the recipe. In the end it came out phenomenal—a very tasty, stick to your ribs, West Indian flavoured stew.

I took the recipe from Sasha at Global Table Adventures one of my favourite blogs. She’s cooking dishes from every country in the world in alphabetical order (she’s at the G’s). How awesome is that?

I had already started the prep work for the recipe when I cut into the yucca that I just happened to have lying around (what can I say, I’m impulsive in the produce section!) and found that it had gone bad. I subbed parsnips for the yucca (the only other root veggie I had lying around) and it turned out fabulous!

In the mix is carrots, parsnips, celery, onion, spinach, coconut milk, curry, and dumplings (aka spinners and sinkers).

Vegan Oil Down

Workout

Yesterday I went out for a 5 mile run which felt super quick compared to the distances that I’ve been doing lately but it also felt really tough on my legs. My legs felt like lead and then I started to develop pain in my right knee and my left heel/ankle.

Considering the discomfort of the run I was pretty surprised to see that I ran it in 50 minutes which about a minute/mile faster than I have been running lately.

Today I came home and did an Eoin Finn yoga podcast and followed that up with Jackie Warner’s 20 minute core workout. I still suck terribly at that core workout—I’m always doing the easy modifications! I’d like to make it my goal to have Jackie’s 6 pack but I think that would be highly unattainable.

 

Pigeon Pose

24 May

Spinach Fatayer

Spinach Fatayer

Last night I decided it would be a good idea to make spinach fatayer. Fatayer is a Lebanese turnover that is usually stuffed with meat or spinach and sometimes cheese. The spinach are by far my favourite.

I don’t make these very often because:

1) They take a hell of a lot of time. – I started at 8:00 and the fatayer were done and the kitchen was clean at 10:30. The last batch was extremely sloppy and I was practically falling asleep while I worked on it.

2) My aunt’s fatayer are always better. – Always.

Spinach Fatayer

 

But, I had a craving and my cravings hardly go unacknowledged so it was well worth the time and effort. And, this time around they turned out pretty damn good, I must say. Matt and I are chomping through half the batch (the ugly half) and the rest I tossed in the freezer to be defrosted for a potluck party we’re hosting this weekend. They make kickass appetizers or snacks.

Spinach Fatayer

I used a recipe from Joumana at Taste of Beirut and took her advice to roll out the dough very thin. I’m used to eating fatayer that are doughy but I really liked how thin the dough in this version; it really made the tart spinach filling stand out (although, with my long nails, it was a bitch to work with).

I don’t think I got my dough quite as thin as Joumana’s, but I still liked the result.

Spinach Fatayer

Spinach Fatayer

From Taste of Beirut; Makes ~50

Ingredients: 

Dough:

5 cups All Purpose Flour
1 T dry yeast
1 T sugar
1 T salt
3/4 cup oil (canola, or olive oil)
1 1/2 cups water

Spinach:

2 lb of frozen chopped spinach
1 large white onion
1/4 cup sumac
1 t paprika
pinch of cayenne
1 T salt
1/2 t black pepper

1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 T pomegranate molasses

Directions:

Combine the yeast with 3/4 cup of the warm water and the 1 T sugar to proof. Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix the oil and remaining water with the flour.  When the yeast has bubbled, add it to the flour mixture. Knead the dough on a floured surface until it is as smooth and soft (about 5-6 minutes by hand). Let it proof until it has doubled in size, while you mix the stuffing.

  1. Defrost and thaw out the spinach. Place them in a colander and squeeze them out very thoroughly. You want the spinach very dry.
  2. Finely chop the onions and place them in a bowl with the spinach. Add the spices.
  3. In a separate small bowl combine the olive oil, lemon juices and pomegranate molasses. Pour this dressing onto the spinach mixture a little at a time until the spinach is just moistened (too much and the turnovers will open when baking).
  4. Now back to the dough. Working with half of the dough at a time, roll the dough very thin on a greased counter 1/16” thick (no more than 1/8” thick). Using a 4” cookie cutter, cut the rolled out dough into rounds. Place about one tablespoon of stuffing on each fatayer.
  5. Lift the fatayer and pinch 2 ends first and then the third to form a pyramid.
  6. Place them on cookie sheets and bake them for 18 minutes in a preheated oven at 350F until the top and bottoms are golden.
  7. Cool and eat at room temperature or slightly warm. (I like to put them in the toaster oven if I eat them the next day) These freeze really well.

Spinach Fatayer

24 May

food journal 24/05/11

Breakfast

-mountain bread with equal parts tahini and date molasses topped with banana slices
-some granola (unpictured)

Banana with Tahini and Date Molasses

Lunch

-spinach salad with cucumber, avocado, and savoury. I forgot to put any sort of protein in the salad so it wasn’t very filling
-celery sticks

Spinach Salad

Dinner

– Matt was on dinner duty tonight. He made a chunky vegan corn and black bean chili with fresh cilantro. It was, as all Matt’s chilis are, spicy.
– one and a half spinach fatayer that I made last night.
– glass of Alabama sweet tea, this stuff is gooood.

Vegan Black Bean and Corn ChiliVegan Black Bean and Corn Chili

Spinach Fatayer

23 May

food journal 23/05/11

Happy Victoria Day to all.

Yesterday I found out the most amazing news! I won a KitchenAid stand mixer from the Pioneer Woman! And it’s in yellow! I can’t wait to get it in the mail. I was ecstatic when I found out (but now Matt won’t know what to buy me for my birthday.)

How pretty…

Breakfast

– 1 egg, sunny-side up with a toasted bun topped with mashed avocado, salt, pepper, and wasabi
– mango slices

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Lunch

-More leftover Meser Wat (yes, I’m still eating leftovers of this stuff. Luckily, it’s delicious.)
-carrot sticks
-sweet tea from Summer’s recipe with peach slices (It was phenomenal, thanks summer!)

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Dinner

Dinner was at my Nonna’s house tonight. In my dish was:

– lemony Greek style potatoes from a recipe that she found in the Windsor Star
– 4 pierogy
– a piece of Furlan cheese
– bean salad

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Dessert

– we finally dug into the Colomba from Easter (needless to say it was a bit stale)
– iced coffee

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Workout

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I meant to do a 20 mile run yesterday for my marathon training but I got completely bored out of my mind so I quit at 12 miles… how terrible is that? I don’t know if I should go for the 20 miler next weekend or if I should just start tapering. Anyone have input?

21 May

food journal 21/05/11

Today was a weird day when it comes to eating. Even more than a normal Saturday’s unstructured eats.

– I had to skip breakfast because I had to fast for a blood test
– I didn’t have a proper lunch because I spent the day shopping in the States
– My dinner had a bug in it. True story.

So my meals today were mainly liquid or miscellany from the Lebanese grocery stores that I hit up after my bloodwork.

Breakfast:

I went to a couple of Lebanese grocery stores on Wyandotte and every time I go I have to pick up some nougat candies. I didn’t wait until I got home to dig into these babies:

Lebanese NougatLebanese NougatLebanese Nougat

Once I got home I had half of a giant mountain bread smothered with a mix of equal parts tahini and date molasses. It’s delicious, trust me.

Tahini & Date MolassesMountain BreadDate Molasses

– Right before I left to go shopping I had a cucumber with sea salt.

Persian cucumber

Lunch

I went shopping with my friend Tina who, thankfully, brought snacks with her. Lunch was a granola bar and an iced coffee from Starbucks (which was unphotographed but looked something like this)

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(source)

Dinner

– It started off with a delicious boxty stuffed with corned beef and cabbage from an Irish pub in Novi. I’ve never had a boxty before and I really really liked it (It’s like a potato crepe!). About 1/3 of the way through it I found a little fly in my veggies and sent the dish back.

Cabbage and Corned Beef Boxty

So dinner ended up being a Magner’s Cider at the pub and a Mill Street Brewery Wit at home.

Magner's Bottle

Mill Street Wit

Workout

Shopping! It’s cardio, I promise.

I got a cardigan (I subscribe to the philosophy that you can never have too many cardigans), an owl necklace, and a pair of earrings from Forever 21. I wore my purchases home because that’s what you do when you live in Canada, shop in the States, and don’t want to pay taxes on what you bought.

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(I wear sunglasses indoors. What?)

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Another method to avoid paying duty is make the customs officer uncomfortable by telling him you bought hundreds of dollars worth of lingerie. Try it.

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The contents of the bag are between me and Victoria.

I’m off to polish off my liquid dinner. Cheers!