Weekend roundup

5 Jul

Wow, it’s hot out there! Thank goodness I have planned a hot weather-friendly meal plan for this week.

 Here are the highlights from the weekend.

 Friday night, as planned, I made Flank steak with my famous and long awaited Corn-Avocado Salsa! It was delicious and my husband said “I really nailed it”. The flavors, that is. I just love the color!

 Saturday morning, I enjoyed a bowl of Vanilla Sunrise with a sliced banana, one of the new favors from Nature’s Path. Here’s how they describe it:

“A delicious warm real vanilla breakfast cereal taste with a variety of crunchy textures from flakes, puffs and crispies make this a genuinely tasty gluten free breakfast.”

 I have to say that I agree! A nice light vanilla taste…and makes a wonderful combination with the banana.

 Saturday, my husband and I got to make our Smoked Paprika Roasted Chicken. We swapped out the fish because we were invited to parent’s house for dinner on Sunday, and salmon is on the menu.  Now, for those who don’t know how to make beer-can chicken, it is quite easy.

 Step 1

First, get you supplies. You need a BBQ, a can of beer, a pie plate and a chicken.

 Step 2

Open the can of beer and drink ½. Because I am eating gluten-free, we replaced the beer in the can with white wine. Normally, you drink only half the can of beer, and keep the other half in the can to infuse into the chicken. You don’t get a beer taste, but instead a tender, moist chicken.

 Step 3

Fill your pie plate with water, and place under the grill of your BBQ, pushing it to one side. This will be the side you place your chicken on.

 Step 4

Wash, dry and season your chicken as you wish. We followed this recipe.

 Step 5

Place your can of beer on the grill of your BBQ (over the pie plate) and place your chicken over the can. Stuffing the can up into the chicken. Make a tri-pod with the legs of the chicken to ensure the chicken is stable and doesn’t fall over.

Step 6

Turn the burner on the opposite side of the BBQ to medium-high. You want the BBQ to reach a temperature of about 400 degrees. Close the lid and wait.

 Periodically check the temperature of the BBQ. Depending on the size of the chicken, it usually takes about 1 ½ hrs. Be careful when you remove the chicken because the can is hot! We use tongs.


The chicken was delicious! We paired it with baby potatoes and grilled zucchini. The paprika was really nice and smoky; it added a really nice flavor to the chicken. By the way, I shared that entire breast with my son, it wasn’t all for me!


 Sunday morning we treated ourselves to bacon and eggs. I even scrambled the eggs in the little bacon bits that were left in the pan. Delicious! My only complaint was that the bacon was way too salty! Paired with gluten-free toast and sliced tomato.


For dinner, I headed to my parent’s house where my mother made Salmon baked in the oven with ginger, garlic, soy sauce and maple syrup. Paired with broccoli and rice, very tasty! Sorry, no pics!

 I have another modification to our menu. Tonight, we’ve been invited to a friend’s house for dinner. We just found out that some friends of ours are moving to Belgium for 2 years. We are having a goodbye dinner in their honor. It should be a challenging meal because they aren’t aware that I am eating gluten-free. Hopefully there will be something for me to eat.

That’s all for me right now! Enjoy the heat! And I’ll be back soon for some random thoughts 🙂


Feeling a little Spanish….

2 Jul


Yesterday was Canada Day so no meal planning was done. Instead, I participated in the annual tradition of helping people move.  I am proud to say I unpacked several boxes. That means today, I have a lot to catch up on! Better get started!

 First thing first, breakfast!

 Today I enjoyed 2 Mesa Sunrise waffles smothered in Greek yogurt, sliced banana and a drizzle of maple syrup. Yummy! And, I didn’t have to share it because my son slept in! Lucky me!

Today for lunch, I had a delicious salad. Check out all that color!

 After that, I was pretty stuffed! For dinner, I have planned Flank steak with corn-avocado salsa. Pictures to come!

Next up, meal planning.

So next week is my last week gluten-free. Due to the heat, I am feeling a little….Spanish.  I hope to pair these meals with LOTS of sangria! Here is the menu I came up with:


Grilled Spanish-Style Snapper with Tomato and Green Olive Salsa with rice



Smoked Paprika Roasted Chicken (Cooked on the BBQ, beer can chicken style!)




Smoky Red Rice and Chorizo with Black Beans


Spicy Spanish Mini Meat Loaves and Piquillo Pepper Rice


Pulled pork w/corn tortillas  or Yucatan-Style Panuchos



Tortilla Española with a salad

I have a confession to make.

Over the past month or so I am been gaining weight little by little….and I don’t like it one bit! The problem is,  I have a little too much on my plate (pun intended) to do anything about it. I have overwhelmed myself in the past by setting big and unattainable goals and I have promised myself that from now on, I will take baby steps. That is the only way to make new and lasting habits. Whenever I have tried to make many changes at once, it never works. I think it’s best when things are done slowly. But, I am not sure if now is a good time because, like I said, I have a lot on my plate. Perhaps I can start small? I can work a little harder at reducing my portion sizes and making healthy food choices. I think that is a great start!

Question: What other small changes do you think I can make?


I love learning!

30 Jun

The past few days have just flown by! I have been really diligent with eating gluten-free. No slip ups and I feel really good. The real test will be when I re-introduce gluten into my diet. Only 1 and 1/2 weeks to go! I am a little nervous…I have decided my first meal containing gluten will be a toasted bagel with cheese. Yummy! And then a bowl of pasta! Or maybe pizza…?

Not much to report except for the fact that I have been focusing a lot of my time on studying. I have really gotten into it! Last week, I mailed off my first exam. Crossing my fingers that I pass! You need over 80%! Pretty high if you ask me, then again, it is important to know your stuff. The course I am working on now is Nutritional Symptomatology. I have changed the way I cover the material and it seems to work much better. This course is supposed to take around 4 weeks to complete. I have been working on it for about a week now and I would have to say I am almost half done! Yeah! I would really like to get through this in less than 4 weeks to make up for all the time that I spent doing nothing!

I am enjoying this course. It is interesting so that makes easy to go through the material. It basically covers nutrition and nutritional recommendations for the general life stages (ie. childhood, adulthood) and for common situations/conditions (pregnancy, menopause, heart health, immune support). I was happy to learn that sulfur containing cruciferous vegetables have anti-cancer properties! Broccoli is one of them and we had it on our menu twice this week! Theories that I read in The China Study were also reinforced, such as diets high in protein (mainly animal protein) are taxing on the kidneys and “contribute to toxic metabolic products in the colon and body” (Staying Healthy with Nutrition, 21st Century Edition, by Elson M. Haas, MD). This was one of the reasons I had decided to try out veganism. But, if you remember my experiment, I had no energy, my mind was cloudy and I became, well, um, constipated. It wasn’t for me. Once I introduced more protein, beginning with dairy and eggs, following with meat, poultry and fish, I began to feel much better! But this is where I get confused. How do you find a balance between enough protein to give you energy and stabilize your blood sugar levels and too much protein? Perhaps the answer is in consuming a variety of proteins, including vegetable protein. I am sure as I continue to study, I will find my answer.

I have also recently discovered a blog I really like, Carrots ‘n’ Cake.  She has a lot of great things to say, plus, her blog is “dedicated to healthy balance”. I could definitely use some advice on that subject!

On another note, here are a few pics showing what else I have been up to!

The turkey and the eagle

28 Jun

So I thought long and hard about this. Do I want to include posts that contain my thoughts regarding my life challenges, my feelings of battling depression or other “not so happy” thoughts? Perhaps some readers only want to read about happy things? What I have decided to do is both. I can’t fight who I am. I have been doing it for too long. I just want to be “me” and this is who “me” is.

First, let’s talk about the weekend!

Saturday night I made a delicious dinner that I just absolutely have to share with you! I swayed a little from my original plan of making salmon with dill, potato patties and roasted Brussels sprouts and gave in to my craving for Asian food! I adapted a recipe that I got from a Rachael Ray cookbook for MYOTO. Grilled salmon with homemade teriyaki sauce for basting paired with Asian style noodles with carrots, ginger and garlic. Wow! Tasty! Even my son loved it! I will post the recipe later. Until then, here’s a picture to get your mouth watering. Paired with some white wine….a perfect meal! Oh, the noodles were brown rice noodles. GF of course! Really good and had an amazing texture.

Sunday morning I was feeling a little creative. While doing my groceries on Saturday I bought this. Maseca corn flour! So the husband and I decided to whip up homemade corn tortillas, without a tortilla press. Not as easy as we thought! With some strong muscles and problem solving skills, Frank managed to “press” the tortillas using a cutting board and a serving dish. I should have taken pictures but I was too busy cooking them up in a frying pan. The result? Authentic tasting corn tortillas! We decided to fill them with ham and cheese. I think I have a new love, Maseca! There are so many delicious sounding and gluten free recipes! Like Panameño Susupiros, Almojábanas and Andaluz Tamale Pie. I can’t wait to try some of them out!

The rest of the week should go according to “schedule” except that tonight I am swapping the Mustard Maple Chicken for tomorrow’s baked beans.

So now, I am sure you are asking yourselves, what about the turkey and the eagle? Well, here is the story.

Today is a little like yesterday. As I took a walk during my lunch hour today, one thought kept circling my mind. Why can’t I live a different life? “Because I have my own”, seems like a logical response. But that response doesn’t change the way I feel. I still feel inadequate compared to others. There is this really great expression my husband told me (it’s kind of funny actually!), “It’s hard to soar like an eagle when you are surrounded by turkeys”. That is almost how I view my life. I am trying so hard to soar; to improve myself, make changes, create new habits….but something keeps preventing me. These “turkeys” aren’t actual turkeys (obviously!), nor are they people around me (well, at least I don’t think they are)…..I think the turkey is me; the other side of me, my depressive side. Just as I am beginning to gain speed, see some confidence or improvements, the turkey pulls me back to the ground. And, I have to start all over again. I feel that I am never “feeling good” long enough to be able to make those changes I need to gain confidence, more self-esteem or resilience to battle life’s challenges. Before too long, I get into another funk and loose all the momentum I have gained. I have to figure out how to avoid the turkey and soar like the eagle I know I am.

feeling gloomy

28 Jun

Yesterday was one of those days. You know, those days when everything goes wrong and nothing feels right? I noticed quickly and tried to nip it fast before it ruined my day completely. Although it didn’t, I was left depressed and discouraged. I hate those days! One day, I am thankful for everything that I have and am happy with myself. Then, bam, the next day I am envious of others, critical of others and myself and just plain miserable. I hope it was just one day. I hope today is better.

Back later with the weekend recap….from the positive side of things J

cooking co-op

25 Jun

So my best-friend emailed me this morning and asked if I wanted to participate in a cooking co-op.  I’ve never heard of this, so she sent me this link.  After reading about it, I said sure! Who wouldn’t!? If you don’t have time to read the article, the basic concept is that you make a large batch of food once a week (or once every 2 weeks, or once a month…) and you get together with others and swap. The more people in the group, the bigger your batch has to be  and the more meals you get in return. After making your large batch of whatever meal you choose, you package it up in reusable containers and swap. For now, our group consists of just the 2 of us. But, check out her blog! She cooks delicious, wholesome and healthy meals.  She also bakes some stellar desserts.

Sometimes I feel as though I have gotten into a food rut. Making the same recipes over and over again, using the same spices and the same ingredients. I am looking forward to a little variety in my life! Oh, and the best part? She is going to accommodate my gluten-free style of eating!

This morning for breakfast I enjoyed shared a bowl of oatmeal with my son with a side of scramble eggs.  Breakfast of champions! I couldn’t resist the calling to eat eggs for breakfast so I guess I won’t be eating an omelette for dinner?

This morning at work, I enjoyed a little healthy snack. Naturally gluten-free!

I wonder what I will make for dinner? And the search begins!


24 Jun

Do you like the new look? I felt I needed a little facelift!

 My GF free style of eating has been going well. I’ve been able to keep the slip-ups to a minimum! I’ve also managed to replace my daily bowl of ice cream with a fudgicle, less calories and fat but just as satisfying!

 The other day I put together a batch of chili in my slow cooker. I didn’t feel like browning the meat in a pot prior to putting in the slow cooker…what a big mistake! The texture was way off! It was all grainy. But, it still tasted good! Next time, I think I will opt to make it in a traditional pot on the stove. I paired it will a gluten-free corn muffin made from Bob’s Red Mill mix and a dollop of Greek yogurt on top. I was really impressed with how the muffins turned out. Really light and fluffy. Both my husband and son loved them! All in all, a delicious and healthy meal!


This morning I made a beautiful bowl of cereal. Fast, easy and tasty!  Mesa Sunrise topped with fresh blueberries and sliced banana. Mesa Sunrise has become my son’s favorite cereal!

Well, it’s Thursday again and you know what that means? Meal planning day! Wow, another GF meal plan. Here is goes:


Omelette with zucchini and cheese

GF bread


Salmon with dill

Potato patties

Roasted brussels sprouts


Hamburgers at mom’s house (GF bun or no bun at all!)



Mustard Maple chicken (thanks Kelly!)

Steamed Broccoli


Baked beans (home-made,  frozen)

Potato wedges

Side salad


Flank steak

Corn Avocado salsa (my recipe- see my new recipe page!)



Whatever is left in the house!