April 21, 2013

We went to our favourite loose leaf tea shop the other weekend to stock up on teas. We usually go every few months and hand over our tins for them to fill with our favourite flavours. I love Earl Grey and black teas, as they remind me of home. Although I don't religiously participate in British "tea time," I do find myself reaching for the kettle around 4 or 5 pm in the afternoon for a good, strong cuppa' tea.


This is our tea and coffee drawer at the moment. The tins from David's Tea and are the perfect size for stacking and sorting teas in a drawer or shelf. On occasion I drink green teas, such as right now while I am sick. I have had this nagging cold/flu/virus/plague/overall yuckiness this week that I can't seem to shake.


I haven't really had much of an appetite for the past few days. I've been subsisting on jello, popsicles, cereal and crackers. I especially haven't felt like cooking or baking anything. When in doubt, and in need of vitamins, make a smoothie. Can someone please tell me how to take a nice picture of a smoothie? Is that possible? This doesn't look appealing, but I can assure you, it's refreshing and soothing for those in the midst of sickness. Kiwi or mango would also go nicely with these ingredients.


Antioxidant Green Tea Smoothie (adapted from this recipe)
Ingredients:

1 banana
1/2 large orange, peeled
1 tbsp honey
1-2 cups brewed, chilled green tea
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

The original recipe used frozen berries and greek yoghurt. I thought the yoghurt might curdle with the orange juice, so I opted to make it creamier with the banana and chia seeds. I feel like smoothies are a free-for-all when it comes to ingredients, measurements and recipes. I also don't think it's necessary to completely detoxify yourself with juices and smoothies, but if you're not in the mood for solid food, it's a good way to get some vitamins in your system.

Green Tea and Orange Smoothie

I did get a nice surprise in the mail this week though. Thank you to Orzery Pita Break for letting me try their Morning Rounds Breakfast Pitas. Not that I need persuasion to eat more carbs as I already buy bread, wraps, pitas and sometimes bagels, but these things are the coolest.

Orzery Pita Break Morning Rounds

They are toastable fruit and grain breakfast pitas that come in four flavours: muesli, apple cinnamon, cranberry orange and multi-grain. Each pita bun contains approx. 200 calories, which is a good amount for a breakfast to keep you going. A pack contains six pitas you can grab and eat with jam, butter, cream cheese or by themselves.


My favourite was probably the Apple Cinnamon. As you can see, the bag got eaten into before I could even take a picture. I am always on-the-go and Mike works nights sometimes at the hospital, so he usually has a snack when he comes home. He also appreciated the name of the pitas ("morning rounds," get it?). These are the in-between a sandwich and bagel amount of carbs, so they could be a snack or breakfast. And you don't even need a plate...


They are also vegan, low fat, low in sodium and a source of fibre. Check out more information on Ozery Pita products and where to buy them in Canada.

Disclosure: I received samples from Orzery Pita for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.
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April 08, 2013

Since moving closer to my work, I sometimes go home for lunch. It's nice some days to get away for a short break. Usually, Jamie Oliver's 30 Minute Meals is on during lunch time. There are some TV chefs who make cooking look fun, but use too many ingredients or make it seem more complex than necessary. I love Jamie Oliver because he uses simple recipes, ingredients and helps you to understand that cooking isn't that complicated.


For example, his recipe for one-minute ice cream is so simple I wonder why I never made it before. Then when you realize how easy something is and the satisfaction of making it yourself, you wonder why you ever buy store bought food items. Although I still love frozen yoghurt places with all-you-can-eat toppings and flavours. Nothing can really beat that, but for a quick makeshift alternative, this is amazing.

First though, a recap of Easter weekend. Is it too late to talk about Peeps? I went on a hunt for Peeps and stocked up on a few boxes of the colourful, sweet and cute marshmallow treats. I was looking for something to make with them for Easter and found a few cake recipes, but loved this idea for Peeps fruit kebabs. All you do is arrange Peeps and fruit on skewers.

 

Thank you Pinterest. I also made some Peeps Pavlovas, also inspired by a Jamie Oliver recipe. In one of his shows, he made a berry meringue dessert inspired by pavlova. He put some raspberries in a bowl, then mashed in some honey until it turned jelly-like and then swirled in some yoghurt. Then he topped meringues with lemon curd and the yoghurt mixture. I couldn't find ready-made meringues at the grocery store, so I went with ready-made Angel food cake dessert cups. One day I will make my own meringues from scratch. And maybe even my own marshmallows (or even Peeps).


Last Saturday I found some pork shoulder on sale and made pulled pork sandwiches with homemade BBQ sauce. The pork wouldn't fit in my slow cooker, so I slow cooked it in a Dutch Oven pot for a few hours, then shredded the meat and added the sauce: a mixture of vinegar, tomato paste, brown sugar, Worchestershire sauce and some spices. Full recipe here.  


Then on Sunday we had a family dinner and my Mother-in-law to-be made this amazing "Creme Egg" ice cream bomb except it was actually mango, vanilla and chocolate low-fat frozen yoghurt. Such a neat idea and similar to the idea of the Christmas cake bomb I made during the holidays, which was also a Jamie Oliver recipe. 


What can I say? I love a man who cooks. Literally, all you do for this recipe (watch his show and count how many times he says "literally") is add frozen fruit, yoghurt and honey to a food processor. The whole point is to blend everything while the fruit is still frozen, so it will make everything else into a semi-frozen, creamy mixture. 

One-minute Ice Cream

1 cup frozen fruit
1 cup yoghurt
2-3 tbsp honey

You can use whatever type of fruit you like and mix up the combinations. He suggested mango with a bit of lime juice or berries with a sprig of fresh mint. This would be a great way for kids to get their fruit and good-for-digestion yoghurt fix of the day. 


Eat it straight away or transfer it to a container and leave it in the freezer for a bit. Be careful or it will freeze solid. I prefer it a little on the softer side and with a few fruit chunks still left in there. I can't believe how easy this is. I will be saving so much money on frozen yoghurt and ice cream this summer by making my own. 


Then relax. That's it. Literally, that's all you do. And go out and enjoy the short bursts of sunshine. Before you know it, it will be a busy, jam packed summer full of activities, events and vacations. My only wish? That they made Peeps year round...

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