Guess What?

Tags

, , , ,

Today I turn 67!

……

I mean… 29?

Yes, I think I’m 29 (but, I honestly could be wrong). That means I have had this blog for almost a year. Huh!

Really, this blog is just old enough to start taking its first wobbly steps, and has only started to master its fine motor skills. Thanks for sticking around through its infancy. One day (if I’m lucky) it will start dating a loser and grow to resent me and everything I tried to do to help it. I’m really looking forward to that ….  

As you may be aware, the theme of this blog revolves around my bucket list. While I have made some incredible strides in accomplishing my goals, I realize that I haven’t updated anyone on its overall status in quite some time.

So here it is. A birthday bucket list update!

1. Take a writing course I sure as heck did this! Was it worth it? Not so sure…..

3. Run in a 10 km race without stopping once  I slayed this goal a long time ago and I’m currently running 7.2 kms every morning without stopping. BEAST FACE!

4. Run a Half Marathon race once a year (2012) I don’t think this is going to happen for 2013 guys, shoot. Maybe? Just Maybe? I still have awhile yet! Ok, I think I can do it!

6. Visit my friends/family in each of their respective countries/provinces In 36 days I will be jet setting with Dan to London, Sale, and Paris. One of our best friends lives in Sale (Morocco) and she just recently had a baby with her husband. I am SOOOOOOOOOO excited to meet her family!

7. Hike Machu Picchu I have loose plans for this to happen at either the end of 2014 or in 2015.

9. Continue running/stretching/and being active – make this a serious part of my life I won’t cross this one off yet, even though I seriously have been kicking ass at it. In the last 4 months I have lost 17 pounds, gained muscle, and lost a total of 12.5 inches overall. I saw my biceps go down in size because I was losing fat, and then go up in size again because I was gaining muscle. I catch myself flexing in the mirror and, even more embarrassingly, I have been known to yell at my friends to touch my muscles when I have been drinking. My legs are rock hard. I’ve been running like a champ, and I have gone up in weight in every exercise I do. I have not missed a single workout in 4.5 months. In short, I am a sexy beast. 

10. Take a risk with my career and find something that I am passionate about doing (if this means going back to school, then DO IT) I have some attainable, exciting, and challenging goals set for myself on this one. I’m not ready to talk about them publicly yet, but they involve a one year plan, some passion, and some a LOT of sweat.

11. Have my student Loans paid off I am getting there. Progress on this one is slow, painful and steady. I bumped up my payments by an extra 200 dollars/month about 8 months ago now – so I should have them paid off by the time I am 90! Dan did the same – polé polé.

12. Have zero credit card debt (booya!)

13. Buy a house/condo that I love with Daniel-san (with an extra room for visitors) – We have a solid 3-4 years left on this plan (student loans must get paid off first). But we have a sizeable down payment gathered (mostly due to Mr. Responsible) and we have been looking around at the current market. This makes me proud, and also scared.

14. Learn to speak French (take a French course/do Rosetta Stone/do the workbooks I have purchased, and then PRACTISE this skill) I have yet to do this, even though I am going to Paris this summer! Must start studying NOW!

15. Strive to eat well (continue to be a vegetarian), but make sure I allow myself guilt free treats often enough – umm… I have been eating really well and really clean, but I have had some meat recently. Don’t tell anyone! Also, I really like ice cream, and it’s hot….. so…..

17. Live somewhere where I can have a beautiful garden, and then HAVE one See goal #13

18. Try Yoga, and continue doing it if I like it FINALLY mastered the chatarunga! It only took me about 8 months. Sheeeeeeeeeeit.

19. Go camping in a canoe only access point  Doing it again August long weekend! I am the portage MASTER.

24. Feel comfortable in a bathing suit – I am really getting there on this one, although I’m not sure I will ever be the type of person to wear a bathing suit. Too much skin! Too much shame! Too much ice cream!

25. FLOSS EVERY DAY – FAIL

26. Make a list of books that I want to read, and then read them all – oh, I’ve been reading so much. It’s been amazing. Right now I am reading ‘Above all Things’, and I’m really enjoying it. My favourite books so far this year? Geek Love; The Book Thief; The Island Walkers

27. Pay off our car (and own it, yus!) – We are well on our way. Only 2.5 more years left.

29. Be an amazing auntie (if my friends or brother (eeek!) have kids) – See #6. I already love Ilyas so much and I haven’t even met him.

So guys, that`s it for now. I know its not much, but I`m kinda busy…you know…aging and what not. Next week I am going to try to tackle a blog makeover. I`m long overdue!

A love story

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

At times, and like most people, I suffer from social anxiety. If you have ever met me, and then you saw me again a few weeks later in the street and I pretended I didn’t see you – it’s NOT because I don’t like you. It’s because I have wackadoo thoughts that run through my head. “What if they don’t like me? Are they going to pretend they don’t see me?” “It’s better for both of us if I avoid eye contact”

I don’t call people on the phone for the exact same anxiety-ridden reasons “What if I’m bugging them?” “What if I call and they see it’s me, and they don’t answer?”

If I’m in a store and I don’t buy anything I start to get panicked that the employees will think I have stolen something. I replay conversations in my head constantly, berating myself for sounding stupid. I have a hard time making eye contact.

The list goes on.

Most of the time I am good at pushing these thoughts away, and I think many people would be surprised to find out that I even have them in the first place.

However, I am lucky enough to have two people in my life who I feel I can be completely myself around, and where these worries disappear. Where the weight of any negativity I have about myself just dissolves into a silly puddle of irrelevance around my toes.

The first person to do this for me was, and is, and always will be, my brother.

And while I was growing up, with my blonde mullet-headed baby brother selflessly teaching me how to be a more generous, loving and humorous person – the other most important person in my life (Dan) was also growing up, learning difficult life lessons, and developing his own characteristics that would eventually, and unbeknownst to us at the time, perfectly complement and strengthen my own.

A little about me:

I am not romantic in the slightest. I didn’t grow up dreaming of my future wedding, or thinking about ‘prince charming’. Instead, I spent long hours dreaming about the things I would accomplish: the books I would write; the animals I would study; the goals I would score in soccer and basketball, and the strong woman I would become. The child Jessi idealized these as completely solo tasks – perfectly accomplishable on her own without the help of anyone, thank you very much.

At the time, I knew this made me different. When other heterosexual girls my age were talking about boys, or *gasp* about kissing boys, my reaction was to flee. Flee far away. Most times, this either resulted in me alone with my nose in a book worrying if I was a ‘prude’ (the ultimate put-down for girls around grade 6), or, in the field playing some sort of sport (where all worries disappeared completely).

This led up to the fact that by grade 12 I had still never had a boyfriend. This was partly due to my own diffidence and angst, and also partly due to the fact that not a single person had really piqued my interest yet. And (here comes the cliché part that you were waiting for) ….

then, I met Dan.

A little about Dan:

Dan is a quiet thunder; a natural, intelligent and impassioned leader. He is loud actions, and soft words.

When he comes home from work he lovingly lifts up our cat, whispers sweet nothings in her ear, and takes her to the window to show what her she’s missed. When he was a kid, he called strawberries ‘tarbellies’ and believed the inventor of chairs was named ‘chair’.

He tends to carry the weight of the world in his hair, dispersed in each strand. And he spends every morning carefully and methodically, adjusting and primping – wanting so badly to right all of the world’s wrongs. But, he’s getting better at letting me help him carry that weight, which – when I’m allowed – I perfectly coif into a Bob Ross afro; painting happy clouds wherever we go.

He respects me absolutely, and (even on our worst days) he never underestimates my deservedness. He has spent every day of the last 12 years that we have been together having complete and infallible belief in me, and my abilities.

And although I have a strong desire to correct my behaviour, I often forget that he is more in need of the kisses goodbye, the gentle words, and the long loving stares than I am. Yet, despite my brutishness, he finds a way to forgive me.

In short, Dan is my first everything: My first boyfriend, my first kiss, my first love, my first roommate and, truthfully, my first heartbreak.

Tomorrow, July 6, we celebrate our 7 year wedding anniversary (my heartbreak long mended). And although it’s been 12 years since our first kiss, I still see sparks when we touch. When I look at him, I see the old grey haired, doggedly habitual man he will become and I am grateful.

Grateful for the impact he has had on my life. Grateful for the way we have changed each other, and for the ways in which we will continue to shape each other. Grateful for the feeling of acceptance towards me that emulates from every inch of his being. Grateful that we decided to try, and try again, when things got tough. Grateful for the love that I know I deserve, and that I would want from no other.

So, thank you Dan, for being so many of my firsts. Cheers! Here’s to long lasting love, laughter and kittens (cuz, why not really?).

Workout related product reviews

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , ,

I have two fitness related products that I want to tell you about. These are items that I have discovered recently, and now that I have been using them for a while (about 2 months), I couldn’t do without them. They are, in fact, so good that I don’t understand how I lived without them before.

But first, a disclaimer: I am not a product pusher. In fact, my penny-saving-self isn’t really down with consumerism at all, man. I am that person who is always saying, “you can make that at home for so much cheaper,” and I’m always checking out dumpsters for deals.

Honestly, the worst part about getting into shape these last few months has been that none of my old clothes fit me, which means that I will have to replace them. It’s enough to send me into a money-spending induced, panic stricken, melt-down! 

I know, I know – First world problems.

The first fitness related product that makes me infinitely happy are my new headphones. If you are like me, you are incredibly picky about headphones and will pay the extra money if they check all the exercise-related boxes. The number one priority for me in earbuds is the fit, but no matter what headphones I have tried, and no matter how awesome they are in the beginning, they always end up slipping out of my sweaty ears on long runs (which, truthfully, are all of my runs). Also, because of the aforementioned sweat, I usually TEAR through headphones at an incredible rate.

 Image

Introducing the Monster, Livestrong Waterproof Headphones. I have had these for about 2 months now, and am happy to report that they are actually sweat proof! I have even washed them in my kitchen sink to get rid of all my sweat, and I have had zero problems. A few days ago I went for a run in the pouring rain, and they are still functioning just fine. I can’t even put into words how much this pleases me. 

The sound is awesome, the controls are awesome, and the fact that they don’t slip out of my ears (due to the ‘shark-fin’ technology) is … you guessed it … supremely awesome!

If you are looking for new headphones, I highly suggest these ones. Don’t let the Monster name-brand fool you – for once they have done something right, and they haven’t charged you an arm and a leg for it.   

The second product is what I affectionately call my ‘go-juice’. Vega’s ‘Preworkout Energizer’ will take you to new levels in your workout routine. It gives you a natural boost, without that chemical induced shaky crack-head feeling, and the ‘comedown’ is as smooth as silk. Plus it’s A-OK for vegan athletes. HOORAY.

Image

I wake up every morning at 4:30 am. I do this so that I have more time after work to dedicate to my more worldly of pursuits (such as knitting cat scarves, and yelling at the neighbour kids to get off my lawn).  Also, I find I am more motivated in the mornings and, admittedly, it does makes me feel better than everyone else.

According to the Vega website, the pre-workout energizer:

  • “Increases endurance, aerobic and anaerobic capacity
  • Enhances mental focus and motor performance
  • Reduces stress and enhances immune system function
  • Replenishes electrolytes lost during exercise
  • Reduces inflammation, joint and muscle pain
  • Improves body composition and reduces body fat
  • Supports healthy weight management”

I am really sensitive to caffeine and I haven’t had trouble sleeping, or felt nauseous, since using this product. It mixes up well too, which can come in handy when you’re attempting to stir it as quietly as possible in the dark so that you don’t wake up your partner or the cats.

ImageTake it 20 minutes before you start working out, in 1 cup of cold water and you are set my friend. My advice: Go for the Acai berry flavour, the lemon lime tastes like butt-holes.

Tempeh Bacon!

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Welcome to the best sandwich I have ever eaten.

IMG_2272I know it doesn’t look like much in this photo – BECAUSE I SUCK AT TAKING PHOTOS – but it was soooooooooooo good. And it was all because of the tempeh bacon.

Can I just say that I LOVE tempeh? LOVE IT. If you’ve tried tofu and you think it’s too soggy, and you’re not into the texture, or you’re worried about how processed it is, I urge you to try tempeh.

Tempeh is less processed than tofu, and it also has more protein and fiber than it’s wet cousin. In the package, it is dry, firm, and sort of brownish in colour. It has an earthy, lightly nutty flavour and no gross smell. The brand of tempeh I buy comes in many different flavours, and it is GMO free and organic – so really, you can’t go wrong.

You can cook it the same way that you cook tofu, OR you can make the best tempeh bacon in the entire world.

I vote for the second option.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp pure maple syrup (or black strap molasses, or agave, OR stevia to make this completely sugar free)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (I used Braggs)
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp liquid smoke (I used Woodland Natural Hickory)
pepper (dash)
1 package tempeh (I used red pepper tempeh)

Instructions:

Slice the whole package of tempeh into thin slices. I prefer mine to be long, but you can cut it into whatever size you want. If you don’t want to make the whole package of tempeh into ‘facon’, simply do half – making sure to halve the recipe above as well.

Mix all marinade ingredients together in a shallow dish that is big enough to fit all of your sliced tempeh. I like to use a container that has a lid, so that every few hours I can go into the fridge while the tempeh slices are marinating and give them a good shake. If you don’t have a lid, saran wrap or tin foil will do the trick.

Place tempeh slices in container and put in fridge to marinate for a few hours or, preferably, overnight.

When you are ready to eat the tempeh, take it out of the fridge and fry it up in a pan like you would bacon. Depending on how thinly you sliced it, it should take roughly 1 minute per side to cook – perhaps even less.

IMG_2271

If you want to make the bacon and store it, conveniently adding it to salads or sandwiches without having to fry it, you can bake the marinated slices in a 300 degree oven for 12 minutes (or until browned), flip, and bake for 5-7 more.

Note: I kept my marinating tempeh in the fridge for four days (that’s all it took for me to gobble up an entire package) and it was still delicious. As long as there is an airtight seal you should be able to keep it awhile without baking it.

So good you’ll want to Fork it: GF (gluten and grain free) Thick Crust Pizza

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

IMG_2267
I mentioned in my last post that I’ve really been focusing on eating whole foods that treat my body right. For 8 weeks now I have been eating like a gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan in an attempt to focus on reaching new fitness related goals.

Normally, I am not gluten-free, sugar-free OR vegan. Let me tell you, ordinarily this body tolerates all sorts of garbage. MMMMM… delicious… wonderful…sugary… garbage…. droool!

Much of this transition has been really easy (seeing as how I was already 90% vegan and typically avoided processed foods), but I had an intense craving for pizza that wouldn’t go away. Good news though, because it resulted in the creation of a wonderful grain-free, gluten-free, high protein, vegan pizza dough recipe!

First things first. This recipe operates on a few assumptions:

1. You have access to an amazing sugar-free and inexpensive pizza sauce. Or, you are willing to make it from scratch.

This brand is SO good, and only $4.99 per jar.

This brand is SO good, and only $4.99 per jar.

2. You are willing to believe that fake cheese is really (kinda) good. Remember when soy cheese first came out and it didn’t melt, and tasted like cardboard that a dog had peed on? Well, fear not my friend. Fake cheese has come a (sorta) long way baby.

Soy free cheese that actually tastes ok!

Soy free cheese that actually tastes ok!

3. You like a thicker crust pizza. Honestly, something about thin-crust pizza irks me. I feel like people eat thin-crust when they want to maintain the facade of being svelte. But on Friday nights it’s usually just me and my partner of a bajillion years, some sweatpants, some beer, and the cats. Thick-crust pizza doesn’t judge.

Did I mention that this is the easiest pizza dough recipe in the world to make because you don’t have to roll out any dough? Yep, all you need is a bowl.

If only it could have been that easy for Oliver Twist.

GF Thick Crust Pizza Dough

2 Cups Almond Flour
1/4 Cup Ground Flax Seed
1/4 Cup Soy Flour (to make this soy free, just up the Flax Seed to 1/2 cup)
1/2 Cup Quinoa Flour (super easy to make your own)
1 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Garlic Powder
1 Tsp Onion Powder
1 Tsp Italiano Seasoning

3 Large Eggs (to make this vegan sub 3 tbps chia seed 9 tbsp water mixture for the ‘eggs’ and add a 1/2 cup of water to recipe)
1/2 Cup unsweetened Almond Milk
1 Tbs Oil of choice
1/2 Tsp Vinegar

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Generously oil an 8 inch round pizza pan or a small square or rectangular cookie sheet (I always use a rectangular one and cut my pieces into squares).

In a large bowl whisk together the almond flour, flax seed, soy flour, quinoa flour, baking powder, salt, italiano seasoning, onion powder, and garlic powder.

IMG_2259In a second bowl whisk together the eggs (or egg substitute and water), milk, and vinegar. Add the liquid mixture to the dry and stire until well incorporated.

Pour the wet batter onto your oiled pan and spread the mixture evenly using a spatula. If you find the dough is sticking, just oil the spatula and keep going.

Place the crust into the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

IMG_2262Remove from oven, place desired toppings on and then bake again for 15-25 minutes and then enjoy!

IMG_2265On the right is real mozza and pepperoni for my partner. On the left is daiya cheese and veggies.

The dough is a bit crumbly when it first comes out of the oven. I suggest you either, let it sit for 5 minutes before eating to firm up, or just eat your slice with a fork.

This is relative to you interests

Tags

, , , , ,

I have two exciting things to write about:

1. It was so warm this morning on my way into work that I had to take off my spring jacket!!!!
2. I am wearing a size 6 skirt right now!

Neither of these announcements may seem like exciting news to you, but I can’t seem to wipe this grin off my face. I love the summer, and it is almost here! Winter was SO last season, aint nobody got time fo dat.

 

Summer though, ahhhh, it fills me with so much energy, and passion, and pure unadulterated joy.

I have been working so hard lately, and I am happy to report that monumental changes are afoot. For one, I quit my old job. Yeah, that’s right. See ya! BAM (that’s the sound of me happily slamming the door shut on that part of my life). I have a new job that has been going really swell. It’s a bit closer to ma maison, and because of the warm weather this week, I have officially started running home every day.

For another thing, I have 100% committed myself to transforming my body.

Even though that statement is probably the most pretentious thing I have ever written, it doesn’t detract from the truth. I’ve been kicking ass, and it’s time I told some people about it!

I have been working steadily at attaining my fitness goals for 7 weeks now: waking up at 4:45 in the morning to follow my workout plan (weights, interval training, and cardio); following a strict (yet lovely) diet of whole unprocessed foods; learning how to love myself more, and; learning how to delve unabashedly into my passion for all things fitness and nutrition. So far, I have seen amazing results.

There was a time in my life where the biggest size in a clothing store did not fit me. For realsies! Though it has been awhile since I have been in that situation, I still remember how it made me feel.

Now, because of my dedication, I’m learning to be happier. For me this doesn’t mean fitting in with unhealthy, yet normalized, standards of ‘beauty’. Fuck that. Bitches need to eat some sandwiches and chill the heck out.

No, for me it means finding out what my body is capable of, finding the time to do what I have always felt passionately about, pushing more weight and getting stronger, and expanding my definition of what is possible.

Size 6 is just that, a size. It seems silly to get giddy about. But what it means to me is so much more.

I have 5 more weeks to go, and I will post more about my overall results when I am through. I don’t want to jinx it, but I promise I will be more transparent when it’s time to be.

Happy May 1st everyone!

Confessional Friday

Tags

, , ,

So, the ass blew out of my pants today.

Actually, if I’m going to be honest –  it was the crotch. The crotch blew out of my pants like an old, sad bicycle tire. The clincher? I’m wearing them.

At work.

It’s casual Friday, get off my back! Nothing says ‘casual’ more than crotchless pants. Am I right?

Ok ok. So, I didn’t realize that they had, on their own accord, become half-chaps. It wasn’t until I was almost at work this morning that I thought to myself, jeez, it’s breezy out

So, now I’m sitting, tightly tucked in at my desk, looking like a burst couch cushion. Just take a minute out of your Friday afternoon to visualize that. Funny, no?

The things I am currently panicking about:

  • What if someone needs me to get something from the filing cabinet?
  • OmEFFINGg, What happens if there is a fire alarm and we all have to vacate the building? And, more pertinently,
  • How am I going to get home?!

(ancillary confession: I totes googled crotchless pants and, frankly, I don’t get the fascination)

Anyway, Happy Friday All!

Out of the rabbit’s hole and into a bowl of Curried Lentil Soup!

Tags

, , , , , , ,

IMG_1325

I started taking a new iron supplement, and I feel as though my whole life has changed. For awhile there I sure felt crummy. I’ve had extremely low iron for about 2 years now, and I’ve tried many different supplements – but nothing seemed to be helping.

It got to a point, in the last 2 months or so,  where I felt sad all the time. It was seriously bad. I would have to drag myself out of bed each and every morning. I was always freezing cold, I lost my appetite … But now, everything is coming up ponchos! I feel like my old self again. I’m filled with so much vigour! It’s amazing how something as simple as an iron supplement can have such a profound impact on a person’s life.

But now I know what was wrong, and I know how to fix it. I am never going down that rabbit’s hole again.

Anyway, this recipe was taken straight from a really beautiful blog I discovered the other day, called The Cilantropist. I decided to make this recipe as a continuation of frugal week because I happened to have a lot of green lentils in my cupboard, and a rogue can of coconut milk. I do think, however, that this may be my last soup recipe for awhile.

Despite the fact that it’s the season for soup – I can’t handle anymore! Hopefully you are just starting out on soup (and haven’t eaten it every day for the last week like me), and will find this recipe helpful in your almighty quest for soupy goodness.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp coconut oil (or ghee)
1 tbsp of your favourite curry powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1-2 tsp minced garlic
1 large sweet onion, diced
5 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups green lentils, picked over and rinsed
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp salt

Directions:
Heat coconut oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat, then add curry powder, red pepper flakes, minced garlic, and diced onion.  Saute for about 3-4 minutes, or until onion is just soft.

IMG_1330

Add broth and lentils. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer for between 20 and 50 minutes, or until lentils are tender.

IMG_1332

Once the lentils are finished cooking, remove them from the heat and stir in the coconut milk and salt.  Puree the soup using an immersion blender or regular blender (I used our magic bullet) until it is as smooth or as chunky as you prefer (I like mine smoooooth).

it's hard to make this look as delicious as it tastes.

it’s hard to make this look as delicious as it tastes.

Serve immediately, garnished with sriracha or, as the original recipe calls for, chunks of oozy melted feta. I know it doesn’t look all that appetizing, but the coconut oil really brings out the curry flavour, and I quite enjoyed this soup (even if it is the last I will have for awhile).

Be forewarned though, it’s extremely filling. A little dab will do ya, as they say.

IMG_1342

 

Rainbow Soup – my most favourite soup eva

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , ,

I am back, mother-truckers! Not-so interestingly for you, I became a vegetarian exactly one year ago today. The more you know, huh?

Frugal week, as you may have guessed, has produced a lot of soups.

I’m not complaining. Rainbow soup just happens to be my most favourite soup OF ALL TIME. It’s filled with many different colourful veggies, hence the name, it’s friggen hearty and soul warmingly delicious, and it’s really good for you (especially if you are making your own broth).

The other great thing about this soup, as with most soups, is that the flavour really develops over time. This means that any leftovers you have taste even more wonderful heated up the next day.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 large stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 3 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinammon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A little hot sauce (I use Sriracha)
  • 1 15 oz (443 ml) canned tomatoes, chopped (I tend to eyeball the amount of this ingredient, and it always turns out well)
  • 1.5 cups of spinach or other dark leafy green – cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup frozen green beans (or fresh)
  • 5 cups veg broth
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil

Preparation:
In a large soup pot, put oil, onion, and celery. Cook on low heat for 5 to 10 minutes to develop the sweetness in the onion.

IMG_1308

Add garlic and turn up the heat to medium. Cook for a minute or so and add the peppers and carrots.

IMG_1309

Cook another 5 minutes or so and add the spices. Stir and cook until fragrant – another minute or so.

IMG_1312

Add canned tomatoes and veg broth, and simmer for about 40 mins minutes. Check carrots and celery for tenderness. Depending on how you cut the carrots, it may need more time.

IMG_1313

Add frozen beans and spinich and simmer for another 15 minutes or until the green beans are cooked.

IMG_1316

Add hot sauce to taste and adjust seasonings (this is where you add the salt and pepper, if you are so inclined). I find that the hot sauce is a MUST, but I do like my life spicy.

IMG_1322

 

A new year, a new beginning: Frugal Week!

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

photo2

Happy New Year everyone!

On New Year’s Eve I stayed at home with Dan. We had one glass of wine, and I have to say, as old as it makes me sound, I really enjoyed having a low-key night.

I rang in the new year cooking black eyed pea soup in my jammies with my best friend and my furry friends. Purrrrrrfect! I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Image

Cheers world! Happy new year!

I have spent the last 1.5 weeks away from work, and I really needed that time to reflect and de-stress. I think I only left the house a total of 3 or 4 times the entire time I was on vacation. I know this sounds like a nightmare to some, but it was honestly the most rejuvenating thing I have ever done. I feel refreshed for the new year, and ready to embark on some new journeys (if they ever find me!).

Spending all that time at home, though, constantly scouring the kitchen for edibles, made me realize how much food I have in the cupboards that has been sitting there for months. Heck, lets be honest, years even! The remnants of broken culinary dreams … sitting in the back of the dusty cupboard … never seeing the light of day … I must admit, crazy Jessi started feeling sorry for the lonely can of tomato paste, the dusty half-eaten bag of chow mein noodles, the green lentils.

Also, like most SANE people, I hate wasting money. I used to ‘shop’ at the dump when I was a kid ok? I take these things very seriously. So, I decided to embark on a week of frugal eating to help start of the year right.

No grocery shopping, except for fresh produce, for an entire week.

Things might get a bit interesting over here, but I plan on sharing any of the creative recipes that I come up with. You have been warned.

Today’s recipe is Black Eyed Pea Soup, which, if you believe in this sort of stuff, is supposed to be a lucky food to eat on new year’s day.

Ingredients:

2 cups veg broth
2 cups water
1 cup dried black-eyed peas
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1 small onion, chopped
small handful of fresh coriander, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

Directions:

Rinse the black-eyed peas, pick out any yucky looking ones, and place in a large saucepan. Cover with 2 cups of water and 2 cups of veg broth. Squeeze a little lemon juice into the pot and let sit overnight, or about 8 hours. Once this time has elapsed, bring the water and beans to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the beans are plump and tender, about 30-40 minutes. The longer you soak your beans, the less time it takes to boil them, so make sure you test the beans for tenderness after about 20 mins.

apologies for the poor quality, I had to use my phone!

apologies for the poor quality, I had to use my phone!

Meanwhile, toast the ground coriander and cumin in a small frying pan without oil over medium-low heat until the spices darken a couple of shades and acquire a smoky fragrance. You will love this part because it smells FACKING AWESOME. Remove from heat and set aside.

The toasted spices are on the left.

The toasted spices are on the left.

In the same pan fry chopped onion and garlic together with a little oil until tender. Set aside. Chop your tomatoes, and set aside.

IMG_1296

When the black-eyed peas are tender, stir in the toasted spices along with the tomatoes, turmeric, cayenne, garlic and onions. Bring the mixture to a boil again, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer partially covered for 10 minutes. Add the lemon juice.

IMG_1302

Let the soup simmer for a couple more minutes to let the flavours mingle (I think I let it cook for another 20 mins or so). You will know its ready when the tomatoes have broken down and the soup thickens up. When ready stir in the fresh coriander and salt to taste. Add a dollop of plain yogurt to the top and enjoy!

IMG_1301

Apparently this recipe serves 4 to 6 – but I think I would be very disappointed if I was only served a sixth of this portion. I would say that if you plan on eating it for dinner, it will happily serve 3 hungry people.

photo2

photo