Wednesday, October 30, 2013


We have had an exceptional fall. Sunshine, warm temperatures, beautiful sun which makes all the leaves glow. It's been wonderful.

I'm doing house chores today so pulled a container of tomatillo soup out of the freezer for my lunch. Chicken, tomatillos, cilantro, lime, black eyed peas. Yum!! 

Here a vague recipe... If you google it, you can get a more accurate ingredient list.

I soaked dried black eyed peas the night before.

Black eyed peas (either canned or pre-soaked a min of 6 hrs)
Chicken or vegetable stock
1 bunch cilantro
At least 2.5lbs of tomatillos.
2 limes (or less lime, depending on how sour you like it).
2 chicken breasts (or equivalent in whatever chicken meat you have).

Dice your onions and toss them into an oiled, heated pot. Season with salt. Dice your garlic. Remove the leafy covering from your tomatillos and rinse them (they're sticky). Cut them into half and then run them and your cilantro through the blender (you may need to add stock to help it go, or you can chop up stuff moderately fine, they do cook down quite a bit). When your onions are translucent, add 2 cups (ish) of the soaked beans to the pot, add your chicken stock, the chicken (whole is fine, you can shred it later) and the green mix out of your blender. Add some cumin. Check your seasonings and adjust as necessary. Put the lid on and let it simmer until the beans are cooked.

When the beans are cooked, pull the chicken and shred it, return to the pot. Add lime juice. Serve!

Yes there are things growing in my kitchen....

I have been fascinated with fermented things for most of the summer. Have I actually gotten to it yet? No. A couple of weeks ago one of my FB friends have me a SCOBY, which is essentially a symbiotic culture of mold and bacteria used to ferment drinks. Yes, you heard me.

No, I am not making wine on my kitchen counter.

I am (hopefully) making kombucha, a fermented tea drink.

So, in the next 7 days, hopefully this massive jar on my counter will turn into a fermented drink of goodness.

You can see the SCOBY floating around like some kind of alien creature (it really does look like an alien creature).

Why eat/drink fermented things? Well, there's lots of science behind it and far better explanations out there than I can give. Mostly it has to do with the way of eating that we have followed for our entire existence, that the bacteria produced in fermented foods is required by our guts for healthy living and helps protect us from getting sick. I have very annoying eczema which presents mostly on my hands, as well as multiple moderately annoying GI issues (bad teeth, sensitive and often upset tummy and intestines). My eczema is directly related to my gut issues. So this is part of working to heal my guts. I'll get into the other parts later. 

In 7 days I will start tasting it to see if it's ready. Then I'll mix it with some fruit juice and pop it in the fridge to drink whenever and make a new batch. If it's successful, I'll post another picture. If it moulds off and dies, the whole thing goes in the garbage. Ick.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Catching up

Shift work and general business makes your brain squishy.

Here's what I've been up to in the past few days (have finished a day and a night, have 1 more night tonight).

J wanted egg muffin things with bacon around the outside for breakfast one day, so I happily obliged since the last 2 pieces of bacon needed to get used up. These are a brilliant breakfast! I put very finely diced potatoes and peppers in the bottom, and then poured about an egg per muffin tin. I meant to add spinach but forgot. Topped with a little bit of goat cheese, and then into the oven for you!! These are a perfect breakfast to-go, since they can be frozen! I won't post a recipe since there are a million in Pinterest.

We made chicken salad rolls for dinner. Lots of veg, homemade peanut sauce and some baked chicken. J told me what she put in her sauce but I can't remember. These wrappers are square, they're also a good brand!! We've become partial to the square ones.

These take a fair amount of prep, but it's not totally obnoxious. Plus, people can customize their own rolls so there is less whining. We use mung-bean noodles. 

Any my awesome salad for my day shift! I had an overwhelming urge to consume sprouts, so I added those. Lettuce, pepper, cucumber, carrot, kohlrabi, sprouts, avocado, sunflower seeds, almonds, chickpeas and dried cranberries. With our homemade dressing. I made 4 of these, since yesterday we had a daytime event and needed a lunch. I added the rest of dinner's chicken to J's salads. 

I usually post my entire lineup of multiple-day lunches, but instead I thought I would just post one day. Left to right, top to bottom, B = breakfast and so on:
Granola (B), diced pear (B), apple-pumpkin crisp (D), squash chickpea curry with quinoa (D), salad (L), almond milk (B), apple, chocolate zucchini muffin, water bottle. 

Now that I've posted a whole week, including all my prep, I can see how much work I put into my meals, all the different elements that I made separately that come together. It does require forethought and planning, but it's not terrible.

Anyways, that's all I have to say for today. Dragging myself out of bed to get ready for night shift #2 tonight, which of course I woke up at 1430 and haven't fallen back asleep!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Loading up

Last week was international curry week, and I missed it! Alas, there is a lot of curry being eaten in this house.

I made a squash chickpea curry for dinner with quinoa. I made it this afternoon and then J was late coming home from school. By the time I actually got to eat it, I was so excited I forgot to take pictures. *sigh*

So you get leftover pictures instead.

But this squash, it is amazing. Red Kuri. I'm pretty sure this is the one Shannon gave me out of her CSA, as she had no plans for such a splendid gourd (my gain!). Looks like this:

(This is not my picture)

It smells amazing. It also completely disintegrates so you're left with this sweet, creamy taste. So good.

Red Kuri pumpkin curry with Chickpeas

1 very large onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 red Kuri pumpkin 
1 can coconut milk
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (or if you make them from dried, just keep tossing them in until the quantity is sufficient)
Curry powder

Heat a large pot or pan on low-medium heat. When its at temperature, add your oil (I use coconut oil), then add your onions. Throw down some salt. Stir them and leave them alone.

Peel, remove seeds and chop the squash into cubes. Crush your garlic. When the onions are translucent, add the squash and garlic. I covered it with a lid to keep the moisture in.

Add curry powder. No, I don't know how much, eye ball it. Tsbp?

Once things are starting to disintegrate, add the coconut milk. Stir everything and taste/adjust seasoning as necessary. Add the chickpeas. Cover and check on it/stir as needed until the squash is cooked. Before serving, throw in some spinach leaves until they wilt. Serve over rice, quinoa or noodles.

I didn't find that the squash mushed down all the way while cooking, but once I had containered it, it continued disintegrating into this gooey delicious mess. Yum. It's really not pretty, but so good. And easy. Also made enough for lunches for the next few days (and really, surviving shift work is ALL about the leftovers).

And then I got cocky and made dessert, which involved making something up. Pumpkin apple crisp. Here's a picture to make you drool. I have no idea what I used, and I sort of used 3 seperate recipes to make this, as I lack the gene which allows one to follow a recipe unaltered.

Recipe (as best I can remember)
4 large apples (peeled, cored and cubed)
2tbsp honey (use sugar if you don't want to use honey)
Cinnamon. Lots.
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup milk (almond for me)
1 egg
Pumpkin pie spices (cloves, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon).
Dash of molasses

2 cups oats
1 1/2 cups Flour (GF flour here)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter or coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix everything except the apples together in a bowl. Dump in the apples. Pour it into a large baking dish (I believe mine is 9x13).

Mix all the topping ingredients together. Pour overtop of the apple mixture. Pop into oven. Go crazy while you wait for it to cook.

I think mine took close to an hour.

So delish, and now I have a giant pan of this stuff for work/school! Yay!!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Easy dinner

So I made this *fabulous* item off the Budget Bytes website (love love love her food, it's *so* good, and I can so easily sub in different things).


Salsa chicken casserole.  Seriously, I was eating this at 10pm with a spoon.  Dangerous stuff.  Except I made it without chicken.  And now I'm defrosting chicken to add in because my wife wants chicken in it.  *sigh*  I even added extra beans (she likes teasing me about my undying love of rice and beans).

I used brown rice, added an extra 1/2 cup of water, didn't add the chicken, had a small accident with the chili powder (so it's got way more kick than I intended).  I also forgot to add cheese.  But OH LORDY is it good!!!  Definitely a good freezer meal choice.  My wife refuses to allow me to own a slow-cooker (she says that after 6 hours there's zero nutritional value left in the food), so I have to settle for slow-cooker modified dishes. I will probably buy one eventually to spite her (who else can one spite except their spouse??)

In the meantime, here's a picture of the finished product.  I plan to send this to school with J in the AM for lunch, along with some chicken (currently in the oven) and some plain yogurt (we lack sour cream in this house).  I think it will be quite delicious!

Older stuff

I hemmed and hawed over making this blog, and then it took me another 2 weeks to get going. In the meantime I started taking pictures of everything.  Sooo, here they are!

Kale and brussel sprout salad.

GF pumpkin scone with spiced glaze

Granola! That's a nearly 3L jar too.

Baked root vegetables. Before.


Happy Birthday, Shannon!

My dear fellow shift worker friend, Shannon, was deprived of her traditional Black Forest cake for her birthday on Friday. We had a knit night coming up, and my other lovely bestie told me we were going to pull an impromptu birthday shindig, which to me translated as an excuse to make and eat cake. You can use your logic to realize I made the cake for Shannon.

I ran into a problem with scheduling. Black forest cake is a "intensive process cake "(I totally don't agree with that).  I finished my set on Sunday morning, had a fundraiser event that lasted from 4-8pm (that was a mercy that it didn't run longer) that night, and then had a dentist appointment on Monday morning (knit night was Monday night).  Not a lot of time for cake making.

My wife, very kindly, inquired when in god's name was I going to have time to make this cake.  Fortunately I am stubborn and willful.  She suggested I use chocolate cake mix instead of making it from scratch.  Done.  I used a betty crocker mix and regretted it, since I'm supporting those stupid GMOs by buying this product.  Oh well, I won't do that again.

I used canned cherries we had made from the summer previous (2 x 1L jars) and cooked them down with some of the liquid to make them squishy, then used corn starch to thicken it.

I sliced the cake into 4 layers with sewing thread (thanks, Pinterest).  I used the cherry juice (ie, sugar syrup) to moisten the layer, then plopped on some whipped cream, then cherry goop, then another layer, repeat.

My ever intelligent and experienced wife suggested a crumb layer to seal it all in.  A crumb layer is the secret to having perfect crumb-free icing.  You smear your cake with a thin layer of icing, then let it harden (ie, dry out), then you can ice to your hearts content without worrying about crumbs.

Hilarity ensued when I tried to get the sprinkles on the side (I had an audience too, thanks Jill, who was ever so supportive as I flung "chocolate flavoured decorations" on the side of the cake).

Fortunately this cake turned out REALLY well, and we ate almost 2/3 of it with 6 people.  The effort into this cake were well worth it, and it wasn't even that hard!  If you were EPICALLY lazy you could use cherry pie filling, but don't skimp on the real whipped cream (oil products masquerading as whipped cream are disgusting!).  In making the cherries and the whipped cream myself, I was able to cut down on the amount of sugar which was in each, which made this cake just sweet enough but not so oversweet that we were all sick by the end of it.  Also, cake mix is PLENTY sweet.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Easiest way to freeze overripe bananas

Peel. Bag. Freeze.

It makes picking only FOUR bananas out a little more exciting, but it's worth not having to deal with the disgusting skins once they defrost. Ick. If you're lazier and less squeamish than I, freeze them whole. They defrost pretty quick. 

Also, pre-peeled frozen bananas are good for smoothies... If your blender doesn't hate frozen things the way mine does...

Excuse the dirty counter, I defrosted some frozen fruit this morning and made a mess, and no I haven't had time to clean my counters because I had to be a grow up and go to the dentist.

Also, note the dried out and slightly moldy habanero pepper in the background, part of my wife's desire to cook with this thing (I won't eat it, since I am a spice wuss) but her lack of follow through.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Breaking the glass ceiling

Just so you all don't think I'm Martha Stewart incarnate, this is the state of my kitchen at the end of my set. The dishwasher is ALMOST fully unloaded thanks to my not-putting-anything away.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Post night shift breakfast.

Going to bed after I eat. I love breakfast food.

Spelt bread (from A Bread Affair) with a thin layer of cream cheese, avocado (with a little bit of salt and garlic powder), poached eggs (with a little salt and pepper).

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


I'm a shift worker.  I work in a high-stress, fast paced environment where my break times are not always guaranteed.  I believe in whole foods.  I'm not one of those people who terribly enjoys cooking, but I like it enough to make enough food to feed myself and my wife (who actually IS a chef, but is absolutely buried in school for the next 2 years).  I can't bring myself to eat most processed foods.  I still eat *way* too much sugar.

I'm trying really hard to like kale.  So far, we're still not very good friends.

I struggled for the first several years as a shift worker of what on earth to eat while running around during a 12 hour shift.  Tweaking things helped my body cope with the physical and mental rigours of my job, for example I lay off the simple carbs in the morning and at lunch time to help prevent that 2pm crash (if I'm lucky enough to get my lunch before 2pm), however a sweet thing in the late afternoon helps propel me through the last hurdle of my day.

I blog mostly from my phone.  The pictures I take aren't food porn quality, so don't expect that.  I use my iPhone.

This blog was inspired by my lovely co-workers, who think I should give up my job to make lunches professionally (haha, you guys are funny, here's a blog instead).  They are the reason I smile at work and love my job as much as I do.  So <3 to you guys.