Sunday, 16 March 2014

Clean Eats, Pink Treats is now dairy free, gluten free and soy free.

What a bad bad blogger I've been!  I haven't been sharing anything that's been going on in my kitchen, or even let you know that its an entirely new kitchen I'm cooking from.

The past year has flown by, here's a short list of what's happened:
  • I turned 30 (well now I'm 31...bad bad blogger)
  • I took my first international trip to the Bahama's and completely fell in love with Paradise Island
  • I fulfilled a life long dream and got myself a dog - a super cute little Maltese named Oliver who just absolutely makes my day every day 
  • I moved into a new neighbourhood in Toronto, and I can't think of anywhere else I'd like to live more, well other then the Bahamas....or Italy....or Greece...or New York....ok fine I could think of other places, but within Toronto its won my heart. 
  • I've been working with an amazing naturopath who has helped me finally get to the bottom of my digestive issues, the primary cause being soy intolerant with a sensitivity to dairy and gluten added in there.
So I'm back to the blog, newly inspired and challenged by my new dietary restrictions.  I have discovered some new products I love, some great recipes, and solutions for those carb cravings we all have.  So stay tuned for more from my kitchen!

And here's a picture of my adorable Oliver just to prove how darn cute he really is. (yes he had holiday photos done, and he's completely spoiled)

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Cabbage Rolls

With work being pretty busy the last couple months, a very busy holiday season, taking a week escape from the city, and just overall not having a lot of time, I was on a cooking hiatus.  So I make my come back with a story and deliciousness that marks my return to the kitchen and commitment to healthy eating. 

Back in university I succumbed to peer pressure, not the usual kind of peer pressure that pops to mind, this involved peer pressure of food. My university room-mate loved cabbage rolls, they were probably her absolute favourite meal.  So I gave in, I tried them, I expected to absolutely hate the things.  I don't even know where this assumed dislike came from, I'd never had them before, and couldn't even really remember a time they'd be put in front of me as an option to eat, but the sound of them turned me off.  Well was I ever surprised after that first bite to find out how delicious they were!  Why had my mom never served these delicious things?  Or had she tried once and I refused to eat them?  Whatever the reason, it didn't matter, cabbage rolls were in frequent rotation at dinner and reluctantly shared leftover item at lunch the following day. 

Now a little fact about these cabbage rolls we loved so much is they weren't home made, they were deliciousness found at M&M's meat shop.  I still frequently buy myself the individual sized containers from M&M's, but then for some reason this past weekend I got the idea in my head I needed to make them for myself.  So as is my habit when I'm making something new, I reviewed a few recipes online, took the pieces of information I thought sounded yummy and set to it.  

This post isn't in my usual format of showing the ingredients all laid out first, because it didn't dawn on me to write a post about it until I already started.  But here in all its deliciousness is my cabbage roll recipe:

1/2 cup brown rice (1 cup cooked)
1 head of cabbage
1 small onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 package of extra lean ground beef
3 Italian sausages
1.5 cans diced or crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup yellow and red peppers

First I started off cooking the rice.  While it was cooking I put the cabbage in the biggest pot I own to boil.  I tried to cut the core out a bit as you can see to help it along. 


Next finely chop up your onion and put it in the bowl, then remove the sausage from its casing, and combine with ground beef, garlic, salt and pepper, and Italian seasoning. Use your hands to combine it really well together like you would to make meatballs.  Once the rice is cooked and cooked a bit, add it to the mixture also using your hands (I tried a spoon but it didn't work well enough).

Your cabbage should only need about 8-10 minutes to boil, so should be done around the same time as your rice.  Put it in a strainer and run it under cold water.  Then start to remove the leaves from the cabbage stems first, if you try to grabs the leaf off the top it will tear.  I don't have a picture of this part, water and hot cabbage do not make for a good photo op for this klutzy individual.  

Either now, or while your rice is cooking, prepare your sauce.  I used dice tomatoes so used an immersion blender to make it smooth, I also added in some yellow and red peppers and blended that in with the tomatoes to give it some extra flavour.  I decided since I had so much onion and garlic already in the meat mixture the tomatoes with peppers was probably enough flavour, and it was a good decision. 

Next I moved my pan with a bit of tomato covering the bottom, meat mixture, cabbage leafs, and remaining tomatoes to the dining room table to start rolling. Make sure to cut the thick stems out of the cabbage leaves before you roll them, they make it hard to roll and also wouldn't be very easy to eat.  I don't have a picture of me rolling, it was trial and error, but is pretty self explanatory once you sit down with everything.  

As you can see this recipe made 12 cabbage rolls, I then covered them with the can and a half of tomatoes and then popped them into the oven for an hour and a half at 400.  I was out of foil so I cooked mine uncovered, but I would recommend covering them for at least half of the cooking time, the tops of some of mine started to peak out, but still tasted great.  

Now I know I said I'm making a commitment to eating healthier, and sausage doesn't exactly fit that, but I figure 3 sausages split between 3 or 4 servings isn't so bad. And home cooking is almost always healthier then picking something up on the walk home from work. And one more and, eating them with a side of salad instead of a big bed of rice makes them healthier too. I would try using ground chicken instead of ground beef next time though.  

I'm already looking forward to having left overs for lunch tomorrow!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Spicy Thai inspired soup

Oh hello loyal readers!  I'm sorry I have been neglecting you.  I promise it isn't because I am holding all my latest kitchen creations secret, it's because my kitchen has been a pretty mundane place lately, something tells me posts about egg sandwiches, bowls of cereal, and repeats of things you've already seen wouldn't be of much interest.

I have been promising myself for the last few weeks that I would make a pot of Thai inspired soup.  I am a HUGE fan of spicy tom yum soup, particularly the one from Thai Express.  About a year ago I made a really delicious Thai soup recipe from a Chatelaine cookbook but didn't have all the ingredients for it handy when motivation stuck.  With that recipe in mind, I set out in to make an attempt at something similar, and this is what I came up with!

3 stalks of celery
1 small onion
half cup baby carrots or 2 -3 regular sized
6 cloves of garlic
chunk of jalapeño pepper or other similar hot pepper
large handful of fresh cilantro (about half a bunch)
2-3 tbsp of olive oil (or coconut oil)
juice of a lime
6 cups of water
2 tsp Asian seasoning mix
.5 tsp red pepper chilli flakes
salt to taste (about 1 tsp)
1/2 cup crushed peanuts
6-10 baby carrots thinly sliced
7 large white mushrooms chopped
can baby corn
1/2 cup rice
juice of 1/2 lime
another handful of fresh cilantro
3/4 cup sugar snap peas and/or bean sprouts

Start by putting the celery, onion, carrots, garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro through a food chopper. 
Put it all together in the bottom of a large soup pot.  Add olive oil, and lime juice to veggies and start to cook over medium heat.  Let everything cook together for about 5-10 minutes.  

Next add in water, seasoning mix, chilli flakes, salt and let simmer together for about half an hour.  

Then add in peanuts, carrots, mushrooms, and baby corn and allow to simmer for another half an hour.  

Then add in rice, and allow to cook for half an hour.  Add in last of lime juice, fresh cilantro, and peas and/or bean sprouts. Stir it all up, remove from heat and serve in your favourite bowl!
This soup is so tasty, I have to credit the awesome Asian seasoning mix I have from Pampered Chef for that.  I'm sure other similar mixes exist at the grocery store if you aren't so fortunate to have a Pampered Chef consultant handy (self promotional note: I am one who you could order said seasoning from).  Or you could make your own fresh seasoning mix using fresh ginger, bell peppers, lemongrass, and sesame seeds or sesame oil.

If you are looking to save time you could use a vegetable broth in place of the first step. Additions could be a bit of coconut milk to give it a thicker texture, or some chicken or shrimp for protein.


Sunday, 23 September 2012

Lentil Soup

To me fall is a time for soup, my grandpa was a big soup fan and known in our family for making really good soups.  I think he'd be proud of me for this pot of soup. 

Lately I'm not a fan of preparing meat, I don't know if I'm just sick of it, or why I'm not interested but I'm not, so I've been left with being resourceful for finding other protein options for myself.  Combine that with the fall weather, and voilà! Lentil soup was made!

As I often do when making something new, I read a few different recipes before setting out.  When I'm making something new I also often make decisions as I go along, so things I intend to use don't make the cut sometimes, or other items find themselves in the pot when they weren't even a consideration in the beginning. And that was exactly the case with this pot of soup, but it turned out to be really delicious. One thing I will say, is this made a really big pot of soup.  It made so much I text my neighbour to come up to fill a Tupperware dish for him and his boyfriend - which he of course happily did and I received a rave review very shortly after. I sometimes I wonder when I send things home with him if he even makes it to his apartment before giving it a taste. 

1 onion
4 carrots
1 parsnip
3 stalks celery
olive oil
4 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
handful fresh oregano
5 basil leaves
1 can tomatoes (crushed or diced)
2 cups dry lentils
7 cups of water
3 beef boullion packets
1.5 cups green beans
2 cobs corn
red pepper chili flakes to taste
salt and pepper to taste
squeeze of quarter of a lemon
drizzle of balsamic vinegar

Start off by chopping your carrots, celery, parsnips, onion and putting them in the bottom of the pot. Turn on the burner to medium heat and add a good amount of olive oil to let it cook up in, about 2-3 tbsp. You'll want to cook them until the onions are tender.

While your veggies are starting to cook up, clean your herbs and get your garlic ready.

 Add your herbs and garlic into the pot and give it a good stir around, let cook for about 2 minutes.  Your kitchen is about to smell really good! While that's combining, mix together your beef bouillon with 2 cups of hot water.

Next stir in your dried lentils, water with bouillon, remaining water and can of tomatoes.  Then add in corn, green beans, red pepper chili flakes, salt and pepper to taste.  Allow to simmer together for about an hour.  

After about an hour add in your squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, this just gives it an extra little bunch of flavour.  Give it a taste and adjust any seasoning as needed.  Serve, and enjoy!

Some substitutions you can make are chicken, vegetable or beef broth for the 2 cups of water mixed with bouillon.  I was going to add fresh peas, but decided I had enough vegetables in it already.  If you want to make it even heartier you could add rice or potatoes, I suggest you add extra liquid if you decide to do that.  

I think my grandpa would have really enjoyed this soup.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Baked eggplant

I started making eggplant parmesan about 6 years ago after finding a really great quick and easy recipe, it was either from Chatelaine or Canadian Living but I can't find the recipe online any more to share with you.  The only down side (like most eggplant parmesan recipes) is all the breading.  So a few months ago when I was feeling a bit bored with most of my recipes and wanting something different I decided to try grilling an eggplant on my George Foreman grill, and while I was doing that had the idea to make it into an eggplant parm of sorts.  From there the below recipe was born.  I do admit, grilling the eggplant on the tiny grilling surface of a George Foreman grill is time consuming, but its not hard and the outcome is very much worth it!

1 eggplant
3 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic
tomato sauce of your choosing
2 slices of cheddar or mozzarella cheese
fresh grated parmesan cheese

Start by slicing your eggplant and giving it a shake of salt on both sides of each slice. I used a Sicilian eggplant so I had to trim it a bit to make it a good size to fit in my loaf pan. Leave your eggplant to 'bleed' for about 15-30 minutes. Give them a rinse and pat them dry with a paper towel. While the eggplant is 'bleeding' you can turn on your grill so it will be ready to go.
Combine the olive oil and garlic in a small bowl, use the oil to brush your grill......

and each slice of eggplant on both sides. 

Grill each piece for about 3 minutes on each side.

Place some tomato sauce in the bottom of a loaf or casserole pan,

then put your grilled eggplant on top and then more sauce on top of the eggplant.  Repeat this process like a lasagne until all your eggplant is grilled and stacked.  You can also sprinkle a bit of fresh parm cheese in between some layers.  

Put your slices of cheese on top of each stack, (I use the slices that you get in the cello packs of the deli section) and pop it in the oven at 400 for about 20 minutes.  
And then's it!  That's all there is too it.  Makes a great dinner or side dish, depending on how hungry you are, and also reheats really well. 

For the tomato sauce I used a fresh sauce I had just made (I'll share the recipe soon), but you could use a jarred spaghetti sauce, or a jar or can of diced tomatoes.  If you use the diced tomatoes I recommend adding a few cloves of garlic and maybe a few basil leaves to give it some extra flavour.

I know the ingredients make this look like a rather boring recipe, but if you have a tomato sauce that has a good flavour, I promise this won't disappoint, and eating it feels like its much more of a 'cheat' meal then it really is.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've been interested in the idea of using whole wheat flour in place of regular white flour for quite a few years, but the worry of it not turning out always made me shy away.  A few months back I decided to give it a try in an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe.  I figured the combination with the oats would be a good place to start, and they turned out so well.  I've since also changed up the recipe to use Splenda brown sugar in place of regular brown sugar.  The result is a delicious cookie that is pretty diabetic friendly (about 10-15 carbs per generous sized satisfying cookie).

The ingredients are basic:
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
6 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp Splenda brown sugar (or 6 tbsp regular brown sugar)
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp water
1 cup oats
6 ounces chocolate chips

Start by preheating the oven to 375
Start by mixing together your butter and both sugars until nice and fluffy, then add in the egg, vanilla, and water.
In a measuring cup or seperate bowl mix together your flour, baking soda, and salt .
Slowly add the dry mixture in with your butter mixture.
Then add in your oats.
Give it a good mix to make sure everythign blends well.
Then add in your chocolate chips.
I use a scoop to measure out my cookies and place them on a silicon baking mat on top of my baking sheet, this is my favourite way to bake cookies, they never burn and always turn out perfectly. Bake for 12 minutes at 375. Transfer them to a cooling rack so you can enjoy them faster! :)

You can make other substituions with these cookies, using dried fruit or raisins instead (personally I'm not a fan of that option, lol).  I've also made these cookies using peanut butter M&M's, which makes them look a bit prettier. These are my absolutle favourtie cookies to make....other then snickerdoodles which aren't nearly as diabetic friendly.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Mexican taste without the siesta

As I mentioned in my post about guacamole, I love Mexican food, I would eat a burrito, guacamole and chips, tacos, queso fundito, all those delicious things every day if I could, but the fat and carbohydrate content is often tremendous.  So a few years ago I came up with this concoction and enjoy is regularly now, I call it my Spicy Mexican Bowl - real original I know.

Here are the ingredients:
1/4 - 1/2 cup prepared quinoa or brown rice* (optional)
1/2 cup corn (or 2 fresh cobs)
1/2 can of black beans
half of an avocado
1/2 fresh pepper
4 cherry tomatoes quartered or 1 regular tomato chopped
chopped jalapeno to taste
juice of a lime
1 clove of garlic
drizzle of olive oil
5 sprigs of fresh cilantro chopped
If you're using fresh corn on the cob, boil that first.
Next chop up your veggies and combine them in a bowl with black beans.

Let your corn cool a bit, and while its doing so combine fresh pressed garlic, juice of a lime, a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste to make a dressing.

Once your corn is cooled enough to touch, cut the kernels off the cob then throw them on top of the rest of the mixture.  

Then toss everything together with the dressing and serve!  

I didn't use quinoa or rice this time, since I wasn't feeling super hungry tonight. If you add a grain, just add a bit of extra dressing or some fresh salsa. You could also add some chicken or ground beef for some extra protein. 


*Often at the beginning of the week I will prepare a pot of quinoa, I'll cook up 1 cup of quinoa in just over 2 cups of water, add in garlic, onion and salt and pepper, and then leave it in the fridge to be eaten throughout the week.  I do this because I am cooking for one and often find it a bit tedious to cook quinoa (or rice) for only a 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup serving.