January 31, 2013

Eat Your Greens: Kale

$1.80 worth of fresh kale
 If there's ever a choice between a sweet snack or a salty snack, I will 99% of the time choose the latter. Especially if it involves a snack that's got a crispy/crunchy texture, like potato chips or tortilla chips or crackers, cheese crackers!! I'll even eat a bag of croutons over a slice of chocolate cake, believe it or not. None of these things are "healthy" and none of these things will let you eat just one. Sure you can tell yourself that you will -but we all know that never happens.

Enter, the kale chip.

I've seen these on food blogs, read about them and noticed how popular they are/have become but never really got around to making them, until now! It's pretty safe to say that I've been missing out and if you haven't tried these yet you're probably missing out too. I'm a fan of anything that's cheap and easy (har har har!!) and kale chips are both. I can get a huge bunch of kale for under $2.00! Here's the how-to. 

Wash and rip the leaves from the stem

Tear the leaves into two-bite pieces and drain. A salad spinning would be awesome for this!


Keep the stems! Preheat the oven to 325F convection or350F regular, rack in the middle.
Drizzle the kale with a tablespoon of olive oil and literally a pinch of sea salt.
Using your hands, rub the leaves together to distribute.
It's important to not over crowd the tray. We don't want any steaming action to happen.

After about 15 - 20 minutes, you've got kale chips! The times will vary, so keep an eye on them. Let them cool for a bout 3  minutes.

Once cooled, remove from the baking tray into a bowl.

Repeat until you've got no leaves left. Devour!!!

Read about why kale is such an awesome super food at WedMD and go and make yourself some of this deliciousness!! I like making a huge batch and keeping it fresh in an air tight container. If you've got those silica packets around, stick one in there to ensure no moisture gets in and stays. It'll keep well for about a week, maybe more but I can't tell you from experiance as they've never lasted that long in my household. 

Kale chips are a superb alternative to their potato counterparts. You can even add your own spices (chili powder, granulated garlic, dehydrated vegetable flakes and nutritional yeast would be awesome!) to taste. Just make sure to start with a light hand- a little goes a long way. 

We're obsessed!







Lens Pen PRO Kit


I got myself a set of (much needed) LensPens! I'll be honest with you, they were a much needed addition to my pack as I haven't been the best caretaker of my lenses in terms of keeping them free of dust and things. 


I bought them through The Shopping Channel with gift codes, so I was able to get them for zero dollars out of pocket! They generally sell for about $25 or under if you browse around. These things work amazing and I can't believe I've waited so long to get them. They're easy to use, fast and efficient.

There's a retractable side to each pen which holds a soft synthetic brush, while the opposite end with the screw on cap houses a little circular cleaning tip. Two steps: use the brush to dust and follow up with the cleaning tip for smudges and dirt. Voila, say good bye to finger prints (which should be there in the first place)!


To anyone with a camera, SLR or not, I highly recommend you get yourself one of these. If you don't want the kit, they're available to purchase individually as well. Plus, look how cute they are all snuggled into their microfiber case? :)


January 27, 2013

Weekend Vegetarian

Gardien
That, my friend is a meatless chick'n wing, smothered in barbeque sauce and you know what? It was darn good tasty. Rich and I went to visit his friend over the weekend and bonded over our (yes, our as in myself the meat eater included) love for Gardien products. I've written about them before, but guys, they make such yummy vegan products! 

We ended up at a Walmart way out of the way late in the evening, because they sold frozen Gardien packs of deliciousness. I wish they carried the entire line, but they don't and only had three varieties in stock. One of them was their Sweet and Tangy Barbeque Wings, which neither Rich nor his friend had tried. 

We bought one for dinner.

Any excuse to use my George Foreman Grill!

Little meatless nuggets. They thawed and cooked on the grill for about 5 minutes.

It came with a little packet of BBQ sauce, so I fired up the stove, added the sauce and gave them a good toss.


A plate of yumminess!!

We made pasta, I had mine with a caramelized red onions, garlic, vegan Becel, a touch of cheese and roasted tomatoes.
Oh, and a toasted savoury bread crumb topping for crunch and extra flavour!

Texture, just right. It's even got a bit of that shreddable-ness! The sauce coats each wing, perfectly.
These are a re-purchase, for sure. :)

January 24, 2013

Kitty Head Decor & Nails

Mix 'n Match
I had a little too much time on my hands yesterday evening, so I did my nails. I painted them a shade of robin's egg blue (can't tell you the name as I took E.L.F.'s Mint Cream polish and customized it) then took Revlon's Nail Art Expressions in Vincent Van Gold and doodled until my heart's content. Gold tips, vertical stripes and entirely gold. Makes me think I should be holding a vanilla cupcake piled high with bright petal pink frosting to complete the look.  :P  I'm hungry.

The striping brush is so easy to work with and control. I imagine that free handing a classic french manicure would be completely in a cinch!

Continuing along with my relaxed evening, I decided to try crocheting. I had some left over yarn so I used it for practice. It obviously wasn't enough to produce anything a human to wear, this Tank was the lucky recipient of this...little head band! 

 Look how happy!! Ha ha ha haaa.
She just sat there are tolerated my ridiculousness like a champ. I've trained her well. <3


Cottage Cheesecake & Red

Naked slice
 Thanks to Nordica, I had a free tub of cottage cheese in the fridge. I've tried cottage cheese before and the texture absolutely did not agree with me. It didn't even look appetizing and don't make me tell you what it reminded me of. There's no way I would be able to eat this on toast with eggs, healthy or not! So I thought of ways to make the product more appetizing.

First thing that came to mind was to blend it up, making something that was lump free, smooth and creamy. I considered straining the mixture to make it into a thicker, cream cheese like texture but I completely forgot about this when I stumbled across a recipe for a cheesecake made from cottage cheese. I was determined to make it as it would cut the fat by a lot and well, I love cheesecake!

Sauced

Glossy red, close up
 The recipe I got was from All Recipes and was called Oma's Cottage Cheesecake. It was straight forward and simple, just make sure you really blend it well. Pour it through a sieve if you have to! Make sure it's lump free. I made a graham cracker crust using whole crushed cookies and butter, omitting the extra sugar and cinnamon.  I read some of the reviews and decided to not add the additional milk and cut the sugar a little for the filling. I also added half a vanilla bean. Yum!

Crust and filling, 50/50 (I'm a big fan of the crust!)
 The sauce was super easy and quick. I grabbed a bag of Europe's Best Berry Cherry Medley, heated a sauce pan on high, poured in half the bag and added about 1/4 cup of water to help it along. The berries thawed and I added sugar, a pinch of salt and a touch of lemon juice to taste. After 5 minutes, I added a cornstarch slurry to thicken it up a little and was done!

Smooth and delish

I could have eaten the sauce all by itself! It would have been divine on ice cream too.

Super photogenic. Lots of photos.


 The texture was good; not overly dense and rich, but was just enough to satisfy a cheesecake craving. There was a lightness to it that was appreciated, the graham cracker crust was the perfect sweetness and added a nice texture.

Texture

Devouring
 The berry cherry sauce added a that extra...tangy sweetness that complimented the dessert well, making it overall a success! I would totally make this again and not feel (too) bad about eating it.



January 22, 2013

MTL Roast Chicken & Corn Bread

It was one of those "clear out the fridge (and freezer)" days when I made this for dinner. I had packs of whole chickens in the freezer waiting for its turn to become a meal, a 2kg bag of corn meal that was nearly forgotten and a bag of baby bok choy that someone had purchased but never cooked. I also had cartons of soy milk that were about to expire and a half a jar of Club House Montreal Steak rub to use up. Clearly I needed no meal planner- it was all there in plain sight! 


Since I was already going to be turning the oven on for an hour and a half to roast a chicken, I decided to roast two chickens. Why not? We love roast chicken salad sandwiches over here! It saves me time and engergy and it doubles as two meals. :D

I rubbed the chicken down with Club House's MTL marinade (which comes in a paste form) and shoved it in the oven at 400F for about an hour and a half or until done. I also made a batch of corn bread, recipe from All Recipes, which I fudged a little bit by subbing soy milk and vinegar for buttermilk and using a touch less butter. I just can't  add a whole half a cup of butter.

What's wrong with me?!




Do you see how juicy that chicken was when it was done?! I tented it and let it rest for about 15 minutes before quartering it. JUICES. EVERYWHERE. AWESOME. I strained the juice and separated most of the fat to add to my chicken salad. The juices end up "jelling" a little, I add less mayonnaise and the end result is moist, lesser in fat and has tonnes of flavour!

 The bok choy was sautéed with some garlic and roasted chicken stock for extra goodness. Overall, a delicious "in the oven" meal!

January 20, 2013

Winter Wasp


Look what Rich and I found! We were sitting on the couch in the living room watching television when he spotted a creepy crawly creeping it's way toward us. Initially we didn't know what it was, because the room was dark but we took a closer look (I was already standing on the couch, so I took a look from afar) it was a wasp!

Er...
1. How did he come in?
2. Wasps out in the winter?
3. Better catch it before it starts flying!



As you can see from the photos, Rich caught him in a plastic cup. He was going to release it, but I stopped him because wasps aren't supposed to be out in the winter and he was going to die for sure out in the freezing cold. 

I convinced him to let me try and...save it by keeping it indoors in my cup (later a glass jar). My plan was to release him when it was warmer. So I did a little research so see what wasps eat, gave him some maple syrup which he was quite fond of and a couple hours later he was buzzing around! 

His name is Martha. 




I would change his food and wash his jar every other day, I kept him inside where it was warm and even put little sticks in the jar for him to climb around in. He looked happier than he would have been if we had released him. He'd fly around a little, eat, poop and mill around. What a little cutie!

Fast forward two weeks later- one night I checked up on him and found him at the bottom, looking quite lame. Uh-oh. The next morning I found him dead. I guess mother nature had her way and it just wasn't meant to be.

RIP, little Martha!

About

Hi, I'm Janetta from Toronto. I cook, bake and make big messes. I photograph nearly everything and those photos will most likely end up being posted here. I've got a little black cat named Tank, who's super cute and a little bit nosy. You'll see a lot of photos of her too!

Contact me at: jubesandtank@gmail.com

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