Cauliflower Potato Soup

I’m back, with a very important message: Make.  This.  Soup.

I know what you’re thinking.  Does this girl know how to make anything other than soups that contain potato?  The answer is no.  I’m fine with it.

The boys loved it, I loved it.  I brought it to work for lunch and it was a hit with all two of my co-workers.  I’m practically the most popular girl in the office now.

In other news, at 9:30am on Sunday morning the Bud asked me what we were having for dinner.  Gosh, I just love him.  A boy after my own heart.

I’ll be back soon with another recipe that I must share.  And then Christmas cookies.
And you thought I was gone for good.  Sometimes I get a little dramatic.
FALSE ALARM.

Source: Tasty Kitchen

Cauliflower and Potato Soup

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large head cauliflower, cut in florets and washed
4 potatoes, peeled and  cut into 1″ cubes
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 cups chicken (or veggie) stock, heated
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoons paprika
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cups light sour cream
Green onions, chopped (for garnish)
Croutons, homemade or store-bought (for garnish)

Preparation Instructions

In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil; add to this the cauliflower florets, the cubed potatoes, the onion and the garlic. Gently stir for several minutes to coat in the butter/oil. Add the hot chicken (or veggie) stock to the pot, stir, and then add the salt, pepper and paprika. Allow to gently simmer on medium-low heat, uncovered, for about 20-22 minutes, until potatoes are tender.  Once vegetables are tender, remove from heat. Using a hand-held immersion blender, puree thoroughly until completely smooth and silky. (If using a blender, blend in small increments to prevent the soup from splattering, and return to pot.)Finish the soup by whisking in the lemon juice and the light sour cream. Check and adjust the salt/pepper, if necessary.
Ladle into bowls and garnish each bowl with 1 teaspoon of chopped green onion, and 2 tablespoons of croutons.

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Health is Happiness – Week Four

Day 22 – Only Eat When You’re Hungry
Many Canadians use food as something other than fuel.  The next time you’re bored or depressed, don’t reach for comfort foods that are high in fat and low in nutrition – find something else to do, such as going for a walk or calling a friend. (Note: Don’t call me.  I probably won’t answer.)

Day 23 – Take a Walking Break at Work
Canada’s physical activity guidelines suggest that adults accumulate at least 150 minutes of physical activity every week – but that doesn’t mean you have to do it all at once.  In fact, introducing 10-minute bursts of activity into your daily work routine is a proven way to boost both productivity and job satisfaction.

Day 24 – Cut Down on the Caffeine
Caffeine, found in coffee, tea, soda and energy drinks, acts as a stimulant, giving your body what may feel like a boost of energy.  But that boost takes its toll on your nervous system, increasing anxiety and stress, while it diuretic properties can leave you dehydrated.  Try drinking water with a slice of citrus fruit before you reach for another cup of coffee.

Day 25 – Start a Health Journal
Keeping a written record can help hold you accountable for your overall health and serve as a powerful motivational tool.  Commit to tracking your calorie intake and how often you exercise.  Evaluate your results often and make plans for improvement.

Day 26 – Fill Up on Water
Waters helps regulate the body temperature, plays a role in your metabolism and helps your organs absorb nutrients.  is it any wonder you need at least eight cups a day to meet your body’s needs?

Day 27 – Pick Up a Jump Rope
Not only is skipping cheap and simple to do, but it offers a full body workout and can burn up to 1000 calories an hour.  jump your way to a great cardio workout while improving your condition, agility and endurance.

Day 28 – Work Out With a Friend
The YMCA has found that social support is positively associated with increased physical activity.  Use the buddy system to motivate, challenge and encourage each other – and have fun doing it.

Day 29 – Park Far Away From the Entrance
If you drive to work, see if you can squeeze in some exercise by switching your usual parking spot for one that’s farther away.  Even a 10-minute walk can help get your blood pumping.

Day 30 – Replace Juice With Fruit
Real fruit not only offers all the flavor and nutrition of juice (with added processed sugar), but it also offers more fibre and vitamins.

Source: Canadian Living

Health is Happiness – Week Three

Day 15 – Go Without Dessert
Change up your evening routine and try an after-dinner walk in lieu of dessert.  A single slice of apple pie, averaging 280 calories, could eat up 10 to 15 percent of your total recommended daily caloric intake.

Day 16 – Take 10,000 Steps
An inexpensive pedometer is a great wat to gauge your physical activity levels.  Participaction suggests setting a daily goal of 10,000 steps and a study published by Stats Canada earlier in the year showed that we’re not far off the mark: Canadian men accumulate and average of 9,500 steps per day and women walk an average of 8,400.

Day 17 – Fill the Fridge With Veggies
Keep two kinds of raw vegetables cut and washed in the fridge for quick snacks on the go.  The Dietitians of Canada say that having foods such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and celery handy will prevent you from reaching for high calorie snacks when you get hungry.

Day 18 – Laugh Out Loud!
A great way to nourish your mind and body is to give your sense of humour a workout.  Share a silly story, listen to a joke and learn to find the funny in situations that usually get you down.  Laughing can provide a powerful physical release that’s proven to relieve pain, lower blood pressure and improve your outlook.

Day 19 – Don’t Eat Before Bed
If you need to unwind at night with a bowl of ice cream, eat at least three hours before you hit the hay, or you run a greater risk of storing those calories as fat.  It’s important to eat the bulk of your calories while you’re most active.

Day 20 – Set a Smoking Quit Date
Within 48 hours of becoming smoke-free, your chances of having a heart attack start to decrease.  Within one year, your risk is cut in half.  Within 15 years, your risk is the same as someone who has never smoked.  Mark your planned quit date on the calendar and be sure to tell your friends and family.  Once you’ve set a goal and told people about it, you’ll be more likely to follow through.

Day 21 – Try the Y
Get active and try something new by checking out your local YMCA, YWCA, Boys and Girls Club or community centre to see what fitness programs it has to offer.

Source: Canadian Living

Break Time!

Dear Two-People-Who-Read-My-Blog (not counting my Mother),

Just wanted to let you all know that my posts will be less frequent, perhaps absent altogether in the next while. I’m a little busy trying to be Super Mom/Model Housewife/Career Woman/ Part-time student.  I can’t do everything…and it’s more important to have a child that has been bathed than a post about my latest kitchen masterpiece. I think.

Stay tuned. I hope to be back in full swing when the Bud turns 25.

E.

P.S. Also, I have to lose 10 pounds before I can start trying any new recipes.  All this cooking and baking has gone straight to my behind.

Health is Happiness – Week Two

Day 8 – Pack Lunch as a Family
Making your own lunch helps you avoid high-calorie convenience food.  The folks at Breakfast for Learning suggest reaching for whole grain bread instead of white when making sandwiches, and avoiding processed deli meats, which are high in sodium and contain chemical preservatives such as nitrates.

Day 9 – Make a Clean Sweep
Taking the time to organize one room in the house can help your heart and your mind! Not only is decluttering a great stress reliever, but doing 60 minutes of housework can burn up to 200 calories.  (UH, HELLO!  WHY DON’T I WEIGH 100 POUNDS?)

Day 10 – Walk and Talk
The next time you answer your mobile, stand up and get mobile!  According to the Heart and Stoke Foundation, even those who exercise regularly but still sit for long periods have a greater risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.  Simply standing and stretching your legs throughout the day can help you improve circulation and burn calories.

Day 11 – Ditch the Remote Control
Enjoying TV doesn’t have to mean becoming a couch potato.  The Canadian Obesity Network suggests adding some movement to your channel surfing by getting rid of the remote.  Even low-to-moderate activity like getting up to change the channel can help boost your metabolism.

Day 12 – Shop On A Full Stomach
You’re much more likely to cave to your cravings if you go to the grocery store hungry.  Before shopping, eat a satisfying protein-rich snack or meal that’s high in fibre to help you feel full longer.

Day 13 – Trade Your Entrée For An Appetizer
Portion sizes in restaurants are much larger now than they were 20 years ago, to the point where the average entrée packs a walloping 1,000 calories – nearly half of most people’s recommended daily allowance.  If you eat out this week, try swapping this calorie bomb for a simple appetizer, which is often hefty enough to satisfy hunger.

Day 14 – Add Weight To Your Walk
Fill a backpack with a few items (two or three cans of food, or a small bag of flour), put the pack on and take a 20 minute walk.  Lugging a heavier load helps you burn more calories, improves muscle strength and endurance, and provides a more rigorous cardiovascular workout.

Source: Canadian Living Magazine

Potato and Arugula Soup

All three of the soups I have posted are some form of potato.  I have a thing for carbs.  Is it obvious?  I’ll try to get a little more variety in the near future, but I make no promises.

Mmmm, carbs.

This was a nice change from the usual – the arugula gives it a little kick.

I don’t normally eat off my good china, but the bowls that came with our everyday dishes are the size of kiddy pools.

Source: The Toronto Star

Potato and Arugula Soup

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of oil or butter
3 leeks trimmed, cleaned and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 large potatoes, peeled, diced
4 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
pinch dried thyme
1 bunch of arugula, trimmed, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)

Preparation Instructions

Heat oil or butter in a large saucepan.  Add leeks and garlic, cook gently until tender and wilted, about 5 minutes.  Add potatoes and stir to combine.  Add stock, salt, pepper and thyme.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are very tender.  Soup can be served chunky or use a potato masher to crush some of the potatoes so that the soup is thick with chunks of potatoes and leeks.  It could also be blended.  If it’s too thick, add more stock or water.  If too thin, mash more potatoes.  Add chopped arugula to soup.  Heat until just wilted.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.  Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Toffee Crunch Cookies

When I first looked at this recipe, I was confused about the toffee part of the title.  Then I made them and it all became clear: these cookies have hunks of toffee in them.  They are fantastic.  They have oatmeal.  Oatmeal translates to HEALTHY.  Duh!

p.s. please watch your teeth while eating these little bundles.

Source: Tasty Kitchen

Toffee Crunch Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups quick oats
1 cup crispy rice cereal
1-¼ cup chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows

Preparation Instructions

Beat butter with sugars.  Add eggs one at a time, and then add vanilla. Beat in flour, baking soda and baking powder. Fold in oats, cereal, morsels and marshmallows.

Drop by the spoonful onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake in a 350ºF oven for 10-12 minutes.

Cool Curry Chicken

I used to really like this.  Then I made it once a week for like, a year and now I’m sick of it.  But, I still make it for C because he loves it and because I’m a good wife.

He plated this, hence the mess.  I took the picture, hence the sucking.
It looks kind of gross, I know.  I assure you – it is NOT.

This can be served hot or cold.

Source: Fare for Friends

Cool Curry Chicken

Ingredients

3-4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into large strips
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup honey
1/4 dijon mustard
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 tablespoon of curry powder
1/2 lime, juice and rind finely grated
1 teaspoon of salt
1 garlic clove, minced

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F.  Arrange chicken in a single layer in a baking dish.  In a metal saucepan, combine remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and pour over chicken.  Bake for 45 minutes, basting from time to time if necessary.  It can be served hot over rice or cold for a summer buffet with a rice salad.  Serves: 4-6

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

I made and ate this a few weeks ago, but looking at this picture, I’d like to make it and eat it again.  NOW.  This cake + a cup of tea or a cup of coffe or a glass of milk or a glass of wine = breakfast heaven.

This recipe comes from Edna Staebler – if you don’t know who she is, I’ll tell you…another time.  First, make this cake.  Then, we’ll talk.

Dear friends attending the girls weekend in Collingwood this weekend:  I am bringing this cake.  Well, not this one.  A fresh one.  I may ot may not share it with you.

Source: Food That Really Schmecks

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cup flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
For topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts

Preparation Instructions

Blend butter and sugar, add eggs and vanilla; beat well.  Combine sour cream and soda, add alternating with flour and baking powder to the creamed mixture.  Spread half the batter into a greased 9×9 cake pan.  Sprinkle with half of the topping.  Cover with the remaining batter and sprinkle the rest of the topping on top.  Bake at 350F for 45 minutes.

Health Is Happiness – Week One

I have been receiving Canadian Living magazine to my house for a year now – I bought the subscription through one of those school fundraisers and thought it might be good for recipe ideas.  It’s alright – I’ve gotten a couple from it.  My subscription is up next month and I wasn’t considering renewing it – but of course the October issue arrives and it’s got some good content!

The One Month Makeover : thirty-one small life changes that add up to a big difference.

Almost every magazine you open has an article or a challenge similar to this one – but I often find the suggestions to be WAY too difficult and take far more effort than I am willing to give.  But this one –  I feel like most of these are totally doable!  Simple and easy.

I’ll post one week’s worth of ideas for the next 4 weeks – some I already follow, some I am going to try.  I’ve fallen into a bit of a funk with my eating and exercise habits – I need all the help I can get.

Day 1 – Try an Exotic Fruit
Shake up your grocery list and introduce your family to new fruit snacks, meal and desserts that are fun and exciting to eat.  Instead of oranges, try lichees, which are also a good source of vitamin C.   Peel a pomegranate instead of a banana, or pick  mangosteens instead of strawberries – they’re packed with antioxidants that can prevent you from getting sick.

Day 2 – Take Sugar Out of Coffee and Tea
According to the Dietitians of Canada, lowering the amount of sugar in your drinks is a great way to help balance your daily calorie count and help reduce your risk for diabetes.  Start by using just one teaspoon less in your daily coffee or tea.  Continue using less until you’ve ditched the sweet stuff altogether.  Once you get used to the taste, you’ll likely find you don’t miss the sugar at all. (Note: true fact.  I made this move a couple of years ago – it’s not as bad as you think.   Now the thought if sugar in my coffee totally grosses me out.)

Day 3 – Drink Less Alcohol
Excessive drinking has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.  The Dietitians of Canada suggest limiting yourself to one or two drinks per day with a weekly maximum of nine drinks for women and fourteen drinks for men.

Day 4 – Eat Slowly
Whether you eat at a snail’s pace or shovel it in, it takes about 20 minutes for our brains to register that we’re full, which explains why slow eaters tend to be satisfied with smaller portions.  Avoid eating when you’re on the go, when you’re sitting at your desk or when you’re in a high pressure environment, as these conditions can encourage you to eat too quickly.  Instead, sit back, relax and take time to enjoy your meal. (This – I need to work on.  I eat every meal and snack like I’m in a hotdog eating competition.)

Day 5 – Get Eight Hours of Sleep
A good night’s rest allows your body to produce reparative protein molecules, lowers blood pressure and decreases stress.  According to the Canadian Obesity Network, it also helps you maintain a healthy weight by regulating the hormones that control appetite.

Day 6 – Avoid Eating A Processed Breakfast
The most important meal of th day isn’t quite the healthy start it’s intended to be if it’s loaded with sugary processed cereals and refined flour.  Instead, opt for foods such as fibre-rich fruit, whole grain bread and rolled oats.

Day 7 – Take the Stairs
Many of us spend our day in sedentary positions, sitting at desks for long periods of time. Climbing a few stairs each day is a simple way to incorporate activity into your daily routine and contribute to your cardiovascular health.

UH, easy!

Source: Canadian Living Magazine