Posts tagged ‘Walnuts’

May 17, 2011

Bad Girl, Stupid Bath Tub, oh, and some sort of a chicken sandwich!

I have a confession to make. I have been a very bad girl tonight! Very bad girl! I skipped exercise night. Voluntarily!! Out of my own free will!

Those who know me know that I NEVER skip exercise night, unless I have a VERY good reason. Tonight? I didn’t even have A reason, let alone a good one… I was just feeling blah, you know… BLAH!

So… I was actually changing into my exercising clothes when I had a vision: Me, in a bath! OOOOOOH, a bath. It had been well over a year since I’d last taken a bath! I could already feel the warm jets of water and air bubbles massaging my skin. Instantly, my body and mind went into relaxation mode and I KNEW I had no choice, I had to go for it!

I get upstairs, get the water going then bring all my stuff, you know, all the stuff you need when you take a bath: shampoo, conditioner, soap, bubble bath, cup of green tea

I get in the tub and anxiously wait for the water level to get high enough for me to get the jets going… water level is rising, rising… soon, so soon, it will happen. Finally, after what seems like forever, oooh, bliss, the magic moment is finally here… I press the power button…

NOTHING! NOTHING! The damn thing is broken and refuses to throw water and air bubbles at me. Does it not understand that I have just skipped exercise night to lose myself in it?

ARGH!ARGH!ARGH!ARGH!ARGH!ARGH!ARGH!ARGH!ARGH!

Oh well, I ended up staying like 20 minutes in a bubbless tub… I never stay much longer than that anyway. I hate it when my skin gets all wrinkley.

Now what? My stupid bath is over, I didn’t exercise, so I don’t even get to have an evening snack. Somehow, I feel robbed and frustrated. I think I will have a nice cup of warm unsweetened soy milk with a teaspoon of honey in it. There. That ought to make me feel better. Although with my luck, the milk will probably have gone bad!

Oh, and this is what I had for supper tonight. A super quick chicken sandwich made from leftover cooked chicken. Huge sandwich. And I didn’t even work it out. *sigh*  There’s always tomorrow…

These are the ingredients that I used:

  • 1 cooked chicken breast, diced
  • ½ Red Delicious Apple, diced (I ate the other half too!)
  • 20g blue cheese, crumbled
  • 20g toasted walnuts, chopped
  • 2 tbsp low fat sour cream
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Just mix everything together and throw it between two slices of good, toasted whole grain bread (or a super cute triangular bread like the one I got!) with a few green leaves and a handful of alfalfa sprouts.

April 20, 2011

Buckwheat pancakes with Apples and Cottage Cheese

I love buckwheat pancakes. I remember when I was a kid, my dad used to make huge batches, like millions of them, and as soon as he’s have a few ready, he’d call us: “Y a des galettes de prêtes!” (meaning: some pancakes are ready) We’d all come running and sat down to devour them with loads of molasses while he stood at the stove and kept them coming for as long as we’d eat. Buckwheat pancake mornings always felt like party to me, they made me so happy. Maybe that’s why I still love them so much to this day.

Funny thing is I’m the one making the pancakes now, but I do things a little differently. I only serve them when I’m done cooking the whole batch, save for my dad. As soon as the second one is ready, I serve it to him. Why the second? Because the first one, for some strange reason, never comes out quite right. And my dad only deserves the very best. No way he’s getting that second grade first pancake. And if he wants another one when he’s done eating the first, he gets the next fresh one that comes out of the pan. Molasses gets drizzled very lightly on both sides of the pancake, then I swish it around to get it to soak all the way through. That’s how he likes it.

Of course, buckwheat and molasses is a match made in heaven, a classic! But I am discovering more and more winning combinations. For example, during Lent, I decided that molasses was off limits, too sweet, so I tried almond butter and bananas! YUM! So good! The following, however, would be one of my favorites: Apples, cinnamon and cheese. Just feast your eyes… you’ll more than likely share my opinion!

Buckwheat pancakes
(yields 3-4 large pancakes)

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda

Instructions

  • In large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Add water slowly, whisking constantly, until the batter is very smooth. Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes (or make the day before and leave in the refrigerator overnight).
  • Pour desired amount of batter in a very hot pan or cast iron skillet coated with cooking spray. Wait until pancake  starts to set and bottom is nice and golden then flip. Continue cooking until bottom is golden then transfer to plate.
  • Repeat process until you’re out of batter.

Apples

You need approximately one apple per pancake. Simply peel and dice the apples, then cook them in a skillet over medium heat until they start to soften. If you’re like me, you’ll want to add lots of cinnamon!

Assembly

To assemble, put pancakes nice side down on a plate. Spread about ½ cup low fat cottage cheese in the center, top that with cooked apples and fold each side towards the center.

Garnish with  low fat plain yogurt, apple slices and toasted walnuts. A little drizzle of liquid honey brings the finishing touch to this beautiful dish.

March 17, 2011

Olive and Sun Dried Tomatoes Grilled Polenta

When it comes to making polenta, I have close to no experience. In fact, I have close to no experience with polenta period. I’ve only had it maybe 5 times in my entire life. Or perhaps it was 6. I discovered this delicacy about a year ago, at a restaurant not too far fr0m home. I loved it so much, I almost fell off my chair. I had to go back a few times just for their polenta… until they changed the way they serve it. I didn’t like it. So I tried making it at home. My first try was not very successful. I ended up with a lot of lumps and it was very dry… Tonight’s was a lot better, but still, it wasn’t what I would call creamy. And that is precisely what I love about polenta. The contrast between the creaminess of the interior and the slight crunchiess of the grilled exterior.

Some say you have to cook polenta for like forever. Others say that it’s totally unnecessary, that it won’t make it any creamier. I guess it’s a trial and error thing and once you’ve found a recipe and technique that suits you, then you stick with it. One thing that would make sense to me, however, is that a lot of the creaminess comes from milk, cream, butter and/or parmesan cheese that is often added to the polenta after it’s done cooking. Of course, I don’t want to add any butter or cream or any other kind of fat to my polenta, so I assume I’ll have to settle for a little bit of dryness.

Tonight’s version may not have been decadently rich and creamy, but it was very acceptable nonetheless. Nice and crispy on the exterior, nice and soft on the interior. Definitely what I would call a keeper, although next time I will try cooking it a little bit longer. Unless someone has good tips or suggestions for me, which would be much appreciated, this is the recipe I will be using from now on.

Ingredients
(serves 3-4)

  • 4 cups water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 175 grams polenta
  • about 2 tbsp each: sliced green olives, sliced kalamata, chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • 30-40 grams blue cheese, crumbled
  • 30 grams toasted walnuts, crushed
  • Mixed greens
  • Balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  • In large saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil. Add corn meal gradually, whisking continually. Once you have added all the cornmeal, lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, whisking every 2 minutes or so, until the polenta no longer attaches to the sides.
  • Pour polenta in a 8″ cake pan, coated with cooking spray. Press evenly, cover with plastic film and put in the refrigerator until completely chilled.
  • Take the polenta out of the pan, cut it into 6 or 8 wedges, then cut each wedge horizontally, so that you end up with 2 slices to make a “sandwich”
  • Add a few crumbles of blue cheese and crushed walnuts on one of the 2 halves then top with the other half.
  • Brush with a little bit of olive oil and grill in a non stick pan until nice and golden, about 5-7 minutes per side.
  • Serve on a bed of mixed greens, garnish with a bit more blue cheese crumbles and walnuts, sprinkle with a few drops of balsamic vinegar.