Welcome to my blog! I appreciate you coming to visit. I’m in the process of slowly moving to wordpress from blogger. All of my new recipes are being posted here but there are a few awesome ones left over at the old site. If you want to hop over there and have a peak, you can find it here www.alimentarydearwatson.blogspot.com
I will do anything for a baby goat
I’m learning to be passionate about being healthy and in the process I’m learning what it means to actually be healthy. 3 years ago, my culinary prowess was pretty much limited to rice … from the mircowave. When I started teaching myself how to cook, I began by using recipes that had 5 ingredients or less and included ingredients that I already had on hand or could easily hunt down. In 2009 I started Weight Watchers and lost 50 pounds in six months. I started plugging away at this blog in response to the friends and family who wanted access to the healthy recipes that were helping me lose weight. In February of 2012, my boyfriend and I committed 60 days to a Gluten Free diet in the interest of seeing what changes we encountered. The 60 days came and went and we are still living a GF lifestyle. We both lost 10 pounds, feel more energized and more clear headed and to top it all off, my skin conditions are clearing up, including Rosacea, which has tortured me for 6 years! I’m not here to preach a GF diet though, I’m interested in helping people lead a healthier lifestyle. Keeping that in mind, all of these recipes can easily be adapted to meet a non-gluten free life, so please don’t let it intimidate you. This blog has had a few facelifts, adapting as I adapt. I’ve started going back and tagging everything differently. If a recipe has been tagged Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Vegan etc. it simply means I’ve offered alternatives to meet those needs. Every recipe that I post has been made and tested by me and my significant other. They all meet my standards of easy to medium difficulty and for the most part won’t take up a lot of time in your busy day. I am more than happy to answer questions, as well as help you adapt a recipe to your needs (one I’ve posted or you can email me one if you have something in mind) I also love comments!
I crave phở like I crave sushi. Not often but every once in a while I just need some strong flavourful broth. I’ve had bad phở and I’ve had awesome phở and for me, it’s usually about the broth. Sometimes it’s too sweet, sometimes too fish-saucey and others give me the perfect balance of flavor depth. I don’t get very brave with tripe and what-not and stick to what I know with thin-sliced raw beef or chicken. The last restaurant bought phở I had was not very impressive. The beef slices were all stuck together in one big clump, hard to pull apart and mushy. Blech! It’s a good thing it’s cheap or I’d have a hard time spending money on it. Phở is one of those dishes that people don’t typically make at home because it’s ‘a labor of love’ and thus I had never even considered attempting it. So, naturally, I was a bit floored when I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen. It’s actually quite simple, doesn’t have a million, complicated and inaccessible ingredients. The ingredients that you do need are super inexpensive and aside from the chicken I think I spent a total of $4 on this meal. It is time consuming though. All in all, it takes probably 3.5 hours to make but there certainly isn’t a lot of effort involved. Just a lot of simmering. I would consider this a perfect recipe for new and practicing cooks and the results are more than worth the time! I actually got so darn excited making it that I forgot to add basil and lime!
I found a ridiculously good twist on a classic banana bread. Roasted strawberries! I can’t believe how incredible the strawberries smelled while roasting in the oven. I wanted to eat them right off the pan. But I can assure you, the bread itself did not last long. I haven’t been able to bring myself to make it again because I’ll just eat it all. I made this for my family at my mom’s house. My Uncle is diabetic so I made one with chocolate chips and one without. They were both, REALLY good. Made with gluten free all purpose flour, it turned out moist, soft and not crumbly at all. Of course, you can make it with whole wheat or white all purpose flour. Whichever you have on hand and prefer.
Some of my favourite recipes are on this list. Crockpot Short Ribs are up there for sure. I make Homemade Yogurt weekly. I don’t know how the Mexican Black Bean sauce ends up at the top every month but there it is! Don’t get me wrong, it’s a kickass sauce – healthy, easy to make and handy for so many things. Out of 150 or so recipes though, I don’t know how it keeps making it to the top. I won’t complain though, it just means you guys get to keep seeing it and hopefully will be inspired to make it. I know, I know – it needs better pictures. Next time, I promise.
I hope everyone had an awesome Christmas holiday and celebrated the New Year safely and with friends and loved ones. Every Christmas we head to the Okanagan for Christmas with my family. This was one of the best Christmases I’ve had in a while. My brother had his first baby this year so my mom is over the moon happy have a Granddaughter to spoil. It has been a long year, even though it’s gone by ridiculously fast. My father was diagnosed with cancer this summer and I think we were all exuding gratitude that he was still with us and his treatment seems to be working. My parent’s house is a relaxing place for us. In the middle of nowhere, 18 acres of riverfront property. Not much to do in the winter, except sit in front of the fireplace, but in the summer we enjoy going into the mountains and down to the river for some fishing – which is always an exercise in futility! We spent our New Years celebrating in Victoria with some friends. It was nice and relaxing and quiet. We’re getting on in age … sort of … and we all really just prefer a couple people, some drinks, games and being in bed by 12:05. That’s exactly what it was. I hope you all got what you wanted out of the holidays and I hope 2014 is good to you.
Who doesn’t love ribs? I mean, aside from Mike, who doesn’t? Anybody else out there as crazy as my man to not like ribs? Lunacy! I’ll tell you though, the reason he doesn’t like ribs is the bone. He’s not a fan of using his fingers to eat – doesn’t want to ruin his manicure… Just kidding, he just doesn’t like messy fingers. I don’t either but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make for the tender, saucy, succulent meaty ribs. And pizza – of which he also uses a fork and knife. So, I thought I’d do something nice for him and hunted down some rib fingers. Basically, the rib meat without the bone. I whisked together some homemade, no-cook bbq sauce and let the crockpot do the work. I put them with some mashed potatoes (also a treat around here) and some garlic green beans. The sauce is misleading, a taste from the pot is overly vinegary and I really wasn’t sure about it. But then I tried the meat and had no doubts. It was perfect. Sprinkled a bit of sauce over my potatoes and had a pretty well-rounded, delicious meal if I do say so myself!
I have some serious rants about yogurt. Things that really just get my goat every time I buy it. We like it for breakfast, I use it in cooking and some baking but is it just me or is it outrageously expensive? I could easily spend $50 a week on yogurt. I want to say that I do this without batting an eye but that’s just not true. There is a lot of eye-batting at the dairy counter. Plenty of blink-blinking going on! Another thing that causes excessive blinking is the ‘nutritional value’. When was the last time you looked at the nutritional information on your favourite yogurt? I’m usually pretty shocked by the amount of sugar and fat in one of those itty bitty containers. Itty. Bitty.
Which leads me straight into complaint #3 – Is there anybody out there that thinks a 2oz container of yogurt is satisfying? Aside from a 3 year old, that is. I’ve noticed over the years that the sugar content is going up but the servings are getting smaller. Ridiculous! Complaint #4 stems from the part of me that likes to know where my food comes from. I don’t know where the milk came from, what kind of process it went through, how long it sat before being fermented etc. So yeah, then there’s that. But we all know I like the easy things in life. Anything to make life a little more convenient, a little bit more tolerant of my laziness, I’m in. And we certainly know I love my slow cooker. Homemade yogurt has got to be one of the easiest kitchen experiences – EVER. I started off by making this on the stovetop. It’s a great method for small batches but is a smidge more high maintenance in that you really have to monitor the temperature. Make this once and you’ll never have to buy yogurt again. With this recipe you can control where you buy your milk and what you put in the yogurt in the way of flavor; as much or as little sugar as you want, fresh berries, honey – you choose! It’s perfect in every way – you can probably tell I’m passionate about my yogurt.
2L Whole Milk – Organic (I use Avalon)
1/2 cup Plain Yogurt – with Active cultures **SEE NOTES
- Pour milk into 6 quart (or bigger) slow cooker. Turn to low and heat for three hours or until 180°F. Watch it for the first batch so you get an idea what your slow cooker does with it.
- Once it has reached the ideal temperature (or after 3 hours) turn the slow cooker off and let cool for 2 hours or until it reaches 130°F.
- Stir in the half cup of active yogurt and wrap in a blanket or a couple thick towels. Let sit over night or for 8-12 hours. Remove from slow cooker to large sealable container and refrigerate. It will thicken as it cools.
- Reserve 1/2 cup of yogurt from every new batch of yogurt to use as your active cultures for the next batch! You’ll never have to buy it again!
- I use Activia but the container will tell you if it has active cultures (probiotics)
- Your yogurt should last 7-10 days in the fridge. If you see pretty colors, it has started the molding process. (As a science experiement, the colors you get on your yogurt depend on the type of milk, and the overall temperatures you used to make it)
- My slow cooker is ancient and never reached 180°F. I went with it anyways and it turned out perfect so don’t stress if you can’t quite reach that temperature.
- Word on the street is you can freeze your yogurt without harming the active cultures so if you want, you can freeze your 1/2 cup starter but I would make sure it’s room or at least fridge temperature before throwing it in the crockpot.
- If you want a thicker or greek-ier yogurt, strain your yogurt through cheesecloth for a few hours. You can be resourceful and set aside the strained milk and use it for baking.
- If you want to make this on the stove, heat 1L milk in a saucepan until 180°F. Turn element off and let cool to 130°F. Stir in 1 tbsp active yogurt. Pour milk into a thermal container like a small cooler or a thermos. Wrap in a towel and put in the oven with the oven light on (keeps it warm but not hot). Leave over night then refrigerate.
Weight Watchers points per serving – 1 point per 1/2 cup
Calories – 103.7
Fat – 0g
Fibre – 0g
Sodium – 69.1mg
Carbohydrates – 7.8g
Protein – 5.6g
Allow me to introduce you to Indian spice. If you’re not familiar with cooking Indian spices but are curious, this is the perfect recipe. It couldn’t be simpler to make and the hardest part is making sure you have all of the spices. Luckily though, they should be easily sourced from any large grocery store, but definitely from an Indian grocer! I buy mine in bulk so I can buy small amounts and they’re as fresh as possible when I use them. That being said, if you like Indian food in general, you will not regret having any of these spices on hand! A good investment for sure. This recipe is similar in flavor to an African Bobotie, but without the bread and eggs. It’s much easier to make and is lower in calories and fat. Anyways, if you want to take a tiny step outside of your culinary box, or just want a super stripped back, basic recipe for dinner, try this. And then tell me that you love it.
It has been so long since I’ve done a fave five post. It seemed like they were too similar every month. Which I guess isn’t a bad thing, it means the viewing of certain posts is consistent and makes them popular. And while the number of views per post is still really insignificant, I have seen a large increase in traffic which makes me happy. I’m putting more effort into posting regularly – once a week hopefully – and my man bought me a new camera so I’ve been practicing with food photography. I have no photography skills whatsoever so it’s a fantastic learning process! I even bought an e-book on food photography at home. I’m hoping to set up a small infinity booth for pictures too! I know people are drawn to beautiful pictures of delicious food and far too many of my recipes don’t have any pictures at all, let alone nice pictures. I’m working on that. There’ll be a lot of cooking going on once I’m set up. Movin’ on up friends, movin’ on up!
This recipe is from the Eat, Shrink and Be Merry cookbook. A friend photocopied it and gave it to me and it’s taken me a good year and a half to get around to making it. Quite unfortunate really because it’s incredibly delicious and surprisingly low in fat! I tried it out on friends last night and I think it was a winner. It’s absolutely packed with flavor and I think you’d be hard pressed to distinguish this dish from one in a restaurant! I served it over steamed Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli) and Bok Choy although the picture shows it over rice.
Beef. Broccoli. Sauce. What more does one need in life? A personal chef you say? Well, I can’t give you that but I can say that the next best thing is a crock pot/slow cooker. Come home from work, dinner is made and it’s like your personal chef has been slaving over a hot stove all afternoon. I really just like the simplicity of this recipe. All of the ingredients are basic and are certainly pantry staples in my house. This recipe has a nice flavor, not spicy, not sweet, not salty. Just delicious. Your kids will probably like it too!