Barely Surviving The A to Z Blogging Challenge

 

It has been almost a week since the thirty-day A to Z Blogging Challenge, blogging my way through the alphabet. I have participated in the writing challenge for three years and this time I felt I was not at my best even though I loved my theme: When I’m not writing, I’m cooking! I am passionate about cooking as I am about writing. As I wrote each blog I had real intention to show my love of food and preparing great meals, share memories as a child and learn about foods I haven’t cooked with. Like writing, cooking is a creative journey that I love to share.

I have been trying to get a cover designed for my first hospitality memoir: Behind The Kitchen Doors – A Hotel Memoir and I “thought” it would be a relatively simple process. I should never assume. The designer and I are have been back and forth many times on the cover and even though I thought I had the vision of what I wanted in my head, it hasn’t quite come together. I think I have given a good description of what I would like for the cover, but it has taken me a few times to get the right words to share what I am looking for. I am still working with the designer because I have been working at my full-time job and I really should be focused on what matters. So then why is this taking me so long? Why is the ego slipping into old behavior’s “thinking” the project will just happen without any action? I know that work is required and I’m ready to get the work done. So get to it! I tell myself as I putter around the house looking for something to distract me. I am very aware of my procrastination and it is time to kick the ego to the curb and get some work done!

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

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Swimming up Stream

Growing up in Nova Scotia, you would think I would be a custom to seafood. Ironically, my mother didn’t like fish, so we were limited to the seafood that came across our plates. When I moved out West over twenty years ago I was pleased to be able to buy salmon and cook it for myself. When my mothers ask what I am making for dinner and I share a BBQ Salmon I can see her nose curl up. The funny thing is I do the same thing about eggs. I guess we all have our hang-ups with certain foods.

There are so many varieties of Salmon: Sockeye, Chum, Chinook, Coho, Pink, and my personal favorite, being from the East Coast, the Atlantic Salmon. Now that I live in BC, I am surrounded by over five types of salmon and salmon fishing is a big business on the West Coast. Our dining room in the hotel I work for offers a pink salmon entrée and every time someone orders the dish, a dollar is donated to the Pacific Salmon Foundation. This non-profit foundation is dedicated to the conservation and restoration of wild Pacific salmon and their natural habitats in British Columbia and the Yukon.

My husband and I are dedicated to a plant-based menu but we do eat seafood from time to time. Both of us being from the East Coast enjoy Salmon and we have married a vegetarian fried rice dish with baked salmon. We put the salmon in a tin-foil pocket with butter, dill, and lemon. Bake at 375 degrees for about 10-15 minutes depending on the size)

Thug Kitchen Five-spice Fried Rice:

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped into dice-sized cubes
2 tsp grapeseed, sesame or avocado oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/4 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp Sriracha or chili paste
4 cups cooked short grain rice
1 cup bitter greens, chopped ( we use spinach )
1/2 cup sliced green onions (optional)
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat.
  2. Add the sweet potato and two tbsp of water and stir-fry, stirring often, for about 5-8 minutes until the potato is tender and starting to brown.  Add more water if the potato starts to stick.
  3.  Add yellow onion and carrot and continue to stir-fry for another 3 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
  4.  Add the 5-spice powder and garlic and stir-fry for 1-2 more minutes.  Remove all vegetables from the pan, cover and set aside.
  5.  Mix soy sauce, rice vinegar, and Sriracha in a small bowl. (Sometimes we double the amount – it’s really good!)
  6. Heat the remaining oil in the wok over medium heat.
  7.  Add the cooked rice and stir-fry until warm, approximately 5 minutes.
  8.  Add the sauce mix and the vegetables, plus the peas to the rice and mix well.
  9.  Stir-fry for another 1-3 minutes.
  10.  Fold in bitter greens and green onions
  11. Top with baked salmon.

Serve and enjoy!

Until Next Tomorrow, Keep on Typing…

Just For the Halibut

The halibut fish is a flat diamond shape fish mostly found in the Atlantic and Pacific North West regions. The common name halibut actually comes from two Latin words ‘hal‘ meaning holy and ‘butt’ meaning a flat fish, such as a flounder. (Thank you World Fishing Network). So the Halibut is a holy fish, no wonder it was a treat when I was growing up in Nova Scotia when the staple was cod for every fish based entree and the beloved cod fish and chips. When I moved out west I was tickled pink to find halibut and chips or a halibut burger on a menu.

I didn’t want this to be a history lesson on the flounder family fish, but it doesn’t hurt to know where your food is coming from. I like to know that if I am buying fish in the grocery store that it is coming from our local waters, not a fish farm across the world being frozen to our plates. I bought a lovely piece of halibut from our local grocery store that came from our very own Pacific northwest ocean.

We were going to make veggie ground tacos but when I saw the halibut I immediately thought of halibut tacos! I found this Quick & Easy Fish Taco recipe and replaced the tilapia with halibut, it was light, fresh and delicious! Instead of the sour cream dressing, we made a fresh guacamole. I hope you enjoy.

Until tomorrow, keep on tying…

 

For more fun recipes and an advance read of my debut memoir, Behind the Kitchen Doors ~ A  Hotel Memoir ~ The Summer Series, check out my NewsLetter ~ See you there!

 

When Was your First Date?

Dates used to be this mystery food to me as a young girl. The sticky shivered looking brown fruit was not appealing to me at all. People tried to disguise it in a so-called dessert, like the date square. There was no fooling me, I could still see hunks of the fruit between the graham wafer crust and crumble topping. No thank you. Until…

Years later when I moved away from home and my palate changed. I participated in a fourteen-day raw food chef certification class in Oyster Bay, BC hosted by Rose Vasile, Raw Rose herself opened my eyes to the benefits of raw food. Dates are a staple in a raw food lifestyle. For fourteen days my relationship with dates became a great love affair.

Dates were in our morning green smoothies to provide a natural sweetener, they bound together the walnut and chia seed pie crusts and made the stews thick with a soft sweetness that mellowed out the jalapeno.

I don’t follow a strict raw menu but we are about 90% plant-based and I continue to use dates in salsa’s, smoothies, granola bars, breakfast muffins, mole sauces and so much more! Now the flip side, my husband an I really enjoy an appetizer at one of our favorite Tapa Bars in Victoria, BC, simply called, The Tapa Bar. The almost stuffed date wrapped in bacon with blue cheese crumble is delicious!

My husband and I discovered this simple Mole Sauce that we serve with rice. I substitute the raisins for dates to balance our the chipotle peppers. It’s a great dish to bring to any potluck!

Until tomorrow, keep on typing…

 

Carrots are Good for your Eyes

“Eat more carrots, they’re good for your eyes.” my mother and several of my maternal figures in my young life stated. I’m sure it was a ploy to make me eat more vegetables, even as I snaked on raw or had cooked carrots at every holiday meal, I still ended up needing glasses and to point out, my mother and all women on my mother’s side of the family wear glasses. Go figure!

I have to give my family credit to my healthy eating habits from their gentle nudges of ‘eat more carrots’. I do like carrots and my husband and I eat them almost on a daily basis. For example: on any given Sunday we will make a veggie pot pie filled with roasted carrots other great veggies, the next day I took carrots sticks to work as my mid-afternoon snack. Then on a random Wednesday or Thursday, we will make a veggie shepherds pie with freshly roasted carrots and maybe the same week we will make a fried rice with carrots, sweet potatoes and peas. There is always a bag of carrots in our fridge at all times.

One of our new favorite ways to incorporate carrots is in different slaws and garnishes for tacos and banh-mi sandwiches. One slaw we really like is from the Thug Kitchen party cookbook, we use it on the cauliflower and mushroom banh-mi open-faced sandwich, lentil tacos and so many other great dishes that need a little crunch!

Radish and Carrot Slaw
• 4 medium radishes, cut into matchstick (about 1 cup) (sometimes I use regular or purple cabbage to switch things up)
• 2 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks (about 1 cup)
• 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
• 1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari
• 1 tablespoon lime juice
• 1 teaspoon agave syrup of your favorite liquid sweetener (I use honey or maple syrup)

Add ever together and enjoy!

Until tomorrow, keep on typing…

Blueberries and Beets Oh My!

When I think of blueberries I think of blueberry pie and my grandmother Berry, Laura, who I thought made the best blueberry pies. This makes me smile to think of when she would place a piece of blueberry pie on a fancy pie plate with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in front of me. The tartness of fresh blueberries from the farms blueberry bushes made the back of my teeth zing!

When I think of beets as a young girl my nose curls up with the weird smells of pickled beets my grandmother and parents use to make. The acidity of the vinegar filled the kitchen and made my eyes tear up. I never liked the look of my father’s fingers stained with the red beet. But over time the estranged relationship of the beet changed. I was in Mahone Bay, NS and had a roasted beet salad that changed my mind about beets. There was something about roasting the vegetable and adding a simple oil olive goat cheese dressing that made my taste buds dance. Now, my husband and I enjoy beets on a monthly if not a bi-weekly basis.

I am a devoted reader of Saltscapes, a wonderful heartfelt east coast magazine with a section filled with home-town Nova Scotia recipes, called Kitchen Party, exactly what I feel when I’m in the kitchen, a party for great food to feed the soul, mind, and spirit. The most recent issue had a fun recipe for a Beet and Bluebeery Bruschetta by Jeannie Stone from St Peters, NS. She won the grand prize for the beet challenge contest hosted by Saltscapes.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

3 roasted beets
4 strips crumbled bacon
½ cup (125 ml) goat cheese
1 french baguette
1 tbsp (15 ml) oil
Salt & pepper
1 cup (250 ml) wild blueberries
3 tbsp (45 ml) maple syrup
¼ cup (50 ml) butter
1 tbsp (15 ml) vinegar

• Bake bacon and maple syrup together at 400 F for 20 minutes. Cool and crumble.
• Chop roasted beets finely and add vinegar, oil, salt and pepper and blueberries. Slice and butter baguette and bake at 400 F for 1 minute.
• Take out and add bacon to beet mixture and some crumbled goat cheese and put back in oven at 450 F for 2 minutes, watching carefully that it doesn’t burn.
• Enjoy!

Until tomorrow, keep on typing…

 

A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal

I’m a little late to the party, but that’s me!

I will be participating in the 2018 A to Z Challenge this year – what is the challenge? It’s a month-long blogging challenge starting April 1st with the premise of every day (except Sunday’s) to post a blog starting with the first letter of the alphabet. Ingenious! Well, so I thought until I got to the letter X at the end of the month during my first experience with the challenge.

What will I be blogging about this year?

If I’m not writing, I’m cooking!

I love words and I love food – so why not put them together for a recipe of passion of the two creative modalities that bring me joy and peace.

 

 

I hope you will join me each day or you can wait until one day during the week to snuggle in your favorite chair with a cold beer or cup of tea and take part in the journey of a girl who loves to write, cook and share some adventures in the kitchen.

See you there!