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I’m sure there are loads of people like me out there who love to cook (and love eating even more), but when it comes to making something just for yourself it can be a real challenge. Which I know seems ridiculous, but I start out with great intentions to cook something fabulous, but by the time I actually get around to it, dinner becomes a hand full of nuts and some cheese. If I’m lucky some vegetables make it in there too.
So I had to look at my meal decision thought process, and scary enough, this is what I came up with:
A little while ago I got in “Wheat Belly” from the library. It’s the next in a line of books much like Food Rules and Forks over Knives – but this one is focusing on wheat… obviously.
It makes a few good points about what happened when they genetically modified wheat (much of it modified before there were any real safe guards or research in place – not that we really have those now… but I digress), about how much of it we are eating in our diets today and a lot of information about trials the author (a doctor) has done by having patient remove wheat from their diets.
I haven’t been feeling great about myself for the past little bit. A trip home to visit my parents (two of the very small amount of people I know who actually have scales) confirmed that I could stand to lose a pound or 25. Eventually I’d like to get back into the dating game and this just feels like something I should take care of first.
So… I decided to cut out wheat. And exercise more. By which I mean actually doing it on a regular basis.
It’s been three weeks.
I do feel better. I have no scale to actually say if anything has gotten better but my endurance and energy levels are up for sure.
I’m sleeping better. About a month ago I couldn’t sleep an entire night without the help of a little something.
If I slip up and decide to eat a bowl of cereal (actually it was half a mug of Cheerios because they are delicious and all my bowls were dirty), I feel like crap. Bloated and crampy. All in all a pretty good reason not to slip up – though Art-is-in’s potato dill bread still haunts my dreams with its deliciousness.
I don’t miss bread and wheat as much as I thought I would. I replaced my regular noodles with buckwheat noodles (which I’m told is alright) – so I still get my pasta fix. The only problem is that 99% of all convenience food is wheat based. So much for grabbing a little something to go. Thank goodness for take out sushi, cheese and nuts.
I’m eating more meat. That’s just laziness more than anything. But it seems that most of my vegetarian meals replaced meat with wheat. Go figure. But on average I would say I was eating something wheat based at every meal and possibly for snacks too.
I don’t get as starving hungry as I once did. I used to get what I call ‘Hangry’. Like you are so hungry you are getting angry because you are not eating right this second. I haven’t felt that in weeks. It also takes less to fill me up.
I can’t say for sure that the benefits I’m feeling so far are all from cutting out wheat - but I know some of them are for sure. One of the lovely ladies I work with is doing the same (minus the additional exercise) and she hasn’t had heart burn (which was an almost daily occurence for her) in almost 2 weeks.
Is cutting out / back on wheat for everyone. Hell no. Wheat is delicious. And I still plan to have a bit from time to time. But like meat, now I’ll only indulge on the good stuff. Sorry Kraft Dinner… I really will miss your weird powdered cheese.
Some of the best meals of my life have been with my fellow food bloggers. Besides insanely good company they allow me a luxury that no one else can offer… they encourage me to slack off and goof around. In the best way of course! By that I mean to say – if you are looking for a detailed, informative and professional post about the first Knives out Ottawa event (which was held at Murray Street Kitchen Wine and Charcuterie on October 22nd) - then might I suggest Foodie Print’s coverage??
Also their photos are killer. I, on the other hand, am still struggling my way through the dimly lit maze that is using an SLR. Bah well… this post isn’t really about that.
No. It’s about how much fun this dinner was. The whole night you could tell the Chefs were having a great time – and so were the diners.
Some people keep a picture of their loved ones in a locket like this… Kelly from The Gouda Life keeps a tooth from a pigs head she ate here at Murray Street KWC
Each of the 7 chefs (plus an additional 8th course created by Murray Street’s Paul Dubeau) created a course based on the theme of the night: “Pig and Music”. Who were those Chefs?? What were their dishes? I’m not completely inept – here you are:
Paul Dubeau – Murray Street Kitchen, Wine and Charcuterie
Liver & Scraps Amuse Pork liver hotdog, steamed bun with, Paul’s spicy mustard
“Mule Skinner Blues” – Lonnie Donnegan
Patrick Garland – Absinthe
The Head Head cheese, porchetta di testa and jowl pogo
“Pigs on the Wing” – Pink Floyd
Jamie Stunt & Simon Bell Bones – Oz Kafe
Pork consommé, smoked carrot ‘steak’, caramelized onions, marrow & horseradish butter
“Hearts & Bones” – Paul Simon
Chris Deraiche – Wellington Gastropub
Loin Grilled pea meal bacon, sunchoke, mustard hollandaise, pickled quail’s egg
“Guyute” – Phish
Steve Mitton – Murray Street Kitchen, Wine & Charcuterie
Blood & Offal Pig’s blood spaetzle, crispy confit pig’s tounge, smoked heart meatballs, trotter broth, pork rinds
“Filipino Box Spring Hog” – Tom Waits
Arup Jana – Allium
“Sacrilegious Goat Curry” Crispy pork shoulder curry, potato-peanut croquette, curried garlic puree, green chilies, mint yoghurt
“War Pigs” – Black Sabbath
Marc Lepine – Atelier
Sous vide pork leg, truffle, ramp, charred corn, chimichurri
“Pig” – Weezer
Marc Doiron – Town
Apple pork belly tart tatin, bourbon washed bacon ice cream, smoked crème fraiche
“Killer Parties” – Hold Steady
It was an amazing dinner, but I’ll say that I’m happy I had salad for lunch so that I could handle the pork-ness of the meal and have room for everything!
But it isn’t just amazing food, drink and service that make a wonderful meal. It’s your company as well. If you have never had the chance to dine with myself and the good folks at Foodieprints and The Gouda Life (and I’ve had a couple of glasses of wine) – this is what it sounds like:
“Can we eat the shit of this yet?” – My eternal lack of patience ever present (no wonder my photos never look as nice…)
“That sounds kind of dirty no? Asian style steamed bun??? Anyone?”
“Comes with happy ending!” – Oh Don…
“I love these little fuckers” – an eloquent quote about Paul Dubeau’s Hot Dogs
“Yeah, but I don’t want it near my crotch”
“Honey, be married a while longer and you’ll be grateful” – words to live by
“Oh man up and do it until you like it!!” – I have no idea what she was talking about… but really, it could apply to most anything
“What do I put in my mouth first?”
“Just put something in there and ask questions later.” - I needed a bit of instruction on where to start with Patrick Garland’s huge platter
“It takes more time than my boyfriend” – If you are reading this and think it might be about you… it probably is… Jared
“He IS a tit”
“I’m always surprised by his titiness” – This time not about you Jared
“Have you tried not giving a fuck?” – always great relationship advice from this crew
“Is it the tounge or the balls that has got you nervous?” – Discussing Chef Mitton’s crispy pigs tounge and smoked heart balls sounded so dirty
“He’s just sitting there with a big shit eating grin” – You know we love you Don…
These were actually a sample of the notes I wrote that night. Thank you guys for being real writers so the rest of us (meaning me) can dick around.
Farmer’s Markets hate single people. There. I said it. I’ve been doing quite well cooking for one, but shopping is a whole different story.
No. I do not need 6 zucchini. Nor do I need that many tomatoes. And what will I do with a bag of onions?
That, sir, is a shit ton of peppers.
I realize I could start shopping with a friend and splitting the bounty, but one of the great joys in my life is shopping for ingredients. Alone. Always has been.
I either need to start using more of the veg in creative ways, or shopping only at stores that let me buy only the amount of produce I need.
But I’m stubborn and love shopping in the market. So it looks like I’ll be freezing and pickling and canning in small batches just so my veg doesn’t go off. Or making food for my neighbours…
Last year I went for a special lunch at Atelier (as they do not normally open for lunch) and it blew my socks off… never to be seen again. Last night I went for dinner and was wise enough to leave the socks at home. If you have never had the extreme pleasure of dining at Atelier you are missing one of the most fantabulous, spectacular meals you will ever eat. Seriously, if you are even slightly adventurous with your food you need to eat here. It is playful and sophisticated, and left me with a perma-smile the entire evening.
When you go, and I know you will, be prepared for the following 5 moments during your 3.5 hour, almost 18 course dinner.
Around the 3rd or 4th course you will start getting really excited for what is coming next. By now you have had a small glimpse into how amazing this meal is going to be and hysteria tends to take over as you see your server coming towards your table with the next plate. This will happen time and time again, especially after they inform you that from this point on it will be dessertS. That is right. More than one.
Tears will well up in your eyes as you eat. Honest to God tears of joy. You will find it hard to believe you have ever been happier than in that moment. But you won’t cry. Ok. Maybe a single tear. Then you will take the next bite and it will happen all over again.
There will come a time when you start to believe that Chef Marc Lepine is some kind of culinary wizard. Or perhaps an alien sent to Earth to teach us about how amazing food can be. Either way, you tell yourself there is no way that an ordinary man is able to create such wonders and be so dashing at the same time. And you would be right. You then start wondering if there is any way you can kidnap him and have him cook for you all the time without anyone knowing. You give up this line of thinking when the next bite of food has you forgetting your own name, let alone what you were just thinking about.
Mini Mozza - technically course 3, actually course 6
Your dining companions are going to laugh at you. They can’t help it. You are making the most hilarious and explicit faces and you have no idea. You might have even hushed those around you so that you could enjoy the moment more fully. It happens. Usually after taking a sip of wine that has been perfectly paired with your latest course. Just make sure to laugh at them when they do it too.
You are going to wish that sweat pants were classy. This may have never ever been the case before, but after 18 courses you are going to want an elastic waistband more than you did when you were 3 and doing up the button on jeans by yourself was a simply impossible task. Don’t worry, a slow waddle around the block will have you feeling good as new. Almost.
I was given this tip the other day and just had to try it out and report back to you. Want to give a mild cheese a bit more flavour?? Perhaps ensure it goes perfectly well with a wine you are serving? Well, here is a quick and neat way to do just that.
It’s ok to weep at its beauty. I won’t judge.
I started with a wheel of tete au moine cheese – a flavourful but versatile cheese. Then I soaked a piece of cheese cloth in white wine until it was damped and wrapped the cheese. I let it sit for 3 days until the cheese had absorbed the wine. It was amazing how the cheese had absorbed the fruity and floral notes of the wine. After 3 days it had only absorbed a couple of layers deep, so after a few pieces it was back to the regular cheese flavour.
A neat little trick, no?
I’ve recently been introduced to the neatest program. It’s a food swap! Heard of them?? Well in this one, you sign up and are given the name of a food blogger (who happens to be Vegan or at least interested in Vegan food *cough cough… me*) and another blogger is given your name. Then you send your match a box of your favourite vegan goodies – $20 max – and await your own box of goodies!
Everything IS better with sprinkles!
A few people know this about me, but I love getting things in the mail. Real, snail mail. There is just something about a letter or a package… kind of like your birthday year round. As a lazy teenager getting up to walk down to the mail box and see if anything had arrived was one of the few reasons to wake up before 11am in the summer.
So this is a program for people like me! Of course I was to send a box to the originator of the program and I have to say… I choked. After seeing the box that my lovely partner sent to me, I know I have to step up my game for next time. The products I sent were awesome of course, and pretty Ottawa-centric if I do say so myself. But of course I forgot to send a card talking about what I sent, just wrapped it up in plain newspaper and sent large versions of the products, thus fewer things than I could have with my budget. D’oh!
Back off cat, get your own peanuts
From the super adorable Megan Muggins at the Vegan Cookbook aficionado I got so many wonderful things!
- Coconut Curry Lentil Soup Mix
- Saskatoon Rhubarb Jam
- Spicy Mango Chutney
- Puffed Kamut Squares (so THAT’S what a sugar crisp is!)
- Chocolate Espresso Bar
- Strawberry Pepper Chocolate
- Zinger Peanuts (made with maple and cayenne)
- Sour berry gummy bears
- Chick-o-sticks (awesome peanut butter candy)
- Cosmic Cookies that she made herself!!
Way to put me to shame Megan. PS – you make a kick ass cookie. Thank you.
PPS – if you want to sign up for the vegan food swap click here!
Well this was a bit of a surprise. And by ‘surprise’ I mean heartbreaking, faith shaking, kick to the face. It’s hard to believe that less than 3 months ago I was in what I considered to be a pretty happy marriage. But that was then, and it takes two to tango, insert other lame saying here. Fast forward to today and here we are. You a pretty kick ass person for reading this blog, and me a newly single foodie.
I think the 5 stages of grief apply to the death of a relationship just as much as to the death of a loved one. And my food has definitely reflected that. Not that I’m through the stages yet… in fact I seem to bounce between them at any given moment.
First it was denial. So that was me making a family sized meal. For myself. That got old pretty quick. As good as a Quiche can be, there are only so many days you can eat it before you are ready to freak.
Then was anger. This resulted in me not being able to make anything with knives when I was in the company of certain others. Let’s just say I was feeling stabby. Not that I didn’t trust myself, but I think it was just better for everyone that I had a glass of wine for dinner instead. Yes. Much better. Though if I had been thinking clearly I would have made sure to get wine with a screw cap so that we didn’t have that cork opener incident.
Then came bargaining. While that translated into begging in my personal life, it turned into a delightful time food wise. Anything I wanted, I ate. With the deal to my inflating ass that I would go to the gym later… you know… when I wasn’t so fragile.
That brings me to the depression stage. I was hoping this would be where I would be so distraught that I would lose my appetite and thus lose the weight that I put on with ‘bargaining’. No such luck. So far I don’t feel much like I’ve hit this stage. In fact I’m still bouncing around between ‘anger’ and ‘bargaining’. But it’s early yet.
As a girl from a small town I’m country strong and know I’ll be ok. And whenever things look bleak there is always something on country radio to perk me up. Like this little number from Rodney Atkins.
This is probably why I’m not depressed enough to fit into my pants yet. Thanks Rodney.
The other night I popped into Jacobson’s Fine Foods and met the most interesting guy. Nick from Rude Health. What’s Rude Health? They say to be in Rude Health means you are the fittest you can be. It’s also a company in London that specializes in breakfast cereal that makes you feel like you can conquer the world. Specifically Organic Porridge, Gluten Free Cereals, Granola and this little baby…
An Organic Muesli that has 23 ingredients, all of which you can pronounce and know what they are.
If you are wondering, like I was until I looked it up, the difference between Muesli and Granola is that Granola is usually coated with a sweet substance, like honey, and toasted. Muesli is normally not toasted and un sweetened.
Got to say I missed my granola, but I’m planning to take a tip from Nick and eat the muesli with a really good yogurt that I allowed the muesli to sit in over night. Sounds pretty darn tootin’ awesome.
*** Update ***
Nick also informed me that he plans to take Canadian Oatmeal by storm and introduce us to something that actually tastes good. No offence Quaker Oat Dude. I’m really excited by the possibility of this since I’ve always loved the idea of a healthy oatmeal to start my day, but to be honest that packet stuff leaves me less than excited. I’ve tried the steel cut oats (they physically make me sick)… so here is hoping Rude Health will be able to help. Available soon at Jacobson’s Gourmet Foods!
This isn’t quite a review… mostly because after my afternoon of wandering around Wellington West I was pretty stuffed by this point. But still interested in checking out Simply Raw Express (989 Wellington West).
A raw food eatery, this neat addition to the Wellington / Hintonburg area offers up some quick to-go items. Even if you are only going as far as the tables out front. 99% of all the food is served raw with a focus on gluten free, organic and plant based offerings.
That hot afternoon the smoothies seemed to be the biggest draw. I had a sample of the My Thai and the Tropical Mint – both were packed with flavour and I gotta say I felt pretty healthy for having them. Even if it was just a sip. Even if it was right after eating a doughnut ice cream sandwich. They were pretty darn tasty.
I’m looking forward to saving enough room on my return visit for a smoothie of my own, or maybe I’ll check out some of the great salads, shakes or pre-bottled juices that the store offers.