Breaktfast at Work – Vol.1

Breakfast at work vol 1

I’m generally not a person who eats breakfast often. I know, I know, its has long been considered one of the most important meals of the day. But, given the choice of breakfast or an extra 15-20 minutes in bed, I’m choosing my cozy sheets every time.

Given the stressed importance of the first meal of the day I’ve lately been trying to do better about it. This of course doesn’t mean getting out of bed earlier, just finding things that I can take to work and eat at my desk.

Eating at work means that meals needs to be easy to eat and relatively low maintenance (keeping a toaster and hot plate under ones desk is frowned upon), it also has to be something that doesn’t make a mess or give me sticky fingers (nobody likes a report with jam on it), and be easily put aside when things get busy.

My favourite go-to currently is Greek yogurt topped with my favorite granola. Its far from gourmet dining, but its filling and always tastes great. It also has the added bonus of being something you can get ready the night before, and just grab & go in the morning. If you’re feeling wild  you can also throw in some fresh berries for some nutritional value and flavour.

Greek yogurt is a great source of calcium and protein it also come in a wide variety of flavors . Its also a great meal and snack option for people like me who are trying to make healthier choices and shed those extra pounds put on at Christmas.  An added benefit is that all of that protein keeps you fuller longer. I know that for it to be truly healthy I should be choosing plain yogurt, but I just can’t take to the taste, so I go with vanilla. But if you want to stick to the plain you could always add a little touch of honey to cut through the bitterness.

Adding granola is a great way to get a little more fiber in you daily diet . Again, I go the slightly less healthy route and have Nature’s Valley Cranberry Almond.  There are lots of extra fiber choices available in the granola aisle and there are also organic options available as well so its easy to mix things up a little.

There are endless options available when it comes to making a meal out of yogurt and while I do REALLY enjoy yogurt and granola, I’m sure I’m going to get bored with eating it every day very quickly. I have given some consideration to making my own breakfast bars or even frozen breakfast sandwiches.

 

Is there anything that you make for breakfast that makes those early mornings a little more bearable? Besides coffee. Duh.

Cheers, Kathryn

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Chicken & Mushroom Soup

One of our New Year’s Resolutions was to not only cook more, but to cook more food we’ve never tried or made before.

Monday was a cold one (-11) and soup on a cold winter day is the epitome of comfort. So, we took to our Pinterest boards to find one to cook for supper.

After some back and forth, some hemming and hawing, and a terrible amount of indecisiveness, Max finally made the decision for us; creamy chicken and mushroom soup.

Theres just something inherently comforting about coming home and sitting around the family table sharing stories and a bowl of hot steamy delicious soup.

We planned to use this recipe, but we ran into a few issues at Dominion; due to poor weather conditions, their shelves were bare, and they were lacking a few of the key ingredients. If you’ve ever cooked with Max you would know that this didn’t necessarily constitute a problem, because to her a recipe is nothing more than a guideline. She quickly went into improvisation mode and bought ground chicken breast and whipping cream instead of chicken thighs and cooking cream. Then, as she perused the aisles light shone out of the heavens and she saw it; glorious maple bacon.

Then, she looked at her phone, saw the time and rushed her ass home to start cooking.

 

chicken and mushroom soup recipe

What you need:

– 1 tablespoon olive oil

– 1 package of ground chicken breasts

– rock salt and pepper

– 3 cloves garlic, minced

– 1 pkg of fresh button mushrooms, thinly sliced

– 1 onion, diced

– 1 bag of shredded carrots

– 2 stalks celery, diced

– 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

– 4 cups chicken stock

– 1/2 cup of whipping cream ( or cooking cream)

– 1 tsp dried rosemary

– shredded cheese (optional)

– 1/4 pack of maple bacon

 

How to make it

– Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Season the ground chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. Add chicken to the stockpot and cook until it is cooked through, about 2-3 minutes; set aside.

– Add mushrooms and onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, and until the onions begin to caramelize.

– In a separate pan fry the bacon. You want it crispy enough to chop up, but not so crispy that it isn’t tender. Its a fine line, we know.

– Add bacon to the stockpot and let the flavours marry.

– Add garlic, carrots and celery to the stockpot. Cook, stir occasionally until tender, about 3-4 minutes.

– Add in chicken stock stir and simmer, about 4-5 minutes.

– Stir in whipping cream until heated through, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

– Add some rosemary and thyme. Continue to simmer

– Add barley and wild rice.

– This is where it gets tricky friends….taste it.

– Taste it again. Does it taste good? Ours was a little bland. So we added more pepper.

– Still bland. More pepper

– It really wasn’t doing the trick. So we added some garlic and onion powder.

– Not quite there. We added a pinch or three of cayenne.

– Eventually, enough is enough. .
.
– Serve immediately, garnished with parsley and rosemary, if desired. We opted for lots and lots of shredded cheddar cheese.

 

The Thought Process

The idea for this meal was to take a simple recipe and create more depth of flavour by adding more ingredients. (Clearly this was Max’s idea, not Kat’s)

Maple bacon was used to add a hint of sweetness.

Max used thinly sliced mushrooms. However, in retrospect she probably should have chopped them up a little because while it looked beautiful in the pictures it was a little cumbersome to eat.

We chose to add rice to make the soup a little more filling. Because we don’t know about you, but we’re almost always hungry 30 mins after a bowl.

We used wild rice, because it just kind of seemed like that what should be used in a mushroom soup. But, it was kind of tough to eat. It didn’t really get soft like white rice would have. Perhaps we didn’t boil it long enough, or maybe thats just how it is?

Cheese was added, because even by the time we gave up adding spices, the soup just tasted like it was missing “something”. And you can never go wrong with cheese.

 

The Verdict

T.K. and J.W. really enjoyed it (they had seconds), Kat and Max, not so much. In fact, we’d be quite okay never eating it or attempting to make it ever again. Perhaps we’re just not creamy soup kind of people.

Putting our personal food preferences aside; If you are looking for a bowl of soup that warms you up inside and out, filling and hearty, and makes leftovers for the next day then give this recipe a try (with a few of your own personal touches and tweaks of course and share your wins with us we would love to hear from you).

 

Don’t worry, just because this one wasn’t a complete win, we won’t let one little fumble stop us from marching on. We have sooo many other things that we want to take a swing at.

Do you have any recipes for comfort food that we should try?

Cheers, Maxine & Kathryn

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8 Things My First Yoga Class Taught Me

My friends, the deed has been done. Last Thursday night I dragged my ass to my first ever yoga class.

Yoga has been fairly popular for quite a while, but I’ve never felt the need to partake. Partially because I’ve never had anyone to go with (I always like to start new things with a buddy), and because I’ve never looked at an hour of stretching as exercise. But mostly because “mindfulness” kinda makes my eyes roll.

But since I’m trying to get back in shape (especially before my “just a little late” honeymoon next month), I asked myself, “Self, have you ever seen a less than slim Yogi? NO.” So off I went, with Max and our friend M. in tow.

Things I learned at my first yoga class

Here’s what I discovered during one hour of yoga at my local YMCA:

 

JANUARY IS THE WORST TIME TO START A NEW CLASS AT THE GYM

My local Y has had more than 100 new people join in the last 10 days. The gym has been very busy, and the class was full. Apparently people really take this whole New Year, New Me thing very seriously (for now anyway).

Yes I know, thats exactly why I was at the class in the first place. Blah blah blah. Stop looking at me like I’m being a hypocrite.

You need to get to class seriously early if you want to get a good spot. For me, that was the far back of the room. Although as the class progressed it was clear that there wasn’t really a back as the Yogi was in the middle of the room.

 

SOOO MANY LADIES.

I know that yoga is becoming more co-ed in a lot of places, and I kind of suspected that Corner Brook would be a little behind on the times, but I was still surprised that there were only two men (one of which was wearing jeans, so he likely wasn’t too serious about being there) in our class of 30.

 

SOME OF THESE LADIES ARE NOT “YOUNG”

I’m not trying to be disrespectful here, or to make anyone feel old. Heck, my ass is turning 30 next month (Max is rolling her eyes here shes 31 this month), so there are some people who wouldn’t consider me young. But what I’m getting at is that a high percentage of the people in my class were old enough to be my mom (who was 28 when she had me FYI), or older. So essentially, most of the attendees were not spring chickens.

 

YOUR AGE DOES NOT DETERMINE YOUR FLEXIBILITY

To be honest, I’ve never been overly flexible, and I knew that I was far from “in shape” (6 months away from the gym does you no favours folks), but I was a little disgusted by just how inflexible I am.

And you guys, those “not spring chickens”, well they were kicking my butt. Seriously.

In fact, my instructor, Maureen, is a very regal, incredibly limber woman who must have been at least 65. (I could have misjudged her age, but girl had some gorgeous silver hair, that wasn’t from a box). She could have tied her self in to a pretzel had the mood struck her.

 

ITS NOT APPROPRIATE TO GIGGLE IN CLASS

You guys, my mind, it it not mature enough for some of things said in a yoga class.

“We’re going to get comfortable on our backs now.”

” Close your knees.”

Little snickers escaped my lips. No one else seemed to be as amused as I was.

 

THERE IS MOST DEFINITELY A FOCUS ON MINDFULNESS

This is the part of the class I enjoyed the least. I don’t mind the soothing music, or the deep breathing but the “relax your toes one by one. Relax your knees. Relax your pelvis. Relax your internal organs. Enjoy the feeling of your internal organs relaxing” kills me. Its a good thing our eyes were supposed to be closed during this part, or people would have seen the whites of mine.

 

YOU WILL WORK YOUR BOOTY OFF

Truth. When class was finished, I felt a little dissatisfied. Not with the class itself , but just that I had spent an hour at the gym and I didn’t really feel like I had a “workout”. I wasn’t sweaty, I wasn’t breathing hard, and I felt like zero calories had been burned.

That being said, we did some poses that were seriously difficult to hold. My body shook. And while I’m not yet convinced that I’ll burn any fat in class, I can certainly see how yoga can tone your body.

I can especially feel the effects today. Things are a little sore.

 

NOT ALL YOGIS ARE SNOBS

Even though I was looking forward to my class, I still had quite a bit of anxiety because I didn’t really know what to expect. What do I wear? Do I have to bring my own mat? Do I get to pick my own spot? Will everyone be better than me? What if I can’t do the poses? Will I fall on my face? If you’re nervous, I highly encourage you to try it out. The people in my class were very friendly, and some even made sure that we knew the best places to set up our mats. Our instructor took the time to acknowledge all the new faces at the beginning of class, and even made a point of coming over to chat with Max, M and I after class. It was a much more inviting environment that I anticipated.

 

Have you ever tried yoga? If you haven’t, would you?

Cheers, Kathryn

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Tales From Our Kitchen: Vol. 1 – The Chowder Incident

tales from our table

 

Chowder, of any kind can usually be found in any recipe book, or on any table, at any given time.

My family loves a good bowl of rich, creamy chowder on a cold day. After a day of snowmobiling or snowshoeing the flavor and texture will warm you right to the core.

My first memorable experience with chowder happened when I was just a young girl living with my family in out port Newfoundland. The scene of the incident, yes, incident, is one that you could usually see in our home on any given day; my father in the kitchen puttering away while my sister and I fought over the cat and Barbie’s in our room. At this particular time however, our mother was away working towards her Designation in Accounting so Dad was manning the ship so to speak.

My father loves food, he will eat practically anything (that is why I hover when he is in the kitchen because to him a best before date is just that a best before date). On this particular day however he was trying his hand at making a good pot of chowder for him and his girls to enjoy for supper. It was during this culinary adventure that he discovered that we had run out of potatoes and the nearest place to get them was three communities away. Like most families at the time money was scarce, gas wasn’t cheap, and driving to neighboring towns wasn’t always an option. Any body worth their salt could split a penny four ways; my parents were no different.

Trying to be frugal and resourceful, my father (in his infinite wisdom) decided that crinkle cut French fries would be a good substitute for actual potatoes. He assumed that once they soaked in the broth they would become mush and thicken the chowder like a potato would. As you can imagine this was not the case.

That evening as my sister and I sat at the table, patiently waiting for supper my father placed a bowl of milky white broth in front of me. Being the smart ass, inquisitive child that I was, I promptly asked what was in the bowl. “Its soup,” he said. “Soup is not white,” I said looking in to the bowl. (Clearly Pinterest was not a thing back then.) And, it was at that exact moment that a fry floated to the top of the bowl. “There’s fries in this,” I informed him. “No its not” he replied, “its potatoes.”

Naturally, this continued for a period of time ending in a stalemate because I was a somewhat stubborn kid and I WAS NOT eating the white soup with the fries in it. (He still swears that it was good. I am, however, still doubtful.)

Fortunately, since then, I have discovered the wonderful world of chowder (or “white soup” as it is affectionately known in our house), and Dad has gotten much better at cooking it.

 

Cheers, Maxine

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