Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It's Wednesday and my favorite part about the day is that I can start planning my weekend! Well, this weekend I am having a Chilean feast! September 18th is the Independence day for Chile and I am having an authentic supper.

We will start off with Pebre, which is Chile's version of their salsa. It is made lots and lots of cilantro, diced up tomatoes & minced green onions. I will be serving Pebre with sopapillias, which is a fried pumpkin bread and believe me it is the most delicious thing you could ever have....sorry but not low fat. :-( For the main course I am making Pastel de Choclo. This is Chile's version of our famous Shepard's Pie except no potato and they add chicken, slice hard boiled egg, raisins and black olives...why I can't wait. The key to this dish is presentation. Thus, I serve it on clay dishes that are actually from Chile. No Chilean feast would be complete without their famous mote con huesillo, which translated means dried peaches and barley served with a peach syrup. Yummy!

I will try and post some pictures after the weekend so you guys can get a peek at how good it all looks.

You want a good tip on how to cook to loose weight...dress up your table. That's right I feel when I take the time to set the table properly with nice plates, table cloth, elegant centerpiece get the picture. Anyway, this helps me to sit down and enjoy my meal. I tend to eat slower, kinda like going to a restaurant. This way I get filled up faster without the unnecessary calories.

Hope this helps...Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The smell of Fall...shoudl I take out my decorations or wait?

Fall is my favorite time of the year. I know I shouldn't rush it but here in Montreal it is alot like Spring. It comes and before you know it, it's gone and we are covered in snow! I get so excited about Fall, I guess it is because you could start using the oven again without pouring a sweat. I was so excited this weekend that I decided to make butternut squash soup and chicken vegetable soup. Both were delicious and my kids were thrilled. Now I am debating...should I take out my fall decorations or wait. What do you think??

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Painting sure works up an appetite.

Went out last night so I only started painting my room after brunch. My son had a party last night and thought it would be nice to have a few of his buddies sleep over...Do you even know how much 16 year olds eat for breakfast? I was up first and starting by making banana chocolate chip waffles. Yummy! Then, I cut up some freesh strawberries with english cream. Yummy. Then last but not least I made bacon but it was chicken bacon witch is my tip of the day.

Chicken bacon is delicious and in miy opinion alot better tasting than regular bacon. It has half the calories and half the fat of bacon. It is even better than turkey bacon! It holds it shape better so it is easier to work with for sandwiches...

Which is what we are having for supper tonight. I am currently boiling some chicken breasts, thought I would make a broth at the same time, and I will grill some vergetables, spread some goat cheese on a chibatta roll and assemble. Along with a ceasar salad I think we have the perfect meal.

Tomorrow I will make vegetable chicken noodle soup. The weatherman says it will be raining all day so it will warm us up a little.

Gotta go...gotta finish my painting. I need a place to sleep tonight.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Not only is it Friday... I am officially on vacation as of 4pm!

TGIF....I will be off work for 10 days....Yippee!!!! Usually, I go away but this time I am staying at home, and catching up on a million things that I have put off. First, I plan on going to visit my twin brother. I haven't seen him in a while and kind off miss him. :-) Since we just got a new king size bed we are re-decorating our master bedroom this week. We are also painting my son's room. He is going to be seventeen and the last time we did his room was when he was nine, so those skateboards on the wall gotta go. We plan on going horse backing riding, something that we have been saying allll summer we would do and never got around to it, but it is on the list now. The best for last, we will be going to my favorite place, New York City. I love New York. I love the people. I love that it is sooo alive. I wouldn't be able to live there though. Also, what I love about going to New York is going to Chile's. They don't have the restaurant here in Canada. :-( I love their broccoli cheese soup so much that I actually tried to duplicate the recipe. Let me know if you like it:

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Heat up 1/4 cup of butter in a large pot. Add 1 large diced onion and 2 minced garlic cloves. Add 8 cups of chopped broccoli florets and stems. Add 8 cups of vegetable or chicken broth. Simmer until broccoli is tender. In a separate bowl mix 2 cups of milk with 1/2 cup of all purpose flour, to safe calories and fat you could use 2 cup of low fat yogurt at this time instead of the milk and flour mixture. Which ever one you use add it to the broccoli. Finally add 1 - 2 pounds of cheddar cheese, don't use the process is way to salty. Season to taste and enjoy.

Of course I have tried to trim of some of the calories by using milk or yogurt. The original recipe would of had cream instead. But really there is not much difference.

Tip of the day....

What could you possible do with a left over piece of chicken or steak? What I like to do is put it along with any of your favorite fresh vegetables in a blender. Once all mixed I add a bit of mayo with mustard or hot sauce and I spread the mix on a flour tortilla. It make a delicious very inexpensive lunch. Usually you have enough for six tortillas. This is a great low calorie and low fat meal that will live you pretty full.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What a day...but the cats are fine.

Think about it, what would you do if you lost everything? I know we have home insurance and all but I mean to loose all your memories. Well, that's what happened to my next door neighbor yesterday afternoon. Her house burnt down to nothing. I started to think, what if that were my house???? I love my house. My children love their house. They always talk about having their children be part of it. We have had so much laughter and love in our home that I cannot imagine loosing it or replacing it. Wow, do we take that for granted. Memories that is....things that make us stop and smile. Things that make us want to laugh. Things that just make us feel safe and warm.

Today, I want to share a recipe that is a comfort recipe to my family. It is a South American cookie called Alfajores. This is one of those cookies that just makes it to every dessert table. The reviews I get on this cookie are outstanding so I do hope you go ahead and try it. I am sure you won't regret it.
Of course my version is low calorie and low fat.... ;-)


1 can of low fat condensed milk
1 cup of shredded coconut
54 water crackers

Place the unopened can in a pot of water. Make sure that the can is always covered with water. Bring pot of water to a boil and then reduce heat to medium/low and cover pot. Let boil covered for approximately 3 hours. Let cool for minimum 8 hours or overnight. Do not put in the fridge while the can is hot. Once cooled, this will keep in the fridge for up to 6 months. Any unused portion can be covered with plastic wrap and kept in the fridge for up to 3 months.
**tip... I usually boil 4 to 5 cans at a time, then use when needed.

Once cooled to room temperature, open can and begin the process of assembling the cookie. Spread a generous layer between 3 water crackers and sandwich together. Then spread a thing layer around the outer edge of the cracker and roll the cracker in coconut to cover rim. Repeat process until all the crackers are done.

It take a while but it is really worth it.

Now for today's tip...

Making life easier...You know how you have those days were you bake until your hearts content but then end up throwing away half the cakes or cookies because there were just too many and they became stale. Well, what I like to do is buy the snack size bags and fill them up. For cookies I usually put 2 per bag and seal. For cakes I usually cut out a reasonable portion and seal. Once all my bags are done and believe me there are alot. I just put them in the fridge or freezer and as I need I take out. This is great for families that have to make school lunches. Instead of buying foods with alot of sugar and preservatives, you can just grab what you need in the morning and add it to the lunches just like you would a granola bar. I usually make enough for about 2 week and it really saves on buys snacks.

Hope this tip is useful...have a great day and thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 favorite day of the week!

Why you ask...Wednesday is my favorite day of the week because it is the perfect time to forget about last weekend and start planning the upcoming weekend. My Wednesday's usually start with our new grocery flyers. I have my ritual....after supper I sit with my flyers, a pen and note pad and off I go....writing as many inventive recipes and ideas as I can. Of course not all off them are executed. What I do is carefully combine ingredients until I get a recipe or two that could be interesting. For example, yesterday I was driving home after work and started to think about bananas ...I love bananas, anyway I started to think .... sliced bananas drenched in peanut butter or melted chocolate, then dipped in some kind of batter and then fried or maybe even baked. Not sure of all the details yet but I will let you know after the weekend. The thought behind this to make some kind of breakfast to go that is nutritious and kid friendly.

Tip of the day... we all know that we could freeze just about anything, meat, poultry, cheese, fruits and so on and yet what we don't realize is that we spend so much $$$ on buying frozen foods loaded with additives and preservatives. I don't know about you but I usually have left overs after supper, not much but enough to usually make another serving. Why throw that away??? Freeze it all together in a small container and on the days that you are alone or haven't had time to make a lunch for work, just take it out of the freezer and stick it in the microwave. Easy enough, don't you think?

This great for those of you that are on a budget or want to control your portions. You will be amazed at how much money you actually save at the end of the year. Cooking to lose weight is about learning to cook with what you have, learning to think about choices, and learning to organize your meals.....even when you think you don't have time.

Well hope you enjoyed reading.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Better late than never!

Okay, so I am a little late in writing but I think I have a pretty good reason. You see, I walked 60K this weekend in order to raise funds for Breast Cancer. This is my second year doing this and I plan on doing it again next year.

It started two years ago, when I went to meet my good friend at the finish line. I was so inspired not only by all the people that did the walk but the energy in the room. I decided to stay and listened to the closing ceremonies. There was a man with a son on either side who spoke. He spoke about doing the walk the previous year with his wife. He spoke about how he and his wife walked for hope. Unfortunately, the wife lost the battle early that year. He spoke how that day his two sons and him were walking again but this time they were walking for all women. This was all it took. I made the decision at that moment to walk and do my part. And I did. Last year I walked for the first time and it was the most empowering time of my life.

This year I walked with my sister and my husband and we have decided that we will do it again next year. The cure is not far and when you take the steps towards it .... you could actually almost see it. I walk for my daughter's future. I walk for all women.

Well, since I am 3 days late on tips...I thought I would give you 3 days worth of tips:

Saturday's Tip of the day:

One of my pet peeves is when a recipe, especially a low cal or low fat one, calls for 1 tbsp of oil and before you know it the meat or food is sticking to the pan. What I do in a case like this is I add a little water at a time when I notice that the food is starting to stick. Not only does it help the food from sticking but it also adds flavor. Try this you will be pleasantly surprised.

Sunday's Tip of the day:

I like to keep an empty container, large coffee can works well, with a small bag on it on my counter while I am doing my prep work. As I peel or cut I discard all my garbage in to this container then off goes the bag into the garbage can when I am all done. It makes clean up soooo much easier. I can bet you once you start using this set up you won't be able to not.

Monday's Tip of the day:

Want to cut calories fast.... here is a great tip. Instead of using flour tortillas, use corn tortillas. They are half the calories and fat. If you want to reduce calories even more try using rice paper. They have virtually no calories and are very yummy. Enjoy!

Tuesday's Tip of the day:

Do you know that walking is one of the best and easiest exercises you can do??? Alot of people however shy away from it because their thighs or other body parts rub and irritate the skin causing burns. Great tip to avoid this is put non perfumed deodorant on these body parts. You will be amazed how well this works. I just waked 60K and trust me I would have died without this stick.

Well I hope these tips help you out... and remember:

Information is is what you do with it that reflects the price!

Have a good day.

Friday, August 21, 2009

T.G.I.F .....let's talk about potatoes!

Thank God It's Friday...and for a bonus I am getting the afternoon off.

Now, let talk about potatoes. Potatoes have got to be one of my favorite foods and contrary to many beliefs they are extremely good for you. They carry only 180 calories for a 250 gram and have no fat!!! They also contain over 15% of our daily fiber requirement. Sweet potatoes have even more at 25%. They are great mashed, roasted, grilled, baked and yes even fried...once in a while. :-)

Today's tip of the day:

Since peeling and cutting potatoes could be time consuming, I have thought of a plan. What I like to do is the day I get and prep all my vegetable I also cut up enough potatoes for two meals during the week. Once cut and peeled, I just emerge them in ice cold water with a little white vinegar and keep in the fridge until I need them. I do change the water every second day. They will keep for up to five days without compromising the taste.

Tortilla DE Patata... Spanish Potato Omelet (low calorie and low fat)

Dice 1 medium onion and cover it with boiling water, set on counter until ready to use. This will soften the onion.

Boil 6 potatoes peeled and sliced in a large pot of salted water for approximately 10 - 15 minutes.
(traditionally, you would fry the potatoes)
Once both the onion and potatoes are done, rinse combine in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, beat together 4 whole eggs and 4 egg whites, add about 1/4 cup of skim milk, salt & pepper.

Heat a medium size frying pan, you could add Pam, a little olive oil, or butter, whichever is your preference. Add the potatoes and onion, spread it out in the pan then add the egg mixture, sprinkle with a little chopped parsley or cilantro. Now here is the tricky part. Once you notice the omelet is done on the bottom, you will need to find a plate, large enough to cover the pan. Place the plate on the pan and over the sink, flip it! Then slowly slide the omelet back into the frying pan to continue cooking. At this time you could add the parsley or cilantro to this side. The omelet should be about an inch thick and you could enjoy this hot or at room temperature. This is a great item to bring on a picnic. I do hope you enjoy it.

Here is another great recipe that I enjoy on a regular basis

Potato and Leek Soup

In a large pot heat 1 tbsp of canola oil and add 2 tsp of crushed garlic, 1 large onion diced, and 4 chopped leeks. Cook until soft. Approximately 10 minutes. Add the 12 cups of chicken or vegetable broth, 1 cup of chopped parsley or cilantro, 6 large potatoes diced, and 2 tsp oregano.
Simmer on medium to low heat until potatoes are tender. Approximately 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper according to taste. Puree in a blender or with a hand held blender.

Garnish with shredded cheese and a little spring of parsley or cilantro. I typed this recipe, it makes my mouth water. It is soo delicious. Again, you could make this a fatter soup by adding butter and cream but lets leave that for a special occasion. Actually you might just realize that there is not much of a difference!

I wish you guys a great Friday...and will write again tomorrow.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Father's Birthday!

Today would have been my father's 65th birthday! We would have been having a huge birthday party for him and I, of course, would of been in the kitchen cooking up a storm. I remember the first birthday after he passed, my son asked me if we could throw a piece of cake into the air so Yayo could catch it. Boy did we all laugh. That's when you realize that life if for the living so start living.
Life is for the living! A lof of you must be saying well obviously. But what I mean is that I want to live life not just be alive. I want to have energy to travel and get to know people and places all over the world. I have met too many people over the age of 65 that just can't do it. They are too tired, whether it is because of lack of exercise or eating the wrong foods. They, unfortunately have slowed down. That's what I don't want. Too slow down. Cooking to lose weight is teaching me how to fuel up and get the energy that I will need to do all this.

Last year I made a promise to God, not that I am so religious, but I do believe in God, anyway, I promised not to eat anything that wasn't beneficial to my body for one year. Well, I did it, and in the process I taught myself a whole new culinary world. I taught myself to think about what I am making and how I am making it. Do you really know how amazing fruits and vegetables are ? I you really know??

Take this for example: My favorite dessert is cheesecake. For all you cheesecake lovers out there who want to crave the craving without tipping the scale, here is a great nutritious alternative recipe:

Tastes like Cheesecake

Grill a slice of Angel Food cake, my recipe on August 19th blog, spread each slice with low fat ricotta cheese and top with your favorite fruit jam. Tada! You have a perfect healthy and nutritious dessert. Enjoy!

First things first...tip of the day:
I truly believe this tip is the bases for my healthy eating. We all have a list of essential vegetables that we usually cook with everyday or almost everyday. :-)

Onions, Zucchini, Red and Green Peppers, Carrots, Celery, & Mushrooms

I chopped them all up and put them each separately in a vegetable tray. Try and get the one with a lid. I then keep the tray in the fridge and us as needed. This will take time out of your prep work. Now during the course of the week just add a little to a stir fry, cooked rice or couscous, can of chick peas or my favorite; a frittata.
You will be surprised how much time, money and calories you will safe on a weekly basis. !!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It's my birthday!

Wow, I am 42 years old today and I must say I am right were I want to be. I am healthier today than I have been in years.

I will be starting off this blog everyday with a Cooling to Lose Weight tip of the day and today's tip is:

Bake your cake and eat it too! It's my birthday and why shouldn't I?? This is where I have to learn to draw the line. I will have a piece of cake but that's it guys. Learn to share your calories. So, have a piece of cake with me but learn to say when.

Today: I am making my cake list for the rest of the year. I will allow myself to indulge once a month. I know alot of you are saying that I am putting restrictions and setting myself up for failure but hey, this is what determination and will power is all about. Giving yourself small goals will allow you to see how far you can go. Once you reach your goal, the feeling is empowering. Kinda like running a marathon.

August - My Birthday Cake!
September - Wedding Anniversary Cake!
October - Husband's (Cris) Birthday Cake!
Novemenber - ????
December - Christmas Desserts
January - Son's (Kylen) Birthday Cake
February - Valentine Chocolates
March - ???
April - Easter Chocolates
May - Daughter's (Krystina) Birthday Cake
June - Farther's Day Ice Cream Cake
July - ????

You want a great low calorie and low fat cake recipe:

Angel Food Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degree and gently spray a bunt pan with vegetable spray. Set aside.

Sift the following ingredients into a bowl and set aside:
1 1/4 cup of cake or pastry flour
1 cup splenda
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Beat 1 1/2 cup egg whites (12 eggs) until they form soft peaks, then add 1 tsp each of cream of tartar and vanilla extract. At this point you could add another 1/2 tsp of any other flavor extract. I usually like to add lemon or orange but this part is optional. Beat well.

Gently fold in the dry ingredients into the egg whites and pour into bunt pan. Bake for aproximately 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.