Archive for the 'food' Category
52. cook a decent tasting Eggplant Parmesan
Thank goodness I said “decent” tasting and not “outstanding.” Because I finally gave Eggplant Parm a try and I think it turned out solidly in the “decent” realm, but I’ve had better. But it’s done and it gives me a baseline to compare when I try out other recipes!
Draining water from the eggplant:
Coating the eggplant in breadcrumbs:
Layering – layers of fried eggplant with homemade tomato sauce and various cheeses. How can you go wrong?
The finished product:
81. participate in five research projects
- I joined the BC Generations Project
- I completed the “Experiences of Exercise” study (three-part survey; Nov 18, 2012; Jan 10, 2013)
- Participated in the Equity Lens in Public Health project (12 Sept 2013)
- Mindfulness & Authentic Leadership study (13 Sept 13);
- participant in a project that is researching researchers with a particular type of research grant (2011-13)]
I’m also on the verge of signing up for a super cool studying on running, but that will be worth its own blog posting (or 7) if I end up joining (and as I participate in it – it’s 13 weeks long, so I figure that’s gotta be worth a few blog postings at least!).
100. print eight photos and put them in the photo frame that I bought ages ago that has been handing on my wall with the stock photos in it, because that really looks quite ridiculous the way it is
I’m particularly proud of having done this, since it was so ridiculous that I’d not done it for so long!
Photos: Top row from left to right: My dad; Me, my mom, my Aunt Lynn, and my Aunt Eileen near a Tim Horton’s sign at a Spar gas station in Ireland; My niece holding my nephew on the day he was born; Nancy, Jeff, me, and Dan doing the CN Tower Edgewalk. Bottom row from left to right: Me and Dan about to embark on the Grouse Grind; My niece and I in Portland; My mom, Nancy, and me at the Empress Hotel in Victoria; My niece and nephew in Portland.
For the record, this means I’ve now knocked 12 items off my 101 list in 2013. And you may recall that my goal for the year was to knock 13 items off my list, so I’m 12/13ths of the way there, and it’s only 5/6ths of the way through the year! Go me!
Hmmm… seems I didn’t post all weekend. As it turns out, I was having too much fun for such things as blogging! One such fun thing was having a few friends over on Saturday1 and I took the opportunity to attempt a Baked Alaska. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time – hence it being on the 101 list – but it’s the kind of thing that you need people around when you are making it, what with the whole putting ice cream in the stove and all.
For the uninitiated, Baked Alaska is basically cake with a dome of ice cream on top, covered in meringue. The part that is mind-blowing is that it’s ice cream, but you have to put it in a super hot over to brown the meringue2,
So step #1 is to bake a cake. Step #2 is that you fill a bowl up with ice cream – I used chocolate and vanilla, but you can use whatever kind you want3 – like so:
And then put it in the freezer for several hours to freeze it solid4:
Step #3 is that right before you are ready to serve it, you preheat the oven to 500 degrees F, and whip up a batch of meringue5. When it’s all ready, put the bowl of ice cream on top of the cake to form a dome6, and cover in the meringue, like so:
And, finally, cook it for 5 minutes to brown the meringue – I had to turn mine half way through, as it was browning on one side but not the other side. And viola! Baked Alaska:
I have to say that I was very pleased with how it turned out! The ice cream stayed solid – it was actually difficult to cut through, since it was still so frozen. Apparently the meringue acts as an insulator to keep the ice cream cold despite the 500 degree oven. So it looked great and it tasted great – everyone seemed to like it. And overall, it wasn’t that difficult to make. I highly recommend it if you are trying to impress people!
- Martha and Loren – I had lots of fun! I’m pretty sure you two are the only people who read my footnotes, so I feel like I can just talk to the two of you here. So, how’s life? How are the lab fish, Loren? Also, thanks for bringing all the yummy food! [↩]
- Apparently some people use a blow torch to brown the meringue, but my apartment is sadly devoid of blow torches. [↩]
- My friend, Kim, who is a food scientist who works in quality assurance was able to take a tiny taste of the ice cream and identify the brand, which is completely crazy to me! I’m not nearly so discerning. The best I can do is tell you if tastes “good” or “bad”. [↩]
- I froze mine for ~24 hours, but only because 24 hours prior happened to be a good time do it. [↩]
- From room temperature egg whiles, cream of tartar, sugar, & vanilla. [↩]
- I had to sit the bowl in hot water to melt the edges just enough to get it to come free from the bowl. [↩]
One of the items on my 101 things to do in 1001 days is:
25. bake at least one thing per month for 12 months in a row, without baking the same thing two months in a row.
Despite my love of baking, this item proved to be a much bigger challenge than I thought it would. This was actually one of the items that I carried over from my first 101 list as I didn’t manage to accomplish it in the first 1001 days. And even this time, I made two attempts at it before I got it right.
#25, consider yourself checked off the list this time!
|Oct 26, 2011||Skull Cupcakes|
|Nov 28, 2011||Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins|
|Dec 23, 2011||Snowflake Cake; Meringue Snowflakes, Shortbread Cookies, Chocolate Mice|
|Jan 11, 2012||Dark & Stormy Cupcakes|
|Feb 2012||Didn’t bake anything. I think I have a pretty good excuse though.|
|March 2012||Baked brownies for Grandpa’s 89th birthyday party!|
|April 2012||Chocolate Chip Cookies, Cherry Squares|
|June 2012||June from hell = no baking! START OVER!|
|July 2012||corn muffins|
|August 2012||Chocolate Chip Cookies ((Different batch than the one that blog posting links to, but same recipe!)), peanut butter squares (Rebar cookbook)|
|September 2012||Peach Cobbler|
|October 2012||Brownies1, Pumpkin Pies|
|November 2012||Apple Crisp|
|December 2012||Pumpkin Pies, Cinnamon Buns|
|February 2013||terribly bland blueberry oatmeal muffins with cream cheese inside2 – but, hey, I still baked them so they still count!|
|March 2013||Lemon Squares|
|April 2013||Frog Cupcakes|
|May 2013||Chocolate Fudge Oat Bars|
|June 2013||Pineapple Bran Muffins3|
(bold indicates the item that I’m counting for my “official” baked good of the month, such that I actually baked 12 different things in the 12 months).
Remember that time I told you about Farm To Fork? Would you believe that they are down to the last 2 days of their crowd sourcing fundraising campaign? And so far, they’ve managed to raise – at the time of writing this blog posting – $10,990 of the $15,000 that they need to do the great work that they are proposing to do.
In case you haven’t read my previous posting, what they are proposing to do is, simply put, to connect people who have healthy foods to donate with the food banks that need those healthy foods to provide to the 1 in 40 Canadians who don’t have enough food to eat. Yes, you read that right – 1 in 40 Canadians use food banks every month.
Where does the time go? I keep thinking about things I want to blog about, but then suddenly 9 days go by and I haven’t blogged a thing! I can give you all the usual excuses – work is busy, school is busy, being on my own means I now have to do all my chores for myself… but blah, blah, blah. Whatevs. I’m here now and in an attempt to get all the things I’ve been meaning to blog about out of my head, here’s a rapid fire blog posting of All The Things.
In The Latest Froggy News:
The final two frogs do, in fact, have names. As you may recall, I named three of my five new frogs: Copernicus the Second, Froggymodo, and Apricot. The final two frogs are named Count Frogula1 and Beyoncé2.
In the Trying To Be Healthy Department:
MayHealth is going swimmingly. It’s actually been quite helpful to me to be organized on these two tasks – meal planning and laying out my outfits for the week on Sunday – as I now don’t feel stressed out having to make these two simple decisions every day. Plus, my meals are much healthier when I actually plan them out, because I’ve given some thought to making them balanced, as opposed to making a decision solely based on BETH HUNGRY!
Training for my half marathon in June is also coming along. Due to the aforementioned omg-I’m-so-busy, I’ve really only been doing the long runs on the weekend, and maybe one other short run during the week. So I’m not expecting to break any records, but I’m sure I’ll be able to finish! I’ve done the last several long runs with Alicia, which has been awesome, because (a) it’s really nice to have company when you have to run for ~2 hours, and (b) Alicia is in much better shape than me, so I’m having to push myself to try to keep up for as long as I can. I’m not really great at pushing myself, so I need the extra inspiration!
In the Things-I-Missed Department:
Yesterday was my car-iversary! Little Zaphod Beeblebrox the Car is 4 years old3! They grow up so quickly.
In the Distraction Department:
Dr. Cath, when we were out for dinner and beers and absolutely no other reason whatsoever the other night, introduced me to an app called Rando. The idea behind the app is that you take a photo and Rando sends it off to some random person in the world who also uses the app. For every photo you send, you get one in return from some random person in the world. If said random agreed to have their location revealed, you will get to see where in the world that photo came from too. So far, I seem to be getting a lot of photos from South Korea, though I’ve also gotten ones from Texas, Brazil, and Paraguay.
In The Knocking Goals Off My List Department:
I’ve been slacking on some of my goals for the year, so to make myself feel better about that, I decided to use my May Health meal planning to help me work on my “make 10 new meals I’ve never made before” goal. So I actually made two new things I’d never made before last week alone! First, I made lamb shoulder chops on a George Foreman grill. Since I was being all organized and planning ahead, I even marinaded the lamb for 24 hours first. It was delicious. Next I made some bison stew! It was OK – the bison ended up a bit tougher than I would have liked and I thought that the stew itself could have been more flavourful (though putting in a bit of extra Worcestershire sauce gave it a nice little kick).
In the Colour-Me-Surprised Department:
There are some condos going up across the road from me and based on the drawings of what the building was supposed to look like, I thought that they were restoring the facade of the old ~ 6 story building that was there and then building a giant glass tower on top4. But apparently not, because they’ve completely demolished the whole building:
I’m hoping that they are going to at least build it to look like the old building, because I quite like how this neighbourhood looks, with the classic old buildings along the street.
On the plus side, for the moment at least, I have a much better riverview than I used to!
In the Ongoing Saga of My Teeth:
I just realized that I haven’t updated y’all on my teeth situation. The last time I mentioned them, I’d just gotten my prototype crowns and veneer and was soliciting your opinion on them. The next step was to go back to the dentist and tell her the things I didn’t like, which she then fixed5, so now my teeth are beautiful! Except they are still prototypes, as she had to take impressions of them to send off to a lab in Quebec, where they will make exact replicas of these beautiful teeth, except out of porcelain, which I have to go back to the dentist to have cemented onto my tooth stubs.
My appointment to get this done isn’t until next week and it’s super annoying because the prototypes are held in with “temporary” cement, which isn’t super-duper strong. A few days after my appointment to fix up the prototypes, the veneer fell off. The veneer pretty much just looks like a press-on fingernail, which gets “pressed on” to your tooth which has been shaved down a bit so that the veneer doesn’t stick out past your other teeth, so there’s not a lot of surface area to do the cementing (as opposed to crowns, which cover the entire tooth stump, so there’s tonnes of surface area). The day it happened my dentist was at a conference in Seattle because dental emergencies only happen when your dentist is out of town, and I had to call around to find a dentist whose office was open on a Friday afternoon and who could take a random stranger in to fix their tooth. I found one and she glued my veneer back on… which then fell off again about three hours later, even though I was being very careful and not biting with my front teeth or anything. She glued it on again the next morning and that time it lasted about 6 hours. At that point, I gave up on her as a lost cause, spent Sunday without a veneer6 and went to my own dentist first thing Monday morning. She glued it back on with some slightly stronger temporary cement, which held it on for 8 days. She glued it on yet again and, knock on wood, it seems to be holding up7. Ever since the first time it fell off, I’ve been very carefully not to eat anything that require biting with my front teeth – I just cut everything up with a knife and fork and put it in my mouth on the opposite side to the veneer, all the way back to my molars. On the plus side, I’m eating less because eating has become so very annoying, which is helping me with my weight loss goal. Also, I can’t bite my nails, so my nails are actually growing quite nicely. Poor tooth structure = everybody wins! (I’m sure as soon as I get my permenant crowns and veneers next week, it will all go back to the way it was before, and I’ll have my nails bitten down and gain back the little weight I’ve managed to lose!)
In the I Haven’t Been on a Proper Vacation in More Than Three Year Department:
This is a biggie and probably deserves its own blog posting, but who knows when I’m going to get back on here, so I figured I’d better say it now. I haven’t been on a proper vacation since I went to the Dominican Republic back in January 2010! I mean, I’ve been on road trips and I’ve been to Toronto (and Montreal) to visit my family several times since then, but I haven’t been on a real fly-to-somewhere-and-see-the-sights kind of trip. And, as I’ve lamented before, I’ve never left the continent. But all of that is about to change! I’ve booked off three weeks in August and, thanks in large part to a very nice tax return this year, I’m using that time to go to Europe! First stop will be four days in London, England, where I will be hanging out with my mom and two of my aunts, before we hop over to Dublin for our 11-day tour of Ireland! I’m Irish on my mom’s side, so I think it will be fantastic to explore our roots together! After that, my mom and aunts are heading back home, but I’d staying on an extra week. I haven’t yet booked what I’ll be doing during that time, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to go to Greece and relax on the beach. Because after two weeks of running around doing all sorts of touristy things, a week of relaxing in the extreme heat some like just what the doctor ordered.
So, yeah, that’s some stuff that I’ve been meaning to blog about since forever. And now I’m up past my bedtime and will probably regret staying up to write this when the morning comes. But it’s Friday AND it’s a long weekeend! Now I’m off to hit the hay!
- Name courtesy of Dr. Dan, who earned the honour of being Count Frogula’s godfather for coming up with such a cromulent name. [↩]
- To clarify, she was named after the performer and not the giant metal chicken. I feel the need to clarify, as I have been asked which of those two she was named after. *cough* Dr. Cath *cough* [↩]
- She’s also fully paid off, which is pretty kick ass. [↩]
- Which is how most of the buildings in my ‘hood are built, including the one I live in. [↩]
- She just put some extra acrylic here and some extra acrylic there to add a bit of length to the ones that were too short and fill in the gap I didn’t like – and voila! [↩]
- Translation: Hiding away from civilization so no one could see my horribleness. (OK, it actually wasn’t that bad, because it’s not like the hideous tooth stumps that are under my crowns. It’s just a bit too short and a bit far back compared to the other teeth and I don’t open my mouth wide when I talk or smile, so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. But still). [↩]
- It’s totally going to fall off again, now that I’ve said that. [↩]
I had a weekend of classes this past weekend, with papers due and presentations to be prepped and oodles and oodles of case studies and book chapters to read. So, naturally, Thursday night I found myself baking1.
I forgot to take a picture of the chocolate fudge oat bars that I made, but they pretty much looked like the picture on the page from which I took the recipe. They were made with all things bad for you – butter and white flour and sugar and sweetened condensed milk, which must be ounce-for-ounce the highest calorie substance on earth – and therefore were pretty tasty, if I do say so myself.
As you may recall2, last year some fine Guelphites put out a challenge to anyone who is awesome enough to take up said challenge. And that challenge is to set a small, but challenging, health-related goal for the month of May. And then tell people about it – because research shows that publicly stating your goals makes it more likely that you’ll stick to them. Last year, my challenges were to (a) eat breakfast every day3 and (b) do some kind of exercise every day4, as those were two things I’d found I’d fallen out of the habit of doing when I turned my life all topsy-turvy by taking on a part-time MBA program in addition to my full-time job. I’m happy to report that those habits seem to have stuck with me, as I am in a routine of eating breakfast most days and am actually on day 121 of consecutive days of doing some kind of physical activity5!.
For this year’s May Health Challenge, I decided to again look at what bad habits I’ve fallen into lately – and thus come up with an area where I can work on re-establishing a healthy routine6 and one thing immediately came to mind: I haven’t been making dinners at home very much recently. And when I do, they have more often than not been of the quick – and not quite as healthy – variety. In fact, reading Mark’s7 blog posting about his May Health Challenge, I saw this statement which pretty much sums up my dining of late:
I eat out because of convenience (laziness), a perceived lack of time (poor planning), or as a social event (I have good friends).
The thing is – I actually love to cook! I love to take fresh ingredients, chop them, mix them, season them, and make them into a feast of deliciousness! I like to put on some music and dance around the kitchen as I do so. On occasion, I even do so with a nice glass of wine. But lately I’ve just not been that organized, so even if I do feel like cooking something, I don’t have any of the things I need to cook something wonderful – and that is if I can come up with an idea of what I want to cook. When I’m busy – as I have been at work and school for more months now than I can even count – I tend to feel overwhelmed by end of the day that making even the smallest choice seems impossible. What should I have for dinner? I have no idea. I’ve already made 100,000 decisions today and I’m all out of decision-making capacity!
Happily, I know exactly the fix for this problem of mine: meal planning. If I actually sit down on, say, Sunday evening, and plan out my meals for the week, I can then (a) not have to make last minute dinner decisions and (b) plan out my grocery shopping accordingly, so I have everything I need when I need it, thus resulting in a less stressed out and more healthily fed Dr. Beth.
Here’s my plan for this week – since May 1 is Wednesday, I figured I’d get a head start and include this whole week:
Friday I’ve marked in a “school night”, since I have class on Friday and will go out for dinner with classmates8. My challenge isn’t that I have to cook for myself every day, just that I have to have planned my meals. I think that even just being more thoughtful about making a conscious decision about what I’m doing for my meals will help me be a little more aware of what I’m eating, rather than just kind of going along not paying much attention and suddenly realizing I’ve eaten at restaurants more than half the days in a month.
You’ve probably also noticed that I haven’t made a plan for Sunday just yet. I actually just sat down and planned out the other nights tonight, in preparation for this blog posting, and kind of ran out of steam. I’m taking suggestions if anyone has any good ideas!
For my second May Health Challenge, I’m going to do something that doesn’t, at first glance, sound like it has anything to do with health. I’m going to pick my outfits for the week on Sunday night, when I do my meal planning. “But what could this possibly have to do with health?” you ask? For me, it’s about my mental health. I find that on weeks when I pick out my outfits for the week and line them up in my closet so that each morning I can just grab an outfit and put it on, I feel so much better than weeks when every day I get up in the morning, am completely indecisive about what I want to wear, scramble around to find a shirt that goes with the skirt I finally picked, then am not able to find the sweater that goes with that outfit9, and on it goes. When I can just grab and outfit and go, I find I get to work feeling more relaxed/less frazzled and ready to take on the day!
So there you have it – my May Health Challenges! What are you going to challenge yourself to do this May?
- Not to mention January through March. [↩]
- “May” recall! Get it?? I slay me! [↩]
- Which I accomplished. [↩]
- Which I managed to do 26 out of the 30 days of the challenge – as the 31st was reserved for celebrating! [↩]
- As part of 101 things to do list to do some kind of physical activity every day for a year! [↩]
- This is actually a good time to set up a new routine, as I recently broke up with boyfriend, so all my routines that I’d established over the last ~a year we’d been living together are gone anyway. Yeah, I just revealed my breakup in a footnote. I’m a heartless bastard. Or one who doesn’t like talking about this stuff on my blog. The jury is still out. [↩]
- Mark being one of the aforementioned Guelphites. [↩]
- Going out for meals on class weekends is actually something that I really enjoy – it’s a chance to socialize with my classmates. And in an intense program like ours, the support and camaraderie really does help you get through. [↩]
- My office is freezing, so I always have to have a sweater. [↩]
… began with a simple question: in a culture that wastes nearly 40% of all food produced, how do we connect the people who have fresh food to give to those who need it most?
The Farm To Fork website is part of the solution. Designed to facilitate communication between donors and emergency food service providers, the website aims to increase the quality and quantity of fresh food donated to local food banks and food pantries.
The project involved a bunch of students at the University of Guelph – one of my alma maters – along with my friend, Dr. Dan, and his friend Danny – building prototypes and other such computer-y things to make this project a reality. Now they need your help to take this thing to the next level. They are crowdsourcing funding for beta testing by undergrad students over the summer, some necessary hardware, and to send the undergrad developers to the Community University Expo to spread the word and share their knowledge. Supporting this project means providing quality summer employment for undergraduate students, helping get a really beneficial product to its launch (which will ultimately mean getting more nutritious food to people who need it), and a warm feeling in the cockles of your heart. True story.
One of the items on my 101 things to do list is to “bake at least one thing per month for 12 months in a row, without baking the same thing two months in a row”. I’ve been working diligently to get this one done and have been doing quite well since I decided to use the power of actually scheduling it into my calendar. This month has been a busy one, though, so I kept moving my “bake something today!” task in my Google calendar further down the line. Until today. Today, being the last day of the month and all.
I spent most of today doing homework and enjoying the sunshine – first on my balcony and later at the New West Pier Park:
Given my interest in maximizing my sunshine time1 and minimizing my time in the kitchen, I decided to find a quick and easy recipe. I also wanted something that went with the lovely summer weather we are having2, so I decided on lemon squares 3.
The recipe is pretty easy – crust made of butter, flour, icing sugar and lemon part made with sugar, flour, baking powder, eggs, and lemon juice. Serve with a side of insulin.
I couldn’t wait until they were completely cooled to try them, so I took a small piece to sample as soon as they were reasonably cooled, but which ended up being rather messy due to the not-yet-completely-cooled-therefore-not-yet-completely set. Verdict: Delicious.
And now to set a “bake something today!” task into my Google calendar for April!
In completely unrelated news, I really earned my blog title yesterday while trying to cut an avocado for a snack:
The knife slipped as I was trying to get the pit out. It hurt so bad that I actually threw the knife across the counter in reaction to the cut. It took quite some time for the bleeding to stop. Given its location, I don’t expect it to heal quickly.