Monday, January 27, 2014

"Everyone Is Mad About Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' Grammy Wins"

"Everyone Is Mad About Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' Grammy Wins"....

According to the Huffington post, Twitter is all abuzz, claiming Macklemore and Ryan Lewis aren't "real" rap. I would venture to guess, if you asked anyone from the age of 8, my daughters age to 60, my mothers age, what genre of music it is? Their answer would, undoubtedly be, rap.

I'm not sure where these people have been for the past 54 years of the Grammy's, but feeling somehow "gipped" in certain genres is not a new issue.

If all things were right in the world of music awards, 'Queens of the Stone Age' would have won "Best Rock"- everything this year. Led Zeppelin won for "Best Rock Album"? We're in 2014, folks. I think, written in 2013 should be a new stipulation. Taylor Swift should be out of the whole Country genre, to give some actual Country artists a hope in hell. Coldplay should be out of the "Rock" genre. They're not very likely to ever win "Best Rock" - anything, competing with the likes of 'The Black Keys' and 'Foo Fighters' as they have been in past years.

Groups, bands and artists such as 'Daft Punk', 'Arcade Fire', Adel, Lorde, Foo Fighters and 'The Black Keys'; just to name (a very) few, would always win awards and we wouldn't be so overwhelmed/proud/ecstatic/stunned when they do.  Because, I'll say it.... They deserve them more than Jay-Z and Kanye. Now, I'm not saying this for personal preference. Just so you know, Jay-Z is my unofficial boyfriend. I adore him and everything he has ever done. I say this because there needs to be variety. It can't just be the same mega-star beating out everyone in their path year after year. And as much as everyone seems to love to hate Kanye, I don't think him having or not having talent is up for debate. The man has a gift, like it or not.

My take on the 56th annual Grammy awards are as follows:

Daft Punk deserved every award they received and their performance was nothing less than pure joy to watch. Between the artists loving life up there on the stage, to the stage design itself, to the audience getting down! Watching that audience, you would have thought you were watching wedding footage from a dance floor. Everyone seemed to know and love each other for a moment. No one seemed to care what anyone else was doing, how they looked or who was who for a few minutes in time. It was wonderful to witness.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' performance was one of the most touching moments in music history, to me. Their song, "Same Love" will be remembered forever. For anyone who thinks they're too mainstream or too pop; The last time I checked, a white male rapping about gay rights and marriage equality is pretty controversial and out of the box. No less, in a time where almost nothing can be viewed as controversial.

They didn't win because they are white or poppy or safe. They won because it's a great album with great songs.

Who gets to judge what's "real rap" anyway? That's not what the Grammys are for or ever have been about. If you're a rap snob and know everything there is to know and listen to the deep cuts of everything and know who got inspired by who and who started it all, well then I don't even know why you're watching the Grammys. You're going to be disappointed every time.

Have I been disappointed that certain artists don't get the recognition they deserve? Of course. I was, just last night when 'Imagine Dragons' won over 'Queens of the Stone Age'. It was a travesty to me. But that's just me. I would never go on a hate-rant about 'Imagine Dragons'. That's just... Not nice. Not very cool at all, if you ask me.

I'm going to look on the bright side. 'Daft Punk' beat out 'Robin Thicke, Rihanna, J.T., and Pink when I would have never imagined they could. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis beat out Jay-Z, Wiz-Khalifa, Kendrick Lamar, Drake and Eminem.

I'm going to view that as two points for the team. I'm going to walk away looking at that as a big fat win. I'm going to look at that as an example of the American Dream at its finest. The "little-guy" came out on top.

I walked away, inspired. Isn't that what it's all supposed to be about?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Tents & Tahini

 I love camping.

 That being said, I do realize there's a lot of you folks out there who disagree with me to say the least. I empathize with all the reasons you could have. I do. It is a lot of work. It's not the most comfortable night's sleep. The whole process of showering (more for the ladies) isn't the best, and you can't control the weather.

 All that aside, I just love it. I was going through pictures today and came across some from our trip last summer with friends. We camped at Elora Gorge Conservation Area in Elora Ontario, Canada.

 It was the first time I had gone camping since I went with my Dad as a little girl. I loved going with my Dad. I was so excited to be going again.

 I found myself enjoying the preparation. Googling camping lists and loading up rubbermaid bins. Bringing way to much stuff as I always have on trips. But this trip was different, this time I got to bring everything! Cooking, living, sleeping, first aid, entertainment, personal care, clothes, everything! The thought that I could get to our destination and get through the weekend and have every single thing we could need camping and never say, "I forgot the _____" or, "I wish I had _____" was the best challenge ever. For an example of how far I took this challenge: Izzy's rechargeable night light. As much as I get frantic and anal and probably annoying I really do love the planning and packing and order of it all.

 I ended up not even able to fit it all in my Ford Focus Hatchback, and borrowed my Mom's brand new Jeep at the last minute. Thanks Mom! I even had meal plans and portions figured out and all the food with us. I have heard people go shopping once they get there but this thought didn't appeal to me. As much as camping isn't exactly "relaxation central" in the first place, I felt it necessary to at least have everything we needed with us and no need to do any more work than was already ahead of us.

 We didn't get to camp until nightfall. We used our headlights to set up camp. I rearranged my carefully laid out meal plans and decided on sandwiches, to which I had roasted turkey and buns and good cheese only to have the kids want peanut butter and jelly, (which I had! ;) ) and realized within the first hour that  I was probably going home with a lot of food.... and I did.

 We had campfires, s'mores, guitars, singing, laughing, hiking, sightseeing, antiquing (in town), rain, tarps, wine, scrapes and bruises, early mornings, late nights, french pressed coffee, dirty... everything, smiles and tears. We had FUN.

These are the looks I get already!

 My outstanding friend Joel managed to salvage our whole campsite while we all ran off to the showers before the rain got any worse, not even realizing that by doing that the rain would in fact, get worse and soak everything. By the time we got back he had put everything in the tents and cars that could be damaged, put a tarp over the picnic table all on this own and was teaching Leigh how to play backgammon. We felt horrible to say the least. Joel had saved the day.

So there the 7 of us sat at the little picnic table, under the tarp in the pouring rain with our little lantern and candle (brought that too).

........... and you know what? 

It was the best night of the whole trip. 

 I'm sitting here trying to think what to tell you "it" is about camping that makes it so great. I think that the work and the scrapes and bruises and rainy huddled up nights under a tarp make you leave with more than you would going to a five star resort of your choice. It brings you closer and the memories are stronger and that's what I love about camping.

Now onto the tahini. I really wanted to name this blog, 'Tahini Treat' but I didn't want to differ from the "____ & ____" that I've been going with thus far.

 So I'm trying this whole healthy thang and so I decided on making my own dressing for the first time. You know what? It's the easiest thing I've ever made in the kitchen. You know what else? I know exactly what's in it!

 I got my recipe from Alicia Silverstone's 'The Kind Diet' but I'm sure the recipe is similar anywhere you get it.

This recipe is to be taken very loosely. I did what it said and then added more garlic, lemon juice, and almost double the water to get it to a "drizzleable" consistency. I found a little jar I wasn't using and just shook it all up in there after blending. It only lasts a few days so put it on lots! Salads, vegetables, over rice, noodles, on sandwiches, whatever.


Makes a little over a cup.


Just combine 1/2 cup tahini (raw or roasted), juice from 1 1/4 lemons, 1 - 2 teaspoons shoyu (or tamari), 1/4 clove of garlic (I used a whole clove since I like garlic), dash cayenne (optional), 1 teaspoon umeboshi vinegar (optional, I used rice wine vinigar) and 1/2 cup water in a blender and puree until very well combined. That's it!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sunny Days & Spaghetti Squash

 I just Googled myself. My blog. I was there!

 It made me happy.  I'm  Googleable. That's pretty cool.

 It's a gorgeous day out today. I have the windows open as well as the back door so my cats can roam freely in and out. I do love this weather for that. I like watching Emma who is always so tense rolling around on the pavement (That Izzy has drawn on with sidewalk chalk and leaves Emma's normally white chest, pink). In the time she is outside, she is carefree. Ruby, who needs the door open at all times, so there's always an "out", or "in" as it should be. She makes me laugh when we're outside. Finally Lucy, the youngest. Who only last year we couldn't really let outside without her hiding under the deck for the day. Having to coach her out with treats, now has a calm about her. A calm that turns sporadically neurotic, but a little bit of calmness in Lucy is a lot for her.

 Isn't it so cool how we know our animals? I have talked to a few friends who speak for their animals using a voice they're sure their pet would sound like, with a personality to match.  We do this with our three cats. It's almost like a household inside joke. No one would ever be as amused as us with it. There's something nice about that too.

 I have been somewhat absent in the blogosphere the last couple months and I think it has to do with some changing going on. Small, but change nonetheless.

 I found myself wanting information on healthy eating for the first time in my life. I feel I am, and have been capable to make what are for the most part balanced meals up until now but started really wanting to know more about vegetarian living, even vegan living. I don't think I want to necessarily be vegetarian but I feel as though vegetarian living, cooking and recipes is the way to go if you really want the dirt on the best of the best, bang for your buck in the way of healthy meals.

 So I went to Chapters and hunkered down with some books and I came out with, Alicia Silverstone's 'The Kind Diet - A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet', Kim Barnouin's 'Skinny Bitch - Ultimate Everyday Cookbook', and Green Guide's 'Grow Your Own Vegetables'.

 The first two books are half information and half recipes. I have to say, I loved the info. Have you ever heard of 'Night shade vegetables', Seitan, Tempeh or Shoyu? I hadn't! I love learning new things about food.

 Last Friday, I found myself in a salon with my friends Erika and Nancy gabbing about all of the above. I actually went home that night and thought what a great day that was. Just sitting with the girls laughing and learning. I left with new bangs and a new knowledge of food. I actually went home that night after having some amazing tea from Taloola Cafe with Erika, where her husband Dave runs the kitchen, going to the new Mexican Grille in our city, also with Erika, her husband and my friend, Dave; and thought..... "What a great day. I have the coolest friends."

 Within a day I had an email from Nancy with facts on tofu, marinades for tofu, and a recipe for sunflower seed pate (so good, it tastes like Thanksgiving) and tofu egg salad.

 I went out that day and bought Veganaise, Earth Balance butter flavoured spread and some smokey bacon flavoured tempeh just to give it all a whirl. The Veganaise and Earth Balance are really good. You can barely tell a difference, really. The tempeh was okay but something I would need getting used to.

 It was all so exciting to me. There's something to be said about getting recipes from vegan and vegetarian friends, books and sites. I could decide to eat healthy and eat a salad every night, or cut my portions, or eat only fruits or a smoothie every morning. But really, that's not the way to go in the way of proper health and in just plain excitement in your diet. I could be making 'Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Tomatoes', 'Moroccan Couscous with Saffron', or "Beet & Cheese Napoleon Salad with Candied Pecans and Shallot- Balsamic Vinaigrette' for god sake! These are the things that are going to keep me interested, excited and wanting more. What about you?

 On today's menu is 'Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Tomatoes'. I am baking the squash as I type. The smell of the squash alone is pretty yummy.

 I am going to enjoy the rest of this gorgeous day with my daughter and our cats in the backyard. Maybe I'll plant some of the seeds from the spaghetti squash in the garden and see what happens.

I threw in some pictures of beautiful days I have taken to get the mood flowin' in here. The last one is to hopefully make you laugh. :)

 Take care & Have fun.


 Here's the link for the recipe:

- 1 spaghetti squash, (2 ½ lb/1.25 kg)
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 4 cups grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- ¼ tsp hot pepper flakes
- 1 can (540 mL) white kidney beans or navy beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1. Halve and seed squash. Bake, cut-side down, on greased baking sheet in 400F (200C) oven until flesh is tender when pierced, about 1 hour. Using fork, scrape strands into bowl; stir in half each of the salt and pepper. Keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, in 13- x 9-inch (3 L) glass baking dish, toss together tomatoes, garlic, oil, vinegar, hot pepper flakes and remaining salt and pepper. Roast in 400F (200C) oven for 30 minutes.
3. Stir in beans and parsley; roast until beans are heated through and tomatoes are shrivelled, about 10 minutes. Mound squash on platter; spoon tomato mixture over top.
Extra tip: For an extra nutty, cheesy flavour, stir ¼ cup (60 mL) grated Parmesan cheese into the cooked and shredded squash.
Serves 6

Monday, April 4, 2011

False Hopes & F'real Chili

 I sort of picked up a long time ago, I don't remember when; not to really hope for much. Not to have to much faith in anything, or anyone. Maybe more specifically not to be disappointed when and if someone let me down.

 At the same time, battling that has always been a thought that people are generally good. I see and appreciate good actions, gestures, emotions and intentions and feel them like they were done to me. In an empathetic way, in a very big way. It aways overcomes me when any of these things happen.

 I once heard, "never doubt that at any moment something extraordinary can happen". It was huge to me. I think because as much as I generally don't hope or dream, I do of course have hopes and dreams. It's just very hard for me to stay constant in them. Almost as if those two trains of thought are battling within me and one wins depending on the situation, person, environment or hormone of the day (or sometimes hour).

 There have been times I have wondered if I needed medication.

 I have taken medication for a very short time that was in the same timeframe as a very hard time in my life. I went off it when the prescription ran out, that was also the same week I moved back home with my daughter from leaving my husband in Philadelphia.

 That was a tough month.

 I couldn't begin to figure out whether it had to do with (a.) Coming off of the medication cold turkey, or (b.) Moving back into my Mothers at the age of 27 and starting from scratch with my 2 and a half year old daughter in tow. Living out of a suitcase and sleeping on a pull out sofa in a basement living room, my daughter being in a pack 'n' play in the spare room and having no clue what I was going to do with my life other then just breath. Or maybe a little of both, (a.) and (b.).

 I came to the conclusion that I was open enough of a person, had friends and family that were also themselves, open with me that until medication came up as a real possibility; I would seek out every means of dealing with the battle on my own.

 To me, people that are always hoping to win the lottery, to make it big,  waiting until (this date), when ____ happens everything will be good; to me those people are postponing their happiness.

 To me, the people that have huge dreams and seek them out and achieve them are to be admired. Because for me, the fear of failing or where to even start is so beyond what I feel is within me. It is actually so much bigger than me that I couldn't even pin point what my dream would be. It's almost as if my mind won't let me place it. Sometimes I feel  like the journey is what would bring me right to it. That is if I ever started the journey.

 There is a part of me that thinks what I have within me is huge. There is another part that thinks it's what every child starts off thinking. Whether that feeling gets cultivated or neglected is dependant on the outcome. Then I wonder if maybe a combination of the latter and that individual person having that light in them no matter what anyone else ever does or says with it.

 There are even some days I think that my losing weight, or moving to a different city with more to offer or just some grand opportunity will present itself and any one of those things will be "the thing", that brings me to the "huge thing".

 Because of the thought about postponing happiness, the other thought of me having something huge within in me gets covered up with the notion that I, myself am postponing my happiness and need to be happy with today. Right now. 

 I heard something last night when watching a show called "Our America", that spoke to me. It was a show on faith healers. It focused on a man and group in North Carolina and showed these crowds coming in. Every one of them stead fast in the thought that there was no other option, they were being healed. No "what if's" or back up plans. There was a man, a paraplegic who was absolutely certain he would walk out of that building.

 Lisa Ling, who was spending time with him and interviewing him asked him, "what if you don't?". His response: "I will."

 By the end of this show I found myself on the edge of my seat as the healer walked up to him. It was as if his faith and hope was strong enough for everyone around him. I could feel it through the screen.  I just thought, "Let this happen for him. Please. He needs it. What will happen to him if this doesn't happen. Please "whoever", let this happen for him."

 He did not walk out of there.

 You know what his response to it was? "not today, I suppose". That's it. He had not lost hope. Not one bit. Just wasn't in the cards today.

 Lisa Ling said something that really made me think. She said, "Maybe it was me that expected to much. Maybe there are no false hopes."

 Maybe there are no false hopes.

 Maybe a hope that when proven wrong, strikes you down and leaves you stricken with negativity and doubt; was never really hope. Maybe you had that negativeness and doubt to begin with so it/he/she was sort of doomed to failure because it's what you expected in the first place. You never really had hope. You had delayed doubt.

 Maybe you can look at someone with all the hope and faith in the world within them for something you see as not scientifically or humanly possible and feel bad because you see someone who is going to get  let  down. It might even make you angry at the person you feel is giving them this "false hope".

 But then they don't get knocked down. Maybe because they're different than you. They're hope is a real hope. An unwavering hope of pure good. Maybe nothing can knock that hope down. Maybe it's what's kept them in this life. Maybe it's what's gotten them through what otherwise would have been insufferable. Maybe no one else was ever responsible for, contributing to, or taking away from this hope.

 So maybe there are no false hopes.

 Maybe any hope...... is hope.

Boiler Maker Tailgate Chili

 Here is the link to the original recipe. Mine has only changed or missing a couple things, but here is the link and then I will put the recipe I used below.

 I have never seen that many reviews on anything on this site. So I had to try it.


2 pounds ground top sirloin

  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage
  • 3 (15 ounce) cans chili beans, drained
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 sachets beef bouillon
  • 1 bottle of beer
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce (e.g. Tabasco™)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 (8 ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 container sour cream


  1. Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Crumble the ground sirloin and sausage into the hot pan, and cook until evenly browned. Drain off excess grease.
  2. Pour in the chili beans, spicy chili beans, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Add the onion, celery, green and red bell peppers, bouillon, and beer. Season with chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, oregano, cumin, hot pepper sauce, basil, salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, and sugar. Stir to blend, 
  3. then cover and simmer over low heat for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
  4. After 3 hours, taste, and adjust salt, pepper, and chili powder if necessary. The longer the chili simmers, the better it will taste. Remove from heat and serve, or refrigerate, and serve the next day.
  5. To serve, ladle into bowls, and top with shredded Cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Beautiful Songs & Beautiful Family

 Ever think, "if _______ (song) wasn't here on this planet, I don't know how I would have gotten through _____"?

 I want to know what songs those were for you and if I may be so bold, what did it get you through?

 Sometimes the song's content has nothing to do what what you're particularly going through. It just helps you. You could listen to it ten thousand times just to get you through a day. Sometimes it's like the song found you, because every word is an exact description of how you feel. A description you could have never come up with even if you had all the time in the world.

 One that comes to mind for me is this:

 To get this all started I suppose I will start. ;)


 I was living in Philadelphia a few years back, for 5 years. Within which, I got married and had my daughter, Isabella. One particular summer I was missing my friends and family something fierce. We went for a visit. I had my daughter in tow this time around. She was 2 or so at that time. We stayed a few days. Even a month wouldn't have been long enough, really.

 This visit was a much more difficult one to part from. Having my family and friends around my daughter felt so.... absolutely perfect. Exactly how it should be. Needless to say the goodbyes were unbearable. I'm not one for goodbyes in the first place.

 I got "home" to Philadelphia and bought the new John Mayer album and I have to say the whole thing touched me in some way for the most part. I still love that album of his. But this one song. It was just exactly it. It all hit me. I already knew it. But this screamed it, "stop this train, I want to get off and go home again".

 I absolutely, 139% broke down. Listened to it over and over. Cried and cried. Put it on my iPod and walked and listened to it and cried in the peace of walking out in the middle of nowhere in my own place  out in the world to just..... cry.

 This one part would get me every time:

"once in a while, when it's good it'll feel like it should, and they're all still around and you're still safe and sound and you don't miss a thing 'til you cry when you're driving away in the dark, singin': stop this train, I want to get off and go (back) home again, I can't take the speed this thing is movin' in...."

 I mean, it was like a direct tap into my heart. I would visit home and see everyone and it all felt good and happy and love. It would help me get through 'til the next time. But not this visit. This visit was different. I wanted off this train. I wanted home.

 ..... and I did it. I was back home with Izzy by the end of the summer. If you've ever dealt with the ending of a marriage, a marriage involving children, a marriage involving different countries it sure as hell wasn't as easy as that sentence, "and we were back home by the end of the summer".

 I hope you never have to go through it. Never.

 But also, if you do. I want you to know you CAN do it. In any circumstance. You can start your life over again. Any time. Any day. It is possible and it is hard, but it's worth it. If it's what you know in your heart needs to happen then you trust yourself. Respect yourself and love yourself enough to give YOU peace and love and happiness. Know that you're deserving of it.

 Here I am 3 years later and I love my life. I love my family and I am so proud of myself for having the strength to come home again. I am still so grateful and feel so lucky to have the best friends anyone could have and getting to be with them again.

 Moving away did that for me. I love my city and all it has to offer and I love the luxury of getting to walk down the road to my mom's house. Getting to meet my friend for a drink if I'm having a bad day. I remember how it felt when I couldn't and I will never forget how good it feels still, today.

 So there, I did it. I spilled my GUTS. So now it's you're turn. What song helped you and how. I can't wait to hear what you have to say. :)

 One thing that is so easy that everyone our house dies for is, Taco Night. It's fun and it's easy and everyone loves making their own taco.

 I don't want to sound like a snob but I just can't stand taco kits. I don't really want ground beef for one and there's so many other flavours that I look for in a good taco that I find lacking in the traditional kit recipes and instructions.

 So this is what I do:

Chicken Tacos

 1 pkg boneless, skinless chicken breast
 1 to 2 cups shredded cheese of your choice (I like a mix of sharp cheddar and a mexican blend)
 2 cloves garlic diced
 3 limes (zest from one)
 3 avocados sliced
 1 bunch cilantro
 1 jar of good salsa (I use herdez, or make your own!)
 1 can refried beans
 1 small container of sour cream
 12 flour tortillas
 Salt & Pepper to taste


 Set oven to 350 fahrenheit. Cut the chicken into this strips and set aside.

 Chop up cilantro coarsely. Cut up 2 limes into wedges for squeezing onto individual tacos. Prep avocados for slicing. What I do is cut through to the seed and go all the way around the avocado with the knife. Then you just have to slightly twist and pull apart. Just take a spoon and put it between the pulp and the skin and bring it all the way around and scoop it underneath to separate it completely from the skin. This way when you're ready it falls right out and you can slice it up nicely. To keep it from browning just put it back together until you are ready to slice it just before serving.

 Put can of refried beans into a small pan and heat at low temperature, mxing every few minutes. Get flour tortillas prepped on a small plate and cover with plastic wrap or damp towel and place in microwave.

 Get a large pan heating on medium heat. Dice up garlic. Juice one lime into pan, add garlic and cook for about a minute until fragrant. Add chicken, season with zest from one lime, salt and pepper to taste and cook through. Sprinkle desired amount of cheese over top and put it in the oven until cheese starts to brown and bubble.

 Add some of the cheese mix to the refried beans that are warming with a little salsa and just before plating add some chopped cilantro. (It makes refried beans so much more interesting).

 Slice up avocado and plate with lime wedges and chopped cilantro.

 Heat flour tortillas in microwave on high for one minute or until fairly hot. Leave the plastic wrap or damp towel on until ready to start making the tacos.

 Serve with the refried beans, sour cream, some homemade guacamole, salsa and tortillas and you have an awesome taco night!


 My perfect taco is: Take a flour tortilla spread some sour cream, few avocado slices, chicken, lime juice, cilantro and a little salsa. SO GOOD!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Veganish & Chicken.... and Pork..

 I just watched a television program the other day about veganism. Wow, this computer doesn't even know what veganism is.... Does that mean I'm in some way smarter or more advanced than my computer? I think so!

 What are your thoughts on veganism? I don't even know enough to truly have a say. I do wonder about some things...

 Like if the goal is to get away from animal based products and go to a more natural, whole route; then what about vegan sausage, chicken and other  meat-like products? Isn't that considered processed? Is it that the processed and the filler and additives in what is vegan a more healthy choice?

 Am I wrong in thinking that maybe it's just all newer and maybe we don't know the harms in these types of processed foods yet.

 Doesn't it always seem to be the way though? Things get shoved out into our world and we find out years later that it causes cancer and heart attacks and whatever other hugely life threatening issues. Could this be the case with all this?

 Please inform me, link me, punch me, whatever. I want to know.

 Also, there is a definite way of being vegan and completely UNhealthy. You could eat processed foods to your hearts delight and still be vegan. Surely, that's not the ideal of a vegan lifestyle.

 At the end of the show what I did agree with is there's nothing wrong with being more conscious of exactly how many animal based things I ingest in a day. Be it eggs, cheese, yogurt, mayonnaise, milk, butter, meat, etc.

 Maybe being conscious is the key. I don't necessarily think all meat products need to be taken from my life. But, maybe doing something like a 'Meatless Monday' could be an idea. Maybe the action of making a meal that does not consist of any meat products would be a learning experience. I actually don't think I have ever done it. There's always a little something like butter or cheese.

 I have a feeling the action of putting a vegan dinner together would, in itself achieve a consciousness that was not there before. Maybe possibly being.... Veganish?

 I'm really interested on your thoughts and info!

 Having said that here's the best Chicken I ever made added with a sprinkle of Pork!

 I swear this chicken has a lot of instruction but it is worth it. Make the gravy too! Trust me.

 Orange Rosemary Roasted Chicken

  •  Take chicken out of refrigerator and rinse super well, let it sit out (without dog around) to let it get the chill off of it. Make note of the chicken's weight at this point and write it down for accurate cooking times as described below. You will be adding one half pound to it's total weight after stuffing it with onions, garlic and oranges.
  • Preheat oven at 450 degrees - yes 450 - you will be roasting at this temperature for only 20 minutes, then will be turning the oven temperature down to 325 afterwards.
  • In bowl, mix 4 tablespoons or more of olive oil, strip rosemary leaves off of two (2) sprigs and place into bowl. Add good amount of kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper and the ground sage. Squeeze juice of one half orange into bowl, stir contents and set aside.

  •  Generously salt and pepper inside of chicken (I like to have someone hold chicken upon it's "neck area" while I salt and pepper the inside - they never stand up for themselves during this task.
  •  Add all of the following to the inside of the bird as 'stuffing' - this will flavor the bird from the inside out making it truly scrumptious! - Put 1/2 cup onion that you have cut into large chunks, 3 cloves of garlic cut into half, 1 sprig of rosemary and 1/2 or more of a cut up orange (with skin) inside chicken.

 Do your best to tie up your bird (you will see a sad rendition of me roping up my chicken in the photos - somehow I have lost my roasting chicken 'fork ties' at the moment so do forgive my attempts on tying up the old jessie)
  • Take out your roasting pan.
  •  Cut up your celery and carrots into thirds (keeping them large) and place them into roasting pan. Add the rest of your garlic cloves (keep whole) and cut up onion and the rest of the cut up oranges skin and all and lastly one last sprig of rosemary into your roasting pan.

  •  Sprinkle roasting pan 'ingredients' with a little salt and pepper and drizzle just a little olive oil over the top.
  •  I use my hands for the next task, I scoop out some of the mixture from the bowl with olive oil and seasonings and rub the back and front of the chicken - do not forget about the wings and legs - get every part of that bird coated with the olive oil mixture as if you were sending her out to the beach in the sun for the day.
  •  Once coated, place her face down (breast side down on top of all the celery, oranges, onions, etc.) in the roasting pan. The vegetables serve as the rack when roasting. If you are roasting a large bird, you may have to add more celery, onions, carrots and oranges.

  •  Add three tablespoons water to roasting pan - you can also use wine (red or white) instead of the water.
  •  Place roasting pan with chicken into hot preheated oven.
  •  Roast at 450 degrees temperature for 20 minutes, then turn down the oven to 325 degrees.
  •  Roasting times for birds 4 pounds or less (once stuffed - add half of a pound to the total weight of your bird) roast for 30-35 minutes per pound total roasting time.
  •  Roasting times for birds over 4 pounds (once stuffed - add half of a pound to the total weight of your bird) roast for 20-25 minutes per pound total roasting time.
  •  Temperature in deepest point of thigh once cooked should reach 185 degrees. Legs should wiggle easily.
  •  Last 40 minutes, take bird out and flip. Not you, the bird, carefully of course and have her face up to show off her pretty breast. Baste with juices then return bird to oven.
  •  At last 20 minutes, baste once more and kick up the heat to 400 degrees. This will crisp up the skin and by roasting it breast side down for most of the cooking time will create a very moist white meat.
  • Take out chicken from oven.

  •  Place rack on top of carving plate and place chicken on top of rack to rest for 20 minutes so that any juices that drip fall away from the bird and through the rack and onto your carving plate allowing the skin to stay crisp. Cover with clean dish towel to keep warm. Keep chicken away from edge of counter so as to not entice doggy to take a quick peek at your incredible smelling chicken.
  •  While chicken is resting, make great pan gravy.
  •  To make pan gravy:

  •   In roasting pan, place on top of stove on medium heat, remove any oranges left, but leave in all the vegetables. Add 3-5 tablespoons of flour to create a rue. With whisk, stirring constantly, add 2 cups of chicken stock or broth to rue slowly at first to incorporate liquid and to help keep it lump free. Let come to a boil, add salt and pepper if necessary and remember to scrape the sides of your roasting pan to get all those little brown bits into your gravy which are total gravy 'enhancers'! Strain gravy if you would like and serve it up with your roasted chicken. You may want to serve your 'withered' roasted veggies - they are extra naughty and good.


 Ok this is a staple in our house. I have made it at least a dozen times since I found the recipe last year. Izzy calls it, 'Lettuce Tacos', but between you and I... It's:

 Pork Bulgogi

 Serves 4
  • 6 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, freshly grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, very thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 large onion, cut into 12 wedges
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Toasted sesame seeds (optional)


  1. In a medium bowl, combine garlic cloves, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, crushed red pepper, ginger, and ground pepper.
  2. Add pork tenderloin and onion wedges; marinate at least 10 minutes.
  3. In a 12-inch skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. In three batches, brown pork and onion, 3 to 5 minutes per batch. Discard marinade.
  4. Return all pork and onion to skillet; cook until warm. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, if desired.

 Just a tip: This stuff is to good, if you're eating for more than 2, double it. 

 Have to add this one. Here I sit down to dinner with my Sriracha hot chili sauce (that I can put on more things than you would think).... and then this.. 

Enjoy guys, Cheers!