Monday, February 28, 2011



I’ve mentioned before that my most visited recipe is Healthy Broccoli Soup…but the recipe people tell me love the most is Sweet Potato, Spinach and Chicken Enchiladas. Since everyone else seems to like them so much I figured it was high time I made them again!  So onto the meal plan they went and last night I whipped up a batch.

Before we get to those though, here’s the rest of the boring stuff I ate today. :)


Cottage cheese, fresh berries, walnuts…


Bigass salad!


In the big silver bowl: red leaf lettuce, red peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, carrots and feta cheese.  Olive oil & balsamic as dressing.  Focaccia on the side.


Apple and sunflower butter snack…


Pre-workout snack…Kashi Honey Almond Flax with vanilla soy milk…


Post workout chow down!  Enchies!!  This batch includes chicken, black beans, steamed spinach and mashed sweet potatoes in ancient grains tortillas.


All previous incarnations of my enchiladas have been made with store bought sauce.  Upon Googling I realized the sauce is actually pretty straight forward so I made my own this time.  The recipe I went with was Emeril’s Easy Enchilada Sauce.


I came up short on cumin so the sauce is missing a bit of that smoky flavour but I jazzed it up with fresh cilantro and that seemed to work.  Next time I’ll be better prepared with my ingredients!!


Until then, these beauties will provide delicious dinners and freezer back up. Nom.

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Dine Around Victoria - Paprika

This weekend my beautiful and fabulous friend Cat was to come from Vancouver for a visit.  Because her visit was to be while Dine Around Victoria was going on we decided to plan a girl’s dinner out at Paprika Bistro in Oak Bay’s Estevan Village.


Sadly, Catriona fell ill the day she was to come over so Tiffaney, Rose, Jill and I had to go on without her.  Sad face. :(

When we arrived at the restaurant we thought it was really fun that we were seated in a somewhat private booth a bit separated from the rest of the diners.  We felt so special!

Paprika offered a $30 and a $40 Dine Around option, both available with wine pairings.  Since Tiffaney drove I decided to try the wines this time.  I really quite enjoyed the Gray Monk Pinot Auxerrois which paired with my first course….Roast Beet & Apple Soup with Crème fraiche & chives.


Tiffaney and I both had the soup, which was tasty but nothing spectacular.  I would have liked it to have more depth or….something.

Rose and Jill both ordered the Port Alberni Pork Rillette with local apple chutney & grilled house bread…which we all tried and found quite interesting and delicious!


For our main courses we all ordered something different…the common theme being what I called “fancy comfort food”.  I did enjoy my Housemade Sausage with crushed yukon gold potatoes, sauteed greens and red wine sauce…


The sausage was absolutely delicious, the chard lovely, and who doesn’t love mashed potatoes?  The sauce I found to be a little heavy on the salt…it reminded me of how so many All Stars on Top Chef this season keep getting in “salt trouble” from over-reducing!  The wine pairing isn’t even worth mentioning.

Tiffaney ordered Cowichan Bay Duck & Mushroom Pie with organic vegetables & mushroom gravy…which was flavourful and comforting, but she felt like it didn’t live up to the hype.


Rose had Baked Fazzoletti - parcel style pasta stuffed with mushrooms & organic greens with roasted garlic bechamel & spinach pesto…which was my personal favourite, and although Rose enjoyed it she found their “pasta” to be more like phyllo or pastry.  We all agreed.  Tasty though.


Jill opted for the Pan Roasted Coho Salmon on parisienne gnocchi with sauteed spaghetti squash & cauliflower cream.  I think I was more excited about her gnocchi than anyone was about anything else on the table.


She enjoyed her meal but commented that there was nothing particularly special about the salmon.  I sort of think it was unfair for this dish to appear on the $40 menu since it was so basic compared to some of the other offerings.

Dessert choices were simple but the two we tried were quite good.  Being the crème brullee lovers we are Tiffaney and I both opted for it of course.  It was only a mini serving and a little runny but the crust was great and the flavour was good. 


Rose and Jill both had the Apple Gallette.  Rose didn’t want dessert so Tiff and I gladly took it off her hands…I loved all of the cinnamon!


Maybe we just built up our expectations too much but we all left feeling “meh” about the whole experience.

I’m sure many Victoria foodies will be surprised to hear this and I hate to say it…but it’s true.  Our server was very nice and knowledgeable, but so totally missing in action at times.  We realized part way through our evening that our “private” table was more likely the “forgotten” table. Waits between courses were significant, our request for more water was forgotten more than once, and after our dessert dishes were cleared we literally never saw the server again for 20 minutes.

Good thing we didn’t want coffee. 

Eventually our bill arrived…without being separated! We ended up having to take things up to the front computer and get it sorted there.  Sorry Paprika, but I don’t think any of us gals will be venturing out of our way to Oak Bay for dinner again any time soon.

Dine Around really should be an opportunity for these local restaurants to impress us and lure us back, but sad to say neither of the establishments I tried this year did anything to put themselves on my “must try again” list.  Disappointing.

Never the less, the company was excellent and we girls had tons to talk about.  After dinner we headed for downtown and grabbed a couple of fun cocktails at Veneto.


I’m quite in love with their Clover Leaf…so delicious!


A little after midnight we wandered next door to The Mint for a final drink and a snack before heading home.  The lighting was really dim so no photographic evidence, but let’s just say that you should go and try the Potato and Spinach Tibetan Momos!  Absolutely deeeelish.  And that’s not just the cocktails talking…I swear!  :)

All in all a good night but we’re still on the hunt for a Victoria restaurant that truly blows us away!

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Field Trip!

It’s a Saturday morning, there’s frozen snow on the ground, no one is dying and for some reason I’m up at 8am.  I don’t get up at 8am on work days.  What the h3ll is going on?

Photography Field Trip!

I was late picking Charmaine up because the near empty Starbucks took about a gajillion years to make our two lattes.  I waited though because there was no way I was making it through an outdoor photo session without extra hot caffeine in my system.


Here we are looking like we totally know what we are doing!


I borrowed a snazzy tripod from my friend Alex which was quite a treat.  After a bit of a chat by our instructor, Charmaine and I wandered off to find a place to set up and shoot.  It took us a few tries but we finally found a spot we were both happy with…we didn’t last too long before we started to freeze to death though.  I couldn’t feel my toes and called it a day!

On the way back to the car we took some fun freehand shots…poor duckies!!!


Sadly confused seagull.  What’s going on?!


We hopped in the car and headed for the closest warm place for brunch we could think of.  Milestones.


Quite the view!


Hot coffee to soak my feet in.


We both ordered the California Benny….shrimp, bacon, avocado. Bliss.


After warming up and filling up we headed back outside to take a few more pictures at the waterfront.  Unfortunately we only lasted about 5 minutes because it was just too cold.  My feet were soaked!


We made a trip to lululemon where I may have finally procured a new workout outfit (new grooves!) before heading home to warm up and relax for the afternoon.

I needed hot tea and a warm blanket when I got home. 


Perfect afternoon for a cuddle with the kitty, a light snooze, and a leftover snack.


I’m helping Stoopy to see the entertainment value of all three seasons of Castle. :)


Saturday evening was girl’s night out!  Tough to drag myself away from my warm apartment but a delicious dinner and fabulous company worked it’s magic to lure me back outdoors.  Stay tuned!

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Pioneer Winner!

So I just came in from finally scooping the 6 inches of snow off of my car.  I figured two days of burial under the white stuff was probably enough!  It’s freaking windy out there!  but the skies are clear and bright blue!

Right, so you probably don’t care about that.  Poor Victoria and their one snowstorm of the season. hahaha.  Pick the winner already woman!


Without further ado….


The winner of The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels is…

#3 – Conny from Finding My Happy Place and A Day in the Life of a Rebel

“Snow days...curled up with a book and my laptop in my bed with the door locked so none of my kiddies can find me...who am I kidding?
They always find me. :)”

Congrats Miss Conny!  Send me your mailing info and I’ll get this book off to you the next time I feel like venturing out into the cold, cold air!

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fresh Bread

Foodwise, it was an odd day.

Last night my kitchen looked like a bomb had gone off.  That’s what happens when you decide to make fresh focaccia at dinner time, then proceed to get sidetracked on the internet and not do your dishes. :)  I couldn’t face the counters and opted not to prep coffee for the morning.

When I got up I got straight to work and about an hour later I realized the headache that was forming was due to lack of coffeeeeeee.  It wouldn’t brew fast enough!!

Another hour later after revelling in the joy of my coffee cup I realized I hadn’t eaten.  WTH?  Who doesn’t remember to eat?!  Since breakfast time had passed, I jumped right to lunch!  You know it involved some of that deliciously soft focaccia.


Hello panini!  Mozza, tomatoes, Black Forest ham, dijon, and Italian seasoning. 


Grilled up on the Griddler until melty inside and crispy outside.


So deeelish.  Served with veggie stix and Lemon Dilly dip.


A little mid-afternoon fruit.


And late afternoon pick-me-up.


After work and two load of laundry it was time for dinner.  Finally, a salad makes an appearance!


Topped off with leftovers of last night’s Balsamic Chicken & Mushrooms


The saucy mushrooms make the meal!

A few more chores and a couple of glorious uninterrupted hours of lazy time in front of the TV watching American Idol and doing my nails…and now I think we have time for popcorn.


The wind is howling!

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