Monday, April 30, 2012

Simple Slaw for Soft Tacos

Since this is the third time in ten days that I have made this quickie coleslaw I figured it was time to take some pictures and share the deliciousness with you all.  You know, since that’s what this blog is all about!


I have recently discovered how fast, easy, and versatile soft shelled tacos can be.  Especially with seafood or shellfish.  Or pork, or chicken, or tofu.  Honestly any ol’ protein will pair quite nicely here.  It’s really about the crunchy, fresh, zingy slaw anyway.


We must send a shout out to pre-chopped and bagged slaw though.  Sure, you can do this at home but really, are you going to?  I’m not.  Any slaw will do but I like broccoli slaw for it’s taste and texture.


Fast ‘n’ Fresh Coleslaw

Yields 4 tacos/2 servings

(all measurements are approximate…adjust to suit your taste)


  • 2 cups pre-cut coleslaw mix, broccoli slaw, or cabbage
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 small jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp plain non-fat or Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil mayonnaise


Mix all ingredients together.  Let stand at least 15 minutes, preferably up to an hour, stirring occasionally.

Serve piled onto a corn or grain tortilla with grilled fish, sautéed prawns, pulled pork, or shredded chicken.  Or eat straight from the bowl.  Not that I’ve ever done that.

MyFitnessPal calculates this to a measly 60 calories per serving!


Tonight’s plate included local spot prawn tails quickly sautéed in olive oil with fresh jalapeno pepper, garlic and Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute stacked on top of the coleslaw on small ancient grains tortillas with cubes of feta cheese.  Oh yes.

This entire meal was under 450 calories.


Dinner in 20 minutes or less?  Flavour filled meal?  Room for dessert?

Win, win, win.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

The Trek to Trader Joe’s


It’s truly bizarre isn’t it?  That one supermarket can lure shoppers from far and away the way Trader Joe’s can.  I mean really.  I could have been crossing the border for Target and Fred Meyer for years but it wasn’t until TJ’s made it’s way close enough that I even considered tackling the trip.  What a girl will do for flattened bananas and good nut butter!


Just so you know… it’s not an easy trip.  From where I live in Victoria, BC I have to make a 40 minute drive to the ferry terminal, take a 1 hour and 40 minute ferry ride to the suburbs of Vancouver, have someone pick me up (thanks Cat!!), drive about an hour to the border, wait God knows how long to cross the border (we waited about an hour), then drive about 30 minutes to Bellingham, WA where TJ’s is located (further if you want outlet shopping, etc).  So yeah, clearly us foodie bloggers are just ridiculous when it comes to fun, tasty, cheap groceries! 

We also waited 90 minutes at the border to come back to Canada!


This trip I thought I might try to bring back some perishables but once I started shopping I decided just to stick with the easy-to-transport dry goods.  We did find Chobani yogurts at Fred Meyer but then I totally forgot them in Cat’s fridge!  Clearly I need to go back again sometime soon.


Old favourites and must haves:  Flattened bananas, Sunflower Seed Butter, dark chocolate edamame (for the boyfriend), pita bite crackers, roasted plantain chips, Clif MOJO bars, and Clifs Kid Zbars.

I skipped my all time favourite almond butter this time because I already have a jar in my cupboard and I discovered that they make Valencia Peanut Butter with the same crunchy, salty, roasted flax seed deliciousness.


Favourite new find:  Marcona Almonds with Rosemary!  Hands down my new favourite Trader Joe’s item.  I wish I had bought more than one bag!

Other fun new finds:  Simply Almonds Cashews and Chocolate Trek Mix, Peanut Butter Cups Trax Mix (with huge dried cherries!), dark chocolate almonds with sea salt and turbinado sugar, 21 seasoning salute, pink sea salt grinder, curry simmer sauce, mini tortellini, Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake Mix, gorgonzola crackers, Strawberry Yogurt O’s cereal, sweet potato chips, and organic popcorn with olive oil.



Least favourite new item so far:  Roasted Seaweed Snacks.  Not a fan.  :(


Didn’t forget the puppers!  Chicken Jerky for dogs.


And of course no trip to the USA is complete without a stockpile of Red Vines and alternate flavours of M&M’s (not at TJ’s…found at Fred Meyer while stalking the Chobani).  I will probably hoard that mint and coconut until the end of time.

So am I a nutter for taking a day trip to buy groceries over the border while my girlfriends find outlet stores for Coach and Lululemon instead?  Or do I have my priorities totally straight?!

I should probably clarify that the trip was really to visit Cat…and TJs was just a nice bonus.  I’m not completely cray-cray.  :)

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cookie Butter Cups

cookie_butter_cups (1)

I may have just invented the easiest, most dangerous chocolate treat EVER.

Recently, a friend brought me this jar of gold Cookie Butter from Trader Joe’s.  This stuff is highly sought after and I may have actually squealed when he pulled it out of the bag and handed it to me. 

I can haz the speculooooos!

cookie_butter_cups (5)

Problem was, I didn’t much care for it.  Or rather, I’ve become so accustomed to unsweetened nut butters on my toast and celery sticks that every time I tried using the cookie butter it just didn’t float my boat.  It’s pretty sweet.

So obviously I had to find a better use for it.  I’m still considering Cookie Butter Cookies but until then how about some Cookie Butter Cups?!  They are like peanut butter cups…only about a hundred times more awesome.

The best part?  This is a 3 ingredient recipe. 

cookie_butter_cups (2)

Cookie Butter Cups – aka Speculoos Cups

yields 12 mini cups


  • 1 cup dark melting chocolate or chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp coconut or canola oil
  • 12 rounded teaspoons Cookie Butter
  • optional: 1 tbsp mini dark chocolate chips


  1. Line a mini muffin tin with foil liners.
  2. Using either a double boiler or a microwave, melt the dark chocolate and coconut oil together, stirring frequently until smooth.
  3. Drizzle one scant tablespoon of the melted chocolate into each of the muffin liners.  Carefully smooth the chocolate and spread it a bit up the side of the liners.
  4. If using the mini chocolate chips stir them into the cookie butter.
  5. Spoon one rounded teaspoon of cookie butter mixture into the center of each chocolate lined cup (I used two small spoons to do this).
  6. Drizzle more chocolate over each cup, being careful to cover all of the cookie butter.  Carefully jiggle the pan to get tops as even as possible.
  7. Place muffin tin in freezer for minimum 20 minutes or until ready to eat, share, gift, or photograph. :)

cookie_butter_cups (3)  The dark chocolate is exactly what the sweetened, gingerbready spread needed.  There’s a reason peanut butter cups are so popular.  Chocolate and butter just go together!  Er, well, nut butter!

cookie_butter_cups (4)

I am now incredibly glad I did not purchase another jar of this stuff during my own recent trip down to Trader Joe’s.  My limited supply will stop me from eating all of this batch and making more any time I have 10 minutes to spare.


I knew I couldn’t NOT like something called COOKIE BUTTER.  I knew it!

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Hey everyone!  Sorry for the delay on the Embrace Monday post!  I have to admit that I took it easy yesterday after a busy weekend and ended up tackling my chores today instead.  Tuesday is this week’s Monday!


Thankfully it looks like lots of you found great ways to take on the first day of your week!  Lots of positive vibes going down yesterday!

imageimageimageimageimageimageOh Ali I knew exactly how you felt.  I might have had a wee nap myself!


Nice work everyone!  Just snipping these Twitter screenshots has made me feel all motivated to keep up with the chores and get a workout in!  Thanks for that!

Today I did cleaned my fridge top to bottom, restocked yummy fresh groceries, cleaned the bathroom, tried to fix my own toilet (wrong piece), vacuumed and mopped floors.  My apartment thanks #EmbraceMonday even if it is Tuesday. :)

IMG_6531Have a great week kids!

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Weekend fun with boats, borders, and Trader Joe’s!

On Saturday morning I was on a boat.  A BC Ferry to Vancouver to be specific.


Then I was with Catriona and Sarah as we waited over an hour to cross the border into the US of A.


Where we immediately bee-lined for outlet stores and grocery mecca.  Hello Bellingham Trader Joe’s.  Nice to meet you!


Yep, I go out of my way to cross a border just to return with two new bras and two heaping bags of non-essential groceries.


As sustenance we required deliciously squishy beefy burgers and soda from a magic techie fountain.


And then we waited over 90 minutes to make our way back into Canada.  I’m not a fan of border patrol’s organization.  Nope.

But the copious amounts of red wine and girl talk took my mind off things (later that evening, not at the border!).

Sunday morning obviously required brunch.  As seen on TV brunch of course.  Nothing like a trek through East Vancouver to track down yummy bacon and eggs.


I highly recommend a vanilla milkshake alongside your scrambled eggs and coffee. 


And then I was back on a boat! 


And a city bus.  With two heaping bags of groceries.  Win!

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Cooking with Nettles


Yesterday I mentioned how I just recently learned that ‘stinging nettles’ and ‘nettles’ are the same thing!  Sometimes I wonder if I get out enough.


Last Summer I spent the majority of our dog walks trying to avoid those stinging nettles that have near taken over the loop where we walk on the weekends.  Little did I know we could have been picking those bad boys and bringing them home for dinner.  It’s a field full of free greens!


For those of you that are wondering…nettles do indeed sting!  You have to cook them to get rid of the sting so make sure you are armed with good rubber gloves right from the time you go picking, through the cleaning process, and even until you are done cooking.  No one wants an itchy, irritated cook.

But once you’ve boiled or steamed away the sting go ahead and work with these in the same way you might work with spinach, chard or kale.  I didn’t love them just steamed but mixed into the sauce of our chicken paprika they were pretty good!  I’ve heard tell of nettles making a wonderful quiche addition, or a fabulous pesto, and of course they are wildly popular for making a nutrient rich tea. 

As soon as I had this nettle epiphany my mind raced back to Heidi Fink’s blog.  I knew I had seen a nettle recipe there around this time last year and immediately went looking for it.  Sure enough, there it was.

Wild Nettle-kopita! 


I armed myself with a fresh bag of wild stinging nettle tops (don’t bother with the leaves and stalk when picking…it’s just more work to deal with when prepping and the flavour is really in the tender top bits anyway), some baby spinach, leeks, feta and filo pastry.  I got the TV onto the latest Canucks playoff game and got to work.

Aside from dirtying more dishes than I would like, these came together rather easily.  I appreciated that Heidi gives really detailed instructions, including tips to keep your filo from drying out and driving you crazy.  :)  The only changes I made were to use regular feta instead of sheep’s milk and I couldn’t get my hands on fresh thyme so I used dried.


I set up my rolling station on my dining table, used a pizza cutter to make the filo strips, and discovered that browned butter works as a delicious (albeit accidental) glue for these sturdy yet delicate pies.


I am super pleased with how these turned out!  They are big, toasty, and full of healthy, green deliciousness.  My original plan was to serve a couple with a nice fresh tomato and feta salad, but honestly once they cooled I just stood at the counter and snacked away on one.  And then another.


They reheat perfectly in the oven, freeze nicely, and clock in at only around 275 calories each according to MyFitnessPal.  Even if you don’t have wild nettles in your neck of the woods, making these with all spinach or a mix of your other favourite greens would be a good idea.

ρήμ. απολαμβάνω, χαίρομαι (Enjoy!)

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