Clean Eating: Snow Peas with Sweet and Sour Dressing #31photosin31days #holidailies #cleaneating

It's no secret that my all-time favourite magazine out right now is Clean Eating. I love it more than Lucky, which is saying a LOT, believe me! I came across the premier issue back in the winter of 2008  when I was on one of my many diet and fitness kicks, and within a few days I mailed in the post card for a subscription. The recipes are yummy (with an exception or two, of course, but that might've been chef's error), and some of them are pretty easy, while others are difficult and most of them are time consuming. I mean, all that cleaning and chopping of fresh veggies takes forEVER! But, it's worth it in the end when you can serve a healthy, delicious meal!

Now normally I just make the main dishes (though I've done the occasinal side dish), and I usually just skim over the included bonus recipe cards, but for some reason the Snow Peas with Sweet and Sour Dressing caught my eye, and since I had everything in my cupboard except the snow peas, it was a quick and easy veggie side for my salmon dinner. 

Some day I hope to get truly organized and make more recipes from these magazines


Labour Day BBQ

I don't think I've grilled anything for five or six years. I used to grill a lot when we first moved into our house, but then it seemed like it was suddenly windier than usual, and fire and wind scare the crap out of me, so I stopped. Recently, however, I've really wanted to cook food outside over an open flame. My old BBQ is a rusted out mess, and all our supplies are old and useless, so I wasn't sure what to do. I didn't want to spend money I no longer have to buy all new gear and getup, so I thought all was lost until I saw this:

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An all-in-one disposable grill! It comes complete with the grill pan and grill, charcoal and lighter sheets so all I had to do was buy food and light a match. So. Dang. Easy! And perfect timing since two of the bell pepper I've been waiting on finally turned red, and I've been dying to roast them, so I roasted them first, then did the corn.

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Then I did the steaks: a bone-in New York for me and a nice, thick sirloin for my mom.

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OMG, everything was delicious! The corn was so sweet and tender, and the steaks were a perfect medium rare. My roasted red peppers came out fabulous as well:

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It was really great to be outdoors grilling food again. Yes, it was windy, which made me a little nervous, but it was still fun. Especially since the clean up was a snap! We just waited for the coals to die down, then threw the whole thing out. Probably not very eco-friendly, but for as often as I grill, I think it was worth it. 


Clean Eating: Smokey Pork Chops w/ Maque Choux-Style Vegetables #31photosin31days

I made this recipe from Clean Eating magazine before, but at that time I didn't have the smoked paprika nor did I have a jalapeno pepper.  (Okay, honestly, I chose NOT to use a jalapeno pepper because I was afraid it would make the dish too hot, and I'm a wimp when it comes to hot and spicy foods) This time, however, I had both items and used them!

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I used some tomatoes from our garden instead of buying the grape tomatoes from the store - I think that might've improved the taste considerably! - the green bell pepper is ours as well, and the little jalapeno pepper was from the garden of a co-worker of mine.

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The dish turned out beautiful and delicious, and I will definitely be making it again. The jalapeno was not hot at all (another of my co-workers who is an amazing cook told me to remove the seeds and wash the pepper off really well to remove the oils that cause the heat; I did and it seemed to work!), and the smoked paprika has a lot more flavour than the plain paprika does. Next time, however I will be doubling the vegetables, because it's supposed to serve 4, but there's no way there's enough veggies for 4 people!


Earthbox Garden: Week 15

Our little garden continues to grow and be amazing!

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I harvested another large zucchini and see a smaller one I should be able to get probably Tuesday, along with a small yellow squash. There are several lovely blossoms on the yellow squash plant and I saw a couple bees working in them!

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The bell peppers are still looking good, too. One plant has three big peppers, but I have decided to leave them to see if they will turn red. I had to harvest one small one because it was burned.

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Both tomato plants are FULL of tomatoes in varying sizes and colours. I grabbed three perfectly ripe red ones today, but I saw several that were just turning and will be ready for harvest by next weekend (if not sooner!): 

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Here's my harvest for this week:

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I chopped up the tomatoes and pepper and added them to a pasta salad with chunk tuna for a quick and delicious lunch:

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Holy Zucchini Squash, Batman!!!

What a difference a week makes! The garden has exploded:

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There are dozens of little green tomatoes on both tomato plants and hopefully we'll have some ripe ones very soon:

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The pepper plants are doing okay and have a couple little peppers on each, but I don't know just how many ripe peppers we'll end up getting or how much longer the plants will continue to live.

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But the squash ... oh, the squash!!!

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There are several zucchinis and a lovely yellow squash! There's evidence of some squash that didn't make it, but I'm hopeful that eventually we'll get some more. 

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I admit I was surprised to see so many squash ready to harvest. I'd only noticed one tiny one last week, and all of a sudden I'm bringing in 3 zucchini and the one yellow squash.

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I sliced and lightly steamed one of the larger zucchinis for dinner and it was SO good! 

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I can hardly wait to see what next week will bring!


Clean Eating: Smoky Pork Chops w/ Maque Choux-Style Vegetables

This evening I prepared the Smoky Pork Chops with Maque Choux-Style Vegetables  recipe from the April/May 2011 Clean Eating magazine.

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It turned out really good despite not having the smoked paprika listed in the ingredients; I used regular paprika instead and it worked just fine. Unfortunately, the paprika on the pork chops burned a little during cooking, but luckily, it didn't affect the flavour. Also, I skipped the onions and jalapeno pepper from the veggies, but they were still delicious without the heartburn-inducing ingredients!

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All-in-all, it was a very successful and delicious meal. I would like to pick up some smoked paprika and try it again just to see if it's any better.


Clean Eating: Honey Mustard Chicken and Rice Pilaf

Last night for dinner I cooked up a fairly easy and totally delicious meal: the Honey Mustard Chicken and Rice Pilaf from the March/April 2010 issue of Clean Eating magazine.

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The most time consuming part was chopping up the kale - which is a total pain in the butt to chop! - and the hardest part (for me, anyway) was cooking the veggies in the same pan as I'd cooked the chicken with out a) stuff burning, or b) just giving up and washing the pan before cooking the veggies in it. I can see the advantage to cooking everything in the same pan - fewer dishes to wash! - BUT with every new item you cook in the pan, the more stuff you have stuck to the bottom which just gets more and more browned/burned as the cooking continues. Not only is this a problem with the flavour of the browned/burned stuff getting on your new food, but as it gets blacker and blacker, so does the smoke which can set off smoke detectors and the like.

No, that didn't happen. This time. Anyway, I cooked the chiken strips and the veggies in the same pan, but when I saw that I was to cook the chicken and honey mustard sauce in the SAME PAN, I said, forget that and heated it up in the microwave instead. It probably wasn't as good as if I'd followed the recipe, but it saved me making (more of) a ginormous mess in the kitchen! 

Another thing I did differently was instead of cooking up brown rice, I just made a box of chicken-flavoured rice because I'd forgotten brown rice takes an hour to cook. As it turned out, with all the chopping and cooking and agonizing over using the same pan over and over again, I could easily have cooked regular brown rice because I was well over an hour in the kitchen anyway! Gah!

But, in the end, the meal was delicious so it was all very well worth it:

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Clean Eating: Seared Scallops Over Pea Pesto Linguini

This evening I tried a recipe from the latest Clean Eating magazine I got in the mail this past week. I don't often cook scallops because despite liking them, they are difficult to cook. I think the last time I cooked scallops was 1993 and it was an abismal failure. Tonight was not much different.

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In spite of rinsing the scallops several times, there was still sand in the damn things. It was the same problem I'd had before. I really wish I knew the trick to desanding scallops because it would've been a pretty good meal if not for the grit. Then again, maybe I'll skip the scallops altogether and just stick to cooking fish, which I'm pretty good at!