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Argh. Obnoxious people outside your apartment at 2AM… welcome to college I guess. It was all fun and games when I was a freshman but now that I’m old… haha.

School has resumed and as usual, my brain is in sluggish mode because of the break. I have to force myself back into a healthy sleeping routine and turn my “academic” brain back on. 🙂

So I made a quick and easy lunch to make life a little easier for me~

Shrimp Pasta with Lemon

I’m sure we all have our fast meals that we fall back on. Pasta is one of those things for me. Unfortunately my husband hates pasta so I don’t actually eat it that often. But when I get to eat alone… 😀 I’ve been on a seafood kick these days, so I made a shrimp pasta with lemon. Quite delicious!

Shrimp Pasta with Lemon

Do you have a go-to meal?

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Yesterday I saved up my meal for something special… the launch of Red Mango’s Spoonable and Mealworthy smoothies! Best of all, from 6/15/11-6/18/11 we can all try them for $2! First 1,000 customers get Red Mango love stickers (which my store didn’t have, unfortunately).

Red Mango / Spoonable and Mealworthy Smoothies Promotion

Red Mango / Spoonable and Mealworthy Smoothies Promotion

I love Red Mango. When they finally opened a store on campus, I was super excited. I would literally drive by the store on the way to work everyday while they were preparing to open and squee from excitement. The first day they opened, I was there. It was history, and I was a loyal Red mango goer after that.

I started being interested in frozen yogurt (or froyo) when I was looking for a tasty exchange for the normal high calorie ice cream shops that I frequent with my friends during our study breaks. I really love fresh fruit, so the idea of a low-calorie frozen yogurt and fresh fruit toppings just hit the spot!

Red Mango / Love Sticker

Red Mango / Love Sticker

One of my good friends that I meet often is extremely lactose intolerant, so I wanted to include her as well. Thankfully, Red Mango has froyo that is totally safe for her to eat, and she doesn’t have to worry about being sick later. I checked out some pamphlets by the cashier talking about the health benefits of their frozen yogurt with GanedenBC30, a “natural supplement that can help support your digestive health and maintain your immune system.” I have to say, my transition from high calorie ice cream to frozen yogurt has been more than easy. 🙂

Yesterday, I dragged K to the Red Mango to check out their new smoothie offerings. A lot of yummy options! I tweeted the CEO of Red Mango about my confusion over the flavors, and he surprisingly replied advising me to try his favorite, strawberry banana. So I decided to give that one a try. I like that the CEO is so hands on with the fans of Red Mango. 🙂

Red Mango / Spoonable Strawberry Banana

Red Mango / Spoonable Strawberry Banana

It was a good choice. The smoothie was delicious! The only downfall I can see is that it weighs in at a whopping 600 calories, which truly is a meal. The other Spoonable Smoothies were around the 400 range, which is a much better number. Next time, I will give them a try. K was pretty neutral on his Spoonable Smoothie, and didn’t like the fact that granola was blended into the smoothie, since he isn’t really a big granola fan.

Red Mango / Spoonable Strawberry Banana

Red Mango / Spoonable Strawberry Banana

Along with the $2 smoothie promotion, they also were offering Red Mango “Love” stickers to the first 1,000 customers who participated in the promotion. My store didn’t seem to be up to date with everything and they weren’t even advertising the promotion. I called in advance to make sure they were running it, and after the girl inquired with the manager she told me that they were. I was totally bummed that they didn’t have any stickers to give out, as I was looking forward to representing my Red Mango love.

All in all, I would definitely give two thumbs up for their new line of smoothies! It’s a great deal, too. Check it out until Saturday to try them if you are unsure. It is an easy, tasty and nutritious way to get in a quick lunch or dinner if you don’t have time. Sometimes I’m not really in the mood for a big meal and something like this is perfect.

Tomorrow I was supposed to start babysitting a second child. Unfortunately, he has come down with a contagious rash so his father will be keeping him for the week. I feel like I was dreading him coming this week so that happened. I was just so overwhelmed with us moving our apartment that I couldn’t imagine getting all of the stuff I needed done with two toddlers. One is daunting enough! I sometimes wonder how parents with two children of similar ages go to public places without having at least one panic attack. One has to run one way and the other must run in the opposite direction! Quite frightening.

I decided to make a treat for the little boy I watch, Z. He has been really good this week while we were out and about. A parent even complimented him for playing so nicely in the library the other day. I have to admit, Z’s personality is really laid back and pleasent, so watching him is easier than other children. He doesn’t use temper tantrums to get what he wants, which is good. There is nothing worse than being stuck in a public place with a screaming child because they did not get something they wanted. Half of the people giving you a dirty look, the other half convinced you are beating your child or doing something wrong. Thankfully, his mother is very consistent in her dealings with him, so he knows that crying will not get a desirable result.

During this summer, we ride the bus often and I am surpised at the mixed reactions I get when people see me walking along with a toddler. Many people are shockingly rude and inconsiderate. At times I feel like a real nuisance to them, and like I do not belong there. I hate this feeling, especially when it is in places for the public, such as riding the city bus. It makes me sad to see a person who is very anti-child. I can’t imagine how one could have this attitude, especially since we were all kids once and should have some experience around kids ourselves. I suppose they will have a wake up call when they have kids themselves.

I’m not trying to be totally negative. Even though there are many negative reactions to our presence (I think it is exaggerated here because we live in a college town and mostly students ride the bus), there are many smiles and welcoming looks when we are spotted as well, and I always appreciate those. I try to bottle those feelings when I deal with unpleasant people.

Oat Berry Cookies / louisabellissima

Oat Berry Cookies / louisabellissima

Tangent, there. I wanted to make a treat for Z to snack on in the days to come. I found a nice recipe for berry cookies, an oat based recipe by louisabellissima. It has simple ingredients that I had on hand, easy preparation, and a short baking time. The taste was really good. Unfortunately, I think they needed more baking time. Although I baked them for the time stated, they did not hold together very well. Next time, I will lengthen the baking time.

Nevertheless, this recipe is awesome for kids to snack on. I’m fond of oats and this is a nice way to include them.

Oat Berry Cookies / louisabellissima

Oat Berry Cookies / louisabellissima

Ingredients:

  • 175 g butter
  • 125 g brown sugar
  • 50 g honey
  • 350 g rolled oats
  • fresh or frozen berries
  • a muffin tray
  • paper liners

Directions:

Melt butter, sugar and honey in a small pot on the stove over low heat and stir until dissolved. Combine with the rolled oats in a large bowl. Add the berries and distribute the mix into the muffin tray. You can use a small bottle or a glass that fits into the moulds to gently press down the contents. It works best with frozen berries, with fresh ones you have to be careful not to squash them.

Bake at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes. Once they are baked and have cooled you can take them out of the muffin cups and they will have a beautiful shape. However, if you use colourful muffin cups and leave them in there, it will make them even more appealing to your children and they will  look much nicer in their lunch boxes.

Yesterday, I didn’t really feel like cooking. Finally hit a lazy day. I wasn’t even able to attempt to look up recipes. I knew I wasn’t going to keep going at the rate I have these last few weeks. I have been trying to do it all!

Occasionally I get bouts of energy with an urge to be very productive. I usually end up cleaning the house really well or doing some task that I had been putting off. It is a good thing, but exhausting!

The perfect solution: quiche! An egg dish that you can basically customize with little room to mess up.

Here is my version of quiche, it was delicious!

Crustless Vegetarian Pea, Green Chili, and Carrot Quiche

Crustless Vegetarian Pea, Green Chili, and Carrot Quiche

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 carrot, shredded finely
  • 1 4oz can of green chilies
  • 1/2 cup cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 200ml half and half
  • pinch of cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Whisk eggs, half and half, cumin, salt and pepper together in a medium bowl.

Arrange filling ingredients in pie pan. Pour egg mixture on top of the fillings and let it set. Bake at 350 degrees for around 30 minutes or filling is set.

Calzones. They seem too difficult to make, right? Not really. My laziness speaking once again! Thankfully I do have days when I feel like doing something ‘crafty’, so I find a nice recipe like this one that is still easy, but I can walk away with a very satisfied feeling after completion.

These were good. My husband really enjoyed them. We both felt that there needed to be more filling. You can see in my picture that most of the bubble inside was empty.  Which was really, really sad because more of a good thing is always right! Next time I will definitely double the filling.

Calzone - mybakingdom
Calzone Dough by  mybakingdom

Ingredients:

20 ounces (4 cups) bread flour (all purpose will work too)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/4 teaspoons (one envelope) yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 3/4 cups warm (about 100 degrees) water
Pinch of herbs (optional)

Directions:

Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer with the dough hook attached. Combine the ingredients until a dough forms. If mixing by hand, turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. If using a mixer, continue kneading on medium speed for 8 to 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.

Place the dough on a large bowl, cover, and allow to rise for 30 minutes to an hour, or until doubled. When the dough is doubled, poke and press the dough to release some of the air. Next, flatten the dough into a 10- to 12-inch circle.

Once all of the filling is in place, brush the edges of the dough with water and fold the dough over until the edges meet. Use your fingertips to press the edges together all the way across the seam. Once again, brush the edge of the calzone with water. Now fold the edge of the calzone over again. Be sure to pinch the corners together really well, as that”s where the majority of the leaking is likely to take place. Feel free to put some pizza sauce and cheese on the top of the calzone.

All four of these calzones fit onto a baking sheet, and they work best when the sheet is lined with parchment paper. You can bake them directly on the cookie sheet, or slide them onto a hot pizza stone. Bake the calzones at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes or so before serving.

Hmm hmm! Chicken curry soup? Yes please!

I wasn’t feeling like this recipe was going to be mind-blowingly delicious, but it was. I was really surprised, and maybe because I had such low expectations, but I was really happy with the meal. My husband thought likewise. I almost didn’t try this recipe because I was too lazy to poach the chicken, but I sucked it up and did it anyways. I’m glad I did!

Although the ingredient list seemed long, it didn’t take very long and it is mostly just all of the spices that you need to measure out.

Filling, healthy meal once again. I’m not doing too bad on my healthy eating goal. 🙂

Try this! You won’t regret it. Many thanks to Simply Delicious for providing this recipe on her website. 🙂

Chicken Curry Soup / Simply Delicious

Chicken Curry Soup by Simply Delicious

1kg chicken pieces, poached with skin and bones removed and meat shredded
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp crushed ginger
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp each nutmeg and cloves
1 bay leaf
1 tsp crushed chillies / 1 red chilli, finely chopped (optional)
1 tsp sugar
1.5l chicken stock
100ml cream
salt & pepper to taste

What to do:

  1. In a large pot, fry the onion, carrots and celery in a bit of oil until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for another minute before adding the tomatoes and spices. Allow to cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the sugar and stir into the spicy mixture.
  4. Add the shredded chicken and stir to coat the chicken in all the spices and vegetables.
  5. Carefully pour in the stock and allow the soup to come up to a simmer. Simmer gently for 10 minutes until the vegetables are cooked and the soup looks rich and fragrant.
  6. Add the cream and season to taste.
I can’t say enough how good this recipe ended up being. It was also really good the next day.

My bookmarks are a mess. I stalk food blogs for yummy ideas really often, and in the process end up with a bagillion bookmarks that clutter my browser and are of no use. It was really annoying, not to mention counterproductive, sigh.

Oh but then… I stumbled upon the best thing since sliced bread for bookmarking recipes! Life changing I tell you.

del.icio.us delicious

Oh yes, del.icio.us! I was first introduced to del.icio.us through a technology class that was required for my education major. I used it mostly for compiling teaching resources. One day it dawned upon me… it was perfect for recipe bookmarking! Not only does it store them on the website, but you can tag them.

This is super awesome for me, because I get really annoyed when I read through a recipe, get excited, and then realize I am missing one or two ingredients from the list. Big letdown. To deal with that problem, I tag every significant ingredient in the recipe. If I want to make a meal with chicken that night, then I can browse through all of my chicken recipes and know right away if I have everything needed from the tags. No need to read through tasty posts to be let down later. It is a really handy and useful way to store recipes.

If you haven’t started using del.icio.us already, I would highly recommend that you try out this awesome service! I already mentioned that I have another account for storing teaching resources, and I believe that del.icio.us can be used for other bookmarking needs as well. Especially if your browser likes to “eat” your bookmarks, which mine does occasionally!