Sunday, December 23, 2012

Homeward Bound.

 It's gonna be a long night ahead. 

But the reward at the end is so going to be worth it. 

Tonight, I'm making my way across the country to spend the holidays at home in the Maritimes. 


That's what the holidays are all about. 

And I couldn't be more excited to be coming home. 

But, as my luck would have it, all of my flights have been delayed. Guess that's the price you pay for flying during the holidays, and during the winter. Oh, Mother Nature!

With much determination and patience, I'll be home for Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Sorry that I haven't posted in a while. It's been a busy month, as December usually is. With Christmas parties, work, and recently coming down with an awful cold and sinus problem, I honestly just haven't been all that motivated to write. And I'm always so stumped as to what to write about. I have been meaning to write an update on my new lifestyle change/diet, and I wanted to share another recipe with my readers. I'm in this routine now where on Sunday's, after getting back from swimming, I make a pot of soup to have for my lunches for the week. I find that it motivates me to eat better, and it keeps me from eating out as frequently as I used to (saves money too!) A couple of Sunday's ago, I made "Chicken Pot Pie" soup, a recipe I found on the blog For those of you who are interested, here is the recipe:

Chicken Pot Pie Soup*

1/4 cup flour 
2 cups water 
4 cups fat free milk (skim milk) 
1 large celery stalk, chopped 
1/2 medium onion, chopped 
8 oz baby portabello mushrooms, sliced 
2 chicken bouillons 
fresh ground pepper 
pinch of thyme 
10 oz frozen classic mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, green beans, corn) 
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed small 
16 oz cooked chicken breast, diced small (about 3) 

1.  Create a slurry by combining 1/2 cup of cold water with flour in a medium bowl and whisk until blended well. Set this aside. 

2. Pour remaining amount of water and milk in a large pot and slowly bring to a boil. Add celery, onion, mushrooms, chicken boullion, thyme, fresh pepper, frozen vegetables, and return to a boil. Partially cover and swimmer on low until vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes. 


3. Remove lid and add potatoes. Cook until soft, about 5-10 minutes. 

4. Add chicken and slowly whisk in slurry, stirring well as you add to prevent clumping. Cook another 2-3 minutes, until soup thickens. Adjust salt and pepper to taste then serve!

This soup makes about 6 servings (1.5 cups each). It's a hearty soup, and I find it difficult to finish the full 1.5 cups. It's 6 points a serving and packed with vegetables. 

*A few tips: 
  • I poached my chicken breasts with garlic and thyme, then shredded them when they were cooled. This added a little bit more flavour to the chicken, and made it super moist and tender.
  • When washing fresh mushrooms, use a damp cloth to whip away any dirt. If you rinse them under running water they get rubbery as they act like a sponge and absorb any excess water left on them. 

I am nearing the end of my 4th week on Weight Watchers, and up to this point I have lost 11lbs. My goal was to lose 10lbs before flying home for Christmas, and I reached that goal a week early! I know that the holidays will be tough with home cooking and holiday treat temptations, but I have to remember to watch my portion control and also not to be too hard on myself, because honestly, Christmas comes once I hear and I think I can splurge here and there.

If you try the recipe, let me know what you think! I love reading all of your comments :)

*Recipe originally posted by Gina Homolka on her website

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My Weekend.

I had a good weekend, did you?

Friday night I went to a dinner party at my friend Jenny and Gary's. Gary made his homemade tacos, and they really gave me a new perspective on how delicious such a simple meal can be. He made the tortillas from scratch, as well as the guacamole, salsa, and refried beans (I LOVE REFRIED BEANS!).  My mouth is watering just thinking of all the flavours that exploded in my mouth. These dinner party nights are going to hopefully become a regular occurrence in my life. There is a group of 8 of us in total that will rotate dinner party duties once a month. Andrea and I will be hosting in the new year sometime, and I am really looking forward to having everyone over to our place where we cook for them. I love to cook, and I don't often get to cook and share my love for food with other people. I'm quite excited to partake in this routine and learn new things as well as share some of my own secrets.

On Saturday, Jenny, Andrea and I went to Banff for the day. Andrea's aunt filled us in on some Christmas events that were happening in Banff on Saturday and invited us to meet them there. Mainly, we wanted to walk down the shopping street (Banff Ave.) and check out all the cute little shops and stores, take in the Christmas parade, then have a nice meal at a pub. And we accomplished all of those things. I picked up a few small Christmas presents for friends and family, as well as enjoy a holiday beverage while slush fell from the sky (I say slush because it wasn't snow, nor rain, nor freezing rain. Just slush). We watched the cute little Banff parade and almost froze our toes off in the process. Then we had a wonderful meal at a pub above the shops called "Elk and Oarsman." I had a lamb shank with a yummy honey barbecue sauce, butternut squash bread pudding and grilled vegetables. A nice beer to wash it down made for an almost perfect meal! Our table was right beside the fireplace, and the restaurant had this ski lodge feeling about it. The ambiance was comforting (minus the drunk middle aged man who spit on a woman at the bar and got kicked out...) 

Here are some pictures of my day in Banff: 

There was something about the snow covered mountains, bright Christmas lights, crisp and cold air, and quaint small streets of Banff that made us feel like we were in the Swiss Alps somewhere. I felt comforted, warm, and happy. I said to Jenny on our way home that night that as the days pass and I experience more of the west the more normal and comfortable it feels. I'm so excited to come home to the Maritimes for Christmas and to see all of my closest friends and loving family. But I know when it is time to come back to Calgary, I'll be okay. Because I'm making a new home, slowly but surely.