Friday, February 26, 2010

Well, hello there!

I know you're all thinking I've been a bad blogger this week, but in truth I've just been an incredibly busy human being. I'm afraid that's not about to change, but thought you might be interested in this. Sweet Spot has put together some heart healthy recipes for heart health month. A little late in the game, but still very much appreciated.

Monday, February 22, 2010


As promised, I have made some actual real progress on my crochet project. I am done the "capelet" part of the Capelet Swing Cardi!! Whoohoo! It's actually a sort-of garment at this point. After the massive fail of my Saw Tooth Skirt it feels good to have something coming together so quickly.

Side note yarn story... I wanted to get to Needles & Pins this morning to see if they would wind some yarn for me. Apparently they're closed on Mondays :( I would have gone yesterday, but figured they were closed on Sundays (not so). Lesson: Check operating hours on the website before leaving the house. Since it was 10 AM and I was showered, dressed and out of the house, I figured I might as well try Micheals. They don't have yarn winders of any kind (as I suspected). While I was there I figured I'd look to see if they had any yarn on sale. To my surprise they were clearing out Cotton-Ease, my favourite yarn of late! I bought what was left (which wasn't much). I'm very sad to see they won't be carrying it anymore! Hopefully I'm wrong and they're just waiting on new colours, but I'm very seldom wong... So I guess prepare to get your Cotton-Ease elsewhere (try

As for heart health -- it's not a good day. I wanted to do groceries today but it was too yucky out, and now Jclarkey is taking the car to Ilderton for work. The woes of a single car household! I won't have access to the car again until Wednesday, so we'll have to be creative until then.

I will tell you I've discovered a new snack to munch on while watching movies. I am a popcorn fanatic, but have managed to resist so far this month. We rented Benjamin Button on Saturday (I know, it's about time!), and I decided to combine a few chunks of dark chocolate with raw almonds, and top it off with a cheater cookie. Delish! (Although Jason's chips and babaghanoush looked fabulous).

Monday, February 22

Breakfast: Yogurt, frozen berries & tea
Lunch: Homemade meatpie & quinoa tabbouleh
Supper: With the weather being what it is and the few resources at my disposal, I have a serious hankering for homemade mac & cheese. Very un-heart healthy, but I think I have to do it. Don't judge me!

Friday, February 19, 2010


One of the beautiful things about this heart health challenge is that I never stipulated how much or how little I would eat -- merely that I would make a true effort to eat heart healthy. Today I am hungry, so I shall FEAST on a heart healthy lunch. I am having homemade carrot & ginger soup, a whole wheat english muffin, quinoa tabbouleh and a cheater cookie. Mmmm...

I have to confess, the quinoa for dinner last night was a bit of a disappointment. For some reason I thought I was making a hearty meal. It's actually more of a salad. The quinoa itself is great, but I think I'll look for a different recipe next time. If anyone knows of any great quinoa recipes, please send them my way!

I suppose it was actually a good thing last night's dinner was light, because lunch at Michael's was not a heart healthy idea. It was delicious, and there were plenty of heart healthy options, but also samosas, coke and chocolate mousse.

In other news, I have more than made up for the lost time on my cardigan. I have another day off today, so I hope to have some real progress to show you by Monday.

Friday, February 19

Breakfast: Yogurt, berries, bran muffin & tea
Lunch: FEAST
Dinner: Garlic pork tenderloin, potatoes & salad

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mmmm, 'za!

My Wednesday dinner date, Charlotte, and I decided last night that it was high time we had a pizza. It was definitely a good decision. True, we may have poured more cheese on there than one could consider heart-healthy, but you can't win 'em all.

We made a spinach and tomato pizza with garlic and parmesan on a whole-wheat crust. It was really very delicious, but I think I was too hungry. I practically inhaled it and ended up with a full/indigestion feeling. But I would definitely still make it again.

I forgot to post pics of our dinner last Wednesday. That was our two-heart salad and carrot-curry soup. Mmmm...

After dinner we decided to unwind with some knitting/crochet. I showed Charlotte my giant skirt and we agreed that it was unsalvageable. I hope to re-purpose the yarn into a sweater at some point. For now I think it's best to just forget about it :(

While working on my sweater however, I noticed that I had been omitting 2 rows throughout the section I was working on. *Sigh* I took a deep breath and tore out about 1/2 of what I had completed, losing a day's work. I'm still pretty happy with the project overall. Pictures soon :)

Thursday, February 18

Breakfast: Whole wheat english muffins, peanut butter, banana & honey & tea
Lunch: Michael's Buffet with the office
Dinner: Quinoa Tabbouleh

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What a weekend!

This weekend I went on a road trip with Mom and did we ever have a blast!! We did a fair bit of eating, but kept it heart healthy (for the most part).

On Sunday night we went to the Pickle Barrel (which I had never been to) and I ordered the Paella. O - M - G. It was delicious, and very heart healthy. It was over flowing with sea food, vegetables, rice and chicken in a tomato sauce. Mmmmm.... It was so good I didn't want to wait to let it cool and it completely annihilated the inside of my mouth. I washed it all down with a Bellini the size of my head. Not so heart healthy (or smart!), but delicious.

For breakfast on Monday we had a giant breakfast buffet, complete with pancakes, bacon, yogurt, fruit, chocolate milk and other accouterments. And for lunch it was lattes and baked goods from Starbucks (oy!). For dinner we stopped at a place called Wild Wings. It was my suggestion, though I should have known from the name that I wouldn't love it (I don't like wings). There was a full two-page spread in the menu of wing options!! I settled for chicken tenders and sweet potato fries (a little better).

Other than eating, we spent our time shopping, perusing downtown T.O. and gabbing. We also went to this INCREDIBLE craft store in Paris called Mary Maxim. We both went a little nuts buying yarns and patterns galore. It came out during this outing that my Mom needs a refresher course using Ravelry. I'll have to sit down with her and go through it before our next yarn buying trip. I want to show her a few shops in London, and I hear there's a good one in Stratford too.

Oh yeah, and speaking of knitting, my skirt was totally frogged. When I started casting off it became horrifyingly obvious that it was in fact intended for a giantess. It could double as a circus tent, and weighs a ton. I will try the pattern again with a lighter yarn, but will have to tear out what I'd been working on :( Oh well - live and learn.

Tuesday, February 16

Breakfast: Cheerios, milk & tea
Lunch: (Surprise) Spinach salad, avocado & yogurt
Dinner: Undecided

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Remember how I said I was going to try and make Valentines this year?? Well, I did it! I only made a few and put them in the mail pretty late (actually, two are still in my purse!), but I did it.

I will be spending V-day with my Mom and sister and returning home sometime tomorrow afternoon. My poor valentine!! That's why we had our nice dinner on Friday. Were you wondering what we had? Has your curiosity been driving you mad??

We had Beef Allouettes (beef pinwheels with spinach & cheese stuffing), sweet potato home fries and the garlic steamed broccoli my friend Charlotte showed me how to make. For dessert I made dark chocolate lava cakes using 70% cocoa squares. We also had a bit o' Haagen Dazs with our lava cakes :) Mmmm...

But now I'm off. There is no menu for the next two days, but I will make an effort to make heart-healthy choices on the road. Oh, I am having a breakfast smoothie right now, and I have a word of advice. If you're out of bananas don't bother trying to make one. Not only is the protein necessary, the consistency isn't right without the banana. It's like a blueberry/pomegranate froster. The taste isn't great either. Might not be able to finish this one :S

Friday, February 12, 2010


I know I said I had an exciting yogurt post today, but something MUCH more exciting than yogurt has happened today! My yarn was delivered!!
Remember I bought all that Darn Yarn and decided it would never work for the project I wanted to make? Well, I ordered the appropriate yarn (and some others) so that I could make the Capelet Swing Cardi just as it's supposed to be.

Of course I wont be able to start it until I finish the Saw Tooth Skirt I'm working on. It doesn't look like much at the moment, but it's actually not far from completion and this 4-day weekend might be just what the doctor ordered. Relaxing hobbies are very heart healthy :)

I'm really happy with the way the lace for the skirt is coming along. It took something like 5 tries to get the lace started, but now it's on its way! I have to remember to be careful to pay attention to which row I'm working on though -- I wasted about 1/2 an hour last night when I wasn't watching what I was doing and ended up having to rip out what I'd been working on. Oh well, lesson learned.

I'm having a lovely day off, by the way! Got my hair cut, did a bit of knitting and I'm meeting a friend for drinks in a few hours.

Friday, February 12

Breakfast: Blueberry/Pomegranate smoothie
Lunch: Quiche, corn & tea
Dinner: It's a surprise! Nice try, Jclarkey!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cheater Snacks Take Two

I decided to try my hand at another cheater snack this week. Meet Blueberry Oatmeal muffins. Once again, I altered the original recipe, replacing white sugar with brown and vegetable oil with margarine. I also replaced a bit of the flour with whole-wheat flour. They didn't turn out badly, but are a bit flat. Next time I try this recipe I will tinker with it again, but they are pretty yummy.

I also made an amazing heart health discovery last night!! My Wednesday night dinner date, Charlotte, and I had a Two Heart Salad (palm hearts and heart-shaped beet cut-outs) and Curry Carrot Soup. Both were delicious, but I was shocked to discover I kind of like beets!! I'm sorry Mom, for giving you such a hard time when I was a kid. They're so sugary-sweet! I really wasn't expecting that.

Sorry for being such a bad blogger lately. I've been lazy with my posts :( Stay tuned for an investigative report tomorrow on yogurt.

Confession: I feel I must tell you all that I had cake yesterday. I tried to avoid it, but it was the boss's birthday and he saw to it that everyone tried the cake. It was delicious carrot cake, so not all bad.

Thursday, February 11

Breakfast: Cheerios, milk & tea
Lunch: Two Heart Salad leftovers, cheater muffin, apple, herbal tea
Dinner: Black Bean Quesadilla, milk & cheater cookie (I might have a glass of wine for dessert. Wine not?)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Today I successfully finished all that spinach I bought last week! Woot! None of it was allowed to go bad. My only remorse is that it comes in that AWFUL clamshell packaging that is now not recyclable in London (boo!). Actually a lot of my heart-healthy foods come in clamshell (raspberries, blueberries, cherry tomatoes, etc).

To shake things up a bit this morning I decided to start my day with a heart-healthy shake. I threw some blueberries, pomegranate juice, yogurt and a banana in the blender and came out with this: pure juicy heaven.

Sidenote: Blogger is f*d at the moment and is messing with my photo order and fonts. Ugh.

Tuesday, February 9

Breakfast: Blueberry/Pomegranate shake & tea
Lunch: Spinach salad & an avocado
Dinner: Quiche & milk

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Late day post

I wasn't sure I would post today, but here I am. Today was the inaugural King's Alumni Hockey Tournament for the Killan Cup. It was a terrific (though terrifically cold) day and I think everyone had a good time. Unfortunately, this tournament has wreaked havoc on the ol' heart health diet.

I was a wee bit anxious about the event yesterday and the only thing that would soothe me was a coke and salt & pepper chips. Garbage food, I know (though the chips were surprisingly high in Vitamin C). I stayed at work late doing some last-minute hockey planning and ended up having pizza for dinner.

Today wasn't much better, though I did have chili, salad and a whole wheat biscuit for lunch. Chili is great for your heart (as long as it doesn't have too much sodium). The chili served up today was a bit spicy, so I didn't eat my whole bowl -- but it did help to warm me up.

Tomorrow is the Super Bowl, and not looking much better heart-health wise. I will definitely have to make it up to myself next week.

Friday, February 5, 2010

You and I and everyone knows why oats and beans and barley grows!

As I mentioned, last night was my Mom's birthday dinner. I wasn't too sure what would happen to my heart health diet at home, but my parents served up a surprisingly heart healthy dinner! We had roast beef, spinach & snow pea salad, avocado (I refrained, as I had a whole one for lunch!), potatoes, phyllo wrapped shrimp and my barley casserole. I also avoided the gravy, but did indulge in a slice of strawberry cheesecake ice cream cake. Mmmm!
I told my Mom I would post the recipe for the barley casserole here, but I realizes I made so many changes to the original recipe I couldn't just post the link.
I started out toasting 1/2 c of barley in olive oil on the stove. I only do this for a few minutes, letting the barley coat in oil and heat up a bit -- I don't really brown it too much.
To that I add 1 1/2 c chicken stock and bring it to a boil. Then I add 1/2 c of green onions and 2 c sliced white mushrooms, stir it up and dump it in an 8"x8" baking dish. This time I used a pie plate because I knew it had a lid for travelling.
I then put it in the oven covered with foil for 30 - 40 mins at 350 degrees. You can see from the picture how it looks before it goes in and again when it comes out. This is a hearty and delicious side dish and made my house smell heavenly when I was baking it. This was one of my Saturday dishes that I threw in the freezer. I put it in the fridge Wednesday night and warmed it up (3 mins) just before dinner last night. This recipe is a real winner, and went over very well with my family!
Today's menu might be a bit of a mess. I had hoped to have leftover casserole for lunch, but no such luck! I'm also very busy planning a hockey tournament for TOMORROW, and might have to resort to some convenience foods.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Breakfast: Cheerios, milk & tea
Lunch: Cottage cheese, apple & ?
Dinner: Black bean & corn quesedillas, fruit juice, cheater cookies

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tuna Fish

According to Canada's Food Guide we should all be eating at least 2 servings of fish per week. I don't mind fish, but I definitely don't eat 2 servings a week (nor do I really plan to). For the purposes of this project though, I'm all in. Saturday Jclarkey and I dined on some delicious salmon fillets, and yesterday I tried my hand at a tuna wrap. You know, I never used to mind tuna, but a few years ago when jclarkey and I were young and broke, it became a main protein source and started appearing in everything we ate. Tuna casserole, tuna burritos, tuna in KD -- you name it. I haven't been able to look at canned fish quite the same way since. For those of you worried about mercury in tuna, check here.

BUT I came across a recipe for a Fruit, Veggie & Tuna Salad Wrap that sounded too good to pass up. The recipe includes things like mozzarella, apples, blueberries, spinach and carrots -- yum! Unfortunately it also includes tuna. My official opinion is that it would have been better without the tuna. I might try it again another time with chicken. For now though, I have 2 more servings of this stuff in the freezer that I'm going to have to choke down at some point.

Another mistake I made was with the mayo. I am in love with Hellmann's Olive Oil Mayonnaise, so when I stole a little taste from the jar I was furious that it didn't taste right. I was actually ready to call the company and give them a piece of my mind for DARING to change the recipe. That's when I noticed the blue band at the top of the jar. Turns out they now offer Olive Oil Mayo in a light option. Anyone who says "light" tastes the same as full fat has a screw loose. I won't be making the same mistake again.

Basically what I'm saying is yesterday's lunch was a flop.

Luckily, Dinner was fabulous!! My friend Charlotte came over and brought Michael Smith's Garlic Steamed Broccoli. What a simple, delicious recipe!

I made Sweet Potato Sticks (awesome) and pecan crusted chicken fingers. I over-cooked the chicken fingers a bit, but it was an excellent dinner anyways. We washed it down with some red wine and dark chocolate :)

Tonight I'm going to my parent's place for dinner as it's my Mom's birthday. Happy Birthday Mom!! I will be bringing Barley Casserole, but I don't know what's for dinner other than that. It will be a test in heart-healthy eating when dining away from home. I'll let you know how that works out.

Thursday, February 4

Breakfast: Whole grain toast, peanut butter & peach jam, fruit juice & tea
Lunch: Leftover brown/wild rice, black bean & avocado salad, mixed berries, yogurt & water
Dinner: Barley Casserole & ??

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cheater Snacks!

Oh come on, like you thought I was going to go a month without baked goods. Get real! I thought I better tell you about cheater snacks. I have decided (and I am by no means a medical/nutritional/health professional) that if I take foods that are not so heart healthy (cookies, bread, muffins, ice cream, cake -- whatever!) and add heart healthy ingredients, well they can't be all bad!

Enter Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies. Jclarkey has always been a fan of Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, but I was never crazy about them. The dark chocolate chips have converted me -- these cookies are straight from heaven!

I started with a basic Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, omitted the salt and used dark chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate. I was planning to munch on one of these yummers for dessert last night, but I went for a few squares of straight dark chocolate instead. It is surprisingly good for you, and might even be good for your skin!

I also have plans for Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins in the future, but that dream has yet to be realized.

I also wanted to mention I'm having a dinner guest tonight! I'm so excited to be able to share a delicious heart-healthy dinner with a friend!

Wednesday, February 3

Breakfast: Cheerios, Milk & Tea
Lunch: Tuna Wrap, Mixed Berries, Water & Cheater Cookies
Dinner: Pecan Crusted Chicken Fingers, Sweet Potato Sticks, Garlic Steamed Broccoli, Wine & Chocolate

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I love spinach, but was a little unsure when I went to the grocery store on Saturday and all they had was the giant container. I usually buy the smaller box, and sometimes some of it still ends up in the garbage. That said, I'm pretty sure I'm going to be able to eat it all this week!

Pre-planning all my weekly meals was a brilliant idea, but I decided to take Jclarkey's advice and prepare many of my meals on Sunday. It sounded like a lot of work at first, but it was so easy! In two hours I made most of tonight's dinner, tomorrow's lunch, Thursday's dinner, a meal for next week, a loaf of bread and then even cleaned up my mess. It was so satisfying to have it all done -- the only problem was how hungry it made me!

I managed to use up a lot of my spinach then, but still had lots left for dinner last night, lunch today, and dinner on Friday. Last night's dinner is pictured above (before I added the almonds -- oops!). I was still a bit hungry after dinner so I had a cheater cookie for dessert (more on cheater snacks tomorrow).

Spinach contains the following vitamins and nutrients:
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Vitamin B2
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin B6
  • Folic Acid
  • Copper
  • Protein
  • Phosphorus
  • Zinc
  • Niacin
  • Selenium
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • And recently discovered, Rubiscolins (?)
They are also loaded with antioxidants that kill free radicals (rebel cells that cause damage to other cells -- NOT hippies). Actually, to be honest, spinach's impressive resume doesn't really mean anything to me one way or the other. There are only two factors that interest me: 1) it's good for me, and 2) it tastes delicious.

What's your favourite super-food?

Tuesday, February 2

Breakfast: Cheerios, milk & tea
Lunch: Spinach salad with pecans, raspberries & goat cheese, fruit juice & yogurt
Dinner: Black bean avocado salad, chicken, fruit juice & a cheater cookie

Monday, February 1, 2010

Heart Health Month Begins!

Buy this cute velvet heart here.

I know many of you have been waiting patiently, and it's finally here! Heart Health Month! As you may know, I have committed myself to eating heart healthy for the entire month of February. I'm hoping to learn:
  • What foods are good for your heart and why
  • What foods are not and why
  • The impact of eating heart healthy on my general health
  • How to incorporate heart healthy eating into my daily life, beyond the project
I'm starting by making a weekly menu for myself that includes a variety of heart healthy foods. I will also have a few dinner guests every week to share the experience with me.

So, what foods are heart healthy? After a bit of online research, I came up with the following list:
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Wild Salmon
  • Ocean Fish
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Cranberries
  • Whole Grains
  • Almonds
  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Milk
  • Kidney Beans
  • Oats
  • Broccoli
  • Walnuts
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Olive Oil
  • Dark Chocolate (yes!)
  • Avocado
  • Beets
  • Garlic
  • Soy Protein
  • Red Wine (yes!)
  • Eggs
  • Lean Beef
  • Lean Pork
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Beans
  • Tuna
  • Nut Butter (including Peanut)
  • Cantaloup
  • Brown Rice
  • Barley
I'm sure many of you are looking at this list and wondering "okay Katrina, where's the challenge?!" I thought the same thing when I first made the list (the only things I don't really care for are beets and cantaloup, but I'll eat them for the sake of the project). Then I gave some thought to the things not on the list.
  • Crackers
  • Chips
  • Pop
  • Popcorn
  • Baked Goods
  • Fried Foods
  • Pasta
  • Milk Chocolate
  • Beer
  • Butter
  • Anything pickled
True, not all of those things are part of my daily diet, but I still like them all! And to be honest, I have a real weakness for baked goods... And I'm a big fan of butter... And popcorn... And pasta is SO easy!

One other foods not on the list that will need to be limited but not eliminated include:
  • Cheese
  • Plain Yogurt
I'm a huge fan of cheese and plain yogurt, but I realize that I probably eat more of both than is necessary, and I should be watching my portion sizes.

Monday, February 1

Breakfast: Oatmeal, 1 tsp. honey, milk & tea
Lunch: Soup & fruit juice
Dinner: Spinach salad with raspberries, almonds, 2 Tbsp. goat cheese, 1 Tbsp olive oil/balsamic vinegar for dressing & red wine