Saturday, September 8, 2012

Good Morning...Julia In Paris

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Hi, Sorry, it's been awhile! 

I've been meaning to try and update this blog template for ages,,,and today was the day! It's 6:15 am, I just spent 300$ on a ticket to what sounds like a fabulous food event in Vancouver tonight, and I'm teaching a private blogging workshop for 4 eager beavers at 2:00 pm.
All in all...I guess it's just business as usual...HA!
This month is also a milestone in my weight loss journey. At the end of September, it will be 5 years since I reached my lifetime status with Weight Watchers. So...I lost 30 pounds in 2007...and those 30 pounds still haven't managed to find me again...SSSSSHHHH...they may be's still dark outside!


I haven't given up writing about food completely. In fact one of the reasons I stopped writing here, was I was asked to write a recipe a week, complete with charming little story for an online vegetarian magazine called GoodVeg. I've done 39 posts for them so far...and have really enjoyed stretching my vegetarian 'muscles' usually the pork and beef and chicken 'muscles' are in the way! Lessons? My grocery bill is a fraction of what it was, and I've started to lose a bit more weight, lately. My skin and hair, are looking very good as well!


Okay...I need to make some coffee, or this day just will not turn out well...oh look it's getting light...and I will fall asleep face first in my bouillabaisse at my Julia In Paris dinner tonight. So...for little 140 tidbits in between posts...please follow me on twitter...I'm constantly 'tweeting GOLD'!!

Until next time, pussycats...Bon Appetit!!

Monday, February 13, 2012


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I make meatloaf just once in awhile. It's one of those things that I get a craving for...and I know I have to make it. I love ordering a meatloaf sandwich in a diner, as it's like a burger...but 'different' if you know what I mean. The first few times I made meatloaf, it was heavy, and not particularly tasty. I had a tough time deciding how much seasoning I needed to add. Now, experience, and the addition of a good amount of homemade breadcrumbs have transformed the old, tasteless meatloaf of twenty years ago into something moist, and incredibly flavourful.

The breadcrumbs:

I like to make my own breadcrumbs. My freezer is full of small bags filled with heels of loaves of a wide variety of 'toast-bread'. The P-Man is a bit of a toast connoisseur...and I am always buying new bread to find him a favorite. I pick a day when the oven is already on, and I lay all the little bits of frozen bread on a cookie sheet, and when the oven is still hot, but empty, I put the cookie sheet in until I can see the bread had dried, and changed colour a bit. I let the bread cool, and then put the dried bread in a plastic bag, on my kitchen concrete floor, and bash the heck out of it with my trusty rolling pin.(It's best to use 2 or 3 layers of bags, as the sharp edges poke through the bag, and you end up with a fine layer of crumbs all over the floor! I believe these breadcrumbs are the secret to delicious meatloaf.

The rest:

I always start with a large bowl with the breadcrumbs in the bowl,I pour enough milk into the bowl to completely cover the crumbs, plus approximately 1/2 inch of milk. Leave it until the milk has been completely absorbed into the crumbs. Then I pile the rest of the ingredients on top, and mix everything with my hands.

1 lb extra lean ground beef (In this recipe you can use 'extra-lean' because the milk and the egg and the onions keep everything super moist)
1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs coarse or fine- remember the better the crumbs, the better the meatloaf!
1 egg
milk to cover crumbs plus 1/2 inch- I use 1% milk
2 Tbsp coarse ground Dijon mustard
2 tsp sweet Paprika
2 onions chopped fine-medium to large onions
1 tsp whole coriander seed (ground up a bit)
2 tsp Herbes de Provence (ground up a bit)
salt and pepper to taste, at least 1 tsp of each
1 Tbsp fresh cilantro
1 can tomato soup- I use Amy's Organics Tomato Bisque

In a medium pan add 1 tsp olive oil and the chopped onions. Feel free to use butter if you like the taste. Saute the onions over medium heat for 5 minutes and add the herbs, salt and pepper. Keep stirring until onions are soft. You can brown them if you like, but I just like them soft. take mixture off the heat, and cool for 10 minutes in the fridge.
In a bowl, soak the breadcrumbs in milk, and when the milk has been absorbed sprinkle over the Paprika, and add the egg, mustard, and ground beef. Add the cooled onions, and mix with your hands, until well combined. Grease a non-stick loaf pan with olive oil, and add the meat mixture. Smooth the top, and add approx 1/2 can of the tomato soup, and bake in a 350 degree pre-heated oven, tin lightly covered with aluminum foil for 1 hour. Remove from oven and serve immediately, or let cool and refrigerate. This meatloaf will last at least a week in the fridge, and re-heats beautifully. It also freezes well, so you could double the recipe and have one for later.
I hope you'll try this...especially if you have never tried a meatloaf full of tender sweet onions, and lightened with delicious home-made bread crumbs.

This meatloaf got the P-Man's double thumbs up: Seal of Approval!

Leave me a comment...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Potato Love

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In the last few years I have rediscovered the potato. I am almost always a 'baker' or 'roaster' of potatoes now. I received a nice bag full of little red skinned potatoes in Friday's SPUD box...and knew that they were going to be simply delicious roasted in a 350 degree oven with some roughly chopped red onion, some olive oil, salt, pepper, and sweet Paprika.

I roasted them this morning, as I was up extremely early, and while they were roasting, I cursed my earlier choice of breakfast food: oatmeal! The potatoes and onions made the whole apartment smell yummy, and I kept thinking how a couple of gently fried eggs on top, with a little bit of ketchup would have been delightful...
Good thing tomorrow morning will be here soon!

If you haven't had any potato love in awhile...what are you waiting for...
Leave me a comment, and tell me your favorite potato 'thang'...and don't forget to share the love!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Food Chat a la Cat

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I normally do this blog on Monday.
 This week was extra busy, and I am actually starting a PAID Social Media job today...and have a bid on a website I should hear about I am trying to start this year with my 'must make money' priorities in order!
What that means for you, dear 'CathyEats' reader, is that on occasion, I will not always provide you with a recipe...just a little:

"Food Chat a la Cat!"

(I really had to think about how I was going to phrase that, as I did not want 'the words'cat'and 'food' near each other! HA!)
Now to the chat!

This lovely photo is courtesy of my once every 2 week SPUD box. It appears to be rainbow chard. I received 4 pieces: 2 white, 1 yellow,and 1 pink. The yellow and the pink colours are really quite extraordinary...colours like you infrequently see in nature...shockingly beautiful.
I never ate a leaf of chard before I started receiving my SPUD box. I did look up a few recipes, but I mostly just started to treat it as a leafy green vegetable that needs to be prepared in 2 parts: Tough stems chopped small, and sauteed or boiled (in soup) before the leafy parts are added, and then only cooked until wilted and bright green, not disintegrated and pale gray!
I sauteed this chard last night with some large yellow onions and a fat clove of garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. It was sweet and delicious, and made the leftover chicken I ate it with taste even better.

Make friends with more leafy greens, be healthy, and live longer!

Chatty Cat...OUT!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Turkey Sausage with braised cabbage,onions and carrots

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When I moved to White Rock more than 10 years ago, It took a bit of time to discover where the best places were to buy food. I came across a place on King George Hwy, only about 10 minutes from my place, called:
The Turkey House.
It's half butcher shop, half deli. In the last 10 years I think I have tried almost all of their products. Everything is consistently fresh, and I love the variety. When I started Weight Watchers in 2007, and went on to lose 40 pounds, The Turkey House was a fabulous place to get many of my favorite products, but lighter. Turkey is considered a lean protein, and they have everything from roasts to sausages, to turkey deli meats.(Their turkey European wieners are YUMMY!) Today's recipe is one of my favorites. It's made with 2 kinds of turkey sausage: Italian and parsley and onion. Both are moist and flavourful, with much less fat and calories than traditional pork sausages. Hope you can make it out to the Turkey House...and hope you will try this recipe!

Turkey Sausages with braised cabbage, onions, and carrots

12 assorted turkey sausages
1/2 large head of white cabbage, sliced
2 large white onions, sliced
4 medium carrots cut into matchsticks
olive oil to grease the pan, and some to drizzle over the top
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp Herbes de Provence
salt and pepper

Slice the cabbage with a knife, or use a mandoline. Slice the onion in 1/2 moon shapes, as thick or thin as you like. I sliced the cabbage and onion about the same thickness. Cut the carrots into matchsticks if you like the dish to be pretty. If you are in a rush, grate the carrot on a box grater on the coarse side, or thinly slice with the mandoline. Grease the casserole dish and layer the cabbage,onion and carrot, salt and pepper, Herbes de Provence, and dot each layer with 1 Tbsp of butter. Continue this process until the vegetables are all used up, then lay the sausages on top, and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Cover the dish with aluminum foil, and put into a 350 degree oven for 2 hours. After 2 hours check to make sure the vegetables are tender, and serve with brown or white rice, or more traditionally, potatoes. This dish keeps in the fridge for at least a week, and gets more and more flavourful each day. It's a real peasant dish. Although I've served it to company, and people always tell me how much they enjoyed it.
Hope you like it...Leave me a comment...and remember to share!

The Turkey House
1433 King George Hwy
Surrey, BC

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chicken and Vegetables with Black Bean Sauce

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I love chicken thighs. Plump little dark meat beauties. Last week I had a craving for Chinese food. I had a look online, and came across a recipe for chicken with black bean sauce. I modified it,and it was really tasty. A winner! I will definitely make this again. Hope you'll give it a try. It came together so quickly, it's great for a week night.

Chicken and Vegetables with Black Bean Sauce- (adapted from Canadian Living- Chicken with black bean sauce)

1 large bunch of red chard, Leaves and stems separated. Leaves roughly chopped, stems finely sliced
1 large onion,chopped
2 large carrots, sliced thinly on the diagonal
4 chicken thighs- bone in-skin removed
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp grated ginger- with skin
2 tbsp black bean sauce
2 tbsp rice wine-unseasoned
2 tsp apple cider vinegar.
1/2 cup chicken stock- I used a cube
1 tbsp cornstarch

In a large nonstick pan heat canola oil over medium high heat and brown chicken thighs.Transfer to a plate, turn heat down to medium and add the ginger,chard stems and carrot. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the black bean sauce,rice wine and vinegar and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock and 1/2 cup of water,bring to a boil and add the chicken back to the pan. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer until chicken is cooked, approximately 20 minutes(adding the chard leaves for the last 5 minutes of cooking) In a small bowl mix the cornstarch with the same amount of water, push chicken vegetable mixture to one side add cornstarch mixture to pan, and stir until thickened. Once thickened, stir everything together, and serve immediately over brown rice or noodles. You don't need to add salt, as the black bean sauce is already salty. The rice wine and the vinegar give the dish a pleasant tang.  From start to finish it took about 45 minutes to make. If you pre-chopped the vegetables and threw them all in a bag together,with the chard leaves on top, you could be eating in under 30 minutes!

Hope you'll try this...It's WAY better than takeout

Leave me a comment...let me know.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Chicken barley soup with red chard

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It was kind of a lazy weekend for the P-Man and I. He did some work on the computer, but I mostly cooked and cleaned, and answered e-mails and tried to be witty on facebook and twitter. I made a roast chicken a week or so ago, and as I am not much of a gravy person, I always scrape whatever is left on the bottom of the roaster into a container and freeze it. I refer to this as 'soup base'. I had a container of  the 'base' and an odd cup of vegetable stock in the refrigerator left over from a previous recipe, and I had a crisper full of nice fresh vegetables, courtesy of SPUD. I decided to make some soup. It turned out extremely tasty. When the P-Man dragged himself away from the computer bemoaning the fact that I PROMISED to make spaghetti and meatballs...I gave him a bowl. After a few minutes of slurping, he said: "Did you actually make this right now... 'like' from scratch?" I nodded, and his gaze said it all...I am freaking amazing...and the soup was good too!

Here's' like' the recipe:

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lg onion, chopped
1 large, or 2 medium carrots, chopped
1 lg bunch of red chard-stems chopped fine and leaves sliced 1 inch thick
handful of herbes de provence
salt and pepper
2 bay leaves
3 cups chicken soup base- you can also use store bought but will have to add a bit more seasoning
8 cups water
1 cup pearl or pot barley- I think pot barley has more fibre
2 medium sweet potatoes chopped- I used the orange ones-yams?
1 Tbsp soy sauce- adds depth of flavour

Put a large soup pot on medium high heat. When the pot is hot, add the oil, the chard stems, onion,carrot,salt and pepper. Turn veggies in the oil, and turn heat down to medium and cook until veggies are softened, stirring often. Add the soup base or broth, bay leaves, herbes de provence, water, and sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil, add barley, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes or so until the barley is tender. Add the sliced chard leaves and turn off the heat. After the chard has wilted, and soup has cooled a bit, check seasoning, and adjust.
I like my soup thick and hearty...but feel free to add more water if you like something more 'brothy'. I ate this soup for lunch today, and it was just as flavourful. I just added a bit of water and microwaved it. Delicious!
Hope you like it too!
Leave me a comment...flattery will get you everywhere!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Slightly Pretentious Pork Chops-ala James Barber

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I believe that James Barber was being cheeky when he called these pork chops 'pretentious'. Nothing fancy about a $7.30 package of sirloin cut pork chops that would feed 3 people very comfortably. I made these pork chops in between Christmas and New Years. After we had returned from the Okanagan, and before I had gotten any groceries. I had almost given up on pork chops. It was like I had lost my pork chop 'mojo'. The last few attempts at a quick and easy meal had resulted in dry tasteless chops. I changed a few things this time around. I used thicker chops, and I let them simmer in the sauce for a little more than 45 minutes. They were incredible! So tender I could cut them with a fork. The P-Man blew me kisses in between bites...We ate a chop each the day I made them, and then split the last chop the next day for lunch. I kept the leftover sauce and used it over baked cabbage rolls, and even just over brown rice, with a fried egg for breakfast! What can I say...I was so happy I could have let out an 'oink' of joy! (Sorry pig lovers...)

This recipe is adapted from a recipe of the same name found in a cookbook called:
"James Barber's Immodest but Honest Good Eating Cookbook."
written by James Barber.
I modified it, of course...

2 each pork chops ( I used 3 bone-in sirloin pork chops) trimmed a bit
olive oil for frying
dry white wine ( I used about 1/4 cup of Sauvingnon Blanc)
1/4 tsp pepper ( I like pepper-Telicherry- I used a bit more)
1/2 tsp mustard ( I used 1 tsp coarse grain and 1/2 tsp Dijon)
1 tsp salt
4 Tbsp butter ( I used 2 Tbsp- slathering pork with butter...inconceivable, but tasty!)
1 Tbsp dried Oregano
1 bay leaf
1 large onion, finely chopped
(I also added a 14 oz can of 1/2 the salt niblets corn and a 14 oz can of Italian stewed tomatoes)
chopped fresh parsley- (I used about a 1/4 cup)

Trim the pork and make a paste with the salt, pepper, mustard(s),Oregano, and butter. Spread the paste on the chops, both sides, and let them sit on the counter while you finely chop an onion. Fry the onion in about a Tbsp of olive oil until it looks translucent. Add the pork chops and fry to a golden brown, both sides and add the wine. (I had trouble browning the meat because the onions were all over the bottom of the pan, but I did cook them a bit on both sides, then added the wine to de glaze). Simmer, lid on for 45 minutes. (After the wine, I added the corn, the tomatoes, and  bay leaf, and continued to simmer. I had no lid, but covered the pan with aluminum foil, and as I faith in pork chops has been restored. I sprinkled the parsley on top of the chops and served them with brown rice and baked acorn squash.)
Pretentious? More like Perfect!