So Long to The Not So Desperate Housewife…

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Thank you to everyone who has been following me on this blog!

When one door closes...

When one door closes…

At the end of November I initiated the shift over to my new URL: www.LunchFor1.com.And today I’m proud to
finally be able to announce that I got all my “fancy footwork” completed to make
this part of my food blogging career, history – once and for all.

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You can still find all the recipes I’ve shared over at my new home – or here;
however all my future posts will only be viewable at my new blog site.

Make the leap, and enjoy my new and improved blog as it continues to grow and change.
Please consider also following me on Twitter @LunchFor1
on Facebook at LunchFor1.com Food Blog

as well as on Pinterest

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Thank you Angela Mondor of Geeky Girl for all your assistance this afternoon.
Your knowledge of blogs, social media, computers, and domain transfers is outstanding.

This is the start of something very exciting! Watch for more happenings from LunchFor1 Events Inc.,
other than our upcoming Chocoholics’ Buffet & Eater’s Choice Awards in Chocolate 2013.

And the start of something very excited! Watch for more exciting happenings from LunchFor1 Events Inc.

Everything’s Coming Up Chocolate – My 5-minute Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake

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If you’re a busy person who needs a quick, stunning, and cost-effective dessert, then you’ll want to try this recipe tonight! I haven’t had much time lately for baking with all the event planning for Winnipeg’s 1st Annual Chocoholics’ Buffet 2013 – benefiting the United Way of Winnipeg. But if you know me, you already know that I’m a serious Chocoholic! “Hi, my name is Anna, and I’m a Chocoholic”, so it was time to bake up something chocolate to satisfy my craving last week because all my advent calendar of chocolate truffles are history.

You can literally give five minutes to create this cake, well maybe 10 - not including baking time - I promise!

You can literally take just five minutes to create this cake, well maybe 10 – not including baking time – I promise!

Last week, for a special LunchFor1 – plus 1 luncheon here at Chez Echols,  I whipped up my 5-minute Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake for my friend Juliana. Yes, I freely admit that I’m a cheater when it comes to baking cakes. Since the mid-80s I’ve been a devoted user of Betty Crocker’s Super Moist Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix – just ask any of my former co-workers – it’s my “go to” secret birthday cake weapon.

It's really that simple. 4 ingredients to make the cake + 3 ingredients to decorate it = Yummy Bliss mmmmm CHOCOLATE!

4 ingredients to make the cake + 3 ingredients to decorate it = Yummy Bliss mmmmm CHOCOLATE! Simple.

5-minute Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake

1 Super Moist Cake Mix*

3 Eggs

1/3 Cup Canola Oil

1 1/4 cup Water

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  1. *Follow the package instructions as they can be different for different cake flavours. Just dump everything into your mixing bowl.
  2. Beat on low for 30 seconds, then beat on medium for 2 minutes more.

    I like to use my KitchenAid whisk, but you can use a fork,
    a whisk, a hand mixer, or any stand mixer, of course.

  3. Spray your Bundt Pan generously with Pam and pour in your batter.
  4. Place into a pre-heated oven at 350*F for 35-45 minutes. Test for done-ness before removing.
  5. Let the bundt stand in its pan for 10 minutes, after you remove it from the oven.
  6. Turn out your cake onto your favourite plate.
  7. Let cool for another 30 to 60 minutes, or longer.
  8. Place 1/2 to 1 cup of the pre-made chocolate icing into a 1 cup measuring cup, and microwave for 20-30 seconds until your pre-made icing becomes pour-able.
  9. With a dinner fork, lightly punch shallow fork holes in the top, outer-sides and insides of your bundt cake. This allows the icing to seep into your already moist cake to make it extra delicious.
  10. Pour in a light drizzle back and forth over the top of your cake while turning the cake plate in a circle, and “paint” your cake with the icing.

Also works great with two different colour icing, like chocolate and vanilla!

This time I used some caramel sauce I had in the fridge along with the chocolate icing.
Then I decorated the top of my cake with small chunks of Skor bars.

Super easy – Super moist – Super tasty!

Click the above image to view Wine Enthusiast’s blog on Vday

VDAY TIP FOR MY GENTS… Hey guys – try this recipe to impress your lady with a special vday dessert at home… Simply bake a Super Moist brand vanilla cake mix the same as above. Use red and pink icing (or red & white) to drizzle over top the cake. Decorate the top with small heart-shaped sprinkles or small candies in the same colour scheme. I guarantee you’ll get “lucky” after dessert!!! Keep me posted!😉 Watch for more Aphrodisiac Recipes coming soon! In the meantime, for more inspiration for February 14th – check out my Valentine’s Pins on Pinterest.

BTW this cake was even better the next day after it sat in my domed, cake server! PLUS, this recipe is totally freezer friendly too. My husband and I cannot possibly eat a whole bundt cake, so I’ll slice it into individual pieces and freeze it for a later treat. Remember my portion control suggestions from my WeightReleaseUpdate#2?

Sounds too hard? Don’t have that much time? Try my 3-2-1 Mug Cake recipe by clicking here. I LOVE making quick strawberry shortcake desserts for Jeff and I by using this easy method! Mug cakes work awesome at the cottage as well… sigh… Summer seems SO far away right now!

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What is your secret cake recipe?
Please click Leave a Comment below and feel free to share it with me and my readers.

DIY Shrimp Broth – super easy and much cheaper than store-bought

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I hate to let things go to waste… so when we are shucking prawn shells for a meal, I like to save the shells to make a shrimp broth. I place the shells in a Ziploc freezer bag, and store them in the freezer until I have enough to make up a few batches of broth.

Easy DIY Shrimp Broth - what else are you going to do with those leftover prawn shells?

Easy DIY Shrimp Broth – what else are you going to do with those leftover prawn shells?

This easy shrimp broth recipe was the base of flavour for my recent experiment in making my Shrimp-Flavoured Quinoa Pilaf which I will post tomorrow.

In making any type of broth, you can pretty much do a fridge-cleaning on whatever vegetables you have hanging around. In this version I used asparagus ends, onion chunks and long celery spears. Then I flavoured the broth with 1 tsp. of sea salt, 1 tsp. of peppercorns, and chunks of fresh garlic.

1. Throw your prawn shells (frozen or thawed) into a large soup pot,
add veggies and spices of your choice.

2. Cover everything with hot tap water. Put on your stove on
High to boil the mixture, then reduce heat to a simmer.
Allow the flavours to meld for a couple of hours (or more).

3. Place a large bowl or measuring cup under your colander to catch the broth
(something I always forget to do – almost), and pour the contents of your pot into the
colander to strain off the prawn shells and veggies.

Use this broth for Asian-inspired soups, seafood stews, mussels, or to flavour your favourite rice dishes. This broth also freezes well in handy-sized 1 cup Ziploc containers for future use.

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What types of homemade broth do you make?

Five New Habits This Month

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Weight Release Update #2 – They say that it takes 21 days to change a habit. This is Day21 for me in changing how I workout, eat and look at releasing the extra pounds I put on in 2012. Here are five of the habits that I’ve been working hard at changing this month…

  1. Eat Less – Move More. My weight-release philosophy is quite simple, it was shared with me by my mother ,and my older sister. That’s it – Eat Less, Move More.
    I’m by no means a fitness or nutrition guru, but I’ve picked up my fair share of tips over the past 41 years. I’m happy to share my “ah-ha moments” with you over the coming weeks/months of my personal journey. The retirees at the mall show me every day that if I get moving NOW… I’ll keep moving well into my 60s, 70s and 80s. I want to live to be 100, so I know that I’ve got to get active, and stay active every day between now and then.
  2. The Sigg Bottle Is Your Friend. I usually don’t stock juice in our fridge. My husband and I prefer to use our 1L Sigg bottles and to drink water (tap water), either straight-up, or with a squeeze of organic lemon juice, or with Mio/Crystal Light. I changed my juice-habit many years ago, so I find it quite easy to drink 2 to 3 litres of water per day. When I’m walking I carry a Sigg bottle of very cold water to hydrate me throughout my workout. Yes… I CAN drink water and walk at the same time!Of note, I have heard that most of the time when you think you’re hungry, your body is actually thirsty. So I try to drink a glass of water, instead of opening the fridge and grabbing a snack. But if I’m still hungry after that, I try to keep some healthy snacks of pre-cut fruit/veggies front and centre in my fridge. I like the meal plan where you eat 6 smaller meals a day.

    1L Sigg bottles are your best friend. I have a few and place them around the house for easy access to my water, great for traveling too.

    1L Sigg bottles are your best friend. I have a few and place them around the house for easy access to my water, great for traveling too.

  3. Make Breakfast Simple. I switched back to a weight-release-proven smoothie recipe using Lean Fit’s Whey Protein Powder, Frozen Berries (Strawberries or Blueberries), Agave Nectar and Skim Milk. One of my girlfriends shared this trick with me last year while she was shaping up, and it totally worked for her. You can read more about how to make that smoothie recipe on one of my previous blog posts. These smoothies taste very much like a milkshake if you blend them long enough.If you detest the grittiness of a typical protein shake, then this is the right brand of protein powder for you. This powder does not contain fibre, plus as a bonus, it’s low-carb (2g). And how else can you ingest 25g of protein first thing in the morning? I find having a high protein breakfast keeps me fuller, longer during the day. I get mine at Costco for about $40 for a 2kg container, which lasts me 2+ months. And when I’m busy writing, or running off to afternoon meetings, I’ll sometimes have a smoothie for lunch, but not very often.
  4. Downsize Your Dinner Plate. We have been using these Correlle Stoneware plates for many years. This year I decide that instead of using the 11.5 inch dinner plate for eating supper off of each night, that my husband and I would begin using the 8.5 inch lunch plate instead. We also focus on eating 3:1 vegetables to meat, or 2/3 of the plates for healthy veggies or salad, and 1/3 of the plate for protein.

    Bigger is NOT better. Our portion control is out of whack in North America. Focus on using plates that are 9-inches or smaller for your meals.

    Bigger is NOT better. Our portion control is out of whack in North America. Focus on using plates that are 9-inches or smaller for your meals.

  5. Don’t Deprive Yourself. You don’t need to deprive yourself of your favourite meal, snack, or treat/dessert – you just need to remember to eat in moderation. My weakness is pretzels, but I can allow myself ONE serving size of 13 pretzels as a snack every once in awhile. I’ve portioned them out to cut down on my mindless eating while watching my favourite show.
    Yes, you CAN have a treat every once in awhile, in moderation. Try portioned out your snacks, or just one treat, like a truffle.

    Yes, you CAN have a treat every once in awhile, in moderation. Try portioned out your snacks, or just one treat, like a truffle.

    As a chocoholic, you bet your bottom dollar that I’m not giving up my truffles! I allow myself one truffle, every few days when I have a sweets craving.By the way, did you know that LunchFor1.com is hosting Winnipeg’s 1st Annual Chocoholics’ Buffet at The Gates on Roblin Ballroom. This fundraiser benefiting the United Way of Winnipeg is an all-you-can-eat dessert bar of the very best chocolate desserts that our local chefs have to offer. If you’re interested in attending, you can buy tickets online here and join us on Saturday, April 20th, 2013.

    Winnipeg's 1st Annual Chocoholics' Buffet - This is a No Calorie Zone

    One night of indulgence! I’ll be working out hard between now and April 20th so that I can enjoy all the goodies.

    So enjoy my Weight Release Updates in addition to my healthier LunchFor1 posts. I hope that my suggestions can help you to shed a few pounds in the coming months of 2013. Please feel free to  share your own success stories and tips in the comments area below. Or keep me posted on your own progress via Twitter (@LunchFor1), on my Facebook Page, or by subscribing and following me on my blog.

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Weight Release Update #3
Five Things You Can Easily Switch & Lose For Good
(coming soon)

On the Menu This Week: Anna’s Amazing Pulled Pork Recipe

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This week I’ll be making this dish for my dear hubby for sure. He’s all out of lunch
portions of his favourite… Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork!
(pictures posted later)

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2 to 3lbs. Pork Loin Roast

2 tbsp. Dark Sesame Oil

591mL bottle of Mug Rootbeer

3 tbsp. Colgin’s Liquid Smoke – natural hickory

1 bottle Tony Roma’s Hickory BBQ Sauce

½ cup Frank’s Hot Sauce

8 D’Italiano Hamburger Buns

2 tsp. Salt

2 tsp. Pepper

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1.     Preheat your crock-pot on High while prepping the ingredients.

2.     Cut your roast into small fist sized pieces and place in your crock-pot.

3.     Coat your roast in Sesame Oil, and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper flipping the meat around to coat.

4.     Add a full bottle of Root-beer, we prefer the Mug brand, but I am sure that any brand would work just as well.

5.     Add the Liquid Smoke, and stir mixture well before covering the crock-pot.

6.     Cook on High for 1 hour, then reduce your crock-pot’s temperature to Low for 5 to 6 hours.

7.     Add 1/3 bottle of BBQ Sauce, again we prefer it with the Tony Roma’s sauce, but any type would work.

8.     Cook for an additional 90 minutes.

9.     Remove meat from its liquid and place in large bowl.

10.     Turn off your crock-pot and discard the liquid.

11.  Using two forks pull the pork apart.

12.  Grind a generous amount of pepper over the meat.

13.  Add all of the remaining BBQ Sauce and Hot Sauce. Stir minimally to coat the meat.

14.  Cover and microwave the bowl for 2 minutes to warm and activate the sauces.

15.  Serve over sturdy hamburger buns. Makes 8 portions.

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Perfect for game day, or as an appetizer! This recipe freezes really well in individual servings, and makes awesome hot lunches with the addition of a fresh hamburger bun.

What is your go to pulled pork recipe?
Please click “Leave a Comment” below and share with me.

Our Family’s Secret Cabbage Roll Recipe

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Every family, especially here in Winnipeg – a diverse multicultural city, seems to have a different way of creating their family’s favourite cabbage roll recipe, especially for the holidays. The secret of ours is the Sour Cabbage. OK, well it’s not really ‘so’ secret.

I grew up in Regina, and just outside the city is the beautiful Lumsden Valley full of great market gardens. Kissel’s Cabbage is based there, and they are known for their sour cabbage product. They supply the majority of that bagged greeny-grey cabbage (and sauerkraut) that you see in the produce section of grocery stores across Western Canada. I see that they even ship to Minnesota.

So for my niece’s who always wanted to know how to make Grandma’s Cabbage Rolls, here’s the recipe… it’s super easy and fast. You don’t have to wait until Christmas to make them, as they are great on any cold, winter day!

Cabbage Roll Collage

This is really a very simple recipe, and it’s a million times better if you make them fresh and eat the whole batch. I’m not a fan of freezing these, but my Mom used to always make an extra big pot full of them and place the pot and everything into the freezer. She’d pull them out when my Dad’s friend Vic came to town unexpectedly, as these were his favourite.

The Not-So-Secret Coleshaw Cabbage Rolls

1 lb. Ground Pork

1 lb. Ground Beef

1 cup Long Grain Rice, uncooked

1 can Diced Tomatoes (796mL)

1 tsp. Sea Salt

1 tsp. Black Pepper, ground

1 head Sour Cabbage

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1. Mix all the ingredients together, except the cabbage.

2. Core the sour cabbage, and carefully remove the individual leaves.

Remember the outside leaves make the bigger cabbage rolls – those are my favourite.

3. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling on the cabbage leaf in the middle
but closer to the end of the leaf with the thick vein.

There is a tricky balance between creating a nice, full cabbage roll and overfilling the leaf, so be generous with caution.

4. Fold the edge with the thick vein over the filling and roll once.

5. Fold in each of the side of the cabbage leaf and continue to roll the filling up tightly.

Sometimes you may need to poke the corners of the roll into the filling.

6. Place the finished roll in the bottom of a large soup pot with the open edge
facing down, this will help to ‘seal’ the seam.

7. Continue to fill your pot with rolls, laying them tightly side-by-side, and then
layering them to the top edge of the pot.

8. Once your pot is filled to capacity, top the rolls with tap water until
they are all covered with liquid.

9. Place the pot on your stove, and bring the water to a boil on High.

10. Reduce the heat after the water comes to a boil, and continue to cook
for an hour or more on a Medium-Low setting.

11. Remove rolls carefully with a slotted spoon and serve.

This is how I "roll", I don't really eat the cabbage leaves, but I like the flavour that they impart.

This is how I “roll”, I don’t really eat the cabbage leaves, but I like the flavour that they impart.

My mama never said that I “had to” eat the cabbage. Usually I’ll eat a leaf or two, but I really just like the filling with a nice, soft white dinner bun.

TIP: The smaller clumps of leftover cabbage leaves that are hard to roll can be shredded for sauerkraut and used on Reuben Sandwiches or over Bratwurst.

Can you make this in the oven – Yes!
Can you make it in a crock pot – Sure!
My Mom actually used to make these in a Pressure Cooker.

But if you make it this way on the stove-top, you will have homemade cabbage rolls in about 90 minutes. If you make them in the morning, you can have them for lunch, and probably dinner too! The other cooking methods are fine, they just take longer, and I’m impatient.

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How do you make your cabbage rolls?
Do you only make them at Christmas too?
What’s your secret ingredient?
Please share in the Comments section below.

What to do with leftover Ahi Tuna? Make a great salad!

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I was very lucky last summer to win a gift card to our local fish monger, Gimli Fish Market. I’d actually never shopped there before, but for a special pre-holiday meal with friends last month, I took the fish-lady’s recommendation to try cooking Ahi Tuna at home.

This is what a 1kg of tuna looks like - those plates are 8.5 inches wide. That's a lotta YUM!

This is what a 1kg of tuna looks like – those plates are 8.5 inches wide. That’s a lotta YUM!

I’m so glad I listened to both the expert fish-lady, and to one of my fellow food bloggers, Rheanne Marcoux of Sucre & Farine to try Food & Wine Magazine’s Sesame-Crusted Tuna Steak recipe. It was delicious and super simple. Prep time and cook time together were less than 10 minutes.

Sesame Crusted Tuna Steak (on the right) served with Mayo

Sesame Crusted Tuna Steak (on the right) served with Mayo

The recipe was super easy, and though Ahi tuna steaks in Winnipeg are not cheap, I was able to master a favourite fish at home and impress my guests. Now I can now cross that to-do off my bucket list and try some other types of fish at home in 2013.

The two huge Ahi tuna steaks were much more food than the 4 of us could eat for dinner. Thankfully, my dear husband liked the fish, which had the same consistency as his favourite, Prime Rib roast. I was very worried that he wouldn’t like the rare sear on the fish as he’s not a fan of sashimi like I am. The next day for lunch we decided to make a gourmet salad using the leftovers and this is what I came up with.

My DIY dinner salad platter for two.

My DIY dinner salad platter for two.

This was my riff on Salad Nicoise with homemade feta, parboiled baby potatoes, quick-steamed green beans, avocado, grape tomatoes, fresh mint, sliced shallots and of course… the leftover tuna. I drizzled it with my favourite Kraft Calorie-Wise Balsamic dressing for a quick finish, and boy was it delicious!

All dressed up and ready to eat!

All dressed up and ready to eat!

Whenever you have some great leftover protein in your fridge (chicken, steak, pork, fish) and a hodgepodge of vegetables, I do recommend giving this easy meal idea a try.

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Do you ever cook fresh Tuna?
Please share your favourite recipe in the Comments section.