Category Archives: Vegetables

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.

How to Lose 7+ Pounds in Two Weeks… Mall-Walking!

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Weight Release Update #1 – I have the same New Years’ Resolution as most people… to take off a bit of weight. 2012 was a rough year for me, and having just recovered from surgery last Fall, I was keen to get moving again.

Like Nike says... "JUST DO IT" - strap on your runners and go!

Like Nike says… “JUST DO IT” – strap on your runners and go!

So I hit the ground ‘walking’ on January 2nd, and so far I’ve logged  45 kms of walk-time in a nice warm environment – at the mall, NOT the gym. I’ve been meaning for weeks to post about this Resolution, and to introduce some of my “weight-release” strategies to my readers – so here goes…

I was quite successful three years ago in losing 50+ pounds, but due to some pesky, ongoing health issues, it’s time for me to re-commit to staying in shape.

To better describe my philosophy of weight release vs. weight loss, you have to think of what you want to do when you lose something – like your car keys, or your wallet.

You keys and wallet are important things to find if you've lost them, but extra pounds... they can stay lost in my books.

Your keys and wallet are important things to find if you’ve lost them, but extra pounds… they can stay lost in my books.

You really want to find them again, and put them in your pocket, don’t you? So why do we call it Weight Loss? Do you REALLY want to find those pounds again??? I think not. So this year I’m practicing a mind shift on my self-talk, and selecting to release my extra weight, with the hopes that I will never, ever find it again!

As I’m not much of a gym-joining type of person, I decided to think ‘outside the box’ in regards to my daily fitness routine. I was invited by a very active girlfriend to mall-walk before Christmas. I SO enjoyed the experience that I thought I’d make mall-walking my new, four times a week habit. So here’s my story on how I lost 7+ pounds in the first two weeks of 2013.

On January 2nd at 7am, I walked through the doors of Winnipeg’s Polo Park Mall, not knowing what to expect. But I knew “if it was going to be, it was up to me”.

I’ve never been shy of meeting strangers, or of doing stuff by myself, so it was with a positive attitude, a friendly smile on my face, and my trusty pedometer that I set off on a new fitness adventure. I checked my coat, slipped in my iPhone ear buds, and took off for a couple laps around the mall.

Did you know that the upstairs “track” at Polo Park Mall
measures 0.5 miles from Moxies to The Bay?

Most local Winnipeggers may not know that Polo Park Mall opens at 7am for mall-walking. You can actually go in and see what happens in the mall in the mornings before the stores open for business – I find it all so fascinating.

Plus you can’t beat the scenery! Window-shopping AND exercising together in one package – sweet! If you’re like me, then striding along on a treadmill, even with a TV to watch, is only interesting for so long. But every day at the mall the windows change, the people change, but the temperature stays constant. AND as a bonus you can learn all about the sales that are happening!

As I’ve already stated, so far in 2013, I’ve walked 45 kms – that’s more than a marathon(42.2kms). Thinking back, I probably didn’t log 45 kms of exercise in all of 2012!

I walk between 45 and 75 minutes per day, about 2 to 4 miles. My current record is 7,795 steps in 75 minutes, which is about 4.18 miles, but my goal is 10,000 steps on each visit. Will you take this challenge with me?

The length of my walk and my motivation depends on my mood, my playlist, and my upcoming morning schedule. But after weighing in last Wednesday, for the 1st time since New Years Day, I was shocked to see that I’d already released 7.4lbs by adopting these five new habits along with my mall-walking. And that was totally motivating to go the extra mile – literally!

So if you like walking, and want to shed a few pounds before the weather here in Winnipeg warms up, please consider joining the Polo Park Mall Walkers Club on Facebook, and come out a few mornings a week to join in the camaraderie. This group is open to everyone, of all ages – the mall-walkers at Polo Park are a very friendly bunch.

We meet upstairs, above centre court, at Club Monaco at 7am Monday to Thursday mornings. If that time doesn’t work for your schedule, then pop into the mall before opening any morning, including Saturdays. They are open to the public for mall-walking 6 days a week at 7am, it’s also easy on your pocketbook if you conclude your walk before 10am when the stores open. And if Polo Park isn’t convenient, then call your local mall and see if they have a mall-walking program, and if not, suggest it to them. Hope to see you at the mall!

Coming Monday: Weight Release Update #2 – Adopt Five New Habits This Month

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Please 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 2013.

Please keep me posted on your own progress via Twitter, on my Facebook Page,
or by subscribing and following me on my blog. Followers of my blog
will be eligible for special contests which I will reveal soon.

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And feel free to  share your own success stories about your
New Years Resolution and exercise tips in the Comments area below.

Super Easy Salsa

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One of the potluck items I was constantly being asked to bring to work by my co-workers years ago was my Epicure Selections’ Poco Picante Salsa. This SUPER easy Salsa recipe is great for a quick snack, or to add spiciness to any dish you have on the stove for dinner.

This salsa is SO easy and SO delicious that you won't ever buy pre-made salsa again

This salsa is SO easy and SO delicious that you won’t buy pre-made salsa again

Super Easy Salsa

1 – 796mL can Diced Tomatoes

Juice of 1/2 Fresh Lime

2 tbsp Epicure Selections Poco Picante Salsa Mix

Nacho Chips

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1. Drain the can of tomatoes, but catch the tomato juice
as it’s great to cook rice in tomorrow.

2. Place tomatoes, salsa mix and the lime juice into
your food processor and pulse 5 times.

3. Re-drain the salsa one more time, and serve.

It’s really that easy.

Other uses for this salsa…

– Add to cooked rice or quinoa to create a spicy side dish

– Use with your favourite Mexican recipes like my Beef Tacos

– Use as a pasta sauce for a spicy, Italian-Mexican fusion dish

– Marinade and cook chicken breasts in this Salsa

– Use at breakfast with your favourite egg dish

What do you love Salsa on top of?
Are you a fan of the hot stuff? Or do you prefer a more mild Salsa?

Shredded Broccoli Salad

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I don’t remember what inspired me to make this salad a few years ago, but it’s one of my favourite ways to eat broccoli. Not only can you buy broccoli slaw pre-made like I did, but you can also use your broccoli stalks and shred them yourself to create this salad. We love this as a side to just about any meal!

A quick and easy new salad to try that is super healthy

A quick and easy new salad to try that is super healthy

Broccoli Salad
(makes 2 servings)

1 cup Broccoli Slaw

1/2 cup Shredded Carrot

1/8 cup Almond Slivers

1/8 cup Dried Berries

1/8 cup Oil & Vinegar Dressing
(like Kraft Calorie-Wise Balsamic Vinaigrette)

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Mix all ingredients together and toss in the vinaigrette. Serve chilled.

Keeps great for 2nd day servings!

Do you use Broccoli Slaw?
What is your favourite recipe?

Spicy Marinated Mushrooms – A Great Holiday Appetizers

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At this time of year it’s a great idea to have a few last-minute appetizers to pull out of your fridge to wow unexpected guests. These marinated mushrooms are super easy to make, and hold well for 3 to 5 days in the fridge, or can try canning them for a longer-lasting product.

Tender, spicy mushrooms for the fungi-fan in your family

Tender, spicy mushrooms for the fungi-fan in your family

Spicy Marinated Mushrooms

1/2 bag White Button Mushrooms, small
2 teaspoons Salt
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
3 tablespoons Rice Vinegar
5 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
3 Green Onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce, Low-Sodium
1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 teaspoon Sriracha (or more)

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1. Boil a large pot of salted water.

2. Place the mushrooms whole into the boiling water for 7 minutes.
I do not recommend washing your mushrooms until just before you are going to cook them – a light washing is fine. I scrub mine 4 at a time in my hands under running water.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, garlic, green onions, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and sririacha.

3. Once the mushrooms are done boiling, drain them, and place them into a large resealable container.

4. Pour the liquid over the mushrooms, stir together, and cover with the lid.

5. Let your container sit on your kitchen counter to cool.
Allow the mushrooms to begin their marinading process at room temperature for a couple of hours.

6. Then you can refrigerate your mushrooms, and use as needed.

7. Create an Antipasto Platter by adding Roasted Red Peppers and Roasted Garlic. Serve the mushrooms with on a platter with room-temperature cheeses, deli meats and crackers or baguette.

TIP: The spicy taste is great!!! For a more intense flavour, pull the mushroom stems out of the caps before boiling which will allow the marinade to permeate into the mushroom from the inside.

These little, succulent snacks go well with any appetizer spread

These little, succulent snacks will go well with any appetizer spread you can dream up this Holiday season

Other Uses…

* Diced the marinated mushrooms up and use as a condiment on burgers or beef dip sandwiches.
* Mince them up to use as a mushroom tapenade on french bread.
* Pop off the stems, and pipe in some soft cheese like Boursin for a fancier appetizer.
* They’d be a great accompaniment to any steak.
* Excellent choice for use in any salad, especially to dress up a Caesar salad with fresh tomatoes.

What do YOU like to have with these mushrooms?
Please feel free to share your uses below in the Comments section.

Simple Soup for One

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I arrived home famished after volunteering at Koats for Kids Winnipeg this morning.

Faux Minestrone-a Simple Soup for 1

Having no plan for lunch (ergo nothing to blog about) I saw that I had some stock defrosted in the fridge from supper last night. And after grabbing a few veggies from the crisper, I was able to quickly whip up this very delicious “Minestrone” soup on the fly.

Simple Soup for One Ingredients

Whatever you have on hand is fine

Whatever you have on hand is fine

2-3 cups Broth
1 Carrot, chopped
1 Celery stalk, chopped

1/8 Onion, chopped

1 clove Garlic, minced

1 tsp. Lemon zest

1 tbsp. Sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped

1 tsp. Dill, dried

2 tbsp. Pasta, cooked

1 tsp. Salt

Tiny Pasta Stars are a quick and easy addition to any soup

Tiny Pasta Stars are a quick and easy addition to any soup

TIP: When I buy a grocery store rotisserie chicken for our Chicken Taco night, I use all the meat I want from the bird, and then put the bones in a small pot of boiling water with 1/2 tsp each of salt, pepper and dried parsley. I boil it for about an hour while my husband and I eat dinner. And once it’s cooled, I put it in a storage container, and freeze it for days like today. No more buying expensive, sodium-heavy, pre-made chicken stock!

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1. I boiled the broth in one pot, and cooked the pasta in another. Once the pasta was done, I ran it under cold water and kept it in my strainer. I find that adding grains or pasta to soups makes them thicken up very quickly from the starch content.

You do not need a lot of broth, about 2 cups is good.

2. Add whatever vegetables you’ve got in the fridge to the broth, and pick one or two “wow” ingredients like lemon zest or sun-dried tomatoes. Whatever you have on hand is fine – black beans, peppers, potatoes, etc., even quinoa or rice in place of the pasta.

3. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the veggies reach your preferred tenderness. And voila! You have an easy homemade soup for one. Or up-size this idea to feed a crowd at any time of the day.

4. Serve in a pretty bowl to warm your day! And feel good about this healthy, low-calorie, but filling lunch choice.

A spoonful of goodness!

A spoonful of goodness!

What is your favourite soup?

Please let me know in the comments section below what your “wow” ingredients were when you tried this recipe.

Anna’s Kitchen Tip #2 – Keeping Celery Fresh

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I started keeping my fresh celery in aluminum foil many years ago
because it stays so nice and crisp for a very long time.
If you don’t like limp celery, give it a try!

Aluminum foil keeps celery fresher longer

Aluminum foil keeps celery fresher longer

Did you know that?

Do you have a kitchen tip for keeping veggies fresher longer?
Please feel free to share it in the comments section below.