Thursday, September 29, 2005

Shrimp Avocado Salad

Dieting or mostly thinking that I should really go on a diet, has been a constant since I was a teenager. I cannot say that I've tried all the diets I know of (I do not count those I tried and could not go past the second or third day), but I've tried Weight Watchers and Atkins with some success. I managed to follow Somersize for a couple of months, the Schwarzbein Principle and the South Beach sound like too much work. On the positive side, all diets have some dishes that are so good that you keep making them even after you ditched the diet.

For Weight Watchers it was the applesauce and fat-free cottage cheese sprinkled with cinnamon. I still love it and make it often. Basically you add 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce (if you make your own using sweet apples, you can still call it unsweetened even if it tastes sweet), 1/3 cup fat-free cottage cheese, mix the whole think, sprinkle with cinnamon et voilá! A tasty low-cal desert.

Today's salad is one that I concotted when I did my stint into Atkins. True you loose weight fast on that diet, but I'm a carb girl and living without bread, and muffins, and bagels, was not fun. I tried the low-carb flours which are basically a mixture of soy flour and some gluten but it was not the same thing. So another diet went by the wayside and, as expected, when I went back to my old stapples I put back all the weight I had lost, plus some. Well, that's life I guess!

But this salad is delicious, great to take to work and I make it time and again. It is very satisfying. With a piece of fruit you have a good and healthy lunch.

For this salad I usually purchase one of those packaged 250 gr. rings of shrimp. They are very flavourful, you only need to shell the tails, and they are usually cheap. I get several boxes when they are on sale, for about $2.99 or $3.99 per package. Considering that our cafeteria charges $5.75 for a platter with about the same portion of food, this is a good price indeed.

Shrimp Avocado Salad

1 shrimp ring (about 250 gr. / 10 oz.)
1 avocado
6 brazil nuts, cut up
1 tablespoon vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Peel and dice the avocado, put the shrimp on top and the cut up brazil nuts. The nuts give this salad a crunch that I do very much love. Add the vinaigrette, mix lightly and cover. I add the vinaigrette right in the morning when I make the salad. There is no green to wilt and the flavours have time to meld.


1/3 cup roasted garlic olive oil
1/2 cup cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons mixed dried herbs or 2 tablespoons finelly chopped fresh herbs

Mix all the ingredients in a jar. Give it a shake before using.

I usually use dry oregano and thyme or fresh lemon thyme and basil. These are my favourite herb combinations.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

23/5 Meme

I was tagged by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen for the 23/5 Meme. The way it works is you go to your 23rd post, find the 5th sentence, and then ponder a little and write about it on your blog.

My 23rd post was the recipe Gnocchi with Red Pepper Sauce, one of my favourites, and the 5th sentence read:

It is an easy recipe to make, very filling and the intense flavour of the red pepper in the sauce is just scrumptious.

I absolutely stand by what I wrote in that post. It is even better if you make the gnocchi from scratch, which I did not do at that time. Actually, I'm getting somewhat lazy when it comes to gnocchi. I can find wonderful fresh gnocchi in a small Italian shop close to where I work and it is very easy for me to just go and buy them instead of going through the trouble of making them.
Maybe one of these days I'll make gnocchi from scratch again.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Rhubarb Cornmeal Cake

I've had this post semi-prepared for such a long while and I think it is about time I finish it and publish it. Yesterday I finally ate the last slice of this cake, which I've kept in the freezer, wrapped individually in parchment paper and then aluminum foil. Still full of flavour and moist like it was when I baked it, maybe by the end of July.

From a recipe by Nigella Lawson in How to be a Domestic Goddess, this wonderful cake was published by Angela, of A Spoonful of Sugar, in her entry of May 1st, 2004. The picture looked so scrumptious and I happen to love just about everything with cornmeal in it so I knew I had to try the cake. I was not disappointed. I warn you that it is very easy to overeat, so be prepared to either share it with friends or freeze it. Fortunately, it freezes very well, as I was able to prove yesterday. The recipe makes a fairly large cake and even if I gave half to a friend, I still managed to freeze seven good-sized portions.

In the picture above I ate it while warm, "a la mode", meaning with vanilla ice-cream. It was good but I actually prefer it on its own.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Toaster Oat Bread

Today I tried one of Kelli's bread recipes. This is a quick bread, full of fiber and it tastes delicious. I followed Kelli's recipe almost to the letter. The only difference is the buttermilk I used, because I had it, instead of milk and lemon juice.

This bread is dense and very flavourful. I calculated 16 slices and it does give me 104 cals., 5gr. of protein, 1 gr, of fat, and 3 gr. fibre per slice. Kelli says that its flavour is enhanced by toasting. I've already ate almost half of it and I did not toast it. It is delicious with butter and jam. Now I have to try the toasting.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

WCB # 13 - Ms. Beije does not like the camera

Ms. Beije having trouble with the flash from the camera. I tried to take another photo, but she decided to beat a hasty retreat. She really has little patience for my photography efforts.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Fundraiser: Pistachio Fruit Delight


I'm not very familiar with Southern food, except maybe having heard of Southern Fried Chicken and Blackened Fried Fish. The cuisine of Louisianna seems to include a lot of hot food, which I shy away from. However, I wanted very much to contribute to Amy's event in any way I could.
Browsing my recipe box, I found this recipe that I had copied from one of those church fundraiser cookbooks. The little blurb said that this was a Southern recipe although it did not specify where from. This is a typical 70's recipe all made out of canned ingredients but it is one of my favourites. This is one instance in which I don't care if the ingredients are not "natural." It has to be "good for you," because it is just plain good.

Please join Amy's Hurricane Katrina Fundraiser and/or click the Red Cross banner above to donate. Thank you.


Pistachio Fruit Delight

1 package Jello instant pudding, pistachio flavour
1 cup milk
1 19 oz can crushed pineapple in juice, drained
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 large container of Cool Whip

Mix the pudding and milk and let thicken. Add the drained crushed pineapple, marshmallows, and Cool Whip. Mix until well blended.

Transfer into a large glass bowl to serve, or divide into individual containers. Makes 13 1/2 cup portions.