The sickness has me in its grasp!

Can’t cook…dying…bought soup :(….but to sick to stand and chop things…(death gasp)

something is burning….talk tomorr

I’m baaack.

I know I have been M.I.A. for the last little bit! My apologies. I had a roommate move out, another move in and 16 bags of garbage that needed to leave my apartment (and that doesn’t count furniture that left!). In short I had a very stressful week, and it showed in my diet! I visited Tim Horton’s numerous times for food and beverages, Ginger, a local Mexican place and a Chipolte. Although, I did go out to a nice restaurant one night and had a lovely and elegant meal. It even had sun chokes, they are the most delicious tuber-like thing I have ever had.

To be honest, I was embarassed to come on here and admit that I had thrown my plan out the window…again! Why is this so hard for me? Stress is definitely a huge factor. Now that Spring is firmly here I hope to try for a new beginning!

Before I forget, the broccoli and apple salad I mentioned last post was TO DIE FOR!! I must have made it three times. And quite possibly burnt the toasted walnuts every single time! The salad has really put me in the mood for tart things because it has balsamic vinegar. Everything I am eating right now is getting dabbled with vinegar or lemon juice!  Speaking of things that were burnt, I almost set my kitchen on fire! I burnt the walnuts and went to take the nuts off the element and had my back to the stove when a towel fire! Also, because a roommate was moving in and had put a cardboard box on the stove–which I failed to remove before starting to cook–I almost started the box on fire!  

I’m also adding a picture of my spaghetti squash with cream sauce. Oi…that was a bit of a mess! I bought a light cream instead of a heavy cream to make the sauce so I ended up with what could have been milk on my squash! :( The taste was okay but the consistency was…well, it left something to be desired.

Today I made a great dish with bok choy, spinach, onion, and broccoli with some asian noodles and soy sause and peanut butter with some water to make it peanut saucy. I know it sounds suspect! Yet, it was divine. 

After analyzing my progress I am going to change the challenge a bit. It has just been a little too difficult for my first month. I will still cook everything, but can eat dinner out (this should ONLY be a once a month thing) and will eat healthy choices. No fast food! But trying to cook everything from scratch is too much. So condiments and bread and things like this are permissable. However, no prepackaged or processed foods. This way I can have a beer and a slice of bread–perhaps not together–and not get so caught up in minor details, like if I can use soy sauce!!

Tomorrow I am going to the local organic market to see all the local Toronto farmers (ha!) well, nearby farmers. I have some bok choy, zuchinni, carrots, and I am hoping to get some bison at the market! I will let you know what I come home with!

Tomorrow I’ll have some yogurt and fruit for brekkie and I have noticed my biggest meal tends to be in the middle of the day. So, no lunch plans ’til I am back from the market, then I’ll have a small dinner-some veg perhaps.

OK, I gotta go, I smell something burning!

Azzie xx

Success!

I did it! I am awesome! I am every woman! I am roaring loudly! I went all day only eating foods I cooked myself.  Ham and eggs for breakfast with some fruit, (interesting fact: Ham and Eggs is my childhood nickname!). I had the kale with lentils with lemon juice for lunch. I cooked them with some veggie stoch and that really made them tasty! I did have to alter my dinner plan a bit though because I got home late tonight. Instead it was left over lentils with roasted eggplant, pepper and onion with a touch of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, mmm yummy mediterranean flaovurs. And I made coffee today instead of buying it!

I guess I was feeling so good that I subconciously decided to use the stairs at school and I walked for over an hour. Crazy, huh? 

Obviously, I am feeling pretty good. Day one is done! However, I did learn some things. Veggies like kale might look big on the plate but that is because the leaves do not condense when they are steamed, like spinach does. What does this mean to the average person? It may look like you are cooking a lot but really it isn’t. There is a lot of air in those curly, frilly leaves. So cook a lot, because air does not satisfy hunger needs!

I also learned that when roasting vegetables using the toaster oven may work for small amounts but not half an eggplant. It would have cooked more evenly if I would have laid everything flat. Also, red peppers really do roast better straight on the grill. The peppers were tasty tonight, but somewhat soggy. 

Ok! What are we cooking tomorrow?

Breakfast: steel cut oats with cinammon and almonds and an almond milk smoothie made with pineapple and strawberries. (How good does that sound, right?)

Lunch: Super excited about the Broccoli Slaw with Apple and Walnut that I will make! This recipe comes from an amazing vegan cookbook called 1000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson. There are lots of dishes (well, 1000!) that really range from easy breezy to geez louise hard. As well a lot of the ingredients are familiar so it isn’t overwhelming trying to decide say,  how one goes about cutting jackfruit open. She highlights “fast” dishes and has a whole section on brunch! Yay! I love brunch. (Recipe on recipe page)

Dinner: I bought some chicken legs that were 30% off at the grocery store yesterday so I need to cook them. I also have half of a spaghetti squash. So I am going to do a cream sauce, using the squash as a pasta (when cooked it comes apart like spaghetti…hence the name). with chicken and other stuff in it. I’ll let you know how that goes! And what it becomes!

Epic Fail…

Bunny Ears. Those little chocolate ears called out to me and I am sad to say I couldn’t say no. It was my first day on the challenge and I failed miserably.

The ears were cheap–stupid half off chocolate–and once I did that I figured buying a coffee couldn’t hurt matters! Then someone bought me an egg roll without asking and I didn’t want to be rude and say no!  It was like this avalanche of badness was baring down on me.Well,  it covered me and suffocated me.

But I learned some things from this! First plan, plan, plan. I was not excited and the idea of cooking was especially repugnant on the first day. I started the morning off with steel cut oats with cinammon and walnuts. It was pretty good even though it took me to 1:00pm. Later, I had a tomato salad with onion, cumin and lentils and yummy swiss chard as a side. But later that night I was exhausted of cooking and hungry!! And I didn’t know what to cook! I didn’t have a lot of food in the house to cook with! Obviously, going into the Shopper’s Drug Mart was a huge mistake. I was just planning on getting toothpaste but an idea jumped into my brain, “chocolate for dinner, yummy goodness.” I need to plan for the “I don’t want to cook moments.” I also need to have food in the house so I have something to plan with!

So I went grocery shopping today and the plan for tomorrow is:

Breakfast: eggs and ham with some fruit. Big breakfast for a big day!

Lunch: Kale and lentils with lemon juice (I love leafy green veggies! But not a big fan of lettuce, weird huh?)

Dinner: Stir fry….not exactly Asian though since I am guessing soya and oyster sauces doesn’t grow on trees…well maybe I can find a sauce recipe!

One of my favourite quotes goes “If at first you don’t succeed, redefine success” so I am going to do just that by changing the challenge slightly…NEW START DATE!! APRIL 27-May 27! I can do this, right guys?

Gotta go, I think I smell something burning! Azzie

PS: I also bought some yeast today to make bread! I’m excited!

My Last Meal…

I wrote this on Saturday, April 23, 2011; the day before the CHALLENGE. And indeed, I feel like an inmate savouring her last meal before electricity or poison shoots through her veins!

So what did I choose to eat to celebrate this momentous occasion? So many possibilities ran through my mind! I considered a thick burger from the place downstairs; delicious rivulets of juice cascading down my chin and onion ring after battered and deep fried onion ring being crammed into my mouth. But no, I decided against the burger. Although writing this now I could really go for one!

Maybe the Thai place down the street? They have a peanutty pad thai that is accentuated by stir fried veggies that is simply to die for. However, Thai was not in the cards.

Perhaps my favourite international franchise? A well known taco place well known for its exceptionally low grade of meat. (35% of its meat is supposedly meat….that seems so much lower than my expectation of 100%). I do enjoy their 7 layer burrito (it’s meatless folks!) and their supreme fries (I now get the meatless option!) but no, no burrito for me.

So what won out? Chinese food!

I treated myself to 5 pork dumplings and a King Po Chicken. Deliciously spicy and yummy…or was it?  I lived for a couple of years in China and this food was far from authentic. The pork dumplings were doughy and mediocre at best. And the King Po Chicken was definitely lacking POW! It was also kind of greasy. The most flattering thing I could say is that the meal was okay and convenient.

I am beginning to think that this challenge won’t be so bad after all. Many people have already offered support, recipes and a few their disbelief in my ability to carry it out. All I have to do is prove the naysayers wrong and cook!

Gotta go, I think I smell something burning! Azzie xx

Hole in my pocket…

Hey and welcome to Burnt Fingertips!

I’m Azalea and I will be your host through this little journey called “learning to cook.” A little about me and why I am doing this, hmm?

 I am a 31 year old student who returned to school to finish her degree and in the process learned that university is expensive! All of the coffee I get at my local Tim Horton’s is adding up (2 coffees at 1.72 each 20 days a month equals $68.80 a month! Say what?) And that is just beverages. I hate to even consider the cost of chinese food, mexican food, the amazing gourmet burger place that has the yummiest onion rings with chipolte mayo and the grilled veggie sandwiches from the deli up the road. Sigh.

But it isn’t just my pocket book that is hurting, my knees and back are starting to ache from the extra weight I am carrying around. In fact, an extra 60 pounds that I am carrying around! So what is a gorgeously plump gal like me to do?

THE CHALLENGE: Cook everything I eat for the next 30 days. April 24 until May 24 I will not go to a restaurant and I will not use a can opener and no pre-packeged or processed foods. Oh god, help me. I will only buy foods that are “single ingredients” like a tomato, rice or butter since they are only made from one ingredient. However, I will not buy bread since it is an amalgamation of milk, flour, eggs and all the other ingredients which I have no clue what they are.

Obviously, I don’t cook much, but I have cookbooks and I have followed a recipe before. My goodness, the only meal I can make with any confidence is breakfast, it is certainly the only meal I ever cook for company (wink wink nudge nudge). Here’s hoping this goes well, I’ll write every day and at the end of each week I will update you regarding any weight loss. (Saving cash is the goal though, weight loss might be a bonus).

Oh my god, I just realized I can’t drink alcohol. That’s going to be a problem…

Gotta go, I think I smell something burning! Azzie xx