Sunday, 29 January 2012

Promenade Bistro offers Excellent Meals, Beautiful Views and Friendly Service

I'd like to take a moment to share with you a wonderful place to celebrate a special occasion or just treat yourself and someone close to you to a delicious meal.

You can participate in the upcoming event, Dine About Winnipeg.........there is a link at the bottom for more information.

A recent visit to Winnipeg, Manitoba and an invitation to share in the celebration of the same day birthday's of two loved ones gave us the opportunity to try the fare offered at the Promenade Bistro in St. Boniface.

With a great view of the Esplanade Riel Bridge with downtown Winnipeg in the the evening, the lights twinkle throughout the city and the reflections from the tall buildings and the bridge sparkle off the surface of the Red River.

A Winnipeg Sunset (My photo)

A daytime photo of the Esplanade Riel Bridge with the construction of the Human Rights Museum in the background.  (My photo)
 It all started today by my looking up the name of the cream served with the salmon dinner in hopes of making something similar (as best I can) for dinner tonight and ended with my writing a quick, well deserved review of the restaurant on Urban Spoon.  Then...I decided to share it with you, why? was that good! I mean the restaurant of course ; ) 

Here is my brief review written on Urban Spoon...only the third I have ever written.  The first being directly to the owner of Croces Restaurant in San Diego (Ingrid Croce), the second being to The Quail's Gate Winery Old Vines Restaurant in Kelowna, BC.

The restaurant is under new ownership for those who don't know...and as I never visited before I can only comment on how it is now. Our dinner was spectacular! was everything you could hope for in fine dining. Clean-comfortable-quiet with servers nearby in case you needed something. Our waitress was new and a bit timid though helpful, knowledgeable, and friendly. My lamb shank with the truffled chickpeas, shitake mushrooms and blue cheese was melt in my mouth delicious and the salmon with a smoked salmon horseradish cream was the best salmon my sweetheart said he had ever had....and he's been in the food and beverage industry for over thirty years and loves to cook salmon at home. The price is right, the food is excellent, the view is beautiful and the next time I visit the city...I will return : )

If you get a chance, stop in for either breakfast, lunch or dinner.....or even for coffee and dessert!  You won't be disappointed, then come back and let me know what you thought : )  Thanks for reading.

CHECK THIS OUT! An awesome and fun upcoming event Promenade Bistro is participating in : )

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Be Inspired To Cook At Home

NOTE....Proud to say that my Carrot Walnut Muffin recipe was the featured recipe, you can find it featured here at 

Week 3 ~ Cook At  Home
Food Network's Healthy Eats

Week 3 comes to a close and I look back and wonder how I did with this last weeks challenge, not too shabby.  I tried a few new things, ate a few standards and cooked my first steak in a pan in over a decade.  It was awesome : ) I was nervous the whole time though, I wanted them rare, not dead : )  How did you do with the Cook At Home challenge this last week?

I think that when we think of cooking at home it pretty much starts the same for everyone, it's an idea that inspires us.  We wonder, what do we want for dinner and off our minds wonder until an idea pops in and lights us up like a bulb in a dark room.  Sometimes we're inspired by our taste buds...our cravings.  Sometimes it's an ingredient we know we have in the house we want to use and we work out our menu from there.  Whatever it is that inspires you to cook at home is a great thing.  It not only saves us money, but we know the food is made with love, it's clean, fresh and made with our own hands.

My inspiration for my latest creation came from the knowledge that we had walnuts in the shell still hanging around from Christmas.  So...I spent a few minutes cracking shells while thinking of all the different items in the house that would pair up nicely with them.

I Love Fresh Walnuts, Don't You?

Wanting to play with the first few weeks of the challenge, I decided to make something that incorporated each week's challenge.  Eat more breakfast~Eat more whole grains~Cook at home.

I decided on a healthy muffin...who said muffins were only for breakfast? This can be a breakfast item, a quick snack, a lunch item paired with a nice salad, or even a side bread for dinner, pairing nicely with a hearty beef stew or beef roast.  Now all I had to do was make sure it was healthy muffin : )

Following the basic blueberry muffin recipe from an earlier post, I completely changed things up while matching measurements.  You are gonna really like these babies, they were soft, fluffy, light, moist and so delicious all the while leaving me feeling mostly guilt free : )

Carrot Walnut Muffins

**1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
**1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
**1/2 cup slightly crushed walnuts
**3/4 cup white sugar
**1/2 teaspoon salt (I used kosher, it's all I have right now)
**2 teaspoons baking powder

Whisk all the dry ingredients together. 

**1 large egg beaten
**1/3 cup milk (I used 2%)

Pour oil into a 1 cup measuring cup, add the 1 beaten egg and fill to the 1 cup mark with the milk, adding more milk if needed to reach the 1 cup measurement.

Pour wet ingredients into the dry and mix only until combined.  Don't over mix.

**1/2 cup shredded carrot (or one shredded carrot)

Fold in your shredded carrot~only until combined.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Spray muffin tin with cooking spray, including the top of the tin.
Fill muffin pan with batter till it reaches the top.
Fill any empty muffin tins with a little water to prevent them from burning while empty during baking.
Makes 6-8 muffins
Bake 20-25 minutes

Inspiration can come from anything, having bacon in the house along with some spinach I decided on a nice spinach salad, one of my favorites.  Without checking after crisping up the bacon I found the hard boiled egg in fact was not hard boiled and we were out of mushrooms, I quickly changed tactics and decided on a tasty raspberry feta salad.

I added the crisp bacon pieces and drizzled a good brand of raspberry vinaigrette on top.

Sometimes our meal plan ideas don't work out and we have to wing it.  It can be tricky at times to switch gears, but possible : )  I bought beef stew cubes planning to make a dish called city chicken, after talking with my mom I found it was veal and pork, whoopsie.  What the heck to do with the beef now? (and the pork...)  I guess beef stew...on line I found a wonderful recipe I did not at all follow : ) Only the basic idea.  It all starts with carmelizing onions, count me in!
The end result is a delicious and different twist on beef stew...

Japanese Beef Curry (Curry Rice)
Original recipe can be found here
It is a wonderful mix of onion, garlic, tomato, ginger, bay leaf, garam masala, curry, carrots, apples, potatoes, peas...and beef stew cubes : )
I didn't have star anise-apples-ginger...and left out the peas only because I forgot at the end : )
I will definitely be making this again, as it was so delicious and very different from the traditional East Indian and Thai curries I normally make.  It was sweeter for one...and there was no heat as I used a mild curry powder for the Roux. 

Cooking at home can be personally rewarding and a healthy choice to make.  It doesn't have to be gourmet all the time, and neither does it have to be pulled from a box out of the freezer. 
Let the little things inspire you and wing it : )

Check out these great bloggers who were involved in week 2 of the January Healthy Every Week Challenge for great ideas on whole grains and what the heck to do with them : )  Till next time! Happy Cooking...

Whole-Grain Goodness from Our Community:
An Uneducated Palate: Popcorn With a French Flair
Picky Eater Blog: Blueberry-Banana Oat Bread
Carlene’s Figments: Top 5 Ways to Eat More Whole Grains
Writer’s Flow: Week Two: Epic Fail
Hungry Jenny: Having Your Whole-Grain Cake, and Eating it, Too
Healthy Eating Starts at Home: Eat MORE Whole Grains
You Don’t Look Sick: Living With Rhumatoid Arthritis: Week 2 Wrap-Up
Olive Tomato: 3 Tips for Easy and Healthy Home Cooking, Greek Style
From My Corner of Saratoga: Polenta With a Mexican Twist
Nutritious Daily: Eat More Whole Grains
Adventures in My Kitchen: Healthy Minestrone Soup 
Don’t Be Too Timid and Squeamish: Homemade Corn Tortillas and Tamales, Too
City Life Eats: Whole-Grain Affinity
Chick Bike: Healthy Every Week Challenge, Week 2
Essentials of Nutrition: Understanding Whole-Grain versus Multi-Grain
Cookin’ In My Kitchen: Let’s Get Poppin’

NOTE:  After speaking to the friendly folks who distribute the Robin Hood Whole Wheat All Purpose cannot be considered a whole grain as they remove the germ in the processing.  Thank you to Molly at Smuckers Foods for doing the research and getting back to me : )

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Spinach, Mushroom & Cream Cheese Omelette

Have I mentioned how much I adore fresh spinach?  I like to use it in so many different ways and I am always looking to find something new to do with it.  One of our favorite omelettes, is a spinach and cream cheese omelette.  Not the healthiest when you add the cream cheese, but delicious nevertheless.  It's considered a special treat when we have it,so we don't spend a lot of time beating ourselves up over it.

Normally, I stuff an omelette with the yummy filling, but today decided to do something a little different.  Instead of that glorious light yellow egg on the outside hiding the treasure inside, I decided to showcase the spinach and mushroom.

1 teaspoon of olive oil
1 half teaspoon of butter
2 mushrooms chopped
2 green onions sliced, keep seperate the white from the green part
2 handfuls fresh spinach
5 eggs
splash of 1% milk
4-5 slices of cream cheese from a block

Saute mushroom, seasonings and the white part of the green onion in a mix of butter and olive oil until soft and most of the liquid is absorbed and evaporated.
Add  the spinach and mix until just barely wilted.  Adjust ingredients in pan so that there is an equal amount of everything spread over the bottom of the pan.  Leave a few of the spinach leaves laying flat as best you can.
Whisk eggs with milk and slowly pour over the vegetable mixture, heat over a low heat until eggs are mostly cooked, moving the pan in a circular fashion from time to time so it does not stick to the bottom of the pan and spreads the egg around for more even cooking.

Sprinkle in the green slices of the green onion and lat flat along the center of the omelette, the cream cheese.
I sometimes will place the omelette in the oven under a broiler (watching closely) just until the top of the egg mixture is set.  I am not by any means a professional omelette chef : )
When the top of the egg mixture is set, slide a spatula under one half of the omelette and fold over.
Cut in half, and serve one half to each person with fresh tomato slices on the side.



Saturday, 7 January 2012

Navy Bean and Ham Soup

Are you wondering what to do with your leftover ham bone you threw in the freezer? Well...I have a great idea for you, navy bean and ham soup.  Normally I make split pea soup, but with this year's Christmas Eve ham I decided to do things a little different.  The results were super satisfying and the soup very hearty.  What a splendid way to use the ham bone during these cold winter months.

Ham bone
1 carrot shredded
1/2 medium onion chopped
1/4 head of cauliflower shredded
1 stalk celery chopped
6 baby potatoes quartered
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons black fresh cracked pepper
1 Bay Leaf
4 Cloves
1 can navy beans

Place all ingredients except the navy beans into a large pot, fill pot with enough water to cover everything.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat, allow contents to simmer for 2-2.5 hours.
Skim fat off of the surface as needed.
Remove ham bone, strain liquid through a fine mesh sieve.  Mash vegetables with a hand masher or place in a food processor and pulse till everything is pureed.
Place pureed vegetables back into liquid.  Pull ham off of the bone by hand and place pieces into the liquid.
Pour can of navy beans into soup mixture and reheat everything.
The soup is simply delicious and twice as nice the next day after all of the flavors have had a further chance to really meld together.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Food Network's January Healthy Every Week Challenge by Healthy Eats

Week 2 of the January Healthy Every Week Challenege was ~ Eat More Whole Grains 

Let's Get Poppin'

When it comes to whole grains I have to admit that my knowledge is on the low side of the spectrum.  I know about some of the obvious ones such as wheat, barley, oats, and brown rice.  To educate myself better on the subject, so that I could do a better job of not only writing this post, but also to help me in week 2's challenge, Eat More Whole Grains, I did some research.  Whole grains are determined by whether or not they contain the entire grain kernel.  The whole grain kernel includes the bran, germ and endosperm.

One of the things that surprised me the most was that my all time favorite snack in the world growing up is a whole grain.  It is something that even to this day I absolutely love in all of its forms.  Corn!  Popcorn to be a puffed whole grain.  Many of us think of it as a vegetable, naturally, but at the same time, it is a whole grain. 

According to the Whole Grains Council in their section labeled Whole Grains 101, whole grains go a long way in helping to reduce the risk of many health problems such as high cholesterol, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity.  Eating whole grains is a great way to add antioxidants to our daily diets, and since that is the case, I say lets pop some popcorn.

I was amazed at the varieties of corn out there once I started looking around.  I knew from growing up in Michigan where we have tons of pick your own vegetable farms we would visit that there were at least two kinds, yellow field corn, and sweet corn.  Who knew there was a ton more being offered out there? Some of the varieties I found include...Dent corn, Flint corn, Sweet corn, Purple corn, Indian corn, Popcorn, Waxy corn, Pod corn, if you are interested in learning more or even growing your own I found this wonderful site in my wanderings you might find interesting.
There are many varieties of Indian corn
Popcorn was discovered in North America by Native Americans.  It has been found in New Mexico as early as 3600 B.C.  There is a lot of fun information on the history of popcorn that can be found at
Can be used to make cornbread

Corn flour is different than corn meal as corn meal is much coarser, as long as the whole kernel is milled, it is considered a whole grain flour.
It is said that purple corn delivers higher levels of antioxidants than blueberries
Sweet Corn
Popcorn that is air popped is a low calorie snack, it has no sugar, no salt, no fat and is high in fiber.  In lieu of butter or salts to flavor the popcorn, Parmesan cheese is a great alternative.

Let's be healthy and get popping!

I did really well with Week 1's challenge, Eat Breakfast Every Day.  I love to enjoy breakfast, but have been guilty of not choosing the most healthy options.  Week 1 found me working hard to change the types of breakfast items I chose.  I did well by eating more fruit, yogurt, poached eggs and staying away from the usual bacon-sausage, and cheesy choices.  How did you do with week 1's challenge?  What choices did you make during week 2 to incorporate more Whole Grains into your meal plans?  Let me know, and Good Luck with week 3!

Learn more about the challenge here at Food Network's January Healthy Every Week Challenge 

Week 3 is Cook at Home, last night I made a Japanese Curry Beef Stew, different and delicious!

The following is a link list of contributing bloggers who got involved with the challenge during week 1, eat breakfast every day.  They offer excellent recipes-tips and more.  Check them out!

Picky Eater Blog: Chocolate Brownie Oatmeal
Family Fresh Cooking: Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal
Healthy Eating Starts at Home: Eating Breakfast Daily
Carlene’s Figments: Bits of Nutrition: Eat Breakfast Daily and Avoid Common Excuses
Simple Food, Healthy Life: Week 1 Comes to a Close + Healthy Breakfast Recipes
JBR Nutrition: Be a Breakfast Eater
Ramblings of a Pittsburgh Dad: Healthy Every Week Challenge, Week 1
Meghan’s Kitchen: Ham and Cheddar Hash-brown Bake
Don’t Be (Too) Timid and Squeamish: Maple Macadamia Nut Butter and Back to School Oatmeal
Eat. Enjoy. Live: Healthy Every Week Challenge Week 1 + a Recipe for Oat-y Pancakes
City Life Eats: Breakfast Bias
Boys ‘n’ Berry: Week 1: Oatmeal
Netlycka’s Distracting Confusion: Eat Breakfast Every Day
You Don’t Look Sick: Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis: First Week of Healthy Breakfasts
Deep Thoughts and Amusing Musings: Food Network’s January Challenge
Healthy Kitschy Vegan: Guess What I Ate Last Night? Peanut Butter and Banana Oat Bran Mess
An Uneducated Palate: Creamy Chevre, Pistachio and Fig Breakfast Sandwich
Healthy Plates: Avocado Egg Sandwich
Essentials of Nutrition: The Most Important Meal of the Day
Pursuit of Healthiness: Healthy Every Week Challenge, Breakfast Edition
Chick Bike: January Challenge, Week 1
Nutritious Daily: Breakfast Every Day
Cookin’ in my Kitchen: No-Butter Baked Apples
Hungry Jenny: Breakfast All the Way + an Easy Granola Recipe
Adventures in my Kitchen: Whole-Wheat Lemon Donuts and Egg Cups

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Food Network's January Healthy Every Week Challenge

Through out this last year I have done a wonderful job of cooking what I like to think are awesome meals at home.  I have enjoyed whipping up these lovely creations and watching the enjoyment of others as they try them.  I myself have responded to many a recipe with oohs-ahhs, and second helpings.

Many of the dishes have been centered around lovely creams, butters, bacon, pasta, a lot of well...tasty, but let's face it, um, fattening ingredients.  Although there is nothing wrong with indulging from time to time, doing it too often may leave you, like me, in need of a change to a healthier eating style.  Balance and moderation is key to a lot of what we love to enjoy and indulge in.  This is why when Food Network's Healthy Eats introduced a Healthy January Challenge and, invited people to join in the fun, I immediately jumped on board.  

What is it? Here is a copy straight from their page explaining it in their own words...

The January Healthy Every Week Challenge is a month of healthy eating, broken down into weekly goals:

Week 1: Eat Breakfast
Week 2: Eat More Whole Grains
Week3: Cook at Home
Week 4: Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Week 5: Stay On Track

Each week they are going to talk to us about that week's goals.  They will be on Twitter, Face book, and their website offering recipes from them and those involved, and tips on how to be successful.  They are also going to have giveaways during the challenge and a whole lot more for us to be healthy in the new year. 

So, today with this week being focused on eating not only breakfast, but a healthy breakfast, I decided on a yogurt start to the day with baked apples, NO butter : )

Peel, core, and dice 4 green apples
Mix in 1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/4 cup melted brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 shakes of nutmeg
2 tablespoons honey
Sprinkle a very light coat of flour on the apple mixture
Combine with 1 cup of any grain, grain flake, crunch cereal you have on hand
Spray top with cooking spray
Bake in a preheated oven set at 300 degrees for about 30 minutes till apples are soft

It is a nice mixture of sweet softness and a light crisp that is wonderful with yogurt.  I mixed mine with strawberry yogurt from Yoplait and a few thinly sliced green grapes.

Compared to my over easy eggs with crisp bacon, everything omelette's, eggs benedict, cheese laden scrambled eggs with sausage breakfasts of late.  I do believe this is a much better way to start off a day.  And, a lot healthier.

Will you join the Healthy January Challenge and kick start your year off with a healthy bang?  Good Luck to you, I wish you all the success in the world.  I have high hopes that with starting the year off in the right direction by being a part of this challenge, I will not only look healthier but be healthier : )

Mixing everything together

Baked to a nice golden color
Mixed with sliced green grapes and strawberry yogurt

Not fat free but, with probiotics : )

Adds body and a little crunch

Here is an awesome link for you to keep up with what's going on with the challenge, check it out for more great ideas-recipes and fun stuff! : )
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