Recap: Goodfood #4

I had to take a break this weekend. Sorry about that. For many reasons, it was one I had wanted to focus on real life things. Happy stuff! Plus, it was super humid and hot so being in the office was like sitting in a preheating oven. Regardless, we stayed in mostly and did a lot of gaminh and cooking. Thanks to finishing up the last two meals from last week’s Goodfood box.

Lets check it out!

Seared Haddock with Farro and Orange-Fennel Salad

Seared Haddock Goodfood

A lot of new or ingredients we rarely use for this recipe. Haddock isn’t our usual choice of fish. And the fish part of this was tasty. Farro was new to us and its pretty much like a harder texture of brown rice ( or maybe it is brown rice…I should research it further). I’m not a hard rice sort of fan unless its in sweet congee. I didn’t eat the orange fennel salad mostly because of the not eating raw veggies thing but my husband did and his words, it was okay.

Grilled Ratatouille Sandwich with Sundried Tomato Hummus

Grilled Ratatouille Sandwich

Goodfood

Easily one of our favorite meals from this box. Its also vegetarian so thats saying a lot. Its juicy. The bread is made with a crispy outer crunch and the veggies, peppers, zucchini and multicolor chery tomatoes had a nice balanced flavor. You can make this for a fancy bbq sandwich idea if you’d like plus, the sundried tomato hummus was absolutely heavenly. Yummy!

Chinese Five Spice Chicken with Snow Pea Tips, Beans and Quinoa Salad

Chinese Five Spice Chicken

I’ve had five spices flavored stuff when I went to Hong Kong however, since my mom’s not much for spicing up food too much, I’ve never had much exposure. With that said, trying out five spices, it being a chicken dish and the fact that it had snow pea tips (which is one of my ultimate favorite veggies) made this one so awesome. However, we did make a little twist to this and cooked the snow pea tips as well with all the ingredients that would have gone in the salad which actually ended up fantastic. I’d do this one again any day. Now to figure out where to find five spices in the Chinese supermarket nearby. 😉

Chef Jonathan Garnier’s Fresh Tagliatelle with Lebanese Moussaka

Fresh Tagliatelle Goodfood

Definitely an interesting choice here. We’re big fans of fresh pasta. I’d like to say that we’ve actually been buying fresh pasta options more than the dry ones. We also don’t eat chickpeas or eggplants a lot either but this one had some nice spices. Not to mention my husband did a fine job of putting it together. Not sure what Lebanese Moussaka was before. In fact, I’ve never heard of it before and it was pretty good. Definitely a nice way to incorporate chickpeas and eggplants into everyday meals.

That’s it for this Goodfood recap!
It was a success with 3 meals that we absolutely loved and one that we liked well enough.

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Recap: Goodfood #2

Guess what? (or maybe I told you in the last recap HERE) We went for another Goodfood box right after that trial first week because the menu looks fantastic.

The second box came as expected. What is really nice is that I had wanted to skip it and couldn’t figure out how to get it done and the customer service was very prompt in answering my questions and had detailed answers to help me navigate through it. Good customer service is another great point of this company.

The box came right on time. This time the weather was great however, the box did have a little broken part at the bottom. Perhaps something about their delivery service system should be improved. There should be more care especially when handling a box designed to insulate for a certain amount of time and has meats inside especially in the summer. Luckily, the week before the temperature did happen to drop a little so we were okay for the most part.

Regardless of that, the menu for that week was great and to be honest, most of it turned it pretty awesome as well. Here’s the recap!

Korean Vegetable Bibimbap
with Shitakes, Kale and Quick-pickled Veggies

Korean Bibimbap

This was a ton of work to put together from the pickling to the chopping. However, it was also really worth the effort because it was delicious. Not to mention a recipe that I’ve kept thinking of redoing once I get a chance to buy the spice that it uses in the rice. However, they did give us a lot more kale than we needed. As my husband made a valid point, more is better than less. So we had a generous portion of kale that was used for just a veggie side for the next day. This was the main reason why I wanted this week’s menu and I’m glad that it lived up to my expectations.

North African Spiced Chicken
with Grilled Vegetable Tabbouleh and Fresh Chickpeas

North African Chicken

Possibly my husband’s favorite meal in this box. The North african spices were very flavorful and paired up with the fresh tabbouleh with grilled veggies and some crispy fresh onions/shallots (can’t remember which as I’m writing this up) and cucumbers, it worked great together.

Maple Pork Burger
with Oven Roasted French Fries and Bacon Dipping Sauce

maple pork burger oven-roasted french fries

Sorry for the not perfect picture here. We actually made this one morning and then went down to watch TV and just kind of ate the two separately. I had the fries first and it went super well with the dipping sauce. That sauce was actually to die for. Then we had the burger. Mine is without the uncooked veggies so its pretty bare-bones. However, my husband ate his and didn’t take a picture so well, this is what I’m left with. However, this burger was good. I actually like pork burgers more and more now because we are growing some odd thing towards beef, maybe because its harder to digest so it makes us bloated. Personal problems. However, this was tasty also. Its a burger and it was a nice twist on the traditional beef patty.

BBQ Rubbed Steaks
with Summery Sweet Potato and Zucchini Hash

BBQ Rubbed Steak

Yummy! This one was so awesome! The zucchini and sweet potato had a nice crispiness to them even thought it was cooked and then the spices and the steak were fantastic. It wasn’t a huge portion of meat but just enough to make this have a nice healthy balance. Its definitely one that I plan on doing again or maybe using the same vegetable portion and match with chicken or pork chops or something like that.

Overall…

This Goodfood box was great. There were some amazing meals. However, all of these had relatively longer prep times. That is one that I do suggest to add to the meals is the prep time. I’m not sure if their time right now includes both prep and cook because some of the things with more to cut do become quite lengthy. I always budget out an hour or more to do these recipes with more chopping to do because honestly that is where the slow part is for myself. Of course, if you are a chopping master in the kitchen, this should go by quickly. However, these recipes to incorporate some level of multitask so it helps shrink the cooking time by a little also. My fave of the bibimbap, my husband’s was the north-african chicken and we both like the rubbed steak and the pork burger was decent also. This box was a definite winner.

We are taking a little break from meal subscription boxes to get back to cooking normally but I’ll report back next month probably with more if the meals match our tastes.

My Weekly Adventures #39: Upcoming Projects & More…

2017 has been incredibly busy so far!! We’re already halfway done with March. Can you believe it? That means in two weeks or so, I’ll be officially in my thirties, the 3-1. Honestly, entering 30 hasn’t really changed anything much except coming to terms that I now can’t tolerate as much alcohol as I used to. Which isn’t a problem since I drink a glass of wine like 3 days in a month, unless its holiday seasons or some special event.  Being 30 only seemed to fuel this additional motivation to do the things I’ve wanted to and just not care so much and do it. Point is, it seems getting older has given myself some more courage and clarity about what I’m doing and life and all that stuff.

Running off on a tangent apparently is still something that I haven’t changed. Getting back on track! Let’s check out these last two busy busy weeks!

Ultimate 90’s Blogathon Done!

Ultimate 90's blogathon

Ultimate 90’s Blogathon hosted by myself and Drew over at Drew’s Movie Reviews drew to close a few days ago. If you missed any of the reviews, you can find them all on this page HERE. We’ve already expressed our gratitude in the conclusion post but yet again, thank you to all for the participation, comments and likes. It does feel great to know that there’s so much love for our little blogathon. We’ve met new friends and bloggers and it was a lot of fun. We are hoping to do something similar next year and for those who missed out (and a few of you have reached out to us about it), we will keep you in our hearts and minds and maybe we’ll have you all on board as well if all goes well. Of course, a big thank you goes to my darling co-host Drew which I don’t think I ever express thanks to him enough. Remember to head over to check out Drew’s Movie Reviews if you haven’t already right here.

New Online Courses

 I wrapped up my last course a week or so ago. It was pretty good and a lot of fun. I had already learned a bit of the foundation so it was really polishing up those skills and I realized that I was reminded why I chose to  not major in this in university. Funny how some things just never change, right? I did pretty well in my final exam so yay!

Last time, I did mention that I was debating on courses so I decided to be ambitious and took both the photography and guitar course. Does that sound a little crazy? Maybe. I never know anymore. I just follow my instinct. If you are newer here, then you probably didn’t quite get to experience the whole photography days here which is moved over to my other blog, Avenue of Daydreams. I have been playing around with photography for a while but its been a while that I’ve felt like I need to learn more about the foundation of photography so that I can use my DSLR with much more ease. The main thing is that while I know of the terms like shutter speed and aperture and the idea of what effect they have but how to set the numbers on the camera are all a blur. Pairing guitar with photography seems to be good because it shouldn’t be incredibly hard.

We’re in the second week of the course now and let me tell you, photography is pretty cool and exactly what I expected as that its helpful but never  too hard because I already know a part of it. However, guitar is a whole other story. I’m definitely picking up more than when I ambitiously tried to learn on my own but I play the piano so my hands don’t work the same way and fretting hurts so much. I am working hard to get in some practice everyday from what I’ve learned to hopefully get the basics down. Guitars are a little huge for myself. Its why I’m starting to convince my husband to learn it instead. 😉

I’ll report back with more news later on. I’ll be approaching the end of the course by the next weekly adventures.

Hangout with Friends

Living in a city where winter is so prominent makes it hard to do much during these cold winter weeks. The last two weeks definitely beat us down with some dry cold weather that just urged us to stay in unless absolutely necessary, like going to work. As I’m typing this post up, its now milder but in a snow storm. I’m just hoping this is the last leg of winter and we’ll be seeing some lovely spring weather soon. Of course, this doesn’t stop us from going out. On a Friday night, I went to hang out with Starry Traveler and we chatted about a ton of stuff and finalized some details on our new segment that I’ll talk about in the next section.

The week after that was the day of our actual segment in the works. Maybe one day I’ll get something going for it more as we work out a little more on how this will work in the long-run. The hope is that it will keep going on. So we even had the husbands join in along with two more friends. We’re pretty much the foodie group now that heads out to these food events in Montreal together. Fun times! To clarify the picture, we only managed to set up the game before my friend’s baby tried to grab everything and we decided that this game is for a babyless night. Not sure when that will happen, or at least when baby or toddler is more grown up.

Two New Projects/Segments

Project #1: Battle of Ingredients

Next week will launch the first instalment of Battle of Ingredients, featuring myself and my awesome childhood friend and casual blogger, Phoebe from Starry Traveler’s Road. We’ve been brainstorming this one for a good few months (if not a year) and finally decided to just do it. I’ll explain a little more on how it works but the goal here is that we pick one or two ingredients to compose a meal. We usually grab some friends and our husbands to sit down for a lovely gathering and they can then give us feedback. The key is not really to see who wins out of this but rather to inspire some new recipes and hopefully explore what is in season. We hope to start this off as a monthly segment due to preparation and getting everyone together. For the first battle, we chose two ingredients that are very common however, it is what is in season for us (at least one of them is). However, its not always going to be battles and sometimes just a team-up.

Project #2: All About Adaptations

Launching this week (if tonight’s recording goes well) is All About Adaptations. The idea of talking about adaptations was actually one of the first reasons why I started movie blogging unfortunately nothing ever happened. However, when Movie Reviews 101 and MovieRob had their Stephen King Blogathon, I did an entry that really made me think about this idea harder and finally, after something like two years, I’ve decided that I’m ready to do this. The idea of this is that any adaptation can fall into this category and compare it to source material. If there are many adaptations, I will try to look at as much as I have access to. Because there is much more preparation, I’m not quite sure about the frequency but I already have two ready for recording. With that said, this is going to be a YouTube segment. I’m slowly transforming the channel to focus on Movie, Gameplay & Unboxing. Hopefully you can join me over there! More details on the launch post. 🙂

Gaming Reviews Update!

Would you look at that? The latest project this week was putting together our video Game Reviews. Obviously the choice to read the written review is still there but for those of you that want to kick back and just listen to the review while watching some gameplay, we now offer you that option! Hope you enjoy it! 🙂

Cute Kitty Pic

Upcoming:

  • Toronto Comicon
  • All About Adaptations #1
  • Battle of Ingredients #1
  • Various Movie Reviews

Breakfast Dinner: Portobello Mushrooms & Eggs

2017 is going to be a huge goal of trying to get back to a healthier lifestyle. With that said, cooking is going to be a bigger part of our life. At least we’re really trying to do more homecooked meals.

In the last few months of 2016, I started having a huge love for Portobello mushrooms. Add into our love for breakfast food and eggs in general, I thought about doing something like this for a while and decided this past weekend that with the remaining two Portobello mushrooms left in the pack, I could try this one out. I took some inspiration from the site below for cooking times but I didn’t really season with anything fancy.

Portobello Mushrooms & Eggs

Portobello Mushrooms & EggsRecipe inspired by: http://healthyrecipesblogs.com/2013/11/04/eggs-baked-in-portobello-mushrooms/

Ingredients
Makes 2 servings

2 Portobello mushrooms
2 eggs
Salt & pepper to season
a dash of Herbes des Provences
olive oil, to spray

How to make it

  1. Preheat broiler, setting temperature to high. Set oven rack in the middle and line the baking sheet with foil.
  2. Spray the mushroom caps with olive oil cooking spray on both sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil 5 minutes on each side.
  3. Remove mushrooms from oven. Switch oven from broil to bake, setting temperature at 400F.
  4. Break an egg in each mushroom. Sprinkle with Herbes des Provences.  Bake 15 minutes, until egg whites are cooked.
  5. Sprinkle the egg with a dash of salt and pepper. Serve.

If you follow the link above, you can see the variation is to sprinkle with cheese. Which would be our first choice except we ran out of lactose-free cheese (for myself) so I used herbs instead. And that worked out quite well. A note to remember would be to avoid sogginess to wipe clean instead of washing the mushroom. I only remembered that as I turned on the faucet and tried to soak up the water as much as I could. It wasn’t too soggy luckily.

Overall, simple and easy. I really loved the taste of this one and to be honest, I’ve been thinking about heading out to get some more portobello mushrooms and adding cheese to the mixture and it should taste even better.

How do you like to make mushrooms? What variety do you use?

Dinner: Ultimate Garlic Bread

I’m a little behind on Sunday’s post all the time so I figured that I’d go for a quick and fun post: a new recipe post!! They are making a comeback slowly but surely, which is good because I like the feeling of having accomplished good food or trying out new stuff.

I’m not sure about all of you but my husband LOVES Garlic Bread and I mean like cheesy garlic bread. The moment I saw this recipe, I knew it was one I had to do. Plus, we had just bought lactose-free cheese so for once, I can actually get in on the lovely snack/meal. I ended up using this for lunch a few times.

I saw this recipe on Popsugar Food in this video. They take full credit for the attempt of this recipe.

My recipe does have a few modifications and it will be at the bottom as usual.

First of all, here is how it turned out.

Ultimate Garlic Bread

Now for the modifications to the recipe:

  • Melba Toasts turned into breadcrumbs instead of Panko breadcrumbs
  • Lactose-free Cheese (Allegro brand) instead of all cheese ingredients
  • Unsweetened Almond Milk instead of whole milk

The recipe says that it makes two servings, however I made smaller portions and ended up with double the amount. These Ultimate Garlic Breads are a little more complicated to make than then regular bread because you have to first make the chicken, let it cool off before cutting and then make the dough, put it together and back into the oven. It is incredibly cheesy and I have to say grating cheese is something I am the worst at (but that is really just my own problem and not the recipe’s fault). However, if you happen to want to give up halfway and just pull out the chicken breasts and eat that, I can totally understand that because I kind of wanted to also because they look delicious alone.

With that said, this recipe did take me a little while because I paired it with another recipe. I’m a fantastic multitasker in many many other scenarios in life except for two places and that is cooking (not baking) and gaming. However, I did manage to get this recipe done in a really long time and I blame my skills on it. However, this is a much more time consuming recipe but the payoff is worth it. This Ultimate Garlic Bread is packed with a ton of flavor from the chicken to the extra cheesy filling and topping. It isn’t a light meal so I’d suggest to cut it in strips or something and eat it like that. The video suggests to use marinara sauce to go with it. I haven’t tried it with that pairing yet.

Bottomline: The Ultimate Garlic Bread takes a little more time to put together but is well worth the effort.

Baking: Cherry-Cranberry Crumb Bars

Spring cooking date with my friend! Remember my road trip buddy that I hang out with for movies and baking dates? Well, we only had one baking date before Christmas last year where we made this and this. We’re back this time for the long Victoria’s Day weekend and with cherries and eggs, I went over to her place and we did some research and ended up making some Cherry-Cranberry Crumb Bars.

Cherry-Cranberry Crumb Bars
Adapted from: Blueberry Crumb Bars from Smitten Kitchen

Cherry Cranberry Crumb Bars

Ingredients

1 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cold unsalted flour
1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
*zest and juice of one lime
4 cups *fresh cherries & cranberries
1/2 cup white sugar
4 tsp cornstarch

  1. Preheat over to 375F. Grease a 9×13 inch pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup white sugar, 3 cups flour and baking powder. Mix in salt and lime zest. Use a fork to blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half the dough into the prepared pan.
  3. In another bowl, stir together the 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix in the cherries and cranberries. Sprinkle the fruit mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble the remaining dough over the fruit layer.
  4. Bake in preheated over for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Cherry-Cranberry Crumb Bar

There were no substitutions for anything here. Although this one is already modified to how we made it.  There was only two ingredients from the original recipe that we’ve changed.  The first is that we made cherry and cranberry instead of blueberry and the other is that we used lime zest and juice instead of lemon.

The last time I made crumb bars was in 2012! Almost four years ago! That’s crazy! Last time was good but the pan was too small so the levels didn’t work out well in that sense.  However, these crumb bars were rather tart, probably because of the cranberries.  I personally love it like this more.  The pan we used was perfect and had a great texture in layers.  The fruity bits balanced well with the crumb on the top and when it cooled, it became firm enough to actually feel like a bar and didn’t fall apart.

This recipe is rather easy to do.  Of course, it would be less time consuming if you used blueberries.  We had a bit more prep time just because we had to pit the cherries.  Now, I am thinking of redoing the Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumb Bars I did four years ago but using the right sized pan and making it the perfect fit for this time of year, especially when my rhubarb plant is fabulously ready for harvesting! 🙂

What flavor do you like crumb bars or just granola bars or whatnot? 

Dinner: Beer Chicken

I can feel my experimental and fun cooking/baking self coming back! The energy is just coming back in.

I’ve heard a lot about Beer Chicken or Beer Can Chicken, whichever you want to call it.  We did a pseudo version of it for Christmas dinner upon the suggestion of my best friend. And it turned out really well since just marinated the chicken in it.  Its one of the reasons I was pretty delighted to give this a go especially since we just got gifted some Labatt Blue and everyone laughed at it but no one drank it. I’m not a beer connoisseur. In fact, I don’t digest beer well so I can only have it when its used in cooking (or mixed in drinks like Jagerbomb).

However, my one fear is that the can will explode in the oven.  Which it didn’t 😉 My oven and home is very much intact. *knocks on wood* Lets not jinx myself…

Beer Chicken
Serves 6
(Recipe via Pinterest: http://www.jocooks.com/main-courses/poultry-main-courses/beer-can-chicken/)

beer chicken

Follow the link above for the ingredients and cooking instructions.

Substitutions:

  • Dry Tarragon was replaced with Oregano.
  • Smoked Paprika and Chili Powder both omitted.
  • Adding a 1 tsp (roughly) of Montreal Chicken spice

Beer Chicken

The recipe doesn’t specify it but I had to use the bottom rack of my oven to put in the chicken was its placed in upright and should come out upright as well. However, mine toppled over some time in the last half an hour. I’m sure depending on the size of your chicken, it will vary as well on time but for me, the 1 hour 15 minutes was exactly perfect.  The meat was juicy and tender.  It was absolutely a delight.  Not to mention the very delicious smell as its cooking that spreads through the house.  It is a really simple way to make a dinner.  I did it after work but if it was done earlier on  a weekend, it would be perfect.  I love making roast chickens because I just put them in the oven and then set the timer and walk off to do whatever I need to take care of.  When its all done, I’m done with my stuff also, right on time to fill up my belly with some delicious food.

Beer chicken is definitely a winner.  On a side note, its kind of a silly and weird thought to talk about a recipe where you have to stick a can up a chicken’s behind.

How do you like to make whole chickens? What spices do you prefer? Do you like to cook with beer (or other alcohol bases)?