Author Archives: Ms.BrightSide

UPDATE: Vegging Out?*

When I was growing up my family lived in a small farm town in northern Saskatchewan. I was constantly surrounded my animal livestock, in particular, cattle. Because of this I became very disturbed by the ethical concerns with eating the animals that I saw every day. So when I was sixteen I decided to become a vegetarian.

ashley_and_me

It was hard at first, even though I felt it was the right thing to do. I had to get used to the taste and texture of tofu, which for anyone who eats tofu knows it can take some getting used to. My family was thoroughly annoyed with having to cook two meals, one with meat and one without. But after awhile I adjusted and enjoyed my new lifestyle.

I had joined PETA when I became a vegetarian, and with PETA’s influence I decided to become a vegan after about four months. But that didn’t last very long. I was very malnourished and began to get really sick. I was tired and fatigued all the time and I started to get migraines and back pain. My doctor told me that I could either eat some meat again or else.

I decided that I would start to eat chicken and fish again, but I still did not want to eat beef. Partly because I still felt bad for the cows and partly because after not eating it for awhile I didn’t really like it anymore. I actually didn’t eat red meat again for 2 years after that.

I understand that there are millions of people who practice vegetarianism and veganism everyday (about 4% of North America via) and do not have the problems that I did. I went into it unprepared and uninformed. So if you are thinking about starting a vegetarian or vegan diet then it’s important to learn for my mistakes and educate yourself before you start.

 

 

1. Start the easy way. Take your favorite dishes that you used to cook before you became a vegetarian and try cooking it in a veggie friendly way. Try using tofu or a soy meat alternative instead of the meat that used to be in it and add in extra veggies for more flavor and texture.

2. Buy a Vegan Recipe CookBook. Most likely being a vegetarian means that you’ll have to cook for yourself more often then not. Look for a cookbook that fits your taste and lifestyle, or search for great recipes online.

3. Don’t Push Yourself. You may feel really tired and hungry when you first start off eating this kind of diet. Remember that a lot of vegan/vegetarian food will have less calories then what you would have eaten before if it had meat in it. So you may have to eat a little extra to feel full or get all the nutrients you’re used to.

4. Get support from your friends. Try to get your friends to understand your choice. It will be harder to keep it up, especially if it’s hard at first, if your friends aren’t going to be willing to try your food too or eat at a veggie friendly restaurant.

5. Do not compare yourself with other vegetarians. If you are looking for inspiration from people who have been vegetarians forever then you may feel like a failure. People who have been eating this way for a long time are used to it so of course it’s easy. If this is something you really want then it will get easy for you too. Take their advice if it fits your lifestyle, and if it doesn’t then find someone else to help you that you mesh with.

6. Timing matters. Your ability to stick to the diet may completely depend on when you start it. Starting in the summer is good because of the variety of fruit and vegetables that are available. However, in the summer people tend to be traveling a lot and so it can make it hard if you are not going to be somewhere where you will have access to veggie friendly food. Winter is good because of this reason, that likely you will be home a lot and could cook for yourself. On the other hand you may not be able to get all the fruits and vegetables that you want. Figure out what will work for your lifestyle before you start. (via)

 

alicia-silverstone-veg001

Being a vegetarian or vegan can be a very rewarding lifestyle with many benefits. There are many celebrities that use the diet as a way to maintain their hot bodies, including Brad Pitt, Carrie Underwood, and Alicia Silverstone. Regardless of what reason you are going veg always consult your doctor or a nutritionist before starting to make sure that they inform you of the right supplements to take. That way you won’t end up sick like me.

 

UPDATE: When I wrote this blog I had to think back on my own personal experiences about being a vegetarian/vegan. Even though it may seem like I didn’t have a very good experience because I got sick, I really loved being a vegan.

Since we’ve been doing this blog I heard about a book called Skinny Bitch, which is actually a book about veganism. It is a really informative book and explained me a lot about how veganism helps the environment and your health. That book combined with reliving my experiences through this blog helped me make the decision to become a vegan again. It hasn’t been very long, but so far I’m loving my new lifestyle and feeling healthier then ever.

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Shh!… My SOUFFLE is rising*

So for any of you who have been reading my blog consistently you know that I have been trying to focus on how to help you make your eating life classier. Some how I ended up with very lavish and expensive taste in all aspects of my life, so I think that what I eat should be no different. 

We’ve covered almost all the bases over the past few weeks. What to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, where to eat out, and what diets to go on. Now it’s time to discuss dessert. 

And the classiest dessert I can think of is souffle. 

A souffle is a classic French dessert. It is a mixture of milk, butter, eggs, flour, sugar, and also some other flavorings like chocolate, cheese, or pumpkin. Now when you hear that you may think that that pretty much sounds like a cake. And it is pretty much a cake, but when you combine those ingredients while using specific techniques then you create a completely different creation. 

The key to a great souffle is egg whites. The egg whites gives the souffle a mousse like consistency and also helps with it’s signature rise.

 

 

A souffle may seem hard to make, but trust me it’s not as complex as it may appear. It gets messy yes, but not hard. I made a souffle for the first time this past weekend for my sister and her husband. I was really nervous because I had never seen one being made so I didn’t know what it should look like at the different stages or if I was doing anything right. But I followed Martha’s recipe, and as always she led me to a delicious ending. 

 

souffle2

 

Martha’s Chocolate Souffle:

1/2 cup softened unsalted butter, 1/2 stick

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar, plus more for dusting

1 1/2 cups whole milk

6 large eggs separated, plus 2 large egg whites, all at room temperature 

1/4 all purpose flour

8 ounces chocolate (Martha says bittersweet, I used milk chocolate, or you could use white chocolate and that would be really good)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Salt

Caramel Anglaise 

 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. with the rack in lower third. Place six 10-ounce ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush inside ramekins with butter. Dust with sugar, and tap out excess. Using kitchen twine, secure a strip of parchment paper around each ramekin so that parchment extends 3 inches above rim. Chill in freezer 15 minutes (up to overnight).

    2.  Bring milk almost to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat; set                     aside.

    3.  Put 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until pale, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low; beat in flour. Add                 about one-third of the hot milk in a slow, steady stream, beating until just combined.

     4.  Pour yolk mixture back into pan with the remaining milk. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until thick, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in      chocolate, vanilla, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. The souffle base can be made a day ahead and refrigerated,           covered, until ready to bake the souffles.

     5. Put egg whites and a pinch of salt into a large copper bowl. Using a balloon whisk, beat until foamy. (Alternatively, beat egg whites and a pinch of cream of tartar instead of the salt in the bowl of the                  electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.) Add 1 tablespoon sugar, and beat until soft peaks                form. Add remaining tablespoon sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form.

     6. Using a rubber spatula, fold one-third of the egg whites into chocolate mixture. Gradually fold in remaining egg whites.

     7. Carefully pour batter into prepared ramekins on baking sheet, filling to just below rims. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees. Bake until set, about 15 minutes. Remove parchment. Poke a           hole in top of each, and pour in caramel creme anglaise. 

 

Remember to always serve these immediately. Although it is a bit of a wives tale that loud noises and the slightest movement will make a souffle fall, they are very delicate and will fall within 5 – 10 minutes of coming out of the oven. Bon Appetit!

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Sask-a-WHAT?*

So you’ve wandered into Saskatchewan.

Don’t panic. People from Saskatchewan aren’t the crazy gun toting hicks that we are pegged to be. It’s true that you can see for miles from any point in Sask and our roads are the worst in the country, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have a lot going on. (Tip for traveling: Playing dodge the pot holes makes the trip go by really fast)

sask

All of this advice is coming from experience. I am a Saskatchewaner or a Saskachewanian if you wish. I spent most of my life there and while I don’t intend on living there forever, or even live there now, I still think it has a lot to offer. One thing in particular is really amazing food.

The best Asian food I have ever tried was in Saskatchewan. If you have a craving for some Thai food go to Keo’s Kitchen in Saskatoon or Nit’s Thai Food in Moose Jaw. For the incredible Filipino food go to Fiesta Manila in Prince Albert. And for the best Chinese food I have ever had, go to the Pierce Cafe in Pierceland.

Keo’s Kitchen: Keo’s Kitchen is small family owned Thai and Lao restaurant. It was named the number two restaurant in Saskatoon by tripadvisor.com. They are known for their Phad Thai and Hot and Sour Soup that people travel for hours to get. They have a big menu so everyone is guaranteed to find something they enjoy, including vegetarians and vegans.

Location – 1013 Broadway Ave. Saskatoon, SK

Fiesta Manila: Fiesta Manila is another family owned business specializing in Filipino food. It is one of the first places I go to when I go back home. My favorite dish is the candied pork, while my friend Debbi likes this pineapple chicken thing. It’s all so delicious so it won’t matter what you order. The staff are really friendly and helpful, and give good suggestions for your different tastes.

Location – 922 Central Ave. Prince Albert, SK

Nit’s Thai Food Ltd: Nit’s is a Thai Restaurant (obviously) in Moose Jaw. They use very traditional recipes that keep the food authentic and tasting so incredible. Tripadvisor.com rated it thirteenth overall for all restaurants in Moose Jaw.

Location – 124 Main Street North. Moose Jaw, SK

Pierce Cafe: The Pierce Cafe is owned by a Chinese couple who moved to Saskatchewan a long time ago. They cook both Chinese and American classics, but no one goes there for the burgers. People drive from all over just to get a number C (that’s how it is on the menu). You won’t find this restaurant on tripadvisor.com but I definitely recommend it, and so will anyone else who’s ever eaten there.

Location – Main Street. Pierceland, SK

So if you’re going on a cross-country trip or just have the displeasure of crossing that boarder to the dark side, at least now you know where to get a decent meal. Enjoy!

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Vegging Out?*

When I was growing up my family lived in a small farm town in northern Saskatchewan. I was constantly surrounded my animal livestock, in particular, cattle. Because of this I became very disturbed by the ethical concerns with eating the animals that I saw every day. So when I was sixteen I decided to become a vegetarian.

ashley_and_me

It was hard at first, even though I felt it was the right thing to do. I had to get used to the taste and texture of tofu, which for anyone who eats tofu knows it can take some getting used to. My family was thoroughly annoyed with having to cook two meals, one with meat and one without. But after awhile I adjusted and enjoyed my new lifestyle.

I had joined PETA when I became a vegetarian, and with PETA’s influence I decided to become a vegan after about four months. But that didn’t last very long. I was very malnourished and began to get really sick. I was tired and fatigued all the time and I started to get migraines and back pain. My doctor told me that I could either eat some meat again or else.

I decided that I would start to eat chicken and fish again, but I still did not want to eat beef. Partly because I still felt bad for the cows and partly because after not eating it for awhile I didn’t really like it anymore. I actually didn’t eat red meat again for 2 years after that.

I understand that there are millions of people who practice vegetarianism and veganism everyday (about 4% of North America via) and do not have the problems that I did. I went into it unprepared and uninformed. So if you are thinking about starting a vegetarian or vegan diet then it’s important to learn for my mistakes and educate yourself before you start.

 

 

1. Start the easy way. Take your favorite dishes that you used to cook before you became a vegetarian and try cooking it in a veggie friendly way. Try using tofu or a soy meat alternative instead of the meat that used to be in it and add in extra veggies for more flavor and texture.

2. Buy a Vegan Recipe CookBook. Most likely being a vegetarian means that you’ll have to cook for yourself more often then not. Look for a cookbook that fits your taste and lifestyle, or search for great recipes online.

3. Don’t Push Yourself. You may feel really tired and hungry when you first start off eating this kind of diet. Remember that a lot of vegan/vegetarian food will have less calories then what you would have eaten before if it had meat in it. So you may have to eat a little extra to feel full or get all the nutrients you’re used to.

4. Get support from your friends. Try to get your friends to understand your choice. It will be harder to keep it up, especially if it’s hard at first, if your friends aren’t going to be willing to try your food too or eat at a veggie friendly restaurant.

5. Do not compare yourself with other vegetarians. If you are looking for inspiration from people who have been vegetarians forever then you may feel like a failure. People who have been eating this way for a long time are used to it so of course it’s easy. If this is something you really want then it will get easy for you too. Take their advice if it fits your lifestyle, and if it doesn’t then find someone else to help you that you mesh with.

6. Timing matters. Your ability to stick to the diet may completely depend on when you start it. Starting in the summer is good because of the variety of fruit and vegetables that are available. However, in the summer people tend to be traveling a lot and so it can make it hard if you are not going to be somewhere where you will have access to veggie friendly food. Winter is good because of this reason, that likely you will be home a lot and could cook for yourself. On the other hand you may not be able to get all the fruits and vegetables that you want. Figure out what will work for your lifestyle before you start. (via)

 

alicia-silverstone-veg001

Being a vegetarian or vegan can be a very rewarding lifestyle with many benefits. There are many celebrities that use the diet as a way to maintain their hot bodies, including Brad Pitt, Carrie Underwood, and Alicia Silverstone. Regardless of what reason you are going veg always consult your doctor or a nutritionist before starting to make sure that they inform you of the right supplements to take. That way you won’t end up sick like me.

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Got a Hot DATE?*

So if you live in Lethbridge like I do then you understand that the restaurant selections that are available can feel lacking. Don’t get me wrong I do very much enjoy the food at the Cheesecake Cafe, Moxies, and Earls, which seem to be the old standards for a lot of people. Sometimes, especially when it comes to a date, I start to feel like I want something a little more special. 

 So if you have a hot first date coming up or if you are just looking for some place to take that someone special 360 Inspired Cuisine is sure to be the perfect spot.

360 Inspired Cuisine is located in the heart of downtown Lethbridge right across from Galt Gardens and the Park Place Mall. They use the highest quality, local ingredients that they use to create a diverse menu that changes with the season. They are also the only restaurant in town that offers a full tapas menus. The tapas menu varies in price from 3 – 15 dollars, making it an excellent value for budgeting students. 360 also has a full bar and wine selection to choose from.

You may be asking yourself how I know so much about 360 as the perfect date spot. It’s because I went on a date there… with my sister and her husband.

It wasn’t quite the hot date I imagined being on in such a nice place. Nor was it the perfect date for my sister and Henri i’m sure. Regardless we had a great time. 360 has a wonderful ambience that they have created through smooth jazz music, warm low lighting, and rich decor.

We of course started by ordering some drinks. I had the Geisha Punch. It was a blend of Sake, Blue Curaco, and Juices. It was a delicious drink with just enough sweetness. Ashley, my sister, had the Vanilla Ice, which is a mix of Vanilla Skyy Vodka, Cream, Pineapple Juice, and Orange Juice. She said that it was very tasty and she would definitely order it again. Though the drinks are a little on the expensive side I felt my drink was worth every penny.

For any of you who know me and read my blog consistently you know that I am seriously allergic to garlic, paprika and dairy. A lot of times it can get really complicated for me to find things that I can order in restaurants. So much of this depends on the quality of the waiter and the chef. Unfortunatly over half of the time when I go to a restaurant I end up having to send back my food because either the waiter hasn’t told the chef the correct order or the chef just didn’t pay attention. I know human error is common of course, I worked as a chef and waitress before, but it does get frustrating for me and other people I know with food allergies. Fortunately this wasn’t the case at 360. When the waitress came to take our order I told her about my allergies and that I was interested in having the duck or the salmon. I asked her to ask the chef if this was possible to make without dairy and garlic so she went and asked. They made the duck to my specifications, and they also gave me non-menu options that the chef could make for me for a starch. I have never had better service or had staff make so many accommodations for my allergies for me. Just because of that I knew it was somewhere that I would return to.

 

 

On top of all of that, it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. The duck was succulent. I had never had duck before but I want it every day. The pasta was had a mystery sweetness, and the white asparagus was cooked to perfection. Ashley had the Dry Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Maple BBQ Sauce and Roasted Pear, Red Pepper, and Charred Scallions Salsa. The pork was incredibly tender and the maple bbq sauce had a sweet depth of flavor. Henri had the 10oz. New York Sirloin with Shrimp Butter and Garlic Prawns. He said it was good (not the best he’d ever had) and he didn’t feel the portions were big enough.

For dessert Ashley and Henri ordered the shared trio for two. It came with a Godiva Creme Brule, Cappuccino Mousse, and Milk Chocolate Flan with Vanilla Gelato. It was beautifully presented (as were all of our dishes) and they said it tasted divine.

 

 

When it was all over it was time to see the bill. For two people, including two drinks, two entrees, and one shared dessert, plus a 20% tip you can expect to pay 100 dollars to eat out at 360 Inspired Cuisine. To many of you that may seem like a lot to spend on one meal. Personally I think I’m worth it. And in the wise words of Henri, as the man you need to remember that you’re eating too so you’re really spending that money on yourself. And for the ladies we can look for some advice from Phyllis from The Office. When we’re on a date always order the most expensive thing on the menu so he knows you’re worth it. You’ll have to put out, but then he’ll know.

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Not just for HIPPIES anymore*

Organic food is something that has been given a bad rap for many years. That is until lately. People used to think that organic food was something that was just for the hippies to grow in the gardens along side their weed. Now with all the worries about global warming people are becoming more environmentally conscious and one way of doing that is through buying organic.

Many people are put off from buying organic because they think that it will cost them an arm and a leg. This isn’t entirely true. I am a full-time University student with no job and I still buy organic for no more cost then my sister and brother-in law. The trick is to know where to go to get it and what things are worth the money and what things aren’t.

 

There are twelve organic fruits and vegetables that you should always buy organic if you can get them:

1. Apples

2. Cherries

3. Grapes

4, Nectaries

5. Peaches

6. Pears

7. Raspberries

8. Strawberries

9. Peppers

10. Celery

11. Potatoes

12. Spinach (via)

 

A good rule to consider is that any fruit or vegetable that you will be eating the skin of then you should always try to buy that organic. The skin is where the pesticides will be found, so if you’re eating an orange that you will be peeling you don’t need to be too worried about eating what’s inside. However, if you are going to be zesting the peel and cooking with it then you should try to get organic. And from my shopping experience most fruits and vegetables are about the same price regardless of organic or not, so you might as well get organic.

 

Some other foods to consider trying to get organic is:

– Herbs

– Olive Oil

– Milk

– Beef

– Poultry (via)

 

Even though food is organic and should be pestiside free, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to clean it. Make sure to always give the same cleaning precautions to organic foods as you would inorganic ones.

 

 

Whether or not you chose to buy organic is a personal choice. There is still conflicting reports on the ultimate benefits of eating organic whether it’s worth the effort. Some people, like my father, swear organic food tastes better, but some people say there is no difference. But I hope next time you go to the grocery store if you see something organic next to something inorganic for the same price chose the organic one.

 

 

 

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The BACON diet*

So I bet you’re all trying to google “bacon diet” already. Well trust me you won’t find it. The Bacon diet is my families nickname for the low-carb diet. There is an interesting story to how that came about too.

About two years ago my sister got engaged. She was not interested in a long engagement, so just 5 months later she was going to be walking down the aisle. This did not give me very much time to look as super fabulous as possible in my brides-maids dress. So with little time left me and my parents decided that we would all go on the low-carb diet so we could all look our very best at the wedding. I mean these are pictures that will be on my sisters walls forever so I had to look amazing. We started the diet and cut out bread, potatoes, refined sugars, and ate nothing but meat, veggies, and fruit. Not being people that were experienced in cooking meals without carbs our meals started to consist of only meat, and sometimes we had meals of just bacon. Somehow, despite what I believe is medically sound, we started to lose weight and not just a little bit. Needless to say, we did look hot at the wedding.

I strongly advise against eating just bacon as a method of weight loss. However, a real low carb diet is one that can be effective, ecspecially if you’re trying to lose weight in a short period of time. May I just say that the low carb diet is not a sustainable way of eating. There can be serious health risks to eating this way for a long period of time, as there is with any diet, and you should always consult your doctor before starting a diet. And yes, my doctor was very appaulled by the bacon diet but for 5 months he said it wasn’t going to kill me.

 

 

So there are a lot of variations of the low-carb diet. Some want you to cut out all carbs, some say low carbs, some make you count carbs, etc. What results you want and what kind of diet you have now will help you to best determine what diet will work best for you. If your main diet is currently focused on eating carbs and sugary foods, then cutting out all carbs will give you subtantial results quickly. However if you eat a balance of carbs, proteins, and veggies already then going no carb won’t give you a lot of results right away. For you I would probably recommend protion control or not eating after 8. To figure out what will work the best for you consult a nutritionist and they will be able to tell you what will work for your needs.

Assuming you are on or starting a low-carb diet, figuring out what to eat can be one of the most difficult things you will face.

Snacks: Nuts are always a good option for the low-carb dieter. They’re tasty, high in protein, and filling. Some other options are celery with peanut butter or cheese, beef jerky, sugar-free jello, veggies and dip, and cheese and apple slices.

Lunch: Salad is a delicious, nutritious, and easy way to eat low-carb at lunch time. Try to get creative with the combinations of ingredients to keep things interesting. For example, grilled apricots, toasted hazelnuts, pancetta, with a white balsamic vinaigrette on arugula. Or a spinach salad with a roasted red pepper vinaigrette.

Supper: Supper can be very easy to cook low-carb. All you need is a protein and some veggies. Think of it as cooking your normal meal but omitting the rice or bread that you normally put with it. Try grilled tuscan steak with fried egg and goat cheese. Or grilled chicken with mustard dill sauce. Cook up either of those with a side of tomato salad or glazed carrots and ginger, and then you have a great meal.

Hopefully these ideas are helpful to any of you who want to try this diet. If anything I hope you don’t ever try the bacon diet.

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