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Archive for January, 2010

Saturday BBQ Feast!

When I was younger, I was told I was “unmarriageable” for I couldn’t cook a single thing on my own, nor had I any interest in learning how to cook. My mom says now that I got married young just to prove her wrong. But after 3.5 years of marriage, I realize that she was in some ways kinda right (don’t you hate saying that??). Food is indeed the way to a man’s heart! And after moving to Paris, the only things the hubby likes to eat are foods that reminds him of home. He pretty quickly abandoned croissants and pains au chocolat for his good ol’ PB and J sandwiches, adds tabasco sauce to his boeuf bourguignon or steak frites (no kidding!) and would tell any of you that corn bread tastes so much better than baguette. I’m not saying the man isn’t adventurous. He’s tried everything from Andouillette to frog legs, from escargots to Epoisses cheese, and from rognons de veau (veal kidneys) to beef tongue…. And would still appreciate having any of those every once in a while… well maybe not the Andouillette (something about the manure taste, he says…).

So, what’s a French girl to do to please her american husband on a cold saturday night??? Well, make Barbecue!

On the menu were:

  • Cheddar Jalapeno Poppers
  • Southern Pulled Pork Sandwiches with homemade Hallah buns
  • Oven Baked beef Brisket
  • Sweet Potato Fries
  • Homemade Plantain Chips
  • and Panna Cotta for dessert!

First off, Southern Pulled Pork:

I borrowed the recipe from BeanTown Baker. I first made the rub mixing the following spices:

  • 2 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2-3 tablespoons sucanat
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 4 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons table salt

I then removed the fat from the 2 pork loins I bought (don’t you think French Pork loins look awefully cute?). I cut the bigger one in two equal pieces. I then massaged the spice rub into the 3 big meat chunks (I did this in the crockpot to limit messes). I then added 1/2 cup of water and 1 tsp of liquid smoke. Then turned the slow cooker on low and cooked for 8 hours (until meat was fork tender).

When cooked, I shredded the meat with a fork. I chose not to discard the liquid that remained in the crockpot since it helped make the meat more moist. I then added about 1 cup of Spicy BBQ Sauce (from the Salt Lick, Texas!) and cooked on low for another hour.

It turned out really good, and the husband said, very authentic! (and quite messy, too)

The Pulled Pork was served with Challah buns made by my sister:

  • 1 lb flour
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Yeast disolved in warm water
  • 1 egg
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 4 Tbsp salt

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Cover the dough with a cloth and let it stand for 1,5 hours. Then form into buns, spread some egg with a brush over each bun and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

The sis brought them to our place in this neat foil lined cardbox!

She  made 2 batches of these buns. One batch of classic ones with only white flour and the other one with half whole wheat/ half white. The white ones were lighter in texture and tasted a little sweeter but I liked the nutty flavor of the brown buns.

And the final product: the Pulled Pork Big Mac!!!!!

The oven baked beef brisket was really just an experiment. I had no idea of what I was doing!

I used:

  • 1 two-pound untrimmed brisket
  • 1 tablespoons of salt
  • 1 tablespoons of black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 onion cut into slivers
  • 1/4 cup reduced salt soy sauce
  • 1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup liquid smoke.
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.
Mix together the salt, black pepper, cayenne and crushed garlic, and rub all over brisket.
In a large roasting pan, add the slivered onions, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 cup of the liquid smoke, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar.
Place the brisket in the pan, fat side up. Cover the pan tightly with foil, and bake in the oven for 5-6 hours.

For a first, it was not bad at all… The meat was tender and the flavor very interesting. I don’t think liquid smoke would fool any BBQ connaisseur, but it’s just what you need to bring back some memories of Texas to a tiny parisian kitchen.

The Cheddar Jalapeno Poppers were seriously DECADENT!!!! And also seriously unhealthy but who cares, right??? They were fun and easy to make. Actually they were a last minute thing we put together, just for fun.

Ingredients:

  • About 12 jalapenos, seeded
  • Cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • flour
  • 1, 5 cup crushed unsweetened corn flakes

Stuff Jalapenos with (a lot of) cheddar cheese. Dip each stuffed jalapeno into the egg then roll into the flour. Allow them to dry for a few minutes then dip again in the egg mixture and finally in the crushed corn flakes to coat. In a medium skillet, heat the oil to 365 degrees F (180 degrees C). Deep fry the coated jalapenos 2 to 3 minutes each, until golden brown.

Oh, Boy!!!! ………………………………………………………………………………………………………..:)

The sides were good but left mostly untouched by the meat-hungry men:

Origano sweet potato fries and parsnip fries (baked):

And Homemade Plantain Banana Baked Chips:

For dessert, I made Stefan’s favorite:  Panna Cotta.

Panna cottas are incredibly easy to make and always a hit. I like to make them with low fat half and half instead of heavy cream. I serve it with a “coulis de Framboise” (puréed raspberries) and  use small glass cups for the girls and big ones for the boys!

I used a recipe from David Lebovitz!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups low fat half and half
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar (you can add more if you like)
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise + 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 tsp of powdered gelatin or 12 sheets
  • 6 tablespoons (90ml) cold water

Directions:

  • Heat the half and half and sugar in a saucepan. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.If using a vanilla bean, scrape the seeds from the bean into the cream and add the bean pod. Cover, and let infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the bean then rewarm the mixture before continuing.)
  • Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a medium-sized bowl and let stand 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Pour the very warm Panna Cotta mixture over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
  • Divide the Panna Cotta mixture into the prepared cups, then chill them until firm (about 3 hours)

Instead of vanilla, you can use natural almond extract or Amaretto. I also once made these with Baileys Irish Creme…. Yummy!

Dinner was served with some California Cab, that turned out being perfect for the meal:

But I have to say that a cold Shiner or two would have been even better!!!!

I think I did pretty good controling my portions that night. I had half a small whole wheat bun with pulled pork, a couple slices of beef, one (or 2 ;)) poppers, a couple fries, and a mini Panna Cotta, along with one or two glasses of wine. I have so much leftovers, that I think Travis is going to be eating pull pork wraps for a week! 🙂

Good night yall! Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed our Family dinner. See you soon!

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Pasta on leg day!

Why pasta on leg day?

Well, I try not to eat too much carbs at night and focus on eating protein and veggies. Sometimes, I’ll have a piece of fruit or a little serving of quinoa or beans but pasta/ rice/ bread are exceptionnal treats. Having more carbs earlier in the day and mostly protein in the evening helps me keep my energy level high and maintain my weight better. But leg training requires huge amounts of energy, and since the quadriceps/ hamstring and glutes are pretty big muscles, it makes a lot of sense to eat more carbs on leg day to assure better glycogen stores replenishment post workout! And it is also a huge motivation to kick my butt in the gym!

First off, here are the details of my leg training:

  • Squats: 4 sets of 15 “butt to the ground” with bar only followed by 4 sets of 10 BTTG with bar + 10kg
  • Leg press: 5 sets of 10
  • Leg extensions: 4 sets of 10
  • Lying leg curls (vicious): 4 sets of 10
  • Standing calf raises: 4 sets of 20.

I also did a few sets of waist twists. That was fun!

Well let me tell you, my whole body is sore today. Especially my back and chest because of thursday’s workout and I’m expecting my legs to be even more sore tomorrow… I might be masochistic but it feels nice to be sore again. I like the feeling I get from a good training.

But let’s move on to pasta night. Probably far more interesting to yall than my shenanigans at the gym!

Broccoli and Spanish ham spaghetti with vodka cream sauce

The guy who owns the little grocery shop accross the street is spanish and he recently started selling little spanish hams and sausages. I thought the mini hams looked so cute and would perfectly replace bacon in this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup diced ham (I first removed all the fat)
  • 2-3 cups broccoli, steamed
  • 200g whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup low fat cream
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Cook the pasta then drain. Replace in pot. Add the olive oil, vodka, broccoli and ham and cook for 2-3min. Stir in the low fat cream, salt and pepper to taste.

I thought of having a Kir with my pasta to celebrate… A kir is made of dry white wine with a bit of currant liquor. It is a pretty awesome french drink. Unfortunately, I ended up feeling pretty dehydrated and needing more water than wine. So I only had a few sips…..

T’was a good night….

And today is the first saturday I can spend at home (and not at work) in a while. The hubby and I enjoyed some banana nut pancakes this morning and I spent the past couple hours preparing tonight’s meal. The family is coming over and it is going to be a feast!

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Fitness accomplishment and Protein Breakfast!

Good morning everyone!

I had the most awesome workout last night. I went to the gym near my home, which I hadn’t seen in a while (went to my work gym instead). A few people recognized me from before, came by and said Hi. Some asked where I had been, and when I explained I had a lot of work and couldn’t make it to the gym as often, I received a lot of supportive comments. I was glad to be back there. Reminded me of my days as a beginner, especially how intimidated I was the very first time I walked into the sweaty, testosterone saturated free weight section. Now it feels so normal to be there, even after a few months of absence. I still can’t quite get used to the sweat smell that hits you like a strong wave when you first walk in but I like being there nonetheless….

I did some back and chest training:

  • seated row: 4×10 (26 kg)
  • Superset 1: Chest press 4 x 10 with 8 kg dumbbell // Bent arm dumbbell pull over 4 x 10 with one 10kg dumbbell
  • Superset 2: Lat Pulldown 5X10 with 26-30 kg // Side bends 4 x 10 with 10kg plate
  • Back extensions: 4 x 10 with 10kg plate

I then hopped on the treadmill for a 20min intense walk/ run at max incline.

I was a sweaty mess when I got home but I felt so good!

Today’s breakfast is the same as yesterday’s. It is packed with protein and anti-oxydants. Looks a lot like Wednesday’s breakfast, but don’t let that fool you. This one is Creamy Amaranth and Quinoa Power breakfast:

I used approximatively one cup of the cooked quinoa/ amaranth mix I had cooked on wednesday night. Added a splash of milk and half a mashed banana before heating it up. When hot, I added 1 Tbsp flaxmeal, 1 Tbsp bee pollen and blueberries.

I love that quinoa has so much protein, since I have a hard time eating stuff like eggs early in the day. And adding protein powder to my oats make them taste really artificial.

Gabriela asked me about bee pollen. Bee pollen is truly a Superfood. It is  rich in B vitamins and antioxidants, including lycopene, selenium, beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, and several flavanoids. Well it is GOOD for you. Plus it tastes really good too: it is sweet, a little like granulated honey. You’ll love it!

Well, I’m off to work! But I’ll hopefully be back later tonight! Have a great day, everyone!

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Journey back to health!

I realized last night that having this blog has really helped me in my journey back to health! As I told yall before I’ve been pretty active for a while now. After years of not taking care of myself, I had finally realized how much creating healthy habits can positively change not only your looks but also your energy and your attitude. I started eating only clean foods and exercising regularly about 3 years ago. I lost 10+ pounds, ran 3-6 miles several times a week, lifted weights consistantly (I even won a squat contest at my gym!) and frankly I felt like a million bucks. But these past 6 months have been a nightmare. All the late nights, stress, responsabilities, lack of sleep made me forget about my personnal goals. All what seemed to matter was that I stayed competitive on the professional level. But I came to realize how other aspects of my life are important besides my work. Don’t get me wrong I love being a doctor and a researcher. But I also love being a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a cook and fitness enthusiast athlete! I started making small changes, revisited old habits: making my lunches EVERY day without exception, watching what I order at restaurants, going to the gym on a regular basis (even if it was only once a week). Baby steps. In the middle of this quest for balance I started this blog and last night it just hit me how the simple fact of posting my daily eats and fitness accomplishments helped me. I feel more in charge of my life, more accountable too….

To move onto another subject, last night’s dinner was pretty awesome. Inspired by Mary Grace’s quinoa stuffed squash in the Paris Food Blague, I decided to make my own version….

So here is is Léo’s Quinoa Amaranth Stuffed Baby Pumpkins:

Basically I cut a mini pumpkin in half and roasted it in the oven. Meanwhile I cooked a mix of quinoa and amaranth on the stove until fully cooked and fluffy. When that was ready, I sautéed 1 cup sliced mushrooms with 1/4 cup diced onions and a little less than 1/2 lb of lean ground beef. When cooked I stirred in about 1-1,5 cups of the quinoa/ amaranth cooked mixture. Seasonned with ground coriander and ground fennel, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. I then removed the pumpkin from the oven and  stuffed each half with this mix and topped with crushed pepper before serving.

I loved it! one of the best dinners I’ve made in a while!

And I also used some leftover quinoa/ Amaranth in my breakfast this morning. But I’ll tell you all about that later. Need to go to the gym now!

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Night owl …. Early bird!

Good morning yall!

Woke up pretty sleepy this morning. The night was short, since I came home super late last night. On Tuesday afternoons, I usually work at my research lab which is in the far and cold suburban city called Orsay. Despite the long train ride there and back, I love tuesday afternoons. The atmosphere in a research lab is way different from one of a clinical department at the Hospital, much more peaceful. And I love both of my bosses and the master’s student I am training at the moment. On my way back home last night (as already almost 9) I even went to the gym for a short run on the treadmill. Did intervals (from walking to running) at 15% incline. I was tired and thought of stopping every couple minutes but I still finished my 30 min workout and felt pretty proud of myself!

Once at home, I knew exactly what would be for dinner. Since I didn’t have much food left in my fridge, I didn’t have a choice really… So I made a Spinach, Mushroom and Goat Frittata with leftover soup.

The frittata turned out great. I started by cooking a big bag of baby spinach into a hot skillet over medium heat with 2 small cloves of garlic (crushed). I then put the spinach aside and cooked a few sliced mushrooms. On the side I beat 3 whole eggs, 4 egg whites with a splash of milk, salt and pepper. When the veggies were cooked I mixed them to the egg mixture, added a few pieces of fresh goat cheese. I poured everything into a baking pan and sprinkled with shredded low fat goat cheese. Baked for about 20-30 min in a preheated oven.

The Soup was made with pumpkin, carrots, parsnips and jerusalem artichokes. I made it a few weeks ago and froze the leftovers. Made a perfect side. Leftover soup rocks!

The inside of the frittata was so light a fluffy. And I loved the cheesy crust on top, so tasty! Was hoping to have leftover for lunch today but Travis finished it all. The man needs his protein!

This morning, oats were the only reason why I decided to get out of bed. I made Creamy banana oats with blueberries, flaxmeal and bee pollen. Was a perfect way to start the day!

Have a great day!

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Decadent Breakfast!

Good Morning, yall!

I am feeling in rare form today! Managed to wake up without pressing the snooze button 10 times today. Well, ok, pressed it once, just for the heck of it!

I had not yet posted about my sunday baking experience (Banana bread), mostly because I was still unsure about it. Thought maybe had a bit too much banana (didn’t know that was even possible). But today’s breakfast totally changed my mind and I can now come clean!

So here it is for you: Banana bread with PB!

Here is the recipe I used for the Banana bread:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 2 1/3 cups bananas (overripe, mashed)

Mix the flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Mix applesauce, agave syrup, then eggs and banana in another bowl. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture. Pour the batter into a 9×5 inch loaf pan.Bake in a preheated 350F oven until a knife pushed into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour.

With a smear of natural PB and a good coffee, this breakfast already made my day!

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Sweet and Spicy Mahi-Mahi!

Mondays are the hardest day of the week for me. I wake up around 6, correct reports/ answer emails/blog while having breakfast, head to work aroud 8:30, deal with issues that came up over the weekend/ dictate reports/ organize classes for my students in the morning, eat a quick lunch and work at the out-patient clinic all afternoon. Then around 6:30, head back to the in-patient unit to check on the new patients with the residents. Usually don’t get home until 9pm, worn out and STARVING!!!!

That’s why mondays’ dinners need to be quick, easy and tasty! well… mostly quick. On this blog, these meals always end up in the “Quick recipes for the overworked gal” category! So if you want to eat healthy meals but are crunched for time, make sure to check this page first!

Today’s dinner was pretty awesome. I used frozen Mahi Mahi which I defrosted by placing it on the bottom shelf in the fridge last night. When I got home, I simply placed the 2 fillets in a baking dish, sprinkled with caribbean jerk seasonning and baked until fully cooked yet tender. On the side I used leftover Pico de Gallo from yesterday to which I added some diced pinapple. Also had pickled jalapeno, sliced avocado with balsamic glaze and a whole wheat tortilla for the hubby. I served the fish toped with sprouts.

It made me think of my favorite fish tacos from Magnolia Café in Austin, Tx. Ohhh Austin, I miss thee….

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