no fail perfect hard boiled eggs. every time.

for the most part, i have a very good memory. this works both for and against me, depending on the specific memory. having said that, there are certain things in my life that – without fail and regardless how hard i try – i can never seem to remember.

examples that come to mind are the correct ratio for water to rice or coffee, which pedal is gas and which is brake (although i’ve learned a handy trick to work through this one, thank goodness!), whether i’m supposed to feed a cold and starve a fever (or vice versa) and when to use affect – and when effect is correct.

once also on my list was how long to cook eggs until they were perfectly hard boiled. there were many disastrous attempts and many curse words screamed. but that’s no longer a concern.. which is great because every so often i get a craving for egg salad.

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rather than having to look online for instructions when the craving comes back, i now just know to do the following (and thought i’d share it with you):

1. place eggs in a large pot

2. cover with approximately 1 inch of water

3. bring to a good boil

4. cover, turn off heat and let sit undisturbed for 12 minutes

5. remove each egg and lightly bash the shell before running it under cold water while peeling.

this works. every.single.time. and the eggs are always perfectly cooked with no runny centres or creepy grey rings surrounding the yolks.

easy peasy.

s,b&b

chopped thai salad

this delicious salad recipe comes to me by way of pinterest (surprise, surprise!) and is originally  from a website called pinch of yum. after rave reviews from a couple of people i decided to try it myself.

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i had heard that the chopping would feel endless, so I bought pre-washed and prepped kale as well as pre-cut julienned carrots. i also bought the thai lime and chili cashews from trader joe’s especially for this recipe. on their own, i really didn’t like them and it’s because i’ve realised I’m not the biggest lemon grass fan, and that flavour is quite intense in these cashews. in this salad though, they give a nice pop of flavour every so often. i didn’t bother with the lime juice (because i forgot to buy a lime) and left both the edamame and the edamame whole. i also left the salad undressed, and simply tossed each serving together with dressing and cashews just before serving.

the recipe calls for 3 cloves of garlic, which might be a bit much for you, so decide beforehand how intense of a garlic taste (and the vampire-killing breath you’ll have after eating this salad) you want to commit to. i take public transit to/from work and am happy to report that the added garlic helped to keep people away from me. :)

 

dressing:

⅓ c vegetable oil

3 cloves garlic, peeled

3 Tbsp sodium-reduced soy sauce

2 Tbsp water

2 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar

2 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp sesame oil

1 Tbsp minced ginger

puree all the dressing ingredients in a food processor until smooth. taste and adjust to fit your preferences. transfer to a jar with a tight fitting lid, which can easily be stored and simply shaken before dressing your salad to re-mix the ingredients.

salad

16 oz frozen shelled edamame

6 c chopped kale

1 handful julienned carrots

2 bell peppers (1 red, 1 yellow), julienned

1 cup cilantro leaves, stalks removed

3 green onions, julienned into long strips

1 handful trader joe’s thai lime and chili cashews

 

in typical marla-style, i did manage to somehow use twice as many dishes as necessary resulting in my kitchen looking like a particularly scary episode of kitchen nightmares by the time i was finished – it was well worth the effort AND it made enough to feed me (and a colleague) for several days!

bon appetit!

s,b&b

link:

pinch of yum thai chopped salad

fire

i’ve said it before, and i’ll say it again.. we really do have an amazing view. but sometimes there are things i really could do without seeing.

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from what i’ve learned, the fire was a four engine blaze at a residential construction site.

thankfully there weren’t any reported injuries (or worse).

s,b&b

national taco day!

i love tacos. soft or hard shell. beef or chicken, turkey or delicious pork carnitas. i’m really not picky. i want them all. in my mouth. now.

while perusing the wordpress reader, i noticed another blog announcing that today is national taco day. who makes up these national food holidays? can i make my own up? if so, i’d like to name today national vodka day too (oh wait! it already IS national vodka day!). two fantastic holidays rolled into 1 day!

coincidentally, we had baked turkey tacos for dinner a couple of nights ago and decided i’d jump on the bandwagon and post about them too.

i’ve seen countless recipes online for baked tacos over the past few months and figured i had to try them out myself. while i could post a proper recipe, i figure everyone has made tacos at least once, so instead i’ll just give you a quick run-through of what i did.

i started with the stand-up hard shells, which i had never used before. to ensure they stayed propped up in the baking tray, i used small balled up pieces of aluminum.

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i then spooned in my meat mixture (this time it consisted of ground turkey browned mixed with taco seasoning, salsa and some hot sauce for added heat).

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grated cheese went in next (i had seen a recipe where a small amount of cheese was also put in first, before the meat mixture, but completely forgot while making these).

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into the oven, heated to 400 degrees, for ten minutes.. then presto! look at these cheesy shells of deliciousness!

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next came the ‘secret sauce’..

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actually, it’s not that secret but new to me (sampled at trader joe’s over the weekend).. this stuff is tasty and has a nice kick to it. using this also meant not having to pull out the usual sour cream (which i forgot to buy) and extra salsa.

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here is where i could have added the usual vegetables; tomatoes, sliced bell peppers, onions, etc. but i was feeling lazy (and too hungry to start fiddling around, to be honest!). so i used mixed lettuce conveniently bought in a pre-washed bag. judge if you must.

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these tacos were super tasty. my mouth is watering now. baking them was a nice melty-cheesy change that i’ll be sure to do again. i might even add veggies!

happy national taco day!

s,b&b

meow?

where has the time gone? i’ve been meaning to post (i swear) but life has managed to fly by without a peep from me. eek!

while i’d like to say i’ve been off fighting the good fight, saving lives and visiting far away places – i can’t. i’ve no fancy excuse for neglecting my blog.

so instead, i’ll simply apologise and offer up this somewhat weak – although mostly true – explanation:

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i came across the above gem while checking out the douglas coupland (yes, the well-known author) exhibit at the vancouver art gallery last month. the exhibit (called everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything) was, in a word, random. here are a few other, erm, ‘interesting’ finds..

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gum head. also known as germ central. disgusting.

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great, thanks. add being bludgeoned to death and stuffed into an ice box to my biggest fears.

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loved this room.

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wayne gretzy, canadian hockey hero. i wonder how many little kids took this thermos to school back in the day?

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KD, the de facto national dish of canada.

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who else remember’s woodwards?

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keeping up with the jones’?

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japanese cleaning products.

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me, when left to do my own makeup.

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dizzy?

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craptastic.

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t’is true.

 

 

enjoy your day. i’ll be back soon!

s,b&b

 

 

freezer breakfast burritos

i don’t regularly eat breakfast (for shame, i know). i’m usually in such a hurry to get out the door that making myself something to eat is the furthest thing from my mind. i recently came up with a plan to start making something ahead of time that could be grabbed as i run for the elevator, and decided to try out freezer breakfast burritos.

what i love about these is that they’re easy to assemble, can be customized to your own taste (and what you happen to have in the fridge) and are ridiculously easy to transport. i literally pop one into my purse and heat it up at work.

here’s what i did..

8 large flour tortillas
12 large eggs
real bacon bits
salsa
grated cheese
butter
salt and freshly ground pepper

in a large bowl, mix eggs with salt and pepper (to taste).

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scramble eggs until almost completely cooked (they’ll cook a bit more in the microwave when you heat up the burrito later).

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on a square of aluminum foil, lay a tortilla flat and top with 1/8 of the egg mixture.

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add desired amount of bacon to the top of your egg mixture.

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spoon desired amount of salsa to the top of your bacon and eggs.

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top with 1 to 2 Tbsp shredded cheese.

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roll the tortilla up all “burrito like”.

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once you’ve completed assembling all the breakfast burritos, they can be put into freezer bags and popped into the freezer.

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to serve, remove 1 burrito from the freezer the night before and leave to thaw in the fridge overnight. each thawed burrito can then be removed from the aluminum foil and wrapped in paper towel and cooked for approximately 2 minutes in the microwave.

easy peasy!

s,b&b

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muffin tin meatballs

they boyfriend, as i’ve mentioned before, is very meat-and-potatoes. he’s also a big fan of spaghetti and meatballs. i’m not. there are countless things i’d rather eat. spaghetti noodles are my least favourite pasta shape (something to do with the big vats of not-great spaghetti we had to eat as children perhaps?) and i don’t quite understand the draw of balls of meat on my plate.  each relationship is give and take though, so i generously (ahem) offered to find a recipe for meatballs with the promise of filling his spaghetti and meatball wishes. i came across a recipe that was apparently featured in a children’s magazine (highlights?) at some point, and was very popular with people who had tried it themselves.

the boyfriend liked them fine but they didn’t knock his socks off. personally, i found them a bit boring and bland. on the chance that someone else likes them, or wants to use this recipe as a base for their own version of meatballs, i’m sharing it here.

2 lb. lean ground beef
1 envelope onion roasted garlic soup mix
3/4 c plain bread crumbs
2 eggs
1/3 c ketchup

preheat oven to 350F, and spray muffin tin with vegetable oil.

put everything in a big bowl, mix together.

(this is where i gag repeatedly and give myself a pep talk to not throw up)

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roll mixture into 12 balls and place them in the muffin tin.

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bake until well browned, about 35 minutes.

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let stand a few minutes, then lift them out with a slotted spoon. and if you’re me, you’ll remove all the creepy stuff that has “leaked out” of the meatballs (which i’ve since learned is protein.. gross regardless.).

wipe out the muffin tin, and return the meatballs.

(don’t they look so much better now?)

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pop the entire muffin tin into the freezer and, once frozen, the meatballs can be portioned out into servings and kept in the freezer until you’re ready to use them. serve with pasta or on their own with marinara sauce.

as i mentioned, i’m not a fan of this particular recipe. i won’t be making them again.. my hunt for the ‘perfect’ meatballs continues.

s,b&b

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panzanella

i’ve started to save like a mad woman so i can afford my dream trip to italy. i’ve been once before to hit up the ‘big 3′ while on an organized tour for 18-35 year olds (also known as debauchery on a bus) several years ago, but am dreaming of spending my next milestone birthday there with my sister. i’m a huge fan of italian food (really, who isn’t?) and decided that i’d make this classic tuscan dish to celebrate my father’s birthday and father’s day.

panzanella, made during the height of tomato season – is chock full of fresh vegetables and day old bread. i love how seasonal italian food is, and how even stale bread can be salvaged and made delicious. this recipe makes extra vinaigrette, which can be kept for a few days in the refrigerator and used for other salads.

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1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 small baguette, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
10 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1/4c bocconcini pearls, rinced
1/4c marinated artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
1/4c olives

for the vinaigrette:
1 tsp finely minced garlic
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 medium shallot, cut in 1/2 and thinly sliced
1 1/2 Tbsp capers
1/2 c good olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
whisk all ingredients together. refrigerate over night (or at least 1 hour) to meld the flavours together. this also helps to cut the sharpness of the shallot.

heat the oil in a large saute pan. add the bread cubes and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. add more oil if/as needed. set aside to cool.

in a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, and basil. Add the bread cubes and toss with just enough vinaigrette to coat the ingredients. season liberally with salt and pepper. serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.

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scarves

i love scarves. so much so that i own a ridiculous number of them that i keep rolled up in a massive ball in our hallway closet. not the best arrangement, especially when i decide that i “have to find the (insert colour/pattern) one” and end up pulling the whole damn lot out and watch it fall to a heaping pile at my feet. which then gets picked up, scrunched up and shoved back onto the shelf until the next time i “have to” find a certain scarf.

enter my second love.

(actually, 7th.. behind the boyfriend, our cat, cheese, bacon, british television and royals – in no particular order)

PINTEREST

i’ve mentioned my love of pinterest before (are you a member? if so, follow me!) but this is my newest and most helpful find.

scarf organization.

!!!

i bought cheap shower curtain rings at the dollar store and attached them to a hanger we already owned, and onto the rings my scarves went.

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how easy is that??

and look how organized i am! now i’ve got a foot and a half of shelf space in the closet that i can fill with a bunch of stuff i don’t need. :)

s,b&b