Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Happy!

A very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to all!

We will not be blogging to you for the 24th and 25th, but will return on the 26th!

If you need some gluten and dairy free Christmas inspiration, click here for our Peppermint Brownie recipe.

Namaste.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Pet of The Week!

Image courtesy of Shannon J.
I guess I wouldn't describe horses as pets per se, since they become more like a friend and confidant than a pet....

"Can you ever really own a horse?" - Jeff Winger, Community

My sister and mother have horses: my sister's horse Ricky Bobbie and my mother's horse Gucci. Both horses have provided them with a sense of healing, love, learning, and... of course... exercise!
Below, my mother has submitted a picture and excerpt about her horse, Gucci. My mother grew up on a farm in rural Alberta, and has had horses since she was little, so when she got Gucci, it brought back memories - especially about her Dad, who unfortunately passed away before I was born (the man was born in 1899!)
Image courtesy of Shannon J.



"She's good karma for me; she makes me calm - sticking to one thing at a time - and she teaches me more than I teach her. It feels so good to have a horse again, especially in such a beautiful part of the country and at such an awesome stable with awesome people; I have new members of my family out there.
Her stable name is 'Gucci', but her registered name is 'Only If You Ask.'
My husband really encouraged me to get a horse; I never thought I'd have one again! I'm so grateful that he did- I didn't realize how much I missed it until I had a horse again. It was my childhood passion, and I am so grateful that my husband encouraged me to go for it!"
- Shannon J

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Healthy, Happy Pasta Salad

Needing something quick, simple and light for dinner? Try my pasta salad; it will fill you up, but won't weigh you down!

(C)FrenchOnionSoupCalgary
Kath's Healthy, Happy Pasta Salad, Dressed Up!
2 cups cabbage mix (coleslaw cabbage)
half red onion, diced
3/4 large English cucumber, diced
1/2 of yellow bell pepper, diced
1 tbsp. garlic cloves, minced
2 hard boiled eggs, yolk removed 
1 cup cooked brown rice noodles (I used Tinkyada brown rice brand - they are non mushy!)
2 tsp. Becel Vegan Margarine

Throw first six ingredients in large bowl and toss. Cook rice noodles as it states on the package or until desired (I like my noodles firm).
While noodles cook, put together your dressing:

Dressing:
2 tbsp. gluten free mayonnaise
1/2 tbsp. gluten free dijon mustard (I used Walmart brand)
1/4 tsp. hot sauce (optional)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
dash of black pepper

Mix or whisk all ingredients in small bowl. Set aside, covered, in frig until you are ready to dress your salad. Stir in the margarine and, once noodles are cooled, add to salad. Dress salad, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly.

Enjoy!

(C)FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary

(1/4 cup serving= 2 Weight Watchers points!) 

Once your noodles are cooked, drain them and then cool them down with cold water over the sink.

One Of The Many Songs To Change Your Life

In high school, I "discovered" the music of Tom Petty and I fell head over heels. I had the chance to see Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers live in Calgary in 2010 with Joe Cocker opening... and it blew my mind!
Regardless of all of the more popular Petty songs, my all-time favourite song is called The Last DJ. To me, this song is more important now than ever.

Follow Tom Petty on Twitter here, or visit the official website.




Artist: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
The Last DJ
Well you can't turn him into a company man
You can't turn him into a whore
And the boys upstairs just don't understand anymore
Well the top brass don't like him talking so much,
And he won't play what they say to play
And he don't want to change what don't need to change

There goes the last DJ
Who plays what he wants to play
And says what he wants to say, hey hey hey...

And there goes your freedom of choice
There goes the last human voice
There goes the last DJ

Well some folks say they're gonna hang him so high
รข'Cause you just can't do what he did
There're some things you just can't put in the minds of those kids

As we celebrate mediocrity all the boys upstairs want to see
How much you'll pay for what you used to get for free

There goes the last DJ
Who plays what he wants to play
And says what he wants to say, hey hey hey...

And there goes your freedom of choice
There goes the last human voice
And there goes the last DJ

Well he got him a station down in Mexico
And sometimes it'll kind of come in
And I'll bust a move and remember how it was back then

And there goes the last DJ
Who plays what he wants to play
And says what he wants to say, hey hey hey...

And there goes your freedom of choice
There goes the last human voice.
And there goes the last DJ

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Let's Talk About... Fear

Many people have different theories about fear, but I find that the kind of universal "umbrella" theory about fear is that we are afraid of the unknown. I believe that this is true, as it applies to people who are scared of something like the spirit world - we can't really know until we die and, possibly, become part of the afterlife... thus, people are afraid because they don't know.
Or, like me, people are afraid of having no control. This is something that I work on continuously through my meditation and reflection - not being afraid that I will lose control of... well, anything! 

I now see it like this: We allow fear to have it's way with us. We allow fear to become debilitating, and we allow ourselves to become terrified. While some situations are admittedly terrifying, we can learn to take control and reel ourselves in. I'm not saying to say anything like, "Ghosts don't exist, ghost don't exist," but reciting a mantra of sorts to help us through: "I am in control of this situation. I am in control of my fear. I am scared, but I will not let it overtake my focus."
 Fear manifests from a deeper issue, kind of like my fear that zombies are actually real and are going to attack me. Totally silly, right? Totally! But, even though that I know this, I sometimes still have a difficult time getting to sleep since I feel the need to keep one eye open in case something decides to start snacking on my ankle. However, upon reflection, I realized that I know that zombies aren't real... but my underlying fear is that the world will end and that I will not be able to live and achieve what I want to achieve; live what I so want to live! I don't have control whether or not the world ends, but here I am, losing sleep over it. So, my solution is to live each day to the best of my ability, so that when I go to bed at night, I'm satisfied about my day and I can say that (even in the one in a trillion chance that the dead do rise) I am satisfied. Thus, I have ended my desire and this has ended my suffering. I have not mastered this and I don't expect that I will completely maybe for the rest of my life... but I am learning constantly to let go, end my desire and suffering, and not allow fear to overtake me. Don't take this as me saying, "You must have no fear!" Okay, people, this isn't Jedi training camp where I'm going to tell you that you must not have any emotions; sometimes it's fun to have fear and scare yourself! I'm saying that we should make a real effort to not let fear define us.

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."
- The Buddha

Namaste. 

Breakfast Time!

If you have allergies to dairy and gluten, then you know as well as I that breakfast can be the most challenging meal of the day! Fortunately, Pinterest has some awesome ideas for Coconut Quinoa Pudding and Chocolate Banana Breakfast Quinoa and they both sound absolutely delicious!
I took both ideas and kind of merged them together to create a delicious Chocolate Coconut Banana Breakfast Quinoa!
Gluten and dairy free, as always and the entire recipe is only 5 Weight Watchers points (I made this and could only eat half - so I've chilled it and will eat it tomorrow morning).

(C)FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary
Kath's Chocolate Coconut Banana Breakfast Quinoa
1/4 cup quinoa, uncooked
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup light coconut milk (I like Thai Kitchen)
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp. honey
1 banana, mashed

Cook quinoa in small stove top. Once all water has evaporated and quinoa has cooked, reduce heat to medium, and add mashed banana and coconut milk and stir. Add cocoa powder and honey and stir again. 
Once everything is thoroughly combined, remove from heat and let sit, covered, for about 5 minutes.
Pour into small bowl and enjoy!


(C)FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Get Crackin'!

I love crunchy stuff! Chips, crackers, anything! Especially when it's coating chicken or tofu - it just makes the meat (or meat alternative) taste incredible!
And, if you've been reading some of my recipes, you know that I like to coat my chicken and tofu with a plethora of different things! Well, this is definitely a different coating, but it tastes delicious and it uses all of those rice crackers that you probably have lying around.
So, just crush up a handful of rice crackers (I used Edward & Sons' Toasted Onion Baked Brown Rice Snaps), add your garlic powder, onion powder, gluten free bread crumbs, a little paprika and black pepper and coat your chicken or tofu!
Lots of crunch, lots of yum and gluten and dairy free, as always.

There's Always Time If You Make Time For... Music

"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music."
- Aldous Huxley
I love the quote above, and I also love who said it! Aldous Huxley wrote Brave New World and, if you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. 
 
Music is such a huge part of our lives - we hear it when we're shopping, traveling, working out, everywhere! Some of us may even imagine it in our heads as our "life soundtrack".
 Funny story; the reason Tom agree to get set up on a date with me is that his best friend told him that I love the Beatles (when I was doing some gentle Facebook stalking before we met, I saw a Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band shirt on him and I knew that he would get me).
I know how diverse and how impossible it is to even begin to describe music, but I think that we can all agree with what Huxley has said; music can move people, it can inspire and invigorate, and it always conveys a message... whether or not it has lyrics.
We should be grateful for music, and we should celebrate it! 
So, challenge yourself today! Don't be afraid to belt it out in the car, or rock out with your earphones in while you're waiting for the bus. 
How did you celebrate music today?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Daily Dose of... Buddha

“However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?”
-The Buddha



Namaste. 

"Oh Boy!" Orange Chicken

I'm calling this dish "Oh Boy! Orange Chicken" because this chicken will have your taste buds saying just that! "Oh, boy this is good!" Yes, I'm really tooting my own culinary horn here, but I'm quite proud of this recipe if I do say so myself!
Completely gluten and dairy free, and I paired it with cut up cucumbers and bell peppers with a drizzle of olive oil and some Italian seasoning, as well as my no-fry fries recipe.

Kath's "Oh Boy!" Orange Chicken
2 chicken breasts, cubed
1 tbsp corn syrup
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp Kikkoman Gluten Free soy sauce
2 tbsp Organicville Tangy Gluten Free BBQ Sauce
2 tsp. orange zest
1 tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup corn starch
1 egg white
rosemary, to taste

In small bowl, combine corn syrup, honey, lime juice, soy sauce, BBQ sauce, and orange zest and juice. Set aside.
Crack egg white into small bowl and spread cornstarch onto flat plate or surface for coating. Dip each cube of chicken into the egg white, and then coat with cornstarch. Place coated cubes onto non-stick frying pan and cook, stirring frequently, until outside of coated chicken is lightly browned.
Pour orange mixture on top of chicken cubes and stir. Cook for about 15 minutes on high or until chicken is cooked through. Add rosemary with about 5 minutes left to cook.

Enjoy!
(C)FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary

Friday, December 14, 2012

Daily Dose of... Buddha

“Hatred does not cease through hatred at any time. Hatred ceases through love. This is an unalterable law.”
- The Buddha

Namaste. 

Good Ole Gluten and Dairy Free Baking!

If you knew me about two years ago, you would know that baking wasn't my strong suit. One time, I tried to be nice and bake a cake for dessert but I ended having to throw out the cake pan... I still owe my mother a cake pan!
Anyways, now that I've expanded my horizons and have learned much about baking, I feel confident that I've become a jack (let's say... apprentice) of this trade!
I've looked at many different recipes and I have quite a few on my "to do" list, but in the Christmas spirit, I decided to tackle gingerbread! 
I got my inspiration from the Weight Watcher's gingerbread recipe but I changed a few things so that it suited my needs and tastes.
Below: my Gluten and Dairy Free Gingerbread Cookie recipe!
Gluten & Dairy Free Gingerbread Cookies
1 1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour (or use a GF baking flour mix)
1/2 tbsp. Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free baking powder
1/4 tsp. Bob's Red Mill baking soda
2 tbsp cinnamon, ground
1/8 tsp. nutmeg, ground
2 tsp. ginger, ground
1/2 tsp. allspice, ground
1 egg white
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp honey
1/3 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup Becel Vegan Margarine, melted

Mix together first 7 dry ingredients and set aside. Whisk together egg white, sugar, honey, syrup and margarine. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk until a thick dough forms.
Separate dough into pieces (as many as you'd like - remember, when you're cutting out cookie shapes, the size of the dough pieces should coincide with the counter space you have available) and wrap in either parchment paper or plastic wrap. Place in frig for 45 minutes - 1 hour until dough is firm but not stiff.
Heat oven to 375F. Grease or spray cookie sheet. Place dough on floured surface and roll out until about the thickness of half of your pinkie fingernail. Use cookie cutters or a knife to cut out cookie shapes and patterns. Apply any oven-safe decorations or candies and place in oven.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on oven. Use toothpick test to confirm that cookies are fully baked.
Let cookies cool, decorate, and enjoy!
(C)FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary

Thursday, December 13, 2012

An Astonishing Recipe!

When I use the word "astonishing" I don't mean that the recipe itself is astonishing... I mean that it's astonishing as to who made the recipe (it's actually very good, though).
And by who made the recipe I mean... Thomas. Yes, my own fiance Thomas, who couldn't boil water until earlier this year - I swear I'm not making that up!
Anyways, this delectable creation comes from the other night, when I was busy studying and not hungry enough to feed him, so he decided to take matters into his own hands. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I'm pretty sure that he was inspired by me! :)
It's gluten and dairy free, too!

Tom's Easy Honey-Mustard Chicken
8 oz. chicken breast
1 tbsp. yellow mustard
1 tbsp. honey
2 tsp. Italian seasoning (used Safeway brand)
pinch of salt and pepper
dash of rosemary

Heat oven to 350F.  Line baking sheet with tin foil.
Combine mustard, honey, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper in small bowl thoroughly.
Place chicken breast on foil and coat with mustard mixture.
Cook for 10- 12 minutes, then flip breast over. Coat other side with remaining mustard mixture and cook for another 10 -12 minutes.

Enjoy!
(C)FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary

Let's Talk About... The Power of 'Thank You'

In many religions, national traditions, and in every day life, we are taught to be thankful. We are taught the a simple, 'Thank You' can turn a day, or even a life, around!
I try to put this into effect wherever I go... even at Walmart!
Yes, I know, Wally's World? Why?

Well, Tom and I go there a ton for their produce. Not only is it cheap, it tastes good, and they (apparently, mind you) buy locally. Anyways, I always try to strike up a conversation with the cashier. Tom tries to tell me it's embarrassing but he's just jealous that I'm so outgoing (or so I tell myself).
The cashier that night had a very sad air about her and, as I asked her how she was, her eyes teared up and she said, "Not so great."
I told her that I was sorry for that, and ended up talking to her a bit. Turns out that her grandmother was in the hospital and she was very worried about her, but her supervisor wouldn't let her have even 15 minutes to just chill out and relax. She was close to bursting into tears, so I grabbed a Caramilk bar from the candy bar rack and put it on the conveyor belt. Tom looked at me and was like, "You can't have chocolate!" 
I told the girl that it was for her to get her through her shift and she smiled and asked if I was sure. Of course I was sure about a $2.00 candy bar for someone having such a terrible night!
She smiled and said thanks and finished processing the rest of our groceries. 
After we paid, I said, "Thank you! You did a great job!"
The smile on her face warmed my little heart and I had a comparable smile on my own face.

Moral of this story is that no, I am not a saint, but by saying "Thank you" and seeing even the tiniest smile on her face and knowing that, even if for a moment, I did something to help her out... then that's what it's all about! Plus, I got a warm feeling from it which is fabulous as well.

Challenge yourself today! Say "Thank You" to everyone you meet and watch the positivity and love take flight!

Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Perfect Pan Pizza!

For people with allergies, eating pizza can seem like a thing of the past. We give up so much in terms of comfort food to be healthy - no compromising for health!- but it sucks to give up foods that we once loved! You don't have to anymore.... here's a pizza recipe to quench your craving!

Images (C)FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary
Kath's Perfect Pan Pizza
1/2 box of gluten free, dairy free pizza dough (I like Gluten Free Pantry's French Bread and Pizza Mix)
Pizza Sauce:
1/2 cup medium salsa
1/4 cup ketchup
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup veggie antipasto

Toppings (optional):
handful of Daiya brand Mozzarella - style shredded cheese
2 tbsp. bacon bits
1/2 of red bell pepper
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
2 tbsp. basil
gluten free, dairy free pepperoni slices

Heat oven to 450F. Spray pizza sheet with cooking spray.
Spread pizza dough on pizza sheet and shape to desired thickness. Curl edges up if you wish to create crust. Throw toppings on top of pizza.
Place in oven, and cook for 15-20 minutes until outside is crunchy and golden brown and cheese is melted.
Once out of oven, let cool for 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
(C)FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary

Note: I ordered my Gluten Free Pantry mix from The Gluten Free General Store

Let's Talk About... Happiness And Anger

"For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

Ahh, yet another way to cook a delicious chicken dinner! This is easy, delicious, and (as always) gluten and dairy free! 
I got the idea for the dipping sauce from Sandi Richard though I did not copy the recipe, she gave me the inspiration for it from her cookbook, Dinner Survival.
(note: if you haven't tried Amaranth before, maybe make less than the recipe calls for)

Kath's Rosemary Chicken Fingers with Sweet Honey-Garlic Dipping Sauce and Amaranth 
making for 2 with leftovers
10 chicken fillets 
Image (C)FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary
1/2 cup kinnickinnick gluten free panko-style bread cumbs
3 tbsp. garlic powder
3 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. powdered black pepper
pinch of salt
2 tbsp. rosemary leaves
1 egg white for dipping

1 cup amaranth
2 cups water

Dipping Sauce (or use as a gravy if preferred) :
1 gluten free beef bouillon cube
water
2 tbsp. honey-garlic sauce
2 tbsp. jam (any kind - I prefer Bumbleberry jam for this recipe)
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. onion powder
2 tsp. chili powder

Heat oven to 375F. Boil water in medium-sized saucepan for amaranth. Once boiled, add amaranth and reduce to simmer. Let cook, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes.

Mix bread crumbs with spices on flat sheet or plate for coating. Dunk each chicken fillet in egg white, then coat with bread crumb mixture. Place on cooking sprayed cookie sheet. Once all fillets have been coated, place chicken in oven and let cook for 20 minutes, but set timer for 15 minutes.

Once timer rings for chicken, set it for an additional five minutes. You will take this time to get started on your dipping sauce. Make sure to follow instructions for cooking beef bouillon cube. Once beef bouillon has dissolved completely, add the rest of the ingredients while boiling until all ingredients are combined. Reduce heat and let simmer until timer rings for chicken.

Plate, and enjoy!
(we put some parsley, black pepper, salt and margarine on our amaranth and it was pretty good!)
(C)FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary
 

Cooking Is An Art!

I have two main hobbies (though I like to consider myself a kind of "Renaissance Woman")- Art History and Cooking. And, while they may seem completely different, I like to argue that they actually aren't that different.
I consider cooking to be an art; think of your frying pan, saucepan, oven, etc. as your tools to create this art - like a paintbrush or sponge, etc.!
Then, think of your meat, tofu, veggies, whatever, as your canvas with your spices and other flavouring devices as your "paint" - your colour! 
Ever created a recipe that made your own mouth water and made you toot your own horn? Well, you're just as comparable to Leonardo da Vinci - he experimented before creating his best works!
I have a rule when I'm trying a new recipe for dinner: if it tastes awful, I will order in! Fortunately, I haven't had to yet.

I'm not a classically trained chef, nor have I ever taken any cooking classes or courses, but I love to do it and I believe that that is what makes me good at it. You have to let yourself go in the kitchen; don't be afraid to try new things and don't give up on it or on yourself!
If I can do, you can!

Namaste.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tacos Tacos Tacos!

What? Tacos? On a gluten and dairy free diet? 
You got it!
Let's face it, people with allergies like me have given up eating many things for our health. Not that I'm complaining about my health improving, but I openly drooled over a plate of mussels that my mother ordered. It was a tragic day.
Anyways, the other night Tom and I had spent two hours at the gym and, when we got home, we were hungry! So, I thought I would whip up some turkey and we could have tacos! Hard tacos, mind you, but I've found that the gluten and dairy free soft tortillas fall apart sooner than a celebrity marriage.
So, here's my recipe for delicious turkey tacos (and lunch the next day).
The recipe is similar to my Mexi-Thai Minced Pork recipe. Click the link for refresh your memory!

(Recipe is making for two)
Image (C)FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary
Kath's Total Turkey Tacos
500 g extra lean, minced turkey
Becel Vegan margarine
2 (or more) Old El Paso hard corn taco shells
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp. chili powder
2 tbsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. onion powder
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp. minced garlic cloves
handful of Daiya peppercorn Jack-style "cheese"
salsa
lettuce
chopped bell peppers
caramelized onions
your choice of toppings

In large frying pan, melt margarine and oil together over medium heat. Add turkey and pull apart with forks. Stir occasionally.
Once turkey is lightly browned, sprinkle chili powder on top and stir. Add more margarine - about 2 tsp. Let turkey cook, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes then add garlic powder, onion powder and paprika. Let cook for about 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
This would be the time to start caramelizing your onions.
After 10 minutes, turkey should be a deep brown colour -reminiscent of beef taco meat. Add ketchup and garlic cloves and stir. Let cook, again stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes more.
Add turkey mixture to shells, along with your caramelized onions or any other topping you have chosen and enjoy!
(C)FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary

Why Not... Write It Down?

Many people don't journal; either they feel that they have no time to, they don't have anything to write in, or (the worst excuse!) they 'don't know how to!
It's not that hard; you can keep a journal on your computer, on blank sheets of paper, a notebook- there are so many mediums that one can use for a journal!
I like to journal because, if I'm having an issue or I just have a thought in my head that I know is ridiculous but I can't stop thinking about it, I journal! That way, it becomes an outlet for me and, later I can go back and read through what was bothering me and see if it still makes sense when I read it!
Often, it doesn't. So, I learn something, and I get to improve myself, too!
It can also help you as a kind of way to "let go" of the past, or even if something in your future is worrying you! Let your pen help you to let go of your worries!

If you meditate, it is recommended that you keep a journal about what you may feel, see, etc. during a sit down of meditation. I think that everyone can benefit from journal-ing!
So, challenge yourself this week; make the effort to journal every day and see if it can help make a difference in your life, too!

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
- The Buddha



Saturday, December 8, 2012

Pet of The Week!

It's time for French Onion Soup Saturday's Pet of The Week!

Since I've introduced you to our other animals, this week, meet Bella!

Tom and I rescued Bella in February 2011 and she has been a rambunctious, wonderful addition to our family ever since!
We got her from the Meow Foundation here in Calgary. The Meow Foundation has a no-kill policy, so they do not euthanize the cats that they find. They are funded solely by donations and adoptions from people like you! The cats come to you healthy, though some feral, and all are spayed or neutered. The vet that my family has been going to for years actually helps The Meow Foundation with spays and neuters. 
If you're interested in The Meow Foundation, click here to visit their website.
Meow Foundation

Friday, December 7, 2012

Expand Your Vocab

Remember my post on pain and suffering? If not, you can read it in all it's glory here.

The Buddha taught about Nirvana, which is basically a state of perfection, a state of absolute Enlightenment. In Sanskrit, the word loosely translates to "extinguishing", which we take to mean extinguishing the dukkha (suffering) and entering Ultimate Enlightenment.

"I teach one thing and one thing only, suffering and the end of suffering."
-The Buddha
  

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Almond-Orange Chicken!

I think that many have done a take on this, but some may not make their chicken gluten and dairy free. This chicken, however, is completely gluten and dairy free!
I served this with corn on the cob and cucumbers and it was just the perfect size.
Tom and I have been portioning as we have both been losing weight, but we've both kind of reached a stand-still. So, I just made one 8 oz. chicken breast and we split it.
Tweak the recipe if you need to make for more chicken.

Image courtesy of Microsoft Images
Kath's Almond-Orange Chicken
chicken breast
1 tbsp. orange zest
2 tbsp. kinnickinnick gluten free panko-style bread crumbs
2 tbsp. crushed almonds
1 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 375F. Combine orange zest, bread crumbs, and crushed almonds on plate or flat board for coating. Mix together extract and oil in small bowl. 
Dip chicken breast in oil and extract mixture, and then coat generously with orange and almond mixture.
Spray small baking sheet with cooking spray, and place breast on sheet. 
Cook for 20 -25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Enjoy!
(C)FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary

A Great Quote About Cooking!

"Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all."
- Harriet Van Horne

 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Benefits of Yoga

Yoga is a fabulous sport, and yoga and Buddhism go very well together. Yoga, in Tibetan Buddhism, is actually an advanced form of practicing! 
We came across the inspiring story of Ida Herbert, a 92 year old Toronto woman who holds the Guinness World Record for Oldest Yoga Teacher. How inspiring!
Click here for Ida's story and video!

A Pre- Christmas Treat!

Eating well can be difficult this time of year, and avoiding allergen-infested treats and eats can be even harder! So, I've come up with a delicious, gluten and dairy free alternative for when you need a bit of sweet.

Gluten & Dairy Free Peppermint Brownie
1/2 cup peppermint dust (take a candy cane and grate it)
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/8 cup gluten free baking powder
1/8 cup potato starch
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
2 tbsp. honey

Heat oven to 350F. In medium-sized bowl, mix together dry ingredients, saving some of the peppermint dust. 
Stir in oil, water, eggs and honey until a nice paste forms. Pour mixture into well-greased or cooking sprayed cake pan. 
Put into oven and bake for 15 minutes. May need more time depending on oven. You can always use the toothpick trick.
Once brownies are done, cut into sections and sprinkle remaining peppermint dust on top.
Serve warm! Enjoy!
(C)FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary

Monday, December 3, 2012

Let Them Eat Cake!

So I'm just going to break it to you now, this isn't a recipe for cake.... HOWEVER, it is a dessert recipe, made specially for those of us afflicted with allergies!
Quite delicious, and pleases the palate of others as well!
(It's good as breakfast, too or as a snack when you feel you need some sweet)

Kath's Brilliant Banana Dessert!
(making for two)
Image (C)FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary
2 bananas
1 1/2 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. brown sugar

1/4 cup vanilla almond yogurt
assorted nuts/candies (optional)

Spray a small frying pan with cooking spray and place on stove between low and medium heat (as shown in picture to right). Place vanilla extract in pan and heat for about a minute. Place bananas in pan and sprinkle half of cinnamon and half of brown sugar over bananas. After about 3-5 minutes (depending on stove) flip bananas and sprinkle on remaining cinnamon and sugar. The vanilla extract should be fragrant by now. Let cook for another 3-5 minutes.
Image (C)FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary

While waiting for bananas, spoon 1/4 cup of vanilla almond yogurt each into 2 bowls. Can add nuts or candies (I would suggest against this, but if you're looking for decadence, then go for it!), or even extra cinnamon onto yogurt.
When timer rings for banana, use tongs to remove banana from frying pan and cut into slices. Place banana slices into yogurt, and drizzle any remaining vanilla on top.

Enjoy!
(C)FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary

Daily Dose of ... Buddha

“There has to be evil so that good can prove its purity above it.”
-The Buddha


Namaste. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Pet of The Week!

Ahhh... December! A time of cheer, decorations, food, and peppermint! I've promised myself that I will try to make a delicious, allergen-free drink for Christmas... so, when I make one with success, I will post the recipe!
Anyways....
Our Pet of The Week for this week is Theo, our flabby tabby!

A couple of years ago, for Christmas, I got the brilliant idea to dress Theo up in a Santa hat and costume... word of the wise- cats aren't too fond of costume or hats or anything that generally encroaches on their little bubble... as clearly shown in this picture:
Image copyright to me
 It's hilarious; I can't type without laughing! 

Poor guy... I don't think I could do this to him again!

Have a fabulous December 1st!

Friday, November 30, 2012

'Ncredible November!

What an awesome month for us here at French Onion Soup Blog!
We have learned so much in this past month, and we look forward to passing our knowledge, positivity, and taste for good food onto French Onion Soup Blog!

We feel privileged to have this medium to post on, and we hope that we have been helpful and inspiring to you! Please look forward to many more recipes, inspiration, and compassion!

So, a big THANK YOU to all of our readers, followers, supporters, everybody!

See you shortly, in December!

Daily Dose of... Inspiration!

As some of you may know, I have started following the Weight Watchers Program to shape up for my wedding! I've had quite a bit of success with it, and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone wanting to lose weight, eat better or just generally feel better about yourself! Plus, I cook WAAYY better now than I used to!
Please feel free to have a good read; I'm not paid to promote Weight Watchers or anything but I love the program and to promote positivity!
Below is an inspiring, funny, and uplifting article commending the program written by someone who has had success with Weight Watchers:
"Being university students, we have all heard about the “Freshmen Fifteen” in which freshmen students are said to gain at least fifteen pounds in the first year of university. Reasons for this weight gain can include: hectic schedules, sleepless nights, quick and easy fast food, neglecting nutrition, and the only workout received is partaking in beer pong competitions. An easy fix to beating the “Freshmen Fifteen" is a weight loss program called Weight Watchers. I am sure most of us have seen the commercials with Jennifer Hudson and Jessica Simpson endorsing the Weight Watchers program, leaving one to wonder whether or not the Weight Watchers program actually does work. However, having tried this program myself, I can agree 100% with Jennifer Hudson and Jessica Simpson that Weight Watchers does, in fact, work.
I first started Weight Watchers in 2007 when I was in grade twelve because my dream pair of jeans was Rock and Republics by Victoria Beckham. Being in high school, I didn’t have a high-paying job, so I knew I could not afford to buy these $300 jeans. My mom, knowing I wanted these jeans, took the situation to her advantage and made a deal with me. My mom told me that if I lost twenty pounds by graduation that she would take me shopping to buy these pants. As I wanted these pants like no other, I took my mom up on her offer. Not knowing how to approach weight loss, my mom suggested that I try Weight Watchers, as she had had success with the program before. My mom got me the book (name of book) and I followed the program on my own, simply by counting points and exercising a few times a week. After two months, I successfully lost twenty pounds and got my jeans in time for graduation. Since then, every time I have wanted to lose weight I turn to the Weight Watchers program simply because I know it works.
Being a university student myself and knowing the benefits of the Weight Watchers program, I have come up with four positive benefits on why you should try Weight Watchers. If you want to change your lifestyle and feel healthier about yourself, you should follow my four benefits in joining this program.
They are: point system is easy to follow, you are able to eat what you normally do within moderation, cost effective, and you are not required to workout.
The first benefit of the Weight Watchers program is that the program is easy to follow. The Weight Watchers program is run off a point system; based on your sex, age, weight and height. For example: if you weigh 127 pounds, 5’6 tall, and are twenty years old, you take the first two digits of your weight (12), you get 6 points for being a female, two more points for being 5’6 and 1 point for being twenty years old. From that calculation you get to eat 21 points each day and, based on your diet, the book indicates what eat food idea is worth in terms of points. You base what you eat over the course of the day on how many points you can eat. The good thing about Weight Watchers is that all fruit contains no point value and most vegetables contain no point value, meaning if you are hungry you can eat an endless amount of fruit and vegetables.
Weight Watchers bases itself around maintaining the way you eat today, within moderation. In other words, you can eat a chocolate bar for dessert as they are only five points depending on what you eat throughout the day you can still afford to eat this at night. This diet program allows the person on the diet to even eat out at restaurants and fast food joints as Weight Watchers has a guide for eating out. The problem I find with other diets is that you become deprived of what you normally eat, causing you to break your diet and “binge-eat”, making lots of other diet plans unsuccessful for the long term. Weight Watchers is a way of life more than it is a diet, so we learn portion control for now and for the future. After being on Weight Watchers for quite a while, it becomes easier to know how much and what you are supposed to be eating.
As most of us are in university, we all know that we are starving students living pay cheque to pay cheque. This means, more often than not, that grabbing a cheap burger on the go is easier than going to the grocery store. Weight Watchers program is cost effective as the program does not cost a lot to join and you do not need to eat Weight Watchers food. The book  cost me ten dollars and I do the program on my own. However, if you want help setting goals, or to partake in a weekly weigh in, it does cost more money; most of us can afford to follow Weight Watchers program on a minimal budget, leaving those fast food joints alone. 
Though I’m not a fan of working out, I found this program to be the right fit for me as regular exercise is not essential in order to succeed in the Weight Watchers program. Working out in the Weight Watchers program allows you to eat more food points over the course of the day. Being busy university students, not all of us have time to fit set aside to workout leaving Weight Watchers being my number one choice for weight loss.
In contemplating these four simple benefits of joining Weight Watchers, you too will feel better about yourself. Not only does losing weight make you feel better physically but it also contributes to a higher self-esteem and higher levels of energy. Through becoming a Weight Watchers member you too can try to beat the dreaded “Freshmen Fifteen”."
Courtesy of : Anonymous Author

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Knowledge is Power!

Sometimes I just have to laugh looking at people's political debates on Facebook or Twitter - it comes to a point where neither person is going to agree, so why can't they just agree to disagree? I'm not saying giving up on standing up for what you believe it, but (from my observational standpoint) people generally tend to get mad when others are very 'in-your-face' about some things!

I think the best thing that we can all realize is that we all have different opinions. I'm not just talking about politics or religion, but about some topics as simple as your spouse not making the bed right, or having a difference of opinions on where your TV should go! We all differ on most everything, so why can't we just accept it?
 
One of the things that drew me to Buddhism was the fact that it revolves very closely around tolerance (among many other things) and encouragement of positivity and love... but never journeying far from reality. The Buddha taught what he believed, but he did not expect others to see it the same way - he never decreed war on anyone else because they did not believe the same thing he did. He had an, "if you believe it, great! But if you don't, that's okay too!" attitude. I see The Buddha's life and teachings as a never-ending study, a never-ending lesson... and thus, should strive to live this way. We must take it all as a lesson.

I wonder what the world would be like if we spent more time on Education. What if we brought other religions into our schools' curriculum? I'm not saying force children to believe in one religion or another, but simply presenting an ... alternative... and information about that other religion or belief. What if our teachers spent some time teaching about other countries and their customs? Again, not saying that this or that is right or wrong, but just offering information about these different places in the world. Would this not encourage tolerance? Education is our greatest resource, and our next generations our greatest gifts. What would happen if we educated every one of them?
I know that there will be many people who speculate that giving each child in the world an education could prove dangerous, but I hold steady to my belief that we can only help the Earth with education.
Remember, everything is a lesson!
 
So, try to learn something new today? My best friend told me about these incredible sea creatures called Blanket Jellyfish that literally look like giant, transparent blankets! 
Or, do you know how to say, "I love you" in several different languages?

“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”
-The Buddha
 
Namaste. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Crunch Time!

Tofu is often referred to as an "acquired taste". I don't necessarily agree with that, but I sure don't disagree with it either! Tofu is a formidable meat alternative for those with allergies like mine that have limited options for meat, and sometimes, no matter how many creative ways we come up with the cook chicken... it can be just be plain boring.

Know what's not boring? A fun tofu recipe with CRUNCH! (Plus a little 'side dish' for all you former fast-food junkies out there!)
Behold:

Kath's Crunchy Tofu Sticks
with Garlic-Pecan Onion "Rings"

For tofu:
1 egg
Image is copyright to me
2 tbsp. lime juice
350 g of extra firm tofu, cut into about 20 strips (I prefer "Sunrise" brand)
1/2 cup Kinnickinnick gluten free Panko style bread crumbs
1/2 cup gluten and dairy free crushed yellow corn chips
2 tbsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. rosemary
pinch of salt & pepper
ketchup (optional)

Heat oven to 350F. 
Whisk egg and lime juice together in small bowl for dipping. Combine dry ingredients (excluding tofu) on small, flat board or plate for coating. Once you have cut the tofu into strips, dunk into egg, then coat with corn chip mixture. Place coated strips onto oiled (or cooking sprayed) cookie sheet, and sprinkle a pinch of corn chip mixture on top of each.
Once all tofu strips have been coated, place tofu in oven and set timer for 20 minutes.
I would be curious to see how this turns out with chicken, turkey or pork "fingers"! If you try it, let me know! I will be trying this on one of my meats in the future :)

For onion "rings": - these are "Man Pleasing"!!
1 egg
1/2 large red onion, sliced and separated into rings
2 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
3/4 cup crushed pecans

Bring out another cookie sheet and oil/ cooking spray it. 
Whisk egg in small bowl for dipping. Combine dry ingredients (excluding onion) on small, flat board or plate for coating. Dunk each ring into egg, then coat with pecan mixture. 
Place rings onto cookie sheet. (Keep in mind that the pecan will absorb the liquid quickly!)

Once timer rings for tofu, flip the tofu strips and place onion rings in oven. Set timer for another 20 minutes.

There is no real "pretty" way to plate these two together, so you can just throw 'em on a plate together and eat! I recommend dipping tofu sticks in ketchup, but it is completely optional.

Enjoy!
(C)FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary