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
 
 


Daily Dose of ... Buddha

“In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.”
- The Buddha

Namaste. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

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This Store Is My Lifeline In These Allergen-Infested Times!

My dad took Tom and I to the Boston Pizza by our house the other night. It was delicious, don't get me wrong, but I find that I can only eat certain things (no offense, BP, but your gluten-free pizza dough isn't fan-tabulous! I suggest adding a coconut flour to whatever gf flour mixture it is that you're using!) - ever ordered a spinach salad, no cheese, no dressing, no croutons, with extra bacon bits and had the server look at you over the top of your glasses like he thinks that you're insane?
Yeah... well, I have.
ANYWAYS, my post today is more focused on a gluten free, dairy free lifesaver that I've been thankful to have found! 
Sandra's Original Gluten Free General Store is my gluten-free, dairy-free go to for affordable food! She doesn't carry produce or anything (obviously... that's why the universe gave us Walmart), but she does have frozen breakfasts, dinners, everything your little allergic hearts desire!
And, the kicker... she delivers! On time! We're not talking waiting for the UPS truck for six weeks delivery, we're talking delivery on the dot, when she says it will be there delivery!
I've had the pleasure of meeting Sandra myself, and she is probably one of the sweetest people that you will ever meet!
She's opening up a retail store here, but I have to say that I am probably going to be a die-hard delivery chick for the foreseeable future!

Thanks, Sandra's Original Gluten Free General Store! 

 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Challenge Yourself!

It's Monday. For most people, you've had a work-free weekend and have got up at a too-early time this morning! I'm sure there was groaning and complaining and adversity to end the relationship with your bed! We've all been there!
Today, though, let's take a challenge! Take your "Vitamin Me" today and wake up on the bright side of the bed - even if you have to force yourself to smile!

I believe that positive self-talk is one of the most important things that you can do for yourself! I need to practice this more, but remember that it is all learning and it is always a work in progress. So, let's take this challenge together! Wake up with a smile and say, "I can do this!" 

I find it helpful to say it to myself out loud. I've been making quite the effort to work out as much as I can (it's a great break from studying!) and I told myself, "I can do this! I'm proud of me!" And it felt awesome

Feel this yourself today! Empower yourself! Change the world by changing yourself!
You can do it!
acoustic guitars,African descent,broaches,couples,expressions,faces,happy,musicians,people,relationships,smiling,stringed instruments,women,leisure

 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pet of The Week!

Last Monday, our dog Riley got spayed. It was tragic.
She's fine, obviously, but I do feel bad for her since she's going stir crazy but she should be able to go back to daycare on Monday. She loves doggy daycare; she comes home and is exhausted! It's awesome!
So, because my sweet little baby pup has had her cone on for almost two weeks, Riley is our Pet of The Week!

Have an animal that you think deserves a paragraph or two? Email me with a picture and a little blurb about your fantastic furbaby and I'll feature them on French Onion Soup Saturdays!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Crazy for The Crock Pot!

My crock pot is one of my favourite kitchen tools, especially since some nights I work until 9:30pm and sometimes I'm not home in time to make a nice meal. Throwing a whole bunch of stuff in a crock pot and letting my I-don't-know-how-to-boil-water fiance decide if he wants it on salad or rice is (generally) pretty straightforward and easy!
If you've read my last post, you know that I was doing some experimenting in the kitchen. We have a whole bunch of minced pork lying around and I really needed to (again) come up with something simple, creative and... well, edible!
So, behold my Honey Garlic Crock Pot Pork!

Image copyrighted to me
Kath's Easy Honey Garlic Crock Pot Pork
500 g lean ground pork
1/2 cup gluten free ketchup
1/4 cup Kikkoman Gluten Free Soy Sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/8 cup gluten free maple syrup
3 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. cornstarch

1/2 red onion, diced
2 tsp. Becel Vegan Margarine

Pull pork apart and place into crock pot. Stir in all ingredients except for onion and margarine. Ensure that ingredients have been mixed thoroughly and that the pork is coated. Turn crock pot on Low and let cook for 6- 8 hours.

Before you leave for the day, you may choose to caramelize the onions. If you do not want to, or you don't have time, just throw the onions into the crock pot. I strongly suggest caramelizing them as they add a lot to the dish.
To caramelize onions: melt margarine in small frying pan on medium heat. Add chopped onion and stir consistently until browned and sweet smelling. Add onions to top of pork mixture in crock pot; do not stir.

When you arrive home, ensure pork has cooked through, and serve mixture over salad, as a salad wrap, on rice, noodles, etc.

Enjoy!
©FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Daily Dose of... Buddha

“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you."
- The Buddha
 Namaste.

Pull That Chicken; Pull It Real Good!

It's another chicken dish, but I promise you that it is completely unique and that it will leave you satisfied and wanting more!
It's low calorie, low fat and full of flavour! Seriously savory and sweet - yum! I'm quite proud of myself on the marrying of flavours in this one!
Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Image copyright to me
Kath's Sweet, Savory Pulled Chicken Salad
(making for two)
8 oz. chicken (or about 6 chicken fillets)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar (preferably with the Mother still in)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground ginger

drizzle of sesame oil

In average-sized bowl, combine apple cider, applesauce, cinnamon, brown sugar, cumin, garlic powder and ground ginger. Should form a brown, "gritty" looking paste. Coat chicken in paste, so that it is thoroughly covered.

Heat oil over medium heat on stove top. Place chicken on oil, brown for five minutes and then flip over. Reduce heat to simmer and cover, simmering for 10 minutes; watch chicken closely as brown sugar caramelizes quickly and sticks.While chicken is simmering, you have time to make the salad dressing!

Cucumber Lemon Mint Salad Dressing
1/4 of medium cucumber, grated
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
5 tbsp. gluten & dairy free mayonnaise
several chopped mint leaves

Whisk all ingredients together in bowl. Set in frig until ready to dress salad.

Once timer rings for chicken, set chicken on plate or board for shredding. Chicken should easily pull apart when using two forks.
Dress salad.
Place pulled chicken  on dressed salad and eat!

Enjoy!
©FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mexi-Thai Minced Pork!

Ola! Ready for a Mexi-Thai themed dish to spice up Wednesday night dinner?
That's right, all the sweet and spicy flavour you've come to love from both food nationalities!
This is a recipe I came up whilst thinking (and yes, experimenting) to get rid of the minced pork that I have been trying to cook for what seems like ages now!
And, yes! It's gluten & dairy free! 
(Image is copyrighted to me)
 

Kath's Mexi-Thai Minced Pork
500 g lean, minced pork
2 tbsp. garlic, minced
1/2 large red onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 tbsp. sesame oil (can use olive or canola as well)
lettuce, any type
1/4 Daiya pepperjack style shredded cheese (I prefer Daiya as it is completely allergen-free)
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
2 tsp. rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp. lime juice
1 -2 tbsp. Becel Vegan Margarine

Take 1/4 of diced onion, 1/2 of the red bell pepper, and the garlic and pulse for 5 seconds in food processor or until minced. Heat oil in large frying pan in between medium and high heat on stove and then add onion/garlic/pepper mixture. Cook for three minutes, then add pork, using two forks to pull pork apart. Cover.
Meanwhile, combine cumin, coriander, and brown sugar in small bowl until thoroughly combined. Stir in lemon juice, lime juice, and rice wine vinegar, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
In smaller frying pan, heat margarine over medium heat. Once melted, place the other 1/4 of the red onion in pan to be caramelized. Do NOT forget about your caramelizing onions; stir them often!
Uncover pork and check to ensure that it has become a deep brown colour. Once deeply browned, add brown sugar mixture and stir, making sure that the mixture covers everything in pan. Reduce heat to simmer and let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. When there is only 2-3 minutes left, stir in cheese.
Suggested serving:Add other 1/2 of red bell pepper to bottom of large bowl and place lettuce on top. Once timer rings for pork, place lettuce onto plate, then scoop pork mixture on top. Top pork with caramelized onions and (if preferred) more cheese.
©FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary

Enjoy!
Namaste


Daily Dose Of... Buddha

Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others. He who envies others not obtain peace of mind.”
- The Buddha

Namaste. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Makin' Banana Pancakes...

It's no secret that I'm addicted to Pinterest, and healthy eating recipes on Pinterest, and wedding ideas on Pinterest, etc. So, when I came across a recipe for pancakes using only a banana and eggs, I jumped at the chance to make them and added my own little additions!

I was only making for myself, and the original recipe called for two eggs and one whole banana (mashed), so I used 1/2 a banana and 1 egg. I also added 1 tsp. of vanilla extract and sprinkled ground cinnamon into the mixture.

After whipping all of that together, I just poured it onto a frying pan like I would with regular pancakes. I was afraid that they might be really flimsy and fall apart, but they flipped like normal pancakes, and it only took two minutes for each side on medium heat. 

They tasted fabulous; very light, like a crepe. I didn't put anything on top of them in terms of syrup, but you absolutely could if you wanted to; I just put a bit of Becel Vegan Margarine on top and they were gold!

My for one recipe made about 4 pancakes, and only 2 Weight Watchers Points Plus! And, of course, completely dairy, gluten, seafood, allergen free! Unless you're allergic to bananas or eggs :(

Check out the original recipe here.

Enjoy!

Namaste.

Monday, November 19, 2012

My Religion Is Kindness

“Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.”
- The Buddha
Namaste.

Start Your Day The Spicy Way! Get A Load of This Guac!

Heyyyyy guacamole!!

Who's up for some gluten free, dairy free, delicious guacamole to start your Monday off spicy?

Kath's Hey Guacamole!
3 ripe avocados (I let them soften up a bit as they are easier to smush!)
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp. gluten free, dairy free mayonnaise
1/2 tbsp. hot sauce
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. garlic powder

The only word I can think of is "smush" the avocados in a medium sized bowl. Add onion, mayonnaise and hot sauce, stirring until the white of the mayo and the red of the hot sauce has 'disappeared' into the green of the avocados. Add lime and lemon juices, stirring into the avocado mixture. Add garlic powder and combine thoroughly.
Eat with anything and everything!
©FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary

Tom and I even dipped my homemade No Fry Fries into it and it was amazing!

Namaste

Friday, November 16, 2012

My Famous Fajitas!

Ohhh how I love fajitas! Sizzling, succulent, mouth wateringly good fajitas!
This recipe was a recipe that I got, believe it or not, when I was in Grade 7 in Home Economics (they called it Foods & Fashion to be less "sexist" but we all just called it Home Ec - nice try, though CBE!) and I've tweaked it to be a bit more grown up!
Now, I'm tweaking it to be gluten and dairy free... the results have been fantastic, but I've yet to debut the new allergen-free (for me, anyways) fajitas at the occasional Fajita Fridays that we sometimes have! The last one was a success :)
OOH - just got a fab idea - what if I made them and served them with the Quinoa Tortillas I found on Pinterest?! Oh wow, I can't wait for the next Fajita Friday! 
This recipe I usually BBQ, but if you live in Calgary right now then BBQing's the last thing you wanna do, so I've included instructions for baking, too.
Below, I've tailored the recipe for 6 people, but these are a sure-fire hit, so you may want to double the recipe! And, remember, fajitas can have whatever you want in them, so don't feel obligated to follow the fillings or spices exactly as they are here; these are merely what has been popular with our fajita eaters!

Kath's "Famous" Fajitas!
6 gluten free, dairy free tortillas (or check out my Pinterest page for a recipe on DIY Quinoa Tortillas)
6 chicken breasts, diced
2 cups salsa - "medium" is delicious, "hot" is good
1 tbsp. olive or canola oil
1 cup Daiya Monterey Jack style dairy free cheese
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp. garlic, minced
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can beans, any type (I prefer kidney beans, but the general consensus is black beans)
2 tbsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cayenne powder
2 tsp. rosemary powder (rosemary leaves do fine as well)
dash of salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
4 tbsp. Becel Vegan Margarine
1 cup ketchup

You will also need: 
2 large sheets of tin foil, about 30x30cm (ruler/ruler rule!) - I would maybe double this and layer so that the tin foil does not rip!

Extra fixin's (optional)
Spinach or lettuce
Extra cheese 
Extra onions
Tortilla chip pieces
Salsa
Sour cream
Etc.

Warm up BBQ, turning your dials to just about "High" setting (for oven baking, preheat oven to 450F). While your BBQ (or oven) is heating up, dump 1 cup of salsa onto each sheet of tin foil. Evenly divide chicken and place on top of salsa. Drizzle 1/2 tbsp. each on top of the chicken. In a medium sized bowl, mix red bell pepper, onion, garlic, corn and beans. Divide evenly and place on top of chicken. Sprinkle 1/2 cup each of Daiya cheese onto mixture. In a small bowl, combine spices, then divide evenly and place on top of each chicken mixture. Take 1/2 cup ketchup and dump onto chicken mixture, then finish mixture with 2 tbsp. each Becel Vegan Margarine.

Wrap tin foil around mixture, ensuring that everything is covered. Place on BBQ for 15 minutes, then flip and let cook another 15 minutes. If chicken is still pink, flip again and cook for 10 minutes or until cooked through.
For oven: Leave top of tin foil open, but with sufficient space to cover when needed. Cook for 20 minutes, then flip and cook for 10 minutes or until cooked through.

Place mixture onto gluten and dairy free tortillas, and fill with toppings of choice.

Enjoy!
©FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary

Let's Talk About... Empowering!

I've spoken much about mantras and how they do wonders... take it from me, I honestly thought that all of this 'mantra' was a bunch of crap... until one day I thought I'd try it since I was hearing so much about it through my studies of Buddhism and since I had decided that I wanted to start being positive!
Anyways, so my mantras were a way of empowering me and promoting positive self- talk. Very useful when you happen to be in a bit of a bind, a stress-induced hissy fit, or just generally need a little lovin'!

I've spoken again and again about a Zen saying/belief; basically, "Hold onto a feeling, whatever it may be, and feel it until you have felt it to it's entirety. Then, let it go."
How powerful! And, when I say "to it's entirety" I don't mean wallow in it for years, but like a long, drawn out squeeze of a stress ball for a few minutes, hours, maybe a day and then, simply, letting it go. Do not let it consume you; that is not the point. You must empower yourself to gain strength from that which sets out to make you weak.

It's like going through a bad break up; you don't even want to look at the other person's face, or hear their name, or voice... but isn't that a little unhealthy? You shouldn't hide yourself from the world because you've been hurt! Revel in your hurt for an hour, think about why you're hurt, why you're angry, why you don't want to see his/her face? Then, let it go.
Stare a picture of their face and tell them (but mostly for yourself): "You have no hold on me. You do not control my thoughts or my life. I am letting you go."
Remember, as in anything, that you are not alone.
Let go of the desire to be with this person again, let go of the desire for revenge, let go! Remember, once we let go of our desire, we eliminate suffering.

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

Namaste.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dairy Free Is Hard... But Then Daiya Came Along

I loooove this company! Many cheeses are "lactose-free", but don't offer any other kind of "free" - ie. no gluten, soy, egg, etc. free. But, Daiya is!
Created by two friends and vegans, Daiya cheese is all kinds of free, and it really is delicious. 
Plus, the word "Daiya" is derived from the Sanskrit word "Dayaa" meaning "loving, compassion, and kindness" - right up my alley!
Check out their website here: http://www.daiyafoods.com/
I found them at Amaranth Foods in Arbour Lake in Calgary. Amaranth's website here: http://www.amaranthfoods.ca

A Quick, Basic Explanation of Why I Do Zen

More often that not, when I tell someone that I study Zen Buddhism, they nod at me like they know what I'm saying, but I can see that, in their eyes, they really don't know the difference.
Let me explain about Zen Buddhism and why I chose to study Zen, instead of other forms of Buddhism like Vajrayana (which is Tibetan Buddhism... basically a form of Mahayanic - Tantric Buddhism):
Before Buddhism came to Japan, it had become very popular in China. The Japanese sent those wanting, and willing, to learn Buddhism the schools in China and eventually developed the meditation-based practice of Zen. The samurai wanted to become focused, fearless, and enlightened so that they could master their craft and, so, studied Zen. Zen is a part of the Mahayana branch.

I study Zen because of it being such a meditation-based school of Buddhism. I find it extremely calming, relaxing, and I absolutely feel more focused when I immerse myself into Zen. I find that Zen also teaches me to let things go!
  Many other attributes of the Japanese lifestyle fused into Zen matter much to me, like The Way of Tea.
Keep in mind, however, that this is my interpretation of Zen and how it works for me.

Namaste.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Simply Sutra

A Sanskrit word meaning "thread", sutra refers mainly to The Buddha's teachings... think of a "thread of thought" or the "thread" of a story... "to spin a yarn" anyone?
The Buddha's sutras are one of the three baskets, otherwise known as Tripitaka in Theravada Buddhism in (primarily) southeast Asia. 


Terms:
Tripitaka: the three baskets
Theravada: "the elders' teachings"

Cuckoo for Coconut... Chicken!

I don't know if you all have noticed this, but all of my posted recipes call for poultry or a meat alternative... I'm not vegan or vegetarian, or anything like that, but I find that red meat (while delicious) does not bode well with my stomach. I am finding that this is a common occurrence with the other people that I talk to who have gluten and/or dairy allergies. I have a seafood allergy too, don't forget, or else I would have many more seafood dishes!

I also like chicken because of it's versatility. You know the saying, "Tastes like chicken!" well... my goal is to take chicken and make it mouth- watering. I think I'm closer to my goal with this recipe!
Take a look:
Remember, I usually only cook for two people, so you may need to tweak the recipe a bit. Below, I made for three chicken breasts.

Kath's Coconut Lime Chicken
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup dried, shaved coconut (if you're using freshly shaved coconut, make sure to dry it first)
1/2 cup Kinnikinnick Gluten Free Panko- style bread crumbs
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. parsley flakes
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup coconut flour (can be found at any health food store)

Preheat oven to 425F. Spray non-stick spray (or lightly drizzle oil) onto baking sheet.
Mix coconut, crumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley flakes together on plate or other flat dish.
Put coconut flour and lime juice in separate, shallow dishes for coating.
Take chicken breast, first coat with flour and then with lime juice. Ensure that you do not saturate the breast in the juice, but cover it so that the coconut-crumb mixture will adhere. Coat breast with coconut-crumb mixture and place onto baking sheet.

Bake for 20-25 minutes in oven or until chicken is no longer pink.
©FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary


Saturday, November 10, 2012

What's In A Name?

The Buddha seems to have many names, but do you know his true name?
Let's analyze the meaning of his true name:
Siddhartha Gautama

Siddhartha: his personal name (much like our first names)
Gautama: his family name

Sometimes also known as: Shakyamuni, which means "sage of the Shakya tribe".
However, he was called the name Buddha from the time he left his home to achieve Enlightenment.

Namaste.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Gluten & Dairy Free Spicy Thai Peanut Chicken!

I LOVE Thai food!
It's (for the most part) simple, and much of it is - or can be made to be- gluten free!
So, try this delicious, gluten & dairy free Spicy Thai Peanut Chicken!
I suggest serving it over rice or with a nice side salad.

Spicy Thai Peanut Chicken
4 tbsp. crunchy peanut butter
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1/2 cup corn syrup, lite
2 tbsp. pure honey
2 tbsp. Kikkoman Gluten Free soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tbsp. minced garlic
2 green onions, minced (use a slice or two of red onion if you don't have any green onions)
1/4 cup lite coconut milk
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cayenne (can use less cayenne if you want to)

4 chicken breasts, diced
1 tbsp. canola or olive oil

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except chicken. If mixture is too chunky, add 2 tbsp. water.
Heat oil in medium sized skillet or pan under medium heat. Once oil is heated, place chicken in and brown on all sides. Pour peanut mixture over chicken and cover, simmering for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
©FrenchOnionSoupBlogCalgary

Enjoy!

Daily Dose of... Buddha

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”
- The Buddha


Thursday, November 8, 2012

You Want Fries With That?

I adore fries... even the McDonald's fries, which are deep fried in a gluten infested fryer. They're the perfect, salty snack to satiate that craving! 
However, they are rife with the sodium and fat that come with saturating the fries in oil and that's not good for our diets.
How can we still have delicious, craving-filling fries without the frying them fatty?

Bake 'em!

You Want Fries With That?
3 large red-skinned potatoes, washed, cut into rectangular pieces (you can peel them if you wish)
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 tbsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion salt (remember it's onion salt)
pinch of pepper

Heat oven to 400F. Place oil, garlic powder, onion salt, and pepper into a medium- sized bowl. Toss potatoes in oil mixture until thoroughly covered and then put fries onto medium-sized cookie sheet, spreading them out evenly.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Blend it, Baby!

It's time for another smoothie recipe!

... You're welcome

Gluten & Dairy Free Chocolate Banana Cashew Smoothie
1 banana, frozen
1 cup chocolate almond milk, unsweetened
1/4 cup cashews, finely chopped
1/2 cup ice

Blend until smoothie. May garnish with semi-sweet chocolate chips to serve.