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Winter Wonderland

It’s exactly one month away from Christmas Day! 

To get us all in the holiday spirit, Mother Nature presented us with a winter wonderland! 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you see that little bug in front of the tree? 

 

Somehow, he got on top of that thick blanket of snow and was wandering around on it. I felt a bit sorry for him. 

 

But then I remembered how his kind had taken over one of the basement suites I used to live in, and then I didn’t feel so sorry for him anymore. So I continued on with my photo shoot… 

 

 

 

 

 

And by the time I was finished with my photo shoot, it had stopped snowing, so I got to work on shoveling our walkways and sidewalk. I think it counts as my cardio for the day! 🙂 

For dinner, I made a hearty vegetarian meal, featuring Roasted Vegetable Pasta and Baked Tofu, served with a side of steamed broccoli. 

The Baked Tofu is the easiest thing ever: 

  • one block of firm or extra firm tofu
  • 4 – 6 TB of your favourite prepared (or homemade if you’re ambitious!) BBQ sauce

Preheat oven to 400°. 

Wrap the block of tofu in a couple layers of paper towel, place in a dish, and weigh it down with something heavy-ish to press out some excess liquid from the tofu. (I put a pot on it) Leave for about 10-15 mins. 

Remove paper towels and cut tofu into 1/4 inch-thick slices. 

Marinate tofu in BBQ sauce for at least 10 mins. Make sure all sides of the tofu are covered in the sauce. 

Place tofu slices on a sprayed cookie sheet. (optional: sprinkle with black pepper) 

 

Bake for 12 mins, flip, bake for another 12 mins. The result is a “meaty” tofu texture. Yum.

 

And then the Roasted Vegetable Pasta: 

  • 1 eggplant, cubed
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 2 chayotes, cored and cubed (if you’re not familiar with this vegetable, it’s sweet, slightly crunchy, and so yummy; but you can also substitute another veggie, like a zucchini)
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 C pasta (I used rotini)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped green onion, cilantro, or parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 500°. 

Place diced eggplant and chayotes in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. 

 

Use your hands to toss and coat all veggies with the oil, salt, and pepper. Place onto a sprayed cookie sheet; spread them out in a single layer and be sure not to crowd them. 

 

Do the same thing with the tomatoes (coat with olive oil, salt and pepper), and place in a separate oven-proof dish or pan. 

 

Mmm, tomatoes. 

You can put all the veggies in the same pan if you’re making a smaller amount (mine just didn’t fit onto one sheet without overcrowding). 

 

Roast in oven for 10 – 12 mins for each pan. 

In the meantime, saute onion and garlic in a pan with some olive oil over medium heat until onion is softened and translucent. Season with a little salt and pepper. Set aside. 

Oh, and start the pasta too. 

 

Cook pasta to specified time on the package (ie. don’t forget about the pasta and overcook the noodles like I did). 

When the tomatoes are done they will have split open and smell heavenly: 

 

When pasta is done, reserve about 1 and 1/2 C of the cooking liquid (you’ll need this to add moisture to the sauce). Drain pasta and return to pot. Stir in diced avocado. The heat from the pasta will melt the avocado a bit, but still leave some visible chunks. (I loooove melting avocado in pastas. They provide a lovely creamy texture without having to add any cream! Instead, it adds lots of heart-healthy fat.) Then mix in the sauteed onion and garlic, and all the roasted veggies, including any tomato liquid that collected in the pan. Add a bit of the pasta water as you stir, enough to “loosen” the sauce and add moisture. (You may not need all of the reserved liquid; only add enough to prevent pasta from being dry.) Taste test, and season with more salt and pepper if needed. 

Serve garnished with chopped green onion, cilantro, or parsley: 

 

The roasted veggies had such a rich, deep flavour, and the tomatoes became super sweet. The creaminess and slight nutty flavour of the avocado brought another level of taste and texture to this dish. This one was a winner in our house!  

 

 

Posted by on November 26, 2010 in Kitchen Adventures

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First Snowfall

It started coming down last night. The world became still and soft.

I love snow. I miss it so much sometimes. In Saskatchewan, the snow was so brilliant, so blinding, so beautiful in the ever-present sunlight. And the first snowfall there always put me in the holiday spirit and made me eagerly anticipate the coming Christmas season.

 

Yes, that’s my very nice, very considerate husband brushing off my car while I took pictures. 🙂

Is it time for Christmas yet??

What makes it feel like the holidays for you?

*             *              *              *

15 years ago today, the world lost one of the greatest pairs skaters in history. Sergei Grinkov. Together with his wife, Ekaterina Gordeeva, they were legendary. Ethereal. Beautiful. Incomparable. To this day.

My favourite program of theirs, skated to Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise and inspired by Rodin’s The Kiss:

 

 

 

Posted by on November 20, 2010 in Uncategorized

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