Party Party

PARTIES.

I promised I would post about the party on this post, and here it is now. 🙂 I am so excited to share all of these with you guys! We told our guests to arrive at 12:00, and when they did, the food was all prepped so we could just sit down and chow.

By the way, our guests = Grandma and Grandpa, Aunt Mimi, Uncle Charles, and of course my family of four.

Now, onto the food!

 

Eggy egg egg salad crackers to start. These were made with chopped hard-boiled eggs and green onions, mixed with a little mayo and a squirt of mustard, plus lemon juice and black peppah. I think I snacked on three while I was making them. These crackers (from Whole Foods) are grainy, wheat-y, and really hearty. I love crunchy crackers. These have an “ancient-grain” taste. I loved it with the sassy, creamy egg salad.

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Uh oh! Ran out of egg salad. These are pita crackers from Trader Joe’s and some rice crackers from Costco.

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Chinese chicken sesame salad. The usual, with sliced “omelette eggs” and cucumbers.

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Spicy seaweed salad, a Chinese dish made by Mom.

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Quinoa salad with mixed greens, feta cheese, and sundried tomatoes. I had this for lunch on this day!

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Pork ribs and lotus root soup. I didn’t have any, but my grandparents RAVED about this!

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Lamb with daikon and tofu. Again, I didn’t have any lamb, but the guests really loved this dish. I guess I’ll have to try it next time!

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Maple-soy salmon. I had one and a half – you’ll see in a minute! Oh, and you can also see maple-soy salmon on ‘dis post.

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Incredibly crispy-creamy rosemary roasted potatoes. These were incredible, but I wish they weren’t so spicy. I went a little heavy on the red chili pepper flakes – oops!

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Maple, brown sugar, and cinnamon roasted butternut squash. This. Was. Divine. I had it leftover in quinoa salads for lunch, and also straight out of the microwave for dinner!

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Bok choy and cloud fungus stir-fry with onions.

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Squid with snap peas, canned Chinese straw mushrooms and carrots, sprinkled with sesame.

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The whole spread!

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This was my portion. YUM!

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A scoop of jasmine rice on the side. Perf for soaking up all of that maple-soy sauce from the trout.

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Serving #2!

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Coffee! This was organic decaf that Aunt Mimi brought. I usually don’t drink coffee, so this was just a splash from her mug + lots of milk. 🙂

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Then we brought out ze cake…

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Whole Foods New York Cheesecake with mango! Yum…

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My serving + Mom’s serving. 🙂

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The one in the green-framed plate is mine. I had seconds! I can NEVER turn down cake, especially if it’s sitting in front of me! But I thought the mango tasted a little artificial. Not in a powdery-fake way, but almost like it was canned (it probably was). A little more fibrous and chewy than usual.

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And I had this for dessert on that day (dinner) as well. Truly a fantastic party. I keep telling Mom that we have to do this again soon!

 

In other news, I am STUFFED right now. Just had a big, big Mom Meal dinner with rice, corn, edamame, cabbage, fungus, fish, oh man. Then I had to try the farmer’s market strawberries (first BC strawbs of 2014!). So I put some yogurt on it. Then I added some muffin… and then went to town with muffins. I had big slivers of all three muffins (from Matchsticks) and I think I had the equivalent of half a medium muffin?! Holy.

Well… there’s school tomorrow and I can’t wait to have oatmeal with muffin on top. Oh, and we also bought mizuna from the farmer’s market! I’m gonna put some with quinoa and bell peppers for my lunch. Can’t wait. Tutor’s coming soon – see ya!

My Favourite Healthy Dinner {in 15 minutes!}

There are no words to describe how much I love this meal – it’s a go-to for busy weeknights. Inspired by one of my favourite bloggers, Iowa Girl Eats (see http://iowagirleats.com/2011/05/31/under-15-minute-meal-for-one for her version!), this is fresh and summery dinner literally takes fifteen minutes to prepare! ♥

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My rendition stars pan-fried trout from Costco, a weekly staple in my family. It’s hard to believe how fresh Costco seafood is. A friend of my father’s works at a chicken slaughterhouse (is there a nicer way to put that?) and his chickens are always delivered straight to Costco. High demand = super fresh!

We always chop the trout into single-serving sections, scrape off the scales under cold running water, freeze some, and marinate/season some for dinner that night. You don’t need fancy spices or flavoured oils to make trout taste amazing – sea salt and pepper is perfect. To pan-fry trout, I just splash a few drops of oil onto a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. I LOVE the skin, and I need it to be super crispy, so the skin goes down first. It’ll cook for a few minutes, releasing tons of scrumptiously seafood-y oil into the skillet. Once the skin is crusty and the filet is cooked halfway through, flip the trout with a spatula (or chopsticks if you’re my mom). If you’re weird and don’t like skin, peel it off here. It’s so much easier peeling it off now than it is when the trout is uncooked! Cover it up, turn the heat down, and cook it to your desired doneness! I don’t like my fish tough – I’d rather have it melt-in-your-mouth and… medium rare? Drizzle with lemon. Fish – done!

The quinoa pilaf can be made in three minutes if you have cooled, leftover quinoa. I like cooking my quinoa in chicken broth and a pinch of sea salt, because it adds a new layer of delicious, savory flavour. It keeps really well in the fridge, too. Fresh quinoa works well also – just make sure that you’re using a scant amount of liquid (2:1 ratio liquid to water) so that it’s not mushy. We ALWAYS cook our quinoa in the steamer; you don’t have to worry about it in there, whereas in a pot, you have to time it, remove it from the heat, etc. If you have a steamer, I highly recommend cooking grains in there! Works perfectly every time with zero effort.

By the way, in the picture I’m using an ancient grains mix. There’s red and beige quinoa in there, as well as steel cut oats (oats!), couscous, and barley. Yum! The texture is amazing. Casbah brand, in case you were wondering!

Anyways! Toss a few drops of oil (I usually use olive oil) into a skillet over medium heat. Add frozen corn – ours is from Costco. It’s organic and tastes unbelievably fresh and sweet. Love it! I like my corn almost charred. Pale, mushy corn has no place on my plate! When the corn is brown and uber-fragrant, add frozen peas and stir until slightly softened. I also added sugar peas because they were hanging out in the fridge. If I had some, I would’ve thrown in some baby spinach or kale to wilt. When the veggies are 95% cooked, toss in the quinoa and stir, letting it heat up.

Turn off the heat, season heartily with freshly-ground black pepper (a kitchen ingredient that makes you look a lot better at cooking than you actually are!) and a big drizzle of lemon juice. Toss it all around, throw it on a plate, and top it with the pan-fried trout.

That’s roasted broccoli on the side. Simple recipe, but its 10:00 now and I want to go to bed. Next time!

Sweet corn, savory quinoa, a veggie punch from the greens. Let’s not forget the juicy trout. I always drizzle the fish oil on top of the fish, and then eat the skin in one bite (really is better than greasy potato chips!).

Oh, and I always drizzle everything in lemon and churn some black peppah over everything. Seasoning in layers is what makes restaurant food so flavourful.

Hope you guys enjoy this healthy and quick weeknight dinner!

QUESTION OF THE DAY!
What is your go-to healthy weeknight meal? You know, for the days that you’ve got tons on your To-Do list but can’t bear to down a bowl of Cheerios? Let me know in the comments! ☺

Mine is definitely this here. Or… maybe an egg, cheese, and spinach omelette. Hard to choose!