Monday, January 24, 2011

Are you ready to Zumbaaaa?

Photo from:

So, I went to my first Zumba class last night with the ever-energetic Richard Gormley and it was... a party! The steps were not that hard to pick up but considering that I'm used to choreography it may take other first-timers a couple of classes to get the hang of it. The fun part about the class, though, was that there was no pressure at all. If I went the wrong way or if I wasn't doing the moves perfectly it really didn't matter. Everyone was smiling, shaking and having a good time! There was a good mix of younger and older people as well as different abilities and body shapes. The class was very open and was not intimidating at all! Richard even invited some lucky Zumba-ers up on the stage for certain dances...

I'll definitely be going again soon. Also, with Richard's encouragement I've been thinking about signing up for the Zumba instructor course so I can start teaching. It's pretty much just teaching choreography with some extra cardio moves woven in throughout so I feel like it wouldn't be too difficult for me to do. I've already begun to plan Zumba routines while listening to my iPod.... I think I've got it... Zumba fever!

xo Janelle

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

20-minute tomatoey soup for one!

I'm warning you that this post may sound like an info-mercial for the Magic Bullet, but I swear it's the easiest way to make soup. Since I seem to be coming down with a cold, I was really hoping to make some soup for supper. Add that to the fact that I had leftover canned tomatoes and you have a recipe for success! Here's how to make it happen:

1) Put about 1tbsp of olive oil in a saucepan or pot. Add about 3 tbsp of diced onion & a shake or two of basil and pepper. Cook on medium until onions are soft.

2) Dice up some green pepper, celery or whatever veggies you have on hand (zucchini, squash, carrots etc.) and add them to the pot. (You should add at least 1/4 c total). Then pour in about a half a can (or more) of tomatoes. Season with salt and add about 1tbsp of brown sugar.

3) Cover the pot and simmer on medium for about 15-20 minutes to soften the veggies and mix the flavours.

4) Blend the soup in your MAGIC BULLET! or just a regular blender. You can also use a hand (immersion) blender if you have one.

5) Serve with crusty bread dipped in balsamic vinegar & olive oil or a nice slice of garlic toast (like I did!).

*This made just enough for me, so if you're serving a group I would say to quadruple the recipe! Don't be afraid to adjust it according to what you like/have on hand.

Thanks for reading,
xo Janelle

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How last night's breadsticks turned into pretzels...

So, I came across this recipe last week sometime and have been craving these ever since. Yesterday I decided I would take on the task of making bread from scratch for the VERY FIRST time! The tea biscuits I made with my mom when I was 10 don't count...

out-of-this-world breadsticks
adapted from here
  • 1 1/8 cups warm water
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp minced fresh basil
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 or 2 Tbsp butter, melted  
  1. in a medium bowl, combine water + sugar + yeast; stir and let sit 5 minutes or until bubbly
  2. take a larger bowl and combine olive oil + cheese + garlic + basil + italian seasoning + salt; mix together then add the yeast mixture
  3. add in all the flour and stir until it comes together as a big lumpy dough. rub all over with a little olive oil and cover with plastic wrap. let it stands for about half hour
  4. to make breadsticks: preheat oven to 175 C (350 F). flour the surface where you'll be kneading the dough. then knead the dough on it a few times till it becomes supple
  5. divide the dough into 2 parts. divide each part into 12 smaller part. roll each smaller part into 9 inch length rope, twist it a bit before you place it on greased baking sheet
  6. let the twisted ropes rise again until double in size about 40 minutes. before baking, brush the ropes with melted butter and sprinkle some more salt and and italian seasoning.  
  7. bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until it has nice golden brown, remove from oven and brush with melted butter again...
* I used dried parmesan instead of fresh because that was all I had. I also subbed some sort of Italian Pasta seasoning for the oregano.

When I let the dough rise for the first time it didn't look like anything had changed... The dough wasn't as elastic as I thought it should have been but I soldiered on anyway. Am I ever glad I did! WOW. My second batch that I put in the oven were heavenly. They tasted almost exactly like Pretzelmaker pretzels. The trick is to bake them for about 15-18 mins rather than the full 20... These leaves them soft rather than crunchy on the outside like a breadstick.

If you're going to be around the house and have time to wait for these to rise I would say to definitely try them out. They can be made with stuff you usually have around the house and they would be great with a dip. I actually dipped mine in cream cheese just like I do with my pretzels and ummmmmmmm yum. Just let me warn you that you won't be able to stop eating these warm, garlicky, satisfying little sticks....

Thanks to little daisy's world for the great recipe!

xo Janelle

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pad Thai for Dummies

It's been months since I've posted. I know no one reads this blog yet but I still feel like I need to keep up with it. I'm probably going to start using this blog to keep track of new recipes that I've tried and then if inspiration strikes I'll write about other things....

Although I was very overwhelmed when I saw the extensive ingredients list of this Pad Thai recipe. It seemed like it would be easy enough to make & I was craving Pad Thai like a madwoman. I did make a few substitutions and omissions:
1. I subbed lime juice and a bit of soy sauce for the Tamarind (as kind of suggested in the notes)
2. I subbed chicken instead of the shrimp and hot red pepper flakes instead of the chili.
** Also note that bean sprouts are not listed in the ingredients but are listed in the instructions. Because there is no amount indicated, I just added a handful of broccoli slaw as a substitute and it worked fine for me!

Overall, the instructions were really easy to follow. I would suggest though that you prepare all the ingredients ahead of time because I felt a little frazzled trying to get everything in the pan on time. 

It only looks yellow because of the lighting in the kitchen...

The dish tasted light and fresh. I felt like it needed just a bit more lime though, so I added a few generous splashes to my plate. I found it to be delicious and quite different from what we usually make for supper. My roommate gave it 2 thumbs up and even said he'd give it 3 thumbs up if he had them... So, I guess that means I'll be making this again soon!

xo Janelle