Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Team K in the Kitchen - Year in Review

I have a hard time being consistent about blogging - I can be really consistent in other areas of my life, but anything to do with journaling or writing down my thoughts is a bit of a lost cause. :)

At the beginning of the year I wanted to try a new food every month, and I'm pleased to say that Luke and I tried a total of 7 new foods this year!! We ended up taking the summer off because of my shoulder surgery and my inability to do much in the kitchen for those months. We also took December off because it was hard enough to get decent meals on the table let alone trying anything new! 

I posted about Persimmons in January, Spaghetti Squash in February, and Steel Cut Oats in March, and that's where it ended. I figured that with the looming deadline of the end of the year, and a new year fast approaching, it would feel good to finish what I started. Get ready for picture overload!! 

Here we go.

April was Asparagus month. Now this was a bit of a cheat, because Luke and I have both eaten asparagus before, so it wasn't a new food per se, but I had never cooked it before and that was what was "new" for me. 

We started nice and simple by steaming the spears in my rice cooker. We added that steamed asparagus to chicken alfredo and also to a nice spring salad. Very simple, very fresh.

I then tried to be a little fancier by making ham, asparagus, and brie crepes. These were delicious - they didn't brown as much as I had hoped in the oven, and I wish I had made the sauce to go along with them, but I was pleased with the outcome nonetheless. 

My final, and probably my favourite asparagus recipe was turning it into a pesto. You steam the asparagus, and then drop it into a food processor with a bunch of other pesto-y ingredients - spinach, parmesan, pine nuts, olive oil, lemon zest. Whirl it up and you're good to go. We spread this on some bread and swiss cheese for a grown-up version of my childhood favourite. It was heavenly.

I wanted something light and easy for May, so I chose an Italian favourite - mascarpone cheese. 

We whipped the cheese with some sugar to make a nice springy creamy dessert topped with fresh berries.

We melted it into some garlic and white wine to make a rich, velvety sauce for chicken and mushrooms over pasta.

And I mixed it into pancake batter to make lemon poppyseed pancakes. Sorry, no pic of that one!

The summer was hard after my shoulder surgery on June 1. At the end of last summer we bought a bbq, but we barely used it. This summer was the perfect opportunity for Luke to perfect his grill skills, because I was really not up for any form of cooking. From June til September Luke grilled up some beautiful dinners for us!

 Mexican chicken, roasted okra and tomatoes, kale salad, and roll

 Zucchini boats stuffed with fresh tomatoes, cheese, and spicy ground turkey

 Grilled lamb meatballs with homemade tzatziki, cucumber and avocado salad, 
and kale salad

 Greek grilled chicken skewers, buttered egg noodles, and tomato and mozzarella salad

Balsamic rosemary pork tenderloin, baked sweet potatoes, and kale salad 
(Can you tell we love kale salad??? We make our own vinaigrette to go over top!)

For October I chose another squash - butternut. With my arm muscles still not back to their full potential, Luke was a champion squash chopper this month!! Our meals this month were cozy and full of rich fall flavours!

We started with a maple cinnamon roasted butternut squash and carrot side dish for some mustard grilled chicken. Also served with a side of homemade applesauce!

Carrots pair with this squash so nicely! They were also featured in the butternut squash soup we made alongside some granny smith apples, and big sweet onions. All boiled down in the crockpot and whipped to perfection with an immersion blender. Lots of spices were added including cayenne for a little kick.

Mashed butternut squash was easy to make in the crockpot as well. We used it as a simple side dish, but our favourite was smearing it on a quesadilla with some shredded chicken, kale, and cheese! (ps. that's a bowl of Trader Joe's roasted red pepper soup beside it. It has very little flavour right out of the box, but it's like a blank canvas!)

For November we decided to try turmeric. I've never used turmeric to cook with, but apparently it's very healthy - a natural anti-inflammatory and immune system booster. Sounded perfect for flu season! One thing I didn't realize was the turmeric STAINS! We were able to wash it out of just about everything, but the corners of my cookie sheets still bear the mark of my potato endeavour. It was worth it - it's not cooking without a little mess!

We took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather by grilling this turmeric chicken instead of using the oven. It was a quick, simple recipe with lots of flavour.

We then tried these fun roasted potatoes! Oil, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, coriander, and lots of turmeric. This was fun because it had to be hand mixed…. by Luke! :)

We love food so much, we've decided to continue to try new things in 2016. We will likely try some brand new foods, but what I really want to focus on is new techniques. I want to learn how to properly roll sushi, and how to make my own yogurt. How to perfectly pipe and fill French macarons and I even want to attempt a risotto. We probably won't get in a new technique every month, but if I can match the 7 new foods we tried this year with 7 new techniques, I'll feel pretty great! As always I will try and keep the blog updated, but don't be surprised if you have to wait until next December 30! :)

Thanks for joining us on our journey!

Love always, Team K

Monday, 13 April 2015

Team K in the Kitchen!

So I'm not always the best at keeping up with this blog. *wah wah* But I AM keeping up with our "New Foods Challenge"! :)

January was Persimmon month and we loved it!

For February, we tried out spaghetti squash.

For some reason I am really intimidated by squash - acorn, butternut, even pumpkin! (Ok fine - I bake with pumpkin if I'm feeling particularly festive, but I buy the canned stuff from the store!) I'm just never sure what to do with squash!

As it turns out, spaghetti squash is pretty healthy! And bland!! Ha!!

In all honesty, it's super bland, but it can be super tasty when cooked with the right stuff. We tried it two different ways - as a bowl, and as a noodle substitute in a casserole. 

The bowls were great. Layers and layers of flavour, like a lasagna. Like twice baked lasagna in an edible bowl and without all the carbs! Here were the layers: herbed chicken mixed with pesto (not any ordinary pesto, but THIS STUFF which blew my mind), a seasoned ricotta and parmesan mixture, and fresh chopped tomatoes! With a final layer of mozzarella on top, it was perfect! Nom nom nom!!!

Even better than that was the mexican casserole. SO easy and SO delicious, I actually made it, and then made it again two weeks later!

Basically, it's well-spiced ground turkey mixed with spaghetti squash, diced tomatoes, corn, green peppers, black beans, and cheese! Baked and served with sour cream and diced avocado. Beautiful!

Spaghetti squash was definitely a success in our house!

Following spaghetti squash, March was time for steel cut oats.

I am all about a big bowl of oatmeal on a cold winter morning, or as far as March is concerned, a cold "spring" morning! *commence eye roll* But I always use quick cook oats or rolled oats for our oatmeal, so I thought we'd give steel cut a try!

Yeah… definitey not a fan. 

Luke loved all the recipes, but I decided that I prefer my oatmeal crunch-free (except maybe the occasional walnut or pecan). 

I tried it three ways : cooked on the stove, cooked overnight in a crockpot, and put in a mason jar in the fridge overnight and heated in the microwave in the morning. The last one was my favourite, and in fact the only one I was willing to take a picture of.

 I couldn't resist getting a picture of it beside the matching purple hyacinth! 

JOY comes in the morning! :)

This was really creamy and delicious and easy. You put oats, almond milk, vanilla greek yogurt, jam (any fruit, I used my homemade blueberry jam), and vanilla extract into a mason jar, shake it really well, and then put it in the fridge overnight. I stuck mine in the microwave in the morning and then topped it with some blueberries! 

Taste was 10/10, but texture was iffy for me. I would, however, make this again with rolled oats!

I wanted to also try grinding the steel cut oats up and making bread or scones. I didn't get to it in March, but maybe later this year!

April will be full of a fresh flavour that reminds me of spring - asparagus!!! As far as "new foods" are concerned, this one is *kind of* cheating, because I've eaten asparagus before, but I've never cooked it. Also I've only eaten it two different ways, so I thought I'd try to find some unique ways to prepare it. Stay tuned. :)

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Our New Food Journey

Luke and I LOVE food. I think one of my dream jobs would be like Julianne from My Best Friend's Wedding - the VIP that has the kitchen busting out something especially delicious for me in order for their restaurant to get a good review! I could totally be a food critic!

I am very fortunate that Luke will eat pretty much everything. Except fish, much to my dismay. But other than seafood, I can put anything in front of him, and he'll try it! We love being adventurous together, and food is one of our favourite adventures!

Earlier this year I discovered this blog : The 52 New Foods Challenge. Basically, this family tried a new food every single week for a year. What a great idea! We love food, we love trying new things, let's put them together!

A new food every week seemed a little overwhelming to me, so instead, we decided to just try one new food every month. That way, we can try 3 or 4 different recipes with that food so we can really get a feel for it and decide if we like it or not!

I thought I would share our journey with you to maybe challenge or inspire you!


Persimmons come in two main kinds. Our local grocery store supplies Fuyu persimmons, so that's the kind I used in all of my recipes. It looks like a small tomato, it's orange in colour, and it has a subtly sweet flavour. They're also super healthy! High in fibre, high in anti-oxidants, and tons of vitamins and minerals. Delish!!

We've tried persimmons 5 different ways - eating them raw and topping some yogurt with them, in a smoothie, in some grilled cheese, in a salsa, and finally in some jam.

Ok. We are big fans of persimmons!!!

Eating them raw, mixing them in some yogurt, or tossing them in a smoothie are all super easy and super tasty ways to eat persimmons.

Last summer I made my first "sugar free, pectin free, chia seed jam" recipe with blueberries and I will never go back! This was also a chia seed jam using blackberries, persimmons, fresh squeezed orange juice, and a little honey to sweeten. Delicious on some toast or spread over pancakes! I would even top vanilla ice cream with it! 

Probably my favourite recipe for the persimmons was as a salsa side dish. Some black beans, avocado, mango, and persimmons tossed with olive oil, fresh squeezed lime juice, cumin, and chili powder. Chopping the fruit in thick cubes makes for a simple, tasty side dish, or chopping them smaller would be good for dipping tortilla chips in. 

Luke's favourite was the grilled cheese.  This was a little more work, but totally worth it! We used brie because it gave a nice subtle flavour with tons of melty cheesiness, some prosciutto for a little salt, a little spicy brown mustard and some nice thick slices of raw persimmon. Great flavour combo!

We are excited to try lots of new foods this year! Next up - Spaghetti Squash!

Thursday, 1 January 2015

If My Words Abide in You...

I have been journeying and "word choosing" for 4 years now. I began with ABOUND, moved into BELOVED, grew into NOURISH, and dove into DILIGENT. (links to the last two are here and here)

I love naming my years because God always surprises me. And I do so love surprises! Truly, I always set up expectations for my word and what it will look like to actively live it out over the year. And I always end up learning even more than I had planned. This year will be no different, and boy do I have high expectations for this year!

First lets talk about DILIGENT, aka. 2014. 

Discipline is one of Luke's strongest qualities, and since opposites attract it happens to be one of my weakest. Allow me to briefly describe how I attempted to remedy my lack of discipline this year.

After some painful stomach issues this year, I had to learn to be much more diligent about what we ate. I cut some things out of our diet this year, and I became very conscious about what kind of foods I consumed. It's still a work in progress, but I think we're doing well! I even tried over 40 new recipes this year, and hope to continue that into 2015!

I became more diligent about my quiet times, as well as purposely setting time aside to listen to pastors that I look up to, enjoying three or four sermons a week. (Now I just need to be more "diligent" about taking notes!! *sigh*)

I read more books this year. We signed up for library cards mid-way through the year and I ended up reading about 15 new books this year. Hopefully even more next year, although admittedly, we've been enjoying the seasons of Monk that we recently discovered at the library and thus have been checking out less books! :)

And now for the bad news. One thing that I was not diligent about was Scripture memorization. I am so very passionate about hiding God's Word in my heart, and I love coming across a passage that I know by heart when I'm reading through a chapter or book. I memorized part of Mary's Magnificat as my December advent this year, but that was all.

That brings us to 2015's word.

Starting in September, I dove into John Piper's sermon series on the Gospel of John (find it here - I know 70 sermons looks overwhelming, but I promise it's worth it. Just take one at a time. I seriously can't say enough about this series! I'm about half way through, so feel free to ask me about my favourites!) 

One of those favourites was this one - "If My Words Abide in You" speaking on John 15:1-7. It was also the inspiration for my word this year. If you only listen to one of the seventy sermons, make it this one. There is something SO powerful about a pastor reciting memorized Scripture from the pulpit. 

About three years ago, I memorized the entire book of 2 Timothy. It has always been my favourite book of the Bible, and after spending about six months submerged right into it, reading and re-reading it, committing it to memory and speaking it out loud over and over, I found that I learned more from that experience than any other Bible study I had ever done. I lived and breathed this book. And though I still feel that there is so much more for me to learn about it, memorizing it word for word was a very good start. 

I want to do that again.

I haven't decided for sure which book is next, but I know that I want to really turn my focus onto memorization this year. 

The Scripture that is first on my memorization list is where my "one word" comes from and it's found in Colossians 2:6-7

"Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, ROOTED and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving." 

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Oh The Blood!

Easter is upon us! I love this time of year! I love the new life that Spring promises. There is so much symbolism to be found in Spring, and I'm so glad that it's finally here. Well, almost….

This weekend was beautiful for both body and spirit. 

This weekend was Palm Sunday, and I lifted my own palms in praise to Him whose palms were pierced. HIS body was broken so that MY body could be whole again. 

And what is there for me to do but be thankful? Oh how I raise my palms even higher! Hosanna!! Hosanna!! [literally: a joyful exclamation of adoration and praise] My heart cries Hosanna.

And I kneel at the cross and I nail to the cross all that is holding me back from my Hosanna. I feel renewed. I feel refreshed. I am ready.

But it's only Tuesday and I'm already ungrateful. And what was it that took me down?


Snow in April. A little inch of pure white covering the ground this morning and my shouts of Hosanna have become sighs of frustration. Oh heart - why must you be so fickle?

I myself have to admit that the brown dirt and the patchy grass and all the leaves and sticks that make up our yard leave something to be desired. Surely it would take a keen eye to find any beauty here. 

But isn't my heart just the same? With it's dirty past and broken patchy pieces and all the sin and the stains? Surely it would take a keen eye to find any beauty there. Well… more than a keen eye. 

A Master's eye.
A Creator's eye.
A Lover's eye.

And He saw something there - amidst the broken - something worth more. More than the whipping. More than the spitting. More than the piercing. More than the bleeding.

And He tenderly wrapped my dirt in something pure and white and clean so that I could stand before the Father unashamed with my lifted palms. He washes me. And He covers me. 

I guess the snow isn't so bad, is it?

Today, I will choose Hosanna!

Sunday, 5 January 2014

In So Many Words

Well, it seems I haven't officially blogged for about six months. I'm hoping to change that. Oi. 

As December drifts away and a brand new year rings in I always look forward to hearing the "One Little Word" that God has chosen for those around me. God has chosen. Don't get it wrong - you have nothing to do with it! The Holy Spirit is the one who leads us to The Word and He is also the one who will lead you to your word. 

My word is always revealed to me through God's Word.

In 2011 it was ABOUND. "And this is my prayer: that your love may ABOUND more and more in knowledge and depth of insight." Phil. 1:9

In 2012 it was BELOVED. "I am my BELOVED's and he is mine." SOS 6:3

In 2013 it was NOURISH. "Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and NOURISHment to your bones." Prov. 3:7-8

Typically, the word that speaks to me appears directly in the Word. It surprised me that this year God and I formed a single word based on a handful of His Words. So that His Word could become my word…. in not so many words. 

The Scripture that stood out to me in December is found at the end of Galatians. I haven't done a whole lot of studying in the book of Galatians, but I know that Paul talks to the churches about getting swept up in legalism. There was a Jewish-turned-Christian culture in Galatia that was a little confused and Paul speaks out against them in this book. 

"Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. Not even those who are circumcised obey the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your flesh. May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."
Gal. 6:12-14

I am right there with you Paul! 

I want to boast in Jesus. 
I want to be crucified to the world. 
I want to rebel against my current culture. 

Because let's face it - our culture has already gone downhill fast and apparently hasn't reached rock bottom yet because they still aren't standing on the Rock. But I chose the Rock many years ago so why do I still eye that slimy pit? 

A little earlier in the same chapter….

"The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."
Gal. 6:8-10

And that was it.  

Sow to please the Spirit. 
Do not grow weary. 
Keep doing good.
And do not give up.
Do not give up.
Do not give up.


Sunday, 6 October 2013

Eternity On The Heart

After a short, unplanned leave from blogging this summer, my first post back is actually on someone else's blog! :)

About a month ago my sweet friend Katie Reid asked me to be a guest blogger for her series on Isaiah 40. I have to admit I was very nervous! I got to spend a few weeks studying the chapter, but especially the verse that I got to write about....

A voice says "Cry!" And I said "What shall I cry?"
All flesh is like grass, and all it's beauty is like the flowers of the field.
Isaiah 40:6

Please enjoy my post on "The God Who Is Eternal" as well as the entire Isaiah 40 series!