food: chicken & broccoli on sweet potato noodles

so, i ventured out of my cooking comfort zone the other day with this chicken & broccoli with sweet potato noodles from inspiralized. i saw it on my FB feed and since it was Whole30 compliant, i figured it was worth a shot. 

the sauce is a creamy cashew nutritional yeast mixture and it was damn tasty. totally not the usual thing we make, but really glad we tried it. 

since it was my first go at it, i followed the recipe pretty much to a t. 

the only thing was that i didn’t have a shallot, i used onion instead. also threw a raw jalapeño into the blender. 

the noodles didn’t really hold together… maybe i baked them too long or maybe i stirred too much, but it was still really yumm, it just didn’t photograph as i’d hoped. 

recipe is below… photo on instagram 😊

2016 update

hello friends… it’s been a while, ya? since i have been paying for this blog, but not updating it, i’ve decided it’s time to get back on it and get my money’s worth.

so i’ve going to be posting some old trip reviews from the past couple of years, because you can bet your ass i’ve done some traveling.

i’ve actually crossed FIVE things off the travel bucket list since my last update!

most of you have been following along on instagram (vancityrockgirl) so you’ve gotten some idea of what i’ve been up to, but i have much to share.

as well i’ve had a lot of foodie progress… i’ve fallen in love with the Whole30 lifestyle and have perfected a lot of W30 friendly recipes that i’d love to share.

so… please, check back in🙂

travel: Austin!

you know those trips that you plan SO FAR in advance that they feel like they’re never going to actually happen?
well that’s my return to Austin.
last year, literally within days of returning from Austin, I bought tickets to ACL festival for 2014.
I didn’t know the bands… the actual lineup wasn’t announced until about 7 months later… but I knew how much fun I had in 2013 and I wanted to go back.
so the lineup was announced and while it wasn’t the greatest thing I’d ever heard, there were plenty of gems to make me excited.
old favourites like AFI, Interpol, Beck and Pearl Jam…
and then bands I’ve more recently gotten into like St Vincent, Lana Del Rey and Lorde…
and then plenty of bands I’ve heard of, but don’t know much about and am excited to see. and so randomly, Belle and Sebastian are playing, who I haven’t seen live in over 15 years.
and honestly, last year’s lineup was like someone asked me to handpick my favourite bands for a dream festival… so I knew that regardless of who was booked this year, I’d be a little disappointed. so I was pleasantly surprised to find so many acts to look forward to this year.

anyways, it all didn’t seem real until this weekend when I finally got my wristbands in hand.

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and now I’m really ready to go.
we have tickets to the late show with Fitz and the tantrums on the night we arrive… and tickets to the Saturday night late show with Austin natives Spoon. and gospel brunch booked for Sunday morning, naturally…
but besides that, we’re just going to play it by ear and see what trouble we get into. I know we’ll be just fine… Austin will take care of us.

travel: hawaii via land & cruise

I’m a hawaii regular.
I have been once a year for the last few years and my first visit was technically in utero.

I love and adore hawaii.
but I have never seen it by cruise.
until next week.

I’m so excited to be flying to honolulu and after a night’s stay in waikiki, we’ll be boarding the Norwegian ship; The Pride of America to explore the hawaiian islands for 7 glorious nights.

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after the cruise we’re flying to Maui and spending 5 nights before reluctantly departing. because no matter how long you spend, leaving hawaii is always the worst.

we have a balcony cabin booked on the cruise, frankly because I can’t imagine not having a balcony in hawaii, and I’ll be attending some conference sessions and tourism hosted activities including a trek through a lava tube at the volcano on the big island.

I am very excited to explore new parts of hawaii – this cruise will take me to 2 cities I’ve never visited and 1 new island to cross off my hawaii to-do list.
fun times ahead!

travel – carnival cruise

ah yes… finally… my long long overdue post about my fabulous cruise in the caribbean.

so, back in May, myself and 7 of my coworkers had the pleasure of being hosted on the Carnival Breeze for a 6 night cruise from Miami and visiting Key West, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

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here she was, as viewed from the Miami port before we embarked.  she’s a big girl and beautiful, shiny and new.

this was my view… deck 2 outside cabin.  we had this fabulous little window well that i used many afternoons to sit in and read my book while enjoying the gorgeous caribbean water… there’s nothing like that colour…

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the ports were fantastic… we rode bikes in key west… i did the stingray city excursion in grand cayman (so cool!) and in cozumel we did a catamaran boat cruise with snorkeling and beers & guacamole.

my main challenge on this cruise was to keep active and to try to restrain myself around the food…
there was a Guy Fieri’s burger joint on the ship and I managed to restrict myself to only 1 burger.  which was a miracle, because that was a damn fine burger.  my boss ate 7.  so basically i was the only one showing restraint.

my main temptation was the blue iguana taco bar… they made the tortillas fresh right infront of you and then you got to load up your tacos as you liked and there was even a hot sauce carousel that included my all time favourite hot sauce; a honey habenero.
i could never decide between the pork or chicken taco, so obviously i ordered one of each… there was also a fish option, but it was breaded and deep fried, so i said no to that.

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*drool* makes me hungry just thinking about it…

i also did well in the breakfast department… i’m not a huge breakfast guy, but i did love that i could have my bagel and smoked salmon whenever i saw fit…

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and then one day, i splurged on the huevos rancheros…
oh man, it was good.  three kinds of salsa… and these little hush puppies on the side… yup.  that was a winner.

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and because the best part of cruise ship life is having no limit to what you order, we also got a breakfast mac & cheese for the table… which was garnished with fried chicken and bacon.  hells to the yes.
there was 3 of us digging in to that and it was still too rich to finish.

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so there’s a little snapshot into how damn easy it is to indulge on a ship.
there were a few nights i definitely went overboard… i ate 3 lobster tails one night.  why not?  they’re free and i was still hungry.  there were nights filled with beer until 3am… (couple of those nights infact)…
but i balanced everything out with 4 trips to the gym (which was REALLY nice BTW) and tons of walking.  while you’re onboard a ship, you’re constantly walking from one end of it to another… and in port, with bike rides and swimming excursions, we kept moving.

and at the end of everything, i’m quite pleased that i didn’t gain a single pound.  so that is a total win to me.

carnival really wowed me with their ship, facilities, service and food.  i’d definitely go on the breeze again!

travel: little havana in miami

well, my first real cruise and trip to Miami was a pretty rad success. I’ll talk more about the cruise in another post, but I wanted to give you a couple pictures of my food tour in Little Havana.
we visited a few different places on a walking food tour that lasted a few hours… ate some delicious eats and got to experience a bit of the history of the place. it was very fun.
I’ve never visited Cuba and didn’t have a massive knowledge about Cuban cuisine, so I was looking forward to learning something new. as I expected, the food wasn’t particularly spicy or heavily seasoned, but it was tasty and you definitely could see the difference from other caribbean cuisines.
the area of Little Havana itself was like another world from South Beach and it felt very Caribbean with people just hanging around on the street corners and in public spaces playing dominos and socializing… and pretty much every man was sporting a Cuban shirt. so of course I had to bring one home for my husband.
anyways… enjoy some pictures from my wanders…

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and lastly… the food.
medianoche – the midnight sandwich. it’s a Cuban pressed sandwich but on a sweeter egg bread made for late night eating.
empanadas – these were stuffed with ground beef & green olives. delicious twist on a classic.
tostones – fried plantain cups filled with chicken sofrito.
pastelitos de guayaba – pastries filled with guava. so fucking yum.
abuelita maria ice cream – homemade ice cream with waffle cone & guava in it.

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food: poulet en papillote

well hello there.  i know.  it’s been a while.
so let us catch up, shall we?

i’d love to account for my absence with fabulous holidays and tales of jet-setting, but i have been pretty homebound… so that’s not it.  and i’d love to say that i’ve been doing super secret recipe tasting for something fun and exciting like a cookbook, but thats not it either.

truth be told i have been on a super healthy life mission and its just plain keeping me busy.
i have classes and meal plans and exercise routines and all that fun stuff and so its taking my free time (otherwise known as blogging time) down to about nothing.  for more proof, see my giant stack of “books to read” that hasn’t been touched since xmas.

anyways.  i’m going to share one of my current favourite mega healthy recipes.

poulet en papillote sounds super fancy pants, but really, it’s just chicken steamed in paper.
this recipe took us minutes to put together, only 25 minutes to bake and was pretty cheap on the ingredients.
combine that with the super healthy factor and you have a winning recipe in my house.

so here’s how it looks as a meal for 2 people.

poulet en papillote

ingredients

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 bunch of asparagus (whole – trim ends)
  • 1 carrot (peeled and thin sliced)
  • 1 small jar of artichokes in oil, drained
  • 10-15 kalamata olives (no pits)
  • 10-15 cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1/2 cup or so of feta (optional)
  • fresh herbs (we used tarragon & basil)

vinaigrette

  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (we used myer)
  • 1 tbsp grainy mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 & cut 2 pieces of parchment paper to fit chicken & vegetable pack.
  2. in a small bowl whisk lemon juice, mustard & honey.  slowly drizzle in olive oil to form vinaigrette.
  3. divide asparagus over two papers
  4. season chicken breast with salt & pepper and place on top of asparagus.  drizzle with 1 tbsp of dressing each.
  5. add other vegetables and feta and drizzle with another tbsp of dressing.
  6. fold over paper and crimp edges in a half moon shape to seal completely.
  7. bake for 25 – 28 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

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before (above) and after (below)

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this recipe must be tasted to be believed.
the chicken ends up wonderfully moist and tender – no easy feat for a boneless skinless breast, and it creates a natural juice that is to die for.  if you’re enjoying the bead, i certainly suggest that you get a baguette and sop up the deliciousness inside the pouch.

added bonus – the easiest clean up ever.  no pans, no pots, only a cutting board and your dinner plates.  and we ate out of the paper pouch, so even the plate was a breeze to clean up.

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