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The Sandwich Queen

Anyone else out there obsessed with the Food Network as much as I am? The Iron Chef and Good Eats will probably be my two favourite shows of all time, but newer favourites include The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Top Chef, and surprisingly, The Next Food Network Star.

One thing that really intrigued me about the latest season of The Next Food Network Star is that the guy who won pitched the idea of creating a Food Network show all about sandwiches. And no, this is not Joey Tribbiani we’re talking about.

Who doesn’t love sandwiches? They are hands down one of my favourite foods ever. There is so much you can do with a sandwich (or pita, or wrap). But the components always remain the same: bread, sauce, filling. These days I find myself craving sandwiches more than any other food thanks to the chemotherapy. My body wants bread, more bread, and a yummy protein in between.

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This first sandwich is brought to you by my crock pot. My first foray into making homemade pulled pork. Up here in Canada pulled pork isn’t as widely consumed as with our friends to the south.

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This turned out to be SO incredibly easy. I started by slicing up an onion and put it in the slow cooker. Poured in 1 cup chicken broth I had leftover in the fridge (some people use water or soda) then placed a 4-5lb piece of pork butt in there. Set on low and cooked for 8 hours.

After the 8 hours are up, I shredded the meat with two forks and liberally dumped in my favourite President’s Choice Smokin’ Stampede Beer & Chipotle sauce (available in Canada only). I like it better than Diana Sauce now!

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Some recipes will tell you to dump in a whole bottle. Well, this is a 2L bottle, and I’m honestly not that big of a fan of too much sauce. I like the taste of the meat better!

Let the shredded pork and sauce cook on low for another two hours. After 10 hours total of patiently waiting, you can finally dig in.

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See? Nothing to it! And the result is amazing!! I served mine with coleslaw, of course.

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Served on top of a bun. I used the leftovers to make a pulled pork and coleslaw pita and that was even better!

I’ve also been experimenting with the classic grilled cheese sandwich lately. You may remember I went to a specialty grilled cheese restaurant when I was living in Toronto. Suffice it to say I think of that place every time I make my own grilled cheese. It has inspired me to ask myself “How can I make this grilled cheese better?”

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We had some leftover brie in the fridge from making stuffed hamburgers. I started with that flavour and ran with it.

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Adding some raspberry jam and pieces of roasted pecans, then grilled on the ole’ George Foreman.

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Heaven!! It may seem like an odd flavour combo, but it reminded me a lot of a baked brie you’ll see at parties.

Today I am off to the cottage to relax after receiving my fourth chemotherapy treatment yesterday. So far just feeling really tired and a little nauseous. I am also celebrating some FANTASTIC news I received on Tuesday. An x-ray taken two weeks ago showed the mass in my chest “significantly decreased” from 14cm (5.5 in) to 8.8cm (3.5 in)!!! That’s just after three treatments! Hopefully the cancer keeps responding well to the chemo and we’ll have this sucker blasted in no time.

Oh, and also, I don’t have smallpox. That was just me being dramatic. It’s an allergic reaction to something. Apparently my sensitive skin has become even more so while on chemotherapy. It’s clearing up with a steroid cream and some over the counter allergy pills. Another fun side effect to add to the growing list I guess.

Now I ask you – what is your favourite sandwich combo??

Herb n’ Pig

Happy weekend!! I’m on the eternal weekend over here… I’ve been unemployed for exactly 8 weeks now! Or, I should say, “without work.” It’s an intentional stint of unemployment, but I am getting antsy to get my hands dirty again :)

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There is chicken bacon in the fridge that needs to be eaten up, but I also really wanted pancakes for breakfast.

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So I made both.

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Mixed up a double batch of my oatmeal cottage cheese protein pancakes (minus the sweeteners) and threw in the cooked bacon.

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I do not recommend this cottage cheese.Watery with a rubbery taste. Ew.

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Bacon and maple syrup are an amazing combo… too bad I’m hooked on the sugar-free stuff.

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Just another piece of evidence that bacon does in fact make everything better.

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As a side note, Sister Sara ate hers with real maple syrup and half a banana. She’s a girl who knows how to do it right ;)

I spent all morning putting 118 Banff photos on Facebook so my dad can see them.

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It was a gruelling task that had to be fuelled by a High Protein Banana Bar with greek yogurt. Parfait a la K!

Then I received this text message:

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That was all the push I needed to get my butt in gear and to the gym!!

I ran the 7 minutes it takes to get the gym. I LOVE being able to run to the gym. It makes weight days seem so much easier. I just run there, do my thang in the weight room, and run back. None of this cardio machine silliness.

Another full-body day with an emphasis on the upper body. My glutes are still hammered from my last session!

 

Exercise Weight Reps Sets Target
Step-up (alternating legs) 50 lbs 20 3 Quads, Glutes, Calves
One arm dumbbell row 25 lbs 10 3 Back
Stiff leg deadlift  50 lbs 10 3 Lower back, hamstrings, glutes
Incline dumbbell fly  15 lbs ea 10 3 Chest, front of shoulders
Dumbbell pullover  20 lbs 10 3 Chest, front shoulders, top of back
Side lunge with dumbbell front raise  7.5 lbs ea 10 3 Glutes, inner thighs, quads, front shoulder
Standing calf raise (on machine) 85 lbs 10 3 Calves
Cable pushdown  60 lbs 10 3 Triceps
Plank off bench n/a 60 sec 3 Abs
Standing dumbbell curl 12.5 lbs ea 10 3 Biceps

Colour coded again! Matching colours = alternating sets. Even though I only did one isolated ab move, I feel like I got a good core workout with this one. Those dumbbell pullovers require a lot of stabilization in that area.

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Refuelled with a big ole’ green salad in anticipation for my rib feast later. Just the typical garden salad with tuna for my protein, mozzarella cheese for my fat, and watered down hummus for the dressing.

Then it was on to my special project for the day.

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I had a whack of rosemary left after making boeuf bourguignon. My mind immediately went to Banff. The yoga studio we went to was located above a bakery that smelled like herbed focaccia. It was mouth watering.

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For some reason though, I didn’t feel like focaccia. No, I wanted biscuits. Something I could eat with eggs in the morning, or perhaps a rack of ribs ;)

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Buttermilk biscuits are traditional, yes, but silly when you also have a tub of yogurt in the fridge waiting to be used.

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A quick Google search lead me to this Emeril Lagasse recipe.

Rosemary Biscuits:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup buttermilk 3/4 cup plain greek yogurt

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Work the butter into the flour with your fingertips or a fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the rosemary. Add 1/2 cup of the buttermilk a little at a time, using your hands to work it in just until incorporated and a smooth ball of dough forms. Add up to additional 1/4 cup buttermilk if necessary, being very careful not to overwork the dough or the biscuits will be tough.

On a lightly floured surface, pat the dough into a circle about 7 inches in diameter and 1/2-inch thick. Using a 1-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 12 biscuits.

Place the biscuits on a medium baking sheet. Bake until golden on top and lightly browned on the bottom, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve warm.

Yield: 12 mini biscuits (I got 20)

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No cookie cutters were found in my sister’s kitchen, however there was a nice assortment of shot glasses.

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I really hope my new apartment in Toronto is well-cooled. I don’t know how I’ll survive baking with a 450F oven otherwise.

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They were done in 10 minutes flat and smelled heavenly. Almost as good as Rocky Mountain Yoga!!

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I calculated the nutritionals on these, and because they’re so small, one biscuit is only 44 calories. #win.

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As per the baking rules, I had one immediately out of the oven with butter.

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My first ever batch of biscuits were not only downright delicious (toot toot) but also crazy simple!! I keep passing all these wonderful bakeries here in Ottawa, and then think to myself that it’s so much more fun to just bake at home :)

Afterwards Sara and I went to a 90-minute Hatha Flow class. It was pretty fun! I did this:

Just with the assistance of two people and a couple straps ;)

Then it was time for RIBS. Ohbaby.

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Ottawa has this thing called Ribfest where a bunch of restaurants set up grills down a pedestrian street and sell nothing but pulled pork sandwiches and ribs.

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People get pretty excited about it, but I can’t think of a more messy food to eat on the side of the street.

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Sara was down there over lunch and picked up extra for me!

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Paired with a baked-fresh Rosemary Yogurt Biscuit. 

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And my first ever pulled pork sandwich!! It was good, although a little too much on the sauce-y side for me. How is it that ribs don’t taste like the rest of the pig??

Anyways, as you can see this was all incredibly delicious. But mygoodness I am paying for it now. Too much barbecue sauce for this tummy. It’s awfully hard to indulge when my stomach insists on rebelling like this!!

I hope it’s better for eggs and biscuits in the morning :)

See ya tomorrow!! xoxo

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