Sunday, 15 April 2012

Spring Allergies

There are a lot of supposed allergy cures/relievers out there. I have tried many (though not all) of them, and this year I may have found one that works. I can't say for sure yet because we're not deep enough into allergy season, but I'm just saying - usually I am among the first to start sneezing and trying to scratch my eyes out... but this time there are many people ahead of me in that line. For now, I chalk that up to

Nettle Tea with Local Honey

I have tried to research this (not very hard, I'll admit) and no one seems to really have any 'scientific' answers about why this should work, but many people have confirmed that it does wonders! The claim is not that it will make your allergies go away, but that if you drink at least one cup of long-steeped nettle tea a day, starting a month or two before you expect your allergies to arrive, it will dramatically lessen your symptoms. I think for people with severe allergies 3 cups a day is recommended, but I just can't drink that much tea. You can also drink it while you're having an allergy attack and it should calm it down in 20-30 minutes.
Local Honey is also supposed to help because the bees are making honey out of the pollen that you may or may not be allergic to - exposing your body to the suspects in a different way is supposed to build up your immunity to it, or something like that. Again, haven't found much in the way of science to back that up.

The point is, I have been drinking nettle tea with a generous dollop of local honey (you really should have the honey - the tea is kind of unpleasant without it) since February, and so far the worst I've had is a couple sneezes a day and a very mildly irritated nose now and then. And I've been doing a lot of work outside pulling weeds!

Give it a try - it's certainly easier than getting allergy shots!

Nettle Tea can be found at most Health Food stores, and most towns have their own Honey centre.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Red Salad

Slowly but surely, I'm building up a repertoire of salads that I actually enjoy (Shocking - I know!). Near the top of the list is this one that I call the Red Salad. Don't let that put you off, they're all good things! Super simple, I won't list quantities because it's totally up to you.

Red Leaf Lettuce
Red Grapes, cut in half if large
Red Onion (thinly sliced and soaked in cold water to wash away a bit of it's pungency)
Balsamic Dressing
Toasted Walnuts or Pecans, optional
Crumbled Blue Cheese or Goat Cheese, optional but you should really do it, it's what makes the salad! ("but it's weeeiirddd it's bluuueeeee" oh stop being such a wimp. It's just cheese, it's not like it's monkey brains!)

Toss and enjoy with a glass of wine for a light dinner, or with some chicken and potatoes as part of a fantastic feast!

Heehee - these looked like an octopus

Thursday, 12 April 2012


This is Dave convincing you that you will love it. Also it was a very hot day... ergo no shirt.
I know, I know - what's with the all caps on the title there? I don't normally do that, but this grilled cheese sandwich is so blow-your-mind, can't-believe-it's-so-good, where-have-you-been-all-my-life FANTASTIC that it was worth it. Originally I tried this sandwich at Moxies on Dave's birthday. He ordered it, and I had pasta - that was probably the first time I was ever dissatisfied with pasta. Because his grilled cheese sandwich was TOO GOOD. Of course we had to recreate it as soon as possible, SO, here is our rendition. You will love it. The end.

serves 2

1 Lobster, cooked, meat carefully pulled out (no shell shrapnel, please!) and chopped. Fine, chunky - it's your call
1 Tbsp. Mayo
1/2 cup grated Cheddar
Brie - brie is sold in so many different sizes, I can't tell you how much you need. But more is best.
Sourdough Bread, 4 relatively thin slices.
1. Mix the lobster, the mayo, and the cheddar together in a bowl.

2. Cut slices of the brie and lay them out on 2 slices of bread. For the sake of your future happiness, don't leave too many gaps!

3. Spread the lobster mixture on the other 2 slices of bread. Put the sandwiches together.

4. Heat some butter and a wee bit of olive oil in your best, biggest skillet. Right before the butter turns brown, set your sandwiches in. At this point I like to spread a bit of butter on the top, so I'm not relying solely on pan-butter when I flip these bad boys. Also, if you have something heavy nearby to weigh these babies down with, do it. I like to heat up another frying pan, and (using oven mitts) sit it on top and push it down for a few seconds.

5. When both sides are golden, remove to a cutting board and cut in half so you can
see all that marvelous gooey-ness being all.... gooey.
Butter on one side

*tip: in the Restaurant, when asked "salad or fries?" Dave automatically said fries, as is correct. However, it was, just this once, possibly a mistake. This sandwich is insanely rich and creamy - a small side salad is definitely a good idea!*

Eggs in a Kale nest

I'll admit - this recipe was pretty much stolen from my Martha Stewart magazine, but I did make some changes so I don't feel too guilty posting this - and you certainly won't have to feel guilty eating it, because it is some of the most delicious health food you'll ever have! I may be exaggerating, depending how you feel about soft-boiled eggs. I hear not everyone is a fan... hmm... ANYWAY, so the story goes:

4 soft-boiled eggs (how to)
1 large bunch of Kale
1/2 onion (shallot, red, white, yellow, blue... blue???), chopped
1 cup uncooked brown rice
1/2 lemon, zested
olive oil

1) If you're thinking far enough in advance, cook the eggs about 30 minutes ahead. They will be MUCH easier to peel.
Preheat oven to 400

2) Cook the brown rice - 2 cups of water to 1 cup of rice (this is almost ALWAYS the ratio, also with white rice - memorize it!). Bring to a boil, then simmer and cover until all the water is absorbed.

3) Remove the large ribs from each Kale stem, and chop VERY roughly. Kale shrinks almost as much as spinach so keep the leaves fairly large. Toss with the onion, a healthy drizzle of olive oil, lemon zest, and the salt and pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet and slide into the top third of the oven.

4) I'm rarely precise when I cook, so I don't know how long it took - set your timer at 3 minutes intervals - when the kale is crispy and a little brown, it's done. Stop when you smell burning!!

5) Serve the kale on the rice and the eggs on the kale!

*tip: if you're peeling your eggs and they seem too soft for your liking (like as if not all of the white is cooked) it won't hurt them to lower them back into simmering water for another 5 minutes or so. I can't STAND uncooked egg white... ick!*