Chipotle, I had to.

During the month of June, I was in New Mexico taking part in a fantastic singing program (still working out the post in my head), but upon my arrival in Albuquerque, I decided to eat at a Chipotle.  This is a Mexican food chain essentially owned by McDonald’s, but it has some heart.  I know what you must be thinking…this girl is surrounded by Mexican/New Mexican food in New Mexico, why would she choose to go to a fast food chain? My favorite New Mexican restaurant is in Santa Fe and it was already in the books for the next day and I was in a hurry.  If I had a buddy, I would have gone to a proper restaurant, but when you are by yourself, if you’re not in the mood to dine alone, fast food becomes more appealing.

Check out this link and see why I have some love for this chain:
click me!

Hears a taste:

Chipotle.

The website advises to ask for the server to change their gloves and follow you along the line to avoid contamination (as much as you can).  I’m making this sound so risky, but I have been to various Chipotle’s and (knock on wood) not had any problems.

I always order the Burrito Bowl;  it’s huge and can be shared or eaten solo, leftovers are good too.  Andrew and I were visiting his Mom in Albany and we split 2 between the three of us and still had leftovers for his sister.  All the meats are delicious and they are all gf.  My favorite is pork.  You pick your rice, your meat, and your toppings.  Always get the guacamole, it’s tasty.

Carnitas Burrito Bowl with cilantro rice, corn and guacamole, with a blackberry IZZE.

Does this look like fast food to you?  I think even if I could eat everything on the menu at any fast food joint, Chipotle would be my fast food of choice.  I am a sucker for Mexican cuisine, but this place is tasty.  Of course, the nearest location to Montreal is Burlington, Vermont, but I highly recommend keeping this place in mind if you’re in the US or Toronto, especially over a McDonald’s.

Website:
click me!

Addendum - this little story might not help sell my gf experience at Chipotle, but I have to tell it:  When I stepped up to the counter, I asked the server to change her gloves because I have an allergy to gluten.  With a flour tortilla in her hand, she says: “I haven’t touched gluten in these gloves”,  giving her the benefit of the doubt, I reply: “oh, is that a corn tortilla in your hand?”.  She says: “No, it’s just a tortilla”  Devon’s eyebrows furrow: “so that is a wheat flour tortilla, there is gluten in wheat”.  “No,” says my new ‘about to get educated’ friend, “it’s a tortilla tortilla”.  Oy, needless to say, I asked for the next girl over to help me.

Duben Wilde

Dear friend,

It has been too long since we have spoken and now it is too late.  A day later and already I miss your smile.  You were the best person, the kindest person, a great man.  I’m sorry I never got to see how amazing a husband and father you’ve been, I imagine that you were great at both.  Time passes and we let it go by without words, but you have always been in my thoughts and in my heart.  You were my friend and you will be missed.

I remember our trip to the circus, despite my fear you made me stand next to a clown!  We laughed our way through the picture, I have the proof framed forever with my photographs, I will cherish those memories.

I often think of our trips to McDonald’s, we would order 20 chicken nuggets with all the sauces and spend the afternoon eating and mixing sauces and catching up.  I think one of your favorite mixes was honey and bbq sauce, I was more partial to the honey mixed with mustard, but it was never really about the nuggets, it was about the company.

I still have the letters you wrote while you were on your mission.  I was so proud of you for going, for learning a whole new language and devouring the culture you were surrounded by.  You asked me to only ever speak French to you so you could practice and never forget all that you had learned.

You turned every negative into a positive and drew out all the good you could from every experience.  I hope that rubbed off on me, it was a great quality.

I’m glad that in your final days you were surrounded by people who love you and will think of you often.   You will be remembered, you will always be loved.

Goodbye sweet friend,
devon

Joghurt

Yoghurt is a funny thing.  I never thought I would be so picky, but Europe has changed me.  I still remember the first time I tried a little glass cup of plain yoghurt with sugar on top in France; that little crunch from the sugar granules mixed with the creamy, slightly bitter taste of the yoghurt has stayed with me.  The dairy products are sweeter here, I’m sure of it.  Proof: At home, I usually put syrup in my coffee, but here I’ve been drinking Milchkaffee with one sugar!  (Anyone who knows me can attest to my sweet tooth, one sugar is nothing.)  The milk here is good, but the yoghurt is sooo delicious, I want to eat it all day, I want to talk about it all the time, hence the post.  I might even consider myself to be a yoghurt snob.  You would understand this if you were here in Germany with me.

Andrew walked off the plane and I handed him a cherry Mövenpick Finejoghurt.  I had, of course, already eaten my mango & vanilla yoghurt on the U-Bahn.  I’m pretty sure we had a yoghurt a day while he was here and when Andrew left, I packed 2 yoghurts in my bag and we made our way back to the Flughafen.  In my opinion, this is the only way to arrive and depart Germany!  I felt that I was acting as an ambassador to European dairy and it was my duty to make Andrew appreciate it as much as I do.

At home I would have to say I am very yoghurt naughty.  I love Liberté‘s  Méditerrannée Yoghurts, full fat of course (10%).  Ever since I became a yoghurt snob, the gelatin and aspartame in non-fat and low-fat yoghurt don’t quite sit right with my sensitive belly. ;)  I crave my wild blackberry Liberté yoghurt and I dream about the pineapple flavour and coconut too!  On a hot summer evening, there is nothing better and more refreshing than lemon yoghurt with berries.  This company gives European Yoghurt a run for it’s money, I’ve even seen it sold in the UK.  Thank goodness Liberté has created a 7% milk fat version of their delicious yoghurt! (3% less fat, that will help right?)

I understand that a lot of celiacs also have a lactose intolerance, but I am very happy to say my problem with dairy disappeared when I cut gluten out of my diet.  I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t eat cheese and put milk in my morning tea.  My last trip to the grocery store, I found myself counting backwards from when I leave to make sure I had one yoghurt for each day left in Munich.  I do know my love for fatty yoghurt has become a problem, but I also think this might be a problem I can live with.

 

Spray bottle balsamic

There is a spray cap on the top of this bottle.

What do we think of this?  Is it useful?  Does one really need to limit their balsamic intake?  I’m staying in a lovely vacation apartment in Munich filled with the oddities of past travelers, one of them being spray bottle balsamic.  I did not know or ever imagine that balsamic needed to be sprayed, but then I realized the potential of a spray bottle of balsamic vinegar!  You can use it like salt and pepper!   At least that’s all I could come up with.  I’m not going to buy a new bottle for my stay even though it takes me 12 sprays (my hand cramped) to get the right amount of spritz on my tomato and mozzarella salad.

12 spray tomato and mozzarella salad

I guess it kind of looks pretty too.

Mind my roots

In the last weeks of our veggie basket we received many, many root vegetables and gourds.  Perfect Fall food!  We had a mix of familiar veggies and mystery veggies and this is what we came up with:

Butternut Squash Risotto with Garlic Butter
What you’ll need:
Head of garlic, olive oil, about a cup of butter, 1 butternut squash cubed, sliced mushrooms, 1 quart of chicken or veggie broth, 1 cup chopped shallots or onion, 1/2 c. vermouth or white wine, 1 cup Arborio rice, S&P
Knife and cutting board, spoon and deep pan
Chop off the top of the garlic and drizzle a little olive oil on top, wrap the head in foil and roast at 400you’ll smell when it’s ready.  Squish the cloves into a 1/2 c. of butter and chill.
Melt 2 tbsp. butter, add the butternut squash and cook on medium heat until the squash is cooked through and starts to brown a little.  Set aside in a bowl.  In the same pan, sauté the shallots in 1 tbps. of butter, add the Arborio rice and vermouth.  Mix occasionally, once the rice absorbs the vermouth or wine, start adding the broth about a cup at a time until the rice is cooked.  If you need more liquid, you can add more broth, if you have it, water or more wine ;)  When you think the rice is almost cooked you can add the mushrooms with the cup of broth so they have a bit of liquid to cook in.  Finally add the butternut squash and a little of the garlic butter, mix.
Serve with a grated parmesan and dollop of garlic butter on top.  Enjoy!

This was my second helping.


Roasted Root Vegetables
This one is kind of self explanatory, I cut up all my veggies so they are about the same size, toss in some olive oil, S&P and roast at 400〫in the oven.  I just wanted to show you all the goodies we included in this!  Carrots, parsnips, turnips, kohlrabi, sunchokes, potatoes and garlic!  Have you ever had sunchokes?  (AKA Jerusalem artichokes or in French Topinambour) Or kohlrabi?  Sunchchokes are from the sunflower family (cousins, I believe) and look a bit like ginger root.  You don’t need to peel them, just scrub them like a potato and bake them.  Andrew thinks they taste like artichoke hearts.  I want to keep playing with them, but they added an interesting texture to our root mix and they brown very nicely, caramelizing just a little.  The kohlrabi tastes like the stem part of a broccoli (my favorite part).  My only complaint about the whole thing is that the parsnips aren’t quite as tasty as the ones I had in Germany last April.


Spicy Pumpkin Soup
What you’ll need:
Pumpkin purée (I used 2 small sweet pumpkins that I picked up while apple picking, about 5 cups, but you can use cans of pumpkin too), small can of coconut milk, 1 quart of broth (I used chicken again), 1 medium onion chopped up, 2 or 3 garlic cloves also chopped, 2 teaspoons curry powder, pinch of ground coriander and cayenne, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup of heavy cream, 1 cup milk
Immersion blender (or food processor or blender), soup pot, spoon
Sauté onions and garlic, once they start to brown mix in the curry, coriander and cayenne, add pumpkin and broth, bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and blend until smooth (careful it spits, so go slow).  Put the pot back on the burner and add the coconut milk, cream, milk and brown sugar.  Reheat, add S&P to taste, if you want more kick add more curry and cayenne.  So tasty!  I added some of my sweet and spicy pumpkin seeds too.

I like pumpkins stuffed and souped

Roots Anna- I found this recipe on Martha Stewart, here is the shorter version:

What you’ll need:
3 cloves garlic, unpeeled, olive oil, 1 1/2 pounds potatoes, 1 rutabaga, 6 tbsp. butter, S&P, fresh thyme leaves
Mandoline, 10 inch ovenproof skillet (I used my gorgeous, teal, cast iron pan because it has a lid)
Drizzle a little olive oil on top of the garlic, wrap in foil and roast at 400(again, you’ll smell when it’s ready).  Increase heat to 425 degrees.
Meanwhile, peel potatoes, and slice them as thinly as possible with the mandoline; place them in a bowl, and put damp paper towel on top to keep them from turning brown. Peel rutabaga, and cut in four, slice as thinly as possible, and cover with a damp paper towel.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in the skillet, swirling pan to coat bottom and sides. Remove from heat. Starting at the sides of the pan, arrange about half of the rutabaga slices in overlapping concentric circles, covering bottom of pan. Sprinkle rutabaga with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, and a third of the roasted garlic; dot with 1 tablespoon butter.
Arrange the potato slices in tight concentric circles over the rutabaga, and press down. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, and another third of the garlic; dot with 1 tablespoon butter. Arrange remaining rutabaga on top, and season again with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and remaining garlic; dot with 1 tablespoon butter.
Bake covered with lid of foil until vegetables are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 50 to 60 minutes.

In the making...

This was my first experience with cooking rutabaga and I am in love with this root.  This dish is delicious and I know you’ll want to make it over and over!

Baked rutabaga goodness

A very interesting side note (it’s not that interesting, I’m about to be sad about my hair), my fabulous hair dresser is on maternity leave (SOO excited for her), but my hair is a mess and I need to get my roots fixed!  I haven’t let anyone but Alyson touch my hair since 2001?  The end of this post felt like a good outlet for my hair frustration.  Mind your roots!

Beautiful but

This is a phrase I have heard too many times in my life and I would like to put a stop to it.  I am beautiful, but there is always an exception to my beauty.  How’s a girl supposed to have any confidence in herself?  How am I supposed to accept a compliment without expecting the other shoe to drop?  How is one expected to like their face or body or flaws when there is always a but?

I had a thought today…what would happen if I retrain my brain to hear: “Devon, you are beautiful butt. Blah blah blah.” and I will imagine they are talking about my behind.  This will take some work, but it has to be better then the mental beating I take every time someone decides to grace me with a “except-ional”compliment.

I have an assignment for you, my dear friends and readers, I ask you to offer one person a compliment without exception and without the expectation of having one thrown back at you.  The compliment can be given to a stranger or a loved one.  It will feel good and it will surely make someones day.

Here I am. No makeup, no veneers and a cheesy smile. Beautiful, no but.

Veggie Basket!

Week 5

Meet my beautiful veggie basket.  This is her 5th week in our lives and we couldn’t be happier.  Andrew and I decided to purchase a farmshare this summer to help with our menu making and it has been inspiring.  Every week we have something new to play with.  Everything tastes better!  I eat raw zucchini all the time (I thought it had to be cooked to taste good), cucumbers and carrots are incredible, and the blueberries!  Oh the blueberries!  Quebec has so much goodness to offer.

What have we been making?
So much SALAD!
I’m not a big salad fan, but I do have to say that lettuce picked the day before you eat it is so good.  I might become a salad liker…as long as Andrew keeps cleaning the lettuce.  So far my favorite salad dressing has been a mixture of avocado oil, pomegranate molasses, salt & pepper with a hint of dijon mustard and a little bit of maple syrup.
Andrew also made a delicious zucchini ribbon salad with red onion and red wine vinegar.

GRILLED VEGGIES
Zucchini is still my favorite grilling vegetable.  I like it with a bit of crunch or soft and mushy.

DIP
I made hummus (not from the veggie basket), the perfect dip for carrots and cucumbers and zucchini.
Green Sauce!  With all the mint, basil and cilantro we want, how could I not make Krista’s green sauce? (I’ll have to get her permission to post the recipe)

SALSA
I have a taco addiction and I found an amazing recipe for Radish Salsa on Martha Stewart’s site.  She calls it a salad, but I’ve adjusted it a little (add more heat!) to make it more like a salsa.  The lime and jalapeño were not from my veggie basket.

BLUEBERRY PIE
Let’s talk about blueberries.  They are delicious and jam packed with healthy.  Whenever I buy a pricey little pint of these blue goodies, I end up picking out a bunch of the yucky ones or some will be sour or too mooshy; I’m never totally satisfied.  Then came my veggie basket.  I’ve never had blueberries like this, so when they offered us the option of buying an extra case I jumped for blueberry joy.

The case

I’ve had these two pie crusts in my freezer for quite some time and my case of blueberry perfection called for a pie!  Last Thanksgiving, I found these crusts at Whole Foods in Toronto, they are by a company called “Circle of Life Bakery“.  They bake up very nicely and are super easy if you’re not in the mood for crust making mess.  I cut up one crust to make a lattice pattern.

Raw, but still pretty

Attacked!