Portuguese Style Roast Chicken Piri Piri

December 15th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

I found myself in the engaging country of Portugal last month. The countryside, the people and the food are all a delight to experience. On one fine day we were treated to a family style dinner that filled up our tummies and tantalized our tastebuds. Roast chicken is one food you can rarely make a mistake with and easy to perfect over time. Give this a try!

1 roast chicken or chicken pieces
3-5 peeled and crushed garlic cloves
dash of paprika

1. The day prior to serving, prepare the marinade of garlic, paprika and vinegar into a paste and baste the thawed chicken. Cover and refrigerate.
2. Roast or barbecue the chicken as per usual instructions.
3. Serve with super hot piri piri sauce to dip your chicken in if you like heat! Make a few veggie dishes to accompany your fab chicken. Enjoy!

This chicken was delectable: a simple family meal made to the nines! I am now adopting a Portuguese cooking style when I make chicken and am recommending to everyone I know to do the same. Give it a try!

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December 12th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

I stall
Not yet!
I fret

Sharp cold
Be bold
Scarf, hat
Make a pact

Head out
No pout
Fresh air
I dare

Walk fast
Time past
Around the bend
Home again

Not so bad
I’m glad
It’s only snow
Not Buffalo!

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New word du jour “bleach-a-what”?

December 10th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , ,

I’m deep in the pluck dow of late. I feel more pensive this time of the year, as a New Year is rolling around. How about you? I find myself mulling over life and reflecting for more meaning. My navel gazing came to a screeching halt when I scanned a tweet about a new word of the day “bleachorexia”, hmmmmmm. My mind wandered.

What pratel would that be? Could this mean someone who wants to bleach their clothes too much demanding their whites be “whiter than white”? Nay nay, I say! How about bleach blonds and that whole phenomenon then? Nope! Ahhh then the meaning of this new age term “bleachorexia” as 2014 comes to a close (drumroll please) is: whitening your teeth too much…. sigh…. good grief …awe come on….say whaaaaat?

I’ve written before that it can be a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World in my ebook. Now I know it! Don’t get me wrong, I love a pearly white smile, but a fluorescent set, not so much. As I try to find more meaning in life, this is what the world is doing too much of: tooth whitening? I felt like rolling up in a ball and hibernating from everyone for a few days to divorce myself from the ridiculousness.

I pondered this some more and thought well next year’s new word will probably be “textorexia” maybe I missed it and it was last year’s. How about “sit-on-your-butt-orexia”? That would fit our current state of inertia. So would “screen-time-orexia” too…. We can certainly use some “fruit&veg-orexia”, don’t you think?

This time of year I’m searching for something meaningful. Let’s hope for more in our world like “peace-orexia” “hope-arexia” and “charity-orexia” with a splash of “love-orexia” on the side…. we can only hope…

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Cindy-lou Hoo’s Christmas Do’s & Don’ts

December 8th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

So have you started into the pity pudding, the nuts, the cakes, the cookies, the martinis and more? Time to get your head on straight and do a “yoooo hoooo” so you don’t end up with a big “booooo hoo”. You know me, all foods can fit. Oh ye Christmas does only come around for thee, once a year. You; however,  wouldn’t want to ruin all of your stealth eating efforts by the time the clock strikes 12 come New Year’s. Don’t you think?

There simply are some foods this time of year I am truly going to enjoy. The notion of “all foods fit” doesn’t mean you have everything in sight for the duration though. Decide what’s part of your Christmas eating season and make plans to enjoy them in moderation. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to consider as you plan ahead:

  • DO plan to wear a smashing outfit to your parties, without an elasticized waistband to nudge you with a “whoa horsey” slow down mechanism.
  • DON’T tell yourself you can’t eat your favourite foods, cause you’re just gonna give in and binge so much more.
  • DO have a snack before you go to your parties, to help curb your appetite.
  • DON’T start drinking those bottomless glasses of wine, that seems like 1 that’s really 5 as your host tops them up.
  • DO keep track of your bevy’s and plan to enjoy a few then graduate to the bubbly stuff, mineral water with lime.
  • DON’T try to make your hostess overjoyed by overdoing it. You’ll be paying in spades if you do.
  • DO get a handle on the menu ahead of time so you can plan your indulgences according.
  • DON’T skip, skip, skip your exercise cause that gald dang energy equation will bite you in your butt if you do.
  • DO enjoy yourself and your family with the season turning your focus to them and away from food. Isn’t that what the holidays are really all about and not stuffing your face?

So before you get knee deep in the Christmas cookie clamour, give yourself a loud “yoooo hoooo” cause you’ll be happy once you doooooooo!!

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Fit Happens!

December 5th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

Perhaps you’ve heard this saying used in a different way, hmmmmm. When it comes to your own wellness, it will certainly improve as you aim to get more fit. So yes, FIT can and does happen!

You don’t need any grandiose scheme to get there. Consider ways to get yourself to move more. I have written about “Finding 5′s“. I wrote about this in my ebook, Skinny on Slim, the Little Black Dress of Diet Books on starting a “movement movement” and “interval training” by doing a few 15 minute intervals of movement in your day.

Ever wonder why Goody-2-Shoes in your department has the highest sales record while Sammy-the-Shortcut has the lowest? It could be because Goody plans more face time with key people instead of messaging and e-mailing. She works in stealth moves that adds to her fitness scorecard.

I find moving from point ‘a’ to point ‘b’ is a perfect way to mull over what’s going on in my life and it allows me time to search for ideas. Thinking might be an action word (verb) but for me thinking while walking not only gets me more fit but helps me find solutions! How great is that? VERY!

Consider starting your own movement movement by moving 15 minutes at a time a few times a day, everyday. In time you’ll get in better shape. Just getting some air while revving up your circulation after a prolonged time of sitting can contribute to you becoming more fit AND productive. Now that prolonged sitting is the new smoking, let’s make a pact to get and keep moving!

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The Other 12 Days of Christmas

December 3rd, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

Ok my cherished T & T followers. Let’s all sing along together from the same proverbial song-sheet now that the Christmas season is in full swing, shall we? HmHmmHmm.

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me:

1 Daily Breakfast – Successful losers say and research shows it’s the most important meal of the day. Don’t miss it!

2 Little Snacks – Keeping your hunger at bay will really help you from feeling ravenous and overeating.

3 Square Meals – Having a regular eating routine with balanced meals helps your metabolism fire on all cylinders. A true gift to yourself.

4 Small Plates – Keeping an eye on your serving size by using smaller plates is an easy way to help you portion out less food and eat less over the holidays and everyday.

5 No-cal Drinks – Having enough fluids and focusing on eating your calories rather than drinking them helps fill you up and keeps you hydrated.

6 Times a Movin’ – Keeping regularly active and even taking it up a notch this time of year to offset any extra nibbling will help you burn extra calories, keep on track, feel fit and even ease stress.

7 Beauty Sleeps - Getting enough zzzzz’s helps with appetite regulation and allows you to be more productive. Nite nite.

8 Maids a Milkin’ – Including this perfect food into your regimen as a snack and with meals will add taste, protein and help satiety, not to mention a whole lot of nutritional goodness.

9 Ladies Dancing – Doing the hokey pokey at the holiday party will help you burn 276 calories an hour, by rockin’ round the clock! Bye bye trifle calories…..

10 Fruit & Veg – Eating your quota of these everyday helps fill you up while easing those extras out because you’re simply feeling full. Like magic.

11 Wipers Wipin’ – Doing housework isn’t all bad, you’ll burn 216 calories an hour while making your nest pristine for when company pops in unexpectedly.

12 Drummers Drummin’ – March to the beat of your own drum and don’t let those saboteurs change your plans gets you in the dietary drivers seat. Stick with it, you’ll be glad you did!

Ok folks, if you follow this beat for the coming weeks you’ll be in good shape and feeling extra cheer by New Year, fa la la la la, la la la la!

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Truffle Triumph!

December 1st, 2014 2 Comments Tags: , ,

I have been making these terrific truffles to give away at Christmas since I was in school in the 80′s. It was something I first did with my Mom aka Nan way back then. I have continued this tradition each year ever since. There have been a few requests for the recipe, so here’s a repost of it. This is something I get joy out of doing for many reasons while giving joy to others.

I don’t make a mantage of cookies and holiday treats. I make a mother load of these and give them away to family, friends, colleagues and confidants. My peeps look forward to these tasty morsels and I feel great spreadin’ the lovin’ around as part of the season!


600gm brown, dark or white chocolate wafers plus another pound to dip truffles into if you choose

1 can (300mL) sweetened condensed milk

2-3 tablespoons suitable liqueur (Baileys or Kalua for brown, Cointrou or Gran Marnier for white) and a little shot for you, ho ho ho!!

edible decorations (whole pecans/almonds/hazel nuts, sugar decorations, chocolate shavings, cocoa)

packaging material (cellophane bags, boxes, ribbons)


Clean and dry all of your counter surfaces and tie back your hair (not in that order). Melt the chocolate wafers either using a double boiler OR at the extra low setting in the microwave. Avoid burning or getting moisture in the mix by mixing intermittently.

While melting the chocolate open the can of condensed milk and have the liqueur of your choice ready to pour. Stir the chocolate intermittently until smooth and fully melted. Once melted remove from heat and add the condensed milk using a spatula and the liqueur. Stir thoroughly until fully combined. Cover the bowl and allow to set for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator. You can prep this the evening before.

Ready to Roll….Literally!

Take the mixture out of the fridge 1 hour before you plan to roll them. Ensure you have a clean, dry surface area and cover it with waxed paper and tie back your hair. Using a teaspoon and in a comfortable sitting position spoon out a teaspoon of mixture at a time and role with your clean hands and place on the waxed paper. Repeat until you rolled the entire mixture. This recipe yields ~100 truffles. If you roll them as big as meatballs you’ll get less, so size matters in this context! I make 4-5 times this recipe, shown in the photos. How crazy is that??!! Very….. Here’s my post on truffle trouble shooting for you serious bakers.

Dippity Due Da Day

Ok now you’re ready to dip these puppies. This step is optional. However if you do this, they keep well for weeks. I usually dip truffles in the same colour chocolate for sensory reasons. You don’t want to confuse the eater! Melt the chocolate on low and prepare the candy cups. Cover your clean counter with waxed paper. Dip each truffle and using a spoon put each truffle in a candy cup.

Decorate & Look Great…..Mate!!

Decorate the truffles as you dip them. You can decorate some with nuts and others with sugar decorations. I sometimes use white and dark chocolate shavings that look lovely and taste delectable….so I’ve heard. It all depends on your preference. Allow the decorated truffles to dry thoroughly for an hour or so before boxing them up. It’s a perfect time for a walk as your break from the kitchen.

Package ‘em Up Folks & They’re Ready to Give

Now you’re ready to package up your creations. Wash your hands well and dry thoroughly. This is an individual step to make these any way you wish. There’s really nothing like giving something you’ve made as a little part of you.


Let me tell you, I only make these once a year because it takes me that long to forget how sore I felt the year before when I finished – ug. Note to self, avoid doing your weights and stretching exercise routine before making these, because all of these steps take longer to finish than doing the Iron Man. You may want to consider making a small batch or two the first time to get the hang of it. It doesn’t need to morph into the Truffle Triathlon, if you don’t want it to be.

I’ll level with you though. Any Betty Baker knows this recipe is really glorified fudge with a splash of booze. Ok I plead the 5th. You can do this easy and put ‘em in a pan and cut into squares – presto you’re done sans back ache in 10 minutes. But it’s Christmas time, so go “ALL-THE-WAY” like Chris Berman says when he broadcasts football.

I enjoy sharing these with my Mom and Mother Dearest to give away as well. I’m already in the good books with both of them and it’s only December 1st! Isn’t that what the Christmas season is all about anyway? Sharing. Ho ho ho.

There is no doubt you’ll be ready for a bubble bath or better yet a back massage when you’re done :-) It’s definitely worth the effort though even after 30-something years of making them. Spread the love and enjoy!
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Don’t Mess with the Machine… Especially a Baby’s!

November 27th, 2014 2 Comments Tags: , ,

I wrote a blog post recently exclaiming NOT to – mess with the machine… your bodacious body, that is! I devoted an entire chapter in my e-book Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books generally explaining how the body works with the hope of convincing readers NOT to mess with biological and physiological principles or with Mother Nature in general. There certainly could be dire consequences.

It drives me nuts when people will treat their tech toys and muscle machines with greater care than their own unique being by trying crazy diets, pills or potions, some purchased off the internet. My hair stands on end when certain practitioners preach wonky methods to innocent consumers who are seeking nutrition nirvana in our complicated world.

I was really seeing red though when I read about the latest trend of well-meaning parents who opt out of breast feeding, looking to make their own batch of infant formula at home instead of using those commercially available. Good grief in spades. I spent my first 10 years of being a dietitian specializing and practicing in the paediatrics arena at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, so I know of what I preach.

I cannot stress boldly enough that the nutritional needs of infants are so highly specialized compound with how fragile babies are biologically, immunologically and physiologically. I understand deeply when parents’ want to provide the best for their families whether though supporting organic, local, and balk commercialism etc. But do understand the hugely regulated and controlled environment of the infant formula sector – one sector providing Mother Nature’s human milk replacement – infant formula. As a consumer, you may want to use as few packaged foods as possible – I get that. But this is one specialized class of food developed for infants that needs to be precise every single feed of every single day of your precious baby’s life. Concocting a CONSISTENT and SAFE replacement for breast milk is no small feat. It is one not to muddle with in your kitchen from basic ingredients.

This is not any usual rant folks and has nothing to do with supporting commercial infant formula but has everything to do with supporting the well being of infants. This is a plea to all parents: if you cannot or choose not to breast feed your baby, use infant formula that is commercially available knowing when you follow the directions it will be CONSISTENT and SAFE every single feed of every single day of your precious baby’s life you choose to use it. Their life and well being depend on it. May I proclaim again: Don’t mess with the machine, especially a baby’s!

And please, spread the word.

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Awareness is Bliss on Menu Labelling, Headway to Enlightenment

November 26th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Did you hear that the FDA announced new requirements of chain restaurants, movie theatres and pizza parlours to post calories on their menus of their food and drink offerings? Did you hear the alleluia chorus that followed, “fa la la la la, la la la la”?! That’s a little something more to be thankful for this US Thanksgiving week.

In Canada and the US consumers have been accustomed to having access to the ingredient and nutritional information on food package labels for more than a decade. You might have heard about plans to improve this back in July. This information needs to be available for consumers for ALL food they access whether from a food package or a fast food outlet. Don’t you think?

Data shows that consumers now eat out more and more. About a third of the calories consumed come from outside of the home. That’s a significant proportion of energy eaten blindly without a clue of what’s in it.

I have written many times and explain in my ebook Skinny on Slim The Little Black Dress of Diet Books that awareness is bliss. When we know better we do better. I have been in line in a coffee shop in the US and changed my order because I didn’t realize how energy dense the choice I was about to make was. Consumers deserve to know. On the flip side, it has been shown that restaurant outlets will reformulate their products when they need to reveal these nutritional nuggets to the world, hmmmm.

I strongly believe that just fessing up to the calories in offerings is not good enough. They need to disclose the SAME information the food package industry has provided us for years. Revealing the calories is the first step down a long road to consumer enlightenment. In this era of technology why not create an app for that!

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Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot! Making Arrabiatta Sauce with Nan

November 24th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , ,

Despite having a procedure done on her eye last week, my Nan was adamant not to cancel our Arrabiatta Sauce making lesson. She is one gritty Italian who’s north of 80 and I chose not to argue with her… this time anyways. That food loving Ukrainian I know put this request in a while back when we started our lessons, so Nan & Pops had the ingredients ready to transform into saucy deliciousness. Venture into the heat with this speecy-spicy recipe that tantalizes the senses and does not disappoint!

8 hot yellow banana peppers, washed
canola oil
1/2 cup white wine
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tsp each dried basil, parsley, oregano
salt & ground pepper to taste
4, 680mL bottles crushed stewed tomatoes
1m 400mL can diced stewed tomatoes
1 rack pork back ribs

1) Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F. Cut your ribs into individual or double segments and arrange on a baking sheet. Add salt and pepper to taste. Slow cook in the oven for 90 minutes. Set aside to cool (make ahead of time before making your sauce).
2) In a large saucepan add canola oil and heat to medium, low. Using hand protection when handling the peppers on a cutting board cut the stems off and discard, then cut the peppers lengthwise then widthwise adding each to the saucepan, seeds and all (the seeds have the heat, so beware). Saute the peppers until softened and browned, stirring occasionally. Add white wine and simmer for 2 minutes.
3) Add all of the remaining ingredients then stir to combine, including the cooked ribs. Allow to simmer in the pot covered with a lid on medium low for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4) Serve over boiled pasta of your choice and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy to the MAX!

This is one steamy proposition that transforms taste to a new level. We set the table with a tablecloth gift offering I brought back from Portugal and shared fun holiday stories during dinner.

We served another famous soup of Nan’s first – Acini di Pepe Soup that I made special to help her recuperation post eye surgery. Nice to see that it worked!

We enjoyed the pasta and ribs with fabulous Okanagan Wine and even better company. It was great to be the victim of this spicy food hangover, lucky me! What’s the next lesson on Nan, your famous Vodka Sauce?

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