Monday, 25 April 2011

Jewelled Salad

In my last post, I talked about a pared-down Easter dinner and promised a jewelled salad to go along with the tasty kebabs.

This salad uses a lot of dried fruit, some of which has been specifically noted as beneficials for both A's and AB's. The dried apricots remind me of little amber pieces, and I feel that the abundance of dried fruit gives this salad a Middle Eastern vibe.

Jewelled Salad


1 recipe Basic Citronette

Green salad mix (I use Spring Mix)
handful of dried apricots, rough chop
handful of dried tart cherries
handful of dried dates, pitted and rough chop
1/3 of a cucumber, chopped into bite-size pieces


Mix all ingredients together and toss with dressing. Serve immediately and admire the lovely colours!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Two meats, one marinade

Happy Easter, everyone!

Later today I am going to my in-laws' house for a huge family dinner. It's going to be awesome! I hope you all have an excellent day as well, whether or not you celebrate Easter, or if you're just enjoying a lovely Sunday.

Easter can be marked by a host of meats, and when I was younger, it was always ham or some kind of pork product. Once I started cooking for myself, I decided I enjoyed the Greek tradition of serving lamb, which fortunately, is allowed for AB's. The other day, I made a pared-down easter (small "e" on purpose) dinner of kebab and jewelled salad, using Mediterranean flavours for the marinade and Middle Eastern flavours for the salad. Since my husband can't eat lamb, I came up with a marinade that also works for chicken, which he ate.

Before making kebab, soak your skewers in water for as long as possible, preferably overnight. I use bamboo skewers and put them in a plastic container with a little water, and just leave them to soak.

Mediterranean Marinade (Remember, it's a marinade, not a sauce - one recipe goes a long long way)


8 cloves garlic, minced
A few glugs of extra virgin olive oil (or about 1/4 c, if you need to be precise)
juice and zest of one lemon
pinch of sea salt
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped

1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced (lamb)
1 tsp fresh thyme (chicken)

Meat of choice (lamb, cubed; and chicken, cubed)


I set up my station by opening two large Ziploc bags and folding over the openings so it was easy to pour things in. Mince and juice everything together (by hand or food processor, doesn't matter) and then divide evenly between the two bags, adding the specific herbs as needed (so, rosemary in the lamb bag and thyme in the chicken bag). I didn't feel like cleaning my food processor, so I cut everything by hand and just added to each bag as needed.

Add the appropriate meat to each bag, seal it, give it a good massage, and then let it marinade for a least a few hours, or overnight if you can.


Once I was ready to grill, I threaded the meat onto bamboo skewers, about 4-5 pieces each. Cook each kebab for 20 minutes. On my grill, I heat it up to high and do 5 minutes per side, then rotate.

I have used both metal and bamboo skewers, and I like the bamboo ones better. It's true that the metal ones conduct heat into the meat much better and they are reusable, but I find I have more control with the bamboo ones, so I prefer them.

Need a wine pairing? Both lamb and chicken go well with Pinot Noir in my opinion, so we drank a Wild Goose (BC) 2008 Pinot Noir.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Vegetable Stock (making something from nothing)

Trying to find a commercially-produced vegetable stock that's BTD-compliant is next to impossible. There's always something that makes it inappropriate for A's (tomatoes, usually) or AB's (wheat, corn). So I decided to make my own.

And even better, I used mostly vegetable scraps that would have otherwise been thrown in the garbage. Since this recipe makes about 2L of stock, which costs about $10 at my grocery store, that adds up to quite a significant savings.

Stock is a mixture of vegetables and herbs simmered in water to produce a flavourful broth. You can use any combination of veggies that you find palatable, but at the very least, use the following:

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, rough chop
2 stalks celery, including some leaves, rough chop
2 large carrots, rough chop
1 bunch green onions, chopped
8 cloves garlic, crushed
small handful fresh parsley
6 or so sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
10 cups water

I have been saving vegetable 'scraps' in a large Ziplock freezer bag (about 27cm x 27cm) for a week or two. This includes the following (they were all washed really well prior to freezing): parsnip ends, broccoli stems, carrot peelings, parsnip peelings, onion skins, onion ends, carrot ends and celery ends.

You can keep adding to your bag as time goes on. When it's full, it's time to make stock!

I was a little short on onions in my freezer bag, so after heating up some oil on medium-high in a large pot, I chopped one onion and let it heat up, then dumped the contents of my freezer bag in the pot. It's a big frozen mess but it will thaw very quickly and reduce down. All I added from the list above was the green onion, garlic, thyme, parsley, bay leaves, and of course the water and salt.

Adding salt is very important due to osmosis. Cooking chemistry time: water moves from less salty environments to more salty environments, meaning that the water inside your veggies will move to the salty water around it, forcing flavour out of the vegetables and into your stock.

Once everything is in it looks like this:

See? Mostly ends and peelings, ensuring maximum flavour is imparted from the vegetable to the liquid. Yum!

Bring the whole thing to the boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Strain the broth and then let it cool, and then freeze for storage.

Friday, 15 April 2011

The Skinny on Skinny Jeans

This is a vanity post so I can tell you all how awesome I feel today, and how we've been managing our food to get to this state of awesomeness.

I have lost 15 lbs so far and my body fat has gone down about 8%. My husband has lost about 20 lbs. Today I am wearing a pair of skinny jeans to work that I haven't worn in a long time. I need a belt to keep them up and I don't have a huge muffin top showing. Win!!

For the longest time, I thought my metabolism was broken. I have always trained hard and often and eaten whole foods. After reading the BTD book and sticking with the diet for a couple of months, I have come to the conclusion that my metabolism works just fine - it was my eating habits that were broken, since I was eating in a way that would benefit type O's instead of the more omnivorous ABs.

The blood type diet isn't marketed as a weight loss program, but losing weight is a pleasant benefit of the diet. In the book, Dr D'Adamo says (this is abridged, you understand) that when you body is not busy fighting toxins, it can better utilize the food you take in and not store the leftovers in your fat cells. I try to incorporate as many beneficials as I can, but if you stick with all beneficials, you will be malnourished. In my meal plan, if it isn't forbidden, it's allowed.

As far as I'm concerned, any diet that has you eating more veggies, less processed food and less meat, which this one does, will work out in your favour. The BTD just offers more refinement. I also agree with the structure of the suggested meal plans: eat smaller meals and more of them to keep your metabolism and blood sugar steady. I was eating three squares a day plus snacks, which was working against me because I was just taking in too much. It wasn't until I went through the regimented Extreme Fat Loss Diet and forced to eat more often that I ended up eating less at each meal because I just wasn't as hungry any more.

How to do this? Regimentally. You need to force yourself off 3 squares a day by eating less at each meal. Eat slowly, don't eat until you're full - go to about 80% full, and then stop. It will be difficult at first, and you'll be hungry, but after about a week, you'll be fine. Drinking water or herbal tea will help fill the void.

Because I train in the morning, my weekday meal plans look something like this:

7am - breakfast (omelette, or 1 serving of Prograde Lean, or some oatmeal)
10am - mid-morning meal (piece of fruit with cheese or yogurt, or berry flax protein shake)
12:30 - lunch (leftovers from dinner the night before, or salmon sashimi with miso soup)
3:30 - midafternoon feeding (I have the most trouble with this one because I often forget to eat, even though I pack my snacks. Tomatoes/cucumbers/carrotts with some cheese)
6pm - dinner

I go for a walk in the evening and drink water, so I'm not hungry and I don't eat anything.

Once a week I go balls to the wall and have a cheat day. No limits, no holds barred, no guilt. You need a cheat day if you're on a restricted diet. There are two reasons for this:

1) it's psychologically rewarding and will ensure you continue your good habits
2) it will keep your body from thinking it's starving and increase your lepitin levels, which are your fat-burning hormones

A few people have asked me to write a post about the BTD and weight loss. It's a sensitive topic for me and not an easy one to write about, but since I'm successfully wearing skinny jeans today and feeling awesome, I decided to go for it. It felt good to get my thoughts down and I hope you enjoyed reading this post!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Basic Salad Dressing (Citronette)

I've haven't really had a commercial salad dressing in a long time because they are full of things you shouldn't eat (even good ones like Renee's, unfortunately), so I always make my own from scratch. Before doing the BTD, I would mix some kind of oil with some kind of vinegar and a touch of salt and pepper and call it a day. If you can still have vinegar, I recommend almond oil and red wine vinegar - it's delicious.

Vinegars of all kinds are forbidden to A's and AB's, so I made citronettes. Citronettes are dressings made with a citrus of some kind plus oil, with the citrus replacing the vinegar in a vinaigrette. The world of citrus for A's and AB's extends to lemons, limes and grapefruit. This is the salad dressing I use every day. You can make as much or as little as you like. It keeps in the fridge for about a week.

Basic Citronette


Juice of 1/2 a lemon
About the same amount of extra virgin olive oil (slightly less for those who prefer a sharper-tasting dressing)
small pinch of sea salt
1/8 tsp dry mustard powder (I use Keen's)
small squirt of honey, about 1/4-1/2 tsp


Whisk all ingredients together until well-blended. Enjoy with salad of your choice.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Honey Garlic Salmon with Roasted Asparagus

When I ran out of sake and couldn't make my beloved Miso Salmon, I came up with this as a substitute. When grilled on the BBQ, the honey creates a barbecue-like glaze that is just delightful. It's especially wonderful served with a strawberry, goat cheese, roast asparagus and cucumber salad, and a glass of rose for extra poshness. Happiest accident ever!

Honey Garlic Salmon


2-4 WILD salmon filets. Remember, farmed salmon is full of sea lice and failure.
1-2 Tbsp light tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp garlic powder (add more if you want a more potent flavour)
juice of 1/2 lemon
splash of olive or grapeseed oil


Mix all ingredients together and marinate salmon for a minimum of 1 hr. I find it tastes worlds better when the salmon marinates for 24 hours.

Grill or pan sear for 4 minutes on each side.

Enjoy with side of your choice. As a mentioned above, I love this with a light summer salad. If asparagus is in season, try roasting it. It's amazing. My husband says they are almost as good as French fries. This is my no-fail method:

Roasted Asparagus


1 bunch thin asparagus (not the fat spears), washed and trimmed. If using in salad, cut them in half horizontally so you have little half-spears.
drizzle of olive oil
pinch of sea salt


Preheat your oven to 400F.

Arrange the asparagus on a cookie sheet (you need a low-sided sheet pan to keep them from steaming), drizzle with olive oil and sea salt, and mix thoroughly with your hands. Pop them in the oven for 10 minutes on convection, or 12-14 mins on regular. They will be crispy and salty when removed, and can be served as-is, or mixed with a salad.

If you're looking for a wine to pair with this meal, I recommend a robust, off-dry rose. I used a La Frenz (BC) 2009 Rose (Rattlesnake Vineyard).

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The easiest dinner ever: Roasted Veggies with Goat Cheese

It's a main, a side dish, AND a salad. It's pretty and it's good for you. You need it in your life.

If you've never made roasted vegetables, you need to start immediately.

I make this two or three times a week and it's always fantastic. Vegetarian. Vegan, even, if you omit the cheese. And very filling.

Roasted Veggies with Goat Cheese


Any combination of vegetables you like, cut to about the same size.

Need some inspiration? Here's what I like to use:

Butternut squash
Beets, peeled
Kale (give this a rough chop and add it at the end)

Olive oil, for drizzling
Fresh herbs of your choice (thyme and rosemary do it for me)
2oz or so goat cheese, cut or crumbled into small pieces


Preheat oven to 425 F.

Chop everything (or buy it pre-chopped. No judgment!) and mix around in a roasting pan of your choice. I have two roasting pans and use both, because one you start chopping you may as well keep going: one is Pyrex and was purchased recently; the other is aluminium and was my grandmother's. The aluminium pan roasts better, probably because it conducts heat more evenly. Word to the wise.

Anyway, don't overcrowd your pans otherwise you'll have steamed veggies and not roasted veggies.

Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pop them in the oven for about 35-40 mins. Add the kale and stir it all around, and roast for another 10 mins.

Serve hot with goat cheese on the top. Delicious!!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Curried Carrot Lentil and Apple Soup

You know what else you can do with lentils? Add them to soups! When blended, they make everything nice and creamy and rich, just like they do in this soup. It's spicy, tangy, fresh, and rich, and can be enjoyed hot or cold. I had this for dinner one cold dreary Sunday night and cold for lunch the next day. It was lovely with a dollop of plain yogurt. You could also serve it with goat cheese for extra yummy.

Since this will all be pureed at the end, don't worry about your chopping.

If you're looking for a good wine pairing, I recommend Riesling or Rose.

Curried Carrot Lentil and Apple Soup (adapted from Dinner with Julie)


olive oil for cooking
1 large onion, rough chop
2-3 celery stalks, rough chop
4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
1-2 Tbsp curry powder
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
4-6 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 cup dry lentils (red or green, doesn't matter)
1 Granny Smith apple, chopped
1 L turkey or veg stock (or chicken stock for you non AB's out there)
Sour cream or plain yogurt, for serving (optional)


In a large pot, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat and saute the onion, celery and garlic for a few minutes, until soft. Add a pinch of salt to help everything soften and cook. Add the curry powder and ginger and cook for another minute, then add the carrots, lentils, apple and stock. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat and cook for about 30 minutes, until everything is nice and soft.

Using a hand-held immersion blender, puree the soup right in the pot. Season with salt if it needs it, and serve hot, with a dollop of yogurt sour cream on top to cool the spice, if you like. Serves 6.