Sunday, June 10, 2012

Depression Glass

I've never been much of a collector.  Perhaps of stickers, rocks and dolls as a child but, beyond that, I can't recall anything specific.  Despite this, I've always wanted to collect something, I just couldn't find anything that I cared enough about to track down, display and store . . . until I met depression glass.  

Depression glass was inexpensive dishware produced at low cost at the time of the great depression.  It was considered "low quality" and was sold very cheaply or given away for free as a sale incentive.  It took me a while to warm up to depression glass.  Some of the styles are very ornate and some of the colours are very unappealing.  It was milk glass that eventually won me over with my initial purchase of cream and sugar bowls and a little vase. 

My first purchase on the left and
my newest (3) purchases on the right.   

Twenty-five cents each!

Milk glass, however, is not my true love.  It is the jadeite and delphite that I adore.  Due to influence from Swedish Modern design, these two colours/styles have a simplicity that is lacking in the white and clear glass, which tends to be over-the-top in design.  Alas, these styles are very difficult to find and too pricy for my budget.  I did find a beautiful bowl set and a very cute lemon juicer locally, but at $200.00 and $60.00 respectively, I just couldn't do it.

Instead, I have settled on an "under $25.00 an item" budget and green and rose clear glass.   These two colours are widely available although it takes some dedication to find the right combination of form and function.  Of course, that is part of the fun!

I love the deep bowl of my lemon juicer and can't believe how much I've used it in the month or so I've had it.  It will be perfect for making Lemon Drop Martinis this summer, if the weather ever warms up!

Making lemonade!

My rose glass collection consists of two items, a bud vase and a pitcher.  The pitcher was originally outside of my budget and I waited semi-patiently for it to go on sale.  A risk that paid off!  Rose glass seems to be the most widely available right now and I am planning on focusing my attentions in this direction for the future.  While it does not compare to my favoured jadeite, I do love the summery look of rose glass and I can't wait to see what I can find for my collection next!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Soft Tacos

I've decided that soft tacos are going to be my food of the summer for 2012.  Flexible, healthy and oven-free, they are the perfect hot-weather food (not that I've had to worry about that . . . yet).

Tacos can be as light or as decadent as you wish, making them a winner for someone counting their Weight Watchers points.  They are also the ideal food for picky eaters and parties as everyone can pick and choose to suit their own dietary needs.

My current favourite combo:

* 3 (30 gram) corn tortillas - 5 points
* 45 grams baked pinto beans with onions and spices - 1 point
* 30 grams Greek yogurt - 1 point
* 80 grams roasted sweet potato cubes - 2 points
* 1 mango - 0 points
* A handful of cilantro - 0 points

A delicious, filling meal.  All for 9 points.

My other favourite toppings include: shredded chicken, Pico de Gallo and cheese but, really, the options are endless.  

Thursday, May 31, 2012

To Market, To Market

Don't worry, life's not all about counting Weight Watchers points.  

This Cidre Pomona Ice Cream Sandwich was purchased from Cold Comfort at the Moss Street Market last Saturday.  The best thing I have eaten in ages.  Amazing!

Sunday, May 27, 2012


One side effect of Weight Watchers is that I can no longer (most of the time!) resort to food or drink as treats in those movements of celebration, despair or just plain boredom.  Instead, this sort of energy has moved over to buying "stuff" as treats.  While I am sure that there are some who would say that this is a lateral move, I don't really care.  It's a pretty good trade-off in my mind.  Buying a treat here and there allows me to have my moments of impulsivity (and who doesn't have these?) in a way that doesn't mess with the other goals that I am working on. Plus, my home gets a little bit prettier with each purchase.

Is a canning jar a treat?

A tiny silver tray.  The cream and sugar dishes were a gift.

Not only that, it's a fairly equivalent financial trade-off.  While I'd never buy $100.00 of gelato and cookies in one sitting, my weekly spending at my favourite cafes and restaurants has decreased significantly over the past 6 months.  And, although I am an impulsive shopper, I don't shop just to shop.  I have a running list of items I am searching for and buy them when I see them!  The hunt is a big part of the enjoyment for me.  

A serving platter.

I've been looking for a platter with this shade of red for ages!

Almost everything I've bought recently has been second-hand.  And, I must say, impulsivity is the key to shopping vintage, if you don't buy it when you first see it, it will be gone!  

Friday, May 25, 2012

Cornmeal Mini Muffins

When I bought the cornmeal to make polenta, I remembered how much I love cornbread.  Especially warm with butter and drizzled with maple syrup.


Unfortunately, this combination is not particularly Weight Watchers friendly.  A serving of this treat would probably be 7-10 points, depending on the particulars.

I decided to try to make a light snacking size, perfect for alongside a salad or soup.  They turned out perfectly!


Set oven to 400 degrees.

(1) Combine .75 cup of yellow cornmeal and 1.25 cups of soy (or regular) milk in a bowl.  Set aside for at least 10 minutes.

(2) In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup of flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir to combine.

(3) Add .25 cup white sugar, .25 cup vegetable oil, .25 cup unsweetened applesauce and one egg to cornmeal mixture.  Stir to combine.

(4) Combine flour and cornmeal mixtures.  Stir without over-mixing.

(5) Spoon batter, by the tablespoon, into lightly greased mini muffin tins.   Bake for 14-16 minutes or until lightly golden.

Makes 34 mini muffins.

Weight Watchers Points Plus: 1 per mini muffin.  WITHOUT the butter and maple syrup!  But, still delicious!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Spring Vegetable Polenta

Polenta has been a great discovery in my Weight Watchers experience.  While no food is completely eliminated from the Points Plus plan, carbohydrates do add up quickly and bowls of pasta are best avoided.  On the other hand, 1 cup of dry yellow cornmeal (12 points), expands to 6 cups of polenta, giving you a whole cup of the porridge-like grain for 2 points!  It's filling and, while a little bland, can easily be fortified with a little vegetable broth or parmesan.

As soon as I saw this recipe for Spring Spirit Polenta, I knew I had a winner!  I replaced the ghee with regular butter and could not find wild leaks, but I otherwise followed the recipe.

Points Plus Value: 8 per serving

Monday, May 7, 2012

Beef Bourguignon Light

I rarely eat beef.  It's a once-a-month kind of food for me.  And, when I do eat it, it is usually for a special meal, out at a restaurant.  But, having had a delicious meal of Beef Bourguignon at Oak Bay Bistro a few months ago, I had been itching to try making it at home.

However, after searching through a few cookbooks, I discovered that Beef Bourguignon's Weight Watchers points (plus) value: 18 - 20 points per serving, depending on the recipe particulars!  Along with the required bread or potatoes, this could easily use up most of my daily points.  Ouch!

So, I set about searching for an alternative version and finally found one, originally published by Weight Watchers.  And, honestly, it's really good!  I served it with mashed sweet potatoes and oven braised greens.

I made two recipe adjustments, replacing the beef broth with organic mushroom broth and replacing the olive oil with two slices of bacon.  While olive oil is certainly healthier than bacon, I didn't think that this flavour element should be compromised.  This did not change the point value per serving.

Beef Bourguignon Light (8 points)
Mashed Sweet Potatoes (3 points)
Oven Braised Greens (1 point, for a little olive oil)

Total = 12 points, for a delicious and hearty meal