My Year By Design

The journey to living by design.

Archive for the tag “Food”

Easy Lime Salad Dressing

This dressing is so simple and low-calorie. Try it with your favourite salad.


Makes 6 fl oz.


1 tsp water

Large pinch salt

Large pinch lime zest

2 tsp dried mint (mine was from my garden, but the stuff in the jar works just fine.)

4 tbsp lime juice

4 fl oz olive oil

Large pinch black pepper



Zest your lime.


Combine the water, salt and lime zest in a jar. Let stand for 2 minutes.

Add the mint, lime juice, olive oil and black pepper.


Cover the jar tightly and shake for 1 minute. This dressing is light and has a sharp burst of lime. Enjoy!




The Most Amazing Caramel Corn


This caramel corn is so crunchy and perfectly sweet. Warning: it will wreck your waistline if you eat it too often. I limit myself to making it no more than twice a year.

Reasons it is acceptable to make this caramel corn:

  1. I need a charity bake sale item that will raise lots of money,
  2. I need to impress at a pot luck,
  3. I’m making it as a gift for someone,
  4. I really, really, really want it,
  5. The world is ending and I have one hour of power remaining to cook food.


1 cup unpopped popcorn (about 2 of the 85g microwave bags)

1 cup butter

2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup corn syrup

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp baking soda




I am using a disposable tinfoil roasting pan. You can use your regular roasting pan but get ready to scrub it later on as this caramel is like glue.


Preheat the oven to 250F. Grease the pan with butter.


Pop the popcorn in an air popper or in the microwave. As you put it into the pan, sort the popcorn, removing any unpopped kernels.


Melt the butter in a pot.


Add the sugar, syrup and salt.


Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.


Remove pot from the heat and stir in vanilla and baking powder.



Pour the caramel over the popcorn and stir to combine.


Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Enjoy the smell of caramel drifting though your house. Resist the urge to grab a piece to sample as it is incredibly hot while baking.

Cool completely and break apart to serve.


Watch your fingers as everyone else digs in! Enjoy.


Corn and Cilantro Crab Cakes

These crab cakes are an easy dinner or a nice appetizer. The sweet crab and corn are complimented by the bite of the cilantro, ginger and hot pepper.Try them and enjoy!


1/4 cup minced celery

1/2 tsp garlic

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp hot pepper

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tbsp dry mustard

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

2 tins crab meat

1/2 cup corn

2 tbsp cilantro

1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp olive oil




I used this blend of ginger, garlic and chili, but you can add each ingredient separately.


Mix the first eight ingredients in a bowl.


Fold in the corn, crab and cilantro.


Add 1 cup of the bread crumbs until just combined.


Press the remaining bread crumbs onto the outside of the patties. I ran out of regular breadcrumbs so I used Panko bread crumbs. You can use either.


Form into four patties for entrée servings or eight patties for appetizers.


Chill the patties in the fridge for at least one hour and up to one day.


Heat 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan. Cook two patties for 4 minutes per side. Transfer them to a plate and keep warm in the oven.


Wipe out the pan and repeat with remaining butter, olive oil and patties. Serve warm with cocktail sauce or sriracha mayonnaise.



Thyme Roasted Pecans


Some of you might have seen this recipe in my last Art Assignment post.


I thought I should type out this recipe to make it easier to read.

Thyme Roasted Pecans


4 cups pecan halves

2 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


  1. In a bowl combine salt, oil and thyme.
  2. Add pecans and toss to coat.
  3. Pour onto a lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  5. Cool and serve. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

The last time I made these was over Christmas. They are salty and sweet and my family loves them. These pecans also look great in a mason jar for a hostess gift.



Found Recipe: Oatmeal Cookies

So in my last post, I added some of my own recipes to a recipe journal I found. Now I’m going to try one of the recipes that were already in this cookbook.


I decided to try making the oatmeal cookies. This recipe must make a small batch as it only calls for 1/2 cups of flour and rolled oats. There’s also no egg, which is unusual. Maybe the person recording this recipe had an egg allergy.

I gathered my ingredients.


I combined the dry ingredients in a bowl.


The I creamed the butter, shortening (used here instead of lard,) and the sugar.


I added the dry ingredients and the boiling water with the cream mixture and stirred until just combined.


Then I added dark chocolate chips because they make cookies better.


I scooped the batter onto a lined baking sheet.


Then I baked then at 350F for 10 minutes.


Weird looking but not bad tasting.


Because of the lack of egg and the low flour content, these cookies are soft, like too soft to pick up, have to eat them with a fork soft.


If I was going to make these again, I would either tinker with the recipe to make the cookies a bit more firm, or I’d make them crumbly and serve them as a crumble topping for ice cream.


Easy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

So as promised in yesterday’s post, I am going to help you take those delicious roasted red peppers and make a quick, easy pasta dinner.

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  • 12 ounces, weight pasta of your choice (I used penne)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 whole large onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red chili, chopped and seeds and ribs removed
  • 1 cup roasted red peppers, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Shavings (more for serving)
  • Finely minced parsley
  • Chopped fresh basil (dried works too but isn’t as tasty)

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Onion, garlic and chili.

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Parsley and basil from my garden.

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I also added mushrooms and left-over sliced sausages to my recipe, but these are optional elements.


Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, chili and garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes or until starting to soften.

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Add the chopped red peppers and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until hot.

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Remove the skillet from the heat. Carefully transfer the contents of the skillet to a food processor or blender. Place on the lid and puree the pepper mixture until totally blended (there will still be some texture to the peppers.)

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Heat the other 2 tablespoon butter back to the skillet over medium heat. This is when I sautéed the mushrooms and sausages.

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Pour the pepper puree back into the skillet. Add the broth, salt, and pepper, and stir until heated.

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Splash in the cream and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings if you need to.

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Add Parmesan and parsley/basil, then stir it together.

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Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet. Stir to coat the pasta.

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Serve in bowls with extra Parmesan and a sprinkling of parsley on top.

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This dish took me about 15 minutes and it was delicious! I think my husband liked his. Enjoy!

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Progress, Not Perfection

The most common question people ask me since I started this blog is, “How do you eat by design every day?” Here’s the dirty secret: I don’t. In fact, no one does. The point of Eat by Design has never been to be one hundred percent compliant every single day. That’s not realistic. Doctors Jamie and Joel recommend eating by design at least 80% of the time. More is better but not mandatory.

I find that if I deny myself one type of food, (e.g. carbs, sugar, etc.) when I crave it I have two options; I can allow yourself a small amount and then return to eating by design, or I can keep denying myself until I crack and binge on the forbidden foodstuff. Secret option number three is not to have the food at all, which I often do, but I’m talking about overwhelming cravings.

When I really want a cookie, I have a cookie. Better one cookie now than a handful later.

Another good tip is to measure treats like chips or candies into a small dish rather than eating from the bag. That make portion control much easier.

I do try to Eat by Design but right now I am closer to 80% than I am to 100%. It’s something we can all work on and I find making small, gradual changes is easier to stick to long-term. Look at the progress you can make rather than striving for perfection.

Winter Classic

This Valentines Day we held the Winter Classic at West London CrossFit. It’s basically a team challenge WOD followed by a potluck. It’s family friendly and the workout can be scaled for all ability levels.

Everyone loves the Winter Classic!

Everyone loves the Winter Classic!

It’s a great excuse to hang out with my gym family and show some love for my body at the same time.

Joel was our MC for the day.

Joel was our MC for the day.

Here was our WOD menu.

Here was our WOD menu.

And our potluck menu.

And our potluck menu.


Mini cupcakes!

Mini cupcakes!



Have you ever wondered what your lifting face looks like? Scroll through the gallery below and you may just find out. I tried to get pictures of most people lifting. If I missed you I apologize. I was probably lifting at the same time as you.

There were prizes for all teams. I think my team came in tied for fourth or fifth. We don’t really take the results all that seriously as this event is more about a healthy activity than a perfect score. Plus we don’t want our new members to feel intimidated. This event is for everyone!

Here are our top three teams.

Here are our top three teams.

This was a very successful event. I hope you’ll come to our next event. Stay tuned and I’ll make sure to post when events are coming to West London CrossFit.

Juice Cleanse – Post-Cleanse

My Top Tips for Juice Cleansing:

  1. Drink lots of water. This will help flush out toxins.
  2. Drink lots of herbal tea. It will calm your stomach and keep your mind off food.
  3. Keep your exercise light and relaxing on juice days. You will only be consuming about 1000 calories a day so you want to give your body a break.
  4. Go to bed early.
  5. Do something nice for yourself.
  6. Be very careful about the first things you eat in the post-cleanse. Your stomach will be tender as it returns to solid food. Stick to raw veggies before you try anything else.

My Pros:

  • I feel fantastic. I think that’s the main thing. After this cleanse I felt energized and healthy. Going to bed earlier also helped me reset my sleep pattern so I’m less tired during the day and sticking to a strict diet has put me back on the path to Eating by Design.
  • Another reason I did this cleanse was to get a handle on my sweet tooth. This process taught me which times a have my biggest sugar cravings. For me, I crave sugar Tuesday and Friday nights most of all. Fridays make sense; it’s the end of the week and I’m looking to have fun. Tuesday nights make less sense. It could be because Tuesday is cheap night at the movies, not that I go every week, but I go often and usually have a snack. Or it might be because I’ve made it through two days of work and tomorrow is hump day. Eating as a coping mechanism is something I try to avoid but not always successfully.
  • Finally, keep in mind that any cleanse will likely affect your weight. For example, I lost seven pounds. Now because the cleanse kept me to a strict low-calorie diet, as I return to my regular eating habits I’ll likely gain a bit of it back, but I am trimmer over all.

My Cons:

  • While most of the juices were yummy, one or two were not so appealing to me. The ones I liked least had a strong celery flavour. Just be aware that some of the juice flavours are more appealing than others.
  • The cost of the cleanse could be prohibitive for some. Delivery is optional so that saves $10. I think in this case I attribute the cost to the high quality of the juices. All the ingredients are fresh and organic and that kind of quality is costly.
  • Finally, I could see this type of cleanse being very difficult to do if I had children. After all, I was able to take a nap most days after school. I also don’t have to worry about feeding anyone else as Nick can pretty much take care of his own meals.

Overall, I’m glad I did this cleanse. I would certainly recommend the three-day cleanse. It might be a great way to kick off your next 30 Day Challenge!

Juice Cleanse – Pre-Cleanse

Since returning to work, my stress level has been up, I’ve gained a little extra weight and I’ve been feeling a bit sluggish overall. So I’ve decided to try my first ever juice cleanse. Pulp and Press offers a three-day cleanse for beginners so I signed up.

My first step is to do a three-day pre-cleanse. This is basically an opportunity to eat as cleanly as possible to make the actual cleanse easier on my body. I’m avoiding processed foods, dairy, eggs, animal fats, grains, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine. I’m only drinking water and herbal tea as well. Let’s hope I make it through this week!

Pre-Cleanse Day 1

Breakfast: Hot water with lemon, spinach, celery and natural peanut butter.

Snack: Carrots.

Lunch: Lettuce, tomatoes, cranberries, tuna, a clementine.

Snack: Unsalted sunflower seeds, watermelon, herbal tea.

Dinner: Tomato soup with coconut milk and curry, a small potato.

Move by Design: I spent some time on the elliptical and bike and then did some yoga in the evening.

Think by Design: I had some good cuddle time with Nick and a nap in the afternoon.

Pre-Cleanse Day 2

Breakfast: Banana, unsalted walnuts.

Snack: Snap peas, herbal tea.

Lunch: Lettuce, tomatoes, cranberries, avocado, unsalted sunflower seeds.

Snack: An apple.

Dinner: Mexican bean soup, cucumbers, sweet potato.

Move by Design: I did some yoga in the morning and hit CrossFit after school.

Think by Design: I had a nice, hot bath and gave myself a home manicure.

Pre-Cleanse Day 2

Breakfast: Smoothie (almond milk, frozen strawberries and a banana).

Snack: Snap peas, carrots, herbal tea.

Lunch: Lettuce, tomatoes, cranberries, avocado, unsalted sunflower seeds.

Snack: An apple.

Dinner: Mexican bean soup, sweet potato.

Move by Design: I went to CrossFit before school and played around on my yoga ball after dinner.

Think by Design: I had a nice, hot bath and spent some time with a good book.

Power by Design: I got checked just after school and then I picked up my juices.

So far, so good. I haven’t had a lot of cravings and I haven’t been overly hungry. Tomorrow my juice cleanse begins!

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