Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Taste of Ukraine

Friends Dinner Club went to Taste of Ukraine a few weeks ago!
Before we get to the food, check out the ambiance and decor!



My favorite part of my dinner was the Borst.  Really liked the texture and flavor of it. I am easy to please :)

My entree: Shashlyk (skewered and char broiled seasoned chicken), pyrogy and potato pancakes.
Everything was good, but nothing blew me away. When it come to pyrogy, I still prefer my neighbours homemade pyrogies or the ones I get at the Ukrainian Church dinners! 

Chicken Kyiv, pyrogy and nalysnyky (cheese crepes)

After we had all had plenty of pickles, garlic, pyrogy and other such goodies, we moved onto dessert!

Walnut Torte- clearly a hit!

Chocolate Nalysnyk- vanilla ice cream inside a crepe with caramel and chocolate sauce!
There were multiple of these at the table- and the plates were licked clean... 

All in all we enjoyed our experience at Taste of Ukraine. The service was fantastic. The price point was around $20 per entree (my whole meal, including tip was under $40.) We all loved the garlic, the pickles (except me- its one of the few foods I dislike) and the atmosphere was lots of fun. 
I know for myself, I probably won't return to Taste of Ukraine in the near future with so many other options to meet my pyrogy needs, but its nice to know that in the centre of Edmonton, you can find a little taste of Ukraine.

Taste of Ukraine on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 24, 2011

Move of the Week: Kettlebell Swing

Okay, so most of you know I am a major convert, pusher, addict... whatever you want to call it... to kettlebells.
I did  a blog post a few months ago on the 21 day kettlebell swing challenge. The post continues to get lots of hits and remains popular. Because of this, I decided to return to the kettlebell swing this week, and set up some helpful links for those of you interested in kettlebells and developing your swings.*

So here is a video that gives a general explanation of the swing. The nice thing about the kettlebell swing is that you don't actually need a kettlebell to do this exercise- other weights work too. Check it out:

An explanation on how to do a kettlebell swing:

Here is a great article on everything kettlebell. It breaks down a lot of the fundamentals of kettlebell training, including swings. It also has a beginner workout plan!

The key thing to remember with swings: its all from the hips. If you are using your arms, you aren't doing it right. Remember to pop your hips!

This video actually helped me take my swings from okay to great. I really understood some of the explanations on how your should think and feel about your swings (especially the plank idea.)
If you want to start swinging- go slowly, watch in the mirror, and practice. That is why the 21 day kettlebell swing challenge is so great- the more you do it, the better you'll get it!
Happy Swinging!

*Disclaimer: I am not certified fitness professional. I offer only my own personal advice and perspective as well as links to instruction. Don't do any exercise you are not comfortable with. Consult with a doctor and fitness professional before engaging in new physical activity. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pizza Pie!

I eat pizza fairly regularly. I am not afraid to admit that. I don't see it as an indulgent dinner at all. In fact its sort of a regular meal on my plate. However, it is made a little healthier, and to be honest, a little yummier, when its homemade! Here is my homemade pizza that I made a few weeks ago!

Pizza Dough Recipe (Adapted from

1. In large bowl, proof 1 tablespoon active dry yeast in 1.5 cups warm water and 1 tsp sugar. Let it get nice a foamy (around 10-15 mins.)
2. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil (or garlic olive oil) and around 1 tsp salt to mixture, Mix in 2 cups of whole wheat flour and 1 cup all purpose flour.
3. Knead mixture (around 10 minutes) and form into a smooth ball. Place in oiled bowl, cover with a towel and let double in size (1.5 hour.)
4. Form into a tight ball again and let double for another 30-45 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 425.
6. Roll ball of dough with rolling pin and then shape with hands and fists until it covers your pan (be it circular or square!)
7. Top with favorite pizza toppings!
8. Place in oven for about 20 minutes!

My toppings for this pizza:
Sliced Chicken Breast
Red Pepper
Mozza Cheese
Salt and pepper

What is your favorite pizza? 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Indulgence 2011

Kierstin, Benita and I went to Indulgence 2011 at the Delta Edmonton South last Monday night. 
Here's some of the best photos of the night! 
Wine sampling (drinking really...)

Some 400 people!

Arugula-Spinach Salad from Culina.
It had gouda, dried berries, toasted almonds, sweet peas, scallions and my favorite Mighty Trio Organics dressing.


From the Red Ox Inn: A Slow Braised Pork Shoulder on Carrot Risotto Cake and Citrus Jam.
Yep it tasted as good as it sounds. Pork melted in your mouth.
We had dessert in the middle of our evening! 
 Saskatoon Berry and Black Pepper Cheesecake, Saskatoon Spaghetti and Coulis, Almond Brittle Crumble and Spun Sugar was from Madison's Grill. One of favorites of the evening!

"Where will we eat next?" asks Benita?

Cafe de Ville: Bison Brisket with slaw.
We imagined this would make for a delicious sandwich.
Niche's lamb meatball with a yummy tomato sauce.
My favorite of the night was from Tzin:
Alpaca with piperade and a reisling-chive emulsion. 
I was surprised but it was delish.

Wine Time!

Benita and I excited about the rabbit sausage from Jack's Grill.

Cleanse the pallet with some Lavender Gelato from Inspired Market Gardens.

So, now that you are drooling, who is coming with us next year? 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Move of the Week: Bikram Yoga

Okay, so Bikram Yoga isn't one move- but I wanted to blog about it this week because for the past week I've being going to Bikram Yoga Edmonton. A few months ago I tried Bikram with my mom at the St.Albert studio and really enjoyed it, and finally this week I had a little bit more time to give it a try again.
The studio offers 8 days of unlimited classes to new students for only $30. The more you go, the less expensive each class costs. Normal drop in classes are $18.
I know a lot of people cringe at the idea of yoga- especially bikram yoga. I used to be one of those people who thought that yoga wasn't for me. I didn't need it. It wouldn't help me. I already do so much physical activity... whatever excuses or reasons. Plus, I had tried conventional yoga (or whatever- the yoga with the downward dogs and stuff...) and it really bothered my wrist and hand.
Turns out- I sort of thrive in that 40+ degree room and the postures are exactly what I need for my sore back and tight hamstrings. There are 26 postures in a standing and seated series-done in every class along with two breathing exercises.*
Note: almost every single movement will feel odd in some capacity when you first start. Your body will probably fight you in every way- and it doesn't help that its really really hot in the room. In fact- the goal of your first class is to just stay in the room for the full 90 minutes!
My favorite moves at the moment are:
Half Moon Pose

Standing Bow Pose

Bow Pose

Now, I'm not trying to convert you to Bikram or anything like that. The point of this post, in its heart, is to compel you to try something new, whatever that may be. You may or may not like it, but you don't know until you try! Bikram challenges me in a way that I'm not challenged by my other workouts. Plus, I think it'll help me de-stress at the end of the day, an added bonus! 

Happy Moving!

*Disclaimer: I am not certified fitness professional. I offer only my own personal advice and perspective as well as links to instruction. Don't do any exercise you are not comfortable with. Consult with a doctor and fitness professional before engaging in new physical activity. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

How Sweet it is- Sugarbowl

With this beautiful weather today, I thought it only fitting to do a quick post on the Sugarbowl.
This is probably one of my favorite places in the whole city to sit and have a cold beer with good friends.
Photos will tell the story...

 Erdinger Beer on Tap- one of my favorite beers in the world!
I believe you can also get it from Sherbrooke Liquor Store.

I also tried this Konig Ludwig Weissbier and Lauren had a fruit beer! It was pretty good, but I decided go to back to my first love, the Erdinger, after.

These sweet potato fries may actually be in the lead for the best in Edmonton. They were so big and just the right balance of crispy and soft.
I got their Jerk chicken burger with a side salad. Really good, but really messy...

I think these pictures accurately depict the epic nature of this chicken burger....
Still Chomping...
 Lauren got the mac and cheese. It was soooo cheesy. 

With a multitude of beers to try and a great menu, Sugarbowl can't be beat. Plus its in a great location (10922 88 ave- University Area, next to High Level Diner.) I can't help but admit that I usually leave there with a bit of a tan from sitting on their patio, a tummy full of delicious food, and (lets be honest) at the very least a bit of a buzz!

Sugarbowl on Urbanspoon

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Dinner Club: Breakfast for Dinner

 Step 1: There was bacon.

Step 2: The Friends

and the conversation!! 
 Step 3: The Cooking... (or frying!)
 ....of lots of bacon. 
 Step 4: Mimosas! 
 Step 5: Waffles (made in my brand new waffle iron!!)
 Step 6: Gotta keep the food warm! 
 Step 7: Get organized and set the table!
 Step 8:  Admire the yumminess...

 Tummy GROWL!

All in all we had: Scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, french toast, potatoes, waffles, baked tomatoes, fruit salad and mimosas! It was grand! 
The great thing about breakfast is that it really is simple and delicious.  Eggs, hashbrowns/potatoes and bacon, possibly the most popular breakfast foods of all time, are also the simplest! 

We did follow a few recipes though:

Fruit Salad:
Any Fruit you like. This version had: banana, spartan apple, papaya, cantaloupe, pineapple, mixed berries. Dressing honey and lime to taste. Now here's my not-secret part. 2 things: always add some type of thawed frozen berries and most importantly either some booze! (either sherry or madeira!)

Baked Tomatoes:
1) slice tomatoes
2) Brush with garlic olive oil, salt and pepper, and a "chiffonade" of fresh basil.
2) bake at 350 for 30 mins and sprinkle with parmasean. 

Stay tuned this month of June for the next Dinner Club restaurant outing at Taste of Ukraine!