Soup and Sandwich

Let’s play Name That Yogurt Container.

The Sharpie I keep in the junk drawer (really more of an entire counter) to ID containers destined for the freezer rarely gets used. I always think I’ll remember, and I never do. Everything looks the same when it’s frozen.

So I’ve taken to pulling containers at random out of the freezer, a sort of a game of Russian roulette where the only risk is ending up with half a liter of thawed antipasto for dinner. Tonight’s winner: squash soup! Phew. I’m sure I made it at some point last year. If you’d care to peruse the lovely new Index I’ve been working on, be my guest.

I’m also baking a Happy Winter Fudge Cake into a dome shape for our wee neighbour’s 1st birthday. The end result is supposed to look something like this. (Damn, I didn’t find that recipe until just now.) I’ve never baked a dome-shaped cake but the birthday boy’s Mom thought me better suited to baking it than she, and so entrusted me to it. I chose a sturdy chocolate cake recipe (Happy Winter) and am baking it in a Pyrex bowl right now. It was almost done at an hour (at 325F – you generally need to turn the temp down 25 degrees for a glass dish, which conducts heat better than metal) and needs about 15 more minutes. I made a slight indent in the middle of the thick batter to even it out somewhat, and it doesn’t seem to be doming too much on the surface. This house smells so good I would chew off my left arm if I thought it might taste like chocolate.

Speaking of hunger and having to chew gum while baking so you don’t lick the bowl and spoon and down half the bag of chocolate chips: 205 this morning. So that helps with the hunger pangs somewhat. Somewhat.

A lot of people ask me: what do you eat? (Like exactly, so I can copy it?) I could give you a play-by-play of everything I eat every day, but you have to find your own way. It has to be suited to your tastes and lifestyles and family and history. So how much food? Less than you’re eating now. How much exercise? More than you’re doing now. (Unless what you’re doing now is giving you the results you want.) A many fruits and veg as you can handle – whole grains, less butter and cheese. 1% milk. Smaller portions. No all-night munching. And no eliminations. I can eat some things less often, but don’t like the idea of spending the rest of my life without them. I find it far more empowering to think “I choose this”, rather than “I can’t have that”. It’s these little mental tweaks that make a huge difference.

And it really is a matter of calories in vs. calories out. There’s no way to “trick” your body into losing weight, and you can’t, no matter what anyone says, eat whatever you want and exercise for a mere 5 minutes a day three times a week and see pounds melt away. This is a perfect example of getting out as much as you put in. If you’re going to bother going to the gym, break a sweat, dammit.


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33 comments on “Soup and Sandwich

  1. Jen C
    January 23, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    I LOVE Name that Yogurt Container game……! It happens to be one of my faves. ha ha!
    Good for you for refraining from the bowl/spoon/chocolate chips….that’s always a given for me all the time.

  2. Erica B.
    January 23, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    Very important cause…there definitely isn’t such thing as a free lunch. I expect Brown Baggin’ It has seen increased demand lately. Lines at CIFB have gotten almost 30% longer than this time last year (I knew numbers had gone up, the newsletter in my email today confirmed it).

    Love the cake and your remarkable willpower! J has a birthday coming up and I’ve sworn I’m going back to baking for the kids(sorry Cakeworks). That monkey cake looks perfect for him. J’s most recent trick is to do head stands on the sofa!

  3. Pat from Ontario
    January 24, 2009 at 4:28 am

    I would love to be there for the fundraiser!

    I agree with your thoughts on losing weight. In fact, I’m sharing them at my WW meeting today! (giving you total credit of course, and telling them to check out

    If I happen to be the winner of the swag bag, I would give it to my friend in Calgary who is recovering from an operation.

    P.S. Now I know why your mom and dad called you Julie…you ARE a JEWEL!

  4. Tagyn
    January 24, 2009 at 9:21 am

    I love the monkey cake! My daughter´s birthday is next week and she has been a monkey from the start so I think she would love this at her party- if I can convince her she doesn´t need a pink cake, she is only 5!

  5. Cathy D
    January 24, 2009 at 9:38 am

    Hi there,

    As a part of the Tonic Fundraiser (and an ardent DWJ reader too!) I want to really say thanks Julie for getting involved!!!!! Like Pat said, you are a jewel!

    But I am here to tell you what I had for dinner….we had pasta, it felt like that kind of a night…brrr. We had to go to a cocktail reception and party and I did NOT want to eat all that yummy (fatty) food at both, we had a quick chicken, basil and www pasta before we went. I always try to do that, like you said somewhere here before, that seems to work well. That way I nibbled at the canapes but didn’t make a meal out of them.

    Good luck to whoever wins the swag bag…by the time everything is confirmed in there – beyond what’s already in there – it’s going to be the size of a grocery bag!


  6. Joni
    January 24, 2009 at 9:59 am

    I’ve been freezing a lot of my stuff in ziploc bags lately so I have a better idea of what it is. I still forget.

    Dinner last night was a quick pasta sauce made out of homemade canned tomatoes, leftover feta-olive tapenade and navy beans, poured over whole wheat rotini. It was surprisingly good!

  7. terry
    January 24, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Last night I had 4 litres of golyltley (cherry flavour!) and so I need to be reading about food! I love that cake-please post a picture when you are done decorating it! All our brithdays were early january but I am going to have to come up with a reason to make that cake!

  8. Natalie
    January 24, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Ham and the yummy apple pie

  9. pauline
    January 24, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Now if I won the bag full of goodies it would be a wonderful excuse to spend a few days in Calgary. I love Calgary but haven’t been there for a few years since my son played baseball omg its been that long so it must be 3 going on 4 years/. dinner last nigh Pizza it had been a really stressful day so yep ordered pizza and craked open a bottle of wine. Hit the spot.

  10. robyn
    January 24, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Is it the same rules? Dinner last night? I’m not the best candidate for the swag bag anyway because I’m waaaaaaay out of town.

    But for the record, I had a grilled ham and cheese with red wine. So classy!

  11. Kathy
    January 24, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    I agree with your thoughts on weight loss, Julie. Input/output.

    Last night’s dinner was a Lentil-Sausage Stew, made with Mennonite Sausage (that I boiled first perhaps a bit too long as it was quite dry but it got the fat out), canned tomatoes, lentils, rice and broth. Ciabatta buns fr. Costco. Man was that Mennonite Sausage good, it had been a long long time since we’d had that! Then at a friends later that evening, a small piece of kind of a brownie for dessert.

    Thanks for donating your time to the fundraiser Julie. I know I just won something a few months back so don’t expect to win again so soon but would love all that pampering in the swag bag. Unfortunately even $75 a ticket is a bit steep for us these days even for as good a cause as that.

    What channel is your TV show on?

  12. Rhonda
    January 24, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Hey Julie
    I live to far from Calgary to win the “swag bag” but it sounds great, good luck to everyone. Dinner last night was home made cream of mushroom soup and chicken ceasar wraps.

  13. Cheryl
    January 24, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Hoo boy, can I ever relate to ‘name the yogurt container’! We ran out of those wonderful Tupperware labels a while back, and have discovered, after a couple of months of manic soup making, that the freezer is full of mysteries just waiting to be thawed! It’s uncanny how much butternut squash soup resembles pea soup when it’s frozen.

    For dinner last night I made a (slightly) healthier lasagna — using ground turkey, peppers, onions/garlic and that amazing homemade tomato sauce that Scarpone’s carries at the Italian Store out by the Calgary airport. It’s fabulous! I used whole-wheat noodles to add a bit of fiber, and low fat ricotta. Too bad I blew away the lo-cal benefits by smothering the entire dish with full-fat mozza and parmesan! Oh well…it was so good that we’re having it again tonight!
    The swag bag sounds terrific Julie!

  14. Jenny
    January 24, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Yes, I ended up at work with what I thought was soup but was actually a container of unseasoned pinto beans. Bit boring!

    I now understand why that monkey cake turns up everywhere on flickr when I was looking for little monkeys to model the other week, good old martha!!

  15. Delaine
    January 24, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    I as well play the Russian Roulette dinner game with frozen leftovers! Howeversince I worked all week, am sick pregnant and chasing after a 16 month old dinner was a frozen pizza and salad!

    I love the monkey cake!

  16. doula aj
    January 24, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    After throwing out waayy too many leftovers that had turned into lab experiments in yogurt containers in my fridge, I finally took the plunge and invested in glass pyrex containers in a myriad of shapes & sizes. When I can see what’s there, I find I use what’s inside – I’m sure they’ve already paid for themselves.
    Dinner last night – Sunworks ham steaks, butternut squash puree and peas.

  17. Sheila
    January 24, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    Supper last night was comfort food…
    I cooked a little nest of egg noodles and added a few peas, some soft tofu and stir fried it all with an egg. Sauce was a mixture of chirashi [hot sauce], hoisin and a bit of chicken broth. Just right for a curl up on the couch night on a bitterly cold night.

    Julie, I just remembered that I met you in Canmore at a library tech conference where you discussed publishing your books. And your blog was recommended to me in the fall by a friend at work. Small world! I really enjoy reading each of your posting!

  18. Lisa
    January 24, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    Supper last night was leftover lasagna. Good, but kind of uninteresting. Tonight was MUCH more interesting – a very small but perfect piece of seared tuna, with a kind of nicoise-esque salad – new potatoes and blanched asparagus, tomato, and lettuce, dressed with a lemon/olive oil/dijon dressing. Not quite authentic nicoise, but excellent in it’s own way!

    Love the blog Julie. I’m lucky enough to (generally) be able to eat just about anything, but even the genetically blessed need reminders that just because we CAN eat anything it doesn’t mean that we should…

  19. glenda
    January 24, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    Supper last night? chicken, broccoli salad and a greek salad on greens. Quite yummy! And sounds like a great swag bag!

  20. kelly
    January 24, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    i love this post. you really crack me up.

    what did we have…tonight, I made pizza (your recipe). I absolutely love kneading dough now. thanks for sharing that recipe.
    and last night we had the freshest fish at Billingsgate (nw) steelhead, rice and salad. Delish :)

  21. Jenn
    January 25, 2009 at 12:23 am

    Hi Julie!!

    Supper last night?? Mmmmm….I’m Chinese and its Chinese New Year!! My fave part of this holiday is of course the food:P Yesterday, we celebrated with a traditional 8 course dinner which included( I only include my fave dishes):
    – Roast Duck
    -Seafood Hot Pot
    -Stir-fry shrimp with onions and tomato sauce

    Most “real” Chinese food is very low in fat, and high in seafood and veggies- so perhaps including more Asian style meals in your diet will help you lots!

    Thanks for continuing to post( despite your Mac problems^^)

  22. Janice
    January 25, 2009 at 1:50 am

    oh GOD. i am embarrassed to say, but last night was weekly neighbourhood happy hour, so dinner was courtesy of marg, and it was homemade baked beans with hunks and hunks of hot dog, coleslaw, and biscuits. cabbage and beans do not pare well with me.

  23. Sue (London)
    January 25, 2009 at 5:46 am

    Sadly I can not submit myself for the grab bag as I’m so far away in Ontario but really wanted to talk about dinner last night anyway. I joined WW online this week. For me its mostly about learning how to make healthier choices, portion control and just being forced to think about what I’m eating and doing it on-line suits me perfectly. Its only been a few days but honestly, its teaching me a lot and if I lose weight in the process, which I surely will if I stick to it, that would be lovely too. Last night hubby wanted chili dogs so I say ok, panicking as to how I’m going to fit that in to my last few remaining points of the day. But I did it. I skipped the bun, chopped up the dog with 1/2 cup of chili and served it with a gorgeous salad. Quite delicious and not starving later in the evening. YAY! It can be done.
    Your daily wisdom definitely helps too – thanks. As someone above said, you really are a Jewel.

  24. DJ
    January 25, 2009 at 10:10 am

    We had Japanese food. It was a friend’s birthday and she had never made nori rolls, so we had an assortment of veggies and shrimp for fillings. We also had edamame (soybeans in the pod) and grilled yakitori chicken. It was a refreshing change from soups, root veggies and other winter comfort foods!

  25. mmac
    January 25, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Dinner Friday was unremarkable — lasagna from the Italian deli and a bag of salad. But I have to mention last night’s dinner at my friend’s house. She’s an amazing cook (and a DWJ devotee). The menu included seared jumbo scallops with tiny slivers of green onion atop of crackers she made from wonton wrappers; shrimp bisque with Sambucca in place of the Pernod (necessity is the mother of substitution); perfectly cooked beef tenderloin accompanied by roasted asparagus and homemade squash gnocchi; then, to gild the lily, a dense gingerbread cake with thick, almost ganache-like icing. It was all spectacular.

  26. JulieVR
    January 25, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    Who is this friend, and when is she inviting me for dinner?

  27. Allison
    January 25, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Hmm- for dinner last night I wish I could say I did nice healthy choices for my children. Instead I bought St. Louis Style Ribs from Superstore that I put into the microwave and nuked, threw in some potato wedges into the oven and put out our salad spinner filled with romaine. Not very elegant, but yum-oh. Have fun at the fundraiser.


  28. Melanie
    January 25, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Last night was a clean out the fridge night. We ended up with pasta salad with tomatoes, goat feta, and zucchini, whole wheat waffles with pears and maple syrup, and rice pudding. Talk about a carb overload…

  29. Rebecca
    January 25, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    Oh the joys of freezer mysteries! I just noticed that mine is starting to overflow with various items so I think that it’s time to play “yum yum” (a game my hubby devised on a camping trip when you mix whatever you have left in the cooler/fridge/freezer and have to finish it) to get things back under control.

    As for supper, dinner tonight was a very yummy Parmesan chicken with pasta (with sauted garlic, sundried toms, spinach, and pesto). The pasta was a bit of an experiment and needs some tweaking but the chicken was really good.

  30. Carolann
    January 25, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    Bravo!!! the index looks wonderful – what a lot of work you put into it. Thanks so much.

  31. Barb
    January 26, 2009 at 7:25 am

    For the record – I had burger stuffed acorn squash and rice stuffed red pepper. Live too far away to use the gift bag.

  32. Hilary
    January 26, 2009 at 9:05 am

    My sister and I went to Rush and it was amazing. Crab and watermelon cannelloni, lobster w. grapefruit crème fraiche, salmon with lentils, sous vide pork, pumpkin dessert. YUM.

  33. RMB
    January 27, 2009 at 12:24 am

    Had some chicken wings after seeing Slumdog Millionaire (a marvelous movie I highly recommend)

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