Pom-tastic Kale Salad

A couple weeks ago I was invited to a BBQ. It was a pot-luck affair and I wasn’t sure what to bring. My go-to lunch is salad. It’s pretty boring. Just lettuce, carrots, avocado, tomatoes, maybe some tofu… I mean, I love it! I love my boring salads. But for a BBQ I was thinking something more exciting might be necessary.

Last time I was in Toronto, my dad made the BEST salad ever. I think it was a recipe from Chatelaine magazine. It was simple, but so delicious.

DSC_8016 copy I didn’t have all the right ingredients in my kitchen, but I improvised and even created a new dressing that I thought would be an excellent addition. It was.

This is one flavourful salad. The cranberries really make it and the pomegranate dressing adds an additional hint of sweetness that ties it all together.

DSC_8022Cranberry & Kale Salad
recipe adapted from here

1 c. dried barley
1/2 c. dried cranberries
5 c. chopped kale, about 1/2 small bunch
1/2 c. diced red onion

Dressing
1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste

Cook the barley as directed on the package. Usually, I add the 1 cup to 4 cups of water and simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Drain and rinse in cool water. Chop the onion, and kale and toss it together with the cranberries and barley.

In a separate bowl, whisk the oil, molasses and apple cider vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the dressing on the salad and toss until evenly coated. The longer you allow the salad to marinate in the dressing, the better it tastes!

:)

DSC_7760I didn’t have any pomegranate molasses and I didn’t know how easy it would be to find it, so I actually made my own. It was basically just pomegranate juice, sugar and a bit of lemon simmering for about 40 minutes until it develops into a syrup.

DSC_7765Easy peasy.

xxx

 

 

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pb & spinach

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before… but I really like peanut butter.

DSC_7367I probably haven’t really mentioned it too much, because it’s kind of alarming how much peanut butter I eat. I’m talking a jar a week. Possibly more. Definitely more if I am trying to cut down on my chocolate consumption. It’s a give and take, ya know?

Well… anyway, my peanut butter habits are OUT of control. but I’m starting to get things under control, kind of. I’m not cutting back or anything but I have stopped spending my grocery budget on ‘Organic’ peanut butter and I’m starting to make my own. 1 Ingredient Peanut butter. This is where its AT.

I cannot even put into words how much better it tastes. I’ll give you a hint though… it tastes like PEANUTS. And if you decide to do a taste test and try your homemade pb along side your store bought pb you will realize that store bought one actually mostly tastes like nothing. It’s shocking but true.

Anyway. I started making peanut butter and it was alarmingly easy. I’m talking ridiculous. So ridiculous that I called Sean over during my second batch so he could watch the magic. And watch he did. He then insisted I put it on my blog because he was pretty pumped about the whole thing and was convinced that every one else in the world is missing out on how easy it is to make. Easy and FASCINATING. I mean it’s JUST peanuts in a blender and then boom: It’s practically liquified.

DSC_7364Granted, I think the Vita mix makes things faster and easier. But this can be done with any food processor for sure. Annnnd… if you want to spice it up by adding, say, maple syrup, or coconut oil… then I would say that is a damn good idea.

So follow this super specific recipe:

Start with as many peanuts as you want. I usually start with about 500 – 1000 grams and just add them as I go depending on how much pb i want to make. It’s not a science and you can’t screw it up cause there is only ONE ingredient.

DSC_7353Put peanuts in a food processor or blender and blend until desired consistency. Extra smooth? or Super thick? The choice is yours. In a regular food processor it may take a couple minutes (5-10mins) but you’ll get there eventually. Trust me. A bit of oil or liquid will speed up the process. You can scrape down the sides every minute or two as well to help it along. I store this in a jar and keep it in the fridge, cause ya know… no preservatives or anything.

So once you’ve made the peanut butter you should definitely eat it with a spoon. But when you’re done with that, maybe add it to a smoothie?

DSC_7331My favourite flavour combination is banana-chocolate-peanut butter. So that is what this is. A Banana/Chocolate/Peanut butter smoothie. And it’s what’s for breakfast. To make me self feel good about eating chocolate it the morning I added Spinach. Which is why it is that really appetizing colour of green-brown. Hmmm.

Life is all about balance. Spinach in Chocolate. You can’t even taste it, but you’re insides will love it.

DSC_7320Top with some coconut or more peanut butter and you’re good to go.

Amazing.

xxx

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condiments & flatbreads

I have a real problem with condiments. I get it from my mother who brought me up in a house that had a huge fridge full of every single kind of pickle imaginable and about ninety different mustards.

Now, my fridge is similar. I have about 20 different jars in there. 20 different kinds of jams, jellys, mustards, pickles, olives, sauces… you name it. I have it. It fact, I might have two of it. It’s not a problem I am looking to fix though. I eat condiments on a variety of things. Sometimes off a spoon.

DSC_7221But just for fun, here is a flat bread that would be the perfect vehicle for any number of condiments. In fact I even made a cheese a couple years ago that is practically a perfect match for this flat bread. But let’s also put some red pepper jelly on top of that.

DSC_7210This flat bread is insanely easy, and I think you should try it.

DSC_7150Rosemary Flat bread
Adapted from here

1 c. whole wheat flour

3/4 c. ground flax

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 c. water

1/3 c. olive oil (plus more for brushing)

2 tbsp chopped rosemary

Pre heat the oven to 400*F with a heavy pan inside.

DSC_7160Mix the dry ingredients (including the rosemary) up in a large bowl and create a well. pour the water and oil into the well and mix until you form a large ball.

DSC_7183Separate the ball in to three equal portions. Flatten each ball into a very thin round on a piece of parchment paper. Brush on some oil and sprinkle with salt right before baking for 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack. Bake one by one.

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xxx

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banana bread muffins

I’ve been in kind of a creative rut. And when I say creative rut, I mean more of a life style rut.

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Since I arrived home from my travels about a month and a half ago, life has been a little upside down. House guests (which were actually the best), new jobs, semi-new homes, lots of dining out and not a lot of time for thinking or baking. I’m not exactly complaining… I’m just sayin’. It’s been crazy.

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Even now, a week after my house guests departed, I still can’t seem to find a rhythm. I guess this might take a while.In the meantime, I’ll make muffins. It seems to be what I do when I’m having trouble re-adjusting.

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Chocolate Banana Bread
Adapted from Daily Garnish

1/2 c brown sugar (loosely packed)
1/4 c maple syrup
1/4 c coconut oil
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 c oat milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 c chocolate chips
1/4 c walnuts

Add sugar, syrup, and coconut oil to bowl and beat until well combined. You can do this manually, or with a mixer.

In a separate bowl, combine oat milk with the apple cider vinegar. Add this mixture as well as the mashed banana and vanilla to the sugar/syrup/oil bowl and combine.

In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients and slowly combine them into the wet. Fold in the walnuts & chocolate but don’t over mix.

Spoon the mixture into muffins cups and bake for 20ish minutes at 350 degrees or until a toothpick comes out clean.

DSC_6969xxx

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hello, it’s nice to meet you

Hot damn. I think I just saw a tumbleweed…

Sorry. In case you didn’t get the memo… I was off traveling the world and I totally just abandoned this site. That was… not my intention. But hell, who knew that backpacking for four months while keeping a travel blog would hinder my abilities to also keep up a vegan baking blog?

Me – I knew that. I should have warned myself. But instead I just pretended that I could keep this up with some mediocre post about eating vegan in different countries that would be few and far between. Hmmm. Well, that just didn’t pan out, did it?

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I did do some really good Vegan eating though, it a lot of really unexpected places. Maybe I will continue to post some of those experiences in the near future. Maybe I won’t. No more promises. ‘Cause I think I am really bad at keeping those when living gets in the way. Living is like a full time job and it’s really hard. Really fun – but oh my god, so time consuming.

But there is more. I didn’t JUST get back from travels. I got back over a month ago. A MONTH. and here I sit now, 25 days into 2014, and I haven’t posted a god damn thing.

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Let’s remedy that, shall we?

With pictures of… SEAGULLS!

I have some baking for you too… but I really like seagulls.

I have a new found obsession with them. Actually, I think I have been harbouring an obsession for some time. But put a camera in my hand when I’m near the beach and kablammy – let’s take some pictures of Seagulls.

They are just so… Gully. I dunno.

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I feel changes rolling in.

Just sayin’

x

*if you don’t hate me and are interested in seeing what i got up to on my travels visit sporkvsfoon.wordpress.com – i was traveling with my main man, Sean. He’s pretty ok. ;)

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veggie eats in: St. Pete’s

Before I left on my trip I did a bit of research – specifically for vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Russia. I heard that it might be a challenge to eat well as a vego in Russia and I didn’t want to starve. Over the next couple months I am going to try and share some of delicious places that I have tried around the world. (Complete with pictures if I was brave enough to take out my Camera… which I clearly was not while in St Petersburg.)

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Cafe Ukrop
Ulitsa Marata 23 (191025)

I stopped by this cafe on my first day in St Petersburg when I was all alone. I had read that Cafe Ukrop had English menus, so I knew that I would be ok there. The cafe is quite cute but on the first floor they don’t speak any English. The guy behind the counter smiled, but then opened a notebook that had various English phrases written out. He pointed to: English Restaurant upstairs.

So up I went.

The Restaurant was very nicely decorated, very clean and modern and very organic. The menus were clear and just about every dish looked amazing. The vegan dishes were marked, as were raw dishes and anything that you add milk or cheese to.

I settled on a potato, pea and cucumber salad with a cashew mayonnaise and lots of dill – Those Russians love their dill. I was craving vegetables in a bad way, so I also had a carrot juice. Gotta keep my orange glow.

I would definitely recommend this place for vegans and veggies alike. I didn’t try their desserts, but they looked amaze. I found all these places on HappyCow.com so check that out too – usually opening hours are listed but most places in Russia are open late (9 or 10)

Cafe Botanika
7 Ulitsa Pestelya (near Mukhinskoye Arts Institute)

We visited Botanika on our second day. And then our third. And then our fourth. They, too, had an English menu and waitresses that were adorable. On our first visit, Sean and I both had a juice and I went the full Russian and followed that up with a beet salad and then some Borsch. BEET OVERLOAD (but not – I could eat Beets forever.) Both dishes were sooooo good. Sean had a Dillwich, whichh was some kind of wrap – and a mulled wine. The prices were reasonable and the food was so comforting.

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We returned the next two days for multiple coffees. Mostly cause the waitresses were so cute.

The Idiot
Nab. reky Moiky 82

The Idiot was our restaurant of choice for our night out to the theater. We arrived at about 6.15pm and were greeted and seated immediately. The decor was very homely – it kind of felt like I was in a Babushka’s dinning room. There were tall candles on each table and china cabinets against each wallpapered wall. It was sort of in the basement of a building which made it a very cozy place to dine. The menu was in both Russian and English with some charming spelling and grammar mistakes. We opted for the non-smoking section, but pretty much everyone smokes in Russia and you can do it pretty much everywhere – so that is something to keep in mind, it was rather smokey.

The best part about the Idiot is by far the bread basket. It comes with about 5 different kinds of the best bread ever. They also bring you a trio of flavoured butters (not vegan) but still a nice touch.

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For drinks we ordered a honey and pepper spiced shot of Vodka (when is Russia) and Sean got a beer while I ordered a wine. Upon serving our drinks the waitress also brought another complimentary shot of vodka from the bar. So just to sum up – 2 shots each and an extra drink. I have read that they give this complimentary shot to everyone. Bonus!

IMG_0578I had a delicious meal of salad and with an odd main that ended up being a ginormous plate of green beans.

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I would suggest trying something with a bit more variety – but just a side note, those beans were AWESOME.

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Sean ordered a burger – which he said was awesome… but why didn’t it come with a bun? Peculiar.

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Still a great place – a bit more expensive but really nice for a night out.

:)
See you in Moscow!

x

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I’m HOME!

and then it was September…

HOLLA!

I’ve got some BIG news…

I’m in CAN-A-DA!

I’m on vacation for FOUR MONTHS!

Yes. This is happening. More then a couple of days ago I boarded a plane in Sydney and then 3 countries and a couple of brief days later… (I kid I kid, but it was a looong trip) I arrived in Toronto.

After some love and puppies in Toronto, I am heading on a 3.5 month trip to various places in various corners of the world with one very lovely man named my boyfriend. I’m going to try and document some of that trip via blog, but we’re gunna have to see how it goes based on wifi availability etc. Anyway, I didn’t wanna over take my baking blog with tales from a backpacker so instead I am introducing a second blog: www.sporkvsfoon.wordpress.com. If you are interested… head over there for some pictures (hopefully), some spork and foon puns and some updates from foreign countries. YAY! ( i’m most excited about the puns!)

(but i’m also realllllly excited about the travelling)

In the meantime… I am here in Toronto making cocktails and pretending I never left. Apparently this is what I dooo in Toronto.

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Welcome to Margarita-ville.
Population: ME.

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My dad got a Vitamix… Colour me jealous…

Margaritas!
as per the Vitamix cookbook recipe

1 Lemon, peeled and halved
1 Lime, peeled and halved
1 Orange, peeled and halved
6 ounces of Tequila
2 ounces of Grand Marnier
1/4 c. sugar
6 c. of ice
1/4 c. water

Put in vita mix.

MIX! Pour. Drink.

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I salted a glass, but that is optional. (I had just gone to hot yoga so I was replenishing my electrolytes. Obviously.)

If you don’t have a vitamix, this is still doable in any blender or food processor even. The ice may not mix as well, but it will still be delicious.

Mine turned out rather yellow, but I think it’s supposed to be more green. This recipe makes 8 cups, but I halved it. However, my grandma and I split the four cup batch and we were just finnnnne and dannnnnnnnnnndy.

Now if you’re keen on puppy pictures, head over to Spork vs. Foon!
preview below ;)

Photo on 2013-08-31 at 15.50 #4

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