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ya don’t win friends with salad

So christmas is around the corner! It’s three weeks? Less? I don’t know.

My mom texted me to tell me that I’m bringing salad to Christmas day dinner. Salad.

SALAD.

Thanks Ma. Way to give me the most boring of all the Christmas foods. She claims it’s because I’m the best at making salads and they are my life blood. Therefore easy.

I see you mama hicks. I know what you’re up to.

Just kidding. She’s the bomb. And I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but – Dayummm Gina, I do know how to make a good salad.

You know how they say ‘ya don’t win friends with salad’

Yeah well, challenge accepted.

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Let’s combine the traditional brussel sprout with the festive pomegranate. And let’s lure our family into trying it by adding something that kind of maybe tastes reminiscent of bacon. DONE.

I have a million friends now.

Oh. nope. wait. I just have one.

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HERE WE GO!

Quinoa & Brussel Sprout Salad feat. coconut bacon and pomegranate
(cause why not just put all the ingredients in the title.)
Serves 4.

2 c. brussel spouts (shredded using a mandolin)

1/2 c. uncooked quinoa

1 c. vegetable broth

3 stalks of spring onions, chopped

1 pomegranate

1 c. coconut bacon

Dressing:

1/4 c. Olive Oil

2 – 3 tbsp. White Balsamic vinegar

1 small clove of garlic, minced

1 tbsp maple syrup

salt and pepper to taste

First, you need to make your coconut bacon. I’m just going to link a recipe here. You only need a cup or so. Pro tip – sprinkle some spoked paprika on there before you bake. This stuff is AMAZING. I won’t lie to you and tell you it tastes like bacon, because it does not. But I will tell you that it’s smokey and delicious and you should make it immediately and put it on everything. Thanks bye.

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Next, you need to make your quinoa by combining the vegetable broth and dry quinoa in a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer until all the liquid is absorbed. Sometimes I have to add a bit more water or broth for all the quinoa to cook through. Once cooked, remove from heat and allow it to cool

Shred your brussle sprouts on a mandolin and for the love of god be careful. Please don’t cut off your fingers. This tool frightens me to my very core. Seriously, hold off on the holiday wine and mulled cider until after this step.

Combine your chopped onion with the sprouts and quinoa. Add in your pomegranate seeds.

Make your dressing by combining your oil, vinegar, garlic, maple syrup and salt and pepper. Whisk it up, then pour over the salad and combine!

I usually add the coconut bacon on top at the end so it stays crispy. Another recommended topping is cashew parmesan cheese. Maybe I should cover condiments and toppings in another post. Noted.

Christmas Dinner – I’m coming for ya.

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xxx

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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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charlie

Just a little welcome to the newest member of the Hicks family.

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This tiny puppy has some mighty big shoes to fill with those itty bitty feet.

My little dog still holds a very large and irreplaceable spot in my heart, but sometimes a family just needs an adorable little weiner dog wandering around the house to make them feel whole again.

And although I am on the other side of the world and have never properly met this little man, he has stolen a spot beside Lucy, Strider and Casey in my life and I am instantly in love with him.

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Welcome Charlie! You have no idea how lucky you are.

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eeeee! I cannot wait to meeeeet you!

xxx
(pictures courtesy of mama & papa hicks)

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hot hot heat

Last Friday I experienced some of the hottest temperatures that I have ever felt on my fair Canadian skin. Sydney peaked at a sunny 45 degrees celcius.

forty. five.

Granted, that is only five degrees hotter than the bikram yoga room… however, Bikram yoga is practiced at that heat to make you SWEAT, and sweat A LOT, but I usually don’t go about my daily routine in the hot room. And furthermore, I wear signicantly more clothing when I am outside a Bikram class. So… five degrees is like, ridiculous.

I don’t even know how to explain it. Really hot is pretty much it.

Anyway, Sean and I decided that an after work swim was in order… so at around 7pm we drove to the Eastern Beaches. When we got in the car the temperature had already dropped to 35 and by the time we reached the beach ten minutes later it was 24. YOU GUYS! What… the WHAT?

We took a dip anyway as the sun was setting and I was actually shivering. It’s a strange country I live in these days.

Let’s talk about summer food! Summer salads… BBQs… light… fresh!

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I got this recipe from my boyfriend’s mom. I swapped a couple of ingredients and kablammy! A delicious summer salad/salsa thing that is delish.

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Corn & Avocado Salad

4 stalks of spring onion

1 cob of corn (bbqed & chopped of the cob)

2 tomatoes (seeded and chopped)

1 avocado (chopped)

1/4 c. parsley (chopped)

1/2 red capsicum

juice of one lime

salt & pepper to taste

This salad is pretty straight forward.

First cook the corn. I BBQd mine cause I prefer that taste, but you can boil it also. Set it aside to cool.

Quarter the tomatoes. De-seed them and sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt. I find that this helps them to dry out a tiny bit so the salad doesn’t get watery. Chop the spring onions, red capsicum, and avocado. Chop the tomatoes quite small and cut the corn off the cob. Finely chop the parsley and toss everything in a bowl with the juice of one lime. Season to taste.

SO yummy.

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x

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dog

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When I was 10 I sold all my barbies. My barbies, my barbie clothes, even my barbie caravan. I sold my CDs, a couple cassettes and my Buzz Lightyear doll. I put all my money in an old peanut butter jar with a coin hole cut in the top and I duck-taped the lid on so that it was impossible to get into. I cut out a picture of a wiener dog and put that in there too. I saved up allllll my money; all my allowance and my profits from yard sales and I bought a little dog. A tiny little wiener dog that I affectionately named Lucy.

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Lucy Bob Sausage Snausage Wiener Schnitzel McGillicuddy Ricardo Hicks. It simply rolls off the tongue, no?

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This little dog was my best friend. She was cute and cuddly and stubborn and fierce. She was 13 1/2 years old. Or roughly 94 1/2 in dog years. She enjoyed taking up the entire bed, yawning in my face, licking everything and sleeping by the radiator. I will miss her with all my heart.

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Goodnight little dog. Go find your buddy Strider in the giant field in the sky.

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xxx

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Jurassic Park

Summer is coming! I know this because over the weekend we sprang forward. The sun now sets at 7… and getting later everyday. Too bad I’m abnormally tired. I feel jet lagged. It was only one hour though… I don’t… I don’t understand.

Anyhoo, with warm weather and longer days comes summer fun! Swimming, hiking, camping, and lunches on the dock!

A couple weeks ago Sean and I took a hike in Kuringai Chase National Park. We hiked to Resolute beach and back. I spent about an hour numbing my feet in the freezing cold waters and taking pictures of rocks and yachts. The water was paradise blue. Had it been even a degree warmer, I woulda jumped in.

By the time I spotted the wallaby, he was hopping away down the beach. I only saw a bum. Lame.

But then we spotted this GINORMOUS yellow-bellied black snake. By far the largest snake I have ever seen in real life. Not poisonous, but still scary. He’s a python so he’ll strangle his prey. This one was about 1.5-2m long. AHHH.

And though it may be hard to see in this picture… I also saw a dinosaur. I know you think they’re extinct, however -little known fact, they do still exist in the wild bush of Australia. My knowledge of dinosaurs is obviously extensive, as I was an avid watched of The Jurassic Park trilogy when I was young. True, the first one made me scream in terror and drop my extra cheese pizza all over my lap, but I soon ‘grew up’ and was able to watch the following two movies while experiencing only minor panic attacks.

Side track. Anyway, from my studies of  the ‘Saurs I know this to be a compsognathus. Der.

After experiencing the Jurassic period first hand, Sean and I found our way back to an old favourite. A lovely restaurant on the dock at Church Point.

His and her post-hike refreshments.

Kuringai never ceases to impress me. 🙂

Next week? Camping in a cave = Awesome Sauce.

In other food news, I have a granola recipe coming up that is delishhhhhhhhh! Check back soon!

xxx

 

 

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mom

You know what’s the best? Moms. Moms are the best.

this is my mom

More specifically, my Mom. I’m sure your mom is okay, but my Mom… my Mom in the best. She’s infinitely cooler than any other Mom. She’s my best friend.

I wasn’t exactly a dream child, I don’t think. I wasn’t a nightmare either… but I suppose I had my moments. I wasn’t one for throwing tantrums, but I diiiid cry before school every single morning for longer than I’d care to admit. I also refused to eat breakfast and I’d push my dinner around my plate for at least an hour every night. You know what else? I never once stayed at a sleep over past midnight. I think I was probably 13 before I actually spent a night away from home willingly. And do you know why I never wanted to partake in sleepovers? Even when all the other girls were braiding each others hair, eating sugar and talking about boys? And why I cried every morning before going to school?

Because I missed my mom.

Talk about major separation anxiety.

But honestly, if you knew my Mom, you’d cry upon separation too! She is the coolest lady I have ever met.

coolest lady ever and kind of a fox. just saying.

She is the best at cheering me up. She’s awesome for watching trashy tv with and she’s really good at eating cereal for dinner with me. She is an excellent Yoga partner and an even more excellent post-yoga coffee partner. She will help you dye your hair blue when you’re going through your teenage rebellion phase. And she will drive you to and from the photography shop approximately 154 times when your school projects are falling to pieces. She throws the best birthday parties ever and will help you create the best halloween costumes on the block. She makes a mean carrot cake and an even meaner fruit tray. Just ask any of my friends.

She’s also a real keeper cause when you move to Australia, she will save up all her money and fly across the world to see you. For seven weeks.

Yep. That’s her. I can’t really even put into words how much I love my Mom. She’s a pretty incredible lady.

Happy Mother’s Day MOMMMMMMMM!

If I was in Toronto today… I would make her this for dessert:

rice pudding!

And these for later when we’re on the couch inevitably watching Say Yes to the Dress:

peppermint patty

xo

ps. Just for good measure can I add this child hood photo? Humour me. This is my brother an I dressed as none other than Batman and Robin. But you know that right? Spitting image, I tell ya.

batman and boy wonder

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