Tag Archives: breakfast

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.

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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.

ūüôā
See you in Moscow!

x

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Breakfast and Dessert – basically the same thing

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You know what’s weird?

That oatmeal and rice pudding have essentially the same ingredients and preparation/cooking instructions but one is a very distinctly a breakfast and one is very much a dessert. What is it with oats and rice? Why is rice a dessert and oats are a breakfast? Well I say to hell with that.

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Rice pudding for breakfast anyone? If we put fruit on it… its basically a balanced meal. duh.

I’m down with this train of thought.

Next thing: Why has the world been keeping home-made compote from me for the past 20-odd years. Who’s wise idea was that?

I didn’t think it was that easy to make I guess. And man, it is better than jam and contains less sugar… so why would you ever make jam?! WHY!? Why would you try (and probably fail) to can/jar things in boiling water ¬†when you could really, honestly, just eat compote from the saucepan…? Riddle me that!

So – I made rice pudding. And then I made compote. And then I layered them like a fancy person and put lemon on top like an even FANCIER person and then my tastebuds exploded.

If I can have fancy tastebud explosions… so can you!

Lets get into it!

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Rice Pudding

1/2c. Arborio rice

1 c. coconut milk

1 c. oat milk

1/4 c. raw sugar

1 tsp. lemon zest

1 vanilla bean (scraped)

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Blueberry Compote

1 c. bluberries

1/8 c. sugar

1 tbsp. lemon

1 tsp. lemon zest

1 tsp. arrowroot powder

For the rice puddin’

Pour the coconut milk, oat milk, rice, sugar, and zest into a saucepan and bring to a boil over med/high heat. Once the mixture is boiling, lower the temperature and allow it to simmer while covered for about 30 minutes. I usually eyeball this because it always depends. I taste it and take it off the heat when the rice is cooked and there is only a bit of liquid left. It will firm up quite a bit as it cools. Now, mix in the cinnamon and vanilla bean scrapings.

Serve hot or cold with blueberry compote.

For the Blueberry compote

Toss everything in a small saucepan and simmer on a medium heat until sugar has dissolved and you crush up some of those berries. It doesn’t take long… 3-5 minutes.

Eat direct from saucepan. Or layer with rice pudding like a fancy person.

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xxx

 

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camping equals…

Guess what is happening this weekend!!! CAMPING!

YAYAYAAYAYYAYAYY!

And you know what that means? Well, as evidenced here and here… it means GRANOLA!

OH delicious, crunchy granola that I always seem to burn. Or make healthier than is necessary and thus never adding quite enough sugar or sweetness. This time I have GOT YOU!

NAILED IT.

one hammer, one nail. totally nailed it, you guys.DSC_9850

I didn’t even follow a recipe. Nor do I remember all of my exact measurements, but it is goooood stuff.

Here is the most accurate recollection of ingredients that I can put together. I kinda just threw everything in a bowl, but these were the vague measurements.

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Best Granola EVA

dry:

2 c. oats
1 c. rice crispies
1 c. puffed millet
1 c. coconut flakes
2 tbsp. sesame seeds
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 c. sunflower seeds
1/4 c. almonds chopped
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c. dried apple chopped
1/4 c. craisins
1/4 c. raisins

wet:

1/3 c. coconut oil
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. brown rice syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Really all you do is the mix the dry (minus the fruit) and mix the wet, then combine. Spread over two baking sheets and bake for 25 minutes at 325*F flipping the granola once or twice. Allow to cool (if you can) before adding the fruit.

ENJOY!

x

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flapjacks…?

Question: what is the difference between pancakes and flapjacks? I always thought they were the same thing…

My brother and I used to play this game. I have no idea how it started or where it came from… but basically it was about this man who was really crazy/out of his mind insane and the only thing that could cure him was more flapjacks.

That was it. That was the whole game. Creative, I know.

This is coming from the kids who used to put each other in cardboard boxes from the new home appliances and then proceed to push each other down the stairs. That was the best.

Another favourite? Indiana Jones, in which my brother got to play Indy and I was, of course, Henry; Indy’s father… traditionally portrayed by Sean Connery and not a 6 year old girl. I used to just open and close an umbrella a lot to scare away the birds cause that’s the only thing I could remember Henry doing in the movies. Then we would use my dads old belts and abseil off their 3 story bed. Obviously.

Anyway the flapjack game wasn’t really our finest. However, whenever I hear the word flapjack… that’s all I can think of.

Check out these pancakes (flapjacks?) They are the best vegan version I have ever made… delicious!

Vegan Flap-cakes… Pan-jacks?
Recipe adapted from here

1 1/2 Cup Oatmilk
1 Tbs Sugar
2 Tbs Coconut Oil
1 Cup Spelt Flour
1/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 Tbs water, to thin batter if needed

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend for a minute or until everything is combined and smooth.

Heat a non-stick saucepan to medium heat. When it is good and hot, pour about a 1/4 c. of batter in the middle. Watch for bubbles to begin to rise. When they stop rising, flip the pancake and cook for another minute or two. The pancake should be a golden colour. Keep the pancakes in the oven at 180*C on a plate or in some tinfoil to keep them warm. This makes small silver dollar pancakes. Enough for two.

Top with Maple Syrup, and butter (vegan) and devour. Yum.

xxx

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carrot fingers

Do you know what my all-time favourite vegetable is?

I think if you had a look at my palms and the soles of my feet you might be able to guess. You see… I eat a lot of this vegetable. Quite a lot. And it has a tendency to give my skin an orangey glow. It seems that this vegetable is quite high beta-carotene, and since I eat so much, my body has an overload of it and so I store that extra beta-carotene in my skin! And thus it turns yellowy-orange.

Funny Story: I was meeting a friend a couple months ago and as I was walking up to her to with open arms she started laughing. She grabbed my hands and exclaimed: ‘You used fake tan and forgot to wash your hands after… DIDN’T YOU!?’

Awkward.

Have you figured it out yet? My favourite veggie? That contains lots of CAROT-ene?
Carrots!
Yum. Raw, with hummus, roasted. It doesn’t matter! I’ll take them anyway. anytime.

So let’s talk breakfast…

Maybe you’d fancy some Carrot muffins? Perfect.

Carrot Muffins
Adapted from this recipe

2 c. spelt flour
3 tbsp sugar
1.5 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 c. raisins

2 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 c. non-dairy milk
1 c. shredded carrot
1.5 tsp vanilla
1/4 c. maple syrup
1 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/4 c. coconut oil

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375F. Mix together dry ingredients. Mix together wet ingredients. Add the wet to the dry and mix until combined.

Bake at for 25-27 in a lined muffin tin!

Serve with a some tofu-cream cheese (cause then its more like carrot cake. aka the best dessert ever.)

Enjoy a year round tan! With NO skin cancer! YAY!

ps. Did you ever see that youtube video called ‘salad fingers?’ Jeeez. if not, don’t look it up. Salad fingers haunts me.

xxx

And just for fun, a sneak peek at some of the hotness I’ve been photographing lately.

boom!

more to come…

x

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City2Surf…

This past Sunday was the long awaited City 2 Surf 14 km run in Sydney.

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I have been waiting for this run for ages. Literally, over a year. I was so excited to register this year and I was determined to train and run a really good time. I was aiming for a time that seemed almost out of reach; 75 Minutes.

bibs... lucky number (665)11!

The last race I ran was in… 2006? I think. It was the Toronto Half-marathon. I finished a couple minutes over 2 hours and I was shattered. I reallllly wanted to break 2 hours, but such is life. I was super stressed that year, starting university, working 30 hours a week and training for a half marathon. I took on way too much…

Well anyway, when the City 2 Surf came along, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to train up and set a rather ambitious goal. This race has got to be one of the biggest in the world. (But don’t quote me on that.) (No wait… you can quote me on that. I looked it up.) They had to cut off the entries a couple of weeks ago because 85,000 people had registered. And I was one of them. The race starts in the Sydney CBD and winds its way down to Bondi Beach. It’s kind of a big deal.

I didn’t actually end up training as much as I wanted to. True, I’ve been running about 6 days a week, however I haven’t ran more than 10km at a time. Usually, I would just do 5kms and call it a day. Needless to say, I’ve been a¬† little bit anxious the last couple days because I knew my goal time was slightly out of reach. I quietly changed it to ‘I’m aiming to break 80 minutes.’

Suddenly, the day was upon us. On Sunday morning I woke at 6am, had a cup of tea, a date stuffed with peanut butter, braided my hair, laced up my shoes and we caught a bus into the City.

pre-race jitters

My stomach was a little bit in knots. I needed a bathroom about 3 times before the race even started. Just to be safe. And even then, I had to pee from kilometer 1. Oh jeeez.

Sean and I crossed the starting line together, started our watches and then we went our own ways. As in – he sprinted ahead and I sneakily followed him for about 1/2 km.

The biggest challenge of this race is what the Sydneysiders affectionately call ‘Heart Break Hill.’ Basically, it’s a 1km long hill that promises to break you before you’re even half-way through the race. Well Heartbreak my ass. I came and I conquered that mofo. I give credit to all those stairs I climb at work. And to Sydney for being a very hilly city in general. Every single run I go on has a heartbreak hill. Pft, child’s play.

Besides, the biggest challenge for me was the 85,000 people. I mean… that crowd didn’t thin out ONCE. I was constantly weaving through sweaty men and women. It was kind of annoying at first but it sort of turned into a game. I only shoulder checked a handful of people – BY ACCIDENT. And in true Canadian fashion I turned around and apologized profusely.

I didn’t look at my stopwatch at all during the race, but I felt strong and before I knew it I was at 10 km… then 11… and then I saw Bondi.

Bondi...

So the final result?! An unofficial time of 70 minutes and 4 seconds. DAMN YOU FOUR SECONDS! damn you.

the final time (ignore the fact that my ipod is still on toronto time)

Needless to say, I was pretty happy with these results. We’ll see what the Sydney Morning Herald says on Tuesday with my official race times according to the chip in my race bib.

weee...

After the race, Sean and I met up at a pre-determined spot, slightly out of the way, and drank some complimentary Gatorade and water.

why does my left eye squint more than my right eye?... MOM?! I guess it's not just my eye... this picture is unflattering in a lot of ways...

After a brief walk around Campbell Parade and a couple more bathroom breaks, we somehow managed to grab a table at one of the best cafe’s in Bondi. Trio. It was deliciousssss. Seriously good eating. Or maybe that was the 14 kilometers of hunger talking, I can’t know for sure.

trio coffee

However, I burned it off before we even made it home and I was hungry again.

carrot-sourdough toast, avocado, roast toe-ma-toe and jam...

All in all, it was an excellent day. I’ve had that running high for over 24 hours now, and I’m itching to do another race.

City2Sea anyone?

November 13th in Melbourne? Sign me up… This time I’m aiming for a sub 60 minutes.

bahahaha I kid I kid…

xxx

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The (Baking) Bucket List

For the past couple months I have been making a real effort to post at least once a week. The posts usually revolve around my weekend and if I’m lucky, they involve some sort of baking or recipe. I have to admit though, sometimes my life isn’t as exciting as all that. Sometimes I have nothing to write about, nothing to report… and I’m left feeling a little bit empty, having no baked goods in my tummy, no pictures of food and no humorous anecdotes to regail you with. It’s a shame when this happens, but it happens. I am only human and my life can’t revolve around pictures of food. Not yet anyway, though that is the goal (!).

This week… is one of those weeks. I’m currently house sitting and dog sitting for a friend so it’s been a bit of a write off for me. I’m all turned around, I’ve barely turned on my computer, or even picked up my camera until now. Yeeesh.

With all this non-baking going on, I’ve had the chance to think about some of the things I’d like to try. I’ve browsed Foodgawker and Tastespotting, bookmarked way too many blogs and ordered a cookbook on amazon specifically for one recipe. You know… the usual.

With that being said, I’ve taken some ques from other food blogs and started my very own “Top 100″… Although, mine is not 100, yet. It’s kind of like a random Baking bucket list. I will add to it as I see fit… but for now it is just some things that I’d like to attempt or re-attempt and document here.

I think its a fine starting point. I’ll aim for one attempt per week… but I make no promises. My fast paced life may not allow it, what with all the going to bed at 9.30pm and watching 30 Rock in its entirety.

Anyhoo, I DID make a little somethin soemthin last Saturday for my boy. By request:

Mmm Saturday mornings.

Banana Porridge with Poached Apple
(Banana and apple doesn’t sound like the best combination to me, but each on it’s own? Delicious! So… I mean I geuss it’s all the same in your stomach)

2 small bananas (one chopped one mushed)

1/2 c. of rolled oats

1 c. oat milk

1 tbsp. chia seeds

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. cinnamin

pinch of ginger

pinch of salt

1 tbsp. maple syrup

2 tbsp. of coconut cream

Raisins for garnish

Coconut for garnish

1 Apple, peeled and sliced in quarters

water or juice for poaching

First, place the apples in a saucepan with the water or juice and bring to a boil. You can add sugar if you prefer a sweeter poached fruit, but I think the apples are fine on their own. Add a slice of lemon or cinnamon stick for extra flavour. Allow the apples to boil for about 20 minutes or until you can pierce them very easily with a fork.

Meanwhile, whisk together your oats, milk, banana, chia seeds, cinnamon, ginger, salt and maple syrup. Using a small saucepan on medium heat, heat up the mixture, stirring occasionally until almost all the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the vanilla and coconut cream, continue to heat until desired consistency.

Spoon oatmeal into a bowl, and top with some poached apple. Sprinkle with raisins and coconut and drizzle some maple syrup on top.

The combo was actually quite delish.

Sweet Saturday Mornings, you smell of overpriced Bananas.

xxx

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Breakfast in Summer Bay…

Today was the day I have been looking forward to since forever. Forever meaning, about a month.

Last summer, while I was living in Australia, my boyfriend and I made a habit of going for brunch once a week, or whenever he had a couple days off of work. We’d pick a part of the city or a suburb that I hadn’t seen yet and make a point of going for a jog, or coastal walk before settling on a delightful cafe for a delicious brunch. It became a tradition very fast and it is definitely one of my favourite things to do on a relaxing day off.

After a couple of weeks of planning and then bailing, we actually got up this morning after only 3 hits of the snooze button and set off on the mini road trip up the coast to Palm Beach. Sean informed me that Palm Beach is actually the shooting location for the very popular soap opera ‘Home & Away.’ Except that in Home & Away Palm Beach is so sweetly named ‘Summer Bay’.

It was about 45 minutes outside of the city, but well-worth the drive on such a beeeeautiful day. We parked along the Beach and decided to jog up to the lighthouse… little did I know that ‘up to the lighthouse’ meant running though soft-sandy foot paths and up about 5 million stairs constructed of tree roots and sandstone. Needless to say, I was damn-hungry by the end of it.

The views from the lighthouse were pretty lovely and along the way I got to see some of the famous Home & Away sights (!) Lifeguard stations with very authentic ‘Summer Bay’ signs and souvenier t-shirts. Ooooooh…

The run back to the car was along the beach… Jogging near the water kept thing interesting as I played tag with the tide. I always win. As soon as we reached the car, I striped off my shoes and running top and ran straight into the ocean… shorts and a sports bra. I hadn’t thought ahead to bring swimmers, but it didn’t matter. No one was really swimming as it was a bone-chilling 18 degrees oot. Oh Winter… better get out my wooly socks.

The water was actually very nice. Not too cold at all. I was able to frolic in and out freely, practicing the perfect gallop into the waves, and a very lady-like and graceful exit. Always tricky with the ocean undertow.

After I had been totalled by a couple waves, swallowed a decent amount of salt and very nearly lost my shorts, we thought it was time to head in. My stomach was definitely craving something delish.

post-run post-swim

We had already decided on going to the Boathouse, a lovely cafe on the other side of the bay.

the boathouse

The coffee was strong and the atmosphere was perfect.


Coloured strings of lights were draped from poles and adorned the jetty. I took a ridiculous amount of pictures as Sean ordered. And then later I took even more.

lights and lines...

why am I so attracted to these?

We sat down on the dock patio and had 3 amazing dishes, since we aren’t exactly the best for making decisions.

brekky

I devoured my Avocado on toast (bacon on the side to give to the boy… cept they didn’t actually put my bacon on the side at all) and Sean had poached eggs and bacon. There sure was a lot of bacon for one man. We also enjoyed the granola with Rhubarb compote. This time they ACTUALLY put the yogurt on the side. This deliciousness definitely made me want to march out to the grocery store and buy some rhubarb. I see a pie or crumble in my near future.

that bacon is just ALL up in my breakfast, not so cool...

One ginormous line-up and two take away coffees later we were back in the car, but not wanting to head home.

... just one more...

We stopped at another Beach on the way, for some wandering and ridiculous photoshoots.

he's a looker...

Sean commandeered the camera…

There are about 40 of these taken in under a minute… It was all very high fashion… and then my mom texted… but I worked the camera…

Finally, back in North Sydney, I spent the afternoon listening to my heart palpitate from that one too many coffees and searching for recipes that might included rhubarb, apples, chocolate, or anything with sugar really. Cause that is exactly what I needed for my palpitating heart.

It was a perfect day off.

xxx

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