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.

🙂
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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