Tag Archives: summer

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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puppies, pimm’s, and popsicles

It’s not quite summer in Australia. However I’ve been hoarding some summer recipes for the last couple months, so when I was in Toronto very unexpectedly last week and it was 30+ degrees outside, I whipped out my warm weather recipes and made it happen.

In the form of popsicles.

and cocktails!

Yum…

What’s better than a Saturday afternoon cocktail? followed by bbq’d corn and a boozey popsicle?

Maybe lounging in the sun with your puppy dog?

lucy

Yeah. Well nothing beats that…

Meet Lucy. The most photographed dog in history.

dog

She enjoys napping on the counter, drinking from my water glass and sharing popsicles. (the non-boozey kind)

She works the camera.

Sometimes I wondering if this dog thinks I have a camera for a face.

ANYWAY…cocktails and popsicles!

Pimm’s is best paired with painted toe nails and lounging in muskoka chairs.

If you haven’t tried this cocktail, then you haven’t sipped summer from a glass. It’s a must do.

Pimm’s Cocktail:

Pimm’s

Sparkling lemonade

Cucumber

Strawberries

Orange

Lemon

Mint

Slice all the fruit and veggies and put them in a jug.

Add 1 part Pimm’s and 2 parts lemonade. (although I prefer a 1:1 ratio… haha or maybe 1: 1.5 if you want to make it past 1 cocktail. :P)

Add some mint, stir it up, serve over ice and drink. Crazy straws are also encouraged.

On to the ‘sicles!

Pina colada!

Pina Colada Popsicles!?

Ohhhhh my goodness, so delicious.

Put this on your to-do list as well. You should totally make these. You should also check out this food blog, cause her recipes are delightful! Pina Colada Popsicles! The only alteration I made to her recipe was using Maple Syrup instead of sugar. I’m Canandian. This is what I do.

the fam (and our kick ass backyard)

Oh sweet summer. It was nice to have a little bit of sun on my shoulders and ice coffee in my cup.

It was short and very sweet. I miss you Toronto! I’ll try and visit soon. 😦

stay cool doggie.

xxx

ps. MIYOSHI! LOOK! I did it again! (the bee)

bzzz

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Cocktails, Desserts

GAZPACHO!

I’ve talked at length about my cravings for summer. About the warm breeze, about summer dresses, about the decline of banana prices. Yes… these are things I love and crave. And over the last couple weeks, my cravings have been satisfied. Banana’s are dropping in price, summer dresses are a plenty and that warm breeze is finally upon me. But then, how quickly I change my tune.

The bananas and summer dresses are still amazing, don’t get me wrong, I would buy more if I could. Alas, my wallet can’t handle it at the moment. However, I’d like to have some words with that breeze. THAT BREEZE. Not really a warm breeze anymore. It’s a hot burst of air that almost makes you wish the air was still. On my way home from work today I got blasted with the hottest breeze I have ever encountered. I kid you not. 32 degrees may not seem overly warm, but for some reason it hit me like a ton of bricks. A ton of very hot bricks.

And I’ve been told this is ‘the most comfortable part of summer.’ I’m in for temperatures reaching 40 degrees celsius. Oi.

I’m going to say that the main street I was walking along that was currently experiencing some gridlock like rush hour traffic was partly to blame.  Every time a bus drove past me it was like walking into a wall of even hotter air. I reckon it would have actually been quite lovely near the water. Probably quite comfortable. I’ll have to find a more roundabout route of walking home that takes me on a waterfront tour.

In any case, I’m not going to complain about it. Only good things come from having warm days. Good things that I will compile in a list.

Good things that come from warm days:
A list composed by Caitlin A. Hicks

1. I don’t have to wear a jacket to work.

2. When you run, you sweat ninety-times more, and though you may feel like barfing once or twice, you also feel ninety times more productive afterwards.

3. GAZPACHO!

refreshingly delicious

I will add to this list as I see fit. But for now, let’s settle on numero 3. GAZPACHO!

I made this delicious chilled soup for the very first time. For some reason I actually thought you were supposed to roast everything and THEN blend it… and THEN chill it. But no, you just blend it all up raw. WHAT?! Delicious and so nutritious.

Really, so much less labour intensive than I had imagined, and just as good. I’m a fan of eating pasta sauce with no pasta and biting into a raw tomato as if it was an apple… so GAZPACHO! was (and is) right up my alley.

So refreshing and so delicious served with avocado and some toasted pita chips.

basil makes it better...

GAZPACHO!
(Always to be written in capital letters with an exclamation point)

1 cucumber

1 capsicum

6 tomatoes

1 red onion

1 garlic clove

2c. tomato juice (I used v8)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. basil

3 tbsp. balsamic

3 tsbp. lime juice

salt and pepper to taste

1. Throw the veggies and juice in a bowl with the olive oil. Blend and blend and blend.

2. Add balsamic, lime juice and salt & pepper to taste. Mix.

3. Chill. Top with basil, olive oil. Eat.

Scream: GAZPACHO!

done.

x

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Filed under Adventures in Australia

Baking and Beaches…

There is nothing cuter than miniature foods. I mean really. Miniature cookies, miniature burgers, miniature cupcakes. I’m not sure if I love them because they’re so darn small and adorable, or if it’s because they make me feel like a giant and I get to devour them in just one bite. Either way, I’m pretty sure that foods taste better in smaller sizes. Actually I’m going to make a sweeping declaration here and say that they do. For sure. It’s science.

And with that, I bring you more mini-cupcakes.

yummm

These cupcakes were crazy delish. I’ve made them before just never in mini-form. Anyway, they were very moist, very vanilla-y, very fluffy and the entire cupcake tasted incredibly buttery. Not sure how that works, as these are vegan. But I won’t argue with the masses. I took these to work for the very sweet, very pregnant English bird going on maternity leave and after eating one, or two, or three each, we shared them with the rest of the office. I left for a couple minutes and when I returned they were gone. 🙂

Without further ado, I will share with you the recipe that I only slightly tweaked from Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World. Possibly the best cupcake book ever created, vegan or not.

Vanilla Cupcakes

1 c. oat milk

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1 1/4 c. flour

2 tbsp. arrow-root powder

3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 c. margarine

3/4 c. sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan.

Whisk the oat milk and vinegar together and set aside.

Sift the flour, arrow-root powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.

Cream the margarine and sugar for two minutes until it is light and fluffy, then beat in the vanilla. Add the soy milk mixture.

Beat the dry mixture into the wet. Fill the muffin cups up 2/3rds of the way and bake for 20-22 minutes.

Eat many.

In other news, this past weekend was jam packed with hot summer-y days and incredible beach-y afternoons. I narrowly escaped a Steve Irwin-like death, thanks to my keen eyed Canadian friend who spotted a sting ray as I was galloping into the water. No big deal.

So what if Sean laughed at us upon hearing our tale of near death, so what if that sting ray wasn’t large enough or fierce enough to take my life, SO WHAT if Sean’s stepped on sting rays before with no harmful effects… I still think we’re smart for avoiding the shallow waters.

beachin'

We followed Sean on a small hike up some rocks to find the perfect place for an afternoon swim. After much consideration and debate we climbed down the rocks and into the jelly-fish infested waters. Apparently the see through ones don’t sting you. I’m learning so much… and slowly getting over my fears of deep sea creatures. Although, that seaweed the brushes past my legs freaks me out EVERY TIME. idiot.

After fully submerging ourselves in the clear blue waters, Sean casually pointed out which jellyfish that would sting us, if given the opportunity, and so as Samantha clambered for the rocks… I peed my swimmers, only slightly.

🙂

I kid. We were totally cool. Because of course we know that those jellys only move with the wind, so if we kept tabs on the wind direction and stayed aware… we’d be fine. Never mind that their tentacles range from 15 cm to 10 meters. pft… That doesn’t scare me. At all.

Oh my god. It terrifies me. But I have to admit, you can’t say no to the ocean. It’s nearly impossible, even if it’s salty waters sneak into my nose and ears. There is nothing like swimming out in that warm water. It was incredibly comfortable… nothing like swimming in those crisp Canadian lakes. (which I still love and miss.)

We paddled around for quite a while and after gracefully climbing back up the rocks like the mermaids and mermen that we are, we dried off and cracked into the beer and chocolate. All class.

summer beer

It was so lovely and relaxing that I completely forgot it was Sunday.

xxx

party boy!

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Cupcakes

Wine and kayaks and sunscreen and rope swings…

So… the thing about writing a blog that revolves around my own baking adventures is that if I don’t bake new things… I have nothing to write about. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been baking. Just nothing new. I’ve been addicted to granola and chickpea cookie dough for the past two weeks. I promise this weekend I’ll bake something great. I mean there is a woman at work going on Maternity leave… and that occasion just screams for baked goods, no?

In other, non-baking news, I took a wee trip up the coast with some friends for a little rest and relaxation. We sipped wine, we sat by pools, we kayaked and we even applied sunscreen. Jealous?

Conan... BANG!

These are the friends...

We took a wee drive to the Hunter Valley for some delightful wine tasting…

this is some wine

There was sparkling reds and sparkling whites…

This is the how classy we are

There was a woman who sat with us and explained each wine as she poured me generous tastings. She took a liking to Sean. She touched him one too many times on jaw, attempting to explain taste sensations on your palate. Had it not been for the nineteen glasses of wine she poured me, I would have clocked her. Definitely.

This is when I used Shane as a fake model for my real Cowboy picture...

Some more wine and cheese...

REPRESENT! Brup Brup (gunshots) (cause we were in Scarborough) (duh)

Beer tastings...

Sadly, I don’t really have any pictures that don’t involve drinking wine. But trust me… there was fun in the sun, bikinis, rope swings, kayaks… and a Magpie that attempted to peck out my eyes. twice. Scariest birds ever.

Here’s to many more weekends like this one. Minus the Magpie.

xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia

jelly bellies and nutty butties…

30 degrees Celcius + blue skies + running in a national park + jellyfish + starfish + wallabies + all-day breakfast on a dock + sunsets + chickpea cookie dough = an excellent weekend.

Wait… Chickpeas? Yup. Cookie dough? Yup. Delicious? Yup.

But first…

Highlights from the day, in picture form.

mapping the route...

run then swim

STARFISH! and a tentacle-less jellyfish!

toes

another starfish anddd blue steel.

coffee and breakfast at 5pm

sittin' on the dock of the bay...

After alllll that, we were pooped… and what else to do then go home, put on a movie and try out a ridiculous recipe that ended up being delicious and yet wildly nutritious.

Done and done.

dessert hummus

Chickpea Cookie dough – Nutty Butties

Inspired by this recipe

1 can of chickpeas

1/3-1/4 c. maple syrup

1/4 c. nut butter

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 c. dark chocolate chips or chunks

Optional mix ins:

Chopped nuts

Dried fruit

Shredded coconut

Drain and rinse the chickpeas. I tried my best to peel most of mine as well, but this is optional. Peeling those peas will increase the smoothness of the dough, and decrease farts. Not kidding. My mother LOVES that tidbit of information.

So blend the chickpeas, maple syrup, nut butter and vanilla until reallllllll smooth. Stir in the chocolate and any other extras and your done.

I enjoy it chilled, with some banana on top.

This might be the kind of the recipe that you definitely have to try to believe how yummy it is. But for real… if you didn’t know there were chickpeas in it, you would never pick it. My boyfriend didn’t… and then he felt deceived after I told him. However, he continued eating it straight from the mixing bowl, with a spoon. haha.

Go make this. I dare you!

xxx


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Filed under Desserts