Tag Archives: Toronto

blueberry muffin segue

How does someone make the transition from a solid month of total regression back into being a teenager (waking up after ten, staying in pyjamas all day and doing nothing, eating other people’s groceries) to re-entering the real world. A world which is literally (and figuratively) one entire globe away from teenager regression. A world that involves work and buying groceries, doing laundry and checking flour for moths.

Where is the instruction booklet for that transition? Because I am having a bit of trouble with it.

I think I read somewhere that you should start by making muffins. Well, no. Actually, that is a lie. But it would have make a great segue into this muffin recipe I’m about to post.

DSC_9794

Muffins help somewhere along the way. I’m sure of that.

Blueberry Muffins
Adapted from this beautiful blog I just discovered.

1 c. whole wheat flour

1 c. all purpose flour

4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 c. raw sugar

1 c. oat milk (or any non-dairy)

3 tbsp mushed banana

1 lemon, zested

1 c. fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or line a 12 inch muffin pan with liners. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugars, baking powder and salt. Create a well and add the milk 1/2 cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Mix in lemon zest, vanilla and banana and stir until fully combined. Gently fold in blueberries, try not to over mix muffin batter.

Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling about 3/4 full. Bake muffins for 22 – 25 minutes until fully baked.

DSC_9804

Eat. Feel better.

xxx

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on the outs…

Sydney and I had a falling out.

To say that the relationship was strained would be an understatement. It began a couple months ago. I started to resent Sydney. I couldn’t understand it, why one city had to be so far away from my family. Toronto is my home and it always will be. I was angry at Sydney. I had a couple of tantrums during which I stamped my feet and I proclaimed that I wasn’t in love anymore. Sometimes you just fall out of love. It happens. My reasons were weak, but they were adding up; the cockroaches, the cold apartments, the untimely buses. It was all too much.

Sydney and I were on the outs.

And then as fate would have it, I had the opportunity to go home for a week. Just one week. It was not specifically to escape Sydney, I had family matters to attend to; but I think it was good to have some separation. It’s what every relationship needs once and a while.

So Sydney and I took some time apart.

But then I returned… And Sydney hadn’t let up. It was still a million miles* away from home which had become blatantly obvious from my 30 hour trek. True, I saw less cockroaches and yes, the apartment was warming up, but I still wasn’t convinced.

I still had feelings for Sydney, but they were confused.

And then one day I was on the ferry. I took a look around and I breathed in the salty ocean air. I looked across the harbour to see the bridge against a sunset sky and I thought “Hey Sydney, you’re not so bad.”

I had an overwhelming feeling of love. And I suppose sometimes that is all it takes. A little sea breeze and some perspective. From a ferry in the Sydney harbour. Because how many people get to take that perspective?

I live in Sydney. It’s a fact. It probably won’t always be that way though. And when it all changes, I will miss the ferries, I will miss the bridge, I will miss the salty air.

Sure, cockroaches run a muck in this city, but I’ll tell ya one thing; I haven’t seen one centipede scurry across my floor. And my nazi-like cleaning habits have been amped up in an effort to keep the cockroaches at bay.

And true enough, there is no central heating anywhere apart from the yoga room. So yes, my apartment is cold. But I brought extra sweaters back from Canada and for Christ sake… I AM Canadian. Come on Hicks, suck it up.

And… well the buses will never change. So I’ll start riding my bike.

And yes. OK. It’s a million miles away from Toronto, but a trip is a trip. No matter how long. If family comes first, which it most certainly does, then no amount of plane trips or dollars spent on flights will keep me away. In the grand scheme of things 30 hours is not the end of the world.

So Sydney, I propose a truce. I will stop resenting you if you promise work on that continental drift thing.

Ok, sweet.

xxx

*Sydney is actually 15, 562 miles from Toronto. Fact.

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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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Ode to Chocolate

For as long as I can remember I have loved one food in particular more than any other in the world. My love for this food started very young, but I believe it grew stronger when I became a vegetarian. I often used the excuse that since I didn’t eat fatty meats or fish, that I could make up for calories and saturated fats with this one incredible food. And I did. I do.

It is also the food that stopped me from becoming a vegan for many years because I didn’t know it existed without milk. But it does. ohhh how it does, and it’s tastier and more delicious than I could have ever imagined. It is delightful when frozen and sinful when melted. It is of course; Chocolate.

hello... lover

Funny story: In my formative years, I distinctly recall returning to school one day (or many days) after lunch only to have a friend of mine point out that I, once again, had brown smudges on the seat of my pants. Awkward. Devastatingly embarrassing when you’re in 6th grade. And let me tell you, 11 year olds do not take ‘I was eating chocolate and it fell onto my chair and melted’ as an excuse. No… The only logical answer to them was that, yes, you guessed it; I pooped my pants.

OH CHOCOLATE, you would think that at some point between having you stain all of my favourite pants and having you constantly, yet unknowingly, smeared upon my chin and cheeks I would curse you and attempt to cut ties. But no. I cannot resist you. Even in your messiest state, I will lick you from spoons, or forks, or even knives(!) putting my tongue (and dignity) at risk. But I digress…

A couple of months ago I discovered this ‘healthy’ chocolate fudge recipe. With only five ingredients and no refined sugar, this is one of the most delicious chocolate delights I have ever tasted. I’ve served it to many and not a one has said anything other than good things. It is divine. Please make it.

yes... there was cocoa powder EVERYWHERE

Chocolate Fudge

Adapted from this deliciousness

1 1/4 c. coconut oil (softened)

1/2 c. peanut butter (crunchy or soft)

3/4 c. maple syrup

1/2 c. cocoa powder (sifted)

pinch of salt

In a cooled bowl, combine the coconut oil and peanut butter. You can use an electric mixer, but I never do. Just mix ‘er up. When its thoroughly combined, add in the maple syrup and combine. Finally, add the cocoa powder and salt. Mix until combined and scoop the mixture into small cupcake moulds. If it’s a bit too thick, you can melt the mixture over a pot of boiling water until it is a pourable consistency. Once in the cupcake moulds, sprinkle a couple of grains of sea salt on top. Trust me… its a good thing.

Put the fudge in the freezer to firm up and then enjoy! It will never fully harden because of the coconut oil. Always melty and amazing.

xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Desserts

Every second Saturday (of the month)

Today I woke up and realized that it is finally the correct Saturday of the month for a Market to be only steps away from my new apartment. Since I arrive here, almost three weeks ago, I have been anxiously awaiting Saturdays and the markets in the lovely park across the street. However, on the first Saturday after I settled in, I looked up which market I would be attending that morning, only to find that they only come every 2nd and 3rd Saturday of the month. I was pretty shattered. Somehow, I had managed to wake up that morning on the 5TH Saturday of the month… so I had to wait at least two weeks. Good grief.

However, had I done some more in depth research I would have realized that there was another Fashion and Flea market the following weekend just down the street. But alas, I only found out about that one as I rode past on my shiny red bike that glorious Sunday morning… on my way to catch the ferry. It was a HUGE market too! My heart ached a little. But I couldn’t miss the ferry. It turns out that this particular Market occurs every 2nd Sunday… so now I have to wait a MONTH. Sheesh.

This vaguely reminds me of my backpacking trip around Australia in 2007. My friend and I travelled a fair part of the country in 7 weeks… and every weekend, where ever we ended up we would look for a market, only to find that we had missed it by a week. just our luck.

I’m mean, yeah Toronto doesn’t have a ton of Markets… but at least the ones we have are there EVERY week, usually every DAY! Reliable and delicious.

the band!

That is neither here nor there, because today I got to go. Finally. I woke up at the crack of 9.27am and skipped out the door. Seconds later, I was across the street mingling with North Sydney’s finest bargain hunters. I have to say, it was bigger spread then I had expected, lots of stalls, lots of clothes, books, jewelry.

North Sydney Markets *every second saturday of the month*

So many things to look at and consider buying. But in true fashion, I didn’t actually purchase anything. I don’t know what I was looking for, I never do… but then maybe that’s why I never buy. Except food. Obviously.

There was a small produce section with lovely vegetables that seemed to be reasonably priced, so I gathered the ones that would taste best steamed… That sounds really lame, but we bought a new set of pots and a steamer… so I wanted to try it out. Naturally. I think I spent $9.00… and I scored a 2kilo bag of carrots which will pretty much feed me for the week.

All in all, the market was a success. I will happily attend every 2nd Saturday of the month. And every 2nd Sunday I will find that other huge monster down the street… and then every 3rd Saturday I will go back across the street to the other market, that is apparently ALL produce. And then the 4th weekend… well, I’m still researching.

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Yayyy ME!

It was a tearful goodbye, not quite as tearful as I expected… but tearful.

We all managed to keep our shit together until I was actually entering security, which I think was a good thing. But then of course my parents had to wait and watch and wave until I finally disappeared down an escalator. All the time witnessing, and most likely worrying, as I was stopped and searched at security.

Finally past security and searching the terminal for my usual haunts I remembered the small gift bag that my dad had handed me before I left. I went in search of some comfort food and a place to sit.

Vegans in airports don’t often find a full meal and this day in this airport was no exception. I had already shared my snack size pack of Mike n Ike’s with my parentals, bad move. I had no food.

Now people who know me will know that this next turn of events was not a likely Caitlin move. However, I had tears dried on my cheeks and a small book titled ‘Yay You’ to read. Things were going to get worse before they got better. I could tell.

I knooowww. An unlikely pairing. But it eased the shame of sobbing in public. Also, let’s be serious, I only finished another couple of gulps. The man who I gave the bottle back to was highly disgusted. I think that if I hadn’t have been there watching him pour out the dregs, he would have drank them himself. Just sayin’.

After wandering further, I finally found a granola bar that was midly satisfying and then it was time to board.

The flight was long, my brain shut off and I watched four shameful movies. Except that I enjoyed two of them thoroughly.

aaahahaha. I’m a sucker for romantic comedys about long distance relationships… go figure. But honestly… New York to San Fransisco? Give me a break.

xxx

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when life deprives you of lemons, make rice pudding

Note that I wrote this almost two year ago. But oh isn’t it fun to take a trip down memory lane… to a time when I used milk in my baking… haha

On to my day…

Today I woke up to an empty house and nothing to do. These are my favourite days by far. Only good things can come of an empty house. When no one else is home it means that a) I can have unlimited dance parties, b) I don’t have to wear pants, and c) I can combine the two and have a bloody amazing morning.

The only think I like more then my mornings alone is d) baking… sans pants whilst dancing. It fills me the joy. I would love to live on my own for that reason alone.

Anyhoo, point of the story is I woke up this morning and searched for a new recipe. My mother’s very favourite dessert is rice pudding and since it is her birthday I felt it was necessary to make something to her liking. I had my heart set on Lemon cake originally, but I had not a lemon in the house and no intentions of putting on pants to go buy some. So rice pudding would have to suffice.

The recipe was pretty simple and I just happened to have the correct kind of rice. Things were falling into place quite nicely. Then of course it all went wrong. Naturally.
However, the end result was quite to my liking, and my mother’s. And I have now altered the recipe I was using in order to accommodate for my failures. I have put the original words into parenthesis as to compare them to my alterations. Please leave your judgments at the door.

Arborio Rice Pudding

Serves 4

1/2 cup Arborio rice
4 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

In a large saucepan, place all the ingredients except the vanilla extract. (Bring it to a gentle boil) Watch the saucepan like a hawk for about 3 minutes and 30 seconds until you become distracted by the Australian man in your computer screen. Then sufficiently forget that you have milk boiling on the stove and allow it to boil over the sides of the saucepan and onto your stove and element. Allow it to burn and harden. Notice only when your kitchen beings to smell of burnt milk, at which point you scream, curse, and remove the saucepan from the heat, switching it over to a less soiled element. (Turn it down to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom, for about 30 to 40 minutes.) Turn the element to what you think is a low enough heat to allow it to simmer, all the while still chatting with the Aussie. Keep a close eye on the stove for the next 5 minutes and then notice that once again, the milk is boiling over. Realize that you must lower the heat even more and do so. Say goodnight to the Aussie and return to the religious watching of the simmering milk. Allow mixture to thicken for 30-40 minutes. (Taste the rice to check for doneness. The rice should be very soft and plump.) This part I did to perfection.

Take the pudding off the heat and stir in the extract. Pour into dessert bowls. You can serve it immediately or let it chill in the fridge.

I did so. Adding cinnamon and raisins before serving. Oh sweet success, you taste of milk and sugar.

All in all, not a bad first try.

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