Tag Archives: yummy

Pom-tastic Kale Salad

A couple weeks ago I was invited to a BBQ. It was a pot-luck affair and I wasn’t sure what to bring. My go-to lunch is salad. It’s pretty boring. Just lettuce, carrots, avocado, tomatoes, maybe some tofu… I mean, I love it! I love my boring salads. But for a BBQ I was thinking something more exciting might be necessary.

Last time I was in Toronto, my dad made the BEST salad ever. I think it was a recipe from Chatelaine magazine. It was simple, but so delicious.

DSC_8016 copy I didn’t have all the right ingredients in my kitchen, but I improvised and even created a new dressing that I thought would be an excellent addition. It was.

This is one flavourful salad. The cranberries really make it and the pomegranate dressing adds an additional hint of sweetness that ties it all together.

DSC_8022Cranberry & Kale Salad
recipe adapted from here

1 c. dried barley
1/2 c. dried cranberries
5 c. chopped kale, about 1/2 small bunch
1/2 c. diced red onion

Dressing
1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste

Cook the barley as directed on the package. Usually, I add the 1 cup to 4 cups of water and simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Drain and rinse in cool water. Chop the onion, and kale and toss it together with the cranberries and barley.

In a separate bowl, whisk the oil, molasses and apple cider vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the dressing on the salad and toss until evenly coated. The longer you allow the salad to marinate in the dressing, the better it tastes!

🙂

DSC_7760I didn’t have any pomegranate molasses and I didn’t know how easy it would be to find it, so I actually made my own. It was basically just pomegranate juice, sugar and a bit of lemon simmering for about 40 minutes until it develops into a syrup.

DSC_7765Easy peasy.

xxx

 

 

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Salads

pb & spinach

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before… but I really like peanut butter.

DSC_7367I probably haven’t really mentioned it too much, because it’s kind of alarming how much peanut butter I eat. I’m talking a jar a week. Possibly more. Definitely more if I am trying to cut down on my chocolate consumption. It’s a give and take, ya know?

Well… anyway, my peanut butter habits are OUT of control. but I’m starting to get things under control, kind of. I’m not cutting back or anything but I have stopped spending my grocery budget on ‘Organic’ peanut butter and I’m starting to make my own. 1 Ingredient Peanut butter. This is where its AT.

I cannot even put into words how much better it tastes. I’ll give you a hint though… it tastes like PEANUTS. And if you decide to do a taste test and try your homemade pb along side your store bought pb you will realize that store bought one actually mostly tastes like nothing. It’s shocking but true.

Anyway. I started making peanut butter and it was alarmingly easy. I’m talking ridiculous. So ridiculous that I called Sean over during my second batch so he could watch the magic. And watch he did. He then insisted I put it on my blog because he was pretty pumped about the whole thing and was convinced that every one else in the world is missing out on how easy it is to make. Easy and FASCINATING. I mean it’s JUST peanuts in a blender and then boom: It’s practically liquified.

DSC_7364Granted, I think the Vita mix makes things faster and easier. But this can be done with any food processor for sure. Annnnd… if you want to spice it up by adding, say, maple syrup, or coconut oil… then I would say that is a damn good idea.

So follow this super specific recipe:

Start with as many peanuts as you want. I usually start with about 500 – 1000 grams and just add them as I go depending on how much pb i want to make. It’s not a science and you can’t screw it up cause there is only ONE ingredient.

DSC_7353Put peanuts in a food processor or blender and blend until desired consistency. Extra smooth? or Super thick? The choice is yours. In a regular food processor it may take a couple minutes (5-10mins) but you’ll get there eventually. Trust me. A bit of oil or liquid will speed up the process. You can scrape down the sides every minute or two as well to help it along. I store this in a jar and keep it in the fridge, cause ya know… no preservatives or anything.

So once you’ve made the peanut butter you should definitely eat it with a spoon. But when you’re done with that, maybe add it to a smoothie?

DSC_7331My favourite flavour combination is banana-chocolate-peanut butter. So that is what this is. A Banana/Chocolate/Peanut butter smoothie. And it’s what’s for breakfast. To make me self feel good about eating chocolate it the morning I added Spinach. Which is why it is that really appetizing colour of green-brown. Hmmm.

Life is all about balance. Spinach in Chocolate. You can’t even taste it, but you’re insides will love it.

DSC_7320Top with some coconut or more peanut butter and you’re good to go.

Amazing.

xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Breakfast

condiments & flatbreads

I have a real problem with condiments. I get it from my mother who brought me up in a house that had a huge fridge full of every single kind of pickle imaginable and about ninety different mustards.

Now, my fridge is similar. I have about 20 different jars in there. 20 different kinds of jams, jellys, mustards, pickles, olives, sauces… you name it. I have it. It fact, I might have two of it. It’s not a problem I am looking to fix though. I eat condiments on a variety of things. Sometimes off a spoon.

DSC_7221But just for fun, here is a flat bread that would be the perfect vehicle for any number of condiments. In fact I even made a cheese a couple years ago that is practically a perfect match for this flat bread. But let’s also put some red pepper jelly on top of that.

DSC_7210This flat bread is insanely easy, and I think you should try it.

DSC_7150Rosemary Flat bread
Adapted from here

1 c. whole wheat flour

3/4 c. ground flax

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 c. water

1/3 c. olive oil (plus more for brushing)

2 tbsp chopped rosemary

Pre heat the oven to 400*F with a heavy pan inside.

DSC_7160Mix the dry ingredients (including the rosemary) up in a large bowl and create a well. pour the water and oil into the well and mix until you form a large ball.

DSC_7183Separate the ball in to three equal portions. Flatten each ball into a very thin round on a piece of parchment paper. Brush on some oil and sprinkle with salt right before baking for 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack. Bake one by one.

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xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, crackers

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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strawberry muffins and ohmygod it’s august.

woah.

Where did I go?

Where did time go? Is it august? Is it MID-august? Holy moly, you guys. I can’t even.

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Things are happening behind the scenes over here and it seems I haven’t baked in like… 67 549 years. That is an exact estimate.

Let’s not dwell on excuses as I have none. STRAWBERRY MUFFIN TIME!

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I feel like strawberries aren’t put into muffins enough. Blueberries, for sure. But strawberries? And I don’t know why NOT, cause these are delicious. Crazy yummy. And I like to over stuff the muffins liners so you have ginormous cafe-like muffins. oh yes.

DSC_2019

Strawberry Muffins
Adapted from my blueberry muffins.

1 c. whole wheat flour

1 c. all purpose flour

1/4 c. oats

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 or frozen strawberries

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 strawberries, 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. OR fill the liners all the way full, bake as normal or maybe a few minutes more and enjoy huge muffins.

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Check back next week! I promise to post more than once a month. 🙂 I have more things to share! Exciting things!

xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Breakfast, Muffins

chocolate chip cookies

COOKIES!

DSC_1547
Cookies have been happening a lot around here. Like these &  these! Both winners, however I had yet to make the old classic: Chocolate Chip!

My Dad makes a pretty mean cookie… in my highschool days I could often eat 5 at a time after school. MAN they were good.

And on that note…it’s Father’s Day in Canada!!!
Happy Father’s Day to the most awesome Dad in the world. He is super rad and hip and drinks scotch and listens to music really loud. and it’s NOT cause he’s deaf, it’s cause he’s bad ass. He also once rode his bike to attend a Foo Fighters concerts by himself… and I think that’s just plain cool.
And while I will never forget the PMI… and I will hold it against you for always, you have redeemed yourself with incredible cookies and delicious muffins.
Can’t wait to hang out soon. And bake things and make things hopefully with some new kitchen appliances in the t-dot! 😉
nice-fam
MISS YOU PAPA HICKS!
love love love

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Back to the cookie at hand… if your thinking that I’ve made these somehow a good-for-you alternative, then you’re wrong. Keep searching if you must – but when your ready for a classic, chewy & sweet cookie, please return. I’ve not gone to any lengths (at all) to make these healthy – This is a good old fashioned chocolate chip cookie. Lots of sugar, lots of chocolate. White flour. Let’s get amoungst it.

DSC_1572

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from here
½ c. coconut oil
1 c. brown sugar
¼ c. oat milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 c. flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1/2 c. chopped up almond chocolate (More chocolate would be nice – but I ran out. Not surprising…)
1/2 c. walnutsFirst, pre-heat the oven to 350* F. Cream together the coconut oil & brown sugar. Make sure its well mixed. THen add in the vanilla and milk.
In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients. Combine the wet & dry and then fold in the chocolate and nuts.
Roll the dough into balls in tbsp sized portions. Its is pretty crumbly but just smoosh it together and it’ll be grand. Flatten the dough a bit on the pan and shape each cookie. Press some extra chocolate on top for delciousness and appearance. I also sprinkled a couple grains of sea salt on top. Cause sweet & salty… I mean come on.
Bake for about 8-10 minutes.
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Let them cool… or not. and enjoy!
xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Cookies

ch.ch.ch.ch.ch.ch.ch.ch.cherry bomb

DSC_1462 fg

I just googled “random facts” because I was having trouble getting started on this blog post. Sometimes random facts are inspiring.

Like this one:
Every second Americans collectively eat one hundred pounds of chocolate.

What?! is that a thing? How is this stuff even measured? What about at night time? Who are all the lonely hearts eating 100 pounds of chocolate a second between midnight and 6am.

This is an interesting fact that I have a feeling may not have much truth to it. But I’m gunna roll with it, I may not be American, but this makes me feel better about the 3 oversized chocolate bars a consumed last week.

Aside from my chocolate cravings which are ongoing and unavoidable… I am craving muchos carbohydrates lately. Muffins are delightful. Scones are perfect. Cherry Banana bread is amaze-balls. I didn’t think of it prior… but chocolate would be a GREAT addition.

Just doin my part to contribute to the random facts of the world.

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Let’s get into it.

Cherry Banana Bread
Adapted from this recipe

3 ripe bananas
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 c. unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 c. raw sugar or brown sugar
1 chia egg
2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. oats
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. frozen cherries
1/2 c. walnuts

First, grease a bread pan and set aside. Preheat your oven to 350*F.

In a large bowl, mash the banana until very mushy. Combine with the sugar, lemon juice, chia egg & apple sauce. Add the cherries and fold through.

In a separate bowl combine all the dry ingredients, including the nuts. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined. Pour the batter into the bread pan and spread evenly. You can top it with some more cherries and walnuts for good measure.

Bake for about 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Eat it and be merry.

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I also just read that in 1879 Belgians tried to train cats to deliver mail. Not surprisingly… it did not work.

Mail cats. pft.

xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Breads, Breakfast