No oats? No problem! | Our Favorite Granola: Carob Buckwheat

I’m writing to you from what appears to be the North Pole. The snow banks in the town are well over my head, and if I attempted to walk throughout my lawn, I’m guessing that the snow would be about knee-height. Nova Scotia has gotten pummeled with snow the past couple of weeks and Mother Nature doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Luckily for you, the wind chill is convincing me to stay indoors in my cozy kitchen. I’ve got a few special recipes coming up in the near future to share with you, but today I thought I would keep it simple.

But, before I forget! I gave the space a little bit of a makeover yesterday while I was (literally) snowed indoors. What do you think? How can this space be more accessible to you, and what improvements would you like to see? I am always up for suggestions and want this blog to grow with me and my readers!

Now, on to the recipe!

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This past fall I discovered that I’m very intolerant to oats. For about half a year I struggled with extreme stomach pain every single day – the kind of stomach pain where real pants = not happening. Unfortunately, real pants needed to happen given that I had a job in a cafe and was working 8-10 hour shifts. Once I finally pinned down that the culprit was oats, and after I was finished sooking about it (morning oatmeal, granola, oatmeal cookies, GONE!?), I knew I needed to find a granola replacement and FAST. Continue reading

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Super Light Bourbon-Vanilla (Cottage) Cheesecake

Valentines day is just over a day away – I hope I’m not cutting it too close to share with you this recipe that I just worked out yesterday evening and tested this morning!

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Or maybe, much like myself, you aren’t really “doing” Valentine’s day. I have no foul angst towards the holiday (is it even a holiday? I don’t know), but I’ve never had much reason to get giddy about it either. Anyhow, despite my indifference, I was looking forward this year to making something wonderfully delicious for lovers (or just food lovers, holler!) and it’s pretty cute, to boot.

I don’t know about you, but cheesecake is kind of my weakness. Maybe you’ve gotten the hint, as I’ve used goat cheese in a couple different frostings. I’m a sucker for a sweet that has a hefty dose of tang, too. The thing with cheesecake, though, is it seems that you’re merely a few bites in and feeling as though you swallowed an elephant (no? just me?). You keep eating though, because, HELLO! it’s cheesecake and it’s flippin’ delicious – but, you pay for it later.

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You get my point. But what if you could have LEGIT cheesecake, eat a whole damn slice (or cake) and feel light as a feather? Or what if you could eat that very same cheesecake the morning following Valentines day, FOR BREAKFAST… and feel NO remorse? Continue reading

Brown-Butter Banana Muffins, 3 ways + frosting!

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Perhaps if you follow me on instagram  you may have noticed that I have been doing more cake baking lately. While I really enjoy making cakes and working my creativity muscles in the frosting department, I can’t forget about the simple but heartwarming recipes that brought me here.

I’ve been hoarding over-ripe bananas in my freezer for what feels like forever, so I put them to good use this past weekend whilst snowed in, in between Friends episodes. Instead of just making one kind, I decided to challenge myself a bit and divide a recipe into three to make BANANA MUFFINS/CUPCAKES 3 WAYS, including 3 awesome frostings to dollop on top. Of course, these are muffins, so if you wish to fore-go the frosting, they will still be good. But, we all know that buttercream makes everything better, yes?

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Continue reading

balance | rosemary vanilla mini cakes with vanilla mascarpone frosting

After the bust that was the storm on Saturday, Mother Nature came back around and proved herself powerful and dumped a ton of ice and snow on us the last couple of nights; I woke up this morning to being completely snowed in. Thankfully a family friend came along and plowed us out, not without getting his truck stuck on our side hill. All of this time stuck indoors while Mother Nature does her thing has forced me to be productive, while I avoid going stir-crazy. Among the chores I did and the countless episodes of Friends I watched, I also came up with a recipe that I am excited to share with you in the coming week. It even involved using a calculator (what) – but don’t worry, you won’t need to!!

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It may surprise you to know that I’m not much of a sweet tooth, which makes approximately zero sense given the nature of this food blog. I love to bake, the artistic nature and the science of it, but I prefer savoury dishes with good balance. Balance is really important to me in all aspects of my life – it’s the way my brain works, and I feel that I am easily set off-kilter if I ignore my need for balance. My idea of a good meal is one that includes carbs, protein, fat and veggies, has a variety of colours, and is balanced in taste; sweet, salty, sour, bitter, earthy. When I am planning my meals, I take into account all of these aspects; it has become second nature to me now, and often times I don’t realize that I’m doing it until somebody points it out. How do you plan your meals? Continue reading

orange cake with marzipan layer and vanilla bean buttercream frosting

Sticking with things hasn’t always been my strong suit. Generally, my interests were always arts-related and I tried various things in that category – trying to “figure it all out”, as we all do. More often than not, I would become frustrated with myself if I didn’t excel quick enough and would give up all together. The only thing that is more irritating than not excelling at something you enjoy, is having a long list of things you “quit”. I cannot stand that word – quit. It has always been a word that weighed down on my shoulders, hovering over me the second that I became skeptical over a new activity I’d chosen. I think I had actually become guilt-ridden because I hadn’t found something that I was passionate about that I could stick to, and I don’t think that I’m the only one who has ever felt this way.

Looking back over the past year, though many things stand out, what I find truly fascinating is how patient you can be when you’re involved in the things that you truly love, and are happy as a whole. Something I’m constantly asked is how I can bake all day long and then happily cook supper that night. I think that when you really love something, the hours you put in are not only effortless, but exciting. And when the time comes to leave the kitchen that day, throughout the night I ponder new flavours and ideas for inspiration the next day.

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So here we are, the end of the first month of 2015. How are you doing? This month is known as “the Monday of months”, and maybe it’s a causation of what I was talking about above. We set these “resolutions” and end up expecting so much change (too much) in ourselves in one month, and when we stray off course, we get frustrated and give up. Here’s my proposal: take each day for the day that it is and how you feel in each moment. Address the things that aren’t serving you in a positive way, do what you can today to make a small change. Goals are great, but if we constantly have our eyes looking straight up, we’re going to trip a time or two.

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If this month has indeed felt like the Monday of months for you, I’ve got a little something that will surely brighten up your kitchen, no matter how grey and snowy (currently ice-laden here, woo!) it is outdoors. Continue reading

our favorite meal of the month | Asian noodle stir fry

Just a quick little check in today, sharing with you our favorite meal of the month.
*Maybe this could be a reoccurring thing for 2015? Favorite meal of the month? FMOM? Let me know what you think!

Since the beginning of 2015, I made it a quiet resolution of mine to experiment with new flavours, foreign dishes, and trying to make said dishes as authentic as I can in my own kitchen. Experimentation and new flavours really is what drives me in my kitchen, otherwise I’d probably throw in the towel and eat a soft poached egg on toast every day. For me, one of the new ingredients I introduced was miso. Albeit, I hear that western versions of miso are pretty sad in comparison to the real thing, but for now, I’m satisfied.

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Miso is a really strong flavor, and a little goes a long way. You may need to track it down at a local health food store, or an Asian market if you have one, but it is pretty inexpensive and it will last. First I used it in making my very own ramen noodle soup, which I hope to perfect in the coming year, but our favorite use was this honey-miso noodle stir fry that I’m about to share with you.

I’ve used the sauce for a ton of things, even just as a glaze for pan-roasted brussle sprouts and carrots (SO MUCH YUM), so if you take nothing else from this recipe, just take the sauce.

As I’ve mentioned before, I *never* follow a recipe when cooking savory dishes. Consider this recipe more as a guideline, substituting as need be – however, I strongly recommend using sesame oil in the sauce, as it really takes the Asian flavour to its full potential.

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pairings | carrot cake with goat cheese frosting

I’m sitting here, my eyes getting heavier in the dim light. As an early riser, the after-dinner hours are typically my low-energy period where I sit, reflect, or browse various media to find inspiration. Sometimes it takes quite a bit to light a fire under my feet, other times I am inspired by the way the light comes into the dining room.

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My life is quiet. I wake up anywhere between 5am and 6am; many mornings the stars are still visible as I sip at my coffee (read: apparently i actually drink my coffee pretty quick, so maybe *guzzle* is a better term?). Most days I have a house to myself as I putter in the kitchen, chopping, mixing, kneading, sauteing. For many people, the bedroom is their peaceful place, where they go to escape. The kitchen is mine; I find my mind wandering elsewhere as I chop, mix, knead, saute. Yet at times, my mind is quiet and clear – free of worry.

I have also found a deep connection with my yoga mat; finally, after a few years of home practice, I am comfortable to be there without direction. I move as my body wishes, breathing fresh air into the places it asks. I really am thrilled by what simple, small movement can do for me as a person. I have never been so at ease, so comfortable, aware.

I have been playing with some new flavors in my kitchen, lately. New flavors paired with trusting, familiar flavors. It can make something old and worn out new and fresh again, reminding you of why it became old and worn out in the first place. The best things always are. Continue reading

january cold | whole wheat banana bread pancakes

we’re just over half way through january. the winter cold has been hitting us pretty hard over the last week, which should be expected after the strangely mild december we had. most mornings have been starting off anywhere between -18 to -12 celcius.

this is my nesting weather. i swear that my body retains cold far more than it contains heat. i go outside for merely a minute and take hours to warm back up to a reasonable temperature. anybody else?
anyhow, i’ve been keeping myself toasty with yoga at least once every day with Yoga With Adriene’s 30 Day Yoga Challenge, and baking.

speaking of baking – our electric range gave out today, mid-challah baking. of all times.
i suppose there is no good time for a baker’s oven to give out, though.

it was my first 4-strand braided challah and it was looking mighty beautiful; i placed it in the oven proud. not even 5 minutes later i turned on the oven light to check inside, to find a VERY nearly burnt crust. i could barely believe my eyes. Continue reading

new year | our daily bread: honey spelt loaf

happy belated christmas, and new year, folks!

i hope the last few weeks that i’ve been away have treated you all well! i certainly can not complain.

it is pretty damn cold over here in atlantic canada (-18 today with a windchill of -28 tonight………), so i’ve been busying myself about inside my (sometimes – when the heat pump doesn’t shut down from the cold) cozy house. i’ve been doing the 30 days of yoga for the last week with Adrienne, whom i’ve been following for a couple years now and absolutely adore. of course, i’ve been just as busy in the kitchen – you likely know this if you follow me on instagram; i’ve been experimenting with challah, double pie crusts (vegan AND flakey, whaaaaaaat!?), and even homemade butter made in the kitchenaid! 

honestly, for me it has felt like 2015 for months now – i feel like SO much has happened since the beginning of 2014 that it couldn’t possibly have just been a year ago. last january marked the first time since i was 5 of not attending school, as i decided that university was notttttttttttttt my thing. i was struggling with depression and anxiety and my weight was no where near in a healthy range due to my poor relationship with my body and with food. i bought my first car in february. a couple months after that, i traveled to ontario and had full intentions on moving there. i came back in late april and filled my free time with muffin baking and sad attempts at bread. i got a job in a small cafe for the spring and summer. i quit said job in august. i continued making sad attempts at bread. i made my first successful sandwich loaf in late october and have been baking our bread weekly ever since! throughout all of that, i reconnected with myself and reattained a healthy relationship with food and am now back at my healthy weight for the first time in 2 years. i am happy – the last few months i have said this and actually meant it for the first time in many years.

2015 marks the beginning of a year that i have started off happily and healthfully. i do not make resolutions generally, but i am resolving to complete this year in the same condition that i began it.

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with all of that, i am about to share with you the recipe that has been in productions for months and months and months – our daily honey spelt sandwich loaf. many times i have failed painfully at variations of this bread, only to throw the scraps out the back door for the crows whom i swear began to eat every meal here… assuming that crows have meal times. Continue reading