Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Cocoa Coffee Banana Smoothie

I guess one could say.. mocha banana?

I go back and forth on smoothies. I love drinking them in the summer, often post-running or yoga but in the winter I find myself craving something warm- usually oatmeal or eggs. However, with the unusually warm weather and the smoothie-kick that has been going around at work, I couldn't help try this one out when I saw it in this month's Bon Apetit magazine.

It saved me some time this morning as I didn't need to have a coffee and breakfast..instead just one super filling smoothie that included my caffeine fix.

Be sure to soak cashews (1/4 cup) and oats (3 Tablespoons) in boiling water the night before, and you are good to go.

- 1/4 cup cashews (soaked overnight)
- 3 Tablespoons (large) oats (soaked overnight)
- 2 medjol dates
- 1 frozen banana << Is it just me, why do my frozen bananas always turn to brown mush? I had to throw out so many yesterday..
- 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder (if possible a high quality cocoa- mine is from Vienna, but a good one you can get here is Fry's)
- 1/2 cup coffee - cold ( I just put mine in the freezer for a few minutes. You can also add some ice to cool it down)

Blend all ingredients, enjoy!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Breakfast Quinoa with Cashew Cream

Continuing through the Salad Samurai, I made this recipe this morning. The book calls it "Quinoa à la mode". It makes a lot and I put some in jars, so I will have breakfasts on the go for the rest of the week. Before I go any further, I must tell you, this cashew cream is delicious!!! I've never tried it before and it tastes so good. I would make it again to put on oatmeal or even drizzle on some fresh fruit to add in some protein. Do cashews have protein? I think so.

I texted Juliet this morning and told her about it and said, all you do is mix soaked almonds with some lemon, maple syrup and vanilla. She asked me why is it called Cashew cream if it's made with almonds? well, because it's not. it's made with cashews, lemon, maple syrup and vanilla and I was just half asleep..woops! Good catch Juliet ;).. clearly I need more coffee.

Many of the recipes in the cookbook use soaked cashews, so I took a trip to Bulk barn last night to stock up. In addition to the cashews, I bought some dried apples for this recipe and some hazelnuts for a salad recipe.

I also tried a boxing class at Beaver Boxing, and it was so much fun! I can't wait to go back. There were so many people in the class, it is packed. We did a warm-up, some shadow boxing, partner work, heavy bag and core and the time flew by. My foot held up fine and it felt great to get some exercise.

I would recommend making the quinoa beforehand as that saves a lot of time. I used Gwynyth's recipe for perfectly cooked quinoa.  The recipe says to chill the quinoa but you can also eat it hot.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Smoothie Bowl

I am late to jump on the smoothie bowl bandwagon but I am sure glad I did. These are great variations on smoothies for people looking for something a bit more filling and also for those prefer to eat something. I know a few people ( my sister and Anto included) who don't like smoothies because they prefer to eat their meals rather than drink them. Well voila- problem solved. I ate this bowl at 7:30am and it is now after 11am and I am not hungry yet. That is a good sign.

I had a great trip to Boston with the fam and of course ate a ton of delicious food. Note, if you are ever in the Boston area, you MUST try the cannoli from Mike's Pastry. They are amazing. I also recommend going to Neptune Oyster Bar, there is always a wait but it is well worth it. Also they text you when your table is ready so you can go enjoy the Boston Public Market (amazing!!) and some outdoor swinging benches while you wait. That is what we did and it was beautiful. The sun was shining and it was a lovely day. There are also so many nice little shops in the north end that you can explore.  We also went (twice) to my favourite cafe in Somerville- 3 little figs once for breakfast and once for coffee! We also had some great meals at home, including BBQ steak (yummm) and a delicious Ottolenghi chicken and rice dish that my mom made. Don't worry we also ate a ton of salad and veggies. I managed to go to the gym with Claire a total of once.. but on the bright side, my foot is feeling better and I can now walk places again. I am looking forward to getting back into more regular workouts and hopefully soccer.

While traveling we ate at a few good places. En route we ate at Tip Top Cafe in White River Junction - with a family friend- we all shared french fries that were just to die for. On the way home we stopped at Lou's Diner (my dad's fave) in Hanover and Snowdon Deli in MTL. Wow, when I see it written out, it seems like SO MUCH food. This was over the course of 5 days. Needless to say, it is time for some healthy and light food.

On a non-food related note, check out the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. There is currently a great exhibit on Dutch painters in the time of Rembrandt and Vermeer. I also love some of the contemporary art they have there and their bookstore is great. Of course their restaurant is also delish..

Okay so back to the smoothie bowls. I got the recipe from a wonderful cookbook that Stu gave me called Salad Samurai. It has mostly recipes for big main course filling salads but also has a few breakfast recipes. I modified it a bit to make it a bit thinner as my nutri bullet was having trouble with so little liquid.

- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup frozen fruit ( I used mangos, strawberries, peaches)
- 1/2 cup almond milk
-  1/3 cup granola (I used Trader Joe's pumpkin Granola but any kind is great)
- fruit for topping (optional)

Blend together in blender or Nutribullet. Top with granola and fruit. Enjoy!!

Note this recipe could easily be modified, using any smoothie recipe and combination of fruits or veggies. Next time I will add in some spinach or kale.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Cookbook Giveaway- The Dirty Apron

We haven't done a Giveaway in quite some time and I still have some fab books to share with you courtesy of Rain Coast Books.

Enter to win The Dirty Apron Cookbook, by David Robertson (foreword by THE AMAZING Vikram Vij). David Robertson is the founder and co-owner of the Dirty Apron Cooking School and Delicatessen. Trained in classical French cuisine, he has cooked in Europe, the UK and Australia and with Thomas Henkelman at the Homestead Inn near New York City. He was the inaugural chef-de-cuisine at the highly acclaimed Chambar in Vancouver. Since 2009, he has indulged his passions for teaching and food styling at The Dirty Apron. He and his staff now teach more than 35 classes to roughly 8000 students each year. This is a wonderful cookbook with a lot of photos and easy, step by step instructions.

This giveaway is open to Canadian residents only (or anyone with a Canadian mailing address). It ends at midnight Friday Nov 13, 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna

Since doing the juice cleanse, I have been craving lasagna. I knew it was only a matter of time before I made one. I happened to have 2 small squash(es?) from my veggie share and wanted to use them up, so this recipe was perfect.  It is a little bit time consuming because you need to make the squash mixture, the spinach mixture and cook the noodles. If you cook the squash in advance that would save a lot of time.

I always try and make recipes healthier when possible so I used skim milk and light ricotta. I also used a bigger pan, so I wasn't able to do as many layers.  I put one thick layer of spinach mixture rather than two thin layers and two layers of squash rather than three.

Monday, October 26, 2015


This review is a guest post by my wonderful aunt-in-law, or rather my sister's wonderful aunt-in-law A.C.  Enjoy!

Late in the summer, I volunteered to review a cookbook for Double Trouble Kitchen Edition.  The book is titled: 
"Modern Jewish Cooking. Recipes & Customs for Today's Kitchen".
I was interested in reading the book, as I was about to be going to an Arts/Music camp in the Laurentians, where the book's author, Leah Koenig, was to be giving a cooking demonstration.  It turned out to be a delightful experience.  Leah is young, warm, enthusiastic, and creative.  Her credentials as a food writer are sound.  She has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Saveur, CHOW, and Every Day with Rachel Ray. Her first cookbook, "Hadassah Everyday Cookbook", (2011)
was named one of the Best books of 2011 by Library Journal.  Visit her at: www.leahkoenig.com

The book is full of beautiful photographs by Sang An, whose work has appeared in many magazines, including Martha Stewart Living and Real Simple.

The recipes in the book cover marvelous range of "Jewish Cooking".  You will find so many treats, from well-known Ashkenazi favourites like "Chicken Soup", "Kugel" and even "Gribenes" (crispy chicken fat renderings), an excellent recipe for "Bagels", to exotic Sephardic dishes, many of them vegetarian.  The Middle Eastern inspired recipes range from "Matbucha Salad", "Roast Chicken with Fennel and Orange", Leah's creative "Tahini, Roasted Fig and Pistachio Sundaes", to a tasty "Spinach Shakshuka".  As well, there are Jewish Italian recipes, and a superb "Ethiopian Chicken Stew".  Everywhere there are Leah's innovations and interesting new takes on the traditional. 

I had one criticism of the book.  In the recipe for the classic dish "Kasha Varnishkes", Leah neglected to brown the kasha (buckwheat groats), first, after coating it in beaten egg, before adding the boiling water (better to use broth) to cook the kasha.  Browning the kasha makes a big difference to the taste when added, along with fried onions, to the bow tie noodles (Varnishkes). 

And I would make one suggestion, if you buy the book, and decide to try the delicious "Potato Latke" recipe  - rather than squeezing the starchy water out of the grated potato/onion mixture in a tea towel (messy and onerous), you should try using a salad spinner.  It works perfectly. 

After the demonstration in August, Leah autographed the copy of her book for Eleanore.  It's taken me several months to test some of the recipes,  copy my favourites, and write this review.  Now it's time, sadly, to turn the book over to Eleanore!

"Happy cooking!"  (the dedication Leah wrote in Eleanore's book)

*Disclaimer: the book was provided to me by Raincoast Publishing for the purpose of testing and review.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Post Cleanse

What a glorious day!!  I woke up at 5am I was so excited and then fell back asleep until around 7. Surprisingly, I was a bit apprehensive about eating. I thought it might be good to just have oatmeal instead of eggs, but was still craving something salty. I decided to go down and check out the sauna for a last bit of detox. It was actually big and nice in there.  I will have to go more often! 

Half asleep still
 I am not sure what I am more surprised about: that I managed to do the cleanse, or that I went 4 days without washing my hair.. It was starting to look pretty dire.

The sauna has different hours for ladies and gents-
 my building is old school like that
I then went back upstairs to wash my hair and eat some real food.

This was my amazing breakfast- 420 calories-  almost half my daily intake on the cleanse. It was well worth it. 

I should probably clean up this mess- I was starting to drown in empty juice bottles and herbal tea mugs
People have been asking me how I feel and if the cleanse did anything. I think it is too early to say. I felt fine during the 3 days. I probably would have gotten more and more used to it and had increased energy if I continued for longer. I would not recommend doing a cleanse if you are doing a lot of exercise. In that regard, the timing worked out well for me.

I am down 6 pounds from before the cleanse. That seems like a lot for 3 days but I will probably gain half back just from eating again.  I just hope it motivates me to continue to eat healthy and to include an abundance of veggies and fruits in my diet.  I figure my body is full of nutrients from at least 27 kilos of veggies and fruits.. that must be good for something.My skin does look clearer and feels softer.

In some ways it was harder than expected and in some it was easier. It was definitely a challenge and an opportunity to test my determination. Thanks to Stu for obliging my crazy idea and joining me on this hilarious adventure.

I would definitely recommend Urban Juice Press to anyone looking to do a juice cleanse, or even just to try out try out their juices.  They were so helpful and encouraging throughout!

Thanks to all of you for all the encouragement! I couldn't have made it through these 3 days without you.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Juice Cleanse Day 3

If you missed the overview on the cleanse read about it here. Read about day 1 here and day 2.

Juice #1-Time: 7:30am
I woke up feeling great! I didn't feel low energy or light headed like yesterday. I am delighted that it is the last day, although I sort of feel like I could go longer. After watching that documentary " Sick, Fat and Almost Dead" where the main character does a 60 day juice cleanse, and some of the others do 10 days, I feel like I could almost go for 10 days.. ALMOST.. but not quite. I'll stick to 3 days for now.  The urge to drown myself in lasagna has dissipated and I am excited to keep eating healthy after the cleanse is over. It definitely helps you put things in perspective, and makes you appreciate even healthy foods.

Juice #2-Time: 9:30am

So far, I am not feeling weak or tired like yesterday :) I am not sure if it's because I know the end is in sight or whether I am just getting used to it.

I walked into the work kitchen to heat up my heating pad and there was a woman in there toasting a bagel. It was a cinnamon raisin bagel and just smelled so good. She had gotten half of it stuck in the toaster and her colleague was helping her get it out.  It reminded me of a scene from the documentary where they talk about how everyone has a moment that will test them. The man in the documentary was doing a cleanse and was at a 4th of July barbecue. He was talking to someone and nearly stole a sausage off his barbecue because he wanted it so badly.  I burst out laughing during this scene, but I can relate to it. This moment, in the kitchen, with the delicious smell of a cinnamon raisin bagel was my test. I actually thought, while they are distracted trying to get that half bagel out, I can just grab this half and make a run for it..

Juice #3-Time: 12:30pm - late because got caught up with something

Craving attack.  I am thinking about what I might eat tomorrow.. so many possibilities! Although it says to wean yourself slowly back to solid foods, that just doesn't seem likely at this point. I can't wait to eat an egg for breakfast tomorrow.

I got a text from Rach saying that I inspired her along with the following photo.

She is having a post orange-theory workout juice! Awesome! Spreading the juice love.  This makes me happy

I miss my orange theory workouts. My foot seems to be getting worse instead of better :( The owner Karin sent me a nice message today. People at OTF are so nice!

Juice #4-Time: 2:30pm 
Woohoo, time seems to be flying by today. Anto came by and told me I am not grumpy and I am easy to be around. Excellent, I have her fooled.  Actually, I do feel in a good mood. I think the best thing about this cleanse has been all the laughs. Laughter is the best medicine. 

Herbal Tea- Time 3:15pm
The downside to drinking cold juice all day is that it makes you really cold! 

Juice #5-Time: 4:00pm 
For some reason I am never in the mood for this second beat juice.. 

I should not have checked my mail, as when i did, I found this

I know better than to even open this right now.

Juice #6-Time: 5:45pm
 I am off the Ikea with Sean.. no [horse] meatballs for me :( and no delicious cinnamon buns that is for sure.  But it's okay. I am giddy looking in my fridge and only seeing 4 juices left :)

Juice #7-Time: 8:30pm late so starving!
I survived ikea no problem.  It's funny because I didn't feel out of it or foggy head, but I kept saying something different than what I meant. I would mean to say Home Sense and would say Linen chest. Repeatedly.  Or other variations of the sort. It was so funny.  Sean asked if I was on pain meds for my foot, and I said no, I'm on juice! 

I also managed to quickly pass by whole foods. I really wanted an avocado to eat with my breakfast tomorrow. I managed to leave with lettuce, avocado and a greek yogurt dip. If I hadn't been rushing home to drink my juice I probably would have left with a huge cart full.

I guess I don't really need to wait until tomorrow to eat.. the instructions don't specify. But I have come this far.. 

Juice #8-Time: 9:15pm

Juice #9-Time: 10:00pm - it hasn't been 1.5 hours yet but lets get this over with. 

Yaaaaaaaaaay. I drank all the juices. Now for the easy part, sleep. I am very much looking forward to breakfast tomorrow!! Definitely craving something savoury

Read about the Post Cleanse.


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