BEST Summer Invention: Blender Sorbet!!

I am so hot right now that I think my fingers are actually sweating. Thus I will keep typing to a minimum.

When it comes to cool treats I don’t keep much around the house except for frozen berries…but today that just didn’t suffice. I wanted something ice creamy in temperature and deliciousness but also light and fruity. Oh and I wanted this dessert to take literally no time at all. INSTANTANEOUS COLD SWEETNESS.

Strawberry Vanilla Blender Sorbet

In a blender or magic bullet add:

  • 3-4 fresh strawberries
  • 5-6 ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp honey or agave (or a pinch of stevia for a low-sugar option)
  • a pinch of xantham gum (acts as a thickener – so if you’re going to exclude it, try adding in a scoop of yogurt, a few pieces of frozen banana or some silken tofu)
  • water for thinning if needed
Pulse until smooth and icy. Serve in a small ice cream bowl with a spoon. Repeat as needed.
Did I mention this is ready in ONE MINUTE FLAT??
UPDATE: OMG I just added a squeeze of fresh lemon. Vanilla strawberry lemonade sorbet anyone? NOMMM. 

coffee of the day

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Almond Milk Iced Latte, Kensington Market.

Faux Indoor BBQ: Buffalo Tempeh n’ Vegan Slaw

After a hot sticky Saturday afternoon, the smell of smoking charcoal seems to engulf the city of Toronto. One can’t help but picture all the deliciously marinated grilled goodies cookin up behind the fences and hedges on these city streets. And yet here I am…FAMISHED…with a second floor walk-up and not a patio in sight.

BUT…does that get this gal down? No way. I cooked up my own BBQ inspired goodiez using whatever I had kicking around. Here’s what I came up with:

Buffalo Tempeh

Ingredients:

  • 1 block tempeh
  • Veggie Broth
  • A few dashes of Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Buffalo Wing Sauce (I used Frank’s but make sure you do NOT use the regular hot sauce, look for Frank’s wing sauce instead. It looks similar but is more tasty/less spicy) OR DIY Smokey BBQ Sauce
  • 1 tbsp earth balance or margarine
  • 1 diced shallot or 1/4 cup diced yellow onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced

Instructions:

  1. Prepare tempeh by boiling it in broth and soy sauce for approx. 10 minutes.
  2. Transfer to a shallow baking dish and toss together with hot sauce, earth balance, onion and garlic.
  3. Bake for 400 degrees for 30 minutes, turning over halfway through. If you like, broil the last 5 minutes for a crispier final product.
Simple Vegan Coleslaw
Ingredients:
  • 1 small package of prepared shredded coleslaw mix (I used Our Compliments broccoli slaw)
  • 1/2 package silken tofu
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup almond breeze
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1 tbsp dried onion flakes
  • a few dashes of hot sauce
  • 2 tsp agave, honey (for non-vegans) or a pinch of stevia
  • salt and pepper to taste
Puree all ingredients together in a blender or food processor until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. It should be creamy, tangy and just a little sweet. Add to the bottom of a large bowl, freezer bag or mason jar.  Pour in coleslaw mix. Stir or shake vigorously until well combined, adding more almond milk if needed. Allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour or overnight before serving.

Get Strong on the Cheap: Friday Fit Test!

 

Wanna check out how you’re progressing with your workouts this summer? Here’s a quick & easy way to test yo’self before you…err…get frustrated and quit? Moving on.

LETS GET DOWN to my BURPEE CHALLENGE

First things first: Why the burpee? 

While burpees may get a bad rap cause of their popularity amongst drill sargeants and sadistic gym teachers, they are actually a really great way to work a wide range of muscles groups in just a few short moves. Arms, core & legs are all workin harrrrd, PLUS you’re getting some serious cardio in there as well.  And with my variation you also get some plyometric (jump) training. Though you could exclude this for a lower impact version and it would work just as well!

What’s a Burpee Look Like? Its as easy as…

ONE: Start off with a standard OR modified pushup.

 

TWO: Jump from pushup position into a tucked up crouch. Or what I like to think of as my Terminator position.
THREE: Jump! Stand from the crouch, hands straight in the air and give er. 

Fit Test Instructions:

Repeat this burpee set & count how many you complete before you tire yourself out, have reached muscle fatigue and can no longer complete a full set. BE HONEST. You should be tired but not at death’s door. Write down your results.

ALTERNATE OPTION: Time how many burpees you can complete in 1 minute. Either way will give you a good sense of where you’re at, but I tend to be a stickler for form and rushing through the sets makes me totally freaked about injuries.

Complete this fit test every other Friday chart how your progressing! Trust me. It’s wicked satisfying to watch your numbers go up. PLUS its an opportunity to do PUSHUPS! (I <3 the GUNZZZZ)

Do as the Romans Do: Summer Feasting at Enoteca Sociale


While I rarely have the opportunity to enjoy Toronto’s “fine dining” scene, my recent graduation gave me an excuse to stop into Enoteca Sociale, over on that oh-so-trendy stretch of Dundas West between Dovercourt and Landsdowne.

Now for those of you who aren’t familiar with the rules of “hipster geography” lemme break it down for you. A previously “sketchy” area urban neighborhood gets a halfway decent cafe, which mysteriously sends a beacon out to the starving artist crowd who subsequently move there & set up shop in previously low-rent, low-income housing. Rent goes up because of renewed interest, which then brings on some non-starving graphic designer/ad exec type “artists” who require a pretentious independent gallery or two in order to survive. And everyone needs something to wear so a vintage clothing store becomes mandatory…and suddenly…the area is subject to the G word – gentrification.

Enter: Enoteca Sociale.

The product of years of gradual gentrification in Toronto’s West End. But don’t hold that against it. 

The meals are served in an authentic Roman fashion with small plates emphasizing fresh vegetables, seafood & pasta dishes. There are also a wide variety of vegetarian options, including a delicious main dish that included lightly fried chickpea fritters served over earthy mushrooms and farro (shown above).

While I thoroughly enjoyed my vegetarian/pescatarian fare, I couldn’t help but snatch a bite of my dad’s gnocchi. A special of the day, this melt-in-your-mouth pasta dish was tossed in a light espresso based sauce. Umm…I KNOW. And according to pops the beef in this dish was also cooked to perfection.

While not to everyone’s taste, this squid & fava bean appetizer took me right back to my lazy days living in Northern Spain. The quickest way to this hipster’s heart.


What am I gesturing towards? Unclear...

Catch a spot on the patio on a summer evening and eat slow. There are loads of courses, delicious wine pairings & don’t forget to bring good company.

my popz and his charming gal

All in all this swanky bistro won me over. Definitely not what comes to mind when most people think “Italian Restaurant” (no unlimited bowls of soup, salad or breadsticks…ahem…) but creative flavour combos and locally sourced ingredients are certainly worth expanding your palette for.

Piled High Polenta Bowl with Stone Fruit Salsa

My goodness I am exhausted! I mean I thought teaching was hardcore, but teaching summer school is BOOT CAMP. And And I’m only half kidding as I have literally been on my feet all day engaging in what I like to call cardio teaching. My workoutz this week have looked a lil’ something like: walk to bus, hike the subway stairs, walk to school, up some more stairs, down some more stairs, RECESS, lug piles of books around everywhere, casual nature hikes in the hot sun, ENDLESS GAMES OF TAG, more stairs, more walking, more bussing, PIGGYBACKS (if you finished all your work in class), wipeout.

Suck on that, Zumba.

All this activity has obviously required some SERIOUS eatz despite having absolutely no time to prepare them. Thus my weekday dinners have taken on a more utilitarian nature (usually coming together in about 10-15 minutes). I am a stubborn gal though so that doesn’t mean I’ve been sacrificing taste or resorting to overpriced, nutrient-lacking takeout.

Here is one of my favourite Monday-Friday dinners. Its filling, versatile & gluten free to boot! I used a fillet of fresh salmon in my bowl, but feel free to switch up the protein to suit your particular dietary needs. Some other ideas I love include: shelled edamame, tofu, tempeh, grilled chicken or (a personal fave) egginz!

Polenta Bowl with Stone Fruit Salsa

LAYER 1: POLENTA:

  • 1/3 cup dry polenta
  • 1.5 cups veggie broth 
  • .5 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast OR parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
Instructions:
Bring liquid to a boil and slowly add in polenta & broth, stirring rapidly. Once the mixture has thickened and become dense, add the milk & nutritional yeast along with salt and black pepper to taste. The end result should be thick and spoonable.
LAYER 2: VEGGIEZ
  • 2 big handfuls raw green leafy vegetables (I used a mix of broccoli &  swiss chard)
  • approx 1 cup raw veggie mix (I used peppers, red onion & zucchini)

Instructions: Steam a large handful of greens in the microwave or on the stove while grilling or stir frying your mixed veggie. Once veggies are all steamed and cooked through toss all together with a few dashes of balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper & some garlic powder.

i don't mess around when it comes to my veggiez

LAYER 3: PROTEIN of choice

I simply marinated a salmon fillet in a little olive oil, salt & lime & then steamed it with my greens.

And finally…

STEP 4: Stone Fruit Salsa:

Mash together with a fork or masher until well combined:

  • 1 medium ripe tomato
  • 1 small nectarine
  • 1/4 cup diced green onion
  • 2 diced scallions
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • a few dashes of hot sauce
  • big pinch of salt  
Top with freshly toasted pepitas & SERVE!
(Oh…did I mention this EPIC bowl serves one????)
How does this stack up against your mid-week go-to meals? Do you like to get fancy on a tuesday night or are you down with the utilitarian eatz?

Lunchbox Lifesaver: Sunday Meal Prep!

Tomorrow morning marks the beginning of my new job which means so long takeout, hello brown bags! And to be honest, I don’t mind one bit. I tend to get pretty creative with my lunches when I’m workin a 9 to 5, cuz there’s nothin I like more than having a truly spectacular lunch to look forward to after a morning of hard work.

Of course a wholesome healthy lunchbox isn’t always easy to throw together at 6 in the morning while you’re still in a pre-coffee stupor, so in order to make your life (and my own) a little easier I am including some tips for how to get your Monday-Friday eats sorted out well in advance!

What my lunches will look like this week...

Food Prep Plan of Attack (July 4-8th): 

What my lunches look like today...

Step 1) Protein: Marinated Tofu (4 servings).

Place all ingredients in a ziploc bag and SHAKE!

  • 1 block of tofu, diced
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp hummus
  • 2-3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 small piece of fresh ginger, minced
Step 2) Veggies: Carrot & Kale Salad
Process each ingredient individually until fine but not totally pulverized. Place in a large ziploc freezer bag. SHAKE!
  • 1/2  a very large bunch of kale (or 1 normal sized bunch)
  • 4 large carrots
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1 sweet apple

Step 3) Whole Grains: Quinoa

Cook 3/4 cup of dry quinoa according to package instructions. Store in a tupperware. 

Step 4) Starchy Veggie: Roasted Buttercup Squash

Dice 1 whole squash into pieces and place in a roasting pan along with 1/2 cup of water. Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour or until soft and slightly browned.

Step 4) Fruit: Banana (optional)

Slice 3 bananas into large chunks and freeze. Great for morning smoothies!

Pride Weekend Roundup

Happy Pride Y’all!

Summer solstice be damned, Pride weekend always represents the real kickoff of Toronto summer for me. This year was actually my first time being in the parade, the dyke march to be exact, and lemme tell you it was absolutely amazing! What at an incredible sense of  community & solidarity I felt marching along so many strong, sassy & totally fierce ladiez.

me and my super sassy friend kay representin' for femme ladies everywhere

And how were the pride parties, you ask?

WELL lets just say that weekends like this remind me that sometimes “healthy” is about more than just good eatz.

Living well, supporting your community & celebrating the RAD people in your life…

…make for one very happy, (mostly) Healthy Hipster. ;)

Do you ever bend the rules of “healthy” living for “happy” living?  How did you celebrate this long weekend? 

A Bellwoods Afternoon


What do you do when its the afternoon before a long weekend and everyone in the world is off work? Why you spend a day at the park of course!

Trinity Bellwoods is my favourite kind of park. Big and pretty but with no particular function other than to be sat in and enjoyed. It reminds me of my time living in the Netherlands, spending whole days just enjoying  good conversation, beautiful weather and beautiful friends in Wilhelmina Park. Sure the tennis courts at Bellwoods are always packed and the wading pool is full of kiddies, for the most part people go to the park for the sole purpose of enjoying the pleasure of the outdoors.

Because simply being outside, surrounded by members of your community is not a means to an end but an end in itself.

Yogis in the Park

Hot Date Hayley

Hayley's Picnic Lunch: Quinoa Salad & Portuguese Chicken from Inigo

Hot Date Luke

One Classy Ladybug

So this long weekend I want to give you a gentle reminder to get yer butt outside so you can enjoy the sunshine & good company.

I’m off to explore the city, meet new friends and sit on some patios!

HAVE A HAPPY CANADA DAY, MKAY? 

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