Monthly Archives

August 2011

community, dinner, photojournal, restaurants, reviews, snacks, travel

Northern Getaway

As a Canadian who has spent time abroad I often have to convince my foreign friends that I don’t, in fact, live in an igloo. That I use a subway car to get around, not a canoe. That the view outside my window is far more concrete-grey than it is evergreen.

But this past weekend all of that fell to the wayside as I headed North, to a place where just about every Canadian stereotype becomes a reality.

Secluded cabin in the woods? Check.

Eat your heart out, Tom Thomson. 

Cottage meals were simple and hearty, including a cup of homemade parsley soup  – a first for me, but something I can’t wait to try and recreate – and a dinner of roasted vegetables, sweet corn, green beans, baked potatoes and grilled chicken.
Okay fine let’s call this what it was: a summer feast. Especially paired with a half glass of raspberry wheat beer from the local Amsterdam Brewery.
And for dessert…an ICE COLD SWIM!
SPLASH!
While most of our time was spent lazing on the dock, hiking, reading and playing board games, Poppa Hipster and I decided to do some road tripping in the Muskoka region as well, making a few delicious stops along the way.
First one was at a the Lake of Bays Brewing Company a small microbrewery where we sampled some delicious pale ale. I highly recommend you look for it at your local LCBO and pester them to start carrying it if they don’t already. Local entrepeneurship is the jam, people. Especially when it tastes this good. 😉

Next was a cafe we read about called The Deli Lama (located in Bracebridge at the back of the Muskoka Natural Food Market).

I mean who doesn’t like to chase their beer with a wholesome vegetarian lunch? 😉

A whole plate of delicious.

All in all I was pretty pleased with my visit to Northern Canadian cottage country. And while I was pretty vehemently anti-cottage when I was a kid (purely becuase I didn’t have one and was totally jealous) I must admit I was pretty smitten.

Did you have a cottage growing up? Have you visited one as an adult? What are your favourite ways to unwind, wilderness style?  


breakfast, healthy treats, recipes, snacks

Espresso Berry Antioxidant Muffins (Vegan, Low Sugar, Oil-Free)

I know I’m being pretty bold using the word “antioxidant” in the title of these muffins. The whole concept seems so trendy and overhyped its practically lost all meaning. Next thing you know I’ll be using goji berries, extolling the virtues of royal jelly or pronouncing cocoa cacao (hehe, portlandia anyone?)
But after teaching several nutrition courses centred around the connection between food and health it became pretty obvious to me that unlike other “food trends” antioxidants are actually..well…pretty important. They protect your bod from cell damage caused by a 1980’s New Wave Band err…group of molecules…called Free Radicals. This cell damage has been linked to loads of diseases including heart disease, some forms of cancer, Alzheimer’s and arthritis.
In sum… Antioxidants: Good. Free Radicals: Bad. Doctor Oz: Handsome.
In the search to create a delicious muffin with whatever I happened to have on hand I created this vegan, low sugar, oil-free antioxidant-packed muffingasm. Its deliciously moist and has a lightly sweet, rich flavour that works great on its own, topped with nut butter or crumbled over a hot bowl of oats. Enjoy!
Espresso Berry Muffins
Dry Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee
  • 2 tbsp carob
Wet Ingredients
  • 2 tsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 tsp ground chia seeds
  • 6 tbsp non-dairy milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup soy yogurt
  • 1 ripe pear, cored and chopped
  • 2 tbsp blackstrap molasses

Add-Ins

  • 3/4 cup mixed berries
  • 1.5 tbsp raisins
  • 3 tbsp nuts & seeds (I used almonds and pepitas, chopped)
  • 3 squares dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Place dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl an stir to combine.
  3. In separate medium sized bowl combine ground flax seeds, chia seeds & non-dairy milk then set aside for about 5 minutes (this will create a gel that will help bind your muffins together)
  4. While your seeds and liquid sit, add the remainder of your wet ingredients (including chopped pear) to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  5. Transfer blended wet mix back to the bowl with flax and milk, stir to combine.
  6. Pour blended wet mixture back into dry bowl and stir very well to combine and form your batter.
  7. Add mix-ins.
  8. Scoop batter into lined or greased muffin tins, fill about 3/4 of the way. The recipe should yield about 9 medium sized muffins.
  9. Bake for about 18-20 minutes.
Berries, Carob, Molasses, Cocoa, Coffee AND Raisins are all jam packed with antioxidant goodness. Take that boring old bran muffin!
Do you believe the hype around anti-oxidants? How do you get your daily dose?
coffee, community, travel

Local Coffee of the Day

On the road again? You bet I am. This time making my way through Northern Ontario cottage country. First stop: Miss Nellie’s cafe and art gallery in the quaint little town of Baysville.

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Old timey cuteness.

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Standard Americano with soy, made with with local muskoka roastery coffee. Simple but swoonworthy indeed.

breakfast, dinner, diy, fitness, inspiration, snacks

Work Out, Eat Up: How I Fuel My Active Lifestyle

Hey folks,

So I mentioned recently that after years of hesitation I finally upped and joined a gym. In the past my biggest problems with the gym have been equal parts too expensive, too focused on physical appearance (rather than overall health), too competitive and just plain boringTo mitigate most of these issues I joined my local YMCA and so far I have found it to has exceeded my expectations on all fronts. It certainly reflects my own values by promoting an affordable, supportive and holistic space for physical activity. Love the Y!

As far as my workouts go I have been sticking closely to my trifecta workout plan of HIIT-style cardio (short bursts of high intensity running/elliptical/cycling followed by quick cooldowns, repeated) for heart health and overall fitness, weight training for strength & yoga for flexibility. My workout schedule this week has looked a little like this:

  • Monday: Weights/HIIT Cardio (50 min)
  • Tuesday: Power Yoga, Weights/Light Cardio in the PM (1 hr AM/50 min PM)
  • Wednesday: Off.
  • Thursday: Weights/HIIT Cardio (60 min)
  • Friday: Cardio LIFE (aka. walking around the city doing errands + heavy duty household chores like cleaning and moving boxes)
  • Saturday: Power Yoga
  • Sunday: Off.
This schedule was somewhat typical for me (minus Tuesday which was a little cray cray. I have my good friend Ryan to thank for convincing me to hit the gym a second time…ouch!)
Obviously all that activity requires a whole lotta fuel which for me is looking like:
Whole Grains:
Oatmeal
Sprouted grain or whole wheat bread
Brown rice tortillas (I’m obsessed)
Cooked grains like rice, barley, amaranth, polenta, whole wheat cous cous
oats for breakfast. no brainer. 
Protein:
eggs and egg whites
fish (tuna and tuna steak, wild pacific salmon, swordfish steak, sardines – yeah i said it I love sardines)
tofu and tempeh
protein powder – usually raw vegan brown rice protein like sun warrior or garden of life
local and organic chicken breast, when available
Fat:
Flax oil (I usually use it for salad dressing)
Avocado
Nuts and seeds
Almond butter
Sauteed kale, onion and radish topped with avocado and a poached egg
Veggies
Green: Kale, Broccoli, Chard, Bok Choy, Spinach, Zucchini, Cucumber, Celery, Parsley
White: Cauliflower, Onion, Garlic, Radish
Orange: Sweet Potato, Squash, Carrot
Red: Tomato, Chilis
Yellow: Bell Peppers (my FAVE kind)
On-the-go whole grain sesame bagel sandwich with Tomatoes, Lettuce & Cucumber – Tofutti Cream Cheese filled in nicely for the Swiss. Uhmmmyeah. 
Fruit
Staples: Apples, Bananas & Frozen Berries
Seasonal: Peaches, Pears, Yellow Plums, Cherries & Fresh Berries
Seared tuna steak on sauteed kale with whole wheat morroccan style cous cous
1/2 roasted squash, kale, broccoli, sauteed mushrooms and a pan seared organic chicken breast
Feeling inspired (or just hungry)? What are some of the changes you make in the kitchen to fuel your workouts or just keep your energy levels high when you need it most? 
Wanna see any of these recipes on the blog? Lemme know!
breakfast, community, markets, photojournal, reflections, travel

What’s the Capital of Canada, Again?

As promised, here is a little photojournal chronicling my trip last weekend to Canada’s capital city of Ottawa!

First things first: my gracious hostess for the weekend (ain’t she sweet?)

Things kicked off Saturday morning with a lil’ stay-at-home brunch. Sunlight streaming in the window and bouncing off her handmade chandelier? Swoooon.

French toast made with whole grain cranberry bread, a side of fruit & my addition of a perfectly poached egg.

Next came a little downtown exploration, which for me had to include ogling local produce at the ByWard market and of course a  little thrift shopping.


We also stumbled across this so kitschy its cute urban garden in our travels.

The weekend drew to a close with a short drive out to the quaint little town of Wakefield, Quebec for a little bridge jumping, river swimming & rock lazing.

SPLASH!

We look miserable don’t we? 😉 

Hope you don’t mind the epic photo post today…but as the cool breeze starts to roll in and labour day quickly approaches, I’m feeling prematurely nostalgic about summer.

dinner, diy, recipes, snacks

Minimalist Tom Yum (Coconut Lemon) Soup

While I have loads to share from my Ottawa trip, I feel like its been far too long since I’ve shared a piece of my kitchen with you. Today’s recipe can be prepared with chicken or tofu depending on your dietary preferences. I think of it as minimalist not because it lacks ingredients (in fact I added some veggies to the dish as I’m known to do) but because it lacks some of the key ingredients of Thai cooking such as Thai basil, green onions, lime leaves and fresh chili peppers. While these items are all readily available and quite affordable in my city, I recognize that this isn’t the case for everyone. So rather than popping out to my local Asian grocery store, I made due with what I had on hand and whipped up a satisfying and simple Tom Yum-esque soup.

Ingredients

  • coconut or other high heat oil for frying
  • 1/4 large yellow onion, sliced into thin strips then halved
  • 1 carrot, sliced into thin circles
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp siracha
  • 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, diced OR 1/2-3/4 block silken tofu, cut into cubes.
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 green pepper, sliced into thin strips an halved
  • 1/4 zucchini (I used yellow) sliced into thin circles then halved
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 lemon, zested & squeezed for juice.
Directions
  1. Begin with a medium-large pot set on medium heat. Sautee onion, carrot and garlic in a little oil until fragrant. Add siracha and stir till combined.
  2. Add chicken pieces (if using) and cook until slightly brown on all sides, about 4-5 minutes. If using silken tofu, skip this step.
  3. Add mushrooms, peppers and zucchini to the mix along with lemon zest, 2 tbsp fish sauce and 2 tbsp water. Stir frequently for about 2 min or until vegetables have softened.
  4. Add the broth, lemon juice and coconut milk then heat until just boiling. If using silken tofu, add it now.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes to combine flavours. Taste an adjust seasonings as needed.
Optional: serve topped with raw vegetables such as spinach, sprouts an sliced cherry tomatoes. 
What’s your favourite Thai dish? Do you ever attempt to make it for yourself?
Hope you’re making the most of your day! I’m off to a hot date with my book, a treestump and this sunny afternoon. 
blogs, budgeting, travel

Making Friends in the Blogosphere

Hey all! Im on the road again, this time to the capital of the great white north…Ottawa! To be honest at this very moment I’m sitting at the foot of a river just outside of Ottawa making friends with dragonflies and getting ready for a swim.

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But in the meantime check out my post over at: Moves n Munchies. The topic of the day is THRIFTING! My how to guide of do’s, donts and what trends you should look out for this season.

And for new readers here at the Healthy Hipster, welcome! I’d offer you something if I could – tofurkey sandwich? green smoothie? tallboy of pbr? Whatever strikes your fancy. Enjoy checking out the blog and I hope to see you back again soon!

Back to the river! Go enjoy your late summer Sunday!

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budgeting, cities, inspiration

City Staycation: The Scarborough Bluffs

This week I decided to do one of my favourite budget friendly activities: the staycation! I chose a spot a little off the beaten path for this West Ender….all the way out in the east side suburb of Scarborough.

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The bluffs are an escapement that spans all across the eastern side of Lake Ontario. While erosion makes it difficult to climb them, there are loads of paths that take you right up close and personal with the stunning rock formations. There’s also a lovely beachfront with trails and picnic spots, and a beautiful public garden filled with wild roses and shady reading spots.

Here are a few shots from my adventures around the bluffs:

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When was the last time you took a staycation?