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breakfast, cooking tips, recipes, travel

Refrigerator Remnants: Get Scramblin!

I don’t know about you, but in my house Fridays are the “laundry day” of cooking. After a whole week of preparing fresh, creative & absolutely inspired recipes, your fridge has become a shadow of its former self. The pile of fresh greens you loved on Monday look a lot more like a wilted pile of weeds by Friday. And yet you still wake up hungry. And have to make due wearing the proverbial “bathing suit bottoms” of last week’s groceries.

As we prepared to leave the cottage last week I embraced the scarcity of my fridge and made good use of the dregs by whipping up a quick and easy Tofu Scramble (aka. Tofu Scram). You can really prepare this with any combination of sad looking leftover veg that you like but here’s what went into my skillet:

  • 1/2 tomato, diced
  • 3 withered up mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 sad floret of broccoli, chopped
  • 1/2 zucchini
  • bell pepper remnants, diced (totaling about 1/4 cup of yellow, orange & a teeny bit of red)
  • 1/3 cup or so of leftover sweet corn, canned
  • 1 big handful of chopped wilty spinach (or any green leafy veg)
Tofu Scramble Tostadas
Ingredients:
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Approx 1.5 cups of mixed raw veggies (refer to suggestions above but feel free use what you’ve got on hand!) 
  • 1-2 tsps spice blend (I usually use: cajun spice, cumin, chipotle, chili powder, curry powder and/or paprika + extra salt & pepper)
  • 1/2 package firm tofu, drained & pressed**
  • 1/2 cube or 1/2 tsp of vegetable boullion powder (optional, but delicious!) 
  • 1/4 cup Salsa + extra for topping
  • corn tortillas (I used the sprouted ones made by food for life) OR pre-made tostadas 
  • Daiya (vegan) or any variety of cheese slice 
  • avocado slices (optional)
  • lime juice for topping (optional)
Directions
  1. In a large skillet, heat a small drizzle of oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onions & garlic, stirring frequently until fragrant (about 1 minute) then add in all veggies along with spice mix and stir fry until lightly cooked but still vibrant in colour. Note: if using a light wilty green like spinach, add it LAST after all the other veggies have softened.
  3. Crumble in tofu into the skillet & incorporate into the veggie mix. Keep the size of the pieces small. Approximately the shape & size of scrambled eggs!
  4. Add about 1/4 cup salsa + 2 tbsp water. If using, add boullion + an additional 2 tbsp water. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring often, until liquid has absorbed.
  5. Lay out corn tortillas on a foil lined baking sheet. Top with a layer of vegan cheese, some tofu scramble, more cheese if desired and a little salsa. Broil the corners of the tortillas are browned & crispy and your cheese has melted. Finish by topping off with additional salsa, avocado slices & lime juice. If using pre-made tostadas, skip the broiling stage – just layer cheese, scram & toppings then serve!
**How the heck to press tofu? Wrap it up in 2 layers of paper towel, place a cutting board & a heavy object like a book on top. Let it sit for as long as time allows (5-10 min). If you’re in a hurry like I always am, just use the cutting board & push down with all your might!
So long, Island life! I’ll miss you when I’m gone!
community, cooking tips, dinner, diy, recipes

Mussels of a Different Sort

The first time I ever ate a mussel I was at a Movenpick restaurant with my parents. I was a pretty adventurous eater for a 10 year old, but even I was skeptical at first of the dark shelled, black tounged, revolting looking creatures in front of me. But once I tasted one, I was absolutely hooked (not a pun cuz technically mussels aren’t hooked, come on now). I must have eaten 3 whole bowls of the things…at the cost of my obliging parents. Belated thanks, guys!

The only thing better than the first time I ate a mussel, was the first time I ate a PEI mussel. They are impressive in size alone, but the flavour is what really sets them apart. My favourite preparation is the no frills version they serve at the Lighthouse restaurant near West Point beach. Here’s my interpretation.

PEI Style Steamed Mussels:

1. In a large pot with a tight fitting lid, add 1- 2 cm of water.
2. Discard any broken or open mussels.
3. Bring water to boil along with: 

  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 large tomato, diced

4. Once the broth has reached a boil add mussels immediately.
5. Steam until mussels open, 3-5 minutes.
6. Serve as is, with some bread for dipping. 

Hot Tip: Ditch the fork & use the mussel shell as a utensil. Not at all hip, but totally fun to do. Swearsies.

Am I the only one who has a passion for these bottomfeeders? Give ’em a try & tell me whatcha think!

breakfast, cooking tips

The Perfect Poach

Nothing says vacation breakfast quite like a couple of perfectly poached eggs…

Poached Eggs on Toast with Tomato, Arugula & Dijon. Paired with Nature's Path Waffles, Fruit & Yogurt.

Now I know poached eggs are intimidating. More so if you’ve tried once and failed. In fact you probably shudder at the very thought of the frankenstein-like creature you created in your pan, with its creepy egg white tendrils & gloopy bursted yolk. But I swear to you the perfect poach is in your future…And with it, a limitless array of potential brunch options.

The Healthy Hipster’s Perfect Poached Egg Method:

  1. Break your eggs into small cups, bowls or mugs & set aside.
  2. Bring about 1-2 inches of water to a boil in a pan (use one with a tight fitting lid) along with about 2-3 tbsp white vinegar.
  3. Once boiled, add a pinch of salt to the water.
  4. Carefully place your eggs into the water directly from the cup or bowl. Don’t dump it, just immerse the lip of cup in the water and let the egg flow out on its own.
  5. TURN THE HEAT OFF.
  6. Cover your pan and set a timer for your desired amount of doneness. This may vary based on your stove but in my experience 3 minutes for soft, 4 minutes for medium & 5 minutes for hard. I always set mine for 4 minutes, and the result is perfect every time. Play with the timing to suit your taste.
  7. Scoop out with a slotted spoon. If desired, give the egg a slight rinse under warm running water to remove any hint of vinegar. I often skip this step – i like the tartness!

ENJOY! I’m off to enjoy my first cuppa coffee, check out the beach & another beauty day on the Island…

 

 

cooking tips, travel

Road Trippin’ Volume I: Car Snacks!

As promised I’m revealing the location of my ROAD TRIP today…and I wasn’t kidding when I said it was gonna be epic. This lil hipster is hopping in the car for a solid 18 hour journey to none other than PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.

Now if you’ve never been to PEI I have created a little mathematical equation to help you understand why this journey is so incredibly worth it to me.

Small Town Hospitality x Pastoral Landscapes + Fresh Local Produce – City Smog
Red Cliffs + Starry Nights x OCEANFRONT CABIN….SQUARED

Now that you understand better why I’m going on this East Coast Pilgrimage, allow me to explain how it is I plan on getting through the trip. The answer is simple: Food.

THE HAUL

Top 6 Tips for Snacking on the Open Road!

  1. Plan ahead! The only way to have the snacks you heart & the fuel you need is to think about it and buy em beforehand. So get to it mmkay.
  2. Invest in a cooler. Nothing says hip like food safety, right? But seriously food poisoning on an 18 hour drive? H-E-Double-Hockeysticks ON EARTH.
  3. Bring FUN snacks that also happen to be wholesome. You definitely don’t need to abandon your munchie impulse altogether in favour of celery sticks & rice cakes (how sad that would be!) By planning ahead you can achieve MAXIMUM SNACK SATISFACTION without caving to the overpriced nutritional wasteland of gas station grub.
  4. Drink water. Sitting in a dry car for hours on end is suprisingly exhausting. And whether you’re on your own or with a car full of folks, forgetting to hydrate is dangerous bizness.
  5. Aim for diversity. When it comes to food groups  this means covering all your bases (carb, protein, fat & fibre) and when we’re talking fruit & veg this means colours! This will ensure your nutritional needs are getting met (plus it keeps things interesting and purdy!)
  6. Snack often. You may not find you get hungry in the same way as you normally would since you are stuck in a chair all day hardly moving. Your metabolism may slow down a little. Keep it rockin by eating a little mini-meal every 2-3 hours rather than aiming for 3 squares.
Here’s a breakdown of what’s in my cooler!

Carbz

  • Whole Wheat Lavash Crackers
  • 2 bags of BBQ Baked Kettle Chips (Zomg these are AMAZZZING…So much better than any baked chip ever. Plus a serving is something like 35 chips. NOMMM)
  • Instant Oatmeal Packets (these aren’t pictured but I just use Plain Quaker Instant Oats then sweeten it up myself with fruit, honey, stevia, whatevz)
Protein
  • Plain Fat Free Greek Yogurt. 18 grams of protein/serving plus good for ya probiotics & loads of calcium. My bod tends to get grouchy when I go overboard with dairy but I’m willing to make an exception for this deliciousness now & again.
  • Roasted, salted edamame. Also comes in Wasabi flavour. These are THE JAM.
  • Sliced preservative free low sodium turkey breast
  • Cottage cheese w/berries (for my mummmz).
  • HUMMUS! (wait…hummus is a food group right?)
Fats
  • Whole Almonds
  • Dark Chocolate (a late addition so its not in the pic, but dark chocolate is a great energy booster for those long boring stretches of highway. I’m a big fan of Green and Blacks)
  • Light Laughing Cow Cheese
Fruit & Veg 
  • Bananas (the browner the better…mmm)
  • Apples
  • Strawburriez
  • Carrot sticks
  • Sliced Cucumbers & Peppers
  • Mixed berry FRUIT SNACKS by Fruit Source! (I loooove these things….so sweet and chewy, with no added sugar!)
  • PICKLES! (hardly a veg…but GREEN!)
Extras
  • Stevia packets. I usually use a little honey or agave to sweeten up my oats, yogurt, etc. but I also use this natural sweetener now and then as a totally sugar-free option. These packs are super portable for use on the road and they pack up really tiny outside the box.
Of course this is just an outline of my own personal snack list.  Its been tailored to meet the tastes and needs of myself and my travel pals. Feel free to use it as a jumping off point for your own personal tastes & adventures!
Wish me luck on the road! I’ll do my best to update as often as I can when I arrive on Saturday!
Stay tuned for Volume 2 of my Road Trippin’ Series: The Healthy Hipster Vs. The Dial Up Internet Connection! 
coffee, cooking tips, diy, recipes

hot town, sweat’n in the city

If you live in the Greater Toronto Area you experienced an early taste of summer yesterday. The good parts: short skirts, popsicles & sunshine. But also the not-so-good: smoggyness, muggyness & sweatyness. Oh the sweatyness

So naturally today I’m sharing one of my favourite iced coffee creations with you. This is a somewhat unique preparation that I stumbled upon one day when I was almost out of coffee and almost out of tea…you see where I’m going with this. In the end I loved how it turned out and have made it time and time again to keep cool while satisfying my fiendish caffeine addiction all summer long.

Tea Infused SpICEd Coffee

I used a 6-cup french press & a 1 quart  mason jar for this recipe.

  • 9 scoops of coursely ground coffee (or 1.5 times your usual amount)
  • 1 ginger teabag**
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
  • ice
  • dairy or non-dairy milk of choice
  • sweetener (optional)
Directions:
  1. Add coursely ground coffee, cinnamon & the contents of 1 ginger teabag to the bottom of your french press and stir to combine. Add water as usual and brew for at least 5 minutes.
  2. As your coffee is brewing, fill a large mason jar 3/4 of the way with ice.
  3. Once coffee is brewed, pour over ice. Add in your sweetener of choice at this point. If you are using granulated sugar, pour hot coffee directly over individual spoonfuls rather than mixing it all in at once. This will help the sugar to dissolve.
  4. Top off coffee and ice mixture (which will have mostly melted at this point) with your preferred milk.
  5. Pop in the fridge and enjoy with a little extra ice whenever your coffee urge hits.
**I’m sure you could use lots of flavours to infuse your coffee – chai, vanilla rooibus or fruit teas like cherry, pomegranate or blueberry all sound tasty to me. I would avoid anything with notes of citrus.

 

 

cooking tips, dinner, recipes

Pumpkin Barley Risotto

Some days are just slow days. Usually a Sunday when the weather is grey. You wake up late. Lose track of time. To-do lists fall to the wayside.

Some  activities you may engage in on these days include:

  • crossword puzzles
  • toenail painting
  • reorganizing book collections by date of publication
  • listening to records
  • reading
  • this american life marathons
  • general household puttering

And the best food for such a day of rest? For me there is only one. RISOTTO.

Contrary to popular belief risotto is not a rice dish but a preparation method. It can be made with any delicious whole grain you like, however you must adhere to one simple rule. Take it slow. Adding liquid to the pan one cup at a time  makes the dish creamy, delicious and indulgent. Certainly worth a little extra effort.

Pumpkin Barley Risotto (serves 2)
  • 1 minced shallot
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic (2-3 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 6 -8 cups veggie broth (or 1 boullion cube + water)
  • 1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin (not the pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (soy, dairy, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (or parmesan cheese)
  • 1-2 tsp grainy dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp salt-free herb mix (I use the Kirkland organic brand)
  • 1 tsp onion flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • arugula (for garnish, optional)
Begin by sauteeing shallot and garlic in a large pan using a little oil or broth until fragrant. Then add in barley and about 2 cups of liquid. Heat to boiling and then reduce to a very low simmer. Continue adding liquid in this way for about 40 minutes until barley is fully cooked.
Next add the remaining ingredients and heat to a boil. Reduce once again to a very low simmer until all liquid is absorbed and the mixture has thickened.
Top with arugula and your protein of choice and serve with a side of greens or salad.
cooking tips, healthy treats, recipes

A Healthier Snack-Pack Pudding

There are few things in this world that make me happier than roasted butternut squash. I eat it right off the pan put it in soup, use it as a side dish, make fries out of it, put it on salads or use it in pasta sauce (inspired by Angela’s Mac & Cheese). But here is one of my more bizarre creative ways to use up that last little bit of sweet roasty deliciousness.

Chocolate Butternut Pudding (1 serving)

  • 1/4 small roasted butternut squash, flesh only (approx 1/3-1/2 cup)**
  • 1/2 cup soymilk (may need a little more/less depending on how starchy your squash is)
  • 1-2 tsp honey/agave OR a pinch of stevia (omit if using sweetened soymilk or if your squash is very sweet)
  • a few drops vanilla extract
  • 1 heaping tablespoon good quality cocoa powder
  • sprinkle of cinnamon

Directions:

Whip up all ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy. Adjust sweetness to taste.

Chocolate Almond Snack-Pack Pudding

In a small dessert glass begin by layering about half a serving of chocolate butternut pudding followed by a few scoops of almond butter whipped cream, the rest of the pudding & a final dollop of cream. Then pretend your mom packed your lunch and devoooouuurrrr!

save it for a rainy day

**How to Roast a Butternut Squash after the jump

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