Monthly Archives

May 2011

90s, recipes, snacks

snack like a kid.

When it comes to mid-afternoon snacktime my tastebuds have a tendency to…regress. Its inexplicable but as soon 3pm hits my palate forgets about all the years I’ve spent growing to appreciate new, complex flavour profiles and instead starts crazing (crazy craving? you wish you thought of it) the flavours of my childhood.

In my fam after school snack-fare included: granola bars, fruit to gos, soup (i was a strange child. more explanation on my childhood soup obsession here), goldfish crackers AND – the king of after school snacks – pizza flavoured EVERYTHING.

Be it bagel, pop or pocket: pizza snacks were (and are) THE JAM.

So naturally, when the “after-school hour” hits and my mind turns to all things munchie, I know that only one snack will suffice. With a few tweaks of course…

“Bagel Bite” Style Pizza Snacks (All Grow’d Up)

  • 1 whole wheat english muffin
  • 2 triangles of light laughing cow cheese OR (vegan-styles) 1/4 avocado mashed with 2 tbsp nutritional yeast 
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • fresh basil 
  • pepper
  • cherry tomatoes, sliced (optional) 
Split and toast the english muffin in a toaster or pan. Spread each half with 1 serving of cheese or 1/2 the avocado mash. Broil in oven or toaster oven for 2 minutes or so. Then top with about 1.5 tbsp of tomato paste/side, fresh basil, pepper + cherry tomatoes (I like to keep it simple but you can add any toppings you like!).
Do they still play re-runs of full house after school? I miss me some Kimmy Gibbler.
culture, reflections, restaurants, snacks


For me this week is all about kicking back. You see, I’ve just finished an intensive year of professional school and while it was perhaps the most gratifying experience of my life it was also the most exhausting. Something about that combination of doing what I love (teaching) & working on >5 hours sleep just took it out of me. Shocking, right? 😉

Museums are certainly one of my favourite ways to unwind after a period of stress. And I think its because they feel so refreshingly orderly. You can take your time walking from room to room, exhibit to exhibit, but in the end you trust that the whole process is progressing. You know where it is you’re going. And that’s an experience I’ve come to value highly, as it is exceptionally rare.

Today’s Museum of Choice:

The Gardiner

Who just yawned? Seriously people, keep an open mind. A ceramics museum doesn’t have to be a bore. Here are a few shots of my favourite pieces, including Odyssean Dreams – a massive installation from the Betty Woodman exhibit.

Oh yes…I also grabbed a little post-gallery snack at the Rawlicious location in Yorkville. Food I didn’t have to make = very relaxing indeed. This was just the appetizer…my avocado & tomato sandwich on raw onion flax bread was equal parts delicious and unphotogenic.

marinated vegetable salad rolls with thai dipping sauce

How did you unwind today?

budgeting, fitness, get strong on the cheap


Welcome to Part 2 of get strong on the cheap! As promised, today’s focus is on core strength and flexibility.

Whether you’re playing a game of softball, lugging around your laptop or moving a particularly large stack of student papers from your office to the classroom, your body works hard for you. And building a strong and flexible core helps reduce the risk of injury in everything that you do by supporting your spine and keeping everything where it should be, no matter what kind of antics you get up to.

This circuit workout is great for stretching out and working all of your core musclez: upper abs, lower abs and obliques. Complete each move for about a minute and cycle through 2-3 times for a 10-15 minute core killaahhhh. Once you get a lil stronger, you can start to combine COMBINE this circuit with PART 1 of GSOTC. OMG. Exciting. 😉 Continue Reading


gettin potlucky

Quirky old timey charm may have been what drew hipsterfolk to the potluck party (isn’t holding this party adorable of me?) but I think what made these events so ubiquitous was their straight-up practicality. The whole thing just makes sense. I was gonna cook. You were gonna cook.  If we get together, we can eat BOTH things! And HANG OUT! That’s double the fun on so many levels.

But deciding what to bring to a potluck can be tricky business. You want to bring something nice but inexpensive. Something everyone will like and something for folks with special dietary requirements.

So check it out: A wheat-free, veggie and vegan friendly dish thats high-protein, satisfying and super delicious. In the teaching biz we call that UNIVERSAL DESIGN

Sesame Ginger Vermicelli Salad

  • 1 package brown rice (or regular) vermicelli noodles
  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1-2 tbsp oil
  • 2 ripe mangos
  •  small zucchini
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 large carrot
  • 8-10 spears of asparagus
  • 3-4 roughly chopped scallions
  • sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Dressing + Marinade:

  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar (or regular vinegar, but add some sweetener)
  • 3 tbsp tamari or soy sauce (kikkoman makes gluten-free soy sauce, if required)
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced ginger (or a pinch of ginger powder if you’re in a…ahem…pinch)
  1. Begin by pressing tofu to remove excess liquid. (wrap in paper towel and placing something heavy on top for about 5-10 minutes) Dice into cubes and tranfer to a small ziplock bag adding in a 2-3 tbsp of the dressing/marinade mixture. Squeeze out as much air from the bag as possible. Allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Slice veggies and mangos into thin strips. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok, add shallot and remaining garlic. Separate tofu from its marinade by opening a corner of the bag and pouring the liquid into small cup. Reserve marinade and set aside. Add drained tofu to the skillet and fry until browned. Then veggies to the  skillet and stir fry until the colour brightens and they are lightly cooked.
  3. Prepare vermicelli noodles according to package instructions. I used brown rice vermicelli, which I soaked for 5 minutes in lukewarm water and then rinsed. Roughly chop noodles to break them up and then add to skillet. Stir until well combined. Finish by adding the reserved liquid and allowing to reduce for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Transfer noodle mixture to a large bowl and toss with mango and remaining dressing.
  5. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds and serve warm or cold!
fitness, get strong on the cheap


Here is part 1 of my get strong on the cheap series. In this series I’ll be focusing on using el cheapo Canadian Tire weights ($12 for both) for strength training. NO GYM REQUIRED. In fact I highly recommend doing it as far away from the gym as possible…like the PARK!

I am using 5 lb weights in this series but make sure you choose a weight that works for you! If you’re a beginner go with 2 or 3 lb weights, or if you’re super strong go with bigger ones.

As for reps I usually end up doing each move for about 1 minute which I find is usually around 20-30 reps. Then I switch it up and go to the next exercise. When you’re all done take a short break and then complete the whole circuit again 1-2 more times. Its great to do while you’re watching TV, pre/post cardio or in addition to whatever other activity you love!

Another way to do this is the  more traditional 20 reps-15 reps-10 reps method (ie. keep doing the same excersize with short breaks in between, sometimes upping the weight after each set) Do whatever works for you!

**Additional note. I’m not a doctor or a personal trainer. So BE SAFE PLZ. And listen to your own bod when you feel strained or need a break!

Part 1: UPPER BOD…. Continue Reading


brown baggin it

It is seriously hard to get inspired packing lunches. Especially when you have to do it everyday. But I find it much easier when I think of it as a bag of snacks rather than one big meal. That way everything in the bag feels like a treat! Plus it lets me space out my munchies so I can keep my energy high all day long.

What is was in the bag today:

  • ida red sprinkled with cinnamon
  • blackberries
  • green smoothie – hidden in my mini klean kanteen (the mix i used today was a lot like this one. frozen mango, raspberries, spinach + vanilla protein powder)
  • 1 small hard boiled egginz
  • almond whole grain granola bar
  • grilled whole wheat veggie wrap with tomato, red onion, zucchini, dijon, fresh basil & swiss
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.
community, reflections

May 24 BBQ Roundup.


May 24 weekend here in Canada only means one thing to me: barbecue season begins! And I. Love. Barbecues. Of course I’m referring here to the whole social event it: folks getting together for the sole purpose of enjoying the outdoors, cooking together and drinking delicious beverages. Best idea evrrrr. PLUS…the food. OMG the food.

multitasking on the grill. soy burgers, beef burgers, melty swiss cheese, pork sausages & a gigantic basket of grilled vegetable insanity

So I thought it was only appropriate to put together a few of my favourite tips for getting into the spirit of bbq season, healthy hipster stylez.

1) Move your bod before supper. One of the great benefits of grilling food is that its super fast! So that gives you and your pals some freedom to enjoy those sunny pre-dinner hours without worrying about meal prep. So whether its taking a walk around the neighborhood or organizing an game of basketball/football/frisbee/etc., I highly suggest finding some way to get outside and your bod movin and workin up an appetite for the epic deliciousness that awaits.

my besties serve it up before they dish it out.

2) BYOV (Bring your own veg). The nice thing about food at a barbeque is that its so predictable. You know for a fact that there will be lots of chips, nachos, meat and bread. So be the one to bring something lacking from that menu plan! Keep it simple. Just find something fresh and in season (asparagus, anyone?) that looks beautiful grilled or just cut up on a plate. You can still dig into all of the standard barbecue deliciousness, in fact you must, but by bringing your own veg you’re also guaranteeing that your meal will have some balance. Check out this post for a recipe that will add a healthy dose of green to your standard bbq fare!

3) And lastly, Drink local. Obvz you’re gonna be drinking. Its May 24 and you have a pulse. There ain’t nothin wrong with that. But why not use this opportunity to try something new and support your local microbreweries? Many of these beers are also organic and much more conscientious about the preservatives and additives in their product. The cost may be higher, but that will encourage you to take your time and enjoy each drink. Make it a treat. 😉


Long Weekend Party Dip…And its NOT Guacamole

Japanese-Style Edamame Dip

inspired by healthy green kitchen

  • 1 shallot
  • 1 handful of fresh basil
  • 1 bunch of fresh spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small piece of fresh ginger 
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil (optional, but HIGHLY recommended for flavour)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 package frozen shelled edamame (thawed and boiled for about 2-3 minutes in salted water, not too long cause you want to retain that bright colour!)
  • 1/3 cup silken tofu (or plain yogurt)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened soymilk (almond, cows, etc. would all work)
  • 1 tbsp light miso paste OR 1.5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1-2 tsp siracha (to taste)

Pulse shallot, basil, spinach, garlic, ginger, oil, lime juice and nutritional yeast if using (its delicious, i swear – but optional) in a food processor until well chopped and combined. Should kind of resemble pesto.

Then add in edamame and pulse a few times to soften and break up the beans. Finally add in the rest of the ingredients and blend on high until smooth, adding more liquid as needed.

Bring to a bbq in a cute dish topped with fresh basil. Serve with sesame rice crackers, tortillas, marys crackers. Also makes a great protein source for all them vegans & veggiefolk. Or it can also be used as a burger or sandwich spread as an alternative to pesto or hummus.