Monthly Archives

May 2011

budgeting, markets, snacks

Roncesvalles Market Haul + Leftovers Redux

Photo Source

Inspiration struck today when my afternoon running excursion took me Westier than West to Roncesvalles Village. As I  zoomed lackadaisically trotted past seemingly endless fruit and flower shops, I knew resistance was futile. Despite being planless, bagless and at not at all close to home, I ended up buying two fully loaded bags of goodies to last me through the long weekend.

swiss chard, red leaf lettuce, spinach, fiddleheads, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, shallots, arugula & basil

I was very grateful that I had chosen to shop once I got home and spotted my very sad looking leftover lunch: 1/2 a football sized wrap from Ravi’s that had turned to mooooosh in my fridge.

BUT thanks to my sweet haul I was able to transform my wrap into a way way delicious EPIC SALAD.

On the plate:

  • red leaf lettuce & arugula
  • 1/2 chopped apple
  • a few slices red onion
  • blueberries
  • 1/2 wrap filling (so long moosh!) consisting of: roasted chicken, caramelized onions, sweet potatoes, tomato chutney, spinach & edamame
No. Freakin. Words.

There. Are. No. Words.

budgeting, cities, culture

A Healthy Dose of Culture

If I had to say what is the ethos of my work, it’s a lament for the loss of nature at the hand of man. To me, it’s man’s engagement with the planet that’s interesting, so in all of my landscapes, man is implied, not necessarily as a portrait of man, but as a portrait of man’s work, and man’s reshaping of the natural world.

–Edward Burtynsky

Every Wednesday the Royal Ontario Museum is free to the public between the hours of 330 and 530 pm. This week I chose to take them up on their offer and attended Edward Burtynsky’s current touring exhibit, Oil for the sum total of $0 (including coat check).

Walking through the ROM’s Institute for Contemporary Culture, you track the story of oil in stages – from production to various forms of consumption and eventually you watch its disposal. Burtynsky’s signature large-scale photography highlights the importance of environmental and economic sustainability without becoming cliche. His images are more evocative than editorial. Powerful without being preachy. And because of that I felt myself reengaging with issues I already cared about in new ways, from new vantage points. I highly recommend looking into it or, if you’re not in Toronto, checking out the film Manufactured Landscapes or watching this TED video.

For more information on Burtnsky and this exhibit you can read his full interview in The National Post here. In this article he also goes on to discuss his upcoming project. Next on the agenda: industrial farming. 

diy, healthy treats, recipes

DIY: 5 Minute Jam (Sugar-Free)

Some of the happiest moments of my life were spent  hunched over a bubbling cauldron of sticky sweet strawberry syrup. When I was a kid I used to spend every summer with my grandparents in Prince Edward Island and once each year we’d all make a special trip out to the u-pick strawberry fields. I was always given the task of actually gathering baskets upon baskets of berries (which I relished since it meant I could save and eat fruit at about a 1:1 ratio). Then we’d all return home and I’d spend the rest of the afternoon assisting my grandmother as she sterilized mason jars, measured out ingredients and meticulously scooped off bubbles of pectin from the simmering pot.

Well I am in the city now. Its still months away from strawberry season. And I hardly have 5 minutes to cook dinner let alone 5 hours to make one measely preserve. But that didn’t stop me from creating my own take on homemade jam: bafflingly simple, naturally sweet and guaranteed to make you smile.


  • 5 dried figs (stems removed)
  • 1 pitted medjool date (or 2-3 smaller honey dates)
  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • 1 cup of water
  • a few drops almond extract (optional but delicious)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • sprinkle of cinnamon

1) Tear dried fruit into smallish pieces and add it along with berries and water to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave fruit and water on high for approximately 2 minutes until figs feel soft and berries have thawed.**

2) Scoop out berries, dried fruit and approx 1/4 of the liquid into a food processor. Pulse until smooth adding more of the liquid as needed. Once your mixture has reached the consistency of a sticky paste, add in the cinnamon and extracts. Pulse again until combined.

**I do this mainly for speed but for a raw version, skip the microwave and soak ingredients overnight.

Makes about 3/4-1 cup of fresh jam. Store in a small glass jar in the fridge for about a week. Adding a little lemon juice will preserve it a little and increase its staying power but you may need to compensate by adding an extra date for sweetness.

Compare this jam to classic Smuckers after the jump.

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budgeting, fitness

Hurry up and Weight.

Its pouring rain outside. And I couldn’t be less motivated to leave the house let alone engage in any kind of outdoor physical activity. So I figured it was a good day to start chatting about my favourite ways to get in a workout without having to spend any money, go anywhere or put on socially acceptable workout attire. Ahh. Doesn’t that sound delightful? Today’s topic: WEIGHTS!

Here are just a few reasons why I’m a big fan of weight training for both ladiez and gentlemen:

  • Dumbbells are wicked cheap. I bought this one was from Canadian Tire and it cost me 5.99 ($12 for two).
  • Building muscle is super satisfying. It helps you do more stuff. Home stuff. Stuff at work. Fun stuff. Being more physically capable helps with all aspects of your life and it rules. Swearsies.
  • Muscle ramps up your metabolism. Which means you burn through more energy in a day. Which means more delicious food. Never a bad thing.
  • Overall health. Building muscle helps prevent injuries, reduces risk of osteoporosis, improves sleep & boosts your immune system. WOOT!

Nail Polish: DIOR. Dumbbell: CANADIAN TIRE.

Pick up some hand weights of your own and check back soon!

I’ll be posting some of my favourite ways to use weights to work on your upper body, core & lower body MUSCLEZ!

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


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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breakfast, recipes

Purple Parfait Eater.

Sure I love a smoothie as much as the next gal but I’m sorry but a glass of pureed fruit just doesn’t cut it for me breakfast-wise. I require a breakkins with a bit more in the way of whole grains, protein and healthy fats. THUS the breakfast smoothie parfait was born.


Make your favourite fruit smoothie but add in some protein powder and then layer in a tall glass with whole grain cereal. Whoof that was a tricky one to explain.

In today’s glass:

  • Basic blueberry smoothie (frozen berries blended with silken tofu or yogurt, vanilla almond milk and 1/2 scoop protein powder)
  • Puffed wheat
  • Millet rice crisp cereal 
  • 1/2 sliced banana
  • Almond butter “whipped cream” (Vegan option)**
**Recipe after the jump