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fashion, recipes, snacks

Embracing Spring: Raw Lemon Ginger “Stir Fry”

Spring has officially sprung here in Toronto and you know what that means…

Street Style Photo by George Pimentel for Toronto Fashion Week

Bare ankles, nautical stripes & denim? You betcha. But also…the end of slow roasting, root vegetables and comfort foods and the beginning of fresh spring produce!

We’re not quite there yet but here’s a fresh take on stir fry that will definitely satisfy your craving for fresh, crisp veggies in the meantime…

Raw Lemon Ginger “Stir Fry” with Marinated Peanut Tofu

Ingredients (Tofu):

  • 1/4 block tofu, cubed
  • 1/2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (or tamari)
  • 2 tbsp almond milk
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
Ingredients (Stir Fry):
  • 4 large leaves of bok choy
  • 1 medium carrot, halved and sliced thinly
  • 1/2 zucchini, halved and sliced thinly
  • 2 large mushrooms, halved and sliced thinly
  • 1 spring onion, sliced into thin rings
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • small pinch of garlic powder
  • 1 inch of grated ginger
  • 1 tsp flax oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp tamari


  1. Mix ingredients for tofu marinade (warming peanut butter if necessary) until well combined, pour over tofu cubes and set aside.
  2. Whisk together lemon juice, seasonins, oils, maple syrup and tamari and pour over chopped stir fry veggies. Massage dressing into the veggies for 1-2 minutes or until they begin to wilt slightly. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Top your raw, marinated stir fry with marinated peanut tofu.

Enjoy with a side of fruit, crackers or leftover cooked grains and you have one delicious, seasonal lunch!

breakfast, cities, culture, dinner, snacks

Weekend Roundup: Kale Salad to Electro-Goth Dance Parties

Here are a few things that I came to realize this weekend….in no particular order.

1) I only want meals in bowl-form lately.


1.5 servings rolled oats cooked in soymilk for some extra protein, topped with 1/2 banana and 1/4 cup trail mix


2 Whole Eggs Scrambled with Curry Powder, Mushrooms and Spinach. Served over a (buried) sweet potato and topped with 1/4 avocado, 1/4 cup hummus and some more trail mix


Kale Caesar Salad from Live Organic Food Bar with Eggplant Bacon, Raw Croutons & Marinated Tempeh

2) Rest days are my new best friend.

The past week or so I have been taking more days off the gym than on because my life has been so hectic and I’ve been doing a lot of walking around the city on my search for a new place to live. Also a lot of anxious fretting…does that count as a workout? Anyways I was pretty sure my first day back this morning was going to be brutal but to my surprise I had much more energy and stamina than usual. I even managed to complete a set of full bridges (also known as full wheel in yoga or sometimes reverse pushups) which is huge for me. A lack of upper body strength made bridges the bane of my existence during my days as a dancer.


This little personal success reminded me that giving your body extended time – not just a day but a whole week or two off – to rest and recover might be just what you need to avoid burning out and help you break through your own fitness plateaus.

3) I can still stay out past 2am.

Unlike many folks my age I wake up early. And do things. Things like cooking breakfast, reading the newspaper, moving my body in some way, grocery shopping and (very occasionally) cleaning my house. I get razzed about this all the time but honestly I like my morning routine and lovingly accept myself for the nerdy proto-grandma that I am. But I definitely can’t (nor would I want to) keep this schedule all the time…Sometimes it’s a Saturday night and one of your favourite bands is playing and your friends are out and you just want to dance till an unreasonable hour….

[Source: PinkMafia]


brown baggin it, recipes, snacks

Peanut & Ginger Collard Green Coleslaw

Finally! Back in the kitchen and eating something other than cookies. Yes! Yes! Yes! This salad is my favourite three things: flavourful, healthy & cheap. It’s also bright and colourful, which was just what I needed to mirror this unseasonably springlike on this beautiful March day.

Peanut & Ginger Collard Green Coleslaw

For the slaw

  • 4 cups broccoli, carrot & cabbage coleslaw mix
  • 2 cups collards, stems removed and sliced into shreds
  • 1 cup cooked edamame 

For the dressing

  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 heaping tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1 tsp ground chia (optional, helps to thicken)
  • 2 tbsp flax oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 inch or so of minced ginger (I always freeze my ginger and grate from frozen!)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 chopped scallions 


  1. Warm the almond milk in a small saucepan until just below boiling.
  2. Melt molasses and peanut butter into the almond milk and stir until combined. If usin, whisk in ground chia and cook an additional minute.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in oils and seasonings. Whisk in vinegars next, 1 tbsp at a time to prevent the almond milk from separating. (If it does, don’t worry! It will still taste delicious.)
  4. Toss together dressing and slaw mix in a large bowl and allow to marinate in the refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.

Makes about 3-4 servings which – if you’re anything like me – will be polished off in one day. Come to think of it…I might need to go back for thirds right about now….

Am I alone on this one or do you also start to crave a little colour in your meals when spring weather hits? What about in your wardrobe? 😉

diy, healthy treats, recipes, snacks

Chocolate Protein Cookies

The last week of my life has been consumed by work and apartment hunting, leaving me with zero time for grocery shopping, laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc. And physical activity? Well let’s just say I’ve been relying heavily on Cardio LIFE lately (hoofin it all over the city from cruddy rental to cruddy rental, is no joke…believe me).

So while I wish I could be passing along a wholesome, comfort food dinner recipe my empty fridge is telling me that just isn’t in the cards. So in the meantime these grab-and-go protein cookies are my closest approximation. Wholesome? Yup. Comforting? Definitely. Oh, and did I mention chocolatey? That’s just bonus…

One of these cookies provides you with around 10+ grams of protein and a healthy dose of dietary fibre, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. They can be made vegan or sugar free if that’s your scene and if you’re worried about the prep time, just double the recipe and pop half the cookies in the freezer for next time!

Chocolate Protein Cookies
Lightly adapted from this recipe


  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 3 heaping tbsp almond butter
  • 2 scoops protein powder (I used Chocolate Sun Warrior Blend)**
  • 1 large egg OR 1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup Sucanat OR 1/4 tsp powdered white stevia
  • 2 heaping tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp instant coffee (optional, but gives a nice flavour)
  • 1/2 cup mix-ins like chocolate chips, carob chips, walnuts, dried or frozen berries, etc.
**If you don’t use protein powder I think you could substitute with 1/4 cup of oat or whole wheat flour. They would still be higher protein than regular cookies because of the chickpeas. Let me know if you try this out!
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add all ingredients to your food processor except for mix-ins and blend until smooth.
  3. Scoop batter into a bowl and add mix-ins by hand. Form into balls, and place on baking sheet.
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes or until crackly on top – make sure not to overcook.

Enjoy these cookies as midday snack…Maybe paired with an Americano topped off with homemade almond milk (courtesy of MylkUncookies)? Nomm…..

I’ll be back to salads, scrambles, wraps, casseroles and stews soon but in the meantime I’ll stay a happy girl so long as I keep munching on snacks this good and coffee this delicious

Wish me luck as the hunt continues…and give these healthy little treats a try!

dinner, recipes, snacks

10 Minute Korean Bulgogi Tofu

At a loss for what to serve for lunch today? Look no further. Korean bulgogi beef is usually made of finely sliced rib-eye that marinates for hours before flash frying. This dish is similar…to that last step only. I took out the meat and the hours of marinating and was left with a tasty vegetarian main dish that is highly adaptable and could be added to a rice bowl, wrap or hearty salad. Ready in less than 10 minutes so its perfect for lunch or dinner!

Simple Bulgogi Tofu

(For 1 serving): 

  • 1/4 block tofu, cubed
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 tsp sriracha hot sauce
  • sprinkle of fresh ginger (I usually use fresh ginger that has been frozen and grated)
  • 2 small green onions, chopped (include the white parts)
  • sprinkle of sesame seeds for garnish


  1. Pan fry plain tofu in a dry, nonstick skillet over medium high heat  until browned on all sides.
  2. While tofu is cooking prepare marinade by dissolving sugar in soy sauce and then adding sesame oil, garlic, ginger and hot sauce.
  3. Add cooked tofu and chopped mushrooms to marinade and let sit for 3-5minutes.
  4. Return tofu and marinade to the skillet pan and cook on medium heat until liquid is dissolved and mushrooms are fully cooked. Add green onions during the last minute of cooking and stir well to combine.

I served mine over steamed broccoli and kale tossed in a liberal amount of flax oil (this is my favourite combo) and then mixed with saurkraut (my in-a-pinch substitute for kimchi). Then I paired it with some leftover Japanese pumpkin (kabocha squash).


diy, recipes, snacks

DIY: Lightened Up Almond Cheese

A quick note about Nut Cheese.

While the name itself might not sound very appetizing I am a big fan of these non-dairy cheeses. Unlike the processed vegan soy cheese you buy at the store, nut cheese is typically just ground up and sometimes fermented nuts (cashews, almonds, walnuts, etc). It is very versatile and can be eaten as a savoury sandwich spread or a ridiculously indulgent dessert. However, much like dairy cheese, nut cheese is quite nutrient-dense and high in (healthy) fats so you don’t need much to reap all those tasty benefits. Choosing Raw has loads of quick and easy recipes for various raw vegan cheeses and I encourage you try them out!

I, however, am not posting a recipe for a traditional nut cheese today but rather presenting you with my own little spin. Because while moderation is all well and good, I wanted to create a dairy-free cheesy spread that could be used more..well…liberally. I also wanted to create with a recipe that was quick, easy and didn’t involve a vitamix, elaborate straining, the use of cheesecloth or any kind of fermentation. And VOILA! I am already a little obsessed…

Lightened Up Curry-Style Almond Cheese
Based on this method


  • 1/3 cup raw almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup cooked winter squash or sweet potato (pumpkin would okay but I would add a little honey to make up for the lack of sweetness)
  • 2-3 dashes of hot pepper sauce


  1. Blanch almonds by boiling a couple inches of water in small saucepan, adding the almonds and cooking for 1 minute or so. Remove saucepan from heat and set aside for 3 minutes to cool. Optional: Remove almond skins by squeezing them between your thumb and forefinger. Pat dry.
  2. Place the almonds in a blender or food processor and process for 1-2 minutes to finely grind them. Scrape down the sides of the container. Add 1/2 cup water and process for 1 minute to combine. Add the remaining water, cornstarch, lemon juice, nutritional yeast flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt, and continue to process the mixture an additional 1-2 minutes or until very smooth and creamy.
  3. Transfer the mixture back to a small saucepan and place it over medium heat. Cook and whisk together for about 3-5 minutes, until it becomes very thick. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  4. Pour cheese mixture into a 2-cup container, cover, and chill for several hours or until firm.
  5. Unmold the cheese and use slices on sandwiches or as a spread with crackers, breads, or fruit. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.

Yields: One 2-cup container of non-dairy cheese or about 8 large servings.

I don’t usually calculate the nutritional info of my recipes but this time I was just interested…and boy was I impressed! Thank you nutritional yeast & almonds for being so high in all those healthy vitamins!

Obviously I went with a curry-style version but you’re welcome to experiment with loads of different flavours or mix-ins (olives, sundried tomatoes, hot peppers, cumin, etc.). I’d love to hear how different flavours turn out! 🙂

Hope you’re enjoying a relaxing Sunday afternoon!

diy, recipes, snacks

Spicy Tuna Rice Rolls

I am not normally very ambitious when it comes to my midday meal. I graze all morning and then when lunchtime hits I just grab every vegetable I have in my fridge, pile it into a wrap, sandwich or salad bowl then top it leftovers from last nights dinner. So I’m not entirely sure what inspired my creativity and…dare I say it…vegetable restraint when I was whipping up my lunch today. Perhaps it was my lack of leftovers? Or the low sodium skipjack tuna I recently stockpiled after swearing off the unsustainable, high mercury stuff I get tempted by at the discount grocery store?

Whatever it was I decided today was the day to bust out those rice paper rolls that have been collecting dust in my pantry for about three months now. This is what became of them.

Spicy Tuna, Avocado & Collard Green Rice Rolls


  • 4 small rice paper rolls or 2 large ones
  • 1 can of skipjack tuna (often labeled flaked light)
    **Vegans/Vegetarians could easily sub for tofu salad
  • 1 tsp sesame oil 
  • 1 tsp siracha
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • 3-4 large collard leaves, sliced thinly into strips
  • 1/2 an avocado, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup dry roasted wasabi edamame OR wasabi peas (optional, but I liked the added crunch and spice)


  1. Soak your rice paper rolls according to package instructions. Make sure to pat off any excess liquid before assembling.
  2. Combine tuna, sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce and siracha in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Carefully lay out 1 rice paper roll and add your avocado, greens, tuna & wasabi fillings. Make sure not to overfill each one and leave at least a few inches of room at the top and bottom.
  4. Finish off by folding over the top and bottom of the roll first, followed by the sides. Slice in half with a sharp knife and serve with extra soy sauce, black bean sauce, etc.

Serves 1 as a meal or 2 as an appetizer or snack. 

coffee, fitness, snacks

Strength, Stretching & Snacking

Was it just me or was today an absolute whirlwind? I have been so busy since getting back from Texas the days have started to blur and the fact that Wednesday is almost over blows my mind.

After waking up way too early to hit the gym I discovered I was out of both almond milk and coffee. BLERGH. Fortunately I prepped my breakfast yesterday so I didn’t need milk – it was basically a repeat of this not-so-pretty bowl of oats from Monday except I skipped the smoothie and just stirred  Sun Warrior Protein Blend into my oats along with a hefty scoop of peanut butter and berries. Sounds weird but it worked in a pinch. To get in my caffeine hit I sucked back some disturbingly strong Irish breakfast tea mixed with a little stevia. Again, I worked with what I had… Cause I’m zen like that 😉

Okay onto the good stuff: today I wanted to speak very briefly about stretching. It is no secret that I am a big advocate of strength training on the blog, in whatever form that might look like for you. Whether its weights, yoga or pilates…dog walking, baby carrying or grocery hauling…I just love to see strong ladies (and gentleman) using their muscles. But if you want to see and feel your best you need to remember to fit in stretches before and after your workouts.

It might seem like a pain at first but trust me the real pain happens when you don’t stretch.

Here are some of the stretches I do every day, workout or no…

Back Stretch

Leg Stretch: Step on your Hands!

Shoulder Stretch: Give Yourself a Pat on the Back

My workout this morning looked a little something like this:

20 mins cardio
Treadmill: 1 min run/1 min incline walk, about 15 minutes
Track: 5 minutes very random interval running. Sprints, jogs, walks, etc. Closest thing I can get to outdoor running in the chilly winter months.

20 mins strength
I loosely based my workout on Julie’s Legs and Ab Circuit only she is a machine and I am not. So I tweaked it a bit for myself. Ended up looking like this:

10 pushups
50 squats (with a 6lb weight)
50 bridges (with a 6 lb weight)
10 pushups
30 side lunges (15/side)
30 side plank hip lifts (15/side)
50 bicycle crunches
20 mountain climbers
10 push-ups
50 seconds plank hold
30 squat jumps
30 jumping jacks
20 sit-ups (with 6 lb weight overhead)
10 pushups

It’s been a while since I’ve done a full circuit workout like that and OOF is all there is to say. Glad I fit it in though since I have a busy week ahead and may or may not have quality gym time to spare.

My food today was a bit all over the place – a big snacking plate of salad dressed in flax seed oil and balsamic, sweet baby carrots, sauteed chicken breast, Mary’s flax crackers, light cow cheese and 1/2 an avocado doused in sea salt…

PLUS 2 big bowls of crunchy millet rice cereal topped with almond milk and about a zillion blueberries and raspberries…
Neither the first bowl or the refill lasted long enough to have its picture taken. 🙂

 And in case you’re worried about me, I finally squeezed in a coffee today…around NOON (eegads!)

Do you stretch try to stretch every time you work out?  Once and a while? Or avoid it completely?

breakfast, budgeting, EAT MORE, inspiration, recipes, snacks

Monday Meals.

Hey folks,

Not sure if you were aware of this but today was blue monday which, if you’re not familiar, is otherwise known as the most depressing day of the year! A buncha researchers somewhere apparently decided that today has just the right combination of failed new years resolutions, holiday debt and wintery weather to make today the official worst day ever. Obviously this can only mean one thing…

You made it!

Bring it on 2012, its all uphill from here…. 😉

On that note I’m continuing on with my EAT MORE series by posting my basic meal plan for today, which I’ve pretty much followed to a T except for my standard grazing on cereal, dark chocolate, frozen berries, nuts, etc. But I have definitely stayed true t the ingredients from my Sunday Shopping List. I’m really excited about how much healthy fat I’ve managed to incorporate and with how balanced all my meals and snacks have been.

Breakfast Chia Oat Bran + Green Smoothie
Lunch Salad with Ezekiel Croutons, Carrot Ginger Tofu Salad & Avocado
Dinner Corn Grits with Chicken & Collard Greens
Snacks Brown Rice Cakes with Peanut Butter and Sliced BananaCarrots & Raw Fennel

Egg Wrap

Chia Pudding (Before Bed)

I can’t tell you how great it felt to make all my meals at home for a change. I swear that between holiday meals, having visitors stay with me and travelling I’ve spent way more time (and money) in restaurants over the last month than I’d like to admit.  It also felt really good to start off the day with a plan and then actually have all the ingredients I needed to follow through with it. So let’s get on to two recipes from this list, shall we?


Thick and Chewy Overnight Chia Oat Bran 

Sure it ain’t the prettiest thing I’ve ever eaten, but since you prep this recipe the night before it is fast, delicious and crazy filling. Clearly these factors trump aesthetics when it comes to Monday morning breakfast.


1) Mix together about 1/2 cup oat bran with 1 cup almond milk & 1 cup water and cook on medium heat for around 3 minutes. Add 1 heaping tbsp chia seeds. Cook an additional 2 mins.
1) Mix together 1/2 cup oat bran, 1 cup almond milk, 1 cup water and 1 heaping tablespoon chia seeds. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. Microwave in a LARGE bowl for 3 minutes. Stir vigorously. Microwave for an additional 2-3 minutes. Stir again.
2) Add mix-ins of  your choosing – I like cinnamon, vanilla extract and sweetener (maple syrup/brown sugar/stevia/whatever you like) – pop it in the fridge overnight.
3) Remove from the fridge in the morning and eat it either cold or reheated, covered in more toppings. Strawberries and Peanut Butter for me, please! 

If you’re like me and you want an extra protein boost in the am, you could serve this with a small green protein smoothie for a complete energy packed breakkins.


I love to prep lunch salads like this one a Monday so I can snack on them all week long. They are perfect in salads, sandwiches, wraps or even eaten on-the-go with a pile of crackers. I make endless variations (like my curried lunch salad)  but today I opted for tofu salad.

Carrot & Ginger Tofu Salad
(to be exact)


½ cup roughly chopped carrots
2 inch piece of fresh ginger (or sub for 1 tsp ginger powder)
1 clove garlic

1 package extra firm tofu
¼ cup nutritional yeast (optional, but tasty!)
2 tsp oil (I used sesame and flax)
1 clove garlic
1 tsp vegetable boullion (this  natural, reduced-sodium variety is what I use)
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sriracha
juice of 1 lime
almond milk (as needed, around 1/4 cup)


  1. Process carrots, fresh ginger (if using) and garlic in a food processor. You don’t want them turning into mush, just a few pulses should do. Add tofu, oil, lime juice and seasonings to the processor and pulse to combine.
  2. Add almond milk as needed until the mixture becomes smooth but remains thick.
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.Makes about 4 servings.
And no I am not showing what my final lunch salad actually looked like today. It was actually far too ugly to photograph. But tasty as heck. No complaints here.
Whoof….that was a big post. Time to kick back and catch up on Project Runway All Stars while painting my nails with my favourite new Chanel nail polish (this ridiculous colour). Have a great night! And congrats again for making it through the worst day ever. How do we feel about making tomorrow to FUCHSIA TUESDAY?
breakfast, fitness, recipes, snacks, travel

The Green Smoothie Morning: Finding Balance in a Sea of Breakfast Tacos

Good Morning, Austin.

While every day spent here in Austin has been different from the last, my mornings have been pretty consistent. I wake up, do some work (yes I’m working from home even while I’m on “vacation”…thats what you get for going out of town right after the holidays right?) and of course I start each day off with big healthy breakfasts. And what signifies healthy start to the day more than a green smoothie? Drinking one of these bad boys before 8am makes you feel like a superhero not only because of the sense of accomplishment you feel chugging down something so strange looking….but because all those B vitamins provide you with the energy you need to deal with whatever your day/night might have in store for you (even if that includes a whole lot of tequila & tacos…)

Simple Green Smoothie

  • 1 small frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 2 big handfuls of spinach
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  • 1 scoop raw vegan protein powder (optional)
  • cinnamon, vanilla & honey

And because I am not a “smoothie for breakfast” type of girl (aka. give me complex carbs in the morning or suffer the consequences) I rounded out my morning meal with 1.5 slices of Ezekiel toast topped with almond butter, mashed banana & cinnamon.

Another thing I’ve been doing since arriving here in Austin is trying my best to squeeze in some type of physical activity before noon. Nothing too strenuous since I want to save my energy for adventuring around the city, but at least a little something. So far I have enjoyed strolls around the neighborhood, light yoga and (on this particularly ambitious morning) a short run to and from the local park.

On this day I went through my favourite interval run. Its a pyramid style workout that is perfect for the outdoors because you can tailor speeds and intensity to match your environment and energy level. It looks something like:

5 minute warm up
30 seconds quick run
1 min brisk walk or jog
45 seconds quick run
1 min brisk walk or jog
1 min quick run
1 min brisk walk or jog
90 seconds quick run
1 min brisk walk or jog
Repeat this series in reverse (Run 1 min, then 45 seconds, etc.)
5 min cool down

Enjoyed some local scenery along the way….

I love how the residential areas in Austin have a bit of a country vibe to them. Maybe its all the succulents in their landscaping? The lawn flamingos? Random windowpanes hanging everywhere? Whatever it is I like it.

Following up that morning activity with some tasty eats at home (making sure to leave some room for my ritual mid-day taco feast)…

Mixed greens & Kale topped with diced red peppers, zucchini, crunchy edamame, almond cheese (my new obsession…more on that later), 1 leftover slice of organic turkey breast & roasted kabocha squash. Plus a side of my favourite ginger kombucha. 🙂

Have a lovely Monday, folks!
Stay tuned for upcoming posts on Free Music Week & the Austin Farmers Market (SWOON!)