Have You Tried These 3 Recipes?

I made all three of these recipes last week… and didn’t take a single picture.

Food blogger award of the year, right? 😉

Either way, I did really want to share these recipe so I hope you enjoy as much as I did. All three will certainly be made again in the future.

 

Mujaddara (مجدرة in Arabic) is the glorious combination of rice, lentils, and onions. It’s actually an ancient dish that has been traced back to an Iraqi cookbook from 1226! It’s the Middle Eastern rendition of rice and beans, AKA a comfort food at its finest. This tasty mixture is flavourful, with earthy notes and aromatic seasoning. On top of its great flavour, mujaddara is super cheap to make.

From Wikipedia:

Mujaddara, with alternative spellings in English majadra, mejadra, moujadara, mudardara, and megadarra) is the Arabic word for “pockmarked”; the lentils among the rice resemble pockmarks. Because of its importance in the diet, a saying in the Eastern Arab world is, “A hungry man would be willing to sell his soul for a dish of mujaddara.”

Serve with sautéed green vegetables, roasted veggies, or a refreshing salad.

Mujaddara: Arabic Rice with Lentils

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2/3 cup dry brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • sprinkle salt
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • sprinkle cinnamon
  • sprinkle cayenne pepper
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup brown rice, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • drizzle oil
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 white onions, sliced into rings

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat cooking oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook onions until browned and caramelized. Remove.
  2. Combine lentils, 2 cups water, sprinkle salt, cumin, and garlic powder in the same pot over medium heat. Simmer and reduce heat to low. Cook until lentils are soft, about 20-30 mins.
  3. Stir rice, remaining 1/2 cup water, 1/4 tsp salt, and a drizzle of oil into the lentils. Cover the pot. Cook until lentils and rice are tender, about 40 mins.
  4. Add onions back, and mix. Serve.

Each 330-calorie serving boasts over 12 grams of protein, lots of iron, as well as hire and manganese. This recipe is also low in saturated fat, is cholesterol-free, and low in sugar. Eat up!

 

Special Scrambled Tofu

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 block medium-firm tofu
  • 1 tsp avocado oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic, or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 heaping tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • scant 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp salt, or more to taste
  • 1 tbsp water
  • freshly ground black pepper, about 1/8 tsp

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix all ingredients except tofu and oil.
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Use your hands to break the tofu into large chunks. Add the tofu and garlic to the hot oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tofu is golden brown on all or most sides. As the tofu is cooking you can break up larger pieces of tofu with your wooden spoon.
  3. Once the tofu is golden brown, add the spice mixture. Stir and continue cooking until the tofu absorbs the nutritional yeast.
  4. Serve the scrambled tofu with a side of toast, avocado, salsa, or more – fresh fruit is a neat idea too! I added sautéed peppers and mushrooms to mine.

 

Golden Coconut Lentil Soup

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic or 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp grated or minced ginger
  • 1/2 tbsp ground turmeric
  • red pepper flakes
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup red or yellow lentils
  • 4 cups water
  • 13.5 oz coconut milk
  • 1/2 heaping tsp salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add oil to a large pot.
  2. Sauté onion, garlic, and ginger over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until onions are soft and transparent.
  3. Add turmeric and red pepper. Sautee for another minute. Add carrots and sauté again. Add lentils and water.
  4. Place a lid on the pot. Boil over high heat. Turn heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in the coconut milk. Blend half of the warm soup in a blender or with an immersion blender. Add 1/2 tsp salt, or more/less to taste. Serve with cooked rice or quinoa.

The 42-Ingredient Salad

It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a Thai restaurant. I’m pretty leery of them since I love cooking Thai food at home, whether that’s a flavourful curry or a tasty pad thai. This meal, from PAI Toronto, did not disappoint. I loved scraping the coconut meat out of the coconut itself!

I know you want this. It’s a cinnamon sugar cone, chocolate soft-serve, Nutella spread, butter toffee bits, cocoa drizzle and salted caramel brownies.

From the website: Chimneys, or Kurtoskalacs, are freshly baked Hungarian bread-like pastries that have a satisfying crunch on the outside and a light and fluffy dough on the inside. They have a hollow, cylindrical shape and you can pull them apart like a spiral as you eat. We bake traditional Chimneys Cakes and also Chimney Cones™ (aka “Doughnut Cones”). Our base dough is made fresh on the premises daily with 100% natural and mostly organic ingredients and is vegan. There are only seven ingredients.

Croissants freeze so well. These were stored in the freezer until a sad day that I ran out of bread. 🙂

Banana smoothie in a bowl with muffin on top.

A Cuban brunch spot in Roncesvalles, called La Cubana, serves up some mean baked eggs! The queso cheese and spicy rice and beans were my favourite. Yuca was so tasty with the crispy cabbage.

Oatmeal gives me life. Especially pear oatmeal with granola and PB, one of my new favourite combinations.

So many eggs have been devoured lately!

Chabrol is a French restaurant in Yorkville. I enjoyed this entire escarole gratin and an apple tart which is baked on the SPOT, with homemade puff pastry. I enjoyed every bite of this classic, simple, but ultra-satisfying meal.

Toronto truly has so much to offer. The Royal Ontario Museum is such a spectacular place. I’m the first to admit that I’m not a big art lover or history buff, but I thoroughly enjoyed browsing the Biodiversity floor, where I learned that 99% of known species are smaller than a bee. WHOA!

The famous 45-ingredient salad from Hibiscus was also enjoyed. The glass noodles on top had incredible texture, and I loved the creamy ginger soup. That’s a raw cracker on the side, made with dehydrated rye and other cracker-ish ingredients. I liked the kidney beans and sweet potato mash in this bowl, which I do want to recreate!

My doggie Arnie is doing great back home in BC. He had surgery a couple weeks ago to remove a tumour on his back, and recovery has been going quite well. He still loves to run and play!

I’m not really sure why I’m showing you these half-eaten meals, but I already uploaded the photos, so…

Have a phenomenal rest of the week, all!

My Top 10 Cooking & Baking Tips

TOP BAKING TIPS

  1. If a recipe calls for mashed banana, always mash your banana first. Then add eggs, and other wet ingredients. Flour should be the very last ingredient you add to the bowl. Voila – a one bowl recipe!
  2. Most cupcake recipes can be made into loaves or sheet cakes. Adjust the baking time accordingly.
  3. Streaks of flour are okay. Never overmix.
  4. Coating blueberries or chocolate chips with flour will prevent them from sinking in muffin recipes.
  5. Almond flour and coconut flour are difficult to substitute. Just don’t do it.
  6. A pinch of salt is necessary in sweet desserts. Salted chocolate?! Yes.
  7. A pinch of cinnamon adds great flavour to recipes with cocoa powder.

TOP COOKING TIPS

  1. Garlic makes any savoury dish taste good. So do caramelized onions, freshly-ground pepper, and lemon!
  2. Add ginger and soy sauce to any Asian dish. You’ll thank me later 😉
  3. Goat cheese is so flavourful that you’ll only need a couple crumbles.
  4. A fried or poached egg make any dish more flavourful, more beautiful, and more nutritious.
  5. Curries and chilis and stews taste even better the second day – make it a day ahead!

What are some of your best tips?

Check out my recipes HERE! 🙂

BOOKS… and a $16 smoothie!?

Recently: lots of helping Seline with her biochemistry, lots of maps, lots of grocery shopping

I’ve been on a reading kick recently. Every weekend, I go to the public library or Chapters/Indigo (sometimes both!), where I spend up to four hours reading and reading. Someone please shoot me an email or comment if you’ve read (or want to read!) one of these books. I need someone to discuss ’em with ASAP!

  • WHEN THEY FADE by Jeyn Roberts (PS she retweeted and commented on my tweet so my life is now complete)
  • HURT by Tabitha Suzuma
  • UNNATURAL DEEDS by Cyn Balog
  • WITH MALICE by Eileen Cook
  • WHAT HAPPENED TO IVY by Kathy Stinson
  • A MOTHER’S RECKONING by Sue Klebold
  • RED RAIN by R.L. Stine
  • BURNING by Danielle Rollins

Also, food is coming. I promise.

Dad got a new backdrop for the fish tank back home in BC, and my doggie Arnie had some fur shaved off so he could have his [fortunately benign] tumour removed.

I’ve been loving lentils recently. The Pulses Canada website has some phenomenal recipes. I want to try chickpea flour soon. Have you tried chickpea flour? What are your thoughts?

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A vegan cafe in my Toronto neighbourhood has this $16 smoothie on their menu. Would you pay $16 for a smoothie? Cassie, I’m looking at you 😉

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Scrambled spinach eggs with cheese and avocado toast are my go-to meal, no matter where in Ontario I am!

Super pink oatmeal (pureed raspberries stirred into the oats) to make a hearty Valentine’s Day treat. Strawberry hearts and chocolate almond butter completed this tasty breakfast.

Gloria Cafe never disappoints. I love their tomato cheese toast and get it every time. That’s an orange-ginger scone at the bottom! Devoured.

Strawberry-topped oats with sweet potato muffin and a drizzle of almond butter. Simple and tasty.

To be honest, it’s dangerous that Tsujiri, a Japanese matcha soft serve store, is directly across the street from where I work. Each sundae is $8 and I had TWO last week because it’s just too convenient to stop by the shop after work. With chiffon cake, crunchy cornflakes, and sweetened red bean, I can’t resist. Consider me a new matcha fan! Rachel from Moments With Rae would be proud. 😛

Almond butter toast, cinnamon, and yogurt with crunchy granola.

On Saturday I went to a rundown shack in the Kensington Market. Called the Latin American Emporium, this little place was full of Spanish-speaking locals.

I enjoyed a freshly-made pupusa with cabbage and a mildly spicy sauce, horchata (rice milk drink blended with sesame, cinnamon, vanilla, and cocoa powder) and a fried plantain with creamy cheese. It was my first time trying Salvadorian food, and I LOVED it, despite the plantain being a tad oily. This incredible, filling meal cost less than $5! Have you ever had horchata?

I also went on a SPREE at Delysees, a French bakery, where I bought…

  • Chocolate praline croissant
  • Coconut eclair
  • Pistachio eclair
  • Pistachio croissant
  • Almond chocolate croissant
  • Chocolate hazelnut toffee cake
  • Tiramisu white chocolate cake

Some frozen, others devoured, others chopped up to enjoy throughout the week. It looks like a lot, and it actually was a lot… but a good a lot. You know what I mean?

#neverenoughfrenchdesserts

And yes, I know I overdid it with the pictures.

I headed back to Millie Creamerie the other day for a crepe. This was the Japanese special, which had strawberries, matcha sauce (more matcha!), red bean paste, coconut gelato, all piled into a slightly-sweet, crispy crepe.

Yay for FaceTime. Technology is cool because I like to see Mom and Dad, and Seline, even though they live in another province and we have a 3-hour time difference. They look so cute. My family is the best. 🙂

Seline painted this a few weeks ago. She is so talented! I wish I was as good as her when it comes to art. Can you believe that she freehanded this with oil paints? 

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Applied Health Sciences Fun Run pics! Why didn’t I post these earlier? Good question, Cindy, good question. I have no idea why I just wrote that in third-person.

A meal at Famoso Pizzeria (yup in the Waterloo days) on December 31, a day before I left for Toronto! I miss personal pizzas. When am I gonna find a place in Toronto that does this?

House pics!

Neat graphic of the muscles of the human body! Did you know that there are 680 skeletal muscles in the human body? Nevertheless, the exact number is difficult to define because different sources group muscles differently, e.g. regarding what is defined as different parts of a single muscle or as several muscles. Examples actually range from 640 to 850.

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Guys… is it really already February 24?! Where on EARTH is the time going?

Anyways, pop me a message below about BOOKS! Tell me – do you like to read? What is your favourite recent read? I’m always craving a good book, and psychological thrillers are my favourite. I’m all about the paranormal-romance-suspense-mystery fusion (bonus points if it’s got a powerful heroine à la Katniss Everdeen!).

A Spoonful of Octopus: MIKU Review!

The best thing about winter in Toronto is probably definitely Winterlicious.

A little bit about Miku:

  • They are involved with the Ocean Wise conservation program, launched by the Vancouver Aquarium
  • They are famous for their addictive Aburi sushi, which means “flame-seared”
  • Miku makes their aburi sushi with European-style sauces, Japanese bamboo charcoal, and seasoned rice (shari)
  • Miku’s regular dessert menu also features a green tea wafer cake, a mochi dome with black sesame ice cream, and toffee pudding with herbed apples and togarashi meringue

I was given this free amuse-bouche of octopus tartare with wasabi gremolata and a white wine vinegar dressing.

Lovely ambiance with a sleek and modern decor.

Miku Zen

  • Aburi Albacore Tuna
  • Ebi fritter
  • Beef tenderloin skewers
  • Miso Marinated Tofu Salad

My appetizer was the Miku Zen, which had four plates with a variety of flavours. I really enjoyed the crispy ebi fritter, which came with a smokey and sweet chili aioli. It tasted like a freshly-prepared app from Cactus Club or another trendy Canadian restaurant. I’m not normally one to devour anything meaty, but these beef tenderloin skewers were quite impressive. I finished all of the pieces! The miso marinated tofu, however, was my favourite part. Flavourful, with excellent texture and the right amount of dressing, I definitely wanted more of this dish and would order it again.

Signature Aburi Sushi Plate

Salmon oshi, saba oshi, coal harbour roll, Aburi nigiri, queens quay roll

Without a doubt, the salmon oshi was my favourite part. I loved having so many parts to this entree to savour.

Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding with miso salted caramel sauce, tahitian vanilla bean ice cream, candied sesame pecans

Massive internal debate before ordering this guy. It was incredibly hard to decide between this and the famous green tea opera, but so glad I selected the chocolate croissant bread pudding. Really was as good as it sounds and looks 🙂

That’s it for today, friends! I just had a massive breakfast that involved one-too-many handfuls of granola. Time to get the day started. Hope the long weekend was fantastic for everyone!

Sweet, Spicy, and Sour: BLOOM Review!

Happy Family Day long weekend, Canadian friends! Today, I’m sharing an extremely delayed post that I should have shared weeks ago. I went to Bloom, a restaurant in West Toronto, for their Winterlicious meal.

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Bloom is located on Bloor Street in West Toronto. They serve Nuevo Latino cuisine, which is essentially a beautiful blend of Latin American and Spanish cuisine. The restaurant itself is warm, modern, and friendly, with a small team of chefs dedicated to creating tasty dishes using simple ingredients with bold flavours.

SOPA DE SETAS

Puree Of Wild Foraged Mushrooms With Roasted Poblano Peppers

This soup was made with tons of chewy mushrooms, onions, garlic, and potatoes. It was flavourful, rich, and almost ‘meaty’ in flavour, despite being a vegetarian option. The mushrooms added plenty of texture and flavour, and was surprisingly not pureed (as the menu had stated). I had been expecting a creamy soup, but this was a lovely surprise.

I also received a pot of tea with sugar and milk. Delicious addition to the meal. Thanks to Chef Pedro for this!

FRITURAS DE MAIZ (V) (GF)

Corn Fritters & Wild Mushrooms Escabeche, served With Chili Avocado & Piquillo Pepper Jam

Y’all probably know I love fritters (for some reason, I just typed BLISTERS… okay). These were some of the best I’ve had, and extremely photogenic too. The sweet chili jam was the cherry on top. Everything in this meal was extremely flavourful, and I wish there were more fritters.

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A great view of Bloor street, lovely customer service, and seriously Instagrammable meals. What’s not to love? Plus, you haven’t seen dessert yet 😉

PUDDING DE GUAYABA CON SALSA DE VAINILLA

Guava Bread Pudding With Vanilla Creme Anglaise

Guava! Cool! The only thing I knew about guava before this meal was that my dad liked unripened guava… dipped in Taiwanese sour plum powder. Weird. I know. This dessert was unbelievable. It looks small, but it sure was mighty. I loved it!

Overall, a phenomenal meal with excellent service, and a great location. I will certainly be back!