Pow Wow!

Over the weekend, I discovered this super simple recipe for creamy black bean soup. Thanks, Allrecipes! Spicy, rich, and full of black beans, this recipe is a keeper. I served mine with a simple buttery, cheesy grilled cheese.

Black Bean Soup

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can black beans (15 oz), rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth or water with salt
  • 1/2 cup chunky salsa
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • lime juice, as much as you’d like
  • cayenne pepper, as much as you’d like

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine half the beans, broth, salsa, garlic, and cumin. Blend until fairly smooth. Add the rest of the beans.
  2. Heat in saucepan over medium heat until thoroughly reheated. Stir in lime and cayenne pepper.
  3. Ladle into bowls and top with desired toppings.

I’ve been into quinoa porridge recently, blending up a whole overripe banana with some milk and cocoa powder, then cooking it up with cooked quinoa and topping it with peanut butter. The PB becomes gloriously melty, and tastes awesome with yogurt and granola.

I also created the BEST banana chocolate almond cake! Pictures to come, but here’s the recipe. This will be made again soon!

Banana Chocolate Almond Cake

Makes an 8×8 pan. I cut mine into 16.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 overripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Place all ingredients except flour in a blender.
  3. Mash bananas. Whisk in eggs. Beat well, then add oil and syrup or honey.
  4. Add dry ingredients and use a whisk to stir until fully combined.
  5. Grease baking pan with oil or line with parchment.
  6. Bake 40 minutes. Remove and cool completely before tilting out of the pan.

Toronto is such a lovely city. I walked around the touristy Nathan Philips square on Sunday, when there was lots of sunshine.

On the same day, I had a tasty brunch at the Pow Wow Cafe in Kensington Market. The Pow Wow Cafe serves indigenous food. I had a fry bread (literally deep-fried dough) topped with two poached eggs, smoked salmon, goat cheese, and dill sauce. Potatoes, fruit, and a fresh beet salad on the side.

After that, I stuffed my face with frozen greek yogurt from Grk Ygrt, also in the Kensington Market. While this concoction with Callebaut white chocolate, toasted coconut, and peach preserve was tasty, this was the “mini” size which cost over $5. It was called the Maui Wowie!

Finally, I made a simple pasta with leftover sliced carrots, mushrooms, and spinach, with a creamy tomato vodka sauce and topped with feta cheese. Cleaning the fridge and the pantry!

That is really all I have to say for this foggy Tuesday morning. Have a lovely week, friends 🙂

 

24 Pasta-less Ways to Use Leftover Pasta Sauce

24 Pasta-less Ways to Use Leftover Pasta Sauce

  1. Simmer pasta sauce, then poach two eggs. Add pepper and grated cheese.
  2. Personal pizza on top of a pita or flatbread
  3. Chili – add beans and chili powder
  4. Spanish rice with olives and onions
  5. Ratatouille
  6. Minestrone soup
  7. Italian meatloaf
  8. Panini: use crusty bread and a melty cheese like fontina
  9. Boil sauce, then add cod until cooked though to make poached cod
  10. Eggplant parmesan
  11. Pizza
  12. Potato casserole: mashed potatoes mixed with sauce and topped with cheese, then baked
  13. Baked brie
  14. Mussels marinara
  15. Tuna marinara
  16. Pizza-flavoured stuffed potato
  17. Baked beans
  18. Tomato macaroni and cheese
  19. Italian quesadilla
  20. Spaghetti squash
  21. Rice or quinoa stuffed peppers with pasta sauce mixed into the filling, topped with cheese
  22. On top of scrambled eggs
  23. Italian grilled cheese
  24. Creamy tomato soup

Enjoy!

Holy Cannoli

Mattachioni is an Italian restaurant in the Junction. I ordered this tasty pizza for one, which had the crispiest, doughiest, freshest-tasting crust I’ve had. It was topped with fresh mozzarella, stracciatella (like burrata), basil, arugula, and marinated tomato. It was a “pizza bianca”, which means that instead of tomato sauce, it was dressed with a mild white sauce.

Dessert was two pieces of this cannoli. It was my first time trying cannoli, and I’m in love. Crisp, cookie-like, with a citrusy sweet ricotta filling, these were hearty and the perfect way to end my meal.

Is this true or what?

I found these charts quite helpful, especially the one about marinating times. How about you? Do you like infographics like this one?

My class schedule is out! Yay! These are my courses for the spring/summer term, which goes from May 1 to mid-August. I really like my schedule, especially the Friday 😉

I’m so excited about this roti that I can’t type anymore. Creamy, spinach-y, and loaded with flavour. Saag paneer (spinach and paneer cheese) is my all-time favourite indian dish. This was so filling and I was dying halfway through but powered through the whole thing. Worth it!

My grandma is the most thoughtful, content, candid, and funny person I know. I was lucky to FaceTime with her on Saturday afternoon.

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Some recent meals cooked by Mom back home in BC.

And two quinoa flour recipes! Again, I don’t have any pictures (Best Food Blogger of 2017… I know) because I love baking after dinner. And sadly, there’s never any natural light by then!

Quinoa Flour Banana Bread

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 2/3 cups quinoa flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large overripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips, optional but recommended

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a loaf pan.
  2. Place all ingredients except quinoa flour in blender. Blend well.
  3. Add quinoa flour and mix to combine. Add chocolate chips. Stir.
  4. Spread batter into pan.
  5. Bake 55 minutes, or until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool and enjoy!

Healthy Quinoa Flour Carrot Cake

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 cup quinoa flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup grated carrots

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and/or line pan with coconut oil.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients in a mixing bowl (almond flour to sea salt)
  3. Mix wet ingredients together (melted coconut oil to grated carrots). Mix until smooth.
  4. Add dry to wet, whisking after each addition.
  5. Pour batter in prepared pan, tapping on the counter to release air bubbles.
  6. Bake 35 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Cool 20 mins. Flip over and release when cool. Cool completely before slicing.

That’s it! I have an 8-page report due TOMORROW and I’ve only written one, so I should go now!

Blog’s 3rd Birthday!

Turns out, today is my blog’s third birthday! I wish I’d remembered earlier, so I would have done something to celebrate (i.e. make a mug cake?). Regardless, I’m glad to have been blogging here for three years. I can’t believe what started as a simple oatmeal photo gallery has blossomed to become a place where I document everything from favourite recipes to my progress in aerial silks/hoop, acrobatics, and yoga. Along the way, I’ve also garnered a better understanding of who I am, what I stand for, and why I do what I love.

Grateful for all of the fabulous foodie blog friends who inspire me every day. Grateful for all of the lovely souls who comment to share positivity, encouragement, tips, and jokes. You guys always make me smile idiotically while looking at my screen. 🙂

School took me from home in BC to Waterloo, then to Toronto. Summer adventures brought me to St-Eustache, Quebec (2014) to Paris, France (2015) to Kathmandu, Nepal (2016). Everything has been such an adventure, and I’m thrilled to keep updating the blog with my explorations.


Alright! On a completely different note, I’ve been looking to get a membership for either the yoga studio, the local dance school, or both! Any thoughts?

I’ve been documenting all the restaurants I’ve been to, and the ethnic cuisine that they serve. Here are the ones I’ve hit in the 3 months of living in Toronto.

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The newest addition to this list was Karelia Kitchen, a Nordic smokehouse in Roncesvalles. They serve Scandinavian brunch, specializing in Finnish food. I started with the Nordic Fog, a unique twist on the London Fog (an Earl Grey tea latte). This was made with Swedish tea, wildflower honey, and steamed milk.

Potato Pancake
hot smoked trout, beet and horseradish cured
gravlax, poached duck egg.

YUM! My entree was incredibly flavourful, with a variety of tastes, textures, and temperatures. Plus, runny egg was involved. My favourite bites were the beet and horseradish cured gravlax. Sweet, pungent, salty, and perfectly smoky – I’d come back to buy some gravlax for myself!

Dessert was this entire slice of heirloom carrot cake, which was perfectly soft, melt-in-your mouth, and tangy from the cream cheese icing (not too sweet). I could eat this for days.

Dinner that day was simple – toast with avocado and a runny egg cooked inside a pepper and topped with a new Irish cheese that I found at the grocery store. Lighter dinner because of an unpictured delicious dessert that involved granola, muffin, nut butter, and yogurt. The best!

I am in desperate need for new shoes. These blue guys were a hand-me-down from my little sister (I know) and have been around the world and back. I wear them when I go out casually, even if there’s no running/cycling involved. Comfort comes first, right?

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I’ve been loving eggs so much recently, and I have to give credit to buttered toast and that amazing Irish cheese. I feel like I can never have enough buttered toast.

The view from my house at night! I wish you could all see it live, because I’m not sure if photos do it justice.

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That’s it for today, friends!

Goals and Green Oats

On Saturday, I lounged around the house all day before heading to Tabülè, a Lebanese restaurant in Midtown Toronto. There are two locations – one on Queen Street, and one on Yonge Street. They serve lunch from their dinner menu on Saturdays and Sundays.

My entree was the eggplant dish, which was absolutely divine. The eggplant reminded me of tempura, being lightly crispy on the outside but steaming hot and creamy inside. The tahini dressing was lemony and full of sesame flavour, and the lentil-rice base was hearty and flavourful.

Eggplant Vegetarian Plate
drizzled with taheena on a bed of müjaddara and topped with fresh pomegranate seeds

I’ve always loved eggplant, but this dish takes the cake for the #1 eggplant dish I’ve ever had.

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Dessert was equally impressive. The waitress recommended the custard, and I was happy to try it. On the side, I had two scoops of gelato (smaller than I’d expected): one vanilla halva, the other pistachio. The Künafa Ashta blew my mind. Warm, lightly-sweetened custard with tiny curds and a rich milky flavour, topped with crisp “threads” and a honey-like syrup and crushed pistachios. This dessert was certainly one to remember. A must-try if ever visit Tabülè.

Künafa Ashta
filo layered with custard and topped off with rose water syrup

Oatmeal has been in my bowl every morning. I like having a side of yogurt with granola.

These eggs were cooked in the last little bit of my spaghetti sauce and topped with smoked Gruyere cheese. Like a lazy girl’s shakshuka! The runny egg yolks tasted awesome with avocado toast.

St. Patrick’s day on Friday was celebrated with green oatmeal! I know it doesn’t look appetizing. It didn’t smell appetizing either, when it was cooking – I was preparing myself for the worst as I stirred some quick oats into the pureed spinach and banana. Fortunately, this breakfast was actually JUST AS TASTY as my usual banana oatmeals. I couldn’t detect the spinach at all.

Toronto’s Reference Library is an incredible place. Like a museum!

I love pancakes! Where did my pictures go?

Raspberry Oat Pancakes

Serves 1 (2 pancakes)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup quick or rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 medium ripe banana
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • coconut oil or butter, for greasing
  • raspberries, to decorate the top (I used frozen, unthawed)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place all ingredients in blender. Blend until very smooth. If the batter is too thick, add a splash of milk. If the batter is too watery, add a little flour (or extra oats) to thicken. I used a bit of coconut flour, which is extremely absorbent.
  2. Set batter aside to thicken for a few minutes.
  3. Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet with butter or coconut oil. Drop batter onto skillet. Place raspberries on top. Cook until bubbles appear, then flip and cook until both sides are golden brown. This recipe makes 2 pancakes.

On a completely different note, let’s talk GOALS.

I took a peek at my calendar. It is Sunday, March 19th as I write this, and I have 8 practices left before I am no longer eligible to practice at Cirque-Ability. On an unrelated note, can you believe it’s already mid/late-March? Where did January go? What happened to February? What did I do for the first three weeks of March?

Anyways. 8 practices left. That rounds to a little over 15 hours of aerials left in this month. I should have done this before, but I am going to set some goals and update at the beginning of April.

  • Silks goal: feel solid doing a ginger-isadora, and be confident in a helicopter-flag. Plan a routine to do, and run through it until it is memorized and comfortable.  Film myself doing all tricks from Levels I to IV. Straight leg inverts in the air (a small beat is okay).
  • Hoop goal: learn all Level II tricks, and do a Level II routine. Do a pullover without cheating. I just finished Level I and feel comfortable doing a Level I routine. Do a solid knee hang backbend with straight arms.
  • Acro goal: do a good roundoff, and hold a handstand for 5 seconds.
  • Other goal: register for a 1-month unlimited membership at the gym and at the yoga studio YogaTree on Bay/Dundas. Register for aerials classes at Brass Butterflies, Waterloo for May-August. Register for a one-month membership at the City Dance Corps.
  • Goals’ goal: set April goals for flexibility and conditioning. Take ‘before’ photos for flexibility and determine number of max repetitions for strength at the beginning of April.

Back to the food! New recipe for you guys. This was created when I realized I didn’t have 2 cups of hazelnut flour… I had 3/4 cup. Sad.

Pantry-Clearing Raspberry Cake

Serves 16

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup hazelnut flour
  • 3 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup quinoa flour
  • toppings: chocolate chips, berries, coconut, etc. as desired

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 320°F degrees. Grease 8×8 pan and line with parchment.
  2. Whisk all ingredients together.
  3. Pour into pan and top with desired toppings. I used frozen raspberries.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, until top is golden brown.
  5. Allow to cool completely before removing from pan.
  6. Enjoy!

If this cake is cut into 16 squares, each piece will have under 190 calories, 5 grams of protein, 2 grams of fibre, and 6 grams of sugar.


Cool link for you: scrambled eggs around the world!

Speaking of around the world, I’ve been visiting lots of restaurants and cafes around Toronto that serve food from different countries. It’s been great! I can’t wait to go to Rol San, a Chinese dim sum place.

Do you like dim sum? What would you order from their menu?

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This is what I’d have:

  • 2: steamed BBQ pork buns
  • 3: steamed custard buns
  • 24: pan fried pancakes
  • 27: fried eggplant
  • 38: puff BBQ pork pastry
  • 40: deep fried taro puffs with pork
  • 41: coconut red bean cake
  • 42: sesame paste ball
  • 43: baked milk tart
  • 50: deep fried pumpkin with yolk, cashew, sweet potato
  • 53: homemade steamed rice rolls

Okay, happy Monday!