When You Double The Butter

This post was hiding in my DRAFTS folder for four months! Does that ever happen to you guys? You write a post, keep it in Drafts to update another day, then completely forget about it until months later?

Probably just me. 🙈

Anyways… I executed the world’s greatest baking failure.

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See that butter up there? It’s twice as much as I should have used. 😮

Chocolate Nutella Cookies Recipe

Makes 72 cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 sticks unsalted butter, room temp (NOT 1.5 cups, NOT 340 g)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (150 g)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar (150 g)
  • 1 cup Nutella (280 g)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour (148 g)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (31 g)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Mix into the butter mixture on low speed until fully incorporated, scraping down the bottom and sides at least once to ensure even mixing.

Add chocolate chips and hazelnuts, chill 10 min: Fold in the chocolate chips and hazelnuts and refrigerate the dough for ten minutes.

Spoon onto lined cookie sheets and bake: Spoon tablespoon-sized drops of dough onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool on the sheets for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

They looked pretty good going in, if anything, a little too soft. They came out an absolute disaster. Completely inedible. I learned, I learned. Baking really is a chemistry. Where there’s a whisk, there’s a way, I suppose, until you use 1.5 cups of butter.

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Lunch another day: spinach and feta omelet with cherries, plus baked treats, yogurt, and coconut cookies. These coconut thins are my favourite, and many many more were devoured.

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Back when I was on my waffle kick! These were so yummy, and there was much more yogurt devoured post-photo.

Another day, Mom made chive scrambled eggs (chives from the backyard), pearl meatballs (pork, green onions, and water chestnuts, rolled in sticky rice before steaming), and fried fish. All three dishes tasted great!

I loved these “red velvet” waffles another day. I made them in the blender: beets and a mashed banana, with lots of cocoa powder, before topping them with the creamiest nut butter and hemp hearts.

This was a German apple cake slice with yogurt, and a party meal that we enjoyed at my mom’s friend’s house.

Almond cake, created by my mom. The whipped cream topping was great!

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Blueberry Almond Layer Cake with Whipped Cream

Serves 16

Cake INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups almond meal, firmly packed
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 and 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Topping and Cream INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups whipped cream
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • blueberries to decorate
  • chopped nuts, if desired, to decorate

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Grease two round pans with coconut oil, dust with almond meal, and place a piece of parchment paper on the base.
  3. Beat egg, maple syrup or honey, coconut oil, and vanilla extract.
  4. Add baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk well.
  5. Finally, add almond meal. Mix until just combined.
  6. Separate evenly into two round pans.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes, or more if needed.
  8. Remove from oven. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then place on cooling rack to cool completely.
  9. For the whipped cream, freeze bowl and mixer for 15 minutes. Whipped cream should be cold too, fresh from the fridge. Place all ingredients into chilled bowl and whip until the peaks are firm.
  10. When the cake is cooled completely, cut into two layers and spread with whipped cream, then “ice” around the outside. Decorate with blueberries, chocolate shavings, other fruit, nuts, or more.

Once, Seline and I went to Wild Rice, a gluten-free and restaurant where I enjoyed turmeric rice topped with prawns and bok choy in a garlic-coconut reduction. The sauce was otherworldly.

Seline’s crispy chicken cubes were also tasty.

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We had that meal at the Fraser River quay in New Westminster, after silks.

The quay is so, so beautiful in the sunshine.

This is a new variation that Seline and I were working on.

Our summer garden flowers are at the peak of their blossom.

Our morning walks are always so enjoyable.

New book that I’m [mostly] in love with. I finished it a while ago, and have so much to say. Has anyone read this and would like to discuss?!

Over the weekend, my family went to the Korean market, where my mom purchased $80 worth of meat (all cuts!), in addition to kimchi, fish balls, and Korean pancakes. The red bean pancakes are my favourite.

Another day, we had a fanciful Mom Dinner with all sorts of fresh dishes.

And for dessert, aunt Mimi and uncle Charles brought a chocolate mousse cake from Whole Foods.

I had all kinds of Chinese buns for breakfast that day, and the taro was my favourite, followed by red bean and chestnut.

Have a beautiful Sunday, everyone!

Goodbye, Waterloo

On Wednesday (3 days ago), I flew out of Toronto and came back home to BC.

My last few meals in Ontario were absolutely delicious.

Good times were spent with my friends (this is Kianna, my friend from aerial silks) – and we had a great lunch at Solé Seafood Bar.

Complimentary bread, tomato and blue cheese noodles, spinach and feta flatbread – both of which I shared with my friend Lara. Kianna had the shrimp scampi.

For dessert, we had a dark chocolate tart with creme fraiche and berry coulis.

One day, I cooked Gordon Ramsay scrambled eggs, which turned out irresistibly creamy. They did take a little extra effort to make, and I prefer my spinach + cheddar eggs.

Meal plans were created:

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I liked my sweet potato fries, salmon, with broccoli couscous. The garlic aioli was my favourite part.

Pancakes are always a dreamy breakfast. Chopped prunes on top!

Almond Flour Pancakes

Serves 6 pancakes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Whisk dry ingredients together.
  2. Beat together liquid ingredients. Whisk wet into dry.
  3. Allow batter to rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Heat up pan to medium-high. Cook pancakes until tops are bubbly, edges are dry, and bottoms golden brown. Flip over and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  5. Serve hot with butter.

Have a lovely rest of the day, friends!

Summer Things (Quinoa Overload)

Good Saturday morning, everyone! This semester is a challenging one. It’s called my “2B” semester, and it’s known by all as the semester “2B or not 2B” because it’s kind of that make-it-or-break-it time.

A delicious creamy pumpkin quinoa casserole was made, topped with loads of fontina (new favourite cheese!) and broiled. I loved every bite of this 8×8 pan that I made!

Long lab reports were written… (this isn’t even all of it!). Glad it’s done.

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Memes were made for my sister, Seline 🙂

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I had plenty of great toast. This was a multigrain thick-sliced loaf baked in-store at Vincenzo’s, and it had great crunch and wonderful flavour from all the seeds. I topped half with smashed avocado, and the other half with almond butter and chopped prunes.

I’m really excited for next week, because I made a full food schedule. I’m looking forward to trying a dark chocolate breakfast quinoa recipe, and revisit some old favourites like broccoli casserole and sweet potato spinach stew. A shopping list was also made!

These peanut butter chocolate banana snacking squares are some of my favourite desserts of all time. All-time, I tell you!

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These chocolate muffins were chock-full of ricotta and surprisingly egg-free! The ricotta lent a great, springy texture.

Mom eats so much fruit back home in BC. I miss having fruit bowls all the time, because it’s pretty unfeasible for a university student to eat say, 1/4 an apple with 1/2 a kiwi, 1/2 a banana, and 1/2 a pear. 😦

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Canada Day happened! No, I didn’t go to see the fireworks… but I stayed at home and listened to got annoyed by them all night. Is that close enough?

Another serving of that amazing pumpkin quinoa casserole, with some brownie! I made a massive pan of spectacular brownies, using pureed prunes (soaked in boiling water). They turned out very rich and decadent… and I have two squares left before I’ve eaten an entire 8×8 pan. By myself.

Oats – I mean quinoa! – in a jar with banana slices.

As you can see, I have a lot of quinoa to use up before I move out in mid-August. This was  another quinoa dish, this time mixed with sautéed mushrooms and yellow squash, mixed with a ricotta-plum tomato sauce, and topped with fontina. It tasted great! On the side, some garlicky green beans sautéed with tons of butter. Butter makes everything better 😉

Another day, I whipped up these glorious pancakes! Two eggs and half a sweet potato were whisked with a bit of flour, some baking powder, vanilla, and cinnamon. They always turn out super tender, and a perfect base for nut butter, yogurt, and granola. This was my favourite breakfast of the week.

Here is that quinoa-ricotta-plum tomato casserole again! I have one serving left, which I’ll be having for dinner tonight. The fontina is my favourite part 🙂

Some other things: I have to sell everything on my desk (actually, everything in my room for that matter). Also, my favourite calculator broke, and it was the saddest moment of my life. Friends and I are loving the summer semester, and we live in the same direction so we often walk home from classes together. Also, FaceTime-ing with Seline! She is the best.

Baked oatmeal (my favourite recipe) was made and enjoyed with blueberries, granola, and coconut chips. Almond butter on top of the baked oats. I have another serving of baked oats that I’ll be savouring tomorrow morning with some peanut butter!

Mom and Dad look so cute.

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Another afternoon, I walked to Sobeys to grocery-shop and saw the nicest sunset over Columbia Lake.

Revisiting old photographs – I took this when I visited the Ripley’s Aquarium last year with my dad. It’s o-fish-ially the best non-food photo I’ve ever taken. <– I’m also good at stealing puns and reusing them multiple times.

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One more thing that I found on the internet and completely agree with:

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Hope you all have a wonderful, wonderful rest of the weekend!

2B or not 2B

My phone lock screen was my school schedule, but it’s been ten weeks so I don’t think I should be using the schedule anymore. My memory isn’t that bad… I hope. This semester, my 2B semester, is pretty insane.

New wallpaper = Mom’s buttered toast.

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A new ice cream truck opened in Uptown Waterloo (ice cream in uptown FINALLY!), so I had to stop by to try some! I had a scoop of Grammy’s Cupboard (vanilla with cookie dough, peanut butter cups, and brownie chunks – OMFG I know), and one scoop of chocolate caramel swirl with cashews. This tasted amazing, was a bit on the sweeter side, but I don’t think I would buy it again, considering the 2 half-scoops (= 1 full) was $5.00.

 

Here’s what it looks like! The person who served me was very gracious and kind.

 

Before the hearty ice cream, I had a glorious meal at Princess Cafe. The sandwich was my all-time favourite: grilled cheese with harvarti, goat cheese, walnuts, rosemary butter, and honey. The soup of the day was vegan tomato ale, which I was extremely skeptical about, but it tasted incredible. I am officially a fan of tomato soup! I enjoyed every drop of the soup and savoured every bite of the rich, crispy, cheesy, crusty sandwich.

 

For breakfast (don’t ask me why I am moving in reverse chronological order) – I enjoyed a bowl of plain oatmeal topped with a banana and tons of peanut butter. Yes, there is more underneath the massive scoop. Hemp hearts and cinnamon also made an appearance.

 

Then, the oats became granola, the bowl became a jar, and my nice messy desk at home became the bus stop bench on a sunny day. That sounded kind of poetic… or maybe I just have very low standards for poetry. This was so yummy – PB on anything!

 

Jars, because they save my lazy butt from washing dishes 😉

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So colourful! The natural lighting at the window makes for some lovely photos of my lunch and snacks. I wish I could say that I made those falafel, but I didn’t – everything else is homemade!

 

This frittata was also homemade, and I can’t wait to make another one. Eggs, spinach, roasted red peppers, mushrooms, and garlic goat cheese came together to make a tasty breakfast that I enjoyed with a nectarine and some yogurt with granola.

 

I’m cleaning out my room and found these pictures that I drew two years ago! Drawing is so much fun. I used to love drawing so much, but now have no time to draw waste all my time doing other things.

 

Have an incredible week, friends!

It’s Oak-y

Aren’t these oak tree leaf-shaped sticky notes the cutest? I found them at Hanji, a Korean stationery/card/gift store on Queen Street West in Toronto. I love them!

My life recently has consisted of lots of oatmeal and bananas. I think my body is 20% oatmeal. I love adding a side of yogurt to my oatmeal to add a boost of protein and some chilled creaminess to the warm, sticky oats.

With overripe bananas I made this recipe! It came out of the oven beautifully puffed, and then sank down. Fortunately, the taste is still on point.

Simple Oat Banana Bread

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 medium overripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup cashew butter (or any other nut/seed butter)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup quick oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 heaping tsp vanilla extract
  • splash water or milk (dairy milk or nut milk)
  • chocolate chips, coconut, nuts/seeds, or any other filler or toppings you like

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a bread pan with parchment paper, so there is some overhang for easy removal.
  2. Place all ingredients in blender and blend at medium-high speed, until everything is broken down. Fold in chocolate chips or any other filler you’d like. I left mine plain this time.
  3. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Spread out, and top with more toppings if desired.
  4. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely.
  5. Remove when the loaf is completely cool. Store in an airtight container for 5 days, or freeze.

NOTE: I can’t wait to try this recipe soon using peanut butter and swirling in some jam! This recipe is sweetened using only the two bananas. If you like, add 1/4 cup honey, brown sugar, maple syrup, or coconut sugar to the blender for additional sweetness. If you do not have a blender or food processor, you can also whisk this by hand, using 1/2 cup of packed oat flour.


Another day, I enjoyed leftovers of the trout coulibiac from the Tempered Room.

Check out my spring/summer schedule, friends! I can’t wait to be headed back to school, even though I love working.

Schedule 2

On Saturday night, I went to Fresh on Spadina for a healthy salad bowl dinner. This bowl was a baby size, but was still massive and incredibly filling. I also had this purple smoothie made with banana, coconut milk, blueberries, and apple. The tempeh on this salad was super soft, and I loved the sweet potato and “3*6*9” dressing made with tahini, maple syrup, and lemon juice.

I wish I had more to show/tell you today, but that’s it!

Have a glorious rest of the week 🙂

Shepherd’s π

Very rarely do I meet a brownie recipe that I don’t 100% adore. This was one of those recipes. I followed this recipe by Chocolate Covered Katie, who I am really not a fan of. Gritty, too-chewy, and unpleasantly dense with minimal chocolate flavour, these brownies were certainly not my favourite. Plus, my constructive criticism to her recipe was deleted from her blog. Okay…

Dressed up with some yogurt, nut butter, and granola, these brownies weren’t too awful. 🙂

This frittata-like thing was made with leftover steamed broccoli, chopped into tiny pieces and whisked up with three eggs, salt, pepper, cayenne, and garlic powder with a splash of milk. Then, I cooked it in a nonstick skillet over medium low heat, covered, until the top looked cooked. I added maple goat cheddar on the top, then slid the frittata onto a baking dish for broiling in the oven. The top became perfectly crispy, and tasted fantastic with some avocado toast.

This recipe will be repeated with feta and spinach soon!

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Pancakes! I used this recipe for thick, super hearty pancakes. With hazelnut flour instead of almond flour, these were ultra-flavourful. Delicious with some creamy yogurt and crispy granola.

Cafe Polonez is a Polish restaurant in Roncesvalles in West Toronto. I ate all of the following:

  • 2 potato pancakes
  • 1 cabbage roll stuffed with mushrooms and rice, topped with mushroom gravy
  • 2 cheddar cheese and potato pierogies
  • 2 cottage cheese and potato pierogies
  • lots of sour cream

How do you spell pierogies? This was my first time enjoying Polish food, and I have to say that I’m a big fan. Will definitely be back to Cafe Polonez because I want more of that incredible cabbage roll!

This recipe was made when I realized that I had half a jar of spaghetti sauce to use up.

Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

  • quinoa (1/2 cup)
  • spaghetti sauce (1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 2 whole peppers, tops cut off.
  • as much cheese as you’d like

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix all ingredients except peppers.
  2. Stuff peppers with mixture. I alternated between layers of the quinoa mixture and maple goat cheddar.
  3. Bake 30 mins covered. Remove foil.
  4. Increase heat to 400. Bake 20 minutes.

No pictures, sadly. 😦


Shepherd’s pie on Pi Day! March 14, that is.

I roasted three sweet potatoes in the oven for an hour, then pureed them with a splash of milk, salt, and pepper to make this creamy topping. The filling was made with frozen mixed vegetables, chopped mushrooms, and lots of brown lentils.

This is how I made the lentils:

Easy Stovetop Lentils

Makes as much or as little as you’d like – just use 1 part lentils to 2 parts water 🙂

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Rinse lentils thoroughly. Pick out shrivelled lentils or debris.
  2. Combine lentils and water. IMPORTANT: here, you can add other flavour-boosters, like a couple of bay leaves or some cloves of garlic. I added some big chunks of onion. Do not add salt here.
  3. Bring to rapid simmer over medium high heat.
  4. Reduce heat to gentle simmer.
  5. Cook 25 minutes.
  6. Salt lentils when they are tender, no longer crunchy. Stir in salt. Taste and add more if needed.
  7. Keep refrigerated for about one week. Add to soups, salads, or other recipes.

Super yummy! Turns out 1 cup of lentils and 3 sweet potatoes will make about 3 servings.

This comforting meal was born when I didn’t have any vegetables on hand. Behold – the sweet potato cauliflower gratin! I made this with one roasted sweet potato, roasted cauliflower, gruyere cheese, tons of crushed butter crackers (like breadcrumbs…ish) and dried basil. Toast was topped with a lot of garlic butter, because garlic bread makes any meal better. 🙂

That’s it for this snowy, windy, Thursday morning!