Friday, 29 March 2013

Cilantro & Lime Quinoa Salad

Happy Easter, everyone! Though I am missing out on my family's Easter celebrations, Good Friday was indeed a good day with some beautiful weather. I spent the morning volunteering at a local meals-on-wheels kitchen, where I made 50 servings of finely-chopped fruit salad and a lot of beets. I am a relatively new volunteer at this organization, but I love the sense of community and the assortment of people who come together to provide sustainable and affordable food for those who need it. And even though chopping fruit is not exactly a test of my culinary creativity, there is something nice about just being in the kitchen and knowing that you are providing people with nourishment.

The gym was closed and it was a gorgeous and sunny spring day, so I grabbed my bike and headed down to the track to get out of the spin room and breathe some fresh air during my workout. I have to admit, I felt a little silly listening to the somewhat-ominous sounds emanating from my supercycle as actual cyclists zoomed past on their fancy bikes, but it was still a really nice way to spend a couple of hours outside. I must admit though, I really really miss running and rowing and feeling strong and competent during my workouts.

To finish off my day, I had a lovely vegetarian dinner with a friend. She made some delicious tofu veggie patties, and I brought over this quinoa salad. It had been in my fridge for a couple of days, so I livened it up by mixing in the diced flesh of two small avocados and a few handfuls of chickpeas - additions which I highly recommend.

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Thursday, 28 March 2013

Roasted Vegetable and Ricotta Quiche

Spring? Is that you? I think it might be.... the sky is bright blue, the temperatures are warming up, and the snow is definitely melting. I am ready to whip out the summer dresses (check) go for a run (hear that, foot?) and... eat some buttnernut squash? I don't believe this "winter" squash nonsense. Squash is a spring food, too. And fall. And summer. There is no wrong time to eat squash.

In celebration of Easter, I decided to make my favourite eggiest dish: quiche, featuring roasted vegetables and a coconut oil crust. A little bit of spring, a little bit of winter, a little bit of summer, and some herbs and creamy ricotta to tie everything together. The roasted carrots, mushrooms and squash add some depth and colour to this quiche, complementing the light and fluffy egg and ricotta base.

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Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Mint Chocolate Pudding Cupcakes

So, here is an ethical dilemma for you: is it ok to have your roommate's boyfriend lie to her and tell her that there are puppies at his place to buy you time to finish baking her birthday cupcakes? I weighed my options carefully, and decided that there are worse things than imaginary puppies. Like, for example, not having cupcakes.

I love baking birthday treats, but for the most part I refuse to buy butter or refined sugar, which makes baking a little difficult. Thankfully, I found this decadent, delicious, and deceptive chocolate cake recipe which is dairy-free, refined sugar-free, flourless and full of vegan protein. And rich and moist. And, now, minty and covered in smooth, soft, rich, deeply chocolatey pudding frosting.

She forgave me for the puppy ruse, if you were wondering.

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Friday, 22 March 2013

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Tagine

Dear springtime: please stop being such a tease.

Is it just me, or does it feel like every few days the air is full of that lovely feeling of almost-spring? It's not that I don't like snow, but we have now passed the equinox and my calendar says that it is not supposed to be winter. The days are longer than the nights, and the snow piles still towering over bus shelters are throwing me off.

The one thing that I appreciate about this week's surprise blizzard was the (hopefully) last chance to curl up by my window with a hot and hearty bowl of stew and watch the giant blowing flakes of snow endlessly piling up outside. 

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Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Orange Beet Quinoa Salad

This weekend, a friend from high school was in town and came by for lunch. I rarely see her, but always really enjoy catching up with her. She is such a sunny and energetic person, and the day was bright and sunny. This punchy and flavourful quinoa salad was the perfect thing for the spring-like day, before being walloped by this week's snow storm.

The sweet orange, salty feta, and vinegary beets complemented each other nicely, and were rounded off by the more hearty and subtle red quinoa on a bed of baby kale. This dish was full of bright and distinctive flavours, which accentuated each other without being overwhelming and brought us both back for seconds. Oh, and my favourite part? My aunt gave me the beets, which she had grown and pickled herself. How lucky am I?

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Sunday, 17 March 2013

Lemony Asparagus Soup

10:30am on St. Patrick's day and I'm halfway through my third beer mug full of my favourite green beverage. Green tea, that is. I'm sure the student ghetto is already full of green belligerence, but I am happily sitting in my kitchen making asparagus soup and listening to Cat Stevens. Hey... at least it's green?
I promise that this soup is actually green. And yummy.
Everyone has different ways of celebrating the coming of spring. Some people choose to celebrate it by drinking a lot of beer and disregarding the university's annual email reminding us of the fine for public urination. However, it is currently -10˚ and I can't afford the $316 fine, so I decided to make a fresh, lemony, green soup to remind me of springtime but still keep me warm.
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Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Crunchy Kale Tahini Pita

As the sun starts to rise earlier, I love the feeling of waking up with the sun and taking advantage of the morning to do some laundry and hit the gym before heading to the library to get some work done. I also love heading out on Friday evenings and spending the night dancing my face off. Unfortunately, these two interests never mix well for me. By the time I dragged myself out of bed and to the gym at noon on Saturday, I was craving something to make myself feel refreshed and healthy again. I was also craving bread. This simple mixture of crunchy deep green kale, smooth tahini and sweet, tangy orange juice in a pita with a glass of cold milk really hit the spot. The kick of protein from the chickpeas also made it a good post-workout meal.
I'm embarrassed to post this in such poor quality. Unfortunately I don't own a camera, so supbar phone photos will have to do.

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Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Comfort and Spice and Everything Nice: Peanut Tomato Soup

Fact: I love potlucks. I am slightly addicted to potlucks. In my ideal world, every day would be a potluck.

Fact: I love peanut butter. I love cooking with peanut butter, and sometimes (read: way too frequently) just eat it straight out of the jar by the spoonful. In my ideal world, every meal would involve peanut butter.

Fact: I love soup. I usually have at least three varieties of soup in my freezer. In my ideal world, I would make soup every single day.

Can you see where this is heading?

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Sunday, 3 March 2013

A Thought

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