Tea Time

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That winter wind has definitely arrived in Ontario this week. But I’m not a winter hater like many of the others in Toronto. Winter brings snowy activities, Christmas holidays (thank goodness) and cozy times snuggled under a blanket and a hot cup of TEA.

When the temperature dips I like to have a hot beverage by my side at all times. Tea is a favourite as there seems to be a different variety for every occasion. And many have added health benefits. This is my quick guide to some of your standard varietals.
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Mastering the Single Serving (+ Pancakes!)

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After 6 years of cooking for myself while in school I think I’ve finally mastered the art of cooking for one. It’s taken a lot of trial and error. I have witnessed an unfortunate amount of produce has rot in my fridge. I have eaten too many pots of chili for weeks on end. And numerous favourites have been missed as the task of making a single serving seemed impossible. This all ends here.

The first step to mastery is meal planning. Entering the store with a good grocery list means to less money spent and less funky smells wafting from the fridge. My list generally includes ingredients to make a large batch of something hearty that can easily be packed for a weeks worth of lunches. And for dinners I plan 2-3 seasonal vegetables and 1-2 protein sources can be easily intermingled in multiple meals.
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the mighty apple cider vinegar

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Fall. The leaves, the crisp air, the pumpkin! I love everything about it. Travelling has reminded me of this.

A character flaw I have, and I know many others can empathize with, is that I’m never quite satisfied with my location, no matter where I am. I think this is what drives me to travel. After spending my second summer in the Canadian Rockies, the mountain air, the natural beauty, I really wasn’t ready to leave. That place grips a piece of my heart tighter than I ever expected. Ontario wasn’t looking so bright when I returned home. But all it took was the metamorphosis of that first maple tree. The reds, the oranges, I don’t know if I could live without it.

With fall comes apples. I reserve my apple eating for this time of year. I’ll admit, i’m a bit of an apple snob. Apples are meant to be served obnoxiously crunchy and dripping with juice. These varieties are found exclusively at your local farmer’s market. If I must succumb to an ordinary apple it will be smothered in cinnamon and peanut butter for maximal enjoyment. This fall I’ve been experimenting with another apple product, apple cider vinegar. Continue reading

Maple Molasses Quinoa Granola

The past 5 years have involved more dietary changes than I can count to try and get my digestive system happy again. I’ve eaten dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, grain-free. I’ve followed a Candida diet, vegan diet, SCD diet, and FODMAPs diet. It’s been a challenge but I’ve most definitely benefited.

FODMAPs stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols. The FODMAP diet eliminates these 3 types of carbohydrates and polyols (a sugar alcohol) from the diet. These molecules are easily fermentable and poorly absorbed in the gut, and thus have been linked to multiple symptoms seen in IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). If you want to learn more, this article published in Alive magazine provides a good summary.

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February Foodie PenPals

The Lean Green Bean

Think back to elementary school. Remember that pen pal you had in Grade 3? Remember how exciting it was to get letters from them? That friend you never actually met, but cherished their handwritten tales. A fond childhood memory of mine.

Needless to say I was thrilled when a friend of mine introduced me to Foodie PenPals. The concept is the exact same as my beloved grade school pen pals, but instead of letters you exchange FOOD! What could be better.

If you’re interested in checking it out, the program is run by Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean.

For the month of February I was paired up with Deborah from Gourmet Mom. We both seemed to have similar tastes in food so I was excited to see what she had packed up for me. The timing of the box arrival could not have been better. 3 days before midterm season started. Excitement and sustenance for the week ahead. Thanks Deborah! Continue reading

San Diego in Pictures

What better time for a Christmas recap than 1 month post the momentous occasion. (Sorry for the delay!) As mentioned in the last post, family Christmas was spent in San Diego this year. Winter was swapped for summer, snow was replaced by sand, spruce trees by palm trees, and skiing by surfing. Despite this, Christmas cheer was not hard to find.

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Winter Comfort

It’s been a weird winter here in Toronto weather wise. Snow, rain, -27ºC, +12ºC, ice, LOTS of ice. I was lucky enough to escape to Southern California on the eve of the ice storm that devastated much of the city and the GTA. I spent the week with the sun on my face, sand between my toes, and drink in hand. Needless to say the subzero temperature was not a welcome part of returning home. So I set to the kitchen. Embracing my Northern Ontario roots, I knew what needed to be done to combat the internal chill.

Comfort food. More specifically, chicken pot pie.

This recipe will warm the kitchen and nourish the soul. It includes all the creamy, hearty goodness that you crave, but without the dairy, gluten or FODMAPs (somewhat). It’s a good recipe if you’re looking to clean the fridge out. Add whatever veggies you have/want. I used the lonely vegetables left behind after a week of cooking and it turned out just deeelish.

The almond flour crust lends a lovely nutty flavour to the dish and it’s sturdy texture prevents the dreaded soggy crust when leftovers are heated up!

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