Pumpkin: a craving you just can’t kick!

Here I am with summer around the corner (birds chirping, puppy potty training, girls in ‘festival clothing’) and yet I have had the strongest craving for something pumpkin. I sat and home and thought to myself what should I make? A pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin squares? That night I found myself at the grocery store gleaming over the wonderful surprise that stores keep pumpkin puree on the shelves all year round. Time to tackle this craving. I got my puree and was out the door, it was time for me to get home and make my pumpkin loaf. 
 
I have said it before and I will say it again – remember – pumpkin puree does not have your ‘PSL’ taste. This taste is going to come from your pumpkin pie spice, so if you do not have that seasoning stop reading and go to the store to buy some. 
 
Pumpkin Loaf 
1 ½ cups flour
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
2 eggs 
1 ¼ cup pumpkin puree
½ cup vegetable oil 
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ – 1 cup roasted and salted pumpkin seeds
 
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Bowl #1: add all of the dry ingredients to this bowl; flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin spice spices. Mix all of the dry ingredients together. 
 
Bowl #2 (make sure this bowl is larger as you will be adding the dry ingredients to it*) mix together the 2 eggs, the oil, pumpkin puree and vanilla. Once the liquid ingredients are mixed slowly add in the dry ingredients about ¼ cup at time. Do not over-mix this! Give it a 5 second mix each time you add a in your dry mixture. 
*Very helpful if you have a mixer to do this, but hand mixing is just fine (just fold ingredients together gently) 
 
Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray and pour your batter in. Place the pumpkin seeds on top of bread (I covered the top of mine), gently pressing down so that the seeds are touching the batter. Bake for 45- 50 minutes or until your knife comes out clean.
 
I let my loaf cool in the pan for about 20 minutes. Once slightly cooled, I placed it on a cutting board and sliced away! 
 
Left over pumpkin? No problem! Whenever I have leftover pumpkin puree I add it to my oatmeal (EXTRA, EXTRA! RECIPE BELOW). 
1 bowl of plain quick cook oats
Pinch of salt 
Pinch of pumpkin pie spice 
Pinch of cinnamon
2 spoonful’s of pumpkin
1 spoonful of maple syrup (if you are feeling naughty)
Place your oats, salt, pumpkin pie space and cinnamon into a bowl and cook according to package directions. Once your oats have cooked add pumpkin (and maple) into your bowl. Once this is complete, you have the perfect little breakfast or snack!
 
This pumpkin loaf recipe is so simple, honestly the hardest part is not over mixing the batter (and even that is an easy task!). I hope you take some time a test out this loaf and share it with friends / family / co-workers. It will make you a rockstar in their eyes! xx
pumpkin loaf.JPG
 

 

Nutella banana cream dessert

This morning I woke up ready to make myself a beautiful vegetable quiche but to my surprise both of the pie crusts that I had bought a week ago were destroyed (crumbled, broken) so quiche was out of the question. Besides just baking up the pie crusts and eating them as they are, which I highly recommend doing one day in your life, I thought of different ways that I could use the crust as a base to a different dish. I have had a craving for a banana cream pie, so that is the direction I went!

Important to note: This is not your grandmas traditional banana cream pie! So if you are looking for that…you came to the wrong page.

Nutella banana cream dessert

2 broken pie crusts, baked until golden brown

3 bananans

2 packs of vanilla pudding

2.5 cup of cold milk

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Nutella (I would never limit you to how much you want to add…)

In a medium bowl, add in two packs of the vanilla pudding, cinnamon and milk, whisk until smooth. Place this in the refrigerator for 10 minuets.

Once your pie crusts have cooled, crumble the pie crust into a mix of large chunks and sand like texture. Place this at the bottom on a 8×8 pan. Once your crust is down, drizzle on your Nutella and top with two medium sliced bananas.

Take out your pudding and add one sliced banana, folding until the bananas are equally divided among the pudding. Add this to the top of your pie crust mixture and set in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve (up to one day).

Before serving, add sliced bananas around the ring of dessert and (if you would like) whipped cream! I would suggest serving in individual ramekins or fun little bowls.

Life lesson, before you go to throw something broken away think of how you can transform it!

BanCreamDessert

Hosting on a 20 somethings budget

As we leave our parents nest and venture out into the world, the next step (after finding a place and a solid income) is hosting friends and/or family! Sure you are not going to be able to afford a table scape like your mother or know the best wines to pair with your bag of chips, but (like anything) the more you host the better you will become at it. 

Below are some recipes that I shared on my YouTube video about hosting.

Homemade flavored water (1.5L jugs, each)

water

Cucumber Mint

1 large cucumber skinned and sliced into half inch pieces

Half a container of mint 

  1. Take the mint leaves and give them a good spanking, it wakes up the flavors and wonderful aromas.
  2. Place the leaves at the bottom of the jug and add your cucumber.
  3. Once all the ingredients are in the jug, put on your lid and give them a good toss.
  4. After you do this, fill the jug with water and let sit in the fridge for no less than 2 hours. 

Grapefruit Mint 

1 large grapefruit skinned and sliced into half moon pieces

Half a container of mint

  1.  Take the mint leaves and give them a good spanking, it wakes up the flavors and wonderful aromas.
  2. Place the leaves at the bottom of the jug and add your grapefruit.
  3. Once all the ingredients are in the jug, put on your lid and give them a good toss.
  4. After you do this, fill the jug with water and let sit in the fridge for no less than 2 hours.

Kale balls

Kale balls

4 handfuls of Kale (put into a strainer)

2 tablespoons of garlic 

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

Parmesan cheese 

2 eggs 

1/2 tablespoon red chili flakes

2 tablespoons onion power

Salt and Pepper

  1. In a large pot, boil water with a pinch of salt. Once it comes it a roaring boil, pour over the kale a cup at a time (massage the kale after each cup of water is poured, this helps loosen it up a bit). 
  2. Once you have gotten the kale to a point that is is soft but still have its texture, dab it off with a washcloth and add to a large bowl. 
  3. In a little bowl, break the eggs adding a pinch of salt and pepper, set aside 
  4. Add your garlic, red chili flakes and onion powder to the kale
  5. Slowly mix in your eggs
  6. Add 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  7. Slowly add in the breadcrumbs – this you have to eye ball, watching the mixture starting to form (do not add breadcrumbs in all at one because you cannot take them out!)
  8. Once you have reached your desired consistency let sit for 5 mins
  9. Rolls the into golf ball sized rounds and place on greased baking sheet
  10. Place in refrigerator to help set, around 20-30 mins. 
  11. Pop in the oven at 350 for 20 mins. You want to make sure that they are cooked through, if not after the 20 mins keep going in 5 min intervals. 
  12. Place hot balls in a bowl and sprinkle with more parmesan cheese!

Mushroom and onion bread topper 

mushrooms

1 container of fresh sliced mushrooms, sliced into fourths 

Half of a red onion

1 tablespoon fresh garlic

Salt and Pepper 

Pinch of chili flakes 

  1. Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a pan on medium heat and cook your onions until slightly translucent
  2. Add your mushrooms, garlic, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Stir ingredients and let cook for 20 mins, stirring every 5 mins.
  3. Remove from heat once your mushrooms have softened. Eat right away or put in the refrigerator and serve up later. 

So invite some friends over, make some kale balls and enjoy life one cucumber-mint water at a time. xx

Baby Kale Pesto Salad

Inspiration takes many different forms in this wonderful world. I recently tried a pesto dressing from my local grocery store and it blew my mind. How did I never think to make pesto into a dressing? I have used it on chicken and for pastas but salad had never crossed my mind until that day.

This is a great, refreshing for a special occasion or for your next meal prep of lunches. The only thing I would suggest is not making this too far in advance (maybe like a day or two). Pesto is heavy and I have found that it can make the salad soggy if you leave it in the fridge for too long….oopsy.

Baby Kale Pesto Salad

1/4 cup pesto mixing in a drizzle in olive oil until it makes a vinaigrette

1 bundle of baby kale, washed

1/2 cup cranberries

1/2 cup walnuts

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

1/4 cup quinoa

Place all of the ingredients into a salad bowl, slowly adding dressing and tossing until everything is lightly covered.  For your presentation, top the salad added additional cranberries, walnuts and goat cheese.  Set little bowl on the side with any leftover dressing you might have. You never know who the closet pesto lovers are amongst you!

If you have any leftover ingredients consider making this into a quinoa dish – flavors will be insane a few days in.

This dish tastes as good as it looks. xx

pesto salad

The food behind the photos

I have been asked by friends and family to share what I eat! Between my snapchats and Instagram I seem to be sharing two types of food, homemade or from a restaurant here in Toronto. Though I do enjoy eating delicious and calorie dense cakes, cookies and casseroles; I do not eat like this everyday of my life. 

A while ago I had a doctors appointment to discuss my stomach issues. He spoke truth when he said that my college diet ends right then and there. The food I was eating was causing my issues. What changed that day? I began taking a low dose probiotic for 6-weeks and eliminated a lot of the go-to processed food that I had become dependent on while it school (frozen pizza, mac-n-cheese and PB & J). To this day, I cannot thank the doctor enough for waking me up! Limited dairy, processed foods and meat has changed my life. 

“I do not have time to cook healthy food because I am so busy with work”

Trust me, I used to use this excuse to defend my PB&J with a side of chips,  but it is a lie. It is so worth spending 2 hours out of your Sunday to prepare for the week. Hint, hint: It helps eliminate stress of preparing lunches each day after work. Below I have listed what an average day of eating looks like for me. 

Breakfast: Yog and Fru (or just Fru)

1 banana, cut up

4 strawberries, cut up

1/4 c. plain greek yogurt

3 tablespoons homemade granola

1 tablespoon cacao nibs

For assembly, grab a bowl or to-go dish and put it together to your liking. I like to break it up into 3 different sections 

Treat: Cool lime refresher

Order from your local Starbucks, light ice. 

Lunch: Lunch bowl*

1/4 c. chopped baked chicken breast

1/4 c. sliced cherry tomatoes

1/2 c. roasted sweet potatoes 

1/4 c. sautéed mushrooms 

Any sauce you would like (BBQ, asian peanut sauce, etc.) 

Similar to the Yog and Fru you can assembly this together in your tupperware as you please. 

*Ingredients change each week. I pick up whatever looks interesting to me while shopping. 

  • Kale
  • Zucchini
  • Quinoa 
  • Asparagus 
  • Edamame 

Dinner: Indian green beans (vegan)

1 package of raw green beans (about 1 lb.), chopped into ½ inch pieces

Half of a red onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1 tablespoon ginger, minced

1 tablespoon mustard seeds (black or yellow)

1/2 tablespoon cumin

1 -2 tablespoons Turmeric or Curry powder (can add more if you are finding the flavor is weak)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Salt to taste

Grated coconut (optional)

  1. In a pan heat up oil and cook down your onions for about 8-10 mins.
  2. Once the onion is translucent add in garlic, ginger and mustard seeds, cumin, cinnamon and your turmeric or curry powder. Toss and cook these until you can smell the spices about 5 mins.
  3. Add your green beans and cook until tender, this will take some time but keep your eye on them. Low and slow is best because, it will enhance flavor.
  4. Once they are tender remove from heat and plate to serve

Do you find yourself saying “I have tried to eat <insert veggie> and I HATE it”

The best thing to do for yourself is make sure your food is tasty. If you are cooking without garlic, onions and chili flakes start doing it. It can be raw onion or garlic or powdered. I find that these three ingredients along with cajun and all-purpose seasoning salt take food to their respective taste levels. 

I hope that you have enjoyed a day in the life and are inspired for your next grocery trip!

xo

in my belly

Edible Cookie Dough ft. rare Unicorn tears and droppings

I went hunting and got me some unicorn tears and droppings. Like a truffle sniffing dog, only a few of us are able to catch these rare gems. Oh, what are unicorn tears and droppings? Most people refer to them as sprinkles and mini-white chocolate chips. #Basics. These take a lot of time to collect but it is always worth it. The hardest part is deciding how to use them….cookies?

Like the tears and droppings, raw cookie dough has always been a forbidden fruit to all of us (as children and adults). The raw flour and egg pose threat to our bodies so when you eliminate the two you eliminate any guilt when sneaking a nibble.

Edible Cookie Dough

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar, loosely packed

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons milk (or almond milk)

1 and ½ cups almond flour

Pinch of salt

Plot twist #1 (as seen below) Unicorn tears and droppings.

Plot twist #2: add in a tablespoon of peanut butter to the cookie dough batter and semi-sweet chocolate chips

Plot twist #3: add mini M&M’s, semi-sweet chocolate chips and crushed Oreo (original) pieces for a monster cookie dough

Directions

Cream the butter and sugars together for 45 seconds. Add in the vanilla, milk and pinch of salt. Mix until creamy. Slowly add in your flour until you have a thick cookie dough. Toss in the white chocolate chips, mix for 10 seconds. Fold in sprinkles and put fridge to set for an hour.

Note: Because the recipe uses almond flour, your batter may be a little sweater than you were expecting. You can substitute for oat flour if you prefer. 

This can be served with animal crackers, mixed into a milk shake or eaten with a spoon.

Enjoy this rare, delicious, guilt free (well…kind of…) treat!

P.S. I promise more videos to come – this recipe was too quick to VLOG but too good not to share!

Cookie dough

#GodsFilter #RareDelight

All new B.B.Q. (Buffalo Bulgur Quinoa)

This meal (snack…salad?) was born from my recent buffalo wing craving. I am not much a wings enthusiast but when this craving kicks in there is no running from it. Frantically looking through my cupboards and refrigerator the B.B.Q. was born.

It is so simple and I cannot believe it took desperation for me to come up with it. Plus, it a great way to sneak fiber into my diet.

B.B.Q. Recipe 

Throw it in a bowl: 

2 cups quinoa and bulgur mix*, cooled

2 tablespoons thinly sliced carrots

3 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions, mix of top and bottom (reserve 1 tablespoon for serving) 

1/4 cup leftover rotisserie chicken 

*If you are unable to find the mix you can use your favorite quinoa 

Sauce is boss: 

1/2 cup buffalo sauce

1/2 tablespoon melted butter, cooled 

4 tablespoons light ranch

Pinch of salt and pepper 

Pinch of garlic powder 

Once the sauce is mixed toss it in with the quinoa mix and let chill for an hour. Before serving top with remaining green onions. 

It is a great alternative to your typical empty calorie filled buffalo chicken dip or buffalo chicken pastas. Bring the B.B.Q. to a party or keep it for yourself; but most importably just enjoy.

BUFFALO CHICKEN