Smokey Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Lacinato Kale Chilli

It is so cold, cozy, and crisp over here! The skies have been a pale winter blue, and even though the -20 C days are bad, I have to say I am enjoying it just a little bit.  Β―\_(ツ)_/Β― 

I've been waking up extra early before work so that I have the time for a slow morning filled with hot mugs of coffee and a real breakfast. Sometimes I can even squeeze in a few pages of the book I am reading

I've been feeling a real urge to create lately. Maybe it is because I am not in school anymore, but I have this itch to start drawing or painting or collaging or SOMETHING. I love sitting down with a cup of tea and an audiobook and just sketching, water colouring, and glueing away. It is soothing and so so satisfying.

Sebastian and I have been re-watching all of the Harry Potter movies one night at a time! We just finished the second film (UGH those spiders) but it is wayyy past my 10:30pm bedtime now, so I am going to keep it short. 

This chilli is one of the coziest pots of muddled veggies and beans in a smokey tomatoey sauce that I have ever had! I made it with the intention of bringing it to work with me for lunch this week, but we only had enough left over for two days of lunch. I kind of debated sharing this with you because I am not a big fan of the way the photos turned out, but in the end I decided what the heck? Sometimes it is okay to just share something super tasty even if it doesn't come with the most beautiful photos. I hope that you make this and enjoy it as much as we did :) 

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SONG OF THE WEEK: "Redbone" by Childish Gambino. I love this song so much, just give it a listen! 

PODCAST OF THE WEEK: "Canadaland." I think that Jesse Brown does such a great service to Canadians with this podcast. He dissects the Canadian media and interviews other journalists and media personnel from around the country. It is great!

smokey sweet potato, black bean & lacinato kale chilli

Serves 4

This is an easy, quick, and super cozy winter chilli! Full of veggies, beans, and spices it will keep you warm throughout these cold and snowy nights <3

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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, julienned 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 green chili pepper, minced (or more for spice)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric 
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 1 can (540 ml) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (796 ml) diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups vegetable broth (depending on desired consistency)
  • 4 - 5 stalks of lacinato kale, rinsed and torn into small pieces
  • Optional: top with toasted sunflower seeds

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Notes

Heat a medium sized pot over low-medium heat. Add the olive oil to the pot. 

Add in the onions and cook for 3-4 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and chili pepper and cook while stirring for another minute. Add in the spices cooking for an additional minute, before adding the diced tomatoes, black beans, and sweet potato.

Stir in the vegetable broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover, cooking for 20 - 25 minutes or until the sweet potato is cooked through.

Stir in the kale and let cook for another two minutes before serving. Should keep in the fridge for up to a week. 

Sumac Roasted Chickpea & Lemony Kale Salad

Well hello! It's been a while. I was going to start this post with an apology for my absence, but instead I really just want to express my gratitude. I feel so grateful for the wonderful friends and family I have in my life, and the beautiful experiences we shared together over the holidays -- laughing while we cooked food, driving mindlessly and blasting our favourite tunes while we got lost in rural Ontario, sitting quietly together with cups of tea in solidarity and love. I couldn't be happier. I am also so grateful for you! I want to give a huge thank you (and a big hug!) to everyone reading this for sticking around and hanging out in this space with me. I think you are all awesome and this is really one of the most supportive communities I know.

I've been thinking a lot about this space, especially since I graduated from university just under a month ago. I've always needed a creative outlet in my life, and with art school having come to a close I really feel my passion for this blog growing. I want to put a lot into it and I have so many new inspirations and ideas to work with. I want to work on my photography, keep up with my What I'm Reading series, try out new flavour combinations, and connect more with this community as a whole. 

I would love love love to hear from you, what do you want to see here? 

Well, without a better transition in mind, this salad. I made this recipe three times over the holidays, and finally decided (after much encouragement) to share it here. I was worried that it was too simple, but to be honest, sometimes simplicity brings about the best kinds of recipes. I find myself admiring beautiful, complex recipes but never actually making them. This is a recipe that you can throw together in 10 minutes and then sit back and relax for another 10 while the chickpeas roast. 

The flavours here are strong and full. If you've never tried sumac, I highly recommend it. My mom brought this sumac back from a market in Israel, and it is absolutely divine. It has a lemony sharpness to it with sweet, sour, and tangy notes. I am totally in love with these flavours!

This is a perfect salad for potlucks and sharing. I love to imagine a group of people gathered around a table, everyone helping each other and passing around homemade dishes, sharing this bowl of goodness with each other <3 

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SONG OF THE WEEK: "Sunday Candy" by Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment. This song has been playing on repeat in my earbuds and it just makes me want to dance! 

PODCAST OF THE WEEK: If you need a laugh, check out the podcast "My Dad Wrote A Porno." I tried listening while at work, but was laughing out loud way more than is acceptable in a workplace environment ;) 

sumac roasted chickpea & lemony kale salad

Serves 4

If you don't have all of the spices listed, you can definitely substitute and try out your own flavours. I do highly recommend using the sumac though, it is a star in this recipe and quickly becoming one of my favourite spices! 

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Ingredients

Sumac Roasted Chickpeas

  • 1 can (540 ml) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • 1 tsp za'atar
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric 
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika 
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt (or more to taste)

Lemony Kale Salad

  • 1 bunch kale
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt

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Notes

Preheat the oven to 375. 

Rinse and dry your chickpeas (the drier they are, the crispier they will get in the oven). Toss the chickpeas with olive oil, spices, and salt. Spread them evenly on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown. 

Rinse your kale and rip it into smallish bite sized pieces. In a large mixing bowl combine the kale, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and salt. Massage the kale between your fingers and hands for about 3 - 5 minutes. This may seem like a long time but it takes a bit of work to make it soft. 

Place the massaged kale into a large serving bowl and top with the roasted chickpeas. Serve immediately! 

Double Chocolate Peppermint Thumbprint Cookies

It's been the longest night of the year, and I have no words. 

All I have is love and healing and I am sending those out into the world with all my strength. 

For now, I have cookies for you. They are decadent, chocolatey, festive with a hint of candy cane and perfect for this holiday season. I hope you can enjoy them with the people that you love. That is all I need right now, to be with all of the people that I love and support and to love and support them to the best of my ability. 

Happy holidays to everyone! <3 <3 <3 

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double chocolate peppermint thumbprint cookies

Makes 20 - 24 cookies

A quick note about the sugar in this recipe. I choose to use organic golden cane sugar. You can definitely use refined white sugar, coconut sugar, or whichever granulated sugar you prefer. To be honest, I am of the opinion that sugar is just sugar and you can decide to use a less refined version but in the end it really comes to the same thing, babes. So instead of spending upwards of $10 on a bag of "healthier" sugar, I prefer to limit the quantity I consume. Just a thought, but I would be curious to hear your opinions!

Also, if you are not a fan of peppermint, you can just omit the peppermint extract and add more vanilla. It would be lovely topped with chopped nuts! 

* Aquafaba is the liquid inside a can of chickpeas. It works as a binding agent. Here is more info on it

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Ingredients

Cookies

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (both virgin and refined work)
  • 2/3 cup cane sugar
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp aquafaba*
  • 1 1/4 cups whole spelt flour
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao or cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • Optional: crushed candy canes to garnish

Chocolate Ganache

  • 100g semi-sweet or dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk

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Notes

Make the ganache. Place the chopped dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set aside. Put the coconut milk in a small saucepan over high heat and just bring to a boil (little bubbles are starting to form) before removing from heat. Pour the hot coconut milk over the chocolate and stir until smooth and combined. Place in the fridge to set and thicken.

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking tray with parchment paper. 

Add the coconut oil to a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat when just melted. Pour into a mixing bowl and add the sugar, peppermint, vanilla, and aquafaba. Whisk to combine. Add in the rest of the ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.

Place the dough (still in the bowl) into the fridge and let rest for 10 minutes. 

To make the cookies take 1 tbsp sized scoops of dough and roll them into balls. Place them onto the prepared baking sheet and press down with your thumb in the centre of the cookie to create an indent. Bake for 10 - 11 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before filling the centres with chocolate ganache and serving! Top with crushed candycane and enjoy :) 

Easy Jar Lunch w/ French Lentils, Roasted Veggies + Quinoa

I've been thinking a lot lately about the idea that "you are what you eat" (from your head to your feet - heh). I've known that in a general sort of way for a long time, but the concept really hit me earlier in the semester when I started taking biology and learning more about cells and nutrition. I feel like the easiest way to break it down is to just say that the food you put into your body is LITERALLY what is feeding your cells and giving them the energy they need to make proteins and enzymes and all that good stuff that makes your body work. You are physically made up of what you eat, drink, breathe, and even the products you put on your skin. This is a quote that my nutrition teacher shared with the class and it helps to explain what I am saying: "The cause of nutrition and growth resides not in the organism as a whole but in the separate elementary partsβ€”the cells.” Theodor Schwann. If any science-y people are reading this, I apologize for the simplicity. I know there is a lot more to it than what I have said, but sometimes the simplest version of an idea is necessary to actually understand why knowing more about that topic is important. At least I think so. 

Anyways, part of the reason I've been thinking about this is because I haven't been eating the best food for my body lately. Working late hours (usually 3pm - 11pm) means that I need to come prepared with dinner. I fluctuate between being super on top of it and making healthy take-away dinners (like the one in this post), and buying shitty dinners while on break (READ: crackers, carrots and hummus OR tea and a bagel). It is not just about an abstract idea of "eating healthy" and I would never shame anyone for the food that they decide to eat, but I notice a really big difference in my energy levels and mental capacity when I eat a proper meal vs. snacks. Especially as I finish the second half of my shift, what I have eaten becomes more and more important - and apparent if it wasn't enough to sustain me. 

So, this post today is really about my ideal take-away work dinner (or lunch). This easy jar meal is filled with healthy calories, protein from the lentils and quinoa, roasted veggies, and a good tomato-y sauce with plenty of ginger and garlic. I can't even explain the satisfaction of pulling this out at my break and really enjoying a well prepared dinner. It means so much. My suggestion (for myself as much as for you) is to prepare the ingredients in large batches so that you don't have to make a lunch/dinner every day. I like to cook a lot of quinoa to keep in the fridge and try to have at least one kind of legume either cooked from scratch or in a can. Roasting the veggies hardly takes any time and then there you have it, a delicious and satisfying meal you can take to work or school with you! 

I hope you try this out, and I would LOVE to hear how you prepare food for the work week. What are your go to lunches/dinners? How do you stay on top of healthy foods at work? Love you babes xxxx

Easy jar lunch w/ french lentils, roasted veggies + quinoa

This works best if you prep enough ingredients for a few days worth of lunches. From there it is just pack, grab and go! The grains and veggies are my personal favourites and also what I had on hand, but feel free to substitute anything you like. The quinoa could easily be replaced by rice and most of the veggies are totally interchangeable. Customize this recipe and make it your own go-to easy lunch! 

*If you don't have cooked quinoa (or other grains) on hand, I recommend making at least 1 cup dried quinoa and storing the leftovers in the fridge for the next day. To do this place 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups cold water in a pot over high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook covered for 15 minutes. 

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Ingredients

Lentils

  • 1/2 cup french (or du puy) lentils
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, diced

Roasted Veggies

  • apprx. 1 cup brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 red potato, sliced into tiny cubes
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika 
  • olive oil, salt + pepper

To Serve

  • 1/3 cup cooked quinoa*
  • optional: arugula or spinach to garnish

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Notes

Preheat the oven to 400. Chop all the veggies and place them on a large baking sheet. Drizzle on olive oil and season with smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until veggies are crispy and browned, rotating halfway. 

Place lentils in a medium sized pot and cover with about 2 inches of cold water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, cooking covered for about 20 minutes, until soft. Drain the lentils and return the empty cooking pot (dried) to the stove. Drizzle about 1 tbsp olive or coconut oil in the pot and heat over medium heat for a couple of minutes until the oil is hot. Add the ginger and garlic to the pot and stir (sizzling) for about 5 minutes, making sure nothing burns. Add the lentils back to the pot and pour the crushed tomatoes in. Stir and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until hot. 

To serve (if taking to work for lunch) layer quinoa, lentils, and veggies in a jar or thermos. I like to do 2 of each layer (see pics) so that I don't have to try to mix everything when I finally want to eat it. This way you are guaranteed to get a bit of almost everything in each forkful. Enjoy! 

Earl Grey Waffles w/ Sweet Lucuma Coconut Cream

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I am writing to you from the middle of the night. This feels strangely similar to last week, and all I can say is that I have been very busy. Working a physically demanding job is definitely taking a toll on me. I am used to going to bed relatively early and waking naturally around 7am. This is not the case anymore and I routinely find myself rolling out of bed at 9:30am! I guess it is just a good example of when to listen to your body's needs, and to make sure you get as much sleep as your body requires (which admittedly I am doing a bad job of right now).

This past weekend my brother came over in the morning and I made these waffles for us to share. It was so nice, sitting in the late morning light sipping on coffee and sharing pieces of waffle. We all had our laptops out, working on various school projects, and it was cozy in a studious and slightly stressed kind of way. 

I never really post link roundups over here, but I thought I would share a quick few things that have been getting me through this busy end of semester time:

I just started reading NW by Zadie Smith and it is beautiful. I always fall into her novels in a way that I have found harder with fiction lately. They are captivating, chilling, and so human. I also listened to this interview with Zadie Smith and highly recommend it if you are interested in her work. 

Re-listening to this book series on audiobook is keeping me calm and filled with magic and adventurous feelings!

Ashlae's Easy No-Bake Cookies are practically a staple around here, especially when the need for a quick chocolate snack is on the rise ;) 

I've known for a while now that I want to move to BC, but Jodi's Instagram + blog have got me hooked. All I want is to be surrounded by that intense natural beauty! 

I have struggled with skin issues since I was a teenager, usually the worst around my period (hormonal acne = THE WORST). Rosehip Seed Oil has literally changed my life. I started using it a couple of months ago and am in love. My skin has really never been better, and that makes it worth the slightly pricey little bottle. 

Lastly, have you seen the movie Moonlight? It is stunningly dark, emotional, beautifully shot and will leave you in tears. It is the kind of movie that doesn't leave you after you exit the theatre but hangs in a kind of impermeable cloud, not letting you forget the feelings and visuals that took place. 

Here are some cozy waffles to make on a snowy weekend morning. They are infused with earl grey tea and topped with the fluffiest decadent sweet lucuma cream. They are entirely vegan AND gluten free. I don't think I need to convince you, just try them out <3 <3 <3 

earl grey waffles w/ sweet lucuma coconut cream

Makes 2 waffles

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Ingredients

Waffles

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/3 cup chickpea flour
  • 2 tsp loose leaf earl grey tea
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk (boxed not canned)
  • 1 tbsp honey, agave, or maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla 

Sweet Lucuma Coconut Cream

  • 1 can coconut cream, refrigerated overnight
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lucuma powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla 

Chocolate Sauce

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or agave

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Notes

Preheat your waffle iron as per its instructions. 

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flours, tea, baking powder, nutmeg salt). Add in the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Pour half the batter into your waffle maker and cook according to the instructions for your machine. 

To make the lucuma cream open the can of coconut cream and discard any liquid (I like to open my can upside down so that I can easily pour out any liquid). Scoop out the coconut cream and add it to a mixing bowl with the lucuma powder and vanilla. Whip the cream with handheld electric beaters until smooth. Keep in fridge.

To make the chocolate sauce place all ingredients in a small pot over medium heat. Whisk until melted and combined and removed from heat.

To serve place a generous amount of sweet lucuma coconut cream on top of each waffle and drizzle with chocolate sauce. Serve immediately! 

Savoury Butternut Squash & Beet Crumble w/ Sage Leaves

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There is a particular kind of stress that comes with being a student - guilty stress. There is constantly the feeling that you should be working. Weekends are reserved for spending eight hours in the same cafe and then trudging home through the first snow of the year just to set up at your desk with a cup of tea and start all over again. 

Winter has come and with it a positive avalanche of final assignments and exam prep. It is half exciting and half totally physically and mentally draining. I am sitting here writing this at 12:30am after working an 8 hour shift and looking forward to a biology quiz tomorrow afternoon (on this super interesting crazy cool video). I totally recognize that I have it easy, too. I am super privileged in countless ways (including being in university at all), so this isn't so much a complaint as it is a reflection of the different ways in which we push ourselves and the different kinds of stress we face. 

Montreal is looking like a perfect holiday card and this colder weather is bringing out the baker in me (or is it just late night stress baking?). I know this recipe isn't exactly baking, but it is definitely the beginning of a few cozier recipes I have coming your way. I was talking with a friend after work today and we both agreed that this colder weather makes us want to hibernate in our apartments and just do nice things for our bodies and minds. Lots of baths, cups of tea, reading, drawing, cookies (!!!), TV, face masks, blankets... I think I could go on forever! 

This savoury Butternut Squash & Beet Crumble w/ Sage Leaves is such a winner. It came to me so suddenly and clearly while out for a walk last week, and I knew that I couldn't wait to share it. There is something meditative about peeling and cubing the vegetables, picking the sage leaves off the stem, and squishing the moist crumble topping between my fingers. It is repetitive and soothing. I've been listening to Blonde on repeat and creating my own food and art projects inside my warm bright home. 

The earthiness of the sage leaves and beets pairs perfectly with the bright sweetness of the squash. I love the way the beets half dye the orangey-yellow squash so that the baked crumble looks like a sunset inside. I know that American Thanksgiving is coming up and I think this would be the perfect vegan centrepiece. Make this for friends, family, or just yourself. Hugs! xo 

PS. Sorry for the photo heavy post, I couldn't choose! 

savoury butternut squash & beet crumble w/ sage leaves

Serves 4

If you can't find sage leaves I think that thyme would work really well here too. For gluten free options, use gluten free certified oats and your favourite gluten free flour blend (I also think using chickpea or brown rice flour would work well). 

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Ingredients

Crumble Topping

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp miso (optional but delicious)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (plus more for drizzling)

Crumble Filling

  • 3 cups cubed butternut squash (about half a large butternut squash)
  • 1 cup cubed beets (about 2 - 3 beets)
  • 4 sprigs sage, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste (pinch of each)

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Notes

Preheat the oven to 375.

Make the crumble topping by combining all of the ingredients in a bowl and mixing until crumbly and moist. I used my hands to fully incorporate the olive oil, squishing the mixture between my fingers. 

Toss the cubed butternut squash, beets, sage, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl and then transfer to a 6 x 10 (or equivalent) baking pan. Top with the crumble and drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the top of the crumble.

Bake for 40 - 45 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the squash is soft. Check it at around the 30 minute mark and place a small piece of tinfoil over the top if it is browning too quickly, to prevent burning. Serve warm!