Nutmeg & Maple Roasted Walnut Almond Butter

I tried a new thing this weekend... cross country skiing! It was so fun, and only super awkward for the first five minutes. I fell twice, but what can you really expect. It makes me so extraordinarily happy to be outside in nature. Nothing compares, really. The air is fresh and the persistent sense of freedom seems to linger hours after you leave the trails. 

Anyways, I am feeling pretty tired and sick right now so I'll keep this short. I hardly have the energy to sit upright and type this out. I think it might be the changing weather? Looking forward to lots of soup and blankets and hopefully some cat naps :)

I was so excited when I first made this magical nut butter because, to be totally honest, I just can't afford to buy things like almond butter, cashew butter, or any of those delicious sounding vanilla spiced luxury nut butters in the health food stores. It is still a bit pricey to make your own because the nuts can be expensive, but it is definitely cheaper and so worth it as a special treat. I am savouring every spoonful of this stuff. 

I really wanted to make a maple roasted nut butter, but I was worried that adding maple syrup to the nut butter would make it seize up. Spoiler alert: it did. I found a solution though! After adding the maple syrup, I simply added a couple teaspoons of coconut oil and it came together again into silky, smooth, buttery goodness. Mmmm. 

I hope you make this nut butter and stay healthy through these strange and blustering days!

Love you, babes xx

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SONG OF THE WEEK: Yellow Flicker Beat by Lorde. I haven't listened to Lorde in a while (still love her though) but with her new album coming soon (SO SOON?) I've been getting back into it all <3

PODCAST OF THE WEEK: Witch, Please !!! Okay, I almost re-named this "podcast of my liiiiife" because I am so obsessed. It is two very smart women talking about and analyzing HP. I love it to death. 

nutmeg & maple Roasted Walnut Almond Butter

Makes apprx. 1 cup

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups raw walnuts
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

 

Notes

Preheat the oven to 300. Spread the walnuts and almonds on a large baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10-12 minutes, rotating halfway through.

Place the toasted nuts into a food processor and blend on high until it forms a smooth consistency. This will take about 3-5 minutes, and you'll need to scrape down the sides of the food processor every minute or so. Don't give up! You may reach a point where you think it won't get smooth, but I promise it will. It should be the consistency of smooth almond or peanut butter.

Once smooth, add in the maple syrup and process for about 30 seconds. The nut butter will seize up at this point, but don't worry. Add in the coconut oil, salt, and nutmeg and process for another 30 seconds to a minute, until smooth and creamy. 

Store in a glass jar in a cool, dry place. It should last for a few weeks! 

Easy Sweet Potato & Black Bean Toast

I have a story for you. As you might know, Montreal is covered in snow. This is serious business snow, like packed into the sidewalks and transformed into ice kind of snow. It fell with a vengeance over the weekend, and the last thing I felt like doing on Sunday afternoon was leaving my warm apartment to go grocery shopping for a blog post. After a second helping of waffles and possibly a third (!!!) cup of coffee, I decided enough was enough. I bundled up and faced the storm.

I could pretend I had a long and treacherous walk through the developing blizzard, but in all honesty I walked about two minutes down the street to the closest grocery store and hurried inside. There is a particular kind of dampness that perpetual winter brings - that feeling that your toes are never quite dry (okay this could be because I have holes in my boots...) and your coat has only just finished dripping before you put it on again. I've gotten used to going gloveless in -20 C weather and it is a rare day that I remember a hat. You just become accustomed to arctic temperatures. Anyhow, seeing as the storm wasn't letting up and I was already soaked through and freezing, I decided to head over to the bakery a few doors down BECAUSE toast recipes require quality bread (imho). 

In case you weren't aware, I don't speak a word of French. Yes, I knowwww. I should have tried better. I'm sorry. I can understand quite a bit, and usually it's not a problem. On this blustering winter Sunday afternoon however, I ran into a little difficulty. I asked the woman behind the counter of the bakery if she had any sourdough loaves. Her look of blank amusement didn't leave me feeling optimistic. After a few failed attempts at communicating, I pointed to a promising round loaf and asked what it was. She kind of laughed and said, "it's whole wheat, but you know, like next level whole wheat!" 

So, here it is. I bring to you, "Next Level Whole Wheat Toast w/ Sweet Potato & Black Beans." Just kidding, because I thought it might be confusing if I named it that, but not really kidding because it actually was pretty next level. I still don't know what kind of bread it was exactly, but I do know that I am going back for more. 

I am sorry if I promised you a story and then just told you about a few minutes of my weekend...  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

This is hardly a recipe, but I actually LOVE seeing people's snacking and toast ideas floating around the internet, so I thought I would chime in with my little creation. 

These come together in about 15 minutes, but then you have a bunch of leftover topping and can really assemble a toast anytime you want over the next few days. Super convenient! 

The smokey flavour of the paprika really shines here. With such minimal ingredients, the spices and fresh cilantro come through beautifully. I want to add that in an ideal world these toasts would also have slices of perfectly ripe avocado underneath the topping. Unfortunately, I just can't seem to find any good avocados over here, and it wasn't worth buying a bad one to try and demonstrate or fake some pictures. Just not into that food waste. 

If you make this recipe let me know! I love seeing your creations. It makes my heart flutter whenever one of you tells me you made a recipe and loved it <3 

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SONG OF THE WEEK: I've honestly just been listening to Starboy (the whole album) on repeat.

PODCAST OF THE WEEK: Given the volume of politics and news to keep up with, I've been stockpiling on all the political podcasts I can find. My new favourite is The Daily from The New York Times. It is a daily 20-ish minute podcast that updates you on breaking news each day. I've found it a great way to stay informed. 

easy sweet potato & black bean toast

Serves 4 - 6

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Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato, diced into small cubes
  • 1 can black beans (540 ml), drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, julienned
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, washed and ripped
  • slices of bread (as many as you want!)
  • Optional: a squeeze of lime

 

Notes

Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil and place a steamer/metal strainer over the top. Add the cubed sweet potatoes to the metal strainer and cover with a large pot lid. Steam for 8 - 10 minutes, until soft.

While the sweet potatoes are steaming heat a cast iron pan over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp olive oil. Once the pan is hot add in the onions and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add in the garlic, salt, smoked paprika, and pepper. Add in the cooked sweet potato and the black beans. Stir to combine and cook for about 5 minutes, until hot. Add in the cilantro and remove from heat. 

Toast your bread, top with the sweet potato black bean mixture, add a sprig of cilantro (and a queeze of lime) and serve!

Almost Raw Nutella Brownies w/ Chocolate Ganache & Raspberry Chia Seed Jam

I have a feeling that this is going to come off as a Valentine's Day post...  

I don't know how to convince you that it completely wasn't intended to be a Valentine's Day post, because the chocolate and raspberries and overall vibe of the photos really suggests it. All I can say is that I didn't even remember that Valentine's Day was coming up when I planned this in my mind, but I guess I was subconsciously influenced by the not so subtle marketing that seems to have popped up everywhere. Ah well. Moving on.

Lately, I've been picturing green hills and blue skies filled with that kind of dusty sunshine I rarely get the opportunity to see - that kind of California weather that seems so elusive and spectacular.

With all the love I have for Montreal, I can feel my time here dwindling. I've been following outdoorsy adventure accounts and googling "cheap flights" more often than I'd like to admit. I love my apartment and the coziness of winter and twinkle lights and cups of tea on the couch, but the promise of a different landscape and new adventures is calling more persistently than ever. 

I have these pictures in my mind:

I'm standing on a hard outcrop of rock at the foot of a mountain, salty spray tickling my face. The sky is streaked with sunshine and dark clouds, single rays beaming out across the shades of grey.

A dirt path, rocks and tree roots winding for hours to the top of a mountain. Sweaty and mud streaked, just to stare out at the beauty of the world unfolding below. There is a pure magic, something that comes from being so small and seeing something so grand and magnificant, yet simple and right in front of your eyes. 

The question that keeps circling round my mind is: why not? If that is where I most want to be, if those are the things that bring the most joy into my heart, then why wouldn't I make them happen. 

Maybe this is a kind of love letter. A reminder to care about myself and listen to those singing thoughts that push aside the slushy salted sidewalks and freezing winds. 

Is that too much for you? It's a bit romantic, but sometimes you just gotta say fuck it and write down the silly dreamy things that are floating through your head <3

Another dreamy creamy decadent romantic thing? These almost raw nutella brownies. Yes. 

I don't make desserts that often, to be honest with you. I always have a bar of dark chocolate - usually 85% - in the cupboard, and that is enough to satisfy my sweet cravings. Usually.

These brownies came about because last week I made homemade nutella for the first time. It was amazing. So simple and absolutely addicting. I ate most of it with a spoon out of the jar. 

These brownies were the logical next step. I imagined the base for the brownies made out of the same ingredients as the nutella (toasted hazelnuts + chocolate), but with extra substance like oats and dates to hold them together, and a few pinches of this and that for extra flavour. They couldn't have turned out better! I love these because not only do they have that classic toasted hazelnut quality, but they also have a rich and creamy chocolate ganache topping. The raspberry jam adds a brightness and zing, plus, look how pretty? 

I hope you make these. I really, really do. I want to share them with everyone! <3 <3 <3 

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SONG OF THE WEEK: Foldin Clothes by J. Cole

PODCAST OF THE WEEK: The Cookbook Deal from Jessica Murnane. I am so excited for this! I love One Part Podcast and everything that Jessica does, so I can't wait to follow along on this adventure! 

almost raw nutella brownies w/ chocolate ganache & raspberry chia seed jam

Makes 16 brownies & apprx. 1 cup of jam

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Ingredients

Almost Raw Nutella brownies

  • 1 cup raw hazelnuts
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 100g chopped dark chocolate
  • 6 pitted dates (medjool or similarly soft gooey dates)
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp plant milk (coconut, cashew, almond etc.)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 cup coconut cream (liquid not solid)
  • 100g chopped dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup cocoa or cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Raspberry Chia Seed Jam

  • 1 pint fresh raspberries
  • 2 tsp chia seeds

 

Notes

Preheat the oven to 300. Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper - one piece going across each direction of the pan to make it easy to pull the brownies out. Set aside.

Place the raw hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes, until golden brown and aromatic. 

To make the brownies place the toasted hazelnuts, rolled oats, chopped chocolate, dates, coconut oil, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor and blend on high until it forms a dough, about 2 minutes. While blending, add in the 2 tbsp of plant milk. It should come together to form a dough that sticks together when pressed between two fingers. Add more plant milk if needed. Press the brownie dough into the prepared baking dish and set in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. 

To make the chocolate ganache heat the coconut milk over medium-high heat in a small saucepan. Once simmering add in the chopped chocolate, cocoa powder, and coconut oil. Whisk until smooth and thick, and remove from heat (this should only take about a minute after adding the ingredients). Pour the ganache over the brownies in the baking dish, and place back in the freezer for 30 minutes. 

While the brownies/ganache is setting, make the jam. Place the raspberries in a small saucepan over medium heat. Mash them with a form until they are pulpy and completely squished. Bring the mixture to a boil and then remove from heat and stir in the chia seeds. Pour into a glass jar and let set in the fridge. 

To serve, drizzle the raspberry jam over the brownies and top with additional raspberries. Cut into 16 even squares and serve! These should be kept in the fridge in an airtight container and will last for up to a week.

Lentil & Walnut Lettuce Wraps w/ Turmeric Sunshine Sauce!

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It feels both impossible and necessary to talk about the sadness and hate going on in the world right now. I can say for certain that my voice isn't going to add anything new to the conversation, and that there are smart and important people talking who I am going to listen to. I stand whole heartedly and firmly with every person and group facing harm and oppression right now. I think it is important to know as Canadians that this country is not free of hate or injustice. I stand with everyone fighting against Trump and white supremacy and oppression in the States, but I also stand with my fellow Canadians who are experiencing the same injustices. On Sunday, six people were killed and many injured at a Mosque in Quebec City. All I can do is send love, support, and strength to the Muslim community here in Quebec and continue to attempt to combat the racism and Islamophobia that feels so rampant right now.

I want to offer this quote, not to trivialize anything that is happening, but to use words that are stronger and more relevant than anything I can say myself (imagine for a moment that "Trump" is replacing "Voldemort" in the following passage):

"We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Lord Voldemort's gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust. Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts open."

- Albus Dumbledore 

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It's cold and snowy here. My daily ritual of waking before the sun rises and making a steamy pot of oats has increased in coziness as well as regularity.

I have few words to share today, but I do think it is important to remember that it is hard to help others if you are not in a place to first help yourself. So much love and support to everyone <3

This recipe is simple and meant for sharing. The lentils and walnuts form a flavourful and substantial filling for the lettuce wraps, and the sunshine sauce brings a brightness that is needed right now. The turmeric mixed with the citrusy sweetness of the orange and creaminess of the coconut yogurt is the perfect sauce to tie this all together. 

It is definitely messy finger food, which I am all for! You could also use this filling for tacos or wraps or as a base for some roasted vegetables. I like to think of the lettuce wraps as an appetizer or quick snack. 

I hope you love it !!! 

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SONG OF THE WEEK: This is one of the most stunning music videos I have ever seen. Totally in love.

PODCAST OF THE WEEK: NPR Politics Podcast. This is one way I am staying informed. The hosts are smart, funny, and engaging. If you find it overwhelming to surf through the internet and gather information, I highly recommend this podcast to get you through some of the craziness (although I would always suggest getting your information from multiple sources). 

lentil & walnut Lettuce wraps w/ turmeric sunshine sauce

Serves 4 - 6

Here is a great article on how to properly cook lentils.

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Ingredients

Lentil & Walnut Wraps

  • 1 head butter lettuce
  • 1 cup cooked french lentils
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, julienned
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp salt

Turmeric Sunshine Sauce

  • 1 cup vegan coconut yogurt 
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp ground turmeric (to taste)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • juice of half an orange
  • 2 tsp honey or maple syrup

 

Notes

Remove individual leaves of the butter lettuce and rinse them gently. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a cast iron pan over low-medium heat. Once hot add the onions and stir for 3-5 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add in the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add in the cooked lentils, walnuts, soya sauce, cumin, and salt. Stir and continue to cook for about 8-10 minutes, until the lentils are heated through and aromatic. Remove from heat.

To make the sauce combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Transfer the sauce to a smaller serving bowl.

To assemble the wraps take a piece of lettuce and spoon some of the lentil walnut mix into the middle. Add a dollop of sauce and then roll up and enjoy! These are best when fresh, but the lentils and the sauce will last in the fridge for about a week.

Skillet Spaghetti Squash Pasta w/ Green Olives & Mushrooms

Today I want to share something special with you. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know that I have a dream to move to BC and be near the mountains and the ocean. This is not an announcement that I am moving (hint: just wait a few more months) but instead a love letter to a beautiful project that lives in Vancouver!

City Beet Farm is an urban farming project in Vancouver, BC. It was started 4 years ago by two farmers, Katie and Ruth. They gathered together a community of people who agreed to let them grow food in their backyards in exchange for vegetables. They created a CSA (community supported agriculture) and gained a number of members.

If you're unfamiliar with the CSA model, I will try to explain it as best as I can. Basically, the members buy their shares at the beginning of the growing season and then receive weekly boxes of vegetables throughout the next few months.

It is a really beautiful model of food distribution that relies on community and trust. The farmers trust their members to show up and support the project, and in turn the members trust the farmers to grow and distribute the food. 

A little while back, my cousin Elana sent me a text that went something like: "I might be buying a farm!" I knew that farming had been a dream of hers for a long time, but I hadn't expected the amazing adventure to start so soon. Over the next few months I would get periodic updates and glimmers of information, and then one day I heard the news... Elana and her friend Maddy had bought City Beet Farm! 

This summer, Elana and Maddy will be selling weekly vegetable boxes and growing food on twelve different people's front and back yards. I feel so full and exuberant when I think about City Beet Farm. It makes me so happy to see Elana achieving one of her dreams, and there is so much beauty and nourishment in this project. As Elana told me, "it nourishes the soul as well as the people." To receive boxes of food that have been grown with such love and care is a radical act. It promotes a culture of food justice and a connection to the earth that we inhabit.

I am keeping my head up high through this icy winter wind, and looking straight towards the sunshine, rain, and soil that will coat my hands as I travel across the country to support this little farm.

I would love so much if you checked it out and supported their work along with me! xo

I wanted to create a recipe this week that would represent something of the food that is available at markets right now. Of course in Montreal that isn't really possible, but in Vancouver winter squash is still a seasonal option!

This pasta is made with spaghetti squash and it really fulfils all of my saucy pasta dreams! <3 

One of my favourite things about making a pasta dish with spaghetti squash is that literally the whole meal is made up of veggies! It is pretty awesome and makes my body feel great. Here we have squash, tomatoes, onions, garlic, mushrooms, olives, and spinach. And that's it! All delicious veggies that heal the body and the mind -- at least I believe that they do.

This skillet has the coziness of a simple pasta dish but with deep umami tones from the olives and mushrooms. It all comes together while the squash is baking, and is the perfect communal sharing food. 

I hope you make this and love it as much as I do! 

SONG OF THE WEEK: Ivy by Frank Ocean. I am in love with this whole album, but this song always gets to me. 

PODCAST OF THE WEEK: Harry Potter and the Sacred Text. Friends, I am obsessed. I listed to 16 episodes of this in one day. It is beautiful, moving, smart, funny, and best of all about one of my favourite books. Listen. 

skillet spaghetti squash pasta w/ green olives & mushrooms

Serves 2 - 3

You can actually make this with real pasta and add the cooked pasta into the sauce at the same time that the spaghetti squash is added in the instructions. I've made both versions and love them equally!

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Ingredients

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1 can (796 ml) whole tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, divided
  • 1 tsp + 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, julienned
  • 5 cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced 
  • 10 - 15 green olives with pimento, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 cup packed spinach
  • salt and pepper 

 

Notes

Preheat the oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the squash in half lengthwise and place each half face down on the baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 40 - 45 minutes. 

Make the sauce. Drain most of the liquid from the can of tomatoes and then add them to an upright blender. Add in 1 clove garlic, 1 tsp olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Blend on high for about 30 seconds to a minute until the sauce is smooth.

Heat a cast iron pan over low-medium heat. Add 1 tbsp olive oil. Once the pan is hot add in the onions and cook for 2 - 3 minutes frequently stirring, until soft and translucent. Mince the remaining clove of garlic. Add in the sliced mushrooms and minced garlic and stir for another couple of minutes. Add the sauce to the pan and let simmer.

Using a fork, rake the spaghetti squash lengthwise to pull out the "spaghetti" strands. Add the cooked spaghetti squash to the simmering sauce along with the olives and spinach. Cook for another 5 - 10 minutes until all of the spinach has wilted. Serve hot! This keeps well in the fridge for 3 - 4 days. 

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.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

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

 

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.