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

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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 

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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.  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!