Lemony Miso Zucchini Noodles w/ Za'atar Spiced Black Beans

I've been trying to learn how to draw. It's an exercise in patience and the realization that some things just don't come naturally. It feels good to self-motivate and have a daily practice (daily if I remember...) that is centred around just sitting with a pencil and paper, a cup of tea, some chill tunes, and with any luck a square of dark chocolate that I try my best not to smear on the paper. It is good and nice. It is just for me and that is important to remember. 

I went out to this magazine launch the other night where a good friend of mine was reading for the event. Amidst the cheap sparkle of plastic wine cups and the slow chatter that exists in that kind of hip art space (the music too loud and the people dispersed), I remembered what it felt like to be surrounded by people who make art. Listening to those readings, I was reminded of that certain drive to create and share work. It was emotional at times, I laughed hard, I felt awkward and out of place, talked to good friends, walked home through the bone chilling wind to drink a beer in my underwear and fall asleep by midnight. 

Feeling lost at times is okay, I think. I don't feel lost in a bad way, just in a lingering in the in-between for a bit too long kind of way. If that makes sense.

Finishing school was exciting and messy. It felt so good, and now it just feels... boring? I miss constantly being validated for my work (it's true, I can't deny it) and sitting around discussing art and literature. I don't want to romanticize it too much because I know how done I was with it all, but there is a definite sense of loss at times. 

So I am drawing. And creating recipes. I am meeting new people and re-connecting with friends I haven't seen in a while. Listening to new music. Reading with a vigour. Wearing holes in my boots from walking through this icy city. 

These zucchini noodles were born from a Sunday afternoon hustle. My brother was hanging out at our apartment with us and I realized I didn't have a recipe to post for this coming week. Quickly, I took stock of the fridge - zucchini, onion, lemons (LOTS of lemons), garlic, miso, black beans, spices... It came together out of a necessity to use up the leftover veggies and the urge to create something from little inspiration. 

I always find that those rushed and very in-the-moment type recipes work out well. I don't have the time to let myself think, so the flavours are allowed to do their thing and mingle in unexpected ways.

Zucchini takes up the flavour of whatever it is marinated in, so these noodles taste of a bright twist of lemon, spicy garlic, and just a hint of umami from the miso. I like to add a handful of protein into each meal and the black beans work well here. Warmed to perfection and sprinkled with za'atar they provide the perfect topping and earthy balance for the sharp, lemony noodles. 

I hope you make this recipe. It is so perfect for a simple and light week night meal. Love you, babes!

lemony miso zucchini noodles w/ za'atar spiced black beans

Serves 2 - 4 (as a main or a side)

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Ingredients

  • 3 large zucchinis
  • 1 tbsp miso
  • 1 tsp honey (or maple syrup)
  • 2 tsp water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • pepper
  • 1 can black beans (540 ml), drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp za'atar
  • sriracha 

Β 

Notes

Using your spiralizer, make zucchini noodles from the 3 zucchinis. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the miso, honey, lemon juice and water. Set aside.

Heat a cast iron pan over low-medium heat. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and wait until hot. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for about 3-4 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Add in the zucchini noodles and toss with the onions, garlic and seasoning. Add in the miso/honey/water/lemon mixture and toss to combine. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, until the noodles are soft. Transfer to a serving dish, leaving the cast iron on the heat. 

Wipe out the cast iron (you can just give it a quick once over with a cloth or paper towel) and add the black beans and za'atar. Stir together over the heat for a couple of minutes, until the black beans are warmed through. Remove from heat.

Top the zucchini noodles with the black beans. Finish it off with a squirt of sriracha and serve! This is best when fresh. 

Chai Spiced Banana Walnut Muffins

Last weekend I started a journal. I've never been a journaler - although you could argue that this space essentially functions as one. As a kid, I remember writing in journals with friends about the boys we liked and the the secrets that we would only ever tell each other. It was fun and I wish more than anything that I still had those little books, they would be so hilarious to re-visit. Besides the long games of MASH and doodles of our secret worlds, I never recorded my own thoughts in a meaningful way. 

In the past, I think the biggest road block to journaling was my question: what the hell do you even put in a journal? It says a lot about my emotional maturity and the level at which I was able to connect with my own experiences that I had literally no clue as to what I would write. Fiction? Sure. Poetry? All the time (even if it wasn't good). But personal accounts of my life and my feelings seemed so elusive and beyond my grasp. I wanted to know what other people wrote down in their journals as a kind of reference. I was endlessly curious about who to address and what tense I should write in. I completely missed the point that journaling is a personal expression; it can take any form that you choose it to. 

So, I started a journal. Nothing special or dramatic, just a daily writing practice where I try not to pause or think too much about the words that I am putting down. It feels good to write with a pencil on paper, a messy cursive scrawl that is almost illegible but serves the purpose that I need. It is a thinking tool, a chance to slow down and catch up with my own thoughts. If I'm being honest, I haven't written anything very personal or private. It is mostly comprised of ideas I want to explore and the little thoughts that seem to pop out of nowhere but might lead to something worth noting. 

Maybe you already do this and I am just super late to the game. It's only been a few days, but I really love the feeling it leaves me with. Do you keep a journal or have a writing practice? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this :)

This set of photos reminds me of spring. 

I know that I am a little premature, but I feel so hopeful and exuberant at even the slightest raise in temperature. On Sunday, I walked down the street and bought myself some flowers from the shop. The woman who sold them to me suggested that I dry them, and even threw in a few extra stems of a flower she said would dry nicely. I had the most lovely Sunday morning baking these muffins and arranging this little spring scene. It made me so happy.

Weekends are a kind of learned practice - you start to associate calmness and relaxation with those two days off. This is the first time in my life that weekends have really been just for me. When I was in school, weekends were filled with studying (or procrastinating) and a constant sense of guilt that I had things to do. Now, weekends are for muffins and new adventures!

I don't have much to say about these cozy spiced muffins because I feel like the title says it all. They are a spin on the classic banana walnut combo, but the result feels even more familiar if that makes sense. It's a taste I already knew through association and multiple cups of tea. The perfect balance between sweet carbs and cozy sips.

Let me know if you make these and have the best week! <3 

chai spiced banana walnut muffins

Makes about 10 large muffins or 12 smaller ones

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp warm water
  • 3 medium ripe bananas
  • 1 tbsp molasses 
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup cashew milk
  • 1/3 cup cane sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp loose leaf chai OR two chai teabags
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (reserve some for topping)

Β 

Notes

Preheat the oven to 350 and either grease the muffin tin or prepare it with liners.

In a large mixing bowl combine the ground flax and water. Let sit for 5 minutes, until thick. Meanwhile, mash the bananas in a bowl with the molasses until smooth. Add the mashed banana/molasses, melted coconut oil, cashew milk, and sugar to the mixing bowl with the flax egg. Whisk together. Fold in the remaining dry ingredients (except for the walnuts) with a spatula until everything is incorporated. Stir in the walnuts. 

Fill each muffin tin - if you fill them to the top you will get 10 large muffins, if you fill them 3/4 of the way you'll get 12 muffins. Top with chopped walnuts. Bake for 28 - 30 minutes until golden brown. Let cool and enjoy! They can be stored in an airtight container at room temp for a few days or frozen indefinitely. 

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

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

Β 

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...  Β―\_(ツ)_/Β―

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 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

Β 

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 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

Β 

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!

DSC03885.jpg

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 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

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 !!! 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

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.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

Β 

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.