Sesame Roasted Cabbage & Grapefruit Salad w/ Tempeh & Baby Spinach

I don't necessarily have a goal to keep this space upbeat and positive, but I am a generally happy person and so that's what is reflected here. I also do hesitate to write too much about personal struggles etc. because I always worry I'll come off as whiny or complaining, and in general the things I have to complain about are fairly easily remedied. However, being honest and transparent is really important to me, and so if I'm just not feeling it, I don't want to pretend that I am. I'm sure I could write a post about the coming spring weather and the exciting outdoor adventures to come (and I probably WILL write about that in the near future), but to be honest I'm feeling a little glum lately. I guess you could pin it all on SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and maybe that is part of it, but if I am being really truly honest, I am finding it so hard to work a full time job. I feel like I've lost so much freedom and it's really getting me down. 

I want to talk about this because I am just so sure a lot of you out there can relate. When I spoke about finishing school I got so many lovely messages from all of you - some were notes of encouragement and others were from folks in the same position as me who related to my words and experience. It is hard. It is also hard to realize and accept that it is hard. I always have trouble accepting when I don't feel my best, especially if it is because of something I feel I should be grateful for. I am in such a privileged position - I have an undergrad degree, a full time job that pays well, the best boyfriend I could ask for, a loving family, endlessly supportive friends - and yet this new part of my life isn't making me happy. I feel so much loss for the days where I would have one or two classes and get to plan my own day accordingly. I decided when I studied, read, ate meals, met up with friends, even made recipes for this blog. Now my whole life is scheduled around being at work, and the few blissful hours of daylight before evening sets in and the routine of sleep, wake, work starts all over again. I get that this is life for a lot of people, but I am realizing I need to think ahead to find a path that works better for me. 

Anyways, I am actually very okay. I want to stress that. I just feel a bit boring and a bit bored. And I think that it's important to admit that sometimes. 

Moving on. This recipe is hearty, filling, and fresh all at once! I am a big fan of meal salads and the sesame/citrus theme is one of my faves. The cabbage gets salty and crispy in the oven, while the roasted grapefruit is warm and bursting with sweet juice. Quinoa adds a more substantial element here, and the nutty tempeh is a good dose of protein for all those vegans out there. Let me know if you try out this recipe, I love seeing your comments and pics!

Have a great week babes and hang in there with me. If you're feeling a little down feel free to send me a message! I am always here to talk <3 

sesame roasted cabbage & grapefruit salad w/ tempeh & baby spinach

Serves four

This recipe call for cooked quinoa so make sure you start that at the beginning if you don't already have it on hand. If you're not a fan of tempeh, tofu would work well in this recipe too, although I personally like the soft and nutty flavour of the tempeh here. 

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Ingredients

Salad:

  • half a head of purple cabbage
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil 
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • half a pink grapefruit, thinly sliced
  • 1 pkg tempeh (I like this brand) + 2 tsp sesame oil + 2 tsp tamari
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa 

Sauce:

  • juice from half a grapefruit
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 3 tsp tamari
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup

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Notes

Preheat the oven to 400. Slice the already halved cabbage in half again so you have two quarters. Slice the cabbage lengthwise into thin strips (see photo #3). Lay it out onto a large baking sheet and toss with the sesame oil and tamari. Lay the grapefruit slices on a separate baking sheet (or pan - I used an 8x8 baking pan because I only have one sheet). Bake the cabbage and the grapefruit in the oven, removing the grapefruit after 15 minutes and the cabbage after 25. 

While the cabbage is roasting slice the tempeh into small 1x1 inch cubes. Heat a large cast iron pan over medium heat and add 2 tsp sesame oil. Once hot, add the tempeh and fry, stirring, until golden brown (about 3-5 minutes). Remove from heat and drizzle the tamari over the tempeh (it will sizzle in the hot pan, don't worry). To make the sauce whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl or shake together in a glass jar.  

To assemble the salad place the cooked quinoa in a large serving bowl. Top with the baby spinach, then the roasted cabbage, and finally the tempeh and roasted grapefruit. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and drizzle with sauce. You can either eat this right away as a warm salad, or keep in the fridge for a couple of hours for a colder salad. 

Blood Orange Nutmeg & Matcha Swirled Loaf Cake

This post was created in partnership with Aiya

I had a vision for this post. It was going to be all about spring, new beginnings, fresh air and growth. I was going to share this light, airy, colourful cake with you as a celebration to welcome spring into our midst. Well, I don't know exactly where you are in the world while you're reading this, but I am currently huddled away in my apartment in Montreal enduring one of the worst snowstorms of the winter so far! Not exactly what I had planned when I created this recipe, but I think it can still serve as a little glimmer of what is to come and how excited we can get for that fresh, green grass. 

I was so stoked when the kind folks over at Aiya asked me to create a recipe for their blog. The bright green, earthy, and flavourful matcha they sent me inspired a burst of recipe creations. I honestly couldn't decide what to make because I had so many ideas. I finally settled on this cake because I couldn't get the image of it out of my head. It had to come to fruition. 

I am embarrassed to admit this but before Aiya sent me their beautiful matcha, I had only ever had matcha that I bought at the bulk barn... Yeah, I know. I think I knew all along that it wasn't the real deal, but when I received Aiya's Cooking Grade Matcha I knew for certain that I had been missing out all along. The flavours are so intense and vibrant! You can really taste the notes of sweetness and grassy green tea. The matcha itself is a fine powder that blends beautifully into the cake batter as well as into matcha lattes and other delicious hot drinks (coconut milk matcha latte is to die for). 

As for this turbulent weather, I guess there are worse things than sitting indoors avoiding the snowstorm while eating springy slices of matcha loaf cake! 

I am so happy with the way this turned out. I used coconut yogurt to add moistness to the cake and it pairs amazingly with the matcha and blood orange. I thought of all the different parts of spring - soil, grass, flowering fruits - and swirled them together into this delicious cake. I love the balance of sweet and earthy here, neither flavour is overpowering but they work off each other to bring out their unique flavours. 

Let's welcome warmer weather and new growth with this springy little cake! I hope you stay warm through these last days (weeks?) of snow and bake away your little hearts until the buds start to pop up through the earth <3 

ALBUM OF THE WEEK: Telefone by Noname. So good. Just SO good. 

AUDIOBOOK OF THE WEEK: I've been listening to the fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials on audiobook this past week and I am loving it. I really believe that there is no such thing as a book only for kids. Just because the central characters are children, it doesn't mean adults can't love and appreciate the story too! 

blood orange nutmeg & matcha swirled loaf cake

Makes one 9x5 loaf cake

This post is sponsored by Aiya. All opinions are my own and I think their products are great! Thank you for supporting the brands that make Spice & Sprout possible. 

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Ingredients

Wet:

  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegan coconut yogurt 
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Dry:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Add-Ins:

  • 1 tbsp Aiya Matcha + 1 tbsp almond milk
  • zest and juice of 1 blood orange
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • juice of 1 blood orange

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Notes

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease a 9x5 loaf pan and line it with parchment paper. Set aside. 

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the wet ingredients until smooth. Sift in the dry ingredients and use a spatula to fully incorporate, stirring until the batter is smooth and pourable. Remove 1 cup of the batter and place in a smaller mixing bowl. Add the matcha and 1 tbsp of almond milk to the removed cup of batter and mix together (if the mixture seems too thick you can add an additional tbsp of almond milk). Add the orange zest, orange juice, and nutmeg to the larger mixing bowl and mix until smooth. 

Pour the blood orange and nutmeg flavoured batter into the prepared loaf pan. Using a spoon, pour small amounts of the matcha batter over the blood orange batter in a swirling pattern (you can think of it like a zigzag pattern across the pan). Continue to add to this swirly pattern until all the matcha batter is used up, but don't cover up all of the blood orange batter. Using the spoon, slowly swirl the two batters together by zigzagging your spoon across the pan following the lines you already made with the batter. It is up to you how much you choose to swirl it together, but don't fully mix it otherwise you will loose the marbled effect. Top with sliced blood oranges.

Bake in the oven for 50 - 55 minutes, until a knife comes out cleanly from the middle. To make the glaze whisk together the icing sugar and orange juice until silky. Let cool completely before slicing and glazing. Should last in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days or in the fridge for just under a week. 

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)

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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

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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

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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

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 

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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

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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!