1. Sandwiches Are Beautiful..

    October 1, 2014 by Sarah

    ….etc, etc, etc. Except for the fact that I do not, as the song goes, eat them all the time. Beautiful as they may sometimes be, they are not something I would every typically make myself on an average day (especially considering a somewhat recent aversion to cold sandwiches..?). However ever since I’ve been working on a particular project, that involves a (free) sandwich wagon (literally) coming around every day precisely 3 hours after morning call time, I’ve been a little more interested. So when the day comes in a few weeks when the jobs done and I become deprived of the usual falafel veggie wrap or crusty roll with turkey, cranberries and melty brie, I’ll have a look at these pictures, and remember, that I myself am still capable of putting various food in between 2 pieces of bread.

    Sandwich1: Egg salad. Usually my last choice when it comes to sandwiches, however I don’t mind it once in a while. When I know it has been made very recently and not sitting out in the sun for 10 hours. It’s always a concern.

    DSC_0346*

    Sandwich 2: Hummus, grilled zucchini, artichokes, sun dried tomatoes and basil. AKA just about vegetarian (/vegan) perfection..

    DSC_0397-r DSC_0400-rApologies for getting this stuck in your head….

     


  2. Sweet Date and Nut Bites

    September 24, 2014 by Sarah

    While I am quite into my kitchen experiments, going without sugar is not something that tempts me. (until I wrote this. am now potentially interested in the challenge. as long as it was short term [obviously] and did not fall over a holiday or other sugar involved festivity). That said, should this ever be something one were to undertake, this is a recipe I would most certainly recommend. Chocolatey yet sugar free. Equivalent in size to a cookie or other easily portable sweet snack. And easy to alter according to whatever you’ve got on hand.

    DSC_0560-r

    Here’s what I pulled out of the baking drawer and blended together (in a food processor for a few minutes, then rolled into balls and put in the fridge) this time:

    • 1 cup dates (soaked in hot water a few min to soften)
    • 1/2 cup pecans (toasted)
    • 1/2 cup hazelnuts (toasted)
    • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
    • 1 tbls cocoa nibs (also soaked in hot water a few min)
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1/2 tsp almond extract
    • 1 tbls coconut oil (liquid)
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • small pinch of sea salt

     

    These also happen to be unintentionally vegan and raw, as well as sugar, dairy, egg and gluten free- should you be so inclined. And also, despite all these things, pretty tasty too.


  3. Preserving Your Food

    September 17, 2014 by Sarah

    Considering the substantial amount of food waste in the Western world, there’s a good chance you’ve found yourself with an abundance of food about to go bad at one point or another. So instead of adding to the landfill or gorging until you have to undo your belt buckle more then one notch, try a few of these ideas instead.

    Drying

    IMG_4759

    Drying your food can take a long time, but if you happen to be puttering around the house all day, worth it. And if you’re anything like me and avoid anything over ‘mild’ on the spice meter, one batch of dried chili peppers could last you a whole year (or longer). And yes, you can dry things other then chilis. You’ll just have to ask google about that.

    Jam

    DSC_0264-r

    Once I conquered my fear of poisoning all of my loved ones with botulism, the idea of canning became a lot more enjoyable. I was able to preserve an enormous amount of fruit this summer with jam- that of course, we couldn’t all eat fresh. You can also try and make jelly, but I would highly recommend not following my instructions.

    Blanching

    DSC_0304-rBlanching is as easy as boiling something for 30 seconds, throwing it in cold water, straining and freezing. This works well with almost any leafy green (expect lettuce. thats gross), and was a great way to tame this once it overtook the whole garden.

    Pureeing

    P1130943

    Just cook up your item of choice, throw it in the blender, and freeze. Works best with root vegetables and squashes, less so with roast dinners.

    Freezing

    P1110505

    I may or may not do an upcoming post with tips on freezing different types of fruit, so I don’t want to give any spoilers. But I will say it involves throwing berries or chopped fruit in a bag and putting it into the freezer.

    If all else fails, just combine all your pre-mold remains into one of your favourite fridge cleaning recipes- soups and pasta sauces are my go-tos, with both also freezing well if you’re not going to eat right away.


  4. Okanagan Wine Tasting- Round 2

    September 10, 2014 by Sarah

    The family and I were lucky enough to return to the Okanagan over the long weekend, and somehow managed to double our wine tasting intake from last year. Now before anyone tries to take away our licenses (or the puppy), I would note that overall tasting consumption probably topped out at 2 glasses total..over 4 days. Not quite time to start attending meetings yet.

    There’s not much to say about Okanagan wineries, beyond the delicious wine and incredible views. They’re all slightly different of course, all with their own unique charms and perspectives on the valley.

    I’m not what you’d call very knowledgeable on the finer art of crushed grapes. I never really pick up on the hint of worn saddle or asian pear grown in slightly acidic soil. That said, all the sweeter white ones tend to be my favourites. Or really any type that doesn’t make me scrunch up my nose and begin to slightly gag (the sign of a true connoisseur, no doubt).

    The first winery we visited was Church and State. It had a beautiful outdoor tasting bar with an incredible view. They also encouraged us to wander through the grape vines, and even let us take a few bunches of grapes with us. (Someone even mentioned we could probably take a whole garbage bag full and no one would notice. Duly noted….).
    cas-c

    DSC_0590IMG_5335

    The next we stopped at was The Burrowing Owl. Another beautiful location and great wine. The tasting was inside (and a bit crowded), but there was an observation tower and great views from their restaurant on site. We stayed for lunch, and I had one of the most delicious meals I can remember (a daily special)…unfortunately the service was a bit disappointing.

    DSC_0595

    DSC_0606DSC_0600

    The next day we stopped at the Young and Wyse winery. This was the smallest location we visited, which also meant we got the most personalized attention. While comparably the views weren’t quite as spectacular, it was undoubtably in a beautiful location.

    DSC_0640

    The last winery we visited was Rustico, which was a completely different experience. While the views were similarly beautiful, the whole thing was set up in an old saloon style, complete with drinks poured out in tumbler glasses, like a line of shots (although apparently this is the more authentic way). While we probably enjoyed the wines the least here (but not by much) this was a fun change from the typical winery experience and definitely worth the trip. They also have a particularly cute puppy that might have stolen a lot of the attention..

    DSC_0646

    DSC_0657

    DSC_0661 Check out last years winery’s here- See Ya Later and Tinhorn Creek


  5. Cheesy Lentil Tomato Rice

    September 4, 2014 by Sarah

    Or really, just rice and beans in disguise. A slightly fancier, less latino disguise. However just like the original, it’s cheap and easy to make a big batch and let it sit in the fridge to pick at whenever hungry or in need of an actual meal. That is, one with real protein, grains, dairy and vegetables. I’m no expert, but it sounds to me like this may check every level of the food pyramid of science.

    DSC_0537-2-r-psTo make:

    Saute half a diced onion and few cloved of minced garlic.
    Pour in 1 cup of brown rice and 2 cups water and let cook.
    Simulatenously, cook 1/2 cup green lentils in about 2 cups water.
    When everythings cooked, strain and mix together.
    Crumble in feta, chopped tomatoparsleysalt and pepper.

    * essentially everything can be substituted according to what you have on hand.

    DSC_0540-r


  6. Cherry Vanilla Pudding Popsicles

    August 28, 2014 by Sarah

    Cherry vanilla pudding popsicles were the perfect way to take a break from the (relative..) summer heat, use up some of the cherry stockpile while it’s at its best, and continue to recover from a cherry deprived childhood. They are as simple as the name sounds, with all the ingredients laid right out in the title. To make, just mix up some vanilla pudding, throw in some chopped cherries, and freeze!

    DSC_0310-r

    If you want to get all fancy you could also add in a teaspoon of almond extract, or perhaps some lemon zest (but probably not together). I can imagine these would also work well using almond milk with the pudding mix, should you be so lactically inclined. These were also originally supposed to be fudgsicles (made with chocolate pudding), so I would give that a try as well (for comparison purposes only, of course).

    DSC_0317-r

    DSC_0338-r


  7. Homemade Vanilla Custard

    August 22, 2014 by Sarah

    Sometimes recipes are off limits. As in, don’t even attempt to make any changes because tough luck improving upon perfection. Around these parts, one of those things is custard. Bird’s custard. A lifelong family dessert staple, that up until recently, I didn’t even really realize could be made from scratch (and why would you?! they’d say).

    So, as a bit of an experiment, I thought I’d give it a try. Turns out it’s unexpectedly simple, delicious….but not about to replace the can of powdered birds in the cupboard that laced so many childhood crumbles (..plus it would go moldy in the cupboard).

    DSC_0464-r

    I would happily make this recipe again… and would recommend it without hesitation if your family is not ridden with such custard angst. I followed the recipe directly from here, and as it was my first attempt, didn’t really make any modifications.

    To make:

    Pour 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of cream, and the seeds of 1 vanilla bean into a pot. Heat until hot but not boiling.

    Mix 4 egg yolks, 1 tbls cornstarch, and 1/3 cup sugar in a bowl.

    Pour hot milk mixture into egg mixture while continually stirring. Then dump the entire mix back into the pot, and heat until it thickens.

    DSC_0505-r-psDelicious accompanied with old favourites like crumble and stewed rhubarb, but has also been taste-tested and approved accompanying some particularly delightful liqorice-poached pears…