Returning soon!

IMG_20140521_153049Oh friends, it’s been quite a year. There’s been no end of sick pets, cooking burn-out, and challenging days. I’ve found myself in constant need of tea and naps, and the amount of time I’ve had to read has been abysmal. This poor little blog has fallen by the wayside. I’ve reached the point where recharging is the only option, and intentionally taking time for grounding, rest and the things that nourish me is essential.

To that end, I’m going to be making a concerted effort to update this blog on a regular basis and build up to some sort of routine. Up next, a new favourite of mine: a lemony kale and white bean soup!

Blog Hop

My friends O and S have a food blog called A Finger in the Pie (you should check it out!) and they tagged me in a “blog hop” they participated in. It’s basically like an email forward quiz (remember those?), and I thought it would be a good way to introduce myself a bit more! I challenge any of you reading who also have a blog to participate by answering the following questions on your site and linking to a bunch of your own favourite blogs!

What is the working title of your next blog post?

Flourless peanut butter cookies!

Where did the idea come from for the blog?

I’ve been reading food blogs since I learned to cook. I baked a lot with my mom when I was little, but I didn’t really learn how to cook until I moved out on my own in university. I’d call my mom often to ask how to make this or that, and I had a couple good cookbooks (thanks for not letting me starve, Jeanne Lemlin!) but it wasn’t until I discovered food blogs that I cooked for any reason other than sustenance. Hearing people’s stories and the meaning they got from cooking, eating and feeding others was humbling and inspiring. I wanted to participate in this community, and here we are!

What genre does your blog fall under?

This is definitely a food blog, but I’d like to branch out a bit. I’d like to share what I’m reading, where I’m eating, the outcomes of my (successful) craft nights with friends, etc. I sometimes find it really hard to talk about myself and what’s going on in my life, so I think some slow and gentle branching out is in order.

Which actor would you choose to play your character in a movie rendition?

Hmmm. Can I be animated?

What is a one-sentence synopsis of your blog?

A vegetarian food blog, with hints of tea and books.

How long did it take you to write the draft of your first blog post?

It was a very familiar cupcake recipe, so not long (maybe half an hour?)

What other blogs would you compare this to within your genre?

For vegan/vegetarian food blogs, I really like the Curvy Carrot, Hell Yeah It’s Vegan!, the Post Punk Kitchen and Oh She Glows. 101 Cookbooks and Sprouted Kitchen aren’t vegetarian, but many of their recipes are, and they both also focus on whole foods and natural products.

Who or what inspired you to start this blog?

Food! And the C.S. Lewis quote I named the food blog after: “You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

What else about your blog might pique your readers’ interest?

I have a lot of trouble finding totally vegetarian food blogs, so that may pique some people’s interest. I’m also hoping to try to do some regular “features”, like restaurant reviews, books I’m reading, etc. I’m a creature of order and routine, and I’d love to have a bit of structure around here.

Here are the bloggers whose work you can check out next:

I don’t know many bloggers personally, but these are the blogs whose URLs I have memorized and that I read daily.

  • Annie’s Eats: This is perhaps my favourite food blog. The recipes are simple and delicious, the photos are beautiful, and the writer (Annie) is just so lovely and cheerful.
  • Joy the Baker: I just got the Joy the Baker cookbook, but I’ve been reading the blog for years. It’s my go-to for baking recipes.
  • Smitten Kitchen: I also just go the Smitten Kitchen cookbook after years of reading the blog. A lot of my favourite recipes that I come back to over and over again (ratatouille, lemon risotto, the best brownies on the planet, etc.) are from here.
  • Orangette: Reading this blog is like reading a collection of short stories. Every entry is so beautifully written that I savour every word, even if the recipe doesn’t appeal to me. Luckily, most of the recipes DO appeal to me as well!
  • Dooce: This isn’t a food blog, but it makes me cry with laughter every time I read it. The author has two children and two dogs, and describes herself as a “recovering Mormon”.
  • A Beautiful Mess: This isn’t a food blog either, but the writers (sisters Emma and Elsie) often post food and drink recipes. This blog is also one of my main sources for crafting and DIY projects!

Quarter Century Party

DSC00643I turned 25 on Friday. Twenty-five! One of my friends jokes that I go through an “annual aging crisis”, and it’s completely true. This year it wasn’t too bad, and we had a great party to celebrate. When I was planning my wedding, I found this wonderful idea for a cupcake topping bar. It was too complicated to plan for the wedding but this weekend… it finally happened!

I made three different types of cupcakes (mint chocolate, cookies and cream and apple cider, all from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World), peppermint chocolate sauce, and butterscotch sauce, and laid out M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces, berries, chocolate cookie crumbs and rainbow sprinkles. It was all delicious. I also served a bunch of savory treats, all of which will make an appearance on this blog soon; they deserve their own posts.

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I adapted the directions from Joy the Baker’s cake banner tutorial to make a larger banner for the cupcake topping bar. It’s super easy to do!

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Finally, I made tissue paper flowers to decorate the table and the hallway. I used this tutorial from A Beautiful Mess, and once you figure out what you’re doing, they’re easy to make as well! I attached the twine to chopsticks to make little stems to put in vases, but you could also hang them or place them wherever you like.

It was a beautiful party with so many lovely friends. And now for Christmas!

Food Blog Recipe Round-Up!

ImageI’ve been cooking and baking a lot from food blogs lately, and wanted to share some of those successes! First is this Chickpea Rice Soup with Cabbage from the Post Punk Kitchen, which is so delicious and hardy. A good soup those April evenings that are still on the cool side.

Next is this delicious Broccoli Soup with Lemon Chive Cream from Orangette. It’s a bit lighter, and a great use for all the leeks I kept getting in my organics box!

If you haven’t visited Oh She Glows yet, go now! This Creamy Avocado Pasta is quick, delicious and versatile. You can make it just like this, or throw in some sauteed or roasted veggies.

Speaking of delicious vegan recipes, this pesto risotto with roasted zucchini is to die for.

For a delicious snack that’s quite filling and easy to make (although it takes awhile), these candied almonds are perfect. The original recipe calls for walnuts, uses eggs and is made in the oven. I used almonds, added a bit of oil instead of egg and made them in a skillet in the stove top.

Last, but certainly not least, these Szechuan Noodles! So easy and good! Annie’s Eats always provides winning recipes.

Happy cooking!

Green Goddess Bowl

ImageIt’s spring here in Ottawa (which is lovely AND disconcerting, as it’s only mid-March and we’re usually still snowed in at this point), which has given me a burst of energy. It also has me craving lots of fresh, green things, and this dish hits the spot.

If you’re ever in Toronto, you need to try out Fresh. I was introduced to these restaurants a few years ago by a friend and now no Toronto trip is complete without a meal there. My favourite items on their menu are their bowls: you get either noodles or rice with different toppings (vegetables, grilled tofu, etc.) and dressings and sauces. Every one I’ve tried has been delicious, but the Green Goddess bowl is my favourite. So much so that I bought one of their cookbooks, Refresh, so that I could make it at home. You should too!

Green Goddess Bowl

Source: Refresh

Ingredients

For the Tahini Sauce

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup filtered water
  • 1/2 cup tahini (sesame butter)

For the Simple Sauce

  • 1/2 cup tamari
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 inches ginger root, peeled and minced
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice

For everything else

  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 head bok choy, torn (I don’t usually use this and the dish hasn’t suffered)
  • 1 bunch green kale, torn
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, torn
  • 6 cups cooked brown rice OR cooked noodles of your choice (I’ve had the bet results with spinach quinoa noodles!)
  • 2 sheets nori, torn
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, toasted (sesame seeds are also a delicious substitution)
  • 1/2 cup white pickled ginger (which I also don’t usually use)

Directions

  1. To make the tahini sauce: Put the garlic, parsley, salt and lemon juice in a blender or food process and pulse a few times. Add the water and sesame butter, and run until smooth.
  2. To make the simple sauce: Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. Steam broccoli and greens until they are tender and bright green.
  4. Put 1 cup rice/noodles in a large bowl. Drizzle with 2 tbsp tahini sauce. Place nori pieces on top.
  5. Arrange the steamed greens and broccoli on the rice/noddles and sprinkle toasted sunflower seeds on top. Drizzle with 2 tbsp of simple sauce.
  6. Garnish with a pinch of pickled ginger if you’re so inclined.
  7. Serve and enjoy!