Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Finding Comfort in a Storm

Snow Snow Snow. It is officially winter and we are officially in a winter deep freeze.

I dont know about you, but I was secretly harboring wishes that the snow may not stick around....much like the last snowfall we had. It melted away and we had the second coming of fall. This time, I think it is here to stay. Unfortunately for me, my wishful thinking meant I did not bring my lawn furniture in...


Today was one of those days where you realize that the lazy days of summer are gone...

And the days of cleaning your car EVERY time you leave the house to go somewhere are around for at least the next few months.


It is days like this that I like nothing more than to spend an evening Hunkering Down (my moms words for getting cozy). So I did just that.

I made myself a cup of tea in my current favourite giant Starbucks mug,

And I pulled out my stack of books. When I say stack....I mean that in the literal sense.

Confession....I am a book hoarder.

I have a problem with compulsively buying books and magazines, putting them on my bookshelf, then letting them collect dust for years. I have 2 bookshelves that are overflowing with books of which three quarters of them I have not read. YET. I will someday! I also have a major problem with buying books, starting them, then getting bored and starting a new one.

Currently I am reading five books. This is my stack of current reads:

I am sure some of you are doubtful that I am reading all five of these, but here is the evidence of such craziness:

Bookmarks in all of them.

It is very possible I have the readers version of ADD. It is my goal to get through the majority of these by the time New Years rolls around.
To me, there is nothing like laying in bed with a mug of hot tea and a good book on a snowy day. Comfort epitomized.

Something else that perks me up on a winter day is a really good dessert. I love comfort food and for me, anything with pumpkin in it is comforting. I do not know if it is the association pumpkin has with holidays and family gatherings or if it is all in my head, but biting into a pumpkin dessert is pure comfort to me. The other day, I made Pumpkin Pie Brownie Cupcakes which I found on my favorite blog. You can see the recipe here. My cupcakes turned out to look NOTHING like the ones on Angelas blog (pictured below).


This is how mine turned out...

Not nearly the same, but they tasted OK, which is all that matters to me.

And the final thing that bring me comfort on a winter day is good company to share these things with.

Stay warm:)


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

An Early Morning Run and Sneaky Vegan Pudding

This past weekend I was lucky enough to have a four day weekend. To start the weekend off, my friend and I planned a running morning.

We planned the run the night before and were not anticipating having to run through frost and cold temperatures in the morning. will definately take a while to acclimatize to the winter weather. That being said, it turned out to be a BEAUTIFUL morning!

It was our first run in the colder weather and our lungs and knees reminded us that winter is not a particularly runner-friendly season. We powered through (with a few walk breaks), if for no other reason than to justify all of the stress-induced snacking both of us have been doing as of late.

As we rounded a turn in the path, we stumbled upon a tinsel-covered tree

I found out later that someone does this every year as a memorial to their loved one who passed away. So precious!

To treat ourselves for all the hard work we did, we stopped for smoothies at Urban Appeal. I got an Absolutely Awesome with a rice protein kicker, and my friend got a Rasberry smoothie also with rice protein.

It is quite possible that the neighbours thought I was a bit crazy when I put the smoothies on the lawn and got down on the ground to take a picture. Look how cute though!

After our run I still had a lot of time to kill in the morning, so I decided to experiment with vegan puddings.

I started with Vegan Vanilla Pudding at my boyfriends request (ok...he did not request the vegan part but I thought it would be fun). I found the recipe here:
The recipe was fairly simple. There were not many ingredients involved....

The most frustrating part of making this pudding was the process of thickening the mixture. It took FOREVER and seemed even longer as I had to stand and stir for at least 15 minutes. It is possible I have a very crappy stove.

The finished product. Put in the fridge for what also seems like forever, or what is in reality 2 to 3 hours.

Since I prefer chocolate pudding to vanilla (I mean....cmon)...I then decided to make Vegan Chocolate Pudding for dessert. I got the recipe here.

There were only 4 ingredients for this recipe.

I started melting the chocolate chips and did not stop drooling for the next 20 minutes.

This pudding recipe is made with Tofu which I was skeptical about at first, but it seemed to turn out OK.

It had to cool for a while which was torture, but the wait was completely worth it. It was quite possibly the creamiest, most decadent pudding I have ever eaten and you would never know that tofu and soy milk made up the majority of the ingredients.

Not the best picture but you get the idea. For a dinner party I would put the pudding in individual wine glasses and garnish with blackberries and raspberries. The grapes worked well too though.

The run and the baking were a great start to the extra-long weekend. Now I am in need of going for another run to wear off all the pudding I ate!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Retro Italian Bread Wedges

So tonight my BF and I were trying to decide what to have for supper and the options where either leftovers or.....well leftovers. My BF mentioned his love for Italian Bread Wedges circa Grade 8 Home Ec class. He no longer had the recipe, but as fate would have it we had the same Home Ec teacher in Grade 8 (despite going to different elementary schools) and the Italian Bread Wedges were a recipe I held on to.

And so we baked.

 We started with the dough. For this we needed 2.5c. flour, 1tbsp instant yeast, 1c. warm water, 1tbsp vegetable oil, 1tsp. sugar and 1 tsp. salt.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Knead in extra flour if needed. Form a ball. Cover and let rise for 20 minutes.

Then you will need: a quarter of a tsp. salt, dash pepper, a quarter tsp. oregano, a quarter tsp. garlic powder, a quarter tsp. thyme and a quarter to a third cup Golden Italian Dressing.

Mix the 5 spices in a small bowl. Brush Italian dressing evenly over dough.

Sprinkle on parmesan cheese, sprinkle on one half cup grated mozarella cheese.

We did not have mozarella so we used marble. We took the parmesan cheese out because my BF apparently does not care for it.  It is amazing the things you learn about your partner while you cook together.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, but watch it closely.

My BF had only bread wedges for supper, but I added a salad. It was a perfect combination.

I also had an obligatory glass of wine to celebrate having the next four days off!!

This recipe was SO easy. It is meant for grade 8 students so it is relatively simple and straightforward AND it is BF friendly! Thanks to Mrs. Wingert, the BEST grade 8 Home Ec teacher ever!


Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Night I Decided to Bake Bread

There are few household tasks I hate more in the world than taking down seasonal decorations in my house.  I love putting decorations out for Halloween, Christmas, etc; however, the un-decorating is something I find mildly depressing. So when I found myself taking down Halloween decorations, I was feeling slightly down in the dumps and I wondered what I could do to pick myself up again.

The answer...BAKE!

So I began searching some of my favourite foodie websites for ideas. My biggest frustration with this task was finding a recipe in which I had all the ingredients in the house! I finally settled on two delicious-sounding recipes:  Beginners Rolls (adapted from and Brown Sugar Banana Chocoloate Nut Bread (adapted from

First things first....the Rolls. It should be noted that I have NEVER baked bread of any kind before. So armed with determination and plenty of time on my hands I began with the ingredients I needed. 

Turns out there are not many ingredients required. hard can it be....

I got the dough ready to begin rising...

So far it does not look very appetizing. After letting it rise for half an hour, I rolled the dough into little buns...

It was about at this point that I realized that I forgot a very key ingredient....THE FREAKING SALT! UGH! So I set these aside to rise for another half hour and started on my second recipe of the night.


My Happy Helper....

The ingredients combined to look something like this....

It took an hour to bake which seemed like forever when the smell was so enticing. Finally, it was ready to take out of the oven.

I was still cursing at myself for forgetting the salt in the rolls so I fixed myself a snack. After all, it is imperative to taste test the finished product!!

Yum.....the bread turned out to be quite delicious. I was ready to get back to the salt-less buns.

After baking in the oven for about 15 minutes, they looked pretty darn good.

Despite their looks, they tasted a bit bland (possibly due to their lack of salt....) so I doused them in jam and they were tolerable.

All in All, a productive night. Un-decorating my house is almost forgotten....and Christmas decorating is just around the corner....:)


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween Treat Remorse

It is only a few days after Halloween, and I seem to be suffering from a little thing called Halloween Treat Remorse (HRT). I suffer from this every year and I have fallen victim once again this year. HRT typically happens when a person buys too much candy and gets very small numbers of trick or treaters. This is what happened to me. Last year I got about 28 trick or treaters so in preparation I bought a box of 100 chocolate bars and some Rockets. Then, I thought maybe the weather would bring out more trick or treaters this year so I bought one more bag of 60 chocolate bars just in case. We ended up with a grand total of 28 kids. Needless to say, we had enough treats for the kids and because I have no willpower I seem to be eating a LOT of leftover candy. Hence the Halloween Treat Remorse. So, to try to rectify my HRT I attempted to do some healthy things for myself for one day.

Last night one of my girlfriends and I went to a Karma yoga class. My yoga studio, Body in Mind Yoga Studio ( offers these every couple months, and they are AWESOME.  You can bring friends and family, and the class fee is a small donation that goes to a different charity each month.

This month all proceeds from Karma yoga go to the Crohns and Colitis Foundation of Canada.. It was the first time that my friend ever attended a yoga class and we had a blast!

Instead of snacking on chocolates everytime I need a snack, I tried a few new healthier options in the past few days. My new addiction is to home made parfaits. I love love love these and they are so simple to put together. The parfait I made was a raspberry one. Here are the ingredients I used:

I put one cup of Source Vanilla Yogourt, half a cup of raspberries, and a handful of granola (which I picked up at the Bulk was my first time there and I loved it....yes I have a very exciting life).

YUM! Such a good snack and a nice break from mini chocolate bars.

Also on my health kick day, I made my first smoothie! Here are the ingredients I used:

This is such an easy snack to make. I used one cup of fruit, half a cup of So Good Vanilla Soy Milk, and Source Vanilla Yogourt (my fav!). The little dish is filled with hemp seeds. I know I know, they are some sketchy sounding seeds. However, they are filled with amino acids and fatty acids that our bodies are unable to make. I found these at Bulk Barn too.

Put these in a blender and VOILA!

A delicious smoothy. In a wine glass. Because everything tastes better in a wine glass. My first attempt at making a smoothie went well aside from the occasional frozen fruit that I kept eating. Thanks crappy blender.

So that is the tale of my healthy day. I think my case of HTR is almost cured. Just in time to eat more chocolate:)