Category Archives: Food

Breakfast Bowl Recipe

Anndd I’m back with the summer blogging! Yes, I am calling it summer even though it does not look or feel like it right now with this cloudy, chilly weather (and the fact that it isn’t really officially summer until June..). So what better way to beat Toronto’s strange weather and also feel energized at the start of your day than to eat a delicious, nutrient-dense breakfast bowl that’s quick and easy to make? Continue reading

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , ,

New Year’s & Maple Banana Bread Recipe

With 2015 gone and 2016 here to stay for a year comes one of the most common new year resolutions that are usually long forgotten by February: eat healthier. Let’s face it, even if you’re not a new year’s resolutions kind of person, you’ve thought about it at least once in the first few days of 2016. And like all of us, the determination to consume healthier foods slowly fades as the days go past, our lives get busier, the $3 slice of pizza looks a lot more wallet-friendly than shelling out big bucks for fresh fruits/vegetables at the grocery store, or when all the holiday chocolates go on sale after Christmas.

I think the key to maintaining the determination of eating healthier is to be realistic and honest with yourself. For example, salads are the bane of my existence and I know that. So it doesn’t make sense to try and plan out kale salads for lunch every day of the week for me. To put it simply, I easily stay determined to eat foods I enjoy and contrary to belief, there are foods out there that taste good and are healthy at the same time. I found this amazing Maple Banana Bread recipe from The Heart and Stroke Foundation (http://www.heartandstroke.com/site/c.ikIQLcMWJtE/b.9277763/k.8449/Recipes__Maple_banana_bread.htm) when I was baking for a bake sale and was surprised by how delicious it was, considering the super healthy and nutritious ingredients. I will definitely be making this recipe throughout the year! Without further ado, let’s get baking:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (250 mL) whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup (250 mL) large flake oats
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) wheat bran
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp (4 mL) baking soda
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed well
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) plain 0% Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) canola oil
  • 1 egg

Also: feel free to add extra ingredients into the recipe to customize your own banana bread. Some great add-ons would be nuts, seeds, cranberries, raisins, etc. For mine, I added in about 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts.

DSC01129

Directions:

1.Mix together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl: flour, oats, bran, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda.

DSC01140DSC01144

2. Blend the bananas until they have an even consistency and pour into a bowl.

DSC01149

3. Add the yogurt, maple syrup, canola oil, and egg and mix well.

DSC01150DSC01161

DSC01157

I got a little carried away and tried to make a heart barista-style, kind of an epic fail 😀

DSC01173

4. Once the wet ingredients are whisked well, pour into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix together.

DSC01162

It doesn’t look the most appealing pre-bake, you know you did the recipe right if it looks like lumpy oatmeal!

DSC01165

5. Pour mixture into a parchment paper lined and sprayed 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches (1.5 L) loaf pan and bake in a preheated 350° F oven for 40 minutes. You can also insert a toothpick in and if it comes out clean, the banana bread is done.

DSC01169

DSC01170

6. Let the banana bread cool for 10 minutes before turning it out of the pan and serving it.

DSC01178[1]

I hope you enjoy this recipe and let’s all stay inspired and motivated this year to eat clean and think consciously about what we put into our bodies, but also equally important -to treat yourself every now and then! 

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Dairy-Free Pistachio Ice Cream Recipe

Hello again fellow readers! Today, I wanted to share a fantastic summer recipe that I was excited to try -Pistachio Ice Cream. What makes this recipe pretty awesome is not only is the star player one of my favourite nuts, but it also happens to be dairy-free and includes no added sugars, making this a pretty guilt-free dessert! It all started when I recently acquired a Yonanas machine. For those who are wondering what in the world a Yonanas machine is, it essentially converts frozen fruits into a soft-serve ice cream consistency without the need for any cream or sugar (aka the best invention to ever be gifted unto society!!). I was first confused on how a machine could simply turn frozen fruits into something that looked and tasted exactly like ice cream without any cream OR sugar, and the answer to both questions is: bananas. The key is to freeze over-ripe bananas (over-ripe bananas with some black spots on the skin are a lot sweeter than plain yellow ones), and add it to the mixture to provide a natural sweet, creamy flavour. Genius! I could ramble on and on about how wonderful this recipe is, but instead, I’ll let you guys try it and see for yourselves! So without further ado, here’s the Yonanas Pistachio Ice Cream recipe!

Ingredients:

-2 frozen over-ripe bananas

-12 oz shelled pistachios (make sure they are plain pistachios without any added salt)

-1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk

-1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Peel 2 over-ripe bananas, separate each into 1/4 pieces and let them freeze in the freezer for at least 24 hrs.
  2. Grind the pistachios in a food processor until they reach a grainy-sand-like texture (you can use a blender instead if you’d like; I used a Vitamix).

DSC00957[1]DSC00979[1]

3. In a medium saucepan, combine the almond milk and vanilla extract, and slowly incorporate the ground pistachios. Let this mixture come to a simmer and take it off the heat. If you feel like the texture is still a little thick, you can pour it back into the blender until the texture becomes more consistent and smooth.

DSC00982[1]DSC00984[1]

DSC00986[1]DSC00993[1]

4. Let the mixture cool down, then fill an ice cube tray and freeze to make frozen pistachio cubes.

DSC00999[1]

5. When ready to make your pistachio ice cream, take out your frozen banana pieces and pistachio cubes and let them thaw for around 5 minutes.

DSC01010[1]

6. Start by first adding in a banana piece into the Yonanas machine, then add 2 pistachio cubes. Alternate until you’ve added in the full 2 bananas and 8 pistachio cubes total. If you would like more pistachio or banana flavour, feel free to add more of either ingredient to your preference. After, mix the 2 ice creams together well until you achieve a consistent, light green colour.

DSC01021[1]DSC01025[1]

DSC01032[1]

DSC01035[1]

I finished it off with some fresh ground pistachios as a garnish, and it’s ready to eat! This recipe has easily become one of my favourites -pistachio ice cream without any dairy or added sugars, yet tastes equally delicious! Hope you guys enjoy this recipe and happy ice-cream making! 🙂

DSC01046[1]

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Homemade Pizza Recipe

New food recipe alert! It really has been so long since I’ve tried a new recipe this summer, and I wanted to make something I’ve never made before. Yesterday, I thought it’d be fun to take on the task of making pizza from scratch, not only for the challenge, but because I was really craving it too! The great thing I’ve learned about making pizza is that it’s so easily customizable to your own preferences. Once you’ve made the base with the dough and tomato sauce, your creativity and own imagination can take reign over every and any topping you decide to include in your pizza. I’ve based this recipe from Jamie Oliver’s with some of my own modifications:

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/bread-recipes/spicy-salami-courgette-basil-tomato-and-mozzarella-pizza-topping/#YKPE8rB8OPtMXQvf.97

INGREDIENTS:

For the pizza base

  • 800 g strong white flour
  • 200 g semolina flour (can substitute with strong white flour)
  • 1 tbsp fine sea salt
  • 2×7 g dried yeast
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 650 ml lukewarm water

For the tomato sauce

  • 400 g canned plum tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small bunch fresh basil
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

For the toppings

  • your favourite toppings!
  • some suggestions: cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, feta, etc.), salami/pepperoni, peppers, onions, mushrooms, olives, etc.

DIRECTIONS:

Find a clean surface and mix together the white flour, semolina flour, and sea salt.

pizza

Mix in the yeast packets to the lukewarm water, and allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes.

IMG_2120 IMG_2121

Create approximately a 18cm well from the dough and fill it with the yeast-water mixture.

IMG_2122 IMG_2123

Take a fork and slowly mix the flour into the yeast mixture until you reach a thick porridge-like consistency.

IMG_2125

Add some more flour until the dough starts coming together. Knead the dough for around 10 minutes until the dough becomes smoother.

IMG_2128

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to sit for 45 minutes and double in size.

IMG_2130IMG_2134

While you’re waiting for the dough to rise, you can make the tomato sauce. Start by chopping the garlic and heating it up in a saucepan with some olive oil. Once the garlic turns golden brown, add the canned tomatoes, fresh basil, and season with salt and pepper. Let the sauce reduce down a bit until the consistency runs thicker.

IMG_2133

As you wait for the tomato sauce to cool down, take the risen dough and separate it into two halves. Store one half in the freezer for future use. Take the other half and separate it into 4 pieces. This will make 4 separate pizzas. Lightly flour each piece, wrap them individually with plastic wrap, and let them rest for 15 minutes. This will allow you to easily roll each piece thinly.

IMG_2135

When you’re ready to make your pizza, roll out the dough to around 0.5cm thick.

IMG_2137

Place your rolled out pizza dough onto a lightly greased pan and preset your oven to 500°F. Evenly spread the tomato sauce on the pizza base up to the edges.

IMG_2141

Once your pizza base and tomato sauce has been made, the possible toppings you can add are endless! I decided to buy a few ingredients, and then switch up the different ingredients on each pizza I made from the dough: mozzarella cheese, spicy salami, prosciutto, orange peppers, basil, zucchini, onions, and cherry tomatoes. Use whatever toppings you love! Finish off your pizza with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper on top before putting it in the oven.

IMG_2138 IMG_2150

Allow your pizza to bake until golden and crispy (approx. 10-15 minutes).

IMG_2152

IMG_2169

Usually after cooking, my appetite greatly decreases (does anyone else ever experience that?!), but this recipe was an absolute exception!! It looked too good that I immediately cut out a slice for me to eat! After trying out this pizza recipe, I can conclude that it is delicious and relatively easy to tackle for pizza amateurs like me. The most time-consuming part of the process is making the dough – having to let it rise and rest, and kneading it well. However, an advantage of this recipe is that it makes a lot of dough! I made around 6 pizzas from it, so if you have any leftover dough, you can just pop it in the freezer until you want to make more pizza in the future. And since the most time-consuming part is over, you can make delicious pizzas in significantly less time in the future! Hope you all try this recipe out and happy pizza making! (Confession: guilty of attempting to swirl the pizza dough in mid-air, pretending I worked at an Italian pizzeria) 🙂

Tagged , , ,

Vancouver, BC Part 1: Food Diary

I recently returned from Vancouver, BC as I was visiting my brother and I had the best time! I feel like I spent at least half of the time I spent there eating, and I’m not even ashamed of it! The food was that good! This is not an extensive food diary as I was too busy eating and before I knew it, the food was all gone before I remembered to take a picture. So you’re just going to have to trust me when I say that all the food I ate in Vancouver was quite phenomenal.

When you’re in Vancouver, you’re pretty much obligated to go eat sushi:

Volcano Roll- spicy salmon sushi with sriracha sauce, need I say more?

IMG_9999[1]

BC Blazer- pros: spicy Japanese mayo, Bonito flakes cons: didn’t like the imitation crab inside the roll

IMG_0013

Saba Inferno: looved this roll! The part that they torch tastes like melted marshmallow when you put it in your mouth! So unique!

IMG_0005[1]IMG_0008[1]

Out of all the restaurants we tried in Vancouver (including the ones that I didn’t take pictures for), Takis’ Taverna was my absolute favourite! We ordered the Takis Greek Platter and Seafood Platter. The moussaka and chicken souvlaki were the standouts in my opinion! My mouth is watering just from writing about it! I definitely recommend this restaurant if you enjoy Greek food!

IMG_0228 IMG_0229   IMG_0232 IMG_0233

My family and I passed by Santouka Ramen almost every day of our trip and every single time, there was a lineup. The only way for us to get a spot without lining up was to have an early 5pm dinner; I ordered the Shio Ramen. Just a mini review of the ramen: a nice creamy broth, you can really taste the rich flavour of the pork belly Santouka is apparently known for. The texture and consistency of the ramen noodles were on point. However, the Shio Ramen is quite salty. I asked them to half the saltiness and I still found myself reaching for water several times while eating it. Overall, I give the Shio Ramen a 4/5.

IMG_0302  IMG_0304

Be sure to check back in as I will be posting Vancouver, BC Part 2: City Adventures soon! Until next time!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Lime Creme de Pots Recipe

So happy to be posting recipes again on this blog! I was flipping through Anna Olson’s recipe books at Chapters looking for a new recipe to bake, preferably something with blueberry or apple, because I’m the most familiar baking with those two ingredients. I was predetermined to create some type of pie or coffee cake, but I flipped to a page titled “Lime Creme de Pots”. I thought that sounded really interesting and I continued reading; I was pretty much sold after reading through the recipe. Lime Creme de Pots is a type of lime-infused custard. In my entire baking history, I have not once made custard or any cream-based dessert, so much as use limes as the main flavour of a dessert! When I think limes, I think sour flavours, but this dessert quickly turned me into a huge lime believer since the citrus flavours of the lime really balance out the creaminess of the custard! Limes also remind me a lot of summer and warm, sunny weather, so making this recipe could be your last hurrah before the summer ends! This recipe makes about 5-6 servings, but I could easily eat at least 10 of these by myself! haha I’m joking, but not really 😀 Let’s get started on this amazing recipe!

IMG_3292[1]

The original recipe can be found here: http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipe/lime-pots-de-creme/4024/

Ingredients:

Lime Pots de Creme

2 ¼ cup whipping cream

3 egg yolks

2 whole eggs

½ cup sugar

4 tbsp lime juice

1 ½ tbsp lime zest

Crushed Raspberry Sauce

2 cup fresh raspberries

4 tbsp sugar

2 tsp lime juice

1 tsp lime zest

There are three main parts to making the base: the eggs, lime and whipping cream. I actually forgot to buy eggs and my dad ran out to get some, so in the meantime, I started on the lime portion, which actually turned out for the better because this part takes the longest time in my opinion. Before you start juicing the limes, roll it on a flat surface, working it so the juices start flowing inside and it makes the overall juicing process a lot easier and efficient. Limes work better than lemons in this recipe not only because of its distinct flavour, but also because limes usually have no seeds!

IMG_3216[1]

After you’ve obtained 1/4 cup of lime juice, you need to grate at least 4 limes to get 4 1/2 teaspoons of zest. This was the most time consuming step of the recipe for me, probably because I don’t have much experience in grating!! Feel free to make less or more zest to your liking.

IMG_3224[1]

Now for the egg portion! In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, egg yolks, and whole eggs with a whisk. Afterwards, add in the lime zest and lime juice.

IMG_3226[1]

For the final component of the base, in a saucepan, pour in the whipping cream (make sure it’s at least 30% or else it will curdle when the lime is added). Keep it on medium low heat until it reaches just below a simmer. 

IMG_3230[1]

Take it off the heat right after and start immediately pouring it into the egg/lime mixture, whisking it well while it is being poured in. Make sure you whisk until the cream has been fully incorporated.

IMG_3232[1]

After mixing, you should be left with a frothy mixture. Take time to remove any foam remaining on the surface.

IMG_3233[1]

Pour the mixture into individual ramekins, filling each about halfway. Again, if any bubbles/foam appear during this process, remove it before putting it into the oven.

IMG_3241[1]IMG_3244[1]

Place the ramekins in a baking pan and fill the baking pan halfway with boiling water. The water will help encourage more even slow cooking rather than relying solely on the direct heat from the oven.

IMG_3246[1]

Let them bake in the oven at 325°F for 40-45 minutes. If you move the baking pan, they should jiggle slightly in the middle of the ramekin. 

IMG_3249[1]

While you’re waiting for the creme to bake, it’s time to make the raspberry lime sauce that will go on top -personally my favourite part of the dessert! Again, combine lime juice, lime zest, and sugar into a mixture.

IMG_3257[1]

Then pour in fresh raspberries and start crushing them with a spoon, fork or spatula. Make sure to not completely crush it into a puree; you still want to see some chunks of raspberry to give it more texture.

IMG_3258[1]IMG_3267[1]

The original recipe doesn’t have this, but I decided to add some mint leaves in and let the flavour diffuse for at least a good half hour. I absolutely love mint and I thought it would give the sauce a light, refreshing taste to add on to the tart raspberries and sweet/sour lime. Like, is there any better combination than raspberries, lime, and mint? Dessert heaven! 😀 Let this mixture chill in the fridge while all the flavours are diffusing together.

IMG_3274[1]

After 40-45 minutes, take the creme de pots out of the oven and let them cool for 20 minutes until they reach room temperature. After the 20 minutes, place them in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours. Funny story: during the 20 minute time period, I assumed that the custard would set, but I accidentally moved one of the ramekins really fast and the custard broke, revealing that the inside was still quite liquid. I was horrified, thinking I did something wrong because it was not setting, but no worries, the custard actually sets while they are in the fridge -NOT while they are sitting outside adjusting to room temperature! That was a mistake on my part! haha

IMG_3276[1]

Once your creme de pots have chilled enough, here comes the fun part! You get to assemble the dessert and make it look pretty! Presentation is everything when it comes to food 🙂 Start by spooning some of the raspberry/lime mixture onto the custard (Remember the mint leaves that were put in the mixture to diffuse? I took them all out right before adding the sauce onto the mixture because some people don’t like eating the actual leaves. It’s all up to you and the people you’re serving this dessert to!) Feel free to add as much raspberry/lime sauce as you like! Personally, I like to be very generous here and I pile it up -there’s no such thing as too many raspberries!!

IMG_3282[1]

I had some leftover mint leaves, so I decided to add some as a garnish! It also adds a really nice colour to the dish! Feel free to add some fresh whole raspberries on top too!

IMG_3283[1]

Tadaaa! I give you my first attempt at Lime Creme de Pots!! 

IMG_3285[1]

I have to say, I am very happy with how this dessert turned out and it was really outside my comfort zone. I never make custard-based desserts since I’m always making cakes, muffins, pies, or anything that requires flour. I love how this dessert is a lot lighter and refreshing -great to eat after a heavy meal! It’s not too sweet since the citrus flavour of the lime really stands out and distinguishes this dessert from being a traditional custard. The tartness of the raspberries perfectly balances the creamy citrus custard! And I think adding mint to diffuse into the sauce makes a huge difference. It brings a really great freshness to this dessert!

I hope you enjoy this recipe! I sure did -making and eating it! I will definitely be making this recipe again and again in the future! This recipe is a great encouragement for me to push my baking limits and try venturing into something different that I don’t usually bake. No matter how much I love baking a classic recipe that I’ve baked several times before, there’s nothing like the excitement (and anxiety about why my custard isn’t setting :D) that a new recipe brings you. It was a wonderful baking experience and I hope to take up more challenges like this soon! 🙂

Tagged , , , , , ,

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Funny story. I actually made this recipe over a month ago, and I usually put these posts up almost immediately after I make the recipe, but it just so happened that I made it before my Taiwan trip. Because of the timing, I ended up spending the whole time uploading the pictures/writing at the airport and didn’t make time to finish editing the post throughout the trip!

It was only until just yesterday when my sister bought an oatmeal raisin cookie and it reminded me to finish editing and finally put it up!  This idea to make oatmeal raisin cookies was inspired by my residence dining hall where their oatmeal raisin cookies are out of this world!! They had the perfect proportion of oats and raisins and were so wonderfully soft and chewy! I don’t know about you, but rock hard oatmeal cookies are not up my street. I decided to try and match this recipe so I searched up some recipes right when I arrived home and was ready to bake!! I followed the recipe listed below; however, I made some slight modifications to my own preferences: I used only 1/2 cup of sugar and 3/4 teaspoon of salt. I also added cranberries and chopped almonds and walnuts in addition to raisins.

Here’s a link to the recipe I used:

http://www.food.com/recipe/oatmeal-raisin-cookies-35813

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Cream wet ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
Then stir in
3 cups oats (not instant)
1 1/2 cups raisins

 

Image

Here are the oatmeal raisin cookies I made!

Image

Preheat your oven to 350° F. Get all your ingredients ready to start baking!

Image

Whisk together all the dry ingredients -that includes the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and kosher salt (or any salt is fine as long as it’s not too coarse).

Image

In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients. You can manually mix it yourself, but I found it easier to use an electric hand mixer for thorough incorporation of the ingredients.

mixture

Combine the dry with the wet ingredients and mix well.

Image

The oats! Since it’s the star ingredient of the recipe, make sure to use oats that are not instant oats.

Image

This actually is not in the original recipe, but I thought some walnuts and almonds would bring a good crunch and flavor to the cookies!

Image

Mix in the raisins (you can use whatever raisins you like, I added sultana raisins). I also added in cranberries because why not 😀

Image

Start making your cookies by taking some of the cookie dough and sizing it to your preference. Just make sure to leave about 2 inches of space between each cookie on the baking sheet so they have room to spread out while baking.

Image

Remember to grease the baking sheet before setting your cookies on it and let it bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes. I like to judge it by looking at the colour and waiting until it turns a beautiful golden brown.

Image

If you have any doubts of whether it is finished cooking or not, always take it out earlier than when you were initially going to. If it actually is in fact under-cooked, there’s no harm in simply putting it back in the oven to bake. And when you take cookies out of the oven, they still cook by themselves for a few minutes, so there’s no need to put them back in the oven. As I mentioned before, oatmeal raisin cookies taste THE BEST when they’re not fully baked and are a bit soft. Let’s just say, something you want to avoid is having a cookie that you can kick around like a soccer ball without breaking. Yup, I’ve made cookies like that before. Several times. So to avoid the many mistakes I’ve made in the past, when in doubt, take the cookies out early. You won’t regret it 😀

Image

Here’s the finished product! This tastes amazing by itself or with a glass of milk! I kept these cookies in a Tupperware container and they keep for a little over a week. But trust me, these cookies will be long gone before then!  If you like your cookies really sweet, you can add the original amount suggested in the link provided, but I like my oatmeal raisin cookies to be just slightly sweet, so I only used 1/2 cup white sugar, also to further bring out the flavor of the brown sugar. So happy I can share this recipe with you guys! Oatmeal raisin cookies are my favourite cookies of all time and they were so fun to make! Hope you all enjoy this oatmeal raisin cookie recipe and happy baking 🙂