humbler than pie [olive oil apple crisp]

humbler than pie (15 of 15)humbler than pie (14 of 15)A good friend of mine and I sometimes joke about worrying that we peaked in high school. We were just big fish in a little pond, but I sometimes feel that I lost some of the confidence I had after I left that teenage-comfort zone. It might be that I’m overthinking things, or it might just be a part of growing up—maybe a bit of both.

While I often found my undergrad challenging, I find myself occasionally missing the structure that came with the “occupation” of being a student and the kind of certainty it offered; I knew what I was doing with my life for a solid chunk of time (that good ole’ BSc), at least most of the time. And even if I didn’t know what lay ahead after graduation, I had another year or two to think about it, another semester or two, another week or two…

Since graduating, I’ve doubted myself a lot in a way that doesn’t feel like “me”. I’ve given in to mini-cry sessions that creep up on me without warning, and indulged in little pity parties for seemingly no reason. Motivation has been a little low, Netflix usage has gone up. I have learned how to cross stitch. Continue reading

pumpkin granola with cacao nibs

west van & granola (14)west van & granola (3) The west coast smelled like fir trees and cedars – likely due to a small wind storm that hit shortly before our arrival, but I’m happier romanticizing it as part of Vancouver’s charm. On a too-quick trip to hug my aunt and cousin, we managed to climb most of the way up a mountain, see a couple shows, try a bunch of beer, and enjoy some impressively sunny November weather.

West Van seemed even prettier than I remembered (“Oh my gosh, you can see the mountains from here! And the ocean from here!” etc, etc…). Or, maybe it is so beautiful out there that I just can’t help gushing. With coniferous breezes and palm fronds waving by the seawall, it seems instinctive to inhale as deeply as possible. (Woah, did I just get a little yogic/life coach-ish on you? Blame Vancouver.)

So, four days on the other side of the country did us good. Vancouver smelled like firs and cedars, and fresh baked granola every morning.

I credit my aunt with introducing me to homemade granola a few years ago. It comes together so quickly, and is such a versatile thing to bake that it quickly became a staple in my kitchen repertoire. Variations are endless, which is part of the fun. This warm spiced pumpkin and cocoa nib combination is one I have been enjoying a lot lately. I hope you do, too.west van & granola (5)

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home again, home again

hometown glorybackyard peonyThe more I see of this world, the more connected I feel to it, and yet the bigger it seems. The more I jump around, the more I appreciate the comfort of having a place and a city and people that feel like home, and the more I yearn to leave it to see other places. It’s thrilling to be far away from everything familiar and realize that we share things in common with people half way across the world. But, eventually I’m thrilled at the thought of coming back to the stillness of what I know. Travel is full of paradoxes. …not an original thought, I’m sure.mum&dadmusical ride Just as I was starting to feel a little bit weary of living out of my bag, we landed back home in Ottawa. Admitedly it’s totally premature Continue reading

Mondaze [Ottolenghi’s Eggplant]

ottolenghi eggplanteggplant blahg (1)There’s one day a week that my boyfriend and I both have off from jobs and school, so it’s become our de facto weekend. We have a long list of fun things to do and places to go on Mondays, and there’s just one rule: no alarm clocks. Despite our to-do lists, by the time this one day to sleep in rolls around sometimes our ambitious plans get discarded. That’s okay though; for most of January I was busy studying for an exam and we sort of fell into a lovely, lazy routine of waking up late, walks at the dog park, some Ottawa-exploring and kitchen fun. These eggplants were one such Monday kitchen adventure. It’s a super easy recipe, and they’re described in the cookbook (one of my favourites) as “rustically elegant”…I think that about sums it up.eggplant blahg (7)eggplant blahg (6)Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preseteggplant blahg (2) Click to continue reading…

Fauxtography: Summer in the City

duskcanalchamplainLike all good things, my summer vacation came to an end with a return to school last week. I was funemployed for the first couple months of the summer, and for the first time in a long time had (almost) zero commitments. It felt a little weird at first: no set schedule, no job (no pay-cheque) and no classes, but I adjusted pretty quickly…it was glorious.gatineau I decided to fill some of my free time with a class (couldn’t resist some kind of organized activity, I guess.), and signed up for a beginner photography class at SPAO.national gallerymaman Ever since starting this little blah-blah-blahg of mine, I’ve wanted to set some time aside to properly figure out what I’m doing with a my camera, and this summer seemed like as good a time as any to get the basics under my belt. I’m still learning (but when aren’t we?), and I don’t think I’ll ever call myself a photographer, but hopefully the quality keeps improving around here. My favourite aspect of the class was that it set aside some time to go out into the world with the sole intention of taking pictures. This meant tinkering around with my camera of course, but it also meant that I got to enjoy even more of Ottawa’s summer beauty through my lens. backyardDSC_0891I took an awful lot of pictures of flowers. And Dunlop. Flowers and Dunlop together! And food, of course.dunlopSONY DSC Click to continue reading

On Tinder and Salad

So, I have Tinder. And I’ve been using it. But, that is a story for another post or even another (anonymous?) blog. My mum is my number one reader here (hi, ma!).

Anyway, the other night I was out for dinner and my date (a very nice guy, in case you’re reading! Edit! I’ve been told by a guy friend that calling a date a “very nice guy” is “brutal” and if I want a second date I should at least say he was charming. So, you were nice AND charming…) who had found my blog before he met me, asked me what my favourite food to make was. And what did I say? Salad. …I then proceeded to rhapsodise about the different kinds of salads I liked to make, about my current favourite with warm potatoes and arugula and black olive tapenade (seriously, that will be another post), before deciding that I should probably stop gushing about vegetables.jerusalem salad Continue reading…

Sunday’s Salad [Spiced chickpeas & fresh veg]

jerusalemsalad2Let’s win friends with salad. jerusalemsalad1Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s newest cookbook Jerusalem is one of the most recent additions to our bookshelf, but it has quickly become a regular sight on the kitchen counter. The book is beautiful and bright, with recipes that are accessible and intriguing. The recipes we’ve tried so far have almost all become family favourites and this chickpea salad is one we will definitely be making again. We quadrupled the recipe right off the bat, which was totally the right call as it turned out – there were no leftovers after dinner. Continue for the recipe…

Melancholic Mung Bean Monday [mung bean salad with roasted hazelnuts]

20130527-205206.jpg20130527-204908.jpgOur water heater has been broken for much too long (and our landlady has been terrible), so that doesn’t help anyone’s mood in our apartment. But the melancholy Monday came because change kind of freaks me out (and I sometimes think in alliterations). The first time I realized this was when I was graduating from high school (which was my super cozy comfort zone at the time)– I was excited about graduating and the “next chapter” of our lives, but I woke up a few days after prom and just felt a little mopey and unsure about life. Since then, like many young twenty something’s I’m sure (I hope), there’s been a ton of little bouts of uncertainty. Sometimes this spirals into a mini-existential crisis party for one. “What am I doing?” “Did I pick the wrong university program?” “Why are boys silly?” “Where am I going?” “Why can’t I just get all the skin off these hazelnuts?!”– you know, life’s typical big questions at my age.20130527-205150.jpgI leave Huelva in a week. We had a great weekend, but I woke up this morning feeling slightly hungover from all the fun (not the alcohol, mum). It was that same melancholy feeling I had after high school. I’ll soon be leaving this little city in which I was once so homesick (and now love, of course). But more importantly, I’ll be leaving the people I have seen almost every day for nine months –so you know, kind of like high school, right?20130527-205143.jpgLuckily, I’m usually pretty easy to cheer up. A few dances around my room, a quick run in the Spanish sun, packing with some TED talks in the background and I was ready to have some friends over for dinner. Unfortunately, along with that broken water heater, we have no gas for the stove, so cooking has to become slightly more creative. Thank goodness mung beans sprout on their own!20130527-204920.jpg

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Dad’s Lentil Salad

ImageI stuck my nose up at my Dad’s lentils for a long time.  When we were traveling through France, the smell of lentils cooking (along with his fishy bouillabaisse) would send us little kiddies running upstairs. ImageBut of course, now that I’m  grown up (at least a little bit), it’s one of my favourite dishes.  So healthy, so easy to make, so fresh, and the perfect simple dish to eat on your sunny balcony when things just seem so crazy in this world. Maybe it sounds silly, but making this salad made me feel close to home, and in the wake of the tragic news in America this week, it was comforting.  Dad’s Du Puy Lentil Salad

When You’re Sick: Eat Your Greens. Monochromatically.

(Whine alert!) It’s been a week of being sick, and I am not amused!  In the winter time, I expect to get a cold at some point — it always happens, so I’m ready to bundle up and slog through school and enjoy my tea.  But this summertime sickness is weird and just won’t go away. It started with a headache which led to a fever, which came back for a night or two, then seemingly disappeared only to make a brief encore appearance and leave me in peace with this lingering headache and stuffy nose.  I know it’s really nothing serious, so I’ll stop whining. But you guyyyyys, I don’t like it!

This is what I do when I’m sick: travel plan with tea (obviously), get pep talks from my cough drops, and watch my favourite guilty pleasure show (I’ll admit it…Say Yes To The Dress…)

I’ve missed out on my tennis, volleyball, yoga, and painting the town red; I might actually be turning into a sloth. In fact, Dunlop has taken over my yoga mat while I’ve been out of commission…

A real downward dog?

So hopefully my lack of activity/gain of nap time is kicking this little bug out of my body! There are some things that I crave when I’m not feeling well (tea, pho, smoothies, Say Yes To The Dress…) and although my appetite seems to take a dive when I’m sick, I like to try and make sure I still have some light, healthy meals.  This is how this salad was born, but it is definitely something I’m going to keep making even in times of 110% health (which will be most of the time for all of us, I hope!). “That’s just a bowl of green.”, you might say, “Nothing exciting!”… BUT IT IS! And so easy to make! I was tired after chopping this minor amount of food, but that is not normal so don’t you fret.

That’s all you need!

I’ll include the “recipe” of course, but this is one of those dishes where you don’t need one. Simply make it to your taste. Just make sure you have the avocados (I called it an avocado salad after all!) because they create the lovely creaminess for the rest of the veg.  Then add your favourite green vegetables (or fruits! and they don’t HAVE to be green, we’re not discriminatory), some cilantro or basil, some lime juice, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper and you’re done. That’s it! Delicious and easy, my favourite combination. (OK, please don’t take that one out of context…)

My mum is a rebel. Adding red grapes? Delish.

Green Avocado Salad