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

Avocado Salad & A Serious Case of Spring Fever

While talking about the weather can get old pretty fast and is usually relegated to small talk, Ottawa is buzzing about this glorious weather. It’s officially the first day of spring but it feels like midsummer here.  What big piles of snow were left are melting fast and except for the leafless trees, all signs of winter seem to have disappeared.  This early summer seems a little weird but no one’s complaining! I got on my bike for the first time this year and went to my yoga class with sandals on yesterday, it felt amazing. The tennis courts are open, people are talking about heading to the beach…it sure doesn’t feel like March!
I needed a sunny lunch to go with my sunny day, and was inspired (on Pinterest, where else?) by this fresh take on an avocado salad.

I didn’t have all their ingredients on hand, but I tossed mine together with a simple vinaigrette of red wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic and threw some chopped Kalamata olives on top…bright, fresh and super tasty.

I’m typing outside in the sun, but I think I’d better get to the library if I’m going to get any work done… this beautiful weather isn’t conducive to school work!
Hope the sun is shining wherever you are!

Butternut Squash Soup and Italian Bread Salad: Healthy Holidays

Everyone knows the holidays are a time to indulge — but since I feel like I’m constantly indulging with desserts, we like to keep our dinners healthy.

Butternut Squash Soup with Italian Bread Salad


The butternut squash soup is creamy without being heavy and the bread salad has an herby-ness that is delicious and appropriate for any season. Two recipes here!