By the time I was 15 years old, a little seed was carefully planted in my brain. I wanted to travel the world. I knew it would take me years to save up for this, so I started working weekends at the local Dairy Queen, and opened a bank account dedicated to travel funds. I said “no” to social events that were out of my budget, and worked hard to put away money each month for the next four years.
I refused to touch that account, except of course when text messaging took over the world, and I couldn’t resist dipping into those funds to buy myself a pay-as-you-go flip phone. But that didn’t stop me from my goal, and I had no problem cancelling my cell phone plan when I booked a 5-month solo Europe trip at 19 years old. I feel incredibly fortunate that I was able to have this opportunity at such a young age. I took half a year off school to travel, and since I didn’t feel married to my degree or the city I was living in, it seemed like the right thing to do.
Embarking on this trip, my 19 year-old self was a peculiar combination of brave and naive, neither of which I recognized at the time. I was prepared, I thought. I had memorized all the usual travel scams, and read countless stories about keeping safe when travelling alone. I felt ready, knowledgeable, and invincible.
When I was partying in Florence and Santorini, I felt a sense of safety that I rarely felt in my own city. I trusted the backpackers I surrounded myself with, was conscious of my liquor intake, and wore my money belt like a tattoo. But by the second month of my trip, I had arrived in Athens and quickly realized that I was in fact, not invincible. Continue reading Savoury French Toast with Cambozola and Avocado
Scones. Buttery, flaky, sweet and salty scones. Is there anything better in this world?
One of the very first recipes I posted on this site was a basic scone recipe passed down to me from my friendly neighbour who would invite my brother and I over to participate in a day of baking. I mostly stirred things and tried to hide from the dog, but I still had fun nonetheless. I’ve made this recipe so many times, I could make it in my sleep/the half-awake state I’m usually in.
Lately I’ve been thinking about going back to some of my old recipes and re-inventing them in new and interesting ways. Many of my old recipes are vegan, so I have tons of recipes on my list to un-veganize, which I know is the exact opposite of how things are normally done, but I’m nothing if not a little abnormal. What is normal, anyways?
This recipe wasn’t originally vegan, though, and it’s going to stay that way. Nothing, I repeat, nothing, tastes better in scones than cold, hard butter. With my tea collection increasing and the weather getting a little chillier over here, chai spiced scones sounded perfect. There are quite a few spices in chai tea, but in the interest of saving time I’ve only included the four main spices in this recipe: ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. All winter spices, all cozy and warm. Continue reading Easy Chai Spiced Scones
If I remember correctly, the first time I had shallots was when I was travelling in Scotland. A friend of mine took me to St. Andrews for their “Raisin” weekend. Raisin weekend is kind of similar to a greek party (I assume…I’ve never been to one), only everyone is invited.
There’s certainly a large amount of alcohol involved, but Raisin is a positive, fun-filled weekend to make new friends and experience the university town. There’s a familial element of the three-day event, as first-year students are assigned older academic “mums” and “dads” to show them the ropes and dress them in silly costumes.
The first night we arrived, our host (who was a first-year student at the time, and would later be dressed up as a chicken) cooked us a delicious stir-fry with beef and shallots. Since we were travellers on a tight budget, having a home cooked meal was quite a luxury and we downed it all in minutes. Bellies full of beef and a few Strongbow ciders later, we headed down to the Welly Ball.
In Scotland, Wellies are another word for rain boots, so basically a Welly Ball involves dancing around in boots and tuxes and dresses in a huge barn. As a previous high-heel wearer, it was probably the merriest and most comfortable party I’ve ever attended. Continue reading Bacon and Kale Breakfast Hash
Are you still stuffed to the brim from your Thanksgiving feast? Since I’m Canadian, I had my Thanksgiving a month ago and therefore enviously scrolled through Instagram pictures of roast turkeys and sweet potatoes. As I double-tapped every photo, I was fondly brought back to the time when I lived in the States, and had two Thanksgiving dinners every year.
The people who lived on the street I grew up on were all great friends, and even though we’re not blood related, many of them I truly consider my family. It seemed only natural for the both of us to share our holiday traditions, and if that meant having one Thanksgiving dinner and then another one a month later, so be it! More turkey for everyone!
Since I moved around alot as a kid, our holiday traditions often changed depending on where we lived. Some years we had lots of relatives fly out to come visit us (who could turn down a Christmas in Hawaii?) and we’d have a huge Christmas and New Year’s celebration. Some years we’d have a quiet night in with just my immediate family and a favourite holiday film. It was those quieter years that made me appreciate my five-person family so much more. As much as me and my siblings get on each others’ nerves (or perhaps it’s just me getting on their nerves), the holidays always brought us closer — and they still do.
This year, even though I haven’t moved to a new city, I’ll be forming some new traditions with my partner’s family. I’m scared and excited to break the mold of my personal holiday traditions that have been in place for the past few years; I’ve experienced so much change in my life that I’ve grown to really appreciate the static things. But after reading this post I’m mustering the strength, and if I’ve learned anything in my life, it’s that change can be really, really good. Continue reading Cinnamon Rolls with Gingerbread Glaze
Are you obsessed with the new Jessica Jones show? I’ve only made it through two episodes, but I’m hooked. It’s so rare to see such a badass female character in a superhero role, so when I see one, my eyes are glued to the screen. Jones is fierce, strong, and vulnerable at the same time, making her character so complex and well-rounded. If I didn’t have to pay rent I think I would be holed up in my apartment for days watching this show.
I’m so excited by the fact that more mainstream TV shows are adopting feminist themes that it makes me want to jump around the apartment and throw my hands up with joy. It’s no fun to watch shows where you can’t relate to the characters, and I previously counted on Shonda Rhimes for bringing all that feminism to the table, but Netflix is really stepping up their game with OITNB and Jessica Jones!
But enough about TV. There are dessert waffles here, after all. Continue reading Double Chocolate Raspberry Dessert Waffles
There’s a new bakery in town and my stomach is pitter-pattering with excitement. There aren’t many places where you can purchase freshly baked bread in Winnipeg. One bakery has a small monopoly on the bread baking business, and however delicious those loaves are, it’s easy to tire of the same breads each time you open the door. This new bakery bakes different breads every day, sometimes rye, sometimes sourdough, and their tiny interior feels somewhat reminiscent of a European bakery.
Outside of North America, it’s considered strange to buy all your groceries at a one-stop-shop (few exist). Meats are purchased at the butcher, breads at the bakery, desserts at a patisserie, and so on and so forth. It makes sense to me — it’s hard to keep a high quality product when you’re trying to do too many things at once. I can relate when it comes to my website, because I know when I start spreading myself too thin, the work suffers.
I hope you have a cute little bakery close by, because this apple cinnamon french toast deserves the best quality french bread. When bread is the main ingredient, it better be the best damn bread you’ve ever tasted…or close. The apples taste like caramel, as the brown sugar caramelizes when sautéing the apples and offsets the slight bitterness of the granny smiths. You can peel the apples first, if you like, but I didn’t bother. Step skipping for the win! Now, I’m off to fix a cake recipe that fell flat in the centre. Happy Monday! 🙂 Continue reading Apple Cinnamon French Toast
Whenever I’m cooking up a hearty breakfast, I’m taken back to a time about four years ago when I spent months backpacking wide-eyed through Europe. During that trip, I befriended the trusty pint. We became quite close friends, those pint glasses and I. Once my hiking boots stomped their way through the UK and Ireland, double vision became a semi-regular occurrence.
I bunked with a friend in Edinburgh for a week, and since she was studying at the university, we spent many mornings and nights at the all-you-can-eat buffet. This is where she taught me three valuable lessons: hangover food is very, very important; live every day like it’s your last; and, you are in control of your life, so act like it. I suppose everyone learns these lessons in different ways throughout their life, but I think all that English beer really helped solidify things in my mind. Continue reading Buttermilk Pancakes with Whiskey Syrup
You know those small things you discover upon moving out for the first time? Those things that feel weirdly adult and grown up, even though they’re actually quite “immature”? I’m talking chocolate bars for breakfast, naps at all hours of the day, and as much TV as you want.
One of the things I discovered when I first moved out of my parents house was that eating ALL OF MY MEALS in bed was a fantastic idea. Seriously, fantastic. I felt like such an adult when I hacked breakfast, lunch, and dinner to serve them in bowls, while drinking a glass of wine and watching Netflix. I felt like such an adult when I lounged around and left the dishes ’till the next day. I did not feel like such an adult when I spilled an entire styrofoam container of sushi, bottom side up, on my freshly cleaned carpet. I guess parents have rules for a reason.
Fortunately I was stocked well with carpet cleaner (after a turmeric spilling incident when I first moved into this carpeted place) and the stain was gone in no time. But I decided it wasn’t yet time to Learn A Lesson and continued eating the sushi in bed.
Continue reading Pizza Hash Browns
I didn’t really get on the pancake train until after high school. I used to hate pancakes and always felt they were too dry. For years I’d only eat them plain, with butter. Chocolate banana pancakes were the worst. Slowly, I started to become a little more adventurous with savoury pancakes, and I’m finally delving back into sweet. These strawberry cheesecake pancakes have a completely different texture than your usual plain pancake, and this is all thanks to the cream cheese. Instead of putting chunks of cheesecake into the pancakes (too time consuming), I decided to turn the batter into half pancake, half cake, creating a chewy, moist interior.
You should definitely put heaps of strawberry sauce all over your pancakes. I’ve always preferred strawberry sauce to fresh strawberries…the soft texture that pops in your mouth when you take a bite is just divine. They’re quite dense, which is why the serving size is 4 even though the recipe only makes 8 pancakes. Continue reading Strawberry Cheesecake Pancakes
Hashbrowns. A brunch isn’t complete without them, and I’d like to say a breakfast isn’t either, but ain’t nobody got time for these during the week. I used to make them in a frying pan, standing over the stove and stirring for ages, but my patience dwindles quickly. Like, hourly. I’m becoming a cranky old fart.
The secret to these curry hashbrowns is simply popping some potatoes in the oven the night before. Put them in the fridge, and in the morning you’ll have soft potatoes ready to be crisped up in a jiffy. A cast-iron works best and quickest for the ultimate crisp factor, but I used a non-stick frying pan and they crisped just fine.
A healthy sprinkle of curry powder means these aren’t your average hashbrowns. A little bit spicy, salty, and very, very buttery tastes linger on your tongue, giving a casual diner feel to this mouthwatering dish.
Continue reading Curry Hashbrowns
So, this happened.
Imagine soft, buttery croissants drenched in a mixture of pumpkin pie-turned-french-toast batter, slipped in the oven to reach that perfect french toast consistency — slightly soft, and a little crispy on the edges. A drizzle of maple syrup (or perhaps three or four) readies your fork to pull apart the croissant chunks, one by one, and be transported to a chic Parisian café serving Grandma’s comfort food.
If that didn’t convinced you to make this NOW, consider it for a holiday breakfast. If you need to feed guests, this dish is fantastic for Christmas morning or Sunday brunch because there’s just a small amount of prep the night before, and into the oven it goes.
Continue reading Pumpkin Pie Croissant French Toast Casserole