Monthly Archives: March 2014

Apple Crisp Cereal

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Hi!

Two blog posts in a row?! Don’t get too excited, knowing me I’ll probably go on a blogging/cooking streak until tomorrow and then fall off the face of the internet again. But for now, I blog!

I had the most epic fail of a recipe last week. I roasted this butternut squash in cinnamon and honey (amazing by itself), and decided to get crafty and make some sort of protein/squash pancake. I’d seen a similar recipe on CarrotsNCake, and true to form, I decided the recipe given was more of a “guideline” and just kinda winged it. Result was a delicious tasting squashy batter that would not form ANY SHAPE, despite attempts to salvage it and make a loaf. It was super annoying cause it smelled and tasted amazing but it literally could not hold itself together (cmon squash get a grip!). I ended up hurling the sad, congealed mess into the garbage and stress eating some maple peanut butter in frustration (side note: maple peanut butter is amazing).

For those who don’t know me/live with me (I recognize that this is most of you), I rarely follow recipes exactly. I find it very limiting, and honestly believe that true cooking shouldn’t involve a recipe, but be more about understanding flavors and the way they work together. That said, I have a huge cookbook collection. In fact, once I called a friend from Indigo for advice, torn up over the decision to get Gluten-Free, Naturally or Veganomicon, only to have her try to explain to me that there are other books to be read and I should maybe try branching out in the bedtime reading department (thanks Ana Maria, but I actually ended up getting both…).

This cookbook is my absolute favorite because it acts more as a guideline for awesome (and surprising) flavor pairings, but also kinda reads like a novel…I usually have this sitting on my bedside table cause I like to flip through it sometimes if I can’t sleep. If you know someone who loves to cook, get them this book. It’s like no other.

flavor thesaurus

I love reading cookbooks for ideas (and pictures), and I by no means claim to invent everything I make, I just like to read the recipe, skim the ingredients, then put on some Head and the Heart and start cooking. Does this lead to mistakes? Yeeeeees it does. Squash pancake is a perfect example of this. But you have to make mistakes to learn, and I really think that you need these mistakes to grow as a cook and eventually learn how to make recipes yourself. e.g I now know that if I’m attempting to put squash/substances with high water content ┬áinto a baked good, I have to really be careful with how much of it I add in relation to the flour if I don’t want to use eggs. Or, since I’m not vegan, I’ll just use eggs.

I also find that a lot of people read recipes like they’re written in stone, and while this is important for a lot of beginner cooks to get the idea of where to even start, I think it really discourages cooks from branching out! My motto is: really what’s the worst that can happen? If something is undercooked at the time it’s supposed to be done, put it in for longer and watch it. If you like a lot of cinnamon, put in two tablespoons. And if it doesn’t work out, the next challenge is figuring out how to salvage it.

 

TL;DR Rant about cookbooks, recipe starts here

 

Enter apple crisp cereal! Another kitchen experiment that required a little impromptu recipe salvaging. This idea was born on my couch, last night, out of an intense craving for my mom’s apple crisp. I am honestly an apple crisp fiend. Any fruit/oatmeal combo usually results in me losing all notion of portion control, but apple crisp…..I would eat it every day. It’s like, last meal type of food for me.

So I got to chopping, mixing, layering and waiting, and took it out when the top was starting to brown. Also me and boyfriend were getting a bit impatient. However, the apples weren’t totally cooked through. This presents a two fold problem (theres the boring scientist in me); the apples aren’t soft and mushy, and also they haven’t released all of their juice to really gel the whole mixture together. The top was kinda (very) crumbly, and it just wasn’t exactly what I was expecting.

Two bowls in (hey, I’m not gonna just abandon it cause its not perfect), I had the genius idea of chopping up the apple slices into smaller pieces, adding milk and calling it cereal. Life=changed. Boyfriend and I both agreed that it was amazing, and I ate it for breakfast the next morning.

apple

{I forgot to take a picture before eating it all…but hey look at this stock photo of an apple!}

Apple Crisp Cereal

Feel free to extend the cooking time by ~15 minutes if you just want regular apple crisp. Also this recipe is vegan!

4 medium apples
2 cups of large flake oats
1 2/3 cup + 2 tbsp flour of choice (I used oat flour cause I’m into it lately)
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup coconut oil
2 tbsp cinnamon ( i am a cinnamon fiend, so feel free to reduce if this is too much for you)
1 tsp nutmeg (I am not a nutmeg fiend)
pinch salt
1/3 cup maple syrup

1. Preheat oven to 350. Slice apples into thin slices (keep peel on or off, your choice) and place into small , greased baking dish.

2. Shake 2 tbsp of flour and a pinch of cinnamon onto apples in pan, and toss around until evenly coated

3. Make the topping: Combine oats, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and remaining flour into bowl. Mix around. Add in melted coconut oil and maple syrup, try not to lick hands clean.

4. Shake topping mixture onto apple mixture, place in oven and set timer for 45 minutes, go watch Girls (if you don’t like Girls, feel free to watch your show of choice…but you should really give it a shot).

5. Come back when timer goes off, check to see if apples are crispy or soft, and if top is browned. If you want softer apples, leave it in for a few more minutes and come back, or take it out, pour on milk and feast!

This song is usually stuck in my head several times a week, which I don’t mind because it’s great (also how good is this live version?!)

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Stir fry so saucy

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Oh heeeey there,

Wussup blog world, how you been?! It’s been awhile, I’m sorry. Third year of Life Sci isnt fooling around, and I’ve been very very busy lately. Between the extracurriculars, job, studying and time logged in bed watching TV (necessity) I have not had ample opportunities to blog. My bad.

So that’s my life lately. School, work, volunteer, gym, friends, school, repeat. Nearing the end of my third year, and since I’m a year behind my high school class, this means many of my greatest friends will be leaving the Queen’s bubble in April, including my one and only BFF (and current roomie). I’m so excited for everyone to go out and do cool, adult things with their lives, but also sad cause I’ll be pining away for them here in Kingston.

My eats lately have been pretty typical, but with one major addition: coffee. I have resisted coffee until now because it tastes like dirt and gave me a headache, but I recently found out you can drink through that stage and find yourself in the wonderfully focused and awake stage. So I’m there now, and expect it will be a matter of weeks until I can’t wake up without it. I blame the department of Life Sciences. Also OBSESSED with breakfast sandwiches and blood oranges right now…..

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{photo stolen from Wikipedia, dont hate cause its better than what I could have done}

 

and this GENIUS concoction David’s Tea just came out with….my favourite tea blended into chocolate. I have literally never thought less about a purchase because I was so sure I would love it.

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So the recipe behind this post has some backstory. For years, adults/cookbooks/blogs always talked about how easy stir fry is (or maybe this was just my mom? idk). You just make some rice, put some veggies and protein in a pan and its done! easy!

False. Not easy. Once I started cooking for myself consistently, stir fry was always a struggle for me. Which I found especially annoying cause everyone talked about how simple and healthy it was. I’d naively add these colorful vegetables and chicken into a pan and be all lalalala easiest meal on the planet says everyone, and yet what emerged from the pan was a soggy, wet, tasteless mush. To which I’d pathetically sprinkle sesame seeds on and force down, cause food is expensive and I’m lazy.

HOWEVER, I got pretty determined to make a good, quick stir fry and figured out its alllll about the sauce. Yes, you can buy that neon orangey colored sauce in the “international” section of the grocery store and just slather it on. I wouldn’t even judge you cause I have beeeeeeen there, my friend. OR you can make this sauce for the nights you’re feeling gourmet and want to prove to yourself that you will not let stir fry beat you again (I may be alone with that last one…)

Build your own stir fry + Sauce recipe

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Again, this recipe is more of a concept, so feel free to play around. It’s a lot like the format for my Buddha Bowl in that there’s a carb,a protein, and a veggie component with the sauce adding some healthy fats.

The sauce tho. Don’t forget it. Also make lots, you’ll want more than you think.

Carb options

  • Vermicelli Noodles: my personal fave. I buy the brown rice ones and they cook in literally 3 minutes
  • RIce: any kind is good
  • Zucchini noodles: I’ve wanted to try this but am afraid the zucchini might add too much water to the bowl, resulting in the notorious soggy stir fry mess I’ve experienced in the past.

Protein

  • Chicken: the obvious choice, and a good one. I like to cut the chicken into small chunks and just cook it in the same pan as the veggies to save on dishes and keep the chicken from drying out.
  • Tofu: crispy tofu cubes on top of this would be amaaazing, but dont cook these in the pan like the chicken cause I suspect the veggies would keep the tofu pretty wet.
  • Beef: I hear people like to put some forms of beef in stir fry? Not my area of expertise (clearly) but I imagine its an option!

Veggies

  • Shredded cabbage, carrots, green onion: my faaaave!!! I love cabbage. So filling and crisp.
  • Broccoli, red pepper and orange: reminds me of cashew chicken from the chinese place we used to order from when I was a kid (Ho-Lee-Chow why did you leave us). always a good thing
  • Shredded kale, green onion and orange peppers: one of the stranger combinations, but still good

THE SAUCE (serves 2 generously)

  • 3 grated garlic cloves
  • grated ginger, to taste
  • 1.5 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • sriarcha, to taste
  • juice of a whole small orange (note: add pulp too, it makes the orangey flavor more pronounced)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil (AKA LIQUID GOLD I WOULD BATHE IN THIS IF I COULD

Make this sauce while your veggies are stirring and frying, then pour on everything and feel accomplished. Top with cashews/green onions/sesame seeds.

Hope you guys enjoy! One of my finer recipes, I’d say.

Currently obsessed with this song