Gold Medal Meals

I can barely rip my eyes away from my screens during the Olympics. I get obsessed. So many amazing athletes, feats, stories, and atmosphere. I had the chance to go to the Vancouver Olympics as a volunteer – an experience chronicled in my first blogging attempt – if you happen to have a similar obsession, it is fun to re-live!

But the best thing so far about the Rio Olympics is learning about pão de queijo a Brazilian cheese bread that is always made gluten-free (with tapioca flour). I made these last week for a little Opening Ceremony party with friends and they would not, could not believe they were gluten-free! They are not pictured because you can’t keep paws off of them long enough to take a shot!

Before the Olympics began (when I still had time for reading), I borrowed Sprouted Kitchen Bowl + Spoon from my local library.

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I tried 6 recipes while I had it checked out and 5 were fantastic (Popeye Protein Bowl, Mixed Greens with Beet and Walnut Puree, Summer Tomato Salad, Barbeque Tempeh with Cauliflower ‘Couscous’, and Kale Slaw with soaked Golden Raisins). I’ve already made the cauliflower ‘couscous’ a couple of times again. The other miss was the Chickpea Deli Salad which was fine but not among my favourite chickpea salads – luckily those other five recipes meant I need to get my own copy so I can make them all again and all the others that look great too!

And a few more favourites from the past few weeks:

  • Summer curry with eggplant and squash from Veganista. A great way to use up August produce!
  • Vegan Pepperoni from Minimalist Baker (who has a cookbook out I can’t wait to get my hands on!)
  • Chatelaine’s Nutty green beans. I made this with Kinnikinnick Gluten Free Panko and it worked just great even though it doesn’t look like traditional panko.
  • Lots of salads with the great local produce including a version of this Loaded Power Salad from What’s Gabby Cooking – with a really yummy basil vinaigrette!IMG_20160806_185118
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More Reykjavik Restaurants

We visited several more restaurants during our time in Reykjavik.

Verbúð was very close to our hotel and I loved the exterior the first time when we walked by. We checked out the menu online and they had a nut-loaf so we thought we’d give it a try. The nutloaf was no longer an option (a lot of restaurants here seemed to have out of date menus online) but there was a gluten-free veggie option – the eggplant. And it was so yummy I didn’t get a picture. I did snap a shot of their fun decor and even more fun dessert – creme brulé with pop rocks. An explosion in your mouth. Yummm!

 

I read about Vinyl online before we arrived and it was definitely on our list to check out. But we stumbled right up to it after visiting the Sun Voyager.

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Vegan food and vinyl records – Brent is all over that!

We had drinks that night (no cider unfortunately) and then came back for lunch the next day. I’d asked what gluten free options they had the night before and learned they had gluten-free bread for all the sandwiches. Although after getting my sandwich I learned the filling was covered in soy sauce. Ruh-roh. I had a bit of that and a bit of Brent’s Lonestar (BBQ Pulled Oomph) because it was accidentally the on gluten-free bread. So in terms of vegan food A+ in terms of gluten-free preparedness knowledge… C.

The setting was really cool though – games and books to flip through or play while the vinyl is spinning. I was also really intrigued by oomph which is a Scandinavian soy product. Looks like a great company and I love their marketing!

Since I was still craving a cider or beer, the next place we checked out was Mikkeller and Friends where there were two different gluten-free beers! Wow! This was the only place I found in Reykjavik with even one. The Mikkeller “American Dream” was my favourite of the two, the other being the ToØl “Reparations”. Both are breweries that primarily produce regular gluteny beer with these ones as well. That’s not something you see here very often – but I would love to see it. Local Ottawa breweries I’m looking at you!

 

Sidenote: The unnamed pizza place below Mikkeller and Friends does not have gluten-free despite what I read on Trip Advisor. I couldn’t find gluten-free pizza anyway in town.

While we were in town the English language newspaper “The Reykjavik Grapevine” published an article on the best veggie burgers in the city. Perfect! Except which are gluten-free? None of the menus online seemed to offer any insight. So we picked the divisive beet burger and a new neighbourhood and headed off to Kaffihús Vesturbæjar.

It was a really adorable spot (used to be a pharmacy – a theme they have continued into the washrooms). Unfortunately though the burger was not gluten-free. Brent had it and really enjoyed it (a point to the best side of the divisive tally) and I had the avocado salad. I won’t deny that I was a bit underwhelmed when we ordered, but then this fabulous looking salad was delivered and I changed my mind. There was at least 1.5 avocados on that plate, plus blueberries, strawberries, delicious salt and dressing. I didn’t leave quite full, but I was happy… especially when I found gf veggie burgers at the supermarket on the walk back to the hotel!

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One night we were planning to grab a quick (cheap!) bowl of ramen from Ramen Momo – right near our hotel and with a big “Gluten Free Rice” sign outside. We go in… no gluten free. Argh! So we had to deviate from the plan and find somewhere else. Enter Tapas Barinn and the best meal we had all trip.

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The restaurant is actually just to the left of this photo – I’m not sure if the small building is really used, but how cute is it!

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When we said gluten-free vegetarian they showed us exactly what we could and couldn’t have and were able to alternate a few things and serve us the vegetarian combo with quick and friendly service. It was dim with lots of candles and Spanish decor and felt really authentic (not that I would really be one to know!)

I have one more post about Reykjavik to write where I’ll sum things up, but as you can see while it may have been a bit of a struggle to find food what I did have was pretty good.

 

 

Eating, drinking and being Merry 

My kitchen has been a slower place than usual over the past month.

First we had the whirlwind of December with parties, visits, trips to a cottage, and a whole lot of fun. I did have friends over for two different dinner and whipped up some new recipes – My New Roots Parsnip (I went out and bought parsnips after this meal – said my friend), Winter Veggie Quinoa Tart, and Winter Kale and Wild Rice Salad (this was fantastic!).

I also tried making candy for the first time. I attempted this Maple Bourbon Caramels recipe, but something wasn’t working for me (maybe my stove, maybe my new candy thermometer, maybe my brain?) and the first batch turned into a bit of a caramel sauce and the second into a brittle. I guess when life gives you the wrong kind of candy you can make a scrumptious ice cream sundae?

 

Reason #2 for the slow kitchen was our holiday trips to see family in Southern Ontario and then in Dubai. So lots of other people’s home cooking (thanks moms!) and dining out (more on that to come soon with #VeggieTravels). In Dubai we also had the opportunity to go to the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding for a traditional Emerati breakfast. This food was all delicious! Their website has details on some of the goodies. 

And finally, reason #3 was an illness at the end of my trip to Dubai which has meant a lot of boring, bland food for the last couple of weeks.

Regardless I can also add the following to my made list:

And all in all I made 139 new recipes in 2015! Not too shabby, but certainly room for a few more in 2016 🙂

This (six) weeks in recipes

Despite all the new home hubbub I’ve still managed to stay pretty on-track with new recipes – also heavily inspired by getting our CSA basket. Not a lot of pictures though since my concern was more with getting food on the table!

I did snap this picture of a yummy summer salad. It was a spin on the Kale, Cherry & Avocado Salad with Lemon-Poppy Seed Dressing from Dishing Up The Dirt (Andrea has been a huge inspiration with my CSA box {although I think her CSA is cooler – you pick up in a pub!}). I didn’t have kohlrabi yet (it came the next two times and I made her Grilled Broccoli & Kohlrabi Salad with Smokey Cashew Sauce!) so I subbed in the white turnips that arrived in my box and I didn’t know how to use. It worked well in it’s place. And I added some tempeh bacon that was in the fridge too!

I’ve made a few more of the recipes from Thug Kitchen including sweet citrus marinated tofu for Brent’s mom and 75+ year old grandparents who were very willing participants and had great things to say about the tofu. Marinated BBQ tofu you cannot go wrong which is why I also made the sesame ginger marinade for tofu earlier this week! Other Thug recipes included the delicious Tempeh Peanut Noodles with Blanched Kale and Roasted Chickpea and Broccoli Burritos.

Other recipes made in the past month and a half include:

Signing off with a photo of our lovely farm fresh rainbow chard just before being used in that last recipe!


xC

Home is where ever I’m with you

I have been a bad blogger lately, but there is a good reason….

We bought a home!

Time to say goodbye to our fun little condo, but I’m looking forward to having more space and potential projects. All of the time I was spending on pinterest and instagram looking at weddings has been replaced with homes and DIYs. So addictive! I’ll have to add a few new links to my favourite blogs page soon.

I’ve also made some good food over the past few weeks…. Starting With the spiced chickpea wraps with tahini dressing from Thug Kitchen. Their book has some good recipes based on what I’ve tried so far (this one and the smoky maple tofu marinade) and plan to try in the future. The language is amusing at first, but becomes a bit tedious – but that won’t stop me from getting some vegan yum.

 

      

 

And that second one may not look as appetizing, but it was tasting great: tofu chickpea stirfry with tahini sauce from the kitchn. Super tasty!

This week I picked up my friend Shannon’s CSA box while she was out of town and there was a lot of asparagus to use so we had some eggs florentine with asparagus for breakfast this morning. Our CSA box will be starting in the next two weeks and I cannot wait. I’ve also wanted to try it out – lots of fresh local produce – and cooking challenges. Can’t wait!

 

And the others:

  • Taiwanese cold sesame noodles from Vegetarian Times magazine. Similar to the cold pad thai salad from last time (B preferred), but I preferred this one. I think it was all about the texture. I have had a lot of great veg recipes from VT over the years – I always look forward to reading a new issue.
  • Chickpea Sliders from Take A Megabite. Her pictures are always so cute and the food is good too. I made these full size (and they still stayed together!) and without the adorable pink buns – next time!
  • Pineapple guacamole from Gimme Some Oven. Pineapple makes everything better. And this tasted like summer!
  • Chatelaine shared some unique spins on coleslaw for the summer. I tried the honey-lime one and loved it, especially when I had all of the ingredients already on hand.
  • This one’s been on my list to try for lunches for quite awhile – Almond-flaked tuna salad from Oh She Glows. It was alright, but I much prefer the similar Chickpea version from her cookbook.
  • I wish I’d taken a photo of this Crispy Baked Peanut Tofu from the Minimalist Baker. Not only did it taste delicious, but we scarfed it down between talking to our realtor about selling the condo and having someone knock on our door and want to buy it. So I’d call it Lucky Crispy Baked Peanut Tofu ;D
  • Buy too many tomatoes at Costco? This Skillet Tomato Casserole with White Beans and Croutons from Well Plated by Erin will fix that problem. It was really good. This was my first visit to her blog and I will be back.
  •  Another new-to-me blog, Delightful-Delicious-Delovely, shared this Spicy Vegan Chinese Eggplant recipe that was super-good. Our new place is close to a great smelling Chinese restaurant so this might be a good alternative to have at home when the air smells tasty.

Busy times

Remember when I was complaining about it being “between seasons” and not being inspired by food? Well the seasons decided to jump ahead for me and I have been on a salad kick as a result!

 

Fresh feta salad with Yves vegan kale & quinoa bites and Apple Cider vinaigrette

I’ve also been crazy busy as I get back into the habit of biking to work, doing some wedding planning, and also taking a new course at school. I’ve always wanted to go back to school and have a perfect opportunity, but I’m not sure exactly what I want to do. So in the meantime I’m taking Introduction to Economics since it’s a pre-requisite for many master’s programs. But that means 7 hours of class time a week plus readings, homework, and assignments so I have my hands full!

I had an interesting discussion with a colleague today who was surprised by my economics choice since he pictured me being interested in doing something more creative. Hmmm… Well I’m not tied down to anything yet so I’ll keep my options open. I wonder if there are any Master’s in Food Blogging Appreciation out there?

 

 

Mexican Chopped Salad & cervezas for Cinco de Mayo!

I have made a few recipes over the past week and a half:

  • Mexican Chopped Salad + Green Goddess Dressing + Go-To Black Beans all from “It’s All Good” by Gwenyth Paltrow which was part of our Cinco de Mayo weekend celebrations and really hit the spot.
  • Apple Cider Vinaigrette also from the same book (I’m working my way through apparently!). I had issues with this separating really quickly and challenging to pour – I think a smaller quantity would have worked better for me.
  • Pad Thai Zucchini Noodle Salad – Look forward to many of these cold dinner options in the months to come – B really liked this, I was more so-so. Must have been a texture thing.
  • Brent made these Maple Chipotle Meatballs from Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes on behalf. A really fun easy option for us. We skipped making the rolls and used pre-made meatballs so it was really quick. I had some of the leftovers on a salad for lunch yesterday too.
  • And below is some avocado toast – I’ve heard about this for a couple years now but never really believed it could be any good. But it is! I had more for lunch today! This particular version was also from Goop’s cookbook (Mayo, sea salt and red pepper flakes) but you can find hundreds of types online and I’m sure they are all delish (although I think the salt is critical). And the best best parts of this picture are a) Cheddar Jalapeño Bread from Artisan Bakery and b) Those shadows are real – it was taken outside – I love eating outside!

I promise a creativity post later this week… but right now I’ve got to attend to my oven which contains some delicious smelling cookies I’ll tell you about next time!

xC

Changing of the seasons

We’re finally experiencing a bit of spring weather here in Ottawa after a long bitter winter. But it’s going to take some more time before our local crops are ready for fresh eating – apart from maple syrup of course. I’ve been finding it a bit tough to get motivated in the kitchen over the last two weeks – partly because there are no exciting fresh new ingredients, but maybe also trying to enjoy the warm sun, being busy with other activities, and still a bit of burn-out after Easter weekend. Our big local farmer’s market has a fantastic “What’s in Season Resource” and it looks like we’ll be seeing a few items coming in the next few weeks. Is it just me or is anyone else feeling a little uninspired at this time of year?

I did mention maple syrup and it is one of my favourites. Last year we went out to a local sugar bush to test the fresh product right from the trees and get some goodies from the kitchen and gift shop. At the gift shop I picked up some maple mustard, but I wasn’t entirely sure what to do with it back home in the kitchen though. Luckily I had a rare brilliant moment where I didn’t use a recipe and used it to cook up some tofu. Mega tasty! And good for sandwiches, salads, whatever! I made some more of that this past week and used it to top off these salads that we brought for lunch (in out super cool salad containers)!

Only one official recipe tested this week, but it was a great success:

On Thursday I made Protein Powerhouse Veggie Burgers from Veggie and the Beast Feast. It definitely checked off all of the good veggie burger boxes (good flavour and stayed together well). I couldn’t find beluga lentils at my local “super”store so I subbed in brown lentils and it still seemed to work fine. I forgot to pick up the roasted peppers so we didn’t try the sauce this time around, but would definitely make it again with that addition. It’s also the first recipe I’ve tried from Katie’s blog and I rank it as a success and now need to raid her archives!

Looking forward to some fresh asparagus and inspiration coming soon!

C.