Thursday, 10 September 2015

RECIPE: Strawberry Smoothie Bowl

On August 1st, I became a vegetarian... for the month. I've wanted to become a vegetarian for a while now but I've decided to start with a short time and see how it goes.

I was practically raised a vegetarian as my mum used to be one for years, but when I was thirteen I started eating more meat. Never pork or beef though -- I've never liked them. So, I only really ever ate chicken and fish and so I have actually had to cut out too much. Which is good because that means I haven't had a very hard time!

On my new diet, over the past couple of weeks I have seriously picked up my fruit intake. I probably have about five servings of fruit everyday when before I would have about two. With that becomes a lot more trips to the loo... or is that only me?

Moving quickly along, one of the ways I LOVE to eat my fruit is in smoothies. They are such a refreshing way to start the morning. 

Although I love to drink smoothies, I also like to add toppings such as granola or chia seeds (which just get stuck at the bottom of my blender if I add them in to blend).

Today, I have a recipe for one of those 'bowls' (spoiler alert: it's actually just a smoothie recipe)



Strawberry Smoothie Bowl
Ingredients
1 frozen banana 
1 cup frozen strawberries 
1 cup almond milk
any toppings

Method
Blend banana, strawberries and milk together for a very short time. Unlike normal smoothies, you don't want it to be completely smooth, you want some chunks in there. I only turn the blender on for about 5 seconds to get a good consistency.
Pour the smoothie into a bowl and top. I like topping with chia seeds, oats, cereal, granola or more fruit such as berries or kiwi.
If you do it carefully, it might even look instagram-worthy.


That's the general recipe I use for all my smoothies these days. A frozen banana, one other fruit and milk for the liquid. My blender is so old now that if I added in much more, it wouldn't combine.

... What a first world problem


Monday, 31 August 2015

Eating My Way Round 70 Food Trucks



Hi everyone!

Last week my family and I went to the Food Truck Fest in New Westminster. Or, for everyone outside of Vancouver, a bunch of food trucks on a road!

As to be expected, the street was jam-packed. Above is just one picture of the crowd, although maybe it isn't the best of lighting. The lines were also stupid long, but we still managed to eat a lot of food...

 



(There's the siblings)

As you probably know from my last few posts (because I keep mentioning it!), I am now a vegetarian. I thought a place like this would be heaven for me, but I was actually surprised at how few vegan/vegetarian options there were. I think there were about 4 vegan-dedicated vans all together -- out of (close to) 100 food venues. That being said, nearly every truck had vegetarian options.

Ah, well, I did find a few things to eat anyway!

Out first stop was at the one and only French van. We got French fries because it just seemed fitting.

We then slowly moved along to get some Polish perogies, and the pictures of my brothers above were taken as we were waiting for them. The perogies were cheese flavoured and came with heaping of sour cream and dill leaves on top. It was amazing. The dill and sour cream worked really well together!

There was a big section of dancers and, later in the night, singers (and then even later in the night, a mix of both plus alcohol). It made me wish I kept in all the dance classes I started but quit when I was younger! Not that I would have danced the salsa in the middle of the street buuut, you know... I would have been able to.



We then walked along and I found one of the only vegan trucks that was selling actual food and not just juice! I got a vegan hotdog - it was a fancy "apple sage" flavour (but I didn't taste either) and it came with onions, dairy-free mozzarella and a few other things on top.

It was also amazing but, now I don't know why this is, but vegan food always has a mushy taste to it. It doesn't have the same... bite as meat does. That's the only way I can think to describe it. Please comment if you know what I'm talking about!?

After my vegan hotdog, I had some of the spiciest vegetable pakora from a Fijian fusion place. The sauce was great but I couldn't even finish 4 bits.

After that, we moved on to the sweet foods. Unfortunately, I stopped taking pictures at this point (you could probably take a guess as to why). We got a couple packs of candy from "Candy Meister" and then went back and got ice-cream from there too. The young ones also got a lot of kettle corn so I had some of that too.

If you've made it to this part of the post, thanks! That was a long one.
I wanted to write something because I haven't actually wrote something in a while. I've been posting lots of lists and recipes lately and I just wanted to spit out all the thoughts that came out for a change.

Columbia Street, New Westminster

Thursday, 13 August 2015

RECIPE: Blueberry & Date Oatmeal


Hi everyone,

I have another recipe post for you all today. I decided to become a vegetarian almost 3 weeks ago now. Since then I've been a bit food-obsessed and it has been on my mind quite a bit. Not in a bad way! (I know that sounds unhealthy) I mean that it's on my mind a lot because I'm thinking of new dishes to make. With saying that, every morning I have been having some variation of a smoothie bowl or oatmeal.

Since I've already done a smoothie bowl recipe, I thought I write an oatmeal recipe today. I always make my oatmeal the same -- with almond milk and a bit of sugar. So, even if you don't use these exact toppings, know that this ratio of almond milk and oats always works.
A few days ago, I tried using blueberries and dates to top my oatmeal. I thought it was going to be a weird flavour because the dates, but it actually just made me want to experiment more with them. So, expect some more date recipes in the future!

(I also uploaded this picture to instagram)


Date & Blueberry Oatmeal
Ingredients
1/2 cup oats
1 cup almond milk
1tsp brown sugar
dates
blueberries
honey or agave nectar (agave nectar is vegan)

Method
Combine oats and almond milk in a pot over high heat because you're impatient and want food now. Walk away and forget about it until it's all burn and stuck to the bottom. Swear. Hope mum doesn't walk in. Quickly clean the pot before she questions anything.
Then start it the proper way; combining oats and milk over low/medium heat. Once it's all mixed, reduce heat and add 1tsp brown sugar or 1tbsp cocoa powder if you want a more chocolatey taste. Then just put the oatmeal in a bowl and place the fruit (and drizzle the honey) on top.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

RECIPE: No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars

Heeeello everyone,

I hope you're all doing well! July has been such a quiet month for me. June was hectic, but July has been very relaxing. I've kind of just been sitting around the house and reading the occasional book. Overall, I've been pretty lazy to be honest.

Today, though, I was in the kitchen! I was making these bars  decided to write today about these bars that we sometimes make in our house.

They are no-bake chocolate coconut peanut butter bars. I mean, if I was reading this post, the no-bake alone would have hooked me.

So there is chocolate in this but you could always exchange that for cocoa powder, or leave it out all together. On top of that, if you use the golden syrup over the honey, this dish becomes vegan. However, I'd say the honey is probably the better option. 

I'm not sure though, if anyone knows please correct me. I don't know, maybe these bars are really actually bad for you... but they have healthy ingredients! So logically the end product must be pretty healthy too.






Ingredients
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tbsp golden syrup or honey
1 cup unsweetened chocolate chips
1 cup natural peanut butter
1 1/2 cups large-flake rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (and about 2 tbsp more for on top)
1 tbsp hemp seeds

Method
1. First, grab a large saucepan and melt the coconut oil, golden syrup/honey and chocolate over medium-heat.
2. Once that's all melted together, turn the heat right down and add in the peanut butter.
3. When the peanut butter has melted in, take the whole pot off the heat and mix in the remaining ingredients (as in, the oats and the hemp seeds)
4. Pour the mixture into a shallow dish. I use a 9x9 one. I also normally use an oil spray to spray the dish before, but you can also use parchment paper, either will stop it from sticking.
5. Add coconut flakes on top
6. Let the bars cool in the dish before putting them into fridge to firm up.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Dinner on Main Street

Hi everyone,

The weather in Vancouver is starting to get very hot again, after a week or so of some rain. It's nice, but it's also difficult to do anything - including going on a trip to the place that serves the "best mac and cheese ever" according to Instagram and my friend, Justine. So, yesterday, Justine and I went to try this place. We decided to walk and, this may be TMI but my dress was damp due to the amount I was sweating.

Once we got there, lucky us got the... Winking Waiter. You know, the waiter who winks so much and you can't decide if he's genuinely flirting or just wanting you to buy more drinks? (it's always the second one, by the way)


Either way, I guess it worked because I got a Mojito. After asking for the Mojito, the waiter replied, "Sure thing *wink*" and asked if I wanted a flavour (with another wink). I got strawberry, but honestly... is there any point in putting flavour in it if it's still gonna taste like mint? I mean, there was no hiding the fact that is drink uses mint. Nothing masks it, especially when there is there is like 70 million mint leaves jammed into the glass (that was an over-exaggeration... there was probably only like 5 mint leaves in the glass)



We also went to 49th Parallel Café, which was further down the street. These pictures were taken at about 7pm but summer, man, I love it. The sun stays out for hours.

We wanted ice cream, but also wanted to try these donuts because we've heard they are good (from Instagram). So, we got a donut but also an iced coffee for the coldness. 
The only problem was that the coffee was pretty weak. Heads up for tourists, it is actually hard to find good coffee in Vancouver. On every street corner there's a different coffee shop but each one's coffee is as bad as the next.



Although, they are all very photogenic.
I mean, look at this place. So cool, right? You see, Main Street is kind of the... hippie district in Vancouver. It's relatively close to Strathcona, which is definitely the hippie district in Vancouver. They all look fab over there, cycling their bikes to their heritage-looking houses.
I remember an old friend and I once babysat for a family in Strathcona. Their parents practised free-range parenting so the kids only ever wore tutus and had never met a hairbrush. No judgement though, their kids were more polite than most kids in the suburbs.


2902 Main Street, Vancouver

Thursday, 2 July 2015

RECIPE: Sweet Quinoa Oatmeal Recipe

Quinoa seems to be one of those healthy foods that are just accepted. They're a staple in every vegetarians diet, right? So, I'm not going to sit here and list reasons why you should try it because you probably already know what it is and why it's good. 

With that out the way, I find it difficult to make quinoa... taste nice. You need lots of flavours to soak in to it to have it taste like something other than a plain, mushy, rice thing. Because of this, I normally eat quinoa in my stir-frys at lunch because then there are vegetables and stuff to make it taste better.  When I have a lot of time (and when I can actually be bothered), I will make it for breakfast.
So, today, I wanted to share the recipe I use for those (rare?) days.

Oh, and, confession: I actually suck at measurements.
It took me a long time to find out what ratio works for oats and milk, and even more for quinoa and milk. These measurements seem to work for me, but you may need to tweak them.



Ingredients
1/3 cup of quinoa - wash it before cooking
1 cup of milk - I use almond milk 
handful of dried fruit - I use cranberries/blueberries
handful of nuts - I use cashews
sprinkle of brown sugar - I use more like a handful...

Method
1. Add quinoa to pot, with milk, and bring to boil.
2. Cook for a bit on high heat then bring down halfway. Make sure to mix often so the milk doesn't burn (my problem).
3. When the little tail bit is showing, your quinoa is ready. Drain out excess milk and (optional) place back on heat for a minute to soak up anymore milk.
4. Plate up. Add your dried fruit and nut of choice along with the brown sugar.


Tuesday, 30 June 2015

TRAVEL: Granville Island

Hi everyone!

Yesterday, I went to Granville Island with my aunt, who is visiting from Australia, and my sister, Orla. 

Right now, Vancouver is in the middle of a crazy heat-wave (seriously, like 30 degrees Celsius) so it started off as a good day and rapidly went downhill past 1pm. So, a lot of my photos were taken when we first arrived. I also took all the pictures on my new phone because the camera is pretty good! It's an LG G3, which is kind of a nobody phone (as in, nobody seems to have it.)




Recently, I have been ultra obsessed with France and French things. To the point that it's probably getting annoying to the people around me. One of my New Year's resolutions was to learn French but it wasn't until April that I really started to read and learn about the French lifestyle. 

So, for lunch, I suggested that we eat like the French and buy a baguette from this baker's and buy cheese from one of the stalls and share it while listening to the guy play the accordion outside. We also got a Polish sausage but that isn't French so we won't talk about it. 
The only thing missing was wine, but we still had a good time. 








To get to Granville Island, we took the mini ferry that goes across. It's cheap and costs $3.25 per person.

We got it from English Bay and I have never noticed how blue the water is there! For everyone outside of Vancouver, English Bay is right next to Stanley Park and they are both pretty central and busy spots in Vancouver. 



The pictures are back to front, but this was us walking to the ferry. The route we took meant we had to walk past all the shops we would normally spend the whole day. Of course, the day you can't go in, it seems like everywhere has sales on. 

Well, I hope you liked some of the pictures. I should be taking more pictures now considering the nice weather and the storage amount on my new phone. I'm also down to only 1 class at uni, which is on Mondays. I also got a new job but I've only actually been working weekends until now, so though the summer I think I'll have a lot of spare time. I suppose we'll see if I use it to blog or sleep!

1669 Johnston Street, Vancouver

Thursday, 11 June 2015

RECIPE: Simple Banana Bread Recipe

I can't believe it's June, can you? I feel like summer will never come and yet we are pretty much halfway through the year. I just wanted to say that but the rest of the post has nothing to do with time and how slow it passes.

Today, I wanted to share an easy banana bread recipe with you which we make pretty often in our house. This recipe was passed down from my mum and it's fail-proof (because I can do it, ha!).
You can use this as a base recipe and add things into it like chocolate chips or dried fruit or whatever else you think might work -- but I don't normally add things because we don't have stuff like that lying around the house. Tough life is mine.

I also converted the measurements from ounces to cups (to make it easier for us in America) and, let me tell you, it took such a long time -- more than it should have. I can't do math to save my life. Anyway, enjoy!



Ingredients
1 cup self-raising flour
5/8 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup butter
2 mashed bananas

Method
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream together sugar and butter, add flour, and eggs and then add the bananas.
3. Put in greased pan and bake for one hour.


Iona

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Pancake Tuesday (+ Recipe!)





Hi everyone,

Yesterday was Pancake Day, but I'm sure you all know that. It's the only day that eating pancakes for every meal is acceptable. U n l e s s you're like my friend who works at Denny's and has a really big discount on all food -- then pancakes are all right always because they're practically free.

This year, my mum & I tried making the pancakes from scratch. The recipe we ended up making was a combination of a few different recipes, but with more sugar because we don't care. I suppose you could say it is an original recipe... but maybe not because I blended other's recipes to make one ultimate recipe but, either way, these pancakes were great! If I do say so myself.

We got about eight large pancakes from my recipe, but of course if you made normal sized pancakes, you'd get a lot more out of it. The method is like normal, and the ingredients are as follows:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoon sugar
1 1/3 cups milk
2 large eggs 

Man, pancakes are easy to make from scratch. 
We will never go back to the box stuff, I'm telling you. 


Photos from the top:
1. Pancakes, I sorta tried to make them look pretty
2. Orla making her famous blueberry syrup
3. Cheeky Enzo being smiley

Friday, 2 January 2015

My 2015 Resolutions


Hello everyone,

I have no idea what my 2014 resolutions were. I know I made one or two but I don't know if I stuck by them because I really don't know what they were. So, to both keep me on track and because everyone else is doing this sort of post, I will write them here...

1/ Mind my own business
This is something that I have actually been actively doing for the past few months, and I want to keep it up in 2015. Earlier this year, I would have loved to sit and gossip but slowly I've been realizing that it really... shallow. Focusing on what is going wrong in other people's lives to make me feel better isn't a healthy thing to do. There are plenty of things to fill my mind with and my classmates relationship status should not make that list.

2/ Practise mindfulness
I am guilty for always looking into the future. I am perfectly aware that I do it more often than I should and I hate it. However, it is really hard to get out of the train of thought once you've entered it. In 2015, I want to live in the present. I know it is going to be difficult - especially now that the family have been discussing a... big movement to take place within the next few years. Nevertheless, I know it will make me feel happier and calmer overall.

3/ Learn French
... Enough to get by, that is. Next semester I am taking a beginners class in French because I haven't spoke it since I was twelve. I ultimately want to become fluent, but this year my goal is to know enough to have a decent conversation. A hypothetical conversation because I don't know any French people to have the conversation with... but I will be able to, at the end of this year, if the opportunity arises.

4/ Drink enough water
The last and probably easiest of the bunch; drinking more water. I used to be good but wow it has become a problem for me. Everyday I want to be drinking at least... three water bottles full. It shouldn't be too hard but we'll see.

Those are my four resolutions. I know that 'keeping up with the blog' should be up there since I'm pretty crap at it but I know I will probably just be disappointed with my self this time next year! I will try to keep up, though. I am no longer working so I am just focusing on my studies... and blog, I guess. 

-

Thank you so much for reading and still following this blog even though I don't regular update it! 

Iona
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