Victoria Day #DailyOutfit

Hope you’re enjoying your long weekend! Stayed in Toronto this weekend to start preparing my big trip to Europe and the US, which is coming up in less than two weeks. Beyond stoked!

Since I was home, I did lot’s of running, relaxing and ate lot’s of delicious food this weekend. How was your weekend?

vd1

Have you checked out The Gladstone recently? They have a brand new food menu and I must say that not only is it decently priced, all the options are pretty healthy and super fresh. I was pleasantly surprised! It’s worth the visit if you’re in the West Queen West area.

vd2

I finished my much needed spring cleaning today and brought back out these super comfy Oxford shoes from Topshop. Absolutely love these.

photo 3 (71)

photo 5 (26)

photo 4 (41)

Photos by @Offner

Topshop white Oxford shoes

H&M distressed boyfriend jeans

Forever 21 aztec cuff

Target v-neck red sweater (similar one here)

Beads, Crystals & More diy necklace

Laid Back #DailyOutfit

Today was a much needed day off! After working over 100 hours + in the last two weeks, it was nice to finally sleep in a little and not have anything to do!

The one thing I did take time to do, was to take care of myself – meaning eating healthy homemade food, nap (I never nap!!) and go for a run! Though it’s getting a lot colder in Toronto, I’m still making it a habit to go run a few times a week.

photo 1 copy 2

For today’s outfit, I opted for a very laid back look. I rarely wear wool socks and plain leggings out but today was that kind of day. I tried to accessorize my look – by adding a bunch of silver and green jewels to make it a little less plain.

photo 2 copy 2

Vanessa Mooney Black Queen Necklace (get it here)

Zara bejeweled camo vest (similar one here)

Biko green chainmaille bracelet (get it here)

Camel 2 stripe shin socks (similar ones here)

Clean seam black leggings (similar ones here)

The 2 Bandits Bow Tie Ring – Antique Silver With Green Enamel (get it here)

Aldo beige lace up boots (similar ones here)

This Week’s Pottage

A new week means a new pottage… at least that’s what it’s meant since we’ve been getting our Fresh City Farms baskets. This week’s pottage is my best one yet (that’s a good thing I guess since I’ve only ever made two 😛 Improvement is good!).

For this week’s pottage I used cabbage, green onions, cauliflower and beets. I never really measure anything when making pottage, I just eyeball it.

I let all the veggies boil in water for 20mins or so. I also added a cube of organic vegetable broth to add a bit of flavor as well as salt and pepper.

photo 2 (14)

Once everything has boiled, I blend everything up using my hand mixer. I also add a bit of almond milk, dijon mustard and my secret ingredient: maple syrup! Yup! Plus it’s from my family’s sugar shack, so there’s nothing better 🙂 I find that the maple syrup cuts the bitterness and the milk and dijon make the pottage more of a velvety texture.

photo 3 (7)

Et voilà! Bon appétit!

photo 1 (16)

 

Fall Pumpkin

Last week, two small pumpkins came in our Fresh City Farms bag and just like the concord grapes, I had never cooked anything with pumpkins before. Growing up, I saw my mom make pumpkin pie but had never really been interested in making anything with pumpkin because it always looked so complicated.

After looking at a few different recipes (thank god for Martha Stewart sometimes!), I got inspired to make my own pumpkin dishes.

The first recipe I made was a pumpkin, roasted garlic, beemster cheese, concord grape, tomato, avocado and cantaloupe salad. It really took no time to make. The only kind of preparation it took, was cutting up the pumpkin in small cubes and placing them on a cookie sheet. I drizzled a bit of cumin, maple syrup, olive oil and salt and pepper on them. I also added a few fresh garlic cloves on the cookie sheet to bake with the pumpkin. I cooked the pumpkin in the oven for 40mins at 350F, I kept adding water throughout so that the pumpkin didn’t dry up. When it got nice and mushy, I took it out of the oven and peeled off the skin.

For the dressing, I just mixed freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil and dijon mustard. Contrary to what I was expecting, the pumpkin tasted really soft and sweet. It was delish!

photo 2 (13)

For the second pumpkin recipe, I made a pumpkin and tofu stir-fry with the left over pumpkin I cooked for the salad. I pan fried cubes of tofu, added pineapple pieces, garlic, pumpkin cubes as well as sweet and sour sauce. I cooked everything in the pan until nicely roasted and then placed it on a bed of fresh kale. I was also surprised by how amazing it tasted!

photo 1 (15)

With the leftover seeds I had from the pumpkin, I put them on a cookie sheet, drizzled a bit of olive oil on them and spices and baked them in the oven at 350F for 15-20mins. They were the perfect lunch snack for the next day!!

There you have it! Some quick and easy pumpkin recipes. What have you made with pumpkin this fall?

 

Concord Grape Spread

Last week we received our first Fresh City Farms local fruit and veggie bag. I challenged myself to use every single item they gave us, even if the bag contained some items I had never cooked with before.

One of these items was Concorde Grapes. I opted to try a grape spread to serve with cheese as an appetizer on the weekend. It’s super easy to make!

All you need is a big handful of grapes, rosemary, olive oil, sugar and salt.

photo 2

Rinse the grapes and then place them on a baking sheet. Drizzle 2 teaspoon of olive oil over the grapes. Add a pinch of sea salt and 1 teaspoon of rosemary on the grapes. Also add 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar over the grapes to cut the bitterness.

photo 3

Place grapes in the oven and cook at 400F for 15-20 minutes or until grapes burst. Once they’ve cooled off you can place them in a bowl.

photo 4

I opted to serve the grape spread with blue cheese on whole wheat toast but they can be served with burrata cheese, compté or any type of cheese you like. The strong taste of blue cheese fit perfectly with the sweetness of the grapes! It was a succulant appetizer to kick off a Saturday night meal. Hope you’ll enjoy 🙂

photo 1

 

 

 

Kale Chips Recipe

I love finally being home for a few weeks. This will allow me to start cooking a whole lot more. One of my recent favorite snacks, is homemade Kale Chips. Though I love getting some at the store, there’s nothing quite like making your own.

Wednesday I received a whole bunch of kale in my Fresh City Farms basket and decided to make some yummy kale chips to go with my dinner last night. They are SUPER easy to make 🙂

All you have to do is pre-heat the oven at 350, cut up kale in small pieces.

Drizzle olive oil or as I did, flavored olive oil (I went for the hot pepper oil) over the kale and add salt and pepper. Some people also add yeast to the kale to add a crunchier texture but I find that they taste fine without it too!

photo 2

Put it in the oven for 10-15mins, until cripsy and dark green.

The perfect healthy snack!

photo 3

 

Cleanse Day 4

Yesterday was Day 4 of my cleanse and my 2nd day of juicing. I woke up feeling really hungry, my muscles aching and my head hurting but it totally makes sense when you’re just feeding your body with liquids I guess. I spent the whole day in training at work and I realized that I really wasn’t focused, I also had a hard time really concentrating. I felt like my brain wasn’t functioning 100% or as it should. That said, I continued with the juicing but started really doubting if this cleanse was really going to cut it for me.

So as I did the previous day, I started my day with another Detox juice, followed by the Vanilla Cashew Glow juice and then a Clean juice. I also drank a lot of water and even a hot tea. As the day went on, I was talking a lot to my boyfriend, who’s also doing the cleanse with me right now about how he was feeling, what kind of effects he was having, etc. Unlike me, he wasn’t feeling very hungry but he’s not someone who usually gets hungry. He eats because he loves to eat but he does get low blood sugar or irritated when he doesn’t eat or eat as much. Contrary to what he had initially expected, he was also starting to feel like his brain wasn’t functionning fully, he wasn’t feeling on top of his game and had a bad headache that he couldn’t shake off.

photo 2 (11)

Throughout the cleanse and even before embarquing on it, I’ve read a lot about cleansing. I had read mostly positive things on individual blogs, bloggers that I follow, girls I had spoken to and some ok and not so positive things on newspaper websites, more health/nutrition/scientific sites. I know that everyone does it for different reasons. Like I’ve mentioned before, my main reasons were 1) just plain curiosity because so many people seem to be cleansing these days and 2) a personal challenge. In 4 days, I didn’t really lose any weight, I maybe lost 2 lbs but the reason why I think I didn’t lose any weight is because I didn’t have much to lose in the first place (if any at all!) and also because I have a pretty healthy lifestyle overall. I don’t really drink coffee, other than red wine here and there I don’t drink very much and try my best to eat fresh, homemade and organic fruits and vegetables as well good food in general.

My boyfriend who’s from France explained to me yesterday that cleansing is definitely not as popular there and hasn’t really taken like many other recent food trends such as the Gluten-Free and Lactose-Free craze we’ve been seeing in the last few years. People tend to think that people from France eat only pastries, bread and cheese and wine, a lot of them do, that’s a fact but they also eat a lot of fresh produce, meats and cheese from local farmers that they get from their city’s farmers market every week. A lot of my family lives in France and none of them are obese and all live to 80+ years and so does my boyfriend’s family. It’s apparent that cleansing is more of a American/Canadia phenomenon.

After work, we headed to the movie theatre to watch Elysium and on the way there and back we read more than a handful of articles (here’s an example: http://archives-lepost.huffingtonpost.fr/article/2010/11/05/2293630_la-detox-ou-l-intox.html) on cleansing, juicing, the effects on your body, etc. After 4 full days of cleansing, without any cheating at all and after much discussion, my boyfriend and I decided to stop our cleansing adventure. We both felt that we had reached our goal – that the process had made us think a lot about nutrition, what we put in our bodies, what kind of lifestyle we live, etc.  That said, we both didn’t stop and immediately pigged out on a ton of food, instead, we celebrated with a nice homemade salad, guacamole and organice brown rice cracker.

photo 1 (10)

We still have a bunch of juices left over because we initially had planned to do 3 days of juicing instead of 2 and also because I only ended up drinking 4 bottles a day instead of 6. So what we’ve decided to do is keep drinking those bottles as a healthy snack in between meals for the next couple of days. We’re easing back into food with raw meals and I think overall we’ll just be even more careful than we used to be with the food we eat. That said, it’s a lot harder to find a good farmers market close by or buy only organic/local/sustainable produce without dishing out a fortune here in Toronto as compared to California. We’ve made a pact to be more conscious of the food we eat and make even better choices but to also keep enjoying food in general! We’re both big foodies and both take pleasure in treating ourselves to good meals!

For those wondering, even though we did the more DIY cleanse, it was still pretty pricey. We bought over 100$ of raw food groceries at Whole Foods plus over $50 of fruits and vegetables for our 2 days of raw food cleanse plus we each paid over $200 for our juices. At $9.99 a juice bottle x 6 bottles a day, you’re looking at over $60 + a day of juices. That said, we wanted to do the full experience and wanted to do it the right way so we went all out and made sure we had everything we needed.

All in all, it was an interesting experience. Though I’m not sure I would do an actual “cleanse” again, I would definitely consider drinking these types of juices more regularly as snacks or if ever I’m on the go. I also think it’s a good exercise for people to go a week or so without alcohol or coffee, it can never hurt. It’s always a good thing to also re-evaluate your eating habits, your lifestyle, etc. As someone who travels a lot and as a vegetarian, it’s often hard to find healthy food options on the road, but this experience has taught me that maybe I should just bring some lunches if I can, or get some raw bars or juices and keep those with me while I travel. I have keep eating lot’s of fruit and veggies, eat organic and local if available and keep being active. Also, take pleasure in eating good food & most importantly ENJOY LIFE!!

PS. I know that everyone who’s cleansed before has had a different experience. I was not paid or did not receive any discounts for writing this blog during my juicing experience. It’s an adventure my boyfriend and I decided to take together independently. Everyone has different views on detoxing, juicing, raw food, etc. These were simply my own taken from my own personal experience! 🙂

Cleanse Day 2

So yesterday was Day 2 of my cleanse – another day of raw foods. I was feeling ok after breakfast but as the day went on my stomach really started hurting and I was feeling really hungry. Though I’ve only been eating raw food for over a day, my taste buds were already telling me that they were over all of these raw snacks, the seasoning and whatever I was eating. Props to people who do these cleanses often or who only have raw diets. I don’t think I could ever do it! Even questioning ever doing a cleanse again…

After work, Offner and I took a trip to Whole Foods to buy all of our juices for the next three days. Unfortunately, a lot of their juices were out of stock. Though the juice brand Live recommends drinking 5 different types of juices a day, two of them were sold out. So we made due with what they had and also got ourselves a ton of raw food items for our last supper 😉

photo 1 (2)

MEAL 1

Freshly pressed unpasteurized orange juice

Peanut Butter Lärabar

photo 4

MEAL 2

Homemade salad with sprouts, tomatoes, cucumbers, hemp seeds,

Grapes, strawberries and shakaroons

MEAL 3

Live raw lasagna italiano, Live raw kale caraway bread and fresh pesto

Live raw organic walnut brownie, pineapple and an orange

photo 2

photo 3

I was feeling really anxious yesterday at the thought of starting the juice cleanse. Here’s hoping not too many food pictures pop up on my twitter and instagram feed in the next few days. Though I’m really motivated, I’m not sure I’ll be able to handle three days of juicing… To be continued!