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Guess who’s finally done exams?! Me!!! Okay, so I really didn’t have very many to do this year, but it doesn’t mean my life sucked any less for the past two weeks. Well anyways, it’s kinda become part of my Christmas routine to have a little cookie baking marathon after my exams are done, and this year is gonna be pretty freaking great. However, I am having difficulty deciding what to make this year though, because I am the most indecisive person ever when it comes to these things. One second I’ll be all “Oooh! My macaroons! I’ll make my macaroons!” and two seconds later I’ll be all “BUT WHAT ABOUT SNICKERDOODLES?!” – it’s an ongoing problem. But to start things off this year, I really had to make my chocolate crinkle cookies from last year, but with a little twist this time around.

So I’m sure you guys all know who Laura in the Kitchen is, because you know, she’s Laura. Well anyways, she posted a video of her red velvet crinkle cookie kisses the other day, and I thought it would be the coolest idea ever. I pretty much threw everything together, and when looking for the red food colouring, which was the last ingredient, I realized I had completely run out. Annoyed, I put my magical improv hat on and decided to stay on track of the whole crinkle cookie thing, but to ditch the red velvet, add more chocolate, and toss in some black sesame instead. I mean, Christmas is one of those times where I feel like people should just stick to tradition. So that means no deep fried turkeys, no apple pumpkin rainbow sprinkle cheesecakes with peppermint oreos, and all the crap along those lines. That being said though, I think making subtle changes to traditional recipes refreshes it a little bit, and gives things bit of an “Ooooooh” factor, which is what I really think the black sesame does here. If you’ve never had black sesame before, it lends a very smokey, nutty, and rich taste to whatever it’s put in which I thought paired really well with chocolate and cocoa powder. That being said, I might be biased because I absolutely love black sesame desserts and grew up eating them.

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But I think that this cookie deserves to be made at least once, just for appearances alone – how could anyone possibly not love the snow covered look of them?! And those cracks?! I swear they’re amongst the most beautiful cookies on earth. Paired with a mug of coffee or hot chocolate (obviously with a swig of Bailey’s) and you’re in heaven, no lie.

Black Sesame & Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Makes about 30 cookies

Ingredients:

– 1/3 cup of butter (room temperature)

– 2 large eggs

– 1 1/3 cup of all purpose flour

– 1 tsp of baking powder

– 1/2 tsp of salt

– 2/3 cup of sugar

– 50g of dark, semisweet chocolate

– 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder

– 4 tablespoons of ground black sesame

– 1 tsp of vanilla extract

– powdered sugar for rolling

Directions:

1. Beat your sugar and butter together until creamed, and whisk in vanilla and eggs one at a time until mixture is pale, light, and smooth.

2. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, cocoa powder, ground black sesame, sugar, and baking powder.

3. Grate the chocolate in a microplane or just a cheese grater and place into dry ingredients as well.

4. Incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and mix. You’ll probably find it easier to use your hands after a certain point.

5. Chill the mixture in your fridge for at least 20-30 minutes, just long enough to firm up a little bit.

6. Preheat your oven to 350F.

7. Take your cookie dough out of the fridge and roll out 1 to 1.5″ diameter cookie balls and toss them into a bowl of powdered sugar until they’re completely covered.

8. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until they’ve cracked.

** the longer you leave them in, the more dry and “biscotti” like they will be. I prefer the outside to be crisp and insides to be a bit on the fudgey/brownie side so 10 minutes is perfect for me.

9. Let them cool, and they will deflate a little bit.

10. Engorge yourself!

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And there you have it! Make these for your Christmas parties this year, or just to give to people as little edible gifts! I mean, who doesn’t like receiving cookies as presents?!

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Signs that finals are approaching:

1. I will start panicking over every little thing.

2. I will start online shopping for the most mundane things – like the 1000 piping bags I received in the mail the other day.

3. I’ll start baking and making desserts like a mad man.

So I’ve got the (arguably) easiest semester at school I’ve ever had in my university career right now, but for some reason, I can’t relax at all. I’ve had 5 finals in a span of 4 days before but I feel just as stressed when I’ve only got one final this year. I can’t even explain it, I swear I need yoga to sort my anxiety issues out. Just like clockwork, I’ve been spending my study breaks back in the kitchen like I do every time the end of November comes around, and there are desserts overflowing from every corner of the house. I just need a place to channel all my creative energy while my brain takes a break from shoving information into itself. Honestly, physiology is the worst class ever, and I can’t imagine how I’m about to suffer through another semester of it. Please explain to me how knowing the pathway of motor nerve conduction is going to help me in my career, because I’d really like to know.

Barf.

Well anyways, while studying the other day, I remembered this recipe that I came across by the wonderful Carla Hall from Top Chef/The Chew, where she basically showed people how to jazz up a chocolate bar and turn it into a fancy shmancy gift. No, the point of it isn’t to temper it, and to make some fancy ass shiny chocolate with a brittle snap. This is like, a 10 minute recipe that you use to make a last minute gift or snack to impress your friends and guests. You can flavour it with anything you like though, which is why it’s such a great little recipe to have in your arsenal. Got nuts at home? Chuck them in. Or maybe you have some leftover meringues? Crumble those in.

Here I used DAVIDsTEA’s Alpine Punch tea, which is a rooibos with rose, coconut, cinnamon, and a whole lot of spice. It also has an almond flavouring to it, so what you end up with is a chocolate tasting like Amaretto with hints of rose and coconut – a winner in my books! But you can use Earl Grey, or maybe even a Lapsang for a smokey chocolate. One note though, don’t use white chocolate unless you know you have a good quality one because that shit splits like nobody’s business when it’s not well made.

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Tea Infused Chocolates

Ingredients:

– 1 bar of chocolate

– 1 tbsp of tea

– pinch of salt

Optional: nuts, meringue, pretzel bits, etc. Use your imagination

Directions:

1. Place your chocolate into the microwave and melt at 30 second intervals until melted

2. Grind up your tea in a spice mixer until it is a fine powder and throw in a pinch of salt

3. Mix the two together and throw in anything else you might want to add

4. Fill up a candy or ice cube tray mold, and pop into the freezer for 15-20 minutes until set

Honestly, easiest recipe ever.

Does it even count as a recipe? It’s basically like a melt and mix kinda process that just looks like it’s super fancy or something!

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Desserts have never been my thing. Usually whenever I see a chocolate cake recipe or something, I take one glance at the ingredient list, directions, and I’m just immediately all “No.”. Not that I’m lazy or anything, it’s just that I don’t like having to tinker with a million things to make sure that my icing doesn’t curdle, or that my cake rises properly, and so on. Cookies on the other hand, I’m okay with. Well anyways, I’ve been watching a whole lot of Donal Skehan on YouTube lately, and man I love the guy. He brings such a great amount of quality content to the YouTube front, and everything he makes looks ridiculously delicious. The other morning I was watching his pavlova cake recipes, and it reminded me about how I’ve always wanted to make a pavlova ever since seeing queen Nigella make them on her show all those years ago.

For those who don’t know what a pavlova is, it’s more or less a meringue with a crisp outer coat and a crazy delicious marshmallowy centre. Usually, it’s dolloped with cream and fruit, and left to sit for a little while to let everything marinate. What then happens is that the meringue absorbs moisture from the fruit juices and the cream, turning the entire thing into one smooth, voluptuous, and divine creation.

But of course, I had to put my little twist on it. First of all, I didn’t have passionfruit or kiwi, which are Nigella’s go-to fruit for her pavlovas. So instead, I decided to crack open the pomegranates I had lying in my fridge and threw those little arils all over the white meringue disks. Also, instead of cream, I decided to use greek yogurt instead because you know, I’m always trying to make things a little healthier where I can. It came out way more delicious than expected. You know those little asian yogurt drinks that you buy in tiny little plastic bottles? Well this is what it tasted like. Totally reminiscent of my childhood, and I was flooded with nostalgia. My parents basically devoured the entire thing while watching a movie on Saturday night!

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Of course there are a million variations you can put on this. I know both Nigella and Donal have created chocolate versions with cocoa powder thrown into the meringue mixture, but you can also just use any kind of fruit you’d like. I’m sure it would be a lot better with fleshier, juicer fruits such as mangoes, passionfruit, kiwi, and berries although I’m sure jams and jellies would be fairly delicious as well. Anyways, the possibilities are endless.

One of my favourite things about pavlovas are the fact that they just give off that rustic elegance that I’m such a big fan of. You know how sometimes you try to make food look all pretty and you just end up with a mess so you just call it “rustic and homemade” to make it seem okay? Well with this, you can just be all “Yeah. It’s meant to look like that.” with confidence and be proud of it. Oh – and I believe you can freeze meringues so you can just keep pavlova disks in the freezer and pull them out and make a little pavlova cake on short notice whenever you have company over or something too. Having backups in your freezer is basically the key to becoming a full fledged domestic goddess isn’t it?

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Pomegranate Pavlova Cake

Makes one, two layered 9″ cake or just make them into smaller cakes

Ingredients:

– 4 egg whites

– 1 cup of sugar

– 1 small tub of greek yogurt

– 1 pomegranate

– 2 tablespoons of corn starch

– 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar

– 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Beat the egg whites until you’ve got stiff, but not dry peaks

2. Gradually whisk in the sugar until you’ve got a nice glossy meringue that will hold its shape

3. Mix in the vinegar, corn starch, and vanilla extract.

4. Line two baking sheets with parchment, and dollop the meringue mixture onto them into rounds. Shape them however you want, but try your best to make them “mountainy” and not too flat. Remember that it will flatten out later on through the weight of the fruit and yogurt.

5. Place into a preheated 300F oven for one hour, and turn off the oven and leave them in there to cool down with the oven.

6. Once cooled, spoon the yogurt on top of the rounds and decorate with fruit, in whatever fashion you feel like!

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Yeah, I know – I haven’t posted in ages.

Here’s the thing. Back when I started blogging two years ago on Tumblr where this whole site stemmed from, I was fuelled like a crazy lady to do everything in my power to get into dietetics. So that meant volunteering in hospitals, dialysis centres, for dietitians, blogging for magazines, photographing recipes for books, and yadiyadayadadayada. So I’ve basically been a non stop machine for two. whole. years. trying to juggle a million things on the plate, until I finally got accepted into dietetics this year.

Then… I got kinda lazy. 

I mean, not in the sense that I just wanted to be a couch potato and give up on everything I’ve worked for, but in the sense that I was just plain exhausted. Honestly one of my first thoughts following “Holy shit I did it” when I got my acceptance letter was “Oh my God. I can finally stop doing all this extracurricular shit.”. So I’ve been posting on and off, but I just think that I needed a big break from feeling like I had to fully commit to this blog along with my other things going on in life.

But recently, I think that I’ve finally recharged and I’m kinda rearing to go! Especially with the holidays coming around I’m always like “Hell yes, lets make a million beautiful dishes!” and I’m slowly easing my way back into the swing of things. Picking up my camera for the first time in ages was an odd experience to say the least – I had no idea what I was even doing. I think I finally got the hang of it (you know, 100 shots later), and I think I’m finally warming up to the process again.

Anyways, endless blabbling aside, lets get to the recipe!

So a few months ago, Susan and I decided to go on a spontaneous trip to IKEA which resulted in me getting a few of these wine glasses (but unfortunately no meatballs). You know how you always see people on Pinterest putting pretty things into stemless glassware like mousses, puddings, and such? Yeah well I’ve waited forever and a day to finally do it myself! When I saw these glasses in the isles I was just all

“Oooooh I can make like a pretty fancy chocolate mousse or something in there!”

But who am I kidding… I don’t even like dessert. Instead, I went ahead and made something breakfasty – which by the way, is the most important and best mother fucking meal of the day. If you’re a morning person like me, then you’ll understand the excitement I feel every morning when I leap out of bed at 5:30am and dash into the kitchen to fill up my insatiable tummy. My current go to breakfast is a hash of potatoes, eggs, and scallions served with an apple on the side. However, I do have those days when I just cannot muster up a fuck to give about cooking, so this is where this recipe comes in! Just picture it – opening up the fridge to have a healthy, filling, beautiful (though subjective), and delicious breakfast waiting to be devoured.

The wonderful thing about overnight oats is that not only is it simple and customizable, it also offers that comforting feeling that you’re fabulously competent in the kitchen. A handful of ingredients, 5 minutes of your time, and you’re absolutely golden. Obviously this is just a variation on what you can do with oats, but I constantly have frozen blueberries about my house so they’re my staple go to when making this recipe.

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Overnight Oats

Makes 3 servings

Ingredients:

– 1.5 cups of rolled oats

– 2 tsp of cinnamon

– 2 tablespoons of chia seeds

– 2 cups of cashew milk (use almond, whatever you feel like)

– 1/2 cup of water

– 2-3 tablespoons of honey (to your taste, omit if you like)

– 1 cup of greek yogurt

– blueberries

Directions:

1. Mix the oats, cinnamon, chia seeds, milk, water, honey together

2. Pour into three separate bowls, or jars (whatever you have on hand)

3. Stick in the fridge overnight or for at least 5-6 hours

4. Dollop greek yogurt and blueberries on top of each bowl to serve!

** You may add additional milk/water to loosen it up into the consistency that you like

Easy, peasy, and ridiculously breezy.

Also, you can just make this ahead of time and eat it throughout the week as long as you keep it in the fridge! I usually like to do this in 2-3 day batches so I don’t have to worry about making it every single night, not that it’s a hassle or anything. But you know, for those times when laziness just takes over.

But yeah, try it out, let me know how you guys like it :)

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Okay, so you know when you open your fridge halfway through the week and all you see are half eaten meals, droopy vegetables, and everything is just looking well…. tragic? Yeah. I’m sure we all suffer from ugly fridge syndrome right? Well I’m slowly teaching myself how to be better with using leftovers and bits and pieces of produce I have lying around, which is what led to this recipe.

I was watching Ratatouille on Netflix and the little rodent chef kinda inspired me to use what is essentially crappy scraps to put together something that is delicious, homey, and ridiculously satisfying. So one morning, I woke up and marched over to my fridge, determined to make something yummy out of nothing. Basically all I had were eggs, some halves/quarters of a few veggies, some less than perky herbs, and some expired yogurt (mmmm…yum!). Using my crazily creative mind (after a few cups of coffee obviously), I pulled out a zucchini, tomato, some basil, and of course the protein packed eggs and thought I’d make something like a ratatouille…. but a breakfast version!

In a sense, this recipe is more of a vague guideline, or even just an idea for how you could make something delicious out of the little bits and pieces of food you find, so seriously… don’t panic if you don’t have a zucchini lying around or something. I mean, eggplants, sweet potatoes, broccoli, I’m sure all of those would work fine.

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Baked Eggs With Veggies

Recipe is for one serving. So if you’re serving 3 people, just multiply by 3

Ingredients:

- 1 to 2 eggs, depending on whether you’re a ravenous growing boy or some dainty light eater

- 1/2 a small zucchini or eggplant

- 1/2 a tomato

- an herb of your choice such as basil, marjoram, oregano

- salt & pepper

- olive oil

Optional: beans such as black beans, chickpeas, etc.

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 375F

2. Slice your veggies up into rounds and place into a cast iron skillet or an oven safe container

3. Drizzle a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and your herb of choice on the veggies

4. Place the veggies into the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until they begin to soften

* This is also where you would add beans or what not if you feel like it

5. Take the skillet or container out of the oven (make sure you use oven mitts!) and then crack your eggs into the dish, and place it back into the oven for an addition 10-12 minutes, or until the egg is done to your liking.

6. Take it out of the oven and serve!

So try it out, and thank me later! ;)

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Something old, something new, something borrowed something blue. You know what they say at weddings right?! Well there was definitely something new in Vancouver this past saturday! My friend Brandon’s brand spanking new catering company Boy With A Knife catered to their very first wedding ever!

I’ve been working with Brandon for the last year or so, and he’s seriously one of the funniest and best chefs around in Vancouver. He’s finally taken the leap and taken on his own business and I’ve got to say…. about freaking time! If you’ve been following my blog here and there throughout the last year, at least 60-70% of the SUPER PRETTY food photos are his creations and I’m so glad that his talents are finally coming into the spotlight here in the city.

Now this wasn’t just any wedding, it was actually two of Brandon’s really good friends’ wedding which made the whole event all the more special! Brent and Clay tied the knot in the prettiest little courtyard ever in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen gardens in Chinatown surrounded by their friends and family and boy were they a fun bunch. Everybody loved the food, the music was great, and even though the heat outside was sweltering, the day could not have gone any better!

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The quench the thirst of the wedding attendees, Brandon prepared a few types of alcohol free beverages for everyone to sip on. There was a delicious ginger and peach tea, chrysanthemum tea, as well as a lemon, mint, and cucumer water that was unbelievably refreshing. To top things off, everything was in super nice glass dispensers that looked like they came straight out of pinterest and I must’ve taken a million photos of them. King of redundancy right here.

One of my favourite things about Brandon’s events are his platters. Everyone knows I’m a sucker for presentation (which pretty much explains 90% of all purchases I make in my life) and Brandon has got his presentation skills super fine tuned and everything he turns out looks amazing. But let me just talk about cheese for a second – yeah, cheese. When Brandon’s business partner and buddy Sean told me about the truffle cheese they put on the cheese and charcuterie platter, I had to sneak in a little bite and it was the fucking bomb. I’d gladly convert into a ketogenic diet just so I could justify stuffing my face all day every day with the stuff. To accompany that, we also had an amazing veggie platter with grilled eggplants, red peppers, and a variety of fresh produce accompanied by a red pepper and cream cheese dip with a whole bunch of fragrant herbs like dill (pictured below)

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Picture perfect food right there!

We also served a few canapes and little bites here and there. For instance, we had dungeness crab salad with avocado, wasabi and sesame, pulled pork sandwiches, ahi tuna sliders with wasabi mayo, and a whole variety of other goodies. Also, Brent was actually lactose intolerant, but somehow Brandon was still able to make a lactose free version of mac n cheese and stuff -crazy delicious stuff.

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Then to finish things off on a sweet note, Brandon brought in some desserts made by his friend Mark from MARKED edible designs. We had Mark’s signature earl grey and lychee macarons and a lactose free coconut milk creme brulee, and all the guests loved everything about them!

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But yeah, that was pretty much the wedding food in a nutshell! Make sure you check out Brandon’s site as well if you’re interested in future events of any kind that you want catered! Plus, he’s a super fun person so feel free to bother him on his social media accounts as well :)

Boy With A Knife

Twitter @boywithaknifeca

Instagram: @boywithaknife

Facebook: www.facebook.com/boywithaknife

 

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Beer and summer go hand in hand, and I may or may not be writing this post under the slight influence of some amazing Samuel Adams beer! So I was approached by these amazing guys to do a beer infused recipe, and how could I pass up such an awesome opportunity?!

I’m not a huge alcoholic or anything, but I do love a good hoppy beer in the summer time, and the Boston Lager I got had the best bitter “hang” I’ve ever tasted. I’m not a fan of super sweet or fruit infused beers because sometimes I find that they just taste like juice, but the Boston Lager from Samuel Adams is so perfectly balanced I think that I might actually have a new favourite go-to beer!

So upon beginning my brainstorm for ideas to use the beer in, the first thought I had was to do something with seafood! Vancouver is known for its abundant, fresh, and stellar seafood so I chose to go after some delicious manila clams! Clams in general have a sweet briney flesh that I feel pairs great with the bitterness from a lager that perfectly balances out each other. In addition, I use a LOT of basil here, but that’s because the slight licoricey scent of basil pairs great with the herbaciousness of this lager as well! In the end, what you’re left with is an intense, complex, but yet very palatable dish that my friend and I greatly enjoyed!

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I used couscous in this recipe because it is super fast to cook, absorbs any flavour you put into it, and is just a great easy way to make something to mop up the delicious juices from the clams that meld with the fantastic beer in this recipe!

Beer Infused Couscous Clam Pilaf:

Serves 3-4 people

Ingredients:

– 1 cup of picked basil

– 3-4 rashes of bacon

– 1.5 cups of dried couscous

– 1/2 a large white onion

– 2 cloves of garlic

– 3/4 bottle of Samuel Adams Boston Lager

– 1 tablespoon of honey

– 1 cup of chicken broth

– 2/3 cups of boiling water

– lemons (optional)

– pitas (optional)

– pepper

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Directions:

1. Chop up your onion, garlic, and bacon into a fine dice. Throw your bacon into a hot pan and let the fat render before putting in the onion and add a pinch of salt. Cook until it is translucent and throw in the garlic.

2. Once everything becomes fragrant, put in about 1/2 of your basil that’s been chopped up or chiffonaded

3. Let this cook down for a minute or two, and pour in 3/4 bottle of the Samuel Adams Boston Lager and let reduce for about 3-4 minutes.

4. Pour in the chicken broth and let it come up to a boil.

5. In a separate container, take out about 1/2 cup of the stock you’ve made in the pan, and combine it with 2/3 cup of hot water and add to the dried couscous (you may need to adjust the liquid quantities according to your brand of couscous and do so accordingly) and let it soak it up to cook

6. Throw the clams (after they’ve been soaked in cold water for about 15 minutes) into the pan and cover with a lid to allow to steam

7. Once all the clams have opened up, finish with a tablespoon of honey and freshly ground pepper, and serve over the couscous!

8. Serve with a squeeze of lemon, some freshly toasted pitas, and of course, the remainder of your fresh basil!

So there you have it!

Try it out, let me know how it goes, and make sure you give Samuel Adams a try!

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Brand and Buzzing

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In the culinary world, there are just those pairings we know of that are just classics. You know what I’m talking about right?

Lamb and mint, poultry and sage, apples and cinnamon, and of course… tomatoes and basil! I don’t know why, but throughout my entire life I hated basil with a passion until recently. Perhaps it’s slight licoricey flavour is an acquired taste but I’ve become obsessed lately! I’ll put it in salads, sauces, and even with fruit (balsamic strawberries + basil = heaven). But of course I had to pair it with it’s best friend for a recipe!

I distinctly remember having my very first stuffed tomato a few years ago at my friend Kelly’s house for a little party. It was so freaking good, especially since she stuffed it with risotto, goat cheese, and a hellabunch of yummy melting goodness. But I mean, how can you not like anything that’s stuffed?!

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Not only is this recipe delicious, but it’s also fan-freaking-tastic for you. It’s been shown that basil has a huge amount of antioxidants and antibacterial properties! It’s full of vitamin K to help promote proper blood clotting and it’s essential oils have an incredible amount of flavinoids (the good stuff!). Tomatoes on the other hand are full of vitamins A, C, K, and this fruit is high in potassium and low in sodium so you know it’s heart healthy! One of my favourite things about tomatoes are the fact that it’s rich in lycopene, which is shown to help protect your skin from UV damage as well as strengthen your bones!

What you choose to stuff the tomatoes with is really up to you I guess, but I really liked using a blend of quinoa and wild rice here just to get a few good servings of grains and complete proteins in there. What  I love about using whole grains is the fact that not only are they much healthier for you compared to processed grains, but they’ve also got the most amazing nutty flavour too!

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Stuffed Tomatoes with Basil, Quinoa, & Wild Rice

Makes 6 large stuffed tomatoes

Ingredients:

– 6 large tomatoes (I used tomatoes on the vine because they’re prettier – you want to get ones that are nice and round, and not oval since they obviously won’t stand up)

– 1 cups each of cooked quinoa and wild rice (or whatever you want to use to fill)

– 1/2 cup of basil, finely sliced into a chiffonade or just chopped

– feta or goat cheese (optional)

– olive oil

– salt & pepper

Directions:

1. Cut the tops off your tomatoes, but don’t throw them away!

2. Using a spoon, scoop out the insides of the tomatoes. You can use it for gazpacho or whatever you’d like if you don’t want to waste it. You might need to use a knife to help you remove the insides, but make sure you don’t puncture through the tomato.

3. Prop the tomatoes against each other on a lined baking tray, and use the tops as “stands” to help make sure they don’t topple over.

4. In a bowl, mix together your cooked quinoa and wild rice, a drizzle of olive oil, salt & pepper, cheese (if you’d like) and the majority of the basil. Save some of the basil to garnish later on!

5. Fill the tomatoes up to the top, and give everything a small drizzle of olive oil across the top!

6. Place the baking tray into an oven preheated to 400F and cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until the tomatoes are nice and blistered from the heat!

7. Take them out, garnish with the remainder of your basil, and serve!

As usual, try it out, and let me know how it goes!

So yesterday we talked about the different types of water and today, we’re gonna be talking about hydrating your body! I’m basically gonna cover a whole bunch of topics that I often get asked about!


 

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In a previous post, I briefly mentioned that the consumption of sports drinks, as well as ready to go teas & coffees have skyrocketed in the last little while. Tons of people are becoming increasingly health conscious, and it’s kinda difficult and confusing to pick out what’s best for us when you walk into a store and see a million different coffees, teas, juices, smoothies, and sports drinks!!!

This is basically just going to be a little guide of how I choose what to drink, and why!


Basics of Hydration

Roughly speaking, your body is 50-60% water depending on how much muscle/fat you have. The more muscular you are, the more your body water % will fluctuate, as there is a lot more water in muscle than there is in fat. You body needs water to lubricate itself, to maintain balances of bodily fluids (such as blood), which in turn affect things like blood pressure and so on. Water is also involved in metabolizing food, cell metabolism, breathing, maintaing body temperatures, and everything inbetween.

How much water should I drink?

In total, you need at least 8 cups of fluid per day as a bare minimum. By fluid I mean water, coffee, fruits, vegetables, soups – anything that contains water. That being said, always aim for more than 8 cups but don’t go crazy with it. I try to get in about 10-12 cups of water a day and yes you may have to go to the bathroom a little more often, but hey – just consider your bathroom trips as heart healthy cardio.

Symptoms of dehydration:

Chances are that if you feel thirsty, your body is already dehydrated – your body kinda lags in this way. So make sure you’re constantly drinking water even if you’re not thirsty. However, these are some symptoms you might feel when you’re dehydrated. If you’re feeling any of these, make sure you drink something ASAP!

  • Dark urine
  • Thirst, and dry mouth, lips, skin
  • Dizziness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating
  • Weakness, nausea

Also, if you’ve recently been through a round of heavy exercise, fever, or diarrhea/vomiting, you’re probably quite dehydrated so make sure you replenish your body.

Athletes:

Athletes definitely need a lot more water to replenish the losses of water through sweat and stuff especially during hard workouts – but sometimes plain water isn’t the best choice for hardcore athletes. When people work out, they lose more than just water in the sweat. A lot of sodium is also lost, which is crucial in balancing the water in your cells, blood, and so on. This is why sports drinks claim to replenish your electrolytes and such.

That being said ,the fact that you went for a 10 minute run is not an excuse to chug down a bottle of Gatorade with a million grams of sugar or a entire carton of coconut water, however healthy you may think it is. The only time you really need to drink a “sports drink” is if you’re literally busting out buckets and buckets of sweat. For the most part, normal water is fine post workout, but if you’re soaked with sweat, have some coconut water or a glass of water with a pinch of salt (which is actually the most effective I think).

More on this later.


 

What should I drink?

This section is just gonna be a list of what I think are the most popular beverages of choice, and I’ll just be giving my opinion on them here and there

** denotes a drink that I feel is perfect to replenish an athlete’s body after a super super super duper hard workout. No – power walking or a 10 minute jog does not count.

**Water:

I covered this in the previous post – I like filtered water, go check the post out. You can never get enough water!

Add a pinch of salt to some good filtered water if you’re an athlete looking to replenish their body of electrolytes/fluids!

Coffee:

A cup of coffee in moderation has been shown in studies to be good for you, as it does have antioxidants and good polyphenols and substances. However, caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it causes your body to eliminate more water. Also, too much caffeine is obviously not good for you so keep your consumption in moderation.

Also, when I see coffee in moderation is okay, I don’t mean frappucinos and coffee with a shit ton of sweeteners and milk. Black coffee is what I have – LEARN TO LIKE IT

Tea:

Again, some teas have caffeine, some don’t. A lot of the times people think that green/white tea are the safest because they assume they have no caffeine. Wrong – white and green teas do have caffeine, and the longer you leave the tea leaves/bags in hot water, the more caffeine comes out.

White & Green Teas: higher in antioxidants compared to black teas, but less caffeine. However they do get bitter easily so don’t use boiling hot water when steeping

Oolong teas: my tea of choice – it’s basically between a green and black tea and it’s full of excellent antioxidants and minerals.

Black teas: higher in caffeine, usually for the people who like their teas with milk. Again, don’t overconsume.

Pu’erh teas: fermented teas that are similar to black teas in flavour. They’re actually excellent for you digestion so don’t feel afraid to try them. But they do have quite a bit of caffeine so… moderation!

**Rooibos/Herbal teas: rooibos is my absolute favourite tisane/herbal tea. It’s a south African bush plant that’s high in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins to provide your body hydration and electrolytes without the caffeine. A nice cup of rooibos is my go to when I want something to sip on. Iced rooibos teas are also perfect as a post workout

Energy Drinks:

These drinks are made of the devil’s piss. I don’t care if they say they have natural stimulants or things like taurine to boost your energy, and shit derived from this and that plant. I have yet to see one energy drink that doesn’t contain a buttload of CRAP! Oh, and they usually cause people to crash at one point or another after consumption.

Monster, Red Bull … ugh.

Have a cup of coffee instead.

**Coconut Water:

First of all, let me say that I love coconut water, but it is definitely not a miracle drink. Yes it does have a lot of potassium which is great for you, but as a “recovery” drink for athletes… it’s a good choice but not the best choice. Your body needs sodium as the main “recovery” electrolyte, not potassium which is what is abundant in coconut water.

That being said, it is still good for you but keep in mind it does contain sugars however natural it may be. Also, go for the plain kinds – NOT the chocolate, strawberry, or tropical fruit blends. And the powdered stuff? STAY AWAY. I know Blue Monkey has powdered coconut water that’s just “instant” but I believe the first or second ingredient it sugar.

My favourite brand is pictured above – and it’s the Coco Libre one. It’s organic, and it does not taste like a certain bodily fluid that people often associate the taste of bottled coconut water with. I try to go for the fresh stuff when I can, but it’s not exactly cheap and readily available.

Sports Drinks:

Things like Gatorade and stuff? If you’re training to be an Olympic athlete or a marathon runner… FINE. But other than that… no. Also, Vega has sports endurance drinks which I feel are way way better.

Juices/Smoothies:

This is a huge topic that I’m only going to briefly cover here.

Bottom line, smoothies are going to beat juices for me any day of the week, but I’d only consume them IF they are mainly VEGETABLE BASED, and not fruit based.

Seriously, I could go on a 10 page rant about this whole stupid juice/smoothie fad, but I won’t.


 

Anyways, I hope you guys found that useful, and leave any additional comments/questions you have in the comment section below!

So I walked into the grocery store this morning to grab a few items, and to my surprise, there was an entire isle for water that I never noticed before. Yeah. An. Entire. Isle. What the hell?!

Kudos to companies for somehow managing to brand and package the free shit that comes down from the sky and out of our taps at home into thousands of products that differ in a million ways but yet… still just looks, tastes, and is the same for the most part. Perhaps living in Vancouver has enclosed me in a bubble of delusion that everybody just fills up their BPA free/glass water bottles/containers on a regular basis, but I honestly never thought there was an issue drinking water from our taps until I visited other countries.

When I was in Europe the first thing we were told was that the water from our taps was not for drinking, brushing our teeth, or even washing our faces. So basically we survived off of disgusting, expensive carbonated water from vending machines for two weeks. Yeah – not fun.

When we went to China? Same thing.

The states? A little better – but I wasn’t aware that people literally bought water constantly. Everywhere we went, people had 12-24 bottle packs of water in their shopping carts, and Walmart, Target, and every single place had a shit ton of bulk water for sale. To me it was a little ridiculous when I thought about the fact that people would go out and buy something that was readily available at home for next to nothing.

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Well upon doing a little research, turns out that Vancouver/British Columbia provides one of, if not the best tap water in the world. So… sorry if you don’t live here. But I guess the fact that we have to pay over $1 million for a 2 room shithole that somehow passes for a house is our trade off?

“Hey our house is falling apart and we’ll be in debt for the rest of our lives for purchasing it, but at least we have yummy water!”

Anyways, let’s break things down shall we?

Bottled/Filtered/Tap Water – How the hell are they different?


 

Tap water – obviously, comes from our taps. How each city, state, province, or whatever treats it is dependent on where you live. This water basically runs through the city pipes, your home pipes, and so on. So if you’re in an old old house with rusty pipes… I’d stay away from drinking this stuff. Some common additives you’re going to find in tap water are chlorine and fluorine. Chlorine is basically used to sterilize the water and kill off any bacteria, germs, and icky things you might find. Fluorine is added usually in smaller amounts (if at all) to increase the strength of your teeth so that you’re gonna get less of a spanking when you visit your dentist next.

I believe that there are places/test kits you can buy to test your tap water at home to see how safe or whatever it is for you. Now one of the biggest reasons that people tend to go for bottled water instead is that they think that it’s safer than tap water. But did you know that tap water is more tightly regulated than bottled water?

Tap water is checked on a daily basis, whereas bottled water has less strict regulations placed on its’ production and distribution. So keep that in mind next time you think that people are just carelessly releasing toxic into your pipes at home. However, if you are unfortunately living in some shady part of the world, you might find traces of metals such as copper, lead, and mercury in your water… which is why we’re going to be talking about filtered water next!


Filtered water – is basically any sort of water that passes through a filter apparatus. There are fancy shmancy filters that get installed underneath your sink, and there’s also ones that fit into a water jug and filter your water as you pour it into your mug. What’s the point?

Like I said before, tap water can potentially contain heavy metals like mercury and lead, which does a whole lot of crap to you, so just know that they’re a big no no. Most filters are designed with things like charcoal to remove heavy metals, pesticides, and contaminants (yay chemistry) in one compartment and then pieces of yuckiness, bacteria, and pathogens in another compartment. The fancier filters can do all sorts of things like reverse osmosis, ionization, and so on.

It’s all super confusing stuff for the average joe.

Bottom line?

Filtered water is just clean water that usually tastes absolutely fantastic and is probably the safest water you’ll ever come by, especially if you’ve got good quality tap water to start with. I have a three compartment filter installed under my sink at home and I drink straight out of it – and it’s just refreshing, delicious water with no metallic or gross flavours. Yeah it can be expensive to get one of the fancy ones but it’s a great investment and pays off in the end.


 

Bottled water – is where all the crazy hullabaloo starts. You’ve got glacier water, spring water, distilled water, blah blah blah packaged in all sorts of fancy bottles. You know what I think about bottled water?

Buying bottled water is basically just gonna end up with you pissing out money.

Yeah.

Did you know that companies like Dasani are owned by Coca Cola/Pepsi and they just bottle tap water and call it a day? As long as you put something into a bottle, it’s bottled water regardless of where it came from or what was done to it.

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“Oh but this water contains x and x minerals, and it’s alkaline, and it’s this and that”

Okay – I get it, some water is “enhanced” but why the hell can’t you just get the same minerals in substantial amounts from just eating well? The fact that your bottle of water contains 1% of your RDA for Calcium is not anything substantial or worth your money.

Unless companies show on their website or on the label full information about how water is treated, sourced, purified, and packaged, I wouldn’t trust it at all. Just because something was “glacier sourced”, it doesn’t mean that it ends up being bottled straight away and there’s a whole bunch of grey area between the source and bottle.

Oh and things like alkaline water? It comes down to being basically the equivalent of eating a tums tablet or drinking water with baking soda. People always seem to forget the fact that we have a stomach! They claim things like alkaline water will neutralize or buffer your blood pH and stuff because it’s basic. Yeah, well your stomach is acidic so before any of that crap can even occur it’s already messed up your stomach and what you end up with is just poor digestion and absorption of nutrients. No studies have shown that alkaline water has an actual, valid health benefit on people.

Another thing? Plastic bottles are obviously wretched for the environment, and regardless of how fancy a bottle is, most studies have shown that plastic contaminants do leech into water one way or another. Also have I mentioned that bottle water is basically 10x as expensive as tap water?


Key Points:

– Go for filtered water. Buy the best filter you can afford, whether that be a Brita water jug or a multicompartment filter that fits underneath your sink

– Research to see what the water composition in your area is like, and then find an appropriate filter

– Avoid bottled crap to help your wallet and save the environment

– At the end of the day, water is water. If you think that pure/distilled water vastly differs from mineralized/ionized water you’re just silly

– Use BPA free/glass containers to carry your water around

– Eat well and stop thinking that one type of water (such as alkaline) has ridiculous health benefits that will turn you into a vision of health and beauty. It’s not.

– If you want to feel like you’re drinking fancy water, add a pinch of himalayan pink sea salt or squeeze of lemon into some filtered water. There you go – fancy shmancy water without the $4/bottle price tag.

– DON’T FALL FOR STUPID MARKETING TERMS AND FADS!!!

Well I hope that helped, and let me know if you guys have any more questions!

 

 

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