Recipe: Home-Made Nut Granola

 

Granola is a beautiful thing. I wake up in the morning excited for breakfast due to it. I’ve made quite a few batches of granola, but this one is by far is my favourite just because it’s simple but the texture is exactly what I am looking for. Everyone has their own preferences – some like dried fruit, some like it more sweet, some with more spice. I personally love granola for the crunch so I use a blend of different nuts to create that. Granola is so versatile and easily adaptable. In the winter months however, I do tend to gravitate towards the autumn spices, but since there’s an abundance of fruit right now, having a basic one is nice as it pairs well with anything. I honestly believe it’s really hard to screw up granola, unless you forget about it in the oven of course. Portions of each ingredient is totally dependable on what you enjoy more. For example, if you don’t like sunflower seeds per se, omit it. If you like more of something, add more! I hope you enjoy this recipe and let me know what are some of your favourite things to add! I’ve done it with dried mango, coconut, papaya (to name a few) and they’ve all turned out wonderfully.

Ingredients:

1/3 cup millet

1/3 cup barley flakes

1/3 buckwheat groats

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup pistachios

1/4 cup cashews

1/2 cup almond slices

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup dates (chopped)

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Chop up the dates (with pits removed).
  2. Pour the honey, vanilla extract, and coconut oil in a sauce pan and let it warm up.
  3. Place everything into the pan and stir until everything is coated.
  4. Pour onto a baking sheet and spread it out evenly. Bake for approximately 15 minutes.
  5. Take out the tray and use a spoon to make sure the granola is being cooked evenly.
  6. Place the tray back into the oven and bake for another 10 minutes.
  7. Repeat step 5 and 6 until your desired texture.

That’s it! I personally look for my granola to be a darker golden brown because I like my nuts to be pretty crunchy, but it’s all personal preference. It’s delicious on top of a bed of yogurt and fruit, as a snack (you could bake it into bars too!), and even smoothie bowls.

 

 

Recipe: Roasted Potato Salad with Capers

I’m not sure how many of my readers grew up eating potato salad as a child, but I know I didn’t. My mom never made it for us because she never grew up with it either. Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of the dressing, so I’m kind of glad. I’m sure some of you know some killer recipes for it and will probably get me to like it, but in the mean time, this is a completely non-traditional version of a typical American classic – capered style. I personally love capers in all my potato dishes; their brininess flavour really kicks it up a notch. Plus, with the summer heat, things that are lighter just seems to be the universal agreement for picnic fare. I hope you enjoy this recipe and let me know what recipes you have been making to cope with this hot, hot weather!

Ingredients:

(1-2 Servings)

8-10 baby potatoes

1/2 cup of corn

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

4 tablespoons of capers

2 tbsp of brine from capers

4-5 marinated artichokes

1 lemon

2 tbsp toasted pine nuts

1 cup of arugula (spinach and romaine work too!)

  1. After washing the potatoes, cut them in half and roast them with some olive oil and half of the capers in the oven at 375°F for 25 minutes.
  2. place corn in a saucepan with cold water and bring to a boil.
  3. Whisk apple cider vinegar, the other half of capers, brine, lemon juice, and the zest of the lemon in a small bowl.
  4. Take potatoes off the tray once they are cooled and pour the dressing over. Cut the marinated artichokes in half and mix with the potatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve on a bed of arugula and sprinkle the toasted pine nuts.

Summer Bucket List: Grocery Picnic

Who doesn’t love Vancouver in the summer? Richmond is pretty great too, especially with the “seawall” along Olympic Oval. It’s less crowded, scenic, and is etched with numerous pit stops designed for lunch or just to tan in. They even had lounge chairs! We honestly wished we had our bikinis on cause the weather was perfect… next time!

My friend and I decided to do a little excursion where we headed over to Yaohan to pick up items and bring them back to the trail to enjoy by the water. I swear, this is a PERFECT bucket list item to do this summer! It doesn’t have to be Yaohan, it could be Whole Foods, a candy store, etc. Just pick somewhere that you love and want to share! For me, I chose Yaohan just because my friend adores asian food. I just thought it would be fitting and thankfully, she loved it (or she told me she did!).

I ordered a sticky rice wrap (which I used to get when I was younger) with a bunch of fillings and it only cost me under $4! I had no idea how cheap it was, but I would pick this over fast food any day. It’s so delicious, flavourful, and hearty.

Afterwards, we hit up Bubble Queen for a refreshing drink. We were planning on going to 1028 Cafe, but once again, it was not open. Disappointed but thirsty, we headed to Bubble Queen, a Richmond institution at this point. I ordered a Red Bean Coconut Milk Tea with Regular Mochi and shared a Matcha Mochi Bubble Waffle with my friend.

The drink was delicious – it honestly did the trick for how thirsty we had become. The bubble waffles unfortunately were a bust.

Nonetheless, we rode our bikes back, still content and happy that this adventure was such a success. The combination of the beautiful weather, company, food, and biking just made it a magical day.

If you have any summer bucket list activities that I should do, let me know! I would love to hear about them.

 

Starting the morning with home-made smoothie bowls. You can find the recipe here

 

Getting our picture taken… In awe with the view behind us.

A short break to model our feet.

Bliss.

Our little spread. We both agreed that the sticky wrap and pumpkin red bean cake were our favourites.

The sticky wrap in close-up. You can get a mixture of white/purple or full white or full purple. 

  

 

Bestie selfie! Necessary.

 

My cooling drink.

 

Well, it was worth a shot.

 

 

 

Suhang Restaurant

When Akina, friend and fellow food blogger of the site thisnewera.com visited me one afternoon, she had a craving for xiao long bao. Thus, Suhang it was. I’ve been to Suhang before and personally, it’s my favourite Shanghainese restaurant in Richmond (that I’ve tried). Not only is the food consistent, but the service is considerably better than most. The interior is not too shabby – the environment even friendly, so you don’t mind spending a few hours there. If you’ve ever been to Top Shanghai Cuisine, it is a known fact that the service is pretty much non-existent. Despite how good the food may be, I still prefer going to a restaurant where I don’t feel like I’m agitating the server or being rushed.

Everything we had was delicious, though I found the rice cakes too be a little too soft for my liking. The turnip cakes were also smaller and not as flakey as the ones from Top Shanghai Cuisine. Yet, the dishes were so fresh and flavourful, exactly how I remembered them to be. Next time around, I want to be more adventurous and try items like “Eyebrow Shape Chinese Biscuit” as everything I ordered was familiar to me. In fact, I ordered the same dishes I would have if I had it with my family. Yeah, I should definitely broaden my palate…

Sweet Soy Milk

Rice Cakes with Pickled Vegetables and Meat

 

Turnip Cakes

Marinated Bean Curd with Vegetables and Wood Eared Mushroom

 

Steamed Pork Dumplings

 

I swear, every time with this girl, it’s a feast.

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Recipe: An Ode to Toast

I don’t think this trend is going anywhere anytime shortly. I mean, I started having avo toast during my grade 10 year of high school and it’s gotten even trendier in the past three years… The possibilities for toppings is truly endless and the presentation can be quite exquisite. My friend and I decided to throw a toast party one day for lunch and it was such a blast. We first picked up some hearty rye toast so it was reminiscent of a smørrebrød and then went into my refrigerator to figure out what we could create. The beauty of this idea is that it can totally be a fridge clean out – work with what you got! You can throw whatever you want on it; whatever food scraps there might be. The only note I have is the ingredients should nestle on top of a spread. It an be as simple as smashed up avocados or nut butters, but it truly makes a difference when biting into it!

.

Recipe (for one)

Ingredients

cheek of a mango

1 tablespoon sunflower butter

1 teaspoon cacao nibs

1. Smear sunflower butter on the toasted bread.

2. Place the diced mango cheek on top.

3. Sprinkle with cacao nibs for garnish.

Recipe (for one)

Ingredients

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1/2 julienned baby cucumber

1 tablespoon kimchi

1/4 teaspoon ginger

pinch of red pepper flakes

1. Spread a thin layer of dijon mustard on the toasted bread.

2. Mince some ginger into the julienned cucumber and place on top of the toast.

3. Put a dollop of kimchi.

4. Sprinkle red pepper flakes to garnish.

Recipe (for one)

Ingredients

1 tablespoon tahini

1 teaspoon harissa

1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts

half an avocado

1/4 teaspoon onion flakes

Salt and pepper

1. Mix the harissa with the tahini. Spread on top of the toasted bread.

2. Place the sliced avocado on top. If you don’t like avocado getting everywhere, you can mash it up and then place it on top of the tahini spread.

3. Drizzle the rest of the tahini spread on top and scatter some toasted pine nuts. Add a sprinkle of onion flakes.

4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe: Basic Waffles

I’m pretty sure if most people were asked what special treat they would have in the morning, it would be something along the lines of waffles or pancakes. I’m just taking a wild guess though. A few weeks back, I made these plain waffles for my family because they just seemed perfect with the fresh strawberries I had picked from a local farm. Plus, the waffle iron hadn’t seen light in a while, so it was about time I took it out of hiding. It is definitely best served with a heaping spoonful of freshly whipped cream and drizzle of fruit compote… Now that will be a breakfast worth waking up for.

If you are vegan, you definitely could make substations with the milk by using alternatives like coconut, almond, or soy. As well, I heard coconut cream makes a killer plant-based whipped cream, so if you do give it a try, let me know how it works out!

Servings: 4

Ingredients

3/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup Cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 1/2 tablepoon Coconut Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Milk (I used 1/2 cup coconut milk, 1/2 cup whole milk)
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3 tablespoons ground Chia Seeds
1 tablespoon Water
1 cup Whipped Cream (+1 Tablespoon of Coconut Sugar)
1 tablespoon Butter

1. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl (flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt).
2. Whisk together the ground chia seeds and water in a small bowl and let it sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Combine with the rest of the wet ingredients (milk, vanilla extract, and vegetable oil).
3. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk until mixed. Small clumps are okay. Set aside for 20 minutes.
4. Plug in your waffle maker and place some melted butter on top.
5. Pour batter in and let it cook until the waffles are golden and crispy.
6. Repeat until all the batter is used up.

.This recipe was adapted from http://www.inspiredtaste.net/25708/essential-waffle-recipe/.

 

Doughgirls

I came here when it just opened to the public and I can still remember my first bite into their tiramisu. Heaven. Every time I think about it, I can’t help but drool. It’s really one of my favourite things to eat in Vancouver. I don’t know if it’s because I don’t have it often or if it is really that good, I always make the excuse to get it whenever I am close by.

Unfortunately, this time I came by, they didn’t have it. Instead, they had a Western take on the classic – Tiramisu cheesecake. Tempting, right? Of course, I ordered it just to see if it looked as good as it tasted. I also decided to get a pocket since it was lunch time and for me, I need something savoury before my sweets.

Both items were definitely alright, but they didn’t leave an impact on me that was note-worthy. In fact, the pocket filling was over-seasoned and made the wrap very salty to eat. The horchata was disappointing too, though I was so excited when I saw it on the shelves. If you are looking for a good horchata, I recommend Bandidas Taqueria.

Still, this is my favourite place to go to when I’m on campus and have some extra time. It’s pretty consistent in terms of quality and with so many baked good options, you are sure to find something up your alley. It is honestly like a mini PureBread. If not, there are nearby restaurants that might have something available. Still, I would pick this gem in a heartbeat. Like most places I adore, their philosophy is all about home-made everything, incorporating as much organic and local ingredients whenever possible. That of course, makes my attachment to this bakery a little bit stronger.

  

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Tacofino Gastown

Mmm… Patio lounging and good food. It’s not summer yet, but it sure feels like it! I know tons of people love Tacofino, heck even I am hooked on their burritos. I finally tried their tacos since my friend and I had a couple of hours to kill before attending Erin Ireland’s x Juice Truck’s “Cowspiracy” showing. I now know why people keep going back. Oh goodness, I was so impressed. The tacos are quite filling and most importantly, JAM-PACKED with flavour. I didn’t expect to be surprised or find anything special with the version I ordered, but they killed it with the marriage of ingredients. I definitely give a thumbs up for this little Gastown treat. Just be warned though, the patio chairs are quite brutal on the butt – they took pain is beauty to a whole new level.

Jicama Salad

Mushroom and Potato Taco

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Heirloom Vegetarian

It’s pretty much a given that Vancouver is known to be quite health-conscious. After all, we are the city of yoga pants. We love our food, but we also care about where it is sourced from, which I always stress is important.

Heirloom is a vegetarian, gearing towards vegan, restaurant that has recently rejuvenated its menu and honestly, it looks incredible. Especially with the high ceilings, the natural lighting, and the very minimalistic furniture, it is the perfect blend of the hipster slash posh vibe. I love the high tables that are situated on the left of the room. They’re just so fun and it allows you and your party to be kind of on your own.

Food wise, I was really impressed. I thought the quinoa patties were SO delicious and flavourful. The dressing on the salad was also really good… The prices are known to be a bit up there, just like how Aphrodite’s is, but keep in mind, the portions are large. Plus, you are paying for a movement that signifies much more. Heirloom is definitely the “feel good and good for you food” in my opinion.

Baja Burrito – Organic Saskatchewan quinoa nut patties, guacamole, eggplant cashew cheese, spinach, creamy cilantro sauce, served with pico de gallo  

California Hash – Quinoa nut patties sautéed with collard greens, roasted seasonal veggies, pea sprouts, topped with creamy cilantro and seahorse dressing

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Off The Beaten Path

I love Taka’s. I love how it’s not close to home and that going there provides me a sense of adventure. There’s a bunch of little knick-knack stores relatively close that are so quaint. Plus, it allows me to fuel my plate addiction because there are so many to choose from in the second-hand stores – thanks to the lovely white people who donate them.

Aside from that, it is just so fresh. You really can distinguish the quality at this place, especially if you eat uni. It was so fresh, sweet, and incredibly creamy. It’s not as “authentic” as places like Sushi Hachi because they do a lot of playful rolls, but al of it is done well. Most people come here to try their aburi and I highly recommend you do that too. It’s really out of this world, particularly the flounder fringe and foie gras.

On this visit, my family and I decided to do the “omakase” experience, where we just let the chef decide what to order for us. It really makes things a lot easier because they serve you what is fresh on that day and tailor it to what you like if you give them some suggestions. For example, I really wanted unagi so they made a roll that had unagi on it. It was so creamy…

It is a splurge, about $60/person. For a lunch, that might seem a little grand, but you will leave full, perhaps even drooling for more (I hope).

Sashimi platter of Uni, Bluefin Tuna, Engawa, and Kanpachi

Aburi Selection of Flounder Fringe, Wagyu Beef, Foie Gras, Lobster, and Bluefin O-Toro 

Handsome Bill Roll  

Salmon Toro Aburi Sushi and Tamago Nigiri

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