Back at It

9 Sep

So, this blog is pretty random. I mean, we post about our experiments in the kitchen, some healthy living tips, and then some straight up random stuff pertaining to what’s happening in our lives. 

Yup. Like I said, pretty random. 

You know what else is random? My desire to bake cookies today. Picture this, it’s Monday afternoon and I am bored. It’s my day off work and school and I want to just chill out before another busy week begins. But then, I have this incredible, insuppressible urge. I have cookies on my mind and nothing can stop me. 

So, I quickly google the EASIEST oatmeal cookie recipe I can find (yes, I like my cookies but I like them at least somewhat healthy). Okay, butter, sugar, oats, walnuts, baking powder…etc. I can do this, I think to myself as I scan through the ingredient list. These are pretty basic ingredients. I open my fridge to begin the scavenger hunt. No butter. Damn, my family for being so health conscious! Right? I mean, we don’t have ANY butter. Naturally, I google, butter replacements. I can add a little twist on the recipe, I reason. 

What comes up? Applesauce, greek yogurt, date puree… Um, no thanks. I want my butter! I want my cookies to taste like cookies. I spend like thirty seconds contemplating scrapping the whole thing… But if you are anything like me you understand that when you crave something you CRAVE it. In a fury, I grab my shoes and my keys and head out the door. Off to the variety store I go! 

A couple minutes later I am back in my kitchen, a stick of butter in my hand and the magic ensues. 

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I tweak the recipe ever so slightly to create a style of cookie that suits my taste. I swap sugar for maple syrup and add chopped walnuts and dark chocolate. The result? Obviously, deliciousness. 

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Cookie craving officially satisfied 😀

Rise and Shine!

23 Feb

So I decided to mix it up a bit (I’m so daring aren’t I?), instead of making another sandwich post I decided why not make a breakfast one instead!

Breakfast is by far my favourite meal of the day.  Is it bad that at night when I’m in lying bed trying to fall asleep I think about what I am going to have for breakfast the next day? I just love waking up in the morning to a nice bowl of cereal, pancakes, toast or whatever I feel like eating! My favourite is breakfast for dinner! Who doesn’t want breakfast for dinner?

Laura is an oats girl; she will make oatmeal with frozen fruit and yogurt basically every day (that is what I call dedication). I on the other hand am not a big fan of oatmeal, so I decided to research a recipe that was a warm breakfast but didn’t include oats. And I found one that was basically similar to oatmeal but it was made of quinoa instead!!

I found this really delicious quinoa recipe.

Adapted from The Gingered Whisk

Ingredients: (Makes 4 servings)

  • 2 cups vanilla almond milk (or whichever type of milk you prefer)
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 1/2 TBSP brown sugar
  • dash of cinnamon
  • whatever toppings you want (for mine I added strawberries, bananas, and walnuts)

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Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan, bring the milk to simmer over medium heat.
  2. Add the quinoa and return to a simmer.
  3. Simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes, or until 3/4 of the milk has been absorbed.
  4. Stir in the brown sugar, dash of cinnamon, and cook for several more minutes until just enough of the milk has been absorbed for your liking.
  5. Remove the quinoa from heat, spoon into bowls and top as you prefer.

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This turned out so yummy! The next day I ended up making more for my family. They loved it! Well my mom and dad did, not so much my brother (he’s a picky eater) but he still ate it (partly because I forced him to eat it because it is really healthy for you – that’s what I call sisterly love! Only looking out for his health!  aha).  Anyways, this for sure is going to be my go to breakfast from now on!

What is your favourite breakfast food?

Until next time,

Denise & Laura

Two of the Easiest Recipes you will EVER Make

19 Feb

Hello!

It’s a fine mid-February day wouldn’t you say? I cannot believe that February is pretty much half way over! I know it is a short month but wow where did the time go?

Anyway, let’s get to the food. Denise and I have been busy in the kitchen lately. Stirring things up and just eating some real good food. Simplicity is often the motto in the kitchen. Today we bring you not one, but TWO ridiculously easy recipes. 

The first is a simple vegetable. 

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Brussels Sprouts. Here’s how I LOVE to eat them:

1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil (warmed on the pan)

2 cups washed brussels sprouts

season with salt and cook until soft 

Can I just say that these are amazing. I love how the edges get all crispy from the coconut oil too. Denise is not the biggest fan of coconut oil and I imagine she’d sub in EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) instead. Either way, I don’t know how brussels sprout got such a bad wrap among kids (the colour green?) but I am telling you I love ’em. 

Our next “adventure” (we’re wild) was making apple sauce. See, we were heading home for the reading week and had all these apples, like, a lot of apples (2 bags). So we needed to use them up so we could at least freeze them. Cue apple sauce making. 

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I cringe at even calling this a “recipe” because all we did was peel, chop, and boil apples. Oh, and we added a bunch of cinnamon to it. No sugar, no salt, just some apples boiled in water with some cinnamon. The thing is it was great. I mean, we eat pretty simply to begin with so the processed apple sauce is far too sweet and sugary for my liking. You could add any toppings you like to make it your own. I am sure my roommate would like to add a sprinkle of sugar and some fruit. I like to just scoop it right into my oatmeal or have it with some yogurt. It really just offers a base to an endless amount of snack options. Using it for baking is another possibility. Whatever works!

Well, that is what we have been doing in the kitchen lately. I am sure Denise has some sandwich ideas floating around in her head 😉 

Until next time, 

Laura and Denise

Any simple recipes that you love?

Confession of an Avacado Addict

12 Feb

So I have a confession to make…Laura and I are addicted to avocados. Let’s just say that when we don’t have avocados or someone finishes the last one, all hell breaks loose (cue scene in mean girls)

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I’m just kidding we don’t actually get like that….

Anyways, instead of reading my super fun human memory textbook (yes I know I do procrastinate a lot), I decided to search for a new avocado recipe to try out (they do improve memory –I was applying techniques to improve my memory which would then help me remember what I am reading..so technically I wasn’t really procrastinating, right..???).

Anyways, I found this really good avocado pudding recipe. I had no idea avocado could be made into a pudding before. So I was like why not try it, what’s the harm??  (well besides being behind on my psychology readings – but it was totally worth it)

So I decided to make this avocado chocolate pudding. Taken  from How sweet it is.

Ingredients:

4 ripe avocados
1/4 cup light coconut milk
4 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder
3 tablespoons honey
2 ounces of dark chocolate (72% or higher), melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

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Directions:

Remove avocados from the skin (and pit) and place in a food processor. Blend until combined and creamy. Add in all remaining ingredients, blending until pureed, scraping down the sides when needed to combine. Taste and season/sweetened additionally if desired. Blend for a good 1-2 minutes until completely creamy, then serve with desired toppings.

Note: I have kept this in the fridge for about 24 hours successfully, just make sure to immediately place it in a seal tight container. If you would like a smaller serving, I’d suggest cutting the recipe in half.

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This turned out so good. Who could say no to avocado and chocolate??? I’ve already made two batches, one for my family and one for the roomies (everyone agreed that it was delicious).  Who needs regular store bought pudding, when you could have this amazing chocolate avocado pudding.  I would definitely recommend making this recipe!

What your favourite avocado recipe??

Until next time,

Denise and Laura

Delicious Dinners

10 Feb

Hello!

Since we are on the theme of posting some of our experiments in the kitchen, I thought today would be a wonderful time to share some of the dinners we have been enjoying lately.

On Wednesday night, when Denise was in class late, I prepared this for dinner.

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(Ignore the yellow-ness of these photos… blame the artificial lighting in the dead of winter)

Above is oven roasted chicken with goat cheese sprinkled on top, a side of sauteed kale in olive oil with salt, and a warm bowl of squash soup. The soup was kindly made by Denise’s dad and sent up. Yum 🙂

On Thursday night, my other roommate and I prepared this for dinner:

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Beef chili with beans, brown rice, and a side of sweet potato fries. On a cold, snowy night, after a midterm this meal really hit the spot.

As usual we always have some green with our meal:

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Just some cut up romaine lettuce, lightly dressed in vinegar and oil with salt and pepper. Simple but nutritious.

And of course every winter evening is accompanied by some of this:

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Tea warms the soul.

I am sure many of you out there have heard about the storm this past Friday. Well, my school wasn’t cancelled so walking to class went something like this…

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Gotta love it.

Anyway, that’s what’s been up with the dinner situation lately. I think tonight shrimp is on the menu. Should be good!

What is you favourite dinner? Do you have any go-to meals?

Until next time friends,

Laura and Denise

A sandwhich for lunch?? I think so!!

8 Feb

I (Denise)  love sandwiches, that is my go to for lunch. This past week, I decided to explore the internet and find new recipes (to replace my oh so simple sandwich that I usually make – hummus, cheese, avocado and chicken).  Due to the lack of food that we have in our fridge (it’s close to the end of the week so our food supply was running a little low – what can I say we like to eat), I had to find recipes with ingredients that I did have. And eureka I found two recipes that I could make (not in the same day of course – I am not that obsessed with sandwiches).

My first one I made was a Sautéed Strawberry Avocado and Goat Cheese Sandwich which was taken from edible perspective

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of bread
  • 1 avocado
  • 4 medium strawberries, thinly sliced
  • goat’s milk mozzarella, thinly sliced (I just had regular goat cheese)
  • 1t unrefined coconut oil
  • 1T balsamic vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
  • 1t lemon juice
  • 1/8t salt
  • black pepper + sea salt to top

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  1. Toast the bread and place on a cooling rack [avoids sogginess] to stay crisp but not hot.
  2. Turn your oven on to broil.
  3. Mash the avocado with a fork and then mash in the lemon juice + salt.
  4. Add oil to a small pan over medium heat.
  5. Once hot, add the strawberries + balsamic, cooking for 3-5min until softened but not falling apart.  Stir/flip a few times.
  6. Add as much avocado to the toast as desired and add 1 layer of cooked strawberries.
  7. Top with a thin layer of goat cheese.
  8. Broil until melted, about 1-3min.  If you’re using more of a crumbly goat cheese, be careful it

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This turned out so delicious! If you are big fan of avocados, you have to try it! And it was so simple and easy to make.

Then I decided to try out the other sandwich recipe that I found for my family when I got home for the weekend (Laura and I go home at least twice a month to stock up on our food supply –  wait I mean we obviously go home because we miss our family….) But it turns out Laura is currently stuck in our apartment in Toronto because we were hit with a huge snow storm  today and transportation is really bad, so she has no way of getting back home.

But anyways, the next sandwich I decided to try out was a grilled hummus and egg salad.  Also taken from edible perspective.

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices toast
  • Earth Balance or butter
  • hummus
  • 1 hardboiled egg
  • pickles or sweet pickle relish [liquid drained]
  • salt + pepper

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Directions:

  1. Heat pan just under medium heat.
  2. Butter 2 sides of bread.
  3. Spread a nice thick coating of hummus on both sides.
  4. Slice hard boiled egg and place on 1 side.
  5. Close sandwich and place in pan.
  6. Cook until golden brown and flip.
  7. Peal back top slice, add pickles, s+p and whatever other toppings you want.
  8. Let cook until golden brown, cut + serve.

I also added lettuce and tomatoes as well.

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They turned out so good! My family loved them! I would for sure recommend this one as well!

What is your favourite lunch time meal??

Until next time,

Denise and Laura

 

Smoothies!!

3 Feb

So today I (Denise) decided to make a smoothie! While Laura was off at her Aunt’s house for lunch, our other roommate, Laura (yes I have two roommates named Laura, confusing isn’t it?) and I decided to make smoothies.

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Instead of studying and doing our homework (like we probably should have been doing), we decided to take a break and make a smoothie. You need food to concentrate right? That’s what my psychology books keep telling me.

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Smoothies are a really simple and super easy snack to make. You can make them for breakfast, after a workout or even as a snack. And there are so many types of smoothies you can make. Laura (cousin – you see its so confusing having two roommates named Laura) has made me this green smoothie (yeah not the hugest fan of that), my personal favourite are the ones made with tons of fruit. Nothing is better than a strawberry and banana smoothie or a mixed berry one. 

In our smoothie we decided to make it with milk, yogurt, bananas, and a bunch of frozen berries. It turned out delicious!

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On a random note, one of my friends (not named Laura), sent me this picture of Ryan Gosling (who is my big celebrity crush) and it made my day. Hope this puts a smile on your faces, because it sure did for me.

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Until next time,

Denise

What is your favourite type of smoothie? Or who is your celebrity crush?

Tips for Success at School

30 Jan

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Good day!

Our days lately have been mostly consumed with school, class mainly (and volunteering for Denise). It’s been good though because it’s our fourth year and we’ve kind of picked up on the number one key to success in University, which is BALANCE.

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The reading never ends but making time for daily enjoyment is an absolute must. Unfortunately, the majority of students around us follow the “go big or go home” kind of mentality. All work and no play, GRADES, GRADES, GRADES. (Or sometimes the opposite! All play and no work–> common for first years) The pressure to get into grad school is overwhelming by  fourth year, since a lot of our classmates are preoccupied with the next step in life. In addition to the emphasis put on our grades, as fourth years, we certainly feel the pressure to sort out the next year of our lives.

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It’s unfortunate really that the focus in fourth year is not to savour your last moments in school but to compete with all those around you. However, we can truthfully say we have stepped out of that competition a long time ago. We spend most of our time here because we want to!

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A lot of students mistake University for being the BIGGEST thing in their lives right now, and it becomes the ultimate preparation for “real life” in fact. However, University is life. No need to wait until you can do fun things because life will always be busy and you will always be under some sort of pressure, except you won’t have summers to wind down 😉

Really, if we were asked to give any person entering University some advice it would be to balance your time. It is absolutely essential. Balance maintains sanity and ultimately keeps you happy. Stress often feels like your new best friend when burdened with hours of school work and endless amounts of papers, but carving a few hours a week, or simply an hour a day to engage in an activity you love is so worth it.

Next, we would have to recommend exercise and a balanced diet. Exercise is, as everyone knows, a stress relief and can really be fun. Do it often, enjoy it, and rest when you need it. As well, eating a balanced diet is a no-brainer, eat well feel well. Also, it always helps to take vitamins to make up for what you are lacking.  The math is simple and easy to follow. Be engaged with the quality of your life and days.

Which, then brings us to probably the most overlooked aspect of success that so many students seem to lack, and that is SLEEP.  Oh yeah, students are notorious night owls and catching those extra zzz’s will truly influence how engaged you are in class and the quality of work you produce.

And finally, drink lots of water. A lot of students discover the magical powers of coffee once they go to University. This new and wonderful drink that can keep me going for hours! But replacing big tall glasses of water instead of coffee will keep you feeling more energized in the long run and will ensure more quality sleep.

Anyway, that’s our quick list of tips! Hope someone found them useful! We may go into more detail again of how we follow these tips but basically this is what has worked for us. Not to say, we have never faltered or do exceptionally well in school, but overall we enjoy ourselves and do fine.

Until next time,

Denise and Laura

What are your tips for living a balanced lifestyle in school or at work? Anything specific that works for you? 

The Best

14 Jan

Oftentimes I ponder about coincidences. Are there such things? Or is everything carefully composed by the Universe? 

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Sometimes I have to wonder. I mean how often do your socks match the paint? Especially, when its lime green. 

Sometimes, coincidences aren’t all the obvious, sometimes they just seem to happen, like when your mom and your nonna send you baked goods on Sunday.

 

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Just because they happened to be baking (and they never bake). 

Or how about when you really wish you had a dog to walk and you parents walk in with this: 

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(She’s just a friend’s dog, but still, the timing!)

I guess life just might be made up of a bunch of coincidences or maybe the Universe knows how to remind you of all its wonderful things. 

Either way, coincidences are meant to make you smile right? Because these ones sure made me. 

As we discussed in our last post about brightening this month up a little, and aside from plants, coincidences seemed to do that for us this weekend. Just leave it up to the big ol’ Universe to do its thing. 

Until next time, 

Denise and Laura 

 

Say Hello to our Newest Rommate

7 Jan

Hi there.

It’s the first day back at school for Laura, while Denise is enjoys a nice break until the 14th. Either way it is officially January and we are experiencing all the side effects this month brings, such as renewed vigor for the new year while simultaneously experiencing January “blues” that are a direct result from post-vacation commitments, cold and icy weather, along with the sun setting before 5pm. However, we have decided that there are many ways that we can beat the mid-winter slump.

Such as introducing this new fella to our place:

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His name is planty. (Our third roommate helped pick him out too–and she’s human).

Adding plants and flowers to a house or apartment seems to just brighten up the place doesn’t it? Of course, we would have loved to add a bunch of beautiful bright flowers, such as these:

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or these:

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Aren’t orchids beautiful? Too bad we have a horrible habit of killing them…

Anyway, this month our main focus is getting settled into our new class schedules but we also want to introduce some new habits that will make the long winter months seem less dark. We have been making an effort to get out more even if its cold and all we want to do is stay in and drink ridiculous amounts of warm tea. Also, introducing some nice plants into our space also brings some light and freshness, reminding us that summer is not so far away.

Yet, we think that there is some comfort to the winter months. It’s not all about the doom and gloom of January! It may get dark early but that means we don’t feel guilty for spending an evening with our noses in our books.

Well, hopefully we can keep planty alive! At least until the end of January…

Until next time,

Denise and Laura

Do you like decorating your place with plants in the winter?