Saturday, March 24, 2012


The sun has come out in Vancouver and Spring is here. It's so nice to be outside and enjoying the cherry blossoms, sunshine and the shift in everyone's attitudes. We're at the tail-end of a long, grey and wet winter and it seemed all of Vancouver was more than ready for sunny days.

Matt and I have our own plot at the community garden this year. We spent the morning weeding, turning the soil and collecting worms - Hannah's new favourite thing, also beetles.

I'm sharing seeds with friends and already have an amazing collection:
• gypsy peppers
• red ace beets
• french breakfast radishes
• ambassador zucchini
• peredovik sunflowers
• royal family sweet peas
• winter blend kale
• swiss chard
• salad blend nasturtium

It's going to be a delicious summer! Next weekend we get a big load of mushroom manure and start planting!

ps - In food news. These are insane, like - omg, best treat ever, on a day after a run and on a day before a run too. dreamy potatoes!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Shaved Asparagus Tart

We went to a St. Patrick's Day party at my cousin's house on Saturday and I wanted to bring something that was green, but fresh and seasonal. There's heaps of asparagus in stores right now and I've wanted to try a shaved asparagus salad for a while - I topped cheese and pesto baked puff pastry with a lightly dressed shaved asparagus salad. It was fresh, light and tasty. A great spring appetizer.

Shaved Asparagus Tart
1 450g package of puff pastry, I'm a big fan of this one as it's pre-rolled, 2 per pkg.
1 package of boursin cheese (150g)
2 tbsp pesto
25 asparagus spears
2 tbsp olive oil
juice and zest of a lemon
1tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp honey
generous pinch of salt
pepper to taste
• Fresh Parmesan shavings to garnish

Preheat oven to 375°.
Roll out half the puff pastry to the size of a standard sheet tray, it may be a little short, no worries. Put the puff pastry on a silpat lined sheet tray. Spread 1 tbsp of pesto on the puff pastry, spread half of the boursin on top of the pesto, they will combine together into a creamy deliciousness.
Bake for 18-22 minutes until golden brown, make sure the bottom has nice colour too. Let cool on a drying rack. 
Repeat with remaining puff pastry, pesto and boursin.
With a vegetable peeler, shave the asparagus. Don't snap off ends - they're useful to hold on to while you peel. While holding on to the base of the asparagus, peel  long shavings, they won't all be even lengths, or perfect thickness, but that's totally ok.
In a small jar, combine all the dressing ingredients and shake well. The dressing will be thick.
Toss the asparagus with the dressing.
Cut the tart into 2.5" - 3" squares, put a little bit of the asparagus salad on each square of the tart, about 1-2 tbsp  and top with a shaving of asparagus.
Season with salt and pepper if you want.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Soap Dispensary

There's a wonderful little store on Main Street called The Soap Dispensary. From their website: The Soap Dispensary is a refill store specializing in premium household soaps, cleaners and personal care products. Customers can reuse containers to be refilled at our store, keeping single-use plastic packaging out of landfills, watersheds and wasteful recycling systems.

The design and concept of the store is great, the service is so friendly and helpful. Last time I was in I bought one of their Swedish dishcloths (picture above - I got the one with the strawberries), they are made from 70% cellulose and 30% cotton and are super absorbent and hard-working. They can be thrown in the washing machine over and over. And printed with water-based ink and are compostable at the end of their life cycle.

I recommend a visit to the shop, it's an awesome addition to Main Street!
The Soap Dispensary - 3623 Main Street
-photo and video from

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Morning Glory Muffins

I love me a morning glory muffin, over the years I've been trying to make a healthy version. I feel like I've nailed it with these. They have a really awesome coconut flavour from both the shredded coconut and the coconut oil, they are moist and delicious!

Morning Glory Muffins - revisited!
makes a dozen regular size muffins and 2 dozen mini muffins or 2 dozen regular size muffins.

11/2 cups spelt flour
11/2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup of agave syrup
1 cup applesauce (chunky applesauce is great!)
1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 3 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts  

Preheat oven to 350° 
In a large bowl, mix flours, cinnamon, soda and salt. In another bowl, mix the eggs, agave, applesauce, oil and vanilla - add carrots, coconut, raisins and nuts and mix well. Combine the two mixtures, stir until just combined. 
In well oiled muffin tins (I use coconut oil), fill each to about 3/4 full.

Mini muffins take about 12-14 minutes to cook, the regular size about 20 minutes.
These are just as tasty three days later.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Zucchini Patties

Every Sunday I make patties, during Hannah's afternoon nap, I grate a bunch of zucchini and make her favourite food.
This week I made a few revelations:
1. Make a double batch and freeze half - then I can take a week off from patty making.
2. Grate the cheese and zucchini in the food processor.
3. Regarding the above > genius.

These are tasty cold from the fridge or warmed up and dipped in yogurt. I even chop them up and add them to my lunch salad. So tasty!

I switch the recipe up every week, it has never been the same. The recipe below is the base recipe, make whatever substitutions you want, I've listed some below.

Zucchini Patties
6 cups grated zucchini, all the water squeezed out
1/2 cooking onion, finely chopped or grated
3 cups grated old cheddar 
2 eggs
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I use panko)
1/2 cup ground flax*
salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl mix everything together. If the mixture feels a little too wet, add a bit more bread crumbs.

Form patties using a one tablespoon scoop, flatten them out a little.
Here's where it's up to you how you cook them. You can either fry them up in a nonstick pan over medium heat, about 3 minutes a side until golden brown. Or, this is how I do it after months on end of patty making > I make the patties and putt them on a baking tray lined with a nonstick sheet. Bake them at 375° for 12 minutes and then pan fry them. I do this because I find they end up creamier in the middle and keep their shape better.

• If ground flax isn't your thing, swap for more bread crumbs - personally, I like the nuttiness of the flax.
• Use 3 cups grated zucchini and 3 cups steamed and finely chopped broccoli or cauliflower.
• Cut back on the breadcrumbs and add in leftover brown rice, couscous or quinoa.
• For more flavour to the patties, add pesto, chopped garlic and chopped fresh herbs.
• Swap half of the cheddar for feta, and a cup of the zucchini with cooked chopped spinach

Similar recipes that are toddler friendly: