Cupcakes Always Win


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Vegan Chai + A Great Chai Wallah

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While travelling around India I met a numerous amount of incredibly inspiring people at chai stands. It was one place I could always expect a great discussion, story, or new friend(s). Each stand varies with which spices are used and where milk is sourced from, but just like any other delicious addictive beverage everyone has individual preferences. My most memorable chai wallah (tea seller/server) was found near my hostel, who’s art is pictured within this post. He was kind enough to allow me to take photos while he made tea, and now I can share them with you!

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His set up was nothing elaborate, but the end result was an explosion of flavour! The steps I followed to make my recipe were from watching him make tea multiple times. I don’t know the exact spices he used, but I have an idea. It’s good to keep some things a secret now and again. Especially if you want returning customers!

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Now chai isn’t a daily ritual which is probably a good thing! But with all this snow and cold weather my winter weekends usually start with a glass of chai. Be sure to check out Liz’s post on Lemongrass Ginger Chai, we met up in Mumbai and shared a couple glasses of chai, which was great!

My recipe is not a strict one, go with the flow, you might have to test run you spice mixture a couple of times but then you’ll have a secret of your own!

Thanks for stopping by, and hope to see you again soon!
oxxoxo

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Vietnamese Baguette (Bánh my)

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When travelling in Vietnam it’s not uncommon to see baskets upon baskets of Vietnamese style baguettes. Bikes loaded up with the crispy loaves wheeling their way around each city block. It’s extremely difficult to resist purchasing one of these delicious snacks. It was also easy to find sandwich stalls on street corners which would usually serve a pork on bread style sandwich with loads of toppings. It was possible to get vegetarian options as well but that depended largely communicating correctly with the vendor. Thankfully I had a non-vegetarian friend who would gratefully accept extra pork on his sandwich.

Now that I am back in Canada, I was given a Vietnamese cookbook for Christmas Real Vietnamese Cooking by: Tracey Lister and Andreas Pohl, and I have been studying it as though every time I enter the kitchen there will be an exam as to whether or not the food is exactly how I remember it. The first recipe I attempted is the Vietnamese baguette, which was not an original food to be found in Vietnam. It was introduced by the French during the colonial period. The main difference between the French and Vietnamese baguette is the addition of rice flour in the Vietnamese version.

I made this recipe several times to test it out and get it just the way I wanted. I settled on making three baguettes vs. six which is what the recipe suggests. This way I have larger baguettes and can make beautiful sandwiches to share. The baguettes do require a little longer baking time though, but it’s totally worth it!
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I’ve also included a few snaps from our adventures in Vietnam. We spent a month there and had an amazing time hiking, walking, biking, meeting new people, and of course eating! Every city/village/town has a dish specialty, and it was always exciting to see what that dish would be upon arrival.
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In Vietnam we didn’t always arrive at our destination with an arrangement for a place to stay. This was usually ok, but there were a few times when we were walking in small towns and really didn’t know where we were and couldn’t find any sort of lodging options. The locals were always so helpful in showing us the way to a safe place to stay! We were even invited for dinner one night with the friendliest family, it was such an amazing evening. It’s super inspiring that strangers are so accommodating, I hope to help other strangers whenever I can, and maybe even feed them a few cookies and tea!
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Back to the bread! An opportune moment for butter is fresh bread from the oven. Now you can devour this loaf instantly with the butter melting on a warm(HOT) slice. Or you can wait a few minutes until is cools enough to make a sandwich! I made vegetarian sandwiches like I would have ordered in Vietnam with scrambled egg, veggies, cilantro, and a spicy chili sauce.
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Hope you enjoy this recipe, and thanks for stopping by! See you again soon,
Anna
xoxoxo
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Vegan Ginger Spiced Hot Chocolate

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My family and I always visit a local tree farm to cut the perfect evergreen for the holidays. We’ve been doing it since we were young. It has always involved a labyrinth walk through a field filled with hundreds of Christmas trees to choose from. We always have trouble finding the one that is perfectly fitting for the occasion.

Some years there is snow, other years there is rain, but no matter what the weather we always strap on suitable outdoor gear and find the perfect tree! We always finish our tradition with some hot chocolate, or apple cider. Which is where this recipe comes in super handy. Having returned from adventures around the world, I wanted to make a more interesting hot chocolate that is loaded with spices! I loaded it with WAY too many marshmallows… just because it looked cool.

I also have been baking so many things because there is always a party, and everyone loves home baking. I had some leftover gingerbread and decided to make some gingerbread sticks that could be used to dip in the spiced chocolatey goodness. It was probably the best decision I made that day.

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The other nice thing about being home for the holidays is having extra helping hands. My sister was super amazing and helped me by being the prop in my little photo shoot. These photos wouldn’t have been complete without her 🙂

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Now the hot chocolate itself is vegan, but I added marshmallows, which are not very vegan at all. If you want to make it vegan, just omit the marshmallows or find some vegan ones in the shops around Kensington Market in Toronto.

Do you have any family traditions over the holidays? What is your go to hot drink when it is chilly? Wishing you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year! Thanks for following me, and I hope to give you some more tasty treats worth making in the new year!

Anna xoxoxoxox

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Refreshing Cucumber Salad

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Most veggies taste amazing on their own, but sometimes adding a little salt, pepper, and fresh lemon juice takes them to the next level. This is a common salad I found throughout India. When I was to going to order some sort of fresh food, it was usually the cucumber salad.

It’s simplicity made it easy to re-create while on the road in New Zealand, especially with lemon trees on every block.

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There are so many types of lemons available in New Zealand. I don’t know the variety that was most common but it was a lot sweeter than lemons I buy in Canada. For this salad, I decided to add sliced lemons along with the fresh lemon juice because of the awesome flavour profile of the lemons. But if that is a little too tart for your liking, then don’t bother with the lemon slices!

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If you want a quick snack for a hike chop large pieces of cucumbers and spritz with lemon juice before putting them in a container. You’ll be super thankful for this hydrating veggie once you are mid-hike!

I also included a few snaps I captured while in New Zealand! Hope you enjoy! xox

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Vegan Ice Cream – No Ice Cream Maker Needed!

VeganBananaCoconutIceCream-11 Coconut milk is my best friend when it comes to making vegan recipes. It is high in fat and provides a richness and flavour that is perfect when not using butter, whipping cream, yogurt, or milk. It’s especially important in this ice cream recipe, a delicious treat to enjoy after a long day of outdoor adventures.

Speaking of adventures, it’s time I share that I am adventuring around the world again for several months! I brought my running shoes, journal, and laptop to keep friends, family, and avid recipe makers posted on my travels. This time around the world I will be with my adventure partner Alex. He’s awesome and plays a yukelele, which is what every adventurer needs!!!

Today this post has some photos from hiking in and around the Capilano River Park in Vancouver. It was very easy hiking, but convenient to get to by bus. The weather was stunning, and I can’t wait to do some more hiking in the Vancouver area. VeganBananaCoconutIceCream-13 VeganBananaCoconutIceCream-20 VeganBananaCoconutIceCream-16 VeganBananaCoconutIceCream-22

While walking through the forest I couldn’t help but feel as though I was in a rainforest, with ferns everywhere you look it reminded me of hiking in Tanah Rata, Malaysia. Stunning to know that you can find that same beauty in Canada!
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Back to the kitchen adventure! You might find it odd to see vodka in the list of ingredients but don’t fret! Since vodka doesn’t freeze it helps the ice cream from not crystallizing when not using an ice-cream maker, and it also makes it easier to scoop when serving.
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When making this ice cream get creative! Feel free to add any sort of nut, chocolate or candy that you can’t live without. You don’t have to use a banana either, I just used it for added sweetness. Share your favourite ice cream recipes below! Do you use an ice cream maker? Or churn it by hand?

Hope you enjoy this recipe, and stay tuned for more recipes, and world adventures! Our next stop is Japan!

Anna xoxoxoxox

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Homemade Pasta With Roasted Garlic

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My family has been eating pasta every Saturday for years. Sometimes (most times) my dad and I felt it was necessary to make pasta by hand!  Which was the beginning of another family food tradition. When I moved away from home for school, I was left with no pasta maker and would dream about making fresh homemade spaghetti. Until one day my parents visited me with a small present… A PASTA MAKER!! They found it at a yard sale for $15. This dish is super simple, the only tough thing is, you will need a pasta maker.

It serves 4 people and only costs $0.33/person. Now why is this amount so important?

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Well let me answer! Have you heard of Live Below the Line? It is a challenge to eat for no more than $1.75 a day. I was contacted by the lovely Erica who encouraged me to post a recipe for the cause. I got so excited that I developed 3 recipes for everyone that is taking part in the Live below the Line challenge! This is the first one, I will be releasing them over the next couple of days. I really hope to provide some ideas and inspiration to everyone participating in this awesome initiative!

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I really believe that I am the most lucky when it comes to my family, friends, and living situation. Whenever I can give back, I really hope to do so! By eating for $1.75 a day it forces you to cost out all your ingredients even the small flavour enhancers like salt! Which is less than a cent for a gram, but can add up fast when there is only $1.75 to be spent.

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I like this idea so much that I have created my own challenge… I am challenging myself to eating for $1.75 once a month all the time. I think this slight change in my lifestyle will encourage me to keep thinking less about me and more about others. But this is my personal challenge, do you ever challenge yourself to lifestyle changes?

I definitely want to give a pat on the back to Live Below the Line and encourage everyone to check it out and maybe even follow them on twitter @LBLCA

As always, thanks for taking a moment out of your day to pop by!

Much Love,

Anna xoxoxoxox

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Tahini Dumplings

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Sometimes the most unexpected experience is the most wonderful. Like taking a bite out of a Tahini Dumpling… with a large dollop of lemon curd. A little on the unexpected experience side, but mostly just pretty darn tasty!

rollingoutdumplingThese are a cinch to make and are an easy way to impress a guest. For an added crunch I put some chopped pecans in the filling as well. The combination of the citrus in the lemon curd just really sits well on the palette. My taste-buds were clearly dancing after enjoying a few of these dumplings…

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Winter time calls for comfort foods like these dumplings that will automatically brighten up the day. These little filled and boiled dough pockets mean no funny business when it comes to the happiness of one’s taste-buds.

Stay bright and warm and thanks for stopping by!

Have a great, great, great day!

Anna xoxoxo

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