Black Bean and Feta Quesadillas

Oh gosh, it’s been cold out there lately, eh? I mean, I feel like I should be able to just shrug off Toronto cold weather after living in Ottawa for 5 years. But apparently I’ve softened in my old age because this cold snap has been awful!

And in addition to the cold, the lack of sunshine has really got me down lately. I’m trying to fight it, I really am. I’m taking lunchtime walks to suck up whatever tiny ounce of sunshine I can! And I’m taking vitamin B12 and vitamin D which are both supposed to help energy levels. But I still get home from work just totally exhausted. If it’s a good day, I do some yoga and then make dinner. On bad days, I watch Kardashians and hope Will feels up to cooking when he gets home.



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Roasted Veggies and Chickpeas with Cheese Sauce

cheese sauce

Does winter just make you crave a big bowl of beige stuff? Like risotto. And mac and cheese. If I could live on various forms of mac and cheese until April, I so would.

But luckily I came across Oh She Glow’s Buddha Bowl yesterday. And OK, I decided I still wanted cheese sauce instead of the dressing she suggested. But at least this way I’m eating chickpeas and cauliflower and quinoa instead of white pasta, right?

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Sunday morning cinnamon buns

I’m trying to write a biography for this here blog and it’s strangely hard. Writing about yourself, eugh. I do have an amazing photo that illustrates how long I’ve been cooking though. It was from an article about my parents’ environmentalism (You can tell we lived in a boring city when caring about the environment was big news).The caption says “Cam and his daughter Nicole, 6, prepare a vegetarian dinner for the family.” I swear that I can remember having this photo taken, even though it was oh, two decades ago.

cinnamon buns

So there you have it, I’ve been grating cheese for at least 21 years now!

cinnamon buns

The nice thing about cooking for so long is that you start to look for recipes outside your comfort zone. I always find yeast bread recipes a little intimidating, so I mainly stick with pizza dough. But yesterday someone posted a photo of sticky buns on Instagram and I was immediately inspired. I’d pinned Dinner with Julie’s ultimate sticky buns recipe when she posted it last week,  and I just happened to have all the ingredients already. I won’t post the recipe here since my rule is that I’ll only repost a recipe if I make at least a couple changes to it and I followed hers to the letter. They were perfect – Will said they were the best cinnamon buns he’d ever had! – so just follow her recipe. Mine aren’t quite as pretty as hers, but pretty good for a first try! 

cinnamon buns

A few notes:

  • I used honey instead of the corn syrup because I never have corn syrup in the house, and it was fine. Sometimes I find honey overpowering when used as a full sweetener, but it just lent a nice stickiness
  • After I’d formed the buns, I covered them in plastic wrap and put them in the fridge overnight. Before I baked them, I covered them with a tea towel and let them hang out near our radiator to warm up again.

cinnamon buns

  • They do rise quite a lot, so don’t worry if they look a little sparse when you first put them in the pan!
  • Since it makes two pans, I covered and froze one, so next time I want them in the morning, I’ll just thaw them in the fridge overnight and bake them first thing

cinnamon buns

  • The dough was quite easy to work with. The only tricky bit was incorporating the softened butter into the dough, but I just kneaded it on my counter until it was evenly distributed in the dough.

Now that I’ve got sticky buns figured out, I’ve going to try some other kind of sweet bread. Maybe one of those braided breads with jam in the centre? Yum!


Quinoa Salad with Charred Corn

Before I get into this delicious quinoa salad, I wanted to brag about a really cool gift I got from my sister this year.


Reusable produce bags! How smart is that? I always have one of those lightweight reusable totes in my purse to cut down on the number of plastic grocery bags I use, but now I can do that with produce bags too!

Ok and one more thing that has vastly improved my life: I just realized a few weeks ago that I could just write the best-before date on the carton of my already opened stock so I know how long it’ll be safe to use. Right? Riiiight? Ugh, there are some things that it takes me an embarrassingly long time to figure out.

So I’ve never really gotten the quinoa obsession. As a lifelong vegetarian, it’s one of those foods that people assume you eat constantly, like tofu and salads. I’ve only ever tried it as a side dish at vegetarian restaurants and I’m always underwhelmed by it.


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