True confessions: if I could eat any junk food in the world, I would choose Old Dutch Ketchup Chips.
Gosh, even looking at that gives me a craving. I remember when I found out that a) Old Dutch chips were a strictly Western Canada thing, back in the 80s, and b) ketchup chips were a strictly Canadian thing.
I love Greek food. I love the flavours, I love how Mediterranean food is among the healthiest in the world, and I love how eating it transports me back to 1992, when I was almost seventeen and on a school trip to the Greek islands. I know! How lucky was I?
When you were a kid, did you read books set in the turn of the twentieth century, and did you desperately long for the olden days, where THE event of the season was the town's Strawberry Social? I sure did. I didn't know what a Strawberry Social was, exactly, but I knew it involved Sunday dresses and strawberries, and frankly, that was good enough for me.
There's something that's been bothering me lately, but I haven't been sure how to articulate it properly. Last summer, I met a friend's husband for the first time, and upon some discussion, he learned that I mainly follow a vegan diet. His first reaction was to question whether or not I felt that I was morally superior to the other people in the room, and although his outspokenness startled me, I explained very truthfully that I do not.
If you've been following my recipes for any length of time, you will know that I am an enormous fan of coconut. All hail the mighty coconut, provider of energy, antioxidants, and dietary fibre! Numerous studies have shown coconut products to have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties - and that consumption of coconut helps to boost immunity. Perhaps that makes this coconut fudge a health food!
Nothing adds a creamy coolness to a spicy dish like a dollop of sour cream. Spicy chilis, soups, curries, and tacos are all made better, in my opinion, with a spoonful or two. If you cannot eat dairy products, you don't need to give up such creamy pleasures - you can easily make your own non-dairy sour cream at home.
I think my children are in what we call a "growth phase," although I have a sinking feeling that this is less of a "phase" and more of a "way of life for the next eight or nine years." We haven't even entered the teen years and my boys are already eating me out of house and home.
Remember when you were a child, and your parents took you to Dairy Queen, and you were allowed to get a dipped cone, and you would watch with fascination as the teenaged Dairy Queen employee took that swirl of soft serve and dipped it into the vat of chocolate, and then you felt like you just witnessed something completely magical as that chocolate hardened into a perfect, scrump-dilly-umptious treat?
There are so many things I love about this time of year: the sun rising as I'm leaving the yoga studio in the early morning, the sun setting as I'm getting ready for bed at night, leaving the house without multiple layers on, and little green shoots coming up in the garden. I love how the trees are leafing out and the grass is greening up, and I really, really love the return of salad season.
If there's one thing I love to do, it is to create a dessert that features all sorts of nutritional goodness - especially if no one eating it can tell that there are "secret ingredients."
Oh, strawberries! Could there be a more perfect fruit? Sweet, juicy, and so tantalizingly colourful, strawberries are the stars of the berry world, in my opinion. One cup contains 47 calories and 141% of your daily total of Vitamin C, so eating them is exactly akin to boosting your immunity in a very tasty way.
It doesn't matter how long Seinfeld has been off the air: whenever I hear the words "Kung Pao," I think of George Costanza. George likes spicy chicken! Fortunately for me, my children have started to take an interest in Seinfeld reruns, and so they do not immediately raise their eyebrows and exchange meaningful glances when I repeatedly say "Nicole likes spicy cauliflower!" while preparing this meal.
Nutritional yeast is a common staple in plant-based cooking, and of all the ingredients I use, it is the one I get questioned about the most. Nutritional yeast is as common as salt in the cupboards of those of us who have been following plant-based diets for a long time, so I sometimes forget that not everyone is acquainted with this tasty little flake. For every question I receive, I assume there are many people who wonder about it but do not want to ask.
May I take a moment to applaud a certain member of the palm family? If fruit is nature's candy, then the Medjool date is nature's gummy bear, and I mean that in the best possible way. Medjool dates are exceptionally sweet little things, with the vast majority of their nutritive value coming from naturally-occurring glucose and fructose. That means that they can be used to make sweet treats in a natural, no-processed-sugar way.
There are so many wonderful things about Spring, the most notable being it marks the end of winter. In spring, I always think of the Ingalls family in The Long Winter, wan and pale and starving, seeing the tiny blades of green grass sprouting and being filled with hope.
Oh, Spring! It's such a happy season, with its feelings of renewal and growth, and with the sudden mildness that leads to the shedding of woolly layers. It's also the season for asparagus, one of my favourite vegetables.
Many years ago, while my firstborn was still in utero and my second was just a twinkle in my eye, I had a vision about what motherhood would be like. I imagined pushing my children on swings in the playground, coffee dates with my girlfriends while our toddlers quietly played together and our babies slept peacefully. I also imagined a weekly family night in which we would all happily eat snacks and play board games.
As you know, things don’t always go as you imagine they will.
In my house, spring is cake season! Starting with my older son's birthday in March, and ending with my dog's birthday at the end of May, there is an occasion for a cake every three weeks. Hooray for cake!
However, even the most enthusiastic baker (i.e., ME) gets a little weary after the third or fourth cake. It's tempting then to just grab a box of cake mix and a container of frosting. I understand! It seems like the easiest solution: grab a box of mix, dump it into a bowl, beat it with some water, oil, eggs...but wait!
Let's set the scene: it's 9:00 pm. The school bake sale is tomorrow, and you just found out over dinner that you were "volunteered" to bring two dozen cupcakes. You've finished helping with homework, overseeing baths, getting the kids into bed, AND baking the required cupcakes. You pull the beautiful, fragrant cupcakes out of the oven only to realize that you have no frosting and are all out of butter and icing sugar.