Made at Home: Vegan Quinoa Bowl

Vegan bowls are our new favourite dinner. We love experimenting with different healthy ingredients and flavour combinations. The key to a good bowl is making sure you have a hearty base (like quinoa, brown rice, sticky rice, etc), loading it up with veggies (preferably seasonal) and protein, and then topping the whole thing off with a delicious sauce or  spread. Today’s bowl was based on this amazing recipe from Oh She Glows. We made a few alterations, like nixing the purple cabbage and green salad and instead cooking up some spinach and beet greens with garlic and pine nuts. For our chickpea coating we decided to use garlic powder, sea salt, turmeric, and garam masala. We also topped off the dish with sesame seeds instead of hemp seeds, and whipped up some of our own jalepeno hummus. The whole thing only took about 45 minutes to make, and it’s probably the healthiest thing I’ve eaten all week. Vegan bowls, where have you been all my life?


Made at Home: BBQ Pulled Tofu Burritos

Burritos are a mainstay at our place. We love taking a simple flour tortilla and loading it up with all the fixings – I’m talking lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, guac, smashed beans, and spicy corn (the last 3 are all super easy to make from scratch). We also like to throw in some kind of meaty BBQ protein in there. Today, we took a break from our usual slow-cooked pulled pork, and tried making BBQ pulled tofu. I had my doubts at first, but honestly, it was soooo good. All you have to do is take pressed tofu and grate it into a frying pan using a cheese grater. Then throw in a few teaspoons of liquid smoke and some BBQ sauce and you’re good to go. Seriously, try it out. So simple, so delicious.


Made at Home: Strawberry Spinach Salad

Here’s a quick, easy, and healthy recipe that is perfect for the summertime. It goes well with just about anything, and would be great to bring to a potluck or bbq. The sweetness of the strawberries, the creaminess of the goat cheese, and the zing of the balsamic all go really well together to make this salad a thing of beauty. In short, this salad has got it going on.

Strawberry Spinach Salad
Serves two
2 cups fresh spinach
1/4 cup walnuts (toasted if you like)
30g goat cheese
1 cup strawberries, quartered
10g finely chopped red onion

3-2-1 Balsamic Dressing
Serves two
3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon golden yellow sugar


Made at Home: Blueberry & Banana “Dutch Pancakes”

As our friends, family, and long-term followers know, we are all about breakfast. One recent morning we found ourselves craving something a little different when Katie remembered the “dutch pancakes” I once made. She remembered them by their other name, the “dutch baby,” but the idea is the same: delicious oven pancakes. The key here is the non-stick oven-safe pan. I used this recipe for the pancake itself but we weren’t feeling the pear topping. Instead, I improvised by frying two bananas in butter and a little brown sugar. After they softened I added a half cup of blueberries and simmered until the pancake was ready. The result was a very nice blueberry-banana jam topping. We highly recommend these moist ovencakes, whatever topping you choose!


Made at Home: Mushroom & Seitan Stew

Happy 2014, everyone! Long time no blog. Hope you all had an amazing holiday season and are recharged and ready to show 2014 who’s boss. This year I resolved to cook more and try to be a little more productive in my down time (Netflix, you’re killing me on this one!). To help with my new adventures in the kitchen I bought Isa Moskowitz’s new cookbook, Isa Does It. I’m not a vegan, but I do enjoy trying different foods and recipes I normally wouldn’t go for. This mushroom and seitan stew is one example of the new recipes I’ve been whipping up recently (you can get a very similar recipe here). The only modifications I made was reducing the amount of dried mushrooms, adding in an extra veggie sausage, throwing in some fresh green beans, and putting in a few extra splashes of veggie broth. On a blah January day like today, a big bowl of this stuff is heaven. Just make sure you eat it with a big hunk of bread for sopping up the extra juices!


Made at Home: Rosemary & Cranberry Brussels Sprouts

Have some cranberries and rosemary still lying around after making last week’s festive ginger tea? Try this quick recipe. Combine brussels sprouts (cut and washed, stems removed if you’d prefer) and cranberries in a bowl. Toss to coat in rosemary brown butter sauce (like the one made here) and place in a shallow baking dish. Heat at 350 degrees for about an hour, turning halfway through cooking time. That’s it! Another super easy red & green recipe perfect for the holiday season.


Made at Home: Festive Ginger Tea

Here’s a non-alcoholic holiday-themed drink recipe that is perfect for warming you up on those cold, winter days. Based on this recipe, all you have to do is bring two cups of water to boil, add a bag of ginger tea, and pour in a little bit of honey. Let the tea steep for a while, remove the tea bag, and then transfer to your mug of choice (if using a mason jar remember to add a sleeve – the glass will get very hot). Add in a skewer of fresh cranberries and a sugared sprig of rosemary and you’re done! To sugar the sprig of rosemary simply wet the rosemary sprig, shake off excess water, and lightly coat in sugar. Quite possibly the easiest holiday recipe you’ll make this season!


Made at Home: BBQ Pork Nikuman

During a recent trip to the farmers’ market, Mike and I decided to split a steamed pork bun from a Japanese vendor. I had eaten these types of buns, known as nikuman, many times before while I was living in Japan, but it was Mike’s first time. He was instantly hooked, and we resolved to try and make them at home. Instead of going the traditional route, we decided to get a little creative, using BBQ pulled pork. The result? A delicious, saucy, soft bun perfect for a chilly Fall day.

Here’s what we did:

We used this recipe for the dough and the steaming instructions. After dividing the dough into four balls we rolled each ball out, pinched the sides, put a little BBQ sauce in the middle, and added a generous amount of pulled-pork filling (see below). Then we pulled the sides together, pinched off the top, and steamed them for 15 minutes (in our trusty pasta pot).

For the filling:
We took about 1lb of pork tenderloin and rubbed it with: 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tbsp of sea salt, and 1 tbsp of fresh coriander. Then we placed the tenderloin in a slow cooker filled with 1 cup beef broth, 2 small garlic cloves (sliced), and 1 tbsp of dehydrated onion. After cooking on high for 6-8 hours, we removed the pork and shredded it with a fork. Then we coated the shredded pork with BBQ sauce and a bit of the leftover liquid from the slow cooker.

We ended up with four large buns. That may seem like a lot of instructions, but trust me, it’s very easy to make! Want to know the best part? No knife and fork necessary, just pick it up and enjoy!


Made at Home: Raspberry Mint Canadiana

Here’s another coffee drink DIY I came up with this morning. It’s a combination canadiana (coffee + espresso) and flavoured latte. It’s super simple to make, and incredibly tasty. All you have to do is add a shot of espresso to a regular cup of coffee, pour in some steamed milk + foam, add a couple of tablespoons of raspberry syrup (I added 2 1/2 tbsp, but I like things sweet!), mix in a dash of mint extract, and top with some whipped cream and drizzled syrup. It may take a bit little longer to make than your regular morning coffee, but it’s well worth it. Try it yourself – be your very own barista!


Made at Home: Steak & Eggs with Basil Chimichurri

If you’ve been following us for any length of time you will know that we are big on breakfast, and as far as big breakfasts go it doesn’t get much heartier than steak and eggs. Part the result of having a single steak in our fridge, part our appreciation for Parks and Recreation’s meat-loving boss Ron Swanson, this was just the Sunday morning treat we needed. We fried the steak and scrambled the eggs with some rosemary in a cast-iron skillet and topped it all off with some basil chimichurri Katie whipped up recently.

As is often the case, food is central to today’s post – but it’s not the only thing worth talking about. This post also marks our 100th update for the bar and the bean in just under a year. Thank you to everyone who’s liked, followed, or reblogged us over the past year, and another big thanks to all those who follow and support us in other ways. We could, but probably wouldn’t, do it without you!