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.
We’re still knee-deep renovations but we thought we’d take a second to show you a little progress. Here’s a quick tour of our new living room. We decided to paint the walls white and then add in little pops of colour everywhere (like the red cabinet we restored) The ladder bookcase still needs a coat of stain and a few adjustments, but it’s definately a great place for housing all our books and trinkets. It was also super cheap and easy to make (Mike will be posting a DIY soon!). This reno stuff can be totally overwhelming, but it helps if you take little breaks to celebrate your achievements. Lookin’ good, living room.
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
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
3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon golden yellow sugar
Mike and I are currently knee-deep in renovations. I use the term “renovations” loosely, as we’re in a rental so our DIYs are pretty limited. I’ve watched a lot of Extreme Home Makeover-type shows throughout the years and honestly thought, “hey, renovating our little apartment will be a slice!” Let me tell you, a slice it is not. It’s messy, takes forever, and requires way more upper body strength than I have (I now understand why all those TV carpenters are so ripped). Long story short, our place is “under construction” and my arms hurt. There has been some progress, though. So far we’ve plastered, did a bit of priming, and experimented with spray paint (note to self: do not spray paint on a windy, rainy day).
We also revamped this little retro cabinet. We found it at Habitat for Humanity’s Restore, an outlet that sells used furniture and building supplies/materials. When I found the cabinet I instantly knew I needed it in my life. I love the funky wood details and cutouts, and at $5 it was a steal. The only thing I wasn’t so in love with was the colour, so I decided to do a little furniture makeover. Thankfully, it wasn’t terribly difficult and the whole thing only took a lazy Sunday to do. Here’s what we did (Disclaimer: All of my reno knowledge comes from TV and the internet. I’m posting this not as a DIY, but more of a “reno-diary” for those who are curious what we’ve been up to).
1. I first sanded the cabinet with an electric sander. I used a pretty coarse sandpaper, but only sanded enough to get the shiny lacquer off.
2. Removed handles/hardware. Looking back I probably should have done this before the sanding. Ah well, live and learn.
3. Wiped down the cabinet to remove any dust and dirt. Let dry completely.
4. Spray painted the (existing) handles. Two of them broke off so I have to buy new ones, but the others I spray painted black.
5. Painted! Some people may prime first, but I didn’t because the colour I was painting was fairly dark. I used Painter’s Touch in Apple Red (or Netflix Red as I call it) in High Gloss.
6. Painted again (and again and again). It took four coats before we were both happy with the coverage. I guess that’s what that whole priming thing is about.
7. Waited to dry completely and then reinstalled the hardware. I’m still on the lookout for two new handles, luckily I’m at Home Depot almost every other day so it shouldn’t be too hard to pick up.
8. Stood back and admired our craftsmanship (and tried not to focus too much on the little imperfections).
Hello new cabinet! You look fabulous.
Whoa. Its been awhile. A long while. Sorry about that. The bar and bean have been busy, really busy. Since our last post, we’ve crammed for exams, wrote final papers, graduated, apartment hunted, moved, and trucked our stuff (and ourselves) over the ocean. We’re still not settled yet, but we wanted to check in. Our new place is lovely and we can’t wait to show you around. We’re no longer Haligonians, but St. Johner’s (or “Townies,” in the local vernacular). We’ve finally found the little downtown apartment near the water we’ve dreamed about. Here we plan to make some changes, to lead a simpler, more sustainable and community-minded life. From building our own bookcases and tables to growing herbs, making cheese, and brewing our own beer, it’s going to be fun – we hope you stick around.
1// scoring vintage finds – like this 1930s era jacket
2// cooking up vegan tofu peanut bowls
3// taking ferry trips
4// snuggling this lil’ guy
5// waking up with the sun
6// enjoying the most important meal of the day
The days have been long, cold, and tiring as of late. The kind of days where all you want is jeans and take out. Days where road salt ruins all your shoes and you just want to nap forever. But today the sun came out and the weather was warm. As the snow melted away so did my winter grumpiness. I popped on my brightest red skirt and my loudest lipstick and headed out for coffee and a trip to the farmer’s market. The brightness of a spring day is pretty powerful stuff.
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!
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!
A few weeks ago Katie and I took on a practical design project to teach ourselves the ins and outs of digital layout: Christmas cards! Due to some printing trouble we ended up buying mailable cards from a local artist, but our digital version goes out to all of you. We hope everyone reading this has a happy, relaxing, and snowy-but-cozy holiday season.