The best rice salad for lunch!

Slapped this together for lunch tomorrow and decided to have a bowl for a late dinner too. Full of tasty flavours and is so pretty with all the colourful veggies!

Rice Salad
2 carrots chopped in to small dice
1/2 small red onion, chopped to small dice
2 celery stalks, diced
12 cherry tomatoes cut in half
1/2 C cucumber, seeded and diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and small diced
2 C cooked brown rice (or quinoa would work too)

Dressing (from Oh She Glows)
3 Tbsp lime juice (or about 1 whole lime juiced)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp sea salt (I use Herbamare)

Chop and place all veggies and rice in to bowl.
Mix dressing ingredients and pour over veggies and rice.
Chill and eat!

Sometimes I add half of an avocado cubed and some cheese. Tonight was one of these nights with some dollops of herbes de provence chevres! Yum!



Car free works for me

Last week I read a really great article by a fellow car free individual in the United States and it was like it was written for me to read. Everything made sense and motivated me to also write about this growing topic.

It has now been over two months since I have been car free. At first, I wasn’t sure if I would actually be “ok” without a vehicle – but as it turns out having car free life is far better than expected. Having almost always owning a car since I was 16 (so… that would be 18 years!), changing my mindset to being car free was a bit of a challenge but not a really difficult one.

Here’s how it works for me:

Friends! I may have the best friends in the world because they all know that I’m without a car we meet in central locations or they pick me up along the way. It’s amazing.

Location! As it turns out I live in a great area of the city with excellent access to train, bus and bike/pedestrian pathways (one of the most extensive path networks in the nation!). Also, usually there are readily available car2go vehicles within a block or two of where I live at any given time.

Delivery! I’ve signed up for grocery delivery through Spud and love shopping online for my weekly order. Shopping at local shops for specialty good such as Market 17, Shaganappi Grocery, Heritage Bakery and the E.Mart has connected me with my neighbours while supporting their businesses makes our community stronger.

Bikes!! Now that it’s all wintery outside I haven’t been riding much at all and am jonesing to spin my wheels a lot again. It’s a happy maker and I really enjoy getting someplace by my own engine to meet friends, get to work, do errands and go shopping. I love busting out a huge smile while stopped at intersections and surprising fellow Calgarians with my happiness. Year-round cycling may seem to not be for everybody … but it can be with the right mindset and equipment!


First attempt at gnocchi = partial fail but still tasty

I’ve been toying with the idea of making pasta from scratch for way too long. So by following my passion of kitchen adventures I seized the night and figured gnocchi would be a good start in this venture. So not following any real recipe I threw this dish together. Although it’s not fantastic, it’s tasty and a really great start. No recipe for this as I didn’t really keep track and the texture of the gnocchi isn’t quite right. Next time though…


Who knew stuffed squash was so easy?

In my latest Spud delivery I ordered an acorn squash. I am a big fan of these fall favourites but haven’t done much creative cooking with them lately. Mostly just squash based soups – which I now have enough in the freezer to last for my next multi-day craving for their creamy warming goodness. So off to Foodgawker for some inspiration and I found this great recipe for stuffed squash! Sticking with my tradition of changing a few ingredients and steps I ended up with a new favourite that will now be included in my dinner/lunch rotation.

Original recipe:

Modification: me 🙂

Servings: 2

Maple Glazed Stuffed Squash


1 acorn squash

1 tbsp Earth Balance butter melted (or regular dairy butter, olive or coconut oil)

1 tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp olive oil

1 small red onion, halved and sliced thinly

1/2 cup mushrooms, diced

1/4  to 1/2  inch fresh ginger, chopped finely

3-4 leaves Swiss chard (or other hearty green such as: kale, bok choy, spinach, etc.), torn into bite-sized pieces

1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

1/2 cup cooked brown rice (*see note at bottom about cooking rice)

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp Nutritional yeast or grated parmesan cheese for topping



1. Preheat oven to 400˚F.

2. Fill a baking dish with 1/2-inch of water. Set aside.

3. Cut acorn squash in half. Use a spoon to scoop out seeds and strings (**see note on what to do with these).

4. Place both halves facing up in baking dish. Cut off a sliver of the rounded bottom if the squash won’t stay in place.

5. Stir together melted Earth Balance and maple syrup in a small bowl. Pour evenly over squash halves, pouring any extra into the hollows of the squash.

6. Bake squash for ~45 minutes. Check at around the 30 minute mark for doneness as squash sizes and cooking times may vary.

7. Place walnuts in a small pie or bread pan and in to the oven alongside the squash to toast for about 3-5 minutes. Once toasted, set aside to cool before chopping.

8. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a mid-sized frying pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until just starting to soften. Add mushrooms and ginger and sauté until mushrooms are tender. Lastly, add swiss chard and heat through until it has wilted. Then turn off heat.

9. Add cooked rice and walnuts to the pan and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (** see note about leftovers)

Stuffing for the squash

Stuffing for the squash

10. Remove squash from oven and discard the water and pour any accumulated maple syrup/butter liquid into rice filling in pan. Stir to combine. Fill both halves with rice stuffing and top with sprinkling of nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese.

*Note – When cooking brown rice I really recommend doing so in a seasoned broth (I prefer vegetable) and add a few bay leaves. Makes a huge difference and the extra flavouring is great with savoury dishes like this!

**Note – This recipe makes far more than what will fill the hollows of the squash. My favourite leftover idea is mixing some nutritional yeast (or parmesan cheese) in the filling and putting a bunch in a tortilla wrap topped with hot sauce. Great pack lunch!!


Stuffed Squash!

Stuffed Squash!

I can make Apple Pie!!


This was my first attempt at making apple pie with from-scratch crust. It was awesome and not nearly as hard as I thought it would be. Thanks to my internet love, YouTube, I found the easiest crust recipe of all time here and a really easy and tasty apple filling recipe here. Note – if you don’t want to watch these videos I’ve posted my versions of the recipes below 🙂

My culinary adventures always find me changing something (or nearly everything) in a recipe (they’re just guidelines, like the Pirate code, right?) and this pie would be no different. This is what I did differently:

Pie crust – I doubled the recipe (for a bottom and top crust) and the only ingredient detail I changed was using olive oil vs. canola oil simply because that is what I had. You may think this would be terrible but you would be wrong! It baked really well and deliciously flaky! Even though there was more of a savoury mouth-feel it totally didn’t ruin the sweet apple pie in any way. Although, I think for next time I’ll get some grapeseed oil (flavourless) and this pie crust will be used for many future recipes! Hint: Acadian heritage recipes coming up!

Apple filling – I used 8 apples as the ones I get from Spud are usually smaller than the gigantic ones you may find at the grocery store. Next time I may even use more but will need to increase crust recipe further to be able to cover the heaping apple filling. I also decreased the sugar quantity to 3/4C from 1C because I don’t like super sweet desserts and figured the apples would add enough sugar themselves.

Pie Crust (top and bottom)


2 and 1/4 cup All-purpose flour

1 tsp. Salt

2/3 cup Canola, Grapeseed or Olive oil

1/4 cup Ice water

2 sheets of waxed paper about 16-18” long (for rolling the dough)


In a medium sized bowl, mix flour and salt with a fork. Add oil and stir in to flour and salt mix. The mixture does not have to be uniform in look or texture but rather just barely mixed together. Add the ice water and again try to not over work the mixture but to just combine the ingredients enough for it to hold together.

Push the dough together in to a ball in the bowl with your hands. Split the dough in half and put one portion on a sheet of waxed paper and leave the other in the bowl. Place the other sheet of waxed paper on top of the dough and using a rolling pin gently roll the dough in to a round that is greater in circumference than your pie plate (I used a 9″ glass plate). The dough should be about 5mm/1/8 thick.

Gently but quickly turn the waxed paper over on top the pie plate and remove the paper from the dough. Then with a light hand lift the sides of the dough along the edge of the pie plate and press the dough in to the corners. This is where watching the video to see how the master, Nana, does this step is useful as she explains it really well.

Prepare the top crust exactly like the bottom crust but leave it sandwiched between the waxed paper while preparing the filling. Set both of the crusts aside and follow the filling details below.

Note: This crust can also be halved and baked unfilled (aka blind baking) for cream/custard pies. If this is the case for your pie recipe adventures, make sure to take a fork and press holes in to the bottom to reduce crust bubbles while baking. Place in a 400F pre-heated oven for about 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Check the crust at around the 6-8 minute mark for any areas that are producing bubbles and gently press down with fork while the crust is still pliable. Remove when baked to golden in colour and set aside to cool before filling.

Apple Pie Filling


6-8 apples (depending on size)

½ to 1 lemon, juiced (again depending on size and amount of juice extracted)

3/4 cup organic cane sugar

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

very tiny pinch of salt

3 tbsp cornstarch

2 tbsp butter

1 egg, beaten


Pre-heat oven to 375F.

Peel, core and slice apples. Length or width wise – that’s up to you. Put all the sliced apples in to a bowl, pour lemon juice over them and stir them all around to get them a bit coated (helps to reduce oxidation aka browning of the apples). Add to the bowl of sliced apples the sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and pinch of salt. Stir to make sure all apples are covered well. Finally add cornstarch and, again, stir well.

Pour all the apples with all the sugary juices in to the prepared pie crust. Cover with prepared top crust. A good tip is to tuck the top crust on the inside of the bottom and pinch them together ensure a good seal. I barely had enough dough for my 9″ pie plate so will likely be increasing the recipe next time and will have leftovers to make cinnamon sticks! Note – Follow up recipe to be posted in the future about these treats.

Brush a bit of the beaten egg all over the top, for a golden flaky crust, and put the filled pie plate on a cookie sheet then in to the oven.

Bake for an hour.



Transit + kids = unexpected cuteness

Decided to take the bus home tonight instead of walking or squeezing on to a packed train. There was an adorable kid, about 3 years old, sitting behind me with his mom chatting away about all the thing he was seeing. Cars. Big trucks. Mountains painted on the side of the MEC store. Until they got to their destination which turned out to be Jelly doughnuts. As he and his mom were preparing to get off the bus he exclaimed “Stop for doughnuts!” Amazing!

Stolen Bike Spotted!

I received some very unexpected news in an email last night… that Bruiser-the-Bike had been spotted near the University of Calgary! I had given up hope that I would ever see the bike again a few months after it was stolen but it seems that this sighting may actually be my bike! There has been some modification but the fellow that saw it believed it was my stolen bike. Here are the details:

The bike was spotted at the intersection of 32nd Ave and 37th St NW, near the University, around 6:20pm on May 7th, 2013. He walked down the stairs from the brick low-income housing, across the crosswalk on 32nd Ave, and looked to be heading north on 37th St.

The bike was a Kona Kula Supreme frame, the white and yellow with red highlights – a fairly rare frame and very recognizable.  There was what looked like red electrical tape wrapped around the non-drive side seat stay in two spots, I recall seeing similar tape on your friends bike.  The fork was not the Lefty though, it was an old model Marzocci dirt-jump style fork. 

The guy was wearing a white and blue baseball cap, flat brim, with matching sunglasses.  White and blue outfit, though I can’t remember much else.  He was riding it with the seat all the way down, like a dirt-jumper would.  His clothing made the impression of the stereotypical ‘gangster’ style.

Here is a picture with the pointed out changes according to the fellow that spotted the bike.

Missing bike update

This information has been passed on to the Calgary Police Department to update the police report I filed last year and I will be visiting the University’s Campus Security this evening in the event they see it and can contact the police.

If you see the bike please do not approach the person as we will need to make absolutely sure that this is my missing bike. Please contact me and I will notify the police.

Here’s hoping this story has a happy ending 🙂