Lentil Soup Recipe

IMG_5211Every once in a while I find myself in a phase. I had a shawarma phase, bran muffins phase, and samosa phase. I would go around different stores selling these foods and see which ones I liked best or make different versions myself. Now I’m on my lentil soup phase! I know it’s a little weird considering it’s scorching hot outside and I’m on a soup phase. The good part about lentil soups is that you can eat them warm. Lentils also have awesome health benefits. They are high in protein and good for your digestion!

I have made multiple versions of lentil soup. They absorb spices and herbs quite well so it’s fun playing around with different flavours. Here is a super easy lentil soup recipe!
Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups uncooked lentils of your choice
  • 5 ripe tomatoes
  • 4-5 cloves of chopped garlic
  • fresh basil and lemon thyme leaves
  • dried rosemary
  • spinach
  • salt and pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • ~2 cups of water

IMG_5205From what you can tell, I’m drawing inspiration from Italian flavours with the garlic, olive oil and fresh herbs.

IMG_5210Procedure:

  1. Start by peeling and chopping 4-5 cloves of garlic
  2. Set the garlic aside then move on to dicing the tomatoes.
  3. Once the tomatoes are diced, start roughly chopping the fresh herbs (you can also just tear them in smaller pieces instead)
  4. In a hot medium size pot, pour in the extra virgin olive oil into the pot then swirl it around so that the entire bottom surface has enough oil
  5. Add the chopped garlic into the pot
  6. Sauté the garlic until the edges turn brown
  7. Once the garlic edges turned brown, you can add the diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, chopped herbs and dried rosemary
  8. When the tomatoes release their juices you can add the uncooked lentils into the pot (use a small to wash the lentils before adding them into the pot to take out any impurities)
  9. Mix the ingredients around then add the water. Add a pinch of more salt and pepper before closing the lid
  10. Check on the lentils once in a while to make sure they don’t burn or if they need more water (I like to add a little olive oil when I check them so they don’t stick at the bottom of the pot)
  11. Meanwhile, chop or tear your spinach leaves in smaller pieces.
  12. After 10 minutes, add the spinach into the pot.
  13. Check the pot after 5-7 minutes then check if the lentils are cooked.

I used Chinese five spice and spicy sesame seed oil at a different version and it’s by far my fave! Try out different flavour combinations and let me know which ones are your favourites by leaving a comment below!

Always,

-K

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Fresh Rolls x 2

I’ve been really loving fresh rolls lately, so I decided on making a couple of recipes. They are healthy and tasty alternatives for snacking, appetizers/starters or if you have eaten enough an entire meal! They are also very easy and cheap to make. And don’t worry, you can easily find rice wrapper at any Asian grocery stores or supermarkets.

Vegan Fresh Rolls with Beets

IMG_4959Ingredients:

  • rice wrapper
  • red beets
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh mint leaves
  • fresh basil leaves
  • alfa alfa sprouts
  • cucumber
  • tomato
  • lime juice
  • salt & pepper

Procedures:

  1. Start by washing the cucumber, tomato and beets
  2. In a small pot, boil the beets and cook until tender
  3. While we are waiting for the beets to cook, we can start slicing the cucumber and tomato (Tip: to wrap the roll more easily, slice the cucumber and tomato lengthwise into sticks or wedges (tomato))
  4. Once the beets are done cooking, take them out of the water and set it aside to cool down (I peeled my beets before boiling it but you don’t have to).
  5. Set aside your sliced cucumbers and tomato to make some room on the cutting board for the fresh mint and basil leaves
  6. Stack the fresh herbs on top of each other and then roll it into a cigar shape
  7. With your rolled herbs, chop your herbs from the tip to the end of the cigar shape. You should have strips of fresh herbs (if you want to, you can chop them a little finer, I just prefer to chop them in strips)
  8. When your beets are done cooling down, start dicing them (about 1/2 inch or less)
  9. Put your diced beets in a bowl and add the fresh herbs, extra virgin olive oil, lime juice and salt and pepper
  10. We can start making the roll by soaking the rice wrapper in a bowl with some warm water (soak the rice wrapper until it has soften, you don’t have to wait too long
  11. Place the rice wrapper in a clean board and start layering (I started layering with the sprouts then cucumbers, tomato and then the beets). Leave a little bit of room at the bottom of the wrapper
  12. Once you have all of the ingredients layered on the wrapper, start rolling by taking the bottom of the wrapper and folding it over the layers.
  13. Then take the right and left side of the wrapper and close the edge of the layered ingredients. From here can continue rolling until you reach the top of the wrapper.

Shrimp Fresh Rolls with Mushrooms

IMG_4938Ingredients:

  • rice wrapper
  • shrimps
  • mushrooms
  • hoisin sauce
  • soy sauce
  • white vinegar
  • spicy sesame seed oil
  • alfa alfa sprouts
  • cucumber

Procedures:

  1. Start by slicing the cucumbers lengthwise into sticks (the same as above)
  2. Prep the shrimps by washing them first and then clean the shrimp by peeling the shells and removing the vein on the spine of the shrimp from head to tail
  3. You can boil them until they turn pink or I decided to sauté them in butter
  4. I later used the same pan to cook the mushrooms once I removed the shrimps when they finished cooking
  5. Added salt and pepper into the pan of mushrooms and left it alone to mix the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, white vinegar and spicy sesame seed oil together in a small bowl
  6. Deglaze the mushrooms with the sauce mixture and cover the pan. Wait a few minutes and keep sautéing until cooked
  7. You can use the same rolling technique from above. The only difference is the ingredients.

Coco Bananaz: Organic, Dairy Free, Delicious!

Coco BananazI had some extra time before attending my pottery class this afternoon so I decided to take a walk around the neighborhood. I’m not too familiar in the area. In fact, I have only been around Runnymede Station before hopping on to a bus further west. While walking around the neighborhood across the street from the pottery studio, I came across the Coco Bananaz E.L.F. (electric, light and fun).

This awesome new alternative to your ordinary ice cream truck is exactly what the slogan says-“Organic, Dairy Free, Delicious!” Coco Bananaz are essentially, frozen banana treats dipped in chocolate. Cindy Stanleigh, owner and CEO of Coco Bananaz, was inspired to start Coco Bananaz after going on a family vacation and spotting a frozen banana vendor. A vegan herself, Stanleigh wanted to bring this idea to the streets of Toronto as a healthy, vegan and gluten free alternative to other commercial frozen treats in the market. Also, Stanleigh truly believes in eating organic and transferred this passion to her frozen treats. She is even using biodegradable plastic packaging for her treats!

Now let me just talk about this E.L.F. It is one cool and sustainable ice cream bike! Stanleigh converted a two-seater E.L.F designed by Organic Transit and replaced the back seat with a freezer unit to store the Coco Bananaz. The freezer runs on a powerful lithium battery that is recharged using the solar panels on the roof of the vehicle. The E.LF. does not have an engine but actually runs on man power aka Stanleigh’s pedaling. Each Coco Bananaz treat is $4 taxes included and Stanleigh is available for booking on special occasion and group parties (e.g. children’s birthday parties, etc.)

For more info please click on her website: www.cocobananaz.com or find Coco Bananaz on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Say hi to Cindy when you see her riding around the city and don’t forget to try her Coco Bananaz!

Always,

-K

Bloomer’s

Yes, I was so hungry that the aroma coming out of the box made me start eating my sandwich on a subway bench while waiting for the train to come. Excuse the lighting
Yes, I was so hungry that the aroma coming out of the box made me start eating my sandwich on a subway bench while waiting for the train to come. Excuse the lighting!

Last Friday a few of my friends and I decided on going to High Park for a picnic. I wanted to walk from campus (UofT, St. George), to High Park just for fun since I haven’t had the chance to do so. Well, that sort of happened. Just having a banana and a few cookies for breakfast didn’t cut it. So a few of us walking together made our way to Bloomer’s near Ossington station to get a quick bite.

Being vegans, my friends new where the awesome vegan places are in Toronto. And Bloomer’s was definitely one of them. I ordered their tofu club sandwich. It had tempeh bacon, marinated grilled tofu, tomatoes, lettuce and some type of sriracha mayo. Here’s what I like about it: everything. The marinade on the tofu was great. It almost tasted like a savoury teriyaki BBQ tofu; you can taste the soy sauce and some sweetness from another ingredient in the marinade. I also liked how well the different components of the sandwich came together. Adding a spice and tangy element from the sriracha may, crunch from the lettuce and some freshness from the tomatoes. But I have to say, that tempeh bacon was just a crispy and delicious substitute for bacon! For me, it made the sandwich!

They also have some in-house made pastries, soups, salads and various kinds of drinks to compliment their dishes. However, I did wait quite a bit for my sandwich. There was only one person on the front counter and three in the back. With a line of people quickly forming, the front staff looked a bit flustered. The restaurant had decent seating with a few booths near the wall on the left side and tables parallel to them. Despite the wait, I recommend you guys to check out Bloomer’s and try their tofu club sandwich-vegan or not!

Happy Sunday!

Always,

-K

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