Earl Grey Ice-Cream

Over the past couple of years cooking has become a growing passion of mine. I love playing with different flavours and techniques and, while I am by no means a professional chef, it’s extremely satisfying for me to see my skills developing. Last Christmas my boyfriend got me an ice-cream maker and I’ve had an absolute blast trying out different flavour combinations. Red velvet, salted caramel chocolate, orange and white chocolate – I can’t stop coming up with ideas. One of my most recent flavours was earl grey. I made it this past weekend and I was amazed at how easy it was and how delicious the finished flavour was. It’s zingy yet creamy with a touch of lemon and caramel along with that unmistakable bergamot flavour we all know and love. This is an elegant dessert that is delightful on its own, but goes especially well with cozy, spicy desserts – for example, poached pear cake or apple pie. Are you addicted to both tea and ice-cream like me? Give this tasty confection a whirl.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Cups Whipping Cream
  • 2 Cups Homogenized Milk
  • 1.5 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Caramel Extract
  • 1.5 Tsp Grated Lemon Zest or Lemon Extract
  • 4 Earl Grey Tea Bags

DIRECTIONS

1 // In a large saucepan, add your milk and cream with your four tea bags. Heat up the milk until you can see that the tea has dispersed and infused with your milk/cream mixture.

2 // Pour your milk/cream mixture into a large bowl and add your sugar and extracts. The lemon and caramel extracts are optional, but they really enhance the sweetness and citrus freshness of the earl grey. With a whisk, blend well until it all gets a bit frothy and everything is well mixed.

3 // Wait until your earl grey ice-cream mixture is completely cool and then freeze it according to the manufacturers instructions.

4 // Once your ice-cream has finished churning, scoop it into an airtight container (it should be the consistency of soft serve) and put it into the freezer until it’s as firm as regular ice-cream (approximately 5 hours, although overnight is best).

5 // Pile it high, add some caramel sauce and shredded coconut (or whatever your favourite add-ons are), dig in, and enjoy!

Have you made homemade ice-cream before? What’s your favourite flavour and recipe? Sweet talk me in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

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Sweet Potato Parmesan Gnocchi

I truly love to cook. It’s creative, productive and there’s something so meditative about working with my hands. Not to mention how rewarding it is to be able to sit down to a delicious homemade meal that I know I made from scratch. I’m trying to experiment a bit more in the kitchen and lately I’ve been making a ton of homemade pasta. While I love using my pasta maker to make fresh fettuccine, it’s quite a time consuming process and sometimes I just want to be able to whip up something that tastes like I slaved for hours without having to actually spend a lifetime at my stove. This decadent recipe for Sweet Potato Parmesan gnocchi tastes and looks fancy, but is incredibly easy and quick to make. Instead of reaching for that prepackaged, preservative-filled gnocchi at your local grocery store, flour up your counter, roll up your sleeves and see for yourself just how easy (and delicious) it is to make Gnocchi yourself! Pour yourself a delicious glass of Pinot Noir and get cracking.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Medium Sized Yams
  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Powdered Parmesan
  • 1/2 TSP Salt
  • 2 TBSP Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 TSP Sage
  • 1 Large Egg

DIRECTIONS

1 // Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2 // Cut up and peel your yams. Place them on a baking sheet drizzled in olive oil with a touch of salt and pepper and then bake them for 30 minutes.

3 // Wait for the yams to cook completely and then mash them until they are smooth without any lumps. You can use a potato masher or fork, but a ricer works best.

4 // Add the spices, Parmesan, salt and egg into the mashed yams and mix well.

5 // Gradually add your flour bit by bit until you have a soft, pliable ball of dough. If your dough is too dry, add a touch or olive oil. If your dough is too moist, dust it in flour.

6 // On a floured surface, roll out your dough into several skinny tubes and then slice into pieces that are about 1 inch thick. Use a fork to create ridges on your freshly cut gnocchi. This is not a total necessity but it will allow whichever sauce or flavourings you use to better adhere to your gnocchi.

7 // Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add your gnocchi. Cook them for a couple of minutes or until they float to the surface of the water. Scoop them out with a ladle and place them into a serving bowl.

8 // Toss your freshly made gnocchi with your favorite sauce and serve. I like it with just a touch of butter or olive oil with mushrooms sautéed in garlic, white wine and sage. With this recipe, simplicity shines and I love just letting the flavour of the gnocchi take center stage.

9 // Enjoy your delicious gnocchi! How easy was that? Seriously, you don’t have to be an expert chef to create scrumptious, homemade gnocchi and it’s sooo much better than what you can buy prepackaged at the store. There is truly no comparison.

If you try this recipe let me know how it goes! I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll be hooked.

xoxo,

Alicia

Brie, Tomato & Basil Pasta

On hot summer days when I’m feeling lethargic and unmotivated, I just want a meal that can be made quickly. And you know, one that is also delicious and not filled with fast-food preservatives and grease – it’s a tall order, I know. Enter, this simple but sumptuous Mediterranean pasta. With chunks of gooey Brie and aromatic sundried tomatoes and basil, it takes fifteen minutes to make but tastes like something you’d eat with delicate silverware over a white linen tablecloth. It’s also incredibly easy. Seriously, if you can boil water and have opposable thumbs to tear cheese, you can whip this dish up without a problem! Here’s how it’s done.

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 Wheel of Brie
  • 1 Cup Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • 2 Chopped Fresh Tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp Fresh Chopped Basil 
  • 1 Package of Pasta (Choose whole wheat variations for extra fiber.)
  • Olive Oil (Use enough to lightly coat all of the pasta.)
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp Garlic Powder 
  • 1 tbsp Oregano
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.

DIRECTIONS

1 // Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to the directions on the package (usually for around 10 minutes). Drain the pasta.

2 // Drizzle olive oil over cooked pasta and toss until all of the noodles are lightly coated. Add the butter and toss the pasta further.

3 // While the pasta is still super hot, tear up Brie into small pieces and add it to the pasta. Stir the pasta so that the melted cheese is dispersed throughout.

4 // Add the garlic, oregano, salt and pepper to the pasta. Toss in the sundried tomatoes and basil. 

5 // Garnish the pasta with a little extra chopped basil to make it pretty!

This is one of the easiest (and most delicious) pastas ever. It tastes equally yummy cold as it does hot and the flavours seem to intensify when you reheat and eat it the next day. You can also customize this recipe with any other add-one you want – for example, my boyfriend loves it with chopped up bacon bits. If you’re feeling like having a lazy evening but don’t want another meal that comes in a take-out box, this quick and tasty dish is absolutely perfect. You can also eat it cold as a pasta salad for a light summer’s day dinner.

What’s your favorite lazy day recipe? 

xoxo,

Alicia

Cheap & Easy | Protein-Packed Vegetable ‘Noodle’ Stir-fry

As a student, there are times when I have to cut my grocery bill way, way down in order to afford life. When I can’t afford to splurge on the more exotic items I want (hello Coconut Bliss Naked Coconut Ice Cream and bubbly wine), I have a couple of go-to recipes that I turn to throughout the week to make sure that I’m not, quite literally, eating through my money. One delightful perk of my new-found vegetarianism is how cheap my meals can be if I just focus on whole foods. When you’re buying nothing but fresh produce and canned lentils, you can watch your grocery bills go from $60+ to quite often less than $30 in the blink of an eye. Still, no one wants to eat nothing but plain, raw veggies all day, so a little creativity is needed to transform them into delicious and nutritious meals that will leave you totally full for hours, while still craving seconds because it’s just that tasty. This particular recipe is chock full of satiating protein which will leave you satisfied until your next meal – without the bloat that comes from gulping down a steak. It’s also delicious, free of refined carbs and can be whipped up in 20 minutes. Read on to find out how to make this plant-based plate of heaven.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Large Carrot
  • 2 Large Zucchinis
  • 1/2 Can Beans (I love chickpeas, pinto beans, and black beans the most but the choice is yours!)
  • 1 Cup Extra Firm Tofu (chopped into cubes)
  • 1/2 Cup Tempeh (chopped)
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 Slices Vegan Cheese
  • * 1 tbsp Peanut Butter (or almond/cashew butter)
  • 2 tbsp Garlic Powder 
  • 1 tbsp Onion Powder
  • Chili Powder (to taste)
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
  • 1/3 Cup Soya Sauce 
  • 1 tbsp Sesame Oil

DIRECTIONS
1 // Wash and peel the carrot and zucchini. Use a spiralizer (follow the directions depending on which model you have) to cut both vegetables into long, noodle-like strands. Set aside.

2 // Grease a skillet with a little bit of coconut or olive oil and add the vegetable ‘noodles’. Cook on medium heat.

3 // Rinse your beans or lentils and add them to your noodles along with all of your chosen spices. The spices I have listed here are my favorite, but feel free to get creative with flavours of your choice – for example, curry, turmeric, cayenne etc. Toss the ingredients and turn the heat slightly down.

4 // Add the diced tomato, tofu and tempeh to the stir-fry, along with the soya sauce and sesame oil. Stir all of the ingredients together. 

5 // At this point there will be a lot of liquid in your stir-fry because all of the moisture will be cooking out of the vegetable noodles and tomato. One way to thicken it up is to add a bit of peanut butter (or any nut butter). This will also give the dish extra protein and enhance the Asian-inspired flavours. It’s totally optional but I really enjoy the creamy consistency and rich, nutty flavour it gives the stir-fry.

6 // Continue to simmer the mixture on low-heat until all of the extra juices have been reduced. Feel free to add some vegan cheese for a little extra flavour and creaminess! 

7 // Serve on its own or with some brown rice or quinoa for even more bite and protein. This dish is extremely filling (contrary to the popular belief that vegetarian and vegan meals leave you feeling hungry) and this recipe makes enough for two or three portions. Again, this recipe is totally customizable depending on your tastes. Swap out the spices and vegetables for your favorites. Don’t like carrots? Spiralize sweet potato or parsnips instead! Not a fan of tofu? Add some seitan and cut up portobello mushrooms! 

I have really enjoyed cooking vegetarian meals and I find that because they do not have meat, the extra effort and creativity that goes into creating these dishes makes them even more delicious then some of the carnivorous meals I enjoyed in the past. It’s also nice not feeling bloated or lethargic after every meal! Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a vegetarian or vegan, keeping at least some of your meals completely plant-based throughout the week will have a powerfully positive effect on your health – as well as your cooking prowess! 

Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think! Also, as always, I’m always snooping around for new veggie recipes, so please give me a shout my herbivore friends! 

xoxo,

Alicia

My Go-To Green Smoothie

green-smoothie-recipe
When I’m in a pinch for time or simply want a super healthy meal on the go, green smoothies are one of my favorite breakfast options. They are packed with vitamins and can be made in minutes with minimal clean-up afterwards. Packed with chlorophyll and other essential plant-based nutrients, green smoothies have been praised for their many health and beauty benefits, such as glowing skin, shinier hair, a stronger immune system, and a decreased risk of heart disease. They are also a great way to sneak in extra greens without you even noticing them (kids love them)! There are a lot of great recipes out there that I enjoy, but this is my favorite green smoothie recipe of all time. Chock-full of healthy fats, vitamins, and antioxidants, this rich and creamy smoothie tastes like dessert but packs a serious nutritional punch. Plus it’s vegan!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Avocado
  • 2 Handfuls of Mixed Greens
  • 1 Cup Blueberries
  • 1 Cup Frozen Strawberries, Peaches & Pineapple
  • 1 tbsp Spirulina
  • 2 tbsp Matcha Powder
  • 2 Cups of Vanilla Almond Milk

DIRECTIONS

1 // Add all of the fresh fruit and avocado into the blender and add one cup of almond milk. Blend on high until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

2 // Toss in the leafy greens and frozen fruit along with the almond milk, spirulina, and matcha powder. Blend on high until the smoothie is entirely mixed and has a frosty yet creamy consistency.

3 // If you prefer your smoothie to be sweeter, add a drizzle or honey or real maple syrup and blend on low to mix it in.

4 // Enjoy your delicious and super healthy green smoothie!

Have you tried green smoothies and, if so, are you a fan? If you give this recipe a try, let me know how you felt about it! It’s my fave but I’m curious about what others would think. Until next time!

xoxo,

Alicia

Healthy (And Vegan!) Pancakes


There are few things I love more than breakfast and I especially love pancakes. The lazy Saturday mornings I spend making chocolate chip pancakes with my boyfriend are something I really look forward to and cherish.  That being said, lately I’ve decided to put more effort into my health and eating right. I’ve also started eating a vegetarian diet. Although I am not vegan and do eat dairy and eggs, I try to keep portions of those foods small and so I really love the idea of making dishes vegan whenever I can. This pancake recipe came from a friend and colleague and is as delicious as it is nutritious. It leaves out all of the things that could conceivably make pancakes unhealthy (refined sugar, dairy, white flour, eggs) but keeps the flavor and fluffy texture of the pancakes you’ve grown up eating. It’s also filled with energizing vitamins so you won’t feel sluggish after eating these like you would with a stack of flour-made pancakes! They are incredibly quick and easy to make – all you need is a blender and a mere handful of ingredients. Here’s how it’s done!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Cup Apple Sauce
  • 1 Mashed Banana
  • 2 Cups Oatmeal
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • * Extras ( I like raspberries, blueberries, and matcha tea powder)

DIRECTIONS

1 // Preheat a pan or skillet on medium heat. Grease the pan with a bit of coconut oil.

2 // Measure out the ingredients and dump them into your blender or food processor.

3 // Blend on a low speed until the ingredients are blended and have a consistency that resembles batter. If the consistency is too thick, add a little bit of coconut or almond milk.

4 // Use a soup ladle or 1/2 cup to scoop up the batter and pour it onto the hot pan.

5 // Cook the one side until small bubbles start to form. Flip the pancake and cook the other side (approximately 2 minutes). 

6 // Repeat until all of the batter is used up. Garnish with fresh fruit, whipped coconut cream, and a touch of syrup!

If you give these a try let me know how they turned out for you! Also, I’m on the look out for other good vegetarian or vegan recipes so if you have a great one, please share! 

xoxo,

Alicia

Vegetarian Enchiladas


Photo via WeHeartIt

For a long time I have wanted to adopt a vegetarian diet and I have finally decided to take a leap and just do it. I know that there are going to be challenges ahead of me – mainly battling temptation while eating with my family and boyfriend, all of whom love meat and think I’m a bit of lunatic for trying to give it up again. Maybe now that I have put this out into the webosphere I will feel like I’m held even more accountable for my eating habits. I’m super stoked to try more vegetarian dishes and I decided to try and replicate one of my favorite meals – enchiladas – without using any meat. I made this for my boyfriend the other day and he said that he couldn’t even tell that it was meatless. It was flavourful and filling, and a lot lighter in calories than the enchiladas I used to make. It was also super easy! Whether or not you are a vegetarian, I am pretty confident that you will enjoy this dish!

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 Whole Wheat Tortillas
  • 2 Cups of Veggie Ground
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Bell Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tbsp Chili Powder (or to taste)
  • Dash of Salt
  • Dash of Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup of Enchilada Sauce
  • 2 Cups of Shredded Cheese
  • 1 Can of Lima Beans


Photo via WeHeartIt

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (Celsius).

2. Chop the onion into small cubes and sautée with olive oil and the veggie ground. Add the garlic powder, salt, pepper, and chili powder. Sautée for 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent.

3. Grease a baking dish with a bit of olive oil (or coconut oil) and lay out tortillas.

4. Pour enchilada sauce into a bowl (I used pre-made sauce) and scoop a spoonful onto a tortilla and spread the sauce from edge to edge, covering the tortilla. Scoop a couple of spoonfuls of the veggie mixture into the tortilla and sprinkle cheese on top. Roll the wrap and place into the baking dish. Repeat this and line up the enchiladas until all of the mixture is used up.

5. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce on top of the enchiladas and spread it as evenly as possible across. Finally, sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top of the enchiladas.

6. Bake for 15 minutes. Serve with salsa, sour cream, cilantro and guacamole. Enjoy!

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think! Also, if anyone has any vegetarian recipes you think I should try, let me know in the comments!

 

xoxo,

Alicia