When we first got possession of our house it was a pretty sore sight for the eyes. Tenants had been living in it (and one even refused to leave for a while) so not only did the house need fixing up, it was also disgustingly messy. I wish I was exaggerating when I say that entire chunks of rotting food were on the kitchen floor, random piles of garbage were scattered about and the mold in the bathrooms was unreal. The basement had the strongest smell of cat urine I’ve ever experienced and I’m pretty sure there were some cat feces hiding down there too. Needless to say, we had our work cut out for us. Thankfully it was nothing that some blood, sweat and tears couldn’t fix. And I mean a lot of tears- if you had told me how much I would have been brought to tears when we were renovating our house, I never would have believed you. But DAMN, renovations are stressful and nothing feels better when you’re stressed than to let out a good cry. We are not done all of the renovations yet, but we’re done the main and second floor. The basement is still unfinished but I have hopes that the basement will be a less stressful renovation since it’s not an area we actually need right now.
My favourite room in our new house is obviously the kitchen. I’ve never had my own kitchen with actual countertop space before and now that I have it, I don’t know how I lived without it. We got our cabinets from Ikea and our contractor got us a sweet deal on a quartz countertop. I initially had my heart set on kelly green glass subway backsplash tiles but those turned out to be grotesquely overpriced. We ended up finding beautiful blue glass subway tiles that satisfied my need for a fun and bright kitchen and also saved us a nice chunk of change. We found our tiles on clearance for less than a dollar a square foot! We also found floor tile that looks like hardwood. I love the look of it and also how practical and durable it is. Last but not least, having the look out window has already proven to be very useful. I can be baking away and still keep an eye on our pups in the other rooms. When we’ve had friends over for dinner they can talk to me through the window while staying out of my way while I feverishly finish prepping dinner.
Okay, that’s enough talking, now for some pictures :)
Did I mention that we got a dishwasher? I’ve never loved anything as much as I love that dishwasher. Actually, maybe I love our dual compartment oven just as much. It’s so convenient being able to cook at two different temperatures in one oven!
We’re planning on getting a new fridge in the future so that all of our appliances can match, but the one we have came with the house and seems to be doing its job :)
And alas, a pantry! A glorious pantry! Food storage should not be underestimated :)
I don’t think that there’s a better treat on a warm winters night than freshly baked cookies.
Especially when they’re as delicious as these cookies are!
Gluten-Free & Vegan Spiced Pecan Cookies
Soft and fragrant cookies filled with crunchy pecans and pumpkin pie spices. No butter, no eggs, no gluten and no dairy make these cookies a treat for almost everyone!
Adapted from this recipe.
Makes 24 cookies
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar (any granulated sugar should work)
- 1 1/2 tsp egg replacer mixed with 2 tbsp water
- 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp butter extract (it’s vegan- go figure!)
- 2 tbsp unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour mix (I used Bob Red Mill)
- 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
- 2 tsp tapioca starch
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Beat the coconut oil until it softens. Add the coconut sugar and continue to beat until the sugar crystals dissolve into the oil.
- Mix the egg replacer powder with the 2 tbsp of water and add to the oil/sugar mixer. Beat until combined.
- Add the extracts and non-dairy milk and beat until combined.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the pecans, and beat until a dough is formed.
- Fold in the pecans.
- Drop cookies onto lined baking sheet. Flatten cookies to desired thickness.
- Chill cookies on baking sheet for 20 minutes.
- Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for another 5 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack.
Apparently I haven’t posted for 7 months. I suppose that’s kind of a long time, especially considering that I only started this blog two years ago. Life has been so gloriously busy that creating in the kitchen and posting about those creations has completely fallen off of my radar. I’m not sure what will come next year, but considering that I am my future sister-in-law’s maid of honour for her wedding next year AND am getting married myself next year, I’m not going to hold my breath for mega recipes to fly out of my brain in the new year. So why bother breaking my dry-spell of posting if I don’t even have a recipe to share?
Because I have the cutest puppy in the world, obviously. And our little fur-baby has been so helpful with our house renovations and move that he deserves some credit:
Wayne, the builder:
Wayne, the quality inspector:
Wayne, the moving truck driver:
Wayne, the unpacker:
Wayne, the laundry folder:
Wayne, the recycler:
And of course, Wayne- the yoga instructor:
I cannot believe how long it has been since I’ve posted a recipe here. I wish I could say that I will start posting recipes frequently again, but my recipe notebook is packed in a box somewhere and I don’t know when I’ll be unpacking. My fiance and I are currently staying at his parents house while we finish up renovations in our new house. So not only do I not have my recipe notebook, I also don’t have my own kitchen to experiment and make a mess in. One day in the near future I will though and it will be glorious!
In the meantime, I’m sharing a recipe today that I have memorized because I’ve made it THAT many times. And yes, it is a cookie recipe. What other recipe would I make that often?
I love these cookies because they’re naturally sweetened with banana and they’re packed with protein thanks to our friend Mr. Peanut Butter. These cookies are healthy enough to enjoy frequently but they don’t taste like it. The richness of the peanut butter mixed with the decadent chocolate makes these beauties a real treat!
Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oaties
Decadent cookies that are naturally sweetened and healthy enough to enjoy everyday!
- 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
- 2 tbsp ground flax seeds
- 1 medium banana, mashed
- 1/3 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 1/3 cup natural peanut butter
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- arrowroot starch for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl mix together rolled oats and ground flax seeds and set aside.
- In a medium bowl cream together the mashed banana, non-dairy milk and peanut butter.
- Add the oat mixture to the medium bowl and mix until combined.
- Stir in the chocolate chips and then portion the dough onto the lined baking sheet.
- Use a fork dipped in arrowroot starch (to prevent sticking) to flatten the cookies to your desired thickness, remembering that they will NOT spread while they bake.
- Bake for 10 minutes and let cool on baking sheet for another 5 minutes before enjoying!
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So I’ve been pretty MIA lately. It has definitely not been intentional. Lots has been going on for me and developing and posting recipes has unfortunately taken a backseat. Some of what has been consuming my time has been very exciting! The house my fiance and I bought back in January is finally free of tenants (a lemon I had to make lemonade out of) and now we’re working on some renovations before we move in. My previous weekend routine of baking and going to spinning classes has been replaced with breaking up drywall and filling garbage bags with broken tiles. I’ve found it surprisingly entertaining and rewarding. There is something very therapeutic about breaking stuff and putting it into garbage bags. I don’t know why. I’ve also been feeling less than fantastic for the last little while so I began seeing a naturopath to see what was going on. One of the tests I did was a food specific IgG antibody assessment (a.k.a. food sensitivity test). Before I could take the test I had to eat all of the foods I had been avoiding so the test would be accurate. That was fun and delicious and actually less painful than I had anticipated.
And today I got the results back from the food sensitivity test. And my mind is exploding. Everything makes sense and doesn’t make sense at the same time. My test showed that I have a very strong reaction to the following foods:
- cow dairy
- cane sugar
Not my beloved beans! Dairy didn’t surprise me. Eggs surprised me, but I’m over that. Cane sugar didn’t surprise me but is kind of annoying. But beans? Why beans? Delicious, protein and fibre packed beans? Tear*
I also had reactions to:
- bakers yeast
- goat dairy
Which means…yup, you guessed it, no reaction to gluten or wheat. So my experience of feeling better when I eliminated gluten still vey much happened but likely happened because when I took out gluten I unintentionally also took out bakers yeast. I remember that I started to feel better, but eventually started to feel less than great again. I took out dairy and cane sugar a month or so later and felt great again. It was also around this time that I got more interested in nutrition and learned about the benefits of a plant-based diet and significantly decreased my consumption of animal products, including eggs. I felt so great and had so much energy that I presumed I had figured out exactly how my body worked best. Over this past winter though I started to crave eggs and started eating them more often. I also started missing bread and started buying gluten-free bread (with bakers yeast). And now I understand why I had been feeling so blah lately.
So what’s next? Well I’ve got to focus on eliminating the foods I react to and see how I feel. To be honest, I don’t know what that means for this blog. I’ve clearly dedicated this space to being a gluten-free place and I honestly don’t know what I’ll do now. After I’m starting to feel more like myself I’m sure the answer will come to me :)
Ever wanted something that tasted like a dessert but was filled with veggies?
Well you’re in luck because Leanne Vogel’s newest cookbook Vibrant Life Cleanse Program & Cookbook (that I introduced the other day) is filled with juice and smoothie recipes that are absolutely delicious. There’s even an entire chapter in the book dedicated to dessert smoothies. Now that’s my kind of chapter! I’m honestly drooling just thinking about all the recipes I cannot wait to try!
Leanne was kind enough to let me share a recipe with you. This recipe is fantastic because it’s a smoothie made with fresh juice. A bit more labour intensive than just a smoothie or just a juice, but the flavour is unbelievable. It’s definitely worth the extra effort. I would suggest making a double serving when you make this. Believe me, you won’t regret it.
Shared with permission of Leanne Vogel.
Serves 1 (Makes 500ml)
1 orange, juiced
4 carrots, juiced
1 golden beet, juiced
8 frozen mango chunks
3 ice cubes
Juice the orange, carrots and golden beet.
Pour the juice into the jug of your high-powered blender, followed by remaining ingredients in the order they are listed.
Blend on high for 1 minute, or until smooth.
Transfer to a glass and serve immediately.
To store: pour into a glass container and keep in the fridge for 1-2 days. Alternatively, pour into a plastic container and freeze for up to 1 month.
Grab your copy of the cookbook here and after you do, immediately flip to the dessert smoothie chapter!!! Just do it.