Archive for the ‘My favourite ingredients’ Category

Hi! As I sit sipping wine and watching Paul and my bestie Sarah duke it out in Wii Sports Resort, I thought I’d take a minute to share some of my favourite things as of late. There really are so many right now, it’s hard to choose…

Do: Sunday spring strolls 

The weather in Toronto today was unreal. After a seemingly endless winter, the warm sunshine could not have been more welcomed. While strolling around the east end, our day mainly consisted of  goofing off, admiring rows upon rows of beautiful flowers, and even jumping a fence. This happened.

Watch: Project Nim

James Marsh, the creative mastermind behind Man on Wire, has done it again. Project Nim is outstanding. The documentary follows the life of a loveable chimpanzee named Nim who was the star of a groundbreaking experiment back in the 70s. The best thing about this film (yes, even better than watching little Nim learn how to use sign language) is that Marsh respects his audience enough not to moralize the situation on our behalf. He lets his viewer formulate their own opinions about what ended up happening to Nim. Project Nim is a beautiful, yet incredibly challenging, movie that has left me shaken.

Listen: Fleet FoxesHelplessness Blues

Whenever I hear a Fleet Foxes song, I can’t help but feel happy. Their music is folky and cute and melodic and everything I would want from a band with both alliteration and a furry animal in their name. Their new album is as whimsical and catchy as their last, and the title track has been stuck in my head for days.

Read: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

I consider myself somewhat of a self-help book skeptic, but when this one came recommended to me by both my mum and my sister, I approached it with an open mind. The book is short, easy to read and totally worthwhile. Ruiz’s philosophy is simple: follow four basic principles to achieve happiness. Sounds sappy and preachy, I know. But his wisdom comes from the intuitive simplicity of the agreements, namely to be impeccable to your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions and always do your best. One of Ruiz’s ideas that has really stuck with me has to do with not taking other people’s judgments personally (obviously easier said than done, but important nonetheless). Ruiz likens the negative opinions of others to “emotional garbage”, and if you take them personally then “you eat all their emotional garbage, and now it becomes your garbage”. Okay, so maybe the eating analogy sold me, but either way I feel a little more peaceful and a tiny bit wiser from reading this book, and that’s gotta count for something right?

photos by pwisenberg

Enjoy: Grill season

My new favourite dinners are living proof that vegans can enjoy the good ol’ bbq as much as meat eaters! Apart from my newfound obsession with Yves zesty Italian veggie sausages, I’ve been enjoying a plethora of charred veggies in the past few weeks. And although I can’t resist the smoky, savoury flavour of all things grilled, my main source of barbecue joy has come from the fact that Paul does the grilling! He made this beautiful meal for me last weekend (okay, I may have planned, seasoned and prepared mostof it, but still), which consisted of crispy tempeh strips with a lemony-tahini dipping sauce, button mushrooms tossed in fresh parsley, and charred asparagus and red pepper. So good!

Lastly, I couldn’t post today without mentioning one of most favourite people ever- my mum! Mum, you can take sole responsibility for my ever-increasing love of cooking and eating and I wouldn’t be the strong young woman I am today without your endless support. Happy mother’s day!



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These past couple of weeks have been great- an exciting opportunity has presented itself (more on this soon), I enjoyed a great night out with my girlfriends, went home to see my parents for Easter, and celebrated my, ahem, sixth anniversary with Paul! I wanted to spread a little bit of my happiness with you all so here are some of my current favourite ingredients…

Listen: Iron and Wine- Kiss each other clean

I first heard about this album through my friend Eric’s music blog, The Subjective Listener, and he’s completely right in saying that Iron and Wine’s latest is truly phenomenal. The instrumentation is reminiscent of Dave Matthews in its hay-day, while the lyrics have a hauntingly Freudian vibe (think: an abundance of mother/child references). The animal imagery of Kiss each other clean is pervasive and at times grotesque and confusing, yet Samuel Beam’s voice is so soothing that his disturbing words somehow feel like a welcome lullaby. The album seems meticulously composed as a whole, yet each song manages to hold its own as well. Even the artwork couldn’t be more perfectly crafted. The dark scene (completed with camouflaged birds, a burning barn and hypnotic eyes) is peppered with beautiful bursts of vibrant colours. I can’t understate the power of this beautiful music.

Go: District

If you’re from the Toronto area, eat here. Just do it. Paul and I enjoyed a wonderful anniversary meal here and I can actually give the experience a ten out of ten (believe me, I’m rarely this kind when critiquing restaurants). Everything- from the cozy bistro atmosphere to the spectacular vegetarian maki platter I ordered- was pure perfection. District is such a gem, I can’t wait to go back!

Do: Family Easter

My Easter weekend was truly lovely. On Friday, my mum made a scrumptious vegan chilli, which was followed with some very necessary euchre and boardgames. On Saturday, the fam opted to forego the traditional ham and scalloped potatoes in favour of a massive Asian-inspired feast (sake-tinis included). This, of course, made me very happy. My mum and I made dumplings for the first time, plus I got to show off my serious tofu-and-veggie-making chops. Sunday was a day of doing puzzles, reading books and eating a bit too much Easter candy. Such fun!

photos by me & pwisenberg

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Hi! Wow, it feels like it’s been ages since I’ve posted. It’s been business as usual around here – I’ve cooked a few great meals this week (chopped salad with creamy cannellini beans, stuffed spaghetti squash and fettuccine with zucchini and mixed peppers), but shame on me for not getting photographic evidence of any of them! Tsk, tsk. Anyway, hopefully this week I’ll feel more inspired to capture my dishes on camera, but in the meantime here are some of my favourite ingredients of the moment:

Indulge: Bunner’s Vegan Bakery

This place just opened in Toronto and it’s sooo amazing- they have everything from vegan cupcakes to donuts to homemade pies. My fav was the red velvet cupcake with the heavenly icing. Mmm, I can’t wait to go back!

Watch: The End of the Line

Although its cinematography may not compare to Planet Earth or The Cove, The End of the Line is a powerful documentary that I encourage everyone to watch. It offers a chilling account of the extreme over-fishing of our oceans that has been occurring since the fifties and the toll it is taking on our planet. It doesn’t hurt that the film is narrated by vegan/silver fox Ted Danson either.

Remix: Kitchenware

Don’t worry, this is not my foray into interior-decorating. But I did happen to have an extra sugar dish lying around and a ceramic egg container looking quite lonely in my fridge, so I decided to put them to good use on my usually over-cluttered dresser. I used the egg dish to hold earrings and rings I wear often, and the sugar bowl turned out to be the perfect container for all my favourite lipsticks!

I am very fortunate to get to enjoy these small luxuries, and have been feeling very grateful lately in light of recent global events. I am trying to appreciate the small things in life that bring me comfort and I hope you all take a moment to do the same.

xo robin

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It’s Sunday and somehow feels like Spring is in the air, both of which make me a very happy girl. I’ve been a having a wonderful weekend so far- on Friday we hosted a pizza party and yesterday Paul and I stayed in for a date night, perfection. I hope you are all feeling as peaceful as I am. Since it’s become something of a tradition to share my favourite ingredients on Sundays, here’s this week’s edition.

Get: Adorable bowls

I picked up these bowls at Anthropologie this week and have since fallen totally in love with them. I love the pretty pastel colours and how they remind me of what ought to be used at a fifties ice cream parlour. Ah, the little things.

Watch: Exit through the gift shop

If you haven’t heard of Banksy by now, one quick Google search is all it takes to understand what all the fuss is about. This secretive artist is amazing and this documentary- although never revealing Banksy’s true identity- gives viewers an inside look at both the passion and risk involved in creating memorable street art. Apparently, the film has been accused of falling into the genre of “prankumentary” (think Catfish and I’m still here) but the jury’s still out on that one. In my opinion, it’s an incredible movie… even if Banksy is getting the last laugh somewhere.

Love: This

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, Paul surprised me by having a ton of our favourite photos printed. I’m all for Facebook and Flickr, but there’s something about having a good old 4 by 6 to hold in your hands. Let the hunt for cute frames begin…

Shop: Joe Fresh

My friends and I love Joe Fresh. Who cares if the stores are located inside a huge supermarket, it makes grocery shopping that much more fun. The clothes are cute, cheerful and insanely affordable. Fourteen dollar t-shirts? Sign me up!

Go: New York, New York

It’s true, this birdie’s going to the Big Apple! We’re heading down Thursday for the weekend and let’s just say I’m more than a little excited. Neither Paul or I have ever been so we plan on taking in most of the major sites (camera-around-neck-dorkiness included). At the top of my list are the Kandinsky exhibit at the Guggenheim and dinner here (reservations have even been made). If anyone can think of anything I must do, see or eat while I’m there, please let me know!

Happy Sunday! xo

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Hello lovely readers! More recipes to come very soon I promise, but in the meantime here are five things making me happy right now…

Do : Saturday night dinner (& drink) parties

Last night I got to do one of my all time favourite things- cook for dinner for my friends. We had a delicious Mexican feast (tempeh tacos, anyone?) and, of course, a couple of drinks. Card games, photo shoots and an impromptu yoga session on the kitchen floor ensued. Such fun! My headache this morning was totally worth it.

Click: Foodgawker.com

Food Gawker is totally my new favourite website. It’s basically exactly what it sounds like- a site for gorgeous photos of drool-inducing dishes. Food porn at it’s best… Oh and it doesn’t hurt that viewers may stumble upon a few Hungry Birdie recipes either.

Listen: Dr. Dog- Shame, Shame

LOVE this band. They may have five albums under their belt already, but Dr. Dog feels brand new to me. I’ve been listening to this album on my iPhone non-stop for the past few weeks, it definitely makes the dreary winter work commute much more bearable. The melodies will get stuck in your head for days and the vocals are reminiscent of Neil Young in the best kind of way. This is good mood music- it’s catchy, fun and totally makes me want to be sitting lakeside with a beer at someone’s cottage somewhere.

photos by pwisenberg

Obsess over: Animal themed items

I’ve always been a sucker for cute things but have recently realized just how many animal themed items I really own. I got this adorable turtle sweater from Anthropologie at a great discount. So what if no one else wanted it? You inject a comfy grey cardigan with striped cuffs and acid green turtles and I am all over it. Don’t even get me started on my cream coloured bunny sweatshirt! Yet my obsession extends far beyond the closet folks- from monkey mugs to Chinese piggy banks, rabbit plates to owl necklaces, I just can’t get enough!

Read: An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin

Yes, that’s the same Steve Martin from Roxanne and Father of the Bride (best movie). We all know he’s funny but turns out he’s a fabulous writer too. If you can get your hands on a copy of this novel anytime soon, I promise you will not be disappointed. Set in Manhattan in the late nineties, the book revolves around the escapades of Lacey Yeager, an up-and-coming art dealer slash fearless man-eater. An Object of Beauty gives readers insight into the glamourous world of valuable art yet it lacks any of the pretentious attitude one might expect from the topic (bonus: the text is brimming with beautiful colour photographs of the paintings Martin refers to). Both hilarious and unassuming, An Object of Beauty offers a wonderfully crafted escape from the dreaded winter blahs.

Until next time little birdies…

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It’s that time again my friends. Today it’s Sunday and that’s reason enough to make me happy, but here are a few other things I’m loving right now:

Do: Sunday grocery shopping with Paul

Sundays are blissful. Being the the only day of the week that is reserved for spending time together doing lovely domestic things, Paul and I adore them. Along with laundry and sleeping in, Sundays were made for grocery shopping. Well, maybe that’s not entirely true seeing as there are typically massive line ups at the store, but such is life. There’s nothing quite like starting the week off with a full fridge and plentiful pantry. Yay food!

Listen: The Decemberists – The King is Dead

I love the Decemberists and I love their new album even more. It is mellow and heart-felt and makes me feel strangely nostalgic for things I’ve never experienced like dusky barnyard dances and stolen kisses under starlit corn fields. Colin Meloy’s voice is so distinct and this album seems more pared down than their last few. It is honest and beautiful and you all should hear it.

Click: Hellodenj.com

Not only is my good friend Danni Dengerink an extremely talented textile designer (the above image is one her new creations), but she is also an adorable fashion blogger. Check out her pretty and colourful site for fabulous outfit posts, sartorial inspiration and more of her beautiful patterns- click click!

Watch: Winter’s Bone

If you haven’t already seen this gritty Oscar contender, add it to the top of your to-do list. Although not a feel-good movie by any means, Winter’s Bone will certainly make you feel good about being in a warm and cozy living room. The film’s setting is utterly bleak and its palate consists of dreary greys and cool blues. Yet, the riveting plot and point-on acting make this movie one for the books. Jennifer Lawrence ‘s performance as Ree Dolly is compelling as she manages to capture her character’s strength and desperation in equal measure. Although I agree that no one can hold a candle to Natalie Portman in Black Swan, it’s a shame that Lawrence likely won’t win the Oscar for this one. She is amazing and so is this movie!

photos by pwisenberg, pattern by ddengerink

Buy: Kuhn Rikon can opener

I know, it’s just a can opener. But it’s like no other can opener you’ve ever known! Swiss company Kuhn Rikon has hit the nail (can?) on the head with this one. Gone are the days of prying jagged-edged lids from half-open cans, this ingenious little gadget does all the work for you. There are no sharp edges in sight and there’s a handy hook that does the prying for you. It also doesn’t hurt that it comes in lime green and has a handle resembling the nose of a basset hound. Yes… I’m excited about a can opener.

Well folks, I’m off to endure Ty Pennington’s incessant yelling on the television gem that is Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (I mock, yet somehow wind up watching each week). Happy Sunday to all!

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Sometimes, there’s just nothing left to do but make a list.  And so, I thought I’d share some of the things that are currently making this girl one very happy birdie (and no, it’s not all food, all the time). Here are my current favourite ingredients:

Read: Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

I recently finished reading this book and it was fabulous. Despite it’s in-your-face title, it actually offers a balanced and refreshing take on the issue of eating meat. Foer eloquently presents both sides of the argument and includes testimonies from family farmers, slaughterhouse builders, and animal activists. Highly recommended.

Eat: Chili garlic sauce

Obviously chili garlic sauce needs no explanation (nor does it’s equally potent relative, Sriracha). It goes with anything and adds a spicy bite to even the most tame of dishes. The fiery heat ensures it’s definitely not for the faint of heart, but hey, who needs those wimps anyway?

Click: Jezebel.com

I already follow far too many blogs, but when I stumbled across Jezebel.com I couldn’t resist adding another to the daily roster. This hilarious website is intended exclusively for women and basically includes all of my guilty pleasure in one convenient location: trashy celebrity gossip, cute animals and baby videos (and baby animal videos- obviously the best kind), fluffy fashion posts, and awesome of-the-moment news stories. Disclaimer: do not go to Jezebel.com if you have something to do, somewhere to go, or someone to meet. Highly addictive.

Listen: Sufjan Stevens’ new(ish) EP, All Delighted People

Sigh, can Sufjan do no wrong? … Actually, some of his original Christmas tunes are pretty brutal (“Christmas in July”, really Sufjan?), but that’s beside the point. All Delighted People only has 8 tracks but it generously provides its listeners with one hour of awesome other-worldly music. The EP is anchored by Sufjan’s epic ballad by the same name (offered in two styles- the original or the classic rock version for those who dare). It’s hard to choose a favourite song, but I always find myself hitting repeat on the hauntingly beautiful “The Owl and the Tanager”. I recommend making a pot of herbal tea, hitting the lights, and sitting back to let Sufjan’s angelic voice and eerie imagery take you away. Seriously, do it.

birdie drawing courtesy of the lovely Lindsay, photos by me

Try: Chalkboard paint

I always loved the idea of using chalkboard paint somewhere in the apartment, but being the lowly renter that I am, I figured it wasn’t in the cards for me. Turns out it’s super affordable, easy to apply, and can be painted over when we move! Added bonus? I have a really cool landlord who didn’t mind one bit. It took a couple of coats and a good three days before we could write on it, but then, voila! It’s so much more convenient than scrambling for a post-it and pen that actually works when a much needed grocery item suddenly comes to mind. Chalkboard paint- the fun, easy way for your friends to tell you they love you by coming over and drawing pictures of cute birds in the margins. Whoo!

There you have it, five little things presently bringing me joy. So tell me friends, what are your favourite ingredients?

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