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Monthly Archives: April 2013

We’re Baaaack! (And we Brought Chocolate)

Hi everybody! Long time no-see!

Some of you have probably been wondering where we’ve been the last few days, since it’s been a full week since we last posted, but we promise we haven’t suddenly given up blogging, and we have good reasons as to why we’ve been missing in action.  Well really, we have one reason, and it is that we’ve been crazy busy this past week!  Ok, so we realize that’s a somewhat lame excuse, but perhaps if we give you a run-down of our lives these last few days you’ll have a better understanding…

Tuesday: Exam #3 (nailed it, by the way ;))
Wednesday: Exam #4 (last exam of the year- hellooo summer!)
Thursday: Mini road trip to Toronto to celebrate a couple of birthdays with a chocolate-making party (yes, that happened- more on that later)
Friday: Mini road-trip home from Toronto then PACK. (We’re moving houses for the next school year- it’s amazing how much random and useless stuff you accumulate after only two years in a place!)
Saturday: Up super early to volunteer all day at a track meet, rush home and quickly pack up last-minute stuff, throw it in the van and rush home to baby sit.
Sunday: Spring cleaning/un-packing (read: gut all cupboards, closets, and bedroom, get rid of everything you don’t need/use/wear and then fill them all back up again with stuff from London house)

So, as you can see we’ve been a little pre-occupied with life these last few days- some of it boring, some fun, and some completely overwhelming and exhausting!  In fact, neither one of us has hardly been on our computers at all!  We’ve missed Simple Sunday, and Heather’s Meatless Monday (sorry, Heather…) but now that our lives are starting to settle down somewhat, we will be back to a more regular posting schedule.

And as a sort-of apology for our prolonged absence, we bring you chocolate!

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Chocolate pumpkin bread, to be more precise.  And yes, we know that making pumpkin bread this time of year is completely out of season.  The thing is, that if we didn’t tell you there was pumpkin in this loaf you would never know it!  So it’s really more like chocolate bread, and is chocolate ever out of season?  (The answer would be no, it is not)

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And while we’re on the topic of chocolate, we think that this is the perfect time to fill you in on the chocolate-making party we attended in Toronto.  (Pretty good segue, don’t cha think? ;))  A couple of the girls on the team have birthdays right around the same time, so we decided to combine them and move our celebration to Toronto for a fun little change of scenery.  One of the girls found this amazing business that sends a Chocolatier to your home and teaches you and your guests how to make chocolate!

First, our lovely instructor Cocoa Kelley (don’t you love that name?) gave us a brief history on chocolate.  It was first made by the Ancient Incas and Myans, who used the cocoa beans to make a drink called “Chocolotal” (please forgive us if we misspelled that!) Fun Fact: in ancient times, before be-heading someone, they offered them a drink of chocolatal to help them relax.  So considerate of them, right?

Anyways, after the little history of chocolate was over, plenty of chocolate making/eating ensued, and of course we got to bring quite a large stash home with us!

Best. Party. Ever.

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So now that we’ve got you thinking about chocolate, you’re going to go and make this delicious, chocolate (and pumpkin) filled bread, right?

Right 😉

Chocolate Pumpkin Bread

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Prep Time: 15 min
Bake Time: 45 min
Serves: 12

Ingredients:

1 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp coffee granules (optional- intensifies the chocolate flavour)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 c. pure pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1/4 c. coconut oil, softened
1/4 c. date paste
1/4 c. maple syrup
1/3 c. milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c. chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Spray a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the first 7 ingredients (all the dry ingredients).  In a separate bowl, beat the eggs.  Add the pumpkin, coconut oil, date paste and maple syrup and stir until smooth.  (There may be a few lumps from the coconut oil- that’s ok).  Add the milk and vanilla and stir again until the mixture is smooth.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until everything is combined.  Add the chocolate chips and give it another quick stir, until the chips are evenly distributed and there are no dry spots in the batter.

Pour the Batter into the prepared pan and bake on the centre wrack for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever been to a chocolate-making party?  What is the coolest party you’ve ever been to?

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Meatless Monday and More Granola

Hey everyone!

So today marks week 2 of the blueberry edition Heather’s Meatless Monday party, which requires us not to make a new recipe with blueberries, but to choose one of the other participant’s recipes to make.

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With so many amazing-looking recipes, it was really hard to choose one!  Since we went the sweet route last Monday, we decided to make a more savoury blueberry dish this time around.  We still had a big bunch of cilantro left over from our salsa-making expeditions, and had just bought some fresh tomatoes at the grocery store, so when we saw Lindsay’s blueberry salsa we knew it was meant to be!

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What a fabulous recipe!  It had just the right amount of balance between sweet and savoury, and the perfect level of heat- and it came just in time since we had just run out of our own salsa 🙂  Thanks Lindsay!

And of course don’t forget to head on over to visit Heather at Better With Veggies to check out what everyone else has been up to this week!

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Now on to the other half of this post! Which is, if you haven’t already deduced from the title, more granola!

Now when you read this recipe some of you might think “wait a second- this recipe is almost the exact same as their banana tahini granola recipe!”  And you’re right.  It is basically the exact same, just with a few ingredient swaps.  So yes, we admit it, this is a bit of a cop-out recipe, but when you find a formula that works, why change it, right?

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To be honest, we weren’t planning on giving you this recipe so soon after posting about our banana-tahini granola (in hopes that you wouldn’t notice how similar they are ;)) but after mentioning it in yesterday’s post and then tantalizing you with pictures of such a pretty-looking parfait, we felt we couldn’t hold out on you any longer…

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So yes, this granola is basically a copy-cat of our last granola recipe, but we think it’s equally as delicious, so we’re not too upset about that 🙂

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So there you have it, folks- granola version 2.0- perfect for layering in an apple parfait, or just for eating by the handful 😉

Apple Cinnamon Granola

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Makes: ~5 cups

Ingredients:

3 c. large-flake rolled oats
1/4 c. chopped walnuts
1/4 c. chopped almonds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 c. unsweetened almond butter
2/3 c. unsweetened apple sauce
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 egg white
1/2 c. raisins

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350C.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, walnuts, almonds, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Stir until evenly mixed.

In another smaller bowl, whisk the apple sauce and almond butter together until smooth.  Add the maple syrup and egg white and mix until everything is fully combined.  Add the wet ingredients to the oat mixture and stir until everything is mixed and there are no dry spots left.

Spread the mixture evenly onto the prepared pan, pressing down slightly.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and stir, breaking up the granola slightly, but leaving several large chunks.  Return to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven again and stir the granola so that the darker pieces are moved to the bottom and some of the less-baked pieces are exposed.  Return to the oven for another 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool (it will get crispier as it cools).

~twosaucysisters

Do you have a go-to base recipe for anything that you like to use to make variations?

 

Simple Sunday: Apple Parfait

As we have said before, a really important part of healthy eating is healthy snacking! We don’t know too many people who can make it all the way from lunch to dinner (or breakfast to lunch, or dinner to bedtime…) without needing that extra something to tie them over until then.

Snacks should be quick, easy and not complicated. At the same time they should be enjoyable, tasty, and of course, nutritious! After all, every time you eat is a chance to give your body important nutrients. That being said, each time you eat should also be fun and exciting, right?

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Right! 🙂

And it should be pretty, too, because pretty food tastes better! (and that’s a scientific fact!)

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Well, ok, that may or may not be scientific, but the proof is in the pudding apple parfait!

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Fresh, juicy and sweet apple chunks layered with creamy yogurt and crunchy granola, this snack was a snap to prepare and out-of-this-world delicious!

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We used plain yogurt mixed with vanilla and cinnamon, but you can use any flavour you want! (Apple – berry anyone?) Also, any granola will do just fine, pick your favourite! For our parfaits, we made an apple-cinnamon version of this granola (recipe to come!). If you’re using store-bought granola, make sure you read the nutrition label to make sure it’s not too high in sugar (10g or more per serving), and watch for aspartame in sweetened yogurt.

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The process is simple: Assemble your ingredients, find a pretty glass and layer them up!

Enjoy! 🙂

Apple Yogurt Parfait

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Serves: 2
Total time: 10min

Ingredients:

3/4 c. plain yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon

OR

3/4 c. of your favourite yogurt

1 apple
3/4 c. granola
cinnamon, for topping

Directions:

Core and dice your apple into small pieces.
If adding vanilla and cinnamon to your yogurt, mix them now.
In a tall glass, layer your ingredients starting with yogurt, then apples, then granola. Continue this pattern until all ingredients are used up.
Sprinkle cinnamon on top and enjoy!

~twosaucysisters

What are your favourite quick and easy snacks?

Taco Time

Is there anyone out there who doesn’t LOVE tacos?

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We think its safe to say that most of you probably do 🙂  We also think that’s its a generally accepted fact that taco salad is one of the best salads out there!

And while traditionally, taco salads have taco shells crushed up on top of them, we think that’s kind of boring…

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Because why put the taco shells on top, when you can make a taco bowl instead?  Obviously having a crispy, edible bowl filled seasoned ground beef, peppers, tomatoes, salsa, quacomole, and “sour cream” is way better!

And it’s much easier than you think!  So here it goes, some step-by-step pictures!

First, find a few bowls (however many people you’re serving, that’s how many bowls you need!).  Fold the whole wheat tortillas to fit inside the bowls, then find something heavy(ish) to put inside them.  We used two small ramekins here, but if you have pie weights, or something similar, they would probably work even better!

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Second, you have to bake them!  They only take about 10 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned and crispy.  Once they’ve cooled slightly, remove the ramekin or pie weights.

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Now, flip them over and bake them a little longer to crisp-up the bottoms.

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After about 5 minutes, the bottoms should be slightly browned and hard to the touch, which mean’s they’re ready to be filled up with delicious taco salad!

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Just be careful when you crack it open- you might be met with an avalanche of creamy, spicy, full-of-flavour beef and vegetables, guacamole, “sour cream” (aka plain yogurt) and salsa. Oh, and don’t forget cheese! 😉

Really, calling a taco salad a “salad” is like calling the snowy weather we’re having today “Spring”- it’s calling itself one thing and doing something entirely different in hopes that no one will notice- but what’s in a name, really?  Taco salad can be called whatever it wants- its too delicious to argue. Spring on the other hand?  You’ve got some ‘splaining to do…

Taco Bowl Salads

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Prep: 15 min
Bake/cook: 20 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients

2 large (10 inch) whole wheat tortilla wraps (corn tortillas would work, too)

500g. extra lean or lean ground beef
1/4 large white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c. sweet bell peppers, diced
1/2 28-oz can no salt added diced tomatoes
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cumin
pinch of salt
pepper, to taste
Optional: hot pepper flakes

Toppings:

Salsa
Guacamole
Plain yogurt (aka “sour cream”)
shredded lettuce
Grated cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Fit the wraps into 2 bowls.  Place something heavy (such as a ramekin or pie weights) on top and bake for 15 minutes, until the edges are slightly browned and crispy.  When they are ready, remove from the oven.  Remove the ramekin or weights and take the tortilla out of the bowl.  Flip them over and bake for another 5 minutes, until the bottoms are slightly browned and hard to the touch.

While the tortillas are in the oven, preheat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the ground beef, onions, and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and the beef is almost cooked. Add the peppers and seasonings and cook until the beef is cooked through, continuing to stir.  Now add the tomatoes and cook until the much of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.  Divide the mixture between the two taco bowls, and top with whatever toppings you desire!

~twosaucysisters

Do you like tacos?  What are your favourite taco toppings?

Clusters of Awesome

Banana and peanut butter is a classic combination.

But there is another.  It is lesser-known, but not any less delicious!  That’s right- there is something else that is equally as delicious as peanut butter and banana.

So what is this magic combination?  Banana and tahini.

Since we started reading food blogs, we have been introduced to many new and wonderful ideas, and the banana-tahini combo definitely makes the list of the top 10 (if we were to make one, that is..).

Unfortunately, we cannot remember on what blog we first heard about putting these two ingredients together, so if you are a food-blogger and have ever mentioned about eating banana and tahini at the same time, feel free to take credit for introducing this idea to us 🙂

For those of you who don’t know, tahini is sesame seed paste.  It’s kind of like peanut butter, except its made with sesame seeds instead (it also has no sugar or salt added to it).  It’s a very common condiment in middle-eastern cooking, and is a major ingredient in hummus.  It can be found in pretty much any grocery store, and has a mild, nutty flavour.

We could go on all day about how delicious and versatile tahini is, but today we’re actually here to talk about granola:

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You see, the other day we decided we wanted to make granola.  We had some ripe bananas that we wanted to use up, so our first thought was to make peanut butter-banana.  But then we decided that we wanted to try something a little different-and thus banana tahini granola came to be!

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We really can’t say enough about this granola!  There’s a slight sweetness from the banana that’s balanced perfectly with the nuttiness of the tahini.  If you’ve never had tahini before and you’re a little hesitant to try it, this is the perfect recipe to start with!  The tahini flavour is very mild in this granola- almost an after thought, really.

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In fact, if you didn’t know there was tahini in the granola, you probably wouldn’t guess that it’s there.  You’d just be wondering why this granola tasted so ridiculously delicious.  Then you would just accept it, and go on blissfully eating it by the bowl-ful. 🙂

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There is also one other very important thing that we must mention about this granola.  It has the best. Clusters. Ever.  The secret?  An egg white!  One single egg white.  Add it into the mix, and you’ll get those hearty clusters that are so highly coveted when making homemade granola!

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Would you just look at those clusters?  No need for a bunch of oil or sugar- because we don’t know about you guys, but when we have granola, we want to eat entire bowlfuls of it!  Stuff it full of sugar and oil and suddenly that becomes a not-so-healthy idea.  That being said, we didn’t add a tonne of sweetener to this, so if you’d prefer you can feel free to add a little more if that suits your taste 🙂

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So please do yourself a favour and go make a batch of this granola.  Then eat a bowl full of it.  In fact, you may even want to make a double-batch, because it is that good.

Banana and tahini- seriously, people.

Banana Tahini Granola

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Prep: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Makes: approximately 5 cups

Ingredients:

3 c. large-flake rolled oats
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c. chopped walnuts
1/4 c. chopped almonds
1 medium banana, mashed
1/4 c. tahini
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg white

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350C.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, sesame seeds, walnuts, almonds, and cinnamon.  Stir until evenly mixed.

In another smaller bowl, whisk the banana and tahini together until smooth.  Add the maple syrup, vanilla extract and egg white and mix until everything is fully combined.  Add the wet ingredients to the oat mixture and stir until everything is mixed and there are no dry spots left.

Spread the mixture evenly onto the prepared pan, pressing down slightly.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and stir, breaking up the granola slightly, but leaving several large chunks.  Return to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven again and stir the granola so that the darker pieces are moved to the bottom and some of the less-baked pieces are exposed.  Return to the oven for another 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool (it will get crispier as it cools).

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever tried banana and tahini?  What is your favourite kind of granola?

A Warm Weather Welcome

Hey all! So we would like to apologize for our lack of posting over the last couple of days, we’re in final exams currently and had two in two days. We’ll be back posting a little more frequently over the next week until we have another two in a row – and then we’re FREE! 🙂

Anyways, the weather is finally getting warmer here, and it’s even been sunny for a couple of days – we were in sports bras on the outdoor track on Monday! We were all pretty excited about it, of course until our coach hit us up with 5k of some serious track work… yikes!

None the less, we decided that we needed to celebrate the warm weather with something bright, flavourful and colourful…

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Black Bean Mango Salsa!

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This stuff is the definition of bright and flavourful! It’s kind of like taking a mini-vacation to somewhere warm and sunny with every bite.

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The sweet, juicy mango and the fresh yet slightly citrus-y flavour of the cilantro balance the tangy tomatoes quite well, and the black beans add a heartiness to the salsa that make for a perfect side-dish or snack!

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We made some home-made pita-chips to dip in ours (we feel a Simple Sunday post coming on…), but any tortilla chips or crackers would work just fine! 🙂

So we hope that wherever you live, spring is starting to come out of hiding, and if it’s not… eat this salsa and head to mexico for a few bites! 😉

Mango and Black bean Salsa

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Total time: 10min
Makes: ~2 cups

Ingredients:

1 28oz can No Salr Added diced tomatoes, drained
1 mango, peeled and diced
1/3-1/2c. fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 c. black beans (drained and rinsed if using canned)
1/2 c. diced white or red onion
2 tbsp lemon or lime juice
2 tbsp honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4-1/2 tsp salt
pepper
optional – 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

Directions:

Drain the liquid from your diced tomatoes and add to a medium to large sized bowl.
Chop and peel mango, chop the cilantro and finely dice the onion. Mix into the tomatoes.
If using canned black beans, drain and rinse well. Mix black beans into the mixture.
Combine in a small dish honey, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Pour this mixture over the salsa and stir thoroughly, until even mixed throughout the salsa.
Stir in jalapeno if desired.
Serve immediately with chips or crackers, or store in an airtight container in the fridge.

~twosaucysisters

What foods transport you to your favourite warm and sunny destination? For us, anything with tropical fruits and/or coconut! 

Boston Tragedy

Today was a terribly sad day not just for the running community, but for everyone. The Boston Marathon is one of the most celebrated events in the running world, and having witnessed the amazing support the city of Boston gives to all the runners while watching our Mom run there 7 years ago, we were deeply saddened that someone would do something such as this to ruin what is an exciting and happy event. The reasoning behind such senseless violence is beyond comprehension, and our hearts go out to all those affected by today’s tragedy.