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Simple Sunday

Sometimes, the food blog world kind of feels like an exclusive club.

Don’t take that the wrong way, we’re not saying that us bloggers and self-proclaimed “foodies” are snobs and won’t let anyone else into our club or anything- as a matter-of-fact, it’s quite the opposite.  We love it when other people read our blogs and we always get excited when people tell us they’ve made our recipes!  We spend lots of time trying to encourage everyone to give our recipes a try.

But the problem is that so often our recipes aren’t always doable by the general public.

Because let’s be real, here- how many people do you know who keeps things like coconut flour, nutritional yeast, xanthan gum, butter extract, peanut flour, stevia, and date paste stocked in their pantries and fridges?  Unless you have at least one foodie friend, probably no one.

Over the past week this was brought to our attention.  While our recipes may look delicious, we were told by some people (in a completely friendly way) that they want to make some of them, but when they look at the ingredient list they have no idea what half of the stuff is, and it scares them off.

Basically, our recipes are so often geared toward the food-blogging crowd.  People who aren’t deterred by unconventional ingredients and are willing to go to every random health food store in the city looking for one specific item.

But don’t you think we should make our content more accessible to the general public?  Isn’t the purpose of writing a healthy food blog to get people in the kitchen cooking healthy food?

We’re not saying that we should all ran-sack our pantries and get rid of all those random ingredients, but we are saying that we should all attempt to create recipes that appeal to everyone on a more regular basis.  If we want to help people become healthier, we can’t scare them off with weird and unknown ingredients, can we? (Let’s be real, here, “nutritional yeast” is not the most appetizing-sounding thing)

Which is why we have decided to start a new weekly feature- “Simple Sundays”.  We’re not going to stop using all the random ingredients we’re accustomed to buying (and off the record, most of the stuff we get can actually be found at No Frills or the Bulk Barn), but at least one day a week (aka-Sunday) we’re going to post a recipe that requires minimal ingredients, all easy-to-find and recognizable to the general public, and is very simple to make.

So to kick things off with our first official “Simple Sunday”, we decided to make you a snack!  And what is simpler than roasted chickpeas!


Here is the story behind this: a family member asked us for some help coming up with some healthy snack ideas.  We gave this person a few ideas, like having a bowl of cut-up veggies in the fridge, making smoothies, having yogurt and berries, making healthy dips (like hummus ;)) and then we suggested roasted chickpeas.  To our surprise, she had never heard of doing this before!  Then we thought, if she hasn’t heard of this before, there’s probably a million other people out there who have never heard of eating roasted chickpeas!  So we decided we had to fix this, and we went ahead and made two recipes for you.  One sweet, one savoury, to appeal to everyone!  Let’s start with the sweet:


Maple and cinnamon!  There is no sugar added to these, (aside from the sugar in maple syrup) and no oil.  Just pure crunchy goodness!


But there are a lot of other reasons why this recipe is an excellent snacking option, and that’s all thanks to the chickpeas!  Chickpeas are very high in fibre, a great source of protein (not a complete protein, but if you’re eating a balanced diet you should have no problem getting all the amino acids required to make complete proteins) low in fat, sodium, and of course have no added preservatives or chemicals, so you can munch happily knowing everything that’s in your food!

So here’s the very simple recipe:

Maple-Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas


Prep: 5 min.
Bake: 30 minutes
Makes: 1 cup


1 c. cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon


Preheat your oven to 400F.

Pat the chickpeas with a towel to soak up the excess water.  Place them in a bowl and toss them with the maple syrup and cinnamon.  Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil (shiny side down) and spread the chickpeas over it.  Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 or 10 minutes, until the chickpeas are crispy and browned. (don’t worry if some of them start looking a little bit black) Allow to cool completely, them place them in an air-tight container and store in the pantry for up to 2 weeks.

**this recipe can easily be doubled!

And now on to the savoury ones: chili chickpeas!


This recipe has no salt, and only a teensy bit of olive oil- but loads of flavour, we assure you 🙂


So if you’re the kind of guy (or gal!) who doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, these are probably right up your alley!  If sensible snacking has been your Achilles heal, we strongly encourage you to give these a try!  Even if you’ve never eaten chickpeas- we promise you won’t be disappointed!


And if you don’t particularly enjoy spending lots of time in the kitchen, you can make a double batch and then you’ll have enough to last you for at least a week (depending on how quickly you eat them but we give you fair warning: these are addictive!).

Chili Roasted Chickpeas


Prep: 5 min
Bake: 30 min
Makes: 1 cup


1 c. chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp paprika
pepper (add as much as you like, more pepper = more kick!)


Preheat the oven to 400F.  Pat the chickpeas dry with a towel, and place them in a bowl.  Toss them with the olive oil and the spices.  Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil (shiny side down) and spread the chickpeas across the sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 or 10 minutes, until they are browned and crispy. (Don’t worry if a few of them become slightly charred-looking)  Allow to cool completely, then store them in an air-tight container and keep them in the pantry for up to 2 weeks.

And that concludes our first Simple Sunday post!  If you have anything you’d like us to post about for simple sundays, please send us an email at, or leave a comment below!  We’d love to hear from you 🙂


Study Breaks

As I type this post, I’m listening to Christmas music! I know, I know, It’s exams Julie, you should be studying! But you see, I am a firm believer in taking breaks and relaxing a little during exam time. I’m not one of those people who can sit down for six (or more!) hours straight and study. I max out at two hours, and then my brain starts to get all fuzzy and I can’t absorb anything. This exam period I have two types of study breaks: Running ones and blog related ones. I obviously adore my running breaks, for the getting to see my friends part just as much as the actual run itself! I also love my blogging breaks, as they result in something like this:


Cranberry, Pear, Lentil and Millet Stuffed Squash!


Or as I like to call it – Squash stuffed with Christmas! Seriously, I have fallen in love with cranberries! They are tangy, ever-so-slightly sweet and bursting with flavour. To me, they are one of those flavours that sort of embody Christmas. Like eggnog, peppermint and clementines, they have a way of getting me in the spirit!


Delicious! Unfortunately, I have procrastinated long enough – back to studying!

Cranberry, Pear, Lentil and Millet Stuffed Squash


Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 30 min
Serves: 2


1 acorn or peppercorn squash
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp maple syrup
dash salt
pinch pepper

1/2 c. red lentils
1/2 c. millet
3 c. water

3 c. kale
1/2 c. cranberries
1 pear
1/4 c. onion
1 clove garlic
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
dash salt
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/3 c. walnuts


Preheat your oven to 375F.  Cut your squash in half, drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place the squash cut-side down on a tray lined with aluminum foil and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the squash is soft.

Place the red lentils, millet, and water in a pot and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 25 minutes, or until the lentil an millet is cooked and most of the water is soaked up.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat a drop of olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the diced onion, pear, and cranberries and cook until the onion is translucent and the cranberries begin to split.  Add the garlic and kale and saute for another few minutes until the kale begins to wilt.  Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and dash of salt and cook for another couple minutes.

When the lentils and millet are finished cooking, add them to the pan with the cranberries, onions and kale and stir to combine.  Stir in the apple cider vinegar and maple syrup, and cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is heated through and and the liquid is evaporated.

Place the walnuts on an oven-safe plate and place in the oven for the last 10 minutes of cook-time with the squash, watching carefully so they don’t burn.

When the squash are done, remove them from the oven and flip over.  (be careful- they’ll be hot!)  Fill each half with as much filling as you can fit.  (you’ll have leftover filling, but don’t worry- it makes for great leftovers on top of salad!)

Sprinkle with toasted walnuts and an extra drizzle of maple syrup, if desired.


What do you do when you take study/work “breaks”?  What kinds of foods get you into the Christmas spirit?

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

The first time either of us ever had gnocchi was at a Christmas potluck dinner several years ago.  Our friend brought it and before the meal started she raved about how good gnocchi was, and went on about how appalled she was that we hadn’t ever tried it.

Well after having some, we, too, were appalled at ourselves for waiting all that time to try the classic Italian dish!  The soft little pillows of potato practically melted in your mouth!  We’re pretty sure we both went back for seconds that night 🙂

Despite our delicious first experience with gnocchi, however, we’ve only had it maybe once since that dinner.  Why?  Well, at the time we were still very new to the kitchen, and so stuck to a very limited repertoire of dishes.  For some reason going out on a limb and buying a bag of pre-made gnocchi and dousing it in pasta sauce seemed too adventurous.  Boy, have the times changed!

We’re actually kind of glad, though, that we didn’t  end up trying to re-create the dish at home with the store-bought stuff.  In our opinions, that would be doing it a disservice.  Sure, pre-made gnocchi would be good, but fresh and homemade is always better, wouldn’t you agree?

However, considering our very non-Italian heritage, we thought it would be better if we steered clear of the classic just-like-nonna-makes gnocchi.  We’ll leave the authentic stuff up to her 😉

We asked ourselves, what’s even better than gnocchi?  Which lead us to the underlying question, what’s better than potatoes?  We think the answer is obvious.  Why, sweet potatoes of course!  And that is how this came to be:

Sweet potato gnocchi.

And not just any sweet potato gnocchi, but maple-sauteed ham and veggie sweet potato gnocchi!  Seriously, people, this was goood!  Our brother said it was very easily one of his favourite dishes we have ever made!  Pretty high praise, if we do say so ourselves!  And you know what’s fantastic about it?  The gnocchi itself is quite easy to make (despite what other people on the internet say to try and scare you) and it only takes three ingredients! (or four, depending on whether or not you use multiple types of flour)

Sorry about the blurriness- we were in a rush to take pictures so we could eat!

Classic gnocchi uses just potato, salt, and flour, but when doing our research we found that many people add an egg or two to the dough to help it hold together better in the boiling water.  Despite all of the warnings, we decided to forgo the egg addition and it worked out splendidly!  Ours stayed together just fine 🙂

We also used a combination of white and whole wheat flour to improve the nutrition status of our meal.  We didn’t try any gluten-free flours, but if you do, let us know how it goes!

So if you’ve never made gnocchi before, don’t be afraid!  Despite what people may tell you, its actually quite easy, and so. Freakin’. Delicious.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Maple-Sauteed Ham and Veggies

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 10 min

Serves: 4-6


For the Gnocchi:

very large cooked sweet potatoes, skins removed

1.5- 2 c. flour

1/2 tsp salt

For the ham:

12 very thin slices of deli ham

3 tbsp maple syrup

Veggie Sautee:

2 cloves of garlic

1 red bell pepper, very thinly sliced

2 c. chopped Bok Choi

1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced

1 c. sliced mushrooms

1 cup frozen green beans

1.5 tbsp soy sauce

3 tbsp maple syrup

1/2 tsp ground sage

pepper, to taste


Mash up sweet potato and add salt.  Add flour gradually until you have a dough that holds together but is still quite sticky.  With wet hands, grab finger-fulls of the dough (about 1 tbsp of dough) and roll into a little log, about 1 inch long.  Place on a floured sheet and continue until you have used all the dough.

Place the ham slices on a frying pan and turn to medium-high.  Once you hear it sizzling a little, add the maple syrup and turn the ham to coat the slices in the syrup.  Continue to cook and flip until the ham is browned and there is some caramelized syrup on the slices.  remove from the pan and set aside.

To the same pan, add a tbsp of olive oil.  Add all veggies except bok choi, and cook over medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  When the water is boiling, drop the pieces of dough into the water, giving them a gentle stir to prevent sticking.  allow to boil for a few minutes, until they float to the top. Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and add them to the pan with the veggies.

Add the bok choi, maple syrup, ground sage, soy sauce, and pepper to the pan and gently stir, being careful not to squish the gnocchi! Slice the ham into thin strips and add to the pan.

Separate onto plates and top with an additional drizzle of maple syrup, if desired.


Have you ever tried gnocchi?

Maple Pumpkin Pie Almond Butter

Did you know that peanut butter is consumed in about 89 percent of American households? (source)  Even more amazing to learn is that by the time the average child graduates high school, he or she will have consumed on average 1 500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! (source)

As a child, I was not a huge fan of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch.  Without fail, by the time lunch rolled around, my bread was always soggy. Gross.

I loved peanut butter, though, and for a few years my Sunday lunch was always a peanut butter an banana sandwich, which, by the way, is still delicious and manages to occasionally find its way onto my plate. (But never in my lunch box, brown bananas = undesirable)

Like most kids, I grew up eating your traditional Kraft or Skippy stuff, but one day my mom brought home some all-natural, no sugar added peanut butter.  You know, the kind that’s basically roasted peanuts ground up and thrown into a jar.

The first time I tried it, I actually didn’t really like it that much.  I guess I missed the extra sugar/salt/ whatever else they put in peanut butter.  But I kept eating it because I wanted to be like mom!  It didn’t take long, though, and I was hooked.  I have been a peanut butter  addict lover ever since!

After all this talk about peanut butter, I feel like now is a good time to tell you that this post is not about peanut butter at all.  My focus is actually almond butter!


Mmmmm… roasty-toasty almonds!

For a very long time, Julie and I were somewhat adverse to trying almond butter, because we both just loved peanut butter so much!  Is it possible to “cheat” on a food item? Because that’s what I felt like I would be doing if I spread almond butter on my toast instead of the peanut kind.

I don’t remember the exact moment when we decided branch out and try it, but am I sure glad we did!

The thing I love about almond butter (aside from the fact that its amazingly rich and delicious) is its versatility. Its a bit milder in flavour, so it lends such an incredible richness to recipes, without significantly affecting the flavour of whatever it is I’m trying to make.

Its mildness also makes it perfect for a little experimentation 😉

So the other day when I decided to make some almond butter, I wanted to give it a little pizzazz.  Here was my thought process: “Mmmm, maple almond butter would be good.  You know what else is yummy? Pumpkin pie! Hmmm maple pumpkin pie almond butter? Yes. I’m  a genius.”


So I still love peanut butter, but I think I can make a little room in my heart for almond butter, too 🙂

Maple Pumpkin Pie Almond Butter


Time: 25 min


2 c. almonds

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp each nutmeg and ginger

1/8 tsp each cloves and allspice


Preheat oven to 350C

Toss almonds in maple syrup and spices.

Roast almonds for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

Allow to cool for  few minutes, then blend in your food processor until smooth and drippy.


What is your favourite kind of nut butter?