Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The ultimate chocolate + date raw energy bars

This has been (like most summers around here) an ultimate summer, with lots of weeknight ultimate frisbee games and weekend tournaments. A few weeks ago, Mark's team, Glide, competed at Regionals in Kingston for a spot at Nationals in Vancouver. Not only did they qualify (WOOT!), but they ranked 4th (of 15) at the end of the weekend. So Glide is west-bound again to compete at Nats! And for athleticism of this caliber, you need good fuel. Enter, homemade energy bars. Sure, you could buy them, but it's cheaper to make your own, plus it's nice to know exactly what's in them, and trust me, these are delicious!

(And at the most recent ultimate tournament, No Borders, Glide fought hard and placed 2nd overall! An awesome achievement!)

Chocolate & Date Raw Energy Bars
Recipe by Shumaila, The Novice Housewife

12 medjool dates, pitted
½ cup raw almonds
½ cup raw hazelnuts
2 tbsp chia seeds
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ cup raw cacao powder
¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
¼ cup unsweetened dessicated coconut

  1. In a food processor, pulse the dates until well chopped and begin to form a ball.
  2. Add in the almonds and hazelnuts and pulse until finely chopped with some larger pieces remaining.
  3. Add the chia seeds, coconut, salt and cacao powder and process until well combined.
  4. Scrape mixture into medium bowl and, with damp hands, press into a ball.
  5. Turn ball out onto a piece of parchment paper, cover with a second piece of parchment, and press into a rough rectangle shape to desired thickness.
  6. Lift the parchment, sprinkle with sea salt, pumpkin seeds, cocoa nibs, or any other toppings you want. Give another quick roll with the rolling pin to press the toppings into place.
  7. Remove top piece of parchment and using a knife or pizza cutter, slice into pieces.
  8. Wrap with a rectangle of parchment and tape or tie to seal.

An on a (marginally) related note, here's the logo I designed this year for the team Mark and I play on, the Killer Bunnies! (You'll remember this is the very same team that were the champions of the 7th tier of the Tuesday Night League a couple of years back.)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Ginger-cinnamon banana shake of goodness

This is a nutritious and scrumptious "recipe" I made up a few years ago, when I was trying to find another use for yet another brown banana that were beginning to stockpile in my freezer. It's great as a breakfast shake, and can be quite filling with the physillium. It's less of a recipe and more a list of ingredients, so add as much or as little as you like.

Ginger-cinnamon banana shake
— frozen banana
milk (any milk would be good: soy, hemp, almond, or good ol' cow)
— freshly grated ginger
— cinnamon

— physillium husk fibre
— flax seed, ground
— ginseng, powdered
— chia seeds
— a sweetener such as: agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup
— lucuma (I first came across lucuma for this nut butter cup recipe)

1. In a blender or the cup of an immersion blender, add all the ingredients.
2. Blend.
3. Mmmmmm.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Lately. Settling in, and some things in the works.

It's been surprisingly easy settling back into home and getting used to all of our western amenities again... And though I don't marvel out-loud (anymore) about how awesome it is to have safe tap water, no cockroaches, a comfortable bed, and hand soap in the bathroom, I won't soon be taking these things for granted. We live like Kings over here, no doubt about that!

Though we were, for a while, far far away seeing amazing things and having daily adventures, it is starting to feel like it was all a dream. Especially now that we're back to a busy summer of work, ultimate frisbee, yoga-ing, and otherwise full schedules. But, with full schedules comes a lot of fun, too. We're working hard to maintain a balance, and keep that easy-going feel that we cultivated while being away from the regular "stressors." We may live like Kings, but we sure stress out over the silliest things, don't we?

There are roses, and by golly, they smell fantastic.

And to answer a key question I've been getting asked lately... no, I am not returning to work. Though I enjoyed my job, and love my coworkers (and miss seeing them everyday!), I realized a few things about myself over the course of the trip, and I'm striking out in a new direction. Well, two directions, really. First, I've been teaching a free yoga class in my neighbourhood park, and it's been great getting to meet new people and share what I learned in India. Secondly, I'm working on some creative things... gathering supplies, herding ideas (oh so many ideas!), and making, making, making. I can't wait until it's all ready so I can share it with you. And don't worry, you won't miss it. I will be shouting it from the rooftops, and then some.

But in the meantime, here are some things we've been up to lately...

Basketball fun with old coworkers...

Meeting a new little one who wasn't here when we left  :)

The best part of baking, no?

Looking after our two-and-a-half year old niece for the weekend, and introducing her to yoga.
Yoga for all ages! At this age, flexibility is a non-issue, but attention span on the other hand...

Though she rocks the Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose).

Sketching ideas into things...

A regal chickadee ancestor for something I'm working on.


Stay tuned... all will be revealed soon!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Homemade nut butter cups!

There truly aren't enough superlatives to describe this tasty delight. You may have noticed I'm a big fan of Sarah Britton's My New Roots food blog, and this is just another of her spectacular recipes. Plus, I was happy, elated that they ended up looking like they were supposed to. So pretty. Like little crowns of scrumptious tastiness. Mmmmmm.

It was difficult tracking down some of the less common ingredients like lucuma and cacao butter, and they weren't cheap, but these are delectable, once-in-a-while kind of treats. So perhaps don't make them for a potluck where they may not be appreciated beside the Doritos, but save them for a special occasion.

And, eat them straight from the fridge! If they sit out even for a minute, they start to get soft and hard to handle (or, delicious gooeyness, depending on your perspective).

Superfood Nut Butter Cups
Recipe by Sarah Britton of My New Roots

Makes 12 standard muffin cup-sized candies (I found these quite large however, so make minis if desired)

Basic Raw Chocolate
Makes about 1 ½ cups
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
3 tbsp. melted cacao butter
¾ cup raw cacao powder
1/3 cup raw honey
2 tbsp. lucuma
¼ tsp. sea salt
extra sea salt for garnish

Nut Butter Filling
1/2 cup almond butter
1 tbsp. raw honey
1 tbsp. lucuma powder
sea salt to taste

1. In a double boiler (or a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water) melt coconut oil and cacao butter. Add honey and whisk to combine. When completely uniform, remove from heat and sift in cacao, lucuma and add sea salt. Taste for sweetness and saltiness, and adjust accordingly.

2. In silicon or paper muffin cups spoon enough liquid chocolate to cover the bottom. Place in the fridge or freezer and cool until solid, about 15 minutes. Remember that you are only using about 1/3 of the chocolate at this stage.

3. Make the nut butter filling by combining all of the ingredients until a “dough” is formed. Add more lucuma if it is too wet and runny. Taste for salt. This dough should be quite salty, but if you are using store-bought nut butter with added salt, don’t go overboard.

4. Spoon the nut dough into ½ tablespoon amounts, roll into balls, and flatten between your palms to just under the size of the chocolate in the cups.

5. Add nut butter filling to each cup on top of the solid chocolate and drizzle the remaining liquid chocolate on top, making sure to cover the filling completely. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt if desired. Place in the fridge to harden for at least one hour.

6. When you have patiently waited, try removing one of the forms from the nut butter cups. If the chocolate sticks at all, return to the fridge until completely solid.

7. You can keep the chocolates in their forms or remove them, but either way store the nut butter cups in the fridge in a sealed container. Enjoy!

Friday, July 12, 2013

In the garden

Tomatoes, well on their way.

Future lettuce :)

Futuristic-looking Celosia.

For the first time in four years, it looks like we're going to get grapes! Very exciting!

The Fräulein and I have this favourite thing in common.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Bye-bye Beardy...

I suppose it had to go at some point, but I was sad to see it go. Though, I'm quite smitten with the new look, too! From disheveled, mountain yeti to office-ready in under an hour. Just like that. All those months of hard wo—or well, all those months of... freedom from the razor...?

How do you pay tribute to such an epic Bro-merang and Chin Muffler? (Other than a Viking burial of the trimmed whiskers, of course.) How about a time-lapse montage?! I present to you: ch-ch-ch-chia! Just watch the beard—it's moustache-merizing!