Bulgur, Kale & Walnut Stuffed Peppers

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It’s been an historic few weeks. Elections were held in our Country, there was a delay in results, and a subsequent change in government after 23 years of the previous party’s rule. I witnessed passion from friends and family when it came their political views, and it feels good to be part of a society that isn’t defined by abstainers.

Today, I’m leaving you with one of my favourite dishes – stuffed peppers. They’re easy, delicious, and look much fancier than they actually are.

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Bulgur, Kale & Walnut Stuffed Peppers

  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

1 cup Bulgur
4 cups Kale
2 large red Bell Peppers
2 cloves Garlic, minced
½ tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
½ tsp dried Oregano
½ tsp dried Basil
¼ tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1/3 cup Walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 small/ medium Tomato, sliced
1 tbsp Olive Oil, divided

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Ingredients

Preheat oven to 350. Cut peppers in half, and scoop out seeds & white ribs. Cover a baking sheet with foil and place peppers cut side down on sheet. Place walnuts in the corner of sheet as well. Drizzle peppers with olive oil & bake for about 10 minutes to soften.

In the meantime, cook bulgur according to package instructions and place in a separate bowl. In the same frying pan, pour ½ tbsp oil and cook garlic on medium heat for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and let cook for 1 minute. Add bulgur back to pan with remaining oil, herbs, salt & peppers. Stir until thoroughly combined. Turn off heat, add walnuts & kale and let heat soften kale. If there is any olive oil left on your baking sheet, feel free to pour it off into the bulgur.

Bake stuffed peppers on sheet for another 20 minutes. If you think it looks a bit too dry, feel free to be liberal with the olive oil.

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Note: This recipe will leave you with extra mixture. You can use it to stuff additional peppers, or eat by itself. It makes a great salad or side for your meat.

Note #2: Save yourself some time and make the bulgur the day before.

A bit of news on my end: I’m off for vacation soon, so you’ll see less structured posts from me for a little while. Like the food nerd that I am, I’ve made an obsessive little list of all the different foods I want to try, so I’m excited to practice photography, see the sights, and most of all, EAT! I had the greatest plans of having backup posts, but I got busy and truthfully, lazy.

I’ll be posting from time to time on my vacation though. It will be the first time I’ll be posting from my WordPress App so if it you have any technical issues with viewing my post, please let me know. I’m also looking forward to meeting some of my favourite Bloggers in person!

I’m also looking forward to recreating some of the dishes I try, and I still can’t get it in my mind that crepes are cheap “street food” in France. I feel so fancy just thinking about it! To be fair though, I feel that any food that I suck at making is super fancy, so using that reasoning, Roti / Naan is extra super fancy too!

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Au Revoir!

Enthusiasm Girl & Avocado Cilantro Dressing

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I think I’ve discussed this in a previous post, but if I had to choose a superpower, I would want to fly. It’s either that, reading minds, or time traveling. If we were assigned more realistic super powers, I’d probably be “Enthusiasm Girl” – able to work up insane levels of excitement and enthusiasm in seconds! Sometimes I literally tell friends “get excited!” when I receive a neutral (read: normal) reaction to an invitation.

So what got me excited last month? April had its share of food & blog related triumphs for me – yes, those exist. I managed to complete my April Food Photography Challenge, and I feel like I’ve definitely improved a bit in the photography arena. I’m by no means a pro, but I think that I’ve been refining my ability to look at something from a different perspective. I also played around with using negative space, as well as got a little more familiar with editing apps. Yeah, that’s me, sounding all professional and photograph-y! You can check out the pictures on my Instagram and tell me what you think – I’m still open to constructive criticism.

I made Baklava, and I’m quite proud of my first attempt. It wasn’t difficult, just time consuming. It was also more delicious than I expected – I’ve never been a huge fan of honey by itself.

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Another reason for Enthusiasm Girl to appear? I saw this huge wheel of Brie at the supermarket the other day and every other problem in my life momentarily ceased to exist. I’ve never baked Brie before but I plan to, and I plan to try every recipe that you guys can throw my way. So send me your favourite Brie recipes please! And don’t judge me when i report in a future post that I ate the majority of a huge wheel of cheese by myself.

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So how does excitement relate to my salad dressing? You may know that I deeply love avocado and have openly professed my love on many occasions. I love fresh cilantro so much that I have a song for it (basically it’s a chant that goes “free cilantro, free cilantro” because once we got a bunch of free cilantro from our market guy to make up for selling us a bad batch of strawberries).

So add Avocado + Cilantro and suddenly you’ve got me, jumping around and ready to eat salad.

Avocado Cilantro Dressing

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 5 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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Ingredients
1 medium Avocado
1 1/2 cup loosely packed Cilantro
2 tbsp Olive Oil
3 tbsp Lime Juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 – 1/3 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper

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Instructions
Blend all ingredients together until smooth.

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I’m also excited to be linking up with some great parties today – Celia at Fig Jam & Lime Cordial, Angie at Fiesta Friday, and Michelle at Foodie Friday.

So this is Enthusiasm Girl, signing off. Stay safe, stay hyper, stay enthused. I’m off to figure out what colour cape I want.

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(Three!) Breakfast(s) at Indi’s

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I’ve been procrastinating. Why, you ask? I’ll tell you later. *bows*. Yes, these are the sort of gems you get from me after two weeks of silence. It’s been a good/busy type of two weeks, and I’m quite looking forward to seeing what May holds for me.

One thing that I don’t want to hold on to in May? This insane amount of belly fat I’ve somehow accumulated. I’m very very lazy when it comes to exercise. Sometimes I think that my preferred exercise of choice is yoga because I don’t have to bust a sweat and almost vomit to say that I’ve had a good workout. I imagine myself in the gym so vividly that sometimes I feel that I actually went. My imagination gets an amazing workout daily. If only that counted!

I tend to find every reason not to exercise. I find ways to make up for it and to motivate myself – I buy clothes in the size I want, I use smaller plates, I drink a lot of water. I keep frozen fruits for emergency smoothies, and I have all the apps on my phone that track steps taken (not that I use it often). I’ve downloaded the same 5K app at least three times and when my phone memory is full, that app is the first to go. Let’s just ignore my 9 photo editing apps, ok?

Since I will never become a gym rat (I’ve accepted that truth), I started thinking about ways to improve my diet. I don’t think I’m a terrible eater, but I do splurge occasionally and there definitely are some changes I can make, especially at Breakfast. I eat a lot of bread and crackers and cheese. Delicious, but not the type of food that will help that stomach shrink.

Today I’m sharing three Breakfast recipes that have no cheese, eggs, crackers, bread or meat. I know right, is a breakfast without those things even possible?

'Sit on your back step and enjoy the sunshine' Yogurt Bowl

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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Ingredients

– 1 1/2 cups Greek Yogurt (I used Chobani)
– 1/3 cup Grapes
– 1 Strawberry
– 2 tsp ground Flaxseed
– 2 tsp Agave syrup
– 1 tbsp. Pumpkin seeds
– 1 tbsp. sliced Almonds

Instructions

Arrange all ingredients in a bowl. Sit outside, eat and enjoy the sunlight on your face.

Cherry Walnut 'Traffic Dessert' Smoothie

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 5 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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Ingredients

– 4 frozen Strawberries
– 1/2 cup frozen Cherries
– 1/2 tsp ground Flaxseed
– 1/4 cup Walnuts
– 3/4 – 1 cup Almond milk (or milk of choice)

Instructions

Add all ingredients to a blender or glass. Blend (you can use an immersion blender) until smooth.

I took a little longer to blend this because everything was still pretty frozen, and I ended up with a smoothie the consistency of slush. But that ended up being a good thing – I drank it in the car on the way to work and it was like having a frozen dessert for breakfast. I highly recommend it.

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Overnight 'Not a sad desk breakfast' Espresso Oats

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

– 1 cup dried Oats
– 1 cup Almond Milk
– 2 tsp dried Vanilla
– 2 tsp Espresso Powder
– 2 tsp Agave
– 1 tbsp. coarsely chopped Walnuts

Instructions

Add oats, milk, vanilla and espresso to a jar. Stir and place in fridge overnight. In the morning, add your walnuts & agave.

Tip: This can fit neatly in your bag, but just make sure the lid is tightly sealed. Plus, mason jars for the win!

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I call these customizable because they ARE. You can take out and add in as you please…once you have your standard base, you’re good to go. One important element of customization? Give yourself options. What I try to do is keep an inventory of all sorts of healthy stuff (both in my fridge and my mind) and allow my creativity to do its thing. Just try to prep the night before because if you’re like me, all my brain power in the morning is directed at making coffee, putting the right lunch in the right bag, and neurotically making sure I haven’t magically left the stove on even though I didn’t use it.

Why am I putting so much effort into breakfast? Last week I looked at the Page-a-day calendar on my desk, read the daily quote and said “damn straight!” out loud. You can just go ahead and add ‘talks to herself’ to the list of things my coworkers call me (the list that I know of currently consists of “walks loudly in heels” and “hyper / moves her hands around a lot”). But I had to agree with my homegirl Virginia Woolf:

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So dine well, prep yourself for next week, and have a great weekend! Send good vibes to me and kindly tell this belly fat to #$^% off. Maybe it’ll listen, and I’ll be able to skip my workout this afternoon :)

Power Ballads & Faux BBQ Cabbage Slaw

You know sometimes in a group setting, you randomly mention something that you believe to be a universal truth, and the other people disagree, and everyone ends up shocked and at that moment you begin a debate that ends up spanning months and dozens of beers? Sides are drawn, articles are googled, irrational anger takes over and you both know that this battle will have no end? Sort of like the white/gold and blue/black dress craze a few months back.

My friend and I are currently debating with some other friends over the term “power ballad”. Our wider definition of a power ballad is a song where the singer has a powerful voice, or makes you feel all of the feelings. Basically, they just need to be powerful overall. I mean, listen to “I will always love you” by Whitney Houston or “It’s all coming back to me now” by Celine Dion and tell me you wouldn’t define that as a POWER ballad. Don’t tell me that Poison & Whitesnake are the only type of power ballad you’ll acknowledge, great as their songs may be.

photo 3 (2) All this power ballad talk has made me want to listen to some old favourites. Which in turn gets me hyped. Any friend of mine will tell you that once I get hyped, I become this overwhelming, unstoppable planning machine. And spoiler alert: Planning machines love to organize parties, trips and events. Lots of them. Which in turn makes me come up with a menu that won’t stress me out but will be sufficiently unique, filling, and delicious. I know, it’s a lot of turning. It can make a gal pretty dizzy. I love BBQs but the extra work sometimes doesn’t cut it, so I prefer to be invited to them (hint hint all of you).

If you invite me to a BBQ or if I did have an event, I’d probably bring this BBQ cabbage hack I came up with. It is shockingly easy, quick and can be done right on your stove without pulling out the grill.

Faux BBQ Cabbage Slaw

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 10 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

4 cups chopped Purple Cabbage

2 tbsp BBQ Sauce of choice

1/2 tbsp Soy Sauce

1/2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

1/2 tsp Black Pepper

1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes

2 cloves Garlic, minced

2 tsp Water

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Instructions

In a small bowl, mix all ingredients except for water and cabbage.

Place chopped cabbage in a skillet and sprinkle water over cabbage. Cover and let cook on medium heat for 1 minute. Add sauce mixture to skillet , stir to evenly distribute, and cook for another two minutes until liquid has evaporated. photo 5 (1)

I’m bringing this to Fiesta Friday and a Dish of Daily Life (although I’m a little late to the parties!)

You’ll get a sense of my music tastes from my previous lists (click here and here), but right now I’m hyped on ‘more than a feeling’ by Boston. And ‘fast car’ by Tracy Chapman – FYI, music does not have to be fast to get me sufficiently hyped #wisdom.

Whatever it is, put on your version of a power ballad and enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Asparagus Lima Bean Soup + the Great Fridge War of April 2015

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Right now, I’m locked in a thrilling power struggle. It’s Indi versus her crisper drawer. Yes, those two drawers in the fridge where you store your vegetables. At the most random times, the fridge seems to get a brainwave and freeze my beautiful fresh veggies. Sometimes I think that I will look back one day and realize that the crisper freezing was the first sign of the rise of the machines and I chose to ignore it.

The casualty this time was asparagus. The day before, I went to the market (ok, Rabin went. Although I love seeing the produce, I dislike going to the market because people take one look at the smiling, awkward newbie trying not to step in a puddle and the price magically goes up) and got a huge bunch of beautiful asparagus. It ain’t cheap over here, so I had plans to make about 3 other dishes I’ve marked off for when I decide to treat myself. Instead I got the saddest asparagus ice pops.

It didn’t ruin the nutritional value, but thawed Asparagus is soggy. Which means that if texture is an important part of one of the recipes (think stir-fry), then you’re just gonna have to wait until the next time you buy.

So what did I do? Life gave me lemons, so I made Asparagus Lemonade. Ugh, that sounds gross. I made soup. Asparagus soup.

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As for lima beans, I’ve had it in my pantry for so long but always overlook it, choosing instead the more flashy chickpeas or black beans. I had no idea that lima beans were so good for you! So in the pot they went. Lima beans are also known as butter beans, FYI.

Asparagus Lima Bean Soup

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Difficulty: easy
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Instructions

2 cups cooked Lima Beans
2 cups chopped Asparagus
3 small Potatoes, scrubbed
4 cups Water or Stock
1 medium Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, diced
1 tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Thyme
1/4 tsp Red pepper Flakes

Peas, Parmesan cheese – Optional, for garnish

The soggy-ish Asparagus

The soggy-ish Asparagus

Instructions

Warm oil in a pot, add onions and let simmer until translucent. Add garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add water / stock, potatoes, Salt, pepper & thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let cook until potatoes are soft. Add lima beans and asparagus and let simmer for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and using an immersion blender (or regular blender, just be careful!) and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

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This soup has spring flavours, but a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs texture because of the potatoes and beans. I’m happy to share this with the gals at Fiesta Friday.

The soup ended up working out well, and I later remembered that I always wanted to make soup with veggies like Asparagus but thought that it was a waste to hide it. Hello silver lining!

Indi: 1 / Fridge: 0 (but I’m watching you, crisper! *glares*)

Roesti, Rants & Resolutions

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I know you’re dying to know how I spent the last full week of March (quarterly reports due at work already!). I’ve been binge watching House of Cards (I’m halfway through Season 2 and really liking it) and I started having dreams that I was kidnapped by Frank Underwood, who was trying to get information from me by torturing other people I knew. Although I like that ‘talking to the camera’ method that Netflix employs, it’s clearly deeply unsettling to my subconscious. I also can’t decide which President seems to do less work – the HoC one or Fitz from Scandal. Also, – Oh right. This is a food blog. Let’s see…how about I make this rant relevant and talk about wine and popcorn or ribs? If you get those references, kudos. You can share my TV Nerd crown.

So anyway. I also managed to cross off the Pie & Ice cream Social that I had on my 2015 Food Resolution list. I made Sweet Potato Pie, Chocolate Pudding Pie, Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice cream, and Avocado Ice cream. I could have done more, but I’ve once again learned – Pie dough is stress! Among many of the other issues, you have to refrigerate dough about a million times (I’m not exaggerating).

Today I’m sharing a Roesti recipe with you. What is roesti you ask?

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First, let’s confirm that you’re in a place to hear this. Tell me you love crispy potatoes. Tell me you look for the crispiest fry in the packet and eat it first. Or the burned bits at the corner of a pan of roasted potatoes. If you love that, you’ll love Roesti. It’s a Swiss dish with it’s base consisting of that perpetually magical starchy trifecta: potatoes, butter and salt. Think of a hash brown crisped up into a pancake.

I’ve seen different variations with bacon, leeks, cheese, etc, but today I’m sticking to a stripped down, buttery and salty version. This is perfect for brunch and a lot of the prep could (and ideally, should) be done the day before.

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Roesti

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

4 Medium Potatoes

2 tbsp Milk

1/2 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Black pepper

1/8 tsp Red pepper flakes

2 tbsp Butter

Instructions

Using a fork, prick holes in raw potatoes, Boil in salted water until tender, about 20 – 25 minutes. Drain and let cool. For best results, refrigerate overnight.

Grate the potatoes using the larger side of a box grater. Add salt & peppers and mix thoroughly.

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Melt 2 tbsp butter in a large skillet. Swirl pan to ensure that the surface is evenly coated and add potato mixture. Using a spatula, press the mixture together and flatten it. Sprinkle the milk over potatoes. Cook on medium heat for about 8-10 minutes, until the potatoes at the edges of the pan start to darken. You can cook longer if you prefer a much crispier texture.

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Using a plate, cover the skillet and flip skillet over while firmly holding the bottom of plate. The roesti should flip onto the plate, crispy side up. Serve immediately.

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A much crispier one I made on another occasion

On another note, I’ve gotten very interested in improving my photography skills. I have a plain ol’ iPhone and won’t be investing in a fancy camera anytime soon (call me butter hands), but I’ve seen some gorgeous shots taken on the iPhone and know that I can do better. I’ve challenged myself to an April Food Photography Challenge. I am going to do Lesley’s April Food Photo Challenge (she’s over at the Purple Carrot), and you can see the list below I will be posting from April 1 (no, that’s not a joke!). I’m a little late as this was a 2012 challenge, but hey, better late than never, right?

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Follow me on Instagram if you’d like to see how my pictures turn out. If you’re interested in joining me, just let me know and I’ll follow you too. I also welcome constructive criticism…so many of you take much better pictures than I do, so I’d appreciate any tips you have.

I’m linking up with Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, Angie at Fiesta Friday, and a special 1 year Anniversary shoutout to Salma, Raj & Nisha at Three Things Thursday! You ladies are great blogging role models :)

For someone who didn’t know what to write, I definitely had a lot to say this time. Hope you have a productive week and a fantastic Easter (in case I develop a case of lethargy and don’t post before then).

Quick Hazelnut Asparagus + Cocktail name reveal!

photo (4) This recipe is so simple that I’m almost embarrassed to post it. It’s kind of like telling you how to make toast. But this is my blog, so too bad :). Seriously though, sometimes all you need is two distinct flavours or ingredients that pair beautifully together to make a spectacularly simple & classic dish, like butter & onions, lemon & lavender, or tomatoes & basil. Or chicken and a chicken container (last pairing courtesy of my brother).

This is one of the easiest and fastest asparagus recipes you’ll come across. There are 5 ingredients, and 3 are things that I know you have in your cupboard – Olive oil, salt & pepper. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset I chose hazelnuts for this recipe because I’m not a huge fan of hazelnuts without chocolate (damn you, Ferrero Rocher and Nutella) and like I said, I think it pairs especially well in this recipe. If you don’t have hazelnuts, no worries. You can easily substitute almonds or walnuts. Tip: If you know that you use roasted nuts a lot, roast them in big batches. It’s no skin off your nose (just the skin off the hazelnuts! Ha!) and will significantly shorten your work if you have a craving for anything that you want to put nuts in – salads, pilafs, roasted nut butter, granola bars, toppings, etc. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Hazelnut Asparagus

Ingredients

1 bunch Asparagus

1/4 – 1/2 cup Hazelnuts

1/2 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Black pepper

1 tbsp Olive Oil

Instructions

Roast Hazelnuts in your oven at 350 for 10 mins. Allow to cool, and rub the nuts to remove the skins. Chop roughly. You want some small, crumb-like pieces and also some larger, chunkier pieces.

Trim Asparagus by snapping off the woody stalk at the bottom. The easiest way is to bend the asparagus spear and it will magically snap off at the right spot.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Warm olive oil in a skillet. Add asparagus, salt & pepper and sauté for about 30 seconds on medium heat. Add nuts and stir to coat the nuts with oil. Cover skillet and allow to cook for about 1 minute. The asparagus should be bright green at this point. Turn off heat, stir once more, and replace cover. Allow the residual heat to steam the asparagus for about 1 minute more. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

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Now, with that business out of the way, it’s time for the cocktail name reveal. Last week, I asked you guys to vote on the best name for my cocktail recipe containing lavender infused syrup, lemon juice, tonic water and vodka. There were some fantastic suggestions, and I have to give a special shoutout to my friend Deslyn for the “Laventini” suggestion and Stacey for “Aromatini”. I really liked both. Now, without further ado…the winning name is: Lavender Breeze! Congrats to my buddy Adam who clearly knows what a drinking audience likes. His other suggestion got second place so his skills aren’t a fluke :).  Let’s have a round on me to celebrate!

I’m linking up with Angie at Fiesta Friday and want to congratulate her on her new move! Can’t wait to see what you’ll do next!