May 17, 2013 0
May 10, 2013 0
How do you feel about Bounty bars? You know, the coconut-filled ones covered in delicious chocolate? I’d never really gotten into them until this past year. For some reason they’re super popular over here, and so when I can’t find the perfect dark chocolate bar, I tend to opt for a Bounty bar. I think it’s really the coconut that attracts me. Okay, and the combo with the chocolate, but still, I’m not usually a coconut-in-my-chocolate-bar kind of girl. But I think I’ve changed my tune on that now.
In any case, when I decided to break in my new food processor this past week, I decided I wanted to make some sort of power bite/dough ball idea that would combine two delightful ingredients: chocolate and coconut.
So I just started dropping in ingredients, mixing and matching, processing, and seeing if I could find a good consistency and combination in flavours. And that I did, friends.
Although, I’ll be the first to admit that they kind of look like miniature cow patties… but that’s something we can get past, I’m sure of it.
These are like a healthier version of a Bounty bar. They’re sweet, but waaaaaay less so than a Bounty bar. They’re packed full of protein, but not in a I-can-taste-the-chickpeas kind of way. Give ‘em a try.
Chocolate ‘n’ Coconut Power Bites:
- 2 cups of cooked chickpeas
- 1 tbsp. shredded coconut
- 1 banana
- 1/2 cup of oats
- 2 tbsp. honey
- 2 tbsp. peanut butter (or any other nut butter)
- 1 heaping tbsp. cocoa powder
- Pinch of salt
Combine all of the ingredients into your food processor and pulse for approximately 30 seconds, or until the mixture is well combined. Refrigerate the mix as-is for at least 30 minutes. Remove from the fridge, form into small balls and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes, just until the bites firm. Transfer to a cooling rack and once they are cool, keep refrigerated. Makes 12. They will last for about 5-7 days in the fridge.
Like the sound of these? Try my Peanut Butter Pomegranate Power Bites too!
Dec 31, 2012 0
It’s the last day of 2012. When I think back on this past year, it feels both like it flew by fast, but also last for years. We’ve packed in SO much in the last twelve months that I should probably feel overwhelmed when I think about it.
Instead of summarizing each month, I’m going to summarize it by 3 words that I feel best describe the last year.
In 2012, we have been in 7 countries (Belgium, Germany, Kuwait, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Oman, United States) other than Canada. Within the United States we were in 6 states, and within Canada we were in 3 provinces. That’s a whole lot of travel.
To say we’ve enjoyed all that traveling would be an understatement!! 2013 brings more adventures around the globe, and we’re thrilled to embark upon them.
Umm…this is a no-brainer. Food is ALWAYS important to us. I’ve continued to blog new recipes, get new recipes published, and try new foods around the world.
My 5 favourite foods from 2012 that I created are:
- Bhurta Paneer
- Butternut Squash, Sun-dried Tomatoes + Caramelized Onion Pasta
- Curried Deviled Eggs
- Fluffy Vegan Pancakes
- Strawberry + Feta Stuffed Chicken
My 7 (because I can’t narrow it down further!) favourite foods that I’ve tasted are:
- Turkish Delight
- Lemon Mint Drink
- Giant Homemade Pretzel
- Pear & Gorgonzola Pizza
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake
- Korean Tacos
So, we kind of made a giant life decision this past year and switched careers and countries. We left our job as Pastors in beautiful British Columbia and moved to Kuwait in the Middle East. We sold off a ton of our belongings, packed everything up, moved to Ontario for the summer where we traveled around to spend quality time with family and friends, and then moved 4 suitcases of stuff to Kuwait to be primary school teachers. It’s been a total whirlwind, but it’s one that we are so completely satisfied with and absolutely love. Both jobs have their pros and cons and we’ve been blessed to enjoy both this past year.
I’m certain there’s so much more I could say, but I don’t think I need to bore you with endless details of stuff you could easily go back into the archives and read. Needless to say, my life is amazing and every single time I think about it I stop and wonder why I’m so blessed. God is good and 2012 has been fantastic! I say that with total sincerity and I know without a doubt that whatever 2013 holds will be equally wonderful.
Sep 25, 2012 0
Over the weekend I was feeling pretty sick with a bad cold and so that meant that on Friday (our weekend is Friday and Saturday) we were home-bound for the day except for a small trip to our bakala (convenience store) to get some small items.
Although, Peter did go out to a restaurant (we literally live next door to it) for some Yemenese food with a couple of other guys. While he was out I lounged by our t.v. watching “The Proposal” (classic!) and eating shawarma and fattoush. It was fabulous.
However, on Saturday, I was feeling a bit better and so we decided that we needed to get out and get some fresh air and a change of scenery. So we embarked on a little cab ride to Al Kout, a nearby mall area.
It’s an outdoor mall with various shops, a lot of which are very western. There was even a Marble Slab Ice Cream place, Dunkin Donuts and a Costa Coffee! It was soooooo quiet and next to no one was there when we got there. It was quite hot but we enjoyed the gentle breeze from The Gulf while we sat and ate breakfast.
After a while the beautiful water feature became “alive” as music started to play and the water danced to the sound of the music! It was a fun surprise and quite pretty for a lovely Saturday morning out.
We grabbed our groceries at the mall from the grocery store and also got some vegetables at the vegetable market. There was a meat market and fish market as well. We wandered through the fish one, but I refused to go down the meat market one…too many carcasses hanging around for me.
In any case it was a great outing despite not feeling 100%. I’m still feeling a bit off, but better than before, that’s for sure.
What did you do this past weekend?
Sep 19, 2012 2
You’ve seen what we have been eating around town, but I haven’t told you about what we’re eating in our own home! To be honest, there haven’t been too many huge changes. We typically ate “differently” than most North Americans anyway, so now I think we fit in, haha.
We eat breakfast at 5:00 a.m. each day – well, slightly after that when we get up – and it’s either yogurt (the equivalent to Greek yogurt) and fruit, or oatmeal with raisins (Peter) or oatmeal with peanut butter and date syrup (me!). I know that for myself the oatmeal is fantastic and it tides me over for about 5 hours, which is great, especially since I’m up so early.
As I mentioned in our school post, we don’t have a “lunch time”, so we both eat whenever it’s convenient in our schedules, so we bring munchie food to keep us going. So far this includes, flat bread and hummus, fruit, raw veggies, almonds, 1.5 litres of water each (no joke, it’s so warm that I finish one during each work day). This keeps us going until we get home and then we usually dive into our dates…
There is honestly no better food in the entire world than fresh dates. I’m soooooooo addicted to them. Since coming to Kuwait 2 years ago I’ve been DREAMING of these dates FOREVER, and no that I have them I can’t get enough. SO delicious.
We eat dinner around 5:00 p.m. every day and it’s vegetarian. It’s not that we’re vegetarians, but honestly, the type of meat we like to eat is easily ordered from any restaurant nearby for very cheap, so when we do eat meat, we eat it out. It’s just easier for us this way, and also cheaper. Plus, we don’t eat meat that much. So, we stick to lentils, chickpeas, and I’m experimenting with other legumes that I find locally. This means we eat quite a bit of curry (both “Indian” and “Thai”…and I say that loosely because I’m not an expert in those styles of cooking) and it’s usually a one-dish kind of meal. So rice with a chickpea curry, noodles with coconut milk curry, baked sweet potatoes topped with a sloppy lentil type dish… you get the idea.
Here’s a quick peek into our cupboards and fridge. They might look bare to you, but they’re just full enough for us.
Where do we get our groceries? There’s lots of options throughout the city, but right now, for where we’re living, we use the bakala, which is a small convenience store that sells minimal produce, but lots of spices, legumes, etc. We also use a few larger shopping centres that require a taxi. But essentially there’s nothing we can’t get. If anything there’s lots more here that we want to try than when we were in Canada! Not just that, but the cost of food here is MUCH cheaper, for which we’re grateful.
So there you have it! A little look into our daily food lives.
Aug 13, 2012 0
Weekends are pretty much the best.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I definitely pretty live all my life right now like it’s a weekend…but I only have a couple of short weeks left of that, so I’m livin’ it up!
But what happens when you don’t have any eggs because you’re still kinda sorta unemployed? You use that frozen overripe banana in their place. And you get fluffy vegan pancakes! Yay! And then you instagram (follow me – alisonlublink) them because you think
you’re pretty awesome your pancakes are pretty awesome…
The batter is the texture of mousse. Seriously – it’s the fluffiest batter I’ve ever seen. You’ll want to make these just for that fact!
Fluffy Vegan Pancakes:
- 1 1/2 cups of flour (either all whole wheat pastry, or 1 cup whole wheat and 1/2 cup white)
- 2 tbsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. honey (this is a contentious vegan issue, but I’m not having that debate. If it really bugs you, don’t use honey.)
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 overripe banana, mashed
- Coconut oil
Mix all the dry ingredients together and then add the wet ingredients. Mix well. Preheat your frying pan or griddle and lightly coat it with a bit of coconut oil. Ladle your batter onto the pan and when you start to see bubbles forming on the edges of the pancake, flip! Cook until nicely browned on both sides. Top with peanut butter (like me!), or maple syrup…whatever you like.
Aug 2, 2012 2
If you’ve traveled at all in your life, then you’ve likely stayed in even one hotel. And if that hotel is a chain in North America, you’ve more than likely had some sort of “continental breakfast.” I have had plenty of continental breakfasts in my time, and it’s been interesting to think back and note how they’ve evolved over time.
When I was younger I can distinctly remember that most hotels had donuts, sugary cereals, oatmeal packets, milk, juice, coffee, tea, and a bowl of fruit – usually bananas, oranges, or apples (or a combination of the three). Now, it seems that they’ve expanded a bit and things such as hardboiled eggs, yogurt, waffles, scrambled eggs, and sausage are included.
Despite the additions, I still feel like the hotel circuit is missing something on the continental breakfast scene. I recognize that higher-end hotels might have more options available that cater to a healthier lifestyle. But the reality is that most North Americans aren’t staying in those hotels because they don’t have the money for it. So how come the rest of us can’t get the same delicious, yet healthy options?
When we were away in Pennsylvania I found myself scanning the breakfast line at each hotel debating over and over what to eat. Most mornings at home Peter and I would have something fairly typical: oatmeal with fruit (and some nut butter swirled in for me!), or Greek yogurt with fruit and granola. Nothing too wild and crazy. However, I would look at the packages of yogurt, and they were filled with sugar. The oatmeal? It had “caramel colour” and other such delightful ingredients included. And the only fruit on hand was usually bananas (that were going brown) or some oranges.
I get that hotels are feeding masses of people with a wide variety of palates, and that’s a hard thing to do. But at the same time, why do we have to settle for lower nutritional standards just because it’s a hotel breakfast? What’s worse is that I know that this breakfast just reflects the stomachs of the vast majority of North America. I know, I know, we’re on vacation, so why not splurge? Fine. I get it. But seriously, after one or two days of “splurging” I feel like I want to vomit, my stomach is bloated, and I’m still constantly hungry no matter how much I eat because there is little to no nutrition actually going into my body.
The best breakfast I ever had that was included in our hotel stay was in Germany. They had homemade granola, meusli, jams, and nutbutters. It was incredible! Their bread was fresh and not filled with crazy preservatives. They had regular oats cooked and put in a large crockpot, instead of those little packets. Their eggs were real, and they weren’t shaped into strange little patties that make me question whether they’re really eggs at all… It was fabulous. And you know what? I didn’t feel hungry before lunchtime. And I felt like my body had actually received nutrition – not something I can say for most North American hotel breakfasts.
I don’t really have a conclusion that will solve all the problems I am mentioning above, but it was more something I wanted to write about; draw attention to. I guess my main thought is: it’s possible to stock a hotel with healthy food that can please people and still make you full in a healthy way. So why doesn’t it happen?
What’s your experience been with continental breakfasts? Like ‘em? Hate ‘em?