Heat Waves + No Bake Date Brownies

There is a heat wave warning in Ottawa.



Our tiny apartment has reached unreasonable temperatures and our lack of air conditioning has led me to do things I am not very proud of in order to cool off; I put bags of frozen peas in places where bags of frozen peas should not go. It worked – but I lost some of my dignity in the process.


And then the worst thing that could possibly happen on a sweltering day did – I started to crave brownies. I know, I know, I know: summer is all about fresh fruit, herbed salads, grilled meats and the like. Unfortunately, my cravings do not ever change with the seasons, especially when it comes to brownies. And so, I set out to make a brownie that would satisfy that chocolatey gooey image I painted in my head without the need of an oven. And guys – I really think I did it.


This brownie is so so so incredibly simple (only 3 ingredients!!!) and it tastes super chocolatey; it is gooey and sweet and most importantly, for my particular circumstances, it’s cold. I know this recipe may seem to good to be true, but it’s true ya’ll. These brownies are just what the Ottawa heat wave ordered. So grab some dates, cocoa powder, almonds, and a food processor (or blender) and you’ve got yourself some no-bake brownies perfect for summertime weather.



No-Bake Date Brownies 

2 cups almonds
2 1/2 cups pitted dates
3/4 cup + 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tbsp. water 


Chocolate Glaze (optional) 

1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup cocoa powder

Brownies: Line a 9 inch square pan with parchment paper and place in the fridge. Place the dates in a bowl of warm water and let them soak for 5-10 minutes. Drain the water and place them into the food processor. Process for about a minute, until the dates break down and stick together. Remove and place in a bowl for later. In the same food processor, put the almonds and cocoa powder. Process for 30 seconds or so, until most of the almonds are broken down nice and fine and there are still a few visible but very small chunks left. Add in half of the dates and half of the tablespoon of water. Process. Add the other half of the dates. Process. At this point, the mixture should be almost like a chunky paste – it should hold itself together and be thick and sticky. If it is too dry, add the other half tablespoon of water. Once the mixture looks good and is sticking together nicely, remove it from the processor and place it in the baking pan, pressing it down so it is nice and even – you want it about 1 inch – 1 1/2 inches thick. Place in the fridge, covered. Leave for about 2 hours, take out of the fridge and cut into squares. Must be stored in the fridge so that the brownies stay nice and cool and don’t get too sticky.

Glaze: While the brownies are in the fridge, place melted coconut oil, cocoa powder and cinnamon in a bowl. Whisk until smooth. About 30 minuted into refrigeration, pour glaze over brownies and place back into the fridge, covered. Ta-da! you are done. Let it sit int he fridge until the glaze hardens a bit (for another hour and a half or so) and thats it, thats all.


This took me only 10 minutes of kitchen time – which meant I had about a half our more time on my hands than I usually do when I make brownies. So, what did I do with that extra half hour of my life? Sweat, mostly.

Hopefully it’s cooler where you are – but then again, the heat may be worth this recipe.



Meeting Pepper + The Best Summer Refresher

GUYS. My childhood dreams have come true in the past few months – and although I didn’t get the joy of seeing an oversized box abruptly moving under the tree on Christmas morning – she is perfect, and she is finally here.

Everyone, meet Pepper.

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We got her at only 8 weeks old and she is now five months! How time flies when you are exhausted and constantly cleaning up pee! She is a little energetic bug and loves loves loves attention. Exhibit A? Check this monster out on the floor of Chapter’s lovin’ life:

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She is finally potty trained, knows her ‘Sit’ ‘Lie Down’ and ‘Leave It’ (which came in handy when we came in contact with a dead bird) and she absolutely loves hanging around my feet while I cook – which is an unbelievable bonus. Aside from making me a much less garbage person (i.e. I now wake up a decent hour and move around way more than I used to) she has also made me painfully sympathetic to those parents who talk about their children all of the time. I get it. I mean, guys, look at her. Like, why would I want to talk about anything else? Because I am a human who is capable of doing so? Not a good enough reason. However, for the sake of this post, I will take some time away from talking about Pepper to talk about my other love of the month – Switchel.


Yes – it is a drink. Otherwise known as Witch’s Brew or Fool’s Lemonade it is an old school drink made up of just 4 very simple ingredients: Ginger, Apple Cider Vinegar, Maple Syrup, and Water. Thats it, thats all.

Lately, this easy peasy drink has been the talk of the food blog town – from Food52 to The Kitchn  it seems as though everyone has been put under this Witch’s (Brew) spell. The recipe I used is a modified version of Food52’s, with a little bit more ACV used as I love tangy summer drinks. If you like less of an acidic taste then use a teaspoon less and it should do the trick!


I absolutely love drink straight out of the jar, however, I have heard it tastes amazing with a dash of sparkling water thrown in – and I can confirm it tastes even better with a sprig of muddled mint and a shot of gin (or two). The one thing I will say is be flexible with it – if you don’t like maple syrup, use a different sweetener like honey. I recently bought some Passionfruit vinegar and I cannot wait to make the next batch with it!

4 tablespoons maple syrup
5 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 peice of ginger, sliced very thin (about the size of a thumb, more if you like lot’s of ginger)
4 cups water

Place all ingredients in a jar with a tight lid. Shake well. Put in the refrigerator and let sit for 24 hours. The longer it sits, the more intense the flavours. Believe me, the wait time is well worth it.

Final step? Pour over ice, and garnish as you wish. Pour in some bourbon? A little seltzer water? Gin? Vodka? Tequila? Test it out – it’s your brew, after all.


Late Morning + Warm Potato Salad

Have you ever had one of those mornings when you’re wide awake but can’t seem to get out of bed? All you want is the smell of breakfast to lure you into the kitchen, but you’re the one who has to make it? I had one of those mornings today.


Last night I went to bed at around 1am because my mother was in town doing a major re-vamp of my pantry (!). I also took the time to re-organize my fridge, which was filled with half eaten bowls of everything. The day was productive, so I did not feel bad this morning when I woke up at 10am but didn’t get up until about 1pm.


Good news, I have extremely similar friends who are incredibly lazy people by nature. So it was not hard to find breakfast (lunch?) company when I realized my partner had already kicked his ass into high gear and left for work. I called one of my girlfriends up, claiming to be making a late brunch for us, when really I was still slowly getting out of bed.


Of course, she is even slower than I am and it takes her about an hour and a bit to get to my house, which is only a 5 minute bus ride away from hers. It gave me just enough time to make, and photograph, one of my favourite side dishes/ improvised brunches ever. 


It is quick, and easy, and so incredibly flexible. I have made it a dozen times and each time has been a little different – but just as good- as the last. The best part? It tastes just as great with eggs for brunch, as it does next to a massive roast for dinner, or tossed with some arugula and skirt steak for a quick lunchtime salad.

Pro Tip?: Make a big batch, not that it will last long. 


Warm Potato Salad with Herbed Mustard
25-30 baby potatoes 
1+1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 
salt + pepper 
2 tbsp unsalted butter
a small bunch of herbs (I used dill and chives, but have used cilantro and
             green onion in the past and its worked out great)
1 tablespoon grainy mustard

3 cloves garlic

Preheat the oven to 400F. Slice your potatoes in half, and place them on a non stick baking sheet or line one with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper, and place in the middle rack of the oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until there is no resistance when you pierce them with a fork. Check half-way through cook time and with a spoon turn your potatoes over so they can brown evenly.

While your potatoes cook, chop the herbs and place them in a mortar (as pictured), or if you do not have one, a food processor or a knife work just as well. Throw the garlic into the mix (if you can, crush it with the side of your knife first). Pound, blitz, or chop. Next, add the grainy mustard and mix once more. If you will be using a knife, make sure to chop everything extremely fine, and with the back of your blade scrape the ingredients together on the cutting board to make a paste. Once everything has been mixed, and resembles a paste, your ‘dressing’ is ready. Set aside.

When ready, take the potatoes out of the oven and transfer them to a large heat proof bowl (do this right away so they are still hot). Drop the butter onto the potatoes and with a spoon or spatula gently mix until the butter has melted and coated all of the potatoes. Next, take the herb mixture and pour over the potatoes, gently mixing once more. Season with salt + pepper to your liking.


Ta-Da! You did it! Now that you are probably just as exhausted as I am after you’ve made a blanket fort on your couch and have most likely turned on Netflix (I can say that with an 85% accuracy), its time to sleep, eat, and do more of nothing! I’m going to go binge watch Scandal (because everyone deserves one on one time with Olivia Pope) and continue with my very lazy Sunday.


Wishing you a very unproductive day, friends. (But only today, we have to  get our shit together tomorrow, right?).


Resolutions + Recipe Round-ups

New Year, More Food.


It is officially 2016, which means any paper submissions I may have in the next few months will be dated with a scribbled out 2015 in the upper right hand corner. It also means that the social media sphere will be buzzing with ‘New Year, New You!’ inspo photos, the infomercials will start pushing home-gym product lines, and everyone will raid the frozen organic fruits and veggies at local markets and hop on that smoothie bowl train. Meanwhile, I will be on my couch reminiscing of a simpler time, when I didn’t have to wallow in my failed resolves of 2015, and instead was too busy making and eating these Gooey Nutella Condensed Milk Cookie Bars :


I know right, each of those words sound good on their own, but put them together in an almost sentence like title and, well… these cookie bars alone could be anyones resolution. Right? 


Right. So, for the first time in a long time, my resolutions will not be focused around changing my entire life around to make way for a number that I think should be on the scale, or to vow myself to exercise 5 times a week only to realize my schedule allows only 3 weeks of exercise, get frustrated at this realization, and quit exercising all together (I know, 2013 was a bad year). This year, I will ensure the success of my resolutions  by focusing on something I love: food. 


My New Years Resolutions + Inspirational Recipes

1. Make more time for breakfast. I am always running out of the door before I can even eat one stale piece of toast, let alone a full, balanced, breakfast. I feel that if I woke up with intent to make a silky smooth rosewater Firni porridge, a veggie miso bowl with a heaping fried egg on top, or this chai banana bread baked oatmeal I may be more inclined to wake up earlier – or be a little late.

2. Experiment with bread. Our house is a bread house. I do not mean literally made of bread, although I will admit that for at least the first week of my lease I would love that. I mean to say that both me and my recipe tester eat bread with abundance – it is his favourite snack, dinner, breakfast and lunch. So, I would like to stop buying it and start making it. I would start with this milk bread because what is it and why does it look so good?! Next up, Green Kitchen’s gluten free vegetable rolls, followed by mouthwatering whiskey salted caramel cinnamon rolls. Are cinnamon rolls considered bread? Well, they will be for 2016.

3. Make veggies the main dish. I always feel like my meal isn’t complete without a serving of some type of meat or fish. This year, I resolve to experiment with veggies and make them the star of the dinner table. Im thinking chickpea spatzle with shallots and collard greens, or these falafel waffles that will go perfectly with some warm roasted mushrooms.

4. But, if you must make meat your main, make it better. Im talking way betterLike maple-brined smoked fried chicken better. Like oyster gumbo pot pie (!) better. Yeah. 

5. See if healthier versions of the classics can take priority on your menu. One of my favourite dishes is the french classic boeuf bourguignon, so when I saw this beet bourguignon I was instantly intrigued. Also, did you know that you can make bagels out of cauliflower? Bagels, guys! I now know, and 2016 is looking a heck of a lot less carb-y (save for resolution #2).

6. Go big on special events. Like this wonderfully good-looking cake by Molly Yeh. Cardamon, vanilla, strawberry? Yes please. If anyone gave me a cake this good looking on my birthday, I would ask everyone to leave so I could be alone with it – trust me, no one wants to see a freshly turned 24 year old, with her future bright, binge eat an entire cake while watching Boy Meets World on Shomi (all 7 seasons are up, just in case you were wondering).

7. Finally, if you are going to eat dessert, make a dessert worth eating. What does that even mean? Isn’t all dessert worth eating? I honestly thought I had the hard facts to argue this case, but when I saw the photos of this concord grape buttermilk sherbet peanut butter cookie sandwich my entire life turned upside down. Then I saw these sweet potato donuts with toasted marshmallow fluff and cashew crumble and I thought, maybe I should start saving myself for the right dessert, I know it’s out there somewhere, just waiting to be found. But then again, maybe a girls gotta eat a whole bunch of desserts before she finds her ‘one’, ya know? Even so, I would much rather be heavily invested in making those beautiful donuts from scratch than eating, say, a drive through window sundae at 2am (although, once in a blue moon, late night drive throughs are where the magic happens).


Okay friends, its been a slice. But I am going to go pursue resolution #7 and go grab a sundae from McDonalds…err…I mean… go make ice cream from scratch! Have a fun, happy, healthy New Year and may all of your resolutions hold up …….. (at least until February)!


My reading list is never-ending, and for that I am ever grateful. Normally around the holidays I would be nestled up with a Neil Gaiman book in my hands, getting lost in his adult world of make-believe and eating a double chocolate something-or-other. This holiday, much unlike the last, I am reading about world politics, economy, human rights and social justice, and I am munching on delicious shortbread cookies.


This is one of the lighter baked goods I have made over the holidays, and its a good thing too because I have been shovelling them into my mouth a dozen an hour ever since I began on book one of my 10 book reading list. This is the third batch of these tasty little guys, and they were lucky enough to be photographed instead of eaten straight out of the oven.


As Im writing this I am stopping every few sentences to read The War on Women in Israel by Elana Maryles Sztokman. I can’t take my eyes of off this book and my hands out of the shortbread jar…. it is a miracle I am writing to you at all! Next up is The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King, and I am so so excited to make another batch of these and continue down my list. Is there such thing as a reading cookie? Well for me there is. 



But before I get into how to make this buttery, flaky, delicious shortbread, I want to share with you some wonderful, enlightening, important books that I feel everyone should read. Reading mindlessly and getting lost in a fictional story is an amazing way to relieve stress and relax – but reading about important things that are happening in the world and on how people are making great strides to fight against inequalities is empowering and eye opening.

A Social Justice Reading List
1. A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Powers
2. The War on Women in Israel by Elana Maryles Sztokman
3. The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King
4. Atrocities by Matthew White
5. Black Earth by Timothy Snyder
6. Days of Destruction Days of Revolt by Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco
7. A Short History of Progress by Ronald Wright
8. The Plundered Planet by Paul Collier
9. Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson
10. Locust Effect by Haugen and Soutros

Okay, this is like the 20th time today I have gone on a tangent about the importance of these books.. lets get back to the shortbread recipe:


Dark Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies with Orange Zest 
***recipe adapted from 
The Comfort of Cooking

For the Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
zest of one large orange
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. of flour for rolling

For the Chocolate
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tsp. cinnamon

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add vanilla extract and mix. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and orange zest. Once the sugar and butter are nice and fluffy, slowly add in the flour, mixing as you go. Do not overwork the dough, but keep mixing until everything holds together.
Once the dough comes together, form a ball/disc shape, and wrap it in saran wrap. Place the dough in the fridge for about an hour so that it is easier to roll out and cut.
Once the hour is up, you can start rolling your dough! Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Sprinkle the tablespoon of flour on your counter and roll out your dough to your desired thickness – remember these wont rise so there is no need for them to be rolled out too thin. Next, take your favourite cookie cutter (I used a pony) and begin cutting out your cookies! Lightly butter a cookie sheet (or use a Slipat) and place the cookies in the oven. Depending on how thick you rolled the dough, the cookies should be ready between 12 and 15 minutes.
Once your cookies are out of the oven, bring a pot of water to a roaring boil. Place your chocolate chips and cinnamon in a heat-proof mixing bowl, and set the bowl directly over the pot of water so that the steam begins to melt the chocolate. Stir the chocolate chips continuously until they have melted. Once your Cookies have cooled, you can go ahead and dip them in the chocolate any which way you choose! Ta-Da! Praise the delicious shortbread!


Okay, so now that I have shared with you my current reading list and a fantastic shortbread recipe, its your turn! Whats the best cookie you have ever eaten (shortbread or other) and the best book you have ever read? I want info ya’ll!

Happy reading and eating, you smart cookie.

Taking a Break + Chai Spiced Pound Cakes with Cinnamon Chocolate Ganache

Phew. The first half of the semester is over, just like that.


I finally allowed myself to fall off of the balance beam, and I let you guys go. You fell away from me almost three weeks ago, and ever since then, I have been trying to make time. To fit kitchen time into my schedule. To make brussel sprout salad, stuffed sweet potatoes, warming buddha bowls, and to stay away from the stale pizza. I tried, and I failed.


Finally, I hit my breaking point. My reading break was suppose to be this magical me-time holiday, where all I did was cook, and read, and sleep. But no, my reading break has consisted of broken apartment windows, rushed schoolwork (still, I know), and some lame-ass 20 year olds throwing Big Macs down our hallway. I wish that last one was a joke, but there is still cheese by the elevators.


Since I started grad school, I have been consistently waking up in the morning and stopping to ask myself Georgia, are you hungover? What did you drink last night? And then I pause and remember No man, this is just what you feel like now. It is a constant balancing act of being tired, worried, stressed, poor (like really f****ing broke), and trying to get as much caffein in you as you can while blocking out all the other shit. It is exhausting, and it is starting again in 5 days. So, to celebrate that for now I am on a break, and that i finally made time to show my kitchen some love, I went big –real big.



This is possibly the best dessert I have ever made. Its spicy, and sweet, and decadent and just incredibly hard to not eat. In fact, the batch thats been photographed is the second because I ate the entirety of the first batch, THATS A WHOLE CAKE GUYS. I ATE A WHOLE CAKE IN LIKE 30 MINUTES. But before you can eat the whole cake, I must tell you that this recipe calls for an extra step before you can get to mixing. Food52, one of my favourite inspo’ pages, has posted this amazingly quick recipe for Vanilla Bean Chai Syrup by Lillie Auld of Butter Me Up Brooklyn. It is one of the best things that has come out of my kitchen because it is also one of the simplest. Its something that I always have on hand, (I put it in coffee, tea, oats, desserts, you name it!) and its used in this recipe! If you choose not to use it, you can swap out the syrup for equal parts plain old condensed milk – these wont be chai pound cakes but they’ll still be super yummy pound cakes!

Now, lets get to it!




Chai Spiced Pound Cakes with Cinnamon Chocolate Ganache 
Recipe adapted from A Family Feast*

For the cakes
1 1/3 cups flour
1 pinch of salt
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup of Vanilla Bean Chai Syrup

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking pan of your choice with butter, (I used a mini bundt pan and a 6 inch ceramic dish), set aside.

Mix all dry ingredients except for the sugar in a small mixing bowl. In a separate larger mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar with a mixer or by hand until fluffy and smooth. Add in the vanilla and one of the eggs and mix until incorporated. Add in the remaining eggs one at a time and mix thoroughly after each egg. Once the eggs are all in, your mixture will resemble a very soupy scrambled egg mistake, however, the syrup and the flour will make this all better, I promise.

Add all of the Vanilla Bean Chai Syrup and mix on high, for about 5 seconds. Next, put in half of the dry mixture, mixing all the while. Once it is incorporated mix in the remaining half. Your mix consistency will resemble a thick cream cheese frosting, and if there weren’t so many raw eggs in it, I would totally suggest to go with it.

Place the mixture in your selected bakeware and we are off! If you have decided to place the mix into a loaf pan, it will take around 55 minutes to bake through. My 6 inch cake pan took about 30 minutes and my little cakes only took about 12. If you can run a toothpick through the centre and it comes out clean, if it is firm and springy to the touch, and if a nice golden brown has taken hold of it, the it is ready to come out of the oven.

For the ganache
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Once the cakes are out of the oven and have cooled down a bit, heat the milk on the stovetop on medium heat until it comes to a slow boil. Place the chocolate chips in a mixing bowl, and gently pour the hot milk over the chocolate chips slowly, mixing with a wire whisk as you go. Mix quickly so that the milk stays hot and the chocolate melts throughout. Once the chocolate is incorporated add the cinnamon and stir it in. If the cakes have cooled down to room temperature, and the ganache has taken a few minutes to cool as well, you can spoon the chocolate over the cakes and get to eating. Be careful though! If the cakes are still hot, the chocolate will melt and wont hold its beautiful creamy texture.

Finally, you are more than welcome to dust the cakes with cinnamon and sprinkle on some walnuts, for crunch! Ta-da! You did it, you fancy baker you.

Go! Eat! Enjoy!

Finding Time + A Carrot Ginger Soup with Walnut Topping

There is not enough time in a day.


I have this vision of waking up to an ‘Upbeat Morning’ Songza playlist, taking a shower, washing my face, drinking warm water with lemon, doing some yoga, and cooking myself a beautiful well-balanced breakfast – all before 10am. If I was a more disciplined person, this vision wouldn’t be so far out of reach. Unfortunately, my lack of discipline, coupled with my love for sleep, has me running out the door at 11am with my face unwashed and a piece of dry toast in my mouth. This is the reality I have come to accept. I am not a morning person, and that is okay. 


Since mornings are not my thing and I always find myself bolting out the door, I have grown accustom to my evenings being full of glorious me-time. This means dinners are often quick. In this case, really quick.


This delicious carrot and ginger soup is as yummy as it is fast to make. Its warm and full of goodness like sweet potato, ginger, garlic, and coconut milk. The walnuts give it an extra textural component and are totally worth the extra 3 minutes, but completely optional. Other than that, its a quick roast, a quick boil, and an even quicker blend. Ta-da! Soup for days ya’ll.




Carrot and Ginger Soup with Walnut Topping
serves 4-5 people
**blender/food processor is needed

7 large carrots
1 large sweet potato
5 cloves garlic
1 2 inch piece of ginger
1 large shallot
1 can coconut milk
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp. cumin
salt + pepper to taste
1 cup water or vegetable broth
1 tbsp. coconut

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Peel the carrots, ginger, and the sweet potato, and clean the garlic cloves. Slice the carrots and sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch slices – the smaller the chunks, the quicker the roast. Melt the coconut oil in a microwave proof bowl for 15 seconds, or until it has liquified. Toss the carrots, potatoes, garlic and ginger in the oil and place on a roasting pan. Roast for 35-40 mins.

While the veggies are roasting, Heat up the coconut milk on the stove top. Bring the milk to a boil on high, add in the cumin and coriander and lower heat to medium. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. In a separate pot heat up vegetable broth if using. If using water, have a cup of hot water ready (hot tap water is fine).

Okay, ready? Once the veggies are roasted (yay!) place them all into a food processor or blender. Add in half a cup of the coconut milk and blend on high for 30 seconds. Add in the rest of the coconut milk in 1/4 cup increments, blending as you go. Once the coconut milk is blended through, add half a cup of the stock/water, blend until smooth. If you like the texture, you are done! If the soup is still too thick, then add in the remaining half cup of liquid. Add salt+pepper to taste.

If using walnuts: In a pan on medium heat dry roast the walnuts. Dry roasting means you do not add any butter or oil to the pan, just the heat and the walnuts will do the trick. This takes about three minutes, shake the pan every so often so the walnuts turn and do not burn. Remove from heat when they smell nutty and toasty and toss with 1/2 tsp. coconut oil, salt, and cumin.


Phew, you are done! Look at how much time you’ve made for yourself! It took you 5 minutes to put everything in the oven and another 5 to blend everything together. Congrats! Now, go do you friend. Read a book, take a bath, eat some soup – there is so much room for activities.