Monthly Archives: April 2013

Strawberry Streusel Muffins and a Trip to San Francisco

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A few weeks ago, Christoph and I took a last minute trip to San Francisco. We were quite glad to get away from the rain and snow in Toronto and spend a few days walking up and down the sunny, steep streets of San Francisco. And holy moly were those streets steep! I really have no clue how people are able to park their cars there without them rolling down. One little trip walking down those streets and you’d be tumbling down, likely to your death.

One other amazing thing about San Francisco other than their streets is that they have SUCH beautiful fresh food there. Not only fresh, but many many vegan restaurants and vegetarian options. We were especially blown away by restaurants such as Herbivore, The Source, Golden Era, and Gracias Madre. Check out the amazing vegan flan we had at Gracias Madre. Thinking back now, I wish I had taken some pictures of the dishes we had at these restaurants but I guess I was too busy stuffing my face with all the deliciousness!

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The Ferry Building Farmer’s Market was amazing and I’m glad that I had my camera out for that. The colours of all the fresh fruits and vegetables were beautiful. If only I had a kitchen to use, I would’ve loved to cook up the amazing beets and carrots. As well as the artichokes, asparagus, and rainbow chard.

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For the most part, San Francisco is a very interesting and diverse city. We came upon quite a few characters while walking throughout the downtown area. It was like a mix of cultures and styles. We ended up staying in a hotel right next to the Tenderloin area, which is known to be a rather rough area. For example, we got to see a woman doing something between two cars on a busy road that you wouldn’t often see a grown adult doing in public…if you know what I mean. However, we also got to see areas with beautiful spanish style houses and massive palm trees that made us feel like we were somewhere else completely.

If you have the chance to see San Francisco then I highly recommend it. We’d love to go back just for the food alone!

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Now, on to the recipe!

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This recipe pretty much has nothing to do with the trip to San Francisco but is something that I absolutely love!

It’s a recipe I have made a few times throughout my life and every time I’ve made them they disappear in an instant. However, this time I changed it by making it vegan and my dad, who doesn’t “like vegan food”, loved them! Oh yeah, and my sister literally did not believe that they were vegan.

This is adapted from a muffin book that my mother picked up at book fair my elementary school was holding many, many, many years ago. It’s called The Totally Muffins Cookbook and is a tiny book in the shape of a muffin. How cute is that! The next year at the book fair I remember buying my mother a bagel cookbook in the shape of a bagel, however my mother still has yet to even open it up.

Anyway, the muffins are soft vanilla scented cakes filled with fresh strawberries and topped with a slightly salty sweet streusel topping. They’re so delicious and light and buttery, yes buttery! You wouldn’t believe they’re vegan…no one else did.

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Strawberry Streusel Muffins (vegan)
Makes 12 muffins
Adapted from The Totally Muffins Cookbook by Helene Siegel and Karen
Gullingham

Streusel Topping:
1/4 cup (55g) of vegan margarine (I love Becel vegan margarine for this)
1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
pinch of sea salt
2/3 cup of all purpose flour

Muffins:
1/2 cup of margarine (113g)
2/3 cup of caster sugar
1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla
scant 1 cup of alternative milk (I used half coconut almond and half soy)
1 3/4 cups of all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp of sea salt
1 1/2 cups of ripe or frozen strawberries, hulled and diced

First make the streusel:

Cream together the margarine and brown sugar until smooth. Add in cinnamon and salt and mix until combined. Lastly, using a fork or pastry cutter, add in the flour using cutting motions until the mixture is crumbly. Refrigerate while making the muffins.

Preheat the oven to 375˚F.

Line 12 muffin cups.

To make the muffins, cream together the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the apple cider vinegar, vanilla, and milk and mix. It is likely that they won’t combine and the mixture will look curdled, but don’t worry, it’ll be fine in the end! Now, add the flour, baking powder and salt on top of the wet mix and stir until almost combined. Add in the strawberries and stir again until the berries are evenly distributed.

Portion the muffin mix equally between the muffin cups and spoon the streusel mixture onto each one.

Bake for about 25 minutes until the streusel is golden and a tester comes out clean.

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Quickest Almond Milk and Blackberry Mash

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It’s day … of my elimination diet.

Ok, so I’m not on my elimination diet anymore. Yeah, I gave up. But I did stay on it for 30 days. No cheating or anything…except for that one time on day 25 when I shoved two donuts into my mouth and then ended up eating hot sauce and instant noodles. Yeah, that happened.

Though, from what I noticed, there was no change in my problem on the diet and there was no change when I stopped the diet. So maybe I don’t have any food allergies at all. Wouldn’t that be great! I was mostly scared that I would end up being allergic to gluten and never be able to sink my teeth into a fresh baked loaf of bread ever again. Saddest   thought   ever.

Anyway, I’ve been absent on here for a while due to exams and such and now that they’re over I’m going to bake EVERYTHING. Seriously. You don’t understand how much I think about bread and buns and rolls and all things that include flour. Apparently, according to the internet, what you crave the most is often what your body is sensitive to and that could indicate an allergy to that certain food. However, I’m just going to choose to ignore what the internet says.

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Anyway, today’s post actually has zero to do with bread but involves a sweet little drink I came up with when I was on my elimination diet. It’s super healthy, a little creamy, a little tart, and a lot delicious. You can use already made almond milk but I didn’t have any and found the almond butter to be a pretty good substitute. As well, most of the almond milks out there tend to use carrageenan as a thickener. There’s been quite a bit of speculation surrounding carrageenan as a cause of IBS and digestive problems. I’m pretty sure I already have enough digestive problems with the amount of gluten and sugar that enters my body.

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So, this drink is a combo of fresh blackberries mashed with a little lemon juice and homemade almond milk. The blackberries get layered at the bottom for a pretty colour effect and are lightly mashed for an interesting texture. It oddly reminded me of bubble tea. But much much healthier. I recommend getting your hands on some large bubble tea straws, which you can usually pick up at any asian grocery store.

Next time I make it, I plan on adding a banana to the almond milk to make it more of a smoothie texture.

Almond Milk and Blackberry Drink
Makes two 8oz drinks

3/4 cup of blackberries, cold
1 tsp of fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups of filtered water, cold
a few ice cubes, optional
2 tbsp almond butter
2 tsp maple syrup, or to taste
pinch of sea salt

Mash the blackberries and lemon juice with the back of a fork until liquid-y but still chunky. Divide into the bottom of two glasses. In a blender, puree the almond butter, water, ice, syrup, and salt until smooth and frothy. Add more syrup if you’d like it sweeter. Pour the almond milk on top of the blackberry mash and serve immediately with a large bubble tea straw.

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