The Advent of the Smash Bowl

Have you ever been lazy? Unmotivated? Uninspired even?

Yup, that was me with todays dinner. Hence the development of the delicious “Smash Bowl”. What is a Smash Bowl you ask? Well that is simple. It is a healthy median between leftovers and pantry staples that have been hiding from view for months smashed into a bowl of deliciousness that you call “dinner”.

Today on the menu, we have the following:

  1. Leftover scrambled tofu from yesterdays breakfast.
  2. Frozen “Oriental Style” vegetables from The Grocery Outlet.
  3. Rice noodles that have been hiding in my pantry.
  4. Delicious Thai Peanut Sauce made peanut butter, gluten-free soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar and water – all eyeballed in the food processor.
  5. Those pickled hot peppers that are almost done at the back of my fridge.

This was one of those meals where I try to reduce food waste and boy, was I surprised! To say it was delicious is an understatement! Maciej and I were in awe of the savoury peanut sauce and the heaping pile of stir-fried veggies on our plates mixed with spicy peppers.

A report I read from the Commission for Environmental Cooperation states that Canada produces 873 pounds per capita of food waste! That being said, I have been guilty of leaving vegetables to die in my fridge – a guilt I have been trying to leverage with soups, smoothies and the development of The Smash Bowl. The beauty is, a smash bowl can be anything that is starting to look sad in your fridge. I have also read about people who partake monthly in “The Pantry Challenge” – something I have been watching for a while and wanting to try! If anyone does the Pantry Challenge, I would love to hear any tips you have for it!

In other news, Maciej and I took a long hike today along the Etobicoke Creek located on the Etobicoke/ Mississauga border. The weather in Toronto has been unpredictable. The sunshine is deceiving as you walk out into the cold wind. You think it is going to be nice; however, I find I need to get my cardio going to really warm up, which is what we did for 8 kilometres … and a minor mud slide! Not as in the environmental phenomenon, no I fell in mud. But some sunshine and fresh air never hurt anyone, even if it is a brisk and messy one.

So what about you? Have you gone outdoors despite this long Canadian winter? Have you been lucky enough in climate to enjoy spring? How do you combat food waste? Have you given it much thought at all? I would love to hear your discussion in the comment section below.

Portable Bananutbutter Baked Oatmeal

Why hello there!

How is everyone in Ontario enjoying their long weekend? I definitely needed the extra day as I have been working a lot lately. To say that my professional life has been emotionally taxing is merely skimming the surface. Yesterday, Maciej and I were talking and he was really keen on spending time together. Today we decided to start the day with breakfast at a “ma and pa” restaurant where I caught up with a friend of mine from college. After, we headed up north to do some winter hiking.

For me, it is important to go outside and get some sunshine in the winter. Admittedly, I have not been doing this as much as I should be. I have been in a bit of a rut. Now, to give myself some credit, I have been working out regularly using the treadmill at home as well as the gym but it is also important for me to get some fresh air; I was long overdue. Furthermore, I need to spend more time doing things with the best friend I live with. I am often guilty of getting myself into such a work cycle that Maciej sometimes has to come out and shout with waving arms tell me he needs some attention LOL. This is a blessing because as the saying goes: “if you both are the same, there is too much of you in the relationship!”. So off we went! And I must say, I felt great when I returned home!


So great, I was inspired to do some meal prep for this week … and recipe development! I have always been a big fan of baked oatmeal; however, I find it is often a “Sunday Brunch” kind of meal.

My goal was to create a portable baked oatmeal that was lightly and naturally sweetened so that it could be made easily on a Sunday afternoon and quickly grabbed in the morning so you can eat it in the car on your way to work.

The inspiration: a peanut butter and banana sandwich … a new and adult take on a classic.

What did you do during the Family Day long weekend?  Comment below on your family to-dos and any tricks you have to get you through the week and if you try out the recipe!

Print Recipe
Portable Bananutbutter Baked Oatmeal
This oatmeal is convenient, healthy, naturally sweet and very versatile upon being an entirely plant-based dish. Whether you make it for a brunch or because you are a professional looking to make mornings a bit easier, this baked oatmeal is filled with protein and complex carbs to keep you full on the go!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 °F and grease a muffin tin with coconut oil.
  2. In a bowl mix the oatmeal, baking powder, chia seeds, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar and salt.
  3. In a saucepan over medium-low, mix the maple syrup, bananas, peanut butter and almond milk until the peanut butter is melted down. Feel free to use a hand mixer to create a smooth puree.
  4. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients then divide the batter using a spoon into the muffin tin.
  5. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes.
  6. Let cool completely then wrap each oatmeal portion with plastic wrap and store individually in a zip-lock bag in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Recipe Notes

*If using salted peanut butter, omit.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 207

Fat: 7 grams

Carbohydrates: 35 grams

Fiber: 6 grams

Protein: 5 grams

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WHY Don’t They Cover Their Mouth Mending Soup

I usually have a very strong immune system. My career all started in the preschool room where the unthinkable manifestation of bacteria is bred. But today, I was defeated.

I started the day with a bit of a cold but nothing too bad. I painted, I was outdoors,  I was a little fatigued but nothing I could not handle. Runny nose!? HEY, that’s just my body protecting me … right? Wrong. Because as that one child coughed yet again with saliva spray in all directions, I was taken out.

By the end of the day, I could not bend over and pick anything off the floor without feeling dizzy. Sinus pain, constant runny noise, and my head felt so congested I could barely tell left from right. To make it worse, I had a priority task that I needed to complete which due to the constraints of my life and an incompetent bureaucracy, required me getting from the suburbs to down town Toronto using our toll highway. The result of this being that I had to travel from Yonge Street to my apartment at 4:30PM across the 401 (remember in my last post when I commented that I’m a bit of a traffic masochist? YEA … well, then this was paradise) #sarcasm.

I walked into the apartment exhausted. I could not even look at my treadmill. I needed food but not just any food. I needed a homemade soup that pureed all the nutrients my body needs to fight this menacing illness and while also being quick to prepare.

There is a bunch of research that explores why bodies crave certain things. I personally have experienced it, for example, when I am stressed to the max … pizza. The carbs. The sauce. The oil. All a quick dopamine hit – usually followed by a crash, but nonetheless. For this soup, I decided I was going to be very mindful and think about what my body wanted. I smelled things, I looked at things, I had a full sensory experience (limited to about 5 minutes because I needed to lay down) and then, I put it in a pot.

To my surprise, this soup is filling, delicious, and I actually feel just a smidgen better – I still need rest but it definitely helped – even if it just warmed me up to the perfect temperature.

I envy Maciej’s delicious gluten-full bread 🙁

Print Recipe
WHY Don't They Cover Their Mouth Mending Soup
This soup is quick and easy during those times you are ready to crash (mommy's take note!). It is surprisingly filling and with just enough flavour to enjoy without being overwhelming. With ingredients like onions (mood-boosting), turmeric (anti-inflammatory & antioxidant), garlic (antimicrobial), and tomatoes (vitamin C), this soup can help nourish you back to health on some of the worst germ exposures.
Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
bowls
Ingredients
Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
bowls
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Using a soup pot, heat the stove on medium/ high and add oil of choice.
  2. Chop up 3 large onions. You can be sloppy here. I was tired and watery eyes were not my choice.
  3. Place the onions in the pot with whole cloves of garlic and sauté until the onions are starting to brown.
  4. Add the turmeric, garlic powder, ginger, paprika, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to the onions and garlic and stir the pot so the onions and garlic are coated in the spices. The soup should be fragrant. Don't panic if there is some browning of the spice because that is nothing but delicious flavour. Continue to sauté for a minute or two.
  5. Shake and pour a can of full fat coconut milk into the pot. It will turn a beautiful yellow colour. Mix the coconut milk around picking up all that delicious spice that may be stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  6. Add in 1 tin of diced tomatoes and let soup simmer at medium/ low for about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Turn off the stove and let soup cool down before transferring it to a blender with lemon juice and blending for 3 minutes. Alternatively, if you have an immersion blender, that would be way better.
  8. Pour pureed soup into a bowl and remember that this illness too, shall pass.
Recipe Notes

Feel free to sprinkle some extra paprika on there. I definitely think it would look pretty. Unless of course you're too sick to function.

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Caramelly Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Happy Fall!

Hello everyone!

To begin, I am aware that I have literally disappeared for months. I have tried twice to write a piece that curates my time away; however, I was never happy with the outcome. These posts are currently sitting in my organized file incomplete. Instead of discussing an intensely personal journey, I think I will only say this: the last few months have been the closing of a chapter for me in the best kind of way. I am very excited about my new chapter and moving forward as 2017 has been a challenging year for me. If I am feeling inspired, I will write a post documenting some of the lessons and ends I have tied. As of right now, I am still processing everything and am ready to move forward. Furthermore, I have absolutely NO INTENTION to ever leave the blog for that long again! To my lovely readers, I apologize; however, I do not regret my time away.

Autumn 2017 has been a warm one in Ontario! It has been warmer than our summer. While I love autumn and all the knits, colours and cozies, I am always a little sad to see our local farmer’s market up the street have the final celebration for the year. Last Tuesday, my partner and I decided to purchase a bushel of apples for $15. I would be lying if I said that I did not turn to him in disbelief and ask “umm, there are only two of us … can we handle these many apples without going bananas!?” … see what I did there!? LOL OKAY, I WILL STOP! He, of course, said, “Well, you know how to make everything edible. Therefore, I will delegate that task to you”. I guess it is true!? Let me tell you, these apples are sweet, tasty, juicy and just amazing with their odd shapes and little markings. But what the heck am I supposed to do with a million apples!?

The first thing that came to mind for me is delicious, sweet and smooth apple butter! However, I wanted to make this apple butter without much work nor the use of my oven/ stove because I also wanted to make apple chips. I had read in my travels on the interweb that you can make apple butter using the slow cooker. I was game!

This apple butter is not super sweet. It highlights the flavour of the apples rather than sugar. The long cooking time means that the apple flavour intensifies and creates a beautiful caramel texture that is significantly different from applesauce/ puree.

I feel that if put into cute little mason jars with tags, this recipe would make a lovely (and inexpensive) table favour for your Thanksgiving celebration with an appearance of hard work and time. Not to worry, I will not let them know you dumped a bunch of deliciousness into a crockpot and called it a weekend!

Wishing my Canadian readers a very happy and bountiful Thanksgiving weekend!

Print Recipe
Caramelly Slow Cooker Apple Butter
Delicious as an autumn fruit dip or spread on toast as well as a natural sweetener in baked goods! I have also used it in a balsamic vinaigrette recipe that called for apple puree!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 24 hours
Servings
Cups
Ingredients
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 24 hours
Servings
Cups
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. I do not peel the apples; however, if you want a lighter apple butter, peel them.
  2. Core and chop the apples into small bite-sized pieces. Generally, I cut the apple in half then cut each half into 12 pieces (4 x 3).
  3. Place apple pieces into the slow cooker with the sugar, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and apple cider vinegar.
  4. Place the lid on the slow cooker and turn it on “high” for 10-12 hours. I like to do this before bed because you do not need to do anything during this 10-12 hours.
  5. After 10-12 hours, the apples should have broken down and appear to be a lovely brown colour (it may look a bit lighter if you peeled your apples). Give the apples a stir using a wooden spoon then switch your slow cooker to low.
  6. Leave the apples to cook with the lid on low for about 3 hours.
  7. After 3 hours, transfer the contents of the slow cooker to a blender using a rubber spatula and blend. Due to the hot temperature of the apples, I open the pouring spout of my blender. Be careful as sometimes blending hot content can cause cracks in your blender! I had a glass blender break while blending hot soup when I was younger!
  8. Place the pureed apple back into the slow cooker and cook on low with the lid off for about 7-9 hours. Most of the liquid should be removed, and you should be left with a tasty and sweet apple butter that is smooth and different from applesauce.
  9. Let apple butter cool than store it in a glass container in the fridge. I am sure you can freeze the apple butter as well if you wanted to or if you have a canning kit, store it in a mason jar.
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Celebrations and Food

Celebrations are in order!

Yesterday we had a few people over for Maciej’s birthday. It was lovely. We had four guests over and a lovely spread. To see what I served, click here. I must say, I think this was the first time as the main hostess for our get together where I was irked because I prepped a lovely sangria and had to wait to drink it! I lasted a good 45 minutes before I said FORGET IT! LOL

Forgive my ugly apartment kitchen. It is not fancy but it helps me make beautiful meals and despite its looks, we still entertain the best company! However, one day I do dream of when I get to have a beautiful warm kitchen where I do not need to stop and wait for someone to get out of the fridge before I can move on!!

While all the dishes were delicious, can we please stop and marvel at this double dark chocolate macaroon tart – seriously, it is a work of art.

I WOULD be lying if I did not admit to having a slice this morning for breakfast with my coffee, okay? It was divine. Chocolatey, decadent and not for the faint of heart as well as surprisingly easy to put together; however, you do need to make sure you prepare it in advance as it is a no bake recipe that requires freezing.

Despite all this decadence, something that has been a major accomplishment is I do not feel guilty about this celebration with food. While I recognize that in the minimalist philosophy, food is strictly for nourishment, food is also a very social ritual. Celebrating birthdays and holidays with food brings people together. Where there was a time I would feel inherently guilty for indulging, I find now that I enjoy feeding people and fostering conversations and joy through food – as well as secretly pushing how delicious gluten-free and plant-based meals can be. I did let everyone know at the end that there were no animal products – something I am usually hesitant about and everyone was in awe. They could not believe that the cheesy nacho dip I served did not have a lick of dairy in it, LET ALONE be carrots! I think since I have transitioned in my adulthood into eating predominantly healthy food, I do not feel guilty on the odd days that I indulge – not to mention that with all the prep work, the only lunch I had was taste testing the upcoming courses! I spent a total of 7 hours in the kitchen… SEVEN!!!!! Regardless, it was a fabulous night.

Overall, the evening was lovely and fostered how much I love to host people.

How about you, readers? Do you ever feel guilty indulging during a party or get together? How did you work with those feelings? Hosted any summer parties lately? Share your experiences below or connect with Red Lipstick Lifestyle on social media!

Cheers to a beautiful summer and wonderful people!