Monday, October 13, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday. There are no obligations to do anything but relax, enjoy the outdoors, and eat till your heart's content. I was sure to make some pies to enjoy (both pumpkin and pecan) and had more than my share of mashed potatoes. Our thanksgiving has been a bit busier than usual but I still made sure I took the time to read a good book, spend time with family and friends, and reflect over all the things I have to be grateful for.


While we're counting our blessings, I thought it'd be a nice idea to share a few of my favourite organizations, and offer a chance for giving to those in need. 

Liberty in North Korea is a non-profit organization  that aims to change the narrative away from the politics and towards the people of North Korea. They provide rescuing and resettlement services for North Korean refugees so they may reach freedom. 

FoodShare is a non-profit organization based in Toronto that works with communities and schools to provide food education and healthy food opportunities. Their programs include community farm shares, school farming programs, cooking classes, and so much more.  

Femme International is one of the only non-profit organizations working in feminine hygiene education.  They are dedicated to educating and empowering all females so that the restrictions and stigmas associated with menstruation may be lifted. 

There are so many worthy causes in the world to which we can donate our time and money, these are the organizations that are close to my heart, but I encourage you to find a cause you're passionate about and support them anyway you can! 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

What I'm Into: September 2014

Okay so I'm a bit late. Yes we're a week into October but ya know what, I run things around here and I say that's okay. September was another crazy month! I've been volunteering, jet setting to San Francisco, applying to jobs like a mad woman, and somehow I've managed to squeeze in lots of books and movies. This is what I've been up to this month:


Books I've Read:

The Enchanted by Rene Denfield - I'm not sure about this book.  It follows the life of a prisoner on death row,  and the various characters he interacts with. At the start it seemed like it could be something I would enjoy since it's all dark and twisty. But the further I read the more I couldn't wait to be done with it.

Quiet by Susan Cain - I've been reading this book off and on for awhile,  when my brain needed to work a bit harder and when I was in the mood for learning. I finished it finally a couple weekends ago and really enjoyed it. It gave me great insight not only to understanding my introverted self, but also to my relationships with others.

Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling- I'm not sure why I picked this book. I'm not really a fan of the Office, didn't like the Mindy Project, and wasn't familiar with any of Mindy Kaling's other works. That being said, it was a great weekend read. Definitely not as good as Tina's Bossypants (what could be though?) but still pretty funny none the less.

Movies I've Seen:

The Skeleton Twins - I really enjoyed this movie. It's about a pair of estranged twins who reunite after their lives don't go so great. The brother and sister work together to not only fix their lives apart, but also their relationship together. This movie is real and believable with the perfect amount of humour.

The Giver - This is a bad movie. Well, if you liked the book it's a bad movie. The Giver was given the Hollywood treatment and about a third into the movie it went on it's own path, separate from the story told in the novel. The acting wasn't very good, the romance (wait what? yes, I know) was weird, and Taylor Swift was unnecessary.

The Trip - This was my boyfriend's choice one night on Netflix. I hadn't heard of it but wasn't in the mood to make decisions so I agreed. It is the most ridiculous movie. It follows two British comedians on a foodie trip throughout the U.K., and it was actually pretty great. Thankfully, there is a sequel recently out in theatres, set in Italy.

Fun Stuff I Did:

TIFF - I've been attending the Toronto International Film Festival for nearly ten years! It's one of my favourite times of year. There is so much energy in the city, and so many movies to be seen, most that you wouldn't have the chance to watch otherwise. This year I decided to switch things up and volunteer. It was a great chance to meet people just as excited about the festival, learn about what goes on behind the scenes, and sneak in the odd film. Highlights of the festival this year include shaking Bill Murray's hand in the pouring rain, rushing my first movie, and sitting in on a screening of the Belgian movie Cub (so good!). Of course, it wouldn't be TIFF if I didn't go to my favourite program, Short Cuts Canada - so many good films from some pretty awesome filmmakers.

The Library - Ohhh I bet you thought this was some cool, hip bar or restaurant that I was going to rave about. HA! Joke's on you. It's the actual library. I don't know why I haven't been making use of the library all these years (actually that's a lie, I do, I was living in fear of my high school overdue fines). The library is just the best - you can borrow books, like ten books, for FREE. Loving the library.

LiNK - The organization I worked with this summer has started a new campaign and fundraising goal.  I'm aiming to raise enough funds to help at least one North Korean refugee reach freedom and gain the resettlement support they need - learn more by clicking right HERE

Monday, September 29, 2014

Apple Cinnamon Granola

I am always going through food phases, especially breakfast phases. Sometimes I'll be eating oatmeal every morning, every day, indefinitely. Sometimes I'm really into soft-boiled eggs. Right now I'm into granola, and thankfully it is the easiest thing to make at home. I love to eat mine with almond milk and some berries on top but it's great with yogurt too (obviously, if you didn't know that, get with it)! For this granola recipe I wanted to make use of our delicious Ontario MacIntosh apples, and I also added in some cinnamon to spice things up. Feel free to  change up the flavours with different fruits, nuts, and spices.



Ingredients

2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup ground flax
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 small apples, chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup olive oil
6 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 325 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients until everything is well mixed, and the oats and seeds are moistened. The mixture should clump together slightly, but if it is still looking dry add in a little more oil and/or maple syrup until moistened. Evenly spread the mixture out on your baking sheet and bake for one hour, stirring half way to avoid burning. Allow to cool completely before storing.

Note: Feel free to change up the olive oil for coconut oil or the maple syrup for honey! If you're going to add any dried fruits add them after baking so they're still soft.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Classic Banana Bread

Well I think it's about time I had a classic banana bread recipe on the blog. Scrolling through my past posts I realized I only had one banana bread option over the past year and a half! With the start of my favourite season, and the cool, fall air outside, it seemed like the perfect day to make banana bread. I've made this recipe so many times, and it never fails. It's moist, perfectly dense, with just a hint of sweetness. 


Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3 medium size bananas, mashed

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 F and lightly grease a loaf pan. Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs on at a time. Mix in mashed bananas until combined. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Gradually add the flour mixture to the banana mixture, until just moistened. Pour the batter into your loaf pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.