Quinoa Stuffed Portabella Mushroom

Snack Attack!

So…I made a salad one day and then the next day thought…”I bet this would be awesome stuffed into some portabella mushrooms!”



This is the salad I started with….


  • 1/2 cup brown quinoa
  • 1/2 cup black quinoa
  • 1/2 yellow pepper cut into small pieces
  • 1 heirloom carrot, sliced
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 sweet potato, roasted (see the method below)
  • 1/4 pomegranate seeds
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • shake of salt


  1. Peel and cube the sweet potato and put into large bowl.  Dash with olive oil, curry powder and salt and mix well.  Put onto baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes on 375F.  Mix half way through to make sure they cook evenly.  Take out when done and let cool.
  2. In the mean time….put the 2 cups of water in a pot and get it boiling.  Once boiling, pour in the quinoa and stir.  Cover and turn down to low and cook for about 13 minutes.  For some reason the 13 minute mark is usually best.
  3. Chop up your pepper and carrots and get your pomegranate seeds ready.
  4. Let the quinoa cool as well before putting into a large bowl and mixing in your roasted sweet potato and other veggies and pomegranate seeds.
  5. In a small jar or bowl, mix the 2 tbsp olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and honey or maple syrup.
  6. Pour over the mixture and let sit….or eat as is for a salad!


I had a bunch of the salad left and decided it would be awesome to stuff some big old Portabella mushrooms with it for a delicious snack or lunch.



  • 4 big old Portabella mushrooms, stems removed
  • the salad from above…lol
  • 2 tbsp hemp hearts
  • 2 tbsp ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 375F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Wash and de-stem the mushrooms
  3. Mix the olive oil and balsamic together and thoroughly brush the mushrooms back and front with the mixture.
  4. Take your salad and completely cover the upside down mushroom once you have put them on the baking sheet.
  5. Evenly distribute the hemp hearts and ground almonds on top to make a little crunchy coating.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes and take out and enjoy!

The lesson learned here is that sometimes one dish you make could morph into something else the next day!  Just because we had one thing in mind, doesn’t mean it can’t develop into something else later.  Be flexible and welcome the new developments!



Thai Coconut Curry Stew


Val and I were in stew mode and she came up with a yummy Thai Coconut Curry Stew.  Full of Veggies and Tempeh.

If you’re on the road to eating vegetarian/vegan, give Tempeh a try for your protein source.  It can be used in so many different ways and it is gluten free as well.


Marinade for Tempeh

  • 220 g Tempeh
  • 2 tbsp lime juice & 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp shredded ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red chilis
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • *Use 2 tbsp coconut oil for cooking tempeh

Ingredients for Stew

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp red curry paste
  • 1 tbsp Tamari sauce
  • juice of 1 fresh lime
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 3 cups baby bok choy
  • *Garnishes: thinly sliced red onion, unsalted peanuts and lime wedges


1. In a medium glass mixing bowl whisk all the ingredients for the marinade together. Cube the tempeh into bite sized pieces and add to bowl and mix until evenly coated. Marinade for at least 30 minutes.

2. Heat a cast iron pan on medium high heat and add 2 tbsp coconut oil. Add the marinaded tempeh to the hot pan and cook until tempeh is golden in colour. Keep an eye on the pan, to ensure the tempeh doesn’t burn. Set tempeh aside.

3. Meanwhile, heat another pan on medium heat and add coconut oil, shallot, garlic, ginger and cook until shallot is tender @ 5 minutes. Stir in red curry paste and cook an additional 2 minutes, stir to prevent burning.

4. Add coconut milk, broth, tamari, maple syrup, turmeric, carrots and mushrooms. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 12 minutes. Add bok choy, lime juice and tempeh, cook another 5 minutes.

Serve in medium sized soup bowls with a lime wedge, chopped peanuts and thinly sliced red onions to garnish.


The Tragically Hip-A Thank You

As many of you know, or at least those of you from Canada, the day we knew was coming finally made its unwanted appearance this past Wednesday.
Gord Downie; singer, activist, poet, Canadian in every sense of his being, passed away from terminal brain cancer.

I hesitated re-blogging this post from 2016 and I was going to write a new post just to say good bye, but as I read through it again, I realized that as we watched those final concerts back in the summer of 2016, we all said our collective good byes. We knew we would never meet the same way again. We just hoped that some day we wouldn’t have to know it was so final.

I take this time then to say thank you to Gord and his brilliant, yet ironically, fragile brain. Thank you to his band mates for sharing him with us. Thank you to his family and close friends for giving us this time to say good bye.


As a Canadian, we have things here we hold dear. Tim Horton’s. Hockey. Healthcare. Tragically Hip.  If you’ve grown up here, or have moved here, even if you don’t listen to their music, The Tragically Hip have created what would be categorized as Canadian Rock for 30 years.  When I say Canadian Rock, in no way do they compare to Nickelback, so don’t go there.  For those from the US and other countries, you probably know some of our other well known bands like The Guess Who and Rush.  Although lyrically they have Canadian-ness about them, there is just no comparison to the poetry of Gord Downie, The Hip’s front man using that metric.

I write this with the assumption that those who will read this may not be from Canada and may not be familiar with The Tragically Hip.  For those who don’t know, we, as a country…

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Stew Season ~ Veggie Stew Recipe

October is half way over already!

Although the weather hasn’t been too cool yet, it is on the horizon and we know what we are in for!

I was in the mood for some stew and thought I would give a veggie stew a try.  You may think that it wouldn’t be as hearty as a meat based stew but it was amazing.  Delicious and filling!

What is great about the veggie version is that you can add pretty much whatever veggies you have in the house.  This recipe is also vegan as there is no dairy or egg included.  AND also Gluten Free!

Enjoy with a nice piece of bread for a warm-you-up fall dinner.


  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed into about 2 cm cubes
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cubed into about 2 cm cubes
  • 1 green pepper, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, rough chopped into chunky bits
  • 2 heirloom carrots, peeled and sliced.
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 6 cups of veggie broth
  • 2 teaspoons of rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. In a large pot put the olive oil and put on medium heat.
  2. Rough chop the onion to give a fairly large piece. Put in the hot oil.
  3. Let the onions cook until soft.
  4. Add the rest of the veggies once prepared. Stir and combine them all together.
  5. Add in 5 cups of the broth and stir.
  6. Add in the rosemary and salt.  Stir.
  7. In a separate small bowl, add the rice flour and the other cup of broth.  Mix until you get a smooth mixture and the flour is combined completely.
  8. Pour flour mixture into the pot and stir thoroughly.
  9. Heat to a rolling boil, then turn down and cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through.
  10. Ladle into a bowl and enjoy!


Breakfast Cookies

Cookies for Breakfast!!!

Val said it was ok 🙂


This breakfast cookie is gluten free, dairy and nut free!  Not overly sweet but if you need a little boost in your cookie, adding some mini chocolate chips or cacao nibs will definitely be a welcome add on.



Wet Ingredients

  • 1 cup Tahini (sesame butter), sunflower seed or pumpkin butter
  • 1 large banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla


Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole oats, pulse in a high speed blender 5 x until oats are broken up
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbsp chia
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 tbsp whole flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup goji berries or raisins
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds (add these to the wet ingredients above and let sit for 5 minutes)
  • Preheat oven to 325 F


1. Place all the wet ingredients in a medium bowl and mix until well blended. Add ground flax and let sit for 5 minutes.

2. In a large bowl add all the dry ingredients and blend well.

3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently blend together until all of the dry ingredients are absorbed.

4. Take about 1/4 cup of batter (I use an ice cream scoop) and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.   Flatten the batter with a fork to about 1/2 inch and be sure that all the cookies are uniformly sized for even baking.

5. Bake for 20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on a cookie rack and store in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 days, in the fridge for 7 days or freezer for 3 months.



This recipe is so very versatile that you can change up a few things to give a whole new taste.

You can replace the tahini with almond or peanut butter and substitute the dried fruits with dates and orange zest.

The possibilities are endless. I love to substitute the cranberries/raisins with dried apricots, currants and lemon zest.

For you Pumpkin Spice Lovers… replace the banana with pumpkin puree and add pumpkin spice instead of cinnamon.  YUMMY!!!


Vegan-GF Molasses Cookies

Me Want Cookies!

I had a hankering for a cookie tonight so I thought I would make some.  Scanning the cupboard and then the blog for a recipe, I decided on a tried and true Ginger Molasses cookie.  We have made them before and although the recipe was Gluten free before, we gave suggestions for the veganized version so I went with that…and here it is!

**also I used Brown Rice flour and Xantham gum instead of Quoinoa flour because that is all I had in the cupboard 🙂


  • 2 cups Brown Rice Flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp xantham gum
  • 1  tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • *1/4 cup turbinado sugar for coating cookies
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan margarine
  • 1/4 cup molasses


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).
  2. In a medium sized bowl, cream the Earth Balance and brown sugar until smooth.
  3. Beat the apple sauce and molasses into the margarine/sugar mixture until smooth. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the brown rice flour, baking soda, xantham gum, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves;  blend well.
  5. Add the dry mixture to the wet and mix well.
  6. Put in fridge for 1 hour if possible.
  7. Roll enough dough to form 1 1/2 inch (4 cm) balls. You can also use a medium sized melon ball scoop for more precise measuring.
  8. Flatten with a fork and sprinkle with sugar.
  9. Place cookies on a baking sheet and bake on the middle rack for 10-12 minutes.
  10. The cookies should be slightly browned on the bottom when they are done.
  11. Let cookies cool for 2-3 minutes before removing them from the sheet. Allow to cool completely on a cookie rack.
  12. These cookies can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a week or frozen for 4-6 weeks.


Refreshing Summer Slaw!

Well Summer showed up! 

Came in with a bang here!  The temps are high and so cooking is not so fun when it is hot.

We love a good slaw here and find them so refreshing, especially in the heat of the summer.  They go along so well with just about anything or eat them on their own!

Here is a super delicious carrot slaw that we hope you enjoy as much as we did!

Raw Carrot Slaw with a Lemon-Dijon Herb Vinaigrette


  • 2 cups multi-coloured carrots, julienned (I used purple, orange, red & yellow carrots)
  • 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 sweet red pepper, julienned
  • handful of fresh chives, finely chopped
  • handful of parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh tarragon leaves, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • juice of 1 whole lemon
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 2 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds to garnish



  1. Pour lemon juice into a small glass bowl and slowly whisk in the olive oil. Add garlic, Dijon, and honey and mix until evenly combined. Set aside.
  2. In a medium glass or ceramic bowl combine the carrots, onions, peppers, chives, parsley and tarragon, toss lightly.
  3. Add the olive/lemon vinaigrette to the vegetable slaw, toss until well coated. Add pumpkin seeds to garnish.
  4. You may substitute 1 cup of the julienned carrots for 1 cup of shredded Napa cabbage and replace the pumpkin seeds with sesame seeds for an alternate taste experience.



Hope you enjoy this slaw.  If you’re looking for another fresh summer salad with a little extra added to it, try the Roasted Sweet Potato, Pomegranate and Quinoa Salad!  This one is so good as well but a little added protein to it!

Dillon’s Distillery Tour!

Val and Nicole on adventure!

To the land where the Gin flows like wine….

We are so fortunate to live some where there is so much to do.  Seriously.  We go in one direction for 45 minutes and we are in Toronto, which has so much to do that I can’t possibly list them all.  We go in the other direction 40 minutes and we hit the wine country of the Niagara Region.

Well the wine region just got a new addition!  

Dillon’s Distillery

Dillon’s is a small batch distillery nestled smack dab in the middle of wine country.  Started by Geoff and Peter Dillon, father and son, as well as Gary Huggins, only a short time ago, Dillon’s has quickly gained a name as a Gin artisan.

The choice to build the distillery in Niagara Region was because of the proximity to fresh local fruit available and also the craft culture of the local wineries that have made the Niagara Region home for generations.

Val and I had both ‘sampled’ their Unfiltered 22 and also the Rose Gin before and decided to make a trip out to the distillery, where staff happily takes you on a tour of the facility.  The staff is very knowledgeable about their products and the processes so go ahead and ask the questions!

After the tour, you are able to do a tasting of some of their products, which don’t just include Gin anymore.  This is the really fun part!

Dillon’s makes a nice variety of spirits to sample.



  • Dry Gin 7
  • Unfiltered Gin 22
  • Rose Gin
  • Cherry Gin
  • Strawberry Gin

OMG…the Rose and Cherry Gin was amazing!  We bought a bottle of the Unfiltered Gin22 (named as such for the 22 botanticals that are infused to the gin) and a bottle of the Cherry for a gift.  We tasted the Cherry and it is delightful!


  • Rye Whiskey
  • White Rye

Other spirits:

  • Method 95 (Vodka)
  • Limoncello – also delish and not as sweet as some others
  • Absinthe – Hello! This is insane.  It is 67% alcohol so you actually HAVE to mix a splash of water with it in order to express the oils that give it the delicious licorice flavour.
  • Orangecello – Didn’t get an opportunity to try this one but sounds amazing.

So, if you’re in the area or looking for a little escape to the Niagara Region, don’t forget to stop in to Dillon’s for a tour (although best to call ahead to see about times).  Well worth the trip and a great side trip for the summer of 2017!

Barrel room
Big Carl

Sriracha & Lime Cauliflower Wings!

Vegan & Gluten Free!!!

oh and they are


When you want a wings and beer night but you’re a vegetarian/vegan and you have to make gluten free too?!  So here is a healthier version of the traditional wings.  We baked, well double baked, these babies and they come out soooooo yummy!

We tried a really amazing sauce on them made with Sriracha aka the new Ketchup, and lime.  This recipe would be easy enough to change up your spices.  I think the next time we should try a honey garlic glazed for those who may find these a little spicy!


  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or plain soy milk
  • 6-8 Tbsp
  • 1 head of cauliflower but into ‘wing’ size pieces. This is really up to you how big you like them.
  • 1/4 cup Sriracha sauce
  • 2 tsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoon agave (or honey if not vegan)
  • juice of half a lime…also add more for your own taste
  • 2 tablespoon water if needed to thin out sauce


  1. Heat the oven to 450F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Wash and cut cauliflower into bite size wing pieces.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, spices, almond milk and water.  Whisk it up to mix well.  The batter should be like a pancake type batter.  Not chunky but not too runny that it won’t stick.
  4. One by one, immerse the wings into the batter and cover completely.  Do a little shake…and shake the cauliflower wing to remove excess.  Put onto the parchment lined baking sheet.  Spread them out so they won’t run together.
  5. Once you have dipped all the wings, place into oven for 20-25 minutes.
  6. While the wings are baking for the first go around, get the sauce ready.
  7. In another bowl, mix in Sriracha, lime juice, agave or honey and melted coconut oil.  Mix up and if too thick, use some water to thin it out.
  8. Once the wings are baked, take them out and one by one dip them into the sauce.  You can use a basting brush too but I think they get coated a little better when you dip.
  9. Back to the oven they go!  Put the wings back in once the sauce is covered them and bake for another 20 minutes.
  10. While they are baking, we mixed up some dipping sauce. Here is the recipe for that!
  • One bunch of cilantro
  • juice of one lime
  • 2 tsp of agave (or honey)
  • 1 avocado
  • 3 garlic cloves

We put all these ingredients into a food processor and blended until smooth.  You may need a little water if not getting smooth enough.


The wings are best right out of the oven.  If you have left overs though, heat them up on a pan in the oven at 350F for 10-15 minutes.  They will satisfy anyone’s cravings for wings!

And the green dipping sauce is deeeeelish.



Get out…and stay out!!

I mean that in the nicest way 🙂 

The rain has finally (fingers crossed) subsided here in southern Ontario and although some trails are still closed because Lake Ontario is bursting at its seems, the sun is shining again and we are itching to get out!

Val is on the move hiking by the river close to her house everyday and enjoying the sun and the wildlife that is making new homes for the summer there.  I am finally mobile after 3 months of rehab for a ligament injury (insert whining here), but I have to say on a side note, that Physiotherapy works.  Seriously.  Abide by the therapist and you can’t go wrong!  Anyhooo…I won’t labour on about that…it is FINALLY time to get out into the trails!

I don’t know who is more excited…me or my dog!

Something I learned from nursing this injury and making my way back into the trails in a sort of running/walking/hiking way, is just how much I missed being outside.  I rehabbed a lot in the gym, for which I was grateful to have use of, but wow did I ever miss outside.

The trails are awesome for exercise as well as state of mind.  The ground is naturally cushioning.  The trees provide some shade if the day is hot or even rainy.  The rolling hills of the trails get the heart rate pumped up to give you a great cardio workout.

We tend to make things very complicated with our fitness.  We need the gadgets and the gizmos to feel like we are doing something worth while.  The simplicity of getting out into the woods and hiking can not only get your heart pumping but also fill it with the joy of being out surrounded by nature.  Our minds can slow down and take in all of the beauty that is around us.  The results are incredible.

So here’s the challenge.  No matter where you live, check out some outdoor space for your next ‘workout’.  Don’t worry about the watch or the fitbit!  Just put the shoes on and go and enjoy what surrounds you. It could be woods, trails, beach, or boardwalks.  You won’t be sorry.



A Fond Farewell~Westdale Theatre

“Of all the arts, movies are the most powerful aid to empathy, and good ones make us into better people.”
― Roger Ebert

Last night we said good bye to a dear old friend.  Well, actually a few old friends, but one old girl in particular that we will hold close to our heart for all time.

We said good bye to Westdale Theatre as we know and love it. She was purchased recently by the Westdale Cinema Group, whose hope it is to give her a face lift and breathe new life into her bones.

The day the theatre was listed for sale, after operating since 1935, our city was at risk of losing its last operating movie theatre of its kind.  One by one, over the years, the theatres of our youth, and my parents’ youth have closed and turned into other businesses or torn down completely.  The chance that this gem would turn into a restaurant or retail outlet or worse, bull-dozed, was enough to make us feel sick at the very thought.

As thankful as we are for the new life she will see, and the fact that she will still be showing some great independent films in her next life, we are faced with saying good bye to her past in order to say hello to her future.

This wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.

The Westdale Theatre is in walking distance of our home.  We have enjoyed movies there for about 20 years; ever since we moved into the area.  Showing mostly independent films, we were exposed to so many that we would not have known about if it hadn’t been for the theatre screening them.  Checking to see the latest screen offerings for the week is  a ritual that will be missed.  Sometimes, well, most times, we didn’t even know what the movie was about, we would just pick a night and go see it.  More often than not, we would walk home from the theatre flooded with a gamete of emotions.  The films we viewed there moved us, elated us, saddened us, and got us talking.

I like to think that the impact these movies had on us, wasn’t just from the films themselves, but because of where we were when we saw them.

We saw two movies this last week.  Maudie, with Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke, which was a sweet, heartwarming movie about Maude Lewis, the folk artist from Nova Scotia, and Le Havre, a French film from 2011, for the final film of the Westdale Theatre’s life this time around.  At first I wondered why Le Havre was picked as their final film, and for whatever the real reason is, I like to think it encompassed all of what we loved about the Westdale Theatre.  It was quirky, weird, independent and made you smile.  Exactly how you would describe the old girl.

So they say change is inevitable.  They also say change is good. I am hopeful the new keepers of this somewhat sacred place will not venture too far from her purpose as a place to screen movies to those who love independent film.

To the Theatre, you are forever etched into our memories as one of our most cherished places in Hamilton.  Thank you for showing us life in so many different genres.

I would be horribly remiss if I didn’t say how incredibly thankful we are for the staff that kept the old girl going all these years.  We will truly miss you all and wish all staff, past and present, a wonderful future.

I’ve shared a few pics from our last emotion filled evening at the Westdale Theatre.

Roasted Sweet Potato, Pomegranate & Quinoa Salad



RSP-P&Q Salad!

Ok.  The name doesn’t roll off the tongue, but the salad is amazing!

With the sunny skies and warmer weather becoming more prominent we all look for something fresh and full of flavour to eat.

The Roasted Sweet Potato, Pomegranate and Quinoa Salad is so full of deliciousness that you will be going back for more.


  • 3 large sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 2 small red onions, cut into wedges
  • 3 cups cooked and cooled quinoa
  • 1 fresh pomegranate, seeded
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp pink sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • Lemon wedges for serving



  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Be sure to rinse the quinoa with cold running water and strain through a fine sieve until water runs clear. Set aside quinoa, let cool completely before using.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 F and line a tray with parchment paper. Place onion wedges on one side and the sweet potato cubes to the other side. Drizzle the onions and the sweet potato with 2 tbsp of olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 15 minutes until the onion is soft. Remove the onions to cool completely and allow the sweet potato to cook another 10 minutes or until tender. Remove the sweet potato and allow to cool completely.
  3. In a large serving bowl add the quinoa, vegetables, pomegranate seeds, lemon, olive oil, sea salt and pepper to taste. Adjust seasonings to your taste. Gently fold ingredients until evenly blended.  Serve with lemon wedges.



Roasted and cubed mixed bell peppers and or eggplant are wonderful additions to this colourful, nutrient-rich salad. You may serve this with chick pea falafel and tahini dressing for a satisfying and delicious meal. You may substitute the basil for fresh finely diced parsley.

Let us know if you give it a try!  It’s officially salad season and they don’t have to be boring!

Local(s) Extinction

Whoa…that’s a heady title..

I know this may not fall in the realm of ‘Crave-Life’ and what we normally post, but I felt the need to share my thoughts on something that is happening in my city.

I live in Hamilton, Ontario.  For most of our readers, they may not be familiar where it is.  Hamilton is about a 45 minute drive to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, which mostly everyone reading has heard of in some context.  You may have family there.  You may be a sports fan and know of our Jays, Raptors, or Leafs.  You may have visited or may be some of our Canadian readers who know and love or loathe Toronto.  😉

I like Toronto…or the Six…or T-Dot (that one ages me).  But what ever you call it, I do enjoy Toronto.  I enjoy visiting and going to events like concerts or sporting events there.  I even like to go for dinner.

Hamilton was put on the map from its history as a steel producer.  Steel City.  The Hammer.  Those are just a couple of the nick names it was labelled with over the years.  I know there are few others that are more insulting but I won’t validate those by posting them.

I love my city and I wouldn’t do that to it.

Born and raised here, myself,  in the Hammer, save a couple of years of moving for work, we chose to raise our kids here.  I won’t go into a “why Hamilton is a great place to raise a family” rant so don’t click away yet.  There are enough of those articles around if you want to read them.

My city is changing and I am torn about this change.

As much as I want to be happy, I feel this angst welling up in me that wants to say “put on the brakes!” as we are careening towards the guard rail and off the escarpment.

I love to see people enjoying our city…finally.  For years we were the butt of many a joke.  We were seen as the smelly kid in the class that no one wants to invite to their birthday party.

Not now.

Now we are the preppy new kid that both boys and girls are vying for their affections.

We see you batting your eyes at us wanting us to pay attention to you now. You want us to invite you to the prom, don’t you?  We are eating at the popular kids table, and we are loving it.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t happy about this.

I would also be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about this.

As an admitted chronic worrier, add this to the list of many.

I worry that we will be unrecognizable one day, like the girl you called plain in high school that shows up at the 10 year reunion with a killer body and hair extensions.

I worry that our beloved locals who have called Hamilton home for generations through the neglect will be pushed out;  the locals that lived where no one else wanted, the locals that know their neighbours and knew their neighbour’s parents, the locals that kept neighbourhood businesses going for decades.

They will pay the price for this ‘progress’

Are we ok with this?

I honestly don’t know if I am.  Like I said, I am torn.

On one hand, with this progress comes a renewed sense of Hamilton pride, which is at an all time high.  People don’t wince when you tell them where you are from. (and believe me, they used to).  Many Torontonians are exploring Hamilton and some relocating to Hamilton because of the obscene price of real estate in Toronto.  We welcome you with open arms, truly.

On the other hand, the increase in our real estate here, mirroring Toronto’s, is pushing people out of homes where they built their lives. Some businesses are finding rent unaffordable as landlords find themselves in the driver’s seat, able to ask an ever-expanding increase in their monthly rental fees.

Perhaps this is naive of me to suggest that we owe it to the legacy locals to ensure they can continue to call Hamilton home.  It is their genuine love for the city and perseverance that gave Hamilton the confidence to undergo this transformation.  They were the ones living here, working here, and fighting for improvements long before the Tapas bars and Wine Lounges were lining the streets.

I recognize the complexity of this situation we find ourselves, with no simples answers to appease everyone.

My hope for my city is that as we emerge out of the rust, we ensure those who kept its heart beating can still call Hamilton home.

We owe them that.

I would normally apologize for the heady post, but I would be lying if I said I was sorry.

I leave you with a short poem that ended up with this post being written.


Rusty steel mills transforming,

Turning into Tapas bars and Wine Lounges

Encouraging the money to visit,

Leaving behind the legacy locals

To scurry from the rising condos.


I better get back to baking!

Coconut Onion Rings – Veganized

Well I promised you would see the result of my attempt to veganize The Hungry Elephant‘s Coconut Onion Ring recipe.

They turned out pretty darn good!

Now, I wil probably guess they weren’t as crispy as hers.  I got the coating to be crispy but the overall ring was a little wiggly.

Here’s how we did it if you want to give it a go!


  • A large spanish onion – cut into rings
  • 1 cup of unsweetened, plain Almond Milk
  • 1 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup of brown rice flour
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil


  1. Cut your onion into rings and separate.
  2. Mix your almond milk and olive oil and whisk to combine.
  3. Mix your coconut and rice flour and whisk together.
  4. Take the rings, one at a time and submerge into the almond milk mixture, then into the coconut mixture.  Now, I did a few just one pass through this sequence, but I found the ones that turned out the best had another go around, so do this twice and I think you’ll find they coat a little better.
  5. Heat up some oil in a fry pan.
  6. Once you have coated a few, and the oil is hot, put the rings in single layer in your pan just long enough to brown a bit on each side.
  7. Then put them onto a cookie sheet where you slide them into the oven on Broil.
  8. I broiled them and they really browned up nicely with a crispy coating on them.

We had fun eating them too!

Thanks again to The Hungry Elephant for the inspiration!

Instagram Recap!


Spending some time purusing Instagram this week and thought we would share some of our fave accounts with you guys!


 Going from Top going Left to Right ~

  1. The Burnt Tongue – Local soup restaurant here in Hamilton.  Not only do they make an amazing variety of soups that cater to vegan and gluten free people as well as for the omnivorous, they have killer french fries.
  2. Henry Brown’s Small Batch Ice Cream  – Local small batch ice cream shop that resides in the Hamilton Market.  Delicious ice cream with some vegan options too!
  3. The Hamilton Farmers Market – Running since 1837, the Hamilton Farmers’ Market will give you just about anything.  Locally sourced, straight from the farm produce and made baked goods, cheeses and meats.
  4. Donut Monster –  Almost no explanation necessary.  Local Donuts available Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at a number of different locations throughout Hamilton.  Vegan options available every week.  Best part of the week 😉
  5. Royal Botanical Gardens – The RBG is a 2700 acres botanical garden and nature sanctuary located in Hamilton/Burlington.  Beautiful trails and gardens to explore.
  6. PieBird Farm Sanctuary – A warm and wonderful spot in Nippissing, Ontario.  Enjoy the Bed and Breakfast or cottage rental while exploring this vegan animal sanctuary.  Yan and Sherry are the most amazing hosts.
  7. Green Bar Hamilton – The pic is of their vegan version of the Starbucks Unicorn Frap!  Best smoothies in town and the food is fantastic too!  We go probably once a week for lunch or dinner 🙂 DEEEELISH!
  8. Esther The Wonder Pig – Is there any explanation necessary for this diva?  Esther and her Dads live on an animal sanctuary in Campbellville, Ontario where they house many other rescues.  We have volunteered a few times on the farm and are planning another ‘farm day’ for June!
  9. Merrys_end_of_Life – This instagram is a celebration of life with pictures taken and curated by Merry, who is dealing with the challenging disease of COPD.  Merry is a local legend and her photos and positivity inspires us to live life to the fullest and enjoy the flowers along the way.

We hope you enjoy the little gallery of Instagram accounts we have put together for you!

Check some out and give some a follow if you like what they have to offer!  AND while you’re at it, click on Crave__Life and give us a follow too!