Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Will Run for Foodie Penpals

treats from my foodie pen pal Tiffany

How would you feel about receiving dark chocolate with caramelized pistachio pieces in the mail (along with your hydro bill and a notice of assessment from Revenue Canada)?  It made my day.

How about dark chocolate from a complete stranger who happens to be a blog writer or reader?  I know that I'm not supposed to take candy from strangers but I'm pretty sure that someone (like Tiffany)who sends me natural almonds, organic peppermint & fennel tea, fruit leather, a peanut butter Lara bar, and a mini bag of popcorn (amongst other things) isn't trying to poison me.

If a package full of food surprises from a complete stranger that lives somewhere in Canada, the United States or the UK is your idea of a good time check out Foodie Pen Pals.  You should know that your food surprises will be tailored to tastes and dietary preferences.  I get that not everyone gets hopped up about fruit leather.

Here’s a detailed explanation of the program:

-On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.

-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penal!

-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!

-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)

-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.

- Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!

***If you’re in the UK, please contact Carol Anne from This Is Rock Salt at to get involved!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Upside Down Cake Smoothie

When you are hanging out in the plank position while mosquitos are flying away with chunks of your skin all in the name of toughening up for the Spartan Sprint there is a pretty good chance that you might want to take your mind off of the buzzing and chomping.  You can harass your teammates, make fun of the teammate that couldn't make the practice (you know who you are) or you can think about cake.

The cake turned into a smoothie but really it was all about the crumble anyway.  Besides, we have pink zebra roller derby shorts, glitter headbands, and purple mesh tops to wear so maybe a smoothie is a better idea anyway.


1 cup diced rhubarb
2 C fresh or frozen strawberries (I used whole frozen strawberries)
1/4 C apple cider 

Combine ingredients in a medium sized saucepan.  Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for approximately 10 minutes.  Allow compote to cool before adding to your smoothie.


1/4 C ground almonds
1/4 C + 2 T old fashioned oats
1 T coconut oil
2 T brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 T unsweetened applesauce

In a small bowl combine ground almonds, oats, coconut oil, brown sugar, cinnamon and unsweetened applesauce until your mixture is crumbly.

Strawberry Rhubarb Upside down Cake Smoothie
(2 Cups)

1 frozen banana
2 T vanilla protein powder (if you skip the protein powder you might consider adding extra vanilla paste & maybe a 1 tsp of honey or maple syrup)
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 C unsweetened soy milk
1/4 old fashioned oats
strawberry rhubarb compote
1-2 T crumble

In your blender combine frozen banana, strawberry rhubarb compote, protein powder, vanilla, soy milk, & oats.  Blend until desired consistency is reached.  Top with sliced strawberries and 1-2 T of crumble.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Will Run for Waldorf(ish) Salad

There is nothing quite like being in a change room trapped in a pink shirt with floral applique (how do I even know that word?).  Note to self: a pocket knife isn't a bad idea when clothes shopping.

  I'm in the habit of trying on ridiculous pieces of clothing.  Imagine a polkadot bikini top with ruffles on someone who occasionally gets mistaken for an adolescent boy at the grocery store amongst other places (Farmer loves it when people think that I'm her son helping her bag groceries).

After narrowly escaping a kicking and screaming tantrum while trapped in a bright pink shirt that almost needed to be surgically removed and a pile of pants that I needed to grease myself to get into I thought a salad for supper wasn't such a bad idea (and I LOVE  this variation of waldorf salad).

While this recipe makes a 1/2 cup of dressing and salad for one (excellent for a week worth of lunches) the salad quantities can easily be doubled, tripled, etc. when you feel like you should share.

Waldorf(ish) Salad

Apple Cider Dressing

(approximately 1/2 C)

1/3 C apple cider
3 T apple cider vinegar
1 garlic clove pressed
1T buckwheat honey (or maple syrup or sugar)
1/4 C olive oil

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan over low to medium heat until mixture begins to simmer.  Allow dressing to cool.


(1 meal sized salad)

1-2 cups iceberg lettuce
2  ribs celery sliced
1/2 C sliced strawberries
1/2 C grapes sliced in half
2 T toasted pecans
1 pink lady apple diced with skin on (Macintosh apples also work well)
Gardein crispy tenders sliced or 1/2 C roasted chickpeas

Combine celery, strawberries, grapes, pecans, crispy tender and iceberg lettuce.  Top with desired amount of apple cider dressing (1-2 T).

* If you are feeling a little more adventurous you could try adding hydrated chia seeds (2 tsp of chia seeds + 1/4 C & 2 T of water that has sat long enough to become a gel) to the dressing. I haven't tried this yet so it could be a disaster (similar to mud all over your kitchen because you took my advice on using a old pillowcase to spin salad greens disaster).

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Will Run For Sunflower Spread

sunflower spread

lap goats


honey combs


It doesn't get much better than a weekend at the pie bird and the sudbury rocks half-marathon

If lap goats, garden tours, composting toilets, tea rooms, fireplaces, delicious vegan meals, lovage and two of the loveliest people you will ever meet are your idea of a good time you will love the Piebird located in Nipissing Village as much as I do.

If spandex, sports beans, fuel belts, race bibs, running shoes and 21km with PB are your idea of a good time you'll love the Sudbury Rocks Half Marathon as much as I do.

After eating a delicious sunflower pate at the Piebird I thought that it was time to make my own.  It was a great excuse to try out some of the lovage that Sherry & Yan gave to us and to eat some capers (it turns out that we only have 3 jars in the refrigerator).  While my spread is nothing like the delicious sunflower spread that Sherry makes I was pretty impressed.

Sunflower Spread

1 cup raw sunflower seeds soaked overnight & drained
1/4 cup pepitas (or additional sunflower seeds) soaked overnight & drained
juice from 1 lemon
1 tsp Bragg (high quality soya sauce may also work)
1 T + 1 tsp lovage (finely chopped celery will also work)
1 T capers
1/4 C finely chopped onion

In a blender combine soaked and drained sunflower seeds, pepitas, lemon juice, bragg, lovage, and onions.  Blend until desired consistency is reached.  Add capers and stir until combined.  If you're feeling patient allow to stand covered in the refrigerator for several hours or if you are like me eat it as soon as possible with as many vegetables as possible.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Will Run For Banana Bites

not so pretty but so delicious

Me: "Do slugs eat bananas"?

Farmer: "I've never had a hard time with slugs eating my bananas."

Awkward silence. 

Farmer:  "We live in Northern Ontario!  We don't grow bananas!"

Me:  "If I was a slug, I'd eat bananas".

I've felt like a slug since last Sunday's run.  If I was a slug I would want to eat bananas not lettuce and other soft vegetables.  Besides, this slug would much rather the house smell like coconut oil and warm bananas not compost.

The banana bites are soft and chewy and oh so sweet.  

Banana Bites

1 large banana 
1/2 tsp of melted coconut oil
pinch cinnamon, cardamon, cloves (optional)

* double, triple, quadruple 

Melt coconut oil. Thinly slice banana(s).  Using a silicone pastry brush lightly coat both sides of the banana slices.  Place slices on dehydrator shelf (ours is a not so fancy model from the Bass Pro Shop ). Dehydrate at 135 F for much longer than seems reasonable or approximately 9 hours! 


much much later

Note to self: make these in mass quantities ideally before going to bed so that you can wake up to the delicious smell of caramelized bananas.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Will Run For Chocolate Patties

When you start running 19 K on Sunday for fun you might find yourself doing other things that you never thought that you would do.  Like busting into a hotel restaurant during mother's day brunch to "use the bathroom",  going to the bathroom in the woods (really a park with a walking trail, a parking lot, and a road that you didn't notice until it was just a little too late) or being the lookout (obviously not a very good one) for a pace bunny who really needs to drink some water, eat some vegetables, and forget the last 10K of the Ottawa Marathon ( 42K + Immodium = a fate worse than death).

On that note I thought that chocolate patties with dried fruit and nuts would be a delicious post run snack and great excuse to make fun of pace bunny.  If you aren't into chocolate patties served on poop bags chocolate cups aren't so bad. 

pistachios & candied pineapple

almonds and goji berries

dried cherries & cocoa nibs
Chocolate Cups
(serves 6)


100 g of Camino Dark Bittersweet Chocolate 71% Cacao
1 tsp coconut oil (optional but delicious)
12 T nuts ( raw cashews, raw almonds, raw pistachios, cocoa nibs etc.)
6 T dried fruit ( goji berries, candied ginger, candied pineapple, dried cherries)

Melt chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler (you could do this in the microwave just remember to stop and stir often).  If making chocolate cups divide chocolate evenly amongst six cups and top with nuts and dried fruit.  If you're making chocolate patties spoon chocolate onto a silicone baking mat and top with fruits and nuts.  I placed the cups in the freezer for about 15 minutes until they were firm.   I'm pretty sure that this barely counts as a recipe but it's definately a quick and easy dessert or post run snack.