July 10, 2012

Chocolate Mint Granola Bars

What better way to beat the summer heat then to have the oven on for a couple of hours in your already boiling hot apartment.  Probably the worst idea I've had in awhile...but it was worth it! I had every intention of going for a run and enjoying the weather but I used every excuse in the book, such as "I'll go later when it cools off...I'll go to the gym later...I'll go to the gym first thing in the morning" ...which eventually lead me into deciding that I just wanted to go home, clean up, get organized and make some granola bars for lunches!

These aren't just ANY old granola bars...they are something different from anything I have ever made before, using some different flavours. After a lot of taste testing, I finally figured out what combinations I wanted to use!

Chocolate Mint Pretzel Granola Bars


makes 12 granola bars

1/2 cup raw sesame seeds
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup crushed pretzels
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup mint chocolate chips
1 cup natural, unsalted peanut butter
1 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla


1) Preheat oven to 350.  Toast sesame seeds, almonds and coconut in a frying pan over medium high heat, stirring frequently unti lightly browned.  Set aside and allow time to cool completely (otherwise it will melt the chocolate chips.

2) Once nuts are cooled, combine this mixture, pretzels, oats and chocolate chips in a large bowl.  Mix well.

3) Combine peanut butter and brown rice syrup.  Microwave for 30 seconds to make it easier to mix.  Add vanilla, stir to combine.  

4) Add wet mixture to dry.  Stir well to combine.  

5) Spray 8 by 8 square baking dish with spray oil, transfer mixture and press down firmly.

6) Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.  Take out, allow to cool completely before cutting.

Check in tomorrow for another amazing granola bar recipe.  HINT: banana and butterscotch are involved...

Have a wonderful evening!


July 09, 2012

Vegetarian Sausage Pasta Bake

Last night, after spending the afternoon cleaning up from our camping trip, paroozing the mall and galavanting downtown (wow, quite a vocab today hey?) Francis and I came back home to start dinner. Emphasis on "I" ;) I had all of the ingredients for a wonderful dish that I knew Francis would absolutely LOVE! Despite the heat, I decided to have the oven on for about an hour and a half...probably not the best idea...we were super hot for the rest of the night! But, it was worth it :)

Vegetarian Sausage Pasta Bake
adapted from Sarah Matheny's Baked Penne with Sausage and Peppers from Peas and Thank You


Makes 8-10 servings

1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
1 package of Italian Tofurky sausages
1 yellow pepper, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 1/2 cups sliced onions
2 tsp minced garlic
4 cups spaghetti sauce
grated cheese


1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2) Prepare pasta el dente.

3) Coat a LARGE frying pan (learned from experience...) with cooking oil.  Add onions, bell peppers and sausages over medium high heat until tender.  Add sausages and garlic.  

Let cook for 5-6 more minutes.

4) Add pasta sauce to the vegetable sausage mixture and mix until combined.
5) Add 1 cup sliced fresh basil.

On a side note...is that not the biggest basil leaf you have ever seen????

6) Transfer mixture to 13 by 9 lasagna dish, which has been sprayed with cooking oil.

7) Grate as much cheese as you'd like on top, put in the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes.

6) Garnish with fresh basil.
7) Enjoy!

Have a wonderful night!


July 08, 2012

Weekend Getaway

How's everybody's weekend been going so far? Hopefully you are all doing something fun and that you enjoy, no matter what it may be!

Francis and I had a great weekend! Saturday morning we picked up our friends, Alyssa and Eric, to go camping in Sooke!

We went nice and early to get a spot (it's an hour out of Victoria)...and we lucked out and got an absolutely amazing one! We were so relieved and happy!

This was our view! Amazing, right?

We got started right away and put up our tents, put everything away and got settled in!

We had a quick lunch of a delicious vegetable pasta salad that Alyssa made...which was obviously super amazing because i didn't even snap a quick pic.  We had some raw veggies on the side!

After we finished up our lunch, we headed out to find a beach to spent the afternoon at.  We found a beautiful spot that was quite private.  We explored along the shoreline and found a waterfall and some cliffs, which we jumped from :)  Yes, it was scary...but I did it and it was a blast! A fareeeezing blast!

After the sun went behind the trees we headed back to our campsite and munched on some chips and goldfish (which we pretty much filled up on...woops)...

Then we played a little bit of Scattergories and Jenga! I haven't played Jenga in such a long time...and I'm still just as bad as I remember! And no, that is not my arm :)

Alyssa and I started on dinner.

Our site :) don't ask what I'm doing...because I have no idea!

Alyssa and Eric put their veggies (yellow zucchini, mushrooms, onions) in tinfoil as well as their chicken! They weren't sure if it was going to work...but it did! It was perfect!

Francis and I BBQ'd our chicken...and roasted our new BC potatoes, sweet potatoes and onions in tinfoil on the grill...topped with some thyme, salt and spray oil.

Everything was SO good! I think your senses are definitely heightened when you eat outside because everything smells and tastes so much better!

Eric and Alyssa brought red wine that was leftover from their wedding (which we went to last weekend on Pender Island), so we had that for an afternoon cocktail and with dinner :)  It is such great wine.  It is very mild and smooth yet it doesn't lack flavour and has no aftertaste! It's perfect!

Alyssa and Eric chowing down! I'm so happy we brought tinfoil because we didn't have any dishes after dinner :) Gotta love that!

Francis cleaning the grill!

Immediately after dinner Eric and I went for a dip (he sort of dared me to...so I had to...), got changed into some warm clothes and then snuggled in by the fire and made s'mores.  I didn't take any pictures because, obviously, I was way to excited about them! So excited that I happily chowed down on 4. My my my...

After that we set up our table for a game of Cranium!  Eric and Alyssa had never played before so it was a lot of fun!

We turned it in around 11:00 pm because we were all exhausted! 

We went to sleep with the sound of this rushing river...it was really relaxing!

We all got up around 7:00 am after a pretty decent sleep!  I put on the coffee and we sat around the fire and chit chatted before we started on breakfast (which took around an hour or so to make)!

We made bacon, sausages, banana oatmeal pancakes, courtesy of Alyssa (I am going to ask her for the recipe because they were amazing), eggs, toast and fruit salad.  HOLY!!

It was interesting trying to cook everything on our tiny grill and trying to keep it warm! But we did well with what we had and it all worked out just fine!

The grub...which we almost completely ate! The boys were starvin' marvins.  Eric was pacing back and fourth at one point because he was so hungry! It was quite cute...luckily they didn't have to wait too long!

My plate :) 2 small banana oatmeal pancakes, 1 egg and some fruit salad! It was delicious!

hey guys!

Why hello there cutie pie!

We packed up our stuff right after breakfast and headed home.  It was sad to leave but it was wonderful while we were there! We all had a great time and I think will be going back very soon :)a

Taking down their tent!

A little picture of our view! Literally right on the river!

And now for a few scenic pictures purely for your enjoyment :)

Alyssa :)

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!