Sips, Sweets & Snacks

DSC_2531

Let me start by clarifying – Team RAOP does not support drinking copious amounts of gross green beer and kissing strangers *just* because they’re Irish today, but we absolutely support getting lucky in whatever way you see fit. For us, that means devouring some extra sweet treats!

These VEGAN + GLUTEN FREE (yes, both) Rice Krispie squares are so super easy to make it’s almost funny, and the level of delicious is nothing short of shocking. Adapted from the Dandies Marshmallow website, we added matcha and a sprinkle mix crust to our version, because St. Patrick’s Day. Now if only we could find ourselves a pot of edible gold flakes…

Scroll down for the full recipe!

DSC_2454

DSC_2463

DSC_2489

Ingredients //

1 bag of Dandies Marshmallows
5 cups Gluten Free Rice Krispie Cereal
2 Tbsp. Earth Balance
2 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
2 Tbsp. sweetened matcha powder
+ MANY sprinkles of your choosing!

Recipe //

In a medium pot on very LOW heat, combine margarine, coconut oil and marshmallows. Stir until it has all fully melted down to a sticky mess.

Mix in the cereal and stir until evenly coated with marshmallow mixture.

Stir in the matcha.

Press mixture into a 9×9 pan. Top with sprinkles and press even more to form a crust.

Once cool, cut into squares, and GET LUCKY!

Makes 1 9×9 pan, approx. 12 squares

Recipe adapted from the Dandies Marshmallow website!

This recipe also goes GREAT with last year’s LUCKY CHARMS CEREAL MILK MATCHA LATTE! What is it about St. Patty and cereal?

DSC_2480

DSC_2505

DSC_2515

Sips, Sweets & Snacks

DSC_0416

I’ve been good friends with Amanda and Aneta for what seems like ages- we were all a part of the Rainbow Run Club last spring, and collectively share a deep love for healthy, plant-based, COLOURFUL food. I was so excited when I saw this dream team was launching a new joint project together, and Juniper Wood Kitchen more than exceeded my expectations.

Filled with the healthiest, prettiest recipes you’ve ever seen, plus an upcoming guide to favourite places and people (I heard a rumour yours truly might be making an appearance very soon), this website is a healthy vegan’s dream. Top it all off with gorgeous photos and a mega cute Instagram account, and what do you get? My newest obsession!

Since one of my goals this month is to work toward a totally plant-based diet, I thought it might be a fun idea to invite the Juniper Wood Kitchen girls over to The Pastel Palace for a snack! We brainstormed a bit about what we might make, and in the end we decided on pink veggie sushi rolls. That’s right, Pink! Are your chopsticks ready?

Scroll down for recipe

DSC_0238

DSC_0261

DSC_0399

DSC_0479

Pink Magic Sushi

Makes 4-6 rolls

– 2 cups organic sushi rice

– 2 ¼ cups filtered water

– 2 TBSP fresh beet juice

– ½ TBSP all natural rice vinegar

– 1/ tsp coconut sugar

– ¼ tsp fine sea salt

– 4-6 nori sheets

Filling ideas

– Purple yam or sweet potatoes

– Radish

– Cucumber

– Mango

– Avocado

– Enoki mushrooms

Avocado wasabi whip

– 1 avocado

– ¼ tsp rice vinegar

– natural wasabi powder to taste (we used ¼ tsp)

1. Rinse rice under cold running water until it runs clear. This removed the starch so its better to not skip this step.

2. Put the rice in the pot and cover with just a little more water than rice. For 2 cups of dry rice we used a little less than 2 ¼ cups water (about a ¼” of water to cover the rice in the pot).

3. Turn the heat to max and bring to a boil, occasionally stirring. Once it comes to a boil stop stirring, turn the heat to minimum and cover with a lid.

4. Check the rice in 6-8 minutes to see if all of the water has been absorbed. Tilt the pot to see if any water is sitting on the bottom. When the water is absorbed remove from heat right away to prevent over cooking the rice at the bottom.

5. Using only a wooden spoon, remove the rice from the pot carefully into a wooden or plastic bowl (metal will alter the taste of the rice vinegar we are about to use).

DSC_0391

DSC_0488

DSC_0443

DSC_0393

6. While the rice is still hot add ½ TBSP rice vinegar, ½ tsp coconut sugar and pinch of sea salt. Fold the rice several times to evenly coat and distribute the ingredients. Next, drizzle 1 to 2 TBSP beet juice all over the rice depending on how deep you want the hue. Fold the rice as opposed to a stirring motion. Cover with a tea towel and let the rice cool at room temperature before rolling.

7. While the rice is cooling, cut your toppings and set up your rolling station. Have a bowl of water for dipping your hands into as you are handling the rice to keep it from sticking to your fingers. Cover your rolling mat with a large freezer bag or plastic wrap if you want an inside out maki roll (the rice on the outside of the roll). The cucumber, radish, and mango are best sliced into long matchsticks. The yams and avocados should be about the thickness of a finger.

8. With wet hands, spread the rice out onto the plastic covered rolling mat – don’t make the layer too thick or the rolls will be too big. Try to keep it at a single layer of rice (about ¼” thick). When it’s even and slightly longer than your nori paper you can pat the nori down onto the rice. Fill with your fave toppings lengthwise in the middle. When you are ready to roll, wet the top edge of the nori (furthest edge from you) and carefully roll towards it using the bamboo mat as a guide and trying to keep it tight so you don’t end up with rolls that fall apart.

Here’s a video you can reference for sushi rolling techniques

9. If you prefer traditional maki rolls with the nori paper on the outside just use the rolling mat without the plastic, put the nori down, rice down then toppings and roll.

10. Now you can prepare the avocado wasabi whip. Combine avocado, rice vinegar and wasabi powder in a small food processor or high speed blender to create a fluffy whip. Blend until smooth and light. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes to let the wasabi spiciness develop.

Serve with gluten free organic Tamari, Avocado wasabi whip and pickled ginger.

** If you want to make your own pink pickled ginger; thinly slice the ginger and place in an airtight container along with rice vinegar and a few drops of the beet juice. Let sit in fridge overnight or at least a few hours so the colour and vinegar absorbs.

Sips, Sweets & Snacks

f1

After months and months of suggesting, planning, and missed connections, Amanda of Blueberry Pancake and I finally started to spend actual real life time together, and it’s been such a fun experience to get to know someone who started as a connection from Instagram.

After an ice breaker dog walk we decided to take things up a notch and do what Amanda does best: healthy baking! She showed up at my door with jars full of coconut sugar and buckwheat flour, and together we got to work on a vegan gluten-free recipe inspired by Chocolate Teddy Grahams!

Loaded with protein and fibre, these cookies were adapted from a recipe Amanda found online by Fork and Beans, and the end result was delicious and mega cute to boot! Feel free to tweak the recipe a bit and add whatever extract you like- we chose peppermint, but orange or almond would also be delicious!

DSC_0072

DSC_0002

Recipe adapted from Fork and Beans

Ingredients //

1 c. buckwheat flour
2 Tbsp. dark cocoa powder
2 Tbsp. coconut sugar
pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder

2 Tbsp. softened coconut oil
4 Tbsp. organic maple syrup
1/2 cup (or more) almond milk
2 tsp. peppermint extract

Recipe //

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.

In a medium bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. Cut in the coconut oil until small lumps form in the flour.

Add the maple syrup and 2 Tbsp. of non-dairy milk and mix until a dough forms. If it is too clumpy still add another tablespoon of non-dairy milk.

If the dough is sticky at this point, place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill. Otherwise roll the dough out between two pieces of parchment paper until it’s 1/8″ thick.

Use cookie cutters to make fun shapes and add details like eyes and noses with a toothpick.

Place in the oven and bake for 8 minutes. Allow your cookies to cool before eating them!

DSC_0065

DSC_0046

Sips, Sweets & Snacks

dsc07374

I’m always on the search for great vegan places to eat, and Tori’s Bakeshop is a true gem. Tucked away in the beaches, one of my favourite Toronto neighbourhoods, Tori’s has vegan and gluten free treats, delicious sandwiches (like smoky coconut bacon BLT), and a bright, cozy atmosphere. Though it’s a bit of a trek to get there from my west end apartment, I try to make my way there are often as I possibly can to load up on treats!

On top of being all vegan with lots of gluten free choices, Tori’s is organic, fresh, and handmade, and there are always tasty new seasonal things to try. I brought my parents while they were in Toronto on vacation and my meat-eating dad loved it so much he begged to go back twice in one week! On my last visit I had a delicious blueberry tea latte with home made blueberry syrup and black tea from a local tea company, paired with a massive, gooey cinnamon bun! I can’t wait to see what easter treats this wonderful spot has in store soon!

DSC07391

DSC07399

DSC07402

DSC07389

DSC07408

DSC07410

DSC07412

Photography by Brianne Burnell

Dear Diary

alyssa91

When I first moved to Toronto 5 years ago, I felt like I had been sucked into an endless vortex. Compared to cozy Vancouver, Toronto is massive, and the sheer volume of shops, restaurants, bars and more was exhausting to me, so much in fact that for an entire year I never ventured west of Bathurst!

Luckily, time has made this city a lot smaller, and with that shift I’ve come to regard big old Toronto as a small community full of incredibly talented people. I love walking around on weekends visiting all my favourite shop owners, or taking a mid-day break from blogging to pop over to a local bakery and get something sweet. I guess you could say I have a lot of local love?

The other day Em and I ventured into the Eaton Center in search of these adorable lamb slippers. We didn’t have any luck finding the slippers, but we were pretty appalled at the sheer number of people with shopping bags in their hands from mainstream shops. We had no idea so many people still spent so much in malls at big box stores while so many local small business owners are struggling to stay afloat and/or closing down.

I think it’s so important to seek out and invest in local shops; it helps support real people in our community, and helps build and maintain the community itself. That’s why I’ve decided to start this new little “Local Love” blog series, so I can share my favourite Toronto spots with you fine folks, and hopefully you’ll pay them a visit. First up: Bunner’s Bake Shop!

As a sweets fan, I have quite a number of favourite bakeries all around the city, and Bunner’s is definitely high on my list. With tasty offerings like a french toast cake (it’s incredible), and tiny pies that fit in the palm of your hand, Bunner’s is a cute little spot full of cute little treats tucked away in Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood. The best part? Everything at Bunner’s is gluten free and vegan! I highly recommend you hit it up if you have any food sensitivities, as it’s pretty much heaven for those with a restricted diet.

Oh and did I mention right now they have home-made “Pop-hearts”?

alyssa10

alyssa11

alyssa12

alyssa13

alyssa14

alyssa15

alyssa16

alyssa17

Photography by Brianne Burnell