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It's summer, so what better topic to discuss than hot tea!? A little derisive, but I do live in Canada and the weather is fickle. Plus, I was in need of hot tea and sweaters just two weeks ago while on the west coast. I'm a blogger for all climates.    

For those of you unfamiliar with what a London Fog is, it's simply a tea latte featuring earl grey and vanilla. I was obsessed with pricey London Fogs in university and every time I smell earl grey, it takes me back (can well all agree that putting a Starbucks on campus is enabling?). I've been to London, England a couple of times, once asking for a London Fog while visiting. No one knew what I was talking about (*crickets*) and I had to coach them through it. After this hard-hitting investigative endeavour, I've decided that North Americans made it up -breaking news!  

 
 
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The marvellous MegaFood folks sent me a care package the other day filled with their new line of MegaFood Boosters to try out. For those of you not familiar with MegaFood, they're a company that makes supplements out of produce. Real, whole-foods, straight-from-the-earth fruits and vegetables. Not synthetic vitamins and minerals. While I'm not one for supplements, I do like a superfood powder to amp up my smoothies from time to time, which is why I was so excited to help MegaFood introduce their new lineup. 

If you're a nutrition dork like me, you may be interested to know the following fun facts about MegaFood: The company receives produce from local, pesticide-free farms, transforming the goods into supplements and these superfood powders with their "slo-food" drying process. The nutrients from the produce are left intact, retain their potency, and can more easily assimilate into the body. Very intriguing. Even my health hero and doctor extraordinaire, Andrew Weil, M.D., is a fan.   

 
 
All of the food in the top photo is vegan/gluten-free, if you can believe it. Below, that's me on a bike in Tofino, BC, I'll be your culinary tour guide today. Welcome welcome.
It was with a heavy heart and a very full belly that I returned home from the west coast. My trip to the westernmost edge of Canada was one of the the most memorable, active, delicious, totally “bitchin’” vacations that I’ve ever had the pleasure of taking. I walked the entire sea wall (it’s longer than I thought…). I surfed. I kayaked (and got stuck for a few moments in the middle of the ocean thanks to low tide). I hiked in the rainforest and on ocean-hugging cliffs. I foraged for seaweed (success!). I drove the oh-my-gosh-this-is-incredible/beautiful/dangerous Pacific Rim Highway. I biked. I blissed out listening to the din of the Pacific Ocean waves. I went earthing on the beach. I gawked at and touched centuries-old redcedars, the “Tree of Life,” in Cathedral Grove and Pacific Rim National Park. I gained a surprisingly diverse amount of knowledge about food, climate, trees, animals, birds, sea life, plants, and much more. I ate. And ate. And ate. When you’re “shredding the gnar,” you work up a pretty “killer” appetite (my Tofino vernacular is really coming along!). All of that salty ocean air makes me a hungry gal.

Check out my favourite places to eat in Vancouver, Tofino, and Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, as well as few things you should try to see and do. All of this research was hard work, especially all that eating. Like, really hard. The hardest.  

 
 
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In my last post I talked about my kitchen flops, so today I thought I would share some of those flops with you that I caught on camera. (Before I go on, I must emphasize that this soup recipe is not a flop. Not even close. It's adapted from Mollie Katzen's The New Moosewood Cookbook, the first vegetarian cookbook I ever owned, and the one I use most often today.) 

Without further ado, here are my spectacular flops. Some may look okay, but I never post anything on here that I don't really love the taste of, and/or the preparation is confusing/overly complicated. I will most likely never test these recipes again, may they rest in peace.   

 
 
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I've written this post about three times and still can't get it right. Do you ever have those days? I'm trying to get a point across and I'm betwixt and between about the whole thing. I figured, if I'm going to spark some deep intellectual thought, I should probably pick a side first. What I was trying to say is that I don't believe in "everything happens for a reason" in life, but I do believe in this philosophy when it comes to cooking. 

Unlike in life, in the kitchen, you can press the DO OVER button. And I press it a lot. I'm do over button-happy.   

 
 
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To celebrate the first week of summer, my friend Kelly, from the delectably allergy-friendly cooking and creating blog, The Pretty Bee, has asked me, and a handful of other bloggers to come up with a popsicle recipe. My guest post, an interpretation of the classic orangette, is up today. Featuring powdery cocoa and sharp orange, the two are swirled together to create a rather emotive summer dessert for me -the fudgesicle. Come to mama.     

 
 
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Something that I'm really terrible at is succinctly expressing my thoughts on paper. More is more, is my motto! However, I'm trying to nip this in the bud as it's disheartening to spend your days writing, hit the word count, and realize that you have to cut out one-third of your "totally awesome" thoughts. When I'm feeling like slamming my head against the keyboard after cutting out nearly all of the words I've carefully woven together, I tend to go into the kitchen and work on a recipe for the blog. Preferably something that takes at least thirty minutes of my time -like this sesame carrot noodle salad! I actually think this is called procrastination. But... semantics.  

 
 
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Yes, this is a rice pudding recipe post, but it's really a photo-heavy scroller coming at you! Over the weekend, I went to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, the wine country about 2 hours from my house, for a gorgeous Father's Day picnic. We ate lunch in the park overlooking sailboats on Lake Ontario; watched a wedding take place the gazebo near us; strolled around the old-timey town; and hit up Southbrook Vineyards, an organic, biodynamic winery, for the most delectable wine tasting (and met a very special friend in the field!). This rice pudding recipe is inspired by their fantastic rosé, which was my most beloved tasting of the day. 

Enjoy the photos!  

 
 
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"Ratatouille is a traditional French Provençal stewed vegetable dish, originating in Nice, [France]. The full name of the dish is ratatouille niçoise." Not to be confused with the movie. Now that we've cleared that up, on to today's story! 

This week, my dad asked me if I wanted to go on a little vacation with him and my sister and I said, YES! I have been lucky enough to travel to many exciting locations with my dad and I can hardly wait to hop on a plane and head to the west coast! We're going to British Columbia to hit up Tofino, Salt Spring Island, do some fun hikes in Vancouver, browse Granville Island (have you ever been to the market? or the Umbrella Shop? -best umbrellas in the world!), along with plenty of seawall walks. I'm going to try surfing in Tofino, go whale watching, kayak, maybe get my sail on, embrace my inner hippie, and eat plenty of west coast delights. 

If anyone has a great must-visit, must-do, or must-eat-at recommendation for any of those locations, please let me know! I'm trying to do as much planning ahead as possible. We'll be heading out in a few weeks and then I'll come back and overwhelm you with family and scenery photos. For now, I'm going to overwhelm you with ratatouille photos. 

 
 
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We don't officially have Black Friday in Canada (but we do have Boxing Day!), however, over the last few years, some ultra-consuming Canucks and stores are changing this by way of Black Friday-inspired mellow mall sales and internet deals. I always love to watch the news on Black Friday and witness the US shoppers go wild for a deal on a DVD player, mini-skirt, or children's toy. The pushing, the shoving, the relentless pursuit to get the last pair of designer boots without even checking the size -I love watching it all! And I always think (out-loud), "wow, people are crazy; it's just stuff!"  

Something similar happened to me last month when I visited a store that carries gourmet goods and specialty food items that are challenging to locate in common Canadian grocery chains. So yes, I am a hypocrite. I was on the search for smoked mild paprika, and apparently so was someone else.