Packing + Quinoa & Seed Granola {Wheat Free/Gluten Free}

July 10, 2012

Summer. Is. Here.

It is HOT. Really hot. Finally we have summer here in Vancouver, and not the one day on, one day off sunshine we have had for all of June and most of July. Everyday I wake up at 6 am when Adam leaves for work, for about a second, and the sun is in full force outside my window. I dread the Fall, when you wake up at 7 am and it is pitch black out. And when you get home from school/work at 4 pm, and it’s also pitch black out. Enjoy it now! No complaining about how hot it is, because it will be over sooner than you think.

I wasn’t too worried about having a sunny summer, because I am leaving for Europe in TWO WEEKS! To say that I am excited is an understatement. I will be leaving on a jet plane, headed for Amsterdam. From there, I go to London for a few days, then to Paris, Italy, Germany, Amsterdam again on a tour, and then to Italy again for two weeks myself with my Nonna. I’ve started to pack, all my ‘travel-size’ items, and get some outfits ready. I have also had to begin packing to move. I leave on the 22, and Adam and I have to be out of our place on the 28. I’ve been slowly packing boxes the last few weeks, and Adam has been moving them to storage for us where they will stay until November. It will feel like an early christmas, as I won’t have seen any of our stuff for four months! We’re moving in with Adam’s parents for the three months, and Adam will be there while I am in Europe for the month. Our house is *usually* pretty clean, I get a little antsy when things are messy, but right now anything goes. There are moving boxes everywhere, stuff piled on stuff, suitcases for my trip etc. It’s killing me not to clean, but what’s the point? Haha.

This is what our house looked like, on a good day 😉 These photos were for the online listing.

{My super-tiny kitchen. Usually there are lots of dishes/bowls/baking items staked on each other and falling off the counters. The oven is also full with baking dishes/cookie sheets. New house? Giant island, tons of cupboards, lots of storage. No more dishes in the oven}

{I actually really liked our living room. The high vaulted ceilings were a plus. What you can’t see is the big bay window at the front of the living room, with floor to ceiling windows. Lots of sun, and south facing, with a great view and trees. No more walking around naked in the new house.. lol. There will be neighbours on either side of us!}

{Our view, in the wintertime}


{Summertime view – gorgeous!}

{no pesky neighbours across from us.. not for long!}

{Bathroom was also small, and no drawers (though the new one has no drawers either.. bummer, but we also have three full bathrooms. I’m not sure if thats a good thing or not..more cleaning.. You can see the bathroom makeover here too}

{We had a cozy little kitchen/dining table and a bar. The table had two leaves as well. I liked the cut out in the kitchen too, it was nice when Adam was doing the dishes to be able to talk to him still 😉 }

{Note the map of Italy – of course- and my DIY chevron print…which i think is out of fashion now? lol }

{Our cozy little bedroom, actually its quite big. Bigger than our new one I think, but we will have four bedrooms, instead of one haha. I’m gonna miss it!}

{There are definitely lots of memories we will take with us! Adam’s first place, and our first place together (after I moved in and too over 😉 but I’m looking forward to our new house!}


I actually made this quinoa for the long weekend we went to the States, and it was SO GOOD. It’s even better in the fridge. Like the original post, I need ‘clumps’ and ‘clusters’ in my granola. I like it to be crunchy, and it needs to be loaded. I saw this on my friends site a while ago, and knew I had to make it asap. It did not last long, that’s for sure. I had it on it’s own, in yogurt for breakfast, as a snack. It’s totally customizable and I just threw in a little bit of everything.

I didn’t add any oats, as I didn’t have any GF/WF oats, but if you don’t have a wheat allergy you can definitely add them. I also added honey instead of maple syrup, but you can make these Vegan and leave the honey out and use the maple.

This stores wonderfully in the fridge, and I love a crunchy granola, and it’s great cold as well.

Quinoa Granola
Adapted from Hungry, Hungry Hippie, from the cookbook Quinoa 365 


  • 1/3 cup quinoa
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 2 T poppy seeds
  • 3/4 cup raw almonds, coarsely chopped ( I pulsed mine in a food processor )
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • zest of one orange
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
2.  Line a cookie/baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Chop/pulse Almonds
4. Combine all the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
5. I melted my coconut oil in the microwave, and added the honey. Stir slightly and drizzle over dry ingredients.
6. Stir until all ingredients are incorporated. Spread evenly onto prepared baking sheet, and bake in over for about an hour.
7. Once baked, let it cool completely. Break it apart, this can be done by lifting the parchment slightly. I stored mine in a container in the fridge, and it also helped the ‘clusters’ form once you break it apart again with a knife or fork after refrigerated.

This granola is delicious. It will definitely be gone before you know it, and totally worth making again.


Summer Cupcake Series: Drumstick Cupcakes

July 4, 2012


The sun has graced us with it’s presence in Vancouver.

After a long weekend, rather a very long month, of rain it appears that Summer has officially arrived. I woke up this morning with a glimmer of light shining through the blinds. There are a few clouds in the sky, but there are giant pockets of blue sky that we have not seen in some time now.

This morning I’m baking a carrot cake for a family dinner tonight with Adam’s family, his aunt and uncle are visiting from out of town. I made a three layer, and one of the layers got stuck in the pan. I’ll just piece it back together with frosting later. There’s nothing more cream cheese frosting can’t fix.

At this very moment our house is a mess. I usually can’t stand it when everything is all over the place, and have to clean up asap. But right now, I’m packing for my trip (any travel advice?? tips for packing??), and for the house move. So, our condo looks a little like an episode of hoarders. I did manage to vacuum this morning, because I really can’t stand walking on bits and pieces of things. I also may have spilled some sugar in the kitchen. Walking on sugar is a pet peeve. Can anyone relate?

We’ve already packed a lot of boxes, and now we’re on the constant search of boxes. We’re frequently asking at grocery stores when we’re shopping. Produce boxes are great, because the fruit packaging helps insulate and protect things like dishes and serving ware.

These cupcakes are part of my ‘summer cupcake series.’ Another summer staple besides Watermelon, are drumsticks. I remember walking to the corner store when I was younger and getting a Drumstick. Last week we were at my Zia’s for dinner and my little twin cousins were eating drumsticks, one Strawberry Vanilla, and one original with Caramel. The cupcakes are vanilla, stuffed with Caramel like in the cones, topped with vanilla swiss meringue like the ‘vanilla ice cream,’ dipped in chocolate and topped in peanuts, just like the real thing. They are also sort of like a Dairy Queen Peanut Buster Bar – which are equally delicious. Though I think I would need a different caramel, a stickier, harder caramel unlike this one, which is more liquid.

I refrigerated them to allow the chocolate to harden, and I had to ‘taste test’ one, and they are actually quite good cold. I love anything crunchy, and the crunch of chocolate and peanuts is perfect. Although I was paying for it later, due to my peanut/wheat allergy :S
I gave these away to a friend, and to my mom. She likes to microwave hers for a few seconds as well.

Do you have any nostalgic summertime treats?

Drumstick Cupcakes

You will need:

24 vanilla cupcakes, baked and cooled.

-Caramel sauce, I used the pre-made in the squeeze bottle, for extra convenience
-1/2 cup chocolate chips, baking chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
-1/2 cup peanuts, chopped

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream


5 large egg whites

1 cup sugar

3 sticks butter, chilled, cut into cubes


In a metal mixing bowl, preferably from your stand mixer, place over a pot of simmering water, not boiling. Add sugar and egg whites. Be sure there is no yolk or oil in the egg whites, they will not whip properly otherwise.

Whisk constantly, until thermometer reads between 140-160 degrees F. If you do not have a thermometer, heat until sugar is completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot. This takes about 7-10 minutes.

Transfer metal bowl back to stand mixer, with whisk attachment and whip until the egg whites are thick and glossy and cool. The bowl itself should be cool to the touch, again this takes about 7-10 minutes on high.

Once the glossy thick texture is achieved, switch to a paddle attachment, and on medium add the chilled cubes of butter, one at a time, until fully incorporated.

The texture will begin to change, to a heavier, silky texture. It may look curdled, but continue to mix and it will become smooth once again. This time my butter was a bit too warm, and my frosting was curdling and soupy. I place it in the fridge for 15 minutes, added a couple more pieces of chilled butter and began to whip again. It became smooth once again.

To Assemble:

Using an apple corer, or a knife, cut a circle in the middle of the cupcake, and fill with caramel. Replace a bit of the core of the cupcake back on top to ‘seal’ the cupcake and caramel.

Pipe, using a large open tip, vanilla frosting onto cupcakes. You want them sort of rounded, so I just make mine regularly, and once you cover them in chocolate you sort of round them out.

After you pipe each cupcake, place in freezer to chill for a few minutes.

Once cupcakes are chilled, dip into chocolate, you can reference this post here  and sort of press the icing into the chocolate to round it out. Once it is fully covered let excess chocolate drip off, and immediately sprinkle chopped peanuts on top. Place into fridge to harden.

Repeat with remaining cupcakes. Chill in fridge until chocolate has hardened. Serve room temperature or chilled. Can be kept in fridge for up to three days.

Happy summer!

{And if you want a little more caramel… }


Canada Day

Canada Day Long Weekend {Recap}

July 3, 2012

Adam and I headed out of town this past weekend for a little R&R!

We went across the border to the states to spend the weekend at his family’s vacation getaway. We left in the afternoon, thankfully, because it was the only sunny afternoon the entire weekend. After we arrived, we took advantage of the sun and went for a bike ride around the complex and down to the pool for a swim, followed by dinner with the fam and some drinks by the fire with their friends. Even though the rest of the weekend was pretty rainy and cloudy, we still managed to have a full weekend! We biked, went for a swim, went shopping (Marhsall’s, Target, Trader Joes, etc), stopped at the casino, made some delicious s’mores, got to hang out with Adam’s family, especially our adorable little niece! Adam and his dad were going to go golfing Monday morning, but the weather wasn’t great. We also got cheap butter and eggs. Bonus! Cake making and cupcakes are in the future..

It was a great weekend away! And now the countdown to Europe is on! 21 days to go.. the next few weeks are going to be full of packing! both for the trip as well as the big move! Our lives will now consist of searching for packaging boxes..

Here’s some pics from the weekend!

{crossing the border}

{Canada day in the States!}

{Chubby all snuggly for the parade}

{Some pretty sweet parade floats! Ay Matey}

{ 1 up }

{I ate more s’mores than I should have}

{never a trip to the states without Trader Joe’s}

{Cherries from a fruit stand along the way.. 1$ for a bag}

{rainy day = casino}

{Bak home..trip to Anton’s… I ate about 1/8 of my Gnocchi. Adam had it for lunch..and Dinner the next day}

{we walked around Ikea to keep out of the rain..and walk off the pasta}

{ A must. I don’t even know how we ate after dinner}

{..and this was about 30 seconds later. Mine Left, Adam’s Right}

Hope everyone had a great Canada day long weekend!