Healthy Instant Noodles via The Londoner

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A lovely blog and such a good idea, I wish I would have learned about this sooner.  I love pot noodles, but not with all the sodium and MSG.  I just simply don’t buy them.  Can’t eat ramen when in Japan because it’s not vegetarian.  This is easily modify-able and portable!

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A Spring Birthday in #Holland…

May 9th was M’s birthday.  We had a lovely day in Amsterdam and Haarlem…

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First I will show you the view from our rented room…Spring has sprung in Haarlem since we were last here and everything is so fresh, green and beautiful!

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We are staying near a huge cemetery with a lovely pond and many cherry trees…I didn’t think I would be seeing cherry blossoms again this year!

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There was a fair in the big square in the centre of the city…this ride looks terrifying…

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We arrived back in the breathtaking city of Amsterdam and we walked and walked…

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This is some kind of hop on hop off mobile bar complete with keg…you have to cycle to your next destination…

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We walked to Westerpark after stopping at a bakery…

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…and had some delicious birthday desserts!

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Spring is everywhere…

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There was some kind of festival in the park and there were soooo many people and food stalls…

…we decided to head to dinner…

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…walking through the Jordaan…

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Authentic Italian pizza…they bring the buffalo mozzarella in from Italy twice a week…

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Rose *AND* lemonade together? My dream…

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…more post dinner walking…

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…the most crooked bar I’ve ever seen..

It was a beautiful day!

The Einstein Cafe…

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The Einstein Cafe in Stammhaus in Berlin is an Austrian style cafe made famous for many things over the years, particularly for it’s elite guests and residents.  Silent film stars died here and politicians once lived and dined here.  More recently, the cafe is made famous by this scene in Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Inglourious Basterds’:

From our photos above you can see we had the Apple Strudel, which was quite different than shown in the film, but the most delicious version of any apple pie or strudel I’ve ever had.  

The Einstein Cafe has a few branches around Berlin, but this location is at: Kurfürstenstraße 58  10785 Berlin

Vegetarian Chicken Salad Sandwiches…

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I will start by saying this is not my recipe.  In fact, there are a million recipes for faux “chicken” salad sandwiches on the internet using chickpeas in the place of chicken.  So many in fact, that I cannot find the original blog from which I got *my* recipe.  And then I changed it so it is different anyway. Here is one such example of a lovely blog with a recipe very similar to the one I used. But there are many.  Some use dill.  Some add relish or nutritional yeast.  All fabulous suggestions! But I am in Berlin and I don’t know where to find most of these things yet.  Okay, dill is easy.  Nutritional yeast? Not so much.

Anyway, these are great sandwiches and even kind of taste like chicken in my long distant memory of what that might be like.  (I’m sure chicken eaters would think I am crazy by saying that, but seriously, I’m just not missing any chicken by eating these).  They are delicious and VERY filling.  We took them for a walk yesterday in case of “hangriness” and they came very much in handy!

  • 1 small can chickpeas-(cans are measured differently here.  My can was 125g, whereas back home they are measured in oz.  You do the math.  It’s not the big honkin’ can, it’s the smaller one.
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced thin
  • 1/8th c. chopped red onion
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 c. mayonnaise or vegan substitute
  • black pepper

Drain and rinse chickpeas in a colander and put them in a medium-sized bowl.  Mash with the back of a fork until about 80% mashed with 20% of chickpeas still left whole for texture.  Add celery and onion and mix well.  Add mustard and mayo and mix until evenly distributed.  Sprinkle liberally with black pepper and away you go!  Add appropriate sandwich toppings, dairy/non dairy cheese, pickles, at will!

EDIT: I have just been informed by my husband that while these sandwiches are very good, they in no way taste like chicken.  What do I know, it’s been at least fifteen years! I stand corrected!

Intro to Autumn and Upcoming Travel Plans…

                                                                                                 Utrecht, Netherlands in the Fall from vsmachine.tumblr.com via Leah on Pinterest

Fall has definitely hit this little Prairie town and it is getting COLD.  I haven’t really given a proper update here as to what all I’ve been up to these days, so I thought I should do that soon as I will soon be leaving the country again!

Of course summer went to fast, as it always does for everyone, but I have to say, fall can be really beautiful here.  There are way more deciduous tress here than my native west coast where everything stays green and the riverbanks are a flood of colour.  The leaves are already falling off the trees big time, though, and I’m sure after this next rain comes, there will be hardly any leaves left.  In fact, we are expecting lows of -7c this week, overnight, which is WAY too cold for me, particularly since we missed last winter and went to SouthEast Asia and it’s been a while since I’ve felt weather that cold!

I feel like I accomplished a lot this summer, although with me, it is never enough.  I’m trying not to focus so much on things I *didn’t* get done and instead think about what I *have* done.  Some highlights include: working on my bike and painting it.  With that came oodles of bike rides around the city which is one of my favourite things in the world to do.  Lots of sewing and crafting (this is where I start to get down on myself-I wanted to do so much more-I had a local store interested in my stuff and I didn’t get enough time to do any local selling or really get my Etsy shop going to the capacity that I wanted).  But I did make a few new patterns and I hope to still get a few more things done before we go.  I’ll make another post here where I show you some of the things I have currently for sale.

I learned basic ukulele which was one of my big summer goals.  I can play a couple of songs and I know a few chords.  I’m not great, but it’s a start!

Saskatchewan Riverbank in the Fall from via Andre on Pinterest

I became TESL certified just last week after taking a 120 course and I am now doing my Teaching Business English certificate.

I worked a lot, both for my in-laws and for a new co-operative cafe operating here in the city.  I’ve met so many great people who are so smart and so talented and for this I am truly grateful.  I got hands on restaurant experience and it gave me a better idea of what I would and would not like should I ever do something like that myself. I also worked a few shifts at a local ice cream shop by the river and I babysat for about three weeks too! Basically just tried to save up money, meet people and stay busy.

We successfully saved up enough money for another trip, despite the soggy wet start to the summer season.  We have a way tighter budget this time and we are going to Europe which is way more expensive than SouthEast Asia but I am super excited.  If there is one thing we know how to do, it’s stretch a budget so I’m sure we’ll be fine.  We are planning for an extended absence this time which means work overseas.  As much as we’d love to stay and work in Europe, I know it’s not very likely.  It’s very competitive and without EU passports, we just aren’t as attractive as a British citizen or someone else that doesn’t require a Work Visa.  Still, it’s not impossible and we’ll give it a try.  Otherwise, we’ll be Asia bound, I’m thinking! Which presents all the dilemmas that the last trip did (see old posts for rantings on this topic).  Once again, we really don’t know what our future holds and this is exciting, scary and fun!

So that’s what I’ve been up to the last little while.  I’ve only been back in the country under five months so for me, if feels like a lot! We are moving into Canadian Thanksgiving and that means lots of good food.  I’ve started cooking now so I won’t be in the way in the kitchen come Sunday.  Some can go in the freezer and some will last in the fridge till the big meal. Veggie Seitan Loaf with Stuffing Inside, Miso Gravy and a Kabocha Tofu Pie.  I still have to whip up a chocolate tofu pie and maybe some cocoa white chocolate cookies! Check out the links for the recipes I used!

Once again, soon my blog will shift to a more travel focused blog and I look forward to sharing my travel photos and discoveries with you! Thanks to my readers for sticking with me through my flakey, erratic postings!

xo

Vegan Chili with Barley…

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Barley is an awesome meat substitute for chili.  It gives you that texture and “filling-ness” that is normally taken up with ground beef but is so much better for you.  I used to make this with Yves Ground Round but I’m moving away from processed vegetarian meat substitutes as much as possible.  Throw in whatever veggies you want in this recipe, and make it your own!

  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 med. onion, diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1-28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • 2-19 oz. rinsed cans of beans of your choice (here I use black and kidney beans)
  • 10 oz. can of sliced mushrooms*
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1/4 c. dry pot or pearl barley
  • 1 c. H20
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tbsp. poblano chili pepper
  • 1 tsp. Franks Red Hot Sauce
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Heat oil in large pot on medium-high.  Add onions and celery and saute until onions are tender and nearly clear.  Add garlic last and stir (garlic burns easily).  Add zucchini and rinsed can of mushrooms and stir occasionally for a few minutes.  Add can of diced tomatoes and cans of beans and mix well.  Add 1c. of H20 and barley.  Reduce heat to low-medium and let simmer until barley is cooked through.  If chili begins to look too dry, add more water, a quarter cup at a time.  When barley is cooked, add chili peppers, hot sauce, brown sugar and salt.  Mix well and cook for a few more minutes so spices can release their flavours.  Taste and adjust salt and spices to taste.  Let sit a few minutes before serving! Tastes better the next day!

*Why do I use canned mushrooms? Yes, I know, living fresh mushrooms are probably better nutritive-wise and I always used them in chili up until recently.  But something about the texture of canned mushrooms is more appealing to me and works better for chill.  Of course, the recipe works just fine with fresh, sliced mushrooms.  Add them to the celery at the beginning and sauté until cooked.