Winter Squash Soup

A deliciously warming soup packed with garlic, spices and vitamin C to boost your immune system in the winter months.

1 Butternut Squash
1 Acorn Squash
2 Apples, peeled
2″ piece fresh Ginger
4 cloves Garlic
1 large Carrot, peeled
1 large Potato
5 Tbsp. Coconut Oil, divided
1 tsp. Sage
1/2 tsp. Tumeric
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Cardamom
1/2 tsp. Cloves
Salt and Pepper
4-6 cups Chicken Broth

20150107_1237381. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut squashes in half lengthwise, and scoop out guts and seeds. Coat with coconut oil, and place cut side up on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. Dice apple, ginger and garlic. Place them in a medium bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons oil and spices, then spoon into squash cavities.

3. Chop potato and carrot into 1″ pieces. Toss with another tablespoon of oil in the bowl used for squash filling to coat with remaining spices. Spread on a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. Roast both pans for 40-60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all vegetables are tender when pierced with a fork.

5. Using a blender or food processor, purée all ingredients with broth until smooth.

Bizz’s Famous Oatmeal Cookies

This fun twist on the classic Canadian Living recipe includes chia seeds for great texture and added protein.

2/3 c. softened butter/margarine
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 2/3 c. rolled oats
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. allspice
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
1/2 c. chocolate chips
1/2 c. raisins

1. Preheat oven to 375ᵒF. Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla until fluffy.

2. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Add chia seeds, chocolate chips and raisins, plus any other add-ins you’ve chosen.

3. Add dry ingredients into wet, stirring just until combined.

4. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls on parchment-lined cookie sheet.

5. Bake for about 10 minutes, until golden. Makes about 36 cookies.

 

DIY Christmas Gift Guide

DIY Christmas Gift Guide

When you’re a starving artist, you must rely on your craftiness to play Santa. Here are some DIY gift ideas from my personal ballin’ on a budget repertoire.

Coconut Sugar Scrub

This was a hit last year! All you have to do is mix coconut oil (I prefer the refined stuff, as it smells less coconutty) with white or brown sugar. Add some flavour in the form of spices or citrus. Gift to anyone who complains of dry skin or hippies who eschew traditional bath products. (Please note, when used in the shower, it will make the bathtub slippery. Definitely warn people about this or you might inadvertently give the gift of bruises).

Needle Crafts

If you can’t knit or crochet, don’t worry – there are still lots of crafty options available to you. A friend once gave me a pair of magic gloves (the cheap-o, stretchy kind) embellished with some felt shapes and buttons. She sewed the shapes on with a basic running stitch. The gloves are not only unique and pretty, they felt bits add some extra warmth. There’s also cross-stitch, the easiest of all embroidery (especially on plastic grids), and there are some amazing and hilariously irreverent patterns out there. Here’s a couple I made last year.

Baked Goods

Everyone loves cookies and muffins, and making them is way cheaper than buying (not to mention way healthier if you keep the sugar in check). Check out allrecipes.com or
canadianliving.com for excellent recipes. And if you’re really pressed for time, just throw the dry ingredients in a nice-looking jar and add recipe and ribbons – violà, a DIY kit! Kids, inexperienced bakers and lazy people love it when you do the measuring for them.

Spice Selection

The perfect gift for 20-somethings who just moved out of their parents’ house, or friends who want to learn to cook. Grab a selection of spices from the bulk store (where you can get a dozen of the most-used ones for under 5 bucks) and then hit the dollar store for some shaker jars. Label and put in a container of some kind. Get bonus points by including recipes. Here’s a few I put together for a young vegan a few years back, including basic info on a variety of ways to cook vegetables.

Mix CDs

Yes, a blast from the past, but this one never gets old. Choose a theme (Party Time, Rockin’ Christmas Tunes, You Know You’re Old When) and make a list of songs. Check out the Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, or head over to Songza.com for inspiration. Take the time to put them in order, and cut & paste a fun cover with a handwritten track list. Even if the music fan in your life just rips it straight to their iTunes, they’ll think of you whenever that playlist comes on.

20141116_103642Sewing Projects

Have a sewing machine a some basic skill? Try these easy sewing projects.

Bow Belt

Shopping Bag

Vintage scarf top

HAPPY CRAFTING!

Christmas Crack 2.0

It’s Santa’s favourite snack. It’s better than a gun rack. It’s deliciously whack and it’s back on the holiday attack. It’s a reindeer, it’s a flying sleigh, no, wait, it’s…

Christmas Crack 2.0

cmas crack 2.1

Last year’s ode to this super-easy and crowd-pleasing recipe  was my most popular ever. Visit the original post for the basic recipe, and then try out one of the new versions we created this year!

pretzel crackPretzel Crack

Replace soda crackers with 200 grams of pretzels sticks (about 4 cups). Proceed as usual and prepare for crunchy & salty saltisfaction. Though I have not tried it yet, I suspect caramel would be a yummy substitute for P.B. here.

Girl Guide Cookie Crack

Replace soda crackers with crushed cookie bits. I used the peppermint ones, though the traditional variety would also work. Test subjects were divided on whether the mint was a good fit with peanut butter, so you may choose to leave out the P.B.

S’more Crack

Replace soda crackers with graham crackers (split in half when arranging on pan). After smoothing melted chocolate over pan, sprinkle with 1-2 cups of mini marshmallows. Return to the oven and broil for a couple minutes until marshmallows are golden.

Rice Krispie Square Crack

Replace soda crackers with rice kripie squares prepared as follows. Mix up ingredients for Rice Krispie squares. Eat half the batch and line one baking sheet with parchment (or line two baking sheets and make a double batch of crack). Spread a thin layer of rice krispie mixture on the pan, cool to room temperature. Flip kripies onto a flat surface and slice into squares. Return to parchment lined baking sheet and proceed with crack recipe.

The possibilities are truly endless….I can’t wait to hear all the creative variations you come up with!

cmas crack 2.0