Brunch Life: Baddies in Bloordale

I think it was the Instagram-worthy pancakes that drew me in to this Aussie-inspired brunch locale in Bloordale and I’m thankful that they did.
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Street Food In Toronto’s Chinatown

I love watching the flurry of activity on the streets of Toronto’s Chinatown. The dumpling makers, curb-side herb sellers, the many hands selecting their choice fruits and veggies… oh and roasted duck.
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Easy Ryazhenka (Cultured Baked Milk) Pancakes

Nothing says “GOOD morning” like a hot stack of pancakes! Whether they’re buttermilk, blueberry, or banana chocolate chip, kid’s love ’em and this recipe literally takes 5 minutes to whip up… but there is a “secret” ingredient: Ryazhenka. Keep Reading!

Fried Eggs in a Spicy Tomato and Harissa Sauce with Crusty Bread

Eggs in Tomato Harissa SauceA quintessential meal to satisfy the appetite for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Healthy, quick and the perfect blend of spice to warm the chilly onset of Fall and Winter.
Fried Eggs with Spicy Tomato Harissa Sauce may become your new go-to comfort food!

Harissa is a versatile Tunisian condiment, typically sold in tubes or jars, yet it can easily be prepared at home: Blend red chili peppers into a thick paste with the addition of garlic, olive oil, and aromatic spices such as cumin, caraway and coriander. Depending on the heat level of the peppers, a spoonful of harissa can go a long way!

Fried Eggs in a Spicy Tomato and Harissa Sauce with Crusty Bread


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 14.5 oz can tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp prepared Harissa, add more if you like it spicier!
  • 4 eggs
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped parsley, chives or cilantro

To Prepare:

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, add the oil then the onion and saute 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and harissa. Increase heat to medium-high, and simmer 3 to 4 minutes to reduce the liquid.

Now, turn the heat to medium-low, carefully add the eggs, salt and pepper and cover. Cook until the top of the eggs set, about 4 to 5 minutes, or to your liking. Garnish with chopped parsley, chives or cilantro. Serve with good, crusty bread!

Scrambled Tofu Breakfast Bahn Mi

The title may say breakfast but this bahn mi can be enjoyed at any meal.

The bahn mi is synonymous with the submarine sandwich, hailing from Vietnam. It was born when the French introduced the baguette to the country; a salad sandwich on crusty bread filled with greens, pickled vegetables, chiles, and tofu, seafood or meat.

Don’t skimp out on the Star Anise Daikon Pickles they make this sandwich!  The day before you make the bahn mi take 15min to prepare the daikon pickles:

Star Anise Daikon Pickles
Star Anise Daikon Pickles

For the Star Anise Daikon Pickles:
From Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero

1/2 pound daikon radish (about one slender 10 inch radish)

1/4 pound carrots (about 2 large carrots)

6 large green jalapeño or serrano chilies, stems removed

1 cup rice vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup kosher salt

1 teaspoon whole peppercorns, black or mixed color

4 whole star anise

Make the pickles ahead of time:

Peel daikon and carrots and slice into thin long matchsticks no thicker than 1/4 inch: I use a mandolin for this but you can take your time and use a chef’s knife. Or even better, use a Y-shaped julienne peeler. Slice the chilies in half, remove the seeds (or keep them in for really hot pickles), and slice into very thin slivers. Toss everything together and pack into a clean, dry 1 pint glass mason jar.

In a small saucepan bring to a gentle boil the vinegar, sugar, salt, peppercorns and star anise and boil for 2 minutes. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt and then pour everything over the vegetables in the jar, including the star anise and peppercorns. Cover very tightly and chill for 30 minutes before using. Keep tightly covered and chilled when not using.

Bahn Mi
Bahn Mi

It may look like a lot of steps but this sandwich comes together quickly and it’s just too darn amazing to pass up!  I promise your taste buds with thank you—now onto the Bahn Mi:

Scrambled Tofu Breakfast Bahn Mi
From Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero
Makes Four 8-inch, overstuffed sandwiches

For the tofu:

2 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced

3/4 cup thinly sliced shallots

4 scallions, white and green parts divided and sliced very thin

4 cloves garlic, peeled and mince

1 pound firm or extra firm tofu, drained

1/2 cup vegetable broth

3 tablespoons soy sauce (preferably Thai thin soy sauce ) or tamari

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground white pepper

1 teaspoon curry powder, any variety

For assembling:

4 six to eight inch crusty sandwich rolls or sliced from 2 baguettes

Vegan mayonnaise

Cilantro springs

Thin slices of ripe tomato

Paper thin slices of red radish or matchsticks of daikon or jicama

Asian garlic chili sauce (such as Sriracha or sambal oelek)

Make the sandwich:

Heat a wok or cast iron skillet until nearly smoking, then sauté mushrooms with 1 tablespoon of oil until tender and browned, about 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from wok, wipe down the surface and add remaining oil. Add the shallots and stir-fry until golden, about 4 minutes, then add white parts of scallion and garlic and stir fry for 1 minute. Crumble in tofu, add the mushrooms and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Whisk together vegetable broth, soy sauce, lime juice, coriander, white pepper, and curry powder and pour over tofu. Use a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula to stir fry tofu until all of the liquid has been absorbed and tofu is golden, about 8 to 10 minutes. Tofu should be moist, but not wet. Add the green tops of the scallions, fry for another minute and remove from the heat.

Slice rolls in half and toast if desired. Spread insides with mayo and distribute the tofu evenly on the sandwiches. Top each sandwich with cilantro, tomato, radish, chili sauce, and daikon pickles if using. Eat immediately but over a plate…these are messy goodness.

Crisp Leaves, Blustery Winds and Apple Cider Pancakes!

What cries out fall more than a chilled, windy day, stirring up colorful leaves in your path? Well, coming home to a piping, hot stack of Apple Cider Pancakes of course!

Stick a Fork in ’em!

I was enjoying a toasted almond, espresso bean, tea at the local coffee shop, the other night and my stomach started rumbling.  Obviously, I turned my attention to google, searching dinner prospects.  As children, my sister and I coined the term, “breakfast for dinner” as a main, gastronomical highlight for our young palates.  Breakfast for dinner caused uproarious appreciation in my household {meaning, my sister and I making a train and chanting breakfast for dinner yay yay yay throughout the house, remember we were 5 years old!} I don’t know if it was because breakfast at dinner time was devious from the norm or it was such a comfort food, it had to make us happy, perhaps a little of both.

I set off with my rumbling stomach to the grocery store {breaking one of my cardinal rules,  grocery shopping while hungry, this is never good for me as I either buy something I don’t need, Oreos or I enjoy a Bolthouse/Odwalla right there in the store, classy I know!} Typically, pancakes are cheap to make as most ingredients are household staples, however these special, fall-time pancakes called for apple cider.  Apple cider is a seasonal enjoyment that comes around once a year and it just so happened that this year, in Michigan, the apple crop was basically nil due to unseasonable weather = expensive apples and expensive apple cider, like $7.99 per gallon– woof.  But, because it’s a seasonal treat that only comes but once a year I deem it okay to make expensive fall pancakes, just once.

Piping Hot Stack of Apple Cider Pancakes

The recipe includes a mother batch or large batch for storage, as well as the batch that you will eat.  It’s convenient to make a mother batch for a few reasons:
1. You already have all the ingredients and you are already making a mess in the kitchen
2. The next time you want breakfast for dinner it will be on the table faster
3. It’s cheaper, you know what’s in it and it’s better for you than boxed Bisquick

The Mother Pancake Mix:

3 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups white flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt

Place ingredients into a large mixing bowl, mix together well and transfer to an airtight container to store until future use.

Now you can move on to making the pancakes which you will eat!
The amount below makes roughly 6-8 pancakes:

1 cup of dry pancake mix {yes, this is from the mother mix above!}

1 egg, separated {both the white and the yolk will be used, see directions}
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup greek yogurt
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup apple cider
Unsalted Butter {for cooking and serving}
Real Maple Syrup


Place the 1 cup of dry mix in a large bowl and add the cinnamon.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg white, buttermilk, greek yogurt, honey and apple cider.
In another small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and olive oil.
Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry mix and stir until just combined.

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium pan. When melted add about 1/4 cup of batter or so for each pancake into the pan. When you start to see small bubbles on the top of the pancakes and the edges are beginning to cook, flip the pancake to cook through on the other side.

While the pancakes are still warm, top with a dollop of butter so it melts over the top of the pancakes. Serve with real maple syrup!

Coconut Milk + Oatmeal = ♥

A delightfully relaxing Sunday morning involves coffee while seated at my tulip table listening to NPR….this was my morning!

I had some extra time and wanted to make a no-mess, quick breakfast before joining the Striders Triathlon Club on a ride today!  Turning to oatmeal because it sticks with you and is generally healthy but mostly because it has a proven, no-fail formula for preparing: 1 cup liquid to 1/2 cup oats SIMPLE!

Personally, I like to jazz things up a bit whether it be a sparkly necklace, funky shoes or in this case substituting coconut milk for the basic water or milk.  Not too wild but just enough to create some flavorful bliss.
Go ahead and play around with the accoutrements and spices…I don’t think you can go wrong!

Coconut Milk, Oats, Cinnamon, Raisins and Jaggery
Photo by Michelle

Coconut Milk + Oatmeal
1 serving

1/2 cup Quaker Oats
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup water
Tablespoon of Jaggery or Brown Sugar
Palmful of Raisins (I bet cherries and slivered almonds would be good too!)
Dusting a Cinnamon

Boil the liquids (or Microwave), whichever you prefer.  Add the oatmeal and stir it up.  Garnish with any fruits, nuts or spices you desire!