Brain Food

What food is good for you brain?  I like all of them except for coffee, which is gross. Nat loves coffee, so does that mean she has a better brain than me? Don’t answer that. (link)

Apple Sauce Apple Cake – Happy Birthday Marc!

If you know Marc outside of this blog then you knew that it was Marc’s 32nd birthday last week and we spent the weekend celebrating. By Sunday night we were all partied out, but something was missing…birthday cake!

Marc loves apple desserts…and when I say love, I am not kidding. He loves apple pie, apple crumble, apple everything. So, I thought, why not try an apple cake?!

A few weeks ago, I tried a new recipe for a healthier apple cake that I found on (never home)maker. I tweaked it a bit to cater to our less sweet, more fruit taste buds. Here is the original recipe.

Of course we served it warm and with vanilla frozen yogurt!

Cake Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (the original recipe calls for a 1/2 cup, but I don’t think you need much, if any at all. Marc disagrees, so we settled on a 1/4 cup)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (or any plain yogurt)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1-2 apples – the more apple the moister the cake. I would start with 1 and add as needed (organic preferred)

Topping Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

Directions

Preheat oven at 350 degrees F.

Grease a square 9 x 9 inch baking dish (I used a round one and things were a bit tight, but it still worked). Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar (if you are using it), baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.

In a smaller bowl, combine Greek yogurt, maple syrup, vegetable oil and apple sauce. Then mix the dry ingredients.

Add apple to the mixture. Do not over-mix.

Pour ingredients into the pan.

Combine all topping ingredients and spread over the cake with a fork.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

You may of noticed the beginnings of Marc’s moustache in the above photo.  Marc has decided to take part in Movember this year, if you’re interested, visit his page and donate!

 

Defina Pizza

So for my birthday meal we decided to try Barque , a local BBQ smokehouse which has been getting good reviews from friends.  The only problem is that we didn’t make a reservation soon enough so we showed up and hoped to get a seat.  After being told it would be a 45 minute wait we wandered down the street to the local pizzeria instead, which has also been getting good reviews.

Defina was a smallish place that had tables close together to give it cozy atmosphere.  It also allowed you to easily eaves-drop on your neighbour’s conversation if you had a lull in the conversation with whoever you were having dinner with.

Neither of us were particularly hungry that night so we decided to skip the starters and go straight into the mains.  Defina is known for their pizzas so why waste my appetite on a non-pizza meal.  Also, this way we could have some leftovers if we couldn’t finish it.  Who doesn’t love cold pizza?!

We went with two fairly different pizzas so that we could get a feel for how they do pizzas.  What’s the point of getting two similar ones right?  First up was the wild mushroom pizza that had mushrooms, fior di latte, caramelized shallots, parmigiano reggiano, cracked black pepper and fresh tarragon.  We liked it but it seemed a little plain.  The mushrooms were sparse and the taste was average, it’s still better than anything I could make or would expect from a chain, but for some reason we had higher expectations for this one.

Next up was the Diavola (san marzano tomatoes, fior di latte, sopressata, parmigiano reggiano & basil).  This was the winner of the night.  This one was amazing.  This was a classic tomato base pizza had a little spice from the sopressata mixed with the sweetness of the basil.  It was so good that we finished it because we didn’t want to save it.  It needed to be eaten.

We didn’t have dessert because it was late and didn’t want to over eat; I hate trying to go to bed with a overly full stomach.  The meal was flavourful and enjoyable.  The only real downside was that the wait staff seemed to be rushed due to the fact that it was packed.  I’m sure the table of 12 behind us didn’t help matters.  We would absolutely go again, and as tempted I would be to order the Diavola again, I’d have to force myself to order something else to try out their other options.

If you want to check out another review, be sure to check out BlogTO’s profile on the restaurant.

Fruit Wash Labels

How cool is this? A fruit label that turns into soap when you wash it.  No more peeling stickers off your apples, but you can still do that if you want. (link)

Baby Gender Cake Parties

What the hell? You have a party where the cake tells you the gender of your baby? That’s just weird! (link)

When to Buy Organic!

I have shied away from buying organic food for years. I thought it was too expensive and too damn confusing. Plus, what could be wrong with the regular food that billions of people eat everyday. Then, I did some reading and learned that many of the foods I have been enjoying on a daily basis for the last 30 years (like apples) are covered in over 40 pesticides. After reading that, I decided that I would stop being lazy and start to learn more about where my food was coming from and how it was grown.

Interestingly enough, I actually find that organic tastes better. Berries are sweeter, spinach is tastier, and chocolate…well…how can that be a bad thing.  The size of fruits and vegetables is smaller because they aren’t pumped full of hormones and pesticides. So, it may not seem like more bang for your buck, but does anyone really want to eat a pepper the size of someone’s face.  I don’t!

I am, by no means, an expert as I am only just starting to learn more about eating organic and local foods (we will get into local another day).  One website I find particularly helpful is The Daily Green. They have a variety of tips on how to live and eat green!

Remember, start off small. No need to jump right in and get overwhelmed.  You also don’t need to have a completely organic diet as some food (those with inedible peels, like banans, avocados, etc.) don’t need to be organic.

Also, a helpful tip that Marc and I have learned (sadly) is that organic produce doesn’t stay fresh as long as regular produce. I suppose it has a little something to do with the lack of chemicals…haha.  For example, we found a regular tub of spinach stays good for a week or so and organic spinach starts to spoil after 5 days.

 

The Dirty Dozen

These are foods that you should buy organic as they are heavily covered in pesticides. They are also ranked from worst to…um…best.

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines
  7. Grapes
  8. Sweet Bell Peppers
  9. Potatoes
  10. Blueberries
  11. Lettuce
  12. Kale and Collard Greens (a tie)

For more information on the Dirty Dozen, click here.

 

The Clean Fifteen:

These are foods that you DO NOT have to  buy organic. Either they have a peel or very little pesticides are used.

  1. Onions
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Avocado
  5. Asparagus
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Mango
  8. Eggplant
  9. Cantaloupe (domestic)
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cabbage
  12. Watermelon
  13. Sweet Potatoes
  14. Grapefruit
  15. Mushrooms

For more information on the Clean Fifteen, click here.

 

Five foods you should STRONGLY consider buying organic.

  1. Meat
  2. Milk
  3. Coffee
  4. Wine
  5. Chocolate

For more information on these foods, click here.

 

GOOD LUCK and HAPPY EATING!

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