What a week! Spain has been wonderful. The heat hasn’t been out of control, the food has been AMAZING, and the wine flows like water. All is pretty darn splendid.

Creamy Coconut Carrot Soup

We’ve been staying at a hotel along the sea this week with a gorgeous sea view and a beach that stretches for several kilometers. It’s been so relaxing, but in the distance there are some huge mountains that are calling to us. Starting today, our day-to-day lives in Spain are about to change as we head into the mountains away from the sea, internet, and human beings besides ourselves.

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I wish I could give you “the perfect” smoothie base, but the truth is, I like to make smoothies in a few different ways.

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

The key to a good smoothie is to keep the ingredient list relatively short and to know your ratios. My favourite ratio is 1 cup milk to 1/4 cup Greek yogurt to 1 frozen banana and then add in stuff from there.

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Adding streusel to the tops of your muffin batter before baking is never a bad decision.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Stresel Muffins

In fact, I think it is always a good plan. Although I have been known to pick at the sides of a baked muffin until the whole top is gone, which is a bit gross for the next person coming along to try a fresh-baked muffin, so there’s that…

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Looking back is always fun. Last year at this time I was telling you all about what my first month living in Sicily was like, I was a newlywed, and I was “working” for my husband in a strange lab with nice Italian scientists. This year I am back in Montreal, have survived over a year of marriage and am working full time in a semi-familiar lab with nice French scientists. It’s not THAT different.

Photo by Joel Bedford

Winter is coming, I can feel it, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Part of the wonder and dreaminess of living in Sicily was that is was a short stay – only 4 months. When you know you aren’t staying in one place, reality doesn’t need to set in and that is OK! I’m living in reality now, and am happier for it. My friends are closer, my family is closer and I can ask for things I need in English (well, most of the time).

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There’s toast and then there’s bagel toast. Bagel toast is infinitely better because bagels have more carbs, are thicker and are simply way more fun. I definitely do not eat enough bagels and this realization makes me sad.

Apple Peanut Butter Bagel Toast

We usually have bagels on hand though. Paul loves a good cinnamon raisin bagel with butter and jam for an easy breakfast, and while he was away in China I decided to eat the rest of the ones we had in the freezer. It started off easy – I ate them the way I used to do as a kid with butter and honey, and then the next day I tried peanut butter and honey, and then the next day I added some thinly sliced apples on top and baked everything up.


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This past weekend I discovered two things about myself: (1) Working on the weekend can be made bearable by blasting music. There’s no one else around, so why not? (2) Getting a hair cut makes me feel like a new and better person for a solid two hours. It’s the best.

Crispy Baked Tofu with Greens and Wild Rice

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I have a thing for cold baked treats. As a kid I used to like my chocolate bars chilled in the fridge, a cold slice of rhubarb, lemon meringue, or pumpkin pie and my favorite treat of all was cold chocolate layer cake (which only came on birthdays).

No Bake Cookie Butter Bars

Did you ever do that? Or do it now? It must be a nostalgia thing but it suits me just fine. These cookie butter bars came about at a particularly weak moment for me. I was at home with almost nothing in the house and really wanted something sweet. I always have cookie butter, chocolate chips and basic baking ingredients so these seemed like the perfect solution to my “NEED SUGAR NOW” craving.

“They” say that if you crave sugar you can just wait a bit and the craving will go away…who are these crazy people? Stronger souls than me, that’s who.

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And just like that marathon training is done for the year! I ran my last race (a half marathon here in Montreal) yesterday and am happy to report that I survived it.

Cuban Black Beans

It was a different type of race this time. Unlike all of my other runs I didn’t have any support. Paul is in China and my family lives between 5-6 hours away so I had to get into the right head space to support myself – starting with:

girrrrrl, you’ve done this race before AND you have your best time ever at this race AND the finish line is kind of close to home, which is close to food.

So yeah, I was fine! And my sweet Mother in law arrived last night to stay with me so I feel super loved. We celebrated with homemade sweet potato burgers and it was magical. <3

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I’m on my own for most of this weekend and when that happens I usually try to conquer a fun baking project. Usually, bread baking is my best bet. It’s satisfying, not so sugary that I will inevitably eat the entire thing, and the finished product always makes me so proud.

Sesame and Poppy Seed Bagel Loaf

In Montreal, we have quite a few bagel shops where you can load up on delicious Montreal-style bagels, but sometimes I pine for the soft and chewy New York bagel. Luckily, they can be made at home, and with some time and a little love they can turn out exactly how you planned.

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