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tomatoes eggplant spaghetti

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Spaghetti

This roasted tomato and eggplant spaghetti is the perfect meal for a cool or rainy summer night when you’re not trying to beat the heat with a cold supper. Toronto’s disgusting heat kicked in for a few days two weeks ago and I was glad to have some rain. It’s good for the garden and cools down my sweltering house. I served this for dinner on a drizzly evening while a friend was visiting from out of town. It can be a simple one-pot meal that you cook ahead and eat throughout the week or you can dress it up with some garlic bread and salad — which is what I did. 

I adapted the recipe from The First Mess Cookbook by Laura Wright. The original recipe is entitled “Eggplant Bolognese Pasta”. In my recipe, I added some red wine and opted for roasted tomatoes rather than canned. I love taking advantage of the beautiful, cheap vegetables at the markets near my home in Toronto. Both tomatoes and eggplants are in season from approximately July-October. Rather than doing dried chili to spice things up I used chili oil because I had some on hand. It makes the dish that much more decadent. Finally, I added a pinch of rosemary out of habit. 

If you enjoyed this post please share it via the sharing buttons below and subscribe to my blog via email! I plan on posting a vegan parmesan recipe real soon. 

the everyday ayurvedic cookbook

Review: The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook

The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook peaked my interest because of the word “ayurveda”. It’s a word I’ve heard fashionistas use in Queen Street boutiques. My yoga teacher may have mentioned the concept in conversation. I definitely heard it once on a Rich Roll podcast. But I never explored further. It sounded too complicated.

french toast

Citrus French Toast

When I was little my Dad would often prepare elaborate breakfasts for us before school. Most kids I knew started their day with cereal. Whereas my siblings and I enjoyed omelettes, french toast and crepes. No pancake mix from a box. No canned fruit on the side. My father made everything from scratch with fresh ingredients. My mum, who is not a chef, but remains an excellent cook followed suit. We feasted like kings almost every morning.

Now, I realize how lucky we were to grow up with parents who were willing to dedicate an enormous amount of time to our morning routine. These days, most families find themselves rushing off to work and school with barely enough to time to gulp down sludge from a never-gonna-expire-tetra-pack. I say this without judgement. We have all been down the instant breakfast path. Cereal is cheaper than fresh fruit. Toast is faster than pancakes. Pop tarts can be delicious in a creepy kind of way. People are short on cash and pressed for time so breakfast is liquified or processed or simply passed over altogether. French toast with fresh fruit is something you order at brunch or something.

Toronto Weekends – Brunch, Brunch, Brunch

Last week, I went to brunch four times. That is too many times for someone who is unemployed. Before you judge me, however, or assume I’ve won the lottery, please note that my fridge was broken. The only solution was to dine out for every single meal. I know. Sounds terrible, right? Just kidding it was the best thing ever. In my foodie-frenzy I discovered three sweet brunch locations that you should check out if you’re in Toronto.

Wool for Winter No More?

Winter is coming and I have wool on the mind — among other things. When I transitioned to a vegan diet nutrition and environmental sustainability were the basis for my decision. My wardrobe wasn’t a major concern. Of course, I support animal rights but throwing away my knitwear and leather shoes didn’t align with my whole “waste not, want not” philosophy. I read a blog post by Veganzinga on this; my own post is quite similar to hers. I thought it was worth reiterating some of her points because the vegan community is occasionally dogmatic when it comes to practicing “a vegan lifestyle”. In order for this movement to be inclusive and sustainable we need to push for a more openminded approach.

I don’t want to buy clothing, makeup or other non-food items that are manufactured using animal products. Since going vegan I have stopped purchasing these items altogether and I am slowly replacing them one by one. For example, when I first made the switch I had a lot of old makeup so I replaced it all with a vegan brand called Inika.

But I still own a few wool sweaters, leather boots, a pair of moccasins with fur on them, etc. Yet, if I gave away all my wool sweaters wouldn’t someone else just wear them? Not to mention, I can’t exactly afford a brand new wardrobe. How would I keep warm and dry if got rid of all my winter clothes? Finally, throwing away anything that is still in good condition is wasteful and undermines what I set out to do in the first place, which was to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. I understand some vegans would feel uncomfortable wearing the product. I understand why they might choose to donate their items. For my part, I am comfortable acknowledging the sacrifice that was made and using my products until they’re worn out or until I am able to afford a replacement.

autumnal breakfast options

Autumnal Breakfast Options

Fall is here! As such, my bestie, roommate and ofttimes collaborator got super excited about making an autumnal breakfast. In fact, we were so excited about the arrival pumpkin spice and orange coloured foods that we designed two beautiful breakfast options for you.

Firstly, we have the hearty pumpkin spice bowl by Grace Doyle. This bowl tastes like pumpkin pie for breakfast. It is way too delicious. The raw oats, crunch seeds, nut butter and dried berries will give you lots of energy for a busy fall day. It also takes about one minute make so if you’re student in search of a healthy, quick autumnal breakfast, this will do the trick.

Secondly, we have my whole wheat pumpkin pancakes with orange zest. These are also fairly hearty because they’re made with oat milk and pumpkin. Most of all, they will keep you feeling full and satisfy your morning sweet tooth. They are delicious served with nuts, seeds, coconut, maple syrup or coconut whipped cream. Toppings are basically the best part of pancakes so don’t hold back.

If you enjoyed these autumnal breakfast options subscribe to the blog via the sidebar, follow me @diningtoknow or like my Facebook page so you can keep up with all my happenings. More recipes to come…did someone say spooky pasta?

Raspberry Mint Iced Tea with Lemon & Thyme

This raspberry mint iced tea is much better after sitting in the fridge overnight to let all the flavours bloom. I poured myself a glass about ten minutes after preparing it and it was slightly tart with very subtle undertones of mint and thyme. The following day, however, you could really taste the mint, raspberry and thyme. Some of the sweetness from the fruit seemed to seep in overnight as well. You could easily turn this drink into a killer cocktail with a splash of rum. It could also be good in slushie format on a really hot day. Rather than allowing the raspberries to thaw in the jug you could blend everything up with some ice. That may water down the flavour though so use strong tea and plenty of raspberries.

In any case, time is running out for cool refreshing beverages. So make a delicious jug of iced tea and run to your back deck or porch to soak up those last rays of sunshine. Fall is almost upon us. Cannot wait to make a million pumpkin flavoured foods! I whipped up some beautiful pancakes that I cannot wait to share with you guys. In the meantime, like my Facebook page or follow me on Instagram @diningtoknow to keep up with my cooking. Happy Labour Day Weekend!

Camping in Queensland Pt. 1

Six weeks. A bundle of summer clothes. Good hiking boots and more rolled oats than any one person should consume in their lifetime. If you look into driving North from New South Wales up through Queensland any given travel guide will insist you visit Cape York. For many people in Australia, going all the way to the tip via the Old Coach Road is the final frontier- the adventure to top all adventures. While it certainly comes highly recommended, especially if you have the right vehicle, the experience sounds a touch overrated. Over the years, Cape York has become one of those coveted tourist destinations that travelers seek out for its “authenticity”. This has only led to over-development and crowded campsites during school holidays. We decided not to go. That being said, there are a number of beautiful places to visit along the way.

Rawsome Blog Inspiration

I absolutely love Emily Von Euw’s This Rawsome Vegan Life. Her recipes are simple and amazingly delicious! I made some rawsome vegan granola bars this weekend to take on our upcoming camping trip. I don’t know how they’ll fare in the cooler or if they’ll get too crumbly. In any case, I’m going to post my adaptation of her recipe soon but in the meantime check out the original. Emily’s indulgent desserts keep me coming back again and again. Love yourself, eat chocolate, wear your heart on your sleeve. That’s pretty much Rawsome Vegan Life in a nutshell. Go support this lovely lady’s work!