What’s Cooking: Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Personally, this is one of my favourite recipes to make when I’m at home. The reason I don’t make these more often is because the list of ingredients seems never-ending, which is not exactly ideal when you’re a student on a budget. For some reason, at home we typically have most of these things on hand (why? I couldn’t tell you), so it obviously makes it a lot simpler to put together. I like these a lot because they’re pretty healthy (they can also be made gluten-free) but are still really yummy!

~Turkey/Chicken Lettuce Wraps~

  • 1 lb Ground chicken or turkey
  • 1 Large onion chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Chopped ginger
  • 1 Tbsp Seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp Asian chili pepper sauce
  • 1 Can chopped water chestnuts
  • 1 Bunch of chopped spring onions.
  • 2 tsp Sesame seed oil

~Special Sauce~

  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 2 Tbsp Low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp Sesame seed oil
  • 1 Tbsp Hot mustard
  • 2 tsp Hot water
  • 2 tsp Garlic paste
  • 2 tsp Red chili paste

~Directions~

  1. Brown chicken with a little oil in the pan. Then add onion,garlic,soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, vinegar and chili sauce. Cook until meat is crumbly and brown. Add water chestnuts and green onion. Cook couple of mins. Stir in sesame oil. Serve in lettuce wraps with special sauce.
  2. Special sauce Add water, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, Lemon juice, and sesame seed oil together and mix. Original recipe calls for 1/4 cup of sugar but we found it too sweet. Mix hot mustard, water and garlic and chili paste together. When ready to serve mix the 2 sauces together. Serve yum.

Notes: Can also be made ahead of time and stored in an air tight container.

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Link List

Okay, okay I’m getting there. Finally starting to make posting a more consistent thing, and with that I’ve decided to make a few ‘sub-headings’ for weekly posts within the same category. My ‘Five Things’ has gone over pretty well, so that will definitely be a re-occurring one, but for now I’m going to try a new category, (haven’t decided on a name yet… bear with me) which will include a weekly round’up of random things I’ve found on the interwebs that I think are pretty cool and worth taking a look at. So here we go….

+  Matilda is probs the only one who hasn’t gone completely nuts

+ Postcards via Instagram… I’m all about it

+ Kinda weird, but if you’re a Disney fan you’ll appreciate

+ One of the only useful Apps I’ve come across

+ This crazy photojournalism about groceries

+ Some serious fit-spiration

+ A healthy but delicious-looking hangover cure

 … and I desperately need to find a way to make these posts better looking.

Five Things

My last week in Toronto was spent doing all my favourite things with all of my favorite people. Missing everyone already but it’s nice to finally be here, getting all settled in and enjoying some peace & quiet! More pictures and posts to come from sunny California! DSC_0001

{Mini Farewell Cupcakes}

DSC_0002{The Forbidden Pool}

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{Fast & Furious 7 – Etobicoke Drift}

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{Cheese Cellar}

IMG_2571{My Fave – Spinach & Gorgonzola}

The Big Apple

So this post happens to be a month late, but I had a great time in NYC for the very short short time that I was there  and feel the need to document it via blog post/photo roll.

I can honestly say I’ve never walked so much in my life. 3 days and 7+ hours of walking took a toll on my feet, especially considering the fact that I was wearing flats and boots with no form of support whatsoever. I just could not bring myself to wear running shoes while strolling around the city in the beautiful spring weather. I already looked like a tourist pointing my camera at every sight to see and I could not bear the further embarrassment. I’m sorry but I am not that girl. Anyways, saw a lot, had a time, will definitely be going back soon because 3 days is not remotely enough to take in all of the city, but most of all it was nice little break and an excuse to get out of town and hang with the momma bear for a bit! Enjoy the pics!

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30 Rockefeller with pretty pretty fleurs

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Unlimited bags @ Bendels

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Grand Central Market

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ENOUGH TEA??!?

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My latest obsession – 100% frozen banana in soft-serve form + coconut & fruity toppings

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Flat Iron District – way cool!

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From the observatory for the Empire State Building – Hello Central Park in the distance!

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Just reminds me of FRIENDS and stuff

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NYC Parks are amaze, why can’t we have these too?

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Impressionist exhibit @ the MET

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Flying home @ night during the sunset :)

You are more beautiful than you think

Dove’s done it again. Tearing at my heart strings and putting everything into perspective. If you haven’t already seen it, take a look at this video of Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches:

Wow. Just wow. It’s so incredibly sad to me how people (myself included, no doubt) can be so critical of themselves and undervalue all the important and unique aspects that make them who they are. To me this is such a powerful message and I’m sure it rings true for almost everyone else as well. Definitely worth watching and sharing to remind yourself and all your beautiful friends and family just how amazing they are. Spread the love xx.

Ten Tree

There seems to be a trend happening here, but I can’t help but write about all these amazing organizations who are so innovative in creating such unique and charitable products within the retail market.

As featured on Canada’s very own Dragons Den, Ten Tree Apparel hits us with amazing new designs in philanthropic fashions, featuring a wide variety of choices for both men and women. The premise behind this organization is to repopulate our environments, in Canada as well as in several other countries around the world including Haiti, Ethiopia and the Philippines, with native species of trees. For every item of clothing sold through the organization, ten trees (hence the name) will be planted in hopes to take responsibility for the future of the environment by addressing the issues we are currently facing.

Overall, I think this is a great cause that truly captures the needs and desires of our generation, those being responsible, affordable and comfortable clothes for an important cause. Here are a few of my favourite pieces but check out this link to see more!

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Cranberry Bliss Bars

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner I felt it necessary to share a sweet treat that I recently tried out myself. In case you aren’t familiar with them, Cranberry Bliss Bars are a Starbucks favourite that appear around Christmas time and never seem to last long enough. To break it down, they’re essentially a blondie with white chocolate chips and craisins, topped with cream cheese icing… and craisins… with a white chocolate drizzle. Yeah, it’s mind blowing.

I made these guys to bring along with me to the Queen’s Yoga Club Partner Yoga even that we held this past Saturday. I’d never done Partner Yoga before and I honestly can say I’ve never had so much fun during a practice! After our session we all mingled and tasted the delicious treats that each of the exec members contributed. I was very pleased to see that the bars had disappeared in less than 5 minutes with a few awesome comments about how out of this world they were! Always a boost!  Below is a copycat recipe I adapted from this blog to make these drool-worthy slices.

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Cranberry Bliss Bars

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (slightly softened)

1 1/4 cups brown sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 teaspoons fresh orange zest

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon powdered ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup dried, sweetened cranberries, chopped

6 ounces (about 3/4 cup) white chocolate chips

~ Frosting ~

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 Tablespoons butter

2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2- 2/3 cup dried, sweetened cranberries, chopped

~ Directions ~

1.)  Preheat oven to 350 (F) degrees.  Grease a 9 x 13 pan then set aside (I also like to line the pan with parchment paper (or aluminum foil), leaving some hanging over the two long sides- this allows the bars to be pulled out of the pan after baking for easier cutting).

2.)  In a medium bowl add the flour, powdered ginger, salt, baking soda and baking powder.  Set bowl aside.

3.)  In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until smooth.  Add eggs, vanilla, and orange zest and mix well.  Gradually add the flour mixture and blend until combined.

4.)  Stir in cranberries and white chocolate.  Pour the batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.

5.)  Bake 25-30 minutes, until edges are light brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

6.) Prepare frosting by beating the cream cheese and butter together until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar and vanilla.  Beat about 1 minute until fully incorporated.

7.)  Assemble dessert by spreading the frosting onto the baked and cooled bars (MAKE SURE they are completely cool – I was in a rush and had to ice mine after only 8 minutes of cooling and it got pretty melty!).  Sprinkle additional cranberries on top.

Notes: You can add orange extract into the frosting as well to give it a few citrus-y notes. I left mine plain and felt that the orange zest in the bars themselves did the trick! You can melt the leftover white chocolate and drizzle over the iced bars.

Local Lovin’

As a lover of fresh and whole foods I try my best to incorporate as much local, organic and fair trade foods into my diet as possible. Many see this as too much of a challenge to partake in, but in reality its just as easy, if not easier than buying GMO from a grocery chain.

Still doubting the simplicity of it all? Desert Lake Gardens to the rescue. This is a lazy girl’s guide to getting all those fresh greens without burning a hole in your pocket, or even leaving the house for that matter. For a small price of $25, Desert Lake Gardens, who produces and supplies local and organic foods, will deliver a bundle of health right to your doorstep. Want to take it a step further? They also have a great local deli and dairy selection along with a variety of prepared foods including sauces, soups, frozen entrees and baked goods! It’s almost too good to be true.

So if I, a busy student on a budget, can figure out how to make it work, I’m sure you can too (…with a little help).

Note: Desert Lake Gardens serves the Kingston area, however there are many options available for the Toronto area as well! – just google it!