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DIY Wall Hanger for Bike

October 22, 2017

Over this past summer, I was using my road bike daily and needed a secure storage spot that allowed for quick access to the front door. Without a garage I opted to keep my bike on the wall of our living room (making it the most expensive art in the house!) and was wanting a budget friendly and recycled, yet classy way to do so. I had seen the concept of using handlebars to hang bikes and decided on this variation. It cost me approximately $30 to build two and less than two hours of labour.

Resources:

  • handlebar and stem (I picked these up from a second hand bike store in Calgary, Good Life Bikes)
  • floor flange for 1 inch pipe
  • 4 wood screws
  • 4 – 6 inch long nipple at 1 inch
  • 2 recycled tubes (I had just replaced mine before Ironman so used the old ones)
  • handlebar plugs (these were free at Good Life Bikes)
  • bar tape
  • stud finder

How to:

1. Thread the handlebar onto the stem (this sounds really simple but when buying mismatching parts it can be really hard to find a stem that the handlebar fits into!). Tighten.

2. Cut the tube in half and cut off the valve. Starting at the open end of the handlebar, leave about 1 inch hanging off the end and wrap each end of the handlebar in the tube, overlapping slightly. You may not quite have enough to do both handles – if you run out halfway through one of the handle, use the second tube (valve also removed) to wrap over the first tube and then over itself to hide the join.

3. Trim the tube evenly on both sides – use handlebar tape to secure these ends and finish it off nicely.

4. Tuck the one inch of tube into the opening and push a plug in to secure it.

5. Locate a stud, drill holes and screw the flange to the wall using whatever screws you have on hand (but really they should be at least 2 inch long, flat head, wood screws).

6. Screw the nipple into the flange.

7. Push the stem into the nipple and tighten it using the socket that runs down the centre of the stem. Push the rubber cap on to cover the stem opening. Here you may want to move the handlebars into the best position to hold your bike, by unscrewing the bolt on the stem and swinging the handlebars closer towards or further from the wall.

8. Hang your bike and enjoy your new wall art.

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Lake Louise

March 20, 2017

Lake Louise, Alberta. Three hours drive from Calgary. Hot soup, cheese scones and some skating for the Kiwis.

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Lemon & Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies

November 17, 2015

christmas cookies!

It’s nearing the time for Christmas cookie swaps. A rarity in New Zealand, these such swaps are common here in Canada. Although it’s a fantastic way to fill the Christmas tins in the lead up to holiday entertaining, cookies in our house have a tendency to go missing very quickly.

In order to actually have cookies for when guests pop by, I’ve found a trick – make up the dough and do all the fun, finnicky work of rolling and shaping, then store it in the freezer and slice and bake as needed.

I don’t know what the history is behind pinwheel cookies but they seem to appear at every Christmas cookie swap and in every Christmas cookie magazine on sale now. Sometimes filled with a date and pecan filling, I decided to stick with two doughs, simple chocolate and lemon, based on these chequerboard biscuits I made a few Christmas’ back (these ones are much more straightforward).

sliced pinwheels

Lemon & Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies
Dough recipe by Martha Stewart

1 cup (230g) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
lemon, zested and juiced
2 cups plain flour
3 Tbsp dark cocoa powder

1 large egg

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add lemon zest and juice. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, scraping down sides of bowl. Remove half of the dough and set aside; mix cocoa into remaining dough. Gently roll each dough into a square, approximately 8 x 8 inches and half a cm thick. Whisk the egg with a tablespoon of water and brush over the lemon square. Place the rolled out chocolate square on top and gently press down. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Remove the doughs from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured bench or baking paper, carefully begin rolling up the two doughs together to form a cylinder. This part can be tricky. If the dough is too stiff and begins to crack when rolled, let sit at room temperature to soften a little. Use the plastic wrap to guide the doughs into a cylinder. Roll the cylinder back and forth a little to press into shape.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator to firm. When ready to bake, remove the plastic and slice the dough into coins. Arrange on baking tray, 2 cm apart and bake for 12 – 15 minutes until starting to colour on the bottom.

Note: The rolled up dough can easily be frozen until needed, at which point slices can be baked as required, resulting in warm, fresh cookies available on a whim.

slicing pinwheels

Black Bean & Tofu Burritos

November 14, 2015

tofu burritos with guacamole

These meatless burritos make a great weekday lunch or quick dinner at home. They are packed with wholesome ingredients – black beans, cauliflower and tofu – and seasoned with tex-mex spices. My favourite way to serve them is topped with cheese and grilled in the oven until crispy on the outside (like chimichangas but without the deepfry!)

Whip up a whole bunch of these on a quiet Sunday afternoon, wrap individually in foil and freeze. Let defrost and toast in a sandwich press or bake in the oven until crispy.

tofutop with cheese and green onionswrapped upbake

 

Black Bean & Tofu Burritos
Recipe adapted from Fit Men Cook
Makes 8

350g pack of extra firm tofu
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne/chilli
1 Tbsp oregano
1/2 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large red pepper, diced
1/2 small head cauliflower, minced in food processor into ‘rice’
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 can black beans
bunch cilantro, chopped

8 wholewheat homemade tortillas
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
sea salt & pepper to taste

Guacamole:

1 avocado, mashed
1 tomato, diced
green onion, diced
cilantro, chopped
fresh lime
salt & pepper to taste

Chop tofu into cubes and toss with cumin, chilli, oregano, salt and pepper. Heat a pan with a dash of oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and the seasoned tofu. Cook until tofu has browned, then toss in the red pepper. Mix in cauliflower rice, black beans, tomatoes  and half the cilantro.

Spoon black bean and tofu mix onto a tortilla, top with remaining cilantro and cheese. Carefully fold in the sides of the tortilla, then roll it up. Repeat until all of the tortillas have been filled. Optional: wrap in foil and freeze.

When ready to eat the burritos, place them in the lightly greased pan, drizzle with olive oil and top with cheese. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes at 400˚F, or until the outside is golden and crispy to touch.

Mix together the guacamole ingredients and serve on top of the warm, crispy burritos.

tofu and black bean burritos with guacamole

Caramel Banana Espresso Pots

November 1, 2015

This one is straight out of a NZ favourite, Petite Kitchen. I was gifted Eleanor Ozich’s book by my mother-in-law when I was visiting NZ back in March. Eleanor’s desserts are cozy, nourishing, wholesome and incredibly simple.

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This dessert made for a perfect end to a simple meal with fellow foodies on a cool fall evening. I encourage you to get your hands on a copy of the book to see the original recipe and many other delectable dishes.

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In a nutshell, these pots are layered coffee syrup, pecans, sliced banana and whipped coconut cream. Coffee syrup is made simply by simmering freshly brewed coffee with a dash of honey until syrupy. This syrup is poured over roasted pecans, topped with sliced bananas and slathered with a combination of whipped coconut cream and yogurt, repeated to create layers, then topped with roasted pecans and flaked coconut.

Enjoy x

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Fuelled for Work: Sweet Potato Falafels

October 9, 2015

Many readers of this blog won’t know much about what I do during the work day. When I’m not baking, photographing or training, I do sit in an office. Believe it or not, I am almost as passionate about human resources as I am about food. Almost! In particular: the study of organizational behaviour and how employee wellness, engagement and self-awareness are reflected in an individual’s performance and output. I admit… I’m one of those cliche advocates, ranting about the importance of a healthy lifestyle in order to get the most out of work and, well, life.

falafels

Fortunately, I have been able to have an outlet for this passion, with the opportunity to share on our company website some articles that encourage employee wellness. I started a series called Fuelled for Work where I post nutritious recipes for the office including paperbag lunches and healthful snacks.

This was the first recipe I posted, offering an alternative to the humble sandwich. These Sweet Potato Falafels were a hit at my small cafe up north and I always served them wrapped in a homemade roti and accompanied by a Greek lentil salad like this one. The falafel recipe is an adaptation of one that My New Roots created. The falafels are so simple to whip up in a blender or food processor, and offer a nutritious, affordable lunch that is quick to prepare at the start of the week and easy to transport to work. Roast the sweet potato in advance before whizzing with chickpeas and spices, scoop into balls and bake until golden.

Sweet Potato Falafels

2 medium sweet potatoes
½ cup oats
1 can chick peas/white beans
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
2 small cloves of garlic, chopped
1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
2 big handfuls of fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper
½ cup sesame seeds

1. Preheat the oven to 425F and place a roasting dish in the oven while pre-heating.

2. Dice the sweet potatoes and toss into hot roasting dish with a splash of olive oil. Roast until just tender – 20 to 30 minutes depending on size. Turn the oven off until needed to bake falafels (or bake something else in it in the meantime).

3. In a food processor, whizz the oats until they become a flour. Add the chickpeas (or white beans) and whizz until well mashed, scraping down the sides. Add the garlic, coriander, fresh cilantro, lemon juice and finally the sweet potato. Season well, and pulse until well combined – there will be some chunks remaining. Alternatively, place all ingredients in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher until well blended. Leave in the fridge to firm up for an hour. When you take it out, your mix should be quite sticky. Add some more ground oats if mix seems too wet to handle.

4. Reheat oven to 400F. Using a couple of soup spoons (or a cookie scoop), scoop out balls of falafel and press each one gently in sesame seeds. Place on a tray lined with parchment paper and bake for around 15 minutes, until the seeds are golden brown. Serve on a spinach salad or wrapped in a pita, drizzled with tzatziki.

Blueberry Protein Bars

August 26, 2015

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Calgary has been smoked out for the last few days, the forest fires from Washington creeping up and settling like smog over the city. We actually witnessed one of the fires in its early stages while driving through Montana a couple of weeks back with my parents (visiting from NZ). It was unreal. A massive plume erupting from the mountains, forming a giant cauliflower of a cloud and casting orange, pink and grey hues over the sky.

smoke plume

I feel for those living in or around Washington. The air quality is bad enough up here, with an increase in emergency room visits and warnings to avoid strenuous activity outside.

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Seeming as the running and cycling are on a bit of a hiatus, I’ve been playing around with Protein Pow’s Protein Bars. The Matcha Green Tea Protein Bars I made last time were such a hit. I wanted purple ones this time so I replaced the strawberries with blueberries and made a ‘jelly’ of raspberries and blueberries (without the raspberries the blueberries tend to be very grey) to dollop in the centre of each one. I also always double this recipe so I get a whole bunch for keeping in the freezer.

Blueberry Protein Bars
Makes 6 – 8 small bars

1/4 cup fresh blueberries
3 tbsp coconut flour
2 scoops vanilla whey protein powder (I use New Zealand Whey Pro Series)
1/4 cup milk (almond or regular)
1 tbsp coconut oil

Purple Filling
small handful each of raspberries and blueberries
dash maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)

Chocolate Topping
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp dark chocolate, chopped
1 Tbsp dark cocoa powder
1 x 30g scoop whey protein powder, chocolate
cacao nibs

In a food processor, blend together blueberries, coconut flour, protein powder, milk and coconut oil until it comes together. Add a little more coconut flour if mixture is too sticky or a dash of milk if it doesn’t bind. Tip mixture out onto baking paper and, using wet hands, press into a rectangular block. Refrigerate until firm. Using a warm, sharp knife slice the block into 6 or 8 bars. Place in freezer until firm.

In a small saucepan, heat the berries until they begin to stew. Add a dash of maple syrup and stir until mixture boils and becomes thick. Transfer to bowl and let cool. Bring the bars from the freezer and dollop a small spoonful of filling onto each one, spreading it out over the bar. Return bars to freezer.

Rinse the saucepan, then return to stove to warm coconut oil and chocolate until melted. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cocoa and chocolate protein powder. While topping is still warm, dip the cold bars in, turning all over until bar is completely covered. Repeat with remaining bars and top with blueberries. Store in the fridge or freezer and remove 10 minutes before eating to defrost slightly.

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Mushroom & Lemon Cauliflower “Risotto”

July 22, 2015

surfs up

Training season is over. A Half Marathon and an Olympic Triathlon down… and I was ready for a break. With a fatigued body and verging on the edge of training burnout, it was high time for a weekend getaway, this time with as little physical activity as possible. We tossed up a trip to Oregon, Washington or California – the requisites were surf, sand and cool people.

ah, the sea
lighthouse on the point
surf of point loma

With friends-of-friends living in San Diego, we decided to prioritize the ‘cool people’ and visit with a couple strongly affiliated with New Zealand. The surf and sand was a bonus and we devoured our time on the water’s edge, embracing the salty lips, crunchy hair and absence of footwear. This time, our weekend didn’t involve hiking, photography (just the iPhone as you’ll notice), sightseeing or long bike rides (our trip two weeks prior was a sightseeing and foodie bike tour over Vancouver Island). We bonfired, shared philosophies and insights, ate well, witnessed electrical thunderstorms, lazed on white sand and forged friendships.

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what sup?
girls

There is much less structure to my life these days, with Jesse away for flight training and no huge goals coming up. Dinner, if not a quick omelette or stirfry, is a long, slow meal requiring dicing, squeezing, stirring. Therapeutic cooking at its best.

Mushroom Cauliflower 'Risotto'

Mushroom Cauliflower “Risotto”
Recipe from Camilla at Pantry Narrative

I love this risotto for its lightness, freshness and abundance of vegetable-nutrients! Although I love myself a good Arborio risotto, I’m enjoying this type of lighter fare while the weather is hot and my energy output is greatly reduced. As Camilla points out, this would accompany roasted chicken beautifully.

1 head cauliflower
10 portobello mushrooms, peeled and sliced (or equivalent)
2 Tbps butter
olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup vegetable stock (plus more as needed)
Juice of 1 small lemon
1 small handful Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus extra for serving
handful of parsley, chopped
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
salt and pepper

Roughly chop the cauliflower and place the florets in a food processor. Process, scraping down as needed, until it resembles “rice,” – you may have to do it in a few batches. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat.  Add a lug of oil and  1 Tbsp of butter then add mushrooms to the pan, fry until browned. Remove from the pan.

In the same pan add a little more oil if necessary, add onion and cook, stirring often until translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. De-glaze the pan with the wine, then add the stock and lemon juice and bring to a simmer. Add the cauliflower “rice” to the skillet and continue to stir until cauliflower is cooked and stock has been absorbed, adding more stock if necessary. Stir in the mushrooms, Parmesan, parsley and ricotta cheese. Season well (taste before adding salt as stock will make the risotto quite salty). Garnish with Parmesan and parsley, and enjoy!

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