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Spiced Pear Baked Steel-cut Oatmeal

Spiced Pear Baked Steel-cut Oatmeal

I know I’ve mentioned it here before, but I don’t have the warmest feelings towards traditional oatmeal. I think it is because I was ruined by those instant packs as a kid. You know, the ones you rip open, pour into a bowl, observe with excitement all of the sugar mixed in with the oats and add tepid water to? Bonus points if there were pictures of cute animals on the pouches.

As a semi-adult making my own oatmeal and realizing how much actual sugar I needed to add to make it taste like the stuff I was familiar with was sort of embarrassing and so I just lay off it altogether.

Spiced Pear Baked Steel-cut Oatmeal

My husband loves it though and will order it any time we go out for breakfast and even make it when he’s feeling inspired. So when we went surfing a few months ago (baby belly and I were surf-watching/walking/reading), I knew we were staying in a place with a questionable kitchen situation (a kettle) so I decided to try something. I filled a big mason jar with instant (not ideal) oats, chia, hemp hearts, dried fruit and lots of warming spices (as seen in this recipe) and shook it up.

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Warm Eggnog Chia Pudding (with Pear & Cranberry Compote)

Warm Eggnog Chia Pudding

My husband bought a scented candle a couple of weeks ago called ‘wood smoke’ (so manly). I think he was trying to compliment his favourite tv show, the channel that just has the burning fire log with the guy’s plaid arm stoking it once in a while. Anyway, (luckily?) it doesn’t smell like burning anything, but mysteriously, more like how you want Christmas to smell, which is just so awesome.

Warm Eggnog Chia Pudding

As much as I love the lights and decorations and the Peanuts Christmas soundtrack, by far my favourite thing about the holiday season are the smells. Everything from the fresh cut trees outside the grocery store, freshly peeled mandarin oranges, your neighbours up the hall getting a jump on their gingerbread baking, the way the air smells when its thinking about snowing, simmering mulling spices and warm roasty dinners all make this season so nostalgic and infectious. It’s hard not to jump on board with both feet, at least in the beginning.

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Lemon-y Greens with Chickpeas

Lemony Greens with Chickpeas

I have a real thing for spanakopita, to the point where it occasionally takes over my brain until I do something about it. Does anyone else feel this way sometimes? I rarely give in to it entirely (although, sometimes I definitely do) but I realized at some point, that it was less about the actual Greek pastry and more about the cooked, flavourful, dense amounts of lemony greens.

Lemony Greens with Chickpeas

So this is what I have been making to fill that triangular pastry void, and it’s totally been working.

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Watermelon Salad With Cucumber and Coconut Yoghurt

Watermelon and Cucumber Salad with Coconut Yoghurt

I find it hard to make recipes using watermelon. It’s usually the first thing I cross off my shopping list when I realize I am buying too much to walk home with without having strangers asking me if I need help (so embarrassing). When I do manage to get one home, it’s delicious watermelon that needs no help beyond a sleepover in the fridge to make it pure, sweet, hydrating perfection. In other words, it gets eaten as is, and any thoughts of a recipe get put on hold, sometimes even until the following summer.

Watermelon and Cucumber Salad with Coconut YoghurtWatermelon and Cucumber Salad with Coconut Yoghurt

This summer has been a little bit different. Watermelon is very cooling and our bodies seem to know this instinctively, craving it when the weather gets warm. It’s hard to remember now, but the weather here was warm, even kind of hot at the beginning of the summer and the watermelon turnover was high. Over the last couple of weeks of sporadic rain, clouds and cool weather, I found we had a rare stockpile of watermelon (well, two).

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