Three dinners out

So I’ve been doing a really bad job living up to the name “Chelsea’s Healthy Kitchen” lately. I mean, when was the last time I actually posted a recipe? Instead of cooking I’ve just been doing a lot of eating out this summer! This week I ate out 3 times, which is pretty much the norm for me lately. I’m okay with that though, especially when good food is involved.

Tuesday was supposed to be my sister’s last day at home (however she’s now staying until Sunday), so we got take out sushi and spent the evening watching old episodes of Good Eats (Dear Food Network: please bring back this show). I got some of my favourites: wakame salad, a salmon avocado roll, and tuna sushi. Plus I tried out a new-to-me roll: the futo maki roll, which had egg, crab, marinated pumpkin skin, pickled radish and cucumber in it. I liked it!

Ichiban sushi

Then on Wednesday my friend Allyson and I met up for dinner at The Naked Sprout, which we both love but haven’t been to lately because we always end up at Kindfood. They have a new menu, so we were pumped to check it out!

To drink I had a blueberry Tonica kombucha, which is a local company from Toronto. It was okay, but it’s not as good as GTs, Rise, and Cathy’s kombucha.

Tonica kombucha blueberry

For an appetizer I got a half order of the kickin’ kale salad which was massaged with avocado and had red cabbage, carrots, goji berries, and hemp seeds in it. It was really good – but it would have been made even better by a pinch of salt to bring out the flavours.

Naked Sprout kickin' kale salad

They have both raw and cooked main dishes at The Naked Sprout, but I couldn’t have any of the raw ones because they all contain nuts. The cooked ones all sounded amazing though, so I wasn’t too upset. It took me an embarrassingly long time to decide, but I eventually ordered the BBQ pulled tofu sandwich with greens, avocado, and melted jalapeno havarti vegan cheese.

The Naked Sprout BBQ pulled tofu sandwich

I was seriously blown away by this sandwich. You all know I love my meat and real cheese, but this vegan version was actually just as tasty and satisfying. I was so impressed!

The vegan eats continued on Thursday when my friend Shannon came to visit for the day. She’s listened to me yammer on about my love for Kindfood for the past year, so she really wanted to try it. It didn’t take much convincing me to go!


And guess what? I actually didn’t get the Buddha Bowl or QuinWow Bowl! Are you shocked? I am. I decided to switch things up for once and get the Huevos Rancheros bowl which has scrambled tofu, black beans, salsa, tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro on a bed of brown rice. I love the Mexican flavours in it!

Kindfood Huevos Rancheros

It’s been a week of great food! But as much as I love eating out, I’m ready to get back into the habit of meal planning and cooking again… after Sunday, that is, because I’m meeting up with Sam for lunch!

Have you eaten out at a restaurant this week? Where did you go and what did you order?

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Filed under burlington ON, Kind Food, sushi, vegan


When my mom, sister, and I decided to go into Toronto for the day before the John Mayer concert last Wednesday, the first question we asked each other was “Where should we eat?”. If there’s one thing you should know about my family, it’s that food is always the first thing on our minds.

After a few days (yes, a few days… we don’t take restaurant decisions lightly!) of “researching”, we decided on Bannock because it’s right near the Eaton Centre where we would be shopping, plus it got great reviews. I loved the vibe of it immediately as we entered. It had kind of a rustic Canadian feel to it with exposed wood walls and wood accents.

Bannock Toronto

And the food also went along with its Canadian theme, with dishes like poutine, bannock, and warm s’mores pie offered on the menu. It reminded me of foods I ate at camp when I was a kid!

Bannock summer menu

My sister wanted to order the poutine with Monforte dairy curds and chicken gravy for the table, so I had a few bites. It was good!

Bannock poutine

I was really impressed with their salad menu – it was obvious they put a lot of thought into it, rather than just making the salads an afterthought. I ordered the “get your greens” salad to start, which had dinosaur kale, zucchini, kohlrabi, green mango, roasted chickpeas, and what tasted like a mango vinaigrette.

Bannock kale salad

I looked up their menu online beforehand and thought I would maybe order the minestrone soup or albacore tuna with buckwheat noodles for my entree, but that all changed when I saw their daily specials written on the chalkboard. After seeing venison chili on there, my mind was made up and there was no way I was ordering anything else!

Bannock venison chili

It had an unexpected flavour to it (cinnamon I think?), but it was still delicious, especially topped with cheese, sour cream and green onions. It also came with a piece of their bannock, which was like a soft doughy flatbread. This meal was pure comfort in a bowl.

I’ve read a few articles and opinion pieces arguing over the existence of a distinct Canadian cuisine – and most of them weren’t really able to come up with an answer. But I think those journalists need to have a meal at Bannock because it does one of the best jobs I’ve seen at defining it.

Do you research restaurants before you go somewhere?

Do you think Canada has a distinct cuisine? What foods do you think of when you think of Canada?


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Dad’s 60th birthday party

Saturday was one looooooong day. Other than a quick 15 minute run and an early morning trip to the farmers’ market and grocery store, I spent the whole day in the kitchen – from 9 am until past 9 pm!

It was a surprise joint 60th birthday party for my dad and his friend Chris, so my sister, her boyfriend and I volunteered to be in charge of the food.

60th birthday party

The surprise element worked out so well! Dad and Chris were golfing for the morning and then when their car pulled in to the driveway, Hayley’s boyfriend was already on the lawn with a (fake) bloody towel, pretending he was waiting for an ambulance because my mom had fallen and hit her head. Well my dad bolted to the backyard, almost falling and hitting his own head in the process, only to be greeted by a group of 40 of his and Chris’ friends waiting for them (dressed in pirate gear because that was the theme of the party).

Pirate themed party

They had no idea!

After the surprise, my mom sent them all off in teams to do a scavenger hunt around the city, which apparently was a blast. Meanwhile, we were busy like squirrels in the kitchen preparing a huge BBQ feast.

Mom’s friend Wendy did most of the appetizers (bocconcini, cherry tomato, and basil skewers; hot crab dip with crackers; and melon and prosciutto skewers) because we were focusing on the main course, but we also contributed some bruschetta made with fresh farmers’ market tomatoes and basil from our garden:


Then came our part:

  • Classic coleslaw, made by loosely following this recipe
  • Classic coleslaw

  • Guy Fieri’s Asian coleslaw (recipe here) – this was awesome!
  • Guy Fieri's Asian coleslaw

  • Caesar salad – brought by one of the guests
  • Baked beans – made using my recipe with no refined sugars
  • Baked beans

  • Mac and cheese – my sister had the brilliant idea to top it with crushed Goldfish crackers. I’m not the biggest mac and cheese fan, but I loved this!
  • Mac and cheese

  • Pulled chicken thighs and pulled pork shoulder – Hayley’s boyfriend brined these overnight and then braised them in the oven all afternoon. They were sooo tender and delicious!
  • Pulled chicken and pork

  • Homemade pretzel buns that my sister made

After hours of cooking, it felt so good to feast on our efforts at the end of the day. I loaded up my plate with a bit of everything! I know this isn’t the usual kind of fare you would find on a healthy living blog – I mean, the coleslaw had like 2 cups of mayo in it, and the mac and cheese had at least a pound of butter – but I don’t eat like this everyday. It took me 2-3 years to learn this, but healthy living doesn’t have to be 100%, nor should it be. There should always be room for fun!

BBQ food

After dinner we brought out the pirate-themed cake. My mom and sister worked for hours on this! I had no part because I tend to ruin anything that requires being artistic – I can barely colour within the lines, let alone make an elaborate cake. I’m good at the eating part though!

Pirate themed cake

I shared a plate of cake and ice cream with my sister and Wendy when we took a break from doing dishes, then went back for a bowl of ice cream for myself. We found a new nut-free brand of ice cream (from Stoney Creek Dairy, a local company) at the grocery store and I was so excited to try it! It was no Haagen Dazs, but it was still pretty good.

Stoney Creek Dairy ice cream

After helping to clean up a bit, I went up to bed at 10 pm and crashed! Who knew that cooking all day could be so exhausting?

What’s your favourite BBQ food?

Have you ever thrown a surprise party? Did the surprise element work?


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