Holidays, Kitchen Toys, plus a Bean & Corn Summer Salad


Hello foodies! It’s been too long. I hope you’re all enjoying your holidays, no matter what you celebrate. For us, it’s Christmas.

Having Gizmo home these past 6 months has been perfect. He & Mowzers are best friends now, even though there is an obvious pecking order that Mowzers loves to remind him of. (btw, Mowzers was in no mood to have her picture taken at that moment, as the scratches on Dallas’ arms can attest to. This is why she is not in our yearly Christmas picture). 

One thing that has become clear since Gizmo has been home is his love of yoga. Or at least, his love of ME doing yoga. He loves to sleep on our bed all day, but as soon as he hears the couch being pushed aside to make room for my yoga mat, he is right by my side. I get a lot of cuddles & kisses in every pose, whether I like it or not. (Kidding! I love being loved.)

As for cooking, I haven’t stopped playing in my kitchen, even though I’ve been lazy about the blog. We had Dallas’ parents & his youngest sister over for a Christmas dinner, where I served this meal from last Thanksgiving. I was super flattered when his mom asked him if I would cook, because she loves my cooking so much! I feel so grown up hosting holiday dinners.

I also baked up a bunch of Nana’s Shortbread Cookies to send out to family, & I’ve been cooking & baking up a storm using Isa Chandra’s ‘Vegan with a Vengeance‘ cookbook. I seriously, seriously urge you to buy it. My favourite recipes include everything I’ve made so far: Spicy Corn Chowder, Banana Split Pudding Brownies, Lemon Gem Cupcakes, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Maple Walnut Cookies, etc. GO BUY IT.

To help with my addictive baking habit, my wonderful man bought me a kitchen dream toy for Christmas…in YELLOW!:

For those of you who don’t know, yellow is the best colour ever. It’s a happy colour, & it’s my favourite colour. I can’t stop playing with my mixer, making everything from pizza, to English muffins, to Finnish Pulla Bread. I didn’t get a picture of the pizza, & the English muffins need some practice, but here is a picture of what’s left of our Finnish Pulla Bread (which is ridiculously delicious, btw):

I love how beautiful the braid makes it! Credit goes to the man of the house for the braiding. Who knew he was better at it than I am?

I used this recipe, & I’m very happy with the results. I cut the serving size from 36 to 12, making only 1 loaf instead of 3. I had trouble getting it to rise (which is more my fault than the recipe’s), but it’s a great bread nonetheless. Just not as light & fluffy as it should be. I was also out of cardamom but subbed cinnamon, since it’s a sweet bread anyway. I made it last night, & there is about 1/3 of the loaf left. So I guess that tells you how much we both like it

Dallas also gave me $200 to spend at Williams Sonoma for Christmas, so I carefully picked out a bunch of different kitchen toys that I knew I would get a lot of use out of.

The marble rolling pin is beautiful, handmade in Italy with untreated Carrara marble. It makes a world of difference in rolling out dough, as it is heavier & generally remains pretty cold. The dough doesn’t stick to it, either, like it does with my wooden rolling pin.

I love the salad dressing mixer, which has 4 different recipes on the side with fill-lines for each ingredient. I’m sure I will use this alot.

The 3-in-1 avocado slicer can slice open an avocado, remove the pit, & pull out beautiful slices of avocado.

The biscuit cutters are so that I can keep practicing those English muffins! I will get them right.

The pie shell cutters will be fun for decorating. I know they’re Christmas-y, but they were 90% off. I also don’t think anyone will complain about snowmen if I bake them a pie.

The lemon zester is so handy – it has a catch-case underneath for the lemon zest, which can be stood up to measure the amount. Will definitely be handier than zesting over a bowl, & then trying to scoop it all up into a measuring spoon.

Last but not least, we have a new addition to our Christmas decorations. Say hello to ‘Rudolph-I-ate-too-many-cookies-Reindeer’.

I have this weird obsession with chubby animals. I could NOT leave him on the shelf.

Other than sharing the holidays with most of our family & friends, Dallas & I have had some much needed R&R the past few days. I’ve been curled up with some books & research papers, while he plays video games. Today we actually had the motivation to clean out our cupboards, too.

See this? We thought the Lazy Susan was missing a shelf until about 3 weeks ago, when we discovered it was just stacked on top of the bottom shelf. Today, we pulled out all of the food, cleaned the shelves, & Dallas set up the second shelf. I’m amazed at how much more room it gave me for food stuffs. So dinner? Dinner was inspired by food I forgot we had that we figured we should eat. Why buy groceries when you have too many?

This salad was a quick throw together, that takes about 5 mins to prepare. The dressing comes from this recipe. I lovelovelove the Honey Mustard Dressing!

I also warmed up some whole wheat pita bread, sliced it, & served it with roasted red pepper hummus from Costco. Easy dinner, & so yummy!

Just for ease, I’ll re-post the recipe for the salad dressing (with new fix-ins) here.

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful holiday, foodies!! Have a safe & happy New Year!

Bean & Corn Summer Salad

Recipe type: Salad

Author: Char

Prep time: 5 mins

Total time: 5 mins

Serves: 6


  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
  • sprinkle of sea salt & black pepper
  • 1- 398ml can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1/2 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced


  1. In a large salad bowl, whisk together the first 7 ingredients.
  2. Toss in all remaining ingredients, stirring to coat.
  3. Serve immediately or store in the fridge.
  4. Enjoy!

peace, love, food <3