Monday, 27 April 2015

To the Garden I Go!

     Spring seems to have arrived...hopefully it stays this time. It has been a busy couple of weeks over here, and I had a couple things I wanted to share with everyone. So for starters, I'm done exams (finally!), though summer school(s) will be starting next week, and I'm still busy working at SickKids, but I have also started a summer internship working with Rye's HomeGrown

     Rye's HomeGrown in a cooperative which aims to build capacity for food security by producing fresh, wholesome food for the Ryerson community and providing interactive educational opportunities in urban agriculture. I am so excited to be the communications coordinator for Rye's HomeGrown this growing season, and so have been busy up on our 1/4 acre roof-top garden.

We just started planting the cold-weather tolerant plants, like faba beans and lettuces, this week seeing as its been a pretty cold winter and the last of our earth only defrosted a couple of weeks ago. But we've also been busy in our greenhouse growing microgreens and seedlings, along with running our garden design program.

While the weather continues to warm up I'll be getting busier and busier with the gardens, so if miss a post here or there, just know that I'm probably covered in compost. But when I do post, I'm hoping to try and incorporate some of the delicious and local fruit and vegetables from our gardens here in the heart of Toronto into my recipes.

If you live in Toronto, and want to get involved you can follow @ryeshomegrown on twitter or instagram or look us up on facebook for more information. We have drop-in volunteer days the first Friday of every month, so if you our downtown on Friday you should swing on over to our rooftop garden, the Valarie and Andy Princle Environmental Roof, located on the George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre Building (152 Dalhousie st) at Ryerson from 1-3. You can check out any of the links above for more information. The farmer's Market at Ryerson will also be opening soon. We will be selling our produce on campus every wednesday from 11-3pm starting May 13th.

I'm not sure if you guys are excited but I sure am! Growing amazing produce right in the middle of Toronto is crazy! And I love it!

If you have any questions for me explicitely about Rye's HomeGrown, you can contact me at

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Vegan Espresso Chocolate Chunk Cookies

     Last week I tried out a couple new recipe ideas. Some of them turned out so-so and need a bit more work, but these dark chocolate cookies I made are perfect just the way they are! And once I (and a close group of my friends...and Ryan's co-workers) give the seal of approval, it's time for you guys to give them a try and tell me what you think. 

     These cookies have a lot of substance to them. In addition to the fresh espresso, they also have cranberries and almond pieces which really make these cookies stand out. Oh, and of course there are chunks of chocolate. I decided it was time to make a chocolate chunk cookie mostly because I had a ton of dark chocolate left over from Easter. I've had the idea for this recipe as a note in my recipe book from before I even had a blog (I knew what was up) and I figured it was about time I tried to make my chicken scratch into something delicious.

     If you're not a big fan of espresso, don't be alarmed, it is not over powering at all but rather ties the chocolate and the cranberries together perfectly. If you taste the batter (and please do, it is delicious!) you can really taste the espresso, but baking breaks down some of the espresso aromatics, and makes the cookie almost more savory. I've got a similar recipe that doesn't have the espresso, but has the same ratio of flour to sugar, and they taste much more sweet. 

Serves: 3 dozen
Time: Prep 20 minutes; Cook 11 minutes


  • 1 cup vegan margarine
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 espresso (If you like espresso pull two double shots, otherwise pull a  long double shot)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 100g dark chocolate, chunked (about 1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup chopped or sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F/ 190°C and prepare a large baking or cookie sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream margarine with brown and white sugar. Slowly whisk or mix in espresso and vanilla until smooth.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, cocoa powder and leavening agents.
  4. Pour dry ingredients into wet and mix well.
  5. Add in the goodies: chunks of chocolate, cranberries and almond pieces and mix to combine.
  6. Using a cookie scoop or ice cream scoop, scoop balls of delicious batter onto the cookie sheet, leaving about an inch and a half between the cookies.
  7. Bake at 375°F/ 190°C for 9-11 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Enjoy!