suburban siberia

transitioning from Los Angeles back to Edmonton

Category: Food

deceivingly delicious

A few weeks ago Diane invited Eleisha and I over for some pizza. It was no ordinary pizza. It was magic pizza.

I’m a carbs person. Any whisper of fresh-baked bread, cake, pasta or potatoes and you have my immediate attention. So when Eleisha mentioned that the crust was gluten-free I was suspicious. Not because of Diane’s cooking, but because Eleisha and my tastes do not always align. She likes kombucha, any type of legume or rice, and I of course like the opposite. But Diane is incredibly fun and amazingly accurate on many things. One of which is diet. She’s a vegetarian extraordinaire and this pizza is a delicious example of her culinary skills.

This pizza reminds me of a place that my roommates and I ordered from in LA often: cruzerpizza.com. They have stellar gluten-free  pizzas and they use the same vegan friendly cheese Diane suggests. My  friends Maya and Linda recommended it to me one day and if you know Maya and Linda, they are the authority on anything and everything great.

Diane and Eleisha share a blog with another good friend, Lindsay, but unfortunately they don’t post in it too often. Hopefully they find time to post in it soon so I can share it with you, but for now I am able to reveal Diane’s genius recipe with you here.

Behold:

Diane’s Delicious Cauliflower Pizza

3 cups cauliflower – approx 1/2 large head, grated (in food processor is easiest)
3 eggs
1/4 cup daiya vegan “cheese” (or 1/2 cup normal people cheese)
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Preheat over to 400.
Line a cookie sheet that has sides with parchment paper.
Stir all ingredients together until thoroughly mixed and press with hands into prepared cookie sheet until it is evenly spread over the pan.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until it starts to turn golden.
Remove from the oven and let cool before adding toppings.

Pizza sauce:

1 soup can size tomato sauce (12 oz)
1 small can tomato paste
1 Tbsp oil (grapeseed or olive)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 garlic clove
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar

Add the ingredients to a blender and blend until everything is incorporated.

Distribute the pizza sauce onto the crust and then place whatever toppings your little heart desires.  Top with either a teeny amount of daiya cheese (it has a strong flavour) or normal amounts of regular cheese and pop it back in the oven at 400 until everything is melty and good.  Broil (watching carefully) until the cheese browns.

 

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month of cake!

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March is my favourite month of the year. It’s almost like christmas. As most people know I am crazy about birthdays. I’m not sure why, but I’ve come to finally realize that I am that person who cares about something most people try to avoid. I’m sure it’s annoying but I can’t stop myself.  Half of my family are Pieces and I love meeting others who are born in the same month as I secretly believe we are instantly connected because of it. Crazy talk!

Here is a breakdown of the family birthdays:

Levi (husband):  Feb 28
Dakota (nephew):  March 1
Dad: March 3
Riley (nephew): March 4
Chandra (niece): March 10
Crystal (amazing cousin): March 11
Myself: March 12
Matthew and Arnie (my youngest and oldest brother): March 16

This year was my dad’s 75th birthday party and my family was able to rally together again for a surprise birthday party (we did one for his 70th as well). It went off without a hitch, he was completely surprised and it was nice to see some of my brothers who live around Vancouver. My dad was recently in the hospital for some time so it was a great for us all to see him in better health.

The day before the surprise party my nieces and nephews along with a few friends  and I went to Launch Pad. It’s this amazing place with wall to floor trampolines. I’m going to try to go there as much as possible because I’m pretty sure it’s going to be shut down soon. When we went on Friday night it was over capacity and rules were hardly adhered to. It was amazing and liberating as an adult – basically it’s my happy place.

The trampoline pictures are mostly blurry – but they are kind of awesome that way.

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Delicious, unhealthy food guide for Edmonton newcomers

Usually when I visited Edmonton I had a short list of places that I had to eat at before I returned to LA. Below is an essential list of all good things for any newcomer to visit. I’ve listed items that Levi and I usually order so you have some solid suggestions for when you go. As a warning most of these options are completely unhealthy for you.

Burger Baron No 14

BURGER BARON No 14 (7007 82 Ave NW)
The place is a bit dated and you will probably question the cleanliness of the it, but like a good Chinese restaurant, it’s not the cleanliness that counts here.

Tiffany:  mushroom burger with cheese and bbq sauce with fries or those corn fritters that you dip in jam

Levi: I have gone to burger Barron all my life. They opened when my dad was a teenager and he used to go there to hang out. Their milk shakes are awesome. Dad likes the Salisbury burger (after his high school in Sherwood park), and Dayn, my brother, always gets the chicken rings (there like nuggets only more fun). I also enjoy their onion rings.

Here’s a great article about Alberta’s Burger Baron written by local cool guy Omar Mouallem

Royal Pizza, Edmonton, AB

ROYAL PIZZA (any place in Edmonton or Sherwood Park)
I love this place because they always put tons of toppings on, service is reliable and the crust is delicious.

Tiffany: Fred’s Special all the way. Any time Levi is in the dog house he cheers me up with some tasty pizza from here. Instantly forgiven.

Levi: They also have a lasagna that is pretty good. It’s a great restaurant for families or any larger group because it’s always easy to get in and they have lots of seating.

Donair Stop

DONAIR
I use to think this was a universal thing but I found out recently that it originated in Halifax. It’s a combination between a shawarma and a gyros. Go Canada! If you are from the east coast you usually order it with sweet sauce. If you are from the west coast you typically order it with tzatziki sauce.
Practically anywhere is pretty good, but Donair Stop (9718 Ottewell Rd) never fails. There’s also a new place I discovered where Donair Stop‘s original location was, now called Top Donair (10137-50 St NW). Yummy!

-I use to eat them at various places in Halifax too so here is a bit of trivia for you about the infamous King of Donair. This should help give you some background on what a Donair is and it’s unconfirmed birthright.

BOSTON PIZZA
Quintessentially Canadian. Their crust is always good and I usually enjoy an ice tea with lemon here. When you visit try to make sure a hockey game is playing in the background (this will not be hard).

-order the peroghi pizza, tropical chicken, great white north…..i could go on
-the wings are pretty decent here as well. My fav is salt and pepper.
-don’t order their three cheese pasta. You will be blocked up for a week.

Harvey's Restaurants, Edmonton, AB

HARVEY’S
For people who do not know Harvey’s welcome to the light. It’s a place where you can customize your burger toppings (right in front of you) and the meat actually tastes like real grilled meat. California has their cherished (biblical) ‘In-N-Out‘ and Canadians have their beloved Harvey’s. It doesn’t get better than this for fast food.

Tiffany:  Cheese Burger combo with poutine. They have the second best poutine (KFC of course being the first).

Levi: Double Bacon Burger combo with onion rings (and Tiffany’s poutine -she never finishes it!)

BARB & ERNIE’S (9906-72 Ave)
I bet most Edmontonians would name High Level Diner or some other deliciously charming place as their fav brunch place but I prefer Barb & Ernies. Not for the food, but for the atmosphere. Who doesn’t love a creepy guy in lederhosen that you pay to tell you that you’re pretty.

Furusato Japanese Restaurant, Edmonton, AB

FURASATO  (10012-82 Ave)
Typically I didn’t eat Japanese when I visited because the sushi was always fresh in California but if I had a hankering this is the place I would go to. Although they renovated it with some terrible murals about three years ago, it is still charming and always busy.
-you can’t go wrong with any item on the menu. Levi and I always order the appetizer beef tataki (its raw beef for those who are wary but really worth it). The beef is served in a ponzu sauce with sliced onions. Yum!

PHOBULOUS (8701-109 St)
This place is pretty consistent for Vietnamese. Eleisha and I eat here ever time we get together near the University of Alberta

I always order the vermicelli bowl with spring rolls and some type of meat

Eleisha usually orders the vermicelli bowl with fried tofu and veggie spring rolls. The veggie spring rolls are mushy and I do not like them -although Eleisha prefers them over the meat spring rolls I order.

THAI
I don’t have a usual place anymore. The King and I was a favourite but a few years ago it became hit or miss (although I always recommend their Ka Re Moo Curry). One time I saw some one shoot up near the Mac’s Store across the street while I was eating my dinner – the harsh reality of Whyte Ave. The reason I bring up Thai food in general is because of their coconut rice. My Thai friend in LA told me that coconut rice is typically served as a desert but here in Edmonton it is served regularly for dinner. Try it next time with any curry and I promise you will not be disappointed.

froster

SLURPEES
This may sound crazy but Los Angeles never did them right. Too much syrup, usually with not enough ice – a real tooth cavity creator. Mac’s usually has my favourite ratio of ice and syrup but the best place is actually on the south side. Freshco Foods (7430-77 Ave). It’s a bit of a secret really and only true slurpee seekers know of its existence. Levi introduced it to me when we began dating. He must have known then that we were destined for each other because I don’t think he would have told me otherwise.

peroghis

PEROGIES
These are my fav! In Los Angeles you could find only one brand at Safeway and one strange Eastern European restaurant in Hollywood that never quite satisfied the Polish/Ukrainian food that I craved. It was terrible. Stephanie and I use to make them together often when I visited her and Andrew in Irvine on the weekends, Eleisha and I tried to make gluten-free ones (disaster) and pictured above Levi pitched in too last Christmas. But in good ole Alberta home-made perogies are no longer necessary because we have grocery stores full of them!!!!

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Food items I usually brought back with me to Los Angeles:

Ketchup Chips, Dill Pickle Chips, Dill Pickle Dip, Smarties, Summerland Syrup, Wonderbar, Coffee Crisp, Viva Puffs and Wine Gums. My former roommate, Stephanie, just informed me that Tic Tacs are a Canadian Delicacy as well – Who knew!

See all of them are bad for you! I guess that’s what makes them so delicious.

Things I love

This past week has been a mix of busy and not busy. I finally got a haircut after 7 months and I have mermaid hair again! I spent a ton of time with my 3 youngest niece and nephews (Isabella with her drum set is pictured below), I got a job and I finally finished the last of the poppycock that my mother-in-law, Leesa, made. It’s my favourite holiday treat! I also have new stand in dishes. When I moved from LA I donated my dishes because they were a mixture of different sets from living with roommates. When Levi and I moved into our townhouse in late December I refused to buy new dishes until I found the perfect ones. It wasn’t really a big deal because we were using our china that was given to us by some close friends as a wedding gift. Food tastes and looks so much better when it is on china! That rule lasted three weeks until I invited my in-laws over for dinner and I made a crack about eating off of paper plates because we only had 2 sets of china. Levi made us buy some temporary ones from IKEA, and I was heart-broken about not being able to hold fast to my rule. Hopefully I can complete my china set soon and that I can also find a lovely set of hand crafted plates to go with them.

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Canadian Treats!

So it’s my 3rd week back and the holidays are over. Everyone is back to work and social media is full of moans and groans. I’ve stopped telling strangers that I’ve recently moved from Los Angeles. First they assume I am American, for which they then apologize for the weather (good, I’m glad I have someone to blame) and then once they learn I am from Edmonton, they become puzzled about why anyone would move back to such a place at such a time. While the constant cold has been hard to get use to I actually like winter. That is with the stipulation that there is a window between the snow and I or that I dress head to toe in the warmest winter gear.

This weekend my mother in law gave me some lovely bird seed wreaths she made. I will stringing them up for Lulu to enjoy.

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And this morning my father in law gave me some Summerland jam and syrup from his trip out to BC! I coveted Summerland syrup like the holy grail when I brought it with me to Los Angeles. I’ve never had apricot flavour before so this is a special treat. George also brought back some Blackberry wine jelly from Summerland’s sister company Sleeping Giant. It will be my first wine jelly!

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 Another perk to being home means more time with Levi which is the main reason I moved back. While he is driving back up to Fort McMurray for work as I type, we have had a full month together which was amazing. He is a great breakfast maker and I’ve attached a few photos of some delicious unhealthy arrangements he made. ‘Frog in a Hole’ is my favourite thing that he makes. It’s an egg fried inside the hole of fresh bread.  The photo on the right features some Elk Sausage his Uncle John caught in the fall. Yummy in the tummy!

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