chicory, grapefruit + avocado salad

appetizer, mains, recipes, salads

Traveling. Dinner parties. Weddings. Goodbye drinks. Summer treats.

It is this time of year and just after Christmas that I tend to feel a bit haggard + like I am going through life in sand. Things like so-so sleep and a bit of overindulging… it happens. But I know I can feel better.

We try and ‘detox’ a couple times a year. I have looong been suspicious of the stereotypical juice-based detoxes, lemonade-chili powder ‘Beyonce detoxes’ and spending a ton of money on supplements and such. Instead, I would rather eat nutritionally dense foods that are kind and cleansing for my liver and body.

I have been reading up on toxins. So crazy that every day we are exposed to so many things in our food and environment that accumulate in our bodies. Detoxing can be such a powerful tool to restore our glow + toward feeling more revitalized.

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The result of my nerding out on detoxifying foods is this super antioxidant salad. It is loaded with texture, good-for-your-tummy-ingredients, and bursting with fresh summer flavors! I like to think that this Chicory, Grapefruit + Avocado Salad is the ultimate detox meal. I find that simply eating a big salad containing detoxifying ingredients a few times a week makes me feel more clear, focused and energetic.

This salad can be thrown together in minutes and is a great meal to eat when you want to lighten things up. There are no isolated oils, only the fat from the seeds and the avocado, which make it much easier to digest and less processed. This bright salad features sweet-tart grapefruit (hello cellulite fighter and blood sugar stabiliser) and slightly bitter chicory (hello immune booster and liver detoxifier)! It will makes a refreshing addition to your summer dinner repertoire.

 

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Ingredients

2 mains : 4 sides 

  • 1 large ruby red grapefruit, peeled and segmented
  • 2 head chicory, pull off leaves
  • 1 medium beetroot, washed and cut julienne
  • 1 large avocado, peeled and sliced
  • 4-5 cups mixed salad mix, go for darker leaves
  • 4 tbs pumpkin seeds, ideally sprouted
  • balsamic vinegar, to drizzle
  1. Using a serrated knife, half your grapefruit. Slice along membranes + peel away segments (do this over a bowl to catch extra juices)
  2. Place chicory/endive and mixed leaves in a serving bowl
  3. Add sliced avocado and beetroot to salad + sprinkle pumpkin seeds
  4. Drizzle balsamic and leftover grapefruit juice as dressing over salad
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste, toss to combine
  6. Share and enjoy with your people!

 

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Notes

  • For a nice, hearty addition, add quinoa or brown rice if you have it on hand
  • For more detoxifiers, try fresh cilantro and parsley. They are both heavy metal detoxifiers which aid in removing heavy metals from our bodies

 

Here is to a wonderful, healthy you and to feeling our best. I hope you enjoy this recipe and that you have a delicious end to your week!

 

x

travel: Krakow, Poland

budget trips, lifestyle, travel

Our trip to Krakow came at the perfect time.

Ryan was studying and living in Tübingen, Germany and I was holding down the fort in Edinburgh. As happy as we were that Ryan received a scholarship to do some research in Germany, the time apart (105 days…) was not our favorite.

Krakow, Poland was one of the trips that we planned to break up the 100+ days. It was one of the best ideas we have ever had. Krakow has a bit of a reputation for attracting crowds of soon-to-be-tied-down grooms on stag weekends. But, it deserves better. Krakow is one of the most beautiful European cities we have been to and the perfect place for us to reunite.

Day one. 3am wake up call. Taxi to the airport. Cried happy tears seeing Ryan at the airport. Train to city centre. Walk through the Botanic Gardens. Path lined with 400 year old trees. Lillypads on ponds. Rose garden. Snacks on a park bench. Settled into our Airbnb. Wander to the main square. Hearty Polish food: meat + sauerkraut stew served in a huge bread bowl. Beet and kefir soup with hardboiled egg. Pickled vegetables. Polish beer. Wales v. Iceland Euro football match on. Drinking chilled white wine on the square. Reunited. Best feeling ever.

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Day two. Sleeping in. Walking back to the main square. Breakfast date at Bistro Charlotte Fresh baked pasties. Omelets. Lattes. Wandering with a paper map. Pristine cathedrals. Nuns + Priests out on their walks. Hot weather, had to stop for something cold. Huge vat of iced tea- green tea with mint, lemongrass and chunks of frozen strawberry, kiwi, oranges, lime and fresh preserves at the base. Delicious!

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Lovely old book stores. Reading biographies of Holocaust survivors. Walking up to the castle mount. Views of the Vistula river. Street food vendors, kielbasa sausage. Canadian burger shop Antler Poutine & Burger. Walked. And walked. And walked.  Ice cream from Lody na Starowislnej– scoops of vegan hazelnut and a cup of lavender. Had to beat the heat.

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Walking tour of the Jewish Quarter. Street art. Synagogues. Jewish cemetery. Euro Cup football finals. Dinner at a traditional Polish Inn: Grilled goat cheese wrapped in bacon with a side of pickled beets. Sour oatmeal soup with white sausage + hardboiled egg. Perogi, Polish dumplings stuffed with meat and vegetables. Baked turkey breast and creamed carrots. Charming hidden cafe. Went for their signature drink ‘apple coffee’ – ice, apple juice, + espresso! Owner had the sweetest Golden Retriever. Puppy cuddles.

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Day three. Bus tour picked us up early. Drive to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps. Pouring rain. Dark feeling. Reverent. Deeply sorrowful place. Silent. No birds, no sounds. Walking through the gate, ‘Arbeit macht frei‘ in German – ‘Work Means Free’. The slogan is known for appearing on the entrance of this site and other Nazi concentration camps. No one was ever released for working hard. Suitcases with victims names. Piles of shoes. Brushes. Cookery. Women’s hair. Empty beds. Ruins of gas chambers. The execution wall.

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The separation point on the railway track. Our tour guide told us that families stood at the tracks and were told to go to the left or right. To the left, work camp. To the right, showers. 900,000+ people were murdered in the gas chambers here. I stood near the spot where families were separated and was overwhelmed with grief and heartache.

It was important to see. Very heavy-feeling. Obviously, very sad. It feels indescribable unless you are there to experience it.  The memorial here says, ‘Let this forever be a place of torment and suffering. A reminder and a warning to humanity.’  The tour here is a way to better understand post-war Europe. To understand our world. It forces you to deeply confront our idea of humanity and what remains at Auschwitz. To never forget.

On our way out, I overheard a tour guide talking about twin sisters, Eva and Mariam. They were only tiny girls during the war, they were split at Auschwitz for genetic testing, both survived and were reunited after the Allies liberated the camps. I needed to hear that story of hope before getting back on the bus- I felt heavy-hearted this day.

Day four. Woke up early. Still a bit overwhelmed by the tour. We went for a walk, nearly empty sidewalks, quiet. Bought some local apricots and plums from a vendor. Sat in main square. Headed over to Bistro Charlotte… again! Then over to Moja Cafe for breakfast #2. Avocado toast. Ham + egg scramble. Coffees. Park walk. Train station to airport. Waiting at border control. Hugs + kisses. Holding Ryan so tight before we go our separate ways. Such a special weekend with him.

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We rank Krakow high on our list of European cities that we have visited. It has a rich and vibrant history, super friendly people, beautiful buildings, affordable food + drinks, without a ton of tourists. A perfect city for a long weekend escape and it got us through one of the toughest times of this PhD season.  It was an experience and gave me a deeper appreciate for the people of Poland and their resilience, Krakow is a rose growing through concrete.

 

Happy travels!

 

x

 

[*more on Eva + Mariam’s stories here].

root mash cottage pie

food, mains, recipes

You guyyys! It is almost July. But today in Scotland it was 100% rain and the high was 12°C/53°F. Nothing like a little sideways rain and wearing a beanie to work to make you feel summery.

Best part about today though- comfort food for dinner! I thought I would be saving this recipe to post next fall… but turns out, it was the perfect meal to pair with my wooly socks after a wet and chilly day.

Cottage Pie or Shepherds Pie, is full of hearty vegetables and grass-fed beef topped with fluffy mashed root vegetables, all baked to perfection. This recipe is not only nutritious, tasty and filling, it is also simple and affordable.

Serves 2-3 / Ready in 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 200g (2 smallish) sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 200g turnip, peeled and diced
  • 250g (.5lb) lean beef mince
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 parsnip, peeped and diced
  • 3 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 small leek, chopped
  • 240ml/ 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tbs dried mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp each; paprika, cumin, garlic and salt
  • 1 tbs ACV [apple cider vinegar]

 

Instructions

  1. Cook the sweet potato and turnip in a pan of boiling water for 15 mins
  2. Meanwhile, cook the ground beef in a pan over a high heat with 1/2 the diced onion, ACV and sprinkle of garlic salt. Cook meat to brown evenly
  3. Add the remaining onion, carrot, parsnip, celery + leek to meat mixture
  4. Add vegetable broth and bring to the boil and bubble gently for 15 mins. Sprinkle in herbs and spices.
  5. Spoon into an ovenproof dish
  6. Drain the sweet potato + turnip, mash with butter (or ghee)
  7. Top the meat + veg mixture with mash
  8. Place in oven until the top begins to crisp
  9. Share with your people, enjoy!

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Notes

  • Veggie? Consider swapping meat for a combination of mushrooms and walnuts, or lentils. See recipe from Minimalist Baker 
  • To save time, you can buy ready-made mash. Simply heat up, top over your mixture and bake in oven.
  • Feel free to experiment with vegetables. This recipe is a great way to clear out the produce that you haven’t used up yet and cut back on food waste! Green bean, peas, corn, kale… just go for it!

 

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This did not disappoint as Ryan as loves a good casserole. I suppose this will be a staple for us not only in the winter but in all the months, because sometimes you just need a lil bit of comfort.

 

Have a delicious weekend!

x

travel: Prague, Czech Republic

budget trips, lifestyle, travel

People have a lot to say about Prague and turns out after writing this post, I do too.

Prague has earned several nicknames throughout history – The city of 100 Spires. The Eastern Paris. Rome of the North. The Golden City. Heart of Europe. The Mother City. And my favorite, a Symphony of Stone.

With its skyline of spires and red-terracotta rooftops, beautiful Prague is one of the most picturesque cities we have ever been.

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It is hard to think my pictures will do this trip any justice, but here we go. The city is scattered with points and peaks in every direction. The Vltava river is lined with beautiful bridges that link the Old Town with the Castle District. Any rooftop view in the city will lead your eyes up to Prague Castle at the top of a hill.

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Simply walking around Prague and getting a bit lost is a good way to appreciate a variety of breathtaking architecture. Most of the buildings you see today are hundreds of years old. There are some scars and remnants of war in parts of the city that experienced Nazi occupation, but most of it remained in tact and it was one of the few cities that was not destroyed during WWII’s bombings.

Prague is beautiful. Seriously. Just go walk around without a plan and you are guaranteed to have a great time.  For the size of Prague we found it to be very walkable and you can easily come across many of the cities top sights without much effort.

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We spent our days walking around the city with eyes up, because every inch of Prague is pure European eye-candy. The question I kept asking myself during our stay in Prague, was, “How can it be this stunning, this magical, and this affordable, all at the same time?”

Dining, hotels, transportation, and tours all cost a fraction of what they do in other major cities we have visited. There are an abundance of things to do in Prague on a budget – here are some of our favourites.

See + Do

 

Old Town Quarters

Old Town is full to the brim of elaborate towering buildings that would make any architect teary-eyed. The Old Town Square is a historic square in Prague’s Old Town (did you guess that?) and where you can see a handful of Prague’s most famous sights — including Astronomical Clock Tower, Old Town Hall and Church of Our Lady before Týn. There are also a number of souvenir shops, food vendors, cafes and restaurants, but beware of overpriced items! Get out a snack or drink, sit down and enjoy this great spot to people watch and take in the vibes of city centre.

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A highlight for us was the walk up to the viewing area at top of the Old Town Hall. You can get to the top by either walking up the ramps or by lift. There is a fascinating exhibit up the ramps that provides an in-depth history of Town Hall with pictures from when it was Nazi-occupied. The reward for your efforts at the top are great panoramic views of the city. Definitely a place for a wide angle lens camera.

I love this view of Church of Our Lady before Týn from the top of Town Hall. The church is a gothic-style church and a dominant feature of the Old Town.  It has been the main church of this part of the city since the 14th century. The church towers over the area and is topped by four small spires. It is also home to the the oldest pipe organ in Prague.

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Charles Bridge : This bridge, built in 1357, is said to be one of the most beautiful bridges in the world. It is a must-visit — and the best way to cross the river from the Castle District and the Old Town. It has 30 statues of saints, 15 on each side. Unbelievably, this bridge still had a tram line running across it up until 1976. Take in all the street artists, religious statues, souvenir vendors and great spots for pictures. Next time, we will try visiting at sunset.

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Castle Quarter

The Castle District is of course home to… you guessed it, Prague Castle. This side of the river has a different vibe to the Old Town Quarters. Winding cobblestone streets, loads of cute antique stores to rummage through, cafe’s with gardens and a part of town called ‘Little Venice’. Packed with history and charm around every corner. From winding staircases and corridors, to intriguing shops and cafes, getting lost with our friends and their little girls was a total pleasure.

Prague Castle : Dominating the Castle Quarter is Prague Castle. Czech leaders have ruled from here for more than a thousand years. The castle is hailed as being the biggest anywhere, with a 1,500-foot-long series of courtyards, churches, and palaces.

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St. Vitus Cathedral: Located within the Prague Castle complex, St. Vitus Cathedral is an architectural masterpiece that took over 600 years to finish. Admission is free with the cost of the Prague Castle ticket but you can pay a little more to visit special parts of the cathedral.

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Jewish Quarter

The Jewish Quarter in Prague, known as Josefov, is located between the Old Town Square and the Vltava River. Its history dates from the 13th century, when Jewish people were ordered to vacate their homes and settle in one area.

Over the centuries, with Jews banned from living anywhere else in Prague, and with new arrivals expelled from Moravia, Germany, Austria and Spain joining them, more and more people were crowded in.

Most of the quarter was demolished between 1893 and 1913 as part of an initiative to model the city on Paris. What was left were only six synagogues, the old cemetery, and the Old Jewish Town Hall.

Jewish Cemetery : The Old Jewish Cemetery was the only burial place for Prague Jews from 1439 to 1787. Prague Jews were not allowed to be buried outside the ghetto, and the Jewish faith does not permit moving the dead, so the deceased were buried in as many as 12 layers. Sometimes visitors leave pebbles or prayers written on small pieces of paper on the tombstones.

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Some food history. During communist rule, all restaurants in Prague were required to serve a standardized menu from government approved recipes, for the same price as every other restaurant.  We learned that that ingredient variation was scarce in stores and many traditional recipes were nearly lost over decades of laying dormant. This meant there was little to no chance to pass recipes down to the next generation. Because of this, there are questions as to what real Czech cuisine is. The Czech Republic has been free from communism for less than 30 years and Chefs are pulling out old recipes as a statement of what they have overcome.

Many of the popular dishes in Prague have roots in Germany, Hungary, and Poland. Czech food is hardy and delicious (lots of meat, potatoes and bread). There is no shortage of goulash, dumplings, roasted pork and potato-based dishes in Prague. Prior to traveling to Prague, I did not know much about Czech cuisine but I did bring my gluten-free travel card and that was a huge help.

 

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As you can imagine, this charming city attracts its fair share of visitors, which means plenty of overpriced tourist traps. I was bamboozled into buying ‘Prague Ham’… but what I did not realise was that it was price per 100g! Yikes! The vendor handed me a plate that he said was ‘one portion size’ and lemme tell you, it took three adults to finish it off and cost… well, I am too embarrassed to say, but too much.

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And saving the best for last, Trdelníks!  Also known as chimney cakes or, as we were calling them, ‘turtlenecks’. 
Let me set this up. Trdelniks are pastries, coated in butter, rolled in cinnamon-sugar and then cooked over hot spinning cylinders over a charcoal pit. Everywhere you go, you see vendors making these funnel pastries by hand—sometimes on the street, sometimes in a shop window. Ryan and our friends were on a mission- to find the best. Try ’em all, chocolate lined, almond covered, ice-cream filled, Nutella coated… genius. 
 

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Well, sorry not sorry if you started to drool a little over the Trdelnik.

I guess this is all to say that Prague can be done on a budget, in 72-hours and that you might want to put it high on your list!

We are so grateful for the time we got to spend with our friends in Prague. It is always fun to have people to explore, adventure, and be tourists with. Especially when their daughter celebrates her birthday and you get to celebrate with a trip the biggest toy store ever! 

Anywhere in the world that you have traveled with friends or believe should be one everyone’s list?

 

Traveling mercies and lots of love

x

where to sip: Leo’s @ Dovecot Gallery

coffee, lifestyle, travel

 

Enter: my love for delicious coffee and aesthetically pleasing spaces. This post is part of an on-going series about where to sip in Edinburgh.

We have been going to Leo’s for a long time now. Loyal to the Frederick Street location, we have branched out to their other location at Dovecot Gallery.

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Dovecot is a hub for contemporary art, craft and design. They host workspaces, display exhibitions and sell beautiful made-in-Britain crafts, visual art and knits.

Five minutes in this space and my creative juices are flowing and I instantly want to get crafting something or find myself day-dreaming of a DIY project. Hand-woven wall hanging anyone? Here is a beauty.

The space is bright and eclectic.

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I love all of the contemporary materials used to decorate the space. Bright spools of thick Scottish thread and wall hangings by local artists. The space feels collaborative- like it brings people together. Leo’s does it right with the space and by serving up the best artisan coffee, sandwiches, salads + cakes.

We LOVE this café because it is…

  • Bright + welcoming
  • Artsy + sleek
  • Friendly staff
  • Delicious coffee
  • Locals love it but not overly crowded
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Popular menu picks:

  • Speciality coffee, [Hands On and other guest roasters]
  • Perfectly baked homemade pastries + cake, with an excellent gluten free range. Try the award winning GF brownie!
  • Selection of fine loose-leaf teas
  • Sandwich selection [Bagels from The Bearded Baker, Edinburgh] The avocado-pesto-cream cheese GF bagel is outta this world.

The space is airy and clean. I like to sit with a book and then par-ooze the Dovecot Gallery shop and exhibits. There is no wifi at this location, which I can appreciate. So take a book, take a person and take the opportunity to enjoy some non-screen time.

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Location: City Centre, off of Nicholson Street near Old College. Dovecot Studios, 10 Infirmary St, Edinburgh

Hours: Mon-Fri [9-5pm] Saturday [10-5pm] Closed Sundays

Websites: dovecotstudios.com and leosbeanery.co.uk 

If you are staying in or visiting Edinburgh be sure to have a late morning or afternoon with Leo’s @ Dovecot. You will be glad that you did.

Have a great weekend!

x

slow cooker shredded chicken

food, mains, recipes, whole30

My slow-cooker is right up there on my list of favourite things in the world. Next to Ryan, baby ducks and thrift stores.

I love coming home from a long day, walking in the house and food is cooked?! It is magic. I spend a bit of time on Sunday afternoons, meal planning, grocery shopping and batch-cooking for the week. Learn more about it here + here.

This is just a fancy term for cooking a bunch of stuff to use over a couple days, saving us time + money. This is my batch recipe for slow cooker shredded chicken and can last a couple of meals if you want it to. If you do not want to make it in bulk, you can half the recipe.

Here we go… are you ready for the easiest recipe ever?

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Ingredients

  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced/ place at the bottom of the slow cooker
  • 500g boneless (frozen or fresh) chicken thighs (approx.6)
  • 300g frozen or fresh chicken breasts (approx.2-3)
  • I like a mix of chicken thigh and breast. The natural fat from the thighs is what makes it so tender and shred so easily. You can experiment with your ratio here.

Seasoning

  • ½ tbs salt
  • 1 tbs ready chopped garlic
  • ½ tbs cumin *omit if following AIP, add turmeric
  • ½ tbs ground ginger
  • ¾ cup unsweetened apple cider vinegar [ACV] recommend: Braggs or Biona

Instructions

  1. Place the onions in the base of your slow cooker.
  2. Sprinkle all sides of chicken with seasoning mix (minus the ACV)
  3. Place the chicken on top of the onions. Pour apple cider on top. Cover and cook on high [5hrs] low for [7hrs], or until the chicken is super tender.
  4. Remove the chicken into a large bowl. Take two forks and shred it up! You can place back in the slow cooker and add additional salt or apple cider to taste.

Notes

  • Stir in some Chalula or Frank’s Red Hot if you want a bit of kick
  • AM: top it with an egg + veg scramble, veg hash or in an omelet for breakfast
  • Lunch: makes a great salad topper with chopped apple, paleo-mayo and celery + easy to fill in lettuce wraps
  • PM: we love it on a loaded sweet potato with guacamole or mixed in a stir-fry.

 

Makes a big ‘ol batch and can last a couple meals. The point is… the options are endless. Give the recipe a try and let me know how you use it throughout the week!

Have a delicious week!

x

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where to sip: Fieldwork Cafe

coffee, lifestyle, where to sip

 

Enter: my love for delicious coffee and aesthetically pleasing spaces: an on-going series about where to sip in Edinburgh.

Fieldwork is a work of art in itself.

The space is calming and elegant. I love all of the mixed materials; exposed stone, natural wood, soft lighting through the large front window + delicate gold finishes. The space brings the outdoors in, embellished with tree branches as wall art, dried flowers spread throughout and potted plants hanging overhead.

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We LOVE this shop because it is:

  • Woodsy + whimsical
  • Cozy + welcoming
  • Intimate
  • Friendly and accommodating staff
  • Beautiful home-baked selection

Popular menu picks:

  • Speciality coffee, [Steampunk Coffee, North Berwick]
  • The most lovely homemade pastries + cakey things
  • Selection of fine loose-leaf teas + hot chocolates [Chocolate Tree, Edinburgh]

The space is versatile. I have gone in with a book, met a friend and her little boy and have spent time working on my laptop. It is quaint but not tiny. I love working here and always feel productive and refreshed when I leave. It is also a favourite weekend treat for a coffee date. We can also appreciate their effort to source local ingredients and offer a few vegan and GF options.  

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Location: On the west edge of city centre, just off Lothian Road @ 105 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh EH3 9QE

Hours: Monday – Friday [8am – 5pm] Saturday [10am-5pm]+ Sunday [11am -5pm]

Website: www.fieldworkcafe.co.uk

If you are staying in or visiting Edinburgh, treat yourself to Fieldwork.  You will be glad you did.

Have a great weekend!

x

travel: Copenhagen, Denmark

budget trips, lifestyle, travel

Copenhagen is the epitome of cool.

The design. The lifestyle. The simplicity. The stylish black wardrobes. The cool cafes. The world-class restaurants. The coffee roasters.  I think this city probably invented the genre ‘hipster’.

I have lost track of the number of my our friends, bloggers and Insta-grammers who have recently headed for Scandinavian cities like Stockholm and Copenhagen.

Copenhagen is famous for a lot of things. Being a budget destination is not one of them.

Scandinavia has some of the world’s highest prices, but Denmark’s were not as expensive as Ryan’s trips to Stockholm or Finland. Who knew it was possible to get a taste of Copenhagen on a budget without draining the bank account? Here are the budget-friendly reasons that made this trip one of our best ever!

 

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1. Airbnb: cool Scandi design on a budget  

We traveled to Copenhagen over the Easter holiday. It was our first time in Scandinavia and our first trip to ever using Airbnb! By now you will know we are hooked, and Airbnb has been a total travel-game-changer for us.  We chose this charming apartment in the Østerbro neighbourhood.

Østerbro is also known as Copenhagen Ø. It is somewhat posh and at the same time completely down to earth. Østerbro is located on the north side of Copenhagen city centre. It is one of Copenhagen’s most attractive residential areas, especially for families with kids – or dogs, or a couple like us that doesn’t want to be in the thick of it.

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Every morning we walked along the Søerne Lakes to grab a coffee or sit on a bench and people watch. The lakes are man-made and stretch over a large part north-west of city centre. You can’t miss them on a map and it’s a great spot to escape the city hustle and bustle.

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Our flat was the perfect retreat. This was the beginning of my adoration for all things minimalist and Scandi design. We made use of our kitchen as most cafe’s and restaurants were closed over the Easter holiday. Big brunches and cozy dinners were the best way to make use of our accommodation and the perfect way to start and end our days.

SEE + DO

2. Soak in the lifestyle+ find the free things

It was a quiet Easter weekend in the city which made this trip less about touristy attractions.

Some of Copenhagen’s major museums are free to enter – like the National Museum, the National Gallery, the Brede Works (museum of industrialisation), the Post and Telegraph Museum, the Danish Music Museum and the Open Air Museum. Though some may charge extra for special exhibitions.

One of the best things to do in Copenhagen… walk and take it in. There is a lot to see in Copenhagen, but there was not a lot of pressure to try and squeeze everything in like some of the other major cities in Europe. We just tried to soak in the Danish lifestyle and enjoy a slower paced holiday.

 

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Cyclist everywhere! Year round, it is the most bicycle-friendly city in the world

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A walk through to Assistens Cemetery to see where Søren Kierkegaard is buried

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Easter Sunday service at St. Albans Church

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The Little Mermaid sculpture, inspired by Hans Christians Anderson’s fairytale. (Get there early to avoid crowds!)

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On a clear day, you can see all the way to Sweden from Copenhagen’s highest viewpoints. Head to the top of the Rundetårn or Round Tower instead. It was easier than stairs as it has a spiral ramp (stroller friendly!) and we learned it was designed for horses to ride up.

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Nyhavn

The colourful waterside townhouses and the boats along Nyhavn are iconic – you know, the images you see on all the postcards. It is beautiful. Historic. Docks and boats. 17th century townhouses. Bright colours. It is a busy part of town, with lots of touristy places to eat (mind the overpriced food…) but makes the perfect place to people watch.

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EAT + DRINK

One of our budget-hacks is grocery shopping and doing our own cooking at the Airbnb. There were lots of supermarkets but limited hours over the holiday weekend.  For a quick snack there are plenty of stalls selling hotdogs topped with crunchy onions, or for something a bit more Danish grab a Smørrebrød, an open sandwich that’s piled high with fillings. We were warned to steer clear of touristy and expensive places in Nyhavn and headed to student-friendly areas like Nørrebro or Vesterbro for lower prices.

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On Papirøen (Paper Island), Copenhagen Street Food has lots of international street food stalls, with everything from Brazilian BBQ to artisan cheesecake, and English pancakes to a falafel bar. I really loved all the coffee stalls and seeing the variety of things- a must see for foodies.

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3. Indulging in Copenhagen’s coffee + pastry scene 

Copenhagen has a reputation for outstanding food, proven by it’s 15 Michelin star (yep, 15!) restaurants. A visit to Noma would have been cool, but our budget was happy with all the amazing coffee spots to get our caffeine fix.

We visited The Coffee Collective more than a couple of times… and now we can find their coffee at Baba Budan in Edinburgh! The Coffee Collective is a micro-roaster with two coffee shops and a coffee school. In order to achieve their goal of making the best coffee, they are cooperating with farmers to develop a sustainable production and to improve the quality of the coffee, we can get behind that!

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Central Hotel og Café is the world’s smallest hotel and Copenhagen’s smallest coffee shop, with just five seats. Cozy up.

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After giving up sugar for Lent, Easter weekend was a glorious time in Denmark. This part of the world is known for their baking and beautiful pastries and it exceeded all expectations. We made it our mission to try as many of the infamous Danish pastries as possible. A visit to any bakery here will leave you with a big decision on your hands as the selection is amazing. They are light and crumbly, sweet and delicious.

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The best part…. I wasn’t overcome with gluten envy! We found the best local gluten-free bakery called Naturbageriet. I have never seen such a variety of GF breads + pastries in one place. Let’s just say we were went every day of our trip. I found Copenhagen to be really friendly gluten-free city.

A great foodie neighborhood is Nørrebro. It is known for its hip, multicultural feel and is a great district to spend an afternoon (or more, if you have the time). Here you will find designer shops and trendy restaurants right next door to cheap kebab joints and dive bars. Nørrebro also boasts one of Copenhagen’s hippest streets: Jaegersborggade. We had the BEST lunch at an Ethiopian restaurant called Ma’ed. There are days that I still think about it….

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We also made it over to Sweden but I will save that adventure for another post. We adored our long weekend in the Danish capital and it was so refreshing. It is easy to see how time and time again, international surveys celebrate Denmark as the happiest country in the world. How grateful we are that we got to experience it!

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What places make you happiest in the world?

Happy travels and Happy Easter, friends!

x

meal planning

food, mains, recipes

Hello friends!

Part of our Sunday ritual is meal planning, grocery shopping (okay, I do that one…) getting the kitchen organised + batch cooking for easy meal prep during the week.

This week, we are focusing on Whole30-ish, low-carb, high protein meals and incorporating as much seasonal and nutrient dense produce that we can.

Breakfast Skillet

For a quick and protein-rich breakfast (and salad topper) I batch cooked this skillet. This is an original K+K recipe and was a breakfast-life-saver my first round of AIP. It is made up of lean ground turkey and any veg that I have on hand. I top it over sautéed stir-fry veggies or dark leafy greens. It is also perfect piled on a cauliflower rice with avocado for a heartier option. I love it with fermented veg and Ryan loves it with fried eggs.

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Stuffed Peppers / Buddha Bowls

When we have a busy week, I batch cook for the both of us. Dinners that are easy for us to reheat and can double as breakfast (#putaneggonit) or lunch. Ry will love these peppers from The Kitchen Confidante. I love the idea of bulking them up with meat + some healthy fiber from the lentils.

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I will be relying on some grain-free ‘Buddha Bowls’ to get me through the week. The best thing about Buddha Bowls… anything goes. This recipe from Empowered Sustenance is a winner. Get your favourite things in a bowl and pile them on the dark leafy stuff… wha-la! See my previous post here.

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Mexican

This week we are hosting a Mexican themed dinner with our small group. I am in charge of the main dish, shredded chicken and fajita style vegetables and I’ll be using this fabulous recipe for AIP friendly seasoning from Whole New Mom.

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One Pan Roasted Salmon + Veg

We are so excited to host a friend in Edinburgh this weekend. Planning on a nice dinner at our flat with some local Scottish salmon. We have made this recipe before from The Real Foods Dieticians… such a winner. Light, healthy and a good one for hosting. [P.S. I wish we had Tessemae’s dressing here… go to Whole Foods and stock up, people. They are so delicious!]

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Burgers + Sweet Potato Buns

We like to make our dinners one to look forward to! This week we will have a burger night with all the fixin’s that we can possibly fit between these sweet potato buns from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen. Delish!

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Spring Salads + Sides

Snap pea + Coconut Salad I re-introduced peas with success after several months of strict AIP. This salad from Bon Appetit looks soooo springy and fresh. I will pick up whatever veg is on sale, asparagus, green beans, garden peas, courgette… (which usually means, in season). I do LOVE pairing mint + veg. I will be batch cooking this for some light dinners and lunches this week. For filling additions,  I will add some shredded chicken and avocado.

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Treats 

Paleo Cookies We eat salads so we can have cookies, am I right? Last week I made date and banana cookies. I did not use a recipe. I just experimented really. Funny thing with Whole30 baking… hmm, sometimes the final product just isn’t that pretty. They were delicious but I thought they looked like sausage patties. Anyways, since I haven’t blogged the recipe yet, this one from The Detoxinista (healthiest cookies ever) seem to be close to the version I made and they were a real crowd pleaser.

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Strawberry + Rhubarb Salad And… for something a ‘lil sweet and fruity, I have decided to finally give rhubarb a try! I think this duo I found on Bon Appetit will make a great side or dessert option this week.

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I hope you have delicious week and that you are enjoying slightly warmer weather + brighter days, wherever you are!

 

peace + grace

x

travel: Dublin, Ireland

budget trips, lifestyle, travel

Our plane took off from the Edinburgh airport, I listened to half of a podcast and we were already preparing for landing in Dublin. Crazy fast.

Ireland is an extremely quick and affordable trip from Scotland. Flights are easy, but if you have more time, a combination of ferry and land travel through England and Scotland would provide so many opportunities for some good ‘ol sightseeing at various budgets.

Visiting Dublin was a dream come true for my sweet mother-in-law. Being here for her was almost as good as Christmas morning and we are so glad that we got to share the city with them.

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Stay

We stayed at the Castle Hotel, located just off O’Connell Street and only a 15-minute walk to many of Dublin’s top tourist attractions.
 
Recently renovated, the Castle Hotel maintains old Georgian features + charm.  A grand staircase, fireplaces and comfortable lounges make it easy to sit back, relax and unwind. What made this hotel really special was the 19th century wine vault restaurant that hosts live Irish music every night.  If there had been some dancing… perhaps Irish jigging going on, my mother-in-law and I would have been even more over the moon! I loved listening to her sing along.

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See + Do

Dublin has emerged as a prime budget trip destination. It is a hub for cheap flights, inexpensive food, fun pubs and lively locals. Dublin is also full of literary + cultural history.

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Temple Bar District

Temple Bar is a lively area on the bank of the River Liffey. If you want to party, this is your place, full of pubs and clubs. Not really our scene, but there were also loads of talented street musicians and great for people watching. More than a party district, many of Dublin’s cultural institutions (film, art and theatres) have set up shop here.

 

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Live Irish Music

Irish traditional music (also known as Irish trad or Irish folk music) is a unique sound which is at the core of the Irish culture and history.
 
Traditional Irish instruments include the fiddle + banjo and combined with the flute, whistle and accordion you cannot help but clap your hands and tap your feet!  Like I said, we spent our evenings in the hotel vault and could not get enough of the music.
 
St. Stephen’s Green
 

Spending part of an afternoon in St. Stephen’s Green is a good way to relax and watch the city go by. This stretch of greenery in the centre of town is a welcome retreat . We all grabbed coffee from a coffee shop round the corner called The Beanhive (great gluten-free muffin selection by the way) and scored some benches. Again, great people watching, happy duck ponds, and lots of flowers and greenery everywhere you look. Best of all… it is free!

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Trinity College + Book of Kells 

Ireland’s oldest university makes for a beautiful stroll. The historic buildings, gardens and monuments are worth a visit. It is most famous for its library housing the Book of Kells.

The Book of Kells was written in 800 AD by a group of monks and was buried in the ground for safe keeping against the Vikings. In the 1600’s it was rediscovered and sent to Trinity College where it has been ever since.

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St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Built between 1220 and 1260, St Patrick’s Cathedral is one of the few buildings left from the medieval city of Dublin. Today, St Patrick’s is the National Cathedral for the Church of Ireland and still the largest cathedral in Ireland.

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Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral is Dublin’s oldest building, a leading visitor attraction and a place of pilgrimage for almost 1,000 years. Renowned for its beauty, architecture and exquisite floor tiles, it is home to the famous 12th Century crypt, one of the oldest and largest in Britain and Ireland.

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Ha’penny Bridge

The Ha’Penny Bridge is a pedestrian bridge connecting the two sides of the River Liffey. When it was originally built, it cost  half a pence to cross, hence the name Ha’penny Bridge. Before this bridge was built, people used to cross the river using ferries. Today there are many bridges crossing to each side, but this was the original and most significant one to see.

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Eat + Drink

The scene is changing in Dublin. Irish food is simple and hearty and lots of bloggers say it is an up and coming foodie scene and becoming quite the gastro haven on Instagram. A lot of menus I saw hosted a variety of seasonal cuisine; lamb in spring, to fish in summer, stews and soups in the winter and, of course, potatoes any time of the year. We enjoyed the huge breakfast spread at our hotel and were able to enjoy some local food throughout the day. Pubs seemed to have good, hearty local Irish food that was easy on the budget.  We had lots of fresh seafood, vegetable stews and Dad liked the soda bread.

The Rolling Donut 

Wowzer. Handmade. Baked fresh every day. The Rolling Donut specialise in unique, filled gourmet donuts created using a sourdough starter.

Check out some of these flavour bombs: Peanut Berry Delight, a rich peanut butter filling topped with a sweet mixed berry compote and finished with a sprinkle of toasted peanuts Baileys Bliss, a Baileys-infused cream filling paired with a rich vanilla glaze Molly Malone, a sumptuous apple and cinnamon combination topped with vanilla glaze and biscuit crumble!

No gluten free options, so a bit of gluten envy going on… but the coffee was delicious and I was genuinely happy that Ryan got to eat so many donuts. They are his favourite food group.

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Guinness Storehouse

Some would say that one of the best things to do in Dublin is to have a pint of Guinness. I am allergic and it is a bit too heavy for Ryan’s liking, but if you are into it, seems like having an authentic ale from the storehouse would be a highlight. People say that it really does taste better in Ireland!

The Guinness factory is a major part of Dublin and its history. Guinness provided housing and jobs for much of the residents of Dublin. You can tour the storehouse and have a sample on the rooftop patio. 

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Day Trip: Malahide Village

Before the trip ended, we decided to take a break from the busy sightseeing in the city and opted for a quiet day trip with some medieval history  in the beautiful seaside village of Malahide. Only 35 minutes by train, this quaint and charming village feels much further from the hustle and bustle of Dublin.

We started with a nice wander down main street, grabbed a coffee and strolled along the seaside path as we worked our way to Malahide Castle.  Surrounded by lush parks and tall trees, the walk up to the castle makes for a lovely stroll. Weeping willows, bright flowers – and even the odd peacock! – can be found within this secret garden’s walls.

Sharing grounds with the castle is a fab cafe called The Garden House. It was the perfect spot to grab a to-go bag and picnic on the castle grounds. I was really impressed with their healthy selection of sandwiches, salads and wraps – all locally sourced and loads of home baking.

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Not bad for a quick trip to Dublin. I feel like we covered a lot of ground and really took advantage of all the city had to offer. What are some of your favourite cities to visit with a long weekend?

 

Happy travels!

x