Tuesday, 13 December 2011


I have no idea what 'danube' refers to/what it means, but what I do know is that this danube in particular was mighty delicious.

Several weeks ago, I made this dish for R and I and it was exactly what we needed: warm, hearty, and loaded with veggies.

It's no beef bourguignon (my boyfriend's dad makes a mean one of these), but in the same way that Julia Child's classic dish may have really hit the spot (om nom, I'm salivating just thinking about it), this stew is the perfect end to a long, hard day. Loaded with beef, potatoes and veggies, this one is definitely a keeper.

Beef Danube
recipe adapted from Clean Eating

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 lb. lean top round steak, trimmed of visible fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 tsp. each sea salt and ground pepper
1 large onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, crushed
6 medium white potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 large tomato, seeded and diced
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
4 bay leaves
2 tsp. dried rosemary
3/4 cup red wine
1 cup frozen peas

1. Heat oil in a large, deep, straight-sided sauté pan on medium-high. Sprinkle steak with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, then brown in pan for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Add onion, carrots and garlic. Cook until beginning to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes more. Add potatoes and cook for another 2 minutes.  

2. Mix flour into pan, reduce heat to medium and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly so mixture doesn’t burn. Add tomato, broth and 2 cups water, scraping up brown bits from bottom of pan. Increase heat and bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Add bay leaves and rosemary. Cover and cook for 45 minutes or until meat is tender.

3. Add red wine, remaining 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, and artichokes. Re-cover and simmer for 15 more minutes or until meat and vegetables are tender. Stir in peas, remove pan from heat and re-cover. Let stand for 5 minutes and serve.

Makes 8 servings.

Try This: Make this recipe gluten-free by substituting the whole wheat flour with corn flour or starch (or any other favourite wheat-free flour).

image via clean eating

Monday, 12 December 2011



Back in the fall, I made a chicken stock/soup and vegetarian chilli, packaged and popped them in the freezer for busy days and nights (such as now). What's so great about preparing large vats of soup/stew/anything else that freezes well and then storing it for later is that you don't have to make these things all the time. Not long ago, I ate the last of my chilli and I still have a container of soup stock in the freezer just waiting to be thawed and warmed up with some fresh pasta and chopped chicken breast.

And last night I made a giant pot of miso soup. Not just any miso soup, but this Miso Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms. It's a healthy and delicious dinner to keep you warm on those cool winter evenings! First, consider this: it's got miso, hearty shiitake mushrooms, loads of bok choy, and tofu. For flavour, there's warming ingredients like garlic and ginger, and scallions to add a little bite.

Miso Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms
adapted from

Tuesday, 6 December 2011


I'm back. Kind of.

I actually still have two papers to write--both of which are due in a week and both of which I've barely started researching, never mind writing. But, I thought that if I have time to workout and eat lunch everyday, I have time to blog (so...I guess I'm not eating lunch today?).

With the anticipation of the holidays, I can't help but be distracted. I love this time of year: stringing Christmas lights, decorating the tree (which R and I have yet to pick up), ooh and festive baking! On this year's menu? Salted caramels, meringue cookies, dark chocolate peppermint bark, and red velvet whoopie pies (om nom nom). I'm telling you, it's really difficult to want to read books and write papers when all you really want to do is string popcorn and have a holiday movie marathon. Alas, I'll have to wait another week.

In the meantime, here's some cold weather outfit inspiration for those dropping temperatures (brr!):

For the cabin/snow fight/or just out in the city, why not try an extra
warm parka with brightly coloured accessories?

Monochrome and comfy: pair a dark grey wool coat with black leggings,
ankle boots, and a toasty blanket scarf.

Belt a wool coat and throw on a traditional knit scarf and a pair of
leather booties.

Make a bold coloured jacket the centre of your ensemble and pair
with wool shorts, over-the-knee socks, and leather riding boots.

Go classic in a wool peacoat. Add a cashmere scarf, velvet gloves, trendy
ankle boots, and you're set! 

How do you like to stay warm during the cold (particularly-if-you're-in-Canada) winters?

images via jcrewing, charmed, note to self, mariannan, and imgfave 

Tuesday, 15 November 2011


Excuse me while I step away for a while. School just threw a giant pile of books at me.

It's that time of year: when final papers need to be researched and written all while keeping up with the copious amount of weekly readings, not to mention trying to find time to tweak and edit that proposal for that thing--oh yeah, my thesis work. It's all coming due very quickly (agh), so without further ado: it's time. It's time to buckle down, steep myself a big mug of tea, and head to the library.

How long will I be away for? Indefinitely (well, actually, more like until sometime mid-December). In the meantime, check out some of my favourite links to the right--and hopefully once I've caught my breath, I'll be able to share some of my favourite holiday cookie recipes with you.

Here's to busy days and busy nights.

image via pinterest

Monday, 14 November 2011


Babies in costume:

Creep factor: I don't know any of these children. Yep, I'm a weirdo.

Happy Monday!

images via google and pinterest

Friday, 11 November 2011


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

By John McCrae

words and image via pinterest and great war


This past week at Tomfoolery & Bright:

my workout wear essentials
a look at Anthropologie's November catalogue
and the fantastic BabyCakes

It's the footy girls' end-of-season trip and we're headed north for a weekend of hiking (scavenger hunting actually), relaxin' at the spa, and doing what girls do best...ehrm..

Have a lovely weekend, friends!

images via lauren conrad, pinterest, and we heart it

Thursday, 10 November 2011


BabyCakes, the Book of Recipes: It's Here! from BabyCakes NYC on Vimeo.

Was I this ecstatic with the BabyCakes baking book as this gal is?

Is that a question?

This gal is Erin McKenna, the chef/owner of BabyCakes NYC, and this video is to honour the publication of her first-ever cookbook. Now, the book was actually released in 2009, but I'm just getting my hands on a copy now and I couldn't be more excited (since then, Erin's actually put out a second cookbook)! Ever since I ate my first BabyCakes cupcake just over a year ago, I have been dying to know just how Erin was able to make something so delicious, but that was gluten- and/or refined-sugar-free and/or vegan. And now I've got a book with all her little secrets! Amazing!


Me, outside of BabyCakes NYC.
A little bit about BabyCakes: I first learned about the company through the blog website, Cupcakes Take the Cake (that was several years ago now, when I became obsessed with cupcakes). I remember being really intrigued by BabyCakes for the very fact that they were made using gluten-free flours, unrefined sugars, and no dairy. I have a couple of food sensitivities myself, but I think the number of people in general who are stumbling across dietary restrictions is becoming more prevalant as time progresses (I could talk in length about how the Western diet has shaped our food sensitivities/allergies today, but I'll refrain...promise).

When you travel to New York, everyone's going to tell you to check out Magnolia Bakery--you know, that bakery made famous by Sex and the City? Well, to be honest, I've been to New York a few times now and I still haven't been to Magnolia. For me, it might never be a real option--because of the food sensitivities, etc.--a treat from Magnolia would probably lead to a day of upsets for me (and maybe you). When I say 'upsets', I mean inflammatory joint pain. Yeah, not fun. I'm totally falling apart.

So, for all those who can't eat wheat, who need/want to avoid refined sugars and try and healthier option, and who may have an intolerance to dairy, you can have your cupcake and eat it, too. This is not to say that I'll never give Magnolia Bakery a whirl. I'd still love to check the place out and take a bite of a cupcake--although, I hear their banana pudding is to die for. But why worry any longer? If you're in the area, stop in at BabyCakes and indulge (guilt-free) in one of Erin's delicious creations. In addition to cupcakes, she has doughnuts and cookie sandwiches, tea cakes and scones. Just be prepared to wait a few minutes--the place is famous for having a line out the door (but in the end, it'll be well worth the wait!).

Now, off to bake! First up? Erin's first BabyCake, the vanilla cupcake.

images and video via babycakes and vimeo

Wednesday, 9 November 2011


Calling all Anthropologie lovers, have you seen the new November catalogue? Lucky for you, it'll be around for a while.

But why wait? Check it out now!

images via anthropologie

Monday, 7 November 2011


In my books, when working out--whatever that may entail--not only is it important that you wear comfortable clothes, but it's important that what you're wearing makes you feel good.

There are lots of clothes that are comfortable, but do you really want to work out in a shirt that you wore when you were 20 lbs. heavier? Or your hubby's old sleepshirt that's near see-through because it's been through the wash so many times? C'mon. Wearing clothes that make you look and feel good doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune. While I'll admit that I do enjoy Lululemon Athletica for their luon bottoms, I'm not a big fan of their tops and prefer to find mine elsewhere. So, do as I do and mix and match where you get your goods from. Regardless, find what works for you (and I can assure you, it's not in those hole-y socks you've been wearing).

Here are some of my essentials (and favourites) for hitting the gym:

1. a good sports bra can go a long way. If you're going to splurge on anything for your workout attire, this should be it--I like Lululemon Athletica's Free to Be Bra, $42

2. some lightweight tank tops that allow your body to breathe or that are so lightweight, the material doesn't matter so much--like these from American Apparel, a pack of 3 Tri-Blend Racerback Tanks is only $48

3. comfortable (hip-hugging, butt-shaping) bottoms, such as the Wunder Under Crop from Lululemon, $78

4. a reliable headband (or two) can help to keep stray hairs in place while you're sweating up a storm--I like Goody's StayPut Headbands, which can be found at any drugstore for around $5

5. a good pair of running shoes is important for (most) any workout, but depending on what you're doing--running, plyometics training, dancing--what you're looking for in a shoe is going to vary. If you're not sure what kind of shoe to get, make sure to consult someone who does know--I like these: my Nike Frees are good for running, for boxing class, and conditioning/toning classes (I love how lightweight and flexible they are!).

6. finally, a good ol' waterbottle, preferably one that is BPA-free, but anything will really do! I've had this bottle for over four years now (cost about $20) and it's still loyal to me!

Other outlets for workout essentials that won't break the bank? Try Joe Fresh. Their line of active wear is small, but it's got everything you could ever need, from bottoms and tank tops to longsleeve shirts and warm-up jackets--and all for really great prices! I recently purchased some tees and sweatpant crops from there and I absolutely love them.

Depending on what your fitness goals are and therefore your needs in terms of workout gear/apparel, what works and what doesn't is going to vary. Figure out what you can afford and what of the things you need can be more costly than others (ahem, good sports bra). And most importantly, find what best suits you--what's comfortable and what makes you feel fantastic!

Now get up and get moving!

images via lululemon, pinterest, american apparel, and google

Friday, 4 November 2011


It was a quiet week at Tomfoolery & Bright, but for anyone interested here's what you (may have) missed:

Halloween (duh)--perhaps you should try this recipe, 'cause I have yet to
a warm welcome to November
and this fine recipe for Pumpkin Cookies with Dark Chocolate Chunks (om nom nom)

This is the first weekend in what seems like forever that I don't actually have any plans (other than school work, of course). Looks like it's going to be a nice quiet few days for me: reading, writing, and reading some more.

Until Monday, adios amigos.

images via english muse, a life of beauty and grace, and pinterest

Thursday, 3 November 2011


Mmm pumpkin. And what better way to use it than to make a batch of pumpkin cookies with dark chocolate chunks? These ones are a healthier option, using whole wheat flour and sucanat (albeit still processed, a less-processed sugar). Plus, we mustn't forget the health benefits of pumpkin and dark chocolate.

I took this recipe and slightly adapted it:

Pumpkin Cookies with Dark Chocolate Chunks

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 eggs
3/4 cup sucanat, see here
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate (80% cacao is good), chopped

1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.

2. Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a medium bowl and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until smooth. Next mix in oil, pumpkin, and vanilla until well combined. Mix in flour to incorporate. Mix in the chocolate.

4. Using an ice cream scoop (1/4 cup size), scoop mounds of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies at least 2 1/2 inches apart. Use a thin metal spatula to smooth and flatten the rounds.

5. Bake until tops feel firm and an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 16 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

image via une-deux senses

Tuesday, 1 November 2011


Happy November, everyone! 

To kick off the new month, I'm spending today:

cleaning my apartment (still cleaning from wild party R and I had on the weekend)
doing some much needed baking--with pumpkin!
enjoying my first hot cocoa of the season: 2 parts chocolate soy milk + 1 part unsweetened almond milk = divine
dipping into some readings for class, always always
and writing myself a sweet long list of to do's and want to's (my goals, etc)

Anything special that you're doing to welcome November?

images via brown dress with white dots, pinterest, in praise of leftovers, and cool material

Monday, 31 October 2011


Happy Halloween! R and I celebrated the holiday with a costume party on Saturday night. It was a great time had by all! The bar was flowing, the food was a hit (particularly my mummy cupcakes and this), and friends old and new were showing off their costumes to one another, which by the way, were all awesome.

Now for actual Halloween, it will (hopefully) be a quiet night in for R and I. I'm not sure how many trick or treaters we're going to get, so perhaps we'll take an evening stroll to check out all of the kiddies in their costumes (I realize this sounds sort of creepy). Otherwise, I'm thinking we'll do some fall baking, maybe pumpkin muffins or the pumpkin mousse pictured above?

What will you be doing to celebrate Halloween?

images via hungry rabbit nyc, pinterest, and a piece of toast

Friday, 28 October 2011


It's time to light up your carved pumpkins and turn on that spooky soundtrack you purchased in order to frighten trick-or-treaters as they step foot on your front porch (yes, this is sort of a long/awkward sentence, but it'll have to do because I'm too tired to correct it). It's Halloween. What are you doing to celebrate?

R and I are throwing a party this weekend. Halloween is R's favourite holiday, so we like to make a big celebration out of it.

We've re-stocked the bar.

Arranged for plenty of refreshments.

And decorated the apartment.
We're ready for our guests, but most importantly we're ready to celebrate the end of one chapter and the beginning of another--after all, in addition to Halloween, it's a new month starting next week!

On an entirely separate note, don't forget to check out earlier posts this week at Tomfoolery & Bright:

a photo diary of R and I's trip to NYC
some of my picks for where to eat in the Big Apple
and my very own (delicious, I might add) recipe for Four Cheese Macaroni

Enjoy! And have a happy (spooky) weekend, friends!

images via daily dream decor, google, and cup of jo