Summer 2020 Reading List

Hey guys! It’s a tad late to be posting my summer reading list, but better late than never, right? Lately I’ve been trying to read more books that fit in to my 2020 Reading Challenge. I read some Anne of Green Gables books (which were so cute and good and will always have a little place in the corner of my heart that I reserve for books), because the author L.M Montgomery has written more than 20 books, I read the Handmaid’s Tale because Margaret Atwood is Canadian, and right now I’m reading A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami, because it was translated into English from Japanese.

So I’m making progress, but I still have a long way to go. Some of the challenge prompts are kind of hard! Like, a book under 200 pages, and one above 500 pages?!??! I should’ve saved Animal Farm and The Lord of The Rings to read this year. I did do some more research for this list though, and found books that help me with my challenge. I actually managed to find a couple of YA fantasy books that fill up some spots, so that’s a real bonus!

I’m really grateful to this challenge for expanding my book horizons, though. Like, I probably never would’ve found out about A Wild Sheep Chase without it! Even if you’re not doing a reading challenge for 2020, I challenge you to pick up a book that you wouldn’t normally read sometime soon! It can be a really transforming experience. Here’s my Summer 2020 Reading List!

A Wild Sheep Chase

This is what I’m currently reading, although I’m only about 30 pages in. It’s about a man in Japan who receives a postcard with a mutant sheep on it, and then gets warned that he must find the sheep, or else faces some serious consequences. His journey takes him all around Tokyo and into the mountain ranges of Japan, and he kind of discovers himself along the way. When looking at books that are translated from another language, this one stood out to me because of its interesting plot line. I’m excited to see where this novel goes! If your looking for some other good books that have been translated, I highly suggest The Alchemist or The Winner Stands Alone by Pablo Coelho.

The Guinevere Deception

It was HARD finding a book with more than 20 letters in the title, but I did it and guess what- it’s a YA fantasy novel! This book is about Princess Guinevere, who travels to Camelot to marry King Arthur. But Guinevere is NOT actually Guinevere- her name and identity is a secret. The wizard Merlin sent her to protect Camelot and threats both within and outside of the court. This book looks like it’s full of magic and I’m so excited to read it!

Sorcery of Thorns

This is the other YA book I found, and it was written by an author in their twenties. A girl named Elisabeth, who has grown up in the Great Libraries of Austermeer, wants to one day become a guardian of the magical grimoires that reside there. But she becomes tangled up in a crime that lets one of the most dangerous grimoires free, and must go to the capital to face her punishment. Although she grew up believing that sorcerers were evil, she strikes up a friendship with one and begins to learn things about magic and herself that she never thought possible. This book has magic AND libraries, so sign me up!

The Great Gatsby

This is kind of a classic and I would’ve liked to read it at some point anyway, but now’s the perfect time because I have to read a book written in the 1920’s! It’s about Jay Gatsby and his new love for Daisy Buchanan. Although it takes place in fictional towns, it gives insight into the lives of wealthy Americans in the 1920’s. It’s considered one of the best books ever written (by some people), so hopefully it’ll be a good read!

Those are my book picks for the summer! Let me know if you’ve read any before and what you thought of them. Can’t wait to get reading;))

Yours Truly,

Olivia;)))

Tuna and Sweet Potato Cakes

Hey guys! I’m like REALLY excited about this recipe- it’s a good one. I had the idea to make these Tuna and Sweet Potato Cakes a while ago and got all psyched up about it, but then I realized we didn’t have tuna! But now we have some so it’s all good, and I was able to whip up these super tasty cakes.

This recipe takes a little while to make, but I promise you it’s worth it. You’ve got the sweetness from the sweet potato and red onion, some garlic powder, and fresh herbs, which all totally transform that canned tuna into an AMAZING fish cake. I used an egg as a binder which I don’t normally do, but it helped these beauties bake up and get some nice colour on the outside.

I served up these cakes in a nice salad bowl, but they’re honestly SO versatile. Throw them in a wrap or sandwich, or just eat them by themselves for a quick protein-filled snack. That’s another great thing about these tuna cakes; they have lots of protein from both the tuna and the egg, plus some good complex carbs from the sweet potato. Healthy and delicious all in one! Hope you enjoy;))

Tuna and Sweet Potato Cakes

Serves: Makes about 9 cakes

Total Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 a large sweet potato, peeled and diced into small cubes
  • 1 can of light chunk tuna, well drained
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/4 of a red onion, diced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp oats
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  1. In a medium sized pot, bring a little bit of water to a simmer and place a veggie steamer inside. Dump the chopped up sweet potatoes in there, cover, and steam for about 20-25 minutes, until they’re very soft and mashable.
  2. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Mash the cooked sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Add in the tuna, parsley, red onion, garlic powder, and oats, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the egg to the sweet potato and tuna mixture and mix until combined. Scoop out heaping tablespoons, form into about 9 patties, and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake the cakes for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and use a spatula to flip them over. Proceed to bake for another 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the cakes from the oven and use the spatula to flatten them even further. This will help to cook the insides. Place back into the oven to cook for 5 minutes, then remove, flip, and cook for a final five minutes. (total baking time: 30 minutes)
  7. Take the cakes out of the oven (finally) and let them cool before enjoying in bowls, salads, wraps, sandwiches, or just by themselves!

I love this recipe so much and I hope you love it too! These cakes have such a beautiful flavour, colour and texture. See you Wednesday!

Yours Truly,

Olivia:))

Vanilla Protein Oats

Before you ask, Karen, I know I’ve done breakfast bowl posts lately, but they’re just so good. If I keep making freaking awesome breakfasts, am I not supposed to share them?!!?? Didn’t think so. Yes, these protein oats fall into the awesome category, and yes, you get to see the recipe.

I’ve just been really into the protein powder recently, as you can tell by my recipe for Mini Berry Protein Muffins, which you should DEFINITELY check out. It makes stuff super creamy and adds a nice flavour. And adds protein😂 Usually I’ll add a scoop to my morning smoothie bowl, but today I didn’t have any frozen bananas at the ready, so I tried these Vanilla Protein Oats!

They’re super simple and taste AMAZING (like most of my recipes, tbh). These oats will definitely fill you up and fuel you through your day! (I need this because of this pesky little thing called summer school😂) Don’t forget to throw lots toppings on there- toppings MAKE the bowl. Am I right or am I right? I used cherries, bananas, and lots of crunchy peanut butter, which is my new obsession. Any other fruits or nuts or other good stuff also works though, because the base of these oats is vanilla.

In a nutshell: THESE OATS ARE DELISH AND THEY’RE FULL OF PROTEIN AND CARBS AND GOOD STUFF AND YOU SHOULD MAKE THEM EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK AND TOP THEM WITH MORE DIFFERENT AWESOME STUFF EACH DAY. Sign me up!! Enjoy your oats☺️😋😉😉

Vanilla Protein Oats

Serves: 1

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup quick cooking steel cut oats
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Some cherries for topping
  • Lots of peanut butter for topping;)

Directions:

  1. Mash half of the banana in a small pot, then stir in the oats, protein powder, cinnamon, and water.
  2. Bring the mixture to a simmer on the stove, then let cook for about 7-8 minutes, until the oats are cooked through. Add more water if needed, because the protein powder sure soaked up a lot!
  3. Remove the oats from the heat, scoop into a bowl, and top with the rest of the banana, some cherries, and some peanut butter. Yum!!

See you tomorrow with a new post!!:)

Yours Truly,

Olivia:))

Rhubarb Purée

What the heck do you do with rhubarb other than making a pie or crisp out of it?!!?! This is the question that has faced me as I stared down the rhubarb I had in my fridge for the past while. We got it as a gift and I was kind of like, well I appreciate the sentiment but WHAT DO I DO. I made a crisp and it was delish but I needed some more options! So I poked around Pinterest and decided to purée it.

I came up with my own recipe and let me tell you, this purée came to PLAY. It has some homey spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, plus some maple syrup to sweeten it up (rhubarb can be kind of bitter) and some lemon juice as a flavour-enhancer. You just simmer everything together until it gets nice and soft, which surprisingly doesn’t take long at all, and then blend it up and you’ve got a smooth, delicious purée.

Ok, now you’re like “my question of what do I do with rhubarb has been answered, but WHAT DO I DO WITH THIS PURÉE?”. Valid question, my friend. But don’t worry, there are a gazillion different things you can use this for! Add it into muffins, quick breads, icing, cakes, smoothies or oats, make popsicles out of it, put it on nice cream, or just eat it with a spoon. Think of it as applesauce on steroids. And it tastes so good!!!!!! I froze mine in a freezer bag after so I can take it out when needed.

Hope you enjoy this rhubarb purée, and that you never have to waste any rhubarb again! There will definitely be some recipes that use this coming soon so keep your eyes open!

Rhubarb Purée

Serves: Makes about 4 1/2 cups

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 cups water

Directions:

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a large pot and place over high heat on the stove. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer until the rhubarb is soft. This should only take about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Pour the contents of the pot into a good blender, and blend until smooth.
  3. Let the purée cool, then store in an airtight container in the fridge, or pour into freezer bags and freeze until needed:)

So good and so easy!! See you on Wednesday:))

Yours Truly,

Olivia:)))

Soul-Warming Chickpea Curry

It’s been so rainy and blah where I live for the past while, and it really makes me feel like cooking, you know? I feel like I haven’t COOKED something in a while, and today it felt right. Also on days like this, I just want a nice bowl of something warm and comforting. Curry is this perfect comfort food, because it’s so flavourful and it warms your soul as well as your body. You can throw as many crazy vegetables as you want in a curry, but I wanted to keep it simple and let the flavour shine through. So I only used chickpeas.

Chickpeas and I go way back. They have protein and lots of fibre, and in this curry they add a bit of texture so everything isn’t just mush. The only other elements in here are onions, garlic, spices, tomatoes, and some basil leaves. I caramelized the onions for maximum flavour, and the spice blend is great! Everything stews together in the tomatoes and melds and becomes something amazing, that feels like a big hug. I served this with wild rice, but any grain works.

Today this curry really took me back to my love of coming up with recipes and slicing things up and stirring things on the stove and smelling and tasting and eating. It’s so fun and just takes me to a place of calm where I’m not worrying about anything but what I’m cooking. I really hope that you guys get to try out this recipe and feed your soul by making it and eating it! That’s my goal here, anyways;)) Enjoy!

Soul-Warming Chickpea Curry

Serves: 3-4

Total Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sized white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (plus more as needed)
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 small basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooked grains for serving (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a medium sized pot, heat up the olive oil over low-medium heat and add in the onions. Cook them until they’re nice and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Stir often and add more oil if needed to prevent them from burning.
  2. Add the garlic and spices to the pot, and cook for another minute or two, again watching to make sure nothing burns.
  3. Dump the tomatoes, chickpeas, tomato paste, and leaves of basil into the pot and give everything a good stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a low simmer, cover and cook for 40 minutes.
  4. Remove the curry from the heat, season with salt and pepper to taste and remove the leaves of basil. Serve with a grain of choice and enjoy!

Hope you like this soul food! Have a great Canada Day;))

Yours Truly,

Olivia;))