Fresh Rolls

Thai food tends to be cooked with spices and nuts, neither of which I can have. Spices upset my stomach and leave my tongue on fire while nuts are an allergy I grew into in fourth grade.

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Of course the foodie in me doesn’t let Thai-peanut sauce stand in the way of me enjoying this type of cuisine. My dad makes a great homemade Pad Thai sauce and I love preparing Fresh Rolls. I find the crunchiness of the uncooked vegetable rolls much more refreshing than fried Spring Rolls don’t you? Which brings me to today’s post. Don’t hold your breath on a formal recipe because I truly believe Fresh Rolls can be taken in so many directions. While I usually use shrimp as my protein source, my dad prefers chicken and I’ve seen people roll salmon in as well! If I could, I’d probably throw in crushed peanuts or an almond-butter sauce for additional flavour. Since the rice paper never really expires making these rolls is usually a “last minute” decision so I tend to use whichever vegetables I already have on hand. A must-include is definitely Avocado! Regardless of the ingredients you decide to roll up, there is a basic formula for the preparation. I’ve also included an easy sweet and spicy thai-dipping sauce recipe. Sorry the pictures aren’t prettier – These rolls aren’t exactly fast to make (in the volume I needed) and dinner time was fast approaching so I I couldn’t set up a huge photoshoot. I hope you enjoy. Happy Friday! What’s your favourite combination of Fresh Roll? It’s not traditional but lately I’ve been enjoying shrimp, mango, carrots, red pepper and onion! ♥ Molly

“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.” – Julia Child

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Fresh RollsIMG_6213

Suggested Ingredients

  • Rice Paper (Circular Wrappers)
  • Fresh Vegetables: Carrots, Red Pepper, Cucumber, Onion, Lettuce
  • Fresh Fruit: Avocado, Mango

Sweet-Thai Dipping Sauce Ingredients

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp chili sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ tsp fresh ginger, diced
  • 2 tsp honey (Optional)
  1. Prepare all of your fillings to your liking. You can choose to slice, dice, sliver, shred, mash or grate the ingredients for inside of your rolls. I chose to use matchstick carrots and I also sliced avocado, mango, red pepper, cucumber and spinach. For protein I used whole mini shrimp and chicken breast slivers. Mint, basil, cilantro, and pre-made (chilled) rice vermicelli are also great fillers.IMG_6190
  2. Fill a large bowl or flan dish with boiling water. Carefully dip one rice paper into the warm water for about 30 seconds or until softened. Lay rice paper flat onto a clean cloth.IMG_6195
  3. In a row across the centre of the rice paper, leaving an inch at the top and bottom, place a combination of “filler” ingredients. Fold in the top and bottom. Fold one uncovered side (left or right) inward and then tightly roll the rice paper. Repeat with the remaining ingredients and rice wrappers.IMG_6201 IMG_6202 IMG_6203 IMG_6204
  4. Prepare dipping sauce by whisking together soy sauce, rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar,  chili sauce, freshly minced garlic clove and diced  ginger. For sweetness, add in up to 2 tsp of honey.
  5. Serve Fresh Rolls with dipping sauce and chopsticks.IMG_6216

“Jam” Packed Wednesday

On Wednesday, I had a “jam” packed day (Pun intended). After we finished picking strawberries, I was dropped off at the pool. Normally I have a swimming buddy, but my lack of company actually made me a bit more productive since I had nobody to chat with during breaks. I ended up swimming 4km, which is the furthest I have swum since starting to track my lengths. It was also in record time, 1 hour and 10 minutes. I probably could have done it faster, but I did take a couple of water breaks. Also, I targeted my arms and legs, doing flutter board kicks (Which I am terribly slow at) and swimming just with my arms. I chose to work on endurance rather than speed, which is why I did not swim continuously in a freestyle motion.

Freezer Jam

When I got home, my sister, mom and I made jam. Not only did we have a ton of strawberries to use up (fresh local strawberries don’t keep very well), but we wanted to give some jam to friends as housewarming gifts. We all agreed that they’d be cute wedding favours as well. Emma printed off some cute labels that really helped to make the jars presentable. The recipe called for 8 cups mashed, 3 cups sugar and 2 pectin crystal envelopes. We got a little bit carried away, and ended up slicing a few too many strawberries. Thankfully I had been craving something sweet, so I decided to use the extra in a strawberry sauce. Has anyone read “If you Give a Moose a Muffin” or “If you give a Pig a Pancake”? My situation fell true to these childhood classics.  When you make strawberry sauce, you need to make something to go with it! Scones immediately came to mind, and since I had used lemon juice in the sauce, I opted to make a buttermilk lemon zest recipe, courtesy of Canadian Living (The only substitution I made was using 2 tbsp. of lemon zest instead of 1 tbsp.). With my luck I was missing a few essential ingredients, so I had to run out to grocery store. Finally, I returned home, with an hour and a half left before I had to meet up with some friends! Talk about “jam” packed! Check out my two Instagram video (First ones yet) that features me forming the dough and stirring the syrup! The scones were delicious and quite pretty. It is neat to cut them open as they feature speckles of yellow zest inside!

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I quickly cleaned up my mess and headed off to Whole Foods where I was meeting two of my favourite people, Chelsea and Joyce! The three of us have been meaning to get together for quite some time, but our schedules are always conflicting. Eventhough we are only a half an hour drive apart, none of us meet up as often as we’d like. Of course, you can’t go to Whole Foods without being tempted by the hot and cold food bars, so we pre-arranged to have dinner there. While it isn’t cheap, there is no denying that it is tasty. I plan on posting about my Whole Foods trips tomorrow, but for today I’d just like to share my simple sweet strawberry sauce recipe! I hope you are able to enjoy it as a topping on pancakes, swirled into oatmeal, drizzled on ice cream or even sandwiched between these lemon scones! It is simply delicious (and slightly addicting). I could probably even eat it by the spoonful as a source of vitamin C (provided I omit the sugar). Did you know that 8-10 of these strawberries pack in 160% of your daily vitamin C needs? Yum! ♥ Molly

“Indulge, Life is Sweet” – Unknown

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Sweet Strawberry Sauce

Makes 3.5 cups IMG_5588

  • 4 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup sugar (Optional)
  1. In a small pot over medium heat, combine all ingredients.
  2. Bring to a boil whisking gently.
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until mixture thickens, about 8 minutes.
  4. Serve plain or as a topping.

Strawberry Fields

There is nothing sweeter than picking strawberries on a warm summer morning. On the way home, the delightful aroma filled the car, bringing with it fond memories of childhood trips to the strawberry fields. My sister and mom decided that it was time for a summer adventure and the idea of picking fruit sounded tasty, affordable and fun! We woke up extra early to beat the heat, and have a fresh selection. Of course, you can’t just pick a few strawberries when you go, because it is far too much fun. We ended up leaving with two full baskets, plenty to be eaten fresh, baked into a pie, blended into smoothies, sliced on top of yogurt or turned into sauces and jams. ♥ Molly

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama

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