Tofu Halloumi with oil free Chimichurri Sauce

Hi Savvys,

I have been on a craze with meal prep since my fitness challenge back in January of 2021.  But especially since going back to work full time, it is so important for me to have meals prepped for the week so that I can concentrate on work and spend all of my extra time with my son!

This has made me want to utilize sheet pan means!  Not only are sheet pan meals so easy to prepare, but you can make so many different dishes with minimal effort!  I especially love this tofu halloumi with chimichurri sauce because it can be eaten on rice, in a salad or even a wrap!

Check out the full recipe below!

Now set forth and be savvy!

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp white miso paste
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 block of extra firm tofu

Directions for the Tofu Halloumi

  1. Press the block of extra firm tofu by placing it I the bottom of a salad spinner or strainer, placing a plate on top of the tofu and then a heavy pot on top of the plate to press.  Continue to the next step.
  2. To the bottom of a shallow glass container, mix all of the marinade ingredients until smooth
  3. After about 20 minutes, cut the tofu block into 16 even pieces
  4. Place the tofu pieces into the marinade and gently coat each piece of tofu. 
  5. Cover and let marinade for 4 hours – it’s even better over night

Ingredients

  • 1 cup packed mint
  • 1 cup packed cilantro
  • 1 cup packed parsley
  • ½ cup packed basil
  • 3 stalks of green onion, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup red win vinegar
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp chili flakes

Directions for oil free Chimichurri Sauce

  1. Add all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth
  2. Store in a class jar
  3. This sauce can be kept in the fridge for up to a week – I also like to divide in 2 and freeze a portion for later use

Directions for tray bake

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper
  3. After the tofu is done marinading, place them evenly onto the tray
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping half way
  5. Optional: at the same time, you can also roast some veggies to go along side for a full meal!

Vegan Pumpkin Lasagna

Hi Savvys,

I have been making this lasagna for years and have finally been able to put the recipe down on paper for you!  This pumpkin lasagna recipe uses the pumpkin puree I have frozen from my Halloween Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin, but you can use store bought pumpkin puree in this recipe as well.

This lasagna recipe has such a subtle pumpkin flavour while still having the heartiness of a traditional tomato-based lasagna.  The pumpkin cream sauce makes this dish really decadent and goes perfect along side garlic bread or a salad.  My little one really loves eating this as well since there are so many textures from the vegan tofu ricotta to the TVP meat filling.

Hope you guys try out this recipe.  It is one of my favourites to make and you can surely make it ahead for an easy weeknight meal!

Now set forth and be savvy!

Ingredients

  • 1 block of firm tofu, drained (420 G)
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  •  ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (300 g)
  • ¼ cup non-dairy milk

Ingredients

  • 1 package beyond meat or lightlife ground
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp fennel seed
  • 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 cups TVP, rehydrated
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 can 28-ounce diced tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups non-dairy milk
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp nutmeg

You will also need:

  • 9 lasagna noodles
  • 1 cup shredded vegan mozzarella style cheese

Directions

  1. Cook 9 lasagna noodles according to package directions.  If you are using no-boil noodles, then you can start making the lasagna filling
  2. Vegan Ricotta Filling
    • Blend all of the ingredients in a food processor until smooth
    • Set aside and prepare the meat sauce
  3. Meat sauce:
    • Heat a sauce pan over medium heat
    • Add the veggie ground and let it brown, about 3 minutes as you break up the pieces with a potato masher or a wooden spoon
    • Add in the onion and garlic and sautee together until fragrant, about 2 minutes
    • Add in the spices and toss until fragrant, about 1 minute
    • Add the soy sauce and the rehydrated TYP and mix until it is well incorporated into the veggie ground mixture
    • Add the salt, pepper and canned diced tomato and let simmer over medium-low as you prepare the pumpkin sauce mixture
  4. Pumpkin Sauce:
    • Make your roux by melting the butter over medium heat
    • Once the butter is melted, add in the flour and mix until the flour is combined
    • Add in the rest of the ingredients, whisking until there are no clumps over medium high
    • Once the sauce comes to a boil, turn the heat down to medium low and continue whisking until you get a smooth sauce
  5. To layer the lasagna:
    • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
    • Add a thin layer of the meat sauce to the bottom of a 13 x 9 in baking dish
    • Add a layer of noodles
    • Add half of the ricotta tofu mixture on top of the noodles
    • Add 1/3 of the meat sauce on top of the tofu mixture
    • Pour ½ of the pumpkin sauce on top of the meat mixture
    • Add another layer of noodles
    • Add the rest of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles
    • Add 1/3 of meat sauce on top of the ricotta mixture
    • Pour the rest of the pumpkin sauce
    • Add a final layer of noodles
    • Add the rest of the meat sauce
  6. To bake the lasagna:
    • You can make this ahead of time and bake it when you are ready to eat – just be sure to put the cold lasagna tray into the oven as you are preheating it to prevent the tray from cracking
    • Place the baking dish on top of a cookie sheet to prevent spillage in your oven
    • Place another cookie sheet on top of the lasagna dish to create a lid
    • Bake at 375 for 45 minutes
    • Remove the cookie sheet lid and sprinkle the vegan cheese on top, bake for 15 minutes
    • Remove the lasagna from the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes before serving

Easy 5 Ingredient Salsa

Hi Savvys,

I love having a well stocked pantry so that I can whip up any recipe that my family is craving that week without having to go to the grocery store.  One of my pantry staple recipes is this easy 5 ingredient salsa.  The base of this salsa is canned diced tomatoes, and it uses ingredients that are already in my fridge and pantry.  The only ingredient that we may or may not have is cilantro, but a quick hack is to save some in the freezer for last minute recipes like this one.

All of the ingredients are thrown into the food processor and is ready in less than 5 minutes.  I love using this salsa to eat with tortilla chips, as a topping to tacos or even as a sauce for casseroles. Can be jarred and frozen for up to 3 months!

Leave a comment below on what you like to use this salsa with!

Now set forth and be savvy!

Ingredients

  • 1 28 oz can of whole or diced tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 jalapeno (seeded if you prefer less heat)
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 handful of cilantro
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp salt

Directions

  1. In a food processor, add all of the above ingredients
  2. Pulse for 30 seconds, ensuring that the salsa is chunky
  3. You can freeze half of the salsa for a later use for up to 6 months in the freezer
  4. Serve with chips and enjoy!

Bali, Indonesia in 3 Days

TheSavvyPantry_Bali3Days_Title

Hi Savvys,

If you read my previous post where I shared my 1-day itinerary in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, then you already know that this is the final country we visited on our 16-day Asia trip that spanned 4 countries and 6 cities!  As mentioned, we had started and ended our trip in Singapore because it was the cheapest way to travel to Asia from Canada (Toronto specifically).  We had decided to spend 3 days in Bali just to get a taste of the city while we were on this side of the world.  To get to Bali, we flew from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia via Air Asia.

Here is some general information of our time in Bali, Indonesia:

Transportation from the Airport to our Hotel: We had arrived to Bali International Airport Airport (DPS) at around 1AM.  Since we had arrived really late at night, I decided to book a round trip taxi service which cost about $33 CAD.  Luckily, we had our international SIM (more details below) since we needed access to WhatsApp to reach our taxi driver.  You could also take a grab or a taxi, but after reading about the taxi service in Bali (more specifically the taxi mafia), I was a bit weary and was more comfortable with the taxi service.

Transportation in and around Bali: Bali itself is quite large and there are many areas where you can stay.  We stayed in the Kuta area.  We chose this location because we were able to walk to the beach, restaurants and the mall.  However, when we took our day trip to Ubud, we did book a private taxi which was convenient because we got to see many things in and around Ubud.

WIFI Access:  I will leave the same comments as my previous post as it is still relevant here.  Connection was only available in our hotel room and some public establishments.  To get around this, what I have done in the past, and also implemented on this trip, was to load our itinerary on Google maps and download the map for offline navigation.  This method works most of the time, however sometimes the GPS gets confused and doesn’t know where you and ends up restarting.  You end up having to use the map the old way (aka without a GPS and finding your own directions like a traditional map).  However, I do recommend just purchasing an international SIM card that you can use and be connected to at all times (if you need to).  Personally, for me, I preferred to be connected the entire time since the offline google maps kept restarting and was unable to locate us.  It is also useful if you plan on using Grab while in the city.  This was the first time travelling internationally where we had purchased an international SIM to be able to be connect to internet and I must say that now I am a converted.  The international SIMs are very affordable and offer a lot of data (we would also turn it off if we were going to be in a given location for an extended amount of time to preserve data and batter power) and we were able to use the same SIM for the remainder of our entire trip in all of the other countries.  We did end up using 3 different types of connection, but I recommend the last option so that you can be connected the entire time:

  1. International SIM (purchased at the airport) – Once we left Singapore and arrived to Phuket Airport, there were lots of boots that were selling international SIMs. We ended up purchasing one of these at a booth called Smile and they connected it for me – it was super easy to use however kind of confusing because I couldn’t understand how much data I had left so we used it sparingly during our visit in Phuket and Chiang Mai.  Because we paid in cash, I unfortunately do not recall how much we spent, but it was definitely less than $10 CAD.
  2. Rented WIFI Device – I had actually rented a device when we were in Singapore for our visit in Bangkok since we were going to be here for 3 days without any excursions. We rented a pocket WIFI which we picked up at the BBK airport via Klook.  In total it cost $26 for the 3 days (which at the time we thought was a bargain) – they do have to hold a deposit which is refundable once you return the device, so make sure you have enough cash to avoid the change in exchange rates on your credit card.  It was also not clear how much data we had but I think it was unlimited.  I didn’t mind the hand held device since we had used one when we visited Tokyo, however I definitely would recommend an international SIM when possible.
  3. International SIM (purchased online and picked up at airport) – After doing more research while in Bangkok and realizing that the convenience of being connected to data became a growing need, which was already 6 days into our trip, I did more research on Klook. I found SIMs available for 15 countries in South East Asia, which meant that for the remainder of our trip (still 7 days), we could be connected in all of the countries (Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore) and not have to worry about finding WIFI.  We found a great deal with the SIM only costing $8.90 for 4GB of data from Klook.  This option ended up being the best because not only is it a one-time purchase (no need to return anything like we had for the rented WIFI device), but you can actually download an app that came in English that tracked how much data you had.  If you did go over the allotted data, you had to option of adding more data if necessary.  I really liked the convenience and visibility of this option the best and felt in full control.

Hotel in Bali:

We stayed at the White Rose Kuta Resort.  We had different expectations since the previous 10 days were spent at hotels in the city, so it was a very nice change of pace staying at a resort.  We had never stayed at a resort in South East Asia before and didn’t realize that it is very similar to staying at resorts in the Caribbean.  Even though we arrived very late, at around 1:30 AM, there was someone at the front desk to greet us.  I really liked the villa feel of the resort, and it was quite large that you didn’t really run into other patrons on the premises.  They also had a lovely breakfast buffet that was included in our room rate.  I enjoyed the congee, noodles and fresh fruit every morning of our stay.  We had also visited the spa on our last day which was actually quite affordable and very relaxing.  The location of the resort is great as well – they had security that checked all of the cars and vans coming in and you could only enter if you were actually a guest of the resort.  It was also in walking distance to the beach and restaurants.  We really enjoyed our stay here and would highly recommend in the future.

Budget: We had budgeted $88 CAD cash per day, which was meant to be used for food, transportation and shopping.  We knew credit card wouldn’t be readily available in most establishments so we carried more cash than Thailand.  Again, I also used Budget your Trip to gauge how much expenses to expect per day.  See below for the breakdown of our actual expenses (keep in mind this is for 2 people):

  • Airfare from Kuala Lumpur to Bali for 2 people: $300
  • Hotel: $197 (for 3 nights)
  • Cash (mostly for meals): $265 CAD
  • Meals (on credit card): $85
  • Shopping and other expenses (on credit card, which includes our excursion, souvenirs and laundry): $258
  • Transportation (credit card): $33 (Shuttle taxi)
  • Total cost of trip for 3 days: $1138

Excluding airfare, we actually spent $280 per day, or $139 a person.  If we exclude the cost of the excursion, laundry and souvenir (we bought a painting), we actually only spent $97 per day per person, which is closer to the $88 per day approximation found on Budget your Trip, however we did splurge on some of our meals which we charged to our credit card, so I still highly recommend this website as a great resource in budget planning.

See below for the full details. Don’t forget to also check out some highlights from our trip (video above).

For the itineraries from the other areas we visited, see below:

Singapore in 5 Days

Phuket, Thailand in 2 Days

Chiang Mai, Thailand in 2 Days

Bangkok, Thailand in 3 Days

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1 Day

TheSavvyPantry_Bali3Days_Title_Day1-SeaTurtleKutaBeach

Since we arrived after midnight, our first day was a true full day and we intended to take full advantage of it.  Since our hotel included breakfast, we decided to walk over to Kuta beach right after breakfast to take advantage of the morning.  From our hotel, it was less than a 10-minute walk.  The beach itself is huge and even though it was really sunny, we had a nice breeze.  We spent about 2 hours here relaxing and soaking up all of the sun.

Around 11:30 AM we were getting hungry for lunch so we decided to walk around to look for a place to eat.  We stumbled upon Paper Boy.  We loved that they had vegan options and a patio where we could sit outside and enjoy the sun.  It is beautifully decorated and the owner came and spoke to us for a bit as well.  We each ordered a smoothie and shared an avocado toast and tofu poke bowl.  I highly recommend visiting here.

After lunch, we walked around a bit for some sight seeing and also went back to Kuta beach.  We have planned to visit the Bali Sea Turtle Society where they release baby sea turtles back into the ocean daily, however this was later in the afternoon.  You will need to follow their facebook group to get the exact times and days they release the baby turtles as it can vary based on how many turtles hatched.  The day we were going to visit, it was scheduled to start at 4:30 PM however it was recommended that we arrive 1 hour before since it is first come first serve.  When we arrived, there was already a huge crowd of people.  It is a lottery system that they had set up, and everything is by donation so you have to line up and wait until they hand out tickets to be able to participate in releasing the baby turtles.  I also really liked that while we were waiting, they also demonstrated how they wait for the turtles to hatch and provided background on why they are an endangered species.

TheSavvyPantry-Bali3DaysItinerary (17)

After releasing the sea turtles, we went back to the hotel to wash up before heading over to Gabah Restaurant for dinner.  Gabah was on the higher end and we ended up paying for our dinner with credit card, but it was well worth it.  We had their Sayur Mebrata, which is a vegetarian dish, as well as their Ayam Betutu.

TheSavvyPantry_Bali3Days_Title_Day2-Ubud

When we had planned to come to Bali, I knew I wanted to spend a day visiting Ubud.  When researching, it was recommended that we spend the night here however since our time was limited, we opted for a day tour.  We booked our tour through Get your Guide and it included a visit to the Waterfall, Rice Terraces and Monkey Forest, to name a few.

We hadn’t realized this but the tour ended up being a guided private tour.  Our driver picked us up at our hotel at 9 AM and we began our trip to Ubud.  We really like the idea of having a driver since they’re able to give us history and background information of the sites we were going to visit.

Our first stop was to visit the Tegenungan Waterfall.  It is quite touristy here with lots of shops and photo ops.  We had the option of bringing our bathing suits and swimming in the falls (which we did not do on this trip), however it was quite packed with other tourists.  The falls itself are wonderful and it was a nice visit here.  They also had monkeys on the premises playing in the water as well.

After a 30 minute visit to the waterfalls, we headed over to Teba Sari Bali Agrotourism where we learned about local herbs, spices, teas and coffee.  It seemed that a lot of guides add this as a stop to their tour, which was quite informative and a nice break especially if you were swimming in the waterfalls.  When we arrived, we were met by another private guide where he talked about the various trees and plants that were grown.  After that he brought us to a shaded picnic bench where we got to have a tea and coffee tasting.  We enjoyed this very much because we were able to bring back some tasty teas for our families to enjoy back in Canada.

After about a 45-minute visit, we headed to our private van.  Since it was still pretty early for lunch, our tour guide asked us if we were interested in artwork.  My husband has made it a goal to pick up a piece of art on every trip that we take, so we decided to opt for a visit at Semar Kuning Artist Cooperative.  This place is huge with many different halls with different styles of paintings, ranging from modern to traditional.  We picked up a traditional painting of an Indonesian dragon that cost about $100 (there is also room to bargain at these places).  We were both quite pleased about this purchase and excited to hang it up in our home.

We headed straight over to the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary before heading over to lunch.  We learned that one of the reasons that the forest was built was to keep the monkeys safe after the area was industrialized.  It was to prevent the monkeys from being harmed when roaming around Ubud looking for food – this way food is brought to them daily and they are left to roam free as they would in the wild.  When visiting, our guide did warn us not to look the monkeys directly in the eyes as to not show aggression – it was also interesting to see how familiar all of the guides were with the monkeys, such as knowing that they love papaya leaves and will go through your bags looking for food.

For lunch, our guide dropped us off at Bebek Teba Sari Restaurant for about an hour.  This restaurant was full of other tourists and was quite busy when we arrived.  We did have to wait about 20 minutes before our food arrived, however we didn’t mind since our day was very busy so it allowed us time to relax and unwind.  We were seated at the top level of the restaurant, which is set up almost like a tree house.  We got to see the great views of the farm while we enjoyed our lunch.

After lunch, we headed over to the Tegalalang Rice Terrace.  It was actually very serene to see all of the greenery and flowers grown on the premises.  There was also lots of tourist activities, such as biking or swinging over the rice terrace.  Even though there were lots of other tourists, this place is huge with lots of paths that you can walk along.  It was a great ending to the packed day that we had.  After this, we headed back to our hotel where our day trip to Ubud ended.

After our day trip to Ubud, we decided to walk over to Warung Nusantara for dinner.  Since we had an extravagant meal the night before, we were looking for a local restaurant with simple food that showcased what Bali had to offer.  Most of the food here was fried, and it went really well with their hot sauce.  The food was delicious, cheap and fast.  It was a great way to end the day.

TheSavvyPantry_Bali3Days_Title_Day3-BeachwalkMall

This was our last day in Bali.  We had a return flight at 7:30 PM to Singapore, so we really only had a half day.  We decided to head over the Kuta beach again after breakfast to soak up the last bit of Bali before leaving.  After the beach, we headed over to the Beach Walk Shopping Mall for some well-deserved AC and exploring.  This mall is huge and had lots of floors, with the top floor dedicated to food.

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We spent about an hour here before heading over to Fat Chow for a late lunch.  We had actually come here twice the day before to try to get a table for lunch and dinner but they were always packed.  Because we came here at an odd time (around 2 PM), we didn’t have to wait at all.  The food was so delicious and if we had more time here, I definitely would have visited again.  I loved their fried shallot condiments so much that I brought back 3 jars for myself and my sister to enjoy.

IMG_20191010_131414

After lunch, we headed back to our hotel where we had each booked a massage.  The only thing I regret is not getting more massages while visiting South East Asia since we had done a lot of walking and would have benefited from more relaxation.  After our massages, we headed over to the airport for our final trip to Singapore.

Zurich Grocery Haul and Mukbang in Canada

Hi Savvys,

AT the beginning of last year, I had tagged along on a busines trip with my husband to Zurich, Switzerland!  I was really excited to have this opportunity since we probably would have never visited the city on our own. 

We spent 5 days in the city, and since my husband was there for a conference, I had a day of exploration on my own.  For our itinerary, check out my blog post for our 2-day itinerary in Switzerland.  I was happy to have this day of independence where I got to explore and eat vegan foods.  You can check out my blog post here for my What I eat in a day vegan in Zurich.

This grocery haul features all products from a chain called Co-op grocery store.  I spent an hour exploring here by myself, but could have easily spent half a day here.  They had so many store-branded and national branded vegan products at affordable prices.  I honestly wanted to buy them all and bring them home with me to Canada but knew that wouldn’t be possible.  I was really drawn to the cheeses since it’s hard to find good vegan cheese in Canada, so I prioritized this.  In the end, I was only able to bring back 3 products with me to Canada.  See below for the details!

The first product is the Soft White Cheese from New Roots.  When I first saw this in the store, it immediately reminded me of brie cheese.  I love brie cheese and was curious to see how this one would stand up to the creaminess and tanginess of the original.  I made mushroom bruschetta to go with this and it was absolutely delicious and far exceeded my expectations.  I loved it so much that I only allowed myself to eat it sparingly since I wanted to savour every last piece.  I wish I brought home more of this product.  If you are ever in Switzerland, definitely check it out!

The second product I brought home was this Prosciano Wedge from Violife.  I know you can get Violife products in Canada but haven’t seen this wedge anywhere. When I saw it in the store, I immediately knew I wanted to bring it home and make a simple lemon pasta dish with it.  It grates and melts pretty well but the flavour was pretty mild.  I think I would have used more of it if it was going to be the star of the pasta dish, however, as with the first cheese, I wanted to savour it as much and as long as possible so used it only sparingly.

The last cheese that I bought was the Chicca Classic Cheese from Verys.  When I saw it, it immediately reminded me of fresh mozzarella.  I knew I had to bring this back to ty for myself at home.  I made a simple naan pizza and topped it with this cheese.  It didn’t completely melt but it did have a wonderful texture.  When eaten in a caprese style salad, it also went pretty well and the texture was soft and very similar to mozzarella. 

I hope you guys enjoyed the mukbang – I was so inspired by those cheese and wish I had more to enjoy! 

Now set forth and be savvy!

Vegan Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Hi Savvys,

I am still making my way through using that frozen pumpkin from roasting my pumpkin from last Halloween.  If you haven’t seen that blog post, be sure to check it out for the full tutorial.

This vegan pumpkin mac and cheese is creamy and earthy.  You can serve it right out of the pot, or go the extra step and bake it with a nice crunchy top.  I also served this to my 7 month old and he loved it!

Check out both variations down below!

Now set forth and be savvy!

Makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  •  3 cups of elbow macaronic pasta (or pasta of your choice), dry
  • 1 package silken tofu (300 g)
  • 2 cups of pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp arrow root
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried mustard (or use 1 tsp Dijon mustard)
  • ½ tsp dried sage
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups vegan cheese

Topping (optional)

  • ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp vegan parm (you can also just use 2 tsp nutritional yeast)
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried onion flakes
  • ¼ tsp salt

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook the pasta according to package instructions
  2. In the mean time, blend the rest of the sauce ingredients in a blender until smooth
  3. In a medium sized pan, heat the sauce mixture over medium heat until it just comes to a bubble, and heat through for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. 
  4. Add the cheese and stir until it is fully melted.
  5. Take the sauce mixture off the heat, add the drained pasta.  Mix to combine.
  6. Serve with fresh parsley on top.
  7. For the baked variation, pour the mac and cheese into a baking dish.
  8. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  9. Mix the topping ingredients and spring on top.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes. 
  11. Serve immediately!

Postpartum Fitness Challenge Journey and High Protein Low Carb Vegan Meals – Week 1

Hi Savvys,

Fitness has always been an important part of my daily routine, even throughout my entire pregnancy.  I worked out from 12 weeks of pregnancy all the way till I was 41 weeks pregnant!  I’m glad that I did because I believe it helped me with the delivery and recovery of the pregnancy.

Although I had to modify my workouts while I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to really challenge myself and gain my strength back after 3 months postpartum.  I began by working out every day and slowly building up my strength. When I was about 6 months postpartum, I decided to join Muse Fitness on an 8-week Beta Butt and Abs Challenge.

Follow me on my 8-week fitness journey as I regain my strength, endurance and most importantly my identity.

This week’s blog post and video showcases the 1st week of the challenge.  See below for the meal plan I had during the week, which features high protein, low carb vegan meals, all while I am still exclusively breast feeding!

I have also included the macros break down for each day below!

Don’t forget to subscribe to watch my full transformation!

Check out Muse Fitness to join a challenge.

Now set forth and be savvy!

Daily Snack: Protein Smoothie

Makes 1 portion

Ingredients

  • 50g hemp protein (I get mine from Bulk Barn)
  • ½ banana
  • ½ cup soy milk
  • Handful of spinach
  • 1/8 English cucumber, diced
  • ½ cup water

Directions

  • Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth
  • Serve immediately or can make it the night before.
  • Enjoy!

Makes 4 portions

Ingredients

  • 1 cup red split lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 apples, your choice, peeled, cored, diced and divided into 2 portions
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cups soy milk
  • Blueberries (optional)

Directions

  1. Soak the lentils for 2 hours – red lentils do not need to be soaked longer than this, especially the red split lentils
  2. When you’re ready to cook the lentils, drain and rinse the lentils until the water runs clear (about 3 times)
  3. I like to use my rice cooker to cook this porridge and setting it to cook for 20 minutes.  You can also do it over the stove top.
  4. Stove top method:
  5. Place lentils into your pot and add the rest of the ingredients except for the blueberries and diced apples pieces from 1 apple
  6. Bring the pot up to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally to prevent the lentils from sticking.
  7. Turn the heat down to medium as soon as the pot comes to a boil and simmer the contents for about 20 minutes, until the lentils become tender.
  8. Divide into 4 portions and top with the remaining apples and blueberries (optional)
  9. I like to prep this in advanced and freeze it in portions so it’s easy to have in the morning.

Makes 1 portion

Ingredients

  • 1 portion of Black Bean Noodles
  • 1 tbsp white miso paste
  • 1 ½ cups of water or homemade veggie broth (no sodium or oils)
  • ½ block of extra firm tofu (175 g)
  • ¼ cup shredded carrots (50 g)
  • 3 head of baby bok choy, sliced in half
  • ½ pack of enoki mushroom (your choice)
  • Handful of pea shoots, spinach or kale
  • handful of green onion for garnish

Directions

  1. Book the black noodle pasta according to package directions, drain and set into a large soup bowl
  2. Dissolve the white miso paste into ½ cup of the water/veggie broth in a medium sized pot
  3. Once the miso is dissolved, add the rest of the veggie brother and the remaining ingredients (except for the green onion)
  4. Bring to a simmer and cook until the veggies are cooked through
  5. Pour over the noodles and garnish with green onion

Ingredients for bowl – Makes 4 portions

  • 2 cups dried TVP, rehydrated in water
  • 1 package of beyond meat ground beef
  • 2 tbsp taco seasoning (I use homemade taco seasoning to control the salt)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt

Ingredients for sauteed mushroom and peppers – Makes 4 portions

  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 package of mushrooms sliced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper

Ingredients for cauliflower cilantro lime rice – Makes 4 portions

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper

Ingredients for vegan sour cream – Makes 4 portions

  • 1 package of silken tofu (300 g)
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp ACV
  • ½ tsp salt

Directions for Taco Meat

  1. To cook the taco meat, start by rehydrating the TVP in water, set aside
  2. In a large frying pan, cook the beyond meat grounds over medium-high heat.  I like to use a potato masher to break up the grounds.
  3. Stir the meat so that it browns evenly, for about 5 minutes. 
  4. Drain the TVP and add it to the meat mixture.  Stir to combine.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients for the taco meat and cook until the water is dissolved, about 5 minutes. 
  6. Portion into 4 equal portions
  7. Do not clean out the pan – continue to the next step to cook the mushroom and peppers

Directions for Mushroom and Peppers

  1. Using the frying pan from the taco meat (we will want to use the residual fat to cook the mushrooms and peppers), add the onion and garlic and cook over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, just so that the veggies become fragrant
  2. Add the sliced mushrooms and peppers and cook for about 5 minutes, until the veggies get a nice color on them.  Depending on your stove top you might need to turn the heat down to medium.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for about a minute until all of the seasoning is well incorporated.
  4. Portion into 4 equal portions adding it to the bowl of the taco meat

Directions for Cauliflower Cilantro Rice

  1. Chop the cauliflower into bite sized pieces
  2. Add it to the food processor and pulse until you get a rice consistency
  3. In a clean pan, add the riced cauliflower along with the remaining ingredients and stir until the cauliflower is cooked.  You might need to add a splash of water to help steam and cook the cauliflower rice – about 7 minutes
  4. Portion into 4 equal portions and add it to the bowl of the taco meat, mushrooms and peppers

Directions for Vegan Sour Cream

  1. Add all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth
  2. Portion into 4 equal portions and serve on top of the taco bowls.
  3. Enjoy!

See below for the full day of macros for Monday/Thursday:

Ingredients – Makes 3 portions

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 package extra firm tofu (350 G), crumbled
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp black salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp water

Directions

  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large frying pan
  2. Add the garlic and cook for about 3 minutes
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the water, and stir to combine. 
  4. Continue to cook the tofu mixture over medium heat for about 7 minutes
  5. Add the water and cook until the water has dissolved
  6. Portion evenly into 3 containers

Ingredients – Makes 6 portions

  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp garam marsala
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 cups of water

Directions

  1. Rinse the lentils in a strainer until the water runs clear, about 3 times
  2. In a large frying pan, heat the coconut cream from the can of coconut milk by taking a spoon and scooping a spoonful of cream from the top layer
  3. Sautee the spices (except the salt) in the coconut cream over high heat until fragrant, about a minute
  4. Add the lentils, the rest of the coconut milk, salt, soy sauce and water and bring up to a boil.
  5. Once the pot is boiling, turn it down to a simmer and cook until lentils are fully cooked, about 20 minutes.
  6. Divide into 6 portions.  You can also serve this with cauliflower rice.

Ingredients – makes 4 portions

  • 1 package of silken tofu (300 g)
  • 1 ½ cup vegan beef broth
  • 1 package vegan ground beef (I used lightlife for this recipe)
  • 2 cups dried TVP, rehydrated in water
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 package mushrooms (227 g)
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 package high protein pasta (I used Liviva Soy Fettuccini)

Directions

  1. In a blender, blend together the silken tofu and vegan beef broth – set aside
  2. In a large non-stick skillet over high heat, add the vegan ground beef
  3. Break apart so that they resemble a crumble and sautee for 3 minutes
  4. Add in the onion and garlic and sautee for another minute
  5. Add in the mushrooms and continue to sautee for 2 minutes
  6. Lower the heat to medium and add in the rehydrated TVP (if there is extra water, drain the TVP before adding the mixture)
  7. Mix the protein until it is well combined
  8. Add in the kale, soy sauce and black pepper and continue to stir until the kale is wilted and well incorporated
  9. Add in the silken tofu mixture and mix until well combined with the meat mixture – it should be creamy and not watery
  10. Add salt to taste
  11. Divide equally into 4 portions
  12. Serve on top of high protein pasta

See below for the full day of macros for Tuesday/Friday:

Ingredients – makes 4 portions

  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 2 cups soy milk
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup hemp hearts

Directions

  1. I like to cook my steel cut oats in a rice cooker, but you can use a slow cooker or instant pot as well
  2. Pour all of the ingredients into the container of a rice cooker, slow cooker or instant pot
  3. For rice cooker and instant pot method: Select the function which automatically cooks oats
  4. For slow cooker method, cook on low for 6 hours
  5. Portion evenly into 4 containers, heat in the microwave or stove top with water before serving.  Can be frozen for easy breakfasts as well!

Ingredients – makes 1 portion

  • 1 serving of high protein black bean noodles
  • 1 cup edamame
  • 1 king oyster mushroom, sliced (or mushroom of your choice)
  • Handful of spinach, kale or bok choy
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ block of extra firm tofu (about 175 G), cut into cubes

Directions

  1. Cook the black bean noodles according to packed directions.  Cook the edamame in the same pot to save time and water
  2. Once the pasta is done cooking, drain and set aside
  3. In a non-stick frying pan, add the sliced mushrooms and cook over medium heat until it gets color, for about 3 minutes
  4. You may need to add a splash of water if your mushrooms are sticking
  5. Add in your greens, the sou sauce and the tofu and cook until the greens are wilted and the tofu is cooked through, about 5 minutes
  6. Add the pasta and edamame to the pan and toss until combined.
  7. Serve hot or can be eaten cold.  Goes great with hot sauce on the side!

Original seitan recipe found at Connoisseurus Veg – makes 4 portions

Ingredients for seitan dough

  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten
  • ¼ cup quinoa flour
  • 1 cup water

Ingredients for beef flavour broth

  • 5 ½ cup homemade veggie discard broth
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp granulated garlic powder
  • 1/3 tsp black pepper

Directions to make seitan

  1. In a large bowl, mix the vital wheat gluten and quinoa flour together
  2. Add in the water and stir with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms
  3. Knead the dough for 5 minutes by hand, or in a stand mixer
  4. Let rest while you prepare the broth – you can also prepare the seitan the night before and let it rest in the fridge overnight
  5. Place all of the ingredients for the broth in a medium sized pot (not too large since you will need enough liquid for the dough to be submerged)
  6. Set the temperature to high and let the broth come to a boil
  7. Meanwhile, divide the dough into 4 equal portions, shape into mini loaves
  8. Once the pot comes to a boil, lower the heat to low so that there is a steady simmer
  9. Carefully lower each piece of dough int the simmering broth and let simmer for 1 hour, with the lid slightly ajar
  10. The dough should double in size during the cooking process
  11. Once an hour has passed, remove the seitan from the pot and let cool on a rack. 
  12. I stored the seitan immediately in the freezer after I let it come to room temperature.
  13. Take out the night before serving
  14. Can be sliced, cut into chunks, marinated.  I left it as a “steak” and served it with a mix of soy sauce and miso, baked in the oven over medium
  15. Tip for the left-over broth – store it in a jar and save it to be used in the vegan stroganoff recipe above

See below for the full day of macros for Wednesday/Saturday:

DIY Frame for Travel Map & Gallery Wall

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Hi Savvys,

I had purchased this scratch the world travel map a few years ago and was finally able to scratch off all of the countries that we had visited (a.k.a another lockdown project completed).  However, the problem with this map is that it is very hard to find a frame for the specific dimensions of this map. 

I had a clear vision of a travel gallery wall that I wanted to hang in our office, and it would not be completed without this map.  I opted to DIY an easy frame myself!

The materials needed are very minimal and this ended up being a very affordable project in the end, costing under $15 total!  The materials you will need are:

  • 1 wooden trim measuring 7/16 x 11/16, cut into 2 pieces based on the size of your map (I cut out 2-21 inch pieces and still had a lot of wood leftover for another project)
  • A stain of your choice
  • 2 sponge brushes
  • Varnish (optional)
  • An old belt
  • A staple gun
  • A regular stapler
  • Pen
  • Ruler

The below are steps that I took to make this DIY custom frame:

  1. After purchasing the wood from home depot, I used their wood cutting station to cut out 2 pieces at 21 inches each.  I reserved the leftover wood for another project.
  2. Using one of the sponge brushes, lightly dab it into the stain and spread it evenly over the wooden trims. 
  3. Using the other sponge brush (the dry one), you can use it to spread out any of the stain evenly.  Repeat this process by alternating between the 1st brush to apply more stain where necessary and the 2nd brush to ensure that all of the stain is spread evenly along all of the sides of the wooden trim.
  4. Let the stain dry in a cool place for 48 hours.
  5. At this point, you can apply a varnish coat over the trims, however I left this part out since I liked the rustic look of the trim.
  6. Using an old belt, I cut off the end with the holes and buckle.  Using a staple gun, I stapled it to either end of one of the wooden trims on the narrow side (the widest side is where you will staple the map to).  If you don’t have a staple gun, you can use small nails instead
  7. To attach the map to the wooden pieces, I used a pen to mark where I wanted the map to sit and using a ruler, measured to ensure the map would be centered by having 1.5 inches on either side. 
  8. I found that using a regular staple was sufficient in attaching the map to the wood since the wood is pretty soft.  Make sure that when you staple the map onto the wooden pieces that the back is facing you.

Now you’re ready to hang up your easy custom-made frame!

I knew I wanted to make a gallery wall featuring photos from our travels over the years and having this map in a frame really tied the gallery wall together.  The below are tips on how I put together a gallery wall

  1. I like to lay out my frames on the ground first to see what kind of look I want.  This also means less rework for me before drilling holes into the wall
  2. Once I had my frames in the most optimal placement, I used white scrap paper and cut them to the size of my frames to use these as a place holder.  I also used a pen to mark on the paper where the frame hooks are. 
  3. When we were ready to hang the frames to the wall, we taped the pieces of paper onto the wall to mark off where we wanted the final placement of the frames to be.  This made it very easy to adjust the spacing of the frames without making re-work for ourselves.
  4. Because we had marked where the frame hooks were on the paper, we used this as guidance on where to install the nails for our frames.
  5. The last step is the fill those frames with your fondest memories before hanging them up!
Categories DIY

Newborn Essentials including Sustainable & Zero Waste Alternatives

Hi Savvys,

My son is now 6 months old and I feel like I’ve gotten into a groove with taking care of him.  Before my son was born, I was very adamant in being as zero waste as possible with raising him.  Some things did take a bit of researching and creativity, but I really feel like we’ve established a really good routine.

To be honest, when he was first born, implementing some of these solutions was quite intimidating and was also learned through trial and error.  I thought I would create a blog post (and video!) to share what I have learned so far and to show you that you can raise your family with eco friendly alternatives as well!  Feel free to comment below on what types of eco friendly solutions you have implemented and if there are other things that you would recommend!

Preparing for the birth of our son included washing all of his clothes and organizing his closet.  It was very overwhelming since baby clothes come in so many different sizes and it was hard to determine how many onsies we needed per size, of course considering the weather and climate as well.  Though it may be really easy to overspend in this category by buying cute clothing as soon as you find out that you’re expecting, I really refrained from purchasing clothing until the very end since styles are constantly changing and I also wanted to ensure I was purchasing gender neutral clothing so that we can use them for future children, or give it away with ease when we were done.

My main tip for this category is to ask for hand me downs!  Babies, especially in the first few months, don’t really need nice clothing since they will be spitting up or pooping all over them.  If you are lucky like I was, we had lots of friends and family handing over lots of hand me downs in various sizes.  It was really convenient because I only had to purchase a few new onsies (because of COVID, we were social distancing and wasn’t able to get a hold of all of the hand me downs before the birth), which meant we were also able to save a lot of money for more essential items.  

If you do not know anyone who is able to pass along some hand me downs, there are lots of facebook groups for new moms who always post free items, including clothing, thus giving a new life to those pre-loved onsies.  What I’ve learned so far is that these mommy groups have very generous members who are always willing to help locate anything you need.  If you are unable to find free hand me downs, you can always check out facebook marketplace or thrift stores – there are always an abundance of pre-loved clothing available for your little one. 

We were also fortunate to have a closet full of pre-loved baby clothing available at our midwife clinic – so don’t forget to check out your clinic where available!

I have a previous post where I go through in detail about our experience with cloth diapering.  Check it out and don’t forget to check out the video where I go into detail!

We were so devastated when Ezra developed a diaper rash when he was only 1 month old!  We were trying to be diligent by always ensuring his bottom was dry before diapering him up but it ended up being unavoidable.  After doing some research, diaper rash can actually be preventable by applying coconut oil after every diaper change.  It’s been 5 months now and he has not experienced a rash ever since!  We like to keep a jar of organic coconut oil by his change table and diligently apply it all over his bottom after every change.  It keeps his bottom moisturized while creating a barrier from his dirty diaper.

There has been some media attention around how wipes do not decompose and can be hazardous when flushed down the toilet since they don’t break down like toilet paper.  Every time you change your baby, you will be using minimum 1 wipe per change.  That is a lot of wipes going to landfills in your baby’s lifetime!  If you are going to be cloth diapering your baby, using cloth baby wipes should go hand in hand.  (also if you are not cloth diapering, consider using cloth baby wipes as well since it’s better for their bottom and the environment!)

Besides being better for the environment, there are added benefits to making the switch as well.  One of the more obvious ones is that you will be saving lots of money in the long run.  Another benefit that we actually noticed was the smell it leaves behind.  We use baby wipes when we are away from the house and noticed that it leaves a smell on our baby’s bum, even if the solution is 99.9% water.  When we use our wash cloths, it doesn’t leave any smell at all.  It’s also convenient to use because we throw it into the same laundry as our cloth diapers and everything gets washed at the same time!  You can use cotton wash cloths or even use old cotton shirts that you can cut into little squares.  We don’t use a special solution when cleaning our baby’s bum and have found that water has been just as effective. 

I knew that I wanted to breast feed and knew that I wanted to pump milk so that my husband can feed Ezra and bond with him as well.  To be honest, I had put off pumping and bottle feeding for over 3 months because I couldn’t get myself to use the single use plastic storage bags.  I made a goal for myself to find a more sustainable yet budget friendly way of storing extra breast milk.   Then it occurred to me that I could use silicone ice cube trays and store the milk in reusable silicone bags.  This method is perfect and super easy because each cube fits about 10ml of breast milk and can be easily placed into the bottles for thawing.  All you need to do is take out how ever many cubes you need for the feeding.  I do recommend this for when your baby is over 3 months since I was unable to sterilize the trays or the silicone bags, and since baby is already putting toys and stuff in his mouth, then this method has been proven to be effective and safe!

Note that I only pump to have a few ounces in the freezer at a time, but f you pump more, I recommend having multiple silicone bags and labeling them so you can keep track of the milk and rotate accordingly.

Breast pads are a must if you are breastfeeding.  I didn’t know that once your milk comes in, your breasts go through a transitional period where it’s figuring out supply and demand from your baby, which causes a lot of leaky boobs not only when you are feeding, but even when you are just thinking of your babe.  In addition to having a nursing bra, you will also need some nursing pads.  You can always buy disposable ones, but for the same price of a box, you can buy multiple sets of reusable pads and divert more waste from the landfill.  The pads I received were a gift and made from bamboo, however you can easily find reusable pads from a quick google search.

Raising a family doesn’t mean you have to take the conventional route and purchase disposable products that are readily available on the market.  The amount of waste that a baby produces can be overwhelming and reason enough to make eco friendly switches.  I am glad that I was able to reduce a lot of the waste our family created by using reusable products that can be used for future babies as well!

Let me know in the comments below what your zero waste tips are and if there was anything that I missed!

Now set forth and be savvy!

2 Day Switzerland Itinerary in February

Hi Savvys!

At the beginning of last year (February 2019 to be exact), I was so fortunate to tag along with my husband on a business trip to Switzerland!  I was so excited to take this trip because to be honest, it would probably be a country I would never be able to visit just because of how expensive it is to fly there and to visit. 

As soon as I knew we were going (about 1 month before actually leaving), I got started right away on my itinerary planning.  I like to plan out all of the sights as well as restaurants that I would be hitting up in a day through google maps and sending it to my phone.  *Savvy tip*, if you save an offline map from google maps and then map out your itinerary, you are able to locate the spots you want to hit up without WIFI.  See more information below under “WIFI Access”.

Here is some general information of our time in Switzerland:

Hotel in Zug, Switzerland:

We stayed in Zug since this was where my husband’s work event was being held.  We stayed at the Ibis Hotel in Baar, which was very convenient because it was right across the street from the train station.  My husband only had to be in town for 3 days, so we extended our trip so that we had an additional two days prior to explore the city.  This hotel was chosen by my husband’s work, so I do not necessarily recommend it, however I would recommend the chain itself.  Our hotel ended up being about 25 minutes from Zurich and about an hour from Lucerne by train so the location wasn’t too bad in the end.

Transportation from the Airport to our Hotel: The most efficient way of traveling from the airport to our hotel in Zug was by train.  It was only about a 15-minute train ride and as mentioned above, the train station ended up being right across the street from our hotel.

Transportation in and around Zurich and Lucerne: As mentioned, we took the train from Zug to Zurich and Lucerne.  Once in Zurich and Lucerne itself, the cities were small enough where we were able to walk everywhere.

WIFI Access:  Connection was only available in our hotel room and some public establishments.  To get around this, what I have done in the past, and also implemented on this trip, was to load our itinerary on Google maps and download the map for offline navigation.  This method works most of the time, however sometimes the GPS gets confused and doesn’t know where you are and ends up restarting.  You end up having to use the map the old way (aka without a GPS and finding your own directions like a traditional map).  Since Zurich and Lucerne were quite small and pretty easy to navigate, when our GPS did restart, it was pretty easy to use the map function and navigate the old-fashioned way. 

Budget: We had budgeted a total of $2500 CAD for the entire trip, which came to $250 CAD per day for 5 days, however note that I had only budgeted 2 days for hotels since the remainder of the trip was paid for by my husband’s company.  I also used Budget your Trip to gauge what to expect per day for expenses.  See below for the breakdown of our actual expenses (keep in mind this is for 2 people):

  • Airfare from Toronto to Zurich for 1 person: $1371
  • Hotel: $163 (for 2 nights)
  • Meals (on credit card): $504
  • Transportation (credit card): $191 (Train)
  • Other (entertainment and souvenirs): $31
  • Total cost of trip for 3 days: $1138

Excluding airfare, we actually spent a total of $889, which came to $222 per day per person (for the 2 days).  When compared to the approximation given on Budget your Trip, the site did recommend $271 per day per person, so I highly recommend this website as a great resource in budget planning.

When we arrived in Zurich, we decided to head straight over to Hiltl Haus for lunch.  I had heard great things about this buffet style restaurant and was really excited.  When we arrived, you did have an option of having the all you can eat option, however it was quite expensive (it would have been well over $100 CAD for the two of us for lunch).  We opted for the weighted option instead and shared 3 plates (which still cost about $70 CAD for the two of us, but it was more than enough food).  The food here is all vegetarian with vegan options and has cards indicating if the dish contains any of the allergens people are typically allergic to, such as gluten, dairy, soy, and eggs.  It also indicates if it is vegetarian or vegan for quick reference.  They had a huge variety of salads, stews, curries, stir fries and desserts.  Honestly it was tempting to opt for the all you can eat option; however, it wasn’t worth it for a lunch.  We really enjoyed our meal here and we actually returned to Tibits later in the week, which is a more casual and take out version of Hiltl Haus.  It was much more affordable and the food was just as good!

After lunch, we decided to check out Hiltl Vegimetzg, which is a vegetarian butcher right next to Hiltl Haus.  There were so many great products that I wish I could have bought some to try and bring back to Canada.  They had vegan cold cuts, meats and even ice cream.  They even had cook books for sale which is great if you want to re-create the Hiltl Haus recipes in your own home.  I highly recommend a visit, even if it’s just to window shop if you are in the area!

After lunch, we officially started our walking tour and headed towards Augustinergrasse, known for their beautifully painted bay windows.  This is definitely an area you must visit for all of those Instagram worthy photos.  We took our time walking this area, looking at all of the shops and taking photos of the colorful buildings.  This street connects directly to Bahnhofstrasse, which is a great area for high end shopping.  We loved window shopping here and feeling like a local as we explored the streets.  From here, we walked over to Lindenhof, which is a great lookout onto the city. 

After taking in the sights of the city and posing for a few photo ops, we walked over to Town Hall Bridge, which is a pedestrian bridge that crosses over Lake Zurich.  It is very lively with lots of people and families walking around and taking in all of the sights.  It’s a great place for photo ops since you can see the swiss alps in the distance.  On a clear day, you can even see the white caps on top of the alps!  Photos do not do it justice and you will definitely need to see it for yourself in person. 

We headed over to the Opera House where there were lots of people hanging out and enjoying the company.  There were lots of people having picnics, playing music or taking a stroll with their babies.  It was a quick visit for us at the Opera House before we headed back to the train station to end our day trip in Zurich.

Click here for my full walking tour from the Zurich train station!

From our hotel in Zug, we took the train to Lucerne, which was only about hour and gave us plenty of time to take in the wonderful scenery as we made our way over to the city.  From the train station, the first stop was to visit Europaplatz, where we quickly connected to some free WIFI and took in the sights of Lake Lucerne.  There are also restaurants and shops around this area so you can definitely spend some time here as well.

After gaining access WIFI and updating our location, we made our way over to the Chapel Bridge.  This bridge is considered Europe’s oldest covered bridge and allows you to take some photos.  This bridge connects the New and Old town, which is where we were headed for our walking tour.  We took our time walking the bridge since there is a lot of artwork inside the roof, so be sure to take your time.

Once we reached the other side of the bridge and entered Old Town, we walked along the water to see where we could grab some lunch.  We ended up at the restaurant attached to Hotel des Alpes where we enjoyed traditional cheese fondue and rosti. 

After fueling up on some much-needed carbs, we continued our walking tour over to St. Leodegar Church for more sight seeing and photos.  The last bit of our walking tour included visiting Lion Monument and then taking our time walking back to the train station.

Click here for my full walking tour from the Lucerne train station.

Now set forth and be Savvy!