Bangkok, Thailand | Sevengrams

After a week in Hong Kong and a few days in Bali, we headed to Bangkok to met up with my parents. Spending a handful of days with my parents and new fiancée (!!!) in Asia was like a dream. We templed, we tuk-tuk'd, we ate all the thai curries and mango sticky rice, we resisted buying everything at the weekend market, we dined under a condom chandelier, we ventured out of town for a historically charged day trip, we ate dinner on a boat cruising down the chao phraya, and we popped bottles at a fancy hotel. It was seriously fabulous.


Bali | Sevengrams

After Hong Kong, we headed to Bali, quite possibly my favourite place in the whole wide world. All the fabulous memories that I held onto from 5 years ago still held true, and I left feeling more in love with the island than I did the previous time.

We only had 4 days, but we were determined to see as much as we could. We split our time between Ubud, the island's 'centre' filled with crafts and dance, and surrounded by rainforest and rice terraces, and Sanur, a beachfront town on the southeast coast. Our Ubud hotel was absolute bliss, and I worried I may never want to leave. We saw monkeys and offerings, ate all the nasi goreng and mie goreng we could get our hands on, pampered ourselves with affordable massages, and strolled through the local streets and markets. We day tripped to the rice terraces, water temples and 11th century rock carvings. We took in the unforgettable Balinese sunsets, with a Bintang in tow, and hopped over to Lembongan for a quick island tour. And then, on our last morning in Bali (January 5th), we got engaged. It was the perfect end to an unforgettable few days in one of my favourite places.


Hong Kong | Sevengrams

I had the best intentions of writing about our Asia trip as soon as we got back. In January. Whoops.

Well, better late than never, right?

We spent just over two weeks in South East Asia back in late December/early January. Our first stop was Hong Kong, followed by Bali and Bangkok. The week was spent with a handful of local friends who had all the insider information on what to do, see, and eat. And boy did we eat. Our first day consisted of morning dim sum in the New Territories, followed by a traditional Chinese wedding in the evening -- filled with mahjong, 10 wardrobe changes for the bride and an epic 12 course meal (birds nest soup anyone?). The rest of the week flew by in a blur of ferry rides, day trips, lots of walking, food and more food. I can honestly say that we ate our way through mainland China without actually leaving Hong Kong. It was incredible.



How to host a cookies + punch party | Sevengrams

The problem with hobbies, it that they often end up taking the back seat when life gets busy. Case in point - this space and my commitment to the blog. I've totally dropped the ball over here lately, and can't quite pin it on one specific reason why.

It took the holiday season to kick me back into gear. I've been busy decorating the apartment, baking all the cookies, and planning some of the best custom christmas gifts ever. This time of year I also love hosting. There's something really special about setting aside a night to just spend some quality time with friends. We realized last year that December weekends fill up quickly, so suggested a weeknight holiday soirée with friends.

In an attempt to establish a new holiday tradition, we hosted our second annual cookies and punch party this past Tuesday -- an excuse to menu plan, decorate the house, and share in a little holiday indulgence. Weeknight hosting isn't as tough as you may think, you just need to plan ahead. I've done my best to break it down below. Wishing you all a festive and happy holiday season!



Vegan Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream | Sevengrams #virtualpumpkinparty

October has maybe been the best month yet. The weather has been fabulous, the leaves are looking better then ever, and we've been happily chowing down on all things autumnal, like apples and squash. I could live in this season forever.

When I received Sara's email about this years #virtualpumpkinparty, it was a balmy October day and I had a sudden craving for ice cream. The ice cream bowl was still hanging out in the freezer, and it needed to be moved into the cupboard for winter hibernation, so I figured why not. I took all the familiar pumpkin pie flavours and wrapped them into a coconut based, vegan ice cream. Then, because I always prefer a little crunch and texture, folded some dark chocolate shards into it. So even if its not a warm autumn where you are, I'd say make ice cream - because there's always room for ice cream, no matter the season.



Italian Plum Compote | Sevengrams

With Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) just around the corner, this recipe seemed fitting, almost necessary. Every year, my Oma (maternal grandmother) would make her famous plum pies for the holidays -- an open face pie with a shortbread-like crust, loaded with fresh fruit. During the summer months, blueberries, for jewish new year, italian plums, for her birthday in December, apple slices and cinnamon.

My mom continues the tradition and bakes these pies throughout the year; I on the other hand wanted to feel the warmth and familiarity of the pie, without going through the effort of baking (lazy or efficient, I'll let you decide). That's where this compote comes in -- yielding a similar texture and equally gorgeous colour as the plums baked atop the pie crust. Eat it straight out if the jar, or top your morning oats or yogurt with it. Either way, you're going to wish you had made a double batch.



Western Canada | Sevengrams

We spent the last week of August soaking up the end of summer in Western Canada. We've both skied out west before, but never experienced the Rockies in the summer. 10 travel days later and I can confidently say that I've been seriously missing out on some jaw-dropping landscapes by living on the east coast.

We kicked off the week with 2 wonderful days in Vancouver, surrounded by great friends who we hadn't seen in far too long. Saturday was spent biking the sea-wall, hanging on the beach in Stanley Park, and chowing down on phenomenal tacos and margaritas in Gastown. On Sunday, we ventured out of town to Deep Dove - a charming waterfront town just a short jaunt from the City. We had planned on renting stand up paddle boards, but the threatening weather held us back. Instead, we indulged in local donuts, drank the local beer, and lounged on the grass listening to live bands (thanks to the unexpected Deep Cove Daze Festival).