Plentiful Plants

Daily eats of a Torontonian student

Cocoa Bean Bonanza July 26, 2009

Breakfast this morning was a simple bowl of snow peas, (particularly delicious) raspberries, and carrot filled with hemp nut butter and sprinkled with dulse.  Mmmm, dulse.

2009_07_26_breakfast

Lunch was a pretty fantastic salad.  I tossed a couple slices of cubed ShaSha Co. Ezekiel bread with orange juice concentrate, lemon thyme and finely julienned beets (my fingers came out the other side fully intact :)).  Then I served the mixture on a bed of red leaf lettuce and topped it with Marti cheese shavings.

2009_07_26_lunch

Then in the afternoon I had a bit of fun.  You know that cacao-date paste I made yesterday?  And the almonds that didn’t turn into almond milk?  Well I ground the almonds into a butter, mixed it with the date-cacao paste, shaped the mixture into balls and threw them into the freezer.

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Then I went out and bought a bar of President’s Choice Organic 70% dark chocolate.  And melted it.

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After a bit of dipping, rolling, and some chilling in the freezer I ended up with these rather wonderful little truffles.  The white is just condensation since I had just taken them out for the picture.

2009_07_26_truffles

I also used up the little bit of extra chocolate to roll some frozen banana chunks for a snack.  You know, along with licking the spoon and quality control checks and so forth.

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Then, to add to the cocoa bean bonanaza I cooked up a HUGE pot of legumes.  I boiled 1/2 cup each pintos, chickpeas, adzuki, and black beans (which got their own pot to avoid dying everything else).  Then tossed the beans with a bag (~1 cup) each of thawed peas and asparagus from the freezer, a couple scoops of the pesto I made yesterday (maybe 3 T), the zest from a lemon and a lime, juice from half the lime, a pinch of salt, and a handful of parsley.  That big mess made one very large, very tasty bean salad.

2009_07_26_beans

You maybe wondering what I’m going to do with a whole plate of truffles and a ton of beans.  Well my former roommate and her then boyfriend-now husband are about to move to England for grad school, so we’re doing one last dinner and Settlers game night before they disappear.  I’m told there will be soup, and other people are bringing unknown items.  So I’m off for the night, but I’m bringing my camera 🙂

By the way, sometimes you can find smiles in the most unusual of places.  When I went on a mission to go buy chocolate this morning, I also found three bunches of marked down (but still very nice looking) organic bananas, which I hastily added to my basket for freezing purposes.  As I was leaving the grocery store there was a giant, thunderous down pour, and even with an umbrella, I (and everyone on the street at the time) ended up with soaked pants/socks/shoes/shirts/bags.  When I got closer to home, I passed by a homeless man standing on the sidewalk, holding out his hat.  But instead of asking for spare change, I heard “Spare ticket to Maui?”  He made me smile, and while I generally don’t carry cash, I came home with only two bunches of bananas, and he seemed happy.

 

Blend, Baby, Blend and an Impromtu Contest! July 17, 2009

It was so dark out today! Whenever I went to take a picture, the sun was very well hidden, and it kept threatening to start raining (spitting) but never quite came. Or I may have simple changed locations before the rain actually came in some cases.

Anyways, a blender action shot for breakfast. That monster contained a mango, chia seeds, and a whole lot of collard greens.

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For lunch I had a salad mess containing cucumber, asparagus, carrot, red pepper and tomato with a Peach Bourbon BBQ sauce topping.

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And in the afternoon half a pint of raspberries and a banana dissappeared.

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I went to Whole Foods today for the first time in a couple of months, and spent some time browsing, which resulted me in sending too much money, but ending up with lots of fun new things to try. One of those things was a hunk of Marti cheese, which is a raw ewe’s milk cheese that to me tastes kinda like a cross between parmesan and muenster (aka pretty awesome). I used it as a topping for my dinner, a big bowl of blended soup containing zucchini, carrot, lots of red pepper, a couple small dates, thyme, sage, salt, pepper, and olive oil.

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And some honeydew for dessert.

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Another Whole Food purchase that I just tried is Stash Mint green tea powder. It’s made of regular tea leaves that are ground superfine so they dissolve instantly in cold water for iced tea. Unfortunately, I’m really not a fan, I even dumped out the rest of that glass. Though to be honest, I probably should have known I wouldn’t like it given my distaste for matcha green tea. So if you do like matcha, I say give it try, you’ll probably love it 🙂

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So how about a quick, impromptu mini contest? If you do like matcha, or are just curious, leave a comment by Sunday night and I’ll randomly choose 3 people to mail a few packets of Stash Mint Green Tea Powder. I’d like to see some of you readers come out of the woodwork!

 

Leftovers Galore July 14, 2009

This morning started out with a sweet and tasty green monster. In the mix was lots of kale, a banana, nectarine, and chia seeds.

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For lunch I repeated my lunch from yesterday (I just made extra yesterday), with a salad mess of broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, red pepper, and a hemp nut butter/lemon/mustard dressing.

2009_07_14_lunch

I had the most wonderful snack, a fresh batch of oatgurt with a peach and a tiny drizzle of maple syrup. Absolutely delicious. And you can tell there are definitely bacteria growing when the lid of the container you put your snack in is puffing out when you go to open it in the afternoon. I’m counting on them being good bacteria considering they haven’t made me sick yet 🙂

2009_07_14_oatgurt

For dinner I used the rest of my sprouted amaranth mixed with tahini and lemon juice to make a tabouli type deal with parsley, sage, tomato, and carrot. It’s really good, plus there are even more leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

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And cherries for dessert.

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Southern Hemi Influence July 8, 2009

This morning started out with a tried and true monster combo, spinach, chia seeds, banana, and papaya.

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For lunch I had yet another salad mess with asparagus, zucchini, red pepper, carrot, beet, avocado, and the rest of my nectarine, balsamic, and tarragon dressing.

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Which was followed by a cinnamon raisin ezekiel sandwich stuffed with an awesome PB2, dried apricot, cinnamon and maple flake filling.

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And in the afternoon I snacked on the rest of my mulberries.

2009_07_08_mulberries

Then for dinner I was craving something weird (for the season), orange. So I stopped by the grocery store and picked up a clementine which probably came from WAY south of the equator and used it to top a beet green salad which was dressed with sesame oil and orange juice concentrate. And along that I had a tower pile of steamed broccoli and a tiny beet topped with raw mole. And the whole plate got a sprinkling of sesame seeds to make it look a bit prettier.

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And dessert, dark chocolate!

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Overtime ?!? July 7, 2009

So for the first time ever, I worked unplanned, slightly emergency overtime today. Which means it is now ridculously late on a weeknight to be doing a post. And yet here I am.

For breakfast I whipped up a spinach, banana, chia, brazil nut milk smoothie. I love the creaminess that comes from just a little milk.

2009_07_07_monster

For lunch I had a salad mess of red pepper, asparagus, carrot, and avocado. The dressing was inspired by a dessert sauce I saw when flipping through Living Raw Food on the weekend, I blended up a nectarine, balsalmic vinegar, and tarragon. And it made an excellent salad dressing!

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I also had a slice of cinnamon raisin ezekiel bread with almond butter.

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And I snacked on a bowlful of mulberries and raspberries in the afternoon.

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I ended up wishing I had brought more food to work with me, because when I got home 3 hours later than usual I was STARVING, and a banana, a couple handfuls of mulberries, and a few dates may have very quickly disappeared. Too quickly for the camera even!

Then I didn’t feel much ike doing any food preparation, so I dug a can of Health Valley Black Bean soup from the depths of the pantry and heated it up with a few dashes of salt and chili powder to up the flavour impact.

2009_07_07_soup

 

Mini-Monsoon July 6, 2009

When I got to work this morning we were sad to discover our field trip was to be delayed till later this week because it was “a mini monsoon” up north (my boss’ words) and they had in fact stopped construction for the day. So instead of discovering new physical territory today, I only discovered a new tasty protein powder. My morning green monster contained chia seeds, half a banana, brazil nut milk, Strawberry Spirutein, and a bunch of spinach. It literally tasted like CANDY. It’s pretty sweet, so it’s not something I’m planning on drinking it every day (not that I do that with protein powder anyways) but it’s nice to know about if I want something that’s more of a treat.

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For lunch I fixed a fantastic salad mess of asparagus, carrot, zucchini, avocado, and chives dressed in a mixture of tahini and lemon juice. Love that dressing.

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And lunch dessert was strawberries, raspberries, and CHu. I loved that by lunchtime, the CHu had “melted” and coated all the fruit perfectly (and deliciously!).

2009_07_06_berries

And later in the afternoon I dug into a Key Lime Pie Larabar. I think this a serious contender for my favourite Larabar flavour, YUM! And as you can see, I was in a bit of a rush leaving this morning, so I grabbed my keys, metropass, and larabar all in one feel swoop and didn’t bother taking the time to put the other stuff down to snap a picture. Which also led to me forgetting about hiding my mangled finger, but at least you don’t have to see the other side.

2009_07_06_larabar

For dinner I cooked up another salmon filet, this time with sesame oil, orange juice concentrate, and dill, then ate it on a bed of red leaf lettuce and tomato, with the excess pan juice as dressing, delicious.

2009_07_06_salmon

Then for dessert I was informed by the roomie that I must try a Dare Cocoa Chocolate Chip Cookie bar, and since he so kindly provided me with one, I did. Oh my goodness yummy! It’s a good thing I don’t have a whole box of them, because I can see them being seriously addictive.

2009_07_06_cookie

 

Where has the week gone? July 3, 2009

This week felt like it flew by!  First I had Wednesday off, then Thursday I left the office to do some quick work at a subway station, which meant I got home really early, then today was the normal summer hours half day!  I guess I’ll make up for it by working Saturday night (Boo!).  It’s actually not that bad, kinda fun, but it does feel like it destroys the weekend a little bit.  But then Monday is a field trip to see a bridge in Huntsville!  Aside from the freeway up to Montreal a couple of times, and one road trip to Sault St. Marie via Tobermory 10 years ago (then back via Michigan), I’ve never been to any part of Ontario north of Toronto, so to me, Algonquin Park is considered WAY up north (keep in mind that Toronto is already ~100km north of where I grew up).  You know, as opposed to WAY WAY up north by Hudson Bay where nobody lives (apparently there’s a Polar Bear Provincial Park?) or even just Thunder Bay.

Anyway, on the the eats (I just spent forever being distracted by Google Maps!)  Breakfast this morning, I used another one of those super dark plums, along with blueberries, half a banana, chia seeds, and a big handful of kale in a tasty little green monster (I brought the rest to drink at work)

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I also brought part one of lunch to work with me, broccoli, cucumber and baked kabocha drizzled with Ted Reader Peach Bourbon BBQ sauce.  Delicious.

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When I got home I was hungry for lunch part 2, chia oatgurt with a spoonful of PB2.

2009_07_03_oatgurt

Then lunch dessert/snacks, the last two Pumpkin Pie Bites.

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And a sweet, juicy, super-ripe peach

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For dinner I cleaned out the fridge with a GIANT salad containing the last of the lettuce and aspargus my parents brought me, cucumber, red pepper, chives, and the leftover tomato/avocado suace from yesterday.  And I’m pleased to report the mandoline was playing nicely today.

2009_07_03_salad

And to really clean out the fridge, I also finished the kabocha and broccoli, with a bit more BBQ sauce.

2009_07_03_kabocha

 

Peachy Keen For Non-Fried Green Tomatoes June 30, 2009

This morning’s green monster was pretty fantastic after yesterday’s disappointment. In the mix was kale, chia seeds, peach, and banana. So sweet and delicious.

2009_06_30_monster

For lunch I had another big salad, the same mix of lettuce, carrot, red pepper, red tomato, asparagus, green onion, and Avocado Dill dressing. And I finished the avocado dressing, so I can make up something else now (not that it wasn’t delicious).

2009_06_30_lunch

Then for snackies I dug into raspberries, blueberries, and a Kumato. The kumato is an hierloom variety of tomato, and it seems to be pretty widely available. I give it two thumbs up, though it doesn’t taste much different for any other decent tomato. It does taste a lot better than you’re typical green (unripe) tomato, ie. the ones my sister was briefly obsessed with dousing in bread crumbs and pan frying the summer she watched the movie.

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When I got home I discovered that good old Matt and Sarma really know what they’re talking about. Brazil nuts make AWESOME milk! It might also have something to do with the 3 inch piece of vanilla bean I threw in the mix instead of extract. I’ve had a few vanilla beans sitting in the freezer for 3 years now, and that after I nabbed them out of my mom’s freezer where they had been since we bought them in Mexico Christmas of 2001, so I figured it was high time I used it in something. I didn’t really follow the RFRW recipe exactly, fiddling with it to make it a bit less calorie laden, I used 1 cup brazil nuts (pre-soaking), 6 cups water, 1/4 teaspoon stevia, and the vanilla bean, soaked while I was at work (at least 2 hours), then blended and strained in my milk-bag/old T-shirt. Creamy and delicious. I used Organic Traditions stevia, which is just the powdered leaf, and it tastes so good, no funky aftertaste like the Krisda stuff my roomie (mostly him) and I finally used up that’s bulked up with isomalt.

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I used some of the wonderful brazil nut milk to make dessert tonight, blending it with the last of my farmer’s market strawberries, ice, and a bit of honey for a creamy strawberry milkshake.

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But before dessert I happily dug into a salad of 1 small zucchini, 1 carrot, 5-6 stalks asparagus, ~1/3 c finely chopped pineapple, 1 T stone ground mustard, 1 T apple cider vinegar, 1/2 T honey, and a sprinkling of chopped roasted salted macademia nuts. So, so good.

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And a little extra dessert, dark chocolate goodness.

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Is It Still A Zee-Bar If It Eaten In Canada? June 29, 2009

Breakfast this morning was trying to be a PB+J concoction, but it ended up being not-so-great. It tasted like it had tomato in it (which I DO NOT like). In the mix was kale, wheatgrass ice cubes, raspberries, and PB2. Raspberries + wheatgrass = not good. I chugged the mix down after adding a squirt of agave, but I think from now on the wheatgrass will be drunk buy itself.

2009_06_29_monster

Luckily my taste buds were made happy buy the snack I had later in the morning. I tried out the Honey Graham Z-Bar (Zed-Bar?) Krista gave me this weekend. It was pretty awesome, very cookie-like, I understand where all the blogger love is coming from. Thanks again Krista!

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For lunch I had the usual giant salad, lettuce, asparagus, carrot, cucumber, red pepper, green onion, and blended dill avocado dressing. I’m impressed at the dressing’s ability to stay green even though I blended it like 5 days ago, it doesn’t even taste very lemon-y, I only added some on top when I stuck it in the fridge.  It looks even greener in person than in this picture.

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And afternoon snacks, tomato and the darkest plum I’ve ever seen.

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For dinner I pulled a bag of frozen wax beans from the freezer, and a can of tuna from the pantry and stirfried them with olive oil, lemon juice, and lots of dill, chives, and green onion. It made a giant mountain of deliciousness.

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But I stil had a little room leftover for dessert, sweet strawberries. They’re starting to look a little grungy from being in the fridge, but I’d rather that than mold.

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Monarchs, Moms, Markets, and Moose! June 27, 2009

I woke up feeling artistic for breakfast this morning. My kabocha and raw mole monarch is approaching symmetry, right? I had another piece of kabocha too, but it would have ruined the picture.

2009_06_27_breakfast

Then I set out for a morning at the markets with a fabulous blogger mom, Krista of Krista’s Kravings, and her beautiful daughter. I had a great time showing them around my favourite spots at both St. Lawrence and Kensington Markets. I even got Krista’s daughter to try durian, in the form of Durian Papaya jam, and she liked it! Krista particularly enjoyed a moose sighting, a remnant of the Moose In The City event 9 years ago (that long!?!)

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It’ll be great to have a repeat market adventure later this summer too, we didn’t even make it to Chinatown!

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When lunch time rolled around I finally got to dig into the veggies my parents brought my last week! I washed a bowl of lettuce and topped it with carrot, tomato, asparagus, feta cheese, and blended dill avocado dressing.

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And lunch dessert was a bowlful of strawberries and a caterpillar/slug/sea cucumber? The strawberries were delicious, the first local ones of the season, and I ate ate least twice the many throughout the afternoon. That brown thing was something new we discovered at The “World’s Most Ridiculous Bulk Food Store”, dried banana. I think it must have started out as a baby banana anyways, because I don’t see a whole regular sized banana shrinking quite that small, but it was quite good. It was a lot different than I was expecting, less sweet and kinda starchy/bready in texture instead of chewy, but I liked it.

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Then some time in the afternoon between talking on the phone with MY mom, and catching up on a couple days worth of Google Reader I completely lost track of time, so when I got hungry for dinner I went with something fast and easy. A bowlful of zucchini noodles with mole, and a peanut butter and pickle wrap.

2009_06_27_dinner

And then I enjoyed a movie with a big glass of superfast iced tea. This tea concentrate caught my eye in the grocery store the other day, though I didn’t do a very good job of reading the label. I thought it was unsweetened concentrate, but upon closer examination, it was sweetened with (non-artificial) cane sugar. Oh well, I added one packet to 1 L of water (instead of 500ml as suggested), and it tasted perfect to me, not too sweet but also not watered down. It’ll be handy to have these around for fast iced tea through the summer. Especially since the roomie has a habit of using all the ice in the freezer making his own iced tea (during the day, when I’m not home), then not restocking the supplies!

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Now hopefully tomorrow my pictures will be a bit less blurry. It took a lot more trys than it should have to get some of these pictures today. Playing golf for the first time yesterday really used muscles in my hands and forearms that aren’t normally used, when ever I go to press down with my finger to take a picture or to click the mouse, my finger starts shaking.  Obviously I wasn’t doing a very good job of taking advice to relax my hands!