Plentiful Plants

Daily eats of a Torontonian student

Goopy Sludge and Recognition June 10, 2009

Let’s try and make this quick, I’ve got some SYTYCD waiting for me 🙂

Goopy sludge # 1 of the day, green brown monster.  On the fruit side I chose banana, peach, and frozen raspberries.  And since I knew the raspberries would muddle the monster anyways, the green side was covered by leftover beet greens that had been hidden in the fridge and almost forgotten about, plus a little spinach, and chia seeds.  1/2 cup of cooked greens looks so small but packs a lot of punch!

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My late morning snack consisted of a Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch Clif bar.  It was good, very cookie like, the peanuts were a nice addition without being in-your-face peanutty like the peanut butter flavour.  I would have been even happier with more chocolate chips though.

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I was weird and swapped lunch and afternoon snack in the timing scheme of things since the clif bar did a good job of filling me up.  At lunch time I had a container of honeydew and blueberries.

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Then later in the afternoon I dipped my way through goopy sludge #2 of the day.  I food processor-ized black beans, chili paste, PB2, lime juice, soy sauce, and a bit of water for a tasty spread.

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And the dippers were carrot, cucumber, zucchini, and celery.

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For dinner I started off with more honeydew (it’s a big melon, and really tasty!) and kiwi while I was waiting on the oven.

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Then I had a fantastic serving of freshly baked kabocha, to which I added soy sauce when I got down to the  outer skin layer in order to make it super fabulous.

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And along side that was amaranth pilaf.  I found amaranth a while ago from the bulk bins, and finally decided to cook it up with onion, parsley and thyme that got caramellized first before adding the grains and water.  They’re so cute and tiny!  And the pilaf had a fun chewy texture.  Although there was a slight bitter taste, so I think I was supposed to rinse the amaranth first, like you would quinoa.  At least I know for next time, and it was still pretty good.

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And the recognition part of the day.  Every day I wake up and  look out my window to see a large billbord that is usually adorned with an advertisement for some CTV show.  Last year I wanted to ripe my eyes out a little bit after waking to Addison Sheppard for four months.  For the past few (3?) months the billboard has been bugging me because I didn’t know what show it was advertising.  I figure the title was hidden somehow in the gibberish behind the guy’s head but I could never pick it out.  This morning I was looking at the gibberish again and had a feeling I had seen it somewhere else recently.  I suddenly came to the realization that the advertisment is for The Listener!  Now I’m wondering why the sign has been up for months when the show only started airing last week (although apparently NBC aired it in March)…

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Mango Mint Madness June 8, 2009

Note to self: Catch up on sleep tonight.

After thoroughly enjoying the movie One Week last night, which made me want to take a road trip across the country, or at least to Northern Ontario, where I’ve never been, it took forever to fall asleep. Which meant I was very reluctant to get up this morning. But my green monster started to wake me up by the time I left for work. In the mix was banana, mango, chia seeds, chocolate mint, and a couple handfuls of spinach. Om nom nom…

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Later in the morning I snacked on these biscotti thins that were found in the work kitchen. Well, technically I ate a different package, and brought these home for a picture…and because they were really good.

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For lunch I brought the left over steamed broccoli and kabocha, sprinkled with soy sauce, along with a carrot and celery. And a Devil Dawg, which the cubicle-mate tried and loved and requested the recipe for 🙂

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And for and afternoon snack there was handful of snow peas with bean dip, and the rest of the Saturn peaches.

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Then finally, for dinner I had a giant spin-zuke-shroom salad doused in BBBV.

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Plus a delicious homemade (not by me) peanut butter granola bar. Only half of it made it onto the plate though, the crumbly bits went directly from bag to mouth.

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The Other, Other Red Meat June 6, 2009

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So thins morning I went on an adventure. I finally figured out how to get onto the Don Valley Trail so I followed it up from the Riverdale Park entrance to Taylors Bush Park, then left the expressway behind and crossed the park over to Victoria Park Avenue. Then I took the subway part of the way home, stopping to pick up a few more groceries.

Before leaving I had a quick and delicious breakfast, Crunchy Peanut Butter Clif bar. Can I say YUM? This is a serious rival to Carrot Cake as my favourite Clif flavour, so peanutty.

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My very first design project in university was to analyze and design a replacement for this bridge. Oh what I could tell you about the Prince Edward Viaduct….

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There were lots of these flowers all along the valley.

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And little rapids in some spots.

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Giant planters by the DVP.

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And creek flowing over the path making a mini waterfall (there was a bridge a few meters away).

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When I got home I was hungry for a banana, straight up.

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Then I set to work on this week’s BSI recipe, featuring red bell peppers. I started by roasting two smallish red peppers under the broiler for about 10 minutes.

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Then peeling them. Beautiful.

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Then I made excellent use of the roasty result to make Smoky Roasted Red Pepper Seitan Sausages. However, I was making up the recipe a bit as I was going along, and the final product ended up reminding both me and the roomie of hot dogs (he actually made the suggestion first as they were steaming). So they’ve earned the nick name Devil Dawgs.

The ingredients:

1.5 cups gluten flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 roasted red peppers (about 2/3 cup)
1 T chili powder
1/2 T cinnamon
1/2 T maple syrup
1/2 T light soy sauce
1/2 t liquid smoke
~8 cloves roasted garlic (aka. all I had left in the fridge)
sprig each of rosemary and thyme

All the ingredients except the gluten and yeast went into a measuring cup, which I then filled up to the 1 cup line with water, then dumped into the blender for a twirl (no, not the cup itself).

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Then I combined the gluten and yeast, and added the liquids. And kneaded for a couple of minutes (kneading gluten feels it so fun). I discovered we’re out of aluminum foil, so I used wax paper instead to wrap the dough, which I divided into 8 peices. Some were sausage shaped, some were just patties.

And they took a 30 minute trip to the steamer (aka colander that fits nicely in a large pot with a few inches of boiling water).

2009_06_06_steamer

The wax paper doesn’t have the tensile strength of aluminum, so most of the sausages burst open as they steamed, and they weren’t wrapped very tightly to begin with, which lead to not-so-pretty shapes, but the seitan was nice and fluffy and delicious 🙂  The sweet peppers and maple with the chili and smoke really does taste like a hot dog, perfect summer recipe! The roomie informed me I would have to teach him how to make it.

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For lunch/dinner I had one of the patties in a pita with spinach, mustard, and relish. Along with a pile of carrot and celery sticks, and dollop of bean dip, and a few juicy lychees. The dip was a quick mix of 1.5 C black beans, juice of 1 lemon, a clove of raw garlic, and a spoon of hemp nut butter. A wonderful meal.

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Now I need a sleep before taking a midnight hammer to the subway tracks.  Enough with the mammoth posts already!

 

Mystery Food June 5, 2009

I had something new to try in my green monster this morning, a packet of Vega Smoothie Infusion.

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I blended it up with kale and a banana. I think it was good, it definitely added a nice fruity flavour to the smoothie that could not be attributed to the banana, but the smoothie had a really strong bitter kale aftertaste that doesn’t usually happen it me, and I wasn’t really enjoying by the end. I didn’t add any more kale than usual so I wasn’t expecting that. Maybe the greens powder in the mix just pushed it over the top. If I buy it again I’ll definitely tone down on the added greenery, then it’ll probably be super tasty.  The monster was a darker shade of green than usual…

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It was a short day at work so all I brought with me was cherries and cukes and tea in anticipation of a late lunch at home. I was also factoring in the room I would need in my bag to lug home my hard hat and safety acessories. I did also thoroughly enjoy two Lindt truffles from the giant box someone left in the kitchen for their birthday, hazelnut and dark chocolate, yum!

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When I got home I wasn’t hungry yet so I had two medjools, then went on a shopping trip.

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In chinatown I came across this. And had no idea what it was, so I bought it, of course. I do love an adventure 🙂

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I was thinking it might be some sort of flower bud.

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But when I took a closer look at it, it sort of reminded me of corn. Really fat, red corn. So I tried peeling back the leaves.

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Nope, not corn. Then I was daring, and cut it in half. I started to revert back to my original hunch that it was a flower bud of some sort.

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So I entered a search into google, “asian edible flower bud red large”, and the internet’s magical powers let me figure out that I had bought a banana flower. It seems that it’s used a lot in the Thailand-Sri Lanka corner of the globe. It was really neat once I started to pull it apart properly. Under each leaf is a little row of flowers that eventually grow into bananas! And you’ll notice that once a leaf is broken, the sap oxidizes and turns black really quickly.

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Under that leaf…

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Eventually I decided to pull out all the little flowers, then finely chop the lighter coloured leaves. I soaked them both in lemon juice and water for a while, then sauteed them in sesame oil and sweet chili sauce.

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It was alright. Nothing special, not bad, not not particularly good either, along the lines of bamboo shoots or the tougher bits of artichokes. But now I know what it is. And it was a pain taking the stamens out of all the flowers, and the leaves tasted better anyways, so I’ll just discard the flowers if there is a next time.

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In the process of identifying this weird new food I was getting hungry, so I finished off the head of boston lettuce drizzled with light caesar dressing.

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And I also just had a pita with a bit of peanut butter. But this post doesn’t need anymore pictures, does it? Now off to bed with me so I can get up super early for an International Hiking Day adventure! And so I’ll be tired enough to nap in the evening in order to work tomorrow night.

PS.  (The other) Exciting grocery find of the week, I knew exactly what it was, too bad I couldn’t find it a couple weeks ago, Kabocha!

 

So Complicated June 4, 2009

I discovered today that my weekend is about to get complicated, but for a slightly fun reason. I get to do a track level inspection at a subway station. At 2am Sunday morning when the subway stops running -.-, because being electrocuted by the third rail while dragging a metal chain around and hammering at concrete is NOT fun. So I need to play with my sleep schedule a bit in the coming days…good thing I’ve had experience, being an engineering student and all.

My breakfast this morning have a sunny tropical theme, pina colada green monster! In the mix is kale, chia seeds, Nutribiotics plain rice protein, a little banana, pineapple, and a sprinkle of coconut. Hit the spot.

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For lunch I made more progress on the bunch of celery sitting in the fridge by chopping it with some cucumber to make a salad bed. The toppings were black beans, avocado, salsa, lime juice, and yogurt. I’m out of peppers and carrots *tear*.

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There was also a pita and half a Maple Nut Clif bar.

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And cherries!

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For dinner I look in the seemingly mono-coloured fridge and fixed a boston lettuce salad topped with cucumber, avocado, and black beans. Plus a slash of orange in the form of juice concentrate from the freezer and a little raspberry red wine vinegar.

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And for dessert I’m taking this bowl of dried fruit salad with me for SYTYCD viewing, pineapple, peach, medjool, blueberries, and cherry flavoured craisins. And probably The Listener as well since I got sucked into it last night after unexpectedly seeing it was filmed in Toronto (Colm Feore in Trinity College = awesome!).

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Herb Overload June 3, 2009

I started my day with something a little bit different this morning. Pizza! My breakfast pizza featured an egg white crust, a little jarred pasta sauce, fresh sage, and a piece of Balderson 2 year old cheddar. It was very tasty after I removed some sage, that fresh stuff sure is strong!

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Accompanying my pizza was a small bowl of Kashi Flakes and Granola cereal with soy milk and banana.

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For lunch I fixed up a salad mess with celery, carrot, red pepper, black beans, yogurt, chives, and parsley. And I managed to assualt my taste buds again with a little too much parsley combined with the strongly flavoured outer ribs of a bunch of celery. Whoa! Along side the crunchy salad was a pita.

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Lunch dessert was a repeat from yesterday, cherries and cukes.

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In the afternoon my tastebuds recovered from a savoury overload with an awesometastic Coconut Cream Pie Larabar. I’ve never seen this flavour in stores before, so when I noticed it I grabbed one based on many other blogger’s raves about it. OH MY WORD it is GOOD! So soft and creamy and coconutty!

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For dinner I didn’t feel like cooking, and went a super simple route. Peanut butter, banana, and honey pita sandwich.  And I felt like a kid again.  Vegetables, what are those?

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Sweet Strawberries May 11, 2009

So today was an extra long day at work. But only by 45 minutes. And I’m perfectly okay with it because it means next weekend will be EXTRA EXTRA long 🙂 12:30 Friday to Tuesday morning, go May 2-4 a week early this year (I just realized it this morning, hence the excitment)!

Breakfast this morning I was happy to have a green monster featuring a banana, apple, spinach, and chia seeds. Yummy, and it didn’t even look any darker despite the addition of black chia seeds instead of white.

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For lunch I brought a zucchini, celery, and carrot all chopped up and waiting to be dipped in a tasty, but slightly odd sweet salsa/relish thing made by my roomie’s grandma.

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And of course some fruit, tomato, strawberries, and frozen pineapple and grapes. I wasn’t going to buy strawberries until local ones came since the last ones I bought were quite diappointing, but when I walked by the display the over whelming berry aroma broke my resolve. And I’m glad it did because these one’s are so sweet and delicious!

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For an afternoon snack I had a  nice and crunchy Starbucks yogurt and garnola parfait (a barista roomie perk).  The slices of strawberry in the yogurt were MASSIVE! I loved it!

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For dinner I made a delish stirfry of tofu, snow peas, portabello, wild leeks, rice, thyme, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.

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And finally, for dessert, I savoured the last little slice of delicious chocolate cake. Thanks again Ricky!

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Epic Fail May 8, 2009

Before getting to today’s slightly scarring experience, let’s back track to last night’s bed-time snack.  I tried my pumpkin chips (that I bought a feww weeks ago along with mushroom chips).  They were okay.  They get points for being non-greasy, but didn’t they have much, if any pumpkin flavour and they were a but dry, like over baked squash.  Not buying these again…but I must go back for the mushrooms, and to try the apple chips….

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This morning I had my appetite slightly ruined by part one of the day’s failure, which I cover later, so I ended up being hungry, but with only 10 minutes before I had to be out the door.  So I quickly grabbed whatever, and ended up with a bowl of Kashi GoLean Crunch (more hiding under the yogurt), yogurt, banana, and the last of my PB2 ;_;.  At least this breakfast managed to take a bad taste out of my mouth, and by the end I was enjoying it (quickly!)

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For lunch I continued with my veggie and fruit spree.  There was a container of snow peas, carrots, cucumber, celery, and red pepper with left over pumpkin soup for dipping.

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And a container with a mango and TWO apples, gala and golden delicious (in honour of Sharon 🙂)

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For dinner I tossed romaine in my new favourite yogurt/whole grain dijon/chive dressing and topped it with a steaming pile of broccoli.

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Now what was my scarring experience that started in the morning and ended with some kitchen experiments tonight?

Last weekend I bought a papaya. It was completely green, but so were the other ones in the pile at the (chinese) grocery store. I figured it would ripen on the counter. By this morning, the papaya was still green, but it was a bit softer than on Sunday, so I figured it must be ripe, but just be a different variety than usual, like how mangos come in different colours. So I sliced it open and found this.

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I was suspicious.  Mostly because I was at least expecting the seeds to look the same. So before cutting it up and adding it to my lunch, I licked it (what? I’m the only one who’s going to eat it anyway). It was HORRIFYING. It’s ridiculously astringent, like unripe persimmons (I’ve lost one or two to not being able to tell when those things are fully ripened). I was going to throw the whole thing out, but thought I would stick in the fridge at least for today to see if the internet offered any useful information about green papayas. I looked them up during a slow period at work and found suggestions to cook them.

I was skeptical, but I gave two methods a try tonight (I was NOT about to try it raw again, no matter how many recipes for thai green papaya salad I found). One chunk took a trip in the oven with cinnamon and honey, and another one was boiled by itself so I could try it and add things later if it tasted any better. Both methods worked to take away the astringency, but once that was gone, the papaya still had a weird taste to it that I was not enjoying. The baked version was slightly better simply because it was drowned in honey, but still not very good and I didn’t bother eating more than a bite of either dish.

2009_05_08_cooked papaya

At least the experience is over, and I know better for next time. And this counts as me trying a new food right? No matter how accidentally, and unsuccessfully? I must look for something (hopefully) better for Katie’s Challenge this weekend….

I did finish the night on a better note though with tasty, crunchy roasted chickpeas. I mixed one can of chickpeas with 2 T tahini and 1 T cinnamon and roasted them in the oven at 400 for about an hour. The first batched (pictured) was a bit over cooked because I stopped check them so often and waited too long, but the second batch was perfect, some crunchy, some slightly soft still on the inside, just the way I like them. And I hope the person I give them to tomorrow likes them too 🙂

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Mystery Fish May 6, 2009

This morning started out with a slightly different breakfast combination.  I had a bowl of Kashi High Fibre Flakes and Granola with soy milk and blackberries, and a fried egg.  I really liked the cereal, it stayed nice and crunchy and was perfectly sweet.

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I was quite proud of my lunch creation, my cubicle mate approves, she came back for a second and third bite after trying one.  I made a potato-ish salads with zucchini, yogurt, whole grain dijon, and a whole whack of chives.  Yummy, definitely on the repeat list.  I’m guessing the brands are key factors here, so they were Liberty Svelte plain yogurt and President’s Choice Whole Grain Dijon if anyone’s curious.

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For snacking I also brought along an apple, mango, carrots, and celery.

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When dinner time rolled around I fished around in the pantry and came up with a can of mystery fish.  The ingredients tells me it is black scraper, which I can find no culinary info about, and the contents of the can do not include cherries…  But at least it tastes good 🙂

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I tossed some romaine with the fish, it sauce, and cucumber.  Tasty salad.  I love chinese canned fish/eel (they taste the same, it’s just the sauce)

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And finally, I threw some frozen pineapple in the blender for a delicious sorbet!  It might have mostly been an excuse to use the awesome ice cream glass the roomie brought home this weekend 😉

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A lot better than nothing April 13, 2009

Busy, yay! I finally got a bunch of stuff to do at work today, not exactly mind stimulating engineering work, mostly pulling reports together, but enough to make the time pass by quickly. On a completely different note, I think my antioxidant filled anti-sunburn plan from Saturday’s Scarborough Bluff adventure may have worked. Yesterday my face was still a little red, but didn’t hurt, and today it is simply tanned. Of course I have no idea if the burn would have been any worse/lasted longer without the acai juice (I need a control!), but it’s something to think about.

This morning started out with a simple yet delicious bowl of Grandma Emily’s Blueberry Cranberry granola with unsweetened vanilla almond breeze and mango.

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I might have snacked on a Source Salba Krispy Rice Square in the morning…

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For lunch I brought along the rest of my Coconut Curry Shepard’s Pie. I let it cool completely in the baking dish yesterday before transferring it over to the lunch container, and the cauliflower top held together much better than when it was still hot. The sauce also bubbled up over the topping in the oven, another reason to use more cauliflower.

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My afternoon snack was a crisp golden delicious apple and super sweet grape tomatoes.

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When I got home I was craving meat, which is odd for me, but who am I to ignore such a craving? Especially when I had some already cooked in the fridge? I finely chopped some roasted pork tenderloin, heated it with honey garlic barbeque sauce, and served it in romaine lettuce leaves (since I wasn’t really feeling any other veggies).

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And for dessert I had a Liberte vanilla yogurt with chocolate granola, sweet and delicious (almost a bit too sweet, I’m too used to plain now…)

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Now, I’ve been plagued recently with a case of phantom publishes the last few days, so let’s hope this post actually goes up tonight!