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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Kawartha Ecological Growers CSA Love July 24, 2009

So before getting on with the food of the day, I have to give a major shout-out to Kat of Kat eats local in Toronto. You see, last Friday I was in a hurry to get to the registrar’s office before they closed, but on the way I passed by a table set up behind Hart House, full of veggies, with a crowd of people around it, and a big price list posted. I heard snippets of conversations that included “you can get either a large share of a small share”, “I have some extras of those you can buy”, “those are reserved for members”, etc.   It sounded like a CSA to me, and I was very intrigued, but like I said, in a hurry so I didn’t stop to investigate, though I had every intention of going back to check it out this week.

Meanwhile, I had left a comment to Kat that I was jealous of her Plan B CSA deliveries (deliveries are virtually impossible in my apartment building and their depots are not at all conveniently located or timed for me). Saturday morning she suggested I check our Kawartha Ecological Growers since they had different pick-up locations. Imagine my delight when I discovered they were the ones at Hart House! So this afternoon I very happily headed back to Hart House to hand over a check and pickup my very first share of goodies. I filled up my bag with beets, spinach, mixed basil, red leaf lettuce, cucumber, broccoli, peas, and raspberries. All organic (or close to organic but not certified), local, and BEAUTIFUL!

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Anyways, on the the food. For breakfast I dug in the fridge for the last of the greens and produced a fabulous chocolate milkshake concoction 🙂 In the mix is Chocolate Spirutein (candy, again), kale, collards, spinach, wheatgrass ice cubes, chia seeds, and a banana. And once again and brought most to work, but enjoyed a little at home with blueberries (chocolate covered blueberries = yum).

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For lunch I fixed up a fabulous salad with romaine, zucchini, yellow pepper, carrot, dulse, pineapple salsa, avocado, and Marti cheese.

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After work I headed to Simply Bulk to stock up on a few items, and saw they had Peanut Butter Cookie Larabars, so I pounced. I got to Hart House early for the CSA, so I enjoyed a bar and a book in the courtyard of University College while I waited. OMG, this flavour is so GOOD! It seriously tasted just like a PB cookie.

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I also stopped to enjoy the flowers outside of Trinity College.

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And finally, for a very late dinner I did some space clearing in the fridge for my CSA goodies. I fixed up a salad of romaine, zuke, orange pepper, and snow peas tossed with sesame oil and lemon juice. And alongside that I steamed (definitely steamed…) the last of my kabocha, with tomato paste and a peach for dessert. I think the kabocha monster is in need of a dentist, but that’s just my opinion.

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Double the Chocolate, Double the Fun July 19, 2009

I apologize for the complete lack of pictures today.  I had every intention of bringing my camera to lunch because we had been planning to go to a fancy-ish restaurant for Summerlicious, but I ended up leaving it on my desk in the hurry to leave the apartment.

Breakfast this morning was a tasty, though grainy mixture of collard greens, wheatgrass ice cubes, vanilla almond milk, stevia, agave, and cacao nibs (the hard grainy bits).  It was drunken with a lot of stirring in between, which was completely worth it for the chocolatey goodness.

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For lunch, my roomie and I had the intention of hitting up a Summerlicious restaurant, with today being the last day and all. After perusing the menus, we found a couple of restaurants with what looked like particularly tasty options. Unfortunately, last night we figured out that Pangea was either all booked up, or closed, so we switched our plans over to Midi Cafe. But when we got there for lunch, it was also closed! These restaurants seriously need to post their opening hours (or more specifically, days) on their websites. So instead, we headed over to Urban Herbivore, which I’ve been wanting to check out for a while, mainly due to my roomie’s raving about the incredible awesomeness of the sandwiches. He got a sandwich, and I tried a bite of the sesame tempeh inside, which was delicious in an incredible way that made me not hate tempeh like my only other tempeh experience did (plain, grilled from Fresh). I ordered a build your own salad with mixed greens, carrot, cucumber, green beans, broccoli, mixed bean sprouts, beets, sunflower seeds, and citrus herb dressing. DELICIOUS! The sprouts, beets, and the sunflower seeds made the salad, I have got to get on growing my own sprouts.

Then we went to see Harry Potter (fun!, even though it somewhat abruptly skipped over huge sections of the book, and I have no recollection what so ever of the Weasley’s house burning down). After the movie we hit up Starbucks for free drinks, mine being a tall iced coffee with soy, and did some wandering around over to an old used book store the roomie loves in Little Portugal before he headed to work and I meandered some more on the way home.

For dinner I broke out some more dulse for a tasty pasta salad made of tofu shirataki noodles, mashed avocado, red pepper, lemon juice, and lots of the seaweed. And along side that I enjoyed some pineapple, a granny smith, and organic milk chocolate with hazelnuts (twice what made it into the picture).

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And it would appear I did a poor job of selling the Stash green tea powder, with my not liking it and all, so Krista, Cindy and Caroline,  may you please be so kind as to email me your mailing addresses (plentifulplantsATgmailDOTcom) so I can send the goodies your way 🙂

 

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.

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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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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!).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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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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!