Plentiful Plants

Daily eats of a Torontonian student

Amazingly Ridiculous July 10, 2009

This week has been crazy busy at work (but in a good way), and I don’t even get the weekend free!  We’ve broken the every other weekend pattern of Saturday night hammer tapping and will be heading back tomorrow.  But at least we should be able to finish tomorrow 🙂

This morning I wasn’t very hungry, so I started off with a slice of cinnamon raisin bread spread with almond butter.

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Then I mixed up a HUGE (1L!) brown monster, including a new ingredient.  In the mix went lotsa kale, two carrots, a giant banana, half a pint of blackberries, and the last of my brazil nut milk (1.5 cups?), plus a bit of ice.  It was delicious, and it lasted me all through work, and into the afternoon.

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When I got home I was offered these beautiful cookies, made by my roomie.  Ginger crinkles are my absolute favourite cookie, so obviously, I had to have one…or two (they were small!).  They were good, but not quite as good as my mama’s recipe, but worth it none the less.  I really need to get that recipe from her.  And before the old note card in the recipe box completely fades would be a good idea too….

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I put up something I was entirely unimpressed with this afternoon. I went to pick up a package at the post office, but I had no idea what it could be. Turns out it was the sample pack of Amazing Grass I ordered, but it arrived in the most ridiculous manner.

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The actual packet would fit perfectly in a regular old envelope (maybe a bit too heavy, but that only costs an extra dollar or two), but for some reason, they were shipped in a giant box, and held in place with plastic wrapped air! Not only is this not the most environmentally friendly shipping approach, it isn’t exactly the most fiscally responsible choice either. The shipping was free for me, but I can’t imagine what the Amazing Grass people were thinking paying $18 to ship something worth $3, when it would have been just as easy to ship it for less (or even easier, they would have saved me a trip to the post office with limited opening hours if it fit in my mail box).

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Anyways,  for dinner I finished the last piece of meat (of mine, but not including fish) in the freezer.  I cooked up the some organic, 100% grass fed beef, then chopped up the pieces, mixed them with ketchup, mustard, and relish, and used them as a topping for a burger salad.  The base was red leaf lettuce, yellow pepper, and the last kumato that for some reason had escaped consumption all week long.

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Now I’m off to revel in the discovery that is the begining of a new season of Torchwood.  I love me some good old scifi TV. (I’m missing Stargate this summer!)  But first, you all should NOT enter Gina’s awesome Living Raw Food giveaway, because I’m just a little in love with S&M, but the book is just a bit too expensive for my money conscious brain to handle, and it’d be WAY easier to have my own copy than to lurk in the bookstore!

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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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Choco Power! May 9, 2009

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This morning I took a trip to St. Lawrence Market first thing to check out what was up for grabs (and to replenish my supply of chia seeds so I can bring back the green monster breakfasts). I was very happy to see more local produce available AND I found some excellent items to try for the CCV/K New Foods Challenge in order to redeem my papaya ordeal.

But first, before setting off I had an apple.

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I bought two new-to-me items, which get extra points in my books for being wild and foraged. Fiddleheads and wild leeks. I took my finds home with me and got to work on brunch. The internet had me paranoid about poisoning myself with the fiddle heads, so I boiled them first, then tossed them into a pan to sautee with the wild leeks, some portobello mushroom, and a little butter. The result was DELICIOUS (but would have looked nicer without the black mushroom…). I really liked the fiddleheads, they had a nice creamy texture with an artichokey-broccoli stalkish flavour. The leeks were what I expected, mild and tasty, but expensive enough that I’d rather just buy green onions. But I do hope the fiddleheads are still around next week. I also scrambled a couple eggs in the pan after the ferns were finished.

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Then for brunch dessert, despite knowing what was to come in the afternoon, I enjoyed one of the Cherry Chocolate Oatmeal cookies I made for my BSI entry this morning. After all, even though I had used the recipe before, I had to make sure this version turned out well before posting the recipe, didn’t I? It was a success.

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Now what was to come? Cake delivery! Ricky of Diet, Desserts and Dogs brought me this beautiful chocolate cake with sweet potato/orange icing that I won from here contest a while back. Thank you so much Ricky, it was great to meet you and HH!

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A few of my roomie and I’s friends came over this afternoon and we enjoyed cake and Wii Mario Party to celebrate the end of exams/some people’s graduations/grad school acceptances/and summer in general. I thoroughly enjoyed a slice. And then another, as did every one else. The cake was just so good, moist and perfectly chocolaty without being too sweet! It makes me want to buy Sweet Freedom just for this one recipe (p.s. you could also win a copy)! And everyone loved both the orange icing and the chocolate filling.

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I love that the cake must be relatively wholesome and healthy too because those two slices filled me up forever. I’m guessing it contains beets, am I crazy?

A whole 7 hours after eating that second piece of cake I started to get hungry again so I helped the roomie finished off his latest batch of Root Soup. I know it involved carrots, potatoes, parsnips, onions, rosemary, and chives at least, and was also very tasty. Though the bowl was quite full and I couldn’t finish it.

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All in all, today’s eats were wonderfully successful compared to yesterday. And I get to look forward to leftover chocolate cake tomorrow. Yum.

 

Bright Sunshine and Lemons April 17, 2009

20°C

20°C!

That’s all I have to say.

Well not really, but it is beautiful outside 🙂

I started off my morning with a crunchy bowl of Nature’s Path Flaxplus Pumpkin Raisin Crunch cereal with unsweetened vanilla almond breeze. Could there be anymore raisins in a bowl? I love it.

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I made a big salad for lunch. You should recognize the veggies by now, I’ve got a lot of them in the fridge, spinach, snow peas, carrot, cucumber, red pepper, and pork tenderloin. And for dressing I added a bit of water to an almost empty bottle of honey mustard to get the stuff stuck on the sides.

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In the afternoon I snacked on honeydew melon and a ya pear. I was rather amused to see the sticker on the pear said “yali” where you would normal find the variety name. I wonder who made that decision, since just “ya” is the variety name, like bosc, or bartlett, and “li” means pear in chinese.

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I also had a handful of almonds before heading home for the weekend.  The leftover smoothie from yesterday (kale, vanilla yogurt, orange juice concentrate)  I had as a morning snack.

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For dinner tonight I fixed up my BSI: Lemon recipe! One of the things I love to use lots of lemon in is hummus, but plain old hummus seemed kinda borning for a BSI entry. I was considering more savoury oatmeal blended CCV style, but didn’t want the dish to be too goopy, I wanted a bit more texture. Then my eyes, which were looking at the assorted oat pile on the pantry shelf started to stray. They skipped over the rarely disturbed pasta boxes, and landed on a much more interesting grain, quinoa.

So may I present Lemony Hummus Style Blended Quinoa

The ingredients for 2 servings:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • juice and pulp from 1/2 lemon (or 2 TBSP lemon juice if you don’t want to surpreme the fruit)
  • zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons tahini
  • 6 cloves roasted garlic (remember, they get much milder after roasting)
  • salt to taste (I actually didn’t add any)

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First I simply boiled the quinoa in water, then drained it.

While the quinoa cooked I zested and supremed the lemon. Mainly because I love supreming citrus, so much fun 🙂 And I roast garlic in big batches and keep the cloves in a jar in the fridge, but otherwise it would take 20-30 minutes in a 400 degree oven lightly wrapped in aluminum foil.

Then I threw everything in the pot with the quinoa and gave it a whirl with the immersion blender. And promptly ate a serving over a bed of spinach and grape tomatoes for dinner. Best salad topper ever, lucious lemon goodness. Simply delicious.  This definitely goes on my list of recipes to make again.  The only change I might make is to cut the amount of tahini in half if I’m not going to use it as a salad topper because it does turn out very creamy with a full 2 TB.  Must be the blending at work.

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And for dessert my roomie spoiled me again (jealous yet?) by making oatmeal cookies.  That boy just has too much time on his hands now that it’s exam season.  And I might have had two.  So many treats this week, gah!

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And hopefully by tomorrow I’ll have one final awesome treat, but this one will last a lot longer, and I’ll be spoiling the roomie for a change.  Stay tuned for that (I’m really hoping it works out).

 

Where have all the pictures gone? March 29, 2009

I was a bad food blogger today.  I forgot to grab my camera while in a rush to leave home this morning, and spent the rest of the day eating out without coming back to the apartment to pick it up!

I did manage to snap a photo of my breakfast though (even though the sun was hiding behind rain clouds).  I simply nuked some oat bran with unsweetend vanilla almond breeze and topped the bowl a pinch out of every single bag of nuts and dried fruits (and chocolate chips!) on the shelf.  Let’s call it trail mix, the list is a bit long.  But multiple the amount in the picture by about two, I ate down a layer and added more trail mix, then repeated.  There’s also a sprinkle of raw sucanat around the edge of the bowl and spoonful of sunflower seed butter, which were only on the first layer.  It was one good bowl of oats.

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Before leaving I made a batch of black bean brownies using this recipe as a base and modifying it to look like this.

  • 1 3/4 cups kidney beans, rinsed and drained (since I didn’t have a full 2 cups)
  • 150 g egg whites (4 or 5 whites)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sucanat
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (because apple sauce is acidic)
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces

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The brownies are quite good, I could tell they had beans in them, but in a good way.  This is coming from a half-asian who likes red bean paste in chinese desserts.  I got the same response from my (non-asian) friends who tried them.  They are quite soft though, I think I might reduce the liquids a bit if/when I make them again.  I cut up the batch into 12 100ish calorie brownies.  And this picture is the reason I forgot my camera, it was in my bag and I took it out to snap the cut brownie before packing them up.

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Alas, that is the end of the piccies…I went out to lunch at Hank’s Cafe.  Hank’s is the new Jamie Kennedy cafe, basically a replica of Gilead with a cool espresso machine.  It’s right beside the Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar on Church street.  Both cafes have (usually) really good quality soups, salads, sandwiches, and desserts.  Unfortunately the soup of the day, White and Yellow Carrot soup was too salty for me, but one of my friends also got it and loved it.  I should have asked to sample it before ordering, grr…  I have had some incredible soups there before though.  I tried bites of other’s pot roast stew and beet salad, and both were amazing.  I made up for my soup disappointment in the healthiest way possible and got one of the best ever oatmeal raisin cookies for dessert.  But I was most upset I forgot my camera due to my latte.  Which besides tasting amazing (I’m not a huge coffee drinker, and this had absolutely no need for sugar), was covered in beautiful latte art.  Two of the best baristas in Canada work at Hank’s and while neither were working at lunch today, they have taught their peers well and my latte was wonderfully decorated with a lineup of whimsical hearts.  I definately recommend Hank’s (or Gilead) for any one who wants an almost garanteed delicious, fast lunch in downtown Toronto (just ask to sample the soup first!, but the sandwichs (espcially mushroom) and baked goods are sure bets).  Cheap too, you can easily eat for less than $10.

I spent the afternoon playing Settlers of Catan and Wii at a friend’s gathering and we all dug into a potluck dinner.  I brought the rest of my foccacia and the brownies.  I tried a piece of Cuban fried plantain/milk fritter thing (I forget what it’s called) and some veggies with roasted red pepper hummus for apps.  For the main course I had some roasted chicken and portobella mushroom, and greek salad with amazing feta (minus the olives for me, can’t make myself like those things despite trying several times, including in spain).  And dessert was a black bean brownie with a scoop of vanilla froyo.  So many sweets today!

And to make up for a lack of pictures today, I’ll add this, another one of my roomie’s orchids.

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And don’t forget to head over the Strawberry Shortcake for a Simply awesome 100th post celebration giveaway!

Now I should head to bed so I can get up to head to work in six hours.  And I have some exciting news for tomorrow that requires a decision I need to sleep on…