Plentiful Plants

Daily eats of a Torontonian student

Ready to Dance? May 21, 2009

This morning I woke up to the tastiest of green monsters, kale, banana. pineapple, and chia seeds. Then I proceeded to waste some time attempting to take a more interesting than usual picture of the drink with a pouring action shot. I think I failed. I had no time to arrange things for proper lighting or camera propage.

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Later in the morning I dug into two Activia yogurts. And you can multiple this photo by two to represent the yogurts I had before going to sleep last night. So creamy and good.

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For lunch I fixed up a giant salad. It started with baby spinach, carrot, cucumber, grape tomatos, and broccoli sprouts. Then it was topped with steamed edamame and broccoli. And it was finished with a giant dollop of citrusy bean dip. Perfect mix of flavours and textures (though now that I think about it, I could have added some crunchy nuts).

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And late in the afternoon I dug into my favourite Clif bar, Carrot Cake.

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Dinner was engineered as a way to consume a condiment I just had to make. It started with reading about some one else “lovin” the recipe, and was meant to be when I got home and my roomie told me he made it for lunch and it was amazing. The Back to Basics Balsamic Vinegrette from ED&BV. I used almond oil and maple syrup, and it was truly delicious, my taste buds were pleased. The chosen dressing vehicle was boiled beets and tofu. The beets were particularly wonderful. And as a side note, my roomie made the Savoury French (Puy) Lentils for dinner, and I had a bit, and they were also pretty fantastic. He’s been busy copying recipes into his notebook….

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I’ve also been told there are plans to make a spice cake tonight, so I’m saving room for a little dessert later.

On the way home something mildly exciting happened. I saw Sunny Fong (aka. winner of the last season of Project Runway Canada). I stood beside him on the bus, then followed him onto the subway. Well, I didn’t actually follow him, I even stopped to buy next week’s metropass, but he must have been held up somewhere else because I ended up right behind him again on the escalator down to the platform. I wasn’t even entirely sure it was him, because he had a cold so his voice is scratchy when he was talking to his friend beside him, and he was wearing big sunglasses, but the hair was the same, and I checked the tatoos once I got home and they did indeed match. And that’s my fun story for the day.

Now who’s ready for some summer television goodness?  So You Think You Can Dance starts tonight!

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Very veggie March 4, 2009

Today I was craving fruits and veggies in abundance, so what you are about to see is very true to the Plentiful Plants name.

Well, aside from breakfast….

I broke into a new container of yogurt for some calcium goodness this morning, mixing some plain nonfat with spoonfuls of (melted) mascarpone brown sugar ice cream and homemade/grown black current jelly. The very tasty yogurt found itself in a breakfast parfait layered with Kashi GoLean.

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Then the parade of fruits and veggies started.

Late morning/early lunch I happily dug into sweet strawberries and juicy, flavourful honeydew melon.

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A big container of veggies found themselves in my bag for a late lunch. In the mix is red pepper, carrot, cucumber, celery, and quite a lot of edamame (I wanted to finish the bag in the freezer). There was also some hummus involved for dipping.

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Before leaving work I ate one square of an Elevate Me! All Fruit Original Bar.  This is pretty close to my favourite flavour of these bars, and I was particularly pleased with a large chunk of apple I found in my piece.

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Dinner started off with a green monster!  It may not be standard dinner fair, but I’ve been seeing Angela’s creations on Oh She Glows, among others, and have been wanting one, but I can’t make them in the morning lest I wake my roomie with the blender. Luckily it made a lovely addition to my dinner, I’m quite proud of my first attempt at a green smoothie. The monster contains the rest of the swiss chard (~2 cups), thawed frozen asparagus (~1/2 cup), unsweetened vanilla almond breeze (~1 cup), frozen mango chunks (~1 cup), and some sad old grapes (~/34 cup) from the back of the shelf. Quite a delicious way to clean out bits and pieces from the fridge.  I ended up with 1.5 glasses of the stuff

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Next I dug into some thing new. New as in I’ve never cooked them myself before, but have enjoyed them a couple times in the past. I steamed three small artichokes and ate them dipped in a mixture of tahini and fresh squeezed lemon juice. They were so good! I must start buying these more often/ever. And they’re really simple to cook too, I just cut off the stems and steamed them for ~20 minutes (and no, I didn’t eat the choke).

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I made my roomie try the Monster, and he liked it too…though he said it tasted very green to him.  I just think it tasted mango-y with a nice earthy finish. Yum.

 

Testing new flavours… February 25, 2009

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So I’m a student, I’m careful with my money, I’m lucky enough to be very comfortable financially with no student debt. I’m willing the spend on some things, but there are others I just won’t dole out my hard earned cash for, my mother taught me to be thrifty. When it comes to food, I generally don’t buy what I can easily make myself much less expensively (and sometimes more healthily too). So while I don’t mind paying for a nice jar of organic peanut butter (chosing the most reasonably priced one), I can’t justify the purchase of another entire jar just because it has some simple flavouring added to it….at least not on a regular basis, a girl ocassionally has to treat herself…. So instead, I draw inspiration from tempting looking products and try replicating those flavours myself.

This morning I applied this method to my oatmeal, and it worked out wonderfully. The inspiration was the Peanut Butter & Co. Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter. The mixed bowl is above and it included a small banana mashed into my premade steel cut oats cooked in water, and mixed with PB2 (that I’m not a fan of reconstitued into regular peanut butter, but love mixed into things for the flavour), lots of cinnamon, and a big handful of raisins (mixed in, and on top). Delish, and kept me full for almost 5 hours, must have been the extra protein in the PB2.

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Lunch included a delightful mix of veggies and a huge dollop of homemade roasted garlic hummus. The veggies were the last of the mini bell peppers, steamed broccoli, and edamame. I love broccoli and hummus, the textures go so well together.

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Afternoon snacking included a pink cara cara orange, an organic gala apple, and a Toasted Nuts ‘n Cranberry Luna bar. I usually don’t eat many bars, but the Luna and Clif ones were on sale last week for a dollar each so I got one of each flavour that was a available. This means that I now get to try a whole bunch of flavours I’ve never had before (and bought a couple flavours I already know I like). So the nuts and cranberry flavour is new to me, and may I say holy yum? First of all it smells amazing, like a gourmet marshmallow, I was eating it extra slowly and holding it up to my face just to be able to smell it for longer. Luckily, I was sitting at my desk doing so and no one could see me and think I was too weird. And second, I liked that it was more like a typical granola bar without a coating on the top/bottom. It could have used a few more nuts (or they needed more toasting), there wasn’t much of a nutty flavour to me, but the cranberries were really good, not too sour. I’ll definately include this flavour next time I stock up.

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Dinner was another successful foray into the freezer, producing a wonderfully savoury meal.  On the left side is Europe’s Best Romanesco Concerto frozen veggie mix sauteed with shrimp, olive oil, garlic, and italian herbs.  On the right side is Europe’s Best frozen Baby Potatoes mixed with succotash.  Apparently not everybody knows what succotash is?  My roomie was thoroughly confused when I told him what I was making.  I made it the way my mom does, just corn, lima beans, a little butter, salt and pepper.  Wikipedia tells me you can add other veggies like tomatoes and peppers too and still call it succotash, and apparently, in Indiana, the lima beans are replaced with green beans.

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Succotash is especially divine when the lima beans are fresh.  Unfortunately, mine are a bit freezer burnt, but it was still okay.  On the other hand, I’m not at all likely to buy those potatoes again.  I think I got them because they’re precooked so I could add them to a fast meal, and I don’t eat potatoes very frequently so if I ever buy one with no clear plan for its use, it ends up sprouting on the counter waiting to be used, a fate the frozen variety would avoid.  But these potatoes had that offputting soggy commercial frozen veggie texture about them that I don’t particularly enjoy.  I’ll probably hide the rest in some pureed soup…

So the right side of the plate was alright, but the left side was downright delicious.

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A bar review, already? February 20, 2009

This morning I got up and enjoyed a crunchy bowl of Kashi Honey Almond Flax cereal mixed with All-bran Original and unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze.

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I then fought my way to work through the icy cold wind to work where, later in the morning, I had and Elevate Me! Banana Nut Bread bar.

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From their website, it seems as though these bars have been around for a while, but perhaps due to the fact they’re Canadian they haven’t made their way into the blogsphere yet?  Which is unfortunate because they seem like excellent candidates for general appreciation.  The bar is essentially a Larabar with a larger number of fruits in each flavour, mixed with whey protein isolate.  I find Larabars tend to be too sweet to eat all at once but I think these bars have a smaller amount of dates, which leaves room for more flavour from the other fruits to come through, and the protein powder gives the bar a bit of a creamy feel and more chew.  This particular flavour could either do with more banana, or could be renamed Apple Nut Bread.  It’s good, just not very bananay.  I’ve tried most of the flavours (missing the two with goji and acai berry) and so far I’ve liked them all.  While this bar isn’t my favourite, it’s in the upper half of the rankings.  I noticed these bars appeared in Whole Foods a couple weeks ago in Toronto, so perhaps they’re going to be widely distributed soon?  We shall see.

Later for lunch I had a spinach egg white omlette with a liberal dose of italian seasoning.

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Along with colourful bell peppers and celery with Nuts to You Nut Butter Inc. Mystery Butter 2

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What’s the mystery?  Peanut Hazelnut Butter, very tasty. (I don’t know why the picture shows almonds and cashews…that’s Mystery Butter 1…)

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Afternoon snack consisted of a blood orange (my favourite citrus fruit), a pear, and blueberries.

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Everything packed up.

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I got home late and  fixed up a quick stirfry to help in my quest to empty out the freezer that’s over flowing with oddly shaped packages that like to create avalanches every time my roommate or I open it.  The delicious plateful of food included extra firm tofu, cabbage, onion, carrot, corn, and edamame, all sauteed in sesame oil, lemon juice, and a dash of reduced sodium soy sauce.

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And now I think I’ll start to enjoy the weekend with a book and a nice hot cup of tea before bed.