Plentiful Plants

Daily eats of a Torontonian student

Herbs and Spices March 28, 2009

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This morning I was faced with a pitiful offering from the fridge and pantry.  I wasn’t really feeling oats so my first breakfast was simply the remaining pepper pieces, some carrot, and the rest of the Peanut Toffee Buzz Clif bar.

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After that I started running some errands and came home for second breakfast.  Strawberries, strained plain yogurt, and Cranberry Blueberry Granola.  There was also some unpictured sampling of nuts at the health store, I bought the maple glazed almonds, yum.

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Yet more errands later (I was a busy bee today) I fixed myself a simple lunch.  On a bed of spinach was blackberries, kiwi, mushroom slices, and a sprinkle of paprika.  I love fruity salads.   And I also crunched on some FoodShouldTasteGood Chocolate chips.

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There was some more chocolate consumption to follow.  Bloomsbury & Co Dark Chocolate, so good.

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Late in the day I started fixing myself some dinner.  I tried out two new recipes!  I don’t think I was thinking things through very well though, because although each part of my dinner was delicious and successful by itself, the three dishes didn’t go very well together.  But then I just ate eat part one after another, problem solved :-).

First I baked up some Sweet Beet and Green Bean Garlic Foccacia Bread. I cut the recipe in half, used whole wheat flour instead of white, and italian herbs instead of all the ones listed. It’s a tasty bread, but I wish I had added EVEN MORE garlic. And my garlic cloves sort of disintegrated when I mixed them in so my bread doesn’t look as pretty.

Second, I took my first stab at homemade seitan, and I’m pleased to report a success. I used Vegan Dad’s recipe for Homemade Sausages, but switched the seasoning. I subbed kidney beans for the pintos, applesauce and salt for the soy sauce, and nutmeg, thyme, sage and pepper for the herbage. I was really pleased with the results, but next time I should add some chopped apple too for more apply flavour, and maybe some maple syrup. it seems like an awesome base recipe for many different types of seitan.

The third thing on my plate is a pile of cauliflower pureed with paprika and nutritional yeast. I’m liking the nutritional yeast, I just bought for the first time today for the sausages.

Obviously I also wasn’t paying attention to how un-colourful everything would be put together on the plate. At least I didn’t use the white one! And I went back for seconds of the foccacia.

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Repeats allowed March 23, 2009

This morning I dug into a lovely bowl of steel cut oats. I finally made a slow cooker full again over the weekend weekend to enjoy, I’ve been missing them a bit despite my new love for oat bran. I topped the oats with PB2, dried blueberries and cranberries, a few chocolate chips, and the last of the jar of peanut hazelnut butter, delish!

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Later in the morning I dug into a container or strawberries, grapes, a Sonya apple, and a few grape tomatoes. My grocery store tells me that Sonya apples are a new variety, a cross between a gala and red delicious. I can tell you that it is tasty indeed, really sweet with the nice crisp texture of a gala apple. I wish I had bought more than one, hopefully they’ll still be there next weekend.

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For lunch I found an awesome new combination of flavours, lentils, yves italian veggie ground round, avocado, and Big Bull steak sauce. I mixed it all up and ate it as a dip with the carrot slices, yummy. It reminded me of all the good parts of all-dressed chips, without the vinegary salt burning your tongue (eww).

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I also had some of my Sweet Cabbage dessert soup, and it tastes even better the next day.

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When I got home I was hungry for a quick snack so I finished off a bag of Sahale Snacks Ksar pistachios. There were a lot of sesame seeds hiding in the bottom of the bag…

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Isn’t that a pretty flower?

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Then a bit later I fixed my self a salad. I debating between random veggie toppings for blog variety’s sake, or a repeat of my lunch. I’m afraid my lunch was so tasty I decided it was best to bore you and have exactly what I was craving, romaine topped with more lentil/yves/avocado/steak sauce mixture, and a few grape tomatoes. And it made a wonderful salad topper too.

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And I finished off the night with a handful of crunchy FoddShouldTasteGood Chocolate chips.

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BSI Cabbage: Sweet Cabbage Dessert Soup March 22, 2009

This morning started out a bit late after I slept in.  I was in the mood for something quick for breakfast, and there’s not much else faster than cereal, so I filled a bowl with Kashi Seven Whole Grain Puffs, and finished a box of Nature’s Path Blueberry Almond Muesli.  No more freeze dried blueberry blue milk for me.  There was also a bit of unsweetened vanilla Almond breeze involved.

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Later I had a blood orange and many cups of tea, mostly herbal.  I was working on clearing out the overflowing tea cupboard.  I discovered that Celestial Seasonings Strawberry Kiwi tea is really sweet, I actually went to check the package to see if there was somehow sugar hiding in the tea bag (there wasn’t).

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When I started to get hungry for lunch I got to work on this week’s BSI entry.  Christina chose cabbage as the ingredient of the week, and I had half a head of red cabbage already in the fridge.  I did some thinking and came up with a flavour combination that sounded good, if a bit odd.  So here you have a recipe for Sweet Cabbage Dessert Soup.  I just can’t decide weather it should be a regular soup or a dessert soup, since it turned out sweeter than I expected, and for some reason tastes really rich (but in a good way).  I had it for lunch and it filled me up nicely.

The soup ingredients to make about 4 cups are:

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1 onion, chopped
2 tsp almond oil (any not-strongly flavoured oil should be fine, my other choices were olive and sesame)
2 carrots, chopped (mine happened to be purple and yellow, but orange should be fine)
1/2 head red cabbage, roughly chopped
1 grapefruit, chopped
1 cup brewed mint tea
2 tsp dried mint
2 oz creme de cassis (black currant liquor)

I started out by caramellizing the onion very well in the oil.

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Then I added all the other ingredients, carrots on the bottom, in the tea to boil, cabbage on top to steam, brought the pot to a boil, and let them simmer for about ten minutes, until the carrots are tender  (remember, more liquids appear out of the veggies).  After a stir it looked like this.

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At which point I pureed the lot with my handy stick blender.  I like my pureed soup thick, so you might want to add some more mint tea or water at this point for a thinner consistency.

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And I topped the bowl with an optional spoonful of yogurt and more dried mint (although fresh would have been a prettier garnish).  Part way through enjoying my bowl I realized it reminds me of the rhubarb sauce my mom make every summer.  It would actually probably go really well chilled on ice cream.  I think I’m leaning towards calling it a dessert soup.

And since these giveways tie in so nicely,

This soup would be even better pureed super smooth in a vitamix such as the one is being given away over at Jumbo Empanadas

And instead of the creme de cassis, I’m betting a shot of POM would work well, and can be had for free with coupons from Oh She Glows.

Anyway, speaking of ice cream, later in the afternoon I treated myself to some half-fat Vanilla Haagen Dasz.  Yummy.  But multiple that bowl by 2, it was a half serving anyway.  I also nibbled on a few FoodShouldTasteGood Chocolate tortilla chips.

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Dinner time rolled around and I retrieved the half of the seitan burger I brought home last night from the fridge and made a new one.  Sitting on a whole wheat english muffin (organic from Whole Foods, really good) is romaine lettuce, the seitan patty, Big Bull Steak sauce, whole grain dijon mustard, broiled emmental cheese, and grape tomatoes.  A tasty burger indeed.  I should try making seitan some time….

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Now I have some Nature’s Path Optimum Rebound cereal waiting for me to snack on while watching the Sunday night CTV trifecta of The Mentalist, Amazing Race, and Desperate Houswives.  Before heading to bed so I can get up for work tomorrow….

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Some expensive yogurt…. March 15, 2009

This beautiful, relatively warm morning started out with a bowlful of oat bran, topped with the left over starbucks toppings and a few extra cashew pieces.

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I went on some morning adventures, were two things of note happened.  First, I discovered I need to buy a spring coat.  My winter coat was a bit too warm, and my old light coat is ridiculously large, which is a good thing, kind of a jarring reminder of how much smaller I am compared to a year ago, or even from last fall.

Second thing, I went to Pusateri’s for the first time.  It’s a small, super high end grocery store in Yorkville.  I’ve been curious about it for a while, but figured it would just be super expensive tings I wasn’t really interested like gourmet oils and vinegars and coffees.  Which it was in a way.  But the reason I finally went in is that I recieved a hot tip from a coworker that they carry non/low-fat greek yogurt.  And they do.  I was excited.  Though it was ridiculously expensive, so I limited my self to only 2 containers.  A 6oz Stoneyfield Farm Oikos with honey at $3.99 and a 6oz Vanilla Chobani and $3.39.  Yeah, expensive.  But worth it for an occasional treat.

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I ate the Chobani for a snack this afternoon.  It’s so good!  I’ve had Fage yogurt before , 0 and 2% (I might have smuggled three 500g containers home from my Christmas vacation in London, and enjoyed some while in the UK), and I’ve had the full 10% fat greek yogurt that is available in Canada.  Upon tasting the Chobani, a) it’s better than Fage, creamier and less tart (though this might be because it was sweetened), and b) why even bother with the full fat stuff at all?, Chobani 0% is just as good.  I thoroughly enjoyed the yogurt with some strawberries.

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Backtracking to lunch, I had a romaine salad topped with chili, and some deliciously flavourful Vintage Reserve Cheddar I found in the bits and pieces basket at Whole Foods.

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Late in the afternoon I snacked on a banana.

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For dinner, I trid something new.  I tossed some cauliflower with a bit of of oil and lots of Indian Masala seasoning, and roasted it. Simple, but it turned out wonderfully delicious.  I ate that along with some roasted chicken breast and a blob of hummus.

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And dessert was perhaps unsurprisingly, not one but TWO slices of strawberry pie.  I did get the roomie to eat half a pie too, and he gave it two thumbs up so it should disappear soon enough.

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And I might be munching on a handful of crunchy FoodShouldTasteGood Chocolate chips right now, but the camera won’t confirm that.

 

A Different Chocolate Chip March 7, 2009

This morning started off with a tiny, cute, crisp red delicious apple.

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I also dug into a bowl of Nature’s Path Blueberry Almond Muesli with some plain yogurt.

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After that tasty start to the day I headed out for some more grocery shopping.  I spent $11.31 on more produce at the grocery store.

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Then I headed out to a health food store (Essences of Life in Kensington Market) and Whole Foods.  I spent $12.72 at the health food store and $9.49 at Whole Foods (the teas and nuts, both on sale!).  There were also a couple of medjool dates purchased, but they got lost in the bottom of my bag and didn’t make it into the picture.

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At 2/$2 these were literally calling my name.  Though I didn’t buy one of each flavour this time, there was also a Hemp Power Cocoa Mocha one and a Flax Power Tropical Fruits bar.  My roomie tells me he’s had the Lemon Hazelnut before and it’s pretty good…

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When I finally got home I dug into a quick and tasty salad.  The bowl held romaine tossed in my homemade goddess dressing, a carrot, cucumber, red pepper, a bit of avocado and a small sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

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Later, lunch dessert/snack was some amazing Sahale Snacks Socorro M academia Nut mix.  Seriously good.  I think this is my favourite of these mixes of far (but only because the Dauphine mix taught me I don’t like candied ginger, which was easily picked out).  I’ve never really had macadamia nuts before, aside from the occasional white chocolate macadamia cookie, but I might have to search for them in the bulk section now because they are SO delicious!  I can’t decide which side looks better.

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Dinner time rolled around and I fixed some red and white quinoa using dried parsley, lemon juice, water, and some Kallo Low Salt Vegetable stock.

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I also sauteed a pile of collard greens with mushrooms, onion, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar, and topped them with goat cheese.

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A delightful meal.

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A while after my delicious dinner, I made a wonderful dessert that would not be possible had I not seen this post on Kath Eats Real Food in which she was so lucky to receive a boxful of Food Should Taste Good chips.  I’ve seen these chips in stores before, but I’ve never been much of a chip person so I largely ignored them.  But one word caught my eye in her photo.  Chocolate.

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I’m a huge fan of sweet and savoury combinations, and these perfectly chocolately and salty chips are DIVINE!  I was even lucky enough to buy them at the right store.  They were $3.29 at Essences of Life, but they don’t take coupons anymore, so I couldn’t use the $1 off I had printed out.  But I bought them there anyway.  Which was great because the same chips at Whole Foods are $5 per bag, so I still ended up saving 70 cents, in a way.  Silly Whole Foods, good thing you made up with it with your Stash and Sahale sales…

Anyway, the chips made a lovely dessert spread with a bit of peanut hazelnut butter and topped with banana slices.  A delicious end to the day.

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