Plentiful Plants

Daily eats of a Torontonian student

Just say no! July 2, 2009

To recreational slicing!…but that part comes last.

It was dark and dreary when I got up this morning so my pictures aren’t so nice, but I started the day with a tasty shot of wheatgrass juice with a big squeeze of lime.

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As well as a bowl of chia oatgurt with the leftover raw strawberry jam I made yesterday.

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For lunch I brought a mini, super strength green monster (less water than usual) of kale and peach.

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And some kabocha with ketchup.

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Plus some Pumpkin Pie Bites. I had two, the rest were for sharing.

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When I got home I got myself into trouble.  I bought a mandoline slicer yesterday, but had to go back to exchange it this afternoon because 2/3 pieces in the box were missing.  So when I brought it home today, I was excited to try it out.  I managed to do a very nice job of julienning zucchini, but then I went to far.  I was going to blend some tomatoes, but I wanted to see how well the mandoline would do slicing them.  So just for fun I started slicing.  It wasn’t particularly easy due to the thick skin and non-serrated mandoline blade, but it was working well enough.  Then I was a bit too forceful and slipped and sliced into two of my finger tips!  The ironic thing was that I was using the handguard.  A few minutes before hand, I was very slowly, feeding the last slice of zucchini through without the guard, and my roomie warned me to be careful, but it wasn’t until I switched back to using the safety device I hurt myself!  I’ll spare you picture, but let’s just say washing my hair tonight it going to be tricky, a one handed affair.

So I was starving, but I wanted to wait for the bleeding to stop before proceeding with dinner preparatations, so I started off with the Starbucks Raspberry Peach yogurt parfait that was hanging out in the fridge.

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A while later I finished making my real dinner.  I came up with this in my head way before seeing Gena’s post yesterday, but it’s so tasty it deserves a shoutout, plus Guacanara is a pretty fantastic name.  I blended two tomatoes (kumatos!) and an avocado with a few sprigs each of rosemary, thyme, and sage from my window garden.  So, so good!

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Did anyone else notice the green/red pattern throughout the day like I just did?

 

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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Steamy Creamy Kaboch-y June 7, 2009

So last night I had some breakfat/dinner after a few hours of evening napping before heading to work.  I experimented a bit with my greens and found some beets greens in the freezer which I used to make pancakes.  I used the same recipe from last weekend but subbed ~ 2/3 cup thawed beet greens for the other veggies. I think I used an extra T of cornmeal too, because I didn’t bother looking up my own recipe, and it was too long ago now for me to clearly remember what I did last night. This new combo turned out really well, especially topped with a mixture of yogurt and black bean dip. And on the side was a Devil Dawg patty and about twice the number of strawberries that made it onto the plate.

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When I got home in the morning I was starving, so I finished off the strawberries topped with yogurt and some freeze-dried strawberry filled granola I found in a bulk bin. Then I had another bowl of just the granola because I was hungry and tired and too lazy to get up and get something else.

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After a badly needed shower and doing laundry (subway tunnels are dirty, dirty places) I napped for a bit and woke up hungry again, so I finished off the granola, then discovered a fantastic flavour combination in a half a pita spread with hemp seed butter and homemade strawberry jam.

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That snack held me over nicely until a more reasonable dinner hour when I set my steamer to work again on a pile of kabocha and broccoli. Plus I stirfried some shitake mushrooms and snow peas in a bit of soy sauce. Kabocha is GOOD. I also think it may also be what my dad actually planted the year the buttercup squashes were tastier then usual. I’ve already requested collards greens for the garden this year, now I’ll need to see if there’s still time to plant kabocha!

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And for dessert I dug into some of the cutest peaches ever.

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I dare you to pass by Saturn peaches in the grocery store and NOT buy them! The pits are so tiny, peanut sized!

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Way, Way Up North May 31, 2009

You learn something new every day. Today I learned that Hudson’s (and James) Bay is considered part of Nunavut, and therefore Ontario and Nunavut share borders. I wouldn’t have guessed that off the top of my head had someone asked me yesterday. Though in my defense, Nunavut had only just become a territory when I was in elementary school, so our geography books were slightly outdated. Now why was I looking at Google Maps of the northern reaches of Quebec, that’s the last item on the agenda today, you have to wait and see.

Let’s start with breakfast. Twas simple, a Starbucks Raspberry Peach Yogurt Parfait. But it served me well on a shopping expedition with the roomie through the windy streets of Toronto.

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Just before leaving I had a few dates as well. I took said roomie to Whole Foods for the first time, and made him fall in love a little. Though he did an excellent job of making me spend a small fortune on tea, and I only got one box! We also enjoyed a few samples, but were stuck by the oddity of providing mustard samples on slices of hot dog in a semi-health food store that sells ample vegetarian products. I was expecting the lovely saleswoman to pull out a bag of pretzel sticks, and instead she surprised me by taking the lid off of a crock pot revealing an overflowing bowl of wieners!

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When we finally arrived back at the apartment for lunch I fixed up a mexican fiesta dipping bowl. In the dip went black beans, corn, red pepper, avocado, yogurt, lime juice, and pineapple salsa. And the dipping vessels of choice were zucchini slices.

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I tries to take and action shot but my camera was being uncooperative and refusing to focus, and I was hungry so I gave up trying.

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Then for dinner I stuffed a pita with spring mix, pickles, the last of the tofurkey, mustard and ketchup. And my sides were the last cheesy dinosaurs and a few juicy sweet apricots.

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Then there was dessert. I’d noticed a new kind of tea at Whole Foods a while ago, and while I was very intrigued, it was pretty expensive so I’ve been leaving it on the shelf. Today the roomie managed to convince my to buy it because a) there was a flavour sampler box, and b) it not THAT expensive if you compare it to buying a cup of tea in a coffee shop (which I rarely do, but that’s besides the point). In the end I’m happy I did because at least the flavour I tried tonight is pretty amazing. And it was $9 for the box if you’re curious, I usually pay $2.50, maybe $3 for a box of 20 bags of Stash or Yogi or other teas.

The tea is Northern Delight from Inukjuak, Quebec. They use plants from the arctic tundra to make traditional Inuit herbal teas.

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We randomly drew flavours tonight, I got Cloudberry, which was fantastic. It reminded me a lot of Teopia’s Matecchino (ironically enough, considering Krista’s recent purchase), except it’s even better than what I remember Teopia’s tea tasting like when I had it several years ago. The roomie drew Arctic Blend, and he really enjoyed it too.

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Now to head to bed for the start of a new work week.

 

Scuffy new shoes May 13, 2009

I did a very thorough job of scuffing up a brand new pair of shoes today.  I bought my work boots four years ago and didn’t end up needed them at the time.  So this morning, when I got to go on site for the first time, my shoes were still shiny and perfect.  Not so much anymore…spending a few hours crawling around scaffolding hammering at the roof will do a quick job of scratching up the toes of steel-toed boots.  But had fun doing it 🙂  There’s even the bonus that I got to leave home over an hour before I usually do, and got back an hour earlier too because a big chunk of my commute was cut away and our working hours were a bit shorter to allow for travel time for some people from the office to the site.

In anticipation of a busy, and different kind of workday I enjoyed a leisurely and large breakfast.  I started with a bowl of Kashi High Fibre Flakes and Granola cereal with strawberries and milk.

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Then I dug into two sunnyside up eggs topped with chopped sage, and paired with orange pepper strip.  Delicious, and held me over very well until lunch.

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Lunch I fixed up a  mess salad of broccoli, zucchini, and chicken breast tossed in yogurt, whole grain dijon, and a handful of chives.  Tasty and refreshing, as usual.

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Plus I had a Nature’s Path Optimum Energy Peanut Butter Bar.  The bar was really good, kind of like a peanut butter cookie, but less sweet (which is a good thing).  I would have liked it if the peanut flavour was a bit stronger, but it was tasty regardless.

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When I got home I finished my lunch salad with the addition of a handful of dried cherries (and didn’t take a picture, sorry).

Then when I was hungry for dinner I stared in the fridge indescisively for a while, then finally blended up a slighty disgusting looking but very tasty brown monster.  In the mix was red kale, an apple, and frozen raspberries.

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Followed by a Starbucks Peach and Raspberry Yogurt Parfait.  Apparently they’ve stopped using Splenda to sweeten their yogurts…

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And finally for dessert was a square of dark chocolate.  Talk about a weird food mood….

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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!

 

I take it back April 7, 2009

I think Mother Nature decided to take my request for below zero weather a little too seriously. Definitely not spring-like today…

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Before venturing out in the cold this morning I had an awesome yogurty breakfast. In the bowl is strained plain yogurt, hiding applesauce, the last of the ground flaxseed, and a serving of Stephano’s Bakery Deluxe granola (that I had to take out of Biz’s BSI prize to reduce the package weight a little). I’m loving the strained yogurt, I picked up an actual large strainer a couple of weeks ago so I can do a whole container of yogurt at once, instead of one serving at a time in my tea strainer. And a full 24 hour strain is so worth the wait.

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For lunch I had a piece of baked basa fish along with a pile of carrot, red pepper, and cucumber. I’ve got a really good 5lb bag of carrots in the fridge, and they need to be eaten so they stop taking up so much space!

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In the afternoon I snacked on some sweet kiwi and strawberries, and just before coming home I worked my way through the other half of the Nutty Banana Boom Probar. I like how each bite of the Probar has something different in it. And the grain sweetened dark chocolate chips are really good, they’re soft instead of hard. Has anyone seen this kind of chocolate for sale anywhere before? The ingredients of the chocolate chips are whole grain malted barley and corn, cocoa powder, soy lecithin, and pure natural vanilla.

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For dinner I was inspired after seeing Vegan Dad’s post this morning and fixed up a wonderful mustard coated spread. I defrosted some frozen precooked baby potatoes in the microwave, then tossed them in a mix of stone ground mustard, whole grain dijon and soy milk along with some fresh asparagus. The potatoes and asparagus got a quick roast in the oven while I sauteed the last of my frozen shrimp in a pan with a little sesame oil and a few cloves of roasted garlic. I cleaned out the mustard bowl with chopped red and orange peppers and snow peas, then plated everything up and enjoyed 🙂

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Have feet, will travel April 4, 2009

According to Google Maps I covered 21km today, not including walking while browsing in various stores and markets.  That’s not the most I’ve ever walked at once but it’s one of the larger (though not uncommon) numbers.  Last fall, on a Friday afternoon when we were still on summer hours, I walked home from work just so I could say it was possible, and that’s 30 km.  On a typical weekend day I probably only do 10, maybe 15 km.  The reason the number is so high today is because I went everywhere in the world (i.e. downtown TO) in search of the perfect items for my BSI:Avocado prize pack.  Of course if things keep going at this rate, I’ll get to keep the goodies for myself.  I won’t complain, I found some good stuff, but I’d rather share them!

I found someone far from home.

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I’m really glad I spent a good amount of time in St. Lawrence Market, mostly in the “World’s Most Ridiculous Bulk Food Store” (my name for the store, not it’s real name).  Its hiding at the north end of the basement of the building on the south side of Front St., if anyone ever goes looking for it, I forgot to take a look at the sign to see the real name.  The place is jam packed with SO MUCH STUFF.  Oodles of bulk bins, but also racks and racks of other things packed floor to ceiling (well, not quite tht high), and stuffed into any available nook and cranny.  So many good finds, and some were cheaper than anywhere else.  You will see them in the future, starting later in this post.

Spring is here! (I shouldn’t mention the 0 degree forecast for Monday).

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Anyways, I was so busy shopping today (and having fun!) I barely had time to eat.

I started with a breakfast of the last of the tuscan melon, topped with Grandma Emily’s Blueberry Cranberry Granola.

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Later in the morning I had a Cocoa Mole Larabar.  It was so good!  Just the right amount of spice, I was happy with my choice.  It was also the only thing I bought at Whole Foods, I was thoroughly unimpressed, nothing caught my eye.  Luckily, it was the only place on my list of places to visit today that did not deliver.

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On one of my stops home to drop off stuff I grabbed a gala apple and a handful of snow peas.

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And of course there was the obligatory sampling that occurs when you shop on a Saturday.  There some more yummy glazed nuts, really flavourful gouda, sausage made of local organic beef, amazing frozen yogurt at Blue Banana Market in Kensington (best new store ever! – I used to live a block away from it before it existed), and bits of tortilla chips dipped in a variety of tasty sauces.

And then there was also a piece of chocolate that was going to be in the BSI prize pack, but it ended up in a bag with some wet kale and the paper wrapper got soaked and kinda disintegrated, so I obviously had to eat it. It was Green and Blacks 71% Dark (not Canadian, but I get the impression it’s not widely available in the States), but have no fear, there is other chocolaty goodness for the prize pack instead, I don’t have pictures of the samples or the chocolate.  But I do have a picture of a tree that seems to have had a bit of a problem with gravity.

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So I’ve been wanting a rice krispie square for the longest time, but didn’t necessarily want to buy or eat of box of rice krispies or marshmallows, and would prefer a healthier alterntive.  I’ve seen marginally healthier alternatives around, but most are on the expensive side, close to a dollar per square, for a box of 5 or so squares.  Which leads me to find number 1 from the “World’s Most Ridiculous Bulk Food Store”.  I found a box of Source Salba (aka chia) Krispy rice bars, 8 bars for $3 (5-6$ in a regular grocery store).  I had one for a snack when I finally got home.  To borrow a phrase, HOLY YUM!  It’s has the perfect chewy rice krispie texture.  It’s definitely sweet, but not sickeningly so, and it has the most amazing fruity flavour that I can only assume is the flavour of the blue agave nectar, since I’ve never had blue agave plain before (only the dark).  I might be in love, it’s a perfect treat for my sweet tooth.

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Finally to finish the day I had a veggie filled dinner.  There was a pile (mostly hiding) of brussel sprouts sauteed in olive oil, salt and pepper, some egg white cooked with jo tsai/garlic chives, red and yellow pepper strips, and the last seitan sausage, browned in the pan after the sprouts to crisp up the outside.  With ketchup, and maple flakes for the sprouts, best idea ever.  I think I must make more seitan.  Tomorrow.  Now I’m all for getting ready for bed.

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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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What begins and ends with yogurt? March 18, 2009

This weekend I had an odd craving for fruit salad.  The canned kind with bright red cherries.  So I ventured down the appropriate isle in the supermarket to check out the offerings.  I was quite pleased to find some good old Del Monte packed in fruit juice, so I bought a can.  This morning I incorporated the fruity treat into a breakfast parfait inspired by Caroline at The Broccoli Hut.  I filled up a glass with layers of fruit salad, Mapleton’s Organics plain nonfat yogurt, and some delicious Grandma Emily’s Blueberry Cranberry Granola.

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And I grabbed a handful of almonds before heading out the door.

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I was going to bring the last of the chili to work with me, but when I opened the container I discovered mold growing along the egde.  Ewwww!  So instead, I chopped up some veggies and hummus.  There were white, orange, and purple carrots, grape tomatoes, cucmber, and a piece of sweet potato.

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For snacks I brought a juicy sliced Lady Alice apple (new to me variety, very tasty), a blood orange, and some delicious figs.  I love  fresh figs.

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For dinner I fixed a pseudo-sloppy joe.  Between two slices of toasted Ezekiel bread I sandwiched some Yves Italian Veggie Ground Round, cucumber slices, and lots of ketchup.  Yummy.  The sandwich was paired with a heap of steamed broccoli topped with honey mustard.

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And finally for dessert I had my precious container of Oikos Honey Greek Yogurt.  Mmmmmm.  Based on the single flavour from each brand that I tried I’m going to have to say I like the Oikos better than Chobani.  Of course it has to be the more expensive one.

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Now could the Canadian grocers jump on the not-ridiculously-expensive non/low fat greek yogurt bandwagon, please and thank you?  Seriously, it shouldn’t be that difficult, considering regular Stonyfield Farm products are relatively easy to come by, you’re already dealing with the same company.