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!

 

It’s Canada Day July 1, 2009

Up Canada way
On the first day of July!

Gotta love Stompin’ Tom 🙂

I made an honest attempt at patriotic breakfast art, which slightly failed due to runny ingredients. I started with a base of Heather inspired oatgurt, which I blended with water, chia and stevia powder. Then I took a pair of scissors to a cereal box for the application of strawberry “jam”, strawberries blended with agave and chia for thickening.

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While both ingredients were pretty fantastic, both separately, and together, they were a bit too runny to for proper stencil application. But you can figure out what that’s supposed to be, right?

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Lunch was a super tomato-y affair. Regular tomato, kumato, avocado, carrot, and pineapple salsa mixed with fresh parsley (which was amazing with bites of avocado).

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Then mid-afternoon I played around a bit in the kitchen and produced these tasty little Pumpkin Pie Bites.

I used:
~ 1 cup whole dates, which I chopped before processing
1/4 cup dried coconut
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 T water
~1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

I threw the first four ingredients in the food processor and chopped until combined (my dates were a bit dry, so you may not need the water). Then I formed the mixture into balls, and rolled them in the pumkpin seeds.

Pretty darned delicious, if I do say so myself. I snacked on a couple of them.

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For dinner I de-rawed/veganed myself for a plate of chicken baked with Peach and Bourbon BBQ sauce, baked kabocha, and steamed Europe’s Best Nature’s Balance frozen veggie mix. The kabocha received and dose of ketchup post photo-op.

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I used this Ted Reader’s sauce for the chicken, and it was really good, unexpectedly spicy, but good.

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And I’ve got some dessert waiting for me during SYTYCD, almost a repeat of yesterday, brazil nut milk blended with frozen raspberries (it was freezer clean out sort of night).  I would totally go see some fireworks, but all the displays except Ontario Place have been cancelled due to the outdoor city workers strike, so I assume Ontario Place is going to be over packed and the street car will be crazy to get home on at a reasonable hour to go to bed to get up for work tomorrow.  Though they will also have fireowkrs on Saturday night, s I might go see those.

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PS. I’m insanely jealous of Gina right now, I was hanging out in Chapter’s today browsing through Living Raw Food ($48, seriously? that’s not what the exchange rate is these days), and if I could go to 105degrees Academy, I totally would.

 

Nutty Snacks June 1, 2009

It was a dark and cloudy start to the week. At least until after I took pictures of my lunch. The sun was starting to come out by the time I had thrown together some breakfast. In the bowl is Allbran, Dorset Fruits, Nuts and Seeds Cereal, and soy milk. And on the side are some wonderfully sweet cherries (love!).

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For lunch I chopped up a giant salad. There was spring mix topped with carrot, cucumber, zucchini, red pepper, black beans, asparagus, and BBBV.

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Plus there were snacks, yogurt with blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and walnuts.

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And later a Ruth’s Lemon Hazelnut bar. I think this is one of my all time favourite bars, love the crunchy nuts.  Although, I’m perfectly willing to give new bars a try, especially Fullbars, if I win them in Krista’s Contest!

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For dinner I went a simple and protein filled route. I found some ground turkey in the freezer and turned it into a burger wrapped in a tortilla with spring mix, lots of pickles, ketchup, and mustard. And there were a couple of medjool dates stuffed with sunflower seed butter for dessert which escaped the camera.

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I did see something that made me a little happy today though. Today a city-wide mandatory 5 cent fee for plastic bags came into effect. I walk by a grocery store just outside the exit from the subway on my way home from work, and today there were quite a few people stuffing items into their purses or carrying boxes and bottles in their hands. I mean, do you really need a second bag to carry a sleeve of bagels?  It made me happy that the fee was actually working to make them save the plastic instead of taking the convenient route and taking the bag. It doesn’t effect me because I already grocery shop with my reusable bag anyways (or stick things in my shoulder bag). Now I just hope everybody doesn’t start amassing huge collections of the heavier bags that don’t really end up saving much plastic. I only need two, and already rarely use the second one, because that’s the number of hands I have anyways.

 

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.

 

Beats a Frappuccino Any Day May 26, 2009

Strawberries and Cream green monster, yes please! I even have an ingredients shot for you because I was anticipating the colour of the actual drink to be kinda gross. My strawberries were looking pretty sad, so I used a lot to finish off the container.

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The rest of the mix was kale, Natura unsweetened soymilk, and chia seeds. And it was creamy, dreamy, and delicious. And surprisingly green.

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For lunch I happily chomped through the other half of last night’s burger, topped with stone ground mustard and ketchup. Just as delicious as before.

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And I had a salad of zucchini, carrot, and grape tomatoes tossed in Back to Basics Balsamic Vinegrette.

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Later in the afternoon I enjoyed a few blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries along with a Zucchini Spelt muffin. These muffins were good to start with, but after a day or two, they are truely amazing, so moist and flavourful! It might have something to do with the freshly grated nutmeg.

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Then for dinner I brought out my steaming contraption (big pot, colander, and lid from another pot that happen to fit together perfectly), and fixed up some artichokes and aspargaus. For the dip I deviated from my typical tahini and lemon juice, and tryed a mix of hemp nut butter, fresh squeezed lemon, pepper, and thyme instead. And it was equally wonderful.

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And for dessert I finished off the watermelon in the fridge and had another muffin, yummy.

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Happy Earth Day! April 22, 2009

For breakfast this morning I started out with a sweet and crunchy bowl of Dorset Fruits, Nuts and Seeds cereal tossed with a chopped russet apple, and almond milk.  A perfect bowl to start the day.

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For lunch I dug into an awesome stirfry containing snow peas, tofu, shitake mushrooms, sesame oil, and teriyaki sauce (the soy-like kind).  The mushrooms were so flavourful, and at $4/lb, I can’t complain.

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The stirfry was followed by soup made by blending pepper squash, lentils, thyme, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves.  I made the cubicle-mate jealous with the scent of the soup when I heated it in the microwave at work (I’m usually lazy and eat my food at room temperature).

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Then in the afternoon I sipped my way through this monster.  I kept the spinach, apple, strawberries, banana, and chia seeds cold until afternoon by using less water, and filling the bottle with ice cubes before leaving in the morning, it worked perfectly.

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And when I finally made my way home tonight, I chopped up a pile of veg, tossed it with sage, thyme, dill, whole grain dijon, and olive oil.  Half an hour later I sat down to a giant steaming hot bowl of delicious roasted cauliflower, broccoli, carrot, and celeriac (the last of it) covered in a ketchupy drizzle.  Perfect warm me up food for the cold dreary weather outside.  And calorie-count.com tells me there are 20 g of protein (not complete, but a single meal doesn’t have to be) and 25 g of fiber in that bowl, and that’s not counting the seasonings!

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Backwards April 19, 2009

I unintentionally ate backwards today.  Dinner for breakfast was a La Tortilla Factory Multigrain wrap filled with spinach, red peppers, cucumber, and the leftover Lemony Hummus Style Blended Quinoa.  The wrap was a bit over stuffed, which lead to messy eating, but it was da-lish.

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For lunch I had a huge bowl of roasted goodies.  Cauliflower, celeriac, pepper squash, and brussel sprout were all tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper, and cisped up in the oven, and I ate the last of the pork tenderloin along with a drizzle of ketchup.

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Then I showed some restraint and only blended two things this afternoon, one of which I didn’t even eat, it’ll show up in lunches this week.  The consumed vita-mix treat was a green monster, almost the same as yesterday’s because it was so good, just spinach and a russet apple.

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And later I just had to dig into this bag that I found in Chinatown this morning.  I bought the mushroom and pumpkin chips, but there were also green bean, apple, and I think pineapple (I might be making that one up)?  The mushroom ones, are really good.  The flavour is nice and mild shitake, not super overpowering like I was afraid of, and they aren’t greasy at all, just perfectly crunchy.

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And to end the day’s eats, all I wanted was oatmeal.  And it has been a while, so I went with it.  Besides, it’s not like I haven’t eaten enough veggies yet today or anything.  Into the pot went steel cut oats, a banana, raisins, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  Look at how dark the oats are, I like my bowl heavily spiced.  Then I topped everything off with more raisins, and Kashi GoLean Crunch.  It really hit the spot.  This was actually the first time I’ve made steel cut oats in a pot, and I liked that they were a lot chewier than my slowcooked version.

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And now for Sunday night CTV time, and new Desperate Houswives, finally!

 

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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Why is there snow falling? March 30, 2009

Seriously, there was undeniably snow falling out of the sky this morning.  At least it didn’t stick around, that would have been really crazy.  So anyways, after yesterday’s pictureless post, and this morning’s BSI interlude, it’s time to get back to more normal proceedings. Let’s start with breakfast.

I stocked up my almost empty cereal shelf this weekend and dug into a bowl of super crunchy fun first thing today. In my bowl is Health Valley spelt flakes with cranberries, Nature’s Path Leapin’ Lemurs (hehehe…), Barbara’s Bakery Cinnamon Puffins, unsweetened vanilla almond breeze, and extra dried cranberries. A much more noisy breakfast than usual.

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Later in the morning I dug into a container packed with strawberries, mango, and blackberries, all sweet and delicious.

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For lunch I had leftover pureed cauliflower with paprika and nutritional yeast, a homemade seitan burger, carrot slices, and green pepper strips. I’m quite proud of my seitan, I like it a lot.

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I was hungry when I got home so I snacked an english crumpet with strawberry, blackberry and acai jam while waiting for my dinner to come out of the oven.  I love how the jam melts down into all the crevices.

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The main event was a plateful of (olive oil and thyme) butternut squash fries and raw zucchini slices along with some roasted chicken breast. Well worth the wait. The plate got a dose of ketchup after the picture. And I might have made extra b-nut fries for lunch tomorrow.

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Roasty Toasty March 26, 2009

I got a surprise last night when I checked the mailbox and found a sample of Kaizen whey protein powder I forgot I ordered a while ago.

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I decided to test it our in my oats this morning.  I mixed 1/3 the packet of chocolate powder with a bit of water, then added that to my steel cut oats and topped the bowl with a Banana Bread Elevate Me! bar.  I was going for protein this morning, can you tell?  I tried the protein/water mixture before adding it the the oats, and it tasted really good, like hot chocolate (it’s sweetened with stevia), but unfortunately I couldn’t taste any chocolate at all in the oatmeal.  But I guess adding no flavour is better than adding a bad flavour.  I’ll probably mix the rest of the powder up in some sort of beverage.  I don’t have enough experience with protein powders to make a very good comparison of this powder to others.

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For lunch I happily dug into another huge salad.  This one included romaine, cucumber, yellow and orange pepper, a carrot, and another turkey sausage.  For dressing I brought along some yogurt and Big Bull steak sauce (I think I might be a little obsessed).

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Later in the afternoon I enjoyed a not-so-blood orange.  Seriously, where did all the colour go?  I also had a whole wheat english muffin spread with peanut butter, pumpkin pie spice, and dried cherries.  Dried fruit in PB sandwiches tastes so much better than jam, strong flavour without being too sweet.

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Tonight I tried out some Health Valley Spelt Flakes with Cranberries while waiting for the rest of my dinner to roast in the oven.  I just ate it dry, but it was really good, nice and crunchy.

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Then I enjoyed a big plate full of roasted cauliflower with Indian Malasa spice, and butternut squash fries with ketchup for dipping.

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And dessert was a scoop of Haagen Dasz Half Fat Vanilla Ice cream.  Yum.

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