Plentiful Plants

Daily eats of a Torontonian student

Quichesque March 9, 2009

Ugh.  That’s how I felt about the weather this morning.  First, when I left for work this morning it was DARK, cold and rainy.  Then when I got to work, it was SNOWING…seemingly for quite a while, I was not impressed.  Gotta love the lake effect sheltering downtown.  I also managed to be rather sluggish getting up this morning due to time shift and discovering the amazingness that is The Mentalist on TV last night.  Which meant I got to the subway station about 3 minutes later than usual, which coupled with the fact that the train stopped mysteriously in tunnels a few times, caused me to just miss my bus.  Then the next bus was late arriving, and slow going due to the snow.  And I got to work 10 minutes late (not that anybody cared), which doesn’t seem so bad, except that I usually arrive 15 minutes early, so my trip was actually 33% longer than usual.

But enough with the complaining, let’s get to the fun part of the agenda.  Breakfast, because I was trying to be quick was a Toasted Nuts ‘N Cranberry Luna bar.  Very fast and tasty, as was expected.

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Lunch part 1 was a container of veggies with some almond hummus.  In the mix was a carrot, lots of celery, some red pepper, a hunk of sweet potato, and a handful of collard greens, cut into hand bite size pieces.  I didn’t eat the collards though, the leavea were a lot larger than usual, which I think translated into them being more bitter than usual, making them not so great for eating raw the way I like to do.

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2009_03_09_hummus

Lunch part 2 was, surprise!, a container of chili.  And it held me over quite well until I was home again for dinner (in daylight!, pretty good trade off for the morning darkness).

2009_03_09_chili

For dinner I attempted to make a healthified quiche, and it turned out quite well.  First I toasted a slice of honey flaxbread from a Kensington bakery that my roomie requested I help him eat.  I fabricated a perfectly shaped oven dish out of aluminum foil, and set in the quiche crust, the bread was spread with some (very brown) avocado (moisture barrier to keep the bread from getting too soggy).  Then I added some roasted chicken breast and thawed frozen spinach (that I squeezed the water out of), to some well beaten egg whites, poured the mix in the container, sprinkled with a bit of parmesan, and baked until golden (30 min @400).  I just wish I had remembered to oil the foil because I had to be very careful prying the quiche out of its dish.

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2009_03_09_quiche

I enjoyed the quichesque creation with half a green monster (collards, the rest of the bag of frozen spinach, banana, mango, unsweetened vanilla almond breeze) and a handful of grape tomatoes.  I want to see how the monster holds up in the morning, so I know if I can make them ahead of time on a regular basis.

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Testing new flavours… February 25, 2009

2009_02_25_oatmeal

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.

2009_02_25_toppings

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.

2009_02_25_potato-shrimp

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Chocolate and greens February 22, 2009

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Last night I stayed up far too late watching Project Runway Canada and had two tasty snacks while doing so.

First, there was some bread slathered in tahini topped with honey dates.  I was sad to discover when I opened the bag of bread that one whole loaf (about the size of a sub roll) was starting to go moldy (I made 3 loaves last weekend).  So I cut off all the crusts and ended up with some very square pieces.  They still tasted good though.  I need to remember next time to put some bread in the freezer since my roommate and I don’t eat it very quickly.

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I topped of the night with some chocolaty treats.  A piece of Earl Grey chocolate and a Caramel Nut Brownie Luna bar.  I had never had this flavour bar before and was pleasantly surprised by the layer of caramel on top, very good.

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This morning for breakfast I finished off the bread, spreading it part with hummus, and part with strawberry, blackberry, acai jam.

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I also mixed up a thick berry-licious smoothie using silken tofu and blueberries.

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For lunch I had a big steaming bowl of chili paste and pumpkin spicy spinach soup topped with extra firm tofu cubes that were sauteed in olive oil and cinnamon.

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Unfortunately the tofu cubes sank before I could take a picture.  But I really enjoyed their cinnamony crusts.

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The smooth soup was enjoyed with some crunchy Sahale Snacks Ksar Pistachios.  So good, especially because I love pumpkin seeds, perfectly sweet with a hint of spice and chewy fig chunks.

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After a few hours of Mario Party Wii fun with the roomie I had a hot cup of tea with half a Carrot Cake Clif bar.

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Now I need to think about coming up with something for dinner before the Oscars start.  Don’t want to miss the red carpet….