Plentiful Plants

Daily eats of a Torontonian student

Monarchs, Moms, Markets, and Moose! June 27, 2009

I woke up feeling artistic for breakfast this morning. My kabocha and raw mole monarch is approaching symmetry, right? I had another piece of kabocha too, but it would have ruined the picture.

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Then I set out for a morning at the markets with a fabulous blogger mom, Krista of Krista’s Kravings, and her beautiful daughter. I had a great time showing them around my favourite spots at both St. Lawrence and Kensington Markets. I even got Krista’s daughter to try durian, in the form of Durian Papaya jam, and she liked it! Krista particularly enjoyed a moose sighting, a remnant of the Moose In The City event 9 years ago (that long!?!)

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It’ll be great to have a repeat market adventure later this summer too, we didn’t even make it to Chinatown!

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When lunch time rolled around I finally got to dig into the veggies my parents brought my last week! I washed a bowl of lettuce and topped it with carrot, tomato, asparagus, feta cheese, and blended dill avocado dressing.

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And lunch dessert was a bowlful of strawberries and a caterpillar/slug/sea cucumber? The strawberries were delicious, the first local ones of the season, and I ate ate least twice the many throughout the afternoon. That brown thing was something new we discovered at The “World’s Most Ridiculous Bulk Food Store”, dried banana. I think it must have started out as a baby banana anyways, because I don’t see a whole regular sized banana shrinking quite that small, but it was quite good. It was a lot different than I was expecting, less sweet and kinda starchy/bready in texture instead of chewy, but I liked it.

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Then some time in the afternoon between talking on the phone with MY mom, and catching up on a couple days worth of Google Reader I completely lost track of time, so when I got hungry for dinner I went with something fast and easy. A bowlful of zucchini noodles with mole, and a peanut butter and pickle wrap.

2009_06_27_dinner

And then I enjoyed a movie with a big glass of superfast iced tea. This tea concentrate caught my eye in the grocery store the other day, though I didn’t do a very good job of reading the label. I thought it was unsweetened concentrate, but upon closer examination, it was sweetened with (non-artificial) cane sugar. Oh well, I added one packet to 1 L of water (instead of 500ml as suggested), and it tasted perfect to me, not too sweet but also not watered down. It’ll be handy to have these around for fast iced tea through the summer. Especially since the roomie has a habit of using all the ice in the freezer making his own iced tea (during the day, when I’m not home), then not restocking the supplies!

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Now hopefully tomorrow my pictures will be a bit less blurry. It took a lot more trys than it should have to get some of these pictures today. Playing golf for the first time yesterday really used muscles in my hands and forearms that aren’t normally used, when ever I go to press down with my finger to take a picture or to click the mouse, my finger starts shaking.  Obviously I wasn’t doing a very good job of taking advice to relax my hands!

 

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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2009_05_31_flavours

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.

 

Minty Green May 15, 2009

I had a couple surprises today, both of them fun things.

This first surprise was when I got up this morning and the roomie was gone!  Apparently he worked this morning, which means I was free to make as much noise as I wanted.  Enter the blender.  A foot long sprig of chocolate mint, chocolate rice protein powder, red kale, chia seeds, a banana and grapes.  Amazing.

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This protein powder was pretty good, a first time try for me.  I bought a berry flavoured one too.

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For lunch I repeated my salad mess.   They’re really tasty.  Today I included zucchini, tofu, orange pepper, yogurt, stone ground mustard, and a handful of chives.

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And lunch dessert was a granny smith apple with almonds.

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My second surprise of the day was when we finished all the work we could do on site, so we went home early!  Extra long weekend for the win, even though I didn’t actually work summer hours this week!

So I went for a long walk this afternoon, and at some point the idea of a sandwich for dinner popped into my head and sounded like the best idea in the world.  So I actually stopped into grocery store on the way home to pick up the necessary ingredients (I never do that).  I ended up with a whole wheat kaiser roll, sliced turkey breast, and herbed goat cheese.  At home I also added mustard, freshly picked parsley, tomato, and dill pickle.  It was a pretty awesome sandwich, and it made my stomach very happy 🙂

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But concrete is supposed to crack…. May 14, 2009

Though maybe we should only outline the really big cracks so the general public doesn’t think the whole station is about to fall down….

Breakfast started out this morning with a hearty bowlful of oatmeal topped with Allbran cereal, strawberry, blackberry and acai jam, and peanut butter.

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Which was followed with some sweet honeydew melon.

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For lunch I made another mess salad, this time with kamut spirals, chicken, wild leeks, tomato, carrot, yogurt, and balsamic vinegar.  It ended up being really good, I was a bit concerned I may have added too large of a slosh of balsamic vinegar.

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Though I had room for a little more lunch after working up an appetite climbing ladders and hammering away, so lunch dessert was some sliced cucumber and a delicious ataulfo mango.

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And for dinner tonight I fixed up a quick salad of romaine, cucumber, carrot (hiding, apparently), yellow pepper, tomato, dill pickle, and a little Big Bull steak sauce.  And on the side I had a slice of sunflower seed bread spread with delicious pesto, and a medjool date for dessert.

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The Multitasker May 10, 2009

So I’m currently multitasking by writing this post during commercial breaks.  So aside from the fact that I’m happy that the team I wanted to won The Amazing Race, I have a complaint.  This silly Oasis commercial telling you to buy their juice because it’s Canadian.  WTF?!? Since when did oranges grow in Canada?  I’m sure it’s packaged in Canada, but the oranges are definitely grown in the States (or Mexico?).  And apparently no body else has noticed the irony (or the cuteness), because I can’t find a clip of the commercial on youtube.  Talking oranges in toques, seriously? 100% Canadian taste my bum.

Anyways, breakfast this morning was a super crunchy bowl of Kashi Flakes and Granola and GoLean Crunch cereals with sweet strawberries and milk.

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For lunch I had a giant salad with romaine, carrot, tomato, cucumber, and snow peas dressed in lemon juice.

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And for dessert, a bit more delicious cake.

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Later in the afternoon I was hungry for something a bit more savoury, so I stuffed a small whole wheat tortilla with one of the best sandwich fillings, peanut butter and dill pickle.  Has anyone else tried this Kinsey Milhone specialty?

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And finally for dinner, I took a pair of scissors to my little herb garden.  I cooked up some Kamut Spirals and tossed them with asparagus sauteed in lemon juice, thyme, and olive oil.  The I topped it with a salmon fillet pan fried with tarragon.  I think I’m in love with the salmon/tarragon combination, and the fresh is (not surprisingly) so much better than the dried I’ve had before.

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And now to direct my full attention to the delightful Patrick Jane.

 

Can’t get enough April 29, 2009

…of them fruits and veggies 🙂

This morning started out with a deliciously thick and creamy fruit smoothie.  I blended up strawberries and a banana with water and chia seeds.  I love how thick the chia makes the smoothie, I actually ate it with a spoon like pudding!  And I love how the chia seeds keep me full for HOURS.  I didn’t think about lunch till 1!  The funky grey pink colour is due to the sun having JUST risen, it really was pinker than that…

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When I finally did break out my lunch I  munched my way through a container of green, red, and orange peppers, carrot, and cucumber.

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All those tasty veggies were dipped in the last of the asparagus edamummus.  And I had the rest of the left over orange dill striped bass too (I need to get some protein from somewhere after all!).  The hummus really is greener too…

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Late in the afternoon I enjoyed another slice of my morning glory bread.  I’m quite enjoying this stuff, I’m obviously going to have to experiment more with dehydrating things….

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Then for dinner I loaded up a plate of veggies, red leaf lettuce, red, orange, and yellow pepper (can you tell they were on sale?), carrot, snow peas, and dill pickles.  And I felt like having non-oil and vinegar dressing, and the only thing in the fridge was Kraft Calorie-Wise Ceasar, so I went with it.  I should pick up a better dressing next time I see something good.

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And desset was amazing.  I tossed pineapple with a little sucanat and vanilla, and sauteed it in a frying pan until all the juice had evaporated and the fruit started to caramellize.  Then I topped the bowl with Kashi GoLean Crunch.  Crunchy, sweet, delicious!  And the perfect solution to the to-much-pineapple-sore-tongue problem, does anybody else get that?

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A glorious morning BSI April 26, 2009

This morning I was excited for my BSI:almonds breakfast entry after waiting for it for most of yesterday.  I wanted to try to make a raw food type bread, but I don’t have a proper dehydrator, so I knew it wouldn’t be actually raw, which I’m okay with, because it’s still delicious.  So may I present:

Morning Glory Bread

Ingredients (I used the official weights in brackets):

  • 1/2 a small pinapple (350 g)
  • 2 carrots (135 g)
  • 1 apple (100 g)
  • 1 cup almonds (95 g)
  • 1/3 cup raisins (60 g)
  • 5 T dried unsweetened coconut (30 g)
  • zest of one orange (15 g)
  • 1 T cinnamon

Directions:

I grated the carrots, pureed the pineapple, apple and orange zest, and roughly ground the almonds, then mixed everything together, and spread the mixture out on a lightly greased, aluminum foil covered cookie sheet.  Then I dried the mix in the oven set at ~175 (below the 200 marking on the dial) for ~6 hours.

The recipe divided up in 6 servings worked out to about 50 g of bread per serving after drying with 210 calories, 11 g fat, 26 g carbs, 6 g fibre, 15 g sugar, 5 g protein.

I tore up a slice of the bread over a bowlful of plain yogurt mixed with leftover pineapple puree for breakfast and it was delicious.  I gave some to the roomie and a friend of ours that came over in the afternoon and they both love it too.  My friend even said it tasted like her mom’s carrot cake.  I’m definitely happy with this kitchen experiment 🙂

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For lunch I had a red leaf lettuce salad topped with a mix of carrot, lentils, green pepper and asparagus edamummus.  And a handfull of dill pickles.  And the rest of the yogurt and pineapple (without bread), but I’m not including the picture because this post already has enough pictures coming and I’ll spare you the scrolling.

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In the afternoon I had a taste of Godiva chocolate liqueur our friend brought over (just a couple of sample bottles) mixed with Natura unsweetened soy milk, so tasty, especially in the mini martini glass.

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And had many cups of (Golden Mint Tea Co. Monk’s Blend aka Pomegranate Vanilla) tea in the cutest mug ever that I found in the dollar store (go year of the tiger!).

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For dinner we threw a bunch of stuff into the oven, asparagus tossed in balsamic vinegar, sweet potato fries, and striped bass with orange juice concentrate and dried dill.

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Then dessert was a piece of this Theobroma dark chocolate, more yum.

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Then I got hungry for a snack so I pulled a slice of ezekiel bread fom the freezer, toasted it, ans spread on some strawberry, blackberry, and acai jam and sunflower seed butter.

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And now I am munching on a russet apple before getting ready for bed.

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And because I promised yesterday, these are the herbs I bought and planted yesterday. First is the big box filled with parsley, sage, golden thyme, rosemary, and tarragon.

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Then there’s the chocolate mint.  I tested a leaf before I bought it, and it tastes AMAZING, exactly like mint chocolate!  Can’t wait to use it, I’m thinking it’ll make an excellent green monster ingredient.

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And I also upgraded the container size for my spider plant.  It’s roots had started growing out of the drainage hole of it’s old container.  The yogurt is a much better fit.  I also cleaned and rearranged my room today, making a good spot to put plants by the south facing window.  I’m considering trying to grow cherry tomatoes…I know I’ll need to pollinate them myself, but has any one tried planting these indoors before?

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And finally I found this old school entertainment in the laundry room.

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Chocolate Heaven April 21, 2009

Today was a busy day at work, I never even got a change to open my gmail/reader, let alone start writing this post.  I even stayed half an hour late in order to finish up one section of what I was doing so I can start a new one tomorrow.  Makes up for all those days of nothing to do a few weeks ago.

I started off with a slice of toasted ezekiel bread with strawberry, blackberry, acai jam.

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It was a small breakfast, but I made up for it by sipping on a giant, quite thick monster all morning long.  This decadant tasting treat contained a ton of spinach, soft tofu, TWO bananas, and cocoa powder.  So creamy, chocolatey delicious.

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For lunch I had a giant Kath and Kelsey inspired salad.  The based was romaine, carrot, cucumber, and red pepper.  Then on top I mashed a can of sardines (alas, same brand but just packed in water), and mixed them with mustard, dried dill, and dill pickles.  Mustard + dill = amazing, can’t believe I’ve never had that combination before.

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In the afternoon I snacked on a contained of tomato, starfruit, and bosc pear.  For those who are interested, a good starfruit, is firm, with no green left, but only the smallest possible amount of brown at the edges.  And I hear they do ripen on the counter if the store only has partly green ones.  And you can eat the entire thing.  And they’re very yummy, the flavour’s subtle, not hit you over the head strong or sweet, but they taste refreshingly tropical.

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One my way home I dug into a Chia Razz Weil Bar.  Very good, I love the raspberry flavour.

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And for dinner I was feeling lazy, so I nabbed myself a fresh sesame bagel from a platter in the kitchen at work, and spread half with asparagus edamummus, and had the other half with nuked egg whites and some ridiculously good dill havarti.  And surprisingly now, a few hours later, I’m still full.  The bagel was pretty big, but it was white bread, I wasn’t quite expecting that, but I won’t complain.

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I think I’m in love April 18, 2009

The good thing that I was hoping would work out today, did in fact happen. And as a result I’ve been having way too much fun in the kitchen.

But first breakfast. It was simple, and I wasn’t very hungy. I headed down to St. Lawrence Market and bought entire basket of russet apples, because they’re probably my favourite variety, and can be hard to find. So I had one along with a handful of Sahale Snacks Pomegranate Vanilla Cashews. Delicious.

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For lunch I fixed up a quick wrap with a La Tortilla Factory Multigrain wrap, cucumber, red pepper, dill pickle, egg white, and whole grain dijon. It satisfied my craving for tangy salty dills.

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In the afternoon I had an awesome green monster made with lots of spinach, a russet apple, a date, and water/ice.

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Then a bit later I had a bowlful of strawberry banana sorbet.

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And the rest of the sorbet topped with some raw pumpkin seed butter. I swear the butter looks A LOT greener in real life. It just refused to photograph green.

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Can you guess what I did in the lobby of a stranger’s apartment building with a wad of cash after lunch today?

I’ll give you a hint, here’s my dinner about 5 minutes before I ate it.

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I bought a VITA-MIX!!!!

And I love it. Thanks to craigslist it only cost me $275CND.  I’ve wanted one since I saw a demo at the CNE last summer, and when I saw it for that price I knew I had to act quickly.

I also made the almond milk that I used in the sorbet, since I just ran out of almond breeze anyway. And even with making all that stuff this afternoon/evening, there’s hardly any mess at all in the kitchen.

My dinner, after blending, became a beautiful carrot celeriac soup which contained ~1/3 celeriac root, 1 huge carrot, 1 small onion, 1 Kallo no salt veggie boullion cube, ~ cup water, pepper, thyme. And I ate half of that. I had celeriac for the first time as remoulade in France, and I fell in love with it, but this is the first time I’ve cooked with it myself, so I’m so happy the soup turned out very nicely.

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