Plentiful Plants

Daily eats of a Torontonian student

Relishing Retinol June 11, 2009

There was only one thing missing after watching So You Think You Can Dance last night, no voting! My roomie and I had a a lot of fun actually voting during SYTYCD Canada last summer (after all, it was free). But it did mean I actually got to bed quickly after it was done instead of staying up to hit redial a bunch of times until I actually got through.

This morning I got up and was hungry for a green monster. It wasn’;y as mucky as yesterday’s, but not quite green either. In the super tasty mix was spinach, banana, blueberries, chia seeds, and Nutribiotics Mixed Berry Rice protein powder.

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For lunch I packed up the rest of the baked kabocha. I think I need to go buy some more this weekend, it’s so good. And stuffed in the empty spaces is snow peas.

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And also a sliced up devil dawg, carrots, and honeydew. I’m not lacking in the vitamin A department today, that’s for sure. At work I also had a handful of the cubicle-mate’s erroneously unflavoured Kashi crackers.

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And then, just as I was finishing dinner preparations the roomie came home with his parents and there was a kerfluffle of visiting and helping unpacking stuff, so while I thought I took a picture of my plate, my camera tells me otherwise.  But I had a zucchini/snow pea/black bean salad with yogurt/mustard/chive dressing along with a steamed sole fillet and half a whole wheat pita.  Very tasty, though the picture wouldn’t have been very nice anyways since it’s dark and rainy out (boo!).

 

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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The Other, Other Red Meat June 6, 2009

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So thins morning I went on an adventure. I finally figured out how to get onto the Don Valley Trail so I followed it up from the Riverdale Park entrance to Taylors Bush Park, then left the expressway behind and crossed the park over to Victoria Park Avenue. Then I took the subway part of the way home, stopping to pick up a few more groceries.

Before leaving I had a quick and delicious breakfast, Crunchy Peanut Butter Clif bar. Can I say YUM? This is a serious rival to Carrot Cake as my favourite Clif flavour, so peanutty.

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My very first design project in university was to analyze and design a replacement for this bridge. Oh what I could tell you about the Prince Edward Viaduct….

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There were lots of these flowers all along the valley.

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And little rapids in some spots.

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Giant planters by the DVP.

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And creek flowing over the path making a mini waterfall (there was a bridge a few meters away).

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When I got home I was hungry for a banana, straight up.

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Then I set to work on this week’s BSI recipe, featuring red bell peppers. I started by roasting two smallish red peppers under the broiler for about 10 minutes.

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Then peeling them. Beautiful.

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Then I made excellent use of the roasty result to make Smoky Roasted Red Pepper Seitan Sausages. However, I was making up the recipe a bit as I was going along, and the final product ended up reminding both me and the roomie of hot dogs (he actually made the suggestion first as they were steaming). So they’ve earned the nick name Devil Dawgs.

The ingredients:

1.5 cups gluten flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 roasted red peppers (about 2/3 cup)
1 T chili powder
1/2 T cinnamon
1/2 T maple syrup
1/2 T light soy sauce
1/2 t liquid smoke
~8 cloves roasted garlic (aka. all I had left in the fridge)
sprig each of rosemary and thyme

All the ingredients except the gluten and yeast went into a measuring cup, which I then filled up to the 1 cup line with water, then dumped into the blender for a twirl (no, not the cup itself).

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Then I combined the gluten and yeast, and added the liquids. And kneaded for a couple of minutes (kneading gluten feels it so fun). I discovered we’re out of aluminum foil, so I used wax paper instead to wrap the dough, which I divided into 8 peices. Some were sausage shaped, some were just patties.

And they took a 30 minute trip to the steamer (aka colander that fits nicely in a large pot with a few inches of boiling water).

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The wax paper doesn’t have the tensile strength of aluminum, so most of the sausages burst open as they steamed, and they weren’t wrapped very tightly to begin with, which lead to not-so-pretty shapes, but the seitan was nice and fluffy and delicious 🙂  The sweet peppers and maple with the chili and smoke really does taste like a hot dog, perfect summer recipe! The roomie informed me I would have to teach him how to make it.

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For lunch/dinner I had one of the patties in a pita with spinach, mustard, and relish. Along with a pile of carrot and celery sticks, and dollop of bean dip, and a few juicy lychees. The dip was a quick mix of 1.5 C black beans, juice of 1 lemon, a clove of raw garlic, and a spoon of hemp nut butter. A wonderful meal.

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Now I need a sleep before taking a midnight hammer to the subway tracks.  Enough with the mammoth posts already!

 

Mystery Food June 5, 2009

I had something new to try in my green monster this morning, a packet of Vega Smoothie Infusion.

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I blended it up with kale and a banana. I think it was good, it definitely added a nice fruity flavour to the smoothie that could not be attributed to the banana, but the smoothie had a really strong bitter kale aftertaste that doesn’t usually happen it me, and I wasn’t really enjoying by the end. I didn’t add any more kale than usual so I wasn’t expecting that. Maybe the greens powder in the mix just pushed it over the top. If I buy it again I’ll definitely tone down on the added greenery, then it’ll probably be super tasty.  The monster was a darker shade of green than usual…

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It was a short day at work so all I brought with me was cherries and cukes and tea in anticipation of a late lunch at home. I was also factoring in the room I would need in my bag to lug home my hard hat and safety acessories. I did also thoroughly enjoy two Lindt truffles from the giant box someone left in the kitchen for their birthday, hazelnut and dark chocolate, yum!

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When I got home I wasn’t hungry yet so I had two medjools, then went on a shopping trip.

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In chinatown I came across this. And had no idea what it was, so I bought it, of course. I do love an adventure 🙂

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I was thinking it might be some sort of flower bud.

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But when I took a closer look at it, it sort of reminded me of corn. Really fat, red corn. So I tried peeling back the leaves.

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Nope, not corn. Then I was daring, and cut it in half. I started to revert back to my original hunch that it was a flower bud of some sort.

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So I entered a search into google, “asian edible flower bud red large”, and the internet’s magical powers let me figure out that I had bought a banana flower. It seems that it’s used a lot in the Thailand-Sri Lanka corner of the globe. It was really neat once I started to pull it apart properly. Under each leaf is a little row of flowers that eventually grow into bananas! And you’ll notice that once a leaf is broken, the sap oxidizes and turns black really quickly.

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Under that leaf…

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Eventually I decided to pull out all the little flowers, then finely chop the lighter coloured leaves. I soaked them both in lemon juice and water for a while, then sauteed them in sesame oil and sweet chili sauce.

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It was alright. Nothing special, not bad, not not particularly good either, along the lines of bamboo shoots or the tougher bits of artichokes. But now I know what it is. And it was a pain taking the stamens out of all the flowers, and the leaves tasted better anyways, so I’ll just discard the flowers if there is a next time.

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In the process of identifying this weird new food I was getting hungry, so I finished off the head of boston lettuce drizzled with light caesar dressing.

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And I also just had a pita with a bit of peanut butter. But this post doesn’t need anymore pictures, does it? Now off to bed with me so I can get up super early for an International Hiking Day adventure! And so I’ll be tired enough to nap in the evening in order to work tomorrow night.

PS.  (The other) Exciting grocery find of the week, I knew exactly what it was, too bad I couldn’t find it a couple weeks ago, Kabocha!

 

So Complicated June 4, 2009

I discovered today that my weekend is about to get complicated, but for a slightly fun reason. I get to do a track level inspection at a subway station. At 2am Sunday morning when the subway stops running -.-, because being electrocuted by the third rail while dragging a metal chain around and hammering at concrete is NOT fun. So I need to play with my sleep schedule a bit in the coming days…good thing I’ve had experience, being an engineering student and all.

My breakfast this morning have a sunny tropical theme, pina colada green monster! In the mix is kale, chia seeds, Nutribiotics plain rice protein, a little banana, pineapple, and a sprinkle of coconut. Hit the spot.

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For lunch I made more progress on the bunch of celery sitting in the fridge by chopping it with some cucumber to make a salad bed. The toppings were black beans, avocado, salsa, lime juice, and yogurt. I’m out of peppers and carrots *tear*.

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There was also a pita and half a Maple Nut Clif bar.

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And cherries!

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For dinner I look in the seemingly mono-coloured fridge and fixed a boston lettuce salad topped with cucumber, avocado, and black beans. Plus a slash of orange in the form of juice concentrate from the freezer and a little raspberry red wine vinegar.

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And for dessert I’m taking this bowl of dried fruit salad with me for SYTYCD viewing, pineapple, peach, medjool, blueberries, and cherry flavoured craisins. And probably The Listener as well since I got sucked into it last night after unexpectedly seeing it was filmed in Toronto (Colm Feore in Trinity College = awesome!).

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Herb Overload June 3, 2009

I started my day with something a little bit different this morning. Pizza! My breakfast pizza featured an egg white crust, a little jarred pasta sauce, fresh sage, and a piece of Balderson 2 year old cheddar. It was very tasty after I removed some sage, that fresh stuff sure is strong!

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Accompanying my pizza was a small bowl of Kashi Flakes and Granola cereal with soy milk and banana.

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For lunch I fixed up a salad mess with celery, carrot, red pepper, black beans, yogurt, chives, and parsley. And I managed to assualt my taste buds again with a little too much parsley combined with the strongly flavoured outer ribs of a bunch of celery. Whoa! Along side the crunchy salad was a pita.

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Lunch dessert was a repeat from yesterday, cherries and cukes.

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In the afternoon my tastebuds recovered from a savoury overload with an awesometastic Coconut Cream Pie Larabar. I’ve never seen this flavour in stores before, so when I noticed it I grabbed one based on many other blogger’s raves about it. OH MY WORD it is GOOD! So soft and creamy and coconutty!

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For dinner I didn’t feel like cooking, and went a super simple route. Peanut butter, banana, and honey pita sandwich.  And I felt like a kid again.  Vegetables, what are those?

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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.

 

Moo Berry Magic May 29, 2009

Breakfast this moring was a crunchy bowl of All Bran cereal with soy milk and a Fuji apple with a spoonful of deliciously crunchy peanut butter. (No blended greens, I know, crazy!)

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For lunch I brought with me a giant salad filled with spring mix, carrot, cucumber, red pepper, Tofurkey, dino cheese, and BBBV.  I loved the way the smoky tofurkey flavour spread itself all over the salad, it was quite wonderful.

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Plus I enjoyed an Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Clif bar on the long and windy journey home.  Just like a cookie.

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When I finally did get home I happily dug into a bowl of yogurt filled with black, blue, and rasp berries.  The magical bit was an amazingly moist and flavourful dried pineapple ring.  Nothing like those hard hunks I’ve had before in trail mixes.

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And finally for dinner I made a quick and tasty tomato soup using canned tomato, italian herbs, massamun chili paste, and sweetened with the perfect choice, molasses.  I was pretty happy with that bowl.  Along side was a pit for dipping, and lovely raw asparagus.

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