Plentiful Plants

Daily eats of a Torontonian student

Happy warm and sunny Friday! March 6, 2009

The weather’s gone topsy turvy this week.  Monday it was -15 (-26 windchill), today it’s +18!   Too bad it’s not going to be so warm all weekend…and it’s going to rain…

This morning I grabbed a quick to-go breakfast of an Elevate Me! Matcha Green Tea and Cranberries Bar. This is probably my least favourite of these bars simply because I’m not a huge fan of matcha powder. But of course I still had to buy and try it, because it would have been just silly not to buy one of each flavour when they were so cheap, right?

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The lunch I packed the night before included left over stirfry (romanesco concerto veggies, corn, wax beans, tuna, teriyaki sauce) as well as the last piece of pizza crust flatbread.

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And for snacks I had an juicy Fuji apple, crunchy carrot, cucumber slices, and sweet red pepper strips.

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When I got home I grabbed a snack of  Kashi Seven Whole Grains and Almonds bar, ditched my long sleeve shirt for a tee,  and went out to enjoy the warm weather on a walk to the grocery store with the roomie (I kept the winter coat, unzipped, I’m not that crazy).

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I love that there is a large grocery store (Loblaw’s) that manages to have an abundance of reasonably priced organic produce.  The bananas, sweet potatoes, and onions were all the same price (or cheaper, for the potatoes) as the not-on-sale conventional items.

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I spent 4 cents shy of $20 on that lot.  The only non-organic item was the canned tomatoes, I chose to save a dollar, and some salt (mainly the salt).

When we got home I reheated the last of the tuna stirfry (it’s gone, I swear!), and later had a some of the Carribean Rice and Pigeon Peas that the roomie was cooking up.  It was really good, there was coconut milk involved.

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And now I’m going to relax.  I tried to do my taxes, and I mostly did them, but my school’s student services website is closed until the morning, so I can’t get my tuition amounts.  What website has opening hours anyway?  Oh well, I wasn’t going to file tonight anyway because I want to change my address first so my parents don’t need to continue to deliver my government mail to me, but I can’t do that until CRA mails me (aka the parents) a password to let me sign on online  to make the change  some time next week, I hope.  Why do governments have to make things so complicated?

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Birthdays all around… March 5, 2009

It was a slow day at work today, all the junior type people were waiting for further instructions on various projects from the senior type people, who were busy in meetings and on the phones trying to come up with things for us to do. So I amused myself by reading up on the various news articles about the city that have been published recently to celebrate that fact that tomorrow is Toronto’s 175th birthday! These pictures were particularly interesting.

Any way, I really like yesterday’s breakfast parfait, so I continued the trend this morning with a mixture of Kashi Honey Almond Flax cereal and Seven Whole Grain Puffs, topped with plain yogurt mixed with a bit of melted mascarpone brown sugar ice cream. A nice crunchy breakfast.

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Lunch time featured sandwich made of pizza crust flatbread, Big Bull Steak Sauce, red pepper, and two fried eggs.

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The tasty sandwich was accompanied by a sweet organic carrot. I also brought along some fruit, honeydew melon, red delicious apple, and ugli fruit (aka Jamaican tangelo).

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I’ve never had an ugli fruit before…it was good, but not spectacularly wonderful, given the price (1.29 for one) I probably won’t bother buying it again. It tasted like a less sweet, not particularly flavourful orange (but definitely not sour). It did get points for being very juicy.

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Home time finally came around, and after the commute I set to work preparing dinner. I stir fried some freezer veggies with a bit of teriyaki sauce  and tossed in a can of tuna for a tasty bowl of goodness. In the mix went Europe’s Best Romanesco Concerto mix, corn,  homegrown wax beans, fresh sqeezed lemon juice, Kikkoman low sodium teriyaki sauce, and albacore tuna.   The freezer is starting to look pleasantly roomy too, which is good news because there’s something I’ve been wanting to buy that requires some ice cold real estate.

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I topped off the day’s eats with a decadent dessert of dates stuffed with raw almond butter.

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Now I must go call my family to wish my dad happy birthday!

 

Testing new flavours… February 25, 2009

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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.

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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.

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The first day February 19, 2009

This morning for breakfast I had a lovely bowl of Hewitt’s skim milk natural yogurt topped with blueberries, chia seeds, and dried cranberries. I grew up about 10 minutes from Hewitt’s dairy and I like that the yogurt is local, so I picked it up when I saw it at a health food store a while ago. Unfortunately, it’s really watery and a bit more tart than I would like. I might strain the rest to make greek-ish yogurt, but I think I’ll switch back to the Liberte stuff I usually buy for eating plain.

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To take to work I packed up some very juicy fruit, cantaloupe, blackberries, and an almost too ripe banana. I had the banana and berries for a morning snack and the melon just before coming home.

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For lunch I brought a giant salad made of red leaf lettuce, cucumber, grape tomatoes, and red, yellow, and orange bell peppers. I shook up the veggies with some lemon juice and a finely chopped sun-dried tomato that was packed in olive oil.

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That huge salad was paired with some hearty homemade whole wheat bread and a couple of hard boiled eggs.

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For supper I quickly tossed some frozen asparagus spears with honey mustard and threw them in the oven along with some extra firm tofu slices topped with teriyaki sauce.  The microwave was treated to some Europe’s Best Romanesco Concerto frozen vegetable mix which included yellow and orange carrots, green beans, and broccoli romanesco.  These veggies also got some teriyaki sauce before ending up on my plate.

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And finally for dessert, a handful of roasted, salted cashews found their way in a glass, and under a grater.

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Why under a grater?  To catch a sprinkling of tasty freshly grated nutmeg of course!

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And now I should head back to the kitchen to clean up and get some lunch ready to take to work tomorrow.  Good night!