Plentiful Plants

Daily eats of a Torontonian student

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.

 

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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Best of Both Worlds June 2, 2009

This morning I was faced with a tough decision. I want both a green monster, and oatmeal. But not blended oats, I wanted something chewy. So I came up with what turned out to be a fantastically delicious compromise. I blended kale, a banana, vanilla, a couple spoonfuls of yogurt, and a splash of soy milk as a base. The I cooked up some oat bran in water and added it to the bowl. Then I sprinkled the lot with chia seeds and crumbled frozen raspberries. Then after the picture I stirred it all up (with some more berries) and let it sit while I cleaned up the kitchen. When I came back to the bowl I was treated to the most wonderful rice pudding like concoction. It was even the prefect temperature, I like my rice pudding chilled, and the frozen berries worked wonderfully to cool the oats to slightly below room temp. My stomach was happy this morning.

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For lunch I fixed up a whole whack of lettuce wraps. I stuffed big crunchy boston lettuce leaves with a can of sardines and leftover salad topping from yesterday (carrot, cucumber, zucchini, red pepper, asparagus, BBBV). A bit messy to eat, but very tasty, and there were napkins close by.

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And afternoon snackage was accomplished with a bowful of sweet cherries and crunchy cukes.

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When I got home I steamed a pile of broccoli, dug into my container of black beans, and combined them with avocado, parsley and salsa to make a tasty, messy bowl of dinner.

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And to finish the day there was a delightful ice cream sandwich.

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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.

 

Mildly Fantastic May 30, 2009

Happy Weekend Bloggies!

This morning I started out with a deliciously murky green monster.  In the mix was kale, and apple, chia seeds, cocoa powder, and PB2.

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That moster provided excellent fuel for a morning of grocery shopping in which I picked up this week’s BSI ingredient, corn!  I bought one cob and proceeded to make the most amazing lunch ever!  I’ve had a jar of Simply Natural Pineapple Salsa sitting in the pantry for months but have been scared to try it because I’m not a huge fan of spicy, and store bought salsa tends to be too hot for me.  But Sophia‘s BSI choice provided the inspration to try it out.  So I took a look at what I had on hand and came up with what turned out to be a fantastically awesome (in my opinion at least) recipe for Corn Pancakes.

The ingredients for 4 3-inch pancakes (aka 1 serving):

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1/4 cup spelt flour (I’m sure regular whole wheat, or even ground oats would work too)
1 T cornmeal
1/2 t baking powder
3 egg whites (100g), lightly beaten
1/3 cup corn (1/2 the ear, fresh as it can be coming from the USA, raw, but frozen should work just as well)
1/4 cup diced red pepper
1/4 cup chopped chives (I keep a bag of them in the freezer)
a dash of salt

plus avocado and salsa for toppings (the salsa is a must, avocado good but optional)

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Mix the powdery ingredients together, then add the egg whites, salt and veggies.  The batter will be pretty thin, but it puffed up enough in the pan to surround the veggie pieces.  Then cook in a pan like any other pancake, and plate with toppings.

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The pancakes were great, the salsa was awesome (and actually mild, yay!), and together they made an fantastic lunch.  I loved the sweet bursts of corn in every bite.  If you’re not going to use salsa as a topping, I suggest adding more seasonings to the pancakes themselves along the lines of chili powder or onion, or else they might be a bit plain, but with salsa, the dish was perfect.

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The perfect bite.

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Then later in the afternoon I tried out a dessert I picked up for the first time because it was on sale for a ridiculously low price and I needed to satisfy my curiousity.  A Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich.  It was so good!  I haven’t tried them before because I figured, being a low-fat ice cream concoction, they would taste pretty weird like the other one’s I’ve tried in the past, but this succeeded in tasting like real ice cream!  I almost want to go back to the store tomorrow to see if they have any left so I can stock up for the summer.

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Now I’m off the meet some friends for a sushi dinner, so I’ll be back tomorrow 🙂

 

Sweet Strawberries May 11, 2009

So today was an extra long day at work. But only by 45 minutes. And I’m perfectly okay with it because it means next weekend will be EXTRA EXTRA long 🙂 12:30 Friday to Tuesday morning, go May 2-4 a week early this year (I just realized it this morning, hence the excitment)!

Breakfast this morning I was happy to have a green monster featuring a banana, apple, spinach, and chia seeds. Yummy, and it didn’t even look any darker despite the addition of black chia seeds instead of white.

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For lunch I brought a zucchini, celery, and carrot all chopped up and waiting to be dipped in a tasty, but slightly odd sweet salsa/relish thing made by my roomie’s grandma.

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And of course some fruit, tomato, strawberries, and frozen pineapple and grapes. I wasn’t going to buy strawberries until local ones came since the last ones I bought were quite diappointing, but when I walked by the display the over whelming berry aroma broke my resolve. And I’m glad it did because these one’s are so sweet and delicious!

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For an afternoon snack I had a  nice and crunchy Starbucks yogurt and garnola parfait (a barista roomie perk).  The slices of strawberry in the yogurt were MASSIVE! I loved it!

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For dinner I made a delish stirfry of tofu, snow peas, portabello, wild leeks, rice, thyme, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.

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And finally, for dessert, I savoured the last little slice of delicious chocolate cake. Thanks again Ricky!

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