Plentiful Plants

Daily eats of a Torontonian student

Cocoa Bean Bonanza July 26, 2009

Breakfast this morning was a simple bowl of snow peas, (particularly delicious) raspberries, and carrot filled with hemp nut butter and sprinkled with dulse.  Mmmm, dulse.

2009_07_26_breakfast

Lunch was a pretty fantastic salad.  I tossed a couple slices of cubed ShaSha Co. Ezekiel bread with orange juice concentrate, lemon thyme and finely julienned beets (my fingers came out the other side fully intact :)).  Then I served the mixture on a bed of red leaf lettuce and topped it with Marti cheese shavings.

2009_07_26_lunch

Then in the afternoon I had a bit of fun.  You know that cacao-date paste I made yesterday?  And the almonds that didn’t turn into almond milk?  Well I ground the almonds into a butter, mixed it with the date-cacao paste, shaped the mixture into balls and threw them into the freezer.

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Then I went out and bought a bar of President’s Choice Organic 70% dark chocolate.  And melted it.

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After a bit of dipping, rolling, and some chilling in the freezer I ended up with these rather wonderful little truffles.  The white is just condensation since I had just taken them out for the picture.

2009_07_26_truffles

I also used up the little bit of extra chocolate to roll some frozen banana chunks for a snack.  You know, along with licking the spoon and quality control checks and so forth.

2009_07_26_banana

Then, to add to the cocoa bean bonanaza I cooked up a HUGE pot of legumes.  I boiled 1/2 cup each pintos, chickpeas, adzuki, and black beans (which got their own pot to avoid dying everything else).  Then tossed the beans with a bag (~1 cup) each of thawed peas and asparagus from the freezer, a couple scoops of the pesto I made yesterday (maybe 3 T), the zest from a lemon and a lime, juice from half the lime, a pinch of salt, and a handful of parsley.  That big mess made one very large, very tasty bean salad.

2009_07_26_beans

You maybe wondering what I’m going to do with a whole plate of truffles and a ton of beans.  Well my former roommate and her then boyfriend-now husband are about to move to England for grad school, so we’re doing one last dinner and Settlers game night before they disappear.  I’m told there will be soup, and other people are bringing unknown items.  So I’m off for the night, but I’m bringing my camera 🙂

By the way, sometimes you can find smiles in the most unusual of places.  When I went on a mission to go buy chocolate this morning, I also found three bunches of marked down (but still very nice looking) organic bananas, which I hastily added to my basket for freezing purposes.  As I was leaving the grocery store there was a giant, thunderous down pour, and even with an umbrella, I (and everyone on the street at the time) ended up with soaked pants/socks/shoes/shirts/bags.  When I got closer to home, I passed by a homeless man standing on the sidewalk, holding out his hat.  But instead of asking for spare change, I heard “Spare ticket to Maui?”  He made me smile, and while I generally don’t carry cash, I came home with only two bunches of bananas, and he seemed happy.

 

Kawartha Ecological Growers CSA Love July 24, 2009

So before getting on with the food of the day, I have to give a major shout-out to Kat of Kat eats local in Toronto. You see, last Friday I was in a hurry to get to the registrar’s office before they closed, but on the way I passed by a table set up behind Hart House, full of veggies, with a crowd of people around it, and a big price list posted. I heard snippets of conversations that included “you can get either a large share of a small share”, “I have some extras of those you can buy”, “those are reserved for members”, etc.   It sounded like a CSA to me, and I was very intrigued, but like I said, in a hurry so I didn’t stop to investigate, though I had every intention of going back to check it out this week.

Meanwhile, I had left a comment to Kat that I was jealous of her Plan B CSA deliveries (deliveries are virtually impossible in my apartment building and their depots are not at all conveniently located or timed for me). Saturday morning she suggested I check our Kawartha Ecological Growers since they had different pick-up locations. Imagine my delight when I discovered they were the ones at Hart House! So this afternoon I very happily headed back to Hart House to hand over a check and pickup my very first share of goodies. I filled up my bag with beets, spinach, mixed basil, red leaf lettuce, cucumber, broccoli, peas, and raspberries. All organic (or close to organic but not certified), local, and BEAUTIFUL!

2009_07_24_csa

Anyways, on the the food. For breakfast I dug in the fridge for the last of the greens and produced a fabulous chocolate milkshake concoction 🙂 In the mix is Chocolate Spirutein (candy, again), kale, collards, spinach, wheatgrass ice cubes, chia seeds, and a banana. And once again and brought most to work, but enjoyed a little at home with blueberries (chocolate covered blueberries = yum).

2009_07_24_monster

For lunch I fixed up a fabulous salad with romaine, zucchini, yellow pepper, carrot, dulse, pineapple salsa, avocado, and Marti cheese.

2009_07_24_lunch

After work I headed to Simply Bulk to stock up on a few items, and saw they had Peanut Butter Cookie Larabars, so I pounced. I got to Hart House early for the CSA, so I enjoyed a bar and a book in the courtyard of University College while I waited. OMG, this flavour is so GOOD! It seriously tasted just like a PB cookie.

2009_07_24_larabar

I also stopped to enjoy the flowers outside of Trinity College.

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And finally, for a very late dinner I did some space clearing in the fridge for my CSA goodies. I fixed up a salad of romaine, zuke, orange pepper, and snow peas tossed with sesame oil and lemon juice. And alongside that I steamed (definitely steamed…) the last of my kabocha, with tomato paste and a peach for dessert. I think the kabocha monster is in need of a dentist, but that’s just my opinion.

2009_07_24_dinner

 

It Started Out Raw July 23, 2009

Breakfast this morning was a funny little green monster.  I’m not entirely sure I liked it.  I split it into two parts because I wasn’t very hungry when I woke up, and the second part had a really weird texture when I pulled it out.  It contained kale, frozen grapes, wheat grass ice cubes, chia seeds, and a handful of dates and almonds.  I think the lesson is almond milk > whole almonds and banana > dates.

2009_07_23_monster

My lunch was a wonderful salad, that I luckily packed into a container with a domed lid, because I definitely needed to extra room to fit everything in.  It contained zucchini, carrot, yellow pepper, snow peas, avocado, and Marti cheese.

2009_07_23_lunch

And later I snacked on a bunch if super ripe and delicious plums and blueberries.

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Then dinner is what started out raw.  I blended up a very tasty soup using king oyster mushrooms, a hunk of leek, kabocha, a Kallo no salt veggie stock cube, salt, and pepper.  Garnished with some delightful Live Food Bar Nacho Chips.  The soup tasted good, but then I quickly learned something.  If you eat kabocha raw, it kinda feels like the back of your thoat is swelling up and gets really scratchy.  So I quickly stopped, and poured the soup in a pan to cook for a bit.  At this point I was paranoid, so I left it on the stove for longer than it probably needed and ended up with a very tasty kabocha mash due to the amount of water that had boiled off.  But I happy ate it without feeling like I was going to suffocate 🙂  I also enjoyed a few more nachos (and lots of water to get rid of the icky throat feeling) while waiting for the soup to cook.

2009_07_23_soup

 

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.

2009_06_11_monster

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.

2009_06_11_lunch

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!).

 

Superthick June 9, 2009

I ate my green monster with a spoon this morning, it was so thick. I went with a classic peach/mango combo today along with spinach, chia seeds, and ice instead of water. And it was soooooo gooood 🙂

2009_06_09_monster

For lunch there was a salad mess of zucchini, carrot, and Devil Dawg with yogurt, mustard, and chive dressing.

2009_06_09_lunch

And a bowl of steamed kabocha with teriyaki sauce. I understand how this squash can be habit forming…

2009_06_09_kabocha

And in the afternoon I snacked on blueberries and a non-fuzzy golden kiwi (with the skin!).

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When I got home I nabbed a dried peach before it could get in front of the camera while busy chopping up mushrooms for a giant stirfry. The rest of the bowl was filled with snow peas, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Shitake + snow peas + sesame has to be one of my all time favourite combos.

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And for dessert there was a large slice of juicy sweet honeydew. And I went back for a sliver more, of course.

2009_06_09_honeydew

 

Mango Mint Madness June 8, 2009

Note to self: Catch up on sleep tonight.

After thoroughly enjoying the movie One Week last night, which made me want to take a road trip across the country, or at least to Northern Ontario, where I’ve never been, it took forever to fall asleep. Which meant I was very reluctant to get up this morning. But my green monster started to wake me up by the time I left for work. In the mix was banana, mango, chia seeds, chocolate mint, and a couple handfuls of spinach. Om nom nom…

2009_06_08_monster

Later in the morning I snacked on these biscotti thins that were found in the work kitchen. Well, technically I ate a different package, and brought these home for a picture…and because they were really good.

2009_06_08_biscotti

For lunch I brought the left over steamed broccoli and kabocha, sprinkled with soy sauce, along with a carrot and celery. And a Devil Dawg, which the cubicle-mate tried and loved and requested the recipe for 🙂

2009_06_08_lunch

And for and afternoon snack there was handful of snow peas with bean dip, and the rest of the Saturn peaches.

2009_06_08_snack

Then finally, for dinner I had a giant spin-zuke-shroom salad doused in BBBV.

2009_06_08_salad

Plus a delicious homemade (not by me) peanut butter granola bar. Only half of it made it onto the plate though, the crumbly bits went directly from bag to mouth.

2009_06_08_granola

 

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.

2009_06_07_dinner

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.

2009_06_07_yogurt

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.

2009_06_07_pita

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!

2009_06_07_steamed

And for dessert I dug into some of the cutest peaches ever.

2009_06_07_peaches

I dare you to pass by Saturn peaches in the grocery store and NOT buy them! The pits are so tiny, peanut sized!

2009_06_07_saturn

 

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.

2009_05_11_monster

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.

2009_05_11_veggies

2009_05_11_salsa

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!

2009_05_11_yogurt

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!

2009_05_11_dessert

 

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.

2009_05_10_breakfast

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.

2009_05_10_cake

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?

2009_05_10_wrap

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.

 

Epic Fail May 8, 2009

Before getting to today’s slightly scarring experience, let’s back track to last night’s bed-time snack.  I tried my pumpkin chips (that I bought a feww weeks ago along with mushroom chips).  They were okay.  They get points for being non-greasy, but didn’t they have much, if any pumpkin flavour and they were a but dry, like over baked squash.  Not buying these again…but I must go back for the mushrooms, and to try the apple chips….

2009_05_08_chips

This morning I had my appetite slightly ruined by part one of the day’s failure, which I cover later, so I ended up being hungry, but with only 10 minutes before I had to be out the door.  So I quickly grabbed whatever, and ended up with a bowl of Kashi GoLean Crunch (more hiding under the yogurt), yogurt, banana, and the last of my PB2 ;_;.  At least this breakfast managed to take a bad taste out of my mouth, and by the end I was enjoying it (quickly!)

2009_05_08_breakfast

For lunch I continued with my veggie and fruit spree.  There was a container of snow peas, carrots, cucumber, celery, and red pepper with left over pumpkin soup for dipping.

2009_05_08_lunch

And a container with a mango and TWO apples, gala and golden delicious (in honour of Sharon 🙂)

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For dinner I tossed romaine in my new favourite yogurt/whole grain dijon/chive dressing and topped it with a steaming pile of broccoli.

2009_05_08_dinner

Now what was my scarring experience that started in the morning and ended with some kitchen experiments tonight?

Last weekend I bought a papaya. It was completely green, but so were the other ones in the pile at the (chinese) grocery store. I figured it would ripen on the counter. By this morning, the papaya was still green, but it was a bit softer than on Sunday, so I figured it must be ripe, but just be a different variety than usual, like how mangos come in different colours. So I sliced it open and found this.

2009_05_08_papaya

I was suspicious.  Mostly because I was at least expecting the seeds to look the same. So before cutting it up and adding it to my lunch, I licked it (what? I’m the only one who’s going to eat it anyway). It was HORRIFYING. It’s ridiculously astringent, like unripe persimmons (I’ve lost one or two to not being able to tell when those things are fully ripened). I was going to throw the whole thing out, but thought I would stick in the fridge at least for today to see if the internet offered any useful information about green papayas. I looked them up during a slow period at work and found suggestions to cook them.

I was skeptical, but I gave two methods a try tonight (I was NOT about to try it raw again, no matter how many recipes for thai green papaya salad I found). One chunk took a trip in the oven with cinnamon and honey, and another one was boiled by itself so I could try it and add things later if it tasted any better. Both methods worked to take away the astringency, but once that was gone, the papaya still had a weird taste to it that I was not enjoying. The baked version was slightly better simply because it was drowned in honey, but still not very good and I didn’t bother eating more than a bite of either dish.

2009_05_08_cooked papaya

At least the experience is over, and I know better for next time. And this counts as me trying a new food right? No matter how accidentally, and unsuccessfully? I must look for something (hopefully) better for Katie’s Challenge this weekend….

I did finish the night on a better note though with tasty, crunchy roasted chickpeas. I mixed one can of chickpeas with 2 T tahini and 1 T cinnamon and roasted them in the oven at 400 for about an hour. The first batched (pictured) was a bit over cooked because I stopped check them so often and waited too long, but the second batch was perfect, some crunchy, some slightly soft still on the inside, just the way I like them. And I hope the person I give them to tomorrow likes them too 🙂

2009_05_08_chickpeas