Plentiful Plants

Daily eats of a Torontonian student

Pride and Grass June 28, 2009

This morning started off with a refreshing green monster featuring kale, chia seeds, banana, and pineapple.

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Later in the morning I headed out to restock my kale supply, and weather wasn’t looking particularly nice for a parade.

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But  by the time I got home and had some lunch, kabocha piled with zucchini noodles and mole (the last of the non-frozen mole, and a new plate!), it had cleared up.

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Though it was still quite cool out, and people were generally more clothed than usual for the Pride Parade.  This float being an exception.

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How about I show some of my own Skule (TM) pride with the Lady Godiva Memorial Bnad!

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And the cannon!

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I wasn’t particularly feeling like standing outside in the dampness for hours on end, so I watched from my partment window.  Which allowed me to nibble on snacks such as a bowlful of fresh strawberries and papaya, and a couple of dried bananas.

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After the parade, I had a little wheat grass juicing adventure!  I picked up this bag at the grocery store for $4.50.

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The internet told me to blend up the grass with some water in my Vitamix, then strain the pulp out with a mesh bag old white cotton T-shirt.  What the internet left out was to not put the whole half pound of grass in at once, and to cut up the grass a bit first to avoid the blades stalling.  But after I split the grass into three scissor chopped batches, and waited a few minutes for the blender to restart, all was well.  I added quite a bit of water, so I ended up with two ice cube trays, plus 12 muffin cups worth of juice in the freezer, as well as a glass left over to try out fresh.  I am glad I didn’t try to eat this massive amount of fiber, it looks a bit intimidating…never mind the wonky colouring of the picture.  I swear my hand isn’t THAT pink.

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My glass of wheat grass juice.  I really liked it!  I was surprised by how sweet it is, it tastes like it has stevia mixed in or something.  After the picture I added a couple ice cubes and a squeeze of lime, and the drink was perfect!  And yes, my tarragon is getting a bit out of hand, I need to find something good to use it in.

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When dinner time rolled around I wasn’t very hungry, so I snacked on the last of the Kashi crackers, and finished off my jar of sunflower seed butter, probably about 2.5 servings of each.

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Now I need a shower, even after doing dishes my hands still smell like grass!  Anyone else excited to get a day off in the middle of the week?

 

7 pounds of sweet June 14, 2009

I bought seven pounds of kabocha yesterday (it was going for 69 cents/lb!), 2 largish ones. And I steamed 1 whole one today to eat this week.

So breakfast part one was oatmeal cooked with a little banana, plus mango and cinnamon.

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Then breakfast part two was a chunk of warm kabocha with a spoonful of sunflower seed butter. Oh yum.

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For lunch I fixed up a romaine salad topped with black beans, strawberries, and feta cheese.

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Plus a Gena inspired (though probably not entirely raw) soup of zucchini, lime, a little Simply Organic Creamy Dill Dip mix (not raw?), and some extra dried dill. It was quite good, although would probably have been better with some avocado.

2009_06_14_soup

In the afternoon some people came over to play Wii, and I made muffins based off of this recipe, but replaced the applesauce and part of the carrot with mashed kabocha, flax with chia, and 2 T of the agave with blackstrap molasses, and used whole wheat pastry flour. And then cut the recipe in half. They were met with excellent reviews, very moist and gingerbready. I had one stuffed with runchy PB (because I really needed to eat more peanuts this weekend…) and finished the last one plain.

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And finally for dinner I had a plateful of steamed broccoli with pasta sauce for dipping, and a Tofurkey Beer Sausage donated by the roomie who has gone slightly crazy for them, and I have to agree, holy yum sausage!

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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.

 

What do you mean I need to go to work today? May 20, 2009

So it’s been a whole week since I went to the office, but this morning I had to go all the way up to work and spend the sitting in my cubicle. Don’t get me wrong, I like the work I get to do at the office (when I actually get work to do), but it was fun to do something more active and involved last week will doing the site inspection. At least we’re going to start inspecting another subway station soon, and it’ll take longer because we’re doing the WHOLE station instead of a couple of pedestrian passageways. Plus the station is even closer to home for me, I’ll probably just walk there 🙂
Before heading our for the commute this morning I crunched on a carrot with sunflower seed butter (which was amazing, I need to remember to eat this more often) as well as a Ginger Snap Larabar. I loved this bar, it has to be my favourite so far. I’ve been meaning to by ground ginger forever, and this bar will likely remind me to do it this weekend so I can replicate it.

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For lunch I reverted back to the salad mess (can you tell I’m likeing these?). This incarnation contained caulifower, orange pepper, canned salmon, broccoli sprouts, and citrusy bean dip. Broccoli sprouts + bean dip = brilliant.

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I also brought along the (somewhat) daily green monster. This mix included spinach, kale, chocolate mint, chia seeds, banana, mango, and a few frozen grapes.   But I never got aroung to drinking it a work, so I’m having it for dinner instead.  Minty, fruity love.

2009_05_20_monster

I did also have a 100 calorie pack of shortbread cookies from a very large pile in the kitchen at work for lunch dessert.  I doubt I’ll get hungry again before I go to bed, but if I do I’ll tack it onto tomorrow’s post.  My computer keeps telling me it want’s to turn itself off to update, so I’m taking it as a sign to read a novel for the rest of the evening.

 

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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Happy Coconutty Easter! April 13, 2009

This beautiful morning started out with tropic-oats.  I fixed up some oatmeal with water, a banana, coconut milk, and some Kashi GoLean Crunch.

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And to up the tropical factor, on the side I cleaned off some mango skins and pits.  Very elegantly, with a wet wash cloth by my side 🙂

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For lunch I continued the tropical theme, with a little Indian influence for my BSI: Coconut entry.  I made an impromptu Coconut Curry Shepard’s Pie, and it was quite delicious.

The filling was just a mix of what was in the fridge, asparagus, carrot, red pepper, snow peas, celery, and roasted pork tenderloin, abouts 3-4 cups worth.  The topping was simply mashed cauliflower, I used ~1/3 of a head (what I had), but I probably could have used more.  The whole dish was brought together with the Coconut Curry Sauce which was simply:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk (or more if you want)
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • salt, to taste

I boiled all the sauce ingredients until they were nicely thickened while I cut up the veggies.  I put the veggies and sauce in an oven dish, and mixed them up, and put them in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Before the oven:

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During that time I steamed and mashed my cauliflower, then added that on top of the veggies and put the dish back in the oven for another 20 minutes.  I made 4 small servings, or two large ones.

Here’s a closeup with the cauliflower topping somewhat intact (the reason I would have used more, not that it affects taste).

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I had a large serving for lunch, very satisfying.

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Later in the afternoon I snacked on some crunchy carrots with sunflower seed butter, a slightly addictive combination.

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For dinner I fixed up a La Tortilla Factory Multigrain wrap filled with romaine lettuce, red peppers, canned flaked tuna, several dill pickles, and lots of whole grain dijon mustard.  Dillicious once again.

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And now I’m enjoying the last few Shasha Co. Gingersnaps while preparing myself to go back to work tomorrow after a long, leisurely weekend.  Well, after the Mentalist and Amazing Race tonight that is….

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Dillicious April 1, 2009

I felt like switching things up a bit today and had snack type food for breakfast, and breakfast type food for snack.  Which means I started off the morning with a banana spread with sunflower seed butter and an apple.

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Late in the morning I had a seitan burger, green pepper, and a carrot.  The steak sauce in the picture I used for dipping my lunch

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For lunch I did a complete repeat of last night’s dinner.  More butternut squash fries, sliced zucchini, and roasted chicken breast.  That is one good meal.  Am I weird in that I usually hate cooked zucchini but love it raw?  It just gets so mushy when it’s cooked.

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My afternoon snack was some Dorset Cereals Fruits, Nuts, and Seeds cereal.

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Dorset cereals have been gazing at me from the grocery store shelves, longing for me to pick them up for years now.  But for some reason I never did.  I don’t know why, this one is pretty awesome and I don’t see how any of the other flavours could go wrong.  I think that might be one of the problems, too many awesome sounding flavours and I could never decide which one to try first.

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All the cereals are packed with dried fruits, nuts and seeds (30-60% depending on the flavour) along with rolled grains and flakey bits.  The thing that provoked me to finally buy a box is that the Fruits, Nuts and Seeds variety now contains pumpkin seeds.  I love pumpkin seeds.  And I’m so glad I did because this cereal is seriously good, you can tell all the add-ins are seriously high quality (and chilean flame raisins are incredible!). I also like that there is no extra sugar added (besides the sweetened banana chips) and I’d like to try cooking this up like oatmeal. I think next time I should try a berry heavy variety….

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When I got home all I wanted was pickles.  I figure that wouldn’t make much of a dinner, so I filled the meal out with a romaine heart with some caesar dressing, and plate of Mary’s Herb crackers and cheddar cheese.

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My roomie introduced me to the pickles and cheese combination years ago, and I must admit, it is oddly addicting.

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And dinner ended with a sweet dessert of Algerian dates dipped in peanut butter.

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Where have all the pictures gone? March 29, 2009

I was a bad food blogger today.  I forgot to grab my camera while in a rush to leave home this morning, and spent the rest of the day eating out without coming back to the apartment to pick it up!

I did manage to snap a photo of my breakfast though (even though the sun was hiding behind rain clouds).  I simply nuked some oat bran with unsweetend vanilla almond breeze and topped the bowl a pinch out of every single bag of nuts and dried fruits (and chocolate chips!) on the shelf.  Let’s call it trail mix, the list is a bit long.  But multiple the amount in the picture by about two, I ate down a layer and added more trail mix, then repeated.  There’s also a sprinkle of raw sucanat around the edge of the bowl and spoonful of sunflower seed butter, which were only on the first layer.  It was one good bowl of oats.

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Before leaving I made a batch of black bean brownies using this recipe as a base and modifying it to look like this.

  • 1 3/4 cups kidney beans, rinsed and drained (since I didn’t have a full 2 cups)
  • 150 g egg whites (4 or 5 whites)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sucanat
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (because apple sauce is acidic)
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces

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The brownies are quite good, I could tell they had beans in them, but in a good way.  This is coming from a half-asian who likes red bean paste in chinese desserts.  I got the same response from my (non-asian) friends who tried them.  They are quite soft though, I think I might reduce the liquids a bit if/when I make them again.  I cut up the batch into 12 100ish calorie brownies.  And this picture is the reason I forgot my camera, it was in my bag and I took it out to snap the cut brownie before packing them up.

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Alas, that is the end of the piccies…I went out to lunch at Hank’s Cafe.  Hank’s is the new Jamie Kennedy cafe, basically a replica of Gilead with a cool espresso machine.  It’s right beside the Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar on Church street.  Both cafes have (usually) really good quality soups, salads, sandwiches, and desserts.  Unfortunately the soup of the day, White and Yellow Carrot soup was too salty for me, but one of my friends also got it and loved it.  I should have asked to sample it before ordering, grr…  I have had some incredible soups there before though.  I tried bites of other’s pot roast stew and beet salad, and both were amazing.  I made up for my soup disappointment in the healthiest way possible and got one of the best ever oatmeal raisin cookies for dessert.  But I was most upset I forgot my camera due to my latte.  Which besides tasting amazing (I’m not a huge coffee drinker, and this had absolutely no need for sugar), was covered in beautiful latte art.  Two of the best baristas in Canada work at Hank’s and while neither were working at lunch today, they have taught their peers well and my latte was wonderfully decorated with a lineup of whimsical hearts.  I definately recommend Hank’s (or Gilead) for any one who wants an almost garanteed delicious, fast lunch in downtown Toronto (just ask to sample the soup first!, but the sandwichs (espcially mushroom) and baked goods are sure bets).  Cheap too, you can easily eat for less than $10.

I spent the afternoon playing Settlers of Catan and Wii at a friend’s gathering and we all dug into a potluck dinner.  I brought the rest of my foccacia and the brownies.  I tried a piece of Cuban fried plantain/milk fritter thing (I forget what it’s called) and some veggies with roasted red pepper hummus for apps.  For the main course I had some roasted chicken and portobella mushroom, and greek salad with amazing feta (minus the olives for me, can’t make myself like those things despite trying several times, including in spain).  And dessert was a black bean brownie with a scoop of vanilla froyo.  So many sweets today!

And to make up for a lack of pictures today, I’ll add this, another one of my roomie’s orchids.

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And don’t forget to head over the Strawberry Shortcake for a Simply awesome 100th post celebration giveaway!

Now I should head to bed so I can get up to head to work in six hours.  And I have some exciting news for tomorrow that requires a decision I need to sleep on…

 

Skule Nite! March 21, 2009

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Today was a good fun and laughs with friends kind of day.

I started out with a big fruity breakfast bowl of oat bran.  I cooked the bran in Celestial Seasonings Contry Peach Passion Tea with a banana, then topped the bowl with dried cherries, a medjool date, a few walnuts, and some pistachios.  Delicious.

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I also drank the rest of the peach tea, and some earl grey, with a variety of dishes.

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I spent the afternoon seeing Skule Nite with friends, which is an awesomely hilarious musical/sketch comedy show put on every year by UofT engineers (and others) about engineering life and pop culture in general.

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Before I left, I wasn’t hungry for lunch but I knew dinner was a long way off so I snacked on a carrot covered in tasty sunflower seed butter.

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I also grabbed an Apple Pie Larabar to have at intermission.  I found a Larabar flavour I like, in fact I really like it!  I’m a sucker for sales, and I think the issues I had with the larabars I had tried before were that the flavours were too simple, I could get the same effect with a date and few nuts.  So when I saw them on sale a while ago I decided to give them one more chance, and bought a handful of bars with more unique flavours and spicing in them than the cashew cookie and banana bread I had tried before.  Apple Pie = a success.  There will be more to come.

2009_03_21_larabar

We headed out to dinner after the show at Vegetarian Haven. I got the grilled seitan burger, it was delicious and enormous!  Here’s a picture of the half of the burger I took home.  The patty is about an inch thick, I plan to cut it half and make a whole new burger out of it.  The burger is on a nice herby bun with alfalfa sprouts, lettuce, cucumber, tomato, and grilled eggplant, peppers and zucchini.  And it came with a side salad topped with raw peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, and a very fragrant rosemary olive oil vinagrette.  There were also blue corn tortilla chips (which hid at the bottom of the box), but I don’t really like those.

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It felt odd but good getting a lot of compliments today.  I saw a lot of people who haven’t seen me since the end of last school year (aka about 90 pounds ago) and I got a few “Wow, you lot good”s.  I’ve never really been complimented on how I look before, and especially coming from a bunch of 21/2/3 year olds who don’t normally talk about anyone’s weight/appearance, it was a nice feeling.  I have started getting comments from the secretaries at work, but they go about it like they’re looking more for advice, and always seem disappointed that I don’t offer a quick faddy fix, just excersize and counting calories.  It just feels different coming for someone you’re own age (guys even) than someone 20 years older, I kinda like it.