Plentiful Plants

Daily eats of a Torontonian student

Blend, Baby, Blend and an Impromtu Contest! July 17, 2009

It was so dark out today! Whenever I went to take a picture, the sun was very well hidden, and it kept threatening to start raining (spitting) but never quite came. Or I may have simple changed locations before the rain actually came in some cases.

Anyways, a blender action shot for breakfast. That monster contained a mango, chia seeds, and a whole lot of collard greens.

2009_07_17_monster

For lunch I had a salad mess containing cucumber, asparagus, carrot, red pepper and tomato with a Peach Bourbon BBQ sauce topping.

2009_07_17_lunch

And in the afternoon half a pint of raspberries and a banana dissappeared.

2009_07_17_snack

I went to Whole Foods today for the first time in a couple of months, and spent some time browsing, which resulted me in sending too much money, but ending up with lots of fun new things to try. One of those things was a hunk of Marti cheese, which is a raw ewe’s milk cheese that to me tastes kinda like a cross between parmesan and muenster (aka pretty awesome). I used it as a topping for my dinner, a big bowl of blended soup containing zucchini, carrot, lots of red pepper, a couple small dates, thyme, sage, salt, pepper, and olive oil.

2009_07_17_soup

And some honeydew for dessert.

2009_07_17_melon

Another Whole Food purchase that I just tried is Stash Mint green tea powder. It’s made of regular tea leaves that are ground superfine so they dissolve instantly in cold water for iced tea. Unfortunately, I’m really not a fan, I even dumped out the rest of that glass. Though to be honest, I probably should have known I wouldn’t like it given my distaste for matcha green tea. So if you do like matcha, I say give it try, you’ll probably love it 🙂

2009_07_17_tea

So how about a quick, impromptu mini contest? If you do like matcha, or are just curious, leave a comment by Sunday night and I’ll randomly choose 3 people to mail a few packets of Stash Mint Green Tea Powder. I’d like to see some of you readers come out of the woodwork!

 

Monarchs, Moms, Markets, and Moose! June 27, 2009

I woke up feeling artistic for breakfast this morning. My kabocha and raw mole monarch is approaching symmetry, right? I had another piece of kabocha too, but it would have ruined the picture.

2009_06_27_breakfast

Then I set out for a morning at the markets with a fabulous blogger mom, Krista of Krista’s Kravings, and her beautiful daughter. I had a great time showing them around my favourite spots at both St. Lawrence and Kensington Markets. I even got Krista’s daughter to try durian, in the form of Durian Papaya jam, and she liked it! Krista particularly enjoyed a moose sighting, a remnant of the Moose In The City event 9 years ago (that long!?!)

2009_06_27_moose

It’ll be great to have a repeat market adventure later this summer too, we didn’t even make it to Chinatown!

2009_06_27_krista

When lunch time rolled around I finally got to dig into the veggies my parents brought my last week! I washed a bowl of lettuce and topped it with carrot, tomato, asparagus, feta cheese, and blended dill avocado dressing.

2009_06_27_lunch

And lunch dessert was a bowlful of strawberries and a caterpillar/slug/sea cucumber? The strawberries were delicious, the first local ones of the season, and I ate ate least twice the many throughout the afternoon. That brown thing was something new we discovered at The “World’s Most Ridiculous Bulk Food Store”, dried banana. I think it must have started out as a baby banana anyways, because I don’t see a whole regular sized banana shrinking quite that small, but it was quite good. It was a lot different than I was expecting, less sweet and kinda starchy/bready in texture instead of chewy, but I liked it.

2009_06_27_strawberries

Then some time in the afternoon between talking on the phone with MY mom, and catching up on a couple days worth of Google Reader I completely lost track of time, so when I got hungry for dinner I went with something fast and easy. A bowlful of zucchini noodles with mole, and a peanut butter and pickle wrap.

2009_06_27_dinner

And then I enjoyed a movie with a big glass of superfast iced tea. This tea concentrate caught my eye in the grocery store the other day, though I didn’t do a very good job of reading the label. I thought it was unsweetened concentrate, but upon closer examination, it was sweetened with (non-artificial) cane sugar. Oh well, I added one packet to 1 L of water (instead of 500ml as suggested), and it tasted perfect to me, not too sweet but also not watered down. It’ll be handy to have these around for fast iced tea through the summer. Especially since the roomie has a habit of using all the ice in the freezer making his own iced tea (during the day, when I’m not home), then not restocking the supplies!

2009_06_26_tea

Now hopefully tomorrow my pictures will be a bit less blurry. It took a lot more trys than it should have to get some of these pictures today. Playing golf for the first time yesterday really used muscles in my hands and forearms that aren’t normally used, when ever I go to press down with my finger to take a picture or to click the mouse, my finger starts shaking.  Obviously I wasn’t doing a very good job of taking advice to relax my hands!

 

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.

2009_05_31_brakfast

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!

2009_05_31_dates

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.

2009_05_31_lunch

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.

2009_05_31_scoop

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.

2009_05_31_dinner

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.

2009_05_31_box

2009_05_31_flavours

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.

2009_05_31_tea

Now to head to bed for the start of a new work week.

 

Jiggle in a Wigglin’ Spree May 22, 2009

As promised, last night there was spice cake, with maple icing even. Don’t mind the flat appearance of the cake, my roomie bought an old cookbook from the 1930s and made a few radical substitutions. He used whole wheat pastry flour instead of white (though we were wondering if they even had white flour back then), and he used 1T butter plus 1 1/4 cups 1% milk instead of 1 cup cream and 1/4 cup milk. So while the wasn’t very light and fluffy, it did taste absolutely delicious. And the icing recipe called for Log Cabin Syrup, but we upgraded it to maple, which was fantastic with the spice cake 🙂

2009_05_22_cake

This morning I started out with a SUPER strong green monster. I wanted to actually drink it at home, instead of bringing it with me to work, and I want to have enough room left over to enjoy part two of breakfast, so I used the usual amount of kale (3-4 leaves), a foot long sprig of mint, only half a banana (instead of 1 plus a few chunks of other fruit), 1 T of chia seeds (instead of 2), and enough water to make a bit over a cup of green monster (instead of 3-4 cups). Let’s just say it was a bit stronger than I anticipated, but I drank it.

2009_05_22_monster

And I was still hungry enough to fully enjoy this big plateful of watermelon chunks (that didn’t fit into the big container destined for the fridge nor the bag for the freezer, so obviously it had to ALL be eaten this morning).

2009_05_22_watermelon

For lunch I had delicious (and out of focus) spinach salad topped with beets, carrot, and Back to Basics Balsamic Vinaigrette.

2009_05_22_lunch

When I got home from work in the middle of the afternoon I had an extra sliver of spice cake…or two.

2009_05_22_sliver

And for dinner I had another salad that did an excellent job of cleaning out the fridge at the end of the week. This one was a base of romaine, spinach, and hidden broccoli sprouts which I piled high with grape tomatoes, two fried eggs, “grilled” portobello mushroom, and lots citrusy bean dip (in order to finish the container). I grilled the mushrooms in a sandwich maker, and it worked surprisingly well (though no grill marks), I’m glad I had that idea. It helped that the mushrooms happened to be bread slice sized to start with.

2009_05_22_dinner

And another idea I’m glad I had produced a lovely dessert I’m enjoy right now. Stash Goji Berry Green Tea + gelatin + agave nectar = wiggly jiggly goodness. This might become my go-to summer dessert, it’s pretty awesome. I started out by mixing the agave with the tea + gelatin, but the jello didn’t taste very sweet after it had set. So I mashed up the jello a little with my spoon and stirred in a drizzle more of agave, which gives the perfect amount of sweetness surrounding each bit. Next time, I’ll skip the agave in the jello and just add it at the end. I’d love to get my hands on some coconut chai to make jello out of, that sounds really good to me.

2009_05_22_jello

And I’m planning on a bit of chocolate later, Green and Black’s Milk Chocolate to be exact.

2009_05_22_chocolate

Unfortunately, it looks like I’m going to have to sit out of this week’s BSI over at Say Yes to Salad, I can’t find kabocha ANYWHERE! I’ll have to try one more time tomorrow and go up to Whole Foods.  I did puchase (what I hope will be) a pretty awesome new food though.  But you have to wait til tomorrow to see it 🙂

 

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 🙂

2009_04_26_yogurt

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.

2009_04_26_salad

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.

2009_04_26_godiva

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!).

2009_04_26_tea

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.

2009_04_26_dinner

Then dessert was a piece of this Theobroma dark chocolate, more yum.

2009_04_26_chocolate

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.

2009_04_26_bread

And now I am munching on a russet apple before getting ready for bed.

2009_04_26_apple

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.

2009_04_26_herbs

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.

2009_04_26_mint

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?

2009_04_26_plants

And finally I found this old school entertainment in the laundry room.

2009_04_26_cookbook

 

BSI Cabbage: Sweet Cabbage Dessert Soup March 22, 2009

This morning started out a bit late after I slept in.  I was in the mood for something quick for breakfast, and there’s not much else faster than cereal, so I filled a bowl with Kashi Seven Whole Grain Puffs, and finished a box of Nature’s Path Blueberry Almond Muesli.  No more freeze dried blueberry blue milk for me.  There was also a bit of unsweetened vanilla Almond breeze involved.

2009_03_22_breakfast

Later I had a blood orange and many cups of tea, mostly herbal.  I was working on clearing out the overflowing tea cupboard.  I discovered that Celestial Seasonings Strawberry Kiwi tea is really sweet, I actually went to check the package to see if there was somehow sugar hiding in the tea bag (there wasn’t).

2009_03_22_tea

When I started to get hungry for lunch I got to work on this week’s BSI entry.  Christina chose cabbage as the ingredient of the week, and I had half a head of red cabbage already in the fridge.  I did some thinking and came up with a flavour combination that sounded good, if a bit odd.  So here you have a recipe for Sweet Cabbage Dessert Soup.  I just can’t decide weather it should be a regular soup or a dessert soup, since it turned out sweeter than I expected, and for some reason tastes really rich (but in a good way).  I had it for lunch and it filled me up nicely.

The soup ingredients to make about 4 cups are:

2009_03_22_ingredients

1 onion, chopped
2 tsp almond oil (any not-strongly flavoured oil should be fine, my other choices were olive and sesame)
2 carrots, chopped (mine happened to be purple and yellow, but orange should be fine)
1/2 head red cabbage, roughly chopped
1 grapefruit, chopped
1 cup brewed mint tea
2 tsp dried mint
2 oz creme de cassis (black currant liquor)

I started out by caramellizing the onion very well in the oil.

2009_03_22_onions

Then I added all the other ingredients, carrots on the bottom, in the tea to boil, cabbage on top to steam, brought the pot to a boil, and let them simmer for about ten minutes, until the carrots are tender  (remember, more liquids appear out of the veggies).  After a stir it looked like this.

2009_03_22_boiled

At which point I pureed the lot with my handy stick blender.  I like my pureed soup thick, so you might want to add some more mint tea or water at this point for a thinner consistency.

2009_03_22_soup

And I topped the bowl with an optional spoonful of yogurt and more dried mint (although fresh would have been a prettier garnish).  Part way through enjoying my bowl I realized it reminds me of the rhubarb sauce my mom make every summer.  It would actually probably go really well chilled on ice cream.  I think I’m leaning towards calling it a dessert soup.

And since these giveways tie in so nicely,

This soup would be even better pureed super smooth in a vitamix such as the one is being given away over at Jumbo Empanadas

And instead of the creme de cassis, I’m betting a shot of POM would work well, and can be had for free with coupons from Oh She Glows.

Anyway, speaking of ice cream, later in the afternoon I treated myself to some half-fat Vanilla Haagen Dasz.  Yummy.  But multiple that bowl by 2, it was a half serving anyway.  I also nibbled on a few FoodShouldTasteGood Chocolate tortilla chips.

2009_03_22_ice-cream

2009_03_22_chips

Dinner time rolled around and I retrieved the half of the seitan burger I brought home last night from the fridge and made a new one.  Sitting on a whole wheat english muffin (organic from Whole Foods, really good) is romaine lettuce, the seitan patty, Big Bull Steak sauce, whole grain dijon mustard, broiled emmental cheese, and grape tomatoes.  A tasty burger indeed.  I should try making seitan some time….

2009_03_22_burger

Now I have some Nature’s Path Optimum Rebound cereal waiting for me to snack on while watching the Sunday night CTV trifecta of The Mentalist, Amazing Race, and Desperate Houswives.  Before heading to bed so I can get up for work tomorrow….

2009_03_22_cereal

 

Skule Nite! March 21, 2009

2009_03_21_laugh

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.

2009_03_21_breakfast

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

2009_03_21_tea

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.

2009_03_21_prog

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.

2009_03_21_carrot

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.

2009_03_21_burger

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.