Plentiful Plants

Daily eats of a Torontonian student

Have feet, will travel April 4, 2009

According to Google Maps I covered 21km today, not including walking while browsing in various stores and markets.  That’s not the most I’ve ever walked at once but it’s one of the larger (though not uncommon) numbers.  Last fall, on a Friday afternoon when we were still on summer hours, I walked home from work just so I could say it was possible, and that’s 30 km.  On a typical weekend day I probably only do 10, maybe 15 km.  The reason the number is so high today is because I went everywhere in the world (i.e. downtown TO) in search of the perfect items for my BSI:Avocado prize pack.  Of course if things keep going at this rate, I’ll get to keep the goodies for myself.  I won’t complain, I found some good stuff, but I’d rather share them!

I found someone far from home.

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I’m really glad I spent a good amount of time in St. Lawrence Market, mostly in the “World’s Most Ridiculous Bulk Food Store” (my name for the store, not it’s real name).  Its hiding at the north end of the basement of the building on the south side of Front St., if anyone ever goes looking for it, I forgot to take a look at the sign to see the real name.  The place is jam packed with SO MUCH STUFF.  Oodles of bulk bins, but also racks and racks of other things packed floor to ceiling (well, not quite tht high), and stuffed into any available nook and cranny.  So many good finds, and some were cheaper than anywhere else.  You will see them in the future, starting later in this post.

Spring is here! (I shouldn’t mention the 0 degree forecast for Monday).

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Anyways, I was so busy shopping today (and having fun!) I barely had time to eat.

I started with a breakfast of the last of the tuscan melon, topped with Grandma Emily’s Blueberry Cranberry Granola.

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Later in the morning I had a Cocoa Mole Larabar.  It was so good!  Just the right amount of spice, I was happy with my choice.  It was also the only thing I bought at Whole Foods, I was thoroughly unimpressed, nothing caught my eye.  Luckily, it was the only place on my list of places to visit today that did not deliver.

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On one of my stops home to drop off stuff I grabbed a gala apple and a handful of snow peas.

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And of course there was the obligatory sampling that occurs when you shop on a Saturday.  There some more yummy glazed nuts, really flavourful gouda, sausage made of local organic beef, amazing frozen yogurt at Blue Banana Market in Kensington (best new store ever! – I used to live a block away from it before it existed), and bits of tortilla chips dipped in a variety of tasty sauces.

And then there was also a piece of chocolate that was going to be in the BSI prize pack, but it ended up in a bag with some wet kale and the paper wrapper got soaked and kinda disintegrated, so I obviously had to eat it. It was Green and Blacks 71% Dark (not Canadian, but I get the impression it’s not widely available in the States), but have no fear, there is other chocolaty goodness for the prize pack instead, I don’t have pictures of the samples or the chocolate.  But I do have a picture of a tree that seems to have had a bit of a problem with gravity.

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So I’ve been wanting a rice krispie square for the longest time, but didn’t necessarily want to buy or eat of box of rice krispies or marshmallows, and would prefer a healthier alterntive.  I’ve seen marginally healthier alternatives around, but most are on the expensive side, close to a dollar per square, for a box of 5 or so squares.  Which leads me to find number 1 from the “World’s Most Ridiculous Bulk Food Store”.  I found a box of Source Salba (aka chia) Krispy rice bars, 8 bars for $3 (5-6$ in a regular grocery store).  I had one for a snack when I finally got home.  To borrow a phrase, HOLY YUM!  It’s has the perfect chewy rice krispie texture.  It’s definitely sweet, but not sickeningly so, and it has the most amazing fruity flavour that I can only assume is the flavour of the blue agave nectar, since I’ve never had blue agave plain before (only the dark).  I might be in love, it’s a perfect treat for my sweet tooth.

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Finally to finish the day I had a veggie filled dinner.  There was a pile (mostly hiding) of brussel sprouts sauteed in olive oil, salt and pepper, some egg white cooked with jo tsai/garlic chives, red and yellow pepper strips, and the last seitan sausage, browned in the pan after the sprouts to crisp up the outside.  With ketchup, and maple flakes for the sprouts, best idea ever.  I think I must make more seitan.  Tomorrow.  Now I’m all for getting ready for bed.

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My Lucky Day April 2, 2009

I got an awesome surprise today when I found out I won the cake giveaway over at Diet, Desserts and Dogs. So expect to see some chocolatey goodness here in the near future. Thank you Ricki!

My breakfast was a happy accident discovery. I’ve been wanting to try out blended oats, but me roomie is always asleep when I get up and have breakfast in the morning. So I figured I would try blending the oats at night, then microwaving the mix in the morning. I also had the rest of the tofu left over from last night’s scramble. So into the bowl went 1/4 cup rolled oats, 200 g soft tofu, ~1/4 cup of almond breeze, and a stick blender. Then I was smart enough to taste it before sticking it in the fridge. I discovered a lovely vanilla pudding texture/flavour with a bit of tofu aftertaste I wasn’t entirely happy with. So I blended in a small banana and created a deliciously creamy, no-cook, vegan banana pudding! I think it’s even more instant than pudding mixes because you don’t have to wait for it to set.

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This morning I added some walnuts and dried cranberries and feasted. I was a bit amused at the colouring though. Since it spent the night (covered) in the fridge, the banana caused the top couple of millimeters of pudding to oxidize brown, but it still tasted the same, and the texture was the same as when I first blended it, so refrigeration is definitely not necessary.

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My lunch at work was a container full of veggies and a seitan sausage. There was celery, carrot, red and yellow pepper, and cucumber.

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And in the afternoon I snacked on fruit, lots of it, I needed two containers to hold it all. There was a pear, a mandora tangerine (horribly sour, I didn’t finish it), kiwi, blackberries, and tuscan melon.

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And on the way home I munched on the rest of the Cocoa Coconut Cluster Elevate Me! bar, without taking a picture of it.

For dinner I fixed up an enormous salad filled with an entire romaine heart, zucchini, and red bell pepper.  I also seared the last seitan burger (there’s still 1 sausage) in a pan with olive oil, then added the juice from the other sour tangerine, and let it reduce to use as salad dressing.  Delicious.

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And dessert was a handful of walnuts, pecans, cashews, and maple almonds.  Now I’m going to relax with the new Clean Eating that showed up in the mail box.  A lucky day indeed.

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Happy April Fool’s Day! April 1, 2009

Anything funny happen to anyone?  My work was boring, nobody even mentioned playing any tricks.  Oh well.  My cubicle-mate said that all the light bulbs in her boyfriend’s office had been switched to red.

However, it seems as though WordPress played a joke on me a bit early yesterday.  I could have sworn I hit publish on yesterday’s post.  In fact, I must have because I submitted the post to Foodbuzz.  But when I just went to edit this post (I started writing it at work), yesterday’s showed up as a draft too.  And I went to my blog and yesterday’s post was gone!  Weird.  But fixed now, I hope.  On to other business.

Breakfast was a mashed banana topped with some Allbran cereal, unsweetened vanilla almond breeze, raisins, pumpkin seeds, and maple glazed almonds.  Those are some good almonds.

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I packed up a pile of fruits and veggies for snacks/lunch.  There’s a grapefruit, red delicious apple, tuscan melon (looks and tastes like cantaloupe on the inside, has stripes on the outside), kiwi, carrot, celery, steamed broccoli, and roasted chicken breast.  Basically, an abundance of delicious nibbles.

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In the afternoon I also tried a Ruth’s Tropical Fruit Flax Power bar.  It was interesting, very seedy.  It was good but it didn’t have much of a tropical flavour, more just a light sweetness.  It wasn’t too sweet or too hard, and I quite liked the texture.  Although you really need to check your teeth when you’re done with it.  I’m glad I tried it, and it was perfectly edible, but I probably wouldn’t buy it again if I had the choice to try a different flavour instead.

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When I got home I snacked on a few algerian dates and a square of a Cocoa Coconut Cluster Elevate Me! bar.  This flavour is my favourite Elevate Me! flavour.  It has an awesome chocolatey flavour that matches perfectly with the fruit in it.  Who ever wins this week’s BSI: Avocado (for which I am eagarly awaiting entries) should expect to get one of these in their prize pack.

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For dinner I fixed a tofu scramble with a punch of flavour.  In the mix is mushrooms, jo tsai (no, I don’t know if that’s the actual ping ying), and soft tofu sauteed in sesame oil and a little soy sauce with red pepper for colour.  I love jo tsai, which I see tends to be called garlic chives in english.  My parents have always had a ton of it in the garden, and every summer my mom uses it in fillings for various chinese dumplings , pockets, and dishes (none of which I know the english names for).  It has an awesome garlic/onion flavour but better.  I bought mine in Chinatown (it’s way too early for it to be up in the garden around here), and big bunch was 75 cents.  My roomie was jealous of how awesome my dinner smelled as I was cooking it.

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