Archive for Restaurants

Catchin’ up

Wow, it’s really been over a month since my last post. I kinda decided to stop blogging for awhile there, but subconciously kept photographing my food. I guess deep down I must have known that I’d come crawling back! Blogging is like crack to me, and I’ve been jonesing for another fix. Thanks Aly for keeping Mad About Udon updated!

Oh, and I do have a little annoucement! Aly and I both signed up for our first 5K race! And then, I promptly dropped out… and signed up for the 10K! I started training and realized that 5K wouldn’t be a terribly difficult goal to achieve, and since I have so much time till the race (it’s in late May), I decided to go to town. So team Mad About Udon has been training a lot lately (together and independently) and hopefully we’ll kick the race’s ass come May 23. What’s the ideal time to finish at 5K? A 10K? I heard that 25 mins is a respectable time for a 5K so is it thus 50 mins for a 10K?

Hm, well first of all I’ve been eating a ton of oatmeal—thanks to Kath and Shelby, whose near-daily oatmeal concoctions inspired me to try some of my own. I’ve been including any combination of rolled oats, oat bran, soy milk, rice or hemp protein powder, peanut butter, bananas, berries, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, raisins, carob chips, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, etc. It’s usually the following recipe:

  • 1/6 cup oats
  • 1/6 cup oat bran
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp protein powder
  • dash salt, and a tsp each of fair-trade vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin

The pumpkin really steals this recipe, and at 35 cal / half cup (and 200% of Vit A intake), it’s my favourite addition!

This one has all of the above plus a half cup of frozen berries (which melted in the pot).

I used this Rice Protein powder from Whole Foods:

I don't really love the rice protein powder, it's kinda chalky. I'm partial to my Manitoba Harvest Hemp Powder

My friend Barb and I went to Whole Foods in Toronto’s Yorkville neighborhood and I was in heaven! I didn’t even realize we had a WF in Canada, so I was pretty psyched to go. I only got a few things, as it’s pretty pricey there, but it`s good to know I can find obscure vegan products nearby if I need to.

Also featuring pumpkin is my amazing Pumpkin Cream Cheese. Someone else probably invented this already since there is only two ingredients: Pumpkin and Tofutti non-dairy cream cheese (1:1 by volume).

Good on toast, sandwiches, and anywhere else you would put cream cheese.

I also frequently make Fitnessista’s Oatmeal Breakfast Cookie which I’m kicking myself for not making earlier. It’s so validating, in a strange way, to wolf down a giant cookie for breakfast.

This one has mixed-in a delicious Spiced Plum jam that my friend Barb gave me, along with raisins and PB.

When I left off last time, I was experimenting with juicing using my friend Taras’ juicer. While I concede that juicing provides supremely healthy, tasty, and wholesome juices, I have reservations with wasting all the pulp. Plus, it’s fun to eat fruit, more fun than it is to drink it. Anyway, the last day I had it, I juiced a ton of carrots, zucchini, and apples, and saved the fibrous pulp to bake into a bread:

Fibrous pulp: carrots, zucchini, and apples

I used my banana bread recipe and subbed the pulp for the bananas:

The pulp and the bread didn't really taste like anything! So I guess this proves that all the flavour does indeed come out during juicing.

My witty, candid friend Nick (check out his blog to see just how witty and candid) and I had a very frank and productive lunch a few weeks ago at The Manx. This bar has few menu items, although one is identified as vegan and I ordered that. I don’t post every vegan meal I eat out, but this was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

It was a HUGE burrito with veggies, jalepeno peppers, and TVP (I think) inside with guac on top and a side salad. Tasty, tasty :-)

I got really enthused at the idea of roasting veggies, so I threw a TON of veggies into a pan, sprayed with PAM, and sprinkled with tons of herbs and spices. Then I baked that for about an hour, turning the contents two or three times throughout.

Roasted veggies: carrots, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, zucchini, asparagus, peppers, garlic, etc.

I enjoyed these best reheated and topped over a generous bed of spinach/cilantro/dill

Oh, and on the subject of “why-didn’t-I-make-this-incredibly-easy-dish-sooner” meals, voila:

Sweet Potato Fries

I sprayed these with PAM and sprinkled with sea salt, and baked at 350 for an hour, turning twice.

Samosa-stuffed baked potatoes, from Veganomicon:

These were just sort of okay, not amazing and not really worth the effort.

Kath’s amazing Nutty Vanilla  Sweet Potato + Kale Soup:

ROLL CALL: WHO'S MADE THIS ALREADY??

Recipe (from Kath):

  • 2 pounds of sweet potato, cut into 1” pieces and microwaved in a bowl on high for 6.5 minutes to start the cooking process
  • 3 cloves garlic,  pressed
  • 1 can lite coconut milk
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups kale, trimmed, washed and torn into small pieces
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup salted peanuts, for garnish
  • Shredded coconut, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Prepare sweet potatoes in microwave.
  2. Heat a large pot on medium high. Spray with cooking spray and add potatoes, cooking until they begin to brown. Stir in garlic.
  3. Add coconut milk, soy milk, masala, salt, pepper and flakes.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Mash potatoes with potato masher or puree with immersion blender.
  6. Add raisins, kale and vanilla and cover. Allow to cook for 8-10 more minutes, until kale is bright green.
  7. Portion into bowls and garnish with 1 tbsp each peanuts and coconut.

Mmmm… I love the website MediterrAsian.com —I get sooo many recipe ideas from there! Omnivore Boyfriend doesn’t like weird vegan “voodoo” stuff, like tofu, tempeh, TVP, etc, so I’m always on the lookout for recipes that are simple and tasty and not soy-centric. Then I split the dish in half and add soy protein to my half. Here are two favourites:

Lentil, pea, and potato curry:

That's a double batch in a mixing bowl, I forgot to snap a pic when I had it portioned out

Dhal with Carrot & Cauliflower:

Dhal with Carrot & Cauliflower

Served with a mixture of jasmine and orzo rices

I made a double batch of Vegan Dad’s Veggie Lunch Meat. This is one recipe that significantly changed by dietary and shopping regimen. Try it!

I should have enough to last me till the summer!

Um, due to a serious of strange and unfortunate events which I won’t go into right now, I procured this piece of chocolate tofu-cheese cake from Green Earth, a new veggie restaurant in Ottawa.

It was mighty tasty!

O.B. and I have been travelling all over Southern Ontario for interviews, birthdays, and such, and our travels have landed us in Toronto more than once. I looooove everything from Toronto’s Chinatown, from the dim sum to the cheap produce. Last weekend I picked up 11 bananas, 5 oranges, 6 large apples, a huge bag of grapes, 3 trays of blackberries, 3 melons, and a dragonfruit—all for $16!

Dragonfruit

Dragonfruit

Also purchased in Chinatown were as many red-bean pastries as I could fit in the car :-):

Red-bean pastries

Red-bean pastries

Red-bean pastries

*drool* I love anything with red bean paste in it.

Those Korean red bean balls especially made me happier than a hot koala in a bucket of water AND...

... a seagull eating a starfish!!

I also picked up some cheap tofu (2 pkg/$1) and those weird Shirataki noodles which aren't really noodles (they are actually made with tofu and yam flour and are only 20 cal/serving).

So I’ll have to find something fun to do with those ingredients.

Oh! I also picked up bok choy so I’m envisioning a bok choy/shirataki/tofu/hoisin stir fry coming up.

I'm not sure if you would call this a wrap or a burrito, but I made this puppy on my George Foreman grill!

I packed this full of jasmine rice, refried beans, black olives, and guacamole made with PC Guacamole Mix, and grilled it with a little bit of PAM.

I was struck with the sudden inspiration to make vegan Shepherd`s Pie, which is weird since I`ve never had the real thing. Anyway, here`s what I came up with:

Sorry for the fluorescent photo, I needed to use my flash.

For this dish I mixed Yves Veggie Ground Round and a can of mushroom (i.e. vegetarian) gravy for the bottom layer. Next was a layer of peas and carrots, and finally the top layer was mashed sweet potatoes with some cornmeal mixed it. The cornmeal was gritty and kind of pointless but other than that this was so amazingly savoury. I’m definitely going to make this again, and when I do I’ll leave out the cornmeal and possible mixed some mashed cauliflower into the mix.

Yum!

I sent some of my famous Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Carob Chip cookies with O.B. to work one day for a meeting, and they were a hit, as usual. Even the finicky lab supervisor had a few:

Everywhere I bring these, people just silently wolf down as many as possible until the tray is empty.

The story behind these is that I just grabbed a random “oatmeal-chocolate chip cookie” recipe off the ‘net and subbed in a few bananas for the eggs. Et voila—a moist, chewy, decadent chocolate chip cookie with a rich banana flavour and an oatmealy texture.

Recipe:

  • 1 c Earth Balance margarine
  • 1.5 c brown sugar
  • 1 c white sugar
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1.75 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2.5 c rolled oats
  • 2.5 c vegan choc chips (or carob chips)

Directions:

Beat margarine and sugars. Add bananas and mix. Add vanilla and water, and mix. Add the rest, and mix. Cook for 9-10 mins at 350 C

Procrastinating through exams/theses?  Check out my cousin Lindsay’s scintillating travel blog as she  weaves her way through Europe. Will she ever return? Stay tuned. Also, check out The Bystander, a new Ottawa-centric arts and culture blog written by my friends Tina and Peter.

**CONTEST ALERT!!**
Zesty Clothing is celebrating the launch of its new clothing line by giving away two t-shirts and two aprons, so head on over to the contest website to enter!
-Megan over at Megan’s Munchies is doing a cookbook giveaway–check it out!!
-Sarah over at Tales of Expansion is giving away a very nutty prize pack over at her blog—check it out here!!

Whoo. Dunzo. Happy Wednesday!

-Maureen

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Cool runnings, mon!

Well, I just returned from a deliciously decadent week in Montego Bay, Jamaica with Omnivore Boyfriend (O.B.). We had a ridiculously good and relaxing time! We stayed in an all-inclusive resort on the beach, so of course we had unrestricted food, drinks, and sports. It was paradise. We tried to get off the resort as often as possible to see the real country and meet some real Jamaicans. Our excursions included renting our own little boat to motor up and down the coastline, snorkelling on a coral reef, ziplining through a jungle canopy, and visiting the tropical splendour of nearby Negril.

It was soooo harding flying back into Toronto. From the airplane, it looked like someone had shaken a snowglobe and all the snow in existence had landed on this fair city. I can’t quite describe the physical shock of emerging from the airport into the minus 15 deg C weather (from +30 deg C in Jamaica). Blech! Is it summer yet??

I wasn’t sure if how the resort’s buffet-style menu would accomodate my meat/dairy/eggs aversion, but everything was “cool runnings” (all good)! There were tons of options for me at each meal and I had some really excellent dishes. I normally abstain from most fresh produce in the winter when it gets too expensive, so I took the opportunity to pile each plate high with salad and veggies. One small complaint I had is that the dishes weren’t often labelled. However, it was pretty easy to differentiate the vegan from non-vegan dishes, and the chefs were really helpful when I had any questions.

So without further ado, here is the food!

I ate this same concoction for breakast almost every morning. I took a couple tbsp of dry oats, added some hot water, added a layer of corn flakes, and covered it with carmelized fruits (melon, cantaloupe, banana) and fresh fruit.

Lunch and dinner were always some variation of salad. Which sound really boring, but as I mentioned before, there were tons and tons of options, including lots of new stuff I’d never eaten or envisioned.

From top left, going clockwise: steamed calaloo, apple & cucumber salad, grilled veggies. Centre: olives.

From top left: stewed lentils, garlic potatoes, grilled veggies (zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes), grilled tomatoes, sauteed spinach with raisins, steamed green beans, apple/cucumber salad, saffron rice, glazed carrots. Centre: olives.

On the left is a big salad topped with sliceed tomatoes, green beans, shredded carrots, chickpeas, celery, cauliflower, and corn. There's also a bit of steamed spinach with onions and peppers.

From top: sliced cucumbers, shredded carrots, corn, romaine lettuce, green beans, steamed spinach. Centre: lima beans.

From left: steamed calaloo, hearts of palm, big salad with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, shredded carrots, shredded pumpkin (!!!!), and corn, bowtie pasta salad in a vinaigrette sauce, grilled tomatoes.

From left: vegetable dumpling, grilled peppers/tomatoes/onions, mashed pumpkin, steamed calaloo, shredded pumpkin. Centre: glazed carrots.

A big salad with romaine lettuce tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, celery, and a couple sliced of baked potato.

I took this picture from a different angle to flaunt the lovely view of tropical paradise from our favourite lunch perch. Nothing like the azure blue Caribbean sea to accompany a good meal :-) From left: glazed carrots, grilled peppers, salad with sprouts, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, cucumbers, lima beans, and corn, green beans, steamed spinach, and olives.

From left: grilled sliced tomatoes, olives, grilled baby tomatoes, salad with romaine lettuce, shredded pumpkin, cucumber, green beans, lima beans, sliced tomatoes, steamed spinach, and a slice of fried banana.

There were three speciality restaurants at the resort: Asian, Italian, and a steakhouse. We had dinner at the first two and I wasn’t really impressed with either. The Asian food, which was also delivered buffet-style, was good but not very, um, authentic:

From left: Teppenyaki vegetable stir-fry, sesame vegetables, spring rolls, herbed tomatoes, curry (???) vegetables.

The Italian restaurant was awful. They had no vegetarian entrees, and when I asked the waiter if I could just have plain noodles, I got a really strange look. Is that really so hard?

Instead, I just resigned to making a salad from the restaurant appetizer buffet, but it was pretty pathetic. I found a little olive roll but it was stale.

Other than that experience, I had 20 great meals! I am so supremely stuffed from last week, I don’t know how I’ll endure the whole Christmas overeating tradition. We also had a lot of delicious drinks as all 5 bars on the resort were open bars, and as well we had rum, brandy, vodka, and gin on tap in our hotel room. Yum!

We also bought some Jamaican exports home with us:

Jamaican exports

I didn't get to try any jerk because it was all meat, so I bought the seasonings to make it at home!

Additionally, I ate a few dishes that I want to replicate, such as the steamed spinach with raisins, shredded pumpkin, and sauteed fruit. So definitely you’ll be seeing some Jamaican influence in future posts.

Well, I guess I’ve got a week’s worth of blog posts to catch up on, which I’m quite looking forward to. Looks like everyone is abuzz with pre-Christmas hysteria. Let the holidays begin!

-Maureen

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Perogies, cake, curry — FOOD GALORE!

So O.B. and I ate a lot last weekend… I don’t even know where to begin with the photos.

Let’s start with the simplest recipe: SALSA!! O.B. and I love this simple recipe, but this time we gave it a twist. Normally the only ingredients are finely diced tomates, a liberal quantity of cilantro, and some diced jalepeno. This weekend we added some chopped organic cuban oregano from a rescued house plant.

I bought this little guy last winter and unfortunately left him too close to a non-insulated window. Almost overnight, the plant shrivelled up and died, but for a small green stub embedded in the soil. I quickly moved the plant to my fume hood in the chemistry lab I did my thesis project in, and very slowly the plant regerated into its current splendour. And then we ate it. LOL. Okay, just a tiny piece.

Cuban oreganos are wonderfully fragrant and made a delicious addition to our salsa.

One of my favourite places in the WORLD is any bulk-food store. I’ve never lived close to one, and honestly, it’s like going to prom for me. My new abode is really close to a Bulk Barn and I LOVE IT. I recently made the most glorious find: Sunset Blend, a mixture of parboiled medium rice, lemon garlic orzo pasta, sweet potato orzo pasta, Himalayan red rice, and brown mustard seed. YUM!!!

This blend was PHENOMENAL and I loved it.

We ate it with Kohinoor's Dal Palak curry

Over Thanksgiving, O.B. and I came to the surprising realization that we shared similar ancestry. Specifically, we both have Ukranian roots. In celebration of this fact, we decided to emulate our hard-working grandparents and make perogies from scratch:

boiling

perogies

This is a pretty easy recipe:

  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups warm water
  • Mix flour and salt. In another bowl, mix oil and water. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour oil/water mixture in. Mix with hands until it forms a soft ball. Roll out until dough is about as thick as pie crust. Cut cereal-bowl sized circles. Add your filling, seal by firmly pressing edges together, and drop into a pot of boiling water until it floats (about 5 mins).

    We made ours a little thick because we didn’t have a rolling pin :-(

    Fillings: we made 3.

    The first was mashed Russet (white) potatoes with cilantro

    The second was mashed sweet potatoes (yams) with Montreal Steak Spice

    And the third filling, for what I termed dessert perogies, was mixed berries

    dipped in light maple syrup

    I also made a whole bunch of junk food for freezing and later consumption:

    My favourite banana bread, modified to be a bit healthier:

    banana bread

    banana bread

    Here is the new recipe:

    • 1 cup soy milk
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1.25 cup 12-grain flour
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp each of baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 cup Earth Balance (margarine), softened
    • 1/4 cup applesauce
    • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    • 2 tsp vanilla
    • 5 mashed ripe bananas

    Heat oven to 350 C. Grease a 9X5 inch pan. Whisk soy milk + lemon juice, and set aside. In a bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In another bowl, beat butter, applesauce, and sugar with an electric mixer until light. Beat in vanilla and bananas. Stir in flour mixture alternatively with soy milk mixture. Mix and pour into pan. Bake for 40-60 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

    I also made a batch of Pumpkin Cake with Pecan Streusel from Veganomicon, making a few substitutions as above (swapping half the white flour with 12-grain, swapping half the margarine with applesauce, halving the sugar):

    Pumpkin Cake with Pecan Streusel

    I also made Gingery Bars from Andrea’s Easy Vegan Cooking:

    Yum! I think I undercooked these a bit, but as a result they were quite fudgy and that's actually perfectly fine with me!

    To cap off a great weekend, I had lunch at The Table with my dear friend, the Veggie-Happy Omnivore:

    There is just so much on this plate, I can't even identify it all. There's definitely red quinoa, eggplant curry, tempeh cubes, chickpea curry, sweet potatoes, and a chickpea patty with mango chutney.

    But of course I saved room for dessert:

    Blurry pumpkin pie. Yeah, I'm still not over autumn flavours :-)

    After all those gastronomical indulgences, it was positively painful to return to the reality of soup cups and granola bars. I really need to find someone to cook for / eat with out here.

    Have a great weekend everyone!

    -Maureen

    Comments (30) »

    4 lazy ways to eat sweet potatoes in 5 minutes

    Microwaved and:

    Number 4:

    Drenched in mushroom gravy

    Number 3:

    smothered in dairy-free margarine and mixed with a couple teaspoons of Montreal Steak Spice

    Number 2:

    dairy-free margarine and brown sugar

    Number 1:

    Stirred into instant soup! This is Moroccan Vegetable soup from my local grocery's hot-food counter.

    Why yes, I HAVE been eating a lot of sweet potatoes lately. I have also been eating a lot of instant soup cups, apples, and broccoli soup, which explains my lack of creative posting lately. On the other hand, good vegan food finds a way into my life one way or the other, so I have a few pics.

    On the subject of my grocery store’s food counter, I’ve lately been at a loss to maintain my energy levels for my post-work workout (9 frenzied hours in a frigid, windowless chemistry lab will do that). My gym is conveniently located in a grocery store, so a couple times I have relied on the hot- or cold-food counters for some sustenance. I’m happy to report that the food is quite good and the vegan options are startlingly plentiful. Here are two that I snapped pictures of:

    Crunchy wheatberry salad

    Wild rice, apple, and cranberry salad


    Does anyone have any good tips to spike my energy levels for a nice, long workout? I find a cup of coffee and a banana does the trick for about half an hour, but then I get soooo tired again and just want to sit down.

    In other news, I’ve been eating baked-tofu sandwiches a lot lately.

    I've never hid my love for the President's Choice brand, and their Soy and Ginger salad dressing makes a FINE marinade (and salad dressing!). After 2 days of marinading, I bake these puppies at 400F for 30 mins, rotating once.

    What else have I got? Oooh, Kath’s (from Kath Eats Real Food) love of oatmeal is contagious, and recently I used some of her ideas to make a perfect bowl of Peanut Butter Pumpkin Oatmeal:

    Thanks for the idea, Kath! I'll be eating a lot more of this.

    I recently visited one of my favourite places in the world, the Royal Ontario Museum, with my friends Kara and Michael. We ate an early dinner before the ROM at another one of my favourite places in the world, Noodle Bowl in the Annex.

    I had the green vegetable curry for $7. It was delicious! Too bad I had just lost my mitten (my fourth left mitten this season!).

    I’m afraid that’s all I’ve got to post at the moment, but I’m headed up to Ottawa for the weekend to experiment in O.B.‘s kitchen visit O.B. and cook some delicious meals :-) Happy weekend and don’t forget to set your clocks back and enjoy the extra hour!

    -Maureen

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    Hibiscus, Butterscotch Pecan Bars, and Nuit Blanche

    Anyone else hit up Nuit Blanche this year?
    For those not in-the-know, Nuit Blanche is/was an annual all-night art exhibition at 155 locations across downtown Toronto. This year, a million people attended. I dunno, I was pretty underwhelmed. The art was supposed to be really edgy and provocative, but in the rare occurences that I actually saw any art through a swarm of people, I didn’t really see anything memorable. Ducks in pond, cool… guy with a spotlight, neat… black-and-white video of naked men holding mirrors..?? wtf?? I don’t pretend to have much comprehension of the artsy-fartsy stuff in life, but this stuff was just weird or boring. Food is my art.

    Speaking of, I was delighted to have dinner at Hibiscus on Friday night in Toronto’s Kensington Market area with my friend M. I loved how by all outward appearances, it was a little hole in the wall surrounded by clapboard fruit markets, hippie-flavoured cafes, and odds-and-ends shops; but inside it was warm and elegant.

    The menu was sparse, so I ordered a salad and an apple-cinnamon crepes.

    Oh my god, this salad was unbelievably good. It was so substantial, it could have been the meal in itself. The salad had everything--green beans, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, chick peas, lentils, broccoli, quinoa, and more.

    Mmmm... crepe-y. (not crappy!)

    OH. MY. GOD. The soy ice cream was TO DIE FOR. I've never had anything this good. If you live in Toronto, go to Hibiscus NOW and order some soy ice cream. This was mango, raspberry, and chocolate (the kindly proprietor gave me three scoops for the price of two!).

    I spend the “nuit” of Nuit Blanche at my friend Mel W.’s house (we also saw the Nuit Blanche exhibitions together with some other friends and ex-coworkers) and since I missed her b-day jam last week AND wanted to give her a housewarming gift, I made a batch of Have Cake, Will Travel’s marvellous Butterscotch Pecan Bars.

    I think they went over well, based on the reception (okay, maybe I also ate one on the subway down... and on the way out in the morning; they are sooooo good and chewy).

    That’s about it for food at the moment but I have another cool picture to share. After leaving Mel and Brian’s apartment Sunday morning, I grabbed an organic coffee at a local cafe and was impressed with their innovative use of pasta:

    Win!

    -Maureen

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    Confessions of a busy, lazy eater

    So… eek, it’s been a little long since my last post, and I have a couple solid excuses to put forth. Shortly after my last post, I had a job interview for an environmental chemist, got the job, started the job, realized that the commute from Toronto was INSANE, and moved out to upper-middle-class suburbia. Yeah, moved. To one of Toronto’s annoyingly domestic fringe suburbs. So I’ve got Life Jet Lag, in addition to being super busy at my new job and uncomfortably out of my element in a new kitchen and with new grocery stores–all of which translate into lazy eating habits.

    I’ve become pretty dependant on these puppies for noontime nourishment:

    I love everything (vegan) in the President's Choice Blue Menu line, but these soup cups are little wonders. They have 160-220 calories, 5-13 gms of fibre, and 200-800 mgs of sodium (hardly a steal as far as sodium goes, but many soup cans are 1000+ mgs). At $1.79 each, it's barely a chip in the pocketbook to keep a few on hand for uninspired mealtimes.

    I've been snacking on green beans a lot too... I steam them in advance and eat them cold with PC Blue Menu Soy & Ginger Salad dressing:

    A plethora of pears is also on my snack menu since my grandma's pear trees are shedding their fruit like it's the end of the world.

    Some other things:

    Tomato and Red/Yellow Pepper Salad

    Tofu and Sweet Potato Kebabs

    Tofu and Sweet Potato Kebabs Recipe (thanks mom):

    • 2 Red, yellow or orange peppers cut into bite size pcs.
    • 3 yams or sweet potatoes sliced in 1 inch thick pcs.
    • Firm tofu cubed
    • Your favourite BBQ sauce
    • Peel yams and slice to 1 inch thick.  Precook yams/potatoes
    • (put in pyrex dish with a bit of water and microwave until almost cooked)
    • Cube the firm tofu,
    • Cube the potato and or yams
    • Skewer the potatoes, yams, peppers.
    • Baste with your favourite BBQ sauce.

    BBQ, turning and basting until brown


    My friend Adrienne and my mother share the same birthday, September 15. I made them each a Pumpkin Cake with Fluffy Buttercream Frosting. It was totally delicious and I can’t wait to make more pumpkin-flavoured delights.

    Pumpkin Cake with Fluffy Buttercream Frosting


    I had the pleasure of dining out with a regular cast member on Mad About Udon, The Veggie-Happy Omnivore, at Fresh in Toronto (Spadina Ave at Queen St) last week. WordPress won’t let me embed the link, so go here for more info: http://www.freshrestaurants.ca/ . I really cannot overstate how impressed and satisfied I was with this restaurant the meal. I truly can’t believe it took me so long to try Fresh out. The food was criminally delicious, or so it seemed since most dishes are less than $8 and I felt like we were robbing the place.

    The V.H.O. had the Energy Bowl...

    ... and I had the Buddha Bowl (thai peanut sauce w/ marinated tofu cubes, tomato, cilantro, cucumber, bean sprouts, chopped raw peanuts, herbs & spices:

    Unfortunately, that’s all I’ve got to show for the last three weeks, but I’m headed up to Ottawa for the weekend to visit O.B. and I’ve got a full menu of autumn-themed recipes planned! Stay tuned!
    -Maureen

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    California and Rocky Mountain eats

    I’m back!
    After a 16-day vacation hiatus (7 days in Santa Cruz, California, 7 days in Canmore, Alberta, and 2 days in airports) I’ve got a ton of pics to post. My travels were exhilarating, inspiring, and regrettably too short. The week in Santa Cruz with Omnivore Boyfriend (O.B.) was very relaxing—we spent our time surfing, kayaking, wildlife-spotting, and just max-chillin’ on on the beach.  Santa Cruz is a cute, warm, friendly, and safe seaside town and I love it there.

    In terms of food, we tried to eat as cheaply as possible.

    This meant taking advantage of the hotel's free continental breakfast: coffee or juice, cereal, and toast.

    It actually wasn’t that bad! I added soy milk or yogurt to give it some staying power.
    Instead of eating out every day, we hit a local grocery store on the first day to stock up on supplies. It was thus that I finally discovered Trader Joe’s, a wonderful American institution selling mostly healthy, organic foodstuffs—including a $3.99 tub of 3-layered hummus (regular, cilantro, and jalapeno), morningstar vegan burgers, and those wee mini Dempster’s bagels that you only get in America.

    We ate out a couple times cause, heck, we were on vacation! After a long afternoon at the UC Santa Cruz (staring in baffled wonder at the tree-sitters protesting campus expansion), we strolled into Taqueria Vallarta near the beach for some awesomely cheap (<$2) Mexican fare.

    "Vegie taco"

    “Vegie burrito”:
    The burrito was a little mushy. It consisted of 50% guacamole eand 50% refried beans. Shouldn’t there be lettuce in there?

    One night we went to Charlie Hong Kong, an organic Asian restaurant with lots of vegan options.

    Laughing Pheonix Red Curry

    vermicelli noodle salad

    rice-paper wrap

    I also tried to see what cacti tasted like.

    Cacti = not edible.

    The next leg of my travels took me to Canmore, Alberta, where I stayed in an alpine hut and hiked/scrambled daily in the Rocky Mountains with a group from the Alpine Club of Canada. I loved every minute! The hikes were crazy challenging, but it was such a rush to summit each and every peak. I also swam in a glacial lake, saw a grizzly bear, and made a dozen or so new friends or job contacts. I don’t know the total kms hiked but over the week I ascended a total of 15,500 vertical ft (for comparison, it’s 11, 330 vertical ft to the summit of Mt Everest from Everest Base Camp). My ass is tired!! But I was well-fed; the camp cook took pretty good care of me and my food exclusions. Except for breakfast… I kinda got stuck eating toast every day, which is lame when you have a 7-hour hike ahead!

    Lunches were made the night before. I usually packed 2 sandwiches or wraps containing soy meat/cheese, veggies, and hummus or dijon mustard, fruit, and lots of cereal bars

    Lunches were made the night before. I usually packed 2 sandwiches or wraps containing soy meat/cheese, veggies, and hummus or dijon mustard, fruit, and lots of cereal bars

    Leftover spring rolls

    Dinner was different every night, and it was usually just a small variation on what the omnis were served. I only photographed a couple of the meals:

    Polenta, carrots, mixed green, and phyllo-vegetable thingy

    Tofu with capers and spinach

    Mexican night!

    A burrito with soy cheese and soy ground beef, wild rice, corn bread, and a mix of tomatoes, lettuce, and guacamole.

    Phyllo with roasted red peppers, zucchini and eggplant; ginger sesame tofu, risotto

    Sesame-cabbage salad

    And that brings my food pictures to an end! I’ve got one more to share though. This next pic is me at the summit of Mt Lady Macdonald:

    You can tell from this picture what I meant when I said it was a "rush" to summit a peak---check out that view!!

    I hope everyone has been having a great August. I’ll be over to check the round of food blogs tonight or tomorrow!

    -Maureen

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