Archive for spreads

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:


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


  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 —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!



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.


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.


  • 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)


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.

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!



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Gifts from afar pt 1: Vegemite is God’s Food


As a consequence of spending a year Down Under (pre-university), I am obsessed with all things Australian, up to and including Neighbors, Home and Away, the SMH, Aussie Rules football, the Socceroos, Anzac bikkies, Aussie slang, surfing, and Summer Heights High.

But most of all, I am consumed by my love of Vegemite, the greatest…er… material ever. Vegemite is a traditional Australian condiment most frequently served on toast, and eternalized by Men At Work’s pandemic single “Land Down Under”. It’s a hard sell for the North American palate, which prefers sweetened spreads (peanut butter, jams, jellies, marmalade, honey). I usually describe the taste of Vegemite as savoury, malty, and soy-sauce-like.

More facts about Vegemite:

  • 10 calories per tsp (believe me, 1 tsp goes a long way for this mighty condiment)
  • one of the most concentrated sources of B vitamins in the WORLD (1 tsp has 25% RDI of Niacin and Riboflavin, 50% RDI of Thiamine and Folate)
  • totally vegan!
  • is basically concentrated brewer’s yeast extract, a product of beer manufacturing

I first tried Vegemite while employed at a Sydney, NSW cafe and was, in a word, disgusted. But I gave it a second shot, and a third, and soon enough I was hooked on the stuff. Unfortunately, due to its unpopularity in North America, Vegemite isn’t readily available. I’ve seen it once or twice at Loblaws for $6 a jar, but it’s a teeny-tiny jar and my student budget could rarely justify it. More often I’ve seen Marmite, Vegemite’s almost-equally delicious yeasty British cousin, but that’s also running for $5 or $6.

Just recently, my sister’s friend returned from New Zealand and brought me back a 400 gm (80-serving) jar of Vegemite and I was (and still am!) over the moon.

I've eaten it every day since as part of a low-cal breakfast or snack and have felt my energy levels soar at the B-vitamin influx.

So…. has anyone else tried Vegemite? Like it/love it/hate it?


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Gluten-free vegan food

Although I am a hearty consumer of gluten, a family member of mine isn’t. As such, there are myriad gluten-free recipes floating around my daily vegan menu. It’s amazing how many options are still available even when meat, eggs, dairy, wheat, rye, oats, and barley are omitted. There are a fair number of GF-vegans in the blogosphere, so I have decided to do a post entire of GF vegan recipes.

Here are a couple creations I’ve been noshing on over the last couple days:

Savoury Fried Rice:

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 small fresh red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cashew nuts, toasted
  • 2/3 cup dry unsweeted shredded coconut, toasted
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce (i.e. Braggs)
  • 1/4 cup fried onions
  • 1 cup green beans, sliced
  • 4 oz collards
  • 3.5 oz jasmine rice, cooked

Heat oil in large frying pan. Add garlic and cook over a medium heat until golden. Add the chili, cashews, and toasted coconut to the pan and stir fry briefly (don’t let the coconut scorch!). Stir in sugar, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Toss over heat for 1-2 min. Add fried onions and stir in. Add green beans, collards,and cooked rice. Stir just until greens have wilted. Remove from stove. Optional: serve with a lime wedge.

Thai Sauce:

Thai sauce and noodles.

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp red curry paste
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 of each colour pepper (red, orange, yellow) — slivered
  • 1 can bamboo shoots
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable stock

Heat oil. Add garlic & onions, and saute. Add red curry paste & coconut milk. Stir to dissolve paste. Add everything else and heat for 15-20 min. Serve over jasmine rice or rice noodles.

Garden vegetable salad:

Purge garden of extraneous vegetation (pictured: tomatoes, cucumbers, orange peppers). Add oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Voila!

Mrs. Robinson’s famous three-bean salad:

Mrs. Robinson's famous three-bean salad


  • 1 540-mL can of both chick peas and kidney beans (drained)
  • 1 cup cooked & cut green and yellow beans
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped green pepper
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped sweet red pepper


  • 1/2 cup corn oil
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Mix A and B separately. Pour B over A and toss well. Refrigerate overnight.

Oven-Roasted Pecan Sweet Potatoes:

Oven-Roasted Pecan Sweet Potatoes

4 cups peeled & chopped sweet potatoes

  • 1 vidalia onion, sliced in wedges
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Combine potatoes, garlic, oil, and thyme; toss well to coat. Pour into a shallow roasting pan and bake at 425 deg F, turning frequently (approx 30-35 mins; check to see when potatoes are soft and golden brown). Add pecan and continue roasting for another 10 mins. Drizzle with vinegar and season with salt and pepper.

Raw Tomato Sauce:

Raw Tomato Sauce w/ veggies

‘s mother sent me this recipe because she thought I’d like it. She was right! This raw, GF, vegan dip is a great low-cal condiment for sandwiches or for dipping veggies. This makes a LOT of dip (I ate it all though…)

  • 8 medium tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves

Blend everything except 1 tomato in a blender. Add the remained chopped tomato, and garnish with basil.

Whew! Where did the last hour go?


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Tomato Basil Bruschetta

Recipe from How It All Vegan:

  • 2 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 small red onion, minced
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 French baguette, halved and sliced
  • 2 tbsp flax oil

Preheat over to 400F.  In a small bowl combine tomato, basil, onion, and pepper, and mix well. Set aside. In a small bowl, still together the garlic and olive oil. With a knife, spread garlic mixture over each slice and arrange bread on baking sheet. Place in oven and bake until lightly toasted (5-7 min). Place bread on serving tray and spoon tomato mixture on top. Drizzle with flax oil befor serving. Serve immediately.

This is one of my favourite new recipes! Yum! What I like best about this recipe (which I christen an enormous success!) is how alluring the ingredients smelled during preparation. This would be a good recipe to “make” when you omni friends/relatives are visiting. “Oh my god, what are you making?  It’s smells amazing.” “Oh, I’m just doing a little vegan cooking…” It’s also super easy and cheap, and the product is very photogenic. As you can tell, it also pairs well with red wine!

Aside: onions make my cat Sasha cry. She likes to hang around the kitchen looking for attention, and aften some prolonged onion-chopping, little tears pour out of her eyes. Collective AWWW.

Sasha when she’s not crying:



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Holy Guacamole

If you don’t live in Canada, go here.

Canadians are lucky enough to have access to the President’s Choice brand, which is marketed as a cheaper, more honest alternative to brand-name products, and is only found in select grocery stores. I am a hard scrutinizer of nurtitional and ingredient labels, and I’m a scientist, and I have always found PC products to be, as I said, honest about what they offer. Moreover, PC has always been insanely quick to market new, fresh, innovative low-cal vegan products that taste great and come at a fair price. For example, PC soy milk, which I started buying almost 8 years ago, is creamy, sweet, and delicious, but has only 80 cal/cup and is the cheapest one on the shelf at $3.49. And unlike other brands which rely on cheezy marketing schemes and cheap, unhealthy ingredients (like oh, I don’t know, a company that starts with K and rhymes with Braft), the good folks at PC seem genuinely interested in making wholesome products.

I came across PC Guacamole Seasoning Mix yesterday. It looks like a jar of salsa and contains all wholesome ingredients; no chemical voodoo. Just add 3 avocados to 3/4 cup mix et voila! Tastes like heaven.

Happy long weekend!


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