Posts tagged salad

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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Pumpkin seeds (another quick post)

This salad was inspired by DDD‘s Raw Raw for Spring! Crimson Salad with Pecans and Pumpkin Seeds and by Ezmy‘s use of pumpkin seeds here.

Salad: spinach, onion, sauerkraut, tomato, nutritional yeast and sunflower/pumpkin seeds with lemon garlic vinaigrette.

Salad: baby spinach, chickpeas, red onion, tomato, sauerkraut, nutritional yeast and sunflower/pumpkin seeds with lemon garlic vinaigrette.

The Herb and Spice recently started carrying “Go Raw” products which supposedly do not contain nuts, and in spite of their ridiculous price, I decided to pick up some sprouted pumpkin seeds. As Ezmy mentioned, pumpkin seeds are a fantastic source of Zinc. They are also a great source of protein, monounsaturated fat,  Manganese and Magnesium. Many traditional medicines use pumpkin seeds for a variety of purposes.

– Aly

Links of interest:

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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:



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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: . 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!

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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!


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Tofurky deli slices

Following a visit to a registered dietitian, I realised that I have not been eating enough protein to meet the needs of my moderately active lifestyle. One of the dietitian’s suggestions was to make sure to include a source of protein with every snack. Since I cannot eat nuts as a quick and easy source of protein, I decided to try another effortless protein fix: Tofurky! I was a little bit hesitant about eating such a heavily processed food, but decided to give Tofurky deli slices a shot anyway since they are a vegan product and have no nitrates or MSG. Here are two ways that I tried it:

Tofurky kale wrap: avocado slices, tomatoes, one lettuce leaf, green and red onion, black olives, mustard and two Tofurky deli slices on a large kale leaf.

Salad: lettuce, green onions, red onions, scapes, grated carrot, cocktail tomatoes, sauerkraut, black olives and shredded Tofurky slices with a mustard and Balsamic vinegar dressing.

Although I have not eaten turkey in a few years, I would say that the taste and texture of the hickory smoked Tofurky deli slices are a fair approximation of real smoked turkey cold cuts. I did not give up meat because of a dislike for the taste and as such, I enjoyed this product.

– Aly

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Mac ‘n cheeze, salads, and BBQ

Hey guys! Good news–Mad About Udon just celebrated it’s 10,000th visitor! Hard to believe that we just started this blog a couple months ago. It was only about 6 weeks ago that we celebrated our 5000th visitor. Traffic has really picked up and we’re so happy to have lots of new visitors and commenters and to visit all your blogs as well.

Okay so I have to be quick with this food post because, surprise surpise, I am not packed for my flight tomorrow morning. I came up with some interesting dishes this week:

Cheese-free Mac n’ Cheeze (I adapted the recipe from a couple others so here’s my version):

1.5 cups plain soy milk
1 cup water
1/3 cup Braggs soy sauce
1 1/2 cups nutritional yeast
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp salt
1/4 of a block of firm (not silken) tofu
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp mustard
1.5 lbs whole wheat macaroni pasta

Cook the macaroni in a pot of boiling water. Blend everything except the macaroni to make the cheeze sauce. Pour cooked macaroni into a baking pan; pour cheeze sauce on top. Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes.

Next dish:

Udon noodle salad from here. However, it looked a little empty so I added a couple handfuls of spinach. The result? A PERFECT SALAD. A+++.

Another perfect salad, which I’ve come to eat at least 5 times a week:

Spinach-mango-strawberry-dill salad! Yum!

My mum made the following two dishes:

Fruit salad.

Barbecued sweet potatoes and white potatoes, skewered tofu and orange pepper. You can probably tell that the apple doesn't fall far from the culinary tree!

That’s all I’ve got for now. As I mentioned in the last post, O.B. and I are off to Santa Cruz, California to test whether chemists are soluble in the Pacific Ocean. Always working, us two :-)

Have a great two weeks everyone, keep checking in for Aly’s posts!


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