Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Nutty October

It's that ray of sunshine that streams through my window every morning, followed by the constant sound of rustling leaves, that keeps me from going crazy this time of year.

And then, it's that pile of loose leaf paper, the stacked books, and the crumbled up interviews in the wastebasket that bring me right back to my frantic state.

October is a beautiful disaster for me, and I am almost certain that that is the case for every other university student in Canada and the world.

However, last night as I was laying in bed thinking about the midterm I had to write this morning I suddenly felt at ease. There really was nothing I had to worry about. Sure, I could go over everything I DIDN'T know for the exam...Or else, I could think about all the simple things in life that make me happy --- Like sunshine, rustling leaves, delicious food, racing heart rates, beautiful family and friends ---Why do we let such little things like midterms and papers get to us? There is so much else to life, there is so much beauty.

I woke up with ease this morning as those pleasing thoughts I went to bed with took any sign of grogginess out of me.

This mornings run felt easier than ever, too. Instead of huffing and puffing, I breathed deeply in the crisp fall air; and instead of looking at my own racing feet, I waved to every Jo Blow that crossed my path. Today was going to be a good day, midterm or not.

For breakfast, I had some protein packed pancakes --- topped with sliced banana, agave nectar, and almond butter. Lately I have been doing half spelt flour and half oats to switch up the texture. I have also been adding in whatever I feel is necessary, like today for some brain food I threw in some flax seeds.

They were delish. I must say these are a great way to get through my ever-so-gritty and over powering in taste Vega powder!

After breakfast I went about my day --- On what seemed like broken glass --- As I was informed that at any point during the day an exterminator could come barging through my door. Why? I don't know. I promise you I have seen no rodents or bugs as of late. However, my landtoad likes to keep us on edge...Posting signs is her cup of tea!

No exterminator yet.

I was dying to get home after class tonight as while I was deeply involved in class discussion this afternoon, I found a recipe that looked too good to pass up. A mixed nut engery bar --- and we all know I love any and all things nutty --- and I happen to have an influx of nuts in my freezer, always.

I found this recipe while perusing the Carrots n' Cake bake sale...I most definately found some other must-trys! Those will come; I promise you.

Here is my version...However, it is is very similiar to Amanda's lovely creation

Nutty Enegery Bar


1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup dried prunes

1/4 cup ground flax (you can use whole flax seeds; just add them into the first processing step in order to grind them up!)
approx. 1 tbps. dried coconut
approx. 1 tbps. agave nectar
aprox. 1 tbps. of almond butter
1 tsp. vanilla

1. In a food processor, combine nuts and dried fruit; pulse until it forms into a crumbly mixture (about 30-45 seconds.)
2. Transfer to a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir until everything is well combined. (I used my hands to make sure everything was good n' stirred!)

3. Pour into a pan and flatten to desired thickness...Mine were about 1/2 an inch thick!

4. Store in refridgerator for a few hours, or until you can't wait any longer...

I waited until after dinner to indulge with some heated and diluted almond milk...But wow, these are incredible. The prunes are perfectly sweet, and the nuts add a nice texture!

For dinner tonight I had a portabello "pizza." And by pizza, I mean open-faced melt with toppings.

In olive oil, I grilled the portabello mushroom for a few minutes on both sides. I then sprinkled on some dried italian spice, dried chili flakes, and some soy sauce (to give the mushroom an extra bit of flavour.) With the mushroom on its bottom, I lay on some sliced roma tomatoes, and grilled eggplant. I then transfered the baby to an oven proof dish where I proceeded to top it with spinach and mozarella cheese --- And into the broiler it went!

At the last minute, I added some sliced green olives.

This "meaty pizza" was to die for...I forgot how incredible real mozarella is! It gets so stringy and chewy when it's melted...Mmmmm.

I dipped it in Dijon mustard and sriracha...

Now I must force myself to do work as October and all of its glory is still going full throttle!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Protein Packed Pancakes

Those grey skies blew right on over --- Waking up to sunny blue skies was a perfect way to begin a Friday, or my weekend. Having Fridays off from school is so nice; I get a long weekend every week!

I headed out for my morning run with money in hand as I had to pick up a few things at the end of it --- Running out of toilet paper is something that is unheard of until you live by yourself. I didn't know there wasn't a never ending supply of the stuff...

For breakfast today I tried out Angela's spelt pancakes from Oh She Glows; however, I switched it up a little as I am too stubborn to follow any directions.

Coconut Spelt Pancakes

1/3 cup spelt flour
1/2 tbsp. Vega Complete Whole Food Optimizer (chai flavour)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. coconut flakes

1/3 cup almond milk (maybe a little more depending on consistency)

1. Mix together the dry ingredients, and then gradually stir in the almond milk. If the mixture is too thick, feel free to add a little more milk or water.

2. Pour small rounds onto a greased frying pan (I used coconut oil for that extra hit of coconut!)

3. Flip cakes as soon as you see bubbles forming on the top! Fry the other side until it is golden brown --- another couple of minutes.

4. Walah! A healthy single serving of pancakes! Accessorize as you please.

I topped my pancakes with some frozen banana puree, chopped walnuts, cacoa nibs, flax meal, and craisins for some colour!

I was a little low on agave nectar due to my granola disaster last night, so after awhile I started dipping my pancakes in some raspberry spread.

The batter made about three small pancakes...and it was plentiful! The protein powder fills ya rightt up. I'll let you know tommorow if they stick with you throughout the morning!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Granola Shmanola...

I thought the sky was grey due to the time I woke up this morning. In fact, I swear I saw the sun peering through the clouds while I was running. It wasn't until I was safely inside my home when it all happened; the grey clouds exploded and it down poured for a good majority of the day. But who cares! It's fall; we can't have sunny skies forever.

For breakfast I had a simple bowl of cereal with almond milk and coffee...Well with a few new additional ingredients thanks to last night's grocery shop.

To my spelt flakes I added banana, cacoa nibs, flax seeds, the most plump grapes, and fresh figs! Mmm...I must have had figs before but it felt like the first time biting into a real, fresh fig.

After breaky, I threw together a little lunch to get me through my six hour class. I packed a chickpea salad, some grapes, and a bran muffin.

It was then that time; I trudged out into the rain for my morning class. I left my bike at home today as I figured it would be difficult to ride in rain boots equiped with an umbrella. What a brilliant idea --- The few people who braved the wind and rain on their bikes looked in serious pain.

We had a guest speaker from Chatelaine today who spoke to us about the importance of fact-checking. I would have to say it was the most practical and helpful lesson I have sat in on since my first day at Ryerson.

I will then go on to say that I absolutely adore my feature writing class. Not knowing was I was getting myself in to (I thought it would be a broadcasting class,) I was dreading the idea of an entire semester of feature writing. However, after one day I LOVE it. I love the instructor, Rachel. I love the class size. And I already see positive progress in my writing in the near future.

We had an hour break in the afternoon so I headed back out into the rain to visit a friend nearby for lunch.

The rest of the class time was used for pitching our first feature story ideas to Rachel, and then for going over a story from the National Post. It is a lovely story...Even though it's based on tweeting. Check it out:

It really opened my eyes. What has become of our society? Can we not just cherish a moment by ourselves or with the people who surround us? Why must our first thoughts be "I have to tweet this?" I wish I could say this was a bad thing but maybe tweeting is a way for us to remember --- An on going diary for us to recover years later? Or maybe it's a way to hide discomfort, a way to remove ourselves from the present moment...

After class I headed over to Kensington Market to pick up some ingredients to make Meghan's granola. I always forget how sore my feet get walking in rubber boots...When I was just a few blocks away from home I had to remove my boots to stretch out my feet. Let's just say it was a good thing it rained today or I may have walked home barefoot.

When I got home I quickly whipped together the granola mixture so that it could bake while I made dinner.

I switched up the recipe just a tad by using agave nectar in place of the honey and maple syrup.

Well...I wish I could say it was a success. I must remember that my oven gets too god damn hot. No matter what the baking time always ends up being half of what is suggested due to burning.

I didn't take the granola out when it started to seriously brown though as it was still very soft...It wasn't until I finished eating dinner that I realized my granola had turned from a golden brown to a burnt brown. Let's just pretend the granola is coated with cocoa.

I added some craisins and raisins after I removed the brownola from the oven...

I refuse to throw it out --- A little roasted flavour never hurt anyone!

For dinner tonight I had a brown rice patty topped with a tomato mixture and some green salad.

To make the patty I mixed together about 1/4 cup of brown rice with some corn kernels, red onion, garlic, and one egg white. For spice, I added some cumin, tumeric, cayenne, salt, and pepper. After forming a patty, I fried it in some sesame oil until it was golden brown on both sides (about five minutes a side...for me, at least!)

The tomato mixture was a blend of tomato (obv,) red onion, cilantro, chili flakes, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.

I dipped the patty in some Dijon mustard and hot sauce.

Dinner was pretty darn good...But I wont be having any patties tommorow as the second one I attempted to make just turned into a jumbled messs.

For dessert I had some of my granola mixed with some walnuts, almonds, and chocolate chips. The chocolate chips actually made it seem like the granola was chocolate flavoured and not just charcoaled...It was quite nice...

Well I must do some dishes now as the kitchen is quite a disaster due to a secret dish that won't be leashed until tommorow...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Having class at 11 am, I decided to get up nice and early in order to get in a run before being forced to breathe in the same recycled air as 50 other students in a dark breezy room for essentially five hours straight.

Fortunately this week has seen no tell-tale signs of winter. The sun has been shining everyday all week. It's such a nice thing to wake up to and soak in immediately.

When I got back from my run, I did a few chores and then made up some breakfast. As I told you yesterday, you may be getting a hit (or I may be) of frozen banana puree oats...Well, I wasn't lying. Today I most definately whipped up a frozen banana as I was salivating over it since the last time it touched my lips. I threw in a couple of prunes to add an extra texture and flavour to the ban-puree...

I also added some blueberries, pear (fresh from the farmer's market,) cacoa nibs, flax seed, and walnuts. It was the perfect meal to get me through the morning.

I also had a cup of cof with some agave nectar as I am currently out of almond milk.

Before I headed out to class, I packed up a few things to nibble on throughout the day. Luckily I took out a bean dip last night that ended up being the staple ingredient in my lunch today.

I used it as a dip for tomatoes, carrots, and crackers. I also brought along a bran muffin and a pear.

I got home at around 5 pm today and grabbed a quick snack (rye cracker with a slab of AB) before I headed down to Sobey's for some much needed groceries.

I also chomped down on a feta stuffed jalapeno while I browsed through the aisles as I craved one immediately upon seeing them in the deli window.

After cramming the last item into my grocery bag, I was thankful I stopped shopping when I did. The bike ride home was a little wobbly; one more item may have sent me right over.

For dinner tonight, I had a mexican inspired dish. First off, a delicious corn on the cob...I can't get enough of the stuff. I would give up a limb for a cob o' corn. I drizzled on some coconut oil, and sprinkled on a little cayenne for an extra kick.

Alongside, I had some stirfried garlic, onion, kale, and tomato. I also heated up some more refried beans (the real mexican part of the dish.) For some garnish, I sprinkled on a little bit of cilantro...Mmmm

I also cracked open a birthday present tonight.

That's right, folks...Someone knows me really well. I got some sexy hot sauce straight out of Mexican soil. It was darn good --- But let's just say a little goes a long way. The XXX label is not meant to be a fun little white lie.

Oh my --- The dish was unreal. And the corn...Well, I am still thinking about its goodness. Luckily, I saved half of it for tommorow!

For dessert I went a little nutty. No, but really! I am obsessed with walnuts lately, and dove right in to a bowl mixed in with some chocolate chips, spelt flakes, raisins, and grapes...I'll save you the photo (I didn't actually take one...or three as I had a few servings...)

Well, I must go finish up a project I am in the process of doing...You'll see it on Friday. Maybe I'll do some h/w too...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dead Zone = Work Zone

Where did everybody go? Ever since September came around, it seems as though everyone returned to their routines. Since when did that mean that dining out was a no-go? I can't believe how dead work has been as of late. Today I worked for a total of two and a half hours...I am not complaining though as I need as many hours as I can get! With school and other commitments this week, I had to give up most of my shifts...Thus I am relying on every hour!

After my day's work, I headed to a cafe to do some readings for philosophy. Philosophy puts me in a state of bliss. I absolutely love it. While I read, I chomped down on a wrap filled with sprouts, carrots, red pepper, arugula, hummus and seared tofu from Pulp Kitchen. I finally tried it out, and let's just say they are experiencing the September restaurant blues as well --- I was the only one in there, and it was not because of bland menu. My wrap was pretty good...needless to say it was simple!

I think I sat in that empty cafe for three hours --- When my mind started wandering from the pages of my book, I found myself listening in on the staff's lives. I may or may not know the love lives and new found hobbies of every member there!

When the clock struck six, I decided it was time to head home. It wasn't until I hit Riverdale Farm that I remembered their Tuesday evening farmer's market...I obviously made a little detour as it was the first time that I was actually in the area and able to peruse the stands!

I love farmer's markets.

With my work uniform taking up most of the space in my basket, I had little to no room left to fill with goodies...So I left with only a couple of items. Maybe I should be thankful for that little space as I could have gone a little nuts on the vegan and gluten free baked goods. Instead I got a bushel of kale and some fresh picked pears...Mmmm.

I obviously incorporated the kale in my dinner tonight...and it was much needed as I was a little low on salad greens. I had a tasty kale and mixed green salad which I topped with chick peas, grape tomatos, red onion, and carrot. For a extra crunch, I added some broken rye crackers and walnuts which I toasted in some coconut oil. The dressing was a simple olive oil, balsamic, dijon blend --- But what's better than that, really?

It hit the spot, and the toasted crackers and walnuts made it.

For dessert a little later I dug into the freezer for a slice of my banana bread.

For a little somethin' somethin', I spread on a bit of raspberry jam!

Well, I am going to finish up my philosophy readings and then head to bed.


A Jumble of Days

I really couldn't have asked for a better birthday. Starting the day off at the Vegetarian Food Fair was the perfect start. We made it just in time to get good seats for Meghan Telpner's food demo; she is so adorable and real. She made quite a few quick staples in order to show us how easy it is to essentially make everything from scratch. I had always been weary of making granola as I could never find the perfect recipe with little oil; Meghan opened my eyes though. She showed me that it could be done in less then half an hour (baking time included) with just a few ingredients...I will definately be making it soon! Here are the recipes that I picked up at the demo on Saturday --- The cookies were delish!

My birthday dinner took place at Rodney's Oyster House. I wish I could say it was incredible; the only thing that made it was being in the same room with my girlfriends. It had been a few months so it was so nice catching up! However, the service and the food were just OKAY. I had mussels for my main dish, and a couple of oysters to start out with as I realized after ordering dinner that oysters were a MUST at an oyster house. They were pretty good; the array of sauces made them.

Sunday was an all in all lazy day. I wanted to go back to the fair but couldn't work up enough energy to get off the couch. I think the most eventful part of the day was having a shower.

Monday ended up being the ush---However, I did try out a mixed berry GF vegan muffin at the Beet. I would have to say that I have had better...No one seems to be able to beat the sweet potato and date muffins from Urban Herbivore.

Today I woke up pretty early as I had to work at noon and wanted to get a run in before I headed down. The sun was shining which put me in an upbeat mood immediately --- A good state to arrive to work in as sometimes the littlest things can bring me down there.

When I returned from my run, I was pretty famished and decided that oatmeal was really the only meal that would sit like a brick for an entire shift at work. Having little to nothing in my refridgerator to dazzle my oats up, I decided to whip up a frozen banana in the food processor. Oh my --- It was like added a touch of ice cream to breakfast, something I could never turn down. I added some chopped apples, blueberries, raisins, flax seeds, cacoa nibs and AB to the mix. I must say I am hooked on the frozen banana puree...You may or may not be seeing it again in the near future.

I obviously had a coffee with some almond milk and agave nectar --- I don't know what has gotten in to me as I don't usually need to sweeten or milken my coffee, but I am loving it these days.

Well my afternoon shift awaits me...Hopefully I will have made enough to afford a coffee by the end of it!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Festivals and Birthdays

How to achieve the feeling of well-being dawned on me today. If I am to get anything done during the day and feel accomplished to boot, I need to wake up bright and early and begin the day with a run. It only took me 20 years to figure that out; yes folks, as of today I am a whopping two decades old!!

I woke up with the sun (well---not really, but 8 am is as close as I am going to get to "waking up with the sun" AND feeling well-rested) Knowing that I had a big day ahead of me, I jumped out of bed, threw on my gear, and ran out the door for my morning jaunt. I wish I always had Saturday's off...The mornings are so peaceful in the city as everyone who holds a 9-5 job is relaxing at home!

However, my neighborhood was bustling as vendors and runners were getting ready for the Cabbagetown Festival. This weekend is like the Taste of the Danforth, but in Cabbagetown...Everyone and their mothers will be out digging threw others belonging's to find treasures for themselves (Yes, there will be yard sales). But throughout the annual commotion of corn roasts and bag pipers, I guarantee that Joe Blow will still be down at the local saloon sippin' back his brew wondering what the hell is going on.

I plan to stroll through at somepoint during the weekend, but right now I have something else on my mind.

After my breakfast, which consists of an array of fruit and a slice of toast with AB and raspberry jam, I am heading down to the Vegetarian Food Fair at the Harbour Front.

The fair started last night, but unfortunately I couldn't make it down. Brendan Brazier was speaking on how to boost athletic performance through a plant-based diet. I didn't feel so bad missing him as I have seen him speak before and interviewed him in first-year.

But today my favourite Toronto blogger, Meghan Telpner, will be speaking and demonstrating a few vegetarian recipes. I am so excited!! I can't think of a better way to spend my birthday day.

Tonight I am meeting my girlfriends for dinner at Rodney's Oyster House. I have never been there but was feeling like seafood for my birthday dinner, so hopefully it's worth it.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Summer is definately over. No, not because the weather has suddenly dropped 10 degrees...but because I got called off for two shifts today! Usually I would be quite content with having a Friday day and night off, but having paid tuition this morning I am in desperate need of a money replenishment --- Maybe I'll just win the lottery.

With a day off, I decided to bike down to the mall to find something to wear for my birthday.

Let's just say shopping while knowing that you have little to nothing to spend puts a damper on the entire day. I walked away empty handed --- My grumbling stomach also forced me to leave as I can no longer afford to spend petty coin on quick pick-me-ups.


When I got home from my unsuccessful day at the mall, I dove right in to lunch: a green salad with chopped tofu, zucchini, and red onion. I also had a rye cracker with some gouda cheese for some extra oomph.

After hearing that I wasn't needed at work tonight, I headed down there anyway to fix my schedule. I believe the sceduler forgot that I was in school and made a very work/school conflicting agendra for me this week.

Luckily everyone is desperate for hours right now so it wasn't too hard to give my shifts away --- The hardest part was knowing that once again I will not be making money!

I strolled around downtown and looked in to a few more shops before I headed home for dinner.


I rummaged through my freezer for some dinner ideas. I decided on an indian inspired stir-fry. While the rice was boiling, I stir-fried some garlic, onion, rapini, spinach, yellow beans, and garbanzo beans.

I actually found a bag of frozen vegetables at the health food store down the road that was filled with everything I love: spinach, rapini, onion, and yellow beans. As much as I hate frozen vegetables, I realize that they are perfect for me as I can't keep anything fresh in my fridge.

I threw in some curry powder, cumin, cayenne, and some S&P at the end for an extra boost of flavour.

To the rice I added some coconut oil as it's a better alternative to butter and it still adds flavour.
Sriracha was an obvious accompaniment to the dish. It hit the spot.

I am still deciding on whether or not to go out tonight. My birthday is tommorow, so I want to have full energy for it but we'll see. My girlfriend is having a welcome back/house warming party just down the road from me so that's always hard to turn down!

Beautiful Fall Morning

I absolutely love beautful fall mornings --- Heck, I love beautiful fall days. I adore autumn. I can't think of a better way to wake up than from a streaming ray of light through my window and the sound of rustling leaves outside.

I decided to take advantage of the morning sun and threw on some shorts and a t-shirt immediately upon waking up to get in a run before the day began.

It was the perfect temperature. While I ran I couldn't believe that just a week prior I was sweating my butt off just trying to get dressed --- Thank god the humidity is gone. I could run with ease and the crisp air hasn't affected my breathing too much yet. I can only hope that this will last a little longer, but I know the chill to the bone weather is upon on.

After doing a few sets of sit-ups and push-ups, I had a shower and then some breaky.

For breakfast today I had one of my mother's famous bran/mollasses muffins---It's so nice digging into mom's home baking when I am provinces away. Thank god for a freezer.

I also had some apple and banana alongside --- and of course a cup of coffee with some almond milk and agave nectar.

Well I just found out that I do not actually have to work today...Which usually would be a fine thing, but having just paid my school tuition I am financially unable to not work! But hopefully I will get called in tonight so that I can semi afford my birthday and the upcoming weeks.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Window Sill Garden

Having faced a series of wilted herbs in my refridgerator as of late, I decided to purchase my very own basil plant. I thought it was a good way to always have basil at hand, but also a way to have edible basil.

This new addition to my home made me realize that I should really hold off on having children --- Taking care of anything alive is quite the feat for me. By the time the leaves started accumulating on the floor, I realized it was time to put that basil to use.

Being a crisp, fall day, nothing sounded greater than a plate of pesto pasta!

1 cup of fresh basil
1/4 cup of chopped walnuts (or almonds, or pine can essentially use any nut!)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large cloves garlic
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Combine the basil and walnuts in the food processor, and pulse a few times to break the mixture down.

2. Add the garlic and parmesan.

3. While the processor is whirring, gradually add the oil. You do not need to add all the oil. I like to add only a bit for flavour, and then I add water to get the right consistency.

4. Taste test --- Feel free to add some salt, more garlic, or anything else you feel it needs!

I boiled up some brown rice pasta to have with the pesto.

To the mix, I added some crumbled wild sockeye salmon. Pesto and salmon just go hand in hand. I sprinkled some more parm and a few capers on top, and then for some extra greenery, I had some steamed broccoli.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Baking on a Rainy Day

Finding it difficult to keep up with the pace of my over-ripening bananas, I began throwing them in the freezer a few months back as I figured I would eventually do something with them. It wasn't until today when I tried cramming a loaf of bread next to a bundle of bananas that I realized it was time to do something with my accumulation.

I could have made enough smoothies for my entire apartment building --- Not only would that have been boring, but I can count on one hand the amount of people I actually know in my building so after some consideration, I realized that receiving pitchers of smoothies from a stranger was a little sketchy.

There really is no better way to use up over ripe bananas than to make a loaf of banana bread.

To make a rainy day productive, I did just that --- I whipped up a loaf of wheat-free, sugar-free, dairy-free banana blueberry bread.

Banana Blueberry Bread

3 large frozen bananas, thawed (or 3 over ripe bananas)
1/3 cup almond milk
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup agave nectar

2 cups spelt flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup coconut flakes (optional)
1/4 cup cacoa nibs (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan--- I used coconut oil to keep it dairy free. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to the almond milk and let stand until it curdles.

2. Squeeze the thawed bananas into a bowl, and mash with a fork. Add the almond milk, agave nectar, and remaining lemon juice to the mix.

3. In a seperate bowl, combine the spelt flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir until it is well-combined. Fold in the blueberries, and any other ingredient you may fancy...Mine may or may not have cat hair...

4. Transfer to the loaf pan and spread out evenly. Bake in the oven for 30-50 minutes --- I realize there is a vast difference in the baking times but my loaf baked very quickly due to a hottt oven. So all I am saying is keep an eye on her; it could take an hour to bake!

This loaf was absolutely delicious...and even if it is on the under-cooked side, there really isn't any ingredient in it that needed to be baked!

I enjoyed a slice of bread with some iced coffee---with a touch of agave nectar and almond milk.

Definately try this loaf out for a change in your breakfast routine, or an afternoon coffee break!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Best Kind of Butter

As I scraped the bottom of my almond butter jar, I cringed at the thought of forking out $11.00 to replenish it. That was until I remembered the excess amount of almonds that were taking up 3/4 of my freezer --- My mother seems to think that I can go through a Costco sized bag of almonds each month. Yes, they are a great source of calcium but they're no cookie and I'm not about to spread whole almonds on to my toast in the morning. So instead of breaking it to her, I just continue filling up the nooks and crannies in my freezer with them.

Well, mother. They have finally come in to use.

Instead of purchasing yet another jar of almond butter, I decided to make my own.

I started by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and laying out a layer of almonds on a baking sheet.

I then roasted them in the oven until they were lightly toasted and my entire pad had an almond aroma to it.

This took about ten to fifteen minutes --- I may have roasted them a little too long though.

After cooling off the almonds, I threw them in to the food processor. I ground up all of the nuts in one go; it may have been more effective to do a couple of batches.

It took awhile for the almonds to turn in to butter as they went through a few phases --- crumbs to paste to butter.

The butter turned out quite amazing.

You can experiment with this recipe by using basically any kind of nut --- and it's the healthiest form of nut butter as there are no added oils, sugars, salts, or preservatives

Monday, June 7, 2010

Herb Encrusted Tofu

After hitting up Kensington Market the other day, I returned home with an aray of spices as I finally found a place that sells them bulk! Since then my meals have turned from blah to amazing...

This herb encrusted tofu is a take on a recipe that a friend just showed me. Even though I didn't use any of the required ingredients (excluding the tofu,) it turned out quite nicely!

I started out with a bowl of cumin, tumeric, dried chili flakes, oats, and flaked coconut. From there I went on to "encrust" the tofu...

To brown each side and enhance the spices, I fried the tofu block in some canola oil.

After removing the nicely browned tofu, I added some kale, spinach, arugula, and mushrooms to the pan in order to soak up the spice-infused oil. I also added some soy sauce.

I dipped the tofu in some Sriracha, of course.

If you're looking for a seriously flavourful tofu dish, this is the one. Feel free to use your own mix of ingredients to encrust the tofu; I did!

Friday, May 28, 2010

A New Take on Hummus

Being a little tight on cash since my big move, I have had to rely on some serious food basics. Let's just say I have eaten a whole lot of peanut butter and pickle sandwiches this month...

So when I went to whip up a batch of hummus, I realized that I did not actually have one of the key ingredients --- tahini. Counting the pennies in my change purse, I was made aware that tahini was probably not a top priority and was forced to find an alternative --- peanut butter.

Spicy Peanut Butter Hummus

1 can (540 mL) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp. water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup peanut butter
3 tbsp. cilantro
3 cloves garlic, minced
Sriracha, to taste
olive oil

1. Place all of the ingredients (except olive oil) in a food processor. Blend until smooth.
2. Drizzle in olive oil until you reach desired consistency. I used about a tablespoon.

I had a salad and a few of Mary's crackers with the hummus.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Dragon Rice Bowl

You may already be very much aware, but I haven't posted anything for about a month. This is not because I haven't been eating --- Mind you, I would like to say that as my meals have evolved around pickles and peanut butter (the two main ingredients which solely inhabitated my fridge for a few weeks.)

The main reason I have not been keepin' up with them ol' blogs is because I was living without internet for a bit there --- and after making the trek to Starbucks once every couple of days to check my email, Facebook, and all that jazz, the last thing I wanted to do was recall what I had eaten over the past 72 hours.

So having been wired for a few days now (FREE too as I am milking every Rogers promotion that I can) I have decided to get back on to the blogging bandwagon...Let me take you back to yesterday evening where I indulged into a satisfying "rice plate"

Fresh likes to call it a rice bowl...and to be more specific a Dragon Rice Bowl.

I didn't follow the recipe exactly, but I used the majority of the listed ingredients.

Dragon Rice Bowl
Serves 4

1 large zucchini, sliced diagonally
3 tomatoes, slice thickly
8 Marinated Tofu Steaks (see below *)
6 cups cooked brown basmati rice
1 batch Miso Gravy (see below **)
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 tbsp. brown sesame seeds, toasted

* I marinated my "steaks" for about an hour in a combination of apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, olive oil, Dijon mustard, and fresh garlic.

** I didn't have all of the gravy ingredients on hand so I whipped up a little sauce that I found in Still Life with Menu (4 tbsp. yellow, Hatcho, or barley miso 6 tbsp. almond buter and 1 1/2 cups boiling water --- To the miso and almond butter, add a small amount of boiling water and mash with a spoon to make a paste. Continue to add the water until you are happy with the consistency of the sauce.)


1. Grill the zucchini, tomatoes and tofu steaks in the oven at medium to high heat, until lightly browned.
2. Put 1 1/2 cups cooked brown basmati rice in a large rice bowl.
3. Pour one 4 ounce ladle of warm Almond Miso Sauce over the rice.
4. Arranged the grilled vegetables and tofu steaks around the inner edges of the bowl.
5. Put chopped cilantro and green onions on the sauce at the centre of the bowl.
6. Garnish with toasted brown sesame seeds (optional.) Repeat for each serving.

While I was roasting the vegetables, my place started getting just a LITTLE smokey --- The air circulation in a bachelor pad is less than satisfactory --- And as a result, the smoke alarm started screeching. I had to stand on my bed waving a towel for about 5 really worked up a sweat. (Some of that sweat can be credited to the fear that that noise instilled...I thought my building was going to be evacuated!!)

When I told my sister what I had for dinner, she made sure to inform me that I cannot refer to my tofu as "steaks."

This dinner was pretty incredible. The sauce wasn't too overwhelming --- It could have used a little lime.

And the photos don't speak the truth --- I obviously added some Sriracha.