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Markets and Bars

Hellohello! Hope everyone had a fantabulous weekend! I sure did…

karaoke

Thank gawd this cellphone photo is the only evidence of my busting out Moondance at karaoke last night. Also very happy that Billy chose not to take a picture of me awkwardly dancing during the musical interlude. Don’t ever let me do this again, mmmkay? :P

Anyways, I am not here to talk about how much whiskey it took me to do that, or the fact that I woke up at noon today. Ohno, today it’s about the food.

First things first, I’ve been eating a lot of bars. My cupboard is overflowing with all the bars I acquired in the U.S. last weekend!

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I was really excited to try my second Clif Mojo flavour after declaring Peanut Butter Pretzel my favourite bar ever.

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Mountain Mix had the same sweet & salty theme with almonds, peanuts, raisins and chocolate, among many other goodies. I did not dig the dried fruit in the mix. PB Pretzel still has a hold on my tastebuds!

Saturday morning I was up early (read: 8am and not noon) to attend what could be my last ever Les Mills step class. A very sad occasion, but I can’t afford to keep up my gym membership when I already have access at another gym for free!

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I fuelled up for step with this Clif Z Bar in Chocolate Chip as I’ve heard they make for a good snack before running as well.

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Not a big fan of this one. In general, I don’t really care for baked bars unless crumbled over top of something. It did at least sit well in my tummy while I jumped over a step for 60 minutes :)

Lastly, I reached for another Clif bar while working on the blog today. This time for one of the new Luna Protein bars in Chocolate Cherry Almond that came in my Healthy Living Summit swag bag.

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For 180 calories, it was small….

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And only 12g protein (compared to a regular Luna, which has 10g anyways)

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Taste was just okay, I’m picky with my fruit-chocolate flavour combos. The texture however was great. Similar to certain flavours of Atkins or ISO Femme protein bars.

When not drinking whiskey and eating protein bars (killer combo, no?) I was eating some of the best food Toronto has to offer!!

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I finally made my way down to Toronto’s historic St. Lawrence Market on Saturday. It’s a combination indoor-outdoor market district.

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I explored mostly the indoor markets as it was raining outside. They looked like your typical market set-up…

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In all honesty, I’m not the biggest fan of farmer’s markets. I know it’s a great way to support local farmers, but the crowds aren’t that great for my anxiety, and I find the food is often too expensive for my tight purse strings. 

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However, I am never one to turn down free food ;) LOVE the free samples at markets. The above photo is a table with a gazillion different flavours of mustard – my favourite being the maple mustard. 

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I asked Kristin for some market recommendations as I now consider her my expert resource on all things related to the St. Lawrence Market ;) Her first suggestion was to get a peameal bacon sandwich from the Carousel Bakery.

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A quick Google search led me to discover the sandwich is world famous, touted by celebrities such as Emeril Lagasse and Bobby Flay.

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I showed up starving after Saturday’s step class and this sandwich hit. the. spot. Wowza.

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I ordered the regular peameal sandwich, with just the meat, cheese, on a amazingly soft and flaky bun. The bun is totally what made the sandwich, but I was impressed by how much meat they put on it too!!

After much wandering around, I decided it was time for some of the Freshly Squeezed juice Kristin also said I had to try.

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I went for a carrot + apple + ginger juice made right in front of me!

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Loved it. I’m always a little weary of vegetable juices, but carrots are so sweet and the ginger gave it a wonderful kick.

While sipping on my juice, I stumbled across this place…

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I was actually in search of dessert when I saw this, but remembered that Kristin also said the perogies were a must-try. I LOVE well-made perogies. So I ditched dessert for something more savoury.

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I ordered three potato and cheese perogies and three veal. Only cost $2.50 and they threw in an extra one! Even better, I had my camera around my neck when they handed me the perogies. The guy at the counter opened the container and asked if I wanted to snap a photo of them. How did he know?? :P

A lot of wonderful looking produce at the market, but again, much of it I passed up. Except for these little babies…

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Those would be fresh dates. I’ve never seen fresh dates before!! The girl selling them said to keep them out for 3-4 weeks until they get wrinkly like the one in the top of the picture. That’s when they get good enough to eat. Can’t wait!

Finally, I had one more stop.

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Just the other day I was reading about the best place to get a bagel in Toronto (because that’s apparently how I spend my free time) and St. Urbain Bagel was listed among them.

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I picked up a couple whole wheat sesame bagels and brought them home for later.

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And by “later” I mean it was the first thing I ate when I jumped rolled out of bed this morning afternoon.

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Toasted and topped with laughing cow cheese, eggs and chicken bacon. Damn, this bagel was good. The perfect mix of soft, chewy and puffy. I may have to go back for these!

I also passed several meat stalls at the market. I so badly wanted to stop and pick something up, but I kept reminding myself that I actually live close to one of the best sausage shops in the city!

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I picked up a strawberry spinach chicken sausage on my way home Saturday. Ate it for supper that night on top of lettuce, tomato and onions with ketchup, mustard, sauerkraut and Trader Joe’s corn salsa. No doubt the sausage was fresh, however I don’t think the fruitier flavours are for me. I guess my inner German prefers a more savoury sausage ;)

 

Ahhhh, another weekend, another three days of wonderful foodie adventures :) I’m kinda lovin’ this city!!

Also, if you’re taking it easy tonight like me, feel free to check out my updated pages: The Girl Behind The Blog, and Links I Love. I read so many blogs, I know I forgot to add some to my new blogroll. Don’t be shy, let me know if you think you belong on that list! Blog updates are still a work in progress, more to come in the following days!

 

Question of the Day: What would be your karaoke song??

Cleaning up and Clearing up

Hiii!!!!

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I got my hair did!! Not sure if you can tell by the picture on the side, but my hair was getting looooong. I’m pretty sure the longest parts were midway down my back! I didn’t let it go on purpose. I got a trim before my graduation in May, then forgot all about it!! You can tell where my personal priorities lay – gym first, grooming second :P

I also picked up a medium mahogany brown colour to dye it as well. I’m naturally quite fair-haired, but it washes me out, so I darken it. Don’t worry, I’ll obnoxiously take pictures of that as well :P

On to the day at hand…

As you could probably tell from my post last night, I was not on the top of my game. Thus, no breakfast cookie was prepared before my drug-induced sleep. I slept almost solid because of my handy dandy Nyquil. Reading the news on the radio irritated my throat all morning, but I’m hopeful after another 8-hour coma + rest day tomorrow, I’ll be back to somewhat normal :)

Oh, yes, no breakfast cookie. Breakfast sandwich instead.

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Back in my pre-weight loss days, I used to eat a fried egg sandwich for breakfast almost every single day. Except, those old-school sandwiches were made with two whole eggs, thick-sliced old cheddar, huge pieces of “birdseed bread” and lotsa butter along the way. Today’s was dry, with one egg, and a pre-sliced piece of light cheddar. For the most part, I really enjoy my “new” foods. But I gotta admit, this did not live up to its former glory.

I chased it down with an orange, in case you were dying to know :P

I rushed through my early morning tasks so I could head to the farmers market before it got busy. I was there at 7am and it was still pitch dark out!! I think it was a little too early, as not all the vendors were set up. It was pretty slim pickings.

Got back and snacked.

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I really enjoy these caramel ReBars. 12g protein and 4 servings of fruit & veggies.

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I mean, they taste like they have four servings of fruit and veggies, but I genuinely enjoy it! Put chocolate and peanuts on anything and I’ll like it :)

Lunch was from the market. Dolma:

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Aka grape leaves stuffed with rice and a few surprise chickpeas.

Pita bread with hummus and tabbouleh.

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It was like a pizza! A very messy, garlicky pizza.

My afternoon snack featured more market goodies. Homemade smoked herring.

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On crackers with laughing cow. The lady I bought this from is known for her smoked salmon, but I bought the herring because it was cheaper. Ohmygodsooogoooood. It was the first time I ever had smoked fish that actually melted in my mouth. Definitely splurging on the salmon next time!

I partnered it with a small McCowan apple.

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The vendor told me it was “a very good eating apple.” Which I would have to agree with. Very crunchy inside and out with a nice hint of tartness. It reminded me a lot of a McIntosh.

Aaaaand a quick Google search just told me it’s the child of a McIntosh! Also known as a Macoun. I probably won’t be eating a lot of them though. I bought a big bag which is destined for apple sauce and other baking projects.

Then it was off to the mall to get my hair done. Dangerous location for a hairdresser, as I also did a little shopping after. I swear I really needed that purse and matching wallet!

If there’s one good thing about doing an 8-hour work day so early, is that it allows me plenty of time to prepare dinner after. I decided today was the perfect day to step up to Janetha’s kitchen clearing challenge. While I may not be moving, I do have tons of dried legumes and grains in my pantry that should really be used up. Personally, I prefer getting my grains from bread and oats, so I never feel inclined to cook them with dinner. Plus, I’ve somehow convinced myself that it takes tons of time, which it doesn’t!

Kitchen clearing dish #1: stuffed bell pepper.

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  • 1 package Yves Original veggie ground round
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 jar basil tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa, cooked with 1 cup water
  • 2 laughing cow cheese wedges
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • parmesan cheese to garnish

Every single one of those ingredients, minus the cheeses, have been taking up room in my kitchen for-ever! Even the bell pepper, I bought a huge bag of them weeks ago!

Kitchen clearing dish #2: Dazzled carrots with pears and balsamic

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This dish was 100% inspired by Zesty Cook, whose original recipe can be found here.

I cut the recipe in half, using about 4 carrots and half a pear. I have a few pears in my fridge that are starting to look sad, so I knew this dish was a must when I saw it! I also didn’t use chicken stock because I don’t have any. Instead, I cooked the carrots in a little water, onion, garlic and parsely, then added the pears and balsamic until my tastebuds were happy. This was a stunning dish – I loved it!

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Overall, a delicious meal that I couldn’t even finish.

I would also like to add that the $25 I spent at the market today is the only money I’ve spent on groceries in over 10 days. I need to buy some essentials (*cough* yogurtandcottagecheese*cough*) soon, but I’m pretty pleased with myself. I spend soooo much money on food!

Time to wrap this giant post up with some questions:

1. What’s your favourite kind of apple? Honeycrisp, galas, and red/yellow delicious :)

2. How often do you get your hair done? I typically only get it cut/dyed every six months. I’m pretty sure that’s too long though! I always get a few horrified looks at the hairdresser :P

Walkabout

Hellooo… How is everyone’s weekend going? Mine started with work. At 5am. I spent so long going through old pics for Flashback Friday last night that I didn’t have time to prepare a breakfast cookie! So I microwaved oats at work instead…

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One packet of President’s Choice multigrain instant oats, 1 cup water, 2 tbsp soy protein powder, cinnamon, shredded coconut, 4 dates, cashew butter. Oats never keep me full on these early mornings for some reason. My tummy was growling less than two hours later. Ohhh the mystery that is my tummy…

Lunch was also microwaved.

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Campbell’s herbed chicken with brown rice. I “beefed” it up with some leftover tofu from last night.

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And then some watermelon. 

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x10

It was a crazy busy morning. One of those mornings where I found myself running down the hallways and reading newscasts out of breath. Ahhh…deadlines. I did however find time to scoot on over to the market and get a bounty of goods!!

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  • Romaine
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes
  • Beets
  • Purple “green” beans (purple beans just sounds weird…)
  • Cabbage
  • Potatoes
  • sliced Smoked Montreal beef
  • Cabbage roll

Despite all my wonderful fresh food, I was having a major hankering for chocolate. So I snacked on a chocolate chocolate chip crisp Myoplex bar.

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Well, it was definitely chocolatey! I found it was a little dry and mega rich, but still good. The cinnamon flavour is still my fave!

Oh, and I also had the world’s gooey-est fig.

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Bursting with yumminess!! I wish I could find fresh figs around here, I’m curious as to what they taste like…

I’m running a 5k race tomorrow, so I wanted to keep my exercise today light. I opted for a walk downtown so I could pick some stuff up. The weather was gorgeous!

Wanna come with?

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I started on the trail across the street…

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And continued along the river…

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Until I got downtown.

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Passed a few familiar buildings, like the courthouse where I spend many days reporting.

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And city hall, where many late nights are spent covering council.

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Then it was off to Victory Meat Market.

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Ironically, I was there to pick up some of their cheap fruit! :P

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Cantaloupes for 99 cents. Suh-weet deal.

Then it was off to the Running Room in search of some Gu.

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Luckily, I got there just as they were closing, otherwise I would have easily dropped money I don’t have on expensive running gear :P

And my final stop before making the trek back home was Second Cup.

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I wanted something to quench my thirst, so I got myself a little treat.

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Sugar-free strawberry Italian soda. Basically sucralose in club soda :P

The other wonderful thing about the river route, is there are gorgeous homes on the other side of the road.

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I’m partial to this one because I have extended family that used to live there. It’s beautiful (and huge) inside.

And then home!

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Overall I covered about 5 miles (8 km) in two hours. Much longer than planned. I live an extra 15 minute walk from my old place, I forgot to factor that in!

I was starving by the time I got home. It’d been a long time since my 10am “lunch.” I threw together a meal made up of my market goodies.

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Haha, that cabbage roll looks so gnarly, but it was delicious! It was filled with rice and ground beef. Bought from my favourite Lebanese stand :) There’s also a cucumber salad made up of just cucumber, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic and dill.

Finally, the green stuff! Those are the greens from my beets!! I couldn’t just cut them off and throw them away, especially since there was so much. So I cooked it my favourite way to eat greens, sauteed with garlic, olive oil and parmesan. It was delicious. I couldn’t really distinguish a huge difference from spinach. It’s maybe a little less “tough” and didn’t dry my mouth out like spinach always does.

Dessert!

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Dates + cashew butter. This is a combo that was just meant to be. I don’t know what it is but the two flavours compliment each other perfectly, more than peanut or almond butter!

I’m starting to get pumped for my race tomorrow! I kinda feel like a huge loser because I’m doing it all alone. But it’s at 2pm, and I work till 12pm, so I figured I might as well go run it seeing as I’m always working during the morning races. I don’t have any huge expectations as I’ll likely be sleep deprived and coming off a full day of work. I just want to go run my little bottom off and have a good time! :D

See ya for the recap tomorrow!!

Question of the day: What’s your favourite kind of “ethnic” food? I’ll gobble up anything Greek, Lebanese or Moroccan. Yum!

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