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Butter Bread

It was a loaf that started with such good intentions.

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Rather than spend my money on store-bought bread this week, I decided to make my own Irish Brown Bread following this recipe.

I searched the city of Toronto for buttermilk and could not find any. So I substituted with plain yogurt.

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What is up with no buttermilk Toronto?? I went to all of three stores and could not find any. My mom says you can make it by adding vinegar to regular milk. But that’s, um, gross.

For some reason, the recipe’s instructions of 2oz butter registered in my brain as 1/2 cup butter.

That’s a lot of butter. And it showed.

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I had to bake it for nearly twice as long so the inside would cook resulting in a rock hard crust. It also didn’t rise.

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My soda bread turned into a butter bread. This is what I classify as a #bakingfail.

I’m not the kind of person to just throw out a loaf of bread though. In case you haven’t noticed yet, I’m cheap. Plus, the point of this bread was to save money!

Looking past the difficult texture, the taste  of the bread didn’t turn out so bad. I mean, it is 50% butter after all. I tried to redeem it in the form of french toast.

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Three small slices soaked in egg whites and cinnamon. Eaten with sugar-free syrup.

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Not bad. But still crunchy. This bread can do better.

I took the remaining half loaf and broke it into pieces in a bowl. I then added 1 cup soy milk and let it soak until the bread absorbed all the liquid (about an hour).

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Once the bread was good and mushy, I tossed in 150g cubed ham and placed the mix into a greased square baking pan.

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Poured 2 cups eggs whites over top and sprinkled with 30g old cheddar cheese.

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After almost two hours of baking in a 350F oven, my Butter Bread Breakfast Casserole was complete.

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My baking fail turned into a baking #win!

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Now I’m left with four servings of a grab n’ go breakfast for the rest of the week. Not just that, but the taste and texture is now divine! I highly suggest you try your hand at making an eggy bread breakfast casserole. I do not however recommend doubling the butter in any recipe, no matter how good that may sound :\

 

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In other news, I’m part of a pin-up calendar!!

This is a project that has been in the works since last winter when Deb’s father passed away. Her dad, Marty, was a fan of her food and fitness blogging friends and always joked about how we’d make for good subjects in a calendar. Well, when he fell seriously ill with lymphoma, the joke turned into a reality. You can read Deb’s post here to learn all about it.

We are selling a small number of the calendars with all proceeds going to help cancer research. Please see Deb’s post for more details, or drop her an email at LASmoothieGirl @ gmail.com. I got my copy of the calendar today and am really pleased with how it turned out. It’s such a fun way for this blogging community to come together and show support.

Here’s the full listing of girls featured:

Remember this photo? Well here is your explanation. I got January because it’s my birthday month. I picked the 80s as my retro theme as it’s the decade I was born in! Plus, Jane Fonda is one of my idols ;)

 

Question of the Day: Any recent kitchen failures to share? I can’t be the only one!

Susan’s Day Off

Not only has another weekend come and gone, but it seems another month is close to passing us as well! How the heck is it already October 24th?? Ahh… I try so hard to make the best of my days, which seems to make me forget that time is passing at all.

Even though I had many days off work last week, they were all jam-packed with activities with my visiting family. This past Saturday was my first day off all to myself in a while. So I made sure to make the best of it!

My weekend really started with a Friday night in bed watching Mad Men. Just what the doctor ordered. A very long slumber ensued leaving me refreshed and ready for my Saturday off!

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It began as any day off should – with French toast. Nothing fancy here folks. Dipping mix included two eggs with almond milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon and flaked coconut.

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The only bread I had on hand was a very light and thin flax bread. If only I had some challah! In my humble opinion, challah bread makes the best french toast.

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Dipped in E.D. Smith brand sugar-free syrup. Love those extra eggy bits ;)

The French toast sufficiently fuelled me for a mat pilates class at Chang’e Studio!

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Chang’e is a Leslieville studio that I bought one of those “deal of the day” coupons for. I haven’t done pilates in foreveerrr, so I thought it would be a fun new activity!

I used to love doing pilates back when I first starting getting into healthy living. For some reason my brain only remembered the easy parts of it, so I’m pleasantly surprised by how sore I am today! Pilates is great for the abs, but also works muscles in a way I don’t get when heavy lifting. My body was definitely confused as to what I was putting it through ;)

Saturday is traditionally also my “long” run day (ie, anything that takes me longer than 45 minutes). I had my heart set on running 6 miles. The Weather Network told me it was 15C so I threw on shorts and a t-shirt and hit the trail.

Whoooaaa. Did not factor in wind chill to that temperature. Rookie mistake. I’m most likely to overheat while running, and this time I was freezing! I lost feeling in my left arm. I shaved a solid three minutes off my time running back because I was trying to get home as soon as possible. Lesson learned. Even when it’s “warm” this time of year, the wind still has a harsh, cold bite to it.

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My apartment wasn’t only warm when I returned, but smelled of baked goods! My roommie whipped up a batch of chocolate chocolate chip cream cheese muffins.

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I inhaled it, melty chocolate chips and all. YUM. I love having foodies for roommies :)

I tried not to spoil my appetite though. I was off on a special date!

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A food blogger date ;)

For some reason Toronto’s Little Italy has been on my mind. I blame my sister Sara, who was raving about it last week. Then a client told me our Little Italy has the best Italian food outside of Italy!

To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of Italian food. I actually find it a little too plain for my tastebuds. And I like meat more than carbs (gasp!). However, I’ve been dreaming of a traditional Naples-style pizza ever since reading about it in the book Eat Pray Love.

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I’ve read of a few places in Toronto that serve Neapolitan pizza, but Pizzeria Libretto on Dundas/Ossington consistently gets the best reviews. Thus, the location of our next blogger date suddenly became obvious ;)

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Because we were two, we only had to wait 30 minutes to get a table. Larger parties had to wait at least an hour! We were immediately brought bread and oil.

Kristin and I decided to split an appetizer and pizza rather than try to conquer a whole pizza ourselves. We were feeling a little adventurous with our first pick. The appetizer featured three things:

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Octopus in an orange dressing. I’ve never had octopus before and really enjoyed it!! I get the feeling it was cooked really well, as the texture was just like that of any other seafood.

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Grilled polenta. Which I’ve also never had (we don’t each much cornmeal in Atlantic Canada, I think it’s a U.S. thing). It was divine. Mostly because of the cheese that was also baked in there.

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Finally, sardine! Topped with pickled onions + pine nuts. This was a new one for Kristin, I’m a long time lover of sardines. The pickled onions were the perfect match and the quality was much better than the canned variety I’m used to.

Now, the star of the show…

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The pizza! Based on the recommendations of the waiter, we went for the Ontario Prosciutto with tomato sauce, basil and mozzarella. Apparently, they use a 900F oven and cook the pizza for only 90 seconds. Creates a crust that is crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside.

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Loved the impossibly thin-sliced prosciutto, mozzarella and basil on the pizza. The crust was just right. However, I didn’t care for the tomato sauce. Too plain. I like a little extra kick!

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Kristin actually lived in Italy and has eaten pizza in Naples!

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I on the other hand grew up eating the corner pieces of Greco party pizzas dipped in donair sauce. Maritimers, you know what I’m sayin.

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It may be a while before I get the opportunity to eat the real thing in the real place. But I think I can say it has sufficiently curbed the craving until I get there ;)

I ended my Saturday off honing my bass skills on Rock Band and being reminded why I quit drinking vodka coolers when I was 17. In all, a Saturday off spent in the best ways possible.

 

Question of the Day: Favourite pizza? Go! Mine is the Greek pizza from Pizza Delight. Regular crust, creamy feta cheese with chunky vegetables and spinach. Ohmy.

Opa!

Aahhhh. I’m just putting my feet up and popped in a Curb Your Enthusiasm DVD. Ready to spend the rest of my Saturday evening relaxing and taking it easy after a busy day!

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I slept in until 9am after a late night of being head butted by a cat. Yes, a cat. This will be explained once I get photographic evidence the elusive feline exists. Until then, we have french toast to discuss.

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I really wished I had cinnamon raisin bread for french toast this morning, so I stuck raisins in the bread and doused it in cinnamon ;)

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Some people are addicted to diet cola and cigarettes, I am addicted to E.D. Smith sugar-free table syrup. C’est la vie.

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By the bye, I didn’t eat three whole pieces of french toast today. I always save the butt-ends of bread loaves for french toast so it feels like I’m eating more :)

Breakfast dessert was very sweet and very green.

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Preamble: Last night, I went out for frozen yogurt with Callie. Usually I would show up toting my baby camera, but it was an impromptu date and I went straight from work. We went to this painstakingly cute restaurant-cafe called Moroco in Yorkville. They carry these macarons (not to be confused with coconut macaroons) that seem to be following me lately. Does that ever happen to you? When you’ve never heard of something, then suddenly you see it everywhere?

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Clearly I had to seize the moment and drop the $2.50 on the pistachio flavour. It got a little crushed in my bookbag, but I was SO happy when I woke up this morning and remembered I had it. The lady at the chocolate shop described it as two meringue cookies made with almond flour with a butter cream center. Yum :)

Callie got one too, you can read about our froyo meet-up here!

The macaron also made for a pretty good pre-workout snack. Hit up my nearby gym for a lifting workout made up of small circuits. I’ve been doing something similar with a few clients lately and felt like doing it myself! Started with a 10 minute warm-up on the elliptical.

Straight sets

Circuit #1 (3x)

Circuit #2 (3x)

Circuit #3 (3x)

Did 12 reps of everything, or until I was shaking and couldn’t pump out any more. Whole workout with the warm-up and stretching at the end took me 60 minutes on the dot!

Rushed home for a quick protein snack, but nothing more as I had to rush off for something else!

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I live not too far from Danforth Avenue, which is also home to Toronto’s Greek Town. I haven’t been exploring in this part of the city yet, but when I saw the advertising for the annual Taste of the Danforth festival, I knew I had to go!!

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Fun Fact: Part of My Big Fat Greek Wedding was filmed in this part of the city. Thanks for the tidbit Therese ;)

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The festival is huuuuge. They had Danforth closed for several city blocks. The place was jam packed with people, food stalls, concert stages, amusement park rides and amazing smells with every new block.

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Not all of it is Greek food, and several non-Greek restaurants in the area set up stands as well. I was told there would be free food, but sadly I had to pay for any of the good stuff ;)

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I met up with Sarah and her husband and we walked up and down the whole thing looking for food. Usually I get really panicky in big crowds like this, but today I was feeling pretty good about it. We kept moving and only stood to scarf down the delicious food we got.

Wanna see what that food was?? (I know you do!)

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First sign I saw that caught my eye was this. I loooooove rosemary and love the idea of a chicken rosemary pie.

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This was so good. Sarah and her husband compared the filling to chicken stew and I would have to agree! With a lovely rosemary flavour and hunks of mushrooms. The outside was a wonderfully crispy phyllo.

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Next up, we spotted the stall of a restaurant called Astoria that was recommended to me. I was hankering for a shish kebab, saw the long line, and thought this place could be a winner!

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Doesn’t it look like I’m giving a thumbs up?? 
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IloveGreekfoodyesIdo.

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Sarah
loves Greek food too!!

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Fun Fact #2: Sarah is also going to the Healthy Living Summit next weekend!! I haven’t given it much thought since I bought the ticket what feels like years ago. Now suddenly I’ve only got Chicago on my mind!

Washed my meat down with some overpriced lemonade.

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The schmancy stuff – freshly squeezed with organic lemons and stevia. Three times as expensive as the other stalls, but I like to think more refreshing :)

At this point I was winding down and looking for something sweet to finish the day off. Until I spotted this sign in the crowd:

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Another food that has been following me everywhere!! I’ve never tried oysters before and now live close to a restaurant that specializes in them. They’re pretty darn expensive there, but today I was feeling the love for street-shucked oysters.

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Rawbabyraw with a little ‘basco!

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Gaaaah, these were salty! Albeit, they’re from saltwater, but not even the water back home is that salty. I did however dig the raw texture, but perhaps I will stick to my true love – mussels.

Fun Fact #3: I live in the riding of the NDP (New Democratic Party) leader, Jack Layton.

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Apparently, he loves the Greek food too.

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Sadly, no plates were broken, just thousands of ears of corn. Opa!

 

Question of the Day: What’s your favourite Greek dish? Pita bread, traditional tzatziki, dolmades and moussaka are some of my favourites. But for the sake of my expanding waistline, I decided to save those for my next trip to Greek Town ;)

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