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Things I’ll Miss – Bloggers

Phew! I came back to Toronto this week with the intentions of resting up, packing up, and tying up some loose ends. Instead, the last seven days have turned into one big Torontonian feast. I have two days before my next doctor’s appointment in Ottawa and I’m officially stuffed.

I’ve been trying my best to get in some face time with my Toronto friends before I leave for good at the end of the month. Thing is, ALL of these dates involve food. That’s what I get for being a foodie who mostly associates with other foodies.

My best foodie friends of course, are my fellow Toronto bloggers.

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Friday night I took a break from my Toronto restaurant bucket list for a dinner party at Morgan’s with Kristin. I mean, for people who claim to love cooking so much, we don’t actually do a lot of it when we get together. So it was a fun way to break away from the ordinary!

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I’ve had to forbid myself from heavy duty cooking or baking. I did a number on my right and only good hand last week making banana bread. Because my left arm is in a cast, I get overuse pains in my right hand very easily. I had trouble lifting glasses of water for two days after the banana bread incident. So I have to be extra careful with it.

Thus, I brought store-bought hummus. Albeit, made in store at the Leslieville Cheese Market. It was kinda awesome and not that expensive.

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Homemade crackers have been on my “to-bake” list forever. But I had to resist and instead bought a package of locally made crackers. These were very expensive.

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Kristin brought her Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad.

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And Morgan made a Mexican casserole which I ate top of tortilla chips (Que Pasa, the best) with lotsa cheese.

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Oh yeah, and shortbread cookies for dessert! It was a fun and relaxing evening hanging out with two blog-world friends turned real-world friends. The best part is gossiping about the things that don’t make the blog ;)

Monday night we decided to venture out. I know I proclaimed to rarely eat at the same place twice. But by now I hope you’ve realized I’m a filthy liar.

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Many discussions between Callie and I have revolved around self-serve froyo. It’s the nature of our relationship. Toronto (and Canada!) has distinctly lacked such places until recently. We made a date to visit Menchie’s Monday night and realized a real meal first would probably be appropriate. Morgan joined us, as she too couldn’t turn down a solid vegetarian meal.

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Fresh, an all vegetarian restaurant, is conveniently located just down the street on Bloor. In the nine months I’ve lived in Toronto, I’ve been here six times. Just goes to show how much I love this place. Not only are the dishes creative and tasty, but they’re also all healthy. I can eat here any day of the week and not feel like I’ve gone of course with my healthy eating.

I ordered the Tangled Thai Salad: shredded carrot & yellow beets, jicama, napa cabbage, chopped peanuts, cilantro, cucumber & our high protein, omega rich * salad topper with peanut lime dressing
and crispy tofu cubes.

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The salad itself was delicious with the spiralized veggies and a crunchy salad topper made up of puffed quinoa, goji berries, currants, pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds & sea salt. Divine. My only complaint is the bowl was too small and made the tangled salad incredibly messy to eat. I lost a lot of it to the table and do not eat off the table in restaurants!!

The salad also left plenty of room for what was arguably the main course.

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Of the dozen or so frozen yogurt flavours “on tap,” I went for the nonfat frozen hot chocolate. I taste tested a lot of flavours before committing to this one. It was just slightly more mild than the regular chocolate. There were even more toppings to choose from, including a hot and cold station.  I opted to go for a “s’mores” theme, topping with graham crumbs, marshmallows, brownie bits, cookie dough bits and chocolate sprinkles. My only regret is that I forgot chocolate sauce.

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Callie opted for a “banana split on crack.”

All I can say is, it’s probably a good thing I’m moving far away from this froyo place ;)

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Morgan, Callie and I ended up sitting here for a couple hours laughing our faces off (Morgan being brought to tears at one point) and admiring the “celebs” on the wall.

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It’s funny thinking back to the hot days of summer when I first moved to Toronto and was meeting up with these ladies for the very first time. My other friends in town would tease me for going out on these blogger blind dates. Like the first time I met Kristin, or the time I met Morgan on the brink of hangover death. Then of course, I got to know Callie pretty well during our 16-hour car ride together to Chicago and back.

Turns out I ended up with some pretty great friends. The best kind really, who understand my need to agonize over froyo flavours and appreciate a good tub of hummus.

Yup, “blogger friends” rank pretty high on the list of things I’ll miss about Toronto.

Family Feasts

Hello friends! How is everyone’s weekend going? I’ve been gallivanting around Toronto eating with my family. My mom is the city from New Brunswick for a week and my sister made it up from Ottawa for the weekend!

First stop on Friday:

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Fresh! This is one of my favourite spots in Toronto so far. As exhibited here, here, here, and here.

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It’s a popular vegetarian/vegan restaurant with three locations around the city. Cramped seating and long waits. But the food is usually worth it!

I met up with my mom and sister here after a visit to the gym. They’d ordered a falafel + hummus appetizer that I munched on.

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The falafel was parsley packed and delicious, fluffy pita bread, and a wonderfully garlicky hummus. Thumbs up!

The fam split a wrap and burger. I tried a bite of the mushroom onion burger and it was amazing.Sautéed mushrooms & onions, tomato, lettuce, alfalfa sprouts & vegan mayo with aged cheddar, gorgonzola or soy cheese.” Definitely getting that next time!

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Sara ordered one of the E3Live juices. It was, erm, interesting.

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I went with something I’ve had before and loved – the magic tofu wrap: savoury coated tofu steaks with tomato, lettuce, cucumber, red onion, alfalfa sprouts, grated carrot & vegan mayo.

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Hit the spot!

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I dunno, you think we look related? ;)

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I ended up having to work all day Saturday at the running store, but we had even bigger family plans for that evening. I have an aunt in the city and she made reservations at a new-to-me restaurant, Granite Brewery. 

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They’re in Halifax too!!

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Famillyyyy!!! Right here in Toronto :D SO wonderful to have us all together for an evening. It seems like these days the only time our family is all together like this is at mandatory holidays or funerals. I recommend getting together with your extended family every now and then for no reason other than to see each other. Maybe for Connectober!

I started with a half pour of raspberry beer. One must try the beer when eating at a place with “brewery” in the name.

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I also tried a half-pour of the blonde ale. Both were pretty tasty!

One thing you must know about my family is that they’re loud. They always tell me I’m so quiet. But I dare any normal-toned person to get a word in edgewise ;)

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Thankfully, I’m a preferred listener, and they’re pretty darn entertaining.

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My family are all blog readers and insisted I take pictures of all the food! Too cute. Here’s my cousin’s chicken curry:

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Heather with her pizza!

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My cajun salmon salad:

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Allan, the budding food blogger:

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Sister Sara with her steak sandwich:

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Then came the best part: cake!

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Several birthdays have been celebrated over the last couple weeks, so of course a cake was in order.

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It was a chocolate cheesecake cake. 

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After being a good girl with my half-pour beers and salmon salad, I had a fair-sized slice of cake and ate it all. You choose your battles when dining out, and this was a battle well chosen ;)

Today is my last day off before going back to the real world on Monday. But Suday is already off to an amazing start! You’ll have to wait until tomorrow to hear about it. In the meantime – enjoy the rest of your weekend! xo

 

Question of the Day: What is your favourite part of a restaurant meal? The appetizers? Bread basket? Drinks? Decadent main dish? Dessert? Clearly, I am all about dessert ;)

The Food Photography Society

I’ve been hanging out with bloggers again…

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If this keeps up, I’m going to start thinking taking pictures of your food is normal :P

It came to our attention that Callie had both never been to Fresh before and is moving out of town soon.
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Fresh is a popular Toronto vegan/vegetarian restaurant that also specializes in juices. Tonight, we hit up the Bloor location. First time in The Annex neighbourhood – very cool!

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Fresh is always busy and does not accept reservations. We ended up waiting an hour for a table – twice the amount of time we were told – so when we were finally seated they brought us free sweet potato fries!

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BlogTO, my Toronto restaurant resource, rated these the best sweet potato fries in the city. I thought they were just good. A little on the soggy and floppy side.

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Besides eating, one thing us bloggers know how to do well is talk. Gabgabgab about everything from spin classes to embarrassing tales of clumsiness.

I showed up starving per usual, eating a whack of sweet potato fries and a nibble of Callie’s Avocado White Bean Dosa. Kinda like a crepe!

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I’ve so far tried the wraps, bowls and salads at Fresh, leaving only their burger left to try. My tummy growled in approval at the thought of the Deluxe Burger:

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I luuuurve Fresh’s vegan mayo. I tried to make vegan mayo on my own once and it was downright disgusting. The Fresh stuff is creamy and delicious.

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The coleslaw was pretty good too. Lots of cabbage with a nice oil dressing. 

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The burger was giant. Shortly after snapping this photo, the top bun fell off.

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So far I think the wrap has been my favourite Fresh menu item, but the burger was a valiant effort on their part. I ended up getting full halfway through, so I just ditched the bun and ate the patty.

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Where’s the beef??

Happy bellies all around!

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A snippet of our fantastic Toronto blogger crew: Kristin, Morgan, me, Callie, Angela, Miranda. Quote of the night came from the poor girl next to us who had to snap this photo with a million different cameras: “Are you guys in a photography society or something??” Baaaahaha. Nah, I’m just a very lucky girl who happens to be surrounded by wonderful ladies who share all my passions :)

Speaking of passions, before I sign off I have to scream about this one thing from the mountaintops. It’s called the

CLIF MOJO PEANUT BUTTER PRETZEL BAR!!!!

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Bought at Trader Joe’s out of curiosity at the lowlow price of one dollar.

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Dare I say the best bar I’ve ever had?? I do. I dare say it. Y’all, it had real pretzels and peanut butter chips. It was the perfect mix of chewy, crispy, sweet and salty. The nutritionals are spot on for when I’m feeling snacky. Plus, it is even tastier than those darned Nature Valley Sweet & Salty bars I used to be obsessed with back in the day.

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I chased it down with a Diet Coke. Just keepin’ it real ;)

See ya tomorrow for Fitness Friday! Tomorrow we’re talking weight lifting sets, what they are and how to use them properly. I’ll also be adding new routines to my Workouts page within the next few days – I’ll keep you posted!

 

Question of the Day: What’s your favourite kind of burger? I love bison burgers. Topped with ketchup, mustard, relish and a pickle :)

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