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La Dolce Vita

Hello friends!! How were our weekends? This my last free weekend before I start my part-time job at the running store so I tried to make the most of it!

This morning started off with one of the goodies I scored for helping out The Simply Bar at Toronto’s Vegetarian Food Fair yesterday (recap here).

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Simply Bar is known for their protein bars made with soy crisps. Now they have a new Simply Protein Oatmeal made with the same crisps!

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I mixed 3/4 cup with an equal amount almond milk and nuked it for 2 minutes. It’s strawberry flavoured and I wanted to get a good taste of it plain, so I only added almond butter to the top at first.

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But then I spotted the strawberry yogurt in my fridge and knew it was meant to be!

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I like my yogurt on top of hot oatmeal like a frosting, but my mom prefers it on the bottom with the hot oatmeal on top. To each her own ;)

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Ooohhhh yeah. Honestly, I reallyreally enjoyed the oatmeal!!! It was nice to make oatmeal without having to add extra protein in the form of eggs or powder. I need protein in my oatmeal, as just carbs in the morning leave me hungry and lethargic for the rest of the day. The strawberry flavour is just sweet enough, and the soy crisps didn’t get lost in the mix. Can’t wait till this stuff hits the stores!

The oatmeal was also incredibly filling. It got me through a free hour-long hatha yoga class at Lululemon, and then a loooong wait for brunch.

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My roommie and I have been wanting to try Lady Marmalade here in Leslieville forrevverrr. It’s gotten several good reviews, but more so, we just wanted to see what this line-up is about!!

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Every Saturday & Sunday there is a line-up at this place going out the door. We figured the food had to be good if so many people are willing to wait for it.

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After an hour our third new roommie (!!) showed up and we were finally seated.

By that point we all knew what we wanted after staring at the menu for so long ;)

Both of my roommies (soon-to-be and current) got the organic buckwheat fresh fruit crepe w/ lemony yogurt, house-made cranberry-almond granola, berry coulis & honey.

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Ummm yeah. That thing was a beast!

I went for something a little more savoury: organic tofu scramble w/ shitakes, bokchoy, spinach, scallions, sesame & a bit of a kick, served w/ basmati brown rice or potatoes, toast & a salad.

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I asked for the potatoes and my toast dry. Didn’t really make a difference though because the scramble was still sopping with oil :(

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I was expecting a smaller tofu scramble, similar to scrambled eggs. This was just okay. The potatoes and bread were great though, so that’s something. It’s our goal to visit all the brunch places in Leslieville, so now we can officially cross this one off the list!

Current roommie and I then bid adieu to soon-to-be roomie and we wandered the ‘hood for a little bit.

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We decided that Leslieville (East Toronto) consists of three things: brunch places, stores for dogs or babies, and specialty antique shops. I don’t want to break out the “Y” word, but some may describe it as a little yuppie ;)

With Sunday morning yoga and brunch out of the way, there were just two things left to do: grocery shop and cook!

This week I’m trying out some light meal planning. Since I’m only one tummy, it doesn’t get that complicated. Essentially just a couple dishes I can have for lunch & supper leftovers this week.

First up, something cold I can bring to work:

Tofu & Quinoa Salad

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I knew exactly what I wanted for this, so instead of following a recipe, I created my own! (Chef Michael Smith anyone?)

  • 1 cup dry quinoa, cooked with 2 cups water
  • 1 block extra-firm tofu, cubed and browned in a pan
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup chickpea broth (from the can, or the water you cook it in)
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped (around 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • pepper to taste
  • optional: 2-3 tbsp olive oil

All mixed up and chilled for several hours.

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I’ve been reading about how wonderful parsley is in my nutrition textbook, so I threw it in with reckless abandon. Fun fact: it has twice the iron of spinach! The taste turned out just as I’d hoped. I’ve now got some waiting for me on top of spinach for lunch tomorrow :)

Now, onto a hot dinner!

Not Your Average Shepherd’s Pie

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This one comes from a recipe over at Foods of April and can be found here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of lean ground turkey breast
  • 1 cup low sodium broth (I used organic beef broth)
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 cups green beans (I defrosted some)
  • 1 cup of corn (I defrosted some)
  • 1 1/4 cup cauliflower “mashed potatoes”
  • Pepper
  • Garlic seasoning

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook ground turkey with onion, pepper, and garlic seasoning until well done.
  3. Place turkey in a casserole dish or oven safe deep dish container.
  4. Cut up the green beans (optional) and layer on top of the turkey.
  5. Add the corn.
  6. Pour the broth over the veggies to coat.
  7. Spread the “mashed potatoes” on top of the veggies.
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the “mashed potatoes” start to brown and look like a crust.
  9. Cut into 4 servings and eat!

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I made it just as the recipe suggests, however my cauliflower is a little different. First, I was too impatient to let it cook all the way, so it didn’t quite “mash.” I have made it several times before though, so rest assured it will get creamy like potatoes if you have an ounce more patience than I.

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I added chili powder to both the turkey and cauliflower for an extra bit of kick. Instead of cream cheese, I added cottage cheese to the cauliflower. My only complaint is that the broth made it soupy, I would definitely omit that next time!

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Of course, what is shepherd’s pie without a healthy dose of ketchup??

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April is so cute. Her recipe says it makes four servings – I got three. And a very satisfied belly afterward ;) Comfort food at it’s finest. Can’t wait to have it again for dinner tomorrow!

 

Yup, yoga, brunch, grocery shopping and cooking. Can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday. Well, maybe. Next week I’ll be talking running all day and getting paid for it! Life is sweet my friends :)

 

Question of the Day: What is your favourite dish to eat for leftovers? Okay, when I was a kid my mom used to make giant pots of spaghetti. I would always eat the leftovers for breakfast reheated in the microwave with half a pound of melted cheddar cheese. It was awesome.

The Cat, The ‘Hood and The Goals

Remember that elusive cat I mentioned in yesterday’s post? Well, I went to bed armed with my camera last night ready for when he made his appearance.

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He’s fast, getting this shot was not easy. 

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You see, my roommates and I have been cat-sitting for a couple weeks now. Mew Mew (the furry one’s given name) has thus far taken refuge in my roommate’s bedroom. But they are both out of town this weekend, which brought Mew Mew wandering into mine.

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Mew Mew does not cuddle or purr. No. He will walk right up to you and aggressively start head-butting you in the face.

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Do not be fooled. This is not “cute.” That is one thick-skulled feline. At one point my eyes starting watering because he conked me right in the nose.

Jerk.

I love all of God’s creatures, but dogs totally rule ;)

Before being attacked, I was reading my current book of choice:

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The first in the Stieg Larsson series, thanks to the several recommendations I got for it in this post. (psst, click on that link and read the comments for tons of great summer books to read!)

Woke up after a glorious 8 hours of sleep with flapjacks on my mind, it’s Pancake Sunday after all ;)

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My protein pancake batter consisted of:

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup unflavoured soy protein powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp flaked coconut
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 cup almond milk

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For my dipping sauce, I mixed sugar-free syrup with mixed berry jam. Omg. Why don’t I do this more often??

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I really want to make a pun using the word “berry” right now, but I will refrain. Instead, I will just tell you to try this :)

All big plans I had for the day went out the window once it started raining. That paired with it being a Sunday made me want to stay in and tackle some chores!

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When my family visited a few weeks ago, they brought all my stuff from New Brunswick (I only arrived in Toronto with three suitcases). The stuff has been piled in my closets untouched since then. Today, I created rightful spots for everything and my room is beginning to feel a whole lot “roomier.”

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Broke for some Bbq Chicken Pita Pizza. Aka bbq marinated chicken breast on top of a pita with sauce, veggies, cheese, and stuck in the toaster oven for 15 minutes.

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Fact: I have not used the oven since moving to Toronto. It’s too damn hot.

I started to get a little stir crazy after a while and wanted to do something after the rain cleared. In this ginormous new city of mine, that can mean a million things. Out of all the parts of the city I’ve so far explored, ironically I haven’t spent much time in my own neighbourhood!

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I took a couple hours wandering up and down Queen Street East poking my head into antique shops, clothing shops, ice cream shops (not buying, but ya know, scoping out the goods), butchers, cheese shops and bakeries.

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I found this one cute little bakery just off Queen on Logan Ave called Brick Street Bread. They had a million different kinds of artisan loaves, as well as some tasty looking sweets. They are expensive – $5 to $6 per loaf. But they provided samples for many so I knew what I was getting into first. Plus, why can’t a gal treat herself to a loaf of carbs once in a while? ;)

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The girl at the counter said their Organic Basil & Parsley bread is their best seller – but I tried a taste of this Organic European Rye and knew it was mine.

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I lovelovelove rye bread, especially with some good cheese and meat. Sliced it up into quarters and froze it when I got home. That way I can defrost it just a bit at a time.

I stumbled into a cheese shop, but I just could not open my wallet to the high-end prices. I did however find some good sausage.

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Rowe Farms has tons of local, organic, free-from-all-the-bad-stuff meat. Most of it was horrendously priced, but if you looked hard enough, you could find something decent. These four Italian sausages cost me $5.

I continued on to the grocery store where I found my favourite kind of deal…

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Expires on August 19?? Pfft, no problem ;)

I came home hungry after exploring my ‘hood all afternoon, so I whipped up something quick.

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Into a frying pan went:

  • 1 chopped Italian sausage
  • 1 cup cubed butternut squash
  • 1/4 head of green cabbage
  • sliced onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 a zucchini
  • 2 tbsp pizza sauce
  • oregano, basil, parsley

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All topped with cheddar cheese. Solid meal. Loved the sausage.

 

Weekly Goal Check-In!

Ahhh, yes, ‘tis that time of the week already. Let’s see how I’m doing one week into this month’s goals…

1. Eat out twice a week, at no more than $15 a meal. Technically, I only ate out twice. I spent $9 on a Freshii salad on Friday and $14 at the Greek fair on Saturday. However, I also spent $5 on a beer on Thursday and $5 on frozen yogurt on Friday. Does beer and dessert count? I sure hope not :P

2. Read more. I spent close to two hours reading a day this week. I spend a lot of time on public transit reading, then always for a bit before bed. Making progress on that Larsson book!

3. Do at least one outdoor activity a week. All I’ve done is tons of walking, which I’m going to say counts. A few times, I ditched the streetcar or bus and just took the extra 20-30 minutes to walk where I was going.

4. Look for part-time work and volunteer work. Thumbs down!! This week, promise!

5. Update my blog pages. Nope :( But I did get catch up on getting my content up on Healthbuzz.

6. Lose weight. I am by no means back normal, but I’m starting to feel better in skin. Progress. Honestly, I think this past week was my first week in two months where I didn’t eat a meal out every day. That alone made me feel a lot less puffy and better in my clothes. However, the battle still rages on! :P

 

You’re turn!! How did everyone else do on their goals this week??

Leslieviller

Hellloooo from Toronto!!

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Or, my new ‘hood Leslieville :)

Sister Sara took the bus with me from Ottawa yesterday and we immediately came to my neighbourhood and hit up a place called Ceili Cottage.

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SO many good restaurants in my area, but we chose this place because Sara raved about their caesars.

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Rimmed with seaweed!!

They had a lot of neat traditional fare, which varies day to day based on their weekly roast. Thursday’s special was a Peameal sandwich + salad.

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With fresh Irish brown bread. OMG. So good.

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We split the above sandwich and a smoked salmon plate. Salmon was freshly smoked too. I can see myself coming back here a lot!! Apparently they roast marshmallows sometimes??

Once our bellies were adequately full, we checked out the apartment situation. I came with only three suitcases and a sleeping bag, so my room is pretty bare at the moment.

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Unfortunately the apartment wasn’t cleaned before we moved in, so it needed to be scrubbed down right away. More pictures to come once we get the place spic and span!!

Seeing as yesterday was Canada Day on top of moving day, drinks were in order!!

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This GIANT beer is called the Leslieville Lager at Stratengers pub, although I’m told it may be Big Rock Amber or the likes. There was a lot of muscle contraction happening bringing that giant glass to my mouth.

I ordered an un-pictured salad (vegetables!!) but Sara ended up with something that was very  blog-worthy.

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A gargantuan enchilada. Look at the cheese!! It was cah-razy. And wonderful. All at once. Check out Sara’s thumb in the back. She ate maybe a third of it. The rest is currently cheesing up our new fridge.

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Yay! Sisters!! Sara has been so helpful throughout all of this. It’s not even worth going into because I won’t do her kindness any justice!!

Giant beers were followed by giant fireworks.

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Fireworks must be watched on Canada Day. I think I missed them last year due to my job at the time. Happy to be here this year instead :)

We ended up going to bed too late, and were up too early. I’ve got a lovely cough happening right now which will hopefully be cured with a good night’s sleep tonight. I’ve been putting my poor body through quite the wringer lately!!

All hopes of running this morning were put aside. Sara and I rolled right from bed to the Leslieville Diner.

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It’s everything a diner should be, from the endless coffee refills to the raspy-voiced waitress who knows everyone by first name.

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You can’t go wrong with a $4.85 breakfast special. Yes, you could get egg whites, or fruit, or some other upgrade, but y’all know I really wanted the bacon and whole eggs.

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Hey, at least I went fro whole wheat dry toast ;) And yes, I did eat all THREE eggs. It kept me full for 5 hours.

The lasting power was needed today, as Sara and I embarked on my first ever pilgrimage to IKEA.

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The one-way trip required a bus, three subways, and a special IKEA shuttle to the store. Yes, a shuttle.

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It was worth it though, we managed to get a mattress, bed frame, two small tables, two drawer units and a small bookshelf for a very very reasonable price.

I’m told any trip to IKEA must include a trip to its restaurant.

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This was definitely an experience in itself. I of course had to try their famous Swedish meatballs.

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Ummm, pretty frickin’ good!! I really liked the mild gravy on top, and the balls themselves were nicely spiced. I must say though, I still prefer making meatballs at home!!

Sara and I split the above, as well as the below…

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Cinnamon rolls count as a meal carb… right?? Right?? :P Okay, this was so not necessary, but holymoly it was divine. My sister and I are self-proclaimed cinnamon roll and sticky bun connoisseurs, and this one definitely makes my Top 5. Lots of cinnamon sugar and super soft.

Currently, I’m drinking a DC (blame the hot weather and illness).

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While blogging from what is likely to be my new favourite coffee shop.

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Comfy chairs, good music and date squares the size of my hand. I have a feeling I’m going to like Toronto :)

 

Blogging will be sporadic until I get internet on Tuesday, but there are still more amazing blogger interviews to go up. Thank you so much for joining me on these last couple months of being a vagabond, I’m really excited to unpack my bags and set up a new life here. Now, if you don’t mind, I have an IKEA delivery due in 15 minutes ;)

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