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Highlighting The Week in Food

Hello friends! Here we are again at the end of another week. My weekend will be spent packing and possibly brunching. I only have SIX days left in Toronto! Holymoly!

Anyways, I like to keep it light here on Fridays seeing as most people are “checked out” for the weekend. Here are some highlights from my eats at home this past week…

1. The world’s fluffiest protein pancake

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That picture really doesn’t do it justice. It is so thick!! Here are the ingredients, but the instructions are the important part:

  • 1/4 whole wheat flour
  • 1 scoop (30g) soy/pea/hemp protein powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup almond milk

Mix the dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, vigorously whisk together the peanut butter and egg whites for a few minutes. If you have an electric mixer, you can use that to fluff them up more. Combine with the dry mixture, adding almond milk until batter is still very thick. Pour into greased pan on medium heat. The smaller the pancakes, the more likely they are to fluff up. Also, don’t over-flip them. They really should only cook once on each side. But knowing when is the right time takes practice!

 2. Canadians! President’s Choice has Greek yogurt!

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For some reason, Canada is waaaay behind on the strained yogurt trend. We only just got Greek yogurt here about a year ago and it was a so-so and very expensive version of it. Now Loblaws, one of the country’s largest grocery chains, has their own version of it. Which means it’s 1) more accessible and 2) cheaper! Plus, it’s significantly thicker than the Liberte brand. At $4 for 500g, I could see myself splurging on this a lot more often.

3. It’s mine. All mine.

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I happened to get care packages from both Brie and Theresa on the same day, and they both contained my favourite goodies from Trader Joe’s!! You have no idea how ridiculously excited I was to open not one, but two jars of my favourite nut butter. I’m blown away by the support from my blog friends since my accident. This week in particular was a bad week for pain and recovery. These packages were a definite bright spot through all that. And no, I will not share ;)

4. Canada’s got some competition.

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Dare cookies better watch out. Trader Joe’s is making a much better version of their maple leaf cream cookies. There is so much filling in these babies. I still maintain Canada makes the best maple syrup (sorry New England) but these American cookies rock my socks.

5. Sweet quinoa is the best thing since savoury oatmeal.

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I combined two of the above foods with cooked quinoa – Greek yogurt and sunflower seed butter. Along with some sugar-free syrup for sweetener and more sunflower seeds and raisins to garnish. I love the texture of quinoa. The little chewy balls of quinoa paired perfectly with the creaminess of thick yogurt. Plus, it kept me satisfied for a really long time.

6. I’m a tea drinker!

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Well, kind of. Ever since my injury, I’ve been sipping on liquids to prevent me from boredom munching because I’m in the house all day. And by “liquids” I mean Diet Coke. In efforts to reduce my Diet Coke consumption, I started subbing it out with tea. I’m up to about two cups a day! Rooibos is my tea of choice, whether with spicy chai, sweet vanilla or creamy cinnamon apple yogurt.

7. Kitchen sink granola.

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Y’all know the drill. The panic and frenzy of eating up your pantry and freezer before moving. I made quite the dent on my pantry today by throwing together all the random grains, nuts and dried fruit I had in there. Here’s the basics:

  • 6 cups “grains” (5 cups rolled oats + 1 cup graham crumbs)
  • 1 cup nuts (sunflower seeds)
  • 1/4 cup oil (coconut oil)
  • 1/2 cup liquid sweetener (pure maple syrup)
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • Add ins! (2 cups dried coconut, 1/4 cup crystallized ginger pieces, 1/3 cup raisins)

Mix the grains, nuts, oil, sweetener and spices together. I included the coconut in this as well. Spread evenly on two large baking sheets and bake at 300F for about an hour. Checking on it frequently and mixing it around a few times. Let cool before eating. Trust me on this.

Now I’ve got a HUGE bowl of yummy granola that I think I’ll divide and give away as thank-you gifts before I leave. On top of that – a near empty pantry!

Happy Friday everyone! Have a great weekend!

Toronto Restaurant Tour: Round 1

Aaaaand I’m back.

Hope everyone had a fabulous weekend!! Mine was action-packed, which would have been fabulous if I wasn’t coughing up a lung. After two months of living out of suitcases, sleeping in strange beds, and literally traveling across a continent, my body is finally saying “enough.” Okay body, you win. Instead of exercising, I’ve been feeding it. There seems to be no better way to celebrate moving to Canada’s biggest city than a weekend of testing out all the wonderful food it has to offer.

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There’s a lovely place down the street that serves cheap big salads. I don’t use the term “big salad” loosely, it is definitely Susan-sized.

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They also have a wood-fired stove and have really good pizza. Lots of toppings, amazing crust. Good price. I can see myself coming here a lot :)

Also close by is this quaint little coffee shop, where I currently sit, filled with comfy chairs and a welcoming staff.

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Pictured is a chocolate cinnamon pastry of sorts. It tasted much better than it looks. Their pastries are all dense, but super flaky, which in my opinion is the best way to have them. Apparently they come from a popular bakery in Toronto called Miss Cora’s Kitchen.

Remember that giant enchilada from our first day here?? Well Sara and I got two more meals out of it.

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For breakfast on Saturday, we cut the leftovers in half and topped each with a fried egg. Voila! A Mexican breakfast! This was SO filling. Eggs + beans + cheese = no hunger signals for five hours.

Once again, the sustenance was required, for we had another long day ahead of us.

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Shopping!! Sara and I had big plans of starting on Queen West and making our way to the second-hand shops in Kensington. But we never made it off the first street!! I picked up some very cute items which I’m sure you will see over the course of the summer. My wardrobe was reduced to one suitcase before I left New Brunswick, so my circulation these days is pretty small :P

We eventually started to get the hunger tickle around 2pm. Sara mentioned there was a great place called Fresh around the corner and I jumped. I’ve heard all about this place from Angela!

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It’s a pretty popular vegan restaurant in Toronto that also offers up great juices. I highly suggest you peruse their menu. It was so hard deciding on something!!

I started with a juice.

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I’m not a huge juice person, but I thought it couldn’t hurt with my wicked cold. Went with the Immune Boost: carrot, beet, apple, ginger, vitamin C, echinacea.

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It was actually really good! Only complaint is that it was warm, could have used a few ice cubes.

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Sara started with a carrot coriander soup.

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Which I had many bites of, for the sake of “the sickess.” The toasted coconut on top was a nice touch.

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Sara also ordered a big salad, but I can’t for the life of me remember what kind it was. The crispy tofu on top was really good though!

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Fresh is famous for their “bowls” so I knew it’s what I had to go for. I settled with the Jerusalem: hummus, grilled spinach, tomato, cucumber, parsely, red onion, sunflower sprouts, olive oil, tamari, mixed herbs, lemon & chili powder.

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I asked for it on soba noodles, but they brought it rice. I also asked for marinated tofu cubes for extra protein. It was a huge bowl!! I couldn’t finish it. Which is saying a lot.

The waitress asked me if I wanted hot sauce and I thought why not…

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I have no idea what this hot sauce was, but it was good!! Fresh will definitely be a re-visit for me :)

The eating didn’t end there though, ohno. By 6:30 we’d made our way to Lemongrass too meet up with our Aunt Heather. Apparently it was the first Thai restaurant to open in the city!

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We all started with a spring roll appetizer, I went for the “non-crispy” kind with chicken.

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That peanut dipping sauce was to die for. Omg. It took everything I had not to stick my finger in it and just eat it that way.

The three of us then split three dishes:

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Holy Basil Crab. Delicious, but super messy to get into. The crab wasn’t shelled but covered in sauce. Tricky!!

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Bok choy. The token green.

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Pad thai. With chicken and shrimp. I’m not a huge noodle person, but really enjoyed this!

My plate:

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My plate, times two. 

Dessert was honey ginger tea, again, for the sake of “the sickness.”

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This tea was SO good!!! Not my usual kind of flavour, but I would get it again and again. I have a feeling they made it themselves with real honey and ginger, and not from a tea bag.

Me and Heather!

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Thank you for everything Heather!! I’ve already promised to take her out to “Toronto’s #1 gelato place” when I get my first pay check :)

The family bonding didn’t stop there. We then rushed off to meet up with my two cousins, one of which was my bestie growing up.

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Some of my best childhood and teenage memories were shared with Ellen! I’m super excited to be in the same city as her again. We’re amidst cooking up a stellar fitness plan, so I foresee more fun times in our future :) I may be leaving some family behind, but it’s pretty nice to be close to other family now!

In all, Sara and I were out and about for 12 hours yesterday, leaving at noon and returning at midnight. Thanks to a newly bought eye mask, I conked out for a solid 8. I could have slept longer, but alas, we had more eating engagements to attend.

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Sara was super excited about brunch today at the Free Times Cafe. As soon as we arrived, I understood why.

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The owner started chatting with us and said she started the Sunday brunch years ago as a nod to a huge brunch your Jewish grandmother may have made. Everything is made at the cafe, including the breads and smoked fish. Yesplease.

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First trip included pita, hummus, beet salad, a pickle, some crab cake thingy.

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Challah french toast and smoked salmon scrambled eggs. The french toast was my favourite of this plate. I’ve been told that challah is the best bread for french toast and I am now a believer!!

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Potato latke topped with an apple sauce and a cheese blintz topped with a berry sauce. The latke was amazing because it was deep-fried. And let’s face it, deep frying things makes them delicious. The blintz I could have gone without. The texture was weird and I didn’t like ricotta. Not for me I guess!

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Did I mention there was live Klezmer music?? There was live Klezmer music.

Second plate!

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I missed some of the breads the first time around, so I grabbed two pieces. One topped with a homemade smoked salmon cream cheese the other with havarti and smoked herring. In the back was my second favourite thing from the buffet – a beet and smoked herring salad. Sounds strange but it was dreamy!! I think the base for it was cream cheese or sour cream or something. Awesome.

The desserts!

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Not entirely sure what all of these are. The thing in the back is an apple streudel of sorts. The pinwheel in the front had a date puree. The chocolate square was like a chocolate mousse cake (excellent). That brown clump was pretty interesting. My first thought was that it was a butterscotch fudge thinky, but it had little sugary pieces in it reminiscent of cotton candy!! Sara said it could have been halvah, but I’m not sure if it fits the bill. Anyone out there know??

 

Well, that just about wraps up my first weekend of eating in the city!! I’ve already been exposed to so much new food, and it’s only just a small microscopic dent in what Toronto has to offer. However, once I hit publish, I’m walking down to the closest store to pick up a giant bunch of kale to make a green salad the size of my head. I am then going to lay in bed reading a book for the rest of the night. It would be nice if I no longer sound like I smoked a pack of cigarettes and downed a pint of Jack Daniels before my job interview tomorrow!! Operation: Get a Job is now in full swing. Wish me luck – I might need it!

 

EDIT: Don’t forget! There’s a Toronto meet-up happening next Sunday. E-mail me at thegreatbalancingact@gmail.com for details!

Lake Louise!!

Hello friends!! To be perfectly honest, I sit here typing up this post in a hostel in Calgary. However, I will likely be at my sister’s place in Ottawa when this post actually goes up.

I’m a tad sad that my mountain adventure has drawn to an end. I’ve had a fabulous time exploring new corners of the world with people I’ve never met, yet already know will be good friends with forever.

My recaps of the trip thus far can be found here, here and here. It’s been an experience I’ll never forget – and I feel the need to recap it not just for my readers, but so I have a record of it all for myself.

Let’s get to it – shall we? ;)

Today’s post is all about probably the most beautiful spot we visited here in Alberta – Lake Louise.

Holly, Karen and I started early Sunday morning after a rocky nights sleep in the tent. We didn’t buy many additional groceries for camping, so I threw together a mishmash of things to make a decent breakfast.

This would be an almond butter sandwich on the Silver Hills bread. with the lovely addition of straight up soy protein powder. Yes, I sprinkled it right onto the sandwich. I’m weird, because I really dug this.

Now please prepare yourself for a slew of earth shattering scenery.

Meet Lake Louise. A lake located about an hour from the town of Banff.

The area is just simply stunning. I love how the mountains on either side come down to frame the lake, and the white-capped glacier in the back. Of course, there’s also the signature turquoise water…

There’s a trail that leads to the back of the lake and you can hike up to the glacier. We ended up walking an hour along the lake, soaking up the sights.

Fuelling up with some Canadian made protein bars along the way ;)

This is the view from the back of the lake. That’s the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise off in the distance. Can you imagine staying there and waking up to this view every day??

The lake wasn’t the only eye candy. The shirtless rock climbers didn’t hurt ;)

By the time we made it back to the other side of the lake, we decided we were much to hungry to wait and find a cheap place to eat. I mean, when you’re at the Chateau Lake Louise, you might as well live it up.

We chose the tea room upstairs to eat, and were seated on the balcony with this stunning view:

Holly, Karen and I all talked ourselves into getting the Afternoon Tea… but appaaarently you need to book that sort of thing in advance. So we just settled on individual pots of tea.

I got the cinnamon apple spice. Usually, my favourite kind of tea, but there was a lot of sweetener already in the tea – honey probably.

Pip pip! (It’s what the English say Holly!!! :P )

We didn’t just drink tea though. Ohno. For we were also here to feast. Expensively.

I went for the Smoke Gouda Reuben: thinly sliced brisket, braised red cabbage, dijon mustard on light rye bread, caraway & ale mustard dip.

When in Lake Louise, right?

SO GOOD. I tried a brisket at the beginning of the trip and was still kinda “meh” about it. But this brisket was smoked. I love any and all smoked meats. Especially on this sandwich.

Soon after we said goodbye to Karen (sadface!) who had a job to return to (jobs?? what are those? :P ) Holly and I trekked along without her.

Starting from Lake Louise, we hiked up one of the side mountains to Lake Agnes. Mostly because there was a teahouse at the top. How cute is that!?

The hike wasn’t that bad. A little steep, but only about an hour long. Let me tell you, nothing like a trail on an incline to remind you just how in shape you really are.

But we made it!!

There was tons of snow at Lake Agnes which made it even more fun.

And a waterfall on the other side pouring down the mountain.

Every mountain should come with its own quaint teahouse at the top.

Holly and I were actually too hot to drink tea and were pretty bummed when we found out they were all out of lemonade. Boo!

We chose the trail less traveled on the way back down. Erm, it may be less traveled for a reason. But we found some new pretty views!

On our way down, Holly and I had a very serious discussion about what to do for dinner back at the Lake Louise campsite. All we had left on us were items we brought for snacks. With our imaginations combined, we came up with grilled pita pizzas.

Ohyes my friends.

On one side we have a pita with an almond butter sauce, topped with green apple and dried apricots.

On the other side we have a pita with an almond butter sauce and chocolate cherry trail mix topping.

Sweet melty action. Omg.

And because a dessert pizza requires a dessert…

Maple fudge!

We then fell back into a food and sugar coma and watched the clouds pass us by.

Another perfect end to another perfect day in the Canadian Rockies!

Thank you for indulging me in my vacay recaps!! I’ll be back with our final day in Banff and a fun blogger meet-up in Calgary. And of course – all the fun goings on here in Ottawa!! I’m in Ottawa until the end of the month before I move to Toronto, so let me know if you’re in the area and up for a meet-up! :)

Question of the Day: What’s your favourite kind of tea? Spiced apple is mine! Chai and peppermint aren’t far behind though.

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