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Wednesday Waffling

Happy Waffle Wednesday!

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Are you shocked? I know I am. After two weeks of no chemo, I woke up and found myself actually wanting a sweet treat for breakfast. Apparently, chemo can decrease your sodium stores, which explains my insatiable cravings for savoury and salty foods as of late.

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I attempted vegan waffles using a flax egg, a dash of coconut flour and soy flour, and some sunflower seed butter mixed in. Vegan waffles are still not my forte, and I’m not entirely happy with the texture of these. The taste though was spot on.

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Plus the syrup + raspberry jam dipping mixture was, the um, “jam”! I always dip. No soggy waffles allowed.

Anywho, I’ve been doing a little more cooking this week. Usually I am way too tired and fatigued to stand around the kitchen, but my off-week from chemo always allows me a little more energy.

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I attempted Mama Pea‘s tofu nuggets from her new book. They turned out fantastic! I was too lazy to press my tofu, but they would have been even better had I done that.

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Paired with some “Asian coleslaw” using cabbage and carrots from my CSA box, chopped dried apricots and cashews, and 2 tbsp each of rice vinegar, sesame seed oil, and Bragg’s liquid aminos.

You know what was even better? Combining these two things for lunch the next day.

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Chilled tofu nuggets cut into cubes over coleslaw? Uh-mazing.

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These will get made for a salad topper again in the future!!

Don’t tell Mama Pea, but I also breaded some chicken using the recipe. And then smothered it in plum sauce. That was dang good too.

Today is C-Day, aka chemotherapy day. I’m at the hospital allll day getting poked, prodded, and poisons injected into my body. I’ve been dealing with a receding hairline since my hair started falling out last week, but I suspect this third treatment will be the one that makes it all fall out.

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I’m also getting a chest x-ray, which has me all kinds of nervous. But at least I get to come home after and do something along these lines…

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Let’s just hope Buddy the boxer doesn’t hog the bed.

Vegan For a Week Challenge

No, I am not cracking down on my eats after a booze and donair filled weekend. I don’t roll like that. But I am kindasorta taking part in Morgan’s Vegan For a Week Challenge.

And by “kindasorta” I mean I’m going to Ottawa on Thursday and there is no way I’m going to have my favourite poutine there without cheese curds. At least they use mushroom gravy! ;)

Instead I’m making a concerted effort to choose foods this week that are animal free. Perhaps this seems like a huge departure for my burger-loving self. But I actually spent one month as a vegan six years ago. Otherwise known as “the dark period.”

It was during my 8-year stint as a lacto-ovo vegetarian. I found out my favourite beer was vegan and decided to give it a shot. I was ill prepared. My body wanted to know where the eggs went. I spent a lot of money on nutritional yeast and gomashio. There was a vegan mayonnaise disaster that leaves me gagging at the thought of apple cider vinegar or silken tofu to this day.

But I’m all about the second chances. I’ve now got an arsenal of amazing vegan bloggers and their recipes behind me.

To start, my fellow Torontonian and New Brunswickan – Angela. I’m determined to use up what’s in my cupboard for vegan eats this week and not spend any more money than usual. Thankfully I stumbled across a recipe of hers that allowed me to use up both bags of lentils and walnuts I had taking up space in my cupboard.

Lentil Walnut Burgers from Oh She Glows.

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I made a few changes based on what I had on hand:

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup 1 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1 piece bread, toasted OR 1/3 cup breadcrumbs 2 wasa crackers
  • 1 tsp 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 chia/flax egg (1 tbsp ground chia or flax + 1/4 cup water)

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I otherwise followed the directions, baking for just a smidge longer to ensure they hardened up. They turned out awesome. I ate some crumbled on top of a salad with a lemon/mustard dressing and loved it. A texture similar to falafels, with a sweet/spiciness thanks to the roasted walnuts and cumin.

I’m going to test out new vegan recipes this week (including for Waffle Wednesday!) but here are some of my favourites. They get my stamp of approval both as a former vegetarian and a current carnivore who loves bacon and cheese with just about everything.

Tofu Balls from the Post Punk Kitchen.

Actually pretty much everything from The PPK. That site is a goldmine of delicious vegan recipes.

Tofu Balls are meant to replace meatballs in pasta, but I liked them best cold and dipped in Averie’s peanut sauce.

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Traditional Scottish oatcake. Just replace the “bacon fat” with something a little nicer like coconut oil or margarine ;) I make these all the time with the addition of soy protein powder and peanut butter to make a filling breakfast out of it.

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Peanut ButterNut Squash Muffins.

My favourite muffin recipe of all time.

Simply Bars!

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Vegan and gluten-free. Cathy doesn’t pay me to say that, I just really love them.

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Mama Pea’s Pumpkin Spice Roasted Chickpeas.

The Fitnessista’s Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili.

Wonkynut Squash Soup (by me!).

Best Vegan Mac and Cheese in the entire world….seriously.

Yummy Vegan Maple Baked Beans.

Italian “Pizza Cheese” from Choosing Raw

Dreena Burton’s Super-Charge Me! Cookies.

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And if all else fails, there’s always Froot Loops.

Yup, completely vegan. Pair it with a splash of almond milk ;)

 

Question of the Day: How about you? Are you/have you ever been vegan? What’s your favourite vegan meal or snack?

 

You can follow the Vegan For a Week Challenge on Twitter under #7dayvegan and join the Facebook page!

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.

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