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Celebrations & Grilled Cheese

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!

It’s been quite the week for holidays:
March 14: Pi Day (aka 3.14)
March15: Ides of March
March 17: St. Patty’s Day!

I hope you’ve been able to celebrate at least one of these. I did on Monday. It all started on a very spring-like day and a trip to Toronto’s Kensington Market.


Going to Kensington is like being transported to another country. It’s a few square blocks in the centre of the city filled with bright colours, loud music, and open storefronts filled with cheap merchandise. It also reeks of patchouli, if you catch my drift.


Our destination was a place I’ve been dying to go to ever since the first week I moved to Toronto.


Yes, a place dedicated solely to the art of making grilled cheese sandwiches. Probably one of my favourite restaurant ideas ever.


It’s this little spot with picnic tables inside and outside. Brilliant woodworking throughout and a wall of creepy pickled items.


My partners in crime for the day included my sister Sara. Too cute that she’s sipping on a box of apple juice – it’s what our dad always packed in our lunches as kids!


And of course my roommie Megan, who has courageously joined me in eating my way through my Toronto Bucket List.


Now, I’ve always been a bit of a grilled cheese purist. Bread, butter, cheese. Anything else is just a regular grilled sandwich. Regardless, I was pretty pumped to see how creative they’d get with the menu. Let’s go in for a close up, shall we?


They all came served with lightly seasoned salt & vinegar chips and a tasty dill pickle. Mind you, we had to wait a long time for the sandwiches to arrive. I had no idea a grilled cheese took so long to assemble?


Sara ordered the Dill-licious: dill havarti, basil pesto, sundried tomato, onion along with the addition of turkey.


I tried a bite. Holy flavourful!


Megan went for the Mushroom Madness: Cheddar, grilled portobello, cremini with the addition of tomato.

I had mushroom on the mind as well, going for the Grill Worx: Provolone, swiss, portobello, roasted red pepper, onion.


On thick sliced white bread, buttered and crisped to perfection. A perfect bread-to-cheese ratio and all quality tasting cheese. My only complaint is that my toppings were piled high in the centre of the sandwich and not spread around evenly.


My dad says buttering the outside of the sandwich instead of the griddle is the key to a good grilled cheese. They don’t quite live up to his grilled cheese, but I’d say definitely second best! Also worth the $6 price tag. With the chips and pickle, this meal made for a very satisfying lunch.


But as I said, this outing occurred on Monday. And we all know what Monday was ;)


Just up the street on Augusta Ave in Kensington is a place called Wanda’s Pie In The Sky. A bakery with a variety of offerings, but specializing in one of my favourite foods – pie!


My sister and I ordered one slice to split and they gave us one giant slice split in two!!


We opted for strawberry rhubarb flavour because I’d never had rhubarb before. I must admit, it wasn’t my favourite. A little too bitter and not enough crust.


We continued on through Kensington, stopping to buy some ridiculous $5 sunglasses on display. A perfect way to celebrate Pi Day if you ask me :)

As for St. Patrick’s Day, I’m back on painkillers for the time being. I’m off to celebrate with friends, but there’s no green beer on tap for me. Regardless, I still showed my green…


Thank you to Janetha for the awesome handmade “fashion sling”! I definitely perked my spirits this St. Patty’s Day :)


Question of the Day: Did you celebrate any of the holidays this week?

Keeping Balanced: Homemade Veggie Pâté

I know my blog has been a little on the indulgent side lately. I’ve been frantically eating my way through Toronto before I leave in 10 days. My hometown is a lot of wonderful things, but rich in culinary diversity it is not.

Will all of this said, fret not, I have not totally gone off the deep end. I am “Balance Susan” after all. Not to mention, I’ve got a pretty effed up arm injury in need of nutrient rich foods to help it heal.

While not eating giant pancakes and shortbread cookies, there have been many, many fried egg sandwiches.


I’m a strong believer in eating only what the body craves. Lately, when I think about food, one of the first things my mind goes to are toasted carbs with a fatty fried egg along with cheese or bacon. Rounded out with crunchy raw veggies for simple sugars and water.

When not off slurping up frozen yogurt or chowing down on thick BLTs, there’s been a lot of lean protein in the form of cottage cheese or tuna.


Seen here is a meal of cottage cheese, tuna, chopped apple, raisins, a pinch of curry powder, and a dash of maple syrup. Did the body good.

Now mind you, I also crave a tray of freshly baked brownies every day. But I like to think I can distinguish between that craving, and the plain, simple food combinations that suddenly cause my mouth to water when I think about them.

When I saw this sunflower seed pâté sandwich at Bridgehead Cafe in Ottawa last week, I knew it was mine. With cashew butter, sprouts, carrots, all on a grainy bread, it sounded perfect for my hungered body.


And I’ve been thinking about it ever since!

Veggie pâté is one of those things I lovelovelove but never make. My mom makes her own version and is my favourite kind ever. Her version contains a lot of ingredients and can be difficult to make. Being limited to one hand, I had to find a pâté that was easy to make.


I ended up with this recipe because it contained few ingredients and lots of sunflower seeds like the Bridgehead sandwich I’ve been dreaming of. I used baby carrots so I wouldn’t have to chop a regular one with one hand. Along with one raw potato, half a large onion, one stalk celery, and two cloves garlic.


I also liked this recipe because of the nutritional yeast! I knew it would give the pâté a cheesy flavour. I added half a cup of the stuff, with half cup whole wheat flour, and a full cup salted sunflower seeds.


I strayed from the spices a bit and ended up adding what sounded good based on what I had on hand:

  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

All thrown in the food processor!


Along with 1 1/2 cups water and 2 tbsp lemon juice. I omitted the half cup oil from the recipe, it didn’t seem necessary.


Those who can’t chop, blend!!


I processed until there were just a few chunks left. But I knew it was a little too watery for my tastes when I poured it into a greased loaf pan.


Baked at 350F for 90 minutes. A half hour longer than instructed, but definitely needed! I let it cool in the pan and found the centre collapsed once I returned!!


Even though this is one of the “fancier” recipes I’ve attempted since my accident, I still gobbled it up in the simplest way possible – on pita bread. It’s exactly how I was craving it.


Despite my watery woes, it turned out very spreadable like a normal pâté. I will however note that I like my veggie pâté more loaf like. It’s how mom makes it!


Taste wise, it totally hit the spot. I love the potatoes and savoury factor the seeds and nutritional yeast add. The addition of oil may have amped the taste up even more, but I’ll save the greasy food for my adventures around Toronto’s restaurants. I gotta balance it all out somehow ;)

Things I Learned: November Edition

A simple cone filter really does make the best coffee. Better than a French press!


I need not be afraid of butter. It makes everything taste uh-mazing.


Well, almost amazing. I also need to double and triple-check recipes. Adding twice the amount of butter to a bread recipe will leave you with a flat, dense, and crusty loaf.


But there are always ways to redeem myself and turn a #bakingfail into a #bakingwin :)


Ham & cheese can make anything taste good!


Fish tacos, where have you been all my life??

Jack Russell Terriers may be small, but I think they can out-run me.


Blog friends are the bestest.


I agree with Janetha, we all need to move to an island together.

Do not drink a giant mug of coffee before a yoga class. And if you do, make sure you have access to a washroom close to the studio.


Working at a running store has become a great way to unload unwanted sweets from my kitchen. Give a group of hungry runners 20 chocolate chip cookie dough balls, and they will have them demolished in less than two hours.

You can never have too many running shoes.

Especially when a pair of Saucony Progrid Ride 2 & Brooks Ghost 2 shoes only cost you $25 each. Did I mention I love my job?


Turkey + cranberry + stuffing makes for an awesome sandwich filling…


…but only when using real leftovers. Sliced turkey, mayonnaise and stuffing that isn’t my mom’s just doesn’t have the same flavour.


Working 7 hours on your feet and walking a mile to work still doesn’t equal 10,000 steps.


But little things, like walking to the grocery store and getting off the bus a stop early surprisingly add up!!


Yoga, in my humble opinion, is one of the best ways to experience a new city. Better than a tour bus, and more relaxing too.


Chinese food really is better on the West Coast.

Six months is too long to go without travelling home. I miss my hometown, no matter how small, ugly or boring it may be.

Toronto really does stink. I still haven’t adjusted to the air quality here and find running in the pollution much harder than expected. I miss the fresh air!

And I miss the snow. I wake up every morning hoping to see a white winterland outside. I had no idea I was so attached to the stuff!


Finally, I learned that while I may not have left my heart in San Francisco, I definitely left it on the West Coast. This East Coast gal still has some exploring to do.

Question of the Day: What did you learn in November?

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