When people ask me how I’ve been making out with my chemotherapy treatments so far, I usually name the one or two side effects that are the worst that day, then add that overall it hasn’t been too bad.
I’ve written before that I had some horrific image of my being rail thin, bald, and puking over a toilet the whole time. Instead, I feel like the chemo experience has instead been quite manageable. Sure, I’m tired all the time. But really, what busy person doesn’t feel tired all the time anyways?
Then treatment #6 came and I felt a little walloped.
The thing with chemo is that it accumulates. While I was able to recover within a few days of the first treatments, that recovery time gets longer and longer with each treatment. Suddenly, a week has passed since my sixth chemo and I only now feel like I’m coming out of the post-treatment fog.
One of the big things I noticed this time around was my stomach. It hated treatment #6. All I wanted was toast and cheese, preferably every few hours to keep it from getting too upset. That worked for a couple of days, until I realized I needed something with I dunno, vegetables.
We got eggplant in last week’s CSA box. There was no way I had the stamina to make another moussaka, so I racked my brain and remembered a certain Babaganoush Soup I once saw on Eat Live Run. I *puffy heart* babaganoush and it sounded like a great way to turn the dip into a meal.
But then I remembered Oh She Glows Garbanzo Soup. Aka hummus soup. I wanted that too!
So I mixed the two and created a tasty little “get well” chemo soup. It’s full of those veggies I need, easy on my tummy, and a cinch to make when I have no energy to be standing around in the kitchen.
Babaganoush Hummus Soup
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large eggplant (or 3 small ones)
- 1 red pepper
- 1 red onion
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups vegetable stock
Heat oil in a medium heat pan and add chopped eggplant, red pepper, and onion. Cook slowly, about 20 minutes, until soft and caramelized.
Add coriander, cumin, and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.
Transfer to blender with remaining ingredients and blend. I recommend adding your stock last and a little bit at a time until you get your desired consistency. I like my soups reeeeally thick and added less than 2 cups.
Transfer to a pot and let simmer for about 30 minutes so the flavours can mingle. Or 5 minutes if you’re impatient like me.
The end result is a warm and creamy soup with a cumin and garlic kick reminiscent of my favourite dips. Although, it’s still a good idea to have pita bread on hand for this one! Or my latest favourite – cheese and toast. With a little pesto for good luck.
A while back, my roommate told me about this amazing lunch place downtown with wraps and soups. She gushed about how delicious it was and I was left wondering what was so special about a simple soup and sandwich.
I stand corrected.
Ravi Soups is a bit of a Toronto institution located on Adelaide in the Entertainment District. After a rumour that one was opening up in the East end, I did a little research and discovered this was a favourite downtown lunch spot. I caved and made a lunch date with my roommie. You know me, I had to see what all the fuss was about!
I loved the creative flavour combos for both the soups and wraps. I want to try them all. So I opted for the wrap + soup combo for 12 bucks. But you can also get a GIANT bowl of soup for the same price.
The Roasted Pork Shoulder wrap immediately caught my eye – with RaviSlaw, spicy tamarind ketchup & fresh herbs.
The pork was perfectly cooked and paired well with the tangy slaw which included big hunks of mango. Easily one of the best wraps I’ve had in TO and for once better than one I could assemble at home.
I almost opted for the daily stew with ham and white beans… but the butternut squash special sounded like the perfect compliment to my meaty wrap.
Loved the bacon on top for a little smoky flavour to the otherwise sweet soup. The Asian pear was a good choice as it maintained its crunch in the hot dish. I wasn’t as “wowed” by the soup as I was with my wrap. I’ve had some pretty darn good butternut squash soups before, and this one was a little bland and forgettable.
Roommie Megan meanwhile got the stew.
And the Curried Lamb with roasted yam, baby spinach, pineapple mango salsa & mint cilantro chutney.
Sounds like an amazing flavour combination, no? I couldn’t try it as I’m allergic to pineapple, and Megan said there were big hunks of it in there.
I can finally see how a simple soup + wrap combo can turn into something people rave about. This was unlike any other deli lunch place! I also kind of liked the seating arrangement – one GIANT table. It’s such a “big city” way of doing things and a nice opportunity to get up close with your fellow lunch-goers. No picture of this seating arrangement though in order to protect the innocent.
After saying goodbye to Megan (she’s got a real job), I continued my downtown wanderings in search for the perfect end to the perfect meal.
Another Toronto institution I’m always hearing about. More for their cute male baristas than their espresso, but I’ll still take it.
What I really wanted was a chocolate-y sumthinsumthin to tame that post-meal sweet tooth. Instead I opted for an espresso macchiato. Good thing too, as the espresso here is just as sweet as their cute baristas!
Oddly enough, this cafe also uses the one-giant-table method as opposed to smaller individual tables. People watchers would love this. I eavesdropped on some very entertaining conversations whilst sipping on my espresso.
I ended my downtown lunchtime wanderings at the legendary Horseshoe Tavern. Not for a drink, but something even more exciting.
That would be tickets to my favourite highschool band. I know all the words to all of their 3-minute pop-punk hits. Can’t. Wait.
With a full belly and caffeinated spring to my step, I left downtown behind and travelled North to my job. The one where I hang out in a gym all day torturing people. It’s probably for the better that I work next to a treadmill and not a RaviSoups anyways ;)
Question of the Day: What are your favourite things to put in a wrap? I was anti-wrap for a long time after working in a deli where I assembled what felt like hundreds a day. But my all-time fave is curried salmon with sweet potato and spinach.
Happy Waffle Wednesday!
Confession: I did not eat waffles for breakfast this morning. I woke up with a lingering fever and wanted nothing but a bacon and egg sandwich. But it feels wrong to blog about waffles on any other day.
Same recipe as last time for Whole Wheat Protein Waffles:
- 3 tbsp whole wheat flour
- 1 scoop (30g) unflavoured vegetarian protein powder (mine’s a mix of soy, pea and hemp)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 packets stevia (equal to 4 tsp sugar)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 tbsp egg whites
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
Mix the dry, add the wet, then waffle it up! Today’s are extra special because they’re topped with this Pear Butter my sister gave me for Christmas.
My sister lives in Quebec and got it at the market, hence the French label. Not only is the idea of pear butter itself amazing, but this stuff is spiced with cardamom. Sweet Mary, I love Cardamom. Am just too cheap to ever buy it.
I spruced it up even more by drizzling maple syrup whisked with cashew butter over top.
Pear + cardamom + cashew + maple. These are the things dreams are made of.
I don’t have much to report today as I am still on the mend. My sister and I had a week of activities planned, but I am instead confined to my bed with a cool compress and bottle of acetometaphin.
We did however make it to the grocery store, where I was able to pick up the ingredients necessary for a “Sick Soup.” Apart from grilled cheese and fried egg sandwiches, I’ve been craving beef stew. Which is odd, because I never liked beef stew growing up.
Traditional beef stew calls for red wine. I looooove cooking with wine, but I absolutely despise drinking it. So I wasn’t too keen on having the better part of a bottle leftover.
Instead I opted to create a flavourful stew filled with the ingredients I craved. It also had to be easy as I’m sick and can’t stand around for too long without having to take a rest. The result was amazing. Definitely a winner for those of you without a dutch oven or don’t have wine on hand!
- 1 lb stewing beef (this is the stuff that’s pre-cubed)
- 1 tbsp oil (I use canola)
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 pint button mushrooms, halved
- 1 small yellow onion, roughly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups baby carrots
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 large red potatoes, cubed
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 carton Campbell’s reduced sodium beef broth (I specify this as some no name broths have sketchy ingredients in them – read your labels!)
- 1 tbsp Worcester sauce
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp black pepper
Put a large pot over medium heat. Add cooking oil, beef and flour. Cook until all sides are brown. Meanwhile, in a pan, sauté onion, mushrooms and garlic until onions are soft. When beef and veggies are done, add the sautéed veggies to the beef pot along with all the remaining ingredients. Simmer for 30 minutes or until carrots and potatoes are cooked.
It’s true what they say. Soup really does cure all!!
Thank you for all the well wishes this week! I have to admit, I am very frustrated about the whole thing. I’ve been sick more over these last six months in Toronto than I have been over the last six years. This current sickness began as soon as I landed back in Toronto last Monday. I’ve actually only worked out twice in the last ten days! Perhaps my immune system wasn’t prepared for all this “big city” living.
If I ever do get better, I plan on making another Simply Switch. I want to switch out “sitting on my butt time” for “going out and exploring time.” I’ve already started working on a list of things I still have to do in Toronto. Such as…
Visit Honest Ed’s
I can’t really explain the attraction apart from it being a ridiculous and giant department store smack in the middle of a city. Flashing lights and all. I must buy one of their Elvis busts to commemorate my time in Toronto.
See Casa Loma
Speaking of things that stick out in a city… how about a huge castle?
Shop at the Carrot Common
Home to the organic grocer The Big Carrot and a square filled with other hippy-dippy stores.
Eat this pancake. Again.
My life will not be complete until me and this pancake reunite.
And with that, I rest. I actually have to return to work tomorrow and it would be nice if the cool compress didn’t have to come with.
Question of the Day: What’s your favourite kind of soup? Would you believe I never used to like soup until recently? Give me some ideas of kinds I should make!