28 April 2010

Kale & Avocado Salad

I made kale & avocado salad with the above ingredients, plus some shredded Parmesan and broccoli sprouts (the latter possibly being a bad idea) but I barely needed to eat any due to my gigantic Moderne Burger lunch: steak burger and fries, Cherry Coke and a chocolate-covered cherry shake.

Herb garden update: There it is. How often am I supposed to water these things? Tomorrow I'm buying a second window box for kale, spinach and arugula.

Pizza herb garden

Pizzo pizza and Thirsty Lizard wine for dinner.

More excitingly, tonight I started my herb garden. I know nothing about planting seeds and I could totally be doing it wrong. But it looks neat and fits perfectly on my window sill.

In this box: dill, dark green Italian parsley, Genovese basil and cilantro. I think the cilantro seeds are from a dollar store from 2006, so I don't have much faith in them. The other seeds were a 2009 birthday present from Sonya.

26 April 2010

Jang Mo Jib

Here are the photos from my second visit to Jang Mo Jib with Max and his wife, Andrea.

We ate Korean hot pot, seafood pancake and BBQ squid. Here are the photos from my first visit to Jang Mo Jib with Max, five years ago.

Prime Time Chinese

Sunday night recording was fueled by beers from the No. Five Orange and half price Prime Time Chicken Chinese food.

Grave Level burger

I ate this burger at Grave Level on Saturday.

24 April 2010

Salad + freezer food

Lunches and dinners seem to be somewhat of an afterthought lately... they just somehow seem to happen; like tonight's leftover salad, with a mini frozen pizza and that Smarties ice cream that I never actually threw out.

23 April 2010


Dinner was as much of these cookies (in baked form) as I could swallow before napping, followed by kale & avocado salad, rice crackers and Canadian Swiss Cheese.

21 April 2010

Salad with ground flax seeds

Salad topped with ground flax seeds (ground in a coffee grinder) -- I learned from my raw food diet that flax seeds should be ground in order for the body to digest the nutrients. Also they kind of taste peppery this way.

Guu with Garlic

Guu with Garlic on Robson: Ume Shiso Udon (beefy mushroomy udon noodles), Kabocha Korroke (a fried pumpkin ball with an egg inside, topped with Thousand Islands-y sauce), and Tuna Yukke (tuna sashimi marinated in sweet sesame with chips).

And a pitcher of the most delicious mojito ever: lime, mint, rum and Calpico. Photos by Jay's phone.

19 April 2010

Leftover Eggplant Pizzas

Following a weekend of dining out, I haven't fully forgotten last week's raw food diet, especially since there were still leftovers. I made some raw oatmeal again and ate the rest of the eggplant pizzas.

Umbrella Reef Cottage

I ate out allll day Sunday: breakfast at the Red Umbrella Café; chicken curry at The Reef; perogies at Cedar Cottage Pub.

17 April 2010

Le Gavroche

Saturday night, Jay and I were just in time to catch the tail end of the lobster fest at Le Gavroche that ran March 12 to April 18. I forgot my camera, but I compiled these photo-realistic renderings of each course.

Lobster and Grapefruit Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Lobster Thermidor

Lemon Curd Tart

16 April 2010

A Taste of India

A Taste of India: a platter of many fried things.

15 April 2010

Raw crackers & nut cheese with beer

I know my raw diet is over, but I just ate a couple crackers with herbed nut cheese for dinner again. So many raw leftovers! To mix things up I also drank a beer.

Raw Food Cleanse: Day Ten

Pizza for dinner on my final night of raw food! Eggplant pizza, that is. These were not bad. There is still no substitute however for delicious, delicious cheese. But at least they looked interesting. And with a little imagination you can convince your tastebuds that the avocado is cheese.

Eggplant Pizza
1 eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked for 20 minutes in enough warm water to cover (reserve soak water)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil
4 dates, pitted

basil leaves
carrot, grated
avocado slices
butternut squash, grated

Place the eggplant slices in a dehydrator at 105°F. (I used a toaster oven on the 'warm' setting, which looked like it was around 100°F.)

For the sauce, pour sun-dried tomatoes and soaking water into a blender. Add olive oil and garlic, and purée. Add the basil and dates and purée again until creamy.

Spread sauce on top of eggplant slices and continue to dehydrate for 1 to 2 hours. Cover slices with toppings and return to dehydrator for 5 to 10 minutes; serve warm.

–Recipe from The Complete Book of Raw Food

13 April 2010

Raw Food Cleanse: Day Nine

The cravings continue at work, when I see a picture of a plate of mussels for a book about Prince Edward Island cuisine. Later, working on a book about paninis brings back fond memories of a veggie panini I had last month at JJ Bean.

Breakfast: Green smoothie and granola crunch.

Lunch: Leftover salad and a ginger nori cracker.

Snaaaacks: An apple; banana papaya pudding; halvah; walnuts; fruit salad (featuring mango, papaya, apple and banana).

I was too lazy to make a real dinner so I drank some green smoothie and then made some herbed "cream cheese" from nuts, which I ate with a couple crackers. The recipe once again comes from The Complete Book of Raw Food.

Herbed Cream Cheese
1 1/3 cups Brazil, macadamia or pine nuts (don't soak)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly cracked peppercorns
2 Tbsp fresh dill, minced
1 Tbsp fresh sage, minced

Combine the nuts, lemon juice, salt, olive oil and 1/3 cup water in high-powered blender, mixing until smooth. (P.S. Using the blender you see in this photo was a bad idea ... an immersion blender worked much better.)

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and hand mix in the remaining ingredients. Cool in the fridge for half an hour before serving.

I didn't have enough of either, so I used a mix of macadamia and pine nuts. I also didn't have fresh herbs, so I used dried dill weed and sage instead (and only half the amount called for).

Result: pretty good. Fresh dill will be an improvement in the future. This is definitely filling. All I ate for dinner was two and a half crackers with cream cheese, and then I was stuffed.

Late night snack: raw blackberry granola (from Gorilla Food) with sesame milk. (I only ate half the amount of cereal pictured. Once again, raw food is SOOOO FILLING.)

LOOK AT THE GLASS OF MILK I MADE! I still can't believe this came out of sesame seeds, dates and water. This milk tastes maybe not quite as good as almond milk, but much better than soy milk. Next time you want to have a bowl of cereal and there's no milk left in the fridge, try it! Another The Complete Book of Raw Food recipe:

Quickest Tahini Milk
1/2 cup raw tahini
4 dates, pitted

Blend tahini and dates with 2 1/2 cups of water.

Again, because raw tahini is so expensive, I substituted 1/2 cup sesame seeds, ground to a paste in my coffee grinder. I also used less than 2 cups of water, because I wanted the milk to be creamy. And then I poured the mixture through a strainer to remove the sesame sludge and date bits. The leftover sludge, however, would go great mixed in with some raw oatmeal.

Note: DON'T use an immersion blender! When I added the dates, I wound up spraying a fine mist of sesame milk over the entire kitchen.

12 April 2010

Raw Food Cleanse: Day Eight

For breakfast I had leftover Raw Oatmeal with Date & Prune Purée:

Raw Oatmeal
1/2 cup steel-cut oats (soaked in 3/4 cup water for 8 to 12 hours)
2 Tbsp raisins
pinch of salt

Blend ingredients with an immersion blender until creamy. (I thought the resulting mixture was a bit runny; it probably could have used a little less water.)

Date & Prune Purée
6 prunes, pitted
6 dates, pitted
(soaked in 1 1/2 cups water for 6 hours)

Blend the prunes and dates in a blender, adding a little of the soaking water at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Press mixture through a strainer.

My major obstacle concerning the raw food diet is organizing and planning ahead. While there's no cooking time involved, preparation can vary from a couple hours to several days. The steel-cut oats for this meal had to be soaked in water for twelve hours before they were ready to use; the dates and prunes for the purée had to be soaked for six hours. Because I am only so organized, I wound up soaking both for about twelve hours. (Note how the dates completely lost their colour!)

All of this prep, when usually I would just boil a cup of water and stir in a packet of instant oatmeal. It's also nice to eat oatmeal warm, though this was not so bad for a Spring breakfast. In any case, the blended raisins did a good job of sweetening the oatmeal naturally, and the purée was a nice touch.

I was at home sick today, which meant a lot less eating and a lot more sleeping. For lunch I had some green smoothie and lemon tea with raw honey. I made the mistake of buying chunk honey because it looked neat, with chunks of honeycomb in it. Unfortunately beeswax is not edible, so I was left with tea with floating bits of melted wax in it. Tea, by the way, is not raw, but neither are the Halls and Fisherman's Friends I've been eating. Some raw foodists drink sun tea, fresh herbs that have been steeped in water heated by the power of the sun.

For dinner I had a couple flax crackers, and made a giant salad: spinach, Romaine lettuce, red cabbage, broccoli sprouts, radishes, carrots and celery. Homemade dressing: olive oil, lemon juice, honey, mustard. As I understand it, mustard is not raw, but it was ONE TEASPOON. I found some recipes online for raw condiments. But I was also ok with cheating over one teaspoon.

Dessert: This pudding (from The Complete Book of Raw Food) required NO ADVANCED PREP. I was sold.

Papaya Banana Pudding
1 cup papaya chunks
1 banana
1 to 2 tsp raw tahini*

Blend until smooth, using an immersion blender. *I ground 2 tsp sesame seeds in my coffee grinder instead, since it was a million times cheaper than raw tahini. Result: deliciousness!

I am enjoying learning about different ways of eating, but the cravings list continues:

• eggs & toast (especially at breakfast on the weekend)
• Chinese food (I have never ever craved this before)
• sourdough or rye bread

Raw Food Cleanse: Day Seven

For dinner tonight I ate an avocado with Gorilla Food ginger chili nut crackers, and finally finished off the Kale & Avocado Massage Salad.

I also made another green smoothie from the list; this time it was TERRIBLE.

Recipe #1
2-3 cups of greens of your choice
2 cups papaya
2 oranges
No water necessary

I used Romaine lettuce and spinach for the greens, and though there wasn't much Romaine it seemed to overpower everything. I added one mango, two bananas, half a lemon and a cup of water, until it finally became drinkable. But I didn't actually drink it because I wasn't hungry; just stocking up for work tomorrow.

I also made Raw Oatmeal with Date & Prune Puree, but only ate a few bites and saved the rest for breakfast. I keep on worrying I won't have enough food and then end up eating far less than I expected. Raw food is really filling.

10 April 2010

Raw Food Cleanse: Day Six

Last night we went to Radha for dinner. It's a vegan restaurant (and yoga studio) but they always serve at least one raw meal, which changes daily. Yesterday it was raw tacos -- some kind of nut pâté with cilantro, onions and tomatoes, guacamole and sunflower "sour cream". I'm not entirely sure what the tortilla was made of, but there seemed to be sesame seeds, flax seeds and grated carrot in there.

For dessert: raw lemon cashew cheesecake with a coconut, sunflower and pumpkin seed crust, topped with blueberry sorbet. I thought this was incredibly delicious, though my dining companions thought it was just ok. I think this means the change has happened -- I've been off refined sugar long enough to appreciate the sweetness of natural sugars.

Bonus: they had organic wine, which is also raw! Later in the night though, I cheated anyway, because someone offered to make me a Negroni (you can't say no to that). Later still, I drank a Heineken.

09 April 2010

Raw Food Cleanse: Day Five

Breakfast: Green Smoothie #5; grapes

Lunch: Kale & Avocado Massage Salad (I made a LOT)

Snaaaacks: Gorilla Food crackers; grape tomatoes; granola crunch; dates (speaking of which, a recipe from The Complete Book of Raw Food that sounded too easy to be delicious):

Raw Candy
Stick an almond inside a date. Eat it.

Dates are the most chocolatey non-chocolate I have eaten. Raw Candy is nature's chocolate-covered almond.

For dinner I had yet more Kale & Avocade Massage Salad (I reeeeeally made a lot) and then I made another green smoothie:

Recipe #9
3 bananas
a cup of papaya
4 big handfuls of baby spinach
2 cups of water

It is alright, a fairly neutral-tasting bananaey smoothie. (I think I may have accidentally put 4 bananas in.)

I am really liking that I can add lettuce and spinach to smoothies and it doesn't make them taste weird; the fruits are still the dominant flavour.

I also made halvah:

Carob Marble Halvah
1 cup sesame seeds
2 Tbsp Honey
1 Tbsp Raw Carob Powder

The recipe said you can substitute raw tahini, but a 2-cup jar at Capers was $16! So I ground my own seeds in a coffee grinder. This was fairly messy and they weren't all entirely ground, but it was good enough for my first halvah try.

2 Tbsp is maybe a bit too much honey. It could probably use more carob powder. And I added a bit of water, which was in the end maybe a bad idea, as it doesn't fully harden. Next time I'll just try grinding the seeds longer to form more of a paste.

I really wasn't that hungry at this point, but I'd been planning on making stuffed peppers for dinner so I went ahead and did it, using this recipe. It was o-k. The peppers are stuffed with cashews, carrots, celery, raisins, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. Oops, I just noticed there's salt in the recipe -- I forgot to add the salt. I ground all of this into a pâté in my blender. At which point I finally understood the difference between a blender and a food processor. My blender wanted to turn the filling into a drink. It was a long and arduous process but I managed to come out with some decent pâté.

I didn't love this meal, probably because of the raisins -- I'm not a huge raisin fan. Next time maybe I will substitute dried cranberries. ALSO. I only used two cloves of garlic and it is SO GARLICKY. Raw garlic, it turns out, is much more potent than cooked.

08 April 2010

Raw Food Cleanse: Day Four

I am excited about all my snacks as I lay them out on my desk at work. Setareh quickly quashes this, warning me that she thought her gluten-free diet was exciting too, when she first started it.

Breakfast: an apple and a couple flax and seaweed crackers from Gorilla Foods (both surprisingly delicious). I think it's easier to make savoury raw foods delicious than sweet raw foods, like the granola crunch -- my first bite of that was seriously disappointing, but I think in time I'll get used to the flavour of alternative sweeteners.

For some reason I am drinking a lot more water than usual ... maybe it's the aftereffect of having maintained a liquid diet for two days.

Lunch: Kale & Avocado Massage Salad, the only raw meal I know how to make. I made a giant batch of it last night: 2 bunches of kale, 3 avocados, 1 lemon.

I am having some issues figuring out what is raw food and what is not. For example, agave nectar and maple syrup are allegedly not raw, because they have been heated above 115°F. However, a raw food cookbook I'm using contains recipes using both of these. According to this website, pretty much nothing is raw, even the things other cookbooks and websites say are ok to use (like seaweed, Celtic sea salt and many dried fruits). I will not be using this website as a guide, though I'll keep it in mind. This seems to be a handy guide for explaining what is not necessarily raw but is at least a healthier alternative.

I had a caffeine headache by the end of the workday, and then I accidentally napped until 10 pm! For dinner I ate more Kale & Avocado Massage Salad.

I also made a smoothie. I found this forum where someone posted 70 green smoothie recipes. I bought a bunch of fruits and greens for three different recipes. Tonight I made this one:

Recipe #5
1/2 head romaine lettuce,
1 cup pineapple,
1 large mango,
1-inch fresh ginger

It was not bad.

Papaya tomorrow. I almost purchased a tiny papaya for $8 at Capers, but couldn't go through with it. Instead I went to Safeway, where the guy marked down this giant papaya monster to $2 for me, because it was the last one and he thought it was ugly. He also wrote on it with magic marker.

07 April 2010

Not-The-Master Cleanse: Day Three

I was filled with energy this morning and felt a renewed resolve to keep some kind of cleanse going ... just, dear God, no more lemonade. So I've decided to go the rest of my ten days eating only raw foods. For breakfast this morning I ate a guava and an apple. Snacks throughout the day: some almonds; some dried goji berries.

I celebrated my switch to raw foods by having a late lunch at Gorilla Food: a green taco (romaine lettuce leaf filled with spiced chili-walnut ground, guacamole and salsa) and a giant glass of Tropical Twist (carrot, orange, pineapple and ginger) juice.

I think beginning a raw food cleanse with a couple days of the Master Cleanse is actually the perfect way to start -- instead of being disappointed by how limiting this diet is, I am excited by the incredible variety of foods available to me.

I stocked up on some groceries at Gorilla Food: sun-dried pineapple, goji berries, ginger nori crackers, tomato herb flax crackers, and some kind of granolesque products.

Gorilla Food leftovers for dinner: S’weed as Green Curry Veggie Maki – nori wraps filled with wilted greens and veggies in a Thai-style green cashew and coconut sauce.

Also I ate: goji berries, dried pineapple, an apple, and a handful of salt & peppered cashews before realizing they were roasted and contained sugar.

06 April 2010

The Master Cleanse: Day Two

The first half of today was drastically different than the second half. But I'll begin with five years ago:

Saturday, November 5, 2005 – Day Two: I awake at 5:50 am, feeling good. I decide to lower the amount of maple syrup in my lemonade -- currently a loathefully sweet iced tea with a peppery aftertaste -- and drink more of it. Also I will ensure it is ice cold. The book recommends using medium-hot water, or cold if you prefer. I discovered quickly the wretchedness of medium-hot maple syrup-sweetened lemonade.

In the evening I go to see Capote, lemonade in tow. The smell of buttery popcorn is luxurious, but I don't feel the need to actually eat it.

I feel like when I look at pictures of food, or when I smell it, I have a better appreciation for what it would taste like. I feel like I would savour it more now. I still don't feel the need to eat really, but I've started making a list of delicious things I'd like to eat when this is done.

• chicken stew
duck sandwich

If nothing else, this diet seems to be good for figuring out what you really like to eat. Clearly I'm not and never will be a vegetarian.

I made the switch to more economical water: $2.99 for 9.5 litres. Maple syrup goes by at an alarming rate -- it looks like it will be used up by the end of tomorrow. That's almost $10 of maple syrup per day! Approximately what I would spend eating lunch at Starbucks, which I do depressingly too often, so I guess that's fine.


All of the above was written around lunch time.

Around 2pm my stomach seemed to become a bottomless pit. I basically had to feed it lemonade ALL THE TIME. Constant 'eating'. I thought, maybe this is what it feels like to be a bird. No wonder so many wild animals are jerks.

Eventually I found myself unable to keep up with the demands of my stomach. The lemonade was SO SWEET, it was not very fun to have to drink it every five minutes. On the bus ride home, my sense of smell was working at its peak, taking in a barrage of after-work sweat and smoke and bad breath, and finally when someone got on wearing some kind of ridiculously pungent patchouliesque cologne, a wave of nausea washed over me.

I went home and passed out, waking later to regurgitate as much lemonade as my body would allow, until there was nothing left to throw up. I ate a couple bites of an apple and a nibble of bread, and then Jay brought me some saltine crackers. Saltines have never tasted so delicious.

I started to feel better and went on to eat a mini pizza, a piece of toast with peanut butter and some lobster pâté with crackers. I've never been so happy to be eating food, and I don't care that I fell off the cleanse wagon. I think throwing up gives you a license to quit anything.
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