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Hey guys, check it out – ancient cookbook envelopes!  You know the kind of cookbook that has the index with the illustrated alfalfa leaf and the recipes for brown rice pudding with apricot and kale and buckwheat egg-mash?  Yeah, the kind that wouldn’t suffer much from being folded into something beautiful and useful, I think.  

I’ve been really into making envelopes the past day or two, it’s pretty easy – just take an envelope you like, unfold it flat, trace the outline onto another paper and glue it up the same way – brilliant!  I’m going to use these for my Etsy orders from now on.  

Hmm, yes, speaking of crafts, I may have mentioned an art show I had a table at last weekend?  It went pretty well for a first time at active capitalism – I made 5$ (after table cost), got some buttons, met great people, and probably most importantly of all – got A LOT of insider information on how to make laser cutters, business cards, japanese sculpture-cards, postcards, felted fabric, etc.  That and………… a custom cookie portrait on a vegan cookie no less!  Yumm-me!  haha.  The woman next to me was also friends with Jae Steele and we went on about Get it Ripe and co-ops for a while and I got to try her awesome spelted blueberry muffins and banana-chocolate breads!
Yum, corn salad!  I have no idea what made this one so special, but it’s what I brought for lunch with me to the sale.  I remember it was very acidic, with fresh dill, mayonnaise, perfect tomatoes, a bit of sugar (shhh don’t tell), cayenne, cumin maybe?…  whatever, it was creamy and really good when the ubiquitous wasps weren’t attracted by the sweet smell of it.  
I also brought these, and I can’t even tell you how much of a wasp-attractor they were, but omg were they worth it in every way.  Donuts!  Like I hadn’t tasted in years!  The chocolate-y ones I was especially pining for, and Lolo’s donuts (via Vegetarian Times) are just the texture and richness I remember.  So fudgey, so so so very good.  The apple ones had about 3 different dimensions of apple in them, too, spicy and perfect for fall!  
It was good to have a box like this to pass around to fellow crafters when the rain started coming down. 

smile and the cashew cucumber dip will smile with you ;)
In other news, my mom and brother came up for a few days last week, and we had a really lovely time, during which it became obvious to me where I learned to sup and savour food like a real hedonist.  My family gets it!  
I’d had some cabbage rolls stuffed with cinnamon-tomato-lemon-millet left over from a previous lunch, so I decided to expand on that Greek-style and with my bro’s help it was really fast and easy.  We ended up with the tomato & zucchini tofu fritters from Veganomicon, with the accompanying cashew cucumber dip, as well as some lime-broiled green beans, some artichokes, and olives.  We briefly bemoaned the lack of good thick greek pita to eat with all this, but then remembered there was a bottle of Riesling to be had (a good dry German one, haha) and anyway, that’s all *I* needed.
Hi mom!  This is my second favourite park, but my #1 choice for picnics.
In the morning with a sleepy brother!  I couldn’t really leave well enough alone when he said he wanted oatmeal.  If he really wanted oatmeal I would have made some afterwards, but I was so geared for brunch.  (I didn’t hear any complaints in the end).  Just enough food for three people, it was Isa’s basic fluffy pancakes, potato & sausage fry, steamed broccoli with cheesy sauce, and um… because I’m me, a firecracker-hot thai cucumber salad that I ended up just eating myself. I’m probably weird (no, I’m definitely weird), but I think eating a whole thai chili along with breakfast is a pretty good idea.  Kinda like coffee, but more burninating. 

Yummmmmm.  Those pancakes are so perfect.  Need I say more?

Oh, okay, just one more thing.  A quick bottomless apple pie made with the crust from Fran Costigan’s More Great Good Desserts.  Amazing!  It’s made with frozen oil and it’s the flakiest darned thing I’ve ever managed to top a pie with!  Really easy, too, and stood up to my adaptations (mostly spelt flour, some whiskey added).  Makes me think I might master pies someday.  I’m still no expert, but this one was getting close… the apples were just kissed with 5-spice powder, ooh.  We drizzled it with coconut cream and it was very good.  

My sister, meanwhile, is at Burning Man.  :O
Mmm… it’s one of those mornings I grab a sweater and a coffee and just start working on stuff, in this case blogging.  To me that’s so evocative of autumn, which has begun to be noticed in the air.  I’m supposed to be selling postcards at an outdoor craft show/sidewalk sale today and the sky is a dark dark grey, with a snappy chill and a risk of rain… So I’m enjoying the indoor lamplight while I can, and getting the most out of every second I can hang out in my plushy pajama pants.  (pajama pants being the best invention ever, probably).
It seems appropriate to blog about the last of the summer meals, in this case.  Cold refreshing food I might not be as interested in in just a few days… zarusoba being an iconic example.  Despite owning a package of soba noodles the size of my head, I only just recently made up the appropriate dipping sauce to go with it so I could eat it summer style, cold with nori shavings on top.  If it’s still warm where you are, I recommend it so much!  And I insist that you slurp it, sucking up air in a perfect satisfying hoover as you eat, because it really does improve the flavour about 50% – I think it has to do with almost smelling it as you eat.
Perfect technique, so demure, and yet loads of delicious delicious air in every bite!  Now I kinda want fat soft udon, yumm……

This is a vegetable curry Pomme and I made using a lot of inspiration from this book, a seafood curry to be exact.  So it was a mix of turmeric, basil, mint, cayenne, paprika, pepper and lemon, which I thought was really novel (and very delicious).  Eaten with wheat berries for carbohydrates (defrosted from the freezer because you can do that), and a cucumber salad I made with chunks of ruby red cactus pear.  The seeds of cactus pears are hard like little BBs, but the melon taste and beautiful colour is worth it, like a poor man’s watermelon maybe.
Of those occasional small-batch cookies I make sometimes after meal, these mint chocolate brownie bites were knee-meltingly good!!  I wish I’d written things down, but there’s ground almonds in there, plus vanilla, mint, pockets of chocolate chips, and the texture was like 2-bite brownies, amazing.  Biting into them was a world-stopping experience, which probably means I added enough cocoa powder to the mix. ;P
Sometimes hash, just straight up hash is perfect.  Smoky sausages, in season tomatoes, little baby basil leaves, and enough salt and pepper to tie it together = wish I had more sausages so I could make this for lunch right now!
Finally, I’d had a tomato tart on the brain all summer.  Every week went by and I wondered when I would do it, if I would remember, if all the ambrosial blushing tomatoes would disappear from the markets en masse before I got the chance to make that pie.  But I did remember!  Luck would have it that I came upon a huge package of gorgeous organic tomatoes for a steal, and I hopped on the chance to bake them oh-so briefly in hardly more than their own juices.

I used a cornmeal pizza crust recipe from here, replaced most of the cornmeal with masa harina, spread the bottom with grainy mustard, thyme leaves, and drizzled it with olive oil before baking.  
And while I folded up the edges to make it more like a tart, I quickly found out that hand-to-mouth was the ideal method of eating this – it was a pizza at heart, and a robust and juicy one, too.  I still can’t think of any way I’d rather eat tomatoes right now!

Oh right!  That wasn’t the last thing, this is ^  Celine’s peanut butter granola!  oooooooooooh!
I replaced the PB with a Peanut-hazelnut blend, used hazelnut oil instead of canola, and left out the chocolate and it’s absolutely fantastic.  I hardly need to rave about how it melts away on the tongue and is just kissed with sweet and is full of toasty flax and is easy to make… because most of you have made this I’m sure, or at least if you haven’t you should and you can have a batch of oven-fresh granola in less time than it takes to run out and buy some.  
Kind of makes me wish I had some milk or yogurt around ever, but a jar of this in the fridge will disappear from nibbling fingers soon enough anyway, I assure you. ;)
Next post: an adventure in ninja-vegan waffle cones!

I don’t particularly feel like sorting my pictures right now, there is just TOO MANY of them.  So, yes, here is the first, what a delight of puffy strawberry muffs in a basket!  Hannah’s recipe is perfect for basic muffins, in fact I memorized it and freestyled a batch of chocolate-raspberry versions later while I was groggy and in my dad’s kitchen at some ungodly hour of the night after breaking in un-announced and he didn’t even know I was in town!  I raided the cupboards (after cleaning the place spotless, of course) and managed to at least find enough basic baking supplies to make them, lurvly brunette muffins, which will have a photo later in this post, because (of course) as I said – completely out of order.  Why not, right?

This is a banana-date scone from Veganomicon.  Somehow I thought it would be more decadent, being from the Vcon, but granted the whole introduction does mention it’s healthy qualities explicitly, so I should have been duly warned.  Don’t you love the background?  This was to fuel some tarot play time with a teatime friend who lets me bake for her (very nice of her).
I love Nigella, it’s no secret to anyone who’s met me (or at least heard her show playing from my bedroom whenever I need some serious calming and indulgence for the soul).  But strangely I’ve made .. well, none of her recipes so far.  That needed to be remedied, which I did with her moroccan-ish eggplant rolls with cinnamon, capers and bulgur … YUM!!  Like what I imagine most of her food to taste like, it is soft, nuanced, silky and doesn’t hit you over the head with electric or sour notes, so ultimately delicious, but I added more lemon. ;)
Pretty grill marks. :)
Ancient photo !!!!!
I made nachos with no nooch in the house.  I canvased the city (briefly) looking for a single serving of nacho chips just so I could have this to satisfy an immediate post-school craving.  It was everything awesome and more.  I made the cheese with cashews, oats, miso and hot chiles and it served the purpose mightily.

This is a pancake I made at my sister’s house, using her mystery bag of mystery organic flour (we believe it was likely spelt), as well as some honey-like natural sugar, lots of coconut, some cashews wedged in there… maple syrup.  Other things.  It was so very very punk, as their larder was BARE and we still managed to have a sizzling merry breakfast on the hob in time for a decent 11 am-ish kind of hour.  I’d just read this book — 

Which was a very anarchic ancient kind of (NON vegetarian) underground poetry/cookbook/highly vague anti-establishment montage of stuff, with many chapters waxing poetic about misty green mornings cooking rashers of bacon and potatoes and I was inspired at least to follow that part of the sentiment.  Much of this book was a little too dated and silly for me, but I liked the non-political jumbo.
As promised, a chocolate-raspberry mini-muff in a cup with Hagan-Daaz raspberry sherbert I found like a special present in my dad’s deep freeze.  Hurray!  Went together like a dream, and though that iced stuff is sweeet, it is definitely top quality and I was definitely proud to call this lunch.


Like cocoa soldiers.  Did you know it took me about 27 minutes and the help of a disgruntled 13-year old to help me find where they had counter-intuitively stashed all their muffin cups?  (for the record: in the highest right invisible spot in the kitchen, behind the curry powder, above the plastic bags).  

There’s more photo backlog, but this is probably browser-crashing enough with all the stuff in this post already, plus this random plate is a nice thematic end to a r-r-r-r-r-andom post.  This was my favourite dinner by SO much last week.  Probably the large luscious chunks of drippy tropical fruit had something to do with it, plus the arcade-style cacaphony of flavours all sharing one oddly harmonious restaurant-square plate.  There’s papaya salsa, asian-dressed cabbage, an eggplant roll that didn’t fit in the container I put in the freezer, and the BEST ASPECT OF ALL — peanut butter and jam on rusks.  Perfection.
ps. I swear I’m not on drugs or even feeling all that strange.  I just rode a mechanical bull, though, (seriously!) and I’m mighty jazzed about that!

OR: “Long Ago Foods I Happened to Push Around in a Bowl For a Few Minutes In A Manner That Kind Of Resembles Cooking But Is Lacking Any Real Inspiration” :)

Hee, these blondies kind of look like those tile puzzles where you push around the little flat plastic squares to make a picture of… a tiger. Or a monarch. Or a guy with a lasso. I wasn’t really caring about putting the pieces back in order after the food-porn was taken, and delicious things can be all rearrangey, sure.

I took the basic standard (awesome) blondie recipe from the ppk and made it all fiesta with lime juice and coconut. This was the first damned thing I’d baked in weeks!! No joke! And then they came out of the oven and I remembered why vegans have to bake – that is, to eat baked goods with melty buttery qualities. I distinctly recall deciding to gain a pound or two in honour of these things.

But really no cooking was I doing. Don’t believe me, here’s the proooooooof:::::

RICE FOR BREAKFAST! I ran out of oatmeal (and a small island in the pacific winked out of existence due to the illogical tanglement surrounding THAT). So I had to make do, and given I have patience in the morning to stir things and not do much else, I made some brown rice pud, with raisins, whole cloves, and cinnamon and it was… actually pretty great. Not oats, but every few years I’ll shake up the morning routine a little. Oh, and I put brown sugar in it! Speshul.

Next evidence of no cooking: SLAW. Wooo! Blog-worthy mostly because it’s a gorgeous shade of crimson and I happened to grate up a pear inside of it. I recommend the pear thing. (look close and you’ll spot the fourth time I’ve made the World Fusion cauliflower soup. Fourth time!)

Last, last… I give thanks to the wonders that is the VwaV fronch toast *guideline* and how it enables me to eyeball the various flours involved. And it still results in this, which is way more carby-sugary than I usually like for lunch, but I had to use up old bread and um… Caramel Sauce. Kisses Everything! With Gold. squee.

In better news, the weather has gotten downright inspiring the past few days and my eyes are lighting up at the sight of spring markets and my poor little brain is starting to tinker with foods that make moods and involve wonderful, premeditated things like capers. I believe I’ll be making seitan tomorrow. (!!!!) I see reubens and latin food…..

(pumpkin oatmeal cookies, molasses snaps, sugar cookie sticks, meltaway shortbread, sugar-plum stars, chocolate thumbprints with cranberry or chestnut, PB and chocolate bonbons, PB-fruit-coconut-almond bonbons, and 12th century nutmeg spice cookies)

Merry season everyone! Those cookies up there are the symbols of festivity I decided to make lest there be no christmas cheer in my heart at all. Not to say I didn’t have a wonderful and family-filled trip home, but somehow… I’m feeling distanced from the traditions. No big surprise really… age and a certain mistrust of buying shit will take their toll, making it a very good thing that my heart will always ring with passion for cooking at least. And so, there was the night of a million cookies. Or rather, maybe six or seven batches. It was AWESOME. Just me and a table full of flours and extracts and whisks, neatly and precisely churning out dough after dough, and pulling perfectly browned trays out of my mom’s oven (that actually WORKS). I was so surprised it only took me a couple of hours – with the notable exception of the shortbread, which had me up to wee hours with the hand-whipping and chilling and 45 minute baking times but it was worth it in every way a mind can conceive. Move over butter – baking for so long turns EB into something intensely delicious, toasty and redolent and I’m glad I left it unadorned in it’s proud “cadillac-of-margarines” glory.

Then I made a cake, inspired in large part by these lilliputian mandarins my mom picked up. It’s the mandarin-orange-spice cake that has it’s own full colour glamour shot in extraveganza, and it’s glossy photo is more than deserved. The cake itself isn’t over sweet, instead it’s spicy and moist (and very christmas-y!), and a perfect vehicle for rich almond butter citrus icing that tasted a lot like magic. Should have been cashew, but you use what you have. Almonds have more personality anyway!

Giant slice for me? Oh, you shouldn’t have! No really, you take this slice, I’ll have the rest of the cake…… :D

It’s a christmas day tradition at my dad’s to have non-vegan belgian waffles with berries and cream, and every year previous I’ve made myself happy with (actually pretty good) fruit salad and maybe a tofurkey brat fried up with ketchup. But this year I was offered a spot in the waffle maker and I figured why not? I made the ppk apple waffles that were so good my step-mom jumped on the leftovers and I started to seriously consider spending my mall money certificates on a novelty waffle iron. They even picked up a bottle of whippy edible oil topping that in very very small doses (ie: once a year) I actually enjoy.

Later christmas dinner, the photo of which I considered not posting even at all. It’s a little smooshy! But yummy. So much so! I made red wine and maple baked tempeh, roasted potatoes with mushroom gravy, sesame broccoli, butternut squash with fresh thyme and garlic oil, rye stuffing, roast parsnip, turnip and carrot, dill and avocado salad, and lime-glazed beets. Just excellent, I was moaning all over the tempeh, which is always a treat to me, and even managed to save room for dessert – an apple cherry crumble with almonds and pecans that I will NOT post because it looks a little like something undergoing surgery but I can assure you was almost addictive with some Vitasoy Holly Nog splashed on top. (Said Nog also made my oatmeal xmasserrific my whole week home, I love that stuff.)

Here’s to a new year and to Xmas being through and to all a goodnight (I can’t wait to get back to school!!!)

EDIT: At Joanna‘s request, and because it’s available online anyway, I’m posting the Mandarin cake recipe.

Mandarin Orange Spice Cake

1 3/4 cups spelt flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp each nutmeg, cloves, and allspice
2/3 cup maple syrup
4 tbsp canola or other natural oil
3 tbsp mandarin orange juice, freshly squeezed (about 3 mandarins)
1 tbsp mandarin orange zest
1 tsp fresh gingerroot, grated
3/4 cup rice milk or soy milk
1 recipe Creamy Mandarin Icing

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. In a smaller bowl combine the maple syrup, oil, orange juice and zest, ginger and soy milk and whisk together to emulsify the wet ingredients. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix with a fork gently; do not beat. Pour into a lightly oiled and floured 8×8-inch cake pan, a Bundt pan, or an 8-inch springform pan. Bake 35-40 minutes. Check to see if cake is done by inserting a toothpick into the centre of cake; it should come out clean. Let cool on a rack before removing from the pan. Decorate the cake with Creamy Mandarin Orange Icing and garnish with edible flowers such as tangerine gems or calendula.

Creamy Mandarin Icing

1/2 cup soy margarine
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cashew butter
1 tbsp mandarin orange zest

Blend all ingredients in a food processor on high for several minutes until very creamy and thoroughly combined. Chill icing for 1-2 hours. Spread onto thoroughly cooled cake and decorate with grated orange rind and calendula flowers. Keep cake chilled until serving. Variation: Add 1/2-1 tsp each of beet powder and turmeric to dye the icing an orange colour. Add a small portion of each at a time as you blend the icing, until you reach a desired colour.

It is so officially fall around here — I’m wearing my deedly-bop Value Village hoodie sweater with the studious vibe and the cool knit pattern; I’ve got visions of stuffed squash and apple votive candles everywhere; perhaps there might be a day-trip to the Laurentians to enjoy the leaves even (ha! like a grown-up or something).

But the end of summer was great! I managed to get a good day in at the Jean Talon market right here in the city on the most gorgeous of Labour Days ever. Had a monkey of a time trying to find anything resembling a decent vegan lunch, however… so I had to make do with a matcha and banana popsicle, and that was actually hella good, and surprisingly filling, so that was okay. (behind it is my mum’s strawberry pop)

Buying produce there is mad incredible. I got the most gigantic and bi-coloured cabbage ever for $1. Which is soooo okay by me! I’m still working on it, actually… mmmmm I love cabbage. And all cruciferous vegetables, actually. Like those amazing brussels sprouts up there.

The next sunny day that was milked for every joyous drop of heat-strokey lazy time was a looong stroll down to the Bouchee de Pain for a cookie. I’d heard there was a vegan bakery in the city, so I figured I’d check it out, and it’s soooooooo cute. I mean, anything with a creaky barn door, brazilian knick knacks for sale, gluten free stuff, about 6 feet of floor space and a wide selection of vegan cookiescones is great by me! I chose a watermelon knick knack and an almond & lemon cookie – the cookie being as big as my head, but worth every crumb. You wouldn’t want it smaller, they’re that good! Generously almondy, not too sweet, a good chew, and brilliant with coffee, I am SO going back when the leaves turn flamey to try their mexican chili chocolate kind with some apple cider to dunk in… miammmmm.

Geeyap watermelon! There’s gonna be a clearer picture of this plastic guy I found behind my bed later in the post – perhaps someone knows who he is? He’s been getting into the cupboards. ~.~

Somewhere in the temperateness that was between the seasons, P made the most tenderest, most nuttiest good chocolate chip scones with like, a bunch of different flours in them (w.w. pastry, oat, and amaranth). It’s a beautiful mixture for this kind of thing, the amaranth being especially interesting in it’s ability to make things very melt-in-your-mouth, and I ate way more than was necessary, and would do it again, I would!

Whatever, whatever… yellow zucchini fritters, but the interesting bit is my first balsamic reduction (tee hee), that looks way more like carnage at the pen factory than a beautifully plated dish, but it was delicious, so inksplottedness is forgiven, I think.

Some marinated eggplant with capers and mint, as per the smitten kitchen. (I think her recipes must turn out photogenically by law!)

And my amazon order came!!!!!!

There’s Vegan Fire & Spice, Vegan Fusion World Cuisine, Extraveganza, and More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts, I am soooo excited! I’ve been in a cooking rut, but no more!

And that Culinaria Southeast Asia, I actually got at Costco for $10 and it’s like, the best book on southeast asian cuisine ever. It has recipes, but also culture, geography, history, festivals, art, ecology, everything else that’s interesting about people! Separated into Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, it’s really compulsive reading… I NEVER thought I would know so much about the manufacturing of soy, hehe.

Although one can’t really ever discount the old faithfuls of the cookbook shelf – after waking up a teeny tad hungover and NOT able to stomach the thought of oatmeal sitting heavy in my gut, I decided to make a protein-y breakfast of champions in the hour I had before school. Breakfast chorizo from Vwav, and tofu scramble, and tortillas… perfect. (not pictured: coffee, black. and plenty of it).

And later that evening I brought out the bevy of treasurebooks (and by that I mean cookbooks, of course) to show to P and J and that immediately brought out the “kid with a christmas catalogue” instinct in the lot of us. We could NOT decide what to make for dinner. We almost ordered out for vegan pizza. But lo – finally P made a salad of purple peppers and baby greens, J made his oh-so famous guac, and I made 3 of the simplest concoctions I could find out of Extraveganza – the Quick Noodles with Miso Lemon Tahini Sauce + Lemon Sesame Kale + Red Cabbage with Basil and Balsamic Vinegar. Amazing. I realized halfway through dinner that the way to do it was to toss everything together in one very fun-to-eat pasta dish, with all the components bursting with flavour in their own distinct way.

I mean, wow, I made a dinner with components and I didn’t even realize it. Gorsh.

(I like this book, I like this book, I SO like this book… I was even saying to P it might be my new love affair after the V-con. Seriously.)

And I mentioned fall, I know I did… this pie must close the post because it’s just so seasonally crisp-cool in the air right now, and I’m feeling in that sort of mood. But I must admit that I actually made this pie a few days ago with a pumpkin I bought at the market, and I might have to make another one soon, because we’re almost out and the thought of not having pumpkin pie in the fridge for one moment makes me sad.

Even Nameless Plastic Guy the Boy Wonder Hero seems to like the sticky roasted maple cayenne seeds I made out of the pumpkin’s innards. It must be done again! :)

Well, I’m back! I’ve scrubbed the dirt out of all my crevices, uploaded a billion gorgeous pictures of natural beauty and human wackiness, rubbed my belly after meal upon meal of delicious vegan forest food, and now I’m finally ready to get back to city life… and update my blog!

So this is the humble kitchen, rather unassuming by day (though inviting), and positively radiant by tiki torch at night. There was always fresh fruit and whole grain breads around, and a steaming gigantic decanter of yerba mate for the lacking-in-energy camper to drink copious amounts of (4 mugs a day, anyone?)

One afternoon Star and I even discovered sushi being made! Forest sushi! It took all of 3 seconds for her to jump into the kitch and start showing off her fantastic rolling skills. There was even apparently onigiri with pickled plum being made later, which I unfortunately missed, but still… that’s damn cool.

Here’s me (on the right), grabbing some killer miso soup from The Great-Smelling Pot of Giganticness. I always had to stand on tiptoes to see what was inside!

And here’s the bounty of fresh herbs and vegetation at the right of the kitchen, which gave the food this wonderful vitality. (note to self: donate something that is green and growing in a pot next year)

The tea tent! It was this dear little spot, glowing white and smelling of herbs/the always-lit iron stove that kept the kettle boiling outside. There were teas for everything — lung cleansing, ephedra-energizing if you wanted it, lucid dreaming, even getting in a sexy mood! With agave nectar, fresh citrus to cut, ginger, books on herbs, and just a great atmosphere all around.

The fact that I could stumble down to the kitchen area, grab my colourful breakfast and realize I was munching in front of killer art like this was all part of the fun.

And E-balls! E for energy, of course. Yum, yum, yum, and I have a new appreciation for hempseeds now. Especially the crunchy black unhulled ones, they’re SO much fun to eat!

Okay, onto the plates. (every attempt I made to take night photos got thwarted, so none of the dinners got photographed, but rest assured they were pretty involved and distinctive and delicious, even moreso than the first two meals of the day. ah well.)

This was my first breakfast – note the conservative portions, before I realized I could totally take my fill from the table – morning quinoa with hempseeds, soaked/raw whole wheat granola, and spicy applesauce.

First lunch – creamy coleslaw with fresh herbs, split pea dhal, bannock, and fruit salad.

Yay, oatmeal! I loved the announcement of breakfast that morning – the whole kitchen in unison shouting “Gruuuuuuuuel!!!!!”

Oops – this is the one standout meal that sucked for me. 1 out of 21 ain’t too shabby at all, though! Another split pea dhal with much much less flavour, and saltless dry millet. Still – totally healthy.

This was way (way!) better! Quinoa with fresh oregano, vegan caesar salad, and a beautiful hearty bean and vegetable stew, with beets, wakame, squash and barley.

Most colourfullest breakfast EVER, and it tasted even better than it looked! Tahini-dressed salad, quinoa with star anise and clove, apple chutney, pickled carrots, fruit salad with papaya, pineapple, watermelon, pear, orange and honeydew, and one of those awesome E-Balls.

Maybe my favourite lunch, too – miso soup with gorgeous huge pieces of seaweed, whole juicy shitake mushrooms, roasted squash seeds and my new cracker obsession, rye Wasa.

And the last brekky – creamy rice pudding with apricots and sunflower seeds, sugarless (yet sweet) cocoa apple crumble/granola, a citrus-y salad, and a slice of dense rye with apple butter. Plus a view to totally die for…

More often than not, I skipped the smoky campfire scene and hiked a few minutes away to a secluded sunny rock with my meal to listen to mild ripples and rustling trees instead. You could have given me a half-eaten Boca burger in that setting and I would have been in foodie bliss anyway… but really, in conclusion, I got totally inspired by the spices and innovation that I saw at Om, and the dedication that the kitchen organizers had to keeping 500+ people fed and nourished all day, every day, for a whole week! For one – I’m gonna start respecting the “mere” salad a heck of a lot more, play with grains and seeds more, put tahini in more stuff (because tahini = AWESOME), and basically just focus on health and colour instead of rigidly following silly things like recipes all the time. I’ve even put it into practice at home, but that’ll have to wait for the next post. ;)

( Oh, and I wish I could have taken a picture of the meal that I helped prepare, it was my favourite of all the dinners (maybe I’m biased, but it WAS amazing). Just imagine saffron-coconut apple soup, fried bananas, truly spicy aloo gobi, and cardamom-almond rice. OMG. I weep for the lack of picture! :O )

Well… like a lot of bloggers it seems I have to bear the news that I may not be able to keep up with commenting or even posting quite so often as before (still often – blogging gets my sillies out, and is thus very vital!). I think it’s a summer thing. Also, much MUCH drawing to be finished, books to read, hanging out to do… the usual.

Anyway, that craziness up there is natto! Weird food, but strangely delicious. It’s a fermented soybean that they eat a lot in japan, with brown rice, chopped scallion and soy sauce, and I’ve gotten kinda hooked on it. It’s full of B12, too (the absorption of which is still in debate, but I’ll take my nutrients as I get ’em).

And I tried, oh I did, to give up the oatmeal thing in the morning, but I was crazy hungry by 11 am and went screaming for banana oatmeal bread – go figure. So I’m back, but I’m switching up the flavours and it’s so much more fun this way! So far I’ve tried it with gomasio, kelp and toasted sesames (very good, savoury… completely unphotogenic though), and this morning was amazing – ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, candied ginger, dates, flax seeds and lots of perfect fresh blueberries.

Dinner number 2! Clockwise from the left, it’s leftover paratha; sliced mango and avocado; steamed kale; smoky red bean and quinoa croquettes; Vcon gazborscht; big green salad; and get this —- Aux Vivres chana masala!! P brought it from work and it’s the exact stuff they put in my favourite menu item there, the chickpea chapati wrap. It’s fatty and addictive and hee hee! We have secret restaurant food! :DD

*sexy shot of the oh-so refreshing gazborscht with homegrown cilantro*

*sexy shot of the quinoa croquettes* (recipe follows, ooh!)

Smoky Red Bean & Quinoa Croquettes (makes about 15, maybe… I’m guessing)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups cooked red quinoa
2 cups cooked red beans (or blackeyed peas)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 scallions, diced
1 small sweet potato, diced and steamed
1/2 red pepper, diced small
1 cup spinach, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tbsp gluten flour
2 tbsp flax meal
1 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp Braggs or tamari
3/4 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
juice of 1/2 lime
1/8 tsp Liquid Smoke
2 tsps olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Mush half of the beans and leave the rest whole. In a large bowl, combine everything together along with the beans and mush with your hands until it forms a very thick paste.

2. Scoop out about a 1/3 of a cup and form it into a patty. Repeat, repeat.

3. Heat a bit of olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat and cook for about 4 minutes each side, or until nicely browned and slightly firm. Serve with guacamole and chips, or fresh corn, or mango.

Blub blub! Miso soup with real kombu (finally) required some sort of infantile time-wasting awesomeness, hence carrot-fish. I swear it made it more delicious!

And I actually ate something besides oatmeal for breakfast the other day! I love how sleeping in means I have to budget my time which means pancakes, ooh, life is hard. These weren’t perfect (oatmeal chocolate chip, for the record), but maybe I’ll fix the liquid ratio and put them in the zine someday. Chocolate for breakfast, though… it’s great.

This was another one I was thinking of putting in the zine, but then I was like, “uh, no. Everybody has a banana bread recipe and I actually suspect I got this from the ppk years ago, before I even knew what the ppk was.” Tasty, but I mostly just made it to see if I could still make banana bread, ha. (quartering a recipe and making it in a tiny pan turns it into banana bars, though, which is pretty cool!)

Yummy black bean and wheat berry salad, with corn, red onion, radish, carrot, cilantro, lime, cumin and cinnamon. It could use bell peppers and/or tomato, but not bad at all for an empty fridge kinda thing!

And banhi mi, banhi mi!! Okay, “vietnamese seitan sandwich with savoury broth dip” (from what else but Vcon). I was too excited to eat it to take a decent photo at all, but you can probably see that I deviated from the recipe and tried to make it more authentic, I suppose. So there’s cucumber sticks, sweet pickled carrot, green onion, radish, jalapeno, tomato, mayo, cilantro and delicious satan. I mean seitan. I’d never dipped a sandwich before, it was lovely, mushy spicy and bready.

Another cleaning out the fridge deal, this time minestrone, with the expected vegetable guests, but also corn because I really really like corn. And macaroni noodles. And I even resisted making it spicy. Oh, and I added ground up toasted almonds to approximate parmesan and this was a good decision, it totally made it right.

So very nourishing!

Best breakfast ever? Why yes!

Mmmm…. I’m actually still licking my fingers from these right now (my computer is getting filthier with each passing day, but it’s all from baking so I really don’t mind). I used the Vcon maple brown sugar pinwheels recipe as a base, but realized I didn’t have maple OR ground cardamom on hand so I turned them into your basic cinnamon-pecan-raisin sticky buns. With the orange left in though, of course. I think I’m adoring everything orange these days. Personally I think I overbaked them a little and it could have used more fat to cut the sweet, but everyone else was going crazy and offering to kiss the ground I walk on (for what? kneading a bit of dough? oh silly), which is a testament to the power of cinnamon buns. Maybe we should just bake cinnamon buns to solve all conflicts. Or some other pat answer to life’s confuzzlements. At the very least we could make kitchens smell nicer all over the world. Righto.

And hoboy… out of the two iced baked things I’ve made recently these are soooooo my favourite. As in, I would actually make them again (and again and again). It’s the Swell Vegan sweet potato tester scones! The scones alone are perfect – just sweet enough to savour slowly with tea, but the optional caramel glaze is pretty much THE caramel goop recipe I’ve been looking for! Sent these to another level. A level of mouthgasm. (and almost virtuous! Because scones are healthier than cookies! Because I say so!)

(that is, unless you use lots of Earth Balance, which is really quite nice. :)