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This is just the shot of the leftovers – stuff put into tupperware doesn’t win any beauty points.  But the point of this lunch was that it was a bento-ish kind of meal that randomly came together after I poo-pooed the idea of a peanut butter sandwich and started to boil potatoes.  Which I never do, and made me feel festive enough to remember the wasabi tube I had in the fridge, thus wasabi mashed potatoes.  So obviously then I had to try those panko & daikon stuffed mushrooms from the Veganomicon.  Except… I didn’t feel like firing up the oven for 6 mushrooms so I made them raw and used bulgur wheat instead of bread crumbs, and added some sweet peppers and Sambal Olek for fun.  

Clearly the asian tofu from Vcon was the third logical step!  Grill pans are great stuff.
It was special because I was taking it to an all-day drawing performance with rather zen-like properties, so it felt very appropriate (albeit not-even-slightly-traditional) to have a cute little themed lunch like this.

I even had one matcha & goji berry scone leftover from the night before!  Double cute.  Not to mention how it looks amazingly like an anatomical heart, which I only noticed after I uploaded the photo!
See?  Awwww.


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Wooooaaahhh !!!  I just lucked out, it’s the sale of the century and I had enough toonies in my pocket to come home with the goooooold!  I don’t know why they were selling all these fantastic teas for $1 a box (haunted? peed on by raccoons?  somehow decades old?) but I’m going back tomorrow regardless, because apparently they have MORE. *faints*

(clockwise from center)
japanese flower mushroom tea
mint with chrysanthemum and honeysuckle
60 spirulina capsules !!!!!!

organic ceylon lemon
relasin (for nerves, insomnia and eyesight, perfect!)
yunnan tuocha green (for digestion and… hee hee, lowering cholesterol)
soolim (didn’t realize it was one of those slimming teas, oh well)
organic meadowsweet with devil’s claw
I’m drinking the mushroom tea right now and it’s so awesome.  I would never ever ever serve it to company, ever, but it’s deeply awesome and strange and OMG probably amazing with pizza !! 

Lunchtime: wake up leisurely and construct (reheat) some stuffed butternut squash from last night, with black rice, chard, walnuts, cranberries and red peppers inside (much inspired by jessy), with lemon sauteed green beans and a lovely white bean garlic sauce done pretty close to how Atxvegn made hers. Boomshakka, that plus coffee and then off to school.

Dinner: swung by chinatown on my way home to replenish my Sriracha and of course picked up some extra goodies to play with. Fried gluten balls, a strange turnip-like thing with lavender insides (anyone know what that might be?), dried kumquats (ew), salted black beans (yay! mapo tofu!), and dried black fungus. The fungus ended up in my tummy tonight! It’s so weird and I’m hooked, it’s all crrrrunchy in a mushroom way. I used this recipe, and threw some stir-fried chard with fermented bean curd along side, and ate it with …………. wheat berries. OH, it was good!

So I’m writing this from the comfy green rocking recliner in my mother’s living room, covered in flour and crossing recipes off of the veganomicon index faster than I can decide on the next thing I want to make, and that is to say – life (or at least my pseudo-vacation before school starts full throttle again in september) is good.

I even got to make a pie – a birthday peach and blueberry pie at my mother’s request, using the vcon pastry instead of my usual. It’s definitely easier to use, like those pie crusts you see on television that people just sort of toss into the pan… but I think next time I’ll stick with my madness-inducing-yet-extraordinarily-tender crust I usually use. Because personally I’d rather my pie disintegrate into buttery flakes at the touch of a fork than look pretty and pert, but that’s just me…. and I’m just a pie-obsesso who so rarely gets to make them… :p

Mmm… and I’m mentioning here that in an awesome and unplanned way, there is a tomato in just about everything in this post. Which makes sense! It being the season and all. But I’m mentioning it so you can play along and find them. Like in the vcon midsummer corn chowder, which is SOOO good, you have to make it! With rosemary focaccia it was perfect, and there was a big paprika’d mountain of hummus on the table, too.

My old old old old cats say hi! They’re still doing their thing where they act like mirrors or parallels of eachother. Haha, cute.

Went out for dinner at Corners on Bank. Not much to say… I mean, it was crazy delicious, but it was just a Boca burger. I guess to people who never ever eat those things it’s a special treat, though. And they very happily let me pick my own toppings off of the menu options, so I got chipotle salsa, caramelized onions and guacamole, and the calabrese bun was teeth-sinking yeasty and notably fresh, so really, who’s complaining at all?

Okay me, for forgetting to ask for my salad sans dressing. :p

I’m in love with hoecakes now, too. So easy to make and really surprisingly good. I made mine like…

1 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup almond milk
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp chopped pickled jalapenos
1/4 cup sauteed onions
pinch of sugar
pepper

Fry them up, eat with salsa, say yum yum yum and think why didn’t I make DOUBLE that amount because now I have to give my lunch to my sister who just came in the door with hoecake longing in her eyes. Alas, alas…..

….at least I got the vcon mexican millet all to myself! It wasn’t gonna happen like that – I was making it for everybody, but everybody went to bed, and then a forkful of it went in my mouth and any plans to eat anything else went ~poof~ and I had half the pot all for me, and it was so good. I love millet! Especially when it’s buttery and nutty and crisp/creamy, and eaten out of a dainty little rice bowl.

And then vcon blintzes, with dill-tahini sauce, applesauce and pickled red cabbage. A lot of work for something that tasted pretty perogi-like, but delicious nonetheless. Especially when all the toppings glooped together to form SUPER GLOOP of the potato-y sauce-y goodness.

Slice of Pie! Look at that structural integrity! ^.^

And lunch today – vcon creamy tomato soup (+ broccoli) with celine’s cheezy crackers (YUM!) and vcon mushroom-walnut pate with more lentils and less walnuts because that’s what I had.

(in conclusion: I love tomatoes! <——- ze obvious) :D

I’ve been sooooo sick this week. Fever, headache, chills, nausea, all that stuff. Plus I think the mineral spirits I use to thin my oil paint have been making everything twice as bad…. X_X

But uh…. you’d think I would stay in bed or something, and eat white rice (as sick food goes my roommate swears by vegetable broth with little pasta stars – kinda tempting, actually!)

But no. No, I’ve been cooped up and damned if my deadened tastebuds won’t appreciate the only thing I can do to pass the time (reading is out due to double vision, ha ha ha *SIGH*)

The black bean burgers (oh yeah, everything in this post in Veganomicon. For the record) actually hit the spot! It was one of those better stomach days, and it was nice to get something classic into me. I think that’s what the flavour of these are – they won’t smack you in the face with anything distinctive, but I actually don’t like when veggie burgers taste like hemp or rice or almonds. These taste like… burger!

Chickpea noodle soup = MAGIC SOUP

I had NO appetite that day. I have no idea what possessed me to make soup. But I did make it, and I took one bite and it was like my mom had wrapped a blanket around my shoulders…. amazing stuff.

The mushroom and spinach strata was okay. I don’t think it was substantial enough for a dinner and I think I may have burned something or not used enough bread (the parts with bread were pretty good). Everything was kinda tasting bitter to me that day anyway. *shrug*

And this morning I made the chocolate-hazelnut biscotti (with almonds instead), for a friend teaching english in Korea. Right now she’s helping clean up after the December 6th oil spill… washing the shore one pebble at a time. (I think she definitely needs chocolate in the mail, yes?)

K, I should probably go make some plain rice now… or soup with pasta stars… I am eyeing the chipotle black bean recipe…… ahhhhhhhh!!!

I really have to admit, starting a blog has changed my outlook on cooking for myself a LOT. I went for a few weeks just eating a muffin + vegetables for dinner, and not really bothering to cook anything beautiful or fun. So this past week is kind of like me revving my engines, and who knows, maybe I’ll break and go play with some tempeh soon!

Most proud of this one – stuffed cremini mushrooms (with spinach, walnuts, tofu, dijon, tamari, lemon juice, thyme, marjoram, whole grain bread, and YES SWEET, extra nooch sauce. oh ya, and my baby-own lentil sprouts on the side.)

Miso soup (brown rice miso, tofu, carrots, cubanelle peppers – weird, I know, but good! – soba, wakame, shitake, hot sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds). This one’s actually a staple for me.

Spicy kale on toast. Blog-worthy? Dunno, but it was tasty! Plus, I got to carry home the hugest bunch of kale in the whole world, and when it started to spill out of my bag like a particularly healthy upside-down mop, the flaming bag-boy who wears pink and has better hair than I do helped me re-bag so I could actually get the thing home and wilt it up. huzzah!

This is bringing back memories. Not necessarily of old flavours, but this barley is um…. my dad tried to make barley soup once, out of some old cooking onions, some oregano, green pepper, probably bacon, and hell, maybe leek (hey, a common ingredient with my soup!). Anyway, it tasted edible, but the best (funniest) part was the leftovers – the barley soaked up so much water and the flavour of the soup was so nondescriptly odd that it basically looked like a pot full of teeth and it got the name Toothfairy Stew. And he promised never to make it again. *grin*

Right, anyway, that ain’t this soup. This one’s what I believe is referred to as “awesome”. Basic hearty autumn fare (okay, so I’m also desperately trying get through way too many farm-fresh vegetables currently leafing up my tiny fridge… I know, I know, woe is me). Almost risotto-like, and go heavy on the squash if you can!

Butternut, Mushroom & Barley Soup

Ingredients:
1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 carrot, diced

1 zucchini, diced
1 leek, sliced

2 cups of various mushrooms, sliced

8 cups broth (I used water and 2 mushroom soup cubes)
1 cup of pot barley
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp thyme

salt and pepper (lots of pepper!)
1 butternut squash, roasted and chunked

1 bunch of kale, ripped into bite-sizes

Directions:
To roast the squash, seed it and cut it and put it in a large pot on the stovetop with a 1/2″ of water in the bottom. Boil that, shake some salt on, then lid it up and stick it in a 450F oven for about 30-45 minutes.

In a big pot (though I used a cast-iron pan for this part; extra washup but more yum), heat up the oil, then gently saute the onion until translucent. Add all the veggies in, add some salt, and saute just until things look… I dunno, a bit softer around the edges and starting to smell good but everything’s still perky. did I just make sense there? anyway, add the broth now! and the barley/herbs. bring to boil, simmer 30 minutes, add squash, simmer 15, add kale, serve! yummo!

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