Monthly Archives: October 2013

Nature/Math

You know how you’re not supposed to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach, because then you’re more likely to succumb to buying junk food? The same should be said for going to the farmer’s market, but at least you come out with healthy food instead of chips!

Last Saturday I woke up fairly early, so I decided to hit up the St. Lawrence Farmer’s Market before eating breakfast, and tried to avoid the crowd. Well, I came out with a lot of stuff before rushing home for breakfast.

My goods:

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In terms of the more normal fruit & veg, I got some crispy tart/sweet Golden Delicious apples and some firm, sweet Bosc pears.  I picked up a cute acorn squash, because this fall, I planned on conquering my fear on cooking squash. I also bought a couple of huge bunches of kale.

And in terms of some more interesting finds, I got some apple cider, which was preservative-free and unsweetened. In the past, I often avoided apple cider since it was always sweet (though delicious), but I was very excited to find some that had no added sugar.

And what was that giant acid green mass in the front? It was Romanesco cauliflower. I had never even seen this before! I asked the vendor how to cook it and he told me to cook it like regular cauliflower. So I mustered some courage (yep, I am somewhat an apprehensive cook), and bought this huge bunch. I read up more on Romanesco cauliflowers when I got back. One cool fact I learned was that Romanesco cauliflowers was a natural approximation of a fractal. Nature can be so cool! I roasted the cauliflower with a splash of olive oil and red pepper flakes. Yum. It tasted like a mix of broccoli and cauliflower.

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Filed under Baking & Cooking, Food

Fall Food

This week felt so long because I was looking forward to Thanksgiving this weekend! Finally it’s here, since I don’t have class Fridays. Lately I really embraced fall in my food for all meals of the day.

Breakfast:

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Apple and cranberry oatmeal. After boiling a 2/3 cup of water, I threw in a finely chopped apple along with 1/3 cup oatmeal, half a banana, thinly sliced, and a good dash of cinnamon. I simmered that for about four minutes on medium. Then I stirred in some cranberries, frozen from last year (ahem), and cooked the oatmeal on low heat for several more minutes until a good thick consistency.

I had been meaning to bake with pumpkin for the last two weeks, but for whatever reason I hadn’t, so I got my pumpkin fix in quicker ways.

Pumpkin oatmeal! I followed the recipe here. This time I used 1/3 cup of milk, 1/3 cup of oatmeal, half a banana, thinly sliced, and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg, and heated them, stirring continuously until it was just about bubbling. Then I stirred in a 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree. I turned down the heat and let it reach a thick consistency.

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I also made some pumpkin smoothies. I soaked 1/3 cup of oatmeal in a cup of milk overnight to soften the oats. In the morning, I blended the oat mixture with some pumpkin puree, half a frozen banana and some cinnamon and nutmeg. This could have been sweeter, but it was still fun for breakfast.

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For lunch one weekend I made pumpkin mac and “cheese” using Oh She Glows’ recipe. I say “cheese” because I used nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is a yeast that comes in flakes with a tangy “cheesy” flavour (and a very cheesy orange colour!) that vegans often use to substitute for cheese. I bought some a couple of years ago and I hadn’t used much of it. If you have any good recipes that calls for nutritional yeast, I am all ears! This pumpkin mac and cheese was pretty good–it was not quite the same as a regular mac and cheese, but the pumpkin gave it a thick and smooth texture.

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I didn’t use pumpkin for dinner, but for the past month, each Saturday or Sunday I made a big pot of something and ate it throughout the week. It was not exciting, but it worked for my schedule since I had night class three to four times a week. I liked not thinking about what was next for dinner.

Chickpeas with cauliflower, tomato and homegrown basil.

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Pork tenderloin roasted with grapes and red onion.

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Meatloaf: I know this is not a flattering picture, but I swear this was very good and simple to make. It was a mixture of ground beef, bread crumbs, an egg, ketchup, cayenne pepper, onion and broccoli for some greens. Something about meatloaf screamed homey, even though I didn’t grow up with meatloaf.

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A simple beef stew.

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And finally, pot roast.

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Unfortunately the meat in my beef stew and pot roast turned out slightly tough–not like my mom’s beef stew or pot roast at all. I suspected I didn’t cook them long enough, since I knew that the meat I used, beef chuck, was inherently tough. It was still edible and nutritious, especially with all those veggies, but it was disappointing.

I suppose this calls for more experimenting. Life of an aspiring home cook!

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Supercrawl 2013

A couple weeks ago, I went to Supercrawl in Hamilton, a city about an hour away from Toronto.  Supercrawl was a two-day festival over Friday and Saturday, celebrating music, art, and culture. While I had heard about the emerging art scene in Hamilton, this was my first time experiencing it, and I was excited to explore Hamilton!

Each year, Supercrawl gets bigger and I can definitely see why. The biggest draw to Supercrawl for me initially is the music line-up. This year they had some big bands such as Passion Pit, Yo La Tengo and Said the Whale. But I fell in love with so much more.

Supercrawl took place along a blocked off James Street North, so there was no need to worry about cars except for one crossing. We spotted interesting art in strange places.

SupercrawlA functional merry go round made out of scrap metal.

Supercrawl-003Sculptures made out of packing tape

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There were so many cool vendors both on the street and vintage shops along James Street North.  

In particular, I found out about a very cute pop up vintage vendor, Dizzy Alice. Their selection of goods was so charming! I was also impressed at the quality. In my brief foray into vintage stores, I noticed things like broken zippers and frayed ends, which I understood was part of the hunt, but it was sometimes frustrating. So I was happy that I found a cute purse in good shape there. Not too adventurous, but I had been looking like something like this for a while.

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I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of their stall as it was freezing that Friday night we were there. This is Dizzy Alice’s write-up about Supercrawl. There were a couple items that I was eying that night. Now  I am kicking myself for not getting them. But I will definitely try to follow these girls around as their “shop” pops up in more places.

Part of the Supercrawl took place by Lake Ontario, as there was another stage by the water a bit further north than the rest of the event. This provided some serene views.

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Lastly, the music was fantastic. I was happy to see Young Galaxy play. It was also amazing to see the legends from the ’90s, Yo La Tengo, play. I wasn’t too ready for the ambient sounds live, but it was a good time. 

Then for the last musical act of the weekend, I somehow ended up literally front and centre for Passion Pit. That was a surreal experience in such a large (and younger) crowd. It was a lively show.

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This was a grand break from school and a lovely way to spend a fall-ish weekend.

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