12:17 PM

The Flexitarian Diet

So The Reluctant Vegetarian posted this week about The Flexitarian Diet. Given that I've been on this new eating system for just over four months now, I found it interesting.

The premise is that you become "mostly" vegetarian. Me? I'm "mostly" vegan - or as I regularly refer to it, "veganesque". I eat fish once or twice a week (though I think this volume is actually falling as I better and better learn the art of vegetarian cooking). I also don't go pure vegan in that I don't avoid products that have egg/dairy/etc. as minor ingredients in 'em.

Why not go full-force? First off, I'm just not super strict with myself, as I'm a pretty relaxed sort who's just trying to be better, not trying to be perfect. Secondly, I do a fair amount of client entertaining, which involves a lot of taking people for lunch and dinner. It's already next to impossible to find decent non-meaty meals in restaurants to begin with - particularly when you eliminate the cheese, creamy dressings, etc. I am simply not able to fully cut my need to eat out a few times a week given the job construct. I am okay with this. Overall, cutting out that stuff has been good for my health and has also reduced my footprint. It doesn't need to be exactly per some magical script. It's good and I'm happy about that.

So I'm not physically flexible, but indeed dietarily so! Har.

(In other news, I noted in that article that vegetarians are allegedly 15% lower on average in weight than non-veggies. How is it that I have yet to become 15% lighter care of my meatless/cheeseless agenda? Ridiculous!)

So how flexitarian are you?

11:49 AM

An Issue of Integrity

For the love of pete. I am seriously frustrated by the idea that we are all so very free to say whatever our wee hearts desire, but when someone does and it's offensive to another, the big public apology comes out.

First off: I enjoy Heather Mallick. I think she's a smart cookie and her writing generally appeals to me greatly. I may not always fully agree with her, but I really dig her style. She's opinionated, she's strong, and she doesn't mince words. These are among the most admirable characteristics that I can imagine a person having.

So did you see this? It's in response to Mallick's September 5 column, posted on CBC's site.

Well, the CBC has now issued this apology for allowing it to be posted, despite originally standing behind Mallick and supporting its editorial policy, which accepts that its writers will hold varying positions and diversity in opinion.

Blagh. This kind of thing just frustrates the living daylights out of me. How on earth do we, as a culture, think it's okay to check our values at the door when we are publicly challenged? How do we not politicize basic freedoms upon which we claim our foundation lays? What the living hell are we teaching ourselves and our growing generations of thinkers and leaders about integrity and standing up for what we believe when we lose the former due to an incapacity to undertake the latter?

Again: blagh.

6:47 PM

Foodie-Following

I am really excited. Leslie is back to blogging. Finally, my favourite source of foodie inspiration has returned. As such, I spent the last hour stalking her blogroll and their blogroll's, etc., while eating her quinoa salad, which I suspect my non-measuring self slightly over-flavoured as it was really strong tasting. That said, it's the first time I've gotten Dave to eat quinoa, so it remains a success. Hah.

In any case, I am so making this.

1:58 PM

Oooh, Etsy

So I've basically always avoided Etsy. There are too many things from which to choose. It's overwhelming and I give up after twenty minutes of searching.

But today! I found a really unique business card holder - I hate my leather one that I have, my cards always still end up bent/smudged. I have been looking for a metal one forever, but wanted something a little different. This one has polished lizard leather on its front. Weird... but amazing!


I also found this seller.


I'm thinking I could rock this in my office. Thoughts?

2:16 PM

The Point... is Flex...

So after not attending a single yoga or pilates class in all of 2008, I recently had a full physical. My results came back this week and I learned that a normal people have a score of 32 on this flexibility test I did. My score was 19. Yikes! (In good news, pretty much all else was highly positive and my muscular/cardio endurance were scored as excellent, whew.)

So I went to yoga today - I did a 1.5 hour Hatha class.

I was really bad! But it was good. I'm patient about this sort of thing (probably the only area in my life where patience legitimately arises, hah) and get that this will take time to rebuild. The class was small and my instructor was really helpful, spending a lot of time helping each person directly to ensure proper form, etc. It was also followed by half an hour of Yoga Nidra, which is effectively a guided meditation. So calming! So cozy!

I really want to get back into it. It's hard to fit in classes during the week with my work schedule - not even just because of the hours, but because of working outside of the downtown core. If I want to attend even a 7:30PM class, I have to do the following:

  • Arrive at studio at 7:15.
  • Arrive at home by 6:45 to drop off car, get stuff ready, and walk over.
  • Leave work at 5:45 to ensure I get home for 6:45 with traffic constraints.
  • Be done work at 5:30-ish so I can get out the door by 5:45.
This? Not so do-able. Now when our office moves downtown, I think it will far more feasible as the steps will change as follows.
  • Arrive at studio at 7:15.
  • Leave work at 6:45-7 with yoga stuff in hand, walking over.
The official office lease end-date is May of 2009, but the real estate consultants think we'll likely be moving more like March. Location and office selection should be complete in November/December.

God, I can't wait. My phsycial flexibility is dependent upon this work flexibility!

In the meantime, I will do my best to go on one weekend day and Tuesdays, when I'm already downtown for the day at school.

Six more months...

7:49 PM

Nerdliness is Next to Godliness

Eee! I started my PhD this week. Flex time. Faculty of Information. U of T.


I can't explain how much it ruled. We talked about philosophies and methologies and grant applications and research and ahhhh! I can't even believe how lucky I am to get to do this kind of thing. Dreamy.

I have my own little office at the university! It's overlooking Spadina. I swear to you, it is nicer than my work office, which - while more spacious - overlooks a parking lot and the 427.

I have a supervisor, who is super smart and has really great positive energy. She also took me to the adorable Faculty Club to celebrate my beginning this thrilling challenge!

Sigh.

I wish to be a nerd forever. Or at least for the next six to eight years. Hah.

10:52 PM

The Reality Sets In

So, okay, it's been nearly three months sans land animal products. And it's felt relatively easy to date.

But this weekend? There were a lot of Wendy's Baconator commercials on during the last few days of the Olympics. (Um, what? I know.) And, yeah, ew, right? But I've always loved a bacon cheeseburger. Salty. Melty. Delish. And then the reality set in: not only will I never, ever have a burger again, I'll never have a steak. I'll never have a lamb chop with mint sauce. I'll never have a glass of milk with ice cubes in it to accompany my tuna sandwich. I'll never have a cheesy, creamy omelette. I'll never have my beloved nachos.

I miss food. I am feeling all worn out and slightly queasy - I think mostly because I've been pushing too hard again and am maybe not getting enough iron (have had iron issues in the past, will be making an appointment with doctor and nutritionist this week) - and... I would really just like some ham with scalloped potatoes. Hah.

Anyway. I'm really just feeling rather sorry for myself. I googled reluctant vegetarian and found this. The recipes look great, but the person doesn't seem particularly reluctant. Do you know anyone who's made such wholesale change with reluctance? I tried hunting for message boards or anything of the sort tonight, but found only an assortment of hardcore veggie snobs who would hate that I still eat fish, and people whose posts I could barely understand (yeah, that's the snob in me talking).

I don't even know what the point of today's post is. I am just feeling rather sorry for myself and am not much for complaining out loud. No need to respond, this is pure vent!

6:17 PM

Laptop Bag Stalking

Okay, so I may or may not have mentioned my obsession with my new MacBook Air. It's so slim and darling! In any case, I am bored with my current laptop bag and searching for a (few) new fun one(s). So what will house my adorable new friend?

I am thinking perhaps this cutie or its cousin for everyday use?

Or perhaps this little gorgeous glamourama in grey?

Or maybe this little fashion plate in plural fossil?

Help!

PS: Have you seen this? LOVE. Talk about fueling my stalkery.

1:47 PM

Vegenaise!

I am not kidding.

This stuff is golden. I would never, ever have known it wasn't the real deal.

I can have tuna salad again!

1:55 PM

Seven Weeks Down

So it's been that long since I've had meat, eggs, and dairy.

It's weird to me.

Last night I went out with some ladies for gossip on a patio. There were nachos and a platter of delicious appetizers on the table. The only thing I could consume was the calamari. Strangely, it didn't entirely bother me, though I did make up for it later in the evening with plain tortilla chips, salsa, and guacamole.

But this does kind of surprise me. I thought going out would be the toughest part, and it's actually pretty easy.

Any favourite non-land-animal-product foods when you're out and about?

10:47 AM

The Starbucks Experience

So I remain endlessly disgruntled that Starbucks doesn't do a soy version of the Frappucino. I mean, Frappucinos are one of my favourite summer snacks, and what is a trip to Starbucks without them?

No matter, I've been stuck with the iced green tea soy latte.

So what is with the fact that this is never made properly? So I don't get the whipped cream on top and I don't mix it with green tea liquer as pictured (hah), but I have never seen one look remotely like this!

Every second sip I take involves clumps of that green tea stuff. And it's never frothy, instead just being randomly stirred with a metal stick for a few seconds.

I like the general taste when it joins forces in my mouth, but the inability of the baristas to actually make it taste like a consolidated beverage rather than a combination of green tea bits, soy milk, and ice or the inability of Starbucks to put together a method of production that is a little less difficult for said staff? So very unfortunate.

Perhaps I should just switch to iced coffees for good.

8:25 PM

Some Updates

Hey! There apparently is a word for what I'm doing: pescetarian. Who'd have thought?

In any case, things have been fabulous since we got our barbecued. I grilled tuna steaks for Dave's birthday with lemon and fresh herbs. I've been making some delectable salads, and am particularly re-loving my baked homemade french fries (curried is best). I've even started having soymilk on my cereal without a problem.

You know what I don't like, though?

At the cottage last weekend, I was a little forlorn at the lack of steak action, but veggie burgers with steak spice helped me out. However! When Dave was having his amazing Italian sausages, I decided to try out some veggie dogs. Now, I hadn't had veggie dogs in probably ten years, and when I had them, I completely hated them. But my sister swore to me they were great again, and I gave 'em a shot.

Dave called them Not Dogs and said they looked like Tootsie Rolls.

They were sick. Sick. I couldn't even finish a single one and hated them so much that I actually threw them in the garbage.

Nonetheless, when I found soy chicken nugget looking things and soy chicken strips, I still bought 'em. Sigh.

9:50 PM

Amy's Organic Veggie Burgers

These are yummy.


I barbecued mine and Dave had a regular burger. Made some guacamole and topped heavily. Threw a side spinach salad alongside it.

Delish!

7:44 PM

Baking is My Favourite

No real time to post with the family visiting, but lookie what I made today. Golden vanilla cupcakes with coconut pecan frosting, another from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

Pure vegan, baby.

8:10 PM

I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Chicken

So tonight, I made my first foray into the world of cooking with tofu. And you know what? It was freaking great!

I am a huge fan of Indian food and have been craving it madly lately. Naturally, my favourite dish is butter chicken, and I was totally forlorn that I could no longer have it. But with Dave requesting mini-pizzas for dinner (ugh, I know), I decided to grab some tofu and coconut milk and give something new a shot. Et voila! My very own recipe. And, no, GroupRecipes won't do apostrophes in recipe names, which is why the contraction was expanded there.

I added spinach for kicks, as I tend to think it tastes good in everything, but you obviously don't have to.

Tonight, I'm going for a new batch of vegan cupcakes - I'd intended to last night, but after my food processor kind of crapped out due to the peanut butter experiment and I didn't make it to Williams-Sonoma today, I'm going to go with a new standard. I will make two dozen so the work people can share in my giddiness.

I should be sainted. Honestly.

7:29 PM

Summertime...

And the eating is fresh!

I don't yet have the KitchenAid pasta-making attachments, but I nonetheless bought a package of Olivieri fettucine tonight and opted for fresh with this recipe for Summer Splendor Pasta.

The only variations I went for were as follows:

  1. Pan fried the zucchini with a little oil instead of boiling it.
  2. Cooked the sauce with a little oil instead of using water.
  3. Skipped the wine (none in the house, booo).
  4. Added a sprinkle of oregano.
  5. Added a teaspoon or so of sugar.
I haven't made zucchini... um, I don't think ever. I always get things with zucchini in them at restaurants, but for some reason it's never occurred to me to make it myself. Silly. In any case, it added serious fresh flavour (appropriate, given the name) and I was super happy. Didn't feel like I had any diet restrictions whatsoever.

Next up, I made bunnyrock's homemade peanut butter. I added about a quarter cup of agave syrup to this, as I'm still getting used to sweet-free nut butters. And I don't know if my blender is just giving me crap or what, but I'm having a tough time getting it to a texture similar to hers in this picture. Why? It's a GE! Don't fail me now, Jack Welch/Jack Donaghy! (Either way, I used pumpkin pie spice - cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves - and it tastes damn delicious.)

I will be giving the raw vegan brownies from 28 Cooks a shot once I figure out if my blender can handle them.

5:52 PM

Proven├žal is So Done

I made this tonight.

I am so done with olives and capers. I think I made it too much with chicken last summer. Dave found it fine, but I was all meh. Also, halibut is really boring in flavour. I added so many tastes and it still tasted kind of like... nothing with olives and capers. And really fishy fish. Meh again.

It didn't help that Dave's white basmati smelled amazing and I mixed up the burners with my brown wild rice, leaving it mushy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

No matter, I'm making a new batch of cupcakes tonight and they'll make all right with the world.

11:37 AM

Getting Fresh

So last night I went to Rockstar Hotel - read the whole scoop here.

On the food front, all turned out peachy. The whole gang did a huge sushi platter for dinner, which was just fine for my little tummy. I stuck with vodka cranberries for the evening, though I politely sipped champagne and a green tea martini before forcing my client to chug them for me (she knows the deal and I don't like attention and questions). Hah.

The Fresh lunch yesterday was pretty great. I had grilled cornbread, an energy bowl sans chickpea/vegetable stew, and rocket fuel sans espresso. It was pretty fabulous, though I felt a few sharp pangs afterwards. (Suspect the curried coconut milk may have been full fat, which may have been a little tough to process, but it wasn't bad enough that I wouldn't have it again. Hah!) Amy is awesome and we had a really great chat, followed by a little shopping around Queen West. Fun!

I also picked up the Fresh cookbook while I was out and am currently learning about tofu, tempeh, and some other crazy soy-based hippie foods that I will be living on. (I am only partially kidding.)

The Starbucks situation is happily resolved with the iced soy green tea latte. Better than no fun drink, and good to get the soymilk in (hey, did you know that it's supposed to be one word? learned that in my new cookbook).

So today will involve a little Home Depot, a little gardening my cement yard, and a little grocery shopping for the coming week. Dinner is currently up in the air, but I'm thinking maybe something from my new cookbook would be a fit. Though so would more trout... mmmmm.

Have a good one!

11:38 AM

Weekends O' Fun

So today, I'm meeting my awesome friend Amy for lunch at Fresh. I will surely review what I eat.

The last two days have been kind of nuts. Thursday was a big work event. On my husband's assurance that something mild would be a-okay as she said limit not entirely avoid the booze, I dared to try a vodka and cranberry in a tall glass - and it went down just fine. (I waited two hours after I finished to be certain, then so did the second. Hah.) I am pleased to discover that I may have to swear off nachos, but I officially don't have to avoid patios for the rest of the summer.

In any case, it was a super late night and then I was completely exhausted yesterday. I fell asleep at maybe 10PM and just got up at 11AM.

Thirteen hours! Sad, honestly.

But now I'm revitalized, which is good seeing as I have that Amy lunch, then am going to work on the great outdoors known as my tiny yard al day, and will follow the whole thing up with Rockstar Hotel with clients. We're in possession of VVIP passes, which apparently means we will get gifted with celeb-type bags o' stuff. That's the only reason I agreed, as I have no idea what to where and generally hate things that start at 10:30PM. Hah!

Oh yeah, and I made swordfish and red lentils for dinner last night. Must not forget that swordfish most definitely needs flavours of some sort pre-cooking (forgot to do this in my rush to eat something and it was rather bland) and red lentils needed far more spices than green, but cook much more easily.

8:55 PM

Les Challenges

As I sit here watching Rock of Love (I know!), I am considering today's failings.

First up: I put my oat/quinoa blend on this morning before getting in the shower. Then it burned. Then I tried to salvage what wasn't burned. Then I added flax oil to try to get more good stuff in. Then I wished I'd only put in one teaspoon instead of two. Ew.

The mid-day was fine, then came the evening.

I got stuck in traffic. It took me nearly ninety minutes to do my fifteen minute drive home. That said, I knew I was returning home to yummy sushi. Sadly, it hadn't occurred to me that sushi could have sneaky elements. Sadly, I forgot that spicy salmon rolls have little tempura bits. Boo! Unfair!

But I did buy that cupcake book today! Dave is happy to point out that, though I have yet to master vegan cooking overall, I have taken charge of the cupcake situation like a professional. But they have so many options! Ganache! Fillings! Frostings! Snickerdoodle flavour!

Tomorrow... I'm thinking fresh pasta. Well, grocery store fresh (until I get the KitchenAid Mixer pasta attachments). Like that! But without shrimp. I also need to pick up some tomatoes, cocoa, and... oh, I swear there's something else. Anyway. Yes! Fresh pasta.

9:20 PM

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over My Kitchen

Anyone who knows me is familiar with my cupcake addiction. Any time there's an occasion to celebrate, I call for cupcakes. At my thirtieth birthday, my adorable friends and family bought me the ones from The Cupcake Shoppe. I am a woman obsessed.

Naturally, with my MBA graduation around the corner (June 20th, to be precise), I'd been planning a post-convocation evening of lush food, minor boozy debauchery, and decadent cupcakes labeled "Master JQ". Yet alas, as you know, my body will now have none of this.


I facebook-emailed my awesome friend Melissa, who's not only a guru of baked delights, but also particularly skilled in healthy eating. She directed me to Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and (though I haven't yet made the purchase, I found my beta test online) I currently have a dozen of these little goodies in the oven. (The recipes makes a dozen.)

I used rice milk instead of soy milk and am skipping the frosting, but otherwise stayed true. The batter was thin and delicious. (Yeah, I'm a taste-tester.) They smell flipping crazy amazing. According to the Sparkpeople Recipe Calculator, each wee cake has just over 150 calories and 6.6g of fat. Totally do-able.

I'll let you know how they taste tomorrow.

7:56 PM

I Love Trout

I have never made it myself. Weird, right? I had it reasonably often as a kid, but have never once had it as an adult.


Sea salt, black pepper, fresh lemon, bake.

Not kidding here. I was in love with it. I love it more than salmon. I think it's my new favourite fish. It was all I could do to put the rest back in the fridge when I so could've just eaten it. Lunch!

In other news: After she asked me if I needed any help, I asked the girl behind the seafood counter at Loblaws what types of fish were cold water. She looked sheepishly at me and said, "Ummm, I'm just covering..." Will keep trying to find out.

9:47 PM

Lentils: Good Side Dish...

Not my favourite as a main.


I tried to try Leslie's lentil phyllo thing tonight sans roasted veggies, but unfortunately Loblaw's was out of phyllo pastry. And I couldn't find organic sweet potatoes, so I just went with plain mashed. And the lentils took way too long to cook properly, so the potatoes were done way early. And when they were, I just ended up throwing them into a salad, as I was barely hungry anymore.

Sigh.

They were reasonably tasty, but would've been far better as a side to, say, swordfish. (Is that a cold water fish? How the hell do I find out what fish are cold water? Why isn't Wikipedia helping me?)

UPDATE: I threw the lentils in my next day's lunch spinach salad with some rice, tomatoes, avocado, and lemon. No disappointment remains. Delish!

7:49 PM

Cleaning House

So aww, I haven't updated since November. No matter, really. In short, here's what happened:

  • We moved into our house. Yay!
  • We started doing renos. Yay!
  • The person who was the sole source of major issues is no longer at my company. Yay!
  • The partners let me relaunch it. New name. Yay!
  • I started working like a maniac.
  • I stopped working out diligently.
  • I stopped eating properly.
  • I traveled like a freak.
  • I went out constantly.
  • I got worn the heck out.
  • I ended up in the ER.
  • Oops?
So indeed, here's what's up now: I am re-finding le balance. It's tough for me because I adore work and I love getting to do what I do, but after the week I've just had (and my doctor's demands)? Yeah, I'm doing it.

To get my sorry self through, I must of course write my way out.


Tonight! Salmon bowl!
  • Salmon
  • Baby spinach
  • Brown basmati
  • Avocado
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Lemon
And what to do?
  1. Throw salmon on a pan with lemon squirted all over it into oven at 350 - give it thirty minutes.
  2. Make rice as per bag directions.
  3. Make a really simple salsa of 1/2 avocado, a bunch of chopped up tomatoes, and squirted lemon. (Could've added onion and garlic and spices too, but am re-introducing foods one baby step at a time.)
  4. Throw baby spinach in a bowl. Add a small piece of cooked salmon and a spoonful or two of rice. Douse the top with the mild salsa.
So that was really good, and totally do-able for my finicky boy. Dave just had the salmon with rice and butter and was every bit as happy as I was.


Here's another delish recipe care of my awesome mother-in-law that I enjoyed at breakfast today.
  • 2T steel cut oats
  • 2T quinoa
  • 1/2C water
  • 1/2C rice milk
  • Cinnamon/nutmeg/whatever sprinkle (1/4t or so)
  • 1/4C currants
And the how?
  1. Mix.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Cook on low-medium for 15 minutes.
Okay, so I'm still basic. But it was good and I don't want to forget!

Next up? Leslie's braised lentils in phyllo. Now I've always thought that phyllo were pure butter, but indeed she posted the PC brand nutritional info and they're free of saturated fats, and only contain 0.5g per sheet of any whatsoever. Digestable! I will skip the roasted veg, add a big side salad, but keep the sweet potatoes. Dave will be going regular on the potato, but is otherwise pretty into this.

Please advise as to what else I should be eating if you have clever ideas. I am basically restricted to anything that doesn't contain animal product. Eggs remain questionable - some say yes and some say no - and, as far as fish goes, it's preferable if it's cold-water only. No dairy, no red meat, pork and chicken should be very limited.

Easy, right?