Archive for the 'Yummy Dates' Category

Vegan Fail

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

The warm weather has finally arrived and I am starting to believe that summer may happen after all. With the joy of summer, however, comes the fleshy reality of a winter spent on the couch self medicating with carbs. Not being able to hide under layers of sweaters and heavy coats is a little scary.

Feeling some desperation setting in, I read reviews of the latest diet books promising rapid results. Rapid is the operative word. Diets are challenging for me because I don’t eat meat and many seem to be based on lean meats and steamed vegetables. One book promised up to eight pounds of weight loss in five days by only eating spinach, eggs, raspberries, yogurt and almonds. Five days of this culinary snore-fest might help me lose weight but I would likely die of boredom and wouldn’t be around to enjoy my new lean self.

Then I found it. The 21 Day Weight Loss Kickstart claimed that I could lose up to six pounds in a week. It was a vegan diet so I wouldn’t need to worry about finding substitutions for meat. I wouldn’t have to count calories, and the clincher: I wouldn’t have to exercise. Perfect. I bought some soy milk and started making plans for my new lighter summer self.

My heart sank when I read that some of this miraculous weight loss involved cutting out fat. It claimed that I could squeeze a lemon on my vegetables and I wouldn’t miss creamy salad dressings. Oh, I beg to differ. I had also somehow overlooked the fact that being a vegan means not eating cheese. As I was panicking about this sacrifice I heard about a cheese festival taking place this weekend in Prince Edward County. Squeaky cheese curds in a beautiful country setting served with alcoholic cider were waiting for me. Obviously it was a sign from the cheese gods. They weren’t ready to let me go, and who can blame them? I am their most faithful minion. Moreover, it is gelato season. Summer is so fleeting and if I can’t traipse about with a dripping cone of dreamy pistachio gelato, why even have summer?

It comes down to choices. Do I choose to be a smaller size or to enjoy delicious, fat-laden, creamy dairy? Dairy wins. Screw you vegans! You can kiss my cottage cheesy ass.

A Soggy Return

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

I have returned from soggy, rainy British Columbia to reports of having missed unseasonably balmy, sunny days in Toronto. No matter.

I braved a couple of walks along the beach on Gabriola Island, secretly congratulating myself on my hardy outdoorsy nature. It felt good to feel the sea air and the wind whipping my cheeks. It felt even better to be cozied up by the wood stove indoors, toasty warm, reading, napping and sipping tea. All guilt free I might add, something I cannot accomplish at home when I am all too aware of chores or a nagging feeling that I should be more productive. During my time away I was satisfied with reading a book from start to finish, having conspiratorial giggles with my sister-in-law, and participating in the baking of perhaps the most magnificent chocolate cake of all time. I also managed to see a giant bald eagle, a wild turkey on a hydro wire, and was charged by an evil red beaked black swan, all in the span of twenty four hours.

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Visiting The Sweetie’s sister in Victoria was delightful as always. The sogginess prevailed with tumultuous clouds and a wind that hurts the ears and causes an ice cream style headache. Playing tourist, however, makes those little annoyances tolerable. Days filled with steaming lattes, lingering over treats and meandering arm in arm with The Sweetie negated most of the grey dreariness. As is required with every jaunt to Victoria, I had to go to Smoking Lily, an adorable teeny tiny store filled with delightful silk screened goodies. Everything was lovely as always, including the staff. The owner actually braved the rain to walk from her studio to the shop to bring me a dress in my size, nestled under her rain slicker like a baby bird. They recommended Hernande’z, an amazing taco place hidden in a mall that we would have never found on our own. We lunched there both days, instantly addicted to the unbelievably fresh tortillas with big sprigs of cilantro presented on butcher paper rather than plates, 5 for a mere $5.00.

hernandez_tacosstormy_clouds

Any break from routine is welcome, especially during the dark days of November. A break combined with the warmth of family, strolling time with The Sweetie, chocolate cake and a wild turkey sighting? Well, that is an extra mighty fine break indeed. Nice try mean old rain clouds. You didn’t manage to dampen my fun.

Boozy Birthday Bus

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

This past weekend, it was my lovely Libra friend’s birthday and to celebrate she rented a bus for her friends to go wine tasting in Ontario’ s Niagara region. It was the best field trip ever!

We met in a parking lot with coffees in hand and lunches packed for an afternoon of glorious fall colours, wine tastings galore and loads of good cheer. We were expecting a cute little school bus and were surprised when a big white prison style bus arrived.

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I was finally able to use my squirrel loot bags that I had ordered from Bake it Pretty (home of the pickle loot bags that have been the subject of much derision from those who obviously don’t understand fine party favours). I had ordered the squirrel bags specifically for the birthday girl, as she continues to unjustifiably demonize squirrels. Of all the woodland creatures to vilify, I don’t know why she has chosen squirrels. She calls them liars, deeply offended by their apparent duplicitous ways, tricking people into giving them nuts because of their cute, fluffy tails.

Take that fluffy tail away and they are nothing but rats,” she always says.

I find her judgment unnecessarily harsh and as a result I have campaigned for years on behalf of squirrels by presenting her with irresistible squirrel paraphernalia. To celebrate this birthday I filled the squirrel loot bags with cookies and macaroons. I hoped that with such a delicious offering on our boozy bus ride, she would find a new appreciation for the generous misunderstood squirrel.

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It was a splendid day. We managed to stop at six beautiful wineries. The vineyards were perfect, awash in brilliant autumn hues and the company was delightful. Our bus felt warm and festive, and although the wine surely helped, I think it was squirrel love that fuelled our magic penitentiary bus.

Roti and Uno

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

roti_reveal

I’m still savouring the past weekend. It is impossible to go wrong with a summer’s weekend, even ones that are sprinkled with rain.

Friday was a gorgeous night when the temperature felt just right on the skin. Cool but not cold, just soft and pleasant, perfect for sitting on a backyard patio with grapevines overhead. We had a roti-off with friends who have been singing the praises of Bacchus roti, while we were more partial to Vena and Gandhi. Not all of the contenders were represented but we had a mini roti-off between Bacchus and Gandhi, unveiled in all their roti glory from behind a homemade curtain to heighten the drama of it all. So far, Bacchus is in the lead for best roti in Toronto. It will be hard to compete with their mix of channa, squash and spinach. So yummy and creamy and delectable.

The evening continued with full bellies, beer  and a game of Uno with candles flickering in a gentle breeze. Summer transforms the simplest of meals and activities into something magical.

I look forward to the ongoing battle for Toronto’s best roti, an Uno re-match and breezy nights with friends. Life is good in the summer.

Dreaming of Picnics

Friday, June 5th, 2009

picnic_suitcase

I have chores and work and organizing to do and lazy feelings lurking in my bones but I am dreaming of summer picnics. The weather hasn’t been too cooperative yet, there was actually a frost warning the other night, but I have faith that picnic time is almost here. I have big plans for picnics this summer. Lots and lots of picnics. Planned picnics, spontaneous picnics, romantic picnics, solo picnics and social picnics. I am scouring recipes for packable salads and pressed sandwiches and cookies that don’t crumble too much.

I saw this delightful picnic suitcase on Black Eiffel and I am dreaming of picnics even more. Portable delightful quirky picnics…

Hakk-ahhh

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

 garlic_green_beanshakka_noodlesmanchurian_balls

I have met my new obsession in the form of Hakka, which is a type of Indian style Chinese food. Friends introduced me to Hakka at their Oscar Night party in February. It was the most delicious Chinese food I had ever tasted. In fact, the feast almost made up for my humiliating Oscar pool loss (I had been convinced of a sure victory and spent the evening heckling and trash talking the other guests until “Man on Wire” won for best documentary and ruined my chances).

I quickly became obsessed. I made transparent attempts at drawing The Sweetie into useless reminiscences about Hakka. “Sooooo, what was your favourite part of the Oscar night party? Mine was the Hakka, was yours the Hakka? Wouldn’t you love some Hakka right now? What was your favourite Hakka dish? Mine was the Manchurian balls, have you ever had anything like that before? Wow, it was delicious wasn’t it?” I pestered my friends who had given me my first hit of Hakka. “Sooo, who feels like Hakka? Are you guys planning a Hakka night any time soon? Cuz I’m in. If you are going. I’m ready. Just give me the word. Ready for Hakka night…”

Hakka Hakka Hakka. It became a sickness.

kimling_restaurant

We finally made the voyage deep into the suburbs to Kimling Chinese Restaurant in Scarborough. It is an unassuming restaurant located in a strip mall, but what it lacks in location and decor it makes up for in unbelievable deliciousness. We stuffed ourselves on crispy vegetable pakoras, sauteed garlic green beans, pepper tofu broccoli, Hakka style rice noodles and Manchurian vegetable balls. Even The Sweetie, a die-hard meat lover outnumbered by vegetarians, exclaimed that the tofu was amazing and he is far from generous in his praise of tofu. The four of us were stuffed, smacking our lips and rubbing our bellies, for a mere $45.00. It was frugal feasting heaven.

Alas, a new serious addiction has been born, but one I am willing to endure.