Monday, May 31, 2010

Foreign Film

Hey all,

I started movie week off with a foreign film. It's called Everlasting Moments, or Maria Larssons eviga ögonblick, and it's Swedish.

Mother of seven and wife of a drunk, abusive husband, Maria suffers greatly from many harsh indignities until her life is changed forever by the discovery of a new talent; photography. After devoting her entire life to her husband, children and work as a cleaning lady, photography becomes the only outlet Maria has in expressing herself and finding her own identity.

It's set in Sweden at the turn of the 20th century and the filmmakers do a great job in recreating the time period. The actors, especially Maria Heiskanen (who plays Maria), are phenomenal. Although many parts are difficult to watch, ultimately, it's a story of hope, determination and capturing the beauty of life. I really don't want to give it away because I recommend watching it yourself.

Swedish is one of my favorite languages to listen to, and I've really been missing it, so it was great to watch a Swedish movie. Part of it is set in Malmö, Sweden, where my dear friend, Tinna lives, and one character is from Odense, Denmark, where I've traveled to. It was cool to have a bit of a personal connection to the film.

Please give me suggestions for comedy, sci fi/fantasy, romance, horror, documentary and animated movies for later in the week!

Love ya!

Coffee coffee coffee tea tea tea

Hey everyone,

I've finished café week. It went by so much quicker than green week and for that, I'm glad.

On Saturday, I went to a café near where I used to live. It's on Bathurst, near St. Clair and it's called Scratch Espresso Bar. Similar to the Green Grind, Scratch's main seating is one long table. I've decided that I really like this approach. Scratch used to be a gallery, and they still display and sell paintings, clothing, cards and more. There are some beautiful things in there, including some really cool screen printed tees. I had a London Fog and, as many of you know, I'm a bit of a London Fog connoisseur. I must say that I was not disappointed. At all. It was quite a perfect blend of Earl Grey, vanilla and steamed milk. Just enough London, just enough Fog.

I have a confession to make. Yesterday, I went to Whitby early in the morning for a family BBQ and didn't get back into Toronto until 9:30pm. At 9:30 on a Sunday, everything is closed. I couldn't go to a café! So sorry, friends! How will I ever make it up to you?

Well, that concludes café week. It was a very pleasant week indeed.

This coming week is going to be fun, too. Everyday this week, I will watch a movie of a different genre. The seven genres are: comedy, sci fi/fantasy, horror, romance, documentary, foreign and animated. Please give me suggestions of your favorite movies from these genres, and maybe I'll watch your favorite movie this week or, you can join me! I'll supply the popcorn.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A café a day keeps the doctor away

Happy Friday!

I've had two lovely café days in a row.

I stumbled upon yesterday's haunt by accident and boy, am I glad I did. It's called The Green Grind and it just opened earlier this year. As far as coffee shops go, they are one of the best I've seen in trying to reduce their carbon footprint. These are just a few of their great efforts:
-The coffee, tea and food are all organic, fair trade, and locally brewed/prepared.
-The cups, cutlery and lids are biodegradable.
- It's the first (and only) coffee shop in Toronto run by Bullfrog Power, which is clean and renewable.
- They are LEED certified, meaning they aren't just greenwashing and saying their a "green" store, they actually are.
- 1% of all sales are donated to the environmental organization, 1% For the Planet.

These are just a few of the wonderful things The Green Grind is doing to help our Earth and I whole heartedly approve! It had a cute atmosphere, with one long table for people to sit and a couple of areas with comfy chairs. I had a delicious, vegan banana chocolate muffin, and a cherry Kombucha Wonder Drink. Wait, what's a Kombucha Wonder Drink? I had never heard of it either. It's basically sparkling, fermented tea. Yum. It's super good for you and is quite tasty. It tasted kind of like jamaica aguas frescas that I drank a lot of in Mexico.

The only downfall with yesterday is that I forgot my camera! Sad day. I'll be back there in the near future, so perhaps I'll post a picture of it at a later date. For you Torontonians out there, The Green Grind is located on College Street, just a few blocks west of Bathurst. Check it out.

Today, I headed back to Queen Street to a café I've walked past many times, called Quaff Café. It was quite cute inside. I had iced tea with raspberries and lemon. YUM. Those are three of my favorite things. I enjoyed it while reading Little Women. It's a book that, for some reason, I've always wanted to read, but never have. I recently found it in a book street sale for $2.50. and I couldn't not buy it.

Unlike Green Week, this is one week I could continue for a long time. One of my favorite things to do is to sit in a café and read, so this has been a very pleasant week indeed.

So long.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Week Four at last

Hey guys,

Sorry for my absence the last couple of days. It's simply too hot to blog. My computer generates too much heat, so I can only stand having it on for short periods of time.

I might not be blogging, but I'm still doing the challenge. To refresh your memory, this week's challenge is to discover a new café everyday.

It was a bit difficult to find a café open on Monday, other than Starbucks or Second Cup, because of Victoria Day. I wandered around until I found myself in Kensington Market. I found a café just as it was about to close. They weren't making anymore coffee, so I had a tea to go. It was super rushed and I didn't even get the name of it or take a picture. It's just a little unknown café on the edge of Kensington. It was far too hot to drink tea, so when I got home, I made iced tea out of it.

I had a lovely coffee shop experience yesterday. There are a ton of really cute cafés on Queen Street, west of Bathurst, that I always have my eye on, so it was just a matter of choosing which one to try. The one I chose was west of Trinity Bellwoods Park. It's called T.A.N. It's fair trade and locally brewed, which is always cool with me. The woman working was really friendly and the atmosphere was really relaxed and cute. I had a tasty iced vanilla latte and a lemon square. I'll definitely be back. I think there's a patio at the back, but I wanted to stay out of the sun (I actually got a touch of heat stroke yesterday). The best part was the bathroom. All of the walls and the door were covered in pictures and writings in chalk and there was a cup of multi colored chalk to add to the masterpiece. Overall, it was a really pleasant café adventure and I recommend T.A.N. to all of my Toronto friends.

Today, Iris joined me at another Queen Street café, called Niche. As you can see from their sign, they have homemade lemonade. Or, at least, they claim to have homemade lemonade. Both Iris and I wanted lemonade, but they apparently had no lemons (odd?), so we settled on different drinks. I also brought some homemade vegan chocolate peanut butter cups (!) with me to snack on. They are pretty delicious, let me know if you want the recipe, I don't feel like typing it up now. It was a fairly nice place. My one complaint (other than the false lemonade advertising) is that the bottom of the chair left some sort of black, greasy looking substance on the back of my legs. It took us forever to figure out what it was and it was kind of hard to wash off. Bizarre. I will commend them on their music choice of Iron & Wine.

I thought I'd let you know that my relationship with green food is improving more and more each day.

Peace and lattes!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

No more green!!

Hey everyone,

Sorry about not posting yesterday. That just means I have double the green to post today!

I started yesterday off with yet another egg white/green pesto egg wrap. It was good, I suppose, but I am starting to loathe pesto. I used to really like it.

I went grocery shopping yesterday. I've developed green radar for green groceries. I can tell you where almost every green thing is in the store. It's quite a useful skill. Yesterday I found something that combined two things I love: avocados and hummus. Avocado hummus. How could it go wrong? The answer: cilantro. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I hate cilantro. There are few foods that I truly cannot stand, and I would have to say that cilantro is number one. Suffice it to say, I did not love avocado hummus. What a waste of avocados and chickpeas. If anyone wants the rest, come on over to my place. It's yours!

I had some crisp, cool cucumber to cure me of the cruel cilantro. (Whoa "c"s)

I had a hard time finding green dessert, so I settled on lemon lime soda. It was really refreshing.

I didn't really feel like cooking last night, so I got green curry from a Thai restaurant near my place.

I had another peppermint Aero, but I didn't have my camera on me, so there is sadly no picture.

Now on to today. I was so happy when I woke up today because I knew that I only had one green day left. Eating only green food may not seem difficult, but it is extremely annoying.

I woke up kind of late, and didn't want pesto eggs, so I made a lunch-y breakfast. I had another wrap with a broccoli patty, lettuce, and the green sauce I made the other day.

For lunch, I made Spring Minestrone. It was a really good recipe from the same book as the green sauce I posted the other day. It has brown rice, green onion, garlic, asparagus, green peas, and snow peas and is quite delicious. I also had a green salad.

I had a lovely, summery day at the Beach, where I had a piña colada cupcake. It tasted as good as it sounds.

For dinner, I made green pasta with green vegetables and green tofu. Was it green? You betcha.

And with that, no more green food. Ever. That's probably a lie, but I don't think I'll eat much green tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, next week's challenge is to discover a different café everyday. After the annoyance of the green week, I think café week will be a lovely change. That said, if you live in Toronto and have a favorite café, please let me know!

Love you all!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Red food day!

Kidding. It's still green.

I had a few repeats today. I'm going to try a new green recipe tomorrow, but today I was lazy.

I woke up late, so I had a bit of a brunch instead of two separate meals. I had another green smoothie with leftover guacamole and chips from last night.

For dinner, I had the rest of the pasta I made yesterday (told you I was lazy) with key lime pie for dessert.

I was really craving popcorn today. So much so that I almost cheated. Then I came up with an ingenious way to make green popcorn! I popped some kernals (the old fashioned way) and when I melted the butter, I stirred in some trusty pesto. It was actually pretty tasty and, most importantly, green.

I hope you've been eating your greens today too! Chlorophyll is a good friend to have on your side.

Love ya!

Friday, May 21, 2010

A lovely green day

Hello dearies,

Only three days left!! I can see the end. Any suggestions for what my first non-green meal should be?

For breakfast today I had, you guessed it, pesto eggs... I had some egg whites left over from making a key lime pie last night, so I made egg white (green) scrambled eggs. I put them in a green pita with spinach for a bit of a different take. Quite delicious.

Today I decided that I needed protein other than eggs and cheese, so I bought herbed tofu, which is green-flecked. I made green linguine with the tofu, spinach, broccoli, garlic, and zucchini. It was a very nice change to have tofu instead of pesto eggs, and it was a very nice looking dish.

I had a Peppermint Aero chocolate bar for dessert, which was so good. I was starting to really miss chocolate!

Today is my friend, Kitty's, birthday and she had a potluck party tonight! I was excited, but a little nervous, to "go green" at a potluck. Luckily, it was a very green friendly party. I brought green chips with guacamole and a key lime pie. Iris made spinach hummus. There were green grapes and the punch had lime slices in it. They even made some special green cupcakes just for me. How thoughtful! It was also a costume party, if you can tell by my outfit.

I hope you've been inspired to eat more greens this week. I want to know what green things you've been eating! Let me know what green things you ate today and your favorite green dish!

Love ya!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

People For the Ethical Treatment of Green Food

Sorry I didn't post last night. I was exhausted from another green filled day.

For breakfast, I made pesto eggs again. I also made a green smoothie with a banana, two kiwis, spinach, yogurt, orange juice, and soy milk with a splash of agave nectar. As you can tell, not all of those things are green. The new rule is, it's okay if some ingredients aren't originally green as long as the product is green.

Iris joined me for lunch. We made wraps with pesto tortillas, broccoli 'patties', lettuce, and a spread of the green sauce I made on Tuesday. They were surprisingly really tasty. We also had some Key Lime Soda.

For dinner, I made more pesto tortellini with zucchini, spinach, and garlic.

I'm glad there are only four days left. This challenge is a doozy. I'm starting to dream in green.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It's not easy eating green

Hey y'all

I had a great, green day today. I wasn't the best at documenting my meals today and by that I mean food photography is tough.

I started the day with some delicious zucchini pancakes. This one looks kind of like a heart.

I made more spinach tortellini with a really good homemade green sauce. I've been told to include the recipe, so here goes! It's from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Cooking.

Spring Asparagus Puree:
1 bunch asparagus spears, trimmed and halved crosswise
3 handfuls baby spinach leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
1 cup toasted pine nuts (I used walnuts this time because I had no pine nuts and it tasted the same)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for topping
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Bring a medium size pot of water to a rolling boil. Salt the water and drop the spears into the pot. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, or until the spears are bright green and barely tender. Drain and transfer to a food processor or blender. Add the spinach, garlic, the 1 cup Parmesan, and 3/4 cup of the pine nuts. Puree and, with the motor running, drizzle the 1/4 cup olive oil until a paste forms. It should be the loose consistency of a pesto; if too think, thin it with a bit of the pasta water. Add the lemon juice and salt, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Use with any type of pasta, and top it with the rest of the pine nuts, a sprinkle of Parmesan, and a quick drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

As I already said, today my improv class went for pancakes (not green) so I had a green tea to make up for it. (Photo cred: The lovely Jennifer Matotek)

I had an avocado when I got home, but the picture is abysmal. You all know what an avocado looks like.

I finished off the day with a watermelon flavored salt water taffy.

I'll leave you with an accurate representation of this challenge, courtesy of one Kermit the Frog.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Color me green

Day one of the Green Challenge complete and I already miss other colored food. This is going to be a difficult week. In the previous weeks, I've only had to to the challenge once a day, but this week, the challenge comes into play every time I want to eat.

Today I went grocery shopping and the cashier looked at me funny with a basket full of exclusively green items.

I started the day with the only green breakfast food I had (pre grocery shopping).

I actually made a batch of guacamole yesterday before I even thought up this challenge, so I bought some green chips to finish it up.

For protein, my brother, Matt, suggested pesto scrambled eggs. It was pretty good actually, but I had to add so much pesto to make the eggs turn green. I'll probably be eating these again this week.

Some delicious pistachio ice cream from Greg's Ice Cream. If you are in Toronto, check out Greg's Ice Cream!! The main shop is by Spadina Station, but they sell it at various other places (mostly coffee shops, I believe) around the city. You can't really tell that the ice cream was green, but I swear it was! Just very pale.

A very green salad.

I bought these broccoli and cheese nugget things because, while the breading is clearly not green, the broccoli part in the picture was super green. Turns out the real thing is way less green. Talk about false advertisement.

It was surprisingly hard to find green pasta. I mostly came across multi colored boxes of pasta and I really didn't feel like picking out all of the green pieces, so I was very excited when I found spinach tortellini. I mixed that with spinach, garlic and zucchini. Yum.

Any green suggestions?