Sunday, November 14, 2010

elyssa: popcorn and coconuts

location: toronto

nothing grieves me more than looking back at all the years that i forbade myself the pleasure of a good grilled cheese. cheesy sandwiches are associated with my carefree youth. with days spent together on the mountain hovering over the george foreman (the only kitchen appliance we could properly operate). when i first turned to healthy living, i stopped indulging. grilled cheese lay abandoned in my youth. little did i know that there was more than cheapo mozarella (packaged in creepy cellophane inserts) between those 2 slices of bread. there was guilt. and fear. and insecurity.

no more.

i'm bringing grilled cheese back.

goat gouda. wheat-free chia bread. a touch of basil.

grape tomatos add a finishing touch.

an inadvertent heart!

reclaiming a long-forsaken favorite food has prompted a flurry of retrospective culinary projects.

one morning, i awoke with a sudden craving for homestyle biscuits (just like the pillsbury package - but far healthier!)

another day, all i wanted was baked beans (you know the ones in a can? nast)

fresh pinto beans. couple dollops of pumpkin & maple syrup.

with the spirit of reclaiming the past, came celebrations of the future. the boy turned 25! of course, food took center stage.

for his special birthday dinner:

'cream' of broccoli soup (vegan)

quinoa with mandarin oranges, pecans, and cranberries (inspired by angela)

...and lastly, organic lamb burgers!

the boy approved.

toiling away in my tiny kitchen, i had a profound revelation. i was assessing the seeming contradiction in the vegan broccoli soup nestled side by side the meaty hunks of lamb. lamb, like all meat products, is a rarity in my house - and yet, i adore it. now, perhaps more than ever do i appreciate a good piece of organic, protein-filled meat. i credit my 90% vegan lifestyle for deepening my love for food - and specifically, for the kinds of food that stem from the life of another being.

the more i 'pretend' to be vegan, the more i find myself increasingly satisfied with this way of life. living in the trend-ridden society that we do certainly helps - considering veganism is a fashion du jour; however, i really do see and feel the benefits of animal-fee choices.

every day i make new discoveries and embrace new substitutions. for instances, who knew creamy broccoli soup could be made with tofu?!

blend silken tofu:

and mix with pureed broccoli/onions. true, the tofu looks far from appetizing in blended form - but the soup was so delicious i was successfully able to feed it to an avowed tofu hater, without him being any the wiser :) while i'll never be the girl that serves tofurky or does a meatless thanksgiving (sacrilege!), on a daily basis - for me, vegan is the way to go.

of course, birthday festivities mean baking! vegan baking! i made an enormous batch of mama pea's dough balls (a blog world sensation). euff. simply divine.

plus, these absolutely amazing coconut-milk cupcakes:

hilarity ensued in the form of a popcorn + coconut themed party.

organic popcorn!

real coconuts!

the coconut water went into the rum punch, and the meat was baked and handed out in chunks to the party people. strange, yet a crowd-pleaser nonetheless.

new goals:

i have less than i month left of this semester - and the pressure is on. oddly enough, i've never looked forward to returning to the mountain more than this. i am so excited! i long for christmas at home. for the spacious kitchen and clean woodsy air. for chocolates and tea downtown. for presents! because of this, i've decided to go home early and complete my schoolwork from there. for now, the task at hand is to make it to dec 10.

per our annual tradition, my family will be spending thanksgiving with me here in canada. here is what i hope to accomplish by the time they arrive:

- pick some new and creative thanksgiving recipes (that won't frighten the palates of our more gastronomically timid guests)
- keep plugging away at these papers (the whole foods cafe is my new favorite study spot - plenty of room, coffee, snacks!)
- start a new workout challenge (discovered on healthy tipping point): two hundred squats and two hundred situps —> a 6 week program that gradually builds you up to being able to do 200 consecutive squats and situps respectively. sounds admirable and doable. hopefully should only require 10 minutes or so in the morning.

current obsessions:

breaking out the christmas music. mushrooms and more mushrooms. starbucks joy tea. figuring out the future.

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