My First Week in Toronto

Good morning friends!

As some of you might know, I moved to Toronto (downtown, eek!) from Waterloo last week. It was a 2-hour drive in the snow, and now I’m all unpacked and settled. I’ve been working at the Toronto Health Centre as a clinical assistant for about a week now, and I’ve been loving the big city 🙂

A couple days ago I went to Whole Foods out of boredom and couldn’t resist the hot bar. Holy moly, y’all need to go to WF and get the mashed sweet potatoes from their hot bar. Irresistible. I was tempted to go back for more of that sweet potato mash! I also tried cauliflower rice for the first time. It’s yummy. What do you guys think?

An expensive (but oh-so-good) London Fog latte from Dineen, which is around 20 minutes from my house. Beautiful cafe with lovely breakfast baked goods and incredible drinks. This was one of the richest, tastiest tea lattes I’ve ever had. Too bad the SMALL cost me over $4. Whoa.

I also joined a new gym! This is Cirque-Ability in west Toronto. I can’t wait to start practicing here.

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I stopped by Butter Avenue while walking from dance class at the City Dance Corps and accidentally (ok intentionally) bought this creamy white chocolate cheesecake mousse. The bottom layer was filled with crunchy oat bits and raspberries. I died with every bite. AH-mazing. Worth $9? Probably. Would I get this again? Probably.

Another day I had brunch at Le Petit Dejeuner! It’s a Belgian-Canadian brunch spot that’s a hit with the locals. I nommed on these Belgian waffles that came with a poached egg and smoked salmon, as well as some sour-spicy apple slaw. Not a bad breakfast! I loved the mix of savoury, sweet, and salty flavours. That’s maple syrup in the little tin. 🙂

And you know I can’t go anywhere without trying an almond croissant! This is Milano Espresso Bar, where I was lucky to snab an almond croissant straight out of the oven. This London Fog was the biggest I’ve ever had, and every sip was scrumptious. I’m addicted to tea lattes. And croissants.

The St. Lawrence Market is another famous Toronto spot! I browsed the aisles and spoke with some vendors, and had to try one of these famous Portuguese custard tarts. It was creamy, sweet, rich, and really good. I wish I had it heated up, but it was delicious nonetheless.

I actually cooked at home?! Apparently, yes. This was a simple bowl of oats enjoyed with a smashed up sweet potato muffin and tons of peanut butter. I loved it!

Toronto’s big mall is called the Eaton Centre, and it’s massive! Their Christmas decorations are gone now, but it’s still as busy.

Yesterday, went to T&T. Asian markets are a lot of fun to browse.

Lastly, a random salad from Maman, a bakery in Toronto’s financial district. This salad was just okay, but the financier that followed?! One of the best ever. Wish I had a pic!

And that’s it for today! Have a spectacular Tuesday ❤

 

15 Reasons To Cook with Less Meat

  1. I’ll save you the spiel about animal justice and cruelty on factory farms. I am sure you are aware of the deprivation and torture that most animals experience before they reach your plate. This is not my #1 reason, however.
  2. It is better for the environment, helping to reduce pollution while saving energy.
  3. Reduced risk of heart disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis… the list goes on. Of course, these diseases are not primarily caused by diet (other factors certainly do play a role), but the reduced disease rate is food for thought. The nutrients in fruits and vegetables are excellent for warding off disease and can lead to longevity. In other words, your “five a day” are helping to fight aging! Interesting side note: the world’s longest-living people live in Okinawa, a group of over 150 Japanese islands. Okinawans have the world’s lowest rates of heart disease, stroke, and cancer, and most of them die of natural causes. The average Okinawan woman lives to age 86 (compared to 79 in North America) and the average man to age 78 (72 in North America). A 25-year study was done to examine the Okinawan lifestyle. The results? Okinawans enjoy around seven servings of fruits and vegetables each day, along with seven grain servings, two servings of soy products, and fatty fish several times a week. They also eat few dairy products and a very small amount of meat. Okinawans also season their food with a variety of herbs and spices.
  4. Imagine if all the grains harvested to feed cattle were used to feed the starving people of our planet.
  5. The standard North American diet is high in processed food and low in fruits and vegetables. When you increase the amount of fresh produce consumed, weight loss is a common side effect.
  6. You will be more “regular” – more fibre is good for helping push waste from the body. Meat has minimal fibre!
  7. You will have more room for fresh produce in your diet, nourishing your body with more antioxidants, fiber, and lean protein like chickpeas and lentils. With less meat, you can eat in greater volumes (think of how 500 calories of broccoli is physically more food than 500 calories of beef) – and who doesn’t want to eat more?
  8. Good nutrition means more energy and a clearer mind. When you fuel your body with great ingredients, your body will reward you with liveliness, alertness, and a positive attitude, as well as better thinking. That being said, I am quite familiar with the 2:00 post-lunch slump and have been paying attention to which foods drain my energy.
  9. An estimated 95% of consumed pesticides come from meat, fish, and dairy – and they cannot be eliminated by cooking. I’m also not a fan of the hormones, steroids, and chemicals that are pumped into milk and meat, which is why I try to avoid them when I can.
  10. Colourful meals are so much more Instagram-worthy. Plus, the rich hues in fruits and vegetables indicate the presence naturally-occurring phytochemicals that fight disease and boost immunity.
  11. You’ll save money. Compare the cost of a can of beans to a package of chicken breasts. It all adds up, even if you go meatless a couple meals a week.
  12. I’m a little paranoid about raw meat and eggs. When you omit them, it takes the guesswork out of frying a chicken breast or baking a pork tenderloin. In other words, you can stress less about food-borne illness. Plus, you can lick the bowl of any vegan cookie dough or cake batter without worrying about salmonella from uncooked eggs.
  13. It’s more fulfilling to explore and experiment. There are already thousands of beef burger recipes online – why not play with creating a healthier, but equally tasty, patty out of legumes? Plant-based cooking opened up a whole new world of options for me, as well as countless opportunities to be creative with food.
  14. Without meat, your freezer will have more room for muffins, brownies, ice cream, frozen berries, and other goodies.
  15. It’s easy. These days, it requires zero effort to find delicious and nutritious vegetarian foods, whether you’re browsing the aisles of a grocery store or enjoying dinner at a new restaurant. For instant inspiration, bookstores often have large vegetarian cooking sections and the internet is your friend for culinary advice and incredible recipes. When you’re in a rush, fast casual restaurants and cafes also offer wholesome and creative salads, sandwiches, and entrees.

Of course, my #1 reason: an excuse to eat many more tablespoons of peanut butter. You know… for protein.

What do you think? Do you like meat? Do you like vegetarian meals as well?

The Flying Foodie Kitchen

Welcome to the Flying Foodie Kitchen!

Pantry

  • Avocado oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Low-sodium chicken broth
  • Canned chickpeas
  • Canned black beans
  • Canned pineapple tidbits
  • Canned tuna and/or salmon
  • High-quality bottled pasta sauce

Fridge

  • Peanut, almond, and/or sunflower seed butter
  • Eggs
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Cheddar
  • Parmesan
  • Goat cheese
  • Milk
  • Almond milk
  • Ground flaxseeds
  • Hemp hearts
  • Maple syrup
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Firm tofu
  • Shrimp
  • Salmon or trout
  • Garlic puree

Fruits

  • Lemons or limes
  • Kiwis
  • Bananas
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Avocadoes
  • Raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, or blueberries (can be frozen)

Vegetables

  • Broccoli
  • Baby spinach
  • Bell peppers
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Regular boiling or baking potatoes
  • Butternut squash (can be frozen), kabocha squash, spaghetti squash
  • Frozen corn, peas, and edamame

Spices

  • Sea salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Dried basil
  • Garlic powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Paprika

Grains

  • Quick-cooking oats and/or regular old-fashioned rolled oats
  • Whole wheat bread, pitas, tortillas, and/or flatbreads
  • Spelt flour or whole-wheat flour
  • Brown rice
  • Couscous
  • Whole-grain pasta
  • Quinoa
  • Almond flour
  • Coconut flour
  • Buckwheat (Japanese soba) noodles

Baking

  • Brown sugar
  • Cane sugar
  • Semisweet chocolate chips
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Honey
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Pine nuts, sesame seeds, walnuts, pecans
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Dates, raisins, dried cranberries
  • Chia seeds

Condiments

  • Sesame oil
  • Chili garlic sauce
  • Rice vinegar
  • Fish sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Soy sauce
  • Dijon mustard
  • Coconut milk
  • Enchilada sauce
  • Curry paste: red or green