February 22, 2013

My Week in Food

Happy Friday!  I've had a pretty busy week food-wise, so I thought I'd take a break from posting a new recipe and share about my week instead!

Since Monday was an official holiday here in Ontario for Family Day, and I had the rest of the week off from school for Reading Week (the equivalent of Spring Break for anyone who's not familiar with the term), I spent the week back home at my parent's house, where I enjoyed taking breaks from work by going grocery shopping and trying new recipes.

I started off the week on Sunday with a day trip across the border, where I stocked up on groceries from Meijer, Whole Foods and Trader Joes. I got lots of new-to-me snacks and food items that I'm super excited about! One thing I always look forward to buying in the US is yogurt because there are so many different kinds that we don't have here in Canada, especially greek yogurt. I had to limit myself, but here's the selection of yogurts that I ended up bringing back with me. I even got to pick up some frozen greek yogurt which I had been dying to try!

Without access to all of my usual pantry ingredients and cooking supplies, I didn't get much done in the way of recipe development on my week off, but I still did lots of cooking and trying out recipes from other blogs. I also had fun sharing meals and some of my homemade treats with my family, since I'm used to cooking for just one.

Since I like having healthy snacks around, I brought home a second batch of these healthy almond cookie bites that my Mom enjoyed, and I managed to get my Dad eating things like raw date newtons and baked oatmeal for breakfast.

My favourite snack that I made this week was these raw mini cinnamon buns topped with a healthy cream cheese frosting.  The recipe for the cinnamon buns is from Rawified, where you can find more pictures and easy-to-follow directions. The dough is made up of ground almonds, flax and maple syrup, and the filling is a mixture of dates, cinnamon, raisins, and chopped nuts.

I topped mine with a simple frosting that I made by mixing equal amounts of light cream cheese spread (the kind that comes in a tub) with fat-free vanilla greek yogurt, and a splash of vanilla extract. When you take a bite with the frosting, it really does taste like a cinnamon bun, but a much healthier version!

I decided to turn the rest of the week into an ethnic exploration in terms of our family meals, and we tried out recipes from Korean, Indian, and Vietnamese cuisine.

First up was our Korean-inspired meal, which you may have already seen if you follow me on Facebook.  I had bookmarked this recipe for a Korean bibambap style bowl from Fat Free Vegan but I hadn't tried it yet because it involves making at least 4 different components and seeking out a couple of essential ingredients from the Asian supermarket.

I'm glad I got over my hesitations and finally decided to go ahead and make the recipe though, because it actually wasn't too difficult and it was definitely worth the extra effort! I loved each of the components on their own: the kale, black eyed peas, bean sprout salad, the spicy sauce, and also a quick kimchi that I made from a recipe in Vegan Eats World.

The fun part was mixing everything together with rice and getting different flavours with each bite. Our mouths were definitely on fire from the spicy kimchi and the sauce, but in a good way!

After a successful experiment with a new cuisine, I went back to one that I was more familiar with - Indian! I had been wanting to try making a popular dish called pav bhaji for a while but I was always scared off by the long list of ingredients. Pav bhaji is basically a big mixture of vegetables that gets mashed together and eaten with toasted and buttered buns (the pav) and topped with onion and cilantro - kind of like the Indian vegetarian street food version of sloppy joes.

Everything seemed to go well when I cooked the vegetable mixture, but in the end I thought it didn't really have any flavour, despite all of the spices that went into it.  It definitely didn't taste the same as the authentic pav bhaji that I remember eating in India, and I'm going to put at least part of the blame on the fact that I couldn't find the pav bhaji masala spice mix and so I went with a different masala spice instead. I'm sure the recipe could be improved and if I manage to make a better version, I'd definitely like to share it on my blog in the future!

The hit of our Indian meal was the side dish that I made using a recipe from Vegan Eats World (again!) for shredded cabbage with a warm mustard seed and turmeric dressing and roasted cashews. This is a recipe I would normally skip over without a second thought, but I had seen a couple of good reviews on it, so I gave it a try and was surprised at how much I liked it! The flavour of the dressing is what really makes it unique, and the addition of cashews and raisins (my own addition) makes the salad even more interesting!

I only snapped a quick photo that doesn't really do it justice, but for anyone who has the Vegan Eats World cookbook, I recommend giving the recipe a try (p.276).

Last but not least in our little series of international themed meals was a personal favourite of mine - Vietnamese subs.  I had first tried banh mi last year and posted a recipe for a vegetarian tofu version on my blog. I thought it was time that I made the recipe again, since I liked it so much, and I'd also have the chance to introduce my parents to banh mi!

I followed the same process as before (found here), except this time I found much more appropriate sub buns to serve them on instead of a baguette. It was also an easy meal to adapt for both a vegetarian and a non-vegetarian version by using either tofu or chicken as the main protein.

Again, my quick shot of meal might not look all that appealing, but you'll have to believe me that it definitely tasted good! I was glad that both of my parents really liked their banh mi too.

Since the sandwiches were so filling, I thought a light side dish would be best, so I made these spicy jicama fries to go with our meal (pictured above).  They were nice and crispy and refreshing, and even though they didn't exactly fit the Vietnamese theme, they still went well as a side to the banh mi.

Anyway, I realize this is getting to be a rather wordy post, so I'll stop here. If you managed to make it through this long post, thanks for reading and hope you all have a great weekend!


  1. Sounds like a tasty week! I love the ginger kimchi from VEW. We usually halve the pepper flakes for the spicy kimchi, but even that is too spicy for me (it is bonkers with the full 1/2 cup!). I bookmared that Korean bowl, too, so it is nice to see a positive review. Yum! :)

    1. I wish I had consulted with you before making the kimchi! haha...I started wondering if the 1/2 cup of red pepper flakes was a typo but I went with it anyway. I did find that it mellowed out the longer it sat, but next time I would definitely reduce the amount, or try the ginger version!

  2. What a delicious week of food! :) The jicama fries sound great! And I love the sound of that Indian cabbage salad. I adore that cookbook. I bought it on impulse when it came out and I'm so glad I did. It inspires me so much!

    1. Thanks Courtney! I love when I discover a new recipe that I never would have thought to try from a cookbook. There are so many more in that one that I need to make, I feel like I've barely explored it yet!

  3. I didn't get to try most of what you made this week but that cabbage salad was definitely my favourite! Surprising because I never would have thought it'd be something I'd like but the dressing definitely made it!

    1. Glad you liked the salad too - it was definitely more interesting than you would imagine from a cabbage salad!

  4. This was so much fun to read (and I made it to the end with no problem!) those raw cinnamon rolls look incredible - I love how you cook for your family, they all seem so willing to try a variety of foods - that is so awesome!



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