The Green Door Restaurant

One cool thing about living in Ottawa for the next couple of months is the multitude of veg restaurants to check out…compared to Saskatchewan this place is vegan heaven! My first night in the city I decided to head over to The Green Door Restaurant. The Green Door is a pay-by-weight buffet. I always find pay-by-weights to be kind of a rip-off, as I like to sample a bit of everything and that can get expensive.

The Green Door is all vegetarian with vegan options clearly marked. I was a bit disappointed that most of the hot dishes were NOT vegan-friendly…not sure if this is usually the case or if this was just the case on the day I visited. There were some hot vegan dishes, like a couple of curry dishes and some roasted zucchini. However, there were a ton of cold salads that were vegan and the ones I sampled were delicious! Like this sweet potato sesame salad with seaweed (excuse the pictures, it was quite dark in the restaurant):

Or this roasted eggplant-tomato salad:

There is also a ‘build your own salad bar’ with tons of greens and sprouts and what-not. They even have a plate of veggie sushi:

Quite a few of the desserts were vegan, which is awesome. I tried out a piece of chocolate-almond cake, which was pretty good. Not amazing, but good:

All in all I enjoyed eating at the restaurant as going to a veg-friendly place is quite a novelty for me. However, my plate was quite expensive and I don’t think my meal was worth that much money. I’m not sure I would rush back because of that. Also, it was really, REALLY busy, I was lucky to get a table.

faux-niversary

I am working in Ottawa for 2 months…from the end of July until the end of September. Unfortunately my husband is back home. This means that we won’t be together for our one year wedding anniversary. So we decided to celebrate it last Sunday.

First up, we thawed some frozen pizza dough left over from Valentine’s Day. This is the dough recipe from the Breadbaker’s Apprentice…it is SO delicious, although it does take some planning ahead. Since I was leaving I didn’t want to buy anything for toppings and so I made do with what I had in the house…some pesto from the freezer, carmelized onions, mushrooms, and roasted red peppers. This was soooo good! I think pesto needs to always be on my pizza from now on.

For dessert we thawed the traditional pieces of wedding cake that have been in our freezer. I had forgotten how good this cake was. I couldn’t find a bakery in town that would make a vegan wedding cake, and so I put out an online ad saying that we were looking for a cake maker and that I would provide the vegan recipes. We found a lady who is an awesome cake maker and was more than happy to experiment with Vegan Cupcakes take over the World. Here is the thawed cake complete with some rose petals from the wedding:

And here is what the cake actually looked like at the wedding – SO amazing!

Silver Hills Bread

Recently I received a coupon for a loaf of free bread from Silver Hills. All of their bread is made with organic, sprouted whole grains without any flour. There are quite a few different varieties, including flax, chia seeds, apples, etc.

For my loaf I chose “The Big 16″ which is made up of 16 different grains (sprouted wheat, oats, flax, sunflower seeds, millet, sprouted triticale, sprouted rye, sprouted barley, buckwheat, corn, brown rice, sprouted spelt, sprouted kamut, sesame seeds, amaranth, and quinoa).

I quite liked this bread. As is the case with most sprouted bread, it is ‘denser’ and ‘chewier’ than regular bread, so if you are not used to that you might find it weird. However I found it to be much lighter than Ezekiel bread. I don’t eat much bread and usually I don’t have any in the house, but when I do buy bread it’s typically Ezekiel. I think from now on I might switch to Silver Hills. I only with they made hot dog and hamburger buns like Ezekiel does.

Here’s a slice of the Big 16 bread smeared with peanut butter and jam….yum!

my new found appreciation for avocados

After my half-marathon I wanted something delicious to celebrate with. As I mentioned in my last post, I recently found out that I no longer have a food intolerance to avocado – hurrah! And so guacamole, chips, and Mexican beer sounded like the perfect way to kick back and relax.

I haven’t eaten much guacamole, due to being made ill by it, so I wasn’t sure which recipe to use. I thought of the recipe in Vegan Brunch, but alas, my cookbooks are now packed and I didn’t feel like digging through boxes to find it. So I went to Allrecipes.com and searched for the highest rated guacamole recipe. To go along with the guacamole, I picked up a bag of baked tortilla chips.

Guiltless Gourmet makes a few different flavours of baked chips. Not all of them are vegan, so make sure to check the ingredients. The blue corn (pictured above) definitely are. Are they as good as fried chips? No. But I like knowing that they are healthier for me and besides, once you dip them in guacamole or salsa or turn them into nachos, you really can’t notice that much of a difference in taste. The texture is a bit different though. Not necessarily in a bad way, but different.

I thought the guacamole was delicious. My husband (who has had guacamole far more often than I) said it was great, but the tomato should be omitted because “real guacamole doesn’t have tomato.” I have no idea about that. Anyhoo, here is the recipe as I made it:

Guacamole (adapted from Allrecipes.com)
-2 large avocados, peeled and pitted
-1/2 lime, juice
-1/2 cup diced red onion
-1 roma tomato, diced
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1/2 tsp cayenne (decrease this if you don’t like spicy…we both love spicy food)

Mash together the avocados and lime juice. Mix in onion, tomato, garlic, and cayenne. Tastes best if it sits in the fridge for awhile.

half marathon & pre-race pasta

Last weekend I ran in my first half marathon. I didn’t know the race was even going on until about 3 days beforehand, and I made a spur of the moment decision to sign up. I wasn’t sure if I was ready or not, but I am quite happy with how I did. I might be crazy, but now I’m considering doing a full marathon at the end of October. Completing a full marathon was something I had originally anticipated doing in 2011. I figure I can start training for it (in conjunction with triathlon training of course!) and see how things progress.

Anyhoo, the night before the race I wanted to make sure I got in some healthy carbs. I know the old school notion of carb-loading is not a good idea (gorging yourself silly), but eating a healthy amount and increasing the percentage of carbs in your meal is generally recommended. I had an avocado that needed to be used up and I immediately thought of pasta della California from Veganomicon.

I changed up the recipe to accommodate what I had on-hand. I used brown rice spaghetti, and subbed spinach for the arugula and tomato for the broccoli. I also added quite a bit less veggie broth so it wouldn’t be so watery (based on some reviews I had read). I thought this was delicious and it hit the spot and fueled me up for the next morning.

For years avocados make me ill and so I avoided them like the plague. Just recently I tried eating some avocado sushi and lo and behold – no sickness! This makes me happy as they are so yummy. I keep thinking of all of the different recipes I’ve shunned over the years – now I want to go back and make them all!

Spicy Kasha-Veggie Salad

I’ve had a bag of kasha in my cupboard for quite some time now. I was never really sure what to do with it. Sure, I realize you can just cook it and serve it like rice, but I wanted to something more exciting with it. And so the bag sat there. Now faced with an international move, I was determined to finally put my kasha to good use. And so I decided to make Susan Voisin’s Spicy Kasha Vegetable Salad.

I made a few changes to Susan’s recipe. First off, I added more veggies. I believe there was radish, carrot, green onion, tomato, yellow bell pepper, and celery. Second, my grocery store was out of fresh parsley and mint, so I omitted those. Essentially my dressing was a combo of lemon juice and sriracha…yum!

A review of Gardein Herb Dijon Breasts

A couple of weeks ago I was out of town for a conference. I deliberately chose accommodations where I would have a kitchenette so that I could prepare my own food instead of being at the mercy of nearby restaurants. I figured this was healthier and I would be assured of good quality vegan food. The kitchenette had a fridge and a microwave, but no oven/stove. I went to the grocery store to stock up on fruit, veggies, hummus, and I was on the look out for things that I could microwave.

These Gardein cutlets have been out for awhile now, but generally speaking I am too cheap to buy them. I like to stick to my inexpensive legumes. But I figured they were microwavable and would be handy for my stay at the conference and so I picked up a pack of the herb dijon breasts, as I am a sucker for dijon.

The texture of the cutlet was great, very meat-like (from what I remember). However, I was NOT a fan of the sauce. It was overly sweet and just not very…good. This is the only Gardein product I’ve tried, so I’m not sure if this was a herb dijon fluke or what. It was edible, but the whole time I was eating it I was thinking that I could probably make a much better-tasting dijon sauce without much difficulty. I realize this isn’t very photogenic:

I know a lot of people really love these things, so I’m going to assume that the other flavours are better. And like I said, the cutlet itself was great, the sauce is what was the party-pooper. Overall though, I do feel these things are a bit over-priced and I probably won’t be buying them again anytime soon unless I come across a phenomenal sale.


Food Photos

VPITS Key Lime Pie

VPITS Key Lime Pie

Vcon chocolate raspberry cookie

More Photos

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