Foodie Penpal Awesomeness!

This month’s foodie penpal exchange was just as awesome as last month’s, the first time I participated.  Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean has started a fanastic program for food bloggers and readers in both Canada and the US.  There is a link on her site for UK food bloggers too 🙂  If this sounds like fun, consider signing up at: http://www.theleangreenbean.com/foodie-penpals/

I sent a package full of goodies to Ontario, and in turn received a package full of goodies from elsewhere in Ontario.  The lovely sweetspellbaking was responsible for making my day last week when my package came.  I love the foodie reviews of Toronto eating spots, and gorgeous photo-recipe teaching guides to deelish-looking treats!  I wish my bread looked that good when I baked.  Please shimmy on over there and take a look!

So here’s what I received:

-chickpea curry that’s completely ready to go and gourmet blended brown rice to go with it.  These are two of my favourite foods, so I’m sure I’ll be incorporating them into a bento this week 🙂

-mushroom and quinoa soup.  I can’t seem to get enough quinoa lately, so I can’t wait to try this soup out.  It says it serves five, but it hasn’t met me yet!

-snack bars full of all sorts of tasty treats.  I love trail mix, so to get to eat it in bar form will be wonderful.

It’s like my foodie penpal was able to poke around in my head – a hit all around!  What I appreciate most are the adorable handwritten notes attached to the treats.  They’re mine all mine, so I won’t photograph and post them.

I’ve signed up again for next month, and am looking forward to shopping and sending goodies off around the country again.  The whole program just makes me happy 🙂

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Sep 30, 2012: pizza and veggies

Yummy!

Now that the weather is cooling down, I am back to my happy routine of making pizzas on Sunday.  My husband has no idea that this is a way to use up whatever’s in the fridge; he’s just happy to be getting pizza on a regular basis.  My son will happily devour pizza as long as there is lots of sauce and not too much cheese and if the cheese is more crispy rather than melty.  And no veggies.  I give him raw pepper on the side.  Everybody gets their own pizza, since we all like different toppings!

Usually, there are no leftovers.  However, I wasn’t too hungry today, so that gave me a rare pizza bento opportunity!  I even managed to get this pizza into an almost perfect circle – rolling things out is not my forte, so it’s just awesome all around.  Two slices of pizza with feta, mozzarella, cheddar, chard, pepper, and tomatoes, and carrot, celery, and cucumber for sides.  Morning snack is cottage cheese and raspberries, and afternoon/pre-acupuncture snack is a juicy big gala apple from our high school band fundraiser.  These are the very best apples I get to eat all year!

Cupcake Friday!

Cupcakes to kick cancer in the crotch!

A friend of mine ran a 10K run, which is impressive enough as is, but she did it in her underwear to raise funds and awareness for cancers ‘under the belt’.  As part of her fundraising, I donated cupcakes to a garage/bake sale she organized.

Chocolate cupcakes with piles upon piles of vanilla swiss meringue buttercream icing.

Cupcake on!

Sep 26, 2012: seitan stirfry

What is it with me and tasty vegan lunches this week?  Where’s the cheese?!

Hubby wanted stir fry for dinner, so that meant stir fry for lunch tomorrow, too!  Medium grain sticky rice with one of the soy sauce packets that comes with Chinese take out.  You know me, can’t waste anything!

Top tier is home-made seitan (although this recipe was really chewy, so I’ll try another one until I find one I’m happy with…)  with stirfried onion, celery, and orange pepper in some orange juice and vegetarian hoi sin sauce – easypeasy.  Mango jelly is my sweet treat, and dried guava, which tastes gorgeously gingery, is chilling out under the lid.

Sep 25, 2012: quinoa apricot salad

What is it with me and quinoa this week?  Second time already.  I can’t seem to get enough for some reason…

Oki, so dry toast 1/2 quinoa over medium-low heat until you hear popping.  Rinse it, drain it, and add it to 1 cup boiling salted water with 1/2 cup or so of sliced dried apricots.  After 15 minutes or so, the water will all have been absorbed.

Take the mixture, pour it into a medium-sized bowl, and let it cool for a few minutes.  When the bowl is still slightly warm to the touch, add in about 3/4 cup grape tomatoes, and toss generously with your favourite salad dressing du jour.  Once completely cool (the tomatoes and salad dressing help here), place in your bento over as many baby greens as you can fit!

Strawberries are my tasty side – don’t they look cute?  They’re so little and cute, I couldn’t bear to cut their tops off and slice them.

Snack will be one of the awesome muffins our school cafeteria serves: made by the students, and often featuring local fruit when possible!  I can’t resist them, so I may as well plan for one.  It helps that I found a pre-paid card in a jacket pocket the other day, too; far too tempting!

Sep 24, 2012: ersatz katsu bento

So I bought a package of mushroom balls the last time I was in an Asian supermarket, as part of my ‘try something new’ mantra.  With no recipes or guides on the net, I thought sauteeing them in a little oil would do the trick.  Whatever I did, I messed it up big-time, due to them turning into little rocks once I thought they looked cooked.  I could barely get a fork into them!

Fake meat to the rescue!  I rather like ersatz katsu sounds when you say it, and here’s how I made it: faux chicken nuggets, heated up so they’re cooked all the way through, placed next to a blend of sprouted grain brown and black wild rice, and with a generous helping of katsu sauce on top.  Broccoli makes a nice filler and adds a pop of colour.  Easy.

Cold tier: carrot slices, broccoli, grapes, and grape tomatoes.  Little pick animals to perk the colour up a bit, et voila!