Friday, May 31, 2013

Banana Bread

My local grocery store had bananas on sale so I bought a bunch, planning on making banana bread. I always think that banana bread takes a multitude of bananas but the recipes I found only called for a few. I had way more than a few bananas and they were on the edge of spoiling so this is my third, extra long loaf of banana bread in as many days. (Don't worry! I didn't eat it all! Most of it is in the freezer!)

I picked up an extra long loaf pan (commonly called a pullman's loaf pan) at the thrift store a few days ago. Having so many bananas I made some extra long loaves to use them up!

Banana Bread (adopted from How it All Vegan by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer

6-7 bananas
2 tablespoons lemon/lime juice
1 cup oil
1 cup sweetener
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

Mash the bananas with a fork until very mushy, then mix in the lemon juice, oil, and sugar. In a separate, larger bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add the banana mixture to the flour and mix until just combined. Pour into an oiled loaf pan. Bake for 80-90 minutes at 350 or until a knife inserted comes out clean. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Review: Toronto Tool Library (and my composter project)

On Saturday I headed to the Toronto Tool Library where for $50 bucks a year you can 'take out' any number of tools from hammers to welders to work on any type of project you desire! I love collaborative consumption organizations so we bought a membership the first weekend the library was open. This was my first project using tools borrowed from the library and having the right tool for the job is makes creating so much more enjoyable. 

I borrowed a drill and drill bits from the Tool Library on Saturday and returned them on Sunday. This project - a container composter - has been on my to-do list since I made my Garden Goals post. I bought a five gallon pail and a pot large enough for the container to fit inside. Using my Tool Library drill I quickly and efficiently drilled holes in the pail.  

Then I placed the pail inside the pot and filled in the difference with potting soil. 

Now all I have to do is throw in kitchen scraps along with 'browns' (I'm using paper) and give it a good stir. If all goes well it will soon be soil!

The Toronto Seed Library has a table set up at the Tool Library so I grabbed some free Nasturtium seeds, which are now planted around my container composter!

The Toronto Tool Library is a great organization! The yearly membership does not allow universal use of the library but the tool collection is wide (and growing all the time) and the staff/volunteers are friendly (they all laughed at my drilling jokes). I recommend them for all those projects you want to do (or as a place to donate your extra tools to!). 

We'll see how my composter does... 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Homebrew: Kombucha Wine

I've been brewing kombucha for a while now. The plain kombucha is nice but I really enjoy experimenting with the concept and basic tenants of kombucha brewing.

I followed the basic recipe found here to brew up some kombucha wine. The wine has been fermented since 3 March 2013 and I bottled it up on 23 May 2013. A one gallon carboy made 4 500 mL bottles of wine (seen in the background here). I cannot decide if it's better to further age this in the refrigerator or at room temperature but it is currently at room temperature. It's now a recommended three month wait to taste this wine. I might break a bottle out for my upcoming Kombucha Workshop.

I have a good feeling about the final product because, at bottling, the kombucha wine was flat and slightly sour but a rich orange colour with citrus notes.    

I am counting this batch towards my goal of 24 1 gallon batches of homebrew in 2013. 

Click here for my other kombucha adventures

Friday, May 17, 2013

Review: Kaeng Raeng (Part II)

Remember Wednesday's post on Kaeng Raeng

I am the wrong demographic for this product as I eat whole foods and do not deny myself pleasures in life. Therefore the very concept of a 'detox' 'cleanse' is counter to my worldview. There is something fundamentally wrong with purposively denying oneself.

The caloric count for these smoothies is ~200 a smoothie. So that's 600 calories a day - with the caveat that one can eat all the fresh fruits and veggies one desires - however, someone of my height and weight is meant to eat ~2200 calories a day. The low caloric intact of this product fundamentally scares me as I do not understand why anyone would, with purpose, live such an austere life - if only for 3 days. 

By 7pm on the first day I was dreading the very thought of drinking any more of these chalky, flavorless smoothies so I had a beer and veggie burger at the pub

This eating pattern (famine than feast) is exactly what is wrong with diets, detoxes, and cleanses.

For a more positive review of this product check out this blog post by Vegan Crunk.

 The Small Print: This product was received free of cost. I did not promise a review nor receive any additional financial compensation.



Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Review: Kaeng Raeng

I was approached by a PR agent from this company, Kaeng Raeng, who offered me a free, 3-day sample of their  all natural detox program. As a supporter of whole food with a very specific outlook on what constitutes a 'health' food I accepted the offer because I thought it would make for an interesting experience (and blog series).

I am of the mindset that juice is a dessert/treat and not actually a health food. Even home-juiced orange juice presents a problem as juicing it removes fiber (and other nutrients). Oranges are a whole food - orange juice is a sweet dessert.

I am on day one of my three day adventure drinking three daily Kaeng Raeng drinks as well as all the fresh, raw fruits and vegetables that I desire. I will give a full review when (and IF) I accomplish the three day detox. In the meantime here are a few observations so far.

  • The vaguely Asian feel of the company is supposed to reassure potential customers but it only makes me more sceptical of the process - as I now believe that your company has something to hide.
  • The packages, upon first opening, smell amazing but once mixed the resulting drink is bland to say the least.
  • The information flyer included in the package is vague and oddly organized.    

The Small Print: This product was received free of cost. I did not promise a review nor receive any additional financial compensation.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Summer in the City: Homemade freezies

Toronto is heating up! This year I vow to be prepared for any heat wave this city wants to throw at me! This afternoon, while listening to Alphabet Soup Podcast I stocked my freezer with two batches of homemade freezies. 

I picked up this food saver/sealer from a thrift store for four dollars. A few days later I found three full rolls of the plastic at a different thrift store. The vacuum part of the sealer does not work but it seals the plastic thus making it possible to make homemade freezies in the traditional plastic sleeve.

I made two recipes from 200 Best Ice Pop Recipes . The freezie on the left is "Spicy Lime Ice Pop" and the one on the right is "Cucumber Chile Ice Pop". I recently had a Cucumber Chile popsicle from a local company - Augie's Gourmet Ice Pops - and it was divine! I am very much looking forward to the version from this book. 

The Small Print: I received this cookbook as a review product. I did not promise a positive review nor receive any additional compensation for this review.

Friday, May 10, 2013

My Vintage Kitchen: Marble Rolling Pin

What is it?  This is a marble rolling pin. 

Where did I get it? I found this at my local thrift store. I saw it from down the isle and practically ran down there and 'yonked' if off the shelf as if hoards of rolling pin hunters were around the corner. The other people in the aisle looked at me weirdly but I got a steal of a deal! This pin and holder were $7.99! My mother had this exact same pin (minus the holder) and I have been on the hunt for this for years!

Do I use it? Yes! It's a beautiful rolling pin. So heavy and it's going to be nice for pastries.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Drinking: Kombucha with huge SCOBY

As I've been out of town for the last month or so, my Kombucha has continued to brew - unattended. The students in my Toronto Trade School Class were constantly wondering how to keep a SCOBY alive while they went on vacation. I simply left my kombucha at room temperature, in it's regular brewing location. The coffee kombucha has been brewing since 22 Feb and the other two containers of kombucha have been brewing since the first week of March. The huge 4 gallon container was almost full with liquid when I left, and now the SCOBY is a good 4 inches thick. 

I plan on stir-frying some of the excessive SCOBY I now have!