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Spring Will Soon Be Sprung

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Snow Formations on the Hike

Snow Formations on the Hike

As a super rainy day winds down I am feeling pretty good! I got a bunch of school stuff done today and got a new umbrella. Pretty productive day. I can feel the weather changing though, day light savings is the first step! We also were able to get out for our first hike of the year, at least until the snow forced us to turn back. I’m looking forward to finishing that hike in a month or two when the white stuff has completely melted. The mountain air felt so good, my brain was slightly loose for the rest of the day! In a good way.

Deep in the Woods!

Deep in the Woods!

I’ve been thinking about making a hearty version of miso soup for awhile now and today seemed as good a day as any. It also borrows a bit from the Japanese dish Agedashi Tofu which I am a huge fan of. If you haven’t tried it/heard of it, check it out here. It’s delicious addition to a night out with  veggie sushi! I am a big fan of Japanese food and flavours. I especially love their food presentation.

I’ve had a half pack of soba (buckwheat) noodles in the cupboard for awhile now and I’ve been meaning to use them up. I had miso paste and tofu in the fridge so I decided to start cooking! Here’s the result:

Hearty Miso Mushroom Soup with Soba Noodles and 5 Spice Tofu

The Soup

The Soup

Yield: 4 big servings or six smaller

Ingredients

For the Soup

4 garlic cloves minced

10 button mushrooms, diced

1 med. onion diced

4-6 handfuls fresh spinach leaves

1 t sesame oil

5 c. water

100 g soba noodle (dried)

hot sauce (optional, to taste)

1/4 c. miso paste

1 t soy sauce

For the tofu

1 lb firm tofu cut into 25-30 cubes

1/4 fine bread crumbs

1 t  ground cumin

1 t chili flakes

1 t 5 spice powder

salt and papper to taste

1/3 c. canola oil

-saute the mushrooms, onion and garlic for 5-10 minutes in the sesame oil

-add water, miso paste and soy (hot sauce)

-bring to a boil and add noodles , cook 6-7 minutes (you could cook the noodles first as they do get a bit gluey, the soup will reduce quickly if you let it boil too long)

-meanwhile heat the canola in heavy bottomed wide pan

-combine the spices and bread crumbs and toss with the tofu until they are coated

-shallow fry the tofu 6-8 cubes at a time (you can keep them hot in a low oven on a tray if needed)

=get out 4-6 bowls and place a handful of spinach in each, add 2-3 ladles of soup over the spinach and top with 5-6 crispy tofu cubes!

-top with sesame seeds if desired

Close Up with the Kitchen  in the Background! Here's Where the Magic Happens! Well, Sometimes.

Close Up with the Kitchen in the Background! Here’s Where the Magic Happens! Well, Sometimes.

This soup is very quick so you get the fun of a homemade soup with out being glued to the stove for 2-3 hours. Soba noodles are not only tasty, they are also good for you and are full of amino acids, antioxidants and some protein too, of course the tofu int his recipe also contains protein! You could also add the spinach directly to the soup 2-3 minutes before serving. This recipe is vegan also! Enjoy.

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Autumn Flavours Must Be Obeyed

orange sesame dressing

I had big plans a couple of weeks  ago to post some fruity dressings and light summery salads. Unfortunately, the new school year has interfered a bit. After tromping across campus a few times, doing my readings and attempting to go to the gym, work and have a social life, my blogging has fallen a bit low on the priority scale. But I’m ready to dive back in. I finally had two days in a row off this week and am getting a chance to do  a little pleasure reading and writing.

I knew I wanted to do a salad for my next post but was feeling a little uninspired. I headed down to Whole Foods to fire up my brain and creative juices. I left empty-handed because everything was too expensive. I also noticed that it’s Fall! Berry prices have skyrocketed (duh) because they’re out of season. I journeyed across the street to a less esthetically pleasing but better priced grocery store and suddenly my idea of light, juicy flavours became one of robust, mellow and savoury ingredients. Pears, squash, yam, dark greens and grains but a little citrus to brighten it up and maybe some sesame to lend it an earthiness. Although sesame is often associated with Asian flavours I think it syncs well with orange veggies and starchy foods too. We have had an amazing August and September here in Vancity with lovely sunny weather almost every day. With risk of setting off the rain gods, I have to  say that it hasn’t rained in almost three weeks! That being said, I was getting a little tired of wearing shorts and skirts with bare legs every day. I was able to snug out in my new soft hoodie and jeans on my shopping trip and had a nice walk to boot.

I ended up grabbing some yams, garlic, spinach, quinoa, oranges and dried pears. Hopefully you will like the results. There are a few more steps than your average salad but I think it will be worth it.

Hearty Yam, Spnach and Quinoa Salad with Sesame Orange Dressing

Yield : 4 servings

Step 1 the yams

2 yams or 1 thanksgiving size big one, peeled, cut in to med chunks

2 oranges (just 1/4 for this step)  1/4 juiced

1 T orange zest

1 T sesame oil

1 T sesame seeds

salt and pepper

-preheat oven to 375

-toss ingredients together, lay in single layer on baking sheet

-bake 35 min

-small dice when cool

-this can be done the day before if you want just bring back to almost room temp when tossing the salad

Step 2 : the dressing

1 1/2 oranges, juiced

2 T sesame oil

1 t sesame seeds, toasted

1 t sugar

1 T orange zest, minced

1-2 dashes hot sauce

-whisk ingredients together

Step 3: the salad

the salad

1 C cooked quinoa

2-3 C washed spinach, cut if leaves are large

diced yams

4 slices dried pear, fine diced

-combine with dressing, toss and serve!

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The Zoetrope, or "Wheel of Life," is an instructive Scientific Toy, illustrating in an attractive manner the persistence of an image on the retina of the eye; by revolving the cylinder by the hand, and looking through the openings, the images passing rapidly before the eye are blended, so as to give the figures the motions of life in the most natural manner.

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