eggsperienced

It’s now Day 3 of my foray into daily blogging. I haven’t run out of steam yet, but I could very easily fall back into TV-mode and ignore this — OMG, HOUSE OF CARDS IS BACK ON NETFLIX — fighting to keep focus…

Luckily I’m writing about food and, mainly, the impressive breakfast I had this morning. We headed to The Grille on the Queensway in Etobicoke. It’s been renovated in the years since we’ve been last and looks pretty fantastic.

Let me be frank and say that for me, breakfast is the most difficult meal to enjoy meat-free, for obvious reasons. I don’t miss the taste of meat, rather the crispy, crunchy texture of slightly overdone bacon and the saltiness of fried SPAM swimming around in pools of runny yolk. So when I eat out for breakfast, I usually give Stella my sausage (about 20% of the time she’ll actually eat it), and opt for some kind of runny eggs with toast, home fries and coffee. Here’s what I ordered this morning:

eggs

Eggs Florentine ($12.99)

3 poached large eggs over cheddar cheese and sauteed baby spinach on English muffins smothered in Hollandaise sauce. Served with our famous homefries.

http://www.thegrille.ca

Three large eggs! I usually only eat one per sitting and not very often during the week. I ate one, gave John another, and took the third to go and ate it in the car when I got hungry later, with my fingers, because we didn’t have any cutlery, and we were picking up Dani from school, and my head was hurting, so I couldn’t wait to arrive all the way home to eat it, not in Toronto traffic.

I should mention that before I ate that soggy, sticky mess, the hubby and I halved a Hero veggie burger, which is conveniently down the street from Dani’s school:

Hero

Soul Burger ($5.69)

100% Vegetarian, gluten-free, non-GMO. Toppings are lettuce, pickles, ketchup, maple chipotle mayo and low fat mayo.

http://heroburgers.com/

I really thought this was the bee’s knees of veggie burgers, until just last Saturday I tried…

holychuck

Animal Feed ($9.99)

Panko crusted portobello mushroom stuffed with feta & cream cheese, deep fried then topped with lettuce, tomato & lemon herb aioli. (removed the tomato of course. duh.)

Home

It’s the squirt-mushroom-juice-on-your-nice-shirt-but-don’t-care kind of good.

Of course there are other things I can quickly pick up but don’t bother taking pictures of, usually because I’m hungry and very angry about it, such as Burger King and Harvey’s veggie burgers, or Subway tuna, falafel or veggie subs. I will admit that salads are low on my list when eating out because BO-RING. Oh, and sushi, of course. Can’t forget the sushi!

Also, Whole Foods’ hot and cold deli counters offer amazing mock chicken General Tao and mock chicken curry salad, with many different kinds of kale and beet concoctions, stewed curry veggies, fresh soups, etc. Just be prepared to pay $30 or more for a decent-sized container (true story).

yums

Hey… how did that get in there?! =)

This was at the Groundwork Coffee Co. in Hollywood, somewhere along the Walk of Fame. I just took a picture. Didn’t eat any of it. Fully regret that now. =(

an ode to hotels

hotels

We love hotels!  It’s hard to imagine who doesn’t, really.  You arrive to a freshly made bed and (assumed) spotless tub. When you leave for the day and come back, everything’s cleaned up for you.  The pillows and covers are like heavenly soft marshmallows, and when you hang a sign on the door, no one bothers you.

We love hotels.

Dani and Stella, as soon as they get in, unplug the phone and start to make pretend calls on it.  It’s hard to pry the Gideons bible out of Stella’s hands before she rips pages out of it.  There’s satellite TV with tons of current movies to watch (though we never, ever end up seeing one), room service (which we’ve never ordered), and wake up calls to be arranged (that never get arranged, because with experience I’ve learned to trust only myself to get up promptly in the mornings).

We love hotels.

You head downstairs in the morning, having freshly rolled out of bed in our pantulog (pajamas), so succinctly our style, and grab some light breakfast. There’s coffee which is mandatory for us parents, oatmeal which is mandatory for Stella, who eats nothing else, and hard-boiled eggs for Dani, who eats only the whites and always asks for more (guess who gets the extra cholesterol hit because I don’t waste yolk).

We love hotels.

When it’s the night before checkout, it’s time to pack up.  We must peek in every drawer, under each nightstand and couch cushion, and in the crevices of the bedposts to make sure the kids haven’t dropped or hidden anything valuable.  There’s hair in the tub, nubs of toothpaste in the sink basin, and scrunched-up covers on the bed and strewn on the floor.  Tomorrow, we must leave this wonderful abode.  Where we’re going, no one is going to clean up our messes, pay for satellite television stations, or have breakfast hot and ready when we decide to wake up.  It’s time to re-welcome reality and it bites!

The end.

that chick(en) tho.

chickens apple

Just a few days ago, I was surprised with an email from WordPress saying I had a spike in amount of visits that day. Oh! I was then reminded I had a blog to maintain that apparently people were still reading!

My last post was nine months ago, and of course that’s way too long. At the suggestion of my hubby, who is way more versed in social media than I am, I agreed I would try and post daily, no matter how insignificant or wayward my thoughts would be that day. So here we are!

We are just returning from the Big Apple in Colborne, Ontario, located off Highway 401. We had passed the gigantic smiling red apple monument on numerous occasions throughout our travels to beaches or campgrounds, but never actually stopped to go in. Today, a very warm and sunny Sunday in May, quite a change from the chilly and rainy almost daily weather, we had gotten out of bed and wondered what to do. I suggested going to the Big Apple and then seeing where we would end up after.

It turned out to be a very interesting and quaint shop. Inside were several food offerings including apple pies, sandwiches, soup, hot meals, ice cream, fudge, and lots of other chocolates, honey and maple treats, as well as cute souvenirs and knickknacks. Had I been Dianne of just a few weeks ago, I’d have probably walked out with bags of fudge, maple candies and pies, but I recently cut processed sugar out of my diet (another blog post, perhaps).

So now we arrive at the real subject of this post: chicken. In the front of the Red Apple store is a mini-putt course and small petting zoo, where you can put a $0.25 or $1.00 coin in a machine to get a capsule of animal feed for the ducks, goats, and chickens. While John and Dani fed animals, I followed Stella as she wandered past the animals’ cages. There was one coop housing several chickens and hens. In their cage were bowls of feed and fresh water. The chickens themselves were sunning, grazing, snoozing, perched in their little house laying eggs. I thought, what a peaceful little abode they had.

Backtracking to six months ago, as some of my friends and family are aware, I had given up eating meat, so beef, pork, poultry, etc., the exception being seafood (which I doubt I will ever give up).  The reason for this was because back in December, I had an “incident.” Yes, another of my infamous food-related incidents. Basically, my in-laws were over one night to watch the kids while I did some editing work due that evening.  I had been slow-cooking chicken quarters since that morning, and some six hours later, I figured they were done cooking, turned off the power, and dunked in a fork for a taste. I ate some of the skin and a few pieces of meat, which had completely fallen off the bone. They didn’t taste particularly unpleasant, but did give off a slight flavour of liver and were way too mushy, so I plunked the fork into the sink and went back to work. I had given Dani a small piece to try, but she didn’t like it either.
About an hour later while sitting at the computer, I started to feel hot and sweaty and my stomach began to tighten. It was around 9:00 p.m. and time to put Dani to bed, so I sent the in-laws home for the evening and did just that. Soon afterwards, I felt queasy and my stomach swelled to four months pregnant size. I called John and asked him to come home from work immediately. My own work would have to wait. Shortly after he arrived, I ran to the bathroom, stuck my head into the toilet bowl, and vomited violently. I vomited so long and so hard my jaws locked and my neck and shoulders tensed and cramped. Exhausted, I just fell to the side and started weeping. I needed help getting up and laid down on the couch.

I had never had the vomity kind of food poisoning, but there’s a first time for everything. I managed to finish off the last of my work and lie back down again. For the next three days, I was stuck on the couch, unable to eat anything but crackers with a few sips of water and Advil. Lots of Advil. I lost four pounds. Eventually, the headaches and nausea subsided and my appetite returned (as did the four pounds — boo).  I could and would never forget what a painful and traumatizing experience it was. I thought back to what the cause could be and it didn’t take long to figure out it was the chicken. I suspect I had it defrosting in the fridge just a few hours too long. Because we’re a busy household and I was bedridden for those few days, I eventually remembered to clean out the slow cooker with the chicken still in it. Just having to open it, see that mess of bones and chicken bits and the smell — ugh — I knew I just couldn’t eat animal flesh any longer.

I had given up meat the year before, which lasted about four months. Now it has been half a year since I’ve stopped. Back to the present day, as we observed the peaceful chickens in their coop, I thought of snippets of a documentary John had showed me about chickens who are raised solely for human consumption in unspeakable living conditions. I was immediately saddened. In just researching an online article by PETA, I could barely finish reading and felt like crying a little, thinking about how happy Dani was to just feed these innocent little animals. I’m not advocating for vegetarianism or veganism or even pescatarianism by any means, but I just thought I’d share the article I read, in case it would appease your curiosity or tug at your heartstrings as it did mine. Here is an excerpt from that article:

Chickens raised for their flesh—called “broiler” chickens by the meat industry—are typically confined to massive, windowless sheds that hold tens of thousands of birds each. While chickens can function well in small groups, where each bird is able to find his or her spot in the pecking order, it’s virtually impossible for them to establish a social structure in such large numbers. Because of this, the frustrated birds often peck at one another relentlessly, causing injury and even death.  Such intensive confinement also breeds filth and disease. A Washington Post writer who visited a chicken shed said that “dust, feathers and ammonia choke the air in the chicken house and fans turn it into airborne sandpaper, rubbing skin raw.”

I didn’t want to get into more detail than that, so follow the link below if you’d like to read the rest of the article:

https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/factory-farming/chickens/chicken-industry/

I never stopped eating meat as a result of inhumane treatment to animals, but now that I’ve already stopped, there’s just more fuel to the fire to stay away for good (let’s hope).