Thinking of Jenna

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I've been thinking a lot about Jenna and her family this weekend. Her brother passed away over the weekend and I can't help but feel so incredibly sad for her. I know how hard it is to lose someone so close to you so suddenly and I know that Jenna will have a challenging journey of grief and healing ahead of her. She is surrounded by family and friends who love her and together they will celebrate John's life. 

If I had my life to live over again, I'd try to make more mistakes next time. I would relax. I'd be sillier than I have been on this trip. I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers and watch more sunsets. I would have more actual troubles and less imaginary ones. Oh, I've had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I'd have more of them. In fact, I'd try to have nothing else, just moments, one after another... I would pick more daisies. 
Nadine Stair

Death makes me think about life. Our time on earth can end so abruptly and it is so important to try and live each day to its fullest potential. Don't wait until tomorrow. Make today count. 

Meal Plan - Week of April 26

Wow - we're at the end of April already! I can hardly believe that we're heading into May. Have you done your taxes yet??? That is on my agenda in the next couple days! I've got a lot of things to do this week, so I'm trying to keep the meal plan fairly simple and easy to stick to. 

Cashew ginger tofu with Tofu shirataki noodles, Brussels sprouts and corn

Baked chicken with carrots and rice

Quick Protein Salad (refresh) 
You may be getting sick of me eating this, but I love this salad and it's great because it's easy for me to throw together after my belly dancing class!!

Sesame Kale noodles (Get it Ripe)

Coconut cauliflower chana with spinach and brown rice (Get it Ripe)

Broccoli cashew teriyaki stir fry

BBQ *fingers crossed* More Sol burgers with lemony potatoes and asparagus

As always check out Org Junkie for lots of meal planning ideas and recipes!

Weekly Menu Recap - Week of April 19

So I was hoping for a week that was more to plan with my meals. As I noted previously, this week was anything but normal!! It did get better towards the end and I was able to make a lot of the meals I had planned out, with a few tweaks here and there. Both Eric and I are feeling better now and I really appreciate everyone's love and kind words this week
Pork chops with carrot soup (refresh) and lemony roasted potatoes (Veganomican)
After getting sick, I really didn't want to eat anything too crazy so I opted for soup with potatoes (I made pork chops for Joey because he loves them!) The potatoes were PHENOMENAL. Both Joey and I went nuts over them. I need to branch out a bit with Veganomican, because I seem to have made a lot of their potato dishes. Seriously, these potatoes give any lemon potatoes in Greektown a run for their money because they are amazing. The carrot soup from refresh was also delightful, but the potatoes were the star of this meal. Both items felt good to this gal who hadn't really eaten much in the 24 hours prior to dinner. 

This was really nice although neither Joey or I liked the mint, so I think I would omit it next time. Like the recipe says, the chopping is definitely the most tedious part of the meal, but once that is done it is really a breeze! I loved all the asparagus and the kale was a nice touch. I've made it my own personal mission to be eating more green veggies, so this meal definitely helped me to do that. 

On Thursday, Joey and I took a walk to Kensington prior to the "Gutsy Affair" gala at the Revival. We went to Rice Bar for dinner and it was good! I ordered the brown rice with chicken, seasonal vegetables and chimchurri sauce. 
Everything came together nicely in the bowl and I liked that items that were gluten free were clearly labelled on the menu, although it wasn't until after I had finished that I found out I had been given the wrong sauce, and it was actually one that contained gluten. I was a wee bit annoyed when I found out, but I didn't feel any ill effects (apparently the only wheat/gluten in the sauce was in the soy sauce it contained) so everything was okay. It was still a great meal and I think we would go back there again. Joey went nuts for one of their juices. 

We had fun at the gala and I was really happy to support this initiative. There was a silent auction as well as a performance by the Arabesque belly dance troupe. I was so excited to see their performance, but they didn't perform on the stage so I couldn't see anything! It had been a long week so we made it a bit of an early night, but I'm glad that we attended. 

Lunch Out - Fresh
I went to Fresh and had lunch with my best friend Melanie who is going to China very soon! It was really nice to see her and as I previously postedFresh is one of my favourite restaurants. I chose the grilled veggie & pesto burrito on salad instead of a wrap and it was amazing! 
Such a great combination of things and incredibly yummy. I will definitely order this again.

Lemon Garlic Pasta (ED&BV)

Still love this recipe. So simple and delicious. 
I used a bit less oil this time but it didn't really show and still came out creamy and delightful. 

Dining Out - Bario Lounge
We took advantage of the beautiful weather yesterday and walked down to Leslieville. I had wanted to go to Pulp Kitchen, but apparently it has closed and they're opening a new restaurant in its place? We were both hungry and we stumbled upon Barrio Lounge nearby. The eggs benny was enticing to Joey and I found a few options for myself so we decided to check it out - so glad we did. It was fantastic! Our server was wonderful. He told us all about the daily specials, gave me info on ingredients I wasn't sure of and let us know about the organic and local ingredients they procure. 

After learning that the eggs benny came on a crumpet, Joey decided to branch out a bit and tried the Grilled sausages with baked spatzle. It looked awesome and he said it tasted great. I found out that I couldn't have just egg whites in an omlette so I opted for a bunch of sides - salad, home fries and bacon. 
So the salad looked nice and fresh and green but it was the dressing that was fantastic. It was homemade wild leek and by the end, Joey and I were using it on everything. The home fries were crunchy and the organic peameal bacon was brilliant. It's not often that I eat bacon so this was a real treat. Joey helped me with all of my various plates and I know that we will definitely go back again. 

Burgers with bok choy & kale and sweet potato fries
After our long walk we came home and took a nap, only to wake up and find that it was pouring rain - so much for BBQ-ing!! After our big brunch, we didn't eat dinner until later, but decided to stay inside and pan fry the burger (for me) and steak (for Joey).  I stir fried the bok choy and kale with a little olive oil, garlic, ginger and wheat free hosein - yum! The sweet potato fries were quite nice as well. I did them in the oven at 400 degress with some chili powder, cinnamon and paprika. I also tried a new veggie burger. The Sol Cuisine Original Burger is totally wheat/gluten free and has some great nutritional stats - 109 calories, 2.8 g fat and 4 g fiber; but would it be a good substitute for my beloved Boca Burgers


They are a little bit bigger than a Boca burger and the flavor is great! I enjoyed it with a little bit of garlic hummus on the side and I'm looking forward to getting one of these little guys on a BBQ in the near future. I will definitely be eating more of these and I'm happy to have found a gluten free veggie burger for a decent Points value that tastes good. It looks like Sol is a Canadian company, which is also very cool! I think I may have to try their falafel patties very soon... 

Sign the declaration

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Check out the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation's declaration website and join me in becoming one of the people who have signed

When it rains, it pours

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

No, I'm not talking about the chillier weather we've been having in Toronto this week - I'm talking about my life!!

First it started with being completely exhausted and my phone breaking on Saturday. 

Then I got sick

And then last night we had to take our cat Eric to the emergency vet clinic because we thought he might have had a urinary tract infection or blockage. 


While I was making dinner last night, Joey called me downstairs and told me to look at Eric. He was squatting in a strange spot in the hallway and staring off into space. We thought it was strange behavior, but we went on to eat dinner and watch Biggest Loser. At around 9:30, we noticed that he was still acting strange and doing the squatting in the hallway thing. We noticed little spots of pee on the carpet and started to get worried. We looked up some of his symptoms on the Internet and then got really worried. We called the emergency vet and they told us to bring him right in. 

I should tell you now that taking Eric to the vet is quite an ordeal. He turns into a monster. I always feel like that mother you feel sorry for in the grocery store whose toddler is screaming and having a complete tantrum and the mother is saying things like "I don't know why he's acting like this, he never does this at home".  He is downright nasty at the vet - hissing, biting, scratching and acting more like a horror movie villain than the sweetie pie cat he is at home. 

The vet tech managed to grab him by the scruff and feel his bladder which she said was small and hard, indicating a potential blockage. After they whisked him away to the back room we were told that we needed to provide at $550 deposit for treatment. If we didn't use all of it we would receive a refund. Gulp. 

The vet chatted with us about his symptoms and confirmed what the vet tech (and our Internet research) suspected. She told us she would be right back with a quote for their services. The quote was for $1500!!!! 3+ days at the vet, a catheter insertion, x-rays, blood tests etc. We love Eric, but $1500 is more than we pay in rent each month. We decided to instead take him home and bring him to our regular vet in the morning. We had to sign a waiver that said we were going against medical advice and if anything happened to him, it was our fault and not theirs. 

Eric was high as a kite when we brought him home. In order to examine the little guy they gave him some valium to calm him down. It was pretty funny to see him so dopey and stoned. 

This morning we took him to our normal vet who examined him and determined that he wasn't blocked and that everything seemed okay. He was urinating fine and there was nothing sketchy in the urine. The picture at the top of the post in from our visit today. He's wearing the collar so that he couldn't bite the vet's face off. I wish I was kidding. 

After a thorough examination he gave Eric some antibiotics and told us to keep in touch in case he started acting strangely again. Our visit this morning cost nowhere close to $1500. Eric is currently curled up next to me and he seems to be back to his normal self. 

This week's challenges and an email from one of my members today, reminded me that when life throws you lemons - don't binge on lemon pie! It's important to try and find non-food ways to deal with our stress, because often one of the first things we turn to when we're tired, stressed, worried, sad, depressed or excited is food. And it's usually not brussel sprouts or brown rice. 

It's important to take care of yourself and manage your feelings. This could include: taking a walk, doing yoga, practicing meditation, having a hot bath, enjoying some hot tea, retail therapy, having a chat with a good friend, going for a run, kickboxing, dancing, snuggling with someone you care about or curling up with a good book. With our hectic lives, schedules and unexpected events we really need to put ourselves at the top of our lists and ensure that we're doing okay too. This will be helpful for your sanity and wellbeing as well as your weight loss efforts. 

Tonight I took a nice walk to the Carrot, and plan to do some yoga and have a nice hot bath after I catch up on some blog reading. After the week I've had, I think I deserve it!!

Home today

Monday, April 20, 2009

After feeling so terrible yesterday and suffering through most of the night (with many trips to the washroom) I decided to stay home today. It's gross and rainy outside so I'm glad that I didn't have to leave the house. I plan to get some well-needed rest and do a little bit of work from home. 

I figured I should try to eat something, but didn't want to try anything too crazy seeing as my stomach is pretty sensitive right now. 
I opted for some amaranth porridge with a little agave and cinnamon with comfort tea. So far so good. I think my body is thanking me for the nutrition. 

I'm now off to try and convince the Telus Loyalty & Retention phone reps that they should give me a new phone because my Nokia is experiencing the white screen of death...

Menu Recap - Week of April 12

Sunday, April 19, 2009

For some reason this week didn't go as planned, but I'm okay with that! It stemmed from various appointments that were scheduled after I made the meal plan, I think. I'm not too upset about it - life happens!

I seem to have lost the pictures I took of my Easter dinner. The boys really enjoyed the meatloaf (All You Need is Loaf from ESBM) along with lots of veggies and mashed potatoes. I didn't end up making tofu for myself, instead I just enjoyed a huge plate of veggies and had some nuts throughout the day. 

Quick Protein Salad (inspired by refresh)
I ate this about three times throughout the week and I just love it. 
I actually took multiple pictures of this salad and proceeded to bombard Joey with them when he came home. The marinated tofu cubes are delightful and it is just a great combination for a salad. I added some avocado and hummus instead of the chickpeas and drizzled it with 2 tsp. of flax oil - yum!! 

Pizza & Broccoli
I used the same crust as last time, and made the pizza with pesto, ground pork, green peppers and zucchini. It was quite yummy! I tried pre-baking the crust this time and that worked a little bit better, although I did manage to crack the crust in the center - oops! So I didn't win points for presentation, but it sure did taste good. 

Big Carrot Take-Away
Lunch on Saturday came courtesy of the deli counter at The Big Carrot. We enjoyed sweet potatoes with dill, coleslaw, thai tofu and noodles. I definitely did not finish this plate, but Joey was happy to help me out. I love their take away counter!! 

Vanessa's Birthday Celebration
On Saturday night, my best friend from junior high/high school was celebrating her 25th birthday (and getting into law school!) with a Hawaiian themed party. 
(Birthday girl Vanessa, me and Alicia - the three of us were inseparable in junior high and high school)

Joey and I managed to find the place (Navigating Mississauga and GO Transit just isn't my forte) 
There was quite an impressive selection of food, but I had to stick to the basics because I couldn't really wander around asking what was in everything! I enjoyed some greens with rice and chicken along with some strawberries. 
Joey got to be a little more adventurous with various noodles and meats but I enjoyed my plate. It was a fun night with Joey and old friends!

Weekly Meal Plan - Week of April 19

I think this week should go as planned!! I can't believe we're already past the mid way point of April! The weather in Toronto is getting nicer and soon it will be summer - hooray! Our landlord has already cleaned out the backyard and the BBQ is waiting to be used...

Pork chops with curried cauliflower mousse (Meals That Heal Inflammation) and lemony roasted potatoes (Veganomican)

Chicken Curry in the slow cooker (MTHI)


Cashew ginger tofu (ED&BV), sauteed baby bok choy (MTHI) with brown rice

Going to an event - dinner out

Lemon Garlic Pasta (ED&BV)

Burgers (hopefully on the BBQ) with salad and sweet potato fries

Gettin busy at the Total Health Show

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tonight after work I went to the Total Health Show at the Toronto Convention Centre and it was awesome! The show is now in it's 32nd year and this year's show is filled with interesting lectures, panels, demos and exhibitors promoting a healthy natural lifestyle. 

I did some research of some of the exhibitors before I went, so there were some booths I knew I needed to stop at! One of the first was the Vita Mix booth (I know you're all thinking that I should just buy one already!). It was great to see the blender in action! I was hoping for an exciting special offer but was disappointed when they price of $579 + tax was finally disclosed. Sadly, I did not leave with a blender. Luckily I made up for my blender-free shopping bag with lots of other goodies! I found some Sun Warrior protein powder at Upaya Naturals.
VeggieGirl has been singing the praises of this protein and I was really interested. I will let you know what I think! I also purchased some yacon syrup because I was curious about it after seeing it in a recipe at Elana's Pantry.  

One thing I noticed at the show was that everyone was incredibly nice and friendly! People were incredibly passionate about their products whether you were willing to buy them or not and I really enjoyed the conversations I had whilst I was wandering around. 

I found a pair of super comfy pants at the Siams booth.
Alli was so sweet and happy to talk about how comfy the product was and was kind enough to give me a demo on how to wear them. I tried on a pair under my dress and I was sold! The most challenging part was choosing a colour. I went with purple because it really caught my eye and Alli said they looked good. These will be awesome for yoga or dance class or the beach or just lazing around!

The wonderful folks at Live had a booth where I picked up some granola and chips. I'm excited for a new breakfast option and something new to dip. 
I also picked up a bunch of bars to try from Taste of Nature
I tried a sample at the show and was just snacking on one and I really like them! They are certified organic, vegan, Kosher and made with natural ingredients. The bar I just had was Caribbean Ginger Island, which is part of the Exotics collection. It had a great flavor, wasn't too sweet and I LOVED the little bits of ginger. I will definitely get this bar again and I'm looking forward to trying the other flavors. 

The highlight of the show for me was Julie Daniluk's talk on Meals that Heal Inflammation.  Since Crohn's is part of the inflammatory bowel disease family, inflammation is one of my big concerns and Julie's book was definitely of interest to me. I had seen it a couple times at The Big Carrot, but had never purchased it for whatever reason. 
Her talk was great. It was a small, but attentive group and Julie focused on some of the main points in her book (Meals that Heal Inflammation) including the six main causes of inflammation (toxicity, infection, allergy, nutritional deficiency or excess, injury or emotional trauma) and three big things we can each do to help heal including getting in your omega 3's, removing white sugar and white flour from your diet and eating your veggies. Julie's passion for nutrition and learning really shone in the talk and I think her guiding principles for those with inflammatory conditions make a lot of sense. I love that her book embraces the fact that one diet will not work for everyone, even if they are suffering from the same condition. 

I had the pleasure of speaking with Julie afterward where we discovered that our worlds are connected not only due to inflammation, but because Julie is the chief in store nutritionist at The Big Carrot! We talked about her book, my Crohn's and Weight Watchers (and how my meetings are just upstairs) She was incredibly sweet and I'm really looking forward to reading this book, trying the recipes and posting a review up here very soon! I tried her key lime pie at the show and it was super! Julie was also kind enough to sign my book:
Very cool! Check out Meals That Heal Inflammation on her website or at The Big Carrot and be sure to watch for a review in the weeks ahead. 

I had such a great night at the show and am looking forward to trying out all my goodies over the next couple of weeks. I also visited the booth for some nutrition schools in Toronto and plan to attend their open houses in May. Things could be changing for me and I'm incredibly excited!! There are a lot of great exhibits and tonnes of interesting lectures over the weekend so if you're in Toronto be sure to check it out! Tickets start at $10. 

Book Review - reFresh

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I love Fresh

It's been one of my favourite places to eat for quite awhile. One day I was at Fresh and I impulsively bought the refresh cookbook along with my lunch and I'm so happy I did!!

Refresh contains over 100 vegetarian/vegan recipes from the restaurant. I love that I can make things (that I love to eat there) for myself at home! Fresh is great about providing ingredient lists to their customers, but seeing the exact recipe is quite insightful. On their website they have a list of foods that are gluten free and wheat free and there are many opportunities for easy substitutions within the book.

The first thing I made from this cookbook were the banana muffins (prior to my food sensitivity tests) There were really easy and quite tasty! (Joey is actually still eating them because I froze a whole bunch of them) I included some organic blueberries for a little bit of extra fruit which worked out nicely and used the batter to make 36 muffins instead of 24. I love that there is no added sugar in these muffins as their derive their sweetness from the bananas and the dates.

I made the Marrakesh Curried Stew for dinner one night and it was good, but I found that I liked it even more the next day! I added some extra raisins on top and had a wonderfully spicy and hearty stew. The recipe makes quite a large batch so I was able to freeze some for lunches and Joey said that it was still great when reheated.

My favourite recipe that I've made so far has been the marinated tofu cubes, which I've used on the Quick Protein Salad. You'll be seeing more pictures of this again this weekend in my recap as I made them earlier this week. They are AMAZING. The simple combination of (wheat free) tamari, apple cider vinegar, and some sunflower oil over the tofu is delightful. I've been quickly frying them in a little bit of sunflower oil so that they are crispy on the outside. The salad is a yummy combination of these tofu cubes with greens, cucumber, onion, sprouts, chickpeas, sunflower seeds and currants. I made the sunflower seed dressing from the book to go with this salad and I was honestly in heaven. It is my favourite salad right now.

The cookbook features some beautiful pictures and I've found the recipes very easy to follow. I haven't even cracked open the juicing and smoothie section, but once I'm armed with a better blender (ahem, Vita-Mix) I will be delving into that section. As with many cookbooks, my only issue with this book is a lack of nutritional information, but since the recipes are rather simple it is easy to put them through the recipe builder.

Rut Tal and Jennifer Houston also have another cookbook called Fresh at Home. Just like the restaurant, I'm in love with this cookbook and look forward to exploring and creating even more of the recipes.


I am all about spreading awareness and recently I got in touch with Andy Carrington about writing something for his site. Andy was diagnosed with Crohn's in 2008 and chronicled his experience in the Crohn's Diaries.

This morning Andy published an article I wrote for his site regarding my experience with this disease. I'm so happy to be sharing my experiences and helping to build this community.

Pick me!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Angela over at Oh She Glows was looking for fundraising ideas for a run that she's doing in the summer and my idea is one of the finalists in her contest! 

Check it out and vote for me before Wednesday April 15th at 8pm. 

All of the ideas sound great and I'm sure it will make for some interesting reads on Angela's blog!

Meal Plan - Week of April 12

Sunday, April 12, 2009

This week will involve a lot less eating out than last week!! I'm looking forward to doing some more cooking, but I have to say that I enjoyed not being responsible for a lot of the meals last week!

My dad and brother are coming over for Easter so I'm making...
All You Need is Loaf (for the boys), tofu (for me), garlic mashed potatoes (made with soy), brussel sprouts, carrots and cauliflower with leftover zucchini loaf and macaroons for dessert. The Easter bunny also stopped at our house and left some chocolate for the boys as well!

Holiday wraps (reFresh) with homemade brown rice flour tortillas with veggies

Quick Protein Salad (reFresh)

TBD - I thought Joey's band was playing so I hadn't planned anything but apparently I got the date wrong...

Pasta della California (Veganomican)

Gluten free pizza with salad

My friend Vanessa's 25th birthday party

Be sure to check out more meal plans over at Orgjunkie!

Birthday Meal Recap - Week of April 5

There was a lot of dining out this week! I only cooked a couple of times but I had some amazing meals with some wonderful company!

Pork chops with asparagus and spiced mashed sweet potatoes (Veganomican)

This was our usual Sunday supper. I ♥ asparagus! I really liked the mashed sweet potatoes, but Joey said they were a little too much like pumpkin pie and he was looking for something a more savory.

Dinner at Avli with Charis
I am a big fa
n of Greek food but I had never been to this particular restaurant. It was delightful! We decided to share a bunch of appetizers. We started off with the hummus and the skordalia (creamy potatoes and garlic).

Since I couldn't have the pita, the server brought me over some cucumbers for dipping. I particularly enjoyed the skordalia! It was very creamy and had a great garlic flavor. We chose a few selections from the vegetarian menu for our mains: grilled leek and sweet pepper and lentils with cheese and walnuts.
They were kind enough to agree to put cheese on half so I could have the half without cheese. Both of these dishes were fantastic. The leeks were very tender and the lentils were lovely! I also had a chicken souvlaki stick (not pictured) and dipped it in more of the skordalia. It was a great meal and I will definitely be going there again.

Cauliflower & Tofu Curry (Best Eats)

I didn't love this and I didn't hate it. Both the cauliflower and tofu had a lot of flavor, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if there had been some type of sauce involved. I found everything to be a little bit dry. I think I'll stick to other tofu recipes!

Dinner at Live with Joey
The website describes itself as Toronto's premier ORGANIC RAW FOOD restaurant so I was excited for something new and fantastic. Raw food has been intriguing me as of late as I've been reading a number of different stories of people who have cured their Crohn's and Colitis with a raw food diet.

In case you're asking yourself
what is Raw Food - it is food that has not been heated above115ºF therefore not destroying any enzymes which aid in digestion allowing for maximum nutrition. The more I read about it, the more I consider heading in that direction with my eating - so more on that to come! I chose the soft shell tacos for my main I actually got so excited about them that I dug in even before I had taken a picture!

They consisted of two (dehydrated) corn "tortillas" filled with ground walnut taco filling and guacamole with cashew sour cream on the side. There was also a salsa Verde but I opted for it on the side since it had tomatoes.

It was honestly delicious and had the same flavor and texture as a taco. The cashew sour cream tasted even better than regular sour cream. It was creamy and had an amazing tang. So amazing! The fact that it was room temperature didn't phase me at all as it was just delicious food! Joey chose one of the cooked mains and had the pasta of the day. It was brown rice pasta with a creamy red pepper sauce with veggies. I didn't try it but he said it was really good also! He couldn't get over the cashew sour cream either.

I had a lot of trouble choosing which dessert I wanted! They had a number of options, all which were gluten & dairy free as well as completely raw. I opted for the black forest cake.

Best cake ever. Seriously.

It was made from dates, almonds, cacao, cashews, agave and berries. It had the creaminess of cheesecake and was incredibly decadent. I didn't want it to end!! Joey had a couple of bites and was blown away. Eating raw food that tasted this good really started to sway me and has inspired me to want to go high raw with my diet. To assist with that Joey got me The Complete Book of Raw Food which I've been reading through over the last few days and I'm looking forward to trying some of the recipes!! (It has also made me want a Vita Mix even more and now I want a dehydrator too!!) I highly recommend Live for vegetarians, vegans, gluten free folks or those just looking for an amazing lunch or dinner.

I have no meals to talk about for Thursday (as anticipated I had cereal for dinner since I was home later than usual) but I had some good eats on Friday! When I was at Live, I picked up some dehydrated cinnamon raisin "bagels" I enjoyed one with some almond butter alongside a small slice of some homemade gluten free zucchini loaf, blueberries and some Bengal Tiger spice tea - yum!
I love days off where I can enjoy breakfast at home and not feel rushed. The bagel was yummy! It was quite chewy, but I really liked the cinnamon raisin flavor.

For dinner Joey and I went to Mocha Mocha. This is one of our favourite restaurants. The food is good, the service is fast and it is well priced. I enjoyed the avocado salad plate. half avocado, mixed greens, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers & half a boiled egg

Because the avocado was perfectly ripe and creamy, I didn't even need the salad dressing! Joey enjoyed the egg yolk and I felt perfectly full and satisfied after the meal.

Dinner at Vi Vetha with Lindsay, Avra, Melanie, Jaime & Ashley

This is what I had originally planned for my birthday - an evening with the girls! I had never been to this restaurant, but I think I found it on a Celiac website because of it's gluten free option. I chose it over some other pasta/pizza places that had a gluten free option because of it's location, prices and selection - I was not disappointed! It had a lovely atmosphere - dim lighting, cozy tables and lots of candle light. I started with the grilled veggie plate which I split with Avra.

It had a yummy selection of grilled vegetables (including golden beets and white asparagus) with a nice salad. We opted for the goat cheese on the side. For my main I selected the grilled chicken fettuccine. Our server was very knowledgeable about the menu and was able to give me details about what I could and couldn't eat and even verified my choices when he brought it to the table. Our mains took a little long to arrive but it was worth the wait!

It was delightful! It was a very generous portion and my gluten free noodles were cooked to perfection. I loved the pesto, pine nut and chicken combination! My non-gluten-free friends all enjoyed their meals and we decided that we would definitely return. After dinner some of us went back to my house for some tea and treats. I made some more zucchini loaf and coconut macaroons.

It was a really lovely evening with some of my favourite people!! I am so lucky to have such wonderful friends and it was a great end to my birthday week. I have to show you a couple of the gifts that I received. Mel brought me a beautiful notebook, super cute earrings and this mug:
It's the perfect size and I love the colour and design! At the bottom of the cup it says something about a cupcake world but I'm currently drinking tea out of it so I'm unable to quote it. Thanks Melly!

Lindsay went shopping for me with my list of food sensitivities listed on her iphone - how adorable!! She brought me this samurai:
He's a vegetable peeler!! Apparently there was a cheese grater that was similar, but after looking at her list realized that I couldn't eat cheese and she didn't want to depress me on my birthday so she opted for this cute little guy - I love him!! Thanks Linz

Birthdays are so lovely
. I hope you enjoyed my super long post, but I had to tell you about all the fun I had this week! If you're in Toronto, be sure to check out Live, Avli, Vi Vetha and Mocha Mocha.

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