Walking Away from Cats … and Healthy Food

Metro – Students walk away from healthy cafeterias.

The above headline caught my eye on the subway this morning as I glanced at someone’s open newpaper (I occasionally do that “read-0ver-a-stranger’s-shoulder” bit). At first I hilariously misread it as: “Students walk away from healthy cats.” I wondered for a second why someone would walk away from a perfectly good feline. Then I realized what it was really saying and later snagged a copy to read the article. You can click on the link for more details but the title sums it up well. Seems that students would rather wander off campus for fast-food than stay on campus for the new, healthier menu options which were mandated by the Ontario government.

I’m always interested in the reasoning behind the food choices people make, especially when I’m at a food court. I’ll be exploring this topic in a future article but this is a nice little lead-in. The article says that students are complaining about “sizes, cost and taste.” wonder about that. Is it really low quality and quantity? The idea that healthy food is bland and overpriced is a myth that needs to be dispelled.

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Calling in Sick

Sorry I haven’t posted in awhile! Both my cat and I got sick last week so I’ve been nursing us both back to health.

First sign my cat is sick? She doesn’t devour her beloved dry food, which she normally meows for incessantly. First sign I’m sick? My appetite isn’t up to it’s usual snuff.

Interesting how it always comes back to food …

Anyhow, I promise you lots of goodies in the next few weeks. I have tons of ideas brewing in my brain. Stay tuned!

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The Iron Smoothie

“You can’t put steak in a smoothie”

These words of wisdom were overheard from a morning commuter, talking to his friend about getting more iron in their kids’ diets. The words “pumpkin butter” were also repeated several times throughout their conversation. I will have to investigate.

That quote would make an awesome blog title.

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True food story: My fiance once ate toast with barbeque sauce for breakfast because it was the only thing he had in his fridge. Obviously, this was back in his bachelor days.

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My Week in Food

This past week wasn’t the best in terms of healthy eating. Take Thursday, for example. I had planned to have a light, healthy lunch since I was going out for dinner with friends that evening. Maybe a salad with chicken or a homemade sandwich with some baby carrots on the side. But life interfered and we ended up short staffed at work. My “light lunch” became a croissant stuffed with a rich chicken salad which I ate while supervising a kids activity room and simultaneously trying not to be busted by my supervisor. Yikes. Actually “ate” does not accurately describe what I did to that croissant. Inhaled, gobbled, or swallowed would be more appropriate verbs. So much so that I could feel myself almost choke on my food. Not good.

I wish dinner had made up for my less-than-stellar lunch but it didn’t. The company was great as I got to reconnect with a old high school friend. But the food was just okay. Definitely not worth the price charged or the hype this restaurant gets. Isn’t that funny about “it” restaurants? They don’t always live up to their status. They tend to build their reputations on their atmosphere and upscale clientele, rather than good food.

Curious to know which restaurant? Well, I’ve made the decision not to post any negative reviews. I’d prefer not to discourage someone from trying out a restaurant. If I like or dislike something, it’s my personal judgement. Not everyone has the same taste in food. However, I will be happy to recommend places I do enjoy and look forward to posting some restaurant recommendations. Let’s focus on the positive!

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Yes, You Can Make This! Hummus

If you invite me to a picnic or a potluck, chances are I’ll bring you a platter of homemade hummus with fresh raw veggies and pita triangles. It’s my go-to recipe, the one that never fails to deliver and be delicious. This particular recipe makes a good quantity, has a nice little kick, and keeps well for a solid week in the fridge. It gets it’s flavour from the garlic and cayenne, so there’s no salt added. Hurrah!

Hummus may seem bland and boring on it’s own but the beauty of it is that it has many applications. Use it as a dip for baby carrots, garnish it with tomatoes and eggplant, put it in a sandwich with alfalfa sprouts and spinach, serve it with falafels. The possibilities are endless!

Another great point about hummus is that it can help you up your veggie intake. If you find raw vegetables generally boring, just dip them in hummus to give them a zing. Try baby carrots, red peppers, and celery. It’s a fun at-work snack.

This recipe was taken from The Healthy College Cookbook, a much-loved and dogged-eared book that has some great recipes and tips for the beginner cook. It gets silly when it tells you how to make cottage cheese on a bagel but overall is a straightforward, no-frills cookbook that’s been selling for 10 years. It’s just been revised and expanded, so check it out!

Your Basic Hummus from The Healthy College Cookbook


  • 1 15-ounce (425 g) can chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans)
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) sesame tahini
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) cayenne
  1. Drain the chickpeas, saving the juice. Dump the beans into the food processor.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick add some of the bean juice; blend until it reaches the desired consistency.

The Urban Eater says:

  1. I have yet to find a 15 oz can of chickpeas, so I just use the 19 0z one.
  2. Sesame tahini might seem like an expensive buy, but it will last you awhile once you have it.
  3. If you’re using freshly squeezed lemons, make sure you buy a large lemon or two small ones. Again, don’t worry if it’s not the exact quantity. Perfection is overrated!
  4. A food processor is on my wish list, but until then my blender will have to do. I pulse, chop and puree the mixture every time an ingredient goes into the blender as to not burn the motor.
  5. I also lack a garlic mincer, so I just chop it into tiny bits with a steak knife. Whatever works.
  6. These aren’t the most exciting photos, sorry. They’ll get better, I swear!

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While We’re on the Subject of Pie …

Don’t you wish all ingredient lists were this straightforward?

It’s so rare to find such simplicity with desserts. And trust me; it was definitely not lacking! It was one of the best pies I’ve had in a long time. Do yourself a favour and buy a freshly baked dessert from a bakery rather than a grocery store. It’s worth the extra dollars. Plus you’ll be supporting a local business which gets you bonus points for being awesome.

How irresistible does this look?

The pie is from Madeleines, Cherry Pie and Ice Cream which I mentioned in my previous post. I don’t work for them and this is not an advertisement. It’s just a good old fashioned personal endorsement of something really wonderful. Check them out if you’re ever at Bathurst near Dupont in Toronto.

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