Sunday, February 26, 2012

Good Heart Cookbook Raw Recipes

Jonsi & Alex are so adorable and their raw pies look delicious!

I just downloaded their pdf version of their cookbook for free of of the site here.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Vegan Thanksgiving

This is  a mega-late post but I realized that I mentioned that I was going to Maine to visit my step-family for Thanksgiving. I'm sure no one is losing sleep over not knowing how the trip went but I may as well end any possible suspense and tell the world how it went.

It was a lovely trip filled with great times, beautiful scenery, summery weather and a lot of quinoa salad. Which, I found, comes in very handy when trying to eat vegan at big gatherings. I stayed in Maine for 3 days and with the help of a carton of soymilk (which someone happened to have brought to drink for health's sake), bagels, a couple cans of veggie soup, some beans and a box of faux chicken nuggets I got by just fine.

The quinoa salad was key though- it keeps well, is filling and can be served hot or cold. I had it at least twice everyday for the whole trip. And I didn't end up tiring of it.We made a huge batch of quinoa, threw in some raw veggies and avocado with  a touch of olive oil and it was all set to go for the whole weekend.

 I brought along some almond milk and vegan butter but didn't end up using much of either. Better safe than sorry though.

A Very Merry Vegan Christmas

The vast majority of the time I love being vegan. But every once and a while I encounter situations that I'm still not confident in dealing with. I went vegan last year just after Christmas. It was a convenient time because I didn't have to deal with finding a way to eat vegan at 2 Christmas dinners while I was still green. I still did end up having to give up my precious Christmas chocolate though. I digress.

This year was my first vegan dinner and I was a bit anxious about it. Here is how it went.

Spoiler Alert! That's a Tofurky. I eat it.

Christmas Dinner #1:

My family eats a not so vegan traditional Polish/Ukrainian dinner of Borscht soup (made with beef), cabbage rolls (also beefy), kielbasa (more meaty meat meat), fish (fishy fish fish) and (my savior for all my vegetarian years): home made cheese peirogies.  Every year we eat this Christmas dinner on Christmas eve at my Great Aunt's house. This year, when she was calling my family to ask what dish we were making for the dinner,she pointed out that there wouldn't be much for me to eat this year. I nervously giggled and admitted I had been thinking about that as well.

I really hate being an inconvenience. In my family's words my diet is selective and when other people are cooking for me it puts everyone in the potentially awkward position of realizing that serving me can be a bit of a challenge. I wish this wasn't the nature of being vegan, but admittedly most people don't know (or don't realize they know) any vegan dishes other than well...salad.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ginger Cookie Recipe for You

This recipe isn't by me, but passed on from a friend. Theses cookies are so easy and so delisciously chewy that I had to share. We made these at a little vegan cooking lesson held through my university "Veggie Club" (which incidentally is awesome). I don't have photos of the cookies, so use your imaginations.

1/2 cup of margarine
1 cup of white sugar
1/2 cup of molasses
1 tbsp ground flax seed

1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 pinch clove
    1. Preheat the oven to 350 F
    2. Make flax goo by stirring together 1tbsp ground flax seeds and 3 tbsp water.  
    3. Combine margarine, sugar, molasses and flax mix in a bowl
    4. Mix dry ingredients together in a separate bowl
    5. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients
    6. Shape into balls
    7. Top with sugar if desired
    8. Place on ungreased cookie sheet
    9.  Cook for 8-10 min. Watch carefully because molasses burns easily. Remove while still soft-they will harden a bit outside the oven.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Holy Crepe! Recipe Review of Skinny Bitch: The Ultimate Cookbook

What is it about blog titles that pull the cheesiest sayings out of my mind?

Anyway, I eat some crepes. How banal you may say, but alas,I eat some crepes! And I got excited. Because I love food and I lust good food experiences.  I hope you do to, or else this would definitely be a boring blog. But onto the crepes:

The recipe was from Skinny Bitch: The Ultimate Cookbook. I have it out from the public library,(yes my library has vegan cookbooks!) . I've flipped through and the cookbook looks pretty solid. This is the only recipe I've tried so far but it was delicious.

I generally find the whole "Skinny Bitch" writing style tiresome (they aren't very body positive at all) and I found no affinity with them "Skinny Bitches" when reading/trying to use the Skinny Bitch in the Kitch but this book helped me make vegan crepes. So I can put up with all the writer's silliness in the name of tasty food. Hurrah!

My first crepe was a bit too thick so I added a bit of clementine juice I had, just for kicks. I also replaced the vanilla extract it called for with lemon extract for a subtle fruitiness and freshness. I also flipped the crepe with a flipper as usual because I tried their method (peeling it back with your fingers) but it ripped the crepe. Other than that I followed the recipe. Honestly.

The recipe isn't as clear as possible though, I wasn't sure if I was supposed to re-oil the pan between crepes, so I did it just in case. The rest of the crepes turned out well. They are fairly thin, a bit crispy-edged and delicately flavored. Just as crepes should be. I give them an 8/10.

I topped them with peaches, peach syrup and a teeny  bit of icing sugar. I make the peach syrup by mushing up a ripe peach in a bowl and microwaving it for 20 secs then using the back of a spoon to mush the peaches even more then microwave once more for 20 seconds before serving them. It results in a syrup-y goodness and nice warm peaches to add a pie-like feel to any meal!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Going to Portland, Maine for Thanksgiving

Vegan pros: google says they have an all vegan cafe! That's definately worth checking out.
Vegan cons: Navigating my way through 4 days of non-vegan meals at my step family's house.

But my family did tell me they have a Whole Foods nearby.Also the much heard about Trader Joes appears to be not to far as well. Is there any must haves from either of these places?

According to the laziest vegans in the world it's the onion rings. I will investigate.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Breakfast Bagel

All dressed bagel with tofu scramble onions and red pepper.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Vegan Goodzies From the Farmer's Market

Honey-Walnut Bread from Earth to Table Farmer's Market Stand

I find big lumpy circular breads really romantic. Yes I'm calling the bread romantic. It's also delicious!  It's so fresh and hearty with a crunchy crust. And it has walnuts inside!
Vegan Sweet Potato Tarts from Round Plains Plantation

An apple I found on the ground while walking, not related to the farmer's market but really cute and small!

I love autumn-y treats. And yes, I do eat honey. 

Words of Wisdom from David Cain of Raptitude

(Who Had 7 Reasons He Never Went Vegan)

With a title like “7 Reasons I Never Went Vegan” there is no mystery as to why David Cain’s first piece exploring veganism caught my attention. His writing really spoke to me from the very start. We've all heard plenty of reasons why people choose to go vegan, but not many openly list the full and  honest truth about why they choose not to.  David did. Here’s some background: David's blog Raptitude is about self improvement and human nature. Put that way it that sounds stuffy and snobby but it really isn't. In his words “Raptitude is a blog about getting better at being human.” It is presented as a series of eloquent and honest articles that make you think about the little things you normally wouldn’t and builds on a big picture that the majority of people miss. 

On  Raptitude there are 13 experiments in which David has cast himself a guinea pig for.  They include challenges such as going 21 days without complaining, doing formal meditation for 30 minutes a day and the one that drew me in: trying veganism.  For 30 days. David began this experiment with listing all the reasons why he never went vegan. Many of his reasons resonated for me. They were the whisperings of the meaty-culture we’ve been grown on our whole lives. It was odd to hear them aloud.  And despite the reasons he never went vegan, this omnivorous explorer chose to see how veganism could impact his life.  Read his experiment log now, or see what we talked about after he chose to stay vegan. 

If you could magically inform everyone in the world one thing on the topic of veganism what would you say?

That almost everyone already agrees that it is wrong to inflict suffering on animals in order to pleasure oneself -- just ask them -- and that indulging in animal products is doing exactly that. It is normal in our culture to do so, and to most people that makes it feel okay. If we want to live our values then we have to be unusual in that regard.

What led you to try veganism?

When I turned 30 I realized I was starting to feel older and less healthy, so I wanted to do an experiment on a restrictive diet. I considered the paleo diet and also a totally plant-based diet. Paleo didn't appeal at all, so I went with the other one. I cut out all animal foods for a month and within a few days I felt much better physically and knew I wasn't going back. During that time I absorbed a lot of material on the ethics of using animals (for food and other things) and there was really no question about where to go from here. Eating that way felt right physically, but I also felt much more okay with myself psychologically than I ever had before. I guess I always knew it was wrong, or at least extremely iffy, and getting away from using animals finally let me see that clearly.

Which of your 7 reasons proved to be the biggest obstacle? 

Probably the "asking the waiter 50 questions" one, and the other instances of social awkwardness that it causes. It's really tiresome to have to be constantly explaining yourself, answering the same questions. I'm still learning to negotiate these. The biggest issue is actually not one of my seven reasons, it's an eighth one I never pictured: where to draw the line? When a friend asks me to get him a coffee while I'm at the cafe, do I refuse to ask them to put cream in it? When I am served an animal product my accident, what do I do with it? Having spoken to a lot of vegans now I see everyone has their own policies, and it's hard to know exactly why difference people settle in different places. I'm still trying to figure out my positions.

Which reason turned out to be the silliest worry?

Number 6 -- that the harvest of plants kills animals anyway, so that there's no way to avoid killing, so why bother. I really didn't understand what veganism meant, particularly that there is an enormous amount each of us can do within our own sphere of influence, and if we claim to have any sense or moral responsibility at all, we should be living our values to the extent that we can. None of my seven reasons were really meant to be good reasons. That was sort of the point -- when I tallied them all up, I really had no good reasons not to go vegan.

What resources did you find most useful during your venture?

Vegan readers who chimed in with tips and links and recipes. I was glad to see so many supportive people come out of the woodwork. I had some great cookbooks on hand, like Vegan Yum Yum and the Veganomicon. Sarah Kramer, the author of La Dolce Vegan, even emailed me and congratulated me. is a great group of people too, very helpful with questions from prospective vegans.
If people ask about your diet what is your typical response?

I say I don't eat animal products. If they ask why, I say, "ethical reasons." If they want me to elaborate, I do.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Oreo Cake Adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

I mixed and matched two recipes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World and came up with this!

I baked this for my boyfriend's birthday. I used the simple vanilla cupcake recipe (the oil version) and the cookies and creme variation of the chocolate cupcake. It turned out really well. I didn't take a photo of the inside but I left some pretty large Oreo chunks inside which were delicious and gave the cake a neat effect as it was cut open. I baked it for about 25 minutes and it was nice and moist. I guess turning cupcake recipes into cake ones isn't as hard as I though.

Garden Fresh Pesto & Peppers

This is a quick dinner I had, pesto made from my garden's basil topped with vegan "Parmesan" and some freshly picked peppers.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Vegan Chocolate Chai Frapp

Good for a hot day! I just improvised this but here is a rough recipe.

Crush 4-6 ice cubes in a blender
Blend briefly with 1/2 c darkly steeped iced chai
Add 1-2 tbsp cocoa powder (alternatively use chocolate syrup)
Add 2 tbsp vegan icing (optional, it just makes it smoother and thicker) OR sugar to taste
Top with vegan ice cream & cocoa

Vegan Frozen PIZZA by Tofurky

I came home from a 25km bike ride (the last half of which was nearly entirely up hill) in weather that feels like over 36C with the humidex and felt like a cool and easy lunch. I had just discovered this gem-of-a-fast-food vegan pizza by Tofurky. It's really good!

They use Daiya "cheese" which really does melt. It is fairly cheesy too. It's not so mozzarella-ey, it feels/tastes more like a soft cheese to me but it's not too soft or greasy and the pizza crust stays crisp. I picked this pizza up from Fortinos for only $10. Not too bad for specialty vegan food. It only takes 12 minutes to bake too.  Yay!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Simple Summer Lunch

Faux Chicken Sandwich on Onion Bread with Chipoltle Sauce
I also had some cherries and lemonade.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mama Mayhem's Perfectly Easy No Bake Cookies

I like to make tiny bite sized baked goods. 

These cookies were the first recipe I ever made from Vegan A Go-Go. I even have it archived on the page: "Notes: Enjoyed these cookies with Cam, V and Becca
First Recipe ever (from this book)!" I also wrote that unsweetened peanut-butter works best and that using less sugar and more cocoa would be good. After that it says Crasins? Molasses? Toasted Oats? 

The third time around I think I found my ideal altered recipe. I nearly doubled the cocoa, lessened the sugar and added some oat flakes. I had some friends over and the whole batch was gobbled up quite quickly.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Veganiest of Montreal

I spent 5 days in Montreal and I have to say it is a wonderful city and has a lot to offer for vegans

Our typical breakfast: peanut butter and dried fruit on sliced baguette

Fake drumsticks at our second trip to Yuan

My friend's fake seafood bowl from Yuan

Chili Fries from Aux Vivres Vegan Restaurant

Smoked Meat Sandwich from Aux Vivres

Food at Viva Vegan

A vegan lending library!

Frozen section at Viva Vegan...they had taquitoes!

Delicious banana coconut tart from Viva Vegan

Friday, August 12, 2011

Vegan in Montreal

I'm leaving to Montreal and excited to try some big city vegan eats. I've been recommended some awesome sounding places.

Jill and John of Vegan Backpackers Have a Whole Post on Vegan Places Montreal (click to see!)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

DIY Popsicle

Okay guys so I had a huge craving for a popsicle. And all I had was a bowl of strawberries. And a spoon. And a plastic cup. So now I have a popsicle. It looks dumb. It's delicious.

Pear and Cranberry Tart à la Vegan With a Vengeance

So I got the cookbook Vegan with a Vengeance (woohoo bookstore giftcards!) and have already used it. My grandparents were coming over for dinner and I wanted to make a dessert. We had some marked down pears that no one wanted to eat on their own so I through them into a tart and it was delicious. And I'm not really even a pie person. I was even told someone preferred it to my grandma's tropical cheesecake. That says a lot. She's a dessert master.

Personally the almond extract flavor was what set it apart. Anyway, here is an ugly photo of it.

Sadie's Diner: All Day Vegan Breakfast in Toronto

Sadie's Diner, on 504 Adelaide Street West, is pretty sweet. And their website is a myspace.

Vegan french toast with vegan sausages, hash-browns and cantaloupe
Atmosphere: 9/10 (shabby chic, really cute and unique, but the tables at the front are a bit close together)
Food:8/10 (tasty and generous portions, only down rated because a lot of their food is processed food not made in the restaurant)
Pricing:10/10 (very filling entrees at about $7-12)
Selection: 8/10 (standard home-style options)

So I went to Toronto with some friends for some Kenzington adventures and then a concert but the first place we headed off to was Sadie's Diner. I heard about it at the Veggie Pride Parade and got a handy little coupon...which I lost. I hope it is still kicking around somewhere because I will definitely be going back!

They serve all day breakfast (french toast, tofu scramble, breakfast burrito-esque dishes) as well as more lunch-y things like fries, soups and sandwiches. Their whole menu is at least vegetarian and the majority of it can be veganized. The up-side to having some vegetarian options is that your non-vegan friends won't feel obliged to eat your freaky vegan food. For example this is my friends Huevos Rancheros. But don't fret, they make a vegan version too.

I had the French toast with vegan sausages, and it was pretty damn satisfying, especially for $7. Afterwards I was stuffed... so I proceeded to share some vegan blueberry cheesecake with my friends as dessert. I haven't had cheesecake since I went vegan so it was quite a treat. It was from a box (you can see right into the kitchen) but it was decent. It was quite soft, but hey, give it some credit, it's a cheesecake without any cream cheese. It's a gift of science and innovation.

All and all this place is pretty cool. I kind of love it. And that really says a lot because I had a falling out with home style restaurants when I realized that I can cook. But this place has character. It's a great place to take anyone you want to show that vegans can eat delicious "normal" food, even on a budget. I have to admit it's kind of heartwarming to find a place with a menu filled with vegan options that aren't salads.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I really love pesto. It's a food I've loved ever since I was little. My grandma and I always had it together whenever I came over to her apartment. I had my first pesto pasta dish in awhile the other day and it felt darn good.

Roast some nuts, blend some basil with olive oil and pepper and plop it on some pasta. It's best when the basil is fresh! It's super easy to grow too. Try it!

It be good, you see.

Muffin Toppings

Oatmeal, coconut, brown sugar, cinnamon!

Strawberry Tallcakes à la Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World

This is a big ketchup post! I made these cupcakes for a friend's going away party in June. She's off to live in a house with 10 other people to volunteer and learn French and all kinds of stuff. Anyway, there was a goodbye bash for her and it gave me a good excuse to make fancy cupcakes. 

These cupcakes are awesome because they're not tricky to make, they look quite appealing and last but not least they aren't too sweet. I mean, as far as food porn goes, I love to ogle colourful cupcakes topped with mountains of piped icing, but when it comes to eating icing I find less is more.  Too much icing is just disgusting. For me at least.I like to scrape off the top layer. Anyway, these cupcakes were well liked. The hand picked local berries made them extra delicious.  For the berry filling/sauce I opted out of using maple syrup. It just seemed like it would add an unwanted maple flavor that would ruin the freshness and simplicity of the cupcakes. Instead I mixed agave nectar and berries.

I love decorating cupcakes. It's a shame I always do it too last minute to take good photos but this one gives the idea. I like to bring mini cupcakes to parties and the like because the majority of the time there is an abundance of food and this way more people get to try them too. Plus they're cute. I used to have a mini muffin pan but it somehow went missing. Nowadays I just double cup some tiny cupcake liner-thingies (if you only use one they go wonky shaped) and fill each with about 1 tablespoon of mix. They're done super quick so it's you can decorate them first.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mango-Raspberry Yummies

I made these sherbert/smoothie desserts for my family the other day.

(makes 3)

2 very ripe mangoes
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 cup ice
1/4 cup raspberries (plus some to garnish)
Mint leaves to garnish

1. Cut mango into chunks and freeze them for at least an hour.
2. Blend about 1 cup ice (or more) and set it aside.
3. Blend mangoes until smooth.
4. Add blended ice and blend together briefly.
5. Pour into glasses.
6. Mash or blend about 1/4 cup raspberries with a tablespoon agave nectar.
7. Pour onto mango mixture.
8. Top with raspberries and a fresh mint leaf!

Agave Sweetened Home-made Jam Recipe

I went strawberry picking with my friend's family last week. We picked over 30 quarts! His family are jam enthusiasts and generously sent me home with a box of pectin and some mason jars so I could try my hand at some canning too. 

When I read their recipe I was astounded that it called for 4 cups strawberries and 7 cups sugar! I didn't want to be spreading sugar over my toast all year so I brainstormed some alternatives. I thought of agave nectar and googled it to see if anyone had tried making jam with it before. I got a few recipes (admittedly none of them look too official but I trusted them). I used a mixture of their guidance and the pectin box recipe and came up with some amazing jam.   

Here is the recipe!

Around 5 cups ripe, washed and hulled strawberries*
1 1/4 cup agave nectar (I used amber nectar)
1 box pectin

*Follow the instructions of the pectin box regarding the amount of strawberries.

1. Mash about 5 cups strawberries until you have 4 1/2 cups mash.
2. Mix agave nectar, strawberry mash and 1 standard box of pectin together.
3. Give it a hard boil. Mine needed about 15 minutes to thicken. 
4. Test if it will set by using a spoon left in ice water to scoop out some jam. If it sets in the spoon it's good to go.
5. Scoop into jars for freezer jam or scoop into sterilized jars ( heat jars at 250C while making the jam)  for a longer-lasting shelf jam. If you're trying to preserve it boil some water at the bottom of a pot, tighten the lids of the jars once the jam is in them and boil them with the lids down in the pot for a few minutes. The lids should come out firm or else something has messed up. If the lid isn't firm then the jam won't keep and you should store it in the fridge.

**I'm not sure of the yield. According to the sugar recipe I was supposed to get a whole 4 jars of jam but I only got 1 1/2. I think it's because since I added more liquid (agave nectar) instead of solid (sugar) it had to boil down more.
My witches brew!
I labelled the jam "June agave nectar-strawberry jam" and when I woke up the next day the label was replaced by this! I guess it's a crowd-pleaser at my house. It does well on some vegan french toast too.
Admittedly I did add sugar over the toast too, but it's just because it's fancy orange flavored sugar!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Strawberry Season Smoothie

I picked 3 quarts of strawberries this week.  I love being able to pick my own food and be able to see exactly where it comes from. Today I blended some almond milk with a banana and just over a cup of strawberries. Smoothies are so satisfying.

Chocolate Upside Down Pudding Cake from Vegan a Go-Go

I made this for a last minute birthday cake for my brother. It's funny to make, it feels so weird to pour water onto a cake. It works itself our just like magic though, and becomes a crazy moist decadent cake(that won't look pretty and tastes best warm) !

Friday, June 24, 2011

Banana Bread with Improv Lemon Icing

I just added a few drops of lemon extract into some leftover vanilla icing and slathered it on. 
Celiac friend kept knowingly eating's not gluten free!

Lunch Bagel

Take one bagel, come cucumber, salt, pepper, some vegan margarine. I'm sure you can figure out what to do with it. I know it's ridiculously simple, sometimes I just crave this.

Fricken Ficken Fingers (actually known as PC Blue Menu The World's Best Meatless Breaded Chicken Strips)

I should stop glorifying my processed food.

But these are really good, and must not be understated.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Vegan Kielbasa

       Keilbasa (or kolbasa or kovbasa, klobasa, kolbasi, or even kubasa)  has a tender place in my vegan heart. I have Ukrainian heritage and keilbasa was one of the well loved foods by my extended family. For our fancy Christmas dinner each person would bring one traditional dish: pierogies, borscht, sauerkraut,  fish, and of course kielbasa. We rotated who made each dish every year and the person bringing kielbasa had the easiest job, they would just pick up a huge roll of it from the butcher and cut it up at the hostess' house. It was to be eaten with dinner but I always snuck away with some pieces while it was being prepared. 

Anyway, needless to say it's one of those sentimental foods to me. I never had trouble giving it up when I went vegetarian but I was thrilled to see that a vegan version existed.

This type is made by Tofurky, and oddly enough it's the first time I tried anything from this somewhat infamous vegetarian brand. It's pretty darn good. I mean, it's not really like the style of keilbasa I used to eat, which was larger, less spicy and not in the shape sausage. It's still delicious. I made it on the barbie.I followed the recommendation on the label and made it with some mushrooms, red peppers and onions and laid it atop a toasted kaiser bun . It was a delectable little combination. And easy to make. Hurray for us all!

One last picture for the road!