Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary & Through Being Cool

cedar row farm sanctuary hope

We drove over to Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary last weekend to visit and enjoy the Hope for the Holiday’s celebration. It seems every road trip, big or small involves picking up a coffee or some treats from Through Being Cool (and especially if we leave in the morning.) So we parked right outside the door and picked up a few of their giant donuts, a pain du chocolat for me, and a breakfast pocket for JC, a couple of tasty coffees, pekoe kombucha, and we were on our way. A photo posted by MeShell (@veganinyourcity) on Dec 12, 2014 at 9:00am PST I also noticed some cool packaged items at TBC that would probably make great gifts or at least fun grab and go gifts-for-yourself. Our near weekly roadtrips are fun, because generally I’m not in the car for an extended period of time or at all, and it’s a great opportunity to listen to the Serial podcast in an enclosed space. Google Maps took us down a slightly different, but still exciting trip partially on the usual highways, and partially driving through farmland. The journey is always a semi-sweet experience, because there are so many animal based agricultures throughout the…

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Toronto Vegan Gift Guide 2014

MeShells Toronto Vegan Gift Guide 2014

Every year I really like putting together some of the fun or special things I see in December, there are also a lot of great general vegan gift idea lists that come out around this time, and I will link to them at the bottom of this post. Many vegan businesses and bakeries have special menus available, so you will also see those collected on this page as well as I find them. If you celebrate anything in December, I think it’s especially worth looking locally to find special thing for the special people in your life. We have this amazing community of creators and crafters, bakers and makers, and organizations that are worth supporting this time of year. So this year, yet again, is my totally biased, occasionally random, list of local/GTA/Vegan Gift ideas. You’ll see some repeat names from last year, because they’re still still awesome, but you’ll also see some new faces (because the vegan business community has grown further in 2014.) There are also a variety of holiday themed markets which I will attempt to collect if they have at least one or two vegan-friendly/vegan- enthusiastic vendors. I welcome your suggestions for other local vegan friendly…

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Miyoko’s Kitchen – Vegan Artisanal Cheese

cheese plate

One of the first things that came to mind after I had the opportunity to be in New York for a week last month was ordering a box of Miyoko’s Kitchen artisanal vegan cheeses. Since they don’t (and still don’t) ship to Canada, I’ve been watching people’s unboxing photos with a huge amount of envy, and a touch of heartache. We have a US mailbox, and it briefly crossed my mind to send an order there, but it’s “perishable” so that makes things a bit more complicated. Plus the 2-3 hour drive time to Niagara Falls, plus customs, plus, plus, etc. The doorman at the NYC apartment I was staying at also mentioned they normally don’t accept packages marked as perishable either, so I was glad they did this time (especially since it was the day before American Thanksgiving, and picking up a package that day would have been impossible.) I ordered the “Party Platter” which has the largest assortment of Miyoko’s Kitchen cheeses containing: Double Cream Sundried Tomato Garlic French Style Winter truffle Aged English Sharp farmhouse High Sierra Rustic alpine Fresh Loire Valley in a Fig Leaf and my order contained a limited edition Double Cream Garlic Herb What…

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Ottawa Visit Recap

We recently visited Ottawa and and when we weren’t having lovely elaborate meals at Cafe My House, I was wandering around the city finding things I was curious about, and JC was playing in the Magic Grande Prix across the lake in Gatineau. When I left my hotel that morning I didn’t really have a plan, on where I’d go, or how I’d get there, which I find is a nice way to get around the city. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on what you’re into) ‘there was a Santa Clause Parade in the city that morning so my route became a little less free, and a bit more focused on avoiding the parade. The nice part about this is that it led me to Bridgehead, an Ottawa coffee chain that I wouldn’t mind seeing appear in Toronto someday. They have fair trade coffee (and were one of the first coffee shops in the country to offer such a bean) as well as lots of vegan options for lunch and snacks. It’s extra nice because they can be found in a variety of places around Ottawa, so there is often at least one nice familiar spot around. Coffee in hand, my…

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Hope for the Holidays at Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary

Hope for the Holidays

Oh beautiful wonderful Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary. I cannot recommend visiting a farm animal sanctuary enough. Even if you’re busy, it’s worth making the time to visit these peaceful places of what could be. Cedar Row is one of those truly idyllic farms where animals are loved and treated with respect and have sanctuary. Especially if you are feeling burnt out or feeling a bit down about life or the world or anything along those lines. It’s a place of healing, and that’s not just limited to the non-human animals that live there. Whenever I visit, I learn something. Something about myself, something about the way people, and especially children, interact with animals, or something new about the personalities of the animals that live there. It’s peaceful and centering to just visit and just be. Sitting down with a turkey or watching Chickpea watch me with her deep soulful eyes. I learn to avoid the goose. I’m reminded of how much I like goats – and of course, how much I relate to them. And I leave knowing that while we can’t save everyone, the animals at Cedar Row are safe. They are loved. They have a place to exist and knowing that…

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Ottawa – Day one – Cafe My House

cafe my house

Last weekend we drove into Ottawa for the weekend so JC could play in a Magic the Gathering competition, and so I could wander around the nation’s capital and hopefully find a stamp museum. I haven’t been back to Ottawa for nearly a decade, but it’s still one of my favourite places. At least it has been one of my favourite places in theory for years, but despite living a mere 5 hours away in Toronto these days, it’s still the first time I’ve visited. First of all, I have to first mention the lovely time we had at the Marriott in downtown Ottawa on Kent Street. I feel as though my negative hotel experiences, even in places that should be nice, outweigh my positive ones, that it’s worth mentioning. Their web ordering was straightforward, I asked for a feather-free room and got it without any issue, extra foam pillows were brought up, service was friendly and courteous, and the room was lovely. Not super huge or opulent, but just enough to keep us cozy and comfortable. Any suggestions for fun stuff to do and eat in Ottawa? Especially related to #vegan stuff, #zine stuff, & history nerd stuff? I…

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Lazy Vegan Friday – So Delicious CocoWhip

So Delicious Coco whip

I’m in New York City right now, and one of the things I love doing whenever I’m in the USA is finding products we don’t have in Toronto. A few months ago I started seeing So Delicious‘ CocoWhip appearing on friends’ and bloggers Instagram feeds and knew… I must try some. So my opportunity came this week when I saw one of the varieties (the regular variety with the blue label, as opposed to “light” in the pink label) at a Whole Foods (the one at Columbus Circle) in New York City. It has always been strange to me that “non-dairy” whipped toppings would have dairy ingredients like casein, a milk protein, (usually in the form of sodium caseinate) or other things, but it’s nice to have a similar product from So Delicious that is actually 100% dairy free. I’ve had some disappointing experiences with non-dairy dairy-filled whipped toppings, so here is hoping So Delicious brings this product to Canada sometime soon. Especially since MimicCreme has disappeared from our shelves (Since the company closed in November 2013 due to no longer having access to an appropriate production facility), and sometimes I just want an easy to use tub of whipped topping…

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Roadtrip 2014: Hello Again Saskatoon.

I’m catching up on posting all of our Roadtrip adventures from the summer. This is shortly after Riding Mountain National Park near Winnipeg, Manitoba, we were there at around the last week of July 2014. After a couple of lovely days at riding Mountain National Park we decided to drive into Saskatoon. JC had never been to Saskatoon, where as I lived there for four years during university. And I tried to like it, even when it was so cold the buses weren’t running, but the university was still open. I liked it, because it was so easy to dislike it. Too easy. Too easy to complain, and too easy to sit at home. And I’m stubborn. I found the things that made me happy. I created the things that made me happy, and to some extent I still feel connected to the city with my work helping out SCAT Street Cat Rescue. I feel protective over Saskatoon, and the Prairies. As someone that’s now an outsider – Saskatoon seems to have only gotten better with time, and in my absence I’ve watched it grow from afar, with new vegan-friendly businesses & restaurants, an active and evolving arts community, and…

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Lazy Vegan Friday. Sweet Earth Seitan Bacon (review)

Sweet Earth Hickory Sage Smoked Seitan

Last month we were in Detroit, and visited their Whole Foods, where we bought a bunch of things unavailable in Canada, and took them back home with us (or snacked on them immediately.) One of those things was Sweet Earth Hickory & Sage Smoked Seitan Bacon. The funny thing about buying this was that the checkout person was super excited about it, said she had never seen it before, and that it looked so good. But then she said something that made us pause and say wait a minute. “I’d eat this, but I’ve given up bacon…” We realized she thought it was an animal product. JC told her… “it’s actually vegan.” And then she was even more excited about it. The style and colour of the package was what initially attracted me to it. It looked like a pretty traditional product, and since it was something I didn’t recognize in the plant-meat section I had to take a closer look. Much later, I remembered that I had seen them at ExpoWest earlier this year where they first launched this product (but I don’t think I sampled any at that time though.) Anyway, fast forward to a few weekends ago when…

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Things I Love Thursday – Community

Things I Love Thursday 2

It’s been a tough week – not so much on me, I’m far removed from it, but it’s still kind of tough to be on the other side of the country. My dad went in for surgery earlier this week, but it sounds like everything is going fine. I’m left thinking about how I’m so far away and how nice it would be to be “home” during this time – where home is with my parents in Edmonton instead of my new home, with my chosen family – JC, Emmie, Kes, Marmo (aka Football), and our ever changing motley crew of foster cats. It would be nice to be able to visit the hospital and chat and annoy my father directly, but conveniently, cell phones are no longer banned in the hospital, or at least not in his ward, so I can call and bother him all I want (so I do). So this Thursday, one of the things I love is Family. My collections of families; genetic, chosen, by-marriage, the digital world of connections, the feline family that has chosen me. I feel lucky to have it all.  Even when I don’t always particularly like them all… I love them all.…

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