I live in Toronto with my partner JC, our son, and 3 cats. I like technology, vegan food, travelling, and lots of other things. For more information about MeShell, JC, Emmie, Kes, or Marmie, visit our About page.

Some Toronto Vegan Businesses Doing Delivery/Pickup during Covid19 Social Distancing.

Hello, hope you are doing as well as possible. It’s been a heck of a few months, and I know many of us have been impacted in a variety of ways. It’s hard to imagine how drastically things have changed in a short period of time – I like to think we’re all in this together, and that it will be over someday, but I know that it hasn’t been impacting people equally. Shout outs to the people keeping us healthy, keeping us fed, and keeping the city moving. We are lucky that we live in a city where a variety of online/socially distant grocery options already existed before people had to pivot to offering them. We’ve been doing an online order – grocery pick up thing for a few years, if only because synchronizing our schedules and wrangling a toddler made grocery shopping challenging in the best of times. Anyway, I’ve been worried about a few small businesses making it through this, and I also wanted to share a few suggestions for sources of some levity during this time. If it’s accessible to you – support local stores and shops, some are doing pickup, some are open, and some are doing delivery. I’ve felt so much more comfortable going into my small local store than larger chains right now. First of all, if you haven’t signed up for one of FoodShare Toronto‘s produce delivery boxes, you might want to consider it. They’ve just recently added Alternative Grounds fair-trade coffee,…

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Basil Box – Tasty, Fast & Fresh

I had the opportunity to go to The Basil Box for the first time this week, and I really liked it. I checked out their website in advance and noticed they had a bunch of great looking vegan sauces, and a tasty looking tofu option – I was really happy to see how easy it was to order a vegan meal with them. Everything is clearly labelled V for vegan-friendly, and everything is gluten free by default. It was quick and easy to order and I think it would be a decent option for our whole family (toddler included). First you chose a base – which can be brown rice, jasmine white rice, rice noodles, mixed greens or a mix of a couple different bases. When I was ordering I went with the long grain jasmine rice, but for my next bowl I would probably do rice and mixed greens. Next you pick two veggies (all of the options are vegan by default) so there are sauteed peppers, roasted onions and peas, lemongrass corn, roasted edamame, and charred sweet potato. I was tempted by that sweet potato, but went with edamame and sauteed peppers for a colourful mix. They have one main vegan protein option – a coconut curry tofu, which is a nice pressed extra firm tofu marinated in one of their own Basil Box made curry pastes and coconut milk. The owner mentioned they are testing a couple other vegan protein options, so there might be more in…

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Toronto Vegfest 2019

We made it to Toronto’s Vegfest, this will be my 8th year attending. I think I might have missed a year somewhere along the line, but I’m there pretty much every year. The past week was spent cottaging in Muskoka, and we got back mid-way on Saturday so I wasn’t sure if we’d make it this year. Plus if I’m going to be honest with you, I was kind of avoiding it – it’s a big and busy festival with lots of people, but we did make it, and grabbed some good food. These aren’t all the highlights of our time, but it’s some of the stuff I tried, bought, or saw at VegFest. First of all, Wandering Deli was at VegFest this year, and I wanted to mention that Wandering Deli is going to open a vegan cheese shop. There is an Indigogo campaign, so you could click over there and check it out. View this post on Instagram Our first vegfoodfest Saturday went pretty well! Chatted with so many new folks, saw some beloved market regulars come out, finally met some other much admired cheesemakers, had the best helper ( thank you so much to our former biz partner and forever friend James for helping us today!!!) The future of this winding path is looking pretty lovely. #hooorayforvegancheese A post shared by Wandering Deli (@wanderingdeli) on Sep 7, 2019 at 7:29pm PDT I’ve been happy to follow along with their cheese making journey (as a happy customer) for…

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Udupi Palace – Consistently Great & Kid Friendly

It’s become increasingly more important to me that a place be kid friendly when we go out to eat as a family. That can’t be surprising, we have a three year old, and since he was born, our eating habits have changed. Sometimes that involves eating at home more often (also including delivery), sometimes that involves suffering through long waits and an impatient tiny human. It’s not like we’re not feeling impatient too, it’s just easier to pretend you like waiting when you’re a adult. There is one place in the city that stands out as having nearly everything we want, while still allowing us the experience of dining out – Udupi Palace. We rarely go to the east end (though there are more and more reasons to do so) but Udupi Palace is worth the drive/transit ride. They have a great little kids play area that is probably suitable for anyone under the age of 6, lots of high chairs of various sizes, they have a changing station in the back, the staff are kind and patient with children (and adults), and the food is awesome. Every time. I have this bonus fondness for Udupi because we went there a lot when I was pregnant too – the spicy rassam was exactly what I wanted to eat during the third trimester. Plus JC reminded me that it was also one of the first restaurants I took him to when we met – and one he had never been to,…

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A Weekend in Montreal

I went away to Montreal with a friend last month. We took the train from Toronto, and it was just a lovely little trip all around – it was the first time I’d been away from our son for so long, and it was nice to have a bit of time away, but still hard and a bit of an adjustment. After the five hour train ride into Central Station, we walked over to LOV for a late dinner. It was a Friday night, so unsurprisingly, they were busy, but luckily could accommodate us after only a short wait. We basically ordered one of each of their appetizers – i.e., just living the dream. For me, the standouts were the nachos and the french onion soup. But I liked the brussels sprouts quite bit too. If you live in Toronto, you might be interested to know that LOV is opening a location here as well (aiming for May 2019 at King & Portland.) After we took advantage of the beautiful weather and walked over to our AirBNB and went to sleep in preparation for an action packed tomorrow. I’d made reservations at Le Parloir for afternoon tea earlier that week, and it was lovely. Like really lovely. To get there we walked through Parc la Fontaine, and saw people enjoying the day – there is a great looking hill for tobogganing and some random pieces of public art like this Acorn Slingshot. The funny thing about taking a vacation away…

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Favourite Vegan Instant Pot Recipes

Hello there, did you just get an instant pot? Are you wondering what to do with it? I am here for you. Here are 10 of my favourite instant pot recipes. We have had an instant pot for a few years, and at first, I was totally scared of pressure cookers, but the instant pot made it easy and fun. Having one helped us make food that was deeply satisfying and flavourful with a quarter of the time or effort (or without much of the advanced planning required for using a slowcooker.) I’m especially keen on the more soupy/stew-y type meals, but you’re not limited to that with the instant pot or other pressure cookers, there are a wide variety of recipes to choose from. 1. Vegan Richa’s – Lasagna Soup I could just make a list of all of my favourite Vegan Richa recipes for the instant pot, but that would be silly because I haven’t had one I didn’t like. They’re always amazing, and every single one is full of flavour and with varying levels of ease. You can also check out her own list of 20 Vegan instant pot recipes. This lasagna soup is something we go back to often. It’s super easy, fast, and doesn’t take much planning or work. It is one of the best things to just throw in the pot, and get on with your evening, but it’s also great for any level of advance meal planning too. Be vigilant about getting this off…

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Vegan Hanukah Menu Planning

I spend a lot of time thinking up ideas for special events at our house – and I tend to go a bit overboard. We are a family of three, and very rarely, are we accompanied by my in-laws. They have additional dietary restrictions to consider that can be a bit more challenging to accommodate – non-vegan keto – so when we eat together, it takes a little bit of planning to make sure everyone has something to eat. It’s also kind of fun working with additional restrictions because it changes things up, and usually makes us try something new. We’ve been doing a couple of things to try and encourage family to come over, so instead of dinners, we try to do breakfasts or brunches and invite people over when they’re less likely to have other things going on. Vegan Hanukkah Brunch Tofu Scramble Bagels Lox (carrot or tomato) Quick pickled purple onion Potato Pancakes Zucchini Cauliflower Pancakes Macaroons Vegan cheese plate A bunch of cream cheese – Miyokos (we picked some up from Summerhill Market in Toronto), Tofutti, and maybe some homemade cashew based.) I like the idea of help yourself buffet style brunch. Put a bunch of serving dishes out with food on them, some plates, and people find a place to sit and chat around the house. Tofu Scramble – If you follow me on instagram or facebook, you know my endless love for Hot for Food’s Perfect Tofu Scramble, it is always excellent. The combination…

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Rivière-du-Loup, PQ – Café L’Innocent and Parc des Chutes

After Quebec City, we made a pit stop in Rivière-du-Loup – just to grab lunch and stretch our legs for the next part of our trip. Luckily, Café L’Innocent was there for us. It’s a funky artsy space with indoor and outdoor seating – and it’s conveniently located within a 10 minute walking distance of Parc des Chutes – a beautiful park with a waterfall (that is also a hydroelectric generator) and hiking trails for varying abilities. We started our visit at the cafe and ordered some of their vegan things, they have things labelled on the menu as to what is or can be made vegan, and ordering was straightforward and our server was very helpful. JC went in before us to ask about vegan options and the server was enthusiastic and friendly about it, which made us extra happy to stay. JC really wanted poutine before we, voila, they had a vegan one. It was a different take on poutine, and had VegNature chèvre slices on top (which is based in Quebec city) and JC liked it. I was too focused on my falafel burger to steal too much of his food. I was really feeling the falafel burger, and the kiddo really like the hummus and falafel plate. We had our fill of the delicious food, and then went for a walk over to the nearby Park. We went back to Rivière-du-Loup on the way back as well, and visited the same park – it’s just such…

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Toronto – Rosalinda

Rosalinda opened earlier this year in May, and I’ve been a handful of times. Sometimes just to grab a snack and a drink at the bar (totopos!), sometimes with friends, sometimes on a date, sometimes with a group. It’s good for all of those things. And Rosalinda has turned into one of my favourite fancy-casual type places in the city. Seating is ample (138-seats) – the space feels huge – especially by Toronto restaurant standards. If you go during the day, it’s full of bright natural light, and a mix of pretty green fake and (maybe?) real plants throughout the space. Lots of windows, lots of intimate corners to sit in. They have these great mini booths for two people, and bigger booths at the back, and I feel like the seats are well spaced. Last month someone I knew sat next to me, and we were spaced far enough away that we didn’t realize it until one of us got up and came back. The food is always good. Every time. I’ve never had anything that I felt wasn’t well thought out – though I don’t love everything, that’s personal preference, not poor execution. At this point I’ve tried most of the menu, and I find myself gravitating towards the same things. Appetizers My favourite appetizers to share (or not share) are the mushroom potato flautas and the chilaquiles rojos. Over and over again, these two have stood out. They’re both beautifully spiced and flavourful with a great combination…

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Meal Prep Monday – Autumnal as Heck

I’ve been getting into making meals in advance for the last few months, but haven’t really been sticking too it too intently, I’ve mentioned Things2Eat a lot, but it’s helped me learn how to cook more regularly – and making sure we have all the ingredients for recipes helps. So mostly following along with the October 7th plan, Here we go: I’ve decided to make four out of the five items: Fall Harvest Bowls from Eating Bird Food Aloo Gobi (with bonus chickpeas) from Jessica in the Kitchen (which is turning into one of my favourite food blogs) Thai curry pumpkin soup based on this recipe from Running on Real Food (with bonus chickpeas) Cajun Cauliflower Bowl (but I made it with lots of vegetable oil), skipping the green beans, and adding shredded shawarma spiced chickwheat. Today I’ve made/prepped: Pumpkin carrot muffins (a few with chocolate chips.) Thai spiced pureed roasted pumpkin coconut soup with chickpeas chickpea, cauliflower and potato curry. tahini apple cider dressing for fall harvest bowls Couscous (for harvest bowls (in lieu of quinoa) and cajun cauliflower bowls) roasted butternut squash (for lunchtime harvest bowls) washed and dried kale for fall harvest bowls shawarma-spiced chick wheat (for cajun cauliflower bowls) lime tahini dressing for Cajun Cauliflower Bowl chickwheat with 1/2tsp allspice, 1/2tsp cinnamon, and 1/2tsp nutmeg I suspect the plan will be to order delivery one day this week, or to make tacos (as I made sure to have all the necessary ingredients on hand for those for easy lunches.)…

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