I live in Toronto with my partner JC, our brand new son, our three cats, and usually a few foster 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.

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…

Read more

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…

Read more

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…

Read more

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…

Read more

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…

Read more

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.)…

Read more

VeganMoFo 2018 – Potato Kibbeh

One of my favourite indulgences is books. Especially kids books, and one of my favourite places to get them is Another Story Bookshop on Roncesvalles in Toronto. Yesterday I popped in to pick up a pre-order, and a few other books for our son, on the way out by the check out – on their fantastic and ever changing cookbook wall – they had Vegan Recipes from the Middle East by Parvin Razavi, so I bought it. Flipping through was delightful, there were lots of colourful pictures and mostly straightforward recipes, and broken up into 6 sections by regions of the middle east. There are desserts and drinks and mains and appetizers, and they all look inviting and attainable – but what immediately jumped out at me was the Potato Kibbeh (on page 100), and I just knew I’d be making it today. I started the day off by throwing a bunch of potatoes in the instant pot so I could steam them for a few recipes I have planned for this week. The recipe for Potato kibbeh was easy to follow – I left the skin on the potatoes and mashed them, then mixed them with soaked bulgar wheat, grated onion, spices, and threw it in the oven for about an hour. It was delicious – the cinnamon and mint flavours were subtle, but swirled together with the onion and danced on my tongue. The bulgar potato combo was texturally fun, as was the crisp crust of the kibbeh.…

Read more

Vegan Mofo 2018 – Let’s Talk about Moon.

I’d like to dedicate this whole post to someone that has helped my family eat better for nearly an entire year. Have you checked out the meal plans from Things2Eat? Because if you follow me on instagram, you may notice me mention this a few times – since I am a super fan and it has changed my life for the better. There were days when I would spend hours (not joking) trying to find a recipe that speaks to me, only to bail and order delivery because I got annoyed with the copious options, and an inability to decide on just one thing. That or we didn’t have the one special ingredient needed. And needless to say, that was frustrating. Then, around a year ago, the things2eat blog comes along, with great recipe ideas, and if you sign up for her newsletter, she even includes a shopping list and a weekly plan of attack for the whole thing. Life. Changing. We just wait for Moon’s email on Friday – with a shopping list, and load up click and collect, and voila. We’ve got most of the ingredients we need, for the meals we want to eat, and can start prepping on the weekend, or make food day by day. I appreciate the people that share recipes a whole bunch, but someone distilling recipes down into a cohesive weekly meal plan? For free? That’s just heart eyes all the way out. So I recommend you follow along and definitely sign…

Read more

Vegan MoFo 2018 – Potato Pancakes

In the last few days, I’ve made three different types of pancakes. On Friday, our son asked for pancakes for breakfast, so I made a few. One of our favourite recipes for regular pancakes is the “Perfect Pancakes” from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Vegan Brunch. After finding it online a few times, we eventually had to pick it up, as it’s full of wonderful ideas for breakfast. These pancakes are fool proof, straightforward, and I suspect anyone can make them and have them turn out incredible. Since I was making pancakes anyway, I decided it was the perfect time to make potato pancakes while I was at it. So I grated a few potatoes, rinsed and pressed them to reduce moisture, and put them in a bowl. One of the things I like to do with potatoes for pancakes is to grate them in two different ways – because potatoes are great at binding themselves together (heyo starch) – so I use the biggest side on a box grater for three potatoes and then the finest side for one. Then I add about 1/4-1/2 cup of chickpea flour, salt, pepper, and a touch of garlic or onion powder – followed by a 1/8 of a cup of the pancake batter put into a hot pan. And voila, we’re in potato pancake town. BONUS I have been reading No Kimchi For Me by Aram Kim to our son quite often lately, and at the back of the book there is a recipe…

Read more

VeganMoFo 2018 – Macaroni and Potato cheese

Have vegans gone too far? Cheese made from potatoes? It’s clearly mayhem over here you know. Last night our son pulled a package of twirly pasta out of the cupboard and asked us to make something with it – so we did. I’ve been thinking about this cheesy sauce for a while so while we were talking about dinner ideas, I sent over this recipe from Veggie on a Penny to our family slack channel and voila, we had dinner in progress. (made by JC) It’s pretty incredible what textures are possible with the help of the very humble potato, and the texture you don’t necessarily want in a soup, lends itself quite well to something like a cheese analogue. I wouldn’t say this is cheesy in a share with all the non-vegans and new-vegans you know immediately, but it’s a nutritional yeast based cheese, and our toddler was very enthusiastic about the flavour (and I really liked it too.) It is easy to just throw the potatoes and carrots in a pressure cooker, if you have one, it will just take a bit more time, but it will still turn out great. You could also try this variation with sweet potatoes and cashews from Dr Pamela Fergusson, an RD that used to live in Toronto. The one thing I would like to experiment with with this recipe in the future is adding some pureed white beans to the sauce to increase the protein and nutrients, ideally without changing the…

Read more