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.

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.…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Vegan MoFo – Spicy and Sour Shredded Potatoes (Tu Do Si)

Many years ago, I stayed in the student residence a few semesters of my university studies, and one of my roommates was an international masters student from northern China – she was studying chemistry and taking English, and we would talk about food when we’d run into each other in the common area. Eventually we got more intentional about it and decided to share meals – when she found out I was vegan, she made this spicy and sour shredded potato dish. It was one I had never had before, and it would start an obsession with this one dish I didn’t know I needed in my life. I’d sit with her in the kitchen while she hand julienned potatoes, and then soaked them in cold water, followed by stir frying them with oil and chilis. The most complicated part was the julienning and I don’t think I even knew what a mandolin was back then. I wish I had taken a picture of what she made, but eventually years later, I bought myself a mandolin and I started making this dish at home myself. Then more recently, we were travelling in PEI, and we went to Noodle House, a restaurant in Charlottetown and they had hot and spicy shredded potatoes right on the menu(along with several other vegetarian options), and you better believe I was jumping up and down about it. (and of course I ordered it.) Every one is different, but it still filled me with nostalgia, and brought…

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VeganMoFo – Potato Lasagna

There are a couple of things I’ve been especially looking forward to making this month, and one of those things was a potato lasagna. But not one where it just happens to be an ingredient, but one where the potato is really centred in the dish – where you take slices of potatoes, and pretend they are noodles. Maybe that’s just a potato casserole, but I’m going to call it lasagna anyway. JC once made an incredible rustic bread lasagna from a recipe on Vegan Yum Yum and ever since my lasagna definition has expanded to include zucchini noodles and beyond. Having access to a mandolin makes this dish easier, but you can definitely just thinly slice up potatoes – but the thickness is important because the potatoes have to be around 2.5 mm or less to properly cook through once you’ve got several layers going. We picked up a 10 pound bag of potatoes when we were in Prince Edward Island last month, which I consider the home of excellent Canadian potatoes, and I was excited to use them in this tasty dish. The nice thing is that if you cut up too many slices for your pan size, you can always just mix the potato slices with some garlic salt, oil, and roast on a flat sheet with the lasagna, and everyone is a winner. This lasagna is topped off with Somer McCowans wonderful cashew mozzarella, which you can find on her recipe for individual pizzas – but you…

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Veganmofo 2018 – Baked Potato Soup

I love baked potatoes, I love soup, I love baked potato soup. It’s a creamy flavourful and thick soup that just feels like a warm hug on a cool day. Just waiting to be made in the fall as the days get cooler and shorter. But of course, it’s September in Toronto and that means it’s still just under 30 degrees celsius (that’s 80F if you’re using it) so this soup is ahead of its time today, but I’ve been thinking about this soup for weeks and it just couldn’t wait for another day. This recipe is inspired by the work of Guy Fieri and his fully loaded baked potato soup, but obviously veganized. It’s not terribly complicated, but can be, depending on how you’re feeling – I started by washing and roasting the potatoes, because they take the longest to finish – around 45 minutes – and it gave me time to do other soup related tasks. Baking them is absolutely worth it though – the added complexity of flavour is a delight. Vegan Magic is a vegan bacon grease type product made in Toronto, and available worldwide. To find out if it’s available near you, check out their website, but if you want to make your own, The Gentle Chef has you covered too with his recipe for Bacun Grease. One of the things that I like to do with soups that allow for it, is to add mashed beans for extra protein – especially in a soup…

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Vegan MoFo 2018 – Lets talk about fries.

So french fries are a common inside joke in veganism, because once upon a time, it was the only thing we could eat out and about – and of course, it’s still occasionally the case. Impassioned online and offline discussions have happened related to fries and whether they are vegan or not, if the oil is shared, or McDonalds’s fries in Canada vs the USA, and whether they are healthy or should be included in veganism at all. Well, as you may already know, I think all plant based foods should be welcome under the umbrella of veganism, since food can be a joy and a pleasure as well as something that nourishes us. Fries can be wonderful. Fries don’t have to be a terrible joke all the time either – sometimes, they can be a happy one. My travels around have taught me that. Have you ever gone on a road trip and stopped at a chip truck in a small town? This wasn’t something I was familiar with living in the prairies, but once I moved to Ontario – chip trucks were a fairly common sight. And you could get fries – in a styrofoam box or paper bag, and eat it on the side of the highway while listening to the passing big rigs. Maybe big rigs are not your scene – but as I have learned over the past few months – some toddlers love trucks – and my toddler loves trucks, so watching them drive…

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VeganMofo 2018 – Day Zero – A Month of Potatoes

We travelled through Canadian potato country this summer – notably PEI and New Brunswick – which is not to say that other provinces don’t grow potatoes, just that when I think of Canadian potatoes, I definitely think of PEI first. We went to potato museums, and ate french fries, and baked potatoes, and potatoes every which way and it was my scene. Now, I love potatoes all the time, I there are so could eat them for every meal, for weeks, and never get tired, because they are so diverse and versatile and delicious. Potatoes have an important part of my cultural history and my dreams, and I want to celebrate that for the duration of VeganMoFo starting tomorrow. So for September, I’m going to talk about potatoes, and the various awesome things about them. If you’re interested, you can learn about how and where they grow, some methods of preparation that might be new to you, and a quick journey around the world of (vegan or veganized) potato preparations – including kopytki, potato pancakes, aloo tiki, potato curry, batata harra, spicy sour julienned potatoes , colcannon potatoes, papas a la huancaina, potato blini, babka ziemniaczana, gnocchi, atakilt wat, and more. I am also hoping to do a couple of round ups of some of my favourite potato related veganmofo posts (past and present.) I hope you’re as excited about VeganMofo as I am, and I am looking forward to reading and playing along. You can find me participating on…

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Quebec City, PQ – Wandering, History, & Les Gourmandes Louca

While we were in Quebec City, we stayed at a lovely airbnb and enjoyed the sights and sounds of old Quebec. There are some incredible urban climbs in Quebec City, but thankfully you are rewarded by the  accompanying grand views of the city and the St. Lawerence river. We got a lot of exploring done – even during our relatively short visit. On our first day there, we visited the Governors Promenade, which also has a 300 step staircase where you can see a beautiful view of the river, and of Levis, the city across the St. Lawerence. We wandered through Vieux- Quebec, and it’s so easy to enjoy the old and winding streets, full of history and incredible architecture. Just walking around without a specific destination in mind is a pleasure, because you will inevitably stumble upon something that sparks your interest. This area is also home to several National Historic Sites, a UNESCO world heritage site, and the majestic Chateau Frontenac (which is a hotel you can even stay at if you want to be in the middle of everything, and a few hundred dollars a night.) Randomly, there were Dali sculptures being displayed and sold outside (in case you’re wondering… we didn’t buy any of them…) When it was time to grab a meal somewhere, we decided to check out Les Gourmandises LOUCA, a zero waste, vegan restaurant and grocery. They have reusable containers you can take for your to-go items, a variety of bulk foods, and…

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