6th Annual Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake Off in Toronto

This weekend was the 6th Annual Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake Off, and it was bigger than ever. Every year I go, I have to think about the first one I went to at Harbourfront Community Center (the Third one.) I was so excited, since I had never been to a bake off before, let alone a vegan one at that point. These days, the idea that I only got ONE plate at my first one doesn’t even make sense, but I’ve learned my lesson. This year, the Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake Off was held at Daniels Spectrum in Regent Park. I liked that it got some of us east of Yonge Street for a few hours, and I really like that it was at a venue that was non-denominational and has actively tried to be accessible to people with varying levels of mobility and socioeconomic status, AND has been a great spot for local social and food justice events, meetings, and activities. In a moment of excellent pre-planning, JC and I brought along a blanket to sit on, and I purchased the maximum tickets allowed as early as possible before we even knew if we could go to the Bake Off or would be in the city. Either way, it’s a fun event, and we knew the money would be going to a good cause. We got to the venue early (we thought) but if there is anything I’ve learned – vegans like bake offs, and at around 1:30 there was…

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Through Being Cool Vegan Bakery in Toronto – New!

So the vegan internet has been a buzz about Through Being Cool Vegan Bakery opening up to the public this weekend. You might have tried Through Being Cool baked goods before at other places around the city – I know I’ve eaten some delicious examples of their skills a few times at Disgraceland. Unfortunately, I was out of the city for an organizing meeting at a cottage this weekend (okay – it’s not really that unfortunate), so I missed TBC’s opening day on Sunday, September 29th,  But JC was kind enough not only to bring home a box of donuts and whoopie pies, but took a bunch of pictures too so i didn’t feel like I missed out. What a sweetie. Of course, on Monday I was in the area (and made sure I was in the area) picking up my wedding dress (ack), so I walked over to Through Being Cool and checked it out. However stressful and cumbersome it is to travel around with a large dress bag as a non car-driver, donuts help and felt like a natural pairing at that moment. It’s quite a lovely space, but don’t take my word for it. Go there yourself. First thing I noticed when I walked in were the shelves covered in preserves. There is ketchup, BBQ Sauce, as well as varieties of pickled vegetables, mustards, and sauces. TBC uses Anchored Coffee in house, and also sells several bagged varieties. Anchored is an ethical coffee project/roaster out of Nova Scotia…

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A first taste from Fran Costigan’s Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts

I love chocolate. So when I heard about Fran Costigan’s Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts  and found out the talented Kate Lewis would be the photographer, while I knew this book would be great recipes paired with a collection of beautiful food porn to drool over. Their updates on facebook and instagram related to the book had already made that feel inevitable. Recently, I had the opportunity to take a peek at a few review pages and I was right. From what I can see, this is going to be a beautiful book, with with full colour photographs accompanying every recipe.  The desserts seem to pop deliciously off the page/my screen, so I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product when it’s released in late October 2013. Since there was one complete recipe included for the Chocolate Pecan Cranberry Coffee Cake (and four partials) I decided to make it for dessert one evening. The recipe was multi-step and multi-part, but was logically organized which helped to make this cake a breeze. I found nearly all the ingredients I needed in one place (WEFC) and got started. We ended up with an amazing coffeecake for dinner, breakfast, and snacks for several days. It is delicious straight out of the oven (but what isn’t?) but more telling is that that it retained the same fluffy tasty qualities after a few days. The test of a great cake? I think so. Chocolate used: Camino Cocoa Powder, and Chocosol You can see some of…

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Philadelphia Trip – In the Beginning – Govinda’s and Sweet Freedom

We arrived in Philadelphia bright and early on Saturday morning, taking the overnight bus from Toronto starting at 7pm. After successfully navigating the transit system to our hotel downtown, checking in, and showering – JC still made it to his card game nerd festival (okay it was the Magic Grand Prix, and I think he did quite well.) And I began plotting my day. First stop, a cup of tea and a bath. Next I plotted out my way to Sweet Freedom Bakery and Govinda’s (both happen to be on the same street.) People were walking around in full costume – since it was almost Halloween, there was a brewers conference happening, AND there was an open house at the art institute. So walking down S. Broad street was a total treat. Much like Toronto, Philadelphia has a vibrant street art collection, but in the form of sanctioned murals (and minimal graffiti/street art.) You can see this all over the city, and across from Sweet Freedom Bakery at the World Communications Charter School was the beginning of The Roots Mural Project. The project is in honor of (Philly’s own) Award-winning music group, The Roots. I thought about them when the wind and rain started to pick up, hopefully they still managed have a great time while they could. I visited Sweet Freedom Bakery (1424 South Street, Philadelphia, PA) the last time I was in Philadelphia, and it was pretty great, so I had to visit again. It’s still the nice…

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The Lovemuffin Bakery: Vegan delivery in Toronto

I have ordered from the lovemuffin bakery twice so far. I’m going to say something, and know that I’m very serious when I do. I am over cupcakes. If I never see another cupcake again, I would be okay with that. Muffins are the new cupcake. I felt the same joy and excitement when I saw the big white cake box on our deck as my first order. Long days at work make me lazy, general laziness makes me lazy, so I’m glad services like Tiffinday, Green Earth Organics, and the lovemuffin bakery exist. It’s nice to not have to worry about making or going out for lunch, or to just come home to a box of organic produce or a box of freshly baked cookies and muffins (or recently – quinoa puttanesca and vegan chili.) When I arrived, it was on our deck – ready, and waiting to be opened and eaten. The box and paper bag look a little strange because I intentionally and poorly edited out our address. I first discovered this delivery bakeshop via twitter/facebook, but ultimately what won out was they donated cookies to a bake sale at Pet Value raising funds for Homeless Cat Rescue, and we decided to drive out and try it. Totally proving that having an engaging online presence, supporting worthwhile causes, and making an awesome product go hand in hand in hand to build up a brand. Okay, and now I’ll take off my marketing hat.

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Tori’s Bakeshop – Vegan & Glutenfree Friendly Bakery

So like I mentioned yesterday I was really excited about Tori’s Bakeshop (2188 Queen St. East, Toronto) opening. A gluten-free friendly vegan bakery that opened yesterday in The Beaches. The gluten-free aspect isn’t really relevant to me, but the vegan part is. And sure, it’s premature to really review this place, since the first day isn’t indicative of what it’ll be like on the everyday. BUT, that said, I thought their first day was great. I sat at work all day looking forward to finally trying something Tori’s Bakeshop. I didn’t care what, I just wanted to try something. And try stuff I did. They were running low on treats, because of an unexpectedly large amount of customers (sure, they made three day’s worth of food, but come on, vegans, foodies, gluten free people – three groups that love to eat when they actually can.)

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Sweet and Spicy Cornbread Muffins

I think cornbread might be one of my favourite foods, I’ve tried it in so many different varieties, sweet, spicy, salty, grilled, toasted, and everyone one of them has qualities I just love. This recipe is for sweet and spicy cornbread muffins. They make a great morning snack and pair wonderfully with the chili recipe I made the other day. Sweet and Spicy Cornbread Muffins 1 cup of flour 1 cup of corn meal 1/2 tsp salt 3 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda Egg replacer equivalent to 2 eggs (I used ground flax seed seed) 1/4 cup of vegetable oil 1/2 cup sugar or sugar substitute 1 1/4 cup soy milk 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or thawed works great) 1 tsp paprika (or less, depending on your comfort level) pinch of red pepper flakes Note: I was making giant muffins (it’s a large tin of 6) so my timing and temperature might not work for you. Just increase the temperature and shorten the time for a smaller muffin. First thing was to thaw out my frozen corn kernels and heat up my flax seed. With the flax seed it’s a 1:3 ratio of ground flax seed to water, so 2 Tbsps of flax and 6 Tbsps water, let it boil for a little bit, and make sure to stir it, then set it aside. Preheat oven 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, salt, paprika, sugar, baking soda and baking powder. In…

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