Vegan MoFo – Things I Love Thursday – Produce, TEDxToronto #TILT

It’s almost hard to believe that another week has gone by so quickly. Time flies when you’re having fun? Or maybe it’s just when you’re busy. It’s nice to reflect on the things I love and am thankful for at least once a week, because it keeps things in perspective. Looking back, I can see what’s important to me, who’s important to me, and what matters. Having a rough day? Read (or write) a TILT. Makes a huge difference in my state of mind. I loved Thanksgiving and it was another opportunity to share what I’m thankful for. I’m thankful for a quiet thanksgiving at home. I’m thankful for an amazing partner, that supports me, and encourages me, and eats my food and always says he likes it. I’m thankful for family. I’m thankful for large plots of land, and small plots of land around the city, province, and country that I get my produce from. I’m thankful I still managed to find Ontario apples for my crumble, despite the terrible growing season. I’m thankful for flaky pastry dough, and beginners luck. I’m thankful for amazing people that make organizations like Marineland Animal Defense, Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary, and Toronto Pig Save happen. I’m thankful for kitchen bravado. I’m thankful for the new World of Warcraft expansion. I’m thankful for my health, my families health, and finally, I’m thankful for love, life, and happiness. All of these things are still true. I’m also thankful to the powerful and inspiring people…

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Vegan MoFo. Preparing for Thanksgiving. And Veggielicious at Fresh

I went grocery shopping today in preparation for the Thanksgiving Celebrations this weekend. I can spend more time than I should at farmers markets or grocery stores, getting lost in all the options, reading labels, reading sources (and planning what I’m going to do with everything!) I love looking at veggies and fruits, and where they come from. Ontario has this amazing harvest, and the local food options are endless. (though the cranberries I picked up are from Nova Scotia.) Several bags later, and slightly aching arms (because of course – I don’t drive – so this was a walking/street car trip.) I had a house full of thanksgiving food, and most of it was from Ontario. I am ready to get cooking! This evening we opted for a dinner at Fresh on Crawford (894 Queen Street W, Toronto) and I checked out their Veggielicious special which is: A 16oz Amazon Power Smoothie (young coconut water, strawberry, acai & guarana, coconut milk and agave nectar), your choice of a Szechuan Kale Salad (raw kale in a spicy szechuan dressing with roasted peanuts, celery, bean sprouts, tomato, red pepper, green onions, marinated tofu cubes and sesame seeds) or the BLT Burrito (smokey tempeh bacon with garlic mayo, lettuce, napa cabbage and tomato in a whole wheat tortilla), and the option of a Coconut Cream Cupcake or a Gluten Free Walnut Brownie – $17.00

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Vegan Mofo Day 2 – Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Experiment

Today I made a cheesecake. It happened by accident, it happened as many things related to food happen, I look at them and think… hmm. Maybe this will work, or “I wonder what will happen if I combine this.” I realize there are perfectly good recipes for Chocolate Chip Cheesecake with a chocolate chip cookie crust, but did I follow them? No. Did I follow a recipe for chocolate chip cookies? No. But mostly because by now, I know the ratios by heart. I put flour, brown sugar, oatmeal, oil, and chocolate chips in a bowl. Mixed them, splashed some soy milk, and boom. There it was chocolate chip cookie dough. Ready to eat. Did I eat it? No… Okay yes. But just a little bit. The rest I pressed into a pie pan. And baked at 375 degrees C for 20 minutes. But I had a little bit of cookie mix left over, and saw a container of bonus tofutti cream cheese (Metro grocery in Liberty Village in Toronto is having a sale…) and I looked at it, looked at the chocolate chip cookie mixture… and wondered… maybe… just maybe I could mix it all together and turn it into something edible. So into the blender they went. With a dash of soy milk.  And boom, back into the oven for ten minutes or so. End result was tasty, but ugly. I could probably refine this recipe more, but I probably wont. I would however eat it again, so…

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Vegan Mofo 2012 – It Begins!

It’s October, so that means a few things. Autumn is slowly rolling through the country, thanksgiving will be happening this month (in Canada), Halloween is on it’s way…. and it’s time for Vegan Month of Food (aka Vegan MoFo). What is Vegan MoFo? Read all about it on the Vegan Month of Food FAQ What am I doing for Vegan MoFo? I don’t really have a theme, but I do have some challenges for myself: Read and comment on at least 10 new blogs a day. Find recipes via blogs (or zines) and try them out (and talk about them) during the course of Vegan MoFo Keep posting about great vegan food everyday. Always link to one or more vegan MoFo’ers in every post. I would like to do at least one video blog post. Be it demonstration of how to make some of the breads I’ve been working on lately, or just a vegan talk about something going on in Toronto. Who am I? I live and work in Toronto, I live with my fiance (JC) and our cat Emmie. I’m technically inclined and a food enthusiast.  I’m interested in food from a variety of perspectives, beyond making it, baking it, or eating it. The equal accessibility of good healthy food and food distribution, scarcity issues, acknowledgement of the different experiences we’ve had with food, through the lens of ethical veganism, and ultimately, food that is beautiful and delicious. When I’m not thinking about food, sleeping, or working, I’m…

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Vegan MoFo – MoFo Monday and the Beginning of Apple Week.

Like I said on Thursday – We have too many apples. Luckily there are many things that can be done with apples, but too few of them seem to be savory. Well. I’ve followed in the footsteps of other vegan bloggers in the last few weeks and taken their recipes and made them at home. First item on my list was this Apple Spice Muffin recipe from Bite Me (I’m Vegan) (don’t they just look perfect for breakfast?). While getting into the apple peeling, chopping mode, I ended up opting to make some unsweetened apple sauce in my slow cooker. There is always a use for it, especially when I’m baking, so I threw some of it in a jar, and some of it in snack bags in the freezer. My winter instinct to stockpile food for the cold months ahead is in full force. Having gone grocery shopping yesterday, we picked up a couple of beautiful baguettes from ACE bakery, one of them didn’t make it past 7pm last night, drowning in a mix of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The other one was supposed to turn into crostini today, I decided it would be a waste of sandwich potential. But what kind of sandwich? Serendipity brought me a brilliant and relevant idea from The Verdant Life – Basil Apple Mustard Panini Sandwiches! Where have you been all my life savory apple sandwiches? It doesn’t matter, I’m just glad they’re here now. I found Cupcakes and Kale’s (we meet again) recipe for Apple Salted Caramel Cupcakes through Winged Snail’s Leibster…

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Things I love Thursday – Vegan MoFo – Cats, Pizza, J, and lentil soup

I love Thursdays as a day of reflection. It’s been kind of gloomy outside this week, so it’s nice to think about all the good stuff going on, and it also makes me appreciate having the option of staying inside with my kitten for a while while it rains. This past weekend was the beginning of OccupyToronto and I love that I live in a country where public demonstration is permitted, and people can have a reasonable expectation of being heard. I think regardless of how you feel about the protest or its impact, there is no denying that there is a feeling of global community being built as a result of this movement, in addition to offering a visual representation of people that are struggling, and want change. That and Occupy LOL Street. I love the magical combination tomatoes, lentils, onions/garlic and some spices can create on a lazy afternoon. Throw it all in a pot, cook and eat something that just tastes warm and comforting.Which is what I’m cooking up right now! I love the Black Magic vegan pizza J ordered for dinner last night. After taking advantage of the Queen Street E (Toronto) Magic Oven‘s Wednesday all you can eat pizza night a month ago, and trying a diverse assortment of pizzas, we finally found one that’s just brilliantly good. Pesto, sundried tomatoes, KALE and daiya. I also love that someone will deliver vegan food to our house. I love Apples. They come in so many delicious…

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Should have been cookies – Tuesday Tasty Treats – VeganMoFo

Sometimes I make complete disasters in the kitchen. I’ll admit it. I inherited my father’s tendency to throw anything interesting together in a pot and hope for the best. This has served me well. It had wide ranging applications, especially when cooking at food not bombs, or limited ingredients. It’s encouraged creativity. It’s resulted in happy full bellies. And reasonably diverse and nutritious food. But, there is another side to that: The disaster. That dish you don’t know what to do with. The muffins missing salt, the tbsp of baking soda instead of the tsp. The oops, I dumped a box of cayenne in this. The “Why did I think pickles and horseradish would be good in this soup?” moment (no, this hasn’t happened…. yet). The rock hard muffins. The flaky  muffins that should have been cookies. Or my least favourite… that I like to call Spicy Boring – where your meal is overtly spicy, but overall, it’s missing something and it’s boring. Well, one of those things happened to me today. I threw things together, and even as I was doing it, I knew it would not turn out exactly as I wanted it to. I made the equivalent of cookie muffins today. They should have been cookies, why I put the batter in the muffin cups, I don’t know. Coconut flour, carrot, apple and oatmeal are amazing together. The flavour was incredible. But the texture… they just fell apart. Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to…

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Gluten Free Hump Day – Peanut Butter Cookies.

I haven’t been having a great time with gluten free baking. And after various trial and error situations with recipes all over the place, I’m finding myself avoiding the whole process because it’s so inconvenient. Or it just seems inconvenient because the end result is never really like the baked products I’m used to. I love the feeling of running my hands through sticky stretchy dough, kneading it, letting it rise, etc. (and yes, I think every Wednesday gluten free post will start like this – I told you, I needed/need a lot of GF convincing, but I’m trying.) But today (well, Wednesday) I made cookies. And they were actually great. First of all, I was weirded out by the flours used: sorghum, teff (of injera/ethiopian flat bread fame) and a few others, but the result was really quite awesome. I’ll admit, I was surprised. The cookies puffed up perfectly, a little crisp at the edges, chewy on the inside, the colour was really appealing, and altogether had a rich flavour. If I didn’t have an absurd to do list today I’d ride this wave of gluten free love through a few other recipes. But that’s not going to happen today unfortunately. But on the plus side – I have cookies.

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Tuesday Tasty Treats – Savory Mini Polenta Pies.

Oh Tuesday, I’d say it was my favourite day of the week, but I feel that way nearly everyday. What tasty baked item is going to appear out of my oven today? My premise, for Tuesday is still to bake something, and make sure it’s tasty, and treat sized. Well, after the pie making fun of this weekend, I really wanted to do it more, but with something savory. And something smaller than a whole pie. Well, I took stock of the vegetables I had left over from the weekend’s Thanksgiving extravaganza, realized I had used up all of my unbleached flour, and decided to make savory mini polenta pies. Unfortunately, about midway through the process, my camera batteries needed recharging so the rest (and it pretty obvious which are which) are taken with an iPad. I wanted it to be a little meal about the size of a cupcake. So I gathered up the eggplant, carrots, onions, garlic, celery, and mushrooms, cleaned them up, and put them together in a bowl to keep myself organized. I’ve also gotten into the habit of cutting up twice the amount of veggies in order to freeze them for later. As soon as it got cold outside, I started squirreling away odds and ends of veggies even though we have four or five grocery stores within walking/easy busing distance. Left over habits from living in Saskatoon during the winter and hibernating I suppose. I took all the corn meal I had left (which…

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