Vegan Polish Xmas 2009

Yesterday we celebrated Christmas Eve in our typical fashion, a focus on family, friends and eating, followed by a gift exchange. I’m not sure if everyone was feeling so disinterested in exchanging gifts as I was this year, but it was rather tame. A few days ago my mother and I woke up bright and early to make peirogies. Starting out by chopping up cabbage, grinding dried mushrooms and portabella mushrooms, mixing in a few spices and then cooking it till it is a nice dark green colour. The dough was made simply with flour and water with a touch of salt, and spent a lot of time being kneeded (the proper technique I learned from a baker extrordinaire came in handy, at least a little bit.)  Yesterday afternoon I met up with a friend at Phobulous (8701 Ave & 109 st, Edmonton) and had a spring roll vermicelli noodle vegetarian dish (I believe it was the only one that was vegetarian on their menu.) Dinner with the family was at 5pm, we exchanged wishes for the new year, and had borscht, baked tofu, butternut squash, sweet potatoes and a vegetable salad, followed by exchanging presents and watching Star Wars. Tomorrow is my birthday, so we’ll be going out for a Boxing Day brunch. I’m debating leaving Edmonton at midnight (tomorrow evening/on the 27th) to return to Saskatoon so I can unpack and get my apartment ready for when I get back in town again. I wont have much time to…

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Portland Vegan 100 – 2009

100 Great Vegan Foodz in Portland, OR! This list was inspired by Melissa Bastian’s Vegan NYC 100 Listing for VeganMoFo, which was inspired by Hannah of Bittersweet Vegan’s Hundred. I (MeShell) took this list from Jess from Lets Get Sconed. Here’s how it works: 1) Copy this list into your own blog, facebook or website, including these instructions. 2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten. 3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. 4) Post a comment here once you’ve finished and link your post back to this one. 5) Pass it on! The PDX Vegan Hundred: 1. Fries with spicy tofu sauce at Dots 2. $1 Corndog from Hungry Tiger Too  (I’ve been there on Corndog day, but didn’t end up ordering one. Definitely next time) 3. Chick-o-Stick doughnut from Voodoo Doughnuts 4. Tiramisu from Portobello 5. Vegan Mulita from Gorditos or Gorditos II 6. Nanotear Ham and Cheeze sandwich from Tube 7. Milkshake from Sip 8. Gnocchi from Portobello 9. Caramel Nut Bar from Sweetpea Baking Co. 10. Soft serve from Blossoming Lotus 11. Local cherry tomatoes from a farmers market 12. Dong Po Tofu from Bay Leaf 13. Jerked chickun from Assase Ital 14. A Big Big Lunch Special from an Indian cart 15. Soy latte made with Stumptown espresso 16. A crappy tofu scramble  I can get a crappy tofu scramble anywhere, why leave the country for it. 17. Cornmeal pizza from Dovi Vive. 18. Weeping Tiger sandwich from Bye & Bye 19. Bye…

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VEMF: Victoria Electronic Music Festival

I’ve spent most of the last two days in Centennial Park in Downtown Victoria. Why? The Victoria Electronic Music Festival! VEMF is an annual event that happens in Victoria, and it’s easy to see how it could have been voted one of Victoria’s favourite events. So many people came out and had a wonderful time. I’m so glad that I got involved in it while I was here. Saturday morning I helped with set up, which was interesting. I learned that I never ever want to put up a heavy metal fence ever again, and that I much prefer putting up event tents. Who knew. 🙂 Sunday night I went on my volunteer shift and asked “What do I do?” I was told… “Dance and have a good time, and make sure everyone else is having a good time.” Amazing. There were only a few minor things I needed to talk to people about, mostly checking in with them to make sure they were doing okay or if they needed anything. Absoulutely wonderful experience, and I got to see DJ Dan and several other awesome artists.

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Victoria – Galiano Island

I don’t know where to begin. I spent the weekend camping in Montague Harbour on Galiano Island, one of the Gulf Islands off of British Columbia. We caught the ferry at around 2 in the afternoon from Swartz Bay, it was approximately two hours until we reached Sturdies Bay, on Galiano Island. It’s really amazing for me, being a landlocked prairie dweller to be surrounded by water all the time, I have to admit, I like it quite a bit. On the way to Montague Harbour Provincial Park we stopped in at Scoops (2450 Sturdies Bay Road, Galiano Island) which is located up the hill from the ferry terminal. I picked up some freshly cut french fries. And when I say freshly cut, I mean it. She chopped up a few potatos one by one right in front of me in some kind of metalic french fry making device. Needless to say they were delicious. Especially after a two hour ferry ride with a broken vending machine… oh how I wanted those cashews…

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Victoria – How you can sun yourself on two beaches, walk through the rainforest, and swim in the ocean, all in one day.

Today I went to the Juan de Fuca Provincial Park, walked along part of the Juan de Fuca trail to Mystic Beach, and then back through the subtropical rainforest, to go down another trail to China Beach. All in all, a fun filled action packed day. Yesterday was quite a full day as well. Saturday morning we went on a scenic walk through Beacon Hill park, catching a Jazzfest performance, and continuing on towards Ogden Point, then walking over to Fishermans Wharf. Fishermans Wharf is of course famous for Fish & Chips, and most people lined up and ordered the 15 dollar basket from Barb’s Fish and Chip stand. I, of course, did not participate in the fish and chips. I looked around for a bit to see if there was anything for me to eat, and conveniently I did find a place with vegan hotdogs, Grilligans: “Where Bouy meets Grill” (how cute is that?). I also watched in prairie girl amazement as a seaplane was taking off (and began conspiring to find a reason to fly in one in the near future). Saturday evening I went to the Butchart Gardens to see their weekly Saturday night fireworks display. I really enjoyed wandering through the various gardens, especially the Rose Garden. It has dozens of different varieties and colours of roses, it is worth seeing. One thing that really impressed me about it is the work of Jenny Butchart in the reclaimation of an old quary. She turned it into…

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Victoria – Willow’s Beach and other things

Yesterday we went to Willows Beach as a group. And I loved it. It was around 6pm, and still sunny, but not too hot. However, the water was COLD. I saw a few people jumping in, full body, and I though I could feel my own muscles cramping up in empathy. It was a perfect evening to lay around on the beach and read or nap. One thing that I love about the University of Victoria is their vegan food options, and the staff’s willingness to ask what is in things for me. I’m the annoying girl, “is there butter in this?” “what is this?” “is there dairy?” I believe they have also upped their vegan options for my visit, which goes to show, it pays to ask in advance. I was worried once I learned I’d be eating in residence, because a limited menu for someone else, becomes an exercise in creative meal planning for me. Am I getting enough protein, vitamins, fat from the food I’m eating? Stuff I need to consider. So I emailed Food Services, and someone replied with let us know when you’ll be here and we’ll make sure you are taken care of. They normally have a vegan & vegetarian residence dining hall on campus. How amazing is that? The other day I ate a flakey pastry vegan sausage roll type thing from the salad bar. And they always have soy milk availible in the mornings for my ceral. And they’ve started making vegetable…

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Victoria – Cafe Bliss and Green Cuisine 7/5/09

I am finally at the UVic residence, relaxing after a long bus ride to campus from downtown Victoria. The rooms are big in my opinion, though they are lacking a sink. (at least in the Shirley Baker residence) I unpacked and wandered around for a bit, enjoying the surroundings and the coupious amounts of bunnies everywhere. They are all (mostly) feral, but I have to resist the urge to pet them. They are terribly cute. I went to Cafe Bliss (556 Pandora Ave, Victoria BC) recently and was not disappointed. It is right next to Mo:Le, another restaraunt I want to check out for breakfast one day, they have a Tofu scramble on the menu, but Mo:Le is not entirely vegetarian. Back to Cafe Bliss… my favourite item was the raw vegan keylime pie. Can I say wow? The texture of the crust was absolutely perfect, I believe it was a combination of almonds and figpaste, but honestly I inhaled that pie a bit to quickly to fully appreciate each ingredient. Oops. The tartness of the limes was balanced well with the sweetness of the agave which seemed like their sweetener of choice, however they do use honey in some of their foods. I also tried some warm “hot” mint chocolate, and it was nice but I’m not really into the flavour of raw cocoa or maybe the mint was just too strong. But it was still chocolatey and delicious. While wandering around Market Square I stumbled upon Green Cuisine…

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First day in Victoria – Turtle Hostel 7/4/09

I arrived in Victoria this afternoon, and it has already been great. I’m staying at Turtle Hostel at the moment, soon to be moving on to the UVic residence tomorrow. I spent the day just relaxing a bit, wandering around the east side of Victoria, and I already stumbled upon a few great vegan options. One that I’m really looking forward to trying is Pizza Pi, it’s right on Douglas Street, which on first glance appears to be saturated with little shops and restaraunts. Pizza Pi is focused on local, organic and environmentally friendly production. They have vegan cheese, and gluten free pizza crusts if need be. I’m waiting for a friend to come to town, or maybe when I’m feeling particularly hungry to order a pizza, because their smallest size consists of a 10 inch wide, 6 slice pizza. I also stopped by a Market and found it was well stocked with organic produce, normal people food, and vegan muffins. I picked up some lemon cranberry muffins, and as I hoped, they were delicious. Tomorrow will be an action packed day, I hope I can catch a few of the things that are going on.

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Bungee Jumping – Mission Accomplished!

So. Mission accomplished. On January 4th 2009, I did finally go bungee jumping, so I can cross that one off my 101in1001 list. In April I’ll be taking a retraining course for skydiving, and ideally do my jump then. Bungee jumping is really an amazing experience, it was truly liberating. I woke up that morning, and decided to walk over to West Edmonton Mall, home of the worlds largest indoor bungee jumping platform. Went directly to the Center of Gravity kiosk and paid the fee and waited. At three o’clock I went up. One other person was jumping that hour. We put on our harnesses (I opted for a headfirst jump, because that made the most sense) and walked up a couple flights of stairs and a ramp. I decided to go first, they turned on some punkrawk (I requested industrial, but they didn’t have any) And then it was time to jump. The horn went off, letting everyone down in the wave pool know that someone was bungee jumping. The crowd started screaming and cheering and I was ready to go. After free falling for a while, I was pulled back by the chord and went up and down for a minute or two. It reminded me of jumping of the high diving board and then some. Very exciting, and I’m glad I did it!

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Vegan Polish Xmas 2008

It has certainly been a while. I’m currently in Edmonton celebrating christmas with my family. Celebrating christmas in my family is more of a Polish tradition then necessarily anything to do with religion, but then again, Poland is generally quite Catholic. My family is primarily interested in spending quality time together and EATING!!! So, what does a vegan Polish Christmas Eve dinner at my house look like? There are only three people in my immediate family, so you might notice the extra empty place setting. That’s traditional in many families, and is for an unexpected guest, or a drifter, or anyone that might drop by in need of food. We started with a freshly made beet soup (Barscz), consisting of shredded beet root, sliced celery, leeks, green onion, salt and pepper, lemon juice and hazelnut oil. In the center of each plate is a brown sugar baked yam. After that we have homemade perogies. On Monday my mother and I made approximately 250 of them, and froze most of them. They have a slightly sour and salty cabbage and mushroom filling, the dough is absolutely simple: flour, water, and just a touch of salt. The most difficult part of making them is kneading the dough, which is both really physical, and really important to get the right consistency. Then we have a selection of salads. This year we had potato salad, a slightly sweet cabbage salad, and a vegetable salad. The vegetable salad (sałatka jarzynowa) is rather traditional Polish fare,…

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