Things I love Thursday – Bike edition

Today, I fell off my bike. Thrown off into the street by street car tracks, literally turning onto the street I live on. This is common. I’ve gotten the impression that this happens to people often enough that it’s known at the hospital. When JC fell off his bike around this time of year, and broke various bones, we were at the hospital and when he said “I fell off my bike…” the first question was just “street car tracks?” So yeah. I wasn’t surprised as I was falling. But I was pretty mad. Shaw street isn’t busy, but it was busy when it happened. It took me a few seconds to get up, and get off the street. Why is this unpleasant event on my Things I Love Thursday post? On my way down I screamed several expletives at the top of my lungs and it felt amazing. As far as I can tell I haven’t broken anything but some skin and ripped a pair of jeans. Someone came out of their condo and asked if I needed help. I’m okay. Just a few tears, a big swollen knee, and a slightly bruised ego. Also helmets are essential and I’m glad I was wearing one. I’m also thankful that I’m okay. I absolutely loved biking to and from work today. Incidentally it’s the first time I’ve done this. Yesterday I picked up my new bike from Urbane Cyclist, my first non-bixi Toronto bike. There is this amazing quality to…

Read more

Farmers’ Markets in Toronto – Sorauren

I’m getting increasingly more excited with the possibility of having fresh local produce, that I can paw through myself, and buy directly from someone that might have a connection to the source. I like talking to people about food, and some of my favourite folks are people that make food, and love making food. Last Monday I went to the Sorauren Farmers’ Market, nearly every Monday I go to the Sorauren farmers market, but this day was special. It was beautiful outside, and even at 6pm (when I arrived) the market was filled with this great energy. Maybe it was just me. I had a good day of collaboration, it was the day after a phenomenal vegan dinner at the Rusholme Park Supper Club, everything was coming up MeShell.

Read more

Tiffin Lunch Time – Tiffinday Vegan Downtown Lunch Delivery

Last week I felt like I could use a midday pick-me-up so I ordered lunch from Tiffinday again. I’ve covered their background a little and there is more information about Tiffinday here. So I come from the point of view of someone that is already a fan. I’ve been known to forget to eat lunch on a fairly regular basis, but on Tiffinday day, I was watching the clock like a hawk (if hawks watched clocks.) Tick tock the time crept by… but finally lunch arrived and was brought over by Seema (the owner/operator/almost everythinger at Tiffinday.)

Read more

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.

Read more

Happy Mother’s Day!

It was Mother’s Day yesterday, and for the second time my mom and I are on other sides of the country. It was nice to have a short visit with my Mom when JC and I were having our engagement party, but otherwise special occasions like birthdays, xmas, and “family” days are hard, because I want to do something special, but I’m far far away. I arranged for a bouquet of flowers, a card, and a “Gift of Hope” from Plan/Because I’m a Girl, but it all feels a little hollow. But that might just be because I miss her. Skype, the phone, and other digital communication only go so far. Like many people, my first culinary experiences are tied to my mom and my late grandmother. Making perogies, bigos, borscht, pickles, sauerkraut, and other dishes, were introduced quickly into my kitchen repertoire, and without them, I know I’d have a much less adventurous palate. I appreciate greatly the home cooked meals I used to eat, and especially those my mom created after I went vegan when I was a kid. My Mom also instilled in me the desire to support people less fortunate than me. So I chose to donate a Fuel Efficient Stove in my Mother’s honor, because of the impact she had on my love of food and cooking for others. According to the Plan Canada – Because I’m a Girl Blog, Fuel Efficient Stoves are: …used by women in refugee camps who would otherwise be trekking…

Read more

Toronto Tuesday – Queen West, HotDocs, … Niagara Falls?

This weekend was one of those action packed weekends that only seems possible in a big city. There was Jane’s Walk, the Toronto Marathon, the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, and so many other things. We did none of those, but still managed to fill up our weekend with THINGS. So many glorious things. I spent the morning finding things to send to my RedditGifts partner for Awesomesocks this month. Which resulted in going to every store in Queen West that looked like it’d have fun socks. You’d never think fun non grown up socks would be hard to find… but they are. I ended up at Clic Klak (435 Queen Street W) and found exactly what I was looking for. Hopefully my exchange partner likes them too! One place on Queen Street that I can’t pass without either going in, or staring longingly inside the window is The Paper Place. It’s kind of funny considering how much of my life is strictly digital, but there is something so friendly and fun about a handwritten letter or note that my usual quick emails just don’t satisfy. I wanted to send out thank you cards to everyone that had donated to my WWF CN Tower Climb (since I promised to send everyone a picture) and I found absolutely lovely ones from the Paper Source via waste not paper in Chicago.

Read more

Drop-In Vegan Dinner at the Depanneur. Okara “Crab” Cake Po’ Boys

I’m continuing my love of The Depanneur (1033A College St.) Corner store by day, dinner establishment by (some evenings), brunch spot, commercial kitchen space, and all around nice stop in Dufferin Grove. We’ve gone several times in the last few months, once to Emily Z’s French Lentil Soup day, Kalmplex’s Hearty Jamaican Soup, Len’s made-vegan risotto and more. Every week or so, we get an email from them about the dinners that are happening. If you’re in Toronto, I’d recommend signing up for it, just in case any of the dishes tickle your fancy. Or connect with them on twitter or facebook, specials and events are posted on there too. There is nearly always something for everyone. It was Chef Emily Zimmerman’s turn again this week. She made these fabulous Okara “Crab” cakes. Okara – if you didn’t know – (I didn’t know) – is the flavourless textureful by-product of tofu making. Somehow this flavourless by-product of tofu making became this umamilicious crispy texture filled nugget of greatness. The nuggets had that perfect texture of crispy exterior, and a slightly dense but flaky interior that broke up the moment your tongue put a little extra pressure on it.  I didn’t get a “seafood flavour” or “crab flavour” to it (in spite of two types of seaweed) which I’m happy with, but it was truly something spectacular. Add to that, these okara nuggets were put in an organic french-style roll, baked in-house by Sara Lapell (of Nice Buns), topped with a vegan remoulade, and…

Read more

Vegan Food Swap from The Vegan Cookbook Aficionado #veganswap

Last week I received my inaugural vegan swap from The Vegan Cookbook Aficionado. Stuff from Community Naturals (food bars, dried fruit, and wasabi peas which I’m snacking on right now), Congo Cowboy Gourmet – mango barbecue sauce, a couple of food bars from Via Foods… and the thing that probably made me smile the most… a jar of Saskatoon Berry Jam from Over the Hill Orchards. An organic orchard in Saskatchewan (my old stomping grounds.) I sent my swap to Jill at Vegan Cuts earlier this month, and I think it was pretty well received. I genuinely loved finding stuff that people might enjoy, with a focus on local producers and farmers market finds. It’s always nice to introduce people to stuff from my local community, even if that “community” happens to be a very giant and item filled Toronto. What can I say? I’m lucky. 🙂 Sign up for the next one: http://meshell.ca/blog/veganfoodswap/

Read more

Ladies Learning Code – Python Day. #ladieslearningcode

I’ve been playing around with learning python for nearly a year. I’ll admit, I haven’t put much effort into it, and tended to find other things to fill the time available to practice and learn. Part of it is because I have a programming background, from my university days. Which might not make sense, but there are so many similarities between programming languages, that eventually some of them blend into one language and from there frustration. In any case, I though it would be worthwhile to try the social learning method available through Ladies Learning Code (LLC). And once I saw that they were offering a python course I signed up immediately.

Read more

CN Tower Climb for the WWF – Complete!

Every year, a few times a year, people have the opportunity to climb or race the 1776 steps to the top of the CN Tower. On Saturday, it was finally my turn to do it. I managed to raise just under $500 for the WWF (though, feel free to add more!) and climbed to the very top with surprisingly little grumbling. I arrived at around 8:30, the tower and surrounding area were full of people and bustling with energy. Some people had already finished the climb (registration started at 6am!) as I was arriving, and it got me wondering if anyone ever did it more than once in a day (perhaps next year will be the year to find out and do it myself?)

Read more