Things I Love Thursday. Oh The Places You’ll Go

JC and I have just come back from driving around North America for around 7 weeks, and I’m full of feelings of gratitude and awe at having such a wonderful opportunity this summer, and trying to take stock of all the incredible things and places and people we’ve had the privilege to visit. When we started planning our trip, I titled our shared Google doc – “Oh the Places You’ll Go, ” and 19,000 km later, we sure did. I feel a little more aware of the diverse and unique beauty and history that’s all over our continent and the parts of it we’ve been able to see so far. I’m looking forward to seeing more in the future, but what we’ve seen so far, has been pretty wonderful. So we’ve travelled from Toronto, to Chicago, then north through Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota, across through the colourful Canadian prairies, including a stop at Riding Mountain National Park, east west across Canada to Alberta, through the yellow, green, and tan fields stretching through Manitoba and Saskatchewan. We went south through an International Peace Park (a collaboration of Glacier National Park in USA and Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada), and kept going through Montana and Wyoming (Yellowstone National Park), barely a stop in Idaho (I didn’t even buy any potatoes), delicious food and huge temples in Utah, a hacker convention in Nevada, blending together our love of natural beauty, history, delicious vegan food, and ridiculous/awesome random delightful nerdery along the way. We explored several beautiful mountain ranges…

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New Vegan Cheese in Town: Maniocheese – Lazy(ish) Vegan Friday

There is a new vegan cheese in Toronto called Maniocheese, a plant based cheese made from made from cassava (also known as tapioca, manioc or yucca), peruvian parsnip and beans, and it’s here all the way from Brazil! (There it’s known as Mandiokejo) It’s imported by Vegantage Point, and at the moment is available directly from them online, or from The Health Shoppe (41-A Charles W, Toronto). But check out their “Where to Buy” for more info. It’s not a prepared product, so there are a few steps to making it usable (as you’ll see in the picture of the directions below), so it’s not entirely lazy, but it’s a few steps easier than opening the Artisian Vegan Cheese book and picking one of those. What’s in the box? I woke up thinking of making a pizza, and decided to walk over to The Health Shoppe and pick up a box of Maniocheese. It was $7.99 before tax, and there are two packets of maniocheese powder per box. Which is approximately enough for two medium sized pizzas. What did we think? I think this product has a lot of potential uses, especially if you don’t want a cheese flavour to be central to whatever it is your making. Like putting a bunch of daiya on a pizza is great, if you want a pizza that is cheesy and melty. This one is great if you’re looking to use cheese for it’s other main pizza purpose – holding things together. The taste is subtle, but reasonably pleasant. It needs to…

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The Toronto Vegan 100 – My Grand Total: 80(so far)

Toronto’s Vegan 100 is a curated list of some of the unbelievable vegan dishes suggested by discerning local vegans who shared their favourite dishes, memorable meals and unforgettable finds put together by Lisa from Vegan Culinary Crusade While I might not agree with absolutely all of these items as the best that Toronto has to offer, I think it’s a great list and a great way to start your vegan explorations in the city. I remember doing the Portland Vegan 100 a few years ago, and I really liked it, so I asked Lisa if she’d be cool with the same kind of repost. Here’s how the PDX Vegan 100 worked: 1) Copy this list into your own blog, facebook or website, including these instructions. 2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten. (Like this) 3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating (or wouldn’t eat again). (Like This) 4) Link your post back to the original. 5) Pass it on! Here it goes. Toronto’s Vegan 100 1. Apiecalypse Now’s Chili Mac n’ Cheese 2. Apiecalypse Now’s Dunkeroos 3. Apiecalypse Now’s Pulled Not Pork 4. The Atlantic Vegan Tasting Menu 5. Bahn Mi Boys’ Tofu Tacos 6. Bello Bio’s Tiramisu 7. Belmonte Raw’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Thimble 8. Belmonte Raw’s Strength Juice 9. The Beet’s Grilled Cheese with Apple Butter (with Daiya) 10. The Beet‘s Vegan Mac n’ Cheese 11. The Bickford Flexitarian’s Fried Vegg Sandwich 12. Boreal Gelato‘s Strawberry Sorbetto (as an aside, do try the vegan salted caramel gelato from these folks) 13. Buddha’s Vegetarian‘s General Tao’s Chicken 14. Bunner’s Cinnamon Buns…

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Now’s Best of Toronto – Veganed

It’s that time of year again, well, between now and September – to vote in NOW Magazine’s Best of Toronto Reader’s Choice. I was looking through some of the categories and I noticed something – more and more vegan businesses are cropping up in categories beyond the usual “vegan” or “vegetarian”, so I wanted to highlight the ones I’ve found. I have been posting about at least one business everyday on Facebook, complete with my case for why they should win, but I decided I should just wrap it up into one post anyway. I’m not telling you who to vote for. All I’m saying is that it’s worth checking out categories beyond “vegan” or “vegetarian” because so many fantastic vegan places are all over this year’s list. Voting closes September 12th, and winners will be announced in Now’s Best of Toronto Reader’s Choice issue out November 6th. I’m sure this goes without saying, but this list has not been endorsed by Now Toronto, and I’ve put it together without any biases beyond being vegan and liking tasty food. Table of Contents Best Bakery Best Bar Best Dessert Best Breakfast Best Brunch Best Caribbean Best Jamaican Best Caterer Best Cheap Eats Best Chocolate Best Cupcake Best Dessert Best Donut Best Vegan Best Vegetarian Best Pho Best Patisserie Best Korean Best Other Stuff

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Vegan Pop Up, Lunch, Health, & other Things I Love Thursday

There are a few things I’m grateful for this week. Supportive friends, sunshine, a really good batch of cold brew coffee, that all three of my cats are getting along (sort of), the house is covered in lush green ivy, and the garden JC and I have worked on has turned our first growing season in our new home into a really nice verdant and cozy space. The most incredible thing for me is that I took a picture of the house before I left for Edmonton a couple of weeks ago, and when I arrived back in Toronto I was surprised by the beautiful wall of green outside. 100 in 1 Day Toronto Tomorrow is 100 in 1 Toronto, which is an incredible event where people gather together, decide to make something happen, and take up space doing it. Click the above image to find out more about 100 in 1 Day Toronto Vegan Pop Up There is a Vegan Pop Up coming up on June 15th, and I’m happy to be involved in it. There is this incredible amount of excitement at having everything come together, and it’s only just under ten days away. We’ve got a really fabulous combination of little vegan businesses and some more well known folks – there will be a couple of vegan and/or animal focused local organizations attending, and proceeds from admission tickets are going to support a farm sanctuary (Cedar Row). We’ll have an animal care item donation box for All Creatures Rescue and a…

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Lazy Vegan Fish Friday – Gardein’s Fishless Filets

Gardein Fishless Filets

After last the lazy vegan Friday post about Gardein’s Breakfast Sandwiches, one of you wonderful readers were kind enough to tell me where I could find Gardein’s Fishless Filets (thanks Dan!) After my attempts to find it at Essence of Life were fauxfishless. So this weekend we took a little trip up to Fiesta Farms, a great independent grocery store at Christie & Essex Street, with lots of plant-based options, and checked out the freezer section. They had the Fishless Filets, and I filled up my basket. As a courtesy to other people – I did not take all of them, but I was tempted. After trying them at this year’s ExpoWest, I had some idea of what to expect from this product, but everything tastes a little different when you make it at home, so I was interested in seeing how it would translate when a non-gardein rep (me) was making them. Upon opening the package, there are six pieces of fishless filets, and, although they’re frozen, they look golden and brown already (but a little too hard to eat). I followed the baking instructions the three times I’ve made them so far, with positive results. I find for ultimate laziness, it’s best to only do one step, rather than the microwave + pan frying step. It only takes around a half an hour which is fast enough for me, though it’s nice to have options. So what did I think? I’ve loved this product at first bite, so…

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Vegan Pre-Passover Supper Club from Emily Zimmerman

Chag Sameach to those who are observing Passover this week. Yesterday was the first night of Passover, and we celebrated at JC’s childhood home with family and friends. There was lots of reading (though not by me), and lots and lots of delicious food. Passover retells the story of the Jewish people’s escape from slavery from the Pharaoh, and of course, for me, with my general focus on social justice ties in really well with conversations on the realities of oppression and slavery in modern times as well. So I’ll be reflecting on the world I want to be a part of this week, and actively continue to participate in activities that further those positive goals. However, the night before we had a pre-Passover style supper club with Chef Emily Zimmerman, cooking out of The Depanneur. We had a great feast of cozy hearty Jewish cuisine, and I snapped a few pictures along the way. It’s wonderful to eat traditional style food, where it’s all very similar, you have some idea of what to expect, but everyone has their own unique spin on things. If you’ve never been to a Rusholme Park Supper club, I give a basic run down of what it’s all about in my first taste of the Depanneur post from all the way back in 2012! The supper club isn’t all vegan all the time. Supper club memberships cost $40 and include the cost of the meal. Memberships are only valid for one day so the way…

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Craft Wedding Market – Yesterday!

I wish the Craft Wedding Market was around a couple years ago when we were planning our wedding. There were several vendors with fun ideas, creative people, and best of all, a low key, nice gathering of people that might be planning a wedding, or interested in crafted goods and DIY. I won tickets courtesy of Food Forward, and brought JC along for the “fun” and treats and info. As I exited the Elevator at Bento Miso up to the 3rd floor, the first person I see is Marie Fitrion, who with her partner Daniel Holloway,  have created Urban Acorn Catering, a plant-based friendly catering company. They do a few events every month that are either totally plant-based or have decent options. Like their upcoming Evening Vegan Brunch, which sounds amazing and full of delicious options. We wandered around checking out the different vendors and creators, one thing I liked finding out about at this show was The Den, a DIY space with wedding & any ring workshops plus the workshop of several skilled jewelers. While I love the rings we ended up getting (from Brent & Jess) the idea of making your own ring together with your partner has some serious appeal. They also do parties and other events, so while I wont be making any wedding rings soon, it’s definitely a space I’m going to keep in mind. (I’ll have to find out if making jewelry for my stretched lobes is an option…) Black Oak Brewery was there showing off their vegan-friendly…

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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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Farmers Market Finds – Heartnuts

I go to farmers’ markets once and a while and usually find something fun or interesting or new, or just have a really good conversation with a person at the market. It’s easy to see the same people every week, be they vendors, or fellow market shoppers – some of us have similar schedules. On Mondays I want to go the the Sorauren Farmers’ Market, sometimes I can’t make it between 3pm and 7pm, but I try, even in the winter (they’re indoors anyway) – I’ll head over, and grab a coffee and walk around with a mug in my hand. This week I went and saw something new to me, and I thought they were pretty neat. They were Heartnuts at the Forbes Wild Foods table. Ever since we were in Georgia, and I got to try local pecans and peanuts, I’ve been a bit obsessed with finding local Ontario nuts (har dee har har). A conversation with an employee at Good Catch made me realize that peanuts grow around here (which means fresh boiled peanuts could happen again…) But anyway, when I see pecans or walnut like things, it piques my interest and makes me pay attention. Especially when it’s from a known-to-me local forager like Forbes Wild Foods. So there they were. Heartnuts. And what’s a heartnut? Well… a heartnut is a hybrid of a butternut and walnut flavours, and is originally from Japan. It has a smooth and lovely flavour, like walnuts, but without any bitter qualities.…

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