4th Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off – I was there, were you?

  I’ve been waiting for this day since the last totally fabulous vegan bake-off in October of 2010, the 4th Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off. This time, with my delightful co-pilot, JC. I was at a volunteer orientation for Social Media Week Toronto at the Entrinsic Office immediately before the bake-off event was to start, so I got there much later than I wanted to and we saw this: Crazy lines are the price of success I guess! On the plus side, my concerns of not being able to find the place were unfounded. There is nothing like walking down Bathurst from the TTC station and seeing a huge line, and just knowing that it was because of the Vegan bake-off. Once we got in, there were several categories, but many of them were already sold out (like the Professionally Crafted Vegan Classics (no surprise there!), Cupcakes/tarts/pastries, and cookies) but we did get two plates of Gluten-free treats – regular and chocolate based, the decadent raw sweets, and vegan bars. We started with the plate of general gluten free sweets. First thing I noticed – I didn’t notice a missing gluten flavour in any of them. You’ve come a long way gluten free baby, keep up the good flavours. Gluten-Free Sweets 30. Brown Bag Donuts 31. Half-Moon Spectaculars! 32. Morning Glory… That is my story…. 33. Strawberry Coconut Tart 34. Too Die for Coconut-y Carob Banana Balls I think the Half Moon Spectaculars were easily my favourites, and then looking closer, I…

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Date Night at Hogtown Vegan

JC and I went to Hogtown Vegan for dinner on Tuesday. Now I feel as though I have to take everything negative I’ve ever said about them back. But no, my thoughts were valid at the time, but the improvements are substantial from the last time I was there. Our server was friendly, upbeat, and helpful. We were well watered, and boozed (since they are now licensed to serve alcohol). We started with the Fries Supremacy since even when I didn’t like the atmosphere at Hogtown Vegan, I still liked those fries. That still applies. But this time they were even better. The fries were still shoe string just not too thin, with housemade cheese sauce, cashew sour cream, and sliced up green onions. We also ordered the The Big Hog, which somehow reminded me of a Big Mac (since that was the intention) but without being gross. Two thick veggie patties, with melted daiya cheese, lettuce, pickles, and House Mayo. All on a sesame seed bun. Huge, flavourful, delicious. And did I mention huge?  Huge.  Paired with a side of french fries, it was perfect. Then it was time to switch plates. We had also ordered the Southern Combo, with two breaded spears of soy chicken, garlicky collard greens and a bit of macaroni and cheese. It was okay, but the Big Hog was the clear winner at dinner. A friend had recommended the fried apple pie, and since we were going for nostalgia anyway, we ordered it. It came with…

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Social Winning and Sew Much Better.

As I mentioned, yesterday I was playing with the idea of signing up for a sewing class. There is no avoiding it now, I’ve put down a deposit, and next week I’ll be there. Now I have to find some supplies before the class (or if I can’t/don’t find them, I can get everything I need at TheWorkroom. But that just seems too easy.) This seems like a great opportunity and excuse to explore the Fashion District (that we live so very close to) and find fabric I could imagine myself sleeping on (we’re going to be sewing a pillow cover!) Materials List 1/2 yard (1/2 metre) of fabric at least 45″ wide (recommended choices: cotton canvas, linen, wool, dupioni silk, denim, ultra suede, and upholstery fabric.) For ethical reasons I’ll be skipping the wool, silk and suede, but everything else is fair game. a spool of matching all-purpose thread 16″ square pillow form Other than just picking everything up at The Workroom, I might try to find some smaller stores around the city to visit. Like Sew Sisters, which is a quilting store far far away in north Toronto (Downsview TTC station – oh my!) Or Designer Fabrics (1360 Queen St W) right on Queen West. Being a fabric shopping newbie, I looked for advice and direction from Toronto Bloggers, finding a post about Designer Fabrics on little House blog and I found an inspirational blog from a biomedical engineer with some lovely projects on it: Sewing in Toronto. In the…

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The 30-Day Vegan Challenge – It’s like having a vegan BFF.

I was gifted a copy of Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s new book The 30-Day Vegan Challenge as a speaker at the Vida Vegan Convention. Since then, I’ve taken my time reading through the advice and tips, trying out recipes, and genuinely enjoying the full colour photographs. This is more than a recipe book, but a great guide for vegans or vegan hopeful’s just starting out. The recipes are simple, easy to follow and even easier to eat. My favourite section was “Go” starting on page 33, with advice on how to put together meals creatively, navigate the grocery store, interesting ideas for breakfast, and lunches that can be taken to work or school. She makes a great point about how stuck in a rut people can get with breakfast and lunch, and her advice is great, offering simple suggestions that while reading seem obvious… but in retrospect… I know I could have been making more creative breakfasts and lunches (and now I am.) First of all, immediately after leaving Portland, I began craving biscuits, ideally mixed with gravy. That’s not really something I can go out, and eat in Toronto (or maybe I’ve been looking in the wrong places.) Colleen’s book helped me out with that. The recipe for Drop Biscuits (on page 259) is simple and quick to prepare (20 minutes tops), without any complicated ingredients. She offers advice on how to make them a bit more interesting and the full colour picture just adds to the appeal. I’ve made them…

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Friday at the Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival and God Bless America at TIFF

This time of year makes me incredibly nostalgic. I remember coming here and extending my Toronto visit for just a little bit longer because of the vegetarian food festival and TIFF, and then deciding to stay here at least semi-permanently. The days leading up to the TVA‘s Vegetarian Food Festival were a bit grey, but once Friday hit, it was gorgeous outside. The night air was warm and humid, and perfect weather to be at the Harbourfront Center. I had missed Terry Hope Romero’s blogging talk at VVC, so I made a point to catch it when she remixed it here in Toronto. What can I say? She’s hilarious, and I’m sure I learned a lot from the experience. I don’t think I ever realized the full extent of her nerdiness until now and admittedly I’m still pretty jazzed about meeting other girls that are just nerdy because they are nerdy, and not because it’s hip to be square. She recommended a book called “Will Write for Food” by Dianne Jacob, and I’ve already picked it up on my e-reader. I took a lot of good information from the talk, so if you have the opportunity to see her speak you should take advantage of it. One suggestion she had that I do want to pass on is to make yourself write 100 ideas for a blog post. Put it away for a day or two, and then look at the list and clean it up, and take out some…

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PDX –> MSP –> DFW –> YYZ

My trip back to Toronto was silly and involved several transfers and a night spent at an airport. Even though airports mean I’m going somewhere, be it home or otherwise, I generally don’t like being in them. They also often mean standing in lines, being treated rudely, potentially paying for wifi, and not having anything to eat for the duration of my stopover beyond potato chips/trail mix, Subway or weird tinny flavoured cubed fruit. PDX (Portland International) is easily one of my favourite airports (and I’m not the only one that thinks so, it’s been named as Conde Naste best airport for business travelers repeatedly), with its free Wi-Fi and ample plug-ins, and vegan cookies (Mac and Jac), and the secret security line that no one ever seems to go to (p.s. it’s at Concourse C.) it’s hard not to get cozy and pass the time internetting while snacking on a macadamia nut chocolate cookie. My usual experience with airport food is that there are often decent options to choose from before security, but once you’re past it, it’s not that great. Other than the usual semi-DIY/creative ordering that I’m pretty sure vegan folks have become familiar with, and chips and cookies and juice, nothing jumped out at me, and it’s weird, because you’d think… I’m in Portland!!! My next airport of the day was Minneapolis-St.Paul (MSP), I tend not to look at those little guides that they have at airports because I never find them very useful, but on a whim, I…

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Post VVC – One Grey Day.

The day after VidaVeganCon was strange. The weather changed; Portland took on the rainy grey demeanor it is known for. I had only planned to stay until Sunday night, leaving for New Orleans (by bus), but strange weather conditions (in the east – re: hurricane Irene) made that unlikely and just an all around bad idea. But instead of busing it back to Toronto, I opted to fly, since I was missing both my human and my feline friend(s) at home. The extra day gave me a great opportunity to stay at Hawthorne Hostel, a place I’ve always been curious about. A friend, Ainslie of Everyone Is Vegan, was also staying there that night, so it was all around perfect. I packed up my things (oh so much swag), said bye bye to Mimi (the cat I was sharing a futon with, and pictured above) and used the heck out of the Trimet system. Hawthorne hostel is in a great location (3031 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR). Close enough to walk to downtown Portland (or a 15 minute bus ride), bus service right outside, and near multiple vegan food and drink places. Plus they very ecologically conscious, with an eco-roof, which helps to soak up rain for their rainwater system (which they use to provide water for their toilets), and use eco-friendly cleaning products. Plus they have free bagels and a cute hostel cat named Sherba (she was not interested in being photographed). We walked over to the Sweet Hereafter (3326 SE Belmont…

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Portland February 2010

I forgot to mention going to Portland in February, since then I’ve been busy with school and work. Thankfully I have four consecutive days off, and it feels wonderful. It also occurs to me I should update my 101 in 1001 days list at some point, considering September(the end month) isn’t that far off, and I have managed to accomplish many of the goals on my list, as well as accept that some goals had to be modified. T and I went to Portobello for our fake Valentine’s Day (on Feb 17th,) it was wonderful, and delicious as always. We went there last year for fake Valentine’s Day, and every time I’m so impressed with what they come up with. I’m really excited to see what the Chef (Aaron Adams) ends up creating at Vegan Iron Chef (in PDX of course) this summer. I ordered the gnocchi (as usual) and my friend had an enviable portobella mushroom steak. We started out our meal with a french bread and pate. Oddly enough I found myself getting full really quickly. I think it must have had something to do with the massive portion of pate we got. We ended our meal with a delicious sweet pecan tart. I just love that place. Anyway, I had a nice time. I had hoped to check out the SkiBowl at Mt. again one more time, but the snow this year was pretty pathetic up there. Word on the street was we’d just be sliding around on ice.…

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