Vegan on the range.

sitting on the dock at Lake Baptiste

         I spent the weekend on a mini adventure in Northern Alberta. Part of it was spent in the Lake Baptiste area and part of it was spent wandering around the hills in Athabasca. It’s so beautiful to get out of the city every once and a while, and forget about time.

         We were greated with pleasant weather the entire time out there, the nights were cloudy but while there was not much opportunity for stargazing, it was perfect for wandering. There is something so awe inspiring and humbling about watching a sunset into a body of water. I can never quite find the words.


         Vegan options were sparse in Athabasca, as far as I could tell. We didn’t do much walking around town, but dropped into the Riverhouse Cafe (5002 43 ST, Athabasca, Alberta), and I had one of the best soy vanilla lattes I’ve had in a while. I watched her make it with soy milk, but the foam was an unusually frothy consistency (which can be hard to achieve with soy) They did not have any vegan dessert, but were full of gluten free options, and the owner seemed like the type of person that would make vegan dessert if there was even a bit of a demand for it.
         I felt strangely uninterested in cooking all weekend. There was something about being in the middle of the woods, with no concept of time, made it more appealing to snack on raw veggies, pita bread, olives, rice chips, guacamole and hummus.
         One night I threw together a guacamole (nice and easy) with 4 avocados, five-six sprigs of cilantro, a quarter of an onion, a clove of garlic, a quarter of a jalapeno (with seeds), a quarter tomato chopped and drained  and a tablespoon of red chili pepper. Had I brought tamari with me, I would have put a tsp of that in, but instead a dash of sea salt brought it all together.
         Sunday morning my friend made fouel, for breakfast, which is a middle eastern dish made with fava beans, garlic, lemon juice, green onion and olive oil. We added jalapenos and I sliced up some onions and veggies to dip into the sauce. A unique experience for me was using onion slices as a food conveyance, normally I avoid raw onions but with this sauce it worked perfectly. I wish I had taken a picture because it was yummy. I’m just going to have to make it at home myself sometime.

Zahtaar "pizza"

         And one of my favourite things was flat bread covered with zahtarr spices. We baked it and sliced fresh tomato on top.

        On the way out of town I picked up my first Starbucks Coffee Frappachino. Yes, they have vegan ones now (and it’s almost old news), made with coffee, soy and some vanilla bean powder. Now I have some issues with going to Starbucks, and I would rather support an entirely local business, but I love that vegan options are becoming more mainstream and readily available.
         If you want more information about the veganness of the Fraps, check out the Veggywood blog. This awesome blogger contacted Starbucks (nine times!!!) and got a whole bunch of useful information. In short, the mocha, matcha and vanilla bean powders are vegan, as is the strawberry syrup. The light syrups (contain both milk and gluten) and java chips (contain milk) are not vegan.