Vegan Bean Bowl Fiesta

You know when you have one of those evenings when you really have no idea what to make for dinner, but you have a few things on hand so you figure, hey, let’s throw all this in a bowl and see what happens? Yeah, had that recently and this is what came of it.

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Ingredients:
Single serve

- 1 cup Bean ‘mash’
- 1 cup of guacamole
- 3/4 cup salsa of your choice
- 3/4 cup corn niblets
- 1/2 cup of Daiya

Directions:
How did I make the bean mash? Simple, opened a can my favourite beans, cannoneli and mashed the heck out of them with a potato masher, then added taco seasoning. I nuked the whole thing until the Daiya melted (it was 30 seconds in my microwave). Garnish with chopped green onion and there you have it. I also headed small corn tortilla rounds in a pan until crispy and used them to dip. This would also go well with a side dish of rice. I WISH the store I went to had Totuffi cream cheese as I would have put that as a layer above the bean paste or Tofutti sour cream would have been awesome too.

Happy eating!

 

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Filed under Gluten free eating, Meals, vegan

Review: Enjoy Life Chocolate Cocoa Loco Chewy Bars

Anyone who has been to a bakery with me knows I always go for soft cookies. I find it incredibly satisfying to bite into a soft chew. The lovely people at Enjoy Life sent me samples of their Cocoa Loco Chewy Bars and I have to admit I loved them. I enjoyed the texture, smell, taste and mouth feel. What the heck is mouth feel? Simply, how does it feel in your mouth.

 

What I like best about this bar, the double chocolate and the fact that all items are vegan/gluten free PLUS Non-GMO. That’s a big one these days and I can fully get behind food items not being tinkered with.

They’re only 120 calories each, so it’s easy to say eat four a day, not that I did this. Ahem. Just saying.

There are other varieties of this soft bar, but not all of them are vegan. DO read labels when you’re looking at products. I will be keeping a few boxes in my pantry stash for sure.

 

Disclaimer:
I was not paid, I did receive free product, but I do reserve the right be honest. If I love something I’ll write about it. If not, well, depends on how bad it really was.

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Whole Life Expo 2013

We went to the Whole Life Expo in Toronto and saw familiar faces plus a few new ones.

20-Whole Life exp

18-whole life expo show 2013

 

We had to stop at the Upaya Naturals booth and take a few pictures of interesting items they had at their booth. I am not a fan of coffee, so if you’re also not a fan perhaps Dandy Blend is for you?

19-upaya booth

01-Whole life expo

 

I noticed a new personal blender, looks like a handy tool to have in the kitchen.

04-Upaya

 

Can’t say I’ve seen a humidifier like this one, I have a Hello Kitty one, but it looks really neat. It’s also a night lamp and has a compartment for natural oils if you like aromatherapy.

05-Upaya mason jar mixer

Being the urban hippies that we are, we use mason jars to drink with and this is a blender that works with exactly that. Again, how cool is this?

02-Cruda Cafe sign

 

We wandered over to Cruda Cafe‘s both.

03-Cruda Cafe owner

09-cruda cafe wrap making

Had to try a raw food wrap. It was rather large and for $13, not bad at all. Easily something you could share, if you were nice.

06-Cruda cafe wrap

07-Nud fud owner

 

The ever fun owner of Nud Fud – Julia, she is incredibly nice and knowledgeable. This time she had a few new products: Green Energy Snack Bar and Cacao Energy Snack bar. Both look pretty cool and I can imagine taste amazing. Not featured are Chai and Goji Energy Snack bars. You can check out Nud Fud’s nutritional information on their bars here. All of their products are vegan, gluten free, raw and organic. Love that!

08-new nud food bars

13-jbars owner

New on the scene is Justyna Kozlowska, owner of Jbars Protein Snack. I had the pleasure of trying a few and they are incredibly tasty. I love that they are exactly the kind of products I can enjoy: vegan, gluten free, low in sugar, organic and not processed.

10-jbar balls

11-jbar prices

 

Since the product is made fresh they’re in the refrigerated section of stores. Click on the image below to see where you can get your hands on these tasty protein packed morsels.
12-where to buy jbar

14-jbar bars

15-jbars balls 2

16-giddy yoyo

 

We had to stop by Giddy Yoyo and stock up on Mint chocolate. I found it hilarious they had these promo yoyos. Hands down it’s amazing. I got to speak to one of the former chocolate makers and she told me about how she meditated and sang to the chocolate. Now that’s love.

Hope you had a chance to see the show.

 

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Asian Shepherd’s pie with 4 cheese mash and homemade “sausage”

As my attempt at recreating One Green Planet’s recipe for Spicy vegan gluten free sausage was a total failure I decided to use half of what I had left (it was a big batch as I was hoping the original recipe would be so great I could freeze some) and try to salvage it. So what’s a girl to do but make a shepherd’s pie?

Components:
1. Mash topping
2. Vegetables
3. “Sausage”

Mash topping
I used organic potatoes, so I just washed them and left the skin on for good measure. I boiled about 4lbs in a pot and when they were done (20 minutes due to the fact that I didn’t chop them up first or they’d have boiled faster) I put them in a large metal bowl and used a hand masher. I then added

- around 3/4 cup of unsweetened original soy milk (I like to use Natura)
- One 1/4 cups of Daiya Cheddar shreds
- One 1/4 cups of Daiya Pepperjack shreds
- 2 crumbled slices of Daiya Provolone
- 2 crumbled slices of Daiya Swiss
- 1/4 cup of vegan ‘butter’

Vegetables
I took the easy route and lightly sautéed asian frozen vegetables from Costco. I love how this mix has the variety of vegetables I have an affinity for.
- broccoli
- green beans
- sugar snap peas
- carrots
- red bell peppers
- shiitake mushrooms
- water chestnuts
- baby corn
- yellow onions

I was preparing everything simultaneously, so you can only imagine what my stove top looked like.

Sausage:

Now comes the part of the recipe that I really wasn’t looking forward to –  the dreaded sausage. It was a complete disaster when I tried to steam the mixture which also was not holding together. Here’s the original recipe. As that wasn’t working for me. I don’t think it made a difference that I used a white kidney bean, I mean a bean is a bean. I also added flax seed and soaked 1/4 cup of chia seed till it became 1 cup. Then I let it chill over night and it was STILL not cohesive to form into a ‘sausage’ link shape. Seriously?

For this recipe I decided to pan fry it. I took it slow, on medium heat as it was so damn sticky, it was hard to break into little pieces to fry evenly. I think I was standing there for about 20 minutes, but it felt like forever. If you can actually make this sausage recipe please let me know, I would be grateful that someone made it properly, give me some hope as it stands I will not try again. I went to a lot of trouble to get the vegan gluten free Worcestershire Sauce and it just feels like a kick in the teeth to work with this unruly mixture. I did it anyway. Finally, it browned up and I then assembled everything into a dutch oven Le Creuset.

4-vegan sausage

3-shep pie covered

2-shep pie mixture 2

1-shep pie mixture

1-Shep pie

 

I baked it at 400 for 20 minutes. The top didn’t brown as much as I’d like, but we were hungry and basically everything is already cooked, so good enough. As always, I have Yoshi, my little kitchen helper meowing at me and watching my every move. I love his little face. He is a mommas boy for sure. He was trying to smell the spoon I had in my hand when I was dalloping the mash on top. I had it in my hand while trying to take a picture. After this picture he climbed on my knee to try to get a better smell. Too bad he’s not a veggie cat. Ah well.

5-Yoshi kitchen helper

So there you have it – I salvaged the sausage and made something lovely out of a horrible time. Hurray!

Happy Eating!

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Filed under Asian gluten free vegan, gluten free meals, Meals, vegan

Easy Pad Thai

I’ll never understand how Mat’s sister can make everything taste amazing. She has mastered vegan gluten free baking and doesn’t even try at it. I so much as add egg replacement and the whole thing is garbage. Seriously. She’s done it again with a recipe for Pad Thai that is easy and incredibly tasty.

The elements for pad thai are pretty simple:
1. Sauce
2. Noodles
3. Vegetables
4. Garnish

Usually pad thai requires a) tamarind and b) fish sauce. I really did not want to go through the pain of mashing a tamarind brick through a sieve though it really is worth it. Fish sauce is out of the question, yet this recipe is perfect without it.

Sauce recipe:
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp soy sauce + A dash of sesame oil = fish sauce substitute
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp white vinegar

Now, this doesn’t make very much, so I actually made 8x’s the amount because I used 3/4 cups of it to marinate the tofu in over night.

Instructions:

Tofu:
- Cut up tofu into squares, marinate over night, when ready to cook, place tofu on baking sheet (minus the liquid) and bake at 350F for 30 minutes or until your desired firmness

Noodles:
- Rice noodles generally take 5 minutes to boil, so have those bad boys ready just before the vegetables cook

Vegetables:
- I generally use whatever vegetables I have on hand, but if you want to be semi traditional go for: bean sprouts, red/green peppers, mushrooms, baby bok choi, you can add ginger in as well.
- Stir fry the vegetables to match the timing of the tofu baking and noodles boiling. Should take about 8 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your veggies.
NOTE: Do add the bean sprouts last, they only take two minutes and are nice crispy

Garnish:
- Chopped green onions, cilantro, crushed peanuts, lime juice

1-Pad Thai

When the tofu is done, add it to the drained noodles and vegetables then pour in a cup of the sauce, that should be enough, but add more if you so desire. Add the garnish at the end and enjoy!

This recipe is seriously delicious. I cannot emphasize how much you’ll want to make extra sauce to have on hand.

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Whole Life Expo 2013

Super excited to be back in the city and able to attend more festivals and trade shows. Did you get your tickets to the Whole Life Expo? It’s coming up soon!

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I received a media sell sheet regarding the event full of details:

Whole Life Expo 2013 Puts the Spotlight on Anti-Aging and Disease Prevention with its Biggest Show Ever.

What: The 27th Annual Whole Life Expo and Speaker Series: Canada’s largest showcase of natural health, integrative medicine, and green living initiatives.

When: November 22nd (4PM-9PM), November 23rd (11AM-8PM) and
November 24th (10AM-6PM), 2013

Where: Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building, 255 Front Street West

Who:
• Anyone interested in staying informed on the latest options available for optimal health;
• Consumers seeking emerging technologies, innovative products and alternative therapies;
• Companies looking to launch new products and services and connect with other like-minded businesses;
• Aging populations interested in discovering a natural fountain of youth;
• Individuals looking to taste delicious and healthy food and drink, hear from an array of expert speakers and shop amazing products.

Why: Consumers are seeking new alternatives to conventional medicine. The Whole Life Expo demonstrates how natural products, through alternative medicine coupled with a healthy diet, are proving to have significant benefits. Learn how this might help prevent disease and reduce the overall cost of healthcare.

With more than 225 exhibitors and 70 lecture sessions this year, Whole Life Expo 2013 will continue its longstanding tradition of providing new solutions and provocative information to help people make decisions that could transform their lives. Join more than 20,000 attendees enjoying presentations from some of the most respected names in the natural health and wellness industry, learning techniques and therapies, and discovering great new products.

Web: wholelifeexpo.ca
Facebook.com/WholeLifeExpoCa
Twitter: @WholeLifeExpoTO

Admission:
Weekend Lecture Pass $15 (Admits one to all Lectures, Exhibits and Stages) Weekend Exhibit Pass $10 (Admits one to All Exhibits and Stages)

I’ll be live tweeting for sure when I’m there. If you go – enjoy the show!

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Back in the city

We made it, we’re back in Toronto and it’s been an interesting last six months. St. Catharines didn’t work out for us, but I am glad we got Mardi. Hopefully now I’ll be able to have some stability and stop constantly cleaning and being kicked out due to house showings.

For now here are some Mardi animated pics + a family shot of everyone. Sorry it’s blurry, I was so excited everyone was relatively together my hands shook a bit. We have to figure where everything goes right now and we’ll do that this weekend, but for now it’s nice to have things semi settled.

all three pets on the bed

 

Yoshi is incredibly lazy and it’s a feat that he’s this close to Mardi. He was terrified of her for a long time, so this is good progress! I love how for a 45lb dog she curls up like a little fox. Yuki is on Mardi’s bed curled up like a grey ball.

I love how her ears flop as she turns her head. Ahhh!

She looks so wise and calm. Love this face.

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Handmade Gluten Free Vegan Pizza

We usually buy our pizza crusts, but seeing as the bakery didn’t re-order them I decided to make my own.  I have never made my own pizza crust with flour. Usually, if I do make ‘pizza’, I’ll make raw tomato bread and use it as a crust with cashew cheese.

4-ingredients Robin Hood

What I have here: Robin Hood gluten free flour, sugar, salt, xanthum gum, baking powder, table spoon of olive oil.

I followed this recipe: http://minimalistbaker.com/the-best-gluten-free-pizza-crust-sauce/

Now, here’s the thing, the flour I used didn’t really get adhesive until I added about a cup and a half more water than the recipe called for. The reason, I assume, the flours are different and must have different water saturation. This is why I don’t often bake – gluten free is freaking hard and I’m terrified to screw it up and waste these expensive ingredients.

Thankfully, it did work out and adding more water was the key.

1-pre bake shells

Don’t be fooled by how the circles turned out. As you can see one of them was ‘patched up’, the dough wasn’t the easiest to work with. I had to make them into small balls in my hand and then French rolling pin them into flatter shapes. I would highly suggest either flouring or oiling your rolling pin to make sure the dough doesn’t stick and fluster the heck out of you.

2-pre bake made

I topped it with: tomato paste, cheddar Daiya, red/green peppers, button mushrooms and parsley. Baked it off at 400 for 15 minutes. I double checked that it was golden brown on the bottom of the crusts before removing it.

3-pizza afterHappy eating!

 

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Veganism to me

Today I spoke with a vegetarian friend who made the connection and is interested in becoming vegan. Hurray! I didn’t push her, I just said I know a lot of recipes and yeah, eggs are pretty gross when you think about it, I mean who wants to eat the period of another animal? When you think about it in the bigger picture it is pretty sad that man has become a horrible creature to others. Who else enslaves animals and makes their life hell? Who creates torture devices to get at ‘bear bile’, or factory farms other living beings just because they’re so damn tasty? You know what’s tasty? Spices and herbs.

If you actually ate raw meat, like a real carnivore, you wouldn’t need to cook it, spice it up. If humans were actual carnivores they’d eat it raw like the tigers and lions do. Instead, we pay other people to do that. We pay people to cut off beaks of chickens, shove them in crates smaller than a square foot and give them steroids that make them grow faster, then when they can’t walk round them up, dip them in hot water – can’t have those feathers in our meal, run their necks over a blade and hang them up to bleed out. Then, after all that horror, grind them up or cut them in pieces for humane consumption. That’s the glory the girls get after being spent from hatching. The boys get ground up alive.

GROUND UP ALIVE. Let that sink in for a minute.

Chicken, pigs, cows, fish, anything man can think of to eat is tortured, raped, and made to suffer for a ‘tasty’ meal.

I’m not going to include pictures in this post because it would offend some people. I find the whole meat/dairy industry offensive, but I can’t turn a blind eye. I won’t and I will always be an angry vegan trying to live happy knowing I’m doing my part. I can sleep semi easy at night.

I worry for the animals in a cage, on a metal grate that their feet are mangled, for the baby cows separated from their mothers crying in the night, for the baby pigs who are castrated by hand, for the birds stomped on and left to die. I can only do my part and hope that I influence others to stop – think – and react.

Eating a certain way because of culture, because of tradition, or anything else you can call it is a death sentence. The world has changed, it can only sustain so many people and creating an environmental hazard through all this factory farming to satisfy a stomach that keeps growing is ludicrous.

I hope people read this and think. Look into the eyes of an animal and for once stop thinking about yourself. Stop thinking how tasty you think that creature is and try to step outside that and feel something.

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Filed under animal cruelty, Rants, vegan

Virtual Vegan Potluck November 2013!

Are you all MoFo’d out yet? I adore what people have been making, just lovely, creative and informative. Vegan MoFo is seriously amazing, such a wonderful bonding experience for everyone and love all around. Such a nice tie in to Virtual Vegan Potluck! YES! It’s back and it’s going to be amazing!

This year we are going to be strict with dates. I cannot explain the stress of having to update 100+ blog URL’s and having to tell other bloggers some people have dropped out and to re-route their link to reflect the change. Yes, it’s a bit of a pain, especially on a Saturday morning. No one needs that mess. The experience should be painless, coordinated and easy.

Help us help you! If you’re participating this year Annie will set up due dates that MUST be adhered to, if not, you’re not in. As much as we want everyone to participate there is said headache I mentioned above. We all have things that happen, such is life and we do understand, that’s why we’re trying to do this early to avoid issues.

So, that said, I hope you have a category picked out: appetizer,  beverages, bread, salad, sides, soup, main dish, dessert.

Do check out May’s Potluck here and HOW IT WORKS here. Please do not be alarmed if you have never participated, Annie has made very clear instructions on how to do everything. We will have mentors this year fielding questions and we really hope to bring you the very best experience you can have. Our hope is to bring vegan recipes together and show people that yes – you CAN have a delicious vegan meal without compromising taste. Please spread the word, get people talking, and sign up!

Happy VVP’ing!

 

 

 

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