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Posts Tagged ‘vegan’

Happy 2018!

In Food, Glorious Food, Uncategorized on January 1, 2018 at 2:48 pm

Happy New Year! Akemashite omedetou. Time for more eating of classic staples in three-tiered box: azuki gohan, organic kale and gobo, fried daikon and black beans. Plus, a soon-to-be new favourite of Peking-style jackfruit rice wraps. Enjoy!

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Curry in a Hurry

In Food, Glorious Food, Recently Reviewed, Recipes on February 20, 2017 at 12:00 pm

While we love Indian food, if you’ve ever made curry from scratch you know, it can be a long, time-consuming process. To cut corners, I sometimes use ready-made sauces but it’s really hard to find prepackaged ones that not only taste good but are organic, not to mention vegan, gluten-free and nut-free.

For the most part, I find that store-bought sauces or mixes often need a bit of embellishment to make them more flavourful – so I end up having to add a ton of spices just to make them palatable. How happy I was to recently discover a new line of sauces that step up to the challenge! These sauces are made in small batches and are full of flavour on their own.

Ingredients

3          large potatoes, peeled and chopped

1          small cauliflower, chopped

1          large onion, diced

1          can chickpeas, rinsed (398 ml)

2          cloves garlic (2-3 tsp) minced

1          jar (485 ml) Perfect Chef Veg Curry

avocado or coconut oil

salt & pepper

Slower Method

Chop potatoes into bite-size pieces. Boil in salted water about 15 mins., until tender. Drain and set aside. While potatoes are boiling, heat oil in large Dutch oven or heavy pot with lid, add chopped onions and sauté on medium heat about 5 mins. Mix in garlic and cauliflower. Cover with lid and allow cauliflower to steam about 5-10 mins.

Once cauliflower has started to soften, stir in chickpeas and cooked potatoes. Add sauce and mix thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. If curry is too thick, add a small amount of water or unsweetened non-dairy milk (soy, rice, coconut or almond milk work well for a creamier sauce) to desired consistency.

Replace lid and continue cooking, stirring regularly, until sauce beings to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5-10 mins., until all vegetables are heated through. Serve with cooked basmati rice and flatbread or naan. Enjoy!

Make ahead tips:

The trick is to make parts of this meal ahead of time. Any prep you can do beforehand will cut down your overall cooking time.

Some suggestions:

-Boil the potatoes as above. Drain. Cool and store for later use.

-Wash and chop cauliflower, then store in container until ready to use. Or while you are boiling the potatoes, toss cauliflower with oil until lightly coated and roast in oven at 400°C for about 15 mins., until lightly browned. Cool and store for later use.

-Prechop garlic and store in a small amount of oil (or cheat and buy minced garlic).

-Sauté onions in oil until lightly browned.

Speedy Method

If all or most of your ingredients are cooked and ready to go, it’s a quick and simple assembly. Simply heat oil in Dutch oven, add onions and stir in garlic. Mix in cooked potatoes, roasted cauliflower, chickpeas and sauce. Season with salt and pepper and simmer 10-15 minutes until all vegetables are heated thoroughly.

 

Granola Made Good

In Good Eats, Recently Reviewed on January 27, 2017 at 3:17 pm

We’ve tried a lot of granola bars in our household over the years so we know something good when we find it – particularly when it’s organic, gluten-free, nut-free and vegan. Although my daughter is now in university, she still takes snacks just about every day. Both my husband and I like to have quick-and-easy items to grab and go, too especially when you’re on the road or running errands.

 Version 2Granola Minis by MadeGood  If you’re searching for a healthy snack the kids will love, look no further. These tiny little morsels are filled with – believe it or not – vegetables! And yes, the pickiest kid will enjoy them not just because they are fun to eat but they taste great. PRODUCT NOTES So many good flavours to choose from – strawberry (pictured), mixed berry, apple cinnamon, chocolate chip and chocolate banana. The hard part will be deciding which one to try first. The granola bars are simply larger versions of the minis. BOTTOM LINE Perfect for school (or work) lunches, these may cost a little more than your regular snacks but the better-quality ingredients make it worth your while.

 

Tiny Tomatoes

In Food, Glorious Food, Recipes on January 12, 2017 at 4:30 pm

Although organic cherry tomatoes tend to be plentiful during the summer, I noticed them on sale in late fall and more recently before and after Christmas – so I had to buy a few containers. We like to use sun-dried tomatoes on pizza, in pasta, sauces and other dishes but it’s not always easy to find organic ones and they can be expensive. Why not roast your own? This recipe is super easy to make and has more flavour than any store-bought variety I’ve ever had. When I made bruschetta with them, it was gobbled up in a flash.

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Oven-Roasted Organic Cherry Tomatoes

Ingredients

30 oz               organic cherry tomatoes (3 small containers/284 g each)

4                      cloves organic garlic, chopped

4                      bay leaves

8 oz                 organic olive oil  (250 ml)

salt, ground pepper, dried thyme to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 250° C. Wash tomatoes and slice in half. Arrange cut side up on tray. Season with salt and pepper. Roast about 2 hours until shrivelled. Cool.

Mix oil, garlic, bay leaves and thyme in bowl. Stir in cooled tomatoes to cover. Enjoy!

If you’re not eating them right away, place in a sealed container in the fridge. Oil will solidify, which can make it more spreadable for some dishes. Otherwise, if you want it to liquefy, let it come back to room temperature.

 

Crazy for Kombucha

In Good Eats, Recently Reviewed on January 6, 2017 at 6:31 pm

There’s been a bad flu bug going around. Particularly during this past holiday season when most of us were getting together with family and friends. If the flu didn’t get you, perhaps the drinking, overeating, rich foods or sugary treats all took their toll.

While I was out shopping one day, I noticed a woman grabbing this item from the fridge section and was intrigued. Ginger remedies tend to be my go-to when I have stomach upset or cold symptoms. So I thought it might be a good one to try as something different while we had holiday guests. I’m sure glad I did!

kombucha

Kombucha Gingerade by GT’s. I’ve never seen this line before but the fact it was organic, non-GMO, vegan and gluten free made it appealing. As you know, I am always eager to try new organic and vegan products. PRODUCT NOTES In a nutshell, it’s probably the strongest ginger ale you will ever try – with real bits of raw ginger in it. My mother didn’t like it at all but the rest of us really enjoyed drinking it. BOTTOM LINE Both my sister and cousin had a bit of stomach flu and found it helped them to recover. Plus, there was a day or two when I was also feeling a bit queasy and it immediately made me feel better! I’ll have to keep my eye out for the other flavours. If they are as good as the gingerade, it will definitely be worth the search.

Try Something Vegan

In Food For Thought on January 4, 2017 at 5:25 pm

It’s a new year, so why not try something new, something vegan? If you live across the pond, no doubt you’ve heard of the annual Veganuary event that takes place in January or seen their cute animal ads.

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Launched in the U.K. in 2014, Veganuary is a global charity dedicated to changing public attitudes, while providing information and practical support on making the transition to veganism. The campaign encourages people around the world to try vegan in January.

If you’ve ever entertained the idea, now is the perfect time as a host of international celebrities have shared their favourite vegan meals and recipes in a brand-new e-cookbook. The cookbook is free, to everyone who registers to take part in Veganuary online at www.veganuary.com, and includes fellow Canadians Pamela Anderson’s Gluten-free Pizza, and an Artichoke Salad, Fennel Salad and Blitzed Broccoli Salad from Bryan Adams. Once registered, participants will be sent information, advice and more yummy recipes.

Believe it or not, it’s true: vegans save lives – animal lives of course and perhaps our own human lives. Veganism is one of the most effective choices a person can make to reduce the suffering of animalshelp the planet, and improve personal health.

Last year 23,000 people from 142 countries took part in Veganuary worldwide, including almost 1,000 Canadians who ate no animal products in January. The move to meat-free foods in Canada has been extraordinary, with eight per cent now saying they are vegetarian or mostly vegetarian, while another 25 per cent are moving away from meat-centred meals to plant-based recipes and products. This dramatic change has seen stores and restaurants respond with 100 per cent vegan restaurants opening while others have added vegan options or created full vegan menus.

Says Clea Grady, Marketing Manager at Veganuary: “The rise in veganism may be influenced by celebrities but the number one reason that people give for taking part in Veganuary is to protect animals. Farming is a brutal business. Male chicks are killed at a day old because they aren’t able to lay eggs, unwanted calves are shot, and pigs are locked in crates and treated like breeding machines.”

Something to think about before you tuck into your next meal.

Vegan Airport Guide: Tips for a Stress-Free Travel Season

In Food For Thought on December 12, 2016 at 11:23 am

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Attention fellow vegans: Are you travelling this holiday season? Here’s some great tips to help you at any time of year!

Source: Vegan Airport Guide: Tips for a Stress-Free Travel Season

Perfect Pansies

In Food, Glorious Food, In the Garden on May 7, 2016 at 11:08 am

What’s not to love about these tiny, perfect pansies just harvested from the garden? This year, we found a bumper crop growing in different clumps in the back garden, so it seemed like a great time for a gathering.

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Many people enjoy them fresh in salads and desserts. You can even buy them crystallized to use as pretty decorations on fancy cakes or sandwich loafs. Although you usually need to go to a specialty store to find them…they tend to be expensive, and since most are done with whipped egg whites and sugar – they aren’t vegan. Why not make your own?

Our bunnies love to eat fresh herbs so I thought I’d give them one each to try. No surprise when neither hesitated for a moment — it was just grab and gobble them down. It’s so easy to simply wash and dry them on a baking sheet for later use.

Time to Try Tempeh

In Good Eats, Recently Reviewed on April 29, 2016 at 10:31 am

tempeh

Recently while I was in Owen Sound, I visited one of my favourite cafes – The Bleeding Carrot. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend dropping by. Everything I’ve tried on their menu has been amazing. So when I asked the owner what was one of the most popular sandwiches he said, the Maple Tempeh Sandwich — it’s like a BLT but uses tempeh instead of bacon. He was quite convincing because for one, I’ve never really liked bacon so have never ordered a BLT, and secondly hadn’t tried tempeh, so I wasn’t sure if I would like it. Glad he urged me to do so. It was so good, I asked him what he used and he was kind enough to show me the package.

Marinated Tempeh by Turtle Island Foods. The people who brought you Tofurky, have also created an entire line of  tempeh products. The Smoky Maple Bacon is the one I enjoyed in the sandwich so when I was in the store and saw the Sesame Garlic, I grabbed that one and the Coconut Curry, too.  PRODUCT NOTES Just like bacon, the tempeh comes in strips that need to be fried up. Some, like the Coconut Curry, are heavily coated in marinate, which makes them a bit sticky when you’re peeling them apart. While we’re big fans of curries – the seasoning in this one wasn’t up to par, so much so we were afraid to try the others. Thankfully we took the plunge. BOTTOM LINE As for the flavours – Smoky Maple Bacon and Sesame Garlic – they were winners all around. Great in sandwiches, stir fries and just as a side dish as part of a big breakfast.

Tour Top-Rated Vegan Restaurants

In Book Reviews, Recently Reviewed on May 19, 2015 at 9:58 am

TheHappyCow_webThink you’re a picky eater? Try being a vegetarian or vegan, if just for a meal or two, and you’ll discover a host of difficulties served with a side of limited options when eating out. Add travel to the mix, where you’re not familiar navigating the local customs, language or terrain, and you might as well prepare for a culinary crisis. But wait – vegans everywhere can now rejoice! Let The HappyCow Cookbook, by Eric Brent and Glen Merzer, take you on a guided tour of top-rated vegan restaurants around the world. As the title suggests, even if you’re not leaving the comforts of home to jaunt off somewhere in the near future and are only venturing as far as your kitchen, this fabulous resource contains recipes from far and wide that will have you going back for seconds.

In the foreword, actress and fellow vegan Emily Deschanel cites many different reasons why people choose to become vegan, and stresses the need for like-minded individuals to reach out to one another in their common purpose. She credits the HappyCow website for helping to establish an international veg community to which she is happy to be part of. If you’re not familiar with HappyCow, it’s an online resource started in 1999 by founder and director Eric Brent, who is also co-editor and author of the book. Back in the 80s Brent, then a vegetarian, discovered first-hand how hard it was to find places to eat as he backpacked throughout Europe. By 1999 the avid traveller had become vegan, and had grown so frustrated, and practically starved in his search while abroad that he was inspired if not compelled to start HappyCow.com as a handy site to help other travellers find “safe food.” Today it is fueled by user-generated content, whereby once you’ve signed on to become part of their community you can post reviews and recommendations, however sweet or sour, of the places you’ve eaten and shopped. It’s refreshing to see so many successful vegan venues taking root among the vast plains of mainstream restaurants, diners, eateries and markets.

If you’re one of those people who avoid animal products, it no longer matters where you plant yourself. With just a few clicks of a mouse, you can easily find a variety of places that will not only welcome you but also share in your views. Unlike standard restaurateurs, these are people are enlightened to the cost and cruelty involved in consuming livestock, and are committed to making changes into what we enjoy when we sit down at the table – one meal at a time. As Dave Loan, owner of ZenKitchen, points out: “Diners are becoming more health-conscious and aware of factory farming and other cruelty issues while demanding more flavorful food. It’s up to us to step up to the plate –- the dinner plate — and offer our supporters the full dining experience while still respecting our values.”

Thanks to the book’s selection of go-to places you can now travel the world and dine on international cuisine from haute cuisine to fast food simply by flipping through a few pages. Each listing features photographs of the establishment, so you’ll know what to look out for if you’re visiting, plus a brief interview with the proprietor and one or more of their popular recipes.

Heading down south? Plan to make a pit stop at Cornbread Café in Eugene, Oregon and enjoy some southern-style hospitality. What started out in a parked food trailer has since grown into the present day diner thanks to their ever-popular Chicken Fried Tempeh topped with cashew gravy, Skillet Cornbread and Frozen Peanut Butter Pie. Not only does a local gardener pick up their food scraps, driven in a car fueled by their used cooking oil, but the café also offers discounts to patrons who walk or ride the bus when they drop in for a bite.

Should you find yourself across the pond in York, England or Malaga, Spain and are craving a bit of Spanish flair, head over to one of El Piano’s locations and tuck into some Peruvian Leftovers Pie and Granada Chai. Taking a trip to our own Canadian capital? Raise the flag for Ottawa’s ZenKitchen, an upscale and award-winning gourmet vegan restaurant known for its Polenta Fries and Eggplant Parmesan. Fancy salad? Prepare for a salad showcase as their Tasting of Beets celebrates the root vegetable with its selection of boiled, roasted and pickled beets.

If you’re up for something more substantial, Coox and Candy in Stuttgart, Germany should hit the spot. Owner and chef, Kathrin Friedrich, shares one of the lessons she’s learned: “It’s so much easier to explain the vegan lifestyle if you offer somebody a delicious meal, a sweet dessert, and good coffee, instead of talking to a person in the street showing him bloody pictures of dead animals.” Well said, indeed, as the latter certainly doesn’t do much to whet the appetite. For goodness sake, give them the dinner, the coffee and cake. As a popular chef who keeps customers coming back for more, Friedrich knows a thing or two about good food. Fans of hearty German fare will find themselves right at home enjoying her creative reinterpretations of time-honoured classics like schnitzel with dishes such as Celery-Breaded Cutlet With Wild Rice and Mixed Vegetables. It’s also one of the few places where you can find a traditional homemade vegan Schwarzwälder-Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cake) to satisfy your sweet tooth. Sounds like a wonderful meal that you can really sink your teeth into. Bon appétit!