Saturday, November 21, 2009

A bend in the road

Friends, it's been a long time since I posted here and since I've been in the Resource Centre (or podcasted) with any regularity. Having bought a business with my husband I found that I really needed my Saturdays in order to maintain any kind of balance in my life - for with "working" in the RC those days and working every other day of the week in my shop, I was starting to lose my mind a little.

I'm still acting as a pinch-hitter for the Saturday RC crew and will be there on both Dec 5 and Dec 12. I do hope I'll get to meet some of you on Dec 12, which is when this year's annual Holiday Open House is happening. Drop by for some great conversation, cookies, and gift ideas for the veg-convinced and veg-sympathetic loved ones in your life.

You can also talk to us about finding ways of getting involved in TVA. TVA has lots of volunteer opportunities - even possibly helping out at the RC on Saturdays and podcasting with John and Liam! We will all be really happy to talk to you about ways you can help TVA meet its goals, about what sorts of roles are available, and the great satisfaction we've all gotten out of spending time with TVA's amazing cast of contributors.

Speaking of which, my own volunteering role within TVA has recently changed quite considerably. Having had to step away almost completely from my Saturdays at the RC, after a suitable break I felt like I needed to find something to fill the gap; helping to make the world more veg-friendly is really important to me. I decided to run for the Board of Directors and this past Thursday, I was honoured to win enough votes at the Annual General Meeting to allow that to happen. I'm really looking forward to helping TVA realize its plans for 2010 which, as the final year of its current 3-year strategic plan, will focus on compassion for animals.

So, be sure to drop by 17 Baldwin St. on Dec 12 (but of course, you're welcome before then too!) and see us. And afterwards, you can always have pie in a class downstairs at Vegetarian Haven if the cookies we provide don't make you sufficiently sugar-sick!

Here's a random photo of some TVA volunteers I found on that series of tubes known as the internet. Look at how happy they are! You could be that happy volunteering too.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off is Today!

Finally...the day of indulgence has arrived.
Join us at 627 Queens Quay W to celebrate World Vegetarian Day.

We will be start sampling 40 fabulous vegan entries at 4pm.
Jae Steele, Eden Hertzog and Doug McNish will judge and render their verdicts by 7 p.m.

If you miss will be sorry.
Check out the details at

Images taken at our first Totally Fabulous Vegan Bakeoff, October 4, 2008.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Portable energy: A review of Glo Bakery

The other day I stumbled upon a blog that made me feel like I was looking at my life in an alternative dimension. Angela, has a masters in social research (just like me) but found her true passion was in creating wholesome vegan snacks and desserts (hmmm, I can relate to that too).

Lucky for all of us, Angela left her previous career and opened Glo Bakery in Milton. She nows spends her time crafting innovative recipes that are cruelty-free (containing no animal products) and contain only natural, unrefined ingredients. Even though the bakery's menu has a long list of satisfying sweets, those with allergies can browse without concern as they are all made without dairy, eggs, trans fats, additional oils, or refined sweeteners. Many of the offerings are wheat or gluten free and highlight organic dried fruits.

Glo Bakery offers bars, granolas, breads, muffins, cookies and cakes. Those looking for catering for special events can contact the bakery-check out the beautiful sugar cookie favours they offer. If you have a trip coming up or your lunch packing creativity is starting to dwindle you could order a package of Glo-bars to give you the boost you need without the subsequent sugar crash many sweet snacks can cause. Glo bakery will ship their goods anywhere in Canada or the United States.

Angela sent a big box of her Glo-bars and Glo-nolas for the Resource Centre crew (and TVA staff) to sample. Everyone was impressed and had lots to say about the energizing effects of Angela's creations.

Barbi grabbed a Heaven bar as she left the Resource Centre. Soon I got an excited email reflecting on the classic taste combination of chocolate and peanut butter. Barbi said that this certainly improved on the texture of typical granola bars. She enjoyed the chewiness.

Barbi and Angeline both tried the Refresh Glo-bar. Both commented on the dominant chocolate flavour. If you are into chocolate this is a really healthy, balanced way to indulge that craving.

Angeline also tried the Classic Glo-bar and said that it was good to the last bite.

A visitor to the Resource Centre tried the Renew bar and commented on the rich, peanuty flavour. He said that he would look to pick up a few of these bars in the future.

The Classic Glo-nola offers an amazing aray of flavours in each bite. Seriously, with oats, peanut butter, almonds, flax, raisins, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, coconut, cinnamon and nutmeg (plus lots more) all in one bowl how can you go wrong. I love that this glo-nola uses the fat in whole foods, nuts and nut butters to satisfy our nutritional needs rather than adding refined oils.

David really enjoyed the Coco Cocoa Glo-nola. He said that he generally doesn't enjoy granola, but was quite impressed by the flavour of this special snack. I'm sure that the combination of hemp, walnuts, oats and dark chocolate would impress anyone looking for a sweet yet satisfying treat. He ate it unadultered but a bowl of glo-nola with almond milk would be a hearty way to start a crisp fall morning.
Our only suggestion for improvement was for the packaging (everything in the packages was yummy!). We wanted the dominant flavours to be more apparent in the title or on the front of the packages so that we could easily discern our favourites among the offerings. The titles are fun and creative...but if you don't like chocolate would you know to avoid Heaven?

Liam and I discuss the Glo bakery on the Toronto Vegetarian Podcast

Angela, thank you for your sweet vegan generosity!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

T.O. got a visit from a Vegan Superstar

The Winner is....comment #3, SickOnSin. Please send us your mailing address at and we will put the calendar in the mail for you. Congratulations. Thank you to everyone for the fantastic recipe suggestions from HIAV.

On September 8th, Sarah Kramer came to town to celebrate the release of the 10th anniversary edition of How It All Vegan (I've had my copy for over 9 years!). She woke up at a ridiculous hour to hang out with Seamus O'Regan and provide the Canada AM audience with an update on how easy it is to be vegan these days (in comparison to 1999). Sarah finished her day surrounded by fans at a fundraiser for ARK II (a shindig hosted by Ken from Panacea and Steve from Leftfeet). What a whirlwhind.

With Sarah in town, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to ask her a few questions about HIAVX and her 2010 Calendar.

Lisa:As I mentioned on Twitter I enjoyed flipping through the familiar pages and actually got a little emotional when thinking about how much my own life as a vegan has changed in the last decade.
Sarah: awwww. Me too! :)

What changes had occurred over the last ten years in the vegan scene that required revisions? Just minor things ... website addresses, typos, etc.

Did you adjust any of the existing recipes?
Yes. We didn’t have our “recipe speak” perfected just yet when we wrote HIAV so I adjusted some of the recipes so they made more sense.

Were there resources or tips that were added?
As I re-read my old introduction that I wrote 10+ years ago I was pleasantly surprised to find that I agreed with everything I wrote. *laugh* A lot changes in 10 years ... but my passion for vegansim hasn’t. HIAV-X also includes a new introduction about what’s happened to me and the books in the 10 years since it hit shelves.

What recipe did you rediscover while updating the contents of HIAV? I had so many "oh...that one is fantastic, I should make that again" moments when I was flipping through the pages last night.
Big Ben Lentil Burgers ... it was originally my Mum’s recipe and I had totally forgotten about it. This summer we’ve been making them at least once a week.

For many of your fans HIAV provided the first recipes that supported their vegan culinary success. For those who are just beginning their path to veganism in 2010 what recipe do you think they should try first in HIAVX to help them solidfy their belief that eating vegan is easy and delicious.
When you first go vegan it can be really overwhelming, especially if you don’t have a group of friends/family who are supporting your new lifestyle so having a book like HIAV there to guide you on your journey can make things a lot easier. Plus learning to cook/experiment and have success in the kitchen helps build your vegan confidence. ;)

HIAVX includes the addition of five fantastic new recipes, including buttertarts! You tackled Nanaimo bars in VAGG, another Canadian classic. With those two on your list of accomplishments are their other traditional treats you are attempting to veganize?
There’s not a lot of Canadian Cuisine that is specifically “Canadian” because we are such a melting pot of cultures and most of our popular Canadian foods are derived from other countries ... but if your readers have any requests - send them to and I’ll try my best to veganize them. :)

Panacea, Toronto's vegan grocery store, that is hosting your party on September 8th has an amazing array of vegan products. Are there any products that you have recently discovered to make life just a little bit easier or more enjoyable?
The last time I was in NY I sampled some Dr.Cow’s Cheese nut cheese and almost exploded with joy. I wish I could buy it in Canada ... but you can order it from

What ingredients are you currently experimenting with in your kitchen? Are you currently recipe testing or enjoy the spontaneity of eating without a looming book deadline?
I’m currently working on a FRESH cherry pie and taking my time with it. I am really enjoying not having any cookbook deadlines looming. I really need some time off to re-charge my creative batteries.

Your fans will have you on their calendar for 2010 but what's on yours for the coming year?
I just finished shooting (with my husband Gerry) photos for the 2011 calendar. Rudee from SSOV ( is working on the design with me and it’s HILARIOUS! I think everyone will enjoy it - and again we are giving a portion of the proceeds to Sea Shepherd. So it’s exciting to do a project that involves all my passions. My husband, photography, food and fundraising!!

On behalf of all your Toronto fans thanks for coming for another visit. It is always nice to have you in town (I think adds a little something sweet to the air).
Awww. I love Toronto. I am always overwhelmed with the amount of love and encouragement I receive from The T-dot.

Now for the Giveaway! If you are interested in recieving your own Go Vegan 2010 Wall Calendar all you have to do is add a comment listing your favourite HIAV recipe and why you love it. That's it. We will draw a random winner from the list on September 26th.

Good luck.

Monday, September 14, 2009

We have a winner!

Thank you for all of your comments, you have created a wonderful resource for all the parents out there.

Our randomly selected winner is:

JoelleT who said "Green smoothies! Great for getting kids (and grown-ups!) to not just eat their leafy greens, but really enjoy them."

Congratulations Joelle! Please send us an email at and let us know which one of Dreena's books you would like to receive and where to send it.

You have many delicious meals in your future.

The next giveaway will be posted tomorrow, so check back soon.

Giveaways and Updates

Wow...what a weekend. I hope all of you are recovering from an amazing three days spent at Harbourfront. As I ease back into my normal schedule I wanted to assure you that there are many updates to come on this blog (in the next day or so). Stay tuned for:

1. The winner of a Dreena Burton cookbook. We received fantastic suggestions for vegan recipes/meals that children love.

2. A giveaway for a Sarah Kramer 2010 calendar in celebration of the release of the 10th Anniversary edition of How It All Vegan.

3. A reminder about the upcoming 2nd Annual Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off. Seriously, I hope you are recipe testing right now!

Okay...I'll be back to fill in the details very soon.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Random Thoughts

Here are a couple things which have been going through my head as of late:

- Last Saturday's Raw Dessert event in the Resource Centre was great. Lisa mad these awesome cinnamon rolls, and I made a carob cake and coconut-cashew pudding. Everyone who came in was more than satisfied. We will continue to do these kinds of "free sampling" events in the future, but there is so much coming up that we've got to focus on that. What's coming up, you ask? The Vegetarian Food Fair is taking place on September 11-13 and there's also the Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake Off (more news on that soon) on October the 3rd. It's keeping us plenty-a-busy.

- Although I've been training for it for months now, I officially entered this week for the marathon in four weeks. My training has been going about as well as I could hope and I'm looking forward to being a part of the Toronto Vegetarian Team. If you're interested in joining the team or sponsoring you can do so here.

Veg out!