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!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Dreena's amazing recipes and a cookbook giveaway!

Do you wish you owned this book?

How about this one?
Or may be this one?

If you're interested...keep reading to find out how to get a FREE copy of one of Dreena's books.

I hope that you have all had the chance to listen to my chat with Dreena on the TVP.

Since John, Colleen and I are all official members of the Dreena fan club (we haven't printed the business cards yet), I was pretty excited to exchange thoughts with her on recipes, nutrition and living compassionately. She has been a fantastic source of inspiration in my life and I will continue to turn to her whenever I need a trustworthy recipe that is sure to impress.

Following the interview, Dreena was kind enough to suggest that we post one of the recipes that we discussed on the podcast and offer a free copy of one of her cookbooks (Everday Vegan, Vive le Vegan or Eat, Drink and Be Vegan) to a lucky listener.

For all of you who listened to the interview and thought "a recipe that makes adults lick their bowls in public places is just what I need", here is the infamous dish.

Rawesome Nut Dip (from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan)
Makes 1 3/4 cups

1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raw pistachios
1/4 cup raw walnuts
1/4 cup raw pine nuts
1/2 cup red or orange bell pepper, chopped
3- 3 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 very small clove garlic, sliced
1/2 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 1/2 - 6 tbsp water (or more to thin as desired)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1- 1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves

In a food processor, combine nuts, bell pepper, lemon juice (starting with 3 tbsp), garlic, salt, and pepper, and water (starting with 4 1/2 tbsp), and puree until fairly smooth, scraping down sides of bowl several times. Add basil and thyme, and puree again until well combined and to desired smoothness. Add more lemon juice to taste and/or water to thin dip if desired.

This dip is incredible!

I would also suggest that you check out the video of Dreena whipping up a batch of her Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies on the Everyday dish.

For more recipes visit Dreena's blog or win your own copy of one of her cookbooks (your choice) by adding a comment with your favourite vegan or vegetarian dish to share with children. We will randomly select a number and email the winner. This contest will close just before the Food Fair on September 10th!
This contest is open to residents of Canada and the continental United States!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Lisa's Vegetarian Summerfest Adventure

Hello Everyone,

As you may have heard I had the opportunity to attend the 35th annual Vegetarian Summerfest in Pennsylvania.

I had an incredible time and now I wish I had thought to bring all of you along. Instead, I have tried to capture some of the highlights on my blog. I also got the chance to chat about my experience with John and Liam on a recent podcast.

I recorded a few interviews while I was at Summerfest that I will attempt to post on the TVA site this week. I will add a link here as soon as it is up.

I hope that you are enjoying the summer so far and looking forward to attending out 25th annual Vegetarian Food Fair in just over a month.

See you all at Harbourfront!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Summer Resolutions

Last summer I came up with this grandiose plan of trying three new recipes per week. Like most new years' resolutions it fell by the wayside within the first two weeks - mostly because I was busier than I expected. However, this week I was able to get this task done. I experimented with three new recipes - two from Dreena Burton's blog and one from Veganomicon.

Dreena Burton's "Super Charge Me Cookies" were quite good. Essentially I was looking for a healthy cookie and I was able to find it. I like biting into a "treat" and not feeling like I'm going to get a sugar rush or need to detox after the fact. These guys did the trick.

I also made a Mexican Millet. Although the recipe is found in the Veganomicon cookbook there is a pseudo-version found here as well. My good friend Colleen has really got me on a millet kick right now, and I truly enjoyed this recipe. If you like Mexican food you're bound to like this one too.

Lastly, I was in a "what-the-heck" kind of mood and I decided to try something that I wouldn't normally eat. Hence, I tried a Mac-n-cheez recipe. Now, I'm not the kind of vegan who craves things from my past-omni life. So if I never eat a fake cheese again I would be perfectly fine with this. The part about this particular recipe that I liked was that there was no mock-cheese per se...the "cheese" was cashew and brazil nut based. I pretty much eat all non-processed foods so I was willing to give it a shot. I enjoyed the meal for sure...I would recommend it to anyone who does crave comfort food.

I'm not sure if I'll get to do three new recipes every week for the rest of the summer, but when I do try something new I'll be sure to post about it here.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Desperately Seeking Soycream

Earlier this week I went to Kensington Market at lunch to pick up some supplies and I decided to arm myself against the heat with some sort of frozen treat. Fingers crossed I headed to Hibuscus where I held out hope that they had ice cream cones so I could sample what Colleen has described as not only the best ice cream she has had but the most delicious thing she has ever eaten. Period. To my expectation and thus dissapointment, they didn't have cones so I would have had to stay in and I didn't have the time so head hung I headed to Essence of Life to search for a single serving soy treat.

After both winning and losing an internal debate over whether I should just get an entire box of Tofutti Cuties, I settled on the aptly branded So Delicious Vanilla and Almonds frozen treat on a stick.

I normally don't enjoy hard chocolate coatings but this was quite good and the almonds were a very nice addition. I was also impressed by it's low melting speed - one of my main complaints with many frozen soy deserts is their too fast melting.

How nice would it be if regular convienience stores carried these so cravings could be satisfied outside of the vegan holy land? Perhaps a petition will convince Hibiscus to carry cones? I do plan on bringing my own cone next week and seeing if they will fill it for me. Alternatively, Lisa should keep a fresh batch of Renee Loux Unerkoffler's Perfect Chocolate Mousse on hand ready
for delivery straight to my belly via the mouth train.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Worldwide Vegan Bakesale in Guelph, ON - June 27, 2009

Vegan Bake Sale as part of the World Wide Vegan Bake Sale
Hosted by the Vegetarians & Vegans of Guelph
Saturday June 27 8am - 3pm
All proceeds go to Ruby Ranch Pig Sanctuary

We're going to have a very special guest at the bake sale... he's cute, pink & was rescued off the back of a truck on it's way to the slaughterhouse...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

TVA does the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale!

On Saturday, June 20, I and co-RCers/podcasters John and Liam hosted our very own "chapter" of the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale. We were a little worried that no one would come and we'd be FORCED to eat all the delicious donated goodies - Toronto was being plagued by big rains that day and we weren't sure that anyone would have the wherewithal to get outside in that mess. However, by 11:55 am (the sale ran from noon-2 pm), there was already a lineup of eager vegan baking aficionados ready to dig in.

There were all kinds of amazing-looking goodies of which I personally only got to try a couple because I didn't want to deprive the brave souls who came out into the weather to support the event. I will say that the truffles Sara made (check out her new vegan blog here) were absolutely phenomenal.

There were also lemon bars, banana bread (gluten-free and "regular"), ginger cookies, three different kinds of cupcake, raw cheezecakes from Living Sweets, cake, caramel pecan bars, and three kinds of truffles (two which were chocolaty, one of which was nut-free; and the other which was savoury - coated in a light dusting of cumin for a totally unique flavour).

By the time we got some pictures taken of this impressive spread, much of it had already been hidden away in happy vegans' bellies! We raised a couple hundred dollars for TVA with this event, but raising money wasn't really our main goal. Rather, what we really wanted to do was show people how kick-ass vegan baking can be (and to get potential participants excited for the upcoming Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off, which will be held in early October.)

I think we had some success with getting people to think about the deliciousness of vegan fare, for several Baldwin Village business owners came out to support us and were really pleased at the tastiness of everything and wanted to know how to bake without eggs and dairy - which, of course, we were happy to explain. :)

Besides showing the world how amazing vegan baking can be, we also hosted this event to help foster community, for we feel that there aren't enough social opportunities for vegetarians and vegans to meet and mingle. The big event of the year is, of course, the annual vegetarian food fair TVA puts on, but we'd like to increase everyone's opportunities for getting together and talking tofurkey. So check the TVA website events listing and listen to the Toronto Vegetarian Podcast for information on other upcoming events!

Speaking of fostering community, we got to meet some great vegan peeps at this event. We met Sara and Peter (Sara being the unstoppable truffle-maker mentioned above and all-around enjoyer of vegan goodies).

We also got to meet Hellenic and Deepal, who have been vegan for 4 months now and were really excited to discover just how amazing life post-dairy and eggs can be. They bought so many treats, we had to package them up in an empty cake box for them! Hopefully they didn't eat them too quickly and give themselves belly aches.

All photos in this post were taken by Sara Rodrigues and Angela del Buono, except for the terribly too dark photo of Sara and Peter, which was taken by me, Colleen of the TVP, on Sara's camera.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

More Vitamin D Info

Recently on the Toronto Vegetarian Podcast there has been a lot of discussion about Vitamin D. One of our podcast listeners (Hi Michelle!) who is in her final year of med school at Harvard (Congrats, Michelle!) had the below information to add to the discussion. There were lots of good points made in her email and I'd thought I'd post it here for anyone looking for more info.

Thanks for listening to the podcast Michelle and for providing us with the below info.


What are the types of vitamin D supplements?

-- Vitamin D2 is ergocalciferol (yes, as you mentioned, the vegan one made from a component of fungi) - the brand name in the U.S. is Drisdol, brand names in Canada are both Drisdol® and Ostoforte®.

-- Vitamin D3 is cholecalciferol (the one made from lanolin, a sheep’s wool derivative)– Canadian brand name is D-Vi-Sol®; U.S. has many brand names.

-- Calcidiol (25-hydroxyvitamin D) is used mainly for patients with liver disease.

-- Calcitriol (1,25-cholecalciferol) (the numbers just indicate the places on the vitamin D molecule that have the hydroxylations) is used mainly for patient with kidney failure.

Why can I only find D3 (and not D2) in stores?

The only form of vitamin D commonly found over-the-counter in the US (and, from your podcast, it sounds like Canada, as well) is D3. In the US, a prescription is required for D2. A personal comment – because D2 is usually a prescribed supplement, there is a chance that the “D2” you’re buying over-the-counter is actually mislabeled (for either innocent reasons, or because someone knows they can make a buck) D3 or something other than vitamin D entirely. Before giving up on D2 and moving to a non-vegan D3, you may want to ask your doctor for a prescription for D2. Just a thought.

What are the differences between the four types of vitamin D above?

Let’s start with how naturally-occurring “vitamin D” works in the body. A precursor molecule is converted to D3 in the skin by the sun, hence taking D3 bypasses the need for the sun (D2 is pretty similar to D3 molecularly). To become active, vitamin D3 must be hydroxylated (a chemical reaction/change) in two places on the molecule. The liver takes care of the first one, and the kidney takes care of the next. People who have normal liver and kidneys can take either vitamin D2 or D3 supplements. When significant kidney or liver problems are the cause of vitamin D deficiency, those people need a different supplement that is already hydroxylated (Calcidiol for liver problems and Calcitriol for kidney failure).

Is D3 “more potent” or “more effective” than D2? (i.e. do I need to take a non-vegan D3 supplement to make sure that I’m healthy?)

The main thing to remember is that different people absorb vitamin D at different rates. If you don’t have problems you’re your digestive tract and can generally absorb things fine, you still may need a bit more or less vitamin D supplement to get to healthy blood levels. This can be achieved by adjusting doses of either D2 or D3. Basically, if a dose isn’t working for you, take more. If you have normally-functioning kidneys, liver and other organs (it seems like you podcasters do) then you should be able to deal just fine with either D2 or D3 just fine after they’re absorbed. The evidence about whether D3 is the same or different than D2 in humans comes from 4 main studies. Three of the studies showed that D3 was “more potent” than D2 – however all three studies used very high doses of both (i.e. much different than you would be taking at home). All three also showed that D2 increased blood vitamin D levels, even if not as much as D3 at the same very high doses. The study that had the best design (according to rigorous academic and research standards) and used a 1000 IU dose (i.e. a normal daily maintenance dose) of both for comparison showed no difference between D2 and D3.

How much vitamin D should I – someone who is vitamin D deficient, but otherwise “normal” – be taking?

With all of the new discoveries about the importance of vitamin D for preventing cancer, keeping the immune system working, the cardiovascular system healthy, et cetera, the recommended daily doses are currently being revised upward. The previous recommendation was 400 IU per day, but this is only to prevent severe deficiency diseases like rickets or osteomalacia. It is thought that much more is needed for cancer prevention and immune system (etc.) function. What we are currently learning at Harvard Medical School is that 1000 IU is likely a better baseline daily dose, and that either taking a larger daily dose (like 2,000 IU per day) or even getting very large dose injections of vitamin D weekly are needed to bring vitamin D blood tests into the normal range. The “normal range” is also being revised upward. This means that the new “low-normal” will no longer be 75 nmol/L, but will be change to a larger number (sorry, yes this means that you’re even more deficient that you thought!).

All this to say – get your vitamin D and stay a healthy, happy vegan!

I hope this is helpful. Thanks again for the great podcast – I am looking forward to listening to some more of them!

All the best,


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Living Sweets

This afternoon, Chris stopped by the Resource Centre to introduce us to his fabulous line of raw vegan cheesecakes.

This is a slice of the raspberry flavour. He also brought a slice of the lemon but it disappeared before I could snap a photo. The RC crew and our guest were blown away by the creamy texture of these raw treats.

This is how you will soon find Living Sweets for sale at health food stores around Toronto. Currently, slices are available at Noah's on Bloor (at Spadina).
There are six flavours in the line: Chocolate Mint, Blueberry, Raspberry, Lemon, Matcha and Coconut Banana.
The living sweets website is now up. Check them out at

Monday, June 1, 2009

Calling all TVA Bakers...and those who enjoy eating.

As you may have heard, Vegan baked goods are taking over the world from June 20th-28th.

The Toronto Vegetarian Association is participating in this worldwide extraveganza with a bake sale on June 20th. Check out the site to see where else in the world vegans will be hosting sweet celebrations (from Nigeria to New Zealand) or listen to the interview that John and Liam did with the event's creator.

On June 20th, we are asking TVA members to join us by baking up some delicious treats or by bringing their pocket change to exchange for decadent vegan delights.
The bake sale will take place in front of Vegetarian Haven (17 Baldwin st) from 12-2pm.

If you are interested in baking, please send us an email with what you'd like to prepare. We will post the list of contributions on the sidebar of this blog. We would appreciate hearing from you by June 13th.

Muffins from Vegan Brunch

If you are using a recipe from a cookbook that is available at the TVA resource centre let us know. That way, people who are interested in recreating your delicious delights at home could head up to the resource centre and grab their own resources to support their journey toward vegan baking supremacy.

If you just want to come and eat, plan to come early, and bring friends. Vegan treats seem to attract crowds.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Vegan Baked Goods Take Over Panacea

I hope that all of you had the opportunity to stop by Panacea Eco Shop (588 Bloor st W) today to support the Cruelty-Free Collective's "Milkshake Madness and Vegan Bake Sale".

The people that I saw sampling the baked goods seemed very happy to be there!

Vegans all over the world seem to spending more time in their kitchens these days, in preparation for the Worldwide Vegan Bakesale June 20-28th.

The Toronto Vegetarian Association will be hosting their own Vegan Bakesale on June 20th in front of Vegetarian Haven from 12-2pm.

But, back to the baked goods:

Check out the spread: Moonpies, cupcakes, and cookies!

The volunteers were all smiles as they enticed the crowd with delicious milkshakes and decadent baked goods.
I arrived soon after the event began. I'm sure that this table was not this full for long.

The vegan milkshakes seemed to create joy in all who indulged.

I thought these cookies were adorable.

I'm definitely inspired to whip up something special for the event on June 20th. I love the idea of joining a world-wide bakesale to raise funds for charities involved in promoting vegetarianism and to spread the word that veganism is about celebrating cruelty-free choices.

If you want to participate in the June 20th bakesale send us an email at

QOTW - May 30, 2009

It's 40 degrees outside, your AC is busted and there is no way you're using your stove/oven/microwave/slow cooker. What are you eating/drinking that isn't going to heat your place up any further but more importantly is going to refresh you like nothing else.

John will be enjoying a nice green salad with raisins and pumpkin seeds topped with a splash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, accompanied with some home made hummus all washed down with a thirst quenching juice combining beets apples and carrots.

Liam too will be having a salad though his will feature tons of fresh field cucumber, some grape tomatoes from the garden, some avocado, some pepitas and a spoon of Renee's poppy seed dressing. He'll be washing it down with a small glass of Frangelico hazlenut liqueur on ice and finishing off with some watermelon for desert.

How will you be lowering your thermometer through taste? Let us know in the comments section below!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Forget the Hot Yam, It's cold 'barb!

Don't actually forget the Hot Yam, it is cheap and delicious. I am just a little bitter because I found out they had their first hot lunch of the summer today and I plum missed it.

Speaking of bitter this evening I was at my local No Frills picking up a case of Mexican red mangoes (approx 9) for 5.99!!!! and the couple in line was waiting for a price check. Neither they nor the cashier knew what it was they were buying (quite odd I thought) but I was more than happy to inform them it was Rhubarb. I explained that it is quite tart and that it is normally eaten in pie with something quite sweet (Apple or Strawberry) or stewed with sugar all of which are deeee-lish.

The groove is in your mouth.

I also told them the leaves are toxic but I failed to mention, due to ignorance, that rhubarb is a great source of Vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting and may just help keep your bones strong.

The woman buying it told me she peels it and eats it raw with salt which blew my mind a little bit. Now I am dying to try it.

If you have had a raw rhubarb experience or a Jimi Hendrix experience please comment below and let me know how it was.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Delicious veg eats in Wolfville, Nova Scotia

Okay, so delicious veg eats in Wolfville, NS, are not clearly related to what's happening in the Toronto Vegetarian Association resource centre. But I'm an RC volunteer (although on a little sabbatical) and I ate at The Vegetarian Lunchbox in Wolfville recently, so I think that's good enough.

A few weeks ago, I went down east for a little R&R and to visit my family and a friend and I went on a road trip. Happy Cow told me there was a veg restaurant in Wolfville so that's where we stopped. Thankfully, the Blissful Bovine was up to date on this one. On the main street in tiny, picturesque Wolfville (most famous, I think, for being the home of the most expensive university in Canada!) was The Vegetarian Lunchbox, looking all cute and artsy in the sunshine.

I was excited to try their stuff and I wasn't disappointed. I had the rice bowl which had lots of tofu and veggies and my choice of sauce (I chose the miso gravy, because miso is pretty much my favourite thing in the world these days). It was delicious and a beautiful thing to contemplate - before it ended up in my belly anyway.

One thing I find really interesting about travel is how different tofu can taste, depending on where you are. In The Vegetarian Lunchbox and a number of grocery stores I shopped in while in NS, I saw what was, to me, a new brand of tofu: Acadiana Soy products. I tried their smoked tofu and it was just fabulous - to me, much tastier than the West Coast Smoked Tofu available in Toronto, and that's pretty fantastic stuff. I've asked a few local businesses to start carrying the Acadiana, if possible, but so far I haven't seen it.

What I love about this down east vegan lunch experience is how it reflects how things have changed for veg*ns in NS since I left. When I moved away in 1999, you could get only one kind of soy milk in the stores and it was disgusting. There were no fakey meat products around and indeed, almost no tofu. Now, the variety of non-dairy milks and non-animal based protein sources are as numerous there as they are in Toronto, which to me is a veg*n mecca.

Rock on, east coast! I'm not moving back, no matter how nicely you may ask, but it sure is cooler to visit you now.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Making Marvelous Meals for Mom

May 6th...was the day to start planning what to make on May 10th.

The Wednesday Night Resource Centre Crew hosted "How to Make Marvelous Meals for Mom", highlighting favourite recipes for celebrating Moms, supporting their health, and the well being of Mother Earth.
There was a lovely sampling of delicious dishes that would make any Mother's Day Brunch (or any day brunch) extra special.

Angeline prepared a huge bowl of fruit salad, it was beautiful to behold and satisfying to sample.
She combined strawberries, grapes and bananas. Her delightful twist on this breakfast staple was the addition of peach juice. As more and more local produce ripens, this recipe is perfect for celebrating seasonal flavour variations.

Fruit Salad
You will need:
1 cup strawberries
1 cup grapes
1 cup banana
1 cup of Mom's favourite juice (I think Angeline's mom picked Peach!)
Get Mixing:
Pull the grapes from their stems and put them in a big bowl with the strawberries. Add enough cool water to cover them and mix carefully. Pour the water and fruit into a strainer in the sink. Shake the strainer a few times to get most of the water off.
Take the stems out of the strawberries and cut big strawberries in half. Peel the bananas and slice them into the bowl. Pour the juice into the bowl, stir to cover the bananas with the juice to stop them from turning brown. Gently mix the grapes and strawberries into the banana and juice mixture. Scoop some into a small bowl for Mom.
*You can use any combination of berries, fruit and juice to make your own special recipe.

Kim showed up weighed down by her crockpot. Truly this is the perfect dish for making Mother's Day morning relaxing. In fact, this recipe is a Christmas morning tradition in my house. I look forward to it every year because on a busy morning it is nice when breakfast waits for you rather than the other way around.

Kim provided a smorgasbord of special toppings to take your oatmeal to the next level. She presented bowls of granola, dried cherries and chopped nuts. Oatmeal is full of cholesterol-lowering fibre, and provides a great energy boast for a family hike on a lovely May afternoon.

Old Fashioned Apple-Raisin Oatmeal

You will need:
1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
4 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 medium cooking apple (e.g. granny smith or rome beauty), cored, peeled and shredded
3 tbsp raisins
Optional toppings: granola, nuts, seeds, dried or fresh fruit

Get cooking:
Combine all of the ingredients (except the optional toppings) in a lightly oiled slow cooker. Cover and cook on "low" for 6 hours. When you're ready to serve, spoon the oatmeal into bowls, sprinkle with toppings of your choice. Serve hot.

Amazing toppings: maple syrup, raisins, sunflower seeds, ground flax seeds, dried cherries, toasted sesame seeds, chopped apples, pears, peaches, berries, bananas, cinnamon and sugar, fruit jam or dark unsulphured molasses.

Tony, rounded out the options with a savoury selection, his "simple tomato, cucumber and chickpea salad". This is another great dish to make with little kitchen helpers. They love to assist with dumping ingredients in a big bowl and stirring it up with a huge spoon. This satisfying salad will sustain Mom while she lets the rest of the family wash up the dishes-it can be an exhausting job to be adored.
Simple Tomato Cucumber Chickpea Salad

You will need:
tomatoes (1 per 2 people)
cucumber (1/4 of a large one per 2 people)
chickpeas (1/4 cup per 2 people)
olive oil (1-2 tbsp)
apple cider vinegar (1-2 tsp)
sea salt (1/2 tsp)
black pepper (1/4 tsp)
oregano(1/2 tsp)
parsley (1/2 tsp)
basil (1/2 tsp)

Get Mixing:
Chop the tomatoes, cucumber and add them to a large bowl. Add the chickpeas and stir everything together. Add the dressing ingredients, stir everything to coat the vegetables in your dressing. Then start tasting and adjust the seasonings as you like. Let the salad sit for 15 minutes to allow the dressing to be soaked up by the veggies. Serve the salad at room temperature.

I (Lisa) brought a tray of mini muffins. These monkey muffins are a family favourite, that I often make with my niece and nephews. The recipe has been thoroughly kid-tested. Which means, even if some of the flour spills on the flour during stirring or the ingredients are added in a random order-the results are still delicious. I hope you'll try them with your family.

Monkey Muffins

You will need:
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup olive or canola oil
3/4 cup soy or rice milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
3 ripe bananas, mashed (really smushed up!)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Get Baking:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil a muffin tin. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, salt and baking soda. In a small bowl add the vinegar to the soymilk and let it hang out for a couple of minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients to the large mixing bowl (including the soymilk). Stir everything until it is "just mixed". Scoop the batter into your muffin tin and bake in your oven for 25 minutes.
Makes 12 standard-size muffins or a whole lot of mini ones.

The Resource Centre Crew also had 10 ideas for Making Mother's Day Marvelous.
1. Use cookie cutters to make toast or fruit in fun shapes.
2. Arrange the food on Mom's plate to look like a happy face.
3. Clean and dry the dishes and kitchen counter when you're done making breakfast.
4. When Mom finishes breakfast, wash and dry her dishes.
5. Gather pretty flowers and leaves from your yard. Put them in a vase or glass of water and add them to your serving tray.
6. Bring your Mom her favourite mug full of tea or coffee.
7. Make a meal that you can prepare the night before. Then let Mom sleep-in.
8. Deliver the paper or your Mom's favourite magazine with her meal.
9. Add a little note or a drawing about how special your Mom is. She will enjoy seeing it while she eats.
10. Share lots of laughter, hugs and kisses with Mom! XOXO

We enjoyed sharing our dishes with all of our amazing visitors. We hope to see you all at our next fantastic event.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Out and About with TVA

Don't I look happy?
Although we love it when you come to visit us at the Resource Centre, occasionally we try to bring the resources to you. In the last couple of months I have tabled at the Holistic World Expo, Total Health Show and the Green Living Show. The picture above is from the Green Living Show.
I love meeting new people who are interested in exploring what vegetarianism can do for their health, the well-being of non-human animals and the longevity of our planet. It is always fun to encourage people to sign up for the Veggie Challenge or to take home a new cookbook (Veganomicon is always a hit).

The people I have meet at these events often share amazing stories of how vegetarianism has changed their life. I usually leave with an extra spring in my step. So, thank you to everyone who has stopped by our tables to share their experiences. You have given me the energy to continue to spread information and support to people wanting to make healthier lifestyle choices.

I know the banner is a little fuzzy but I love how powerful the evidence is that being vegetarian is a great way to reduce our impact on the planet.

TVA has been hosting a great series of talks on healthy eating. I recently had the chance to attend the lecture given by Brendan Brazier. He is the creator of Vega and the author of The Thrive Diet and Thrive Fitness, oh and a champion ultramarathoner. Rawlicious hosted the audience of excited fans, and I sold a number of Brendan's books. Afterwards, we all went over to IronKore to listen to Brendan share his insights about how to eat for ultimate fitness and health.

Here is the lovely Barbi, accepting donations, selling books and warmly welcoming all of the attendees. You're fantastic Barbi!
I hope to see you all at an upcoming TVA event. I know there is a Bake Sale and a Bake Off in the works, so stay tuned.