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.