Monday, December 8, 2014

Favourite Cookbooks for Gift-Giving

It seems like every year I consistently have cookbooks on my wish list. Even with all the new ones coming out, there's always the handful that you keep going back to. I've rounded up a few of my favorites that are perfect for gift-giving.

This year's shopping list will be so easy!

For the Italian (at heart): Comforting recipes for the creamy pasta lovers.
Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Whole Foods opens in Ottawa!

Brace yourself for the visual feast you're about to enjoy. Whole Foods has just opened in Ottawa at the new Landsdowne Park/TD Place. With a plethora of amazing vegan and organic choices, the grand opening was a big success.

I could't resist this sale on organic bananas

Friday, November 14, 2014

Beauty Review: Bare English & Co.

In my previous Bare English & Co review, I raved about the wonderful texture of these vegan lip balms from Toronto. With organic ingredients and tea infusions, the non-toxic formula is the best I've come by. My friends at Bare English & Co just came out with 5 new flavors and I'm so excited to share these with you!

They currently have 7 flavors available;

Friday, October 24, 2014

Field Roast in Canada

As some of you know, the Health Canada has recently ceased the distribution of Feild Roast products in Canada. This brand makes great tasting and nutrition-dense vegetarian sausages using wheat, vegetables and all-natural ingredients. I met the Field Roast President, David, at Toronto's VegFoodFest in September and this is were I first learned of this news.

President David Lee and I at Toronto's VegFoodFest

Here is a quick update on their status and what you can do about it:

In a recent email from Field Roast, they state:
We have continued to receive a great amount of feedback and support from Canada over the weeks since ceasing distribution. Our Canadian customers are near and dear to the heart of Field Roast and we understand that our products are in high demand, which is why we continue to work towards a resolution. We recently sent a letter to the CFIA and Health Canada, asking for an exemption to sell our products in Canada while they work to reform the outdated regulations. For those who wish to take action, there is an online petition circulating to change flawed standards for vegetarian meats in Canada.

The current regulations from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada categorize the Feild Roast products as “simulated meat products” and thus requires the brand to re-label their products as so. In addition, this category of food requires a Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER) study (using animal testing methods) to measure protein ratios in comparison to animal meats. If the product does not meet nutritional criteria, they would need to re-formulate the product adding synthetic supplements or vitamins.

If you want to stay updated on the progress, you can sign up for their “Field Roast in Canada” mailing list here.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

5 Ingredient Recipe: French Toast

After finally unpacking most of my moving boxes from September, I pulled out my mom's old breadmaker and decided to give it a spin. I tried the recipe from Robin Hood that fit my machine size, substituting the butter for vegan margarine. It was so moist and delicious! The only problem with fresh bread is the preservation. It usually goes a bit stale after a day or two, but this is perfect for french toast! Here is my easy-peasy recipe.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

VegFoodFest 2014: Part 3 - Sunday

For my third day in Toronto, I needed to get myself some breakfast since VegFoodFest started a little later. We went to Fresh Restaurant for a lovely breakfast of vegan pancakes, tofu scramble, tempeh bacon and a side of onion rings. Their almond milk latte is also amazing! I also loved the funky paint colors and chandeliers, it made for a fun atmosphere. 

Once at the Harbourfront where the festival is held, I attended Big Bald Mike's first ever public speaking event.

Friday, September 12, 2014

VegFoodFest 2014: Part 2 - Saturday

Saturday was a beautiful morning in Toronto heading to Day 2 of VegFoodFest hosted by the Toronto Vegetarian Association. If you haven't seen the previous post, here it is.

My breakfast consisted of Cookies & Cream Marshmallows and a Sticky Bun from Apiecalypse Now Bakery. Because who doesn't love an overload of sugar first thing in the morning!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

VegFoodFest 2014: Part 1 - Friday

Last year was my first time visiting Toronto's massive Vegetarian Food Festival (the biggest in North America!). I had such an amazing time and you can read all about it here. This year, I knew I had to go and experience it again. There is something magical about being surrounded by all these wonderful like-minded people.

My Friday night started off with Doug McNish doing a cooking demonstration of his Mac&Cheese. He showed us how to make a cheese sauce using butternut squash and nutritional yeast, then topped it off with some fresh breadcrumbs. So yummy!

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Matcha Series: Saturday Morning Pancakes

My prefect Saturday morning includes pancakes and a movie, with the inevitable cuddles from furry babies.

I've tried lots of pancake recipes in the past, and it has resulted in quite a few kitchen disasters. My favourite so far is the one in Chloe Coscarelli's cookbook, Chloe's Kitchen. Using this, I've developed my own version that can be pre-mixed and handy when needed. This is my pancake mix recipe:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Beauty Review: Lush Cosmetics

A little while ago I did a beauty haul post of many Lush Cosmetics products. Now that I've had time to use them and really experience them, I'm spilling all the beans in this review.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Matcha Series: The Green Banana (2-in-1 Recipe)

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Kiss Me Organics to try their wonderful organic matcha powder. For those of you who don't know, matcha is simply green tea leaves that are ground down to a fine powder. Instead of steeping and straining the tea leaves, you mix it with water or other liquids and drink it. This gives you much more nutritional value and antioxidant benefits than the steeping method.

Because there are SO many ways to use matcha, I wanted to share multiple recipes to use it in. For the first recipe in this series, I give you a very simple and easy smoothie recipe which can also be tweaked into an ice-cream recipe.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Vegan Cuts Tea Lovers Box Video

I jumped on the opportunity to get a sweet special edition box from Vegan Cuts... Tea Lovers! This was such a cool idea, and I'm sharing my findings with you in this video.

Products in this special edition tea box:

Simply Straws - Special Vegan Cuts Engraved Straw

Thursday, June 5, 2014

June Favourites

Hi guys! It's June already and I'm excited to share with you some of my favourite products.

Here are the products mentionned:

Cheeky Monkey - Anna's Eurotrash

Thursday, May 29, 2014

VeganCuts May Beauty Box Unboxing

I just made my first YouTube video! I wanted to share what I received in the May edition of the VeganCuts Beauty Box. Enjoy!

Products in this month's beauty box:

Lauren Brooke Cosmetics Mascara

Monday, April 7, 2014

Fried Bananas

Sushi is one of those things that you either love it or hate it. For me, it's an incredible love that sometimes turns abusive (all-you-can-eat is dangerous). One of the highlights of a sushi outing is the fried bananas for dessert, so I set out to re-create them in the simplest way possible.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Repost: There's Bacon in my Cupcake!

As some of you may know, I have recently teamed up with some fabulous ladies to form a blog called The Mindful Mavens. It was started as a way to share various vegan lifestyle options available in Ottawa, including food, businesses, events, etc. Click here to learn more about who we are. I recently wrote this post, which is about cupcakes. Look how gorgeous they are!

The two ladies at The Compassionate Rabbit know how to make a good vegan cupcake. Inspired by their pet rabbits, they aim to share love and compassion through delicious vegan treats. Willing to take on a new challenge, they went to their Facebook fans to decide on a new flavor. It just so happens that they chose mine! What was this winning flavor? Well, Maple Bacon of course.
Not only did they succeed on the flavor notes and a great coconut bacon recipe, but they went above

Thursday, February 6, 2014

5 Ingredient Recipe: Miso Soup For One

It's February and it's still cold outside, not a big surprise. Here in Ottawa, we do plenty of crazy things to keep warm, but nothing warms me up like a nice big bowl of soup. Not only is it delicious, but miso soup is really like the holy grail of soup. It's got the perfect mix of salty broth, sweet onions and tofu protein. And I happen to love Asian food. This recipe was incredibly easy and fast, you'll love it!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Beauty Review: Bare English Co. Lip Balms

Lip products and winter go together like peanut butter and jelly. We all know that finding a suitable lip balm is a harder task than it may initially seem. It needs the right scent, flavor, packaging etc.. but the right texture is one of its most important components. Achieving a smooth “non-sticky” application can be pretty tricky for producers of such products, especially without using any animal products or harmful chemicals (petroleum jelly, parabens, etc). Since the average woman consumes 2 kilograms (yep, that's kilos my friends) of lip products in her lifetime, it’s important to avoid nasty dangerous chemicals.  [Source: Terra20]

Like most women, I have a huge stash of lip products. They are hidden in every coat, every purse, hidden in drawers and pant pockets all around me. Also, vegans are always on the hunt for really good vegan lip balms, since they are sometimes hard to find. This is why I was so excited to have won a pack of 3 Bare English Lip Balms from Andrea Tomkins’ blog, A Peek Inside The Fishbowl. I put them to the test, and January is one of the best times to do this, in full blown Canadian winter. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

5 Ways To Like Salad More

We've all made resolutions to eat healthier. You start off great and then you realize all you've been eating is quinoa and lettuce. Let's talk salad... urgh. If vegans got pennies for every time they got offered a salad, they would be rich. *daydreaming*... But let's not get carried away here, the real issue today is salad's bad rep. In general, people don't love salad. We might enjoy it after a week of winter comfort foods (guilty), as a nice light lunch, etc. But we don't LOVE it, we don't lust after it. We seem to lack the excitement and enthusiasm that other foods give us, such as pancakes on a weekend morning. Here, I give you my tips to bring back that love for a big bowl of crunchy freshness.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

5 Ingredient Recipe: Spiced Apple Pie Oatmeal

It's that time of year again! We start taking out our cozy scarves, hats and mitts. We crave warm and comforting meals... We've had our first real snowfall here in Ottawa, and now the holiday cheer is fully present everywhere. That's the only thing getting me through the cold weather. Well, that and my nights in, knitting and listening to jazzy holiday tunes.
This oatmeal recipe is perfect for this time of year. Yes, I know this is just another oatmeal recipe, but it's my go-to when I want something easy, warm and hearty. With only 5 ingredients, you have no excuses! And, who wouldn't want to eat apple pie for breakfast?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

3-in-1 Restaurant Reviews - Toronto

During my weekend at the Vegetarian Food Festival in Toronto, I took advantage of the multitude of veg restaurants in the area to stop by a few of them. If you haven't read my posts about the festival, here are the links for Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3. Some of these restaurants I had heard of already, but Happy Cow definitely helped picking them out. I ended up visiting Kale, The Hogtown Vegan, and Sadie's Diner. I presented them in chronological order, but it turns out it's also in order of preference, enjoy!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Beauty Review: Purple Urchin

You need soap. P.U.

Probably one of the best slogans I've ever heard. Why? The "P.U." not only stands for "pee-you" (you stink), it also stands for the brand Purple Urchin. Genius! This is an Ottawa-based homemade soap and body product company that was originally from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario (shout out to my Northern Ontario peeps!).

Here's a little bit about their products: (excerpt taken from their About Us page)

Our goal in making this soap was to make a wide variety of soap that contained only vegetable oils and delicious fragrances, while avoiding the use of unnecessary chemicals. We wanted to make soap that felt luxurious and would not strip the skin of moisture, and that was as natural as possible while still offering a wide range of scents...
Purple Urchin soap is not tested on animals, nor do we use lard or tallow in our soap. Most of our products are 100% vegan-friendly, and all are 100% vegetarian-friendly, and biodegradable. We refrain from using palm oil in our soaps since the demand is extremely high...
Being environmentally-friendly is also extremely important to us in our everyday business operations, and we try to reduce waste and to use as many recyclable and/or recycled products as possible. We also use local, Ontarian, and Canadian suppliers whenever possible...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Urban Craft Fall 2013 Edition

On Sunday, September 22nd 2013, the Glebe Community Center hosted the fall edition of Urban Craft Market. This event gathers over 45 local vendors in the Ottawa region and nearby to display and sell their crafts, food and unique items.

On that gloomy Sunday, I went to Urban Craft with my two favourite girlies, Myriam from BeauteOptic and Stephanie from Lip Stains & the Walk of Shame. Before we even went inside, we had a magic moment. Steph and I spotted these adorable purple bikes! This adorable bike rental stand just outside the Glebe Community Center. The company is called Right Bike and it's a membership-based bike-sharing program. Check it out!

I've always loved going to craft shows. It was one of my favourite things to do with my mom growing up, especially during the holidays. It's so much fun to try and see every single booth, not wanting to miss any of the cool new things. Here are a few of the fabulous vendors I went to see.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

VegFoodFest 2013: Part 3 - Sunday

Well, waking up that morning was not easy. After Day 1 and Day 2 at the Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival and a night of eating, drinking and dancing you can imagine my food baby, my hangover and my lack of sleep. That said, I was still so excited and ready to discover more veg-related products and businesses.

It was such a beautiful day, with the sun shining down on Toronto like it was mid-summer. As soon as I got to the festival, I was on the hunt. Thirsty. I wanted either a green juice or smoothie, maybe I'd even try some kombucha! After doing the rounds of booths, I got very discouraged. There were huge lineups at smoothie stands. One of the kombucha vendors were gone, the other one sold out a few minutes before I got there. Sad but hopeful, I tried to find something other than a $3 water from a vending machine. And then I found it. There was a table with man holding a massive knife, beside a box of fresh coconuts. EUREKA! I had never really tried packaged coconut water, and definitely not straight out of the coconut! I watched this talented man strike at the coconut a few times just enough to make a slit to stick in a straw. Well worth the $5 I'd say, and how cool did I look walking around holding a coconut with a straw!