Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Vegan Shortbread Cookies

I wanted to bring something to work to share with everyone and to show that vegans can also have some pretty yummy desserts and baking at Christmas time. Let's just say, it didn't take long for these babies to disappear. People loved them and couldn't believe, first off that I made them and second, that they were vegan! Woo hoo! (I'm in the process of making a second batch to bring in tomorrow!)

I found this recipe under Dairy free cooking on About.com

Vegan Shortbread Cookies

1 Cup (2 sticks) Non-Dairy Shortening - I use Earth Balance Shortening 4 come in a box
2/3 cup Icing Sugar
2 Cups flour of choice
1/8 Tsp Salt

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the non-dairy shortening using an electric hand mixer until creamy (I have a kitchenaid mixer and it works really well.) Add the icing sugar and beat until well combined. Gradually add the flour and salt until the mixture forms a thick, soft dough.

Form the dough into 1" balls with your hands, placing on the sheet as you work. To squish them down I dipped a wooden spoon into flour and pressed down on the balls and then added some sprinkles. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool completely on a wire cooling rack.

These cookies are quite buttery and yummy. I really think you should make some...like, right now :)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A homeless dog

Myyyyyyy goodness... I'm so glad they found her!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Fall and Winter

Why is it that when fall and winter hit, we seem to accelerate? I find that everything needs to be done yesterday and I am forever trying to catch up. It's really important to try to keep things at an even pace and take care of yourself.

I volunteered for a few things this season that have taken some of my time away from making delicious meals and baked goods. I find that even though I love to give my time to things that I care about, being at home making food and relaxing are probably my favorite things :)

This fall was Slideluck Vancouver. It's a night of food, fun, friends and photography. It started in NY and it has grown to include cities from around the world. I highly recommend you attend if you find one in your city. I had the pleasure of being the Social Media Coordinator this session and for about a month before the event, I was Tweeting, Facebooking and telling everyone about it. The night of the event I helped set up and take the event pictures.

Another thing I have volunteered for this winter was "Pet Pictures with Satna" for the Burnaby SPCA. We raised over $2,100!

This little charmer is named Guillaume
I find when I volunteer I forget about me. I forget about eating properly and getting enough rest. The one thing I tried to do differently this time around was give myself permission for breaks and even walk away from the computer (when I was processing pictures or doing the social media stuff) for a couple hours. There is nothing worse than sitting at your computer for hours at a time in the same position.

Now that all of my fall/winter volunteer jobs are over for this season, I hope to get back to cooking, baking and more relaxing! I'll post some yummy pics soon, I promise :)

I wish you a wonderful Holiday Season with those you love, filled with laughter and a lot of yummy comfort foods :)

My Christmas gift to you....you're welcome.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Vegan Celebs

Ever felt that you were alone in this vegan journey? Although you can't call up these people and go for a meal.(..or can you?) it's nice to know that they are all out there! I knew a lot of them were vegan, but a few happily surprised me.

List of famous vegans

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sundried Tomato, Mushroom and Spinach Tofu Quiche

I found this recipe on Oh She Glows. If you haven't been on her website, you are missing out!  Besides being vegan, this recipe is gluten free. I briefly mentioned in my Portland post that I have gone gluten free. I have found my allergies lessened, but have not disappeared, so I still need to find the 'culprit' that is making my nose stuff and have me sneezing..EVERY MORNING. Maybe I'm allergic to mornings! heh

Sun-dried Tomato, Mushroom and Spinach Tofu Quiche

For the crust:  
1 tablespoon ground flax + 3 tablespoons water, mixed together 
1 cup whole almonds, ground into flour
1 cup gluten-free rolled oats or buckwheat groats, ground into flour
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 tsp kosher salt1 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
1-1.5 tbsp water, as needed

For the quiche:
1 block (14-oz) firm tofu
1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
1 leek or yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
3 cups (8-oz) sliced cremini mushrooms
1/2 cup fresh chives, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1 cup baby spinach
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4-1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
Black pepper, to taste
Red pepper flakes, to taste

  • Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a round 10-inch tart pan. Alternatively, you can use a 9-inch glass pie dish if desired.
  • Wrap rinsed tofu in a few tea towels. Place a few books on top of it to lightly press out the water while you prepare the crust.
  • For the crust: Whisk together flax and water mixture in a small bowl and set aside so it can gel up.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the almond meal, oat flour (or buckwheat flour), parsley, oregano, and salt.
I used my old coffee grinder to get the almond into flour
  • Add in the flax mixture and oil. Stir until mostly combined, adding the remaining water until the dough is sticky (about the consistency of cookie dough). The dough should stick together when you press it between your fingers.

  • Crumble the dough evenly over the base of the tart pan (or pie dish). Starting from the centre of the pan, press the mixture evenly into the pan, working your way outward and up the sides of the pan. Poke a few fork holes in the dough so air can escape.
  • Bake the crust at 350F for 13-16 minutes, or until lightly golden and firm to touch. Set aside to cool while you finish preparing the filling. Increase oven temperature to 375F.
  • For the filling: Break apart the tofu block into 4 pieces and add into food processor. Process the tofu until smooth and creamy. If it doesn't get creamy, add a tiny splash of almond milk to help it along.

  • In a skillet, add oil and saute the leek (or onion) and garlic over medium heat for a few minutes. Stir in the mushrooms, season with salt, and cook on medium-high heat until most of the water cooks off the mushrooms, about 10-12 minutes. Stir in the herbs, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, nutritional yeast, oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes until combined. Cook until the spinach is wilted.

  • Finally, remove from heat and stir in the processed tofu until thoroughly combined. Adjust seasoning to taste if desired. Spoon mixture into baked crust and smooth out with a spoon until even.

  • Bake quiche, uncovered, at 375F for 33-37 minutes, until the quiche is firm to the touch. For best results, cool the quiche for 15-20 minutes on a cooling rack before attempting to slice. The crust may crumble slightly when sliced warm, but not to worry.

  • Wrap up leftovers and refrigerate for 3-4 days. Leftover quiche can be reheated in the oven on a baking sheet for about 15-20 minutes at 350F.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Masala Dahl

Masala Dahl

I used this recipe from the Brietenbush Cookbook. I bought the cookbook last year when I was there and then promptly put it on the shelf. When I was there a month ago, they served this and it reminded me that I have the book...yippee! Delicious stuff :) I've made it a few times since I've been back.

1 2/3 Dry Lentils
4 1/4 Cups Water
1/4 Turmeric
1 TBS Oil
3/4 TBS Cumin Seed
1 Cup Chopped Onion
1 TBS Cilantro, Chopped Fine
1/4 TBS Crushed Red Chilies
Dash of Salt

Put dry lentils in a pot and cover with hot water. Let stand for one hour. Drain. Add 4 1/4 cups water and tumeric. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are thouroughly cooked, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Mash or puree some of the lentils.

Use a potato masher if you don't have a blender (or want it a bit lumpy)

I blended them the second time
 Heat oil in heavy skillet. Add cumin seed and cook until brown. Add onions and saute until brown. Add salt, crushed red peppers and cilantro. 

Stir in lentils and serve. Serves 4. 

A small amount can even make a good snack!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Baba Ghanouj

Baba Ghanouj

My Vitamix is coming in very handy! The last time I made this without a blender, it wasn't as smooth (obviously). This should work out with a normal blender though.

1 Large Eggplant (or two small)
2 Cloves of Garlic
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
3 tbsp Tahini
1/4 Cup Olive Oil (or other favorite)
Salt to taste

Slice eggplant in half and roast for 40 mins (or until soft) at 400 degrees.

I doubled the recipe and roasted 4 small eggplants
Allow to cool enough to handle and scoop out eggplant from the skin.

In blender, add eggplant and all other ingredients except for the oil and blend until smooth. It will be on the thicker side. Slowly add in the oil and blend until completely mixed.

Put in glass container and store in the fridge for up to a week and a half. 

You can have this with Pita, crackers or use as a spread for a sandwich!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Washington and Oregon

I'm back!

We had such a great time on our trip! Labeled our "womantic" holiday, we weaved our way through Washington to Oregon and back in a bubble of self acceptance and wonderful female energy. I can't imagine having gone on this trip with anyone else. As promised, here is a breakdown of our trip.. mostly about the food I ate, but I will also sprinkle in what we did as well :)

The first night we spent in Lacey Washington, stopping just after we witnessed a beautiful lightning storm (and crazy downpour which was a bit of a 'white knuckle' drive.) Since it was late, we tucked in for the night and had a good sleep. Breakfast was continental at the hotel which had waffles, eggs and milk based products, so I had a large Vega shake. I'm very happy I brought some as it was a nice staple between being able to eat my special diet.

From Lacey, it wasn't that far to Portland. Once we were there,we had a short list of 'must dos' and then basically just wandered around .. getting lost a few times here and there, but isn't that what makes an adventure? Because of getting lost, we got to meet some very friendly people. Oregon seems to be the nicest state I've been to. Everyone was incredibly polite and willing to help. It was amazing.

This was a great little art store.
If you go to Portland you MUST go to Sock Dreams!! You can shop online, but the store is fantastic :)

Our first night in Portland we ended up going to Andinas Restaurant. They have separate vegetarian/vegan and gluten free menus! (Oh, and I forgot to tell you...I have also gone gluten free. Just another restriction for me, but at Andinas they were very accommodating in all of our crazy dietary needs. This is also another reason why I love Portland so much!) My main course was Quinotto "Chisaya Mama" which was a quinoa “risotto” with golden beets, local mushrooms and market fresh vegetables, laced with truffle oil. It's originally a vegetarian dish, but they just held back the cheese at my request. I wanted to take a picture, but was a bit shy because it was a bit of a fancy restaurant, so here is one from their website:

I think this picture is a different version of the dish, but it looks quite similar to what I received. It was DELICIOUS!

After dinner we wandered around the Pearl District of Portland and window shopped. It was a very nice evening!

The next morning, after sleeping in a bit, we made our way to Mother's Bistro for brunch. I had the tofu hash with gluten free bread. It was also delicious and had juuuust the right amount of oil.

After brunch we wandered around the Pearl district again (but this time in the day!) and then eventually took a cab with a crazy driver to Mississippi street where a lot of cool shops are. After perusing the street, we walked to Alberta street, which was quite a far distance.. my feet still remember the walk ;) - if you do this, take a cab!

After shopping a bit more, we stopped at a nice little pub (ish) place called The Hilt. We ordered the hummus with veggies (instead of pita), the felafel plate with pickled onions and a beet and endive salad. Yummers. Oh, and I had some gluten free beer!

 After dinner we dropped into New Seasons Market, which is similar to Whole foods, but a bit cheaper. We picked up some snacks for the next day and headed to Kennedy School, which is a hotel and bars converted from, yes you guessed it, a school. I didn't take too many pictures inside, but here is a picture of one of the art pieces.

 We had another drink (Omission Gluten Free Beer!) and then headed back to the hotel.

The next morning we were on a few missions... buy Omission beer to take home, go to Powell's Book store (I bought 'The Gluten Free Vegan", "Artisan Vegan Cheese", "The Alchemist" and "The Prophet") and the VEGAN MINI MALL. Oh yeeeesssss. It is mini, but it was really exciting. I bought a few things at Herbivore online before, but being there in person was just so great! I bought a purse and a tank top that says "Only Kale can save us now" - cheeky and I love it. After that we headed to Food Fight Grocery to look around. I would have liked to buy some stuff, but traveling always makes it a bit hard to buy yummy things that spoil. Next time! I did, however, get a great picture of these guys:

I recognized them from their facebook page that I stalked..(I mean looked at) and couldn't resist asking for a picture.

After this we were on the road again, this time heading to Breitenbush.  I have mentioned Breitenbush a few times on this blog. If you are ever in Oregon, I highly suggest getting your butt to these natural springs! Not only is it a physical break for your body, but it is a wonderful place to just relax the mind. There are no phones, no computers and all love. It's quite a beautiful place to 'just be'.

When we got there, we were just in time for dinner (they provide a vegetarian/vegan breakfast, lunch and dinner in a buffet style setting). The last time I was there I learned how to pile my plate high with foodie goodness, as you can see below!

The meal was dahl, gluten free pekoras, eggplant curry gluten free naan bread and salad.
After dinner we went to the sanctuary and did some stretches and movements and even had an impromptu drum session.

Later that night we made our way to one of the natural pools and watched a meteor shower while we soaked and chatted with other people. You lose track of time in this place, but I think we were in there for about an hour.

The following morning we headed to breakfast at 8am.

Miso soup, oatmeal, tofu scramble and fruit.
After breakfast we headed up to the gift store to take a peek at what was there.

this is looking down toward the main house from the gift shop

And then packed up our stuff and headed out on a nice hike through the surrounding forest.

When we got back the girls headed for another dip in the pools while I sat in the shade by the main house and read one of the books I had bought at powells. It was quite relaxing and nice to just gaze around at all the friendly people that tend to go to such a place. About an hour later the lunch gong went off and we had our last meal there.

Rice, rice noodles, tempeh, seaweed salad and a huge green salad.
We were on the road again and back to Seattle for our last night in the States! Because of getting there quite late we only had a light dinner.
This was lima bean, tomato, asparagus salad.
Quite tasty, although they put some liquid smoke in the dressing. It took me off guard for a moment because I thought I was eating bacon ;)

After dinner, we tucked ourselves in and had a great sleep. The following day we did some more shopping and then headed home sweet home to BC. So there you have it! Our wonderful Stateside adventure. If you end up going to the places we did, please drop me a line and let me know how you like it! (In Portland and Seattle we stayed in Pineapple Hotels)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Portland, here I come!

I'm off to Portland tonight and I'm pretty excited! As I mentioned the other day, I am going to try to be better at documenting this trip. I've been there so many times, but have always neglected to take a lot of pictures :) Let's see if I can break that habit!

See you soooooooooooon! (I'll miss you, Vitamix {sob})

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

It's heeeeeerrrreeeeeee!

My Vitamix has arrived! A day earlier than estimated and I'm SO excited!

I had to walk a ways to pick it up and the box was a lot larger that any of the bags I brought. It also weighs 50 pounds...FYI. I guess I could have taken a cab home, but I spent so much on this beauty that I have to watch what I spend now...so I walked the 15 blocks home with it. Let's just say that I'm not working out today.. my arms are STILL sore.

 It doesn't look that big in the picture above, but trust me.. I'm just glad it came with a handle.

It comes with a recipe book too! So exciting.

First drink made was a Raspberry, Banana and Kale smoothie. It was pretty good!

And then I was bad and made a Jack Daniels and Ginger Ale slush - hahahahahahahaha! Hey, it was delicious, so shhh.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Patience is a virtue

I'm still waiting for my Vitamix to show up. Why oh why did I pick ground delivery? With the long weekend, I have to wait a bit longer. Ah well...builds character :)

I will only have a day and a bit with my new toy before heading down to Portland with a few friends. I haven't been to Oregon for about a year, so I'm excited to go. I promise to document it much better than times in the past!

In the meantime, here is a picture of my latest juice medley: Kale, Parsley, Carrot, Beet, Apple, Cucumber and Ginger. It was quite delicious!