Monday, November 15, 2010

VeganMofo Day 15: Meals I made but never posted

I feel like every time I write lately, I utter some apology about not having posted in a while. Apparently, my veganmofo inspiration just couldn't compete with my bronchitis (blech!). I'm still coughing, but missing the fun (!), so rather than trade sleep for an interesting, witty, recipe-plentiful post, I thought I'd round up some food pics that never quite made it on here. Some of them were pretty dynamite. (NB: recipe titles are mostly guesses!)

First up: Spring Vegetable Risotto with toasted almonds. It looks like I might have thrown in some cashew goat cheese as well!


Next: Hummus & Veggie Pitas made by Vegan Momma Chef. I remember these. They were delicious and summery and everything I wanted at that exact moment.


The delicious luxuriousness that is the Coconut BLT at Aux Vivres, my favourite vegan restaurant


This picture is one I had originally planned to do a whole blog post about. Maybe I'll get around to it soon. People often wonder how to navigate parties at other people's homes as a vegan. Even more complicated, how do you help your KIDS navigate it? This is just one option...


Bean Burrito Night!

Ready to build & eat!!
And... just because it's November - a reminder of why all us Montrealers wish it was still summer...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Vegan Mofo Day 7: Nothing to report


So - I'm a pretty busy person. I'm studying full-time for my PhD, mothering a 2-year old, partnering a 32-year old :), trying to maintain some semblance of a social life, while cooking, cleaning (ok, definitely more cooking than cleaning), cat-caring, and blogging! Although I love, love, love to spend all day in the kitchen trying new recipes while missed episodes of HBO shows play on my laptop, time has been scarce of late, so Roger has picked up a lot of the cooking slack.

You would think that weekends would allow me to sink my teeth into fun new food experiments, but instead, they tend to get eaten up by appointments, play dates, chores, family outings, shopping, and if at all possible, downtime for Roger and me. It doesn't help that the bear has decided to fight naps at home tooth and nail, even though she sleeps for about 3 hours (!) a day at daycare.

All this to say that weekends seem to be when we cook the least - a fact that has been pretty surprising! We tend to go for sandwiches, canned baked beans in maple syrup (yum!), faux chicken breasts, steamed broccoli, home-made pizzas, and of course... take-out (thai, Indian, sushi, you name it!). So - I have no new pretty food pics to post. But - it does go to show that you don't have to spend hours in the kitchen to eat well, eat cruelty-free, and eat relatively healthy!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Halloween Recap: Breakfast for Supper!



This whole Veganmofo is great for getting my blogging butt into gear. I'm all for spreading the vegan word, and I have food pics in my camera for a month's worth of blogging, so now's the time to make the time, right?

One of the things new vegans sometimes struggle with is how to handle all the animal-based food that goes hand-in-hand with our favourite traditions.  My favourite solution is starting brand new, cruelty-free fun family traditions that can last for years. This plan actually started with my mom (big surprise), who got tired of turkey for Christmas long before she ever became Vegan Momma Chef. So - we started having Christmas fondue! My mom dragged out her awesome fondue pots straight from the 70's, and we started cooking veggies in broth, and dipping them in a variety of yummy sauces. Christmas Eve has been a fon-delight (groan) ever since.

Well, our little family started its own Halloween tradition to reflect one of my absolute favourite things: Breakfast for Supper! Here's the thing: I love breakfast. It's absolutely the best meal of the day. And having it for supper makes it that much better because you have more time to whip up something AMAZING! Plus, I've been dying to make really good use of Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Vegan Brunch ever since I bought it a couple months ago. I've made a couple recipes here and there, but no full-blown breakfasts... until a few nights ago :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Veganmofo 2010, Day 2 (Day 1 for me!)

So with the beginning of November comes Veganmofo IV! For those of you in the know, this month of deliciousness needs no introduction. For everyone else, including me - this is my first blogging November - perhaps a small introduction would be helpful. Veganmofo stands for Vegan month of food. The basic idea is to blog as often as possible about all things vegan food-related. I guess the idea is to get the dialogue going, to remind others (and ourselves!) about the wonders of yummy vegan goodness, and to encourage those who are considering making the leap to do so by showing them how each day can be vegan with just the tiniest amount of effort. I'm on board.

I had high hopes of describing our new annual "vegan breakfast for supper" hallowe'en tradition, but it's almost past my bedtime, so that will have to wait until tomorrow. Thankfully, I think it's worth the wait :)

Instead I'll leave everyone with two great things.

First - a reminder that mac and cheese can be MEGA-delicious without the cheese. My family gobbled it down very eagerly tonight. Even more fun, it was filled with good-for-us veggies and whole wheat pasta, but tasted indulgent. This time, I put the fakin' bacon bits on top of the breadcrumbs rather than mixed inside, so they got nice and smokey.

Second, a picture of the cutest Elmo you ever did see.


Like looking in a mirror...


See you on Day 3!

And the Giveaway Winner is....

Vanilla Rose!

The bear picked the number "3" out of the hat (well, actually out of a pumpkin-shaped bucket), so the custom t-shirt courtesy of Fibers is all yours.

Use it to display your vegan message (even better if you carry yummy vegan cupcakes around with you!).

Congrats!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

World Go Vegan Week Custom T-Shirt Giveaway!

You may have noticed that it's been many months since my last post. The truth is this: life just takes over at times, and some things have to take a back seat. But what better week to launch my triumphant return (ok, so maybe it's not so triumphant as it is kind of alright) than the 5th annual World Go Vegan Week put on by In Defense of Animals?

Actually... I'm a bit late. Vegan Week started Oct. 24th and runs through Oct. 31st. To make up for my tardiness, I've planned my first giveaway! Josh, a lifelong vegetarian over at Fibers has graciously offered the opportunity for one of my readers to try out their custom t-shirts for free! Basically, this is your chance to finally shout your personal veg message to whoever wants to look at your chest ;) The cost of your custom-designed t-shirt, shipping, and applicable taxes are included.

If you need a little inspiration, check out their stock of vegetarian t-shirts and vegan t-shirts. They have lots of different styles, and sizes for men, women, kids, and babies. Check out my personal favourite!

So, here's what you have to do. Leave a comment on this post telling me two things.
1) What you would put on your custom t-shirt if you won, and
2) What is the one thing you wish you could get the non-veg masses to understand. That's the real heart of vegan week, after all!

I'll get the bear to pick the winner at random (she loves taking stuff out of other stuff!) and announce on Nov. 1st! Good luck to everyone, and for those of you who aren't veg, please use this week as a chance to try living cruelty-free! Maybe you could even make a t-shirt about it... :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Another Montreal Restaurant Review: Crudessence!

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Summer has been a delicious vegan adventure, this year around. We've been barbecue-ing a plenty, eating lots of yummy cold salads, teaching the bear how to nibble on corn on the cob, and enjoying fresh Québec berries by the basket-ful. This means that although our own private terrasse has been very well-used, we've been missing out on all the yummy vegan goodness that Montreal's restaurants have to offer.

A while ago, Mary from This is Vegan asked me about good cruelty-free eats in Montreal, for her upcoming trip. I reviewed all the restaurants I had tried in the city, and was really excited to hear that she agreed with me about the awesomeness of Aux Vivres and Chuch!  The best part was that she also gave a rave review to Crudessence, a raw vegan restaurant in the heart of the plateau. 

Aside from the occasional green smoothie for breakfast, the raw food bandwagon is not one that I've ever had much interest in jumping on. It's always seemed a touch weird to me to avoid heating foods above 46 degrees celsius (if that's not right, blame wikipedia!!), but then again, it seems a touch weird to a lot of people that I choose not to eat animal products, right? Ok, so it's not quite the same, but who cares when the food tastes so delicious?!?!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Vegan Dilemma

(Photo credit: suckstobeyoublog.com)

Argh! I finally found the time, energy, and motivation (birthday cupacakes!) to write a new post a few nights ago, only to spend most of the evening searching our apartment for our connect-the-camera-to-the-computer-to-download-(or is it upload??)-photos cord. Long story short: it's still missing, which makes blogging a bit tough!

In the meantime, I thought I would share a vegan dilemma, and hopefully get some thoughts back from those of you who are reading!

First thing's first: the fun news. We have two events that need planning in the near (and quite far) future. In a couple of weeks, we'll be celebrating the bear's second birthday! We have grand ideas about a bunny shaped cake, backyard sprinkler fun, and a watermelon keg (or maybe two... one unspiked for the kiddies!). Also - we've finally set a date for our wedding! Roger and I will be getting married in August of 2011, so the time has come to find a venue, choose a dress, and host a great big party. Fun, right?

Well, here's the problem: food. As readers of this blog are likely aware, Roger is not vegan. He's incredibly accommodating, prepares most of the (vegan!) meals for our little family, makes sure the bear stays animal free, and has reduced his animal consumption greatly in the 5 years that we've known one another. But: he's not vegan.

This is occasionally a toughie for me. I think of veganism as a rights issue. It's not about preference, tradition, humane treatment, or perfectionism. I believe that animals have as much right as we do to live free of captivity, torture, and murder. I also believe that human animals have to find their own path to veganism. I mean, it's only been a year and 4 months since I went completely vegan, and expecting everyone else to have the same transition as I do at the same time as I do is simply unfair and unrealistic.

In other words, I don't spend time trying to "convert" Roger. But I DO make certain requests of him - like hosting a vegan birthday party and wedding. Although he's more than happy to plan these events as mostly vegan, he's adamant about having some non-vegan options available (like cheese for veggie burgers). He feels this way for a couple of reasons. First, he wants the guests to feel comfortable and enjoy the food. This one has an easy counter-argument in my opinion: if the food's good, nobody will care if it has animal products in it. His second reason is a bit tougher. He wants the party to be representative of him and his contribution, and he is a person who likes to eat, cook, and offer foods like cheeseburgers to his guests.

So here's where I stand: I understand that Roger wants to have a part of "him" at the party. I get it. I really do. But I struggle to reconcile that with the fact that I don't feel right about celebrating these two joyful and amazing events with the use and abuse of animals.

I know my audience is largely from the veg community, so your opinions may be a bit biased, but I imagine some of you ahve encountered similar dilemmas, and I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Red Lentil and Artichoke Stew Over Spaghetti Squash


It's a common myth that veganism = deathly thinness. I read somewhere once that if you want to look 5 pounds thinner, you should just tell people you're vegan. Is there a link between animal consumption and higher weight? The evidence seems to say yes. That being said, it is just as easy to be an unhealthy vegan as it is to be a healthy vegan. A quick glimpse at the popular site I Can't Believe It's Vegan! lists really-terrible-for-anybody products such as Fritos, Fruit by the Foot, Lay's Potato Chips, Ritz Crackers, and Sour Patch Kids (the last of which was responsible for at least ten pounds of my pregnancy weight). Sure, sure, it's another example of how PETA seems to have missed the point, but more than that, it's an indication of how a vegetarian diet can actually include very few vegetables... and a whole lot of fat, salt, sugar, and random chemicals.

I'm the first to admit that the idea of eating a Pillsbury Apple Turnover guilt-free is enough to make me cry with joy, but I've been making a real effort lately to ensure that my core foods are straight from the ground (or from the trees that pop up from the ground!). This means I've been eating lots of greens, fruits, beans, nuts, and whole grains. All in all - my energy's been better, I've been feeling more full on less food, and I think my pants are starting to fit a bit better!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Vegan Beet Cupcakes with Chocolatey Cream Cheese Frosting


It all started with this week's Good Food Box. It contained a huge bag of yummy looking beets, so I thought I'd turn them into a salad. After a quick skim of all the beet-related recipes in my cookbooks, I made my choice: Beet Bundt Cake from The Vegan Table. Not quite a salad, but it still had beets!

I started boiling the beets, and preparing the rest of the ingredients, and then noticed that I couldn't find my bundt pan, and I hadn't boiled enough beets. Quelle surprise. Anyway, I went into improv mode, and whipped up some cream cheese frosting to boot! Roger, the Bear, and L'Anglais LOVED these. Ok, ok, I did, too. The beets are surprising, and give great taste, colour and substance to the yummy chocolatey-ness of this recipe. I will DEFINITELY bake with beets again!


The frosting was a first for me, and came out more than a tad runny. Once the cupcakes had been in the fridge for a while, though, it firmed up pretty well. It might be a good idea to chill the icing before laying it on.

I modified Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's recipe a fair bit, so I figured it would be okay to share it. Keep reading to see it!
© Allison, The Busy (Happy!) Vegan, 2010