Vegetarian and Vegan Events in Toronto – 2012

Hey everyone! 🙂

I love food festivals, and I love finding fun things to do in Toronto.

So just a little heads-up on some awesome foodie events in Toronto that are coming up in the next few months that I’ll be attending for fun! Check them out!

Toronto Veggie Pride Parade – June 2 2012

Toronto Raw/Vegan Festival – June 9-10 2012

  • 918 Bathurst St. (North of Bloor)
  • Saturday June 9, 2012. 10:00am – 8:00pm
  • Sunday June 10, 2012. 10:00am – 4:00pm
  • Workshops after 4:30pm
  • Admission is FREE!

28th Annual Vegetarian Food Festival  – September 9-11 2012

  • Harbourfront Centre – 235 Queens Quay West
  • Friday September 9, 2012. 4:00pm – 9:00pm
  • Saturday September 10, 2012. 12:00pm – 9:00pm
  • Sunday September 11, 2012. 12:00pm – 7:00pm
  • Admission is FREE!

Breville Juicer Review and A Glass of Sass

Hey everyone! This video is a LONG one, but in it I review the Breville juicer that I just got! It deserves a long video! 🙂

I also mention a really cool raw vegan book I got, and use the juicer to make one of the recipes! So if you have the time, check it out! 🙂

Here’s the recipe I used for the Juice in the video!

A Glass of Sass

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole bunch spinach
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1/2 bunch celery
  • 1 small bunch parsley
  • 1/2 inch knob of ginger
  • 2 apples, cored
  • 1/2 lime, peeled
  • 1/2 lemon, peeled

Method:

  • Juice all ingredients one at a time in the order mentioned above.
  • Serve and enjoy! 🙂

The book title is: “Rawesomely Vegan! The ultimate raw vegan recipe book”, and the author is Mike Snyder. It’s definitely worth a read!

Here’s the juicer on the company website!

PS: Here’s the recipe for the Ruby Red Super Juice that I mention in this video! 😉

Vegan Peanut Butter Mousse

Hey everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve updated because I’ve been putting a lot of focus on my class project blog, so here’s a little something sweet to make up for it! Check out Accack of the Vegan’s Blog for an AMAZING peanut butter mousse recipe!

I’m not going to re-post the recipe, so you’ll have to give her blog a look-see to find it. 😉 My alterations to the recipe were that I used coconut sugar in place of regular sugar, silken tofu in place of hard tofu + soy milk, and I used agave nectar in place of molasses.

Here’s a picture of my serving of this delightful mousse! I highly suggest you give it a try…

YUM! Peanut butter mousse!

YUM! Peanut butter mousse!

Vegan Fitness With Nikki

A Sister-Blog to Cook With Nikki

Check out the new blog I’ve started for a project in my Interactive Marketing class!

We were asked to create a blog about something we’re passionate about on the Blogger website, and since I’ve already got this blog as my baby, I decided to do something somewhat related, but with a twist! It’s still new, and still in the works… But I really like the direction it’s going in! 🙂

It puts a primary focus on:

  • Vegan/vegetarian foods
  • Fitness related entries
  • Reviews on random products focused on fitness and vegetarian/vegan food
  • My own personal progress with P90x
  • And there will also be some recipes thrown in because it’s impossible for me to have a blog without that!

Vegan Coconut-Carob Bars – No-Bake!

I’m proud of myself for cutting out meat properly this time around. I haven’t even eaten fish, dairy products, or eggs, which is a big step for me. Last time I was vegetarian, I still ingested those three things. This time around, I don’t have anyone pushing meat or animal products in my face on a daily basis, so I’ve found it a lot easier to make it through the first couple of weeks of being a vegetarian. (Brief history: I was a vegetarian for a few years, was with a big meat-eater, so it didn’t last long… Tried again, but went back to eating meat after 7 or 8 months.) (And for those of you who always ask, yes – you CAN get enough protein being a vegetarian. No, you don’t need to drink milk and eat meat. I can’t drink milk anyways…More on this coming up in a new “blog project” soon…)

One of my favourite sweet things to eat is carob. In powder form, solid form, whatever. It tastes awesome, and you don’t have to add any sugar to it! Oh, did I mention I’m also not really eating sugar? Some foods I eat have sugar in it, but not a lot… I haven’t opened up a bag/jar of sugar (white or brown) for a month, maybe longer. I was using honey, but then decided to give agave nectar a try. What a good decision! That stuff tastes great.

Anyways, here’s a recipe that I put together to satisfy that sweet tooth that pops up screaming for chocolate every once in a while! I’ve made this a few times now, one of the times being for a presentation in front of a group for a health and wellness class. The response was great, everyone loved them! 🙂 There wasn’t a single one left, which was awesome, because that means a few people had more than one…

I did a print out with the recipe for people, so instead of writing out the recipe here, I’ll just post a picture of the recipe. It’s so simple, anyone can do it! If you decide to make this, and have ANY questions or are confused, ask away! 🙂 Hope you enjoy! 🙂

Note: mix all ingredients together in a food processor!

Note: mix all ingredients together in a food processor!

 

Mmmmm....

Mmmmm....

Vegan Tortilla Pizza

This is probably one of the most simple things that I have thrown together, and surprisingly enough, one of the yummiest! 🙂 The best part is the sauce made for this, which I will also give you all the recipe for! 😉 This serves one, however you can save all of the extra sauce and make more!

Vegan Tortilla Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole wheat tortilla wrap
  • About 3 tbsp sauce (recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup Daiya Vegan Cheese (this is easily my favourite non-dairy, non-soy “cheese”! You would not be able to tell that it’s not real cheese, and I’m really picky when it comes to cheese…)
  • Basil for garnish, because it looks pretty. 😉

Method:

  • Set oven to broil at about 425 F.
  • Spread the sauce over the tortilla, leaving about 1cm around the edges.
  • Sprinkle the “cheese” over the saucy tortilla.
  • Pop it in the oven, and let it sit in there until the “cheese” is melted, and the edges of the tortilla are starting to brown.
  • Serve with some basil sprinkled on top, and enjoy! 🙂

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 pint cherry/grape tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of basil
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (I know, it seems weird! It tastes great though…)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground pepper

Sauce Method:

  • Place all ingredients in a food processor, and process until smooth! Simple as that. Store it in the fridge for 5 days at the most.

Now here’s some pictures, because I’m one of those people who likes to take pictures of their food. 🙂

Into the chopper you go! :)

Into the chopper you go! 🙂

 

If you haven't tried this stuff yet, you should!

If you haven't tried this stuff yet, you should!

 

Finished product, YUMMY! :)

Finished product, YUMMY! 🙂

An Aspiring Vegetarian Takes The First Step

I’ve gone back and forth between being a vegetarian and an omnivore, with the longest stretch of vegetarianism being about 2 years. One thing I’ve noticed in the past five or six years is that when I eat meat, it’s really only because people around me are eating it/serving it to me. Also, whomever I happen to be dating at any given time usually happens to eat a lot of it, too. I’m not really one of those people who NEEDS to eat meat, and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything if I don’t eat it. So I’ve decided that instead of doing that whole “well it’s being served, so I guess I’ll eat it” excuse, I’m going to give it my 100% this time around!

I also have other reasons why I no longer want to eat meat, such as it doesn’t make me feel good inside. In any way. The way it makes my stomach feel is just horrible; I feel lethargic and bloated when I eat meat. The way it makes my mind and heart feel when I stop pushing the thought out of my mind that the meat most of us eat is filled with disgusting crap and the animals are basically tortured, is just horrible. I don’t feel as though I have enough knowledge or willpower to become vegan any time in the near future, but I do know that I can at least keep meat off of my plate. I know that a lot of people, for some strange reason, get a little weird when they see that someone is deciding to no longer eat meat. I’ve never understood this, as what we all eat is our own personal choice. On that same note, I don’t like it when people are “preachy” and judgemental towards those who DO decide to eat meat.

So what is the point of me writing this in my recipe blog? Well, it’s my blog, and if I want to write about something… Well, gosh darn it, I will. 😉 Really though, it makes me feel more motivated to write it “out here” in the internet world, because it gives me a strange sense of accountability. Also, even though there are recipes in this blog that have meat in them, there will be no more recipes containing meat. Instead, I will be posting healthier recipes, and more recipes that are alternative versions of their meat-filled sisters. I’m not going to go back through old entries to edit things, because at that point in time, the recipe was what it was.

I’m pretty excited about this, because I’ve been very much into eating clean for a while… The addition of this makes me feel really good about what I’m going to be putting into my body, and gives me a lot of motivation in keeping with my fitness goals.

Well, that’s my thoughts for this evening. It’s late, and I have to be up at 5:00am. So goodnight for now, people on the internet!

-Nikki

 

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Cookies

Waking up this morning, I was presented with a few dilemmas:

  1. There are three bananas on the counter coming up to that point where they’re past their prime, and I already have about 20 bananas in the freezer for smoothies.
  2. I have a nice, nasty little cold right now, which makes me crave sweets as a comfort food. I’m trying to eat healthy, so I don’t want to go out to get junk food.
  3. Because I’m sick, there’s no way I’m going to go out and get junk food. I’m surprised I can even get off of the couch for more than five minutes.

The solution: healthy cookies with bananas! These turned out so soft, and so yummy… There’s no butter, no eggs, no junky stuff, and barely any sugar. They’re filled with a whole bunch of flavour and goodness! This recipe makes 12 medium-sized cookies, about an inch thick. They almost have a cake-like texture, very similar to a chocolate crueller or something. I am embarrassed to admit that I’ve already eaten four of these. Anyways, here’s the recipe, enjoy! 🙂

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Cookies

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp ground flax-seed
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup vanilla almond milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp organic cane sugar (this obviously isn’t a wet ingredient, but is mixed in with them anyways)
  • 1/4 cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ripe banana

Solid Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup carob chips (you can use regular chocolate chips if you like, I just really LOVE carob chips.)
  • 1/2 cup crushed walnut pieces (this is optional also, so feel free to omit if you don’t like walnuts.)

Method:

  • Pre heat your oven to 325 F for convection ovens. (If not using a convection oven, pre heat to 350 F)
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat (or any silicone baking mat), and set aside.
  • In a bowl, sift together all dry ingredients.
  • In another bowl, mash the banana, and add all wet ingredients to the mashed banana.
  • Pour the wet into the dry.
  • Add the solid ingredients, and stir together until everything is combined.
  • Because it’s a dough that’s a bit on the dry side, I like to get my hands right in there and mush it all together, so don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty!
  • Using your hands, shape pieces of the dough into balls about the size of a golf ball (or a little bigger), and press into a patty that is about 1 inch thick. These don’t really spread while baking, but you also want to make sure that they maintain that cake-like texture because it’s pretty darn good!
  • Once all of the dough is shaped and on the baking sheet, pop it into your oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes. Make sure to check the cookies at 15 minutes. The bottoms of the cookies will be slightly darker than the rest of the cookie. If it’s looking a lot darker, take them out!
  • Allow to cool for about 15 minutes, then eat and enjoy! 🙂
  • Note: I made these in a convection oven, so my cooking time was longer. (Lower temperature, slightly longer cooking time, however they cook perfectly even.) So if you don’t have a convection oven, keep it at 350 F, and cook for 10-15 minutes.

    Three tasty (and guilt-free!) cookies with an almond milk latte. Now that's a tasty snack! :)

    Three tasty (and guilt-free!) cookies with an almond milk latte. Now that’s a tasty snack! 🙂

Creamy Carrot & Ginger Soup {Dairy Free}

For my 26th birthday, my husband surprised me with a trip out to Niagara On The Lake for a day of fine food and wine. {I guess he really does listen when I talk about places I want to go... 😉 } We went with a tour that visited several vineyards in the area {I still cannot believe how many there are…}, and had a wonderful fancy lunch at the Niagara Culinary Institute’s restaurant. I learned two valuable things about myself on this day trip. 1) I don’t really like “oaked” wines. They have too much of an “oak” taste for my liking. Very bold flavour that just doesn’t appeal to my palate. I DO however LOVE ice wine. {Of course, the more expensive type of wine… Jeez.} and 2) I love carrot and ginger soup.

Really, I love all types of soup. My favourite thing to make every winter is a spicy cabbage soup. But this whole “puree” soup thing is somewhat new to me. My first hot puree soup was a dill potato & carrot soup. I’ve even made a sweet “dessert” soup with strawberries. I was really happy with how that turned out, so after trying the carrot and ginger soup at the restaurant, I decided to make a healthier version at home! I was completely surprised to see…er, taste that this soup was SO much better than what I had at the restaurant! The best part is that mine is creamy WITHOUT the addition of fattening cream, which also makes this able to be enjoyed by vegetarians/vegans, people with an intolerance to dairy, and those of us not wanting to put unnecessary fat into our bodies. {Although, a little fat is always okay… 😉 } So here’s my recipe for a creamy carrot and ginger soup, with a bit of a kick to it! Enjoy! 😉

This soup makes anywhere from 2-4 servings, depending on the serving size.

Creamy Carrot & Ginger Soup {Dairy Free}

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium carrots {peel and chop them!}
  • 1 medium white potato {any potato works well, this is just what I used. As with the carrots, peel and chop!}
  • 2-3 small sweet peppers {I used orange to keep the colour of the soup}
  • 1/2 cup kidney beans {if using canned, be sure to rinse them well!}
  • About 3 cups vegetable broth {this amount depends on how thin or thick you want your soup. I started off with about 2 cups, and through out cooking and blending, I added about 1 more cup.}
  • 1 shallot {peel and dice!}
  • 2 cloves garlic {crushed and finely diced!}
    About 1 inch of fresh ginger root {peel it, and finely dice!}
  • Pinch fleur de sel. {Any sea salt}
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • Red pepper flakes {to taste. I usually like it HOT, but decided to only add about 1/4 tsp so that the spotlight wasn’t stolen from the carrot and ginger.}

Method:

  • Bring 2 cups of vegetable broth to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high, and add the potatoes and carrots.
  • Allow to lightly boil for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the sweet peppers, shallot, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Stir, then put a lid on the pot. Allow to lightly boil for about 10 minutes, stirring half way through. At the 5 minute stir, if you notice that the vegetables are no longer covered with broth, add about 1/2 cup more. Return to a boil, then cover.
  • Allow to lightly boil for another 10 minutes, again stirring half way through.
  • Note: the total cooking time after adding the potatoes and carrots will be about 20 minutes, or until a tested potato piece is tender when poked with a fork. This took 20 minutes for me, but depending on the potato you use it could take less or more time.
  • Remove from heat, and add contents of pot to a blender. If there is not enough broth, add the remaining 1/2 cup. Add the pinch of fleur de sel and nutmeg. Blend until smooth.
  • Add the kidney beans to the blender, and blend at a higher speed until smooth.
  • Serve directly out of the blender as it will probably still be hot. If it’s not, just return it to the pot, and heat the soup over low heat until it’s at the perfect temperature.
  • Pour into bowls, and enjoy! 🙂
Soup's On! With a bit of fresh basil sprinkled on top...

Soup's On! With a bit of fresh basil sprinkled on top...

Key Lime Pear Bran Muffins

Seeing as it’s been a while since I’ve posted any recipes {plenty of cooking, just not enough free time for the laptop}, I thought I’d share a key lime creation! For me, this was one of those “try something new” moments, because I have never had key limes before. I bought a bag of them at the grocery store, and was so excited because they were so small and cute. As soon as I got home, I cut one in half and licked it. When I was shocked that it was just as sour as a regular lime, the husband looked at me with confusion and said, “what did you expect, it’s a lime!” For some reason, I had hoped that they would be sweet. *Insert sad violins here.* 😦 

 

  

Bag of {key} lime ;)

Bag of {key} lime 😉

 

Either way, I decided to make a muffin out of them! Because this was a new trial for me, I wanted to keep the batch small. Currently, I am wishing that I had made a full dozen, because these turned out pretty darn good! If you want to make these super sweet, something along the lines of a light coconut frosting {sprinkled with toasted coconut flakes} or would go very well with these. A glaze would make these muffins soggy, as they are SUPER moist. I’ve never been a big fan of limes, but these muffins came out with such a nice texture, and a pleasantly light lime flavour. 

This recipe makes 6 muffins. To make 12, just double the ingredients. Enjoy! 🙂 

Key Lime Pear Bran Muffins 

Ingredients: 

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup oat bran
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar {you can substitute with any sweetener if you want to make this vegan. If using a raw sugar, add it to the wet ingredients instead so that it dissolves a bit.}
  • 1/4 cup golden liquid honey {again, if making this vegan, simply omit the honey and add an equal amount of pure maple syrup instead.}
  • 3 tbsp vanilla almond milk {you can use regular milk if you like, however I wanted to keep these dairy free, and almond milk is a wonderful substitute to regular milk!}
  • 1 egg {you can use an egg substitute such as the flaxseed substitute that I’ve mentioned in an earlier post if you don’t want to use egg.}
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce
  • 6 key limes {for this recipe, you will need to finely grate the rind of each of these key limes, and you will also need to juice each one. They’re a little tricky to juice because they’re so small.}
  • 1 Bosc pear {peeled, seeded and finely chopped}

Method: 

  • Pre heat your oven to 400 F, and line a muffin tin with 6 paper muffin cups.
  • Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. {Flour, oat bran, baking powder, salt, sugar and the grated rind from the key limes.}
  • In another bowl, mix the almond milk with the honey.
  • Add the egg, and lightly whisk until combined.
  • Add all other wet ingredients to the egg mixture, except the chopped pear, and mix well.
  • Add the chopped pear, stir, and then pour into the flour mixture.
  • Fold the wet mixture in with the dry ingredients just until mixed. DO NOT OVER MIX.
  • Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups, and fill to just under the top of the cup. They don’t rise too high, so you don’t have to worry about them overflowing.
  • Bake on the middle rack for about 20 minutes. {Oven times vary, so check at 15 minutes, then again at 20. When they’re done,the tops will no longer be soft and sticky, and a knife or toothpick inserted into the center will come out with very few somewhat moist crumbs on it.}
  • Note: Allow to cool on a rack {outside of the muffin tin} before eating. Because apple sauce makes muffins VERY moist, you need to allow them to cool so that they set properly, and don’t fall apart as soon as you take off the paper cups.
  • These can be stored at room temperature over night and eaten the next morning. If keeping longer, simply place in an airtight bag or container, and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. You CAN freeze these for up to 3 weeks, but I don’t recommend it as they taste at their best the day after baking.
 

  

Finished Product: Key Lime Pear Bran Muffins! :) Yum! :)

Finished Product: Key Lime Pear Bran Muffins! 🙂 Yum! 🙂