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 and beyond by adding some bacon bits inside the cupcake and topping it off with a mini waffle. 
I got to try 3 kinds: Maple Bacon, Cookies n Cream, Coconut Lime. All had delicious combinations of flavor, texture and toppings.
They sell their treats at farmer’s markets and on the University of Ottawa campus on a regular basis. The girls also participate in some National Capital Vegetarian Association (NCVA) events, such as the Holiday Howl. They love getting special orders, like these Hello Kitty themed cupcakes for Myriam from Beauteoptic. The ladies from The Compassionate Rabbit were extremely accommodating to Myriam’s allergies, and again exceeding expectation with great customer service and delivery. 
hello kitty cupcakes
Check out their Facebook page and Instagram account for more info and pictures! You know you want to.

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...

Monday, September 30, 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

My Vegetarian Food Festival Experience: 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!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

My Vegetarian Food Festival Experience: Part 1 - Friday

First, a tidbit about me:
2013 is my first year being vegan... Weird, I know. I almost feel like I've been vegan forever because I've been researching and dipping my toes into it for years. I grew up in a smaller northern Ontario town that had little (read: nothing) to offer the veg community, so it was difficult for me to make the jump from vegetarian to vegan. Immersing yourself into this culture and connecting with people in it is so amazing. I did this mainly online and with social media, since I felt I was so far from it physically. Toronto, by far, is the closest veg-destination and will probably always be my favourite (to be determined...) Their annual vegfest was the next step in strengthening my vegan lifestyle and of course, to be shared with you lovely readers.

My wrist tattoo - April 2013

My Vegetarian Food Festival Experience: Part 2 - Saturday

Day 2 of the Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival was amazing! Haven't read my post about Day 1? Read it here.

The first event of my day was Marni Wasserman's presentation called "Fully Nourished". I have to say she looked absolutely ravishing and glowing, even on that icky rainy day.

The cooking demo was really informative and nutrition-focused. She talked about multiple uses for ingredients like quinoa (the nutritional superstar) and cooking tips for different uses like porridge and salads. The quinoa salad recipe demonstrated was amazing - it really was great for a full meal type of salad. It had quinoa, chickpeas, shredded beets and carrots, kale, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, avocado and a homemade dressing. And we all got to taste it afterwards!

Marni Wasserman's Quinoa Salad

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Value Village Hauls

Thrift shopping is something that you are really into or not at all. It has been pretty trendy lately so I think a lot of people are jumping on board, which is great (especially from the environmental standpoint). I've always loved it. I love the treasure hunt, the lower prices and the smaller environmental footprint left behind.

The people who know me know that I always head straight for the sale rack every time I go shopping. It's always been my instinct to only buy things on sale or to save money everywhere I can. So naturally, I'm a fan of second hand items. I'm am even bigger fan of the value village giant half off sales that they have every few months. I'm all over their social media to make sure I know when the next one is. This one was right before they started setting up their Halloween merchandise... Heads up for next September! :)

Friday, August 30, 2013

Coco-Berry Oatmeal

My last post was about pancakes. This one is about oatmeal. You can tell I like breakfast foods! Just like pancakes, oatmeal can be customized in limitless ways. Every once in a while I do something crazy with my add-ins and it actually turns out pretty delicious. I've had this huge jug of coconut oil that I've had for months, so I'm always trying to find ways to use it up. When I bought it, I didn't realize it was unrefined. I got a big surprise when I opened it and found out it smells and tastes very coconut-y. It's a good thing I like that flavor!

I've also been playing around with cranberries and goji berries lately, putting them in salads, cereal, trail mix, and most recently oatmeal. I came up with this recipe for some tasty tropical oatmeal. This mix packs a solid blend of nutrients to kick-start your day with protein, carbs, antioxidants, fats, and of course the deliciousness... That counts as a nutrient, right? The best part about this recipe is that the measurements are totally up to you. You can mix and match and add more mix-ins all you want with this, just make sure the oats/water ratio stays proportional.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Pancakes with Red Wine Peaches

I looooove pancakes!
This little plate of heaven is all from improvising in the kitchen! There's something so exciting about starting to cook and having no idea what will come out of it. One day, I woke up at my usual weekday alarm time on my day off. What do you do when that happens? Make pancakes. Always make pancakes if you're up early on a day off. Why? Because by the time they are done it's a decent hour and pancakes are a classic weekend breakfast food. Queue the nostalgia.