Monday, December 3, 2007

The Spirit is Upon Me...

weirdly early this year!

Maybe it's because I have a little one now.
Maybe it's this motherload of snow that we just got in Toronto.

I dunno, but I just covered my windows with snowflakes my sister and I made out of crepey white paper from The Paper Place on Queen West, and now I am devising a vegan cookie coup which will overthrow the totalitarian regime headed up by egg white icing that has ruled Christmas with an iron fist for nigh on too long.

If any of you are looking for some awesome vegan cookie or dessert recipes this holiday season, or if you want to give someone a vegan cookbook as a gift, here are some of my favourite go-tos.

Vegan With a Vengeance - Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World - also by I.C.M. (all cupcakes!!)
Veganomicon - The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook - again, I.C.M. and Terry Hope Romero
La Dolce Vegan - Sarah Kramer
Fresh at Home - Ruth Tal
Refresh - Ruth Tal

All written by ladies! You vegan boys better get ypur write on!

Happy baking, doods.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Vancouver heartache,

I miss Vancouver.
This time of year it folds in on itself like a soggy Chinese food takeout box, and I love it.
You can truly hide behind a mug of tea there for the whole winter.
No striving through the whipping cold wind.
No echoing windshield scrape sounds at five am.

Toronto is my home now -- I know that.
I stil watch Canucks games once in a while, and when they are in the playoffs, but really I am phoning it in.
I still feel Vancouver on the inside, but I am plated in Toronto.

I miss sitting in the spitting molecular rain on a bench at Kits beach not needing anything.
I miss the pigeon gray skies holding out for days.
I miss the relentless ocean.

I haven't been there for more than a year,
I used to go every few months.
I am a visitor there now in many ways.
In other, more important ways, I am never away from it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

content kickstart

i haven't posted here in a month.

to kickstart content, i am going to fill out the vegan blogger survey that all the good vegan bloggers are filling out for MOFO (a month of vegan food writing, basically...) If you are completely uninterested in veganism nerding, you might want to hit the back button now. :)

1. Favorite non-dairy milk?
nutrisoy plain - not chalky, not tofu-y tasting - just clean goodness, and supp'd with vitamin d and b12, as well as calcium, etc. in good amounts.

2. What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook?
- vegan chocolate cheesecake
- vegan veggie pot pie
- vegan pumpkin chocolate brownies

3. Topping of choice for popcorn?
- sunflower oil, salt, garlic powder and nutritional yeast -- tastes exactly like dad's orange popcorn from the 80s.

4. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure?
- gluten free gnocchi (dissolved on contact with the huge kettle of boiling water) and the raw on the inside fried pancake thingies i tried to make with the rest of the gnocchi dough. turns out the gluten is what holds gnocchi together. oops.
- pancakes in a stainless steel frying pan. never, ever try this.

5. Favorite pickled item?
those pink falafel things you get in montreal.

6. How do you organize your recipes?
i buy alot of cookbooks and keep anything else on my computer.

7. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal?
trash, sadly -- no compost in my building.

8. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods...what would they be (don't worry about how you'll cook them)?
dark chocolate
tofu quiche

9. Fondest food memory from your childhood?
eating plums from my backyard with my sister and pretending we were runaways.

10. Favorite vegan ice cream?

11. Most loved kitchen appliance?
the oven! also the hand blender for blending soups right in the pot.

12. Spice/herb you would die without?

13. Cookbook you have owned for the longest time?re
fresh at home by ruth tal-brown

14. Favorite flavor of jam/jelly?

15. Favorite vegan recipe to serve to an omni friend?
vegan chocolate cake with ganache icing

16. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh?
tofu, for it's endless possibilities

17. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)?
dinner parties for two

18. What is sitting on top of your refrigerator?
a basket containing odds and ends that i sort through once a week (okay. once a month)

19. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking.
wheat germ, flax seeds, frozen pancake batter

20. What's on your grocery list?
saffron, nori-mu silken tofu, vegan organic icing sugar

21. Favorite grocery store?
gotta say whole foods -- sorry, small health food stores who don't have all the things i need...

22. Name a recipe you'd love to veganize, but haven't yet.
dairy queen mint oreo blizzard

23. Food blog you read the most (besides Isa's because I know you check it everyday). Or maybe the top 3?
whatever isa's is linking to that day

24. Favorite vegan candy/chocolate?
cocoa camino mint dark chocolate bar

25. Most extravagant food item purchased lately?
organic fair trade dutch process cocoa powder

26. What are you having for dinner tomorrow?
Rotini with sundried tomatoes, capers and artichoke hearts with vegan caesar salad

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World...

is a great cookbook with all cupcakes in it by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.
All vegan cupcakes. 75 of them.
All vegan cupcakes that are fan-fribbin-tastic. Honestly.

And the book is cute and little like a cupcake.

I got mine at Pages on Queen West in Toronto. Both they and Type on West Queen West are really good about ordering things in for you if they are out of stock. I am sure any bookstore could get it in for you -- it's pretty popular.

Make a cow happy today and try veganizing that shmiz. Your heart will thank you, too.
So will your pee-pee arteries which are in charge of you-know-what if you are a boy.


Using the canvas bag less often these days -- I forget to bring it with me. I think, "well, we need plastic bags for the garbage anyway". Leaving lights on when I can't be bothered to haul the baby upstairs to turn them off when I get to the bottom and realize I left them on. Not being so religious about only buying organic, etc, etc, etc.

Smog days seem to have gone away for the winter. Did they serve some purpose for me? Fire me on the way the slaughterhouse a block away from my building fires me on in regards to letting people know about veganism and its many benefits for the body, the animals and the earth?

Is it the glorious fall colours? The fresh air? Do these things make me feel, in a way, that the Earth doesn't need my help? The farmer's market is bursting with bumper crops of squash, potatoes, bright orange carrots, deep green kale -- everyone there seems so at peace. The world I have built for myself is beautiful and misleading in that it is in no way a realistic barometer for the state of things for the planet. My work for the environment has been largely lifestyle oriented, local -- do I get more educated about the perils of fall and winter that I don't know about because the air smells so nifty? Do I focus on larger scale or international issues? The factories are still going -- where is all that smoggy stuff going now, anyway?

A real sigh happened here.

Maybe the darker weather wants lighter talk.
Darker weather can't always get what it wants.
But if it tries sometimes it just might find it gets what it needs.

Friday, October 5, 2007

when will it end?

Yet another smog day in Toronto today.

Not running the dishwasher, laundry machines, lights, etc. in the hopes of making some tiny dent in the ridiculousness.

Just saw a news report last night about a proposed garbage incinerator that will be built up in York region (just South of the 401 in the GTA.) How can they even be considering that as a solution? I hope the movement against it puts a stop to its contruction.

On a happier note, I am gearing up for our vegan Thanksgiving. Pumpkin Seed Crusted Tofu with Cranberry Relish (I don't know why I think I need to put that in capitals) and two pies -- Pumpkin (of course) and Apple Pie with Gingerbread Crust (from Vegan With a Venegance by Isa Moskowitz). Naturally, there will also be in attendance seven million kinds of potatoes and at least one green thing. Likely brussels sprouts. Those don't get capitalized.

I like to spend Thanksgiving out smelling leaves beginning to rot on the ground. Ah, leaf rot.

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for my family and friends, of course, but also I am thankful that this year has seen a big boost in "green-ness", it seems -- when Live Earth happened, I was a little "what's this really going to do -- it's just a concert", but it really seems that it made an impact on the lifestyle element of the issue for people. Now we just need more activity on the large scale activist side of things. Definitely we switch to greener ways of being in our homes, businesses and in the streets, but what takes it even farther is making sure to participate in green themed marches, to write letters to local politicians and businesses about policy, to initiate and participate in boycotts of non Earth-friendly companies. The smoggy sky is the limit. It's true that it takes only a small effort to make some difference -- that tagline has been tossed around alot these days -- but why only make a small effort? This Thanksgiving I am thankful for the increased awareness I was brought to this year in regards to this issue, and I am pledging now to make the next year about going much farther in doing my part to protect the health of the planet and of all the beings who live on it.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving, y'all!


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

holy shit perfect vegan scones

just do this.

this is an adaption of the scone recipe from Vegan with a Venegance by Isa Moskowitz. It's an AMAZING cookbook, but the recipe called for soy cream, which I can't find, and I wanted to play with the flour types to make it whole grain, yet still sconey. I adapted the recipe, then ate four before posting this.

set your over to 400, lightly grease up a cookie sheet wth sunflower oil

mix together

1.5 cups of hard whole wheat flour
1.5 cups of soft whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
just under 1/2 a cup (but more than 1/3 of a cup) of white or raw cane sugar -- not that moist brown sugar stuff

then add
1/3 of a cup of sunflower oil
1/2 a cup of coconut milk
3/4 of a cup of plain Natura rice milk that you have added 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to

mix it all up very gently, even a little dusting of unmixed flour on the batter is ok -- just don't overmix (but do try to get all the flour attached to the dough more or less.)

make about 16 scones out of it, each measuring about 1/4 cup when you take them out of the bowl (they are cute little scones.)

shape them into triangles -- you don't have to, but it looks cute.

sprinkle sugar on top

bake for about 20 minutes -- keep an eye on them after 15, but 20 is ideal if they are not burning (at least that's how it goes in my stove.)

take them out and eat them alone or with jam, etc.

I know that I am really specific about what kind of milk to use -- that's because I tried a bunch of stuff and this worked best -- you can try to substitute soy milk or whatever, but I make no guarantees about the results. This recipe is worth persisting with if it doesn't go exactly right the first time. They are so MF good.
I've eaten alot of shity scones this week to get here. :)

Feel free to add almonds or chocolate chips or whatever. I don't think that should change the recipe too much -- stick to very lightly folding in 1 cup of whatever you are adding once the batter is almost mixed together.

p.s. the flour mix is pretty particular -- all soft flour was too muffiny, all hard flour was too biscuity. soft and hard ww flours are available at many bulk health food stores -- Appletree on Queen W in Toronto, Whole Foods probably has it -- it's worth looking for them for the masterful control they give you over the universe.

happy baking. hope it works out for you!

UPDATE: So, soymilk works well, too, now that I know what the vinegar's about -- the trick is (Isa's trick, it took me a while to clue in) to mix the apple cider vinegar in and let it sit while you prepare the rest -- it will curdle and thicken, which is good for the end product -- trust me. This won't work as well with the rice milk because of the low protien content of the rice milk. Anyway, try it both ways. They'll both be great!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Really Easy Veggie Burgers

OK. So, I said I would post recipes here and then went AWOL for a month.
That's because I have been really busy.
When I am really busy I make these...

This recipe is adapted from one I found on (great vegan recipe database) -- I believe that on that site they are called "Quality Tofu Burgers" -- I will update this with an actual name credit (it will be some weird username like carrotface, though...)
I just added some spices to that recipe to make them more flavoury.
Skip the spices if you want, or add your own little twist instead.
These burgers won't win any Cordon Bleu innovation awards, but they are really good for those nights when you are in a hurry and you want something yummy and substantial/comfort food-y.) Like instead of McDonalds. Try them with baked fries and a ginger beer.


Veggie Burgers (or Nuggets!)

preheat oven to 400 degrees
lightly oil a cookie sheet

1/2 block firm tofu
1 cup oats (the chopped up kind -- you know -- quick oats)
1/2 cup of raw, unsalted sunflower seeds -- grind those up in a food processor or a blender would do as well.
1/4 cup of tamari -- try to use organic, cuz then it's non GMO - san ji makes good shit
pinch of garlic powder
pinch of oregano (opt.)
small pinch of thyme (opt.)
pinch of rosemary (opt.)

Wash your hands.
Get a bigish bowl.
Mush up the tofu with your hands until it is pretty uniformly mushed up.
Add the ground up seeds and the oats to the bowl, as well as the tamari and the spices.
Mush it all up with your hands until the oats have absorbed the moisture and begin to bind it all together.
Make 4 patties or about 16 nuggets.
Place on a lightly oiled up cookie sheet.
Bake @ 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes -- keep an eye on them after about 15 min to make sure they are not burning -- then turn on the broiler for a few more minutes, just to get them extra-tasty-crispy.
Remove from oven, and let cool for a few -- they firm up better that way.
Take them off the cookie sheet with a flipper. They should be holding together, but don't lose it if they don't -- life's too short. Try letting them cool a little longer -- that often works.
Make a burger, or, if you made nuggets, dip those bad boys in some sauce you made.

Yves Veggie Burgers can kiss our asses. They are made from GMO soy and Yves was just bought out by one of those huge American thingamajiggers, so who knows what evils lurk behind their cozy tofu exterior. DIY.

Let me know in the comments section if you have any questions or, um...comments.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

diet for a sad planet

I have been vegan on again and off again during my life -- some of my off-agains started pretty dramatically -- drunken shrimp cocktail binges on new year's eve, bloodied birthday steaks, but seriously folks...

I have now made the change back to veganism for good -- I started about three months ago. It is pretty hard to dispute that eating vegan is one of the best things you can do for the planet, animals and your health all wrapped up in one little egg-free spring roll wrapper.


i am going to periodically post some of my favourite vegan recipies here, either my own, or pictures of some I've made from cookbooks/websites (with full cred given of course, so you can go get the recipes yourself!)
p.s. All my recipies will, of course, be GMO free.

More soon. Got to cuddle Kai who just woke up...


Friday, September 7, 2007

what if...

people refused to buy things for the whole day when there were smog days?
would that encourage industry to stop spewing so much crap into our air the way they do?
another day that i can't take kai outside today.


doesn't the city of toronto have compost bins on the street with all the other bins for garbage and recycling?

Thursday, September 6, 2007


I have been AWOL for the last little while -- an English exam and a Reiki practicum to finish up have been consuming me.

The main thing I am working on these days is trying to find a way to compost my organic matter.
It turns out that my condo is not going to have the Green Bin Program until 2010 -- my property manager says no condos in Toronto will have it until then.
I am going to look into it.

In the meantime, my plan Bs have included a short lived green bin piracy scandal and a pot in my freezer that I am hoping to collect vegetable trimmings in during the week out of which I will make a huge thing of soup stock each Sunday. There would still be waste from that, but I guess I am imagining that it would be smaller from having been reduced. Maybe I could something to do with that. Some kind of mushy boiled carrot top sculptures?

Another idea I had is that maybe one of the farmer's at the Trinity Bellwoods Park market, where I shop, would be interested in the compost for themselves. I guess then all my compost would perhaps have to be organic,

Another smog day today.
I was planning on checking out the Dufferin Grove Park organic market for the first time, but I am not walking all the way up to Dufferin and Bloor in this junky air.

I will try to post here more often, for those of you who care to hear about my enviro-exploits -- coming article on the whole condo debate in Toronto in light of any environmental issues it might raise...


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Life in Plastic

Trying to get through a day without using a plastic bag can, at first, seem like an impossible task. We use them to carry groceries home in, we use them as garbage bags, we take our lunch to work in them, bring them with us when we are walking our dogs in case they decide to poo on the sidewalk in front of Starbucks. In fact, it's hard to imagine life without the plastic bag, but we had better start imagining it fast because they are quite the environmental menace, both in their production (made from virgin petroleum) and in their absolute stickaroundness in our ever swelling landfills (they last 1,000 years.)

The best thing would be if everyone joined places like Leaf Rapids, Manitoba and San Francisco, California and banned plastic bags altogether. In the meantime, we could find alternatives in the situations where a plastic bag would normally be used. Canvas shopping bags instead of "double-bag-it", buying your bread from bakeries with paper bags, buying dry goods in bulk, reusing plastic bags you already have to get them home, and skipping on those produce plastic bags that give us the illusion of protecting our apples from the scary germs we think are on the checkout counter (really, people, that is probably the least offensive place those apples have been -- just give them a good wash at home.)

Plastic bag recycling is, or will be, available in some places, but they will be turned into things like plastic furniture, not more plastic bags, so it's really kind of pointless next to the option of not creating the bags in the first place. Recycling plastic bags will not put an end to the pollution that their creation causes.

So, the next time the grocery clerk asks you if you want a plastic bag, proudly lift up your nifty canvas bag and politely refuse, or I guess you could give them a dirty look, depending on your style.

For more info on Leaf Rapids' plastic bag ban, go to:


Monday, August 6, 2007

Superduper Dishsoap

In the past, I have been hesitant to switch to eco dish soaps for my house because previous attemps had left me paying more for something that worked less. The stuff seemed to just fizzle in my sink, cleaning nothing, or when they did have a nice lather, turned out to be loaded with stuff that turned out to be not so different from the ingredients in the mainstream brands I was trying to avoid. I would slink back to brands like Palmolive, knowing I was putting all kinds of crap in to the ocean (and into my body in the form of chemical residue), but faced with the dilemna of feeling like the other stuff was leaving gross food gunk on my plates, and especially cookware.

Along came (award winning) Ecover -- this stuff is awesome, completely and quickly biodegradable and not tested on animals -- it comes in lovely scents like chammomile/marigold and lemon/aloe vera, and leaves your dishes squeaky clean sans that scary lemondeath smell that grocery store brands leave on the dishes. It works on pots and pans, leaves no streaks on anything and bubbles up nicely.

In Toronto, you can get it at Appletree Natural Foods on Queen Street West -- I am guessing Whole Foods and many other health food stores may stock it, too -- Ecover has a website at, or you can call them at 1.800.449.4925 to find out where you can get their products (they have a large line of homecare products.)

Bonus -- try this recipe the next time you need to clean the bathroom instead of Vim.

1/4 cup of Ecover dishwashing soap (hand-washing, not dishwasher stuff)
2T of baking soda
mix it up nice, and go to town -- you can adjust the proportions if you want it to be thicker or thinner --

Happy scrubbing!


Friday, August 3, 2007

Climate Change Convert

Maybe it was bringing a baby into the world in May of this year. Maybe it was the number of days this summer that I walked out my door to see the CN Tower clouded with haze like it was some grizzled old road warrior standing outside a truck stop with a smoke hanging out of his mouth. Perhaps I am just getting older and wiser -- it seems that I am suddenly consumed with my consumption, and feeling very hot and bothered about how hot and bothered I am walking down the street on any given, hazy, smelly, lung busting summer day here in Toronto, ON.

Admittedly, I am new to the world of giving more than a passing shit about any of this. Sure, when confronted with the way our planet seemed to be going thanks to our misuse of it, I felt sad, guilty, and even curious as to what kind of changes I could make that would make a difference. A bit of time would go by, though, and I would be throwing away plastic bags inside of plastic bags inside of plastic bags and leaving the radio on when I was out of the house because its sound was nice to come home to. I was threatening to throw my husband's to-be-recycled recyclables in the garbage if he left them in the sink one more time (slimy unrinsed hummus containers, anyone?) I am sorry to say that for 28 years I have pretty much been an environmental menace.

I am now in the process of turning this around, and of trying to make it look fun, effective, affordable, and above all, necessary, to the people around me so that, perhaps, they will join me in trying to detox the earth we live on, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the attitudes we have about our supposed right to mess them all up in the first place.

I am starting this blog as a way to share my journey towards becoming a positive force in the fight to save the planet from our mistakes. As I sit here and consider my life of envirocrime, I know very well that there is really nowhere to go but up.