Calling out to other vegans!

I hope this message finds you happy and inspired! I’m always on the look out for new blogs, fun food and other vegans to share stories, finds, new ingredients and, of course, amazing recipes. So, I had an idea!

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The vegan community has been an incredible source of motivation and support when I became vegan, and still is now. I love stumbling on new blogs, and I feel really happy that more and more people are switching to this more respectful way of living.

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So, I would like to invite you to share your stories: why did you become vegan? What was difficult about the switch? What was fun? What are your tips for new vegans? I would also love to see what your go-to recipe is: if you had to live on only one recipe, what would it be? What is one recipe every vegan should try? What is one ingredient you always have in your kitchen?

I would love to read your stories and discover your recipes, but I would also love to share them here, on my blog. Here are a few guidelines: your post should be maximum 350 words, and include at least 1 picture. Make sure you include your blog’s name if you have one, and if you don’t, well don’t worry about it! I would love to start posting your posts next week, so get on writing!

If you are interested in participating, send me a message using the contact form, and I’ll get back to you! I can’t wait to read your posts!

 

Simple Curry (for busy nights)

This is the recipe I fall back on when I’m feeling like having some comfort food. It is very quick to make, looks impressive and is really delicious! It also makes for a great lunch!

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Here is what you need:

Part 1: The protein:

  • 1 cup TVP (texturized vegetable protein; I used big pieces. You can find this in Asian grocery stores or in health food stores.)
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp miso

Part 2: The sauce:

  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 tbp corn starch
  • 2 tbs tamari or soy sauce

Part 3: The vegetables:

  • 1 tsp coconut oil (you can replace this with some water)
  • 1 minced onion
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 zucchini squashes
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbs garram massala

Here is what you do:

  1. Dilute the miso paste in the warm water and place the TVP in so that it can soak up all the water. Put aside.
  2. Mix all the sauce ingredients and put aside.
  3. In a large sauce pan, heat up the coconut oil, and stir the garlic and onion until golden and fragrant. Add the spices and give a good stir.
  4. Cut the zucchinis into bite-sized pieces and add to the pan. Mix well.
  5. Add the TVP and the remaining water and stir everything until well coated in spices.
  6. When everything is cooked and ready to serve, add the sauce ingredients and stir until the sauce becomes thick and glossy. Serve with warm rice or noodles.

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I really like this dish because I can pretty much make it with anything on hand: eggplant, chickpeas, mushrooms, tofu or even tempeh! It is also very easy to prepare and quite quick to make. It is supper flavourful and so comforting!

Let me know if you give it a try!

3 books every (vegan) bookshelf should have

I’m not going to lie here; I am totally a book hoarder. We had to buy a bookshelf for our kitchen area because we were overflowed with cooking and gardening books.

As an excuse, I’ll say that every time I am curious about something, I usually end up buying a book on it. Which is good right?

When I contemplated going vegan, I bought many books and read them with a lot of interest. Over time I accumulated quite a lot of recipe books and also more “veganism theory” books. However, if I had to throw all my books away, and only keep three on this subject (oh dear! How awful would that be!), here are the volumes I would keep.

  1. Vegan for Her or Vegan for Life (oh my, I already start cheating and give you two books instead of just one!) – This book is great if you are considering going vegan because it will give you all the information you need on how to properly nourish yourself without creating imbalances. Vegan for Life is more general and tackles children, women, men and old age, whereas Vegan for Her is specific to women and goes through the different phases of a woman’s life. And yes, protein will be addressed… IMG_2071.JPG
  2. The China Study – If you are interested in looking at health benefits of veganism, and love statistics and tables, this book will satisfy your thirst for information. I also like that they included sample meal plans and recipes too. And, this book is mentioned almost everywhere in the vegan world, so you might as well go back to the source. IMG_2073.JPG
  3. Isa Does It – This book is packed with great recipes for all meals and occasions. The flavours are unique and varied. However, what I like most about this book is that the recipes are full-proofed and very easy to make: the ingredients are clear and accessible, and the steps are very well explained. If you wanted to invest in only one cooking book, this would be the one I’d recommend. IMG_2068

I hope this will help you make your trip to your local library or bookstore easier and clearer. I remember being stuck in front of tons of books without really knowing which one was best. As a result, I ended up buying way more than what I needed at the time. Seriously, I think these three are a great place to start and should keep you busy for a few months!

Let me know if you have other suggestions!

Chocolate Pudding for Breakfast

On Saturday mornings, sometimes you want to spend a long time cutting fruits, baking something good to put them on, maybe even make a fancy sauce to top it all of. Sometimes, you are just plain hungry and want something good fast.

For this kind of mornings, chia seed pudding is perfect. Just put all the ingredients in a bowl, mix, go take your shower (or lounge around in your PJ’s) and eat!

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Then again, you have the option of being extra healthy and mix it up with some fruits (don’t use frozen, it will freeze things up!) and nuts. You can also make yourself a big bowl of chocolate pudding (no one needs to know that it is packed with nutrients, omegas and healthy goodness).

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Oh yeah! It’s the week-end, right?

Here is what you need per bowl:

  • 2 tbs of chia seeds
  • 2 tbs unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1-2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbs hemp seeds
  • 1 – 1.5 cups of almond milk
  • 1 tsp chocolate chips (if you feel extra excited for the week-end)

Here is what you need to do:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Mix to incorporate the cocoa powder and separate the chia seeds.
  3. Wait 15 minutes.
  4. Enjoy!

This is a seriously decadent breakfast that has equally serious benefits! I won’t go into a thousands details about chia seeds as you can easily find this online, but lets just say that this pudding resets your digestive system, fills you up with energy, gives you a shot of protein and omegas, and is packed with yummy flavours!

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Let me know what are your favourite toppings for chia pudding and enjoy the week-end!

 

 

Orange Sauce Stir Fry

About two years ago, I posted a recipe for General Tao Tofu. However, there was nothing truly amazing about this recipe as the sauce, which is the heart of the recipe, was store bought. Since then, I have been on the look out for recipes to make my own Chinese restaurant inspired recipes.

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I served some stir fried vegetables and tofu in this sauce with some sweet potato hash browns. Yum!

Well, I came up with a great orange sauce to add to your stir fries that really has a great flavour and will kick over all the store bought versions. It’s really easy, you probably already have all the ingredients in your kitchen, and it is really impressively tasty.

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Here is what you need for the sauce:

  • 3 cups orange juice (you can use store bought, or pressed. I usually go with a carton of pulpy orange juice.)
  • 3 tsp corn starch
  • 2 tbs tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sriracha or to taste
  • 1 tbs maple syrup

Here is what you do:

  1. Once you have your basic stir fry going (mixed vegetables, tofu or tempeh) and almost cooked, lower the heat to medium.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all the sauce ingredients with a whisk until the corn starch is completely dissolved.
  3. Pour the liquid mix into your pan and stir. After a few minutes, the sauce should start to thicken up. Mix to make sure all the vegetables are well coated in the sauce.
  4. Serve hot, garnish with sesame seeds and green onion, and enjoy!

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This is the most amazing sauce I have prepared so far. It is thick and packed with orange flavour. It goes well with whatever stir fry you want to prepare: I made a “traditional” stir fry with greens and tofu, a chickpea sauté and just a vegetable dish. They were all delicious and quite popular too!

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Let me know what you think, and how it goes if you try it out!

Christmas Series: Hot Pot Dinner!

I am so excited to share this recipe with you! I had a lot of fun planning, cooking and eating it!

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As I was looking for a fun recipe for a Christmas dinner party, I wanted to stay away from fake turkeys, or any traditional food. I wanted something refreshing, original and shareable. When I imagined it, I wanted people to have to talk to each other, have fun and share something good. To me, this is what Christmas is about.

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While browsing my cookbooks, I stumbled upon Isa’s mushroom hot pot. This was it! I really wanted to modify this recipe to make it more like a Chinese fondue where people cook their own food in a rich broth.

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So I grabbed my boyfriend and we went on a mission to the Asian supermarket. I really wanted to find fun vegetables, mushrooms and fragrant herbs to make this hot pot exceptional, while still paying a reasonable price for everything. I really suggest investing your local Asian store as they often have a great selection of vegetables, mushrooms and herbs for a fraction of the price you’d pay in a regular supermarket.

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Needless to say, we were not disappointed. This is so exciting! It was a lot of fun to try out, and everyone around the table was full and happy.

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Here is what you need (for 4-5 people):

For the broth:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cubes of vegetable broth
  • 8 cups of boiling water
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 lemongrass stalk
  • 1 inch fresh ginger root
  • 3 whole star anise pods
  • 1.5 cinnamon stick
  • 5 lemon leaves
  • 3 tbs tamari sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 can (8.5 oz) coconut milk
  • 4 fresh or dried shiitake mushrooms (if you use dried, soak them overnight)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro with the stalks (around 1 cup)

For the vegetables (These are the ones I used, but feel free to change them to what you have, like and find.)

  • 8 fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup fresh oyster mushrooms
  • 8 king oyster mushrooms
  • 1 bunch of enoki mushrooms
  • 1 bunch shimeji mushrooms
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1 small broccoli head
  • 1 small chinese or zucchini squash
  • bamboo shoots (I bought a small head in an air sealed pack, but canned would work too)
  • 1 can of slices water chestnuts
  • 1 can of baby corn
  • 10 mini bok choys
  • 1 bunch of chinese broccoli or mixed greens
  • kelp noodles
  • fake meat of your choice (we used textured vegetable protein,or TVP)
  • fried tofu (you can buy this ready-made in Asian supermarkets)
  • lime slices (to serve)

Here is what you do:

  1. In a large pot, place the oil, chopped onion, chopped garlic cloves and minced ginger root. Cook on medium heat until fragrant. Add the salt and saute until the onions are translucent.
  2. While the onions are cooking, dissolve the vegetable broth cubes in 2 cups of boiling water and add the corn starch. Mix until completely dissolved.
  3. Slice the 4 shiitake mushrooms thinly (including the feet) and add them to the onions. Also slice up the red bell pepper (1/2) and add it to the pot. Continue to stir until the red bell pepper is softened.
  4. Take your vegetable broth and add it to the onion mix. Stir a little.
  5. To your broth, add the cinnamon stick, star anise pods, and lemon leaves. Stir until fragrant and add the rest of the water (6 cups).
  6. As the broth is cooking, start cutting your vegetables and display them on a plate. If you feel like you have too much of something, add it to the broth. This will give more flavour to your broth and will also make ‘fishing’ possible during the meal. I ended up adding about 1/3 of the vegetables to the broth while it was cooking. I find that the assortment of mushrooms really create a rich flavour. If you are using TVP, it would be a good idea to soak it in water now, just remember to squeeze the extra water out before serving. You can also drain and rince the kelp noodles.
  7. Taste the broth and add the soy sauce and pepper accordingly.
  8. Let the broth simmer.
  9. Once you are done cutting all your vegetables and are ready to serve, add the coconut milk and cilantro, and bring back to a simmer.
  10. Take your lemongrass stalk, and cut a few centimeters off both extremities. Then, cut the stalk in 3 or 4 parts. With a pestle or heavy cup, crush the lemongrass and add it to the broth. Adding it at the end really helps keep the flavour as it is quite volatile.

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To serve, make sure every one has a skewer stick or a little metal basket. Each person will pick and choose whatever they want cooked, put it in their basket and cook it in the broth. If you want, you can add lime juice to your own bowl, but I find that unnecessary. Still, it’s nice to have that option. We used a portable cook top to keep the broth simmering throughout dinner.

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The broth was thick, savoury and full of wonderful flavours. It was very filling even if we just ate it as is without rice or noodles. The kelp noodles have a very crunchy texture which is interesting, but you don’t need to plan a full portion per person. They are just a nice add-on I find.

The TVP really is great in this recipe as it takes on all the broth flavours and really gives the chewy texture of meat.

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It was a lot of fun to eat this with my family this week-end. I had a great time preparing the vegetables with my mom, and the men enjoyed the richness of the broth… which was consumed entirely!

This is truly a must try, so let me know how it turns out!

Christmas Series: Easiest chocolates!

A few days ago I stumbled upon these amazing little things and just fell in love with the idea. I really wanted to try them out, and so I went out to buy organic oranges. While in the store, I also picked up some pears, apples and fresh mint leaves.

Why stop at oranges?

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The process is super easy; the result, impressive; and the taste, to die-for! These chocolates would also make an amazing gift if you were to arrange them in a pretty box.

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Here is what you need for an assorted box of chocolates:

  • 4 organic oranges
  • 2 pears
  • 4 stalks of mint leaves
  • 150 grams of dark vegan chocolate chips

Here is what you need to do:

  • Clean and dry all your fruits and herbs. It is really important that the mint leaves are dry if you want the chocolate to stick to them.
  • Cut the oranges into 5mm thick slices. Align them on your dehydrator tray.
  • Cut the pear as thin as possible and put them on your dehydrator tray as well.
  • Let the dehydrator work at 75F for 12 hours, or overnight. If you do not have a dehydrator, you can place the fruit on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and let them dry in your oven set at the lowest temperature. Check on them often as they might dry out to much depending on your oven.
  • Once the fruit is dry, melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler.
  • Dip the fruits and fresh herbs in the chocolate using a fork and your cleaned fingers and place on a cookie tray lined with parchment paper.
  • Let set in the fridge overnight (the hardest part of the recipe).

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These are extremely easy, and so yummy! The orange slices have to be my favourites. They are quite similar to orangettes chocolates. However, because the slices are thick, there is still some juice left that explodes in your mouth. You really must try them out!

The pear slices are a little bit more chewy and have a milder flavour that is still quite nice. On their side, the mint leaves are a great alternative for After Eight lovers. The mint flavour is very refreshing, without being overly sweet.

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Finally, you might get a little bit chocolate crazy and try to dip all the fruits that you have lying around. Experiment away, but I don’t recommend cranberries as these are really great for pictures, but not so much for eating: way too sour!

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Anyways, let me know what you end up trying out! Check out the original post behind this idea, and also La végé d’à côté for some chocolate recommendations. And if you are looking for a dehydrator, I bought an Excalibur a few years ago, and it’s perfect! If you are in Canada, you can check out Upaya Naturals: that’s where I got mine, and the shipping was super quick.

 

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Vegan Birthday Party: Sweet Potatoes

Saturday we celebrated a friend’s birthday, vegan style! This was not a ‘just-put-it-in-the-oven’ type of things.

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Not at all.

In fact, I cooked almost all afternoon. It was a tiresome, but quite worthwhile process. Needless to say, I could have made my life easier and prepared some of the dishes ahead of time, but as I was sick for the previous days, Saturday was pretty much spent in the kitchen.

Here is what I made:

  • Sun dried tomato stuffed cremini mushrooms
  • Sun dried tomato hummus
  • Zucchini noodles
  • Spicy orange chickpea and shiitake mushroom stir fry
  • Baked sweet potato halves
  • Lemon pie
  • Sweet Potato Brownies

Yes… I think  I might have got this birthday party confused with Christmas as to the amount of food I made.  Everyone was stuffed and satisfied when they left, and we felt ready to get going on Sunday morning, which is great! I find that vegan feasts are really great for this as they do not make you feel heavy and dying the next morning.

The sweet potato halves are really great! This is the easiest way to prepare sweet potatoes, and everyone I have served this to is utterly surprised about how tasty this is. Clearly a win-win situation!

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Here is what you need:

  • Sweet potatoes (know your public here: I calculated one half per person)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • celery salt
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast per potato half
  • herbs to taste: rosemary, thyme, oregano, coriander seeds (this is really up to you and what you are serving this with)

Here is what you will need:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. Thoroughly clean and brush the sweet potatoes. It is better to buy organic, as you will keep the skin.
  3. Cut the sweet potatoes half ways. Check what side will sit more comfortably on your baking sheet.
  4. Melt the coconut oil and brush it on the cut side of the potatoes. You can use a cooking brush, but a spoon works really well.
  5. Sprinkle salt, celery salt, cracked pepper, herbs and nutritional yeast on each potato half.
  6. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet, and cook them for 20 minutes. Prick them with a fork and place them back in the oven for another 20 minutes, or until tender.

This is the perfect side dish. It is really easy to make and delicious. Don’t hesitate to eat the skins, they are really good too!

The rest of the recipes are coming! Also get ready for the Christmas series!

 

 

 

Exciting Christmas Series!

My friend La Végé d’à Côté and I are working on a really fun Christmas Series!

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If you know French, you should definitely check out her website. She brings really interesting information and reflections on veganism and nutrition. As she is a nutritionist, her advice is well-informed and documented, and also fun to read.

I’m really excited to partner up with her for this. We have planned gift guides, holiday tips, and, of course, recipes.

Stay tuned for really exciting ideas that will help you for the Christmas season, but , really, for any holiday or special occasion

Cheers ! 🙂

Scrambled tofu and company

Believe it or not, we had never tried scrambled tofu before. Well this week we tried it out and it is really delicious! We paired it up with some wild rice, a tomato salad and some guacamole. It was fresh, filling and really tasty!

Yummy! this was so tasty and delicious!

Yummy! this was so tasty and delicious!

What you will need for the tofu:

– 2 tbs olive oil
– 1 clove of garlic
– 1 onion
– 250g of firm tofu
– 1 red bell pepper
– 1 tbs of soy sauce
– ground pepper to taste
– salt, if needed

What you will do:

1) Mince the garlic and onion finely.
2) Heat up the olive oil in a sauce pan on medium-high heat.
3) Cook the onion and garlic until they start to golden and fragrant.
4) Add the tofu to the sauce pan, grinding it in your hands to scramble it into small pieces.
5) Add the pepper and soy sauce and stir well. Taste and adjust to meet your taste.
6) Toss over as if you were stir frying it until the tofu is golden and slightly crispy. It took our tofu 20 minutes to get there. Be patient and stir often to make sure everything gets even.
7) Chop up the bell pepper in small pieces and toss it in when the tofu is ready. Stir well and serve!

I cooked some wild rice, drained it and added one tablespoon of coconut oil to it. I find that this makes the rice fluffy and even more delicious. I also made a simple tomato salad by cutting up some tomatoes, and adding a mix of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and pepper.

Finally I made a simple guacamole by mixing one ripe avocado, one not too ripe deseeded tomato, one clove of garlic, the juice of half a lemon, salt and pepper. The guacamole added a nice touch of color and went really well with this dish.

I will definitively try other scrambled tofu recipes because this one was delicious! I really enjoyed how the crispness. Even my mom liked this recipe, and she is very hard to please!

Give it a try and please share any of your scrambled tofu recipes!