Sunday, 24 November 2013

Potato Leek Soup

Potato & Leek soup is one of my faves!

3 large bunches of leeks
10-12 small/med potatoes
4 cups broth (I used vegetarian chicken broth)
2 cups hot water
1 tbsp ground thyme 
2 tbsp parsley 
1 tbsp oil
Salt/Pepper to taste

Wash and slice the leeks. Add them to a saucepan with the oil and simmer covered on low for about 10 minutes. Stir and don't let them brown. 

In the mean time wash and cube about 10 small potatoes. When the leeks are cooked, add in the broth and potatoes and bring to a boil. Stir in the thyme and parsley and let simmer. 

If you want the soup to be chunky, remove half and purée it in a blender and then stir it back in. I like it smooth so I used my immersion blender to purée the whole thing.  If it is too thick for your liking you can add hot water to thin it out. 

When serving, for a little flavour kick green Tabasco sauce stirred in is delicious! Enjoy! 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

There's always time for curry!

For any other working parents, or just plain busy parents this post is for you! 

In our house, one meal that is always met with smiles (and more importantly no whining or fussing) is curried anything. Tonight I needed to cook up something in a hurry...I'm inclined to rhyme here, but I suspect you know where I'm going. 

Ingredients: (use as many or as few as you need depending on family size)

Potatoes (peeled, cooked, cubed)
Baby peas 
Tomato paste (to thicken)
Almond milk (to make it creamy)

For seasoning I used a mix that I've been using for years. There are no preservatives and the spices are delicious.

In a large saucepan add a tablespoon or two of oil (any oil of your choice) and add in the peppers and onions. Then once they're mostly cooked add in the lentils, potato, peas etc. Cook on a medium heat for about 10 minutes. If you're adding spinach add it as a last vegetable. Then add in the tomato paste and almond milk and let simmer for another 10 minutes and you're done. 

In 20 minutes you'll have a fragrant and delicious curry! While it was cooking I made some rice and added in a pinch of saffron threads for colour and flavour. 

As you can see, I tend to cook for a family of 10 or 12 rather than the 3 that we actually are. This way we have leftovers for lunch tomorrow or dinner another night which is really handy on nights that we have extra curriculars. 


Sunday, 17 November 2013

Home Fries & Hash!

I love brunch. Like, I really REALLY love brunch. It is my favourite meal hands down. So you will appreciate my heartache and dismay when upon waking this morning my stomach was hungry and my cupboards bare. The word 'devastation' comes to mind. 

Somehow on an empty stomach I remembered the random smattering of food available and concocted a plan. Chick peas, 4 potatoes, 1 carrot, a handful of kale. 

First I washed and cut the potatoes into one inch cubes and parboiled them. (No more than 5 minutes.) Then after draining them I tossed them in a bit of olive oil and a ton of a super tasty mix of spices and baked at 425 for about 35 minutes.

In the mean time, I rinsed and drained the chick peas and used a pastry cutter to smash the hell out of them in a large bowl. I added some chili powder, hot sauce and tamari and continued smashing. Once sufficiently pulverized, I poured it into a frying pan that was pre-heated with oil. I then shredded in some carrot curls, added some caramelized onions and cooked on high for 5 minutes or so. Near the end, I added some chopped kale and done! 


Friday, 15 November 2013

Chocolate Caramel Cream Bars

I am so excited to start my Christmas baking this weekend that I started as soon as I got home from work! 

Chocolate Caramel Cream Bars. 

Just close your eyes and say the name. 




Oh lawd! There is so much awesome about this recipe. For starters, it's vegan. It's super high in protein. It tastes AMAZING. And it's no bake. Seriously. 

There are three layers; crust, caramel cream and chocolate. All you need is a food processor. For the crust start by putting one cup of nuts in and turn to "powder". I used pecans. Then add in one cup of pitted dates and voila. Crust. 

Line a square or rectangular dish with parchment or Saran (for easy lift out) and pour in the mixture. Spread evenly and then press down to compact. Now put it in the fridge and move onto the caramel cream.

For this, in the processor add 1/2 a cup of nut butter (I used organic unsweetened almond butter) and half a cup of organic coconut oil, melted. Then add one cup of pitted dates and blend into ridiculously good, drool worthy sticky caramel. Take the pan from the fridge, pour in mix, spread evenly and put back in the fridge.  Onto the chocolate! 

In a bowl mix 1/3 cup of coconut oil (melted) with 3 tablespoons of cacao and 1/4 cup of agave nectar. (You could also use honey.) Whisk well and when smooth pour on top of the mixture and bam! Done. You could put it back in the fridge to set unless you're impatient like me and then in the freezer they go! Within half an hour they'll be ready to lift out, cut into squares and INHALE. 

I'm quite proud of myself that I shared with not one but TWO friends and I'll even share with more. This recipe will definitely be in my "times by 3847383 for Christmas" list. Cheers!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Hot & Sour Soup!

Ok, so Faith has been hella demanding lately wanting such delicacies as lamb stew (which was surprisingly easy) and now hot and sour soup.

Personally, I don't like the soup. It has a thick gelatinous base with cabbage and mushrooms. Three strikes- I'm out. Faith on the other hand lives and breathes for the stuff! To each their own. Anyhow, seeing as I've grown quite fond of her I made the damn soup!

I got the recipe from this website:

The ingredients are mostly easily available except for a few. Chinese black vinegar was the most difficult to find. I eventually found it at Oceans but that in itself was a real ordeal and another blogpost altogether. The other thing that was hard to find was vegan "beef" broth but luckily Healthy Planet to the rescue!! 

Anyhow, on a difficulty scale I'd say it is pretty easy. About a 4/10. I'd suggest doing all of the prep of the veggies ahead of time and it will be a lot easier than doing it as you go. 

And, the fruits of my labour! 

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Double Chocolate Pancakes

I don't know about you, but every once in a while, I become RAVENOUS for pancakes. 

A well "buttered" pan + sweet cakey goodness = HEAVEN. I love the sweet and salty! 

Today I wanted something extra sweet so I decided to make some double chocolate chip pancakes. Ingredients were (roughly);

1.25 C whole wheat flour
2 tbsp raw organic coconut sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
1 flax "egg"
2 C chocolate almond milk 

Make your flax "egg" first. 1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp of water. Mix and let sit for 5 minutes or so and you've got an egg sub! Then mix the dry ingredients well. You could add a tablespoon of cocoa if you want them super duper chocolatey. Then add in milk and flax "egg" and stir. You can make them as thick or thin as you'd like, just add more or less milk. 

After pouring in the pan add a few semi-sweet chocolate chips. Then flip and top with a few more. When they're good and melty, transfer to plate, slather generously in pure maple syrup and INHALE! 

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Coffee Muffins w/Mexican Cocoa Glaze

Ok, so I have managed to find a muffin/cupcake hybrid thanks to  It has the smooth coffee flavours of a Saturday morning muffin but the sweetness of cardamom, cinnamon and sweetened cocoa that make you ooh and aah until the last bite.

For the Muffin Batter
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups organic coconut sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm coffee (I used French vanilla)
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Mix all dry ingredients in one bowl, all wet in another and then combine. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and spray your muffin tins, if they're not non stick. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Once they're cooled make the glaze. I dipped the top of the muffins in the glaze on low on the stove to get a pretty finish. 

For the Glaze Icing
1/4 cup vegan margarine

3/4 cup unsweetened pure cocoa powder
1/4 cup warm, brewed coffee
1/3 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
3/4 cup powdered sugar 
Salt, to taste
Basically melt and mix all ingredients in a thick bottom sauce pan and dip in muffins, or drizzle on muffins. And THIS will be the fruits of your labour!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Irish "Lamb" Stew

So I got a request to "veganize" lamb stew. I'm not totally into the whole idea of "stew" to begin with. In my head, an Irish stew would be potatoes and onions in gravy. End of story. But because I adore my wife, I decided to give it a go. Here is what I did:

1 Package Vegan Lamb (Yes! They make this!!!) 

4 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 large onions, diced

2 large carrots, peeled and chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup (250 mL) vegan "beef" broth

1 tall boy can of Guinness 

1/4 cup (60 mL) tomato paste

1.5 tsp (7 mL) dried rosemary

1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

2 tbsp (45 mL) all-purpose flour

After chopping and dicing all of the ingredients (except for the flour) I threw them into a crock pot, stirred them well to mix the tomato paste, broth and stout and set it to "stew" for 6 hours, stirring occasionally. I then turned it off and let it sit overnight. 

My god it was hard work!! Ha! 

Fast forward to this afternoon when I got home from work. I turned the crock pot back on.  I then used a spoon to extract about 3/4 cup of the broth into a small bowl. I then added in 2 tbsp of flour and stirred well until smoothe and added it into the pot and mixed well with the broth left behind. I then let it warm and simmer for another hour and a half. 

I'll be honest. My expectations were SO LOW for this. Seriously. Potatoes and chunks of "meat" in gravy. I'll pass thanks. Or so I thought!! 

The Guinness with the "beef" broth, rosemary and tomato paste make for a lovely hearty meal! I suggest you give it a try! 

Monday, 4 November 2013

Zucchini Banana Muffins

Few things make me as happy as zucchini. It is so versatile and yummy. I love zucchini chips, zucchini noodles in a good raw Pad Thai and now zucchini breakfast muffins. 

I got this recipe from (the link to recipe is below)

I have got to stop saying this, because people will stop believing me but HOLY MACKEREL these are delicious. The cinnamon and nutmeg are om nom nom with the banana. I am so looking forward to having one (or two?) of these for breakfast. 

About the only thing I would suggest is that they should be baked directly in the muffin tin and not in a paper cup as they stuck to the paper a bit. This isn't exactly a problem but will no doubt be a touch embarrassing when I'm scraping it off with my teeth at work tomorrow. 

The end result:

Don't forget to check out 

Sunday, 3 November 2013

L-O-L-A, Lola!

I had no intention of ever reviewing restaurant fare on this blog; partly because I prefer to cook myself but more truthfully because I rarely get out of the suburbs to enjoy such luxuries. While our little suburban downtown does have some notable restaurants, none of them offer brunch and most certainly none of them offer a vegan brunch. 

Thanks to the generosity of grandparents I found myself child free this weekend. That meant that I could head downtown for some much needed catch up with a best friend while my other half was finally free to watch all the horror movies she pleased without the inevitable curse of having to rock an inconsolable me to sleep with the lights on. Win-win. 

After coming to pick me up this morning, Faith determined that she couldn't possibly make it back to the 'burbs without food. She was hangry and in need of coffee. I had already consumed my weight in Starbucks (which is no small feat...) and was focused enough to try and formulate a plan. Originally I was just going to suggest something quick and dirty to stave off the hanger, after all, we were in a rush to get back to "real life". 

The thing is, I hate to pass up an opportunity to try a new restaurant. And so out came google and with a simple search of "vegan brunch Toronto" up came Lola's. It was nearby, had a seemingly conscious menu and had the added bonus of being on Church St. Sold!

We were blessed with parking right out front and headed in. There were a few people waiting for friends but we were seated within minutes. The atmosphere was lovely and the coffee came quickly, which was a relief. They even had almond milk- take that hanger! 

I ordered a curried tofu scramble with home fries and toast. Faith had the eggs rancheros. 

Honestly, the curry was perfect! The texture was spot on and the caramelized onions, herbs and other flavours worked like a charm. It had a side of broiled tomatoes which complemented the curry beautifully. The toast (which was also gluten free) was thick sliced and had a wonderful texture. 

The service was also great. Admittedly I can be an annoying patron. I am happiest in the small window between "stay on top of me as a guest" and "leave me the fuck alone to eat my meal". Not only was our server adorable, his timing was PERFECT! Well done! 

All in all, I'm so glad we opted to sit and eat something and didn't just grab filler en route home. If you're downtown and want to enjoy a good meal- I'd highly suggest Lola's.

634 Church St. 
(Just S of Bloor) 

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Saturday, 2 November 2013

Vegan Eggs Benny

One thing that I really miss since switching to a vegan diet is eggs benny. Not so much the egg itself, but the stack of awesome flavours! So today for brunch I made a vegan version.

2 tbsp Earth Balance 
1 tbsp flour 
3 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp turmeric
1 pinch cayenne

Melt butter, whisk in flour. Add half of the almond milk. Bring to a boil and take off heat. Mix in yeast, spices and lemon juice and set aside. 

For the "eggs" I just pan fried 1/2 inch slabs of firm tofu, which were rubbed with sea salt in vegetable oil.

When they were almost done I put the sauce back on and slowly added the other half of the almond milk and whisked it until smooth. 

For plating, I layered baby kale, thick sliced Roma tomatoes, the tofu and drenched with sauce. On the side is a pre-bought vegan curried potato thing that gets no more mention because it wasn't good. Ha! 

Without further adieu... BAM! Delicious layers of vegan awesome!