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Archive for the ‘Vegan’ Category

Review of Bread and Sons Bakery

Bread and Sons is a wonderful little bakery in Centretown. It’s the perfect spot to pick up some mid-morning treats, a delicious lunch or even a pizza on a Friday night. Actually, one of my favourite maternity-leave moments was right at the end of my leave when my daughter was in daycare – I met a friend for coffee and some treats at Bread and Sons. It was sunny and warm, so we sat on the small tables outside the bakery and chatted for close to two hours. We each grabbed a second coffee and additional treats as we people-watched and talked about graphic novels, school and work. Some people might complain that there is not enough seating but I actually like this feature. It means that there is a high turnover rate for their coffee and baked goods and everything is super fresh. The busy atmosphere means you need to decide quickly what you’d like to eat. Also, it forces you to get outside and enjoy the bustle of the downtown core. Another plus of this bakery – they try to source as many local ingredients as possible – they even have a map painted on their wall with their local vendors displayed! And, if you’re eating vegan they offer almond milk for your coffee which is a great perk since most places only offer soy milk.  Overall, I think it’s a great place to stop and get breakfast or lunch. Below, I’ve reviewed a few of my favourite foods from Bread and Sons.Bread and Sons Muffin and Cofee

Breakfast

Vegan Pumpkin Muffins
By far my favourite vegan offering at the bakery. Moist, sweet (but not too sweet) with crunchy pumpkin seeds on the top. Get there in the morning before they all sell out. Perfect for fall or anytime of the year.

Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Cookie
Delicious! These don’t look the prettiest, are little on the pricey side and chances are they will leave chocolate all over your hands as you eat them but they are well worth the mess and the price.

Lunch

Pizza – All the World’s Green – Vegan
Before going dairy-free I loved all of their vegetarian pizzas – they have the right balance of cheese to toppings to crust. I never paid attention to the vegan choice assuming it was boring. Turns out this is one of the best choices for pizza regardless of whether or not you are avoiding dairy. It has kale, spinach, arugula, red onions, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted garlic, red peppers, olives and mushrooms. I know, it sounds busy but as a vegan I loved the variety on the pizza – the greens are in perfect harmony with the mushrooms and the olives. And, I adore the taste of the roasted garlic. Also, it doesn’t hurt that the pizzas are named after Tom Waits songs.

Sandwich – Avocado
A great sandwich, actually one of my favourite lunch choices. The avocado is always perfectly salted, the bread is always tasty and the sunflower seeds are a great surprise when eating the sandwich. Well worth the price.

Salad – Avocado and Roasted Tofu
This is the one lunch choice that is “just okay” in my opinion. The tofu is a little bland although perfectly pressed. The avocado shines as the star.

Overall – great place to go for breakfast or lunch.  Highly recommended.

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To cure what ails you…

Grapefruit 2

Photo by Isox4 on flickr

It seems like everyone in my office is sick this week.  While many of my co-workers seem to be suffering from flu-like symptoms I have a nasty cold.  I hate being sick.  Yes, it gives me an opportunity to re-watch Veronica Mars and sleep an extraordinary amount, but it also comes with a constant dripping nose, aches, and tiredness that are not pleasant.  So, when I am sick I make this juice, which has become my go-to natural remedy that I pair with lots of dark leafy greens.  I love this recipe because it makes me feel better every time but I have to warn you that it is not a recipe that you make friends with – it contains one clove of raw pressed garlic.  For some reason, Mike is never sick when I am sick and he groans whenever I make this juice.  I guess when your nose is not plugged up the smell of raw garlic is pretty strong.

This recipe is adapted from Rebar’s liver quiver juice recipe.  And as a super plus, it is easy to make when you have no energy.

  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1 lemon
  • 1-3 oranges (or orange juice) *to taste
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper

Juice the grapefruit, lemon and oranges.  Strain out the pulp (or leave it in) and combine the juices in a glass.  Crush one clove of garlic in a garlic press and then combine with the juice.  Add a pinch of cayenne pepper.

It is best to drink this fast in big gulps then get back to the couch.  That first season of Veronica Mars is not going to re-watch itself.

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Here is my vegan version of my shepherd’s pie.

A couple of notes if you decide to try this recipe. The recipe calls for black beluga lentils because that’s what I had on hand to make this but you could easily substitute du puy lentils (french green).  The mushroom gravy is not necessary – I often make this dish without but sometimes you just want some extra fat to up the comfort factor.  You need a large rectangle glass baking dish to make this in.

Veggie Shepherd’s pie (Vegan version)

1/2 c wild rice

1 1/2 c black beluga lentils

1 onion

2 cloves of garlic

2 bay leaves

1 carrot

3 lbs. potatoes (about 6-7 large potatoes)

1 lbs. mushrooms (button, cremini)

1/4 c dried porcini mushrooms (about 6 or 7 dried)

1 tbsp. of olive oil

fresh or dried thyme to taste

1/2 c frozen peas

½ c soy milk* optional — you can also use the cooking water

1 tbsp. vegan margarine (I use Earth balance brand)

1/2 package of mushroom gravy (vegan)

Fresh ground pepper and salt to taste

  1. Make your wild rice.  Rinse the rice and then stir it into a cup and a half of boiling water.  Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let soak in the same water, covered for 1 hour.  Drain.  Stir rice into 1 1/2 c of fresh boiling water.  Let simmer for 25-35 minutes.  Drain.  While making the rice – prepare the other parts of the shepherd’s pie.
  2. Check your lentils for stones and rinse the dust off them.
  3. Put them in pot with 3.5 cups of cold fresh water.  Cover and bring the water to a boil.
  4. While waiting for the water to boil prepare your aromatics.  Quarter the onion.  Finely chop the carrots and peel the garlic cloves.  Once the water has boiled, add these to the lentils, plus the bay leaves and turn the heat to simmer.  Cook for around 25 minutes.  You want your lentils to be firm and not mushy.
  5. As the lentils cook prepare the potatoes.  Basically if you already know how to mash potatoes this step will be very easy for you. Peel the potatoes.  (Note:  if you have organic potatoes no need to peel them – I love the rustic look of the potato skins in a mash.)  Chop the potatoes into small pieces roughly the same size.   In a large pot add enough cold water to cover the potatoes and bring to a boil (turn down to a simmer once they have reached a boiling point).
  6. As this point your lentils should be finished.  Drain, and if you want you can reserve the liquid to use for stock at some future date.  Remove the onion, garlic and bay leaves.  Don’t worry if you can’t remove all the onion – some small pieces in the lentils won’t hurt.  Season with some freshly ground pepper.
  7. If your potatoes are ready drain the boiling water and leave them in their cooking pot until you are ready to mash them.
  8. Prepare your mushrooms.  Soak your dried mushrooms in warm water as directed.  Slice the button mushrooms and leave some pieces in quarters.  Once the dried mushrooms are soaked – slice into bite sized pieces.  Warm the oil in a frying pan and add all the mushrooms – you want to cook them just until they lose some of their juices.
  9. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  10. Now prep your base.   Add the lentils, mushrooms, frozen peas and wild rice.  Mix together.
  11. Drain the water from your potatoes if you have not already done so.  Mash them with the soy milk and margarine.
  12. Spread the mashed potatoes evenly over the base mixture.
  13. Cook for 20 minutes in your pre-heated oven. While it is cooking prepare your mushroom gravy if using.
  14. Remove from oven and spread mushroom gravy over the top.

Serve with: rapini with garlic and chili peppers.

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It’s soup season!  Last night as I was walking home with a cold rain and harsh wind blowing I realized that pretty soon it is going to snow.  Luckily, Mike and I  had lots of leftovers of this soup to keep us warm.  If the ingredient list seems a little long it’s because there are lots of spices in here.  I actually did not intend on posting this recipe because I was just planning on making the Squash-and-White Bean Soup from this cookbook. However, when I started to cook  I realized I was deviating from the recipe quite a bit.  Instead of leaving chunks of squash and celery I blended the “base” of the soup to a creamy texture.  And while I love the taste of winter squash and white beans, I had black beans in the fridge that needed to be used. 

The real highlight of this soup is the garnishes.  I recently discovered Harissa and have a jar of it in my fridge to use up.  I knew the taste would go perfectly with this soup so I  drizzled about a 1/3 of a teaspoon in the bowl just as I served it.

Soup

  • Harissa (to taste)
  • Feta cheese (to taste)
  • Crusty bread
  1. Make the stock (if you have none on hand)
  2. Combine the oil, squash, onion, celery, jalapeno, ginger and garlic in a large soup pot. Cook over medium-high heat until softened for 7-10 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add the vegetable stock, chile powder, thyme, allspice, salt, and ground pepper.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer.  Cook for 20 minutes.
  4. Using an immersion blender blend the soup to a smooth texture.  Add your ancho chilli powder and taste for salt.
  5. Stir in the spinach and beans and cook for about 10 minutes more.
  6. When serving add some harissa as garnish with a bit of crumbled feta.  Serve warm with crusty bread.

Soup, beer and bread

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Scary movies and scary menus

For those of you that don’t know – October is vegan mofo!  No, I am not cursing at you – mofo stands for month of food!  It’s inspiring to see so many tasty and creative vegan recipes out there this month — One blog that has truly caught my interest is one that matches a love for food with a love for horror movies — check out Don’t eat off the sidewalk.  For vegan mofo – Katie is creating some awesome menus to go with her favourite horror films.   Be sure to check out her menus and film reviews.

Some of my favourite horror movies to get you in a Halloween mood include:

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