Simple Strawberry Tart

June 30th, 2015 · Lisa · gluten-free, raw, Recipes, sugar-free, Sweet · Comments

Canada Day falls perfectly in the middle of Ontario’s strawberry season.

Over the past few years I’ve made an annual tradition of visiting a local strawberry farm to stock up on these beautiful, sweet gems of summer. I love strawberries! Love! This year, Sascha and I went to a local farm and picked 24 lbs of truly perfect berries.

We were super picky. We examined lots of almost ripe berries and then passed them by. At the time I thought it would take us all morning to fill our buckets with the best berries, but after an hour those buckets were starting to overflow. And each time I sample a strawberry from the fridge, I’m glad we were discerning. This is the best batch I’ve ever brought home. I hope this is just a spectacular strawberry season and you all get to enjoy the same outstanding flavours.

Since bringing our haul home we froze 6 lbs of sliced berries, made 8 cups of strawberry jam and spent lots of evenings snacking out of a big bowl, while we visit on the couch.

Strawberries are ideal for a celebratory Canada Day treat since their ruby red colour is reminiscent of our big bright, red maple leaf flag. This tart takes less than an hour to pull together, so even if you receive a last minute invite to your neighbour’s BBQ, you’ll have something impressive to offer. And if that doesn’t happen, and you just sleep in and enjoy a slow, quiet holiday, this tart is so full of good stuff you can eat it for breakfast, lunch or dessert.

Tart

Makes 1-8 inch tart

Simple Strawberry Tart

Ingredients

  • Coconut oil to grease the pan
  • 1 1/2 cup almonds
  • 3/4 medjool dates + 3 dates, pitted and divided
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 1/2 cups strawberries, divided
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
  • 1 TBSP ground, white chia seeds
  • Optional: chocolate chunks or shredded coconut

Instructions

  1. Lightly grease an 8 inch tart pan with coconut oil.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the almonds into a fine meal. Add 3/4 cup of dates and the sea salt. Continue to pulse until the mixture holds together when pinched firmly between your thumb and fingers.
  3. Press the crust firmly into the prepared tart pan. Place into the freezer to set while you prepare the filling.
  4. Rinse out the food processor and then combine 1 cup of strawberries, 3 dates, the lemon juice, vanilla powder and chia seeds. Blend into a smooth mixture.
  5. Pour the strawberry mixture into the prepared tart crust.
  6. Thinly slice the remaining strawberries and layer evenly on top of the strawberry flavour.
  7. Add chocolate chunks, a drizzle of melted chocolate chunks or shredded coconut as garnish, or serve unadorned.
http://veganculinarycrusade.com/2015/06/simple-strawberry-tart/

Happy Canada Day everyone and Happy Independence Day to everyone in the US this weekend.

Tomorrow also marks the beginning of my third trimester. I have a feeling life is about to get really interesting.

xo

Pretty Pattisserie Fruit Tarts

June 23rd, 2015 · Lisa · gluten-free, raw, raw recipe, Recipes, sugar-free, Sweet, Vegan · Comments

We made it to summer. Summer of 2015!

I feel like every summer has its own story and its own soundtrack. It is the time of vacations, losing track of days, laughing with friends in the backyard, strolling under the stars and sundresses. Everything feels lighter when you’re wearing flip-flops and tank tops.

As the hot, humid days hit we all seem to crave lighter, refreshing meals. Finally our farmers markets are heavy with bounty and I can stock up all my seasonal favourites – local strawberries and cherries are drawing early morning lineups at the markets across the city.

Today I wanted to share a simple recipe for a summery treat that looks lovely enough to present as the final serving at a dinner party but is easy enough to put together that you can enjoy it often throughout the season.
tart
Just change up the toppings the availability of local fruit shifts. I’ve played with lots of delicious variations such as: apples, dried cranberries and figs; strawberries, raspberries and blackberries; apricots, plums and blueberries. The list is long, so stroll the aisles at your farmers market, decide what looks ripe and beautiful and play with your own creative combinations.

Serves 4.

Pretty Pattisserie Fruit Tarts

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup almonds
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 8 medjool dates, pitted (divided)
  • generous pinch of salt (divided)
  • ¾ cup of cashews (soaked 3 hours)
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • seeds of 1 vanilla bean
  • ¾ cup of water
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil, melted
  • 1 peach
  • 12 cherries
  • ½ cup blueberries

Instructions

  1. In a food processor combine the almonds and walnuts. Pulse into a fine meal.
  2. Add five of the dates and the pinch of salt. Process until the mixture begins to hold together when pressed (approximately 30 seconds).
  3. Remove the mixture from the processor and divide evenly amongst four mini tart pans (approximately 3 ½ inches in diameter). Press into the pans to create an even crust. Put the tart pans in the freezer to allow the crust to set as you make the filling.
  4. In a blender, combine the cashews, remaining 3 dates, lemon juice, seeds of the vanilla bean, and water. Blend until completely smooth (be patient!). Add the coconut oil and blend until just emulsified.
  5. Remove the tart pans from the freezer and evenly pour the filling into the four crusts. Return the pans to the freezer for 30 minutes for the filling to set.
  6. Slice the peach in half, remove the pit and slice into very fine sections. Arrange the peach slices, cherries and blueberries on top of each tart. Serve.
http://veganculinarycrusade.com/2015/06/pretty-pattisserie-fruit-tarts/

I hope that you’ll enjoy some special evenings sharing treats among friends. There is nothing I savour more about summer than the opportunity to spend a little more time with the people I love. I’m making plans for outdoor movies, yoga in the park and lots of time eating cherries by the bowl.
xo

The Epic Update – Vegan pregnancy and life adventures

June 16th, 2015 · Lisa · DIY Vegan, Fun with Friends, Pregnancy · Comments

The big, beautiful cookbook, DIY Vegan, that Nicole and I have been working on for the past 16 months is almost ready to go to print. We’ve finished the final galley edits, and it is now up on Amazon for pre-order. I will be sharing a lot more updates on the book as we get closer to the release date – October 27th.

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Over the past year and half, creating, testing and retesting for DIY Vegan took up much of my culinary creativity which left little to share here with you. As the printing and publishing process works its magic, I once again get to turn to my kitchen to create whatever my heart desires and promise to have a lot more to post here in the coming months (watch for updates on Tuesdays).

In addition to this exciting, massive project that we’re about to release to the world…I’m also pregnant!

I met this amazing man a couple of years ago (it’s actually a crazy story), we moved in together, got engaged and now we’re starting a family. With our new arrival expected in just a few months, the wedding plans are waiting (plus he/or she will be such a great guest at the party…) and our focus is on preparing for a new little human.

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This blog will continue to focus on great vegan recipes (and my favourite cookbooks) but I thought it might be helpful for the vegans out there if I had some occasional posts about vegan pregnancy. I plan to share some of the great vegan products I’ve found as well as some of the tips I’ve learned along the way in talking with health partitioners and concerned friends and family members about what is needed to grow a brand new vegan baby.

I’m now almost 25 weeks and was marvelling the other night that our little one has already grown from the size of a poppyseed to a cantaloupe melon. I now get to enjoy regular kicks, punches and rolls which may sound like little fun but truly they are the most amazing moments of my day (it is so cool).

We have found a wonderful midwifery collective in the city that has been supportive at every step of the way. I was open about my veganism from the first visit and there has not been a word of concern about my diet or lifestyle mentioned. They check my blood, weight gain and blood pressure as they do for all moms to-be. I haven’t yet had any signs of concern so the vegan issue just hasn’t been an issue at all.

Supplements I’m taking:

NFH Pre-Natal SAP (started way back in October) – 3 times a day!

HMF Probiotic – great to support digestion

NFH Iron SAP (just started at 21 weeks) – only necessary if you notice a dip in your iron levels

Nutri-Vege DHA – great for building a baby’s brain

Resources I’m finding helpful:

OhSheGlows pregnancy posts – Angela’s heartfelt and honest posts are full of great information and insights

Cupcakes and Kale’s pregnancy posts – Jess shares fantastic suggestions for building a vegan pregnancy meal plan

Alicia Silverstone’s Kind Mama – such a loving book with great suggestions for vegan fare and supplements

Dreena Burton’s Plant-Powered Families (review coming soon) – full of amazing recipes to keep us all well fed.

and my Mom’s book Pregnancy & Birth: The Best Evidence – the title says it all.

I’ve been very lucky that so far I’ve been able to eat my regular – veg-heavy diet, with the addition of a more vegan protein sources (partly to meet additional requirements and partly because that’s what I really seem to crave).

I haven’t had any cravings for non-vegan dishes so far, but the soft-serve cones from Bunners have been a great treat on those days when nothing else sounds appealing.

Looking forward to sharing the journey and a lot of recipes with all of you over the coming months.

xo

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Morning Om Smoothie

June 9th, 2015 · Lisa · raw, Recipes, Snacks, Sweet · Comments

Hi friends,

I’m really thrilled to be writing a post again. It has been far too long – and I have so much to share.

I’ve got an epic update coming your way next week (work, love, health, everything), but first wanted to pass along a recipe I really love, I call it the Morning Om.

It is sweet, balanced and full of all the rich nourishing ingredients you need to start your day off right.

One of the special ingredients in this smoothie is maca. If you’ve never tried maca before, it provides a bit of a malted flavour and pairs very well with chocolate. I love it because, maca is an amazing adaptogen, providing support to adrenal glands in times of stress. It is also helps to balance our hormones, making it an excellent addition to your diet if you’ve been struggling to regulate your cycle or if you’d like to increase your fertility.

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Serves 2

Morning Om

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of hazelnuts (soaked 6-8 hours, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 4 tsp maca powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp dried ginger
  • generous pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 large dates, pitted and chopped

Instructions

  1. Combine the hazelnuts and water in a blender. Blend until completely smooth. Strain through a cheesecloth or using a nutmilk bag. Note: The pulp can be frozen to be used in crackers, cereals and breads. The hazelnut milk can be prepared in advance and stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.
  2. In a blender combine all of the ingredients. Blend until smooth.
http://veganculinarycrusade.com/2015/06/morning-om-smoothie/

Enjoy!

I hope you’re all well and looking forward to the new season on the horizon.

Talk soon. xo

 

Sweet Eats for All

February 20th, 2015 · Lisa · book review, Review · Comments

Winter weather makes me crave cake.

When cold, blustery winds are swirling the snow outside your kitchen window, it is best to be cuddle up in the corner with friends, sharing a big slice of something decadent. The kind of dessert that you want to really savour is the most appropriate for such occasions. You need time for the layers of luscious flavours to truly distract you from the drudgery of layering-up for another month, at least, before you’re able to take a step outside.

It was -30 with with the windchill in Toronto this morning. As I stepped outside to trek along to work, I was dreaming of spending an evening, sharing sweets with my favourite people by candlelight. It is how you survive this kind of cold. You entice your favourite people over with delicious treats, so that you don’t have to go outside.

And lucky for all of us, Allyson Kramer has just published the most incredibly, comprehensive vegan and gluten-free dessert tome to make all our decadent dreams a reality. I’ve had the privilege to test recipes for each of Allyson’s cookbooks: Great, Gluten-Free Eats; Great, Gluten-Free Eats from Around the World; and Sweet Eats for All. With each one Allyson has continued to impress me with her creativity and resourcefulness. There is nothing this woman can’t perfect.

In Sweet Eats for All, Allyson not only covers all the classic cakes, cookies, and frostings but exceeds all expectations by providing reliable recipes for vegan and gluten-free show-stoppers like mille-feuille, hand-pulled taffy, cream eggs, caramels, honeycomb and more.

Sweet-Eats-cookbook-coverIn addition to the amazing assortment of recipes, Allyson offers her tried and true tips for perfecting gluten-free baking, tempering chocolate and sensational hard candies. I have been making vegan and gluten-free desserts for decades but with Allyson’s secrets and simple instructions I was able to get perfect results for every new recipe I tried. That’s why you invest in a cookbook – to let someone else do all the experimentation.

In the past week, I’ve had a lot of fun playing with Sweet Eats for All,

apperture6_lowresI made a big beautiful batch of the Buckeyes to share with my family. Peanut butter and chocolate is one of my favourite combinations and you can’t go wrong with Allyson’s recipe for a whipped peanut interior coated in the glossy sheen of tempered coverture chocolate.

apperture3_lowresI made up a tray of the no-bake Sweet, Salty and Soft Granola Bars for at-work snacking. I love having something hearty and sweet to carry me through those long afternoons in my cubicle. These certainly fit the bill.

apperture1_lowresI also baked up lots of little Cinnamon Amaretti my favourite coffee companion. They are such a simple sweet but I love them.

In addition to what I photographed, I made the Blueberry Blizzard Milk Shake and the Caramels.

Ohhhhh the caramels.

I sent a big bag of them to a family event over the weekend and received rave reviews. They truly are unbelievable. They taste exactly as they should, sweet and rich and buttery. I have lots of ideas about how to incorporate the caramels into all my future dessert recipes. All.

So, if you can brave the cold (or if you live in Australia and are enjoying balmy summer afternoons) go outside and get this book, or even better order a copy of Sweet Eats for All for delivery. Having the perfect dessert for every occasion, no matter the dietary needs of your guest, is worth every penny.

While you wait for your copy to arrive, brew something warm and bake up some Cinnamon Amaretti cookies to snack on. You’re worth it.

Sweet Eats for All

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons flaxseed meal
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 3 cups almond meal (ground almonds)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cups coconut palm sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Sliced almonds, for garnish

Instructions

    YIELD: 36 COOKIES
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flaxseed meal with the water and let rest 5 minutes, until gelled. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the almond meal, cinnamon, palm sugar, and salt. Keep stirring until the mixture comes together into a stiff dough; it may not appear to be coming together, but keep stirring! This is also done effortlessly using an electric mixer.
  3. When the dough stiffens, pinch off 1-inch sections and form into rounds. Place onto the cookie sheet about 1 inch apart and top with a sliced almond. Bake 30 minutes. Let cool completely. Store in airtight container up to 1 week.
http://veganculinarycrusade.com/2015/02/sweet-eats-for-all/

Allyson and Da Capo Press have provided permission for me to share the delightful Cinnamon Amaretti recipe with all of you.

xo

Living Candida-Free

February 2nd, 2015 · Lisa · book review, Review · Comments

Happy New Year everyone! How are you feeling? Sometimes after a season of indulgence, our bodies can struggle to control candida.

I’m checking in today to celebrate the wonderful work of the one and only, Ricki Heller. I’ve known Ricki for almost a decade now and over that time I’ve watched her transform her own health and become an international authority on addressing candida with a wholesome, plant-based diet. Ricki is a tireless teacher. She posts regularly on her blog, has published numerous cookbooks and presents as often as possible to eager audiences searching for her secrets to sensational foods that can heal and rebalance our bodies.

Living Candida-Free

Ricki, along with functional nutritionist, Andrea Nakayama recently released Living Candida-Freea comprehensive guide to restoring your health in the most delicious way imaginable. This is an incredible resource for anyone out there who thinks (or knows) they may have issues with candida. As the book describes, it is difficult at first to understand the connection between what you’re eating and symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, memory loss, sugar craving, headaches or rashes, but the authors provide all the information you need to understand what’s happening in your body and how you can heal.

When you first read about the anti-candida diet (ACD) it can seem impossible to imagine such a dietary shift. Even though change seems hard, it helps to have an expert your side. Since Ricki has lived the ACD principles for years she can share with her readers the challenges, her tips and the amazing recipes she’s perfected over the years that adhere to ACD and offer all the flavours you need to commit to recovery.

Ricki’s talent for recipe development is astounding. She works within all of the parameters necessary to live candida-free yet offers a delicious array of recipes for every stage of the ACD plan. Plus she’s laid out a week-long meal plan for each stage. This book is patient and honest and full of answers. It is everything you need when you want to stop suffering but know it is a journey to get to health.

The first recipe I tried in Ricki’s new book is called the Toronto Sandwich. As you all know I live in Toronto, and couldn’t resist the home-town appeal. This recipe is fantastic. It’s easy, fast and celebrates all the ingredients I already had on hand. Plus with a single bite you’d forget that you’re attempting to adhere to a detox diet. This is just great food. It is gluten-free, vegan, full of flavour, texture and a satisfying-heartiness. I’m definitely with Ricki, the sauerkraut is essential.

Here’s my photo from Sunday afternoon.

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Here’s Nicole Axworthy’s photo from the published book (who is also celebrating her birthday today).

Toronto Sandwich

Her photos, as always, are vibrant and colourful, just like the delicious recipes Ricki has to offer. She makes everything seem easy to make and incredible appealing.

Ricki and Da Capo Press provided permission for me to share the Toronto Sandwich recipe with all of you. It makes a quick lunch or a great addition to a weekend brunch.

Living Candida-Free

Ingredients

    Wrapper
  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable broth or stock
  • Nonstick spray, or olive or coconut oil, for pan
  • Filling base
  • 2 to 3 slices baked Tempeh (optional)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons well-drained sauerkraut, or kimchi
  • Handful of shredded lettuce or salad greens, or leftover cooked vegetables
  • Creamy Topper
  • 1/2 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced, 1/4 cup hummus, or 1/4 cup creamy dip of your choice.

Instructions

  1. Make the wrapper: In a small bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour and salt. Add the broth and whisk until smooth and pourable but not watery (like pancake batter). If it’s too thin, add a bit more flour; if too thick, add a touch more broth.
  2. Grease a 6- to 8-inch (15 to 20 cm) skillet with nonstick spray, or brush with a little olive or coconut oil and heat over medium heat. Add the wrapper batter, spreading out to coat the pan, if necessary, and allow to cook until the top appears dry and the color has darkened, for 5 to 7 minutes. Flip and continue to cook for another 3 to 4 minutes on the other side.
  3. While the wrapper cooks, prepare the fillings: Heat the tempeh, if using, in a nonstick pan and set aside. Drain the sauerkraut and set aside. If using lettuce, chop it now.
  4. Assemble the sandwich: Once the wrapper is cooked, top half of it with the tempeh; then the greens and sauerkraut. Finally, add the avocado or drizzle with your choice of a creamy topper. Fold the wrapper over the fillings and consume immediately.
http://veganculinarycrusade.com/2015/02/living-candida-free/

If you know anyone looking for answers for coping with or recovering from candida issues, seek out Ricki Heller and pick up Living Candida-Free. There is nothing more important than a reliable resource when you’re searching for a path to wellness. Thank you to Ricki and Andrea for creating a satisfying, healing food program.

I’ll be back soon with a review of Allyson Kramer’s newest gluten-free vegan dessert book – Sweets Eats for All!

Vegan Chocolate Lover’s gift guide

December 1st, 2014 · Lisa · Fun with Friends, Vegan · Comments

It’s here! December 1st has arrived, and with it the official beginning of the 2014 holiday season.

It doesn’t take long for me to transition from the cozy scenes of autumn into the spectacle of the festive season. Already the streets are lined with trees wrapped in sparkly lights, joyful and soulful tunes are streaming out of every store and sequins have made their annual reapperance.

I’m making lists, bookmarking new recipes to try and booking in time with all of my favourite people.

December, is the one month a year when time with friends and family trumps all other obligations. Regardless of why you’re celebrating…Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Festivus, life…, December offers opportunities to express gratitude, appreciation and love.

We all have our own treasured traditions. Many of mine involve baking: decorating gingerbread houses with my nieces and nephews, sharing biscotti and hot chocolate with friends and tying up packages of chocolates and brownies to deliver to all the most loved people on my list.

And since I can’t deliver special gifts to each and every one of you, I needed to come up with a plan to share the sweetness with all my favourite people online.

So, Nicole and I teamed up to create a special deal to get some more goodness out to all of you and hopefully help you with your gift lists too.

This special offer involves the two eBooks that Nicole and I have created: Tiny Treats and Edible Gifts. For the next two weeks (December 1st until December 15th) we are offering them at a 2-for-1 rate. For just $9.99 you get two beautiful eBooks full of treats perfect for gifting and a donation will be made to two amazing charities (Elephant Nature Park and the Toronto Vegetarian Association). How’s that for multi-tasking!

To whet your appetite for what Tiny Treats and Edible Gifts has to offer, I’ve curated this lovely Vegan Chocolate Lover’s gift guide from their recipes:
Lisa ebook postJust imagine the joy of wrapping up five tiny boxes of treats with a beautiful bow to deliver to that person who has made you smile all year. In case that special someone on your list is more into incredible nut butters, Nicole will be sharing another spectacular gift guide on Monday, December 8th.

If you already have copies of Tiny Treats and Edible Gifts, I hope this will inspire you to spend some time flipping through those pages again to find some delicious sweets to share this season. Or, you could give the 2-for-1 holiday eBook pack to a friend who loves to bake for others – my guess is you’ll reap the rewards either way.

This deal is now over. Enjoy your sweet treats.

Love, Lisa
xo

Yum Universe – Review and Giveaway

October 21st, 2014 · Lisa · book review, Vegan · Comments

YU_Healthy_Halloween_Banner_468x60_Green

I love October. Where I live October is vibrant and colourful and full of richer flavours, bold spices and the brilliance of harvesting the bounty of our local growing season.

So it seems the perfect time to be celebrating Heather Crosby’s beautiful book. Heather is the creator of Yum Universe the online destination for all things whole foods and plant-based. Just like the eBooks and the amazing community Heather created and supports online, her first book is a one-stop source for all the information, encouragement, joyful enthusiasm and practical tips anyone taking steps toward a healthier, more nourishing lifestyle could ask for.

Quite seriously, she’s thought of everything. And of course because this book comes from the Heather Crosby it is stunning, and organized, and accessible, and inspiring, and vibrant, and flavourful and…brilliant.

In the pages of Yum Universe, Heather does what’s she’s always done best, she breaks down the how-to into helpful, exciting, easy-to-manage steps. I can’t think of a single question I’ve been asked over the past 30 years that I’ve been vegan that Heather hasn’t tackled in the first 150 pages of her book. Making Yum Universe much more than a typical cookbook, it is your answer everything, find something delicious, and make it quick and fun, solution to life.

I know that sounds a bit unbelievable, so let me show you what I mean:

  • She talks from heart about her own journey from a salad avoider to a full embracer of a plant-powerful, whole-food lifestyle.
  • She answers all the “whys” with powerful details about how eating animals effects our wellbeing and that of the planet.
  • She highlights the information and insights that shifted her own perspective toward understanding the connection between disease and diet.
  • She not only lays out all of the facts but she creates a plan, a day-by-day strategy for success.
  • She gives you all the information you need to create a joyful, fulling, delicious plant-plentiful life. Plus she does it with this infections enthusiasm that makes her love for whole foods contagious. The photos in the book highlight how attracted we are to bright, colourful fruits and vegetables.

When you pick up your copy of Yum Universe, I’m sure you’ll find your own favourite pages but here are some of my personal picks. Since I’m a soul that love lists I found myself bookmarking pages like:

  • Build your own On-the-Go Salads (pg.90)
  • Build your own On-the-Go Breakfasts (pg 91)
  • Soaking times for nuts, seeds, and beans (pg.140)
  • Freezability of fruits and veggies
  • Yields and cook times for beans and grains

Oh and…it is also has over 130 pages full of recipes and meal ideas. I’ll show you what I’ve made so far, but first memorize this cover and either run to the store to pick up your copy, order it online, or scroll to the end to WIN ONE!

YumUniverse_Cover_RGB

This is how I know Heather and I are soul sisters because she writes lots of recipes for chickpeas (my very favourite bean). These Crispy Chickpeas make it easy to enjoy these protein-packed staples out-of-hand, on top of salads and as a crunchy boost to big bowls of soup. So simple and so good.

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Chickpea Flatbread with Greens and Avocado

Yup, see chickpeas again but this time as the main attraction. This accessible gluten-free flatbread take no special skills other than stirring and pouring but it comes out impressive enough for a dinner party or a fancy brunch. Heather provides lots of topping variations but I went with the one that called to me first – green and avocado. Delicious.

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Orange & Pepita Granola

Here we are at the sneak peek recipe I can’t wait to share, a fall-inspired breakfast treat. It is sweet and crunchy and delicately infused with orange essence.  A healthy way to start your day or a hearty snack to take with you on the go.

I combined it with persimmon and coconut yogurt for a wonderful weekend parfait.

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Orange & Pepita Granola

Ingredients

    Wet
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Dry
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • Zest from 2 navel oranges
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Pinch ground cardamom

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together wet ingredients.
  3. In a large bowl, toss together dry ingredients.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry and fold well.
  5. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (or just one — you can split the batch, baking one half at a time).
  6. Bake the granola for 20 – 25 minutes. Granola should look slightly browned and toasted.
  7. Remove from oven and repeat if you are splitting your batch. Granola will harden as it cools.
http://veganculinarycrusade.com/2014/10/yum-universe/

Thanks to Heather and BenBella Books, I’m thrilled to offer all of my US and Canadian readers a chance to win a copy of Yum Universe. A random winner will be selected on October 28th, 2014. For your chance to win, leave a comment below letting me know one tip that has helped you to eat and enjoy more whole foods.

Congratulations to Corrine who won her very own copy of Yum Universe.

xo

A review of Salad Samurai

July 10th, 2014 · Lisa · book review, Review, Vegan · Comments

So far, this summer has been about snacking – on various leftovers from versions of hummus or salsa verde kept in an ever growing collection of jars in my fridge. After months of sustaining myself on the results of recipe testing I’m happy to report we’ve almost wrapped up that phase of writing this cookbook and have moved on to the writing prose, taking photos – and making meals.

Since my brain needed a chance to refresh its creative, culinary, juices, I turned to my pile of new cookbooks awaiting a review and without hesitation pulled Salad Samurai right to the top.

This book has everything I’ve been craving, interesting, healthful meals made from reliable recipes – that I don’t need to develop, and that won’t take hours to prepare. I’ve been seeing a bit too much of my kitchen lately.

Like many of you, I’ve been a fan of Terry’s work since the early PPK days, and even did some recipe testing for Viva Vegan! (which solidified my support), but this book is my new favourite – because I can see myself using it ALL THE TIME. The collection of recipes is incredibly accessible, I can actually see myself making these dishes every week.

I already like to eat a salad or two a day – but I get stuck in a routine, based on efficiency (bowl, add leaves, mash avocado, eat) which works but is not as enjoyable as it could be. Terry’s new book has reminded me that life is just too short to skimp on salads. Salad Samurai is a salad celebration, where all the most awesome ingredients show up to the party.

And it’s easy. I did have to remember to buy tomatoes at the grocery store – but that was the biggest change. That’s what it took to move from my predictable salad routine into something pretty spectacular.

I’m about to share with you all the incredible meals I’ve already enjoyed out of Salad Samurai, but first here are 5 more reasons why I love this book:
1. Potlucks and Picnics – I never know what to bring, but this book just gave me 100 ideas of fantastic options to bring to any event, especially outdoor summer parties where I don’t want anything I need to warm up.

2. Meal Planning Prep – Terry outlines what to make each week to have on hand all the hearty toppings that can be sprinkled or drizzled onto your salad to make it more fun and more flavourful.

3. Entertaining Ideas – I like to serve healthful meals to my friends and family, but my everyday eats have become really focused on “easy”, so much so that I’d be kind of embarrassed to share it with anyone else, but Salad Samurai is full of nourishing salads that are an impressive meal all on their own.

4. Interesting Dressings – Most days I add a quick lemon and tahini dressing to my salads, grains or veggies. I love it. But over the past couple of weeks I’ve been playing with Terry’s dressing recipes and remembering how awesome is to experiment with different flavours. Siracha and shallots and miso have just been too sparse in my routine. Plus a great dressing can enhance any meal – not just salads my friends.

5. Fun – Every time I made something in this book I remembered – I love salad AND I love to cook. Writing a cookbook is a lot of work. It is fun, and interesting, but also tiring sometimes. This book reminded why I wanted to do it in the first place. Terry has always been an inspiring ambassador of amazing vegan food. It was the perfect time for me to pick up her next book. (Maybe the perfect time for you too).

So far from Salad Samurai I’ve tried:

The Grilled Kale Salad with Spicy Lentils
lentil-salad
The Smokehouse Chickpeas ‘n’ Greens
chickpeas

The B.K.T (Bacon.Kale.Tomato) Bowl
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The Smoothie Granola Bowl with Guts ‘n’ Glory Granola
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Kinda makes you want to get in the kitchen, right?

I plan to live on food from this book (and a couple of others) for the next month. Made possible by the fact that I’ve already added copies of Salad Samurai to my Mom’s place, my boyfriend’s place and my brother’s place. I’m a girl with that plan – and spicy lentils.

I’ve been thinking about trying the Coconut Samosa Potato Salad next – and lucky for you the recipe is up on Terry’s site.

xo

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Toronto’s Best Vegan Restaurant Dishes

July 2nd, 2014 · Lisa · Fun with Friends, restaurant review, Vegan · Comments

Thinking of visiting Toronto? If you’re like me, you’ve been searching “Toronto’s best vegan restaurants” and scouring lists looking for reliable reviews, in order to make your must-eat itinerary. Lucky for you, I’ve curated a list of Toronto’s 100 most amazing vegan offerings.

If you live in Toronto – or the area, then let this be your go-to resource for answering the “what’s for dinner” question.

Although not often cited as the ultimate vegan destination (like San Francisco or New York), Toronto may surprise you. HappyCow  has a 127 Veg listings for Toronto and the Veg Directory lists 113 Veg restaurants in the area. Those numbers sound impressive – but they barely scratch the surface of the amazing vegan discoveries found on restaurant menus across the city. For that kind of true data you’d need a dedicated group of passionate plant-based eaters prepared to find the very best and tell the tale. Which is exactly what we’ve got here.

Hibiscus Salad Sampler

Toronto’s Vegan 100 is a curated list of unbelievable vegan dishes suggested by discerning local vegans who shared their favourite dishes, memorable meals and unforgettable finds.

Toronto’s Vegan 100
1. Apiecalypse Now’s Chili Mac n’ Cheese
2. Apiecalypse Now’s Dunkeroos
3. Apiecalypse Now’s Pulled Not Pork
4. The Atlantic Vegan Tasting Menu
5. Bahn Mi Boys’ Tofu Tacos
6. Bello Bio’s Tiramisu
7. Belmonte Raw’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Thimble
8. Belmonte Raw’s Strength Juice
9. The Beet’s Grilled Cheese with Apple Butter (with Daiya)
10. The Beet‘s Vegan Mac n’ Cheese
11. The Bickford Flexitarian’s Fried Vegg Sandwich (closed) new 11. Boreal Gelato‘s Vegan Salted Caramel
12. Boreal Gelato‘s Strawberry Sorbetto
13. Buddha’s Vegetarian‘s General Tao’s Chicken
14. Bunner’s Cinnamon Buns
15. Bunner’s Double Chocolate Brownie
16. Bunner’s Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
17. Canoe’s Vegan Tasting Menu
18. Café 668’s Vegetarian Pho
19. ChocoSol Traders’ bike blended Xocolatl
20. Cut the Cheese’s Harvest Grilled Cheese with Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onions (with Diaya)
21. Disgraceland’s Vegan Butter Chicken Burrito
22. Earth and City’s Vanilla Bean Macaroon
23. Ethiopiques’ Vegetarian Platter
24. Fresh‘s Ace of Kales Salad
25. Fresh’s Panko Crusted Squash Tacos
26. Fresh‘s Picnic Burger
27. Fresh’s Quinoa Onion Rings
28. Grasshopper’s Chick-un Bahn Mi
29. Grasslands‘ Guacamole Grilled Cheese
30. Grasslands‘ Monster burger
31. Grasslands’ Snickerdoodle French Toast
32. Greenhouse Juice’s pink milk
33. Green Earth’s Authentic Hue Noodle Soup
34. Greens Vegetarian’s Lemon Chicken
35. Greens Vegetarian‘s Sweet and Sour Mock Chicken
36. Hawker Bar’s Vegan Laksa
37. Hello Darling‘s Chickpea Scramble
38. Hello Darling‘s Mushroom Wellington
39. Hibiscus’ Ice Cream (especially earl grey or black sesame or pistachio)
40. Hibiscus’ Salad Sampler
41. Hogtown Vegan‘s Fried Apple Pie
42. Hogtown Vegan‘s Fries Supremacy
43. Hogtown Vegan’s Philly “Cheesesteak”
44. Hogtown Vegan‘s Unchicken & Waffles
45. Hot Beans’ Big Bill’s Dick Burrito (secret menu)
46. Hot Beans’ Mac n’ Cheese Burrito
47. Ital Vital’s Bbq Gluten
48. Jean’s Vegetarian Kitchen‘s Malaysian Curry
49. Jerusalem’s Vegetarian Dinner
50. Just Falafel’s Indian Falafel Wrap
51. Khao San Road’s Vegan Three Flavours Pad Thai
52. King’s Cafe‘s Kung Po Soy-Fritters
53. Kingyo’s 9 Course Shojin Buddhist Monk Meal
54. Korean bi bim bap stone bowl riceteria’s Mushroom Bi Bim Bap
55. Kupfert and Kim’s Oaxaca bowl
56. Le Ti Colibri’s Le Nassau with Avocado
57. Live Organic Food Bar’s French Toast
58. Live Organic Food Bar’s Pulled Burdock Burrito
59. Live Organic Food Bar’s Raw Joe Louie
60. Live Organic Food Bar‘s Raw Tacos
61. Magic Oven’s Tropical Magic Pizza
62. Mela Cafe’s Eggplant Sandwich
63. Nazareth’s Vegetarian Platter
64. One Love Vegetarian’s Corn Soup
65. One Love Vegetarian‘s Pumpkin Chana Potato Roti
66. The Public Kitchen‘s Scramble Platter
67. The Public Kitchen’s Triple Decker Brunch Club
68. The Public Kitchen‘s Vegan Benedict
69. Pizza by the Slice‘s Gourmet Vegan Pizza and “Wings”  (closed) new 69. Disgraceland‘s Ribwich dinner
70. Rancho Relaxo’s Deep Fried Ice Cream
71. Rancho Relaxo’s Faux Chicken Chimichanga
72. Rancho Relaxo’s Faux Chicken Fajitas
73. Rancho Relaxo’s Vegan Enchiladas
74. Ryus Noodle Bar‘s Vegetable Miso Potage
75. Sneaky Dee’s Vegan Burro Favorito
76. The Steady‘s Vegan Eggs Benny
77. Superfood Eateries’ Granola Parfait
78. South Indian Dosa Mahal‘s Vegetable Masala Dosa
79. Sweets From the Earth‘s Chocolate Chewy Nut Bar
80. Sweets from the Earth’s Chocolate Pecan Caramel Bar
81. Sweets from the Earth‘s Cinnamon Apple Loaf
82. Sweets from the Earth‘s S’mores cupcakes
83. Tabule’s Fattush Salad
84. Tori’s Bakeshop’s Buttertart
85. Tori’s Bakeshop’s BLT sandwich with coconut bacon
86. Tori’s Bakeshop‘s Cake Doughnuts
87. Tori’s Bakeshop‘s Pizza Pockets
88. Through Being Cool‘s Boston Cream Doughnut
89. Through Being Cool‘s Breakfast Pockets
90. Through Being Cool’s Pizza Rolls
91. Through Being Cool‘s Scalloped Potatoes
92. Through Being Cool‘s TVP Pot Pie
93. Udupi Palace’s Masala Dosa
94. Urban Herbivore’s Bbq Tofu Sandwich
95. Ursa‘s Cashew/Walnut Foie
96. Ursa‘s Stinging Nettle Noodles
97. Vegetarian Haven’s Apple Fritters
98. Vegetarian Haven‘s Blueberry Pie Milkshake
99. Vegetarian Haven‘s Singapore Seitan
100. Vegetarian Haven’s Tofu Drumsticks

Tori's Bakeshop DSC_0027

Through Being Cool Doughnuts

In order to make a top 100 list from all the amazing suggestions, I followed the following criteria:

  • No chain restaurants (a few locations in the city is okay but not something available in every city around the world)
  • Restaurant must be located in Toronto
  • Must be interesting/different/unique – I removed the numerous suggestions for tofu scrambles and bean burritos because so many restaurants do it so well and I wanted this list to be about those amazing unpredictable finds.
  • Yes, there are a few things on the list that are products rather than restaurant dishes (e.g. Sweets from the Earth products) but they are available in lots of cafes and some restaurants around the city.

Must mentions:
Toronto just got its first vegan butcher shop – YamChops. Since it just barely opened its doors we don’t have specific suggestions, although the restaurant reviewers have been raving about the Carrot Lox.

If you’re planing a trip to Toronto, may I suggest early September? This year is the Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival‘s 30th anniversary. It is North America’s biggest vegetarian festival. You can join 40,000 like minded friends for free food, free demos and free entrance to an incredible cornucopia of the best vegan products on the market.

If you’re a regular reader, I’m sorry my posts have been few and far between. I’ve missed you. But you may have guessed that I’m writing a cookbook. It’s true, and it is actually starting to feel like I’ll make the manuscript deadline. With most of the recipe development behind me I’ll be back soon with more information, fun summer recipes and whole stack of cookbook reviews very soon.

If you’d like to contribute to the next edition of Toronto’s Vegan 100, let me know what you’d add in the comments. And, I’d love to know your score – I’m only at 29. 

xo

The Oh She Glows Cookbook

February 27th, 2014 · Lisa · book review, Recipes, Review · Comments

I adore Angela Liddon, as so many of you do. She brought Green Monsters, Overnight Oats and breakfast parfaits into my life. She is the author of the vegan blog that all of my non vegan friends are obsessed with (without even noticing the lack of eggs, meat, dairy, etc.). Her incredible photos of bowls, salads, smoothies and parfaits always make those amazing “best of” lists, Pinterest pages, and on-line magazine slideshows. She is the vegan ambassador we all need, the one who just gets everyone so excited about eating plants, they kind of forget about those others foods.

Plus, if you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting Angela, you know that all of these results come from a place of absolute generosity. She’s beautiful, smart, warm and fun. Basically, the internet adores Angela, because she’s everyone’s ideal best friend,

And now, our best friend has a book!

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(Isn’t the Canadian cover beautiful? There is a colourful carrot version in the U.S)

Not only has she filled its pages with incredible recipes, helpful hints and her regular friendly wit, but she’s also captured her incredible cuisine in stunning photographs throughout. I was thrilled when Angela asked me to review a copy of Oh She Glows, because it gave me the opportunity to openly rave about all the amazing eats I’ve been enjoying since the copy of her book landed in my very, happy hands.

So far, I’ve tried the Mighty Chia Pudding Parfait

chia

 Crispy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

cookie

Winter Citrus Salad

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Delicata Squash, Millet & Kale Salad with Lemong-Tahini Dressing
salad

and Cream of Tomato Soup with Roasted Italian Chickpea Croutons
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Just like with every recipe I’ve attempted from her blog, the results are unbelievable; flavourful, healthful, and satisfying. Angela creates meals and menus that appeal to your palate. It doesn’t matter if you’re a grandchild, a grandparent, a vegan or not, she just knows how to tempt your taste buds. I have a bookshelf full of vegan cookbook but I know I could be very content, just eating from Oh She Glows from here on out.

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So, up next I’m going to try the Empowered Noodle Bowl with Thai Peanut Sauce. If you’ve got the book already (smart, very smart) then try it with me and let me know what you think. If you don’t have a copy, here’s the recipe. Give it a go, I have no doubt you’ll be convinced that you need to grab your own copy of Angela’s beautiful book.

Empowered Noodle Bowl

Ingredients

    Thai Peanut Sauce
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp natural smooth peanut butter or almond butter
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lime juice, plus more if needed
  • 2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp low-sodium tamari
  • 1 to 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • Salad
  • 4 oz gluten-free soba noodles
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 16oz bag frozen shelled edamame, thawed
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 seedless (English) cucumber, diced
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 4 green onions, chopped, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup, fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • sesame seeds, for serving

Instructions

  1. Make the Thai peanut sauce: In a mini or regular food processor, combine the garlic, sesame oil, peanut butter, ginger, lime juice, tamari, sugar, and 2 to 3 tablespoons of water. Process until combined.
  2. Make the salad: Cook the soba noodles according to the instructions on the package. Be sure not to overcook them - they should only take 5 to 9 minutes, depending on the brand. Drain the noodles and rinse them under cold water. Transfer the noodles to a large bowl and toss them with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil (this prevents them from sticking together).
  3. Add the edamame, bell pepper, cucumber, carrot, green onions and cilantro to the bowl with the noodles and toss until well combined.
  4. Pour your desired amount of the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.
  5. Portion the salad into 4 bowls and garnish each serving with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and some green onions. Serve any leftover dressing on the side.
http://veganculinarycrusade.com/2014/02/the-oh-she-glows-cookbook/

Bon Appetit!

Comfortably Yum! Giveaway

February 11th, 2014 · Lisa · book review, Review, Vegan · Comments

Happy Tuesday everyone!

I hope you’re all having a terrific 2014 thus far. Any great surprises? New beginnings? Long overdue endings? Adventures on the horizon or just in the rearview mirror. I’m trying to keep my eyes on tomorrow as 2014 continues to bring an avalanche of awesome new opportunities my way. I am sorry I’m finding less time to write here – but if you’re patient I promise my time away will more than payoff for us all. I have many exciting announcements to share.

But today I’m checking in to tell you about something exciting someone else had created. Allison, of the incredible confection company, Allison’s Gourmet has released an amazing eBook full of hearty, healthful vegan recipes. The comfort-food focus of this collection is perfect for this time of year, when we’re all bundled up against the polar vortex, hoping for a second helping of something to warm us up from the inside out. And I admit, it was a bit of surprise to scroll through the pages of Allison’s ebook and find so many satisfying, savoury options. I did expect Allison to delight us all with her desserts…and she does, but this collection is clearly more about the comfort-food everyone is craving. The book contains 10 specially selected and absolutely perfected recipes. If you’ve been a fan of Allison’s award-winning articles in VegNews – then this recipe will deliver on all of your expectations.

The added brilliance of this book is that it delivers all the decadence we desire without relying on gluten, soy, cane sugar or, of course, any animal products. Instead it celebrates the incredible flavour and versatility of whole-foods.

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Here’s a list of the recipes to whet your appetite:
  • Magic Mac ‘n Cheese
  • Save the Tuna Melts
  • Meltable American-Style Cheese Slices
  • Home-style Chickpea Veggie Pot Pie
  • Clam-free Chowder
  • Vegan Egg Salad
  • Beet Burgers
  • Caesar Salad
  • Chocolate Salted-Caramel Pudding Parfaits
  • Chocolate-Glazed Fudge Cupcakes

And as a special treat, our favourite Nicole did all of the breathtaking photography. Pair enticing recipes with Nicole’s eye for making food look its best and you’ve got all the inspiration you need for an amazing menu of nourishing meals. I had heard great raves from Nicole about the delicious task of testing and styling Allison’s recipes. She encouraged me to give the beet burgers a go, once I got my copy of Comfortably Yum.

And I’m so glad she did. The toothsome texture of these burgers is unbelievable. They bake up well, and hold together like so few vegetable burgers can. I pan seared a few on the weekend and served them alongside some spicy sweet potato fries. It was so satisfying to bite into a big burger, full of flavour. I can’t wait to bring these out again during BBQ season – I have no doubt they’ll be a hit.

beet-burgers

These burgers are just an example of how well crafted these recipes are. Allison’s pastry and chocolate work may have made her a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to reliable, undeniably delicious recipes. I was really impressed by the different textures and ingredients Allison uses to get the ideal balance of flavour or just the right texture in the end. This book offers a very inventive approach to some of our most classic comfort foods.

beet-burger

As we get close to that day of love – I thought I could share a little sweetness with all of you. So, I have a copy of Comfortably Yum to share with one special reader. Just leave a message below before February 15th.

If you just can’t wait to win, you can pick up a copy of Comfortably Yum here – $3 from every purchase goes to Animal Place.

In case you’re looking for something sweet for your love, I strongly suggest you stop over at A Dash of Compassion to try Nicole’s recipe for Maca Mint Truffles. The recipes is part of our most recent eBook – Edible Gifts. You can pick up a copy, full of wonderful, homemade gift ideas for spreading your love to friends and family on days like February 14th and every other day that deserves a special moment (that’s all of them, people).

So, with that, xoxoxo to you all.

I will be back again next week with another exciting review – and perhaps some news. Stay turned my friends.

 Update – Lucky Sue is the winner of a copy of Comfortably Yum. 

Vegan Wishlist for 2013

December 10th, 2013 · Lisa · gluten-free, Recipes, Snacks, Sweet · Comments

I’ve always been a person with a penchant for lists. Although generally my lists are full of tasks and reminders, once and awhile I get to write a list that is an itinerary for adventures in Hawaii or an awesome list of gift ideas from my favourite vegan companies and ambassadors. I like to savour those lists and share them with you ( you can take my to-do lists too).

1. Gifts to make life easier

As much as I keep making my new years resolution – simplify life – by the time December rolls around I seem to be right back living in the eye of a hurricane. Swirling, swirling, swirling. So, this year I’m dreaming of some local options that bring great, healthful food to your door.

Donate Naturally is an amazing organization that will deliver organic produce to your door (plus they donate 15% of your purchase to a cause of your choice!). They delivered a huge bin of beautiful, fresh organic produce that kept me happy, healthy and well fed for a week.

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Green Zebra Kitchen – which I already swooned over in my review has been on my wishlist ever since I spent a week enjoying every bite of their pre-made meals.

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And, Belmonte Raw my number one choice for incredible juices in the city. Each jar will give you the energy you need to take on the daily task tornado (yes, I know that’s a whole new storm in one paragraph). Belmonte Raw delivers juices, raw meals and cleanses to your door. I just want some grapefruit and spirulina right now.

2. Gifts to make life more fun

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Surprises are fantastic. Little gifts, picked out by friends can make your day, or your month. My friends over at Vegan Cuts has us all covered (including any of your special friends, deserving of some extra attention this year). You can subscribe to their Snack Box and Beauty Box program and get a specially curated box of vegan awesomeness delivered to your door every month (yes, even in Canada).

3. Gifts to make life more enjoyable

This year I searched and searched for great vegan boots – because winter is tough, but it really sucks when you spend the whole five months with cold, wet feet. Finally with some helpful crowd-sourced advice, I discovered Bogs. They are amazing! Not high fashion, but my new pair keep me comfy and dry even after hours of strolling along Toronto’s snow-covered streets.

Also…Sir Richard’s condoms. (vegan-friendly fun! – between consenting adults, of course)

4. Gifts to make life healthier

Membership to Christy Morgan’s phenomenal on-line Wellness Reboot program would be a perfect gift for the active (or soon to be active) person in your life. Nicole did an amazing review here.

This year Vegan for Her, the quintessential book for being a healthy vegan wonder woman for life hit the shelves. Get it for yourself, the ladies you love or for your vegan nutrition reference library (I like to have sources for those “what if..on a desert island” type questions).

5. Gifts to make life more delicious

Every year there are more and more amazing vegan cookbooks to inspire impressive plant-based meals. This year, my top picks are Fran Costigan’s Vegan Chocolate (you can read Nicole’s review here) and Isa Does It (which I just reviewed last week).

bread

And as you may have heard, Nicole and I just released our second eBook called Edible Gifts. It is filled with 15 fabulous gift ideas that you can share with your friends and family this holiday season (or really anytime of year). You can pick up your copy right here and get gifting.

EdibleGifts_Covers5-550px

There is a recipe for this chocolate maple pecan brittle – which has been in high demand with my friends. Mini Cherry Cheesecakes_2

Single-serve cherry cheesecakes – a lovely dessert to make ahead for a holiday dinner party. Chai Spiced Popcorn_2-550px

Unforgettable chai caramel corn. Seriously, unforgettable. Banana Bread Biscotti_1-550pxAnd so many more delightful treats like this banana bread biscotti, which would make a lovely afternoon surprise any time of year. In fact, I’d like to share it with you right now.

Banana Bread Biscotti

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 tbsp flax meal
  • 1 ripe banana, peeled
  • 3 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp raw walnuts
  • 1 tbsp vegan chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the almonds into a fine flour.
  3. Add the flax, banana, dates, maple syrup, baking soda, salt and vanilla extract to the food processor. Blend until a thick dough forms.
  4. Add the walnuts and chocolate chips. Pulse a couple of times to distribute throughout the dough.
  5. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat, form the dough into a rectangular log about 6x4 inches. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, until the top has browned.
  6. Cool until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack (about 8 to 10 minutes). Transfer to the cooling rack and continue to cool until firm enough to slice (another 10 minutes).
  7. Slice crosswise into 8 biscotti slices.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  9. Return the cookies to the lined baking sheet, cut-side up. Bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  10. Cool completely on a cooling rack. Store in an air-tight container.
http://veganculinarycrusade.com/2013/12/vegan-wishlist-for-2013/

Happy Holidays! I hope yours are filled with love and laughter.

Isa Does It; Lisa tries it.

November 1st, 2013 · Lisa · book review, Review · Comments

At a time when everyone seems to be filled with feelings of gratitude and a penchant for gift giving, I’d like to tell you about a special present that made my year. The heightened sense of celebration may have been partly due to the months and months of growing anticipation. When Isa Does It arrived on my doorstep I knew the wait had been worth it. It is big, beautiful and full of the appetizing images of photographic genius, v. k. rees.

Just a quick flip through this gorgeous tome and you’ll remember why Isa has long been hailed the culinary guru of vegan cuisine. This book, unlike her recent subject specific ones, provides recipes designed to make your everyday delicious. The flavours are bold and globally-inspired, but the ingredients are available in your neighbourhood and the techniques are easy to master.

As I turn the pages and ponder the choices, I take to reminiscing about my first few recipe attempts from Vegnomicon – and how that book, and those meals have become a core of my own repertoire but also the steadfast favourites of my family and friends. I’m pretty sure everyone I know now has a copy. After a few weeks of playing with Isa’s newest book, I have no doubt it will become my a “must-have” recommendation for your vegan cookbook collection, and the book most often unwrapped by my loved ones.

As you would expect from the seemingly never-ending awesomeness of Isa Chandra Moskowitz, this book is filled with humour, inspired sections (e.g., vegan butchery) and new mantras for the movement (e.g.,”always be soaking”). And believe me, I would buy Isa’s book just for the headnotes, but the real gift of this collection of recipes is the delicious, nourishing meals it will bring to your table.

Here are some of the few recipes I picked out to try:

bowlJust like Isa (and a whole lot of other vegans) my favourite meal is a well composed bowl. When I saw her recipe for a Roasty Soba Bowl with Miso-Tahini Dressing, I knew it would become a frequent favourite. Simple and so satisfying.
bread Next up, a loaf of Marbled Banana Bread. I’ve already impressed a few new friends with the fantastic flavour and beautiful chocolate swirls of this twist on the tea-time classic. If you need a hostess gift or a favour…I suggest you bake up a few, and share the love.
chili

Snow has arrived in Toronto (we’re still just at the sprinkling stage) so settling in for the evening with a bowl of Red Lentil Thai Chili has felt like a perfect plan. This chili curbs the heartier appetite that seems to appear along with the colder weather and the incredible Thai flavours turns up the heat just enough to warm you up from the inside out.
omelet

Then there was the day I started with the Muffin Pan Mini Omelets (topped here salsa and avocado). That was one glorious day. These are the perfect size to make into a breakfast sandwich, layered inside an english muffin with something saucy. Baking omelets in a muffin pan is the ideal answer for brunch menus everywhere! saladFinally, I tired the kale salad. Of course, I did. I don’t believe I can’t get a new cookbook that contains a kale salad and not give it a go. But once again, Isa takes my simple staple supper and makes it into something truly spectacular. Her recipe combines roasted butternut squash, lentils and a wonderful Dijon dressing that elevates this dish to something I would make for a dinner party, rather than the usual combo I stir together in my get-home-late-5-mins-to-kale routine.

So with that, all I can truly say is, if you or a vegan you know doesn’t have a copy of this book…that is a situation that needs to be rectified. Simply…buy this book for everyone you know. It is the best way to ensure you will have a delicious 2014. I plan to make every single recipe before this time next year. Let me know if you’d like to be on the tasting team.

Order your copy today and feed all your friends something awesome this holiday season.

Speaking of holiday gifting – don’t forget to check out the Edible Gift eBook!

xo

Announcing a new eBook & package offer!

October 28th, 2013 · Lisa · Fun with Friends · Comments

That’s right, folks! For the last several months, Nicole and I have been hard at work creating eBook #2, called Edible Gifts: Spread the Vegan Food Love at Every Occasion. (In case you missed the first eBook we launched last year, you can check it out here.)

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It’s that time of year when celebrations and gift-giving are on our minds, and so it seemed fitting to create an eBook especially for this tradition. Most celebrations centre around food, and so it is our hope that this new collection of recipes will help you share the love of delicious vegan food with the people you adore.
We’re not just talking about gingerbread cookies and jarred Chex party mix. We’re talking about 15 incredibly delicious food gift recipes like…

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Homemade Chai Spiced Popcorn that is a spiced-up twist on the classic caramel corn and will knock the socks off your chai-loving friends;

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Banana Bread Biscotti, a perfect gift to wrap up with your aunt’s favourite tea, or to enjoy at a gathering in your best friend’s backyard; and

Mini Cherry Cheesecakes_2
Mini Cherry Cheesecakes, a personal-sized sweet that delivers the true cheesecake experience (without the animal products!) and can be made ahead for last-minute gifts.

With many more simple and creative recipes, this exciting eBook will be your go-to guide for gift-giving. We’ll be launching the eBook in mid November and once again using this as an opportunity to put our baketivism beliefs into practice. We’ve decided that one-third of the ebook’s proceeds will go to the Toronto Vegetarian Association, a local non-profit organization that has given us the gift of community and support. With your help, we’d like to give back this charity that has done so much to inspire people to live a healthier, greener, more peaceful lifestyle.

In celebration of our upcoming ebook launch, we have an exciting package offer for those who live in Toronto, Ontario!

This offer is now closed as we’re busy making up awesome sample packs. We will let you all know when the eBook is ready for purchase world wide.

 

Blender Love