Friday, March 3, 2017

Vegan Rocky Road Cookies

February has come and gone and so has the Valentine's chocolate.

While February might be the month of love and chocolate. That applies to all months in my opinion. Anytime, all time, I want chocolate.

Love is important, too.

These cookies are perfectly chocolate-y! They're also crispy, chewy, and basically the perfect cookie. This is kind of embarrassing to admit, but we've never really successfully baked a cookie that's crispy and chewy and spreads when baking. Usually our cookies just sit there on the baking sheet and don't do anything. How we plop the dough on the baking sheet is exactly how they come out. It's frustrating. It boggles the mind, haha. But, alas! We've finally done it!

Unfortunately, white chocolate chips are near impossible to find around town without paying through the teeth, so we added marshmallows instead and no complaints from me! These seem more rocky road-like with marshmallows to me.

I love me a rocky road bar, so how could I resist a rocky road cookie? These are just scrumptious I tell ya! Do yourself a favour and bake these babies up for friends, loves, and yourself!

Vegan Rocky Road Cookies
adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

1/2 cup unsweetened original almond milk
2 tbsp ground chia seeds
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips, mini or not
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 - 3/4 cup vegan marshmallows, mini ones or large ones quartered

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine milk, ground chia seeds, oil, sugar, vanilla and almond extract in a large bowl. Blend until smooth.

Sift in flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix until a thick dough forms. 

Fold in chocolate chips, almond slivers and marshmallows.

Scoop two tbsp of dough per cookie onto the baking sheets. Make sure to leave a a space of about two inches between the soon-to-be cookies.

Bake for 10-15 minutes. Let them cool on the baking sheet for five minutes. 

Transfer to a cookie rack to cool completely.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Caitlin's Vice: Loukoumades from Athen Pasteries Toronto

For years I have been obsessed with these little magical honey balls aka loukoumades. I used to eat them in my pre-vegan days but found out (via @veganonearth on Instagram) that they're actually vegan! No honey! So, naturally, I have been eating my weight in loukoumades. No shame. 

If you are looking for a super sweet topped-with-cinnamon gooey deep fried treat then head to Athens Pasteries at 509 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K 1P5.

Go get yourself some!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Planta Disappointment...I mean review

Sooo... I finally tried Planta last night. It's one of the newer plant-based restaurants in Toronto. I'm pretty disappointed with the meal I had, the Habibi Salad Bowl. Let me say, there was a lot more salad than I expected considering the description doesn't even mention a bed of leafy greens, let alone a whole bowl full of them.

Here's the description of my dish according to the website:
cauliflower cous-cous, split pea fritters, lentils, parsley, mint, coriander, currants, sumac, za'atar, tahini dressing

For the roughly two hours I was at Planta I felt like a cow in a field chewing on grass. I could barely engage in conversation while I had this huge pile of greens to consume with an abysmally scarce amount of cauliflower cous-cous sprinkled in the bowl. To be honest, my meal felt like a big joke. If I had wanted to eat an entire package of spring mix, I could have bought a package at the grocery store for much less money. And not paid $17 plus tax and a tip.

What added insult to injury was when I looked at a Toronto Life review of the restaurant only to see my dish featured with a photograph....

Toronto Life photo
Compare that to the photo I took of my meal last night. Let me reiterate that this is the same dish...

My photo. Spot the difference!

I'm not sure if the difference between the two has to do with the fact that I'm somewhat young looking or that I don't work for Toronto Life, but I'm not happy either way. If you're running low on cous-cous, ya know what, just let me know and I'll order something else. If you don't want to expend your resources on me because you don't think I'm be a big spender, shame on you.

While I enjoyed the evening with friends, I don't think I'll be returning to Planta anytime soon.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Change your perspective, change your life!

 While, yes, this motto can be applied to this recipe (somehow presenting a chocolate chip cookie in bar form makes it seem like a completely new and exciting dessert), I think it has even greater impact when applied to life in general.

I think it's particularly needed lately.

If only all of the xenophobic, racist, sexist, classist, white supremacist people in the world would take a moment to change their perspective, we would be on our way to a better world.

This recipe won't change the world, but maybe it can put a little smile on your face knowing it comes with a special message of love and peace...and because it tastes good.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
adapted from B. Britnell

1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
sprinkle of salt
1 tbsp vanilla
1/4 cup almond butter
3/4 peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened original almond milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8 in glass baking dish. Line with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl beat together to vanilla, butters, and sugar. Until light and fluffy. Stir in the milk.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet. Mix the ingredients together until it all starts to stick together.

Add the chocolate chips and mix until evenly incorporated.

Pack into the baking dish. Sprinkle some more chocolate chips on top.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Tempeh Meatball Sub

I am usually not a fan of tempeh. I try to like it. I really do. But there is something about it that doesn't sit well with me. With these tempeh balls, however, I can hardly tell that they are made from tempeh! Not only that, they are super flavourful and make one heck of a tasty sandwich!

This sandwich is satisfying and hardy. You won't be disappointed!

Tempeh Meatball Sandwich
adpated from Isa Does It

240g tempeh, I used one package of Noble Bean
1 cup water
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dired oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
generous cracking of black pepper
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1 cup panko crumbs

Other goods:
your favourite tomato sauce
ricotta, homemade or store-bought
vegan parmesan

Crumble tempeh into little bits in a medium-sized pot. 

Add water, soy sauce, and olive oil. Put a lid on the pot and bring to a boil. Once the water is brought to a boil, put the heat on low and simmer, with the lid ajar, for 15 minutes. 

At the end of 15mins, most of the water should be absorbed; if not, drain the water. Place tempeh in a bowl and place in freezer for 10 minutes, stir halfway through. 

Once cooled, add the garlic, tomato paste, mustard, and seasonings. Mix well. Mix in onion and panko. Mix until it holds together. If it seems loose, add more bread crumbs until it holds.

Make the balls roughly golfball size.

Preheat a large non-skillet skillet, add olive oil. Add meatballs one-by-one, brown on all sides. Fry for approximately 10 minutes, roll them around to get all sides.

Remove from the pan and assemble your sandwiches. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Culcherd Tree Nut Cheeze by Wood and Water

Wood and Water makes excellent vegan nut cheeze. We were lucky to snag one of these Holiday Logs at Good Rebel, the first all-vegan grocer in Toronto.

This cheeze log was, ugh, delicious. Unfortunately, the Holiday Log is no longer available (obviously), but all of the Wood and Water cheezes are scrumptious, so check 'em out if you haven't already. And it would probably help if you're in Ontario.

Bountiful Roasted Vegetable Bowl with Almond-Lemon Dressing

I was tempted to call this a buddha bowl, but I have no clue what that means. It's quite common to see "buddha bowls" in the vegan community, yet I can't help but feel like I'm appropriating Buddhist religion when I use that expression. 

This dish is super tasty. And, oh so, nutritutious. Roasted veggies can't be beat in my opinion! It's hard not to eat the roasted veggies right off the baking sheet.

There is a lot of slicing and dicing involved with this dish, but it's worth it. You'll definitely feel satisfied after eating this bowl of goodness. You can never go wrong with rice, either!

Bountiful Roasted Vegetable Bowl with Almond-Lemon Dressing
adapted from Love & Zest 

For the bowl:
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
2 cups of mushrooms, sliced
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 small cabbage, thinly sliced
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

For the dressing:
1/4 cup almond butter
1 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
2 tbsp water

Cook rice according to package.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Arrange butternut squash on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes.

Arrange the rest of the veggies on the other baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk all the ingredients for the dressing together. Add more water, if needed.

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