Thursday, August 17, 2017

Literally the Best (Vegan) Blueberry Muffins

Vegan Blueberry Muffins

Vegan Blueberry Muffins

Here's another muffin recipe for you! We're on a roll with the muffins apparently.
We're not joking around when we say these are literally the best vegan blueberry muffins. They're so soft and delicious with the perfect amount of sweetness. Yet again, we always have a hard time getting our muffins light and airy - it may be because we try to go with healthier muffins most times. Not that these are unhealthy but, ya know, they don't use any healthy flours or apple sauce in place of oil. Life is about balance and every now and then you need a soft, pillow-y muffin.

Vegan Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry muffins might be a personal favourite of mine. These have a little secret ingredient (custard powder) that, I think, gives them a subtle buttery flavour. It's really nice. And don't worry they're still vegan because Bird's Custard Powder is vegan! Tricky, I know.

I got a little artsy with the photos placing them on a fashion magazine, lol. Just trying new things.

Literally the Best (Vegan) Blueberry Muffins

Adapted from The Flexitarian

250g self raising flour
175g caster sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp Bird's Custard Powder (trust!)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened original almond milk
200g fresh blueberries

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line muffin tin with paper liners.
2. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, custard powder and salt in the large bowl.
3. Stir in vegetable oil, vanilla extract and almond milk. Mix until well blended but don't overmix.
4. Gently mix the blueberry in with a wooden spoon so as not to break them up too much then spoon mixture into a muffin tin.
5. Bake for 25-30 mins until the muffins have risen and are golden on top. Make sure they are cooked through by inserting a toothpick or tester.
6. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Or eat right away, like we did!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Vegan Cherry Almond Muffins (with FRESH cherries!)

The cherries were really good this season. Sweet and juicy. We definitely took advantage of all the delicious cherries, too. We ate a lot of them as is but we couldn't help but bake with them too. Seeing as cherry season is over, you can always save this recipe in your back pocket for next year or make these muffins with dried cherries.

These muffins were great! Not too sweet, so they really let the cherries shine through. They have a nice almond flavour as well. These muffins make the perfect snack!

Vegan Cherry Almond Muffins

Adapted from Chef Amber Shea

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup unsweetened original oat mylk (we are obsessed with baking with oat milk now thanks to America's Test Kitchen!)
6 oz. vanilla non-dairy yogurt (we used almond/cashew cultured yogurt)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted if desired
3/4 cup fresh cherries, pitted and chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
2. Sift the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl.
3. Make a well in the center of the bowl and add the oil, mylk, yogurt, and extracts.
4. Mix gently just until combined. Add cherries and almonds. Fold in and be sure not to break the cherries too much.
5. Fill the muffin cups about 75% of the way.
6. Bake for 16-20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Soft Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sometimes you want cookies, but sometimes you also want your cookies to be a little healthier. That's how these cookies came to be. Adding oats to chocolate chip cookies always makes me feel a bit better about eating them. Plus, I really love oats. Regular chocolate chip cookies can seem a little plain for me. I like a lot of action going on in my cookies. To keep things interesting, ya know?

I think we replaced too much of the flour with oats for our cookies, so they ended up SUPER soft to the point where they actually fell apart when we picked them up. They tasted great but no one wants to reach for a cookie to have it completely crumble apart before your eyes. Okay, it wasn't that bad. I've added some more flour to the recipe below, so hopefully it all works out now. Either way, these cookies are delicious and have plenty of fibre from the oats.   

Soft Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate 
Chip Cookies
adapted from The Vegan Zombie

3/4 cup peanut butter
6 tbsp vegan butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup oat milk, or your fav milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups oats
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat. 

Cream the peanut butter, vegan butter, and sugar together until light and fluffy. 

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix to combine.

Form small balls and place 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet. 

Bake for 10-12 mins.

Allow to cool for 5 mins on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack. Be careful that the don't break apart :)

Friday, July 21, 2017

Easy Vegetable Soup with Beans and Pasta

Summer might not be the time where people think "hey, I'll make a piping hot soup!" but let's face it, it's an easy, clean and delicious meal that takes next to no time to prepare. We're fans of soup any time of the year even in the Summer because we are busy people. It just works. And this soup has been our go-to for YEARS. We are still making it and adapting it each time by adding in a bay leaf or changing the type of beans or shape of pasta. 

Start to finish, this soup takes about 40 minutes. We have yet to ever prepare one of those 30 minute meals in 30 minutes. This is as close to a 30 minute meal as we can get. Maybe we are slow or maybe we tend to overcook our veggies but that's how we like it. Cook this for a long as you'd like or as short as you'd like. Just make sure you give it enough time to let the flavours meld.

Easy Vegetable Soup (vegan, gluten-free option)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely (use less is you don't love garlic like we do)
2-3 stalks of celery, chopped small
3 carrots, chopped small
1 tsp Herbamare seasoning
bay leaf, optional
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 28 oz. can of chopped tomatoes
1 can romano beans (or any type of beans you like!)
6 cups vegetable stock
1 cup of pasta of your choosing (use GF, if desired/required)
nutritional yeast or Parma, for topping
more freshly cracked black pepper, for topping

1. In a large pot over medium heat add the oil, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, Heramare (bay leaf, if you want) and salt and pepper and cook until just soft. 
2. Add tomatoes, stock, beans and simmer for 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Remove bay leaf (if used).
3. Add the pasta and cook for another 8-10 min until the pasta is al dente. 
4. Top with more freshly cracked black pepper, nooch or Parma! to make it extra delicious.

I would hope someone out there in the universe understands our love for fun-shaped pasta but this was a box of Catelli Bistro Rainbow pasta made us extra excited. It was perfect for this soup and tiny enough so you could get a few pasta on your spoon. Alphabet pasta are also awesome, no matter your age. Who doesn't like looking for the letters to spell their own name in their bowl of soup?!

We love Parma! especially the Garlicky Green variety though the Original is also awesome. We just love garlic and this is quite garlicky. We purchased it at the Toronto Vegetarian Festival in 2016 but have since repurchased at our local health food store Nature's Emporium in Newmarket, ON.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Roasted Veg Sandwich with Romesco Spread

Just a head's up this is probably going to be a downer post.

This sandwich is delicious and amazing and one of the best that we've ever made, so if my rantings make you feel down at least you have a nice sandwich to make afterwards.

I don't usually "go deep" with my blog posts, but I just feel like being honest with how I feel (even if I feel embarrassed after posting this). Lately, I've been in a funk. Nothing really appeals to me and everything makes me feel bad. I don't feel like doing anything but I hate not doing anything. I haven't even felt like cooking or baking, yet store-bought food turns my stomach. I like listening to music as a distraction but I can't even find any music that I enjoy listening to lately. I'm sure a big part of it has to do with the fact that I'm still dealing with the loss of our second mom/Nannie a.k.a grandmother last year (who I miss SO much) as well as the dramatic progression of our grandad's dementia, which are big things, but I don't want to feel this way. And feeling this way makes me feel like I'm wasting precious time and taking advantage of the life I've been given. It's a negative cycle that isn't helped by this super dreary, rainy summer. I don't even know if I'm accomplishing anything by writing this down. Do you ever feel like there's a rain cloud hovering above your head? What do you do to make it go away?  

I should probably make this sandwich again. It was delicious, after all. 

Roasted Vegetable Sandwich 
with Romesco Spread
adapted from Isa Does It

for the veggies:
1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
4 medium zucchini, sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 sweet potatoes, sliced thinly -  use a mandolin if you have one
2 tbsp olive oil
sea salt
black pepper
handful of baby spinach

for romesco spread:
3/4 cup sliced almonds
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 roasted red peppers, chopped - we used ones from a jar but you can always roast your own
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread out the veg in a single layer and brush each side with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven.

After 12 minutes of roasting you should flip the sweet potatoes because they'll need less time where they're thinner. Roast everything for another 12 minutes then flip the zucchini and eggplant and remove the sweet potatoes if they look golden/browned and feel soft. Put the eggplant and zucchini back into the oven for another 10-12 minutes, until the veggies are brown and soft. 

Preheat a large pan over medium-low heat and spread the almonds out in a single layer. Toss until brown and fragrant - 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a blender and pulse until little bits. 

Add the garlic and pulse. Then add the roasted red peppers, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, salt, and puree until everything is blended. It doesn't have to be completely smooth. You'll have to scrape down the sides every now and then while blending. You may also have to add water if things get stuck. If so, add a tablespoon at a time. Keep refrigerated until the sammies are ready to go. 

We used ciabatta buns for our sandwiches and pressed them in the panini press to warm 'em up first. But you can use whatever buns you like and do whatever you like with them. Spread some romesco on the buns then add the veggies and the spinach. 

We hope you enjoy!

Monday, July 3, 2017

President's Choice Dairy-Free Coconut Milk Chocolate Frozen Dessert {Review}

President's Choice Dairy-Free Coconut Milk Chocolate Frozen Dessert

Did you miss us? We hate that we've been away for so long but we have a backlog of delicious treats to share with you. We've been doing a lot of cooking and a little baking, too. But today, we have for you a product review! Yay! New things! President's Choice just brought out a new dairy-free ice cream and it is gooooooood. It's designated as vegetarian but the ingredients don't have any animals products, whatsoever. 

It's been the first hot day in a long time so we took advantage of the opportunity to enjoy this cool, creamy and sweet vegan frozen treat. The other awesome thing about this is the price point. We paid $3.99 CAD at No Frills. We are used to paying $7+ for vegan frozen desserts (aka vegan ice creams) so to see such an affordable option is really great.  

President's Choice Dairy-Free Coconut Milk Chocolate Frozen Dessert

PC Dairy-Free Coconut Milk Chocolate Frozen Dessert is so soft and smooth. After only leaving it out of the freezer for 5 minutes, it's very easy to scoop. Our first impressions are that it's very chocolatey with a very slight coconut flavour. It's not overpowering at all if you're not a huge coconut fan. Comparing PC Dairy-Free Coconut Milk Chocolate Frozen Dessert to the So Delicious Coconut Milk Chocolate Frozen Dessert, this is a lot smoother, more chocolatey and much creamier. It's so great to see companies like Loblaws producing vegan options. This is an excellent product that is well-executed and I think we are going to be enjoying it a lot this Summer. We aren't sure if it will take the place of our beloved So Delicious Cashew Milk Dark Chocolate Truffle but it's a close second and much cheaper. 

President's Choice Dairy-Free Coconut Milk Chocolate Frozen Dessert vegan

This is where we found the President's Choice Dairy-Free Coconut Milk Chocolate Frozen Dessert in No Frills. $3.99 regular price! We haven't seen a ton of advertisement for this product so it will probably go on sale soon to generate some interest. It's definitely worth trying if you like chocolate ice cream. There are some other flavours: Mango and Coconut. I am sure we will try those soon too but we are gushing about the Chocolate flavour so we wanted to share that with all of our lovely readers. 

President's Choice Dairy-Free Coconut Milk Chocolate Frozen Dessert vegan

Ingredient list for those of you wondering about what exactly is in the PC Dairy-Free Coconut Milk Chocolate Frozen Dessert. You can see the Vegetarian symbol on the packaging (I don't think President's Choice has a Vegan symbol). The ingredients are: coconut milk, sugar, water, cocoa, tapioca maltodextrin, dextrose, palm mono- and diglycerides, carob bean gum, guar gum, sea salt.

President's Choice Dairy-Free Coconut Milk Chocolate Frozen Dessert vegan

It's not a super dark colour and more along the lines of a milk chocolate rather than the darkness of the So Delicious Coconut Milk Chocolate dessert. The Kitchen Grrrls give this a big thumbs up! Canada never seems to get cool or exciting products (and if we do, it's months or years after our neighbours to the South get them) so this is an exciting day haha.

More information about the PC Dairy-Free Coconut Milk Frozen Dessert is available here.

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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