April Vegan Swap: Snacktastic!

by Ainslie on April 29, 2013

It’s been almost a year since I last participated in the Canadian Vegan Food Swap, and since I’m about to leave the country for a good chunk of time…I figured, why not do a swap while I can? In related news, I can’t wait to participate in the UK Vegan Food Swap once I get settled in there.

I received my box of treats from Katie of Not Just Granola while at work yesterday afternoon – perfect timing, I was having one of those endlessly hungry days, and totally in the mood for some snacks before my lunch break. And during my lunch break. And on my way home. Ahem.

I had mentioned to Katie that I’m a fan of snacks, and prefer savoury/salty over sweet. I tend to eat my weight in vegan protein and energy bars, and Sunwarrior smoothies as snacks, so I’m always looking for more non-sweet options. One of the things I love best about the vegan swap (other than, hello, a box of food in the post!) is having someone else pick out delicious things that I would probably never choose for myself, and yet always end up loving.

Katie completely delivered on my preferences, with some spicy, sweet+salty cashews, nori-wrapped rice crackers, and this dal mix that is basically like salty crunchy spicy crack. Like, open then bag and you are done delicious. She warned. I accepted the challenge. It’s crunchy little chickpea flour sticks and lentils, and I kind of just want to up-end the entire bag into my mouth. Repeatedly. The bag is sitting on my desk here at 10am and I’m already eyeing it up. I wonder how it pairs with coffee?

ANYWAY.

There was also an adorable little jar of locally made (Ottawa) orange and fig jam, which I slathered on some toast with some Daiya jack cheese for a late-night, Arrested Development-watching snack. I’m a huge marmalade fan, and this is definitely bitter and not overly sweet in the same way. Nom.

I have yet to try the Buddy Fruits, but they remind me a bit of those fruit snacks I always wanted in elementary school but was never allowed to have. These are actually fruit, though, so I’ll be mother and say I AM allowed to have them for my mid-morning snack.

…is it time for recess yet?

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I’m not the world’s biggest fake meat fan. I can go for weeks without eating anything that’s supposed to be a faux-whatever. But I definitely jump at the chance to create a faux-something from an unexpected ingredient – you might remember my nerdtastic yuba “dragon” from last year. Its one of the things I like best about vegan food, the ways it can make me feel like a mad scientist, trying to concoct something familiar (or ridiculous) out of something else entirely.

Enter – jackfruit “pulled pork.” I’ve eaten it before, most notably at Hot Beans in Toronto, and I’ve seen several other blogs create their own takes on it.

While visiting my parents a few weeks ago, I remembered there was this can of unripened jackfruit that had been languishing in their pantry since I picked it up in a Chinatown market last summer. We were all a little skeptical, after the unfortunate/revolting can of “mock duck” I bought on the same trip had a grody stench reminiscent of cat food. Mystery canned/processed foods are clearly not my jam, I decided, and so the jackfruit sat. And sat some more. But then, on this visit to Salt Spring, we were feeling a little adventurous, a little “why the hell not.” Up for an experiment: the jackfruit experiment. At least it’s just fruit in a can, right? Not some sketchy gluten product with creepy faux-duck skin pock marks (one of those times when fake meat is just too convincing, I guess.)

I did my usual recon of jackfruit recipes and BBQ sauce recipes, before closing all books and blogs, and just going for it. I think I’ve mentioned before I’m not so great at following recipes in my own kitchen. It’s why I’m not much of a baker.

I figured, I know what BBQ sauce should taste like, I know my own preferences run more to the spicy and tangy than overly sweet. I marinated the ‘fruit in some dry spices for the afternoon, whipped up an impromptu ‘que sauce, and stewed them together for a while. Honestly – it could have cooked longer, but we were hungry and impatient after an afternoon of hiking, so we just went for it. And it was delicious.


I topped it with a cashew sour cream, just like the BBQ burdock we made when I worked at Live Organic Food Bar.

Seriously, guys. This was crazy delicious.

It’s mostly about the sauce, so make sure you use a recipe you like, but the texture of the jackfruit is stringy, a bit chewy, and substantially meaty enough to stand up to being cooked for a good while in a tasty sauce. We went for tacos, but you could just as easily make a sandwich, or serve it on a plate with some grain, sweet potatoes, cooked or raw greens, maybe even with some mac’n'cheez for a total southern-style meal. Ugh, I want that. Right now.

BBQ Sauce Non-Recipe

Since I didn’t follow or really record a recipe, I’m just going to make some BBQ sauce flavour suggestions. You can even use a bought sauce if there’s one you really like. It’s all about getting a good sweet/sour/smoky/spicy profile that you enjoy. Mine included:

  • onion/garlic
  • apple cider vinegar
  • tomato paste/ketchup
  • molasses/maple syrup
  • liquid smoke/mesquite
  • all spice
  • cloves
  • paprika
  • chili powder
  • cayenne
  • tamari

Cashew Sour Cream

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked at least 1/2 hour
  • pinch of salt
  • juice of 1/2-1 lemon, depending on size
  • 1/2 cup water (enough to blend, can use more depending on blender)

Soak cashews at least 1/2 hour. If you forget to soak them before hand, you can pour some boiling water over them for 10-15 minutes for a cheater-soak. Cheater. Combine all ingredients in high-speed blender, and process slowly until smooth. Seriously. Start slow and work your blender up to high so you don’t blow out the motor/fail entirely. You can add more water/lemon/salt as needed to blend, or as desired for taste. If you’re feeling super fancy, use lime juice, or throw in a pinch of chipotle powder for a lime/chipotle cream. Drizzle on tacos/nachos/your face, as needed.

 

In conclusion, this is an odd food in a can that I would recommend trying. I’ve heard you may actually be able to find fresh unripened jackfruit in some Asian markets, so have a look for that as well. But keep in mind that ripe jackfruit is way different – sweet and starchy, apparently, where this is fibrous and really has no flavour of it’s own to speak of. It’s all about the texture!

Ok. Your turn. Have you tried jackfruit? Do you ever buy weird foods you’re a bit scared of for kitchen experiments?

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Yesterday I had two green smoothies instead of meals, and for my third meal – rice/beans/yams. The day before that? Rice/beans/yams. Smoothies. Some leftover kale and rice…I don’t even know what to call it. Scramble? Smoosh? To say that my diet has been in a bit of a rut this week would be an understatement of Godzillic proportions. It happens. We all tend to have our fall-back dishes, our staples, flavours and ingredients we’re most comfortable (or used to) putting together – and when life gets busy, this food-on-autopilot routine can reach critical status.

While shovelling a familiar concoction of black beans/yams/greens into my mouth the other night, I started flipping through my roommate’s copy of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. It’s all about quick and easy, healthy-ish, from scratch meals. The variety in the book – from curries, to soups, to Thai, Chinese, the hilariously British, and many things in between – reminded me how quick and easy it can be to whip up a wide variety of meals and flavours. Just buy a few different spices. Or grab different vegetables at the market than you usually do.

A fellow holistic nutritionist pal had remarked earlier in the day how all “healthy” recipes tend to look the same after a while, and I had to agree. There are only so many ways you can put kale, sweet potatoes, beans, quinoa, brown rice, and avocado together before it all, just, like, tastes identical regardless of what you call it. I’m often as guilty of this as anyone, but damn if I’m not getting sick of my own shit lately.

Enter these 20-Minute Tempeh Fajitas I pulled out of my fridge after work tonight. The ingredients aren’t a huge departure – but somehow, the way I put them together was just different enough to be pleasantly surprising. Also, super quick, and an easily variable recipe perfect for using up whatever’s in the crisper – which was the other half of my motivation tonight, ahead of going away for the weekend. There are few things I hate more than wasted produce. Not under this roof!

20-Minute Tempeh Fajitas w/ Avocado Lime Salsa
serves 3-4

1 tbsp coconut or olive oil
1/2 onion, large dice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 red pepper, cut in strips or large dice
2 stalks celery, cut in 1-inch chunks
1 bunch asparagus, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 package tempeh, cut in 1-inch cubes (get a spicy or BBQ-flavoured tempeh if you can!)
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, rough chop
splash of water to deglaze pan
Shredded coconut
Sprouted grain, organic corn, or brown rice tortillas – 1 per person
Option: replace any of the above veggies with whatever you’ve got on hand – carrots, squash, zucchini, eggplant, other peppers, etc.

Avocado Lime Salsa
1 avocado, diced
1 small-medium tomato, diced
small piece of onion reserved from ingredients above (as much as you’d like, to taste)
1/2 lime, juiced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
salt to taste

In large frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat while you cut up yo’ veg and tempeh. Add onion and garlic to pan, saute 2 minutes. Add remaining veg from hardest to softest, allowing to cook 1-2 minutes between each addition (ie, celery->asparagus->peppers); add tempeh, salt, and spices and stir well. If stuff starts to stick to the pan, add a splash of water. Cook 5-10 minutes, until veggies soften a bit but don’t get soggy. Dice avocado, tomato, onion, chop cilantro for salsa. Mix together in small bowl.

Just before veg + tempeh mixture is ready, place your tortillas over pan to steam/soften. Wrap up veg+tempeh mixture in warm toritllas w/ avocao salsa, and a sprinkle of shredded coconut (trust me on this one!) and omnomnom!

Serve with extra salsas, hot sauce, vegan sour cream, or other condiments of choice.

Your Turn

What are your default meals? Do you have any secrets for kicking your culinary butt out of a mega-rut?

If you’re looking for a longer-term nutrition + culinary makeover – check out my Spring Cleanse Kickstart! It’s a 4-week program of whole food recipes, culinary tips, and cleansing tricks to get you out of any nutritional rut. The first group of cleansers just finished their month of learning new sugar-gluten-junk-free recipes and habits, and the reviews are totally chuffed all around. Hit me up if you’ve got any burning Q’s!

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Raw Vegan Mint Chocolate Oreos

by Ainslie on March 22, 2013

Confession: I used to be the abuser of a serious Mint Oreo cookie habit. Like, the “real” ones all full of refined sugar and flour and fats so potentially sketchy and accidentally vegan I’m not sure it actually qualifies as food.

And if you hop a DeLorean back to my awkward teenage vegetarian years, you’d find me buried to my ears in empty mint chip ice cream cartons and mint Aero wrappers.

My life is, essentially, one long mint chocolate situation after another.

Needless to say, I’ve needed to step up and find some healthy and sustainable ways to manage this situation. Enter: Raw Vegan Mint Chocolate Oreos

I’ve been filling in at Rawsome Living Foods Cafe while Chef Jim is off teaching in Japan, and these tasty little monsters were suggested as our St. Patrick’s Day theme treat. Obviously I took up the challenge. And obviously, in my world, these are not a holiday theme treat. More like an every day necessity to life that will be repeated often. I might even try icing raw brownies or stuffing raw chocolates with this Mint Creme filling. It’s ridiculous. In the best way. Get to it!

Chocolate “Wafer” Cookie

1 1/2 cups raw almonds, ground into fine flour/powder
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup maple syrup (or raw agave)
pinch salt
few drops vanilla essence or extract

Mint Creme

1/2 cup coconut butter, softened but not melted
2-3 tbsp raw agave
1 tsp spirulina, chlorella, or other greens powder
5-15 drops mint essence or essential oil, depending on strength/desired mintyness
2 drops vanilla essence or extract
pinch of salt

For Chocolate Cookie: Grind whole almonds in high-speed blender or food processor until texture is as flour-like as possible. (You may be tempted to just use almond flour, but let me tell you from experience – don’t. Your cookies will be too dry/too crisp. If you MUST, I would add 1tbsp melted coconut oil to the recipe to increase pliability of cookie.) In food processor fitted with s-blade, add cacao powder and salt, blend to combine. Add syrup + vanilla, process until sticky, doughy texture reached. Remove from processor and form into 2 dough balls. Grab 2 sheets of parchment or 2 teflex dehydrator sheets, and slap one of those dough-balls between ‘em. Roll dough out to 1/4-inch thickness, and cut into 1-1/2 inch rounds. Use a cookie cutter or small juice/shot glass. Place cookies on teflex-lined dehydrator trays. Dehydrate at 105F for 16-24hrs, until slightly crisp. Marvel at how shockingly Oreo-cookie-like they have become. Non-dehydrator option: roll dough slightly thicker, cut your cookies, and chill in freezer before icing. You’ll have a chewy textured cookie, but still delicious, promise!

For Mint Creme: Gently warm/cream coconut butter, but don’t fully melt or it will begin to separate. Warm your agave (place in a bowl over another bowl of hot water) before adding, again to avoid separation of oils in coconut butter. Mix together butter + syrup until creamy. Add greens powder + mix thoroughly. Mix in mint, vanilla, and salt until well combined.

Oreos Assemble: Spread a 1/4-inch layer of mint creme on one cookie with a butter knife, spatula, or pastry spready thingy. Top with second cookie half, and smooth out icing edges if desired. Chill in fridge or freezer until creme is set. I think these were best after being chilled, and then sat at room temperature for at least ten minutes before eating, so creme is solid but not tooth-crunchingly so.

Dip that shit in some homemade almond or hemp milk, and om nom it up.

Your Turn! What’s your favourite junk food-y cookie you’d love to see veganised or raw-ised?

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Spring Cleanse Kickstart Is Here!

by Ainslie on March 4, 2013

Have you been feeling the end of winter bleeeeerghs lately? Are you ready to kick that junk to the curb?

If you answered yes and yes, I’ve got juuuuuuuust the thing for you, kittenface.

It’s my (Spring) Cleanse Kickstart Month of Party Time Excellent!

…I know, “cleanse” sounded so boring on it’s own.

This is going to be 28 days of kickstarting your body back to optimal health with plant-based, super nutrition.

What Will We Eat?

Green smoothies. Crunchy Vegan Ranch Salads. Raw Cookie Dough Balls. Creamy Broccoli Soup. And so much mooooooooore.

This “cleanse” is about subtracting empty calorie foods that make you feel like poop (think refined sugar/flour, booze, salty snacks), and replacing them with super-nourishing whole food options that fill you up while giving you energy, and letting you shed a few pounds in the process.

It makes me sad to hear you guys say eating great food that gives you loads of energy is too complicated or time consuming. So I created this little plan to show you how easy, fun, cheap, and sustainable it can be to eat a crazy nourishing, whole foods diet.

Group Support

I’ll be with you for the whole 4 weeks, as will your fellow cleansers – supporting, answering questions, and helping each other make sustainable changes.

So, uh, when?

Now! The first group of cleansers began March 7th, but never fear! You can hop onto the cleanse wagon and into our Facebook support group full of discussion, recipe chat, and delicious photo posting any time now and cleanse your happy faces off! You even get, like, lifetime access to the Facebook group where myself and other experienced members can A all your Q’s in the blink of a cursor.

BAM – CLEANSE KICKSTART FUNTIMES!

Do it. Do it now.

Click-y the button below to get access to the 50-page ebook full of plant-based, whole food recipes (gluten, sugar, dairy, caffeine, crap-free) and cleansing tips, plus a b***load of info on why alkalinizing plant foods will make you feel totally radical.

(Spring) Cleanse Kickstart

$31

$31 for 4 weeks of recipes, exclusive group + individual support! You can’t go wrong.

Add to Cart

 

See you in our top-secret support group!

xo

Ainslie

 

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Introducing Everyone Is Vegan, The Mini-Book!

by Ainslie on February 14, 2013

Hey, I didn’t mean to or anything, but I guess I got you a Valentine’s present. It’s a thingy! A fiendish thingy!

…ok, no it’s not.

It’s a book! It’s my first vegan recipe book! Holy haricots, hatman! (look, it might be tiny, but I just wrote and published a book so I think I’m allowed to briefly abuse exclamation points!) !!!

Anyway.

It’s a mini-recipe book of 5 (and a half) exclusive recipes, enough for you to eat like a vegan champion for an entire day – and then some!

Oh yeah, and it’s totally free, because I love you guys.

Grab it below to start omnom’ing on the easiest kale chips the world has ever seen, hemp cacao brownies, basic hummus, and my most favourite kale-avo salad evar. Do it. Do it now. You know you wanna.

 

 

And after you’ve stuffed these recipes into your face, come back in a couple of days to find out about the March Group Clease I’m hosting! WOOP WOOP.

We’re going to have an even bigger recipe book, a super secret Facebook support group, email Q’s will be A’d, and a pre-spring month of nourishing the shit out of ourselves will be had. We’ll kick some pesky sugar, caffeine, and gluten addictions, and bid good riddance to the winter BLERGHS. Yeah. Get ready to put your awesome pants on.

Come back on Monday to find out how to sign the eff up.

Until then, happy love day, kittenfaces.

xo

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Stealth Vegan Eats in Victoria, And So Can You!

by Ainslie on September 18, 2012

You know what I love? Restaurants that let you veganize the holy CRAP out of their dishes.

And omnivorous establishments that offer more than one token veggie “here’s your salad with some lettuce and some nothing and some air and did you want a glass of water with that?” option. I’ve definitely upped my vegan-option-hunting stealth skills, and most restaurants tend to be better than that now, but I hear it still happens. And no, “just a little butter” doesn’t make your soup vegan.

Ahem.

What I’m trying to say is, I ate a bunch of vegan food from a bunch of omni restaurants in Victoria over the weekend, and it was awesome and made me feel very un-like an alien.

And it made me want to remind everyone that eating vegan is easy, it just takes some attention, a willingness to ask questions, and maybe a simple request to leave the fish sauce or whatever out, thanks.

I realize as I’m about to write this up that most of these options are seriously carb-tastic, but you can just make like an Everyone Is Vegan pro and stuff yourself with veggies and fruits at home and save the grain-o-rama for when you eat out. Or, like, order something with more vegetables than I did. Do what I say, not what I do. Easy peasy.

Most of my eats this weekend were gobbled up on the fly before/during/after hang outs with friends, some fun times at Rifflandia, and running to the ferry. So. We’re a little short on pictures, but trust me – if it didn’t last long enough to make an appearance in front of the camera, that means it was crazy delicious. We consider “not pictured” a compliment around here, ok.

One of my favourite go-to’s for veganizing when eating with omni friends and family is The Noodle Box. They’re all up in the greater Victoria area, plus some Kitsilano and downtown Vancouver locations. Ask for vegan, and they’ll do it. The rice noodles (or white/brown rice) are egg free, and almost any dish can come sans fish sauce, with tofu or extra veggies.

Actually pictured here is my precious Singapore Cashew Curry – no fish, sub rice noods, with tofu, plus extra cashews if I’m feelin’ fancy, medium spicey. OMNOMNOM.

Next up: There’s a new vegan pizza option in town, huzzah! I mean, most pizza options can be vegan with no cheese, but Famoso just opened up on the side of Market Square and they have Daiya! Also, nom-y Neopolitan thin crust pizza cooked for something insane like 90 seconds in a 900F woodfire oven. Everyone is town is cuckoo for Pizzeria Prima Strada, but until they get Daiya…I’ll favour these guys, just ‘cuz I like the option sometimes. Also of note, The Joint just around the corner does Daiya too, and usually has vegan AND vegan/gluten free slices ready to go. In the words of Joey Lawrence, whoa.

But the best discovery of the weekend? Far and away the chocolate-dipped coconut ice cream bar from Fruition Paletas that I grabbed while sweating my face off on Saturday afternoon at Rifflandia. It’s hard to eat an ice cream bar, dance to celtic punk rock, and take a picture – so alas, the evidence remains in mah belly. But know it was crazy delish (and the Stanfields were crazy awesome). I can’t wait to pop into their shop (get it? I’m gonna pop in for a popsicle?) for another flavour, since summer seems to think it should hang around a while. And after that June-uary we had? I’m not complaining.

Something tells me Victoria has a few more vegan secrets for me to uncover, and I’d be a big liar if I said I didn’t enjoy the challenge and triumph of the hunt.

I’d love to hear about your vegan secrets in unexpected, odd, or just omnivorous places. I’ve certainly been spoiled in recent years by the all-vegan-all-the-time choices in Toronto, NYC, PDX, and California. It’s a nice reminder here that smaller places can be just as friendly and rewarding!

The non-food highlight of my weekend? Was totally seeing Sloan play all of Twice Removed live at one of the Rifflandia park stages on Saturday. Holy mid-90s flashback, Batman. Also, still one of my favourite live bands ever. Slooooooo-oooooaaaaan.

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Raw Vegan Nutella Cream Pie

by Ainslie on September 8, 2012

I mean, technically it’s a raw chocolate hazelnut cream pie, but we all have this thing about nutella, don’t we? Like, I say “nutella” and you’ll probably trip over your face running fast to get a piece of this pie. So, that’s what we’re calling it. Because that’s what nutella is, minus the garbage oils and gross dairy – chocolate, and hazelnut.

Long story short, we kept asking my dad what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday, and he kept saying “angel food cake,” and my mom and I were like “…yeah, no, that’s not going to happen unless you go to the grocery store and buy yourself one and do some secret eating sooooooooo…what do you REALLY want for your birthday cake?”

And because I’m not the worst daughter ever, and I know he loves nutella/chocolate-hazelnut stuff I was like, how about a raw vegan nutella cream pie (hint: pie is the other key ingredient here) and he was like, yeahokomnomnomnom, and here we are.

I mean, it all went down something like that anyway.

Plus, there’s some seriously awesome raw, cold pressed hazelnut oil being produced on Salt Spring Island now, and I got a little bottle, and I needed somewhere to try it out. Needed.

So, I swear to bananas that this thing is easier than how fancy it looks. I used a Vitamix turbo-charged-space-rocket-ship-super-fancy blender, but, like, you don’t even really need one of those. Just make sure you soak your nuts for a good few hours. And who doesn’t like soaking their nuts, amirite guys?

Hhhaaaaanyways. Recipe.

Raw Vegan Nutella Cream Pie

Raw Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Pie

Crust

1 cup walnuts
1 cup hazelnuts
1 loosely packed cup pitted medjool dates
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp maple syrup

In a food processor fitted with ‘s’ blade, process walnuts, hazelnuts, and salt until fine crumb. DO NOT overprocess, or walnuts will start to release oil and the crust will get bad-sticky and you’ll look like this -> :’( The hazelnuts will stay a bit chunkier, but trust me that’s ok. Stop blending as soon as it’s crumb-y. Add dates, and process until it sticks together when you pinch a bit in your fingers. Add cacao and process until mixed. Add maple syrup and blend once more real quick until incorporated and sticky. Press into bottom of spring-form pan. A fun trick is to line the bottom of your pan with parchment paper for easy removal later.

Pop that sucker into the freezer while you whip up the filling part. Don’t forget to eat a handful of the crust, it’ll taste like a brownie when you squish it together.

Nutella Filling of Deliciousness

1 cup raw cashews
1 cup raw hazelnuts
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
optional: 1 tbsp cold pressed hazelnut oil, or few drops hazelnut extract
additional: 1-2 tbsp extra water, to blend well

Soak your nuts, bitches. If you’re blending with a Vitamix, Blendtect or other high speed blender, you can get away with soaking 1/2-1 hour. If your blender is a bit less space-age, you should soak 2+hours. You can even soak overnight in the fridge, if you wanna get as creamy as possible.

Place drained, soaked nuts and remaining ingredients in blender. Starting at the lowest speed, work your way gradually up to the highest speed you can get, stirring as needed, to achieve creamy, creamy, deliciousness. You can totally add a few extra tablespoons of water if you need to keep things blending smoothly.

Because the hazelnuts are super hard, the mixture may still have a bit of a grain to it, but that’s cool.

Pour mixture on top of crust, return to freezer until solid. Serve at just below room temp, it’s easiest to cut if it’s refrigerator-cold.

Pro-tip: For super magic easy removal of spring-form pan – DO IT WHILE THE PIE IS STILL FROZEN. Nothing will stick to the sides of your pan, and you’ll be a seriously happy camper. Just sayin’.

BONUS Chocolate Ganache Topping

1 part coconut oil, melted
1 part raw cacao powder
1/2 part maple syrup
pinch salt

Melt + whisk everything together. Drizzle on top of pie before chilling for fancy swirly decorations, or just drizzle over prior to serving.

And then you omnomnom it down until you don’t even want to think about chocolate until…tomorrow…for breakfast…maybe. Hotdamn chocolate and hazelnuts are good together. Mrrrrrowr.

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Hey guys, check it out. I started a cooking show.

…ok not really. But sort of? I’ve seriously taken to video blogging + related activities lately, and last week I made my first proper cooking video. I mean, that time I made and ate vegan fish custard a la Doctor Who barely counts…because it was just an EATING video, not a COOKING video. (Hey – fun fact – did you know that when they filmed The Doctor eating “fish fingers” and custard…he wasn’t actually EATING FISH? It was some sort of coconutty thing made to look like fish fingers. The more you know!)

But I digress.

A few months ago I became obsessed with the idea of making vegan corndogs. What can I say, one day after an epic vlogbrothers marathon, complete with endless corndog references…I HAD TO TRY IT.

I’ve never had a “real” corndog. And as far as I can tell, there are no packaged vegan corndogs available (the Yves and Morningstar ones both appear to have milk + eggs in the cornbread part), soooo time to make my own?!

ANYWAY. I got some tofurky dogs. I got this recipe from The Hungry Herbivore, which I mostly followed…actually, pretty closely considering my usual disregard for recipes. And.

A WILD AND DELICIOUS VEGAN CORNDOG APPEARED. Ok, just watch the video already, ugh.

I’m thinking I might try making some vegan shawarma for my next episode…thoughts?

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I Ate The Mail: May Vegan Swap Shazam!

by Ainslie on May 30, 2012

Holy parcel of vegan deliciousness in the mail, batfriends!

I don’t get much in the way of mail, these days. I mean, I get about fifteen hundred bazillions emails a day, about two of which tend to actually interest me. But, like, MAIL MAIL? In the MAILBOX? Yeah, not so much. I even switched all my bills and bank statements to some sort of electronic wizardry last summer before I went off traveling, soooo. You know those super exciting two seconds of OMG I GOT MAIL feels that occur before you flip the envelope and realise it’s just another credit card statement and not an exciting old timey missive composed on parchment with a quill…yeah, I don’t even get those two seconds of feels anymore.

BUT I DID THIS MONTH. I GOT SO MANY MAIL FEELS, YOU GUYS. AND THEN I GOT TO EAT IT. I ATE THE MAIL.

Um. Well. I mean, I didn’t eat the whole parcel. I ate it’s contents.

This is just coming out all wrong. Maybe I should start over.

My friend MeShell over at In Your City started up a Canada-only Vegan Swap , wherein a bunch of charming Canadian vegans get together and trade delicious parcels of vegan treats between themselves and around the country.

May was my first month taking part, and I have to say I was as stoked to put together a little parcel for someone as I was to receive my own treats. I sent an epically, insanely west coast little bunch of treats to Jill at Vegan Cuts.

And then I received a DELICOUS envelope from the lovely Sarina of Earthgiven. Sarina – all I can say is…I devoured everything within two or three days, so you know it was a hit! OMNOMNOM.

I went for the potato chips first, because, well, I have never met a potato chip I did not want in my face. These were probably the best OMGWTFBBQ flavour I’ve ever had – salty savoury and just a touch sweet, but not too much. NOM.

Then the next morning I nommed down the Vega in a “smoothie” of mango, hemp seeds, and water. I know. Fancy. I don’t know what witchcraft Vega have done, but this was WAY tastier than it used to be. I swore off “natural” flavour Vega YEARS ago. I mean, I like healthy. I just…don’t want it to taste THAT healthy. But I see more Vega in my near future, now that they’ve fixed themselves. Good jorb, guys.

And then there were the raw nacho chips from Live, in Toronto. Oh, what a delicious nostalgic surprise treat! As some of you know, and some of you don’t know…I used to work at Live. And yes, I ate many a delicous nacho slathered in guac, salsa, and cashew sour cream. And sometimes jalapeno jelly. And walnut taco meat. Mmmmmmm, Live nachos. Someone go there and eat some of those for me ASAP, ‘k? I dipped these guys in some delicious red chili sauce I had made for a batch of enchiladas, and lo it was crazy delish.

IN CONCLUSION. MAIL: IT’S DELICIOUS.

Thanks a super duper bunch for the noms, Sarina! And thanks for the organizing, MeShell! And thanks for the mail-receiving, Jill!

Go sign up for the next round of Canada Vegan Swap, if you’re a Canada…ian. What. I know words. Oh, and I guess if you’re a USA…ian what likes edible mail, you should go check out the American Swap. If you’re a rest-of-the-world-ian…I don’t know what to tell you. Sorry? I’m Canadian, that’s what we say. Sorry.

Now, I must go edit video of OMG VEGAN CORNDOGS YOU GUYS. So, like, expect that on my youtube tomorrow, and on the blog…maybe tomorrow, maybe Friday. Vegan. Corndogs. Yeah.

In the meantime, you should watch Hank Green eating vegetarian corndogs and saying a bunch of smart stuff about eating less meat. God, I love it when omnivores talk sense about eating less meat.

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