Welcome to the Sweet Life!

Welcome to the Sweet Life!

• Adventures in a Vegan Kitchen
• Eating out in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal
• Organic, Natural & Vegan products

Monday, 30 May 2011

A Sweet Monday

Summer has arrived in Toronto!

And I kicked the day off with a bang.
Apple pie for breakfast, yes siree I did. Oh and a mango smoothie too.

After picking up a mini pie yesterday from Apiecalypse Now! at the Distillery Market I was eager to try it because well I think I haven't had pie since last summer.A shame I know.
Look how cute the pie is!

So how did it taste?? Well the crust was nice and flaky while the filling was sweet and cinnamon-y. A very good combo with local and organic apples - perfect! Try this pie and other goodies, they are selling on Sundays!
I paired it with a mango smoothie (6 frozen mango cubes, 1/3 cup almond milk. 1/3 cup orange juice. 1 scoop of Vega Tropical Tango, 1 tbsp chia seeds) to round out this breakfast.

Feeling energized I set out biking to Port Credit, took some photos of the lake.

Rested on a park bench, had a snack also from Apiecalypse Now, Lemon Loaf slice (we bought the whole loaf but Jim was taking it to work this week for a snack, so I stole some first!) it was very refreshing, I absolutely love lemon zest in loaf cakes. it gave me the boost I needed to head home.

Arrived back home almost 2 hours later at a much slower pace than I originally set out, sadly and accidentally crushed a snail with my bike (stupid bike), then finally finished the backyard garden with plants and seeds sown. Planted in here are: tomatoes, carrots, beets, lettuce, bell peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant, celery and watermelon. We'll see what happens!

Green Beans are growing. Out of the first 6 seeds I planted 3 weeks ago, only 1 took off so then I tried again with 5 more seeds about a week and a half ago. Obvious which one got the head start. 

Edamame, 5 seeds were sown, 5 plants are growing (planted 3 weeks ago)!

Now off to bed, I am still sad about the snail...but otherwise it was a sweet day.
How was your Monday?

Have a sweet day!

Sunday, 29 May 2011

A Perfect Weekend

Today was my sister's birthday, but we celebrated yesterday with dinner and a cake, I didn't want to feel left out so I went to Kindfood for some vegan cupcakes.

I knew I would love the coconut one - I love coconut everything! I gave my sis the chocolate mint - because that's her type of thing.

Today was a pretty great day, the weather held up so Jim and I went downtown.

To start off the day we headed down to the Distillery District to check out the Sunday Market.

We popped into the Cube Works Studio that featured some neat art like these completely made out of rubik's cubes. I really liked pac man.

Then I hunted down the Apiecalypse Now booth for some vegan treats. I love supporting local vegan bakers!

I got me a mini apple pie and Jim the lemon loaf, and we split a slice of banana bread!
 We ate the slice of banana bread right away (yummy!) and saved the pie and loaf until later.

Back in about January I had seen a preview for the movie Forks Over Knives and I couldn't wait until it came out to see it. I had planned to go on opening night here in Toronto but something else came up so I had to wait a bit longer. I finally saw it today and it was great! I loved the China Study when I read it two years ago and was impressed to see it come to life on screen. I strongly believe if people see this movie it will change their minds, and open them up to a whole new perspective and lifestyle. I hope more people opt to prevent disease instead of waiting to go the route of a bandaid fix when it's too late.

My favourite quote that sums it all up: "The answer isn't another pill, the answer is spinach"

Following the movie, we headed over to Rawlicious to take advantage of their special for a smoothie, wrap and side salad for $15 (with a Forks Over Knives movie stub).

This time I tried the caesar wrap because I had heard it was amazing, and indeed it was fantastic! I had it with the Raspberry Bliss Smoothie and a side salad with balsamic dressing.

Jim chose the taco wrap (I loved it last time I was here) and he really enjoyed it as well. He had the strawberry milkshake which was heavenly and a side salad with balsamic dressing.

For dessert I had the brownie.

Jim had the cheesecake (today it was chocolate banana).

By the time I got back home I was too stuffed to try the pie and loaf - I'm looking forward to trying them at breakfast tomorrow!

Have you seen or are you planning on seeing Forks Over Knives? It's not in theatres for very long so if you haven't seen it go soon!
Have you tried Apiecalypse Now baked goods? They are at the Sunday Market all summer in Toronto's Distillery District - check them out if you can :)

Have a sweet day!

Friday, 27 May 2011

Frozen Yogurt

Just a few months ago a new frozen yogurt shoppe opened on Yonge Street here in Toronto, and today I got to try it out. Luckily I have a friend who lives in the area who told me about it and bought me my first frozen Yogurt in over 2 years.
They have various flavours of frozen yogurt, including 2 dairy free options!
The dairy free options were: Green Apple and Pink Grapefruit - I tried both!!!

The concept of the place is neat, sort of buffet style, take a cup, fill it with the flavours you want, head to the topping stations, yes I said stations...there are 2 of them. First you fill up on fruit if that's your sort of thing: berries, banana, pineapple, kiwi ete... then on to the goodies: toasted coconut, granola, graham cracker crumbs and many more. There were also sauces: strawberry, chocolate and caramel I think.

Take your cup to the cash and have it weighed to pay.

Here's what I got:
Green apple and pink grapefruit frozen yogurt, toasted coconut, graham cracker crumbs, pineapple...
MMM look at that!


Have a sweet day!

The BEST Mac and Cheese (Vegan & Gluten free)

Happy Friday!

I recently made Chef Chloe's recipe for the BEST Vegan Mac N' Cheese, and this is seriously good stuff. It can be as creamy as you like just by adding more non-dairy milk. I got thumbs up on this one.

Here's the recipe, I didn't follow it to a T and it still was phenomenal. I didn't have broccoli but I've had it with green beans one day and with cauliflower another.

I also used rice pasta and garbanzo bean flour to keep this gluten-free!
What I really love is how versatile this "cheese" is. It can be used as a veggie dip, poured over nachos with all the fixings, or drizzle on a veggie burger, lasagne and anywhere you want to substitute for cheddar cheese.

A bonus is that this recipe uses nutritional yeast that is very good for you.
Nutritional yeast is a low-fat, low-sodium, kosher, non-GMO food that contains no added sugars or preservatives. The cane and beet molasses used in the growing process does not make nutritional yeast sweet and is not a source of simple sugars. It does not contain active yeast and 1 tbsp contains 4 grams of fibre, 8 grams of protein and 130% of your daily value of vitamin B12!

Delicious & Nutritious!
Do you have a mac and cheese recipe that you follow? what else do you use the "cheese" on?

Have a sweet day!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Dinner at Raw Aura

Last night I met up with a vegan friend to have dinner at Raw Aura, the only raw restaurant in Mississauga.

I really like eating there because the food makes you feel really good and energized, I need to go there more often!

I ordered the Big Salad which is actually a HUGE salad, as the server said "that salad is quite the commitment"  and it's true! In it was: kale and romaine lettuce, avocado, cucumber, tomato, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, red pepper, onions and hummus and live breadsticks! I'm not sure what the dressing on it was, but it was perfect with sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

It was massive and delicious, took me about an hour but I finished it!

My friend ordered the Sweet and Sour Noodles which was amazing (and spicy) with the zucchini noodles and almond sauce and veggies.

For dessert I got the Apple Crumble. I loved the cinnamon zing.

My friend got the Brownie which was stellar, I need to make a raw brownie like that!

This restaurant is ridiculously close to my home so I need to eat here more often especially because their menu is so drool-worthy it's hard for me to decide on anything!

Have you been to Raw Aura? If so what is your fav thing on the menu? I love their kale chips but didn't have room this time :(

Have a sweet day!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Girls Weekend in Ottawa

"Each human being is expected to be a soulful ambassador of good-
will to improve the standard of mankind." - Sri Chinmoy

I hope everyone had a nice long weekend. It turned out pretty nice weather-wise so I was glad to have spent the time in Canada's capital. My friend is moving out west so we thought we'd take advantage of the east while she's still here.

For the 4 hour drive I made some Peanut Butter Rice Crisp Squares. (Chocolate Chips in 2/3 of the batch).

I had a destination on my list (a vegan one) so first thing we did upon arrival was to venture out to find Auntie Loo's Treats (bakery) to pick up some cupcakes and whatever other goodies we saw. Good thing my travel buddies were up for the hike, this place was a bit out of the main area where we were staying and closed at 3:00 on Saturday (closed Sunday and Monday) so it really was now or never.

We made it 45 mins before closing!

Our purchase...

Strawberry Lemonade Cake (other purchases included Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcake, Earl Grey Lemon Cupcake, Pineapple Upside down cake and coffee cake).

Then a stop for a bite at Jak's Kitchen where I had a tofu wrap with greens and yam chips. Delicious!

After sight-seeing at Parliament Hill, and a river sunset cruise, we headed to the Byward Market for dinner saturday night, and ended up at Shafali Fine Indian. If you've never been to Byward Market, it is one of Canada's oldest and largest public markets (dating back to 1826) approx 4 square blocks consisting of museums, cafes, pubs, specialty food stores, boutiques, galleries, salons and it is very pedestrian friendly!
Back to dinner, this is Shafali's:

We ordered: Dal, Naan, Stuffed Naan, Aloo Gobi, Rice, Coconut Curry. Very tasty and a fun dining experience!

Sunday morning we went back to the Byward Market so I could check out a veggie cafe called Peace Garden Cafe. 
I had a thai sweet potato soup, samosa and a mango raspberry smoothie.

This cafe has artwork by Sri Chinmoy (spiritual teacher) with many inspirational messages, like this one. Love it!

Overall it was a fun trip, exhausting because we did so much and I really like Ottawa, especially Byward Market. I will be coming back soon. There were other veggie/vegan restaurants so I have plenty to visit next time!

What did you do for the May long weekend?
Have you been to Ottawa?

Have a sweet day!

Friday, 20 May 2011

Raw Raw ooh la la

Last night I dined at Rawlicious with a friend and we both were pretty impressed with the experience.
I had been to the Yorkvile location before (for take out) so this time we dined in.
I really like the atmosphere, and the amazing smell of the restaurant.

For drinks I ordered the Pure Pleasure juice (orange juice, apple juice and pineapple juice), it was beyond my expectations. My friend got the lemonade which was nice too because it wasn't overly sweet and not too sour either.

For a starter - Spring Rolls
The were very light and refreshing, we loved them. And the cashew sauce it came with!

Within 5 seconds of looking at the menu I had made my decision...the Taco Wrap, it just called out to me with the guacamole, nut cheese and salsa wrapped up in a collard green. I fell in love and would definitely get this again! It is a must try.

My friend ordered the special of the day, samosas with a side salad. It came with a cashew, cucumber, mint sauce, and side salad. She really liked this dish!
I had a hard time choosing a dessert as the Strawberry Tart and Brownie were tempting me, but I chose the lemon cheesecake with blueberry sauce and it was creamy and light but tangy and delicious. This screamed summer and sunny skies.

My friend ordered the cinnamon bun which was good too, very nutty (almond flour and pecan) and coconut with a macadamia nut glaze. It was dense but sweet.

Overall a very good meal that left me comfortably full and I can't wait to go back again soon.

Have a sweet day!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Coconut Bananza Muffin & Mango Smoothie

Hello! Happy Wednesday.

Yesterday was Tuesday (wow I sound like Rebecca Black) so that means Sweet Tooth Tuesday!

I had bananas on the counter that had seen better days so out came the muffin pan because I was making Coconut Bananza Muffins! Who doesn't love coconut and banana? That combo is so tropical I almost forgot where I was until I looked out the window at rain and 11ºC weather, and I remembered oh ya...Toronto.

I had one of these muffin guys this morning for breakfast with a Mango Orange Smoothie.

For the smoothie: 8 chunks of frozen mango, 1/2 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup almond milk, 1 tbsp of chia seeds. Mix in blender for 2 mins and voila!

For the Coconut Bonanza muffins:
4-5 ripe bananas
2/3 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 flax eggs or egg substitute (flax adds a nuttier flavour)
1/4 cup olive oil (next time I'll use coconut oil here)

1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
 1/2 tsp sea salt 

Garnish: shredded coconut or chopped walnuts

Oven preheated to 350ºF. Muffin liners in muffin pan.
Mash the bananas and mix in all wet ingredients. Stir well.
In a separate bowl combine all dry ingredients and stir them.

Add dry to wet in 2 batches, stir until well combined. Pour into muffin cups and garnish (I did 8 with shredded coconut and 4 with chopped walnuts).
Bake for 20-25 mins (check after 15 mins) and poke with a toothpick until it comes out clean.

You could also add cacao nibs or chocolate chips...maybe next time.

Have a sweet day!