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A while back I found myself in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada) with my family for the weekend. This meant investigating the veggie eateries in town! We ended up eating at the super swanky looking but spectacularly vegetarian unfriendly hotel restaurant for lunch on the first day (not kidding, there were zero vegetarian options, not even the usual paltry side salad) but fortunately Edmonton redeemed itself by brunch the following morning at Padmanadis. We were quite the group that headed out that morning; a vegan, a vegetarian with a bunch of food restrictions (no gluten, peanuts, soy, dairy, corn, and a couple of other things I think), a diabetic allergic to spinach, and three omnivores with varying levels of veggie acceptance. Fortunately for all of us, we had a most enjoyable time and better yet, everyone loved their food!! Two thumbs up for that! 🙂 When we were there the restaurant wasn’t terribly busy (Sunday for brunch) and while I didn’t take any pictures of the actual restaurant, it was nice,spacious and bright with fun pictures (apparently of staff and frequent patrons) adorning the walls. My good friend who resides in Edmonton, called Padmanadi’s the hip place for Edmonton vegans and I can definitely see why, that being said I think it has a good balance between hip and modern and ‘hippie’. My parents felt comfortable dining there (unlike some of the other vegan/veggie establishments we have been to in the past, which have garnered some comments about the waitstaff etc.) and my father even talked about suggesting it to a business associate who coordinates work meetings and dinners. Also, fairly irrelevant, but I LOVED the taps in the bathroom! They were basically a glass bowl with a glass disk held above it, which water ran onto and over into the bowl, creating a little waterfall effect.

So about that food, eh? As I mentioned, we came for brunch so that was the menu we ordered off of. We had an extremely helpful and chipper waiter who was happy to answer our (many) questions about ingredients etc. and was happy to offer suggestions on what to order which was much appreciated by me the indecisive among us. In my defense, this is actually the first entirely vegan restaurant I have ever been to, and it was quite novel to be able to choose absolutely ANYTHING off the menu!! So, what did we end up ordering?

Up first is the hot rice cereal with coconut milk (one of the few options that my friend with all the food restrictions could have- as an aside, she said previously when she ate there, off the dinner menu, there was basically nothing that she could eat, however they were open to whipping something up for her) My dad also got a small side dish of this, they both thought it was fantastic and quite decadent (akin to rice pudding).

My Dad also got the French Toast (banana coconut french toast with mango compote). This was a big hit; he loves tropical flavours and french toast so this checked quite a few boxes for him!

My brother got the spicy eggplant omelette. He was iffy about the eggplant at first but I convinced him to order it anyways and I think he might have a more favourable opinion of eggplant now. Also, this came with Daiya cheese, and as one of the omnivores in the group, I was pleasantly surprised to hear nothing of the lack of real cheese flavour. I always figure that vegan stuff probably tastes ‘real’ to me because I just don’t remember what the dairy/meat product tastes like, but I would say this is a firm vote for the authenticity of Daiya.

My mom and her college roommate (the diabetic) both got the traditional eggs benedict. I think at first the non-vegan names threw them for a loop (they kept asking if the ham, cheese, egg etc. was ‘real’) but they both enjoyed it and had a fun time dissecting the dish to figure out the various components (the ‘egg’ had a butternut squash ‘yolk’ etc.).

Lastly, I got the Thai Benedict, which I was assured was not spicy, and sure enough, it was well within my tolerable level of heat (aka, basically not spicy at all). I loved the flavourings of the dish, although really with peanut and cilantro, I’m not sure how you can go wrong! 🙂 Most of us also got the house root vegetable fries on the side, which were lovely (not greasy at all which was a pleasant surprise!) and contained taro root (the white with purple flecks right near the little bowl of salsa), which was a new veggie for many of us (and which our waiter happily gave us the name of). Since then, I got myself a taro root and chopped it up and baked it in the oven with sweet potatoes-very tasty!

That’s not all though, we splurged for dessert too (I was especially excited about this even though I really wasn’t hungry for it at all, but who can pass up the opportunity to actually order and eat dessert!?)

There was rice pudding, chocolate hazelnut cheesecake (oh yes!), and panna cotta ordered. All were deemed delicious, with much discussion on how one would make the recipes vegan etc.

All in all, I thought Padmanadis was fantastic, great food at reasonable prices, great service and great company! I would highly recommend it if you ever find yourself in Edmonton. I also really enjoyed the opportunity for the omnivores in the group to try vegan food in a relaxed atmosphere (they really don’t push the vegan aspect, which I think probably serves it well in Alberta, which isn’t exactly the most vegan friendly province! ;)) and the discussions about the food, ingredients, and preparation that ensued. Here’s hoping we all went away with a little more open minds and full, happy bellies. 🙂

Kathleen

I quite enjoy blog posts that are simply about recent meals a blogger may have eaten. I find I often see recipes that I would have sworn up and down weren’t in a certain cookbook, but that definitely sound delicious. So, a few meals I’ve enjoyed recently:
Vegan YumYum’s Broccoli Daal:

Appetite for Reduction’s Butternut Apple Soup

The Uncheese Cookbook’s Broccoli Rice Casserole:

Appetite for Reduction’s Sundried Tomato-Walnut Dressing over salad, quinoa, roasted potatoes, zucchini, and tempeh, and glazed beets. And finally, I made the fortunate (unfortunate?) discovery that it is possible to find mainstream Christmas candy that happens to be vegan. If I eat half my body weight in liquor filled chocolates over the next few days, I can’t be held accountable!

Um, yum. 🙂

-Eve

Wowee, I haven’t been doing so well with the whole once a day blogging business this week but I am attempting to make up for my bad behaviour by blogging over the weekend. Alas, today I don’t have much for ya, the day was more about Nutcracker rehearsals (can you believe how close the holidays are!?) and schoolwork than exciting foodstuffs. Despite that, I whipped up this lunch which was one of those “gaze into the fridge to see what kind of ingredients can be mixed together with minimal chances of gastrointestinal distress down the road.

I am calling it Spaghetti Squash Primavera, but really think spaghetti squash plus random other veggies and nooch. It was pretty good (could have used some more spices I think, and maybe some onions) and got rid of quite a few items that had been languishing in the fridge for far too long so I would call it a success!

I used about four cups of cooked spaghetti squash that had been living in the fridge destined to be eaten with tomato sauce until I realized I was out of canned tomatoes, mixed in with a couple of drained oil packed artichoke hearts (the huge jar taking up valuable real estate in the fridge is now finally gone! :D), some sun dried tomatoes, and a baggie of kale that was waay past its prime. Sauteed the artichokes and sundried tomatoes, then tossed in the chopped kale and finished off by adding in the squash (really to heat it up since the frying pan was already dirty) and then topped it off with dried basil, parsely and oregano and copious amounts of nooch.

Back tomorrow with chocolatey reviews! 🙂

-K

I’m in a food rut. I haven’t made a new cookbook recipe for weeks and weeks, and I certainly haven’t been creating exciting new recipes of my own. That being said, my food rut is full of tasty foods, so I’m really not complaining (much). In no particular order, here are some things that have been making repeat appearances in my eats over the last couple of weeks.

1) Ants of a log.

Justin Timberlake can handle sexy, and I’ll bring back ants on a log. This snack is pretty much a daily occurrence.

2) Avocados. Last week I scored four perfectly ripe, enormous and delicious organic avocados for 69 cents apiece, so I’ve been chowing down on them pretty regularly! I can’t believe that only a couple years ago, I despised them, because now they’re definitely one of my favourite things to eat! The little grocery store I live close to has SUCH good prices on organic produce – I’m really going to miss it once I move out west in…..5 weeks. Eeek!)

Here they make an appearance as guacomole in raw tacos, with a walnut/red pepper pate-ish filling, and carrot stick on the side (because I’m vegan, and I eat carrot sticks):
And on top of snobby joes (V’con) and brown rice fusili. Tasty, but then  I went back for seconds and subsequently felt like I had eaten a brick. Portion control is not my strong suit.
3) Steel cut oats. I’m pretty sure pictures of oatmeal don’t make for scintillating blog content, so I’ll spare you. But seriously, steel cut oats are amazing! I always have a smoothie for breakfast, so lunch and supper oats have been occurring regularly.

4) Apples. See above for reasoning on lack of pictures. For the longest time, I hated apples,  and then I had braces and avoided eating them because by the time I managed to shave off a complete circle around the apple with my brace-festooned teeth, the first of my awkward nibbles were already turning brown. Thankfully, I am now brace-free and making up for lost time from my apple-hating days. SO juicy and good!

5) Almond butter, specifically:
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Raw almond butter is a bit of a splurge, but I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to return to roasted. Roasted almond butter is definitely good, but raw almond butter is so mild and sweet that it nearly rivals peanut butter in sheer tastiness. I’m totally enamored.

So, my goal for this week is to make at least one new recipe from a cookbook. Totally do-able, right? With my recent track record, we can only hope! I’ll keep you posted! 🙂
-Eve

I don’t know about you, but the warmer weather means that I am craving huge salads like crazy!
Tonight I had a heap o’ greens with corn, and red pepper, carrots, tomato, and a crisped up GF corn tortilla…..

…..with an enormous bowl of super yummy and totally unphotogenic guacomole, (which is a bit thin looking because I like mine with lots of lime juice).

And if I weren’t so full, I’d be gobbling up some strawberries that are currently calling screaming my name from the fridge. Perhaps later…. 🙂

Hooray summer produce!
-Eve

I’m lucky in that I live within walking distance to an awesome small natural foods store that has great prices on organic produce. However, the nearest ‘real’ grocery store is so far away that I try to put off going until my boyfriend is in town, since he has a car and is awesome about driving me to the store. (shopping + bus = no fun). Anyways, it had been a while (2 months!) since he has been able to get away from school to come visit, and I was kind of doing an inadvertent pantry challenge, because I was running out of everything! He’s here for the week during his spring break, and we’ve since gone shopping. Everywhere I look I see things that I haven’t had in my kitchen for weeks and weeks – canned tomatoes, cinnamon, curry powder, vanilla extract, lentils, split peas, hot sauce, ketchup… I could go on, but you catch my drift. Anyways, a couple extremely tasty meals we’ve had recently:

Vegetable (cauliflower, peas, carrots) and red lentil curry over brown basmati rice:

Pizza!!!! With gluten free crust! And daiya! I snapped a picture of cold leftover pizza, so the cheeze doesn’t look as melty as it was when it was fresh out of the oven.

Seriously, I haven’t had pizza this good in aaaages. My boyfriend ordered the daiya (along with some other tasty treats!) from Vegan Essentials before he came up from the states to visit, so I finally got to try it! It is SO good! I usually hate the taste of vegan mozzarella, but after the first few bites of this, I thought it tasted pretty much exactly like dairy cheese. I wasn’t head over heels with the texture (but it stretches!), but I can’t say I ever really liked the texture of dairy pizza cheese either so I’m probably not the best judge of that. However, on top of a pizza with all sorts of great vegetarian fixings, it was pretty awesome.

The crust is Bob’s Red Mill GF pizza crust mix, made with the flax seed option. The texture was very impressive, and the taste was quite good, especially when I made it a bit thinner. I see far fewer tortilla ‘crust’ pizzas in my future…..

-Eve

I was beginning to think that I was going to get away with a virtually snow free Ontario winter, but then this afternoon happened:

…and kept happening!

It’s supposed to keep snowing, so I guess it’s not quite spring yet! 😦 I am so excited for warmer weather! (and the sun!)

I’ve been munching on some cream of cauliflower soup (with a cheezy twist):

No recipe, but it has onions, garlic, 1/2 head cauliflower , 1/2 block firm tofu (regular), veg. stock, almond milk, nutritional yeast and a bit of paprika and dried mustard. It’s quite tasty, but for some reason it tastes EXACTLY like chicken noodle soup to me. Of course, I’m nearing a decade of vegetarianism, so I might just be nuts! I was skeptical of how well the regular tofu would work as a creamy base, but I was pleasantly surprised by the good texture the soup had.

And, some raw(ish) rum balls that, rum aside, are super healthy:

Walnuts, flax meal, oats, pecans, cacao, agave, and a splash of dark rum. I bet they’d be great with coconut and/or dates too!

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I’m excited for the last ice dancing show tonight! I’m rooting for Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, obviously! They skated so well last night, and they look set to take gold! I love watching the single and pairs figure skating, but I think I might actually prefer the ice dancing – it’s way less stressful to watch – no crazy throws or jumps!

Has anyone else been watching more than their fair share of the Olmpics? Any other figure skating fans? I’m secretly glad that I only like to watch the skating, because otherwise I wouldn’t be getting anything done these days! 🙂

-Eve

Another wrap-up of weekly eats:

Breakfast pudding! This is a delicious and nutritious way to start your day! Quinoa, pineapple, raspberries, walnuts, and soymilk. I based it off of this recipe from Bobs Red Mill but to make it more breakfast appropriate I ditched the sugar, cornstarch and yogurt (although you could add the yogurt if you have it, makes it nice and creamy). The recipe makes lots too, so you have several breakfasts worth.

My beans, lentils and grains are stored in glass jars in my kitchen and the full jar of mung beans purchased on a whim quite some time ago has been sitting, untouched, since then. I have never used mung beans and didn’t know what to use them in or where to start, so I just avoided them, that is until now. Enter Kitcheree from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen, when I spotted the recipe and noted that I had most of the ingredients on hand, I popped into the kitchen and got started. This recipe makes a lot!! I found it to be a bit lacking in the spice department, but I am sure that is due to my ‘make due’ efforts with the spices I had, rather than the recipe.

Sundried Tomato Soup. Yes this was one of my Valentines Day recipe attempts. Alas, it tasted fairly remensicent of pasta sauce, so no recipe. I ate it up like a champ though and it did mix very well with chickpeas and nutritional yeast!

In other, non food, news, the show we did over Valentines weekend had young ballet students in it. They are so sweet and gave us all little gifts and wanted us to sign the programs etc. I love being a part of that dream for them but I don’t really feel qualified yet, I still feel like the starry eyed kid!

Regardless of the fact that winter, and thus the need for a winter coat, is basically over (or so the calendar says) I have started working on sewing up a winter coat. Since all the vegan ones I have seen cost money are way out of my price range, I decided it would be much better to just make my own. We’ll see how it goes…

 

Hope you are all enjoying watching the Olympics as much as I am. Eve and I have been having nightly Gmail chats while we are both watching the figure skating! So much fun! 🙂

-K

Sushi, Salad and Soup! Seems like thats all I’ve been eating lately, barring breakfast.

Last week I picked up a HUGE container of organic leafy greens. When I say huge, I really do mean it, it was a 2lb container and I honestly could hardly fit it into my (apartment-sized) fridge. However it was $2 more than a 1lb container so I really couldn’t resist, and since I finished it up today for supper, I would say it was a wise investment. Regardless, it has resulted in a salad-heavy diet lately.

Orange, Almond and Poppyseed Salad

Salad with Roasted Root Veggies

 

Like I have mentioned before, I like making up big batches of food on the weekend so I don’t have to do much preparation for meals. Soups, stews and chili’s are always excellent choices, particularly at this time of year. My soup of the week was the Sweet Pepper Coconut Corn Chowder from ExtraVeganza along with Heidi’s Lively Yourself up Lentil Soup.

First time for the corn chowder, I liked it despite using half the coconut milk in the recipe. Next time I might try blending up some dried coconut with water to add to the soup. Also, because I used full-fat coconut milk, the fat crusted onto the top of the soup when stored in the fridge which wasn’t terribly appetizing, however a quick stint in the microwave remedied that, but just a note if you plan on eating it cold.

 

I’ve made the lentil soup many times before and am a big fan. I always leave out the saffron yogurt, although someday I really think I should give it a go, since I could see some people finding the soup a bit lacking in the flavour department the way I make it.

 

The sushi was kind of a random addition. Pardon the photo, there is a much nicer one over with the original recipe. I saw Ricki’s post and since I have always wanted to try making raw sushi and I liked her use of almonds rather than the usual cauliflower or pine nut concoction (though I do intend to give those a fair try someday too), I figured I would make up a batch. Well, if you have the ingredients on hand, and even if you don’t, I highly reccomend her recipe! Although you might also consider doubling the recipe, as it sure didn’t last long around here. Another note, I made these up the first time using drained oil-packed sundried tomatoes which I really enjoyed. Second go around (see, I told you they were good!) I used store-bought sundried tomatoes and I wasn’t as a big of a fan. Maybe it’s just me, but I find that the packaged dried ones have a strange flavour (I don’t know if it is some chemical used in the preservation process or what) and I could definitely taste it in the sushi. Regardless, I still managed to demolish that batch fairly rapidly, but I might go for either drained oil-packed or Ricki’s homemade method of oven-dried tomatoes.   

 

In other, non-food related news, the Olympics are so close! Maybe it’s because Canada is so hyped up about having them, but I am getting excited! I kind of feel like I shouldn’t likethem, since there are so many ethical problems associated with them but I can’t help but get all wrapped up in the worlds countries coming together and participating peacefully in making some people’s dreams come true!

How about you folks; Olympics, yay or nay?

-K

Once, on a vegan blog, the author explained that she read comments on news sites because she was a glutton for punishment. I figure she must be right, because I can think of no other explaination for why I feel compelled to read through pages and pages of outstandingly inane and offensive comments. Most recently, the comments on an article about the antics of PETA were such that I couldn’t resist posting my own, simply stating that one should avoid making sweeping statements – after all, many vegetarians, vegans, and animal rights activists don’t approve of PETA’s shock tactics. My comment garnered a personal reply from one individual, who informed me: “If YOU don’t want to consume animal products, that’s fine…but I do…and I couldn’t care less the means at which the steak gets from the pasture to my plate!!!” Couldn’t care less? Really?

In any case, he goes on to explain “As soon as you can convince a bear to stop catching and eating fish…I’ll turn!!! And as you’re trying to convince Mr. Bear and he starts to maul you…I’ll try to convince him not to kill/eat you…won’t shoot him though. Sounds ridiculous…right???”

…..Well yes, it does, but not for the reasons I’m assuming you’re going for….

I can’t handle the flame wars that people get drawn into on anonymous message boards. Needless to say, the comment section of this particular article was full of hatred. Many people were calling for beating PETA members, bashing them senseless, sending them to hell, and so forth. Honestly? Yikes. When I read things like this, I feel jittery and anxious. I’m not sure where all these angry, nasty people hide out. Is it a club? Do they have meetings? Does anyone want to let me know, so that I can stay far, far away?

In any case, I could never deal with that sort of aggression face to face, and for that reason, I know I’ll never do any real activism, even though veganism is something I do feel very strongly about. In the meantime, I’m going to think happy thoughts and try not to consider the plight of humanity.

Roasted broccoli helps.

One bunch broccoli, washed, trimmed, and sliced. Tossed with sesame oil and soy sauce (or tamari/braggs), and roasted at 450F until browned around the edges.

Will convert even the most broccoli-shy person, myself included.

I promise.

-Eve