I went to visit my parents in Aug and picked up my old breadmaker. I haven’t used this since 2003! Moving a lot and not having a car to bring the damn thing back to Toronto prevented me from reuniting with this friend.

I say friend because I have been reacquainted with the possibilities and money saving benefits this kitchen item gives me.

A good vegan organic loaf of bread costs anywhere from 5-9 bux in Toronto.  Now I can make my own for about $1!

Since warming my little electric baby up to its new home I have made:

"Red River" Bread - grains and flax!

Corn Bread

Italian Herb Bread

Cheese and Onion Buns

Cheese and Onion Buns for your 2 lb bread maker

1 1/3 c weater

3 tb soy milk powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

3 1/2 c Canadian Bread or All Purpose flour or 3 2/3 c American Bread Flour

1/2 c chopped onion

1/3 c cheddar cheeze (I like Sheese strong cheddar or smoked cheddar)

1 1/4 tsp yeast (use 1/4 tsp more if you are using regular non breadmaker yeast)

Set to dough. It’ll take about 2 hours.

Shape the dough and let rise half an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 and bake for about 15 min.

If you’ve wondered what these strange dishes are that you sometimes see in my photos: they are amazing cabbage plates. They belonged to my English grandmother – I think they were made in Japan in the 40’s?? I love them so!

cabbage plate



November 21, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . snax. 1 comment.

Should be called Vegan Month of Joshua

(thanks to everyone for taking part in the “guess what this is” contest. Lots of people were close, but Gina got it right on the money! )

Ok folks, if you haven’t heard or figured it out yet – you NEED to be served Joshua Ploeg food!

Living mostly in Canada I have only had the pleasure of attending Joshua’s vegan dinner parties twice in my life, but that doesn’t stop me from dreaming about them every week!

Joshua is an seasoned punk rocker who keeps the “punk” but throws out the “junk” (aka those bland cooked-in-one-pot chilis or stews that most punks rely on to fill their bellies.)

The key to Joshua’s amazing cooking is ART. Like a sly Dada-ist work or an exquisitely detailed Edward Gory drawing this touring chef mixes spices and food you’ve never dreamed of.  Flavours explode and tastebuds take flight.

I am lucky to own three of Joshua’s cookbooks:  In Search of the Lost Taste, Twelve Knights in my Kingdom, and Something Delicious This Way Comes  (which I gave away in a contest this month on this here blog!) These recipes are not for the “one pot cookers” or people who are afraid of interesting ingredients and ethnic spices. They are not for “make it quick and shovel in yer face eaters”. They are for people who love to cook and love to eat.

My favourite recipe, so far, is Baked CHKN with Kiwi Mayonnaise (from Something Delicious…) :

2 c vegan mayo (I usually use less)

3 kiwis peeled and chopped

1/4 tsp coriander

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp sugar

salt and lemon juice to taste

Blend these until smooth and chill. Store overnight. When ready to use, blend again.

6 vegan “chicken breasts” or firm seasoned tofu cutlets

2 tb t amari

6 lemon slices

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tb brown sugar

1 c gold broth (I just use any veggie broth around)

2 smashed garlic cloves

(sunflower) oil

1 c flour

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp lemon pepper

1/2 tsp sale

1 tb nutritional yeast

1/4 tsp sage

1/4 tsp cayenne

1/4 tsp ginger

olive oil

Marinate the “breasts” overnight in tamari, lemon slices, 1 tsp oregano, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, golden broth and garlic cloves.

When ready to prepare, remove them from marinade and brush with bit of oil. Dredge them through the flour mixed with the other tsp oregano, chili poweder, cumin, garlic powder, lemon pepper, slat, nutritional yeast, sage, cayenne and ginger. Fry them in olive oil until browned. Set them in a greased baking dish and pour the kiwi mayo over them. Sprinkle with pepper and lay the lemon slices from the marinade on top.

Bake 400 D for 25 min.

Also from Something Delicious… [I discovered Zahtar (or Zahter) a few years ago and can’t get enough! Bread or tofu or steamed veggies – everything loves Zahtar!]

Zahter for Pita

3 tb mixed dried oregano, thyme and dill

1/3 to 1/2 c olive oil

salt to taste

pinch of sumac powder

1 to 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

a bit of lemon juice

Mix all of this together and make a paste. Store in fridge at least overnight, until ready to use, then bring to room temperature.

[my fav is to spread on a pita and bake a little!]

This one is from In Search of Lost Taste: Cinnamon-Cashew “Chicken” with Fried Vegetables

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp five spice powder

2 tsp red curry powder

1/2 tsp mustard seed, cumin seed, corriander seed, fennel seed

1 curry leaf or lime lealf

a few tb of sugar or rice syrup

1/4 c sesame oil

1/4 c soy sauce

2 tb rice vinegar

1 small chopped onion

1 c chopped roased cashews

1 tb sesame seeds

1/2 c chopped cilantro

1/4 c chopped Thai basil

1 tsp minced lemongrass

4 clove minced garlic

2 tsp minced ginger

2 tsp minced galangal

4 good sized cutlets of  veggie “chicken or seitan or tempeh

2 c red rice, cooked

In a large pan, cook half of the ingredients up and all of the chickin until cutlets are browned. Add the rice and the rest of the ingredients and cook until heated.

1 c onion

1 diced eggplant

2 copped carrots

a few minced chilis

2 diced bell peppers

1/2 c chopped water chestnut or celery or or crunchies

Saute these veggies in a little oil and then sprinkle with tamari, hoisin sauce, chili sauce or garlic sauce depending on whether you want it sweet, salty, spicy or garlicky.

Sprinkle the whole affair with  a little cinnamon.

Here are some other In Search of The Lost Taste recipes:

Cashew Sesame Shake

Green Bread

Plum and Pistachio Crisp with Ouzo-lemon “ice cream” and rose syrup

Spinach and almond – burgundy olive tapenade pastries

Fried Basil Cakes with tamarind hot sauce and coconut jelly

Chocolate Cake Parfait with cocoa “cream”, berries, sweet wine, chocolate liqueur and shaved chocolate

Lavender Soda

it goes on and on and on!

If you can’t get to one of Joshua’s dinner parties (you are only excused if you live far from a major US city centre) then run out and buy all the cookbooks you can! You will NOT be disappointed with the food that comes out of them 🙂

Broken Heart Vegan Tip #20: Challenge yourself. One easy way is to break open a cookbook and start at it. I recommend anything Joshua Ploeg. Quite the challenge and the results are breath taking!

Broken Heart Song #20

November 15, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . entree, snax. 2 comments.

Baking the Blues Away

There’s nothing like the smell of cinnamon or chocolate coming from your kitchen. It’s especially useful if you are suffering from a broken heart. You’re feeling useless and pitiful but you have the strength to be amazing despite your blues! Get out your favourite vegan baking book and go buy the best baking ingredients you can find. If you live in Toronto I recommend Panacea Eco Shop. Organic and fair trade ingredients galore. And it’s Toronto’s only all vegan grocery store!

Here’s two recipes to get you started.

Cinnamon Chocolate Sour Creem Cake

Yield: 10 – 12-inch bundt pan

This cake is really nice. The cinnamon adds a little surprise to people just expecting regular chocolate cake.

Sour Creem:

1 cup firm silken tofu

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup oil

dash of salt


1/2 cup margarine

1/2 cup oil

2 cups sugar

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons ground flax mixed with 1 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 3/4 cups flour

1/2 cup cocoa

3 teaspoons cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease a 10” or 12” tube (bundt) pan.

2. In a large bowl cream the margarine, oil and sugar until fluffy. Add the flax/water mixture and vanilla, mixing well.

3. In another large bowl sift and mix the dry ingredients.

4. Add the dry mix to the wet bowl, alternately with the sour creem and beating after each addition.

5. Pour into pan and bake approximately 1 hour and 5 minutes. Cool for about 15 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wrack for cooling completely.

Next is something savory, because you shouldn’t eat too much sugar when you have a broken heart. This is a healthy yet really scrumptious and feel good way to get some protein and veggies:

Broccoli, Ham and Cheeze Buns

1 pack yeast

1 c warm water

1/4 c sugar

1 tsp salt

3 c all purpose flour (sift before measure)

1/4 c olive or sunflower oil

1 c steamed broccoli pieces

1/2 c daiya or other cheeze

1/2 c soy ham pieces, fried

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water with sugar and salt.

2.  Add oil and half of the flour. Beat until very smooth

3. Add remaining flour to mixture and blend well.

4. Add the broccoli, cheeze and soy ham.

5. Let dough rise in a greased bowl, with a damp towel on top. Rise until about double in bulk, about 30 min.

6. Drop dough into greased muffin tins, filling each half way. Let rise again for 30 min. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

7. Bake for 15 min.

Broccoli, Ham, Cheeze Dough

Just make sure you choose a bigger bowl to fit your dough that I did. OOPS! I was making a crap load for anti-G20 eaters… so that’s my excuse. 🙂

Broken Heart Vegan Tip #16: Write your thoughts down, diary style. You don’t ever need to show anyone if you don’t want. It’ll help get your emotions out, if you are the kind that tends to hide them, and it’ll help you figure things out, if you are confused. You can look back months later and gather info that will make you get a better idea of who you are, or just look at your emotional progress.

Broken Heart Song #16 (This one is for all those who read the last post and wish I had written about girls breaking hearts)

September 25, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . snax. 3 comments.

When you get irritated…

I’m so sensitive to temperatures lately. At first I was just cold all the time, but in the past few years I’ve also been the first to whine “Turn on the air conditioning!!!” 😛 Personally I think a/c is pretty evil, yet when I am friggin cranky and sweat is pouring I am extremely grateful.

The broken heart does not help in trying to not be heat cranky. When it gets unbearably hot the only way I can seem to deal is to frequently step into a cold shower and eat tons of cold things.

My favourite and easiest is popsicles. If I needed to, I would live off them when the temp gets higher than 82 degrees.

To make things a LITTLE more interesting, I do yogurt pops.

Soy Yogurt Creemcycles

Soy yogurt, frozen orange juice concentrate and almond milk. Blend it up!

Look Ma! No Class!

Broken Heart Vegan Tip #14: Even when you are low down, you’ll need to start thinking about the future. How will you eventually mend this broken heart? Sure it will heal on its own with time – but it’s like a broken appendage. You can’t just let it sit there and not nurture it. It might heal the wrong way and give you pain for the rest of your life. Start thinking about the things you will do to help yourself in the near future. Maybe it’s a simple as in two weeks time you will go to an indie movie and gobble up a big bag of popcorn. (But check the ingredients! I was just told that a lot of movie popcorn has EGG PRODUCTS in it! UG!)

Broken Heart Song #14 (This video changed my life. I saw it, at all places, at The Bay [big department store for all you non-Canadians]. I was 14 and I was mesmerized.)

July 26, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , . dessert, entree, snax. 1 comment.

Good Place to Get Some Thinking Done

Cities can break your heart too… not just beings. Ties to places can be so fragile. People, jobs  – they take you from one place to another. You can move around constantly looking for the perfect home. You may never find it.

Two towns have broke my heart. Town A was a refuge from a bad break up. I crossed the border in 1998 and the guard hauled me in to ask a lot of questions – including “You are visiting someone you met on the internet!?” (We had actually met through MaximimRocknRoll, but I wasn’t going to say “classified section in a punk rock fanzine”!) Now I’m sure you’re thinking, in this day and age of dating online, that I  was going to this town because of a boy… but I wasn’t. Or more like it wasn’t for romantic reasons. Although I did fall for the town itself.

Town A was a shockingly small place for my big city roots, where people would walk into your house unannounced. Where punk rock wasn’t quite like the punk rock I knew from the big city. It was a super month. I think it was my best summer ever. Trouble began for me when I didn’t recognize it as being a one night stand. I kept wanting to have a relationship with Town A. I wanted to know how everyone was and what everyone was doing and what was going on with the movie theatres and health food stores. To its credit, Town A didn’t dump me all at once. It happened it stages. We even got together again for a brief period where I was trying to relive that one amazing summer and IT wanted our relationship to grow and become more complex.  11 years is a long time to hold on to something that wants to get away from you…

Eventually it changed so much I no longer considered it my second home. I think it was grateful. “Whew!” it said, “Glad she’s finally out of our hair!” But I am still scared…

Town B was like a colourful holiday brochure that ends up being a poor country that REALLY doesn’t want you and your rich flabby ass there…  Town B broke my heart because I just couldn’t fit in.

Oh the city itself was great – fruit trees everywhere, different bodies of water, culture to entice even the most bored soul, free health clinics… But the inhabitants were so busy being hipsters they didn’t know when to be warm and open. They tried really hard to forget there was an outside word, or that there was a world in the same town just outside their little bubble.

I lived my sad little lonely existence in the town that didn’t know my name and didn’t give two shits when I left.  Who patted my head and said “Oh sure you’re one of us” while turning to a friend and rolling its eyes.

I sometimes dream about going back into its arms… but only if I were to have my own tiny army of friends for support and barrier jumping.

Traveling around, sometimes you get a hankering for a cupcake. But my word! How DO you carry a cupcake with you? I usually avoid products made in China (virtually everything you buy at malls and department stores), because it’s 90% sure there is slave labour involved, but I couldn’t resist this:

Cupcake Carrier!

This cupcake carrier is carrying a Lavender Chocolate cupcake from Sweets from the Earth (Have I mentioned that they make the BEST CHEEZECAKE ever? And yes I’ve had Portland and Eugene vegan cheesecakes!)

Broken Heart Vegan Tip #11:  Get a haircut. No I’m not calling you a dirty long haired hippy – merely suggesting that a haircut and make you feel like a new person and as a new person you will get over your broken heart faster and easier. You are a superstar and everyone will smile and nod as you pass, thinking “Yep. That person has got it together!”

Broken Heart Song #11

June 17, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , . dessert, snax, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Get the hell away…

I don’t know about you, but when things get really miserable I find the best thing to do is just LEAVE. But that’s me – I’d rather be the person leaving than the person staying. Even when things are good and comfy I always envy the person moving on.

The best thing about traveling or just plain getting out of your bubble is all the great food you can find! I associate some places with specific foods I can’t get at “home” (where ever that happens to be at the moment).

For instance. We here in Canada do not the wonderful pleasure of eating So Delicious’ Coconut Milk Yogurt. Traveling down to the south I was tickled to find it in one single health food store in Daytona Beach. Awesomeness! Both the plain, and especially the vanilla, were beyond tasty. It’s really great to be able to eat yogurt and not have the “soy bloat” that I know more and more of you vegans are getting these days…

I ate the yogurt with muesli (not my fav kind of cereal but it seemed “healthy”), fresh strawberries and a touch of almond milk.

Soy Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt and "healthy" cereal

To top this was the view I was staring at while I ate:

Coconut Milk Yogurt View

Another great product that I didn’t even know EXISTED, which is also a great purchase for those with “soy bloat”, is 100% gluten free/soy free burgers made with rice and veggies. FINALLY! It was nice with SOL from Quebec made a 100% soy and no gluten. But Bahama Burgers have topped it.

Rice Burger with mashed potatoes and gravy

As you can see, I sort of cheated with the “full of gluten” white bread bun. But the gravy is gluten free because I use Road’s End. (The only gravy I need!)

Now I will admit that burger isn’t that hot. It looks so mouth watering on the package but it’s just too mushy to simulate any of the “just like burger” burgers we are use to nowadays. So, if they were available in Canada, I might just buy them once a blue moon, when I was feeling lazy and in the healthy burger mindset. I  actually don’t even eat soy/gluten veggie burgers very much. Call me bourgeois 😉

Broken Heart Vegan Tip #9: Now I don’t recommend simply doing a runner with out plan and leaving everything behind on a whim, or even taking off for a month or year and a half (as I have been known to do)  – just going to some other familiar place that makes you feel good is a  great healer. I guess that’s why all those women go and live with their moms when their marriage breaks up. Or take a short trip to somewhere you’ve never been and always wanted to go. Now there’s time! That person or situation that broke your heart is now in the past. It’s time to look into your glorious future! And perhaps that’s canoeing in Lake Placid or hang gliding in the Rockies (forgive me if it’s impossible to hang glide in the Rockies. What does this city girl know?!)

Broken Heart Song #9

June 5, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . entree, snax. 4 comments.

Pocket Dinner

When you have a broken heart sometimes you battle the sadness by working a lot, having hectic or over flowing days. When I’m out too much I get tempted to live off of  bad stuff like french fries and veggie (read “soy/gluten”) burgers.

Daiya Cheese to the rescue!

I too have been wooed by this amazing soy and gluten free MELTING (really melting!) cheese alternative. While I might not be as crazy as some people (I’m still on my first container I bought a couple months ago at Panacea, the local vegan store) I do think it’s the best vegan cheese yet and would be quite satisfied if there were no other melty cheese alternatives available.

Anyway, my idea is that you make these “pizza pocket” type things and you can carry them around with you as a quick, yummy and (if you put vegetables in them) healthy meal.

For the dough, I used the Calzones recipe from The Uncheese Cookbook.

The Dough

1.5 tsp dry yeast

1 c lukewarm water

1 tsp sweetener (I used agave)

3/4 tsp salt

2-3 cups whole wheat flour, more or less as needed (I used a combo of a little bit of white and a big mix of gluten free I had around including brown rice, quinoa, millet and sorghum)

Place yeast in a big bowl with sweetener and pour warm water over it.  Let rest 5 min. Beat in enough flour until it’s a soft but kneadable dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead 5 min until smooth and elastic.

Oil a big bowl and place dough, swirling around to coat. Place a damp clean kitchen towel over the top and place in a warm place for 1 hour.

The Filling

Do what the heck you want! Me, I like all kinds of different things. Lots of sauce. This time I used onions, portabello mushrooms, a bit of wilting spinach, jarred cheap tomato sauce, fresh basil (stuff I had rotting in the fridge. oops) and the crowning glory – Tofurkey Kielbasa. Yes, you are right, this wasn’t the most healthy calzone I could have come up with, but who’s got time to shop for produce when you have a broken heart? And does it ever make a grand alternative to french fries!

Veg in the foreground and Tofurkey in the background

Putting it all together

Roll out 6″ rounds and put a few tablespoons of filling and cheese in the middle.

Dough. Filling. Cheese. They meet.

Seal up them things by putting a little water on one edge, bringing the other side over and crimping the edges with a fork or your fingers. Don’t worry if they are wonky. I don’t. Frankly, I’ve never really cared what the stuff I eat looks like. I don’t have time to worry about getting all my pockets to look uniform.

Ready to go into the oven.

Make sure you poke holes in the tops. Other wise they will explode. That would be very very sad. If you want to save cleaning up your baking pan, put parchment paper on it and compost the paper when you are done.

Bake for 20-25 min in a preheated 400 degree oven.

Then eat silly!

Just look at that stringy cheese!

Broken Heart Vegan Tip #8: See a funny movie. The Marx Brothers do it for me every time. Screwball comedies from the 30’s also make me glow with delight. If you’re into Family Guy or Adam Sandler, that’s cool too 🙂

Broken Heart Song #8 (Sausages remind me of Portland OR. They were new and fancy for me because they weren’t on the shelves in Canada yet. And the Microcosm house cooked them on their Foreman Grill. I ate too many of those things. At any rate, Portland also reminds me of this band, who I got to see many many wonderful times when I lived there)

May 30, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . entree, snax. Leave a comment.

Creamy Brown Goop

Is it weird that I had a craving for a recipe from my first book  that was written by my ex’s mom?

Yeah Probably. But I really do love pudding and I love rice pudding with lots of cinnamon.

So I made some and garnished with FRESH DATES! I didn’t even know you could get fresh dates in Toronto. I am also ashamed to admit I wasn’t even sure if there was a thing as edible fresh dates ;P But when I went to the farmers market in my neighborhood and saw an interesting package of sort of expensive dates from Iran I thought  “Well I need to try this”. When I got them home I noticed they were not DRIED. And suddenly everything made sense. All those raw desserts I was making using dried dates, that didn’t quite turn out the way they should… I was using the wrong thing!

Fresh dates, by the way, are really really good.

and, er, I guess so are Fresh Dates too… but I’m too broken hearted at this moment 😦

Slow cooked rice pudding and creamy fresh dates.

Creamy Rice Pudding

1/2 c short grain rice (sweet brown stikky rice is great)

1 c boiling water

1/3 c sugar

1 tsp cornstarch

pinch salt

5 c soymilk

1 tb cinnamon

1/4 c raisins (optional. I would never put them in)

1 tsp vanilla

1. Put rice and boiling water in a large pot. Bring to boil and simmer 15 min (or less. Do not let rice soak up all the water as it will stick and burn!)

2. Combine sugar, cornstarch  and salt. Whisk in a cup of soymilk.

3. Add sugar mixture and remaining milk to pot. Add cinnamon and raisins, if using (gross. why?) Bring to a boil.

4. Cover and reduce heat until barely simmering. Cook for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

5. Stir in vanilla.

Broken Heart Vegan Tip #4:I haven’t figured out the universe yet. I don’t really know what “exists” and what doesn’t. But I do believe this – everything happens for a reason. The reason might not be apparent as soon as bad things happen. But look back a few months, a year, a decade and you’ll probably either say “Wow. Glad that happened.” or “Gosh. I did ok in that situation. It really gave me confidence to do something I didn’t think I could.” or “Geez. I really was super jerk. I’m going to make sure this doesn’t happen ever again.”

Broken Heart Song #4 (Billie Holiday is the obvious version choice, but sometimes, as hard as it might be, you have to step outside yourself Ms./Mr. Broken Hearted. Louis’ version is more light hearted. There’s some hope in it…)

May 13, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . dessert, snax. Leave a comment.