Beautiful Barley

Care of Laura Wright Barley is the oldest domesticated grain in the entire world. It’s been cultivated for ten thousand years! This nutty, chewy, satisfying food is delicious in so many ways. Typically enjoyed in soups throughout the colder months, its heartiness fortifies and warms us up. Definitely an economical and nutritional superstar on that front. Its application isn’t limited to soup alone though. You can add soaked barley to your steel cut oats for a little variation, make it risotto style for a classy dinner, grind it into flour for a fibre boost in your cookies or toss it into a lovely grain salad like I’ve done in the recipe below. Pot vs Pearl: You will generally find two types of barley available in stores. If you are concerned about health properties and prefer whole grains in your diet, reach for the “pot” variety. These grains have only had their tough, outer husk removed. While pearl barley certainly cooks faster, it lacks the nutrition of the grain in its whole form because an additional two layers (the bran and endosperm) are polished off. You may also appreciate the more pronounced toasted and nutty flavour that pot barley has to… Read More

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Gingwer Maple Baked Aduki Beans

Care of Amy Symington Try this sweet and savoury rendition of an old classic. Serves 4     Ingredients: 1 tsp oil (canola or olive oil will do) 1 small onion, diced 4 cloves garlic, pureed 2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced 2 ½ cups aduki beans, cooked (approx. 2 cans) ½ cup tomato puree ¼ cup + 1 tbsp maple syrup 1 tbsp veg friendly Worcestershire sauce 1 cup water 1-½ tsp paprika ¼ tsp cayenne (optional) 2 tsp fresh lemon juice ½ tsp coarse sea salt Black pepper to taste Garnish: garlic chive micro-greens (optional) Directions: In a large sauce pan over medium heat add oil. Once the oil is heated, add onions and sauté for 1 minute. Add garlic and ginger. Sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the beans, tomato puree, ¼ cup of maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, water, paprika, and cayenne, if using. Stir and place the lid on the pan. Turn heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Next, add lemon juice, the remaining maple syrup, sea salt and black pepper to taste. Stir, plate and top with garnish. Serve with whole grain bread or toast. Read More

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Care of Amy Symington What is more Canadian than maple syrup? A thick Quebecois accent, eager beavers, veggie poutine and Canadian Club whisky may all give it a run for its loonies but maple syrup is recognized globally as liquid Canadian candy.  Fact. The Process The province of Quebec alone is responsible for ¾ of the world’s maple syrup sales. The best part? It is a renewable resource that comes from trees. It’s not often that you can say that. The more trees, the more maple syrup too! As they all have equally high starch/sugar content, the 3 main types of trees that are used for maple syrup production or “tapping” as it’s referred to in the industry are:  Sugar Maple, Black Maple and Red Maple. Once they have grown to be 12 inches in diameter, the trees are ready to be tapped every year. Late March to early April is the typical maple syrup season. Like other processes in spring, things thaw and tree sap is no different. As the sap begins to thaw, it also begins to run. This tends to last about 4-6 weeks and is collected either via an “old school” bucket or an… Read More

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Discount Profile: Cruda Cafe

Care of Angela Del Buono If you’ve never been to the St. Lawrence Market, it can be a bustling and often overwhelming place. Vegetarians are advised to stick to the lower level and forgo the sight of carcasses. But once you reach the lower level you can enjoy organic produce and bulk foods at Dominos, beans and rice at Rubes, and organic, hand-made tofu at Ying Ying, but don’t head home yet.. the best is still to come. In the North-East corner you’ll find Cruda Cafe, an all vegan & raw cafe that will dazzle your palate. They offer juices & smoothies, Rawraps  (my favourite of which is the Sundried Tomato Wrap; seasonal veggies, organic raw pate, avocado and sunflower sprouts), salads and entrees like Sweet Potato Mesquite Sandwich (slices of their dehydrated bread, homemade guacamole, seasonal veggies, homemade vegan kombucha cheese.) Don’t forget dessert! So many treats, my favourite of which is the pictured Mint Nainamo Bar. Head down Saturday morning for brunch items. Seating is food-court style with lots of great people watching. Use your Toronto Veg Card for 10% off everything, including their Un-Cooking Classes. Discount: 10% off with the Toronto… Read More

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Hot Chocolate Pancakes

Care of Laura Wright Serves 2     Ingredients 1 cup non-dairy milk 1 tsp apple cider vinegar 1 cup light spelt flour (or whole wheat, all purpose etc) 2 tsp baking powder ¼ cup + 2 tbsp cacao/cocoa powder 1/2 tsp cinnamon pinch of salt 3 tbsp maple syrup (or agave nectar) plus extra for serving 1/4 cup liquid coconut oil (or other oil) 1.5 tsp vanilla extract Directions: Mix the non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl and set aside to curdle, about 5 minutes. Mix the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl until combined. Add the curdled milk, maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla. Mix with a wooden spoon until just combined. Heat a large, non-stick pan over medium-low heat. Drop ¼ cup measures of the batter into the pan (not too many at a time!). When bubbles start to peak through the surface and you see a bit of light browning/crisping up on the underside, flip the pancakes over carefully, about 1-2 minutes. Repeat for the other side, remove from the pan and set aside on a covered plate to… Read More

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Crazy Addictive Cacao

Care of Laura Wright Cacao powder (the more minimally processed version of cocoa powder) is a magical ingredient. It makes people crazy, makes them fall in love and most notably, it makes them crave chocolate non-stop. It comes from the tropical plant theobroma cacao (translates to “food of the gods”), which produces large oval pods with all of the sticky cacao goodness inside. It’s important to seek out the minimally processed cacao powder if you wish to reap all the healthy benefits. Aside from being dark, mysterious, complex and delicious, it has a lot going for it nutritionally. It’s loaded with vitamins and minerals: Cacao is one of the best sources of magnesium found in nature! It also has notable amounts of calcium, zinc, iron, copper, sulfur and potassium. It’s a potent antioxidant: In its minimally processed form, cacao contains more antioxidant flavonoids than blueberries, red wine, goji berries and green tea. That’s a whole lot of free radical absorption going on. It can make you pretty amorous: cacao stimulates high levels of serotonin and dopamine, two neurotransmitters that help with regulating mood and helping you feel the good vibes. If you ask me, working more chocolate into the morning… Read More

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Dilled Potato and Leek Salad

Care of Amy Symington Makes 5 servings You do make friends with salad, if you top it with this recipe’s delish dressing! Dressing: 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar 1 tbsp maple syrup pinch of salt 1 clove garlic, pureed Directions: In a small bowl add ingredients.  Whisk.  Set aside until needed. Salad: 3 cups fingerling potatoes, largely diced 2 sweet potatoes, largely diced 1 leek, greens removed and chopped 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped Black pepper to taste Directions: Preheat oven to 400F. In a large bowl add potatoes, sweet potatoes, leeks and oil.  Mix thoroughly. Put potato mixture into a roasting dish or pan. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes until potatoes are fork tender. Remove from oven, place in a large heat safe bowl, sprinkle with dill and black pepper to taste, add dressing as needed and toss. Serve hot or refrigerate and serve cold. Read More

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Garlic Greatness

Care of Amy Symington     Although often criticized for its stanky breath and garlicky sweat inducing qualities, Allium Sativum, also known as garlic, is definitely worth the potential risk of losing friends. Here is why. It is a prebiotic.  Firstly, what the heck is a “prebiotic”?  Well, it is a non-digestible food that stimulates the growth of good bacteria (bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria) that exists in the small and large intestines. Simply stated, a prebiotic improves the host’s health by improving their metabolism. In turn, this increases the absorption of vitamins and minerals, and reduces the risk of colon cancer and potentially most illnesses. Raw garlic is an example of a prebiotic. It is an immune booster.  When crushed or chewed, garlic releases a compound called allicin that has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties, which is why it is often used to combat those nasty winter illnesses. What is even better than that, garlic helps in preventing said illnesses from occurring in the first place. It is also used to fight fungal infections like thrush, combat bacteria related digestive disorders and doubles as a disinfectant. It is good for your heart. Garlic reduces the presence of… Read More

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Celery Root: Dig It!

Care of Laura Wright This knobby, dirty, scraggly brute of a vegetable (also called Celeriac) is one of my favourite culinary delights of the cold weather season. Celery-like shoots emerge above the soil, while the beast-like root vegetable grows beneath the dirt. As you may probably guess, it has a detectable celery note, but also a creamy sweetness that reminds me of new potatoes. It’s dreamy as a vegetable puree or worked into soups, even slicing it up real thin and tossing it into salads brings an earthy note of freshness. Treat It Right: You can generally find celery root at farmer’s markets around this time of year at a very reasonable price point. If your local grocery store has a decent seasonal vegetable selection, it may be stocked there as well. Look for large beige-white, turnip-sized bulbs with a bunch of craters and roots near the root vegetable section. Once you get that baby home and you’re ready to cook, give it a good scrub and trim off the top and bottom ends so that you have opposing flat sides. From here, put one of the flat sides face down on the cutting board. Now you… Read More

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Crushing on Cranberries

Care of Laura Wright Plump and tart, cranberries are synonymous with fall. Along with apples, root veggies, pumpkins, pears and squash, their deep burgundy hue points to cooler days, warm sweaters and falling leaves. I see plenty of recipe applications using the sweetened dried version of these antioxidant powerhouses, but fresh ones? They’re less commonly used and possibly under-appreciated for sure. I thought they deserved some love so I provoked their sour sweetness in a decadent (but still wholesome) breakfast treat. Other than providing a gorgeous and healthy topping for spicy and intense pancakes, cranberries certainly have a lot of great attributes going for them. Some Back Story: Cranberry bushes are native to eastern regions of Canada and the United States. They have a long history of medicinal use in Native American populations ranging from prevention of kidney stones to the belief that ingestion of the berries purified the blood. Additionally, a paste made from cranberries was applied to the skin as a healing salve to treat arrow wounds. It is one of three fruits that can trace its roots specifically to North American soil (blueberries and concord grapes are the other two). Sniffles? Take some Vitamin C(ranberry):… Read More

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