Toronto Veg Blog

Losing my Bake-Off Virginity: A First-Time Recount from a New Vegan

Care of Dane McBurnie Any gathering of Toronto’s vegan community is an exciting experience, but none is as sweet as the Annual Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off. I am not a veteran vegan (I went vegan in 2013), but for as long as I have been living this lifestyle, I had heard tell of this cruelty-free contest of cookies, cupcakes and confections. On the cool Sunday afternoon of March 23rd, Toronto’s finest vegan bake-smiths gathered to share their wares and compete for the right to proudly claim, on this day, that they were the very best. My wonderful girlfriend and I managed to fit six plates of baked goods into our daily intake of food, and we can confirm that, in every category, deciding who was “the best” was rarely an easy task. The afternoon was a delicious who’s-who of the vegan food community. Superstars such as Tori’s Bakeshop, Apiecalypse Now!, Bello Bio and Through Being Cool Bakery were represented in full force. The competition was also judged by prominent vegan chef Doug McNish, vegan blogger Lauren Toyota and councillor Michael Layton. I did not envy their position of having to choose best-in-show…except that they got… Read More

Filed under: News News from the Toronto Vegetarian Association Toronto Veg Blog Uncategorised

A Green Surprise Amidst a White Winter

By Barbi Lazarus, Donor and Volunteer Resources Coordinator I can remember like it was yesterday the first time I received a phone call from Green Zebra Kitchen. It was a few summers ago, and they had listed their business in the Vegetarian Directory. They were phoning to say that the directory had given their business a huge boost and as a thank you to TVA, they wanted to bring us a sample of their food. The TVA staff were treated to a delivery of cauliflower mac ‘n cheese and soft and gooey lavender chocolate chip cookies. We were all floored by how incredibly delicious the food was. We immediately knew we wanted to build a stronger relationship with this amazing meal delivery company and soon we had them booked to cater our volunteer party after the Vegetarian Food Festival. Since then we’ve been thrilled to have them involved at the food festival, the vegan bake-off and more. Have you tried their “ice cream” sandwiches?! But I won’t lie…I’m perhaps even more thrilled that they continue to spoil us with surprise deliveries now and again! Two weeks ago they brought over some new items which once again, blew my mind. Read More

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An Act of Sweetness for Animals

By Barbi Lazarus, Donor and Volunteer Resources Coordinator Us vegetarians like to poke fun at the pesky questions we get about our diet that seem so obvious to us. The biggest cliche we joke about of course is the classic “Where do you get your protein?”. But there are others too like “Do you eat yeast?” and “Can you eat pasta?”. I’ll give people credit. Although most dried store-bought pasta is vegan, fresh pasta made at a true Italian restaurant may very well be made with eggs. However I must say, when I get asked if I can eat bread I can’t help but chuckle and struggle to figure out how to even answer such a question. But have you ever been asked if you can eat sugar? Back in the day, yes, plenty of sugar was refined using bone char made from the bones of cows. It is what filtered the sugar to give it the bright white colour. That’s why you’ll find a lot of vegans using organic cane sugar, which functions just like white sugar in baking and taste but has a brown, caramel colour rather than white. However, in Canada we’re… Read More

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The Vegan Bake-Off Goes ‘Round the World

By Christina Vani, TVA member and volunteer It all started with a t-shirt. Well, not actually. It all started with a vegan bake-off, my move to The Big City, and revelling and indulging in the abundant culinary possibilities that my new home in Toronto offered this suburb-raised Montreal vegan. The grand voyage of the aforementioned t-shirt started in February 2012. I was in my second semester of graduate studies at U of T and my sixth month of my life in Toronto. I had begun frequenting gatherings hosted by veg associations of various stripes and was becoming more familiar with the TVA and its cast of beautiful characters. Then, I heard about the Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off and my mind was blown. I knew that I had to enter, but not just for guaranteed entry into the event or even the free plates of sweets that were destined for my face or, finally, the opportunity and privilege to be in a room full of other like-minded individuals. One of the main reasons for which I yearned to be an entrant in the TFVB in 2012 was,… Read More

Filed under: News News from the Toronto Vegetarian Association Toronto Veg Blog

Perks of the Job

Kathlene enjoying a plate of delicious food By Barbi Lazarus, Donor and Volunteer Resources Coordinator Yesterday was one of those days that definitely reminds me how lucky I am to work in an environment surrounded by amazing people, and oftentimes, wonderful food. If this is all in a day’s work, I might not need to plan for retirement after all. You may have heard of the Toronto Vegetarian Association’s Office Help Team. This group of volunteers comes into the office periodically to help with administrative tasks like mailing letters and preparing materials for outreach events. They’re a dedicated group who often save the day by coming in to help at the very last minute. To say thank you, we invited them in for lunch on a day when there wasn’t any office work to do. It was a fabulous way to spend the early afternoon, chatting with our volunteers about vacations, the upcoming bake-off, our journeys to vegetarianism, and of course, food. In addition to having an incredible team of volunteers who keep programs running at the TVA, we are also so fortunate to work within a very generous community of vegetarian businesses, who care just as much about… Read More

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A hoppin’ new vegetarian restaurant in Toronto

By Barbi Lazarus, Donor and Volunteer Resources Coordinator Just when I thought Toronto really had it all in terms of vegetarian options, yet another restaurant has opened up. This one brings unique menu items you might be more likely to find on a food truck, and since Toronto has been slow to catch up with other North American destinations in terms of the food truck craze, this is surely exciting news! You may not have heard about Grasshopper just yet because they’re currently in their “soft-launch” phase. In fact, they’re still testing out their menu and adding or subtracting items, so if you want to give them some feedback and help shape their menu before the official opening date on February 13th, head over soon! That’s exactly what the Toronto Vegetarian Association staff did earlier this week, and my mouth is still watering from the fantastic items we tried. Allow me to share: Pulled Pork Bahn Mi Sandwich: This soy-based pulled “pork” sandwich comes on a perfectly toasted sub bun and has such a wonderfully sweet, gooey sauce. It comes with your choice of side, of which I chose the fries. They were classic fast-food style skinny fries… Read More

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A Totally Fabulous Time of Year

By Barbi Lazarus, Donor and Volunteer Resources Coordinator Lisa awarding a prize at the 1st Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off By now you’ve heard the news I’m sure: registration is open for the 6th Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off! What does that mean for me? Not that I don’t love my job all the time, but around this time of the year, I REALLY love it. As in, jump out of bed each morning, can’t wait to run to the office love it. And I’m not even involved in the most fun aspects of planning such an event, like sifting through all the delicious entries or putting together prize packs. Nope, I’m doing things like processing credit cards for registration payments, updating the website, and checking our database to see if contestants’ TVA memberships are up to date. But just knowing that these things are in relation to the bake-off makes them so fun to me and puts a smile on my face. I get giddy every time we receive a phone call or an email from someone inquiring about the bake-off or wanting to participate. I get distracted from other tasks as I keep checking my email to see if… Read More

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An Ode to Soup

  By Barbi Lazarus, Donor and Volunteer Resources Coordinator Wow. That was a bit of a rough start to 2014. After a couple of years with above seasonal winter temperatures in Toronto, the past few weeks of icy days (and fine, I will admit it, a bit of a sniffle…) have definitely inspired me to savour some hot soups. Do you ever find yourself so busy trying out new recipes from the never-ending plethora of new vegetarian cookbooks that you realize you’ve forgotten to give attention to some of your old favourites? Here are some of my favourite soup recipes I’ve been enjoying and returning to this January. Fressen’s Spicy Sweet Potato Soup from VegNews Magazine: In an old issue of VegNews Magazine (printed in black and white on the interior!) you’ll find a recipe from Toronto’s very own Fressen (now Grasslands) for an incredibly delicious sweet potato soup. With just the perfect hint of spice and coconut milk to boot, it’s simply dreamy and perfect with a side of a crunchy loaf of french or sourdough bread from a local bakery of your choice. Jessica’s Cure What Ails Ya Garlic Soup from Sarah Kramer’s La Dolce Vegan: While I can’t… Read More

Filed under: Eat Veg News Toronto Veg Blog Uncategorised Vegetarian Meal Ideas

Nourished on the Go

By Sally Grande Don’t be fooled into thinking Toronto-nians have all the fun. Out here in Durham, the vegetarian scene is bustling too. DurhamVeg recently hosted a packed dinner at the newly opened location of Rawlicious in Whitby, and we were thrilled to contribute to Oshawa’s “foodie guide for new restaurants”, helping them to highlight vegetarian options in the area. We are also fortunate to be the home of Gabriella Budani’s Nourished On the Go, a fledgling company based in Oshawa, that believes veganism is the future of the food. Born in North York, Gabriella Budani, or “Gabby” went to high school in Whitby. While she excelled in sports, she exchanged a promising career in soccer for culinary arts at Kingston’s St. Lawrence College. Having conquered chef’s school as a staunch vegetarian, Gabriella settled in Oshawa and began to build her new business around a vegan lifestyle. Today, under her future restaurant’s name, she provides a vegan lunch catering program; she holds vegan cooking classes and she also rents a professional kitchen in a local community centre with restaurant-style seating to offer an oasis of vegan culinary delights. These events revolve around a vegan “themed” menu,… Read More

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A Guide to Toronto’s Vegan Bakery Storefronts

By Barbi Lazarus, Donor and Volunteer Resources Coordinator If you asked me what I like best about my job, it would probably be a tie between working with so many amazing people dedicated to a cause I’m passionate about, and being the first to know about every bit of vegetarian-related news. Last week I was giddy to find out that there are two new vegan storefronts opening in Toronto. One of them is a commercial kitchen space from local chef Doug McNish at Marlee and Glencairn, that will sell ready-made meals for pick up, as well as eventually serving occasional sit down brunch and dinners. The second is a long-anticipated storefront for aPieCalypse Now!, a bakery that’s been selling goods at farmers’ markets and the Vegetarian Food Festival for a few years, but now has a little shop that’s opened at Bloor and Bathurst. I sound a bit like a broken record from when I squealed about the opening of Through Being Cool, another vegan bakery,  a couple of months ago, but hearing this news made me reflect on just how amazing the vegan options are in this city. It now stands that no matter where you live,… Read More

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