Thursday, June 4, 2009

Update: Quebec Passes Anti-SLAPP Law

A last update to Louise's story that I have been following and writing about for Rush PR News. Yesterday Quebec was the first province to pass anti-SLAPP legislation. This new law not only gives judges the power to throw a case out that they deem abusive, or a SLAPP suit, but also gives defendants the right to recuperate costs incurred by their legal battle.

For some, this could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Most importantly, the legislation applies to all cases currently in front of the court. This is fantastic news for Louise Auger and all others speaking out against injustices in our world.

For more on this story, please read my story "Anti-SLAPP Legislation Passed in Quebec".

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Quebec Animals Rights SLAPP Suit Update

Last week, I posted an article I wrote on the SLAPP lawsuits. In this article, I mentioned the particular case of Louise Auger, a Quebec animal-rights activist.

Louise has been fighting for animals locally for over 30 years. Despite having retired last year, she continues to fight for and rescue animals at every chance. This fight has resulted in her being dragged into an ongoing court case with the Quebec municipal pound Inspecteur Canin.

RPRN recently published an update on the Louise Auger case.

Inspecteur Canin is a cruel and inhumane company, posturing as a caring safehaven. Unfortunately, they also have deeper pockets that Louise Auger, and so can afford to keep this case drag on.

On July 21st, arguments will be heard on her permanent injunction. In the meantime, I encourage everyone, if you haven't already done so, to please sign the petition and pass the word around.

If you would like to donate to her defense fund, please send all donations to:
Louise Auger
C.P 184
Saint-Hippolyte, Qc
J8A 3P5

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Stepping Out with Elizabeth Olsen

On tonight's episode of Bravo's The Fashion Show, designer's will be challenged to create a vegan design inspired by, my personal favorites, OlsenHaus Pure Vegan.

After the show, airing tonight at 10:00 pm on Bravo, don't forget to go online for a chance to buy tonight's winning look.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Power of SLAPP To Shut Quebecers Up

Last week, I wrote a story for Rush PR News that everyone, in and outside of Canada, needs to read: The Power of SLAPP To Shut Quebecers Up.

According to sources, former employees of the Quebec municipal pound Inspecteur Canin detailed the inhumane euthanization procedure--which entails gruesomly gassing dogs while still conscious, and storing them in refrigerator containers afterwards. On several occasions, dogs survived the whole procedure only to be incinerated.

These are "lost" dogs that have been picked up, and who weren't able to be resold.

If you don't know about the practice of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, which are still perfectly legal in every province in Canada, I urge you to read on.

Please support those being dragged through the court system unjustly and demand that your Provincial or State governments to pass anti-SLAPP legislation.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Mother's Day Mother-of- a- Feast

I just discovered a monthly blogging event--Tried and Tasted. I decided, in honor of Mother's Day, to take part.

Well, that's not entirely accurate. We were having a Mother's Day BBQ, and I, being the only vegan, was put in charge of bringing vegan-fare. Looking for the right excuse to try some of these new recipes out, as I haven't had much time for culinary experiments the last few weeks, I thought this was the opportunity I've been needing.

Tried and Tasted is the concept of Zuzana of Zlamushka's Spicy Kitchen. This month, it is being hosted by Vaishali of Holy Cow!, and the blog of choice is FatFree Vegan Kitchen. This being for a BBQ, and with main course and desert covered, I decided on side-dish recipes.

Both received rave reviews from everyone at the table, including my two-year old nephew who is a notoriously picky eater.

The Spicy Carrot Salad was such an easy, perfect springtime salad. I made a few adjustments, based solely on availabilities of ingredients. First, searching high and low, I was unsuccessful in locating my mandolin. I instead used two bags of shredded carrots. Second, I couldn't find flax seeds at my closest grocery-store, which is generally lacking, so added a small amount of olive oil to help emulsify the dressing. Third, I substituted pine nuts for the walnuts.

All in all, the salad was a nice mix of crunch, tang, and spice. This recipe has been added to my go-to roster, and I'm already imagining different variations--adding plump raisins, perhaps a lemon-dill vinaigrette. I might just have to plant a carrot garden.

The Asparagus Pesto Salad was delicious. I wouldn't change a thing and cannot wait to incorporate this pesto, and the ideas it is spawning, into my weekly round-up. In fact, I have a little pesto left over that's just calling my name. The only change I made was choosing a cavatappi instead of penne--a strange craving that I won't even try to understand.

My first foray into Susan's FatFree Vegan Kitchen recipe book was a great success! Next up, this incredible looking Coconut Chai Breakfast Cake.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

European Union Bans Canadian Seal Product Imports

Big news today, especially in Quebec. The European Parliament announced the passing of a bill banning the imports of all seal products. This includes skins used for fur coats, meat, oil blubber, organs, and omega-3 pills made from seal oil.

One more reason to read labels.

Notably, the bill declared the Canadian seal hunt as "inherently inhumane". Individual European Union member governments still need to approve the bill, however, according to most reports, this is expected to be nothing more than a formality.

The Canadian commercial seal hunt industry vowed to seek out and open new markets for their products.

To learn more about the violence of commercial seal hunting and what you can do to stop it, visit the HSUS' ProtectSeals team.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

As you may have noticed, I haven't been writing and posting very regularly these last few weeks. I have been reeling in the wake of life events, from both ends of the spectrum.

As we welcome a new life into the world, my family ushers another out. This week we will be saying goodbye to our gentle-souled Joseph--father, grandfather, great-grandfather.

I will be back next week.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ever wonder if your diet is balanced since going vegan? Remember those awful food pyramids produced by the USDA?

Well, thanks to, we now have a Vegan Food Pyramid:

Eco-Brand Zoe & Zac Hits Stores

Payless has finally released their first eco-collection of accessories--Zoe & Zac. The brainchild behind the line is the original "Eco-Model" Summer Rayne Oakes. Oakes, a model and environmental advocate, is also the author of Style, Naturally: The Savvy Shopping Guide to Sustainable Fashion & Beauty. Oakes, while still studying entomology and environmental sciences, decided to use her burgeoning modelling career to bring attention to issues of sustainability through fashion and mainstream media.

The launch of Zoe & Zac is a perfect example of her life's mission. Made entirely from man-made or natural materials, the line is not only eco but vegan as well. A variety of footwear, jewelery, and handbags are made from organic cotton, canvas, and rubber from recycled materials. And, if this wasn't exciting enough, the entire range is under $30.
Snap Dragon ballet slipper, organic cotton upper & inner lining with recycled rubber sole, $24.99Persimmon Large Tote, organic cotton & waterbased ink, $24.99

Payless has committed to donating $1 for every Zac & Zoe item and for every reusable shopping bag sold to The Nature Conservancy, towards their tree planting efforts.
Payless reusable shopping bag, $1.99

Online shopping available on the US site only.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Soy Dessert Contains Undisclosed Milk Ingredient

A week ago, on April 9th, The Canadian Food Inspection Agency released an advisory that So Good Non-Dairy dessert products contain an "undisclosed milk protein". The advisory names the vanilla flavor specifically, however, personally, I am now skeptical of all flavors across the board.

The company's website claims that the soy dessert is both free of lactose, dairy, and animal fats. Perhaps they are hiding behind this language, but I think this is pretty evil.

Admittedly, I was slowly working my way through a pint of the rich chocolate frozen dessert last week.

Now, have been left with a sour taste in my mouth.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Vegan Easter Options

In my house, we have always fallen back on our oh-so traditional veggie lasagna for all our holiday meals--be it Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving. Since turning vegan, though, I have been curious about what my vegan options are for this traditionally meaty-holiday.

Luckily, Girlie Girl Army has rounded up some great vegan options for Easter from across the web, including this scrumptious Easter Pie recipe as a brunch option:
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 cup dairy-free margarine
    1/4 tsp. sugar
    1 1/4 tsp. salt
    1/4 cup water
    1 lb. vegetarian sausage, crumbled
    2 lbs. firm tofu, crumbled
    1/4 cup soy Parmesan cheese
    1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
    1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
    1/4 tsp. cayenne
    1/4 tsp. paprika
    1/4 tsp. ground fennel seeds
• Preheat the oven to 350°F.
• In a food processor, combine the flour, margarine, sugar, and 1/4 tsp. of salt. With the machine still running, add the water to form a dough ball.
• Divide the dough into two balls and set aside.
• In a large bowl, combine the vegetarian sausage, tofu, soy Parmesan, parsley, remaining salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, and fennel seeds.
• Roll out the dough into two 11-inch circles. Place one circle in a 10-inch pie plate and spread the filling mixture over it. Cover with the other dough, pinch the edges, and prick the center with a fork.
• Bake for 1 hour, or until golden brown.


Happy Holidays Everyone!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Vegan Fashion Grabbing Attention

Most likely due to Earth Day coming up, vegan fashion has been garnering attention from mainstream fashion media. The latest example? In an online exclusive, W Magazine posted their "best vegan-friendly accessories" , which included Vivienne Westwood's capsule collection for Melissa Plastic Dreams, my favorite olsenHaus, and local vegan brand MATT & NAT. The list even included vegan-friendly options from designer staples like Marc by Marc Jacobs and Stella McCartney--although, clearly not having done their research, they featured a cashmere tunic from the vegetarian designer. A gaffe that readers didn't let slip.

olsenHaus sandalMATT & NAT bag

Marc by Marc Jacobs sequined bag

With luxury magazines like W and Vogue taking notice of the merits of vegan brands, I can't help but wonder, is vegan the new luxury goldmine?

In other vegan-related fashion news, The Humane Society announced late last week that the Benetton Group is the latest brand to commit to a fur-free policy, joining Calvin Klein,, BCBG, and others.

Visit the HSUS website to see a complete list of fur-free companies and take the fur-free pledge yourself.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Lola Rosa: A Vegan Treasure in the Ghetto (McGill Ghetto, that is)

The weather on the East Coast has been variable to say the least: warm Springtime one day, only to be plunged into near Winter temperatures the next. And I, at the mercy of Mother Nature's wild mood swings, was rewarded with a cold. Fingers crossed that it's the last one of the season. As I have been hiding under the covers for the last few days, I missed my usual Friday Food post.

Better late than never.

Last week, during one of said Spring days, my sister, nephew, and I made our way to Lola Rosa on Milton in the McGill Ghetto. In a former life, before Lola Rosa existed, my sister and I, ironically neither of whom a McGill student at the time, were roomies in the Ghetto. As longtime vegetarians always looking for new places to eat, had the restaurant been around in our days, we would have surely spent many an evening here.

The menu is vegetarian with many vegan options--often by simply omitting the cheese, and ranges from a standard veggie burger to a mystery dish aptly named Pleasure Pie. Flavors are a mix of Mexican and East Asian Curries.

My sister opted for the burrito. Served with a salad, and slathered with their homemade salsa, she reported that it was delicious, although I did not have a taste due to the cheese. For us vegans, however, the burrito can be served without the cheese.

Intrigued and unable to resist the lure of its name, I originally ordered the Pleasure Pie, but ended up with the hemp burger due to a light kitchen glitch. No disappointment here. Served on a classic Montreal bagel, the burger was perfectly spicy all on its own. The homemade salsa served on the side and hot peppers give it an added kick, if you so choose.

We were then spoiled and offered a dessert on the house, to make up for the Pleasure Pie mix up--although, I have to admit, that it worked in my favor. The dessert menu is a nice mix of cakes and pies, from chocolate to key lime, that includes a vegan chocolate option. No thought required on this one. Served with a raspberry couli, the vegan chocolate cake was so moist and light that it was hard to believe that it was both vegan (my sister's comment) and chocolate cake (my own). Vegan or not, I highly recommend that you make your way over to Lola Rosa simply for the cake.

A quick peak into our table's drawers gave up a cute surprise:

With a healthy coffee and tea selection as well, Lola Rosa is the perfect destination for a brunch (weekends only, with vegan options), lunch, dinner, or an afternoon (after-class) snack. Word to the wise: the portions are enormous, so come with either your appetite securely in your backpocket or ready to share. Also, the restaurant isn't very large, so either arrive early (as we did) or be prepared for a bit of a wait. We sat down for lunch around noon, and within 30 minutes all of the tables were occupied.

Cozy, surpringly good for children, and very affordable, there's no question why Lola Rosa has become popular.

I do have one teensy complaint: no vegan cheese option.

Lola Rosa: 545 rue Milton, @ Aylmer, 514 287 9337

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Pamela Anderson: Fashion Designer

Natalie Portman, Leona Lewis, and now Pamela Anderson. As reported by ecorazzi this week, Pam is teaming up with NYC clubkid-come-designer Richie Rich to produce an eco-friendly, vegan fashion line.

Like many of her counterparts, Pam has been a vegetarian and outspoken animal-rights activist for years.

The line, to be named Muse, will include everything from vegan footwear, to casual separates and swimwear.

When asked about designing, Pam was quoted as saying: “I really don’t like to wear clothes. I would rather go naked. But I love Richie’s designs, so I agreed to be part of Muse.” The two have been friends for years, and Pam is a regular feature at Heatherette shows.

Muse is set to debut this summer, although where has yet to be released. Think what you may of Pam Anderson, a new vegan line out on the market is pretty exciting in my books.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

It's past Noon, prank-time is over, time to get serious. As today is the first day of April, the month of Earth Day, I thought it appropriate to change focus a little. Green and vegan are often lumped together, for a number of reasons, so I thought it would be fun to look at all things green (and vegan) for the month of April.

What better way to start than to educate ourselves a little?

Earthlings takes a hard look at the true nature of our relationship with animals and nature: economics. Earthlings is incredibly moving and forceful, holding nothing back. Brace yourself.

In my past life, I had the great pleasure of meeting and working with Director Shaun Monson--a kind and passionate person who lives what he preaches. I've heard rumblings that he has already begun work on his next project, which I am eagerly anticipating.

Fuel,the Sundance Award winning documentary from Josh Tickell, explores America's destructive relationship with oil.

The film is currently traveling across the US. Consult the website for local listings.

Fact or Fiction?

You be the judge...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Earth Hour Reflections

Recently, a touching story landed in my inbox: the story of Jasmine, a neglected and abused Greyhound that was brought to the Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary in the UK, after she was discovered by local police. Jasmine was meant to be rehabilitated and put up for adoption. But it seems that Jasmine had plans of her own, soon welcoming all new inhabitants to the sanctuary—from fox pups, to badgers, to the bunnies, and even letting the birds to perch atop her. Soon, Jasmine became the resident mother, cuddling frightened and injured animals, comforting and welcoming them to their new surroundings.

The story of Jamine serves to show us, once again, that the true lessons of life are those taught by the great Mother—of love, selflessness, generosity, and harmony. And, in my post-Earth Hour reflection, I question how anyone could be so blind as to not see it and work to protect it in any way possible.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get out of the house and partake in my local Earth Hour festivities, but am curious how others filled their 60 minutes of darkness. Would love to hear your stories…please share!

PS--apologies for being radio-silent the last week. Call it Spring Break for the mind. But the good kind, without co-eds and hangovers. I'm back ever-refreshed and renewed.

Friday, March 20, 2009

A New Idea for Lentils

As is often the case this time of year, the weather has been a little unpredictable. Over the frosty weekend, I had lofty plans of making a batch of curried lentil soup. But, overnight, Spring came to the city, leaving me no longer wanting the hearty soup and wondering what to do with all these lentils. An extensive Google search led me to a ton of recipes, but none that I either wanted to make or that I had the ingredients on hand for.

But, the recipes did serve to inspire me some. Admittedly, I am no culinary expert. I cook from the instincts and taste-buds. The instructions are not exact—they are approximates, so play with it. Take it off the heat when you think it’s ready—although it does tend to stick to the bottom, so make sure to scrape. Taste while you go. Try different spices. Turn your music up. Dance while stirring and sing loudly.

With what I found in the cupboards and fridge, here’s what I concocted.

Spicy Lentils Over Rice
2 - 19 oz. cans lentils
1- 28 oz. can diced tomatoes (crushed would do)
3 oz. tomato paste (about ½ can)
1 - Large onion, diced
2 - Good sized garlic cloves, crushed
Cumin to taste (about palm)
Cinnamon to taste (about ½ palm)
Hot pepper flakes (large pinch)
Grapefruit juice (lemon or lime would do nicely as well)
Splash of red wine vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste

Step 1: Coat bottom of a good sized soup pot with olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Once heated, add diced onion and cook until tender, almost browning. Add crushed garlic.
Step 2: After few minutes, add lentils, tomatoes, cumin, cinnamon, hot pepper flakes, salt & pepper. Bring to a boil.

Step 3: Once boiling, add grapefruit juice and vinegar. Reduce to a simmer.
Step 4: Cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes, until reduced some. Meanwhile make some rice according to the package—brown, basmati, jasmine all work.

Step 5: Once the lentil mixture has reduced, keep covered and let sit off the heat for about 10 minutes (or enough time to make a lightly dressed simple side salad).

Serve over rice.

I originally started with 1 can of lentils, but, after some cooking time, the tomatoes released tons of liquid. I decided to add a second can to thicken the mixture up—I was looking for an Indian-dishtexture, not soup or stew.

After letting it cook down slightly, I still tasted that something was missing. The flavors needed a little brightening. I had read a recipe along the way that called for lemon juice. Unfortunately, I had used up all my lemons but did have some grapefruit juice. It turned out to be a lovely balance of tart, brightening the flavors, while adding a little sweet. But still, there was something missing; some acidity. I have a recipe for a fantastic Roasted Butternut Squash Soup that calls for red wine vinegar to cut the sweet, so I decided to try it out. Just one capful was exactly what this needed—although some cooking wine or sherry could work nicely too. The acidity almost separates all the different flavors, enhancing each.

Alternatively, I could imagine serving this over couscous, polenta, or alone in a steaming bowl with crusty fresh bread, as well as adding some spinach or even okra.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Springtime Shopping with a Soul

Have you been a good little squirrel, stashing away your pennies these last few wintery months? With the sun shining and temperatures rising, are you itching to spend them away? If so, what better way than by supporting a good cause?

From now until the end of the month, visit charitybuzz to view the Farm Sanctuary's Spring Auction and bid on fantastic goodies. Need to update your shoe collection? Bid on an online shopping spree with UK vegan super-brand Beyond Skin or New York's Neuaura Shoes. Get private vegan or raw cooking lessons, yoga sessions, life coaching, celeb meet-and-greets, and so much more. Even local vegan brand, Matt & Nat, has put a stylish unisex carry-all up for auction. With almost 60 different lots to bid on, choosing should be the hardest part.

The Farm Sanctuary, located in Upstate New York and California, actively rescues and houses farm animals, where they live out their natural lives in peace and harmony. Animals freely roam, graze, and play. Visit their website to read their stories, donate, and even foster. The farms are also open to the public for visits. The Farm Sanctuary is an amazing organization, staffed by some of the warmest people I've had the pleasure of working with. With such important work being done, they need and deserve as much help as possible.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Leather vs. Vegan: Who is Greener?

With Earth Day fast approaching, and everyone’s “Green” issues hitting newsstands and doorsteps, there seems to be quite the controversy stirring. At its center is the ultimate debate between the staunchly cruelty-free and the not—are animal products green? Truly, when the argument is boiled down, what we are questioning is the sustainability of animal by-products vs. synthetic materials.

Fact, animal by-products originate from a natural source—namely bovine (depending on the country). Fact, synthetics are man-made materials that are traditionally rather poisonous to the environment. But when both processes are examined, which one is better environmentally?

Recently, with the move towards just about anything eco across all product categories, there has been a move towards branding animal by-products as “green”. Case in point: the Canadian Fur Council’s latest campaign and Lucky Magazine’s April issue. However, just because fur and leather originated from a natural source, i.e. some animal, it does not make it sustainable. Far from it. Approximately 250 different chemicals are used in the tanning process alone. Chemicals that eventually end up in the surrounding eco-system and render the once biodegradable material no longer—similar arguments are made to counter the sustainability of man-made products. Traditional synthetic materials, PVC and the like, are also poisonous on all levels. Such is the dilemma with synthetics. Sure, they are cruelty-free in the traditional sense, but, upon deeper consideration, this is a harder case to make. The truth of the matter is any manufacturing process has serious problems.

But with the many changes to the marketplace, including the wider and cheaper availability of sustainable and green materials in response to greater demand, more and more designers are utilizing everything and anything from hemp canvas to faux-suede made from recycled plastic bottles. This allows a greater number of fashion brands, vegan and non-vegan alike, to move away from traditional synthetics, and more alternatives available to the vegan shopper. On top of this, there has been a greater scrutiny placed on the ethics of the manufacturing industry and, as a result, greater accountability. There is, in general, a greater importance placed on these different factors from the vegan fashion brands as there is a more holistic approach to the ethics of their company. Perhaps because they have ethics in the first place.

Conscious shopping is best. Question what you are buying and who you are supporting with your dollars. Not all vegan brands are created equal, but, in my opinion at least, they are always better than animal products.

For more interesting reading, there is a great guest blog by Elizabeth Olsen of olsenHaus at, as well as lots of information available at

Friday, March 13, 2009

Chickpeas and Other Beans: Three Go-To Recipes

Truth be told, I went to the store today to fetch ingredients for my Curried Lentil Soup. Along the way, it seems I was sidetracked by the fresh scents of Spring introduced to my nose by the wind. By the time I arrived at the store, I had forgotten all about my wintery soup and instead concocted other beanie plans.

Lugging home several cans of chickpeas, I instead made a fantastic batch of Homemade Hummus, Oven Roasted Chickpeas, and a 6-Bean Mixed Salad. Admittedly, I am not exactly a culinary wonder kid, but these are all great staple recipes using ingredients both easily found in your pantry and refrigerator. Everyone needs a large repertoire of those.

1) Homemade Hummus:
1- 15 oz. can of Chickpeas
2- small cloves of Garlic
1/3 cup Olive Oil
1 Lemon, juiced
Salt to taste

Step 1: Rinse chickpeas thoroughly.

Step 2: Put all ingredients in a blender, and blend, stopping every once in awhile to scrape down the sides. I found that I had to mix as well in order to achieve a smooth consistency.

Step 3: Blend to preferred consistency--stopping at a slightly chunkier mixture for a drip, and continuing onto a creamier result for a spread. Add olive oil and/or more lemon juice in order to achieve the creamy consistency.

I would highly recommend on starting with 1 clove of garlic, unless you are a garlic lover like me. The garlic can be a little overpowering. This is definitely not the hummus to bring to the office or to serve on a date. Also, make sure to go easy on the salt if using canned chickpeas.

Hummus purists will note that I omitted Tahini. I find that with a good helping of lemon juice there's really no need for it. And with the refreshing zing of the lemon, the naturally buttery taste of the naked chickpea is able to shine through. I also throw in a little lemon zest for good measure.

2) Oven Roasted Chickpeas with Cracked Pepper
1- 15 oz. can of Chickpeas
Liberal amount of freshly Cracked Pepper, to taste
Small dusting of Garlic Powder, to taste
No salt if using canned Chickpeas, but salt to taste if using dried variety

Step 1: Pre-Heat the oven to 425.
Step 2: Having drained and rinsed the chickpeas thoroughly, pat dry with clean kitchen towel. A little dampness is good, as it will help the pepper stick.
Step 3: Lay the chickpeas out on a cookie sheet, pepper to taste. Add garlic powder to taste.
Step 4: Roast chickpeas from 30 to 38 minutes, turning them over every 10 minutes or so.
Step 5: Turn off heat and let roasted chickpeas sit for about 10 more minutes.

With my oven, I roast the chickpeas closer to 30 minutes. I find that, at that point, they have started to blacken at the edges, are very crispy on the outside but still a little tender on the inside. It's preferable to let cool before serving, but, if you're like me, feel free to eat them right off the pan like popcorn.

Personally, I love this mix. The pepper stings my lips slightly, and the garlic is nothing more than a light flavor in the background. You can use paprika, curry, chili pepper powder, or anything else that suits your fancy--go wild and let your imagination soar.

And one last warning, eat these consciously. If you're not careful, you can look down and realize that you just ate an entire can of chickpeas.

3) 6-Bean Mixed Salad
1- 15 oz. can Mixed Beans of choice (any choice of bean will do from lentils to kidney beans)
3- Roma Tomatoes
1- Cucumber
2- Stalks of Green Onions
Olive Oil and Vinegar to taste
Cumin to taste
Freshly Cracked Pepper to taste
No salt for canned beans

Step 1: Drain and rinse beans thoroughly.

Step 2: Chop all ingredients and combine in large bowl.

Step 3: Toss with Olive Oil, Vinegar, and liberal amounts of Cumin and Pepper.

Anything can be done with this base--add avocado when in season, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm. Anything goes really, combining anything and everything that is in season. The key is always the cumin. Cumin, as it turns out, is the perfect accoutrement to beans, as taught to me by my best friend whose bean salad remains unrivaled to this day. It took me forever to figure out the difference between our recipes.

Light, refreshing, and satisfying, the salad can be eaten alone, as a side dish, or served on a bed of lettuce. I, honestly, live on this during the summer months.

Blame spring fever on what happened here this afternoon.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Stella McCartney Fall Accessories

In February, vegetarian super-designer Stella McCartney presented Pre-Fall 09 at New York Fashion Week, and, this week, her Fall 09 RTW collection in Paris. With Pre-Fall, looks were the slouchy, downtown silhouette that Stella has become known for. With tons of leggings and jumpsuits, Pre-Fall had a sportswear feel. Accessories were dominated by oversized bags, the ever-pervasive ankle bootie that just won’t go away since its appearance in Fall 2007, pumps, and heavy hardware. Prints were found on everything from underpinnings, to booties, and bags.

Stella McCartney Pre-Fall 09,

For Fall 09, the thigh-high boots that skimmed just past the knee in Pre-Fall have sprouted into full leggings. In latex materials, some with tattoo-like patterns, these boots-come-leggings were paired with everything from dresses to oversized men’s blazers. The cropped bootie still makes an appearance, but these too have grown in length reaching calf-height. All footwear, including the lady-like pumps, had extreme square toes in contrasting colors and materials. Colors were neutral, relying heavily on black with small doses of dove grey and a bright jade green. Bags were mainly oversized clutches, varying widely from recent collections past, with circular-quilting. Belts varied between the wide and the ultra-skinny, with no variance in between. The collection, overall, referenced 1980s Wall Street with exaggerated shoulders and masculine looks.

Stella McCartney Fall 09,

But for a little taste of this season, here are three favorite looks from Spring, available online and in stores.

Stella McCartney Spring 09, styles range from $1295 to $395

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Vegan Flourless Chocolate Cake: Say It Ain't So!

To be completely honest, I have been running around a lot with Fashion Week, etc. etc. In the hubbub and the rush, I have misplaced my schedule somewhere--I am not posting when supposed to, in fact not posting at all, not cooking as I should, grabbing snacks here and there. If anyone finds my unscrambled brain, please return it pronto!

And it doesn't look as though it will stop until Sunday. Saturday morning, I have the great pleasure of attending a breakfast for the Irish Man of the Year. I have a sneaking suspicion that this will be what vegan nightmares are made of. But to reward myself for making it through, and to calm my ragged nerves, I will bake a Vegan Flourless Chocolate Cake on Sunday. I found the recipe on Novel Eats, and thank in advance for making this vegan's dream come true!

I will be Twittering as I go and will post comments when all is said and done.
Follow me at

Olsen Haus: Accessorizing the Evolution

If you haven't discovered Olsen Haus shoes yet, run, or whatever the cyber equivalent is, to their site right now. This 100% ethical line, founded by designer extraordinaire Elizabeth Olsen, makes this little struggling vegan's heart sing. The collection of shoes and boots is inventive, vegan, socially and environmentally responsible, and affordable. What more could a girl ask for? As a lover of both fashion and ridiculously high heels, I find footwear one of my biggest struggles. Shoes are irrestible, but, sadly, I simply don't have the budget needed to quench my shoe thirst with MacCartneys. And a girl gets really bored of cheap, synthetic shoes really fast.

But Olsen Haus solves all these problems. Currently available in only one store in Canada (in Calgary), they will ship to Canada for a mere $50 extra. So shop to your heart's content.

For Spring 09, the colors are bright electrics mixed with natural linens, microfibers, Italian ultra suede, and signature paint splatters. The collection is both fresh, sweet, and boldly unconventional. Personally, I cannot wait to get my feet into these two lovelies:

"BALANCE", Natural Linen with Microfibre, $175 USD

"LOVE", Italian Ultra Suede in Teal with signature paint splatters, $160 USD

There are also these perfect year-round, classic boots from the Fall 08 collection, which arestill available. Lust at first sight, they have rarely strayed far from my thoughts.
"LUCK", Italian Ultra Suede in Black with signature paint splatters, $215 USD

For Fall 09, Olsen Haus shot fellow super-vegans Chloe Jo Berman of The GirlieGirl Army and Discerning Brute Joshua Katcher for their lookbook. The new collection features boots galore, including a pair of micro suede riding boots that have taken over all of my daydreams, as well as the premiere of both a kid's and men's collection.

The only question left is how to convince Elizabeth to bring the evolution to Canada?