Monday, February 23, 2009

Web Monday:

I share with you a favorite website of mine: I almost always peruse their Travel section before getting on a plane. It's the next best thing to travelling with a vegan in-the-know.

For those all-too-often days when I'm at a lost for dinner and totally uninspired, this is my go-to site for a guaranteed delicious and easy recipe. Check out their recipe for Vegan Sheppard's Pie. Veganized comfort food from my childhood...there's nothing better in my world.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Oprah, is there anything she can't do?

On today's Pre-Oscar show, Oprah tacked on a short segment of these adorable yorkie puppies, who are desperately in need of homes. Along with 90 others, these sweet youngsters were rescued from a puppy mill by the Humane Society of Missouri, who described the conditions of the mill as some of the most horrific they had ever seen. This should say a lot. Living in urine and feces soaked 2x2 cages, some of the rescued pups were found with fur so matted that it had actually bound their limbs. For some particularly unlucky souls, the matte cut blood flow to the bones, permanently disabling them. This honestly pushes the limits of my comprehension.

If you are able to adopt a puppy, or care about animal welfare, I strongly encourage you to visit Oprah's website to learn more.

Thank you, Oprah, for once again brining much needed attention to animals, and for using your public forum so responsibly.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Veggie Satay with Vegetables on Brown Rice

Last night, I cooked what turned out to be a rather delicious dinner. Surprisingly. Dinner happened on the fly, piecemeal as I was too tired and too grumpy to actually go to the store. I found a package of Yves Satay Veggie Skewers in the freezer and it just snowballed from there. Brown rice, some frozen vegetables, a little tamari, and voilá!

Start by browning (and defrosting if you're me) the skewers on a non-stick pan. Turn heat down to medium, throw in as many veggies as you can possibly eat, and sautée until the vegetables are cooked through--hot but still crunchy. Once the brown rice is ready, drizzle some tamari, and serve. I finished off my meal with too many oranges to count (remembering that Vitamin C aids in the absorption of iron) and a big mug of organic mint tea.

I know that these pre-packed faux meat products aren't the most nutritional, and I don't advocate a diet that relies on them. But, in a pinch, on a messy winter night like last night, they can be a life saver. Quick, filling, packed with protein. This was my first time trying the satay skewers and, I am happy to report, they were surprisingly tasty with a little kick at the end. I highly recommend!

Greenwashing At Its Best

While doing some online research today, I fell onto this site--thank you to the Google gods. From the Fur Council of Canada, This was certainly news to me! But, I must give kudos to the marketing genius behind this one. It is one of the best examples of marketing spin that I have ever seen.

The Fur Council claims that fur, like leather, suede, and all other animal products, is gentle on the environment because it's natural..."a true gift of nature". Furthermore, they point out, fur is both renewable (until the entire species is wiped out, I suppose), durable, biodegradable, and energy-efficient. They go on to claim that they are responsible "conservationists" for respecting hunting and trapping laws and for strictly ensuring that endangered animals are never used.

Now, derived from nature does not a green product make. Anything that uselessly and cruelly takes from Mother Nature to feed a senseless and wasteful need is in no way environmental. Moreover, it is the antithesis.

If you are looking for truly sustainable fashion, and I stress the word fashion, check out Kaight: environmentally-friendly and ethical.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

On a Chilly Friday Afternoon...

I discovered a surprising little spot for a warm, comforting, and totally sugary snack--Indigo's! Seriously. At the downtown Montreal location, they serve soy milk and a whole assortment of Skinni granola bars and cookies in the upstairs café. I opted for a soy latte and Skinni granola bar.

I searched everywhere online for Skinni products, hoping to share more locations with you. Unfortunately, they don't seem to have a website. Hours of google searching without results, although I did turn up some surprising results for "skinni in montreal"!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Vegan: The Dieter's Non-Diet?

A couple of days ago, The Globe and Mail published a story on veganism as the new “non-diet”, reporting on the benefits of a vegan diet for diabetics.

Now for those of us already practicing the lifestyle, none of this seems very surprising. We’ve all seen and, more importantly, felt the benefits. When people ask, I usually describe it as feeling clean. It’s the difference between having a head cold and not—but of the entire body. The article, possibly most importantly, is yet another example of veganism popping up in mainstream media.

So on that note, and in the spirit of FOODIE FRIDAYS, I leave you with this simple recipe. It’s so easy and you can find all the ingredients in your regular old grocery. Seriously delicious and perfect for these cold winter days.

Sweet Potato Chili

Adapted from Simple Vegetarian Pleasures

3 tablespoons canola oil

2 large onions, finely diced

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 red bell pepper, finely diced

1 green bell pepper, finely diced

1 ½ tablespoons chili pepper

1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

5 cups water

1 (28 oz.) can of plum tomatoes, finely chopped with their juice

¼ cup tomato paste, thinned with ¼ cup water

2 medium-large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice

2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, rinsed and well drained in a strainer

¾ teaspoon salt

Chopped cilantro


1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and sauté stirring frequently, until the onions begin to brown, at least 10 minutes. Stir in the 2 bell peppers and cook 10 minutes, stirring often.

2. Sprinkle on the chili powder and cumin, cook the spices 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Stir in all the remaining ingredients, except cilantro, and bring to a boil. Cook 15 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Stir the soup occasionally, making sure to scrape the bottom to get any of the bits possibly stuck there.

3. Serve with cilantro sprinkled on top, and be prepared to go back for seconds. Thirds even.

It's Not Easy Being Green

Making the switch to veganism can be hard, especially if you’re like me. I’m not militant about my beliefs; you won’t find me standing on a street corner with a petition, although I really admire those that do and will always stop to sign it for you. I’ve had almost twenty years of people arguing with me for what I believe in. I decided a long time ago that I wouldn’t return the favor.

Veganism, and even vegetarianism, is a personal choice, and one that we all made for very different reasons. But, to be honest, it also can be a struggle. There is literally a cornucopia of information to sift through; eating out can be hard to navigate, even in this foodie city. I love ice cream and cheese; I miss them both dearly—especially ice cream. I love sky-high heels, but not all of us can afford Stella McCartney. Temptations are high and everywhere; cheating sometimes inevitable. And it’s ok. The guilt can be overwhelming, but it can also serve to strengthen your resolve to live a lighter, gentler life.

So in that spirit, I give you this: a resource of tips and tricks to help you navigate the vegan lifestyle in the real world. Mondays will be devoted to web finds, Thursdays to fashion, and Fridays to food.

If you have any tips or thoughts that you would like to share, please do!