Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival 2012

A couple weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend the 28th Annual Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival. It is without a doubt one of the most successful Veg Fests in North America, if not the world. The impressive Toronto Vegetarian Society is the driving force behind this yearly mecca. My first visit to Toronto just happened to be during the 24th Annual Veg Fest four long years ago and I was really excited to return and check out all of the venders and speakers. Oh, and did I mention it's free?  
One of the first places I had to stop was the Field Roast table. Field Roast is one of my all-time favorite companies.  I've never eaten something of theirs I didn't love. I was told that Field Roast distribution is a little wonky at the moment in Canada, but keep asking your local stores to carry it. Their table was packed with people all weekend!

Apiecalypse Bakery, located straight outta Toronto, was a pleasant surprise. Not only did they have Vegan Marshmallows out the yin yan, they also had S'more Pie! Really nice people who rock!

You know I had to stop by the Vega table! It was crazy packed most of the weekend, which is awesome. I've been using Vega products for 5 years now and it's amazing to see how much the company has grown in that time. I guess if you have a great product it's going to be successful.  

A couple products from Bio, MozzaRisella and Muscolo De Grano that looked interesting to me. I'm not sure if I'll ever see these in the states, but you Canadians can gloat that you have something we don't!

Of course, a lot of the heavy hitters were in Toronto, too. I had my first taste of the Jalapeno Garlic Havarti Style Wedge from Daiya and I liked it! Gardein brought some Teriyaki Chick'n Strips that I thought were amazing. But the Coconut Earth Balance is freakin' out of this world! I've never been an Earth Balance connoisseur, but you gotta' try this stuff.

But  the greatest product of the entire Veg Fest, by a long shot, was this Aureeva Creamsicle Soya Beverage. It was liquid gold, I swear to god. If anyone can get this imported to the US, I will love you forever. It seriously tastes like creamsicle, kids will love this stuff!

I wasn't able to see most of the speakers, but I did get to go to most of the cooking demos. Strangely, even though I don't like to cook, I find cooking demos entertaining and informative. The genius known as Isa Chandra Moskowitz (no, she didn't make me say that) was funny as usual. Terry Hope Romero made Seitan Gyros and won the crowd over. Taymer Mason introduced everyone (especially me) to Carribbean cuisine. I found out Taymer is a fan of my blog which is totally awesome and unexpected!

So that was a little snapshot of my experience at the Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival. I barely scratched the surface because there is so much going on. If you've always wanted to go to Toronto, you should totally go during the Veg Fest. It's a humbling experience that will reinforce your choice of going Vegan or Vegetarian.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Vega One French Vanilla Nutritional Shake

Earlier this year, Vega introduced their new all-in-one nutritional shake, Vega One. Initially, there were four flavors; Vanilla Chai, Berry, Chocolate and Natural. I was pretty happy with the flavor choices and I didn't anticipate a new flavor anytime soon. Well surprise, surprise, Vega contacted me about sampling their new Vega One flavor, French Vanilla. You know I'm not going to turn that down!

As with the other Vega One flavors, French Vanilla is easy to mix and drink. As much as I love the old WFHO, it was gritty and, at times, slimy. I didn't mind it (I'm still drinking it from the massive surplus I bought when Vega One was introduced), but I know a lot of you did and lo and behold Vega responded! Taste-wise, I really dug the French Vanilla. It has a clean, strong vanilla-ly taste, not supplementy like at all. I love vanilla in general so I would totally buy this flavor. It reminds me a bit of the Vanilla Almondilla Energizing Smoothie, not totally, but close enough. I bet this would be great with strawberries if you drink your Vega that way.

So as far as I'm concerned, French Vanilla Vega One is another delicious option for your whole food supplement needs. I can't wait until I finally run out of my WFHO supply so I'm able to start getting some Vega One. When that happens, French Vanilla will be at the top of my list!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hilary's Eat Well Veggie Burgers

Hiding at your local Whole Foods is Hilary's Eat Well Veggie Burgers. The reason I say hiding is because Hilary's contacted me about reviewing their burgers and I said I would be more than happy to, but my Whole Foods didn't carry Hilary's Eat Well products. Hilary's said they did, so the next day I went to Whole Foods and sure enough, there was the Spicy Green Chili Adzuki Bean Burger and The World's Best Veggie Burger tucked away in a small box in the freezer section. So they're hard to spot, but the good news is, once you find them, you'll never forget.

There are two burgers per package and one wrapper, so there's no box waste. A pretty nifty idea I think. Also both burgers nut-free and gluten-free, great if you have those allergies. Another amazing thing is that you can cook them in the oven, microwave, skillet OR the toaster. So let's take a look!

Did the World's Best Veggie Burger live up to it's name? It was definitely my favorite of the two. Some of the major ingredients include millet, quinoa, sweet potatoes, spinach and onion. It almost has a chick'n patty flavor more so than a meaty flavor, which I liked. I toasted the burger in the max toaster setting and it came out pretty good. It was a bit dry but once you get ketchup or Vegenaise on the patty, you'll be in good shape. I thought it was a pretty delicious burger and one of my new favs.
The Spicy Green Chili Adzuki Bean Burger was rockin' as well. It also has millet, quinoa, sweet potatoes, onions but it also has green chiles and obviously adzuki beans. I microwaved the Adzuki Burger and it got a tad mushy, but toasting may resolve that. I loved the spiciness! It's a great contrast to the other burger. Try some Vegenaise, tomatoes and lettuce, so good! I'll definitely be picking these up again.

Bottom line: I was pretty impressed with these burgers and it's a shame I didn't notice them sooner. I would try them for sure if you are into burgers that don't have a strong meaty flavor. The option of toasting is pretty ingenious and being allergy-friendly is nice, too. Head down to your Whole Foods and give 'em a try!

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Laziest Vegan Salad

Thanks to the boiling hot summer from hell, I've taken to eating more salads. It just seems more enjoyable to eat something cool, crisp and light then something heavy and hot. I've also always had trouble getting all of my daily veggies in, so eating a big salad kind of resolves that. Being the lazy Vegan that I am, I devised the easiest and most satisfying salad possible, while staying within the pre-packaged rules of my blog.

Yes, I know it would be cheaper to buy veggies from the farmer's market, but that's not the point. This is for people who never eat salad because they are lazy but are also salad-curious. Don't worry salad-phobic people, it's all about baby steps. Just do what you can to eat a couple more veggies everyday.   
Well, first you need to start with a mix of greens. Do yourself a favor and stay away from iceberg lettuce and get some spinach or kale. This Earthbound Farm Organic Power Greens mix is pretty nice because it has baby kale, baby spinach and baby green and red chard.

At my Whole Foods, there is always tons of pre-packaged organic vegetables. I chose the broccoli and cauliflower mix, but you can get whatever veggies you heart desires.

These pre-washed Bunny-Luv carrots are pretty amazing. I HATE peeling carrots so these are heaven to me. Someone told me that baby carrots have less beta carotene than normal sized carrots. Well, if that's true, a little beta carotene is better than none because I'm not peeling carrots!

I love sprouts! They add crunch, texture and healthy flavor to salads. I almost got some bean sprouts, but opted for these Sun Sprout alfalfa sprouts instead. And make sure you throw the leftover alfalfa on a sandwich. 

The one thing I don't like about salads is that they can be so boring! You're eating a damn salad, so make sure you put something fun on it. I don't know, get those Snapea Crisps or some raisins. On this salad, I threw some Pig Out Bacony Bits from Wayfare. They add a little texture and are super tasty.

This Salad Girl Crisp Apple Maple Dressing really hit the spot. It was sweet, but not overpowering. Follow Your Heart also has a ton of amazing dressings you should check out. I also kick it old school once in a while and use Braggs Liquid Aminos Seasoning.

So here is my Laziest Vegan Salad! Pretty, isn't it? As you can see, I've added a some tomatoes from my garden. If you've never grown a tomato, try it, it's pretty easy! You won't believe how much better they taste than the store bought ones. If I can grow a tomato, anyone can. In closing, if you are a Lazy Vegan, it doesn't mean you can't eat a couple veggies a day and a salad is the easiest way to do it!


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