Posts tagged vegan

Catchin’ up

Wow, it’s really been over a month since my last post. I kinda decided to stop blogging for awhile there, but subconciously kept photographing my food. I guess deep down I must have known that I’d come crawling back! Blogging is like crack to me, and I’ve been jonesing for another fix. Thanks Aly for keeping Mad About Udon updated!

Oh, and I do have a little annoucement! Aly and I both signed up for our first 5K race! And then, I promptly dropped out… and signed up for the 10K! I started training and realized that 5K wouldn’t be a terribly difficult goal to achieve, and since I have so much time till the race (it’s in late May), I decided to go to town. So team Mad About Udon has been training a lot lately (together and independently) and hopefully we’ll kick the race’s ass come May 23. What’s the ideal time to finish at 5K? A 10K? I heard that 25 mins is a respectable time for a 5K so is it thus 50 mins for a 10K?

Hm, well first of all I’ve been eating a ton of oatmeal—thanks to Kath and Shelby, whose near-daily oatmeal concoctions inspired me to try some of my own. I’ve been including any combination of rolled oats, oat bran, soy milk, rice or hemp protein powder, peanut butter, bananas, berries, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, raisins, carob chips, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, etc. It’s usually the following recipe:

  • 1/6 cup oats
  • 1/6 cup oat bran
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp protein powder
  • dash salt, and a tsp each of fair-trade vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin

The pumpkin really steals this recipe, and at 35 cal / half cup (and 200% of Vit A intake), it’s my favourite addition!

This one has all of the above plus a half cup of frozen berries (which melted in the pot).

I used this Rice Protein powder from Whole Foods:

I don't really love the rice protein powder, it's kinda chalky. I'm partial to my Manitoba Harvest Hemp Powder

My friend Barb and I went to Whole Foods in Toronto’s Yorkville neighborhood and I was in heaven! I didn’t even realize we had a WF in Canada, so I was pretty psyched to go. I only got a few things, as it’s pretty pricey there, but it`s good to know I can find obscure vegan products nearby if I need to.

Also featuring pumpkin is my amazing Pumpkin Cream Cheese. Someone else probably invented this already since there is only two ingredients: Pumpkin and Tofutti non-dairy cream cheese (1:1 by volume).

Good on toast, sandwiches, and anywhere else you would put cream cheese.

I also frequently make Fitnessista’s Oatmeal Breakfast Cookie which I’m kicking myself for not making earlier. It’s so validating, in a strange way, to wolf down a giant cookie for breakfast.

This one has mixed-in a delicious Spiced Plum jam that my friend Barb gave me, along with raisins and PB.

When I left off last time, I was experimenting with juicing using my friend Taras’ juicer. While I concede that juicing provides supremely healthy, tasty, and wholesome juices, I have reservations with wasting all the pulp. Plus, it’s fun to eat fruit, more fun than it is to drink it. Anyway, the last day I had it, I juiced a ton of carrots, zucchini, and apples, and saved the fibrous pulp to bake into a bread:

Fibrous pulp: carrots, zucchini, and apples

I used my banana bread recipe and subbed the pulp for the bananas:

The pulp and the bread didn't really taste like anything! So I guess this proves that all the flavour does indeed come out during juicing.

My witty, candid friend Nick (check out his blog to see just how witty and candid) and I had a very frank and productive lunch a few weeks ago at The Manx. This bar has few menu items, although one is identified as vegan and I ordered that. I don’t post every vegan meal I eat out, but this was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

It was a HUGE burrito with veggies, jalepeno peppers, and TVP (I think) inside with guac on top and a side salad. Tasty, tasty :-)

I got really enthused at the idea of roasting veggies, so I threw a TON of veggies into a pan, sprayed with PAM, and sprinkled with tons of herbs and spices. Then I baked that for about an hour, turning the contents two or three times throughout.

Roasted veggies: carrots, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, zucchini, asparagus, peppers, garlic, etc.

I enjoyed these best reheated and topped over a generous bed of spinach/cilantro/dill

Oh, and on the subject of “why-didn’t-I-make-this-incredibly-easy-dish-sooner” meals, voila:

Sweet Potato Fries

I sprayed these with PAM and sprinkled with sea salt, and baked at 350 for an hour, turning twice.

Samosa-stuffed baked potatoes, from Veganomicon:

These were just sort of okay, not amazing and not really worth the effort.

Kath’s amazing Nutty Vanilla  Sweet Potato + Kale Soup:


Recipe (from Kath):

  • 2 pounds of sweet potato, cut into 1” pieces and microwaved in a bowl on high for 6.5 minutes to start the cooking process
  • 3 cloves garlic,  pressed
  • 1 can lite coconut milk
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups kale, trimmed, washed and torn into small pieces
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup salted peanuts, for garnish
  • Shredded coconut, for garnish


  1. Prepare sweet potatoes in microwave.
  2. Heat a large pot on medium high. Spray with cooking spray and add potatoes, cooking until they begin to brown. Stir in garlic.
  3. Add coconut milk, soy milk, masala, salt, pepper and flakes.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Mash potatoes with potato masher or puree with immersion blender.
  6. Add raisins, kale and vanilla and cover. Allow to cook for 8-10 more minutes, until kale is bright green.
  7. Portion into bowls and garnish with 1 tbsp each peanuts and coconut.

Mmmm… I love the website —I get sooo many recipe ideas from there! Omnivore Boyfriend doesn’t like weird vegan “voodoo” stuff, like tofu, tempeh, TVP, etc, so I’m always on the lookout for recipes that are simple and tasty and not soy-centric. Then I split the dish in half and add soy protein to my half. Here are two favourites:

Lentil, pea, and potato curry:

That's a double batch in a mixing bowl, I forgot to snap a pic when I had it portioned out

Dhal with Carrot & Cauliflower:

Dhal with Carrot & Cauliflower

Served with a mixture of jasmine and orzo rices

I made a double batch of Vegan Dad’s Veggie Lunch Meat. This is one recipe that significantly changed by dietary and shopping regimen. Try it!

I should have enough to last me till the summer!

Um, due to a serious of strange and unfortunate events which I won’t go into right now, I procured this piece of chocolate tofu-cheese cake from Green Earth, a new veggie restaurant in Ottawa.

It was mighty tasty!

O.B. and I have been travelling all over Southern Ontario for interviews, birthdays, and such, and our travels have landed us in Toronto more than once. I looooove everything from Toronto’s Chinatown, from the dim sum to the cheap produce. Last weekend I picked up 11 bananas, 5 oranges, 6 large apples, a huge bag of grapes, 3 trays of blackberries, 3 melons, and a dragonfruit—all for $16!



Also purchased in Chinatown were as many red-bean pastries as I could fit in the car :-):

Red-bean pastries

Red-bean pastries

Red-bean pastries

*drool* I love anything with red bean paste in it.

Those Korean red bean balls especially made me happier than a hot koala in a bucket of water AND...

... a seagull eating a starfish!!

I also picked up some cheap tofu (2 pkg/$1) and those weird Shirataki noodles which aren't really noodles (they are actually made with tofu and yam flour and are only 20 cal/serving).

So I’ll have to find something fun to do with those ingredients.

Oh! I also picked up bok choy so I’m envisioning a bok choy/shirataki/tofu/hoisin stir fry coming up.

I'm not sure if you would call this a wrap or a burrito, but I made this puppy on my George Foreman grill!

I packed this full of jasmine rice, refried beans, black olives, and guacamole made with PC Guacamole Mix, and grilled it with a little bit of PAM.

I was struck with the sudden inspiration to make vegan Shepherd`s Pie, which is weird since I`ve never had the real thing. Anyway, here`s what I came up with:

Sorry for the fluorescent photo, I needed to use my flash.

For this dish I mixed Yves Veggie Ground Round and a can of mushroom (i.e. vegetarian) gravy for the bottom layer. Next was a layer of peas and carrots, and finally the top layer was mashed sweet potatoes with some cornmeal mixed it. The cornmeal was gritty and kind of pointless but other than that this was so amazingly savoury. I’m definitely going to make this again, and when I do I’ll leave out the cornmeal and possible mixed some mashed cauliflower into the mix.


I sent some of my famous Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Carob Chip cookies with O.B. to work one day for a meeting, and they were a hit, as usual. Even the finicky lab supervisor had a few:

Everywhere I bring these, people just silently wolf down as many as possible until the tray is empty.

The story behind these is that I just grabbed a random “oatmeal-chocolate chip cookie” recipe off the ‘net and subbed in a few bananas for the eggs. Et voila—a moist, chewy, decadent chocolate chip cookie with a rich banana flavour and an oatmealy texture.


  • 1 c Earth Balance margarine
  • 1.5 c brown sugar
  • 1 c white sugar
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1.75 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2.5 c rolled oats
  • 2.5 c vegan choc chips (or carob chips)


Beat margarine and sugars. Add bananas and mix. Add vanilla and water, and mix. Add the rest, and mix. Cook for 9-10 mins at 350 C

Procrastinating through exams/theses?  Check out my cousin Lindsay’s scintillating travel blog as she  weaves her way through Europe. Will she ever return? Stay tuned. Also, check out The Bystander, a new Ottawa-centric arts and culture blog written by my friends Tina and Peter.

Zesty Clothing is celebrating the launch of its new clothing line by giving away two t-shirts and two aprons, so head on over to the contest website to enter!
-Megan over at Megan’s Munchies is doing a cookbook giveaway–check it out!!
-Sarah over at Tales of Expansion is giving away a very nutty prize pack over at her blog—check it out here!!

Whoo. Dunzo. Happy Wednesday!



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Gluten-free vegan food

Although I am a hearty consumer of gluten, a family member of mine isn’t. As such, there are myriad gluten-free recipes floating around my daily vegan menu. It’s amazing how many options are still available even when meat, eggs, dairy, wheat, rye, oats, and barley are omitted. There are a fair number of GF-vegans in the blogosphere, so I have decided to do a post entire of GF vegan recipes.

Here are a couple creations I’ve been noshing on over the last couple days:

Savoury Fried Rice:

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 small fresh red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cashew nuts, toasted
  • 2/3 cup dry unsweeted shredded coconut, toasted
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce (i.e. Braggs)
  • 1/4 cup fried onions
  • 1 cup green beans, sliced
  • 4 oz collards
  • 3.5 oz jasmine rice, cooked

Heat oil in large frying pan. Add garlic and cook over a medium heat until golden. Add the chili, cashews, and toasted coconut to the pan and stir fry briefly (don’t let the coconut scorch!). Stir in sugar, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Toss over heat for 1-2 min. Add fried onions and stir in. Add green beans, collards,and cooked rice. Stir just until greens have wilted. Remove from stove. Optional: serve with a lime wedge.

Thai Sauce:

Thai sauce and noodles.

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp red curry paste
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 of each colour pepper (red, orange, yellow) — slivered
  • 1 can bamboo shoots
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable stock

Heat oil. Add garlic & onions, and saute. Add red curry paste & coconut milk. Stir to dissolve paste. Add everything else and heat for 15-20 min. Serve over jasmine rice or rice noodles.

Garden vegetable salad:

Purge garden of extraneous vegetation (pictured: tomatoes, cucumbers, orange peppers). Add oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Voila!

Mrs. Robinson’s famous three-bean salad:

Mrs. Robinson's famous three-bean salad


  • 1 540-mL can of both chick peas and kidney beans (drained)
  • 1 cup cooked & cut green and yellow beans
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped green pepper
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped sweet red pepper


  • 1/2 cup corn oil
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Mix A and B separately. Pour B over A and toss well. Refrigerate overnight.

Oven-Roasted Pecan Sweet Potatoes:

Oven-Roasted Pecan Sweet Potatoes

4 cups peeled & chopped sweet potatoes

  • 1 vidalia onion, sliced in wedges
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Combine potatoes, garlic, oil, and thyme; toss well to coat. Pour into a shallow roasting pan and bake at 425 deg F, turning frequently (approx 30-35 mins; check to see when potatoes are soft and golden brown). Add pecan and continue roasting for another 10 mins. Drizzle with vinegar and season with salt and pepper.

Raw Tomato Sauce:

Raw Tomato Sauce w/ veggies

‘s mother sent me this recipe because she thought I’d like it. She was right! This raw, GF, vegan dip is a great low-cal condiment for sandwiches or for dipping veggies. This makes a LOT of dip (I ate it all though…)

  • 8 medium tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves

Blend everything except 1 tomato in a blender. Add the remained chopped tomato, and garnish with basil.

Whew! Where did the last hour go?


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Scrambled tofu

I got a little tired of eating steel cut oats for breakfast every day, so on Monday I decided to make a vegan classic instead:

Scrambled tofu! In addition to the basic combination of mashed up tofu, onion, dill and spices, I added baby spinach, orange pepper, white mushrooms, and cocktail tomatoes.

There is quite an abundance of scrambled tofu recipes on the internet, in case you have yet to try this delicious standard! Here are a few examples:

Send us a link to your favourite scrambled tofu recipe, and we’ll add it to the list!

– Aly

PS Looking for more evidence to support your vegan or vegetarian lifestyle choice? Read this!

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Restaurant Review: Ahora Mexican Cuisine (Ottawa, ON)

I’m back in Ottawa for a brief interlude, for what may be my last time ever. Or not. Or not not. Who knows at this point?

My friend Taras and I went to Ahora, a Mexican retaurant in the Byward Market area. I’d heard murmurs of this place before but, to be honest, before Mad About Udon was born I had little interest in scoping out vegan-friendly restaurants. I’m happy to say that Ahora was fantastic! I cannot rave about this place enough; the meals was sooo cheap, the waitstaff were supremely friendly and helpful, and best of all the food was delicious.

I had both the Sopa De Tortilla and a Taco Vegetariano (minus the cheese and sour cream), the total for which was a whopping $9.25.

The food at Ahora isn’t spicy—the proprietors leave it up to you to dress your food selection with an array of salsas and spicy sauces at their salsa bar.

In other food-related news, I tried to make the Fat Free Vegan’s Blueberry-Oat Bars. Unfortunately, I am staying back at O.B.‘s place in Ottawa and I took our blender when I moved to Toronto. So instead of a blueberry bar with a solid homogenous topping of pureed oats and applesauce, mine turned out more like one huge plate of uncooked oats saturated with blueberries. It was still very delicious, though, just not as photogenic as I’d hoped.

Did anyone else try this recipe? If so, post the link in the comments. I’m interested to see how everyone else’s turned out.


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Curried butternut squash

Curried butternut squash on my Flickr
I bought a butternut squash for the first time last week and decided to make a curry based on recollections of the delicious curried squash sometimes included in the vegetable thali at Ceylonta, an Ottawa restaurant which specializes in Sri Lankan and South Indian cuisine. In case you are also new to the wonderful world of butternut squash, I recommend checking this video out; it might make your peeling experience a little easier :). My recipe makes one large serving, and is a work in progress.

Curried butternut squash

1 t black mustard seeds
1 t cumin seeds
½ c onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 t minced garlic (optional, unless you really dig garlic!)
½ T curry powder
1 t coriander powder
1 c butternut squash, cubed
2 baby potatoes, cubed (optional)
¼ c chickpeas
1 c spinach

1. I did not temper the spices in oil, but would suggest doing so if you would like to experience the full flavour of the black mustard and cumin seeds. Instead, I heated about a ¼ c of water (I used a small pot; use enough to cover the bottom of your pot or skillet), and added the black mustard and cumin seeds. If you are using oil, heat until the black mustard seeds begin to pop (this happens very quickly; be vigilant!).
2. Add the onions and garlic next and heat them until the onions become transparent. Watch the pot carefully, and add more water if necessary to avoid burning them.
3. Once the onions are ready, add approximately ½ c of water, the curry powder, coriander powder, squash and potatoes. Turn the heat to medium-low, and cook for 15-20 minutes.
4. Add the spinach and chickpeas, and cook for another five minutes.

I was on a real curry kick this week and decided to try out another curry for supper the next day.

This is a hybrid of the Happy Herbivore‘s Channa Palak Masala and Indian Spiced Chickpeas and Kale. It was so dang good, that I made it twice; once with chickpeas, and once with kidney beans. I used spinach on both occasions.

– Aly

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Wow, I’m a slacker

I can’t believe I haven’t posted in almost 2 weeks! There were a couple things driving that. First of all, my camera done busted. Actually, Microsoft Vista, in all it’s exceedingly user-unfriendly glory, stopped recognizing my camera. Second, life in Toronto is a rollercoaster of events, appointments, things, places, people, etc, and I haven’t had much time for cooking. Thirdly, I no longer have O.B. here to consume all of my experiments and so the fridge is slow to deplete. And fourthly, living in the suburbs, I can’t walk to the grocery store so my creative recipes (previously envisioned at work, planned on the way home, and prepared with a quick trip to the nearby grocery store) have sort of dried up.

Yet, I do still have SOME creations.. here we go :-)

Minestrone soup from here, garnished with pre-slivered carrots.

The first of many salads… I’ve sort of become a nutter over salads these days. Must be all the fresh produce.

Left, another salad creation using Byward Market vegetables (this was a couple weeks ago when I was in Ottawa) and Soy & Ginger salad dressing. The mixed greens are from a stand that sells bagged mixed salad with sprigs of dill (YUM!!!) for $2.50 a bag. On the right, oh god oh god oh god, I can’t even look at this soup without gagging. It’s Cream of Leek soup from the Bulk Barn which I bought because there was no cream in the ingredients… which is a little fucked up, don’t you think? Anyway it tasted ATROCIOUS, I had to brush my teeth for an hour afterwards. *Gag*

Speaking of the Byward Market, it was so great to see all the stalls open and all the produce out. I can’t wait to check out the St Lawrence Mkt in Toronto. Here are some Byward Market pics:

But anyway, back to the food:

I LOVE this green bean recipe. This recipe comes from my mother, who is kind enough to share the recipe:

Oriental Green Beans

1 ½ pounds green beans, trimmed
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oriental sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
4 garlic cloves, minced (I use 1 teaspoon chopped garlic from jar

1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook green beans until just tender, 4-5 minutes.
2. While beans are cooking, in a small bowel combine soy sauce, oil and sugar; stir and set aside.
3. Drain beans, set aside.
Spray wok or skilled with nonstick cooking spray; place over medium heat. Add garlic; cook, stirring constantly, until softened, 20-30 seconds. Add green beans; cook, stirring and turning constantly, until well coated, about 2 minutes.
Add soy sauce mixture; continue to stir and turn until most of the liquid is absorbed, 1-2 minutes.

Again, with the salad creations:

I’ve become totally obsessed with mango/strawberry/dill-containing salads.

I like communal fridges for the variety of random salad ingredients found within. Here again, is another mixed green salad with mango, kiwi, strawberries, dill, sunflower seeds, papaya, and bean sprouts.

Rice paper rolls! AKA “Summer rolls”. I loooove these things, esp dipped in plum sauce.

Here’s what they look like being made:I ususally throw in avocado, slivered carrots and cucumber, cilantro, green onion, sprouts, pepper, etc.

A big stir-fry for some packed lunches, with my favourite noodle, UDON!! I also added grilled herbed tofu, frozen vegetables, VH Teriyaki sauces, and sweet thai chilli sauce.

Sorry for the blurry pic, but this is a slice of spinach-red pepper pizza from a downtown eatery (wish I could remember the name!).

That’s all for now! I’ll catch up on all your blogs later today.


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The Granola Girl Cafe Project Restaurant Review (Part I)

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Sara Banks, who along with Lawrence Playford-Beaudet, is taking on the task of feeding Ottawa’s vegan population with style, accommodation and artistry at The Granola Girl Cafe Project, a fund-raising initiative for the eventual establishment of a restaurant. Although Ottawa has a handful of vegan-friendly restaurants , it has had a definite lack of 100% vegan eateries, aside from The Garden Spot located on campus at Carleton U, until now, that is! The newly established Granola Girl Cafe Project, located on 4 – 226 Gladstone Ave just off of Elgin St, offers a delightful and very reasonably priced 100% vegan menu of beautifully crafted granolas, lunch items, desserts and drinks.

The Granola Girl Cafe Project has provided local vegans with the opportunity and convenience to indulge themselves on sinfully delicious homemade desserts, candy bars, vegan cheeses and many other items not available elsewhere. Granola Girl Sara has had a great deal of experience creating vegan culinary concoctions in a wide variety of settings, beginning with her time preparing food for an Oberlin College vegetarian and vegan-food collective in 2004 where she learned to prepare vegan meals in order to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Since then, she has honed the art of preparing beautiful and exciting vegan dishes appealing to both the taste buds and one’s aesthetics. Sara had been providing the local vegan community with a custom-made granola service as well as monthly dinner parties which became implausible due to her growing clientele and format of the events. Upon meeting her fellow granola girl at a soy milk workshop which Lawrence was teaching, the Granola Girl Cafe Project was born. The project has allowed the granola girls to begin raising money for their plan to fill downtown Ottawa’ void of vegan restaurants and offer their delightful fare to the vegan community at unreasonably reasonable prices.

The menu at the Granola Girl Cafe Project offers a diverse choice of brunch, lunch, and dessert type foods along with drinks. Unlike many restaurants in the area, the granola girls are very willing to accommodate their customers’ needs and dietary restrictions; if contacted ahead of time they will do their best to meet your needs! Sara has had past experience catering for clients with gluten and soy intolerances. Although accommodation may be difficult for those of us with severe nut allergies due the complications associated with nut traces, the granola girls are willing to try and meet those needs and are hoping to move towards a more allergy-safe environment as their business grows. The brunch items include Sara’s fantastic granolas, such as her famous PB&J granola, in combination with their in-house almond milk or soy yogurt. (Granolas may also be ordered in bulk.) Although the lunch items vary from week to week, they generally include a vegan grilled cheese featuring one of Sara’s homemade gourmet vegan cheeses. Sara’s desserts are guaranteed to satisfy sweet tooth; her pies, “cheese” cakes and candy bars fill the void left by the lack of pre-made vegan sweets. Her vegan candy bars, like the “butterfynger” and “twixx” are a popular stable of the Granola Girl Cafe Project. Weekly menus can be seen on the Granola Girl Cafe Project website. The word on the street is that the Chilled Yogurt Cucumber Soup will be FREAKING AWESOME.

The Granola Girl Cafe Project is open Sunday’s and Monday’s from 11 am to 3 pm. It will not be open on May 25th and 26th, so tomorrow and Monday will be your last chance to check it until Father’s day. Maureen and I are planning to go on Monday for Part II of the Granola Girl Cafe Project restaurant review; hope to see you there :)!

– Aly

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