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Restaurant Review: Yamchops

I heard about Yam­chops this past sum­mer and it is a real shock that I wasn’t able to make it there until a few weeks ago. That being said, it was well worth the wait!

Two words: vegan lox.

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Are you kid­ding me?! Amaz­ing! Yam­chops can be described as a veg­e­tar­ian butcher, mar­ket, and juice bar all rolled into one. When you walk into the Col­lege and Grace area store­front, you will be warmly greeted by one of the delight­ful staff and, if you’re lucky, a mem­ber of the Abram­son fam­ily will rec­om­mend some of their fab­u­lous in-house ready-made dishes that you can take home or sit down and eat.

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It really does feel like a deli counter, but instead of dead ani­mals, you have the option of choos­ing beet burg­ers, sweet potato Yam­chops, Indone­sian grilled tofu, and many other mouth-watering dishes.

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I believe this is the only place in the city, per­haps in Canada, that serves Vegan Chik*n Shawarma! …And let me tell you, it is fab­u­lous! Another star is their Kale Cae­sar salad with coconut ba-con.

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Owner, Jess Abram­son, fel­low veg­gie Jew, spoke with us about her vision for Yam­chops explain­ing it as a place where one can come and grab some pre­pared foods and also shop in the vegan mar­ket at the back of the store. She also kvelled about her line of cold-pressed organic juices made in-house called AuJus. These juices are really tasty. I’ve tried a lot of juice bars around the city, and these ones really stand out. We tried Salad Days and BBQ Apple Pie and were thor­oughly impressed.

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So if you are in Toronto and haven’t vis­ited them already, take a trip to 705 Col­lege Street (Just west of Mon­trose on the South side) and give Yam­chops a try. I promise, you will leave with a smile.

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Excit­ing news! Yam­chops caters! Have an upcom­ing simcha/ spe­cial occasion/holiday?

Give them a call: 416–645-0117 or e-mail them: talktous@yamchops.com

All photo cred­its: Sasha Arfin

Oy Vegan!

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Cruelty-free Thanksgiving and Fall So Delicious Giveaway!

Thanks­giv­ing just came and went here in Canada and I thought I would share some of the recipes we made in hon­our of the upcom­ing fall sea­son (also ben­e­fit­ting all those cel­e­brat­ing Amer­i­can Thanks­giv­ing next month).

You can find the Fall So Deli­cious Give­away in the mid­dle of this post!

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We made a bunch of amaz­ing dishes (pic­tured above). Oven-roasted Brus­sels sprouts with gar­lic, gin­ger car­rots (recipe below), gar­lic mashed pota­toes (recipe below), vegan stuff­ing, all slathered in Por­to­bello mush­room gravy (recipe below), cran­berry sauce, and the Hol­i­day Roast from Gardein.

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For dessert I made the chilled chocolate-espresso torte with toasted hazel­nut crust and raw pumpkin-maple pie with baked oat crust (both pic­tured below) from The Oh She Glows Cook­book. My fam­ily LOVED these tortes. I def­i­nitely rec­om­mend them!

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We also enjoyed So Deli­cious’ new win­ter bev­er­ages. Pump­kin Spice, Mint Choco­late, and Nog coconut milk. They were all super tasty and we were all very impressed with how low-fat and low-cal they were in com­par­i­son with the real thing– not to men­tion being cruelty-free!

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Which brings me to my next announcement…

THE FALL SO DELICIOUS GIVEAWAY!

We are giv­ing five lucky read­ers a VIP coupon for a free So Deli­cious prod­uct like their new hol­i­day beverages.

TO ENTER, look below to like Oy Vegan! on Face­book, fol­low us on twit­ter, and respond to this blog post with an answer to the fol­low­ing ques­tion: What autumn recipes do you want me to veganize?

This con­test closes next Sat­ur­day Octo­ber 25 at mid­night.  Con­test open to res­i­dents of Canada.

Best of luck!

a Raf­fle­copter give­away

Here are some Thanks­giv­ing recipes that will knock people’s socks off.

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Por­to­bello Mush­room Gravy

Yield: Just over 2 cups of gravy

Ingre­di­ents

• 1 table­spoon of extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 onions, chopped

• 2 cloves of gar­lic, minced

• 2 medium por­to­bello mush­rooms cleaned and chopped

• 2 1/4 cups of veg­etable broth

• 3 table­spoons Tamari or soy sauce

• 1/4 tea­spoon dried thyme

• 1/8 tea­spoon of sage

• 3 table­spoons of corn starch

• 6 table­spoons of water

• Pep­per to taste

Instruc­tions

1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over low to medium heat.

2. Add onion and cook for 4 min­utes until soft­ened and translu­cent. Add gar­lic and cook for another 30 sec­onds to a minute.

3. Add mush­rooms and cook, stir­ring often, till they begin to release their juices for about 10 minutes.

4. Add broth, Tamari/soy sauce, thyme, and sage and sim­mer for 10 minutes.

5. Mix corn­starch and water in a small bowl. Once thor­oughly com­bined, add to gravy and stir until thick­ened about 10 more min­utes. Sea­son with pepper.

6. For a smooth gravy, pour into a blender or Vita­mix OR use a hand­held immer­sion blender to purée .

7. Slather over every­thing and enjoy!

Sasha’s Gar­lic Mashed Potatoes

Yield: Serves 7 people

Ingre­di­ents

• Head of garlic

• 6 large Rus­set pota­toes, washed, peeled and quartered

• 1/2–1 cup of Earth Balance/ vegan mar­garine (amount depends on preference)

• tea­spoon of salt

• hand­ful of chives, chopped (optional)

Instruc­tions

1. Pre­heat the oven to 375 degrees F

2. Slice the top off the head of gar­lic and wrap the head of gar­lic in alu­minium foil and place in the oven for 25 minutes.

3. Mean­while, bring a large of pot of salted water to boil. Add pota­toes and sim­mer on low, cov­ered for 20 min­utes or until a fork can be inserted into pota­toes. They should be soft but not falling apart.

4. Once cooked, drain pota­toes in a colander.

5. Once gar­lic is cooked, unwrap and squeeze the gar­lic out a clove at a time into a big bowl. It should be cooked and gooey.  Add Earth Bal­ance or vegan mar­garine to gar­lic paste and mix together with a fork.

6. Put the pota­toes through a ricer into the bowl with the gar­licky but­tery mix­ture. If you don’t have a ricer, you can mash with a potato masher or with the back of a big fork.

7. Stir in chives if using.

8. Enjoy!

Gin­ger Carrots

Yield: Serves 7 people

Ingre­di­ents

• 2 lb bag of car­rots, washed and peeled

• 1/2 cup of Earth Balance/vegan margarine

• 2 table­spoons of gin­ger, peeled and roughly chopped

Instruc­tions

1. Cut car­rots length-wise into small sticks

2. Place Earth Bal­ance and gin­ger in a medium pot and heat over a medium heat until Earth Bal­ance is melted.

3. Add car­rots and cook for 15–20 min­utes or until car­rots are soft­ened. Car­rots should be par­tially sub­merged in the vegan mar­garine. Add more vegan mar­garine as needed.

4. Enjoy!

 

Oy Vegan!

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Toronto Vegetarian Food Fest 2014 Roundup!

Happy Sep­tem­ber all!

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The Toronto Veg­e­tar­ian Association’s Veg Food Fest is always a treat. This year was no dif­fer­ent. There were awe­some talks, tasty food demos, many new and cool ven­dors, and scan­dal! The scan­dal I’m refer­ring to is the Field Roast- Cana­dian Gov­ern­ment scan­dal. Please com­ment with your opin­ions and any news you’ve heard on that front. All I know is that Field Roast wasn’t allowed to bring their new prod­ucts over the boarder for the food fest this year. At their booth they left this sign:

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Why isn’t Field Roast allowed to sell their prod­uct on the Cana­dian mar­ket? Are they a threat to the sausage indus­try in some way? In what way are reg­u­lar sausages health­ier than vegan ones? It’s all very scan­dalous if you ask me. So buy your Field Roast now because they may not be restocked in your local Cana­dian retailers.

Luck­ily, there were many high­lights at the Veg Food Fest this year– so many it was hard to nar­row them down!

Nev­er­the­less, here are Oy Vegan’s top five highlights:

5. I was thrilled to see Hot­beans and Through Being Cool Vegan Bak­ing Com­pany team up as a food ven­dor in the world café this year. I noshed on the vegan Mac n’ Cheese bur­rito with home­made potato chips. It was ridicu­lous (in a good way).

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4. The open­ing night panel ‘Nutri­tion Myths Debunked’ fea­tured Dr. David Jenk­ins, Ginny Messina RD, Dr. Tushar Mehta, and Marni Wasser­man mod­er­ated by Lisa Pit­man. It was highly infor­ma­tive as the pan­elists explained many of the mis­con­cep­tions about soy cit­ing many med­ical stud­ies and explain­ing them in depth. They also explored stud­ies about gluten intol­er­ance, how much B12 we need, and oth­ers. Dr. Jenk­ins gave every­one an inside look at what the peo­ple of Oki­nawa, who have the longest life expectancy in the world, eat. Many of my mis­con­cep­tions about soy were addressed. The bot­tom line? Eat­ing soy is good for you and has many health ben­e­fits! Woo hoo!

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3. The cin­na­mon babka from Sweets from the Earth. I have to admit…I have a soft spot for Sweets from the Earth. So much so that I had them do the desserts at my vegan wed­ding. Their treats are amaz­ing and they are very nice peo­ple. All their sweets are vegan and kosher cer­ti­fied. They also have a nut-free facil­ity and a gluten-free facil­ity so they have a num­ber of very tasty nut-free and gluten-free options to offer. If you haven’t tried their desserts, def­i­nitely check them out!

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2. New prod­ucts that I’m excited about! There are a bunch of new prod­ucts show­cased at the food fest this year. Here are the ones to watch!

- Buchie & Sash and their dairy-free cream cheese was extremely tasty. Their prod­ucts are cur­rently sold in west end health food stores and are hope­fully com­ing soon to the east end!

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- The Hon­est Leaf and their line of teas for healthy liv­ing. I’ve been lov­ing the Detox tea, the Serene tea, and the Slim tea.

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- Nongshim’s Soon Veg­gie Noo­dle Soup was giv­ing away free noo­dle soup and prizes at the food fest. I’m always a fan of a quick noo­dle soup. This one has a lot less of the crap you find in most brands and it’s vegan!

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- So Deli­cious and their line of coconut milks and coconut ice cream. I love the peanut but­ter swirl!

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- Yam­Chops coconut bacon. This stuff is hella good.

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1. Veg’to’pia. An exhibit that looked at the evo­lu­tion of veg­e­tar­i­an­ism through­out his­tory and Toronto’s role in the vegetarian/vegan com­mu­nity world-wide. Made me proud to be vegan and Torontonian!

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1.5. Spe­cial shout-out to the new doc­u­men­tary Cowspiracy. Check out the trailer below.

Oy Vegan!

 

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Green Tea Chatz. Episode 2. SNACKS ONPLANE!

Hey veg­ans and vegetarians!

Ever won­dered what to bring with you while trav­el­ing by plane? While vegan options are more read­ily avail­able on planes these days, they are usu­ally lack­ing in flavour and freshness.

In this episode of Green Tea Chatz, Jamie explains what snacks and prod­ucts she might bring for a short or long flight above the clouds.

Enjoy!

Oy Vegan!

What snacks do you bring with you when you travel? Com­ment below!

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Green Tea Chatz. Episode 1. THE BEST VEGAN COOKBOOKS!

Wanna know what the best vegan cook­books are??? Check out today’s episode of Green Tea Chatz!

From her large col­lec­tion, Jamie show­cases her favourite vegan cook­books from over the years high­light­ing some of her favourite recipes in each cookbook.

 

 

Do you agree with her selec­tion? Do you dis­agree? Com­ment below!!!

Oy Vegan!

 

 

 

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Oy Vegan’s Top 5 Spring Must Haves!

 

Hooray! Spring has sprung and every­one is out and about in the sunshine…and the rain. It’s a time of regrowth and renewal. A new sea­sonal cycle begins. In hon­our of that, here are some of the hottest vegan items for Spring!

 

1. Be comfy and look hip in a pair of vegan TOMS. I have a pair in slate (pic­tured below) and I love them!

2. Hit the town with your Two Tick­ets chain purse in Mauve. This cute purse is per­fect for a night on the town and retails online at lulus.com for $42.

3.  Spring­time can still be a bit chilly. So pull on the Relaxed Woven Blazer ($33.80 CAD) from For­ever 21 in Blue Jewel.

4. Hun­gry for  a snack? Why not have some Amande cul­tured Almond­milk yogurt? I really love this stuff! Amande comes in a vari­ety of dif­fer­ent flavours like blue­berry, peach, and rasp­berry and is a great alter­na­tive to soy yogurt. Amande is gluten free, soy free, GMO free, vegan and it’s sweet­ened with fruit juice! mmmmmm

5. Look­ing for some new din­ner ideas?  I’m super excited about Chloe Coscarelli’s new cook­book! I’ve tried a bunch of recipes from her web­site and I have to say, they have all been deli­cious and sur­pris­ingly easy to make. I’m obsessed with mak­ing her Pad Thai recipe and award win­ning Choco­late Straw­berry Short­cake Cup­cakes. I can’t wait to pick up a copy of her cookbook.

 

So there you have it! The top 5 vegan must haves for the sea­son. Happy Spring to you and yours!

Oy vegan!

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Oy Vegan App review: VegOut and VeganXpress

Veg­Out and Veg­anX­press: iphone apps for the vegetarian/vegan who likes to dine out.

If you love to eat out, then these apps are for you. Have you ever been in an unfa­mil­iar city and won­dered what you were going to eat for dinner?

Veg­Out, the veg­e­tar­ian restau­rant guide for the iphone, helps you search sur­round­ing restau­rants for veg­e­tar­ian and vegan friendly options, and depend­ing where you are, finds the clos­est veg­gie joints in town . Using your loca­tion, Veg­Out pulls up the clos­est restau­rant options for veg­e­tar­i­ans and veg­ans, shows you how they’ve been rated and lets you read reviews to help you with your deci­sion . It also shows you where the restau­rants are located using google maps.

VegOut map

I’ve used this app plenty in Toronto and sur­round­ing areas. It’s very effec­tive. I really enjoy read­ing the reviews before I make a deci­sion. If you’re already a yelp, urbans­poon or chowhound browser, this app gives you a quick way of locat­ing a great place to eat and read­ing about it before­hand. I’ve also used this app in New York City and Las Vegas. It’s great for travel. It also allows you to save cer­tain restau­rants as favourites so you can refer back to them easily.

VegOut list

Veg­Out is $2.99 in the App Store. I think it’s worth it, con­sid­er­ing how often I use it. It has a wealth of knowl­edge. I even learn about new restau­rants in my own city just from brows­ing through it from time to time. Being pow­ered by Happycow.net doesn’t hurt. If you’re veg­e­tar­ian or vegan, hope­fully you are famil­iar with them. If not, I def­i­nitely rec­om­mend check­ing them out! Hap­py­cow is the global online restau­rant guide for veg­e­tar­i­ans and veg­ans and it’s been around since ’99. In my trav­els around Asia and India, I fre­quently used Hap­py­cow. If only I had had an iphone with Veg­Out, things might have been easier.

Veg­anX­press comes highly rated in the App Store. I down­loaded this app recently for a whop­ping $1.99. This app claims to give veg­ans “menu and shop­ping assis­tance”. It lists the vegan menu items found in the top fast food chains in the US, Canada and the UK . While it is inter­est­ing, a lot of the infor­ma­tion is just plain com­mon sense. For exam­ple, it lists one of the viable vegan menu items at McDonald’s as a “pre­mium Asian Salad with­out the chicken” well… yah, thanks for that. This part of the app is use­ful for those times when you find your­self at one of these chains for some weird and inex­plic­a­ble rea­son– like a work party? Sure.

VeganXpress ff chain list

Another inter­est­ing fea­ture of the app is the alco­hol sec­tion. It informs you what beers and wines are vegan.  For exam­ple Alexan­der Keith’s is vegan while Guin­ness is not. So if you’re a drinker, this might be a good app to download.There is also a sec­tion with a list of vegan prod­ucts that can be found in the gro­cery store.

veganXpress beer list

Veg­anX­press is an inter­est­ing app. I’m not sure how much I’ll be using it. If I had to choose between it and Veg­Out, I would def­i­nitely choose Veg­Out. But I do like din­ing out so maybe I’m biased.

Nonethe­less, here are two vegan apps worth down­load­ing to your iphone. Oy Vegan!

 

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Halloween Oy Vegan Style!!!

Hope you all enjoyed your Hal­loween this evening. Here in Toronto, I gath­ered with fam­ily to give out candy to neigh­bour­hood kids.

For din­ner, I made some great recipes from Robin Robert­son’s Party Vegan.

For an appe­tizer, I made black olive tape­nade with car­rot sticks and orange bell pep­per strips

Then for our main dish we feasted on black bean and but­ter­nut chili along with some black rice with lemon topped with cilantro. Don’t you just love the orange and black theme?!

Please excuse the ama­teur food pho­tog­ra­phy, I was just so hun­gry I couldn’t be both­ered to clean the sides of the bowls for presentation:)

For dessert we feasted on Go Max Go Foods vegan choco­late bars and pump­kin pops from Board­walk choco­lates. We also noshed on the vegan twix bars I made ear­lier this week. Yum!

Happy Hal­loween!

Oy Vegan!

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Oy Vegan’s Top 5 Fall Vegan Must-Haves!

A chill is in the air. The leaves have turned red and gold. It’s about time for Oy Vegan’s Top Five Fall Vegan Must-Haves!

5. Ten vegan recipes for the fall! Check out care2.com’s list of tasty vegan dishes like pump­kin oat­meal and cur­ried egg­plant burgers.

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4. Chunky Cowl Neck­warmer by mist­grove. Stay cozy and warm in a comfy cir­cle scarf avail­able in a vari­ety of colours. Order from Etsy.com for $13 USD

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3. Nail Lac­quers from SpaR­itual in “Love your mother” and “kiss the cook”. These vegan nail pol­ishes are free from syn­thetic dyes and come in a large vari­ety of imag­i­na­tive colours.

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2. Matt & Nat’s Gold­frapp bag in Tan. Check out this new addi­tion to the Montréal-Vegan-based company’s fall line. These designer bags are made from recy­cled bot­tles! Order here.

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1. Big Buddha’s oxford shoe– Rilo. These vegan flats are adorable and per­fect for an autumn stroll through the park. Order here.


Rilo by Big Buddha

There you have it! Happy Fall! Oy Vegan!

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