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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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Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival Top 5!

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Pic­tured above: Sport­ing the new Oy Vegan Tee at the Toronto Veg­e­tar­ian Food Festival!

Arriv­ing at the Toronto Veg­e­tar­ian Food Fes­ti­val thrown by the won­der­ful peo­ple at the Toronto Veg­e­tar­ian Asso­ci­a­tion is always a treat. Row after row of booths sell­ing vegan prod­ucts, food, and rais­ing aware­ness about issues of ani­mal wel­fare adorn Toronto’s Har­bourfront. That famous Christ­mas carol comes to mind ‘It’s the most won­der­ful time of the year!’ and despite some rain on Sat­ur­day, Oy Vegan attended everyday.

There were many high­lights for us here at Oy Vegan and it was hard… but some­how we man­aged to nar­row it down to a top 5.

Here goes!

5The food from Karma ChaMEA­Leon Food truck. This vegan food truck came all the way from Hamil­ton for the fes­ti­val. Would LOVE for them to come to Toronto per­ma­nently!! Just sayin’

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Pic­tured above: Jamaican Jerk Jack­fruit Tacos from Karma ChaMEALeon

4The panel of heroes that spoke about ani­mal activism and their fab­u­lous ani­mal sanc­tu­ar­ies in New York State. Check out Kathy Stevens’ Catskill Ani­mal Sanc­tu­ary, Jenny Brown’s Wood­stock Farm Ani­mal Sanc­tu­ary, and Gene Bauer’s Farm Sanc­tu­ary. I look for­ward to read­ing all of their books!!!

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Pic­tured above from L to R: Kathy Stevens, Gene Bauer, Sonia Faruqi, Jenny Brown, and Sayara Thurston.

3. Meet­ing Chef Roberto Mar­tin. Known for being Ellen Degeneres’ chef, Roberto Mar­tin made a super tasty ceviche out of hearts of palm. A very cool down-to-earth guy I must say.

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Pic­tured above: Roberto Mar­tin and I

2. I was also hon­oured to receive Chef Taymer Mason’s St. Maarten gift bag give­away fea­tur­ing a green sea­son­ing that she made in St. Maarten! She served up a super tasty lentil patty and an egg­plant and sea­weed accra that was mouthwatering.

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Pic­tured above: Top– Taymer Mason and I, Bot­tom– Lentil Patty and Egg­plant and Sea­weed Accra

1. Strong­man Patrik Baboumian break­ing the Guin­ness World Record by lift­ing 1213 lbs (550 kilos)! This vegan hero was so pumped from his amaz­ing feat that he screamed vegan power with all his might after walk­ing over 10 metres with 1213 lbs on his back. An unbe­liev­able moment and an unbe­liev­able guy. The video I took is a lit­tle shakey but cap­tures his speech at the end which touched every­one in the crowd just as much as the actual feat of strength that he per­formed. An amaz­ing moment that will go down in food fest history!

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Pic­tured above from L to R: vegan ath­lete panel fea­tur­ing Patrik Baboumian,

UFC fighter James Wilks, Iron­man ath­lete Roch Roll,  and for­mer Hockey player Georges Laraque. 

I would also like to send a spe­cial shout-out to Sweets from the Earth for their Cin­na­mon Babka. It was unbe­liev­ably tasty!!!

As well, we want to shout-out Green Zebra Kitchen for their de-constructed Tem­peh Rueben Bowl. Yum!

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Pic­tured above: Green Zebra Kitchen’s de-constructed Tem­peh Rueben Bowl

I also want to com­mend the TVA for mak­ing this year’s event com­pletely vegan. It really made it acces­si­ble for every­one and I felt more com­fort­able and excited know­ing that I could eat any­thing I wanted! I hope this becomes the norm for the food fes­ti­val as it is a cel­e­bra­tion of a plant-based lifestyle after all!

Oy Vegan!

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A very vegan Valentine’s

Tomor­row is the day of love, hearts, candy and friend­ship. If you came by the  Sun­day Antique Mar­ket at St. Lawrence North Mar­ket this past Sun­day, you might have seen me sell­ing turn of the cen­tury Valentine’s in prepa­ra­tion for the big day.

Vin­tage Valen­tines at the Sun­day Antique Market

For all you love­birds out there who are won­der­ing where to have an ani­mal friendly meal, check out these Toronto estab­lish­ments fea­tur­ing vegan price fixe menus.

Source for list of restau­rants: Toronto Veg­e­tar­ian Association

Hog­town Vegan 

www.hogtownvegan.com

Sadie’s Diner

www.sadiesdiner.com

Raw­li­cious

Check out their V-day menu here.

Veg­e­tar­ian Haven

Check out their V-day menu here.


Of course you can always make your own Valentine’s din­ner! Here’s a recipe for tasty baked vegan dough­nuts that are easy to make!

Raz­zle Daz­zle Valen­tine Doughnuts

Makes 6 doughnuts.

Needed: dough­nut pan

Ingre­di­ents:

1 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 tea­spoons bak­ing powder

pinch of salt

dash of nutmeg

dash of cinnamon

1/2 cup almond milk (any non-dairy milk is fine)

1/2 tea­spoon apple cider vinegar

1/2 tea­spoon vanilla

Egg replacer (equiv­a­lent of 1 egg)

1/4 cup vegan mar­garine (melted– then cooled. Mustn’t be too hot when added to mixture!)

Choco­late Glaze:

1/2 –3/4 cup of vegan choco­late chips

1 table­spoon coconut oil

red sparkling sprinkles

Instruc­tions:

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F

2. In a large bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients.

3. In another bowl, whisk together wet ingredients.

4. Add wet mix­ture to dry mix­ture and mix together until just combined.

5. Scoop out your mix­ture into a pre­pared dough­nut pan. Don’t put too much mix­ture in! Make sure it is level or below the sides of the pan so it doesn’t bal­loon up in the bak­ing process.

6. Bake for 12 min­utes or until a tooth­pick inserted comes out dry. Let cool a few min­utes before turn­ing the dough­nuts out of the pan to cool completely.

Choco­late Glaze:

1. Melt 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of vegan choco­late chips and coconut oil in the microwave for inter­vals of 30 sec­onds. Stir­ring in between until melted completely.

2. Dip cooled dough­nuts half way in the choco­late glaze turn­ing as you pull them out to avoid drip­ping down the sides.

3. Dip the glazed dough­nuts into another bowl of sparkling red sprinkles.

4. Serve and enjoy!

 

Wish­ing all you lovers and friends out there a Happy Valentine’s Day from Oy Vegan!

 

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Highlights from the Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival

On the week­end of Sep­tem­ber 7th-9th, the 28th Annual Veg­e­tar­ian Food Fes­ti­val took place. Oy Vegan was there all three days hang­ing out and attend­ing var­i­ous events and sam­pling delec­table vegan food. Here are some of Jamie and Jared’s top picks!

Jamie:

1. Learn­ing how to make tomato olive sei­tan gyros with Terry Hope Romero. I tried mak­ing these at home after and they were amaz­ing! I have to say the coconut yoghurt dill Tzatziki sauce is super tasty.

2. Bump­ing into veJEW­tar­ian friends wan­der­ing about the booths.

Shimmy, Jan­ice, and Jamie 

3. Eat­ing the pizza with sun­dried tomato, cashew cheese, and kale from Green Zebra Kitchen! I was hon­estly blown away by how great this pizza was. Best vegan pizza I’ve ever tried!

4. Vis­it­ing the awe­some peo­ple at Toronto Pig Save. Con­grat­u­la­tions to Anita Kra­jnc for win­ning the Com­pas­sion for Ani­mals Award!

Jared, Danielle, Jamie

5. See­ing Vegan Meal­time on the Red­path Stage. These guys were full of energy and totally hilar­i­ous! Sea­weed strips & Sea­weed strips & Sea­weed strips & Sea­weed strips!

Jared:

1. Hear­ing Dr. Michael Gre­gor’s two part lec­ture on the lead­ing causes of death in Canada. Check out his web­site nutritionfacts.org where he posts daily videos on all the lat­est studies!

2. Learn­ing how to cook Caribbean style with Taymer Mason and win­ning her Bajan/ Jerk wet spice mix hand­made straight from St. Maarten. Awesome!

3. Hear­ing Ultra­man Ath­lete Rich Roll speak about chang­ing his life with a plant based diet!

4. Eat­ing the sticky mush­room rice wrapped in a banana leaf from King’s Café for break­fast. Yum!

5. Try­ing Doug McNish’s new chewy gluten free choco­late coconut almond cookie for Sweets from the Earth and try­ing to name it.

 All in all, the TVA did an amaz­ing job this year and the fes­ti­val was a ton of fun. Despite the rain on Sat­ur­day, it was packed with peo­ple! There are many other high­lights that we are leav­ing out and we encour­age every­one to check out the Toronto Veg­e­tar­ian Asso­ci­a­tion and all the cool events they hold in the city.

Here’s to a healthy fall!

Oy Vegan!

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Totally Fabulous Vegan Bakeoff!

My stu­dents and I (photo by Bar­bara Allen), vegan cookie sam­pler plates, and my pre­sen­ta­tion! (Pho­tos by Sasha Arfin)

On Sat­ur­day Feb­ru­ary 4th, I par­tic­i­pated in the Toronto Veg­e­tar­ian Association’s Totally Fab­u­lous Vegan Bake­off with my gluten-free choco­late zuc­chini loaf. Check out my recipe below!

The event took place at 918 Bathurst Street — a cool com­mu­nity cen­tre with lots of space for events, classes and what­not. The last time I was in the main the­atre space, I was audi­tion­ing for Woody Har­rel­son for a com­edy he wrote and directed last year at Hart House The­atre. 918 Bathurst, while being a great space for audi­tions, was a lit­tle small for the amount of peo­ple who came out for this year’s bake-off. The turnout was amaz­ing! Appar­ently the line went all the way down Bathurst and almost hit Bloor St.

I entered the com­pe­ti­tion in the gluten-free choco­late cat­e­gory. I didn’t win, but I’m pretty sure I came in sec­ond. How­ever, it wasn’t about win­ning or los­ing (says the loser), it was about the expe­ri­ence! So many veg­ans, veg­e­tar­i­ans, and non-veggies came out to sam­ple the many fab­u­lous treats. Local celeb vegan chef Doug McNish judged best in show and even Cana­dian TV and radio gem George Strom­bolopolous made an appear­ance. Appar­ently, Strombo is try­ing out the vegan lifestyle and I have to say, he looks great!

Pho­tos by Sasha Arfin

There was fab­u­lous local cof­fee sup­plied by Kens­ing­ton Market’s Moon­bean Cof­fee  as well as reg­u­lar, vanilla, and cap­puc­cino flavoured soy milk from Nutrisoya.

Many thanks to my par­ents for help­ing me plate my choco­late zuc­chini loaf and for trans­port­ing the sam­ples and dis­play to the venue. Also, a shout-out to my sis­ter Sasha Arfin for mak­ing an incred­i­bly beau­ti­ful sign for my loaf! (See below for sign and recipe!)

Pho­tos by Sasha Arfin

 

Check out this mini high­light video by Richard Arfin!

My gluten-free Chocolate Zucchini Loaf

Jamie’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Zucchini Loaf
This loaf is deli­cious! The zuc­chini adds mois­ture and an amaz­ing tex­ture to the loaf. That com­bined with choco­laty goodness–trust me, it won’t last very long.

Ingre­di­ents:

  • 2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1 1/2 tea­spoons guar gum
  • 1/2 tea­spoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tea­spoons bak­ing soda
  • 1/2 cup unsweet­ened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup gran­u­lated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tea­spoon cinnamon
  • egg replacer — equiv­a­lent to 2 eggs worth
  • 1/2 cup organic canola oil
  • 1 tea­spoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 3 cups grated unpeeled zucchini
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet choco­late chips

Prepa­ra­tion:

Pre­heat oven to 350° F / 176° C

Lightly grease or oil two 8-inch loaf pans OR two 12-cup muf­fin tins

Place flour, guar gum, salt, bak­ing soda, cin­na­mon and cocoa pow­der in a medium bowl. Use a wire whisk to combine.

In a large bowl, place oil, sug­ars, egg replacer and vanilla and mix until fluffy. Stir in apple­sauce and shred­ded zuc­chini. Stir flour mix­ture into bat­ter until just com­bined. Fold in choco­late chips.

Divide bat­ter between pre­pared loaf or muf­fin pans and bake for 50 min­utes for loaves or 25–30 min­utes for muffins or until a tooth­pick inserted in the cen­ter of loaf or muf­fin comes out clean.

Allow to cool on wire rack for 10 min­utes before turn­ing out.

Yields about 24 muffins or 8–10 slices per loaf

 

Oy Vegan!

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New Year– NEW YOU!

It’s New Year’s eve!!!! If you’re like me, besides won­der­ing what you’ll be wear­ing to the NYE party you’ll be attend­ing tonight, you’ve been mak­ing New Year’s res­o­lu­tions for 2012.

So, as 2011 draws to a close, why not make a res­o­lu­tion to adopt a health­ier, more envi­ron­men­tally friendly, more com­pas­sion­ate diet for 2012?!

There are many ways of tran­si­tion­ing into veg­e­tar­i­an­ism and veganism.

• The Toronto Veg­e­tar­ian Asso­ci­a­tion has its Veg­gie Chal­lenge. Go veg­gie for a week! The TVA will send you  e-mails with tips, daily meal plans and recipes, and other help­ful info to get you on the road to veggie-dom.

• You can also go veg with the leg­endary Dr. Neal Barnard M.D. who I hap­pened to hear speak in Toronto a few months ago. PCRM (Physi­cians Com­mit­tee for Respon­si­ble Med­i­cine) have cre­ated the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart

So if you’ve been think­ing about it, what bet­ter time to start than the New Year?! This goes for non-veggies inter­ested in becom­ing vegetarian/vegan AND veg­e­tar­i­ans that are inter­ested in becom­ing vegan. If I did it, so can you!

Here is the TVA’s top 10 list of rea­sons to go veg:

Top 10 rea­sons to go vegetarian

1. Lower dis­ease risk  Such as heart dis­ease, many types of can­cer, dia­betes, high blood pres­sure, stroke, food poi­son­ing, obe­sity… Veg­e­tar­i­ans pass up flesh foods that are high in cho­les­terol and sat­u­rated fat, and lack­ing in dietary fibre. Plant foods on the other hand con­tain antiox­i­dants and a vari­ety of phy­to­chem­i­cals that pro­tect against disease.

2. Live longer  A major study pub­lished in the British Med­ical Jour­nal found that veg­e­tar­i­ans out­live meat eaters by six years. The study tracked 11,125 peo­ple over 12 years and adjusted for smok­ing and socio-economic status.

3. Com­pas­sion  You won’t be sup­port­ing an indus­try that raises ani­mals in cramped, over­crowded spaces, arti­fi­cially breeds them, sep­a­rates them from their young, denies them sun­light and fresh air – and then trucks them to slaughter.

4. Save wilder­ness  Meat pro­duc­tion requires huge amounts of land, energy and water – which leads to habi­tat loss, soil ero­sion, water deple­tion, and pol­lu­tion from pes­ti­cides and ani­mal waste.

5. For an ocean of love The oceans are being over­fished, coral reefs are being destroyed and sen­si­tive seafloors are get­ting raked with drag nets. Many species are threat­ened, includ­ing dol­phins, seabirds and tur­tles that get snagged in the nets. Fish feel pain, they just lack vocal chords to express it.

6. Expand your taste hori­zons    Veg­e­tar­ian meals can be diverse, fast, colour­ful and delicious!

7. Sex  Research has shown that the heart and brain are not the only organs that get clogged arter­ies due to a diet high in meat and cholesterol.

8. No more dirty dishes caked with ani­mal grease.

9. Great excuse to…  avoid every­thing from Aunt Flo’s ham­burger casse­role to the lat­est greasy offer from the fast food chains.

10. Win cool prizes Enter the Veg­gie Chal­lenge!

Veg­e­tar­i­ans have the best diet…they have a frac­tion of our heart attack rate and they have only 40 per­cent of our can­cer rate. On aver­age, they out­live other peo­ple by about six years now.
– William Castelli,
MD Fram­ing­ham Heart Study

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Oy Vegan!

 

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Happy World Vegan Day!

It has been 68 years since The Vegan Soci­ety was formed and the term “vegan” was coined in Hol­born, Lon­don. We’re sure glad it hap­pened! Other name ideas included “dairy­ban”, “vitan”, “benevore”, “sani­vore” and “beau­mangeur”. Luck­ily, the word “vegan” was cho­sen by Don­ald Wat­son to describe those who not only abstained from eat­ing meat, but also did not con­sume any ani­mal prod­ucts such as eggs, milk, or cheese. If he hadn’t decided on that name on Novem­ber 1st 1944, today I might be say­ing Happy World beau­manguer day! or Happy sani­vore day!

Regard­less of the name, it is the idea and the lifestyle that we cel­e­brate today and lucky for us, today is just the kick off for World Vegan month!

Here’s what fel­low veg­ans around the world are doing to celebrate!

In Toronto, the TVA (Toronto Veg­e­tar­ian Asso­ci­a­tion) is gear­ing up for some awe­some events includ­ing a visit from the leg­endary Dr. Neal Barnard on Nov 10th.

So Happy World Vegan day! and Happy World Vegan month! Let’s spread the mes­sage, spread the love and cel­e­brate this com­pas­sion­ate and pas­sion­ate lifestyle.

Oy Vegan!

 

 

 

 

 

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