Chickun Pot Pie

I’m not sure whether I have ever eaten chicken pot pie before I created this recipe, but I do know that this chickun pot pie is what all pot pies should taste like. I recently made this for my (omnivorous) family for Thanksgiving, and they couldn’t get enough of it. It was even requested that I make it for Christmas dinner this year. I was surprised and flattered, and felt even more motivated to create dishes that will wow meat eaters. I know Canadian Thanksgiving is over, but my American followers still have a chance to impress their families with this show-stopping pie. And there’s still Christmas too! Or maybe one night you’re feeling ambitious and craving some comfort food so you decide to whip up some pot pie from scratch.

This chickun pot pie is full of fall-winter vegetables and savoury marinated tempeh drenched in a cashew cream sauce. The crust is light and flaky and buttery. It’s everything you could ever want. It is definitely a more involved recipe, but the great thing is that you can prep all the veggies while the onions cook. You can even make the filling and the dough a few days before and then just roll out the crust and pop the pie in the oven for an easy meal.

I am so excited to finally be sharing this recipe with you! I hope you enjoy, and let me know how it turns out if you try the recipe!

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Easy Tempeh Marinade

Do you guys know what tempeh is? It’s tofu’s way cooler (and more delicious) cousin. Tempeh is made of soy, just like tofu, but the beans are left whole, packed into a block, and fermented. The result is a firm plant protein with a satisfying bite and a whole bunch of umami flavour. If you’ve ever had tempeh and decided you didn’t like it, now is the time to try it again. This marinade recipe will convert pretty much anyone into an avid tempeh fanatic. In fact, you might even make some friends with tofu if you let it sit in this marinade. You will never need another marinade recipe ever again. This will be the recipe you keep going back to, again and again. You’ll try to make something else, but it will pale in comparison. It’s that good. And the best part is that with just 4 ingredients, it is THE most simple marinade you will ever make. If you want to be a little fancier, you can add some grated ginger and garlic which creates a flavour perfect for Asian cuisine.

This is the recipe I use for the tempeh portion of my Chickun Pot Pie, but I’ve also used this recipe in my TLT (tempeh, lettuce, tomato) sandwiches with homemade mayo, in Malaysian curries, and I’ve even just grilled some up and eaten it right out of the pan. Because why not, right?

Keep on reading if you want to know the secret to this magical recipe.

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Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

In honour of the Vegan Month of Food, I’ve finally published my award-winning recipe for chocolate-chip cookies! This week is all about changing vegan perceptions. If you thought vegan cookies were dry, stiff, and flavourless, with a texture resembling that of sawdust, I will change your mind with these cookies. I have a very specific set of requirements when it comes to the perfect chocolate-chip cookie: it needs to be soft, chewy, and moist on the inside, with an ever-so-delicate golden crust on the outside. The cookie crumbs need to melt on my tongue. The flavour needs to be buttery and sweet with a hint of vanilla and a punch of bittersweet chocolate. Ok, the truth is that these cookies have won no awards, but it sounds like they should, right? I promise they are really good. Like really, really good. Just ask all my omnivorous friends.

I spent a long time perfecting this recipe, and I’m proud to say that I’ve finally gotten it right.  The aquafaba (bean water) is absolutely essential to achieve that chewiness we all crave in a cookie. Chocolate extract, while sometimes difficult to track down, was the final touch the cookies needed to take them from really great to totally unreal. These cookies are incredibly delicious and unbelievably easy to make. You might even find yourself unwittingly committing the recipe to memory. Make them once, and you’ll never turn to another chocolate-chip cookie recipe ever again.

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Vegan Month of Food!

October is finally here which means it’s officially the Vegan Month of Food! This is a challenge set by Vegan Mofo to encourage people to write about their love of all things food – vegan food, of course. All month I’ll be posting recipes here and pics on my Instagram feed, so be sure to check it out! I’m very excited to share all my vegan endeavours.

The folks over at Vegan Mofo were kind enough to set weekly themes and daily prompts to help us with ideas. This week the theme is Changing Vegan Perceptions. That is something I aspire to do every single day, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to round up some material around this topic.

But there’s a lot more to look forward to! I’ll be sharing some great recipes for things like Chewy Chocolate-Chip Cookies, Easy Tempeh Marinade, and Chickun Pot Pie.

This is going to be a great month, so be sure to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss any posts!

Spicy Buffalo-Ranch Kale Salad

I know. Who needs salad, right? Well sometimes, sometimes you just do. And I promise this is a salad unlike any other. No sad lettuce here! This salad revolves around buffalo sauce. I have a strange obsession with buffalo sauce. Every now and then I get an overpowering craving for the stuff, and I just have to have something, anything slathered in that rich, tangy sauce. Frank’s Red Hot is of course a staple in my pantry, which means I can have buffalo sauce whenever I want, but the sauce is essentially half butter, so it’s not exactly my healthy go-to option. Using kale as the salad base makes me feel better about this. Kale is so packed with nutrition that its benefits counteract any adverse effect a cup of butter may have on your body. Right? Probably not. Regardless, kale is awesome, and so is buffalo sauce, so I’ve put them together to form a seriously delicious salad, because, like I said, sometimes you just need a salad (but only a kickass one).

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Does Canada Want its Citizens to go Vegan?

Canada is revising its Food Guide Guide in preparation for release in early 2018.  The Milk and Alternatives and Meat and Alternatives groups have been entirely eliminated and instead replaced by guiding principles for healthy eating based on the most recent peer-reviewed evidence.

I’ve seen many articles purporting that this new guide is encouraging Canadians to adopt a vegan diet. This is not exactly true, though it is true that milk and meat now belong to a general protein group that is made up largely of plant-based sources of protein.

This is definitely big news! Never in the history of the Canadian Food Guide has Health Canada steered Canadians towards choosing plant-based foods above all else, even touting their health and environmental benefits. Plant-based proteins are given precedence over traditional forms of protein such as meat, seafood, and dairy, and this has not come without its fair share of critics.

The best part is that you have a say in all this. Canada has opened up their draft guide to feedback and suggestions from the public, and it’s imperative we let them know that we want the focus on plant-based foods to stay put. I’ll outline how you can contribute later in this post, so keep reading to find out.

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Where do You Get Your Protein?

My fellow vegans and vegetarians know where I’m going with this. Raise your hand if anyone’s ever asked you where you get your protein! 🙋🏽🙋🏽🙋🏽 I’m guessing there are quite a few raised hands out there. This question often stems from concern or curiosity, but also from a deep misunderstanding of what protein actually is, and how much of it is required to maintain health.

We have been conditioned to think that quality protein can only been found in animal sources but this is simply not the case. Plants are an excellent source of protein and one who does not eat meat is not deprived of essential nutrients.

I’m going to break down some facts about protein so we can all gain a better understanding of what protein actually is, how much of it we need to stay healthy, the role it plays in the body, why we’ve been made to care so much about it, and the foods in which there is an abundance of quality protein. By the end of this post I think it will become clear that protein is last on the list of things a vegan has to worry about.

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The Best Vegan Chili

Chili is pretty much a staple dish in every household. I tend to make chili when I don’t have a ton of fresh produce lying around and I want to make use of what’s in my cupboards. One of the challenges when making vegan chili is recreating that hearty, meaty flavour, and achieving a texture similar to chewy pieces of ground beef. The flavour was no big deal; I just used ingredients packed with lots of umami like vegan Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and tomato paste. For the chewy meaty bits I used textured vegetable protein or TVP. TVP is made from soy beans which are mashed, baked, and dehydrated, and need to be reconstituted before being used for cooking. Once rehydrated they become chewy little flavour sponges that are a welcome addition to any dish. I mean anything. That’s why I always keep a few bags of the Bob’s Red Mill brand in my pantry.

This chili is among the best I’ve ever had (If I do say so myself). It’s sweet and spicy and filling, with a wonderfully dynamic flavour that will definitely keep you wanting more. It is perfect served with a warm chunk of vegan cornbread, over rice, or eaten all on its own like a hearty stew. You’re going to love it.

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A Week in the Life – Eat Your Veggies!

I have not been having a good week diet-wise. My husband was away at a conference for three days, and I’ve discovered I can really only bring myself to cook when we’re sitting down to eat together; otherwise, I can subsist on very little and am completely unmotivated to cook an actual meal. I definitely didn’t meet my nutritional requirements this week. I also cheated a little on my sugar intake: my grandmother requested my now-famous Mexican chocolate snickerdoodles, so I whipped her up a batch and I struggled internally for hours until finally scarfing one down and then feeling supremely guilty afterwards. And then I had a Diet Coke at the movies (plus popcorn that maybe had butter), and I ate half a party-size pizza, and I had supremely delicious, greasy quinoa onion rings with chipotle mayo, and I had an enormous bowl of poutine. Very few vegetables made an appearance in my week, so I tried to make up for it last night by eating about 3 pounds of broccoli, and let’s just say today I’m paying for my overcompensation. So basically I’m not impressed with myself, but my life’s motto is, “Never a mistake, always a lesson,” and that’s what I’m going to view this week as – a valuable lesson in eating your veggies, and not all in one sitting, otherwise your stomach will seek vengeance.

Last week I mentioned I was developing a recipe for sugar-free almond-cocoa crisps. It’s still in the testing phase because ideally I would use a dehydrator to achieve the crispy texture I’m craving, but since I don’t have one I baked them in the oven for eight hours on the lowest heat possible, which you can imagine is not exactly energy efficient. Once I’ve perfected them I will share the recipe.

I also mentioned that I was researching material for a post on protein. This is currently in the works but is taking longer than anticipated because I really want to get it right. Too often I read posts by vegans that feature misleading or outright incorrect information, and I don’t want to make the same mistakes. I generally aim to research both sides of any issue and avoid limiting myself to materials that affirm my preexisting beliefs. While this practice usually yields more well-rounded and accurate conclusions, it takes double the amount of time, but time I think is well worth the effort. I appreciate your patience and promise I will have something for you soon!

And now, please read on to learn what horrible things I’ve been eating this week. I promise you’ll feel much better about what you ate this week.

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A Week in the Life – Spreading the Message

I began my A Week in the Life series with a lot of preamble about conscious consumerism and the impact our choices have on the environment and on those around us. I spoke of our tendency to remain purposely disillusioned about the food on our plates and the clothes on our backs. I challenged everyone to be more aware.

I’ve been thinking a lot more about the message of sustainability this week as I finally watched Cowspiracy and the new, related documentary, What the Health. I’ve also been doing quite a bit of research for an upcoming post on protein, which people often think is the most elusive dietary requirement (spoiler: it’s not). There is so much information readily available, but not everyone chooses to seek it out.

Veganism as a means to sustainability, environmental stability, and optimal health is something I’m truly passionate about, yet I feel caught in a struggle between quietly adopting new personal practices, and spreading the message about what I’m doing and why it’s beneficial. No one wants to be that person who aggressively promotes their own agendas. You may have heard the joke, “An atheist, a vegan, and a Crossfitter walk into a bar. I know because they told everyone.” Vegans are generally viewed as annoying, and they can be. I can be. I don’t want to be, of course, but I’m also uncomfortable if I don’t voice my opinions when appropriate. This is, in part, why I started this blog, and why I launched my Facebook page to share research and articles. I strongly believe that people cannot be forced to change, but that people must want to change, and will be more inclined to do so if they are surrounded by positive examples of change.

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