Sunday, October 30, 2011

Funky Sexy Manifesto #36 Host a Vegan Cupcake Bake Sale

I love baking me some vegan cupcakes. So one of my Funky Sexy Manifesto survivor resolutions was hosting a bake sale featuring vegan cupcakes-- many, many vegan cupcakes. This vegan bake sale was hosted in collaboration with a young adult group at my church. All the proceeds from the sales went to help The Climb for Young Adult Cancer Canada. Although, there were non-vegan items sold at the bake sale as well like chocolate mango, pumpkin spice, and cranberry muffins as well as oatmeal raisin cookies baked by volunteers, there were five special vegan cupcake flavours and newly named flavours like: Golden Vanilla, Double Chocolate, German Chocolate Krunch, Dulce De Leche, and Carrot Cake Dream. My favourite one of all-- Carrot Cake but German Chocolate Cake was surprisingly close. All my recipes are found in Terry Hope Romero and Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. (They even have a vegan cupcake blog.) I loved selling the vegan cupcakes and explaining each one to customers. The whole bake sale was a hit and every item sold out raisingover $250 for Young Adult Cancer Canada.

It all starts with the dry ingredients for the batter.

Then you add the wet ingredients.

Bake it up and then...


Carrot cake batter... I could just eat it as is

Dulce sin leche for the dulce sin leche cupcakes

Los galettos de dulce sin leche

German Chocolate cupcakes are determined by the presence of the four key ingredients: chocolate, coconut, caramel, and nuts. This frosting is made of the last three ingredients. Yum!

This fancy frosting is courtesy of yours truly, my fiance Adam. He kicked up the notch when it came to the style factor of these cupcakes. Next time I make these cupcakes, they'll have some serious toppers like gummy bears, candy pieces, fruit, or nuts.

Golden Vanilla, Double Chocolate, German Chocolate Krunch, Dulce De Leche, and Carrot Cake Dream.
Five happy cupcakes sitting in a star.
Put them each in a box on the seat of my car.
Five happy cupcakes sitting on a plate.
Mmm... mmm... take a bite, don't they taste great!!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Climb-Survivor Conference 2011

Help me help young adults who are experiencing cancer. Donate to The Climb which I will do with Young Adult Cancer Canada this week in Ottawa as part of their Survivor Conference. You can click on this link for more information: The Climb - Survivor Conference 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Vex in the City: Part 14 Live Organic Food Bar

Taste of the food >< >< >< ><(Very good)
Look of the food >< >< >< >< >< Amazing presentation on the Raw Combo platter. The use of herbs and greens really make the dishes appealing.
Environmentally-Responsibility >< >< >< >< (I did not get to ask the owner about this one but they use reusable utensils and dishware. Plus their food is organic and non-genetically modified (non-GMO).
Health Savvy (organic food, do they know a lot about the food or the plant-based foods, intentionality, informative, resourceful)
>< >< >< >< ><
Hospitality/Warmth >< >< >< >< The staff was very friendly and helpful.
D├ęcor/Vibe >< >< >< >< I do not remember too much of the music but the decor is cheery and colourful and bright but simple.
Added Perks I did not put a rating here since they did not know I was conducting a review nor did I receive any freebies.
Ethical and Community-Minded >< >< >< >< >< Live is reaching out through its online cookbooks, cooking (or should I say food preparation classes, since they serve mostly raw foods), and prepared food items that are available in grocery stores. Live is evolving.

Price (for a main course including dessert and wine)
$ 40 and up >< >< >< >< >< $ 43 to be exact including a tip, this was a bit of a splurge

It had been years since I visited the well-known Live restaurant tucked in the northern-end of Toronto's Annex neighbourhood where I used to live. This restaurant was highly recommended and first exposed me to the raw food concept in my omnivorous days. Now, as a vegan, I appreciate that it has been a mainstay in Toronto serving up both cooked and raw organic vegan options. Live has also expanded its influence through cookbooks and raw food selections sold at local health and co-operative food outlets. When Chrissy, my fellow Thy'Ca warrior, decided to organize a get together she chose an ultra-healthy option. Just two weeks after her radioactive isolation, she looked amazing and if she keeps it up with the plant-based foods, I can only imagine her glow will beam. Also in attendance were other Thy'Ca survivors: Lindsay (another chum), Rita Banach (President of Thyroid Cancer Canada and 12-year Thy'Ca survivor), and two more newer warriors, Lisa and Jill. We talked about the usual Thy'Ca stuff like our scars which I must say looked amazing on everyone except my own, Meaty and the (Click here to check out Meaty's most recent photos.) Low Iodine Diet (LID). Chrissy had brought bags of LID chips she did not end up eating. Having had my surgery on January 26th, I felt like a bit of a veteran compared to some of the most recent warriors and I felt that I could share some wisdom and experience about what I went through. I was amazed and I am still amazed at how quickly these women were able to connect after their diagnosis. When I was diagnosed, it took me about four months to reach out and meet other survivors face-to-face. I met other survivors after my surgery, after the LID, after the radiation... I feel like I missed out. Yet I know that when I finally did get to meet Thy'Ca and other cancer survivors, I was soooooo ready and got a lot out of it. Now, I'm actually going through some of the emotional and mental impact of just having cancer and where to go from here. This is a topic which is very real and fresh for me at the moment and I am finding it difficult to blog about. We talked a little bit about this at the restaurant and I have found these and other conversations with survivors to be very helpful.

Now, on the topic of food. Lindsay was smart to have selected an appetizer of sweet potato fries (NO these were not raw). She offered us some and when I thought she was making a huge mistake (I was beginning to devour these delicious fries), Lindsay assured me that she wasn't that hungry. (Oh, those fries were soooo good.) For the main course, I ordered the Raw Combo since it had been quite sometime since my visit to Live The Raw Combo gave me an opportunity to sample a lot of different things. It was tasty, refreshing, tangy at times, and cold. I love the tostada (what's it called?) toast. Very crispy and satisfying. I also ordered a glass of organic white wine. To end my meal, I had a lovely sweet chocolate mouse which just made the meal complete. If you have nut allergies, Live is probably not the place for you (nuts are used a lot in raw dishes to add texture, filling, and nutrition) however I do recommend this place. It is very bright, colourful, and there are so many desserts to choose from, you know you just can't have one.

Don't know who that girl is but this is the front of Live. Found the photo on Google.

Hey! The Live tables are different in this photo (also found on Google) then they are now. I remembered Live looking like this. Yes. I supposed it had been a long while since I went there.

Vegan drinks but I'm not sure what they are called

These appetizers are called Sweet Potato Fries but are shaped more like Sweet Potato Rounds.

Someone ordered the Chickpea Burger which is one of the few cooked items on the Live menu.

Along with most of the folks at my table, I ordered the Raw Combo which gives you the best way to try as many new things as possible because if you don't like it, you will most likely have something else you will like. The Raw Combo is a sample platter which includes a taste of the pizza, curry noodles, ravioli, and tostadas. The only issue I had was that I didn't know what I was eating since nothing looked like what I thought it was. Take the ravioli in the bottom right corner which looked more like a soft pasta-shelled taco.


Pizza (?)

As I wrote this review, I learned that these were curried noodles. They were noodles but I did not taste one drop of curry.

Several desserts are on display here of the raw variety.

Raw tiramisu. Very tasty. Chrissy cut up into pieces so we could all sample.

The chocolate mousse was amazing. Very mousse-y indeed. It was raw and achieved with lots of ground nuts.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Vex in the City: Part 13 Honourable Mentions to Restaurants with Vegan Options

I really believe in giving props and thanks were they are due. In this edition of Vex in the City, it's all for the different restaurants, fast food joints, and sushi bars who remember us vegans out there. These businesses have non-meat, non-dairy options without me even having to ask for modifications. Such restaurants are progressive and revolutionary since it does not exclude nor segregate herbivores from omnivores and carnivores. Ladies and gentlemen, whether you eat or not, they've got lots to eat. Why not?

Please check back to this post as I will add other Honourable Mentions to this list.

I present to you my honourable mentions...

Spring Rolls restaurant presents Pan-Asian cuisine at its finest and affordable. One full page of the Spring Rolls menu lists dishes that are completely vegan. The food is always delicious and fresh.
Veggie Spring Rolls

Veggie Pad Thai

This restaurant did not try hard enough with this dish. First, it was too salty and second, some of the rice grains were hard. After the management change at this place, the cuisine has gone downhill. In the early days, you would even get a really handsome dude to make the guacamole from scratch beside your table. This restaurant let it go too far. In my meatier days, I used to adore this menu but there is nothing to bring me back any more. :-(

Sushi Time Japanese Restaurant in the Annex
I love Japanese food, yet I am allergic to fish and vegan. Not a challenge for these folks. I think this is the name of this restaurant. Nonetheless, I usually don't have a problem at Japanese restaurants. They can accomodate my specific needs and usually have meat- and fish-free options.
Miso Soup and Salad

Veggie Gyoza Dumplings

So excited to find out that this place has a Veggie Bento Box

Pizzaiolo serves up a slice of pizza right. They always have at least one vegan flavour on hand. This one is called the Diana (Vegan). It is simply sauce, red peppers, zucchini, and spices. Pizzaiolo calls itself gourmet pizza. I don't know about that since it costs $ 5 for this double slice. However, they do serve up great quality and flavour.

Dim Sum Restaurant in Chinatown East
I am terrible for restaurant names but I will add it when I find it. This place had a few vegan options although it took a lot of questions to the host to translate to the dim sum deliverers and then back. It was quite an adventure. Thank goodness Marla is totally experienced at the dim sum experience. It can be quite intense... lots of choosing, eating, chatting, negotiating with the deliverers.

Frank Restaurant at the Art Gallery of Ontario
I went to this restaurant during Summerlicious which is an event in Toronto by which restaurants offer prix fixes menus for their items. Unfortunately the vegan option meant taking the cheese out of the veggie option. When you have to take out the cheese to make a meal vegan, and then not replace it with anything else, that is not a meal. That's a snack! I enjoyed my "snack" which cost the price of a meal. The only dessert they had was sorbet which melted as I left early from the restaurant and ate it from its container. Hardly filling at all and not worth the $20 I paid.
Barley minus the cheese snack

Watermelon salad minus the cheese snack