Cooking with leftovers: Zucchini pakoras

Zucchini Pakoras

So, how are everyone’s New Years resolutions going? Believe it or not, I actually kind of made some this year after a lifetime of dismissing resolutions as stupid. I didn’t set out specific goals (which I realize is what everyone tells you you should do), but I did tell myself that I would take steps to be more organized — planning ahead more, taking an inventory of the things I have, tracking my habits, not allowing myself to get away with laziness.

We’re only 18 days into the new year and I can already see some payoff — of course, this might  mean that we’re totally capable of falling off the wagon. But let’s just take some time to celebrate some positive changes Jarrod and I have made, which include:

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Budget-friendly golden curry

golden curry

Would you believe I’d never tried curry until after I was almost ready to head off to university? Chalk that up to growing up in a small town where the most diverse food you could find was a Chinese buffet and maybe sushi at the grocery store. I’ll admit that growing up in such an environment often made me scared to try new foods, and the first time I tried curry (I was 16 and touring a Sikh temple with my classmates) I was so scared. Would it be too spicy? Would it be too weird of a combination of foods? Would I offend people if I made a weird face?

But the curry — and the whole meal, to be honest — turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life. Turns out, curry is one of the easiest ways to get in a ton of nutrients for cheap when you’re a student, so I loved making curries when I was in university, particularly potato and tofu-based ones (and I wasn’t even a vegan back then).

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DIY post-workout toner

cider-toner

I always feel uncomfortable when I see posts titled “how to get great skin” or “seven tips to amazing skin!” The fact is, while some of our dietary and lifestyle choices can have some effects on our skin’s habits, you can’t up and change your skin type. You have genetics, hormones and outside factors like the weather to thank for that.

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Five-minute BBQ chickpea mayo

chickpea-mayo

When I was a kid I hated mayonnaise. I couldn’t tell you why — I was one of those kids who would wake up one day and decide they hated something they once loved. One time I even decided that with my mom’s meatballs and I went almost a year without eating them (at this point I guess that was a good thing?). Anyway, even though my mom insisted that mayonnaise was in tons of things I liked, like her vegetable dip, I couldn’t stand the sight of mayonnaise on a sandwich or burger.

How things have changed! I’ve even become one of those people who puts (vegan) mayonnaise on their fries or (un)chicken fingers.

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Seven last-minute Christmas gifts for vegans (that aren’t Lush giftcards)

vegan-gift-ideas

Sigh. So here’s the thing: I’m never going to turn down a Lush gift card. I could indeed be pretty comfortable with spending $50 on bath bombs in one go. But sometimes, when you’re taking your third jasmine-scented, deep-green tinted bath that week right after you finished scrubbing golden glitter off of your tub, you start to wonder if there’s more to life than bath bombs, y’know man?

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Baked BBQ Yuba sandwich

yuba-bake

Several months ago, a Toronto institution closed. I’m talking about Porter House, a small pub in Toronto’s Little Portugal neighbourhood that specialized in amazing pub food that just happened to be cruelty-free — like their amazing charcuterie board featuring miso-cured tofu and chestnut-mushroom confit, their cauliflower curry fries and the warm and inviting lentil-ale pie.

Porter House was special because it didn’t fit the mold of the typical juice cleanse/grain and veggie bowl/clean eating vegan places (Kupfert and Kim, Rawlicious), nor did it fit in with the super-indulgent, faux-meat type places like Hogtown Vegan and Doomie’s.

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Minimalist Christmas gift ideas: Orange Christmas spice body scrub

christmas-spice

Here’s a great five-minute project that I created last weekend while I was a bit bored. I’m lucky enough to be one of those people who has a million spices in her cupboard, so this was pretty easy to come by. It’s also a great solution if you’re looking for a good gift idea that is budget-friendly, something for a vegan in your life or just something for that one impossible-to-buy-for person. Trust me, the older you get, the more people appreciate homemade gifts, and the best part of this is you don’t need to be some sort of professional blogging, DIY maven to actually succeed at this one.

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Kimchi and kale buckwheat pancakes

kimchi-kale-pancakes

Some people like to say that being vegan is basically just a fancy way of saying you’re a super picky eater — which is funny, because five years ago I would have never even tried kimchi. I remember looking at this jar of stuff that looked like it was half-alive, doused in salt, somewhere between a piece of vegetable and a chunk of skin.

Well, you can definitely say things have changed. Kimchi is now one of my favourite toppings on things, whether it’s burgers and sandwiches, tofu scramble or even pizza. While I find kimchi rather salty, when mixed with the right complementary tastes, kimchi is really such an interesting taste and flavour profile to me. Sometimes I just get a vibe in the middle of the day where I’m totally craving kimchi.

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Ultimate comforting leek and potato soup (budget-friendly!)

potato-leek-soup

Nothing to get you cooking for yourself more like the weather being the least bit crappy, amirite, folks? I have been on this never-ending soup kick lately, which suits Jarrod just fine because he is the master of soup. In fact, I’m admitting it straight-up: this recipe is 100% his. I didn’t even poke my head in the kitchen as he was cooking it. But he had the idea and I let him roll with it under one condition: he write down the recipe.

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Red-handed beet smoothie

beet-smoothie

It finally happened – I finally have come around to beets. Beets, besides bell peppers, are pretty much the only vegetable I’ll turn down. I don’t hate them, and in fact have enjoyed spiralized beets on salads quite a few times, but chunks of beets, slices of beets or whole beets have been real losers in my book. I dislike the flavour, so adding them to smoothies has been done in limited quantities — generally, I’ll only do it if the ratio of beet to berry is generous on the berry side.

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