Tag Archives: allergen-friendly

Zingy garlic and almond edamame

When I went to university, I’d use whatever money I could scrape together to go to our campus pub, Wilf’s, for the occasional treat. I wasn’t a vegan back then (and thank goodness, because if you check out Wilfs’ menu online, look at how little options there were, and how apparently they think chicken is vegetarian), but my favourite things at Wilf’s happened to be the only vegan things on the menu — edamame, and hummus and pita chips.

I’ve mentioned before that I came from a reallllly non-diverse town. Like, we didn’t even have grocery store sushi. I’d never even heard of hummus until I was 19 years old. Edamame? I actually thought it was pronounced “Eda-maim!” But that didn’t mean I wouldn’t try it. Wilf’s edamame was just steamed with salt (lots of it!) but it was so damn addictive.


Five-minute BBQ 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.


Blueberry cardamom smoothie (bowl)

Blueberry Bowl

I never thought I’d see this day, but I’ve grown a little tired of chocolate smoothies. I’ve had a million variations on chocolate smoothies — zucchini, hemp, avocado, the glorious days back when I could stomach a couple dates — but let’s face it, it’s all just chocolate ice cream for breakfast.


Oyster mushroom and kimchi tacos

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

Happy spring, friends! Boy, that took awhile. In celebration of spring, I’m going to talk about Christmas for a second.

Bear with me.

See, I’ve always had a hesitation around company Christmas parties. Aside from being nervous about drinking around my co-workers, I hate being that vegan who asks ahead of time “Will there be anything vegan?”, then spending the night guarding the hummus (the only vegan thing) so everyone else doesn’t eat it or you’ll be forced to endure company-compensated G&Ts on an empty stomach (I mean, you don’t have to, but if it’s paid for…).

This year, though, I’m actually friends with a lot of my co-workers, so I went, knowing that there was only one vegan option.

As it turned out, I didn’t have to worry about guarding the vegan apps. Everyone was piling them in front of me.

Because they were fucking awful.

Good concept: a small tofu steak topped with kimchi, raw cabbage and some sorta runny, faux-sriracha sauce. In theory, this should have been the best night of my life.

But they were essentially little piles of salt disguised as food. Every single taco left my mouth abrasive and briney afterward. Of course, I also had three free drink tickets (and had put a few away at the office too), so I had to keep eating.

It was horrible. Fun, but horrible.

While the tacos weren’t exactly a highlight of the night, I’ve spent the last few months thinking about how to do my own, less-gut-wrenchingly-awful take on the tacos.

First solution: swap out the tofu. Tofu is awesome, but I think there are so many other awesome things you can do with tacos that a li’l wedge of tofu seems, you know, laaaaame.

I’m a big fan of oyster mushrooms, as you may recall from my spaghetti squash stir-fry. So I used those as my base, added the kimchi (of course), cilantro (of course, motherfuckers) and a spicy, lime-ish version of my homemade vegan mayo.

These tacos are not only easy to make, they make your place into an instant taco party. This recipe makes six fairly well-stuffed tacos but it’s dang easy to double it and under-stuff the tacos like some cheapskate restaurant and make all your friends happy!

Oyster mushroom and kimchi tacos

    • Prep time: 20 minutes
    • Cook time: 10-20 minutes
    • Yield: Six medium-sized or eight app-size tacos
    • Allergen info: Nut-free, gluten-free option


Smoky oyster mushrooms

  • 2 cups oyster mushrooms, sliced the long way
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth or water (more as needed to cover mushrooms fully)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce, tamari or Bragg’s (the latter two are GF)
  • 1 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 tbsp neutral oil
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Spicy lime aioli

  • One cup vegan aioli/garlic mayo (here’s my own recipe)
    • If you don’t have aioli onhand, simply add about two cloves of garlic to regular vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp sriracha or other thick hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • Juice and zest from one lime

To assemble

  • Your favourite vegan kimchi (I buy a local Toronto brand, but making your own is a cool adventure)
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  • Suggested toppings: onions, carrots, cabbage, whatever!


  1. Combine all marinade ingredients save for the broth/water (broth will obviously make it more flavourful, but water won’t actually dilute the flavour too much since it’s a fairly strong flavour). Sit the marinade in a shallow dish, add the mushrooms, and add the water/broth to cover the mushrooms. Let sit for about 20 minutes while you prepare your sauce and chop your veg.
  2. For the sauce: simply combine all your ingredients and mix thoroughly, or blend. I like my sauce to have a bit of texture, so I shredded the cilantro but didn’t blend it. Your choice. Blending will obviously leave you with more of a clean-up.
  3. To cook the mushrooms, warm a very small amount of oil in a medium-sided frying pan (medium heat). Once warm, add your mushrooms and a few tablespoons of the marinade, and stir occasionally.
  4. As your mushrooms warm and the marinade is absorbed, continue to add the liquid gradually, letting it absorb for super-flavourful mushrooms!
  5. Once the last bit of marinade is absorbed, remove the mushrooms from heat
  6. Warm your tortillas in the oven, a skillet or microwave and top ’em with the mushrooms, kimchi, sauce and all that other fun stuff!

On a side-note: it feels great to be getting back to recipe mode again. I’m not putting as much pressure on myself regarding the blog, but I’m still trying really hard to maintain some sense of regular posting. I am growing my audience very, very gradually, but I’m trying not to focus on that kind of “success” at the moment. I’m considering starting an FAQ feature — I actually get a lot of questions about veganism on my Tumblr blog, and that might be a great way to direct more people here.

More importantly, I’m starting to have a lot of fun outside of work these days (wow, who would have thought sunshine and warm weather had positive impacts on your life??). We’re spending a lot of time on the balcony (it’s slowly becoming a little piece of paradise), taking walks around the neighbourhood, shopping the local businesses and going to the park. Sometimes I really seriously contemplate getting a cat harness and a leash for Ben to see how he would handle a walk… but I think that would be more for my own enjoyment than his. That said, he really loves hanging out on the balcony. I’m so glad we got that netting!

I sadly can’t continue running this year as I have too many bone injuries in my feet, but I’m trying no to let that get me down too much. I still have my bike and my skateboard, and those are good enough for me! So while I may not be running a marathon anytime soon, I’ll still be out and about. Just not at the same speed.

Peppermint mocha brownies with white chocolate drizzle (vegan and gluten-free)


When I went back to Starbucks after my two weeks off, I saw that they had switched over to their holiday drinks (I know, apparently I missed the whole grossly-offensive cups thing). And of course, they have those wonderfully cute snowman cookies and donuts and all those other great things I can’t eat.

So I made these brownies, because fuuuuuuuck that.

These peppermint mocha brownies have a moist but light texture, and a flavour that’s chocolatey without being so overwhelmingly sweet.

Best of all, since the holidays are all about sharing, I also made these as allergen-friendly — they’re free of gluten, soy, nuts and are fructose-friendly. Wahoo!

I’ve been asked a few times, mostly by people I know in real life and not in Internet-land, why I occasionally make things like gluten-free and nut-free recipes despite not having any intolerance to those things myself, especially because I’m a huge proponent for not giving into fad diets if you don’t have a diagnosed health reason to do it. The reason I do this is actually the same reason I started my blog in the first place: I love to share.As a vegan I know exactly how it feels when there’s food around that I can’t eat because no one took the time to consider me. I’ve been the one person bringing my own food to potlucks for years now. For that reason, especially around the holiday season, I like to make sure that I can create yummy food that we can all share. The best way you can show someone you care about them during the holidays is to think about them when it comes to planning, and I show that in my food.

Peppermint mocha brownies

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25-30 minutes
Vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, fructose-friendly, soy-free

Brownie ingredients

  • 1 cup gluten-free flour blend
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips (Enjoy Life brand is soy-free, gluten-free and nut-free)
  • 1/4 cup-1/3 cup hot brewed coffee plus one pinch of extra coffee/espresso grinds
  • 1 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup ripe avocado flesh
  • 6 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1 extra large flax egg (2 tbsp flax meal+3 tbsp water)
  • 1/3 cup crushed candy cane bits

White chocolate drizzle ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cocoa butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup, brown rice syrup or other liquid sweetener
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit
  2. Prep your flax egg and let sit for at least five minutes
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together your flours, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt and a pinch of your coffee grinds (we hand-grind our coffee in our home, so we can always just whizz up a few beans for situations like this).
  4. In another large bowl, add your cocoa powder and your chocolate chips. Once your coffee is hot (and I mean piping hot), pour it over the mix. Hand-mix this thoroughly until it is mostly-liquid (a few chunks is fine).
  5. Add in your coconut sugar and continue mixing until all is incorporated.
  6. Add in your flax egg and avocado flesh. If your avocado is a little underripe (you can easily scoop it out with a fork but it’s difficult to mash) I’d recommend whizzing it through the food processor in order to give it that whipped, buttery texture, or else you’ll have avo bits all over your brownies.
  7. Once that is all mixed, add in your extracts, give ‘er one last mix, and add to the flour bowl.
  8. This is where it gets tricky. It’s going to be a texture similar to heavy mashed potatoes, but don’t give into the temptation to use an electric mixer. Over-mixing this will not result in a nice texture for the brownies. Strong-arm the crap out of this, folding and mixing until everything is nice and soaked up. Fold in your candy canes, spread throughout a pan lined with parchment paper, and pop in the oven for 25 minutes.
  9. After you pull the brownies, let them cool while you mix the white chocolate drizzle. In a double-boiler (I rigged up my own using a Pyrex measuring cup in a pot of boiling water), melt down your cocoa butter, extracts and syrup. Pour in whatever shape you like (if my sister’s reading this: yes, I fully expect you to pour it in the shape of a penis) and sprinkle on any last candy canes you wish!

Enjoy these unique little treats. My suggestion for how to best enjoy them would be to feed them to a baby boomer and them softly whisper “happy holidays” and watch them lose their shit. Heh.

Oh, so I’m now three days into my vacation! On Monday I wrote two recipes, saw a huge surge of traffic on my blog (thanks, Reddit), biked 29.9 km, did a few boulder problems, bought my first batch of carrot lox (gotta say, I’m not a big fan) and chilled out at my favourite Toronto vegan haunt, Bloomer’s. So warm and comforting and jackfruity. I swear, I’ve never eaten a jackfruit sandwich where everything didn’t fall out from between the buns and onto the plate, but that’s the best part! You get to eat it twice!

What are some of your favourite holiday tastes you haven’t been able to have in awhile? Perhaps I can work some of my vegan magic and make a good cruelty-free snack for everyone!