Vegandale Festival – Toronto Edition

Foodie

 

Very very very excited to indulge and treat myself to some amazing vegan eats. Toronto’s Vegandale Festival is taking over Fort York. Go hungry because… yummmm. Although I’m not vegan myself, strictly, I support the ethos, love the movement and mostly eat vegetarian food, interspersed with moderate amounts of animal-based products. I’m a flexatarian… especially during this pregnancy. However, whenever I can, I support and cook with ingredients that are kinder and gentler to our animal friends. No judgement, just love and tastebuds.

 

All pics courtesy of Vegandale check it out

Eating for Two (sort of)

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Eating in pregnancy has been a challenge at times. I am turned off by foods I used to love (sorry, Hummus). I plan a meal and sometimes have no desire for it by the time I am ready to make it. I also have to eat small meals, frequently. This was tough on my work schedule, but now that summer is here I’m finding it a pleasure to shop locally and get fresh items as they pop into my head. Here’s what’s on the pregnancy menu:

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Clockwise from top left: Pumpkin and ricotta pasta with parmesan. Homemade gazpacho with avocado and tortilla chips on the side. Pork chop on the grill with roasted pears, apples, green beans and potatoes. Breakfast egg, asparagus and grapefruit.

I make batches of foods like frittata and gazpacho (I toss in whatever fresh ingredients I have and hide all the nutrients I can in the mix). I am loving the Oh, She Glows cookbook’s Gazpacho recipe and the local tomatoes and red peppers are making this a fave to drink straight from a mason jar.

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Clockwise from top left: Baby arugula salad with goat cheese, toasted pecans and strawberry with apple cider vinegar dressing. Shaved carrot, tofu, asparagus, goat cheddar on crostini. Homemade rhubarb and custard pie (thanks, Aunt Jan!). Strawberry salad with mustard dressing and fresh cracked pepper. Steamed broccoli, grated carrot, sesame tofu and snap peas in a peanut sauce with basmati rice. Mouflata (baguette with goat cheese, garlic, olive tapenade, basil and roasted red peppers).
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Clockwise from top left: Banana bundt cake with chocolate icing! Chocolate pudding with local strawberries. Pumpkin ravioli with sage and pine nuts, cranberries and spinach. Chicken spaghetti Alfredo. Fried chicken and waffles!

I am following an intuitive eating plan – I look up what I’m not allowed to eat, strike that from the record – and eat whatever my body is craving. Grapefruit. Steak. Broccoli. Asparagus. Cereal. Papaya. Peaches. Cashew butter on English muffins. Strawberries and cherries.

Baby is getting lots of good stuff. Plus I’ve found (thanks to my sister-in-law) a great sub for my daily icecream cravings: PC makes a fantastic Skyr frozen yogurt bar in three flavours (berry, mango and caramel) – they are high in protein and delicious. There are also great Motts fruit freezies in a variety of apple and berry blends.

I’m not saying no to foods. This has been a huge blessing. I am enjoying the full palate available and really giving myself permission to eat what I want, when I want it. What a nice, guiltless approach. Sometimes it’s not so healthy: “Babe, I need you to go get me Chinese food and a Dairy Queen Blizzard.” But more often, I’m eating fresh, whole foods and feeling pretty great.

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Clockwise from top: Banana flax bread. Zucchini noodles with avocado, pine nuts, tofu, tomatoes, nuts and dressing. Mushroom pizza and steamed broccoli. Butternut squash soup with croutons and veggie burger with cheddar and bbq sauce. Fresh bowl… again.

Even though the ‘eating for two’ excuse is a bit of a cheat, I am loving the variety and healthy (with some great indulgences) that pregnancy has encouraged me to consume.What are your go-to recipes?

Mamas and Spring Fresh Interiors

Foodie, Home Sweet

We recently painted the whole main floor of our house a fresh coat of gallery white. I can’t tell you what a difference it makes – with everything all tidy, with this beautiful clean palette. The windows are open, brunch has been served and here is a whole afternoon with a house that feels calm and bellies that are full.

We served up some French lentils ( care of Oh She Glows cookbook), bagels, smoked salmon, simple salad, quiche, mango and peach punch… and peanut butter chocolate ice cream cake for dessert.

I love my mom. And can’t wait to be one.

Taste Toronto: Momofuku

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Set behind a spectacular sculpture of curling metalwork and birds, Toronto’s Momofuku Noodle Bar was the perfect place to visit with a visiting Chef.

Montreal’s Jae-Anthony, owner and chef behind Seasoned Dream, was keen to try Momofuku (and you would be too if you had tasted what we did!)

I tried the carbonara noodles and fried chicken bao, kimchi and a local brew, Oast House x Momofuku peach lager.

It’s cozy, communal seating and reservations are a must. If you’re feeling fancy, get yourself on he list for their chilli chicken and caviar… starting at $500.

Check out their website for more

photo credits: #momofuku c/o Instagram

Not as posh as you’d expect, but super tasty and surprisingly affordable (if you aren’t getting the caviar) – it was a great start to our evening out and is perfect for rubbing elbows with foodies (who might just so happen to be some big-time influencers like the Chef from Epic Meal Time.

If you are in Toronto – Momofuku won’t disappoint.

Otto’s Bier Hall

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I love a good gimmick. A costume party, a themed restaurant,… a well-conceived motif. Especially if it’s not just a gimmick. Naturally, I fell head over lederhosen for Otto’s Bier Hall, where the selection of brew is impressive and their long tables gave a nod to the bier markets of Germany and Austria, with a hipster twist of neon tube lights, more than usually stylish servers, five dollar happy hour specials and living plant walls.Photo Credit: google image

I even went with my German friend, who was equally pleased with the selection of currywurst, schnitzel, pretzels and lots of other sharing plates, sides and ‘feasts’ that sound way better when he says them in a German accent.

After a good meal, some brew and a great hangout with friends, a trip to the powder room turns into a highlight … as the gender neutral facilities are also individually equipped with – mystery buttons.

Being the naturally curious gal that I am, it took all of five seconds for me to press the button, when to my delight, the stall was transformed into a blacklight dance party with illustrations on the walls and 15 seconds of music.

Stay tuned for more local gems from the Six, the T.Dot and what we actually just call Toronto. Party on!

Nothing makes me smile more than fun little surprises. Otto’s is definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in Toronto. Affordable. Tasty. And refreshingly adorable, with friendly staff and it’ll make washing your hands a real party.

Looney Spoons – Nutcrocker Chicken

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Nutty name… delicious taste. The combo of ginger, peanut and curry was so delicious. I grabbed this image from a Google search, but it looked almost as good and tasted better. 

I loved this with brown rice, but the way it was served the first time I had it was with a bed of kale and a few bow tie pastas. 

This was easy and delicious. All tossed in the crockpot and smelling amazing by the time I got home.