Pregnancy Nutrition (vegan)

I was a tad nervous when I told my OBGYN and the nurses at the hospital that I was vegan - I’ve done a ton of research and I know it’s healthy (the World Health Organization agrees!), but I still wasn’t sure how they would react.

At the end of our first appointment, the nurse started going over everything I couldn’t eat. She was going on about no deli meats, no soft cheeses, no hot dogs, etc. (everything that I didn’t eat anyway). I told her that I was vegan (just so we didn’t waste her time with the list of things that I wouldn’t eat anyway), and she said, “Oh great! This will be so easy for you. The only things you can’t have are unpasteurized juices and sprouts”. I asked her if there was anything I should watch nutritionally since I’m vegan, and she said she couldn’t think of anything, and it was actually better because I was likely eating more fruits and vegetables than the average person anyway. I was so happy!

The same thing happened about a month later when we met with the OBGYN for the first time. He was so unfazed and we didn’t even talk about it and further.

Even though my blood work came back great, I still wanted to make sure I was on track so I started using an app called Cronometer. I LOVE it, and I actually used it occasionally before I was pregnant. You can use it on your computer or phone, and it’s a nutrition calculator (rather than a calorie counter). I enter in what I eat every single day and I can track to see how I’m doing. I try to hit all the targets everyday, but I’m more concerned about the overall trend rather than the day-to-day. I normally hit between 90-100% of my targets every day which is great!

I noticed that even though the doctor didn’t have any concerns, my calcium was consistently lower than 100% for the day. This actually ended up being an easy fix - I just add a cup of almond milk to my green smoothies and I’m covered (most store-bought ones are fortified with calcium). I’m glad that I was tracking this, or else I wouldn’t have known!

Like any other pregnant woman, I’m taking a daily prenatal. There’s a ton on the market, but it felt important to me to get one that was natural and made with real food. I found one by MyKind Organics, that I really love. It’s made with ground up fruits and vegetables, so you’re getting everything that you need, but it’s from natural sources.They’re made from 30 organic whole foods (like blueberries, blackberries, green bell peppers, ginger, red cabbage, kale, etc.) They’re more expensive that other ones, but I decided it was right for me. (They have one that you can take three times a day, or once a day. I do the once a day ones!). You’re supposed to start taking a prenatal before you even get pregnant, so since it was a process for us to get pregnant I ended up taking them for more than 8 months before we even got pregnant haha. You’re supposed to take prenatals before conception, during pregnancy, and while you’re breast feeding so we got a bundle of them since I’m going to be taking them for a while! They are large, but I got used to them super quick. I also just noticed that it’s suggested you take them with food… I need have (I take it right before bed), and my stomach has been perfectly fine!

Even though the expression is “eating for two”, you’re actually only supposed to have an extra 300-350 calories per day. Between a green smoothie (the one that I add almond milk to), and the occasional toast (see below), I find I’m good! I’m not limiting my calories AT ALL, and I’m eating when I’m hungry and making sure that the majority of it is nutritious food.

I normally ate pretty healthy, so the only things I added to my diet (other than the prenatal) are ground chia and ground flax. They’re both high in Omega 3s, and I add a tablespoon of ground flax seed to my oatmeal every morning (once my oats are nearly done, I just add it in to the pot and mix it in. I don’t even notice that it’s there.)

If I have a snack, I’ll have toast with peanut butter and jam and mix in a tablespoon of ground chia seed to the jam (my trick is to spread the peanut butter on the toast, and then sprinkle on the chia seeds. Then I spoon on the jam and mix it around the toast so the chia seeds become part of the jam… I hope that makes sense haha).

I weirdly find it fun to enter in all my foods and to try to hit 100% of my nutrients every day… :)

Questions? Let me know! Later on, I’ll do more specific “what I eat in a day while pregnant” posts. If you’re interested in snippets of what Im eating in the meantime, I share a lot of that on my instagram :)

Getting Pregnant is HARD!

This seems like the most natural place to start my new “Motherhood” section of the blog, so here we go!

It was a little bit of a journey for me to get pregnant, and it was pretty reassuring to read other stories on the internet as I was going through it so I think it’s so important to add my story as well. Infertility is more common than people think, and it’s important to talk about it. I’ve read HUNDREDS of infertility posts, and I just want to put a reminder out there that people post on there when they’re trying to get pregnant… not many people go back and share their success stories. They’re just so glad to move on from that and on to the next stage. While it can be reassuring to know that other people are going through it too, you can also get stuck in a depressing hole of sad stories and it feels like there’s no hope. So if you’re going through infertility right now, remember that!!

My story is obviously going to be different than others, but hopefully this helps!

Ok, here we go. I have a hormonal imbalance so we always had a feeling that it would be a bit harder for me to get pregnant. My specific hormonal imbalance called PCOS, and while I don’t have all the symptoms, I still have it. I went on the pill to start my period and haven’t really ever had a “natural” period. Right after I got married, I went off the pill (we switched to condoms). We didn't want to get pregnant for another year, but I wanted to see where my body was at and what it was naturally doing. I tracked my periods on an app called “Clue” (highly recommend), and they were all over the place. On average my cycle was 38 days long, but sometimes I wouldn’t have a period for up to 86 days. I tracked it for 11 months before we were ready to start trying. We started trying for a baby on July 2nd of 2018 (how funny is it that I remember the exact day we decided we were ready haha). I had already been in contact with my family doctor who referred me to an endocrinologist who I saw back in January of 2018. She had told me that because I had PCOS, that if we tried for 3 months and didn’t get pregnant, that she would refer me to a fertility clinic. Normally you have to try for a full year before you can be referred, and it’s actually rare to get pregnant on your first try (the opposite of what health class teaches you haha). ANYWAY - because I knew that this likely wasn’t going to go smoothly, I was ALL OVER the fertility sites. Basal Body Temperature is something that sounds hippy dippy, but it’s actually not. You take your temperature every single morning at the exact same time (before you literally do anything - not even get up, or drink water), and it tracks your temperature. A woman’s body naturally rises when she’s ovulating, and then will decrease when she gets her period. You can’t use your BBT to help you get pregnant in that specific month (but the time your temperature has risen, it’s too late), BUT it’s very helpful to look for patterns when you track it month over month. I used one called “Femometer” that I got from Amazon, that was linked to an app and I found it extremely easy to use. If you think you want to start trying to get pregnant in the next year or so, I would highly suggest tracking your BBT now so you can get an idea of what your body is doing (it won’t work if you’re on the pill).

Ok - so after three months and nothing, we went to Mount Sinai Fertility Clinic. They’re amazing, and we had a great experience there. The first couple months are them doing tests on you and your partner. They won’t try to help you get pregnant until they know that your body is ready for a baby. This involves lots of blood work, some shots, transvaganial ultrasounds (not as bad as they seem), and lots of questions. I even printed out all my information from apps about my period and my BBT to show the doctor (#keener). He implied that I was extra, but that it was actually very helpful hahahah. My husband had his sperm tested and all was good there (which was a relief to know that we only had my hormonal imbalance to worry about!). My specific hormone imbalance meant that I had great eggs… they just weren’t releasing on their own all the time.

For the first couple months they started us with “timed intercourse”. That means that I would go in every other day for them to take my blood and do a transvaginal ultrasound (it’s honestly not bad, I promise. Not like a pap test - AT ALL). Once they were confident that I was going to ovulate soon, they would give us three dates and tell us exactly when to have sex (#romantic). This on it’s own wasn’t working, so then they moved on to the next step which was medication. I would still go in for the usual tests, but then they gave me a pill to take daily for 5 days (along with the timed intercourse) just before I was supposed to ovulate. This helped my eggs to release. It didn’t mean that I would necessarily get pregnant, it would just help to “level the playing field” so I had the same chance as anyone else. They start you on the lowest dose, because the higher they go the more likely your chance to have twins (or triplets!). The first month was not successful, but I actually wasn’t stressed about it. For the first time in this whole process I felt reassured that we were DOING something. So, I went through the process for a second month… and it happened!!!! We were NOT expecting it to happen with that low dose of medication and were obviously so so so so so happy! We ended up trying for about 8 months before it happened.
The clinic tells you not to take a pregnancy test, but instead I had to go get blood work. I must be the only person in the world who followed their instructions, because when the nurse called me she said, “did you know you’re pregnant?”, and I was like “Actually?!” and then burst into tears.

And there you have it. I’ll be 20 weeks pregnant on Monday, and it’s hard to believe that we’re halfway there already!

Melty Grilled Cheese - every time

Alright, grilled cheese may seem like a no brainer… butter the bread, add the cheese, and grill it on a hot pan.

…But when you throw vegan cheese into the mix, things aren’t quite as easy. Don’t get me wrong, vegan cheese is pretty amazing (provided you get the right kind)... but it isn’t always the easiest to melt. Vegan cheese CAN melt, but the problem is that it takes a little longer to melt than dairy cheese, so by the time it’s nice and melty… your bread is burnt.

The ONLY two kinds of vegan cheese slices that I recommend are Chao cheese (both flavours), and the “provolone” from Earth Island (called Follow Your Heart in the states).

I’ve shared this little trick a few times on Instagram, and it always gets a ton of comments so I thought I’d share it here too.

Before you come at me and say that I could just put a dome on the pan… I like my way better. But do what you want.

  1. Butter the outside of your bread, add two slices of cheese to the middle and heat it over medium heat, as usual. (I use Earth Balance butter)

  2. When you think your bread is toated perfectly (but unfortunately your cheese isn’t melted), put it on a plate and microwave it for 30 seconds. This will melt your cheese perfectly… BUT you’ll find that your bread is soggy.

  3. That’s when you put the grilled cheese back on the hot pan (I know, I’m a genius). All it takes is 10 seconds on each side, and it crisps it right back up again.

  4. Optional: Open up your gooey grilled cheese and add a slice of cold tomato. Heaven.

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Simple Cashew Rosé Sauce (GF)

This recipe takes my traditional cashew alfredo sauce, and adds a few ingredients to make it even more delicious (well, maybe just a different kind of delicious). It’s insanely easy and is a great way to use up leftover tomato sauce.

The first time I made this, I did it with leftover alfredo sauce and just threw in extra ingredients so I didn’t have any measurements… so I had to make it again! I know this is my own recipe, but I give it a 10/10 haha.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Drain your pasta and then put it back in the pot, and back on the element over low heat. Pour on more alfredo sauce than you think you need, as it really thickens up over the heat. Add all the extra ingredients, mix together, and enjoy!!

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The Most Delicious Shepherd's Pie (GF)

Ok, here’s the deal. My dad gave me this recipe, and it’s insanely delicious. He found it a few years ago, and can’t remember from where… and he’s changed it a lot over time. The steps are not as specific as I would like (e.g. “sauté the onions until transculent”… I need real times, dad!!!), butttt it will work out in the end and it’s a nice easy, go-with-the-flow kind of meal.

The flavours are INCREDIBLE, and I promise you that it’s the best Shepher’s Pie that I’ve ever had.

I made a double batch of this, and it worked perfectly to put all the ingredients in one large soup pot! (the ingredients below are for a single batch).

The recipe freezes AMAZINGLY, and heats up so nicely in the microwave.

Anyway - see below for my dad’s recipe!

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Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

1 cup red lentils (*Soaked for about 2-3 hours before you’re ready to cook. This will help speed up the cooking time. Just cover with water and leave on your counter. Make sure that you have enough water as the lentils will soak most of it up!)

3 russet potatoes, peeled

1 large onion, diced

2 large carrots (shredded in the food processor, this makes it cook a LOT faster, and also spreads it evenly in the filling. You can totally dice them if you don’t have a food processor)

10 cremini mushrooms, diced

4 stalks of celery, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp of dried rosemary

1 tsp of dried basil

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tbsp flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour)

1 tbsp vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)

1 tbsp tomato puree

1 vegetable stock cube

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon of HP sauce (We actually forgot to add this… it still tasted great! So add it if you have this already… but don’t buy it specifically for this recipe)


METHOD:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add your peeled potatoes. They’re done when you can easily stick a fork through them - about 15-20 minutes (you can chop your veggies during this time). When they’re done add a splash of plant milk (make sure it’s unsweetened, and unflavoured), and a tablespoon or two of vegan butter.

Finely dice your onions, celery and mushrooms and crush your garlic. Put your carrots in the food processor, or finely dice them as well, if you prefer.

Put a large pot on medium heat, and add a tbsp of oil. Add the onions until they start to go translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the minced garlic and sauté for another three minutes. Add the rest of the veggies and cook for another 10 minutes - stirring constantly.

When the vegetables have softened and started to brown, add in your flour and stir through so it coats everything.

Then add the salt, pepper, mixed herbs. Stir these through.

Add your vegetable stock cube to 2 cups of warm water. Add the tomato paste to the water as well.

Then start adding your stock/tomato paste to the pot very slowly. Every time your pour some stock into the vegetables stir it through until it has absorbed and slightly thickened.

Then drain your lentils and add them to the pot and stir through.

Leave the mixture to simmer for around 30 minutes but check it and stir it constantly to make sure it doesn’t burn. It’s done when your lentils are tender, and the water is mostly absorbed.

Add in a about a tablespoon of HP Sauce at the end of the cooking process and stir it though.

When the lentil mix is cooked through, pour it all into the bottom of a glass baking dish.

Spread the mashed potatoes over the top of the lentil mix, smoothing it out with a fork.

Then bake the Shepherd’s Pie at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, and then another 5 minutes under the broiler so the potatoes go nice and golden brown.

Enjoy!


Basic Pantry Dal (GF)

You know those nights where you feel like you desperately need to go grocery shopping, but it’s so dark and cold out and you just don’t wanna?!
THIS IS THE MEAL FOR YOU! It’s also insanely delicious, so it’s a win-win!


This is just a simple red lentil dal with ingredients that we always have in our kitchen. We have a big jar of red lentils that we keep in our cupboard (as well as a container of dehydrated onions), and we just always pick up extra cans of coconut milk and diced tomatoes when they’re on sale.
All you do is dump all the ingredients into a pot, bring it to a boil, and let it simmer for 30 minutes. THAT’S IT! The perfect meal on a cold night after work, when you have no idea what to cook.
This recipe freezes amazingly, so you can portion it out and then microwave it for lunches. You can also freeze individual portions of brown rice, so you’ll be all set for lunches.

This recipe is adapted from one by Oh She Glows.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked red lentils

  • 2 and 3/4 cups of water

  • 1 (798 ml) can diced tomatoes

  • 1 (400 ml) can light coconut milk (I love this kind. Cheap, organic, and tasty!)

  • 3 teaspoons garlic powder

  • 3 teaspoons dehydrated onion (this kind will last you FOREVER)

  • 2 tablespoon curry powder

  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Add in all of the ingredients (lentils, water, diced tomatoes [with juices], coconut milk, all the spices, salt, and pepper). Stir until combined.

  2. Increase heat to high and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for about 30 minutes (I find when it starts to splatter, it’s done haha). Stir the dal frequently while cooking, and reduce the heat if necessary to prevent it from sticking to the pot.

  3. Serve over brown rice, and add in a squeeze of lime if you have it! I also like topping mine with chilli flakes.

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Oil Free Granola (Two Ways) GF

Before I found this recipe I was on a serious hunt for one that was healthy. I would read the packaging of store bought ones, and be disappointed by all the added corn syrup/vegetable oils.
This granola is easy, crunchy, healthy, and tasty - what more could you want!!
Lately I’ve been adding in two cups of puffed brown rice (I get the Nature’s Path Organic brand one from Whole Foods), and it’s soooo good. It also bulks it out a bit since nuts can be expensive.

Make sure that your tahini is from the ethnic food section, and not from the health food section. You need it to be smooth and runny, and not thick and raw.


I make a batch every Sunday and eat it throughout the week for breakfast.
My favourite way to eat it is with almond milk, and then topped with dried cranberries and either a banana or half an apple.

The recipe is adapted from one by Anna Pippus.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats)

  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (This kind is great)

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 

  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  • 1/4 cup tahini ***

  • 1 tsp vanilla ***

  • 2 cups of Nature’s Path puffed brown rice crisps (optional)

    • *** NOTE - if you’re adding in the rice puffs, you’re going to need in a bit more liquid as well. I fill up my 1/4 cup measuring cup halfway up with maple syrup, and then the remainder of the way with tahini (so an extra 1/8’s of a cup of each).

Process:

  1. Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients. Combine! Spread onto baking sheet.

Bake at 325 for 20 minutes, stirring after ten.

Once cooled, mix in brown rice puffs (if you want), and then store in a sealed container.

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Quinoa Taco "Meat" (Minimalist Baker) GF

This is an insanely easy recipe that you can make with either fresh quinoa, or it would be a great way to use up leftovers. The cooked quinoa is mixed with some spices and salsa, and then baked in the oven - it gets slightly crispy and I often eat it by the spoonful right from the pan….

It keeps in the fridge for 4-5 days, and it freezes great. I pan fry it to heat it back up, and it’s perfect.

We love making this when we have lots of leftover veggies, because everything tastes better when it’s inside a taco! I normally add kale, red pepper, salsa, avocado, and sauerkraut.

My favourite tortillas are the 100% corn tortillas (gluten free) from Casa Bonita (I get them at Sobey’s, they’re cheap and delicious). Just pan fry them on a dry pan on medium heat. SO GOOD.

I highly recommend making it on a busy work night when you’re tired but still want something delicious.

The original recipe calls for oil, but I leave that out and it’s completely fine.

The recipe is by Minimalist Baker and can be found below, or on their website here.

My notes are italicized.

QUINOA

  • 1 cup tri-color, white, or red quinoa

  • 1 cup vegetable broth (you can totally just use water if you don’t have any)

  • 3/4 cup water

SEASONINGS

  • 1/2 cup of salsa (slightly chunky is best)

  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

  • 2 tsp ground cumin

  • 2 tsp ground chili powder

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp each sea salt and black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add rinsed quinoa and toast for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.

  2. Add vegetable broth and water and bring back to a boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce heat to low, cover with a secure lid, and cook for 15-25 minutes, or until liquid is completely absorbed. Fluff with a fork, then crack lid and let rest for 10 minutes off heat.

  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C).

  4. Add cooked quinoa to a large mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients (salsa, nutritional yeast, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper). Toss to combine. Then spread on a silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet.

  5. Bake for 20-35 minutes, stirring/tossing once at the halfway point to ensure even baking. The quinoa is done when it's fragrant and golden brown. Be careful not to burn!

  6. This quinoa taco meat goes extremely well in crispy taco shells and soft taco shells, and I also think it would be perfect on nachos, taco salads, tostadas, and in enchiladas. Dream big!

  7. Store leftovers in the refrigerator up to 4-5 days. Reheat in the microwave, in a 350 degree F oven, or in a skillet on the stovetop. (I do it on the stovetop and it’s perfect)

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Quick & Easy Cashew Alfredo GF

When I was growing up a creamy alfredo sauce was by FAR my favourite way to eat pasta. While a traditional alfredo is made with cream, butter, and cheese, this one is wayyyyy healthier as it’s made with only cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic, and salt. It sounds too good to be true, but trust me, it’s delicious.

I recommend soaking your nuts overnight, if you remember. Just put the cashews in a container and cover with cold water. Put the lid on and leave in the fridge until dinner the next night. If you forget, you can pour boiling hot water over them and then let them soak while your pasta boils (you might just have to blend it a bit longer, but it will still be fine).

When you first pour the sauce over the cooked pasta you’ll THINK that it’s too runny, but mix it around on the heat for 30-60 seconds and it turns into the most glorious, creamy, decadent sauce that you could ever imagine. If there’s any leftover sauce, I store it in the fridge (right in my blender), and then just give it a quick blend the next night. I’ve heard that some sauces like this thicken up in the fridge overnight… but apparently this one is magic because it stays the same!

I buy the raw cashews (along with the dry brown rice pasta, which is gluten free) from Bulk Barn, and it’s quickly become an easy staple meal for us. This sauce tastes great on it’s own, or with added steamed broccoli and chilli flakes. You can also add a bit of tomato sauce to it to make it a rosé!
The recipe is has been adapted from a recipe from Anna Pippus.

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups of dry pasta (I normally do about 3 cups of pasta one night, and then use up the rest of the sauce with the remaining 2 cups of pasta the next night)

  • 1.5 cups raw cashews (I stock up when Bulk Barn has a sale)

  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 2 and 1/4 cups of water

  • salt and pepper to taste

Process:

The night before: add your cashews to a container and fill with cold water. Cover and store in the fridge until dinner the next night.

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

  2. Drain and rinse your cashews, and add them to your blender with the water, nutritional yeast, garlic, and salt. Blend until very smooth—this might take 2 to 5 minutes depending on your blender.

  3. Drain your pasta and put it back in the pot on the hot element. Pour your sauce on (a bit more than you think you need), and stir to combine. After about 30-60 seconds the sauce will thicken up and be so creamy and decadent.

  4. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed. I love topping mine with chilli flakes as well.

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(Very) Freezer Friendly Breakfast Burritos

These have officially taken over as the reigning burritos in our household. If our freezer ever runs low on these, my husband goes into crisis mode haha.

Unlike other burritos, something about these make them reheat in the microwave BEAUTIFULLY!. I promise you that they don’t get soggy. They’re magic.

They’re very very easy to make, and a triple batch makes about 27 burritos. My husband goes through these like no one’s business, and will often grab two a day to take to work.

Lately we’ve been portioning them out into individual portions, and freezing in a container. When you’re ready to eat it, you can serve it over toast, on rice, or wrap it in a fresh burrito.

The recipe was adapted from Emilie Eats.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu, drained

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 cup potato, diced (any variety)

  • 1 cup mushrooms, diced

  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 cup salsa

  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast

  • 2 teaspoons chili powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

  • 2 cups kale or spinach, finely chopped

  • 8 whole-wheat tortillas (Optional. You can also just freeze the filling in individual portions)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Drain the tofu and then squeeze out the extra liquid with a cloth or paper towel.

  2. In a large skillet or wok, add the onion. Cook for 5-7 minutes until they become translucent. Add garlic; cook for 2 minutes, stirring.

  3. Add potato and mushrooms; stir. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until potato is fork tender. Crumble the tofu into small pieces and add to the pot; cook for 5 minutes.

  4. Add black beans, salsa, nutritional yeast, chili powder, cumin, salt, turmeric, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Stir to fully incorporate all ingredients; cook for 5 minutes. Add kale or spinach and stir; cook until wilted.

  5. Scoop some of the filling and place in the center of a tortilla. Fold in the edges, then roll up. Wrap in foil. Repeat for all tortillas.

  6. Store in the fridge or freezer (they reheat great in the microwave).

Quick Rice & Veggies with Homemade Sauce (GF)

If you’re looking for the easiest meal in the world (that’s also nourishing and tasty), I’ve got you covered.
This sauce makes even the most simple meal (like this one!), next level. I use it for sooo many things.
On those nights when I have no idea what to make for dinner, this is my favourite go to meal. Don’t laugh at how simple it is until you try it!! We always have all the ingredients in the house, and make this at least once a week.
I make brown rice in my instant pot, heat up two cups of the frozen green giant veggie mix on the stove, and make the sauce... it takes about ten minutes! Wahoo! I also like to sprinkle a ton of white sesame seeds on top. Way quicker than ordering food (and way healthier!). If I have some produce to use up, I’ll sauté that too and add it on top (but usually it’s just the green giant veggies - no shame!!).

Sauce (for two):

2 tbsp peanut butter (smooth, but crunchy also works)

3 tbsp tamari/soy sauce

1 tbsp water

The juice from one lemon (or lime works too)

4 tsp chili garlic sauce

3/4 tsp ground ginger



EASTER TREATS IN TORONTO

ALRIGHT. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I have been on a massive hunt for a vegan version of mini eggs.

While I haven't found them yet (I still have hope that they exist!), I've received a bunch of messages of people trying to help and telling me their favourite vegan Easter treats. Since Easter is a fabulous holiday designed for eating an insane amount of chocolate, I'd thought I'd share my information so we can all eat treats until we puke this weekend (you're welcome).

Please let me know if I've missed any, and I'll keep adding to this list!

KK, here we go:

1. Sweet Hart Kitchen - they have deliciously natural treats that you can bring to your (non-vegan) family for dessert, and they'll love them. You could pre-order with them up until noon on Wednesday, but they always have treats on hand in the shop! And you can always try to email them to ask if they have time to make something special for you. I'm bringing the Lemon Curd pie to my Easter dinner on Sunday, and I'm so excited!

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2. Lindt Dark Chocolate Bunnies are vegan. Enough said. 

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3. Sorelle & Co has the CUTEST little Easter themed cupcakes. Sidenote - ARE THOSE VEGAN MINI EGGS ON TOP? I've asked them to confirm on Instagram... I'll report back. (UPDATE: They're sadly fondant) 

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4. Good Rebel has those big hollow chocolate eggs filled with treats that we used to get as kids - they're shipped in all the way from England!

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5. Whole Foods and Noah's have a whole variety of cool vegan chocolate options! If you don't have much time, you should definitely stop in here and you'll find something tasty.

6. Tori's Bakeshop has made their own version of Cream Eggs that look INSANE. They also made Cream Egg cupcakes. (Tori's also offers DELIVERY from M-F, soooo you should probably get these).

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7. Apiecalypse Now had preorders for desserts to bring over to your family, but I think it's too late to order them... may as well try though!

8. The Vegan Imperative has a bunch of cute Easter chocolates, including a 'milk' chocolate bunny

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9.  A brand called LiveOnChocolate makes Coconut Cream Eggs that I hear are delicious, and are available at a few place around Toronto.

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10. Bunner's just posted on Instagram saying that they'll have Easter treats available all weekend - just LOOK how cute these cupcakes are!!

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Bringing Food to an All-Inclusive?

Yes, I bring food to an all-inclusive resort. For an average person, this might seem to defeat the point, but for someone with dietary restrictions it's worth it.

I'm almost always pleasantly surprised with the amount of foods that are vegan when I go on vacation, but I'd hate to be in a situation where that's not the case... and it never hurts to have some midnight snacks in you room :)

Buffalo Cauliflower Wing Pizza

Did anyone else try the Stranger Wings pizza by Virtuous Pie at VeganFestTO this summer?! I've been (un)patiently waiting for their Toronto location to open, but in the meantime I've made an insanely easy version of their pizza that's ALMOST as good. It's a pizza with a bianca sauce, buffalo chicken wings, crispy onions, green onions, and ranch sauce (I used creamy garlic sauce instead) - it's so delicious!!!!

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese (GF)

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese (GF)

Before I was vegan, mac and cheese was my favourite food and I HATED all of the vegan versions until I tried a butternut squash one (and I'm not even a huge squash lover, weird right?). I wanted to make a healthy version so I looked at a ton of versions online and then made my own. A lot of the recipes that I found called for lots butter, oil, or processed vegan cheese. While I'm sure that those taste delicious, I'm happy with this healthy version and I can eat as much of it as I want without feeling crappy!

Chickpea Tuna (GF)

This recipe has QUICKLY become a staple in my house (and for so many of my friends!).

It's gotten the seal of approval from everyone that I've made it for, and so many of my friends have made it themselves and fallen in love with it. It has the taste and texture of tuna (without the fishy taste - although you can add shredded nori if you like that), and it's so simple to make.

Easy Portobello Sandwiches (GF)

Once a week I go to my dads house for dinner and we watch murder-mystery tv shows together (any other Murdoch fans out there? No? Just me, and the over-60 population? WHATEVER). Usually we order in or he makes pasta, but last week I was talking up my sandwiches so he said he had to try it. As my dad can attest, these sandwiches are so filling and delicious that even a non-vegan can get behind them.