Friday, September 30, 2011

Quinoa Pesto with Oven Roasted Tomatoes

This recipe came together when I was looking for something to make for dinner with ingredients that I already had on hand. It is a hybrid of a few different recipes that I found from across the web, and I can't remember the specific websites I was looking at (sorry about that!).  The only item I really had to buy was the pine nuts and it was a great way to use up the basil and tomatoes that I had from the garden outside.

This recipe really comes together with three different recipes - Vegan pesto sauce, quinoa, and oven roasted tomatoes.  Don't worry, it really isn't that complicated and it doesn't take that long to make!  Here is what you need:

Oven Roasted Tomatoes:
many cherry tomatoes, cut in half - enough to fill a 13x9" glass baking dish
big splash of olive oil
1 tbsp brown sugar

You'll want to start the tomatoes first.  Cut all of the tomatoes in half and place cut-side up in a 13x9" glass baking dish.  Mix the olive oil and brown sugar together and pour over all of the tomatoes.  Make sure the tomatoes are completely coated in the oil/sugar mixture, and arrange them so they are all cut-side up on the baking sheet.  Place the tomatoes in a 350 degree oven, and bake for 45-60 minutes until they are all shrunken and roasted.

Vegan Pesto Recipe:
huge bunch of fresh basil (about 3 cups worth)
several cloves of garlic (I used 6-7, use less if you're not a garlic fanatic like me!)
6 tbsp raw pine nuts
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp olive oil
1/4-1/2 cup nutritional yeast (I used 1/4 cup, but you may want to use more)

Place all items, except oil and nutritional yeast in the food processor and blend.  Then, add the olive oil and nutritional yeast and combine until smooth and creamy.

Quinoa Recipe:

1 box of quinoa (or at least 1 cup uncooked quinoa)
extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup corn, frozen
1 cup spinach, chopped
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup Vegan Pesto recipe
oven roasted tomatoes

Cook the quinoa.  Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil in a saucepan, 2-3 minutes.  Add the quinoa and corn, and cook for a few minutes.  Stir in the spinach and cook for a few moments, until the spinach begins to wilt slightly.  Remove from heat, and add the pumpkin seeds and pesto.  Stir through and serve.  Top with the oven roasted tomatoes.  Add salt to taste, if needed.

You'll have to time this one out properly - start cooking the tomatoes first, and while they are in the oven, prepare the pesto and then the quinoa.  Once the tomatoes are almost finished, prepare the final quinoa recipe.

This one is super tasty and I've also made other variations of the recipe since making this!  I'll be posting that soon as well!  Very healthy, wholesome, and a great way to use up some items that you may have hanging around the kitchen or the garden!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Green Beans with Toasted Sesame Seeds

This dish is really quick to prepare and make - you'll be done in no time! It is very healthy and fresh tasting. It is a great way to use up those green beans from the Farmer's Market!  This makes for a wonderful vegetable side dish - we prepare this one on a regular basis.


10oz green beans, trimmed
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
2 tbsp maple sugar (you can use brown sugar also)
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp Japanese soy sauce (ie. Kikkoman brand)
Pinch of salt


1. In a saucepan of boiling water, blanch the green beans for 2 minutes. Drain and refresh in ice water, and drain again.
2. In a grinder, coarsely grind sesame seeds and transfer to a bowl. Mix in sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce and salt to form a paste. Stir in the beans to coat.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Roasted Vegetables with Fresh Herbs

Mmmm. Just look at all of those rustic roasted vegetables. Here is a hearty and healthy meal that involves a lot of veggie chopping, but other than that, not much preparation. You can make as much or as little of this as you want, adding your favorite veggies in various quantities. However you prepare it, your home will be filled with an amazing aroma! We filled two casserole dishes and had some leftovers - yes, two casserole dishes split between the two of us, but hey, we were hungry, don't judge! ;) 

So, preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Then, begin chopping your vegetables.  The veggies we used here were:  potatoes (boiled and soft enough when you pierce with a fork), carrots, zucchini, onion, yellow and orange pepper, and whole cloves of garlic.
When you chop up your veggies, try to keep them in larger chunks, especially the onions. You want all of the vegetables to cook at a similar rate, and you don't want any vegetables to get too mushy (and conversely, have some vegetables be too crunchy).

Throw all of the veggies into your casserole dish.  Drizzle generously with olive oil.  Then, you can add your spices. I ground up a whole lot of coriander seed in my mortar and pestle.  Then, I used a whole bunch of fresh rosemary, fresh basil, some Vietnamese cilantro that I had growing in the garden (which isn't much like regular cilantro leaves...I would stay away from adding that, unless you really want to experiment!), and of course, salt and pepper.  I think I used some dried rosemary here as well.

Every fifteen minutes, stir the mixture and add more spices if you'd like.  Each fifteen minutes, I would add a little extra ground coriander, freshly ground pepper and dried rosemary on top.  You will probably have to cook the mixture for about an hour in total before serving.

This is such a delicious recipe for using up all of those fresh summer veggies, but of course, you can enjoy it all year long! This dish would be perfect to make in the Fall or to make for a Vegan Thanksgiving dinner.  Or bring it to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner as a vegetable side dish. I think just about everyone would go crazy for this, Vegetarians and meat-eaters alike!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chickpea Quinoa Pilaf from Veganomicon

One of my favorite go-to cookbooks is Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. I love quinoa both for its health benefits and the taste, so I'm always looking for new quinoa recipes.  I found this recipe printed in the Veganomicon cookbook and I found it was pretty easy to make and quite delicious. I'm also a fan of chickpeas and spices like cumin and coriander - this recipe includes all of the above!  I also deviated from the original recipe by adding some diced yellow pepper, increasing the amount of garlic (Paul and I can't seem to get enough garlic!), and adding a bit of cayenne to spice it up.  You could probably add some other veggies of your choice as well.


2 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped finely (about one cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp coriander seed, crushed with a mortar & pestle
fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1-15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups vegetable broth


1.  In a saucepan over medium heat, saute the onions in olive oil for 7 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for 2 more minutes.
2.  Add the tomato paste, coriander, cumin, black pepper and salt; saute for 1 minute.
3.  Add the quinoa and saute for 2 minutes.
4.  Add the chickpeas and the broth; cover and bring to a boil.  Once the mixture is boiling, lower the heat to very low, cover, and cook for 18 minutes or until the quinoa has absorbed all the water.  Stir occasionally.
5.  Fluff with a fork and serve.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Refrigerator Pickled Green Beans

On the same day that I made these Refrigerator Pickles, I also made some Refrigerator Pickled Green Beans. The green beans required a little bit of extra time in the fridge before eating, so we did not eat them until today. After eating the refrigerator pickles and now these green beans, I have a new found love for homemade pickled vegetables. They are quite delicious and fresh. The green beans still have a crunch to them and have a mild sweetness to them, combined with spiciness from the hot pepper. These are assembled a little bit differently than the pickles, and they are pickled with apple cider vinegar rather than plain white vinegar.

I think that we'll be doing a lot more pickling around our house in the future! I also should mention that this is super easy to do - all you need is a mason jar and the following simple recipe:

Spicy Pickled Green Beans

1 lb green beans, trimmed
1 jalapeno (I used a few smaller hot peppers from the garden)
few sprigs of fresh dill
1 1/2 cup water
1 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp red chili flakes
1 small clove garlic, lightly crushed (I used several)

For extra spicy beans, make a cut in the jalapeno.  I cut all of the peppers in half for maximum heat!  Add all of the ingredients to a large jar, topping off with water if necessary to cover the beans. Refrigerate for 3 weeks before consuming.

The hardest part is waiting for three weeks before eating them!  Just put them at the back of your fridge and forget about them for a while. It will be a special treat the day you are able to crack open the jar and devour them!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lentil Salad

Here is a great recipe for a lentil salad. It is super nutritious and tasty, and it makes a pretty large quantity that you can keep in the fridge for the next few days as leftovers. Lentils are especially excellent for vegetarians, vegans, or those of you who are looking to include other protein sources in their diet. Here are a few facts about lentils:
  • They contain 26% protein - the highest content in any vegetable except soy beans
  • They have a high fibre content (31% in green lentils, 11% in red lentils) and B vitamins
  • Lentils have virtually no fat
  • Lentils are one of the best vegetable sources of iron. This makes them an important part of a vegetarian diet, and useful for preventing iron deficiency
Now that you're familiar with the goodness of lentils, here's the recipe! It doesn't take long to prep, and takes about 25 minutes to cook.

Ingredients (Lentils):
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 bag of green lentils, washed (approx. 2 cups)
4 cups vegetable stock

Ingredients (Dressing):
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 cup freshly ground flaxseeds
1/8 cup flaxseed oil
1/8 cup olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper
salt to taste

1. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tbsp of oil on medium-low heat. Add garlic and onion, stirring for 3 minutes. Add the broth and lentils. Cook on medium heat until boiling, then cover, and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes. Cook until all of the stock has been absorbed and there is just no liquid left in the mixture, but the mixture is still moist.

2. While the lentils cook, prepare the dressing. Grind the flaxseeds (you can easily do this in a coffee bean grinder). Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl for the dressing. Whisk until the mixture thickens. Set aside.

3. Once the lentil portion is fully cooked, remove from the stove and pour into a large bowl. Mix half of the dressing in with the lentils.

You can now place the lentils in the fridge and let them cool, or serve them warm. When serving, put a little more of the dressing on the lentils. Keep the lentils and the dressing in the fridge and you can have this tasty dish over the next few days if you wish! You can serve immediately after cooking, or wait until the mixture cools in the fridge.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Vegan Tom Yum Soup (Thai Lemongrass Soup)

Here is a super nutritious quick & easy soup to make that is also vegetarian and vegan. It is called Tom Yum Soup and is a vegetarian variation on the popular Thai dish. It has a distinct flavor from the lemongrass, which you should be able to find at many grocery stores in the herb section. If you can't find it fresh, you should be able to find it in a small jar. Paul and I used to always enjoy this soup years ago from a Thai place in the food court, until I realized that it most likely had fish sauce in it. Since we're both vegetarians, I modified it slightly to make a vegetarian version, and we've been making it ever since!

When I buy lemongrass at the grocery store, I often get asked by the cashiers what I use lemongrass for in my cooking. Hopefully this recipe will allow you to enjoy the wonderful flavor and aroma in your cooking, too, especially if you've never cooked with it before!


4 cups vegetable broth
3 large stalks of lemongrass, trimmed, bruised, cut into 2" lengths
3 green onions, cut
2 tbsp roasted chili paste
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp soy sauce
lots of sprouts, steamed
lots of broccoli, steamed
noodles (rice vermicelli or cellophane noodles)
3 garlic cloves, cut


1. Bring stock to a boil, add lemongrass to broth, reduce to simmer for 5 minutes.
2. Put green onions and garlic into a serving bowl. Steam sprouts and broccoli.
3. Remove lemongrass. Add remaining ingredients to the simmering stock. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Serve. You can add red pepper flakes to the bottom of your bowl if you're looking for even more spice.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tofu Baked Pasta

I made this tofu baked pasta for dinner and was so excited that we started eating it before any photos were taken!  Oops. That's the one thing about having a Vegan blog - always gotta be sure to snap the photos of any new recipes that you make. It does get a little bit annoying if you're super hungry, but thankfully doesn't take too long if you're able to run outside where it's a bit brighter to take a photo. I snapped this photo of what was left over after Paul and I ate our serving of pasta.

One thing that I will miss about eating dairy are baked pastas. While I didn't eat them very often, I will miss my vegetarian lasagnas, with layers of ricotta cheese and spinach with melted mozzarella on top. Thankfully, we have this Tofu Baked Pasta recipe, which fills my appetite for baked cheesy pastas quite nicely. I am continually amazed at how tofu can taste differently according to what you are making. I've never mashed up extra firm tofu before, but it totally worked in this recipe.


1 box of large shell pasta
1 jar of tomato sauce
1 package of extra firm tofu
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 bunch of fresh basil, chopped
a couple handfuls of baby spinach, chopped
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
splash of lemon juice


1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Boil the shell pasta according to the directions on the box.
2.  Mash up the tofu until it resembles a firm ricotta cheese texture.  Add the nutritional yeast, basil, spinach, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
3.  In a casserole dish, spread out some tomato sauce.  Fill the shells with a couple of spoon fulls of the tofu filling.  Top with the remaining tomato sauce, and bake for 15-20 minutes.

This recipe made enough pasta for the two of us to enjoy that evening, as well as a couple of lunches for following days. Any leftovers keep fairly well in the fridge for a couple of days.  The next time I make this, I may add some more veggies, like finely chopped onion or some minced garlic. Even some broccoli would go well in this pasta, too.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hummus Pizza

Hummus Pizza. The concept of it sounds a little bit strange as we are accustomed to eating pizza with red tomato sauce, or even a pesto sauce or white cream sauce. Throwing a chickpea spread onto a pizza crust was definitely putting pizza in a whole other realm. Thankfully, this new world of pizza is a delicious one that I will be revisiting over and over again!

Paul and I made this pizza with a few simple ingredients and it was absolutely delicious. It is very quick to make if you're using a pre-made pizza crust. If you decide to make a pizza crust from scratch, be sure to first cook the crust for 10-12 minutes before adding any of the toppings on, including the hummus.  Then, cook your pizza following the recipe below.

We roasted our own red peppers and caramelized the onions. To roast the peppers, I chopped off the stems and removed the seeds from the peppers. I cut each pepper in half an turned them down on a baking sheet with the outside of the peppers facing up.  I pre-heated the oven to 450 degrees and before putting in the peppers, I changed it to broil on high.  Place the baking sheet near the top of the oven and let them broil for 10 minutes.  They should be blackened a bit on the outside.  Let the peppers cool down a bit, and peel the skins off. If the skins don't come off easily, dunk the peppers in cold water for 30 seconds and they should come off easier.

For the caramelized onions, saute the onions in balsamic vinegar for about fifteen minutes until nice and caramelized. You can use about 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar, although you may need to add more.

For this recipe, you will need:

1 whole wheat pizza crust (we bought a pre-made one from Whole Foods)
3 red onions, sliced
balsamic vinegar to caramelize the onions
3 red peppers for roasting
fresh or dried rosemary

To assemble the pizza, spread the hummus out on the pizza crust.  Place the caramelized onions on top, and then place your roasted red peppers (thinly sliced) on top of that.  Top with dried or fresh rosemary.  Place the pizza in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees and cook for 10-12 minutes.

This pizza is absolutely delicious and I'll be making this recipe again and again!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Raw Aura Organic Cuisine in Port Credit

My visit to Raw Aura in the quaint waterfront village of Port Credit (part of Mississauga, Ontario) marked my very first trip to a raw food restaurant. I know that a raw diet is becoming more popular these days and I admire the dedication of raw foodists. Many foods lose their nutritional value after being cooked and by consuming the foods raw, we are able to absorb the maximum amount of nutrients from certain foods. However, I was not sure if Raw Aura would be able to create delicious cuisine while not heating their food over 105 degrees Farenheit. I wasn't even sure how creative you could get by keeping everything raw.

Well, the food that I ate at Raw Aura was absolutely delicious. That pile of noodles and vegetables that you see above is their "Sweet and Sour" noodles and that is what I ordered. Have you ever visited a restaurant and ordered an item, and decided that it was so tasty that you will keep ordering it no matter what every time you return? That's how I felt about this noodle dish. I have no idea how they created this immensely flavorful dish, but I sure wish that I had the recipe! It was my first time eating noodles made out of vegetables - these noodles were made out of kelp and zucchini. The full description of the menu item is: "A mix of kelp and zucchini noodles tossed in a light tangy maca infused almond butter based sauce with red pepper, fresh cilantro, romaine lettuce, red onions and topped with spiced almond bits." The noodles and the sauce were complimented by the crunchiness of the romaine, the spiciness of the onions, and the nutty almond pieces.  I'm in love!

I went to the restaurant with a couple of friends, but I brought home some leftovers of the pasta dish to Paul. After taking the first bite, he was totally sold on the meal and is already begging to visit the restaurant. I think we'll probably go back in a couple of days, just the two of us, so I may have some more pictures to post!

I also got a side of Miso Soup with my meal:

Here is what my friend, Shannon ordered - a Nacho plate.  The nachos were very interesting, definitely not your typical tortilla chips. From the menu:  "Crispy corn chips are served with guacamole, cashew sour cream, fresh tomato salsa and walnut taco meat." I tried a little bit of Shannon's nachos and they tasted way healthier and flavorful than any nachos I've ever tried! It was a different take on nachos, and definitely for the best.

Shannon also ordered the "Living Bread", which was sprouted sunflower, sesame, and spiced onion bread. I also didn't mention before that Raw Aura is completely gluten-free and dairy-free, so all of the bread items are not made with wheat. I didn't try the bread but she said it was very soft and tasted strongly of onion. Sounds good to me!

My friend, Chris ordered the Pasta Bolognese: "Zucchini noodles tossed in a rich tomato basil marinara sauce with red peppers, sunflower seed and sun dried tomato sausage, topped with almond Parmesan".  I didn't get the opportunity to try any of this for myself, but it certainly looked yummy!

I might also mention that the two friends that I visited Raw Aura are not vegetarian, vegan, or raw foodists, but thoroughly enjoyed their meal. I loved that I could order anything from the menu without the fear that dairy or meat might be hidden in the food somewhere. I also loved knowing that the meal was mostly all organic, plus it was extremely healthy with loads of veggies in their most nutritious state!

Shannon and I decided to order the same dessert, the Chocolate Ganache. The cake was divine - a crumbly layer on the bottom, a creamy cheesecake-esque filling in the middle, and a very chocolately top layer with caramel drizzled over the top. I don't know how this was dairy-free but it somehow was!  Yum!

The atmosphere of the restaurant was quite lovely - the cafe itself is very cozy and since it was rather nice outside today, they had the front windows wide open to the street. We sat in a prime location right by the window, so we were able to enjoy a fresh breeze off the lake.

I wouldn't hesitate to return to Raw Aura - heck, I'll probably be back there within the next couple of days. If you live in the area, I can guarantee that you'll love the food even if you aren't vegan, as I went for dinner with two meat-eaters and they loved it! A perfect haven for those who have a gluten intolerance and for those looking for a healthy meal away from home.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Look What I Won at Whole Foods Market!

Last month, a brand new Whole Foods Market opened at Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga, and I was so excited to have a Whole Foods closer to home. I don't always shop there - sometimes I will shop at the local grocery store, sometimes I will shop at Farmers Markets (especially in the summertime), but I do love my Whole Foods. You really can't beat their selection and variety of different foods and they carry a lot of organic items as well. If there is an obscure ingredient that I'm looking for, chances are that Whole Foods carries it.

Around the time of their grand opening, I filled out a little slip of paper to enter a contest they were running.  Yesterday, I found out that I was one of their grand prize winners! So exciting! They told me that I won a gift basket and I could come and pick it up. I had no idea what I was going to win. When I got to the store, the cheerful girl at the customer service desk exclaimed, "Wow! You won the basket with the Magic Bullet!" I was stoked. I've always had my eye on the Magic Bullet but have never owned one.  Now, I am the proud owner of my very own Magic Bullet! Woo!

But wait, that's not all. I also won an assortment of goodies from Manitoba Harvest, makers of hemp products. In a beautiful woven basket, I also won two bags of hemp seeds (so healthy!), hemp milk in chocolate and vanilla (I tried this at the Vegetarian Food Fair last week but didn't get the chance to buy any!  Now I own some, yay!), two t-shirts (one for myself and one for Paul), and a tote bag (that I'm now using to transport snacks and food to work with me).

I don't recall the last time that I actually won anything, so receiving this lovely gift basket from Whole Foods was such an unexpected amazing surprise!

Monday, September 19, 2011

I'm Participating in Vegan Mofo 2011!

I've signed up for Vegan Mofo - or Vegan Month of Food - for this year since I now have a Vegan blog of my own!  It runs for the entire month of October and right now, I'm thinking of going with the theme of baking vegan desserts or transforming my old favorite non-vegan desserts into vegan desserts.  That means a whole lot of baking and a whole lot of desserts around the house!  I will have to share them with some friends or co-workers as I can't have all of those baked goods hanging around - that's dangerous!  It will also be quite the challenge for me as my day job has picked up quite a bit and I haven't been around the house very much lately.  Hopefully I can get a little head start on the baking and save the dessert blog posts for October.

Hundreds of Vegan blogs participate in Vegan Mofo, so I can't wait to start reading some new blogs based on a whole variety of topics!  It will be interesting to see the different takes on this challenge and how creative some people can get.  I'm also excited to be a part of something amazing online, a whole network of like-minded people coming together to celebrate Veganism!  If you're ready to take on the challenge of blogging about something Vegan every day in October, you should sign up your blog as well.  All of the participating blogs will be listed after September 28th, 2011 (the last sign-up day) over at

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Restaurant Review - Fresh Fruit at Cora's

My first restaurant review!  Paul and I took a spontaneous trip to Cora's for breakfast today.  Cora's is a breakfast restaurant chain across Canada that originated in Montreal.  Their menu places fresh fruit in the foreground for breakfast, including it with nearly every meal!  As it is not a vegetarian or vegan restaurant, they serve your typical breakfast choices like eggs and bacon, but this restaurant is far from your average "greasy spoon" eatery.

As a vegan at Cora's, you have a couple of options that involve lots of fresh fruit. I ordered the king of all fruit platters - the Samira Wake-up.  It is described as "A beautiful plate of lavishly cut fresh fruit served with a choice of toast."  As you can see, it is a huge plate of fruit!  From what I can remember (and see in the picture) I enjoyed apple, pear, strawberries, grapes, banana, nectarines, kiwi, pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, orange, grapefruit, starfruit, ground cherries, and watermelon.  It is quite an artistic plate, too, with some of the fruit being cut to fit decoratively wedged into other pieces of fruit.

You also get your choice of toast with a selection of jam and peanut butter.  Make sure you order your toast "dry" as it automatically comes slathered in butter if you don't specify.  Also, if you are a vegetarian, you can add slices of cheese to the plate at an extra cost.

I've also enjoyed smaller bowls of fruit and bagels in the past.  Plus, I ate a little bit of Paul's roasted potatoes from his plate that are just fried in some oil with sauteed onions.

While many menu items are catered towards meat-eaters, there is a good selection of vegetarian like waffles, crepes, and omelettes.  Thankfully, Cora's has their fruit plates and bowls for vegans!  These restaurants are popping up all across Canada and they provide healthier options for breakfast.  The focus here is on fresh flavorful fruit and I thoroughly enjoyed my meal!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Response to "10 Things Never to Say to a Vegan"

Vegan Spoonful had a wonderful article entitled "Top 10 Things Never to Say to a Vegan" which I proceeded to post to my Facebook.  At work, someone came up to me and said "I saw the article you posted....and I'm fairly certain that we have all said all of those things to you at least once!"  I know people like to tease me and poke fun at me sometimes, but you have to know when you are crossing the line!  Here is my response to the top ten things to never say to a Vegan.

10.  ”If you were stranded on a desert island, and there was nothing to eat but animals, would you eat meat?”

I have heard this one a lot.  I've also heard "If I pay you X amount of dollars, would you eat a steak?" or "How much money would someone have to pay you to eat a steak?".  No, I wouldn't resort to eating animals if I were stranded on a desert island unless it became absolutely necessary, just as I wouldn't resort to cooking up and eating the friends I was stranded with unless it became absolutely necessary.  I would hope that this hypothetical island would have coconuts, berries, and other types of things on it.  I can't foresee myself becoming stranded on a desert island anytime soon, so I doubt I will have to ever face this situation.  I'm certainly not losing sleep over it!

9.  ”But where do you get your protein?”

This is probably the number one question I get asked.  People are so concerned about the amount of protein that I eat.  They don't ever consider the fact that they probably eat at least two or three times the daily required amounts of protein that they should eat, and that all of that extra protein can lead to health problems like cancer or heart disease.  There are plenty of ways for vegans and vegetarians to get their protein - whole grains, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and the list goes on.  I don't ask every meat eater that I meet - "Are you getting enough fibre?  Are you eating enough fruits and vegetables?"

8.  ”I just ate <insert name of animal body part here> for lunch, it was soooo yummy!”  and then on and on and on, describing it in great detail.

I've even had a co-worker at a past job try to sneak meat into my food.  I'm not sure if all of the yummy descriptions are supposed to make me feel bad that I'm not eating meat.  I choose not to eat it and I wish that some people would respect my decision.  While I don't agree with your decision to eat meat, you can make your own choices and choose to eat whatever you want.  Please respect my decisions as well!

7.  ”Plants have feelings too!  Don’t you care about the poor carrots?”

This is one of the more ridiculous phrases that I've heard uttered on numerous occasions.  If you can't tell the difference between a vegetable and a suffering animal, maybe you had better take a closer look.   Or, as she says on Vegan Spoonful (couldn't have said it better myself): "If you truly can’t see the difference between pulling a carrot out of the ground and slitting a chicken’s throat, why don’t you try doing both and see if you feel the same about both acts?" 

6.  ”If humans weren’t meant to eat meat, why are animals so tasty?”

Just because animals are roaming the earth and co-existing with us, it doesn't mean that they were put here to serve our needs.  They should live peacefully just as we do.  To survive, we do not need to eat animals or create way more cows/chickens/pigs/etc. in factory farms to serve our needs.  In fact, the over-abundance of these factory farmed animals is horrible for our environment and the entire planet.

5.  ”So what made you decide to become a vegan?”…asked in the middle of a big family dinner while eating a hunk of ham.

I haven't had this one...yet.  Thankfully, most people are sensitive to the fact that I don't eat meat over dinner and have even offered to prepare vegetarian meals.  I've also been fortunate enough to have friends and co-workers ask if I was okay with them eating meat around me.  That is totally fine, and I am grateful that you are considerate of my feelings and choices.

4.  ”Oh, I could never go vegan.  I love meat way too much!  And I could never live without cheese!” 

I love how cheese and dairy tastes, too!  I choose not to eat it due to my ethical concerns regarding the poor treatment of dairy cows, chickens, and farm animals.  It is no wonder that I still have soy milk with my cereal, put Daiya cheese on pizza, and eat coconut milk ice cream - I obviously love the taste of dairy but I can't justify continuing to eat it knowing how the animals are treated.

3.  ”I feel sorry for you, that you can’t eat <insert animal food here>.”

I choose not to eat <insert animal food here> and I can sleep at night better knowing that I don't eat it!

2.  ”You sure don’t look like a vegan!”

I'm not sure what that is supposed to mean and thankfully, no one has ever said this to me.  I'm not sure if someone who is vegan is supposed to look skinny, malnourished, or like a tattooed hipster.  I just look like me and I am a vegan!

1.  Why don’t you care about people?  Aren’t people more important than animals?      

Of course I care about people.  I care about animals, too.  I choose to donate to animal related charities (Donkey Sanctuary of Canada, Farm Sanctuary, Animal Welfare Association, etc.) and I choose to donate to human related charities, too (Red Cross for disaster relief, for instance).  I care about everything on this planet and I don't want harm to happen to anyone or anything.  Just because you care about animals doesn't mean that you don't care about people.  In fact, eating a vegan diet does help people - it allows us to enjoy a more sustainable planet, it helps to protect our waterways, it helps to protect against the exploitation of the workers who have to work in dangerous slaughter houses, and the list goes on.

How do you feel about this Top 10 list?  Do you have anything to add to it, any odd questions that people may ask you?  Personally, if the question doesn't come off as insulting, I don't mind answering people's questions about not eating meat or dairy.  I would rather give people some insight into my choices, provide them with some reading material or movies to watch about the topic, and maybe they might end up making similar decisions in the end.  I am always happy to answer my friends' questions, but I don't appreciate it when it comes across as an insult to my intelligence (for example, many of the above questions or retorts).

Monday, September 12, 2011

I'm "Forever Nuts" About David's Tea!

Okay, so the title of this blog post is a tad cheesy.  But I am really crazy for David's Tea!  I've always been such a coffee drinker, but this tea has converted me into a full-time tea consumer!  (I still love you too, coffee.)

I first stumbled upon a David's Tea location in a mall near my work.  I was rather intrigued by their tea samplers and ended up buying one for my sister for Christmas last year.  It was a big hit with her and her roommates!  They started rating each tea out of five as to how much they enjoyed it, but every tea was getting a 5/5 rating as they discovered that they are all super yummy!  I went over to her place for a visit and she said, "you have gotta try one of these teas!" and we brewed up a teapot of Jessie's Tea.  It is a blend of lavender, rooibos, coconut and cornflowers and became one of my favorite teas ever!

I headed back to the store and picked up another one of her recommendations, Forever Nuts.  The description on the website states:

It looks all normal when it’s loose. But steep it and you’ll see that it’s nuts. Within seconds, this tempting jumble of almond slices and chunks, apple bits and cinnamon bark starts turning a crazy shade of pink. Why? Because it contains a hint of beetroot. That’s what gives this rich almond tea its earthy depth and its all-natural signature colour. Deliciously nutty, decidedly addictive.

Decidedly addictive, indeed!  That's the featured flavour in the photo above.  You can see from the photo that the beetroot does turn the tea a lovely shade of pink, which looks even better in person.  If you are a fan of The Office, I also hope that you like the coffee mug that I'm using!

If you don't have a David's Tea store near you, you are able to order from their online shop.  I highly recommend it!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival 2011 - The Food

Yesterday, I posted about the events I attended at Friday's Vegetarian Food Fair in Toronto.  Today, I'm going to tell you all about the delicious food I ate, sampled, and purchased!  Of course, one of the best things about a food fair is....the food!  The Vegetarian Food Fair is a dreamy paradise where you can walk around to all of the food stands and sample almost everything for free!  Let's say you are like me, and you've never had the chance to try soy yogurt or hemp milk before.  You might be skeptical to drop a bunch of money on something that could end up tasting yucky. At the Veggie Food Festival, you are able to sample all of these goodies to see if you like them or not.  For the record, I really enjoyed the soy yogurt and the chocolate/vanilla hemp milk I tried!

At most of the booths, I tried out some samples and purchased the food if I liked it or not.  In some cases, there were great deals on products that I already currently buy at natural grocery stores.  Some of the vendors were able to sell their products at lower prices because they were selling directly to the consumer and not through a store.  Some of them even had special festival deals!

This was one of my favourite booths - LPK's Culinary Groove, which sold vegan and gluten-free desserts.  My friend Sarah, who went to the food fair with me, isn't vegan but requires gluten-free foods so she was all about shopping here!  We both ended up purchasing the sweet potato donuts (as pictured below), and I bought some of the peanut butter nanaimo bars and chocolate chip cookie sandwiches.  They also sold vegan/gluten-free ice cream sandwiches, which unfortunately I didn't get to try out as I was far too full by the end of the day (after sampling SO much food!) but they looked divine!

Sweet Potato Donuts
I got to taste so many different foods, and I bought most of the ones that I really enjoyed.  The one thing I forgot to buy was the soy yogurt and soy cream cheese that I liked, but I know I can grab that at the grocery store.  I wanted to buy it at the end of the day as I didn't want to carry around  refrigerated items all day long, but after seeing Terry Hope Romero's seminar on vegan blogging, I completely forgot!  Oops.  Moving along, I'm going to post all kinds of photos right now of the things I bought, and information about the products just in case you are interested in them, too!

Tons of Vegan yummy goodies.
Here is my kitchen table, covered with the treats that I found at the festival!  Look at all of those yummy vegan treats.  Yum!  I think I opted for a good balance between healthy foods and baked goods, don't you think?

Roasted Soybeans
Here are some roasted soy beans from one of the first booths that I visited by The Bean Ladies.  They had a table full of different flavoured roasted soy beans with samples of each one to try out!  They all tasted so good but in the end, I decided to stick with my three favourites - "Gotta Be Garlic", "Pomegranate and Pear" and "Canadian Maple Eh?".  They use non-GMO locally grown (in Ontario) soy beans for all of their products.  Also, soy beans are high in fibre, protein, a source of Omega-3 fatty acids, and are an excellent source of iron, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc.  These treats are also low in fat.  Hooray!

Tonica Kombucha and Beanitos chips
 I have recently discovered Kombucha fermented tea and I love it.  It tastes fantastic because I am trying to cut Diet Coke out of my diet, but I still crave a bit of carbonation now and then.  I find that Kombucha helps my cravings for sparkling beverages, plus it is really healthy for you (probiotics, polyphenols, B vitamins, rich in enzymes and healthy bacteria, etc.)!  Tonica Kombucha is 100% organic, raw, and is made locally in Toronto.  I'm happy to be able to buy Kombucha locally so hopefully I can continue to purchase it at some nearby stores.

The Beanitos are Chipotle BBQ flavor and they're made out of black beans.  They are vegan and gluten-free.  I tried a sample of them and they're super yummy, so I just had to bring home a bag!

Oh my goodness...the peanut butter!  Peanut Butter & Co had a stand at the food fair that had all of their different kinds of peanut butters all in a row, and you could sample any of them as much as you'd like!  We stood there making "mmmm" noises for a while, then quickly decided on the flavours to buy.  I grabbed two jars of my favourite flavour, "Mighty Maple".  Believe or not, they had it on sale - 3 jars for $10!  Natural peanut butter costs way more than that usually, so I happily purchased three jars (one of plain crunchy, too).  I can't wait to try the maple peanut butter in a stir fry sauce!

I purchased a salad dressing by RawFoodz in Purely Poppy flavour.  It was amazing to find a creamy salad dressing that is vegan, organic, and raw!  Can't wait to pour this over my veggies.

I bought this granola from Girlnola in Gojinana flavour - cashews, coconut, banana, and goji berries.  This would make for a great snack on its own, mixed in with some of my regular cereal, or maybe even mixed into some soy yogurt that I plan on purchasing soon!

Mmm...New Moon Kitchen cookies.  These are a regular staple in our cupboard, but they go fast since they're so tasty.  I usually purchase them for $8 a box at Whole Foods, but was able to buy them for a spectacular deal at the show - 3 boxes for $10!  Wow.  Needless to say, I bought three boxes in Oatmeal Goldies, Chocolate Espresso Mokas, and Chocolate Mint Momints. 

This was a great find - Quinoa products by Your Fitness Dish.  I purchased the Quinola Ancient Grains Blast cereal and the Quin'Bites snacks.  The Quin'Bites are crunchy quinoa, almonds, and agave with a hint of ginger and nutmeg and they are so delicious.  I think I could eat these every day if I had the chance!  A very satisfying snack that provides a great energizing boost.  I hope to try the cereal in some soy milk soon - I tried it plain though at the fair and it tasted good to me.  Quinoa is such an amazing whole grain and I try to eat as much of it as I can!

This shows a close-up of the cookie sandwiches and peanut butter nanaimo bars (oops...should be two bars there, except I ate one of them!  Couldn't resist.) from LPK's Culinary Groove.  Also, some samples of Mary's Crackers products in the background.

And lastly, here are the veggie samosas I brought home that were purchased from the Meditation Toronto booth!  These were thoroughly enjoyed at dinner time last night. Hopefully, I will be able to attend one of their meditation sessions soon.

I hope you enjoyed viewing a sampling of the food that was amongst many, many other kinds of food at the Vegetarian Food Festival in Toronto!  If you're interested, the festival is still going today (Sunday) so please check it out if you get the chance.  It is completely free to attend!  Please check the Toronto Vegetarian Association website for more details!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival 2011 - The Events

On Friday, my friend Sarah and I attended the 27th Annual Vegetarian Food Festival at the Harbour Front in Toronto!  I have always had my eye on this event as it is one of the largest (if not *the* largest) vegetarian food fair in North America!  In past years, the odds always seemed stacked against me as something would always come up that prevented me from attending.  Finally, I was able to go, even if it was just for one evening of the three-day-long festival!

I'd like to split this into two separate blog posts for you - today, I'll cover the actual events and demonstrations that I attended, and tomorrow, I'll let you know all about the amazing food I was able to taste and buy!

I have to say that it totally still amazes me that I can actually visit some places and eat whatever I want.  That might sound really strange to the average person.  Growing up as a vegetarian, I've always been used to searching through a menu at a restaurant for the one or two vegetarian offerings they may have had, or scanning through ingredient lists to make sure there were no hidden animal products inside.  I've always had to do this so it is second nature to me.  To actually go to an entirely vegan restaurant, or attend an event where absolutely everything is vegetarian makes me so happy!  I can just walk around and sample any of the tasty treats that I want!

Back to the events.  Sarah and I attended two events on Friday, including a cooking demonstration by Jae Steele (Toronto-based holistic nutritionist) and a talk on vegan blogging with Terry Hope Romero (author of Viva Vegan, Veganomicon, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, etc.).

Jae Steele did a cooking demonstration on how to make Coconut Chocolate Bean Fudge that is both vegan and low in sugar.  This doesn't mean that it is tasteless! We all got to try a piece of the fudge after the cooking demo was over and it tasted chocolatey and sweet, but not overly sugary! Here is the recipe - I hope that Jae doesn't mind that I'm posting it here on the blog, as the recipe was handed out to everyone who attended.

Coconut Chocolate Bean Fudge

2 cups (or one 16oz can) cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup fair-trade cocoa powder
1/4 cup carob powder
1/3 cup melted non-hydrogenated coconut oil
2 tbsp agave nectar (or maple syrup)
1/2 tsp stevia powder (or more liquid sweetener)
1/2 tsp sea salt
optional: 1/3 cup shredded coconut

Give all ingredients but the coconut a whirl together in a food processor for about 1 minute until very smooth.  Add the shredded coconut, and pulse a few times to get it evenly dispersed.  Scrape out into a baking pan (9" x 9") and smooth out the top as best you can.  Allow to sit in the fridge for 2 hours before slicing into squares.  Makes at least 16 pieces.  Stores refrigerated for up to a week.

Jae's presentation was entertaining because was very energetic and had a great sense of humour.  She answered all of our questions about the ingredients themselves, preparing the dish, or anything else about veganism in general.  She also talked about some great restaurants in Toronto that I can't wait to try out for myself.  I really enjoyed attending this demonstration!

Afterwards, we went into the larger theatre where vegan chef (& blogger!) extraordinaire Terry Hope Romero gave a seminar about vegan blogging!  Of course, being the author of a vegan blog, I was incredibly interested in this talk.  Also, I own several of Terry's cookbooks and read her websites, so I was really excited to see her in person!  She made the presentation informative and fun, with plenty of slides filled with important blogging tid-bits, balanced with nerdy monster motifs and adorable kitties.  It was great to hear some valuable tips from a seasoned blogging veteran, and some of her points really made me think about my own future blogging plans and ideas.

I really wish that I could attend all three days of the food festival!  Terry Hope Romero is doing two cooking demos over the weekend that I am dying to see.  There are speakers throughout the weekend including nutritionists, registered dieticians, vegan chefs, authors, animal advocates, and more.  I really wish I didn't have to work on Saturday and Sunday, or else I would be at the harbour front all weekend long!  Head on over to the Toronto Vegetarian Association website to get a full listing of events for the weekend.

Even if you aren't vegan or vegetarian, please check out the Vegetarian Food Festival if you are in Toronto this weekend.  You will be able to taste some super yummy food, catch a guest speaker or two (or more!), see live food demonstrations, and pick up some informative reading materials.  Even if you're just a little veg-curious, see what all the fuss is about - this is the perfect opportunity to learn all about the wonderful world of cruelty-free living!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Apple Crisp Muffins

This has got to be one of my favourite vegan muffins yet!  These are the Apple Crisp muffins as originally posted on Happy Herbivore.  Unlike the Oat Flour muffins I made from the same website last week, these ones turned out simply fantastic!  I made them exactly according to the recipe.  They had bites of apple inside and were very moist and delicious.  These muffins were quite sweet so you may consider dialing down the amount of sugar in the recipe.  I asked Paul about the amount of sugar in the muffins for a second opinion and he said to keep them exactly as I made them without changing a single thing!

While I love vegan baked goods, I found that these tasted just like a typical muffin using dairy would taste.  This may have been due to the fact that no dairy substitutes were in the recipe at all - applesauce is used along with whole wheat pastry flour, oats, sugar, maple syrup, and of course, apples!

These ones went pretty fast so I'll be cooking up a fresh batch pretty soon.  I didn't have to buy any extra ingredients to make these as it included ingredients that I already had on hand (definitely a plus!).  These make for excellent snacks while at work or on-the-go, visiting places that may not have vegan snacks or baked goods readily available.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Oatmeal Muffins Made From Oat Flour

I baked up these Oatmeal Muffins from the Happy Herbivore website because I was looking for a simple recipe where I already owned all of the ingredients in the cupboard.  I was also intrigued because it involved making your own oat flour from oats!  I've never made my own flour before.  I put the oats into the food processor and watched them whirl around.  Within seconds, they turned to flour - it was almost like magic!  I guess I am easily amused!

Back to the muffins...unfortunately, the magic of these muffins didn't quite carry over to the taste of the treat.  While these muffins are a lot healthier than your typical baked good, I found them to be quite dense and bland.  I even sprinkled cinnamon and brown sugar on top of them before baking, and that couldn't even really save them.

Maybe the recipe just didn't work out for me, or maybe others out there have a different taste for muffins than I do.  I don't find that I need things to be particularly sweet, but I did find these to be rather tasteless and heavy.  Not really what I look for in a muffin, so hopefully I can report back over the next few days with more successful baking results!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Crispy Cajun Chickpea Cakes

This recipe for Crispy Cajun Chickpea Cakes comes from the Vegan Dad blog.  I tried it a couple of years ago on a whim while searching around the web for Vegan recipes and it was a huge hit.  In fact, it is one of Paul's favourite meals.  He is always asking me about the chickpea patties and even asks me to double the recipe on occasion so there are lots of leftovers.  It is a very easy recipe to make and you can make it either as a side dish, or as a main course if you wish to indulge in loads of chickpea goodness.

This recipe calls for primarily chickpeas, some veggies, and some spices.  We make the following changes to the recipe - we don't use any celery as Paul doesn't like celery, we double the onion, we use a yellow/orange/red pepper instead of a green pepper (we never tend to have green peppers around the house), we add fresh hot peppers (cayenne or whatever is growing in the garden), and we at least double the amount of cayenne spice.  We like them a bit spicier than the recipe originally states.

You can check out the recipe for yourself posted online here - it may quickly become one of your faves, too!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Thai Basil Flowers

I have an assortment of four different basil plants growing this year in the garden with Thai Basil being one of them.  The plants are beginning to go to seed at the moment, so I've been plucking the flowers off in an effort to extend the life of the plant.  One day, Paul was outside and picked some of the Thai Basil flowers.  He noticed that they smell differently than the basil leaves.  He brought them in the house and it smelled fantastic!  The flowers actually filled the kitchen with a wonderful aroma of sweetness combined with anise or licorice scent.  Right now, I just have these in a small bowl on our kitchen table as a type of potpourri, but I started looking around the web to see if they can be used for anything else.  Here's what I found:

Thai Basil Blossom Ice Cubes, for Thai Basil Mojitos - at Pitchfork Diaries
Thai Basil Information - at Thai Food and Travel
As a Garnish or in a Green Salad - at Jugnoo Farms
Lemon Myrtle Star Cookies (can be easily made vegan!) - at Tasty Kitchen
Thai Basil Flowers and Tomato Salad - at Cooking on the Weekends
Sesame Slaw with Thai Basil Flowers - at Hogtown Homegrown
Thai Basil Seed Drink - at Pranee's Thai Kitchen

I also read that you can combine dried thai basil flowers with grated orange rind and make it into a tea.  I can't find the website where I originally read that, but thought I would list that as an option!

I haven't quite decided what I will do with my Thai Basil flowers, but for now, they look awfully pretty on my kitchen table and smell absolutely wonderful!

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Summer of Backyard Vegetables (Part 2)

Here is the continuation from yesterday's blog post, A Summer of Backyard Vegetables.  In this blog post, you can see how everything grew and turned out, despite making some mistakes earlier in the summer like planting tomatoes in a slightly shady location.  Figuring out where to grow your veggies in a new house is a bit of a trial and error process, and the best solution for us was to plant our tomatoes and peppers in a bright and sunny location in containers.

From July 25, 2011:

Sweet Pepper Carmagnola Yellow

Here is an update so you can see just how much our veggies have grown!  Pictured above are the Sweet Pepper Carmagnola Yellow, just beginning to turn yellow.  These peppers are absolutely ginormous! There are two of the biggest peppers growing on one plant, plus three other plants that are growing a few peppers on each of them.

Chinese Five Colour Hot Pepper

Here is the Chinese Five Colours Hot Pepper.  Some of the peppers are beginning to change from their first colour of purple to a creamy shade of pale yellow.  After that, they will turn pink, red and orange.  It will be fun to see them change colors as they ripen!  This plant seems to keep growing new peppers, so hopefully we will get a lot of them out of just one plant!
Variegated Fish Hot Pepper

This is the Variegated Fish Hot Pepper with its striped peppers.  They start off green with faint white stripes, and they are changing to be green and orange/yellow.  I believe that they will end up being orange and yellow when they ripen and are ready to be eaten.  It will be interesting to see how these ones turn out!  I have two of these plants and they have many peppers on them.

Cayenne Pepper
Here is the Cayenne Pepper plant.  Just one of the peppers is turning red but it won't take long for the others to turn from green to red.  This is the only Cayenne plant that I have as the other one unfortunately died.  Should still get lots of tasty hot peppers though!

Hungarian Hot Banana Peppers

Lots of Hungarian Hot Banana Peppers, ready to be picked and devoured!

Then, we have lots of tomatoes!  Thankfully, none of the tomato plants died when I had to transplant them - very lucky!  I am so glad that I moved them out of their previous shady location.  Even though we may not get as many tomatoes as we could have gotten had they been in the full sun the entire time, these tomato plants have really grown and have lots of tomatoes growing on them!  It may take a little longer for them to mature, but some of the tomatoes are starting to turn red!  And that is good, because I cannot wait to make my famous salsa and bruschetta bread!

* * *

From the beginning of August, 2011:

Fresh from my garden, here is my Chinese Five Colour Hot Pepper plant growing with peppers in all five colors.  They start out purple, then change to a creamy off-white, then yellow, orange, and red.  The red one must be just about ready to be picked and the orange one isn't too far off.  I haven't tasted these peppers yet but I hear that they are hot!

My plant is leaning a bit to the side so I should probably stake it.  Also, next year, I will be sure to plant my peppers in big pots like the tomatoes as I keep seeing that these pepper plants can grow quite a bit larger and bushier.  I am really happy that these peppers all seem to be growing really well, and I will have a great variety of hot peppers to eat throughout the rest of the summer!  This plant is quite beautiful with all of the bright colours.

* * *

And finally, from August 11, 2011:

The veggies are ripening and new ones are fresh to pick on a daily basis!  We had a couple of days with a good amount of rain coupled with some sunshine so lots of tomatoes and peppers are ready to be enjoyed.

Here are all of the peppers that we are growing and at least one of each of them were ready!  The one on the left is the Little Bells Sweet Pepper.  I had no idea that these grew to be so big!  We used it tonight in our dinner and it was delicious!  Since the pepper is so big, we ended up only using half of it, so the other half will be used in a salad tomorrow.  The other peppers in order from left to right:  Hungarian Wax Hot Pepper, Red Cayenne Pepper, Variegated Fish Hot Pepper, and Chinese Five Colours Hot Pepper.

Here are some of the tomatoes that I picked - Matt's Wild Cherry Tomato (the smaller ones) and Baxter's Bush Cherry Tomato (the bigger ones).

I ended up using a lot of the tomatoes and hot peppers to make my delicious garden fresh salsa!

I hope that you enjoyed this whirlwind tour of my vegetable garden, from start to finish over the summer!  We aren't nearly finished yet though, as I am still picking a whole bowl full of fresh tomatoes every single day from the garden even now that it is September. There are still some hot peppers left to pick, as well as a whole bowl of them sitting in the fridge waiting to be devoured.

Thank goodness for summer and growing your own veggies!