The Viet Vegan http://thevietvegan.com Vegan. Feminist. Nerd. Mon, 09 Jan 2017 18:45:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.1 Cháo Đậu Xanh Chay – Vegan Rice Porridge with Green Mung Beans http://thevietvegan.com/chao-dau-xanh-chay-vegan-rice-porridge-green-mung-beans/ http://thevietvegan.com/chao-dau-xanh-chay-vegan-rice-porridge-green-mung-beans/#respond Fri, 06 Jan 2017 02:56:27 +0000 http://thevietvegan.com/?p=7896 The post Cháo Đậu Xanh Chay – Vegan Rice Porridge with Green Mung Beans appeared first on The Viet Vegan.

The Vietnamese equivalent to chicken noodle soup but plant-based! The last time I was sick, I think I was only down for maybe 2 or 3 days until I was bouncing back. This time I was down for much longer. Maybe it was a combination of burn out, holiday stress, and just being around sick people […]

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The post Cháo Đậu Xanh Chay – Vegan Rice Porridge with Green Mung Beans appeared first on The Viet Vegan.

The Vietnamese equivalent to chicken noodle soup
but plant-based!

The last time I was sick, I think I was only down for maybe 2 or 3 days until I was bouncing back. This time I was down for much longer. Maybe it was a combination of burn out, holiday stress, and just being around sick people that got me sick for a solid week. I had made some vegan chicken noodle soup, but I still didn’t feel like I had fully gotten over my cold.

I was craving something that reminded me of home, so naturally my palette went back to rice. I’ve already shared a similar recipe like this before, but as it is the Vietnamese remedy for when you’re sick, there are different versions of it depending on where you’re from. I wanted the classic, sticky and simple cháo that my mom used to make, but with a bit of extra protein. Other people have added green lentils or red lentils, but I decided to stick to tradition and go with green mung beans.

Green mung beans are more often used in sweet desserts like chè, but they’re common in this rice porridge. It’s like a stick-to-your-ribs, savoury, filling and easy to eat bowl of warmth. The extra protein and fibre from the mung beans means that you won’t get hungry again after an hour, but rather you’ll be satiated for a bit longer so you don’t have to get up from your bundle of blankets. Plus, with the frigid weather billowing around the city, I thought this was the perfect time to make something that warmed you with every bite.

I’ve made this for myself and Eddie a few times, and he doesn’t quite have the love for it that I do. It’s not for a lack of trying, he’s definitely fine with eating it when I make it for dinner, but it’s not the same sort of nostalgia I imagine many other Vietnamese people feel when they eat it. One day when I have kids, I really hope that they feel the same sort of connection with this bowl of comfort that I do.

I’ve been thinking a lot about kids lately. I guess that’s rather normal for people my age—so many of my friends are having kids right now. Through the Facebook feeds and Instagram shares, I can see them learning about parenting and it’s interesting to witness them fall into certain stereotypes. What kind of stereotype would I fall into?

Would I be like my mom? My dad? (yikes)

There are so many unchartered waters for me—I’ve honestly been mulling over this simple question: How do you teach your kids to be good? When you really think about it, there’s not a whole lot of incentive out there to be good. You see good people get run down by the system, good people get sick, good people die in accidents, good people often seem to not surmount to anything at all. Meanwhile, you see rather devious and amoral people rise to the top and it seems as though in order to be successful in this day and age, one must be selfish and at their core, not kind at all.

What sort of incentive is that?

How can you teach someone the merits of goodness and kindness when it seems as though people don’t care?

If someone has the magical answer, I’d love to hear it.

Meanwhile, I will seek comfort in this bowl of childhood memories and hope that it will pull me out of this lingering cold.

If you’re a visual learner, I hope this recipe video is helpful. I still haven’t quite gotten the hang of talking about rather abstract and random topics like this on video yet, so in the meantime, I’ll just be rambling with words to you, dear readers.

Happy New Year =P

Yields 8-10 servings

Cháo ??u Xanh Chay – Vegan Rice Porridge with Green Mung Beans

30 minCook Time

30 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried green mung beans*
  • 2 cups white jasmine rice
  • 13 cups water
  • A pinch of salt
  • Green Onion Oil:
  • 1 green onion, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed or vegetable oil
  • Toppings:
  • Vegan Pork Floss (I found mine at Kings Café in Kensington Market)
  • White pepper to taste
  • Soy Sauce to taste (use tamari or a GF soy sauce if avoiding gluten)
  • Chinese donut (don't use this if you're avoiding gluten)

Instructions

  1. Soak your green mung beans in cool water in a large bowl overnight. The beans will double in size so be sure to put in enough water for them to be covered.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, add drained mung beans, rice, and 10 cups of water to the pot. Add a pinch of salt and raise heat until water comes to a boil.
  3. Lower to a steady simmer (medium-low heat) once the water is bubbling, and stir every few minutes to keep rice from sticking and burning to the bottom.
  4. Keep cooking until the rice breaks down and absorbs all the water, you make need to add more water if the mixture becomes too thick but the rice hasn't broken down yet. I ended up adding about 3 more cups of water, but it might depend on the kind rice you're using or how much liquid the mung beans have absorbed. Just keep some water close by to add as needed (see my video to see the consistency I go for). It typically takes about 30 minutes.
  5. Once the mung beans have cooked through and rice has broken down, turn off the heat and set pot aside.
  6. For the green onion oil:
  7. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine green onion and oil and microwave for 30 seconds. Alternatively, you can heat up the oil in a small pot and add green onion. Cook over medium heat until the onions look melted. Remove from heat (this might also be more effective in the pot if you double or triple the ingredients for green onion oil). Set aside.
  8. To top the chao:
  9. Add vegan pork floss, green onion oil, white pepper, and soy sauce to taste. You can also lightly toast sliced Chinese donuts for extra crunch, but some enjoy eating it soft as they are as well.
  10. Enjoy!

Notes

*If you don't have the time to soak the mung beans overnight, you can soak them for 1 hour in warm water.

You can use rinsed and drained dried green lentils in place of mung beans in this recipe. Start off with 10 cups of water and keep adding water as it cooks in case the lentils need less water. If you're cooking with red lentils instead of mung beans, add them after cooking the rice for about 10 minutes.

http://thevietvegan.com/chao-dau-xanh-chay-vegan-rice-porridge-green-mung-beans/

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Vegan Peppermint Rice Crispy Squares http://thevietvegan.com/vegan-peppermint-rice-crispy-squares/ http://thevietvegan.com/vegan-peppermint-rice-crispy-squares/#comments Thu, 22 Dec 2016 01:11:17 +0000 http://thevietvegan.com/?p=7879 The post Vegan Peppermint Rice Crispy Squares appeared first on The Viet Vegan.

These vegan rice crispy squares are the perfect holiday treat That plays between holiday flavours and childhood favourites <3 I seem to be cranking out the recipes this week, don’t I? This is probably going to be the last one for the year, I may put out another one next week but I haven’t decided yet. […]

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These vegan rice crispy squares are the perfect holiday treat
That plays between holiday flavours and childhood favourites <3

Vegan Peppermint Rice Crispy Squares Dipped In Chocolate

I seem to be cranking out the recipes this week, don’t I? This is probably going to be the last one for the year, I may put out another one next week but I haven’t decided yet.

I hadn’t intended on doing this, but after I made these last week for the Toronto Vegetarian Association’s holiday bake sale, I decided to post it so that you guys could enjoy it too.

Vegan Peppermint Rice Crispy Squares Dipped In Chocolate

I’m pretty particular when it comes to rice crispy squares—there’s a certain balance we need to strike when it comes to the ratio between marshmallows and cereal. Some like to go a little overboard with the marshmallows, while others seem to overwhelm the marshmallow goodness with too much cereal.

For optimal rice crispy square results, you need just enough marshmallow to act as the glue but still a little extra to give you that gooey bite every now and then. You also need to ensure that you’ve got enough butter in there to act as the lubricating barrier between marshmallows and fingers so the eating experience isn’t a complete disaster.

And I feel like I’ve found that perfect balance.
Vegan Peppermint Rice Crispy Squares Dipped In Chocolate
If you’re not about the peppermint and chocolate combination, that’s totally fine, you can use regular vegan marshmallows and omit the crushed candy canes if that’s what you’re into.

You could also omit the chocolate too if you want to be a kill-joy.

Just kidding, leave it out if you want a classic rice crispy square

Vegan Peppermint Rice Crispy Squares Dipped In Chocolate

But this simple, childhood classic treat gets a holiday flare with crushed candy canes and peppermint spiked marshmallows. They’re inviting, tasty, and incredibly easy to make, which is handy when it’s that time of year when you have kids screaming their faces off or you have to whip up something last minute for that holiday party or bake sale you totally forgot about.

They’re also beautiful enough for you to put on the table next to the overachieving family members in your life, and tasty enough for you to feel confident about without having to succumb to one of those some more “creative” baked goods.

Eggnog cupcakes? No thank you.

Check out this weeks video to see how easy it is to make these, plus two other of my classic veganized treats that are super popular on my blog :)

Yields 16 squares

Vegan Peppermint Rice Crispy Squares
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Ingredients

  • 1 bag (283 g) vegan peppermint marshmallows (I used Dandies)***
  • 1/3 cup vegan margarine (I used vegan Becel)
  • 6 1/2 cups vegan crispy rice cereal (avoid D3 in the ingredients, and malt barley if you're looking to avoid gluten)
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups vegan chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 candy canes, crushed

Instructions

  1. In a large microwave-safe bowl, heat at 30 sec intervals the marshmallows and butter until the marshmallows are puffy and melted.
  2. Add the crispy rice cereal and salt and mix until completely incorporated.
  3. Transfer to a parchment paper-lined 8x8 square pan and press mixture in firmly. Chill to set in the fridge for 2-4 hours (I did it overnight). Cut into 16 squares.
  4. In a small microwave-safe bow, heat at 30 sec intervals the vegan chocolate chips with coconut oil. Stir until melted.
  5. Dip the rice crispy squares in chocolate and shake off the excess. Put on a plate (or baking sheet that will fit in the fridge), chocolate side up. Sprinkle the crushed candy cane on top.
  6. Chill in fridge to set for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately! Store in the fridge, chocolate may melt at room temperature.

Notes

***Alternatively, if you don't have access to peppermint marshmallows, use regular vegan marshmallows and a dash of peppermint extract. 1/2 tsp would suffice.

http://thevietvegan.com/vegan-peppermint-rice-crispy-squares/

Vegan Peppermint Rice Crispy Squares Dipped In Chocolate

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Easy Vegan Stuffing with Leek and Apples http://thevietvegan.com/easy-vegan-stuffing-leek-apples/ http://thevietvegan.com/easy-vegan-stuffing-leek-apples/#comments Sat, 17 Dec 2016 04:52:10 +0000 http://thevietvegan.com/?p=7853 The post Easy Vegan Stuffing with Leek and Apples appeared first on The Viet Vegan.

Disclaimer: This vegan stuffing with leek and apple was created in partnership with Ontario Apple Growers. I’m a huge fan of supporting local companies whenever possible, especially fruits and veggies, so being able to work with the OAG is a dream. Thanks for reading <3 I may not have experienced very many Western holiday dinners in my […]

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Disclaimer: This vegan stuffing with leek and apple was created in partnership with Ontario Apple Growers. I’m a huge fan of supporting local companies whenever possible, especially fruits and veggies, so being able to work with the OAG is a dream. Thanks for reading <3

Vegan Stuffing with Leek and Apple | The Viet Vegan

I may not have experienced very many Western holiday dinners in my lifetime, but I always beeline for the stuffing because it’s my favourite part of the meal. I don’t know what it is about stuffing, it’s that savoury, squishy (I know, very odd positive term for this dish), and succulent dish. I know “succulent” is such an odd word for stuffing, but that’s just what it is for me.

I have experimented with a bunch of different variations for stuffing—some with just plain bread and dried herbs for seasoning, some with a slew of celery, onion and garlic, and some with some dried fruit. My favourite so far has had to be the leek and apple stuffing.
Vegan Stuffing with Leek and Apple | The Viet Vegan

When I was doing research for this recipe, I noticed a lot of people would choose more tart apples, mainly Granny Smith apples for stuffing, which I found odd because for a savoury recipe, you don’t need the tartness of a Granny Smith to balance a bunch of sugar you’d add for something like a pie recipe. Plus, I learned this year that Granny Smith apples are never grown from Ontario.

But you know what apples -are- grown in Ontario?

The answer is a lot. But mainly I was interested in Honeycrisp apples. Honeycrisp added just the right amount of sweetness that I wanted to complement the mellow, aromatic sweetness of leeks. Sure, Honeycrisp don’t hold their shape that well when cooked or baked, BUT they do kind of melt into the stuffing and add their honey-like apple sweetness without making this stuffing too chunky, which is exactly what I was looking for.

Plus this gave me the excuse to buy a whole bag of Honeycrisp to snack on over the week I was testing this.

Vegan Stuffing with Leek and Apple | The Viet Vegan

Essentially this stuffing (or as others would argue, dressing) is flavoured like leek and apple soup; poultry seasoning and vegetable broth to give it a bit of extra flavour and savoury essence to it without having a super long grocery list. Not a lot of people have fresh herbs on hand and I wanted to make this stuffing as easy as possible.

Poultry seasoning adds just the right amount of herby flavour that makes this stuffing the perfect side dish for holiday dinners. You could add vegan sausage or fresh herbs if you want, but that’s ultimately up to you.
Vegan Stuffing with Leek and Apple | The Viet Vegan

Traditional stuffing recipes use an egg as your binding agent, and I experimented with using aquafaba and a flax egg to see which I liked best. Both worked just fine, but I think I preferred having the extra fibre of the flax to boost the nutrition of this dish. Plus, the extra fibre from the flax and apples make this a little bit easier on the blood sugar spikes. I also experimented with using celery in this as well to give it extra vegetable goodness, but I’ll be perfectly honest with you, I don’t really like celery very much so I left it out.

Vegan Stuffing with Leek and Apple | The Viet Vegan

I also experimented with the ratio of liquid to bread—a lot of the recipes I found online either seem to use A LOT of liquid or much too little. I prefer my stuffing to have a bit of bite left in it, while it seems that a lot of people out there like their stuffing similar to bread pudding.

I was never quite the fan of bread pudding myself—soggy bread is not quite my cup of tea—so I went with stuffing that wasn’t quite has homogenous. But you can easily make it a much more tender and frankly soggy stuffing by adding about 1 3/4 cups of broth.
Vegan Stuffing with Leek and Apple | The Viet Vegan

Lastly, comes the bread. I chose a white bread with the crust (like I said, I like texture in my stuffing), and dried it out in the oven before baking. I’ve also spread out the bread on a baking sheet and left it in the oven overnight, which you can do if you are the type that is good at planning ahead (I am not). If you’re lucky, your grocery store or local bakery might sell those unseasoned bags of bread stuffing croutons to save you the trouble. But in case you’re not, I left my instructions in the recipe.

In any case, I hope you folks enjoy my stuffing recipe and I hope you give adding apples to your stuffing a try (especially local Ontario apples *wink wink*). As we were eating this for dinner the other day, Eddie poked at chunk of the stuffing and asked “What’s this?”

“It’s apple,” I reply. “Do you like it?”

Eddie looked intrigued, nodded, and scooped a forkful in his mouth.

What can I say, he’s a man of very few words.

But the guy likes his stuffing.

Easy Vegan Stuffing with Leek and Apples
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Ingredients

  • 1 large loaf of bread, cut into cubes (about 9 cups)
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter (I used Earth Balance for this recipe)
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts chopped and rinsed well. You can save the dark green tops for making stock.
  • 3 small Honeycrisp apples (or 1 of those giant ones), cored and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 1/4 cup vegetable broth*** (if you like your stuffing really moist, up it to 1 1/2 cups, I like mine a little more dry)
  • Optional: 1 tbsp fresh rubbed thyme
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax meal + 4 tbsp warm water)
  • Butter to grease a 3 qt casserole dish (mine is 12.4 x 8.5 inches). You could use a 9x13 as well.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300ªF. (My oven is cooler than most I think, so if your oven runs hot, maybe go to 275ºF)
  2. Spread out bread onto a large rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, turning halfway to dry out. You'll want them to be light and crispy, but not browned at all. If you need to use two baking sheets, rotate pans halfway through to ensure even heat distribution.
  3. Remove from oven and set aside and raise oven temperature to 350ºF.
  4. Over medium heat, melt butter in a pot large enough to hold all the bread.
  5. Add chopped leeks and apples and cook in butter for about 5 minutes, until apples are softened.
  6. Pour in vegetable broth, fresh rubbed thyme (if desired) and flax egg and stir until combined.
  7. Add the dried bread cubes and stir until all the liquid is combined. It might seem like there's too much bread, but keep stirring.
  8. Transfer to a lightly greased casserole dish and cover tightly with foil.
  9. Bake for 45 minutes covered, then uncovered fro 10-15 minutes until the top is golden.
  10. Serve on the side of your favourite holiday dishes and gravy!

Notes

***My broth is already seasoned so I didn't need to add any additional salt. You may need to adjust seasoning as desired (maybe 1/2 tsp kosher salt, taste as you go)

http://thevietvegan.com/easy-vegan-stuffing-leek-apples/

Vegan Stuffing with Leek and Apple | The Viet Vegan

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Vegan Cheddar Chive Scones http://thevietvegan.com/vegan-cheddar-chive-scones/ http://thevietvegan.com/vegan-cheddar-chive-scones/#comments Wed, 14 Dec 2016 17:58:30 +0000 http://thevietvegan.com/?p=7824 The post Vegan Cheddar Chive Scones appeared first on The Viet Vegan.

These vegan cheddar chive scones are puffy triangles of happiness. Buttery, flaky, cheddar chivy goodness. Sometimes we forget how quickly time passes. I’m 26—that feels weird to say. I feel like 25 was a monumental year for me but it went by so fast I don’t even remember what it was that made it monumental. […]

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These vegan cheddar chive scones are puffy triangles of happiness.
Buttery, flaky, cheddar chivy goodness.

Vegan Cheddar Chive Scones | The Viet Vegan

Sometimes we forget how quickly time passes. I’m 26—that feels weird to say. I feel like 25 was a monumental year for me but it went by so fast I don’t even remember what it was that made it monumental. I also feel like I’ve grown, or maybe not that I’ve grown but perhaps I’ve just let some things go.

Maybe that’s a part of growing?

Vegan Cheddar Chive Scones | The Viet Vegan

I used to get caught up in the little things, I used to worry day in and day out about appeasing the people in my life. Worry about people reading into stuff I say—did I say that at a bad time? Should I have just sucked it up and done what they wanted? Are they mad at me? All these stupid little things that made me anxious—but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. The people who matter most will stick around and that’s what’s important.

Now my friends are coming across huge life milestones—engagements, homes, new jobs, promotions, kids—I thought I would feel the pressure of meeting those milestones too, but to be honest, I’m just happy for everyone. It’s not about me.

I love seeing my friends be successful, being in love, doing what they do best. They’ve gone through so much over time that things are finally going their way and that’s amazing. It’s about time.

If I were to look and critique my life, I think the only bad things would be that my apartment is a little smaller than I’d like, my car is a little older than I thought, I’m still pretty broke, and I don’t see my friends as often as I’d like, but in the grand scheme of things—things are still good.

I have food on the fridge, gas in the car, hot water when I want it, my wee kitchen is just right for what we have, my car gets me from point A to B, my credit score is really good, I’m slowly but surely paying off student loans, and my friends and family are there when I need them. I never thought I would meet someone who’d fit me as well as Eddie does. My job lets me shoot and write about food for a living. And I feel like I’m doing good in the world.

Life is pretty good.
Vegan Cheddar Chive Scones | The Viet Vegan

And life is always better with scones. By now you probably know that I’m much more of a savoury than a sweet person—I’d choose a savoury scone over a sweet one any day. These have a bunch of cheddary flavour thanks to vegan cheese, vegan buttermilk makes these fluffy and tender, and chives add a hint of herby goodness that makes these vegan cheddar chive scones such a classic.

I made these for a cookie exchange a couple weeks ago (I know, they’re not cookies), and everyone loved them. There were some extras and those were snagged really quickly once everyone had exchanged cookies, which is always exciting. I’m considering making them again for a bake sale at the Toronto Vegetarian Association this weekend, but maybe I’ll make some cookies instead. Or maybe I’ll just overcommit and do both haha.

Vegan Cheddar Chive Scones | The Viet Vegan

Anyway, thank you for sticking around this far and bothering to read my rambles. Most people just want the recipe, but I find the post just feels a little empty if I don’t take some time to think and write something. Plus, self-reflection is always good.

For the visual version of this recipe, as I know many of you are visual learners, here’s my video version of the recipe (also full of fumbles). A big shoutout and a thank you to Eddie who helped me with dishes and cleaning the apartment before filming, and for swooping in just before he had to leave for work to help knead the dough because my hands are still a little on the rough side.

Until next time, enjoy :)


Recipe adapted from Laughing Spatula

Vegan Cheddar Chive Scones

15 minPrep Time

30 minCook Time

45 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp flax meal
  • 3 tbsp warm water
  • 3/4 cup soy milk
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (plus maybe 2 tbsp more as you work and shape the dough)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine (I used vegan Becel)
  • a hefty pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup chives, chopped into 1 cm pieces (1/2 inch)
  • 1 cup vegan cheddar (I used Daiya)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF (if your oven runs hot, bring it down to 375ºF)
  2. In a small bowl, combine flax meal and water and let thicken.
  3. In another small bowl, combine soy milk and vinegar and let curdle to make vegan buttermilk.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and baking powder and stir until combined. Using a pastry knife (or just rub in with your fingers), cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles a coarse sand.
  5. Stir in the flax mixture and vegan buttermilk. Gently knead together dough until all flour is incorporated. Shape into a thick, round disc (see the video if you want to know how big) and cut into 6-8 wedges (depending on how you like the shape).
  6. Bake for 25-30 min at 400ºF (if your oven runs hot, bring it down to 375ºF) until you have golden edges on your scones.
  7. Remove from oven, let cool on a wire rack and enjoy!
http://thevietvegan.com/vegan-cheddar-chive-scones/

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Vegan Holiday Gift Guide 2016 http://thevietvegan.com/vegan-holiday-gift-guide-2016/ http://thevietvegan.com/vegan-holiday-gift-guide-2016/#comments Sun, 11 Dec 2016 05:10:51 +0000 http://thevietvegan.com/?p=7831 The post Vegan Holiday Gift Guide 2016 appeared first on The Viet Vegan.

Disclaimer: Many of the links below are affiliate links. This does not affect you at all, I just get a small commission on some of the products if you choose to make a purchase :) As always, I only recommend products and brands I believe in :) It’s that wonderful time of the year where […]

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Disclaimer: Many of the links below are affiliate links. This does not affect you at all, I just get a small commission on some of the products if you choose to make a purchase :) As always, I only recommend products and brands I believe in :)

It’s that wonderful time of the year where we get super consumerist and participate in tons of gift giving and materialism! Yay! I’m sort of kidding—I do actually really love giving gifts to people, so here are some awesome, rather generic gifts that most people would enjoy :) I hope you like this vegan holiday gift guide! I know it’s super long and could probably use more pictures but maybe I’ll add some more later on.

Vegan Gifts Everyone Will Love

Swell Water Bottle 

 

As a huge advocate for the environment, I am VERY adamant about avoiding the use of bottled water at all costs. The sheer volume of plastic that ends up in landfills, transportation, destructive effects of the bottling process, and the communities and indigenous people that bottled water companies have destroyed or displaced—it’s all awful. BUT, giving people the gift of a beautiful and super functional reusable water bottle means that people are less likely to purchase bottled water and bring their own filtered water from home!

Everyone needs to hydrate, so encourage people to boycott bottled water by providing them a swanky insulated reusable one :)

Vegan Cookbooks

Everyone also needs to eat, so with the new year coming soon and so many people learning more about eating whole foods, giving people delicious vegan recipe ideas is a great gift that anyone could appreciate!

Some of my favourites include:

Vegan Accessories

From wallets to handbags, a good vegan handbag can be hard to come by. I’m a big fan of aesthetically pleasing yet functional items in my life. I need a good amount of pockets, sturdy bags, and versatility when it comes to matching everything I wear because ain’t nobody got time to switch bags for every outfit. Here are some brands that are either vegan or have vegan bags:

Pixie Mood

A locally based company (out of Toronto), Pixie Mood has a really wide variety of colours, shapes, and products that fit people who have more of a vibrant flare or prefer a more subdued look. I personally like more basic, functional and versatile bags, so I have two from Pixie Mood: the smaller cross body Mini Steph handbag I have in the photo, and the larger tote (with a strap attachment if I want it as a cross body) that I use for longer days of travel or for work. The bigger bag is really great for holding my giant wallet, camera, water bottle, a few snacks, and a small pouch of makeup.

I like to shop for bags in person so I can inspect them and get a feel for how they fit me, so I bought both my Pixie Mood bags from Outer Layer on Queen Street in Toronto. I also find that they get the older product lines so they’re a little bit cheaper; my larger bag was $75 from Outer Layer but it’s $90 online. But you’ll have the newer products from the website, so it’s up to you! They also have nice wallets, clutches, and other weekender/gym sized bags if you are shopping for people who want bags for a variety of different reasons ;)

Matt & Nat

This company is actually a really popular vegan brand that people know of, and to be honest they are a little expensive too. But in this case, you really get what you pay for. Matt & Nat bags are super well made, very sturdy, ethically crafted and are also a Canadian (Montreal-based) company. You can buy from their online store but local Chapters/Indigo bookstores have a rather large selection of them from their store locations and their online stores as well.

The wallet from my video is from Matt and Nat (called the Sublime), and I bought a smaller, black wallet for Eddie for his birthday earlier this year. It’s really well made, sturdy and will last quite long, not like those sort of cheaper, plastic wallets from a department store.

Angela Roi

A photo posted by Angela Roi (@angelaroi) on

This brand is a luxury vegan, ethical brand of handbags. Unlike Pixie Mood or Matt & Nat, Angela Roi bags are more of the calibre of Michael Kors (or any of those other luxury brands that I don’t know about because I know pretty much nothing about fashion). Rhian from WifeLife did a What’s In My Bag video featuring an Angela Roi bag if you want to see how well made they are and how much stuff her wee bag can fit!

Ethical Brands with Vegan Bags:

  • Sole Society: Not all of their bags are vegan, and they do have one bag that has vegan leather and cow suede (so avoid that one) but their other bags are lovely! I’ve ordered one that I’ll pick up from my aunt in the US in the next year, but when I get it I’ll update you folks here on how it is.
  • Free the People: Another brand with ethical working conditions but with some animal-based products. They do have some vegan bags which are really well made, so definitely worth checking out!

Vegan Subscription Boxes:

This is a video of the snack box that I got from Vegan Cuts a while ago—they’ve introduced a lot of amazing vegan snacks and getting a box full of new snacks every month is pretty great. I also really enjoy the beauty box, which I’ve had a couple times and it’s pretty fun discovering new products to try without committing to the full sized products.

As I mentioned in my holiday gift guide video, Vegan Cuts has a ton of options to choose from:

I thought the following boxes were available, but they were only available for a limited time and are thus sold out. Womp womp.

  • Men’s Box
  • Coffee Box
  • Chocolate Box

There’s also Petit Vour, another vegan beauty subscription box that you can get as well. I’ve never used their services before, I’ve only ever had Vegan Cuts, but I imagine they’re great as well!

Gift Card Ideas:

Some people think that gift cards are the lazy way to go or a cop-out, but as someone who loves gift cards, I can assure you that they are really great for people who are really picky. Here are some ideas:

  • Book stores: for the bookworm in your life who goes through books so fast you’re not sure what book they haven’t read yet.
  • 10 Thousand Villages: not a totally vegan shot but there are plenty of things to choose from! From food, to decor, just double check what it’s made out of but know that you’re supporting ethically made goods!
  • Restaurants & Bakeries:
    • Planta (Toronto’s new gourmet plant-based restaurant in Yorkville)
    • Hogtown Vegan (a classic)
    • Kupfert and Kim
    • Doomie’s
    • Kelly’s Bake Shoppe
    • Lettuce Love Café
    • Beechwood Donuts
    • Rise Above (the restaurant Eddie and I always go to for special occasions)
    • Through Being Cool (best donuts in Toronto IMO and amazing sandwiches/wraps)
    • Apiecalypse Now (best vegan pizza in Toronto IMO!)
    • Bunner’s (for the GF vegan nerd in your life <3)
  • Ethical Clothing Stores – Fashion that is made by workers who are treated and paid fair wage in safe working conditions

Charities and Non-Profits:

The Toronto Vegetarian Association

This is the organization I volunteer with twice a month—they are a Toronto-based non-profit that aims to educate everyone about how healthy, compassionate, and great a plant-based lifestyle can be. They are directed by amazing people, it’s funded by its own association members and run by an elected board of directors. The people I’ve met through the TVA are amazing, they organize both the Vegan Bake Off (in which I’ve competed in 4 years in a row), the giant annual Veg Food Fest, and distribute thousands of Vegan Starter Kits and do continuous outreach to promote the plant-based lifestyle :) Definitely a great cause to support in the name of someone you care about!

Sponsor An Animal!

Farm sanctuaries are amazing places that rescue surrendered, escaped, or lost farm animals who are now able to live peaceful, full, and slaughterhouse-free lives. They’re amazing places where people can see how these animals actually live, and not in the factory farm, dreadful places Western civilization has created to maintain the supply and demand of animal products :( I don’t tend to get into the gory details and ethical reasons why I am vegan on here, but factory farming and how horrible it is was definitely one of the biggest factors.

Anyway, farm sanctuaries are expensive to maintain, and the people who run them are always in need of your support. So donate to sponsor a cow, pig, duck, chicken, turkey, or donkey at some of the local farm sanctuaries here like at Wishing Well Farm Sanctuary and Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary!

My friend Cadry from Cadry’s Kitchen shared this beautiful video showing the behind the scenes and some of the wonderful stories behind the animals at Iowa’s first farm sanctuary!

Your local humane society is also always in need of support. All those fur babies need medical attention, food, care, blankets, and toys, so find your favourite one, donate in the name of that special someone in your life and feel good this holiday season about paying it forward <3

Online Stores:

V Word Market

This is one of my favourite online stores ever—I get tons of vegan products from here that I can’t find from Whole Foods or my normal grocery stores. They’re a Toronto-based company that manages to get Canadians some products that are usually only found in the US, plus this is where I get most of my favourite vegan candies and chocolates like Cocomels =P I actually have a discount code for V Word Market, just use the code VietVegan and you’ll get a 10% discount (◠‿◠✿)

Well.ca

This is basically where I buy most of my cruelty-free products that I’m either too lazy to find at Whole Foods, or aren’t available to me there. They often have sales for CF hand lotion, makeup (beauty blenders go on sale there all the time!), the Diva Cup (maybe an odd Christmas present, but who knows), bento boxes, vegan lip balm and more.

For a list of cruelty-free and vegan brands, I always refer to Logical Harmony—as Tashina and Justin (the team behind LH) update that list every week!

DIY Gifts:

Vegan Pumpkin Spiced Chocolate Chip Cookies | The Viet Vegan | Soft, chewy, spiced with bursts of chocolate that will make your tastebuds swoon =)

Pumpkin Spiced Chocolate Chip Cookies

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Vegan Chocolate Coconut Macaroons | alimentageuse.com #vegan #cookies #christmas #coconut

No Bake Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

Vegan Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies - with absolutely NO FOOD COLOURING! #natural #vegan #redvelvet #valentines #cookies

Vegan Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies made with Beets!

 

Vegan Stocking Stuffers:

  • Hand & body lotion — OSEAPacifica and Acure are both great—I got them from Well.ca
  • Soap (Dr. Bronner’s is a personal fave!)
  • Vegan Hot Chocolate (I always get Camino – Use the code VietVegan for 10% discount at checkout)
  • Fair Trade and Organic Chocolate (Camino, Alter Ego, Endangered Species, ChocoSol, and Giddy Yo Yo are the ones that have vegan-friendly bars)
  • Turmeric Tea
  • Lip Balm
  • Candy
    • Cocomels (Use the code VietVegan for 10% discount at checkout)
    • Squish
    • Go Max Go Bars (Use the code VietVegan for 10% discount at checkout)
  • Radius: Eco-friendly and CF Toothbrush

That wraps up my vegan holiday gift guide fro 2016! I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you folks have a wonderful holiday <3

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Spicy Watermelon Mocktails http://thevietvegan.com/spicy-watermelon-mocktails/ http://thevietvegan.com/spicy-watermelon-mocktails/#comments Thu, 01 Dec 2016 19:22:21 +0000 http://thevietvegan.com/?p=7814 The post Spicy Watermelon Mocktails appeared first on The Viet Vegan.

Disclaimer: This recipe is sponsored by the National Watermelon Promotion Board. All opinions are my own. I only choose to work with brands and companies I believe in. Thank you for supporting my blog by reading my sponsored posts! This is possibly the first year I’ve ever been excited for Christmas. Maybe it’s that I’m finally happy and not feeling […]

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The post Spicy Watermelon Mocktails appeared first on The Viet Vegan.

Disclaimer: This recipe is sponsored by the National Watermelon Promotion Board.
All opinions are my own.
I only choose to work with brands and companies I believe in.
Thank you for supporting my blog by reading my sponsored posts!

Spicy Watermelon Mocktails | The Viet Vegan

This is possibly the first year I’ve ever been excited for Christmas. Maybe it’s that I’m finally happy and not feeling jaded to the point where I despise the obnoxiously cheerful decorations and Christmas music. All the ads for Christmas shopping and mall people aren’t even getting to me that much. We’re not really doing a lot of gifting this year for our families either. Don’t get me wrong, I love buying for other people and I like receiving gifts, but I also feel uncomfortable with them for some reason. I don’t know what it is, but I would rather just spend time with people rather than receive a gift.

Spicy Watermelon Mocktails | The Viet Vegan

But I think my favourite part of the holidays is the food. Food can be fleeting, but I feel like everyone appreciates some good food and drink. Decadent, sweet, rich or savoury, sometimes people enjoy something more of the alcoholic nature. Around this time of year, everyone’s pulling out wine and mixed drinks at the holiday party, but I don’t really drink. I think the last drink I had was for a YouTube video and even then I lost interest in the wine and just added it to my pan for flavour.

For parties, people make punch or signature cocktails, but I don’t like leaving anyone forgotten. The underage folks, the designated drivers, or people like me who just don’t want to drink; we need something tasty and fun too. Plus at a party where you only know a handful of people, sometimes it feels safe to have a drink in your hand to sip on when you don’t know what to say.

Spicy Watermelon Mocktails | The Viet Vegan

Festive drinks tend to be warm, full of nutmeg and cinnamon, creamy and rich, but I like to think that watermelon is festive too. Sure people associate watermelon with the summer, but you can get watermelon all year round. A salted rim adds a frosty (and tasty) effect against the bright red bubbly, while a pop of green with jalapeño and a watermelon wedge is just another way of tying in some festive spirit. I like to spike my drinks with a little spicy kick and it seems a little healthier if you add a slice of fruit to it, right?

Spicy Watermelon Mocktails | The Viet Vegan

I used mini watermelons for these drinks, but there’s a hack to having them be cold without watering them down. I cubed one half and froze it, while the other half I chilled in the fridge. No need to water down your drinks with ice when you can freeze watermelon and blend them instead. Add some lime juice, jalapeño, blend then strain. Sweeten to taste and top it with a little bubbly water so you can feel fancy too ;) Eggnog and hot toddy’s are great and all, but I like making something that stands out. Being different is more memorable—and I don’t like to leave anyone feeling left out or forgotten.

Spicy Watermelon Mocktails | The Viet Vegan

 The Watermelon Board legitimately impresses me with some of the innovative recipes they come up with. I’m skeptical of a lot of them but when I give them a try, they’re pretty good. Not all the recipes on their site are vegan, but there are lots to go through if you want to see what else you can do with watermelon :)

Yields 4 drinks

Spicy Watermelon Mocktails
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Ingredients

  • 1 heaping cup frozen watermelon cubes
  • 1 heaping cup fresh watermelon cubes
  • 1/2 jalapeno, (not seeded)
  • 1/4 cup simple syrup
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • Sparkling water to top off
  • Garnishes
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Jalapeño coins
  • Thin watermelon wedges

Instructions

  1. In a blender, combine frozen and fresh watermelon and half the jalapeno. Blend until you don't see any jalapeño left.
  2. Strain mixture and discard pulp. Add lime juice and simple syrup and stir to combine.
  3. To make the salted rims, combine salt and cayenne powder in a wide flat bowl. Use a wedge of lime and run it around the edge of the glass, then dip the wet edges into the spicy salt.
  4. Pour glasses 2/3 full with mixture then top off with sparkling water. Garnish with a jalapeño coin and watermelon wedge and serve!
http://thevietvegan.com/spicy-watermelon-mocktails/

Spicy Watermelon Mocktails | The Viet Vegan

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Vegan Pumpkin Pie http://thevietvegan.com/vegan-pumpkin-pie/ http://thevietvegan.com/vegan-pumpkin-pie/#comments Wed, 23 Nov 2016 18:12:48 +0000 http://thevietvegan.com/?p=7804 The post Vegan Pumpkin Pie appeared first on The Viet Vegan.

Pumpkin pie is unlike any other pie—creamy, luscious filling With a crisp and flaky crust, pumpkin pie is THE KING of pies. Eddie has been asking me for pumpkin pie since last year. I don’t know what it was—maybe it was my eczema or maybe I was feeling really daunted about making a pumpkin pie […]

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The post Vegan Pumpkin Pie appeared first on The Viet Vegan.

Pumpkin pie is unlike any other pie—creamy, luscious filling
With a crisp and flaky crust, pumpkin pie is THE KING of pies.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie | The Viet Vegan

Eddie has been asking me for pumpkin pie since last year. I don’t know what it was—maybe it was my eczema or maybe I was feeling really daunted about making a pumpkin pie that met my expectations—but I put it off for an entire year. We bought maybe 4 or 5 vegan pumpkin pies from Whole Foods because we wanted pie so bad.

Pumpkin pie is both of our favourite pies—it is actually the KING of pies. You get the luscious, almost custardy filling that is mellow and sweet with just a hint of fall pumpkin spices. Crisp, flaky pie crust gives this pie some structure and texture, and a wee dollop of vegan whipped cream on top adds a last light, creamy sweetness that brings this pie all together.

It took me a few tries to get the right pie I wanted, so I ended up making 4 pies total. I wanted something sturdy, creamy, light, not too heavy on the spices with a solid crust that is full of light, flaky layers. The first pie I made had this giant puddle on top, which I learned is a result from trying to speed up the cooling process creating condensation when stored in the fridge. The next couple pies were either too sweet or too spiced, and finally this last pie.

Oh this last pie was the winner.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie | The Viet Vegan

Anyway, enough about pie. I haven’t been writing since the end of October and I feel terrible about that. Life kind of got the better of me, I had a big event at work that I had to hustle for, and I went on a day trip to Ottawa to speak to some students about finding a job in the digital age. I documented the day as a vlog if you folks want to see. But things have been honestly pretty good—life-wise. Eddie and I are starting to save up for a house, my eczema isn’t being totally god-awful (it’s not amazing but it’s definitely bearable), work is good, blog things are good, friends are good.

It’s not a bad time to be alive.

This time of year sometimes gets really hard for me—I think the lack of sunshine and the dryer temperatures make me sad and a little unmotivated. I went through a lull last week where I just wasn’t being as productive as I wanted. I’ve also gained some weight which might be because of these four pies that I made—but also just the lack of activity since the cooler weather has set in. Living in the city meant that I had to walk everywhere, which I loved doing. Living in suburbia kind of means that you have to drive everywhere in order to get somewhere in under 15 minutes. I miss having my little neighbourhood at Bathurst and St Clair where everything was in this circle around my apartment, the subway was 5 minutes away, and all my friends were a lot closer.

But as I’ve mentioned in many posts before, things change, people spread out, and you have to make the move that’s best for you. Eddie and I are looking around for places that are both close to our workplaces while also being close to friends, and it’s pretty hard when everything is so spread out. In the meantime, we’ll just keep ticking along, working, saving, driving out to see friends and bringing them extra pie.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie | The Viet Vegan

To see how I made my pie with some extra technical baking tips, I did a video making some pie that I hope you’ll like! I am a little weird in it, I think I was just on a sugar high because I had a slice of pie before I started recording because I was too lazy to make anything else for breakfast hah.

Yields 1 12-inch pie

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

15 minPrep Time

45 minCook Time

Save Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups pumpkin puree (canned works fine too but fresh tastes better)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar (or dry sweetener of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup soy milk (or whatever milk alternative you want)
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup aquafaba (liquid from canned chickpeas—you can sub 1 flax egg instead)
  • 1 batch of the BEST vegan pie crust

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk to combine pumpkin puree, white sugar, brown sugar, melted coconut oil, soy milk, pumpkin spice, corn starch, and aquafaba. Set aside.
  3. Lay your rolled out vegan pie crust onto a glass or dark metal pie pan. Crimp edges and use a fork to poke holes around the crust to prevent air bubbles.
  4. Transfer mixture to the pie shell and spread evenly.
  5. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until edges are lightly golden. Let cool completely** at room temperature and let set in the fridge overnight for best results.

Notes

*Ceramic pie pans won't yield best results as it does not distribute heat as quickly as metal or glass pie pans. **Do not attempt to hasten the cooling process by putting pie in the fridge—this will create moisture puddle on top of your pie because science (condensation). It'll taste fine, but it'll look weird and have a wet top. It's weird. Just let it cool first =P

http://thevietvegan.com/vegan-pumpkin-pie/

Vegan Pumpkin Pie | The Viet Vegan

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