I’ve had weird pancake cravings lately. All of a sudden all I want is a syrupy plate of them. Adam made me some wonderful buttermilk pancakes from the Bunners cookbook on the weekend, and we put chocolate chips in them & slathered them with peanut butter! Perhaps a little too desserty for breakfast?
My recipe is one I’ve tinkered with to make vegan, and then subsequently gluten free. They’re fluffy without being ridiculously thick, and they’re really easy to amend to include spices (a dash of cinnamon, or perhaps some pumpkin spice mix?), throw in a nice half cup of blueberries, or even a little lemon juice & zest for freshness. These are great just with syrup, or as a side to a killer full breakfast of tofu scramble, home fries and tempeh bacon!
Gluten-Free & Vegan Pancakes (makes approximately 6 pancakes 5 inches/12cm in diameter)
1.5 cups gluten free all-purpose flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1/4 tsp Xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1.5 cups soy or almond milk (or any dairy-free milk, really)
2 tbs vegetable or canola oil
Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder together. Add the milk and mix well. Then add the oil and mix well until there are few lumps left.
Heat a non-stick pan on medium heat; pour batter and let it spread to desired diameter. When bubbles start to appear, flip the pancake and let it cook for another 30-60 seconds (I usually let it go 30 seconds then check it doesn’t overcook and is nicely brown).
When they’re done, flip ’em out on a plate and devour with maple syrup, or however you dig it.
Yesterday was the 6th Annual Fabulous Vegan Bake-off, as run by Toronto vegan superstars Lisa Pitman & Luke Albert (along with a huge crew of super friendly TVA Green Shirts!). I’ve been going since the 2nd annual vegan bake-off, I think it’s a fun event that encourages creativity and deliciousness in the Toronto vegan community. This year the event was held at the pretty shiny Daniels Spectrum building in the East End. Plenty of space for how big the event has gotten, which was great – only, not a lot of space for people lining up to get in. That’s a tough one. There were 500 tickets sold, so the main hall got pretty packed with all the folks nibbling and the tables of samples.
In years past I have gone a little wild, getting a bunch of plates to share out with friends; this year I stuck with two categories – Professionally Crafted GF goodies, and Professionally Crafted Vegan Classics Plate #2. It was hard to pick from the 12 categories (!!) – and going with the pro categories meant I got a variety of goodies. I’m such a cheat. Here’s the plates:
It was a tough choice to pick a #1 from both these amazing plates! My pick on the GF plate was the Chockfull of Goodness Pumpkin Pie – delicious cocoa crust with an intense pumpkin goo, topped with a fluffy frosting & a mini gingerbread heart! Yessss. I wouldn’t have said no to anything else on that place had I been offered again, honestly (with the exception of the fudge, which just wasn’t up my alley). I would like a chance to try a not-room-temperature punkass peppermint nanaimo too (tasty, but so goopy!). On the Vegan Classics plate, I was thrilled about the savoury options – it’s what made me pick that plate, really. While the sweets were nice (butter tart especially), the savoury were out of this world in taste and quality. While I loved the Kale & Daiya provolone scone (I hope Tori’s put this into rotation!), the pizza bun is incredibly flavourful so it got my vote – a tough choice. (And had me considering heading to TBC to pick up a whole one..) – I have seen a couple of winners/best in show posted, but I look forward to seeing all of the results.
After snacking, I strolled over to check out the presentation plates from each of the Bakeoff participants. I love how creative these folks get – after churning out all those samples, too! Dang.
After this look around, and saying hello to a few folks I know, and putting in my ballots, it was time to head out. I know that it’s fun to sit around and watch the judging, but I felt so crowded in that space – there were few chairs, and I ended up perched at the edge of the room behind a table – I felt pretty disconnected from the event, and even as I was heading out I found it tough to navigate through the blobs of people. I think some spaces designated for seating away from thoroughfares would make me feel more comfortable in sticking around in the future. My problems with crowds are always spoiling my fun 🙂
I look forward to the 7th Annual Fabulous Bakeoff! I hope as the years go on, people attending will become more aware of the event they’re attending and leave the fur trim coats & Uggs at home, though.. I know it’s cold out there, but that is one thing I would love to see the TVA address as an issue of respect going forward. It’s not much fun snacking on cruelty-free treats and having fur traipsed about, after all. It would be a great venue to distribute information about cruelty-free outerwear, and present the bigger picture of a vegan lifestyle to all attending.
I am fortunate to know a lot of wonderful vegans in the city of Toronto, who in turn also know other awesome vegans and offer to host a big ol’ potluck for a big group of us. Marissa is a superstar host, and she made sure we were all at home and comfortable to enjoy the wonderful company and incredible food. She also got a bunch better photos than me last night, so I may have grabbed a few from her Instagram stream! Thanks, Marissa xo
What i’d like to say before launching into the photos is this: it’s an incredibly positive experience spending an evening with like-minded people who have come together with at least one thing in common (veganism) to share their food and hang out together. It is so nice to be surrounded by friends at the best of times, but to not have to justify myself and my choice to be vegan at any point, and to focus on the deliciousness and variety of food rather than it being singled out as vegan (and usually inferior, depending on the crowd..). I am thankful to have spent my evening in this way! Thanksgiving isn’t something I grew up with, but as a reason to get together for company, food and fun – I’m definitely going to continue that tradition. Now, photo time!
A selection of the Lovely people from my couch spot:
Marissa had a spread of appetizers out and ready to go when we arrived. Home made vegan cheeses, GF breads, crudite, pickles and olives (yay!). It was hard to not fill up on this deliciousness.
There was so much going on for main courses that it doesn’t even all fit in this shot! We contributed the GF vegan sausages on the left, and in addition there was: corn casserole, 7 layer shepherds pie, roasted root vegetables, kale salad, quinoa salad, spicy okra, roasted potatoes, Field Roast Celebration roast, Tofurky, gravy and soup! Oh man.
The crowd at the buffet:
I piled my plate pretty darn full, if you can make everything out here:
And not to be outdone, we pulled out all the stops for dessert, too! In addition to some mulled cider, Adam made a banana maple rum cheesecake to bring (omg). In addition, there were pumpkin spice donuts, a pumpkin pie pudding, some chocolate from Chocosol, whipped ‘cream’ and a wonderful apple cranberry crisp. Mmmm!
Getting creative with wrapping my leftovers, I made a foil turkey!
And we capped off the evening with some board games!
I love the time of year when it’s Toronto Veg Fair time! Not only does it mean that it’s September, therefore almost my birthday, but also it’s a chance to get together with a bunch of likeminded (or “interested in the whole thing”-minded) folks to celebrate compassion and tasty things. I’ve been going since before I even moved to Toronto, and I hope to keep it up if I ever move away.
This year I didn’t have a chance to go on Friday, the rain was a bit of a hiccup for Saturday, and I missed a bit of later afternoon/evening stuff due to other plans, so it was all a bit poorly planned on my behalf. On top of that, I unfortunately found the program/events listing really terrible to navigate and it actually put me off from getting to more talks/demos.
When Adam showed up after work on Saturday, I’d just run into some of my lovely vegan knitting friends, and we all piled in to hear Erin Red speak about “That Kind of Vegan: Finding Balance in Activism” – which, to quote the listing, examined “many of the common roadblocks that prevent vegans from becoming effective and joyful activist” and helped those attending to learn “how to better cope with living in a non-vegan world and become a force of nature for the animals and the earth.” It was a very engaging talk, and a good reminder that I didn’t ever go vegan for anyone else except the animals whose welfare I care about, and I should never have to justify that to people who think I went vegan to be antagonistic, to be a thorn in their side, or to make them feel guilty for even just existing. There was some great discussion after her talk in the Q&A section, and after hearing about how to be positive and remain happy & not angry or intimidated as a vegan in a non-vegan world, Adam made a great comment. It was about he had a couple of great role models who never pressured him in his pre-vegan days but just made good examples of themselves so when it came time for him to make the leap, they had already shown him how easy it was and were a great support. I always aim to live this way as a good example of what veganism can do for yourself and the world around you and I’ve had friends expressly say to me that it’s been a great thing to have in their lives. So, I only got to see one talk but it was a great one, and affirming to boot! (Will have to check out Red Radio, her podcast, now.)
Much of the rest of my visiting to the fair was wandering about the marketplace, inside and out. I had a fairly limited budget, so I was able to splurge on food stalls and some special treats for Jake but didn’t get any booty like books/t-shirts/totes/accessories etc like in previous years. I had plenty of nibbles on samples and grabbed some coupons as I went, and hit up a great deal of delicious stalls for wonderful food (although not as many as I’d have liked after all!). Here’s some of the wonderful array of vegan food I was able to sample on Saturday & Sunday – click the thumbnails to see bigger versions on Flickr, or browse the whole set with even more pics.