As a lovely coincidence, today is my 13th vegan anniversary! Being vegan is one of the things I love most, and I never look back or question it. By now it’d be kinda weird to be any other way, it feels. For me, for the planet, for the animals, for the delicious food. And yes, for the super powers.
I mentioned it earlier in the week, but my love for Sleater-Kinney is all-encompassing right now and especially for this animated Bob’s Burgers video for A New Wave.
Trivia and related things are something I really love, and also museums – recently I got to combine going to a museum and a scavenger hunt, and it was super fun! We did the “Murder at the ROM” scavenger hunt organized by Urban Capers (not associated with the museum). It was great. I knew my way around pretty well which helped, but we ended up tying for 2nd place! Sigh. Here’s a couple of pics I Instagrammed on the day.
I love becoming more active and being a contributor to the board game community! I’m hoping to keep it up and get to BGGcon to meet some of the folks I am chatting with online a lot too. For now, I’ve been writing a bit for the Daily Worker Placement, and also chiming in for the Spooning Meeples round tables and it’s been good fun.
I don’t love that Parks & Recreation is over, but I did like the way it all wrapped up. A nice send-off. The cast was on Late Night with Seth Meyers which was pretty fun, and they had a little singalong (below) along with some general chats about the finale (here and here).
I’ve been enjoying the delicious and ethical treats from Jen @ APieCalypse Now! at Farmer’s Markets and festivals for the last couple of years. Now she’s opened up a little storefront in the Annex (589 Markham Street, Toronto, Ontario M6G 2L7, lower level – look for the raccoon on the door!) which means it’s all within walking distance now! Yesssss.
It’s a small space with no seating, just a counter & some coolers – but those things are full of amazing and wonderful food! Selfishly I would like a place where I could sit and have a warm beverage with my treat to hang with friends, but with limited opening hours and a lot of cold treats that are make/bake at home, it makes sense to be take-out only.
For the grand opening weekend, I decided to really treat myself (within limits, as a lot of what I got wasn’t gluten-free and therefore sharing with Adam was off-limits). I went in on Saturday & picked up a mini-croissant, pain au chocolat, and two little sausage rolls (one apple sage, one chipotle).
To take home, I got a delicious sausage and sqaush pot pie to bake, and a jar of Caesar dressing. One of the two coolers is full of gluten-free goodies – flavoured buttery spreads (cinnamon, garlic etc), plus sauces and dressings and the like. The other cooler’s got pot-pies, lasagnes, mac ‘n’ cheese & shepherd’s pies (the last two with GF options, woo!).
Jen works hard to make her products look and taste amazing, to ensure the packaging fits the bill, and that she’s happy with what goes into everything that’s going out the door with people. Her work ethic & personal ethics show through in the cafe. It’s an awesome, welcoming space that Jen has very clearly made her own. I love the stickers on the counter, and that she produces an amazing array of info cards about veganism & animal rights that are all free to take. I love vegan food – obviously – but I’m vegan because of how I feel about the use of animals, and it’s nice to see that at the forefront of Jen’s business.
If you’re in Toronto, or swinging through, stop by for some treats. It’ll warm your cockles & fill up your hearts and bellies. I’m looking forward to trying more of the amazing options from the Apiecalypse coolers, and hopefully a wider range of ready-to-eat treats. APieCalypse Now! 589 Markham Street, Toronto (lower level!), not far from Bathurst/Bloor. Check the opening hours before you go, and go ready to eat! Follow: Facebook, Twitter.
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.
I hope you all have splendid plans for the weekend (and that it includes voting if you’re any of my Australian readers!). I’ll be spending the bulk of my weekend…
- …at Toronto’s 29th annual Vegetarian Food Festival! This massive event showcases what awesome businesses and organizations promote health and goodness on a veg diet, and the benefits having a vegetarian lifestyle can also have on the environment and wellbeing of animals. Lectures, workshops, cooking demos and incredible delicious food as far as the eye can see. I’m going to be meeting up with my vegan knitting group to hang out on the lawn at Harbourfront and enjoy snacks while we craft and catch up, too!
- And speaking of vegan foods, September is Vegan Mofo this year (the Vegan Month Of Food)! I took part a few years ago now, but I didn’t feel like I could keep up with the daily blogging enough to do it this year (maybe next year!). They have a great roundup on the blog of what amazing awesome vegan foodie things are being posted, so if you’re interested in finding out about the world of vegan deliciousness, that’s a great place to start!
- I enjoy this series of tips and etiquette for NYC, but in particular this one, which applies anywhere you have a subway/train system!
- If you’re still looking for awesome coffee mugs even after the great one I linked to last week, maybe you’d like to be the only one with the antidote?
- There’s a family here in southern Ontario living like it’s 1986 for a year to try and shift their reliance on technology away and let their kids enjoy life more. It’s a pretty interesting experiment.. I’m almost 100% I couldn’t stand to do it. And the mullet is really taking it too far…
- LEGO have a new female minifig, and she’s a scientist! That’s pretty awesome.
- I need a treehouse just so I can have a bicycle-powered elevator to get to it!
- Did you know there’s a whole website dedicated to geeky engagements/weddings? Well, you do now.
- Mystery underwater ‘crop circles’ explained! Grab a cuppa and enjoy the show, as everyone likes some Spirograph aesthetics, right? (..right?)
- I’m all about quirky museum-based things, and this project ticks all those boxes: “We are proud of our stewardship in developing the wonderful heritage of cereal specimen museum displays.” Amazing.
- I’ve been taking a trip back in time watching X-Men: The Animated Series on Netflix this week, it’s been great! Someone decided to take the X-Men a little further back in time, though, and created this fantastic series of medieval X-Men.
- Of course I didn’t forget about including an Adventure Time link, reader! What kind of fool do you take me for? Head to We Love Fine for awesome title card prints like this one:
Wow, where has the week gone? I’ve been meaning to say so many things, post so many photos – but it’s not happened! I hope to queue up some stuff for the days ahead – talking about my residency/job search, maybe taking part in a month long photo challenge, chatting about an exhibit I visited, games I’ve been playing, linking around to some Vegan Mofo stuff, product reviews.. There’s gotta be some space in my brain to churn those out! Until then, here’s what’s keeping me happy.
Postcards! One of my favourite things is receiving/collecting postcards. I’ve posted a small selection of what i’ve got on my walls before, but this week postcards have been happy-making because I’ve been getting them in the mail, another fave thing of mine! From Waterton & Prince Edward Island in Canada, and all the way from the UAE! It’s awesome, and they’re hanging out on the fridge making me wish I was going exciting places to collect more postcards.
A good while ago now I joined a vegan knitting group here in Toronto; I’ve got a little crafting in my bones and I wanted to meet some other lovely vegans. As a result I learnt to knit a little, but ended up learning how to crochet also and loving it even more! I just find it so much easier to grab the yarn and hook and go about something and the motions are much easier to remember. I’ve tried all sorts of things – hats, scarves, dishcloths, coasters, toys – and learnt a bunch of stitches and combinations along the way which make me feel more confident I could whip something up off the top of my head. Maybe I should give hat making another try!
I love that my garden has been going well! Some hitches to begin with, but great amounts of green abound. A modest amount of cherry tomatoes, some lovely herbs for dressings and salads, and more red hot chilis than I know what to do with. I’m sad as we go into fall (autumn) that I’ll have to harvest everything down to the nub in preparation for it all to die off in the winter. Booo.
And speaking of fall (autumn) – this is such a nice time of year! I love September anyhow, because it’s my birthday month, but even doubly so now that I get beautiful cooler weather and turning leaves to go with it (rather than albeit lovely spring weather back home, but terrible hayfever allergies, urgh!). September in Toronto is busy as folks squeeze the last bit of summer out of patios and parks and the islands, the Vegetarian Food Festival is on, and TIFF hits town. So much stuff going on! And I’ll be heading to Montreal for the last weekend of the month with my sweetie to celebrate my birthday this year. Awesome.
Enjoy your Thursdays, folks – or Fridays if you’re already on the way into it.