Rice & Hazelnut Milk by Isola Bio

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Yesterday I was browsing around at Fleur Sauvage, one of our favourite stores for vegan goodness, and I saw this. I had seen this awhile back, and wanted to try it…

The ingredients are very simple, and mostly organic (the ones with a *):

Water, whole Italian rice* (17%), hazelnut paste* (3%), agave syrup *(1%), cold pressed sunflower oil*, sea salt.

What really got me curious was the hazelnut paste. I’ve always LOVED hazelnuts, and it was the first time I’d see nondairy milk with some form of hazelnut in it. Also, no xantham gum. This is what usually makes me feel iffy about some nondairy beverages… It’s got a weird texture. I believe this is used to keep the drink ‘fresher’.

Notice how there isn’t xantham gum in that milk? Believe me, it makes a HUGE difference! First, you can definitely taste the hazelnut paste, and god it’s delicious! Also, the texture feels like actual dairy milk, it’s very velvety, soft, and nothing to do with other nondairy milks. I remember I said previously that coconut milk was the closest thing to cow milk, texture wise… I am afraid I was deadly wrong!

Because of the lack of xantham gum, however, it is preferable to consume all 750ml within 3 to 4 days. I’m fairly certain it won’t be much of a problem, because the stuff is really amazing. The only thing is that it’s rather expensive: $2.99, but I felt it was absolutely worth it, because it’s a high quality product. They have other combinations: rice-almond, rice-coconut, rice-quinoa (chocolated flavoured), and of course rice alone. I definitely want to try them all! Oh and it’s gluten-free!! How great is that?

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Tofurky Italian Sausage & Fire-Roasted Veggie Pizza

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Hi guys!

Last night we tried our first vegan pizza ever. We were a little hesitating, since we aren’t big fans of faux meats, but it’s been forever since we’ve had pizza, and to be honest, it was one of the things I’ve been missing since having gone vegan. We first saw the Tofurky pizzas at Viva Vegan but since it’s a bit of a ride from our place, we didn’t want it to thaw out too much. Fleur Sauvage recently got these so we decided to give it a try.

Well, it was a hit! It’s got Daiya cheese, and it really melted on the pizza. The blend of spices in the sauce was pretty amazing, and we barely noticed the faux sausage. There was some zucchini in the toppings (not a fan of it cooked – I’d rather eat it raw with vegan taziki sauce, mmm!), but this didn’t bother me too much either. However, for $10, it was a bit on the small side – I thought I’d have enough for lunch tomorrow, but it was barely enough for just the two of us.

I’d be curious to try their other pizzas, but I haven’t seen them at Fleur Sauvage. We’ll keep an eye for them when we want a treat. 🙂

We’re Back! + Recipe! Spicy Sprouted Bean & Broccoli Soup

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Hi guys!

Sorry for the long break… Wow, almost 2 months! We have been busy with life. But we’re still here. 🙂

I keep on learning new recipes, and I came up with one just last night. It was a roaring success, to say the least. What started out as a test gave great results.

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups veggie broth
  • 200g ramen noodles
  • 2 cups broccoli
  • 3 cups sprouted beans
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tsp Asian hot sauce
  • 4 sticks green onion (you can use more or less, to taste)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instrustions:

  1. Prepare veggie broth if not already on hand. Keep some on the side to stir fry the broccoli & sprouted beans.
  2. Chop green onion – you can put it in the food processor for faster results, or if you’re lazy like me. 😛
  3. Add chopped green onion to veggie broth. Bring to a boil.
  4. Meanwhile, stir fry the broccoli and sprouted beans in the soy sauce, veggie broth and hot sauce for about 5 minutes maximum.
  5. Add the stir-fried veggies to the broth (including the ‘juice’). Cook with the ramen noodles for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  7. Enjoy!

This makes a lot of soup, so you can either serve it as a meal (approx. 3 portions) or as an a side dish (approx 6 portions). You could probably add some marinated tofu in there as well, but I found it to be quite filling on its own!

OT: Please Help Our Friend Remy!

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Montreal, October 2009. Following an anonymous complaint from Germany, the Sûreté du Quebec begins an investigation about suspicious images that were exposed online by a local website, after an alert from INTERPOL. Under the name of Inner Depravity, it consists, according to the authorities, of a database giving access to audiovisual files depicting authentic real brutal crimes.

Authorities quickly identify the creator of that website, and is immediately located. Hoaxed by the local authorities, as they used undercover cops to reach him and lure him, special effects make-up artist Rémy Couture eventually had his workshop thoroughly searched while several of his possessions are confiscated, and got arrested with handcuffs under broad daylight. He gets immediately arrested, as surprisingly they had a warrant.

That night, while he is behind bars, Rémy learns that he is being charged with Moral Corruption through propagation of obscene material.

He is suspected of committing the violent acts his work depicts, which is obviously false on all aspects of the issue. For as real and shocking as Couture’s films may be, they remain works of fiction, and were always figments of his imagination. This argument, however, is seemingly insufficient proof of his innocence. And so begins a lengthy judicial saga that, as of today, has yet to reach a conclusion.

Rémy Couture’s trial will take place in early 2012 at the Montréal’s Courthouse in front of a jury. If Rémy is found guilty, he might be condemned to imprisonment and have a criminal record without committing any crime than expressing his art.

If the court finds him guilty, this will mean the end of your freedom of expression, for generations to come.

The documentary Art/Crime, produced in 2011by Frédérick Maheux, sheds light on this sordid, almost ridiculous story, costing millions from taxpayer’s money.

http://supportremy.com/en/

A Romantic Dinner for Two at Aux Vivres

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Hello world! As you may or may not have noticed, Vegan Muffin is a blog written by my lovely wife-to-be, Andree-Anne and yours truly. At least in name only. I’m afraid I’ve been something of a slacker in contributing my own reviews for the blog. But I’m happy to report that I’m finally going to be writing a lot more and will be providing my two cents on a variety of vegan-related topics from product reviews to vegan politics and the hilarity therein.

Valentine’s Day came and went this past Tuesday and while every day is Valentine’s Day as far as I’m concerned (living with an amazing woman like Andree-Anne will do that to you), I specifically go out of my way on this day to make my Queen feel even more special. So I took her out for a romantic dinner for two at our favorite new Vegan restaurant, Aux Vivres. Some of you may recall our last visit there where we dined on some of the most delicious waffles we’ve ever tasted. This time around, we went for dinner and we weren’t disappointed.

I arrived at Aux Vivres before my sweetie and asked the hostess for a romantic spot for two. Now, as much as I adore this restaurant and the values it stands for, I do have a little bone to pick with them. It seems like without fail, whenever we go there, the first place they always seem to seat us is next to the bathrooms. They did that the first time we went there (but thankfully reseated us once we made it clear that the only odors we wanted to inhale were the aromas of fresh ground coffee and organic maple syrup as opposed to the manmade concoctions one creates while sitting on the porcelain throne) and they did it again on the 14th. They may want to seriously reconsider the seating arrangements as I can’t imagine anyone seriously wanting to sit next to the flatulence express.

Once we were seated, we perused the menu and decided on a variety of items.

We both ordered the Aux Vivres Burger, which consisted of a fresh “garden patty,” chipotle mayo, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes and caramelized onions along with side orders of roasted potato wedges, coleslaw and chipotle ketchup. I ordered a side garden salad with dill dressing. She ordered some corn bread with vege-butter. For drinks, she had a raspberry lemonade and I had a Cafe Frappe smoothie.

Needless to say, our taste buds experienced a barrage of mouth orgasms the likes of which they’ve never felt before. I’ve had plenty of veggie burgers in the past and while the ones at Harvey’s and Benedict’s passed the test as far as notable edibles go, they paled in comparison to the mouth-watering ecstasy that was the Aux Vivres Burger. I’m not entirely sure what the patty was made of. They also serve tofu, tempeh and mushrooms burgers, so clearly the patty is not made of those materials. I imagine it’s a patty made of a variety of vegetables forged in such a manner as if to resemble an actual patty. Case in point, when you take a bite into it, there are shades of red mimicking what a medium rare patty would look like. The choice of toppings complemented the burger nicely and I especially appreciated the fact that they divided the toppings equally on both sides of the patty. All too often, the toppings are piled on top of each other, canceling the various tastes out. But in this case, when I took a bite, I was first greeted by the tangy mustard, crisp lettuce and succulent patty followed by the spicy mayo and refreshing pickle. Great, great stuff. I was initially about to complain about the portions (which admittedly aren’t plentiful) but much like Boustan’s (an amazing Lebanese restaurant that we’ll one day write a review for), good things come in small packages, or in this case, portions as it doesn’t take much for you to feel full and satisfied. The potato wedges were delicious but the coleslaw was a little watery I’m afraid.

As far as the sides go, my garden salad was absolutely divine. It consisted of lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers with my choice of dressing. I chose the dill and wasn’t disappointed. My sweetie’s corn bread was also quite tasty and the vege-butter that came with it was pretty impressive. It had a cheesy taste leaving us wondering what it was made of.

I can’t recommend their smoothies enough. The Cafe Frappe smoothie was amazing! It was so sweet it could almost be a dessert in its own right. My sweetie’s soda was also refreshing but we knew that already as we often purchase this organic soda when we go grocery shopping.

The main disappointment with the meal, however lay in the dessert. We ordered an apple pie to go and we were quite unsatisfied with the choice. The crust was tasty but the pie had a lemony aftertaste which seemed to clash with the apples. Next time, we’ll probably go with the uncheese cake or the promising apple chocolate cake.

The poor choice in dessert notwithstanding, Aux Vivres has quickly become a new favorite for us. So much so, that we plan on turning brunch/dinner a weekly tradition so stay tuned for more Aux Vivres reviews to come!

Sunstart Gluten-Free & Wheat-Free Coconut Cookies

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Here we have yet another Gluten-Free food win. We got these at Viva Vegan the other day, because we were looking for something to have with tea. Sunstart has different flavours, but Coconut was the one that got us the most curious about.

For roughly a dozen cookies, you will pay $4. It is a bit less expensive than the cookies I posted about previously. They are also much tastier, in my opinion. They reminded me of butter cookies, with an extra coconut touch. These cookies literally melt in your mouth and are perfect with some Sencha green tea! I went through half of the box in one afternoon. They were that good! And then Matthew scolded me for not keeping any for him… Oops! ^_^

Ginger Snaps By Mary’s Organic Crackers Love Cookies

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This is another nice find from Fleur Sauvage. These cookies are wheat-free and gluten-free. I have been told that a lot of the time, gluten-free foods taste horrible, or that the texture is funny. I actually didn’t notice they were gluten-free until I threw out the box! I should also mention they are vegan, but that was a giveaway. 😉

My favourite thing about the cookies is the spicy taste. I’ve had ginger snaps before, but none of them tasted as much like ginger like these ones. My only disappointment with this product is the price. $5 for a dozen of cookies is a bit high. Oh well, we barely get any candy or any other junk, so it’s a nice treat.

Matthew should post his review for their Chocolate Chip cookies sometime soon. I know he LOVED them. 😀

4-Berry Smoothie

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If mornings aren’t your kind of thing and you like to have a quick breakfast, you probably like smoothies, like me. They’re super easy to make, and they’re done in less than 5 minutes.

My sister gave me a blender for my birthday, back in May of last year, and I never got around to using it until this past weekend. I grabbed bananas, frozen berries, some orange juice, and a pouch of Vega Smoothie Infusion, and went for it. The recipe is below, but first, here is what it looked like:

  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen 4-berry mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 Vega Smoothie Infusion pouch (source of greens, omega-3 and protein – optional)
Put in blender, mix, serve, enjoy.

A beautiful purple drink! Now, I said in a previous post that I didn’t like bananas much. Usually, you’re supposed to use bananas in a smoothie for the texture. Since the taste makes me gag a little, I used only half, and the berries overpowered the bananas. I could have used more orange juice – I was following a pre-made recipe, but hey, experiments are fun. 🙂

It yielded a big drink, definitely meal-sized. You can probably adjust portions if you want something not as big.

This is the Vega Smoothie Infusion pouch thingie I was talking about:

It is a greenish powder, made from plant-based protein, flaxseed and greens (spirulina, wheat grass, and the list goes on). I didn’t really notice the taste once mixed in my smoothie.

I will be making more smoothies and will also review them.

Happy healthy eating!

Aux Vivres – Best Vegan Restaurant In Montreal!

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Well, to be honest, I haven’t tried all the vegan restaurants here, but from the reviews I’ve been reading, it doesn’t get any better than this.

Aux Vivres is an all-around vegan restaurant that opened in Montreal back in 1997, located at 4631 St-Laurent, on the Plateau. They serve lunch and dinner Monday to Tuesday, 11am-11pm, and brunch Saturday-Sunday, 11am-4pm. We went for the brunch around 12pm today. They have 3 options (tofu scramble with tempeh bacon, cornbread, fresh fruit, salad & sweet potatoes; waffles with cashew cream, apple berry sauce & organic maple syrup – which we both had; fried polenta, black bean refritos, guacamole, salsa & salad), which may seem limited, but you’d be missing one hell of an amazing brunch if you let that influence your decision.

For a little more than $12, you will get 2 waffles topped with apples & berries (the apples seemed to have been dipped in berry coulis or something like that, which was delicious!), cashew cream (kind of a custard-like sauce), organic maple syrup, fresh fruit, and your choice of a cup of chai latte or coffee. And because this IS a vegan restaurant, you will have 3 choices for your coffee creamer: coconut milk, rice milk, or soy milk. Matthew had the rice milk, but it looked a little too clear, probably because they might have forgotten to shake the container. I had the chai latte, which was really amazing!

The waffles were not as thick as what you’d expect, but don’t let that fool you. Neither of us could finish our plates! They were VERY filling. The cashew cream was absolutely delicious! I didn’t even put maple syrup on my waffles, the cashew cream being amazing on its own. The fresh fruit consisted of banana (not a fan, unfortunately), pineapple (I am allergic to it, so I couldn’t eat it) and orange (which was standing against the pineapple, so I couldn’t eat that either), which was probably my only disappointment with my meal. The waffles were the best I’ve EVER had in my whole life, as far as I can remember.

I put emphasis on this, because I’ve heard people say vegans deprive themselves from eating with pleasure because apparently you can’t replace dairy and eggs. I’d like them to try these waffles, and then get back to me. They tasted better, for a reason I can’t explain aside for the fact my conscience was guilt-free.

Matthew and I will be going back on Valentine’s Day for a romantic vegan dinner. We are looking forward to trying their dinner options! You can take a look at their menu online here. I am especially curious about their uncheese cake!

GoGo Quinoa Burger Mix

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This is probably the best veggie burger Matthew and I have ever had… We found this product at our local organic grocery store, Ecollegey. I have seen a lot of recipes for veggie burgers made with portobello mushrooms, but seeing as we are both allergic to all mushrooms, we had to find an alternative. There are also bean burgers, which we will eventually try out.

GoGo Quinoa had the advantage of being a premade mix – you just add water, wait 5 minutes, make your patties, and cook them (on the pan or barbecue – latter would probably be best). Be careful not to add too much water because you won’t be able to use the stuff. Cook each side until golden brown-ish.

It’s also gluten-free, vegan and organic. I have been hearing and reading a lot about how a lot of people do not like gluten-free because it tastes weird. These burgers taste amazing, and you wouldn’t even know it’s gluten-free. Seriously. We also noticed they are a lot more filling than regular meat burgers, and definitely healthier. all it took was one veggie burger each! So basically, a win-win situation.

The box says it makes 5 big patties… That’s true. 5 BIG patties. Like, huge. What I usually do is take the amount I need and adjust the water required. I have to warn you, though, that the preparation is quite messy; but believe me, it’s absolutely worth it!

With some Vegenaise, tomatoes, fresh lettuce (that’s usually what I put in mine); or whatever else, it tastes amazing. It’s approximately $7 for the box, but when you do the math, it’s reasonable because it gives you 5 huge patties.