Gobble, gobble, no gobble

Gobble, gobble, no gobble

This year, I had my first Thanksgiving without turkey.

Actually, it was a big thanksgiving of ‘firsts.’ First Thanksgiving away from my immediate family, first Thanksgiving with my boyfriend, and first Thanksgiving that I was going to be preparing for other people.

I’ve decided to give Pescatarianism another whirl, but opted to make the challenge even harder by preparing an all-vegan thanksgiving for myself this year. Yippee!

Ideally, I will be fully vegan one day. But I decided to ease my way back into eating plant-based by cutting out the more problematic meats first – including chicken, pork, and beef. Plus, I really treasure salmon sushi, and I haven’t yet escaped the cognitive dissonance of avoiding one kind of meat and eating another.

Anyway.

Thanksgiving seemed like a good time to try and make a veggie feast! We hit up Whole Foods to maximize on our combined Yuppie-ness, and began the preparations.

But first, pumpkin spice cookies by Pillsbury (which definitely aren’t vegan, I’m aware), accompanied with pumpkin pie coffee from Paramount Coffee!

This, folks, is how you thanksgiving.
yaaasssssssssss

Then, the cooking started. I’m actually very surprised we managed to cook a delicious meal, with about six servings of leftovers, all in a tiny apartment kitchen – even more so that it all fit in his fridge!

We shared all the vegan dishes I made, but he made Gordon Ramsay’s Stuffed Roast Chicken with Chorizo Stuffing to go along with it. Admittedly, it looked pretty amazing, especially for his first time roasting a bird. But I know I could make a really tasty vegan version for myself. 😉

Meanwhile, I cooked up vegan mashed potatoes by My California Roots, this Thanksgiving side from Julia’s Album, and this vegan stuffing from Veggie Primer. I swapped out butternut squash for a yam when I made the side dish, and took the cranberries out of the stuffing. I thought maybe there was too much cranberry going on during this whole day.

But can you ever have too much cranberry on Thanksgiving?

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my dinner! mm mmm mm mm MMMM

We picked up vegan mushroom gravy from the hot bar at Whole Foods, along with a few slices of Field Roast’s Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute. Ultimately, I think this was cheaper than my original plan to cook up Gardein roast and make mushroom gravy from scratch.

the whole spread, ft. BF's fishies
the whole spread, ft. cranberry ginger ale on white wine. ’tis the season!

So how did cooking actually go? Well, I entirely forgot to put veggie broth into my stuffing – so it was on the dry side. Wait, did I say dry side? I mean that it actually burned onto the bottom of the baking dish. Whoops.

I cooked the yams and brussels sprouts a bit too long, I’m not too proud to admit that. But it was still pretty tasty! I prefer crunch to my brussels sprouts, but the yams still faired well when they got tender.

The mashed potatoes brought me back to my childhood instantly. So tasty, so buttery. The perfect leftovers to eat today.

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by the way, I routinely post my meals on my instagram story. (@montana_rc)

All in all, a tasty meal and a great day to spend with someone I really care about. He loooooved the food, and that makes me really happy.

Onto the next big holiday!

*wave emoji*

Hello, old friend. It’s been a hot minute, hasn’t it?

As it happens, I started a new writing endeavour and committed to the idea of a regular schedule, just for my life to get flipped upside down.

Since I last posted something that wasn’t from the archives, I moved across the province and started not one, but two new jobs. Everything has been crazy, but I’m not complaining one bit. It’s been the best kind of crazy. My life has been insane this year, and I welcome any regularity something like a side-blog can provide.

So here I am, in front of you, hoping you forgive me for the worst of internet sins: leaving you hanging waiting for more content. Not leaving a note or nothing.

It’s now fall, but to make up for my lack of presence, I will share with you my summer of incredible food.

Reviving #beautifulsandwichesinbeautifulplaces for the sake of this vegan banh mi from @wholefoods. Oh my. 🙊

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Vegan bahn mi sandwich from Whole Foods. Bruh. BRUH. I haven’t had a sandwich that made me so at peace with my inner turmoil as this sandwich. And it’s so simple! Pickled vegetables, cilantro, and Field Roast slices? Impeccable.

Get on my level. #latergram

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Veggie pizza and Passion Fruit Ale from Billy Miner Alehouse in Maple Ridge, BC. True story: I had leftovers from this pizza and I was so hungry the next day that I woke up at 6 a.m., went downstairs, and brought it back to bed with me.

My Friday is starting off very nicely, thanks. #eatyogreens

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Tofu scramble with a cup of joe. I was pretty lucky this summer, I had Friday mornings off exclusively. More mornings away from work means I can cook these meals and relax. And isn’t that all we want in life?

💯

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Turkey sandwich on Cranberry Sourdough at Gratia Bakery & Cafe. Gratia is known mostly for their fresh-baked bread and cakes, but their sandwiches could easily steal the show. I don’t need to go into another tangent about how much I love veggie sandwiches, but trust me when I say theirs is the bomb.

I didn't come here to make friends. #beautifulsandwichesinbeautifulplaces #kaboombox

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Fried oyster po boy from Kaboom Box. The Kaboom Box is a food truck that serves lots of seafood meals, such as salmon burgers and fried oysters. They’re usually downtown, but sometimes come to festivals.

Fish tacos from Tacofino. This, right here, is how you do a first date.

Starting the day right! Breakfast with @thegdtravman 🍽

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Tofu scramble from The Red Wagon. Guy Fieri certified (the restaurant at least, not the dish.) As far as I know, Guy Fieri has never touched a vegan dish before.

I died and went to nacho heaven last night. #latergram

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BBQ Pulled Pork nachos from 10 Acres in Victoria. Arguably, one of the best parts of dating is having someone to help you finish food.

Appies at @doyousaiwoo last night were sooooo tasty 🙈

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Apps without zerts at Sai Woo, a relatively new joint in Chinatown.

Bruschetta from Red Beard Cafe in Kamloops. I’ve already gushed about this place, and I hadn’t been there in well over a year. It brought back some great memories to go again!

Share with me some of your favourites foods over the last few months?

Oops.

Oops.

I was supposed to write a blog post yesterday.

I can hardly imagine I have an sizeable amount of people following me to even have noticed, but I failed. I didn’t get a blog post up. I’m a sham, a fraud.

To make up for it today, I’ll give you a glimpse of my food diary while I was away.

So I went to Edmonton for the weekend with my parents. I know, it’s not the first place people immediately think of an an exhilarating weekend getaway. But I like Edmonton, and it’s a six-hour drive for me to get there. I thoroughly enjoy being in cities, and like being surrounded by interesting stuff. The hustle and bustle doesn’t affect me at all.

I can’t tell you it was much beyond visiting West Edmonton Mall goes, as far as experiencing the culture of the city and dining at a restaurant unique to Edmonton goes. But I had a great time getting out of my town.

CgNjYMtUUAAHLOS

I ate too much of this spicy salmon roll before I remembered that I should document it. This came from Oranj Sushi Bar, a fairly decent sushi place, considering its in landlocked Alberta.

It’s always a fun surprise to see how spicy the sushi roll is going to be, because it varies from place to place. Will it be slightly hot? Will it sear my tongue off? Who knows?

Also: Does anyone else feel like they’ve wasted a lot of someone’s money by not eating the wasabi that comes with sushi? I do love pickled ginger, though.

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Seared Ginger Tuna Salad. Is it obviously that I’m a fan of raw fish? I guess so. Mostly when other people prepare it, I’m scared of making myself sick if I do it. I was really caught between this or a pizza, and ultimately chose this because you have no idea the kind of weekend eats I was taking part in.

Finally. This beautiful creation.

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This is what I was dreaming of since I knew I was coming to the city. I haven’t had a Yogen Fruz frozen yogurt since before I finished school last May. Oh man, this hit the spot. I am such a sucker for the type of frozen yogurt, it’s simple, creamy, and not too heavy or sweet to eat. Perfect.

Not pictured from the weekend: a donair poutine, four shared plates of calamari, oatmeal and hashbrowns from McDonald’s, breakfast at Cora’s, popcorn twists, chocolate, beef jerky, vitamin water, a hot dog from a gas station, hummus and pretzels, seafood spaghettini, multiple Starbucks drinks, and a spinach and feta wrap. ie. the quintessential road trip diet.

The top five dishes I’ve eaten, as per my instagram

The top five dishes I’ve eaten, as per my instagram

Alternative title: a wild ride in extravagant filters and editing apps

If you eat something, and you didn’t instagram it, did you really eat it? Did I just find a dieting loophole?

Doubt it. But it stands to reason, this is how we eat now, and I fully embrace it.

I wanted to take some time today to show my appreciation for instagram, and what better way to do that then go on a journey through all the food I have documented throughout the years with it? How else would I have known I had a Caesar loaded with snacks almost two years ago now? That’s an important memory I want to cherish.

So, looking back, from newest to oldest, here are my top five food picks from my instagram.

😍

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This burrito bowl from Chipotle, March 2016.

I could have been fancier, but I hadn’t been to Chipotle in more than six months at this point, so I opted for my usual, to not disappoint. The chicken burrito bowl with brown rice, mild and hot salsa, lettuce, and black beans will not disappoint. I would have gotten a burrito, but I knew I’d be eating this for breakfast, and needed something leftover friendly.

Thai 4 days

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This feast of Thai food, August 2015.

If you haven’t been to Ban Chok Dee in Langley, you gotta. It’s great. I went there for the first time last year on Valentine’s Day, and I was certainly treated with some of the best lettuce wraps.

Falafel is bae

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Falafel salad, May 2015.

2015: The year of good eats. 2016 will be an even greater year of eats, but I a. haven’t documented them yet, and b. haven’t gotten through the entire year either. I love falafels, they are so tasty, and pretty good for you if you’re not loading them up with fat. I’m pretty sure these ones are vegan and gluten-free, or at least easy to make gluten-free.

Good morning! Or afternoon. Whatever.

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Breakfast at Brioche, August 2014.

Oh, Brioche. How I miss it. Brioche is a cafe in Gastown that makes delicious breakfast, along with pasta, desserts, and daily specials. Their food is delightful homecooking, and a lot more than you’d expect as it’s kind of a hole-in-the-wall place you wouldn’t know about otherwise.

GOD SENT

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An individual sized pizza from Boston Pizza, December 2011.

According to my instagram feed, this was the first thing I posted. Waaaaay back, in the end of 2011. Pretty sure I had just gotten my first iPhone, and needed to take high quality photos with it. I believe this was a fajita-style pizza, with peppers, and loads of guac and sour cream. Super healthy.

Dairy: do you dare?

Dairy: do you dare?

One of the remarks that comes up in conversations about veganism a lot is how many people feel its something they can’t do solely because they love dairy so much. And, being honest, I think I’ve been one of those people who has said that at some point.

Yes, dairy is a real comfort for many of us who grow up on western diets. I grew up in a family where we had a small glass of milk with our dinner every night, and I have other vivid memories of my brother’s favourite snack being a tall glass of milk with about half of a box of Oreos. It was just the norm, we always drank milk. If there wasn’t a gallon-sized jug of the stuff in our fridge, we went into panic mode.

Dairy is remarkable in the way it brings people together. It’s seems like, even if you gather a vegetarian and a meat-lover at the some potluck, they can typically be united by their love of cheese. Most veggie-friendly options rely on cheese to give the dish a sense of identity and a major flavour profile.

But despite this, there are a handful of reasons why people might forgo the dairy in their diets, and never look back.

Some do it to live without the animal products, some because they have moral disagreements with what goes on in the dairy industry, some because they have either an allergy or a sensitivity to dairy, and some just because they like how they feel on a dairy-free diet.

Around the time I was twenty, I discovered inadvertently that I was lactose intolerant. I didn’t get formally tested, I just found every time I had milk, I could guarantee a gnarly stomach ache in a few hours. Reason enough to stop drinking the stuff, I thought.

And I did just that. I quit milk, an impossible task at the time. But within a month, I had forgotten that milk was something I had used to crave.

Giving up milk, and switching over the non-dairy alternatives, was my first endeavour into exploring vegan options. I figured, if I can give up milk, what else can I try alternatives for? I explored the previously untouched world of vegan ice cream, vegan yogurt, and vegan cheese, finding some I really liked, and others I could live without.

Might I just say, we are truly living in the renaissance of vegan cheese. I’m flabbergasted at how many more options there are, and how much tastier they are than they were even five years ago. Bet you never thought you’d read the words ‘renaissance’, ‘vegan’ and ‘cheese’ in the same sentence.

People like to give vegan cheese a bad rep — as with most vegan food — but I wholeheartedly disagree with all of that. Some of the new fake cheese on the market is incredible. Though not available in Canada, Kite Hill creates beautiful artisan vegan cheese out of almond milk, the way its gourmet counterparts would be made out of the milk of a cow. Additionally, I’ve come to prefer eating mac and cheese made with Daiya, it really brings it on the gooey-ness factor.

So, build on your palate. Try some new alternatives to same boring dairy foods you’re used to. You might have a taste for coconut ice cream, who knows?