Top 9 Posts of 2013

2013 has been a big year for One Small Vegan. And for me. It’s amazing to see things slowly building up for One Small Vegan and I probably wouldn’t be on my way to being a holistic nutritionist if it wasn’t for the blog!

This blog is continually a work in progress, and I don’t always have as much time to devote to it as I would like, but I am continually thankful for it. And for you! While One Small Vegan is my means of sharing my passion for healthy plant-based eating and living, it wouldn’t be nearly as fun or rewarding if it wasn’t for all of you wonderful readers. I’m hugely thankful for all of your support through 2013. YOU are the reason I’ve continued this blog, through some tough personal times and major changes, and plenty of times when I just didn’t feel like posting. I am truly grateful for each and every view, like, comment, pin, share, etc.

THANK YOU!!!

Anyway, I thought I’d share with you the Top 9 Posts on One Small Vegan from this past year. Some of these are favourites of mine as well!

Top 9 Posts 2013 title

  1. Basic No-Mayo Coleslaw
  2. Frozen Greens Cubes
  3. Baked Vegetable Spring Rolls
  4. Lemon Coconut Energy Bites
  5. Dark Chocolate S’mores Brownies
  6. Butternut Squash Black Bean Burritos
  7. Nacho Cheez White Bean Spread
  8. Blueberry Oatmeal Scones
  9. Easy Hot & Sour Refrigerator Pickles

That’s it for 2013. I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Years! For me, tonight will be a low-key one spent with my favourite little man, my 4-year-old nephew. Then tomorrow is a big family brunch.

See you in 2014!

Have you tried any of the Top 9 Recipes? Which would you like to try?

What are you doing for New Years?

Is there anything you’d like to see more of on One Small Vegan in 2014 (original recipes, recipe reviews, restaurant reviews, product reviews, beauty tips…)?

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My Birthday Part 2: Wild Rice

Check out My Birthday Part 1: Vancouver Veg Fest 2013.

After our day at Veg Fest and downtown Vancouver, Jem and I headed to the New Westminster Quay for a family dinner at my current favourite restaurant, Wild Rice. Wild Rice has two locations in the lower mainland, in New West and downtown Vancouver, serving what they call modern Chinese cuisine with “ingredients that are local, seasonal, and sustainable” (from the website). While the restaurants are not completely vegan, about half of the lunch and dinner menus are vegan, or can easily be made vegan, and these items are clearly marked with a ‘V’ on both the online and in-restaurant menus. There is also always at least one vegan dessert at each location.

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My Mom and Gramma. Love those high ceilings and open concept!

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My beautiful sister Ally. Love all that natural light coming through!

Both locations are really nice, but have quite different feels. The downtown location is a long skinny room with dark furnishings. It feels more fancy than the New West location. The New West location feels much more open and roomy, lots of natural elements, and best of all, one whole wall is made of glass doors looking out across the Fraser River (which are sometimes completely open to the outdoor patio seating). Also, this location is right on the boardwalk of the New West Quay, so its perfect for taking a post-dinner stroll along the water. The downtown location is open for dinner and the New West location is open for both lunch and dinner. The menus at both locations share some items, but are mostly unique.

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I’ve been to Wild Rice twice before, once to each location, and I knew it would be the perfect place to have a birthday dinner with my omnivore family. As much as I love supporting all-vegan businesses, a place with non-vegan food and clearly marked vegan options is much better suited to dining with a bunch of omnivores (including a few that are very unadventurous eaters). Most of the dishes are made for sharing so the portion sizes are quite large. If you aren’t sharing a dish you will most likely end up with leftovers. For example, this time around I had the Spicy Green Beans and Mushroom Risotto with Chili Tofu and I got three small meals out of it. Although if I hadn’t eaten so much food all day at VegFest, that probably would have been down to two good size meals.

Now lets talk food! I only took photos of the vegan food that we ordered, but I’m told that the other dishes were all thoroughly enjoyed as well.

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Seasonal Vegetable Spring Rolls. They were arranged much nicer than this but my 3-year-old nephew had already rearranged them. I love these spring rolls! I’ve tried them once at each location and they were fantastic both times. Very fresh tasting and not at all greasy like some spring rolls can be.

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Spicy Green Beans. I’ve also tried these twice and love them! They are crunchy and fresh, with a delicious spicy, sweet, sesame sauce. Totally addictive!

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Mixed Mushroom and Truffle Risotto with added Chili Tofu. I actually think this was the first time I’ve ever had risotto at a restaurant and it was great! Not my favourite entree that I’ve had, but I did really enjoy it and am glad I tried it. Definitely vegan comfort food.

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Thai Green Curry with added Chili Tofu. You can’t tell but there is rice and a lot of vegetables hidden under there. Jem and Dan ordered this and really enjoyed it. I’m a little sad that I didn’t get a taste. I’ll probably be trying this dish next time.

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As I said, this was the third time I’ve been to Wild Rice and all the food I’ve tried has been awesome. The Chinese influence is very evident, but the heavy greasy food that can be prominent in Chinese restaurants is nowhere to be found. Instead the freshness and flavours of the ingredients really stand out. Last time I was at the New West location I had the Spicy Tofu Kung Po (it’s on the menu as Spicy Chicken Kung Po but as it says, you can easily substitute the chicken with tofu) and it was amazing! Rice noodles, vegetables, and tofu in a creamy peanut sauce with just the right amount of heat.

Jem and I have eaten once at the downtown location and, along with the spring rolls mentioned earlier, shared the Mapo Doufu, Chinatown Sweep, and the Chocolate and Taro Spring Rolls. The Mapo Doufo (smoked tofu, eggplant, and other vegetables served with rice and chili jam) was fantastic and we’ve tried multiple times to replicate the flavours of the dish at home. The Chinatown Sweep is a basic mixed vegetable chow main, that was also very delicious. The Chocolate and Taro Spring Rolls were insanely good! Crunchy outsidehe Chinatown Sweep was a basic mixed vegetable chow main, that was also very delicious.

Baked Vegetable Spring Rolls

Vegan MoFo 2012 Post #2

A few months ago my sister Jem and I made these fresh spring rolls using rice paper, smoked tofu, and fresh veggies and herbs. They were really good, and even though it takes a little bit of time, we had fun putting them together. Even though we raved about them and I still had about half a pack left of rice papers, we hadn’t yet got around to making them again.

So, when I saw this recipe for Baked Rice Paper Rolls I knew exactly what we were making for our next dinner together! I love vegetable spring rolls, but had never even thought of making my own using rice paper. We didn’t follow the recipe above, but used our own mix of vegetables for the filling. Sorry, we didn’t really measure anything, just made a big pan full of vegetables (actually added more after the photos), but I’d estimate that we had about 4 cups of cooked vegetables. The amount that we used made 12 rolls, though as you can see ours are varying sizes, so you will get more if you make thinner ones, as I really suggest you do. The larger ones were difficult to eat, and needed to be baked a little longer.

It only takes a few minutes to sauté the vegetables, and while working with the rice paper can be a little tricky at first, it is very quick and easy once you get the hang of it. Plus, its really fun to do!

Baked Vegetable Spring Rolls
2 tsp sesame oil
Shredded cabbage
Grated carrot
Thinly sliced mushrooms
Bean sprouts
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp minced ginger
Roasted sesame seeds
Rice paper sheets (12-16)
Warm water

You also need a large shallow bowl or clean sink to have the water in, for wetting the rice paper, a large tea towel (not a really fuzzy one), a flat plate or cutting board for rolling the spring rolls on, and a lightly greased baking sheet to place the spring rolls on.

Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add in garlic and ginger. Sauté for about 1 minute, then add in the carrots, mushrooms, and cabbage. Stir everything together, then let cook a few minutes, until the vegetables release moisture. Stir in bean sprouts and cook for another minute. You don’t want to overcook the vegetables, as they will cook more in the oven. Turn off heat and transfer cooked vegetables to a large bowl.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Fill your sink or bowl with warm water, just enough to be able to wet the rice paper in it. Set out your bowl of veggies, tea towel, plate or cutting board, and greased baking sheet.

To assemble spring rolls, first take one rice paper sheet and place it in the warm water for no 30 seconds. Place on tea towel for a moment, to absorb excess moisture, and then move to plate or cutting board. The rice paper should no longer be hard, but pliable and almost completely see-through. Place a small amount (roughly a 1/4 cup) of your cooked vegetable mixture onto the centre of the prepared rice paper. Sprinkle some roasted sesame seeds on top.

Fold the two short sides of the rice paper over the vegetable mixture.

Now fold one of the remaining sides toward the other remaining side, over the vegetable mixture. Holding onto the bundle of vegetables roll it to the end of the rice paper, forming a cylinder, with the vegetables safely tucked in the centre. I feel like I’m not explaining it very well, but you can see the process in the photos. (Thanks to Jem for demonstrating!)

Place on baking sheet and continue process until you run out of rice paper or vegetables. Don’t worry if your rolls aren’t perfect! It takes a little practice, and they’ll taste great no matter what they look like!

Lightly spray or brush with oil and place in warmed oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes (depending on how large your rolls ended up). Serve with your favourite dip. I used soy sauce and Sriracha. Jem used soy sauce and plum sauce.

These were so good! Just as tasty and satisfying as spring rolls from a restaurant or grocery freezer, but way healthier! Plus, you can customize with your own choice of vegetables (a super plus for me as I very strongly dislike onions and most spring rolls are heavy on the onion).

Enjoy!

This recipe has been submitted to Healthy Vegan Friday #12. You can see all the other submissions here.

You May Also Enjoy:
Spicy Lime Tofu Nuggets, Chunky Hummus Dip, or Spicy Peanut Vegetable Soup

What I Ate Wednesday #85: Fall Into Good Habits

First of all, I love the above badge! Don’t get me wrong, I love summer but after a few weeks of sunshine and heat I am ready for fall. I can’t wait for clear cool weather, falling leaves, boots, and cozy layers!

Anyway, before I even knew the theme for this month’s What I Ate Wednesday, I was trying to jumpstart myself into making some changes. Its been a rough couple of months and despite the fact that I’ve definitely upped my fresh fruit intake, I haven’t been eating all that well and haven’t been exercising AT ALL. Especially in the month of July when I was spending most days at the hospital, meals were mostly whatever was quick and easy, and I was way too tired all the time to exercise any more than walking back and forth from the ICU a bazillion times. Combine that with the fact that I wasn’t working at all during July and August (which keeps me on my feet and lightly active) and it’s not difficult to see why I’ve gained a bit of weight over the summer.

About 2 1/2 years ago when I decided I really wanted to lose weight and get in better shape, what jump started me was getting a Wii Fit (a great way to get into exercising, as I never really exercised before) and using a food/fitness tracker (I used LoseIt on my iPod and computer). I still love my Wii Fit: it has a great variety (there are still exercises and levels I haven’t done), is fun, got me interested in yoga, and my workout is different every time if I want, but my use of it in the past year has been sporadic at best.

Anyway, because I know it worked for me last time, yesterday I downloaded and started using the diet and exercise journal from My Fitness Pal (its available online, for iPhone, IPod touch, Blackberry, Android, and Windows). It probably will be a big help that my sister Jem is also using My Fitness Pal to get back in shape after recently going through chemo and beating Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. 🙂 While I do want to lose some weight, I’m more interested in eating healthier and starting to exercise again on a regular basis. I find using the diet and exercise journal makes me a lot more aware of what I’m eating so I make better choices, and want to exercise so I can minus some calories (and eat more). Plus, If I log throughout the day I can see what nutrients I’m maybe lacking and make choices to fix that. Also, because I’ll be inputting most of my recipes into the journal already, I am going to start posting the nutritional information of my recipes.

Sorry, I really didn’t intend to write so much, but as you can probably tell, I’m getting a little excited about this!

Here’s what I ate yesterday:

Breakfast:
Potato Vegetable Hash – leftover Greek roasted potatoes, white mushrooms, orange pepper, Cajun seasoning.
1 piece Silver Hills Mack’s Flax toast with red pepper hummus.
2 cups of coffee with unsweetened soy milk.

Lunch:
Chana curry, rice pulao, and vegetable pakora (leftovers from take-out).
Chilled chai tea with vanilla soy milk.

Dinner:
Southwest Quinoa Confetti Salad with 1/2 an avocado.

Snacks:
1 Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodle (I think I forgot to take photos, but it was basically Isa’s recipe, except I made a few changes which I will detail next time I make them).
Tropical peach smoothie & Tropical peach smoothie soft serve – 1 peach, 1/4 serving Natural Vega Whole Food Health Optimizer, 1/2 serving Tropical Vega Energizing Smoothie, 1 tsp chia seeds, 1/4 tsp pure orange extract, 3 coconut milk ice cubes, 1/4 cup frozen banana slices, and 1/2 cup vanilla soy milk. I drank 1/3 of this smoothie before a workout and put the rest in a small bowl in the freezer. I stirred it up and had it post-workout.
1/2 an apple.
2 slices off a Banana Bran Mini Loaf.
1 cup vanilla soy milk.

Plus, thanks to my beautiful tumbler and a little lemon juice I managed to drink 7 whole cups of water! Which may be a record for me, though I don’t usually keep track (one more thing My Fitness Pal helps me keep track of). I’m sure I never drink enough water. I realized I enjoy drinking water more if I add a small amount of lemon juice, and if its in an open cup (not a water bottle with a lid I have to take off), preferably with a straw!

And, a few other things I’ve eaten in the past week:

From top, left to right:
1) Baked Vegetable Spring Rolls with soy sauce & Sriracha.
2) Peach Blueberry Crumble
3) Roasted Greek Potatoes (red potatoes, lemon juice, olive oil, Epicure Greek Seasoning) & green salad (romaine, grated broccoli stalk, cucumber, crushed red pepper flakes, black pepper, olive oil balsamic vinegar, hemp hearts).
4) Mixed pasta with Kale Pesto & crumbled Spicy Lime Tofu Nuggets.
5) Smoked Tofu & Harvarti Sandwich on toasted Silver Hills Mack’s Flax bread with red pepper hummus, romaine lettuce, Daiya Jalapeno Garlic Havarti Wedge, and thinly sliced Soyganic Smoked Tofu lightly browned in a pan. Definitely not the healthiest sandwich ever, but super tasty!