Thoughts Against Eating Local & Apple Muffins (yum!)

I get anxious in grocery stores.

Don’t get me wrong. I love food. Cooking it. Eating it.

But take this conundrum:

You want a head of lettuce.

The store sells three options.

1) Organic, in plastic packaging

2) Locally grown, conventional (bajillions of pesticides)

3) Conventional, half the price

Talk about a headache!

So which do you choose?

Specifically I’d like to talk about one aspect. Eating local.

The local movement has made huge ground of late, particularly here on the West coast of Canada (where most of our food comes from California).

But what’s the point?

CO2 emissions from transport?

What about the fact that ocean freighters are relatively efficient per pound of food transported? In England, since energy is largely derived from coal, it’s actually better (emissions wise) to buy produce from New Zealand in the off-season than locally grown produce that has been stored.

Here in BC, peppers and tomatoes are grown in green houses powered by natural gas because it’s cheaper than the grid (made up of 93% renewable energy such as hydroelectricity)

So if it’s not necessarily better for the environment, why eat local?

Why wait till Saturday to shop at the farmer’s market, to pay triple for lettuce?

I’ve heard the argument about supporting your local farmer. Feeding the local economy etc. etc.

But does that mean we should shun the fruit and quinoa from developing countries? Do our neighbours deserve our dolla bills more? There is certainly something to be said for knowing your farmer. Knowing whether or not they use pesticides. Understanding where your food comes from and all that crap.

What about food security? If our supply chains get cut off, how will we feed ourselves. This is a valid question, though very hypothetical. Canada is not on the verge of war and fuel for transport ain’t running out in my lifetime or the next or the next. Maybe we’ll eventually have to compete with more people on the planet and the prices will be driven higher. (But hey, would that just make local food economically competitive?)

How about freshness? In order for veg to not be spoiled by the time it reaches it’s destination it must be plucked waaaay before it’s ripe. This is where we find complaints of food not tasting good anymore. But am I going to taste the difference with my hypothetical head of lettuce?

Animal welfare. This one grinds my gears. There seems to be a common misconception that ‘local’ is synonymous with ‘good welfare.’


Battery cages exist in your community. I promise. That local pork didn’t see the local grass. Unless explicitly stated so.

So I suppose I aim to point out that as much as eating local can ease the conscience a snag, in many respects the “100 mile diet” and “locavore” movements are perhaps more trendy greenwash than all-encompassing solution.

I certainly don’t know what the solution IS. And I think about this full time.

Surely the answer is pluralistic. It depends on context.

In any case. This season I’m going to chase my local organic lentil loaf with some sickly sweet holiday dessert made from fair trade (also a buzzword), organic (presumably certified) sugar, shipped (hopefully by freighter) from Paraguay (developing country).

Here’s a badass muffin recipe I made up the other day. Involves apples (yay local!) and banana (yay…..!?)

Apple Muffins

Makes about 10.

2 C spelt flour

1/2 C cane sugar (or xylitol)

2tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp salt


1 banana – microwaved for 1 minute

4 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 C almond milk (or soy or whatever)

8 drops stevia (optional)


4 small/medium apples – grated

Whisk together dry.

Microwave banana and add wet, making sure coconut oil is melted.

Add wet to dry. Do not over mix.

Stir in grated apples.

Bake at 350F.

19 pairs of tights.

For a change of pace.

I’m not going to rant about animal welfare.

Instead on this fine December eve, beer in hand, I’d like to talk about something very prevalent in my thoughts this semester.


Because I have a confession.

I have a lot of stuff.

I mean. You’re not going to see me on that intervention show where they find dead cats in the refrigerator.

But I’ll be the first to admit I have a lot of clothes I never wear.

It’s not that I shop a lot. At least not anymore. They just kind of…. add up over the years.

Over the summer I began the laborious process of purging. I got rid of a garbage bag (the big kind) of clothes and another one of shoes. Off to charity to find new homes.

Last night I got rid of another pile. Admittedly it took me three hours to go through everything, piece by piece, and rationalize why I needed to keep it, but I am quite proud of the results. 19 pairs of tights were just a start (when was the last time I wore tights? Highschool?)

I’m not here to preach of about consumerism in relation to the present holiday season. Although that may seem fitting. On the contrary, I’m in a state of contemplation of the emotional weight we put on things.

At what point does something become sentimental? Because you wore it to a special event? Because it was your mother’s? Grandmothers? What if you have a closet of their clothes?

Getting rid of things for me is difficult for two reasons: the classic hoarder question of “but what if I need this later?” and the sense of nostalgia. The memories triggered by that item.

In response to the first question “but what if I need this later?” It’s almost a reverse consumerism ideology if you think about it. Why would I get rid of it only to have to buy something new later? The question is. Are you really going to need 13 pairs of jeans?

In regards to the second. Is this item really our last connection to that memory? Of course not. We’ve just deposited it there. And next thing you know we have closet-fulls, nay, house-fulls of knickknacks designed to trigger memories.

I’m not quite sure where this is going. Maybe it’s the beer. But I for one am not comfortable with my memories and happiness finding refuge in the things I own. If I no longer have use for a dress I wore to a dance once… or even say… my graduation… should it not find a new home? Somebody put a lot of work into growing that cotton and manufacturing that thread and painstakingly sewing on all those sequins.

All this of course is very hypocritical. I’m still holding onto an ENTIRE CLOSET FULL of costumes from my musical theatre days. But hey. I’ll cross that bridge when I’m ready.

I suppose all this is to say that I’m approaching this holiday season mindfully. Trying to sort through needs versus desires and resisting the urge to buy too much crap for my loved ones.

I’m not going to get all snuggly and sentimental and tell you to give out hugs and coupons for quality time.

Nobody wants that.

Please don’t give that.

UBC Animal Research – pt. 2

Refer below to pt.1 or this rant won’t make sense. (Do I ever?)


So I was slightly dreading the tour.

Obviously I wouldn’t miss such an opportunity for the world, but similar to visiting a poultry operation last year I knew it wouldn’t be an enjoyable experience for me so to speak.

On the one hand, I was pleased to see animals housed together with room to move around and at least SEE the outdoors (though I wouldn’t say their runs were very large. Maybe 6 by 4 feet ish for the pigs and bunnies.) The sheep got to be outside on the grass and the monkeys had a tree to climb.

Compared to many research facilities this is no nightmare.

Compared to how animals are housed in meat production this was paradise.

I mean lets be honest, I’d rather have my back broken for trauma research (they always use pain mitigation) and get to move around and play with pen mates than be stuck in a gestation crate giving birth for my allowed lifespan and NEVER being able to turn around let alone see the sky.

But but but. Does that mean I support animal research?

Not a fucking chance.


You know me better than that.

Hell, I wouldn’t care if these animals were frolicking on a golden pasture until they reached their “humane end point” (and yes ALL animals are euthenized at the end of the experiment.) I just do not agree that animal testing is EVER justified.

And here’s where the utilitarians diverge from the abolitionists. The Peter Singers vs the Tom Regans.

Utilitarian philosophy argues that the utility gained from the research (i.e. the benefit it will provide for many humans and/or animals) justifies the detriment to the individual. One for all.

But honey. I’m not a utilitarian.

I don’t think we can decide on behalf of another being how it is going to spend its time on earth. (Okay I already see the fatal flaws in this argument. What if we’re making a decision that will improve its welfare blah blah blah. Let’s stay on track. We’re talking about animal testing here.)

And you ask. What if I had parkinsons? Would I refuse a treatment because it had been tested on animals?

Certainly not. But that doesn’t mean I think further research should be conducted this way.

And knowing absolutely nothing about medicinal research, I will argue that it can be done. The John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (ranked #1 in the US) opened the Centre for Alternatives to Animal Testing in 1981 and has had many acheivements including the development of vitro methods now widely used.

Sure, we don’t have alternative methods for everything. BUT MAYBE WE SHOULD BE TRYING TO THINK SOME UP. I bet 40 million could go a long way y’know?

Also. All this effort to look at squirrel fetuses and not enough time making the thinker think about why we need to know in the first place. Human curiousity is boundless, but where do we draw the line? This is an animal’s whole life we’re talking about. Just so we can know a little more about them?



aaaaand I’m done.


UBC Animal Research – pt. 1

So last week I had the opportunity to tour the UBC Animal Care Centre.Now, before you get excited warm fuzzies about baby raccoons in cribs or whatever comes to mind, I should note that “Animal Care” is really more of a euphemism. Located at the Centre for Comparative Medicine, tucked away in the South of campus, the facility is where the majority of animal testing takes place on campus.

The centre was built in 2012 for $40 M and specializes in larger species. There are about 75 animals currently in the facility not including 50 or so small rodents (i.e. mice, rats). The facility is also an emergency alternative to the general hospital during a disaster since the surgical equipment can also be used for humans.

During my visit I saw: white rabbits (for genetics research if I remember…?), pigs (for trauma simulations to do with helicoptor crashes- i.e. they would put the pigs in a simulator and break their backs), rhesus macaque monkeys (for parkinsons research), sheep, an alpaca (not for testing- leftover from when the facility wasn’t enclosed and the sheep needed protection), some crazy birds from the himalayas (researching their flight abilities in low oxygen environments), wild caught pregnant squirrels (researching how the fetus survives with little oxygen.)

Thats obviously a very crude depiction and of course my memory is incomplete but that’s what I recall.

UBC is currently the first university in Canada to release statistics about their use of animals. Transparency is not required for university institutions but information was released last year largely due to ongoing pressure from groups such as Stop UBC Animal Research. In 2011 UBC used 225,043 animals in research and claim the number is decreasing. For more info:

Animal welfare was something discussed a lot during the tour and it is clear that efforts were taken when designing the facility to go above basic requirements. For example, all animals except for small rodents have outdoor access. Animals are always housed in groups rather than singley. SOME enrichment is provided, i.e. substrate such as hay or wood chips rather than bare concrete floor, maybe a ball or two. The monkeys had a climbing tree.

There are full time veterinarians at the facility not involved in the research whose job it is to observe the welfare/health of the animals and ensure they do not go past their “humane end point.” The humane end point is a predetermined point at which the animal MUST be euthenized. I.e. if a parkinsons monkey can no longer feed and take care of itself etc. Humane end points are decided upon when the researcher is applying for approval to do the project.

Researchers wanting to conduct research on animals must submit an Animal Care Protocol to the UBC Animal Care Comittee which is made up of various researchers, vets, UBC staff, students and two members of the public (often affiliated in some way.)

I’ll leave it at that for now and save my rant for the next post. :)

Commercial Chicken (meat) Operation

So last week or perhaps the week before (where does the time go?) I had the opportunity to visit a commercial chicken (meat) operation in Abbotsford, BC. It was a field trip as part of my animal welfare class. I knew that it would not be a pleasant experience for me however I also recognize the importance of ‘seeing things for yourself.’ I now feel that I can make a somewhat more informed opinion in regards to my feelings towards “factory” farms.

I’m going to keep this as straightforward as possible, without inserting any connotations… at least until the end. Any wording I use is not meant to insinuate, for example I use the word “warehouse” to describe the large facility where the chickens live, not to make it sound bleak, but simply for lack of a better word, and rather than use industry terms I would rather use my own vernacular. I don’t like to use words like “poultry” (although I do) because like “beef,” “veal” and “pork” they desensitize us to the reality. I am simply describing my experience. Use your own judgement.

Furthermore this was my experience in ONE operation. This may or may not be representative of the industry. In fact I would argue (as would my TA who did her masters in poultry welfare, that this was a BEST case scenario.) In some regards I was pleasantly surprised, as were my classmates as many of the welfare concerns commonly associated with these operations did not apply. For example dermatitis and debeaking (the burning/clipping off of beaks to prevent cannibalism) can be avoided using proper air ventilation and controlled lighting, respectively.

This operation was a “family farm,” though I use the term lightly as I feel it is simply a buzzword with no definition or implications in regards to practice. In other words, this farm was owned by a man, rather than a corporation and he happened to be a father. Let’s not get all idealistic about “family farms.”

This man was extremely knowledgable about poultry farming. He was a veterinarian, taught classes on good practice and consulted governments/interest groups internationally.

He said that if it were not for the fact that he travels regularly, he could manage the entire operation himself. Since he does, he had a few (as in 2 or 3 if I’m not mistaken) employees.

The operation consisted of approximately 50,000 birds. The facility was one large building, divided into (3 or 5?) separate warehouses.

I asked a lot of questions and wish I could of recorded the answers, but here is what I remember (according to my notes written the next day.)

Chickens are hatched in a highly mechanized factory which inserts a vaccine for Marek’s disease into the eggs three days before they are about to hatch. Marek’s disease used to be a major cause of mortality.

After hatching they may be sprayed with various things such as to prevent bronchitis, among other common infections.

Mortality during this stage is below %1. Birds that are taken from the assembly line are killed in machines called “macerators.”

Day olds are then sorted into batches, each batch consisting of 102 chicks (batch of 100 contains 2 extras in case of mortality) and put into big temperature controlled trucks to be shipped.

Once at the poultry operation…

- 0.8 square feet per bird

-50000 birds total (divided into a couple warehouses)

-38-39 days average (shorter for KFC since they sell by the piece)

-feed consists of small crumbles made of wheat, soy, canola and sometimes meat meal (such as pig and cow byproducts)

-the higher the quality of protein, the less they require

-constant access to feed and water (via nipple drinkers, which limit moisture getting into the litter). Height of drinkers is adjusted based on size/age.

-litter may consist of wood chips, chopped up newspaper or other such substrate

-good ventilation dries out poop and prevents excess moisture from causing feet problems (ex: dermatitis).

-ventilation, proper heating and static pressure of incoming air are very important for lowering mortality.

-mortality at this operation was below 5%.

-a person walked through the warehouses minimum twice a day to remove dead and unhealthy birds (necks broken on the spot.) Dead birds were burned. Main cause of death was e coli if I remember correctly….

-chicken breeding advancements over the past few years have resulted in “robust” breeds that do not have problems such as out growing their leg strength… i.e. getting so fat so quickly they cannot walk, as is well documented in other breeds

-cannibalism and pecking are not a problem (if I remember, due to controlled lighting.) No debeaking required.

-birds were not sexed. Males and females both raised together, though males are “more efficient.”

-new breeds are highly efficient in terms of energy efficiency i.e. 150lbs of grain will yield almost 150lbs of meat.

-lighting carefully measured (using fancy equipment): included 4 hours of darkness per night, with the lights gradually coming on and off.

-hormones are illegal in Canada for poultry

-Some acid administered to the water to lower the PH (not sure what this does…?)

-All operations in BC require a back-up power generator. In other Provinces, when power is lost, many animals die. For example power outages during a Quebecois winter as are prone to happen are very fatal.

-Water must be administered at a certain temperature. Chicks will die from drinking water that is too cold (no ability to warm it.) Additionally ambient temperature is important for young chicks as they have no ability to keep themselves warm.

-When chickens are ready to be slaughtered, chicken catchers come and push in a long row of attached crates to run the length of the warehouse. Chickens are picked up manually and put into the drawers. Another method is the automatic chicken picker upper (not the real name… I believe they refer to it as a chicken harvester) which is essentially a big zambonie which uses rubber fingers to pick up the chickens and deposit them into the truck.

-chicken catching used to be (and probably still is in most places) a highly unregulated profession which exploited foreign workers. Now they have fair wages and health plans etc.

At the slaughtering facility the birds are sprayed with electrified water to stun them (not sure if they are hanging up side down on a conveyor… most likely) and then their throats are slit.

-In Canada we have a supply management system for poultry much like the Dairy industry. (i.e. limit supply so as to keep prices higher.)

-At this facility, antibiotics were only used when absolutely necessary, for example during the salmonella outbreak which occured a few years ago. Otherwise antibiotics are not widely administered. (i.e. not used preventively but perhaps used on individual sick birds.)

After each batch of chickens, the warehouses are cleaned out (all litter removed, sent to some guy who composts and sells it), sterilized and must sit empty for 10-12 days. Total cycle is about 8 weeks.

So that’s all I can think of off the top of my head. Once again I want to say that this is information gleaned from one individual and observed at a single operation. Nevertheless it is interesting.

He also had a strong opinion in terms of marketing, particularly in regards to “good welfare” such as in advertised in Whole Foods. He said he had been to WF and noticed one of the farms they were advertising as good welfare. He had been to said farm and was appalled. Nevertheless this meat being sold HIGH above the market price. In other words these “cage free” (all meat birds are cage free) operations being touted as welfare friendly are not necessarily any better (and possible worse) that “conventionally produced” chicken.

Not that I’m promoting either.

Okay time to let it out.

Let’s be serious 0.8 square feet per bird? Like…actually? This is acceptable? When I was there they were at about two weeks and still quite small so they appeared to have room to move, but soon they will “pop up like popcorn.”

Never see the light of day.

Sure, they’re healthy. No predators to worry about. But is this a real tradeoff? You could never leave your house to minimize being killed in a car accident but is it worth it to NEVER GO OUTSIDE. Live your whole life without seeing the sky. Or a tree or…. you get it.

And 39 days to live? Excuse me? Normal chickens (i.e. not intensively bred) can live 5-7 years. So in 5 years a chicken will live 1825 days meaning these chickens live 2.1% of their potential lifespan. For a human with a life expectancy of 80 years, that’s the equivalent of living less than 2 years (1.68). That’s fucked.

Not that these chickens would live that long given the chance. They would grow to be about 15lbs (I’m not making this shit up, that’s what he said.) So who knows how long they’d actually live before their immune systems poop out some other adverse affect of their selective breeding.

In other words, we’ve fucked them over.

I’m swearing more because it’s hard not to become emotionally involved. People always ask me what would happen if everyone stopped eating meat. For example the chickens and cows wouldn’t get to live at all because they, in their current commercially bred state, never existed in the wild and probably cannot exist without human intervention. So we fucked them over. Turned them into machines for our use.

So the truth is yes, if we were not breeding them they would not be alive. Despite popular belief, there would not be a massacre if we suddenly all went vegan and didn’t have use for them. If demand declines, so does supply. Prices fall so producers produce less. I could draw you a diagram if you like but I think you get the point. Less animals bred, yes less animals get to live, but also less animals get to suffer. The unborn cannot regret their lack of existance but those who suffer. . . well what is a life of suffering? Are these animals suffering? How do we measure it? Pain can be measured via blood cortisol levels but what about affective states? How do we measure their happiness?


That’s all for now.


p.s. I’m working on a website for my term paper on commercial housing for laying hens so that should be up by Tuesday.

Yo! (gurt) …. of the vegan variety…

For the past few months I’ve been experimenting with making my own non-dairy yogurts.

Actually I take that back. I’ve been experimenting over the past few YEARS but only had success until recently.

This is due to the fact that despite my voracious appetite for food blogs I never realized that store bought almond milks contain emulsifiers that prevent it from yogurtifying.

Thanks Food Science!

One of the biggest staples in my diet before forgoing dairy, along with cottage cheese, was yogurt. A lot of people have a hard time giving up cheese, but for me yogurt was the solemnest goodbye.

Despite all the advancements in the food processing world, soy yogurt… just didn’t cut it to say the least. Recently, almond and coconut yogurt have become widely delicious and I must say I am a fan of both.

Buuutttt. It still means buying unnecessary plastic. And why just take the easy, convenient route of buying it in a store when I can procrastinate school work?

Soy yogurt turned out to be surprisingly simple to make. I originally found the “recipe” (if you can call two ingredients a recipe) in Chickpea.

All you need to do is go out and buy some plain (organic! this ain’t GMOgurt) soy yogurt (one of ‘em single serving thangs will do great if you can find it.) You don’t want to use flavoured yogurt such as those containing fruit as they could cause mould and junk. Preheat your oven.

Heat up a litre or so of soy milk on your stove to about room temperate. Turn off stove. Turn off oven.

Whisk in the yogurt (at least a couple tablespoons.)

Decant into jars or glass bowl or whatever the heck you got. Place in warm (but turned off!) oven with a kitchen towel over top. Alternatively you could put it in any warm spot in your house, but here in Raincouver I find the oven is an appropriate womb.

Now let it do its thing for 8 or so hours. I usually do it before bed so I have an awesome surprise in the morning. If you like a more “sour” yogurt, leave it longer!

The yogurt should have thickened up a fair bit but probably not like what you’re used to. Line a strainer with cheesecloth and drip out some of the water until you’ve reached your desired consistency. You could also thicken it by using a tablespoon or so of a starch such as tapioca (but not corn, as I mentioned- this ain’t GMOgurt….do you really want Monsanto to have autonomy over your fermented non-dairy yogurt baby?)

Don’t forget to set aside some yogurt for your next batch.

Now make it delicious! I like to add some stevia, vanilla and cinnamon… maybe some nutmeg when I’m in the mood. I also blended in some strawberries once and MY MY was I converted forever.

I’m still perfecting that almond recipe. If you have homemade almond milk on hand, you can just use your soy starter and follow the above directions. My main problem is getting it thick, it just seems like I have to strain it so much, there’s barely any left! Yes, I could use a thickener, but that feels like cheating. In any case I am currently enjoying a delicious probiotic “drink” with my morning fruit.

Eventually I will edit this post with some pictures…. but tata for now.


So there’s been this article going around from the Guardian that highlights how the rapid rise in popularity of quinoa has driven up prices in Bolivia and now they can no longer afford their staple grain.

Interesting, though to be frank, nothing we haven’t seen time and time again. Western world decides they like something. Err’body starts growing it like mad and next thing you know you have a monocrop and a major loss of diversity.

This particular article slams vegans and vegetarians for driving this unfortunate case as clearly vegans are the only people who eat quinoa and clearly we represent such a significant sample of the population that our tastes drive global change.

So I’m not going to post the article; you’ll have to find it yourself. Not because I believe in censorship, but because misinformation is very frustrating. For example saying that a tofu eating veg is driving deforestation of the amazon, but FAILING to mention (other than in the footnotes) that 97% of  all soy is used to feed cattle (and other livestock.) The other main cause of amazonian deforestation is cattle grazing.

True story.

I could go on about greenhouse gas emissions, water use and the massive amounts of grain being diverted from human use in order to feed livestock, but we’re talking about Bolivia here.

So let’s not get TOO side tracked.

Anyway it really sucks for Bolivia that junk food is becoming cheaper than their nutritious, locally grown eats.

Wait…. sounds like somewhere I know.

Welcome to the first world! Where a head of lettuce grown down the road will cost you double a big mac.

Next up. Obesity.

But before this post gets too cynical, I’d like to highlight something REALLY COOL that Bolivia is doing. Talk about looking ahead.

Click that link. Read about how cool they are.

I wish my government was that cool.

I debated which contentious issue to bring up, but it’s late. I don’t have all night.

Speaking of cool governments! I learned in my animal welfare class today today that Astrid Lindgren- who wrote all the Pippy Longstocking books- was sort of this mother theresa type figure in Sweden and she became very interested in animal welfare. She started writing about it and everyone got upset and next thing you know the minister of agriculture is phoning her up for advice on how to word their animal welfare laws. Now Sweden has some of the most progressive animal welfare laws in the land.

The land being earth.

I have yet to research what their laws entail but I’m super intrigued and I thought it was a cool story. Yay for engaged public figures!

That’s all for now. Glad I got that out of my system.


Oh So Chewy Ginger Cookies (vegan)

This recipe needs to be shared.

Every Christmas as a child I would make a huge batch of fantastically chewy ginger cookies. I would cut them into christmasy shapes and give them away as gifts. The recipe was from ‘Company’s Coming Kids Cooking’ and my secret was I added a butt load of extra corn syrup and molasses to make them….


Did I mention they were chewy?

They became my trademark. In my ten-year-old head I was famous for them, and it wouldn’t be Christmas without them.

But alas, now that I don’t eat eggs or butter the recipe is a no go. Not to mention a food sustainability major such as myself wouldn’t be caught red handed pouring out GMO corn syrup.

And did I mention I’m wheat intolerant?

So much for my go-to recipe.


After several rounds of failure last year I have achieved perfection. Truly. I know this because my mother approves.

And she ain’t no lax critic.

SO without further ado.

Oh So Chewy Ginger Cookies 

  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan “butter”
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 Tbsp brown rice syrup
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp Egg Replacer (I used EnerG brand)
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 cup raw (dark) sugar (Muscovado, demerara or coconut sugar)
  • 1 cup light cane sugar (Turbinado)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups light spelt flour
  • 1 cup whole spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • light cane sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 375°F or 350° convection.
Allow ‘butter’ to soften to room temp. Melt coconut oil in microwave.
Whisk together egg replacer + water
Add first 6 ingredients together and beat until smooth and whipped-looking.
In separate bowl, whisk together the rest. Add to wet and gently fold until combined.
Roll into 2 inch balls and roll in cane sugar. Press lightly onto baking sheet (nonstick or parchment lined.)
Bake for 6-8 minutes. Do not over-bake! They should still look puffy and underdone when you take them out- do not be fooled!
Allow to cool then transfer to wire rack.
Eat them all!

Ethical Xmas Eats – A Vegan Holiday Menu

Firstly I’d like to commend CTV W5 for this awesome (horrific) feature:

This is nothing new, but rarely does it come into the mainstream. Great job CTV.

And now that you’re sufficiently turned off the holiday pork roast…

I’ve done some comprehensive menu planning just for you. You’re welcome. So rest snug as a bug on xmas knowing no harm came to anyone as a result of your delicious christmas festivities. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have baking to do.

Start the day right:

I use a recipe from Sarah Kramer’s ‘How it All Vegan.’ nom nom.

Ooey gooey cinnamon buns

Eggnog Pancakes

Afternoon coffee/tea:


Gingerbread latte

Swedish Lucia buns 

Side dishes:

Stuffed Mushrooms with Tofu and Herbs

Scalloped Potatoes

Sage and Onion Stuffing

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Wild Mushroom Gravy

Spiced Winter Squash w/ Fennel

Kale Slaw with Curried Almond Dressing

Roast Brussel Sprouts


Stuffed Seitan

Holiday Loaf with Apricot Glaze



Ginger Cookies

Eggnog Cheesecake 

Bliss Balls:

Bliss balls are my go to all year round. This season I opted for chocolate hazelnut (read: nutella!) and coconut lime. Super duper easy for the baking impaired. In a food processor just throw together some of the following to taste.

Chocolate Hazelnut:

Roasted hazelnuts (bake at 400 for about 10)




shredded coconut

brown rice syrup/maple syrup/agave nectar


Roll in coconut, cocoa or cinnamon.

Coconut Lime:


Shredded coconut


brown rice syrup/maple syrup/agave nectar

lime zest/juice

Grand Marnier or citrus liqueur of choice

Roll in coconut.


Bliss balls, date squares and ginger cookies oh my!

Since my Grandma passed away a few years ago, I’ve been in charge of the Christmas pudding. Honestly I don’t think I ever really ate the Christmas pudding until then, but now I think it’s the most glorious dessert ever in invention. Here is my version, made up based on my Grandma’s original recipe. Don’t forget to douse it in rum and light it on fire before serving.

Kristina’s Christmas Carrot Pudding

(fills large mould PLUS a leftovers)

7/8 C oil (grape seed, coconut…)

1 C organic cane sugar

1 C maple syrup

2 C carrot – grated

2 1/2 C potato – grated (2 large russet)

1 1/2 C Spelt flour (or wheat)

2/3 C other flour (Garfava, Brown rice…)

1 C dates – chopped

1 C raisins

1 C dried cherries

2/3 C currants

2/3 C dried blueberries

1 C nuts- chopped (almonds, pecans)

1 tsp cloves

1 tsp nutmeg

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp Baking Soda

3 tsp tapioca starch (or potato starch)

Beat together oils & sugar + maple syrup

Add carrots and 1 1/2 C potato; mix well

Sprinkle fruit with some flour and add to mixture

Add flour + spices + tapioca starch

Dissolve baking soda into remaining 1 C potato then add to mixture

Pour into greased pudding mold and steam for 3 hours

Steaming instructions: fill mold 2/3 (will expand) and fit with lid. Fill a large pot with with water and lower in mold (water should reach halfway up mold.) Keep mold from bottom so water can circulate (place on canning rings?) Put pot lid on and boil water for 3 hours.

This recipe is LARGE. Extra pudding can be steamed the same way in a glass jar with lid.


Garfava/Brown rice flour: Can replace with more spelt and omit tapioca starch