NCVA announces Ottawa Veg Ball benefactors

Veg ball?

The National Capital Vegetarian Association (NCVA) invites everyone to fulfil two great passions—food and animals—at the inaugural Ottawa Veg Ball on Dec. 10.

All proceeds will benefit New Moon Rabbit Rescue, and Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary.

Veg ball?

It will be an event unlike any other held in Ottawa, demonstrating that it’s fully possible to have

a great time and raise money to help animals, all the while enjoying mouth-watering vegan cuisine which will be generously provided by sponsors including B.Goods,  Auntie Loos, and more.

So dig out your classiest clothes (but please, leave the animal pelts at home) and prepare yourself for an unforgettable evening of hors d’oeuvres, dance (featuring DJ Sweet Cheeks) and laughter at Ottawa Veg Ball, where animals will be in everyone’s hearts but not on the menu.

The event takes place in December 10, 2011, from 8:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. at the Montgomery Legion, 330 Kent Street (upper floor). Space is limited to 150 people, so reserve your spot quickly!

Veg balls?

Reservations can be made through the NCVA website, at NCVA events, or at the door.

Admission is $20 for NCVA members, seniors and students and $25 for non-members. Actual tickets will not be issued; rather, a list of pre-paid attendees will be formed and used at the door.

Veg Ball.

All ages are welcome, and alcohol will be available for purchase with ID to those who are 19+ (profits from alcohol sales stay with the venue, not to the selected charities).  Bring your toonies, so you don’t miss the opportunity to participate in the Veg Ball raffle to win some fantastic prizes.

For more information, visit, and follow the blog or Facebook for updates.


Who: Put on by the National Capital Vegetarian Association

What:  Ottawa Veg Ball

When: Dec. 10, 2011, at 8:30 p.m.

Where: Montgomery Legion (downtown)

Why: To have a good time, and raise funds for two worthy charities.

Tranquility and vegan delights at B&B weekend getaway

I tend to studiously avoid restaurants and other services for which I can’t easily confirm a decent number of vegan options, and gauge a base level of knowledge on the part of the owner/staff about veganism. I made an exception to that rule recently, took a chance, and I’m glad I did.

I was in desperate need of a getaway, and as plans kept falling through and the date drawing near, I wasn’t sure what to do. My husband Yves, sensing my frustration, told me to leave it to him, that he would plan something for us. Now anyone who knows me knows that I have difficulty leaving that sort of thing to anyone, but I was running out of options.

Auberge Sejour

He booked us a weekend stay at Auberge Sejour, a very non-vegan bed and breakfast and spa facility located less than an hour away from Ottawa (north-east of Buckingham QC). But not only was breakfast involved, the weekend package would also include ALL meals. It would be enough to strike terror into the heart of any vegan, most of whom have at some time or another found themselves with nothing to eat but iceberg lettuce or crackers.

But, Yves took the lead and with my assistance, did all the legwork to ensure that we would be well-fed vegan food for the entire duration of our stay. I was still nervous though, and stopped in at Auntie Loo’s on the way there just to make sure I had a few treats on hand during our time at the Auberge.

As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about. Its proprietors, Michel and Ellie, were more than happy to accommodate. In fact, we were the only guests at Auberge Sejour that weekend, which made it very easy. It might be a bit more complicated if there are other guests, and I’d recommend that both people in a couple sign on for the vegan experience, rather than expecting two separate meals.

Our own private dining room.

Ellie admitted that she’d never had a request for vegan food before, but you wouldn’t have known it, because the food we ate at each meal was delicious, creative, and nutritious. Our first meal was dinner on Friday evening; a four course dinner served to us in the spacious dining room. The first course consisted of minestrone soup with orzo pasta, followed by a chef’s salad with Italian dressing. The third course was garlic bread, and whole grain spaghettini with spinach, steamed broccoli with roasted almonds. Dessert was surprisingly delicious; baked banana with maple syrup. After dinner we took advantage of their outdoor hot tub, where we took the opportunity to star gaze.

Cabbage rolls stuffed with barley, and chili.

Both breakfasts we had at Auberge Sejour were pretty standard- cereal and soy milk, toast, juice, fresh fruit, coffee etc. Ellie purchased soy milk and vegan margarine just for the occasion. Lunch was the next opportunity for Ellie to demonstrate her creativity, and she did not disappoint. It consisted of vegan chili with bread, and barley stuffed cabbage rolls with tomato sauce. Carrot cake for dessert followed; I don’t like carrot cake, so Yves ate mine. But that was fine, because I was already stuffed.

After lunch we drove about 10 minutes to the nearby Forêt-la-Blanche Ecological Reserve, where we hiked and enjoyed the serenity of wild life for several hours (and collected some acorns for our foster squirrels). After a rejuvenating nap—we did a lot of napping—we headed downstairs for dinner.

This time, for our main course, Ellie had raided Chinatown. Our soup was potato leek, followed by a spinach salad, but the main course consisted of vegetable dumplings and dipping sauce, steamed baby bok choy and cauliflower, and a stir-fry of bean sprouts, water chestnuts, and asparagus. Dessert was silken tofu drenched in wild blueberry sauce.  As someone who’s a bit neurotic about ensuring I consume ample servings of fruit and vegetables, I was impressed by the many varieties and methods that Ellie employed to work them into every course.

Asian-inspired vegetable dumplings, bok choy, and mixed vegetable stir-fry.

Once again wowed by our meal, we decided to take advantage of Michel’s talents– he is a masseuse. Yves and I took turns enjoying full-hour relaxation massages—a first for both of us. Guests at Auberge Sejour can take advantage of this service for a bargain rate of $40 per hour—about half the cost you would pay in Ottawa.

The next morning we decided to explore the Auberge’s sprawling wooded property, which includes a pond and a river. Among nature’s many delights, we found the world’s tiniest toad, and came within six feet of a beaver.

World's smallest toad?

I have no complaints at all about my experience at Auberge Sejour; our two days there were among the most relaxing and wonderful days of my life, and I look forward to returning. Michel and Ellie, who are semi-retired, have set up a paradise (they also have a sauna) and are generous about sharing it with their guests. They have struck the right balance of attentiveness, without being intrusive, and are extremely welcoming. And Ellie is a highly skilled and adaptable cook, who embraced and made the most of her vegan challenge.

The most unbelievable part about the whole experience is that our two night stay, complete with two breakfasts, two dinners, and one lunch, was only $300 + tax. Not per person, total. It’s an oasis that’s just a stone’s throw from Ottawa, but which feels like a world away.

Auberge Sejour also offers banquet and conference facilities.

For more information, contact Michel or Ellie at:

This weekend! Auntie Loo b-day party; Westminster Animal Sanctuary vegan BBQ

Who: Everyone is invited!
What: Auntie Loo’s second birthday party
When: Oct. 15 and 16
Where: Auntie Loo’s Treats (507 Bronson Avenue), and Babylon (Bank Street, downtown Ottawa)

Auntie Loo’s Treats   will celebrate its two-year anniverary this weekend with a bash of unmatched proportions. And the best part? Everyone’s invited to join the celebration.
Yes, we agree.

It’s a two-parter: On Saturday, Oct. 15, Auntie Loo will throw open the doors to her Bronson Avenue bakery between 10 am and 4 pm with lots of fun to be had. The Rideau Valley Roller Derby girls will be on hand to distribute free Auntie Loo goody samples will be available all day, and free samples from LUSH Byward Market will also be available. The cupcake photo booth will also return- get your photo taken inside or on top of a cupcake!

Step aside Waldo; it's Mattycakes we're looking for.

New this year: the Find Mattycakes human/social networking scavenger hunt with full-sized cakes to be won, as well as a fundraising vegan barbecue in support of local charity Westminster Pet Sanctuary, which is co-sponsered by The Table Vegetarian Restaurant.

The party continues on Sunday Oct. 16 at Babylon Night Club from 7 pm until 11 pm. For a $5 charge, audience members will be treated to the burlesque stylings of Miss Helvetica Bold (of Rockalily Burlesque) and Calamity Kitten, Rock n Roll courtesy of local band, Big Dick, Dream Pop courtesy of local band, Lipstick Lesbian, tunes by local DJ Skid Vicious, not to mention free Auntie Loo samples all night, prizes from great local businesses, and a full size cake will be up for grabs!  Proceeds from this special evening will benefit Westminster Pet Sanctuary.

“Thanks to community support, we have grown in leaps and bounds over the past two years, and we want to celebrate that! But it’s important to give back to the community, and to support those who are trying to do good.  Animals have a very special place in my heart, and Westminster cares for some of the very neediest,” says Amanda Lunan, aka Auntie Loo.

The delightful Auntie Loo

Auntie Loo’s is no ordinary bakery; it sells only vegan freshly-made baked goods, made with mostly organic ingredients.  It opened two years ago to serve its growing clientele, and business is booming. The bakery is a shining example of the success that can be had by local businesses that provide a quality, ethical product. While it may bear Auntie Loo’s name, it is truly a team effort, and she takes customer service seriously in a way you won’t find at a big box store.

“In my wildest dreams I never envisioned such amazingly beautiful wedding cakes, a devoted staff who I’m so lucky to have, and probably the nicest clients in the city.  I get emotional just thinking about it,” Auntie Loo says. “I want thank each and every one of my staff and customers for making it possible to do what I love, be with people I love, meet new people everyday and getting to work with the best business people in this city.”

The authour of this post would especially single out the insanely talented Miss Kate, Auntie Loo’s cake decorater, who also happens to have the world’s most ridiculous cat (pictured above).  Also, check out one of her cakes:

Pumpkin-ing things up

By Nadia W.

Fall is in full swing, which in my world means leaves are changing colour and, well, pumpkin. The food blogs that I read have been filled with pumpkin recipes, so I developed a hankering to create something with pumpkin myself…despite my lack of baking pedigree.

I found this great banana pumpkin recipe online. I know, you’re probably thinking, not another loaf recipe. I was planning to attempt a recipe I found for peanut butter chocolate cookies but as I’ve shared on the blog before, I don’t consider myself a baker. In fact, I’ve had little success with baking. So I got spooked. But I did commit to working on my skills, and since banana bread is my one and only specialty, this seemed to be a natural next step.

So when I saw the recipe, I thought hey, this is something I can do. Baby steps. I played around with the recipe a bit by using organic spelt flour instead of all-purpose flour. I also included a half teaspoon of nutmeg, and as I did not have vegetable oil, I used sunflower oil. I also found it was not necessary to add the no- diary milk, as the mixture did not require it.

The end result was a great tasting bread which relaxed my senses as it was baking. I hope you have the same experience if you try it. And I promise my next baking attempt will not be a loaf recipe! 

Pumpkin Banana Loaf

(adapted from


3/4 C vegan sugar
1/2 C maple syrup
1/4 C vegetable oil
1-1/2 C whole wheat flour
1-1/2 C spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
2-4 tablespoons non-dairy milk (if needed)
1 16 oz. can of pumpkin puree
2 ripe bananas

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two bread pans .

In a large bowl combine sugar, maple syrup, vegetable oil, baking soda and spices. Add flour and stir well to combine. Now add bananas and can of pumpkin. Dough should be pourable, but not runny. Add non-dairy milk if needed.

Pour into pans and bake for one hour. Cool in pan for 15-20 minutes then remove to wire rack.  Makes two loaves.