SOYummy: Credible Edibles’ cooking class fun, informative

By Kari

As someone newly entering the world of plant-based diets, taking a cooking class at Credible Edibles was a great way to help me move in this direction. When I was presented with the opportunity to attend the SOYummy class, I jumped at it.

Seasoned edamame

This class focused on learning more about soy products and how they can be incorporated into your diet. It began with the instructor, Judi, introducing information on the variety of soy products that exist and how they can be used in recipes.

The different forms of healthy, less processed soy were put on display: from the raw edamame bean to silken, medium and firm tofu, dried tofu and fermented varieties including miso paste and tempeh, along with soy based beverages. Students in the class were encouraged to taste some of the different varieties to see what they were like before being added to dishes.

Miso soup

The raw edamame beans were made into a snack by simply cooking them and adding seasonings. Ideas on how to serve soy products was discussed and where to find them locally (stores etc.), then the cooking began!

In addition to our edamame snack, we made three dishes during the class, including Japanese miso soup, tempeh coconut curry and chocolate mousse for dessert.  All three recipes were easy to make and featured a different variety of soy products in each. The miso soup featured miso paste and pieces of tofu, the curry dish incorporated tempeh that has a nuttier taste and different texture than tofu, and finally silken tofu was added in the mousse for a light creamy texture.

All three dishes tasted great and were really satisfying. The chocolate mousse in particular was so similar to any other dairy-based mousse you that you can’t really tell that tofu is one of the ingredients! Judi noted that usually soy is found in Asian cooking, but it is not limited to this genre; as these recipes demonstrate, there are many different cooking styles where soy can be used. The Canada Food Guide suggests eating soy often, as it is good a source of protein, calcium, iron and zinc.

Chocolate mousse

Judi suggests including silken tofu in dips like guacamole and in smoothies in place of sour cream or yogurt. As well, tofu pieces can be added to stir fries or dishes for which pieces of meat would usually be used. Remove the water in a block of firm tofu by squeezing it in between two plates over your sink. Tofu literally acts as sponge; once the water is removed, it will absorb any flavouring you would like to add or marinate it in, including soy sauce or coconut milk. Freezing packaged tofu is another idea, if you cannot use it right away.

If you are interested in cooking classes that help you learn how certain ingredients can be incorporated in your diet like in this case soy, the classes at Credible Edibles will be really helpful. There are a variety of classes that you can take, including how to cook with beans or seaweed and classes that feature ideas for holiday cooking.

I strongly suggest attending a class, bringing a friend or your partner too and learning more from Judi on adding more variety to your meals and helpful tips for healthy eating!

Classes coming up in the New Year include Lean and Green, Oh No Gluten, Heart Smart, Smoothies 101, Forks Over Knives, and Kids in the Kitchen.  Perhaps a cooking class would be a good Christmas gift for someone on your list?

Learn more about Credible Edibles, and their upcoming classes, here.  NCVA members get a 20 per cent discount off the price of most classes.

Kari is moving towards a plant-based diet.

Veg Ball raises more than $2,300 for animal charities

The furry (and shelled) creatures in the care of the Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary and New Moon Rabbit Rescue will have a merry Christmas indeed, after more than $2,300 was raised in their honour at the first Ottawa Veg Ball, organized by the National Capital Vegetarian Association.

More than 100 revellers danced, ate, and socialized the night away at Veg Ball, which was held at the Montgomery Legion in downtown Ottawa.  Many spoke of enjoying the novelty of not being the only vegan at the event, and being able to enjoy the food with abandon.  All proceeds from ticket sales, as well as a raffle, were donated to the charities.

There was dancing...

In an impressive display of cooperation, several of Ottawa’s veg-based businesses donated the hors d’oeuvres for the event, including Credible Edibles, Cafe My House, ZenKitchen, Green Earth, and The Green Door.  Desserts were donated by Auntie Loo’s Treats and B.Goods cookies. NCVA board member and dynamo Erin O’Sullivan also made some of her own delicious contributions, which earned rave reviews.

Regan Giggal of New Moon Rabbit Rescue and Nathalie Paquette of Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary both fought back tears as they told Veg Ball attendees about the animals who have suffered so terribly, but who will benefit tremendously thanks to the overwhelming response to the event.  Audience members gasped and cheered uproariously upon hearing the inspiring stories of animal perseverance.

...and there was eating and socializing.

“We are speechless! We simply cannot find the words to properly express our gratitude to the NCVA. The money that was raised for New Moon could not have come at a better time and is going to make a big difference! The bunnies thank you too!” Regan said after Veg Ball. 

“Congratulations on such a wonderful event! We had a great time on Saturday and are honoured to have been part of Ottawa Veg Ball.”

CarrotSanta made his promised appearance, giving lap time to all of the good girls and boys. He was disappointed tolearning that Auntie Loo and Miss Kate were not there to sit on his lap, but promised to stop by the bakery to make all their Christmas dreams come true.

Many attendees expressed the hope that Veg Ball will become an annual event, and perhaps it will. But like all NCVA activities, it was entirely volunteer-driven and help is always needed and appreciated. If you’re interested in putting your mark on the NCVA’s fabulous events and activities, email ncva.avcn@gmail.com.

NCVA board members David and Erin (far and second from left), volunteer Edelweiss, board member Pamela, and volunteer Michelle at Veg Ball.
Regan from New Moon gets cozy with CarrotSanta.

Veg Ball: The Chrismas Party Even Grinches Will Love

Photo by Flikr user Mukumbura

So the tickets to this Saturday’s Veg Ball are selling pretty fast and furious, but I thought I’d write one more blog post especially for the people who don’t usually attend these sorts of events: those who hate loud music; those for whom the prospect of dancing calls up nightmarish memories of sniggering classmates; those to whom weekends mean elastic waistbands and freedom from having to make conversation with strangers.

Personally, I sympathize with you guys. The last time I went to a club was ten years ago. It took a week for my hearing to return and I’ll forever be haunted by the knowledge that, had one more drunken reveller hugged me, I’d be serving life in prison for first degree murder.

But I also sympathize with your partners who really want to eat fancy treats in a fancy dress while wearing dangerously high heels and who would do so but for a scowling, jogging empansed, 5-o’clock-shadowed, mismatched-sock wearing killjoy.

Santa loves veggies! Photo by flikr user eye2eye

So, this is my effort to convince my anti-ball brethren that they too will have fun at this awesome event.

Most obviously, there’s the food. The best of the best of Ottawa’s veg bakers and restaurants will be providing hors d’oeuvres and sweets. If you’re unfamiliar with vegan food and wonder if that means carrot sticks and apples, not to worry. This fare promises to make a proud and substantial contribution to your obligatory five pounds of holiday weight.

Second, there’s the music. DJ Sweetcheeks is a club man to the core, and the dancy people have insisted that a certain minimum volume is necessary for a pleasurable dancing experience (they apparently really enjoy cupping their hands behind their ears and yelling “WHAT?” back and forth while they dance).

However, at my curmudgeonly insistence, they have equipped the room with quieter zones for sitting, eating, relaxing and chatting with all your new friends.

Morever, Mr. Sweetcheeks is apparently more than happy to take requests. Lots of people have already made them via the event’s facebook page. Feel free to do the same, or just bring a list of your faves with you when you come. And don’t worry if they completely suck. You bought your ticket like everyone else and you have the right to hear your tunes. Well, within reason. Like, not Justin Bieber or anything else that will actually draw blood from the eardrums and drive our other guests to gibbering insanity.

So, I hope this post will serve as the metaphorical forklift required to haul unwilling partners off of couches and up the stairs of the Montgomery Legion to what promises to be an awesome Veg Ball.

Now these guys really hate Christmas parties. Photo by flikr user Stefan

See you there!

Top 10 reasons to attend Veg Ball on Dec. 10

Alice, one of the New Moon bunnies. New Moon Rabbit Rescue is one of the recipients Veg Ball proceeds.

By Corrie

1. Help animals! The proceeds from the event will go to local animal-friendly charities New Moon Rabbit Rescue  and the Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. Reps from both groups will be at the event so you can learn more about what they do.

2. Great food. Delicious vegan hors d’oeurves have been generously donated by Green Earth Vegetarian Restaurant, ZenKitchen, The Green Door, Credible Edibles, Café My House, Auntie Loo’s Treats, and B.Goods.

3. Dance, dance, dance. DJ Sweetcheeks (of PROMdemonium fame) will be in the house spinning some of your favourite tunes. Make requests on our Facebook page.

4. The socializing. Meet other veggies, foodies, or just people who like to have a good time. There will plenty of space to mingle and chat about the music, great food and the charities.

5. Prizes! To help raise more money for the charities, the NCVA will be holding a raffle. Tickets are only $1. Prizes include a Matt and Nat wallet and vegan cookbook.

6. Carrot Santa. Yup, you heard right. Carrot Santa will be making an appearance. This may be your only chance to get a photo with a carrot dressed up as Santa.

7. Support the Montgomery Legion. Drink sales go to support the legion, a veteran-based community service organization mandated to care for veterans, service members and dependants.

8. Wear your favourite dress. When else do you get to wear a dress and high-heels in winter?

9. Meet some of the NCVA Board of Directors. Ok, not that exciting, but it is a chance to meet some people who are very passionate about spreading the benefits if a plant-based diet.

10. Fund raising with compassion. You can tell your friends about how you attended an event to help animals that didn’t have animals on the menu!

Register in advance and save $$!  It’s $20 for NCVA members and $25 for non-members (in advance), or $30 at the door for everyone.