My Quest for the Best Plant-Based Cheese

Just over 5 years ago, my relationship with food changed. I went on a vacation to Costa Rica and while I was there attended a raw cooking workshop (total life changer). Previous that that I had been a picky pescatarian for the majority of my life. 

During the workshop and in the year that followed, I learned a ton about food, nutrition — and really got comfortable experimenting. I tried new plant-based recipes, raw cooking, every different type of nut, and spent a lot of time with my food processor. I didn’t get hung up on diets or allergies, instead I just focused on whole foods and paying attention to what made me feel good (and what didn’t).

Since then, I’ve been on a plant-based journey, and these days Elliot and I prefer eating plant-based to anything else. Vegetables, beans/legumes, nuts and grains for the win.

One thing I had to figure out early on was how I would replace cheese (the dairy kind!). I used to love cheese, but I knew it didn’t agree with my gut. Back then, I turned to Daiya cheeses. I didn’t like it at all, but at the time, there wasn’t a ton of options on the market.

Since then, plant-based companies have exploded in Canada! From coast to coast, there are a ton of plant-based lovers and artisan creameries bringing dairy-free cheeses to our community. 

Best Plant-Based Cheese in Vancouver

I pretty much buy every dairy-free cheese I can get my hands on. I’ve been on the hunt for the best. :) In 2017, I crossed the border for cheese, attended a cheese-making workshop,  filled my suitcase with Italian nut-cheeses, participated in Blue Heron’s pre-order cheese subscription, and continually refreshed Vegan Supply’s website for new products in stock. 😅

So, here you go…

The Holy Grail of Plant-Based Cheeses: 

Note: I’m crossing my fingers that Black Sheep Vegan Cheeze will be available in Vancouver soon. The “voursin” looks amazing & it will no doubt hit the holy grail list. 

Making Plant-Based Cheese at Home

Photo Credit: Minimalist Baker

Plant-based cheese sauces are super easy to make at home. Hard cheeses are a bit tricker – and definitely require more patience. One of my favourite toppings is nutritional yeast — love the cheezy flavour! It’s great sprinkled on popcorn, roasted veggies and buddha bowls.

If you’re keen to whip up a plant-based cheese or three, my favourite recipes are:

Parmesan cheese is also super easy to make. I combine brazil nuts (a handful), a clove of garlic, and a wee bit of salt, then blend it up in a food processor. It stores well in fridge for a few weeks or the freezer for a few months.

Happy New Years. May all your 2018 cheese dreams come true.

The Holidays are Here

Lights are up. Trees are decorated. Everyone is in the full swing of events, presents and more.

But wait?

When will we get a few minutes to breathe?

Well, I have something to share with you. If YOU don’t create space for those moments, they won’t happen. Whoa whoa, I know. Crazy. ;)

I’m not always great at staring at the wall and breathing solo, and at this time of year, love connecting with others over both the calm and the chaos.

If you’re keen to do the same, check out one or two of the events in our community:

Additional mindful holiday vibes:

Wishing you chill vibes and allllll the breathing.

Making Your First Wreath

Last year I made a wreath for the first time — and it was way less daunting than I expected.

I was *super* intimidated by the challenge — but still had this weird desire to do it. I posted on Facebook with a few questions, like… where do I buy wreath things? :) … and before you knew it, I had all the info I needed. First timer tip: just pop into a florist or nursery and they’ll be able to hook you up with what you need! :)

I popped over to Dykhof Nursery (in North Vancouver) and picked up a wreath ring, some twine, cedar, eucalyptus and magnolia leaves. I then sat on my kitchen floor for maybe 4 hours and created my wreath.

I felt focused and mindful as I tied each piece onto the ring. It was a necessary and nice dose of yin to a very yang time of year.

This year, I’m excited to make a wreath again… I’m switching it up from solo-wreath-making this year though! Instead, I’m excited to join a community class and will be wreath making with Forage & BLOOM in Deep Cove.

If you’re keen to make a wreath this year, just do it. Check out your local florist/nursery or one of the wreath workshops in our community. It is not as daunting as it first seems, and heck, our moms used to make them all the time in the 90’s. :)

Upcoming wreath workshops: 

My 1st wreath!

  • November 29th with Serpent Botanical & Neighbourhood Quality Goods (more info)
  • November 30th with Bauble Babes & Nineteen Home (more info)
  • December 2nd with OAK + FORT Home & Our Little Flower Company (more info)
  • December 3rd with Bauble Babes & Nineteen Home (more info)
  • December 4th with Full Bloom Flowers (more info)
  • December 7th with Forage & BLOOM and Bluhouse Market (more info)
  • December 14th with The Wild Bunch (more info)

If you’re keen to get your festive on in another ways, the Fall for Local Holiday Market is taking place at The Shipyards in North Vancouver on December 9th. They are also hosting a free DIY wreath workshop.

Merry and bright. You do you this holiday season.

It’s Do What You Want To Do December

How is it December? I don’t even know – but some how it is…

Now we must rally together to get through holiday parties, friend festivities, and all the events that usually come with end of year. Right?!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I have to do vs. what I want to do.

And you know what I’ve (finally at the age of 32) realized? If you don’t want to to go to the party, you don’t have to go to the party. If you don’t want to buy a gift, you don’t have to buy a gift.

If you (err, I mean, me) need anything, it’s to do more of what you actually want to do. 

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Buying Our First Home

Towards the end of last year, we realized that we were ready to leave the rental market and although TOTALLY intimidating, wanted our own home. 😬

We spent *many* months trying to figure out what was important to us, and danced between staying in Mt. Pleasant, buying a condo in the West End, and briefly considered houses in East Van. We were struggling with the decision because it felt *so* permanent. It felt like we had one opportunity to enter the housing market and if we didn’t leap now, we would be priced out.

Throughout the process, we talked a lot about how we wanted to design our life (current & future), and both recognized that nature, the ocean, access to mountains & trails, silence, the stars and room to grow (a family) were all important to us.

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A Broken Jaw & Lessons Learned Along the Way

Just over 8 weeks ago we flew down to LA for a mini-vacay. The plan was sunshine, sports and soul recovery. ☀️

Here’s the thing though… life doesn’t always go as planned.

Less than 24 hrs after we arrived, Elliot was in a cycling accident in Malibu. He ended up with a broken jaw, broken teeth, a pile of face lacerations, tons of stitches, abrasions, etc!

The last couple months have been a whirlwind, and also, super freaking hard.

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Tips & Tricks – Maui

Maui tips – from us to YOU!

Updated April 2016: We just got back from our 2nd trip to Maui and discovered some more gems! 

Last year we went to Maui for the first time – and pretty much fell in love. It’s totally paradise, folks. <insert 75 million heart emojis here>.

Since then we’ve received a ton of questions from friends, family and random strangers about what we loved – and also, what we didn’t!

If you find yourself itching for a tropical vacation filled to the brim with sunshine and adventure, check out our recos below!

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Eat Clean – Best Recipes of 2015

CaptureBack in 2013 I posted my favourite recipes from the year! That was a big year for me in the kitchen, as I was super curious and really just getting into my groove with (mostly) dairy-free, gluten-free and vegetarian cooking.

Since then, I have fallen in love with a couple new blogs, Hot for Food and Minimalist Baker.  Of course I’l always be a loyal Oh She Glows fan too. :) #OhCanada

This past year has been rather fast and furious. We got into a good meal planning routine — and then would shift into chaos — and then back into routine. (That’s life I think!). As much as I love spending a couple hours in the kitchen cooking away, this past year the focus has been easy and breezy recipes!

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Back to the Grind

ForScreenshot 2016-04-12 18.16.13 the last 10 days we’ve been on “vacation.” Not that kind of vacation where you book time off to escape, travel the world, or staycation tho…

We are lucky to work for companies that recognize that closing up shop (over the holidays) is important — and encouraging “employees” (bleh, so formal) to recharge, relax and reflect on the last year (and the year to come!) is super important!

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Adventures in Sechelt

We decided to end the year (and kick off a new one!) at one of our favourite places on the Sunshine Coast… this gem!

We discovered Gary’s cabin on Airbnb a few years back – and we’ve been lucky to call it home twice! Two things you should know about Gary:

  • His blog tells the tale of how him & his wife transitioned from city-living to small-town living successfully. I liked this post on why we need to forgot about retirement and just start living the good life now! 3 cheers for that! If you ever dream of moving to a cabin in the woods, you’ll appreciate his journey.
  • He was interviewed by Fast Company on how to achieve Airbnb success last year. If your place is listed on Airbnb (or VRBO), it’s well worth the read!

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