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Programming note

I will no longer be updating Guiltless & Gourmet at this address.

My new blog, The Guiltless Life, is a ‘conglomerate’ blog of Guiltless & Gourmet, my previous blog Guiltless & Glamorous (about animal-friendly fashion and beauty products) and will also include some writing, thoughts, meditations, home decor, party planning, crafting and other posts!

Please, please check it out and SUBSCRIBE (the box for subscribing is on the right hand side towards the bottom)! I promise I will entertain you, well, at least sometimes?

http://theguiltlesslife.wordpress.com

Thank you!!

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

Photo by Anna Wootton

Quick announcement: From now on, as requested, my recipes will be accompanied by a nutritional breakdown, providing calories, fat, protein, carbohydrates etc per serving. If relevant this will also sometimes include sodium, cholesterol and sugar/fibre breakdown, as well as the different types of fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated – i.e. the good ones – and saturated). These were prepared using a pretty reliable recipe analyzer but should of course may include a little room for error. They give you a good ballpark though for those of you counting calories or carbs, or just wanting to know how much fibre and nutrients you are getting. At some point I will go through previous posts and add nutrition details there too. The nutrition info will appear underneath the recipe, at the end of each post.

I tried a new recipe on Sunday – Mediterranean Stuffed Zucchinis – and was unsure as to how it would turn out, but WOW! What a burst of flavour – I LOVE LOVE this recipe. Also, the best thing about it is it can be a starter (I would say it is MEANT to be a starter) but we just had two portions instead of one and enjoyed it as a main course. So it is flexible too.

And for you health nuts/dieters out there – it is just healthy fats, vegetables and protein (with tons of fibre) so there are next to no carbs in this meal. Therefore, a great low-carb dinner for those of you that ban them after lunch (it is a good tactic to do for a couple of weeks post-vacation to shed some of those excess pounds gained!) Read the rest of this entry

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

Photo by Anna Wootton

As you can already tell, today’s post is not guiltless and it isn’t particularly gourmet, but it was a big hit at the barbecue I attended today, so I thought I would post it for you all. No, these aren’t agave nectar cupcakes (though I WILL make some one day!) so I wasn’t able to indulge in these treats as the sugar in them would have made me quite ill, but for those of you who can handle sugar and who love cupcakes – these are for you!

I was barely at the barbecue and some cakes had already been grabbed by some kids whose eyes grew wide when they saw the tray, and that was just fine by me. I like taking an empty tray home with me; it’s a sign of a good recipe!

These vanilla cupcakes with buttercream icing were partly inspired by Martha Stewart’s vanilla letter cupcakes (found here) and the frosting was taken from the wonderful baking blog I Am Baker. The frosting I basically did exactly as directed by I Am Baker but for the cupcakes I combined the traditional British cake recipe I have known for so long with Martha Stewart’s to come up with my own mix, but basically they are very similar – all vanilla cake recipes will be. To make a standard vanilla cake you need the basic butter, flour, sugar and eggs and the rest of it you can play with as you like.  Read the rest of this entry

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

Today I was supposed to do a remake of Riso alla Orientale (blogged about here) and try and improve it this time (by thickening the sauce – I commented on how the sauce was too thin in that post). I try and do ambitious dishes like this on the weekends when I have more time to cook but it was actually sunny today and I had 101 things to do so got home at nearly 7pm. No way could I manage to cook up Riso alla Orientale in that amount of time!

So I went to the next recipe on my list for this week – quiche. Because I use store-bought pre-made pie crusts, quiches never take me very long even though they sound very gourmet (read: time-consuming). It’s honestly almost as quick as cooking up an omelette – certainly the preparation is the same; it just requires a little extra time in the oven.

 

Photo by Anna Wootton

Read the rest of this entry

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

My best friend Afra and I often meet up at Joey’s Coquitlam because it’s kind of in between our two houses (we live 40 minutes away from each other – boo!), but the perk of this (other than her amazing company, bien sur) is the yummy Chinatown Lettuce Wraps on the appetizer menu at Joey’s. It’s so filling it does as a whole meal. If you are a die-hard meat eater, they also offer them with chicken or shrimp, but I honestly think you’d be surprised at how tasty and filling the regular ones are, so give them a try! Live a little!

So I set about trying to make my own version and came across a few recipes that I blended into my own hybrid and attempted to cook this up on Thursday night. I have to say, it tasted pretty darn good. It is different in taste to the Joey’s one which is a bit stronger in flavour (but I think that’s because of salt, because I always feel a bit yucky and salt overloadish after eating the whole thing there) so I was willing to sacrifice that slight flavour for feeling great after eating it. And trust me, with all of these ingredients there is still a lot of flavour. Extra bonus? In mine I added egg strips so that you get that extra punch of protein (you can also add nuts, which I have put in there as an option). Basically you’re just getting a healthy serving of protein and vegetables, so you can’t really ask for a healthier and more delicious dinner! Read the rest of this entry

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

All photos by Anna Wootton.

Read the rest of this entry

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Monday, August 1st, 2011

So a sad thing happened in July: we lost our next-door neighbours :(. They moved downtown to a place where I’m sure they’ll be very happy but we are sad to see them go! We often walked their Golden retriever Maple and looked after their cats when they were away, and they in turn were the best cat-sitters for our trio of gingerness (we were catsitting for them in their downtown digs when we were in Coal Harbour the other weekend and went to Cardero’s, as blogged about here). But they’re also our friends so we’re happy to stay in touch with them and we got to pay them a visit on Monday night when they took us out for a ‘thank you’ dinner to Lift Bar and Grill on the seawall in Coal Harbour.

It was a beautiful evening weather-wise so we got to watch many the rower and boat pass by on the water as we sat on Lift’s rooftop deck. The setting was fabulous.

The menu was varied and interesting; they didn’t have a huge selection of vegetarian options and the night I was there the vegetarian sushi roll was unavailable. They could do with more veggie options for sure, but I was easily able to find something to whet my appetite that night.

Lift has an in-house sushi chef so we got some sushi bites as appetizers, including the agedashi tofu sushi which was a very pleasant surprise. I can really love tofu, if it’s done well, and this had just the right amount of sweetness and flavour. Delicious.

As my main course I ordered the Buffalo Mozzarella whet plate, which featured, obviously, Buffalo mozzarella with an antipasto and artichoke roulade with basil and some ‘bruised’ grape tomatoes in a balsamic glaze:

Read the rest of this entry

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Today’s post is a lunch post, but it’s so filling that if you really like sandwiches, you can easily have it for a light dinner.

I’m kind of a fan of Subway. I say kind of because they don’t have as many vegetables as I think they should for a subway chain (what the heck is up with no mushrooms for your sandwiches? And forget about anything as fancy as sprouts or avocado!) but I appreciate that they are out there for those of us in a crunch who don’t want a drive-thru Mickey D’s to fill us up. Their breads are pretty yummy too – I like the honey oat especially :).

But the idea of bread and cheese as a foundation for what is essentially a salad in a sandwich, and a great way to fulfill your 9-a-day vegetable and fruit requirement – inspired me to create my own more gourmet Subway sandwich. Here it is! Read the rest of this entry

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Monday night’s dinner was a light summer meal – the haloumi salad I promised you when I blogged about my favourite protein treat of a snack, haloumi, last Friday.

If a salad just feels like too little to have for dinner, haloumi will change that. A simple addition of haloumi on top is the vegetarian version of having a salad with a chopped chicken breast on top (it actually kinda looks like that too – I just realized that now…). Haloumi is full fat and filling! It sounds scary to perpetual dieters who want to low-fat everything, but honestly you’re not having that much.

When it comes to salad I wish I could have some fancy recipes for you but unless we’re making a bread salad, fruit salad, pasta salad, a fruity berry salad or something a bit different, so long as it’s a veggie salad it’s just going to be me piling in whatever veggies I love and have in the fridge. I guess an easy way to break it down for the ultimate in salad flavour, however, I recommend the following salad formula: Read the rest of this entry

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

There’s something about warm weather – as soon as the temperature goes north of 23 or 24 degrees (Celsius of course!) I turn from a vegetarian into a fruititarian and crave nothing but fruit and veggies – anything else feels too heavy.

This is obviously a great way to eat as it leaves you feeling pretty energized and refreshed. However, I have waited for two months in Vancouver so far this summer and there has been no day hot enough for my fruit-craving tendencies. Until today! Whoopee!

So I woke up and it was warm…19 degrees with a forecast for 25 degrees later in the afternoon. I had a quick bowl of cereal, went for a run and then packed myself my afternoon snack, which I will call Anna’s Amazing Fruit Salad because that’s about as original as I’m feeling today: Read the rest of this entry

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

When I need a protein snack, I usually whip up a protein smoothie or make an egg burrito or something else protein-heavy. But if I want a protein snack and a bit of a treat, I simply slice off some chunks from a block of haloumi cheese (sometimes spelled halloumi) and fry them up in a saucepan to get crispy on the outside.

The end result looks something like this:

Read the rest of this entry

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Monday, July 18th, 2011

On Monday we hosted a dinner for some family friends of ours who were visiting from the Okanagan. I was working till 5pm and they were arriving at 5:30pm so I knew I needed a menu that was either – or both – able to be prepared in advance or very quick to cook.

Here’s the menu I came up with:

Butternut squash agnolotti in a marinated tomato sauce with goat cheese and balsamic reduction
Green summer salad with homemade vinaigrette
Crusty Asiago bread with flavoured butters
Chocolate mousse with raspberries

The chocolate mousse has to be prepared at least 8 hours in advance to allow for the mousse to set so that was easy – I was able to make it the night before! The pasta sauce involves marinated tomatoes which need to be made at least 2-4 hours in advance to allow them to really soak up the flavours. So I did that on my lunch break. Pasta takes 7 minutes to cook – so that was an easy one! (Yes, if I had been doing this on a weekend I would have been braver and made the agnolotti myself – I will post that recipe when I actually have the time to do it! For this one, I ‘cheated’ and used store-bought agnolotti). The bread was also store-bought and the butters were quick to mix. And salads are also a quick fix.

The recipes are below, so I hope you find something to whet your appetite here! Read the rest of this entry

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

I got home from work pretty late today and thus dinner tonight is the ultimate ‘fast food’ that still tries to keep its healthy edge: pizza and a salad. What else, right?

For pizza, if you are passing by a FreshSlice Pizza (if you live in BC, of course) you can always stop in for a slice! They make their pizzas with multigrain crusts and low-fat cheese and I promise they are still delish.

However, if you want to go the even cheaper and even easier route? Stock up on frozen pizzas like we do so that you always have one to bung in the oven if you need dinner in a flash. I’ve blogged about Amy’s products before and they have a great range of pizzas, including gluten-free and vegan ones for those of you following stricter diets (for that post click here). Another product I like though is Dr. Oetker’s Ristorante pizzas. These are thin-crust, so relatively low in fat and not as carby or heavy feeling as those thick crust deep dish pizzas you can find. As you can see from the link, Dr. Oetker makes quite a few different varieties (I like talking about him as if he’s a person – I’ve imagined Betty Crocker and Aunt Jemima like that my whole life too so it’s a habit that doesn’t look like it’s going to die anytime soon – clever marketing, people!). There are some with meat but there are also a number of veggie options. Pizza Spinaci, Pizza Vegetale, Pizza Funghi, Pizza Mozzarella, Pizza Formaggi et Pomodori and Pizza Quatro Formaggi are their vegetarian varieties – way more than the two meat options they offer! Read the rest of this entry

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Sorry if you follow me on Twitter and hoped I’d post this last night – I got busy making bracelets and lost track of time :). Here’s the Thai veggie curry recipe I promised you and I assure you it’s worth the wait! Very easy to make thanks to the convenience of coconut milk, which blasts your tastebuds with a ton of flavour with very little work involved :). Also, of course, ready-made Thai curry pastes make life simple too!

And in case you aren’t sure what I mean by ready-made Thai curry paste I included a blurry quick phone snapshot of the one I used for this recipe below. This is a yellow curry paste, please note this recipe can be made using red curry pate or green curry paste. They are all Thai but just use a different blend of spices and peppers for each. All flavours are wonderful. I THINK technically green is the hottest, followed by red (I think??) but I don’t find any of them that hot! I can handle spice though and some people prefer things milder – to you I would say, this yellow paste is not hot at all, so when in doubt, stick with the yellow! Another note on the little sucker below: this jar is no bigger than my forefinger. It will last you, trust me! I used 2 teaspoons for this dish only. So it’s a worthwhile investment!

Read the rest of this entry

Saturday, July 9th, 2011

Saturday, July 9th, 2011

If you’ve read this blog before you know that although its focus is on the vegetarian dinners I make, I have mentioned before that with sweet foods I prefer to avoid simple sugars as they spike my blood sugar and leave me feeling pretty ill. Therefore when I bake I try to use natural sweeteners such as brown rice syrup, agave nectar, molasses, stevia, honey etc. and avoid adding white and brown sugars when the recipe calls for it.

I had some trials with biscotti this weekend as it’s a great treat to have with a cup of tea or coffee and is really fun to make if you enjoy baking. I originally tried a recipe with stevia but it came out tasteless and salty, for some reason. So that went in the garbage and the next attempt was a recipe made with agave nectar, that I loosely based on the recipe found on the blog Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free. Click here for the link to the original recipe, which is a gluten-free version of the below recipe and used pistachios and cranberries instead of walnuts, and did not dip the biscotti in chocolate. Read the rest of this entry

Sunday, July 3rd, 2011

Sunday, July 3rd, 2011

This post is very late in coming but it’s been a hectic week; please bear with me!

This was my first time making this recipe, however. It comes from a book of gourmet recipes that are the kind of vegetarian recipes that are ideal to pull out for a holiday meal or special get-together where you can spend a little more time over your cooking. So I haven’t touched it as much as I would like because there just haven’t been enough occasions where I was able to spend the kind of time I thought would be needed! However, I was proven wrong with this recipe.

Titled Riso alla Orientale, which I guess is the Italian way of saying “Oriental-style rice” though I’ m not good at Italian so who knows, this recipe comes from our cookbook The Vegetarranean (get it? Get it??), an Italian vegetarian cookbook (not many of them out there!) which you can find at Amazon here. It looks like this:

Aww…ain’t it pretty?

Read the rest of this entry

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Friday, July 1st, 2011

I know it’s a bit late but forgive me – Friday, July 1st was my birthday! and Canada’s! So we went to Victoria, British Columbia’s capital, to join in the revelry and celebrate both my 26th and Canada’s 144th birthday. Therefore everything this week got a bit lazy and pushed back – the Americans had their Independence Day celebration on Monday, July 4th, the same day that my home country – the Cayman Islands – also got a day off for Constitution Day. So I took a day to celebrate on their behalf as well ;).

Well, seeing as we were away and therefore unable to cook, I thought I would share what a weekend away is like for one following a vegetarian diet. I know I have blogged about meals out before but hopefully you can see what it’s like to survive over a couple of days on the diet. It’s really not that hard!

Read the rest of this entry

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

The night before my birthday! As we were going to the island overnight on Friday to Saturday I wanted to make sure we could make a meal that could be eaten on Thursday and still be good to finish off when we got in late on Saturday.

This dish, Sweet Potato-Lentil Stew, was first served to me by my brother-in-law Jon and sister Katherine when we spent Christmas with them last year. They wanted a vegetarian option for the main course for those non-turkey eaters. They found this recipe in a book Jon had actually given me for Christmas the previous year, Alicia Silverstone‘s The Kind Diet:

Jon and Katherine liked it so much they bought a copy for themselves and out came this amazing recipe; one I hadn’t tried until then and now it is a staple on our meal plan! You can tell it’s a much-loved recipe when the book naturally opens to that page :). Read the rest of this entry

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Monday, June 27th, 2011

One of my favourite meals EVER is a risotto. It’s creamy and rich so it tastes like comfort food, but if you load it with veggies it can be so good for you! I also cut down on the fat a little but I will provide alternatives if you want to keep it full fat! It’s also easy to make vegan and of course it’s naturally gluten-free, as it’s just made with rice!

My favourite risotto is a mushroom risotto. This is often a version you will find in restaurants as well because chefs recognize how well the earthy flavour of mushrooms works with the creaminess of the risotto. However, as there is a mushroom hater in our household (hi Mom), I cook the risotto all together and then split it in half at the very end, adding other vegetables to hers. Then I inevitably get jealous of all the yummy vegetables going into her half and want some for myself, so my risottos rarely end up purely mushroom. I have provided the recipe here for my mushroom and vegetable risotto, but you can swap out any of these vegetables for your favourites. If you haven’t had it before though and you like all these vegetables, try it this way! You might just like it :).

Read the rest of this entry

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

So my birthday is July 1st, and pretty soon after I moved to Canada I realized that meant I would never be able to celebrate my birthday on my actual birthday, as I cannot compete with a country’s birthday! So Canada Day takes precedence, and my friends and I all gathered to celebrate my birthday a week early :).

On Saturday I had a dinner party at Milestones in Yaletown, booking their private room for my party of 20. It was such a great time, and I have to give major kudos to the restaurant. They were easygoing, helpful, and completely reasonable in that there was no fixed charge or minimum charge to have the room, there was no cost for refrigerating and serving the cake that I brought in (outside food too!) and they had the room ready for us from 4pm, allowing us to go in and cover it with decorations! We left after their closing time and though I tried to do some clean-up the table was still a mess but they assured us it was fine. Super awesome restaurant; highly recommend that kind of customer service! Read the rest of this entry

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

It’s been a really crazy week. I’m getting ready for my birthday party on Saturday night so running errands almost every night, and when I’m not doing that, I’ve been going to some more evening hot yoga classes than usual. So dinners haven’t been as well planned as usual. My mom did make a curry earlier in the week, which gave us a few dinners, but I had already blogged that recipe so didn’t want to bore with a repeat. Other than that I have relied somewhat on sushi but mainly on my favourite frozen meals, which I thought I would blog about in this post.

Yes, frozen meals! They’re not usually the mecca of health food, but honestly if you choose well there is enough out there on the market that it’s still going to be better than a drive-through the fast food restaurant or snacking on candy bars and potato chips and other junk food because you don’t have time to cook.

In fact, most nutritionists I have spoken to recommend this particular brand that I will blog about today as they are far less preservative-filled and ultra-processed than most frozen dinners. So welcome to the wonderful world of Amy’s frozen meals! I have relied on these many a time. This brand is so fantastic – everything is vegetarian and organic, and so many of their products are low in sodium, gluten-free, dairy-free – take your pick! Chances are, no matter what food or nutrient you are trying to avoid, they will have a product that caters to your diet. Other variations for dietary consideration that Amy’s frequently caters to include cholesterol free, low fat, soy free, nut free and kosher. Yep, they’re pretty awesome! Read the rest of this entry

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

Barbecues are always fun, and for many they are a summer tradition. I have heard more than a few times that barbecues can be what dissuade someone from becoming vegetarian.

“But I can’t face the idea of never eating a barbecued burger again!”

“It’ll make me so anti-social; all my friends host barbecues in the summer and I won’t be able to eat anything!”

Well, newsflash: vegetables taste amazing when barbecued, and that’s just Vegetarian Barbecuing 101. There are lots of vegetarian burgers that cook just as well on a barbecue as in a frying pan or the oven (see here for one burger recipe I have already posted – and there will be other burger recipes to come!). Read the rest of this entry

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Monday, June 13th, 2011

June 13th wasn’t a Friday but it was still pretty unlucky…yep, the Canucks got thrashed once again in Boston – 5-2 this time (if you count the disallowed goal, 5-3, but it really wasn’t a goal). So not as painful as the 8-1 and 4-0 defeats Boston have delivered when at home in the past but this one was perhaps even more painful because it meant that the Stanley Cup finals would go to a tense and nerve-wracking Game 7, to be held Wednesday night in Vancouver. Thank the Lord for home ice advantage!

The neighbours who had kindly hosted us for the most disastrous of all Boston-Vancouver games (the 8-1 game), and who had fed us the flatbread and summery salad I had blogged about here, came to ours for this game and I put out a spread of appetizer-type items for everyone to pick and choose from.

This provided a great opportunity for a post on hosting a party vegetarian style. Many people have commented to me that this “must be so difficult”. I realized that apart from miniature sausage rolls I never really ate much at a party that had meat in (before I was vegetarian, of course). You can of course take the opportunity to put out a bunch of dishes that I call hardcore vegetarian, ie dishes extolling the virtues of tofu and tempeh or using sprouts and recyclable containers. (Because all vegetarians have to be eco-freaks too, apparently. Though I am all for environmentally-friendly practices, so don’t get me wrong! It’s just that I don’t own any hemp clothing and I wash my hair every other day.)

But generally what I prefer to do is have the party be vegetarian and have people leave without even really noticing that they didn’t eat any meat that night. So I put out really basic party food that you would find anywhere, and that way the fact that it is all animal-friendly fare tends to go right over people’s heads. Read the rest of this entry

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Tonight was quiche night. Most people might think this is because you need a lot of time to make a quiche and therefore Sunday works best but honestly, this is such a fast recipe. It was a nice, warm-ish day today (I cannot believe it’s halfway through June and if the day hits 20 degrees we are celebrating, but that was today for you) so salad and quiche was a fitting dinner.

I didn’t really eat lunch today because we went to Eat Vancouver food festival downtown at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Basically you pay $16 to get in and there’s a whole bunch of people trying to sell things to you, but there are also tons of samples so you can actually try things to see if you want to buy them. I appreciate this because very often I don’t want to commit to buying a whole ton of something that I’m not convinced I’ll like (example: vegetable juice, or an asiago and artichoke dip by Fontaine Santé that we actually did walk away with, or interesting flavours of chocolate, such as Green & Blacks‘ organic Maya Gold chocolate or Lara Bar‘s chocolate coconut chew bar, both of which were favourites from today). By the way, the vegetable juice was blended by a Vitamix exhibitor and I have to say, was amazing! He shoved half an apple (core, seeds and all) into its blender with a bunch of green grapes, spinach leaves, baby carrots and a wedge of lemon and it was sweet and refreshing. I have always been scared of vegetable juices but you couldn’t beat this, seriously. Read the rest of this entry

Friday, June 10th, 2011

Friday, June 10th, 2011

Friday night was Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals and that meant celebrating West Coast style – eating sushi and watching ice hockey :).

I’ve blogged about sushi before and also warned that I would probably blog again about it as I LOVE sushi and have it often. Last time I blogged though I didn’t have my camera with me so couldn’t show you the rolls I was eating. This time I took a photo of some of the sushi we got so you can see some of my favourite vegetarian sushi rolls and see how exciting and delicious sushi végétarien can be!

I got our sushi from Genji Japanese Restaurant at Market Crossing in south Burnaby. It’s 5 minutes from where we live so we go there often and it is my favourite local sushi joint. It is fairly pricey – the rolls below were $5 each which – as most people who live in Vancouver will know – is quite a lot for regular sushi rolls. By comparison, my favourite North Vancouver sushi place, Capilano Sushi (I work in North Van so go there on workdays) charges $2.50 for similar rolls. So yeah, it’s pricey-ish. However, if you eat in the restaurant has a really nice ambience and decor. And for takeout they almost always give free miso soup. Read the rest of this entry

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

On Wednesday night my mom, Pat, made her lentil shepherd’s pie, which has come to be a staple in our house as well – at least during the fall/winter/spring. Probably we won’t eat it as often now summer is coming in as it’s a great ‘comfort food’ dish, but you certainly could! It’s also great for leftovers.

Here’s what Mom had to say:

“In this dish the lentils replace the meat in a traditional shepherd’s pie; they provide protein. Vegetables added are as per personal choice – or whatever happens to be available! In this recipe I used carrots, onions and broccoli but you can add or substitute peppers, zucchini, yams, etc according to taste.” Read the rest of this entry

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

My Chinese veggie stirfry is something of a staple in our household – we have at least once a month usually. It’s really easy and really good for you, and it’s delicious. So it’s pretty easy to see why it’s a favourite! If you are vegan or entertaining vegans this is also a great dish to serve them as it does not use any dairy or animal products.

The flavour in this dish really comes from the sauces. You can use any combination of Asian sauces. I use soy sauce and sometimes splash in some Worcestershire sauce also. If you want a gluten-free option use tamari (gluten-free tamari) or Kikkoman’s new gluten-free soy sauce, made with rice flour. If you are not too strict a vegetarian (or not a vegetarian at all) you can use oyster sauce. Any of these give the dish a great flavour that enhances the veggies and nuts in the dish. Read the rest of this entry

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Monday, June 6th, 2011

I was planning to make a Chinese-style vegetable stirfry for dinner Monday night (I’ll make it Tuesday night instead, so the recipe will be up this week!) but was hesitating as it was so nice and sunny and warm outside – better for a lighter, cooler meal. Something involving a salad, at least. But stirfry ingredients were what I had in the fridge so I resigned myself to eating stirfry. And then when I got into my elevator I saw my neighbour’s daughter, who was hanging out with her mom for the night and watching the hockey game. We had had them over for tea a while ago so she returned the favour on the spot by inviting us up for the game and some dinner. Her mom had some flatbreads in the freezer, she said, and she had brought some salad ingredients.

I quickly agreed, not too worried about the vegetarian thing (I hadn’t mentioned to them before that I was vegetarian) as she had said there would be salad, and I am good at surviving on salad when I find myself in a meat-heavy environment! I am a big-time salad lover! Read the rest of this entry

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Tonight I went Persian. My best friend, Afra, is Persian and I have many other Persian friends that I was lucky enough to get to know through her. When I go to Afra’s house I get to experience the best of the best in terms of Persian cuisine. Afra, her mom and her grandmother are all amazing cooks, as is Afra’s cousin Golnar and her father.

As I am vegetarian I am totally spoiled as they make special dishes just for me, like kookoo sabzi (what I made tonight) and kashkeh bademjoon (it’s really hard to translate or describe Persian dishes as they are quite different from anything we eat in western culture, but this is like a mashed eggplant dip that is made with Persian kashk (a fermented yogurt-type substance, some say like sour cream but it has a very distinctive and yummy taste).) Here’s a link to a recipe describing how to make kashkeh bademjoon, but I am not sure if it’s a good recipe or not as I haven’t sent it to any of my Persian cooking friends to validate (there’s my disclaimer). Read the rest of this entry

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

I know I haven’t had a post up since Monday, and that’s because this week was a lot of leftovers and then on Thursday I had an evening yoga class so ate a Luna bar late afternoon and then ate a snack when I got back. The class is a hot yoga class and is at 7pm. It’s never good to eat a big meal within the few hours before a hot yoga class so it makes dinner difficult…!

But Friday night it was back to dinner again, though with a lighter one this time. I love this meal, especially as summer approaches (yeah, the weather isn’t giving us any breaks but we can still eat like it’s summer – it’s much healthier!). At work I attended a lunch’n’learn catered by Chef Katt of Amore Catering in North Vancouver, and he provided us with a wide variety of sandwiches. I’ve never had a sandwich like Chef Katt can create. He moved here recently after living in South Korea for a while, where he is apparently a celebrity TV chef! Read the rest of this entry

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Monday, May 30th, 2011

 

Tonight’s dinner was an improvised vegetable casserole recipe. But it was really good! I used my Aunty Pauline‘s recipe as a basis – she made me a wonderful vegetable bake when I was visiting her in England recently. I changed a few of the vegetables and added some cream cheese to the sauce to make it a bit creamier. Adding breadcrumbs to the topping added some crunch to it too, when the breadcrumbs have toasted and browned in the oven. Chickpeas give it a great dose of protein.

Play around with the vegetables as you wish – also my aunt makes this by putting all the vegetables in the pot and baking it for about 45 minutes to 1 hour – because I had to go out just before dinner I wanted it to be ready quite quickly when I got home, so I pre-cooked all the veggies and assembled the dish so it would just need to broilfor a bit before eating. You can choose whichever method you prefer!

I took the photo once I had cut into the casserole so you could see the various layers of veggies.

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Sunday, May 29th, 2011

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

Tonight I had some leftovers from the curry I made for the dinner party yesterday, so there is no meal post today.

However, I thought it was a good time to post a recommendation for a dessert!

Those who know me know that I am not great with sugar. My blood sugar is quite volatile compared to most, and I have to eat small things fairly often to keep it stable, otherwise I get a blood sugar dip and I desperately need food, otherwise I’m pretty grumpy and unbearable to be around :). It’s easy to go for something with a lot of sugar when I am having one of these dips but they just spike my blood sugar and make me kind of erratic and shaky for about twenty minutes or half an hour and then my energy crashes all over again.

Therefore, I’m not great with simple sugars (mainly white sugar or evaporated cane juice, which are the two sweeteners used in 90% of foods mass-produced out there!). I still have them but have them in moderate amounts or with other food that has more protein or complex carbs to it so that it doesn’t affect me that much. (Also, apparently having cinnamon with sugar slows its absorption into your bloodstream. NOT an excuse to go binge on cinnamon rolls, but if you are having a sweetened latte or hot drink, sprinkle some cinnamon, or use it liberally on an apple pie, for example).

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Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Dinner party time!

On Saturday night I had a couple of friends over for a small dinner party. I made some modified Caribbean food (I’ll explain what I mean by modified in a bit!) and we listened to some soca and reggae and had a a good time. In the picture above is the main course, which is a sweet Caribbean curry (used to be chicken curry, so this is where the modification comes in – I used paneer, an Indian cheese, instead) and rice. Accompaniments (in the small bowls) are, from left, mango chutneycucumber and Greek yogurt, and chopped tomatoes. In the glasses is my own white sangria concoction. Recipes for both the curry and sangria are below!

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Friday, May 27th, 2011

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Tonight I made one of my favourite things to eat in the whole world – it combines my favourites: Mexican food with mushrooms with cilantroooo! Lime-cilantro mushroom fajitas, to be exact. The recipe is below and makes enough for two people to eat two fajitas each. The best thing about this meal is that you can add anything you like to fajitas. I top mine with avocado and shredded cabbage usually (I was out of cabbage tonight so it’s missing from the above photo). You could add onions and peppers, fresh tomatoes, a homemade pico de gallo, whatever you want.


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Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

 

 

Tonight’s dinner was made a night or two ago – this is something that always tastes even better the next day, and as I was out on Tuesday it was Mom’s dinner and then saved for mine tonight now that she’s gone to Calgary for a few days. I like it better as leftovers anyway as even more liquid is absorbed and the flavours have mingled.

 

My dad was the one who first made this dish for us and he made everything from scratch (see NOTE 1 and NOTE 2). Because I work full-time and I’m not as good a cook or as patient as my father was, I have modified this slightly to make it an easier dish to prepare, but it always reminds me of him :). His tasted 10 times better, of course, but that’s always the way!

 

The dish is called Leek-Potato-Lentil Pie and is from the cookbook 125 Best Vegetarian Recipes by Byron Ayanoglu, a half-Greek, half-Romanian celebrity chef. If you’ve ever had Romanian salad you know that it’s very similar to Greek salad, and there are other similarities between the two country’s cuisines as well. I have a lot of Romanian friends and so have enjoyed Romanian food from long before I was vegetarian.

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Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

 

Tonight’s dinner was a new treat  thanks to my mom, Pat, who had prepared a delicious salad for her book club’s get-together that evening.

 

The salad came from the book The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World’s Most Glorious – and Perplexing – City by David Lebovitz, an American chef living in Paris. The book is basically his anecdotes of life in Paris peppered with recipes. Many of them are dessert recipes as he is by trade a pastry chef, but my mom’s book club was challenged to bring along a dish from the book to the next meeting and Mom decided to try out one of his vegetarian recipes (there weren’t too many…!). This one is called Tomato and Sourdough Bread Salad and is amazing! If you like Greek food you’ll love it as there is a definite Greek slant to this salad.

 

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Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

 

I warned you that I’d be eating out today once again…but it was a Canucks game, so can you blame me? My lovely friend Alica and I headed to Steamworks Brewery in Gastown to catch the game and a bit to eat.

 

In an example of how easy it can be to eat out if you are a vegetarian, I ordered the soft fish tacos, requesting that they substitute the fish with sauteed mushrooms. You could also, if you are not a mushroom fan, simply ask them to leave the fish out and enjoy the coleslaw, guacamole, salsa, peppers and onions and other veggies that they stuff them with. I just find that mushrooms give meals that earthy taste and that filling texture that non-vegetarians rely on meat for!

 

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Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

 

Finally, a homemade meal! Usually I cook much more than I have this past week, so my apologies for that. I will be eating out tomorrow as well but other than that it should be homemade meals for a while more!

 

Tonight’s dinner was one of my favourites – Southwest black bean and roasted sweet potato burgers on wholewheat buns with Greek yogurt and a huge side salad dressed with my homemade vinaigrette. Many recipes involved here so I have included them all below! The salad I made up but the sweet potato and black bean burgers came from Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr. I added the Greek yogurt myself as her recipes tend to be vegan, but without something moist I found these burgers a little dry. The Greek yogurt is just applied as a ketchup-type sauce on top and gives it some moisture and tang.

 

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Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

 

This post is about what I do when I’m really stuck and on the run because Sunday was insane and I didn’t have a complete meal all day – except for breakfast. I also made a bit of a meal of the veggie spring rolls, bruschetta and mini cheesecakes available at the wedding cocktail reception that evening :).

 

My saviour on Sunday – and on many days when I’m manically rushing around – is to eat a Luna bar. They are rich in protein but the crunchy filling is sweetened with brown rice syrup, a natural sweetener that has a much lower glycemic index than white sugar, meaning it doesn’t give those sugar highs and lows that regular white sugar would.

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Saturday, May 21st, 2011

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

It was a crazy busy weekend, rushing around from place to place meeting up with friends and getting ready for my friend Tara’s wedding on Sunday (which was so much fun!). So I didn’t get to sit down to any properly planned homecooked meals. This is perhaps a good opportunity though, because many people ask me what to do ‘on the run’, when most fast food options are no longer available (ie they are all beef or chicken based).

 

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Friday, May 20th, 2011

Friday, May 20th, 2011

All About Sushi!

I don’t have a photo I took myself of last night’s meal because we went out for sushi and I didn’t have my phone with me to take a picture, but not to worry, I have sushi a LOT, so you’ll be seeing many more photos of it in the future! For now here’s a file photo of a vegetable roll, which is quite similar looking to the one I had last night. I accompanied last night’s vegetable roll with a yam, avocado and marinated shiitake mushroom roll which is possibly my favourite sushi roll ever!

 

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Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

 

My first meal I am going to post was from a night out, but what a great night! My friend Tara is getting married on Sunday so to celebrate her bachelorette last night (Thursday, May 19th) a limo delivered us to Calabash Bistro, a fabulous Caribbean restaurant in Gastown, before we went for dancing at the Blarney Stone.

 

At Calabash (where I was truly in heaven with the Caribbean food I missed so much! Plantains! Rice and beans! Decent rum!!!), I ordered the vegetarian platter, as it had a sampling of so many of their best veggie options. It was delicious, and there was so much food I couldn’t even finish it – all for just $13!

 

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Welcome to Guiltless & Gourmet!

Welcome to Guiltless & Gourmet!

 

Welcome to Guiltless & Gourmet! This blog is an extension of a blog I kept for a while, but had to abandon last year, called Guiltless & Glamorous. You can still find it at http://guiltlessandglamorous.blogspot.com. I left it up as the information on there is not time-sensitive and can still be of use to those looking to improve their lifestyles to ensure their clothing and cosmetics are not harmful to animals.

 

With the amount of writing and research required to keep Guiltless & Glamorous going I unfortunately had to stop updating it, but I am very excited about Guiltless & Gourmet, and it feels like a natural fit after the work I did on Guiltless & Glamorous.

My name is Anna and I run Guiltless & Gourmet. Find out more about me here or follow me on Twitter (@AnnaWootton).

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Going veggie

Going veggie

 

I get a lot of questions about how to become vegetarian, and how went veggie. So I hope this post proves informative for those of you thinking of changing your diet and lifestyle.

 

I remember when I first became vegetarian in the summer of 2007 (this blog is launching shortly before my 4-year anniversary of vegetarianism – yay!). The first few months felt as though they were about deprivation, rather than embracing a new lifestyle. It was all about what I couldn’t have anymore. Of course, as time went on, I realized that rather than just cutting out meat I would have to start to add other items into my diet, and I can safely say that I never realized how amazing the gastronomical world was until I started researching how to eat a balanced and delicious vegetarian diet.

World Vegetarian Day is October 1st of every year :).

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