Four-Ingredient Creamy Chocolate Pudding

The summer is almost over but there’s still time to enjoy some chilled treats before the fall weather hits. One of our family’s favourites is chocolate pudding. Vegan chocolate pudding can by found in grocery stores, though I haven’t found a brand that’s healthy enough to regularly give my children, and I like puddings with a creamier texture and not the jelly-like texture that many have. I wanted to give my kids a healthier version of chocolate pudding that’s free of dairy, sugar, artificial colouring and additives, but still delicious. Four Ingredient Chocolate Pudding Vegan Sugar-free Earthgiven KitchenHere’s my recipe for chocolate pudding that’s completely junk-free. The creaminess comes from avocado which also provides healthy fats, vitamin E, iron and other nutritional goodies. The sweetness comes from Medjool dates, a good source of magnesium and B6. I use raw cacao instead of highly processed cocoa powder. Combined together you get a great brain food! It’s yummy enough that the kids won’t know they are eating a vegetable; you can’t taste the avocado.

This pudding will really fill you up. It’s healthy enough to enjoy at breakfast, especially with some chopped nuts and freshly sliced banana. We’ve also had it for dessert topped on a brownie!

Four Ingredient Creamy Chocolate Pudding
Vegan, Sugar-free, Raw, Gluten-Free, Nut-free option, Soy-free option, Paleo

10 Medjool dates, pitted
Half of a fresh avocado
2 tbsp nondairy-milk (I use sugar-free homemade almond milk or you can use coconut milk)
1 tbsp raw cacao powder (I use Camino brand which is organic and fair trade)
Optional toppings: cacao nibs, mint leaves, berries, hemp seeds, coconut flakes, etc.

For the creamiest results, first soak the dates for at least 15 minutes in warm water then drain. Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth. I use my Blendtec with the Twister Jar for best results. (Have I mentioned lately how much I love my Blendtec? I LOVE IT! If you want to get your own, use this link for free shipping to the US and this link for free shipping in Canada.)

Makes 1 cup.

Chocolate Pudding Parfait Earthgiven KitchenFor a fun treat, make a Chocolate Pudding Parfait with the pudding by using an equal amount of vanilla yogurt (I use homemade almond yogurt or Yoso brand coconut yogurt) or banana ice cream (nothing but frozen whipped bananas) and berries or granola. I used chocolate mint leaves from my garden as the garnish for the photo above. Chill in the freezer or fridge until ready to serve. Enjoy! blendtec world's bestThis recipe is being shared on Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck and Healthy Vegan Fridays!

Delicious, Nutritious, Easy: eBook review and giveaway!

One of my favourite things about social media is how easy it is to find new friends with similar passions and lifestyles you never would have otherwise met. I don’t think I would have thrived on my plant-based journey without the strong vegan online community. Through mutual friends on facebook, I befriended Andrea Frenke, a passionate vegan and fitness buff who is a growing star on Instagram.  Check out some of her beautiful photos below, and follow her here.  (You can find me on Instagram here).

Andrea Frenke collage(photos above by a_vegan_frenke)

When Andrea launched her eBook Delicious, Nutritious, Easy, I didn’t hesitate to buy it, since it’s a steal at $3 for 15 healthy recipes, most with 7 ingredients or less and quick to prepare. There is a full-colour photo of every recipe, which I think is crucial for any cookbook I buy.

Earthgiven Kitchen recipes from A Vegan Frenke (2)I made the Strawberry Mint Snow and was instantly reminded of childhood summers enjoying snow cones; now I can enjoy them without the artificial flavours, colours and sugar.

Earthgiven Kitchen recipes from A Vegan Frenke (3)The Avocado Basil Salsa is so delicious and perfect to enjoy all summer long. It would also be a perfect veggie burger topping!

Earthgiven Kitchen recipe from A Vegan Frenke Dessert SmoothieI also made the Dessert Smoothie which is similar to my favourite morning chocolate-banana-kale smoothie, but Andrea swaps greens for luxurious Medjool dates and it’s a fabulous treat.

Other recipes include Kale Hummus, Whole Wheat Banana Waffles and Pad Thai.

Andrea has not only agreed to be interviewed for Earthgiven Kitchen but she’s giving one Earthgiven Kitchen reader a PDF copy of her book Delicious, Nutritious, Easy. Read on for all the deets!

Sarina: How and when did you become vegan?

Andrea: I became vegan overnight after watching Vegucated and then doing some backup research. I had been vegetarian for a year (after watching Food Inc.) and cheese was my replacement for meat. That was almost a year ago and I feel like I have found the key to living a happy and healthy life. I must admit that I was purposely keeping myself ignorant prior to this time. When I finally made the decision to educate myself there was NO WAY I could ever go back, and I don’t want to.

Sarina: Me too! You live in the Toronto area, where there are dozens of vegan restaurants (lucky you!) What are your favourite restaurants?

Andrea: Yes, I am VERY lucky to live in a city that has vegan options and restaurants. My all-time favourite restaurant is Fresh and I am a big fan of Live Organic Food Bar! However I also want to point out that I have been able to find vegan options at non-vegan restaurants also! Usually you are safe with a large salad (sans cheese of course) and asking for some olive oil or balsamic as a dressing. Or I love a good pasta (make sure you ask if it’s egg washed) with a meatless tomato sauce and basil – YUM! I recommend telling your waiter that you have allergies or aversions, rather than expressing that you are vegan. They tend to take it more seriously in that case rather than lie to you, which sadly does happen quite often.

Sarina: You have amassed 10,000 followers on Instagram, very impressive! What tips do you have for those who want to be successful in social media?

Andrea: Social media is a great way to spread what’s important to you and reach a large group of people. My tips are to be authentic, comment on other accounts and try and get to know the people behind them. I have been very lucky to have a close friend with 110K share my account with her followers and have had other large accounts share it also. Be patient and be yourself, it took me a year to get 9,000 and the more followers you have the more quickly your account with grow!

Sarina: What’s the one dish you make the most?

Andrea: Hands down, veggie coconut curry. There is a great recipe in my eBook and really it is one of the easiest recipes to make, hard to mess up a curry!

Sarina: The curry will be my next recipe of yours to try! Aside from nutritious vegan eating, what else are you passionate about?

Andrea: I am extremely passionate about the environment, and educating people on how their decisions have impacts. I am also very passionate about human rights and equality. Lastly I am passionate about fitness, and I have a YouTube channel where I try to inspire people to get active. Really I just want to help as many people as I can to lead healthy, kind and conscious lives.

Thank you Andrea for sharing a copy of your eBook for the giveaway. To enter, simply comment below by July 18th: tell us your favourite vegan dish! The contest is open worldwide. One entry will be randomly selected on July 19th. Good luck!

Update: Congratulations to eBook winner Kathryn Bulver!

Giveaway: a year supply of Catelli pasta

How much do I love Catelli pasta right now?! Not only did they send me some samples of their new gluten-free pasta, but they are going to gift one lucky Earthgiven Kitchen reader with a year supply! That’s 60 boxes delivered to your door.

The pasta is made from a blend of rice, corn and quinoa (GMO-free). Maybe like me you’ve tried corn or quinoa pasta in the pasta and was not impressed with the taste or texture. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Catelli’s gluten-free pasta is delicious and the texture is great, no mushy noodles.  Try it yourself with a coupon here.Catelli gluten freeIt’s perfect timing to share a new pasta recipe. I make this when I want a quick, hearty meal that I know the kids will love. It’s similar to my Tomato Cashew Pasta but swapping chickpeas for the cashews lowers the fat content.

Earthgiven Kitchen Tomato Chickpea Pasta (4)Tomato chickpea basil pasta
by Earthgiven Kitchen

4 cups cooked pasta
Sauce:
1 cup tomato sauce
1 tbsp minced basil
1/2 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
Salt and pepper to taste

Blend all sauce ingredients in a blender until pureed. Gently stir in the freshly-cooked pasta and serve. Garnish with extra basil leaves if desired. Makes four servings.

To enter the contest for a year supply of Catelli pasta, you must be:

–A Canadian resident

–An Earthgiven Kitchen subscriber (either by email or facebook fan)

–Comment on this post by June 25th.

A winner will randomly be picked June 26th.

Big thanks to Catelli for this generous giveaway. Thank you to these link-up parties for sharing the giveaway: Healthy Vegan Fridays, Living Well Spending Less; A Handful of Everything, Carolyn’s Homework,  Vegetarian Mamma.

 

Update:  I could get Rafflecopter to randomly generate a winner but then my kids would miss out on the fun of writing all names on paper and pulling a winner out of a hat.  The winner was chosen tonight; congratulations to Michelle! Enjoy 60 boxes of pasta! Thank you to everyone who entered.

Sandals Antigua Review

This year, my hubby and I are celebrating 15 years of marriage. Perfect timing for the tropical second honeymoon we’ve been promising ourselves for years. On the recommendation of a family friend, we went to Sandals Antigua.
Earthgiven Kitchen Sandals Antigua (9)I don’t know what’s taken me so long to blog about my holiday to Antigua; perhaps because it was such a wonderful escape to paradise that it’s bittersweet to look back at the photos now that I’m back to boring old daily life in Canada.

Sandals is known for its romantic, luxurious adults-only resorts.  We wanted to get to an all-inclusive and just relax knowing everything would be taken care of. We were also told that Sandals is a place that will go above and beyond for their guests so we could be assured that we would get a variety of excellent vegan food, which was crucial for us. It’s no vacation if you can’t eat the food you want!  Sandals was fabulously vegan-friendly.

I’m please to report that we were completely thrilled with Sandals Antigua (and I haven’t been compensated in any way for this review).  Here are Our Top Ten favourite things about Sandals Antigua:

1)      The location: on Dickinson Bay, a half-mile stretch of pristine white beach on turquoise waters. (Check out the rainbow!)
Earthgiven Kitchen Sandals Antigua (57)2)    The very best, and happiest, staff: I asked several staff why everyone there is so wonderful; is it the training from Sandals or are Antigua people on a whole just so darn wonderful?! I think it’s a mix of both – everyone we encountered in Antigua including the airport staff was warm and friendly, but the Sandals staff seemed truly happy to be of service to the guests. None of the wait staff looked at us like we had three heads when we asked if they had any vegan options; they would always happily say yes and bring the chef over to our table to plan a dish to our liking if there was nothing vegan on the regular menu. The top notch service started the moment we arrived: instead of waiting in line to check in at reception (the LAST thing you want to do when you’ve just arrived in paradise!), we were led to couches and tables where fancy appetizers and drinks were served, and the check-in staff came to US to check in, while our bags are brought to our room. Yup, we were spoiled rotten. (I didn’t take photos of the staff in case they were camera-shy).

3)      The FOOD! I’m pretty confident that Sandals would accommodate any dietary request at all, so everyone would be happy there. We enjoyed plenty of satisfying vegan food like hummus, tofu croquettes, beans, veggie burgers, smoothies and pasta. See more photos below.

Earthgiven Kitchen Sandals Antigua (58)4)      The ease to get there: it’s a direct 5-ish hour flight from Toronto, and then just 20 minutes from the airport. Our travels were stress-free.

Earthgiven Kitchen Sandals Antigua from the plane5)      The perfect weather: not too humid, not too hot, not too cold. It really felt like paradise.

Earthgiven Kitchen Sandals Antigua (4)6)     It’s a 5-star resort: marble bathrooms, luxurious linens, king-sized bed, entertainment, free water sports, and everything was always spotless.  We stayed in the Mediterranean Village, which is the 6-star accommodation at the resort. We never travel so fancy but the more modest rooms were already booked up. The Caribbean Grove side was also beautiful, just a little cuter and cozier. I’m sure you can’t go wrong with any of the rooms there.

Earthgiven Kitchen Sandals Antigua by Sarina (2)7)      The lack of insects. Yup, no mosquitoes or other pests, thanks to the daily fumigating of the entire resort. I am conflicted about the awesomeness of this because I imagine the fumigation was toxic and we tried to keep away from the sprayers when we saw them and the plumes of smoke coming…but did we ever enjoy skipping the mosquito bites on a tropical holiday! And this way you don’t have to use any toxic bug spray on your skin. (But if you do take a day trip into the jungle, I hear you need to prepare to experience lots of bugs).

Earthgiven Kitchen Sandals Antigua (79)They do have plenty of stray cats to keep you company though!  They might even join you  on a lounge chair at the beach.

Earthgiven Kitchen Sandals Antigua (55)8)      The SPA! I had the most amazing blissful spa experience ever with Sarah in the Red Lane Spa. It’s the most beautiful spa I’ve ever seen and the products used are not tested on animals (same line used for the full-sized luxury toiletries in the hotel rooms). Spa services were extra but not terribly expensive.
February 2014 Sandals Antigua A (126)9)      The giant hot tubs. So even when it’s chilly in the mornings or the evenings, you can enjoy a soak, and they are big enough to stretch out on floating bed. February 2014 Sandals Antigua A (215)10)   The weekly beach party: music, dancing, and drinking from coconuts sliced open in front of you (with optional rum to add in).

???????????????????????????????Now for the food! Some of the great meals we enjoyed…

Breakfast at the buffet, overlooking the ocean: toast with peanut butter, sautéed spinach with walnuts, plantain, fresh fruit and vegetables and a melon-banana-oat smoothie.

Earthgiven Kitchen Sandals breakfast Lunches:

Pizza from the outdoor pizza oven: mushrooms, pesto and red peppers on the left; pears, red onion and walnuts on the right (pears on pizza, who knew they’d be so awesome?!)Earthgiven Kitchen Sandals Antigua (13)

Deluxe salad from the buffet with chickpeas, mushrooms, roast potatoes, hearts of palm, balsamic vinaigrette with rice on the side.

Earthgiven Kitchen Sandals Antigua (24)Lunch on the beach! Tofu croquettes with mango chutney and Asian slaw; crisp pita with roasted pepper hummus at Barefood By the Sea.

Earthgiven Kitchen Sandals Antigua (35)Dinners:

Roast vegetables and quinoa cakes with a red pepper coulis: outstanding! This is a regular menu item, no special vegan request required.

Earthgiven Kitchen Sandals Antigua (16)Our spectacular Teppanyaki dinner at Kimonos: corn and pea fritters, breaded tofu triangles and vegetables in a Teriyaki sauce.

Earthgiven Kitchen Sandals Antigua (41)Salad, red pepper soup and fried tapioca cake appetizers at Eleanor’s. The cakes don’t look like anything special in the photo but they were totally outstanding and we asked for seconds.

Earthgiven Kitchen Sandals Antigua (51)There is also a vegan veggie burger with vegan fries at the Drunken Duck Pub and both were very good.  I didn’t get any good photos there due to the dimly lit restaurant.

There were no prepared desserts for vegans except for mango sorbet, which was just fine, and there was always plenty of fresh fruit. You can order fresh fruit smoothies all day as well, and tea and coffee can come with almond or soy milk. You can even get vegan hot chocolate from their Parisian themed cafe.Earthgiven Kitchen smoothie SandalsOther things to be aware of if you’re planning a trip to Sandals Antigua: all beaches are public and vendors are everywhere, who are not associated with Sandals. Most are sweet and will leave you in peace after a “no thank you” but some are a nuisance, especially the ones selling jet-ski rides. There was a sweet jewellery-maker on the beach named Hazel from whom I bought gorgeous turquoise necklace and earrings. There are many excursions you can buy, but we were happy to just enjoy the resort and the free water sports offered, like snorkeling. Everyone speaks English in Antigua and you can drink the tap water, making it an easy place to visit.

I highly recommend Sandals Antigua for anyone looking for an adults-only resort to relax in tropical luxury. We can’t wait to return one day….

Earthgiven Kitchen Sandals Antigua (2)One last note friends: I’ve finally joined Instagram! Join me here:
instagram sarina_jw

The free and easy way to grow your own vegetables from scraps

Winter 2014 was brutally long, cold and dreary in Ontario. Come April, when I was dying to see the daffodils and trees in bloom, and get our back yard garden going again, we were still battling snow storms. Since I couldn’t have the outdoor garden I wanted early spring, I made my own garden indoors.  I used the scraps of the vegetables I otherwise would have discarded in the green waste bin, and started a mini vegetable garden in my own kitchen.

Regrowing vegetables Earthgiven Kitchen (3)Why regrow food?

–It’s fast: eat the food you grow yourself in just a few weeks.

–You can do it year-round

–It’s virtually free (just some water and a few toothpicks)

Less food waste

–It’s so easy that even if you have no green thumb at all you can do this project; way easier than growing seeds.

–It’s fun! My kids loved checking on their vegetables every day to see how they were growing, you can see the changes daily.

How to get started: For greens like lettuce and celery, take the bottom three inches or so, the stuff you would have probably thrown away, stick a bamboo stick or toothpicks through, so it can sit in a jar of water, and add fresh water daily.

Romaine Lettuce:

You only have to wait 24 hours before you see your lettuce magically re-growing. Earthgiven Kitchen Regrowing Romaine

Two weeks later you can chop enough greens from one plant for a sandwich. Look at this green gorgeousness:

Regrowing vegetables Earthgiven Kitchen (11) Regrowing vegetables Earthgiven Kitchen (12)Celery: Celery is a bit slower to grow than lettuce. After two weeks, transfer outdoors to keep it growing.

Earthgiven Kitchen Regrowing celery and romaineThese are the ones I’ve tried so far; other vegetables you can regrow from scraps include onions, potatoes, lemongrass, garlic, even pineapple (you’ll have to wait a few years to get fruit!).

Once you’ve harvested your food, you can see if your base will regrow again. If mine don’t, I toss them in the bag of vegetable scraps I keep in my freezer for future homemade vegetable broth.

Let me know if you’ve tried re-growing your own food and which were your favourites to grow!

This project is being shared on Healthy Vegan Fridays!

New to Earthgiven Kitchen? Follow me on Facebook or Instagram for more fun projects and recipes.

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Shepherd’s Pie for Easter

Happy Easter to all those who are celebrating!

Yesterday I ventured into Toronto and picked up some Easter treats at the Vegan Danish Bakery in Thornhill. As it was their last day before closing for the long weekend, they didn’t have their regular supply of goodies available, which was a bit disappointing after hearing about the wide variety of treats they normally carry, but they did have these adorable cupcakes which I picked up for the kids.

Vegan Danish Bakery April 2014 Earthgiven Kitchen (2)Vegan Danish Bakery also has frozen prepared vegan cannelloni and lasagne for take-out. I haven’t had cannelloni since going vegan, and when I heard that the owner of the bakery uses hand-made crepes, I had to pick one up for dinner. Were we ever impressed!

Vegan Danish Bakery April 2014 Earthgiven Kitchen (3)The fluffy  crepes were filled with vegetables and veggie ground round, topped with tomato sauce and Daiya and it was the most delicious dinner we had enjoyed in a long time. The cupcakes were very nice but the cannelloni was spectacular. Beyond passing the taste test, I love that the bakery says it uses no preservatives and 90% of ingredients are organic. I hope I have another reason to take me all the way to north Toronto again so I can pay a visit to Vegan Danish Bakery and stock up on more cannelloni.

One entrée I frequently make for Easter is another hearty comfort food: Shepherd’s Pie. It’s also a dish I tend to make when I have omnivores over for dinner as it is a hit with meat eaters and vegetarians alike.

Eartgiven Kitchen Shepherd's Pie (2)It’s made with soy crumbles, or crumbled veggie burger. The soy crumbles we like best are Yves and Tofurky brands of veggie ground round (Tofurky is free of GMOs and MSG making it my preference).

Traditional Shepherd’s Pie is a dish of lamb’s meat topped with mashed potatoes. I gave up eating lamb when I was 12 so I have no recollection of ever eating the meat version of this dish. The only meaning Shepherd’s Pie has ever had for me is a vegetarian version, so I haven’t felt the need to change the name, though I have seen vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie be called Shepherdess Pie.

This recipe is to fill two casserole dishes as I usually make a double batch: one to eat that day and one to pop one in the freezer as time-saving future meal, or for feeding a crowd. Feel free to halve the recipe to feed 4-6 people. This recipe can be made gluten-free.

Shepherd’s Pie – double batch

2 shallots, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp olive oil
8 cups chopped potatoes (about 7 medium-large potatoes)
1 cup non-dairy milk (I used soy)
4 tbsp vegan butter
1 tbsp Bragg’s/soy sauce
1 kg of crumbled veggie burger or soy crumbles (I use three 340 gm packages of veggie ground round. Choose gluten-free burgers for a GF option)
2 cups frozen peas
approximately 4 tbsp breadcrumbs (choose gluten-free bread for a GF option)

Gravy:
1 cup veggie broth (packaged, homemade or 1 cup water plus ½ vegan broth cube)
4 tbsp Bragg’s/soy sauce
½ tsp poultry seasoning (a mix of sage, thyme, rosemary, marjoram and black pepper)
2 tbsp cornstarch

Start by making the mashed potato topping: Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat and cook the garlic and shallots until soft and golden.

Boil the potatoes, then mash with the non-dairy milk, butter and Bragg’s/soy sauce.  Use a potato masher; don’t use your for food processor for this part or your mashed potatoes will be gummy.  Set aside.

Then make the gravy:

Heat 1 cup of broth (or the water, then add the broth cube) on a stove top on medium-high heat.  Stir in the 4 tsp Bragg’s/soy sauce and poultry seasoning then reduce heat to low.  Add the cornstarch and whisk until well combined.  Set aside to let thicken.  Will make about 1 cup of gravy.

Now assemble your pies:

Spray two casserole dishes lightly with oil.  In each dish, empty one and a half packages of the ground round, pour in half the gravy (about ½ cup), mix and spread out to evenly cover the bottom of the dish.  Sprinkle 1 cup of frozen peas on top of each pie.  Take half the mashed potato mixture and spread on top of the layer of peas, smoothing the top with a spatula.  Sprinkle with a bit of breadcrumbs.

Eartgiven Kitchen Shepherd's Pie (1)Cover with tin foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until heated all the way through.  Remove foil and cook another five minutes to crisp up the top to a light golden brown.

Makes 8-12 servings.

Eartgiven Kitchen Shepherd's Pie (3)

 

Review: Lettuce Love and Kelly’s Bake Shop, Burlington, Ontario

Hello and happy spring! I took a short hiatus from blogging this winter to travel and focus on work and family; it’s nice to be back. I will have some new recipes for you soon.

I had a bit of a panic when my very favourite restaurant, Kindfood, announced in late 2013 that they were closing temporarily to renovate, re-brand as Lettuce Love Café and change their menu. I’ve tried so many veggie restaurants and very few have come close to the quality, taste and love-filled energy of the family-run Kindfood (see my review here).

Lettuce Love collage Earthgiven KitchenTo my delight, Lettuce Love maintains the same location and owners (Kelly and Erinn and Mike, the manger, whose specialty is customer service and infectious enthusiasm). The menu is still entirely vegan and gluten-free, focusing on healthy, locally-sourced, fair trade, and organic. I visited Lettuce Love twice recently and my fears were put to rest: it’s the same wonderful place it always was, just with prettier walls and some exciting new additions to the menu. And thank heavens they kept the California Burger on the menu!

We visited Lettuce Love in February to try their new Sunday Brunch. Here is what we enjoyed:

Lettuce Love and Kellys February and March 20141Almond Banana French Toast served with tofu scramble, tempeh bacon, fresh orange slices and maple syrup. We loved it! Especially the kids.

The California Burger: marinated Nobel Bean tempeh burger with avocado, vegan bacon, Daiya cheese, lettuce, tomato and chipotle mayo on toasted quinoa maple bread. This has been our favourite menu item there for years and our favourite burger EVER. I don’t want to be too dramatic here but I think this could be the world’s best veggie burger. My friends and I have tried to recreate it at home and just can’t…. I don’t know how they make a veggie burger this yummy but I think the secret is the marinade… I hope to one day figure it out, but in the meantime, I continue to be dazzled by the California Burger at each visit.

Caesar Salad: Possibly the best Caesar salad I’ve ever had in a restaurant. The dressing is tasty without being overpoweringly garlicky like many other dressings and the quinoa croutons and Brazil nut parmesan add a great crunch. The burgers are a bit too thick (and messy) for little mouths so we get the Caesar salad for the kids and they eat it right up.

The BLAT: Vegan Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado and Tomato with mayo. Simple, fresh and delicious!

I returned to Lettuce Love late March with friends including Kimmy from Rock My Vegan Socks, who was visiting from California and new friend Suzanne from Hello Veggy. Kimmy and Suzanne host the weekly Healthy Vegan Fridays recipe link-up.

Suzanne Sarina JW and Kimmy at Kelly'sHere’s what we enjoyed:

Lettuce Love and Kellys February and March 20142Green Smoothies: This blend of kale, spinach, banana, orange and apple are lovely and not-to-sweet; great for kids.

Broccoli Dahl: Lentils, veggies and some terrific spices made for an exquisite starter. Too bad it was their soup of the day and not on their everyday menu as it was FABULOUS.

Goddess Bowl: Organic brown rice, tamari & olive oil, shredded carrots & beets, braised kale, marinated baked tofu, with a cashew ginger sauce and sesame seeds. We all thought this was delicious, the sauce was superb.

Power Bowl: Organic steamed quinoa, braised kale, grilled sweet potato, black beans, grilled portobello mushroom, avocado, Brazil nut parmesan, with a delicious lemon tahini sauce. We all liked this one too, but I have a preference for the Goddess Bowl (I’m a big fan of cashew and ginger together).

After our meals at Lettuce Love, we headed to Kelly’s Bake Shoppe, just a few blocks away, for dessert. (See my first review here). Kelly’s Bake Shoppe is another gluten-free & vegan venture from the owners of Lettuce Love.

Kelly's Bake Shoppe collage Sarina JWWhen you step inside you will find yourself in the prettiest bake shop you could imagine. Their daily offerings include cupcakes, cookies, and cake ball truffles. If you go on a weekend, you’ll find an even bigger selection of treats. When we went on a Sunday afternoon, the counters were full of donuts, scones, brownies, banana bread, rice crispy treats, ice cream sandwiches, plus a greater variety of cookies and cupcakes than you’ll find on a weekday.

Since I’ve been several times now and have gotten to try most of their treats, here are my very favourite Kelly’s Bake Shoppe selections: Cupcakes (Hostess, Black & White, Cookies & Crème and Coffee Break (with miniature donuts on top) are my favourite favours), World Peace Cookie, cinnamon donuts, soft serve ice cream with assorted toppings (summer only), and chocolate cake ball truffles.

Kelly's Bake Shoppe cupcakes (3)Want to be sure your favourite selection will be offered the day you go? Check the online Daily Bakery Menu on their website.

I give Lettuce Love Cafe and Kelly’s Bake Shoppe my highest recommendation.  Since they boast top rankings on Trip Advisor and local Reader’s Choice Awards, I know I’m not alone!

Lettuce Love Cafe is at 399 John Street, Burlington, ON.
Kelly’s Bake Shoppe is at 401 Brant Street, Burlington, ON.