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I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Easter weekend, filled with peace, friends and family.   This Easter we enjoyed all the fun and deliciousness of Easter family traditions I’ve enjoyed yearly since I was a child: an egg hunt, a savoury roast for dinner, and lots of chocolate, and it wasn’t too difficult to make it all vegan!

Here’s a rundown of the great food and fun our family enjoyed this weekend:

Brunch: Buckwheat Belgian waffles with Cinnamon Maple Cream Cheese Spread.  The recipe for the delicious topping is from Keepin’ it Kind and found here.Buckwheat Belgian waffles with cream cheese icing Easter 2013 (10)

Lunch: I recently discovered Magnolia Café in downtown Guelph, which is all-vegetarian and mostly vegan and gluten-free.  From their website: “At Magnolia, our love for food and passion for community means that we are committed to mindful and sustainable food practices and specialize in sourcing local, seasonal, fresh and organic produce in all our delicious and healthy offerings.” 

Magnolia March 2013 (1)One of the many things I enjoyed about Magnolia is that the kitchen is open concept (in fact, you have to walk right through it if you visit the rest rooms), so you can watch your food being prepared and see the high quality ingredients being used.  Here’s what we ordered:

Magnolia's green goddess bowlGreen Goddess Rice Bowl
From their menu: “Brown rice bowl topped with broccoli, kale, snap peas, bok choy, marinated tofu and garnished with shredded carrots, mung bean sprouts and sunflower seeds.  Choice of homemade lemon tahini or Thai peanut sauce.”

Magnolia's red dragon bowlMagnolia Red Dragon Rice Bowl
From their menu: “Brown rice bowl topped with roasted red peppers, beets, carrots red onions, marinated tofu and garnished with fresh tomatoes, mung bean sprouts and sunflower seeds. Choice of homemade lemon tahini or Thai peanut sauce.”

Magnolia's curry with chickpeasSouth Indian Coconut, Vegetables and Chickpea Curry Bowl
From their menu: “Curried Vegetables and Chickpeas with Coconut Milk served on brown rice garnished with toasted coconut, mung bean sprouts and fresh cilantro.”

Magnolia's chick vegan cupcakes (2)For dessert, we couldn’t resist these adorable chocolate lavender Easter ducky cupcakes!

Magnolia March 2013 (3)We also tried their chocolate raspberry banana muffins and their raw “sun balls” (sunflower seeds, peanut butter, coconut, maple syrup and currants).   Out of their desserts, I like the sun balls best.

The food was all quite tasty and very healthy tasting (not loaded with oil and salt like many restaurants), with all of us agreeing that the Red Dragon Rice Bowl and the sun balls were the most delicious items we tried.

Magnolia café is located at 88 Yarmouth Street, Guelph, Ontario.

Saturday’s family dinner:  We tried the Gardein holiday roast for the first time, wanting to change it up from the usual Tofurky roasts we usually make for holidays.  The consensus was….. Gardein was good but not nearly as delicious as Tofurky brand.  For taste and texture, Tofurky wins hands down!
Earthgiven Kitchen Easter 2013 (1)Earthgiven Kitchen Easter 2013 (3)Sunday’s family dinner:  We had one of the most delicious meals ever for Easter dinner thanks to my mother’s Somi — a Middle Eastern dish — which are Swiss chard rolls filled with rice, chickpeas, tomatoes, herbs and spices and cooked until it has a buttery texture.  It’s quite time-consuming to make so it’s reserved for special occasions.  I have never seen Somi in a cookbook or on a restaurant menu, I’ve never even tried to make it myself, I’ve only ever enjoyed them when homemade by my mother or grandmother; consequently, Somi feels like our very own family secret.   It might look like a humble dish, but I have no words for how delicious it is.   We paired it with a kale and almond salad with lemon and oil dressing.   Spectacular!

Earthgiven Kitchen Easter 2013 (4)Dessert:  We kept it simple and enjoyed fresh berries and mango.

Then…….the egg hunt!   Earthgiven Kitchen Easter 2013 (2)There are many reasons to avoid buying the traditional chocolate bunnies and eggs.  Not only have cows suffered for the milk, but most chocolate is produced by child slavery.
did you knowIf you’re going to go with chocolate, pretty pretty please make it vegan and fair trade!  A bonus if you find them organic too!  Which brands can you trust?  Not the big guys like Nestle and Cadbury, sadly.  See the list of fair trade chocolate makers here on Food is Power and check which brands do dairy-free.   Some good ones are Chocosol, Camino,  Edensoy, Nature’s Path, and Sweet & Sara.

When our oldest was a preschooler, we bought plastic eggs that can be filled with whatever treats you like, and we’ve used these every year since.  After the fun of the egg hunt is the thrill of opening them to see what goodies are inside, and every egg can be a little bit different.   You can fill them with fun treats like stickers, Panda licorice, teeny toys, costume jewellery, raisins, nuts, coins and chocolate chips (we like Camino vegan chips which are also fair trade certified).
IMG_7167It was such a delicious weekend, I am submitting this post to What I Ate Wednesdays, with thanks to Peas and Crayons for hosting!

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