Monday, December 22, 2008

2009 dates

Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet. ~ Albert Einstein

Just wanted to post the dates for our 2009 potlucks. On these dates, we'll get together around 4:30pm, with one potluck item per adult, a printed copy of the recipe and a $2 donation for use of space. The location changes from month to month, so if it's not posted here, email us at orilliaveg [at] if you plan to attend and we will let you know where to be!

February 1
Theme: Spicy Night
Location: Friends Meeting House, 231 Westmount Street South

March 1
Theme: Green Foods
Location: Helping Hands, 210 Memorial Ave, Unit 126B

April 5
Theme: Spring is coming!
Location: Friends Meeting House, 231 Westmount Street South

May 3
Theme: What mom used to make
Location: Chris and Anna's house - details to be shared via email

June 7

July 12
Theme: Picnic food
Location: Couchiching Park

August 9
Theme: How to make tofu potsticker dumplings!! (tentative)
Location: Natalie, Nora and Stephen's House - details to be shared via email

Sept 13
Theme: Something New (in honour of the new school year, try a recipe you've never made before)
Location: Friends Meeting House, 231 Westmount Street South

Oct 4
Theme: Harvest Time
Location: Friends Meeting House, 231 Westmount Street South

Nov 8
Theme: Early Holiday Party
Location: Friends Meeting House, 231 Westmount Street South

Hope to see you soon!

Monday, December 1, 2008

veggies on holiday

I'm sure there are a million posts on a million blogs about being veggie during the holiday season. The tofurkey jokes are already flying around my work and social circles.

I just thought I'd put up a quick note for those of us attending the Orillia Vegetarians first-ever holiday potluck party on December 2, 2008! (for more info email orilliaveg [at]

If you're interested in some recipes, tips and ideas on holiday vegetarian fare, check out the Toronto Vegetarian Association website.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No Animal Food

A good retort for the dreaded comments about how humans are made to eat meat...

"The gorge of a cat, for instance, will rise at the smell of a mouse or a piece of raw flesh, but not at the aroma of fruit. If a man can take delight in pouncing upon a bird, tear its still living body apart with his teeth, sucking the warm blood, one might infer that Nature had provided him with a carnivorous instinct, but the very thought of doing such a thing makes him shudder. On the other hand, a bunch of luscious grapes makes his mouth water, and even in the absence of hunger, he will eat fruit to gratify taste."

-R.H. Weldon in "No Animal Food"

Monday, November 3, 2008

we're growing!

We had 17 people at our November potluck yesterday! Woo hoo! I think that's the biggest at one meal since we started getting together last February.

Unfortunately, yours truly forgot her camera but we had quite the spread... I'm surprised we didn't have people lying on the kitchen floor rubbing their bellies after dinner! The menu included Indian spiced potatoes, Balsamic glazed beets, Lentil stew, spicy chickpea and vegetable casserole, wild rice paper rolls, mashed potatoes and veggie gravy... and Benz Balls, Apple Crisp and fresh Honeycrisp apples for dessert!!

I happen to have a photo of the Indian spiced potatoes on file, so here it is with the recipe:

4 large potatoes
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp fresh chilli, chopped
2 tsp lemon rind
2 Tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper (to taste)

-Peel and chop potatoes, then boil until cooked but not too soft (let cool)
-Heat oil in frying pan, cook cumin, coriander, mustard for about 1 minute, stirring
-Add sesame seeds, cook for another 1 minute, stirring
-Add rest of ingredients, stir
-Add cooked potatoes, heat and stir

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Veggie eaters band together

The Orillia Veggie Group made the local newspaper! On Saturday Oct. 11 the Packet ran a front page story titled Veggie-eaters band together (try this link if the other one doesn't work).

From the article:
The 20-person club meets once a month for a potluck dinner, where they socialize and share recipes. There are also “meat-eaters” in the club who joined to learn how to cook healthy dishes.

Losole said she would like to see the group expand and be able to host guest speakers during their monthly meals.

“I’d like to see people coming as a response to not being happy with the food supply. (The club) is a support system and it’s nice to be with people who think the same way,” she said. “It’s all about what is on your plate, where does that come from and what’s in it.”

Friday, October 3, 2008

october 5th

Just wanted to send a quick reminder about the Orillia Vegetarians monthly potluck this coming Sunday Oct 5th at 4:30pm. We are currently planning to meet at our usual location (231 Westmount Drive South in Orillia).

Please RSVP so that we know how many to expect (if numbers are small we may meet at someone's home instead).

The theme this month was originally scheduled to be "Soup Night"... but I'm not sure if we all want to eat that much soup or not? I am definitely planning on making a soup..... so others can feel free to do that as well, or just bring a "regular" potluck item to feed 4-5 people. Also, don't forget to bring a serving utensil and a printed copy of the recipe for your item. If possible, it's also helpful if people can bring their own plates, cutlery and drinking vessels.

If anyone has resources to share, please feel free to bring them for display!


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

100-mile diet

Note: Our next meeting will be a "Soup Night" at 4:30pm on Sunday Oct 5th at the Friends Meeting House (231 Westmount Drive South, Orillia). Please RSVP to

Our first fall potluck of 2008 (okay not technically fall but it was back to school time!) took place on a beautiful Sunday evening, a nice surprise after a day of clouds and rain. We were able to eat outside as planned and both the conversation and meal proved to be scintillating and delectable...on the meal side we had salad with a yummy garlicky dressing, a veggie stew, vegan potato salad and zucchini muffins. The theme was the 100-mile diet, so most of the ingredients came from local gardens.

100-mile diet is a relatively new term that refers to a movement which encourages people to buy food as locally as possibly. "In 2005, Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon began a one-year experiment in local eating. Their 100-Mile Diet struck a deeper chord than anyone could have predicted, inspiring thousands of individuals, and even whole communities, to change the way they eat. Locally raised and produced food has been called 'the new organic' — better tasting, better for the environment, better for local economies, and better for your health. From reviving the family farm to reconnecting with the seasons, the local foods movement is turning good eating into a revolution." (From

During our 100-mile dinner, we were reminded that a great place to buy fresh, organic, local produce is McBride's stand at the Orillia Farmers Market. There is also a full listing of farms in Simcoe County here.

At our meal, the piece de resistance was the vegan chocolate peanut butter pie and mint tea. Unfortunately there are no pictures of these great dishes to be posted but we will try to get the recipe of the chocolate peanut butter pie up shortly.

-Krista M.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A life connected

A group called Non violence united has released a group of videos called A Life Connected. On YouTube they're broken into three sections - a) why veganism is better for people b) why veganism is better for the planet c) why veganism is better for the animals.

I like them. They're especially good if you can't handle the intense cruelty depicted in PETA style factory farming videos. These ones leave that topic alone, and instead focus on the life-affirming qualities of veganism.

Part 1: For the People, is here.

Part 2: For the Planet, is here:

As this video shows, the natural resources flat out wasted by meat farming, and the C02 emissions caused by meat farming, are simply staggering. It makes you wonder why the "green" movement is so often silent about vegetarianism as a climate change solution.

Part 3: For the Animals, is here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

touring a local market garden!

Note: Our next meeting is scheduled for 4:30pm on Sunday Sept 7th at the Friends Meeting House (231 Westmount Drive South, Orillia). The theme will be "100 mile diet" so we will all try to bring a dish made from local ingredients.

Our August event took place at Stephen's Organic Market Garden in Severn Township, hosted by three of our "regulars" Natalie, Nora, and Stephen.

We arrived to a scavenger hunt planned by Natalie that had us mapping out the locations of various fruits and vegetables being grown in the garden. Prize for most right answers went to the very knowledgeable John & Kathleen!

For more information about Stephen's Organic Market Garden, please send an email to

The potluck was full of variety again, including a green salad with mind-blowing "zingy" dressing, two sweet potato dishes, home made salsa, and a beet/carrot/cabbage coleslaw. And we finished off with a Chocolate Cake that was ... shall we say... to die for :) But I'll share that recipe in a future post! For now, enjoy the following recipe for one of the Sweet Potato Salads...

Sweet Potato Salad (pictured in pink bowl above):
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
raisins and/or dried cranberries
sunflower seeds
4 scallions, white and light green parts, finely chopped

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cook sweet potatoes until just tender, 7 to 10 minutes (careful not to overcook). Drain and transfer to large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour over cooked and drained sweet potatoes and add the cranberries, seeds and scallions. Mix together. Serve warm or refrigerate and bring to room temperature before serving.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Veggie items in U.S. politics

A little while back we mentioned how Oprah Winfrey was giving veganism a try, as part of a three week cleanse.
Apparently her buddy, Barack Obama, is up on factory farming issues - with factory farming being one of more common reasons that people turn to the veggie life.

In this post on the writer talks about asking a factory farming related question to Obama at a town hall, and being pleased with his knowledgeable response (although, from what I can tell, all he really says is that subsidies need to be taken away from the big concentrated animal feeding operations).

Anyway, let's hear it for the Democrats. At least they've heard of vegetarianism. Heck, they even had a Vegan who was in the hunt for the presidential nomination for a while. Dennis Kucinich is member of the House of Representatives from Ohio, and might have been an even more interesting nomination for President than Obama.

Here he is, discussing healthy eating with Chris Matthews and Lance Armstrong:

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

july picnic & a recipe

Our July meeting took place at Couchiching Beach Park, in the shadow of Samuel de Champlain. Well.... in the shadow of his statue anyway!

We had a nice potluck picnic in the park and, of course, I got so excited about EATING the food that I forgot to take pictures. Oops!

We had White Kidney Bean dip with Nachos, Bulgur Salad, Baked Beans, a Vegan Carrot Cake, and this Yellow Rice and Black Bean Salad -- the only thing left that I could take a picture of once I finally came to after stuffing myself!

This salad basically requires the rice to be cooked in a bit of turmeric and cumin, then cooled. You add some black beans, grape tomatoes, cucumber (remove peel and seeds), red pepper, red onion, jalapeno peppers and fresh cilantro leaves as well. For the dressing, you whisk together the following:

1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander (spice)
1/4 teasponn oregano
6 tablespoons olive oil

Our next event will be on August 10th, and I'll be contacting those on the member list by phone or email with directions. If you'd like to join us, please send an email to

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Cabbage Rolls!

So, when I was growing up, there were all these things I thought I didn't like. Things like tomatoes, mushrooms, beets, watermelon, chocolate cake and....cabbage! But I'm happy to report that I now love all of the above!!! It's like going vegetarian has opened up a whole new world of tastes and textures for me, or at least it made my taste buds more open-minded :)

And yesterday, I was in the mood for an experiment. For the first time ever, I made cabbage rolls, and I thought I'd share a bit about the experience with everyone. I had a huge cabbage leftover from my last Good Food Box, and I thought what better way to use it up than to try some cabbage rolls. So I went searching for a good vegetarian version online, and this is the one I found where I had all but 2 of the ingredients (I had to go pick up some tomatoes and green onions, but everything else I had in stock). Make sure you have a couple of hours to work on this, but have a book handy too so you can chill out during some of the longer cook times.

-Annalise S.


* Sauce
o 1/2 medium onion, minced
o 2 tablespoon oil
o 6 medium tomatoes, diced or 1 can
o 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
o 2 teaspoon paprika
o 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

* Rolls
o 1 very large head cabbage
o 1 medium onion, minced
o 2 tablespoon oil
o 3 green onions, minced
o 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
o 1/3 cup dry Textured Vegetable Protein + 1/3 cup water or 1 cup veggie mince
o 2 medium tomatoes, diced
o 4 cups cooked rice
o 1/3 cup fresh parsley, minced
o 2 teaspoon salt
o 2 teaspoon paprika
o 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Make the sauce by sauteing the onion in 2 T oil. Add the tomatoes, salt, paprika and cayenne, bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour.

Remove the core of the cabbage and steam the whole head in a large pot with the core side down until it will separate, about 20 minutes. Remove and let cool. Separate the cabbage leaves. (Note: I found that the filling was enough for about 14-16 leaves, maybe 20+ if you use less filling per roll).

To make the filling, in a large skillet, saute the onion in 2 T of oil for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the green onions, garlic, TVP, water and tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the rice and spices and mix well. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Take your cabbage leaves and, one leaf at a time, cut out the core pieces. Place some of the rice mixture on each leaf. Leave enough room to fold the sides inward, and roll up the leaves. Place the cabbage rolls in a casserole dish and cover with the sauce. Bake for 30 minutes.

And voila!!

(Recipe is courtesy of VeganFood.Net)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Places to eat in Orillia

Our June meeting took place at a local eatery, so we thought it would be smart to provide some info about it, as well as some other local restaurants that serve vegetarian fare! 13 of us gathered at Brewery Bay on Sunday June 1st. This local veggie-friendly pub borrows it's name from the property where Stephen Leacock built his summer home in the early 20th century. It is the most well known, and most overtly veggie-friendly restaurant in town. It's a pub, and is owned by a vegetarian, so almost anything on the menu can be made vegetarian (they can substitute veggie meat for real meat in most dishes) and they have a large selection of actual vegetarian choices. It's located right on the main street.

Some other places to try include:

Ossawippi Express Dining Cars
It's a restaurant on train cars! Very unique dining experience and the last time I was there they had 2 veg items on the menu, both delicious. One is the Vegetarian
Wellington and the other is a Pasta dish. It is located at the bottom of
the main street, but it's in the park on Lake Couchiching so it's a lovely
setting, especially if it's a nice enough day to sit on the patio (although
you should definitely check out the inside too).

Quick Bite & Indian Cuisine
There's a small Indian eatery just off Hwy 12 called Quick Bite & Indian
Cuisine. It's farther from the downtown area, in the western section of
town. I've only eaten there once, and it was awhile ago, but it was good.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Oprah & veganism

Our list of upcoming events is here. Scroll down this page for more information.

I'm not sure if it is this black and white, but wow, it looks like Oprah Winfrey is giving veganism a good try. Check her official blog for Sunday, where she kind of hints at being vegan for ethical reasons:
Conscious eater. That struck a nerve. I had recently come to the conclusion that after spending weeks reading and rereading A New Earth and being on line with Eckhart Tolle that bringing a higher level of awareness to my eating was the solution I'd been avoiding. My idea of a conscious eater, however, was not quite the same as Kathy's.

I thought it meant not allowing yourself to eat emotionally and filling the void of anxiety with food, as I've struggled with for years. I thought it meant taking your time, making healthy choices and chewing slowly—being conscious of every bite and not scarfing down a meal and then thinking about the next one.

That is one level of consciousness. But what she talks about in her book is a higher level. She speaks of "spiritual integrity." How can you say you're trying to spiritually evolve, without even a thought about what happens to the animals whose lives are sacrificed in the name of gluttony?

So this 21-day cleanse gives me a chance to think about it differently and see what my attachments are to certain kinds of foods—and what I'm willing to do to change.

And... check her blog entry for Monday, when she actually uses the word Vegan.

Whether or not you're an Oprah fan - if she officially adopted a "pro vegan" stance, it would advance the veggie cause dramatically.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

top ten reasons to go veggie!

In celebration of World Vegetarian Week (May 19-25), you can find PETA's Top Ten reasons not to eat meat here.


Monday, May 12, 2008

photos from the May 4th meeting!

Thirteen people, big and small (and one on the way), attended our May 4th meeting of the Orillia Vegetarian Club. We had some great conversations and some great food! Here are some of the photos.

Also, our next meeting will be dinner at Brewery Bay - a local Orillia hotspot. We're meeting at 4:30pm on June 1, 2008.

Please RSVP to by Sunday May 25th.

A delicious salad with chickpeas, red onions, mandarin oranges, spinach and more.

Ben's Black Bean Salsa from How it All Vegan cookbook

Veggie Shepherd's Pie

Chana Masala and Aloo Gobi

Natalie, Jocelyn, and Emmy - chowing down :)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Veggies & protein

The list of upcoming events for the Orillia Veggie group is here.

I don't personally get asked the where do you get your protein from? question very often, but it is something that omnivores tend to ask. It's actually pretty ironic, because when you read the literature, you know that most North Americans actually get far too much protein.

As Mark Bittman (who isn't a vegetarian) wrote in the New York Times recently...

Americans are downing close to 200 pounds of meat, poultry and fish per capita per year (dairy and eggs are separate, and hardly insignificant), an increase of 50 pounds per person from 50 years ago. We each consume something like 110 grams of protein a day, about twice the federal government’s recommended allowance; of that, about 75 grams come from animal protein. (The recommended level is itself considered by many dietary experts to be higher than it needs to be.) It’s likely that most of us would do just fine on around 30 grams of protein a day, virtually all of it from plant sources.

Anyway, even high level athletes can get the protein they need from a vegetarian or vegan diet, and if you want to make a power-packed soup of lentils and chick peas, try this Moroccan Lentil and Chick Pea Soup recipe.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

May meeting

The May meeting of the Orillia Vegetarian Club will be on Sunday May 4th, from 4:30 to 6:30p.m.

It will be held at the Friends Meeting House, at 231 Westmount Drive South.

Please bring a potluck dish - enough to serve yourself and 5 others (and please print off and bring copies of the recipe!). You are also asked to bring your own drinks, as well as $2 per person to help cover the cost of the venue (kids exempted).

If you need recipe ideas, there are some vegetarian recipes here, and loads more online - just do searches like vegetarian recipes or vegan recipes.

If you have any questions, just email orilliaveg [at]

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

future meetings

Please save these dates and plan to join us for one (or all) of our monthly gatherings! The locations and themes are tentative at this point -- so please let us know if you have any special requests or suggestions :)

Note: The monthly event is held on the first Sunday of every month, starting at 4:30pm. Please email or check back here for changes (if the first Sunday is a holiday weekend, we will meet on the second Sunday instead).

May 4th - potluck at Friends Meeting House (no theme)

June 1st – dinner at Brewery Bay in Orillia

July 13th (alternate date because 1st Sunday is Mariposa!) – potluck at Couchiching Beach park (meet at the greenhouse)/bring your own plates, cups, cutlery and lawnchairs

Aug 10th (alternate date because 1st Sunday is long weekend) – potluck and farm tour at Nora, Stephen and Natalie's/bring your own plates, cups, cutlery and lawnchairs. Email us for directions.

Sept 7th – potluck at Friends Meeting House/theme: 100 mile diet

Oct 5th – potluck at Friends Meeting House/theme: Soup Night

Nov 2nd – potluck at Friends Meeting House/guest speaker: Sprouting?

Dec 7th – potluck at Friends Meeting House/theme: Holiday party

Eat food, not too much, mostly plants

Michael Pollan is not a vegetarian. He is however a journalist who has written some powerful pieces that explore, and support, the vegetarian argument.
In his January 2007 New York Times article, Unhappy Meals he uses nearly a dozen pages to prove his opening thesis that we'd all be better off if we ate "food" (real food - apples, not apple derivatives), and only a little bit, and stayed as far away from meat as possible.
His 2006 book The Omnivore's Dilemma examined the different types of meals available to North Americans - a fast food meal vs. an "organic meal" vs. a completely self grown & cooked meal. It was at it's most powerful when examining the factory farming system, and part of this can be read here.

Really interesting reading, especially if you haven't given much thought to food issues & and industrial agriculture before, and want to be introduced to the field by a fairly neutral, but very critical, omnivore.

Thanks to Debris for the picture.