Happy (belated) Canada Day!

6 Jul

Happy belated Canada Day everyone!  I hope you all had a relaxing and enjoyable weekend filled with lots of maple syrup and other sorts of veganized Canadiana food.  Myself, I decided to try my hands at veganizing Nanaimo Bars, a tasty bar that hails from the opposite coast of this great country.

I used the recipe that madcap cupcake used but made a few changes. For instance, I omitted the walnuts and coconut because I didn’t remember having those in the Nanaimo Bars of my childhood but maybe I just wasn’t very observant back then.

Nanaimo Bars


For the bottom layer:
1/2 cup earth balance
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup soy yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups crushed graham crackers or crumbs

For the middle layer:
1/4 cup earth balance (or other vegan margarine)
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tbsp vanilla custard powder (Bird’s)
3 tbsp plain soy milk

For the top layer:
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1 tbsp earth balance

To make the bars

To make bottom layer:
1. Grease or line with parchment paper a 9-inch square cake pan.
2. In a sauce pan over low heat, combine 1/2 cup earth balance, sugar, cocoa, and vanilla . Add soy yogurt and stir constantly until the mixture thickens.
3. Add to this mixture, the graham crackers crumbs and stir to combine.
4. Press this mixture into the pan.

To make middle layer:
1. In a large bowl, beat together 1/4 cup earth balance, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla custard powder, and soy milk until creamy.
2. Spread custard mixture over the bottom layer in pan. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.

To make top layer:
1. Melt chocolate and 1 tbsp earth balance together in a double boiler.
2. Pour over chilled bars and spread over top. Return to refrigerator to chill until firm (at least an hour).

Once chilled, cut them up and enjoy when you want to celebrate Canada! 🙂

PS-madcap cupcake has a great tip for achieving perfectly cut bars. Simply score the bars after 10 minutes of the final chilling phase, it makes it much easier to cut the bars cleanly afterwards!

Nova Scotia Vegan Association

19 Jun

Hey you! Yes you, vegan in Halifax. Are you looking for a local community to join and meet other like-minded individuals? Maybe you’re a new or seasoned vegan but whatever the case, you may be interested in looking into the Nova Scotia Vegan Association. The NSVA is a recently formed group whose goal is to “provide resources, guidance and a community for people who are vegan or interested in a vegan lifestyle”. Not so much as a formal organization as it is a reservoir of individuals who share a common practice and therefore they provide support and information for others who have the same world outlook as themselves.

If you check out their facebook group, you will find a number of links to information on veganism (ethics, nutrition, cooking etc.). They also occasionally host vegan cooking classes which would be a great opportunity to sharpen your skills in the kitchen and meet some great people!

Speaking of meeting great people, they also host a popular vegan potluck that is hosted on the second Sunday of every month (the next one is scheduled for July 11th!) at the Dalhousie Women’s Centre.  The last potluck’s theme was brunch (and was also the potluck that I made the doughnuts for!) and there is usually a theme each month, check out the afore-mentioned facebook group for details on these events!

If you’re interested in joining the group or learning more about it, check out their facebook page (which I added to my ‘Halifax Links’ section on the right side of this page)!

Vegan Doughnuts!

18 Jun

I went vegan over four years ago.  Although I don’t ever recall being particularly deprived throughout, or ever in, those four years.  That is four years without certain foods…including your typical animal-product laden doughnut.  Did you know that Canadians consume the most amount of doughnuts per capita?  And that Canada also has the largest number of doughnut shops per capita?  That would mean that for four years, this Canadian girl has been deprived of a national symbol.  Check that, national treasure.  The doughnut.

Last weekend, I decided to correct this indecency by using a vegan brunch potluck as an opportunity to try to make myself some doughnuts.  And perhaps some “timbits” while I’m at it (doughnut holes for those readers who are not Canadian).  I found two recipes that looked good and on a hot, steamy Saturday night, I fried up some doughnuts.

For the regular doughnuts I used this recipe, except I used soy yogurt as a replacer (1/4 cup) and rolled them in sugar rather than making a glaze.  They were fantastic, and were definitely the horrible for you but so, so, so good doughnuts of my pre-vegan days.

For the “timbits,” I used this recipe.  They were also very good, a bit denser than the regular guys but still quite tasty.  My father said that they tasted just like a “burlington bun” which is something I had never heard of so I had to look it up.  Apparently a burlington bun is the Nova Scotian term for a jelly doughnut.  There’s even a facebook group to bring it back! Other parts of the world may refer to them as “berliners” or Manitobians call them “jambusters”!  Interesting!  I love local food history!

Things I discovered while making doughnuts:

* Use a candy thermometer.  Seriously, go get one if you plan on making doughnuts or anything that needs to be deepfried.  I was a bit nervous about my skills in the frying department, but since I used a thermometer, I knew exactly what temperature the oil was at all times and I didn’t burn or undercook a single doughnut! Plus, they’re like 3 bucks.

* Don’t use paper towels for draining the oil.  That’s what a lot of people suggest but I had some issues with sticking…I’d have to be really quick not to let them drain much longer than 20 seconds or they’d start sticking to the towels.  Next time I’m going to try using paper bags instead.

* Go get a real pastry bag for filling the donuts.  I used a plastic baggie and it was pretty tough since they’re so flimsy.  Don’t do what I did, use a real pastry bag.

So yeah, this post isn’t really about being vegan in Halifax (although see what I did earlier up there?  Threw in a little Nova Scotian connection?) but I thought it was a good little intro to myself while I write up some real Halifax posts.  Plus you get to learn about two great recipes!  I think I will be doing this periodically, sharing recipes I like or maybe reviewing cookbooks or other books that I’ve been reading. It will be fun I think and keep the blog interesting. What do you all think?


17 Jun


I’m Ashley and welcome to halivegan!  I hope that this blog will become a practical guide to being vegan in Halifax, Nova Scotia (and possibly in its surrounding region of Atlantic Canada)…restaurant and grocery store reviews, information on activist and outreach groups, events and much, much more will all be found here.

Give me a bit of time, I hope to have this blog up and running as soon as I can!  :)