Thursday, March 2, 2017

Vegan Ben & Jerry's comes to Canada!

By Giselle Wedemire

Big news, Canadian vegans: as of Feb. 27, pints of Ben & Jerry’s dairy-free ice cream have hit store shelves across the country. But before you throw on some decent pants and run to your nearest grocer, pump your brakes and drive slow, homie, because there’s a possibility that your neighbourhood store might not stock these niche items yet.

In Calgary, I’ve heard that only select Walmart locations are currently carrying the new dairy-free B&J flavours – and even then, the flavour selection might be limited. Surprisingly, my neighbourhood Shoppers Drug Mart had jumped on the dairy-free band wagon. However, that store only carried the P.B. & Cookies flavour, and it wasn’t included in the BOGO deal they were running on all other B&J pints, which induced major sad faces in me and Mr. Picky Bitch.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Top three indie vegan perfumers

By Giselle Wedemire

Thanks to my beautiful mom and my effortlessly glamourous great-aunt, I developed a deep and abiding love for perfume at a very young age. As a wee preteen, I worshipped at the altar of body sprays, and in college I upgraded to finer eau de toilettes from Dolce & Gabbana, Viktor & Rolf, and Chloe.

When I became vegan nearly five years ago and focused on making the switch to green beauty products, I was sure that I’d have to settle for natural perfumes that I predicted could only smell like essential oils and patchouli. (No shade: I’d be the first to admit that I’m kind of a hippie at heart – mixed in with some Joan from Mad Men glam and a dash of Zoey Deschanel-esque whimsy. But just because I’m a hippie doesn’t mean I have to smell like one.)

Now, when it comes to vegan perfumes, it seems like everyone and their mom knows about – and reaches for – Pacifica. I feel that. After all, their Tibetan Mountain Temple fragrance makes me feel like I’m a badass yoga teacher.

But I’d like to invite you all to embrace your inner hipsters by broadening your fragrance horizons and supporting indie perfumers who put their heart and soul – along with more traditional fragrance notes, obvi – into each scent they create.

If you’re the type to go against the grain, here are three amazing indie perfumers that’ll leave you smelling glamourous, edgy, and sophisticated any time of the year. 

My vegan perfume collection as it currently stands.
Not pictured: the millions of sample vials I have from indie perfumers.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Six-ingredient vegan marshmallow fluff = heaven

By Giselle Wedemire
You know when you have a crazy craving for something, and it just won't go away, no matter how hard you try to repress it? That was me about three months ago when I wanted nothing more than to make vegan s'mores with some graham crackers, some dark chocolate, and a big ol' scoop of that marshmallow fluff in a jar that's usually reserved for ice cream sundaes.

Yes, I could have opted for some vegan marshmallows instead -- and, in fact, I did do that in the end -- but I wanted that fluff no matter what! The fly in the ointment, though, was two-fold: 1) it was incredibly difficult to find in any grocery store, and 2) when I did find it in Superstore -- in the chewing gum aisle, of all places! -- it contained egg whites. Womp womp.

Cut to: me storming away from the store like an overtired toddler, while Mr. Picky Bitch tried to console me. It seemed like my craving for marshmallow fluff would never be fulfilled, and I was devastated. I was crushed. In a word, I was overreacting.

But after receiving a standing mixer for Christmas, and doing hella research on the magic of aquafaba, I was inspired to try my hand at turning chickpea water into gooey, comforting marshmallow fluff

And let me tell you, it was a huge success.

Without further ado, I now present to you: homemade vegan marshmallow fluff!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Picky kids & spouses have met their match (Review + Giveaway)

One of the best parts of getting a new cookbook is flipping through it to bookmark the recipes you just can't wait to try out. And you know you've found a good book when you lose track of how many recipes end up bookmarked after that initial perusal. 

As it turns out, I went through half a million bookmarks when I received Kristy Turner's latest cookbook, But My Family Would Never Eat Vegan. #NoRegrets

Photo courtesy of the publisher, The Experiment

Turner is one of my absolute favourite cookbook authors, devising inventive recipes that are healthy but comforting. One of her particular strengths is her ability to create fantastic DIY component recipes for basics like sour cream or sausage crumbles, and then incorporate those basics into recipes that are mind-blowingly good. And what's better is that BMFWNEV has gluten-free variations available for every single recipe -- as well as some soy-free suggestions throughout  -- making this book super accessible to picky eaters.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Sanctuaries: the compassionate choice for animals

By Giselle Wedemire

I know I usually share news about vegan events, products, tips and tricks on this blog, but I figured I'd shake things up by discussing something I've been passionate about for most of my life: animal welfare. More specifically, let's talk about how uncool zoos are.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but despite the cute marketing and the utopian image presented by countless ad campaigns for local zoos, zoos aren't so great for the animals who live there. If you're looking for a fun way to learn about animals and are concerned about their welfare, you might want to rethink your usual day trip to the Calgary Zoo. With documentaries like Black Fish and Earthlings, we've learned that it is without a doubt inhumane to confine wild animals to unnaturally small spaces and to exploit their livelihoods.

And while zoos and aquariums provide the opportunity to teach the general public about the exotic animals they share this planet with, the basic vegan tenet of avoiding and boycotting the harm and exploitation of sentient beings should ring loud and clear when considering visiting the zoo.

How cute is this guy? If this face isn't enough to get you to boycott zoos and support animal sanctuaries, I dunno what will.
Creative Commons photo via Ontario SPCA

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Vegan winter teas are a 'cool' surprise

By Giselle Wedemire

The last time I wrote about DavidsTea's seasonal teas, I was peeved at the lack of vegan-friendly options available. I was at the point where I was considering boycotting the store because it seems like it's been such an extreme uphill battle for me to find readily available limited edition teas that don't contain bits of shellac or dairy in them. But (for now), that's changed.

On Nov. 2, DavidsTea unveiled their winter tea lineup and, to say the least, I was floored.

Screenshot via

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Menses munchies: Cinnamon buns are tasty, tasty lifesavers

By Giselle Wedemire

Update: It's recently come to my attention that due to a change in either the recipe or labelling of Safeway cinnamon buns, these are no longer vegan-friendly. This post has been updated to reflect the change in Safeway's cinnamon buns' vegan-friendliness, but has left the rest of the content untouched.

Welcome back to Menses Munchies, a feature just for us girls where I regularly spotlight sweet, calorific vegan treats that I've found help me chase away my menstrual camps and make me feel less like an ogre that's set on destroying the nearest village.

Some ideas are so great that they elicit extremely visceral reactions from others. I mean, I'm 99% sure that when people first heard about amazing ideas like sliced bread, or iPods, or sanitization, a lot of emotions were felt. I'm sure of this because that's exactly how I react whenever someone suggests I buy a cinnamon bun.

You see, I have a very hard-and-fast rule for myself: never make anything that requires yeast. Between the rolling, the kneading, the proving (and the second proving), I have zero patience for making yeasted baked goods because I value my time more than I value freshly baked bread. So when it comes to foods that require yeast and/or kneading, I am 100% on board with forking over cash for something pre-made.

While I like to think that I’m a pretty healthy person, during my own personal shark week I find that I need to have immense amounts of sugar and fat mainlined into my maw. And during such terrible times, I often turn to the most majestic accidentally vegan* convenience food ever: the Safeway cinnamon bun.