Pumpkin Challenge 2017: Welcome!

Friends, it is one of the greatest times of the year: The Pumpkin Challenge.

This is my 7th annual challenge where I take on each day of October and consume something containing pumpkin in some way. It could be in the form of the gourd’s seeds, spices in a syrup, or pureed goodness in baking. Whatever its shape, I will consume it if it is a day in the month of October.

You may have noticed that we are almost halfway through the month – fret not, for I have been consuming every day despite my neglected documentation of it on the blog. My Instagram has been covering everything, and my photography page and account will also be updated soon.

What started as a challenge fueled by store-bought goods has turned into a baking adventure and mission to explore local cafes, bakeries, and restaurants – especially if they’re serving up vegan options!

Favourites across time have included pumpkin croquette from the beloved Sun Sushi in Vancouver, Nature’s Path pumpkin spice waffles and granola, and even some pumpkin green smoothies (yes, there is more than one recipe for this online).

Now that I have moved to a new city, this month feels extra-important as it is the first time I’ve done it away from home and gives me a small challenge to overcome every day and some structure to my weeks as I adjust – I either need to bake or create something at home or I need to go discover some new establishment that is serving up pumpkin goodness to match the season. It can be stressful ensuring that I find something every day when I’m busy or sick or just unmotivated, but it has brought some familiarity and comfort, as well as some unfamiliarity that is necessary to make myself feel like I have a place here.

With all of that – let’s begin!

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Poland: Katowice

An incredibly stressful sprint to the airport took me from Brussels to Warsaw, where I stayed for the night before heading to my final major destination: Katowice!

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I will admit to having lost my emotional composure multiple times between Brussels and Warsaw, and then again more intensely between Warsaw and Katowice – misinterpreting which airport I was to go to, trying to store large luggage overnight in different languages, avoiding having my phone casually stolen on the bus, and lacking decent sleep for weeks. It could have been a lot worse, but I was quite shaken by the time I arrived in Katowice. Thankfully, my cousin had given me directions to my first stop in the town: Veganka.

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Full of traditional Polish food that has been veganized, a very kind employee translated every menu item for me and I found myself with a sour sausage soup and a vegan ice cream sandwich (VERY GOOD). My cousin met up with me, and we began a whirlwind tour of the area that would last for only a couple of days.

Continue reading “Poland: Katowice”

Being Cognizant: Celebrating the 5-Year Veggiversary!

A series about the ways I work towards being cognizant through decisions that make me more mentally engaged with various facets of my day-to-day life.

Cognizance (noun): Awareness, realization, notice, knowledge, perception.

On March 1st, I celebrated five years since I started following a veg*an lifestyle!

I am not perfectly inside one dietary box, in that I do not exclusively eat vegan but I do not eat meat and I try to purchase items that are friendly to animals in addition to not eating meat or consuming many animal by-products. It has been a journey for the mind and body as I try to find balance of protein, exercise, iron, vitamins, and satiation. I haven’t been the best at finding this balance, but I have really enjoyed the journey and the way it has caused me to reflect on what I eat more often (and the food blogs I have discovered for vegan baking along the way).

Each year, I celebrate by going to a beloved vegetarian restaurant. For three years, I did this with my vegetarian partner-in-crime before he returned to the omnivorous side, but he joined me each year to celebrate my personal continued commitment to keep vegging out. This year, a different partner-in-crime joined me for a new celebratory location – C.C. and I went to Meet on Main for a late-night vegan dinner!

We shared a plate of Hot Chiggin’ Things before moving on to a bowl of goodies for C.C. and a BLT Croissantwich for myself, followed by a chocolate raspberry crumble (tears of joy).