Yeast-free cinnamon rolls from Real Snacks

We all have a weakness for junk food. The problem is it’s not very good for us. Aside from the overabundance of fat, sodium and sugar in most of today’s snack food products, there are also the unidentifiable chemicals and preservatives on the ingredients list to consider. When it comes down to it, those delicious Twinkies, Doritos, Cracker Jacks and Cheez-its are not real food.

Thanks to photographer and cookbook author Lara Ferroni, you can learn how to make your favourite snack foods from scratch. Her latest book, Real Snacks, features more than 70 recipes for sweet and salty classics like ice cream sandwiches, snack cakes, pretzels, crackers and potato chips. There’s something to please everyone, including those who prefer their treats gluten-free or vegan. That’s right—Lara’s recipes use wheat, dairy and eggs, but every single recipe also includes gluten-free and vegan alternatives. Pretty amazing, right?

So far, I’ve tried the Cinnamon Rolls, which use a quick bread instead of a yeast dough, so I was able to indulge in these tender, cinnamony sweets in less than an hour. I promise you won’t even miss the yeast—or the two hours of rising time that goes with it. Lucky for you, the publisher has agreed to share the recipe (see below!).

Dark chocolate almond butter cups

If you’ve been reading ADC for a while, you may already know I’m pretty much obsessed with nut butters of all persuasions. Cashew, hazelnut, sesame, almond, sunflower—the list goes on. The greatest thing about them is that they’re so versatile; they work their magic in both sweet and savoury recipes and can add a creamy richness to just about any meal. Happily, most grocery stores carry a variety of nut butters beyond the usual peanut version, but the downside is often the price tag. Unless you can find it on sale, a jar of nut butter can cost anywhere from $5 to $12. That’s why I prefer to make my own.

As Lisa and I wrote in our latest VegNews article, making your own nut butter is ridiculously simple, and also easy on the wallet. To make the almond butter for the recipe I’m sharing with you today, it took 1 cup raw almonds, a quick 10-minute roast at 325F, and then a whirl in my food processor until a creamy buttery consistency was achieved. And that’s that.

Socca with kale pesto

So it happened. I’ve fallen head over heels with an entirely new-to-me food. It’s called socca, and it’s brilliant.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I have absolutely no memory of ever eating socca before this year. How could this happen? Or rather, fail to happen? This naturally gluten-free and vegan flatbread deserves its own category under the list of vegan staples. Seriously, it’s that amazing.

Although I don’t know if I should be singing its praises as if it’s some kind of trend that will leave as quickly as it came. I picture you sitting there, reading this and rolling your eyes—I know, I’m a little late to the party. The people in France have been making it for decades.

But can we please talk about the ease and versatility of this fabulous food? I’m shocked that such simple ingredients can be baked into such a delightful and versatile base for whatever you’re in the mood for. Want pizza? Add tomato sauce, veggies and dairy-free cheese. Need to make a crowd-pleasing savoury tart? Make this or this. Socca is also flexible enough to be wrapped like a burrito or used to scoop up thick curries. I like to bake it and then quickly run it under the broiler at the end, but apparently you can also make it right on the stovetop using a cast iron pan.

Amazing granola parfaits

The city I live in is very much a cosmopolitan. It is a sprawling metropolis of glass and steel whose skyline is punctuated by the familiar CN Tower among a showcase of condo and commercial buildings. What I love most about this city is that it has grown into one of the most diverse and dynamic cities in the world. The streets are bustling with people of every colour, ethnicity and religion. Known as “the city of neighbourhoods,” Toronto offers a point of connection for everyone with areas like Little Italy, Chinatown, Greektown, the Financial District and the Fashion District.

Where I fit in is among the city’s thriving vegan community (although we have yet to have a neighbourhood named after us), a diverse crowd of individuals who live up to their values of compassion and wellness. The point of connection for all of us is the Toronto Vegetarian Association, an amazing non-profit organization that works to inspire people through community events like the annual Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival and the Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off.

What’s not vegan about wine?

Whenever the topic of veganism comes up with friends and family while we’re enjoying a glass or two of wine, many are surprised to learn about the use of animal products in wine-making. “I don’t get it. Why aren’t all wines vegan?” they ask.

It is a confusing and often overlooked issue for vegans and non-vegans alike. Winemakers Jason Robideaux and Cheryl Murphy Durze of Vegan Vine, an entirely vegan vineyard in California, have written a guest post for ADC readers that I thought was super interesting. They’ll explain the wine-making process, the alternatives to animal ingredients, and why they ceased the usage of any animal products in their own vineyards. Sadly, Vegan Vine wines are not available in Canada (yet), but I’m happy they’re willing to share their knowledge.

In doubt about your favourite wine? Check out Barnivore.com. Or call the winery directly!