My name is Elizabeth Emery and I am a blogger, writer and recipe developer of English origin. I run a plant-based food blog called Vancouver With Love! I have a passion for plant-based food, having been vegetarian since the age of four and vegan for the last seven years. My focus is on showing that plant-based living can be beautiful and inspiring as well as healthy and simple. There’s nothing I love more than inspiring others to create beautiful dishes from plants!
My day starts with a cup of chaga and reishi tea and some form of exercise like yoga to energize me. Being a food blogger, it’s incredibly easy to spend all day behind the laptop without coming up for air, so I find it really important to prioritize exercise first thing in the morning, otherwise it just doesn’t happen!
I have a rule with myself that I won’t look at my phone until after breakfast which – I’ll be honest – is sometimes hard to follow as I spend a lot of time on social media for work. It puts me in a much better mood when I actually stick to it though – I find it really gives me a positive mindset for the day.
For breakfast, I usually eat my Chocolatey Pecan Chia Cereal, topped with berries and nut butter. This cereal works wonders for keeping me full until lunchtime and I love that it contains so much healthy fat, protein and fibre.
Chocolatey Pecan Chia Cereal (vegan & gluten-free)
A simple but delicious chocolatey pecan chia cereal that is gluten-free, sugar-free and vegan. It’s quick to make for a vegan breakfast and bursting with taste!
Prep Time: 5 mins
Soaking Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: gluten-free, healthy, vegan, vegetarian
Keyword: cereal, chia, chocolate, quick
Servings: 2 people
- ¼ cup buckwheat groats (or ground flax seed)
- ¼ cup hemp seeds
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds (or sunflower seeds)
- ¼ cup goji berries (or raisins)
- 6 tbsp chia seeds
- 1½ cups almond or hemp milk
Optional – for sweetness
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 banana, sliced
- ½ cup raspberries
- 3 tbsp cacao nibs or cacao beans
- 12 pecan halves
- 2 tbsp toasted coconut
- Mix all dry ingredients together.
- Divide the mixture between two cereal bowls, add almond milk (and maple syrup, if using) and whisk.
- Set aside for at least 15 minutes (stirring regularly) to allow the chia to expand.
- Add toppings and enjoy!
- Don’t worry if you don’t have all of these toppings – the beauty of this cereal is that you can customize it and make it your own. Try adding any seeds, fruits, superfoods and nut butters you love. Get creative and go with your instincts. Food is all about enjoyment after all!
My days vary quite a lot so there’s rarely a typical morning, however I usually spend the first hour on social media, posting recipes and tips on Instagram and replying to comments/checking out other bloggers’ content. One of the key things for me is engaging with my online community – doing this has been SO helpful in clarifying who my readers are and how I can better serve them.
If I’m doing recipe development for a client or for my blog that day then I’ll start by planning what I’m going to cook and going grocery shopping for it. I try to structure my day so that I make and photograph the recipe in the morning or around lunchtime, to get the best light. I only shoot in natural light which can be a challenge in the winter months, as it gets dark early and I frequently have to dash around trying to finish the shoot!
Lunch is quite a quick affair, and usually consists of whatever I’ve made a big batch of and divided into portions for the week. It’s generally a delicious chilli or stew served with brown rice, like this Easy Eggplant & Chickpea Stew.
Easy Eggplant and Chickpea Stew (vegan & gluten-free)
Looking for a nourishing vegan and gluten-free supper that is quick to make and will leave you with leftovers? This Easy Eggplant and Chickpea Stew is it.
Prep Time – 20 mins
Cook Time – 30 mins
Total Time – 50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: healthy, Mediterranean, vegan
Servings: 5 people
- 1 medium eggplant/aubergine
- 1 medium zucchini/courgette
- 3 cups crushed tomatoes (1 x 796ml tin)
- 3 cups chickpeas, soaked and cooked (or drained if from a tin)
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 vegetable stock cube dissolved in ½ cup boiling water
- 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut or non-dairy yoghurt (optional)
- 2 ups fresh spinach, chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
To serve – optional
- Brown rice/millet/quinoa
- Sliced green (spring) onions
- Lightly sautéed purple cauliflower
- Chop the eggplant and zucchini into 1½cm cubes.
- Place them in a large soup or stew pot along with the crushed tomatoes, chickpeas, garlic, stock and dried herbs.
- On the stovetop bring the stew to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant and zucchini are tender.
- Stir in the coconut yoghurt and add the spinach.
- Cook for another 3-5 minutes, until the spinach has wilted.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
- Serve with brown rice, millet or quinoa. I also like to top the stew with chopped green onions, and if it’s in season add a small side serving of lightly sautéed purple (or regular) cauliflower as it tastes delicious and adds a pop of colour!
For the cauliflower, lightly sauté florets for about 5-10 minutes in a small amount of coconut oil, sea salt and paprika to enhance the flavour.
After lunch I head out for a quick walk in Stanley Park if I have time. When I’m busy it’s far too easy not to leave the apartment all day, so I make a real point of getting out for fresh air at some point, whether that’s for a walk or a catch up with a friend.
Back home, I’ll spend time catching up on emails, editing photos and writing blog posts. The admin side of being a blogger takes up a lot of hours, so I try to divide my time into 30-minute chunks for each task so I don’t get stuck on one thing. I find it helps the tasks move along a lot more efficiently and means I actually stay focused!
By this point, I’ve hit that mid-afternoon slump and need a little pick-me-up. I make raw energy balls or sweet treats for the week and usually snack on these while working.
Before I finish work, I make my to-do list for the following day. I’m a chronic optimist when it comes to gauging how much I can do in a day, and ALWAYS put far more tasks on my list than I can actually complete. I’m slowly learning to get better at that – hopefully 2020 is the year I nail it!
When it comes to dinner I like to spend a little more time winding down whilst cooking, so I’ll usually make something more extravagant like this Yam Gnocchi with Basil Pesto & Mushrooms. If I’m not heading out to see friends for the night, I’ll curl up on the sofa and watch a movie – my favourite way to switch off at the end of the day!
Yam Gnocchi with Basil Pesto & Mushrooms (vegan + gluten-free)
For a delicious and comforting meal that wows, try making this gluten-free and vegan yam gnocchi with basil pesto and balsamic mushrooms.
Prep Time – 55 mins
Cook Time – 50 mins
Total Time – 1 hr 45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: gluten-free, healthy, Italian, vegan, vegetarian
Keyword: gnocchi, mediterranean, pasta, potato, yam
Servings: 4 people
- 1 large bunch of basil, thick stalks removed
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
- 3 tbsp toasted cashew or walnut pieces
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups small brown mushrooms, diced
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- 1 large russet potato, peeled and diced (into 1½cm cubes – about 2 heaped cups)
- 1 medium yam, peeled and diced (into 1½cm cubes – about 2 heaped cups)
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Salt and pepper
- 1½ cups your favourite gluten-free flour blend (I recommend using one that has potato starch or tapioca flour in)
- 2 cups mixed baby leafy greens
- Prepare all ingredients as instructed above.
For the pesto
- Pulse all ingredients except half the olive oil in a blender to form a loose mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Scoop the pesto out into a glass jar and gently stir in the rest of the oil until almost combined. Set aside.
For the mushrooms
- Heat the mushrooms with the vinegar, adding salt and pepper to taste in a small frying pan until bubbling gently.
- Cook the mixture on low for 15-20 minutes until the mushrooms are soft and the vinegar no longer tastes acidic. Set aside.
For the gnocchi
- Place the potato and yam cubes into a saucepan of hot water and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes until both vegetables are soft.
- Drain and place the yam and potato back in the saucepan.
- Using a potato ricer, mash until smooth and the two colours are totally mixed, adding the garlic, salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer to a large bowl and add the flour, kneading the mixture into a dough. (It’s tempting to add less flour as the mixture can look a little dry – don’t do it!)
- Using your hands, divide the dough into four pieces.
- On a floured surface, roll them into sausages about 2cm wide with your hands and cut each into 1.5cm-wide slices.
- Roll each slice gently to make it more of a tube shape, and if you wish gently roll a fork along each piece for texture.
- To cook, add all the gnocchi to a large pan of boiling water. When they float to the surface, cook for another 30 seconds and then drain. (You may need to do this in two batches.)
- Spread gnocchi out on a large plate to prevent sticking until ready for use.
- Serve the warm gnocchi scattered over a bed of baby leaves.
- Add the balsamic mushrooms and drizzle pesto over the plate. Enjoy!