Jackie’s scramble burrito bowl

Scramble Burrito Bowl | A Dash of Compassion

If I had to pick just one type of meal to live on for the rest of my life, it would likely be some type of plant-packed bowl. Although I don’t often share photos on Instagram of my evening meals, you can bet that 99.9% of the time I’m eating a bowl of greens, topped with quinoa, lentils, broccoli, carrots, green peas or other veggies, along with a side of hummus and kimchi. Now that is my kind of meal.

Often simple, and always nourishing, vegan bowls are where it’s at these days, as many bloggers are professing their love for these one-dish meals.

Vegan Bowl Attack! review and recipe | A Dash of Compassion

Lucky for us, my friend Jackie Sobon of the popular Vegan Yack Attack blog recently published her first cookbook—and it’s all about bowls! Inside you’ll find more than 100 one-dish, plant-based bowls that are sure to please any appetite.

Within the book’s seven chapters, Jackie shares recipes for breakfast bowls, lil’ snack bowls, soup and salad bowls, entrée bowls, dessert bowls, and bowl essentials (sauces, spreads, dips and drizzles). She covers a wide spectrum of unique and traditional dishes, taking inspiration from an array of culinary styles and ethnic cuisines.

When it comes to the recipes themselves, the options are endless. We’re talking peanut butter pretzel oatmeal, spicy sushi bowl, Buffalo jackfruit dip, mezze fusion bowl, cookies ‘n’ cream dip, and no-bake cherry cheesecake, among many others. (Are you hungry yet?)

Raspberry-oatmeal breakfast wedges

Raspberry-Oatmeal Breakfast Wedges | A Dash of Compassion

“Let’s get this thing started!” is what I want to yell from the rooftops. I am a little antsy to finalize design plans for our upcoming kitchen reno so that it can get started… and get finished.

But alas, there are still decisions to be made and cabinets and other items to be ordered. Who knew these things need to be finalized and ordered a whole month before we even begin construction? Lesson one of #mykitchenreno: Be patient, Nicole.

Raspberry-Oatmeal Breakfast Wedges | A Dash of Compassion

We had an engineer in a couple of weeks ago to confirm the wall we want to remove between the kitchen and dining room is not a load-bearing wall. Thank the structural gods that this is the case, otherwise we would have had to add on several more weeks (months?) and a boatload of cash to deal with city permits, engineer designs, steel beams, and who-knows-what-else.

That’s one big plus so far, but I can’t help but worry about what sort of issues we’ll encounter once we start demo—plumbing, electrical, wonky ceiling bulkheads to deal with, and whatever other issues are typical of a house that was built in the early 1900s. Before I become a complete stress case, I’m going to keep enjoying the fact that I have a working kitchen currently and reminding myself of the end goal of the reno so I don’t overthink every last detail. If there’s one thing previous home renos have taught me, it’s to not make yourself crazy over all the worst-case scenarios before things even begin. Lots of people survive big home renos, and I will too. (I think. I hope.)

My favourite taco salad with spicy lentils and easy vegan cheese sauce

Taco Salad with Spicy Lentils and Easy Vegan Cheese Sauce | A Dash of Compassion

Earlier this year, I made a pretty bold statement about how much I despise new year resolutions. Instead, I shared with you a number of items on my most recent list of ongoing goals (that have nothing at all to do with losing weight or giving up a bad habit). Actually, most things on that list focused on an upcoming major home renovation: the kitchen. In the last few months we’ve had some progress on the planning front—we’ve found what seems to be a decent design-build firm to take on the project, bought a new range (my hubby found an amazing deal on a Wolf; lucky me!), decided on a layout and general design, and had an engineer in to assess the wall we’re planning on removing.

All exciting stuff, sure, but I must say: I’m scared to death, and a little (no, A LOT) nervous about the idea of giving up my kitchen for who-knows-how-long.

Taco Salad with Spicy Lentils and Easy Vegan Cheese Sauce | A Dash of Compassion

For someone who is so used to DIYing in the kitchen and making the majority of my meals at home and from scratch, I can’t stand the thought of eating out as much as we will need to because we won’t have the appliances or capacity to do otherwise. I’m sure most people would love the thought of having someone else make their meals for months, but not me. I have this thing where I want to know exactly what’s in my food and who’s been touching it.

So what’s a girl to do? Make as many of my favourite meals as I can before the dreaded demo day is here.

Chocolate pudding breakfast bowl + ebook bundle sale!

Chocolate Pudding Breakfast Bowl | A Dash of Compassion

I don’t know where the last few weeks have gone but here we are at the beginning of April, one of my favourite seasons of the year (next to early fall) when the snow melts away, the flowers are about to bloom, and everyone is happy and energized as we welcome warmer weather. But with a big snow fall over the weekend we seem to be welcoming winter instead!

Despite how mild the winter weather here in Toronto has been over the last few months, it is back this week but hopefully not for long. I am so ready for spring.

Chocolate Pudding Breakfast Bowl | A Dash of Compassion

Life has been a whirlwind of fun times lately, as hubby and I work on making our new house a home with new furniture and paint colours, dust off our outdoor patio furniture, celebrate birthdays and baby showers with friends and family, and make last-minute trips to New York. With all that’s been going on, there hasn’t been much happening on the cooking front. I’ve been happily enjoying quick yet nutritious meal options at home, like overnight oats, stir-fries, veggie-packed soups and stews, and lots of huge, colourful salads.

This chocolate pudding breakfast bowl is one easy and ultra-delicious breakfast I’ve been enjoying a lot over the last couple of weeks, and I knew it would be a good one to share with you. Besides, who doesn’t love dessert for breakfast? All you have to do is throw a few ingredients in a blender and you’ve got a creamy, chocolatey pudding to enjoy. You can eat it as is or gussy it up with fresh fruit, coconut flakes, nuts and seeds, and maybe a drizzle of maple syrup.

Magical chocolate chip cookie cake

Magical Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake | A Dash of Compassion

The first dessert I ever made for my husband was a batch of chocolate chip cookies, delivered to his doorstep in a little red gift bag with a note that said, “Happy Valentine’s Day from one singleton to another.”

That was eight years ago and just a couple of weeks after our first date, but at that point we were nothing more than two people who knew each other through mutual friends and who were somewhat attracted to each other. Our first date was short but sweet as we met for a Sunday matinee and then said goodbye with an awkward hug. I had no idea where things were going. He was probably dating other people.

Magical Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake | A Dash of Compassion

But it was Valentine’s Day and all I could think about was him. It was a Wednesday afternoon and I was home alone, so I baked up a batch of my best cookies and hopped on the streetcar in the middle of a snowstorm to get to his apartment before he arrived home from work. I left the gift bag hanging from the door knob of his apartment door and quickly fled the scene.

To this day I swear those cookies were the reason for our second date. So, you can see why cookies in any form remind me of our humble beginnings; of the days when we were young and trying to figure out what the heck we were doing with our lives. Just a month later, he took me to meet his parents and the rest is history.