Get comfy because this is a juicy YU Should Know interview with the inspiring Angela Liddon, who has shared over 400 incredible plant-based, vegan recipes (and her journey from eating disorder to healthy) on her site Oh She Glows since 2008. And this is an extra special post because her long-awaited Oh She Glows Cookbook releases today! Big, big congrats, Angela.
I was lucky to receive an advanced copy of The Oh She Glows Cookbook a few weeks ago. And after a cartwheel, I landed on the couch and dove right in to the gorgeous photos (Angela takes them herself) and paged through “I-gotta-make-that” recipe after recipe…
And then I spotted my edible kryptonite, Chana Masala…
Not only did Angela find time to answer some questions for the YU Should Know interview series, but she’s letting me share this scrumptious and easy recipe with you, too. Whether you’re a vegan, “vegan-curious” or you simply want to eat some delicious food that’s healthy for you, I can’t recommend the Oh She Glows Cookbook enough. Angela isn’t an internet sensation for nothin’…
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10 Qs for the inspiring Angela Liddon
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HC: Tell us about your transition to plant-based. When did it begin? What/who was your catalyst?
AL: My transition began in 2009. It wasn’t something that I set out to do, but it happened naturally as I fell in love with plant-based foods. After a while eating that way, I realized I felt better than ever and I had no reason to return to my old diet. I’ve been a huge animal lover since I was little so the more I learned about factory farming, the more I realized I didn’t want to participate in that system. Vote with your fork, as they say.
I think animals are so much more intelligent than humans give them credit for. I now see there is value in all life, no matter how small or scary looking they may be. There’s a certain peace that comes with this appreciation and I feel much more connected to the world around me than I used to. Going through my life inflicting the least amount of harm is now a principle that guides me. I want to grow as a compassionate, loving person throughout my life.
HC: So, what is one of your favorite tips for newbies?
AL: My transition was a slow, gradual transition. I’ve never been one to cut things cold turkey or to make rash decisions. Slow and steady wins the race! My advice to new vegans is to not overwhelm yourself with everything all at once and to focus on the foods you are adding to your diet, rather than taking away. Try new recipes and have fun!
HC: I couldn’t agree more. So, what are some of your best tips for saving time and staying prepared?
AL: I try my best to do some food prep on Sundays. I chop vegetables and put them in a big container with some water. Less is wasted too. I also cook a big pot of beans and some grains. Every little bit helps! My husband and I usually tackle dinner together so it goes by so much faster.
HC: That’s fantastic that your husband enjoys the kitchen, too. When you went plant-based, what were some of the biggest surprises you discovered about the lifestyle and yourself?
AL: My biggest discovery has been all the amazing foods I can eat! I used to think a vegan diet was so limiting, but I now eat a much wider variety of foods than I used to. If I’m ever in a food rut and think there’s nothing to make, I remind myself of the 400+ vegan recipes on my website and look something up!
HC: I do the same thing! My site is my library of ideas. Ok. So, you’re stranded on an island (with electricity!). What are your top three must have kitchen tools and appliances?
AL: A Vitamix, for sure. I guess if I’m eating coconut I need something to open them with, so how about a cleaver or machete? Oh, now that is a scary thought—me opening a coconut with a machete! Lastly, my Berkey water filter for clean drinking water!
HC: Ha! I bet you could handle that machete juuuust fine. So, in the real world, what inspires you to stay on track day to day? Do you ever lose sight of your goals? And if you do, how do you get back on track?
AL: I have a major sweet tooth so I have to be conscious of not eating too much sugar, especially around the holidays when I’m testing a lot of recipes for the blog. There are definitely times when I fall off the veggie bandwagon and eat too many desserts, but luckily after a few days of that my body is craving the good stuff again. I always remind myself how much better I feel when I’m eating lots of vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. I must admit though, when I was testing so many delicious recipes for my book my pants were starting to feel a bit tight! I just love eating good food, what can I say.
HC: I can TOTALLY relate to this, but I agree, after a bit too much indulgence, the body will start to say “enough is enough.” The trick is learning to listen, huh? For more inspiration, tell us about one plant-based/vegan magazine, blogger, brand, book and/or documentary we should all know about.
AL: I recently saw an advanced screening of The Ghosts In Our Machine. The documentary features the talented, inspiring, and courageous Jo-Anne McArthur, who is an award-winning Canadian photojournalist documenting the plight of animals in factory farms, the mink fur trade, animal lab testing, marine parks, and zoos across all 7 continents. I can’t tell you what a profound impact the film had on me. I’m telling everyone to catch a screening!
HC: What city/town do you live in and what are your favorite veg-friendly restaurants and shops in your hood?
AL: I’m so lucky where I live right now because I’m a short drive to Toronto which is very vegan-friendly and I have many great grocery stores in my area. Organic Garage is a great place to pick up vegan staples at a reduced cost. My favourite restaurant is Fresh restaurant in Toronto (with 4 locations). Try their famous Quinoa Onion rings… you won’t be sorry!
HC: Tell us about upcoming or existing projects are you working on…
AL: Well, as you know, my first cookbook, The Oh She Glows Cookbook, comes out today and I’m super excited about the release! I spent over 2 years working on the book (developing the recipes, writing, and photography) and I’m so proud of it.
Aside from that, my husband and I are working on an Oh She Glows app! It should be due out sometime this spring. It’s going to feature tons of my most popular recipes with photography, as well as some new recipes and some other exciting features I’ll keep under wraps for now. It’s been a huge labour of love and I can’t wait to share it!
HC: We can’t wait to get our hands on it. What an exciting year this will be for you—keep up the awesome work, Angela. And happy happy book release day.
AL: A big thank you for this interview! It’s such an honour to be featured on YumUniverse. Keep on inspiring!
Want to try one of Angela’s delicious recipes from The Oh She Glows Cookbook?
Quick & Easy Chana Masala Recipe
Reprinted by arrangement with AVERY, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © GLO BAKERY CORPORATION, 2014.
Note: It took all my strength to not eat it all before I snapped a photo… it’s that good.
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Try to buy everything organic. Here’s why.
1 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp minced fresh garlic
1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1 green serrano chile pepper, seeded if preferred and minced
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
3/4 tsp fine-ground sea salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 can whole peeled or diced tomatoes with their juices*
1 can chickpeas, or 3 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup dry/uncooked basmati rice
Fresh lemon juice, for garnish
Fresh cilantro, for garnish
*I made a few simple adaptations: I was out of cumin seeds, so I just used 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin. I also used 6 tomatoes on the vine (blanched and peeled) instead of whole canned tomatoes. I also soaked and then cooked 1 cup of dry chickpeas to yield 3 cups cooked.
1. In a large wok or saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. When a drop of water sizzles upon hitting the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the cumin seeds. Stir and toast the seeds for a minute or two until golden and fragrant, watching carefully to avoid burning.
2. Raise the heat to medium and stir in the onion, garlic, ginger and serrano. Cook for a few minutes or so, then stir in the garam masala, coriander, turmeric, salt and cayenne (if using) and cook for two minutes more.
3. Add the whole peeled tomatoes and their juices and break them apart with a wooden spoon (skip if using diced tomatoes). You can leave some chunks of tomato for texture.
4. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the chickpeas. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or longer to allow flavors to develop.
5. Serve over cooked basmati rice, if desired, and garnish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some cilantro just before serving.
*I toasted and then cooked short-grain brown rice according to these instructions and it was delish with chana masala.
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What other movers and shakers should YU know?
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Now I want to hear from YU. What’s your favorite part of this interview with Angela? Tell us with a comment below.
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