Hey there!

Happy long weekend to those of you who are celebrating either Family Day (in Canada) or President’s Day (in the US) today! This one felt much-needed for me and I’ve intentionally kept it very low key – lunch dates, great workouts, cooking for the blog, and a couple of glorious naps. Last week was packed with commitments, but they were all really fun and today I’m super excited to share one with you.

Thrive Energy Cookbook by Brendan Brazier

vega bloggers with brendan brazier

On Wednesday night, I drove to Toronto (seems I just can’t stay away from that darn city these days!) for a Vega-related event, the launch of Brendan Brazier‘s new book, the Thrive Energy CookbookThis is Brendan’s 4th book, and this time he’s teamed up with Thrive Energy Lab (also known as Thrive Juice Bar) here in Waterloo to create 150 plant-based, functional recipes. In true Thrive fashion, all recipes are free of allergens (including wheat, yeast, gluten, soy, refined sugar, and dairy) and easy to make. One of my good friends, Jonnie Karan, is the owner of Thrive Energy Lab and thanks to his magical culinary prowess, each recipe is not only super nutrient dense, but absolutely beautiful to look at.

Jonnie and I

The launch event was hosted at Yyoga on Queen St in Toronto, a really nice space with a big open area perfect for the event.  Also in attendance were some of my fellow Vega blog buddies Christina, Krysten, and Cristina from Vega HQ who I was super pumped to finally meet! We dined on the delicious food catered by Jonnie and the rest of his Thrive Energy Lab team. I’m enormously addicted to their Raw Pad Thai, and much to my delight, this is one of the dishes that was served at the launch! Also prepared were falafels with quinoa salad, fresh rolls stuffed with veggies and mango, wheatgrass shots, green juice and Thrive’s sangria smoothie.

Food catered by Thrive Energy Lab at Thrive Energy Cookbook Launch

After listening to Brendan talk about the book, feasting on pad thai, falafels, fresh rolls, and knocking back some wheatgrass and Vega-provided bevvies, the crazy blogger photo taking ensued. Apologies if I flooded your Instagram feed last Wednesday. Maybe a little too much wheatgrass??

Krysten Christina and I

Michael and I

bloggers instagramming

vega blogger selfies

4-person vega blogger selfie

But back to the book. The 150 recipes include:

  • Nut milks and nut butters
  • High-energy breakfasts
  • Sandwiches, wraps and burgers
  • Soups and salads
  • Rice and noodle bowls
  • Smoothies and juices
  • Desserts
  • Thrive Sport cereals
  • Energy Bars

… and a TON of gorgeous colour photography by Vancouver-based photographer Kevin Clark. (Check out his portfolio – this guy has some serious talent!)  I mean, just LOOK at these photos from the book:

Photos from Thrive Energy Cookbook

Brendan described Kevin’s style as ‘modern organic’. I describe it as ‘the kind that makes me want to eat the pages’.

Photos from Thrive Energy Cookbook

Now you might be saying, “OK Angela, I get that the recipes are supposed to be easy to make, and they’re all super healthy, but sometimes I just don’t feel like cooking – like, at all.” Well, if you live in the Kitchener-Waterloo area or are willing to drive here, you’re in luck. Since the recipes were all created and tested by the team at Thrive Energy Lab, it may not come as a surprise that they’re exactly what you’ll find served up on their new menus!

Thrive Energy Lab Dessert Selections

Thrive Energy Lab Dessert Selections

I’ve talked many times here before about Thrive Juice Bar, the restaurant’s name prior to their recent rebrand. (Previous posts can be found hereherehere and here.) While I’m willing to drive all the way to Toronto for blogger meet-ups at places like Fresh and Live Food Bar, it’s nice to know that there’s one spot I can get beautiful, healthy, gourmet meals a little closer to home as well.

Thrive Energy Lab Waterloo 2Thrive Energy Lab, Waterloo

Over the past 2 weeks, I’ve eaten with groups of friends and co-workers at Thrive 4 times and even my most meat-loving male co-workers could not stop talking about how good their meals were. The team doesn’t cut any corners – the ingredients are super fresh, sauces are made from scratch, and every little detail on your plate, from the julienne of the vegetables to the fanning out of avocado slices is presented with perfection. Here’s a few snaps of the meals we’ve been enjoying over the last week or so:

Thrive Energy Lab Raw Pad Thai

Vegan Pad Thai with tempeh, bean sprouts, radish, pea shoots, cabbage, snap peas, and the most outrageously delicious sauce I have ever tasted. (Note: You can also ask to kelp noodles to substitute for the rice noodles if you want the dish to be totally raw.)

Thrive Energy Lab veggie burger

The Southwest Veggie Burger, with tomato, avocado, lettuce, and a side of nachos with house-made fresh salsa.

banh mi sandwich on gluten free bread

Banh Mi Sandwich on gluten free bread with sesame tempeh, pickled vegetables, avocado, cucumber, sriracha and Asian slaw. Seriously, I have never been happier while eating a sandwich in my entire life.

southwest burger

The Southwest Veggie Burger (updated with a gorgeous new bun since the first photo was taken!)

A surprise we didn't expect, vegan cheese made with cashews that tasted like smoked paprika gouda - I'm not a cheese girl but this was amazing!

A delicious surprise we didn’t expect: Vegan cheese made with cashews that tasted like smoked paprika gouda – I’m not a cheese girl but this was amazing! Puts every other vegan cheese I’ve ever tried to shame.

If you happen to be in Waterloo (either living here or just stopping in for a visit), I highly recommend checking Thrive out. You’ll find them at 191 King St S, across from Bauer Kitchen and Vincenzo’s. There are so many amazing sounding dishes on the new menu and I anticipate many of my own meals coming from Jonnie and his talented staff in the coming months!

So tell me…

  • Have you added any new cookbooks to your collection this year?
  • What’s the best meal you’ve enjoyed at a restaurant lately?
  • In your opinion, on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being freaking awesome), how does your city rank when it comes to vegan/vegetarian and healthful foodie-friendliness?