Hot for food lauren
Photo Credits: hotforfood

New Cookbook hot for food all day Is Here And Your Leftovers Will Never Be The Same [Interview]

You know the feeling: you’re scrolling through Instagram and staring down a video by Tasty or Bon Appetit, which features a beautifully prepared meal. Your heart drums with excitement. The foods look SO fresh, SO vibrant. They look so appetizing, you swear the food speaks to you.

But you quickly snap back to reality and see that you only have half the ingredients available. You end up going back into the blackhole of figuring out what to cook up.

Major bummer.

Well, if you’re stuck in that kind of rut, Lauren Toyota’s new cookbook, hot for food all day, dives deep into 100 simple but delicious vegan recipes out of common ingredients that most people have in their kitchen right now.

One thing that her cookbook excites us so much is her idea of “leveling up” your leftovers and transforming that old age thought that vegan food isn’t tasty. It hella could be yummy!

We spoke with Lauren to learn more about her journey into veganism, what inspired her to create her new cookbook and her favourite recipe.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Hot for food lauren
Photo Credits: hotforfood

I have been building hot for food as a blog and business since 2014 full time. Prior to being my own boss I worked in broadcast television in Canada. I was a host and producer for a number of shows, but most memorably was a MuchMusic VJ.

I am a self-taught home cook and vegan doughnut lover. 

I read that you’ve been vegan since 2010. What was the tipping point that made you decide to make the switch? 

I finally had to do something about how I was feeling. Eating meat and animal products never sat well with me and in 2008 I lost my job in television when the recession hit. It gave me time to reflect and really listen to my body.

As I was exploring my options and contemplating making a switch back to vegetarianism I also watched the documentary Food Inc. and that really started me on the journey to eating vegan. 

Tell me about your new cookbook hot for food all day. What made you decide to create this?

Although making the first cookbook was challenging in many ways it was very rewarding as a creative project. It certainly doesn’t hurt that there was such a positive response to it and it sold well, but I think I got hooked on the idea of making a body of work.

hot for food lauren 2
Photo Credit: hotforfood

I like the conceptualization of cookbook creation and the dedication that goes into the whole process. Before the full calendar year had passed since the release of my first cookbook I was already in talks about the second one. I felt an eagerness to get back to work on a collection of recipes.

This cookbook differs in that I wanted to offer people a great companion piece to Vegan Comfort Classics. This collection incorporates more easy, every day achievable ideas and the thread throughout is the concept of levelling up your leftovers… because leftovers can suck.

Hot for food cauliflower piccata with spaghetti aglio e olio
cauliflower piccata with spaghetti aglio e olio | Photo Credit: hotforfood

I’m into transforming leftovers into new and tasty meals. I have demonstrated this on my YouTube channel for years and I wanted to take that concept people have come to love and infuse it into a cookbook.

What was the most memorable recipe from the cookbook? Why?

It’s hard to pick one but probably the broken scone breakfast muffins, because I worked on that one with my friend Timothy Pakron of @mississippivegan. We’re really close friends and he was in LA helping me for a few days. We worked this one out together and it was just so fun. You rarely meet people you can really collaborate with so seamlessly.

I cherish our connection a lot so it was so special to have him lend his creativity and mind to the process. I also helped him with his first book for a few days too so I think it’s amazing that we share this same passion and get along so well and can help each other with something so personal as creating a cookbook.  

What would you say are 2 under-rated or under-the-radar recipes from the cookbook? Why do you think so?

I think one of my favourites that might go under the radar by readers is the sweet & sour rice balls. I’m not sure it sounds as appealing on paper as it actually is. The photo certainly will suck you in, because they look incredible. But it’s one of the more laborious recipes compared to others in the book so at first glance it might not get the attention it deserves. But trust me when I say, you will love them!

The other I think might be the no-churn salted caramel tahini ice cream. I am a tahini lover so this makes all kinds of sense to me, but readers might need some convincing to give it a try. First of all it’s fairly easy, hence the no-churn, but the tahini really brings a slight savoury-ness to the ice cream that compliments salted caramel in a lovely balanced way. I encourage you to give it a try! 

Who would this cookbook be perfect for? 

hot for food buffalo chicken crunch wraps
buffalo chicken crunch wraps | Photo Credit: hotforfood

I think long time vegans will enjoy this book because everyone gets stuck in a rut with their meals and I intend on bringing something fresh and new to the table for you. There might be some flavour combos you wouldn’t have thought of or new ways to eat certain vegetables you might be ignoring or haven’t explored as much as you would like.

I also think anyone who dabbles in plant-based eating should get this book. I make delicious comfort food that just happens to be plant-based. I want to be very clear that this cookbook isn’t just for strict vegans. You can use it as a gateway and as a supplement to your usual routine. I hope people find inspiration and motivation to eat more vegetables in new and exciting ways. You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy plant-based meals!

hot for food cookbook cover

If leveling up your leftovers sounds great to you, you can find Lauren’s hot for food all day cookbook at all everywhere that sells books: Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Indigo, etc.

For more easy-to-make and flavourful vegan recipes, check out Lauren’s Youtube and Instagram profiles.