Lisa Blonder Ohlenkamp has been working in the office at Sweets from the Earth since June. She spends most of her non-working hours illustrating, crocheting, hanging out at home with her husband and adopted cat, and volunteering with the Toronto Vegetarian Association.
1. What is your favourite Sweets from the Earth product? Why?
I’m having a hard time picking just one. My favourites are probably the blueberry tart, the vanilla bean cheesecake, and the flourless cashew cookies. I moved to Toronto about three years ago, and discovered the cheesecake almost immediately. I’ve since served it to many omnivores who couldn’t tell the difference and loved it just as much as I do. After trying some of the other products, like the blueberry tart, I remember thinking that I might like to try to get a job at Sweets from the Earth someday, and now here I am!
2. Do you follow any special diets?
I’ve been vegetarian for about twenty years and vegan for about six. If it doesn’t contain an animal product, it’s fair game.
3. What do you love most about working with Sweets from the Earth?
I like working with people who share a lot of the same values I do, but I think the biggest perk is getting to try all of the delicious creations that come out of the bakery.
4. What is your guilty pleasure?
I watch way more TV than I think I should, and I’m a little embarrassed by how much I enjoy Project Runway and HGTV. I could go on, but I think I’d better not.
5. If you had enough money to retire right now, what would you do?
I’d love to explore the world. My husband and I spent three months traveling around Asia this spring, and it would have been great to extend the trip.
6. Did you have to make major changes to adjust to a veg/vegan lifestyle?
It was very easy for me to go vegetarian, but going vegan always seemed a little daunting and I was worried about living a life without things like cheese, yogurt, and baked goods. Once I realized that I could still enjoy the same flavours and textures with products like Daiya, Amande, and of course the baked goods from places like Sweets from the Earth, it wasn’t difficult at all. If anything, I think I eat a more diverse diet now than I did before I stopped eating animal products, and I’ve gained a much greater appreciation of eating whole foods.
7. What is your favourite thing to do on your down time?
I love to make things with my hands. Lately, I’ve been crocheting a lot, but I also knit, draw, paint, and cook.
8. What types of things do you do as a volunteer for the Toronto Vegetarian Association?
I volunteer sometimes as part of the Saturday Resource Centre crew, and I’ve also tabled at events, helped out at the annual Vegetarian Food Festival, and illustrated things like the directory and event posters. Right now, I’m organizing an event called Veggielicious, which is in its second year. For two weeks, beginning on September 24th, restaurants, cafes, and bakeries around the GTA will offer special deals. Over thirty locations are participating, including The Big Carrot, Fresh, One Love Vegetarian, Sadie’s Diner, Vegetarian Haven, and of course Sweets from the Earth, which will be offering two great samplers. You can find out all the details at Veggielicious.ca, where you can also find out how to win $100 worth of Sweets from the Earth products!