Combining passions and learning new skills


Lillian Morpak is Career and Cooperative Education and Peer-Supported Learning Assistant in the Centre for Experiential Learning and is the creator, writer, and photographer of Lily's Vegan Adventures, a food and lifestyle blog.

June 15, 2022 - 8:30pm

By Alyson Winks

If you are interested in food, trying new foods, want to expand your culinary repertoire, or enjoy some good personal storytelling, look no further than Lily’s Vegan Adventures, which is authored, photographed, developed, and shared by VIU’s Lillian Morpak, Career and Cooperative Education and Peer-Supported Learning Assistant (which may well be the longest job title of anyone at VIU). In addition to her work, Morpak is also a contributor to the VIU Blog.

The food blog is a project that combines many of her passions and has become multi-platform vehicle for community-building and skill-development.

“The idea was planted when I was looking around for vegan recipe ideas. I would come across these beautiful blogs with great writing and lovely photos and I was so inspired by them,” she explains. “Then lockdown came and I was looking for something to do. The first post was in September 2020, and that was after quite a lot of investigation. I went down a pretty deep rabbit hole.”

Just a small portion of the list of things she needed to learn at the time were as follows:

  1. How to purchase domain.
  2. How to do some basic coding.
  3. How to choose a platform with so many options out there.
  4. Choosing an appropriate template on the platform.
  5. Understanding fonts, use of white space, and photo placement.
  6. Utilizing social media for sharing content.
  7. Photography skills.
  8. Writing for a blog.

And that does not even get into learning new cooking techniques and attempting new recipes.

“The beginning was definitely a steep learning curve just to set up the blog. I have always done some writing and photography, but all the digital pieces definitely stretched my abilities at the time,” she says with a smile.

Undaunted though, she continuously developed and pushed her skills, using the resources around her to invest in herself. She is currently studying Creative Writing and Journalism at VIU, making use of the Employee Tuition Waiver Program.

“That program is great. Not having think about how to cover the cost of the courses made it something I could pursue just because I wanted to,” she explains. There are direct benefits to her position with honed writing skills. “Like everything, the more you do it, the better you get.”

So what about the food and the cooking?

“I was always vegetarian, so making the switch to full veganism was not that much of a stretch,” Morpak says. “I like food and I like trying new ingredients. I have always cooked by feel, so there is a lot of trial and error. My mom is my taste-tester, and some friends as well.”

Morpak explains that the cooking seems to take the longest and the writing is fastest part.

“I get the recipe down, and I have to remember to measure what I include. Then the writing is just seems really quick,” she says.

Now that the blog is a couple years old, Morpak can reflect on how things have changed and evolved.

“I’ve learned so much about using social media, getting good images to entice people, and growing community,” she says.

Being a food blogger takes her into her local community to check out new products, try new ingredients, and introduce her followers and friends to it all.

“Local retailers always like it when I use one of their products and feature it. I can tag them and it’s a nice way to support our community,” she says.

And she is helping people discover a new way to eat.

“I get feedback from friends on what they really like, what they have tried that was new to them, how I can do things a little differently or try something new,” she says. “Some people have to said it has made vegan cooking more accessible.”

And her favourite recipe…

Lillian_mac n cheese

“It is probably the latest one I posted – vegan mac ‘n cheese and it is not made with cashews. Most creamy sauces in the vegan world are a cashew base, so I like sharing something that is not. This one is so good. The ‘cheese’ taste comes from nutritional yeast.”

You can find Lily’s Vegan Adventures on FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

Tags: In the Community

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