Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hudson's Healthier Version (Apple Cinnamon Loaf)

Hi all:) So I decided to make my Apple Cinnamon Loaf again, but this time I wanted to make it in muffin form, and also make it less sugary so that I could give it to my son without feeling like a horrible parent! haha... NOT saying that people who give their kids sugar are horrible parents, I just feel horrible when I know I can do better. You could probably make this with agave nectar or brown rice syrup etc, I just haven't had a chance to try yet. For this version, I reduced the overall sugar, reduced the salt, upped the whole wheat flour, and added ground almonds to the mix. Here is the healthier version:

1+1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup raw sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1+ 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup ground almonds
1 chia egg (I ground my chia seeds. 1 tablespoon chia + 3 tablespoons water)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1+1/4 cups applesauce (unsweetened)
1/3 cup canola oil
1 apple, peeled and chopped (I used a Gala apple)
3/4 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 12 tin muffin tray.
Toast walnuts for approximately 10 minutes on a cookie sheet. Just be sure not to burn them.
Combine 1 tablespoon of  ground chia with 3 tablespoons water and set aside (you want it to become slimy and jelly-ish).
In a large bowl, combine all of your wet ingredients (applesauce, maple syrup, oil, and chia egg), plus the chopped apple and walnuts. In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined.
Bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Smoothie Time!

Having a toddler means that there are going to be many times when the majority of a meal may end on the floor, and not in their mouth! My oldest son is almost 2, and although he is a pretty good eater, I always want to make sure that he is getting all of the nutrients that he needs. I'm guessing that he gets a far wider variety of foods than a lot of other kids do, just because I love to try new things and experiment in the kitchen, but to err on the side of caution I often like to throw a smoothie with kale or spinach etc into the mix. I also like to add a source of omega oils and DHA. Let's talk about DHA for a minute. DHA is important for many reasons.DHA plays a crucial role in the growth and development of the central nervous system as well as visual functioning in infants. Most likely you were taught to believe that fish is where DHA originates, and to get it you either need to take a fish oil supplement, or eat fish. Well it does come from fish, BUT the fish eat microalgae, and that is where they get it from. So really, the original source of DHA is actually a vegan source:) Yay!
For this smoothie I used:

1 handful of kale
1/3 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 a banana
1/2 cup almond milk
2 tsp Udo's oil (vegan DHA, 3,6,9  blend)

To get the smoothest result, I add the kale and almond milk to my Magic Bullet first, and blend it until the kale is pureed. I then add the other ingredients, and blend until smooth. You can use any combination of fruit that you like, and use and kind of "milk" that you prefer. You could also add a scoop of protein powder to the mix if you are looking for a protein boost. One of my favorites is Nutribiotic Rice Protein. The only ingredients are rice protein and natural vanilla flavor, one tablespoon gives you 12g of protein, and it's made with non-GMO brown rice.
Update: My new favorite protein is Manitoba Harvest Hemp Pro. And I now have a vitamix, so making smoothies with greens is so much easier! :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Loaf

For Thanksgiving, I made a delicious Pumpkin Gingerbread Loaf, and it turned out amazingly. I'll be posting pics/links etc of my Thanksgiving dinner very soon. Anyways, I had also made another recipe that required 1 tablespoon of applesauce, for which I had to open a whole jar. Needless to say, I wanted to make use of the rest of the jar so it didn't go to waste. I started thinking about the Pumpkin Gingerbread Loaf, and began to manipulate the recipe in my head so that it would include the excess applesauce I had on hand. This is how my Apple Cinnamon Loaf came to be. It's baking in the oven right now, so let's hope it turns out! I'll let you know before I post this ;) Well I just took it out of the oven and sampled it, and it it delicious! So go ahead and try it!:)

You will need:
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1+ 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 chia egg (I ground my chia seeds. 1 tablespoon chia + 3 tablespoons water)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1+1/4 cups applesauce (unsweetened)
1/3 cup canola oil
1 apple, peeled and chopped (I used a Gala apple)
3/4 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9" loaf pan and set aside.
Toast walnuts for approximately 10 minutes on a cookie sheet. Just be sure not to burn them.
Combine 1 tablespoon of  ground chia with 3 tablespoons water and set aside (you want it to become slimy and jelly-ish.

Chia "egg" mixture

In a large bowl, combine all of your wet ingredients (applesauce, maple syrup, oil, and chia egg), plus the chopped apple and walnuts. In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.

Bake at 350 for approximately 55 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick/knife and it comes out clean.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Caeser Salad...............Made with KALE!

That's right.... kale! I had made some of my Vegan Caesar Dressing, and then went to get the lettuce, only to find that it was a little too old to use. I was pretty bummed, as I was really looking forward to some caeser salad. Then I spotted the kale in the fridge, and thought "why not?". So I gave it a whirl and it cam out great! Obviously the texture was a little different than romaine lettuce, but the flavour of the kale was masked very well by the garlicky-ness of the dressing. It's great to know that I can enjoy a big bowl of Caesar salad AND get my dark leafy greens all at once!
Mmmmmm... looks delicious hey? What I did was, rip the kale into bite size pieces (after washing and removing excess water), and then "massaged" the kale with a little salt and canola oil. Just a sprinkle and drizzle of each, respectively. |This just softens the kale a little so that is is more manageable to eat. Once this is done, add the dressing and the croutons, and toss until the dressing is evenly distributed. Serve with a sprinkle of vegan parm, lemon wedge and fresh ground pepper. Yum! :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I'm Still Here!!!

Wow, time sure flies! I'm still here, just really busy with a toddler, a newborn, trying to sell a house etc. I really want to get back into posting recipes and such, and I will, it may just take some time. For now, here is a picture of my new little man:) His name is Noah, and he is such a beautiful little soul! I;m such a proud mommy:) I never thought that I'd be the mom who says "my boys". I always thought I would have girls! Two boys it is though, and I couldn't be happier:) Anyways, I love cooking, baking, creating, experimenting and eating, so you can bet I will return with some great recipes!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tropical "Soft Serve"

Now, I'm not sure if you'd consider this a vegan "ice cream", a sorbet, or just frozen, pureed fruit, but all I know is that it is delicious. It's a great alternative to traditional ice cream, as it is sweet, a little creamy, and so yummy! It is great as is, served in a bowl, or you could put it into popsicle moulds and make sweet treats for those hot summer days. There is no sugar added, so it is especially great for kids as a treat. You can pretty much use any combination of fruits that you like, but banana is the best "base". I just happened to have some mango and pineapple in the fridge that needed to be used, and I had a can of coconut milk in the fridge waiting for an occasion such as this.

In Advance:

Chop 2 bananas into pieces and place in freezer. Also cut up your pineapple and mango into bite size chunks and freeze. You want to try and keep the pieces loose, as opposed to all stuck together in one lump. Also, you will need to put a can of full fat coconut milk in the fridge (the fat hardens and works better when refrigerated).

You will need:

2 frozen, chopped bananas
3/4 cup frozen mango chunks
3/4 cup frozen pineapple chunks (using fresh pineapple, as opposed to canned, gives the best flavor)
4 Tablespoons coconut milk/fat (it'll be the consistency of margarine )
1-2 Tablespoons Silk creamer (plain version)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place all ingredients into a food processor (or even better, a VitaMix or similar), and pulse until the fruit chunks have somewhat broken down. Blend on high until you have a smooth, creamy texture. If the mixture seems to thick, you can always add a little more Silk. Spoon into bowls and serve immediately. Makes approximately 4 servings.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Burrito Time!

Well I'm sure that this "recipe" is nothing new or innovative, but it was a delicious, complete meal, that Hudson really enjoyed, so I thought I'd share:) I enjoyed it also! I basically made some mashed "re-fried" black beans using canned black beans. Soaking your own beans would be even better, but we were all out. The pre-made "re-fried" black beans you get in a can are loaded with salt, almost too salty for me to even eat, so I figured making our own was a healthier (and less expensive) way. There were no measurements in anything I made (beans, guacamole), just made to taste.... really you can make them however you prefer. The "odd" part of the burrito, which I kinda added last minute, was the mashed broccoli. I wanted to add some "greens" to the dish to make it healthier, and it ended up tasting really good... you wouldn't even know there was broccoli in it.  
Here is what I did:

Took one can of black beans and rinsed them thoroughly. Put them in a pot with a splash of vegetable stock (just enough to moisten the beans and make then mashable (if that's a word). Added some garlic powder, onion powder, and cajun seasoning (I just used the "Clubhouse" brand). I then mashed it all together with a potato masher. In a separate pot I steamed a couple cups of broccoli and then mashed with a potato masher. For the guacamole, I mashed 1 ripe avocado with some sea salt, onion powder and garlic powder. I then heated a whole grain tortilla in a pan, added some "cheese" (whatever brand you like), and then layered the beans, broccoli, guacamole and added some salsa on top. For Hudson's I skipped the "cheese" and just put beans, broccoli, guacamole, and fresh chopped tomato instead of salsa (it had a little too much kick for him).
Like I said, it's not a new or sensational recipe by any means, but Hudson really liked it and it was healthy and easy too.... so what more can you ask for? :)

                                                         Hudson enjoying his burrito :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My Cute Little Man:)

This is Hudson. He is 16.5 months old (15 months old in the first 2 pictures) and is vegan!:) I got him the t-shirt from Karmavore vegan shop (, and it's still a little big, but still cute!:) I'm not sure what's going on with his hair in the pics tho... haha.

He is about 5 months old in this picture.... momma's little man:)

He is about 4 months in these pictures.... the last one is my fave. He started rolling backwards on the pillow and I managed to get his expression on camera... priceless.. haha :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Double chocolate, banana and walnut muffins

I was in the mood for something sweet today, but wanted to add a little pizazz (and a little healthiness..... maybe?) to my usual chocolate cupcakes. I'll admit that they could definitely be made even healthier by using whole grain flour and possibly using something in place of the sugar, but I did cut the amount of sugar in half from the original recipe, added a large banana and some chopped walnuts.... healthier right? haha

You will need:

1.5 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unrefined sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1.5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup of water
1 large ripe banana, mashed
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease or line a 12 cup muffin tin.
In a large bowl, sift flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Stir in sugar, walnuts, and chocolate chips. In a small bowl, mash the banana and add the oil. Mix with an electric mixer on low/medium until fairly smooth. Add vanilla, water and lemon juice and give it a little mix just to combine everything. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Divide evenly amongst the muffin tin. Bake for approximately 18 minutes (when a knife is inserted and comes out clean, they are done).

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spinach Pockets

Well I think that I am finally starting to feel better. This pregnancy has really been sucking the life out of me! But I'm halfway through the 2nd trimester now, so hopefully I only feel better from now on! I will try to post more often now!:)

Here's a great way to get some greens into your little one, or even yourself. These are pretty simple to make, fun to eat, and they are super delicious. A little reminiscent of spanokopita, but healthier. I used half whole wheat flour and half all purpose, but you could probably use more whole wheat and less white if you want. This was a trial recipe, so I wanted to stay on the safe side since using too much whole wheat flour can sometimes not turn out so well. Next time I will try with more whole wheat flour.

For the filling you will need:

3 cups frozen spinach, or equivalent
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh baby dill
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 Tablespoon vegan margarine
1/2 teaspoon pepper

In a large skillet/frying pan, melt 1 tablespoon of the margarine. Add onion and cook on low/medium until the onions have softened (not browned though). Add spinach, and cook on medium/low until thawed, and some of the excess water has evaporated. Add in dill, lemon juice, salt, pepper and the other tablespoon of margarine. Let cook for a few more minutes so that the flavours can combine. You want the mixture to be moist, but not really wet. In the meantime, you can make the dough.

To make the dough you will need:

1 cup whole wheat flour (plus a little extra for dusting counter)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup cool water

Combine flours and salt in a large bowl. Combine oil and water in another bowl or measuring cup. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix together, and you should end up with a ball of dough. It might be a little wet at this point, but that is fine. Sprinkle some flour on the counter and knead the ball of dough a few times, just to make sure all ingredients are incorporated and that the dough is still moist, but not wet.
Roll dough into a large square, approximately 16"x16". The dough should be about 1/8" thick. Cut into 16 squares (4"x4" each) with a knife or pizza roller. Leave them in place on the counter, and add about 1.5-2 tablespoons of filling in the middle of each square. Fold square to make a triangle shape, and pinch the edges, or use a fork to press. You want to make sure that you press hard so that the filling doesn't leak out.
Place on greased baking sheet, or parchment lined baking sheet, and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn oven to broil, and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes to give them a nice brown appearance. Keep and eye on them though, as they can quickly go from perfect to burned! Make sure to let them cool a bit before digging in, as the filling will be super hot. Store extras in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 days. Reheat in the toaster oven when needed. Enjoy!:)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Homemade Granola

Mmmmmmmm granola:) I adapted this recipe from one that I found in The Kind Diet. This recipe makes a big batch of hearty, filling, delicious granola. Store bought cereal often has a lot of sugar in it, and it is expensive! Especially the organic/healthy brands. This recipe is totally versatile and can be made with whatever fruits/nuts/seeds/flavors that you prefer. You can leave out about 1/4 cup of the maple syrup if you prefer a less sweet cereal.

You will need:

6 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup raw sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon orange extract (optional)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon  ground nutmeg
2/3 cups chopped almonds
2/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup flax seeds
2/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds (the green ones!)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 dried apricots, chopped
1/3 dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place oats on cookie sheets or in a baking dish (I used a 9x13 Pyrex dish and did 2 batches), and toast the oats slightly for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through. In the meantime, mix the maple syrup, oil, sugar, vanilla, orange extract, and salt together in s small bowl or measuring cup. Remove oats from oven and mix together with all the nuts/seeds (except coconut) in a bowl (careful, oats are hot!) Drizzle the wet ingredients over top and mix together. Sprinkle on the nutmeg and mix. Spread on the cookie sheet/ Pyrex dish once again and bake for 15 min, stirring every 5 minutes to prevent them getting to dark in spots. Add the coconut in about halfway through. You want the oats to be a toasty golden brown, 15 minutes was my magic number, but it could vary depending on your oven. Remove from oven, and add in the dried fruits. Mix  together and then let cool. Store on the counter in an airtight container.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Check it out!

So I came across this great blog today, Zero Waste Home. To me, being kind to the earth is very important,  so obviously the less waste we have, the better. We definitely make an effort in our home to be as eco-friendly as possible, but there is always room for improvement! This planet is our home and we need to take care of it. It is the home of our children, their children and so on. It makes me so sad to think that we are destroying this beautiful earth that our future generations will one day call home. I think that people either don't think enough about the damage they are doing in their everyday life, or they just don't realize the impact that they have. It's like eating meat..... people just keep it out of their mind, and keep on doing what they do because it is easier that way. I could not live that way. I have always had a very strong conscience, which has guided me to where I am today, and I am very thankful for that. It can be a little stressful at times, but I can't imagine living without care for our planet or our animal companions. What do you do to keep your waste to a minimum? I'd love to hear your suggestions!:) Here's a list of what we do:

-use cloth diapers for our son
-diva cup instead of disposable feminine products
-recycle anything and everything we can
-reuse items where we can
-cloth shopping bags/produce bags
-"if it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down" (toilet)
-buy second hand clothes/toys most of the time
- shower every 2 days instead of everyday
-compost (in the summer... still have to find a good winter method)
-we use Norwex cleaning products. Their cloths in most cases do the job on their own, as they are "antibacterial" . The only place we use a cleaning solution is for dishes, toilet and laundry, but they are  all eco-friendly ones.
-we receive/pay bills online

That's all I can think of right now... it's late! haha. But just a few ideas:)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pictures/Recipes of Valentine's Day Dinner

As promised I am posting a couple pictures of our dinner from last night. The real star of the show was the Coconut Key Lime Pie from the little house of veggies blog! It was so good! It was also pretty simple to make, made of mostly nutritious ingredients, and all raw, so no baking involved!  You would never guess that the main ingredient in the pie is avocado! The recipe may seem a bit odd to you at first, but believe me, it is soooo worth trying! I made some extra coconut whip to add on top of the pie when it was served. Delish! The recipe called for a 9" spring form pan, but I only had an 8" and a 9 3/4", so I used the 9 3/4". Next time I think I will use the 8" pan, and the pie was a little flatter than the original picture I saw.

The main course of our meal was Chana Masala with veggies, chickpeas and brown jasmine rice. Yes, you read right.... brown jasmine rice! I was so excited to see this at the grocery store, as I LOVE jasmine rice, but usually don't eat it because I have only seen the white variety in the store. I am in heaven now! It was sooooo good!:) I love making chana masala because it is so tasty, and when you add chickpeas and veggies like broccoli to it, it is really healthy too. Hudson even loved it! I just added half the spice/salt at the beginning and then added the rest after I took a portion out for Hudson.
If you'd like to try the chana masala yourself, here is the recipe.
You will need:
1 cup rice (dry measurement)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
3 tablespoons tomato paste (plain)
1-2 tablespoons curry powder (unsalted), depending on how strong you like it
4 tablespoons soymilk/soy cream/rice milk, your choice
1 tablespoons vegan margarine
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1.5 cups chickpeas (cooked or canned. But beware of the salt content if you used canned)
1.5 cups broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
1.5 cups cauliflower, cut into bit sized pieces
fresh ground pepper to taste

First, put the rice on to cook (follow the package instructions). You will want about 2 cups cooked, so use 1 cup dry of regular rice, or 2 cups if you are using brown minute rice. Next, put the broccoli and cauliflower to steam as you prepare the rest of the dish. As the veggies are steaming, add the vegetable oil to a large frying pan (wok size), and cook the onion on medium heat so that they soften, but don't brown. After about 2 -3 minutes, add the garlic. Let cook for another minute. Now add in the soymilk, margarine, curry power, tomato paste and salt. Stir together to form a sauce type mixture. Once everything is mixed well, add in the chickpeas and red pepper. Let simmer on low/medium heat for about 3 minutes, until the red pepper softens slightly, and the chickpeas are heated through. Add in the steamed veggies, and toss together. Your rice should be cooked about the same time that it takes to make the dish. Serve the chana masala mixture over rice, and voila! Enjoy!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day!

It's hard not to get sucked into the mass consumerism that is Valentines Day. I try to choose gifts that aren't completely useless and that have meaning:) This year I got Jeremy a t-shirt from Karmavore Vegan Shop (made by Herbivore clothing). It is sweet! I know it is going to look super sexy on him and his muscle-y vegan hotness! This is what it looks like:
On a side note, Jeremy gave me my gift early (yesterday), in the form of a beautiful engagement ring! :) Yup, I can now call him my fiance! Or financier and he says.. haha. What a guy! We have definitely had a busy year and a half! We have bought a house, had a baby, have another baby on the way (due in August), and now we are engaged! Very exciting!:)

Tonight for dinner I am going to make him a delicious Chickpea and Veggie Chana Masala over brown jasmine rice, and a Coconut Key lime Pie for dessert. I will post pictures later tonight, or tomorrow!:) Hope that you all have a great evening with friends, family, that special someone, or even on your own! Good food is always a great companion!:)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Pasta with Cashew "Cheese" Sauce, Spinach and Fresh Tomato

Finding a good tasting creamy pasta sauce can sometimes be difficult when you are vegan. I have made a few different kinds, but so far, this one tops them all! I found the recipe on one of my favorite blogs, It is made with cashew "cheese", which may seem a little strange at first, but once you try it, you will be convinced! You can find the recipe for the cashew cheese at, and she also has a recipe for the cheese sauce at I added extra garlic and salt to my cashew cheese recipe, but you can tweak it any way that you prefer. She has so many great recipes, so I definitely recommend check out her blog! I made my own twist on the sauce by adding some spinach in with the pasta as it was cooking, and then added some fresh chopped tomato at the end. It was so good! I bet adding sauteed mushrooms or steamed broccoli would be delicious also! I definitely recommend you try it!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Healthy Start Part 1: Sugar

Ever since I have become a mom, I am much more aware of food, what it contains, and where it came from. I have always been a fairly conscious eater, which explains why I stopped eating meat when I was 12, but as I have gotten older, I have learned more and more about some of the less talked about issues, which has drastically altered my view on food. Now that I am a mom I am especially conscious. I know that I don't always eat the healthiest that I can, and I know that this in part has to do with the junk food I have eaten over the years. My body craves it now. I wish that more than anything, my children will never have to feel this way. I know that all people don't have strong cravings like I do, but it has been scientifically proven that many substances like sugar, cheese, caffeine etc, are strongly addictive, and can be a hard habit to break. I believe that if we can give our children a good start in life, free of these addictive substances, along with a good knowledge base of why these things are unhealthy, they will stand a better chance when they get older. I believe that a large part of the problem with parents, is that they just aren't aware of the dangers. People are raised a certain way, and think that is the right way, or the only way. They don't question what the media or food companies are telling us. I question EVERYTHING. I know that it can be a little annoying to some people, but raising my son is the most important job that I have ever had, and I am not going to let other people's opinions affect my judgement.

What I really want to talk about is sugar. This is probably the most overlooked, widely accepted but dangerous "food" that we feed our children.White, refined sugar, contains no nutritional value at all. It has been stripped of all of the minerals that naturally occur in it, and because of that, it can actually strip your body of essential minerals. Your body needs these minerals to perform vital functions such as transmitting nerve signals, bone formation and oxygen transport. Sugar spikes the blood glucose levels, and then crash shortly after. This creates highs and lows, and can drastically upset our energy levels, and leave us feeling lethargic. Excess sugar can lead to diabetes, obesity and heart disease, just to name a few. Sugar hides in so many foods.... many that we would never suspect. Obvious sources are candy, pop, cakes, cookies, granola bars etc, but pre-packaged foods such as juice, canned sauces, dry cereals, soups, canned fruits, jam, etc are the culprits that people might not think of. Sugar can be listed as corn syrup, dextrose, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, maltose, and sucrose, amongst others. Children don't know what sugar is until they are exposed to it. They will never demand it or crave it, if they have never been exposed to it. Of course in a perfect world, we would be able to shelter our children forever, but unfortunately that isn't the case. They will at some point be exposed to it, whether it is at daycare, school, or at extracurricular activities that they attend. That is why it is important that we teach them healthy habits early on. Give them the tools so that they can make good decisions when the time comes. I have been accused of depriving my son because I don't feed him sweets or give him juice, and I think that is so ridiculous! Seriously? Don't get me started... haha. I also want to point out that just because you child isn't overweight, doesn't mean that they are healthy. I've known quite a few people who are skinny as a rail, but have super high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, or diabetes.
So all in all, I just want people to become more aware of what they are feeding their children. I know that raising kids can be stressful, and you don't always have all the time that you'd like to. The best thing that you can do is feed your children whole foods. Cook from scratch whenever possible. Get rid of most of the pre-packaged stuff in your cupboards, read ingredients labels, get informed!  Plan ahead, and have healthy ingredients on hand so that you can make healthy meals. Avoid giving your kids cookies and candy, and give them healthy alternatives like fruit, nuts, raw veggies, and even home made "treats" that you have made, and know exactly what is in them. You can sweeten home baked goods with things like brown rice syrup, maple syrup, agave nectar and applesauce etc, and serve them in moderation. Set a good example for your kids. You'll be amazed at how they will follow your lead. I can honestly say that Hudson (my son), has never tasted a chocolate bar, cake, candy, pop, etc, and has only had juice (pure fruit juice of course), when he was sick, and couldn't eat. That earlier you start, the easier it is! You can do it! :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Borscht! Yummmmmm!!

Borscht. It might be a foreign word to you, but basically it just a word for beet soup..... yummy beet soup! I make mine with lots of dill, potato, red cabbage, carrots, tomato, onion, potato, and beets of course! There are many different versions of borscht, some with meat, some without....some more "acidic" with more tomato, and borscht is served with a dollop of sour cream on top, or sometimes with cream mixed in, so you can add a little vegan "cream" (I use silk coffee creamer), or vegan sour cream, if you like it a little creamy. I like it both ways:).

You will need:

2 large beets, peeled and diced (about 1cm to 1.5 cm)
3 medium potato, diced (same as beets). Peeling is optional
3 large carrots, chopped (again, peeling is optional)
1/2 a small to medium head of red cabbage, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large tomatoes seeded and chopped, or about 1/2 a can of diced tomato, drained
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons vegan margarine
6 cups of water (you may need more, as vegetables vary in size)
2-3 cubes of veggie stock (depending on the salt content)
1/2 cup of fresh baby dill (more or less depending on your taste... I like more!)
salt and pepper to taste
Silk coffee creamer (original) or Tofutti Sour Supreme (optional)

In a large pot, melt vegan margarine on medium heat. Add oil. Once heated, add onion and beets. Let the onions "sweat" (soften without browning) for about 3 minutes. Add cabbage and cook until it has wilted a bit. Add the water, veggie stock, carrots and potato. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to low-medium heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add tomato and continue to simmer until all veggies have cooked. Add dill at the end and let it cook in for about 5 to 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can serve the soup chunky, but I personally think it tastes better if it is mashed up a bit. I take a potato masher and mash it in the pot until most of the veggies have been broken/mashed. You could also use a food processor or bender if you want a really smooth texture. Add the "cream" or "sour cream" as you serve it, as it can tend to separate in the soup if it is cooked to long. Enjoy!:)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Vegan BLT

Now, I haven't had bacon in almost 20 years, so of course I don't really know what it tastes like anymore, but this substitute is definitely delicious, and works really well in a sandwich. It has a salty, smokey flavor, with a bit of sweetness added in the form of maple syrup. So good! I used to make it with tofu, which is totally fine, but then one day I decided to try it with some seitan I had made and had sitting in the fridge. Even better!

So first I made a batch of seitan from scratch. The recipe makes quite a bit, so you can keep the extra in the fridge or freezer for other recipes.

Basic Seitan

You will need:
2 cups vital wheat gluten
1.5 to 2 cups water
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce or 1 teaspoon salt
Large pot filled with water. (The seitan doubles in size as it boils, so make sure you have lots of room! You can add vegetable stock or some salt to the water to enhance/maintain the flavour of the seitan.)

Mix all the dry ingredients together. Mix the soy sauce or tamari with the water if that's what you are using. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stay out by adding only 1.5 cups of water, and gradually add more, until you get a doughy consistency. It will be a little more "spongy" and wet than regular dough, but you don't want it saturated with water. Squeeze it to remove any excess water. Cut into pieces that are about 2 inches square. They won't all be the same, and they won't be uniform, but that's okay.
Drop pieces in the pot of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes. Drain, and allow pieces to sit in colander over pot for a few minutes to let the excess water drain.

Seitan "Bacon"

You will need:
Approximately 5 pieces of the seitan that you made. About 1 pound or so.
1.5 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon tamari
2-3 teaspoons pure maple syrup (depending on the sweetness you like)
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/8 cup nutritional yeast

                                                                  Above: 5 pieces of seitan

Next, slice into pieces about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch thick, and toss with 1.5 tablespoons of canola oil. Place on baking sheet (I lined mine with parchment, as I have yet to buy silicone baking mat!). See picture below.

 Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove from oven and flip pieces over with tongs. The pieces will be starting to brown nicely, but will still be quite soft.

Bake for another 15 minutes. The pieces will now be a little more brown, and somewhat crispy, but not hard. See below picture:

Combine the tamari, liquid smoke and maple syrup in a medium size bowl, and toss the pieces of seitan until the liquid is absorbed and all of the pieces are coated. Sprinkle on the nutritional yeast and toss until the yeast has been dissolved and is evenly distributed amongst the seitan.

To make a BLT, simply toast 2 pieces of your favorite bread, spread on your favorite vegan mayo (mine is vegenaise.) Add lettuce, tomato, and the seitan bacon. Enjoy!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Kale Chips

If you have never tried kale, it is a must have in any diet! Kale is considered to be a highly nutritious vegetable with powerful antioxidant properties and kale is also considered to be anti-inflammatory. It is a good source of calcium, which is great for vegans!:) There are many ways to prepare kale; add it to soups, stir-fry, steam it, add it to fruit smoothies etc, but if you are looking for a different way, these kale chips are perfect! They are crispy, with a touch of salt and seasoning. a great alternative to traditional potato chips!

You will need:

1 large bunch of kale
2 tablespoons olive or grapeseed oil
1/8 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder/granules
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/4 cayenne
(You can leave the chipotle and cayenne out if you aren't a fan of spicy food.)

Preheat oven to 200. Baking these works best if you line the baking pan with parchment paper. I reused mine 3 times, as it took 3 batches to bake these.
Wash kale, and pat dry and make sure there is no water left on it.. Separate leaves from the stems, and rip into pieces that are approximately 3 inches squared. The kale will shrink when it bakes. Toss the pieces in the 2 tablespoons of oil in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Sprinkle the dry mixture over the kale pieces and mix until it is evenly distributed amongst the kale. Place pieces on baking sheet (they can be touching, as they shrink as opposed to expanding like cookies), and bake for about 30 minutes. Check them and if they require more baking, flip and bake for another 5-10 minutes. Once baked, slide off baking sheet onto a plate or large bowl. Mine have never lasted more than a day or two, but I always leave them in the open air, as putting them in a sealed container could make them go softer? I'm not sure.... haha.. but like I said, they never last that long anyways!:)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Easy Vegan Caesar Dressing

If you are vegetarian or vegan, and love caesar salad, this recipe is for you! Traditional caesar dressing contains anchovies or anchovy paste, so obviously it isn't acceptable for vegans or vegetarians. I have made this a few times for my caesar salad loving boyfriend, and each time he is amazed by how much it tastes like the original. Plus it doesn't contain any cholesterol, eggs, or dairy, so it's good for those who are trying to avoid cholesterol, or for those who have an egg or dairy allergy. I don't have a picture of the dressing on it's own, but we made "chick'n" caesar wraps the other night, so I have a picture of the whole shebang:)

You will need:

1/2 cup Vegenaise (or your favorite vegan mayo)
1 teaspoon stone ground mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1/2 teaspoon vegan worcestershire
small pinch of sea salt
pepper to taste (I put about 1 tsp, but I like pepper)
1/2 tablespoon vegan parm (optional)

Place all ingredients into a blender (or I used a magic bullet), and blend for about 1 to 2 minutes. You want all ingredients to be well  incorporated. Easy peasy! :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Crispy Crunchy Cinnamon Cookies

I was craving some crispy cinnamony deliciousness the other day, so I threw together this simple, yet delicious recipe. I had some friends/family over, and the cookies disappeared! I'll take that as a good sign:)
You will need:

1/2 cup vegan margarine
1/2 cup vegan granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1.5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup flour (all purpose)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
extra sugar for top of cookies

Preheat oven to 375 and either have a greased cookie sheet, parchment lined cookie sheet or a silicone baking she lined cookie sheet ready.
Cream together sugar and margarine. Add the cinnamon and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder and then add it to the wet mixture. Combine until you have a doughy mixture. Roll dough into balls (about 1 tablespoon worth), and place on prepared cookie sheet. Flatten with a fork, and the top with a sprinkle of sugar. Bake for 15 minutes. If you like a softer cookie, you can remove after 11 minutes.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Multi-Purpose "Cheese" Sauce

                      Baked mac 'n "cheese" with broccoli and cauliflower

So tonight for dinner I decided to try making some vegan macaroni and "cheese" (and keep track of the recipe!). Well I did it! I wrote it all down, and it ended up turning out really well! At first the cheese sauce was meant only for this dish, but once I tasted it, I got the urge to try it with a tortilla chip. So I got some out of the cupboard, and once I tried it, I wanted more and more! It was good just as is, but it would be really good to if you added some tex mex seasoning or some chopped jalapeno peppers (the jarred kind). Yum! Can't wait to do it that way and have nachos and "cheese" dip!

Basic "cheese" sauce recipe:

2 tablespoons vegan margarine
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup Silk creamer for coffee (plain)
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup daiya cheddar style shreds
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon curry powder (unsalted, basically turmeric, so that will do to)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Melt the margarine in a saucepan on medium heat. Add the flour and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk constantly. Add the Silk creamer slowly, while whisking, and then add the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, while whisking on a regular basis. Now add the Daiya shreds and allow them to melt. Keep whisking! Now add the salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and curry powder. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and serve! Like I said, this can be used for pasta, over veggies, for nachos.... whatever you like! Add additional spices to your liking! Enjoy:)

To make the baked mac n cheese, I simply cooked 2 cups of macaroni and about 2 cups of broccoli/cauliflower mixture. Once they were "al dente", I mixed them together with the cheese sauce in a baking dish. You could add another half cup or cup of Daiya and stir it in at this stage if you want that "stringy" mac n cheese effect. I then crushed about 20 saltine crackers (multi grain or whole wheat), and placed them in a frying pan with 2 teaspoons of melted margarine, and mixed them together until the margarine was evenly distributed. I then sprinkled the cracker mixture on the macaroni mixture and baked at 400 for 15 minutes.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Peachy Muffins with a Pecan Topping

Hello! Hope everybody had a great holiday break:) Mine was good..... hectic as usual, but all in all, good. My sister bought me "La Dolce Vegan" by Sarah Kramer for Christmas, and I just made these muffins the other night. They definitely aren't health food, but they are vegan, and they are delicious. They are definitely healthier than most store bought muffins for sure!

                                        Recipe taken from "La Dolce Vegan" By Sarah Kramer
You will need:

1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/3 cup sugar (raw cane or brown)
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon

1.5 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil (I used canola)
1/4 cup milk (I used rice milk)
Equivalent of 2 eggs (I used EnerG egg replacer)
1 cup frozen peaches, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly oil 12 muffin tins, or line with paper liners (I oiled, as I like the way the muffins turn out, plus no waste). In a small bowl, mix together the "topping" ingredients. Set aside. In a large bowl, sift together the dry "muffin" ingredients. Once combined, add in the oil, milk and egg replacer. Mix until just combined. Mine seemed a bit dry, so I added another 1/4 cup of milk. Fold in peaches, and spoon evenly into muffin tins. Sprinkle each muffin with topping mix. I'd recommend pressing the topping mix into the batter a bit, as mine kind of fell off once baked. Bake for 20 to 25 min or until a toothpick or knife come out clean. Let cool completely before removing from pan. Makes 12 muffins.
I was toying around with the idea of changing up the topping a bit, and substituting half the flour for oats (slightly ground), using brown sugar instead of granulated, and using vegan margarine instead of oil. Just an idea! Let me know if you try it! I'm also going to try making a more "tropical" version of this muffin! Can't wait..... mmmmmmmm :)

* Note
Just a side note about all the recipes I make. I use organic ingredients whenever possible. Whenever sugar is listed, it is always a vegan version of brown, granulated or icing sugar. Regular white sugar is usually processed using bone char which comes from animals. Plus white sugar is way more refined, and stripped of all it's natural properties. For salt, I always use sea salt, not table salt. Regular table salt is similar to refined sugar in the sense that it has been stripped of it's natural minerals. Sea salt is a more "whole" version, and doesn't strip your body of it's own minerals. You can get sea salt that is finely ground, just like table salt.