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!:)