Sunday, September 27, 2015

Vegtoberfest Kickoff

Happy Sunday! Today was the kickoff to Vegetoberfest at Earth's General Store. Since it didn't start till 11am we all slept in till 9am(!) then we got out of bed and took it pretty slow for awhile. The kids had a light breakfast of toast with jam (they were saving their appetites!) and dh and i had a light breakfast of coffee(him) and green tea(me). I usually have a coffee in the morning but this morning I just wasn't feeling it but a strong cup of green tea was calling my name. I recently picked up this Korean Sejak green tea and its awesome! I actually find that green tea affect me more than coffee - I could have a cup of coffee then go to bed no problem but a cup of green tea in the afternoon will keep me up all night. Weird. So I try to keep my green tea drinking to the morning only and I usually will pick either green tea of coffee for the day. Today it was green tea:)

After we enjoyed our beverages we got dressed and headed down to the kickoff. It was sunny when we left the house but as we headed there the sky got darker and the wind really pickup. Honestly I don't think we have ever had a nice day for this even in the 4 years we have been going to it. Good thing we put our light winter jackets on!

After looking around at the booths and inside the store it was time to eat! Sailin On has been at this even ever since we have been going and we look forward to eating there every time! 

Happy to see the Sailin On truck!

The wind was really blowing by this time so we hustled up to the window to place our order. The girls knew exactly what they wanted....

We got a BLT Wrap to share (these wraps are HUGE!). Its coconut bacon, lettuce, garlic mayo, shredded carrots and green onion all wrapped in a gluten free wrap. Gabbie was excited to take the first bite!

Look at all that goodness! This wrap is fantastic but seriously I could not eat a whole one myself....after all we have to save room for the Irish!

I've learnt my lesson from years past and made sure to get two orders of the Irish this year (next year I will be getting three). Whats the Irish you ask? Only the best thing Sailin On sells! Its french fries smothered in curry sauce topped with cabbage, garlic mayo, green onions, shredded carrots and vegan cheddar cheese (daiya shreds I'm pretty sure). We devoured these fries in pretty short order. These are Ollies favourite and she could eat an order herself for sure. Actually all 3 of us girls could (dh just likes plain fries so he got an order all to himself) and thats why next year we will be ordering 3 orders. 

I could go for another order right about now.....

The girls got a few goodies at the kickoff - one was this peta kids magazine which they have been reading non stop tonight. They also made a donation to FAARM and they got a bracelet. You can kinda see it in the very top of the magazine pic. Its orange in a small ziploc bag.

The weather went from bad to worst so we left and headed off to our next destination - the Halloween store. The girls have decided on their costumes so we stopped to grab them. Pics and details to come!

Cute pic at the Halloween store - too bad Ollie's eyes are closed.

After we got home it was raining so it seemed like a good afternoon to watch a Scooby Doo movie and do laundry. I half watched the movie and have spent the time doing some image editing for a brochure I'm working on for a client. One big change from when I worked in an office - I multi task constantly! Working/doing laundry, working/cooking....when i worked in the office I just sat down at my desk and worked. This is a much better fit for me but because I break up my work with everything else I need to get done sometimes it feels like I'm always working. A small price to pay but its probably not for everyone.

I asked dh what he felt like for supper and he said burger and fries. Ok with me because it gave me an excuse to try out the new Follow Your heart cheeses on a burger. I was going to make the sneaky chickpea burgers from PPF but I had a box of Amy's California burgers that I wanted to use up. So I made some home fries (I used the recipe from ED&BV for the Popcorn Fries - best fries ever!) and then I popped the amy's burger patties into the oven. After the patties were done I put a slice of the FYH cheddar on each burger patty and left them in the oven for about 5 min till they were nice and melty.

Looking yummy!

And here is the finished version with Just Mayo, ketchup, mustard, onions, pickles and lettuce.

And with some fries on the side. We also had a tossed salad with some homemade balsamic dressing on the side but I forgot to get a pic of it. The cheese was excellent on the burger. Everyone gave it rave reviews. I am planning on soup and grilled cheese sandwiches this week and they should be the end of the cheddar so we'll move on to another flavour!

And for dessert....while we don't usually have dessert when we were at the kickoff today a vendor was selling cupcakes and so we bought some for dessert tonight.

Don't there look good?! There was 2 pumpkin spice and 2 chocolate salted caramel. We cut them all in half so we each got half a pumpkin spice and half a chocolate salted caramel. So good...the kids picked ht pumpkin as their favourite while dh and I had to day the chocolate was ours (we loved them both though). A decadent ending to the day for sure but some days thats just what you need and what better way to end off vegetoberfest kickoff day then with vegan cupcakes?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Follow Your heart Cheese Review - Cheddar

Happy Friday! Its been a long week - first full week of school for the kids and I've been sick for the last week so I was looking extra forward to Friday this week. And apparently today is my lucky day! Friday mornings I take a hatha yoga class which is more of a blend of hatha and power yoga and its nice to start the "weekend" off with a strong yoga class - makes relaxing on Friday evening all the more sweet. Well today I was the only person who showed up so lucky me i got a private yoga class AND I got to put a request in for something special. So I asked for a blend of hatha and restorative. I use to take a restorative yoga class on Monday nights with this same teacher but because Ollie has soccer practice Monday nights right now I can't go and I really miss it. Plus I have been getting over this cold/flu so this mornings class was just perfect! The is instructor knows me well so she really tailored the class to all my likes this morning - it was a real treat!

After yoga I stopped at home to quickly change and then headed to Blush Lane Organics to grab a few groceries. But if I'm being honest I really made the trip to Blush Lane looking for one special thing - the new Follow Your heart Cheese Slices (although here in Canada they are known as Earth Island). I had heard that Blush Lane had gotten them in and I've heard a lot of hype about them so I had to hustle down there asap.

After finally making it down there and finding a meter to park at (so much construction by there right now and road closures) I found the cheese slices and decided to buy all 4 flavours (cheddar, provolone, garden herb and mozza). You know how it is - you go to the store to grab one thing and walk out with 2 (ok 3!) bags of groceries. I couldn't help it I found so many great things there today. After spending way too much money I hurried out of there and headed straight home to try out my cheese!

When i got home it was lunch time so I decided to have a grilled cheese. I had planned to ope the provolone first but when i was shopping at Blush Lane today I got a call from Ollie at school saying her eye was bothering her. DH was working from home today so he went to the school to grab her. She was excited to see the new cheeses and asked to try the cheddar one so I decided to open that one first. 

My lovely assistant with the cheddar. She had some cold cut into squares with some crackers. She loved it!

Here is a cheese slice right out of the package. Each package has 10 slices. They are not individually wrapped but they are very easy to separate. 

Here is the grilled cheese sandwich going on the press - Silver hills Big 16 bread brushed with olive oil. I know, I know - I'm out of Earth Balance! All that shopping and I forgot to get some! To be honest though i often make my grilled cheese with olive oil. Just how I like it:)

Here it is after 6 minutes on high on the press. It doesn't look supper melty in the picture but it really was. 

So the verdict? I really liked them! The cheese actually melted really well and the mouth feel was really good. Nice and creamy. I think the cheddar slices are great for grilled cheese or on a veggie burger. Ollie wants some in her lunch for cheese and crackers. So overall a hit and definitely you can enjoy these slices cold out of the fridge!

After giving the kitchen a good scrub down and getting Gabbie from school I didn't feel much like cooking supper (not to mention I didn't have a plan for supper tonight and that is a recipe for failure right there). However as I mentioned above I spent way too much on groceries today so I went to the kitchen to see what we had that was fairly easy to make. The kids were fighting with each other and i know partly it was because they needed to eat (anyone else have the pre supper witching hour at their house?!). Quinoa is always easy to whip up and it takes minimal effort to open a can of beans so after seeing a lot of mexican fixings in the fridge I decided to go with mexibowls. Basically quinoa (or any other cooked grain) on the bottom then add on your toppings - for us tonight it was pinot beans mixed with salsa, corn, pico de gallo, guacamole, green onions and chopped cilantro. Served with a side of apple slices it was a hit! As much as I love my pressure cooker for beans I always keep a few cans of beans on hand for nights like tonight because even thought they are pricey they are nowhere close to the cost of the 4 of us eating out!

Added bonus - the kids want the leftovers for lunch tomorrow so basically cooked two meals at the same time. Perfect! Ollie asked for me to pack this in her lunch but I'm not sure it will pack well. We'll see but honestly I don't want to think about school lunches tonight. I just want to enjoy thats its Friday:)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Hello Fall!

Hello there! I have been down and out with the flu/cold for the last week so its nice to be feeling better and to start catching up with life. And of course the other day we said goodbye to summer and hello to fall. Fall is my favourite time of the year - I love the weather, the colours and Thanksgiving and Halloween are 2 of my favourite holidays. 

Fall also seems to be when new vegan products finally make their way to Canada! A few weeks ago my friend called to let me know that Costco was selling Just Mayo!!!!! The girls and I ran down the next day to grab one (or 6). Costco is selling a 2 pack for $5.99 I believe? I have heard nothing but rave reviews about Just Mayo so I was pretty excited to try it out.... 

Wow. I have been using Vegenaise for the last almost 8 years? And its good (I like the Soy-free one and the Roasted Garlic one as well as the Tarter Sauce) but for me I had a hard time using it in something like a macaroni salad or something like that where you had to use a lot because A. - its expensive! and B. - it doesn't have the same taste/mouthfeel as mayo. Its great on a burger or sandwich but other than that no go. But Just Mayo is a game changer for me. It has the tang and mouthfeel of egg based mayo. I would happily use this in a macaroni or potato salad and serve it anyone without worry of a complaint. From what I remember this taste exactly like egg based mayo. Granted its been almost 8 years but my friend who still eats egg based mayo says its amazing - intact she threw out her egg based mayo and stocked up on Just Mayo too!
I still like Vegenaise but if I have definitely stocked up on Just Mayo:)

So the 2 first things I decided to do with it was make some vegan tuna and make a burger (since I was craving an end of summer bbq'd veggie burger!) Sadly we ate all the vegan tuna before I remembered to take a pic of it but it was excellent! The girls liked the vegan tuna before but they went wild for it this time - Just Mayo really made a difference! But I did remember to grab my phone a take a picture of my burger!

When I'm feeling like a veggie burger there is no better bun than the Silver Hills sprouted whole grain sesame buns. This buns are the PERFECT burger bun! With some Just Mayo, onions, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup and mustard - yum, yum, yum! 

Oh and for the veggie burger patty I like the Amy's California Burgers if I'm grabbing a store made one. So Good!!! 

And speaking of so good - if you have not tried the So Delicious Cashew Based ice creams get your self to the store asap and grab all the flavours you can find! I was wondering around Planet Organic awhile ago when I saw the Creamy Cashew flavour. I decided to buy one container to try. When I got home I was going to stick in the freezer but I decided to try a spoonful first (even thought it was 
9:30 am) and oh my gosh - amazing! I even called my kids over to try some (you know your up for parent of the year award when your feeding your kids ice cream for breakfast - even if its vegan probably not the best choice. ) This ice cream is unbelievable! My husnad has declared this the best ice cream period and told me to forget bringing any other kind into the house. It was perfect over a warm bowl of apple & pear crisp. The next time I went to Planet Organic I grabbed 2 of the Creamy Cashew one (like a vanilla) and 2 of the Salted Caramel.  I am sad to say I will no longer be able to buy more than one salted caramel at a time as its not safe in this house. We ate the whole thing in one night!

Can you blame us?

I am heading out to hopefully grab another new product that I have heard rave reviews of tomorrow morning and I'm really hoping it lives up to the hype. I'll report back tomorrow if i can find it:)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

End of Summer

So technically I know its not the end of summer yet but tomorrow is the first day of school here so it really feels like summer is over:(

We had a super BUSY but fun summer. Lots of camps for the girls - both girls did 2 street soccer camps and Ollie did another week long soccer camp at a club this summer to see if it might be a place where she would like to play this indoor season. Add in all the festivals and a week long trip to the mountains and we really only had about the last 3 weeks in August where we didn't have anything planned (and even then my Dad took a week off and spent almost the entire week with the girls doing fun things like going shopping, Jurassic Forest, The Telus World of Science, Fort Edmonton) so we really packed a lot of fun it but I feel like we didn't have much of a break - we just didn't seem to slow down!

And now its back to school, back to packing lunches, back to soccer and curling and art lessons and street soccer and yoga.....its crazy and busy and really we love it because we do it all together and we have made really great friends throughout all these activities and so really its become a very social thing for us!

I have pictures to share but I am too behind tonight to download any so tomorrow is its!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Beating the heat with smoothies and juices

We have had really nice temperatures lately and so we have been drinking a few more smoothies than usual. And lately its been on my mind about how active we have been. The girls are getting way more active in their sports and my yoga schedule had been pretty intense. And so I've been thinking about adding a little protein powder back into our smoothies. Years ago I use to us the Vega tropical tango smoothie mix because it doesn't have any stevia in it. I just can't stand the taste of stevia, not even a drop of it so that vega product was PERFECT because it didn't contain any - until they change the formula and added stevia in. Ugh why Vega why?!  And so after that we stopped using anything in our smoothies but I've started the search again. A friend gave me a sample of the Arbonne protein powder (which is vegan) it taste awesome but its really pricey for a smallish container, about $80 for 30 servings (on a side note its surprising to me but it list stevia as an ingredient but i can't taste it at all which is a shocker for me!). So I thought I'd look around and see what else is on the market. I can across this SunWarrior Warrior Blend Raw Protein and the natural flavour has no stevia! I bought a sample pack and decided to test it out with the girls.

We made this raspberry/mixed berry smoothie with  frozen berries, vanilla coconut milk yogurt, water and the sun warrior in it. The verdict? It was ok - it had a slight taste but it was definitely drinkable. Ollie loved it (not as much as the arbonne one but a very close second to her), Gabbie liked it and I liked it. It definitely sat really well with me - didn't cause any stomach upset or anything like that. I think I'll try the vanilla one even though it has stevia in it to see if its like the arbonne one and pretty much undetectable!

Pretty colour and love those glass straws!!!

Last tuesday for Ollies technical training session I was craving and kale lemonade so i made one up to bring with me while i watched her on the side lines :) That lemonade is so refreshing - I just love it! Sadly Ollie came over to grab a drink of water and spied me drinking it so I had to share the last bit with her (and by share I mean she drank the rest of it). Thats ok, she was working hard so she deserved it:)

And finally because we can live on smoothies and kale lemonade alone (at least I can't!) we had some  fresh strawberries that were getting a little too ripe so I made a quick fresh strawberry sauce to put over some Luna & Larry's vanilla coconut milk ice cream. Taste like summer!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Limped across the finish line but we made it - school is done!!!!

We did it! We made it to the end of the school year! Its been a fantastic year for both girls but we were more than ready to be done. Done with getting up early, packing lunches, and having all our time scheduled. And we are also done soccer (after 2 games tomorrow) so that will free up a lot of time too. Outdoor soccer season is always busy but this year was particularly busy because my youngest started playing  club soccer which is certainly more intense than community soccer. Im happy to drive them to all there activities and cheer at all their games but man I am so glad we are all have a break. Well for a week anyways - then Ollie start a street soccer camp #soccercrazy!

On to the food! This last week before school was done was particularly busy (it always is) and on Tuesday it was our 14 year anniversary. But Ollie had technical training that night so no date night for us. But its always a good night to try out a new recipe - bananascotch dip from Dreena! I finally got everything i needed to make this and Gabbie loved it, ollie doesn't really like bananas so she was so so on it. It was really good with some fresh strawberries and i think it would be good as a pudding on its own.

But for the main course I decided to go with an old favourite that I hadn't made in quite some time - the Pad Thai from The Vegan Table. I don't know why I hadn't made this in so long - it really is one of our favourite! We had this with dino kale mixed in and a side of steamed asparagus. Fabulous!

Friday the girls only had half a day of school. In the morning I walked them off then rushed home to clean, prep some food and do some laundry before i headed back to the school for the talent show. Gabbie had submitted a watercolour in the talent show. It was so exciting when they displayed on the big screen! She went on stage when they presented it and the whole school was cheering for her. She is such a shy kid and we really had to encourage her to enter it into the show - Im so glad she did and she is too. I think it gave her a really confidence boost when everyone started yelling and cheering for her. So proud of her and everything she has accomplished this year!

After the talent show we said goodbye to the teachers (and oh boy all the tears - we had such great teachers this year. Ollie's teacher was especially teary-eyed which got me going too.) Then we left and headed home to quickly grab our swim stuff and some goodies and headed to our friends house to have a end of school celebration lunch! We made the southwest chop salad (missing some red peppers and green onions but sometimes you just go with what you got) and some sprouted garlic buns. I've said it before and I'll say it again - that salad is so good and that dressing is out of this world! Make it - you won't be disappointed! I also brought some bananascotch dip that we had with fruit and my friend Karen made this awesome apple loaf with a streusel topping that was crazy crazy good! It was a nice way to end the school year.  

Today we were suppose to be in a soccer tournament but todays games were canceled due to extreme heat. Sounds good to me! So instead of getting up early and heading to soccer we slept in and headed to the spray park. No better way to beat than heat than at the spray park!

Can't wait for so much more fun and relaxing this summer. So far the weather looks fabulous so we will be out enjoying every minute of it!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Veggie season!

The warm weather is here and so are the veggies! So nice to be getting so much more local organic produce right now. And as per usually at this time of the year I am struggling to get dinner on the table in a hurry with all the soccer practices and games going on. I am so ready for the school year to be done. I'm looking so forward to having no schedule for a few months. 

Anyways back to the food.....I saw this recipe on Facebook awhile ago for balsamic roasted mushrooms and green beans with parmesan. It all sounds good except the parm of course but I didn't have any green beans on hand so I subbed asparagus (which only made the recipe better in my opinion). I can't find it on my Facebook wall at the moment but off hand it was 1 tsbp. olive oil, 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar and pinch of salt and pepper. mix together and toss with the mushrooms and asparagus then roast in the oven @ 350 for about 20 min or so till mushrooms are done. Oh man so so good! Mushrooms and asparagus are in my top five favs list for veggies! We'll be making this time and again this summer!

A few days later on Facebook I saw this southwest chopped salad recipe. Now I've seen and made my share of loser recipes from Facebook but it looked really good so I posted it to my wall. A few friends posted that they had made it and that it was really good so I decided to head to the store to get a few ingredients that I was missing to make it. And I'm so glad I did - this recipe is such a winner! Especially the dressing - its an avocado based dressing with cilantro in it and its outstanding!

Premixed - don't you just love all the colours!

And all mixed up - not quite as pretty but it tasted excellent!

I've made this twice in two weeks. the second time I used a mix of spinach and romaine and yum yum yum! It makes a huge amount so i have leftovers for lunch tomorrow and the dressing its awesome as a dip. The dressing recipe makes a lot of dressing so make sure you have some chopped veggies on hand! Now I'm just waiting for my greens to come up in my garden so I can make beautiful salads all summer long!