Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year, New Goals

As the big day approaches its now time for me to layout my plans for a more productive 2009.

Of course there is the usual eat healthier and exercise more. Lets face it, its an ongoing process, being the healthiest you that you can be. Some days I make all the "right" choices, some days I do pretty good, and some days I just plain fall off the wagon. But I always get back on, because one bad choice or meal or even an entire bad day of eating isn't going to cancel out all the other good choices I make each and everyday. And I think thats what its all about, everyday you try to do your best and if you don't then you try again the next day. Like I said its an ongoing process for most of us. Fortunately, my Dad always said I have more tenacity then anyone he knows (actually what he may have said was that I was stubborn and that I never back down when there is something I want but I looked it up...thats tenacity folks!). 

Most of time when I "fall of the wagon" its not that I had a craving or a lack of willpower, its that I had no plan. And that leads me to my resolution for 2009.

My resolution for 2009 is to help myself out by planning things out more often. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm a Mom of 2 young children. A trip to the store to grab toilet paper requires a plan ( you laugh but you haven't met my kids). Its not like I fly by the seat of my pants all the time but I could definitely do more planning in the meal/groceries department. And thats exactly what I'm going to work on in 2009. More meal plans means better meals and leftovers, less groceries and hopefully more fun in the kitchen.

When I became Vegan I made the decision to do it but it had to be a healthy diet. No processed soy products, no meals consisting or refined grains and not much else. That is not a true Vegan or Vegetarian diet to me and I think people who eat that kind of diet thinking they are "healthy" simply because they don't eat meat are far off the mark. Thats why I'm such a big fan of Dreena Burton's cookbooks. I love reading her cookbooks and blog because she sets a great example for me. She's a busy wife and Mom of two young girls but on top of that she's also a cookbook author, she's super creative in the kitchen, she's a health conscious and compassionate cook, and she always takes time to share her great ideas and recipes with us.

She is probably a lady with a plan. 

Monday, December 29, 2008

Its that time of year again...New Years Resolutions time!

The holidays are behind us and I had a great time with family and friends. And the food. Oh the food....the brunches, the lunches, the appetizers, the huge suppers, the christmas drinks, the treats. You get the picture, I ate way too much! And although it was vegan and relatively healthy compared to what some of my dining companions were chowing down on, it is down right embarrassing the quantity of food I managed to eat. While quality of food is the most important issue for me when I make a food choice quantity also needs to be considered.

And so, now that I am fully ashamed of myself for proving to everyone that I can still out eat them, I'm using that guilt as inspiration for my News Years Resolution.

To be honest I both love and hate making a New Years Resolution. For me the new year always brings a feeling of renewal, thats the love part. And although I have made many a new years resolution in the past that has almost always been forgotten by the end of January, thats the part I hate. January doesn't seem to be a good time for me to make changes. I'm not sure why, but to be honest I think it has much to do with the weather. Here in the Great White North the weather can be down right wretched January - March. And when its snowing, windy and -40 I'm not much in the mood to do much but hibernate (read: light a fire and  lay on the couch with a good book).  I have found that spring and fall seem to be when I make big changes in my life, particularly the fall. But this year I have a few resolutions that I know I'm going to make good on because most of these resolutions are urgently needed and time is of the essence, -40 or not.

My next post will outline resolutions and my plan of attack to get it done.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I know its kinda crazy to be blogging on Christmas Day but I need a break from all the activity in our house right now. So I just wanted to do a quick post to wish everybody a super Merry Christmas! I hope everyone is have as great a Christmas with their family and friends as we are. 

I'll be back posting in a day or two.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Another Winner from ED&BV

So today it was a balmy -25 degrees celsius (that was the high folks) and I knew I needed a winter kinda supper. I also needed an easy to prepare supper because this week is the busiest for me leading up to Christmas. ED&BV's Quinoa Confetti Casserole fit the bill on both accounts. First off, you have to love a dinner that using only one pot (casserole dish in this case) and takes about 5 minutes to prep. Then its in the oven for an hour while I get the laundry done (most of the laundry anyway...is the laundry ever really done?). I had high hopes for this dish  and it did not disappoint. I replaced the fennel with zucchini but other than that I made no alterations to the recipe. I loved it! I'll be making this one on a regular basis. And it makes alot so if you have a crowd to feed or want a dish that will be supper and lunch the next day give this one a try. I'll be enjoying the leftovers tomorrow and probably the next day as well. I served it with a nice crisp green salad with a maple balsamic vinaigrette. Perfect meal on a cold winter night. Below is the crappy photo I took of it. Don't be scared off by my photography, its much tastier than it looks in this photo. I promise one day I'll snap a decent pic!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

When Ideas Go Right

I have had a couple of ideas in my head for awhile now and I even though I'm busy enough just trying to keep up with all the Christmas activities going on I had to try them out.

First up is a raw vegan coconut truffle of sorts. I'm sure most of you have seen or tried a raw brownie recipe. This is similar but I put in half the normal amount of walnuts and added some coconut. Then I shaped them into balls and rolled them in coconut. They taste awesome. I am so pleased with how they turned out. My mom is a huge coconut fan and I can't wait for her to try these (she is sick with a cold right and is so stuffed up she can't taste much, I just hope there are some left when she is better!). I have posted the recipe below for these and I just wanted to make a quick note about the dates. Medjool dates are very different from your average dried date. Make sure you buy  medjool dates or this won't work out at all (trust me, this is the voice of experience speaking). I apologize for the poor quality pics, I'm still have some camera issues.

Coconut Truffle Recipe

1 cup of Medjool Dates, pitted
1/4 cup of Cocoa Powder (I use the one from Cocoa Camino)
1/2 cup of walnuts
1/2 cup of coconut

Put everything in the food processor and whiz till combined. The mixture will be a little loose. roll into little balls. Sprinkle some coconut on a dinner plate. Roll balls in coconut. Store in freezer (the freeze excellently) and remove as needed.

Make a double batch - these won't last long. They have earned a spot on my Christmas "baking" platter!

Ok next up was an idea that I didn't think was going to work but work it did and our family dinner tonight was all the proof I needed.

Tonight we had a family dinner for my Dad's birthday. I didn't have to bring anything so I thought this would be a good time to try out my next idea - if it flopped no one would be the wiser and if it worked then I would test them out on the family, many who are devote meat eaters. And so I give you vanilla cupcakes with a chocolate hazelnut mousse topping.

Ok so they look like any old cupcake and the cake part is. Its the vanilla cupcake recipe from ED&BV. Its the mousse thats so special. Its made out of......white kidney beans! I have been playing around with the idea for a soy free mousse for some time now and the beans were the perfect substitute. I told only my parents about the special ingredient (although they are not vegans or even vegetarians they are very health conscious and very supportive of my decision to be vegan so I let them in on the secret as long as they didn't tell anyone else). All who had one loved them - the mousse part atleast. The cupcake wasn't quite what I had hoped for. I think I'll try the  recipe from VCTOTW next time but everyone loved the mousse. I stilled haven't told them whats in it and I don't plan to. My brother in law hates all beans so if he knew he'd never eat one again. Thats ok...I can keep a secret. My kids went crazy for these - my oldest proclaimed them to be the best cupcake she ever had. I almost wanted to cry.  I'm still perfecting the mousse recipe but I'll post it soon. Below are pics of my little ones enjoying their cupcakes.

I hope everyone is keeping warm and cozy this holiday season. I'm trying a few more new recipes this week so I post pics and reviews.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Making Vegan Living Easier

One of the hardest things about going vegan for me was changing the way I cooked. I've always been health conscious but when I went vegan I went into overdrive reading labels. And alot of the products I was using were not vegan friendly. And so I had to learn how to cook again (this from a girl who as a teenage told her parents she wasn't going to need to learn how to cook, instead I was going to have a great job and hire a cook. I sincerely hope my girls didn't inherit my smart mouth). But I digress...back to the learning how to cook again thing, I found it somewhat daunting. I felt out of my comfort zone. I had a sick toddler and a newborn and I totally felt like a fish out of water. But I was committed to going vegan and I was determined to stay on the wagon. So I bought some cookbooks and started learning new recipes. But sometimes you need some help in the kitchen. And help I did find at my local grocery store. 

Renee's Gourmet Dressing and Sauces. Thank you Renee for making my life much easier. Sure I like to make my own salad dressings and even stir fry sauces but sometimes the kids are grumpy, or my husband is working late, or I'm not feeling well and I need to save some time in the kitchen.Enter Renee's products. Several of Renee's vinaigrettes are vegan. And they're not full of preservatives and crap. They are always refrigerated (I always wondered about those Kraft dressing in aisle 15), are labeled vegan and they taste amazing. The Asian Sesame is better than any Asian dressing I have ever made. The Pear and Guava Vinaigrette is awesome on a spinach salad with almonds, strawberries and pears. The Balsamic vinaigrette is great to have on hand when time is tight and I can't make my own. My current favourite is the Sundried Tomatoe and Black Olive...simply terrific on a tossed salad.

If  you haven't tried these dressing go to the store ASAP and pick one up. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Better late than never.

Ok so I'm a little bit late with this post but I have a good excuse...I was super busy in the kitchen trying out some new recipes. Unfortunately my camera is not working properly these days so no pics.

First up was a "cheese" sauce recipe that I found here. I have been looking for a cheese sauce recipe that is soy free for sometime now and we finally have a winner. I wouldn't call this a cheese sauce exactly, I'd say its more of a cream sauce, closer to an alfredo maybe. It was excellent on pasta with some steamed broc. My youngest loved it, couldn't get it in her mouth fast enough. My oldest didn't like it but she only tried one bite so I'm going to try again with her. My mom gave it a two thumbs up too and even brought some to work for her co-workers to try. 

Then we tried the Great Grain and Veggie burgers from Vegan Planet. Ever since I saw these on Carrie's blog I wanted to make them. As soon as I took one sniff of the mixture I knew these were going to be winners. The are hands down the best "burger" patty I have had. They only thing I didn't put in them was the roasted red pepper. We had them with guacamole, red onion, tomatoe, lettuce and pickles and home fries on the side. I had enough of the ingredients to make 2 batches and we froze the second batch. I'll post an update on how they turn out from the freezer. I too went with the Curious George angle. My youngest will eat anything so its never a challenge with her but the oldest is a little picky. These may become Dora burgers nest time.

The last new recipe of the week was the Savory French Lentil recipe from ED&BV. These were awesome! These will be on the regular rotation for sure. Make sure you use the mushroom boullion cube, it really makes the recipe. This was my first time cooking with French Lentils and I really liked them. I love almost all legumes and lentils are right at the top. These really hold their shape well and had a slightly firmer texture than regular green lentils. My mom hates lentils because as a teenager she worked at a nursing home and they served lentils apon occasion. She thinks lentils taste like rabbit turds (her words not mine!) but I bet I could change her mind with this recipe. I had them with some leftover brown basmati rice and a green salad with sun dried tomatoe and olive vinegrette. Made an awesome supper on a cold winter night.

Well thats all from me tonight. I plan on trying a few more new recipes this week so I'll keep you posted.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Ok so I lied...

a little bit about a food post tonight. It was unintentional I promise. I found out this afternoon that hubby is leaving tomorrow for work-realted trip out of town. So I want to spend the night with him tonight, the food post will have to wait till tomorrow. The good news is with my sweetheart out of town I'l have my nights free (and lonely) so I'll be posting alot.

Where does the time go...

I am almost embarrassed that I have posted in so long. I have no excuse really. Yes we've been busy but no busier than usual. I have, however, been feeling more lazy than usual. I hate those funks you get in when you just don't feel motivated to do anything...its not that I was feeling depressed or sad or anything I was just happy to waste away time dong practically nothing. I think another part of it was I went into reading overdrive. Oh how I love my books and although I read consistently throughout the year there are times I periodically go into overdrive reading a book a day. Such has been the case lately. And that eats up alot of time (obviously!). But no longer will I be wasting away the day with my nose in a book. I am ready to get back into the swing of things and kick it into overdrive once again. And I promise a food post tonight! Reading all of your blogs keeps me very motivated and feeling part of the "community" if you will. I have no friends that are vegan or even vegetarian (although my sister wants to go veg but has a very dificult time with willpower, but thats another story for another time). It time to get back on the blogging wagon.

Till tonight!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Catching Up

At our house, we are mostly a bunch of movers. I say mostly because my Husband is not like us girls at all. My DH is a steady line and is a real routine kind of guy while us girls are all over the place. We colour and paint at home, we go to the park, we ride bikes, we go to the library for stories and crafts, we go to gymnastics and preschool, basically we rarely stop moving. When we get up in the morning we hit the ground running and it seems like we just never stop till we go to sleep. But not this weekend. This weekend we were very relaxed. It seems like all we did was veg. DH on the other hand was moving at mock speed to get the Christmas lights up before it snows. 

Due to our lack of motivation I don't have much in the way of food pics to post. Not to worry, today we are back in motion and in the kitchen!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Funny Video Clip

I saw this video clip on the Little Lads blog and thought it was pretty funny so I showed to my husband and my girls. My husband thought it was funny, my girls thought it was the funniest thing they have ever seen. They watch this clip at least 6 times a day and each time we watch it we have to watch it twice. So I thought I'd post it on my blog so they girls can see it there. Hope you enjoy it too!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Its coming.....

Winter that is! We went from beautiful fall days last week to a very chilly morning with frost today. This is definitely going to influence what is happening in my kitchen. I see a lot more soups, stews and chili's in our future. 

The kiddies are feeling much better and I hope it stays that way! I've been baking up a storm lately with the kiddos under the weather. The smells of fresh baking are very comforting to me and remind me of my childhood (my Mom was big into baking when we were little, not vegan mind you but there was definitely love in her cookies!) and I hope that my girls have that same warm feeling inside when I bake for them. My kids love almost all the recipes I have tried from ED&BV as well as Vive Le Vegan. Among their favs are the Banana Oat Bundles from Vive and Super Charge Me Cookies from ED&BV. But the undisputed champ for them in the "You got peanut butter in my chocolate chocolate chip cookies". These are also my Mom's favourite cookies so when I make them for the girls I always send a couple over to Grandma (she lives across the street from us so they don't have far to travel!).

The other thing I have been making the girls alot of lately is Monster Smoothies (no monsters were hurt in making these smoothies!). The fruits change daily, sometimes its fresh pineapple other days its organic strawberries or grapefruit and oranges but the consistent ingredient is Kale. It make the smoothie a lovely shade of green which the kids think is "so cool" to quote my oldest.  I'm glad they think something so good for them is so cool. Thank you Vitamix for making my life that much easier. If any of you have ever looked a getting a Vitamix and then felt faint after seeing the price I  can relate. When I first bought mine I almost returned it several times. Boy am I ever glad I didn't. It is the best appliance I own hands down. Nothing makes better smoothies, fresh juices, and nut mylks like a Vitamix. If mine broke tomorrow I'd be ordering a new one asap. And then I'd have to borrow my Mom's till my new arrived. We are that dependent on it.

I promise a post with some pictures very soon. I'm still having grief with blogger and uploading photos but I hope to solve the mystery soon! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sick kids

Yep my girls are sick.....again! They both have some digestive tract and absorption issues, my oldest has severe problems, my youngest has mild ones but my youngest also has respiratory  troubles as well. Not much time for a post today (most of my time has been spent nursing the girls back to health and in the kitchen) but I hope to do a food post tomorrow.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

As promised!

What a super busy weekend! Friday was of course Halloween and anyone with kids will tell you its a crazy busy day. My oldest daughter had a Halloween party at preschool. After that we hurried home to pick up the youngest and my MIL and went to meet DH for lunch ( I had the roasted veggie wrap with mixed green salad...incredibly good, sorry no pic!) then it was back home to put the youngest down for a nap while the oldest and I carved the pumpkin. A quick supper of lentil tacos followed with trick o treating. Lots of fun but I'm glad it comes but once a year. 

We have had the most beautiful fall weather and Saturday was no exception. We have been taking advantage of all this great weather with lots of long walks/bike rides and lots of park time. 

That doesn't mean I haven't been in the kitchen! Now I ask you, what would fall be without pumpkin muffins? So I made the Pumpkin Oat Muffins that Dreena had posted the recipe for on her blog. These are really good. My kids loved them and enjoyed them with a cup of tea for breakfast many a day this week.

Above is a supper from this week. Lentils cooked on veg broth, saffron quinoa pilaf based on the Garlic Saffron Rice recipe in Veganomicon, and a japanese sald with cabbage, red and yellow peppers, carrots and scallions. The salad was awesome, perfect with asian seasame vinaigrette, the lentils were great too. The pilaf was good but I think something went wrong. It wasn't as tasty as I had hoped it would be. I'll have to experiment a bit more.

I promise more food post to come!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy World Vegan Day!

Just a quick post to say Happy World Vegan Day! to all the vegans and aspiring vegans out there. 

We had a great Halloween yesterday and I have lots of food pictures to post if I can ever get them to upload.

Wish me luck.....

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why Me!

I don't know if its just my bad luck or if any of you fellow bloggers have this problem  but sometimes when I try to upload photos on this blog it crashes and not only do I not get my photos up but my verbiage is lost in cyberspace too. Well folks its one of those nights. I know I promised you a food post but blogger is just not cooperating with me. I promise that come one way or another I will post some pics by the end of the weekend. 

I can tell you I've been very busy in the kitchen. In fact today my 4 year old told me she was going to grow up to be just like me so she can cook, cook, cook too! Today we made the Pumpkin Oat muffins that Dreena had posted on her blog awhile back. If you like pumpkin make these muffins. They are sooooo good (to quote my 4 year old) and pretty darn healthy too. I 'm looking forward to one with my tea tomorrow morning to kick off the Halloween festivities!

Speaking of which, I probably won't be posting tomorrow as we ladies ( me and my 2 chickies) have a super busy ay tomorrow. Gabbie has a party at playschool tomorrow morning and I volunteered to be a helper (can't miss those great photo ops), then the girls and I are carving our pumpkin tomorrow afternoon. Then after a quick nap for the girls (maybe even THIS girl!) we are having an early supper of Lentil Tacos before we're out the door for so trick o treating!

Hope everyone has a great Halloween!

Lets try this blogging thing again

I can't believe its been so long since I last posted. Hats off to all you fellow blogger out there who blog on a regular basis. My only excuse is that we went through a bit of upheaval this summer (childcare difficulties so I now only work one day a week and my MIL watches the kiddies for me) but things are finally starting to slow down to a manageable pace and so a return to my blog is in the works.

I promise a food post tonight for anyone out there who may be read this blog.

Till tonight....

Monday, May 26, 2008

Mushroom Curry Penne

Ok its high time for a food post. Right now I'm working 4 days a week (temporary situation, I'm helping out the company I worked for before I had Olivia) so I try to do a lot of cooking on the weekend to help get suppers on the table quicker during the week. The weather here as been none too warm so I decided that the famous Mushroom Curry Penne was what we needed for supper tonight. I have been trying for the last hour to post the recipe and a photo but for some reason it won't publish. Basically its got mushroom, red pepper, green onion and penne tossed in a curry sauce with curry paste, maple syrup, soymilk, vegan cream cheese and garlic. I'll try posting the photo and recipe tomorrow.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Big 30

Well my 30th birthday has come and gone and it was a pretty great birthday. I am the oldest of 4 children in my family and my sister (who is 5 1/2 years younger than me) talks like turning 30 is like turning 100! However all her talking about 30 had me reflecting on leaving my 20's and going into my 30's. Looking back I'm rather proud of everything I've accomplished (graduated from college, got married, had 2 beautiful girls, worked my way up from a Junior Designer to a Creative Director, bought our "starter" house and sold that to move into our family house) all in all I think that if in my 30's I accomplish half of what I did in my 20's I'll be very pleased!

Among all the birthday presents were a few new cookbooks. I got Vegan Planet and Rebar....love them! I already have many a recipe marked to try. Although the Rebar cookbook isn't totally vegan I can definitely work with the recipes and I love that its all so unique! Vegan Planet also looks amazing...the butternut squash and black bean chili is calling my name!

Sadly my camera is not yet working but I was promised to have it back in a week so look forward to some post with pictures then.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Still Around.....

It's been a long time since my last post...yikes! I'm not getting off to a very good start with this blog but I promise I'm going to start posting alot more often. Unfortunately my camera is not working at the moment but it should be fixed shortly.

And its a good thing my camera will be fixed soon because its my birthday on Tuesday and I think someone is getting a whack of new vegan cookbooks for her birthday! 

Food post with photos to come soon.....

Friday, April 4, 2008

Born to be a lazy Vegan

Well I still have the sniffles but they are slowly getting better. However since I can't taste anything with this plugged up nose I haven't been too inspired in the kitchen. Last night we had Amy's California Veggie burgers and sweet potato home fries - I took a photo but honestly the meal was so plain it wasn't worth posting. So I'm taking the weekend off to get better once and for all. More news and photos to come nest week!

Cheers everybody and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Down with the Sniffles

As so often happens everyone in my house was sick this past week with a bad cold except me, the momma bird. So I ran around all week looking after a sick husband and 2 sick kidlets. And now that they are all better, I'M SICK! Of course after being up all night for 5 nights in a row taking care of coughs and runny noses it was bound to happen. So today I pampered myself a bit by making some of my favourites.

First up oatmeal with blueberries, raspberries, sliced bananas and agave nectar. I'm sorry the pictures are so blurry...I'm having camera problems on top of everything else! Back to the oatmeal, when I was a kid my mom made me oatmeal all the time and I hated it. She always made the 5 min, quick cooking type. I wanted to like it, I knew it was good for me but it was always a chore to eat it (sorry mom!). But no longer because I have discovered the ferrari of all oatmeals..steel cut oatmeal! So this morning I made myself a big bowl of organic steel cut oatmeal topped with blueberries, raspberries, sliced bananas and agave nectar. Every bite was heaven!

For lunch I was pretty pressed for time so it was a quick sandwich. Guacamole, tomatoes, and broccoli sprouts  on toasted multigrain...yummy!

And for dinner what could be better for a case of the sniffled than ED&BV Sniffle Soup. I felt better with each bite (the photo doesn't do it justice, sorry Dreena!)

Time for this girl to head to bed. Hopefully some extra sleep will rid of these sniffles quick, I have lots of cooking to do!

Cheers everybody!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

My Story

I'm sure I was born to be vegan. In my baby book is a list of all my favourite food, pretty much every fruit and vegetable known to man! I don't like meat, hate milk and my doctor thinks I'm allergic to eggs. When I was younger I use to daydream about what I wanted to be when I grew up...a vegetarian and a police officer. Turns out my talents lie more in the arts than law enforcement but my goal of being a vegetarian has been reached. And as of November 1, 2007 I have ben vegan. I love reading other vegan blogs, they've been a great source of support and inspiration to me and thats why I started this blog. I'm hoping this blog will help to keep me creative in the kitchen and maybe even inspire someone else along the way.