Thursday, December 9, 2010

The gift that keeps on giving....

I'm a lucky girl in so many ways. And today I got a little luckier.





I won a copy of a cookbook from Dreena! I was so excited to find out that I won, even thought I already have all of her cookbooks. See I have someone very special in mind for this book - my friend Rebecca.

Rebecca's Dad had a heart attack very young so her Mom put the whole family on a vegetarian diet and they stayed on the diet for many years. I'm not sure why but slowly the family went back to eating some meat. Now Rebecca is married and has 3 little ones and she is wanting to go back to a meatless diet. She is comfortable with vegetarian cooking but feels a little intimidated by vegan cooking. So when Dreena announced she was giving away one of her cookbooks I left a comment about wanting to win a copy for my friend and I won! It comes at the perfect time too because she is feeling a little overwhelmed lately with some parenting issues and I think this will really help give her a positive focus (it always makes me feel good to know I'm feeding my family well) and help her reach her goal of changing her families diet.

I decided on Eat, Drink & Be Vegan for her because many of my favourite recipes are from there (Chickpea sensation patties, sniffle soup, sweet potatoes and lentil chili, savoury french lentils, peanut passion sauce, chickpea confetti casserole, all the desserts! and of course all the great hummus recipes - special mention to the peanut sesame and the olive and sun dried tomato one!) The list just goes on and on!

Whats your favourite recipe from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan (or any other cookbook from Dreena Burton)?


Friday, November 19, 2010

Lets talk tea....





Those of you that follow this blog know that we are doing what I may have described as a "few" renos to our house right now. Those of you that know me personally know that I grossly underestimated the magnitude of this renovation and that my house (and my life!) is in shambles right now and that is why you aren't seeing a lot of food pics right now. Not that we haven't haven't been eating...despite, at times, having a lack of oven, prep area, water (plumbers were this week and as a result I had the water shut off for most of the day everyday this week) we have been managing fairly well. Not gourmet meals mind you but healthy and filling and sometimes thats all you need. And speaking of things you need....

A month ago I was out with my sister doing some Christmas shopping and I happen to walk into a lovely little tea store called David's Tea aka - Heaven! Black teas, green teas, oolong teas, white teas, herbals, red and green rooiboos, mate, - you name it they probably got it! They also sell tea pots and cups and it just so happens that I have been looking for a little tea pot for myself and I found an adorable little red one with some matching cups! And of course I had to buy a few teas for my new tea pot.

I'm generally a green tea drinker but with so many great variety of teas to choose from I had to branch out a little! On my first trip there I bought some pumpkin chai (a black tea), green seduction (an organic pomegranate green tea), strawberry white (an organic silverneedle white tea), and read my lips (a black tea with chocolate and pink peppercorns). They were all fantastic and so I just had to go back a few days later for a few more varieties! I've also tried the long life oolong (a peach oolong), green and fruity (a green rooiboos), love tea #7 (a black tea with chocolate and strawberries), toasted walnut (a green tea with walnuts), organic sencha (a really lovely green tea), lime bang (a green tea with pineapple and lime peel - more of a summer tea imo), and for the traditionalist a cream of earl grey (earl grey with vanilla). They all been lovely and everyday I look forward to stopping the reno madness for tea time!

I really can't say enough about the staff at David's Tea. Everytime I've gone in (I also did a little Christmas shopping for my Mom there as she is a big herbal tea drinker and they have some wonderful varieties of caffeine free teas) the staff always has some great recommendations and they always have a couple of different "teas of the day" that they give samples of. If your a tea lover check them out!

Whats your favourite kind of tea?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Vega Shake and Go Smoothie review

I am a big fan of Brendan Brazier and the Thrive Diet.I don;t follow his adive to the "t" but I think the nutritional advice and products he makes are top quality - nutritional speaking. Unfortunately every product I've tried has gotten 2 thumbs down in the taste department from me. A great product is only good if you can actually ingest it and I could not choke down more than a sip of the Whole Food Health Optimizers nor the Whole Food Smoothie Infusion (funny but the kids seemed to like the smoothie infusion I just couldn't drink more than a sip of it). I thought as much as I like the idea behind his products I'd never be able to use them.

Until I tried this....




Tropical Tango Shake and Go Smoothie. This stuff is seriously good! Now full disclosure - I haven't just mixed it with water and drank it - I've been adding it to our morning smoothie but I feel confidant that I could just mix it with water and it would be good too. Just not a real breakfast smoothie if you know what I mean:) I've been making a pineapple/orange/strawberry smoothie the last couple of days and been adding 2 tbsp's of the mix to the smoothie and its been fantastic. It has a very nice peach/nectarine taste to it that really compliments the mix of fruits I've been using. The kids love it and I feel like it fortifies our breakfast a little bit. I think it would be great to use in green smoothies and would help mask the greens (not that I've ever had that problem). The only problem I have with it is that its pricey - I got this pouch for $19.99 on sale but its normally $24.99 and that would only last use 2 weeks i we used it everyday. So I'm not sure if we'll be able to use it everyday as I'm trying to cut down the grocery budget a bit but I'll have to see if we can fit it in because everyone really enjoys it.

So if your like me and have wanted to like the Vega products but just could get over the taste of them give this one a try! I plan on trying the berry one and the vanilla almond one.





Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy World Vegan Day (and the start of Vegan MoFo)!

What a crazy, crazy week last week! I am still recovering from the school Halloween parties/events, the cupcake making (both at home to send for the older one and at the preschool for the littlest. New rule - all food for parties must be bought at the store or made at the schools "certified" kitchen. Needless to say 20 vegan cupcakes would have been waaay to expensive so I packed up all my baking ingredients/supplies and make 24 golden vanilla cupcakes a la VCTOTW at the preschool for the party. Everyone loved them and the preschool teacher wants to borrow my book. See - much better than buying cupcakes!) costume prepping, house decorating, etc. We had great weather for trick-o-treating and the kids were totally thrilled with the barbies the Halloween fairy left for them (they traded their candy to the fairy for a surprise toy and some vegan treats. I actually think they were more excited for the halloween fairy than for trick-o-treating). I love Halloween but I seriously feel like I need a vacation after this last week.

I'm very excited about the start of Vegan MoFo. Although I am not officially participating I'm going to try and post every day this month too but with the renos still on going its a little crazy here but I'll do my best!

And last but not least Happy World Vegan Day to all the vegans out there. I'm off to enjoy my yummy vegan supper (grilled portobella mushrooms, bbq potatoes, steamed broc and a tossed salad...yum!)


Monday, October 25, 2010

So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverages are now available in Canada!!!

***ANOTHER IMPORTANT UPDATE***

They're coming back! Here is the official statement from Turtle Mountain:

So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage will be widely available in Canada by the end of February 2011. Due to a labeling discussion with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), our coconut milk beverage was temporarily unavailable. We are incredibly pleased that the CFIA has recently agreed to allow So Delicious to sell our dairy-free products with allergen information on the label. This information is so valuable and important to consumers, and we are happy to be able to communicate that our coconut milk beverage is dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, vegan, and kosher. We want to thank Canadian shoppers for their patience and ongoing support. We are thrilled to be coming to a grocery store near you in the coming weeks.


I sure hope the creamers and yogurts are right around the corner!



***IMPORTANT UPDATE***

Many of you probably have noticed the beverages are no longer available in Canada. About a month after I purchased my first carton I was told that the beverages had to be pulled off the shelf due to a complaint by a CFIA (Cnadian Food Inspection Agency) inspector over some labeling. I waited and waited for themt o come back along with the yogurts. I got tired of waiting so I sent the nice people at Turtle Mountain an email inquiring when the beverages might be back in Canada. This is the reply they sent me.

Thank you for your email regarding our products. At this time only our frozen products are available in Canada. I am including our official statement regarding this.


Turtle Mountain has been working in full cooperation with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to resolve an important labeling issue. Recent CFIA policy prohibits Turtle Mountain from making the claim that the company's So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage is gluten, dairy and soy free. Even though those statements are true, the CFIA has recently decided to prohibit "allergen-free" statements on packaging. Their decision marks a major change of direction in CFIA's policy and promises less label information for allergen sufferers at a time when consumers are asking for more and clearer information on allergens. By prohibiting manufacturers from making "allergen free" statements, the CFIA is restricting the amount of information available to Canadian consumers, which raises significant public-health concerns. Turtle Mountain believes that the CFIA's decision to prohibit 'allergen-free' statements has such a critical public-health impact that it asked the most senior policy officials in the CFIA to reconsider. Turtle Mountain is fundamentally opposed to limiting the amount of information that is available to consumers. The best interest of the Canadian public is at hand, and Turtle Mountain is passionately urging the CFIA to act in accordance with their commitment to communicate important food safety information to consumers. We hope that this matter will be resolved quickly so that Canadian consumers will have access to valuable allergen information and also be able to enjoy safe, healthy and delicious dairy-free food options.



If you have any other questions regarding please feel free to call or email me.




I have to be honest - I was close to speechless and let me tell you how rare an occurrence that is. If this is the case then I guess Quaker should have to pull their granola bars off the shelf and remove all their peanut free labeling. Somehow I doubt the CFIA will be asking Pepsico (Quakers parent company) to do that. I've sent an email to the CFIA asking for clarification on the subject. Pretty sure I won't get a reply.

The nice people at Turtle Mountain did give me some advice. They also sell their coconut milk beverage in shelf stable cartons and if you go to this site you can order from them and apparently the ship to Canada.

If I hear more on this I'll be sure to post another update.






Attention all Canadians! Ollie and I just came back from a trip to Planet Organic and look what we found there...





So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverages! We have been impatiently waiting for these to come to Canada so we were super excited today when I asked someone there if they had any and he said yeah I'm just making room for them on the shelf right now, I've got 3 cases in the back. We picked the vanilla one to try. Ollie loved it so I'll have to get Gabbie's feedback and let you know. I liked it too but its not as fortified as the almond milk we drink so I'll have to mix the 2. On the plus side the schools will let the kids have it there so I can bake with it (yes!) but its pretty pricey ($5.49 a carton) so we'll have to go easy on it.

Now we're just waiting for the creamers and yogurts to come.....






Monday, October 18, 2010

Part way there!

Its been a very long week of renos but I now have new kitchen cabinets and countertops (and bathroom cabinets and some new cabinets and countertops for my laundry room too)! My Uncle and his apprentice came down to do the work for us and even though they were great guests (and workers!) its nice to have everyone out of the house and to be by ourselves again. DH and I were up late last night cleaning and I'm working on reorganizing everything in the kitchen today. We have a week off before the plumbers come to fix our bathtubs and shower (the joys of an older house). The renovations haven't been fun but they're so worth it! I am in love with my new kitchen and we moved things around a bit so I finally have some countertop space! So excited to start cooking in there again! Thankfully the weather has been nice we've been grilling a lot of veggies and mushrooms, etc but its starting to cool off so it looks like the kitchen is done just in time.

Back to clean and organizing.........

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sorry for the long blog break. Things here have been very hectic because we're renovating our kitchen and bathrooms! I'm very excited but its a lot of work to get everything packed up and organised. My Uncle is actually doing all the cabinets and countertops and he is coming tonight to stay the week with us and do it. So tomorrow we are ripped out all the old stuff for the new.

Unfortunately due to the timing of the reno I will not be hosting Thanksgiving at my house this year and I am seriously sad about that. Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday to host and I love designing the menu and decorating the table with all the fall colours. Oh well, there's always next year and as a bonus I'll have a new kitchen to cook the meal in too :)

My Mom is hosting Thanksgiving this year and she is making lots of vegan goodies for all to enjoy! On the menu is mashed potatoes (vegan of course), roasted veggies, mushroom gravy from the Vegan Table, a apple and broc. slaw of some sort that is vegan, and for dessert cran apple maple pies and crisps. I was suppose to make the Festive Chickpea tart but my mom forgot to make an extra vegan pie shell for me and I'm too lazy to run to Planet Organic to get one some instead I'm making some Smoked Apple field roast sausages - these sausages are so great! Dinner is gonna be great, I can't to eat!

I hope to be able to blog over this next week once of twice but it really depends on how things are going.

Happy Thanksgiving to all the Canadians and hope everyone else is having a fabulous weekend too!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Apples, apples, apples!

Last week my friend went to her sisters house to pick apples and asked if I wanted some. I said only if they had enough to spare. I guess they had plenty to spare cuz I got a huge box full! What to do with all those apples?

First up was some apple sauce. The kids don't like it on its own (the apples are fairly tart and I didn't put hardly any sugar in the sauce) but they love it with cinnamon and sugar on it and in their oatmeal.

I always make a batch of mini muffins for the kids lunches so I decided to make the Apple Pecan muffins from The Joy of Vegan Baking. I made a few adjustments to the recipe. First I left out the pecans (no nuts at school) and instead of cutting the apple into chunks to add I shredded it with a grater and added it that way. The kids love apples but I had a feeling they wouldn't like the chunks of apple in the muffins. They turned out very well and the kids are excited to take some in their lunch.

Then last night I made some pie filling based on a recipe from Catherine over at Food Snob. She used some apples to make a pie filling that goes in the freezer and that sounded like a great way to use up some more of my apples! The recipe calls for 8 apples but my apples are pretty small so I kinda had to do a best guesstimate. I think I ended up with a double batch. I plan on using some of it for apple turnovers this week.

I still have half a box of apples to use up. I'm going to do some more baking and if that filling works out I'm going to use the rest for that. Sorry there are no pics...I was too busy to stop for the camera:)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Packing school lunches in our new PlanetBoxes!

Sorry for such a long absence from blogging...we have been adjusting to new schedules and getting into the "back to school" routine.

First up though an update on the haircut disaster. My youngest is now sporting a very short (and chic!) bob. And although there are large chunks of hair still missing in the back, with some artful blowdrying and combing we can hide much of it. I just hope the missing chunks grow back fast.

Ok so the last few weeks have been crazy with back to school in this house. My oldest started grade 1 and the youngest started preschool 2 mornings a week. Grade 1 has been a huge change for us because for the first time I have to send her to school with a lunch. I really wanted to have a good system for the school lunches and part of that was how to transport her lunch. I didn't want to be wasting time looking for lids to a million tupperware contains - not to mention I didn't want to use any plastic for her lunch either. So when I saw the planetbox I knew it would be perfect.

I first saw the planetbox on this blog (I so love this blog and I hope veganmomma starts blogging again - I have really missed her post!). I really hesitated when I saw the price ($59.95 US plus shipping) but after much internal debate and a lengthy chat with DH we decided to order them. And I'm so glad we did, they have made school lunches very healthy and easy for me to pack and Gabbie to eat!




I don't know why blogger is underlining this, so frustrating! Ok so here is one of her lunches from this week, cucumbers, blackberries, mini banana choc chip muffins, a field roast sandwich and some skittles for her "treat".


Here is her lunch with the big dipper for her snack - some yummy organic strawberries.

Here it is all packed up in her case with the magnets she chose for the day. We have 3 different sets and she really likes picking a set each morning.

And here it is already to go with her sigg bottle full of water for the day. She only drinks water throughout the day. Her big dipper is in the front pouch next to her water bottle.

Ok so here are my thoughts so far on the planet box. First up the likes. I love the compartment system for packing a lunch. You can put anything you want in each compartment obviously but we've designated a fruit one and a veggie one and every morning she picks a fruit(s) and veggie(s) to pack for school. The main compartment is for her "main meal" and the long tray is usually some filler or extras. I usually pack her snack in the big dipper and this works well for her. Its quick and easy for her to grab her snack out of the front pocket. It holds a lot of food. I was initially worried that it won't hold enough to keep her going all day but she always says she has more enough to eat. It is really easy to clean - I usually just wash it in the sink with my pots and pans at night then dry it and leave it open on the counter to pack for the next morning. On the weekend I wash it all up and put the dippers inside, pack it in the carry bag and put it away in a cupboard till Monday.

Now for my dislikes. I first started packing applesauce with cinnamon for a snack in her big dipper and it would leak in her carry case. According to the website if you put a "wet" food in the dippers and you don't put it in the actually box itself you need to put a rubber band around the dipper to secure it. I tried that and it still leaks so for right now I've been putting more fruit or crackers in the dipper. My daughter's dislike is that she finds pretty heavy to carry to school which means I usually carry it for her. I don't find it heavy but I'm not six either.

Thats all I can think of for now. As we pack more lunches I'll be sure to post more.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Stress!

My youngest starts preschool tomorrow and she just finished giving herself a haircut.

*sigh*

How bad is it? Its down to the scalp in some areas and the back...well its one of the worst mullets I've ever seen. Thankfully my niece is a hairdresser and after a frantic call she came over and did her best to fix it. Its a very short bob now with some layers in it and with some artful styling and combing I think I can hide the worst of it.

Fortunately this child can really rock a hat........

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Wilbur

Wow my 100th post! I finally made! I probably should do some great food post but its been a crazy weekend of cleaning and organizing with Fall coming and school starting so we've been having some quick and un-blogworthy meals the last couple of days. So instead I want to share a few special pictures of a really special dog.


This is our dog Wilbur - yes I picked his name, not the kids. I don't know - he just looked like a Wilbur to me! When my oldest daughter was little she was pretty sick and at one point spent some time at the local Children's Hospital. She always wanted a dog so once she got out of the hospital I started looking for one. My husband is pretty allergic to dogs and cats but thankfully he is fine around Shih Tzus. We had hoped we'd find one that was white and brown but the minute I saw Wilbur's picture I knew that was my dog. He has been such a great addition to our family. This little guy has a heart of gold. He is a real loving dog, always happy and excited to meet everyone he sees and he is great with kids. He loves to go for walks and at night after our walk he likes to curl up with me while I have a cup of tea and watch tv or read. Everywhere I go in the house he follows - he is a real people dog.


Really - how much cuter could he get?! Love you Wilbur!!!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Farmers Market Finds

We hit the Farmers Market yesterday afternoon for some more back to school produce. Not that we don't eat produce all the time but its exciting for the kids to call it back to school veggies!






A purple bell pepper! I've seen purple beans and potatoes before but never a purple pepper. The lady at the stand said they taste sweeter than a red pepper but I found it tasted more like a green pepper. I don't think the kids will be excited when they taste them because the love red, yellow and orange bell peppers but not so much green ones. They'll still eat them (if only because their purple) and I'm ok with that!

Also deserving a special mention is the awesome cucumbers we got. They had a sale, buy one large bag get the second one half price - couldn't pass that up so we now have a lot of cukes but thats ok cuz everyone in this house loves cukes!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hectic Day

We are getting ready for back to school today and the house is a flurry of activity! My kitchen is a disaster right now - I am washing and chopping pineapples, strawberries, lettuce, kale, blueberries, carrots and other goodies for breakfast smoothies and back to school lunches. Next up is muffin and cookie baking before we head out to the farmers market (my daughter says she must have some blackberries for her lunch this week!) I'm sure there will be more washing and prepping when we come back. Did I mention I also have to clean the bathrooms and of course the kitchen too? And naturally my youngest had an accident last night so I had to strip her bed and wash it all. And just when I thought I was going to catch up on the laundry....

The Planetboxes did arrive last Friday and we are in love with them! I promise to post a few pics and my thoughts on them once we pack a few lunches in them.

Thats all for today, back to the kitchen....

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Eco Planet Crackers

I've read about these crackers on a few blogs now and have been wanting to get them for when school starts so the girls could have a fun cracker in their lunch as a treat every now and then. I have kept my eyes open for them but never saw them here in Canada. I thought about ordering them on online but was kinda hesitant about it (not sure why, I order a lot of stuff online!). I decided to check the manufactures site and sure enough the had listed Safeway as a retailer here in Canada. So I called up a Safeway close to me and they had them in stock! Yesterday the girls and I made a trip over there to pick up a couple of boxes.


The kids love them, no surprise there. They taste much like those goldfish crackers many love. The girls like the fun shapes and are very excited to have them in their lunches. The downside is they are expensive - $5.49 a box at Safeway and there isn't a lot of nutritional value (ok theres no nutritional value) so they won't be getting them everyday but I'm happy I got them and will be packing them for lunches sometimes.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Getting ready.....

For back to school that is! Its hard to believe we are half way through August already, the summer has really gone by fast this year. My oldest is going to Grade 1 this year and my youngest starts preschool 2 mornings a week so starting in September its back to packing snacks and a lunch for my oldest. I've been looking at this lunch box for a long time now and today I finally ordered it (nothing like leaving it to the last minute. It should arrive a day or two before school starts). It was pricey especially when you include the shipping but my Husband and I felt it would be worth it in the long run.



I like the compartment idea so you can quickly see if you have a well rounded lunch packed or not. And there is no garbage produced with it so its definitely better for the environment. The girls are very excited for them to arrive. They each picked the purple power carrying case with the under the sea magnets. Since the shipping was so expensive my Husband decided we should order a few sets of magnets as well so each girl got a set of the rainbow ones and the retro kitty ones.

I'll be sure to post some pics when they come and give my thoughts on the lunch box after I've packed a few lunches in them.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tempeh, Lettuce, Avocado and Tomatoe...mmhhhh!

I have tried to make tempeh "bacon" many times from many different recipes and it never turns out. So when I saw this product I had to give it a try. The verdict? Its really good. Pricey so we won't be buying it all the time but it makes a really great sandwich. The BLT was a favourite of my husbands and he really enjoyed the tempeh version as did the girls and I but we added avocado to ours which, imo, put it over the top.




Here is a close up of my sandwich. It was so good it was hard for me to stop and get a picture of it. Good thing me new camera snaps pics pretty quick!

And here is a picture of my plate. We rounded out the meal with a green salad tossed with a sweet onion vinegrette. And yes those are green olives on my salad. I love olives and I tend to put them on anything I can!


We're still enjoying the nice summer weather although its raining out today. The girls have their last day of swimming lessons tomorrow and we're all looking forward to having a few weeks off before school starts. I can't believe how fast the summer has gone by. We been very lucky the last few years, we've had incredible weather in Sept/Oct and I'm hoping it will be the same this year. Its rained so much this summer we haven't been out bike riding and playing as much as we wanted to but the fall is usually dry here so hopefully the weather will be warm so we can make up for some of that lost outside time.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

So much to blog about

It feels like forever since I blogged last but we've been so busy I just haven't had time to sit down at the computer. The girls are in swimming lessons again for 2 weeks (they were in the first 2 weeks of July as well) and the weather has been really nice here so we've been walking to the library, going to the park, playing on the swing set and sandbox in the backyard..basically just spending as much time outside as we can!

And of course we've been enjoying those awesome "summertime" meals. Here's what I've managed to download of my camera so far (I have a lot of pictures to post in the next couple of days!)



Pad Thai with tofu, grilled pineapple and steamed broccoli with garlic sauce. Had the leftovers the next day for lunch. Delicious!

Lemon Blueberry Muffins. Made these on a rainy day to pop in the freezer for snacks and to bring for breakfast on vacation. More on that in a minute!

Sometimes you just need something fast and easy. Dr. Preager's gluten free california veggie burgers, fries and kale chips. Mmhhhh!

Burritos made with homemade "refried"beans and cashew cheeze sauce, baked in the oven till crispy on the outside. Paired with a green salad it was a yummy dinner. Again the leftovers were enjoyed for lunch the next day.

Not the prettiest looking dish but it actually turned out to be pretty tasty. I we we're out of ideas and low on groceries so we marinated portobella mushrooms and grape tomatoes with balsamic vinegrette and grilled them on the bbq then tossed with whole wheat pasta. Sometimes simple really is best.

We went on vacation to the mountains for a few days to see the sights and to visit my granny (the girl's great granny). It was a great vacation! As much as I miss the baby stage now that my youngest is 3 I have to say I am enjoying some of the perks of have children that are so much more independent. It was nice to go on a trip and not have to worry about packing the stroller, baby carrier, etc. We had so much fun touring around Banff/Canmore and the kids were amazingly good despite some pretty busy days and lots of walking in the fresh mountain air. We pack quite a bit of food and our hotel room had a mini fridge so we pretty much ate in the hotel room and pack picnic lunches. For dinner we found this great indian place that made great basmati rice and an incredible red lentil curry that had coconut milk and green beans in it. I was sad to leave but happy to come home if that makes any scene. We are looking very forward to going back soon.





Monday, July 5, 2010

Steady Eddie

Awhile back I posted that I had won a contest over at Eat, Drink & Be Vegan. I was the lucky winner of a very nice t-shirt from Silver Hills Bakery and 5 coupons for free loaves of bread.

Silver Hills Bakery makes delicious sprouted grain breads that are minimally processed, high fiber, low fat and great tasting. I've borrowed the following from their website - I believe they say it best:


First off, we believe the simple things in life are best.

Second, we live this belief with our breads and bagels by making them the way they should be: as simple, organic and delicious as possible, and made with sprouted organic grains in their purest form to provide the highest nutritional value for you and your family.


Couldn't have said it better myself! I like not needing a chemistry degree to understand the ingredient list on my bread bag. So I promptly took one of my coupons to the store and bought a loaf of the Steady Eddie bread. I chose this bread for a number of reasons:

1. I love the name Steady Eddie

2. The t-shirt they sent me was a Steady Eddie t-shirt

3. Its sweetened with organic whole apples and

4. It has a GI rating of 55


So the choice was obvious and I picked a real winner! This bread is so very good. Seriously. If you don't believe me ask my kids. They won't eat anything just because its good for them. If they don't like it they aren't shy about telling me (whining to me) that they don't like it. I have made them toast with this bread and grilled cheese sandwiches with the vegan rice cheese and they love it. They also love the fact the their bread has a cool name like Steady Eddie (what can I say, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree does it).

I've had many a sandwich with this bread - my favourite being a combo of hummus, avocado, tomates, broccoli sprouts, thin sliced red onion and pickle. I think the biggest thing I noticed after eating a sandwich made with this bread is that its really filling. Normally I'll eat a couple of sandwiches and I'll be hungry a few hours later but I only eat one of the afore mentioned sandwiches and I'm full till dinner. Not sure if its all the fibre or the low GI rating but it really fills you up.

We've been sticking with the Steady Eddie for awhile now but I'm looking forward to trying some different loaves with our coupons. I'll keep you posted!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy Anniversary to me!

This June Dh and I celebrated 9 happy years together! Unfortunately it was a crazy week with school and the kids and dh has been working quite a bit of overtime so we didn't get to go out and celebrate just the two of us yet but things are slowing down to a more manageable pace so we'll have an evening out soon.

So I wanted to make a special supper that night but I also wanted to make something that the kids would like and eat too plus it was a warm night and I didn't want to turn the oven on or have dh bbq as he was coming home pretty late from work. And so I decided to make this:



Pad Thai from The Vegan Table and and asian salad that is my own "creation". The Pad Thai is awesome and we all love it and the salad was spinach, peppers, shredded carrots, cucumbers, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds and Renee's Asian Sesame dressing. Perfect summer meal!

I was trying to think of something special for dessert that night when Dreena posted on facebook that she had just made a double batch of brownies. That seemed like a dessert worthy of turning on the oven for. So I made these brownies without the icing and walnuts and I topped them with the So Delicious coconut milk vanilla bean ice cream. Dh was supper happy (and full)!


You may have noticed that my food pictures are a little more appealing (I hope!) - we finally got a new camera! It was pretty pricey but worth every penny imo. I was so tired of the crappy point and shoot camera that we had - it was so slow; there was way too much lag time between shots and I couldn't have that because my oldest graduated from Kindergarten a couple of weeks ago. After a disastrous last day of gymnastics (me trying to get lots of pics for dh who couldn't make it because work is so busy and missing every shot because the camera was so slow) I said no more and went out that day to get a new one. I'm still earning how to use it and how to proper photograph food but hopefully you'll see some more appetizing shots on this blog from now on!

And speaking of the graduation, after the grad I took both the girls out to the local coffee shop here in town for a special treat. The lady who owns the place does a lot of gluten free cooking and baking and is very allergy aware so she understands completely our request for no dairy. Look at the cute little soy hot chocolates she made the girls.


The girls have a love affair with hot chocolate (as does their mom!) so they were super happy with their special hot chocolates! Know what goes good with hot chocolate? These.


My husbands new favourite cookie - the Carob-Coconut-Pecan cookies from Vive. I had to make a few subs - Im out of spelt flour (how did that happen!) so I used whole wheat pastry flour and I used the enjoy life brand of chocolate chips (didn't have any carob chips) and I didn't have any pecans either but they turned out pretty excellent regardless! My husband loved them and my parents tried some the next day and my Dad said it was one of the best cookies he's ever had! So if you haven't tried these yet and its not too hot in your house (its really cooled down here for the last few days which has allowed me to do some baking again) give these a try.









Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Look what I found...

Summer is here! The kids are done school and the weather has been so nice so we've been having some pretty lazy days. Its nice to have a break from the structure of the school year.

Today we had some errands to run (bills to pay, etc) and we decided to stop at Planet Organic. I love it there but I always spend way too much money so I try to only make a couple of trips there a month. My local grocer carries a large selection of organic produce and vegan products. I know the manager there and he is very helpful in bringing in any vegan products he can for us.

Today was a great day to stop in at Planet Organic because we found some great new products!

First up:



Vegan rice cheese slices! I like a grilled cheese made with Daiya but the girls aren't fond of it in a grilled cheese so I was excited to see these today. I like that they are soy free - not that we don't eat some soy but I don't like a lot of processed soy products. We try to only eat minimally processed soy products (organic tofu, etc) and I haven't been able to find a rice cheese slice that was vegan.



I've blogged before about my love for the So Delicious coconut milk ice creams - love them! So I was ecited to try the Luna and Larry's brand of coconut milk ice cream products.



I love chocolate and hazelnuts so I knew exactly which flavour of ice cream I was going to try.

And I had to try the Dark Chocolate bliss bars too. Wow - this ice cream is so decadent! Its a great treat on a hot day! The Hazelnut Fudge ice cream is my new favourite ice cream for sure. I see myself gaining a few pounds this summer.....

And last but not least soy free earth balance. I have heard so much about this spread but it wasn't available in Canada till now. I haven't tried it myself yet but I made the girls grilled cheese sandwiches with this and the rice cheese slices and the Silver Hills Bakery Steady Eddie bread and they gave it two thumbs up - a real honour based on their rating system for food! I'm glad to have a few new soy free options.



Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

I know its been so long since I last posted and I have a lot to catch up on but I just wanted to stop in to say Happy Father's Day to all the daddy's out there an of course an extra Happy Father's Day to my Dad and my Husband...two of the very best Dad's around!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Another sick kid!

This spring we have had more than our share of sickness running through our house. Now Olivia is in bed sick with a sore tummy and a bit of a fever. She slept through dinner and just had a bath and some books and is sleeping again now. I hope after a good nights sleep she feels better. So strange, we really didn't have anyone sick in this house this fall/winter but this spring we have been hit hard.

Hopefully this awful weather goes away soon and all the sickness with it!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I Won!

Today I woke up feeling a little sad because it seems that I've picked up a little cold. I can't believe I didn't have so much as a sniffle all fall/winter long and now I have a cold! Oh well - its not a bad cold but I hate being sick at all when the weather is nice. Anyways, the day wasn't looking to be anything special when I decided to do my daily blog visits - until I went to Dreena's blog and I saw this:

okay, the new winner for the Silver Hills giveaway is Born to be Vegan (comment: "Enter me please! My daughter starts grade one in the fall so I see some sandwiches in our future").

I can't believe I won! I'm so excited, I never win anything! And I won coupons for Silver Hills bread! I really like their bread but man is it pricey. Its worth it because really you can't put a price on your health but yikes we go through a lot of bread in this house. Like everyone else we're always trying to balance getting healthy organic food while trying to stay in our budget. Needless to say these coupons are gonna come in handy!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Warning - EXTRA LONG post ahead!

It feels like forever since I last posted. May is always such a busy month for us! I keep saying I'll post tonight and then something always comes up and I put off posting. Ok so here is an update of everything thats been going on - I'll try not to babble too much!

We celebrated Mother's Day with my family on the Saturday (the 8th). My sister hosted at her house and my Dad and the rest of teh men took care of the food and cooking (for the most part!) My Dad made me some marinated portobello mushrooms on the grill (as per my request - I did the marinate part) and he got me the best vegan potatoe salad ever - yes it truly was the best poattoe salad I have ever had. It was from planet organic and it was awsome - I had more than my share for sure! My brother made some grilled veggie packets and we have a fruity spinach salad with a raspberry vinegrette. I made the cookies and cream cupcakes from VCTOTW 12 chocolate and 12 vanilla. Both were excellent! I didn't care for the icing but I really don't like icing. Everyone else loved them too! Then on the Sunday I went for a extra long workout at the gym then had a relaxing shower, played some wii with the girls and then my husband made the dinner i requested - veggie dogs, more of the awesome potatoe salad and veggies and dip - and I *might* have had a few potatoe chips! Oh and for dessert we had so delicious chocolate coconut milk ice cream. I had hoped the weather would be really nice that day so we could eat outside but it wasn't to be.

Later that week we celebrated my birthday. It was a great day! I spent the morning relaxing at home after dropping off the oldest at school. Then we picked her up and heading off for some vegan sushi for lunch - so good as usual! Then we went herb plant shopping - with much success. Then we headed home and I took the girls out for a wagon ride - they enjoy it but I'm telling you they are heavy to pull! Then we headed home for a quick shower/bath before dh came home and we headed off for a delicious italian dinner.

Then this past weekend the dh and I were going to go for a relaxing supper out just the 2 of us but my sister decided to move my niece's party to this saturday since the weather was so nice. I had to teach a course this weekend so it worked out ok for my no cooking saturday night! My awesome Dad went to planet organic that morning to get me some more of that awesome potatoe salad and a piece of vegan chocolate cake - he knew i was teaching this weekend and wouldn't have time to do a lot of cooking. It was so nice to come home after a long day of teaching and go to the party and have lots of food to eat. Thanks Dad - it was so thoughtful and very appreciated!

And thats it! Thats what we've been up to. The last few days the weather was super hot so we've been eating pretty basic stuff - salads, smoothies, etc. Yesterday the girls and I ate an entire watermelon over 8 hours. Between that and all the smoothies we drank that day I'm pretty sure we got out quote of fruit!

The weather was a little cooler today and its suppose to stay a little cooler for the long weekend which will actually be good. I can do some baking this weekend to freeze for the next few weeks. We're running ow on muffins and cookies! Thats the only thing I don't like about the warmer weather - too hot to bake (and we don't have air conditioning).

Hope everyone is spending as much time outside in the beautiful weather as we are!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Successful Day in the Kitchen!

So in my last few post I have been going on and on about enjoying the nice spring weather we've been having but this....



is what I woke up to yesterday morning! Actually it was worse than this because the wind was blowing something fierce! It was a spring blizzard and man it sucked, there is just no other word for it. The roads were a mess and we went grocery shopping that morning cuz it was 15% Tuesday (a big day for us for grocery shopping every month). By the time I dropped Gabbie off at school, got groceries and went to pick Gabbie up my jeans were soaking wet and I was frozen to the bone. Needless to say we skipped gymnastics yesterday afternoon and went to a friends house for lunch instead. My friend Karen made us the Quinoa, Mango and Black Bean salad from Vcon and peanut butter banana choc chip muffins from 100 best vegan recipes. It rocked...thanks for lunch again Karen!

So today Gabbie had no school (why couldn't there have been no school yesterday!) so we stayed home and had a pretty productive day in the kitchen!

This weekend I was on a roll making beans ( I was trying to stay busy after we had to take the youngest to the emergency room late friday night/early sat morning for croup. I figured if I stayed busy I wouldn't fall asleep!) . I made a big batch of black beans and a batch of navy beans. So today I made a black bean and sweet potatoe enchilada filling. I haven't made the enchiladas yet but I did taste the filling by scooping some on a few tortilla chips and it was super good! I'm looking forward to the enchiladas! And due to the crappy cold weather I decided to make a really hearty supper tonight...White Bean and Leek Cassoulet from Vcon.

The cassoulet pre cooked

The cooked cassoulet and our salad

Spinach salad with grape tomatoes and balsamic dressing

The happy kids eating their second bowlfuls!


If you have not made this dish yet you don't know what your missing! It is so delicious...a perfect winter (or cold spring) day dish! I didn't have any leeks so we left those out and I must say I think I like it better without the leeks and so did the kids. This supper made everyone happy and the kids are very happy that there is just enough leftovers for them for lunch tomorrow. The spinach salad is a staple at this house. We have 2 or 3 nights a week and it was a perfect pair with the cassoulet.

Well I'm off to sit with dh and watch some tv...I've been cleaning and in the kitchen all day and I feel like doing something mindless tonight!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sick

I know I said I'd do a book review today but we had a sick little girl over here last night. She woke up at 12:30am complaining that her tummy hurt. I asked her if she had to throw up and she said no...sure enough about a half hour later she threw up all over the bathroom. So we got busy cleaning up the bathroom and Gabbie and she slept really well after that. I didn't send her to school this morning but I think she'll be well enough to go tomorrow. She had her fair share of smoothies today and they seem to have helped - I but some coconut water in them to help keep her hydrated. She doesn't like the mouth feel of coconut water but she didn't seem to notice it in her smoothies so score one for me!



Needless to say the adults in this house are running off minimal sleep so the big book review post will have to wait.

I thought I'd leave you with this picture...someone was keeping busy while I attended to her older sister today. Doesn't she look nice?!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Quick Post

No pictures again...I know (!) but we didn;t eat anything terribly photo worthy. For lunch we had a quick stirfry with cabbage, onion and broccoli over brown rice and dinner was pita pizzas. Tasty and filling but not much to take pics of.

Tomorrow I am doing a review on a couple of books I've read lately and I promise to post a few pics with that post!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Gimme Chimmis

No pictures but tonight's dinner was really good! We had the Gimme Chimmis from ED&BV but I made a few changes. I added grated zucchini, grated carrots, and chopped red bell pepper to the bean mixture. And I made a cashew cheeze to go in the chimmis. I spread a thin layer of the cashew cheeze on a whole wheat tortilla then a scope of the bean/veggie mixture. Then I rolled it up and brushed both sides with a bit of olive oil then I pan fried them. Crispy on the outside, nice and cheezy on the inside and no greasy at all. They were so good served with a salad of baby spinach and grape tomatoes with balsamic vinaigrette. Very filling dinner....I actually ate a bit too much but I couldn't help myself.

Now I am super sleepy because our youngest who has been an awesome sleeper her entire life is going through a phase where she is afraid of everything...and this has resulted in a lot of nightmares. I took them for a extra big walk this afternoon so hopefully she will sleep really good tonight with no nightmares!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What we're up to

I'm happy to say that the weather has been getting so much nicer here! The sun has been shining and everyone is pretty happy about that. The kids have been playing outside lots and although I love it when they spend all day outside it makes for some pretty tired kids and when they get tired they fight with each other...a lot! Oh well, atleast with all the fresh air they have been going to bed a little earlier than normal.

Today was a little bit chilly even though the sun came out in the afternoon so I decided to make what will probably be my last pot of soup for awhile! It was just a vegetable barley soup with red and brown lentils and green split peas. It looks like dirty water but its really tasty! We had homemade pita chips and hummus with the soup and for dessert we had the choc chip oatmeal espresso cookies from vegan cookies invade your cookie jar.....so good!

I've been super busy trying to get all the spring cleaning done...its hard to clean inside when its so nice outside! The weather is suppose to be a little cooler this week so hopefully I'll get more of the inside stuff done. I also have a website that I need to get done too...after that I have no big projects scheduled which is kinda good and kinda bad!

What have you been out doing in the nice weather lately?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Venting

Be forewarned...this is not a food post. This is a raising children post. And its a long one.

My oldest started kindergarten this year and at first I was nearly having a heart attack about it. I mean, its not like I didn't know she was growing up but now that she is going to school every morning at a real elementary school it just feels so sad...like a chapter in her life and mine as her mama was closing. And it was/has. She is growing up so fast and she has really matured this year. So much so I'm not really sad anymore, I'm so proud of the person she is becoming. I always worried she would be lonely at school because she is so shy but she has really taking well to school and has made some real friends.

And the learning! I can't believe how much info one little person can absorb. She's like a walking encyclopedia and a french/english one at that because she is enrolled in french immersion. She loves learning a new language (my husband and I both speak french but his first language is french, its my second language and it shows!) and she loves learning about new things. She even loves doing homework and that is what this vent is about.

When we enrolled her in this immersion program we were told she would get a homework package sent home once a week - every wednesday they get a package and they return it completed every monday. Each package has a book with a photo on one page and the french word on the page next to it (eg. picture of an apple and the word pomme on the page beside it). There are a total of 12 pics/words. The kids are also given a paper with lines and the pictures from the book on it for them to write the french word next to. They also get a set of magnets (12 pics, 12 words) that they have to match up.

A couple of weekends ago my husband was doing her homework with her and noticed that two of the word magnets were missing. I was teaching this particular weekend so I wasn't around while this was going on. They finished up the rest of the homework and packed it away to send back to school the next day. My husband forgot to mention to me that there was 2 magnets missing and when I went to pick her up the next day at school the teacher told me she had missing magnets could I look for them at home. I called my husband who told me they were missing when he opened the package and so we told the teacher this. She told me no way could there have been any pieces missing from the package. Ok....obviously there could be cuz ours was missing some. So they said we had to pay for the missing magnets and they sent me a bill for $15.60. We were a little miffed but decided to pay the bill and look at her package they day it was sent home from now on to make sure we had all the pieces.

So I get the bill on the friday before spring break and I noticed that she didn't get any homework. I assumed it was because of the break. Then we were invited to a friends house for a playdate. This friend is in the same class and she got homework so I assumed that they forgot to give us ours. No big deal I thought, we'll just get it when we get back and do it then. So when I dropped her off for school on Tuesday I asked about the missing homework. I was told that because we owed the $15.60 that she would not be getting any more homework until we paid the bill.

Are. You. Kidding. Me.

Are you telling me that because we own a measly $15.60 for something we didn't lose in the first place our child will not be getting her homework? Surely there has been a misunderstanding I thought because thats the dumbest thing I have ever heard right?!

I called the principle to discuss it. Apparently this is the policy that the kindergarten teachers put in place this year to ensure missing pieces were paid for. I was told its just like library books. If your child doesn't bring the book back on the assigned day they aren't allowed to take more books out. Well certainly, I said, its reasonable for a 5 year old to remember to put their library books in their backpack once a week to return. But children don't write checks. Its not my daugthers responsibility to make sure a cheque is sent for the missing pieces (that we didn't lose), its mine so why is she being punished for something she has no control over. Why, quite frankly, is she being denied part of her education over $15.60? What about people who can't afford to pay the bill till a payday? Don't laugh, my friend just told me she has $8.51 till next friday. Should a child be denied their homework and their education over that?

So rather than drop it, I decided to schedule a chat with her teachers. If this is indeed the policy then they need to execute it better. When I received my bill it should have been noted right on the bill that she wouldn't receive anymore packages till the bill was settled and they should have verbally told me this when they handed me the bill. Further more, because I got the bill the day she was to receive her homework they should have been a grace period..like she gets her homework this time but if the bill isn't settled by the next scheduled homework day she won't receive her next one.

I don't want to be a "problem parent" but I feel like I need to stand up for not just my child but for others too.

What do you think?


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Warning - LONG post ahead!

Wow is there ever a lot to catch up on! Its been very busy around here esp. in the kitchen!

The girls have been pretty healthy all winter long and DH and I haven't had a cold all winter long. We went out for dinner on Valentines day and we were talking about how lucky we were to have escaped all the sickness this year and I said that it probably has a lot to do with us cleaning up our diet and he agreed that it was a big part of it. Svore one for vegan eating! My DH isn't vegan (I wouldn't change one thing about him...except maybe that!) but he eats mostly vegan and this year he is really starting to see the benefits.

So what is all this healthy vegan food we've been eating? Well it has all been healthy....



I'm sure every vegan on the planet has heard about Daiya cheese. I ordered some from Karmavore - one bag of the cheddar and one of the italian blend. Above is a pizza I made with the italian blend. Homemade crust from VwaV, tomatoe sauce, daiya, fresh pineapple, saute mushrooms, green peppers, onions and black olives. It was great! I really like the Daiya - its vegan, soy free, gluten free and it even has fiber in it. And it really does melt like dairy cheese! The texture took me a little getting use to but if I had to buy a vegan cheese this is one the one I'd pick every time hands down. I'll give you my review of the cheddar next time - it doesn't disappoint!

We had some cold days here and sometimes you just want some comfort food. This is my version of mac and cheeze. The sauce is made from raw cashews, a red pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and I think thats it. I whiz it all up in the vitamix and it is so good! Even my omni bro likes this stuff - its on the regular rotation at their house. This will probably gross some of you out but when we we're little, my siblings and I always put ketchup on our mac and cheese (my Dad taught us that one!) and if you put ketchup on this mac n cheeze it taste exactly like the mac and cheese from my childhood - except a little healthier and animal friendly!

Here is a pic of the sauce in the vitamix. This sauce is also excellent on steamed broccoli and other veg for a once in awhile treat!

I've been trying to go through all my cookbooks and pick a new recipe or two every week to try. Above is the chickpea ratatouille and the broccoli & walnut phyllo dish from vive served with a side of quinoa. Both were super tasty but I really liked the phyllo dish. It does that a bit of time to prep and make so its not a everyday dish here but it would certainly be great for company or a day when you have extra time. I think Dreena mentions that you can also mix the filling with pasta - I'll definately give that a try!


Well thats all from me tonight. I have to go write out my meal plan and grocery list for the weekend/easter.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

So far behind!

I can't believe how far behind I have fallen on this blog...and I have so much to share too! I lost the cord to my camera so I had no way of downloading pictures and I was determined to find it but I've looked everywhere and and I just can't find it so I broke down today and went and got a new card reader so we're back in business! And good thing too because I have a lot of pictures to share, I just need a few days to download and organize all of them!

Prepare for a very long post in the next few days....


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Playing

Not too much happening in the kitchen these days. We had a play date the other morning with some friends. The oldest was at kindergarten so it was just the two of us. We had a lot of fun playing ...well one of us had a lot of fun playing, the other had a lot of fun sipping steamed soymilk and visiting with the other moms. I'm sure you can guess which is which!





I didn't have anything too exciting planned for supper that night....or so I thought. I made this sauce and tossed it with steamed broccoli and brown rice penne. We also had some chickpeas on the side. Every loved it...the grown ups had seconds. The sauce is so easy to make and very decadent tasting. Not something to eat everyday but it was a nice treat!




We have one birthday party left to go this weekend and then we're done with the hosting duties for awhile! Wish me luck!