Saturday, April 18, 2015

Good Eats Out

Last weekend we went to the autoshow with the girls and there was this balloon guy there. He asked the girls what if they wanted a balloon (of course they said YES!) and took request. Ollie asked for a dog which he made her (it was pretty cute he made balloon poop for the dog too!) and Gabbie asked for a minion but he couldn't make one of those so he made her a surprise instead. It took him awhile but......

it was worth the wait! How cute!!! The straps were a little tight on her so she ended up just carrying elmo around but he did a great job and the kids were super happy with them of course. After walking around for a few hours we decided to leave and grab some dinner on the way home. We try hard not to eat out too often (we try to keep it at one or twice a month tops) so it was a really treat to stop at one of our favourite thai restaurants. We got pad thai, stir fired veggies, a green bean and tofu red curry and steamed jasmine rice (oh and veggie spring rolls not pictured). It was all so good but the kids found the curry a little too spicy (Ollie especially - Gabbie ate a good portion of it) so the next day I had the leftovers with quinoa. Delicious!

Today I had to run to buy some more essential oils after running out last night (we got a new toy that I will photograph and show off tomorrow!) so I headed to Planet Organic to pick some up. When i left I saw the new Glow Juicery had opened up right next to the planet. So I popped in to see what they had. 

Of course I couldn't leave empty handed so I ended up getting a juice and a salad. It was close to lunch time after all :)

Look at the beautiful dark emerald green colour! 

First up the salad - it was a vegan kale ceased salad with coconut bacon on it. Really good and i would certainly have it again (and again and again!) In fact I plan on dropping Glow Juicery an email to tell them they show bottle their raw vegan ceaser dressing and sell it - I certainly buy it! As you can see even thought the container looked small it was quite a plate full of salad.

Next up is their Ener-g glow juice. It has spinach + cucumber + pear + celery + chlorophyll. It was good but a little to celery tasting for me. But it wasn't a problem to fix - when I got home I added the juice from one lemon to it and some ice since I like my juice really cold. It was really good but overall I prefer my vitamix whole food juices. I think after all the years I've been drinking them I just prefer the texture. But one of my best friends really prefers the texture of juice from her juicer over the vitamin so its really a personally preference thing. I also find I feel much more satisfied after a whole foods juice but my friend is a strong believer in fresh juice with all the fiber extracted so to each their own! I do enjoy a nice kale lemonade in the spring/summer and its kinda my treat it the hot weather because i really do try to keep the juice to a minimum. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Beautiful Spring Day and Using Up Leftovers

What a beautiful day it was outside today. Almost plus 20 and lots of sunshine. Spring is here and we are so excited! The girls spend time outside year round but of course the nicer it is outside the the more the are out there. And of course after a long winter its even harder to get them to come inside - they are just soaking up the sunshine and warm temperatures. Lots of walks, bike rides, playgrounds and picnics are in our future!

But there was no picnic for supper tonight. I had to clean out the fridge tonight and use up a few things before my big grocery shop at the farmers market on saturday morning. I had all the fixings for tacos so roasted chickpea tacos it was with homemade cashew sour cream and and lots of guacamole.  But i also had some cooked quinoa to use up and so the taco quinoa bowl was born. The kids and dh had regular tacos (with wraps) but I took the cooked quinoa, sprinkled it with some taco seasoning and warmed it up in a small pot with some black beans. Once it was nice and warm I put it in a bowl and added some pico de gallo, green onion, black olives, a generous scoop of guacamole and a good drizzle of cashew sour cream. This was really really good and quite honestly I really preferred this to a regular taco (wrap style). I'm very fussy about breads/wraps and usually I'll ditch the warp in favour of something else and i think I've found my something else. A new favourite for sure. Below is a picture of my bowl in all its glory!

Just a quick word on quinoa. We eat quite a bit of quinoa here - we all prefer it to rice. And lots of people says to me that they want to eat more quinoa but they don't know how to make it taste good. So here is my tip for cooking quinoa or any grain really. Flavour your cooking water - if the water taste good your quinoa/grain will too. I like to flavour my water with organic garlic powder, pink Himalayan salt and some fresh ground pepper. Its flavourful but still neutral so you can use leftover in a variety of ways. I can eat it as a side with supper then use leftovers to make a quinoa salad or a bowl or toss it in a green salad. Everyone who says they don't like quinoa likes it after they have tried it this way so give it a go and experiment with other flavours too. And don't forget to cook up a big batch to have leftovers. Having leftover grains and beans ready to go in the fridge makes for really easy lunches/dinners when your in a time crunch.I try really hard to eat healthy whole food meals but its tough when I don't have some good grab and go option. I;d love to hear any other ideas anyone has for making nutrient dense sole food meals really quick. Outdoor soccer is starting soon and time will be at a premium again in a few weeks. Can't wait for summer till we have a break from all the scheduled activities.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Festivities - Days 2 & 3

My goodness the last few days have been busy - I feel like a need a vacation from my vacation! Tomorrow is back to school after  spring break and Easter and I'm really sad about it. For some reason spring break didn't feel like much of a break. The countdown is on now for summer break!

Saturday we celebrated Easter with my family. I was lucky and didn't have to bring anything for supper but I did bring Dreena's creamy spinach artichoke dip with some crackers for a little pre dinner snack.

On Sunday we celebrated Easter with my husbands family. I brought a chickpea salad and a pasta salad. My nephew brought awesome cabbage rolls that he made vegan and there was a great cabbage asian cabbage salad and my MIL made a vegan stuffing. It was delicious and we went back for leftover tonight.

Off to bed to get ready for back to school tomorrow. So sad the kids are going back to school already :(

Friday, April 3, 2015

Easter Festivities - Day 1

Hey hey! Today kicks off 3 busy days of Easter festivities! Today was our annual Easter party at my sister's house. Its a family party but it also includes extended family on my mom's side as they all live pretty close by so its a pretty big group. I'm the oldest of 4 (and between the 4 of us we have 9 kids) plus my cousin meg and her 2 kids, my cousin drew and his son, my cousin steve and his 2 girls and a few aunts came too so there was probably almost 30 of us? A fun time for sure. There was an egg hunt (my sister filled plastic eggs with some vegan bunny gummies) and each kid had to find 3 to bring to the Easter Bunny and they Easter Bunny also gave them a giant thing of bubbles to play outside with. The kids played outside playing soccer and blowing bubbles. There was also a lunch which is what I was getting ready for yesterday. I brought a pasta salad (from The Vegan Table) and garlic and white bean dip with pita (from Chloe's Kitchen) and as well I made some cupcakes. My aunt made these awesome homemade vegan baked beans (she actually made two - one with meat and a separate vegan one for us!) and my cousin meg brought some veg and dip (I forgot i also brought some homemade vegan ranch dip for the veg)and she made these awesome vegan sweet potato brownies. Meg isn't vegan but she is dairy free and eats very little meat so she usually has something that is vegan friendly for us to eat. My brother brought lots of fresh fruit so we had lots to pick and choose from (who am I kidding there was no picking and choosing - we ate it all!) The kids had a blast and my aunt gave them each a hola hoop so once we got home they played for a few hours in the basement with their hola hoops.

The book I used for the cupcake recipes. Great book! The basic chocolate cake recipe in this book is outstanding - everyone asks for the recipe when I make it and my Dad has declared the best chocolate cake ever.

First up the gluten free vanilla cupcakes. My cousin has celiac's and although his son has tested negative for it they still keep him gluten free so I wanted to make some cupcakes for them. 

I also made the basic vanilla cupcakes as well from the book. I forgot to take a picture after I had decorated them but after you frost them you dye coconut different colours and put it on them and them you put 3 jelly beans on (I used the surf sweets variety). They kinda look like easter baskets went all is said and done. Honestly too much work for all of it and the kids really just ate the jelly beans off the top and the fruit my brother brought. Next year we are doing fruit and and bowl of jelly beans :)

Pasta salad from The Vegan Table. Awesome, awesome, awesome. Make it - you won't be sorry

Gabbie after she found her 3 eggs.

Very excited! Ollie was to busy getting in line to have her picture taken :(

Happy girls seeing the Easter Bunny.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

New finds at the store

Short post tonight - super stressful day today. Had to take Gabbie to an early morning doctors appointment then we headed straight from there over to Planet Organic to get a few things for the Easter long weekend. We have 3 days of family get togethers starting tomorrow at my sisters. I started taking pictures of the stuff I was making for tomorrow today but decided to keep it all for tomorrow's post and just show off a few things that I found today!

First up these Jovial chocolate cookies. I have switched over all my flours to organic heirlooms varieties that are freshly milled locally and one of the varieties that I get is an einkorn flour. So when I saw these cookies make from einkorn flour I had to grab them. We all tried them and gave them 2 thumbs up. 

Jovial also makes einkorn pasta which I'd love to try but I can't seem to find it locally. I'll have to ask Planet Organic if they can order some in for me.

Earth Balance white cheddar puffs! I don't know why I bought these because I never liked cheezies before I went vegan but you know how it is when you see a new vegan product! I'm sure the kids will polish them off if I don't eat my share but I did use to like white cheddar so make I'll like these too. They aren't exactly health food so a once in awhile treat for sure.

Late July Chia & Quinoa tortilla chips! I love chips - all chips! But i try to never buy the because if they are here I'll eat them simple as that. But I do really enjoy tortillas and pico de gallo and since I have a lot of pico leftover from tacos the other night.......I obviously had to buy these chips to make sure the pico doesn't go to waste!!!

And last but not least the girls needed some shampoo and I usually get them the Desert Essence brand. Gabbie picked out the green apple one (which is good because they do have fine hair and volume is always welcomed!). I love how nice and shiny their hair is after using this shampoo and conditioner and I love the ingredient list. I personally use the coconut body wash and its fabulous. Highly recommend! The nature clean cleaner I picked up to try for my floors and bathrooms (mostly the bathtubs). I love the combo of lime and tea tree so I'm hoping the smell sticks around a bit after i use them. I use the nature clean toliet cleaner and really like it so I have high hopes for this cleaner.

Thats it me for - I went to a yoga class tonight (first one this week!) so I'm off the clean up and hit the hay. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

March showers bring April snow

Oh Mother Nature you are fickle - sunny and almost plus 20 yesterday most of the day then the dark skies and rain rolled in. I was sure we would wake up to snow this morning. After laying in bed for close to an hour listening to the wind howl I decided to get up a bit before 7am and tiptoe downstairs for a cup of coffee. I thought the joke was on me when I looked out the window and saw no snow only rain but less than an hour later the white stuff started coming down.....and down and down. 10cm worth. Ugh. And ridiculous winds - our power went out 3 times this morning. 

After some more spring cleaning we decided to head out to a movie (we were hoping the theatre had power since ours was out). We really wanted to see Home but when we got there it was sold out :( So the only other kids friendly movie playing at close to the same time was....Sponge Bob Square Pants - Sponge out of Water. I can't believe we actually paid money to see that movie. Oh my. But the kids found it pretty entertaining so it wasn't a total loss.

After leaving the theatre and making it home my Dad popped over for a visit with my niece. I wanted to make something quick that i could just pop in the oven while we visited so I made the Mac oh Geez from Let them Eat Vegan. See I told you we eat a lot of pasta!!!!

Awhile ago went I was at Planet Organic shopping with my Dad we saw this new pasta from a somewhat local company. Kaslo Sourdough Pasta makes quite a few different varieties of sourdough pastas. I really like the Semolina & Millet one and I used it to make the Mac Oh Geez. An added bonus of this sourdough pasta is that it cooks quick - no more than 5 min for the millet one - nice when time is of the essence! They have some cool info on their site about sourdough and gluten. Interesting stuff, if you have time they are well worth a read. 

Love that sauce (I made mine with a combo of raw cashews and raw almonds) and love the panko topping. That little crunch on top is so good!

I love to cook but I dread the same question I get virtually everyday after school - whats for supper? Inevitably half the time at least one person whines," I don't like that!" or "I don't feel like that for supper!" Feels like an insult sometimes when you spend time and effort planning and cooking a nice supper. And if there is something I don't like its meal planning - I like it because it makes my life a million times easier but every time I sit down to do it I draw a blank. So decided to put my Creative Director skills to use and start delegating some work. I gave the girls a few of our favourite cookbooks and told them to make a list of what looks good for lunches/dinners. I'm not sure I explained the project parameters to them well enough because Ollie brought me a 3 page list of desserts. After explaining it to her again she came back with an amendment to first list - another 2 pages of lunch/dinner options. She spent quite a bit of time doing it and she really seemed to enjoy it. Someone might just have a future in meal planning:) 

Ollie hard at work perusing Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. 

Gabbie started with The Vegan Table - not surprising since many of her favourite recipes are from there - the Pad Thai, Mushroom Gravy, Seared Asparagus with shallots and lime, Broccoli with Garlic and Cashews just to name a few. 

And of course Wilbur did his part too. 

Looking so cute is hard work!