We are two individuals, sister-in-laws, and friends who are striving to thrive and be our personal best as well as making our surroundings a better place to live! Connected by faith, family, friendship, photos, and writing, we just want to share our journey with you!
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Amidst the chaos that is unfolding here today (my mother is moving INTO our house while we're in Vancouver and we are moving OUT of our place tomorrow), I needed some serenity so I have turned to my blog! I would be out running but Noah is napping and Dan is helping my mom move so this is my at-home-therapy (my workout dvds are all packed away too)!
Summer has always been a season where my body has craved lighter fare and I have eaten amazing local produce! This year is no exception but with a little exception! I have been eating divine local and organic produce, picking fresh berries and vegetables with Noah and having so much fun in the sun with my family. But we have also spent a month traveling and visiting family in Winnipeg, gone to Tofino and Vancouver and are planning a big move! So there has been lots of change and unusual stresses.
Two weeks ago I began to feel extremely overwhelmed and stressed and it was an awful feeling. I couldn't pin-point it exactly but I was definitely not feeling my usual, perky, positive, outgoing self! It's the worst feeling really when you live and breathe a healthy way of life and then still have downs that can be quite draining! I have a tendency to get overwhelmed because I am full of big ambitions and big dreams and I am HUMAN! What can I say?!! When I stress a little, I end up stressing a lot! My poor husband! While running, I realized that even though I was eating a vegan lifestyle and exercising regularly, my body was missing something that it needed. I eat pretty clean but I had not been eating as clean as usual and I was visiting Starbucks way too much! I had a great talk with my hubby and then we both just took a step back and started from scratch!!! Sometimes that's what you need to do!
I started steaming greens for breakfast (I had been in the habit of eating fresh berries with granola), and just eating more homemade and 'convenient'...just because you are vegan doesn't mean you always make the healthiest and best food choices!!!
Within just one day of tightening up my diet, I immediately felt like ME again! I suddenly had more energy and felt much more positive and happy :)
I just thought that I would share with you the power breakfast that made me feel on top of the world and one that I have turned too numerous times! I always cook a big batch of quinoa since everyone in my family loves eating it! So I already had some in the fridge which I re-heated. I then took some local zucchini, broccoli, green beans and kale and steamed it all up! While those were steaming, I dry-toasted some sunflower seeds with a couple of drops of shoyu sauce. I sprinkled the toasted sunflower seeds over my greens and quinoa and voila! Sunflower seeds can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week once toasted!!!
For lunch I used my food processor to shred some carrots, beets and zucchini and then I put a wrap together with the above ingredients, quinoa, lentil hummus, toasted sunflower seeds, cucumber and tofu! It was amazing! Even if you take a few steps away from your clean-eating, all it takes is one step back and you fall in love again and realize that it's just the best way to live!!!
I still have been enjoying fresh picked berries but just realized that I don't need to add granola all the time! When something comes from a box, it has been processed and isn't necessarily the healthiest form for your body! I LOVE granola so much (specifically Nature's Path - Hemp Plus Granola), but I am excited to try and make my own and also to step back and not have it ALL the time!!!
I recently had my blood taken and found that my iron levels are low once again so I have decided that once we are settled into Vancouver tomorrow, I am going to eat strictly as a 'superhero' (as Alicia Silverstone describes this particular lifestyle), for one month and I will blog about any changes that I've noticed and also see how my iron levels are at the end of that month!!! I eat very clean but I also treat myself with maple sugar (in cookies for example), granola, and Starbucks but I am going to eliminate all processed goods and sugar just to see how affected my body was by this 'drug' aka sugar!!!
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
I am SO SO SORRY that it has been WAY TOO LONG! I have missed my blogging life so much and I promise that once we are settled in Vancouver, my blogs will become regular once again!
Since returning to Victoria, my husband and I have been working random times and have been busy with Noah and planning his birthday party as well as thinking about packing for our move to Vancouver! That's right...we are moving to Vancouver this Sunday!!!! I can't believe how much we still have to do but I figured that to blog would reduce some of my stress, put a smile on my face and relieve some of the guilt that I have been feeling over not blogging!!!
Noah doesn't turn two until August 5th, but we wanted to throw a little party for him in Victoria where his friends could come and celebrate so we did so last weekend! It was such a gorgeous day and we held it at a beautiful park! I was proud of the healthy food that I served, along with my vegan chocolate cake!!!! Everything was a hit and everyone's different tastes were met!!! Everyone RAVED over how delicious the cake was so I thought that I would share the recipe with you...I stumbled upon it while searching for the 'perfect' recipe! After skimming tons of tempting recipes I settled for this chocolate cake recipe which I found at the following website: http://vegan-food.suite101.com/article.cfm/delicious_vegan_chocolate_cake_recipe
I first made this cake in Winnipeg so that Oma, Opa and Ally could sing Happy Birthday to Noah and share some very-early birthday cake and celebrations! It was a great time to test out this new recipe which everyone loved!
Due to it's great success I made it again for Noah's party. Our family were the only vegans and EVERYONE loved it! whoohoo! It didn't look aesthetically pleasing because I attempted to shape the cake into a dinosaur (a vegetarian brontosaurus) and failed miserably!!! Let's face it, I am much more interested in cooking than baking!!! I did however, have a blast making Noah his requested dinosaur cake and watching how happy he was!
hahaha....oh wow! Who would have known creating a dinosaur cake could be so trying?!!
Nevertheless, we all had so much fun and watching the joy on Noah's face was incredible!!!
So for those of you who either have a birthday coming up and you would like to wow everyone with your own vegan chocolate cake OR for those of you that are just feeling in the chocolate-mood, here is one very delicious chocolate cake recipe!!! I had no idea how easy it would be to make this cake! The only difficulty proved to be my carving-a-cake-into-a-dinosaur skills (or lack of)!!!
I want to add that I tweaked the recipe by throwing in some dark chocolate chips into the cake mix before baking. This added a little added punch and deliciousness! I also substituted spelt flour for all-purpose and used maple sugar.
When I made the cake in Winnipeg, I found the following ingredients sufficient for an 8x8 pan but for Noah's birthday party I doubled the recipe!
1 and 1/2 cups of spelt flour
1 cup of maple sugar
4 tbsp. of vegan cocoa
pinch of sea salt
1 tsp. of baking soda
1/3 cup of canola oil
1 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. of vanilla extract
1 cup of water
Pre-heat the oven to 350'F. Add all of the dry ingredients to one bowl and mix well. In a separate bowl add all of the wet ingredients and mix together. Make a well into the center of your dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well that you've made. Mix together until the batter is smooth. Pour into a round or 8x8 square baking pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick is inserted into the middle and comes out clean!
I did not measure the amount of the ingredients but just took advice from Dan's mom who is an icing expert!!! In Winnipeg we added approx. 2 heaping tbsp. of vegan (Earth Balance) butter and whipped it until creamy. We then added a bunch of vegan icing sugar (ewww, did you know that a lot of icing sugar is made by grinding with animal bones?!)...so make sure it's vegan!!! We stirred rapidly and added a couple of large spoonfuls of cocoa...once the icing was very thick, we added a few splashes of soy milk (or almond milk), and a splash of vanilla. Really you just need to whip everything together and keep adding icing sugar when you want to thicken the icing, cocoa if you want it more chocolaty, and soy milk if you want to thin-out the icing a little!
The icing turned out AMAZING I must say!
I re-created the same icing when in Victoria by myself and I actually loved mixing and throwing in a little of this and a little of that!!! How fun! I let Noah lick his first spoon of icing too!!!
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Hello, buenos dias, and bonjour!!!
So Dan, Noah, Maggie and I are back in Victoria after being in Winnipeg for almost one entire month!!!! It's really nice to be settled back into our own home although of course we miss having so much family around!!! Noah has had a difficult time adjusting to the change and asking to go back to Winnipeg!!! As a parent, you always feel torn because you want to do the very best...to be the very best for your child and it breaks your heart when they are sad! That being said, we are feeling so blessed that we had the opportunity to visit with our Winnipeg fam for so long and we know that there will be many more visits in store!!!
Today has been a much brighter day for Noah so that makes mama and papa smile!!! We went to Elk Lake for some playtime and then Dan and I ran around Elk and Beaver Lake (Maggie ran beside us and I pushed Noah in the BOB stroller)...it was Dan's first time running around Elk/Beaver non-stop!!!! WHOOHOO! I was so proud and we ran it in a great time! Noah was like our cheerleader!!! Afterwards, we went to Dan's Farm where Noah got to feed the goats, chickens, ducks and rabbits! I bought a HUGE flat of raspberries and a ton of amazing, local, organic produce!!!! YAY! We then went home and I made these delicious wraps along with steamed kale and peas!!!
I wanted to share with you this AMAZING company where I bought a new purse/bag when I was at the Winnipeg Folk Festival. I came across this sign which read U.S.E.D and found these incredible bags made out of recycled seatbelts!!!! What's amazing about this family owned and operated Canadian company is that ALL of the seatbelts they use to make their products, come from vehicles that are headed to the landfill. They make all of their own bags and it's just incredible! You can check out their website to see more of their bag designs at: http://www.recycledseatbelts.ca/
I had been looking for a purse/bag that differed from Noah's diaper bag for nearly two years! I wanted to buy a bag that supported my lifestyle, would inevitably become a conversation-piece, and be something that I absolutely LOVED! If I am going to spend a little extra on something...it had better be LOVELY!!!
It makes me so happy when I can find local businesses that support our environment and are advocates for a better tomorrow! I feel really proud that I took the time to find a bag that I truly love and that is made of recyclable material too!!!! BONUS: It's so HUGE that I can store all of Noah's things too!!!!
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
-1/2 cup organic millet flour
-1/2 cup tapioca or potato starch (not potato flour) (I used tapioca)
-1 tablespoon baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
-1 teaspoon xanthan gum
-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
-1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
-4 tablespoons organic light brown sugar
-1 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked with 2 tablespoons warm water till frothy
-3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
-3 tablespoons rice milk whisked with 1/4 teaspoon mild rice vinegar
-2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
-1/2 teaspoon bourbon vanilla extract
-1 tablespoon rice milk
-Pinch of nutmeg, to taste (start tiny, you can add more) (I added a lot!)
Sunday, July 4, 2010
So I have visited Crampton's Market several times since being here in Winnipeg. Crampton's Market is located on Waverley and is a great place to snag local, organic produce as well as a variety of freshly baked vegan bread and buns! What I love so much other than the produce of course, is that Crampton's has a great reward incentive. Every time you buy $30 worth of groceries you get a stamp and after you have received 5 stamps, you get $10 off your grocery bill! That's great!