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!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I discover something new every day. One thing I discovered while working on this recipes, there are really some dishes that should never be bought, that are so easy, and so delicious and so... well, again, easy, that everyone should try a hand at 'making it'. Bruschetta seems to be someone one only has when out at a restaurant. Ha ha, it even seemed foreign to me to even consider 'making' it. I saw this recipe and got excited though, so as usual, I thought I would give it a shot.

Bruschetta really is best with a baguette or oven-toasted bread (that crunchiness adds zing to the bruschetta and also helps the bread to not become soggy from the oil). Also for those vegans out there, double check your bread/baguette is vegan! This is a perfect recipe to prepare as a side to any meal or as a great appetizer (it is 'heavy' in the sense that there is a lot of oil, so only one or two pieces/slices of baguette will satisfy as a side/app).

This is again from Tosca Reno's latest Eat Clean Cookbook (thanks Tosca!)

Bruschetta with Tomatoes

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 20 servings

3 large tomatoes, chopped fine
1/4 cup arugula, chopped into fine ribbons
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
4 1/4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, passed through a garlic press
1/2 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 loaf whole-grain French baguette, sliced into half-inch diagonal slices

-Combine all ingredients, except bread, two hours before serving (I stored mine in a large glass Mason jar)
-When ready to serve, toast bread
-Spoon the chopped tomato mixture on top of toasted baguette slices or place bread in a basket and serve the tomato mixture on the side

Notes: If you don't plan on using the tomato mixture right away, it should be refrigerated. Otherwise store at room temperature. I didn't have any arugula, so I left this ingredient out and it was not missed, lots of flavour without! (I'm sure it would be wonderful with it too). I also had to use dried basil (as the fresh basil in the store did not look very good), so I used much less as the flavours are always much stronger with dried herbs (I use somewhere between 1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp). I also think I used 3 cloves of garlic instead of 2... who doesn't love more garlic?

All my family loved it and so did I! It was so easy!


Kale Chips

Kale chips is that kind of easy recipe, that really needs no recipe... like salad. You can really do whatever you'd like with a salad, use whatever vegetables you like and throw together whatever kind of dressing with ingredients that you think would compliment each other. With kale chips, you can dress them up however you would like.

General directions: cut stems off, lay one layer thick on parchment paper in the over to bake, use some sort of oil (not too much if possible, but enough to 'dust' them so they don't burn or break apart as much) and use some something else (garlic? salt?).

Jayanna has made these for me in the past and I love them, but since it was my first time trying them on my own, I decided to follow a recipe. This recipe comes from Tosca Reno's Eat Clean Cookbook (the latest one).

Kale Chips

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1 bunch kale, well rinsed, dried and trimmed
1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp roasted garlic salt
1 Tbsp dried, crumbled oregano
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

-Preheat oven to 275 F
-Prepare baking sheets by lining with parchment paper
-Place kale leaves, oil, garlic salt, oregano and pepper in a shallow bowl and toss lightly
-Arrange leaves on a single baking sheet and roast in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes (watch carefully during the last few minutes as to make sure the edges don't char)
-Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack

Notes: Delicious! Next time I will try to use a little less oil and instead of using garlic salt I will use fresh pressed garlic and sea salt!


Tosca also included another easy kale recipe for those kale loves (me, me!)

1 bunch kale
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 Tbsp oregano

-Rinse kale well in cold water to remove dirt, drain well and chop coarsely, removing tough stems
-Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add chopped kale and saute until wilted
-Season with salt, pepper and oregano and serve hot

I haven't tried this, but I know I would love!


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Whole Wheat Biscuits

Growing up I loved biscuits. My mom would whip together a batch of them before dinner and they would only take her a few minutes to get ready and about 10 minutes to bake, so they were quick and easy! My mom's always had cheese in them, which isn't vegan-friendly or Ally-stomach-friendly (lactose is a no-no for me), so I thought I'd give Alicia Silverstone's vegan recipe a try! (From her book The Kind Diet)... Thanks Alicia!

These are definitely a healthier version of scones/biscuits. They are a bit drier than I'm used to as they don't have cheese in them and they are made fully with whole wheat flour (which can be a little drier, don't you think?). They are delicious, you just have to adapt your taste buds to love healthy! I honestly think they are great.

Whole Wheat Biscuits

Makes: 10 biscuits

-2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
-1 Tbsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp fine sea salt
-1/2 cup safflower oil
-Approx. 1/2 cup plain nondairy milk (more or less as needed)

-Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl
-Slowly pout in the oil, mixing with a fork until the mixture is combined (it will be quite crumbly)
-Add the milk a little at a time, stirring with a fork (you want to use just enough milk to bring the mixture together)
-Gather the dough into a ball, and place it on a lightly floured surface
-Knead the dough about 25 times, then smooth the dough into a ball and pat it into a 1/2"-thick round disk'
-Use a 2 1/2" biscuit cutter (or the rim of a glass/jar) to cut out biscuits, gathering the scraps and rerolling them to make a few additional biscuits
-Place the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet
-If you like the sides crispier, place them about 1" apart, for softer sides, have the biscuits touching
-Bake on the center rack for 10 to 12 minutes or until the bottoms are golden
-Serve hot or warm

Notes: Mine made exactly 10 biscuits (with a little extra dough). I used (as always) Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze (mmm). I also added raisins for a little kick. These are definitely best served warm and also with a little vegan butter/marg or jam. They took about 11-12 minutes in the oven! :)


Mediterranean Chickpeas

This is honestly the BEST thing to make on a cold, snowy winter night (which, if you live in Winnipeg, you will have many of). I wasn't sure how all the spices would compliment each other (again, I'm new to the cooking thing, baking I can do, cooking will take more time), but this is a perfect mix of spice (not spicy hot, just tasty spicy) and sweet (lime juice).

I got this from Tosca Reno's Eat Clean Cookbook (I have a bunch of her cookbooks, this one is the latest one, the hardcover and larger sized one). Tosca is not a vegetarian, but there are so many great vegetarian recipes (and healthy healthy) and most are vegan or can be easily substituted to be vegan. Thanks Tosca!

Mediterranean Chickpeas

Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Yield: 6 x one cup servings

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small purple onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped, leaves included
4 Roma tomatoes, washed and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, passed through a garlic press
1 red bell pepper, seeded, deveined and coarsely chopped
1 2/3 cup/ 400 mL chickpeas, canned or cooked
Juice of 2 limes, freshly squeezed
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
Pinch dried thyme
1/2 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

-Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet.
-Add onion and celery and saute for 5 min
-Add tomatoes, garlic and pepper, cooking for another 5 min
-Stir in chickpeas, lime juice, herbs, salt and black pepper and continue cooking over medium heat for another 8 min until heated through
-Serve hot

Notes: Ha ha well I happen to be out of olive oil (who is out of olive oil?), so I just sauteed in water and it turned out great. I used a very very large purple onion (I love sauteed onion), 3 stalks of celery, 3 cloves of garlic and a full can of chickpeas (around 540 mL).


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Curried Cranberry Quinoa!

I have always found these amazing quinoa recipes, but I honestly love my/Jay's standby quinoa recipe (onions/cuc/celery/cranberries/parsley) so much that I will barely look at any other quinoa salad recipe. This one caught my eye though, so I thought I would give it a try.

I'm so glad I did! It's wonderful. It also has the sweetness of the cranberries, but instead of the lemon/lime base it has a curry base. This recipe is even easier as it involves less chopping and no sauteeing.

Curried Cranberry Quinoa Salad

1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 tsp curry powder (I added 1, tasted and continued to add until it tasted right, I didn't want to add too much!)
1 cup shredded carrots (I used one large carrot and just made ribbons out of it)
Dried cranberries (as much as you want)
1 cup chickpeas

-Boil 2 cups of water and add the quinoa (rinsed) and curry powder. Cover, remove from heat and let stand
-Fluff with fork and add carrots, cranberries and chickpeas

Notes: I also added a little lemon juice (adds a little more kick), a little extra virgin olive oil (doesn't need it when it's freshly made, but would dry out in the fridge without the oil), a little pepper... and maybe some more curry powder!

This tastes amazing! I even had in the next day in a pita and it was wonderful! I added mustard to it, which may sound a little odd... but tasted great!


Friday, November 12, 2010

Cranberry Orange-Zest Cookies! Mmm :)

Ahh the good old standy-by of cookies... but delicious cookies! I thought I would give you a little more Christmas/winter feeling cookie with this cranberry delight. These cookies are not exactly healthy (next time I will try to sub-in more whole wheat/agave/applesauce ness!), but they are absolutely delectable!

My dad says "you're best vegan cookie yet!" (I had to put that quote in as I promised him I would :) )

Cranberry Orange-Zest Cookies

Made: 40 cookies

1 cup vegan butter, softened (I used Vegan Becel as it was what I had on hand)
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg substitute
1 teaspoon grated orange zest (I probably used 4 teaspoons, I love zest!)
2 tablespoons orange juice (most likely used 4-5... I just squeezed the orange I zested)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (will use whole wheat next time!)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (use sea or half-salt if possible)
2 cups chopped cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional... I didn't use any so that my nut-allergy bro could have a taste)

1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest (used 2-4 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar (make sure you're using a vegan icing sugar!)

-Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
-In a large bowl, cream together the vegan butter, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg substitute until well blended. Mix in 1 teaspoon orange zest and 2 tablespoons orange juice. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the orange mixture. Mix in cranberries and if using, walnuts, until evenly distributed. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Cookies should be spaced at least 2 inches apart.
-Bake for 12 to 14 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges are golden. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.
-In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 teaspoon orange zest, 3 tablespoons orange juice and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Spread over the tops of cooled cookies. Let stand until set.

Notes: Absolutely delicious! They are very zesty and mouth-watering. I had trouble squiggling the icing (ended up using a ziplock bag as an icing bag until it exploded on me), so I only iced half of them (very decadent with the icing, but for those who don't have as much of a sweet tooth, they are wonderful without). They took about exactly 14 minutes to bake (maybe 15). They are a little crunchy on the outside, but deliciously chewy on the inside.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thanks Alicia!!

Alicia Silverstone has this amazing blog called The Kind Life (based a lot on the reaction and follow-up to her cookbook/book The Kind Diet on being a vegan... the inspiration for this blogs name!) that both Jay and I follow.

She had this great giveaway paired with EcoTools a while ago... and I won! Isn't winning something just a wonderful thing? It doesn't really matter if it's something large or small, or something you'll use or won't use, winning feels great! Well this... this is something I will definitely use. It was a great makeup bag (or toiletry bag) with a set of eco-friendly "green" makeup brushes. There's a foundation brush, blush brush, angled eyeshadow brush and a lash/brow groomer! I didn't expect eco brushes to feel so luxurious and soft, but these brushes are much better than the brushes I currently have!

Thanks EcoTools and thanks Alicia Silverstone!!