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, April 12, 2011
Monday, April 11, 2011
Sunday, April 10, 2011
The final products were delicious! I'm not how to describe the taste though. They are very sweet and cakey, they do not taste like muffins. I love them!
Sunday, March 13, 2011
I think that in every aspect of your life, good and bad, you take away what you like and leave won't you don't. I believe that you learn more about yourself when you experience different views, cultures, religions, families, friends and you really evolve into the person that you want to and will be.
When I began to read this book I already knew that I wouldn't be reading it for recipes (a lot of meat and dairy recipes and pretty basic, easy recipes that don't contain or mention the importance of organic or local). Instead I was reading it for the spiritual and mental stimulation that I seek. Cameron is a devote Christian and I admire how passionate she is about her beliefs. Dan and I are very spiritual. I am very faithful and believe in God and love going to church with our family but I also find beauty in so many diverse religions and don't believe that one is better than another necessarily. I don't know enough about a lot of faiths so who am I to make that judgment? Anyways, I am not here to preach about faith because I truly believe that each journey is individual and we are all growing in different directions and I am on my own personal journey that may be very different from yours and I respect that completely! I do want to tell you how I took so much away from this book though!
This book made me smile so much and made me want to communicate even more with my husband and connect on a deeper level and it inspired me to be confident and believe in myself when I'm feeling doubtful. I have been struggling with so many torn feelings and guilt over whether or not I have it in me to become a doctor and complete all the courses necessary and if I even want to sacrifice the time away from my children (not before they are in school)! I am taking an online class right now which I find very challenging! I have been knocked off my feet by a sprained sacroiliac joint which has put me on as close to bed rest as I can muster with a 2 year old (if you know me and how HUGELY passionate I am about being active and fit, then you must know how much this kills me)...this book though has shed so much light on my life! I have so much respect for anyone who juggles parenting, work, life and still pursues their dreams. Cameron has done this by publishing this very open and honest book. She doesn't sit on a pedestal and look down like 'Hey I'm this amazing Christian'...she talks about her journey and how she struggled with bulimia and food issues and vulnerabilities and how her relationship with God has been such a gradual, and beautiful journey. She is so passionate about her family (her hubby and beautiful children), and stresses the importance of what matters most to them: faith, family and being healthy and fit together! I love that! I have been inspired to new levels to continue my journey and hold my head high and be thankful for EVERY day even when it's not turning out the way that I had imagined! This injury will only make me stronger and love every healthy day and every post-baby run so much more! I encourage you if you are at all interested and seeking any inspiration about anything in your life, to check out this book! Again remember, that you take what you like and leave won't you don't :) I will leave you with some amazing quotes from this book that make me smile so so much :) Cameron ends each chapter with what she calls Food For Thought which is a recap of scriptures she has used and also The Candy Dish which consists of a quote or two that is just random but beautiful and inspiring! LOVE that! I am a huge quote person!
The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don't define them, learn about them, or even seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them - Denis Waitley
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt. 6.34)
People who soar are those who refuse to sit back, sigh and wish things would change. They neither complain of their lot nor passively dream of some distant ship coming in. Rather, they visualize in their minds that they are not quitters; they will not allow life's circumstances to push them down and hold them under. -Charles R. Swindoll
I could quote forever because there are really so many inspiring quotes but I will leave you with a final thought: I really feel that the reason Cameron has been so successful in her weight-loss (she is 25 lbs lighter than when she was on Full House), her career and her family is because she found such peace, love and faith and let all the other 'stuff' go! I think when we hold on to fears and doubts, it really is so damaging to ourselves. I found such a release and pure happiness after I had Noah and then doubts and fears crept back in at times and I still will have struggles with self-doubt but I am learning to believe in myself and love myself purely because it's really the best way to live and the way I want my children to live and the way I want my relationship and journey with my husband to be :)
I want to thank each and every one of you for being in my life too! I am a pretty happy, positive person but like everyone, we are human and we all have moments of weakness and vulnerabilities! I find so much inspiration all around me and I am so passionate about everything that I talk about! I love my friends who each are unique and bring something different to my life. I love my family and am in awe of them for who they are. My son amazes me every day and my husband is such a rock and incredible man to walk with through life! He encourages me when I doubt myself and supports me when I decide to branch away from what may be mainstream and loves me for me. I wish all of you balance, health, love and faith - no matter what your faith is in this life :) Carry happy thoughts with you throughout your day!
Saturday, March 12, 2011
I haven't been disappointed in the least by this book! It's so much more than a cookbook! Truly inspiring! I can't believe how many recipes are in this book too! The book is separated into three parts (each with quirky, cool titles such as Dessert Island): Part 1 consists of the following: 1) Appetizers, Spreads, Snacks and Dips 2) Soups 3) Salads 4) Dressings, Toppings and Sauces 5) Rice, Grains, and Legumes 6) Pastas 7) Vegetable Matters: Side Dishes 8) Main Dishes and Casseroles 9) Breakfasts, Buns and Breads
Part 2 consists of the following: 1) Cakes 2) Icings and Glazes 3) Pies and "Cheesecake" 4) Pie Crusts 5) Puddings, Mousses and Fruit Gels 6) Cookies 7) Sweet Loaves, Brownies, Cobblers, Crumbles and Oddballs 8) Beverages and Frozen Treats
Part 3 consists of the following: 1) Natural Food Dyes 2) A Glossary of Edible Flowers
Now if that isn't covering it, I don't know what is!!!! I am so impressed with this book and love that I am also supporting a local author, mother, and organic, local farmer who is so passionate about what she does! I am looking forward to visiting her farm, maybe Dan and I will check out the B&B and I am also so excited to test out her recipes! So far, I have cooked two recipes and they were so delicious so I thought that I would give you the recipes to try too! If you are interested in getting this book, I checked and they sell it on Amazon and it's cheaper then the bookstore sells it by $9.00!!! Bonus!
Onto the recipes! The first is a rice dish that is so simple, subtle but beautifully mild flavor and delicious! Enjoy.
Lemon Cardamom Rice with Green Peas - From Extra Vegan Za by Laura Matthias
2 cups of brown basmati rice
4 cups of water
1 Tbsp of coarse sea salt
3 Tbsp of lemon rind, grated
1 tsp of turmeric
1/2 tsp of black cardamom seeds, ground
1 cup of green peas, fresh or frozen
Place the rice, water, salt, lemon rind, turmeric and cardamom in a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cook for about 45-50 minutes. Check to make sure that there is no water left in the bottom of the pot. Remove from heat and pour the peas on top of the rice. Cover and allow the peas to cook in the steam for about 5 minutes. Stir the peas into the rice and serve.
The second recipe that I made from this cookbook last night reminded Dan and I of a carrot dish that we love from a local restaurant The Tapas Bar in town (Ally remember that amazingly delicious carrot dish?!!)...anyways, I tried this recipe hopeful, and we were not disappointed! It produced an amazingly delicious and special treaty way to cook our carrots! I am a huge fan of simple, steamed veggies, but sometimes it's nice to spice things up a little when you have company coming or it's the weekend and you just want to try something new! So here it is:
Sesame Glazed Carrots - from the cookbook Extra Vegan Za by Laura Matthias
Serves 4-6 as a side dish
10 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin sticks
2 Tbsp of olive oil (I was out so I used coconut oil)
2 Tbsp of fresh gingerroot, grated
2 tsp of fine sea salt
2 Tbsp of sesame seeds
3 Tbsp of brown rice syrup
In a large skillet, heat the oil on medium. Stir in the carrots, ginger, salt and sesame seeds and saute for 3-5 minutes. Stir in the brown rice syrup and saute for 1- 2 minutes more, until the syrup has dissolved. Remove from heat and serve immediately. *Be sure not to overcook; the carrots are best when they have a bit of crunch left and are still a bright orange colour.
I served a dinner last night to my mom, brother, Dan and Noah that consisted of the 2 recipes I just posted, along with simple roasted veggies and tofu sesame snacks (I have posted the recipe before but if you don't have it or don't have the time to search for it in our previous posts, then I will quickly jot it down again for ya)!
Tofu Sesame Snacks - Recipe from The Planet Organic Cookbook:
1 pkg of extra-firm, organic tofu, cut into strips - use picture above for example
3 Tbsp of Braggs
3 Tbsp of Toasted Sesame Oil
3 Tbsp of Sesame Seeds
Pinch of pepper
1-2 tsp of cumin
Pre-heat the oven to 350'F and prepare the tofu. *You can marinate the tofu with the rest of the ingredients for up to 24 hours if you would like. If I have time or remember I will do this! Last night, I didn't so I just whipped it up right there on the baking sheet!
Once the tofu has been mixed evenly with all of the added ingredients, evenly spread the tofu and leftover marinade onto a baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip the tofu over and then place back in the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes! Serve warm or cold!
*I am so in love with this tofu and let me tell you something...so is everyone that has ever tried this!!! I prefer it when it is more on the crispy-cooked side and I love how my son loves it too! In fact, he ate and loved everything that I made last night! Whoohoo! I put this tofu on salads, use leftovers to just snack on with or without hummus, throw it in stir-frys, use it as a side (like I did last night)...pretty much anything goes!
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Jayanna's Lovely Lentil Stew! - don't be afraid to use any of your favorite ingredients! I mix up my veggies in this stew a lot, but here is what I put in this stew...
1 yam, washed, peeled and sliced into 1 inch slices
3 yukon gold potatoes, washed and sliced into 1 inch cubes
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, passed through a garlic press
3 inch piece of ginger root, peeled and chopped fine
2 handfuls of shitake mushrooms, cleaned and cut
2 bunches of baby bok choy, rinsed and broken apart
1 broccoli crown, cut into pieces
1/2 bunch of kale, rinsed and then tear the leaves away from the stem and add the leaves to the stew
1 zucchini, sliced
1/2 cup of pearl barley
1 can of organic lentils
1 TBSP. of coconut oil
2 1-liter containers of low-sodium veggie broth
2 TBSP. of miso paste (brown rice, barley or whatever your favorite is)
1 TBSP. of Braggs
1/2 TBSP. of whole grain mustard
6 bay leaves
sea salt and pepper to taste
1. Take a large pot and place it onto an element at a medium-heat setting. Place the coconut oil, onion, garlic and ginger root into the pot and as then start preparing your other veggies. I add the firmer veggies first (eg. the yam, carrots and broccoli), and then add 1 container of the veggie broth so that the veggies don't start sticking to the bottom of the pot. When you are finished adding all of the veggies, add the second container of veggie broth, the pearl barley and the bay leaves. Bring the ingredients to a boil and then simmer until the barley is cooked - about 30 minutes. Add the braggs, mustard, and lentils and let the stew cook for another 5-10 minutes. Take a few TBSP. of liquid from the stew and place into a bowl. Dissolve the miso into the liquid in the bowl and then pour back into the pot. Mix everything together and serve, adding sea salt and pepper to taste!
This stew is so amazing, hearty and complete on its own but I often will serve it with some toast for dipping! I hope that you enjoy this as much as we do :) Made with love from our kitchen to yours!
Thursday, March 3, 2011
The above picture is of the incredible Green Cuisine Cookbook. If you end up buying this cookbook, I want to let you know ahead of time that your cookbook will not come with a Lightning McQueen sticker! Sad, I know! My son was decorating my cookbooks with stickers from the Cars movie!
My last blog was a recipe that I found in the amazing Green Cuisine cookbook and I just had to blog about my latest baking success, which once again comes from the fabulous Green Cuisine cookbook. I have to be honest; whenever I eat at the Green Cuisine Restaurant, I don't go for their desserts. Their food is so satisfying that I don't ever have room or need any dessert! I really feel that life is all about balance! I truly love nourishing my body with healthy, amazing, high-quality foods and I equally love a treat - but I like to know what's going into my body and that is why I prefer to bake my own treats instead of buying them! My favorite part of baking is making the recipe with my son! He is such a great helper and I love watching him feel so 'big' helping mama in the kitchen! He helps me cook and bake and really it brings me so much joy and inspires me to try new things with him! I used to bake with my mom and it was one of my favorite things growing up! I felt so important!
Anyways, my hubby Dan requested that I make peanut butter cookies - something I had never done! I am not a huge peanut butter lover like my hubby but I looked through some recipes that I had in my cookbooks and quite honestly, I tried this one because it was the easiest and Noah could really help with all of the steps!!! These cookies turned out amazing and I brought cookies over to our neighbors who were equally delighted!!! So here is the recipe, which I slightly revised (I used coconut oil, which I prefer instead of olive oil and I used almond milk instead of soy milk). I hope you enjoy these! I know my friend Delaney will because she LOVES peanut butter! A belated happy birthday to you Delaney and I look forward to celebrating with you soon :) xoxox
Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies - Recipe Based from the Green Cuisine Cookbook
Makes: 20 cookies (they must have been talking about huge cookies because I made average-sized cookies and one batch of cookie dough resulted in 32 cookies for me)!
Pre-heat the oven to 375'F.
3 1/4 cups of whole spelt flour (I used light spelt flour b/c that's what I had)!
1 cup of dried cane juice
1 1/4 cups of chocolate chips (I love camino dark choc. chips)
1 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of salt
1/2 cup of olive oil (I prefer to use coconut oil when baking so I did)
1/2 cup of brown rice syrup
3/4 cup of peanut butter - make sure to use the real thing! NO fake peanut butter which is full of unnecessary extra ingredients!
3/4 cup of vanilla soymilk (I used almond milk)
1 Tbsp. of pure vanilla
In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. Slightly oil a baking sheet. Use a spoon to deposit cookie size dollops onto the cookie sheet. Flatten each cookie with lightly moistened hands (I also used a fork, purely for the reason that I think it looks pretty with those lil' lines)! Bake at 375'F for 10-12 minutes. Remove cookies to a rack to cool.
I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as we did :)
Monday, February 28, 2011
Mushrooms seem to be one of those foods that people either love or don't...well I love 'em!!! My friend Danny goes hiking and picks chantrelle mushrooms which I think is just so cool! I first tried this mushroom gravy tempeh dish at Green Cuisine and fell in love! I'm not sure if the name 'gravy' gives the right impression because when I think gravy I think gross!!! Well this dish is anything but! It's not heavy or unhealthy either! Quite the opposite, really! I had never cooked tempeh before but it is so delicious and nutritious! I am going to tell you a little secret! I loved this dish so much when I tried it at Green Cuisine that I would lie in bed at night with my lab-top in lap, and search forever for a recipe that resembled what I had tasted. Sadly, I never found anything!!! So I would visit the Green Cuisine website quite regularly to see if they were serving it that day and if I could find an excuse to be downtown so that I could have lunch there!!! Finally when Ally was visiting us a few weeks ago, I realized while we were celebrating her b-day with a lunch at Green Cuisine, that they sell their own cookbook! I was so excited that I bought one for Ally and one for me! I flipped through the pages and was ecstatic when I found the recipe!!!! YAY! I seriously am in LOVE with this dish! I have made it twice so far! Once for my brother, Dan, Noah and I and then again when my mom and brother were over a week later! I can't believe how incredibly easy this dish was to make either! It seriously was SO EASY! In the cookbook, they suggest serving this dish with mashed potatoes but I have served it with roasted garlic yukon potatoes and steamed veggies the first time and over brown rice the second! I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as my family and I do!
Mushroom Gravy Tempeh - Thank you Green Cuisine!
1/8 cup of sunflower oil - I just used a small spoonful of coconut oil instead
2 cups of onions, diced
4 cups of mushrooms, sliced - I used a combination of portabello, shitake and porcini mushrooms
2 cups of water
1/2 cup of soy sauce
1/4 tsp. of black pepper
2 cups of tempeh, cubed
1/4 cup of tapioca starch (btw, tapioca flour and tapioca starch are the same thing)!!!
1/2 cup of cold water
Saute the onions and mushrooms for 15 minutes, add the water, soy sauce, pepper and tempeh and boil for 10 minutes, stir in the dissolved tapioca and serve.
If you are interested in baking the roasted garlic yukon potatoes then all you have to do is first pre-heat the oven to 400'F and then cut up 4-5 yukon potatoes and warm a little coconut oil so that it's melted and liquid. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle the coconut oil over them. With clean hands sprinkle garlic powder, sea salt and pepper over the potatoes and massage them so that all of the potatoes are coated with a little oil and spices! Place into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheet after 10 minutes and flip the potatoes over and then continue to bake in the oven for another 10 minutes. Voila! So delicious!
I gave my brother a slice of toast with daiya cheese and topped it off with some mushroom gravy tempeh. I haven't tried it this way but he really loved it so just another way you can eat this!
My family are in love with these fantastic pancakes that are honestly better than any pancake I've ever tasted! I swear! The recipe is derived from the Refresh cookbook by Ruth Tal. I have gotten into the habit of making these pancakes once a week (usually on Sunday), for my family and there are always leftovers which taste just as great the next day! So here is the recipe for vegan pancakes and I hope that you enjoy them as much as we do!
3 cups of whole wheat pastry flour 1 1/2 cups of unbleached white flour (that is there recommendation but I always use spelt flour) 3/4 cups of bran (I always use 3/4 cups of ground flaxseeds instead) 2 Tbsp. of baking powder 3/4 tsp. of sea salt
4 Tbsp. of maple syrup
1 Tbsp. of raw tahini
4 Tbsp. of sunflower oil (I use canola oil)
4 1/2 cups of vanilla soymilk
Optional - you can add small, peeled apple slices, sliced strawberries, blueberries, or banana slices to your pancake while it's cooking! If I am making these for guests then I just make the pancakes plain and serve them with sliced berries, homemade applesauce and pure maple syrup on the side :)
1. Mix the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients separately; then fold together with a whisk or large spoon. Be careful not to over-mix the batter. A few lumps in the batter are fine. Let stand for 5 minutes.
2. Heat a tablespoon of sunflower oil (I use coconut oil), in a heavy-bottomed frying pan or skillet with a non-stick surface. I heat the element to a medium-heat setting. Scoop 4 ounces of pancake batter and drop onto the hot surface. If you are using sliced berries, bananas or apples in your pancakes, add them now by gently pressing them into the batter on the pan.
3. Flip the pancake when the bottom side is brown and the batter on the top side is bubbling.
4. Continue cooking each pancake until all the batter is used up. Serve with homemade applesauce, fresh berry slices and pure maple syrup! Delicious!