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

Three Cups of Tea by Morentson and Relin

I just finished reading this book (a way too long time coming, I kept getting distracted with real life to finish it!). Every one needs to read this book. If you want to be inspired, or learn more about Pakistan and the reality of one small man's dream... then this is the book you should read.

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Greg is a man who grew up in Africa but became a nurse in America. In the beginning of the book he lays out his passion for climbing and everything seems to center around that. As he tries to scale K2 he ends up in the tiniest of tiniest villages in Pakistan (you don't understand poverty until you read how they live) and becomes inspired and promises to build them a school (the children used sticks and drew times tables in the dirt for the little bit of education they can muster... with no teacher). One of my favourite parts of this book is how many hurdles Greg goes through trying to raise money in the beginning of this project, but he keeps going. He would literally sleep in his car because he would see how much any bit of money made a difference in this small village in Pakistan and he was not going to waste this money on rent or food.

The book evolves to Greg making it his mission to continue building schools in Pakistan and his continuous struggles (trying to raise a family and jet over to Pakistan, trying to raise money and trying to keep up hope... and being safe). The book also highlights a lot about what was happening in the world during the time of 911 (at this time Pakistan was his second home, and Greg was actually in Pakistan when the towers were bombed). He has so much insight and is so giving that this book is a must read. Both this book, and especially his second book (Stones into Schools - about building schools in Afghanistan), have skyrocketed in popularity (which is great for his non-profit organization the Central Asia Institute) in the past little while.

So pick this book up!

Vegan Pumpkin Cookies

We all know I love pumpkin, cookies and icing... so enjoy!

Pumpkin Cookies
From Allrecipes.com

Makes: 18

2 cups shortening (used Earth Balance shortening sticks)
2 cups white sugar (used organic dried cane juice)
2 cups canned pumpkin
2 egg's worth of egg replacer
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt (used sea salt)
4 cups all-purpose flour (I used 2 cups white, 2 cups whole wheat... next time I will try a mix of spelt and whole-wheat)
6 Tbsp butter (used Earth Balance)
8 Tbsp non-dairy milk (used soy)
2 cups vegan icing sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup packed organic brown sugar

-Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350F
-Cream shortening, cane juice and pumpkin and then add the egg replacer and mix well
-Sift together the baking soda, cinnamon, salt and flour and then add this to the pumpkin mixture and mix well
-Drop from spoon onto sheets and bake for 10 minutes
-For frosting: cook butter, milk, sugar until dissolved and then cool and add the icing sugar and vanilla - spread over warm cookies

Notes: These made many more than 18 and took a longer time to bake (but they should be cakey)

These are delish! Very cakey (in a good way) and not too sweet. If wanting a sweeter option then the icing is a great addition, but still great on their own (a little plainer). I decided to ice a plate full and then froze the rest un-iced and every once-in-a-while pull out a few to nibble on!


Monday, April 11, 2011

Vegan Hawaiian Pita Pizza!

I had been craving for the longest time Hawaiian pizza. That was always my pizza of choice as a kid. I just loved the mix of the sweetness of the pineapple and the tomato. Now I've been lactose intolerant (and apparently allergic??) to dairy since I was at least 10, so I'm quite used to ordering cheeseless pizza. I don't really crave cheese because cheese is something that is so mentally ingrained in my mind as something that will make me sick, but after I bought some of this pre-shredded Daiya cheese (non-dairy, vegan cheese... the best "melting" and "real" vegan cheese that I've heard of) I've been quite enjoying it (in moderation... again I don't really crave it, but kind of enjoy it as a treat and also as something very 'foreign' to me).

I had seen other people making pita pizzas at home and I thought... why can't I do this with Daiya cheese. So I experimented and.... wow! Delicious! Still definitely a treat for me, but very very good.

I used a Pita Pocket (it's a pita that's a little bit smaller than normal size pitas). I layered on top of it an organic pizza/spaghetti sauce (from Eden), put on some chunks of pineapple, then some pre-shredded Daiya cheese, and then some more chunks of pineapple... and voila! I baked it on parchment paper on a cookie sheet at about 375F for maybe 20 minutes? I just kept checking it every 5 minutes of so. I let it cool it a little and then sliced it into pizza slices with a pizza cutter (you don't have to slice it, but I really wanted to feel like I was eating a pizza like all those other people who get to experience eating a real pizza... I don't even remember what it's like!).

I loved it :)

P.s. If you live in the Winnipeg area you can buy Daiya Cheese at Eat It Organic!

Black Bean Patties - Vegan Burgers

Who doesn't love a veggie or vegan burger? Honestly, I crave these much much more than I ever craved beef or bison or turkey or chicken or any meat burger! I still feel very full after I eat a veggie burger (sometimes even more than after I ate a meat burger), but I also feel more "full" (aka, it's made of so many better ingredients that I also feel satisfied nutritionally as well as full).

Anyways, the good weather is finally returning to us (yes... Winnipeg got to plus 14 and sunny today... crazy! ... for those of you who don't know Winnipeg very well, that would put most Winnipeger's outside in their bikinis... or at least a pair of short shorts) and that means its burger time!

This recipe is actually fantastic, probably my fave so far (not that I've tried thousands). It's the perfect mix of easy to make, simple but good-for-you ingredients and a great taste (some burgers are very bland and you have to use the toppings to make it a burger, this one has lots of flavour... but I still love the toppings!).

My dad even loved it too!

Black Bean Patties (Vegan Burgers)
From Tosca Reno's Eat Clean Cookbook (Thanks Tosca!)

Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Yield: 10 x four-inch patties

Note: Makes 10 patties... so unless you're having a dinner party or want lots of leftovers adjust accordingly!

2 cups/480 mL black beans, canned or cooked, rinsed and drained
1 small onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, left whole
1 carrot, chopped fine or grated
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup/60 mL natural nut butter -almond, cashew or peanut (I used almond!)
1/4 cup unsalted, raw sunflower seeds
3 Tbsp flaxseeds
Dash vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp coconut butter or best-quality olive oil
2 egg white's worth of egg replacer
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 cup chopped celery leaves (I used flat leaf parsley!)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp unrefined sea salt
1 Tbsp fresh thyme

-Preheat oven to 375F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
-Place all ingredients in food processor and process until uniform
-Divide mixture into patties of equal size (about four-inches in diameter) and put on sheet
-Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown on top
-Serve on toasted Ezekiel or other whole-grain buns and garnish with what you'd like!

Notes: Mine took about 25 minutes to bake... but bake to the firmness you would like! Great toppings: salsa, hummus, organic agave ketchup, pickles, lettuce, tomato....

Other Ideas: I made 5 patties and therefore had a few leftover. Save to make a burger another meal, or use in other ways. For work one day I packed a small salad with dressing on the side and then packed a patty with a little container of salsa, heated up the patty and dolloped it with salsa... delish! I think it would be also delicious served crumbled on top of a salad :)

Nutritional Info (for one four-inch patty):
Calories: 178
Protein: 7 g
Carbs: 20 g
Total Fat: 9 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Trans Fat: 0 g
Fiber: 7 g
Sodium: 367 mg
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sugar: 1 g

My burger looks very plain... but let me tell you it was not!

I definitely garnished it with a few of these... and some pickles and ketchup!

I made a delicious salad for the side (spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, artichoke hearts and hemp hearts)



I just thought I'd share this tidbit with you. I visited with my Grandma this afternoon and then took her to the Pancake House (her fave place... she has the strawberry blinces!) with my family for her birthday (94 years young).

I asked her how her day has been and she replied "good, well you know, all days are really good... some are different, but all good". She has so much wisdom and looks at life with such great perspective. She is such a blessing in my life and she is such a Godly woman.

Hope you enjoyed!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Vegan Blondies

It has been FAR FAR FAR too long! Jay and I have been so distracted with life that we haven't had time to blog! We both have lots of things to share with you though! I feel Jay has a few more things on her plate to distract her from blogging than I do (she's due with her second child in a month! Woohoo!) but I've also been super busy. Anyways, fear no more... we are back!

I made these probably a month ago and they were delicious.

Vegan "Blondies"
From Babycakes (by Erin McKenna)... Thanks!

Makes: 36

1/2 cup garbanzo-fava bean flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 potato starch
1/4 cup arrowroot
1 1/4 cups evaporated cane juice
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt (I used sea salt)
1/2 cup coconut oil, plus more for the tins
1/3 cup homemade applesauce
2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot water
1 cup vegan chocolate chips

-Preheat the oven to 325F and lightly grease three 12-cup mini-muffin tins with oil (see notes).
-Whisk together flours, starch, arrowroot, cane juice, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt in a bowl
-Add the oil, applesauce, vanilla and hot water and stir until smooth
-Gently fold in chocolate chips using a plastic spatula
-Using a melon baller, scoop batter into cups
-Bake on center rack for 9 minutes, rotating 180 degrees after 5 minutes (they will be golden brown and firm to the touch when done)
-Let them stand in the tins for 10 minutes
-Cover and store at room temp for up to 3 days

Notes: The 1/2 cup coconut oil is after it's been melted (HUGE tip for me... when I started baking with coconut oil I wouldn't melt it, and the batter would always have little chunks of coconut oil and it was always a disaster! melting is so much easier!). I also used muffin cups instead of greasing the tins (they were a little too stained from past endeavours, so I thought this was better). I didn't have mini-muffin tins, so I used the regular ones and adjusted baking time (it has been too long since I made these, but I would guess somewhere between 20-25 minutes in the oven would do the trick).


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

Reshaping It All by Candace Cameron Bure!

Happy Sunday! I wanted to share with you an amazing book that I just finished reading and LOVED so so much! It's called Reshaping It All by Candace Cameron Bure (she was DJ on Full House)!!! Ally told me about this book before it was available and then she wasn't able to find it in Winnipeg so when she visited us in Victoria, we went to Vancouver for a day and I bought her a copy (on her b-day) and then decided to buy one for myself! I didn't think that I would be drawn to it initially before I read the back. First off, she is not a vegetarian or vegan and I didn't know if I would feel any connections with this book. When I flipped through the book which in summary is motivation for physical and spiritual fitness I was really impressed and intrigued.

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

A new recipe book and 2 new recipes from it!!!

I was browsing the vegan cookbook section of a local bookstore the other day, when I stumbled upon one copy of this cookbook I had never heard of before! It was eye-catching and titled Extra Vegan Za which I thought was quite fun! I definitely didn't need to buy this book but I couldn't resist after realizing that there was only one copy left and I couldn't get over the fact that I had never heard or seen this very appealing book before! I was in a hurry so I just skimmed the pages before heading home with my new cookbook. Once I arrived home and settled later that evening in the bath to look for new inspiration, I realized that this book is by a local author who runs Phoenix Organic Farms B&B, right here in Victoria, B.C.! The book is by this extraordinary lady by the name of Laura Matthias who seems like such a cool lady! She is a field biologist, B&B owner and operator, and organic farmer! What is so amazing, is that she sells a lot of her local, organic produce within the Victoria community and to local restaurants! I read the introduction of this book and learned so much! She has been a long-time vegan and co-bought this piece of land out in the country and had a huge steep climb before her land and house were able to evolve into what they have become. Her determination and love for the environment and animals allowed this vision to become a reality. The highlight for me was learning that she uses chickens and pigs - not for meat but to help her maintain her land without using herbicides and fossil fuels that would occur if she chose to use a tractor! The chickens help to eat the bugs in the garden and the pigs that she has (btw they have the cutest names ever - Paprika and Nutmeg), are used as rototillers, composters and fertilizers! They roam free and happily among her acreage and are treated with love and kindness! YAY!

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

Serves 6-8


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

Easy and Nutritious Lentil Stew :)

I thought that I would write a quick lil' blog about my favorite stew at the moment! I have blogged about a lentil stew in the past and this is very similar although I'm sure that I've added a few new flavorings and since my husband says this is his all-time favorite, I thought that meant it was probably pretty blog-worthy! I was feeling under the weather this past week and Noah still has his cough from a nasty respiratory virus that's circulating so I knew that this stew was needed! By making this super-easy soup I am also ensuring that my family are all being nourished and taken care of! The recipe makes a really large pot so it's great for freezing or enjoying over the coarse of a few days! Whenever I make this my hubby says this cheesy but hilarious line..."STEWWW YEAH"!!! I hope this makes you just as excited; whether you choose to say stew yeah too is up to you!

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

Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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

Out-Of-This-World Amazing Mushroom Gravy Tempeh

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!
Serves 4

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
dissolve together:
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!

Delicious Vegan Pancakes - The Best Ever!

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!

Vegan Pancakes:

Serves 6


Dry Mix
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

Wet Mix
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!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Vegan Gingersnaps

Do you ever have those days that you just make whatever recipe calls for ingredients that you actually have in your cupboards? I love to find new ingredients and do something different, but not all days are those days. Last week I was very tired, but just felt like something homemade, you know? I wanted to try out a Babycakes recipe and this was the only one that intrigued me that I didn't have to head out to the store for.

(from Babycakes by Erin McKenna) (thanks!)

Makes: 36 cookies

3/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
1/3 cup homemade applesauce
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp molasses
2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups evaporated cane juice
2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup flax meal
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum

-Preheat the oven to 325F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
-In a medium bowl combine the melted oil, applesauce, salt, molasses, vanilla and evaporated cane juice
-In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, flax meal, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda and xanthan gum
-Carefully add the dry mixture to the wet mixture using a rubber spatula until a grainy dough is formed
-Scoop (using a melon baller) the dough onto the sheets and space 1-inch apart
-Press each cookie down and bake on center rack for 15 minutes, rotating the sheets 180 degrees after 9 minutes (the cookies will be crisp on the edges and soft in the center)
-Let the cookies stand for 10 minutes on the sheets and then transfer to a rack to cool
-Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temp for up to 3 days

Notes: My batch made about 43/44 cookies and therefore should only be in the oven for about 13 minutes (timing is very important with these cookies as they are so thin). I didn't have a melon baller, so I used a teaspoon instead (this is probably why I ended up with more cookies). I also sprinkled on a little organic cane sugar on top (homage to my mom and grandmother's cookies growing up).

Survey says?... the family LOVED them! I didn't even know my family liked ginger snaps? I also wasn't sure as they didn't look like the gingersnaps I'm used to (as they are so thing). I think the thing I love most about these cookies is the mix of the crunchy outside and the chewy inside and the fact that they have the tiniest hint of coconut (from the coconut oil)