Thursday, May 31, 2012

Vegan Coconut Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

My favourite kind of cookie has always been oatmeal raisin.

Big, round, chewy oatmeal raisin cookies.

I have been wanting to veganize a traditional recipe for a very long time now. Yesterday, I finally did it.

By breakfast time, I had 32 delicious oatmeal cookies prepared, and no appetite for a real breakfast. Yes, I sample as I go along—batter, pieces of hot cookies, whole cooled cookies—all of it. I had also made muffins before the kids went to school, and I ate two of those as well.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday

 Welcome to another What I Ate Wednesday!

Today, I am looking at everything that I ate on Monday, starting with my breakfast—quick cook steel cut oats with 1 Tbsp ground flax, 1 tsp agave nectar, fresh blueberries, raspberries and sliced bananas.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Too Many Treasures

Recently, I joined Value Village’s savings club. This entitled me to a 25% off coupon for my next purchase.

Today, I picked up my club card and my coupon, and did a little bit of browsing.

And, we all know that browsing leads to…well, buying.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Insta-Friday in real life

Simple, quick, handy cell phone photos.

What did we ever do without them? Remember when you had to wait to get your film developed?

Anyway, here are some highlights from my family’s week.

That’s my daughter sleeping, above. We had a busy weekend, starting with a visit to our local drive-in. The first movie was The Avengers, followed by Mirror Mirror. My poor little girl really wanted to see Mirror Mirror but she didn’t even make it through The Avengers. And none of us made it through Mirror Mirror. Oh well, one day they will look back fondly on their drive-in days.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

May Flowers

At a recent family gathering, I decided to make a floral centrepiece using three vintage canning jars inside a basket that I had in my storage room.

I wanted the arrangement to be inexpensive, but I couldn’t find any suitable flowers at the grocery store.

So, my visiting brother-in-law snipped some blooms from a nearby tree and my sister-in-law carefully groomed them and arranged them in the bottles.

I think it turned out to be very pretty, and it was certainly affordable!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hideous Chairs?

Last week, I told you about a couple of my recent trips to Value Village.
I mentioned that I had picked up two outdoor folding chairs that my husband called “hideous.”
With the encouragement of Wendy, I am sharing a look at those chairs now.

What I Ate Wednesday, warm weather meals

For this edition of What I Ate Wednesday, I am exploring some of my food choices over the past week.

Despite the warmer weather, I was clearly in the mood to bake.

I made a few old favourites, including these Scottish Scones. I ran out of white sugar though and had to use brown. I also had no shortening and used margarine instead. I found that the substitution made them shorter in height than usual. They weren’t as good, but they were still yummy.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Vintage (and not so vintage) accessories

In the past, I have shown you a number of special vintage items that I have been given by my parents, including some great vintage drinking glasses and some wonderful pottery.
I have also shown you many items that I purchased at thrift stores to feed my new shopping addiction.
Today, I want to show you a bit of both.

Little Friends

I just couldn’t resist showing you one of my favourite small collections.

My mother gave me these Red Rose tea collectible Wade figurines, which I believe are from the seventies.

Those are my peeps, above.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Insta-Friday, Outdoor Fun

In Ontario, we often go quickly from cold weather to uncomfortably hot weather.

We are fortunately enjoying a few days of in-between right now.

Here is my look at the family’s week using only cell phone photos.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday, we are fortunate edition

When I woke up this morning to the sounds of a Toronto radio station, the morning radio host was talking about his company’s campaign to feed needy children in Canada.

With 36% of food bank clients being children, I feel fortunate to be able to feed my children healthy, nourishing food every day.

This What I Ate Wednesday, I am looking back at some highlights of meals from the past week. This week, I am seeing them with a different set of eyes.

Wouldn’t it be great if all children (and adults for that matter) had access to healthy, fresh meals and snacks each and every day?

Top photo: my favourite kamut udon noodles with a simple homemade pasta sauce.

A warm weather favourite: fresh fruit and walnuts on mixed greens.

Salad again for lunch, with a Sol veggie burger (sans bun).

BBQ weather! Veggie burger, veggie dog, potatoes, peppers, asparagus, portobello mushrooms, and…

Sweet potatoes…surprisingly delicious on the BBQ!

Quick weeknight tofu stir-fry, flavoured with a mix of tamari and Bragg’s and served with quinoa.

My lovely Mother’s Day breakfast, which I talked about here.

Fresh juice. My crappy little juicer comes out about every two years. I think I would juice more often if I had a good one. If anybody knows of a reasonably priced juicer that works effectively, let me know...please. Juice recipe below.

Fried rice, roasted asparagus and Simply Sweet Tofu. Recipe below.

That’s it!

What was your favourite meal this week?

Linking up to Ella's Potluck Party and:

Sweet'n Celery Juice

by Joann MacDonald
Keywords: beverage gluten-free nut-free soy-free vegan vegetarian apples cucumber celery carrots

Ingredients (1 large glass of juice)
  • 1/2 of an English cucumber
  • 1 red apple
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 mandarin oranges, peeled
Run all fruits and veggies through your juicer, following manufacturer's directions. Enjoy!
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Simply Sweet Tofu

by Joann MacDonald
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Keywords: fry entree vegan vegetarian tofu

  • 1 lb extra-firm tofu
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 Tbsp tamari
  • 1 Tbsp Bragg's Liquid Aminos
Blot some of the excess liquid from the tofu using paper towels or a clean dishcloth.
Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch cubes.
Heat the remaining ingredients in a pan.
Saute the tofu in the sauce until lightly browned, stirring as needed.
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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The perfect Mother's Day gift

I had a very peaceful Mother’s Day, a good portion of which I spent on my bed.
My family brought me a lovely breakfast featuring my new favourite pancakes—maple and apple cinnamon pancakes from the Skinny Bitch Ultimate Everyday Cookbook.
I piled up a stack of magazines and books on my bed, and spent some post-breakfast time reading. I also dozed off a bit. I really can’t help it. I would rather read, but the sleep just comes.
It was a beautiful, sunny day and I could hear the sounds of geese and frogs in the pond behind our house.
My children brought me sweet, handcrafted cards and even a sculpture made out of pencils.
They also gifted me with a wonderful comfort box.
For a long time now, I have been wanting to outfit a comfort drawer, filled with some of my favourite items and special treats. Comfort drawers are to be used on those dismal days that we all experience, when, for unexplained reasons, we just feel down and gloomy.

Turns out, my family included several of my favourite self-nurturing items in their Mother’s Day gift, which they presented in a charming little suitcase.

So, I figured, why not a comfort box rather than a comfort drawer? It has the added advantage of being portable, which might just come in handy if you would rather sit and mope in front of the fireplace than in your bed.

My husband and the kids went shopping together, and picked out a magazine, some books, a movie, sweet potato chips, body lotion, chocolate and some Swedish Berries.  I am quite impressed by their choices…these are many of my favourite small comforts.

I have a bit of an owl obsession, so they were all pleased when they found this owl mug.
I would only add to my comfort box some tea bags and a lovely scented candle.
Apparently my family even picked out a candle, but misplaced it somewhere before they got to the cash.

I would have to say that, for me, this was the perfect Mother's Day gift, filled with simple pleasures to brighten my day.
I bet this would make a great Father's Day gift as well, with some carefully chosen items.
What do you think? What would you choose for your husband or your dad?
How about you...what would you put in your own comfort box?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Picture this

Today was Value Village’s ½ price clothing day.

This is what I came home with:

No self-control here, but hey, I got wardrobe additions for my entire family (except the dog).

The sad truth is, I was there for over three hours.

So, I am writing a quick post now about the things I found at Value Village last Thursday when I used up my 30% off card.

You might recall that, on Friday, I showed you our visit to the store and the items I chose not to buy.

I did in fact buy a mishmash of stuff, including these sweet measuring pitchers, above. I am excited to use these next time I bake. Probably tomorrow.

I seem to have been focused on pictures that day for some reason. Among the frames that I selected (including a large, empty frame) was this little picture by Edvard Munch.

I also picked out this little image of Van Gogh’s The Starry Night. It's really the framing that attracted me to it.

I will enjoy serving food on this small tray, which features an image by Currier and Ives.

I also bought this little apron, modelled by my daughter here.
I bought some outdoor folding chairs that my husband called, and I quote, “hideous.” Note: I have added a photo of the chairs HERE.
Perhaps I will show you soon and you can see if you agree. I won’t be offended. After all, I bought them anyway! I’m pretty stubborn that way.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Sweet Offering

Today, I am offering up my humble suggestion for what to give mom on Mother’s Day…food.

Preferably something sweet.

Like these date squares.

I re-worked the date square recipe I originally showed you here.

This new recipe is made with light spelt flour, Earth Balance (healthier) margarine and some ground flax (rather than wheat germ).

It is great for those who can tolerate spelt flour better than wheat. It is also dairy-free for the many people who need or want that.

If you prefer to use white flour and butter, the original recipe is for you!

This one is just as good though. I shared some squares with my sister-in-law yesterday and she was quite happy with them.

My husband thought this version was even better than the original. See for yourself.

For me personally, these squares are also a fitting Mother's Day reminder of my grandmother, who was the best baker I have ever known. After she died, my mom started making date squares for me because she knew how much I loved them.

Recently, I started making date squares myself. While it is always better to have someone else bake for you, I think, I am enjoying the freedom of making them whenever I want.

Now my mom is probably wondering when I am going to get some date squares to her. Consider this an IOU, mom.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there, including my wonderful mom, Colleen, and my lovely mother-in-law, Maria! My little family is so lucky to have them in our lives!

Linking up to Lifeologia's Potluck Party and Two Yellow Birds Decor and My 1929 Charmer.
Date Squares, Take Two

by Joann MacDonald
Cook Time: 25 to 30 minutes

  • 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups light spelt flour
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1/3 cup large flake oats
  • 1/4 cup ground flax
  • 2/3 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1 cup Earth Balance margarine
For the Date Filling
  • 3 cups chopped dates
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients together. Cut in the margarine to make coarse crumbs. Using your hands makes it quicker.

To make the date filling, combine the chopped dates and the water in a pot. Cook over low to medium heat, until thickened and smoothed out some, about 15 minutes.

To make the squares, press 2 1/2 cups of the dry mix into the bottom of a greased 8" or 9" inch square pan.

Spread the date filling over the base.

Sprinkle the remaining dry mix on top and press lightly.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden on top.
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Friday, May 11, 2012

Insta-Friday in real life, thrift store edition

Time for a Friday look at this week’s cell phone photos. Trouble is, I didn’t take many photos this week.

Last night, while my daughter was at dance class, however, my husband, my son and I went to Value Village to use up a 30% off stamp card I had completed. I snapped a few photos while we were there.

These photos mainly show items that we admired but didn’t purchase. See what you think. Are there any items you would have purchased?

I especially loved this Corning Ware teapot, but it was kind of crusty looking.

My husband liked this painting. He said it looked like it was painted by a kid. Apparently that's a plus for him.

I really was tempted to post this one in my kitchen.

I admired this pretty pink plate. Where would I put any more plates, though? Hmm…maybe a wall of plates?

I didn’t know that Royal Doulton made teacups that look like this. They were $14.99 for each cup and saucer though. Too much for me.

I don’t sew. Period. But, I love the look of old sewing machines, like this one.

And, I like this case, which holds another vintage sewing machine. If the case was empty, I would buy it as a suitcase.

I also admired this bolt of fabric and the nearby vintage sewing patterns. I would love to be able to make my daughter a vintage-looking dress. Probably not going to happen.

I did take home these books. You have no idea how excited I was when I saw them. They are pretty new books, after all. I’m not going on a diet (EVER), but I like to read about healthy eating.
The rest of the items that we actually did purchase (most of them against my husband’s will), I will show you on Monday! Come back if you have a chance.

Monday is also Value Village's half price day, so that's where I will be. It doesn't include dishes, though. Bummer.

Have a great weekend!

Linking up to The Hollie Rogue and The Thrifty Groove and:
life rearranged

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Colour Poem

My son’s Grade 4 class is doing a unit on poetry right now.

In the past couple of weeks, he has been asked to write a few different styles of poems.

I thought I would share his colour poem, because I think it is lovely.

Colour Poem

Green is the colour of the grass and the trees

Green is one of the colours in the rainbow

Green is a peaceful colour

Green is full of life

Green smells like a lime lollipop

Green tastes like a sour green apple

Green sounds like wind rustling through the grass

Green looks like a big soccer field

Green makes me feel happy

Green is my dad`s favourite colour

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday, a day in the life

For this week’s What I Ate Wednesday, I am looking at all of the food that I ate yesterday.

All that’s missing from these pics is the can of Fanta I downed with my lunch and the organic jelly beans I had after the kids went to bed! Not my proudest food moments of the day.

I started the day with quick cook steel cut oats, topped with maple syrup, almond milk and a bunch of fruit.

My daughter wanted to make my breakfast before school, but I wasn’t ready to eat yet. So, she prepared some of the fruit for me and left me this sweet note.

I had some of my favourite vegan banana bread mid-morning. This time I made it with chocolate chips and walnuts. You can find the recipe here if you are in the mood for some yummy banana-tasting goodness. I heated it and topped it with some Earth Balance margarine.

For lunch, I threw together leftover rice and cucumber salad, some Terra vegetable chips mixed with tortilla chips and hummus topped with roasted red peppers (from a jar) and olive oil. I used Angela’s delicious hummus recipe.

Mid-afternoon, I consumed this Nature’s Path crunchy peanut butter and chocolate chip granola bar. It was pretty good, although nothing can compare to homemade granola bars.

It was Taco Tuesday at our house once again. We topped our tacos with veggie ground round, refried beans, lettuce, salsa and tomatoes. My husband cut up some potatoes to make delicious French fries baked with olive oil and seasonings.  We enjoyed all that along with a mixed greens salad.

In the evening (before the jelly beans), I devoured a Cherry Lemonade Smoothie.

And that’s it! What foods have you enjoyed recently?

Linking up to:

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