Monday, March 31, 2014

Quick Vegan Spelt Cinnamon Rolls With Icing

My grandmother made the best cinnamon rolls. And date squares...and tea biscuits...and pies. She could have had a kick-ass baking blog! We didn't get to see her that often when we were kids, but we made up for lost time when we visited her in Nova Scotia. I think we pretty much ate a steady diet of baked goods the entire visit!

Nana always let us sample the dough while she was baking. When I made these Quick Vegan Spelt Cinnamon Rolls recently, I made sure to put aside a couple balls of dough for my kids.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Oh She Glows Cookbook (review and recipe)

Photos above by Angela Liddon.

In the unlikely event that you haven't yet heard of The Oh She Glows Cookbook and its author, Angela Liddon, here is a bit of info for you. Angela is the creator of the very popular Oh She Glows blog, a recipe blog with an abundance of lovely vegan recipes. Angela switched to a whole foods, vegan diet five years ago and says she has since witnessed a powerful change in herself.

"After a decade of struggling with an eating disorder and subsisting on low-calorie, processed, 'diet' foods, I knew I needed to change my life—and my health—for the better," she writes in the introduction to the book. Angela shifted her focus to wholesome, plant-based foods and was amazed by how much her health and vitality improved. She started the Oh She Glows blog in 2008 and her honest and friendly approach, along with her incredible recipes, have since earned her legions of fans worldwide. Plus, she lives right here in the Greater Toronto Area!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Creative Family Fun with DK Books

However much our kids love watching TV and playing video games, their favourite activities always involve hanging out with Mom or Dad. That being said, I know that our busy lifestyles don't often afford us as much time as we would like to just simply have fun with our kids.

For those moments when you do find yourself with a fully unscheduled day ahead, a great book can provide you with inspiration for creative activities to share with the kiddies. From now until April 7th, DK Canada's March Break Boutique offers a range of exciting crafting, cooking and activity books for 30% off. If you are a DK fan, you know that their beautiful, colourful books are fully illustrated and fun to read. My kids have quite a collection and they often choose DK books to read at bedtime.

Springtime Cheer from Wantable

Spring seems like a fantasy around here - the snow is not yet melted and the temperature rarely floats above zero. Nevertheless, one can accessorize like it's spring, right? A cheery watch, a dangling pair of earrings or a colourful scarf is sure to pick up one's mood when the weather is unfriendly. Enter the March box I received recently from Wantable - with its fun selection of accessories, it brought me a much-needed sensation of springtime.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday

Happy Wednesday! For those of you who seem to be stuck in a snow globe, not to worry, someone will break us out soon...I hope. In the meantime, cuddle in tonight and put the fireplace on (for the last time?). Enjoy a hot cocoa, read a great book and bid winter farewell in style. Or just have a good cry. Whichever.

I have so many hopes for spring and the renewed energy it brings. I'd like to go through my wardrobe and discard a bunch of clothes. I'd like to get rid of the magazines piled in my bedroom and have the upstairs carpet professionally cleaned. I'd like to freshen up the interior of my filthy car. The list goes on and on. For now, I'm focusing my limited energies on one area - the kitchen. I am trying to get it back to "clean" every evening (no small feat) and I am experimenting with new, healthy recipes and meal ideas.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Rawsome Vegan Baking (book review, recipe and giveaway - CLOSED)

I am looking forward to experimenting with more raw food recipes once warm weather arrives and I'm no longer craving the comfort of cooked foods. Recently I received a copy of Rawsome Vegan Baking by Emily von Euw of With all of its beautiful photos and delicious-sounding recipes, Rawsome Vegan Baking is sure to inspire me in my quest to prepare more raw desserts.

As the book makes its rounds on a blog tour, I was assigned to try out the Ultimate Caramel Chocolate Squares. Okay, if I must! As von Euw writes in her intro to the recipe, this is a great treat to share with people who doubt that "healthy" and "indulgent" can come together in the same dish.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Spring fashions for kids and a giveaway from Sears (CLOSED)

After a long, cold winter, spring offers a much-needed sense of renewal for all of Mother Nature's creatures - including us. As we open up our windows and dust off our furniture, we naturally feel the urge to bring change into our lives.

For us women, that means shopping! Renewing the family wardrobe is a springtime must. And with sunshine and warm days to look forward to, the stores are sure to be filled with pretty pastels, cheery brights and sunny florals.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

March Break: Country Living

I think most of us city/suburban types dream now and then of a place in the country. In those moments, my family packs up and travels to the home of my husband's "little" sister. After we visited my parents for the first couple days of March Break last week, we moved on to her rural home.

This busy household is made up of husband and wife, four kids, a couple of dogs, a one-eyed cat, a turtle and some lovely backyard chickens. Plus, my mother- and father-in-law and their adorable cat live in an attached house.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday

I have been reviewing a few cookbooks this week, which means lots of leftovers in the fridge. And in the cookie tin fortunately (unfortunately?). My husband has also done some cooking this week. He has agreed to cook on the weekends - which doesn't stop him from complaining while he does it - but whatever, as long as I get food.

We worked together on this Friday dinner, above. I made the lentils and rice (I'm embarrassed at how often this appears on the blog, but it's honestly so easy and tasty) and broccoli, while he made the breaded tofu.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Thrifty Finds

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Even though I'm half Irish, I have no plans to celebrate. But at least my photo today has some green in it. That's something, right?

I have a couple of thrifty finds to share, including this "Strawberry Patch" fabric. I found it at the thrift shop and thought it would be perfect for little sewing projects with the kids.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

March Break: The Minga

It's always nice to experience a little "town" with your "country." In addition to exploring a frozen beach this March Break, we also headed into Dunnville for a bite to eat. Growing up, I spent many summer days in the town and let's just say it isn't normally vegan-friendly.

So I was beyond thrilled when my mom told me about The Minga, a new vegetarian/vegan café and community centre in downtown Dunnville. My mom (who isn't a vegetarian) had been waiting for my visit to try out the cafe. And believe me, it was our plan for day one of our visit.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

March Break: The Beach

That's right - we visited the beach for March Break. It just happened to be a frozen beach, in what seemed like the middle of winter. You haven't experienced "cold" until you've had the wind blow right through you after it travels across the giant, frozen expanse of Lake Erie.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

More Beautiful Things from Wantable

I was a lucky girl in February. Not only did I receive a lovely box of accessories from Wantable, I also received a Wantable intimates box. In case you haven't heard of it yet, Wantable is a fun, stylish subscription service that provides accessories, intimates and cosmetic boxes tailored to your personal desires.

My February intimates box was very exciting - the contents were equal parts fun and useful. Based on the personal preferences that I had noted on Wantable's website, the expert curators sent me a black lace panty from Q-T intimates, a lightweight, silky half slip from Cass Luxury Shapewear and Muk Luks Mary Jane style Aloe Socks, which are treated with aloe vera to moisturize and promote healthy skin. The half slip can also be worn as a strapless bustier top or a slimming skirt. I don't think I'm brave enough for either of those options though.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday

As I write, there's a blizzard storming outside. Literally a blizzard. Happy March Break, right? At least we have been eating well. We've been on the road visiting family. Sunday night we arrived at my parents' house and Mom had her yummy vegetarian chili waiting. We also made some pull-apart buns and baked up some gluten-free Sweets from the Earth chocolate chip cookies for dessert. I was so hungry I forgot to take pictures.

On Monday, we headed into the nearby town of Dunnville. I was super excited because the town now boasts a vegetarian/vegan café, called The Minga. It's a small town so it's unusual to find a vegan option at a restaurant, never mind a whole vegetarian café! My mom got the salad above. It was a mix of kale, avocado, strawberries, raspberries, dried cranberries and sunflower seeds, with a dressing. We got one for my daughter too, but I ended up eating most of it. It was healthy, tasty and satisfying.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Thrifty Finds

We have been visiting my parents for the last couple of days and yesterday my mom and I made time for a quick trip to a local thrift store. I have to be super particular about giving into the temptation to buy dishes nowadays since my cupboards are overloaded. But I couldn't resist this pretty little orange Pyrex bowl. It speaks to me of springtime, even in the midst of all this snow.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Fun With Stickers On A Dull Winter's Day

When a family is stuck inside as we have been for the past couple of (freezing!) months, it becomes a parent's duty to brainstorm activities for the kids. Although some kids might be just as happy left to play video games for hours on end (and I have one of those kids), DK Canada has a better suggestion.

To help alleviate cabin fever, DK has a special Buy 2 Get 1 Free Sticker Book Boutique running until March 15th. DK says nothing beats a sticker book on a cold day when you are stuck inside. And I agree. I even suggested to Chris from DK that perhaps they should create sticker books for moms. My one request is that they include a rum and coke sticker for me. But I digress.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Insta-Friday in real life, March Break begins

Happy Insta-Friday! I know, I know, it's Sunday! But it's also March Break and I had a house full of kids on Friday. We went tobogganing and then I just generally followed them around cleaning up after them.

Those of you who call it "Spring Break" probably don't live around here. A, it's not spring. And B, it doesn't look anything like spring. We are still facing mounds of snow all around. I wish I could report that we're heading off to sunny Florida or Cuba or something wonderful like that. But we will be catching up with family this week. Not that that's a bad thing. I would just rather catch up with them in Cuba.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday

Okay, enough bitching. I'm not even going to mention that it's snowing...again. And freezing. But let's not talk about it. Spring is on the way!

And it's What I Ate Wednesday, so that's always fun. We have had some tasty meals this week, like the spaghetti and tofu balls that my husband made. Those tofu balls are incredibly delicious. The secret is a little bit of peanut butter mixed in. And I always persuade my husband to make the homemade sauce by telling him that his sauce is better than mine. "You're Italian," I say. "I can't compete with that."

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Revolutionize your eating with T. Colin Campbell's Whole (Giveaway - CLOSED)

I'm not an avid reader of non-fiction by any means (unless you count cookbooks!), but I like to pick up an informative book occasionally, most often about healthy eating or animal welfare. (With the odd celebrity biography thrown in.) My most recent non-fiction read is T. Colin Campbell's fascinating book Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition.

Dr. Campbell, who you may remember from the documentary Forks Over Knives, is the coauthor of the international bestseller The China Study. Backed by the most extensive study of nutrition ever conducted and bolstered by many additional studies and cases, The China Study concludes that eating a diet of whole, plant-based foods can dramatically reduce our risk of many diseases, including heart disease, obesity, diabetes and cancer.

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