Thursday, February 26, 2015

Our Valentine's Day Party #NikonMOMents

A Girls' Valentine's Day Party

My daughter and I decided to have a get-together with a few of her friends on Valentine's Day. I highly recommend sharing Valentine's Day with a group of enthusiastic and spirited tween girls. They had so much fun hanging out, doing Valentine's Day crafts and nibbling on snacks.

Of course, I had to snap some shots of these cuties partying in true preteen fashion. As a Nikon Mom, I have had a blast sharing photos taken with my Nikon D3300 over the last several months. And, although this is my last official post as a Nikon Mom, all of the photos for this blog will continue to be taken with my Nikon D3300 and my Nikon D5100.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What I Ate Wednesday, Extreme Cold Edition

How's everyone doing? I, like many others, am trying not to sink into a pit of misery, given this unrelenting, bone-chillingly cold weather. I'm surprised I haven't packed on 20 pounds this winter, because all I want to do is sit around and eat by the fireplace.

How well I eat depends on what groceries we have in the house. This little pasta meal, above, is one of my desperation lunches. Not much in the house at all calls for sautéing frozen veggies and chickpeas, adding a bit of fresh asparagus and some leftover cooked pasta and dressing it up with a little bit of Bragg's liquid aminos. Oh, and I usually throw in some minced garlic. That helps. It's surprisingly good actually.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cool Stuff My Mom Gave Me & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #23

Last week, I shared a look at some of the "ugly" vintage goods my mom has given me. Some of you (including Mom) didn't think they were so ugly. And that's what's so great about the fact that we are all unique individuals with different tastes and preferences. Imagine if we all liked exactly the same things? How boring!

Anyway, this week I thought I would try to redeem myself by sharing some of my favourite treasures that my mom has given me. I adore my little collection of vintage brass candle holders. They generally sit unused (and rarely dusted) on a side table in my dining room. Now and then I give them an appreciative glance.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sweet Eats for All (Cookbook Review, Recipe & Giveaway)

Everybody should have dessert. That is the simple (and oh-so-true) premise behind Allyson Kramer's lovely cookbook Sweet Eats for All: 250 Decadent Gluten-Free, Vegan Recipes--from Candy to Cookies, Puff Pastries to Petits Fours. If you or a friend or family member has food allergies, is following a vegan diet or simply wants to experiment with a variety of new dessert recipes, this book will help. Every single recipe in the book is free of animal products and gluten. Plus, there is a chapter devoted to desserts that are free of refined sugar. There are also recipes that are free of nuts, soy and corn.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Moist & Delicious Vegan Carrot Cake With Almond Breeze


If eating healthier is one of your new year's resolutions, cutting back on desserts may well be one of your chosen strategies. With all due respect to those who eliminate sugar from their diets (more power to you!) I like to indulge my sweet tooth by making healthier-than-store-bought homemade snacks and desserts. While they may contain sugar, I can also add more nutrient-dense and natural ingredients. One of the primary benefits of making desserts yourself is knowing exactly what's in your food!
This Moist & Delicious Vegan Carrot Cake is a good example. It contains all-natural ingredients such as light spelt flour, flax, carrots, raisins, walnuts, cinnamon and ginger. It also gets a lot of its moist deliciousness from the addition of Almond Breeze non-dairy almond beverage.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

What I Ate Wednesday

Happy What I Ate Wednesday! This past week has been a good one in terms of meals in this house. (Unfortunately that's not always the case.) One highlight was this long-weekend breakfast that I made on Sunday. It consisted of a tofu omelette filled with sautéed baby bella mushrooms, roasted asparagus and Daiya vegan mozzarella shreds. We also had vegan sausage and hash brown potatoes (from a bag - that tofu omelette took long enough to make!).

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ugly Stuff My Mom Gave Me & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #22

I have amassed quite a collection of vintage dishes and barware. Most of it was given to me by my mom. She and Dad used to go to lots of auctions and flea markets. When they winterized the cottage and retired there several years back, they ended up with far too much stuff in a smaller home.

Mom feels more inclined to get rid of stuff if somebody in the family takes it. Since my siblings don't usually want anything, that leaves me. And I'm happy to take it. For the most part. The odd time I have taken an item or two just to get it out of my their house. Like these two pieces. With apologies to my mom, I'm afraid this vintage orange vase, above, just ain't my thing.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Cherry Berry Chocolate Smoothie with Almond Breeze

Now that it's mid-February, it's a good time to check in on our resolutions and goals for the new year. Have they been neglected, abandoned, put on hold? Perhaps they are still going strong? I'm not one for setting resolutions, but I did have some "gentle goals" for 2015. Mainly my focus has been on eating healthier - incorporating more fruits and veggies in my diet and ensuring I put an emphasis on extra nutrients and antioxidants.

I am thrilled that 2015 sees me once again acting as an ambassador for Almond Breeze. This tasty almond beverage has been helping me along with my new year's goals for happier, healthier living. Almond Breeze is a lactose free, gluten free and dairy free source of calcium. It can be easily incorporated in all of your favourite recipes for a healthier alternative to cow's milk that's perfect for those with dairy intolerances, vegans and anybody seeking a diet lower in fat.

Friday, February 13, 2015

My Valentine's Day Wishlist & Where Canadians Stand on Valentine's Day Gifts

Valentine's Day is, in my opinion, more about spreading the love than exchanging big, expensive gifts. I do like to get a gift or two, but I'm happy with little things that say "I care about you." Besides, I like to leave some room in the Valentine's Day budget for takeout sushi. Not having to cook dinner is the best gift!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Perfectly Imperfect Guide To Making Festive Tissue Paper Pom Poms

There's a good chance that you've already seen a guide to making tissue paper pom poms. But maybe you haven't. Or maybe you need a refresher. At the very least, you haven't seen MY guide to making tissue paper pom poms. And that's something.

My guide includes the truth about making tissue paper pom poms. Which is that they (and you) don't need to be perfect. Tissue paper will rip. That's life. I'm okay with it. Nobody will notice when they're hung from the ceiling. You may, like me, make one giant red pom pom with only 8 sheets of tissue paper, only to find that it's not full enough and you just want to toss it into recycling. That's fine too. It's all part of the process.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

My In-Laws' 50th Anniversary Party #NikonMOMents

Complaints, jokes and funny stories about in-laws are commonplace. And relationships between women and their mother-in-laws seem to be some of the most difficult relationships to navigate. Which makes me all the more blessed. I have known my in-laws since I was 17 years old. They are like a second set of parents to me. Italian parents. Which is awesome, because they have a way of life that's very different from the way I was raised. So I have been lucky enough to be exposed to two wonderful worlds. And I've eaten lots of delicious, homemade Italian food. (That can't hurt.)

So I, along with my husband and his two sisters (pictured with their parents above), were happy and excited to celebrate my in-laws' 50th anniversary recently. In true Italian style, we gathered together with aunts, uncles, cousins and friends to celebrate this beautiful, loving couple.

What I Ate Wednesday

BBQ tofu sandwich from Urban Herbivore Toronto

On Friday night, my husband and I went to a members' preview of the Basquiat exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Whenever we go pretty much anywhere, I get to thinking about what restaurants are nearby. I saw on somebody's Instagram account that she got a vegan mac and cheese burrito at Hot Beans in Kensington Market. I was determined to get me one of those very same burritos before the exhibition.

Well, long story short, when we finally found a parking spot and trudged through snow and dirt to get to the restaurant, we opened the door and were told it was closed - early. I don't take food-related disappointment lightly. I practically begged for whatever food was left. To no avail. But the nice guy at the restaurant did stamp a card for me so I would get a free burrito next time I visit. See what begging gets you? In any case, we walked over to Urban Herbivore instead. (Kensington Market is amazing for vegan food options!) We caught them just before closing (whew!) and ordered BBQ tofu sandwiches (made on delicious focaccia bread with a miso sunflower spread). I'm not big on sandwiches overall, but this is a good one.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Valentine's Day Special Features & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #21

There were so many unique items linked up at Vintage Bliss Tuesday last week. To narrow it down, I have chosen to feature a few little treasures that I would love to get as gifts on Valentine's Day. While a thrift store may not be the usual place to buy Valentine's Day gifts, I think it's the perfect place to find a unique (and well-priced!) treasure for that special person in your life. How fun would it be to go to the store together, set a budget amount and head off to find each other some thoughtful gifts? I think this would be a great activity to share with the kids too - everybody gets $5, picks a name from a hat and goes thrifting in search of a special object for that person. I may just do that this year!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

What I Ate Wednesday


My mid-winter obsession with fruit continues. I stocked up on tons of frozen fruit last week because there are only so many times I want to get fresh berries at the grocery store in one week. The frozen fruits come in handy in the meantime. One day I was craving a warm treat, so I whipped up an easy batch of vegan scones and threw a handful of frozen mixed berries into the mix.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Valentine's Day Find & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #20

With Valentine's Day nearing, I couldn't possibly resist buying this rustic-looking, distressed metal hearts candle holder on a recent visit to the thrift store. It was $4.99 at Value Village. There's no indication of where it came from on its velvety bottom, but I just like the look of it. The burnished hearts say Valentine's Day without screaming it out in red and pink (not to worry, I have decorations like that too!).

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