Monday, June 18, 2018

Vegan Burgers and Burritos (Book Review & Ultimate "Meatball" Burger Recipe)

Even for vegans and vegetarians, burgers are a staple of summer. While I admit we often throw pre-packaged veggie burgers on the barbecue, if you have a bit of extra time and energy, making a fresh burger from whole foods is ideal. My family also loves a good burrito. Burritos are versatile and offer up the possibility of tailoring the stuffings to the likes and dislikes of different family members, including picky kids.

When I saw the gorgeous cover of Vegan Burgers and Burritos: Easy and Delicious Whole Food Recipes for the Everyday Cook, I was hooked. A luscious, well-topped burger, crispy fries and a burrito oozing with black beans, tomatoes and rice. Looks like the perfect cookbook for summer!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Making Father's Day Cards With Cricut

I posted these cards for Mother's Day, so you know I wasn't going to miss the opportunity to post about the Father's Day cards I made this year with my Cricut Explore Air™. I made three cards once again - one for my dad, one for my father-in-law and one for my husband. I tried to find appropriate cards for each one of them using the card designs that are ready to go in Cricut Design Space.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

What I Ate Wednesday (A Day of Vegan Eats)

Can you believe that we're almost mid-way through June? "I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June," wrote L.M. Montgomery. And, for many years, this great Canadian author lived not too far from where I'm sitting, so I feel I know exactly what she's talking about. June has so many gifts - blossoms, sunshine, strawberries - and it's our duty to enjoy them while they last.

I try my best to enjoy berries as often as possible while they are in season. For the day of vegan eats I'm sharing today, I started the day with a smoothie of frozen banana, peach slices, pineapple, strawberries, orange juice and soy milk. I didn't add any "superfoods" such as chia seeds because I find they can be tricky on my digestion.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Patriotic Canada Day Ribbon Flag & Canada Day Creations From Canadian Bloggers


Canada Day is coming up on July 1st. The day marks the anniversary of the 1867 enactment of the Constitution Act, which united three separate colonies into a single Dominion within the British Empire called Canada. But I think what people mainly celebrate on July 1st is the fact that it's warm outside (hot even) and we finally get to enjoy our lakes, beaches, parks and swimming pools. And maybe a cold beverage or two. 

Canadians don't tend to display the national flag on our porches as often as our American neighbours, but our red and white flag does make a strong appearance on Canada Day. The inspiration for my patriotic Canada Day ribbon flag was in fact a DIY American ribbon flag I saw on Pinterest. I googled "patriotic Canada ribbon flag" and came up with nothing but a bunch of plastic flags for sale, no DIYs. So I thought I would create a DIY ribbon flag tailored to the celebration of our beautiful country for Canada Day. Anytime we're celebrating a special event, it's nice to get together with friends. Today is no different. I have six Canadian blogging friends joining me to share their creative ideas for Canada Day food and decor. See them via the links at the end of this post.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Don't Sweat It! Fixes For 4 Summer Hair Woes

Sun, sand and surf - summer is synonymous with outdoor fun. But summer fun also means perspiration, chlorine and harsh UV rays, and it isn’t always kind to your hair. Don’t sweat it! Colour specialist Sterling Williams, an artistic educator for Matrix Canada, offers up these fixes for four common summer hair woes.

1. Damaged, Dry Hair

Time spent in the blazing sun can lead to dry, brittle hair, split ends and frizziness. To minimize damage, allow your hair to air-dry rather than using hair dryers and other hot styling tools. “Embrace your natural texture,” Williams advises. The less-is-more approach applies to washing hair too. “I don’t feel like anybody needs to wash their hair every day,” she says. “It’s not necessary and it’s not good for your hair.” Wash your hair two to three times per week. Apply a leave-in conditioner or primer to towel-dried hair. “Look for a product that adds both moisture and UV protection,” Williams says. Use a hydrating hair treatment once a week to replenish lost moisture. Use silk scrunchies and a silk pillowcase to reduce friction and minimize breakage of hair strands.

Hair Helper: Maurizio’s Hydrating Hair Mask helps restore moisture and shine to damaged hair.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

What I Ate Wednesday (A Day of Vegan Eats)

I'm not one of those people who buys 10 pounds of bananas and four watermelons each week (and good for you if you are). But I do like the occasional plate of fruit in the morning. It makes for the perfect light meal when you're not quite hungry yet. And nothing says summer like crisp, fresh, juicy watermelon wedges! I had this little fruit plate, above, after cutting up watermelon for the kids to take to school this morning.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

What I Ate Wednesday (A Day of Vegan Eats)

It's officially nice cream season! If you don't know what nice cream is, I'll tell you. It's basically just blended up frozen fruit, usually with banana. The banana makes it creamy. If you're skeptical, you should give it a try. My kids love it. (I could tell you that I love it but we all know kids are more picky, so their endorsement speaks volumes.) Start with this Strawberry Maple Nice Cream and then move onto this Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Nice Cream. I was cleaning out my freezer this weekend and realized we have an abundance of frozen fruit, so I made a big batch of strawberry/banana/cherry nice cream (above) for the family. If it feels a little too virtuous for dessert, go ahead and add the chocolate chips.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Quick Vegan Cinnamon Raisin Soda Bread

Considering that I'm half Irish (the kind that has never been to Ireland) you would think I would have made soda bread before now. According to this history of Irish soda bread, this quick loaf was created out of necessity. For poor people with few resources, you couldn't ask for a bread that requires fewer ingredients. Flour, salt, baking soda (in lieu of yeast) and sour milk (or buttermilk). That's it! I have veganized the traditional recipe by using non-dairy milk mixed with vinegar in place of buttermilk. And this particular variation also calls for cinnamon and raisins.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

What I Ate Wednesday (A Day of Vegan Eats)

This mason jar full of orange-hued juice is starting to look familiar, huh? The good news is I'm keeping up with my (almost)daily juicing. The bad news is my What I Ate Wednesday posts are getting a bit repetitive. This week's day of vegan eats starts with the usual juice - a blend of carrots, apple, orange and celery.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Off The Shelf: Women in Sunlight by Frances Mayes (Book Review)

I was drawn to Women in Sunlight: A Novel for a few reasons. For one, sunlight. We didn't have much of that over (a very long) winter and the more sunlight in my life right now, the better. Even if I'm reading about it. Two, the novel's author is Frances Mayes, who wrote the bestselling memoir Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy, which I actually haven't read. But I've watched the movie Under the Tuscan Sun, featuring the lovely Diane Lane, several times. Because Tuscany. Italy is my third reason for reading Women in Sunlight.

The story sees three American women at crossroads in their lives, deciding between a comfy but potentially boring retirement community for seniors and adventure in Italy. Spoiler alert: they choose Italy. Their stories parallel and intertwine with the story of poet/author Kit Raine, another American who has made her home in Italy. Kit shares her story in the first person while the third-person narrative takes us through the other three women's adventures.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

New Gardening Books for Spring 2018

I'm going to admit right up front that I don't have a green thumb. It's not that I kill plants - it's that I have little to no experience with growing them. At the moment we have (count 'em) three lonely plants in our house. One is a pot of lavender I bought very recently. The other two are succulents that (fortunately) thrive on neglect. Outdoors my husband takes care of any planting that goes on. And there hasn't been a whole lot the last two years, despite my visions of ripe red tomatoes and thick, leafy kale. I'll take it as a hint that I recently received all these lovely gardening and plant-related books to review. I need to set aside a sleepy weekend afternoon to read through these instructive books in more detail with a glass of iced tea in hand. And then maybe get to planting?

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

What I Ate Wednesday (A Day of Vegan Eats)

May is always the busiest month in our house (and I know it's the same for lots of other households). We Canadians come out of hibernation when the snow ends (this year in April!) and then it seems we have to fit all the events in over four to six weeks. Dance competition season is over seemingly as quickly as it began. We were fortunate that my girl's ankle healed (well enough) for her to compete in two out of three of her competitions. Now she just has recital in June.

Basketball season also ended for my son this past weekend with a trip to Ottawa for the year-end tournament. Then, I put my daughter on a bus for her Grade 8 trip to Ottawa this morning. Shockingly she didn't want me to go along as a chaperone. This upcoming May long weekend we actually don't have an event planned. We are dog-sitting so we're staying close to home and hopefully getting lots of de-cluttering and gardening done.

In terms of recent meals in our home (the rightful subject of this post), I'm showing highlights from the past two weeks, starting with these incredibly delicious Carrot Cake Pancakes, above, from a recipe in Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week. The kids said these pancakes really do taste like carrot cake, but they didn't eat a lot of them so I guess the carrots smacked of health food. More for me.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Making Mother's Day Cards With Cricut

Mother's Day is coming up on Sunday and it's time now (if we haven't yet) to think about how we are going to celebrate the moms, mothers-in-law, grandmothers and mother figures in our lives. Cards are always a nice way to share sentiments. And homemade cards are even better.

A couple of years ago, my youngest child stopped making Mother's Day cards at school. I have to say I have missed the little homemade crafts and cards the kids used to bring home. But kids who are too old to make crafts at school are old enough to make (more sophisticated) cards with Cricut. And that includes adult children, like me. This year, I made three (easy) homemade Mother's Day cards with my Cricut Explore Air™. The Cricut does all of the cutting for you (even the envelopes) so all you have to do is glue pieces together! And compose a really great greeting, of course. Here's a closer look at the cards I chose to make.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

What I Ate Wednesday (A Day of Vegan Eats)

I'm on a real juicing kick of late. For the past week or so, I've left my juicer out on the counter and I make a tasty blend of fruit and vegetable juice to start my day each morning. I generally put in carrots, celery, apples, an orange and a chunk of cucumber. I've been able to continue the practice largely because I'm committed to cleaning the juicer right away after making my juice.

In the past, I've tended to give up juicing after a couple of days because of the inconvenience of cleaning the machine. But it's really not so bad if you do it relatively quickly. At least give it a quick rinse and you can clean it more thoroughly later. I feel like, since spring is finally here, it's a good time for a rebirth of sorts, ie. getting lots of fresh nutrients into this just-out-of-hibernation body. Exercise wouldn't hurt either. But that's for another day...

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

What I Ate Wednesday (A Day of Vegan Eats)

Spring is here in earnest now, with some warm days, some rainy days and lots of worms making their appearances on the driveway. Perhaps that wasn't a good transition into noodles? What I meant to say is it's a transitional time with regard to food. You have those cool and rainy days when a bowl of soup is much appreciated. And those warmer days when you just want to throw a veggie burger on the grill. For just about every darn day, noodle and rice bowls work. Change up the toppings and sauces depending on your cravings and what you have in the fridge and pantry. Above, we had udon noodles with peanut sauce, sauteed mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, tofu and sesame seeds.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Marinated Tofu Cubes With Roasted Veggies

Whether you're 100% vegan or eating meatless meals a few times a week, it helps to have some simple, plant-based meal ideas in your repertoire. Tofu is an absolute essential in our house. It's a great source of protein and it readily takes on flavour from seasonings and spices. In the case of these marinated tofu cubes, I have flavoured them with a marinade of soy seasoning, nutritional yeast, sesame oil, lime juice, garlic and ginger.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Preserve Your Memories With A Photo Canvas Print (With A Giveaway)

If you're like me, you don't get around to printing your photos very often. Like almost never. It's really the downside of digital photography. Before the advent of digital photos (not so long ago) we were forced to print all of our pictures if we actually wanted to see them. There are, of course, many upsides to digital photography too - a key benefit being you can print only the photos you really like. Like this photo from our summer trip to New York City four years ago.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

What I Ate Wednesday (A Day of Vegan Eats)

I don't have any exciting new meal ideas to offer this week. I'm afraid it's just been one of those weeks. We are eating a lot of the same old same old. If you follow me on Instagram, you might know that both of my kids injured their ankles in the past week. My dancer is in a boot for several weeks while my basketball player is limping through his days. It means a bit (okay maybe a lot) more of me waiting on them (hand and foot) and a few more appointments and drives to and fro. Which leaves little inspiration for crafting new and exciting meals and recipes. But we have been eating. That's an achievement, right? As I didn't do a What I Ate Wednesday post last week, I'm starting this post with Easter, above. Well that's our Easter breakfast anyway. After the egg hunt, we enjoyed blueberry pancakes, vegan sausage and a fruit salad. The kids also had loads of chocolate.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Lettuce Eat Plants T-Shirt (With The New Cricut Patterned Iron On)

As I mentioned in this post in which I made some pretty adorable iron-on mini totes (if I do say so myself), I've become a real iron-on enthusiast. Besides the sheer fun of personalizing all the things - tees, totes, towels and totally lots of other things, haha, iron-on is just plain addictive as a process. Once you figure it out (mirror the image before cutting and place the correct side of the material down on the mat) it's completely easy too.

My iron-on addiction means that I was beyond excited to try out Cricut's new patterned iron-on, which comes in nine incredible sampler packs with three different 12" x 17" iron-on sheets in each. All of the designs are beautiful and I plan on making all sorts of things with them, including some personalized hand towels. For my first project, I settled on a veg-friendly "lettuce eat plants" iron-on tee, perfect for your plant-based and/or vegan pals (like me!).

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Simple Acts To Save Our Planet & How To Celebrate Earth Day As A Family

When I think about the environment and all of the damaging effects that humans have had on our world, it feels pretty overwhelming. Visions of plastics swirling through the ocean spin through my mind. It seems impossible to overcome. But, with Earth Day coming up on April 22nd, it's a fitting time to take a deep breath and think about the simple steps that we ordinary people can take to make things better.

Just released today, One Green Planet writer Michelle Neff's new book Simple Acts to Save Our Planet: 500 Ways to Make a Difference outlines easy ways for us to perform simple acts of kindness for our earth, with manageable activities that range from simple home updates, to gardening basics, to supporting the local community. The book's publishers, Adams Media (a division of Simon & Schuster), were kind enough to share some excerpts so that we can all get started today. But first I want to share some ideas for celebrating Earth Day as a family.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Why Take Pictures of Food? & What I Ate Wednesday (A Day of Vegan Eats)

It's What I Ate Wednesday once again. Sometimes I hear people (on TV and in life) make fun of others who share photographs of their food on their blogs and social media. And I get it. It's not the most thought-provoking content. But food is important. It nourishes and sustains us, and it gives us pleasure too.

As a plant-based eater, I guess a lot of the reason I share photos of my food is to show people just how easy vegan food can be to prepare. For those who are new to a vegan or vegetarian diet, the change can be daunting. It's really quite simple though and it's only a matter of developing a solid routine, but it can take time. That's why I'm here to show that even the lazy cook (that's me) can eat a well-rounded, plant-based diet with minimal effort. I'm certainly not perfect - I would benefit from more fruits and veggies in my diet on many days - but I've got a few years (two decades) of vegetarian eating under my belt.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Books For Makers From DK (With A Giveaway)

There are so many creative pursuits I'd like to try for the first time or get back into - sewing, crocheting, knitting, embroidering, weaving. I feel like I'd make a great retired person. Or lottery winner. But then I probably wouldn't do much beyond eating pasta on my patio in Tuscany. I digress.

DK Canada knows that March is an ideal time to get out your craft and activity books, for kids and adults alike. DK offers a wealth of fine books for makers of all ages. While we're technically out of hibernation, we're not quite into the really nice weather, so it's a good time to hang indoors with a hot beverage and explore our creative sides. Hopefully we can crack open a window or two and craft while fresh breezes flow.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

What I Ate Wednesday, March Break Edition (With A Day of Vegan Eats)

Last week was March Break for my kids so I took the week off from work. I didn't do any freelance writing or updates here on the blog. I barely even took any photos of my food. Well I did, but I used my phone...and I took the pics quickly, because food. My daughter and I travelled a bit to visit family and we ate lots of delicious restaurant meals.

Because I didn't do a What I Ate Wednesday post last week, I am sharing some highlights from the last two weeks. My many restaurant meals started with an amazing vegan spread at Vegan Danish Bakery (above). I met Lisa, The Viet Vegan, to have a chat and sample vegan goodies. We split two sandwiches - the Danish pâté sandwich and a vegan tuna sandwich. They were both very tasty. I also had blueberry cheesecake and a decaf soy latte. I definitely feel the need to go back there soon.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

What I Ate Wednesday (A Day of Vegan Eats)

We are blissfully snow-free here at the moment. Let's hope it lasts! The kids are on spring break next week and I'm hoping for little to no snow and "warm," sunny days. Cross your fingers. Foodwise, we'll be in need of lots of snacks next week. My daughter has always been a grazer. She basically eats about every 20 minutes. We're either going to have to do a good shop at Costco or bake up a bunch of treats. (I prefer the latter, but we shall see.)

In terms of meals this past week, we've kept it pretty simple (as usual). This rice dish, above, is a perfect example of what I tend to eat when I have no leftover meals for lunch. I did have leftover cooked rice and roasted asparagus, so I turned it into a stir-fry, with the addition of frozen mixed veggies, baby spinach, Bragg's liquid soy seasoning and nutritional yeast. It's a tasty lunch that cooks up in about five minutes.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

A Spring Home Tour (2018)

We cracked open a couple of windows on the weekend and it felt like spring was so close I could taste it. Smell it actually. And what I smelled was mud. The kind of mud that comes from a lawn that spent months buried under heavy snow. Maybe it's a smell that can't compete with roses, but it's nevertheless quite welcome in these parts. And open windows - that is living the dream! Even if they are only open a crack, and only for a couple of hours.

With spring on the brain, I'm happy to participate in the Canadian Bloggers Home Tour, spring 2018 edition. Thank you to our hosts, Shannon of Home Made Lovely and Christina of The DIY Mommy for organizing the tour. New homes will be posted each day this week, so be sure to come back and visit the other bloggers through the links at the bottom of this post. My sincere thanks as well to the wonderful people at Afloral for sponsoring this post. If you are in need of spring floral decor touches for your home, be sure to peruse Afloral's gorgeous (and affordable!) wares.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

What I Ate Wednesday (A Day of Vegan Eats)

Happy Wednesday lovely people! Be prepared for some deliciousness ahead. I don't mean to sound braggy, but - in looking back at food highlights from the past week - I spotted several meals that I recall being extremely tasty. And I think I'm just really hungry right now. I'll write this up as fast as I can because I want to get to eatin'!

One bit of deliciousness this week were these Gardein mandarin orange crispy chick'n nuggets, above. I have to say the photo is making my mouth water right now. On that particular day there were no leftovers available for lunch, but fortunately I had a packet of this yummy vegan chicken in the freezer. I served it with rice and roasted asparagus. The nice thing is asparagus roasts in about as much time as it takes to bake the chick'n and toss it with the orange sauce!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Oscar Party Decor Ideas (with Cricut)

The 90th annual Academy Awards are just about here! This March 4th, Jimmy Kimmel returns as host and anybody who is anybody in Hollywood will be in attendance. I, on the other hand, will be watching it on the television, wearing pajamas and holding a cup of tea and a large chunk of chocolate.

We did recently hold our own Oscars party, though. And by recently, I mean in the fall. It was actually my daughter's 13th birthday party and she wanted an Oscars theme. I turned to my trusty Cricut Explore Air™ for Oscar-inspired black and gold party decor. I thought I would share the party decor details with you today in the hopes that you can use a project or two (or three) for your upcoming Oscar fête. All of the projects can be found ready-made in Cricut Design Space.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

5 Healthy Foods To (Easily) Add To Your Diet and What I Ate Wednesday (A Day of Vegan Eats)

As I said in this post about starting a vegan diet, I recommend approaching the change to a more plant-based diet with the mindset that you are enriching your eating experience. In fact, I really don't like the word "diet," associated as it has been with deprivation and calorie counting. I'm using diet here as "the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats." Think about any change towards more healthful eating patterns as "adding on" rather than limiting what you eat.

Even if you currently eat a plant-based, whole foods diet, you can fall into a rut, eating the same meals and snacks regularly. And even vegans sometimes don't eat enough vegetables. To increase my intake of fruits, vegetables and other health-promoting foods, my recent strategy has been to buy loads of them and build my meals around them. I peruse the local flyers before I go to the grocery store, looking for deals on strawberries, watermelon and broccoli so I can price match at my chosen store. (I know, there's an app for that, but I love me some paper.)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

What I Ate Wednesday (A Day of Vegan Eats)

Happy Valentine's Day friends! Whether you are celebrating solo, as a pair, in a group or not marking Valentine's Day at all, I hope you treat yourself well today. Do something you enjoy doing and give yourself a little treat. Because it's What I Ate Wednesday, I'm thinking it should be food. Preferably chocolate. But you do you (as they say).

Scones are always a nice choice too. Like this vegan raisin scone, above, that I enjoyed with a nice cup of decaf green tea in my husband's Jimi Hendrix mug. Because sometimes I get bored with my usual mugs. You too?

Friday, February 9, 2018

Valentine's Day Pink and Gold Table Decor with Gold Flatware

There's a pretty good (approximately 100%) chance we'll get takeout food for Valentine's Day. Because one of my favourite gifts is not having to cook. I'm not sure if it will be vegan sushi or Chinese food, but I do know that we'll serve up our takeout at a pretty pink and gold Valentine's Day table. Because even takeout deserves a lovely setting, especially on Valentine's Day. For this Valentine's Day tablescape, I primarily gathered up dishes and decorative items I already had in my home. But the real showstopper is my new gold flatware from Amara, sellers of luxury home fashions.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

What I Ate Wednesday (A Day of Vegan Eats)

If you hang out with me on Instagram, you know that I'm pretending it's spring. Even though today is a snow day and the kids are home from school. Shhh... I mention this because a spring breakfast calls for something different from a winter breakfast. Like a smoothie bowl. (Which is not to say I've given up on oatmeal.) This particular smoothie bowl is made from frozen mixed berries, a fresh banana, soy milk, ground flax and peanut butter. Of course, the toppings are the best part. On this day, my smoothie bowl toppings were banana slices, strawberries, blueberries and granola.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

DIY Iron-On Mini Tote Bags for Galentine's Day (Free "I Got You Bae" SVG File)

As long as we're spreading the love around in February, why not celebrate your best friends, the women who offer you a shoulder to cry on, who send you those silly GIFs that perfectly capture your relationship and who understand what it's like to be the only person in the house who can see an empty toilet paper roll? Galentine's Day is celebrated on February 13th. It's a party just for the ladies. I think it would be fun to get together over a couple of bottles of wine and a selection of chocolate goodies and share little gifts that nurture your favourite gals.

These DIY iron-on mini tote bags are ideal for filling up with small treats for your besties. Of course, these totes can also be used for Valentine's Day proper. They would be great to hold gifts for a kids' Valentine's Day party or for your child to give to special friends at school. Better yet, why not make these mini totes together with friends at a crafting party? Read on to see how they're made.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A Book Club Brunch and What I Ate Wednesday (A Day of Vegan Eats)

As I said in this post about our last book club meeting, the book club that I enjoy with my sister-in-law Connie and our friend Sarah is mainly about food and conversation. It's just great, girls-only fun and time to catch up on each other's recent activities. We eat a vegan brunch and all of our goodies are made with spelt flour.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

What I Ate Wednesday (A Day of Vegan Eats)

As I was preparing the photos for this What I Ate Wednesday post, I realized that all my meals look pretty darn healthy. But this is just a look at highlights from the week, and I certainly don't photograph everything. Had I been photographing my food from Friday night through to Sunday, there would have been a few more (delicious) snack items, like a vegan chocolate caramel bar, organic jelly beans and a couple of vegan peanut butter cups.

The kids wanted to go out to some shops on Friday night, so we stopped at the health food store to load up on snacks while we were out. It's easier for me to find vegan snacks there, although the kids would have been happy to go to a convenience store or the like. All of this is just to say that I believe in balance. My strategy (if you want to call it that) is to have healthy main meals and enjoy a few treats in between now and then. Actually I prefer homemade treats best of all, but sometimes I don't get around to making them. One healthy snack we do love is hummus, above. I made some this week to enjoy on a fresh baguette with tomato slices. I use this hummus recipe from Oh She Glows.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Loaded Vegan Nachos With Easy Scrambled Tofu

With the big game coming up soon (and let's be honest, I don't watch football) it's a great time to think about stuffing your face with appetizers. I might even watch a little bit of football if somebody puts out a selection of tasty, plant-based treats. And the awesome thing is that tasty doesn't have to mean completely free of nourishment.

Nachos are the perfect example. Load up tortilla chips with a whole bunch of delicious and mostly healthy toppings and you have yourself a game-day snack that will satisfy the munchies and offer up vitamins, minerals and fibre too! It's a win-win (although the game won't be). Nothing beats nachos with a whole load of traditional toppings - except maybe nachos with scrambled tofu on top. Yep, scrambled tofu. Stay with me.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Books To Help You Restore Balance (With A Giveaway)

When it comes to January, I am of two minds. On the one hand, I am so, so tired of winter and the lack of sunlight. On the other hand, I appreciate the desire for change and improvement that comes with the new year. The Christmas decor has been neatly put away in the basement, I am in the process of organizing my house (it's a never-ending process), I am taking my vitamins and other supplements regularly (see this post for more information) and I'm cooking healthy meals more often.

A key part of improving health and wellness is examining our mental health status. And with the aforementioned winter doldrums, January is the perfect time to do just that. The dark, extremely cold days can be so depressing. It can be serious business for some people and seeking a mental health professional or reaching out to loved ones might be called for. But if you just need a bit of a boost, I think books are a great resource. I recently received a few DK books that are geared to restoring balance for yourself and your loved ones. Read on to the end of this post to enter for a chance to win two of them.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

My Winter Supplement Routine and What I Ate Wednesday (A Day of Vegan Eats)

As I write this post, the sun is shining through the trees in my front yard. I feel such joy when I see even weak rays of sun shining on six inches of snow. If you've never lived in a climate with a long, snowy winter and a lack of sunshine, I'm not sure you can understand how downright depressing it can be. This winter has been especially cold and it makes it all the more tempting to just curl up with a blanket and hibernate. Not always possible, of course, and not only that, it's not the most healthy approach. We humans need exercise and sunshine to flourish.

We bought a spinning bike and an elliptical trainer from a gym that was downsizing in December. I have used the elliptical exactly twice. (I won't use the bike because that type of position bothers my cranky old neck.) The first time I used the elliptical, my head immediately started to hurt. My headache lasted three days. (A sign of how out of shape I am?). The second time I started off more slowly and it went a lot better. My sister-in-law and I are planning more walks outside when the temperature gets closer to zero too.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Vegan Brunch Recipes From The Edgy Veg (With A Giveaway)

Ginger Kombucha Mimosa recipe from The Edgy Veg
Photos: Brilynn Ferguson

I've always loved the idea of getting together with friends and family for brunch - a leisurely, long meal packed with breakfasty goodies, eaten after sleeping in until 10. My mom tells me that her grandmother (in Nova Scotia) used to have people over for brunch every week after church. "They were poor people, but the baked bean pot was filled, tea biscuits made, teapot on (no coffee)," says Mom. "Probably eggs (from their own hens) and homemade condiments (beets, pickles, chow-chow). Oh yes! Always homemade bread." The coal stove kept everything warm as extended family and neighbours casually dropped in. Sounds like a beautiful way of building companionship and community, huh?

I'm definitely not that industrious. I am not efficient enough at cooking for crowds to get a weekly gathering going. But a nice brunch for the family and a few friends now and then would be lovely. I recently received a copy of  The Edgy Veg: 138 Carnivore-Approved Vegan Recipes. I was invited to share a couple of recipes with you and I settled on two fantastic brunch recipes - a vegan eggs benedict and a mimosa with a difference. Read on for the recipes, and enter to win a copy of the book.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Starting A Vegan Diet and What I Ate Wednesday (with a day of vegan eats) #Veganuary

Seeing as our thoughts turn to healthy eating in January, I felt it was an appropriate time for me to resume my What I Ate Wednesday posts. Additionally, January is known in the plant-based eating community as "Veganuary," a time when people are encouraged to try (and hopefully permanently adopt) a vegan diet.

I was a vegetarian for almost 20 years before switching to a vegan diet. Sometime within those two decades I also stopped drinking cow's milk. I did, however, eat milk chocolate and cheese pizzas. When I went fully vegan a few years back, it wasn't a big transition for me. In other words, I can't speak with any personal experience about going directly from a meat-eating diet to veganism. But I can tell you I've never regretted making these dietary changes - not for a single moment.

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