Saturday, December 22, 2007

Free Rice

Go play this game at For each word you get right, they donate rice through United Nations to help end world hunger. Its a fun game and actually kinda it give you a broader vocabulary - all while helping a worthy cause!

How many Canadians does it take to change a lightbulb???

ONE! If every household in Canada replaced just one incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light (CFL) like this one pictured, the reduction in pollution would be like taking 66,000 cars off Canadian roads.
A CFL bulb uses up to 75% less energy than old-fashioned bulbs. Save up to $50 in energy costs! Every bulb changed means less coal has to be burned to produce power. That means cleaner air, less childhood asthma, and lower health care costs.
This porchlight was left in my mailbox.
To learn more about this project visit "

Friday, December 21, 2007

Look what just arrived!

Okay, so I'm way behind the 8-ball with Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. But like I've said before, better late then never. And I'm very excited to read it. I've been following the book club at Crunchy Chickens blog - and now I actually get to read it!

I've been himmmmming and hawwwwwwing over buying "Ecoholic" for awhile now. So I just bit the bullet and got it - as a Christmas gift to myself. LOL Its geared to the Canadian market so that's great. I'll let you know how that one is once I'm finished. I love the fact that both books are printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper!

Vegan Christmas Cookies

I only made three kinds of cookies this year. (gasp!!) Time is valuable to me and besides, I find that as the month goes on everyone loses interest in goodies anyways. People tend to overinduldge at holiday gatherings and eventually the blahs start to set in from too many sweets. Sooooo, I thought I would keep it simple. What you see here is a reusuable christmas tin filled to the brim with all three kinds: starting from the left - Vive le Vegan's Carob-Coconut-Pecan Cookies. I used walnuts instead of pecans and these are my favourite out of the three. Next, Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan's Jam Print Cookies - I used walnuts instead of hemp nut seeds, strawberry jam (made by yours truly) instead of raspberry and refined white flour instead of barley flour. Lastly, ED&BV's Tickled Pink Vanilla Sprinkle Cookies - I used a green sprinkle and omitted the beet powder. All three have a 'festive' taste/look to them.

I made up several of these christmas tins and will bring one as a hostess gift to each of the holiday parties we are attending Christmas Eve through New Years. As well, we are having company over a few nights so will keep a tin for us too!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Spaghetti and Bean Balls - Oh My!!!

I haven't posted anything about vegan num nums in awhile. We're suckers for eating the same 10 meals over and over and over again. We like what we like....what can I say. But once in awhile I dare to try something new. Last night I made, for the second time, Spaghetti and Bean Balls from Veganomican. That first time I made them the kids thought they were too sour due to the lemon juice in them, so this time I omitted the lemon juice and they were fine to eat them. Although I thought they were 'missing something'. (obviously the lemon juice). ha Tonight with the leftover balls, I'm going to bake some homemade buns and do Beanball Subs!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Wind Energy - Powering Canada's Future Naturally

My city - Sault Ste. Marie is the home to the Prince Wind Farm - Canada's largest wind installation. The McGuinty Government has worked to help create new sources of energy in Ontario which are more environmentally friendly. The renewable energy strategy developed by the province has made it possible for Brookfield Power to make a massive investment in the development of 126 wind turbines. In return, the Ontario government has agreed to purchase power from Brookfield and agreed to allow a portion of the wind farm on 50 hectares of Crown land. Brookfield Power is helping to make Ontario more self-sufficient and less reliant on fossil fuels. The new wind farm created hundreds of construction jobs and generates enough power for 40,000 homes. This is a huge positive for this community - but we still have those who wish to complain about the 'unsightliness' of the turbines along with the noise. When I hear people complain about such things, my blood boils!!
In addition to this wind farm we are poised to become the location of Canada's largest solar farm, thanks to the latest contracts signed under the McGuinty government’s Standard Offer Program. This builds on the McGuinty government’s solar power strategy which includes: Setting a target of installing 100,000 solar roofs across the province Launching “Go Solar” – a one stop information shop for Ontarians interested in installing solar energy systems to heat water or generate electricity. Extending the retail sales tax rebate on qualifying solar equipment, as well as wind, micro-hydro, and geothermal systems, to January 1, 2010. These are great incentives for all of us to put on solar roofs in the coming years!!

Why soy candles make scents!!.

Some facts about soy candles:
1. Soy candles produce about 90% less soot than paraffin wax candles and have no known carcinogens, thus help to maintain air quality and are less likely to trigger allergies. Paraffin candles emit 11 known toxins while burning.
2. They last up to 50% longer than most paraffin candles. They burn evenly all the way to the bottom so there isn't any unused wax left when finished.
3. Soy wax lowers the melting point of the candle, which translates into cooler burning candles and faster scent dispersion.
4. Soy wax spills can easily be cleaned up with hot soapy water unlike paraffin wax.
I can buy soy candles locally here in SSM due to a couple women who make them in their home. I won't ever buy a paraffin wax candle again!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Organic Christmas Tree

We managed to get an organic christmas tree this year!! We bought it from Mockingbird Hill Farm. The Farm depicts a typical horse-drawn homestead farm with the pioneer's menagerie of animals - a few pigs, sheep, goats, cows, chickens, ducks, turkeys, cats and dogs. The Farm is open year round to the public. Farmer Bob sells christmas trees in the winter and we got this scraggly looking one for a mere $20! Can't beat that since some tree farms sell them for $50+. All our lights are LED and all our ornaments are hand-me-downs - which means I saved them from spending eternity in the landfill.
Talking about stuff like this just makes me giddy!

Tea Totalin'

Tea anyone??? I've got 7 kinds of tea on top of my stove right now. Sometimes I have more, sometimes I have less. What you see here are my favourite kinds and I always keep these flavours in the house at all times. I'll try a new variety here and there too though.

Starting from the left:
1. Tetley Organic Green Tea: Usually I buy a flavoured green tea as green tea by itself doesn't do it for me. But when I bought this Tetley tea it was on sale and didn't have any flavoured ones. Most days I cut up lots of ginger root and put it in my tea pot. That makes it flavoured AND gives me a boost in immunity.
2. MC Peppermint: I like peppermint tea and its good for late afternoons and evenings when I don't want any caffeine. Also, I keep it in the house for my daddy when he comes to visit.
3. Stash Organic chai black & green tea: love the combo of black and green tea here. Because the green tea is mixed in there I don't have to add milk and sugar like I would if it was just a black chai tea. I love chai tea with a cookie or muffin or something sweet.4. Black Tea: I don't drink black tea by itself. My mom gave me this tin because they didn't like it. My hubbie will drink black tea and his family does when they come over.
5. Camomile Tea: love this in the evenings or if I'm having a particular stressful day.

6. Stash Organic Merry Mint: I just bought this one and I LOVE it! It is a green tea with peppermint, ginger, lemongrass, and spearmint. It has a very mild spearmint flavour (reminds me of gum). It is a nice change from regular peppermint tea. It is a holiday tea made by Stash so I won't be able to get it any other time of the year so I'm going back to buy lots more! ha ha

7. Choice organic rooibos tea: I have to admit it took me a long time to get used to rooibos tea. At first I didn't like it at all. And the varieties that make vanilla rooibos teas are gross. If rooibos wasn't so damn good for us, I probably wouldn't bother to make it. But, it is good for me, so I do drink it most days. Because it doesn't have any caffeine in it, I usually drink it in the afternoons or evenings.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


According to the Wikipedia, Reflexology, or zone therapy, is the practice of massaging, squeezing, or pushing on parts of the feet, or sometimes the hands and ears, with the goal of encouraging a beneficial effect on other parts of the body, or to improve general health.
I was mentioning in my previous post about rubbing Olba Salve on our feet when we have a cold. I target certain areas of our feet in accordance with this chart. I will rub the areas corresponding to the lungs, throat, nose, and sinuses. It probaby doesn't hurt to rub the areas for the brain either. ha
Whether or not this works is up for debate. The fact of the matter is when my kids are feeling icky, a foot rub is soothing for them - and if that is the only thing that makes them feel better - I'm sold on the idea of Reflexology!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Product Reviews: Baby Products

Pictured here are a few products my kids use.

1. Green Beaver Winter Lotion: i've posted about this product before - it's great. Pros: No sulfates or parabens in it, made in Canada, and no fragrances. No Cons people!

2. Tom's of Maine children's toothpaste: Pros: the flavour we bought is Silly Strawberry - is a cute name that make the boys giggle everytime they use it. Is fluoride-free. Tastes good enough to make the kids want to brush their teeth. Does not contain artifical sweetners. Cons: has Sodium lauryl sulfate in it! GRRRRR. I missed that ingredient when purchasing it - otherwise wouldn't have bought it. And isn't Tom's of Maine getting bought out by Colgate-Palmolive Co.??? This means that Tom's of Maine, which currently stands at an impressive 16 out of 20 in Ethical Consumer's unique "ethiscore" rating system, would see its score cut to just 5 out of 20, if the takeover goes through. Tom's of Maine has, up to now, been applauded by ethical consumers and has received Ethical Consumer's highest rating for its environmental reporting, animal testing policy and for its paraben-free products. Parabens are hormone mimicking chemicals that have been linked to breast and testicular cancer. Colgate's current score of 5 out of 20 is attributable to its receiving Ethical Consumer's worst rating for environmental reporting and its animal testing policy. Soooo, Colgate isn't a company I would like to support. So once this toothpaste is done we won't be buying any more.

3. Badger Sleep balm: Pros: has organic natural ingredients; organic extra virgin olive oil, essential oils of bergamot, ginger, rosemary and lavender. So it smells great. I rub it onto their temples, face and neck before bed. Cons: none

4. Preserve Toothbrushes: Pros: the handle is made from the highest quality post-consumer and pre-consumer recycled plastics. Once we no longer have use for the toothbrush they encourage users to return them to Recycline, were they will grind it to make material for recycled plastic lumber. Included was a postage-paid return envelope to encourage us to do so. All of its packaging is made from recyclable materials, and the reusable brush canister provides a sanitary holder to keep the brush clean and portable when travelling.

5. Aromaforce Lavender Essential Oil: if the kids have had a particular stressful or busy day i will put a few drops of this into their bath. I find this is far healthier then some of those 'bubble baths' that are out there - full of sulfates.

6. Olbas Salve: I rub a little of the salve under their noses and on their chests when they have a cold. Also, I've been putting it on the bottom of their feet (according to reflexology charts) to help with coughs and colds. I'll post another day about reflexology. Pros: smells like vicks (which we like that menthol smell) without the toxic ingredients. Cons: none

7. baby Derma Med Therapeutic Shampoo: pros: has organic ingredients, made in canada, no sodium lauryl or laureth sulfates. This shampoo works well for now as the kids are still young. As they get older and oiler, we'll likely have to look for something a bit stronger. Cons: no smell, which the kids seem to like smells associated in their bath.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

World Wildlife Federation

Wildlife adoptions are unique and meaningful gifts for any occasion, and for friends and family of all ages. Give the gift that makes a difference by symbolically adopting a threatened species for someone you love, and help support World Wildlife Fund’s conservation efforts to save wildlife at risk and their habitats.
We have supported this for the past few years - at Christmas time we adopt an animal in each of our children's name. I also have adopted animals in the names of other family members and given as gifts. Pictured here is what you get when you make the adoption. Everything comes in a reusuable cloth bag - a stuffed animal in what you adopted; in this case I adopted a Sea turtle and an Orangutan - and an adoption certificate.

Friday, December 7, 2007

I am Ecofabulous!!

I was at the Bulk Barn - Canada's Largest Bulk Food Retailer ( the other night and I realized I forgot my cloth bags. grrrrrr. So I had to resort to using their plastic bag to take all my goodies home with me. When I got home and took a look at the bag I saw that it is 100% degradable!!! wooohoo! They are OXO Biodegradable bags. The plastic used in the bag will convert to water, carbon dioxide and biomass in the presence of soil, moisture and oxygen. Like a fallen leaf, it will disappear over time. HOW COOL!! So I googled the company OXO to get more info about them and from there stumbled across This guy is selling shirts, bags, mugs, etc with the slogan Ecofabulous. So anyways, I liked the slogan, the biodegrable bags and thought I would share the info with you. I might even be asking for one of these hoodies - made in the usa - for christmas. wink wink.

Monday, December 3, 2007


I just received this in the mail -an essential oil made by Essential 3. It is called Courage and I LOVE it! Its such a coincidence but it sorta smells 'christmas-y' - very appropriate for this time of year. This is the blend in it:
Spruce -antimicrobial, antiseptic, expectorant, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, astringent, warming
Rosewood -antiviral, anti-depressant, stimulant, bactericide, aid nervous depression, increase energy, uplifting
Blue Tansy - anti-inflammatory, antihistamine, analgesic, nervine, hypotensive, relaxing, sedative
Frankincense - antidepressant, immunostimulant, expectorant, sedative, antibacterial
I read Kris Carr's blog (Crazy Sexy Cancer) and she mentioned this company and particular blend. So of course I just had to try it! I mixed a few drops of it in a carrier oil (almond oil as that is what I have on hand here) and I put this on my neck, arms, legs.....anywhere. It sorta smells like a christmas tree! ha ha
I don't wear traditional fragrances - we all know how cacka they are. I usually buy Kate & Allie's Sweet Scents which are made locally here in Sault Ste. Marie. Two I have bought are Dirty Hippy and Boho Bliss. They are made from organic jojoba oil and essential oils. Dirty Hippy obviously has patchouli (i know...sooo stereotypical) and an orange blend. I'm not sure what essential oils are in Boho Bliss but it has a very soft and 'powder' like smell to it.
Anyone looking to make their own signature blend of essential oils can learn quite easily. There are lots of internet sites out there to show you how to get started. Then all you have to do is go to the health food store and start sniffing all the essential oils to find the ones you like the best!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Product Reviews: Makeup

Makeup is a girl's bestfriend! It is mine anyways. I wish I was a natural beauty and could head out with nothing on.....but, I guess that will never happen - no matter how i wash my skin or how many veggies I eat. It just never seems to happen. I've managed to keep the number of products I use to a bare minimum - afterall, they do say less is more. Pictured here is what I put on before starting my day.
1. Kiss My face Liquid Rock: Pros: nice smell & long lasting odour protection. Cons: goes on wet and takes awhile to dry.
I've tried many natural deodorants and this is the only one that I found to keep me smelling pretty throughout the day.
2. Suncoat Natural Eye Shadow: Pros: Made in Canada - YAY!, Herbicide Free, GMO Free, Talc Free, Paraben-Free. Lasts the whole day without fading away. Cons: it is a roll on so it can be tricky to get on evenly. I found putting on my eye cream first helped.
3. AnneMarie Borlind Mascara: Pros: doesn't have any 'junk' in it. It doesn't clump. Cons: the wand is rather small so I find it takes longer to coat the lashes with it. It only comes in a 0.25 fl.oz size so it tends to go quickly.
4. Suncoat Organic Cream Blusher: Pros: once again, made in canada using organic ingredients. Cons: cream blush can be tricky to put on. The blush is fairly hard so I've had to dig below the surface to get the creamy stuff. Not sure if its too old or if this is how it's made.
5. Not shown here, but since I took this picture I bought another mascara: A Suncoat one. I will definately continue to buy this brand of mascara over the AnneMarie Borlind one. BECAUSE, the wand is longer so applying is easier AND its made in Canada. (annemare Borlind cosmetics come from germany).

I'd like to hear what natural cosmetics everyone else uses and why!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tis the season

I pretty much have finished my christmas shopping this year! Now I can spend the month of December enjoying the season. I do not want to have to visit the malls or box stores in December - talk about frantic people. ALSO, I find all the stores just suck you right in - with their cheery music, flashy displays, and ohhhh, the bargains. How can anyone resist??? It makes you want to BUY, BUY, BUY!!! Well, let me tell you - I RESISTED!! It was freakishly hard at the time though. ha ha But the satsifaction that I get from using this resistance is all worth it. I just had to ask myself "do I really need another holiday tablecloth, or a new set of glasses (afterall, our mason jars and recycled olive jars work just fine) or more gift bags when I've got recycled ones left from last years gifts"???? Mmmmmm, no I do not. Christmas time generates a lot of waste and each year it gets worse. Not to mention what sort of expectations our kids have with each year that passes. Where do we draw the line?
These are some of steps we took when doing our shopping this year:
1. Gift Wrap/Bags/Tags etc. - I saved all the gift bags from last years gifts and will be reusing them again this year. I also kept boxes and will reuse them. We have wrapped a few gifts in brown paper bags and then the kids have decorated them with markers, stickers, etc. I kept last years christmas cards we received and will cut them into gift tags.
2. Second hand and thrift stores: I shopped at these places first and got what I could before heading to find something new at the mall.
3. Hand me downs: my kids have some seriously nice toys and clothing in excellent shape that could be passed off as brand new if they had the appropriate box and packaging. (of course I would not be that deceptive) These toys/clothing are not being used here anymore so I will be giving these items away as gifts.
4. If it ain't broke then don't fix (replace) it. I did not make any new purchases when it came to household items, i.e. tablecloths, platters, tree decorations, lights, etc. We have plenty from previous years and nothing needs replacing.
5. Christmas cards: I will be buying the same cards I do every year - 'tree free' cards that come in a reusable tin container.

There are a million little steps we can all take to reduce our impact on the environment this christmas. It just takes a little consideration.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday morning spent in the kitchen

Each Monday morning I get myself all comfortable in the kitchen and set out to prepare some meals for the upcoming week. I also do some baking - a loaf of bread and usually a muffin or loaf of some sort. Plus some cookies. Sadly enough, I usually have to repeat the process by Wednesday as everything is eaten up. ha ha

These are some baked beans cooking away in my slow cooker. Shhhhh, don't tell anyone I took the lid off the croakpot to take this picture. The recipe came out of 'Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker'. We usually eat baked beans with some garlic bread and a big salad.
On the stove is a pot of Leslie's Tofu Noodle soup. We've been eating this soup several times a month for over a year now! We just LOVE it. And where is Leslie anyways? There has been nothing posted on her blog Eat Peace Please since May. I miss her posts!

And lastly, here is a loaf of homemade whole wheat bread and a carrot loaf. The carrot loaf recipe is from How it all Vegan - it is listed as a carrot cake. But I use whole wheat flour, less sugar and bake it in a loaf pan.
I've got the bread in a plastic ziploc bag. (I reuse ziplocs over and over and over again) But I was wondering if there was a way to keep my bread fresh without resorting to plastic. Any suggestions? Also, the plastic container beside it is the only survivor left from my plastics collection. I've been slowly replacing all plastic with glass containers.
I'm waiting for a cup of pumpkin to thaw so that I can bake some pumpkin oatmeal cookies. You'll have to wait to see those!

What's in my pantry??

Fellow bloggers seem to be posting pictures about what's in their pantrys. So I thought I would do the same thing - however, be prepared to be disappointed. For one, I do not have a pantry - we live in a small home. Second of all, I desiginate one cupboard to food and two exterior shelves - that's it. We shop and eat by the week around here which means in an emergency we will be fubar'd. I need to start stocking up. We don't have a COSTCO here so buying in bulk that way isn't possible. I try to shop the sales but......I just don't have any excuses. Sooooo, what you see here on the top shelf are my jars of beans, lentils, rice, popcorn and arrowroot powder. Bottom shelf is canola, coconut, and olive oils; sprouting seeds, pastas, and cooking stuff. i.e. raisins. Putting my dried beans, lentils, pastas etc into jars has been a terrific way to recycle glass jars. I've used applesauce jars, pasta sauce jars, olive jars etc. Some you see are mason jars we've bought for preserving too. Using jars is so much easier than having a million bags scattered all over the shelves. And this particular shelf is above the stove so it's a pain in the a$$ when trying to retrieve stuff out of it. I'm 5'7 and I still need a stool to reach the stuff on the top shelf.

We put these two shelves up because of the lack of cupboards in our kitchen. They come from IKEA. On the first shelf is my Cuisinart blender/processer combination, and canned goods/milks etc. Second shelf are my cookbooks and some more jars with sugar, oatmeal, pasta, and homemade cereal (posted that cereal recipe a few weeks back).

Sorry to disappoint you all - not much to see in this house regarding food. ha ha

Friday, November 23, 2007

Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions AND Spiced Pita Crisps

This picture doesn't do the dish justice. It was excellent! I have never made caramelized onions before and they will now be a favourite around here. The rice/lentil combo was waaaaay better then most I have tried. I was skeptical about the cinnamon and allspice in it - as we don't tend to like sweet dinner dishes, but the kids loved it. I'm happy I cut the recipe in half as it made lots for the 4 of us - with leftovers for tonight. You can also see the Spiced Pita Crisps - they were a nice addition to the meal. What you don't see here is the steamed kale - it was still on the stove. The lentil/rice dish has to be served warm or at room temperature so I let it sit while I made the pitas and kale.

This meal is definately a keeper around here!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Veganomican Baby!!

I'm just giddy right now - I got my copy of Veganomican. I know, i know, I'm the last vegan to get one. But better late then never I say. After going thru it from cover to cover I thought I would get my feet wet by starting with Chickpea cutlets. It seems like alot of others in the blogosphere have started with that same recipe. ha ha They were easy to make - had simple ingredients - and tasted good. My kids and I like the recipe so much we had it again the next night. I paired it with lemon roasted potatoes and broccoli. The second night was the same thing but with cauliflower. I even used the leftover broccoli and cauliflower to make a creamy potatoe soup for lunch the third day. (sorry no picture)
And tonight from Veganomican I am in the process of making the Lentils and Rice with caramlized onions and spiced pita crisps. I will post about that tomorrow.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

"How does your body sort all of that out"?

That is what my dad likes to know of anyone taking this many supplements. ha ha And I'm not sure how to answer that. All I know is that each of these are vital to me. Or I like to think so. I'm always looking for new ones to take. So I'm open to suggestions. I find that I take more supplements in the winter months to keep a strong immune system. And so far, so good - no sniffles yet. Now we all know since I made this statement something will hit me tomorrow morning! ha ha Sorry for the blurry photo. But starting from the left:
Ester-C: I take these in the winter months.
Super Enzymes: I take one a day at dinner time but it says to take with each meal.
Spriulina: I put a tbl in my morning smoothie - gives me extra energy and 'green' goodness.
Vega Wholle Food Smoothie Infusion: I put a scoop in my morning smoothie. It has yellow pea protein, organic hemp protein, organic sprouted flax seeds, organic brown rice protein, organic green food blend (spirulina, organic wheat grass, organic alfalfa grass, organic barley grass, organic spinach, organic sprouted broccoli, organic kale, organic kelp, organic dulse), inulin (from chicory root), natural flavors, xanthan gum.
Organic Flax Meal: I use this is if I'm out of the Vega stuff or just want a change.
Aloe Vera Juice: I take a few 'shot glasses' worth when I take all these vitamins. It's supposed to help the body absorb the vitamins better.
Probiotics: I take with my main meal - but there again - it's supposed to be taken with each meal.
B12: us veg heads need this one daily.
Zinc: I take during cold and flu season.
Nu-Greens Profile: It is a green supplement. I take 15ml each morning on an empty stomach. I love that I only have to take a whiskey shot glass worth each day. LOL No pounding back a glass full of yucky green powdery stuff. I've tried them all and couldn't find one I liked.
Vitamin D: I take during the winter months due to the fact that Northern Ontario, Canada doesn't profide adequate amounts of sunshine from Nov-April. ....sigh....

Friday, November 16, 2007

Pucker Up Baby - lipbalm review

A girl needs lots of lip balms for those smooooooocy moments in her life. I personally keep one in my purse, my car, my bathroom, and of course, my bedroom. From the left:
Eco Lips in berry flavour. Love the consistency of this one.....the taste.....everything.
Badger Lip Balm. Another one with a good smooth consistency.....good orangey flavour.
Peacemaker Eco balm - good consistency, terrible, terrible flavour. It tastes like rancid oil. It is a mint one.
Alba lip the flavours I've tried so far...coconut, pineapple quench etc. However, the consistency isn't the greatest. It causes my lips to flake.
And lastly for those cold sore issues: a traditional herbal medicine - Korners Cold Sore Remedy.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

VeganMoFo: Lemon Garlic Pasta & Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns - YUM YUM

This came from ED&BV. I have never made it before. I LOVED it - the rest of the family did not. They all thought it was too sour. So for next time I'll have to adjust the amount of lemon juice in it. It was even better as my lunch today.

This morning I made a batch of Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns. YUMMY! They were so moist.
As you can see I couldn't wait to dive into is missing. ha ha
I don't usually work on Fridays so my wknds are longer then most. So I won't be posting about food till next week. I'll post a few product reviews over the wknd. Have a good one!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

VeganMoFo: Veggie Potpie

VeganMoFo: So, I made the pot pie in 'Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker' for the first time. It was good. The kids and I enjoyed it, but the hubbie did not. He doesn't like anything with chickpeas, so I will definately use another bean in it next time. But he said it wasn't the chickpeas - it was the whole thing he didn't like. I don't have a pic because it wasn't picture worthy at any stage. I find stuff in the croakpot is 'messy' looking. ha It'll probably be a long time before I try it again. you win some, you lose some.
I made another batch of Tomato Macaroni Soup from 'Kitchen ramblings from a fairly odd tofu mom's blog. My oldest likes to take soups to school. I have been using macaroni in fun shapes for it. It's a big hit around here.
And I can't wait - this morning I'm going to make the Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls recipe I got off of "Don't eat off the sidewalks" blog. So i gotta run, i'll post back on how they turned out! Yum yum.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Product Reviews and some baking

Sorry for the shady picture. I'm still getting the hang of my camera. At least I have pics on here now. LOL

These are some of the products that I am 'currently' using. I say currently because I have never been too faithful to any one product. Meaning - I don't tend to buy the same thing twice. I guess I figure there's always something better out there to try. Starting from the left you will see my toothbrusth and toothpaste.

The toothbrush is a Radius one. I love the fact that all i have to do is replace the head - it pops right off. The handle is made from recycled yogurt containers.

The toothpaste is made by The Green Beaver. When we lived in Eastern Ontario this company was local to us. But now that we are on the opposite end of Ontario - that be it Northern Ontario - it isn't local. But, I love their products. No sulfates or fluoride in it.

Next to that is another Green Beaver product - their winter lotion. It is soooo thick - its great for winter chapped skin. I can't say that I like the smell though - it doesn't really have one. Then comes the Burts Bees facial scrub and face cleanser. I love the smell of both and they work great EXCEPT they have caused my ezcema to flair up. Soooo, both have to go bye bye. I'm currently using some samples from the Health Food store to figure out what to buy next. Next in line are the shampoo/conditioner made by Desert Essence. It is the italian grape one. Wonderful!!! I can't say enough good about them. They smell like grape bubblegum and are free from sulfates, parabens, etc not too mention they are organic. I've always had a love/hate relationship with so called natural shampoos. Its hard finding one that doesn't have some sneaky junk in them and that actually work. Case in point: next to them are two shampoos that are just about empty. The first one is made by Avalon Organics - it just did nothing for my hair - left it dry. But it smells great. The second one is by Pureology. I saw them on They were promoting their products on one episode of her web show. So I went out and bought the shampoo and conditioner. We loved them - they smelled great and made our hair feel great. However, the price was a bit much AND they do have some parabens in them. But they are vegan and are promoted as being zerosulfate.
That shower curtain you see is the hemp one I bought last spring. Also next to the shampoo is the hemp face cloth that came with some hemp soap I bought. All this stuff I got online at The hemp soap isn't pictured because we used it all up. Lately I've been buying our soap from a local family that makes it.

Another day I will post about my makeup and kids products.

Now onto food: This morning I made a few things to get us through the week. I made a homemade bread, a pumpkin loaf, and three jars of La Dolce Vegan's Creamy Tomato Basil soup.
Tomorrow I plan on getting out the slow cooker and making a pot pie from 'Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker'. So check back later to see how it turned out!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A weekend meal

Weekends around here can be both hectic with errands and lazy at the same agenda and no meal planning. On week days I make every meal from scratch with whole ingredients. Soooo, on wknds I like to take a break and keep it simple. An example of a simple meal is burgers. I have tried them all! And as most of you will know, some meatless burgers are cacka, some are so-so, and some are fantastic. In my tastebuds opinion Amy's are the best of the bunch. To accompany this burger I usually make some potatoe spuds and a large salad. I put every topping imaginable on my burgers.....condiments, tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, and sprouts to name a few. And speaking of sprouts, in a previous post I mentioned how I was sprouting. Since then I've read online somewhere that growing wheatgrass indoors makes it susceptible to mold. I've never seen any on mine, but it still makes me leery. Soooo, I'm continuing to grow sprouts, just NOT wheatgrass. I'll leave my wheatgrass on our table top as a decoration. Until its spring and I can grow wheatgrass outside, I'll stick to buying frozen wheatgrass juice as pictured below.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The endless & thankless task of LAUNDRY!!

Ahhhhh, the subject of laundry. It is one of those tasks that never goes away. When we get through 3 loads, the next day there is 2 more. It is thankless and endless. Now I say this, but I actually don't mind doing laundry. Never have. Even when we lived in apartments for 5 years and I had to lug it all the way down into a dank, dark basement and pop change into a machine, I didn't seem to mind.

Ever since having kids I've used detergents that were 'free' of all scents. This was for their benefit and I figured the less junk in it, the better for the environment. Then a few months back I got the idea from walk slowly, live wildly's blog to make my own detergent. She had a link to a website After reading through several websites they all seemed to have the same 'recipe' for a homemade laundry detergent. It is as follows:

1/2 cup Borax

1/2 cup Washing Soda

1 cup grated soap of your choice (as you can see from the pic, I use Ivory...that may change)

Mix all together. Use 1 tbl for a regular load and 2 tbl for a large load

I grated the soap with a cheese grater (that I obviously never use for cheese) and mixed it all up and put it into an old blueberry container. When doing a load of laundry, I put 2 tbl of the mixture into the smaller container shown and add some hot water to dissolve it before adding it to the machine. Apparently washing soda doesn't dissolve too well in cold water washes. And I wash everything except towels in cold water around here.

What I have learned from this experience: make a couple of batches worth. Despite the fact that you only use 2 tbl per load, it seems to go quick. It doesn't take too long to put it all together - but still - more work means less enthusiasm. I've questioned how 'natural' and 'green' this concoction is. It is obviously better all around then Tide or Sunlight for example, but I've recently read that even Borax is quite toxic. As well, I'd like to find a more natural soap to grate too. The biggest advantage of this task (other than personal satisfaction for one's green effort) is the $$$$ savings. The ingredients above cost me $10 and that was 3 months ago. And laundrying a family of four costs far more than that for 3 months. I wish I had tracked the number of loads I've been doing - that would give me a more accurate amount. I'm not even half way through those two boxes either! So it's definately a money saver.

Now for drying our clothes. I don't use dryer sheets - never have. We don't seem to get static cling or any of that hassle so i've never had to deal with that. From May thru September I hung all our loads (except towels) on a homemade clothes line outside. Some may find this task labourious, but I l.o.v.e.d hanging my clothes on the line. It seemed meditative for me. Sorry I do not have a picture of it. It is November and in Northern Ontario hanging laundry outside from October thru April is not possible. Soooooo, I hange a few things on an inside contraption shown here:

The only problem hanging things indoors offers is the stiffness and the extended drying time. But hey, it's all worth it!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A cold, wet, & blustery day

Somehow this title puts me in mind of an episode of Winnie the Pooh. It was just the type of day where you want to stay inside under some warm thick blankets....and we did just that. AND, to keep in mind that we're participating in VeganMoFo here is what we had for the day:
We started our day with some warm thick porridge. I always sprinkle our hot cereals with ground flax and sesame seeds (ground by yours truly) and a dollop of almond butter.
For lunch I made the Spicy Tomato Peanut & Kale Pasta out of La Dolce Vegan. It sounds like an oddball combination but it was decent and the kids enjoyed it. I was skeptical that they would. Maybe it was the penguin and snowflake shaped pasta I used. I saw this pasta over the wknd and bought it with the upcoming holidays in mind. But I just couldn't resist and ended up tearing into it already! Ha Since we had such a hearty lunch I thought a bowl of soup with a homemade bread for dinner would be appropriate. I made a 'hearty seed bread' in my bread machine - which was ready just in time for dinner - nothing beats a slice of warm homemade bread. I made the Coconut Curry Red Lentil Soup from LDV. I left out the curry paste as the kids were eating it. I LOVE this soup - I've made it often. Someday I'll have to try it with the curry paste - when the kids won't be eating it.
To end this comfortable day inside I made Dreena's Jamprint Cookies from her latest ED&BV. We ate them with a big hot mug of Yogi Bedtime tea.
ahhhhh, comfort food.......

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Vegan Month of Food

I'll be participating in this! And to start off please read my last post! I'm starting off with the first meal of the day - Breakfast!

Breakfast cereal anyone??

Do you ever walk down the cereal aisle at the grocery store and feel very overwhelmed? Whoa! I'm an ingredient label reader so having to go through box upon box of cereal to see which one is appropriate for us takes too much time. Even the organic health section has got its fair share of cereals. I want a tasty cereal with low sugar and low sodium. When I find a low sugar one - it has lots of sodium - and vice versa. Soooo, I started making my own. And I'm not just talking porridge or rice pudding - those are great - but lots of times we just want a quick cold cereal. I tried making a few granola recipes and "I" quite enjoyed them - but the kids weren't too fussy on them. Then my grandmother turned me onto puffed rice cereal. My grandfather has Celiac Disease - and finding an inexpensive boxed cold cereal for him wasn't easy. So she started making her own with puffed rice. So I snagged the recipe, made a small batch and voila, the kids loved it! It has no sodium and is fairly low in sugar. But weight watchers beware, it does have some hefty oil in it.
I'll share the recipe with you:

9 cups of puffed rice (is usually sold in bags)
1 cup of shredded coconut
1/2 cup of sesame seeds (you can get creative and replace with other seeds/nuts)
1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
Mix all together.
1/2 cup of oil (i use canola oil)
1/2 cup of honey alternative (i use agave nectar - adjust the amount to suit your taste)
1/2 tbl vanilla
Mix together and add to the dry ingredients.
Bake at 300 degrees for a half hour and stir at 15 minutes.
Once cooled stir in a 1/2 cup of raisions OR dates OR any other dried fruit.
Store in a sealed container.

Don't forget to use organic ingredients people!!

Friday, November 2, 2007


A few years back when I was in our local health food store I came across a section for sprouting. It had seeds, soils, cannisters, books, you name it. There was a pamphlet style book there called "The Wonders of Sprouting" by Lucie Desjarlais. I picked it up in hopes of learning how to grow my own sprouts. However, at that time in my life it seemed too complicated and I just never ended up trying it. That changed a few months back when I visited my new neighbourhood's health food store. The owner there is soooo helpful and full of information. She was telling me how she was doing it in mason jars at home. For some reason just hearing this gave me the confidence to try it out. I bought a bag of seeds from her and off I went. I dug out the pamphlet from a box of books in our basement and proceeded to learn how to sprout. I started out using mason jars with nylons & an elastic covering the opening. This worked well and within a few days had some awesome looking sprouts! Just like the ones we pay $2 for in the grocery store. My son puts them on his sandwiches. He even mentioned how they gather a lot of questions from his peers at his school. ha ha Since then, I've gone out and bought the biosta sprouter. (it's made in canada - who knew!!!) This sprouter has made life easier. No more handling rubber bands and mason jars upside down. I've also moved on to growing wheat grass on my sushi plates (looks cute - i'll post a pic someday). I'm still experimenting with sprouting different beans/grains and trying to find a favourite. I wish I could juice my wheat grass. Apparently you need a special kind of juicer to juice grasses. That will be a purchase for another time.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Slow Cookin'!!

Awhile back when in a bookstore I came across "Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker". I have a slow cooker that collects dust in the cupboard because I rarely cook any meat. Once in awhile my meat eatin' hubbie will buy a roast or something and he'll dig it out to cook with. Other than that - it isn't used. But I LOVE the idea of a slow cooker - soooooo, when I saw this book I thought "wow, this will be handy". So far I've made some veggie stock, homestyle applesauce (from the apples at our cottage) and vegetarian hoppin' john. This last one I made the other night. I didn't have any black-eyed peas, so I used a can of aduzki beans that had been sitting on my shelf for awhile. The kids licked this dish up. I must admit to not caring for rice in general so I can't really rave about the dish. But since the kids enjoyed it I will be making it again.
I made the Carob Chip Muffins from Vive le Vegan and boy were they a hit! I substituted spelt flour for the barley flour and they were so cakey and moist. We ate 12 of them in 2 days. Some did go out to the neighbours kids that were here playing that day.
Not too long ago I was inspired by vegtriathelete's blog to dig out my juicer. Juicing has been something I've been doing off and on for about 7 years. I've gone through 2 juicers in that time - each about $40 in value. I think when this current juicer 'blows up' I'll try to purchase a more expensive one. I sometimes wonder if I'm getting the most out of my veggies using the cheap juicers. At crazy sexy cancer's blog she advocates green juices so that's what I've been making - concoctions with celery, kale, cucumber, and sprouts. I'll blog another day about my new found talent on sprouting. My kids are even enjoying them - however, they aren't big smoothie and juice drinkers so they usually just take sips of mine - but still - they're getting some of the nutrients.
Ta ta for now.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies and some Eco Purchases

Yes, another pumpkin dessert. I promise to let go of the pumpkin stuff soon enough. I found this recipe on the Post Punk Kitchen website. Instead of white flour I subsituted with spelt flour. They were great except that it called for 2 tbl of molasses and with that in it, the pumpkin flavour sorta disappeared. But whatever, they were scrumdillyumpscious.

Over this past summer I made a few 'green' purchases that were worth mentioning. First when my shower curtain got icky (we've had it for four years) I decided to get another one. I browsed a few sites and decided on a hemp one at It was rather pricey but since I can get a few years out of mine I thought what the heck. It was delivered in no time! I am disappointed to say that after only several months it has mold on it in places. Now, before you say anything, I do want it to be known, that I ALWAYS leave the curtain spread out so that it can dry properly AND I wash it monthly to prevent mold buildup. Even after washing it the mold colour has stained the fabric. But whatever, it doesn't ick me out....I know it's only a stain. The part that was disappointing was the fact that I thought hemp was resistant to mold....if treated with care...such as I did. Anywho, my next purchase was a pair of Splaff flip flops. I needed a black pair of flip flops and wanted to buy an eco friendly pair. I found them at vegan They are made from recycled tires and tubes. They sure made for some interesting conversations this past summer. I'm happy with them - but a word to the wise - do not wear them for extended periods of time. They aren't the most comfortable flip flops. Lastly, a set of my bedsheets got so badly frayed that it was time to be replaced. I replaced them with a set of Bamboo sheets. And let me tell you - bamboo fabric feels glorious in bed!! I bought them at Zellers (of all places) and they were 30% off that week. So i got them for a real bargain. Zellers was also selling bamboo covered pillows at a discount so I bought a set of those too. I'm very impressed with the bamboo fabric and will definately buy more of it when other sheets get worn out.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pumpkin Muffins

I just love anything pumpkin. So when the pumpkins are ready in the patch I get just plain giddy. We snagged three from a friend who had the most amazing patch this year. He tried covering the ground with plastic and letting the vines grow through holes he cut in the plastic. Anyways, after roasting them, I pureed the pulp and froze 1 cup portions. Most of the recipes I use call for 1 cuppers. So far I've tried Sarah's (Two vegan sisters blog) Pumpkin Scones - they were fantastic! And I pulled a chocolate chip pumpkin muffin recipe off the internet (can't remember which site at the moment) and I veganized it. I used ground flaxseed as an egg substitute and I added in more spices then what it called for. They turned out great - except for the fact that they stick to the paper liners. I bought some halloween themed liners that have smiling pumpkins on them - so I thought it appropriate to put some pumpkin muffins into them. :)
It was a rather blustery fall day so I thought a good soup would do nicely. I'm totally into Catherine's (Food snob blog) soup month thing. So I made the Veggie Peanut Soup from La Dolce Vegan. I've never had a peanutty soup before and it was quite nice. Definately a keeper!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Morrocan Chickpea Patties & Leftovers

I made the patties straight out of Dreena's cookbook several times now and every single time they have not disappointed me. I have never made them with fennel either. It might be interesting to try them with fennel now. I have been eating them each night for dinner with a side of baby romaine. Not all that exciting to blog about - but I've enjoyed them. It's been taking me a few days to finish the leftover pot of Mellow Sniffle Lentil soup I made awhile ago. I have been the only one in the house eating it, so it's taking awhile to finish it.
The other morning I tried the Acai Antioxidant Smoothie out of ED&BV and it is sooooooo good!! It has a chocolately flavour to it. I could even whip one of these up to satisfy a midnight craving in front of the boob toob. Anyways, I've had three now and ran out of the frozen pkgs of Acai so I ran to the health food store this morning and got some more - along with some more bananas. I also snagged some organic juice boxes that were on sale for the kids, some boxes of veggie bouillon cubes also on sale, and another bag of Spelt flour. I wish this store was within walking distance - I would be there daily if it was. Or is that a good thing?? ha ha
I'm still working on the whole attaching picture thing.....

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Cookies and Soup

You'll see lots of cookies around this place. We have a household of 4 people - 3 of which are male - so we go through LOTS of cookies. I usually make a batch every day or every other day. My cookies tend to be big and I'm sooooo guilty of eating too much cookie dough so I don't get too many out of any batch. HA Yesterday I made the Oatmeal cookies out of Dreena's newest cookbook Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan. They were the best darn oatmeal cookies I've made to date!!! And I ate the whole batch myself. My kids just don't seem to care for oatmeal cookies. They love porrige in the mornings but that is as far as their oatmeal lovin' goes. The recipe did say it was for a small batch.....
Today I made the Almond & Apricot Tea Cookies from Sarah Kramer's cookbook La Dolce Vegan. They were decent. I had a couple with some Island Mango White Tea. I'am lovin that tea right now.....that along with a Raspberry White tea. I didn't think my kids would go for the tea cookies because of the oatmeal in them and the lack of 'sweetness' but alas, the 2 year old ate one with a big glass of strawberry soy milk. I finally finished off the big bottle of artifical vanilla flavouring I had. Now I can go buy some 'real' vanilla.

Now for soup - yesterday I made the Spicy Tomato soup out of La Dolce Vegan. It was okay. Too many chunkies of onions/garlic.....but the dill in it is quite interesting. In comparison, her Tomato and Basil Soup from How it all Vegan is far better! When I made it a couple of weeks ago, I did what Catherine did and froze a couple batches minus the soy milk in the freezer for later. I will never have to buy another can of tomato soup again! The Tomato Basil recipe is far superior and so convenient when pulled from the freezer!
Today I made the Mellow 'Sniffle Lentil' soup from ED&BV. I didn't have any curry powder so I made it without. I'm not sure how much of an impact that makes on the soup, but I enjoyed it. I'm still waiting to see if it gets rid of my sniffles or not. ha ha

Well, until I get the hang of attaching pictures etc. you'll have to suffer through without them.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Blog Action Day - Our contribution to the environment

This is a day late - but here it is. Our households contribution to the environment is as follows:

Kitchen - we are vegetarians / aspiring vegans. We do consume eggs and cheese on an occasional basis and someday hope to kick their butts to the curb entirely. But for now it is baby steps in that department. I try to buy as many organic foods as possible, with an emphasis on locally grown items. However, we do live in northern ontario so are quite restricted in the winter months. This past September i attempted to freeze and preserve as many local vegetables/fruits as possible so that they would last us into the winter. Now, being that this was my first attempt at this I wasn't sure how much to do - and alas all those items will likely be gone by Christmas. ha ha I just didn't buy/freeze enough. Next year I know to DO MORE! I did have a small garden in my back yard - the postage stamp size of a back yard. I grew tomatoes, herbs and peas. My grandmother had a fair size garden and she was very generous to us. The rest of the stuff we bought at the farmers market all summer long.
I cook most of our meals from scratch. This reduces the amount of pkging that comes into our house. AS well, we tend to buy in bulk - further reducing the amount of pkging we see. We use our blue and yellow bins faithfully and I compost as much kitchen waste as possible.

Bathroom - All of our personal care items are organic and as natural as possible. We have preserve toothbrushes and a hemp shower curtain.

Bedroom - when a set of our bedsheets was frayed and time to go bye bye, I replaced them with bamboo sheets. Whoa, wonderful fabric let me tell you! This is the only new purchase in that department. The rest of our replacements have come from hand-me-downs from my mother. She is always good to 'pass on' her sheets and towels to us. Any of our clothes we no longer wear have gone to charity or to other family members. We have two kids so the youngest gets the hand me downs. We have also bought the odd thing at a second hand store.

Household - All of our cleaning supplies are homemade - mostly consisting of vingegar, water, and essential oils. Our laundry detergent is also made by yours truly. The clothes get hung outside in the spring thru fall. The cold weather up here in winter time wouldn't be ideal for a clothes line. ha ha All of our lightbulbs are energy efficient ones; our monthly average power consumption is 300 kWh. (the average households kWh is 700); I turned down our thermostat on the hot water tank quite considerably.

Transportation - prior to moving to northern ontario I used the public transportation system to go to work and run errands most of the time. We also walked or biked to most places. However, since moving up here, that has been reduced quite considerably. I still manage to bike when i can or walk when I can.

There you have it - our contribution in a nutshell. It is a work in progress - we can still do a lot more to reduce our footprint on the earth. I am open to suggestions at any time on other changes that we can make.