Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bye Bye Seasonal Produce

With the exception of the produce that I've frozen away in my freezer I will be saying goodbye to the following produce until its next season:

Lettuce......after eating a salad each night this past summer it won't be hard to go without this one for the next couple of months. However I am usually guilty of buying organic romaine once in awhile during the winter months.

Strawberries.......this isn't hard because the containers that are shipped in from California during the winter months don't even SMELL like real strawberrries.....they are tasteless. A waste of money in my opinion. If I crave strawberries for my daily smoothie, I will buy the odd bag of frozen strawberries. They are a bit better then the fresh ones....but not much better. know, I can not remember the last time I bought a tomato in the grocery store? It has to be years! I get mine all summer long from the farmers markets and we just do without throughout the winter. I guess we get our fix of tomato cravings from tomato sauce.

Grapes.....once the stores stop selling the USA grapes and start selling the south american ones, I quit buying grapes until next summer.

Watermelon.......I don't recall ever seeing a watermelon for sale in the middle of February in my city anyways.

Peaches, nectarines, plums, pears......we buy and eat large quantities of these fruit while in season so we don't miss them during the winter.

Besides the obvious distance out of season produce has to travel to get to us we stopped buying the above produce during the winter because the stuff just doesn't taste good! When you get spoiled by eating it fresh and at its juiciest - why settle for anything less???!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fall Harvest

Well, hello!! I don't expect anyone to be reading this blog since I've become so delinquent in my posts. The kids were out of school for the summer so spending time with them outdoors has been my top priority. But, they are back in school full time now and I've been busy with doing some fall food storage.

I took a bunch of pictures to post here - some of my freezer and storage closet full of food, some canning pictures, etc etc. but for some reason I can not upload them today. This computer just isn't cooperating. So, you'll have to settle for a pictureless post. Sorry :(

So, what have I been up to???

1. I put together an 'emergency tote' with enough supplies for 72 hours - supplies that would be needed in case we are without power and/or water. I followed the guidelines as set out at . I purchased a practical kit from that has first aid supplies, wind up radio, etc etc. to go in my tote of food, water, blankets, etc.
2. I've been filling our freezer with food from our weekly CSA box. (which sadly came to an end last Saturday) (sniff, sniff) Any food we didn't eat up each week got put in the freezer for the winter months. For example, we always got a ton of spinach and swiss chard. And even though I eat some of that every day in my daily green smoothie there was always plenty left each week. So I froze the leftovers. Volia - I've got enough spinach and swiss chard for at least 6 months worth of smoothies.
3. Other items in my freezer for the winter months include: beets (i peeled and cut into chunks for the smoothies), kale (from my container garden), blueberries (locally picked), green peppers (that I've already diced up), green beans, broccoli (which I didn't get enough of and will be finished in about 2 months) and strawberries. Actually, I finished the last bag of strawberries last week. Sadly we only picked 6 3 litre baskets and never got back to the field to pick anymore . So those baskets only lasted from July-October. Note to self: PICK MORE STRAWBERRIES. I completely missed out on raspberries this year.
4. I stocked up a small broom closet with enough food for about 3 months. As sales arise I will try to build up an even bigger food supply. Some of the items in this closet are: tomato sauces, noodles, bags of rice, dried beans, locally made saurkraut, local honey, a big bag of flour and enough potatoes to get us through to Christmas - maybe even longer. If they don't sprout on me.
5. I canned chili sauce and my hubbie canned pickles. That is the only canning I did this year.
6. I dried the herbs from my container garden in my bedroom closet - on trays. (oregano, dill, and sage) Then I crushed the herbs and put into glass jars.
7. Along with a 3 month supply of food, I also stocked up on personal care items: toliet paper, soaps (locally made), razors, shampoos, etc. I cleared off a shelf in our linen closet and made room for all these items.
8. I made the switch to reusuable menstral pads and am loving them. I got a kit from You can get any info you like from that website.

I am pleased with the amount of food I accumulated thoughout the summer. We did better then last year so it's an improvement. Obviously if I had gotten enough to last us till May that would be even better....but baby steps. I focused on getting the things we eat the most of. Like the spinach as I can not get that organic here in the winter months. I can never find saurkraut that is fresh either - the stuff at the grocery store is full of sulfites. So having a few big jars in the closet is great for us.
With all the scary talk on the news about rising food costs, food shortages, food storage it got me to thinking that I had better get my family prepared. So I took the steps this past summer to build up a food supply - it may not be huge, but its a start. As we go along we are learning!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Happy Belated Canada Day!!

I can't believe it's been over a month since my last post! shheeeze......but in my own defence we've been hanging outside for the most part.

One of these days I will take some photos of the CSA box we've been getting each week. I've been practically giddy each time picking it up. ha ha For the past three weeks we've enjoyed - all organic - spinach, swiss chard, green onions, rhubarb, garlic scapes, and salad greens. We don't always get through all the spinach each week so i've been putting some in the freezer for our winter green smoothies. The kale in my 'container' garden has been growing up nicely - we've already enjoyed some - I ended up planting some more in hopes of keeping it going into the winter - but we'll see how that goes.

Yesterday we spent some of the day picking strawberries. We picked 6 3litre start us off. I've set aside one of the baskets to eat over the next couple of days and the rest are going in the freezer for the winter months. I love popping them into smoothies or having on breakfast cereal. I imagine I'll have to go back this coming wknd and pick some more. Last year in our experimental stage of food storage I realized that I did not freeze enough berries. We eat our freezer supply by Christmas. Soooooo, I'm making sure I put enough away this year. I decided to 'hoard' the foods that I can not get here in the winter. For example, I have not once seen organic kale in our grocery stores here. So I've been growing it in hopes to have enough to get us through the winter. Same thing with the strawberries - the ones you get here all winter long are shipped in from California (which if you do the math from California to Ontario, Canada is quite the trek for a container of strawberries). They do not taste like a strawberry at all and they are completely white in the centre of them....making them devoid of any nutrition in my mind. Hence the strawberry picking yesterday for our freezer storage so we get ripe, juicy strawberries all year long.

Another thing I've been doing (instead of blogging lately) is yoga. I signed up for a two week intensive yoga class that is each morning from 6:30 am to 7:30 am OUTSIDE! If you have never practiced yoga outside please do so! It is exhilirating! I love it. I also do a weekly yoga class indoors too.

I'll try my best to keep up a regular blog but its so much fun outdoors right now...... please do not hate me if another month goes by before you hear from me again!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My new juicer!!

I finally replaced my juicer! I've mentioned in the past that my present juicer is garbage - I wasn't getting a whole lot of juice out of the fruits/veggies. It was a cheap Wallmart variety that I actually got for free a few years ago because I cashed in some Airmiles for it. Anywho, this new baby is an Omega 8005 model. It will even juice wheatgrass! I can make nut butters with it - ice creams - nut milks - and use it as a food processor. After using it a few times this past wknd I realize I definately got my moneys worth! It is super quiet (unlike my old one), easy to clean and assemble. I have only juiced with it - I have not tried out its other functions yet.

Another thing I snagged this wknd were two Raw cookbooks; Rawvolution by Matt Amsdsen and Raw Food/Real World by Matthew Kenney. I've already read both books cover to cover and look forward to trying out some of the recipes this week. I think I will start with a dessert.......:)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A raw food dinner.

Let me start by saying that I have NO photography skills whatsoever. ha ha But I figure a post is alot better with some pictures - even if they aren't so skillfully taken.

Now I don't have a picture of the actual dinner served on our plates (forgot -sorry!) but what I have here are the leftovers in different bowls to show you.

For dinner last night I made Spicy Thai Wraps (actual wrap not shown), with a sweet mango dipping sauce, (the yellow stuff in the small bowl) a side of "rice" (in bowl beside mango sauce) and sweet avocado chocolate pudding (not shown here - see previous post for pic).

The thai wraps consisted of a filling (upper right hand corner) made from almond butter, napa cabbage, amongst other ingredients. The recipe said to wrap the filling in chard leaves, but I chose romaine leaves instead. I did not find them spicy at all - my kids found them sour (I can't imagine how).

The mango sauce for dipping was awesome. The recipes for the thai filling, the "rice" and the mango sauce is here. I will definately make them again. It was very simple to whip up.

The 'rice' was cauliflower and cashews whized around in the FP. (food processor) It actually had the consistency of a sticky white rice - but obviously not the flavour. The kids eat ALOT of it. Once again - it was simple to make - I just had to remember to soak the cashews for the day.

I mentioned in my previous post loving the sweet avocado chocolate pudding - so I made another batch. It is very rich, so we added a few raspberries to our servings - and kept the serving very small.

What made me giddy about sitting down to this meal was its presentation. The green leaves stuffed with a sauce, a yellow dipping sauce on the side and a ball of "sticky rice". I felt like we were eating gourmet for the night. The raw meal had lots of colour and we weren't left feeling uncomfortably full afterwards. (as some carb loaded vegan meals tend to do) And the meal left us satisfied for 3 hours....then it was time for a bedtime snack. There was no more preparation in this particular meal then any cooked vegan meal I make.

I made a couple of other things for tonight's dinner. Pictured in the upper left corner is some Moist Chocolate Brownies. I also whipped up some salsa to go with a Walnut "Meat" taco salad. I'll let you know how it turns out.

I will have to keep experimenting with different raw meals in hopes of finding a weeks worth that the kids love. The kids are always good sports and will try everything and eat most of it even if they don't prefer it. I eventually found vegan (cooked) meals that the kids liked and we tend to rotate that stuff. The hubbie however, has never liked ANY vegan meal. He likes his meat, cheese and dairy and no amount of recipe testing has ever changed that in 8 years of marriage. He did not like last night's meal - and I didn't expect him too. Like usual, he ate the entire plate's worth of food but grimaced and gagged the whole time. Like WTF!! He never complains or makes comments - so I appreciate that I suppose. Anyways, we have found a happy balance because he eats breakfast and lunch in restaurants 5 days a week for work (thankfully not on our tab) so he is kept happy eating what he wants at those meals.

Off of food and onto organic cotton. Pictured here is my new organic cotton duvet cover!! I found it at a store in Oakville, Ontario. Shipping was free and it arrived promptly. I have a wool blanket that my parents had for years and did not want anymore - so I put that inside the duvet cover and it works beautifully!

So now I have a complete bed of organic cotton sheets and blankets. Once the pillows are groddy they will be replaced with organic ones AND I hope to have an organic mattress someday - but this bed is only 6 years old - so that won't be anytime soon!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tree planting is where I have been.

I can't believe I haven't posted since April. Geeze. We've been tree planting around here! Here are my sons and I getting dirty.
I've been dabbling in the world of Raw eats. Trying out some recipes. Seeing if I would consider converting from vegan to Raw vegan. Well, it's soooo tempting. There are alot of good raw treats out there. The only pic I've taken so far is this chocolate pudding. The recipe is at The Raw Goddess's blog. I was skeptical about making it as the main ingredient is avocado....but AWESOME! It was rich, and thick, and just plain yummy. The pic does not do it justice. I thought of taking the pic after I had dug in. ha ha

As well as eating raw goodies, we've been doing a bit of gardening. I've got our herbs in pots so far. We've still had a bit of frost some mornings, so I haven't put anything (except the kale and beets) outside yet. The kale and beets we started from seeds. The herbs I bought already started.

For mother's day the kids and I made some fruit bouquets. I got the idea from Rawdorable's blog as she got a bouquet of fruit for her birthday. It was not hard to make and we'll definately do that again!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

11th Hour DVD

We just finished watching the 11th Hour. It is produced and narrated by Leonardo Dicaprio. I loved it!! You can watch the trailer for it at and see for yourself why it's a must see. Also, you can visit for more solutions on what you can do as an individual or as a community to help save our precious planet.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Happy Belated Earth Day!

We have been participating in a 'Screen Free' week so I didn't post anything on Earth Day. But we did observe that day. My kids and I planted some kale, beats, and rainbow chard seeds indoors and will transplant them outside in a month or so. We are quite limited in what we grow outside because of our small space - everything is going in planter boxes.
When friends ask me why I care so much about the planet and working towards a sustainable lifestyle, I always have a hard time condensing SOOO much information into a short and practical explanation. Nobody wants to be lectured but I find they are always a bit curious. My grandmother gave me her book The Canadian Green Consumer Guide - How You Can Help - Responsbile shopping that won't cost the earth. The preface in this book was written by Margaret Atwood. I would LOVE to give copies of this preface to everyone I know because it is written in a way that is easy to understand and gets right to the point in a short period of time. The next time someone wants to know why I care so much about the planet I will give them the info from this preface:
----------------Taken from The Canadian Green Consumer Guide-----------------
By now, most people know we're in danger. We've heard about the thinning ozone layer, the greenhouse effect, acid rain, the destruction of the world's forests, arable lands, and drinkable water. The danger we're in is enormous:
if we don't do something about it, its results could be as devasting as those of a world-wide nuclear catastrophe. We have finally realized that we cannot continue to dump wide toxic chemicals and garbage into the water, air, and earth of this planet without eventually killng both it and ourselves - because everything we eat, drink, and grow has its ultimate source in the natural world.
However, most people don't know what to do. In the face of such an enormous global problem, they feel helpless. But altogether the problem is global, the solutions must be local. Unless we begin somewhere, we will never begin at all. An absence of small beginnings will spell the end.
During the depression and the war, conservation was a way of life. It wasn't called that. It was called saving, or salvaging, or rationing. People saved things and reused them because materials were expensive or scarce. They saved string, rubber bands, bacon fat, newspapers, tin cans and glass bottles, old clothes. They made new things out of old things; they darned socks, turned shirt collars. They grew Victory Gardens. "Waste not, want not" was their motto.
Then came the end of the war, a new affluence, and the Disposable Society. We were encouraged to spend and waste; it was supposed to be good for the economy. Throwing things out became a luxury. We indulged.
We can no longer afford our wasteful habits. It's Back to the Basics, time for a return to the Three R's: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refuse, too, to buy polluting products and to rethink your behaviour. For instance, use less energy; cut your overhead and increase profits, and stave off a tax hike. Dry your clothes on a rack: humidify your home and lower your hydro bill. Leave excess packaging at the store: let them dispose of it. Manufacturers will get the message pretty quick, not just from you but from disgruntled retailers. Start a compost heap. Vote for politicians with the best environmental platforms. Choose non-disposables: razors with real blades instead of the plastic chuck-it-out kind, fountain pens rather then toss-outs. Shop for organic veggies; di it using a shopping basket so you won't have to cart home all those annoying plastic bags that pile up under the sink. Lobby for country-of-origin labels on all food, so you know you aren't eating destroyed Amazonian rainforest with every hamburger bite.
Pollution control, like charity, must begin at home. It's true that industries are major polluters, but industries, in the final analysis, are market - and therefore consumer-driven. If enough of us refuse to buy polluting products, the manufacturers will go out of business. Even a small percentage swing in buying patterns can mean the difference between profit and loss.
This is wartime. Right now we're losing; but it's a war we can still win, with some good luck, a lot of good will, and a great many intelligent choices. Although they are about familiar, harmless-looking, everyday objects, they are, in the final analysis, life-or-death choices.
And the choice is yours.
Margaret Atwood

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Screen Free Week

Our family will be participating in the upcoming Screen Free week. I'm chuckling at the challenge because it will not be a challenge for us at all. We do not subscribe to cable or satellite.....we simply have rabbit ears on our TV and get 6 stations. My husband and I watch an hour of TV each night and the kids watch even less then that. There are a couple of cartoons on in the mornings that they sometimes watch. They do like to watch movies on weekends. So, as a family, we are not screen free......but we do watch very little and the kids aren't subjected to all the commericals that others kids are. Which makes life easier for us. HA

Soooooooo, because the next week is screen free - I won't be posting anything.

Before I sign off, I'd like you to watch this cool video from a writeup in the New York Times green edition. It's about the Dervaes family of Pasadena California. I hope someday our family can live this self sufficient.

Friday, April 18, 2008

I'm it!

I was tagged by So what does a vegetarian eat anyways? to list 5 things about myself that others may not know. So here they are:

1. My main interest in life right now is learning everything I can about living a healthy lifestyle that is good to our bodies as well as the earth. I'm interested in vegan recipes, chemical free beauty products, finding organic cotton/bamboo clothing/sheets/towels/etc., alternative treatments to everyday ailments, disease prevention, organic gardening practices, etc etc. This is no big secret to the people around me. ha ha.

2. My choices of favourite things in life come and go like yesterdays news. If you ask me today what my favourite colour is, sure as hell it will be something different tomorrow. I always hated those questionnaires that asked me my likes and dislikes; What's my favourite colour, movie, TV show, shampoo, city, blah blah blah. Basically I have NONE! I love and hate lots of things - don't get me wrong, but nothing has EVER gotten into the FAVOURITE category in my books. I guess I'm still on that search.....which brings me to my next one....

3. I thrive on change. For example, I never buy the same shampoo twice. I'll try another brand when the bottle is empty. I am constantly changing the furniture around in our living room, bedrooms, etc. We have lived in 13 residences in the past 13 years. (which is something that will stop once we buy a home) I guess it looks like I've got committment issues. HA

4. I LOVE trading/borrowing etc household items. Examples of this are: This past week I wanted to sweep the driveway and my corn broom just wasn't going to get the job done effectively, so I called up my Dad and borrowed his broom. When my boys outgrow their clothes, we give them to my nephew. When my mother gets new bedding for her bed, she will ask me if I want her current ones. A girlfriend and I used to get together with clothes we no longer wanted and would trade with one another. I have always loved this circle of gave me more pleasure then buying something new.

5. I am the klutziest person you will ever meet. I break more drinking glasses then my 2 and 5 year old do. ha A day doesn't go by where I don't break something or spill something or trip over something. Just before I started writing this post I was walking through the doorway to my home office and cracked my hand on the doorway and now there is a purple welt on my hand. never fails with me.....

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Another find....and gardening

I had often heard of G.T.'s Kombucha drinks but have never seen them anywhere in our area. We went down into Michigan this past weekend and when I went into a natural food coop Grain Train I found them so I just had to try them. I bought this Synergy one that has ingredients listed as: 95% G.T.'s organic raw kombucha, raspberry juice, lemon juice and freshed pressed ginger juice, and 100% pure love!!! Neat eh? The other kind I bought was the Organic Raw Green drink (not shown here). Kombucha (pronounced kom-BOO-cha) is a handmade Chinese tea that is delicately cultured for 30 days. During this time, essential nutrients form like: Active Enzymes, Viable Probiotics, Amino Acids, Antioxidants, and Polyphenols. All of these combine to create an elixir that immediately works with the body to restore balance and vitality.

I really like the glass bottles the drinks come in - I will definately be reusing them - this smoothie pictured here is my breakfast most days and when I'm in a rush, I can put it into the Synergy bottle and take it to-go. Unfortnately the drinks taste like apple cider vinegar - the two I tried did anyways. And I'm not a huge fan of vinegar - so I ended up using the three bottles I bought in my morning smoothies because I just couldn't drink them alone. I'm disappointed my taste buds didn't like them! You win some, you lose some I suppose.

Onto an unrelated topic - gardening! On Earth Day I usually sit down with the kids and we plant seeds and plan out our garden for the upcoming growing season - in celebration of the earth and all her beauties. This summer I would like to be a bit more organized in what I plant. We have only spent one summer in this house and last one was a bit of an experiment in what I can grow and where. Unfortnately i can not dig up any ground (we are renting) and there isn't much back yard space. I utilized planters last summer and will be doing so again. This is what I plan on growing again this summer: herbs (oregano, basil, parsley, mint, camomile) and plum tomatoes. We didn't have much luck with pumpkins, peas, and squash last summer. I would like to try growing kale, collards, and beet greens. Does anyone have growing tips on these things?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Jumping on the Dr. Bronner's Bandwagon

I just purchased my first bottle of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps - I bought the Hemp Lavender Pure-Castile Soap. I'm very excited - who knew soap would get me this way. ha ha I'm excited because of the many uses this bottle can have. For starters I added a few squirts of it into my homemade mulit-purpose spray cleaners (see this post)........I used it as a body wash in the shower this morning......and I plan on putting it into a reusable bottle to use as hand soap in the bathroom. That is a good start I think. What do the rest of you use yours for????

Monday, April 7, 2008


My son needed new rubber boots this spring. Last spring I was able to get him gently used ones but that wasn't the case this year. However, I was able to get him these rubber boots made in CANADA (woot woot) from first quality recyclable materials. To further make a difference with these boots, we can return them to Rallye Footwear for recycling when we no longer can use them. Cool eh??
On a different note, we are in need of some bedspreads and I would like to find some that are 100% organic cotton, or hemp, or bamboo etc. I've been surfing the web all day trying to find one we like - most are colourless. I've had luck in the past with finding bamboo sheets at Zellers (however they are no longer carrying them here) but finding a bedspread/quilt with some colour isn't easy. If anyone has some websites PLEASE let me know!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Beet Martinis

Okay seriously, there isn't any alcohol in my beet martini - but its always an option. ha ha Along with incorporating more smoothies into our diets, I have also dug out the juicer, dusted it off and put it to work. Remember the other day I mentioned that we are 'on again, off again' kind of folks in regards to smoothie making? Well, same thing with juicing. I bought my first juicer about ten years ago - ran it for a year - and the damn thing just died one day - literally - it coughed, puffed out smoke, and that was it. It was a cheap K-Mart special. Then a couple years after that I bought another cheap, Walmart special, and it is still with us to this day. Maybe one of these birthdays or Christmas I will ask for a good one. Anywho, back to my beet martini. I only call it a martini because I drink all my juice in a martini glass. Makes me feel like a classy kind of gal I suppose. This particular drink I juiced two carrots, half a beet, one celery stalk, and one apple. All organic of course! Isn't it a lovely colour? (my poor photography skills don't do it justice) It was fairly tasty. It was even better after I threw in a splash of my lemon water. (I juice one lemon every day and put it into a big jug of water into the fridge....and sip throughout the day) I've been juicing just about anything I've got in the fridge for produce. Except my greens - my cheap ass juicer doesn't juice those too well. So I save the greens for my smoothies.

Anyways, moral of this post - is go juice something will ya????

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Green Smoothies

It's amazing how many blogs have dedicated a post to their green smoothie creations. I started experimenting with green smoothies a couple years ago when I came across Victoria Boutenko's website and books. Now it seems it is all the rage out there. But like everything with me I went full force making green smoothies everyday, then stopped.....then started again.....then stopped. And now I'm back into making myself one each morning. This time I'm trying out different types of greens. In the past I've pretty much stuck with kale and parsley. This week I've tried arugula and parsley. (turns out I am NOT an arugula fan) Maybe next week I'll try swiss chard and beet greens.....who knows. Pictured here is one of my morning green smoothies. This combo has: raspberries, blueberries, a banana, an apple, 2 big handfuls of argula, 1 big handful of parsley, spirulina powder and Vega smoothie infusion. That mighty glass has 7 servings of fruits and veggies in it!! My boys became intrigued with my morning drink and asked to help one day - so we made a bigger batch and they each had a glass with a twisty straw and LOVED it! YAY! Obviously the old saying 'monkey see, monkey do' is correct.
Also pictured is my sprouter - inside are two trays of alfafa sprouts - these sweet babies will be going into the green smoothies once they are ready.
If you haven't already jumped onto to the green smoothie wagon, check out Green Smoothie Girl and watch her YouTube video on making one.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Does maple syrup REALLY come out of our taps here in Canada????

In the springtime we probably could rig it up somehow to have the syrup coming out of our taps - I'm sure anything is possible in todays age. ha ha We've got several places we can buy local maple syrup from.
For breakfast on Saturday we went to what we call the 'sugar bush'. A local family has been tapping trees on their land for 80 years and selling the syrup. They also run a pancake establishment there that is open for 4-6 weeks each spring while the syrup is running. So each spring we go for some pancakes and pick up a BIG jug of syrup. (In hindsight I should have taken pictures of the area for you) You probably wouldn't believe me if I told you we go thru TWO of these 4 litre jugs each year. We just don't use it for pancakes though. Dreena Burton's cookbooks use maple syrup to replace most of the refined most of my syrup is used in my baking. Another use I have for maple syrup is in my morning java. Instead of refined white sugar I put a big ol' heaping spoonful of maple syrup into my mug. (hint hint chile chews) A pretty good local alternative I must say.
Another treat I came home with from the sugar bush was some lip balm - in, of course, maple flavour - all natural - good for my lips and senses!
Soooooo we may not be able to grow bananas or mangoes up here in Canada - but we sure do have backdoor access to the best maple syrup on the planet!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I'm baaaaaack!!!!

While on vacation I managed to read these two items: the latest issue of Vegetarian times and In Defense of Food. I'm always disappointed with vegetarian times but this issue was surprisingly good. I liked the article "Earth Day Special: How to eat for a healthier Planet." I just LOVED In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. Of course one gets more out of this book by reading Omnivore's Dilemna first, but the book was an easy read - I finished it in less than a day. It has sure lit a fire under me to eat more whole foods. We've always been good around here to eat meals prepared by moi instead of out of a package - but I totally disregarded some of our everyday items. Take my Soy Creamer for example; it has over 13 ingredients in it!! This book suggest not eating anything with more than 5 ingredients. Not only that, the soy creamer has some ingredients I can't even pronounce ( carrageenan - which is suscipiously always linked with MSG) Another everyday item in our household is bread. I was on a kick for a couple months where I made all our loaves in my breadmaker - but I put that on a back burner for awhile - well let me tell you - I will be getting that breadmaker back out! A typical loaf of whole wheat bread that I buy in our grocery store has over 12 ingredients in it! I don't even know what mono and diglycerides are??!! I'm guessing preservatives?? You know, the more I find out, the more FREAKED out I get! Ignorance is bliss sometimes? ha ha Anywho, for the days I don't make my bread from scratch I'm buying Ezekiel 4:9 bread. It is made from sprouted grains (no flour...wooohoo), has only sprouted grains, yeast, water and sea salt - nothing suspicious. But enough of that rant.

Also while on vacation I found this makeup by Physicians Formula - it is their newest line of organic makeup. I saw it here in Canada at our drugstore awhile back but it was way too expensive so I always passed it up. But while away I managed to snag it for 40% off! So these three items shown here cost me less than just one of them would have here in Canada. But the price isn't what convinced me to buy the products. Proponents against mineral makeup argue that it can dry the skin and look chalky. (And I agree.) Physician’s Formula has prevented this possibility by including moisturizing jojoba, olive and safflower oils--none of which are comedogenic--in the formulations, which give a creamy look. Eco factor: The Organic Wear™ line contains 100% ECOCERT® ingredients with no parabens, harsh chemicals or synthetic fragrance and dyes. They come in biodegradable packaging and weren't tested on animals. Those are the reason I bought them! I bought the loose powder, powder bronzer, and blush.....stuff I was out of. Bottom Line: I'm happy to have found worthy replacements that are good for my skin AND the environment without breaking the bank!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Diet Sweenteners can cause Obesity, Depression, Brain Damage

Okay, so we haven't left yet for our vacation! But soon - so very soon - YAY! In the meantime I've been reading about the scary realities of MSG and Aspartame! Crazy, scary shit I tell you! I am HORRIFIED to learn that that DAMN MSG is in just about every thing! Even the freakin' ketchup my kids consume!

This news can't be startling to anyone can it??? I think everyone has always known that anything artifical isn't good for us, and sooner or later, its going to creep up on us. Take me for example, now every time I drink a diet pop I break out in rash. It took approx. 15 years for that crap to accumulate in my system and tell me it's time to say bye-bye to it!

Read for yourselves the dangers of MSG and Aspartame:

Read Healthy Cookie's views on MSG too.
Happy researching!

Thursday, March 6, 2008


We're heading off to the sunny south for some SUNSHINE and WARM temperatures. All this white shit on the ground here in Canada is starting to depress me. It was great for awhile - tobagganing, downhill skiing, ice's all fun and games for the first few months - then after that - I'd like to ask that white crap to "Get the f*&^ outta here already"! ha ha

Because we're flying I offsetted our carbon emissions at

"A carbon offset is a certificate representing the reduction of one metric ton (2,205 lbs) of carbon dioxide emissions, the principal cause of global warming. Although complex in practice, carbon offsets are fairly simple in theory. If you develop a project that reduces carbon dioxide emissions, every ton of emissions reduced results in the creation of one carbon offset. Project developers can then sell these offsets to finance their projects. There are hundreds of different types of carbon reduction projects. For example, a wind farm generates clean energy, which reduces carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants. In order to finance its operations, a wind farm can sell these reductions in the form of carbon offsets."

Next time you travel, visit this website and consider buying one of the certificates - we did! Talk to you when we get back!

photo courtesy of

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Make Mine a Mocha

At our library I recently checked out "Vegan Planet" by Robin Robertson. Of course I went through it cover to cover and earmarked all the recipes I wanted to try out. At the top of my list was "Make mine a mocha". This is a blended coffee drink. In the past I've tried cold coffee drinks and wasn't a huge fan - the only time I was a fan was when these drinks turned into ice cream shakes! I could easily drink one of these every day. The only thing is it calls for strong coffee cold - so there is something you have to do ahead of time for this recipe. To accompany by mocha I made Carob Chip muffins from The Everyday Vegan.

I got to thinking that maybe we consume too many flour products around here. I try to vary the type of flours used in baking, i.e. spelt, oat, whole wheat, etc. Clif Bars and Lara Bars are great snacks for those wishing to avoid flours but they can get quite costly when consuming every day, so I set out looking for homemade recipes to make such treats. I got out my copy of "The Thrive Diet" by Brendan Brazier.....and it had several bar recipes. I made the Blueberry chocolate bars - but I rolled them into balls - for easier handling for the kids. Now, for those of you used to eating Lara Bars and such, eating these will be easy. They are quite good. BUT, for someone like my husband who hasn't eaten any such thing, the experience won't be so good. LOL He couldn't get past the first bite. They aren't supposed to be sugary sweet honey - I tell him. ha ha Then I took my search to the web and stumbled upon this blog: Frans House of Ayurveda. I'm happy to have found it. She had a recipe for nut balls and I made a batch of those - they were alot better then the blueberry chocolate ones. WARNING - the picture you are about to see is quite DISGUSTING!! Chocolate nut balls do not present well! ha ha But they are soooo worth making - healthy - and gives the body a break from flour products.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Discovering Ayurveda

I just discovered the whole world of Ayurveda and I am quite intrigued! The cornerstone of Ayurvedic healing is the concept of the 'dosha', a Sanskrit word that refers to your mind-body constitution. Everyone is a unique blend of the three doshas - kapha, vata, and pitta - with one or two more dominant from birth. Turns out I am a pitta - you can find out which one you are by taking the quiz at There is also a 6 week mini e-course you take for FREE at this website. It will teach you all about the Ayurvedic practices.....I signed up for that and will let you know how it turns out.

Friday, February 22, 2008


My lifestyle includes yoga, which I practice a couple times a week. That story began 6 years ago when I was pregnant with our first child. A friend and I decided to try a couple prenatal yoga classes as the yoga studios offered free trial sessions. After two classes I decided yoga wasn't for me. I left the classes dizzy, my wrists ached, and my legs were shaky. I couldn't understand what the popularity was all about. However, my curiousity for the practice was still there a few years later. The gym I belonged to at the time started offering a 'Body Flow' class several times a week so I decided to see what it was all about. Well, let me tell you, after one class I was hooked! I experienced a 'yoga high' for 3 days afterwards. I had often heard about this high that people get from practicing yoga - and I now knew what they were talking about. The class started out with some Tai Chi movements and then moved into yoga poses followed by some pilates exercises and finished off with 10 minutes of meditation. My body seemed to need about 2-3 sessions a week. Sadly, my schedule changed and I couldn't fit any of the classes into it. That was last September.......I went Sept-Jan without any formal yoga classes and I suffered for it. I noticed a huge difference in how my body handled stress etc. Sure I tried to do some of the yoga poses I learned but it wasn't the same and they didn't have the same effect. The yoga studios here in our city don't offer classes that can fit my schedule so I decided to find some DVD's so I could practice in the comfort of our home on my own time. At first I went to all the movie stores to see if I could rent some so I could figure out which ones I liked and didn't like. No movie stores here rented any. Then I tried the library and they didn't have any! So I ended up buying two: 1. A.M & P.M YOGA This turned out to be a good tape. It is 20 minutes in length with two sessions - either you can do the am one or the pm one. I choose to do the pm one a couple times a week. It is for beginners so it isn't strenous or complicated. I find its good primarily for working out the body's kinks and de-stressing. 2. Yoga Zone: Yoga Sculpting: I'm not a fan of this one. It makes me slightly dizzy and hurts my wrists.
This is the down side of just buying any ol' doesn't mean I will like everything I buy. But boy, does it feel good to be back into Yoga once again. Sooooo, I'd like to find another DVD to do in conjunction with the PM Yoga one. If anyone has suggestions, please let me know. AND, if there are any bloggers out there that do like the Yoga Zone tapes, let me know and I will glady mail you my copy.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Re-using rather then throwing away

My Dad is the king of reusing materials for household projects. Just recently he reused some old panelling to fix things up under their kitchen sink. The other day he came over and brought these pink plastic containers with him. (I think the containers were veggie trays from the supermarket) He was grinning ear to ear and told me he just couldn't throw these out thinking I might have some use for them. Cheaky guy!! So to show him I found some good use for them. We used them to contain the kids markers. I reused some tin cans (instead of recycling them) and we put all the markers into these cans and then placed the cans into the circle slots. Perfecto! Now whenever the kids want to do some crafts or colouring, I just pull out the 'flower' container and they have all these markers at their disposal. The second 'flower' container we used to make ice sculptures. We filled each 'petal' with water and food colouring and left it outside to freeze. Once frozen we popped out the sections and left our 'flower' sculptures on the front step for decoration.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Wow!! It is super cool that Theresa over at Pondering the Myriad of Things has awarded me with an Excellent Blogging Award.....along with some other fellow bloggers. I'm very thrilled that my blog has made an impression. I've only been blogging a few months and its great to see how fast words can spread throughout the blogging community. Its an awesome way to educate and share ideas with one another. Like for instance, I just learned from Meg that Burt's Bees was bought out by Clorox Corp. Its amazing the things I learn from fellow bloggers.
The description of this award is as follows:

-------Now according to the information I was given - the person who started it all said:
“I love being a part of the blogging community and part of all the friendships that I’ve formed, so I wanted to give a blog award for all of you out there that have Excellent Blogs.”
Of course, there is a catch…
By accepting this Excellent blog award, I have to award it to at least ten more people whose blogs I find Excellent.
So, if you’re listed blow, please, consider yourself “Excellent” and thus worthy of this honor which I bestow upon you. And, if you have not yet visited these sites, I invite you to do so and experience some Excellent Blogging.------

Soooooo, here is a list of 10 bloggers that I considere 'Excellent':

1. Sara at Walk Slowly, Live Wildly: I think its awesome what she and her family are doing with the Live Lightly Tour
2. Kris at Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Cancer: Her work is very inspirational.
3. Meghan at The Healthy Cookie
4. Catherine at Food Snob: I love what she cooks up in the kitchen as well as seeing her try to 'green' her lifestyle.
5. Loving Green: she is very creative!
6. Simply Green Living: love the green topics she touches on.
7. No Impact Man
8. Aprovechar - Taking the full measure
9. So what do vegetarians eat anyways: a fellow canadian
10. Hedge Happenings

I read sooo many blogs and I find them all very interesting......I could list more than 10, but those are a go check them out!!
And thanks again Theresa for awarding me!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Just say "NO" to Roses this Valentine's Day!

I had access to flowers all summer long from my grandmothers garden.....starting with lilacs, then chives, then peonys, then roses, etc. It was nice to have some pretty colours in my house at all times. Why would I get flowers from a florist when I had that kind of access? Unfortnately winters are long here in Canada and there isn't too much growing under the layers and layers of SNOW! So its always been exciting to get an embarassing display of flowers for Valentines Day. However, I had NO clue that florists got their flowers from countries such as Ecuador and Columbia with questionable practices at best. So I am saying NO to flowers this V-Day unless they are organic and/or locally grown.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Have you read your body lotion label lately?

I love Burt's Bees new campaign line: "How do you get all the soft without the suspicious?" They go on to describe a comparison of the ingredients Milk & Honey VS DMDM Hydantoin. Maybe spelling all this out to consumers in a flashy (half naked woman) ad will wake people up to the fact that the mainstream drugstore products are just chemicals in pretty bottles. And that maybe everyone should be reading the ingredients on them before buying.....just like we do at the grocery stores.
Six years ago when I became pregnant with our first child I started reading about the cosmetic and beauty industry and what goes into all the products we use. It is scary! What woke me up was learning that our skin is our body's biggest organ and 60% of what we put on our skin is absorbed back into our blood stream. So the theory is if you wouldn't eat it, you shouldn't wear it. And that is when I started buying organic, natural products from the health food store. And boy, have I gone through a lot over the years! ha ha Like drugstore products, the natural products all work differently, and it has taken me awhile to settle on products that work best for us. You also have to beware of some of the so-called 'natural' products. Just because a company puts 'natural' on their bottle doesn't make it natural. For a list of ingredients you should avoid in products you can visit
You can see posts from previous months on the beauty products my kids and I are currently using. And finally I have converted over the hubbie!! Pictured here are 3 brands of men's products.....products that I found here in our city. I'm sure there are a million on the web to try....but my husband is new to this stream of products, so I didn't want to overwhelm the guy.
Herban Cowboy: He loved this line of products the best - mostly because of the scent. I got him the 'Wild' and 'Dusk' scents in shave cream, aftershave balm, and soap. He has no opinion on the efficiency of the product vs the others...go figure...he based his preference entirely on smell. All are organic and vegan.
Burt's Bees - this company just launched a men's line late last year. I prefer the smell of this line to the Herban Cowboy because it is a lot more subtle in smell. I have been using the body wash on him! ha And lastly is the Weleda after shave lotion. My husband found the scent too floral and the consistency too greasy.
Some health food stores will give out samples if asked - so don't be shy to explain that you are looking at finding more natural products for your family and don't know where to start.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Some Winter Reading

What's a girl to do when it's -20 outside? Snuggle up with some good books and yummy treats! Pictured here is what I'm working on reading this month.
The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature by fellow Canadian David Suzuki. My mother lent it to me and I'm half way through it. The heart of this book is the scientifically supported fact that each of us is quite literally created by air, water, soil and sunlight, and what cleanses and renews these fundamental elements of life is the web of living things on the planet. I'll let you know how the second half of the book does.
A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. Of course, anything Oprah Winfrey recommends reading most of us run out and buy. ha ha I have yet to start this book but will let you know how it is.
VegNews - the latest issue - this magazine never disappoints me.

To satisfy my sweet tooth I made Wheatless Chocolate Chip Cookies from Veganomican. I've made these three times already! The first batch I followed the recipe exactly - using oat flour. I was pleasantly surprised as I haven't had much luck with oat flour in the past. The second batch I did not have enough oat flour for, so I substituted in half spelt flour. This version was fantastic - best vegan choc chip cookie I've had. The third batch I made with all spelt flour and they were just too dense. Soooo, the verdict on these cookies is to use half oat flour and half spelt flour.
For my birthday my sis-in-law gave me her espresso machine that she never uses. woooohooo - I have been frothing up soy lattes all week!! I have found that Silk Soy is the best for frothing - it makes for a very creamy latte. And of course Silk is organic AND the company is powered by clean, renewable wind energy! How great is that? The fact that a serving of vanilla Silk comes in at a mere 100 calories isn't too shabby either.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Zen Habits

I love this website I can sooooo relate to his post on "The Minimalists Guide to Simple Housework". I too can only thrive in an uncluttered, clean house......and loved the tips - which I pretty much have already incorporated into our lives anyways. So hop on over and check out her 'zen habits'. We could all use a little zen.....

There is more to life than increasing its speed. - Gandhi

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Carrot Cookies

These drop cookies have an old-fashioned taste. The difference between these and sugar cookies is the carrots, which give the cookies colourful eye appeal and vitamin A. Its another good way to add extra veggies into a child's diet. Which seems to be the craze right now - disguising veggies into foods. I'm all for pureeing veggies into soups/sauces/cookies etc. as an extra punch to a child's diet. But I'm not for doing this exclusively. I think children need to learn to eat their vegetables and discover which veggies they like and don't like. Us mommies won't always be around them to 'disguise' vegetables into their foods. They need to learn to eat them!!
Here is a recipe that I veganized. It is adapted from the cookbook "Better Baby Food" by Daina Kalnins and Joanne Saab. It is a Canadian Cookbook made for The Hospital For Sick Children. I've sent a batch of these now and again to my son's kindergarden class. The teacher mentions how these 'carrot' cookies always raise a stir amongst his peers. ha ha But the end result is they always get eaten!
1/2 cup vegan margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
egg substitute to equal one egg. (I use flax meal)
1 cup shredded carrots (about 2 medium)
1 1/2 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400 F. With an electric mixer, cream together marg with sugar until light and fluffy. beat in egg substitute and carrots. In another bowl, combine flours , spices, and baking powder. Gradually stir into creamed mixture, blending well after each addition. Drop cookies onto baking sheets, press down with fork. Bake for 15 minutes.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Soy yarn

A yarn made from soy? You betcha. Think about it. Cotton, linen, and flax are vegetable fibers, and they work beautifully in knitted fabrics. So why not try it with an even more abundant crop, soy?
Although it sounds new and revolutionary, the concept of turning soy fiber into wearable clothing has been with us for years. In fact, on South West Trading Company's Web site you'll find a picture of Henry Ford wearing a Soy Silk suit as far back as the 1940s.
Soy Silk is an environmentally friendly fiber made from tofu manufacturing waste. Soy protein is liquefied and then extruded into long, continuous fibers that are then cut and processed like any other spinning fiber.
Soy Silk Phoenix yarn has a knitted tube composition that lies flat like a piece of linguini. It is available in undyed form, which is a supersoft shade of ivory, as well as several dyed forms, all of which have a somewhat rougher hand as a result of the dying process.
When my mother was shopping for yarn she came across some soy yarn and couldn't help but think of me and decided to knit the hat above for my birthday! I'm very pleased with the softness of this hat and the colours! Thank you mommy dearest!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Vegan Cooking/Lifestyle Class

I attended my first cooking class! And it was vegan to boot! I was shocked to see such a class offered here in our city so I took advantage of it. This city doesn't even have one vegetarian restaurant sadly enough. This class was offered at an Independent Grocer - they have a variety of classes offered throughout the year.
I was too shy to take any photos during the evening - but here is the menu we eat that night:

Appetizer - bean dip and black olive tapenade with tofu chips. I've never had any of these items before - very good!

Lentil soup - I've made various lentil soups over the years - but this one will replace all of those! You know what the secret ingredient is??? Minced apricots! It gave the soup a sweetness that made it delicious.

Mixed bean salad over greens - this was your run of the mill type bean salad. Loved it!

Entree - Mango & "Cream Cheese" Quesadillas: These were very good too. I've never considered putting mango into quesadillas but I will definately try it again. Also, I've never tried a soy cream cheese and it was surprisingly good.

Dessert: Chocolate banana mousse: I'm not a fan of banana anything - so I would probably leave out the banana another time. But I loved the consistency of this mousse. Some puddings with tofu taste gritty and/or too much like the soy. This one had none of those problems.

So, all in all, I had a very nice evening! I've never attended any sort of vegan function like this before so I hope to see more of them offered in this city. If anyone would like the recipes for the above mentioned courses, I'd be happy to post them for you.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Clutter Control

I've been busying downsizing our household things - things that we don't use - stuff that could probably make someone else happy. I've sent bags of stuff to various charitable organizations. It feels empowering getting rid of stuff. The saying 'less is more' is definately true!

For next Christmas I'm definately putting a cap on things we buy our kids. It is only mid January and alot of their christmas presents have been forgotten about already. So you know what I did - I packed up what I could and returned a few things to the stores. They didn't play with a couple of presents and I still had the original box/receipts - so why wouldn't I return them? I'm hanging on to the money until I decide what they really might need/want. I'm slowly learning that the less things that these kids have, the more enthusiastic they are about them. When they are given too many choices in what to play with - they end up playing with none of the stuff. OR, everything gets tossed around the room for us mommies to clean up. LOL

I'm really enjoying the 'minimalistic' look/feel to our house now. What do the rest of you do to keep the clutter at bay in your homes?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

My first Vegan wallet!!!

For Christmas - my hubbie gave me this Matt & Nat wallet!! It's awesome! My last wallet was falling apart and as things disengrate I am replacing them with more earth friendly/animal friendly items. In a local store downtown they were selling vegan wallets made by Matt and Nat. which is based in Montreal Quebec.
I should have taken this photo the other way - but if you look at the top right hand corner you will see an inscription. It states:
"choose life choose positivity
choose the golden rule
choose to be at peace with
yourself choos salvation
scegliete di fate una differenza
choose to make a difference
choisissez de faire une difference
choose to be different choose to
be a rebel choose to be funky
choose to be yourself choose
to create a fashion statement"
Gotta love products like this one! Thank you hubbie!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

New Year - Fresh Start

Hey - hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season! We did - I'll be posting another day on some of the eco gifts I received!

Every year over the holidays I 'spring clean' my house. Obviously it is no where near spring here in Northern Ontario but I like to start out every year in an organized & clean house. So far we've been living in small quarters so it has never been a huge ordeal - about one or two days worth. I clean out closets, drawers - you name it. The basement is always the biggest task. Most stuff goes to goodwill but some does end up in the landfill. For the CLEAN part I use good ol' fashioned vinegar and baking soda. What you see above is my staples. The spray bottle is half vinegar/half water with a few drops of tea tree oil. I use that as my all purpose cleaner. Currently for dishes I am using Ecover - it is nice but in the past I have used a canadian brand Nature Clean that I will likely go back to using when the Ecover is finished. For my floors I use hot water with a big douse of vinegar and lavender essential oil. Baking soda with a bit of Ecover is used to scour my sinks and tub.

For our bathroom I use Nature Clean Toliet cleaner. It seems to work well enough but with any all natural cleaner it seems I have to clean the toliet more often then not. I was using Method as my all purpose bathroom cleaner but when it was finished I just filled up the bottle with the half vinegar/half water with essential oil concoction. The tub gets cleaned with the above mentioned baking soda/dish soap paste.

There you have it - a clean house with no toxic chemicals or fumes lingering around! This keeps our indoor air quality clean and most importantly I am not flushing down toxic waste into our precious waterways!