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 http://www.whatsyourdosha.com/. 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' DVD....it 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 start.....so 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 http://www.searchforthecause.org/documents/dirty_dozen.pdf
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.