Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Cashew spread

I made this garden herb spreadable "cheese" this week and it is fantastic! You wouldn't guess that it is soy free and cashew based. Its delicious spread on bagels like cream cheese...a great breakfast option for me since I avoid soy in the morning and therefore can't use the Tofutti cream chrese. I've also used it as a salad dressing and mixed it into pasta sauce....yum!

Here is the link:

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Baby Ian is here!

After 9 long months (and then some), my handsome baby boy, Ian Robert, is here! We did not know the gender before hand so it was such a treat to find out. Pretty much everyone I know either thought it was a girl or wanted it to be a girl, but there can be no disappointment for this precious gift we've been given. My labour did not go the way I wanted and I ended up with an emergency C-section to get him out safely, but it doesn't matter anymore.

We will be subsisting on frozen meals I made before Ian arrived so I don't know how many food updates I'll have for the next few weeks but here are a couple of things I made in the last week of my pregnancy.

Chocolate Mint Oreo Cupcakes- Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
HUGE fan of having the cookies in the batter :) I made these for my sister's birthday dinner.
 Hot and Sour Soup- La Dolce Vegan
I was missing a few ingredients for this so it was pretty basic...but also very yummy and quick, which is great when you can only stand for ten minutes at a time ;)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Bad Blogger!

OK, so I wouldn't even identify myself as a "blogger" anymore, maybe just someone who happens to have a blog that is rarely updated? I can't bring myself to shut it down completely, if for no other reason than I often refer to past posts for recipe ideas and things I changed about recipes when I'm cooking.

The past few months have been crazy, with full time work, baby on the way, etc, etc. I have been cooking, but I stopped taking pictures, because most nights it was an accomplishment in itself just to have a home cooked meal, picture or not. I have a few pictures on my camera that I'll post, but I don't remember which recipes they all are!

Baby Vegan is expected any time now. My estimated due date is the end of April but I am now full term and on maternity leave for a year! Youppi! I expect I'll be able to post a birth announcement and then probably go into hiding for a few weeks while hubby and I adjust to new life as parents.

Balsamic Glazed "Chicken" with Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa
I believe both of these recipes came from Pinterest and I just veganized them. Delicious, especially the quinoa!

Mystery Meal: some sort of rice and beans!

Chocolate Chip Bars - How It All Vegan

We are huge fans of hummus. In my second trimester, I was making beans and chickpeas from scratch every Sunday and then making delicious, homemade hummus, from various recipes. I've slacked on this in the last few weeks and we've been buying it.
 Spaghetti and Beanballs- Veganomicon
Pretty good, but I prefer the "meatballs" from La Dolce Vegan. For all the prep these took, I would've preferred to just stir beans into the sauce.

Rice and lentils (probably from Supermarket Vegan)

Boston Cream Pie Cake- Vegan Pie in the Sky

I had a Chapter's gift card and treated myself to this book so I'd have the trifecta (cupcakes, cookies and pie!) This cake pie was delicious! Chocolate pie crust, followed by vanilla cake and a cream layer, topped with ganache. Yum!

Mystery Meal- Orzo and red beans

Strawberry Tarts- Vegan Pie in the Sky
So good! I used frozen premade tart crusts since I had a bunch to use up. These are simple and light, and the coconut whipped topping is great.

Spicy Creamy Kale Pasta- recipe here 

I found this one on Pinterest and will be making it again. It was fantastic, and a great way to sneak in some nuts. I've been making an effort to eat more nuts during the pregnancy, although usually I stick to peanut butter!
Spaghetti Sauce- recipe here
Billy and I went to visit friends of ours with a new baby and we couldn't go empty handed, so we brought some goodies for them. One of them being this spaghetti and "meat sauce". I veganized the recipe by using Tofurky sausages and Yves Ground Round. Soooo good. Billy stole a bowl of it before we brought it over, and I've since made it for his birthday dinner. I'll also be making more this week to freeze for dinners after the baby is born.

Banana Muffins- nothing special, won't be making these again.  Recipe on pinterest somewhere.

Banana Everything Cookies (?)- Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar
Also made for my postpartum friend, since she's a fan of the recipe.

 Grill Cupcakes

Billy recently celebrated his 30th birthday. I wanted to do something super special, but being 37 weeks pregnant at the time, we settled for a house party with our closest friends! The theme was beer and BBQ and I would say Billy got his fill of both! These are just basic chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting, decorated with hot tamales to look like a charcoal grill :) Idea from pinterest, of course!

And made fresh this morning, and destined for the freezer, raisin bran muffins. Literally made with raisin bran cereal. Recipe to come, if I can find it again!

That's it for now!
Send me your positive labour vibes :)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Vegan Pregnancy: Prenatal Vitamins

This may be a boring post if you are not a vegan or pregnant, but if it helps ONE person it will be worth it! I spent hours in the beginning of my pregnancy trying to sort through the vitamin issue and wouldn't wish it upon anyone. So here is what works for me. It has been approved by my doctor and OB/GYN but please consult with your own doctor before starting any type of prenatal vitamin routine.

* Note, I take my vitamins at night with my evening snack. For one, it's easier on my stomach, and two, it gives me the day to make healthy food choices. Then at the end of the day, I can quickly calculate what kinds of foods and nutrients I've had and decide what vitamins I might need. I take my multi and at least one calcium a day, but add or take away based on how I've eaten that day. Example: If I succumbed to junk food a little too often, I might take extra calcium since I didn't have my regular glass of non-dairy milk or cup of coconut yogurt.  I try not to take the attitude of "Oh, I have vitamins, so I should eat whatever I want instead of healthy, beneficial foods." Instead, I look at the vitamins as added extras to my healthy prenatal diet that provides most of the baby's needs on it's own.

Lets start with the basics. Before I was pregnant, I was already taking a folic acid supplement, since we were trying and it is recommended to have this vitamin in your body in the beginning stages of pregnancy. However, once I found out I was pregnant, I tried to order vegan prenatals. There are actually quite a few vegan prenatal multivitamins available...if you live in the US. I tried ordering them and got a message saying they would not ship them to me in Canada. Which is why I take so many different vitamins now. So any Canadian vegans out there, if you've figured out a way around this or I missed something...let me know!

Anyways, after figuring out that I would not be able to order a vegan prenatal multi, I did some research. I continued with my regular multivitamin. The reason why health care providers want you to switch from a regular to a prenatal is so that you are getting quantities of vitamins and supplements that are more suitable for pregnant women. One of these vitamins is vitamin A. In large quantities, the animal form of vitamin A can be harmful to a fetus. Well, I was already taking a vegan multi, so no worries there.

The vegan multi I use is Sisu Supreme Multivitamin. Sisu makes a prenatal vitamin but it contains animal sourced D3.

Next, I needed a vegan source of D3, which luckily I already knew about since I take it for my thyroid (I have an underactive thyroid). Global Trax makes a vegan D3 available in spray or capsule form. Vitamin D will also be helpful in warding off the flu this season! I plan on switching to the spray form once Baby arrives so that I can also give it to Baby.

For extra iron (more so now than in the first trimester), I take Floravit liquid supplement. It tastes like metallic prune juice but it's not too bad. I heard that liquid supplements were easier on your digestive system which is why I didn't go with a tablet. My hemoglobin levels were high at my last blood test, so this is really just a precaution. I usually only take it every other day or so, until the doctor tells me to step it up.

For calcium, I use Sisu's Maxi Cal tablet. Each tablet contains 300 mg of calcium (approx a third of your daily need, although they recommend more when pregnant). I like that I can choose how much to take in a day depending on what I've eaten that day. These are my least favourite of the vitamins, just because of the size of them.
And for proper brain development for Baby, I take a vegan DHA supplement (omega 3s). These will be especially important during the third trimester for baby's development. Again, I use my judgement on how often I take these, depending on if I've add other healthy fats like nuts that day.  
Other vitamins I take on occasion: 
A zinc tablet once a week

I have stopped taking the separate folic acid, simply because it's in my daily multi and I know that I get more than enough just from the food I eat (I average 8-12 servings of produce a day!) 

One challenge I've been dealing with is how all of these vitamins and certain foods interact with my thyroid medication. I take my thyroid pill in the morning, and am not supposed to ingest large amounts of calcium or soy or any supplement within four hours. This makes it difficult for breakfast when I want cereal with almond or soy milk. I occasionally use coconut milk since it's the only non dairy beverage I can find that is not enriched with calcium. 
Soy foods are limited to late afternoon/evening meals. 

If you have a thyroid problem and want to become pregnant, talk to your doctor. My previous family doctor did not tell me that if I wanted to start a family I should be on a higher dose of thyroid meds (which is probably why it took us upwards of a year to conceive). I've also had to up my dosage 25% as your thyroid hormone needs elevate during pregnancy. 

What does a pregnant vegan eat?

 Whatever she wants!

I'm in a pretty good place right now, as far as life balancing goes. Between work, appointments, friends, family and the approaching holidays, I am still managing to get some me time and some cooking done! I think my nesting phase is starting slowly but surely (organizing cupboards and closets).

Vegetable Lasagna- Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Foods

This lasagna is layers of noodles, sauce, tofu ricotta, spinach, zucchini, carrots and cheese. I also threw in Yves ground round to the sauce for Billy. It was delicious! I had mine with a side of lemon garlic kale. Billy did not...more for me and the baby!

 Chocolate Candy Cane Ice Cream- A Vegan Ice Cream Paradise

 The flavour of this ice cream (recipe here) was great. I loved the little chunks of candy cane. The texture was not my favourite. I think it was my error and not the recipe's because I've made similar recipe's before without the problem. It was just too soft, and even after days in the freezer it was melting within seconds of being served. However, it was still a nice holiday flavoured treat!

Split Pea Soup-The Vegan Table

I liked this soup. Very comforting. Nothing spectacular in terms of split pea soup but delicious and filling. I liked that there is no sauteeing of the veggies first. You just throw all the ingredients in the pot and simmer, which makes it a great soup to make in the slow cooker as well. I'll be making a few batches in my slow cooker to freeze before Baby arrives.

I served the soup with homemade French bread using this recipe. The dough mixed and rose in my breadmaker and then all I had to do was roll it out, let it rise again and bake. There is nothing better than fresh baked bread!!  I'd also like to make a few of these and freeze them.

Santa's Favourite Christmas Bread- La Dolce Vegan

And for my weekend baking, I made this delicious loaf. It's like banana bread but also has walnuts, coconut, oranges and chocolate chips. It also called for dried cherries but I didn't see any at the store and didn't want to make a separate trip to Bulk Barn. This is excellent as my afternoon snack with a cup of (decaf) coffee.

I've made a meal plan for the upcoming week but with the holidays around the bend we shall see if I get around to posting!

Sunday, December 02, 2012


This time there's a good reason that I haven't posted in so long...first trimester fatigue!

Billy and I are expecting our first child in late April. We are over the moon and anxiously preparing for the arrival of little Baby Vegan. I have been cooking as much as possible but not taking pictures. Some days its all I can do to throw together something semi-healthy for me and my passenger. Now that I'm into the second trimester my energy levels are much improved, so hopefully I'll be updating with some yummy food soon.

Last night, I made a delicious veggie lasagna from Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food, and tonight I made a simple black bean soup from the same book.

I hope to feature some posts about my vegan pregnancy in the coming months, but be patient with's the holiday season after all :) I'll start by saying that my doctor knows I'm a vegan and has no issue whatsoever with it, especially when she saw my higher-than-average iron levels! So any concerned family members out there...I got this. I'm a smart cookie and would not do anything to harm this precious gift that we have been waiting for for so long.

Lots of love!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

DIY Monday: Gift basket and pillows

 I'm standing as a bridesmaid (matron?) for a dear friend this fall, and I volunteered to make a gift basket for her penny table at the stag and doe, to raise money for her wedding. I had a blast doing it! Next time you need an inexpensive, fun and thoughtful gift for a loved one, consider something like this! I got the basket and containers at Value Village and luckily had most of the supplies on hand from other DIY adventures. I thought I had a picture of the final product with ribbons and all but I guess not, so use your imagination!

Coconut Milk Shampoo
Bath Salts
Chocolate Hand Scrub
Mint Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse
Bath Soak
Bath Fizzies (Not in this picture)

Bath Fizzies

The bath fizzies can be found here. I had everything needed to make the fizzies but did buy a silicone "brownie bite" pan to make these so they would pop out easily without breaking. Plus, now I can make brownie bites ;). The pink ones are grapefruit scented and the green ones are mint.

Chocolate Hand Scrub
I've made this scrub for friends and family in the past and it is always a huge hit so it was a shoe-in for the basket. The recipe is here. I love how simple and yet effective it is.

Bath Soak
This is just a mix of safflower oil and coconut oil, to be poured into bath water for extra moisturizing.

 Reviving Bath Salts
 I loved the container for these with the cute little spoon. It was actually kind of hard to give away! This is very simple to make and I chose mint essential oil as the scent...The recipe is here.

 Homemade Coconut Milk Shampoo
Coconut milk, castile soap, vitamin E oil and essential oil...that easy! If I ever want a break from my baking soda/apple cider vinegar hair routine, I will definitely try this! Check it out here.

 Mint Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse
 Apple cider vinegar makes for a great hair rinse in lieu of conditioner...I love it! This mint variation is lovely and a great way to use up a bunch of fresh mint. Check it out!


 In other DIY happenings...I made pillow covers :) All I have is a portable sewing machine and it was still pretty easy. I used the tutorial here. (This is why I deny being any type of Martha Stewart, I copy everyone else lol). I got throw pillows at Value Village for 3.99 each since Michael's wanted 18$ for a pillow fill (yikes!).

 Icky pre-DIY pillow

Post-DIY Pretty Gray Pillow :)

Savings put me in a kissy mood!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Dear Zeppelin,

I have to admit, when you first came into my life I was a little disappointed. When I signed up to be a foster parent for the cat shelter I had visions of getting a new kitten every few weeks to cuddle with until it got a new home. Instead they gave us you, an adult feral tabby that had been to a "cat whisperer" to adapt to your new life and wouldn't move, paralyzed with fear, for the first few days. I quickly learned the error of my ways.

Even full of fear and distrustful, you couldn't say no to a good head scratching. If we ventured beyond your head however, we quickly got a slap telling us "Don't touch!". But within a few weeks you became the lovable, love-absorbing cat we know you as. Your purring earned you your name and always told me I was scratching just right...

A terrible accident took you from us far too soon but you will be with us forever and I am sorry.

Thank you for being a companion to Logan and for teaching Dill that cats are really the alpha dogs of the pack.

Rest in peace my grey-eyed handsome boy,