Top Gift Ideas for the Vegan on your List

Top Gift Ideas for the Vegan on your List

Christmas is coming up fast, and you’re almost done your shopping. But then…you’ve got that person on your list that you dread buying for. A vegan! What do you even buy a vegan for Christmas??

Just relax…and breathe. I’ve compiled a list of some great gift ideas for that veggie on your list. Say goodbye to stress and endless, unsuccessful trips to the mall and happy shopping!

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Vegan Banana Coconut Protein Waffles

Vegan Banana Coconut Protein Waffles

Who doesn’t love a good waffle? Especially one that’s simple, delicious, homemade and vegan??

I’ve become a bit of a waffle addict lately. But who can blame me? Crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy in the middle? Warm and comforting and when you toss in some extra protein then they’re super filling too!

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Sweet Potato, Carrot & Kale Stew

What helps beat those grey & gloomy days....

Bright, warm and comforting stew does! Right?!  This recipe is super simple and full of wonderful veggies. Plus it will keep you feeling nice and warm during those cold winter months.

And if you’ve got an Instant Pot, this stew can be ready in just minutes. But don’t worry if you don’t…I’ve also included stove top instructions too.

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Sweet Potato, Carrot & Kale Stew

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil

  • 1 Onion (white or yellow)

  • 2 Bay leaves

  • 2-3 small Sweet Potatoes

  • 1 white or yellow Potato

  • 2 carrots

  • 1/2 tsp Cumin

  • 1/2 tsp Coriander Powder

  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp Rosemary

  • 1 tsp Turmeric

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp Paprika

  • 3 cloves of garlic

  • 1 can of diced tomatoes

  • 1 can of coconut milk

  • 1 1/2 cans (use your coconut milk can) of Water

  • 1/2 to 1 whole bunch of fresh Kale

  • Fresh Cilantro (optional)

  • Green Onions (optional)


Instructions:

For Instant Pot:

  1. Dice onion. Peel and cube your sweet potato, carrots and potato.

  2. Set your Instant Pot to sauté and add your olive oil.

  3. Add your diced onion along with the bay leaves to the warmed oil. Cook until onions are transcluent and make sure to stir regularly so the onions don't burn.

  4. Add the sweet potatoes, carrots, potato, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, salt, rosemary, garlic and paprika and stir well. Continue to cook for about 1 minute.

  5. Next add your diced tomato, coconut milk and water and stir well.  Continue to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  6. Cancel the sauté setting and set your Instant Pot to Manual.  Use the + or - to set the time to 6 minutes.

  7. Place the lid on your Instant Pot and lock in place. Turn the steam release knob to the sealed position.

  8. Once the cooking time has finished, let your pot sit for 10 minutes without releasing the pressure.  You can simply turn your pot off and wait. 

  9. While you are waiting, wash and de-stem your kale.  You can either chop or tear the leaves into bite sized pieces.

  10. After the 10 minutes, do a quick release by turning the release know to the vent position.  Watch out...it will be hot!

  11. Next, add your kale and fold it into the stew. As you are combining it, break up some of the potato and sweet potato to thicken the stew to your liking. 

  12. Let the stew rest for a few minutes to allow the kale to wilt. 

  13. Top with fresh cilantro and sliced green onions if you like. And then serve and enjoy!


For Stove Top:

The instructions will be pretty similar to the Instant Pot version.  You'll just be cooking everything in a large pot instead.

  1. Dice onion. Peel and cube your sweet potato, carrots and potato.

  2. Add olive oil to a large pot and place on your stove and set the burner to medium.

  3. Add your diced onion along with the bay leaves to the warmed oil. Cook until onions are transcluent and make sure to stir regularly so the onions don't burn.

  4. Add the sweet potatoes, carrots, potato, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, salt, rosemary, garlic and paprika and stir well. Continue to cook for about 1 minute.

  5. Next add your diced tomato, coconut milk and water and stir well.  

  6. Cover your stew and on medium-low for 25-40 minutes The time will be dependent on how small or large your cubed veggies are.  Continue to cook until your sweet potatoes are soft and your carrots are fork tender. Stir occasionally.

  7. While you are waiting, wash and de-stem your kale.  You can either chop or tear the leaves into bite sized pieces.

  8. Once your stew is done and your carrots, sweet potato and potato are soft, you can turn off your burner.

  9. Next, add your kale and fold it into the stew. As you are combining it, break up some of the potato and sweet potato to thicken the stew to your liking. 

  10. Let the stew rest for a few minutes to allow the kale to wilt. 

  11. Top with fresh cilantro and sliced green onions if you like. And then serve and enjoy!

Recipe inspiration from Simply Happy Foodie

Vegan Sloppy Joes with Herbed Green Beans & Cherry Tomatoes

Not sure what to make for supper?  Why not try a delicious twist on an old family favorite! They're messy, super tasty and you won't even miss the meat.

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Ingredients:

Sloppy Joe Mix

  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 4-6 buns (Kaiser or any crusty roll)

Green Beans & Cherry Tomatoes

  • 1 lb green beans
  • 1/4 lb cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar

Instructions:

  1. Rinse and drain lentils. Mince 1/2 of onion and slice other 1/2 for serving.  Peel & mince garlic. Peel and shred carrot.  Dice green pepper.  Wash and slice tomatoes in half.  Clean green beans and trim off ends.

  2. In small sauce pan add 2 cups of water and rinsed lentils and heat over medium-high heat.  Bring to a low boil and reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered or about 18-22 minutes or until tender.  

  3. Meanwhile in a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp of oil over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic, carrot & pepper and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Sautee for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently until the peppers and onions are tender and slightly browned.

  4. Next stir in tomato sauce, molasses, soy sauce (or tamari) and Sloppy Joe spices.  Once lentils are cooked, add them to the skillet and stir until combined.

  5. Continue to simmer the mixture over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes until warmed through and thick.  Stir occasionally.  If mixture gets too thick, add in some water 1/4 cup at a time to reach desired thickness.

  6. While the Sloppy Joe mixture simmers, prepare your green beans & tomatoes. In a medium skillet add 1 tbsp of oil and heat on medium.  Add in green beans, season with a pinch of salt and pepper and stir to combine.  Add 1/4 cup of water and cover skillet.  Let green beans steam for 5-7 minutes until almost fully cooked. Next stir in green bean/tomato spices and stir well to combine.  Then add in tomatoes and cook uncovered for 3-5 minutes until tomatoes are warm but not mushy.  Then get ready to eat!

Pile your Sloppy Joe mix on to toasted buns, top with onion slices and serve with a side of flavorful green beans & tomatoes!  Grab a napkin and dig in!

 

Recipe inspiration from Minimalist Baker.

How I Became Vegetarian

Wow, I can't believe I just said that out loud.  Up until now I had just not been eating meat, but I think it's safe to say:

 I. am.Vegetarian.

So how the heck did that happen? Well, it's been a culmination of factors....so let's go back to the beginning.  As a kid I was never a big meat eater.  I would have a bit, but I much preferred fruits and vegetables.  I remember my mom saying that when she was pregnant with me all she wanted was fresh fruits and veggies.  So who knows, maybe it's genetic.

Then time passes....a whole lotta time.  Fast forward a whole lot of crappy food, illnesses and life struggles and that brings us up to a couple years ago.  We had Netflix and a whole whack of awesome documentaries.  I watched so many on so many different topics, but I was really drawn to food and health related films like Fat, Sick & Nearly DeadSupersize Me,  Farmegeddon, and Vegucated to name a few.

That's when I really started questioning my meat eating habit. What were the health consequences? How was this impacting the planet? How could I love animals and eat them? 

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So I would decrease my meat intake or avoid it all together for short periods of time.  But I always got sucked back in by those delicious tastes and smells.  Trying to avoid meat while still cooking and preparing it for 3 other people was torture.  We would do meatless Monday and I would sneak tofu into my family's favourite dishes to decrease our meat consumption.  But who was I kidding,  I was still a carnivore, even if it was just 6 days a week instead of 7.

OK, so let's fast forward a little more to September 16, 2015.  I was super excited to see Cowspiracy was now on Netflix.  So I cuddled on the couch with the dogs and watched and learned.  I was surprised, shocked, angered and dumbfounded by what was revealed in this film.  In no uncertain terms, eating meat was destroying the planet.  But I think what the last straw was for me was when the film maker went to visit a backyard farm and witness a duck being slaughtered.  This little duck was happy, healthyand having a wonderful life in this man's yard.  That was until it was his turn on the chopping block.  I couldn't watch...I knew this poor duck's fate and couldn't bare to see it.  This coming from a girl who used to ask for roast duck for her birthday dinner.  After that graphic scene there was a brief moment with the film maker showing how disturbed he was witnessing that duck's slaughter and he said something along the lines of "If I can't kill it myself then I shouldn't eat it."

And that truly stuck with me. I am not a killer. There's no way I could do it so I think it's completely unfair for me to have someone else do my dirty work.  Not too mention what animal farming is doing our environment and our health.  I saw no other option than to stop eating meat.

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Every time I see a piece of meat in the store or on someone's plate, all I can see is that cute little animal looking back at me.  A duck is no different than a chicken, pig or a dog.  I couldn't possible think of eating one of our beloved pets so how could I eat any other animal? They are all living beings with feeling and souls and should be treated with love and respect. 

You may think I'm some wacko or weirdo and that's fine. I'm not hurting anyone by not eating meat. 

In fact, I might just be saving them.

5 Minute Rainbow Salad

Nothing helps chase away the blah's like a bright and fresh salad.  This Rainbow Salad is super easy & nutritious and takes about 5 minutes to put together!

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5 Minute Rainbow Salad

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Avocado
  • 1/2 Mango
  • 1 cup of Kale (washed and torn into bite size pieces)
  • 2 cups of Romaine (washed and torn into bite size pieces)
  • 1 cup Red Cabbage (sliced into bit size pieces)
  • 1 Lime
  • 1/4 cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • Salt & Pepper  

Instructions:

This is a ridiculously easy salad to make.  Place your washed and torn greens onto your plate.  Top with your sliced cabbage. Add your Avocado (pitted and sliced) and your Mango (peeled and diced).  If your lime is really juicy you may only want to use half, but if it's not then use the whole thing. Squeeze your lime over top of everything.  Add a little fresh ground salt & pepper to taste and sprinkle your pumpkin seeds over top! 

Then dig in! 

This salad so tasty and full of lovely colours, it will fill you up and perk you up at the same time! Want to see more of my yummy recipes - check me out on Pinterest!

Cheers,

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Meatless Monday Inspiration: Totally Tempeh

It's a snowy Monday and I am at a loss on what to make for supper tonight.  Our homestead tries to practice Meatless Monday each week in an effort to be healthier and more mindful.  But I am drawing a blank today on what to make.  Staring at the package of Tempeh in my fridge, I thought I would do a little Pinterest searching for some meatless inspiration.  Thinking one of these lovely dishes fits the bill, the only question now is...which one to make?

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Sticky Orange Tempeh from the Hungry Hungry Hippie


Cozy Collards & Tempeh from the Post Punk Kitchen


Jamaican Jerk Tempeh Wraps

Tempeh Sloppy Joes from  the Bakeaholic Mama

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Tempeh Lentil Meatballs from Pragmatic Attic

Looking for a some meatless meal ideas?  Check out my Vegan Recipe board for more awesome recipes!

Cheers,

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Warming Up with Meatless Monday

It's pretty frosty here, the temperature is plunging, the roads are icy and the schools are closed.  And I for one, am not going anywhere.  Instead I'm cooking up a super simple, warm & nutritious dinner in my trusty crockpot.  How about a little Spiced Chickpea, Squash & Bean Stew with a side of Socca?  Just the thing to warm up with after shovelling snow! Here's my twist on a recipe I found from Eat, Live, Run.

Spiced Chickpea, Squash & Bean Stew

Ingredients:
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive or canola oil
1 large carrot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2-3 tsp Garam Masala
1 butternut squash (about 3 lbs–average sized), peeled and chopped
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
1 quart vegetable broth
1 cup dried beans (navy, romano, whatever you have. I used a 3 bean combo of mung, adzuki & lentils)
1 15-oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 can of black beans, drained & rinsed (or use more chickpeas or another bean in the pantry)
1-2 tsp sea salt (to taste)
fresh minced cilantro (optional)

Instructions:
Heat the oil in a large pan on medium high heat. Add the onion, carrot and jalapeno and saute for about six minutes or until onions are translucent.  Add the minced garlic and saute for 30 more seconds, and then add the garam masala, stirring well to coat. Remove from  heat.

Place the chickpeas, butternut squash, canned diced tomatoes, beans, vegetable broth and onion mixture in your slow cooker. Turn the heat on low and cook for 8-10 hours…the longer it cooks, the stewy-er it will be!  Season with sea salt to taste and serve with minced cilantro on top.Would be lovely with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt too!

Too late for the slow cooker? This recipe can easily be modified for stove top cooking.  Instead of sauteing onion, carrot & jalapeno in a pan, instead use a large pot.  Then add the rest of your ingredients to the pot and cook.  Bring to bubbling, then turn down heat and simmer on low for a couple hours until squash is nice and tender and your stew is thick.  Piece of cake!

I will be serving this hearty stew with some homemade Socca.  What's Socca?  Socca is a traditional dish from Nice, France made from chickpea flour.  The crispy-edged and pancake-thin slices have a sweet and nutty flavor of chickpea, but they're also a little smoky from some time under the broiler. And the best part is they are gluten-free & vegan.  Sweet!
http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-socca-a-naturally-gluten-free-chickpea-flatbread-169513

So I'm whipping up a quick batch tonight for dipping and scooping this lovely stew.  Try this easy Socca recipe from The Kitchn and let me know what you think!

Cheers,
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Foodie Friday: Meatless Mexican Stuffed Peppers

In an effort to keep up with my New Year's Resolution I thought I would share with you a family favourite dinner recipe that's easy to make and tastes great.  I'm working on cutting down on the amount of meat I eat so I took a the classic Stuffed Pepper recipe and made it Vegan.  The best part is you can easily change up this recipe with what you have on hand; make it spicier or milder or cheesier. It's all up to you!



Meatless Mexican Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:
1/2  cup uncooked rice
1/2 can of black beans
1 small onion - diced
1 tomato - diced
2 garlic cloves - minced
4 whole green peppers - medium to large
1/4 cup corn niblets (optional)
1/2 cup tomato sauce (optional - if not using double the salsa)
1/2 cup salsa
1/4 Nutritional Yeast or Vegan Cheese (optional)
1-2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil, grape seed oil or coconut oil

Instructions:

Cook your rice according to the instructions and set aside.  While rice is cooking, wash your peppers thoroughly.  Slice the tops off as close to the stem as you can and remove the seeds.  Remove the stems from the top and dice up the tops and set aside.  These will go in your stuffing.  Add the peppers, onion, tomato, garlic, chili powder, cumin and oil to a medium sized fry pan.  Sautee on medium heat until onions are softened. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove pan from heat and stir in Nutritional yeast/ vegan cheese, salsa and tomato sauce and rice.  Stir until everything is nicely mixed together.  Then it's time to stuff those peppers!  Fill each pepper with the mixture and place in a baking pan.  I use a glass one with a lid for baking.  But you can always just cover them in foil instead.  Place in the oven for about 30-40 minutes or until peppers are tender.

Remove from the oven and  top with extra vegan cheese if desired.  Or maybe a little guacamole or sour cream too!  Serve them with a salad and a couple nacho chips and you've got a delicious, vegan stuffed pepper that everyone will enjoy!  Oh yeah...and it's good for you too!
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Gluten-Free on the Run; Review of Organic Works Grab & Go Items

It's a busy weekend as usual!  You've got dance class, birthday parties, grocery store and family visits.  And lugging the kids from place to place and store to store with hardly any time to breathe, let alone grab a healthy lunch on the go.  And top it off, you've got some allergies and dietary restrictions mixed in...so what do you do? You gotta eat something!

Well, Organic Works Bakery has an entire Grab & Go section.  Hallelujah!  With ample parking and a central location, it was so easy to pop in and grab a couple things for me and the kids.  A Turkey and Swiss Wrap with homemade fig jam for the husband and kids.  And some Vegan Quiche and a Seaweed Noodle Salad with Peanut-less Peanut Sauce for me.  Don't forget the Raspberry Chocolate and Key-Lime Hemp Muffins for dessert!


What a lifesaver!  No more worrying about what to feed the kids or where I can eat with all my allergies and dietary restrictions. Organic Works Bakery is completely gluten-free and nut-free and has a wide variety of vegan, vegetarian and meat dishes.  So it wasn't hard to find something for everyone in the family.

A quick stop home to drop off the groceries and eat our Grab & Go before we were out to tackle the rest of the weekend. The kids and husband loved the gluten-free wrap.  My Vegan Quiche was savoury and flavourful with a nice creamy texture and  the Seaweed noodle salad was out of this world!  Ummm, Peanut-less Peanut dressing...AMAZING!

With our bellies full of delicious and nutritious, real food we were back on the road and off on more adventures!

And our only thing left to worry about was who would get the last muffin!

So next time when you're tight for time and looking for a quick bite, but you don't want to sacrifice taste or nutrition, check out Organic Works Bakery.  There's something for everyone and every taste!
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Disclaimer: I am a Brand Ambassador for Organic Works Bakery and was provided these items free of charge for the purposes of this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.