Sunday, 16 June 2013

Freezing Fruit... and Other Stuff!

It is still surprisingly cool here in Southern Ontario. The vegetable garden is begrudgingly rooting but certainly no signs of new growth. So, while we will wait a bit longer to enjoy local delights, things seem to be chugging along on schedule for our neighbours to the south. Brought home a flurry of inspiration from the produce mart yesterday, including cherries, asparagus and arugula. 

Good thing I thought to freeze some cherries, because my bowl is already empty. I love freezing fruit (and I absolutely cannot STOP eating frozen bananas)!

Penny-wise tip: With the exception of strawberries (and special occasions), I seldom buy fresh berries. Instead, I stock up when the frozen fruit goes on sale. Most brands have blueberry and raspberry as separate options. Packages are 600 grams (1.3 pounds) and a typical sales price is $4 (though this week I got them for $3!) This is a considerable savings over the fresh ones. I just wish more of the brands were using recyclable packaging... so far I have only found one brand that does - Europe's Best bags are a #7 for recycling. Unfortunately, their products are packaged in China, so they carry a larger footprint. Favourite blend for smoothies is the organic line at Goodness Me (grrr, I can't remember the name) - they have a blend that includes cherries and mangoes or peaches which is spectacular! 

Bananas





I like to wait until the bananas have a really good "freckle" before they go into their frozen slumber. Then peel and slice into desired lengths and freeze. After about 2 hours, they should be frozen solid & can be transferred to Tupperware.



Grapes




Wash, dry well, remove stems and freeze in single layers on trays.



























Friday, 14 June 2013

A word of encouragement for the "newbies"

From a fellow newbie, of course! While I have not even had my one year veganniversary yet, I am finding my voice finally. For the first several months, I was completely incapable of talking about veganism, because I was so wrought with guilt, sadness and horror by all that I was learning and seeing. I recently exchanged consolations with a new vegan which I thought I would share in case any one ever reads this silly little blog of mine (it's so obscure,more of a blig, really)...

"It will comfort you to learn that these feelings are VERY common, especially among ethical vegans (meaning, those folks who turn to veganism mainly for ethical and compassionate reasons). The sad fact is, not every person on this planet is willing (or capable) of seeing the truth with which we have scarred our very hearts. If you are crying a lot, if you feel completely alone and isolated, if you feel that it is so enormous that your impact is trivial and worthless, if you are crushed by the guilt of all the years you were contributing to the suffering of animals, then I can reassure you that these moments will soften with time. I didn't make the connection until I was in my early 40s, and feel so ashamed that I did not make this stand decades ago  As long as you stay true to YOUR heart, you will find your path and your happiness. Another new thing is that you will, unfortunately, find a lot of hot headed abolitionists within the vegan community.. heck, you may even become one yourself  Just know that, if this is not your preference, there are many peaceful vegans as well." 
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We've got your back, kid!









Monday, 10 June 2013

Heroes


David Suzuki
























Captain Paul Watson & Sea Shepherd
























Will Tuttle 

"We terrorize millions of vulnerable and defenceless animals daily with painful shockings, beatings, brandings, debeakings, castrations, ear notchings, nose bashings, and by forcing them to watch the killing of other animals before they are killed.
As we terrorize so we increasingly fear the shadow of terrorism, and we pour billions of dollars into campaigns to 'prevent terrorism'.
We steal from and deceive animals on a massive scale: we steal their babies, their bodies, their milk, their eggs, their honey and their lives, and we deceive them with hooks, lures, nets and slaughterhouse tunnels.
We find that we live in a society increasingly rife with deceit and theft, where predatory capitalism and sophisticated advertising work together to create a climate that legitimises deceit in the name of profit, and fraudulent cunning in the name of return on investment." 











Thursday, 30 May 2013

For the Animals


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06.09.2013 
Edgar's Mission - Herbie's Struggle to Survive


Many of us have very recently heard about Herbie, a young sheep rescued but a few days ago (June 6th).When Herbie was rescued from a roadside, where he had surely been tossed and left to die, he was freshly shorn, critically underweight and unable to stand. Sadly, this poor old soul has found greener pastures, but none on this earth. Rest in Peace, sweet Herbie - you were loved ♥




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05.30.2013

While I appreciate the health and environmental benefits, my commitment to veganism is almost entirely motivated by my love and compassion for animals. In this thread, I would like to compile mementos and other "soup for the soul" items for inspiration as well as to honour our animal cousins. 

05/30/2013 Lucas

This lovely card arrived in my mailbox this week, from the Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary. I have been gazing at it ever since, what a sweetie pie, Lucas is ♥





Shopping Sprees

06.10.2013
Cruelty-Free and Effective Deodorant? The quest continues...

So, initially, I went with the Crystal roll-on, back in January. As summer rolls in, it is rolling out ;) Time to look for a better substitute, that aluminium antiperspirant is a tough act to follow!

I have purchased a few items from Green Beaver through Well.ca (a facial cream, which I seldom use, and some lip balm). They are a Canadian company, mostly or solely organic, I believe. Just discovered they also have a deodorant line, will keep an eye out for a Green Beaver sale!






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05.30.2013
When it comes to walking around the mall, I am not a fan of shopping (in fact, I honestly can't remember the last time I walked through a mall!) But online shopping? ... where do I sign? This thread is dedicated to my every-growing list of favourite online shopping sites and will have items that are vegan, sustainable, eco-friendly and whenever possible, are Canadian :)

My youngest nephew turns 10 in a few weeks and he would like his first wallet. I immediately thought HEMP and went on my search. I came across this company in B.C. and ended up getting a couple neat things for myself too (and/or future gifts).

Nephew's wallet:















Bamboo sporks!




















And, while I have eliminated the need for plastic produce bags, I still find that I need a couple plastic storage bags (for greens and celery, primarily). I use giant tupperware tubs too, but it doesn't take many to fill up the fridge, so having space-saver options is a plus. I am hoping these bags work out (I tried a different brand and my celery went completely limp & rubbery).


















And how clever are these!?  Grow A Note Cards!

These grow a note cards define the meaning of reduce/reuse/and recycle. Each card is lovingly crafted and designed, and with paper that contains wildflower seeds. The recipient can read thier message, and then plant the card back into the earth and enjoy natures wildflowers. They have 3 different seeds (and images) to choose from, I opted for poppies : )





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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

For the LOVE of Sprouts

Sprouting

... is quite inexpensive and a lot of fun! I recently purchased a Sproutman Sprout bag from my local Health Food Store.














While I was there, I picked up a couple of incredibly overpriced starter seeds. Both batches worked well (one was alfalfa, for which Sproutman bags are not ideal), so I was quickly scouring the web for local, organic, bulk sprouting seeds. I came across this fantastic company in Ontario. I purchased 2 of their mixtures:


Bean Mix -1kg ($8.20)
Ancient Blend -1kg ($10.35)

Yesterday, I started a batch of the Bean Mix. The sprouting seeds should be rinsed and then pre-soaked for 8 hours. For this size bag, Sproutman recommends sprouting 1/2 cup seeds per batch.







First, you "sterilize" the bag by soaking it in boiling water for 5+ minutes. Add the soaked seeds, give them a good rinse to ensure everything is saturated, then hang up and allow to drip freely.

We already have wee sprouts after the first 24 hours:



Day 2:

Day 3:
Thinking these are good to go (already snarfed a couple big pinches, yummy)... but I've given them one more soak. Tomorrow morning I will put them in the fridge in a sealed container. They will keep for several days although it's not difficult to gobble them up in a day or two!


Day 4 (out of the sprout bag and into the fridge!):
                   











Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Food, Food, Food!

I didn't reach my highest weight because I had an aversion to food. Since I became vegan, I have totally revisited my love affair with food (to the tune of 20#)! In this thread, I will share some of my favourite vegan fare, nom nom!


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06.09.2013

GBOMBS - Asian style

3 packages of white button mushrooms held centre stage for the second week in a row!


In this dish, they hang out in a beefy broth along with their cousins Vidalia Onion, whole garlic cloves, carrots, broccoli and kale. Rice vermicelli joins the after party which is perked up by a generous drizzle of Sriracha sauce.


Ingredients:

1 large Vidalia onion, cut in thick wedges
8-10 small cloves of garlic, whole
1 large carrot, cut in diagonal chunks
3 packages white button mushroom
1 large green bell pepper, large chunks
1/2 bunch of broccoli (1 medium sized crown)
1/2 bunch bok choy or curly kale, chopped

1/3 package rice vermicelli noodles


1/2 vegan beef bouillon cube, dissolved in 12 oz boiling water

1 T dark Miso paste
4 T Bragg's Liquid Amino Acids
1 whole dried red hot pepper (jalapeno size)
1 T sesame oil
2 T cider vinegar
1 T agave
1-2 T Sriracha sauce (to taste)



Method:



Heat onions, carrots and broccoli stalks in large, covered non-stick skillet until softened. 













Add broth, miso, Bragg's, green peppers, mushrooms,hot pepper and garlic. Simmer for another 3-5 minutes. 



















Meanwhile, bring kettle to boil and submerse rice noodles in boiling water for 5 minutes, Drain and hold in cold water (if needed).







Add broccoli to other veggies in skillet, simmer 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat, toss in pre-soaked rice noodles* and greens. 









Let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Stir in sweet/sour/spicy to taste (agave,  vinegar & Sriracha)





Brighten up left-overs with a splash of vinegar & hot sauce.


Have fun! But most importantly, remember to remove that chili pepper! I forgot and took 3 solid chews into mine... once I realized what I was gnawing on, I swallowed it whole. Believe me, light vanilla soy milk is a good thing to have COLD and on hand!




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Not sure what to call this creation... all these recent thoughts about GBOMBS got me craving mushrooms something fierce! I picked up 2 packs of white button mushrooms and thought I would also be adventurous and try Enoki mushrooms: 
I also picked up some celeriac, which I have been meaning to try. The end result:
Beefy Mushrooms and Spinach
1 large vidalia onion, thickly sliced
5-6 cloves garlic, sliced
2 packs white button mushrooms, sliced
1 package Enoki mushrooms roughly chopped
1 knob celeriac, cut into large match sticks
1/2 vegan "beef" bouillon cube, dissolved in 12 oz. boiling water
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
black pepper to taste
1 bunch spinach(chopped)
2 tblsp balsamic vinegar
Sweat the onions in a large covered skillet until soft and translucent. Add garlic, mushrooms, celeriac, broth and seasoning. Continue to cook until mushrooms are cooked (celeriac should be "al dente"). Turn off the heat, add spinach and toss through... leave covered for a couple of minutes to wilt the spinach. Add balsamic vinegar and serve.
Serve over a bed of green lentils and top with sprouts! Boom, Boom - GBOMBS!
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So, I made a salad a couple days ago. It is kale based, so it has kept very well. I am trying to remember everything I did because I would really love to make this again. Hopefully, I can remember more details, and update this post later. For now, want to get it down before I lose any more!
Massaged Kale Salad
1 bunch kale (chopped)
1 - 2 tsp salt
1 large carrot (shredded)
2 stalks celery (shredded)
1 English cucumber (sliced)
1 large beet (shredded)
1 large red pepper, quartered and thinly sliced
juice from 1 lime & 1/2 lemon (2-3 tblsp)
white wine vinegar
nutritional yeast flakes
chilli flakes
Massage kale & salt in a large bowl until kale shrinks & is brightly coloured
Add carrots, celery, cucumber * lemon lime juice... Toss well.
Add beet, red pepper, nooch & red pepper flakes + enough vinegar to get everybody wet.
Keeps for 4 days
Serve in a nest of lettuce, dandelion or other green.
Top with beans and a drizzle of tahini
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Oat Milk
I followed this recipe from Oh She Glows - first time I have ever had oat milk, and the first time I have ever made my own plant based milk. It was very easy to make and was kind of fun. You don't need a nut-milk bag or cheesecloth, just a fine sieve. ! cup of steel cut oats yields 3 cups of milk, making it very economical! 
Here are the stages: 
I soaked my oats for 8 hours. Here they are after their Oat slime bath : ) 













After a whirl in the blender, a few strains and the final pour:


The milk has a creamy texture, likely from the starchy oats. A light hint of vanilla and sweetener make this a winner in my books! For my second batch, I threw in about 2 T of cacao nibs, and used 1 tsp Stevia as I was out of maple syrup. Still yummy!

Next time, I might try this recipe, from One Green Planet!


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Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oatmeal

Server 5-6


Steel cut oats use a 4:1 liquid to oats ratio. You can use any combination with the liquid water, soy milk, almond milk, milk all work


Ingredients

1 cups Steel cut oats 
2 cups Water 
2 cups Milk (non-dairy, of course ;) ) 
1 to 2 Apples, peeled & chopped (optional) 
1 tsp. Kosher salt 
1 tbs. Cinnamon 
1 Star anise (optional) 

Method

Put all ingredients in a slow cooker
Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or 4 hours on high
Serve with plant-based milk (I used home-made oat milk) to reach desired consistency. Add more cinnamon if desired. Top with fruit compote. Yumm!

Fruit Compote

Makes about 1 cup















Ingredients


10 ounces frozen berries

1 teaspoon fresh orange or lemon juice
1 teaspoon orange or lemon zest
2 T water
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
dash of cinnamon
Stevia

Method

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes, until fruit breaks down. Add 1/4 tsp Guar Gum and 1/4-1/2 tsp powdered Stevia (to taste), cook, stirring until thickened. Remove from heat.

Today on Facebook

Collection of posts from FB that I wanted to save & share ♥


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06.10.2013
Love this picture :)


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05.28.2013One of these things IS like the others... and like US!
Please practice kindness with your fork. Blessings ♥




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05.28.2013
First item in FB news feed this morning ♥



Jo-Anne McArthur's The Ghosts In Our Machine



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05.28.2013
This 3 minute video shows nothing graphic, but it does capture the last moments of two of God's beautiful, innocent creatures. There is no comfort for these animals, not even at the end. 

Uploaded on 29 May 2009
Animals are sentient and do know they are going to die. You can see how this one cow just don't want to go in there because he knows death awaits him. How heartbreaking.



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05.28.2013
On the way OUT of FB:

Dear McDonalds, you might want to rethink your latest campaign; Conveyor belts of headless chicken carcasses don't make your McNuggets any more appealing.

Dear Facebook, you might want to rethink the use of this ad!






Monday, 27 May 2013

Time to make like a pea and S*N*A*P out of it!

05.27.2013
Feeling very ill. Have been completely consumed by carbs (mainly sugars) and fats. Completely bloated, distended and feeling quite poorly. Someone peaked my curiosity about Dr. Esselstyn and I quickly took to his recommendation of oats every day. 

So, here is my strategy...

2/3 cup of Quick Oats = 80% daily recommended fibre, 8 grams of protein and 240 calories. Add to this 1 tblsp each: hemp, chia and flax seeds (process through grinder). So, while he doesn't like smoothies because the fibre is so masticated, it doesn't really count, we've definitely got fibre covered!

But, in lieu of smoothies, I am happy to make a sturdy leafy green based salad (such as massaged kale, which I will post later) to form the "nest" of lunch and dinner. Bring in Dr. Furhman's GBOMBS and the day looks something like this:

Breakfast:
Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats with Frozen Berry Compote

Lunch:
Base Salad + Pulses (Beans)
     (i.e. Massaged Kale Salad with Lentils & Tahini)

Dinner:
Base Salad + Onions, Mushrooms sautéed in vegan broth

*GBOMBS = Greens, Beans, Onions (includes garlic, leeks, shallots), Mushrooms, Berries & Seeds

As much as I love Dr. McDougall, I plans on avoiding any carb triggers like starchy veg or fruit, grains, rice, flour, etc. for now.

Tonight, I'm making Slow Cooker Apple & Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats for tomorrow's breakfast.