WIAW

WIAW: Vegan

March 28, 2012

After posting about my attempt at Meal Planning, this week I have not planned very well. Monday night I hadn’t planned dinner, and found myself frustrated because I decided one thing, and we didn’t have a couple ingredients, then I changed my mind and we still didn’t have an ingredient, so I gave up and made brown rice pasta with pasta sauce from TJ’s and salad. It was ok, and did the job. That’s why I like meal planning, no last minute figuring out, no getting mad, and no eating whatever is at hand even if it’s not the healthiest because, hey, it is the easiest. Once in a while it’s ok, but I’d much rather be prepared, especially when I don’t get home from class until 6/6:30 and have to think about dinner.

The weekend was spent finishing projects and presentations that were due Sunday evening and Monday. Adam and I also went to our nieces first baby shower! It was so beautifully sunny this weekend, that the rain Monday morning was not welcomed. In a way I’d rather have sunny weather on the weekend and save the not-so pleasant weather for during the week when we are all indoors working/at school anyways.

Spring semester is hard because just as the weather is turning nice, finals and exams begin. It’s tough making yourself stay indoors sitting down, studying or writing an essay while the sun is shining through the window, begging you to come out and play. If the rain wants to stick around to help me study that’s fine, but come April 19th, my freedom, I expect a heat wave.

Speaking of indoors, Adam and I hardly ever go out to the movies. We’ve been dating just over two years and have probably seen no more than five movies in the theatre. 2.5 a year. I think I even fell asleep once or twice during the movie. We’d rather watch it at home, warm (I always find movie theatres are freezing) and in our own living room. Even if we do decide to go to a movie we always find ourselves complaining about the people in front of us, knocking their seats into us, the incredibly long and boring previews and commercials they make you watch, and if the movie ends up sucking, you wasted 22$ on it.

Monday night after dinner we went to Wal-Mart to pick up a couple things, like conditioner (even though when we got home I accidentally bought the Shampoo. D’oh). Adam had been hinting about going to see Hunger Games. He has read the first book, and I have yet to tackle it. As an English student I have enough novels and articles to read each week, and I can’t squeeze in another novel on top of that right now. I told him we can either wait a month, until I’m finished my last exam and can read the book and then see the movie, or, if he was fine with ruining the book for me, we could go tonight. He was fine with that haha. And since the movie theatre is directly beside Wal-Mart, Hunger Games won. It was pretty spontaneous for us, since we hardly go out for ‘dates’ right now. I was fine with it, I didn’t read the first Twilight book before seeing the movie, but once I did see it I was sucked in and read all of the books within a couple weeks. Seriously. I felt the Hunger Games trailers gave away a lot of the movie anyways, so It really wasn’t that spoiled. I did like the movie and Adam said it was pretty true to the book.

Breakfast: Rice Krispies, Almond Milk, Banana and Cinnamon. I usually add cinnamon to all my breakfast cereals, hot/cold. It’s a great alternative to sugary cereals because it gives it flavour. Cinnamon is also a great antioxidant. I also add it to smoothies!

Nutritional Content of Cinnamon.Cinnamon is high in polyphenols, proanthocyanidins, antioxidant activity, and is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.

Nutrients in Cinnamon
2.00 tsp (5.20 grams)
Nutrient % Daily Value
manganese 45.5%
fiber 11%
calcium 5.2%
Calories (12) 0%
Cinnamon has lots of health benefits as well:

Cinnamon Health Benefits include a variety of health disorders, including diarrhea, arthritis, menstrual cramps, yeast infections, colds, flu, rheumatism and digestive problems. Cinnamon has been used for centuries and in many cultures. It has found a prominent position in traditional healing medicines, especially Ayurveda (the traditional Indian medicinal system).

Today, the use of cinnamon has expanded to treating a variety of health disorders, including respiratory problems, skin infections, blood impurity, heart disorders, and diabetes. Cinnamon has also been used to treat diarrhea and other problems of the digestive system.

 Blood Sugar Control
Seasoning a high carb food with cinnamon can help lessen its impact on your blood sugar levels. Cinnamon slows the rate at which the stomach empties after meals, reducing the rise in blood sugar after eating
Cinnamon Supplements. If you want to use cinnamon to treat a health problem, you might have to eat more cinnamon than you’d like in order to get a beneficial effect. In that case, cinnamon is available as a nutritional supplement in capsule form.
Lunch pre-workout meal: Leftover Brown Rice Pasta with Celery sticks
 
Not pictured, some dark chocolate covered almonds leftover from our movie night, that we bought at Wal Mart.
Dinner: Vegan Enchiladas (Click for Recipe)
If you haven’t checked out Angela Liddon’s site Oh She Glows, I suggest you do! I have  been following her blog for about a year or so and have probably been drooling over this recipe since I first saw it.
I used her recipe as the base, and made a few changes
– I didn’t use a enchilada sauce/pasta sauce, these are more like fajitas, no baking required once assembled
– I roasted the sweet potato, because I thought that’s what she did but re-read and saw she boiled hers. But I really love roasted sweet potato and this was perfect. I mixed it with oil and the cumin and roasted at 400 for about 20 minutes or so
– I left out the spinach

Next, I threw the oil, onion, garlic, bell peppers and beans to the pan and sauteed until soft with some more cumin, pepper, lime juice and chili powder.

The avocado sauce was the best. Adam doesn’t like Cilantro, so I just used one large avocado, lemon/lime juice, garlic and salt/pepper and whipped it up in the food processor. It was creamy and dreamy.

Once the filling was done, I just thawed some TJ’s brown rice tortillas, filled them with the bean/pepper/sweet potato filling and rolled it up. I topped mine with salsa, the avocado sauce and some green and red onions.

I ate one and it was so filling! Adam had two, and added some cheese to his & ate it with his hands, putting the avocado and salsa in the wrap instead of on top. We both really loved them. You seriously do not miss the cheese, dairy or meat one bit. They are so filling, and you don’t feel like you’ve eaten a heavy, greasy enchilada/fajita afterwards. I will definitely be making these again. I totally had leftovers for lunch today.

Now that I think about it, the entire day was Vegan. And the night before, because there was no meat in our pasta sauce. I feel like a meal doesn’t have to include meat, to be a meal. Many nights we’ll have non-meat meals and Adam won’t even notice because veggie chili, tomato sauce pasta and vegetable soup are all filling without including meat. Tonight I think I might make Angela’s Roasted tomato, onion and basil pesto pizza, except use spinach pesto and add some shredded chicken for protein.

Do you make Vegan meals once in a while? what are your favourite recipes? 

 

 

Life

Heart And Stroke Foundation Bake Sale

March 27, 2012

Twitter is a wonderful thing. It connects you with people you may have otherwise never met. A month or two ago a young woman followed me on Twitter, after having been a reader of my website and admirer of my baking confections and recipes. We tweeted back and forth a few times before she e-mailed me inquiring about my baking. As I also have a very small cupcake business I began located on my site as well she asked about pricing for cupcakes and other baked goods for an event she was thinking of holding in the coming months. After e-mailing back and forth a couple times I asked what the event was for, and she replied back that she was going to be holding a fundraiser at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, where she also works, for the Heart and Stroke Foundation to raise money for their annual Big Bike Event.

As soon as I read those words, Heart and Stroke Foundation, my heart began to race. You see, this organization is something that is quite close to my own heart (no pun intended). I have had the unfortunate experience to create a connection to this foundation through the loss of someone. My father. Eight years ago, on my 16th birthday, I experienced the sudden and incredibly tragic loss of the most important man in my life. There were no warnings, there were no signs, there was no goodbye. My father passed away after suffering from a major Heart Attack, that we later learned was due to Heart Disease. That day instead of celebrating with friends, I was mourning with my family. It shook our family in ways I never could have imagined. Our family of four became a family of three, and our world would be forever changed. Our extended family would also feel a great loss of a wonderful, generous and family-oriented man.

It will be eight years this June, though some days it feels as if it were only yesterday. The years have eased the immediate pain, though nothing will ever heal the wound that it has left in our hearts. It has been years of ups and downs, of painful events that he would not attend, the father-daughter dance at grad he never danced and the promise he never kept of bringing me to my drivers license test. We have also had celebrations in his absence that remind us that it will keep getting better. Births, milestones, graduations and accomplistments that are all in honour of him. We are constantly moving forward with him closely in our thoughts and forever in our hearts. The loss will never go away, but instead it helps us live each day with the memories of him and a reminder to live life to the fullest.

I have always wanted to make a contribution to the foundation but have not found a way to do it. When I was younger our elementary school would participate in the Jump Rope for Heart, and I remember going to neighbours to collect donations. Little did I know the foundation would have such an impact on my later in life. After being contacted about the fundraiser I knew if nothing else, I could lend my support and volunteer my services for free. Heart Disease and stroke is the leading cause of death in Canada and has become the number one killer of women. It is a serious health concern that affects thousands of people each year. To raise money for the Big Bike Event campaign I have offered to bake 150 Cupcakes and other goodies for their bake sale being held at the Surrey Kwantlen Campus on Thursday April 5th with proceeds going towards the Big Bike Event in support of heart disease and stroke research. I would love to invite you to come visit our booth and be part of our fundraising.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Mission:

The Heart and Stroke Foundation, a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through:

  • the advancement of research and its application.
  • the promotion of healthy living.
  • advocacy.

WHAT IS BIG BIKE?

The Heart&Stroke Big Bike is a team event geared towards community organizations, companies and groups. Teams made up of 29 enthusiastic riders (and one driver provided by the Foundation) pedal through their community in support of heart disease and stroke research.

WHY FUNDRAISE?

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada is celebrating 50 years of leading the way to better cardiovascular health for Canadians through research, health promotion, and advocacy. Hundreds of thousands of Canadians help us make a difference every year by fundraising, volunteering and donating to our cause. The Foundation, in turn, gives back to Canadians in countless ways. Visit www.heartandstroke.ca to read the latest information on heart disease, stroke, resuscitation, and healthy living!

To Join the Team or DONATE please click here 

Please come and support the Heart and Stroke Foundation on Thursday, April 5th at the Surrey Kwantlen Campus (click for directions) from 11 AM to 4 PM in the Main Atrium. Your donations will go directly in support of heart and stroke research by the foundation.

Raw, Vegan

Frozen Strawberry-Banana Smoothie Sherbet

March 23, 2012

Two weeks.

That’s how long I have left as an Undergrad, before I walk out of my last class of University ever.

Ok, well not ever. If I’m going to be a teacher, I’m going to have to go back after I graduate to complete the Professional Development Program, thus another year of classes. But, I will however have five glorious months off from homework, essay writing and deadlines. Finally.

In these five months I plan on working, hopefully, and travelling to Europe with a friend for a month. I guess once that is all finished I’ll be alright with going back to class. Even though I would like to think this will be my last class ever.

Spring seems to have arrived here in Vancouver, though we were seeing snowfall up until last week. My allergies don’t seem to care if there is snow on the ground or not, regardless of the weather allergy season has definitely made an appearance.

I appreciate the warmer temperatures and sunny afternoons, the sun shining way past its usual curfew of 5:00 pm, and the happier moods that overall nice weather seems to put you in. I really do. Even if I curse the fact that I begin allergy attacks by 9 am each morning. Nasal strips are now my friend if I ever want to be able to sleep through the night. Oh, and breath.

After seeing a recipe from Eat – Drink – Love earlier this week I knew I wanted to make it. It just screams spring is on the way. I’ve never really had Sherbet, though I probably have and just called it ice cream. Due to dairy allergies I rarely if ever eat ice cream or frozen yogurt anymore. Poor Adam ;) After looking at the recipe I thought I could make that dairy free, and still enjoy it. It’s like a smoothie, only creamier with the addition of coconut milk.

It’s Vegan, Raw, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Sugar Free and still totally satisfying. If you’re into those kinds of things. You can eat an entire bowl and not feel guilty. Have it for a snack in the afternoon, or  top it with fresh fruit and you’ve got dessert after dinner.

It’s easy.

Ta-Da.

 

Hope everyone has a sunny weekend! Adam is firing up the grill for our Homemade Turkey Burgers (this recipe is definitely a winner) first BBQ of the season!

Frozen Strawberry-Banana Smoothie Sherbet

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg. Strawberries, thoroughly washed & stems removed
  • 1 can Coconut Milk (reduced fat or regular)
  • 1-2 very ripe Bananas

Directions:

  1. Slice strawberries and bananas and place in food processor (I use my KitchenAid 7 cup) or blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Add the can of Coconut milk and puree once again.

Alternatively, if you do not want to have seeds in the finished product, puree the strawberries and push through a mesh sieve, and then add that back to the processor and add banana and coconut milk.

3.  Place smoothie mixture into a bowl and chill in the fridge overnight. I made this the night before and let the flavours   marinate in the fridge. The ripe bananas will sweeten the strawberries naturally and the coconut milk adds a hint of tropical flavour. If you don’t wish to wait overnight, chill at least an hour or two to let flavours release.

4.  After chilling place smoothie mixture into Ice Cream Maker (I use my KitchenAid Ice Cream Attachment) and freeze according to the manufacture’s instructions. About 20 minutes.

You can eat is soft serve once it’s done, or freeze until hardened.

This freezes quite solid, so allow to sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving.

Storing in cute mason jar optional. Looks like a jar of strawberry jam!