Sunday, January 29, 2012

Vegetarian Tastes of Toronto

The recipe book pictured above is pretty self-explanatory -- it's a collection of recipes put together by the Toronto Vegetarian Association.  It was published in 1996 and contains my favorite pate recipe of all time which I've written about previously and you can find all that here.  Anyhow the point of today's post is to ask if anyone out there knows of anyone who might have a copy they're willing to part with.  A reader is looking to replace his copy which was lent out and never returned. I have to agree - overall it's an awesome collection of great vegan recipes.

I'm glad he asked me about it because I had it tucked away in a box and had to hunt a little as I have quite a few corners in my house with boxes - which I should label but unfortunately I'm not always super organized. I'm getting better.  The last few boxes I put away I did put big bold labels on them so I know exactly what's in them.  I know -- if you have stuff in boxes do you really need it??  Most likely not that bad but for now I'm not willing to part with some things.  Don't get me wrong - I do let go of stuff -- in fact I hit up Goodwill yesterday and dropped off two bags of stuff so I'm not an all out hoarder or anything!

And did I come back with a little bit of stuff?  I sure did!  But I restrained myself - I was happily filling my cart but sat down - took a deep breath and after some deliberation returned several items. I came home with 3 beautiful balls of  yarn (which will be used to make my beloved African Comfort Dolls which are donated to Icross Canada) and a book for my daughter Nicole - 7000 most loved quotations. She loves quotations...there's hardly a day that goes by that she doesn't put one out there so you can see it was a very necessary item and will be well used.  I also bought a box of  sparkly beads which will  be used on some future comfort dolls and that was it. If you ever have a few spare dollars to donate I would really recommend keeping Icross in mind - they help the poorest of the poor and it's 100% volunteer run.

Below are two sample pages from the cookbook.  I've always wanted to make the quiche one but never have yet!  I love red lentils and it sounds delish!  It would make a great Valentine's Day recipe - made with red colored lentils and good for the heart.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Rice Rusks & Fontaine Sante Hummus

Crispy yet soft rice rusks are specifically geared towards toddlers but perfect for anybody looking for a nice light gluten free cracker that lends itself well to almost any topping!  I've been using them for a snack anytime I don't feel like racking up a bunch of calories and yet want a little something.  The size and shape makes them perfect for dipping.  Of course hummus is always my number one go-to-dip and if you're not feeling like making it yourself - Costco is carrying a Canadian made brand - Fontaine Sante that is creamy and not over garlicky! But maybe I'm getting immune to garlic so perhaps I might be a poor judge on this one.

It's a little thinner than my homemade hummus and those you typically buy - you can see difference in texture by checking out photos below -- that will give you an idea. Homemade hummus is pictured with the baby mum mum and fontaine sante is in container. However don't let that deter you -- it's really really good and it made a "hummus convert" out of my husband who formerly wouldn't touch it! Voted Number #1 dip by Canadian Consumers - my husband would agree.

President's Choice offers an organic brand of rice rusks and so does Baby Mum Mum - price difference is $1 with PC coming in lower at $2.99 for a box.  They taste identical so whichever is more convenient to pick up will do the trick. I also like them with raspberry jam and my 4 year old grandson loves to dip them in peanut butter. Like I said they go with everything and with gluten free becoming more and more necessary for so many people I'm all for keeping such items on hand to use as an alternative to wheat based products.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Power Fruit Blend

Run, don't walk, to your nearest Real Canadian Superstore or wherever you can find PC brand Organics in your neck of the woods!  This Power Fruit Blend of dark sweet cherries, blueberries and blackberries will have you going back for more. Fresh picked flavor sounds cliche but in this case it's as close as you're going to get from plucking it out of your freezer! I love eating these, slightly thawed, straight out of the bag - they're that good. My new favorite morning shake is:  1/2 cup soy milk, 1/2 cup Happy Planet Juice (Mango Peach Party) and 1/2 cup of the power fruit blend. I used to love dairy yogurt shakes. This mixture of soy milk and juice gives it that nice tangy similar flavor.

My mom, who was always ahead of the pack when it came to health trends, actually made homemade yogurt for our whole brood!  And it was a big brood - 8 kids  - so I can see why she opted to make her own. A couple of little plastic tubs wouldn't last long.  She would make big pots of it using this beautiful stainless steel bowl (which I still have) pictured below.  It's the only thing left of her old Kenwood Mixer which was I'm sure one of her most treasured items at the time. Lucky for me my mom far outlasted the mixer and is still in wonderful condition (as is my father) at age 82! They are both super active and their favorite keep fit activity is stepping along with Richard Simmons and going out dancing.  Their freezer is also packed with fresh vegetables from their own garden!  Keys to good health -  make your own bread and yogurt, grow your own veggies and sing and dance!

Here's a pic of my mom (82) and sister (60) in the kitchen this past Christmas! Hollywood ladies take note - you don't need plastic to look beautiful at any age!  And double bonus - they can smile and turn their necks without any effort :O)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Organicville Sriracha Sauce

What is Organicville Sriracha Sauce?

It is a bright red, multi-purpose hot sauce made from high quality cayenne peppers with red jalapenos and garlic. The sauce is hot and tangy with just a hint of sweetness which sets it apart from your typical  hot sauces. Organicville Sriracha Sauce is certified gluten and vegan which is very important to many of us these days. Check out the Organicville website for more information on their entire line of wholesome products and for some awesome recipes in which to use them.

I'm slowly trying to use more spices in my cooking especially when you hear about all the purported health benefits of using them. So many are considered to be powerful anti-inflammatory aids and of course Cayenne pepper is right up there for that. Check out this website for the 17 health benefits of Cayenne pepper if you are interested in reading more. I've always loved frontier chili powder and that's my usual spice that I put in everything from soup to tofu dishes!  Lately though I'm starting to add a dash of hot sauce and I'm finding it to be a good thing to add a little heat - especially when the temperature outside is dipping to -30C like it is this week! The photo below is a pic I took this morning and it's so cold that as soon as I opened the door to take a pic the window frosted up immediately -- brrrrrrrrrrrr!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Artisana Coconut Oil and Instant Oats = Yummy!


Hope you all enjoyed the end of year festivities. It's resolution time once again and I'm going for the typical "it's time to lose a few pounds". However I'm not going to go crazy and record every last calorie as that hasn't worked too well in the past for me.  What I am going to do is just try to focus on eating less and less processed foods and see how it goes.  Today I have a pot of simple red lentil soup simmering on the burner and have just finished a bowl of instant oatmeal. I know - I should be eating steel cut oats right?  I tried them once and wasn't too impressed but perhaps in the future.  In the meantime I'm using President's Choice Instant Oatmeal (Organic) right now because of the good taste and reasonable price. Can't remember exactly but it was just under $3.

I do like the Organic O brand (Safeway) as well but the President's Choice (Real Canadian Superstore) brand has less sugar than the Organics O brand even if you take into account that the O brand has 8-43gm packets and the President's Choice has 10-38gm packets. The PC maple brown sugar oatmeal has 6 gm sugar and the Organic O maple brown sugar has 12 gm sugar. I should just buy a bag of quick rolled oats and call it a day but I really love the convenience of the individual packets and the individual flavors for variety. Organic O brand is more expensive and has less total weight.  PC=380gm for about $3 and the Organic O=344gm for about $5. If you're looking to reduce your food budget (who isn't) and/or if you have a larger family it really pays to compare similar products especially since Canada doesn't have any creative couponing opportunities like the USA.

Tip to Reduce Sugar in Instant Oatmeal: I have bought the Organic O brand and I'll tell you an easy way to reduce the sugar and salt is to pour the contents of the packet through a sieve and then you can toss out 1 or 2 teaspoons and you now have a much lower sugar/salt content. You'll be surprised at how much sugar/salt is in each little packet  - I was!

#1 - Start off with directions on the packet which tells you to add boiling water to the oats and let stand - I do this but make sure to put a plate on top of your bowl to keep the steam inside.
#2 - Get a small stainless steel pot - add your steamed oatmeal along with 1/2 cup of your favorite non-dairy beverage (I used Natura Vanilla Soy Milk) and simmer on low for about 15-20 minutes - make sure to stir once or twice and keep a lid on it.
#3 - Add 1/2 teaspoon of Artisana Coconut Oil - this fat is good for you and 1/2 teaspoon is minimal and totally adds a significant boost in flavor to a simple bowl of oatmeal.

I would highly recommend purchasing Artisana Coconut Oil -- we've tried out quite a few different brands and this one is by far the best I've come across so far.  This one has a few pluses going for it right off the bat -- it's in a glass jar, it's raw and the company is devoted to supporting small organic farmers.  And the taste is tops! It's expensive (about $15.00) but this is a product worth splurging on! I love their slogan:

   Raw life-energy from sun, to plant to body!

If recipes such as coconut curry, kickin almond pesto, thai noodles and the like appeal to you I suggest you go check out their website.  Yummy!