Welcome to the Sweet Life!

Welcome to the Sweet Life!

• Adventures in a Vegan Kitchen
• Eating out in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal
• Organic, Natural & Vegan products

Sunday, 6 November 2011

New Friends

Today was a great day. I made a lot of new friends. Jack, Johnny, Annabelle, Stewart, Peter, Justin, Patrick, Joey, Dakota and many more.

About 2 hours east of Toronto is the Primrose Donkey Sanctuary, where I spent the day falling in love with these kind souls.

I learnt so much about donkeys and I loved getting to know them and hearing their rescue stories.
Primrose Donkey Sanctuary currently cares for approx 30 cats, 20 donkeys, 4 pigs, a sheep, a goat, miniature horses, and a dog and they are taking more in all the time. They rely on some awesome volunteers to help out with caring for the animals. It wont be long before I'm back visiting these new friends. They welcome the public to visit Thursdays and Sundays from 1pm-4pm year round.

Heading home we had dinner at Fresh. BBQ Burgers were craved and devoured.

To sum it up, it was an amazing day.
Have a sweet one!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Cherry Chia Tartlets

This week I've been studying hard, the final exam for my first course is next week and I've been busy learning about vitamins and minerals, while reviewing digestion, carbohydrates, proteins, fats and oils. I've learnt a lot in the last 8 weeks and am trying to apply the information to my day to day life. So far I've increased the quality and amount of supplements I take daily and have added some new foods to my regular grocery list such as; amaranth, tempeh, and wheat germ.

I particularly like wheat germ because I can throw it into a smoothie or on top of my (coconut milk) yogurt. And it's a good source of:
• B Vitamins - B1, B3, Folic Acid and B12
• Calcium and Magnesium
• Iron
• Vitamin E
• Zinc
• Potassium
• Fiber
• Omega 3

To motivate myself to study a bit harder I splurged today and had the last Cherry Chia tartlet.

I threw this recipe together by grabbing a bowl and mixing some rolled oats, wheat germ, shredded coconut, cinnamon, maple syrup, coconut milk and chia "egg" until it was a consistency that stuck together slightly. I patted it down in the tart pans (greased with coconut oil) and baked them at 350° for 5 mins, before filling them with organic sugar-free cherry jam and finally sprinkled some of the oat mixture on top. Back into the oven they went for about 15 mins then I removed from the oven and waited about 5 mins for them to cool on the counter, then I dug in. Sweet, tart-y deliciousness.

Have a sweet day!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today was Thanksgiving here in Canada and I was so relieved to have the day off work.
It is a day to take the time to be thankful for all the things we are blessed to have in our lives and although I strive to be thankful everyday, today I truly appreciated how lucky I am. Surrounded by great family and supportive friends, an opportunity to learn, a job I enjoy going to, and overall good health.

My boyfriend and I had planned to have a picnic in the park because the weather's been so nice here this week. Instead I woke up this morning with a sore throat that unfortunately is the first sign that I'm coming down with a cold. So I headed to bed where I slept most of the day and took some vitamins and immune boosters to no avail.
I had really been looking forward to our picnic, feasting on sweet potato salad, roasted veggies and stuffing, but ended up throwing together a thanksgiving-ish dinner for one anyway.

Stuffing with veggie gravy and mac and cheeze.

It was good and festive but I had my eye on dessert the entire time...Pumpkin Pie Cupcake was calling my name.

Hope you had a sweet thanksgiving, what are you thankful for?

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

This week I made Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes. These guys are so delicious, nutritious and festive that I had to make two batches - Everyone liked them!

I couldn't find a recipe I liked so I combined a few to make the one below and I think it's prefect although I'd like to make it healthier next time. These are topped with a simple maple frosting and chopped walnuts, but the second time around I made a cinnamon swirl and I prefer that one.

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cinnamon
1- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
1- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
Mix above dry ingredients together, and pre-heat oven to 350° and line a cupcake pan with liners

In  a separate bowl combine these wet ingredients and stir until smooth:
1 cup sugar (brown or cane)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 can (15 ounce) pumpkin pie filling
1/3 cup oil
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Add dry mix to wet and stir until combined. Scoop into pan and bake for 15-18 minutes. remove when tooth pick inserted comes out clean.  Allow to cool on a cooling rack then when cooled down ice with any topping you like.

Have a sweet day!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

First day of School - Banana Muffins

Last night was my first class at IHN (Institute for Holistic Nutrition).
I have been excited to start this program for months and last night was the beginning of my journey.
I already have a good understanding of how nutrition works. As I transitioned into a vegan lifestyle I read a lot of books and studies on the topic, but this program will open my eyes to a whole world of information I haven't even considered.

In my excitement yesterday, I made Banana Muffins to take as a snack. Class is from 6:00 - 9:30 so smart snacking is necessary.

I used my go to banana loaf recipe and just poured it in muffin pan instead:

4 organic ripe bananas
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 sugar (cane or palm, I used palm this time and they are less sweet)
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg replacer (I use a flax/chia seed mixture with water)
1/3 cup non-dairy milk
1 1/2 cup of flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat & 1/2 cup white)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

Optional additions
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1 tbsp cinnamon plus a dusting on top of the muffins without nuts

Heat oven to 350°.
Mash bananas and mix in sugar, vanilla, oil and non-dairy milk.
Add egg replacer to mixture and stir.
Add baking powder and baking soda followed by flour in two batches, and any additional items.
Pour into loaf pan, muffin tin, or even donut pan (cooking times will very depending on the size and shape you choose.

Muffins took 18 minutes. Donuts took 13 minutes.

Made 6 muffins and 3 donuts.

Delicious study snack for school.
Have a sweet day!

Friday, 9 September 2011

TGIF Pancakes

I woke up this morning excited it was Friday, odd though because usually that means a weekend ahead of fun things, no work, sleep, relaxing, whatever, I actually have 24 hours of work ahead of me this "weekend" so I don't know what I was so excited about, Yes I like my job so that helps but I've only worked 1 in the last 6 days (thanks to the long weekend) so I guess i'm getting used to doing nothing...

One of my first thoughts of the day was to go for a run because just yesterday I realized I don't run as much as I'd like to. Then another thought fought it's way into my head "you should make pancakes for breakfast...it is Friday after all" and so that's what I did.

My pancake recipe:

1 cup flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp sugar (I used palm/coconut)
1 egg replacer

Mix the above dry ingredients together.

1 cup non-dairy milk (I used half rice and half almond)
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp olive oil

Mix the above dry ingredients together.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until you have a smooth batter.
Pour into a heated (possibly oiled) frying pan. Makes 4 - 8 pancakes depending on the size you pour.
Top with maple syrup, jam, peanut butter - anything you want.

These turned out good, but I've made better. I'm on a mission to make them fluffier. Anyone have suggestions?

To go along with, or should I say, balance out my sugar loaded breakfast, I made a cacao wheatgrass smoothie.

I figured the antioxidants in the cacao and the chlorophyll in the wheatgrass ought to combat the sweet mess it accompanied.

Did you know: Just one teaspoon of wheatgrass powder (approx 4 grams) has the equivalent nutritional value as a whole spinach salad (approx 50 grams).

My smoothie contained:
1 tsp of wheatgrass powder
1 cup of rice milk
1 tbsp or raw cacao powder
1 tbsp of vega choc-a-lot
1 tbsp almond butter

Now I'm too full to go for my run, but there's always tomorrow...

Have a sweet day!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Pesto Pasta Salad

I absolutely love this time of year. As sad as I am to see summer go, fall is such a beautiful season and sweaters, scarfs and warm hearty meals are just around the corner.
Fall sunsets are stunning. This was earlier this week.

So it's been awhile since my last post, I really haven't had much time in the kitchen in the last month so there wasn't much to post, but I will be blogging more regularly in the future. Next week I start school, I'm attending a 2 year, part-time course for Holistic Nutrition, so as I'm learning about food, minerals and vitamins my posts will have more content about what I'm learning.

Today I made a Pesto Pasta Salad with basil from my garden.
Here's how I did it:

3/4 cup basil leaves
1/4 cup kale leaves
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup parsley
1/4 tsp sea salt

Mix in a food processor until desired consistency, should be like a paste.
Coat on any type of pasta, today I chose whole wheat fusili.

My garden is pretty much done for the year, all that's left are some tomatoes still ripening and there are a few cucumbers ready to be picked. The watermelon has stopped growing so it must be done too. 

Yesterday I picked this eggplant, and I have two batches of kale that are thriving in this weather.
For a first time garden, it was a success but next year there will need to be an additional bed to accommodate some of the bigger plants that were crowded this year,

Have a sweet day!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Peaches and (Ice) Creme

I got fresh, organic, local ontario peaches yesterday and man are they delicious!!

I enjoyed a bowl of non-dairy ice creme with sliced peaches and raspberries as a bedtime snack.

I'm tempted to have it again tonight...I don't see why not, I have plenty peaches and just opened the ice creme tub.

Have a sweet day!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Long Weekend - Cottage, Farm and Food

When this is the scenery I don't mind where I am.

Luckily I was on my way up to a friends cottage for a couple days so the drive prepared me for a relaxing stay, and immediately put me in a zen state.

I really didn't prepare much or pack much, I kind of just threw some stuff together and went with it. I even forgot my camera which surprisingly didn't disappoint me too much, instead I took some pics with my trusty Blackberry - It doesn't compare to the Nikon but I said "oh well maybe next time" and enjoyed myself anyway.

We visited a farm in Bracebridge where we saw:

A donkey

Billy Goats



and this cow, ain't she a beauty?
Well let me tell you about this sweet cow, I crouched down beside her to take a photo and she knocked me over - yes she did. And then she stepped over me. It was a hilarious scene but I have no idea why she did that, but I thought she was adorable so I didn't mind :)

And this Billy Goat was the cutest thing, when we walked away he cried for us to come back - watch this cute clip - so adorable, we didn't want to leave him!

After seeing the animals we stopped at a health food store that had a whole mix of vegan dishes for lunch. The food was really good and I had a hard time choosing but got some falafels, spicy ginger cashew rice, coconut curry and some tofu cubes. My friend had an equally delicious meal.

Kale chips are next to impossible to find in Muskoka, how do I know? Because we drove to 5 stores looking for them but only 1 store usually has them (where we had our lunch) but was sold out. C'mon Muskoka, people are craving those chips! Thankfully I had brought from home but we inhaled ate them so fast the previous night we could've eaten bags of them! We also hydrated ourselves with kombucha, and coconut water (not at the same time, that would just be gross).

My favourite kale chips right now - Sour Cream & Hemp.

I was so relaxed, spent some time in the summer sun, went canoeing and enjoyed the view.

I had to work this weekend as well so when I got back I made this pizza for dinner with garden veggies - peppers, tomatoes (traded with a neighbour for them), zucchini plus from the fridge, onion, and daiya cheese (on half). It was really good with and without the "cheese". Now I have left overs for work tomorrow :)

 Hope you all enjoyed the long weekend and hot weather.
How did you celebrate?

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Garden Delight

I don't know about you but I am loving this summer. I have been lucky enough to be able to spend so much time outside and I'm savouring every minute of it.
Today I went for a 40km bike ride along the lakeshore (Clarkson to Etobicoke)

Enjoyed this view along the way

Then got back and watered my garden and made myself a sandwich filled with things I picked from my backyard.

Grilled Zucchini Tomato Focaccia

On this was Beetroot hummus I made yesterday with my garden beets, leaf lettuce, cherry tomatoes, grilled zucchini and cucumbers on the side.

Without my garden I would've just been eating bread... this was much tastier and contained nutrients.

I also noted some progress on the garden. Finally I see some watermelons.  They are itty bitty right now but I'm sure with my TLC they will plump up over the next few weeks. Look how adorable.

This was the biggest I saw and about the size of a marble (but there were about 8 others I spotted) so we'll see what happens...

Tomatoes are big and now need to turn red.

Bell Peppers are just about ready too.

What's your favourite summer veggie?
Are you enjoying the summer weather as much as I am?

Have a sweet day!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Beautiful Beets

It's no secret that I love vegetables. Especially when they are fresh from the garden. My garden. This morning. And look like this.

I had a recipe in mind for them... Beetroot Hummus.

• 2 beets (boiled or roasted)
• 11/2 cups of chickpeas (canned and rinsed or I soaked dry ones overnight then boiled and simmered until tender)
• 2 tbsp lemon juice
•2 tbsp olive oil
•1 large garlic clove minced
•1 tbsp tahini
•sea salt and black pepper to taste

I'll be using this hummus as a dip for veggies and corn chips, spread on sandwiches and probably just with a spoon because it's so freakin yummy!

And I also kept the greens from the beets as I'll either use them in a mixed salad or add them to a stir-fry dish.

Now onto another fresh garden veggie...zucchini - these grow unbelievably fast. I'll be back soon with what I did with them :)

Have a sweet day!