Monday, April 30, 2012

May Is National Salad Month!

I was delighted to hear that May was National Salad Month (U.S.) because as most of you know, I have 3 favourite ways to eat food: in sandwich form, soup form, and you guessed it - in salad form!!!!

Salads are just so versatile, allowing you to pair any flavour combination that your taste buds could possibly desire, and in a (genuinely) timely fashion.  I think I've thrown just about everything in a salad at one point or another, most usually with great success. In fact, its very difficult to go wrong with a salad.

Staples in my salads are:
  • Kale
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Dried fruit (usually goji berries or mulberries)
  • In season fresh fruit
  • Avocados
  • Beets
  • Spirulina  
  • Nori
  • Sprouts
  • Hot peppers
  • Mushrooms (raw or sautéed)

I tend to stay away from dressing and usually opt for a naked salad, or one of the following:

The rest is usually a combo of whatever I'm craving, and whatever I have in the fridge/pantry! ;)

Below is an example of a quick, weekday salad that I often pull together. If you double the portion you'll have your lunch for the next day as well!

The I Want It All Salad

When I was creating this, adding ingredients
left, right and centre, all I could think of was
I Want It All by Queen


Green Leaf Lettuce
Sautéed portobellos
Red peppers
Baby corn
Heirloom cherry tomatoes
Black beans
Goji berries
Flax seeds
Sesame seeds
Fresh Ontario Peaches


1/2 cup salsa
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 grape seed oil

MIX together dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

ADD the remaining ingredients in various amounts.

DRIZZLE salad with dressing.


So there you go.  Why not whip up a salad tonight and enjoy it as a meal, side, or filling for a wrap.

What are your favourite salad ingredients?

Don't forget to checkout Niagara VegFest on June 2 in St. Catharines, ON!!!!

Peace and Love,


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Product Review: RawFoodz Salad Dressing

I am no stranger to people's "strange looks" when it comes to food.  Whether  I'm sipping on a green smoothie, munching on a plate full of spouts, or preparing a "raw"burger,  I'm always ready for the inevitable, "You're eating what?!".  I must say, however that I'm still always caught off guard whenever I'm enjoying a fresh salad and someone sitting beside me leans over, staring in shock at my plate once they've discovered my dark secret: I don't eat my salads with any dressing!  People are literally sad for me that I have to eat a plate of vegetables without any "flavour", offering me condolences and pity for whatever strange diet I might be on. The truth is that I just prefer my veg naked. If you ask me, there is nothing appealing about bottled salad dressings and I think people tend to use their salad purely as a vessel for a helping of dressing! 

That's why when a few of my local health food stores (Bamboo and Health Wise) started carrying the Rawfoodz salad dressing line, I thought I'd give them a try. 

Rawfoodz is a Toronto based company specializing in spreads and salad dressings. Their products are: 
  • Nut-free 
  • Gluten-free
  • Dairy-free
  • Soy-free
  • 100% raw
  • GMO free
  • Organic
  • Vegan
And contain no:
  • Fillers
  • Refined oils
  • Anything artificial
Their website states that their goal is "To infuse health with superior taste"and that their priority is "to give each salad a boost of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, finer and protein." Don't you just LOVE that?  I sure do! 

Choosing which flavour posed a problem for me, so I let Madison pick.  She chose a sea-zar serenity.

The ingredient list was impressive and didn't include anything I wasn't familiar with, or couldn't pronounce.

Extra virgin olive oil, Apple cider vinegar, 
Filtered water, Coconut sugar, Dulse, 
Unhulled sesame seeds, Hemp seeds, Garlic Powder, 
Chai Seeds, Nutritional yeast, 
Onion powder, Sea salt, Black pepper

We debated what kind of veg we wanted to add to our "test" salad, and then after careful consideration and numerous proposed combinations, we settled on only two components. Spinach (Madison's favourite leafy green) and arugula (my current go-to green).  Seeing as it was our first encounter with the product, the idea was to strip down the salad and let the dressing be the star.

This dressing was fabulous!  It was light, perfectly seasoned, tart, with just a hint of sweetness. It's a vinaigrette (reminiscent of a "golden caesar") which I appreciated because I loath a goopy salad. It was 100% kid friendly and all around approved by the household!

Of Note:
The label recommends letting it sit on the counter for a couple of minutes to allow the oil to return to its natural state, and I would not recommend skipping this step. Madison dressed her salad before the dressing had a chance to reach room temperature and as it became a liquid, she found she had inadvertently used too much dressing.  

So as I'm sure you can gather, I will absolutely be buying Rawfoodz products again!  Choosing which flavour to try next might seriously be a problem though ;)

Check out Rawfoodz on their website  or Facebook page.

As a side note, over the next couple of weeks I'm going to be working on adding all my recipes from Facebook into the recipe tab at the top of the page. Stay tuned for some yummy dishes :)

Peace and Love,


Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Children of the Revolution : Earth Day 2012

Happy Earth Day!

Collecting garbage in Algonquin Provincial Park during a 2009 visit

Earth Day is a pretty big deal around this house.  My girls number one goal on Earth Day is to fill as many bags of garbage as possible. They collect litter quite often throughout the year, but Earth Day seems to fill them with an intense motivation. They begin on our street and make their way to a local park, collecting garbage as they go. 

Though it may seem like a small effort in the grand scheme of things, these little efforts they make and the time spent considering why the garbage is even there in the first place will hopefully stick with them and help them be to be better adults. Like looking back on witch trials, segregated schools and the draft, the idea of trash being strewn across our streets, towns, lakes and countries will hopefully seem so antiquated and strange as to barely be believed at all by the time my little girls have children of their own.

It makes me so happy that they still want to and that they genuinely enjoy doing these kind of things. As they grow, I hope it will evolve into a deep understanding of how fragile Mother Earth is, and help them to take pride in their planet. It gives me hope for their future.

What do you and your family do for Earth Day?

Peace and Love,


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Big Pink

Levon Helm's website read the following today:

"Dear Friends,
Levon is in the final stages of his battle with cancer. Please send your prayers and love to him as he makes his way through this part of his journey.

Thank you fans and music lovers who have made his life so filled with joy and celebration... he has loved nothing more than to play, to fill the room up with music, lay down the back beat, and make the people dance! He did it every time he took the stage...

We appreciate all the love and support and concern.
From his daughter Amy, and wife Sandy"

I was so sad to hear of this news because I truly adore him, and his music.  He once said:
"Lord, when the song wants to pick up and go a little faster towards the end, it's hard for me to resist." How can you not love that kind of passion and dedication in a performer?

Awhile back I created the "Big Pink" smoothie, which was indeed an homage to The Band. For those of you who aren't familiar, Big Pink was a house that the members of The Band shared, and where they composed most of the music from "Music from Big Pink".  I realized that I never shared my recipe with you, and today feels like the perfect day.

Big Pink

1 cup frozen (ontario!!) strawberries
1-2 frozen bananas ( 1 = kind of thick. 2 = really thick.) 
1.5-2 cups of fresh pink grapefruit juice
2 ice cubes
1-2 cm fresh ginger, peeled

ADD all items to blender
BLEND until smooth
TOP with superfood (bee pollen, goji berries, raw cacao nibs, pepitos, etc)

I'll leave you with my personal favourite, Ophelia.

If you've never checked out Levon Helm or The Band , PLEASE do so!  I promise you won't be disappointed.

Peace and Love,


Monday, April 16, 2012

Stormy Monday Sundae

I never buy the container of Coconut Bliss that I lovingly hold at the store, despite my best efforts to convince myself that there will be a time when I "need" a pint of happiness. Upon putting it back on the shelf I always tell myself that I'll "thank" myself later.

Well today I did the complete opposite! I cursed and screamed, while jumping up and down like a two year old, as I looked into my freezer this evening.  I had a wicked day at the office, which was about to be compounded by another stack of work at home, and all I wanted was a nice mug of frozen joy to help me feel sorry for myself. Too bad I killed that dream on the weekend while strolling the aisles of Bamboo Natural Food Market and once again after a great inner struggle, I left the pint waiting to tease the next unsuspecting saturday shopper.   Enter the "Stormy Monday" Sundae. I feel it did a fantastic job of doing the trick and saved me a mountain of calories in the process.

"Stormy Monday" Sundae

A quick and easy dessert, breakfast, or snack, that is packed 
with yummy superfoods.
Guaranteed to help beat any bad day!

1 personal sized serving of peach Amande Yogurt
1 handful raw sunflower seeds
1 handful of raw almonds
1 handful of goji berries
1 handful of dried mulberries


The Allman Brothers included a live version of T-Bone Walker's "Call It Stormy Monday" on their 1971 album , entitled "Stormy Monday".  I use to swear up and down that I wasn't an Allman Brothers fan - that was until I heard this record.  And actually, as I sit cross legged on my bed, with a solid warm spring breeze blowing through my window, this sundae in my belly, and this song playing in my ear, I'm starting to feel my day melt away.  The blues always have a way of making me feel better.  I suppose I relate to all that passion.

I hope your Monday was better than mine, and that your Tuesday isn't bad either ;)

Peace and Love,


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time

"In the eyes of children we find the joy of Christmas.  In their hearts we find the meaning."
-Leland Thomas

Christmas really does take on a whole
new meaning when you have children. 

This photo was taken in Niagara on the Lake, at their annual Candlelight Stroll.  Kaydence and I came around a corner of a side street and found ourselves face to face with Père Noël himself. He looked down at Kaydence and started to speak with such kindness and love in his voice.  The whole time she stood silent, eyes as wide as saucers, quietly nodding in agreement to all his questions.  She turned to me and I quietly whispered, "go ahead" knowing exactly what she was thinking the whole time.  She then looked back at him and ran with arms wide open to give him the biggest hug. When she finally released her grasp she told him how much she missed him and wished him a merry Christmas.  Kaydence then ran as fast as she could back onto the main street to find her sister, Madison to tell her what had happened.  By this time, Santa had also made his way onto the main street and Kaydence stalked him to get this picture taken.

Kaydence loves Santa so honestly, and with everything she has.  It's not about the presents for her , as my kids (willingly) donate many of their gifts to a charity. It is truly about the magic.  It is so special to watch something like that take place, and I can't wait until she is older so I can thank her for giving that to me.

I sincerely hope you are all getting a chance to enjoy the season.  It can be the most magical time in your life...

...if you let it.

Peace and Love,

Monday, October 24, 2011

Spaghetti Squash Bake with Homemade Sauce

I am so excited to share with you my favourite meal from last week.  It's INSANELY simple, incredibly flavourful and a real crowd pleaser.  I decided to make this after I made the Vegan Butternut Squash Lasagne, which was yummy, but lacked red sauce! ;)    So without further adieu....

Spaghetti Squash Bake
with Homemade Sauce 
Simple, savoury and scrumptious. 
A fun and easy way to get more veg into your diet.

I ♥ red sauce and every good chef mom, needs a good sauce recipe!  I have a number of different variations in my repertoire, with my favourite being my mother-in-law's.  Her sauce is an authentic  Sicilian recipe which is mouthwatering, but takes me all day to make. I knew I didn't have all day to simmer a sauce so I turned to this quick version. And while I won't be sharing the super secret family recipe, I'm happy to pass along this. :D


12* Roma tomatoes, halved and stemmed
3 Cups strained tomatoes (not roasted)
1 Cup button mushrooms
1.5 Cups sautéed mixed greens 
Fresh Thyme
Fresh Basil 
Cloves of garlic**
Olive oil 
Salt and Pepper

*The more tomatoes, the more sauce.
**To taste.  Start by adding 2 at a time and adjust accordingly

PLACE tomatoes on a baking sheet 
DRIZZLE with olive oil and season with salt and pepper 
ADD fresh thyme
SLOW roast in a 175° oven for a minimum of 12 hours. I do mine overnight
PUREE the roasted tomatoes with 4-5 leaves of fresh basil and garlic.

~At this point you can leave the mixture "as is" for a nice chunky sauce. Just simmer on the stove and Enjoy!!  OR...

ADD 2-3 cups of strained tomatoes and pulse until incorporated
ADD water to the mixture to create your desired consistency. I wanted a thinner sauce and think I used 2-3 cups but honestly I eyeballed it. 
ADD mushrooms and mixed greens 
SIMMER in a saucepan until heated through

Using spaghetti squash in place of traditional noodles is one of my favourite tricks to use when I'm craving pasta and trying to limit my carb intake.  It really mimics the texture of wheat noodles better than most other options, and it's one of my kids' favourite too.  I wasn't trying to avoid carbs here, it was just a nice bonus!


2 large Spaghetti squash

CUT spaghetti squash in halve and scoop out the seeds and fibres
SEASON with salt and pepper and place on baking sheet
BAKE in a 350° oven for 1 hour or until the inside is tender
REMOVE from oven and let cool for 10 minutes
SCRAPE out the flesh of the squash using a fork. It will separate like spaghetti

For a special treat I baked the "noodles" with vegan ricotta cheese and mozzarella Daiya to create a deconstructed lasagne of sorts.

ADD two cups of sauce to the bottom of a casserole dish
TOP with "noodles"
TOP with 1 cup (approx) vegan ricotta cheese
SPRINKLE with vegan parmesan topping
COVER with sauce
TOP with Daiya
BAKE covered in a 350° oven for 20 minutes
UNCOVER and continue to bake for 5 minutes

This was soooooo tasty and really hit the spot. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Thanks for stopping by :)

Peace and Love,