Sunday, May 30, 2010

Vegan Meatballs

I found this webite My Vegan Cookbook one day when searching for meatless meatballs. I was pleasently surprised to find many great recipes that I can't wait to try.

For tonights dinner I made Vegan Meatballs. They were super easy to make and tasted very yummy. My daughter didn't care for them too much but they did have chili in them. Next time I will omit the chili powder and maybe add some oregano instead.

The recipe makes 12 meatballs which was enough for a family of 4. If you want left overs or any to freeze make a double batch.

Greek Pasta Salad

I know most of you may have had something as simple as a Greek Pasta Salad. Nothing shocking here but to say that this is the best recipe I have made and it can't get any simpler then it already is.

I did change up the recipe a bit. I found the dressing amounts to be a little excessive so I halved it. I used one 375g box of Penne noodles(whole wheat). If you use two boxes then I would make the recipe as is. This is perfect for a BBQ party with friends and of course just for you. I also omited the meat, it isn't necessary. Here is the recipe how I made it.

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoons garlic powder(I used 2 cloves crushed garlic)
3/4 teaspoons dried basil
3/4 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
375g Whole What Penne
3 tomoatoes diced
1 cup sliced red bell peppers (any colour is fine, I used orange)
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (or to taste)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 (4 ounce) can whole black olives

In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, garlic powder, basil, oregano, black pepper, and sugar. Add cooked pasta, mushrooms, tomatoes, red peppers, feta cheese, green onions, and olives. Toss until evenly coated. Cover, and chill 2 hours or overnight.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Broccoli-Cheddar Quiche

I made this recipe from my all time favorite cook book. Don't let the images scare you. I know I was a little hesitant myself to eat it by the looks of it, but it really is yummy. The book is 1,000 Vegetarian Recipes, by Carol Gelles. She lays all the recipes out by either Lacto-Ovo, Lacto, Ovo, or Vegan. She even has a little heart beside many that are heart healthy. Not a vegetarian? No worries, this book has so many recipes that even meat lovers will find it interesting, especially if you love to cook.

I honestly am not sure if I can share this recipe publicly or not? So for the sake of unknowing I will have to keep you all wondering. But with that said, go buy the book!!

Smoothie Pops

Blackberries, Strawberries and Pineapple Juice


Nothing says summer like sugar, food colouring and artificial flavour frozen into a million different forms. From Popsicles to freezes those really have to be one of the worst things to eat on a regular basis. I have had my fair share of them as a kid and boy were they great! I do let my kids have them on the rare special occasion but for the most part we make our own healthy alternatives.

I like to call them Smoothie Pops. They are basically what we would drink as a smoothie but frozen. Here are a few ideas to get you motivated, but really, the options are endless and there are no rules.

I always use frozen or fresh fruit. Strawberries, blueberries and blackberries are a favorite in our house. I put the fruit into the blender and add just enough liquid to puree the fruit to a nice smooth texture. Liquid options are endless. Milk, soy milk, rice milk, fruit juice and even just water.

You can be really sneaky with smoothie pops and use this opportunity to add ground flax seeds and wheat germ, they wont even notice!

For a super fun treat you can also add "fruit" gummies the kids will go wild.

Get creative with your containers too(if you feel up to it) You can use mini paper cups with Popsicle sticks or you can buy several different kinds of Popsicle holders just about any where.

Too lazy to make your own? Motts now has fruit only freezes with no sugar added. They came out with them last summer and are a great alternative to buying Mr. Freezes. I also know you can buy many different brands of frozen fruit Popsicles but they are not cost effective by any means. Making your own will cost very little and you don't have to go to the store to get them.

Involve your kids in making them, they will have a blast helping.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Littler Less Lunch Program

Get with it! I think I need to be blunt with this post. But for all of you STILL using those zip lock baggies, enough is enough.

I know I don't need to explain that one of those baggies stays in the landfill but for FOREVER and if every single school age child used 2 of those a day for 200 days of school that alone is 400 baggies per day in the landfill created by your child(per year). Times that by millions students(in Canada lone) and you get the point.

I seriously think those bags should be banned or a recycling program be paid for by those companies should be mandatory. Our Earth is suffering enough.

Now with that said I would like to introduced to you litter less lunch baggies!! very simple, buy a reusable baggie and wash it out and reuse it!

As a concerned parent I(along with two other lovely ladies) started a Green Committee at my son's school. One of our goals is to have a litter less lunch program set up at the school to make people aware of this issue.

We put on a KangaSac fundraiser to give people the opportunity to buy reusable baggies and we also gave people alternatives if they didn't want to buy the KangSac's. Here are a few of them.

Stainless Steel Containers(great for liquids like messy fruits)

Laptop Lunches

Sandwich Wraps

100% cotton baggies

Get Cleaning!

Living Simple Naturally wouldn't be complete without posts on cleaning without chemicals.
Did you know that childhood cancer is the #1 leading cause of death among young children. Asthma is the most prevalent chronic condition in children.

Every time you spray chemical cleaners your family is breathing these chemicals and sadly they will last in your home for months, probably even longer for those of us who live in cold climates and we keep our windows closed for many months out of the year.
I purchased the book Clean House, Clean Planet by: Karen Logan. There are many great recipes in this book and although I don't agree with some ingredients(borax being one of them) this book has provided me with some simple and effect cleaning products that are safe for my family and the environment. Plus they all cost pennies to make. Some of the recipes in the book have been published at Green Amarica but I have altered some of them to eliminate the borax.

I have also taken on the task of selling Norwex products. I can not say enough about how important it is for your family to live in a clean home but not an overly clean home. People who are constantly bleaching and killing everything in site are not doing themselves nor their children any favours. Don't get me wrong. Norwex products work, but going beyond what is necessary is not essential to being healthy nor living in a clean environment.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Soda Pop

I don't know too many people who let their kids drink pop and if they do it is usually for a special occasion and not very often.

I had borrowed a really great cook book from a friend and in the book it had home made Soda Pop recipes. when I saw it I had to try it.

Keep in mind you can use absolutely any fruit for this recipe.

Strawberry Soda

1 cup whole strawberries(frozen or fresh)

1/4 cup honey(or omit completely, fruit is sweet enough!)

Puree the strawberries in a blender until smooth. With the machine running, add the honey in a thin stream. Mix well.

Pour into a jar, and store in the refrigerator. Use within a few days.
To make soda, use about 1/4 cup of concentrate for each 16-ounce glass. Add carbonated water and, if desired, ice cubes.

The recipe failed to tell me that I would need to strain the strawberry puree. If you don't strain it there will be tiny strawberry seeds in your drink. If you don't mind(they do sink) then don't bother straining it. The kids didn't seem to notice, but I did and I will strain it from now on.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Alligator Skin Cake

If your kids hate Zucchini they will love eating Alligator Skin bread. Unless you have a little girl who is a self made vegetarian, then I highly suggest finding a new name for this oh so yummy treat. My son was pretty darn excited to try some real Alligator skin! I think he was actually disappointed when I told him it was a joke.

Bread is a pretty suggestive term. This "bread" has WAY more sugar in it then bread ever would.
I got this recipe from my all time favorite cook book. 1000 Vegetarian Recipes, I can't say enough about this book, it really has a lot of amazing nutritious recipes in it.

I tweeked the recipe a bit, so I will write it as I made it.

Alligator Skin Cake a.k.a Zucchini Bread

3 cups whole wheat flour

1tsp baking soda

1tsp baking powder

1tsp salt

2 eggs

2 egg whites

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil(don't be afraid, it makes 2 cakes!)

2 Tbsp lemon juice(I never use fresh, always fridge stuff)

2-3 cups shredded Zucchini

1 tsp Cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flower 2 BREAD loaf Pans.

2. In a large bowl, stir together both flours, the baking powder and soda and salt.

3. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and egg whites until frothy, then beat in the sugar and oil. Beat in the lemon juice.

4. Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined; stir in the zucchini and Cinnamon. Pour into prepared pans;bake 50-60 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

You can also add some mini chocolate chips if you so desire. And the cake wouldn't be called Alligator Skin cake if you peeled the zucchini. But if your kids really and truly hate all things green, peel the zucchini so they will at least eat it. Or not and you wont have to share.

Affordable Frappachino

If you love coffee, you would most likely love Frappachinos on a hot Summer(or spring) day. I personally consider a Frappachino to be a HUGE treat. The cost is, lest face it, REDONCULOUS!!

So with that, here it is, an affordable alternative to Tim's, Starbucks and even Co-op's Iced cappachino's/Frappachinos. I don't have an actual measurement recipe here, which can be a good thing. This way you can make as much or as little as you want.
Things you will need: Glass for drinking(so obvious),instant coffee or seriously strong brewed coffee,ice cubes, milk(or soy,rice, you name it), sugar(optional), and blender.

1. Fill your glass half full(or empty depending on your mood).

2. Top up your glass with ice cubes till it is full.

3. Place the contents of the glass into your blender.

4. Take 1tsp of instant coffee and dilute it with a tiny bit of hot hot water in a separate cup. For best results boiled water works best. If you are using brewed coffee you will probably need at least 1/4 cup so add more ice cubes to get desired thickness of Frap.

5. Place diluted coffee into blender with milk and ice.

6. Add sugar if desired. 2tsp is plenty for a 16oz glass, but again it is personal preference. I actually drink it with no sugar and my husband has about 1-2tsp.

7. Turn your blender on and let her ripe.

8. Poor into glass and serve with straw. If you want to be very fancy you can add chocolate syrup or caramel and even whipped cream! be careful though, the kids will want some as well and we all know what will happen if they drink this. It could get ugly.

No blender? no problem!
Instead of filling your glass half way with milk fill it 3/4 of the way, add your coffee and a bunch of ice. Add sugar if desired, stir and enjoy a nice iced coffee.

You may also want to use icing sugar instead of refined white sugar. The icing sugar will dissolve instantly and you wont get any grainy texture.

Hate coffee? try this recipe with your favorite tea.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Meshy, hotsacks

boy, oh boy has it been a LONG time since I posted last. Time was stollen from me and I have been keeping busy. I got hooked on reading the Twilight books, among other things.

I haven't been doing any new baking in the last couple of months either.

Today the family and I went to Sage Garden Herbs. A really nice garden centre that sells organic plants and flowers. Aside from buying some heritage tomato plants, organic strawberry plants, and a Raspberry bush!, I came across these bags called "Meshy" hotsacks. If this isn't the next best thing I don't know what is. I always hated having to use those plastic produce bags and many times would not bother when buying small amounts of food. But with a family of 4 and 2 kids who love their fruits and veggies, using those bags is inevitable.

Sage Garden Herbs is a quaint little garden centre just off of St.Mary's Road. 3410 St.Mary's, not far off the Perimeter Highway, just before the Floodway.

If you live too far for a drive you can buy them directly from, or find a retailer closer to home.