Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"I don't want to eat pigs"

Those are the sweet words my 5 year old son said to me after we saw some very cute piglets at the Minnesota Zoo this month.

I have never really pushed my children into not wanting to eat meat. They just haven't been eating very much of it unknowingly. I feed them "hot dogs"(once in a blue moon) and they eat them up like it is the original hot dog they ate many times before. They eat "pepperoni" on their pizza with no questions asked, and they eat "meat loaf" now more then they ever did.

They love beans and rice and can not get enough fruits and veggies. One other thing I am very surprised at is that they don't ask for milk very often since I stopped giving it to them. My son has only asked for cheese and crackers a couple times, but their desire for dairy has pretty much been eliminated. They willingly eat "ice cream" made from coconut milk, soy or rice milk and enjoy every bite. They have willingly replaced rice, almond and soy milk for cows milk.

When my son saw those piglets and decided on his own that he didn't want to eat them, I was very proud of him making the choice on his own. I think children don't want to eat animals that they think are cute and cuddly and when they get old enough to realise what they are eating they start to ask questions. Some children refuse outright to eat meat even if their family does, but many children eat it because they feel they have no other choice.

When we were at the Zoo we had the opportunity to watch a dairy cow get milked. Now it wasn't the old fashion way with doing it by hand, but rather at the Zoo they have a few cows that they used for their dairy source and they are milked by machine. I was not excited to watch this being done and I already knew what the process was, but I was glad for the opportunity so our children could see what really goes on. It was a great learning experience for them, and for me to explain to them why we don't drink milk.

The process at the Zoo was fairly humane, but the sad reality is, the calf's born to those cows are not shown with the words "veal" written on their pens. The process at the zoo is not nearly as degrading and unsanitary as it would be in a huge production line of 500 cows being milked 4 times a day, which makes the cow milking "show" 100% false in my opinion.

People will walk away from that show thinking that the cows are being treated well with a lot of care and love, and I seriously feel that the cows on the farm are treated that way. But the milk you are drinking is not from those cows at the Zoo.

I will not and do not force my children not to eat meat or dairy. I want them to come to the realisation themselves that by them not eating meat or dairy that they will be healthier and not contribute to the suffering of animals. Nor will they be sucked into societies view of what you should be eating.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cookies for Breakfast?

cookie monster!

yes you can! I made these cookies a while ago and the kids just loved them. If your kids want a cookie for breakfast this is the one. They will think they are getting a super treat but you will know that these are packed with so much healthy nutrition.
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Ground Flax Seed
  • 3/4 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • Pinch of Cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 5 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon Molasses
  • 1/4 Cup Raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl mix together all ingredients. Drop cookies onto a greased cookie sheet. Use 1 slightly raised tablespoon of dough per cookie. Mash down dough some to help them spread out. Bake cookies until golden brown on bottom and top. Allow cookies to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before taking off cookie sheet.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Vegan Lentil Loaf

This loaf is so very yummy, and yes, my kids even ate it!
(recipe from myvegancookbook.com)

I made the loaf with some mashed potatoes and vegan gravy along with some peas and carrots.

My son just didn't care for the tomato topping so much. But it can easily be omitted and the recipe would still be great.

Tomato Topping Mixture
  • 1 6oz Can Tomato Paste
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Onion Flakes
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Salt

Lentil Loaf

  • 1 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1/2 Block Extra Firm Tofu
  • 1 Cup Chopped Onion
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Green Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Red Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Tomato Topping Mixture
  • 3 Tablespoons Plain Yellow Corn Meal
  • 3/4 Cup Cooked & Drained Lentils
  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Thyme
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Parsley
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Onion Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Dried Mustard

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix the tomato topping mixture together first because you will need a tablespoon to mix into the lentil loaf. The rest will be set aside to coat the loaf when completed.

Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to a skillet on medium heat, add chopped onions, red and green bell pepper and let cook until onions are transparent (about 5 minutes), stirring frequently.

In a food processor chop oats for 5 quick pulses.

Drain tofu well and press with hands until all excess water comes out. In a mixing bowl mash tofu with a fork or use grater to coarsely grate.

In the same mixing bowl combine, cooked onions and peppers, 1 tablespoon of tomato mixture, oats, corn meal, lentils, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, 1 tablespoon olive oil, thyme, cumin, chili powder, parsley, salt, sugar, garlic and onion salt, dried mustard and mix until well combined.

Spray a large sheet of tin foil with cooking spray to form loaf on, place on cookie sheet. On top and in the middle of tin foil form loaf mixture into loaf that is 2 1/2 inches tall and 4 1/2 inches square. Coat top and sides with tomato mixture (you will probably have some left over to spoon on later).

Cook loaf for 20 minutes, then cover with tin foil and cook for another 10 minutes. After cooking let cool for 10 minutes before cutting into it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


To the giant king of the food industry, this video is for you. This video is also to anyone who likes to avoid thinking about what they eat.

McDonald's is picked on because it owns about 90% of the meat industry in America and if McDonald's makes a change in how animals are treated and slaughtered and demands change then change will happen.

As a family we have decided to boycott McDonald's because of their careless practices and lack of courage to make a change. But, you as a consumer can send the message by not eating there. If you like McDonald's I encourage you to watch the video. If you watch the video and still eat at McDonald's, then more power to you.

Link to Video

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pass on the Napkins

Clear cut forest, Washington coast

I was watching a show called Eco Trip on the Sundance Channel. The show is about a man(David de Rothschild) who investigates environmental issues and how one small item can be disastrous to our world. On today's episode he focused on one tiny napkin and how using virgin papered goods is doing more harm to our environment then almost any other industry.

I really appreciate this show but in reality I wonder how many people are watching it and how many people care.

Here are a few scary facts about paper and how using virgin trees is impacting our environment.


  • Approx. 324 L. of water is used to produce 1 KG of

  • Average worldwide annual paper consumption is 48
    KG per person with North America accounting for
    over 1/3.

  • Asia has surpassed Western Europe in paper
    consumption and will soon surpass the United

  • Recycling 54 KG of newspaper will save one tree.

  • Paper manufacturing is the 3rd largest user of fossil
    fuels worldwide.

  • Recycling paper uses 60% less energy than
    manufacturing virgin timber paper.

  • Paper manufacturing is the largest industrial user of
    water per pound of finished product.

  • 10,000 trees are cut down annually in China to
    make holiday cards.

  • Every year in the United States, over 2 billion books
    are published, 359 million magazines are published
    24 billion newspaper are published

  • Recycling half the world's paper would free 20
    million acres of forestland.

Ok, so you get the point. Please read the link above to read ALL the points.
How can you help make a difference? One of the most important and easiest things you can do is make sure you do not buy toilet paper and paper towels created from virgin trees. There are so many other options out there these days. Even wal-mart sells an eco friendly paper option. Super Store has their President's Choice brand and Vita Health sells Seventh Generation.

The key to finding a good brand is to read the label. Make sure the company has a high number of post consumer material Seventh Generation used 90%!

Another serious issue is pulp being bleached with because we have this obsession with everything having to be white. Having pulp bleached with Dioxins has seriously toxic consequences. If you must have white toilet paper you should use eco friendly paper goods that have been whitened without chemicals.

So why isn't recycled paper cheaper you ask? The Government highly subsidises the logging industry to make virgin paper affordable. The best thing we can do is to STOP BUYING virgin papered goods. The more you buy the more the industry will stay alive. The Government needs to wake up and support those companies who are trying to make a difference so everyone can afford to buy recycled papered goods.

So, before you walk down the lane at wal-mart to buy your "kleenex" or toilet paper think twice about what brand you buy and the virgin trees that are being destroyed. And pass on the napkins at the resturant. Carry a few reusable cloths to wipe down the kids if needed.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Biscuits with no butter? oh my!

And no sugar either! I can't believe it myself, but it is true.

I am trying to find some yummy breakfast ideas to feed the kids.

We have decided(after much reading) that cereal is pretty much one of the worst things you can ingest(more on that later). The kids do ask for it once in a while and once in a while they can have some of our fairly old depleting stock of cereal. It is plain cheerios or organic rice puffs. Not much to choose from so I am trying to make things that are much more exciting then cereal.

I found this Pumpkin Biscuit recipe today. By no means do I want my children to eat a fat free diet, but they are sugar free and I had all the ingredients so I wanted to give them a try.

If you want to make the dough itself a little sweeter, substitute agave nectar for a couple tablespoons of the soy milk. Or, if you want sweetness without calories, try adding a little stevia or your favorite sweetener to the batter

2 cups white whole wheat flour (I used 100% organic whole wheat flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon(I used only 1tsp)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup pumpkin (canned or cooked, pureed, and drained)
1/2 cup plain soy milk (plus additional, as needed)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 425F and lightly oil a non-stick baking sheet. Mix the dry ingredients together well (flour through raisins). Add the pumpkin and mix until crumbly (do not overmix). Combine the soymilk and lemon juice and add it, stirring until a soft dough forms. If all flour is not moistened, add additional soymilk a teaspoon at at time until dough forms a ball.

Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and sprinkle the top lightly with flour. Roll out about 3/4 inch thick. Using a 1 1/2-2-inch wide biscuit cutter or glass dipped in flour, press straight down without twisting to cut into 12-15 biscuits.

Place the biscuits, sides lightly touching, on the oiled sheet. Bake until tops are lightly browned, 9-11 minutes. Serve hot.

Servings: 14
Yield: 12-15

The results were a yummy nice textured biscuit. I tried one right out of the oven with a tiny bit of butter(that is a debate for another day). My goal is for my kids to enjoy these as well. I will feed them to the kids tomorrow and I will be keeping my fingers crossed that they like them.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

City Patch

Until the kids are done with their swing set and trampoline we have to wait to have a nice size garden again.

The one thing I miss about our old house is our strawberry patch. We had a nice established area where we got some berries each year along with some other goodies.

One thing I wanted to try this year in our new house was a hanging strawberry patch and we have success! We bought the plants at Sage Garden Herbs, a garden centre that sells organic plants and they have been growing very well in our little hanging basket.

We can't wait to try one and to watch the rest of the berries grow.

Life is sweet

Nothing says Summer in Manitoba like fresh strawberries, picked by none other than yourself of course!

I have enjoyed picking strawberries for the last 3 years now. I always end up going to Grenkow's U-Pick because it is nice and close to our house.

Support your local strawberry U-pick's and buy local berries! I know it is tempting to buy cheap berries at the grocery store, but nothing is sweeter then a strawberry so sweet and ripe off the vine that it melts in your mouth.

No time to pick your own berries? Go to the Farmers Market on Saturday for the berries already picked for you. But be forewarned, they cost almost double what you would pay to pick them yourself.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Vegetarian Lasagna

This recipe was originally adapted from the Vegan Spinach Lasagna from myvegancookbook.com.

I have made this recipe two times now with great results. My kids love this lasagna and eat up every last bit of it. My version is not vegan. I did add a tiny but of organic Cheddar cheese to the top of the lasagna. But I am going to bet that even without cheese my kids would eat this.

When I made this recipe the second time I decided to make a veggie Ground Round layer(what is veggie Ground Round?). I pan fried the ground round with some chopped up mushrooms and used that as my bottom layer. The only changes I made to the original recipe aside from adding an extra layer was not using the nutritional yeast and adding cheese.

The "ricotta" spinach mixture for this recipe is so good. I bet even tofu hating people will really enjoy this one. Give it a try, you will be very pleasantly surprised.

For the love of beans

I know many people never eat beans and if you do it is usually by accident or because your mother forced you. But if you prepare them right you may actually enjoy them.

I saw this recipe on another blog (you know who you are). It looked very yummy so I just had to try it.

Tomato and white bean salad with dill and lemon

2 15-ounce cans white kidney beans, rinsed, drained
2 1/2 cups halved grape tomatoes (about 12 ounces) or cherry tomatoes
2/3 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, pressed

Toss all ingredients in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Let marinate at room temperature 1 hour. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring salad to room temperature before serving.

I could not find white kidney beans without EDTA so I purchased some organic navy beans. I also just used a few whole tomatoes cut up instead of cherry tomatoes and I added some olives which added a nice bite to the flavours. Oh yes, and no fresh dill so I used dried instead and it still tasted great. Don't have a fresh lemon? just use the stuff in the fridge, no one will know.

Switch it up. Greek Bean Salad. Do you love Greek pasta salad? The bean mix would taste wonderful with the Greek salad dressing I posted below. Instead of pasta just use beans for a healthy high protein side dish. White beans or black beans would work just find, or heck if your feeling creative mix the two!