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A Super Easy Vegan Meringue and Cashew Cream Deconstructed Sans Rival Cake

15 Aug

My parents friends would gift us Silvanas and Sans Rival on special occasions. I would look forward to eating either one of them as soon as I could. These extravagant Filipino treats just melt in your mouth and leave you wanting more. Both made from meringue, buttercream and cashews, Silvanas is a frozen cookie while Sans Rival a frozen cake.

After a day of baking and tasting Aquafaba Meringues, I knew I had to try making a Vegan Version of Silvanas or Sans Rival. I decided on something in between: a dessert bigger than a cookie and smaller than a full-sized cake. I also wanted a dessert that would be more meringue and less of the loaded fats.

How about a deconstructed cake? Layers of Vegan Meringue, Cashew Buttercream and Cashews! Perfect.

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Vegan Aquafaba Meringue

This is the exact recipe from my Aquafaba Whipped Cream.

Place the following in a mixing bowl:

  • 1 c cooking liquid of chickpeas
  • 2/3 c granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Whisk in a mixer for 10 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks form. Like the photo below.

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To make cakes: Draw 4 circles around 6 inches or 16 cm in diameter using a bowl or plate on parchment paper. Turn the paper around so that the pencil/ink drawings face the baking sheet. Spoon or pipe the Aquafaba Cream into round cakes on the parchment paper using the outline of circles as your guide. You want them to be around half an inch thick.

Leftover Whipped Cream? No Problem.

You will have some cream left over. You can either save the cream to serve with the cake later on or make small meringue cookies.

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To make cookies: spoon or pipe the cream into small macaroon shaped cookies on a Silpat mat or parchment paper on a baking sheet.

Baking the Meringues

Place the the baking sheets in a preheated oven at 200F. The small cookies bake for 2 hours. Take the cookies out at this time. The bigger cakes bake for 2 1/2 hours, turning the baking sheet around halftime. Turn the oven off and leave the meringue cakes in the oven until it thoroughly dries out (if needed). Carefully peel off the meringues from the parchment paper gently.

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Cashew Buttercream

Soak for a couple of hours:

  • 1 c raw cashews

Drain and rinse cashews. Place in high speed blender with:

  • 1/4 t sea salt, optional
  • 2 T your choice of liquid sweetener, like coconut nectar, maple or agave syrups
  • 1/4 c your choice of liquid, like water, orange juice or even coffee

Blend well to create a vegan buttercream.

Cashews

Place in a food processor and process so that there are both bigger and smaller (almost ground) chunks of nuts:

  • 1/2 c cashews, toasted or raw

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A Super Easy Vegan Meringue and Cashew Cream Deconstructed Sans Rival Cake (Serves 8)

Place the first meringue layer on a plate, top with a thin layer of cashew buttercream and sprinkle generously with chopped cashews. Place another meringue layer on top and repeat layers of thin cashew buttercream and sprinkles of cashews. Repeat with the other two layers of meringues. Freeze immediately. Serve this cold and straight out of the freezer, otherwise the meringue will become soggy. If you have leftover whipped cream, you can serve the cakes with some too.

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My son took one look at the cake and exclaimed: “Couldn’t you have made it with something else other than cashews? I would have loved to eat it.”

Oops, sorry. (He’s allergic to cashews.) I could have made it with hazelnuts or almonds I guess, but it is traditionally made with cashews.

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My husband and I already ate half the cake. It is a luscious mix of cooked and raw deliciousness.

I love my kitchen and I have missed cooking in it. My blog had been quiet for almost 3 years, but changing from RAW to COOKED Vegan has reignited my passion for food. Thank YOU for keeping in touch with me through the silence and stopping by again to enjoy the food on my table.

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Balsamic Strawberries with Aquafaba Whipped Cream

14 Aug

Growing up, there was always some type of cream in our refrigerator: clotted, double, light, whipped. You name it, we had it. Our family loved cream with desserts, especially berries.

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After turning Vegan, I sort of missed all that lovely cream but I also knew that it caused my eczema. So I did without because nothing vegan came close to it (ok maybe cashew creams but my son is allergic) until my discovery of aquafaba whipped cream. Unlike dairy-based creams, aquafaba whipped cream is much lighter, not to mention lower in fat and calorie content too. It is airy and fluffy almost like marshmallow fluff and creates the perfect vegan companion to berries. In the following recipe, I combine a traditional Italian strawberry dessert with the cloud-like cream.

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Balsamic Strawberries

Gently toss together in a bowl:

  • 16 oz strawberries, quartered
  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar (or lemon juice if you prefer that)
  • 2 Tbs your choice of sweetener, I use Sucanat
  • pinch of black pepper (optional)

While the strawberries are macerating for 10-15 minutes, whip up the vegan cream.

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Aquafaba Whipped Cream

Aquafaba is the cooking liquid of beans. I personally keep the cooking liquid of beans as soup stock, but for now soup will have to wait as my family indulges in this vegan cream.

Place the following in a mixing bowl:

  • 1 c cooking liquid of chickpeas
  • 2/3 c granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Whisk in a mixer for 10 to 15 minutes until peaks form.

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Serve

Place balsamic strawberries in a bowl and top with the aquafaba whipped cream. You can sprinkle some confectioner’s sugar on top and garnish it with mint, if you like. We were too excited to dig in so I didn’t have time to get mint from the garden. It was delicious nonetheless. Enjoy!

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My family thoroughly enjoyed this dessert. I love that I can now have berries and cream again. My son and husband LOVED it too. My son kept saying how the cream tastes like marshmallow and my husband was shocked to hear the cream was made from bean water.

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You can refrigerate the rest of the cream or finish it off or bake them now. As I write, the rest of our aquafaba whipped cream has been piped and is in the oven baking as vegan meringues. We are already excited about tonight’s dessert.

A Homemade Vegan Hot Dog on a Whole Wheat Bun, Cole Slaw and Baked Fries Please

12 Aug

For dinner tonight, I wanted to cook something fun and welcoming, something to celebrate Summer holidays. Something that screamed: COMFORT FOOD!

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You see our flights were cancelled four times in two days as we struggled to return home from three airports hit by storms. By midnight last night, we ignored our hunger for dinner as the wish to be asleep in our own beds grew stronger. We finally made it back today around 3 a.m. hungry but relieved.

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I wanted to cook an easy, comforting, and healthy meal for our first dinner back home together. I thought:

Homemade Vegan Hot Dogs in Homemade Whole Wheat Buns served with Coleslaw and Baked Fries.

PERFECT.

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It was a HIT! Everyone asked for seconds.

PAUSE.

Everyone asked for seconds.

PAUSE.

I love it when they do that!

My family members are elusive when it comes to verbal compliments, but their actions spoke louder than words tonight.

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Homemade Vegan Hot Dogs in Homemade Whole Wheat Buns

Homemade Vegan Hot Dogs

Make TWO batches of FatFree Vegan Kitchen’s Homemade Veggie Dogs so you have enough for a meal, leftovers for tomorrow and a couple of pieces left for the freezer. They are DELICIOUS! I used my Instant Pot to cook my kidney beans (I used red kidney beans instead of pinto. I wanted a deeper red colour to my veggie dogs) and steamed them in my Instant Pot for 12 minutes per batch. So easy. I love Susan Voisin’s Veggie Dogs! These are indeed better than buying the ready made ones at the store. Worth the little effort they require.

Homemade Whole Wheat Buns

Place the following in order in your bread machine:

  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 T flax seed meal mixed with 3 T water
  • 3 T your choice of sweetener, I use Sucanat
  • 4 1/2 T your choice of oil/vegan butter, I use grapeseed oil or Earth Balance depending on my mood
  • 1 c vegan milk, I tend to use rice milk these days
  • 1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 c bread flour
  • 1 T yeast

Set for dough stage. When done, divide dough into 9 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope around 6 inches. Then flatten to a rectangular/oblong shape. Place on a prepared baking sheet (lined with Silpat mat or parchment paper) and cover with a kitchen towel. Leave to rest for 20 minutes. Bake (uncovered of course!) in a preheated oven at 400F for around 13 minutes till golden brown.

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Easy Coleslaw

Mix together in a bowl to incorporate:

  • 1/4 c your favourite salad dressing
  • 1/2 c vegan mayonnaise

Add in:

  • 16 oz coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)

Mix well and set aside until ready to serve.

UPDATE: this recipe of coleslaw is just so much better!

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Easy Baked Fries

On a baking sheet, mix together:

  • Russet Potatoes, sliced into batons (I like to keep the skins on for the nutrients)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • garlic powder, to taste
  • paprika, to taste
  • olive oil, just enough to coat well

Arrange flat on the baking sheet. Bake at 450F until crispy, around 30 minutes or more depending on thickness of your slices.

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Serve All Together with Your Choice of Toppings

My son and I love ours with yellow mustard, ketchup and sauerkraut. My husband prefers his with just yellow mustard and ketchup.

How about you?

Review: Thug Kitchen Eat Like You Give a F*ck The Official Cookbook

5 Aug

“I give this book FIVE STARS!” exclaims my fourth grader.

Just GREAT.


The conservative parent in me wanted to take this THUG KITCHEN: eat like you give a f*ck The Official Cookbook full of curse words away from my son, but the Vegan in me was proud that this was the first ever cookbook he just wanted to read from cover to cover on his own volition. I am not sure if I felt like it was a bad (I shouldn’t have left that book lying around) or proud (vegan ed!) parent moment. Probably both.

As I walked by once or twice, ok maybe five times, my son would point out the paraphernalia in the photos and exclaim, “Mama! I want to shop there! I want that bag!” Or we would laugh as he read a passage or two. At some point, I just joined him as he showed me his favourite parts of the book.

The THUG KITCHEN Cookbook is indeed f*cking hilarious. If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest getting your hands on one just for entertainment purposes. Or check out their website for Vegan inspiration.

How about their recipes? I love reading them. They are funny. I also love how the given ingredients are flexible with a lot of notes too on how to substitute if you are out of them.


I’ve tried one so far and it was a hit at our house: Roasted Chickpea and Broccoli Burritos. Easy and satisfyingly delicious. 


The Burrito recipe simply required roasting this beautiful mix of onions, garlic, red peppers, broccoli, and chickpeas with spices, then wrapping them in tortillas with your choice of additions. We added avocado, salsa and rice. My husband finished off three big ones, my son finished off one, and I enjoyed every single bite of mine plus licked the leftovers off my fingers.

My son asked me, “So Mama, can we try one of their desserts next?”

Absolutely! 

Instant Pot Vegan Monggo Guisado or Mung Bean Stew

31 Jul

My mother brought me to an orphanage in the Philippines when I was about 9 or 10 years old. I wanted to donate my old clothes and toys to children who were in need. It just so happened that we arrived around lunch time. Although the kids were excited to see me, their eyes sparkled even more at the sight of their food. This particular orphanage was for handicap children and I saw how some ate with their feet or directly with their mouths to the plates. It didn’t matter what their handicap was, they ate heartily and happily.

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“What are they eating?” I asked my mother, “It looks so masarap (delicious)!”

“Monggo Guisado. It is delicious. The best part is that it doesn’t cost a lot for the orphanage to give the children a nutritious meal.” she replied.

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That night, I asked for Monggo Guisado for dinner and remembered the children at the orphanage as I relished each spoonful. I had thought that I would make a big difference in their lives as a deliverer of special, albeit second hand, gifts. Instead, it was I who came away with a lesson in the joy of the simple things in life.

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Everytime I eat Monggo Guisado, I think of that day at the orphanage, the happiness each bite brought to the children, and the nutritious meal I have in memory of them. It is a simple meal that comforts my body and mind.

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Instant Pot Monggo Guisado or Mung Bean Stew

Saute in an Instant Pot:

  • 1/2 c water
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped

Turn off saute and add into the Instant Pot:

  • 1 1/2 c whole green mung beans, not soaked but rinsed
  • 3 c water

Cover lid and set for Bean for 15 minutes. Allow pressure to come down naturally when done. Take off lid, press saute and add in:

  • 4 big handfuls of chopped greens (I had kale)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbs Bragg’s Amino or low-sodium soy sauce

Stir for a few minutes until greens are cooked well. Turn off Instant Pot. Serve with rice, lime wedges and more Bragg’s Amino.

 

Bread Machine Vegan Whole Wheat Pan de Sal

28 Jul

When I lived in the Philippines, Pan de Sal was almost always in a bread basket at our family’s breakfast table accompanied by butter, local jams and cheeses, condensed milk or Dulce de Leche. Unlike what its Spanish name suggests, it is actually more a Pan “Dulce” than Pan “Salado.” Its crust is thin and slightly crispy while the inside is light and fluffy. I especially loved slathering on my Lola’s homemade mango jam or eating it with quesong puti or dunking it in hot chocolate.

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The Experiment

I was searching for a Pan de Sal recipe for the bread machine, but did not find one. I also wanted to bake a Vegan Whole Grain Bread with a lower fat and sugar content. After an internet search, I found Russian Filipino Kitchen. The comments on her recipe were numerous and positive. Although her recipe was not for the bread machine and used only white flour, it had everything else that I was looking for: vegan, lower fat and sugar content. It was easily adaptable and I went to work, or rather my bread machine, went to work. As you see below: success!

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Bread Machine Vegan Whole Wheat Pan de Sal (Makes 20 rolls)

Adapted from Russian Filipino Kitchen

Place ingredients in order into your bread machine:

  • 2 Tbs vegan butter or olive oil or your choice of oil
  • 1 c your choice of milk or water
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 c sucanat or unrefined sugar
  • 1 1/2 c bread flour
  • 1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
  • 2¼ tsp active dry yeast (or 1 packet)

Set for dough setting. When the dough setting is done, around 1 hour and 50 minutes, take the dough out and roll into a long log. Slice into twenty 1″ pieces. Roll in:

  • whole wheat flour (this is a much healthier option than the traditional bread crumbs and does not sacrifice taste or texture)

Coat well. Place on a prepared baking sheet (with a silpat mat or parchment paper) around an inch apart.

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Cover with a towel and allow to rise for 1 hour.

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Bake in a preheated oven at 375F for 10 minutes on the center rack. Serve warm.

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This Bread Machine Vegan Whole Wheat Pan de Sal, while made up of healthier ingredients, is still thin and slightly crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside.

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The best part: this recipe only takes a few minutes of your active time and the aroma in your kitchen will transport you to a Philippine bakery.

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I couldn’t resist eating one straight from the oven. I ate half of it with vegan butter and half of it with homemade vegan Nutella. No photo of the latter, unfortunately, because it was gone in a second.

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Enjoy!

 

Vegan Modan-Yaki: Yakisoba topped with Veggie Filled Okonomiyaki (Japanese Savoury Pancakes)

27 Jul

I remember walking in Tokyo with my parents when I was little and smelling something amazing. It came from a street vendor cooking something that looked like a pancake but smelled savoury. I knew I had to have some. I patiently waited my turn, which seemed like hours, but it was all worthwhile. As I held my treasured okonomiyaki, I took a big bite. Eyes closed. Umami.

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Tonight, I wanted to experiment with making vegan “omelettes” with chickpea flour. I didn’t want just any omelette. I wanted okonomiyaki. I decided to serve it with yakisoba. That seems like a nutritious full vegan meal to me: noodles, beans and plenty of veggies to go along with it.

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So, here is my version of Modan-Yaki (モダン焼き). Hope you like it.

Easy Vegan Yakisoba (4 servings)

Cook according to package directions, drain and rinse in cold water:

  • a package of yakisoba noodles (I only had buckwheat ramen noodles, but it worked just fine so go ahead and substitute)

While it cooks, saute in 1/2 c water:

  • 1 onion, sliced

When softened, add:

  • 8 oz coleslaw mix or shredded cabbage

Cook until softened. Add the noodles and tonkatsu sauce to taste. You probably will use around half of the sauce below. Mix well. When heated through, take off heat.

Vegan Tonkatsu Sauce (just the right amount for both the yakisoba and okonomiyaki)

Mix together:

  • 3 T sucanat
  • 1/2 c ketchup
  • 3/4 c soy sauce (we use low sodium)

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Veggie Filled Okonomiyaki (Makes 8)

Mix together in a bowl:

  • 2 c chickpea flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp sucanat
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbs nutritional yeast (optional)

Then add:

  • 2 c water

Whisk together well. Add in:

  • 1/2 c panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 c green onions, sliced
  • 1 potato, white or sweet potato or yam, grated
  • 1 – 2 large romaine lettuce heads, shredded (my family will happily eat lettuce and since I already cooked cabbage in the yakisoba, I thought it better not to cook it again here)

 

Mix well. If there is too much liquid, you can add in more shredded or grated vegetables. Now, heat a non-stick pan and spray on some oil. With your hands, form a ball with the batter and place gently on the pan to cook. I managed to squeeze 4 pancakes in my pan. Cook on medium heat for 5 – 10 minutes until crispy. Turn, pat down gently and cook another 5 – 10 minutes. When both sides are crispy, turn once again, cover the pan with the lid and steam cook for an additional 3 – 5 minutes.

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Vegan Modan-Yaki: Yakisoba topped with Veggie Filled Okonomiyaki

By now you’ve got both your noodles and your pancakes. It’s time to serve!

Place yakisoba on a plate and top with one okonomiyaki.

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Now drizzle sauces and garnish with the following toppings:

  • tonkatsu sauce (from above)
  • vegan mayonnaise
  • nori flakes or other seaweed
  • green onions, sliced

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I love chickpea flour!

Orange You a Creamy Strawberry Popsicle

26 Jul

Orange you glad I didn’t say banana? I reserve frozen bananas for raw vegan ice cream! Cool down instead with one of these Popsicle delights!

Orange You a Creamy Strawberry Popsicle

Mix the ingredients together well and pour into 4 popsicle moulds:

  • 1 oz liquid sweetener, like maple syrup, coconut nectar or agave syrup
  • 2 oz your choice of cream (vegan options are soy/almond/coconut cream)
  • 2 1/2 oz strawberries, pureed
  • 2 1/2 oz orange juice, freshly squeezed

Freeze and serve on a HOT day.

Can I dig in now? Not yet let me take a picture. Now? Not yet. Now? OK.

And as he bites and chews the plastic stick in hopes of getting more sweet fruit juice: Mama, I’ll definitely have these again! 

Your Fave Veggie Loaded Summer Pasta Salad

26 Jul

Need a quick but yummy vegan meal for a family picnic on a hot day?

Your Fave Veggie Loaded Summer Pasta Salad

Cook according to box directions:

  • 16 oz your fave kind of pasta

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While pasta is cooking, chop any of your fave vegetables. In the photo, I have:

  • 1/2 c kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1 big sweet red pepper, diced
  • 2 c cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 to 6 c thinly sliced kale

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Drain and rinse pasta with cold water. Place back in the pot and add:

  • 1/3 c of your fave salad dressing to coat the pasta well

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Then, carefully add all the chopped vegetables, leaving the avocado for the last so that it doesn’t get smashed in the process. Place in a nice bowl and top with avocado pieces. Serve with extra dressing and nutritional yeast on the side.

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Your fave pasta. Your fave veggies. Your fave dressing.

Your perfect veggie loaded pasta salad.

I Love This Vegan Garlic Whole Wheat Bread

25 Jul

Start with one loaf of Homemade Whole Wheat French Bread. Mix the Vegan Parsley Butter. Butter the bread. Then toast. Yummy mouthwatering garlic bread!

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I haven’t eaten Garlic Bread in over seven years since turning raw vegan. Now that I am cooking again, I am savouring all the wonderful tastes that cooked food has to offer. This vegan garlic bread is delicious. It does not sacrifice taste for a healthier choice. In fact, it is both delicious and healthier than many options out there. This is enjoyed by all in my family.

I’m really enjoying cooking again… I’m sure my family is too.

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1 Loaf of Whole Wheat French Bread

Place all in a bread machine in order and set to dough:

  • 3/4 c water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 c mix of bread flour with whole grain flour, start with 2/3 c whole wheat or spelt flour and the rest bread flour
  • 2 tsp yeast

When dough stage is completed, take dough and roll into a long loaf. Place on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. With a serrated knife, cut the loaf diagonally. Cover and let rise for 1 hour. Lightly brush or spray with water before baking in a preheated oven at 400F for 20 minutes.

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Vegan Parsley Butter

Place in a small food processor to mince:

  • 2 – 4 cloves garlic

Add the rest of the ingredients to create the Vegan Parsley Butter:

  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tb dried parsley
  • 1 Tb olive oil
  • 4 Tbs vegan butter, like Earth Balance

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Easy Garlic Whole Wheat Bread

For moister garlic bread slices: Cut the French Bread Loaf into slices almost all the way through so that the loaf is still intact. Fill slices well with Vegan Parsley Butter. Wrap loaf in foil and bake in preheated oven at 425F for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake 5 more minutes until crisp.

For toastier garlic bread slices: Slice French Bread into separate slices. Butter the slices, place on a cookie sheet and bake 5 minutes in a preheated oven at 425F till crisp.

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Serve immediately. Enjoy. I love these with homemade kale and bean soup!

Easy, Quick and Yummy Vegan Crunchy Chocolate Rice and Oat Granola

22 Jul

Love chocolate in your granola? Don’t want nuts or seeds in it? Want it in 15 minutes? No problem. Like all my recipes, this is easy and quick.

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Easy and Yummy Vegan Chocolate Rice and Oat Granola

Mix together in a bowl:

  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1 c rice cereal (my child loves Envirokidz Chocolate Koala Crisp but any will do)
  • 1/2 c vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 T flax seed meal
  • 4 T your choice of liquid sweetener: like coconut nectar, maple syrup, brown rice cereal or agave syrup
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t sea salt

Bake for 10 minutes or until toasted at 325F on a prepared (greased/lined with parchment paper/Silpat mat) cookie sheet. Set aside to cool. Keep refrigerated until needed. NOTE: you can make these into delicious travel bars, like my other two, but it will be easier to break.

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Serve alone or with your choice of milk or yoghurt and/or fruit.

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Breakfast Dessert anyone?

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Easy Baked Vegan Potato Tonkatsu

20 Jul

After 7 years of high raw veganism, I am now just exploring cooked veganism again and having a blast. This was last night’s dinner for the family:

Potato Tonkatsu, Spinach Gomaae, Tomatoes over Vegan Ramen with Homemade Broth.

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Cooking food requires much more time than preparing raw meals, but the family seems to really enjoy cooked food much more these days and I find the time spent in the kitchen very rewarding.

For Japanese food, we are really enjoying the recipes from Just One Cookbook. They are easy to adapt to a Vegan diet. I really wanted to create Vegan Tonkatsu Ramen Bowls for my family. I started with Just One Cookbook‘s Ramen recipe using rice milk instead of soy, then her Spinach Gomaae and Tonkatsu Sauce using vegan Worcestershire Sauce and Soy Sauce in place of regular Worcestershire and Oyster Sauces.  I combined all of these with my Baked Vegan Potato Tonkatsu (below) and it was a BIG HIT. My son used to refuse to eat Ramen, but now he asks for it and wants seconds. My husband really enjoys the Tonkatsu on its own just with the sauce too.

Easy Baked Vegan Potato Tonkatsu

Mix together and combine well:

  • 4 cups mashed potato, with skins for nutrients
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Now for the dredging and breading. Arrange 3 bowls with:

  • flour
  • vegan mayo mixed with some water to resemble an egg wash
  • vegan panko crumbs

Form potato patties, coat with flour, dip in vegan mayo mixture and cover with panko crumbs. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake at 400F for 15 minutes until golden brown. This is a versatile dish that you can serve alone with sauce or over rice or with ramen (as above).

The Easiest Vegan Pulled BBQ Sandwich Even Meat Lovers Will Love

12 Jul

Just take a look at this scrumptious looking BBQ sandwich. You won’t believe how easy it is to make nor how delicious. Please read on.

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A few years ago, raw vegan me wouldn’t have thought I would be posting about cooked food, much less something from a can. But never say never. This year, I’ve started adding cooked vegan foods back into my daily diet in a big way.

What I’ve learned during this transition:

  • my body took a while to adjust to different foods: I don’t have sensitivities to certain foods (like wheat) like I once thought. My body just needed time to adjust.
  • I didn’t gain weight. I actually lost weight because my daily raw vegan diet contained too much fats. Although of the good kind, fats are high in calories and are still… fats. I didn’t realise how much of it I was consuming (50% to be exact) until I started using a diet tracking app.
  • I didn’t break out or get sick. I’ve been just fine.
  • I’ve been craving all kinds of crazy foods lately… like this:

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My husband and I really enjoyed this meal last night and today for lunch. In fact, I inhaled my first sandwich and couldn’t get a good photo due to too much yumminess, very sticky fingers, and hunger to finish it off.

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So here’s the easy yummy recipe.

 

The Easiest Vegan Pulled BBQ:

3 ingredients only

Cook in ¼ c water until soft:

2 onions, thinly sliced

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Add and combine together with:

3 cans 14 oz young jackfruit in brine, drained and rinsed well (I used the one above)

¾ c your favourite bbq sauce, more at the table

Mash with cooking spoon or use a potato masher to create a pulled meat effect.

Choose 1 of 3 different cooking methods:

Slow Cooker – place all ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on low for 5 hours.

Stove Top – place all ingredients in a pot and heat up. You can cook until heated through or longer so that some parts cook to a crisp.

Bake/Broil – place all ingredients in a cookie sheet and bake/broil. The former heats it up, the latter burns parts of the jackfruit to a crisp to give the ‘meat’ a crunchy.

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The Whole Wheat Burger Buns:

Place the following ingredients in your bread machine and set for dough stage:

1 T flax seed meal mixed with 3 T water

4 ½ T olive oil

3 T sucanat or your choice of sweetener

¾ t sea salt

1 ½ c whole wheat flour

1 ½ c bread flour

1 T yeast

Divide into 9 pieces. Form into round balls and flatten to make the buns. Cover and set aside in a warm place for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 400F. Bake buns for about 13 minutes.

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Now to serve:

Serve about 1/3 c cooked jackfruit BBQ in a whole wheat burger buns with slices of avocado and additional bbq sauce, if needed. Serves 4-6 hungry people.

ENJOY!

Handmade Soaps for Foodies

16 Jan

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Apple Pie

Saponified olive oil, phthalate-free fragrance oil.

$5.10 for approx 2 1/2 oz rectangle

$5.60 for approx 2 3/4 oz oval

Beer

Beer

Beer soothes the skin. It also creates a much better lather. You won’t smell like beer at all.

Saponified extra virgin olive oil, beer.

$7.80 per approx. 5 1/4 oz.

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Cinnamon Toast

 This gentle soap smells like the real thing! My son and I love the scent and feel of this soap.

Saponified olive oil, phthalate-free fragrance oil.

$4.30 per approx. 2 1/4 oz.

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Corn Bread Anyone?

With calendula and plantain infused extra virgin olive oil, this soap is extra soothing to the skin and promotes healing.

Saponified extra virgin olive oil, calendula and plantain herbs.

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Hot Chocolate

A gentle soap for any kid at heart. Kids cannot wait to use these.

Saponified olive oil, goat’s milk, cocoa powder, fragrance oil.

$4 per approx. 2 oz.

St Patty's 1

St. Patty’s Day Beer

Beer creates a better lather and soothes the skin. The scent is mild.

Saponified extra virgin olive oil, beer.

$6.50 per approx. 3 1/8 oz.

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Honey Oat Vanilla

Vanilla Honey & Oats

 Honey moisturizes and oat exfoliates. The vanilla honey scent is light and mild for the small bars, but heavier and stronger for the big bars. This is another popular one.

Saponified olive oil, phthalate-free fragrance oils, oats, honey.

$5 per approx. 2 1/2 oz.

$9.75 per approx. 5 oz.
 Shop Now big

Gentle, Unscented Star Wars Bastille Soaps for Kids

21 Oct

Everything Star Wars here. Why not soap too? Here’s a gentle, unscented recipe for kids of all ages.

IMG_8162005Star Wars Soap Cupcakes

Recipe:

  • 5% castor oil
  • 15% coconut oil
  • 80% olive oil
  • water
  • lye (NaOH)
  • run it through my fave soap calculator to get the amount you want

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At trace, divide up your batch:

  • leave some plain
  • add activated charcoal for Darth Vadar’s helmet
  • add indigo for R2D2 (I still have to find the best way to do this without using synthetic materials)
  • add just a little of activated charcoal for Han Solo in carbonite

Pour into Star Wars molds. You can also add the figures to a fresh batch of bar soaps (photo above and below).

  • cover with a towel and allow to gel for 24 hours
  • remove towel after 24 hours
  • unmold and cut
  • cure for 4 – 6 weeks

IMG_8165006  IMG_8164004   R2D2, Xwing, Carbonite Soap

Now, who’s got tickets to the new Star Wars film coming out this December?

Sensous Sandalwood Soap

7 Oct

I wanted to create a Sandalwood Soap with the look and feel of wood, as well as the sensual fragrance of sandalwood. Here it is!

Sandalwood 2

Recipe:

  • 10% avocado oil (for a more moisturizing soap)
  • 25% coconut oil
  • 65% olive oil
  • water
  • lye (NaOH)
  • run it through my fave soap calculator to get the amount you want

At trace, add 1 1/3 T Sandalwood fragrance oil/pound and 0.5% of ingredients of grapefruit oil as a preservative. Divide the batch into 3 and to:

  • 1/3, add 1 T activated charcoal/pound
  • 1/3, add 1 tsp red clay/pound
  • 1/3, add nothing.

Sandalwood Soap

I used a cardboard box as my mold and lined the inside with a plastic bag:

  • pour the red clay batch in first
  • top it with the plain and charcoal batches in lines down the mold
  • use a thin tool to make circular patterns on the top of the soap for the design
  • cover with a towel and allow to gel for 24 hours
  • remove towel after 24 hours
  • unmold and cut after 48 hours
  • cure for 4 – 6 weeks

Amber Crystal Soap

21 Sep

I was really excited about the potentiality of this Amber Crystal Soap project because I love amber crystals and their scent. I prefer to stick to natural products and don’t add unnatural colourants to my soap, so I was uncertain how the soaps would look. Here they are!

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Recipe:

  • 30% coconut oil
  • 30% vegetable shortening for vegans and vegetarians/ lard or tallow for the omnivores out there
  • 40% olive oil
  • water
  • lye (NaOH)
  • run it through my fave soap calculator to get the amount you want

At trace, add 1 1/2 T Amber fragrance oil/pound and 0.5% of ingredients of grapefruit oil as a preservative.

I used a cleaned soymilk carton as my mold:

  • pour batch into your mold
  • insert old pieces of soap to add texture and colour to the soap
  • cover with a towel and allow to gel for 24 hours
  • remove towel after 24 hours
  • unmold and cut after 48 hours
  • cure for 4 – 6 weeks

With my extra pieces of cut soap, I balled them up and rolled them in some turmeric to make Amber Rock Soaps.

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The amber fragrance fills my kitchen as I write and it smells heavenly.

Rose Bastille Soap

17 Sep

I wanted to create Gothic English Rose Soaps, but didn’t think the older ladies in my family would understand it.

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So I have some all white bars and some with a layer of activated charcoal.

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They look beautiful.

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I snuck in some all black Gothic-looking mini rose soaps too.
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Recipe:

  • 20% coconut oil
  • 80% olive oil
  • water
  • lye (NaOH)
  • run it through my fave soap calculator to get the amount you want

At trace, add 1 1/2 T English Rose fragrance oil/pound. Add activated charcoal to some, if you wish.

My family presented me with a mold recently and I couldn’t wait to use it:

  • pour batch into your mold
  • top with rose petals
  • cover with a towel and allow to gel for 24 hours
  • remove towel after 24 hours
  • freeze for a couple of hours (very important as the soap may still be soft and may be ruined during this next process)
  • unmold
  • cure for 4 – 6 weeks

Homemade Moisturizing Hand Lotion

5 Sep

Indulge in your own homemade hand lotion. You can make it as light or heavy as you want. You can personalize the scent and the oils that you use. Best of all, you control the ingredients.

I’m not going to lie and tell you this concoction is not greasy. It is, but only for a while. There’s actually a trick so that it moisturizes well, soothes the skin, and the rich creaminess dissipates into your skin quickly.

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Recipe:

Melt the following in a double boiler:

  • 3T olive oil, extra virgin (don’t even get me started… I ditched all my high-end facial creams for olive oil and my skin is so much happier)
  • 1 1/2 T shea butter, unrefined (great moisturizer for dry skin and reduces inflamed skin reactions)
  • 1 T avocado oil (relieves dry and itchy skin, naturally boosts collagen production, retains water)
  • 1 T jojoba oil (similar to our skin’s natural oils, it is easily absorbed into our skin)
  • 1 1/2 T your choice of wax (there is soy, Carnauba, or Candelilla wax for vegans and beeswax for vegetarians, this is added to help blend and solidify the oils)

Take off the heat, add and mix well:

  • 1T honey, raw (optional, but I love honey on the skin and hair. Honey fragrance is an extra bonus.)
  • 10 drops Frankincense Essential Oil (or choose your own, but if you believe in EO, Frankincense has anti-aging properties and speeds up healing)
  • 10 drops Sandalwood Essential Oil (or choose your own, added for antiseptic, astringent, and amazing fragrance)

Refrigerate for 10 minutes until it solidifies somewhat. Place in your container of choice.

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When you want to use it, simply take a dab or two with a finger. It will feel greasy.
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What you want to do is rub it all over your hands with a few drops of water. It will feel like regular lotion. In this way, you are in control of how light or heavy this lotion will feel on your skin, as well as how much you want. By not adding water to our lotion, we are also preventing mold.

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Enjoy it on your hands, elbows, and knees.

Artisanal Espresso Soap Cups

24 Aug

I don’t drink coffee, but I love the smell. These little cups are inspired by my Dad, who is the biggest espresso drinker I know.

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I was going to name these soaps “Cappuccino Cups”, but my Dad suggested “Artisanal Espresso Soap Cups”. I couldn’t agree more.

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Vegan/Vegetarian. All natural ingredients. No added fragrances. Simply coconut and olive oils, lye, water, coffee, cocoa powder, and cinnamon.

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Imagine waking up and washing your hands with your own brew of Artisanal Espresso Soap first thing in the morning! How delightful!

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Espresso Soap Cups Recipe:

  • 25% coconut oil
  • 75% olive oil
  • water (less 1.5 oz because you will be adding coffee later)
  • lye (NaOH)

At trace, add to 3/4 of the batch (if making 1# of soap):

  • 1.5 oz extra strength coffee
  • 1/2T cocoa powder
  • 1/2 T raw honey (optional for Vegans)

Fill molds with coffee mixture, top with the remaining soap mixture.

For decoration:

Cure for 4 – 6 weeks. You can either keep them in the mold or unmold them. Your choice. They look deliciously drinkable in these cups though.

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I can’t wait to give these as gifts!

Too-Good-To-Be-True Soap Treats for Kids (Warning: these look edible!)

21 Aug

I have been obsessed about making my own gentle soaps. I don’t know if I can wait 4 to 6 weeks for them to cure! Take a look at my mouth-watering dessert soaps!

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“Hot Chocolate topped with Whipped Cream and a Piece of Chocolate” Castile Soap

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“Vanilla and Chocolate Fudge” Castile Soap, “Chocolate Mint Brownie” Basic Soap, “Oatmeal and Honey Cookie” Bastille Soap

 Tricks I have learned about making soap:

  1. It’s SO easy. Don’t bother with the Cold Processed Method where you have to heat several bowls and take the temperature of both the lye and the oils. Room Temperature Method is THE WAY to make soaps for busy Mamas. No temperature issues. Less clean up. And it takes about 1 hour or less to make a whole batch, including prepping the molds to cleaning up. This process works for soaps with lye, oil, and butters only. Check out these links:
    1. The Room Temperature Method by Soap Making Essentials
    2. Room Temperature Soap Making by Skin + Soul
  2. Use a soap calculator to check your recipes. My favorite is SoapCalc because you can simply input the percentages, weight, and oils that you want and it calculates everything for you. Plus, they give you very useful information about your soap’s properties: cleansing, hardness, conditioning, lathering, creaminess, and so on.
  3. Prepare your molds before you start making soap. Grease your molds for ease of removing.
  4. Prepare the ingredients you will be adding at trace.
  5. Castile soaps (100% olive oil) take a LONG time to trace. Bastille soaps (bastard Castile, i.e. at least 70% olive oil) trace much quicker.
  6. If you are using liquids with sugars, freeze them first so that when you add lye to them the solution does not get too hot.
  7. Once the soap traces, work quickly to put them in the molds. Or leave them out a few minutes longer if you want to create decorations with them.  

    IMG_7492003

    Freshly piped whipped cream soap

  8. Fragrances can darken your soaps, so I add these to the darker (chocolate) parts of my soap.
  9. If you are using any milks instead of water in your recipes, refrigerate them overnight. Take a look at my “whipped cream”. After a few hours in the refrigerator, the cream is whiter.
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I just placed them in the fridge

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After a few hours, the soap is a creamier white.

10. Waiting to remove your soaps from the molds requires patience. You can usually do this in 24 -48 hours. My impatience has cost me pox marks on my soap. Plus, see #3, which I failed to do.

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The wait time to remove the soaps from the molds requires patience!

11. But waiting for the soaps to cure requires even more patience. Bastille soaps require 4 – 6 weeks, while Castile soaps require at least 4 – 6 months or even longer (they say 1 – 2 years at least to get a fuller lather).

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I made some Castille Oatmeal and Honey Soaps from the leftover “cream” soap batch by adding ground oats and raw honey.

12. Cleaning up is a breeze. Keep aside everything you used during soap production where little hands cannot reach and hurt themselves. 2 days later, wash them up with soap that has dried on and in them. I usually have enough to wash other things in my kitchen sink too. No waste!

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My son and I CANNOT wait to try these.

My husband says I have enough soap now for my son’s wedding in a couple of decades.

Don’t tell him but I cannot wait to make MORE!

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Recipe Notes:

“Hot Chocolate topped with Whipped Cream and a Piece of Chocolate” Castile Soap: your choice of milk, cocoa powder mixed with olive oil, and vanilla fragrance for 2/3 the batch.

“Vanilla and Chocolate Fudge” Castile Soap: cocoa powder mixed with olive oil and vanilla fragrance for 1/2 the batch.

“Chocolate Mint Brownie” Basic Soap: I used mint from my garden, cocoa powder mixed with olive oil, and peppermint essential oil.

“Oatmeal and Honey Cookie” Bastille Soap: ground oats and raw honey.

For every 2# soap, at trace I added:

  • 3T cocoa powder mixed with some olive oil for my chocolate soaps
  • 6T ground oats, 2 T honey
  • 2 tsp essential oils or 1 1/2T fragrance for mild scents. Note: these can darken the soap colours, so I added these in in the chocolate bars only.

Liquids:

  • lots of options here
    • plain water
    • tea
    • your choice of milk. If you use any kind of milk, freeze first.

Recipe for my Castile Soap:

  • 100% olive oil
  • lye (NaOH)
  • your choice of liquid
  • 8% superfat
  • cure at least 4 – 6 months

Recipe for my very gentle Bastille Soap:

  • 15% coconut oil
  • 85% olive oil
  • lye (NaOH)
  • your choice of liquid
  • 8% superfat
  • cure at least 4 – 6 weeks

Recipe for my very gentle Basic Soap:

  • 20% coconut oil
  • 30% olive oil
  • 50% tallow/lard/palm oil (If you use palm oil, look for a sustainable option. Otherwise, look into tallow/lard. Any questions about sustainability? Check out why vegetarian Humblebee & Me uses animal fats in her soaps.)
  • lye (NaOH)
  • your choice of liquid
  • 8% superfat
  • cure 4 – 6 weeks

Finally, special thanks to the amazing Liz over at The Paragon House for teaching me how to make soap! She made it look so easy.

Forget Statins for Kids: Lower LDL with a Vegan Diet

16 Jun

Over the past year, our family has changed how we eat… yet again.

After our 7 year old Vegan decided to become an Omnivore, we discovered he had extremely high LDL. Several doctors we consulted suggested statins if he was unable to lower his cholesterol. Our goal was to decrease his LDL dramatically.

A Largely Vegetarian Diet Did Not Work

My first response was for him to go back to a Vegan diet but he argued that he wanted to try a largely Vegetarian diet with meat a couple times a month. After 6 months, his LDL stayed basically the same around the high 180s mg/dL.

Vegan Diet Is The Answer

I suggested switching back to a strict Vegan diet. He agreed. After another 6 months, his LDL decreased by 80 mg/dL. Although barely in the normal range, we were all ecstatic. More importantly, my son saw for himself the results of the Vegan diet.

Going Forward

So, what is my son doing these days?

Here is his basic daily health plan which I modified from Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s recommendations for adults.

Health Plan

My son and I need to make sure he gets to write a check mark beside at least 7 things on this list a day: daily exercise, fresh air/time outdoors, at least 3 cups of fruit, at least 2 tablespoons of nuts/seeds/avocado, at least 1/4 cup of whole grains, at least 1 cup of steamed vegetables, at least 1 cup of raw veggies, at least 1/2 bowl of beans/tofu, and a minimum of 1 tablespoon of any sugar (this one is a difficult one!). He is allowed desserts only on the weekend. He is allowed any food of his choice when we do not eat at home, which is only a few times a month.

Is it doable? YES! Is he totally on board? YES!

He has another blood test in a couple of months and I will be sure to update you! In the meantime, Vegan is our way at home!

Nori Wraps

29 Jul

A meal that takes less than 5 minutes!

Simply mix a huge bowl of salad. Use whatever ingredients you want! Easy minute salad is all I had time for last night.

Place some on a nori sheet.

Wrap.

Eat.

Happy Healthy  Tummy!

Is Veganism Safe For Babies?

9 Jul

HuffPost Live

First of all, thank you Nancy Redd and HuffPost Live for having me for a much needed discussion. Watch the video here!

My thoughts to:

  • @chubbyveganmom – wish we were closer! I totally see our kids having fun in the kitchen together!
  • @FatGirlPosing – enjoy looking at your photos!  I thought you’d be interested in the new study out by National Health and Nutrition Examination
    Survey (NHANES) that states it is the lack of exercise, not food intake, that causes obesity.

Vegan Mamas out there: Are your Vegan Babies Healthy? Would love to hear from you!!!

NOTE: My Twitter is @MamaInDKtchn! Also, our family members are ranked rowers (NOT national rowers… wish we were though)! 🙂

 

Yummiest Raw Coconut Milk Ever

13 Jan

My son calls this the Yummiest Raw Coconut Milk Ever!  Not only is it yummy, it is also very easy to make. You only need three ingredients: young Thai Coconut, Vanilla Extract and Raw Honey.

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  1. Open up a Thai Coconut.  Pour the coconut water in a Vitamix.  Take all the white meat out and place in the Vitamix along with the coconut water.
  2. Add 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of the Singing Dog Vanilla Extract (the one with the vanilla bean in it!).
  3. Add raw honey to taste (usually a tablespoon).  Or alternatively, choose another sweetener.
  4. Blend all together.  Serve.

DIY Raw Anti-Aging Face Mask and Moisturizer

6 Sep

DIY Face Mask

This Face Mask is so delicious… I was eating it before, during and after applying it on my face! I adapted PeggyKotsopoulos’ Anti-Aging Homemade Natural Skin Face Mask recipe into a Raw Vegan one.

Simple Face Mask Ingredients

Raw Vegan Face Mask

Puree all together:

  • 1 banana (potassium revitalizes the skin)
  • 1 avocado (for vitamins A and E to soften the skin)
  • 1/2 orange, juiced (vitamin C)
  • 1 big spoonful raw almond butter (more vitamin E and protects skin from pollutants)
  • 1 big spoonful raw honey (for blemishes and zits, and anti-aging properties) (if you don’t use honey, try olive oil or a few drops of sea buckthorn oil instead)

Step 1: Apply generously to your face. Leave it on for 10 – 20 minutes. It will begin feeling firm and tight.

Step 2: Wipe off. My face felt kind of ‘matte’. Then rinse.

Step 3: Apply just enough DIY Anti-Aging Moisturizer and feel your face loving it. Notice my cheeks are a little rosy and glowing.

Anti-Aging Moisturizer

In a small tub, mix together:

Peggy’s book Must Have Been Something I Ate also contains other very easy and simple homemade beauty products, suck as natural skin exfoliators, toners, lip balm, lip gloss, body moisturizer, cellulite treatment, acne zapper, age-spot remover, teeth whitener and breath freshener.

Step 4: Allow your face to soak it all in.

I was surprised that extra-virgin olive oil is not at all greasy. The skin soaks it all in and my skin feels wonderful!

School Lunches versus Packing a Lunch: How to Keep Both Healthy

23 May

We homeschool, but we are out and about a lot.  Here’s an example of our packed lunch.

How do we keep our children’s lunches healthy?  According to the World Health Organization“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”   So, we can rephrase our question as: how can we ensure our children’s lunches contribute to their physical, mental and social well-being and, by consuming them, they will not be afflicted by disease or sickness?

I recently watched a short documentary called Lunch, a film based on interviews about ‘Green School’ lunch programs, instilling healthy habits in kids and organic gardening in a school setting.  It seems to me that most people talk about kid’s lunches from a single viewpoint: the food. They say: let’s improve food quality, organic is better, no more GMOs, add more fruits and vegetables, no more fried foods, add healthier options, grow a school garden, add nutrition to the curriculum…  While I think these are all wonderful and much needed, the most important thing we can do is to empower children themselves to make the right food choices.  

At the end of the day, the children are the only ones who can control what they eat, therefore it is not enough to simply create a healthy nutrition environment for them. Children need to be taught that any kind of food can keep us alive, but it is the nutritious food that helps maintain our body, mind and social capacities well. We need to teach children about a whole lifestyle that emphasizes not only nutritional choices, but also how the choices they make affect their own physical, mental and social well-being.   When children are educated, when they understand, when they are given proper role models and when they are given tools to help them choose health, then the responsibility for parents and guardians to create a healthy nutrition environment for them becomes easier – simply because children will WANT it for themselves.  

Proper Nutrition is integral to maintaining our physical, mental and social health and well-being.

We can teach children the value of eating to live, not living to eat. We can teach them the value of maintaining physical, mental and social well-being (these are a few examples):

    • show them what happens to their bodies when they consume junk versus nutritious foods, for example:
      • what happens to teeth when they eat processed sugar (place a tooth in Coca Cola and see what happens)
      • what happens to bones when people eat too much animal protein and cow’s milk (show rates of osteoporosis in different communities)
      • teach them to look at their own poop and explain what healthy poop should look like
      • teach them how different foods create different energy levels (discuss athletes and their diet)
      • watch Wall-E and discuss why the humans are obese (foods they eat, exercise)
      • show videos like Supersize Me and Forks over Knives to older children
    • show them what happens to their minds depending on the food consumed, for example:
      • discuss how mental performance suffers/improves due to diet (i.e. Food For the Brain study)
      • show them that learning challenges and problem behaviors may decrease/increase according to diet
      • discuss how exercising the brain is just as important as sports is for the body
      • discuss how quality foods help the nerves in the brain function properly (memory, problem solving, etc)
    • show them that their nutritional choices have social implications, for example
      • discuss what “social well-being” means vis-à-vis proper nutrition within the community, the nation and the world (according to the United States Institute of Peace: “Social well-being is an end state in which basic human needs are met and people are able to coexist peacefully in communities with opportunities for advancement. This end state is characterized by equal access to and delivery of basic needs services (water, food, shelter, and health services), the provision of primary and secondary education, the return or resettlement of those displaced by violent conflict, and the restoration of social fabric and community life.)
      • discuss composting, recycling, reusing and reducing in the community and at home
      • discuss pollution and toxicity
      • discuss what stress does to us
      • discuss how the quality of food we eat affects our emotions and therefore our social well-being.
As we teach them to grow their own food and to prepare their own meals from scratch… we can sit back and see what happens.

Other ideas here too: Top 10 Tips to Get Your Kids to Eat More Fruits and Veggies

Part of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Blog Hop! Click on the image for more links to Gifted/2E Health and Wellness Issues!

Review and Give Away: Bee Yummy

16 Apr

Are you looking for RAW facial products?  I have tried Alkaitis day and night creams before.  Although I loved them, they left my face feeling greasy and sticky all the time.  The fragrance was also pretty overpowering.  Applying make-up, which I seldom do, was a little difficult on a sticky face too.

After asking around for Vegan product recommendations for my face, nobody recommended Bee Yummy.  Maybe because their products are not fully Vegan.  Although they are RAW FOOD products, honey, bee pollen, proplis and Royal Jelly are their primary ingredients.   Many Raw Vegans like me, who consume raw honey, would use them.  I stumbled upon them through my own research and I wondered how well they would work on my face.  live live organic accommodated my curiosity and sent me 2 sets of samples: 1 for me and 1 for one of my lucky readers!

Bee Yummy Face Products are made of RAW ingredients: Eye & Lip Cream, Face Lift and Skinfood. Feel free to eat some while applying on your face!

Bee Yummy Eye & Lip Cream is simply Olive Oil, Beeswax and Balsam Fir Needles.  It is a solid, but you can melt a little at a time when you apply it on your skin.  I had come back from a trip to Colorado, where it was dry and cold.  My lips were a little chapped – and after only a day of application, this made my lips feel soft and smooth.  I tried to use it on my eyes, but found it a little difficult (I am used to dabbing eye cream, not applying some with so much pressure that it stretches my skin) and time consuming to melt and apply around my eye area.

Bee Yummy Face Lift is simply Wildflower Honey & Honey Cappings, Kombucha Mushroom, Royal Jelly and Pure Water.  I used it twice in the past 2 weeks as a mask for 30 minutes (though they suggest using it throughout the night too) and I loved the feeling!   On my search for more products that work, I recently tried one mask that was so tight it felt like my skin was going to crack.   Bee Yummy Face Lift was not like this at all.  It made my skin feel moisturized and firm without being too tight at all. In fact, it will be the mask I use from now on! Although I still want to try some DIY Superfood Facemasks… when I have some extra ingredients and time on my hands that is!

Bee Yummy Skinfood is simply Wildflower Honey & Honey Cappings, Bee Pollen, St. John’s Wort Flowers, Propolis, Royal Jelly, Balsam Fir Needles and Pure Water.  I haven’t had a chance to try this product myself at all because I gave my sample to my son.  He ate something he was allergic to 2 weeks ago and broke out with eczema on his face.  I usually use coconut oil or shea butter to help reduce it and more high-raw Vegan foods in his diet to help cleanse his system.  This time, I wanted to try Skinfood instead of the coconut or shea butters. Well… after seeing how fast my son’s eczema disappeared after using Bee Yummy Skinfood, I went ahead and bought my son a 2oz bottle to keep in his drawer.  I wish I had some photos but I frankly didn’t think his skin would be better so quickly and I lost the opportunity.  Another good thing about Skinfood is that a small amount goes a long way too.

Any of you want a sample?  Please simply comment here and the winner will be announced on Earth Day!

Did it pass my cosmetics criteria?  Absolutely!

1. smell – who doesn’t love the smell of honey?

2. sensitivities – my son is allergic to so many sweeteners.  The only sweetener that his body is truly fine with is honey.  Needless to say, we don’t have honey allergies at our house.  We love raw honey.

3. taste – you can EAT all of Bee Yummy products.

4. moisturize – I love the Face Lift!  It is now my preferred face mask.

5. everyday comfort and 6. lasting effect – According to their website: “As a cosmetic cream Bee Yummy™ nourishes your skin with at least 27 minerals, 22 amino acids, 105 live enzymes & co-enzymes, hormones, antioxidants, bioflavonoids, and pigments. Another amazing, if not the  main feature of  Bee Yummy™ is it’s healing effect. It is excellent to help heal wide range of skin conditions: burns, sunburns, open wounds & cuts, pimples, blemishes, bed sores, stretch marks, chapping etc. We have reports from our clients that it has been very helpful for psoriasis, eczema, rosatia, poison ivy, and other conditions.”

7. eco-friendly – Vegans won’t like that honey is their primary ingredient, of course.  According to their website, their “ingredients have been hand harvested in a small wilderness area with it’s own micro climate. Honey, Pollen, Propolis & Royal Jelly are made by the same colony of bees from a small apiary, which accounts for energetic harmony and synergy of our cream. Honey is collected from the wildflowers, is unfiltered (just dripped from the comb), and contains the cappings of the hive with their precious, mysterious substances. Pollen, depending on season, is from a mixture of Wild Dandelion, Wild Roses, Raspberries, Asparagus, Goldenrod, Wild Apples, and Cherry Tree blossoms. Propolis is of the highest quality: only from Poplar and Fir trees. The flowers of St. Johnswort are picked by hand at noon, when the juices are drawn up from the roots, stems, and leaves into the flowers. Only select, young tips of Balsam Fir are used as a vitamin C source. No preservatives are needed because Honey, Propolis, and Balsam Fir are the nature’s  best preservatives and antibiotics. Honey is the only food on earth that will keep forever, and so will our cream.”

Want to try them? Just leave a comment below and the winner of the sample set will be announced on Earth Day!

Review: Suki (clinically-proven natural solutions®)

28 Mar

In my search for earth and body friendly Vegan cosmetic products, one of my readers (who also happens to be very passionate about cosmetics and works as a consultant for Alex+Von) suggested I try Suki products.  Although I received a few samples from Veronica c/o Alex+Von,

Suki Samples I received from Alex+Von

I decided to go ahead and buy myself an affordable “To Go Complete Care for Youthful Skin” kit from Suki after taking their Skin Quiz.

Suki's To Go Complete Care For Youthful Skin Kit

I figured that a week’s worth of products is usually long enough for me to figure out if my skin likes the products and I had the flexibility to use the free samples to compare with the products I bought.

My Impressions

Suki products are light, mild, moisturizing, not overly fragranced and left my face feeling ‘clean’.  Maybe it was psychological that I didn’t miss my Clarins products at all because I read on their website that “suki® blends advanced, high performance clinically-proven actives with 100% synthetic-free & organic ingredients, innovating the first treatment formulas that bridge the gap between science & nature. our products have an exceptional level of bioavailability that outperforms synthetics without harsh side effects & functions in unison with the body’s natural biological processes.”  They also state that “suki® is the first skin care solution with visible results proven through consumer clinical trials.”

I did use up my “To Go” Kit and most of the samples in just over a week.  When I sat down to write down the products that I loved and the products that I felt were just OK, it didn’t really surprise me to discover that I preferred the Vegan products over the Vegetarian ones instinctively.

The Products I Loved

Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser (vegan)

  • an award winning product
  • I loved how massaging the product in between my hands immediately created an amazing amount of foam, which I then applied on my face.
  • this felt lovely on the skin
  • I preferred this to the creamy foaming cleanser (below).

Creamy Foaming Cleanser (vegan)

  • I preferred this over the Moisture-Rich Cleansing Lotion – perhaps because I prefer a foaming cleanser to a lotion.  The lotion is a Vegetarian product and I didn’t feel it did as a good a job in cleansing my face, particularly on days when I had makeup.
  • it left my face feeling soft and cleansed well without stripping it dry.

Transformative Cleansing Clay (vegan)

  • light and thin
  • you can use it as a cleanser or as a masque.  I used it as a masque and left it on my face for 10-15 minutes.  It dried nicely – not overly tight, just right.
  • it left my skin feeling soft.

Pure Facial Moisture, both balancing and nourishing (vegan)

  • for me these were the STAR products of Suki
  • light, thin oils that are easily absorbed
  • they do not leave a thick film of grease on the skin
  • these oils don’t get into the eyes at all (like other oils do)
  • the face feels like it can really breathe at night
  • my skin felt wonderfully moisturized with these oils and made my skin feel very soft in the morning!
  • I love them and after my samples were done, I wish I had more!
  • P.S. I used more than just 1 – 2 drops at a time…

Now For The Photos

A few days before trying Suki products, still on my mainstream Clarins products

The week while trying Suki Products. I do have a little make up on, but skin looks great from afar.

Without make up and an up-close photo taken the last day of testing Suki products.

To me, there seems to be just a little more wrinkles on Suki than when I am on Clarins.  But as their website says “suki® innovation lab™ utilizes the latest clinically-proven actives from natural resources instead of conventional synthetics that cause topical damage & long term disease.”  They also remind me that knowing my beauty “means accepting, nurturing & expressing our authentic selves… also means having honest & complete information… we can trust… knowing what we consume, both inside & out.”

Did it pass my cosmetics criteria?

1. smell – wonderfully mild in fragrance.  It didn’t bother me at all.

2. sensitivities – my skin did not break out with any of the products.  To me, they felt very mild.  They products are also gluten-free.  Many are Vegan.  Their website states that “suki® is committed to creating clinically-proven cosmeceutical solutions that remain 100% synthetic-free & formulated with advanced technology.”

3. taste – after I used the product, there wasn’t a bad taste when I would drink water or eat immediately afterwards (something my mainstream products do!).

4. moisturize – I loved the breathable evening oils the most.  The Intensive Nourishing Cream was ok.  It wasn’t bad at all, but I prefer creamier products.

5. everyday comfort –  mild, light, non-greasy, not shiny, absorbed easily.  Makeup was applied on easily after using the cream.

6. lasting effect – I love their breathable night oils!  If I don’t find anything better than the products I loved (outlined above), Suki will be my facial products of choice.

7. eco-friendly – The company, based in Massachusetts, states that it is eco-friendly from it’s ingredients, manufacturing, packaging and shipping, as well as it’s activities outside of the company.  Check out their environmental policy here.

Review: Sprout Skincare

5 Mar

Sprout Skincare Mini Kit

In my search for Vegan Cosmetics that really work, I stumbled upon Sprout Skincare Products.  Nobody had recommended them to me, but after I took a look at their website, I immediately contacted them and asked if I could review their products.  Well, Sprout Skincare Products are the exact line I want to have in the guest room in my house for my guests to enjoy.  Beautiful in its simplicity from ingredients to packaging, everything in the mini-kit I received contains only 3 edible Vegan ingredients each.  In fact, most of their other products also simply contain 3 Vegan ingredients.  I could recreate any of them easily in my own kitchen:

body scrub: organic demerara sugar, organic extra virgin olive oil, organic coconut
cream: fair trade Shea butter, organic extra virgin coconut oil, organic extra olive oil
exfoliant: Maine sea salt, organic almond flour, organic oats

And yet, when I use them, they feel luxurious.  The body scrub really helped the dry skin I received from 10 hours on a plane.  The facial exfoliant did its job too.  But, for me, the star of the mini-kit is the cream.  I wish I had a huge tub of it.  Soft, light and creamy, its consistency is like store bought body lotion without the toxins.  It is absorbed easily into the skin and is very hydrating.  I honestly prefer the feel of Sprout’s cream to the Raw Chocolate Body Cream I have been making!

Sprout Skincare Exceeded My Cosmetics Criteria

1. smell – subtle and natural, no extra fragrances

2. sensitivities – none

3. taste – you can safely eat them!  No problem ingesting or absorbing toxins!

4. moisturize – the cream is wonderfully hydrating without being greasy

5. everyday comfort – it does not leave the skin greasy or sticky and it is absorbed easily and immediately.

6. lasting effect – I could use the cream everyday!

7. eco-friendly – according to Sprout material, their ingredients are “sourced from organic, Fair Trade, or small farms.”. What’s more, all Sprout products are handmade in New York.

For people in the East Coast especially, Sprout Skincare Products make the perfect gifts for family and friends.  For those who don’t want to spend time creating their own skincare products and have some extra money to spend, these products are one of the simplest and mildest on the skin!