Saturday, December 28, 2013

THREE BEAN SALAD

I absolutely love beans! This is a great recipe that I found online and tweaked to my liking. If you love bean salad this just might be the best you will ever have! The colours of this salad are perfect for the Christmas holiday season or perhaps New Years dinner. It is a great side dish or appetizer and is best served chilled.

BONUS-- It is super easy to make :)

INGREDIENTS
Salad:
- 15oz can chickpeas
- 15oz can kidney beans
- 15oz can green beans
- 1 stalk celery, sliced
- 4 green onions, chopped
Dressing: 
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp agave nectar or maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
- 1/2 tsp dry mustard, ground
- 1/4 tsp onion powder 
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, ground
- sesame seeds (optional)

PREPARATION 
1. Rinse and mix beans in a bowl, add in onion and celery.
2. Mix all dressing ingredients in a bowl (not sesame seeds). 
3. Combine beans with dressing and mix. 
4. Top with sesame seeds. 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

FOREVERGREEN BACHELORETTE BASH!

A HUGE THANKS GOES TO MY POOKIES SUZANNA AND GLORIA FOR PUTTING TOGETHER THE PERFECT BACHELORETTE PARTY!!! YOU GIRLS MADE ALL OF MY WORRIES FADE AWAY WITH DRINKS, INCREDIBLE VEGAN FOOD, FITNESS, MORE VEGAN FOOD, MORE DRINKS AND LOADS OF DANCING! THANK YOU!!!! 

Thank you to my wonderful sister Christiane who helped out as much as she could while studying for her board exams, thank you for all of your help. Thank you Emma, my beautiful cousin, who worked some magic and glammed me up for the big night out. Thank you Soraiya for always being there for me and helping me get ready for my bridal shower and bachelorette day, also thank you for escorting me on both big days :) 

To all of my friends who came out in such a big snow storm, THANK YOU, it means the world to me. 

 
CHEERS TO THE BESTEST FRIENDS
IN THE WORLD!
 FOREVERGREEN VEGAN BUFFET
 CANNOT DESCRIBE THE DELICIOUSNESS!
 TRUFFLES - Dates, cacao and other good S**T!
 Cucumber topped with cashew cream,
 roasted garlic and cherry tomatoes.
 SUSHI STUFFED WITH HEAVEN!!!
 :P
 PUNCH BOWL 
 Cucumber,  mint and some naughty stuff :P
 LOADS OF VEGGIES, HUMMUS, BEAN DIP, 
CAULIFLOWER POPCORN, & KALE CHIPS
 AERIAL FITNESS FUN
 ME CONQUERING SOME FEARS :P

After games, food, drinks and fitness and more drinks, we went to an incredible vegan restaurant in downtown Toronto called Grasslands. The food was phenomenal! Here are a few pics of the deliciousness we nom nomed. I have added a link to the Grasslands restaurant on my blog, but for your convenience--- Grasslands Restaurant



 This was my dish ^ and it was INCREDIBLE!!!

REUNITED AT BIER MARKT 
CHUGGING SOME VEGAN BEERS 
WITH LOADS OF FRIENDS AND FAMILY :P
GRATEFUL

MY VERY OWN BRIDAL SHOWER


November 10th 2013, what an amazing day! I am so grateful to have had such a beautiful bridal shower with my family and friends. It was perfect. I would like to thank my Aunt Elinor and cousin Kate for hosting such a wonderful day. It means the world to me that you hosted a vegan shower in my name, thank you. I must add that the food was incredible and everyone loved it and asked for the recipes afterwards. Delicious!

I am the only vegan in my Italian, Irish, Polish and French family and it was a big shock to my family, my fiances family and some of my friends. Having said that, I have such amazing family and friends who embrace me for who I am and have chosen to accept all of me, even my differences. I have been told by some family and friends that I have inspired them to stop buying products that are tested on animals and many have started doing their own research on the vegan lifestyle. I am grateful. At the end of the day my mission is not to change anyone. To each their own, but I know that I would have been grateful to have walked along this path many years ago so I want to give others the same opportunity that I had over a year ago, to become educated on the vegan lifestyle and see all of the love it brings to one's health, the environment and the loving creatures of this earth.

 Delicious and nutritious vegan dishes made
 by my loving Aunt Elinor and cousin Kate.
Mouth watering, decadent desserts. YUM! 
Chocolate & vanilla cake, so moist and delish!
TOO CUTE!
Thank you to all of my family and friends who came out to my bridal shower and showered me with love and generous gifts. Thank you!  

***ONE WEEK TODAY*** :D 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

MAPLE CRANBERRY MOIST MUFFINS

Life would be easy if I were just living the vegan lifestyle, but I make my diet complicated by having it refined sugar and gluten free. In this case complicated also means healthy so passing on a rich slice of chocolate vegan cake loaded with flour and sugar doesn't really hurt me in the end. I still like to bake and have a sweet tooth so I find alternatives to satisfy my cravings.  This next recipe was made on a cold November night when I wanted something sweet and found organic cranberries in the fridge :) They turned out delicious!

INGREDIENTS

- 4 cups of gluten free oats 
- 1 cup boiled water
- 2 bananas, ripe and mashed
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 cup cranberries, fresh  
- coconut oil

PREPARATION 
1. Mash the bananas. Also preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a separate bowl, pour the hot water over the oats and mix in. 
3. Add all other ingredients to the bowl. Glaze muffin tray with coconut oil to prevent sticking.
4. Put in oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
*This recipe makes 12 muffins* 
Note: The muffins will be super moist which is the way I prefer them. 



Make these muffins into cupcakes by adding some maple icing :) 
*For the maple icing, simply mix a tbsp of maple syrup with a tsp of coconut oil.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

CEDAR ROW FARM SANCTUARY

Yesterday was the beginning of a new chapter in my vegan journey. I have been living the vegan lifestyle for over a year now and it has been an incredible experience. For those of you who may not know, being vegan is not about following a strict diet plan, it is a way of living with nature, a way of loving all beings with zero discrimination. Vegans do not use animals for food, clothing or testing and they take the time to find alternatives so that they do their very best not to take part in what has so tragically become acceptable to society over time.

Yesterday I visited a farm sanctuary near Stratford, Ontario. Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary is a beautiful family run sanctuary that gives a loving home to so many animals that have been rescued from factory farms or found due to abuse and neglect. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work on the farm and be with the animals that I have learned to live for and live with, peacefully. I had the pleasure of meeting Siobhan and Pete, the lovely couple who founded this animal haven. After just one visit to the farm I can confidently say that Siobhan and Pete are two of the most compassionate people I have ever met. I was only at the farm for a few hours and it is not easy work and the fact they run that farm daily says so much about who they are and how much love they have for animals. They have two vegan children who I consider to be very lucky to grow up in such a loving, compassionate environment. The Poole family is an inspiration!











Check out their website Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary or look them up on Facebook to see how you can help make a difference in the lives of these precious beings. If you are not able to make it out to a sanctuary to give your time, blood and sweat (:P) then you always have the opportunity to sponsor animals or give donations. 100% of the donations Cedar Row receives goes to the animals, it doesn't get better than that! 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS

Last night my fiance and I celebrated Halloween in our own fun way. We dressed up in homemade costumes, had an assortment of scary movies ready to go, lit candles, turned off the lights and closed all the blinds. We had two giant pumpkins, knives for carving, our two furry angels and topped it off with some comforting pad thai. We had a great night and decided this will be an annual event :P 

One of the great things about pumpkin carving is that you can make a delicious snack with the pumpkin seeds. After carving your pumpkins separate the seeds from the goop and use this great recipe to create your very own healthy, tasty and nutrient-rich snack. Feel free to play around with the ingredients and try different flavours.

 INGREDIENTS
- 3 cups pumpkin seeds
- sea salt
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (or another oil of choice) 
- cayenne pepper (or other spices) 

PREPARATION
1. Rinse and drain pumpkin seeds.
2. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add seeds, turn to low and let the seeds simmer for 10 minutes. (This makes the digestion process easier)
3. Drain the seeds in a colander and pat the seeds dry with a cloth or paper towel. 
4. In a bowl, mix the seeds with your oil of choice, sea salt and other spices if you choose. The amount of salt and spices is up to you.
5. Preheat the oven to 325F.
6. Spread the seeds onto a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 12 - 15 minutes. 
7. Remove the seeds from the oven and stir. Place them back in the oven for about another 12 - 15 minutes.
8. Seeds are ready if they are crunchy on the outside. 

 Simmering
 Ready to dress
 Ready for oven
 CRUNCHY
 CRISPY
Ready to eat! :D
Owl on a branch and Tough Murder :P 
 Proud of my owl :P

Thursday, October 10, 2013

MY TOP 10 FAVOURITE HEALTHY SNACKS

Having snacks between meals is a great way to prevent cravings for junk food or even just overeating at the next meal. I have recently been asked to give a friend a few of my favourite healthy snack ideas so she can share them in a presentation she is putting together.  I decided to make a blog post so I can share my top 10 favourite healthy snacks with everyone!


***USE ORGANIC INGREDIENTS***

1) GREEN SMOOTHIE- In a blender toss some berries, a banana (to make creamy) and some dark leafy greens such as spinach. Delish and Nutrish!

2) VEGGIES & HUMMUS- Chop up your favourite veggies and serve with 1/2 cup homemade hummus. 

3) FRUIT SALAD - Chop up your favourite fruits and mix them in a bowl together. Eat your rainbow :)

4) RICE CAKES & ALMOND BUTTER- Have a few rice cakes topped with almond butter and agave or sliced banana for sweetness.

5) TRAIL MIX- Get your favourite dried fruit (goji berries, cranberries, blueberries, raisins) and mix in a bowl with your favourite nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans) and if you are really feeling like a treat add in some vegan dark chocolate chips :)

6) CHIA SEED PUDDING- I have an amazing recipe on my blog under "desserts".

7) KALE CHIPS- I have a delicious recipe on my blog under "snacks".

8) APPLE & CARAMEL- Soak a handful of medjool dates for 15-20minutes. Put in a blender and blend until smooth (you may need to add a little water). Chop up your favourite apple and use the date caramel for dippin'!

9) PROTEIN SHAKE- There are many great vegan protein powder brands such as Vega and Sunwarrior. Buy some to have on hand when you have little time to make a healthy snack. Mix with water and enjoy.

10) OATMEAL- 1/2 cup oatmeal with 2 tbsp of raisins sprinkled with cinnamon.  

 Chocolate Protein Powder :)
 "Cheesy" Kale Chips
 Green Smoothie
 Chocolate-Banana Chia Pudding

Monday, October 7, 2013

FESTIVE FALL CARROT SWEET POTATO SOUP

Fall is such a beautiful season! The temperature cools slightly, the leaves change colours and suddenly dog walks, running, biking and hiking become picture perfect paintings filled with warm colours of red, orange and yellow. I LOVE FALL. Fall is the perfect time to begin making homemade soups. Today is a rainy and dark fall day so I decided to brighten it up with some gorgeous, delicious orange soup that is certainly vegan and most definitely nutritious! Enjoy :)

INGREDIENTS
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 medium onion
- 1 thumb size piece ginger root
- 4 large carrots
- 1 large sweet potato
- 3 cups vegetable stock 
- 2 cloves garlic
- pepper to taste

PREPARATION
1. Steam carrots, sweet potatoes and ginger. 
2. Add oil, onions and garlic to frying pan. 
3. After steaming and frying combine all ingredients in vitamix blender, except for pepper. 
4. Blend until creamy and smooth. 
5. Serve immediately, because the vitamix is awesome for heating up soup, and top with pepper. 

* If you do not have a Vitamix blender or a super high speed blender then I suggest you boil your carrots and sweet potatoes until soft and then add all other ingredients until soft and finally add the chunky soup to a regular blender to make a creamy soup. 



SERVED WITH SOME SPICY JALAPENO CRACKERS AND 
HOMEMADE HUMMUS :)  

Sunday, October 6, 2013

DOWNFALLS OF SOCIETY

As mentioned in my previous post, change comes from taking action. Every January 1st billions of people decide they are going to make healthy changes in their lives. Many people have good intentions but give up quickly because of their mild to extreme society provoked addictions. Alcohol, food, exercise, sex, gambling, drugs, cigarettes, shopping and so many other addictions keep us from our goals, they cloud our minds and make it difficult for us to make positive changes that last.

Society makes it so easy to buy non-organic, GMO food, because it is EVERYWHERE and costs less than organic food. Society makes it easy to believe that eating animal products is healthy. The Canadian food guide states that animal products are necessary in order to be healthy despite the loads of research stating otherwise. Factory farming brings in more money than you could imagine and thus the government pushes these cancer causing products on us and along with the cartoon pictures of happy animals are more and more lies.  Society makes it easy to turn on the television at night and escape from reality for hours, zone out and NOT LIVE. Society makes it easy to believe that if we do not look like a super model we are worthless. Society makes it easy to get fast food, it is everywhere, and we all know it is garbage at this day-in-age. Society makes it possible for us to search the internet for things that bring us down, lead us away from love and sicken our minds. Society makes things far from love seem OK, normal, and acceptable. Our society is driven by money. Money is route of loads of evil. Think about it, cigarette packages show you pictures of what will most likely happen to you after smoking and the research proving how detrimental the second hand smoke is to the environment is well known, yet cigarettes are still made, sold and smoked. Why? MONEY.

What happened to eating whole foods, playing outdoors, not working 24/7, putting family first and spending quality time with them. Yes, that still exists, but in the realm of things, much less than in the past. Video games babysit children for hours a week. TV's, shopping malls, movie theaters, strip clubs and bars are often places people turn to to escape from reality and to ignore the present. People socialize around junk food and other intoxicating substances because that is what has become norm.  I do not think there is anything wrong with doing some of these things in moderation, but when they take over our minds and our daily lives then we are no longer living a life worth living. Just be aware that there are so many other options, healthy options that can lead you to peace of mind and happiness. The easy thing to do these days is fall into all of the traps in our media and money driven society. The more difficult but rewarding route is going against the grain and living a healthy lifestyle with as much moderation as possible. For some people, that will mean staying away from most of these things all together, for others it means paying careful attention to their goals and priorities daily to make sure they do not sink further from many of the joys that life is meant to include. 

How do we know if what we are doing is good for us? Ask yourself, does it bring love into your life? Isn't love all we need? Some people thing that if a smile is on their face then they are happy. Give an alcoholic a drink and ask him the next day if he is happy. Ask a man leaving a strip club if he is happy. Ask someone who just went on a shopping spree if they will be happy when they get their visa bill. Ask a child after 10 years of playing video games and junk food if they are happy. Happiness is tricky, because many addictions do make us happy in the moment. Does what you do, the actions you take, is LOVE the result?

I admit this was a rant :P Just my thoughts :) Thanks for reading. 

VEGAN OFTEN MEANS SAFER

What you don't know (or what you avoid thinking/learning about) can't hurt you---FALSE. Become aware, make changes and reap the benefits. This can be said for so many aspects of life. How natural are the products you use? How processed is the food you eat? What chemicals do you use daily that are taking years off your life? I guarantee the majority of them, if not all of them, can be replaced with a healthy, safe, organic, and most often vegan alternative. Yes, paying a little more is worth it.

I hear so many people constantly saying that it is not possible for them to live a healthy lifestyle because it costs too much. The crazy thing is that most of these people spend money on cigarettes, alcohol, materialistic items or other things that are far from necessary. What are your priorities? In a world full of cancer, diabetes and heart disease BIG changes need to be made. In order for change to take place, action needs to happen but the first step to change is becoming aware.

POINT:
Go for vegan products. If things do not 'need' to be tested on animals then they are much more likely to be considered naturally safe for the human body. Testing on animals happens when humans take chemicals, put them in our products and hope that they won't kill us. Just because we do not flare up in rashes does not mean it is not affecting our health in a negative way.  

Shoot for organic. Buy as much organic products and produce as possible. Pesticides, chemicals and GMO's are extremely harmful to our physical body and are cancer causing. Another important thing to remember is that our physical health is tied in with our mental, emotional and spiritual health. We need balance. If our body is toxic then we will suffer mentally, emotionally and spiritually. 

YOU DESERVE TO BE PHYSICALLY, MENTALLY, EMOTIONALLY AND SPIRITUALLY HEALTHY. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

CARRAWT CAKE CUPCAKES

My mom's absolute favourite dessert is carrot cake, and I must say I love it too. Since going vegan I have not had much carrot cake, but recently I made some raw carrot cake cupcakes for my mom's birthday. They were a hit! I absolutely loved everything about this delicious recipe and so here it is for you to try out yourself and see how yummy healthy dessert can be! Enjoy :)

INGREDIENTS
 CUPCAKE
- 2 cup carrot grated
- 1 cup dates, pitted
- 1 cup walnuts
- ¾ cup raisins
- 1tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ginger
- ½ tsp nutmeg
(makes 6 cupcakes)
 

ICING
- 1 cup cashes, soaked
- 6 dates, soaked
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp vanilla
- water
(makes one cup of icing)
 

PREPARATION  
CUPCAKE
1. Grate carrots in a food processor.
2. Add dates, walnuts, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg to the carrots and mix in food processor until nuts are chopped.
3. Put mixture into a bowl and mix in the raisins.
4. Dehydrate until crispy on the outside and soft in the middle.
 

 ICING
1. Soak cashews for 2 hours.
2. Soak dates for 15 minutes.
3. Blend cahews and dates with lemon juice, vanilla and very little water (1-2 tbsp) in a high speed blender, preferably a Vitamix. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add more water if necessary in order to get the right consistency. 

*Recipe inspired by Kristina @ Fully Raw*