Posts Tagged ‘Food’

Muffin Madness

In Food For Thought, Food, Glorious Food, Recipes on August 6, 2013 at 9:36 am

Recently I submitted a muffin recipe to a national competition that claimed to be looking for new and innovative products. Ironically, the moment I mentioned to the taster that my muffins were organic and vegan, he glazed over and quickly became dismissive. “People want full fat, full sugar indulgences.” Seriously? His words are still ringing in my ears.

It was clear he wasn’t the least bit interested. Guess he wasn’t accustomed to tasting anything made from whole wheat flour! Despite this competition being hosted by a major grocery chain with their own line of organics, he obviously didn’t get the memo that some people are actually interested in healthy living. Sadly though, I think the majority of large grocers are more about making a profit from enlightened shoppers than being committed to offering consumers better food choices. Why else would they continue to sell GM foods and all the other processed junk you find disguised as food? Until consumers speak out, we’ll continue to be told what we want and what we can buy.

But I digress. Be your own judge and try these vegan muffins. They’re quick and easy to make plus you can substitute different fruit or fruit-and-nut combinations to suit depending on what’s in season.

Caramelized Apple-Blackberry and Sunflower Seed Muffins

Caramelized Apple-Blackberry and Sunflower Seed Muffins




Caramelized Apple-Blackberry and Sunflower Seed Muffins


To caramelize fruit, sauté on low heat

2 tbsp each                        coconut oil and coconut sugar

2 cups                                  apples peeled, cored and chopped

½ cup                                   blackberries

Mix together

1 cup                                    whole wheat flour

1 cup                                    rolled oats

1 cup                                    sunflower seeds

½ cup                                   coconut sugar

3 ½ tsp                                 baking powder

½ tsp                                    salt

1 tsp                                     cinnamon

pinch                                    fresh ground nutmeg

Whisk together

1 tbsp                                  ground flaxseed

3 tbsp                                  water


1 cup                                    hemp milk (almond or soy can also be used)

¼ cup                                   safflower oil (or other vegetable oil)

1 tsp                                    vanilla


Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 12 medium-size muffin cups. To caramelize fruit, melt coconut oil and sugar over low heat until they become liquid. Add apples and berries cooking until soft. Remove from heat and let cool. Can be made ahead of time. Mix dry ingredients. Whisk together flaxseed and water to create egg substitute then add remaining liquid ingredients. Add liquid mixture to dry stirring until just combined. Fold in fruit. Fill muffin cups and bake in preheated oven until golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.

Strawberry-Almond Fingers

In Food, Glorious Food, Recipes on July 14, 2013 at 11:21 am
Strawberry-Almond Cake

Strawberry-Almond Cake

With strawberry season in full swing, you might find yourself with some leftover strawberries. My husband brought home a couple of pints but they didn’t travel well in the heat of the day. And even though I mixed them with lemon juice, they got a bit overripe before we finished the lot. This quick cake, which we cut into bite-size fingers, made quick use of the remainder.


Beat together

1 cup                        coconut sugar

½ cup                     coconut oil

1                               egg or vegan substitute (1 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3    tbsp water)

1 tsp                        vanilla


1 cup                        whole wheat flour

1 tsp                         baking soda


1½ cup                    chopped strawberries

1 tsp                          lemon juice

¼ cup                       sliced almonds


Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare 8-in square pan with cooking spray. Beat together coconut sugar, oil, egg (or substitute) and vanilla until well mixed. Combine flour and baking soda then add to sugar mixture. Fold in fruit and lemon juice. Pour into prepared pan, smooth and top with sliced almonds. Bake in preheated oven until golden, about 30 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan no more than 10 mins. Drizzle with royal icing if desired. Cut into fingers.

Plant This Seedy Cereal on Your Breakfast Table

In Good Eats, Recently Reviewed on July 9, 2013 at 1:02 pm

We’re big cereal eaters in our home and have come to enjoy many of the organic and non-GMO varieties that Nature’s Path makes. And anytime we see something new and organic at Costco, we’re quick to snap it up, as it’s often less expensive than at the health food store.

Qu’i Superfood – Chia, Buckwheat & Hemp cereal in Cranberry Vanilla by Nature’s Path  $15.49, Costcoqi'a

Hemp and chia seeds have already made their way into our home, as we continue to discover their many uses, so we were eager to see how this cereal measured up. PRODUCT NOTES As soon as you open the bag, a wonderful waft of vanilla greets your nose. The cereal itself is just as flavourful but you have to wait and let the seeds soak unless you want to crack a tooth.  BOTTOM LINE My picky teenager absolutely loves it mixed with almond yogurt while I like to use it as a cereal topping since the recommended amount seems a tad skimpy to me for a proper breakfast on it’s own. But if you’re looking for quick convenience and are the type who rushes each morning in a mad dash to get out the door, you might find this cereal a bit hard to chew.

Disclosure Notice: We participate in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program, which earns fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites. Our participation does not influence our content decisions but helps to offset the costs involved in maintaining this website.

This Cookie Crumbles – And Melts in Your Mouth

In Good Eats, Recently Reviewed on June 25, 2013 at 12:08 pm

There was an article from across the pond about a study on genetically modified (GM) foods that included horrifying photos of rats that got cancer tumors as a result. Not sure why we never saw the story over here but it only served to reaffirmed my resolve to continue avoiding these items and to encourage other people I care about to do the same.

But for those people who haven’t quite embraced a lifestyle that includes organic products, here’s an easy switch. Now I’m not an advocate for eating cookies every day, as easy as it would be to do but I have to admit my weakness for shortbread and other biscuits alike.

walkersWalkers Organic Shortbread Fingers While this certainly isn’t a vegan or gluten-free snack, for those of us who occasionally indulge in a buttery treat, this traditional shortbread cookie is definitely splurge-worthy. They would also make a great gift. PRODUCT NOTES There’s little chance you would guess you were eating an organic biscuit if you didn’t see the packaging. These fingers are so like the original famous variety (perhaps even better), I challenge anyone to try serving them up for tea as I doubt anyone would even notice the difference. BOTTOM LINE With products this good, it’s easy to see how little steps can add up to bigger ones. Even your most skeptical guest will find these most palatable.

Disclosure Notice: We participate in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program, which earns fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites. Our participation does not influence our content decisions but helps to offset the costs involved in maintaining this website.

Veggie Ground to Keep Around

In Good Eats, Recently Reviewed on June 18, 2013 at 10:32 am

I’ve finally found an organic ground beef substitute! When I stumbled upon this non-GMO-verified version from Sol Cuisine, I couldn’t wait to try it in my usual recipes such pasta sauces, stir fry’s and Sheppard’s Pie.

Sol Cuisine Organic Veggie Crumbles, $4.99, Loblaws . vegground

We eat a lot of soy products, so I try to find organic ones wherever possible since I discovered that soy is one of the most genetically modified (GMO) foods out there. This ground is also vegan and gluten free. PRODUCT NOTES Looks and tastes as good, if not better, as the other veggie grounds we’ve used in the past. My family devoured the spaghetti sauce I made. Not even a speck of it was leftover for lunches the next day. BOTTOM LINE Lately, I haven’t been able to find this product in my regular supermarket although I noticed they do carry other Sol Cuisine products. I’ll have to shop around, as it’s too good to pass up. More importantly, we don’t want the GMOs that you get in regular soy products or other foods for that matter.

Do You Like Waffles?

In Good Eats, Recently Reviewed on May 7, 2013 at 9:10 am


Yes, I like waffles – so the Parry Gripp song goes. If you’re lucky enough to have time on your hands and a waffle maker to boot, then you probably make waffles all the time. My brother-in-law has it down to a fine art so when he and my sister visit, we try to be as welcoming in our hospitality but it’s hard to do without said appliance. Add to the mix the fact that my niece has a peanut allergy and you can see why I was quick to jump on these nut free Belgian waffles.

 El Peto Belgian Waffles Loblaws $5.29

They look exactly like the fancy versions you get in restaurants and match the texture. I whipped up a lovely fruit compote to top them off and have to say they were quite tasty. PRODUCT NOTES Not too sweet – but in my mind, this is a good thing. Although they are not vegan they are gluten free, wheat free and trans fat free for those looking to avoid a slew of other ingredients. BOTTOM LINE For those occasions when I don’t have time to bake, I’m always on the lookout for good nut free products. So this is definitely a good one to grab when you’re pressed for time as you simply heat and eat!

Benefits of Bee Pollen

In Good Eats, Recently Reviewed on April 5, 2013 at 12:18 pm

pollenRecently I read an article in Vitality Magazine that highlighted the benefits of using bee pollen. After being plagued for years by a variety of allergies such as dust and mould as well as seasonal hay fever, I have also developed mild asthma–making breathing easy an ongoing concern. My body’s reactions to allergens fluctuates in severity from year to year, so anything that reduces my dependence on antihistamines and allows me to enjoy the great outdoors without tissues in hand would be welcomed.

Canadian Bee Pollen Gold for Allergy. If you’re looking for guidelines be warned! The only instructions read, “start with a small dose and increase gradually…” Luckily the article suggested starting with about half a teaspoon and work up to a full one. Apparently bee pollen is best consumed with fruit, so I’ve been sprinkling it on my morning cereal, which I top with fresh or dried fruit. PRODUCT NOTES The pollen looks like tiny yellow stones. They’re somewhat granular to chewy in texture and not really tasty eaten on their own. If you didn’t know it came from bees you’d be hard-pressed to make the connection, as it doesn’t taste like honey at all.  BOTTOM LINE While I haven’t noticed any dramatic change, the height of allergy season has yet to arrive so I’ll continue my research into spring and see how I feel when the garden explodes to life. A word of warning though, some people could have severe reactions to bee pollen.

On Being Green

In Food For Thought on April 5, 2013 at 12:00 pm

When I met my husband about 20 years ago, he’d already been a vegetarian for about a decade – well the type of vegetarian that still eats fish, eggs and dairy. This suited me fine as I had some experience from other vegetarians I knew, and it was fun to try new foods and recipes together.

Slowly over time, and as our family expanded with the birth of our daughter, he somehow strayed and reintroduced meat and chicken into his diet. We were always pretty healthy eaters but as time passed, we made a conscious effort to move towards organic, whole foods. Who wants to eat all those toxins anyways?

Credit my daughter for pushing us further by bringing home films such as Food, Inc.; Super Size Me; Forks Over Knives; and Burzynski, Cancer is Serious Business. Other efforts made, such as reading The Veganist by Kathy Freston reaffirmed our resolve to move back to being essentially vegetarian although we are now striving to be vegan at least 95 percent of the time.

It’s funny how people rarely think of health issues, until they’ve fallen ill and would do anything to feel better again. One thing that makes a lot of sense to us is our interconnected with the environment and food we eat. How can we not be? Do we really believe we can poison our land, air and water and that it won’t affect us? While we might turn a blind eye to pesticides, factory farming, genetic modifications and the like, these things have no problem finding us. Notice the increases in cancers and sickness everywhere? I don’t think it’s a coincidence.