Posts Tagged ‘Health’

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.

Bees Lotion Stings

In Natural Beauty on June 19, 2013 at 10:27 am

Now that the warmer weather is finally here, it’s time to get ready for summer. Mind you, in Toronto it’s been hot and humid one week then cold and rainy the next, but that’s the Canadian climate for you. So not a day goes by when I don’t wear sunscreen on my face – it’s not really an optional choice as I burn really easily.            

Burt’s Bees Radiance Day Lotion 

burtsThe combination of a day lotion with sunscreen always appeals to me, as who wants to put yet another product on? PRODUCT NOTES This light lotion has almost no scent and absorbs quickly without any greasy feeling. It also comes in a pump bottle, which is really convenient. But I find it stings my skin a little going on even though there’s no alcohol in it. Luckily it quickly passes and leaves no redness. BOTTOM LINE An SPF15 is considered low by my standards, as I like to have maximum sun protection on my face. With that in mind, I’ll keep looking for something with more SPF and less irritation.

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.

Get Glowing with Oatmeal Scrub

In Natural Beauty, Recently Reviewed on June 6, 2013 at 10:50 am

With all the pollutants and extreme weather we face everyday, even healthy skin can easily look dull and lackluster. There’s never a time when my skin doesn’t benefit from a good facial scrub. Luckily, I’m pleased that my neighbourhood drug store now has an entire section devoted to natural and organic products – and the selection seems to be continually expanding! Seems I’m not alone in my desire to purchase organic skincare products that don’t test on animals or contain a variety of toxic chemicals.

scrubCreation’s Garden Oatmeal Facial Exfoliator What’s not to love about this certified organic scrub? Thankfully it’s getting easier to find products that are both organic and free of parabens. And often I found other scrubs to be too grainy or rough on the skin. PRODUCT NOTES From the lovely oatmeal smell to the gentle cleansing action, I highly recommend this quality product. It left my sensitive skin feeling refreshed and invigorated. BOTTOM LINE If you’re in the market for a new scrub, this is definitely one to try. And for those of you who’ve never tried using a facial scrub before, it’s time to get rid of those dead skin cells and go for the glow.

Deodorant Debate

In Natural Beauty, Recently Reviewed on April 12, 2013 at 10:32 am

tomsWe first discovered Tom’s line of products a few years ago when my daughter, then a tween, was at that difficult stage when deodorant becomes a necessity. Frankly, I’d never given these products much thought before but my husband, we discovered, is pro-deodorant and anti-antiperspirant. Who knew? So the search began for natural products that actually work. And recently when I ran out of the antiperspirant I had used for many years I thought, why not try something new?

Tom’s of Maine Naturally Dry antiperspirant deodorant  The natural powder scent reminded me of the baby powder scent my former faithful had, and I was attracted by the allure of “clinically proven” and “naturally dry.” Here’s a classic case where I should of read the actual ingredient list instead of just the highlighted “petroleum free” and “no artificial preservatives” lines. Then I would have seen it contains aluminum chlorohydrate. PRODUCT NOTES Feels a bit sticky going on. Except during those night sweats (another topic all together), I’m not one to perspire a great deal. That said, no noticeable difference was found using this product versus my former chemical-laden one.  BOTTOM LINE Just when I thought I was doing myself a favour by using a natural product, I realize it wasn’t entirely the case and I paid a premium to do so. Next time, I’ll go for their aluminum-free product.       

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