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Posts Tagged ‘organic’

Coffee: The Life-Saving Beverage

In Good Eats, Recently Reviewed on March 16, 2017 at 9:00 am

Not a day goes by when I don’t drink coffee. Although there may be small blips of time – like during pregnancy with my daughter, or the odd illness here and there over the years that keep me from eating. That said, we’re not talking Timmy’s here. It’s only premium whole bean, dark roasted, organic, fair trade coffee that makes the grade in our house. Yes, we refer to this black, liquid gold as our “life-saving beverage” of choice. While “please” and “thank you” have their place in our home, the real magic words uttered are, “the coffee light’s on!”

So when I became vegan, I wondered how coffee would fit into this plan since I drink my coffee regular (cream and sugar). Sure, I tried every type of non-dairy milk from hemp to almond, rice and soy milk but these watery additions only led to a sad, sludge-like end product. If you’ve ever put skim or one per cent milk into your coffee, then you know what that’s like. One glorious day, I happened on the soy creamer that dreams are made of…and once again, the day was saved – by coffee!

creamer

 

 

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Roasted Ratatouille

In Food, Glorious Food, Recipes on March 1, 2017 at 1:15 pm

Even though the days are starting to get warmer, during these winter months nothing quite satisfies like real comfort foods: hearty stews, casseroles and roasts. They’re easy to make and allow you to cook in bulk, which can be a budget-friendly addition to your cooking rep. Let your stove do the work for you on cold nights as you cosy up in front of the TV. Just remember to set the timer at commercial intervals, so you’re reminded to stir or check on your master creations, and prepare to be the dinner hero time and time again!

Here’s my take on the classic ratatouille dish. Roasting it in the oven brings out a delicious sweetness in the vegetables.

roastveg

Roasted Ratatouille

Ingredients

2                                  small eggplants, chopped

3                                  red peppers, chopped, seeds removed

1                                  large onion, chopped

2                                  celery stalks, chopped

1                                  can chickpeas, rinsed (398 ml)

1                                  can tomato paste (156 ml), plus water

¼ cup                       sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

2                                  cloves garlic (2-3 tsp) minced

avocado or coconut oil

salt & pepper, balsamic vinegar to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 400° C. Prepare roasting pan with a light coating of avocado oil or non-stick spray. Wash and chop organic vegetables. Starting with eggplant, toss with 2-3 tbsp avocado oil, and roast about 15-20 mins. Eggplant will start to soften, shrink and brown.

Stir in peppers, onion and celery. If eggplant has soaked up all oil, toss with another tbsp or two of oil, roast another 20 mins. Vegetables should be starting to brown.

Add rinsed chickpeas, tomato paste, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic. Fill the empty tomato paste can with filtered water and mix it into vegetables. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Roast another 15-20 mins. More water can be added at this stage if vegetables look dry. Continue roasting until vegetables are fully cooked and have golden brown skins. Serve with cooked basmati rice, couscous or grain. Can also be added to pasta sauces or used as a topping on bread or pizza.

 

Curry in a Hurry

In Food, Glorious Food, Recently Reviewed, Recipes on February 20, 2017 at 12:00 pm

While we love Indian food, if you’ve ever made curry from scratch you know, it can be a long, time-consuming process. To cut corners, I sometimes use ready-made sauces but it’s really hard to find prepackaged ones that not only taste good but are organic, not to mention vegan, gluten-free and nut-free.

For the most part, I find that store-bought sauces or mixes often need a bit of embellishment to make them more flavourful – so I end up having to add a ton of spices just to make them palatable. How happy I was to recently discover a new line of sauces that step up to the challenge! These sauces are made in small batches and are full of flavour on their own.

Ingredients

3          large potatoes, peeled and chopped

1          small cauliflower, chopped

1          large onion, diced

1          can chickpeas, rinsed (398 ml)

2          cloves garlic (2-3 tsp) minced

1          jar (485 ml) Perfect Chef Veg Curry

avocado or coconut oil

salt & pepper

Slower Method

Chop potatoes into bite-size pieces. Boil in salted water about 15 mins., until tender. Drain and set aside. While potatoes are boiling, heat oil in large Dutch oven or heavy pot with lid, add chopped onions and sauté on medium heat about 5 mins. Mix in garlic and cauliflower. Cover with lid and allow cauliflower to steam about 5-10 mins.

Once cauliflower has started to soften, stir in chickpeas and cooked potatoes. Add sauce and mix thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. If curry is too thick, add a small amount of water or unsweetened non-dairy milk (soy, rice, coconut or almond milk work well for a creamier sauce) to desired consistency.

Replace lid and continue cooking, stirring regularly, until sauce beings to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5-10 mins., until all vegetables are heated through. Serve with cooked basmati rice and flatbread or naan. Enjoy!

Make ahead tips:

The trick is to make parts of this meal ahead of time. Any prep you can do beforehand will cut down your overall cooking time.

Some suggestions:

-Boil the potatoes as above. Drain. Cool and store for later use.

-Wash and chop cauliflower, then store in container until ready to use. Or while you are boiling the potatoes, toss cauliflower with oil until lightly coated and roast in oven at 400°C for about 15 mins., until lightly browned. Cool and store for later use.

-Prechop garlic and store in a small amount of oil (or cheat and buy minced garlic).

-Sauté onions in oil until lightly browned.

Speedy Method

If all or most of your ingredients are cooked and ready to go, it’s a quick and simple assembly. Simply heat oil in Dutch oven, add onions and stir in garlic. Mix in cooked potatoes, roasted cauliflower, chickpeas and sauce. Season with salt and pepper and simmer 10-15 minutes until all vegetables are heated thoroughly.

 

Granola Made Good

In Good Eats, Recently Reviewed on January 27, 2017 at 3:17 pm

We’ve tried a lot of granola bars in our household over the years so we know something good when we find it – particularly when it’s organic, gluten-free, nut-free and vegan. Although my daughter is now in university, she still takes snacks just about every day. Both my husband and I like to have quick-and-easy items to grab and go, too especially when you’re on the road or running errands.

 Version 2Granola Minis by MadeGood  If you’re searching for a healthy snack the kids will love, look no further. These tiny little morsels are filled with – believe it or not – vegetables! And yes, the pickiest kid will enjoy them not just because they are fun to eat but they taste great. PRODUCT NOTES So many good flavours to choose from – strawberry (pictured), mixed berry, apple cinnamon, chocolate chip and chocolate banana. The hard part will be deciding which one to try first. The granola bars are simply larger versions of the minis. BOTTOM LINE Perfect for school (or work) lunches, these may cost a little more than your regular snacks but the better-quality ingredients make it worth your while.

 

Tiny Tomatoes

In Food, Glorious Food, Recipes on January 12, 2017 at 4:30 pm

Although organic cherry tomatoes tend to be plentiful during the summer, I noticed them on sale in late fall and more recently before and after Christmas – so I had to buy a few containers. We like to use sun-dried tomatoes on pizza, in pasta, sauces and other dishes but it’s not always easy to find organic ones and they can be expensive. Why not roast your own? This recipe is super easy to make and has more flavour than any store-bought variety I’ve ever had. When I made bruschetta with them, it was gobbled up in a flash.

inbowl

Oven-Roasted Organic Cherry Tomatoes

Ingredients

30 oz               organic cherry tomatoes (3 small containers/284 g each)

4                      cloves organic garlic, chopped

4                      bay leaves

8 oz                 organic olive oil  (250 ml)

salt, ground pepper, dried thyme to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 250° C. Wash tomatoes and slice in half. Arrange cut side up on tray. Season with salt and pepper. Roast about 2 hours until shrivelled. Cool.

Mix oil, garlic, bay leaves and thyme in bowl. Stir in cooled tomatoes to cover. Enjoy!

If you’re not eating them right away, place in a sealed container in the fridge. Oil will solidify, which can make it more spreadable for some dishes. Otherwise, if you want it to liquefy, let it come back to room temperature.

 

Crazy for Kombucha

In Good Eats, Recently Reviewed on January 6, 2017 at 6:31 pm

There’s been a bad flu bug going around. Particularly during this past holiday season when most of us were getting together with family and friends. If the flu didn’t get you, perhaps the drinking, overeating, rich foods or sugary treats all took their toll.

While I was out shopping one day, I noticed a woman grabbing this item from the fridge section and was intrigued. Ginger remedies tend to be my go-to when I have stomach upset or cold symptoms. So I thought it might be a good one to try as something different while we had holiday guests. I’m sure glad I did!

kombucha

Kombucha Gingerade by GT’s. I’ve never seen this line before but the fact it was organic, non-GMO, vegan and gluten free made it appealing. As you know, I am always eager to try new organic and vegan products. PRODUCT NOTES In a nutshell, it’s probably the strongest ginger ale you will ever try – with real bits of raw ginger in it. My mother didn’t like it at all but the rest of us really enjoyed drinking it. BOTTOM LINE Both my sister and cousin had a bit of stomach flu and found it helped them to recover. Plus, there was a day or two when I was also feeling a bit queasy and it immediately made me feel better! I’ll have to keep my eye out for the other flavours. If they are as good as the gingerade, it will definitely be worth the search.

Perfect Pansies

In Food, Glorious Food, In the Garden on May 7, 2016 at 11:08 am

What’s not to love about these tiny, perfect pansies just harvested from the garden? This year, we found a bumper crop growing in different clumps in the back garden, so it seemed like a great time for a gathering.

wildpansy-1

Many people enjoy them fresh in salads and desserts. You can even buy them crystallized to use as pretty decorations on fancy cakes or sandwich loafs. Although you usually need to go to a specialty store to find them…they tend to be expensive, and since most are done with whipped egg whites and sugar – they aren’t vegan. Why not make your own?

Our bunnies love to eat fresh herbs so I thought I’d give them one each to try. No surprise when neither hesitated for a moment — it was just grab and gobble them down. It’s so easy to simply wash and dry them on a baking sheet for later use.

Happy New Year!

In Food, Glorious Food on January 1, 2015 at 1:25 pm

newyearsAkemashite Omedeto Gozaimashite- 2015! On the menu (clockwise from top right): Candy Soybeans, Red Rice, Okonomiyaki (Cabbage & Potato Pancakes), Karinto (rice crackers), Gobo & Tofu Salad (Burdock).

Lovely Lavender Cleansing Milk

In Natural Beauty, Recently Reviewed on August 15, 2014 at 9:05 am

cleanser

As you navigate the sea of mainstream cosmetics out there, with so many chemicial-based products vying for your attention and dollars, it’s nice to land upon a product that not only lives up to its claims but also surpasses your expectations. Fresh out of facial cleanser, I waded through the aisles of my local health food store and struck gold with this cleansing milk.

Avalon Organics CoQ10 Repair Facial Cleansing Milk. Lured by the promises of wrinkle smoothing hydration and cell renewal, I was pleasantly pleased to find a quality, performance product that is certified organic, paraben and sulfate free. PRODUCT NOTES Attracted by the handy pump dispenser, which I think is a great feature, I thought it would be similar to the many watered-down, liquidy cleansing milks I’ve used before. Surprisingly, a little goes a long way. So go easy with the pump as it dispenses more of a thick cream — almost like a cold cream in terms of texture and consistency. And while it says it “contains White Tea and Sunflower,” it’s hard to miss the punch of pure lavender it exudes. BOTTOM LINE. It’s hard not to love this rich cleanser. My skin really does feel smoother and look firmer after using, so I’m excited to explore other offerings in this new-found product line. Well done Avalon.

An Excellent Indulgence

In Good Eats, Recently Reviewed on July 25, 2014 at 1:07 pm

During the hot summer, there’s nothing our family enjoys more than retiring to the garden after dinner for a frozen dessert. Well, if we’re talking about these frozen dessert bars it’s easy to make any excuse to take a cool break. And since they’re dairy-free, we can all indulge in this treat every now and again.

So Delicious Mini Coconut Almond Bars  As soon as we spotted these dairy-free beauties in the freezer section, we grabbed them. On closer examination my daughter noticed the NON GMO and Certified Vegan product labels, and into our cart they went.SoDelicious
PRODUCT NOTES From the first bite, the taste and smell of coconut was unmistakable. No watered-down flavouring here. Simply top-quality frozen coconut milk generously dipped in a crunchy and delicious chocolate-almond coating. They reminded me of my earlier dairy-filled days in terms of flavour but easily top their fat-filled competitors and pack a mere 180 calories per bar. BOTTOM LINE These bars are keepers. An amazing organic, non-dairy treat like this really has no comparison. To be honest, we weren’t really sure we’d like frozen coconut milk but now that we know how good they really are we can’t wait to try other offerings by So Delicious.