Thursday, December 12, 2013

Vegan Oreo Truffles

These are probably one of my favourite things to make for the holidays. They take minimal ingredients and I only get mildly annoyed with the chocolate dipping.

I can't really take credit for this recipe, but if you are anti-clicking on links, basically you take a mashed up bag of Oreos and mix with vegan cream cheese. (I used Tofutti). Then you roll them into balls and dip them in chocolate. I chill mine a bit first to make them easier to work with.

You can make endless creations. Pre-dairy-free days, my favourite was regular Oreos dipped in white chocolate with crushed candy cane sprinkled on top.

This time around I opted for regular Oreos with vegan chocolate chips with a smidgeon of mint extract and gingerbread Oreos with vegan chocolate chips

Both versions are delicious. Next time I might add a bit of coconut oil to the chocolate so it is easier to work with.

If you are worried that all of this seems to simple, click the links to prove I'm not lying. I've included vegan and non-vegan links:

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A year later

So, I've been a vegetarian for over a year now. Things haven't always been easy but I have been lucky to be surrounded by supportive friends and family.

The dairy-free thing is a bigger struggle. I don't often get it right. I keep trying though. Overall, I would say that I'm a lot healthier and way more open-minded to 'weird' food...and as a result I feel better and have found some new favourites.

Going forward, I will continue to try to be dairy-free. I will continue to veganize recipes, even though I'm not vegan. I will make better consumer and ethical purchases.

For the blog, I would like to return to more regular posting again...and for December this will likely happen because I will be doing a lot of Christmas baking.

I would also like to do more product reviews and start doing the wrap-ups again. So, if you stick around, I will be here.

Happy reading!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Stuffed Pepper Soup

From the recommendation of my sister, I decided to veganize a stuffed pepper soup recipe from

I serve smaller serving sizes when it comes to soup it seems, and got about 9 servings (1 cup each) out of this in comparison to's six servings.


2 cups of cooked rice
1/2 cup of chopped of a coloured bell pepper
1/2 cup of green pepper
1 cup of chopped onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 can of lentils (about 2 cups)
28 oz can of petite diced tomatoes
1 3/4 tomato sauce (I used spaghetti sauce)
2 cups of veggie broth
Italian spices


  1. In a large pot, sautee onions, peppers, and garlic for a few minutes.
  2. Add the lentils, tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth, and spices.
  3. Cover and simmer for approximately thirty minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook your rice.
  5. Serve soup and top with your cooked rice.
  6. Enjoy!

If you eat dairy and/or aren't vegan, it would be super yummy with cheese on top.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Recipe Review: Raspberry Chocolate Bars

As usual, when working with someone else's recipe, I wonder what tweaks I can make to make it my own or to suit our needs. I did the same with this recipe, but in the end, I'm not sure I would change anything. I thought about meshing this recipe with one I want to veganize, but sometimes you just shouldn't mess with a good thing.

It doesn't have tons of ingredients and it is easy. My kind of recipe.

But in the spirit of honesty, I have to say that I messed up and didn't get seedless jam and I only used 1 cup. It still worked though. Yummy chocolate-y goodness with some raspberry added in.

Anyway, I found it at the Vegan Chronicle: Raspberry Chocolate Bars

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Recipe Review: Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

My first attempt at these cookies was not that successful. Personally, I blame my 2 year old assistant. Something about the texture of the dough was off. I added more flour and then the cookies were cake-y.

So, I did what all good aunts do....I fired my niece and tried again. Attempt # 2 yielded much better cookies. My final product didn't quite brown as much as shown in the pictures from the original, but in my opinion those look overcooked.

Unfortunately, I cannot take credit for the recipe and I didn't change enough to call it my own. The only change was that I used applesauce instead of the flax egg....only because I didn't have flax. I also flattened the cookies slightly based on other tester reviews.

These cookies are really good.  They will be my go-to going forward.

Anyway, another successful recipe from oh she glows:  Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin (Veganized)

It seems that lately I can only find spaghetti squash in massive quantities. Since my husband doesn't eat it, I've had to explore ways to use it up that isn't just spaghetti. In my hunt for recipes, I came across a recipe by Martha Stewart for Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin. Naturally, I had to make a few changes to make this vegan.

I also adjusted quantities to yield fewer servings.

Overall, I enjoyed the recipe and I would make it again if I needed to use up some squash.



  • 1/2 tbsp. Earth Balance (or other dairy free butter alternative)
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup veggie broth
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 2.5 cups of spaghetti squash (I partially cooked mine in the microwave first)
  • 1/2 cup vegan breadcrumbs (I used a mix of breadcrumbs and flavoured croutons)
  • 1 tbsp. soy parmesan
  • dash of spices of your choosing


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a small frying pan, sauté your mushrooms, onion, and chickpeas in butter. Set aside.
  3. In a medium pot, bring broth, almond milk, and garlic to a boil and let boil at medium-high for a minute.
  4. Slowly whisk in the flour and reduce heat to a simmer to allow the mixture to thicken slightly.
  5. Add your mushrooms, chickpeas, onion, and squash. Stir ingredients so squash is well covered with sauce.
  6. Transfer to a bread pan.
  7. In a small bowl, mix your breadcrumbs, soy parm, and spices. Sprinkle on top of the squash mixture.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Recipe Review: Lentil Walnut Apple Loaf

Just imagine this less blurry and with
general improved picture quality
Someone recommended that I try Lentil Walnut Apple Loaf from I generally like recpies found on this site, so I figured I would give it a chance.

I went to the grocery store to gather my ingredients. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get walnuts so I figured I would sub in almonds. I didn't know if this would work but I didn't see an alternative.

When I got home and started the prep work, I began to think that it was a mistake....not because of the recipe itself, but because I never ever liked a true meat loaf....the texture, flavour, meat....blech. However, I felt kind of committed to follow through with my plan so I forged ahead.

The only thing I changed was the use of almonds instead of walnuts. The end product was pretty good. The apple sauce gives it a nice flavour. The only thing I would do differently next time is chop my almonds smaller. My chunks were too big and out of place.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Soft Pumpkin Cookies (Vegan)

I came across this recipe and decided to veganize it. I also experimented and changed the finished project for three different versions of the cookie. All testers agreed on the best cookie, which is the main recipe below.

I like this recipe because it is really easy and not that time consuming.







  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup of applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • sugar for rolling


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the remaining ingredients and slowly add the dry ingredients.
  4. Form the dough into round balls and roll each ball around in a bowl of sugar. Place the balls on a cookie sheet and flatten them slightly. (I find it is helpful to chill the dough first, but that's up to you)
  5. Bake cookies for 15 - 18 minutes.
  6. Let them cool and then enjoy!

Other versions:  As I mentioned above, this is the version that all testers preferred. The other options were Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies (same recipe, just add vegan chocolate chips), and the same cookies minus the sugar rolling but with a frosting/glaze on top.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Squash Soup

I know I recently blogged about a squash & veggie soup, but here is another recipe. This one is yummy and has less of a bite to it. I had to make a couple of minor changes because I didn't quite have enough squash (I subbed in a bit of pumpkin) but I am blogging the original recipe.

My only taste tester (that wasn't myself) prefers this recipe to the previously blogged recipe.

This recipe yields about 8 servings of 1 cup each. I've been told it freezes well, although I have not tested this. I avoid freezing things because then I won't open the freezer six months from now and wonder what the mystery frozen item is. If this isn't an issue for you, test it out.


  • 2 tbsp. dairy-free margarine
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 3/4 tsp each of cinnamon, ginger, & nutmeg (I upped the cinnamon and decreased the ginger)
  • 6 cups of squash (peeled, seeded, & chopped)
  • 1 medium potato
  • 900 mL of veggie broth
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (I would omit this)
  • 1 cup water (I just used more broth)


  1. Melt margarine in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, garlic, carrot and celery.  Saute for 5 min until veggies are softened.  
  3. Stir in spices.  
  4. Add squash and potato, broth, water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer partially covered until squash is tender (30 min)  Let cool slightly.  
  5. Puree in batches in blender and then pour back into pot.  
  6. Stir in maple syrup.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, October 28, 2013


Blackfish played on CNN recently so I set the PVR to see what everyone is talking about. Essentially, it explores how SeaWorld has exploited orcas for entertainment. Some reviews I've read expressed concern that it portrays orcas as frightening and that this takes away from the point of the documentary.

However, I feel that this was balanced well and it was clear that orcas should not be used as entertainment. They should not be forced to live their lives in aquariums.

After watching Blackfish, I'm left with an understanding of the bigger picture of animal exploitation and that I don't want any part of it. If you are 'into' documentaries, I highly recommend you check this out.

The official site: Blackfish and facebook page.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (vegan)


It looks like the weather jumped from summer to winter and missed fall completely. But while mother nature may not respect tradition, my kitchen does.

I got this recipe from my sister, who got it from someone else. After taste testing, I adapted the original recipe for round two and am satisfied with the results.

It should make about 18-24 muffins depending on your preferred muffin size.



  • 1 medium banana
  • 1/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 cups of flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips (check labels if you want the vegan stuff)



  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Peel and mash banana. Stir in applesauce, pumpkin, vegetable oil, and sugar.
  3. Combine baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and flour.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Divide mixture into muffin tin and bake at 400 degrees F for 16 to 20 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

Monday, October 21, 2013


You know how we are born just knowing certain things about life? Like how to breathe? Well, one of my lessons was to stay away from fuzzy food, especially if it was green or white. Some of this instinct has been confirmed over the years.

So naturally, kiwi was on my 'potentially poisonous' list. But did you know that kiwi is actually edible? With the encouragement of my maybe-future sister-in-law, I bought a kiwi. I figured if she eats kiwi, then it can't be that bad. I mean, she is the pickiest person ever. Anyway, all of that to say that I tried a kiwi.

And I'm not entirely won over. However, I am willing to move it from the 'potentially poisonous' list to the 'maybe just once in a while' list.

Also, I have learned that it is not a good idea to dance while:
  • using a knife
  • pouring water
  • eating trail mix

No injuries will be reported, but you may want to tuck that little tidbit away in case you are tempted to bust a move in less than ideal conditions.

(in my defense I'm trying to get my 10 000 fitbit steps in).

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Squash & Veggie Soup

I love fall. I love the weather, the scenery, and the food. It's such a comforting time of year. Be warned, after this post, there will be an onslaught of pumpkin posts (soup, muffins, cookies, oh my!)

But for today, the focus is on Squash & Veggie Soup. I found the original recipes on one of my favourite sites, There it is titled Luxurious 7-Vegetable and "Cheese" Soup. It's kind of a mouthful and definitely scary if you aren't a vegetable fan. I mean, seven vegetables? Let's not get excessive and point that out. For you non veggie fans, you will notice fewer veggies in my version...mainly because I realized I didn't have sweet potato once I had started. Oh well.

Anyway, I made a few changes and thought I would share the changes with you. First things first, I divided the recipe in half and then I went from there.


  • oil (for sautéing)
  • 2 cups of onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup of celery
  • 1/2 cup of carrots
  • 3 1/2 cups of broccoli florets
  • 2 cups of butternut squash
  • 3 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 tbs of soy parmesan
  • dash of chili pepper, crushed chili pepper flakes, cinnamon


  1. Chop and sauté the onion and garlic in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add celery, carrots, broccoli, and squash as you chop them. Sauté for a few minutes.
  3. Add veggie broth and squash. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the squash softens slightly.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool significantly.
  5. Add the soy parmesan and other spices. Stir gently.
  6. Using a blender, blend the mixture in small batches.
  7. Return all smoothly blended batches into the pot to stir together (and reheat).
  8. Serve and enjoy.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Cookie Dough Won Tons

I have totally dragged my heals on posting this recipe because I don't want to contribute to the obesity problem. And if you make these, you will eat them.

Do you know what is better than cookie dough? Cookie dough fried in won tons. If I had to pick one thing to eat for the rest of my life (and not gain weight) this would be it. I struggled with the title of this recipe, wavering between:
Baked vs. fried

    1. The road to world peace
2. This is all I ever need

3. and back off jerk, I'm not sharing

I found the recipe Seeded at the Table. They called theirs Cookie Dough Eggrolls. I made a few changes beyond replacing the egg rolls to lighten it up slightly. I also tried a baked version that just cannot compare.

Anway, here you go. My version resulted in 18 of the finished product but it could vary depending on how full you stuff the won tons


  • 1/2 cup of Earth Balance or other dairy-free butter replacement
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of chocolate chips
  • 36 won ton wrappers (approx.)
  • vegetable oil (for frying)
  • chocolate sauce (optional)



  1. Cream together the Earth Balance and brown sugar.
  2. Add the flour and vanilla. When combined, stir in the chocolate chips. Set aside.
  3. On a clean surface, join two won ton wrappers by wetting one edge with water. Press together. This will give you a rectangle shape. (see pictures below)
  4. Wet the outer edges of this rectangle.
  5. Spoon your cookie dough mixture into a line in the centre of the rectangle. Fold up the top and bottom, and then roll the rest, pressing it together gently.
  6. Heat slightly less than 1/2 an inch of vegetable oil in a deep but small skillet. (I heated mine on medium-high).
  7. Fry each piece ten seconds per side. They should brown and crisp. Place fried pieces on paper towel to drain off some of the oil.
  8. Continue until all the pieces are done.
  9. Serve warm and with chocolate sauce if you so desire.
  10. Try to share with others in your household. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Vegetarian Inside-out Shepherd's Pie (a non-recipe)

This is no ordinary Shepherd's Pie. In fact, it may not be traditional enough for the average person, but it is yummy. It's also really easy to adapt. My version makes enough to fill one bread pan, which I divided into three servings.

I used the veggie ground round, but I would much prefer beans, so that is what I will use next time.

Feel free to play with quantities of things. This was quickly put together and will likely be modified each time I make it.


Bottom Layer
  • either 1/2 cup of veggie ground round or red kidney beans
  • garlic clove, divided
  • 1/4 cup onion
  • 1/2 a can of Campbell's condensed tomato soup (set aside 1tbs)

Middle Layer
  • cup of veggies (you could use corn but we use peas & carrots)

Top Layer
  • 1.5 cups of potatoes for mashing
  • some earth balance
  • almond milk
  • pepper
  • the remaining garlic
  • ground pepper

  • 1/2 cup of mixed beans
  • a sprinkle of veggies (corn, peas, green onion, whatever - just something to add colour)
  • a drizzle of BBQ sauce & remaining soup mixture



It seems pretty self explanatory, but here you go...
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare your potatoes, boil water, and throw them into the pot.
  3. In a skillet, heat your onion, garlic, and protein base (beans or veggie ground round). Once heated through, put it in your bread dish.
  4. Add 1/2 cup (minus a tbs) of the condensed soup. Mix up.
  5. Add your veggies.
  6. When your potatoes are ready, mash them (don't forget to add the garlic you set aside) and put them on top of the veggies.
  7. Add your toppings and drizzle your sauce.
  8. Bake in oven for 15 minutes or until heated through.
  9. Serve and enjoy.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A conversation with my husband

My husband just finished eating chips and peanut butter cups. I mostly behaved myself. I was hungry though, so I asked him for some snack suggestions.

Him:  twigs and berries?
Me:   oooh. I thought you were going to suggest Twix. That would be good. If only....
Him:  why are you so obsessed with food you can't have? You must like migraines.
Me:  um, how about you try a day being dairy-free?

(He wouldn't even last ten minutes without milk in his coffee)

Him:  I don't want to.
Me:  Come on, I challenge you. Just one day.

Him (trying to change the subject and being completely serious with the following snack suggestion):  why don't you go have a banana, or a pumpkin, or something?

Me: A pumpkin?

Yep. That's right. He is so helpful.

Instead of his pumpkin suggestion, I opted for toast with hazelnut butter. Yummy. And nothing like a pumpkin.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Wrap up

It seems like I am constantly challenging myself. This weeks focus is to get 10 000 steps daily. It hasn't been easy, but so far I have been successful. Unfortunately, I struggle with balance and while my exercise has increased, my food choices have not been stellar. I have been eating some healthy and yummy things though.

(Some) Stuff I Ate

Inside-out Shepherd's Pie

Curried Coconut Tofu
on a bed of couscous and kale





Potato Leek Soup
(I will not be blogging this recipe fail)
'Mexican' Casserole (not really worthy
of it's own blog post)

Stuff I want to Eat

I haven't done our meal planning for the upcoming week so I'm not sure what will be on it, other than spaghetti squash (we have one sitting on the counter).

In the Rest of My Life

  • I've finished reading Lullabies for Little Criminals. It was pretty good. It hooks you in, but it is a sad read. I'm not yet finished We Bought a Zoo. This one is harder to get through.
  • Bunny Zayne will likely need to go back to the vet. Boo.
  • Despite asking for requests in February for knit gift ideas for my family members, I have just finished one of the adult gifts. I was hoping not to procrastinate this year.
  • On my radar:  Pumpkin Nut Butter Cups, and Broccoli Cheese Soup
  • Coming up:  Cookie Dough Won Tons (oh the deliciousness!), Inside-out Shepherd's Pie, and Curried Coconut Tofu

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fitbit One

I have had my Fitbit One for two weeks now and I continue to be satisfied with my purchase. When I first got it, I opted to have a 'lazy day' to see the number of steps on what used to be a typical day and I found that I only had 1628 steps. Talk about lazy and embarrassing!

Fortunately, seeing this number was a bit of a reality check. The predetermined daily goal is 10 000. That's a lot of steps. You can change this goal if you would like. For myself, I'm satisfied with 7000 steps on a day that I've done an intense workout. I opted not to change the number officially though because I figured that would make it too easy to slack off.

In these two weeks, I have averaged 8198 steps per day. That is a significant improvement over the 1628.

Other general features that I enjoy include the silent/vibrating alarm and the ability to link my Fitbit to My Fitness Pal. And the fact that it can track your sleep is pretty cool, although not that accurate or useful.

In terms of the actual device, I opted for the One over the Flex (which is a bracelet) because I wanted to be able to quickly see my numbers without having to check my phone or computer. (The Flex just has lights that show your progress). I do still use the website so I can get added details and see how I'm doing over time.

I can understand the appeal of the Flex. It would be much harder to forget to put it on and you are less likely to throw it into the wash, but these aren't issues that I have encountered with the One. You can compare some of the features here.

Anyway, I realize that my review isn't super in depth or earth shattering, but I did promise you a review - so that's what you get.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Caramel Sauce Featuring Coconut Flavours

This may sound weird, but it is a really good combination. A family member even suggested just serving the sauce as dessert at Thanksgiving. (I won't be doing that).

My sauce is based off of one from Oh My Veggies. Initially, I didn't use their sauce because I didn't want to open up a can of coconut milk and have some leftover.

Instead, I got creative. However, most people probably don't have coconut cream liqueur on hand so I would understand if you used the sauce found here

The flavours are very similar but when warmed, mine is a tad thicker. If you like lots of sauce, you may want to double the recipe.


  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 tbs of water
  • 2 tbs of coconut cream liqueur
  • 1 tbs of coconut oil
  • 2 tbs of almond milk



  1. Combine the sugar and water in a small sauce pan. Heat on medium-high and do not stir.
  2. Allow the mixture to boil and watch it turn a golden colour to light brown. It will start to smell like caramel. This should take about six minutes, but the colour is more important than the time it takes.
  3. Slowly add the remaining ingredients, stirring constantly. Your mixture may react 'angrily' as you add the new stuff. Get angry back with constant stirring.
  4. Continue at this temperature until the sauce becomes thicker. This could take 4-6 minutes. Be aware that it will be thicker when it is cooled and that the sauce can be used warm or cool.
  5. Resist the urge to eat it directly from the pot and instead add it to something delicious, like Baked Apple Won Tons.

Baked Apple Won Tons

Originally I was going to make Baked Banana Won Tons, but then our trip to St. Lucia happened. During this trip, my husband realized that he doesn't like banana type desserts. So, instead I decided to mash up a couple of recipes. The other one I referred to was Baked Apple Pie Egg Rolls.

My creation got pretty good reviews but it's not something I would make regularly because it's a bit more finicky than pour stuff in a bowl, mix, and bake. There are steps, even if they are easy.

My filling was enough for 13 but this could vary.

Also, baking times may be off because I used a toaster oven since our oven is being a jerkface. They turned out well enough that my husband commented that we don't need to get the oven fixed. I resisted the urge to beat him over the head with the dirty baking tray.



  • 2 apples chopped into itty bitty pieces
  • 1/2 a lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • sprinkle of cinnamon, to taste
  • 26 won ton wrappers
  • a bit of melted Earth Balance or other butter substitute (or the real deal if that's your thing)
  • a bit more cinnamon and brown sugar
  • a sauce of your choosing (or Caramel Sauce from Carrot Fight, or Caramel Sauce from Oh My Veggies)



  1. Preheat  your oven (or toaster oven) to 375 degrees.
  2. Chop up your apples, being aware that they will be the filling in pretty narrow rolls, so you don't want huge chunks.
  3. Place chopped apples in a bowl with lemon juice, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon.
  4. Set aside for a few minutes. Do lunges or something.
  5. Get out your won ton wrappers. Take one won ton wrapper and wet an edge with water. Overlap another won ton wrapper on top of this edge and press the edges together so you have a large rectangle. Wet all edges.
  6. Lightly fill the center of your joined wrappers with the apple filling. Fold up the bottom and top and then roll the left and right sides inwards. Press the edges together and place on a slightly greased baking sheet.
  7. Do this however many more times until you run out of filling or wrappers.
  8. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges brown. A few minutes before they are done, drizzle melted butter on top and sprinkle some sugar and cinnamon to finish them off.
  9. Add sauce, serve, and enjoy!

Update:  Now that I've had fried cookie dough won tons, I would try frying this instead. Definitely less 'healthy' but likely worth it. And yes, I will be blogging about the cookie dough won tons. Stay tuned.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Tomato Soup

With cooler weather arriving, I was inclined to try out another soup. This week I was inspired by Tomato Herb Soup from Budget Bytes.

The finished product is nice and thick and doesn't get the nasty skim
on top that can happen with Campbell's Tomato Soup.

The other difference is that this homemade. And it tastes way more authentic with a strong tomato flavour. For most people, this is good (which is why I'm sharing the recipe) but it was a reminder that I don't love tomato.

I know, I know....why try something that isn't true to my taste buds? Well, I don't have an answer for that.

Anyway, the recipe was 'inspired' by the original in that I made changes to make full use of ingredients that I have on hand and to match the size of cans that I bought. It should make 5-6 servings. Here you go:


  • 540 mL can of diced tomatoes (feel free to play with flavour. I used a garlic & herb kind)
  • 1/8 cup of onion (or more or less to your taste)
  • oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • spices of your preference (I used chili powder, Italian seasoning, and black pepper)
  • a can of tomato paste
  • 2 tsp. of brown sugar
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth



  1. If you want a super smooth soup, feel free to blend your diced tomatoes and onion and set aside.
  2. Sauté your garlic and spices in oil for a couple of minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.
  3. Add the tomato paste and brown sugar and stir on medium-low setting for a few minutes.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes, onion, and vegetable broth and stir until smooth.
  5. Heat all ingredients for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Edited:  If you serve it with a tiny bit of cheese or daiya, fresh chopped onion, and flavoured crackers or croutons, the tomato flavour is diminished and it becomes fantastic.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Wrapping Up

It seems like I've been super busy these days, but it has been a healthy busy. Except for quitting the challenge of 20 grams of sugar or less. It was messing with my head and I was having 'off' days. I am going to try to keep my sugar low and avoid processed snacks like granola bars. And the Oreos are not invited back into my house.

(Some) Stuff I Ate

Eggplant Parm with Salad
Stir fry

Stuff I want to Eat

My plan may change since our oven is not working and my husband doesn't seem concerned by it. Even after I reminded him that I won't be able to make apple turnover thingies. He may get on it when I point out that this will change the plans to have lasagna and shepherd's pie.
  • Did you guess I want to make lasagna and shepherd's pie? And apple turnover thingies. Well, you should have guessed that. If not, you aren't actually reading.
  • Stir fry leftovers
  • Stuffed peppers
  • Mexican casserole
  • Something on the BBQ


In the Rest of My Life

  • I finished reading The Best of Me and My Secret Sister. Meh on both accounts. I found The Best of Me predictable. It was a let down. I'm not sure why I bothered since there are few books by Nicholas Sparks that I love. My Secret Sister was ok but it really dragged on at the end and became way too sunshine-y for my liking.
  • I'm now reading Lullabies for Little Criminals and We Bought a Zoo.
  • The vet did not bankrupt me but I had to go back and that is another $150 out of pocket. But maybe an extension on bunny-Zayne's meds will fix up her eyes. And that might mean that I won't find her sitting facing the wall so much.
  • I bought a Fitbit One. And now I can't stop moving. Well, I can and I have had lazy days. But it is pretty motivating to try getting 10 000 steps daily. Some people say this is easy. I say that they must be buff totally fit exercise fanatics.
  • On my radar: Skinny Pumpkin Spiced Snickerdoodlescinnamon buns, Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies, Vegan Caramel Peanut Popcorn, Chewy Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies, Pumpkin Muffins, and Lentil Walnut Apple Loaf,.
  • The above lists tell me that it is officially fall, that I spend too much time pinning things on pinterest, and that my focus on limiting my sugar made me obsessed with baking ideas.
  • Coming up: apple turnover thingies, Tomato Herb Soup, and a review of the Fitbit One.

Walk gawking
(aka appreciating scenery)
More walk gawking
You get the idea

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fudge & Fire: Testing (delicious) Coconut Fudge

I finally got around to testing out a coconut fudge recipe. It is amazing. It has perfect consistency with a light taste of coconut. Most testers raved about the finished product.

The one exception was my husband who said that it was "pretty good". It is important to note that "pretty" is paired with most of his reviews. He uses "not bad" when he wants to change things up.

For example:

Me: how does this shirt look?
Him: pretty good.

Me: Did you like the movie?
Him: Ya, it wasn't too bad.

Me: Your arm is on fire. How does that feel?
Him: Well, it's pretty hot. Pass the popcorn.

Ok, so I haven't tested the last one out but I think it is accurate to his typical reviews and his reaction to uncontrolled fires involving BBQs or ovens. But that's a story for another day. 

Anyway, all of that to say that everyone who I'm counting said the recipe rocks.

Edited to add: I learned from this experience that I cannot cut a pan of fudge into 36 even pieces.

Also, when I input the ingredients into a calorie calculator, my calculations did not match those of the original recipe. Each piece is over 100 calories more than the other calculation so if you are concerned about it, double check your numbers. But really, if you are that worried about calories you probably wouldn't be eating fudge. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Tested: Vegan Mug Brownie

Very dark picture of the brownie
I recently got rid of cookies in my cupboard as a way to reduce the amount of cookies I eat. However, I do like to have a bit of a sweet treat in the evening. And making a vegan mug brownie looked like a great solution. It comes with built in portion control.

Overall, I would say that it is 'ok'. However, the calorie count on it is kind of high, so if this were to make a regular appearance into my week I would cut the recipe in half. I also didn't find the flavour and texture that fantastic.

I would make it again though since I love sweet treats.

And I really shouldn't blog about sweet yummy treats when I'm hungry. This is going to make my grapefruit breakfast seem that much more of a let down.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Getting creative while clock watching

I should probably be heading to bed now. Typically at this hour I tend to be engrossed in reading, whether I'm enjoying the book or not.

Obviously, I'm not reading right now though. (I'm not quite talented enough to read and type at the same time).

Instead, I'm watching the clock watching to see if my bunny-Behr gets better or if he needs another dose of tummy medicine. And I have to cross my fingers that bunny-Zayne doesn't get an upset tummy from pigging out on all of the pellets that Behr didn't eat. It's like the rabbits only get sick at my bedtime.

Anyway, because I may be up for another 1-4 hours I opted to have a second evening snack. I am trying really hard this week to stay under my daily goal of 20 grams of added sugar, + vegetarian cuisine + dairy-free + adequate protein.

With only one gram of sugar left for the day, I had to try something different (for me). So, I:

  • cut up an apple
  • added a teeny bit of peanut butter
  • added a tablespoon of rolled oats
  • added a 1/4 serving of trail mix
  • and microwaved the mixture

It was filling and mostly yummy. I would have preferred some chocolate in there too but that works against the sugar goal. Boo.

Morning update: Behr is feeling much better this morning. And I will be having an afternoon nap. Maybe.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Put down the cookie and all things yummy

I was recently challenged to consume 20 grams of added sugar or less per day over the course of a week. I haven't been entirely successful but I have learned a lot and am working to eat more natural and less processed food. I'm averaging around 20 grams every other day. (The other days may have been filled with much missed Oreos and other 'illegal' foods).

Technically, today is the last day of the challenge. However, it is something I would like to continue working at and would like to get an entire week completed successfully. We will see how that goes!

(Some) Stuff I Ate:

Naan pizza and cucumbers
Grilled veggies and chickpeas

Quinoa & couscous salad

Stuff I want to Eat

  • This week's loose plan includes chili, eggplant parmesan, and eggplant/tofu souvlaki
  • I may have peach/raspberry crisp headed my way. Someone made it as a treat for me but is threatening to revoke the privileges because I was mean or something. Pft. If that's the case, this person may not get to have my planned apple turnover thingies or coconut fudge. Ha. I win.
  • Lots of low sugar stuff. I didn't buy Oreos this week. I may not make it.

 In the Rest of my Life

  • I finished The One and Only Ivan (man did I cry!), Angry Housewives Eating Bonbons (it lost it's steam halfway through), and Man's Search for Meaning (good).
  • I'm now reading The Best of Me and My Secret Sister. Neither are drawing me in as much as I would like.
  • The vet did not bankrupt me but I did not enjoy paying $250. Did you know the difference between a consultation fee and an illness examination? Other than $30? I do not. The bunnies are doing better now but we cannot turn back time. It seems I have another elderly bunny. Boo.
  • I was not killed by watermelon or mushrooms (as predicted last week).
  • I applied to volunteer somewhere. Might as well do something useful, right?
  • On my radar: the Fitbit One....and that's it.
  • Coming up: review of the Vegan Mug Brownie, Coconut Fudge, and apple turnover thingies. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Watermelon Gazpacho

You know what happens when you have an entire watermelon to consume by yourself? You get creative. I can't count how many bowls of watermelon I've eaten in these past couple of days and when that got boring, I mixed things up. I added it to my smoothies and my salad. I gave some away. And I still had 7/8 of a watermelon left. So, I froze some and was down to 1/2 a watermelon.

I searched for recipes. I found a lot of drinks but not much else. So I sucked it up and made watermelon gazpacho. And then I froze the rest of the watermelon....until I realized that it had been breeding in my fridge and somehow I still have watermelon left.

But onto the gazpacho...I found the recipe on I doubted that I would like it but I figured if I put it into a recipe I could give more away. And it worked, I was able to pawn some off on the same family member. I was also right about not really liking it but my sampler said it was ok so maybe normal people like it? (well, as normal as someone can be if they like gazpacho to begin with).

Now I just have to freeze the remaining watermelon and I will have enough for a lifetime of smoothies.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Heads up....

I'm tweaking a few things on the blog so if it gets wonky it will be fixed.

The Leek Soup that changed everything

I'm not really a soup fan. If you were to catch me eating soup it would be because I had no choice and was offered by some well-intentioned family member, or I was actively trying to lose weight. And I definitely never ate any "cream of" concoctions. Uh, hello, broccoli isn't supposed to be eaten ever, *especially* not in soup.

And then I was in St. Lucia and cream of leek soup was served as an appetizer. I dreaded having the bowl placed in front of me because I knew I wouldn't like it. It fell into the "cream of" category and it was leek. Who eats leek??

It turns out, I am on the cream of leek bandwagon. It was one of the best things I have ever eaten. So, naturally I came home and tried to recreate the dish. The recipe I found did not yield as much flavour, and it was a lot of work for what seems to be three servings, but it was still really good. So, here you go: Cream of Leek Soup from the Vegan Chronicle.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wrapping up

I have been really lazy with the pictures lately, so I don't have a lot to share. I have been working really hard (uh, since Saturday) to get back on board with being dairy-free. And I have rocked most days. I'm also working on the exercise side of things with slightly less success. But any exercise is more than I was doing, so I'm not getting too down on myself about it.

I am happy to report that I navigated a couple of days with the in-laws and offered some vegan choices that they claim they enjoyed (although I was not asked for a recipe). I served up BBQ portabella mushrooms with my BBQ sauce concoction, bean salad, veganized Big Mac Sauce (I used Tofutti and Veganaise), the no-bake bars, and the chocolate mousse (which I altered slightly to make it less dense).

(Some) Stuff I Ate

Toasted Tomato Sandwich & Bean Salad
Grilled veggies on spaghetti squash
(a new favourite)

Stuff I want to Eat

  • Likely more tomato sandwiches. Our garden tomatoes are doing very well.
  • Watermelon. I had a craving last week and couldn't find any. But then I did....except I had to buy a whole watermelon and I will need to eat it all myself because my husband doesn't like them. I may die from excess watermelon consumption.
  • Something with mushrooms. I wanted 1-2 mushrooms. I had to buy a package of 5. If I don't die from excess watermelon consumption, the mushrooms may get me.
  • I may try to recreate some really yummy Southwestern baked potatoes we had on the weekend. Although it might be too soon.

In the Rest of My Life

  • I'm still reading The One and Only Ivan, Angry Housewives Eating Bonbons, and Man's Search for Meaning. I've made a pretty good dent in all three.
  • I will likely go bankrupt following a trip to the vet today. I'm taking all of the bunnies in.
  • And I can't believe it's September....other than the fact that my feet are freezing and I'm too lazy to get my slippers. Stupid September.
  • On my radar: Coconut Fudge, Stain Solutions (not to eat!!), Vegan Mug Brownie, Double Chocolate Truffles, Simple Vegan Brownies, and a basic recipe for Coconut Ice Cream. Based on these links, you are likely thinking that I am a super messy person with a sweet tooth, or I was PMSing while browsing Pinterest. You are not wrong.
  • Coming up: I have no clue.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

World's Best No Bake Bars

A few weeks ago I saw the World's Best No Ba1ke Bars floating around on Facebook. I don't really get people posting recipes to Facebook because it would be a pain to find later (and that's what Pinterest is for). I make exceptions to people sharing recipes with others in mind but I still don't really get it.

As usual, I made alterations to the recipe.


  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (the original recipe called for honey)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup dry oats
  • 1 cup Rice Krispies*
  • 1 1/4 cups of chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Melt the peanut butter, maple syrup, and coconut oil on the stove. Remove from heat.
  2. Add the chocolate chips and stir until melted.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and stir.
  4. Pour into a pan and cool in the fridge.
  5. Enjoy!

* the original recipe called for 2 cups of oats and no Rice Krispies. I like the crunch that my alteration provided.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Vegan Peanut Butter Ice Cream

My in-laws are visiting this weekend, which means I should be cleaning. And nothing says preparation like a little procrastination, right? As such, I figured it was the perfect time for a blog post (while secretly hoping the kitchen will clean itself).

I recently (as in a month ago and never blogged about it) made Vegan Peanut Butter Ice Cream from The Healthy Family and Home.

I liked that the recipe does not have a gazillion ingredients. I don't like that I followed the suggestion to put the mixture into a glass bread pan because I spilt it *everywhere*.

The flavour is good. But the texture is off. The recipe suggests to store it in the fridge for soft-serve consistency or in the freezer for traditional ice cream texture. So I popped it into the freezer. Now, I'm not sure if I did something wrong, or if my freezer is way too cold (everything else freezes perfectly, so....) but I don't typically find that traditional ice cream texture is similar to dried concrete. I need a sledgehammer to get it out of the pan and into my bowl.

Edited: I have since tested this recipe out again and tested it in the fridge. It was not like soft-serve ice cream. It was like melted ice cream that you forgot in the trunk of your car on a hot day. (Um, what? Not everyone has done that? Oh).

Anyway, the flavour is still good but the choice is either concrete or drippy mess.

Vegan Peanut Butter Ice Cream,
pre-concrete stage, pre-freezing

Monday, August 26, 2013

Failed It: Funnel Cake Style

For a while now, I have been meaning to make a vegan baked funnel cake. Today I figured I had the perfect opportunity by acknowledging that I met my husband thirteen years ago. We don't really celebrate this day but I like to do something sweet. Since we met at a no-longer-local-to-us fair, I thought funnel cake would be the perfect something sweet.

Until it turned into an episode of tijya-in-the-kitchen. I should have anticipated this since I was kind of grumpy when I started.
Originally, I wanted this to be a vegan treat. However, we bought eggs when we were expecting a guest...and then the guest didn't show so the eggs were sitting around. I figured I would use them up so it would not be wasteful. Except that didn't turn out exactly as planned. See below.
Egg. Not in the pot.

Yep. That's egg on the stove. Technically, the egg landed in the desired pot. However, my 'beating' of egg was a bit too vigorous so it flew out of the pot and onto the stove in a menacing way. I'm pretty sure I heard the egg engage in evil laughter as it slid into the coils on my stove. Fun times.

It went downhill from here. Some egg white managed to stay in the pot, but I wasn't sure how much. So I added another egg. I was careful to be gentle this time. My mixture was more liquidy than I think it's supposed to be. I added extra flour to compensate.

I didn't want to make traditional funnel cakes (and I mean beyond the baking-not-frying part). I wanted to funnel it onto my baking sheet in the form of a funky 13 (you know, to acknowledge when we sweet. ha).

However, I didn't add enough flour and the mixture was very very runny. I was pretty sure as I put the funnel cake into the oven that this was for sure a tijya-in-the-kitchen story. I know myself well.

Please take a minute to google image search funnel cake. Make sure you understand what it is supposed to look like. And then compare it to the vaguely shaped thirteen below.

Funnel cake that isn't funnel cake

Yep. I failed it. That definitely isn't funnel cake. It tasted yummy though, so I rolled one up crepe style and called it an unhealthy supper. I can handle these kinds of mistakes.

Funnel cake pretending to be a crepe.

Back to regularly scheduled blogging

This summer has probably been the busiest summer I've had. But also one of the best. I've had tons of time with family, gone on a much needed vacation, spent more time with family, and enjoyed seeing Mumford and Sons live in concert.

Things should be mostly quiet for the next bit and that should translate into more blogging.

(Some) Stuff I Ate:

Stuffed portabella
Yummy salad

Eggplant Parm
Peach crisp


Stuff I want to Eat

This week is completely unplanned. I didn't go grocery shopping with my husband so my choices are limited. And I *hate* shopping at the local store because it is ridiculously overpriced. I will likely cave though.

In the Rest of my Life

  • It feels like I've done a lot of reading. It comes and goes. I have finished Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (meh, not a fan), The China Study (kind of interesting but mostly science-y and boring), Zoo Story (an interesting perspective on those working in zoos and some information about animals that I didn't know), and Baking Cakes in Kigali (enjoyable).
  • I'm currently reading The One and Only Ivan, Angry Housewives Eating Bonbons, and Man's Search for Meaning.
  • I managed not to get too sunburnt while in St. Lucia for a week. But one day at a relatively local outdoor festival? Bring on the soothing powers of aloe.