Tuesday, April 30, 2013

No Bake Chocolate Macaroons

I recently made up these decent macaroons from oh she glows. They turned out pretty good. I didn't have any kitchen disasters or anything!

However, I don't love them. I find they have a super strong banana flavour (even if my taste testers didn't notice). My husband didn't love the coconut flavour. He thought it was overpowering. Myself? I didn't even taste coconut. And yes, we really did taste-test from the same recipe.

Next time I would put in more maple syrup because, if I'm honest, I like super sweet things. Once everything was mixed together I felt it was too late to add more, so I threw in some vegan chocolate chips to add a bit of sweetness to it.

I'd probably make them again. They're ok and super easy to make.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Weekly Wrap-up

Ahh. Another week. I survived. It was a particularly bad week but I'm fortunate to be surrounded by some pretty awesome people. I have received tons of support for which I am extremely appreciative. Thanks guys. :)

(Some) Stuff I ate:

Grilled Veggie Pita from a local eatery

Amy's Pizza. My new favourite food
So good it deserves two pictures

I also had a gluten-free dairy-free donut thing, which was ok. Some day I will remember to take a picture and get brand info and all of that. Hang on to the edge of your seat. (I'm sure you are).

Stuff I Want to Eat

The plan this week is a bit up in the air. It's BBQ season with unpredictable weather. We didn't get to the spaghetti squash last week, so that's on the list. Unfortunately I didn't get around to baking or cooking much this weekend. I had hopes of making couscous salad (with bean sprouts and zucchini!) and banana bread. No such luck. For the rest of the week I plan to have:
  • Veggie dogs topped with grilled mushrooms and bean sprouts
  • Grilled veggie kabobs (eggplant, onion, zucchini, peppers)
  • Veggie burger with a newly purchased BBQ sauce, topped with grilled mushrooms, bean sprouts, and eggplant
  • Tofu souvlaki
  • The above mentioned spaghetti squash
  • Leftover Amy's pizza. I wish I had enough for every day.
I don't typically have so many meat-replacement items in my week. This was faulty planning.

In the Rest of my Life

  • I got adventurous in the grocery store and bought bean sprouts and icky zucchini. I plan to add both to pretty much everything....even though I'm pretty sure I don't like zuchinni. And I don't know that anything 'sprouts' should be eaten.
  • We had three cats hanging around our house. Not sure why, but they were here.
  • My husband stepped in rabbit pee and I almost died laughing. I literally laughed for fifteen minutes without a break. And then again for a few minutes when he finally let me into the bedroom.
  • I finished reading Night Road (it was ok, but wrapped up too nicely for my liking - I'm sadistic that way).
  • I'm still reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking.
  • I may start reading A Fraction of the Whole because a coworker recommended it after she saw I owned a copy of Let's Pretend it Never Happened.
  • I have a few new recipes on my radar (eggplant sandwiches, a new bean salad, and a chocolate-y chex mix thing) but they won't happen anytime soon
  • My bunnies are awesome (even the one not pictured)
Two kitties pictured
Behr (left), Zayne (right), Naveen (somewhere else)

Thursday, April 25, 2013


As I become more involved in the kitchen (compared to the 'olden days' of just asking what's for supper) I've been reviewing my kitchen tools. Early in, I bought a cast iron frying pan. It has been awesome. I love that thing. I've also recently added:

  • a garlic press (awesome)
  • an electric chopper (slightly more convenient)
  • a toaster oven (not getting tons of use, but hopefully this will increase over time)
We've also recently replaced our Keurig (I know, I know, I'm mean to the environment - even if I only use it a few times per week) and our BBQ (which my husband is struggling to put together).

While my husband was shopping for the BBQ, I checked out other kitchen stuff. I reigned myself in though, because I found I was drawn to impractical things. For example, "oh, look at that teeny crockpot. It's so cute!" and "Aww, look at the itty bitty frying pan. I could cook *part* of an egg!". I think I will hold off on purchases for a while.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Five Months In....

So, here we are. Five months into vegetarianism. Not much has changed in the past month. I continue to have tons of energy...and I continue to struggle slightly with avoiding dairy. But, it's getting better. My cravings are less intense. It seems that I slip up about once per week and it's always the same story....At the end of a Tuesday workday as I drive back to the office I get the urge to stop for a quick snack. My plan to address this is to take a muffin with me specifically for the end of the day. And if I want a 'treat' I can have a frozen raspberry lemonade.

But that's only addressing one obstacle. Sometimes life makes things complicated. This week I will be driving during two of my lunches so I will need to get creative. I haven't figured it out yet.

And other times, things are less complicated than anticipated. I went to a work conference/training thing last week and wasn't sure what to expect for lunch. I had let them know I am a vegetarian, but when I signed up I wasn't dairy-free. I lucked out. Lunch was a selection of sandwiches, and assuming the bread was dairy-free (many are), I made out ok. I had brought along a few cookies from home so I wouldn't feel ripped off as everyone scarfed down the provided options.

Overall, I would have to say that I've become less picky and more adventurous. I hope to continue trying new recipes, tweaking them as I go along. I also plan to start informally tracking my food because I've noticed a slip to not-so-healthy choices.

Anyway, it's time to move on with my day. I need to get some baking done and clean the house. (It's Sunday as I type this, but it won't be posted until later in the week). Right now I'm procrastinating because I should put bunny-Naveen in her cage but she's playing in the sunshine. The current game is flop over, roll, get up, and repeat. She's getting closer and closer to her cage so eventually I won't need to feel guilty about locking her in.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Weekly wrap-up

Things have been crazy busy in the real world and I've needed to take some time to decompress....which meant less time in front of a computer screen since my regular routine just wasn't cutting it. Instead, I've been doing more reading and taking a bunch of walks (hello blister, you are a jerk).

A couple of work things resolved themselves so I'm feeling less likely to snap my crayons (as a dear friend says). This is a good thing because Mother Nature has rewarded us with days of non-stop rain followed by snow and ridiculously cold weather. I am not impressed.

Anyway, this is a non-post. Enjoy some pictures and random things thrown together.


(Some) Stuff I Ate:

Earlier this week, we had nice weather and had our first BBQ of the season. Cue veggie burgers and Big Mac Sauce! I use this recipe and now replace the mayo with Tofutti Sour Cream. I didn't notice a huge taste difference and my husband didn't complain, so I gather it was ok.

Eggplant Ratatouille with rice

Cinnamon raisin flatbread with tahini, maple syrup, and trail mix (so good!)

I also tried those roasted chickpea things but I don't think I had them in the oven long enough. At first they were crispy but then they turned mushy. I may or may not try these again. First, I need to brush up on decision making skills.


Food plan for the upcoming week:

  •  Chinese inspired cuisine
  • Chili (I won the crockpot wars this weekend)
  • Something on the BBQ (please cooperate Mother Nature)
  • Spaghetti squash spaghetti
  • And something I can't remember


In the rest of my life:

  • I finished reading The Bonesetter's Daughter (pretty good), Zoobiquity (interesting), and Unbearable Lightness (interesting).
  • I'm currently reading Night Road, and Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking.
  • I've also added a few books to my to-read list, which just keeps growing: Breaking the Food Seduction, On the Island, and The Sandcastle Girls. I may never get to these since I have 90+ books on this list.
  • Tomorrow I'm making more muffins (they are handy to have in the freezer), chili, and No Bake Chocolate Macaroons.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Quinoa Salad

I recently tried out a recipe that my grandmother passed along to me. The original recipe can be found here. As usual, I made a few alterations to it....but I don't feel that I made enough to consider it my creation. So, check out the link. Basically:

  • I replaced the tomatoes with celery
  • I replaced the onion with cucumber
  • I replaced the honey with maple syrup, and added an extra teaspoon for good measure.
Overall, it was rated 'ok' by myself and my husband. I think the flavours are fine...it's just that neither of us really likes quinoa that much. In fact, my husband suggested that I just leave it out next time. Um, dear? That's a *main* ingredient. On the other hand, if we are both more likely to eat vegetables by skipping the quinoa, he may be on to something!

I will likely make this again, especially for lunches.  But I may try a few other recipes out first in hopes of finding something better.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


I call this "Proof that I went Outside"
Today was relaxing *and* productive. It was almost a good day for mental-health rejuvenation...except that I did a lot of baking/cooking and that brings out grumpy tijya.

Right this second, I'm stuffed full with eggplant parmesan. And I've realized this is not a good state in which to blog, as it makes me very lazy....which means that this will be a very bullet-happy blog post.

Today, I:
  • made vegan muffins (oatmeal chocolate chip muffin mix with flax-egg)
  • made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
  • made a rice & chickpea salad (will post later)
  • did laundry
  • tidied
  • went for a long walk with my husband
  • had a nice long bath
  • read (part of) a book
  • made eggplant parmesan
  • prepared my lunch for tomorrow

I still need to:
  • pay bills (ugh)
  • figure out breakfast for tomorrow (ugh)
  • type up a recipe for blogging later this week

All things considered, I think I out house-wifed my husband today. All he did was vacuum, clean the bathroom, mend a ripped jacket, and make dead-cow stew. Not that we are competing or anything. ;)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Weekly wrap-up

This blog post is taking forever because bunny-Naveen wants attention. She's throwing me off schedule completely so I need to pump this out before my husband pressures me into cleaning.

I've decided to do a weekly wrap-up to share some things that aren't recipes.

Pita sandwich with Yves Veggie Cuisine sandwich slices, kale, veggies and dressing. Yummy!

Pizza with garlicky kale

My husband's pizza (also called "why I'm going to outlive my spouse")

Productivity at work. Four rings on those ears. Beat that.
And in non-picture stuff:
  • A snow day in April? Awesome. A snow day in April without power? A freakin' waste.
  • Next week's food ideas: eggplant ratatouille and eggplant parmesan. I would also like to do chili but my husband wants to do stew and the outcome of the crockpot war is not yet determined.
And things I may check out some day:

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Gluten-free Dairy-free Cookie Mix

For my birthday, my sister gave me a mix of gluten-free dairy-free cookies to bake. And the bag specifically gave instructions on making them as cookie bars instead. No forming balls for me!

I found them a bit salty but not so much that I didn't like them. My husband also had a few, but was nice enough to ask if he was 'allowed'. And that's pretty much why I keep him.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Vegan Banana Bread

A few weeks ago I made some banana bread. I was away from home and ill-prepared to make adjustments to my typical go-to banana bread. So, instead I thought I'd test out a new recipe. And it was yummy. I made a few alterations but you can find the original recipe here. Everyone thought it was yummy and it was gone in a very short period of time.

As a disclaimer, the recipe is only vegan if you use vegan ingredients so check your ingredients!


  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of almond milk
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 2 cups of mashed bananas
  • 1/4 cup of applesauce
  • 3 tbs of maple syrup
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract



  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix together your dry ingredients and chocolate chips. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix your vinegar and almond milk. Let it sit for a couple of minutes and then add the mashed banana, applesauce, maple syrup, and vanilla. Mix well.
  4. Gradually add your dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, being careful not to over mix.
  5. Pour batter into a greased bread pan. Bake for one hour. The bread should look browned and slightly cracked. The tooth-pick test is good measure of done-ness.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Tofu Pita Souvlaki

When I started my blog, I never thought it would become so recipe oriented. At the time, I cooked once a week...and even then I tried to get out of it.

But here we are. Tonight's 'recipe' isn't really a recipe. It's more of a meal idea because I didn't make any measurements of anything. Basically, I had tofu souvlaki and my husband had chicken souvlaki. Because I can't have dairy, I whipped up sauce that was my own version of tzatziki sauce. Sure, it wasn't exactly the same but I knew my creation wouldn't cause a headache or make me all bloated and stuff. Win win.


  • Pita bread
  • Tofu
  • Cucumber
  • Tofutti Better than Sour Cream
  • Mayo
  • White balsamic vinegar
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Bell pepper
  • Tomato
  • And whatever veggies you want


  1. Chop up some cucumber and mix in a combination of tofutti and mayo. Add a dash of white balsamic vinegar. Mix it all up and adjust according to your taste preferences. Set aside.
  2. Chop up onion, garlic, bell pepper, tomato and whatever veggies you want. Set aside.
  3. Fry up your tofu.
  4. Heat your pita bread. Add tofu, veggies, and a crapload of sauce. Wrap in tinfoil for less mess.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Oh the cravings, part 2

A while ago I posted about my craving for cheese. I survived this craving by eating pancakes. Yep, it seems that pancakes are a cheese replacement. I don't get it either and I don't see it working in all scenarios (ie, veggie pizza topped with pancake).

Today's craving is for Tim Horton's goodness. I would do almost anything for a mocha and donut (or cinnamon roll). Well, almost anything. It seems that I'm too impatient and refuse to fight with traffic for this particular craving...despite the fact that the craving has tortured me all afternoon.

The idea of any other food is actually turning my stomach....including cheese and chocolate. I am taking a moment to appreciate that (considering we have boat loads of cheese in the fridge and Easter chocolate in the cupboard)....I have never been grossed out by cheese or chocolate before. Well, maybe mouldy cheese. I don't know that chocolate can ever be nasty.

Anyway, this craving was causing a predicament. First of all, it's ridiculously challenging to have a craving for something that will make you feel awful. And second of all, what do you have for supper when food is turning you off?

The plan was spaghetti squash spaghetti. But as I was getting out of my car, I had visions of peanut butter & crackers. Now, I wasn't sure if the crackers were dairy-free so I was careful not to latch on to this particular craving. But they *are* dairy-free....which made me crazy-happy and killed the carby-dairy craving.

But I still don't get the connection between:

cheese craving = pancake satisfaction     
carby dairy craving = peanut butter & crackers satisfaction

Maybe I will figure it some day and it will actually be the secret of life or something. Or maybe I will never figure it out and just live happily ever after. Either way, the monster is tamed (for this short moment in time anyway)

Out in the world

I shouldn't be allowed in the world on my own. But first, a back story.

A while ago I was visiting my grandmother and she offered me candied ginger. I was reluctant to accept her offer since we have very different taste in food. So, as a good family member, I waited until my mom had some. And both she and my grandmother raved about it. I figured my mom wouldn't lie to me, right?

No, not right. It was vile. I can't even describe how awful it was. I wanted to spray my mouth with Lysol and cut out my tongue. So you would think I would avoid ginger. Also, not right.

So one morning this week I decided to make the left-over pancakes. They ended up an especially clumpy mess and found themselves in the trash. I figured I would try out a new-to-me food place when I stopped at the bank. The place is known for vegan drinks and treats. I opted for a carrot ginger blend because I had blocked out the traumatic event described above. Now, I did hesitate, but I reasoned that my ginger molasses cookies (of my pre-ovo-veg days) are super yummy. And I wanted to try something different (or more honestly, I was overwhelmed by the choices and did not see the vegan options at first glance).

So I ordered it. And there is definitely ginger in it. I tried to choke back as much as I could since it is healthy, but I didn't get to the bottom of the cup.

After all of this, I still had grocery shopping to do. I had remembered my reusable bags and my quarter to release the grocery cart. Except it wouldn't release the cart! I figured I had a defective cart, so I moved on. And the same thing happened! I started thinking I was a grocery cart moron and just didn't know how these things work. But then an older guy came and was able to get one of the carts I was fighting with. He was kind enough to point out that I likely wasn't shoving the quarter in far/hard enough and he was right. Apparently I have the strength of over steamed broccoli.

Luckily, my husband had anticipated that I would struggle with doing groceries task solo and provided me with a very detailed grocery list. For example:
  • 2 L of 2% milk (in case I've forgotten what % he drinks)
  • Gingerale or rootbeer - or both         (Great decision make skills dear!)
  • Spaghetti sauce - NOT roasted red pepper (um, I'm the one that pointed out that it had a weird taste, but hey, extra clarification is nice)
  • 1 good big head of lettuce (because obviously I was going to purposely pick one rotting small head of lettuce)
There was one item that I didn't pick up. Partly because he didn't specify the brand or indicate if substitutions were acceptable. And partly because it's funny.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Eggplant Ratatouille

Once I tried the Eggplant Parmesan (blogged here), I needed another recipe to use up the remaining eggplant. So I made an Eggplant Ratatouille. It's based off of a recipe in 150 Vegan Favourites, but I did make some changes. The original recipe includes macaroni. I think it would be good on its own and would likely serve mine over rice if I were to add something to the dish.


  • 1/3 cup onion
  • garlic (amount according to taste preference)
  • 1/2 cup bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup diced mushrooms
  • 1 cup diced eggplant
  • 1 cup chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 can of diced tomatoes (preferably flavoured and diced way smaller than what is pictured)
  • spaghetti sauce (amount according to taste preference)
  • choice of seasoning (Italian spice, etc)


  1. Fry the onion, garlic, bell pepper, mushrooms, eggplant, and chickpeas over medium heat.
  2. Add your choice of seasoning and stir in the tomatoes and spaghetti sauce and simmer for ten-ish minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and serve.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Life with Bunnies

Today everyone in the household is enjoying the fact that I have today off (except maybe my husband who is a tad jealous since he has to work).

This morning, bunny Naveen came to find me once she heard I was out of bed. It's kind of nice to be greeted first thing by your-bunny-who-thinks-she's-a-dog. This doesn't happen often since she is usually secured in her cage until I let her out. But I got to sleep in and my husband did the honours.

Later, Behr decided to break morning routine and explore the off-limits bedrooms. He doesn't typically explore in the morning so I felt safe leaving the doors open for the amount of time it took to go downstairs to close the bunny gate. However, he was in the kitchen and ran up behind me when I went in the direction of the bunny room. Luckily, he knows it's off-limits so it didn't take much to get him out of the bedroom.

And Zayne...she's the low-key bunny. An active day for Zayne consists of multiple jumps in and out of the litter box and a brief two minute visit out of the bunny room. But even Zayne makes me smile. Currently she's having a nap in the sun with her stuffed animals, Mr. Moo and Moo-too. Behr is near her, sort of as an afterthought. Can you feel the love?

I'm definitely enjoying my quiet day with the bunny monsters. But, I also feel it's important to mention that rabbit care isn't always so fantastic.

For example, they can be twerps. Rabbits are creatures of habit. This can be nice. They always let us know when to feed them. Sometimes the reminder is gentle death-stare. But it can also be a sharp nudge or a throwing of the food bowl. At this point, you need to get your butt in gear....because next Naveen throws her hay bowl (and hay goes *everywhere*) or dumps her water dish.

But their routines can also make it hard to go on vacation. Two trips ago Naveen got so stressed she stopped eating. And that's really serious in a rabbit. More recently, (and less scary), I've spent a few weekends away. All three let me know their displeasure by starting pee wars. All three peed out of their box for a few days and have since resumed proper litter habits since I've been home again. (I will say I giggled every time my husband stepped in the pee).

Another unpleasant thing is the cost of rabbit ownership. A single emergency vet visit can be upwards of $400. But even daily care is expensive. I went to the pet store today and spent $81.30. Two items are purchased infrequently, but the hay and litter cost $57.97. And this is a regular expense and today's purchase won't even last a full two weeks. Then add on other things like pellets and fresh produce.

Crazy, eh? Now, you could save some money on hay by getting it directly from a farmer. However, that comes with a risk of unwanted scary creatures getting in your house. Like, let's say a chipmunk. And you don't want the chipmunk in your house because they move faster than the speed of light. And they are scary.

So when you attempt to get said chipmunk out of your house you jump and screech at a totally normal household sound, sending chipmunk running out of his hiding spot...and head first into a wall causing a slow painful death of some kind of chipmunk traumatic brain injury. Or something. Due to these risks, I recommend just sucking it up and buying pet store hay.