Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sweet Pepper Soup


4 tbsp butter (I use Earth Balance)
1 onion finely chopped
2 stalks of celery finely chopped
2 yellow bell peppers
2 red bell peppers
2 tbsps chopped parsley
1 tsp chervil
4 tbsp flour (or to keep it gluten free, I use the equivalent in cornstarch/water mix)
9 cups of vegetable stock
Salt, Pepper & Paprika to taste
5 tbsp of heavy cream (if I make it to freeze I don't add the cream until it's thawed & heated through)


1. Heat butter in a large pot over low heat. Add onion, cover & cook 4 minutes.
2. Stir in celery, cook another 5 minutes.
3. Add peppers, season & add parsley, chervil & paprika. Cover & cook 5 minutes over medium heat.
4. Mix in flour, cook 3 minutes on low heat uncovered.
5. Pour in stock & mix well. Bring to a boil & reduce heat to medium. Cook 20 minutes partly covered, then puree. Incorporate cream & serve!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fruit and Kale Smoothie

2 bananas
1 Gala apple
1 pear
1 cup of kale
1/2 cup water
This makes 2-3 servings, but don’t feel bad downing the entire smoothie by yourself. It is that good.

Green Smoothie

2 bananas, frozen
2 HUGE handfuls spinach (you won’t even taste it)
1 cup milk (almond or soy is even better than moo juice)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Add all ingredients into a blender. Blend until mixed. Serve.

Peanut Butter and Bananna Smoothie

4-5 apple bananas (2-2 1/2 regular banana)
4 spoonfuls of peanut butter (creamy preferred) (or 2 spoonfuls if you have a big spoon)
1 can of sprite
7-15 pieces of ice (depending on how thick you want your smoothie)
You mix together the bananas, peanut butter, and sprite first.  then when that is fully blended together you add in the ice.  I like my smoothies more on the liquidy side so I put in less ice so its still smooth but you also have that crunch.

Granola Smoothie

1 banana
1 cup milk (I use skim or 1%)
2 Tbs. of honey or sugar-free honey substitute
1/2 cup granola
1/2 cup of ice

Breakfast Smoothie

While just about all smoothies are packed with vitamins since their ingredients are usually fruits and vegetables, there are some healthy smoothies that are healthier and more rich in vitamins than others. This is one of the best healthy smoothies I have come across and its taste can’t be beat. I usually prefer frozen fruit for a better texture and consistency, but frozen or fresh this will be a delicious and healthy breakfast smoothie or anytime smoothie.
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 cup blackberries
1 medium carrot
1 cup low-fat milk
1 cup pomegranate (cranberry is an okay substitute)
2 cups ice
Easily 2 servings, but don’t feel too guilty if you finish it by yourself, it is that good.

POM Smoothie

1 cup POM wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
3/4 cup soy or low-fat milk
2 ice cubes
1 large banana
2 tablespoons almonds
3 table spoons protein powder (optional)
1 teaspoon honey or stevia sweetener
In a blender combine all ingredients. Cover and blend on high for at least 30 seconds (make sure the almonds aren’t visible) then pour into two glasses. Makes 2 servings.

French Spring Soup

1/4 cup butter
1 pound leeks, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 quarts water
3 large potatoes, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/3 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
4 teaspoons salt
1/2 pound fresh spinach
1 cup heavy cream

1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the leeks and onion, and cook until tender.
2. Pour water into the pot. Mix in potatoes, carrots, asparagus, and rice. Season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes, until vegetables and rice are tender.
3. Stir spinach and heavy cream into the soup mixture, and continue cooking about 5 minutes before serving.

Fresh Pea Soup

2 tablespoons butter
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
2 cups water
3 cups fresh shelled green peas
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons whipping cream (optional)

1. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Cook the shallots until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Pour in the water and peas, season to taste with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the peas are tender, 12 to 18 minutes.
2. Puree the peas in a blender or food processor in batches. Strain back into the saucepan, stir in the cream if using, and reheat. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.

Beans and Greens

4 (14.5 ounce) cans vegetable broth
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach
1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, with liquid
1 (15 ounce) can great Northern beans, with liquid
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, with liquid
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon garlic powder
salt to taste
black pepper to taste

1. Place broth and spinach in a pot over medium heat, and cook 5 minutes, or until spinach is thawed. Mix in dark and light kidney beans, black beans and liquid, great northern beans and liquid, pinto beans and liquid, and oil. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cook 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Vegetarian Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup)

6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
3 large shallots, sliced (1 cup)
1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
10 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
12 1/4-inch-thick coins fresh ginger
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
5–6 fresh basil stems, leaves reserved for soup
5–6 cilantro stems, leaves reserved for soup
1 8-oz. pkg. rice noodles
1 8-oz. pkg. Asian-flavor baked tofu, thinly sliced
2 cups soybean sprouts
2 cups watercress
4 green onions, sliced (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 lime, cut into wedges


1. To make Broth: Place all ingredients in large pot with 8 cups water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, 1 hour. Strain broth, and return to pot. Discard solids.
2. To make Pho: Cook rice noodles according to package directions. Drain, and rinse under cold water. Divide among 6 large soup bowls. Ladle Broth over noodles, and top with tofu, sprouts, watercress, and green onions. Serve cilantro, basil, and lime wedges on the side to be stirred into soup.

Red Pepper-Carrot Soup

2 large red bell peppers (1 lb.), plus slices for garnish, optional
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1 bay leaf
1 large onion, sliced (2 cups)
2 large carrots, sliced (1/2 lb.)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place bell peppers on baking sheet, and roast 1 hour, or until skin is wrinkled and blackened all over, turning peppers occasionally with tongs. Transfer to bowl, and cover with plastic wrap 10 minutes to steam. When peppers are cool enough to handle, rub off blackened peel, and remove seeds.
2. Heat oil in 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add curry powder and bay leaf, and stir 10 seconds. Add onion, carrots, garlic, and salt. Cover, and cook 10 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
3. Add 4 cups water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, 25 minutes.
4. Transfer carrot mixture to blender, add bell peppers, and purée until smooth. Stir in lemon juice. Garnish servings with bell pepper slices, if using.

Miso Noodle Soup with Edamame

2 oz. bean thread noodles
3 oz. fresh shiitake or button mushrooms
2 tsp. canola oil
3 scallions, thinly sliced with white and green parts
1 small carrot, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced on diagonal
1 cup (6 oz.) frozen shelled edamame
5 oz. baby spinach
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
4 to 6 Tbs. dark miso
1/4 tsp. toasted sesame oil
Tamari soy sauce, optional

1. Put noodles in a bowl with water to cover, and set aside.
2. Trim mushrooms and wash, chop finely. Slice caps thinly, and set aside.
3. Heat oil in a soup pot. Add scallion whites, mushrooms and carrot, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mushrooms begin to soften, for about 2 minutes.
4. Add 5 cups water, and bring to a boil. Add edamame, and cook for 4 minutes. Drain noodles, and add to pot with spinach and ginger. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until edamame are tender but still firm, for about 1 minute more. Stir in scallion greens.
5. Blend 4 tablespoons miso into 1 cup warm water, using a fork to mix. Reduce heat to low, and stir miso into soup, adding more miso for a more intense flavor, if desired. Add sesame oil and tamari to taste. Serve hot.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Broccoli And Cheese Soup

2 bunches broccoli, trimmed and coarsely chopped (2 1/2 lb.)
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 1/2 Tbs. nutritional yeast flakes
1/8 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 cup fat-free half-and-half
1/2 cup shredded marble cheese
1. Working in batches, purée soup in food processor until smooth. Return to saucepan. Stir in half-and-half, and heat over low heat until hot. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Sprinkle each serving with 1 Tbs. cheese.

Asparagus Soup With Parmesan Crisps

2 Tbs. unsalted butter or olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 medium onion, chopped (1 cup)
5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 lb. fresh asparagus (36 to 40 medium-size spears), tips reserved, stalks cut into 1/2-inch pieces, divided
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/3 cup low-fat milk or heavy cream
1 Tbs. lemon juice
2 tsp. grated lemon zest

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with foil. Divide Parmesan cheese into 6 mounds on baking mat, and flatten using back of spoon. Bake 3 to 4 minutes, or until cheese melts into lacy rounds. Cool completely. Remove from baking sheet with spatula; set aside.
2. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 5 to 7 minutes, or until soft. Add broth, asparagus stalks, and thyme; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pan, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until asparagus is tender.
3. Meanwhile, cook asparagus tips in boiling, salted water 2 minutes, or until just tender. Drain, and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
4. Purée soup in blender or food processor until smooth. Return to pan, and stir in milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with asparagus tips and Parmesan crisps.

Corn Chowder with Green Chiles

2 fresh, mild green Mexican (Anaheim) or poblano chiles roasted & peeled
2 Tbs. corn oil or vegetable oil
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 large onion, minced
3 cups corn kernels, scraped from the cob (about 6 medium ears), fresh or frozen
3 cups milk
12 to 14-oz. russet baking potato, peeled and diced
1 1/2 tsp. salt, or more to taste
1/2 cup whipping cream
Pinch white pepper
About 1/4 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds), dry-roasted, optional

1. To prepare chowder: Heat oil and butter in large, heavy saucepan over medium. Stir in onion, and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. In blender, purée 1 cup corn with 1 cup milk. Pour mixture into pan and add remaining milk with remaining corn, potato and 11/2 teaspoons salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until potato is tender. Adjust heat, if necessary, to keep soup from boiling. Stir in cream and heat through. Add more salt, if desired, and pepper. Ladle into shallow bowls. Top with green chiles. Scatter pepitas over soup, if using. Serve hot.

Vegan 'Chicken' Noodle Soup

4 cups no-chicken broth
1/2 cup baby carrots, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
1 stalk celery, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 tsp. granulated onion
3 oz. dry fettuccine, broken into 2-inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
2 1/2 Tbs. plain TVP bits
2 green onions, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
1 Tbs. minced fresh parsley
1. Combine broth, carrots, celery and onion in large saucepan over medium-high heat, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, and stir in fettuccine. Simmer, partially covered, 15 minutes. Stir in TVP and green onions.
2. Cook 5 minutes more, or until vegetables and noodles are tender. Remove from heat, stir in parsley, and season with salt and pepper.

Volunteer Vacations

To be a part of a Volunteer Vacation is a dream of mine. I will get there, somehow, someway, someday....

Check out or other organizations similar to them.

It's the orphanages mostly that draw on my heart as I look at the smiles on their faces. They have so little, yet they still appear to be happy. We have so much and yet there is so much misery. That appreciation for life that they have needs to be taught here in our over commercialized, greedy, consumer driven, materialistic community in which we live. What an experience that would be....

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Brittany Renee

“I would much rather have regrets about not doing what people said, than regretting
not doing what my heart led me to and wondering what life had been like if I'd just
been myself.”-Brittany Renée

- Posted using BlogPress from Jennifer's iPad

Chickenless Pot Pie

Original recipe taken from Gardein iPhone app, then modified.

1 pack Gardein scallopini, cut into 1/4 cubes
6 cups vegan chicken stock
1 cup yellow onion, diced
1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 cup broccoli florets
1 cup peas
¾ tsp thyme, minced
¾ tsp sage, minced
¾ tsp sea salt
¾ tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 tbsp tamari soy sauce
3-4 tbsp Canola oil

¾ cup flour
¾ cup Earth Balance butter
1 puff pastry sheet rolled out to 12"x10"

Pre-heat oven to 375°F

Brown gardein scallopini in a sauté pan with 1 tablespoon canola oil. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and set aside.

To make roux... melt Earth Balance in a sauté pan, add flour and whisk constantly until light brown in color. Cool and set aside.

In a 5.5 qt. stock pot cook onions in canola oil for 3 min and add carrots, sage, thyme, salt and pepper. Continue to cook for 5 min. Add already boiling stock and simmer for 5 min whisk in yeast flakes.

Add the roux a bit at a time and continue to cook as sauce begins to thicken. Stir in gardein scallopini, tamari and peas. pour mixture into a large shallow pan to cool.

Once mixture is cool, pour into individual ramekins, glass pie pan or small casserole dish. cover mixture with puff pastry (be sure to leave a small excess of pastry for folding and fluting of the edge) and seal edges. Cut small slits. Bake for 35 min or until internal temperature reaches 165°F.

6 servings | 15 min prep | 50 min cook

- Posted using BlogPress from Jennifer's iPad

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Vegan Dog Treats Recipe

A great treat to help that doggy breath! 
Courtesy of Molly, @veganflower on Twitter.

Parsley Mint Muffins

2 cups flour
½ cup oats
½ cup wheat germ or additional flour
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp. ground flax
1 Tbsp. hulled hemp seeds (optional)
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ cup dried parsley
½ cup fresh mint, chopped into small pieces
3 Tbsp. blackstrap molasses or agave nectar
1 ½ cups water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini muffin pans with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, wheat germ, nutritional yeast, flax, hemp seeds, baking soda, parsley and mint. Add molasses or agave nectar and water, mixing well. Scoop batter into the muffin pans and bake for 30 minutes. Remove and let cool completely before serving. Store in the fridge.

Makes approximately two dozen mini muffins.


Biscuits- Reduce water by ½ cup and eliminate baking soda. Knead into a stiff dough, adding ¼ cup of flour at a time until it can be rolled out without sticking to the rolling pin (add a bit of water if it gets too dry). Roll out onto a floured surface to ¼ inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters or knife and bake on a greased cookie sheet until crispy.

Cookies- Add ¼ cup of flour at a time until dough is firm enough to form into balls. Place dough balls on a greased cookie sheet and press flat with your hand or a fork. Bake until crispy.

Bagels- Make the same as the cookies except do not press them flat. Dip your finger in water and poke a hole in the middle of the dough ball. Flatten slightly to form a bagel shape. Bake until crispy.

Good Eye, Spy!

My little friend Irelynn spent the day with me today and pointed to my garden saying "Why you got farkles in yo gawden, Den?" I looked under all the bushes in my garden and there was in fact a jar of 'sparkles' from when we did art outside one day. How very random that she spotted them and that 'Farkles' just happens to be my most favourite word she uses, to 'Goggy' as in Dogs of course. I cannot get enough of this kid, she makes me laugh out loud.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Tofu Scramble

Did I post this already?! Might have but too lazy to check. Re-enjoy if I did and if I didn't, give this one a try :) Put it in a wrap to make a breakfast burrito!!

1 lb. extra firm tofu
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic salt
Juice from half a lemon
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 each red, yellow & green peppers
1 handful of spinach easier & chopped

1. Cut the tofu into cubes and squeeze out the excess water.
2. Add the olive oil, soy sauce, crushed garlic, onion powder, thyme, turmeric, paprika, and garlic salt to a sauté pan. Stir and cook on low heat. Once the mixture begins to heat, spread evenly to coat the bottom of pan.
3. Crumble the tofu through your fingers into the pan and toss into the mixture, stirring often.
4. Once the scramble becomes firm to the touch and begins to brown (about 7 to 10 minutes), squeeze in the lemon juice and add in the nutritional yeast. Stir until coated. Allow to cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
5. Sauté the veggies until tender crisp and toss together with the scrambled tofu mixture.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Your Toddler Is 36 Months Old

Heinz, Gerber, Similac, Enfalac.... all of these baby food/formula companies obtain your name it seems almost immediately following conception. For all five of my pregnancies, my doctor provided me with armfuls of information on what to expect during the next nine months and this literature is all courtesy of these baby food makers. The amount of information is overwhelming, really.
This week I received yet another brochure in the mail from one of these companies with coupons attached for various other products they make. On it read "Your toddler is 36 months...."
Nope, no. My toddler is not 36 months because my baby didn't live long enough to become a toddler. I miscarried twelve weeks into that pregnancy; that fetus didn't even make it to full term. I froze as I read it standing in front of our neighbourhood mailbox. Those words literally took the breath out of me as I realized that next week sometime, around September 4th, I would have had a three year old, ....had that baby survived.
I've called these companies to ask them to stop mailing me free samples and coupons, I've blocked them all from my email and have done what I can to avoid exactly what just happened at my mailbox.... But the reality is, every once in awhile I need to think about him/her. I need to have those thoughts about those babies run through my head so I can feel them in my heart.  I've had a connection with each of my children from the moment I felt they were there and I do wonder about the three that never came to be. They are still and will always be a part of me.
I just really don't need Heinz to flag all the milestones I'm missing out on.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Comic Art

A couple of years ago a friend of mine, a comedian, invited me out to one of his shows and it opened up my eyes to a whole new art form. I watch stand up on TV and have been to other people's shows so the idea of someone telling jokes on stage wasn't new. It's the behind the scenes, heart and soul that goes into making it all that happen that I'd never really considered before being privy to the inside that I find to be so interesting. I became a 'groupie' although in the world of comedy I'm just called a 'regular' lol and I watch a lot of the same comics do the same routine week after week ....but never see the same show twice. It's really cool to see them rhyme off their jokes but then add a twist to it, give it alternative punch line or change it up just a little and get a whole different reaction from the crowd. That's talent. These guys and girls deserve a lot more praise and recognition than I can give them here on this blog post I'm quickly spewing off. There are far too many comic geniuses in my local area to list here and now but they are definitely worth checking out and if you follow me on Twitter I retweet show info when they post it. A few of the boys such as Javier Enrique, Anthony Mlekuz, along with fellow comedian friends/guests Manolis Zontanos, Patrick Coppolino and Clifford Myers do a Sunday late night Radio Show on Indi 101 called "Funny And Friends". They spend an hour give or take talking about the stories of how they came up with certain material, they share advice they have been given by other comics to improve making their sets as successful as they are and disclose things they've lived and learned on their comic journey. Usually there is a theme but whether or not they stay on topic all depends on the week. One thing is for sure though, they make me laugh as they they merge their 'totally on' comedian selves with their everyday realistic selves. They also spend a whole lot of time bantering and ranting about ....nothing. But it's funny nothingness so have a listen! And/or check out their web pages for show info and cool venues ....then go absorb some of that artsy energy these fine comedians will fill your soul with.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Whale Saving!

My sister sent me this link and it brought tears to my eyes.... it's amazing, watch and see!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Those Were The Smurfin' Days

It just wasn't right watching 'The Smurfs' movie without my sister. That cartoon was a Saturday morning childhood ritual for us. She would come into my room, pull up my eyelids and say in her small Lindsay voice "Jenn, Smurfies are on!" My six year old self remembers every time she did that thinking 'I hate that she wakes me by pulling my eyes but I'm so happy to be up for this!' It all balanced out.

We would make our way downstairs quietly so we didn't wake anyone else up, first stopping at the living room where it was guaranteed there would be left over snacks sitting out. My parents would often entertain on weekends but wouldn't tidy up until the next morning, so Lindsay and I had a pre-breakfast smorgasbord feast of stale Chips, Bits & Bites, Crackers and whatever else was left out. It was glorious. The glasses would have dribbles left in them, mostly of melted ice cubes and backwash and I remember drinking them; taste buds shocked every time that it was booze....duh. We'd take our stash of snacks down to the basement always in time to hear the theme song play "La La La La La La, La La La La La" and happiness surrounded us for the half hour following. We'd have our miniature Smurf figurines lined up on the table next to us so they could watch themselves on TV. That was our time. Our magical time where we were absorbed into a world of little blue creatures who lived in mushroom houses and spent their lives avoiding and escaping the cruel hands of the evil sorcerer Gargamel. There was excitement, there was cheering and there was love. When it was over, my mom would call us up for a 'real' breakfast to start the 'real' day.

It was a short period of time in our week but we both looked forward to it . We knew when Dallas was on Friday night, that the next day was Saturday and we had to be up in time for The Smurfs. There are many things in my life that connect back to my childhood but The Smurfs relate back entirely to a world that only my sister and I lived in. Although I knew it then, I realize it more now that I Smurfin' treasured those mornings and am fortunate to have those memories that evoke the emotions they do when I Smurf back.

About Me

My photo
Life-long Vegetarian and proud to be Canadian. Really, I'm a little bit of everything, all rolled into one. I'm a bitch, I'm a lover, I'm a child, I'm a mother, I'm a sinner, I'm a saint (I do not feel ashamed) I'm your hell, I'm your dream (I'm nothing in between) You know, I wouldn't want it any other way..... (I'd like to think that song was written about me! lol)