Manipulating the elements

August 26, 2008 at 1:41 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

In the early spring I decided I wanted to start a garden.  I had no idea what I was doing (I still don’t) and I wasn’t even into gardening all that much.  The most I had ever done was planting some flowers from a plastic box that my mother had bought from the garden center.    

Thinking back on it, I couldn’t even remember how far to dig the hole or how much soil to put on top.  Was I suppose to pack it down after?  Did this even apply to vegetables?  How far apart should they be?  How much water would they need and when?

So many questions.  But I went for it anyways and pulled out all the weeds and basically anything and everything that looked even remotely like a plant or root from a patch of soil in my backyard.  After this was accomplished, I tilled the soil (a fancy word for digging it up about 1-2 feet and mixing it all up), then I laid down a fine layer of compost and mixed that gently in.  After that was all done, I raked it to look pretty (I’m not sure this was even necessary) and then I bought my plants.  On the list:


4 cauliflower

1 zucchini

5 tomatoes (for my parents)

4 swiss chard

4 romaine

4 endive


Lime Basil



2 Stevia plants

4 Nasturtiums (edible flowers)


It is now the end of summer and my zucchinis are growing like crazy (too big for me to handle, with far too m any coming).  The swiss chard turned whitish and one of them died immediately.  The other one is struggling.  Two cauliflower remain, one that looks huge but hasn’t budded at all and one that started budded but looks sickly.  I’ve got cherry tomatoes popping up all over the place but the bigger ones aren’t coming very well.  The romaine and endive grew very tall with hardly any leaves (just enough for a two person salad).  The stevia is doing wonderful but took awhile.  The basil is big and beautiful and smells divine.  The oregano is so -so and the parsley took forever to grow large.  The nasturtiums have popped a couple flowers here and there then died within a day but over the last week they started to blossom.  Just enough for a salad.  


Here are some pictures of my garden.


Tomatoe and Cauliflower





It’s way bigger than it looks (about 10 inches long, 5 inches wide)


I grew a FROG! :)


And now for my Nasturtium Salad:

One small head of boston lettuce (cut roughly)

Half a bunch of baby spinach (chopped roughly)

5-6 Nasturtiums or as many as you have!

Cumin/lime vinaigrette (from Vive le Vegan) 


1/4 cup lime juice

1 small clove garlic

2-3 tbsp pure maple syrup

2 tbsp honey altervative (like agava or molasses)

1/2 tsp dijon mustard

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp cumin (scant)

1/8 tsp cinnamon

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2-3 tbsp sunflower oil or hemp seed oil (or more olive oil)


With a hand blender, combine all the ingredients except the oils and puree.  Continue to blend and slowly drizzle in the oil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper if desired.


I swear I’m not affiliated with Dreena Burton but I just bought her book ‘vive le vegan’ and I definitely recommend it.  Her recipes are short, simple and leave out a lot of processed/refined crap.  




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The perfect dozen

June 22, 2008 at 9:36 pm (Baking) (, , , , , , )

Finally after 6 months of attempting a gluten-free, vegan muffin, I have concocted the tastiest, moistest muffin a girl could ask for!  After some very awful tasting mistakes, my persistence has paid off.  These muffins even remind me of oatmeal ones since I used some quinoa flakes which give it a slightly oatmeal-ish texture.

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Avocado soup with grilled asparagus and tortilla chips

June 15, 2008 at 3:55 am (Cooking) (, , , , , )

Avocados and tomatoes seem to be a match made in heaven.  At least that’s what every avocado recipe out there tells me.  Since I ain’t diggin the deadly nightshades (sadly including chili powder which is avocados closest friend), I created a recipe that excludes these and lets the avocado shine on it’s own.

And how did this little number turn out?  Well my father detests avocados.  Even when made into a flavourful guacamole.  After many attempts to include them into his diet by sneaking them into dips, salads and on top of dishes as a garnish I was very curious to see how he would find my soup.  At first I was sad to see at the end of the meal he still had a full bowl.  When I asked him how he liked the soup he replied, “I’m working on my second bowl!  This is really good!”

So there you have it.  But don’t take my word for it, try it yourself because avocados are not a food you want to ignore!


Avocado Soup



5-6 small to medium avocados (very ripe)

1 Tbsp olive oil (or veg. oil)

2 small onions (finely diced)

2 tsp minced garlic (about 4 cloves)

2 cups of vegetable broth

1 cup soy milk (or any milk you want to use)

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp salt

2 heaping tsps cumin

pepper to taste



Vegan sour cream

tortilla chips



Slice and mash the avocados very well.  (you can also puree them in a food processor).  Set aside.  

Heat the oil in a medium sized pot and dice your onions.  Fry the onions and garlic till soft and browned.  

Add in the vegetable broth, the avocados, and the “milk” and stir well (keeping all this on medium heat).

Add in the remaining ingredients.

As soon as it’s hot it’s ready to serve.  Add some tortilla chips and maybe a dollop of vegan sour cream! 

I ate mine with some grilled asparagus.  Not exactly a complete meal but I had already eaten quite a bit of protein throughout the day.

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Cardamom Banana balls

June 6, 2008 at 12:57 pm (Raw) (, , , , )

Seemingly sweet, these little desserts may not actually satisfy a sweet tooth.  My family gave them the go-ahead but I wasn’t too impressed.  Not bad for an experiment though and filled with fiber and nutrients.  They certainly weren’t unagreeable.




1 cup dates (soaked for an hour or so)

2 ripe bananas

1/3 cup shredded coconut (plus extra for rolling)

3 tbsp psyllium husk

1 heaping tsp ground cardamom

1 tsp cinnamon

2-3 dashes of fine sea salt



Drain the dates and in a food processor blend them up to the consistency you desire.  In a medium sized bowl mash the bananas, coconut, cinnamon, cardamom, psyllium husk.  Add in the dates and a few pinches of salt. 

In another bowl put some extra coconut for rolling (about a half cup).  Roll the mixture into balls as best you can and roll into the coconut.  

Place on a rack in your food dehydrator or eat them raw!  

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Cumin infused Kale

May 11, 2008 at 10:37 pm (Cooking, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

My iron levels are currently on the low side so I knew I had to run to the store and stock up on Kale.  Most people don’t get a sufficient amount of dark leafy greens and I’m definitely trying to both convince others to eat them as well as myself.  

I’m talking about our bitter and often tough friends Kale, spinach, collard greens and chard.  I have experimented with many recipes and it seems that these veggies always need to be at least slightly cooked (for both texture and for the body to digest properly).  I’ve also found they do well with seasoning, otherwise you generally have a limp, tasteless mass of chewy leaves.  After flipping through my recipe books I found one from “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” that tastes fairly sophisticated.

Mixed Greens with Cumin and Paprika (Or my version Cumin infused Kale)


12 cups mixed greens – kale, broccoli rabe, chard or beet, escarole, mustard green


4 large garlic cloves

1 cup chopped parsley

1 cup chopped cilantro

3 Tbsp olive oil

2 tsp paprika ( I did without due to the deadly nightshade allergy)

2 tsp cumin

For Garnish: oil-cured black olives ( I used regular green ones), wedges of lemon and tomato (again you can defintely do without the tomatoe if allergic)


1) discard any inedible parts of the green, such as kale stems and tough ribs.  Set the leaves in a steamer – the tougher ones on the bottom, the most tender on top – and cook until tender.  Or boil each type seperately in salted water, then drain.  Chop into pieces about one inch square.

2) Pound the garlic with 1/2 tsp salt in a mortar until smooth, then work in the parsley and cilantro pounding them briefly to release their flavours.

3) Warm the oil with the paprika and cumin in a wide skillet over medium heat until they release their fragrance.  Don’t let them burn!  Stir in the garlic, then add the greens and cook until any extra moisture has evaporated.  Taste for salt.  Pile into a dish and garnish with olives, lemon and tomato.  Don’t forget to squeeze those lemons onto the kale before eating!


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Tasty Treats?

May 5, 2008 at 8:34 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I never liked marshmallows but I certainly do miss rice krispie squares.  Just like the commercials, I remember mixing up many batches of those tasty squares with my mother and my older brother.  I have such fond memories of sitting and staring through the microwave door watching the butter/marshmallow mixture melt down in yummy gooey goodness.  But those days are over and all I can think about is my disgust towards gelatin and how incredibly painful the effects of preservatives and sugar are on my body.  Perhaps that is why I have so many health problems now. *sigh*.  

So you can imagine my surprise and absolute joy when I was leaving Bulk Barn with my bag of cornmeal and found these by the cash….


These rice krispie squares are vegan and gluten free!  I couldn’t wait to come home and devour these even though I knew it could mean a potential headache (there is some cane sugar in the ingredient list).  

After devouring a couple without hardly any attention paid, I slowed down and really absorbed the flavour.

If you are looking for rice krispie squares, these are definitely not spot on, however, they come close.  They are very, very sweet (and this is coming from someone with a  major sweet tooth), and they have this delightful nutty flavour that kicks in halfway through.  They are also nice and crisp so you won’t miss that aspect of the old fashioned squares.  My only complaint would have to be the price ($5.49 CAN per box which contains 8 squares) and the lack of “buttery-ness”.  For that perfect rice krispie square I suggest making your own vegan marshmallows and from there, making your own squares, however this certainly is a quick and sweet treat!

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Because pumpkin is just that amazing….

April 30, 2008 at 2:58 pm (Baking) (, , , , , , )

Don’t know what to do with all the leftover pumpkin you have after making those cookies?  

After cleaning up after my cookie making mess I realized I had a good cup and a half of pumpkin puree left (granted I only buy pumpkin in bulk despite my constant problem of being left with a mass amount of pumpkin).  So I decided to try out yet another pumpkin recipe.  This recipe is also adapted from the internet ( …yes….  Let’s all be mature now can we?    

From this website I picked out the cranberry pumpkin bread recipe and easily made it sugar and gluten free :)

Pumpkin Cranberry bread


cranberry pumpkin bread


Pumpkin Cranberry Bread


2 cups raw cranberries (fresh or from frozen)

1 cup chickpea flour (or corn flour)

1/2 cup rice flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

3/4 cup maple syrup (it would actually taste pretty good with a little less…maybe a 1/2 cup?)  OR stevia

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp clove (I omitted this because I am allergic to cloves and I don’t like the taste)

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

5 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tsp orange zest (Don’t skip this part, it’s worth it!)

3 tbsp water



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.


Chop the cranberries into quarters or halves (however you like) and set aside.


Mix the flours, cornmeal, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, in a bowl and set aside.


In a large bowl, mix the remaining ingredients.  Gently pour the wet into the dry and mix.  Gently stir or fold in the cranberries.  (If using chickpea flower don’t eat the batter, it’s very disheartening.  I assure you it will taste better when it’s cooked).


Pour mixture into a greased 9×9 inch pan and bake for 40-50 minutes.  Make sure to stick a fork or a knife in to see if it comes out clean.





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Pumpkin cookies

April 29, 2008 at 8:33 pm (Baking) (, , , , , , , )

Who doesn’t like pumpkin?  Ok well I’m sure there are a lot of hands raised throughout the world, but I happen to love pumpkin and love cookies so naturally I put the two together to create heaven.  This recipe has been greatly adapted from a recipe I found many years ago off the internet which contained margarine, wheat and sugar.  I replaced the margarine with vegetable oil since vegan margarine is horribly expenisive and I replaced the wheat with a mix of corn and rice flour.  I kept the sugar since everytime I use pumpkin in a recipe it comes out uncooked and adding maple syrup would only make it harder for me.  However I am not supposed to have sugar and I suppose this is a bit of an experiment since I’ve been doing bio-feedback for 5 months or so for food allergies.  I guess you could say I’m testing the waters again and if it turns out I pay for it, I know to re-arrange this recipe once again.

Onto the recipe!!!…

Pumpkin Cookies


Pumpkin Cookies


1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups of canned pumpkin puree

1 cup vegan sugar (I use President’s choice organic cane)

Ener-G egg replacer (Equal to one egg) or other egg replacer

1 cup rice flour

1 1/4 cup corn flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

*optional 1/2 cup walnuts, chocolate chips, raisins (anything you want to put in)



Mix the pumpkin, sugar and oil together.  Add the egg replacer and mix.  Sift in dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.  This batter should have a thick enough consistancy to scoop into a spoon, plop on a cookie sheet and flatten down.  If it isn’t add a touch more corn flour until you have to right consistancy.  Let’s say you screw up and add too much, add a little more pumpkin.  Now stop messing with it! :P


Bake at 375 degrees F for about 20-30 minutes depending on how you like your cookies.

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Coconut Brownies

April 18, 2008 at 3:09 am (Baking) (, , , , , , )


As I was checking out food blogs today I came across a recipe for black bean brownies.  I was just dying to try them out but I had only about two of the required ingredients.  As sad as I was to have to pass up such an intriguing dish I still had a craving for brownies.  I have never made vegan brownies let alone gluten free and sugar free so I was pretty nervous.  My main concern was the consistency and staving off bitterness.  Feeling a little daring and wanting so bad to make a “healthy” brownie with bean somehow involved in the mix, I came up with this recipe…


Coconut Brownies!



1 cup chickpea flour

1/4 cup rice flour

1 Tbsp arrowroot flour

1 Enrg egg replacer (or egg replacer of your choice for one egg)

5 Tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)

1/4 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup agave nectar or maple syrup (I used agave)

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 Tbsp vegetable oil



Sift the chickpea flour and the rice flour together in a bowl.  Add the arrowroot, egg replacer (minus the water), and cocoa powder.  Mix well.  Mix in the agave, vanilla and oil until nice and smooth.  Gently add in the coconut or any nuts you would like.

Pour into a well greased baking pan and bake at 350 Degrees Celcius for 35-40 minutes.



For a moister brownie, either pop these in the fridge overnight and wait (you should store them in your fridge anyways) OR  Add:

2-3 tbsp of Coconut butter/oil

1/4 cup “milk”

Omit the arrowroot powder

and add about 2/3 cup more of maple syrup or agava nectar

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Zucchini noodles with pesto sauce

April 15, 2008 at 5:19 am (Raw) (, , , , , , )





1 large zucchini

1/2 -1 tbps cold pressed olive oil

1 large handful of fresh basil leaves 

1 large handful toasted or raw pine nuts

1/2 tsp salt

pinch or two of pepper



1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

pinch of course sea salt

1/2 tsp kelp powder



Wash and peel the zucchini.  Take your vegetable peeler and keep peeling it to make long thin strips.  To make this recipe raw, leave as is.  To make it easier to digest or for a semi-hot meal, you can lightly fry the “noodles” in a pan or you can heat them in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds.  NO MORE OR THEY WILL SHRIVEL!

Next put the basil, oil, salt, pepper, and pine nuts in a food processor or blender and blend very well.  Once blended, mix with the noodles or serve on top.  

To make a “parmesan” which is loaded with good stuff, clean out that food processor and grind the sesame seeds, salt and kelp together until very well ground.   Sprinkle on top of the zucchini and pesto :)

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