Monday, 31 March 2014

Menu For the Week, Food Rules, and Bolognese Sauce

The weekend is usually the time I try to get some of my food prep for the upcoming week done.  Traditionally, my husband took last night’s leftovers for a hot lunch.  I now try to get ahead on my meals, so I can send my husband back to the city with at least 3 or 4 lunches.  That means planning my meals a week in advance (something I do regardless of cooking ahead), a lot of slicing and dicing, simmering, stirring and searing!

The menus for this week:

Roast pork, homemade apple sauce (canned last season), roasted beets, sweet potatoes and carrots, steamed broccoli, and a little gravy.
Cilantro pesto pizza with sautéed onions, tomatoes & mushrooms  plus a regular tomato sauce pizza with sautéed onions, diced red peppers, mushrooms & tomatoes and of course, a new broccoli salad I want to try out.
a vegan Bolognese sauce that I found at, to go on whole wheat linguine plus a mixed green side salad.
Hot pork sandwiches and lots of steamed mixed veggies
Lentil and mushroom sloppy Joes served on whole grain pita buns
& a mixed greens salad.
Leftover Day
I can’t wait to eat this week!

As an aside, if you are looking for suggestions, here are some things I put in my 14 year old daughter’s packed lunches:  PB & J sandwiches made on whole grain bread (currently I am weaning her off of Kraft peanut butter while switching out to an organic peanut butter… shhhhh), spinach, red pepper and diced chicken wraps, quinoa cups and a side salad, a slice of leftover pizza plus some broccoli with dip. I also add in home baked muffins, blueberries with a tich of organic evaporated cane sugar, some roasted unsalted cashews, and of course a thermos of the green tea she so enjoys.  I know she would rather eat the crap her friends have in their lunches, but that won’t be happening as long as I am in charge of lunches!

Over all, I have always had a pretty decent diet and have made sure that my family eats well too.  My mom did pass on many nuggets of wisdom like eat your veggies and don’t buy the sugary cereal like Lucky Charms and Honeycomb.  My favourites were, if you are hungry there is fresh fruit in the fruit bowl or fridge or you can make yourself a sandwich or if you are thirsty, there is milk, water, and juice and if you don’t want any of those, you aren’t really hungry/thirsty.  These were her replies when we said we were hungry or thirsty but were actually rooting for junk food like pop and chips.  Yes, even though my mom really didn’t enjoy cooking, she was sensible and wise enough to understand that good health for her family started with (mostly) whole food and made sure that we always had sit down meals with plenty of veggies and fruit on our plates, limited our intake of cookies, cakes and the like.  Much to our unhappiness as kids, chips, cheezies and pop were heavily curtailed and I remember that our Friday night movie snack was generally popcorn, albeit with lots of melted butter.  Yes, my mom’s food rules certainly started me out on the right track.

I took these food rules with me when I left home.  They came with me to university, they came with me when I got my first job, and they came with me when I started my family.  But over the years, I have improved my knowledge base, adding more food rules as I went.  These include NO MORE processed cheese slices or margarine, eat MORE veggies at dinnertime; include MORE veggies and fruit at lunchtime; change your milk from 2% to 1% and ultimately, down to skim. One of my biggest additions was, if you cannot pronounce it, you probably shouldn’t eat it or at least try not to eat too much of it.  I am referring to the ingredients on the labels of “made for me” foods.  This rule naturally minimized my intake of a lot of processed foods which was certainly a step in the right direction for good health.  These rules carried served me well for the past 20 years and I have now continued to fine tune and improve my food rules while travelling on the next leg of my food journey, which of course, is to eat cleaner; eat more plant-based meals, drink more water, and when I do eat animal products, my goal is to source the best possible sources that are organic and humane.

All that being said, my current journey to eat more plant-based foods has brought me back to learning how to cook all over again. I even have to use recipes.  It takes a conscious effort to ensure my pantry and fridge is stocked properly and that I am ready to cook with my new-to-me ingredients, all the while, making sure that I can make it as "family friendly" as possible.  No more auto-pilot for me in the kitchen.  A meal that normally takes me 20 minutes to prep, takes so much longer from planning to execution.  Thank goodness for the internet and my eldest daughter Sara for finding information, tips and recipes!  Slowly, but surely, I am building a repertoire of “family approved” meals.  It is challenging enough to embark on a lifestyle change journey for myself, but to drag my family along is another story altogether.  This is especially true since they have not willingly signed on to the trip!  Suffice it to say, I am breaking them in slowly and have taken meals like Shepherd’s pie, lasagna, and sloppy Joes and have cut back the ground meat in half and supplemented with lentils and/or the store bought veggie ground meat.  This has been going well and generally well received... mind you what they don't know about, they can't complain about!  I call this tactic "hidden healthy" and has served me well through my children's "picky eating phases".
On Saturday, I made my FIRST 100% pasta meat sauce with absolutely NO meat.  It is completely vegan!  I tried the sauce when I made it on Saturday and thought it was AMAZING.  There is just a little variation in texture, but otherwise, I could be convinced there is meat in it.  I will let you know how it goes with the family. Tuesday is Bolognese Sauce on linguine night.  I think I will garnish the plates with finely diced sautéed celery and raw red & yellow peppers to “distract” them from the slight texture change of the meat sauce.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Two Experiments and One Success

It was a day of experimenting.  

We are running low in yogurt so I thought I would make some pudding. Yes, good old fashioned cornstarch thickened pudding... with a twist!  I dug out my tried and true Fanny Farmer cook book and looked up the recipe.

1 cup sugar (YIKES that's a lot!)
2 cups milk
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla

Let me see if I can tweak this ingredient list.  Change the dairy milk to almond milk, oops, I only have the sweetened variety, so cut back the sugar to 1/2 cup. I substitute 1/4 cup of pineapple juice for some of the almond milk, because suddenly all I can think about is Pina Colada.  Add  a small handful unsweetened coconut to continue with the tropical theme, and a teaspoon of the vanilla paste. (I am still not totally wowed by this stuff. I think I prefer the old fashioned vanilla extract).   In theory, this should be wonderful.

Mix... Cook... Cool... Taste...

It's not horrid, but I tell you it isn't what I had hoped for... so back to drawing board! I think I will have to blend the remainder into my breakfast smoothie tomorrow.  Some banana,  spinach and frozen strawberries will make it taste much better!  Waste not, want not I always say.

Still wanting to experiment, I decided it was time to try out the Chia Seed Jam I have been seeing on-line lately.  I used the proportions from the Eating Birdfood blog.  I didn't have fresh strawberries, only frozen. Sadly, I didn't have enough so I topped up with frozen blueberries.  I didn't add any sweetener because I froze my strawberries with sugar, and instead of a tablespoon of water, I added 1 tablespoon of pineapple juice, because I like to tinker and had some on hand.  The result?  It was a HUGE success.  A jam that was fresh tasting and not overly sweet.  A perfect addition to a PB&J sandwich me thinks!

Chia Seed Strawberry & Blueberry Jam

1/2 cup frozen strawberries (frozen with sugar)
1/2 cup frozen blueberries (no sugar added to freeze)
1 tbsp pineapple juice
1 tbsp chia seeds

Thaw the fruit, and squash with a fork so that the fruit is not chunky.
Add the pineapple juice and chia seeds.
Stir well to combine and pour mixture into a mason jar.  Put into the fridge.
This jam should be ready in about 30 minutes, but I didn't try it out until the next day.

Now that I have this recipe, I can make jam on demand and have fresh tasting "preserves" any time I want without the fuss and the trouble of canning.  I like jam, but am not a fan of the fuss and muss of making it.  I would much rather pick, clean and freeze my in season fruit and use it throughout the fall and winter months for fruit salads, served over ice cream or now... as jam! 

Chia seeds are the bomb!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

My Plate Transformations

All through my adult life, my meals always had specific parameters.  Breakfast was cereal or toast with a glass of milk or juice.  Done!  Lunch was a sandwich or a bowl of soup with a glass of milk.  Done!  Dinner always had one starch, one protein, and one veggie. And never deviate from this outline (yes, I am a little OCD!)

After the birth of my youngest daughter, my definition changed and I decided that my dinner plates would be better if I skipped the starch, so there would always be one protein and 2 veggies, usually one green, the other yellow/orange.  I even decided that we could lighten dinners up with soups and wraps and salads (behold the goal to lose the baby weight I had gained).  

About 5 years ago, my meal definition changed yet again. I decided that we did not have meat on our dinner plates every day... and so dawned the era of "meatless" at least twice per week and the move towards re-defining how I fed myself and my family.  I even started to introduce whole grains back in our pastas, breads, and wraps back into our family dinners.  It was a good thing that I decided soup and sandwiches were acceptable for dinner because I only knew how to be meat free with soups and wraps plus the occasional pasta with marinara sauce! 

Fast forward to now.  My idea of a meal has morphed again and I have embraced a complete plant based meals at least half of the time, with a conscious effort to make sure all meals for the week are balanced and healthy.  When meals do include meat, I personally eat less of it and/or I mix my lentils, or beans or tofu in with the meat;   something I call "hidden healthy".   Given that my husband and youngest daughter have not willingly signed on to a plant based diet, I resort to "hidden healthy" when I convert many of my traditional meals to vegetarian or cut back the meat. I have found ways to decrease the animal products in my daughter's lunches and breakfasts; I have introduced a better quality of breakfast cereal to my husband, and I am, once again indulging in the most important meal of the day.  Thank goodness for my juicer, green tea and my healthy breakfast muffins.

I am not completely ready to dive 100% into animal free diet, but I do know that I feel a lot better when I eat less of it.  Our plate transformations for breakfast, lunch and dinner are works in progress.  Cutting back the refined sugars, substituting healthier fats and not as bad for you sugars, and increasing veggies in lunches and dinners on a daily basis was my starting point.  There has definitely been a learning curve for me to find ways to creatively introduce plant based foods into my family's diet and find ways that they enjoy eating it. Learning to prepare plant based substitutions has certainly been a little time consuming, but I have to say, almost all of my attempts have been delicious.  In fact, the only "oops" I had was buying a commercially made vegan cream cheese.  It was a big disappointment... a waste of $6.00, but that will happen from time to time when trying new things.   All in all, I am liking these plate transformations... and more important, when my eldest daughter comes home for a visit, I will know how to cook for her, as she has embraced this lifestyle much earlier than I!

After the #FixFood Conference

Last week I attended a Virtual Food Conference.  I know it sounds kind of weird, but it was truly a learning experience and timely for me because I am on this food journey. This conference, organized by Alexandra Jamieson was called the Fix Food Conference which was to commemorate the 10 year anniversary of the documentary Super Size Me (a documentary that followed the health issues of a man who ate McDonalds for a month - ew!).  The goal of this conference was to look 3 areas to "Fix Food":

  1. Fix more of your own simple meals that will get you the energy and body you crave.
  2. Fix your relationship with food and emotional eating.
  3. Fix the food culture we all live in. 

There was a TON of information offered by a variety of speakers. One of my BIG takeaways from this experience was that even though there is a wide range of beliefs of HOW and WHAT we should eat, I now know that we must do what is right for us as an individual.  Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, paleo or whatever, the most important thing is that you do what feels right to you from a health perspective, from an environmental perspective, and from and ethical perspective.  I shouldn't feel bad because I still enjoy the occasional steak or I shouldn't feel bad because I don't. 

I also learned that it is important to take how our food system works away from big business and put it back into the hands of the people.  As a side, I believe that in the our current economic platform, that means encouraging the masses to make better choices for themselves and their families so that DEMAND can dictate what business supplies. Obviously, there are inroads being made.  Some people are thinking about what they put in the mouths... people are looking for better choices. There is more organic food on the market and you don't have to go to a specialty store for it. Being vegan or vegetarian or grain free is easier than ever because of product availability.  There are healthier and more eco-friendly choices available in the produce, meat and dairy aisles in mainstay supermarkets. In fact, organic and sustainable choices are easier to find locally too!

Now all we need is for producers PRETENDING to offer healthier choices to ACTUALLY provide healthier choices and not hide behind their labels of lies.  But that is for another blog.  Long and short; we need to embrace whole foods again.  We need to use our kitchens EVERYDAY.  We need to get off our assess and get organized... plan our meals, shop for the best and healthiest ingredients possible and COOK for ourselves and families.  Do it for your health.  Do it for your pocket book.  Do it because it tastes better.  Do it for our farmers. Do it because you are tired of big business telling you what to eat, where to get it and most of all, tell big business you are SICK AND TIRED of eating that slop they call food!

Finally, I also learned that we need to teach the masses how to get back into the kitchen, especially the impoverished and low income families.  We need to get the crap food, including those convenience foods that PRETEND to be healthy out of the schools (granola bars, breakfast bars, Gatorade and the like), especially in the cafeterias, vending machines and the special breakfast and snack programs. We need to re-vamp our food banks and INCLUDE fresh foods and teach the people who depend on food banks how to cook from scratch.

After this amazing conference I felt better about the choices I have been making over the past few months and have concluded that my dietary evolution plan is just fine and I am on the right track for me and over the course of time,  I will continue to tweak my "Dietary Manifesto". 

  • I do want to eat plant based meals at least 3/4 of the time. I will have to get on that internet and research some fabulous recipes to appease my family!
  • I do want to minimize our refined sugar intake by eating more natural products like honey and maple syrup or less refined products such as evaporated sugar cane, stevia and agave.  We do love our desserts, but I feel that at least homemade treats like cookies, cakes and pies etcetera, are better for you than the crap the corporates try to sell me!
  • I want to make more of my own salad dressings to avoid the chemicals in the store bought ones... sorry Kraft!
  • I want to find plant based ways to reduce my eggs and dairy intake because we need to consume less of it.
  • I do want to source out and eat as much organic produce as possible and due to budget constrains, I will use the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen wherever possible.
  • When I do buy animal products, I will try to buy organic and humanely raised.
  • I would like to find local farms and buy from them.
  • I would like to find a CSA in my area.
If you live on take out or restaurants or eat mostly canned or boxed food, remember that all it takes is ONE baby step to move forward in a positive direction.  All you need to do, is find a recipe or 2, plan one meal, pick up the ingredients at the supermarket, and get cooking.  If you can read, you can cook!

If you are interested in finding out more about Alexandra, the organizer of the Fix Food Conference, click here.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Sweet Potato Oatmeal Muffins & A Non-Productive Day!

Welocome to Monday... Well perhaps I should say Monday evening!  It was a ridiculous day.  Alarm goes off at 5:45 AM and it was SO hard to get up... ACK! Lunches for my husband Randy for his work week; Erika's lunch for school ready for and on the table... check and check!  Erika says we are almost out of muffins so I pin a mental note to my brain that I need to make some today.  Husband out the door, NOT on time, yes; daughter out the door, ON time... YES!

Now I am ready for my productive day.  Green tea to start; bed made, check on the jobs listings... sadly nothing of interest is posted.  Boot the computer, take my jar of leftover cooked squash out of the freezer and put it into the microwave to thaw for the muffins, and I plan on doing a blog post to be completed by 10 AM.  When the blog is updated, I can make the muffins and paint the basement ceiling!  It was SUPPOSED to be a productive day... but it went to hell and a hand basket! 

I sent a quick email to the brother-in-law about my limited ability for web design and then log into Blogger; and before I knew it, my morning was shot.  A little playing around here, and a little playing around there.  Can I do this?  Can I do that.  I want a custom header... how do I do that?  Well, as you well know... it was 11:30 and nothing was blogged, and I only managed a draft of today's recipe posting which of course reminded me of my muffin making task that was on my TO DO List for today.  STOP the computer time, blog is on hold... and off to the kitchen to make the muffins.  At least something got done today!  

I managed to grab a quick bite for lunch and take care of a few small chores and then before I knew it, there was no time to paint.  Perhaps tomorrow <sigh>!

Before we get to my muffin recipe, I want to point out that I substituted 1 cup of cooked squash for the sweet potatoes called for in the recipe.  Up to now, I have been using up my frozen leftover sweet potato mash from dinners gone by.  I had no more sweet potato so I used the the lonely jar of squash from my freezer.  This would be another of my frugal tips.  Save your little bits of mashed squash or sweet potato, half cup or more, and freeze for another day!  

Just so you know, the squash substitution worked beautifully!   And so, without adieu...

Sweet Potato Muffins

YIELD: 12-14 muffins
CATEGORY: Quick bread

1 cup large flake oatmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup dried cranberries or raisins
1 cup fresh sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
1/2 to 3/4 cup light brown sugar, depending on your taste
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup skim milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla 


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In large bowl, combine oatmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. In another bowl, mix sweet potatoes, brown sugar, oil, milk, egg, vanilla and dries fruit till well combined.
  4. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet one and mix, just until well moistened. Fill prepared muffin tins 3/4 full or use muffin papers.
  5. Bake 15-20 minutes.   


Thursday, 20 March 2014

More Plant Based Learning

The first day of spring!  Wahoo!  A beautiful, sunny day, and I think there is hope that we managed to get through this crazy winter.  Then again, maybe not so crazy... more like the past 5 years of winters all at the same time, given that the winters over the last several years has been very mild and almost non-existent.  I guess we are just not used to the white stuff and all this cold.  None the less, I am happy to see bits for ground peeking from under the snow and the ice.  The birds are singing first thing in the morning too!  So even with the excitement for the official first day of spring, I am feeling a little drained and very tired. 

I spent 12 hours in front of my computer (not straight, but 12 hours nonetheless) working on skill learning.  I decided to delve into some web site creation using the Google website tools.  It was an arduous learning curve, but I think I am making some headway.  I created a web site for one of my desktop publishing clients (actually, my only client at this time) just to see what I came up with.  The site is still a work in progress, but after 12 hours, it looks not too bad.  No, it is not an elegant or especially awe inspiring, but it does convey all the information my clients' restaurant needs to share on line.  I would love to find other websites made with the Google website software so that I could see what exactly it is capable of.  But for now, Red's Pancakes to Cupcakes can tell the world a little bit about themselves, make their menu available on line, tell the world where they are located, and post announcements for those interested in subscribing to them. 

Last night, I finished playing around on my pet project around 11, made my youngest a huge packed lunch to take with her to her rugby tournament in Oakville, tidied up for the night and went to bed.  Do you think I could sleep?  I flipped and flopped till way past 2 AM (probably all worried that I wouldn't wake up on time).  I tell you 5 AM came way too early... and a grumpy camper I was this morning bumping heads with my not a morning person daughter who needed to be at the school for 5:50 AM to catch the bus to her tournament.  Back to bed for a couple of hours and now I am feeling a whole lot better... that and I started my day with some liquid green with EXTRA leafy greens because I really need them today.  Thank goodness for Liquid Green!

1 English cucumber, 2 apples, 1 celery stalk, kale & spinach

I am half done my green juice and feeling a whole lot better.  Next up, my green tea! 

So the last few days in my conscious effort to incorporate even more plant based foods into my diet I tried a vegan Alfredo Sauce and I have to say WOW! My oldest daughter sent me a link to A Spoonful Of Sisters Blog for this recipe and I have to say I couldn't believe it was so tasty.  Who would have thought that cauliflower and cashews could produce such a creamy sauce.  I served mine over whole wheat spaghetti and added sautéed mushrooms and steamed broccoli. Have I already said WOW?!   It wasn't the prettiest of presentations, but I was SO hungry I had to be super fast.  I will definitely be making this again.

Vegan Alfredo on whole wheat spaghetti... YUM!

 Along with being conscious of what I put in my body, I have been working towards cleaning up our personal items like cosmetics, creams, soaps etcetera.  My most recent discovery was the use of unrefined coconut oil for my hair.  My oldest has been using it in her mane for many months now and so I thought I would give it a whirl... after all, what harm could it do since I actually eat this stuff too! 

I scooped out a hefty tablespoon of the oil, let it warm and partially melt in my hands, and then massaged it into my scalp and hair; I tied it all up with a clip and let it sit for an hour.  You might find that it even makes your hands feel better too. I shampooed, gently toweled my locks and then drip dry styled to let my curls do what they want.  OMG!  I couldn't believe that my hair didn't feel like the usual course hair.  It even stayed soft and touchable for the next few days too.  I read that you should do the treatments every time you plan on laundering your hair for a few months to make sure that the hair is thoroughly moisturized and then one can cut back the treatments to once per week or month, or to whatever schedule works best.  The eco-holic inside me is thrilled and my hair is thrilled... a win/win I would say!  I will let you know how it works out.  This morning is my 3rd treatment this week and I am thinking that this is such an amazing discovery...  and speaking of my coconut oil hair treatment, it's time to wash it out. 

Have a glorious day!

Monday, 17 March 2014

Veggie Stirfry With a Garlic/Orange Sauce and Cashews

I love stir fries! It is an easy way to throw together a quick and nutritious dinner.  A dinner that is packed with flavour and kid friendly too - perfect fare for my current food journey AND on track to help me achieve my goal to serve plant based meals 75% of the time!  The wonderful sauce that comes with this stir fry makes brown rice tasty to even a 14 year olds palate looking for that refined white rice.

Like most stir fries, this recipe is an easy way to get your feet wet with plant based meals for a number of reasons.  First, it is easy, quick and uncomplicated to prepare.  Second, the meal is so pretty and colourful, it allows even the meat-a-tarian in you life to marvel at the beauty of the plate you put before him/her.  Thirdly, the brown rice and the cashews help to make the veggies more filling and satisfying.

  • 2 red bell peppers, organic please, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 head of broccoli, cut into smallish florets, and the stalks julienned and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 oz. package of white button or cremini mushrooms, diced (to hide them from the mushroom hating 14 year old), but you can cut them any way you like!
  • 2 stalks of celery, organic please, sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. canola or olive oil
  • 1 cup to 1 1/4 cups of water
  • 1 cup roasted cashews, unsalted


  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2-3 tsp of grated ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch or arrowroot
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp. Tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • a few grinds of fresh cracked pepper

In a mason jar, combine all of the sauce ingredients.  Put the lid on and shake to combine.  Set aside.

Prepare the veggies and organize into piles on a cutting board.
Heat a wok, large Dutch oven pot or large pot over medium high heat.  Add 1 tbsp. of the oil. 
Add the mushrooms, celery and carrots.  Stir for a few minutes until the mushrooms have cooked down slightly and have started to brown.  If the pan is dry, add the second tablespoon of oil.
Add the julienned broccoli stalks and continue stirring and cooking for 2 more minutes. 
Add the broccoli florets and red peppers, stir fry for 2 more minutes, mixing thoroughly. 
Add about 1/4 cup of water and cover pot.  Steam veggies for 2 minutes, until broccoli and red peppers are tender crisp (a Canadian Living Test Kitchen method).

Stir in the prepared sauce and stir constantly.  Thin the sauce with the water, about 1/2 cup stirring constantly.  When the sauce comes to a boil, add more water a 1/4 cup at a time until the sauce is thinned to your liking and clings to the veggies.  Add the cashews and stir to mix thoroughly.

Serve over prepared brown rice.

A lovey tasty dinner for sure.  The nice thing about stir fries too, is you can make the sauce and cut the veggies ahead of time.  When you come home from a busy day of work, all you need to do is cook the rice and the stir fry.  When you can prepare much of your dinner ahead of time, it truly is a time saver!  Yep, MUCH faster than takeout and way better than Hamburger Helper (no matter how many veggies you throw into that crap!)

We even had a little left over so I put them in my favourite eco-friendly storage container.  Perhaps a lunch for my husband this week!  A 500 ml mason jar for the rice and 750 ml mason jar for the stir fry.  I love these things for all kinds of storage - for dry goods, for the fridge and the freezer.  The only thing you need to remember though is make sure you leave a good amount of space at the top when freezing sauces and liquids as these EXPAND and will break the glass if there is not adequate "head space".

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

One Family, Two Books And Baby Steps To A Healthier Us

This Christmas, my eldest gave me 2 books to read.  One was "Crazy, Sexy Diet" by Kris Carr, the other was "Skinny Bitch" by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin.   Even though I have always considered my diet to be pretty good in general, I found these two books introduced me to some excellent ways of thinking about my food and what I was shoving into my face. I always thought plant based eating was difficult, would be limited and time consuming.  I also discovered that food was not just a way to sustain us, but it was an everyday medicine cabinet that was designed around prevention of illness and a way for those with underlying health issues to manage them with no or fewer medications.  The words within the covers of these 2 books made a lot of sense and were certainly worth trying out.

Thanks to my eldest daughter, I have been venturing into plant based meals.  Since January, some of my meals are completely vegan while others are a little meat and LOTS of veggies and grains.  Even though we are proceeding with this new way of eating in baby steps, my first BIG step was to ban bologna and wieners from my shopping cart. There will be failures and successes, especially since it's not just my taste buds I have to retrain!

Family Progress...
Green tea, juicing and veggie smoothies are a big for me.  Husband says NO to green juice but drinks my avocado/spinach smoothies; the kid says NO to green beverage so I have opted to make her fruit smoothies healthier.  I have started weaning her off the Kraft peanut butter and mixing it with the organic healthy choice.  We have more salads, better wraps in school lunches, I have been experimenting with bean spreads like roasted beet humus, and have tried "Save the Tuna Wraps" from Kris Carr (I will have to continue tweaking the recipe for my family's tastes, I have been making healthier desserts plus finding ways to incorporate plant based proteins in our traditional family favourites.  


  • Non-dairy chocolate pudding made from avocados, bananas, coconut oil and cocoa.
  • Coconut pistachio and chocolate chip ice cream
  • Kale, broccoli, Brussels sprout, purple cabbage salad with poppy seed dressing, cranberries and pumpkin seeds
  • Red lentils hidden in the potato soup and the broccoli soup
  • Green lentils hidden in my traditional shepherd's pie (half and half ground meat)
  • Green lentils in my veggie stir fry
  • Mushroom Chili (no meat at all)
  • Lunch wraps with lots of spinach, diced red pepper and Ranch dressing with just a little cubed chicken
  • Non-dairy fruit smoothies
  • Using agave, honey, maple syrup and introducing evaporated sugar cane to replace white sugar
Rome wasn't built in a day.  It has only been 3 months!