Monthly Archives: August 2010

Vegan Pizza & Vegetarian Food Fair!

Good food today: grilled cheese sandwich/salad and semi homemade pizza.

Vegan grilled cheese with GF bread

The downside about using gluten free bread/vegan cheese, the toast and melt time, it took about 15 minutes longer than regular bread/cheese; this sandwich is not for the impatient, such as myself.

I used O’Dough’s bread for the sandwich and found I was incredibly full from having used two slices, as they’re rather thick, next time I’ll just half one slice.

Onto dinner:

Sauteed mushrooms with pineapple on a Gluten free crust from El Peto

Mushrooms, green olives, and pineapples on Gluten Free crust from El Peto.

El Peto makes a really easy to use Gluten Free Vegan pizza crust. I don’t really have time to make my own dough, I’m also slightly intimidated by gluten free baking, until I get it together I’m going to use pre-made crusts.

We used the Basil Pizza Crust, it was quite good and didn’t have a weird aftertaste, nor was it too hard. Often, GF pizza ends up tasting like cardboard, no flavour, nor is there any type of elasticity. Thank you El Peto for making a decent pizza crust that we highly enjoy.

Who knew a company located in Cambridge would make great products?

Too bad they’re not going to be at the Vegetarian Food Fair, September 10-12 @ Harbourfront Centre. This fair is a must-see for vegetarians and like minded people. Tonnes of restaurants you might not otherwise find out about and products as well. My favourite soy milk: Natura will be there, I’ll stop by their booth for sure, as well as Vitamix.

I’m really looking forward to this type of Food Fair, it brings out the warm fuzzies and it’s a great chance for people to see that it is possible to live a vegetarian/vegan etc. lifestyle.

Happy eating!

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Filed under Gluten free eating, gluten free meals, Meals, Natura Soy Milk, Vegan Gourmet Cheese Alternative, vegetarian gluten free

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie 2.0 & Burger Bar

I feel redeemed today.

Yesterday Mat and I made Shepherd’s pie again, this time we didn’t purée the potatoes. We used: blue, yellow and red potatoes, plus a beet.
The base of mash with beets. @Lidia_LF taking over.  on Twitpic

Also, we added a tbsp of Vegan Becel and Natura Soy Milk.

Scrambled tofu with veggies.  on Twitpic

Final product Photo: Mathieu Le François

We used Sol Firm Tofu, it crumbled pretty well and held a great consistency. Overall, it could have been a better, I think I need to use a different pan, mine might be too high. It was pretty difficult to serve, but it was much tastier than what we made before.  We also made cranberry sauce, but I didn’t take a picture of that.

On Saturday, Mat and I went to Burger Bar. It’s a small place, close to the corner of August and College, where Rice bar used to be. They offer meat burgers as well as veg/gluten free options. I had the Dragon Bowl and Mat had the Cowboy Supper, they made mine gluten free by not adding soy sauce. It was super nice of them to be so accommodating. The service is always awesome, the food is served quickly and the prices are decent. They also have a variety of Tequila and gluten free beer! Definitely deserves a return visit.

I love burger bar  on TwitpicCowboy Supper @ Burger Bar Photo By: Mathieu Le François
 

Dragon Bowl at Burger Bar. So tasty! on Twitpic

Burger Bar – Dragon Bowl Photo by: Lidia Le François

The kimchi was a really love addition to this meal, the tofu was perfectly crisp and the green curry made me sweat a tiny bit; I’m a wuss with spice, but I did enjoy it.

Good weekend times! Anyone have a great food experience this weekend?

Happy eating!

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Filed under Becel Vegan Margarine, Gluten free eating, gluten free meals, Natura Soy Milk

Ah, the 50′s/60′s: Frozen Food Advertising!

Let’s face it, advertising has been a pretty hip topic lately thanks to Mad Men.  Every so often I search old school packaging just for fun. Today I came up with this image*:

Courtesy of Squidoo: the Evolution of Swanson TV dinners

At the time of the first product launch, the television was becoming a new fangled gadget invading homes across America, people found they were so excited to watch television they were rushing to eat through dinner. Swanson took that insight and made a product which took this action one step further.  Instead of waiting to watch television after dinner - why not eat AND watch.

Simple and convenient! This type of product satisfied a wide spectrum of psycho/demographics, including, the most over sold to market: parents who don’t know what to make and convenience shoppers.

In an era where space exploration was new and technology such as ‘flying cars’ seemed within grasp, the tv dinner made sense; it was a breakthrough in dinner meal ideas and fit in to the desire of easy living.

In the 80′s, Swanson changed with the times and evolved tv dinner tray packaging when another household appliance, the microwave became popular.  Today there are a multitude of frozen meals to chose from and not all come in the familiar tray.

Companies such as Amy’s makes a variety of organic meals to please all sorts of allergy sensitive pallets:

I haven’t seen this item in a Canadian grocery store, but if anyone has, please let me know!

Amazing what a time the 50′s/60′s were for America. The advertising and product innovations always amuse me.

Let’s go for a spin in our flying car, shall we?

*I do not own this image, I do not work for Swanson, I simply find this an interesting topic.

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Filed under Gluten free eating, gluten free meals, Meals, vegetarian gluten free

Vegan Cowboy, Andy Rooney Reads Labels & GF/Vegan Cupcakes!

I’m sure most people have seen this on youtube, but in case you haven’t, check out this video about a cowboy in his 50′s who goes on a vegan diet for 28 days and becomes substantially healthier. Somehow, I am not surprised.

How adorable is this cowboy!? I love Rocco, I would like to send him fanmail, I am impressed with his I’m going to live attitude. Sad that his health had become so poor that he was wondering whether he was going to live to play with his grandchildren.

I don’t think Rocco is alone with his eating habits. Let’s look at some statistics from Canadian and US sources regarding health.

Here’s a link to Stats Can about Canadian Health Measures Survey, released January 13, 2010: Canadian Health Measures Survey

For our US friends, here’s a link from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Obesity and Overweight Trends Among Adults

Normally, I am NOT an advocate of Dr. Oz because I find him to be somewhat annoying. Perhaps I need to watch more of him to ‘get’ him, but in this instance, I find the video heartwarming and inspiring. I ought to make my dad watch this and see if I can scare him into becoming healthy.

I really didn’t understand the HDL Cholesterol part at the end and had to look it up.  HDL Cholesterol is the ‘good’ cholesterol and you want that number to be high.

According to the Mayo Clinic:

  At risk Desirable
Men Less than 40 mg/dL (1.0 mmol/L) 60 mg/dL (1.6 mmol/L) or above
Women Less than 50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L) 60 mg/dL (1.6 mmol/L) or above

Now the video ending makes sense. Amazing how in 28 days Rocco turned his life around and reduced his health risks. Incredible.

I’m sure he read a lot of food labels now and that leads perfectly into the next video I found of Andy Rooney talking about the labels on prepared foods. <<<This link works better than the video below, but I wanted to have something to play and I couldn’t get the link to embed.:

I work for a food manufacturing company and my job revolves around packaging, I read labels daily and work with the quality assurance people to make sure the Nutritional Facts are indeed correct. It amazes me how many people I’ve spoken to at work who don’t think twice about what they’re eating. Perhaps I’m a bit obsessed with this, but hey, how can you not be curious about what is going into your body?

How depressing is this? Let’s end this on a happy note – vegan/gluten free cupcakes!!

Vegan Gluten Free Orange Cupcakes From Gluten Free Goddess

Happy eating!

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Filed under Gluten free eating, Meals, Rants, vegetarian gluten free

Food Pictures Post

Don’t feel much like typing.  Here’s a bunch of food pictures I find amusing. Enjoy!

Happy eating!

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Eco-Nature Care: Shampoo/Body Wash and Conditioner

Most often eco friendly hair products don’t feel like they clean at all. I’ve been using Eco-Nature Care for the past week and I’ve definitely found a new favourite hair care product.

 

Straight from the website, Eco-Nature Care declares all Shampoo/Body Wash and Conditioners are:
- Cruelty Free and Vegan
- Gluten Free
- Biodegradable
- Earth Friendly
- Easy to Recycle
- Green Chemistry
- Ph Balanced
- Safe for Colour–Treated Hair
- No bad stuff:
- NO Parabens
- NO Formaldehyde Donors
- NO Petroleum or Mineral Oil
- NO Sulfates
- NO Glycols, PEGs, or PPGs
- NO Phthalates
- NO MEA, TEA, DEA
- NO Bad Stuff, NO BS!

Nice to see such an eco conscious company. I’m sure people don’t really evaluate their shampoos wondering if they’re willingly bathing in harsh chemicals every day, but this kind of list makes one wonder – what is in this stuff?

The bottle itself is aluminium, making it light weight and fully recyclable, including the cap. The Shampoo/Body wash surprised me as it came out almost looking like jelly.

Eco-Nature Care Shampoo/Body Wash Photo by: Mathieu Le François

Eco-Nature Care shampoo/Body Wash Photo by: Mathieu Le François

As soon as the bottle is opened, the crisp fragrance of the product is noticeable, and not in an overpowering way.

The Re-Conditioner looked like a big blob of white substance, I’ll just leave it at that.

Eco-Nature Care Close up of Re-Conditioner Photo by: Mathieu Le François

Eco-Nature Care Re-Conditioner in hand Photo by: Mathieu Le François

My hair felt clean, fresh and soft. I’ve used just about everything under the sun, so it is nice to have found a new favourite that aligns with my personal beliefs. Even a smaller amount of the Re-Conditioner would be sufficient for shoulder length hair.

The average retail price for this item will run you $10.99 US via Eco-Nature Care’s online shopping site, they do ship to Canada. I purchased these items at Nature’s Emporium on sale for $2.99. The cashier told me I even missed a sale where the items were 2 for $5.  Amazing what a price difference a sale makes.

Overall, Eco-Nature Care has fully satisfied my eco-needs and has managed to win me over.  The only addition I would make is to add a pump, however, on the website, the company has already addressed why thy don’t have a pump (recyling reasons) and that’s understandable.

It is possible to not smell like a hippy when using hippy products.

(Happy eating?)

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Vegan Sheppard’s Pie

Comfort food is always welcomed during a rainy lazy Sunday, what better than Sheppard’s Pie, vegan style! Yes, the awkward glances, the slight groans; I can hear you!

Let’s begin shall we?

The first thing is to pick your potatoes, we picked: blue, red and Yukon gold. Any type will do, but I figure, there’s always fun in variety. For the sake of vitamins and colour we added a beet and carrots. For soft mash, pour in a 1/4 cup of Natura soy milk.

Natura Unsweetened Soy Milk

Natura Unsweetened Soy milk:
• Not from concentrate
• Vegetarian and vegan friendly
• No preservatives
• No lactose
• No cholesterol, no trans fat
• No sugar added
• Low in saturated fat
• Low sodium
• Natural source of omega-3 and folic acid
• Rich in soy protein and calcium
•Contains 50 mg of soy isoflavones per serving

And a tablespoon of Becel Vegan margarine.

Surprisingly Becel Vegan margarine is:
• Not from concentrate
• Gluten free
• Vegetarian and vegan friendly
• No preservatives
• No lactose
• No cholesterol, no trans fat
• No sugar added
• Low in saturated fat
• Low sodium
• Natural source of omega-3 and folic acid
• Rich in soy protein and calcium
• Contains 50 mg of soy isoflavones per serving

Becel Vegan Margarine

Into the VitaMix they went!

The result:

Mash potato: Blue, Red and Yellow with a beet and carrots

Next, in a large pan, crumble by hand extra/firm tofu and add onions and garlic. We added Organicville BBQ Sauce:

This sauce really gives the tofu a lovely flavour and overall taste. After, we added carrots, peas and corn to the mix. While Mat was doing this, I was grating Vegan Gourmet Nacho Cheese Alternative.

Vegan Gourmet Nacho Cheese Alternative Photo by: Lidia Le François
This cheese actually tastes good on its own and packs a surprising punch. I never thought I’d be so excited about Vegan cheese alternatives, but the people at Follow Your Heart have made an awesome product. All of their cheeses are:
  • Vegan
  • All Natural
  • Gluten Free
  • Kof-K Kosher Parve
  • Casein Free
  • Non-GMO

Then began the layering process. It’s amazing how much the tofu looked like ground chicken. 

Layering of Vegan Sheppard’s Pie Photo by: Lidia Le François

Second layer of Vegan Sheppard's Pie Photo by: Lidia Le FrançoisNeon isn’t it? Amazing what natural colour will do.

We baked it in the oven for 15 minutes and broiled for 5. Here’s the result:

Finished Vegan Sheppard’s Pie with Beet Coloured Mashed Potato Photo by: Lidia Le François

Yes, it looks like brains on a plate, but it was fantastic.

Happy eating!

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Filed under Becel Vegan Margarine, Gluten free eating, Natura Soy Milk, Organicville BBQ Sauce, Vegan Gourmet Cheese Alternative

Aireater in San Fran!

What a week! Spent four glorious days in San Francisco this past week and enjoyed it immensely.

Golden Gate Bridge Photo by: Mathieu Le François

The only part I wasn’t too thrilled about was being accosted literally every block. It was sad to see so many people in dire need, at one point I had a guy begging for the water bottle I was carrying. Not exactly a lovely picture.

Mat and I went to a few gluten free restaurants: Pica Pica, New Delhi, Old Siam, and Whole Foods.

Pica Pica:
We arrived just after 1pm, figured the lunch rush would be finished, but were wrong. The restaurant was tiny, just four tables on the left side and one wall of stool seating on the right. When ordering, you’re given a number and left to scope out a table.  It’s a first come first serve basis and you better be quick on the draw or someone will beat you to a table.

Both of us ordered:
MAIZE´WICH (grilled sweet cornbread) La Vegetariana: tofu, avocado, sweet plantains, black beans, spicy sauce.

Pica Pica La Vegetariana Photo by: Lidia Le François

It was incredible and worth the walk to a shady part of town. Most of the vegetarian/gluten free restaurants were in rougher parts, which discouraged us from going, perhaps next time we’ll be braver.

New Delhi Restaurant:
New Delhi restaurant served the most delightful Channa Masala, Spiced vegetables and basmati rice both Mat and I had ever tasted. Fragrant, incredibly tasty, the spices and food were cooked to perfection. Another bonus, every meal item was gluten free and vegan. Even more convenient, it was located right across the street from our hotel.  Phenomenal! We ate here about three times.

The Old Siam Thai Restaurant:
To switch it up I took a chance on the Thai restaurant next door to our hotel, The Old Siam Thai Restaurant, and was pleasantly surprised. They really worked with me to customize my meal, I didn’t take a picture of it as a scarfed it down too quickly. The meal consisted of: Ho Fun rice noodles, veggies and tofu. I asked for no soya sauce as it might contain gluten.  They looked at me funny and suggested it might not be tasty, but oh boy it was delightful!

Whole Foods:
Who would have thought finding prepared gluten free, vegan items would have been so hard. Mat and I had to scour the store looking for something and it took us about twenty minutes.  We were hesitant to eat from the salad bar, as cross contamination is very hard to control, it’s impossible to tell if someone used a different tong on a gluten free item. I would have imagined there be dedicated ‘stations’: mainstream organic, vegetarian, gluten free, etc.  I brought this up to the manager and he agreed this would be helpful.

We ended up with a prepared Indian dish: Eggplant, Goan black-eyed peas curry with Basmati rice pilaf. It was pretty darn good; I abhor eggplant, and I ate this happily, the meal had the right amount of spice and seasonings. Thankfully there was a microwave in the eating area; couldn’t imagine eating it semi frozen. The packaged boasted it was vegan and gluten free – sold! The company doesn’t have a website, but they do have an email on the package: freshindiacuisine@gmail.com. I’m definitely going to keep and eye out for their items at grocery stores.

Fresh India Cuisine Eggplant Photo by: Lidia Le François

We also discovered new (to us) and different Larabar flavours:
-       Chocolate Coconut
-       Peanut Butter Chocolate chip
-       Carrot cake

Holy cow are these good. I highly recommend trying these gluten free vegan bars, they’re exactly what they say they are and nothing added. The taste profile is simple, clean and honest. No weird aftertaste and there’s clear piece identity.

Just as Clorox owns Burt’s Bees, General Mills owns Larabar, surprisingly true.  You really have to dig around to find this out, but it’s there in the FAQ’s.  Its too bad Canadians can’t order Larabars online.

While we were in the same section we found another bar we highly enjoyed, Bumblebar.

Here’s a borrowed picture from commutebybike.com

Chocolate Bumblebar

The Chocolate Crisp flavour went over very well with both of us. The Cherry Chocolate flavour was a bit soft, but still flavourful.  We’ve yet to try the Original Flavour with Hazelnut, it’s sitting in the cupboard, I’m sure it will be equally delightful.  The Bumblebar was thin and long compared to the chunky Larabar. Both are satisfying and filling. I wouldn’t be picky if offered either. Depends if you want to support General Mills or Bumblebar, which is still family owned.

This is how we ate our way through San Francisco.  We also went on a fantastic day trip to Muir Woods where we saw centenarian trees and deer.

Muir Woods Photo by: Mathieu Le François

Minus the lady, sorry, I suck at editing photos.

The SFMOMA was amazing and we bought bento lunch boxes in the giftstore – of all places. All in all, it was a great trip and I’d go back there in a heartbeat.

Happy Eating!

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Filed under Gluten free eating, gluten free meals, San Fran gluten free vegan, SFMOMA, vegetarian gluten free

Dishwashing Liquid: Great Value & Green Works

UPDATE:
Walmart does not have a photo of their product. Here’s the email:

Karin Campbell – k4campb <Karin.Campbell@wal-mart.com>
to <aireaterblog [@] gmail.com>

date Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 10:31 AM
subject RE: Photo of Great Value GreenLine Products

Hi Lidia,
Unfortunately, this is the only shot I have of the product line. I’m sorry I can’t be of assistance.

Thanks,
Karin

Karin Campbell  Manager of Corporate Affairs
Phone 905-821-2111 ext. 4042
karin.campbell@wal-mart.com

******

Here’s a product we’re all familiar with – dishwashing soap.  For years my mother has been an avid Palmolive fan, I think at one point we had 5 cases in the basement, which for dishwashing soap might as well be a year supply. Now, making my own purchase decision, I’ve tested a few dishwashing soaps and find I frequently purchase biodegradable/phosphate free soaps in general.

Recently, I finished a bottle of Great Value biodegradable/phosphate free dishwashing soap. Yes, Walmart has their own ‘green’ store brand soap. Who knew the big bad wolf was interested in such products.

I can’t say a bad thing about this item, it had all the credentials I look for:

  • phosphate free
  • no dyes
  • no artificial fragrances
  • non-toxic
  • biodegradable (28 days)
  • 100% post consumer bottle
  • Not tested on animals
  • Safe for septic systems (not on my list, but good to know)

It wasn’t runny, smelt nice (lavender and vanilla) and worked! I’ve contacted Walmart for an image of this item, let’s see how long it takes for them to respond.

Originally, I bought this item for $2.00, the price had increased a month later, so I went to find the next comparable green dishwashing soap and came across Green Works.

Green works is owned by Clorox, which makes me somewhat leery, not sure I want a bleach company making my dishwashing soap. I’d like to know if this is tested on animals.  I bought the “Simply Lemon” scent

Green Works Simply Lemon

Here’s the list of benefits from the Clorox page:

  • essential oils
  • contains no phosphorus
or bleach
  • blue and yellow colorant
  • coconut-based cleaning agents
  • (anionic and nonionic surfactants: alkyl polyglucoside, sodium lauryl sulfate and cocodimethyl amine oxide)
  • filtered water
  • corn-based ethanol
  • biodegradable preservative
  • citric acid
I don’t know about you, but I don’t know what blue and yellow colorant is and I have no idea if this is a good thing. Glad to see they noted the lack of bleach, guess I’m not alone with that association.  Nor do I know what the fifth point means, what are those chemicals and do I want this in my soap? In the FAQ, it is clearly stated Green Works products do not disinfect, but they hope to add this in the future. I suppose this inherent to natural soaps and is to be expected, but it always sound so shocking.
The soap itself seems to clean just fine, smells nice, doesn’t dry out my hands and isn’t too runny. I looked at the Ingredient Glossary and was a bit relieved with the answers.  Okay Green Works, I’m not going to count you out, but you better not pull a fast one on me.
(Happy eating?)

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Pamela’s Products – Peanut Butter Cookies

UPDATE:

Found this image thanks to Anney at http://fartygirl.blogspot.com/

Pamela’s Products cookies

This is first of many more cookie reviews to come. I am an avid cookie fan and am always on the hunt for an amazing soft baked good that will astound my senses. I have found one! .

Pamela's Products - Peanut Butter Cookie

Love at first bite! I was quite impressed with how soft and tasty they are. Amazing. I highly suggest these gluten free, lactose free all around yummy cookies. I am a bit of a critic when it comes to food; ask my mother, I critique her cooking all the time.

Nutritional Facts Pamela's Products PB Cookie

The image above is not the same as the nutritional information on the box I have, nor does the box I have look like this image. Perhaps Pamela’s Products are packed differently in Canada? I’ll write them and ask. I bought my box at Nature’s Emporium, they were on sale for $2.99. That’s a pretty decent price for cookies, nevertheless gluten free ones.

There’s something comforting about biting into a soft chewy cookie and most of that is lost in a gluten free cookie. I really look forward to buying more of Pamela’s Products.

Anyone find other great chewy gluten free cookies?

Happy eating!

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Filed under gluten free cookies, Gluten free eating