Category Archives: vegan

No Hassle Easy Vegan Gluten Free “Meat & Potatoes”

Sometimes you have to raid your pantry and freezer for an easy meal that doesn’t require much thought, but provides maximum satisfaction. We had two burgers kicking around in the freezer and figured why not use them outside of the usual burger and a bun. What I find funny about the packaging is how it says vegetarian/vegan, it really should just say vegan, but I suppose this appeals to more markets. I forget that not everyone knows what vegan means.

The burgers are incredibly good and have a solid texture, nothing too mushy. They’re easy to pan fry, 3 minutes on each side, and I suppose they’d be fine on a grill too if you’re so inclined.

What’s on the plate:
- Mashed potatoes (made with minced garlic, dehydrated onion, Earth Balance, unsweetened soy milk, and a dash of Himalayan salt)
- Garden salad (tomato, cucumber, carrot/broccoli/red cabbage julienne, and mixed greens with Renee’s Italian dressing)
- One Sol Cuisine Mushroom Rice Burger
- Mushroom gravy

Burger Mash Salad and gravy

 

The simplicity of this meal was incredibly satisfying. I would totally make this again and it really was a matter of throwing things together in a short time. Something about this meal reminded me of a 50′s meatloaf and potatoes dish, but a heck of a lot healthier.

Happy eating!

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Filed under gluten free meals, Meals, vegan

Vegan Unite – A marketplace for cruelty-free and vegan products.

Looks like there’s a new kid on the block for cruelty-free and vegan products called Vegan Unite.

Vegan Unite is live and launched May 12th of this year. It’s a marketplace similar to Etsy but for all cruelty-free and vegan products from all around the world.

Here’s an interview with the Creator Cosondra Sjostrom.

What is Vegan Unite?
Vegan Unite is a marketplace for cruelty-free and vegan products. It’s a place where you can shop from people that are like-minded and purchase with a clear conscience. I encourage everyone to bookmark us and check back as new products and shops are being added daily.

How are you different then other online marketplaces?
As a marketplace, Vegan Unite empowers shoppers to help promote the lives of like-minded people by purchasing from them. As a community we need to support each other and start to create the change that we want in the world. It’s an evolution, this is just another step forward.

Who are ideal shoppers on Vegan Unite?
Honestly, anyone that cares enough to want purchase awesome cruelty-free items. Also, If someone needs to shop for a cruelty-free or vegan friend. Now you have a place to visit online to browse shops and items.

Who are ideal shop owners?
People that live the cruelty-free lifestyle and create products that are also cruelty-free. The products on our site range from food, clothes, pet food, cleaning supplies, cookbooks, jewelry, plants, furniture, craft supplies, DIY baskets, and even a Yard Sale section. The Yard Sale section is a place where people can resell new and used cruelty-free vegan items.

Do you have site wide Gift Certificates?
Yes we do. You can buy yourself or your friend a gift certificate to Vegan Unite and shop from any shop on the site.

Why did you name it Vegan Unite?
I debated over many names but Vegan Unite stuck with me. I wanted a name that would inspire unity, that I hope will also help create a strong community.

How does the site work for merchants?
We charge merchants a small percentage of sale just like other online marketplaces. We have no listing fees. We are also working with our shop owners to help them promote their products. We are starting to write articles on all of our shops to help the community get to know them better.

How does it feel to be launching Vegan Unite?
It’s exciting…thrilling really, but also stressful. I’ve been working on developing the concept and website for a long time now. It’s my baby and it’s finally going live. I almost can’t believe it. 

Anything else you want to say?
Please bookmark us! I encourage anyone that lives the cruelty-free lifestyle and makes products to join our site as a merchant. Buy a Gift Certificate for yourself or a friend and shop all products on the site. Donate to us as we can always use the funds for site development and building a strong community. Most of all I’d like to thank everyone for their support.

Check out their links:
https://twitter.com/Veganunite
https://www.facebook.com/veganunite
instagram. @veganunite

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Filed under Crafts, Eco, Eco Friendly, vegan

Vegan Gluten Free Mini Mushroom and Spinach Polenta Lasagna

I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought why not. I didn’t have a recipe, but how hard can assembling items really be? Here’s my take on making mini polenta lasagna.

Ingredients:
1 log of pre-made polenta (Or, if you’re really adventurous make your own)
1 bunch of fresh spinach
1 packet of white button mushrooms
3 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 jar tomato sauce
4-5 slices of Daiya Cheddar cheese

Directions:
Slice the polenta into 1/2 inch pieces. Be mindful of holding onto the polenta and don’t be a silly like me and let it roll off the cutting board. I don’t use the ends as they’re not flat and flatness is what you’re going for. Before you begin clean your mushrooms and wash the spinach and set aside. Mince a few cloves of garlic, up to 3 tbsp, but whatever you like is fine as well. Now time to sauté! Use a medium sized frying pan and sauté the mushrooms in 1/2 tbsp of vegetable oil with a with half the garlic. Be sure to stir them occasionally.  When the mushrooms are half the size drain them and place them in a bowl and set aside. Sauté the spinach in the same pan and use the rest of the garlic. This should only take a minute. Both the mushrooms and spinach should let out quite a bit of water, so do be careful to drain it as well. Place the spinach on top of the mushroom bowl and set aside.

Then the layering begins! Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay out the sliced polenta pieces. Break up Daiya Cheddar slices to cover. You can easily use the shreds, but the slices are uniform in coverage. After the cheese, spoon a dollop of tomato sauce and then layer the spinach and mushroom.

TIP: Now why put the cheese on first? Shouldn’t the sauce go on first? If you put the sauce on first it will most likely spill over the edge.

Top with another slice of polenta and then another dollop of tomato sauce. Pre-heat the oven for 400F. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese melts. I baked it and then turned off the heat and left it in the oven for 10 minutes literally because I was trying to keep it warm timing it for dinner while I made a quick side salad.

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polenta, vegan, gluten free, aireater.com recipe, easy vegan lasagna polenta

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final polenta

There you have it – quick and easy vegan/gluten free mini polenta lasagna.

Happy Eating!

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Bunner’s Bakeshop COOKBOOK! Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin

I am a fan of Bunner’s Bakeshop. I don’t think you can walk in there and not be immediately won over by the sweet smell of vanilla frosting and not want to salivate on the window case display of vegan gluten free items. When I heard that the owners Ashley and Kevin had created a cookbook, well, I had to buy a book. 

Is it just me or is that old school Pyrex just to die for? If I was rich I think I’d spend half my money on collecting them. That and opening an animal sanctuary.

The recipes are really rather simple and easy to follow. The table of contents is as follows:

Dedication
Introduction
Pantry Primer
Breakfast of Champions
Muffins
Savouries
Cookies, Bars & Squares
Donuts
Cakes
Cupcakes
Sweet Pies & Tarts
Holiday
Frosting & Toppings

Is that not enough to get you excited? I mean COME ON! Ooh, the Savouries part includes recipes for: Spicy Cheddar Biscuits, Herb & Garlic Biscuits, Savoury Pastry, Mexi Pockets, Pizza Pockets, Veggie Pot Pie, Mac & Cheese and Pizza. DROOOOL. I cannot tell you how many times the Veggie Pot Pie has saved me at holiday time meals. I love, love, love the recipes in this book and I’m thankful Ashley & Kevin decided to share them with everyone.

Also, I have to admit their donuts are probably the most amazing donuts I’ve bit into in a while. Okay, my mom’s homemade donut were pretty fantastic too. She made two kinds: Krofne and Princess Krofne, both are delicious and good luck making that vegan/gluten free. I know I wouldn’t bother attempting, but they’re nice to look at.

Anyway, this book is worth getting even if you’re not vegan/gluten free just for the simple fail safe recipes that are sure to please the pallet.

The only disappointing part of this book is the lack of gingerbread recipe. When I was a kid I loved going to the bakery section at A&P, yes, this is how old I am. They always had gingerbread men cookies year round with hard frosting on them. Sometimes they had Sesame street characters, or whoever was popular at the time. I BEGGED my mother for one, and finally that magic day happened when I got one and I ate it so happily.

OTHER than the no gingerbread man recipe the book is perfect.

EDIT UPDATE:
This book is PERFECT! There IS a gingerbread man recipe, thing is I have an e-book copy, so it was a matter of doing a search to find it. I believe it is page 203 with the physical copy.

Here’s the link to get your own copy:
http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/product/9781443432399-item.html?s_campaign=goo-PLATest&gclid=CjgKEAjwt4-dBRCDnaTUn-mC_0oSJAC4Q6kGNc4G3EwIY7rqB5osYHVjbwQohrOmCuAcJDeXu3K4YvD_BwE

I decided to make a banana chocolate chip muffin from the book and it turned out excellent AND freaking delicious. Not a surprise. Yes, my muffin is small, but it packs a punch!

vegan gluten free muffin AirEater, Bunner's Bakeshop, Toronto

There are quite a few recipes that blow my mind and you’ll have to find out for yourself.

Happy eating!

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Filed under Gluten Free baking, gluten free cookies, vegan

Whimzees Vegan Gluten Free Dog Treats

If you’ve been in a Pet Valu you’ll notice there’s a display of Whimzees treats by the register. What are these dog treats?

Apparently they are vegan and gluten free. Now, upon reading the ingredients I did notice there was malt extract, so I did the logical thing and contacted Whimzees.

Here’s what they said:

Dear Lidia,
The malt comes from a vegetable source, but it is not corn or barley. Be assured, the malt we use are certified free of gluten.

Kind regards,

Lion Houkes

Marketing Manager
Paragon Pet Products Europe B.V.
P.O. Box 229
9640 AE  VEENDAM
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 598 319574
Fax: +31 598 319599
Mob: +31 6 310 26206
Email: info@whimzees.com
Website: www.paragonproducts.nl
So what are these things made of? Rather simple ingredients really. Mardi really enjoys them, we use the stick ones, medium size for her.

whimzees_ingredients

 

Screenshot 2014-06-15 22.05.33

 

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all whimzees treats

We’re so glad to have found an actual vegan gluten free treat that doesn’t require shipping and can be purchased at a local store. If you’ve come across a vegan gluten free dog treat I’d love to hear about it.

One thing I must say is please do NOT feed your dog anything from China. There have been too many recalls and the results of these treats are deadly. Up until two weeks ago we had been using VitaLife sweet potato treats. These treats were causing Mardi to be lethargic, slow, and not interested in very much. This is the opposite of our lively happy dog. Mat’s parent’s dog apparently had very poor kidney health as a result of these treats. If you have them STOP immediately.

Always, always, always check if your treats have been recalled. For some stupid reason these are still being sold in stores. Hope this doesn’t affect your sweet pet.

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Filed under gluten free, Pets, vegan

Product Review: ZenBev

Mat and I are often in natural stores buying health products etc., and we came upon something new called ZenBev. What is this items? It’s a sleep aid that’s natural, non-habit forming, and of course vegan/gluten free.

Here’s an explanation from the company website:

How does Zenbev help insomnia?
Zenbev provides the body with a natural food source of tryptophan, which is more readily assimilated by the body than synthetic sources. The tryptophan required by our bodies is provided in a way the brain recognizes. Combined with the proper ingredients, Zenbev’s unique formula facilitates optimal efficiency for treating insomnia. The tryptophan in the protein source metabolizes into serotonin, which then metabolizes into melatonin at night, serving to activate the brain’s sleep mechanism. As the brain produces the exact amount that it requires, Zenbev helps you achieve a deep, uninterrupted sleep and wake up feeling rested and refreshed.

ZenBev is the brain child of a Toronto doctor named Craig Hudson. The product is available in two flavours: Chocolate and Lemon. It’s a powder that you mix into your favourite milk alternative or what have you.

How did it work for me?
I tried it using the recommended dose of 3 scoops and 300mL of plain soy milk. It dissolved rather easily, I used a whisk, but there were a few powder balls I had to break up with a fork. The taste wasn’t so bad, but it wasn’t like candy, so not as sweet as I thought. I drank it down and felt rather sleepy shortly after. All three times I used it I enjoyed my sleep and felt rested. I enjoy that it’s not habit forming and doesn’t have an after taste or weird effects.

I used Valerian a few times and each time I felt like I was being pulled under a wave of sleepiness in a bad way.

I stopped using Valerian for a few reasons:
a) Felt like I was terrified
b) It stunk like wet dirty socks
c) It was expensive for the amount of drops/dosage

ZenBev is 250g or 8.8oz for $30. I’m guessing that’s at least 15 doses for that amount. Not too shabby.

 

Disclaimer: I did not get paid for this, I actually was curious and used my own money, these are my own thoughts.

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Vegan Gluten Free Spaghetti Lasagna

Sometimes when you have no idea what you’re going to make for dinner a quick look around the pantry works. I really had lasagna in mind, but I didn’t have the shells and so I figured spaghetti would do. I have to say of all the noodles in the world I love spaghetti. Ho Fun is my second favourite. Something about those flat noodles, the texture, oh I cannot even.

The ingredients are pretty simple:

- 1 package of cooked rice noodles
- 1 bottle of tomato sauce
- 1  can of beans, I used Azuki, but anything will do really
- 2 cups of mixed vegetables
- 1 package of Daiya Slices, I used cheddar
- 3 tbsp vegan pesto

For each layer of pasta I was using a pasta scoop amount. It’s not an exact science as it is with lasagna shells, but it’s the only measurement I can really describe.

 

Instructions: Pour sauce into the pan and coat the bottom, then take a scoop of pasta and begin layering the: sauce, veggies, beans, cheese and pesto. I used a small spoon with the pesto and spread it as evenly as possible. For consistency sake, I switched up the layering of cheese to cover evenly.

lasagna sauce in pot

base of spaghetti lasagna

beans for spaghetti lasagna

mixed vegetables

spaghetti lasagna layer

spaghetti lasgana cheese different pattern

spaghetti lasagna with cheese

spaghetti lasagna first layer

final spaghetti pasta

lasagna sauce in pot, vegan , gluten free, pasta Bake at 400F for 20 minutes and there you have it. Easy and delicious. Happy eating!

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Filed under gluten free, gluten free meals, Meals, vegan

Vegan Gluten Free Pesto Pizza

I have fallen in love with pesto on my pizza. I’m sure it’s easy to make, but I honestly just had such a craving that while I was at a local health store I picked some up. I found this pesto made by a local company called Sunflower Kitchen. SF makes their products in  my home part of town, Scarborough, Ontario and that makes me rather happy.

If you go on their website you’ll see their goal:

Our Goal

Inspired by the earth’s bounty, Sunflower Kitchen is a family own business, a vegan, environmentally friendly company, committed to fulfill the promise of creating delicious, fresh, wholesome, ready to eat dishes that you deserve.

Doesn’t that get you in the feels? I can’t remember how much it was, perhaps $4 or $5 and frankly, it’s cheaper to buy than to get the organic ingredients and put them together. Last time I checked Whole Paycheck sells organic kale for $3.99 alone (if you’re lucky).

I’m happy to know that I can trust their products to be vegan and gluten free. I always recommend reading the label on EVERY single product you buy, but it’s nice to know there are companies devoted to this.

Kale and oregano pesto

pesto pizza

 

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The pizza was a case of the lazies, but it was so satisfying. Aidan’s sells these as pitas, but I use them as pizza shells.

What’s on this bad boy:
- Tomato pasted mixed with minced garlic
- Daiya cheddar slices (the better to cover with my dear)
- Sunflower Kitchen Kale and Oregano Pesto
- sliced tomatoes
- sliced portobello mushrooms

Baked at 400F for 15 – 20 minutes and there you have it.

pesto pizza

Happy eating!

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Filed under gluten free meals, Meals, vegan

Review: Eco Vessel Smashbox and Snacker from Vitarock.com

There’s a new online health store in town, right here in Toronto, called Vitarock.com. The site is pretty slick and well designed. I am a sucker for white space and I like that items aren’t cramped and crammed down the consumer’s neck. Click on the image below to see the screen shot and check out the site.

They sell a lot of vegan/gluten free items that I’m familiar with like: Nature Clean, Green Beaver, Giovanni, Dessert Essence, Manitoba Harvest, and a few others.

Vitarock screenshot

I totally was surprised by a brand I didn’t recognize – Eco Vessel. Eco Vessel is from the states and they have a variety of products from stainless steel bottles, glass water bottles, and then they have these kick ass food containers. All their products are BPA and phthalate free, recyclable and environmentally friendly.

I am always on the hunt for new lunch containers. We have a collection going on of containers, but lunch is important! If I don’t have a good lunch I am grumpy for the rest of the day. I seriously think meals and making food should be taught in school and I don’t mean the stuff they teach in Home Ec., people should be taught how to balance a meal and make things that nourish their souls. Oh, I love food too much.

Anyway, I all but squealed, okay a little, when I got my package. The post came quicker than I thought, I ordered in the morning and got it the next day. Amazing.

Smashbox 1 compartment-001

 

Eco Vessel Snacker-001

 

Sorry I didn’t take pictures of the products not collapsed, I figure these are nicer anyway.

I love the collapsable part and the colours. Totally lightweight and perfect for lunch, camping, snacks, anything. One of my friends suggested the Snacker is perfect for a small dog water bowl. Hey, that works too. They have two compartment food containers, but I figure 4 cups of food is enough. The built in spork/knife dealy is awesome. So convenient to have the utensil built into the container instead of wrapping it up in tissue and making a mess out of it or losing it somehow. Very well thought out container.

After I had these containers for a week Mat was getting a little jealous shall we say, so I ordered a set for him too, nothing says I love you like here’s something to house your sacred lunch that I made with my two little hands. Well, it sounded better in my head.

I know I will be checking out Vitarock for more items, they seem to be adding new things often and they have some cool contests going on.

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Filed under Bento box, Contest, Eco Friendly, Eco Friendly Packaging, Meals, vegan

Green Beaver Extra Gentle Castile Sunflower Lavender Bar Soap

We noticed Green Beaver came out with  a new soap and we decided to pick it up. I’m super glad that we did because this has become my newest favourite soap  EVAR!! Okay, it’s seriously very good. I am not paid to say this, I don’t work for Green Beaver, and if I did I’d have a heck of a lot more product at home. I don’t believe the soap is on the Green Beaver site yet, so your best bet is to find it at natural stores.

Here’s the marketing explanation about the soap:

“Green Beaver Extra Gentle Castile Sunflower Soap is made with cold-pressed, locally harvested organic sunflower seed oil. The oil is incredibly rich in antioxidants (vitamin E and carotenoids) and in skin moisturizing omegas. Blended with coconut oil for a gentle silky lather, this soap leaves your skin feeling fresh and soft, and ideal for the most sensitive skin.

 Green Beaver Extra Gentle Castile Sunflower Bar Soap
The owners and creators of Green Beaver have made it a priority to use Canadian-grown organic ingredients whenever available. They are proud to have purchased 40 acres of organic sunflowers from a family farm, located 65 km from The Green Beaver Company’s door.

Their philosophy is, the more organic farmers they can support, the more land they can help convert to organic practices, thereby reducing the amount of pesticides used right in our backyard.”

I’ve spoken with the owner of Green Beaver and I honestly think he’s just a terribly sweet man who is in the natural product business for the right reasons. He wants to make quality products that work. I am completely in love with his enthusiasm and excitement with having found such a local organic farmer down the street. I wish you all could hear the happiness in his voice when talking about his good luck.

True to the description, the soap has some serious softness to it. I feel like I’m bathing with soft oils that sooth and moisturize my skin. I often start my shower by washing my face first and I totally love the way the soap makes my skin feel. I imagine this is what Roman royalty felt like.

Unlike Kiss My Face olive oil based soaps, this Green Beaver Sunflower Soap is light, and doesn’t feel goopy. I totally hate the green slime/sludge that is left over whenever I’d put down the Kiss My Face bar. There’s no way I could use KMF for laundry and I could totally see the GB working very well with that.

Sometimes I find soap to be overwhelming with scent and this soap is perfectly balanced and not at all offensive.

I’d highly suggest this soap for anyone as they’re allergy friendly.

Highlights: Biodegradable. Vegan. GMO-Free. Not tested on animals.

Ingredients: Sodium Cocoate** (saponified organic coconut oil), Sodium Sunflowerate** (saponified organic sunflower oil), Sodium Castorate (saponified organic castor oil)**,  Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)*, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax*, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavander) Oil*, Lavandula hybrida Oil*, Beta-sitosterol, Squalene, Tocopherol

100% of the total ingredients are from natural origin
87.2% of the total ingredients are from organic farming

*Ingredients from organic farming
** Made using organic ingredients

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Filed under Biodegradable Cleaning products, Eco Friendly, gluten free, vegan