Category Archives: vegan

Made Good Review

The lovely people at Made Good sent me their amazing products and I have to say I completely love them AND they’re organic. The Made Good company is from Toronto. What are these products?

Granola Minis
Granola Bars
Raw Bars

Granola Minis Apple Cinnamon

 

If you’re looking for a comfort snack that will give you a hug and remind you of fun times with Grandma the Apple Cinnamon Granola Minis are exactly that. As soon as I opened the bag the cinnamon aroma was enticing and it’s hard to stop eating these pint sized snacks. The size ratio is perfect for controlled snacking and the balance of flavours is excellent. Not one ingredient overpowered the overall taste.

 

 

Ingredients:

Rolled oats*, agave nectar*, brown rice syrup*, raisins*, apples*, coconut oil*, sunflower oil*, whole grain crisp brown rice*, agave inulin*, cinnamon*, vegetable powder (spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, beets, shiitake mushrooms), natural mixed tocopherols, rosemary extract*. *Organic

 

Granola Mini Chocolate Banana

Made Good Mini Granola Chocolate BananaMade Good Mini Granola Chocolate Banana close up

These little bad boys are just like taking a bite of tasty banana bread with not too sweet chocolate chips. This snack is totally perfect for a ‘bad craving’. I can see how I’d want to reach for these. Don’t be put off by the vegetable powders, they aren’t prominent and are a sneaky benefit to this snack. The smell of banana was rather authentic and not the gross brown spotted banana smell that comes with overripe bananas. I would totally warm them up in the toaster oven for a minute to get that same banana bread smell.
Ingredients:

Rolled oats*, agave nectar*, brown rice syrup*, bananas*, chocolate chips* (cocoa liquor*, cane sugar*, cocoa butter*, cocoa powder*), sunflower oil*, whole grain crisp brown rice*, coconut*, agave inulin*, coconut oil*, vegetable powder (spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, beets, shiitake mushrooms), vanilla flavour*, natural mixed tocopherols, rosemary extract*. *Organic

 

Granola Mini Strawberry

 

Made Good Mini Granola Strawberry frontMade Good Mini Granola Strawberry close up

From the first whiff you can certainly smell the strawberry pieces. I find it the vegetable powders unrecognizable. I tried very hard to taste the other ingredients to no avail. I suppose that’s a good thing, but I was hoping for hints of the cherry juice. What I enjoy the most is the strawberry pieces and it’s not that weird fake strawberry that some companies tend to use. All of it feels real and it’s not a surprise when you see the ingredients. I can’t feel guilty for something so tasty when it’s rather healthy!

 

 

 

Ingredients:
Rolled oats*, agave nectar*, strawberry pieces* (apple juice concentrate*, apple puree concentrate*, strawberry puree*, cherry juice concentrate*, apple pectin, natural flavour*), apricots*, brown rice syrup*, apples*, sunflower oil*, whole grain crisp brown rice*, coconut oil*, agave inulin*, vegetable powder (spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, beets, shiitake mushrooms), strawberry flavour*, natural mixed tocopherols, rosemary extract*. *Organic

Made Good Mixed Berry Organic Granola Bar

Made Good Mixed Berry Organic Granola Bar

I’m not usually a fan of mix berry as a whole, I never reach for it as my number one pick, but it grew on me. Not too sweet, not too tart, the cranberries were delicate and the raisin taste dominated along with and underlining hint of blueberry/raspberry. I felt like I searching for notes to detect with each bite as I tried to decipher the mix. Right at the end the coconut bit really struck me. What an interesting combination. For you berry lovers this is certainly a hit.

 

 

 

Ingredients:
Rolled oats*, agave nectar*, brown rice syrup*, raisins*, coconut*, sunflower oil*, cranberries*, whole grain crisp brown rice*, agave inulin*, molasses*, blueberries*, raspberries*, vegetable powder (spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, beets, shiitake mushrooms), raspberry flavour*, apple juice concentrate*. *Organic

Made Good Chocolate Chip Organic Granola Bar

Made Good Chocolate Chip Organic Granola Bar

 

Forget the traditional chocolate chip granola bar. I grew up with the Quaker Oats bar and Made Good has completely gone above and refined the bar with a healthier version. This bar doesn’t need marshmallows or corn syrup to please. The bar is chewy and overall not too sweet for what it is. Sure to please any chocolate lover.

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

Rolled oats*, agave nectar*, chocolate chips* (cocoa liquor*, cane sugar*, cocoa butter*, cocoa powder*), brown rice syrup*, sunflower oil*, whole grain crisp brown rice*, agave inulin*, coconut*, molasses*, vegetable powder (spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, beets, shiitake mushrooms), vanilla flavour*. *Organic.

 

Made Good Brazil Nut Orange Fruit & Nut Bar Organic No Sugar Added Raw in package

Made Good Brazil Nut Orange Fruit & Nut Bar Organic No Sugar Added Raw

Made Good Brazil Nut Orange Fruit & Nut Bar Organic No Sugar Added Raw

Made Good Brazil Nut Orange Fruit & Nut Bar Organic No Sugar Added Raw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop whatever you are doing and find this bar. Go on, I’ll wait. This is unlike any raw bar I’ve usually had. Most of the time it’s a mishmash of ingredients in a paste formed into a bar and or pressed ingredients that are just unpleasant. This bar is not only pleasant but incredibly delicious. I could not stop pecking at this bar while I was typing. Do be mindful when eating this bar, the pieces will flake and it’s not as solid as it could be. I don’t really care as the taste is worth it. The brazil nuts and orange combination – I could cry. Do yourself a huge favour and try it for yourself.

Ingredients:
Raisins*, almonds*, Brazil nuts*, cranberries* (cranberries*, apple juice concentrate*, sunflower oil*), coconut*, tapioca flour*, sea salt, orange oil*. *Organic. May contain sesame.

When I asked the company why the bars and mini balls don’t have the gluten free icon, this was the response, “We can’t say gluten free in Canada unfortunately, we have to say: MadeGood granola minis and bars are made with clean, pure oats (no contamination from wheat fields).”

The raw bars are labeled gluten free.

Overall, I am incredibly happy that Made Good contacted me. I know I will be searching them out at my local health store. Click here to order online.

Please note: I am not being paid to say this. I’ve not received compensation. This is my honest opinion.

Happy eating!

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Filed under celiac, gluten free, Healthy Snacks, raw, vegan

Product Review: Pacifica French Lilac Natural Soap

Who doesn’t love soap? I’ve bought many varieties of soap and I delight in feeling that tiny girly feeling for all of two minutes. Of all the soaps I’ve tried I must say the Pacifica French Lilac Natural Soap has the most fragrant smell. It really does smell like walking into a field full of lilac trees. The soap is expensive, around $5/bar, but dang, it’s rather large for natural soap at 6oz (177ml).   Pacifica French Lilac Natural Soap The texture is only speckled on one side. I wonder why they didn’t do the whole bar, but perhaps it’s about aesthetics? Pacifica French Lilac Natural Soap If this is how the French live, I think we should consider moving there, and creating a vegan commune.  Either way, I completely am in love with this soap and I’d highly suggest it if you’re feeling rather lavish and wish to transport yourself mentally to a far away land called France.

If you’re over a certain age, you’re going to remember this commercial for Calgon, some days I wonder about the logistics of sitting in a bath tub all day. I mean really, who could do that for so long, but it always looks so luxurious, right?

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Filed under gluten free, Hair Care & Beauty, vegan

Vegan Gluten Free Lentil Potato Stew

The other day I felt like having a hearty soup and I figured I could do things the easy way and use my slow cooker. Really, a slow cooker is a complete blessing because it’s just a matter of putting a whole bunch of ingredients together and walking away.

Super easy to make! I found THIS recipe and varied it a little.

 

Ingredients:

6 cups veggie broth (I used 3 bouillon cubes)
2 cups dry brown lentils (rinse and drain)
2 medium red potatoes cubed
1 medium carrots chopped
2 large celery stalks, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
black pepper and sea salt, to taste
1-2 tablespoons Earth Balance, optional.

Apparently it gives the soup a richer flavour, but I used it, so I can’t tell you otherwise.
Instructions:

Clean and prepare the veggies before hand. To make the veggie broth, I boiled 3 cups of water and then mashed the cubes with a spoon in a bowl. I really rinsed the heck out of the lentils. I would highly recommend doing so. I put in all the ingredients and the water in to the crock pot and let everything alone for six hours on the first level.

lentil potato stew

 

The result was the kitchen smelling lovely and fragrant. This recipe was incredibly satisfying with a 1/4 cup of Daiya on it. I had this every day for lunch for a week, so needless to say it makes five servings.

 

Happy eating!

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

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
Fax: +31 598 319599
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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Screenshot 2014-06-15 22.04.46

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