I received an email from Nadia Masoudi asking me to bring some attention to Animal Freedom Day July 26th, 2014 AND her documentary “Don’t Eat Me.” You can check out AFD’s latest video campaign here: “27 People Sign Up to Be Animals” and sign the petition to make AFD a celebrated global calendar event recognized by the United Nations. There are already over 42,000 signatures from people around the world. The goal is to reach 100,000. Sign the petition here: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/864/885/875/ This is the 5th year for Animal Freedom Day and it’s amazing that so many people are doing this. I am glad to see the word spreading. The documentary “Don’t Eat Me” has received support from: Woody Harrelson, Pamela Anderson, Weird Al, David Suzuki, Nigel Barker, and many others. Not too shabby! Let’s share the good word and help out. Here are all the links for Animal Freedom Day: https://www.facebook.com/animalfreedomday http://www.twitter.com/animalfreeday http://www.youtube.com/animalfreedomdayintl Links for the documentary “Don’t Eat Me”: https://www.facebook.com/donteatmefilm http://youtu.be/4Dnr19S1k28http://www.twitter.com/donteatmefilm
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
I was contacted by a PR company about Live Below the Line 2014, an innovative campaign that transforms the way individuals think and engage with extreme poverty issues.
So how to do that? Live Below the Line, presented by the Micronutrient Initiative, challenges participants to eat and drink for $1.75 a day for five days – the extreme poverty threshold that 1.2 billion people worldwide must survive on for all of their needs.
From April 28th to May 2nd, 2014, Live Below the Line participants will experience the true meaning of living below the line and can choose to raise funds for Canadian partner organizations including Opportunity International, Raising the Village and Ve’ahavta, whose initiatives and programs help eradicate extreme poverty around the world.
There’s no doubt that eating and drinking on $1.75 a day can be a daunting challenge so there’s a full day of recipes that fit within the $1.75/day budget.
I’d love to see if any of you can come up with recipes that fit this requirement.
For more information and to register for the challenge, please visit livebelowtheline.ca.
Mat and I had the pleasure of going to Bukhara Grill in Toronto on Bloor. They have another location in Mississauga for anyone in the west end. The location we went to was downstairs and next to this health store called Peachtree. It’s somewhat easy to miss the entrance to Bukhara Grill as the sign doesn’t stick out as much as you’d think.
So downstairs we went to be greeted by a very courteous host who showed us to a lovely intimate section of the restaurant. We were the first ones in the door, afterwards it started to fill up nicely. They certainly have done a fantastic job making this space their own.
From the decorations to the mint and tamarind sauce already waiting at each table I really felt they’re trying for an upscale client. By the way the two condiments I mentioned are insanely good. I hope they decide to sell them as a separate product as I would start stocking up. We had no problems ordering and receiving the food the way we asked. They understand vegan and gluten free. Just make sure to pass on the papadums if you’re gluten free as they are made in the same place the naan is. It’s too bad, but that’s what happens when things are done traditionally.
We usually stick to aloo golbi ($9.99) and chana masala ($9.99) as we know them to be naturally gluten free. For a change we ordered Saffron Rice ($3.99) instead of just plain basmati.
To say we were impressed is an understatement. Everything was flavourful, delightfully spicy, and delicious. We plan on making this our go to place for the weekend. We have a habit now of ordering an additional meal of the same for take away as it makes Sunday afternoon lunch that much easier.
Do not miss out. I cannot say enough good things about this place.
I came upon a recipe from Dawn, blogger from Veg-Am: Ramblings of an amateur vegan cook for calzones. Now, making anything gluten free usually requires fifty different flours and expensive items, but her recipe was great. As to Dawn’s point, I do thank her Mom for this, I really do.
I made a few changes, I didn’t have tapioca flour, so I substituted 2.5x’s 3/4 cups. I read the conversion for corn starch from tapioca is 2.5, so I stuck with it. Thankfully it worked! What didn’t work, and don’t bother trying, was trying to crush tapioca pearls. Honest to goodness, I tried to blend them, I tried to crush them by hand in a mortar and pestle and nothing! These things are hardcore!
As you can see – nothing worked! I couldn’t believe it. Lesson learnt, buy tapioca flour, don’t bother trying to be clever. I just assumed I could pulverize the pearls. I should have dragged out my Blendtec, but I honestly can’t be bothered to find it.
So here’s how the process went down. I added about 3 tbsp of Italian seasoning to the mixture and 2 tbsp of minced garlic since we seriously enjoy the taste.
I first flattened the dough with my hand and then used my French rolling pin to continue between two sheets of parchment paper.
The above mixture is Amy’s vegan chili and a mixture of Daiya Cheddar/Pepperjack.
This mixture is: sautéed button/brown mushrooms, medium salsa and Daiya Cheddar.
I spooned what I figured was a good amount, do use your judgement and try not to overfill.
Back to the calzones:
The directions say to use a ‘wash’ of olive oil, so I applied it with my hands, as I couldn’t find my brush. I figured one of them would pop and as you can see one did, but it’s still tasty.
There you have it – calzones and freaking heaven in a bite. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!