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Showing posts from July, 2014

Notuna Salad

I love I super love them.  So the idea of making a mock tuna salad with them is very appealing to me.   No it doesn't taste like tuna, it tastes like chickpeas, but I'm good with that.  I had seriously been craving chickpea salad and then when I saw the one they had at Yamchops, I knew I had to make my own.  Voila! It made a very nice couple of lunches for me, rolled up into whole grain wraps with a cucumber salad on the side.  Delish.

Notuna Salad

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas), smashed with potato masher
2 large or 4 small stalks celery, finely chopped
2 green onions, chopped
2 tbls dill pickles, finely chopped
1/4 cup vegan mayo
1 tsp dried, or 1 tbls fresh, chopped dill
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients.  Eat.  Refrigerate for up to 4 days.

I have submitted this recipe to Urban Naturale's Pot-Luck Party Link-Up and Vegetarian Mamma's Gluten-Free Friday.

Therapy Ball Workbook: Book Review

Do you have balls? How big are they?  Are they rough or smooth?  Firm or squishy?

It seems balls are all the rage in fitness, movement and physical therapy these days.  Everything from tiny acupressure balls to ginormous stability balls.

We have quite a few balls in our house alone.  A big stability ball, a medium stability ball, a soccer-ball sized squishy pilates ball, two very small firm pilates balls and one acupressure ball.  Whew!

But hey, balls are awesome.  That's why I was happy to review the Therapy Ball Workbook.

The Therapy Ball Workbook is a detailed guide of what kind of balls to use for what purpose.  Different balls can be used for strengthening, conditioning, and stretching exercises.  Part 1 explains the basics and gives you the information you need to have before you get started on a ball routine.

Part 2 explains how to use the book and then provides you with 7 different routines, based on your goals (core stability, total body workout, muscle release, etc.).


Say What? Who is Really an Expert?

Good morning! It may be Monday, it may be rainy, but at least its not too hot and humid!  It was also a great weekend and a very fun party here last night.  I heard from Adam and he and the girls are having a great time at Great Wolf Lodge too.

So, today I want to talk a bit about many so-called celebrity health experts and the claims they make.

I know I talk a lot about the plethora of bogus health information out there.  Sometimes even seemingly credible sources like MDs can spew bogus info (you must have heard by now that Dr. Oz has been lambasted for proclaiming various weight loss supplements as "miracles").

Sometimes facts are skewed because of someone's economic interests (i.e. they have shares in a particular supplement or product).  Sometimes the problem is that a fact is poorly articulated by a person or media.

A good example of this is the column written by Tracy Anderson for Health Magazine.  By the way, I think this magazine sucks.  The only reason I get it…

Boo Boos

Oh my, what a week!  Its been good, its been bad and its been ugly.

The good is the girls are still fighting less than they were before and we've had a lot of fun.  The bad is that there have still been a few fights...Monday morning was really bad, but Mondays are always the worst, especially after a great weekend. The ugly was when I was picking up the girls from daycare camp on Tuesday, Big A got on her bike, and within seconds while still on the playground, hit a rock and went over sideways landing on her face.

Wow, there is nothing worse for a parent than watching your child get hurt.  I am not an overprotective parent.  Really, I'm not.  But I do get a bit freaked out about them getting hurt.  I probably tell them to be careful a thousand times a day.  And of the two of them, Big A is usually a heck of a lot more careful than Little A.  This was just a flukey accident because she is an ace bicycle rider.

Fortunately, she was wearing her helmet and didn't hit her head…

Chilled Curried Carrot Soup (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

This soup is so amazing, and also amazingly simple to make.  Really it is good hot and cold so you can make this recipe any time of year.  I made it spicy, since we like our food hot, but go ahead and make it mild if you prefer.

Chilled Curried Carrot Soup (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

1 lb carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 tsp olive oil
1 + 1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 chunk fresh ginger, peeled
900 ml vegetable stock

Toss carrots, onion and garlic with oil, 1 tsp curry powder and salt.  Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast at 400F for about 40 minutes.  Let cool.

Place veggies into food processor or blender with additional curry powder, ginger and stock.  Puree until smooth.  Season to taste.  Keep refrigerated up to 4 days or freeze.

This recipe has been submitted to Urban Naturale's Plant-Based Pot Luck Link-Up and this week's Gluten-Free Friday.

DrVita Product Review

You may have heard the news that vitamins do not prevent chronic illness?  Oh yeah, big headlines recently.  But then you've probably been told you should be taking a million supplements by either your doctor, naturopath or another health care provider.  Are you confused?

It is confusing.  Ultimately, there isn't strong evidence that taking a multivitamin can prevent chronic illness, but that doesn't mean you should throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Most people can and should be taking vitamin D, and many can benefit from fish oil or other omega 3 supplement.  Women of childbearing age should be taking folic acid.  Things like CoQ10 can be helpful for fertility and heart health.

So what about multis?

I'll be honest, I take one.  This is despite the lack of evidence that they are useful.  This is weird as usually my decisions are all evidence-based.  But for some reason, I can't give it up as a bit of insurance.  It just makes me feel better knowing I'm co…

Vanilla Blueberry Cake Muffins

These are cake in name alone.  They are actually low-fat, whole grain and sugar-free...of course.

Did you know that most muffins in chain coffee shops have more sugar, fat and calories than donuts??  They are honestly a really bad choice for a breakfast or snack.  Eat, sugar crash, binge, repeat.

Despite being high in fibre, and protein, these babies are sweet, moist, tender and delicious.  The kids even said I shouldn't call them muffins because they taste more like cake.  So go ahead, have one for breakfast...have another for a snack!

Vanilla Blueberry Cake Muffins

2 cups unsweetened apple sauce
1 cup stevia granulated baking blend or 4 tbls uncut, pure stevia powder
2 eggs
1 cup milk+1 tbls cider vinegar or lemon juice, stirred together
2 tbls canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

2.5 cups whole grain kamut or spelt flour
1 scoop stevia-sweetened vanilla protein powder (28g)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Whisk together wet in…

Big on Bloor

Toronto has a zillion summertime festivals across the city.  Although we have been to quite a few, for some reason this was the first time we got to the one in our own 'hood. 

Yesterday we took the girls to the Big on Bloor Festival and we literally had a ball!

Yes, those are the girls pretending to be hamsters!  It may have cost us $20 for the two of them to have a turn in these things, but it was worth every penny.  They had a blast.

They also volunteered to hold this snake...I was pretty amazed...I don't think I would have done it!

The girls also got free chocolate, freezies and popcorn and we bought them hand made turkey sausages and barbequed corn on the cob for their dinner.  Not the healthiest, but they had so much fun.  I actually think this was the best neighbourhood festival we've been to ever!

Normally I am not at all inspired by the arts and crafts at these events, but there was one vendor selling the most adorable handmade clothes.  I was smitten and liked so…

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Boy oh boy, its been quite the week!  I had 2 bad sinus headaches, which sucked, but overall, this summer has been the best ever for my allergies, which is weird, since most people say its a particularly BAD year for allergies.  I also had a dentist appointment and my dentist told me I have another cracked tooth and may someday need another root canal.  Ugh!  I know it comes from all my grinding and teeth clenching.  I carry all my stress in my jaw, it's so bad.  I am actually surprised all my teeth haven't shattered.

I also managed to tear an abdominal muscle.  Oh yeah, I do things like that!  If you don't think you need your core for absolutely everything, try getting an abdominal injury.  I have had to totally rejig my workouts.  It f#@&* hurts!

The girls have been fighting a bit more, but not nearly as much as they had been.  I am wondering if we are FINALLY in that temporary sweet spot I've heard about that happens after toddlerhood and before the teenage yea…

Sweet Debbie's Organic Treats: Book Review

I am not vegetarian, I am not vegan. If I had to label how I eat I would call myself a healthitarian.  I do eat meat, just mostly poultry and fish, and I do it dairy and eggs.  I also eat gluten. I don't have any food allergies.  But I mostly eat plants.  I do believe plant-based foods are healthiest...and I love them!

It irks me though, when people confuse some of these other labels (vegan, gluten-free, etc.) as meaning healthy.  There is a shitload of vegan and gluten-free food out there these days that is just total crap.

For this reason, I hesitated to agree to review Sweet Debbie's Organic Treats: Allergy-Free & Vegan Recipes.  After all, a cupcake made with vegetable shortening instead of butter and white rice flour instead of white wheat flour, is no healthier, and healthier is what's important to me.

But boy am I glad I went for it! This cookbook is the BOMB!

Author, Debbie Adler, is the owner of Sweet Debbie's Organic Cupcakes bakery in Los Angeles.  I te…

Smokey Bake-un Almonds

What's a little sweet, salty, smoky, spicy and addictive?  Nope, not bacon!  These bacon-seasoned almonds.  Perfect if you love the flavour but are looking for something that won't take years off your life (yes, I think most health experts would agree one of the most unhealthy things you can eat is cured and processed meats).

These are for Adam to have at work, but they are so yummy, that after I made them, I thought of hiding them and hoarding them to myself.  Fortunately, I'm a nicer wife than that...

You gotta bake these!!

Smokey Bake-Un Almonds

2 lbs almonds
2 tbls olive oil
2 tbls low-sodium soy sauce/tamari/coconut aminos
2 tbls Worcestershire (regular or vegan)
2 tbls coconut sugar
1/2 tsp paprika
A few drops liquid smoke
Cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

Toss almonds with all other ingredients until well coated.  Spread evenly on non-stick baking sheet.  Bake at 350F for 12 minutes.  Make sure they don't burn.  Let cool an…

Yamchops: Toronto's First Vegetarian "Butcher" Shop!

When I heard about Yamchops a few months ago, I was super excited.  I couldn't wait for it to open.  A place in downtown Toronto selling all vegetarian foods, including, house-made veggie-meat alternatives made with all natural ingredients?!?  I was very excited when I finally got there a few weeks ago.

Nope, I am not vegetarian.  I call myself a healthitarian actually.  I like healthy food and plant foods are healthy.  Mostly, that is.  I do like a lot of faux-meat products, but many of them are highly processed and made from poor quality ingredients, so a place that makes their own from natural ingredients is very awesome, in my book.

They sell a variety of veggie burgers and sausages, and some other faux meat dishes like Mongolian beef and pulled pork.  They also sell mock tuna salad made from chickpeas as well as coconut bacon.  Yum!

I was also thrilled to find that they have their own line of condiments, made from natural ingredients.  I got a roasted pineapple chutney and a…

Slither in to Reptilia

I have to say, for me, this has been an amazing summer...we have not had nearly as many insanely hot, humid days as usual.  Although the weekend was hot and humid, all this week it is supposed to be in the low 20s, which is perfect.  All you people who love blazing hot weather...well, I just don't get you!

I don't know if its the gorgeous weather or what, but there are some weird things going on in our house lately.  First, Little A has been eating like a sumo wrestler.  Like seriously, how does a skinny 5 year old eat so much???  It's quite unbelievable.  But then again, people say that about the way I eat, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

The other odd thing going on around here is that the girls are getting along really well.  Like hugging and kissing and telling each other they love each other.  That's not normal!  Usually, its non-stop screaming and fighting between the two of them.  Not sure what's going on, but I hope it continues.

So how was your w…

Camp Craze

Well, the girls finished up their session of Pedalheads camp for the year, and as per usual, they had a fantastic time.  This camp is genius I tell you.  Not only do they train your kids to be ace cyclists, and how to clean and maintain their bikes, but the kids absolutely love it.  I mean LOVE IT.

They come home completely exhausted, filthy, and starving.  At the beginning of the week this led to some grumpiness at the end of the day, but as the week ends they seem to have adapted to the physical demands of cycling camp.  Or, as Adam pointed out, perhaps the less hot, humid weather the past few days have made all the outdoor activity a bit less taxing for them.  Still starving and worn out but also more blissful than bitchy, thank goodness.  The other night teeny, tiny Little A ate more for dinner than probably a sumo wrestler normally does!

Its been a bit tough getting back to life after my grandmother's funeral.  The whole thing still seems surreal to me.  But work is really b…

Gingerbread Granola

To me, there is no better smell or taste than gingerbread.  Heaven!  So why didn't I come up with this granola recipe sooner??  The smell as it bakes is amazing.  It would be the perfect thing to make right before showing your house if you are trying to sell it :)

I know gingerbread isn't your typical summer flavour, but I'll take it anytime.

This would be fantastic with crystalized ginger in it but I wanted to avoid the sugar, so I used 2 packs of these snacks instead:

Look at the ingredients!


I just diced them up and threw them in.  And lots of raisins too, because I love raisins.  But you could use dried apricots instead.

Gingerbread Granola

1 lb large flake oats
6 cups puffed millet cereal
1/4 cup uncooked millet

1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup stevia baking blend or 2 tbls uncut powdered stevia
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tbls blackstrap molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 t…

This Corn is Amaizing! Amaize Sweet Corn Product Review

Recently I was asked if I would review Amaize Sweet Corn, a rare breed of corn now available in Loblaws stores in Toronto and exclusive stores in several cities across the U.S.  It is grown in Idaho and is entirely non-GMO.

Corn on the cob is popular in our house, the girls and Adam are always happy to see it on the dinner table.  Corn on the cob, brings back fond summer memories for me of backyard barbeques and visiting my grandparents at their summer home in the Berkshire mountains.

We decided to try it out one night recently when Adam was out at a concert.  Originally, I gave the girls each an ear and put the other two on my own plate.  The girls dug in first and finished theirs before I had started mine.  They then both began to object to the fact that I had two.  Being the great mom that I am, I cut one of mine in half and gave them each another half, which they quickly devoured before I had finished mine.

The girls were disappointed that we were only sent 4 ears!  Amaize is def…

I Am the Luckiest Woman

Say hello to my little friend...

Okay Adam may not love vegan food nor giving me back rubs, but he is still a pretty awesome husband.  He decided I should have a high speed blender ASAP.  Now granted, my $30 Big Boss has been on its way to dying for a while (blade got loose so liquid would leak out bottom into the motor (not good!), but these things are an investment!  That being said, I've been using it pretty much daily since getting it.  The girls want smoothies, I want coffee frappes and I've been pureeing fruits and veggies and even making baked goods in it.  Oh my, it totally rocks!  I have also been using it, whenever possible, instead of my Kitchen Aid food processor because it is so much easier to clean...which is a huge added bonus, in my mind.

So the weekend in New York was bittersweet.  It was nice to see family I haven't seen in a long time, but it also made me sad as usually my grandmother would be there when I would see these cousins.  Ironically, the last f…

Chocolate Chip Red Velvet Muffins (Gluten-Free & Sugar-Free)

Adam always complains that I make all sorts of tasty looking treats but won't let him touch them, because they are for the girls' lunch boxes.  So I made these just for him.

This is another recipe that makes me feel very sly because they taste so sinful (even Adam said they HAD to be loaded with calories), but are really pretty healthy.  They even contain beets...a lot of beets...a veggie that is not one of Adam's favorites.  Ha!

Open your mind and you open the possibility of great tasting super healthy food.

Chocolate Chip Red Velvet Muffins (Gluten-Free & Sugar-Free)

4 cups beet puree (about 3 lb beets, roasted and peeled)
4 eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup buttermilk (or milk + 1 tbls cider vinegar)
1 cup stevia baking blend (or xylitol, erythritol or coconut sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar-free chocolate chips

Blend wet ingredients in food processor until smooth. …

The Loss of A Very Special Woman

This picture was taken of myself, with my mom, my grandmother Ruth, and Big A, when Big A was just 2 months old (so 8 years ago!).  On Sunday morning we lost GG Ruth.  Even though, given her age (95), we knew this day would be coming soon, it was still a shock.  I think there is a part of everyone who knew her that somehow she would always be around.  She was certainly a force to be reckoned with!

Even though she hasn't been herself for the past few years, she still charmed everyone she met.  Each time I came to visit, the staff from the nursing home would pop in to her room to tell me just how much they adored her.  Her quick wit, strength and intelligence were still evident even to those who didn't know her beforehand.

When I got the news, it felt the same way it did when my grandpa Joe died, and I was just 13 at the time.  Like a punch in the gut.  My grandma never really got over his death, by the way. There was some serious love between those two.  Ironically, in the las…