Saturday, December 24, 2011

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas!

   Hi everyone!  I just wanted to leave a quick note and wish a VERY Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!  Enjoy this time with your loved ones and eat, drink and laugh a whole lot!
Oh, and here's a little sample of what we made today:
Semi-raw bee-hive cookies with a lemon kream filling. Vegan!
   We had so much fun making these little bee-hive cookies!  Aren't they adorable?  I'll share the recipe in an upcoming post.  I'm told they taste really yummy but, unfortunately (for me) I lost my taste buds today because I'm so congested (boo) so I can't give you my opinion.  I'm hoping I get my taste back in the morning because I'm totally having one of these for breakfast!

Enjoy your Holidays!
Ves xx

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad! Mele Kalikimaka!

   I love the holidays!  Especially spending time with my family, baking yummy treats, and eating tons of delicious food!  I'm really excited about the time off of work as well.  I wish I could say that I'd be relaxing, but what I really need to be doing is homework.  I've been neglecting it a bit, especially this week, which means I have lots to catch up on!
Aren't they cute!?
    But, I won't bore you with anymore homework talk.  And by the way, I do plan to spend a bit of time baking, hanging out with the family and of course, Boxing Day shopping.  If you're not Canadian, Google "Boxing Day" and you'll understand.  I also need to get over this cold that I finally caught.  Trust me, you're bound to catch one when you have tiny children sneezing on you all day and all of your friends and family seem to be sick as well!
   Anyway, I promised you some info about my raw food workshop that I attended and I'm sorry it's taken me this long to post!  Here goes:   
The location...
   The workshop was held at Marbles Restaurant where Renee (our host) is a Raw Food Chef.  It's a cozy restaurant with a charming atmosphere.  Renee was very enthusiastic and informative.
   She began by introducing herself and talking about why she went raw in the first place.  She initially went raw to try and clear up a skin disease when nothing else would help.  Well, she cleared it up and after 6 years on the raw food diet she's still loving it.
   We talked about what it means to eat raw foods (foods that are whole and unprocessed and still have there enzymes intact).  We covered some raw food basics like equipment: a blender and a knife is really all you need to get started.  You may also like to have a food processor, juicer and dehydrator down the line.  We also went through some pantry essentials, like raw nuts, seeds, herbs and spices, fresh produce, etc. 
Here's what we ate:
Pasta Marinara with sesame seed parm and microgreens

Chocolate truffles with cashew kream
   The food was of course super delicious and definitely great for people new to raw food.  No crazy ingredients to scare the newbies away!  I'm glad I went and would totally go to something like this again.
   Anyway, I also promised you some holiday baking!  Well, I'll definitely have more pictures and recipes soon, as we plan to do some baking tomorrow on Christmas Eve (fingers crossed that I'll be well enough to participate).  But, here's a pic of a couple of goodies that my mom made the other day (yes, they're vegan).
   She made way more than this and different kinds too, but they were gone by the time I thought to take a picture! Ha.  I'll try and do better tomorrow!
   Oh, and one last thing.  I've been trying to beat this cold for a while with lots of green juices and smoothies, and even though it finally caught up to me, I'm still going strong with them.  Here's what breakfast has been looking like lately:
Cucumber, lime, celery, romaine.
    If you haven't tried a green juice yet, you really should.  You won't believe how much energy you have after drinking it!

Have a wonderful holiday!  May it be filled with joy and laughter, family, friends, food and fun! (and maybe a green juice or two!) 

Merry Christmas!
Ves xx

Friday, December 09, 2011

So... what's NEW with you?

   I have been so busy lately that I've been neglecting one of my favorite things:  my blog!  I don't like when I stay away for so long but unfortunately it can't be helped.  I've been so busy lately and will continue to be busy, so I thought I would share with you what's been going on with me.  *inhale*

   First of all, I haven't really talked about school with all of you.  Those of you who know me, know that I've "gone back to school" in the sense that I am taking a course through distant education.  I'm studying to become a Holistic Health Coach through The Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  It's really exciting and I'm learning a lot!  For some people it may seem like it came out of left field, but, for those who know me it seems like the 'right' next step.  Since changing my diet and essentially my lifestyle, I haven't been able to stop reading and learning about healthy living.  I also find myself answering questions and giving advice to so many people that I figure, why not go to school and properly train for this?  So, I did my "homework" and researched a ton of different programs and finally chose the one from IIN.   It teaches over 100 dietary theories and many of them by the forefront educator or speaker for that theory.  I'll be hearing lectures from David Wolfe, Deepak Chopra, and Andrew Weil, just to name a few.  The main focus, or teaching, is of a well rounded, holistic lifestyle, which I firmly believe in.  I'll keep you guys up to speed and let you know when I'm able to take clients.
    Oh, did I mention that I'm still working full time while I complete this course?  Yup, I am.  And some days I feel as if I can't breathe because I have so much to do!  But, that's okay, because I love my job and I love this course.  I'll just work on time management and try not to do everything all at once!
My new living room?
     The next thing I have going on is that I'm moving!  I'm so excited about this as well!  And, even though I won't be moving for another month and a half, I can't seem to stop decorating the apartment in my mind, and searching for furniture and paint colors on the internet.  Talk about time consuming... but oh, so much fun!
Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles!

   In the midst of all this, I'm also knee deep in Holiday prep and fun!  'Tis the season' for Holiday parties, gatherings, baking, and shopping!  I love the Holidays and tend to go all out at work and at home.  My favorite thing of course is the baking!  Recently, I made the most delicious Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles from the genius herself, Isa Chandra over at the  I brought these to a Holiday gathering where everyone loved them, but they almost didn't make it there... my family almost gobbled them all up!  I'm getting ready for more holiday baking... some new recipes plus veganizing old, loved recipes... so stay tuned for that! 
   The last thing I want to share with you is that I'm going to a RAW Cooking Class with my Aunt tomorrow!  I'm most excited about this because I get to share with you guys everything that I learn!  I'll be charging my camera battery tonight and making sure that there's plenty of memory as I plan to take tons of pictures and notes to share with you guys!  I have no idea what we'll be making or how many people will be there but I'm excited to meet the chef and also more 'like-minded' people.  *exhale*
  Stay tuned for my next post where I'll be sharing pics from the raw food class!  Also, if you have any questions about health coaching or if you'd like to be a part of my mailing list, leave a comment below or send me an email!

Have a fabulous weekend,
Ves xx

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Re-cap

   I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, and, if you're American, I hope your Thanksgiving was stress-free and delicious!
   We had such a fabulous Thanksgiving and I would just like to take a minute to thank my family for being so wonderful and supportive.  I was thrilled that everyone ate the food and even liked it!  I think for some of them it was their first time having tofu, and if not then it was definitely their first time having 'wheat meat' (more on that later).  It was not without the usual jokes and comedy, though, especially from the guys, but it was all in good fun.  "Pass the peameal bacon and pork chops, please", was one of their favorite things to shout.  But as long as they ate it, I didn't care what they called it.  They also kept asking me when we would be eating Raphael... my turkey that I adopted.  Ha, ha, so funny.  I think they're just jealous that they didn't adopt one too!
   Anyway, I promised some photos and recipes of our dinner, so here goes... Just a heads up, I don't have photos of all the food because I'm usually the only one who takes pictures at these functions, and I was kind of busy. (ha!) So I have some photos of the appetizers and dessert, because I made them ahead of time.  Sorry about that! 
Grilled Cheese and Apple
 So easy and yummy!

Grilled Cheese and Apple on a Baguette

1 Whole Grain Baguette
1 large apple, thinly sliced (I used Honey Crisp)
Dijon Mustard
Vegan Mozzarella Cheese (I used Daiya)

To make:
1. Slice the baguette on a diagonal and toast in the oven on 350, turning once, until slightly crispy.
2. Remove baguette from the oven and turn the oven setting to Broil.
3. Spread about 1/2 a tsp or so of Dijon mustard on each baguette slice.
4. Add a slice of apple and a sprinkling of Daiya cheese.
5. Put the baguette slices on a baking sheet and place it in the broiler.  Leave it in for a few minutes, until the cheese has melted and is a bit bubbly.
Serve warm.

 Cheese Log
Cheese plate with walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chestnuts, and cranberries.

Cheese log with walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chestnuts, and chili flakes.


Chestnut, Cranberry and Sausage Stuffing
Makes about 10+ Servings

10-13 cups of bread cubes (any variety you’d prefer) (day old or toast in oven for 15 minutes to dry out)
3 - 5 Tbsp of Earth Balance (vegan butter)
2 cups celery, chopped
1 1/2 cups onion
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup parsnip, chopped
1 cup flat parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp “poultry seasoning” spice blend
1 1/2 cups chopped chestnuts (cooked)
salt (to taste)
1 cup apple, chopped
2 cups veggie broth
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup vegan sausage, chopped into bite-sized pieces (I used Tofurky brand Vegan Polish Sausage, but you can use whatever you like.)

To make:
1. Prep all your ingredients.
2. Saute the diced sausage in a pan until a bit crispy and slightly brown.  Set aside.
3. In a large pot on medium heat, melt the vegan butter and add your celery, onion, carrots, parsnips and seasonings.  Saute until veggies have softened.
4. Add in the parsley, chestnuts, cranberries and apples. Mix together and saute until tender.
5. Add in the walnuts and veggie broth.  Let simmer for a minute before adding your bread cubes.
6. Carefully fold in your bread cubes until just moistened.  Do a taste test and adjust your seasonings.  You may also need to add a bit more bread or broth depending on how wet or dry your stuffing is
7. Finally, add in your sausage bits and then transfer your stuffing to a baking dish.
8. Bake at 350 for about 20 - 25 minutes or until the stuffing has toasted and browned a bit on the outer layer.

"The Main"
Chickpea Cutlets
Photo from the PPK website

Instead of making the Tempeh I decided to make some Chickpea Cutlets that I found on The Post Punk Kitchen website.  Check the recipe out here.

The Dessert

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake
Before going in the oven...

After baking... so yummy!
   I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the food we had on Thanksgiving.  There was so much more food but this post is long enough already!  Ha! Oh, and here's a look at me with a photo of my turkey, Raphael!

Ves xx

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Thanksgiving Menu

  I'm so excited to share my Thanksgiving Menu with everyone!  This is my first year hosting a completely vegan Thanksgiving and I am so thankful that my family members are on board.
Here's what I'm making:
For Starters
Grilled 'Cheese' and Apple on a Baguette
'Cheese' and Tempeh Bites

On the Side
Fennel & Citrus Salad
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Zesty Asparagus

Main Attraction
Chestnut, Cranberry and 'Sausage' Stuffing
Sweet and Tangy Tofu Steaks
'Sausage' Stuffed Fillo Purses

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

Mulled Wine with Cider
Assorted Vegan Wines:
MASI - Pinot Grigio
Yellow Tail - Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon
Duck Pond Cellars - Gewurztraminer

   I'm so excited to get in the kitchen and start cooking!  I will be adding some photos and recipes after Thanksgiving so stay tuned.

Happy Thanksgiving to my family, all my American friends and readers AND to any American's living in Canada (or wherever) like me!  Ha!

Ves xx


   Take a look at what I did...

   It's not too late!  Visit Farm Sanctuary's Adopt-a-Turkey project and help save a turkey's life this Thanksgiving!

Cheers to a kind Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Natural Products... Make-up!

   Ooh La La!  Yeah, I like to say that sometimes when I've finished my make-up application.  Who doesn't?  After taking the time to apply your make-up just right, you should definitely stand back and give yourself the 'nod', or the "wink and the gun".  Whatever floats your boat!
   I'm especially happy when I know that I'm using products that aren't too harsh on my skin and have ingredients that I recognize.  So I'm really excited to share with you some new things that I've tried and some great products that I've been using for a while.  Like I've said before (here), I love buying and testing new products, especially if they're good for me.  That being said, I don't believe in waste and only buy new things when I run out.  So please don't run out and buy a new eyeshadow because you want to be kinder to the planet or animals, but you already have twenty in your make-up bag.  Trust me, you're being kind to the planet just by using those up first! 
   So here is my list... Some of these products I love and some I like but ALL are natural and Vegan.  Enjoy!


   I absolutely love this make-up and have been using it for almost a year.  It feels great on my skin and looks amazing, too!  
Ingredients: Mica, Titanium Dioxide , Zinc Oxide , Iron Oxides.

  This foundation is just as fabulous as bellapierre but, in addition to caring about your skin, Alima Pure is also a cruelty-free company.  They don't test their products or ingredients on animals, and they're a member of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) as well as The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics.
Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Mica. May contain [+/-]: Iron Oxides. Nothing more.

Bare Minerals SPF 15 Foundation
   I haven't actually used this brand but I've heard good things about it.
Ingredients: Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 12.6%, Zinc Oxide 21%. Inactive Ingredients: Bismuth Oxychloride, Mica, Iron Oxides, Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide 

   These are all so pretty but my favorite is Alima Pure.  The colors go on so smooth and look great!  A little goes a long way with these products!

 Ingredients: Mica (CI 77019), May contain [+/-]: Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891). Nothing more.
 Ingredients: Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides

Ingredients: Micronized Titanium Dioxide SPF 20 (non chemical sunblock)
, Bismuth Oxychloride (has anti inflammatory properties)
, Zinc Oxide (has anti inflammatory properties)
, Iron Oxides (the source of color)

Ingredients:   Mica, Bismuth Oxychloride
, Titanium Dioxide
, Iron Oxides
, Carmine

Eye Shadow:
ALIMA PURE Luminous Shimmer Eye shadow
   Theirs is the only eye shadow that I've tried so far, and I love it!  They offer great colors and long wears.  What I enjoy about this company is that you can actually order samples of products to try.  Each sample size costs about $1.50 and comes in a small container.  It lasts for quite a few uses as well so it's a good idea if you don't want to commit to a full size product.
Ingredients: Mica (CI 77019), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Ferric Ferrocyanide (CI 77510).

   My absolute favorite mascara so far is the one from 100% Pure.  It's amazing!!  It lengthens my lashes, smells great and is completely natural!  I wasn't a huge fan of the ZuZu Luxe mascara but I do know that others really like it. 
100% PURE Fruit Pigmented Mascara
Ingredients: Organic Green Tea, Vitamin E (a-tocopherol), Honey Beeswax, Contains All or some of the following Pigments: Blackberry, Blueberry, Black Tea, Grape Skin, Pomegranate, Acai Berry, Boysenberry, Blackcurrant and Raspberry, Oat Protein, Wheat Protein, Provitamin B5, Seaweed Powder, Coconut Stearic acid, Mica (for shimmer in the Blackberry and Blueberry), Cocoa Butter, Pearl Powder, Rice Powder, Cacao Powder and Powdered Coffee Beans, Lavender Honey, Extracts of Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary, Lavender and Golden Seal  

Ingredients: Aqua (infusion of aloe barbadensis leaf juice), cellulose gum, sorbitol, stearic acid, cetearyl alcohol, lecithin, panthenol, sea fennel extract, tocopheryl acetate, eyebright extract, xanthan gum, iron oxides, hectorite, titanium dioxide, potassium sorbate
An FYI about cetearyl alcohol:  Sometimes it can be made from animal ingredients but in this mascara, it's made from vegetable sources.  

 ECCO BELLA FlowerColor Natural Mascara
Ingredients:  Purified water, carnauba wax, palmitic acid (from palm oil), clay, methylparaben, propylparaben, iron oxides. 
I haven't tried this one, but I've heard good things about it.  However, they use parabens so keep that in mind if you want to try it. 

  That's my list so far.  I haven't gotten around to trying any new lip liners, lipsticks, or many eye shadows.  I wasn't kidding when I said I was a product junkie, so it's going to take me a while to use up all of the products that I already have.

  I'll keep adding to this list as I discover new favorites.  Feel free to let me know what you're favorites are, too!

Ves xx

Ps: Don't forget to check out my favorite products if you haven't already!  Just click here. :-o)

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Green Kids...

   I just found this blog and then came across this video that I absolutely have to share with you.  These kids are too cute and I love how the little boy is about to have a fit cause he can't wait any longer for the smoothie!!  Must watch! 
Make one of these and then watch the video!
My Go-to Green Smoothie
(makes 2 servings)
1 cup coconut water
1 cup purified water
1 Banana
1/2 cucumber
1 cup fruit, fresh or frozen (such as berries or an apple, pear, etc.)
2 large handfuls spinach (or other leafy green)
1 tbsp Almond Butter
1 tsp cinnamon
Agave to sweeten (optional)
1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp Spirulina (optional)
1/2 tsp Do Matcha green tea powder (optional)
2 tbsp Hemp seeds OR Hemp Protein (optional)

Pour everything in a blender and process on high speed until smooth.  Pour in two glasses and serve with straws.  Enjoy!

Click here ---->  Green Kids 

Ves xx
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