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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