Thursday, May 31, 2012

Foodie PenPals - Reveal Day!

   I'm so excited to be participating in May's Foodie Pen Pals!  I mean, who doesn't love to get presents in the mail?  Food presents no less.  This is my first month participating and I can't say enough about how much I loved it.  Not only do you get some yummy goodies in the mail but you get to meet some pretty cool people as well.  Thanks to Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean for hosting.

The Lean Green Bean

   This month I was paired up with Marissa and Vicky.  I sent Marissa a package and Vicky sent me one.  Marissa is a reader from Edmonton, Alberta currently working towards a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing.  I must say that I had so much fun shopping for Marissa.
   Vicky is a blogger at menubyvicky.  If you haven't visited her blog yet you must check it out... when you're done here, of course!  Ha.  Vicky has some super yummy recipes (a few that I plan on veganizing!) and she's pretty funny too!

Anyway, onto the yummy goodies!

It was like Christmas morning when I finally received my package!

A thoughtful note from Vicky...
The contents of my package...
Bumble Bar!  I've always wanted to try these but never got around to buying them.  I opened the Hazelnut one to try and it's pretty good!  Not what I expected but I liked it.

Cashews!  I usually only eat RAW cashews but I was so excited to see this in the package.  I tried these later on and all I can say is OMG!  These are unbelievable.  I had to stop myself from eating the whole bag in one go!

I love that she sent me some seeds to grow my own fresh herbs!  I cannot wait to plant these on the weekend. 
I really liked the write-up on the bottom of the Sage packet: "Sun loving kitchen herb whose purple flowers attract hummingbirds."  I hope I attract some hummingbirds by my kitchen window!
This was the first thing I opened when I recieved my package.  I was so intrigued by the name - Buckwheat Snack - I just had to try it right away!

Umm... it was totally yummy!  Sweet and chewy and full of nutritional goodness!  I am definitely going to be on the look out for this the next time I'm at the store!

After sampling some of the goodies it was time to put them away so that I wouldn't go crazy and eat everything in one go!

Hopefully this cupcake cookie jar will do it's job and keep these goodies away from me! 
   There you have it - my Foodie Pen Pal treats.  Thank you so much Vicky!

If you like what you see and want to participate next month here's the 411 (direct from Lindsay's page):

On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
  • -You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
  • -The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treatsThe spending limit is $15The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
  • -You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
  • -Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
  • - Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK residents.  
Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada! ***If you’re in Europe, please contact Carol Anne from This Is Rock Salt at to get involved!

Ves xx

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday OR WIAW #1

  Hey guys!  So, I thought I would try something new over here at L&L in the form of "What I Ate Wednesday's".  Jenn, over at Peas and Crayons, is the creator and host of this weekly Wednesday food party.  I've seen so many bloggers posting their eats so I thought, why not?  I can do it too!  I mean, you guys already know what I eat for the most part, but this would be an entire day of food.  Yikes! Also, this may or may not be my only WIAW post because I don't want to bore you guys with the sameness of my meals!  I basically eat the same thing all the time!  If I do decide to do more of these I will try and shake up my meals... or maybe not?  Ha.

Well, here goes:

As soon as I wake up I have a glass of room temperature water with a squirt of lemon.
    I can't eat or drink anything until I've had my water with lemon.  I've been doing this for a year and I can't imagine not doing it.  It's very alkalizing and gently wakes up my system while flushing the toxins away.  It also kick starts the metabolism. (bonus!)

Smoothie time!  My go-to breakfast.
   I pretty much always have a 'green' smoothie for breakfast.  This one actually looks kind of brown but that's just my awesome camera.  It was actually an orange/pink color.  I didn't have a lot of greens in the fridge so this is just one handful of spinach with some strawberries, mango and banana.  It was really yummy!  I had this again for a snack later in the day but I didn't remember to take a picture.  Ooops! 

Coffee!  Black please! :)
 No explanation needed.  I love coffee!  I have another cup later on depending on when my lunch break is (no pic - sorry!).  I used to drink way too much coffee (is there such a thing?) but I've really cut back since learning about the negative side of coffee.  Boo.  Unfortunately, coffee is not so great for my skin so I try and limit how much I have.  *sigh*

   I mean, if you had to guess I'm sure you would have guessed that I would have salad at some point in my day!  I almost always have salad for lunch unless I'm too lazy in the morning and then it's another smoothie.  This salad was basically just spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, sprouts, with a balsamic dressing.  I also ALWAYS add nutritional yeast and hemp seeds to my salad. 

Umm... a snack before dinner?
   Okay, don't judge.  I totally had (what appears to be) a huge glass of wine but it's really mostly ice!  I had to take my cat to the vet's tonight after work.  She's what you'd call the "Fiji Vacation I never took".  But she's totally worth it!
  Look at that face!  She kinda looks a little chubby in this photo but that's not the case in real life.  Anyway, the vet gave me some pills for the little cutie so that's why I needed the wine... I have to mentally prepare myself to give her the meds tomorrow.  Yikes! 

Mmm... vegan Pad Thai!
   I wasn't too hungry after my little picnic on the balcony but I did have a few fork fulls of this leftover Pad Thai (while standing at the kitchen counter!).  Last night a friend and I went out for dinner at a local Thai/Vietnamese place called Lemon Grass.  We each had the Pad Thai except that mine was Vegan and hers was not.  It was so yummy and if you're in the area I would totally recommend this place.  My sis and I also ordered take-out from here before and were not disappointed.

   Well, there you have it!  A day in the life of my eats!  If I do this again next week I will try super hard to remember to photograph everything, because there was definitely some coffee and smoothie left out!

  I hope you enjoyed it!  Let me know what some of your 'staple' eats are and don't forget to head over to Peas and Crayons to see some other WIAW posts!

Ves xx

Saturday, May 26, 2012

All BEET Burgers!

   Yes, you read that right, and no, it's not a typo.  Beet Burgers!  I was so excited when I stumbled upon this recipe a while back.  This one comes from IsaChandra over at the Post Punk Kitchen.  I love finding new ways to make veggie burgers and I absolutely love when it's as super simple as this one.  I pretty much followed the recipe except that I made my burgers mini-sized. I also subbed some ingredients and increased the amounts of others, and I added in my own spices.  Okay, maybe I didn't follow it to the "T" but I did add the main ingredients (rice, lentils and beets) so it's kinda the same! Ha.

Here's how mine came together...

Whizzing away in the food processor until... all comes together and looks freakishly like meat! 
Ready for the oven.  I love that you can see chunks of onion, it reminds me of my mom's burgers.
Done!  I tried getting that charred look by putting them under the broiler.  Next time I will totally try and barbecue these!
All stacked lookin' fancy... ha.
Ready to eat!  This was really messy to eat but also really yummy!

    I don't usually buy bread or really eat too much of it so I used the sprouted bread that I had in the freezer and just trimmed it up a bit to form a bun.  That's probably why it was super messy to eat.  Ha.  I guess next time I'll have to suck it up and buy some buns, which I'm pretty sure will please whoever else will be eating these with me! Also, I'm a sprout lover so I had to add sprouts to this burger, and I never eat a burger without a tomato or two.  Finally, the only spread that I use on my burgers is usually mustard.  When it comes to mustard, I don't discriminate.  I buy whatever looks good - yellow, dijon, sweet onion, etc.  For this particular burger I also put some salsa on it... I can't help it, I love salsa! 

Here's the link to the original recipe:  Quarter Pounder Beet Burgers

Ves xx 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Aww, shucks... I'm speechless!

   Oh my goodness!  I’ve received a nomination for the Food Stories Award for Excellence in Storytelling from Vicky over at menubyvicky.  Thanks!... and what?!  I am so flattered.  It feels really good to know that not only do people read my blog they also enjoy it! 
So here's the 411 on how it works: 

1. The nominee should visit the award site ( and leave a comment indicating that they have been nominated and by whom. (This step is so important because it’s the only way our judges will know who is being considered for the monthly presentation).
2. The Nominee should thank the person that nominated them by posting & including a link to their blog.
3. Share one random thing about yourself in your blog post.
4. Select at least five other bloggers that you enjoy reading their stories and nominate them for the award.
5. Notify your nominees by leaving a comment on their blog, including a link to the award site (
Food Stories will put together a team of judges to review all nominees and to select a Food Stories Award Winner for each month. More information to come on what fabulous opportunities await for those lucky winners!

My nominees are: (they're not all vegan but lot's of great writing!)

One Random Fact:  I can eat mustard by the spoonful.  I dip my veggies in mustard.  I dip pretzel sticks in mustard.  I dip my fingers in mustard.  I love mustard! ;)

Thanks again for the nomination Vicky!

Ves xx

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bake Sale Re-cap!

   It has been so crazy busy these past couple of weeks!  Even though I just had a long weekend I feel like I need another one just to unwind from the first one.  Make sense?
   It was moving day for my sister this weekend so I was busy helping with that.  Plus, we are slowly trying to pack up my parents house as they prepare to move to Nova Scotia... like really soon.  Yikes!  So with all of this craziness I haven't had a chance to post about the outcome of my bake sale!
   First of all the weather was amazing!  The sun was shining and the temp. was warm.  The only downside was that it was a bit windy in our location.  Otherwise, it was a perfect day.  I had tons of sweets made by me, my mom, my aunt, a couple of friends and two small trays donated by a local bakery.

   Here's what some of the goodies looked like:

Shortbread cookies!

Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles


   We had an amazing turn out and I'm so thankful to everyone who came out and bought yummy treats.  One family actually thought we were a bakery and asked my mom and I if we would make her son's birthday cake.  How flattering!  We had a couple of families that came out twice in one day.  And a few people passed by without knowing we were there so they went back home or to their cars to get money to buy some goodies!
   We raised just over $700 for Snooters Farm Animal Sanctuary and I couldn't be more thrilled with the amount! 
   This was such a wonderful experience and I would definitely participate in this again.  My volunteers were amazing and I couldn't have pulled this together without them.  You should know that I am the worst person for handing out tasks, but these people knew exactly what to do without me having to say anything!  Love them to pieces for being so fabulously intuitive!

Some more goodies...
Peanut Butter Cookies, Almond Cookies, Pignoli Cookies, Chocolate Truffles...

Shortbread, Peanut Butter Truffles and Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Yum, Yum!

Ves xx

Saturday, May 12, 2012

To The Most Amazing Woman I know!

   I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend and spoiling their mommy's appropriately!  I just wanted to send a quick shout out to my mom on this gorgeous Mother's Day weekend.

  Happy Mother's Day Mommy! Have an amazing day and DO NOT lift a finger around the house!  You deserve to be spoiled rotten today and everyday!

Thank you for being the best Mom in the world!

Love you so much!!
Vesna xoxo

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Happy 'One Year' to my Little Blog! (and so many other things...)

   I can't believe it's been an entire year of blogging.  Yay me!  I'm so happy that I decided to start this blog.  It's been a crazy year with lots of changes.  Mostly great, with lots of ups but there have been some downs as well.  We've had some losses this year - my sweet cat Bella - and most recently - our family dog, Bailey.  It's felt so good to be able to write about the things that are happening in my life and to have a place to share it with others.  Thank you so much for listening/reading and I hope you have enjoyed it so far!

Bailey xx

Bailey in our backyard
Spice dog and Bailey
   We all miss Bailey so much but are comforted in the fact that she will be reunited with her best-friend Spice.  xx
You can put your kleenex away now... (mom)

Bake Sale update:

   Well, I have been up to my eyeballs in baking!  And although I LOVE to bake - it's been a bit much.  Today I made six different bars and cookies.  Yum and Yikes!  On the other hand, spending that much time in the kitchen has given me the chance to catch up on This American Life.  It's been so long since I've had a chance to listen to that podcast that it felt so good to tune into back to back episodes.  Tomorrow will be more of the same except instead of listening to a podcast I'll be listening to lectures from school.
   I passed by my parents house tonight to drop off my baked goods (they are storing them in the freezer for me) and got a glimpse of some of the goodies that my mom has made so far.  People will be in for a treat on Saturday.  My mom is the best baker this side of anywhere, hands down! 

Here are a couple of the goodies that I made today...

Cranberry Shortbread Cookies

Lemon Cookies
   Neither of these are my recipes so I think it's okay if I say that both of these cookies are SO yummy!  The Lemon Cookies are especially delicious.  I tweaked the recipe a bit and added more lemon to them.  They may look cute and simple but these cookies pack a flavor punch!  I literally had to leave the kitchen and turn out the lights so that I wouldn't eat more than one!  I hope these make it to the bake sale. :-s
Here is a link to the original recipe.  I added more lemon to mine and omitted the peppermint extract.  Instead, I added some lemon extract.  Mmm...

I totally forgot to take pictures of half the things I've made so far!  Oops.  Hopefully tomorrow I'll remember to take some more pictures.

I can't believe the bake sale is this weekend!  I feel like there is so much left to do and yet we have done so much already!  Remember, if you're planning on being in the Hamilton area please stop by the bake sale!  You can feel good about supporting a great cause while simultaneously buying some yummy treats for yourself or to share with your mom on Mother's Day!
(*We will be in front of Templemead School ---> click to see the map*)

Til next time...

Love you Bailey xo

Ves xx

Sunday, May 06, 2012

"April Showers Bring May Flowers"

   Hello all!  I hope you've enjoyed your weekend because I definitely have!  It's the end of the first day of my "Baking Marathon" for the bake sale but unfortunately, I had so much to do today that I hardly got any baking done.  With a super full morning and some visitors in the afternoon, I finally got around to shopping for my ingredients at about 4:30pm and started baking at about 6pm.  Needless to say, I only got a couple of things done.  I was able to make a batch of my chocolate chip cookies, and two trays of shortbread cookies.  I have two other cookie doughs chilling in the fridge which I will roll out and bake in the morning.  I hope that I'm able to get way more done tomorrow!

   Here's what my shortbread cookies look like...

   These cookies will look even better when I wrap them up for the bake sale! 

Stay tuned for more goodies tomorrow...

Ves xx

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Let's Have a Fiesta!

   Happy Cinco de Mayo, my friends!  I've been so busy preparing for my Bake Sale that I haven't had a lot of free time to post anything new.  But, there was no way that I was going to let a glorified American holiday Mexican Holiday pass by without a mention!  I grew up celebrating this holiday the way any self respecting American from California would:  I pretended to know what it was about while simultaneously participating in my school's festivals and eating Mexican food.  Ole!  And today is no different!  Except that I no longer live in California, and I know a little bit more about Cinco de Mayo than I did when I was a kid.  FYI:  From what I hear from some of my Mexican friends... no one in Mexico actually celebrates this day.  It's totally Americanized.  But guess what?  I don't care!  Any excuse to eat Mexican food is fine by me!  Pass the vegan Burrito, please!  In fact, that's what's for dinner tonight.

   Unfortunately, I didn't have time to cook, so 'dinner' is a frozen burrito from the "Amy's" line of frozen food.  I've never actually had anything of theirs so I thought I would try the burrito in honor of Cinco de Mayo.  You can microwave this for about a minute or stick it in the oven for 50-55 minutes.  I don't own a microwave so into the oven it went for about an hour.  I must say, even though I was starving by the time this was ready, I much prefer waiting an hour for something that's crispy on the outside and hot on the inside rather than a soggy half hot/half cold burrito from the micro.  No bueno.  Just before the burrito was ready, I whipped up a simple spring salad with tomatoes and a simple lemon vinaigrette topped with nooch and hemp seeds (of course!).

Here's what dinner looked like:
So yummy!
   The burrito was actually really good!  It had a bit of a kick to it which I like because I enjoy spicy food.  If I had an avocado left I would have made guacamole to go with this but, instead I dipped the burrito in some salsa.  It really doesn't need to be dipped in anything though, I just really like salsa! Ha.

   Bake Sale Update:  I've been super busy preparing lists of things to pick up before the marathon baking begins.  I'm happy to say that all of the containers and things have been purchased, flyers have been printed and are being handed out daily, and announcements have been made on FB, Kijiji, and Pinterest. (<--- every little bit helps!)

Sestres Coffee Shop has graciously offered to donate trays of vegan and gluten free goodies!  Yay!!  And starting tomorrow, the Marathon Baking begins!  Tune in throughout the week as I will be posting pictures of the goodies as I bake them. (and maybe a recipe or two as well!)

I hope you are all enjoying Cinco de Mayo in your own fabulous way! 

Adios for now...

Ves xx
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