Tag Archives: Vegan

vegan peasant feast


My vegan peasant feast…


  • Rustic sundried tomato bread with spelt flour
  • Roasted veggies with balsamic vinegar and chickpeas
  • Herbed polenta
  • Steamed greens (kale and red chard)

I don’t know if this meal is actually what peasants eat, did eat or would eat but it felt like they might. It was very rustic and homey feeling. Just as my son’s play date arrived, I started preparing the meal, about 2 pm. Bread dough was first up, while it was rising I started roasting the veggies and chickpeas. Then when the bread was ready to bake, shortly after I started the polenta. Just before the bread and polenta were ready I slide the veggies and chickpeas back into the oven to warm. By the time we had our fill and I washed up the dishes it was 6:08 pm. I’d say that was time well spent. If I hadn’t made the bread it would’ve been about an hour, actually less because I would roast the veggies for less time.


Roasted Vegetables with balsamic vinegar and chickpeas

I have a love affair with roasted chickpeas so when I stumbled upon the Roasted vegetables with chickpeas recipe in a new vegan cookbook my husband gave me called Easy Vegan, it was a no brainer. I tweaked the recipe a little to suit my own taste. This is my version.

1 onion, peeled and cut through the core into wedges

8-10 large cremini mushrooms, quartered

12 cherry/grape tomatoes

1 head of garlic, separated and not peeled

1 red/yellow/orange pepper sliced (use 1 or 1 of each)

1 carrot, not peeled and sliced thickly

1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

For balsamic glaze:

2-4 tbsp olive oil

1/4-1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (depending how many veggies you use)

1-2 tsp rosemary (fresh or dried)

1 tsp thyme (fresh or dried)

1 tbsp fresh italian parsley

Just so you know, I didn’t actually measure the balsamic ingredients, I just poured them on. Now that I got that out of the way here’s what I did. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a large cookie sheet with oil or parchment paper. In a large bowl combine all veggies (not the chickpeas, yet). Pour on the balsamic ingredients and toss gently, let marinade 30 mins-2hrs or overnight if you have the foresight. FYI, I didn’t marinade mine at all. Spread the veggies and all the marinade (should be a little puddle) on the prepared cookie sheet and put on the middle rack in the oven for 30 mins. Take the veggies out, add the chickpeas and toss with the veggies, turn the oven up to 400 F and put back in the oven for 30 mins, turning at least twice during cooking time.

Herbed polenta

Polenta is such a quick and easy grain dish to prepare. For me, it never seems to take as long as they say it does in the cookbooks. Mine is usually done in about 15 mins, unless I’m going to cool it and cut it into pieces and re-heat it.

1 cup cornmeal

3 cups water or vegetable broth (1/2 cup more if needed)

1 tsp sea salt

1/2-1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp rosemary (optional)

1/2 tsp thyme (optional)

In a large saucepan bring the water or broth to a boil, add herbs, salt and olive oil. Reduce heat to medium and slowly whisk in the cornmeal, adding gradually and stirring constantly, so you don’t get lumps (also builds nice arm muscles, be sure to switch hands to even the arms out lol). Reduce heat to low and continue cooking, stirring frequently until thickened, approx. 15 mins or 30-40 mins according to other chefs. You can serve the polenta at this point or spoon the polenta into a lightly oiled 8 or 10 in baking dish and spread evenly over the bottom. Refridgerate until cooled and firm, approx 30 mins. Slice the polenta into rectangles or triangles and heat in the oven or on stove top.

Rustic sundried tomato bread with spelt flour



time to bake


Tonight when my mother called she announced that she is giving up baking. I laughed, the thought of my mom giving up baking is as preposterous as my dad never watching golf again! She told me she’d tried a new recipe and is worried it didn’t turn out. “If it doesn’t turn out, I’m never baking again.” I told her she couldn’t base all her baking experience on a recipe she’s never tried before. My mother taught me how to bake, at the time she called I had just finished icing cookies with the boys and was getting ready to pack them up. I love baking and I have fond memories of helping my mom bake goodies at Christmas and all throughout the year. I don’t know if she’ll quit baking for good or not, but if she does her legacy will carry on, in me and my boys.

Time to bake, I love the science of baking. How you like that meniscus?

Ready to bake….


Brody pouring on the icing 🙂



“Yes, Stick Gingerbreadman?”

“I fear there are ninja among us?”


“Never fear Stick Gingerbreadman, it’s only Disco Ninjabreadman and his merry backup dancers!”


Happy Holidays!

Peace and Love.

what’s Joanna holding?


Just for fun and completely random!


Homemade Coconut milk Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream


Compliments of Soul Stream -comp cover charge at Bar None’s 20th anniversary.


Box Cutter Blade.


Portobello mustache from Movember.

arugula pesto


arugula pestoArugula Pesto

The past couple of weeks I’ve been buying arugula instead of my usual spinach, I think I was a little bored of spinach and needed a new green…besides kale, of course. Last week I had a hard time using up all the arugula before it started to rot, spinach is a little heartier and keeps a little better. As a result I’ve been looking for ways to use it up before it expires. Pesto certainly isn’t the only way of using arugula but it is a delicious way!


Arugula pesto in the making.

The Ingredients

The Ingredients







The Making of Arugula Pesto

The Making of Arugula Pesto







The Making of Arugula Pesto

The Making of Arugula Pesto







The Making of Arugula Pesto

The Making of Arugula Pesto







Arugula Pesto Ice Cubes

Arugula Pesto Ice Cubes







Arugula Pesto Risotto

Arugula Pesto Risotto








Arugula Pesto on Baguette

Arugula Pesto on Baguette








Lunch is Served!

Lunch is Served!



























Arugula Pesto Recipe

With a recipe like pesto I do not measure ingredients so the amounts are approximate, if you are unsure start with the lesser amount and add more according to your own taste. Also feel free to substitute or omit ingredients according to your own personal preferences. I used what inspired me and what I had on hand. My intention was for the arugula to be the focus of the pesto and didn’t want it over powered with other flavours.



4-6 cups arugula
1 large leaf of curly kale, ribbed, washed and torn into small pieces (optional)
1/4 cup raw almonds
1-2 tbsp tahini
zest of lemon -zest lemon before you juice it.
juice of half-1 lemon -see note above
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4-1/3 cup olive oil
1/4-1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

Add raw almonds to the food processor and process a few seconds or a few pulses. Add arugula, kale, tahini, lemon zest and juice, garlic, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt, nutritional yeast. Process to until mixed. Scrape sides with spatula and taste test. Make any ingredient adjustments and process until desired consistency (scraping down the sides as necessary). I like mine smooth.


Peace and Love

5 simple tips for new vegans


5 Helpful and simple tips to make transitioning to veganism easier and to hopefully stick with your new lifestyle.

photo by Bryn

I have been vegan since September 2010 but it wasn’t an overnight decision. I never said “ok, now, I’m going to be vegan!” For me, it was a process and it was years in the making. I tried vegetarianism for a few years in the mid 90’s, I was in my early 20’s and I didn’t take anything too seriously then. For a brief 3 months I tried veganism and failed, I remember it being really hard and vegan cheese being really awful!! Then one day I realized that I had somehow let meat back into my diet, I was in denial for a while then it didn’t take long for the anger phase then finally acceptance. Later my focus became about whole foods which included meat. About 6 years ago I had stopped buying beef then a few years later stopped buying pork. Then I stopped using so much cow’s milk, switching to soy and almond. I still ate cheese, eggs, chicken/turkey and fish and on occasion bacon, after all the classic BLT is my favourite sammy. It wasn’t until the summer of 2010 that I started to notice I wasn’t feeling all that great, I wasn’t feeling unwell or bad just not great, I thought I could do better. So as you can see it was over a long period of time for these changes to happen and in September when I made the big change, it was also gradual. I started with the master cleanse and felt great! I felt changed and didn’t want to go back to my old lifestyle but wasn’t sure what my future lifestyle looked like. I had no desire to eat meat or milk, so I started with a yeast-free vegetarian diet and continued with eggs and cheese but no cow’s milk and added more beans and tofu and lots of fresh veggies. Then after a few weeks of transitioning to a vegetarian lifestyle there was one day I noticed I hadn’t had any dairy products, cheese or eggs for a week or so. It was completely unconscious so once I was aware of it, I decided to roll with it and that was how I became vegan.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns, it was still a lot of work and I had to relearn how to cook (sort of). Also I have 2 kids to take into consideration and feed, my husband is still an omnivore so the kids by default are flexitarian.  The most challenging period of transitioning was about 4 months into being vegan. At first it was easy, I had a passion for it, I was excited to try new recipes, new food and create delicious new meals, I felt inspired! But, after a while it all got a little exhausting and overwhelming, I’ll admit. Once I hit that 4 month mark I had to strategize what I was going to do because at this point I still had no desire to ingest animal products. I didn’t miss any of it, at all! Not even cheese. Not even bacon. Here is a list of tips and tricks I came up with that in hindsight helped me through this rough patch and continue on the vegan path.

1) Be Prepared
-have vegan snacks on hand
-fruit, veggies, hummus, granola, cereal, crackers, kale chips, tofu jerky

Quick and easy snacks are great to have on hand for emergencies, it just may stop you from caving into a craving or that buck-a-slice across the street. I always keep snack items stocked in the cupboard and fridge, as well as, in my purse, just in case.

2) Cook in Batches
-make double batches
-soup, pasta sauce, chili, rice, squash, beans, vegan bean burgers, etc…

When I have time to cook a big meal, I make sure that I make extra and freeze the leftovers. I like to freeze soup and chili in individual containers for a quick lunch or dinner later in the week. I also do large batches of rice and dried beans just for leftovers. One of my favourite leftovers is keeping roasted kabocha squash in the fridge! Yum.

3) Vegan Convenience Foods
-packaged, prepared vegan food
-premarinated tempeh or tofu
-yves or gardein products
-vegan burgers, sausages

Honestly, I’m not a big fan of convenience foods but when you’re transitioning into veganism they can be very handy. I cook a lot but I don’t always have time to cook everything from scratch nor do I always have the energy. During these times I don’t mind using vegan burgers, gardein products, tofurky sausages and bacon tempeh. When added with some leftover rice and steamed greens, you’ve got yourself a delicious meal. And the best part, my kids don’t even know they’re eating vegan.

4) 5 Simple Favourite Recipes
-find 5 easy recipes that you love
and rotate them into your repertoire.

This one is self explanatory, get yourself a vegan cookbook or look on the internet for recipes that interest you, give them a try and once you find a few (or more) that you like, make a note of them and use them often, while continuing to try new ones. This way you won’t be so overwhelmed with all these new changes and you just might find your vegan comfort food. How do you think homemade mac & cheese became one of our favourites in #5 😉

5) Veganize Your Family’s Faves
Some of our favourites are:
-BTLT sandwich (bacon tempeh, lettuce, tomato)
-Homemade mac & cheese
-Vegan Baked Beans
Tofu Cacciatore
-Baba’s Spinach Peeta (pictured at the top)
-Baba’s Coffee Cake

These are just some examples of the family dishes that I have successfully veganized once I got into the swing of cooking vegan.

Try not to get discouraged, even if you slip up, doesn’t mean you fail, you still have a lifetime of meals ahead of you. The definitions have stayed the same but I believe the rules of vegetarianism & veganism have changed, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing anymore so decide what works best for you and your family; maybe you want to try something more gradual like what I did or maybe you’re more interested in becoming flexitarian and eating more vegan meals but not cutting animal products out entirely. Whether you choose baby steps or to go all in, now is the perfect time to try veganism with more accessibility then ever, options for all tastes and new products available on the market there is something for everyone. It has never been more doable then it is now. There are plenty of vegan pages on facebook that can be a source of information and support so be sure to “like” them, starting with mine BC yogafrog, The Vegan Project, Sarah Kramer Fan Page (Sarah also has a vegan app), Karmavore. Just to list a few.

Day 4’s Sweets


Bryn’s “12 days of Christmas”


My wonderful and thoughtful husband has given me an early Christmas present and it’s 12 days of gifts from the heart.

On day one, Dec 14th, after I put the kids to bed I came downstairs to find he had lit candles and the first gift was a dance. He had the iPod set to the song from our wedding which was Remy Shand’s Take a Message it was very romantic.

Day 2 was a massage!! Need I say more, the best!

Day 3 was take-out! Sushi, I know, seems like no biggie but with our different lifestyles it’s the only thing we can all agree on.

Day 4 was a variety of vegan baked goods from Karmivore, located in New Westminster, BC. He got one of everything, he’s the sweetest.