Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Nanaimo Bars

Hubby has a big sweet tooth and one night announced he was craving a nanaimo bar.  He said someone had them at work and he wanted one so badly that if he had been offered one he didn't know if he could have turned it down!  I immediately set to work to find a delicious vegan nanaimo bar.  The hardest part about finding a new recipe is finding one that's easy and still good!  When I did a search tons of recipes came up but many had odd ingredients and no feedback.  I finally found this yummy sounding recipe with rave reviews and from a published vegan chef which gave the recipe more merit.  You can check out Sarah's website here:
In the meantime I whipped these up and oh my goodness are they ever delicious!  It's been so long since we had real nanaimo bars but Hubby and I were devouring these! 

Bottom Layer
1/2 cup vegan margarine
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tbsp ground flax seed
3 tbsp water
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1 cup unsweetened coconut, flaked
1 1/4 cup vegan graham cracker crust

Middle Layer 

1/2 cup vegan margarine
2 tbsp vegan milk
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 cups powdered icing sugar

Top Layer 

2 tbsp vegan margarine
4 1-oz (28g) squares unsweetened chocolate

To prepare the bottom layer 
: In a medium saucepan on low heat, melt the margarine and sugar, stirring to combine. Once liquefied, stir in the cocoa until smooth. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, stir together the flax seeds, water, walnuts, cocoanut and graham cracker crumbs. Add the chocolate sauce and stir well. Press mixture into an ungreased 8X8-in pan. Set aside.

To prepare the top layer: In medium saucepan on low heat, melt the margarine. Add the chocolate and melt, stirring often to prevent burning. Remove from heat and set aside to pour over middle layer. You want sauce to be cooled but liquid to still 
spread easily.

To prepare middle layer and assemble bars: In a food processor or medium bowl, cream together the margarine, corn starch, vanilla, turmeric, and icing sugar until well mixed. Spread evenly over bottom layer. Spoon chocolate sauce evenly over middle layer and set pan in fridge immediately. Let chill for 2+ hours before cutting and serving. Makes 9 squares.

I had a difficult time cutting these so they were a little messy but regardless: YUM YUM!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Green Smoothies

Hubby is an avid runner but I find with 10 animals, a full time job, a husband to care for and life in general I only end up at the gym a few times a week.  To offset my lack of gym time I take the dogs for regular walks and walk to and from work but I also try to eat a well balanced diet.

In comes the Green Smoothie!  I subscribe to a wonderful magazine called Vegetarian Times and one article had low calorie meal options.  One was the green smoothie which takes only minutes to make, is a super healthy energy booster and I find it pretty tasty!  I've seen many variations on this type of smoothie but nothing as simple.  I've been drinking it every morning this week and also find it very filling.  I drink the smoothie before I head to work and am still full by my first break.  That's something even cereal doesn't do!

2 cups of freshly washed kale
1 cup of soymilk
1 banana
1 tbsp. ground flax seeds (optional)

Combine in a blender or food processor, blending until smooth.  Then drink up!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Fall Doggy Walks

We are having an absolutely beautiful Autumn day here.  Perfect weather for walking the dogs!  A nearby friend and blogger of Live, Love, Laugh, Meow & Woof recently became a dog owner and asked if we could coordinate a doggy date.  This way they could get acquainted and their exercise all in one!

Marlow munches on my shoes!
Genevieve and Murray are extremely friendly and social so I knew they would all get along well.  What I wasn't sure about was how they'd walk with another person and dog accompanying us!  It was definitely a little challenging but they were actually fairly well behaved.  Of course Genevieve made sure to get as much lovies in as possible out of my friend before we parted ways but both her and Murray were pretty good!

Marlow picks a shady spot for a nap!
I was very pleased that they also were very good to Marlow (the puppy)!  Mostly they were pretty aloof (like when Murray was standing on Marlow's foot and didn't seem to notice) but at the end there was a bit of play time!  Leashes made it awkward to do much other than a playful bounce and paw but they seemed satisfied with that!

Marlow gets fiesty with his new pal Murray!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

A Few Photos Here And There!

Unfortunately I haven't picked up my camera enough this year.  Life just seems to always get in the way.  I took a walk around the neighbourhood last week and although it's too early around here for the leaves to start changing I was able to still get a few interesting shots.

This was my favourite photo of the day.  Before heading out, I was watering the garden when I noticed something moving through the mist.  I turned off the water and took a closer look.  It was a female Praying Mantis!  I ran inside, grabbed my camera and began shooting.  I've only seen 3 in my entire life and felt privileged she had chosen my garden to be in!  Even though she's an insect, watching her clean off the droplets of water made me feel like I was watching something so much more special than that!  Amazing! 

A neighbour has these gorgeous Morning Glories growing all over her front fence.  They're all different colours and look so pretty I just had to take a few photos.

One of my favourite flowers and yet I can't seem to grow them!  Too many squirrels around!  This Sunflower was part of a small gardenful, each over 5 feet tall!

This apple tree was actually in someone's backyard but was so large the branches full of apples were towering over the sidewalk.  They looked delicious!

And the rest of these were actually from a bouquet of 'Just Because' flowers Hubby brought home for me.  A beautiful arrangement of Gerber Daisies, Lilies and other small flowers, I couldn't wait to photograph them.  I used several different backgrounds but the dark really made the colour in the flowers pop.

The two Gerber Daisies.  Hubby said he just walked around picking random flowers he thought I'd like.  I've never had a bouquet with Gerber's in them, I was pretty excited!

Lilies have always been my favourite flower.  Tiger Lilies were our wedding flower.

A close-up of one of the Lilies.  Photographing flowers is so easy!  Since they're so small, coloured bristol board is the perfect backdrop.  Pick out the flower you want to photograph and put it in a tall cup or vase.  Put the bristol board about a foot behind the flower, set up your tripod and your all set!

I love flowers but I'm not exactly sure what these are.  They look like a type of Marigold to me or maybe they're a wildflower.  Either way they complemented the arrangement perfectly.

Hopefully I'll be able to get out again soon and get a little creative with the changing season.

Monday, 10 October 2011

The Loveys Cook A Tofurky!

Happy Thanksgiving fellow Canadians!

I've never been one for 'fake' meat although Hubby has dabbled here and there so when he suggested we pick up a tofurky this year I wasn't really for it.  Especially since they were 30 bucks and we would be the only two eating it!  After talking it over, I figured there was nothing to lose.  If we didn't like it, we never had to buy one again and with all of the other food I had already picked up, we didn't need to worry about starving!

Our first Tofurky!

So when I got the tofurky home I realized that for 30 bucks you actually get a complete meal.  The tofurky was stuffed with dressing, it came with gravy, a basting sauce, 'wishbones' and even a chocolate cake dessert!

Hubby chopping fresh herbs to season the roast.
We made the tofurky as per the directions on the package.  I picked up some potatoes, carrots, onions and turnip to surround the roast.  When we pulled the tofurky out of the packaging the first thing we noticed was how delicious it smelt!  This was fake meat?!

Ready to go in the oven!
Hubby and I put the roast in the middle of a casserole dish then surrounded it with the veggies.  We mixed up the basting liquid and dripped half of it over the roast.  I added some dried spices to the veggies as well as some fresh basil and sage.

It's cookin' time!
We had to be at my Mama's before the tofurky would be done but as she's only two minutes away we set a timer and Hubby came back to finish the basting and carry it over, nice and hot.

Our Thanksgiving table complete with our first Tofurky roast!
The first thing everyone commented on was how delicious it smelt but only my Mother-in-law had the nerve to try it with us!  She said it couldn't replace her turkey but that it tasted pretty good!  As a regular meat eater that was pretty impressive to us!  I can't remember the last time I ate meat and it's been about a year for Hubby and we both loved it!  I couldn't believe how flavourful it was!  It didn't have the exact texture of meat but it definitely exceeded my expectations!  Of course the rest of our meal was fabulous - mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, squash, carrots, beans....Mmmm!

For dessert we had a delicious vegan friendly apple pie to share which of course went over well - omnivores and vegans alike!

Delicious, delicious pie.
We had lots of leftovers which was perfect for the second Thanksgiving we had on Sunday and even some more to enjoy fact we have at least one more day's worth.  Definitely the best part of Thanksgiving!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Fall Days, Vaycay and Outdoor Bunny Play!

Man did I feel great last night!  Still fighting a throat infection but I started my stay-cation at 4:31pm yesterday afternoon!  Hubby only has the weekends off with me so although it would have been nice to spend the week with him, I now have lots of time to catch up with the 'kids'.  After watching our favourite tv shows, Hubby and I snuggled and watched a movie on the big tv.

It felt so good to sleep in this morning and wake up when I wanted to wake up (which was a little before 10am).  Hubby was working the closing shift at work so I told him to stay in bed as long as he wanted and I got up, fed the dogs and took them on a walk.  What a beautiful day!  It got up to 22C, was bright and sunny without a cloud in the sky.  Absolutely amazing!  After I had gotten Hubby some breakfast, made his lunch and sent him packing, I made a grocery list and walked over with my cart to the store.

This year Hubby and I have decided to make a tofurky for Thanksgiving.  They're pretty pricey for just the two of us but we interested to know if it's any good.  I actually really never thought about cooking one before but I've had a few people tell me they go over well in their house so we shall see.

By the time I got home, unloaded the groceries, took the dogs out and made some lunch, it was mid-afternoon.  It was still nice and warm but the sun was off the backyard so I set up some fun toys for the bunnies and brought them out for a few hours of fresh air and exercise.

Rocky was pretty excited to get outside.
Rocky and Honey loved the long grass for lounging, hopping and nibbling!
I'd say they were pretty comfy!
Willow's turn! Of course she kept hopping up to me for snuggles.
Hey whatcha up to there Ollie?
There were many holes like this around the backyard, Ollie was on a mission to dig it all up!
I let them stay out until the sun had set and it was starting to get dark.  I love letting them play outdoors because it takes minutes to set up and take everything inside, there's no mess to clean up afterwards and it gives them a larger open space to play in.  And don't worry, I spend the entire time outdoors with them to make sure they stay out of trouble and nothing is eyeing them up.

And now I must get to some baking.  I've had another request for some nanaimo bars!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Eggless Salad Sandwich

 I recently found a new wonderful Vegan website called Happy Herbivore.  The author of the website writes low-fat vegan cookbooks and her husband is also vegan.  I absolutely love her blogs which offer great tips and her website has excellent recipe ideas.  One that I was particularly interested in was the Eggless Salad Sandwich.  I've been back to work for over a month now and am always looking for great quick lunch ideas for me and Hubby.  So I followed the recipe with some minor modifications which are listed below:
  • 1 pack of extra firm tofu - drained
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 celery stalk finely cut
  • 1 1/4 tbsp. of ground flax seeds
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp. dill pickle relish
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 3-4 tbsp. of vegan mayonnaise
  • 1/8 cup of finely cut onions
Drain the excess water in the tofu.  I don't press the tofu because I like the extra moisture to help the salad be more creamy.  Crumble tofu into a large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir until well combined.  I add ground flax to almost everything I make to make sure Hubby and I are getting our Omega 3's.  I use more vegannaise than Lindsay recommends because the egg salad my Mama always made was nice and creamy.  I start with about 3 tbsp. than mix thoroughly with the rest of the ingredients, adding more if necessary.  I let the mixture sit overnight so the flavours combine and make the sandwiches in the morning, spreading some vegannaise on both slices of bread before spooning an ample amount of salad on.  Delish!