Changing my world, one step at a time

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cookbook love

I absolutely LOVE cookbooks. Sometimes if I'm in the midst of madly cooking my way through a favourite, burning through the pages, it's like I'm having a passionate love affair or something :)

I actually have about 4 shelves of cookbooks, counting the books above. But with a few exceptions these are the ones I use time and time again. They have so many dog eared pages, sticky notes and bookmarks in them that it's laughable. I love them. If the house was on fire I would be very upset to leave them behind. But obviously I would since the kids and the husband and the cat come first...ahem.

So without further ado, from left to right:

~Ripe from around here by Jae Steele
~Get it Ripe by Jae Steele
By far my favourite vegan cookbooks!! I use both of these all the time. There has not been a recipe that I've tried that I didn't like. And she has tons of info at the beginning of both books.

~Vegan Cupcakes take over the World (read our previous post and you'll see why it's here!)

~Thirteen Moons by Louise Racine. From their Ontario Wellness Retreat for Women. Again every recipe I've tried is a keeper. It's organized by seasons, which I like. My pumpkin scones are from this cookbook :)

~Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Need I say more?!

~The Family Dinner by Laurie David. Not specifically vegan, although there is a meatless Monday chapter. Many of the other recipes are adaptable and it is an altogether beautiful book that will inspire you to make dinner an event!

~Babycakes Cookbook by Erin McKenna. Vegan, Gluten-free, some are also sugar free. Good stuff.

~The Kripalu Cookbook by Atma JoAnn Levitt. Aaah Kripalu, how do I love thee..... One of my dreams is to go to the center on a retreat. Someday! In the meantime I use this classic cookbook alot! More vegetarian than vegan, it's still worth having. The black forest cake is to die for! And the miso cauliflower..yum!

~Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates by The Moosewood Collective. Arranged by season and holidays this book is wonderful. Another of my dreams is to go to Ithica, NY for the weekend and eat all my meals at the Moosewood. I've been using their cookbooks for years.

~Simple Suppers by Moosewood Restaurant. Nothing more to add here.

~The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone. More macrobiotic than I want to be this is still a wonderful worthwhile book. Great recipes and awesome info. And I have a girl crush on Alicia :)

~Moosewood Restaurant's Cooking for Health. I bet your getting tired of seeing that name huh?

~Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. A great, never fail, got it all covered cookbook!

~Vegetarian Cookbook by The Green Door Restaurant. This one isn't pictured because my husband was using it at the time that I took the picture. This is my favourite Ottawa veg restaurant. If you have the cookbook you can make your own potatoes and kale! Do you hear me Mel?

So what's on your go to cookbook shelf? What are your favourites? Always looking for fresh inspiration here!

Peace and dream clouds
C xxoo

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Vegan Cupcakes WILL Take Over the World!!!

Who needs eggs or milk to make good cupcakes? Hell, who needs butter to make a good buttercream frosting!

Apparently nobody, as I learned today. For christmas I bought my mom Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero...two women who really know how to bake vegan! So today, I thought I'd try a recipe.

Tomorrow is the last day of first semester and then next week I have two exams...eeek! I'm not stressing over my english exam, because english is one of my strong classes, but I'm kinda freaked about the geo exam. Geography doesn't really stick with me...honestly, I couldn't care less about stupid time zones and types of preciptitation. Nonetheless, I don't want to get below an 80% so I'll be studying all weekend...sigh.

Anyway, since tomorrow is the last day, my homeroom class is having a party and as per usual, everyone brings something in. Since I'm on the cleanse, I didn't want to not get any of the snacks so I figured I would bring something yummy and vegan in! I decided on classic vegan chocolate cupcakes with vegan chocolate buttercream frosting. I threw in some white chocolate chips and called it Triple Chocolate Vegan Cupcakes. They were really amazing and moist! So I made 36 cupcakes and put them in a box all ready to bring to school tomorrow :3

Honestly, if you haven't bought this book and you're into vegan baking BUY IT!!!!!! This is the second time I've ever baked vegan, the first time being last summer when I made cupcakes from the Babycakes cookbook. They were good, especially considering that they were gluten and sugar free, which these, unfortunately are not. However, they're REALLY good and since its a class party I made an exception.


One of those days

Yesterday was a good day. I did yoga and skin brushing and meditating and dealt with the emotional rollercoaster that I've been on. I ate really, really well. Made my afternoon snack my leftover morning smoothie.

I kept my lunch heavy on the raw side. Tofu and veggies in rice paper wraps with a spicy dip, salad and leftover steamed greens.

I was surprisingly still hungry so I had some dessert. Apple slices and a couple of medjool dates (soooo good!) with a cup of peach ginger green tea. The tea was thankfully really warming because baby it was cold outside!

Dinner consisted of Costa Rican black bean soup. Nice and easy with no added fat in the soup. I diced some avocado and sprinkled it on top for added colour. We had our usual soup day side dishes with it, crudites, hummus, veg dip and flax/sesame crackers.

So all was well. Until I woke up during the night with ridiculous pain in my sides and lower back. I managed to get back to sleep but felt awful in the morning. I had a fever and kept dozing off. And the pain kept getting progressively worse. I finally took myself off to the walk in medical clinic. Result: kidney infection. Therefore, antibiotics. Ugh!

I'll up my dose of Vitamin C and take some probiotics. Hopefully that will help my body deal with the darn antibiotics. I'm sure I'll feel better soon!

I the meantime I'll keep on

and be back with more soon!

Love, peace and green juice

C xxoo

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Looking for ideas

Before I get to the main point of this post. Let me assure you that I've gotten back on track. Thank goodness :)

Last night Maddie and I had Gardein's Chick'n Scallopini, sauteed potatoes, steamed kale and salad for dinner. The Scallopini was delicious. I will definitely buy it again. It's so hard to judge the faux meats. Some of them are horrendous.
Today started with green juice. Surprise!! We did add kale though and wow did that ever ramp up the green of it all! I hadn't added it so far because I was a little concerned that I would find it too strong. But it was still very tasty and drinkable.
I've been a sprouting fool since this started which is great; however, I discovered that sunflower sprouts are better sprouted in a tray rather than a jar. Trying to get all those little black shells out of the jar is a nightmare! I'll stick to alfalfa and crunchy bean mix sprouts until I get a tray. I'll just add these to juice.
For lunch I ate the salad leftover from dinner last night and GF toast with almond butter. A green juice snack this afternoon held me until dinner.

These portobello mushrooms are what Maddie and I had in our fajitas instead of steak. As good as they were I found it tough smelling the grilled beef. I had to keep reminding myself how horrible life was for those poor animals and how BAD eating their flesh is for me. I made sure to pile the veggies on my fajita and had two servings of salad.

Now for the main point of this post. I have to go for a spinal tap on Monday. I've been told that I may be laid up with a splitting headache for a couple of days. If this occurs I'll literally have to be flat on my back :)

I'm looking for ideas for vegan, GF meals that can be made ahead or are easy enough to put together. Any and all ideas are greatly appreciated!

Love and peace signs

xxoo C

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Crazy Sexy cleanse...days six and seven...oh my!

So day six was definitely my hump day. I had a lot of personal, emotional stuff smack me upside the head and was feeling physically really heavy and dead. On top of all that there was a nice little snow dump happening outside. Instead of doing the right thing, ie: feel the feelings, be good to myself, then let it all go I ate a pile of reindeer cookies and boxed macaroni and cheese. Sigh.
Did I feel better after? Honestly no. The thing I felt was nothing...numb. Just to make sure that numb feeling didn't run away anytime soon I took an ativan.

I could have done a long yoga session, walked in the swirling snow, painted something angry, had a hot epsom salt bath, got my friend to do some reiki on me. But I didn't.

Really and truly I have to let it go. Because if I don't then I'll really be in big trouble.

So this morning when I woke up, I meditated. After hot water and lemon, I had a green tea then made a huge bunch of green juice. I turned up the volume by adding broccoli stems and parsley to my usual mix.

I kept to the green juice all day, except for a GF toast with almond butter when I couldn't take it anymore :)

The afternoon was spent painting a new picture. The opposite of my previous painting titled "Oppression". 

I made a heavy-on-the-veggies dinner. Total atonement for my sins of yesterday. Raw carrot and beet salad, steamed purple cabbage, roasted squash and arame seaweed, fried marinated tofu and udon noodles with red and green pepper, muchrooms, broccoli, baby bok choy, crunchy sprouts topped with Gomasio. Delish!

Time to go and kick back's hoping that we all have the sweetest of sweet dreams!
C xxoo

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Meditation and casseroles

I had a strange experience when I was meditating this morning. I've been extremely disciplined about hitting the pillow first thing every morning and I've managed to actually increase my time from 10 minutes to 15. I'm much less antsy and find that my mind is wandering less. However, this morning as I was settling into the meditation I felt this overwhelming wave of grief. It was the oddest thing. I have never before experienced anything like it before. At the same time as the tears started pouring down my cheeks I had a sensation of sitting outside of myself watching this display with compassion. I found myself wondering why I was feeling these emotions. Why was I so overwhelmed with grief? As I watched myself silently cry, it came to me that I was grieving for the self that I could have become.

People say that it's never too late. Actually that's not true. Sometimes it is too late. I'm 43 years old. For me to become a doctor at this point and work with Doctors without Borders is not possible. All the time I wasted! The wrong choices I made. Of course I know there are other things that I can do that are somewhat similar and could provide a sense of accomplishment but it's not the same is it?

The amazing thing is that I came out of the meditation with a sense of quiet acceptance. I felt okay with the choices I had made and the paths I had chosen. Consciously or not. I wasn't angry or sad. I wiped the tears from my face and got on with my day with adetermination that fromthis day forward I would be sure to actively CHOOSE, as much as possible, to fulfill my dreams and goals. To finally become the person I am meant to be.

The past two days have been good. I am still extremely tired and needing to nap. I figure it's the lack of caffeine and sugar. I don't know how long it's going to last but hopefully it ends soon. It's been really cold out so I've been doing yoga for my exercise. Not exactly shaking my ass, more like slowly moving it :)

But at least it's moving! I'm getting better with the neti pot but more about that at a later date. The green juices and smoothies are going strong and I am keeping to the food aspects of the cleanse. Yesterday I made a delicious vegan split pea soup for dinner.

Usually on soup night (wednesday's) I make homemade artisan bread with all purpose wheat flour to go with our soup. Obviously that's not possible at the moment!

So instead of bread I served carrots, broccoli and sugar snap peas with a tofu dill dip. As well, we had some hummus and great flax-sesame crackers. It did the trick everyone was nicely full after.

Tonight I made a ratatouille casserole with a vegan parmesan topping. I filled about a third of my plate with it. It was delicious! The other 2/3 of the plate was filled with lightly steamed swiss chard and beet greens and a raw carrot and beet salad that had a lemon vinaigrette and a sprinkle of gomasio. Again it was more than filling. I'm enjoying expanding my food repertoire even more!

So as tired as I am, I'm going to say adieu :)
Sleep well everyone!

C xxoo

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day Two

A few negatives today: a bit of a headache and some dizziness. I know exactly what is causing it though, it's caffeine withdrawal. Oh and sugar withdrawal too. Even though I had reduced my caffeine and sugar consumption before yesterday, I was still ingesting some. And can I ever tell!! Yesterday when I was having the withdrawal symptoms I thought I was coming down with the flu. Ha!! The symptoms were still there waiting for me this morning when I woke up. As the morning wore on it slowly struck me that the problem was withdrawal not flu. Just as well, I'll get over it faster :)

Despite the little withdrawal glitch, I had an excellent day. I hit the meditation pillow first thing and had a great breakfast of a purple coloured green smoothie...1/2 banana, 3/4 to 1 cup of mixed frozen berries, 2 cups of spinach, a sprinkle of cinnamon and stevia and a splash of water. Blended up it was delish.

Later in the morning we walked to the library. Steve carried my books for sweet, like high school in a fifties movie :) Our walk lasted about 40 minutes, which is a nice length of time. My lunch was made up of last night's dinner with the exception of the potatoes and the addition of flax crackers. I really piled on the salad!

The afternoon was spent listening to my new "Chant" cd. It's excellent if your into that kind of thing. I find it hugely inspiring! I hear the chanting start and immediately want to pick up a pencil or paintbrush. This afternoon I did a picture including my goals for 2011. IT's at the start of this blog post. Much more inspiring than a plain old list!

I did a dry brush this afternoon and then took a hot epsom salt and lavender essential oil bath. Such a treat in the middle of the day :)

Taco Tuesday for dinner today :) I made a black bean base and cooked up some ground beef on the side for the carnivores. Maddie and I had some grated rice cheddar "cheese" which was actually palatable and tofutti "sour cream". I made a cucumber salsa and guacamole as well. The recipe for the tacos came from the book "Family Dinner" which is a great cookbook and lifestyle/idea book. Even though it's not specifically vegetarian there is a meatless Monday chapter and many of the other recipes can be adapted. We lit the candles and had a great dinner. I kept it to one taco and had two helpings of salad. I also piled the tomatoes and lettuce and other veggies on the taco.

As I write this I'm drinking a cup of "easy tea" which is good for digestion (hand blended), the kids are watching a movie and Steve is building a fire in the living room. I've taken my supplements and medication and despite my little "discomforts", I feel good!

A demain...

C xxxooo

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day 1 and stuff

Yo. Maddie here.
I was vegan and stuff.
My cat threw up.
Dinner was good.
And I made banana sorbet.

I guess today went well and I know since its the first day your expecting a post of actual context, but since nothing happened today I don't feel like it. I'm sure my mom will write something good tomorrow...soooo yeah.

I guess the cleanse isn't as exciting as it was last time seeing as I've already done it, but whatever. I'm sure when I'm in a better mood another day I'll have something decent to say.

On another note, I am in love with the magic bullet. I DISCOVERED THAT ITS ALSO A BIG BLENDER AS WELL AS FOR INDIVIDUAL CUPS. And its a juicer. And stuff. Its fun, I throw in a bunch of stuff and make either juice or smoothies and its a lot of fun, plus theres a variety of things I can do. I made orange juice this morning but it was gross. Also, I've lemonade with stevia and its really yummy :) I tried using agave but it left a funny aftertaste.

For dessert I made banana "sorbet" (I USED THE MAGIC BULLET) and it was yum. I used frozen bananas and almond milk and some stevia because I like it when things are sweet. But bananas are already freakishly sweet so you wouldn't wanna put too much. I'm going to try this with other frozen fruits as well.

Anyway homework is piling up (summatives. fml.) and I should really be working on that instead of blogging so yeah. I would write more, but I won't.
-Maddie xD

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Adventure Cleanse: Basic rules

The basic rules for the CSD (crazy sexy diet) Adventure Cleanse are easy-peasy. Really, you are stronger than you think you are. And it's only for 21 days...not very long in the grand scheme of your life. But doing something like this could actually change your life for the better, so say yes!!

You'll be saying yes to:

-green juices

-green smoothies

-lots of fresh vegetables (some cooked, most raw)

-low glycemic fruit

-legumes, nuts, seeds

-whole grains (gluten free)

-healthy oils

-eating 60/40 or 80/20 raw (or lightly steamed/sauteed) to cooked ratio

-lots of water

-green, white and herbal teas

-agave and stevia in small amounts

-exercise. In whatever form you like, as long as it gets your heart rate up a bit and you get 35 minutes of it a day, 5 days a week.

-meditation/prayer. Working up to 15 minutes a day

-dry skin brushing

-certain supplements, if you choose.

You'll be saying no to:

-eggs, dairy and meat of any kind (yes this includes fish too)


-processed foods, refined carbs

-refined sugar



-artificial sweeteners, flavourings and chemicals

-sitting on your behind day after day letting life pass you by

-looking and feeling older than your years

My intentions for 2012 are simple

1. Be well

2. Find my center

3. Say yes

I hope some of you choose to join me on the journey!
With love and gratitude

Friday, January 7, 2011

Dare you to try!

I've remembered something about myself recently....if I try, there's a chance that I can do just about anything.

Last summer when my illness really started to take it's toll and I had to go off work on med leave it was tough. Especially because the first lung lesion was found at that time. Can you say stress? But within ten days I had myself turned around, quit smoking cold turkey and discovered Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Cancer crusade. Kris is wonderful and has tons of info in her DVD documentary and books. But at the time she didn't have any kind of full on nutrition related info out there so when I decided to do a cleanse I found Kathy Freston and used her as my guru.

And it was amazing. Transformative. I felt somewhat better and began to feel a measure of peace. Then the cleanse ended and after a time life, financial and family stress, illness and the discovery of another lung lesion intervened in a major way and I slipped off the path...right into the gutter. If there are any of you reading this who have been following me since the beginning you've seen me disappear into the nether world.

But around the time of the Winter Solstice (Dec. 21) I started to feel a small spark of my old self. My desire for change and my taste for the journey re-emerged. Then (just in time) Kris Carr's new book came out. Just what I needed to guide me and give me a good start.

My pre-cleanse week is almost up and I'm feeling really positive. Once again Maddie has decided to join me. :)

Monday we begin!

This morning I headed for the meditation cushion first thing and it started my day off just right. My timer is broken but I sat on the cushion and took a deep breath anyway. Funnily enough I opened my eyes at just the right time! (Ten minutes in and time to wake up my son)

This is my altar/meditation area. On the wall is the poster that my sister in law gave me for christmas. I'm going to have to get a frame for it eventually but I couldn't wait for that to happen before I got it up there. The framed 90 picture I found in a thrift store. It is made with flower petals and signed by a group of nuns. There is a postcard from an Irish cemetary, a couple of birthday cards that are special and a funeral card from my aunt Elaine who passed away from lung cancer in 2009. There's also a small framed print from Charleston leaning against the wall (most beautiful city I've been to-so far) I have a dream catcher hanging up there and a tag from France, a "green" tag...all funny little things that mean something to me :)

Must fly now...much peace, love and happiness to everyone!

C xxoo

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The greening of the juice!

I did it! After being unbelievably leery and unsettled about the idea, I managed to make, consume AND enjoy green juice. Which is a good thing since green juice is such an integral part of the Crazy Sexy Diet's Adventure Cleanse!

I aquired the juicer about 3 weeks ago. A super find at the Salvation Army Thrift Store. I don't think it was ever even used. There is no way I could afford one otherwise so it was like a gift from heaven. Especially since a juicer is something that I've wanted for a very long time. For three weeks it was sitting at the foot of my bed and I didn't dare use it. What if I didn't like the juice? That would kind of blow it all, wouldn't it? No Kris Carr cleanse. No image of myself drinking fresh juice being all healthy.

Thankfully, the juice was actually good! I made it with cucumber, celery, romaine and apple. It made a huge amount so I poured some in a small mason jar and refrigerated it to be drunk later in the day. I drank it after doing 40 minutes of yoga, having a healthy lunch and while re-watching "Eat Pray Love".

Today was a green smoothie day, which I've done before so nothing new there. Instead of berries though I made the smoothie with banana, almond butter, cocoa and spinach. Tasty :)

Then I ran errands and went for a long walk with my sister in law. (An hour and twenty minutes!)

So I'm on track in my transitioning. Down to one coffee a day, minimizing the bad stuff etc...

I'll just keep on keeping on :)


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The call of cookies...

In some ways today went fabulously well. I had a spinach and berry smoothie (with soymilk and flax oil) for breakfast and saved the remainder in a mason jar for an afternoon snack. I ate breakfast really late, so I had 2 slices of gf toast with almond butter alongside the smoothie and called it lunch.

Steve and I went for a great walk. An hour and fifteen minutes in gently falling snow. The weather was perfect. Not too cold and no wind. On the way back home we stopped at his parents and had a cup of tea and a nice visit.

I made two pasta sauces for dinner; one vegan and one with ground beef. Lit candles at dinner and used the nice dishes. Steve chopped all the vegetables for the sauces and we did the dishes together. Nothing to complain about right?

Well then, SOMEONE brought out a box of cookies we had received at Christmas. They were calling my name. Actually, it was more of a SCREAM than a call!! There was no way I could resist.

President's Choice Belgian chocolate cookies.

No they aren't homemade but for the longest time they were my favourite cookie, bar none! So I succumbed...I promised myself that I would be brutally honest here about how I'm doing.

Public confession over :)
The cookies called my name and I answered. I ate 5...So before I eat more, I'm grabbing my cup of herbal tea and getting outta here!

Keep on keeping on

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Pre-Cleanse begins

I made my new vision board this weekend. Vision boards always get the creative juices flowing and ignite possibilities. If you've never made one, you really must!

The official date for the cleanse to begin is January 10th. That'll be the first day of my 21 day Adventure Cleanse! But today the pre-cleanse began. The rules for this week are as follows:

-Slowly remove coffee. Cut back to one cup a day by the end of the week.

-Cut back to no more than two alcoholic drinks a week and choose organic red wine.

-Drink lots of purified water.

-Reduce meat consumption to 3 to 4 ounces twice a week.

-Phase out gluten and dairy. Include no more than 3 servings of each over the week.

-Completely cut out processed sugar and refined carbs.

-Double up on the greens and have green juice a couple of times this week.

In addition I'm getting my cabinets in order, bagging up my supplements, making a couple of massage appointments, dusting off my rebounder and journal. Among other things :)

I'm using Kris Carr's "Crazy Sexy Diet" as my guidebook for this cleanse. I love Kris. She totally rocks!! I've watched her documentary "Crazy Sexy Cancer" over and over, whenever I've needed inspiration. I'll write more about her later.

More tomorrrow!
C xxoo