hello, veggy! lively living, with a dose of veggies Mon, 07 Jul 2014 07:30:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Chocolate Stuffed Banana Muffins /2014/07/07/chocolate-stuffed-banana-muffins/ /2014/07/07/chocolate-stuffed-banana-muffins/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 07:30:56 +0000 /?p=2928 You know when your Mom tells you that everything is going to be alright? Recall when Dad assures you that things will work out despite all your worrying? Well, it turns out they knew what they were talking about. This … Continue reading

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You know when your Mom tells you that everything is going to be alright? Recall when Dad assures you that things will work out despite all your worrying? Well, it turns out they knew what they were talking about. This wisdom could indeed be applied to baking these muffins, since I quite haphazardly threw together a bunch of ingredients and hoped for the best. Additionally, it truthfully applies to life and it’s curious ways. Last week I spilled my heart regarding the rough time I have been having since graduation and waiting on the results of a job interview. Well, I can happily say that I have officially secured my first ‘big girl’ job!!! Since hearing the good news last week, I have also signed the lease on a new apartment, and have been planning a spontaneous trip to British Columbia before I start my new job at the end of the month! These muffins serve as partial celebration.

Chocolate Stuffed Banana Muffins

Talk about a whirlwind week! On top of all of this, I also celebrated my 22nd birthday. If you’ve been a long time reader of HV, you may remember how I waxed poetic last year about my dislike for birthdays; well not this year. It was the perfect mix of low-key fun from strawberry picking with the fam, to birthday meals at Woodenheads (twice!), drive in movies (22 Jump Street, ironically enough), stand up paddle boards, and an excessive amount of vegan funfetti cupcakes. It was smiles all around :)

Chocolate Stuffed Banana Muffin Collage

As much as I love cupcakes, I enjoy their healthier counterpart all the more. Since I’m also not the hugest icing fan, I created a tasty alternative and then stuffed it right inside the muffin itself to hide the evidence. Best of both worlds? I think so.

Chocolate Stuffed Banana Muffins

by Suzanne

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Keywords: bake bread snack breakfast banana cashew butter

Ingredients (1 dozen (12 muffins))

  • 1/2 c. spelt flour
  • 3/4 c. oat flour (ground in a food processor)
  • 1/4 c. rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax seed + 3 tbsp water)
  • 2 large bananas (approx 1 c., mashed)
  • 1/2 c. almond ‘buttermilk’ (1/2 c. almond milk + 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar/lemon juice)
  • 1/4 c. maple syrup
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil, melted

Stuffing

  • 1/2 c. Medjool dates
  • 1/4 c. cashew butter
  • 1/2 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp. almond milk

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a muffin tin with coconut oil. Mix flax egg and ‘buttermilk’ and set aside.

Prepare ‘stuffing’ by combining ingredients together in a food processor and blending until smooth.

Mix together dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, mash the banana and stir to combine the rest of the wet ingredients.

Add wet to dry and stir until just combined.

Fill muffin tins 1/2 full of batter, add a tablespoon full of the stuffing, and cover with additional batter.

Bake for 30-35 minutes; leave to cool before removing from tin.

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Chocolate Stuffed Banana Muffins

Question of the Day: Cupcakes or muffins?


 

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Lately /2014/07/01/lately/ /2014/07/01/lately/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 19:30:10 +0000 /?p=2921 Lately, sitting down to compose a blog post has been low on my list of priorities. While I would like to blame my neglect of cyberspace on the gorgeous (albeit very humid) weather, in all truthfulness, other life events have … Continue reading

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Lately, sitting down to compose a blog post has been low on my list of priorities. While I would like to blame my neglect of cyberspace on the gorgeous (albeit very humid) weather, in all truthfulness, other life events have been demanding my attention. In all the years that I have been reading blogs and participating in this amazing community, what I have valued most is learning about other people’s similar life experiences. I will never forget perusing Angela and Gena‘s blogs and gaining insight into recovery from an eating disorder. I frequently revisit Katie‘s well articulated posts on veganism and Amy‘s thoughts on living a balanced lifestyle. It takes courage to amalgamate and share the dialogue that goes on in our minds, but from my experience I know it to ultimately be useful.

My computer is blowing hot air onto my lap as I listen to Simon and Garfunkel (man, if only all music was this good) and try to put into words what life has been dishing out in the past new months. ‘Challenging’ is one word that comes to mind, especially since becoming a retired student and dealing with ample unstructured hours. ‘Wavering‘ is another adjective that pops up. My friend and I often check in on how each other are feeling using a rating system, by assigning a number from 1-10 (on an increasing scale) to our current state of being. Instead of the consistent sevens and eights that I had been citing, lately I’ve been a five at best.

Let me fill you in a bit on why I think this is so: life can be stressful. Nearly two months ago I interviewed for the full-time nursing position of my dreams. Not only is this job in my city and field of choice, it would also enable me to teach yoga on the side; factors of great importance for me. My happiness and sanity has been riding on the prospect of securing this job, and the stress associated with waiting for an answer has depleted my coping abilities in other areas of life.

Have you ever heard of the stress curve? It’s basic premise is that moderate amounts of stress are motivating, but too much may be debilitating to performance. Over the past two months of waiting to hear about this job, I have been slowing moving from green, to yellow, through orange, and have alarmingly approached red territory. Despite being educated in the field of healthcare, I’m not immune to ‘symptom googling’. Recently my desire to sleep in excess, loss of appetite, reduction in feeling pleasure from my favourite activities (namely, blogging), fatigue, and feeling like I’m wading through pudding have been leading me to think that I’ve been going through a bout of minor depression.

Phew. Strangely enough, it feel good to get that off my chest. Since coming to realize the trend in which my emotions have been going, I’ve started to make small manageable changes in my thoughts and actions. Thankfully I have started to feel better, and come Wednesday when the results of my interview are delivered, at least I will have a clearer picture of where life is headed. As unfortunate as depression, mental illness, and feeling ‘off’ is, it is all too common (1 in 5 Canadians will experience some form in their lifetime). Although everyone will have their own way of feeling better, here are a few things that I have found useful:

1) Talk to Someone You Trust- sometimes just talking through it can be of extreme benefit.

2) Do Something, Anything You Love- express yourself in a way that normally makes you feel good. Writing, drawing, cooking…

3) Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Body- gaining the motivation to do so can be difficult, but refocusing your energy can be so beneficial. Follow along to a yoga video on YouTube or recruit a friend for a jog.

4) Get Help- call the Mental Health Helpline, find your local CMHA, or do a quick web search for resource in your area

Whether or not you can relate to this post, I hope it provides even a glimmer of insight into how crucial mental wellness is. Before I leave you, I wanted to share this amazing quote from a book I recently read:

“We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” ~ Pema Chodron (From her book When Things Fall Apart)

No questions, just your thoughts :)

Note: This post is based on my own personal experience. I am not a medical doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist and all opinions are my own. If you are seeking help please contact your healthcare provider.


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5 Ingredient Hemp Seed Crackers [North Coast Naturals] /2014/06/27/5-ingredient-hemp-seed-crackers-north-coast-naturals/ /2014/06/27/5-ingredient-hemp-seed-crackers-north-coast-naturals/#comments Fri, 27 Jun 2014 07:30:11 +0000 /?p=2908 While talking on the phone with my Mom the other week, she quoted a phrase my brother had said to her. I couldn’t help but wonder why my brother felt so inclined to say that “I’m so glad to have … Continue reading

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While talking on the phone with my Mom the other week, she quoted a phrase my brother had said to her. I couldn’t help but wonder why my brother felt so inclined to say that “I’m so glad to have a hippie as a sister“. A hippie? Moi? Now that I think about it, I guess I do have a few hippie-like tendencies. My closet consists of more than one tied-dyed piece, you will rarely see me without a mason jar or reusable container, I habitually flash the ‘peace’ sign at drivers to thank them for letting me cross the street, and I spent the better part of my weekend camping and doing yoga at The Groove Festival.

5 Ingredient Hemp Seed Crackers. Vegan Gluten free

Another qualifying characteristic is the fact that I really enjoy making my own food. I’ve dabbled in bread-baking, kombucha-brewing, and more recently cracker-baking. I was jazzed by how easy and quick it is to create your own customized dipping vessels. This particular recipe has only five simple ingredients, although you could easily jazz them up with dried herbs, spices or additional seeds or nuts of your choice.

5 Ingredient Hemp Seed Crackers. Vegan Gluten free

These crackers have an awesome nutty taste thanks to North Coast Naturals Raw Hemp Seeds. These little guys boast some really awesome nutritional stats such as:

  • 10 g of protein per serving
  • loaded with fibre (2 g per serving)
  • a good source of Vitamin E
  • vegan, gluten-free, raw and 100% Canadian

5 Ingredient Hemp Seed Crackers

by Suzanne

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Keywords: bake appetizer snack gluten-free nut-free soy-free sugar-free vegan wheat-free chia seeds hemp seeds hemp oatmeal

Ingredients (Approx 2 dozen crackers)

  • 1/2 c. oat flour (store-bought or milled in a food processor)
  • 1/2 c. North Coast Naturals hemp seeds
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp. ground flax seed
  • 1/2 c. + 2 tbsp water
  • optional: dried herbs, spices

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Mix dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Stir in water until well combined (will be sticky, almost ‘PlayDough’ like).

Spread the mixture in a thin, even layer on the cookie sheet with the back of a spatula.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove tray from oven and score the crackers in any shape you like with a sharp knife.

Bake for another 10 minutes, checking often to prevent burning.

Turn off the oven, and leave tray in oven with door propped open to ensure crackers are crunchy.

Cool and enjoy with your favourite dips, nut butters, or on their own.

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Cracker TEXT

What do you like to dip your crackers in?

Disclaimer: Although I was not compensated for this post, North Coast Naturals provided me product to try free-of-charge. All opinions are my own.


 

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Catelli Gluten Free Pasta [Giveaway] + Lemon-Dill Hummus Summer Pasta Salad /2014/06/17/catelli-gluten-free-pasta-giveaway-pasta-salad/ /2014/06/17/catelli-gluten-free-pasta-giveaway-pasta-salad/#comments Tue, 17 Jun 2014 07:30:31 +0000 /?p=2895 Good day friends! It seems like there is so much going on these days. With travelling to Toronto for the past two weekends, celebrating graduations, and making it through last Friday (did anyone else feel a bit loopy?) I feel a bit … Continue reading

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Good day friends! It seems like there is so much going on these days. With travelling to Toronto for the past two weekends, celebrating graduations, and making it through last Friday (did anyone else feel a bit loopy?) I feel a bit all over the place. It’s comforting to sit down and reconnect with something I love doing so much; sharing with you!

Last month I was invited to attend a cooking demonstration hosted by Catelli to mark the launch of their new gluten-free macaroni pasta. Although I couldn’t attend in person, the magic of the internet allowed me to web-conference into the cooking demonstration at George Brown College where Chef Higgins shared his tips and tricks for pasta perfection!

Catelli Gluten-free Pasta: How to Cook Pasta

Catelli has recently added Macaroni noodles to it’s line of gluten-free pastas. The pasta is made of a blend of quinoa, corn, brown rice, and white rice, and I can attest that it beats just about every gluten-free pasta I’ve tried to date! The line also includes Spaghetti, Penne, and Fusilli (my personal favourite)!

Catelli Gluten free Pasta Salad Vegan

One of the downsides of attending the demonstration by web was that I didn’t have the chance to try the delicious dishes that were being concocted. There is a slew of recipes on the Catelli website such as Ginger Edamame Macaroni Salad. Of course I wanted to get in on the recipe creating myself, so I am sharing  a new recipe that is picnic perfect and gluten-free-friendly!

Lemon-Dill Hummus Summer Pasta Salad

by Suzanne

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 5 mintues

Keywords: appetizer entree salad side gluten-free nut-free vegan vegetarian wheat-free hemp summer

Ingredients (8 servings)

  • 1/2 box Catelli Gluten-free Macaroni
  • 1 carton cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 c. chopped greens (I used kale leaves and broccoli slaw)
  • 1/4 c. hemp seeds
  • 1/4 c. pumpkin seeds

Dressing

  • 1/2 c. hummus
  • 1 1/2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp dill, dried or fresh
  • 2 cloves or garlic, minced

Instructions

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a cookie sheet to cool.

Prepare dressing by mixing ingredients together by hand or using a small food processor.

Chop greens and tomatoes. Place in a large mixing bowl with pasta and dressing. Mix to combine,

Serve chilled or at room temperature.

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Summer Hummus Pasta Salad Vegan

Now comes your chance to win a year supply of Catelli gluten-free pasta! That’s right; if you’re not already Italian, I’m sure after winning such a prize you would be soon! The contest is open to Canadian residents only, and the winner will be announced July 1st! Until then, use the Rafflecopter widget below to submit your entries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As a special bonus, Catelli is offering everyone a $1 off coupon to try out their new pasta line. Click here to print it off for yourself!

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. Catelli provided me with a box of pasta free-of-charge for testing, however, opinions are all my own.

Bonus: Get in on OmT.O. and enter to win a Yoga Mat here!


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Oatmeal Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites /2014/06/10/oatmeal-peanut-butter-pretzel-chocolate-chip-cookie-bites/ /2014/06/10/oatmeal-peanut-butter-pretzel-chocolate-chip-cookie-bites/#comments Tue, 10 Jun 2014 07:30:45 +0000 /?p=2885 I keep a running to-do list that magically syncs up with my computer, phone, and tablet. Yes, I’m a bit over saturated in the technology department but that list gets credit for keeping me on track with all of life’s … Continue reading

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I keep a running to-do list that magically syncs up with my computer, phone, and tablet. Yes, I’m a bit over saturated in the technology department but that list gets credit for keeping me on track with all of life’s events, big or small. This week I finally got the satisfaction of checking off a few big ticket items, and boy does it feel good!

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites

Item number one had been nagging at me for four years; I’m not exaggerating when I say that. The Canadian Registered Nursing Exam had been a distant anxiety since I began my undergrad degree, but the day finally came last wednesday where I joined what must have been two thousand other students (again, not exaggerating) for the multiple choice test of a life time. Yes, all the answers are correct, but which is it the best answer? I had a strong urge to heel-click as I handed in my scantron.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites

And to compress as many endings as possible into one week, I received my diploma two days later. The whole family made the trek to Kingston to watch me walk across a stage and have a circular red and white piece of fabric draped awkwardly around my neckAll joking aside my convocation was totally enjoyable; Holly Cole received an honorary degree and reciprocated by serenading us with three lovely songs!

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites

Now it’s back to reality, that is, working part time in a cafe, occasionally teaching yoga, and waiting to hear back about potential nursing jobs. I am still uncertain about what the next couple of months hold for me, so I’m doing my best to enjoy my carefree summer. Saturday a good friend of mine celebrated a birthday with a vegetarian potluck, and I dreamed up these little guys as an addition to the dessert table. They are decadent enough for dessert, and healthy enough for a midday pick-me-up snack.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites

by Suzanne

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Keywords: food processor no bake dessert snack dates oatmeal

Ingredients (18-24 balls (depending on size)

  • 1/2 c. rolled oats
  • 1/4 c. pretzels
  • 1/4 c. dairy free chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 c. (approx 10 large) Medjool dates
  • 1/2 c. peanut butter

Instructions

Pulse oats, chocolate chips, and cocoa together in a food processor until oats are ground into a fine crumb.

Add pretzels and pulse so some crumbs remain. Transfer to a mixing bowl.

Blend together dates and peanut butter. Add to mixing bowl.

With a spoon or (clean) hands, mix together contents until combined.

Roll into small balls, and store in the fridge.

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Oatmeal Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites

Currently reading: The Diary of a Young Girl

Currently listening to: Of the Night – Bastille

Currently watching: Orange is the New Black (almost done season 1!)

Enter to win a yoga mat!

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Healthy Vegan Fridays [21] /2014/06/06/healthy-vegan-fridays-21/ /2014/06/06/healthy-vegan-fridays-21/#comments Fri, 06 Jun 2014 07:30:32 +0000 /?p=2879 Thanks for joining us for Healthy Vegan Fridays! Anna, Kimmy, and I have loved sharing the best healthy vegan recipes of the web for the past 21 weeks, however, all good things must come to an end Due to personal … Continue reading

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Healthy Vegan Fridays Logo

Thanks for joining us for Healthy Vegan Fridays! Anna, Kimmy, and I have loved sharing the best healthy vegan recipes of the web for the past 21 weeks, however, all good things must come to an end :( Due to personal issues, this will be the last HVF that we will be hosting together. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed exploring HVF as much as we have loved hosting it. Kimmy will be taking it on solo from now on so be sure to keep linking up with here! Here are the top recipes from this past week’s link party as chosen by number of votes as well as a few favourites that caught my eye:

1. Chocolate Banana Spread from Egginon

A cheater nutella with only 3 ingredients; yum!

2. Veggie Sausuages from Delicioso

A healthier version of ‘faux’ veggie sausages.

3. Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream from Sandi’s Allergy Free Recipes

Summer beckons, and so does this frozen treat!

My picks:

Green Tea Almond Cake with Coconut Glaze from Farmer’s Market Vegan

‘ve been loving green tea in everything; this cake is no exception!

Chocolate Coconut Snack Mix by Creating Silver Linings

A perfect decadent on-the-go treat!

Healthy Mocha Hazelnut Shake by Coconut and Berries

This combination is right up my alley; you can’t go wrong with nutella and coffee!

Thank you again so much for your support these past few months. It has been a pleasure to host such an amazing collection of foodie creativity. If you’re at all interested in helping out with HVF, be sure to get in touch with Kimmy :)


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Get Your Om On at OmT.O. /2014/06/03/get-om-omt-o/ /2014/06/03/get-om-omt-o/#comments Tue, 03 Jun 2014 07:30:38 +0000 /?p=2869 The sun has been shining, and boy does it feel good! The temperatures in these parts have been confirmation that summer really (finally) is right around the corner. In just a few short weeks summer will be officially here, and OmT.O. will be … Continue reading

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The sun has been shining, and boy does it feel good! The temperatures in these parts have been confirmation that summer really (finally) is right around the corner. In just a few short weeks summer will be officially here, and OmT.O. will be happening in the beautiful Distillery District of Toronto to help ring in the season!

Om T.O.

I was invited by the folks of OmT.O. to attend this full-day celebration of summer, and although I can’t attend, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity on extending the invite to you (plus a chance to win some yoga-inspired swag)! Here’s the lowdown: on Saturday June 21st from 9 am to 5 pm in Toronto’s historic Distillery District (55 Mill St.) everyone is invited to attend a full day outdoor yoga extravangaza! The event is completely free, and eight back-to-back  40 minute yoga classes will be offered by teachers from studios all over the city. You can look at the full schedule online here, so you can have your pick of class, style, or teacher.

OmTO Event

OmT.O. is also offering a chance to win a B Yoga mat for ten yogis who completes all 8 yoga classes (remember: savasana and child’s pose are totally yoga! ;) ). If you feel like this challenge is for you, be sure to get there early; the first ten people to sign up will get to try out the B Yoga mat all day and then take it home with them!

B Yoga Mat Prize OmT.O.
This event really isn’t one to miss! Despite your age, gender, or experience level you are bound to find something for you. Bring a friend, a mat, your sunscreen and shades, and get your om on! The folks from OmT.O. are also generously providing an awesome prize pack up for grabs to any Toronto/GTA resident interested in elevating their practice and spreading the word about the event. One lucky winner will get a B Yoga Mat, a 5 class pass to Spynga (which I attest is pretty neat!), and Kashi cereal and granola bars! The winner will be announced June 20th, so get sharing! Use the rafflecopter below to enter, and help spread the word by tweeting at @OmToronto using the hashtag #OmTO14. More information about the event is available at omto.ca

Will you be in attendance? What class are you most looking forward to?

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Get your veggy on:

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