Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hello 2012, I'm Ready For You.

So it's Saturday December 31st, 2011 and I'm up at six o'colock in the morning because I can't sleep. New Years has always been one of my most favourite times of the year and I'm most excited about this year in particular. I have plans. I have real immediate plans and I have plans to make plans for the more distant future. Plans that will have an positive impact on my life and hopefully on others as well. Plans that will feed my soul the energy it craves by doing something profound, something that will make a difference to someone in this world. Something that will matter. I'm also ready to accept what once was, is no longer. Without the closure I deserve but never recieved I've stuggled with moving on from a long time friendship that ended early in the year. I'll never understand fully how that came to be but it is what it is and I owe it to myself to just get over it. I've also experienced a taste of what the 'Empty Nest Syndrome' will be like with the phasing out of my home daycare in 2011. I ran it successfully for six straight years but as of June the children were of age to be in school full time; and they don't need me anymore. There are all kinds of stories and photos and posts here on this Blog and on my Facebook Wall about the appreciation I have for the kids I spent so much of my life with all of those years. It's sort of ironic because it was my job to teach them, ... however I learned so much from them about myself and my gratitude for that cannot be described in words; only felt in my heart. But ..they've grown up now. Which leaves no reason at all why I shouldn't do the same and just get on with it. In 2012 I'll accept what once was, is no longer. (well, I promise to try to) Looking ahead, and in the spirit of making New Years Resolutions, here are mine: I'll minimalize, de-clutter and do a full house cleanse of 'stuff' that we don't need in hopes it'll get me organized in a way that leaves for more quality time in my family life. I'll keep loving my friends. I'll continue to stand up for the rights of animals and for the rights of our human race. I'll be smarter with money this year; I'll think before I spend. I'll cook more this year, and use all my wicked vegan cookbooks my sister & Patty have bought for me over the last few years. (and maybe shed some pounds in the process! ..maybe) Overall, throughout every plan I make, for every interaction I encounter and for all the resolutions I create in this coming year, I'll keep true to myself. I look back with no regrets and ahead with a clear mind. Hello 2012, I'm ready for you. Cheers!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Revolution Between The Lines

My sister and Patty sent me this wicked shirt from Vancouver and it needs to be shown off here, blog style :)



- Posted from Jennifer's iPhone

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Limited Perspective

This evening I attended my children's 'Holiday' School Concert. In years past this school has put on phenomenal concerts that have included equal mentions from many cultures and how people of various ethnicities take part the number of holidays there are to be celebrated in this world. Tonight was of enormous disappointment to me. A huge screen was pulled down in front of the stage, some kids came out and did a skit on the "Christmas Story". I honestly thought they were going to start acting out a scene from the "A Christmas Story" film where they tell Ralphy he'll "shoot his eye out" ...but to my surprise, they meant it in the biblical sense. The kids began telling the audience about Mary and Joesph, they talked about Jesus in his manger, and threw out the "g" word on a number of occasions. Next, all of the children, including my boys start belting out the words to a very religious sounding song!! I was floored. In a moment of silence after the clapping, but before the next act, I could not restrain myself from saying aloud that I thought this was a public school!? A non denominational environment!? I had a family in front of me turn, nod and smile as if to agree with my statement. I'm guessing they weren't the only ones either. Our school is made up of a number of nationalities, which is why I really love it so much. I grew up in a primarily white community and I didn't want that for my kids. I wanted there to be more diversity in their lives; I wanted to raise them in an atmosphere that appreciates and embraces all cultural differences ...so we moved.. here! We do not practice religion in our home, however we live amongst spirituality and higher consciousness in a secular sense. Until this evening I haven't worried that my children would be exposed to christian based teachings. (And 'christian' is not capitalized on purpose by the way) At least not without other religious ways being referred to also so as to not have a preachy, biased, christian superiority feel hovering over. And tonight it did. Unfortunately the concert was tainted by this narrow mindedness and I could not focus for the remainder out of fury. We have the best most warm hearted principal our school has seen and some wonderful, caring teachers on staff. It's just such a shame these public school children are being taught with such limited perspective all because 'the many' believe christianity is of the utmost highest regard.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Danny Bhoy On National Symbols

I'm sure this is posted elsewhere on my blog already, but I like it so here it is again:


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Marks The Spots

I got out my Magic Cleaning Eraser today and scrubbed my walls; I have two boys and my house is usually full of children so it doesn't take long for the walls to get grungy. In doing so I see all of the many dents and dings there are in my foyer and along the hallway. They're permanent marks that look like an eyesore and anyone else would probably have patched them up by now.

One dent I recognize from when the kids were small enough to be in a double stroller. I parked it in the same spot near my front door and the indent in my wall shows where it used to sit. Those baby years are so over for us.  Another few I know are from Callum running into the house in full goalie gear to use the bathroom. The hockey stick bashes all along the hallway as he hurries down it to go pee before the others begin the game again without him. He has such passion about him. The little nicks above the shoe rack are from where the kids leave their helmets and the ones near the baseboards marks the spots where the remote control trucks that have crashed along many times over the years. Some were even created accidentally by my husband, who is a child at heart and has been caught golfing down that hall on occasion. It's also been used as a bowling alley, a soccer field and race track for Hot Wheels cars and a railroad track for Thomas The Train. We've had trikes and bikes and scooters and sleds journey down that corridor as well. (And our guitars have left an indent or two when leaned against it!)

I of course don't know how every wall bash happened or who the paint destroyer was. From the chaotic life we live it's no wonder that hall looks the way it does; esthetically it's hideous. But at every glance some memory or another sweeps through my mind and evokes that emotion of gratitude for having a house that is so full of life and love and busyness and happiness. It's a place of comfort and warmth; where children want to play and be. If a few walls get dented in the process then we'll just put it on the repair list, .....but way way down on the list. I'm not ready for the memories they represent to disappear just yet!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Another Media Mention

Another mention about our demonstration via Our Burlington

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 24, 2011  Maple Leaf Foods announced yesterday that they are going to close the Burlington distribution and refrigeration plant on Harvester Road sometime  2013, which will mean the expected loss of 87 jobs.
Maple Leaf announced at the same time a massive expansion into the Red Valley Business Park in Hamilton where more than 1,500 jobs will be created. The announcement of the Hamilton move just may be the beginning of a stretch of economic growth that Hamilton needs if it is every going to shed its steel manufacturing industrial base.
Given that Burlington has had a working relationship with Maple Leaf Foods for some time one wonders if this city was ever in the game for the expansion?  We certainly have the land and the Paletta people do know how to take advantage of an opportunity.
Hamilton did have a leg up on this one with the Canada Bread operation also being set up in the Hamilton community as well.  The municipal taxes on the meat processing plant will amount to $2 million annually.
The Maple Leaf announcement was brought about by that city’s Economic development department which is an in house operation.  The Burlington Economic Development Corporation is an arms length organization that has council representation on it.

A 150 year old corporation that plays a significant role in the Burlington economy. Should a slughterhiuse be in this location?
There are some who feel that there is a bit of a silver lining in the announcement for Burlington and that is Fearman’s could take up the Maple Leaf Foods space which is immediately adjacent to their property on Harvester Road abutting the Applyby GO station.  The question for the city is – does Burlington really want a slaughter house right in the middle of an industrial part of town and next to a GO station?
Burlington will begin reviewing its Official Plan in 2012 and that question is sure to be asked.  The Strategic Plan, that city council will pass within a week, sheds no light on industry specifics, but does talk about prosperity and those elusive high tech, high paying jobs.  Nothing high tech or high paying about a slaughterhouse; but without them, bacon and eggs, and a ham at Easter won’t happen.
The F.W. Fearman’s brand is over 150 years old. So, it’s not only the oldest continuously operating pork processing plant in Canada, but also the first of its kind in the country. It was established in 1852, in Hamilton, Ontario, by F.W. Fearman, a dealer in sugar-cured hams and smoked meats.
Fearman’s sits on a site immediately to the west of the Maple Leaf plant and were the object of one of the more misdirected protests the city has seen in some time.  Nearly 20 Toronto Pig Save supporters picketed the Fearman plant early in October. “We’re talking about how animals are inhumanely treated,” said Patti Blersch. “I live in Burlington and one of Ontario’s largest slaughterhouses is down the street.”
Blersch wore a pink pig costume while protesters also spread their message with signs, pamphlets, a megaphone and video-audio display. They plan more protests in Burlington, said one of the animal rights group’s founders. She claims 8,000-9,000 pigs are killed each working day at Fearman’s.
Fearman’s is  an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners Inc., a Boca Roton, Florida hedge fund that has recently provided significant amounts for the upgrading of plant and equipment at the Burlington location.

Obviously a major hydro user and also a company that is well funded and in a postion to grow their operation if the market demand is there.
“The Ontario pork processing business is an impressive facility with significant potential to increase production levels. We are fully committed to growing the business, bringing our investment experience in the food processing industry to bear, working closely with hog suppliers and serving the markets with top-quality products. We believe there is opportunity to further expand into international markets and build out the company’s market share for specialty and value-added products,” said Anthony Polazzi, Principal at Sun Capital Partners. “Maple Leaf Foods will continue to be an important customer as we move forward.”
“This sale will complete the transformation of our fresh pork operations to focus our growth on branded, consumer-focused prepared meats and meals business,” said Michael Vels, Chief Financial Officer of Maple Leaf Foods. “We are very pleased to have secured a buyer who will continue to operate the facility, providing ongoing employment to a highly skilled workforce, and an important market for Ontario’s hog producers.”
Sun Capital has approximately $8 billion of capital under management and often bridges the entire purchase price at closing, raising permanent debt financing afterwards.
The company targets companies with up to $5 billion or more of revenues, but many of the transactions are with businesses with sales between $50 million and $500 million. A staff of approximately 150 people and a decisive approach to business enables them to close deals within 30 days compared to three to six months for most other buyers. Appropriate acquisition and investment targets may include private businesses, divisions of larger companies, and publicly-traded companies.
Fearman’s is clearly owned by people with very deep pockets – so buying up the Maple Leaf plant is not a financial problem.  A reliable source in Burlington’s financial community suspects conversations between the two are already taking place.  Should that happen – the jobs lost through the Maple Leaf closing would be more than made up with a Fearman’s expansion.

We Made The News, ....And Hopefully An Impact


Pork plant targeted by protesters



Pork plant targeted by protesters. THIS LITTLE PIGGY HELD A PROTEST: Toronto-based animal rights organization Pig Save, staged a weekend protest outside the Fearmans Pork Inc. pork processing plant — located to the southeast of Appleby Line and Harvester Road — on Saturday morning. Right, Patti Blersch donned a pig costume and held up signs intended to catch the attention of passersby. Michael Ivanin – Burlington Post
While some Burlington residents were anticipating Thanksgiving turkey dinner, animal rights protesters were condemning the slaughter of pigs at a local processing plant owned and operated by Fearmans Pork Inc.
Nearly 20 Toronto Pig Save supporters picketed last Saturday (Oct. 8) at Appleby Line and Harvester Road, beside the pork processing plant.
“We’re talking about how animals are inhumanely treated,” said Patti Blersch. “I live in Burlington and one of Ontario’s largest slaughterhouses is down the street.”
Blersch wore a pink pig costume while protesters also spread their message with signs, pamphlets, a megaphone and video-audio display.
While not specifying Fearmans’ operations, Blersch recalled a video of United Kingdom slaughterhouses.
“It shows the gross brutality,” said Blersch. “The animals suffer and feel fear.”
Fearmans Chief Executive Officer Patrick Sugrue declined to comment or answer questions about the protest when contacted by a reporter yesterday (Tuesday).
The Fearmans website says the company’s mission is to “feed the world delicious, safe and high-quality meat products.”
It states that farms supplying Fearmans are committed to quality and their standards include best practices of the Canadian Quality Assurance program.
Blersch said she and her husband have stopped attending Ribfest. (Fearmans was the title sponsor of Ribfest in 2011.)
Toronto Pig Save advocates moving to an organic, local, whole grain, plant-based (vegan) food economy — away from meat.  
“In a world with so many alternatives to meat and dairy products, there’s just no need,” said Blersch.
More protests will be held in Burlington, said one of the animal rights group’s founders.
“We feel it’s very dramatic to be on site and bear witness,” said Anita Krajnc.
She claims 8,000-9,000 pigs are killed each working day at Fearmans.
“We don’t want to shut the plant down and have it moved somewhere else,” she said. “We don’t want jobs that involve killing enslaved animals.”
Krajnc said a whole grain, plant-based food economy will create jobs. She said the group protests three times weekly at another pig slaughterhouse, Quality Meat Packers in downtown Toronto.
Krajnc doesn’t blame workers at these processing plants.
“We get along with workers,” she said. “When we started, a few people were giving us the finger. Now people honk at us.”
Krajnc said leaflets are passed to motorists at stoplights during pickets in Toronto.
At Saturday morning’s protest in Burlington, some motorists reacted by honking horns.
One driver yelled “Get a job!” at the protesters.
Meanwhile, the nearby Fearmans parking lot was nearly empty, with only three or four vehicles.
Krajnc said she’s making a film in Burlington and Toronto that combines the protests, scenes of quiet streets and the slaughterhouses.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

I'm Thankful For This Life I'm Living And For Every Soul Who Has A Part In It

Today is Thanksgiving Day. It's the time of year when I tend to take a closer look at where I'm at in my journey of life and appreciate all that has made me fortunate enough to be where I am on the path. I have a beautiful family and carry on a lifestyle that reflects who I really am inside....who could ask for anything more? My dreams are my reality. I'm thankful for this life I'm living and for every soul who has a part in it.

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."  ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pigs Give Thanks for Vegans - Fearmans Slaughterhouse Protest

Facebook Event:

Join us west-enders, along with Toronto Pig Save, for a protest on Thanksgiving weekend and help give these sweet pigs something to be thankful for.

Fearman's Pork Inc.(formerly Maple Leafs Pork) is the largest pork-processing facility in Ontario, slaughtering upwards of 45,000 every week and primarily servicing Toronto and the Eastern United States.

As a point of interest, there's also a poultry-processing facility just down the street.






DATE/TIME

Saturday, October 8th
10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Appleby Line & Harvester (Fearmans is on the corner at 821 Appleby Line)
Burlington, ON



LOGISTICS

We'll position ourselves on each of the four corners of the intersection with various signs. It's mostly going to be vehicle traffic with few pedestrians but anyone who has literature to hand out, do bring it in the event there are people walking by. If anyone has a megaphone, please feel free to bring it as well!! I will work on some chants.

For anyone coming by transit, the protest is about a 10 minute walk from the Appleby Go Station. You want to take the North or Harvester exit out of the train station. Then hang a left once you get out of the Go Station parking lot.

For anyone driving, there's Wendy's/Tim Horton's where you can likely park without any issues.



SIGNAGE


We'll have a few signs but please bring one with you if you can. I also have a new pig costume which will make its debut at the protest!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sweet Pepper Soup

INGREDIENTS

4 tbsp butter (I use Earth Balance)
1 onion finely chopped
2 stalks of celery finely chopped
2 yellow bell peppers
2 red bell peppers
2 tbsps chopped parsley
1 tsp chervil
4 tbsp flour (or to keep it gluten free, I use the equivalent in cornstarch/water mix)
9 cups of vegetable stock
Salt, Pepper & Paprika to taste
5 tbsp of heavy cream (if I make it to freeze I don't add the cream until it's thawed & heated through)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat butter in a large pot over low heat. Add onion, cover & cook 4 minutes.
2. Stir in celery, cook another 5 minutes.
3. Add peppers, season & add parsley, chervil & paprika. Cover & cook 5 minutes over medium heat.
4. Mix in flour, cook 3 minutes on low heat uncovered.
5. Pour in stock & mix well. Bring to a boil & reduce heat to medium. Cook 20 minutes partly covered, then puree. Incorporate cream & serve!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fruit and Kale Smoothie

2 bananas
1 Gala apple
1 pear
1 cup of kale
1/2 cup water
This makes 2-3 servings, but don’t feel bad downing the entire smoothie by yourself. It is that good.

Green Smoothie

2 bananas, frozen
2 HUGE handfuls spinach (you won’t even taste it)
1 cup milk (almond or soy is even better than moo juice)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Add all ingredients into a blender. Blend until mixed. Serve.

Peanut Butter and Bananna Smoothie

4-5 apple bananas (2-2 1/2 regular banana)
4 spoonfuls of peanut butter (creamy preferred) (or 2 spoonfuls if you have a big spoon)
1 can of sprite
7-15 pieces of ice (depending on how thick you want your smoothie)
You mix together the bananas, peanut butter, and sprite first.  then when that is fully blended together you add in the ice.  I like my smoothies more on the liquidy side so I put in less ice so its still smooth but you also have that crunch.

Granola Smoothie

Ingredients:
1 banana
1 cup milk (I use skim or 1%)
2 Tbs. of honey or sugar-free honey substitute
1/2 cup granola
1/2 cup of ice

Breakfast Smoothie

While just about all smoothies are packed with vitamins since their ingredients are usually fruits and vegetables, there are some healthy smoothies that are healthier and more rich in vitamins than others. This is one of the best healthy smoothies I have come across and its taste can’t be beat. I usually prefer frozen fruit for a better texture and consistency, but frozen or fresh this will be a delicious and healthy breakfast smoothie or anytime smoothie.
Ingredients:
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 cup blackberries
1 medium carrot
1 cup low-fat milk
1 cup pomegranate (cranberry is an okay substitute)
2 cups ice
Easily 2 servings, but don’t feel too guilty if you finish it by yourself, it is that good.

POM Smoothie

Ingredients:
1 cup POM wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
3/4 cup soy or low-fat milk
2 ice cubes
1 large banana
2 tablespoons almonds
3 table spoons protein powder (optional)
1 teaspoon honey or stevia sweetener
In a blender combine all ingredients. Cover and blend on high for at least 30 seconds (make sure the almonds aren’t visible) then pour into two glasses. Makes 2 servings.

French Spring Soup

INGREDIENTS
1/4 cup butter
1 pound leeks, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 quarts water
3 large potatoes, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/3 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
4 teaspoons salt
1/2 pound fresh spinach
1 cup heavy cream

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the leeks and onion, and cook until tender.
2. Pour water into the pot. Mix in potatoes, carrots, asparagus, and rice. Season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes, until vegetables and rice are tender.
3. Stir spinach and heavy cream into the soup mixture, and continue cooking about 5 minutes before serving.

Fresh Pea Soup

INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
2 cups water
3 cups fresh shelled green peas
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons whipping cream (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Cook the shallots until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Pour in the water and peas, season to taste with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the peas are tender, 12 to 18 minutes.
2. Puree the peas in a blender or food processor in batches. Strain back into the saucepan, stir in the cream if using, and reheat. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.

Beans and Greens

INGREDIENTS
4 (14.5 ounce) cans vegetable broth
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach
1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, with liquid
1 (15 ounce) can great Northern beans, with liquid
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, with liquid
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon garlic powder
salt to taste
black pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Place broth and spinach in a pot over medium heat, and cook 5 minutes, or until spinach is thawed. Mix in dark and light kidney beans, black beans and liquid, great northern beans and liquid, pinto beans and liquid, and oil. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cook 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Vegetarian Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup)

INGREDIENTS
Broth
6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
3 large shallots, sliced (1 cup)
1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
10 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
12 1/4-inch-thick coins fresh ginger
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
5–6 fresh basil stems, leaves reserved for soup
5–6 cilantro stems, leaves reserved for soup
Pho
1 8-oz. pkg. rice noodles
1 8-oz. pkg. Asian-flavor baked tofu, thinly sliced
2 cups soybean sprouts
2 cups watercress
4 green onions, sliced (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 lime, cut into wedges

INSTRUCTIONS

1. To make Broth: Place all ingredients in large pot with 8 cups water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, 1 hour. Strain broth, and return to pot. Discard solids.
2. To make Pho: Cook rice noodles according to package directions. Drain, and rinse under cold water. Divide among 6 large soup bowls. Ladle Broth over noodles, and top with tofu, sprouts, watercress, and green onions. Serve cilantro, basil, and lime wedges on the side to be stirred into soup.

Red Pepper-Carrot Soup

INGREDIENTS
2 large red bell peppers (1 lb.), plus slices for garnish, optional
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1 bay leaf
1 large onion, sliced (2 cups)
2 large carrots, sliced (1/2 lb.)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. lemon juice

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place bell peppers on baking sheet, and roast 1 hour, or until skin is wrinkled and blackened all over, turning peppers occasionally with tongs. Transfer to bowl, and cover with plastic wrap 10 minutes to steam. When peppers are cool enough to handle, rub off blackened peel, and remove seeds.
2. Heat oil in 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add curry powder and bay leaf, and stir 10 seconds. Add onion, carrots, garlic, and salt. Cover, and cook 10 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
3. Add 4 cups water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, 25 minutes.
4. Transfer carrot mixture to blender, add bell peppers, and purée until smooth. Stir in lemon juice. Garnish servings with bell pepper slices, if using.

Miso Noodle Soup with Edamame

INGREDIENTS
2 oz. bean thread noodles
3 oz. fresh shiitake or button mushrooms
2 tsp. canola oil
3 scallions, thinly sliced with white and green parts
1 small carrot, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced on diagonal
1 cup (6 oz.) frozen shelled edamame
5 oz. baby spinach
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
4 to 6 Tbs. dark miso
1/4 tsp. toasted sesame oil
Tamari soy sauce, optional

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Put noodles in a bowl with water to cover, and set aside.
2. Trim mushrooms and wash, chop finely. Slice caps thinly, and set aside.
3. Heat oil in a soup pot. Add scallion whites, mushrooms and carrot, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mushrooms begin to soften, for about 2 minutes.
4. Add 5 cups water, and bring to a boil. Add edamame, and cook for 4 minutes. Drain noodles, and add to pot with spinach and ginger. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until edamame are tender but still firm, for about 1 minute more. Stir in scallion greens.
5. Blend 4 tablespoons miso into 1 cup warm water, using a fork to mix. Reduce heat to low, and stir miso into soup, adding more miso for a more intense flavor, if desired. Add sesame oil and tamari to taste. Serve hot.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Broccoli And Cheese Soup

INGREDIENTS
2 bunches broccoli, trimmed and coarsely chopped (2 1/2 lb.)
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 1/2 Tbs. nutritional yeast flakes
1/8 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 cup fat-free half-and-half
1/2 cup shredded marble cheese
INSTRUCTIONS
1. Working in batches, purée soup in food processor until smooth. Return to saucepan. Stir in half-and-half, and heat over low heat until hot. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Sprinkle each serving with 1 Tbs. cheese.

Asparagus Soup With Parmesan Crisps

INGREDIENTS
2 Tbs. unsalted butter or olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 medium onion, chopped (1 cup)
5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 lb. fresh asparagus (36 to 40 medium-size spears), tips reserved, stalks cut into 1/2-inch pieces, divided
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/3 cup low-fat milk or heavy cream
1 Tbs. lemon juice
2 tsp. grated lemon zest

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with foil. Divide Parmesan cheese into 6 mounds on baking mat, and flatten using back of spoon. Bake 3 to 4 minutes, or until cheese melts into lacy rounds. Cool completely. Remove from baking sheet with spatula; set aside.
2. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 5 to 7 minutes, or until soft. Add broth, asparagus stalks, and thyme; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pan, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until asparagus is tender.
3. Meanwhile, cook asparagus tips in boiling, salted water 2 minutes, or until just tender. Drain, and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
4. Purée soup in blender or food processor until smooth. Return to pan, and stir in milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with asparagus tips and Parmesan crisps.

Corn Chowder with Green Chiles

INGREDIENTS
2 fresh, mild green Mexican (Anaheim) or poblano chiles roasted & peeled
2 Tbs. corn oil or vegetable oil
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 large onion, minced
3 cups corn kernels, scraped from the cob (about 6 medium ears), fresh or frozen
3 cups milk
12 to 14-oz. russet baking potato, peeled and diced
1 1/2 tsp. salt, or more to taste
1/2 cup whipping cream
Pinch white pepper
About 1/4 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds), dry-roasted, optional

INSTRUCTIONS
1. To prepare chowder: Heat oil and butter in large, heavy saucepan over medium. Stir in onion, and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. In blender, purée 1 cup corn with 1 cup milk. Pour mixture into pan and add remaining milk with remaining corn, potato and 11/2 teaspoons salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until potato is tender. Adjust heat, if necessary, to keep soup from boiling. Stir in cream and heat through. Add more salt, if desired, and pepper. Ladle into shallow bowls. Top with green chiles. Scatter pepitas over soup, if using. Serve hot.

Vegan 'Chicken' Noodle Soup

INGREDIENTS
4 cups no-chicken broth
1/2 cup baby carrots, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
1 stalk celery, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 tsp. granulated onion
3 oz. dry fettuccine, broken into 2-inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
2 1/2 Tbs. plain TVP bits
2 green onions, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
1 Tbs. minced fresh parsley
INSTRUCTIONS
1. Combine broth, carrots, celery and onion in large saucepan over medium-high heat, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, and stir in fettuccine. Simmer, partially covered, 15 minutes. Stir in TVP and green onions.
2. Cook 5 minutes more, or until vegetables and noodles are tender. Remove from heat, stir in parsley, and season with salt and pepper.

Volunteer Vacations

To be a part of a Volunteer Vacation is a dream of mine. I will get there, somehow, someway, someday....

Check out http://www.org4peace.org or other organizations similar to them.

It's the orphanages mostly that draw on my heart as I look at the smiles on their faces. They have so little, yet they still appear to be happy. We have so much and yet there is so much misery. That appreciation for life that they have needs to be taught here in our over commercialized, greedy, consumer driven, materialistic community in which we live. What an experience that would be....

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Brittany Renee

“I would much rather have regrets about not doing what people said, than regretting
not doing what my heart led me to and wondering what life had been like if I'd just
been myself.”-Brittany Renée


- Posted using BlogPress from Jennifer's iPad

Chickenless Pot Pie

Original recipe taken from Gardein iPhone app, then modified.


1 pack Gardein scallopini, cut into 1/4 cubes
6 cups vegan chicken stock
1 cup yellow onion, diced
1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 cup broccoli florets
1 cup peas
¾ tsp thyme, minced
¾ tsp sage, minced
¾ tsp sea salt
¾ tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 tbsp tamari soy sauce
3-4 tbsp Canola oil


Roux
¾ cup flour
¾ cup Earth Balance butter
1 puff pastry sheet rolled out to 12"x10"

Instructions
Pre-heat oven to 375°F

Brown gardein scallopini in a sauté pan with 1 tablespoon canola oil. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and set aside.

To make roux... melt Earth Balance in a sauté pan, add flour and whisk constantly until light brown in color. Cool and set aside.

In a 5.5 qt. stock pot cook onions in canola oil for 3 min and add carrots, sage, thyme, salt and pepper. Continue to cook for 5 min. Add already boiling stock and simmer for 5 min whisk in yeast flakes.

Add the roux a bit at a time and continue to cook as sauce begins to thicken. Stir in gardein scallopini, tamari and peas. pour mixture into a large shallow pan to cool.

Once mixture is cool, pour into individual ramekins, glass pie pan or small casserole dish. cover mixture with puff pastry (be sure to leave a small excess of pastry for folding and fluting of the edge) and seal edges. Cut small slits. Bake for 35 min or until internal temperature reaches 165°F.

6 servings | 15 min prep | 50 min cook

- Posted using BlogPress from Jennifer's iPad

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Vegan Dog Treats Recipe

A great treat to help that doggy breath! 
Courtesy of Molly, @veganflower on Twitter.

Parsley Mint Muffins

2 cups flour
½ cup oats
½ cup wheat germ or additional flour
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp. ground flax
1 Tbsp. hulled hemp seeds (optional)
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ cup dried parsley
½ cup fresh mint, chopped into small pieces
3 Tbsp. blackstrap molasses or agave nectar
1 ½ cups water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini muffin pans with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, wheat germ, nutritional yeast, flax, hemp seeds, baking soda, parsley and mint. Add molasses or agave nectar and water, mixing well. Scoop batter into the muffin pans and bake for 30 minutes. Remove and let cool completely before serving. Store in the fridge.

Makes approximately two dozen mini muffins.

Variations

Biscuits- Reduce water by ½ cup and eliminate baking soda. Knead into a stiff dough, adding ¼ cup of flour at a time until it can be rolled out without sticking to the rolling pin (add a bit of water if it gets too dry). Roll out onto a floured surface to ¼ inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters or knife and bake on a greased cookie sheet until crispy.

Cookies- Add ¼ cup of flour at a time until dough is firm enough to form into balls. Place dough balls on a greased cookie sheet and press flat with your hand or a fork. Bake until crispy.

Bagels- Make the same as the cookies except do not press them flat. Dip your finger in water and poke a hole in the middle of the dough ball. Flatten slightly to form a bagel shape. Bake until crispy.

Good Eye, Spy!

My little friend Irelynn spent the day with me today and pointed to my garden saying "Why you got farkles in yo gawden, Den?" I looked under all the bushes in my garden and there was in fact a jar of 'sparkles' from when we did art outside one day. How very random that she spotted them and that 'Farkles' just happens to be my most favourite word she uses, ....next to 'Goggy' as in Dogs of course. I cannot get enough of this kid, she makes me laugh out loud.





- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Tofu Scramble

Did I post this already?! Might have but too lazy to check. Re-enjoy if I did and if I didn't, give this one a try :) Put it in a wrap to make a breakfast burrito!!

INGREDIENTS
1 lb. extra firm tofu
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic salt
Juice from half a lemon
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 each red, yellow & green peppers
1 handful of spinach easier & chopped

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Cut the tofu into cubes and squeeze out the excess water.
2. Add the olive oil, soy sauce, crushed garlic, onion powder, thyme, turmeric, paprika, and garlic salt to a sauté pan. Stir and cook on low heat. Once the mixture begins to heat, spread evenly to coat the bottom of pan.
3. Crumble the tofu through your fingers into the pan and toss into the mixture, stirring often.
4. Once the scramble becomes firm to the touch and begins to brown (about 7 to 10 minutes), squeeze in the lemon juice and add in the nutritional yeast. Stir until coated. Allow to cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
5. Sauté the veggies until tender crisp and toss together with the scrambled tofu mixture.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Your Toddler Is 36 Months Old

Heinz, Gerber, Similac, Enfalac.... all of these baby food/formula companies obtain your name it seems almost immediately following conception. For all five of my pregnancies, my doctor provided me with armfuls of information on what to expect during the next nine months and this literature is all courtesy of these baby food makers. The amount of information is overwhelming, really.
This week I received yet another brochure in the mail from one of these companies with coupons attached for various other products they make. On it read "Your toddler is 36 months...."
Nope, no. My toddler is not 36 months because my baby didn't live long enough to become a toddler. I miscarried twelve weeks into that pregnancy; that fetus didn't even make it to full term. I froze as I read it standing in front of our neighbourhood mailbox. Those words literally took the breath out of me as I realized that next week sometime, around September 4th, I would have had a three year old, ....had that baby survived.
I've called these companies to ask them to stop mailing me free samples and coupons, I've blocked them all from my email and have done what I can to avoid exactly what just happened at my mailbox.... But the reality is, every once in awhile I need to think about him/her. I need to have those thoughts about those babies run through my head so I can feel them in my heart.  I've had a connection with each of my children from the moment I felt they were there and I do wonder about the three that never came to be. They are still and will always be a part of me.
I just really don't need Heinz to flag all the milestones I'm missing out on.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Comic Art

A couple of years ago a friend of mine, a comedian, invited me out to one of his shows and it opened up my eyes to a whole new art form. I watch stand up on TV and have been to other people's shows so the idea of someone telling jokes on stage wasn't new. It's the behind the scenes, heart and soul that goes into making it all that happen that I'd never really considered before being privy to the inside that I find to be so interesting. I became a 'groupie' although in the world of comedy I'm just called a 'regular' lol and I watch a lot of the same comics do the same routine week after week ....but never see the same show twice. It's really cool to see them rhyme off their jokes but then add a twist to it, give it alternative punch line or change it up just a little and get a whole different reaction from the crowd. That's talent. These guys and girls deserve a lot more praise and recognition than I can give them here on this blog post I'm quickly spewing off. There are far too many comic geniuses in my local area to list here and now but they are definitely worth checking out and if you follow me on Twitter I retweet show info when they post it. A few of the boys such as Javier Enrique, Anthony Mlekuz, along with fellow comedian friends/guests Manolis Zontanos, Patrick Coppolino and Clifford Myers do a Sunday late night Radio Show on Indi 101 called "Funny And Friends". They spend an hour give or take talking about the stories of how they came up with certain material, they share advice they have been given by other comics to improve making their sets as successful as they are and disclose things they've lived and learned on their comic journey. Usually there is a theme but whether or not they stay on topic all depends on the week. One thing is for sure though, they make me laugh as they they merge their 'totally on' comedian selves with their everyday realistic selves. They also spend a whole lot of time bantering and ranting about ....nothing. But it's funny nothingness so have a listen! And/or check out their web pages for show info and cool venues ....then go absorb some of that artsy energy these fine comedians will fill your soul with.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Whale Saving!

My sister sent me this link and it brought tears to my eyes.... it's amazing, watch and see!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Those Were The Smurfin' Days

It just wasn't right watching 'The Smurfs' movie without my sister. That cartoon was a Saturday morning childhood ritual for us. She would come into my room, pull up my eyelids and say in her small Lindsay voice "Jenn, Smurfies are on!" My six year old self remembers every time she did that thinking 'I hate that she wakes me by pulling my eyes but I'm so happy to be up for this!' It all balanced out.

We would make our way downstairs quietly so we didn't wake anyone else up, first stopping at the living room where it was guaranteed there would be left over snacks sitting out. My parents would often entertain on weekends but wouldn't tidy up until the next morning, so Lindsay and I had a pre-breakfast smorgasbord feast of stale Chips, Bits & Bites, Crackers and whatever else was left out. It was glorious. The glasses would have dribbles left in them, mostly of melted ice cubes and backwash and I remember drinking them; taste buds shocked every time that it was booze....duh. We'd take our stash of snacks down to the basement always in time to hear the theme song play "La La La La La La, La La La La La" and happiness surrounded us for the half hour following. We'd have our miniature Smurf figurines lined up on the table next to us so they could watch themselves on TV. That was our time. Our magical time where we were absorbed into a world of little blue creatures who lived in mushroom houses and spent their lives avoiding and escaping the cruel hands of the evil sorcerer Gargamel. There was excitement, there was cheering and there was love. When it was over, my mom would call us up for a 'real' breakfast to start the 'real' day.

It was a short period of time in our week but we both looked forward to it . We knew when Dallas was on Friday night, that the next day was Saturday and we had to be up in time for The Smurfs. There are many things in my life that connect back to my childhood but The Smurfs relate back entirely to a world that only my sister and I lived in. Although I knew it then, I realize it more now that I Smurfin' treasured those mornings and am fortunate to have those memories that evoke the emotions they do when I Smurf back.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Our lives begin to end....

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter" ~Rev Martin Luther King Jr

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Killer Coke Stories



What I learned today from an email from watercheck.biz about The Coca Cola Company is sickening and sad. Read a copy of the email here for yourself. I could blog about my opinion on it all but instead I'll list the links and let you read the information written by those involved first hand:


Start with Killer Coke and you'll get the picture.


What was written on The Council Of Canadians astounds me. Damaged water supplies and more. 


The website http://films.nfb.ca/the-coca-cola-case/ has a quick video on what the story is about.


There is definitely more out there to be read, so check it out.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

So Nice Top 20 Blogs To Follow In 2011

So I'm just discovering this now, eight months later but whatever, it's never to late to brag when So Nice mentions you! Click on the title and see.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Our Destiny Changes....

“Our destiny changes with our thoughts; we shall become what we wish to become, do what we wish to do, when our habitual thoughts correspond with our desires.”
— Orison Swett Marden


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Bertrand Russell Says....

“Those who have never known the deep intimacy and the intense companionship of happy mutual love have missed the best thing that life has to give.”
—  Bertrand Russell

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Watermelon Smiles





I remember being a kid playing outside on hot summer days and almost dying of thirst but having too much fun to go inside for a drink. Sometimes my mom would call out to us to come sit at our picnic table out back where she'd have a huge tray of watermelon ready for us, all cut up into 'Watermelon Smiles'. The cold juice even felt good on my cheeks as I'd bite in the middle of the smile and the rind would curve up my face. I remember freaking out because I swallowed a seed one time and thought I would grow a watermelon inside of me if I drank a glass of water. My sister reassured me I'd be okay because I "didn't eat any dirt and to grow a watermelon you'd need soil with the seed and water". That was enough to calm my nerves and ease my
mind. (thanks again Linz) These are wonderful childhood memories for me. Something as simple as watermelon to my seven year old self is remembered as being brilliant. That I say, is brilliant in itself!
My kids have grown up with watermelon smiles but I buy the seedless kind so they don't have to fear a garden of watermelon growing inside of them. On busy weeks where I have to pack lunches for the kids a Watermelon Smile is just too big for the lunch pail. Instead I cut it up into cubes however, I know they associate this pretty pink juicy fruit with happiness and my Mommy instincts tell me they smile when they open the lunch pail and see it in there.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Animal Free Circuses Puhleeeeeze

The circus in my opinion is the cruelest form of family entertainment and people are still so oblivious to the torture that surrounds such horrific events. Read below to learn some basic facts surrounding the circus and join us Tuesday July 19th in Hamilton. The following is a Facebook event, ....search it for more info or email me.

COME OUT ON JULY 19TH TO COPPS COLISEUM AND TELL THE SHRINE CIRCUS THAT ANIMALS DIE IN CAPTIVITY and THEY ARE NOT WELCOME IN HAMILTON ANY LONGER.

The time has come to make Hamilton a ' Compassionate Circus Free' Town. Hamilton is ready !!

Facts about Animals in the Circus:

Trained by pain

• Circuses force animals to perform tricks
• Animals are injured while performing
• Training animals to achieve acts that are painful and unnatural requires whips, tight collars, muzzles, electric prods
• Elephants are trained by an ankus - a wooden stick with a sharp, pointed hook at the end. It is embedded into the elephants' most sensitive areas: feet, ears, chin, mouth, face. It is used to smash them across the face as well
• Circuses assert they use "positive reinforcement" to get animals to do tricks. If this were true, the trainers would be carrying bags of food treats, not metal weapons

Travel can be torture

• In circuses animals are kept in cages with barely enough room to turn around during travel and between shows
• Elephants are shackled in chains by their front and back legs so that they can't take a step forward or backward. They are required to eat, sleep, and defecate in the same trailers they are kept in
• The animals are forced to wait inside of the railroad cars for hours, even in extreme temperatures, sometimes up to 72 hours

Life in captivity

• In the wild, animals have relationships with their own kind and live in social groups or families
• Baby elephants stay with their mothers for years. Yet in circuses, they are ripped from their mothers because they are cute and reap profit
• Constant confinement forces animals into a state of psychosis. Elephants in circuses constantly sway back and forth in their chains, tigers pace in their cages, symptoms of deep psychological distress due to being deprived of fulfilling natural instincts
• Animals self-mutilate from lack of psychological stimulation.

Anti-Educational

• Opposite to what circuses say and the rationalization of educators who take students to circuses, seeing animals in circuses does not provide a pragmatic, educational tool because the animals are forced to perform tricks and live in conditions that are not natural for them
• The animals are in an environment that is radically different from the wild and their spirits are broken from cruel training. They are unable to fulfill their most basic needs and instincts.

It's unnatural. Think about, then help make a change. My kids will be there, bring yours too and maybe we'll influence other families in the community to support a more compassionate lifestyle, beginning with boycotting animal circus events.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bike Riding Beach Side







There are certain things that really make summer feel like summer and bike riding by the beach is one of them. The trees are mature, the lake is calm and the air is warm. There's a long path that takes us past families doing the picnic thing, friends drinking on a patio and couples strolling by the water. People rollerblade by listening to their iPods, dogs are being walked by their owners and families like us are riding our bikes. If we stop, we skip some stones and take a second to absorb the moment. This is living. It's a little thing, but it's a together thing and it's one of my favourite things do do with my little fam!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

GMO's Described Star Wars Style

Grocery Store Wars

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Gooeyest Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwich




INGREDIENTS
What you need:

2 slices of bread, thinner is better
3 to 4 tbsp Daiya Vegan Cheese
I-2 tsp Earth Balance 'butter'
Pinch of garlic powder

INSTRUCTIONS
The complicated process:

1. Everyone MUST know how to put a grilled cheese together but just in case: Butter your bread with the Earth Balance and sprinkle the garlic powder in as you spread.

2. Use the Daiya shreds in place of dairy cheese, heat through in a frying pan on medium heat and once the Daiya melts, your sandwich should be golden and gooey.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, July 4, 2011

Mango Avocado Rolls

INGREDIENTS

    • 2/3 cup diced avocado
    • 2 Tbs. lime juice
    • 2 tsp. grated lime zest
    • 2/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
    • 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese, softened
    • 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions (white and pale green parts)
    • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
    • 1 tsp. chile sauce
    • 8 81/2-inch Vietnamese rice paper wrappers
    • 2 cups alfalfa sprouts
    • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced fresh mango

INSTRUCTIONS

    1. Combine avocado, lime juice, and lime zest in small bowl. Stir in bell pepper, cream cheese, green onions, cilantro, and chile sauce; then set aside.
    2. Fill large bowl (9-inch diameter) with warm water. Submerge 1 rice paper wrapper 10 seconds in water, or just until it becomes soft. Remove wrapper to flat work surface, and let rest 30 seconds; it will become more pliable.
    3. Spoon 1/4 cup avocado mixture just below middle of rice paper wrapper, leaving 1-inch border on either side. Top with 1/4 cup alfalfa sprouts and 2 to 3 mango slices. Fold bottom of rice paper wrapper up over filling, pressing filling as you go. Fold both sides of rice paper inward. Gently press to seal. Roll up wrapper to top edge. Brush water on top edge, if necessary, to seal. And repeat!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Caesar Salad Vegan Style

INGREDIENTS

    • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 2 Tbs. blanched and ground almonds
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 3 Tbs. Dijon mustard
    • 3 Tbs. nutritional yeast flakes
    • 2 Tbs. soy sauce
    • 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
    • 1 large head romaine lettuce, torn into large pieces

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine almonds, garlic, mustard, yeast flakes, soy sauce, lemon juice, water and oil if desired using a blender or food processor and process until smooth and well blended. To serve, toss together lettuce (croutons if desired) and dressing, and toss to coat. Serve right away. Keep it Gluten Free by not using croutons.



About Me

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Life-long Vegetarian and proud to be Canadian. Really, I'm a little bit of everything, all rolled into one. I'm a bitch, I'm a lover, I'm a child, I'm a mother, I'm a sinner, I'm a saint (I do not feel ashamed) I'm your hell, I'm your dream (I'm nothing in between) You know, I wouldn't want it any other way..... (I'd like to think that song was written about me! lol)