Monthly Archives: August 2016

Upcycled Dog Scarves

The days are going to start to get cooler soon. Our sundresses and shorts will get packed away for scarves and mittens. While your going through your old clothes and sorting through some of the stuff you don’t want anymore consider keeping a few pieces around to upcycle into some cute dog accessories.

If you have an old hat lying around you can simply snip off the top to make a neck warmer for your pup.

You can flip the loose edge over so that it doesn’t fray and then simply slide it over her head

If you have a knit scarf on hand you can do the same thing but cut the scarf to the correct length to fit your dogs neck and then weave some yarn through the holes to “sew” it into one loop.

The possibilities are endless. What fun stuff can you upcycle for your pets?

Vegan Potato Pancakes

My husband bought a humongous bag of potatoes a few weeks ago and I was starting to worry that they would sprout and go bad before I had a chance to use them up. I decided this would be a good opportunity to try out a new recipe,. Vegan potato latkes! So yummy, but if you are trying to watch your weight this recipe might not be a good option since you use so much oil to fry them in.  Prep time about 15 minutes, cook time about 20.

Ingredients

3 lbs of potatoes
1 medium onion
1 egg replacer
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp baking powder
Olive oil for frying
Apple sauce and vegan sour cream for dipping

Directions:

Peel and cut potatoes into chunks.  Using the grate blade on your food processor grate all the potatoes and the onion. You can grate by hand with a cheese  grater but it will probably take you 3 weeks. I wasn’t going to even make this recipe if I couldn’t find the grate attachment for the food processor. 3lbs of potatoes is A LOT of taters.  In a bowl add the rest of the ingredients and mix them together with the grated potato and onion.
Heat the oil on medium in a large pan spoon in the potato mixture into the pan into little pancake patties  about 3- 4 inches in diameter.  Cook for 2-3 minutes then flip. Continue cooking and flipping until both sides are golden brown.
Serve with  applesauce and vegan sour cream.

How To Make a Flower Pen

Why write with a boring regular pen when you can  write with a pretty flower pen?
My mom, sister and I made these pens when I was little. My mom owned a clothing store with the word “Rose” in the title, so we made these pens with fake roses on top as a little promotional giveaway. I brought some extra to school when I was in grade 8 and my friends all begged me to make them one.  This one is a fun craft for kids and tweens or anybody like me who wants something pretty to write with.

Materials:

Pen
Floral tape
Flower
Glue

Take the floral tape  and wrap it around the pen. You can add a dab of glue if you want but floral tape sticks to itself so you shouldn’t need it.

Once the pen is covered with the tape pick the end of the pen off

Stick the tip of the flower in the pen and secure with glue.

Voila! Flower Pen!

Is Organic Worth It?

Organic lemons growing at my husbands grandparents house in Mexico

Organic fruits and veggies can cost 50-100% more than the non- organic varieties at the grocery store. It makes you wonder, is buying organic really worth the extra cost? Well according to the Environmental Working group a non profit organization that is based out of Washington DC some types of produce are more susceptible to pesticide residue than others. The group came up with a list of the “Dirty Dozen” the 12 foods that are definitely worth buying organic:

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes (imported)
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes

This list above are the foods that you should focus on buying organic. These foods are affected most by chemicals and pesticides.
If you can’t afford to buy only organic, that’s OK. They also complied a list of 12 foods that have the least pesticide residue:

  • Papayas
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Bananas
  • Kiwifruit
  • Sweet peas (frozen)
  • Asparagus
  • Mangoes
  • Pineapple
  • Sweet corn (frozen)
  • Avocados
  • Onions
Homegrown avocado also grown at the grandparents in Mexico

So if you can only afford some organic foods make sure you stick to the dirty dozen.

Vegan Blueberry Muffins

 Make delicious vegan blueberry muffins with this yummy recipe!

A yummy treat to snack on in the morning, or anytime of the day actually! These taste best warmed up with melted margarine.

Ingredients
1/4 cup margarine
1/2 cup organic applesauce
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup sugar
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup soymilk
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 tbsp of cinnamon.

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 and grease your muffin tins
Mix your dry ingredients and then your wet. Blend with an electric mixer.
Add your blueberries and then spoon the mixture into the muffin tins until it is ¾ full.
Bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown.

Vegan Egg Replacements

egg replace

When I  first started experimenting with vegan cooking I was pleasantly surprised to find there are vegan alternatives to many, many foods. Mayo, milk, ice cream and  cheese,  all have vegan versions. A lot of vegan “meats” are made with tofu.  There are even egg substitutes for cooking such as Ener- G Egg Replacer. If you are ever cooking or baking a vegan meal and realize you don’t have any  powdered egg substitutes when you are midway through a recipe, don’t worry ! There are actually some homemade egg replacements you can make yourself.  This list comes from the cookbook Vegan Comfort Food by Alicia C. Simpson. As a substitute for one egg you can use one of the following:

  • 2 tablespoons potato or corn starch
  • 3 tablespoons or ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed simmered in 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder plus 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • ¼  cup soft silken tofu, pureed in a food processor or blender
  • ¼ cup plain soy yogurt

So far I have tried applesauce, cornstarch and the baking powder/vinegar mixture. They all seemed to work pretty well. You couldn’t tell there was an egg missing. Have you ever tried one of these substitutes? How did it turn out?

My Favorite Cell Phone Cases

I’ve had my latest cell phone for almost a year now. It’s the Iphone 6S. I still have another year before my contract is up and I can get a free upgrade but I am thinking it might be time to splurge on a new case. Right now I just have a plain rose gold case. I did a search on Etsy and found some pretty sweet cell phone cases. Here are some of my favs:

 

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Lemon Case from Dessi Designs
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Marble and Rose Gold Case from Wolf Cases
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Amethyst Case from Case Ocean
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Wood Case from Real Design Rocks
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Frieda Case from Giant Sparrows
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Pineapple Case from Clash Cases
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Strawberry Case from Dessi Designs

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Succulents, The Black Thumb Gardener’s dream

Oh how I love succulents! I know, I know, you’re seeing them everywhere lately- but I can’t help writing about them. They are so easy to take care of. You don’t need to worry about remembering to water them, Just stick ’em in a sunny spot and you are good to go.
I just bought this new little guy a short while ago

I  have had a terrarium of succulents growing for the past few months. I bought this giant glass bowl from Winners (Canadian version of Ross) a few years ago and previously used it as a fishbowl for my beta. Now it makes a great terrarium. The plants were $4 or less each from Home Depot and I already had the container so it was very inexpensive. I always get compliments when friends who come over see it.
 If you are setting up a terrarium for succulents you want to make sure you choose a glass bowl that is not fully enclosed. Succulents do not like moisture and they need to breath!
Did you know that you can grow your own succulents? It’s so easy. Sometimes I notice a leaf or two that have fallen off one of the plants in my terrarium. Just pick it out, plunk it down in a small container with some dirt and watch it grow!
 I’ve heard its good to soak the roots for a few days in water before you re-plant but I have not tried this yet and so far the little babies are doing just fine. Do you have succulents in your home? What are your favorite low maintenance indoor plants?

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Waffles

This recipe is a new favorite of mine. I’ve been going waffle crazy lately. Waffles for breakfast, waffles for afternoon snacks, even for dinner. It’s pretty quick to make and they totally fill you up.  These waffles are gluten free and vegan but you can’t tell from the taste 🙂

Ingredients:

1 cup gluten free flour
½ cup starch
2 tsp baking powder
¼ cup applesauce
1 cup soy or alternative milk
½ tsp sea salt
1 tbsp olive oil
½ cup cocoa
2 tbsp agave syrup

Mix ingredients and pour into the waffle maker in batches.
The cocoa gives it a yummy chocolate taste. I garnish mine with cinnamon, nutmeg and some fresh fruit.  Pour on some maple syrup and you’re good to go!

Gluten Free Apple Pie

Fall is almost here and apples are in season and ready to be picked from the trees. Try this yummy apple pie recipe I whipped up. It’s gluten free too!

Gluten Free Apple Pie

Pie Crust

1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour

1/3 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon xantham gum

8 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

1 large egg

1 tablespoon gluten-free vanilla extract

Apple Filling:

7 Medium sized apples. Peeled, cored and sliced thinly

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

Crumble Topping

3/4 cup light brown sugar

3/4 cup gluten-free flour

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/3 cup butter, chilled & cut into small pieces

Directions

Mix dry crust ingredients, then add wet and mix well. Form a ball set in fridge to chill for a half hour
while the dough is chillin’ Mix the apples with the rest of the filling ingredients and set aside.
Get the oven preheated to 400 degrees.  Take crust dough out of fridge and flatten with a rolling pin. Form into a crust along the pie pan and add your apple filling in the middle.  Mix together your topping ingredients in a seperate bowl. Cover the apple filling with the topping. Bake for 40 minutes.

It’s really yummy and you would probably never know that it is gluten free!