Monthly Archives: May 2013

Big Bowl Salad

“Tom” and I have been making and eating this salad for several years. It came about one evening shortly after we’d made the move to a plants-based diet. We were getting ready to move to our new house so we didn’t have much time to prep food and cook, plus our cupboards and fridge were rather bare. I just threw some beans and salad into a bowl and used salsa as a salad dressing and, voila! A new, delicious salad was born! We’re having it tonight because both of us are really tired and neither could face cooking.

(By the way, we’re tired because we went out last night to listen to live music. We particularly wanted to hear our favourite local band, Brickhouse, but ended up also discovering a delightful band which came on before Brickhouse. The Vagabonds is a band of Irish-Canadians and they are full of energy and fun. Some of their songs could be described in no other way than Celtic-Punk! So fun!)


Here is a youtube video of the band – quality isn’t very good, but around the 2 minute mark, things pick up a bit. Check it out!

Back to the salad:

1 1/2 cups black beans

1 avocado

1 green salad (Romaine lettuce, green onion, red pepper, purple cabbage, cucumber …)

2 tomatoes

1 jar Herdez salsa

1. Spoon about 1/2 cup black beans into a bowl.

Start with black beans.

Start with black beans.

2. Then add 1/2 chopped avocado. We like it at the bottom of the bowl because as you work your way through the salad, the avocado starts to get creamy and coats the lettuce in a delicious way.

Scoop on some chopped avocado.

Scoop on some chopped avocado.

3. Pile on the green salad.

Pile the bowl up high with green salad.

Pile the bowl up high with green salad.

4. Add some chopped tomatoes. We like to add these separately so that they stay fresh. Also, tomatoes in leftover salad isn’t so great. Best to prepare and eat tomatoes just when you need them.

Next, add some tomato.

Next, add some tomato.

5. Finally, pour on some salsa. Of course, you can use whatever salsa you want, but Herdez is simple, fresh, and tasty. This is the only kind we buy.

Herdez salsa is the best!

Herdez salsa is the best!

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A couple of weeks ago, my friend S. sent me a “blog worthy” recipe for Stewed Kale and Lentils. She commented, “… tonight we made this simple vegan dish that you will LOVE.  Delicious!  Served it over baked yam.” So I made it and I did serve it with baked yam and we did like it. We called it Rockin’ Moroccan Stew! Here’s a not very good picture of the stew:

Rockin' Moroccan Stew

Rockin’ Moroccan Stew

Then that recipe inspired me to make a stew of my own. I felt like staying in the Mediterranean area, but crossed the sea to Greece and created this Greek stew:

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Greek Stew

1/2 white onion, diced

1 carrot, peeled (if necessary) and diced

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

2 to 4 Yukon Gold potatoes, diced

1 can diced tomatoes

1 cup vegetable broth

1 1/2 cups white kidney beans (cannellini beans)

zest of 1/2 lemon

several handfuls of spinach

lots of fresh dill, chopped

lots of fresh oregano, chopped

juice of 1/2 lemon

Heat a pot over medium heat (maybe a bit hotter) and throw in the onion. Add a tbsp of water or vegetable broth to the pot to keep the onion from sticking and burning. Keep adding 1 tbsp liquid as needed while sauteing the onion. Add the carrot and garlic and continue to cook and stir and add liquid as necessary to prevent sticking. Add the potatoes, tomatoes and vegetable broth. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, cover, and leave to cook until potatoes are almost done. Stir in the beans, lemon zest, spinach, dill and oregano. Let simmer, covered, a bit longer until the potatoes are soft, and the spinach has melted into the stew. Stir the lemon juice in just before serving.

We ate this with hummous and Greek Salad.

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In a previous post on my original blog, here, I talked a bit about smoothies and how I have consumed a smoothie for my breakfast virtually every morning for ten years. After reading Somer’s blog, Vedged Out, and her post on the Green Smoothie Challenge, I thought I might do another smoothie post. I guess I just take my daily smoothie for granted. I don’t think too deeply about what goes in and how much. I just make sure I’ve got a huge handful of greens and go from there. A recipe for a smoothie seemed silly for me, but I realize, now, that not everyone knows and does smoothies like I do. So, to help you understand my breakfast, and, perhaps, try it out for yourself, here are some ideas.

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– I make my smoothies with an immersion blender – I have a tall, narrow container into which I stuff all my smoothie ingredients (1/2 full for a single serving, full for 2 servings), then I immerse the immersion blender and blend away until smooth.

– Things like oranges don’t blend completely into liquid using this blender, and leave pulp on the blades, but that’s okay. I just rinse off the pulp, strain the smoothie through a potato masher (yes, a potato masher!) and drink.

– Every smoothie I make has 1 tbsp of ground flax seed OR 1 tbsp ground hemp seed OR 1 tbsp chia seeds.

– if I’m using chia seeds, I start the breakfast smoothie process the night before, putting 1 tbsp chia seeds and 1/2 cup of water into the container and letting soak overnight – it’s important for chia seeds to soak before using.

– I often prep most of my smoothie the night before – seeds, water, greens, fruit – and add banana and vegan milk in the morning.

– I don’t like really cold smoothies so if I’m using frozen fruit, I try to start the night before so the fruit can thaw.

– a typical smoothie for me contains:

1 tbsp flax, hemp or chia seeds

a huge handful of greens like baby spinach, baby kale, even leftover green salad

1 banana

1 serving of another kind of fruit like frozen blueberries

1/2 cup water

vegan milk like soy or almond (unsweetened, unflavoured)


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Ginger Tea

Is this your daily morning routine?

Coffee making paraphernalia

Coffee making paraphernalia

Why not switch to this:

Ginger Tea Paraphernalia

Ginger Tea Paraphernalia

What is this ginger tea, you’re wondering? Well, fortunately I can enlighten you!

Many years ago, and for many years, I was a Leader with Girl Guides of Canada. I made many lifelong friends through that organization and one of them was B. She introduced me to the healthy, healing, immune boosting, soothing ginger tea. She used to bring some ginger brew to our Girl Guide camps and serve it up hot, sweetened with honey. I clearly remember sitting on a cold beach in February supervising the girls, wanting to head back inside the lodge, but staying out because these city girls were having so much fun exploring the wild beach. Along came B. with a mug of hot ginger tea for me. That drink warmed me inside-out, upside-down, back and forth and all over! When I got home from camp, I cooked up my own ginger brew and drank it every morning for several years. I often drank it in the early evening as well, especially when I had to stand around watching my children play an early evening baseball game in the spring – that stuff kept me warm for most of the game! I swear my regular use of this stuff eased my seasonal allergies, improved my digestive system and regulated my weight. I fell out of drinking ginger tea for a while, but I’m back at it again. Would you like to join me? If so, here is how to make it:

– grate up a big pile of fresh ginger – like 2 or 3 large, hand-sized pieces

– put the grated ginger in a big pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and let simmer for an hour, all day, whatever. It makes your whole house smell like ginger, by the way!

– let cool and pour into a jug and store in the fridge

– to make the tea, fill a mug about 2/3 to 3/4 full with hot water. Add 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar and 1 tsp of agave nectar (or honey if you’re into it). Fill the mug up with ginger broth, stir and enjoy.

– you may need to tinker with the amounts of hot water and ginger broth depending on the potency of your ginger brew and on your own personal tastes.

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