Saturday, November 21, 2009

Banana Avocado Toast with Cilantro

The end result of this recipe is exactly what it sounds like. Some of my favourite basic ingredients all in one! Not exactly an emphasis on local produce here but it is still a fantastical vegan treat. Apples and soy cheese are also a really great combo with avocado!

Whole Wheat Toast topped with:

Avocado slices
Banana slices

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Green Guide for an Eco-Education

Using David Suzuki’s Green Guide for an Eco-Education

David Suzuki's Green Guide is a publication that I am passionate about and consider worth recommending to anyone. To refresh from a previous post, the book addresses the Ecological Footprint which measures human impact upon the environment; how much space or productive land is needed to support an individual's lifestyle. The larger the footprint the more impact the individual has on the Earth. Embedded in this concept is how we all impact each other and everything by every choice we make, conscious of it or not. This is really at the heart of thinking of the ecological footprint simply as the consequences of our actions on the environment.

According to the Canadian Suzuki, one of the most environmentally sensible ways you can cut down on your ecological footprint is by being aware of what you eat. He goes into depth about them in Chapter 3 of his Green Guide which contain facts like “the amount of grain fed to livestock in the U.S. could feed about 840 million people on a plant-based diet". This book teaches that "eating is an agricultural act, a biological act, a social act, an economic act, and a political act. With every meal you can vote for the food system that you would like to see". In not shying away from social and political contexts, this text becomes an opportunity to open up minds to the realization that you have the power to directly influence the demand for eco-minded thought and action.

In attending teacher's college, I am engaging with various ways of implementing teaching environmental responsibility. The Green Guide for example states that "by eating a local, organic, and predominately plant-based diet you can reduce the ecological footprint of the food you eat by as much as 90%". By putting this information into the hands of the next generation we are effectively educating for the environment. Therefore we are educating for ourselves and futures where a more harmonious human existence within the natural world has the opportunity to blossom. The natural world has become removed from the hyper-industrialized and technological Western society that sets the climate for education atmospheres. It is imperative that we instil a sense of duty and urgency towards being aware of ecological conditions and their implications. One of the ways in which we can achieve this is being extremely conscious about how our daily habits manifest into environmental conundrums on a macro scale.

This publication is also a direct connection to the David Suzuki Nature Challenges which are available in the text, online, and are a fun and easy way to incorporate environmental issues into the classroom. Alternatively, a student or teacher reading this book may choose to implement an organized Nature Challenge group that participates in learning about, practicing and teaching others about ecological footprint reducing factors and information. David Suzuki’s Nature Challenge teacher guide is also available and contains 20 lessons that focus on our interconnectedness with nature!

This is an excellent read because it is not just a “how to” or a boring guilt-ridden summary of how one is personally killing the earth. Instead it is a comprehensive look into the current ecological conditions and how it is of our best interest as individuals and as a group to be invested in the thought-provoking information and wisdom that the text provides.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Modern Menstruation

When it comes to reducing our ecological footprints, we need to think about our day-to-day processes as humans. How we decide to manage the dynamics of our body's fuctions has a direct impact on the environment!

When my friend was asking me about my experiences using this environmentally friendly alternative to pads and tampons, I initially had mixed feelings. Like anything, it takes a while to get used to so about after 3 months of use I am finding it alot easier to use. So if you are not a pro at inserting and removing it then just keep practising! About the only downfall I can think of is that it is much easier to handle when using a private bathroom stall or washroom. For more info, visit You totally do not need the "diva wash" - any light, unscented soap will work. Be careful with anti-bacterial soaps because apparently it breaks down the silicon. Organic, unbleached panti-liners, pads and tampons are also available outthere so keep an eye open! For example, check out the line from Natracare.

Enjoying the Diva Cup and although its marketname still annoys me and feeds into negative stereotypes, I think it is important to remind each other about such alternatives. Below is a post I wrote for the CJAM Women's Radio Collective Blog (which has now been been renamed The Estrogen Collective).

"Hope all enjoyed the Jan. 28th edition of Genesis hosted by myself and also Rachel of the brand new CJAM Women's Radio Collective. If you missed it you can just download the show! Thanks very much again to Professor Nancy Gobatto from the Women's Studies department for contributing so many great ideas and comments in the interview which was broadcasted during the show. The interview or a link to it will be posted on this blog shortly. The quote about the rhythm method as being the only "non-sexist" form of birth control was taken from the book "A Cooperative Method of Natural Birth Control" by Margaret Nofziger. We discussed alot of issues including the origin of the word "menstruation" as well as the language used in advertising and society to describe or refer to the process. Also, we talked about the menstrual cup of which more info can be found in the post about this alternative menstrual product on a blog called No Soap For Sale. There was also an interesting article we used concerning advertising methods for menstrual products called "A Candid Look At Menstrual Products - Advertising and Public Relations". Rachel and I really enjoyed putting a feminist perspective on these issues into the spotlight and with luck we got everyone thinking!"

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ginger Matcha Smoothie and Inari Obsession

This is another combination for all of those veg's out there who are looking for some diversity in their green smoothies! Living in a University residence scenario and operating with minimal supplies is forcing me to be ingenuitive. For example you can use ginger leftover from take out sushi. This is what I did except it was from a grocery store Inari container - a new obsession of a vegetarian friend of mine and myself which is rice wrapped in fried soy bean curd! A very sweet treat - if anyone has a recipe let me know. Anyways here is a healthy smoothie recipe I made that contains soy protien (tofu) without protien powder and barely any soy milk. For some amazing green smoothie recipes be sure to visit the Big Raw Vegan Blog!

Ginger Matcha Smoothie
-1/4 cup soy milk
-1/4 cup soft tofu
-strips of pickled ginger
-as much matcha as you can handle
-1 ripe banana
-1/8 cup of water

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Curry Dip and the Coriando/Cilantro Quandry...

Curry Dip

In a blender:

Curry powder

Nutritional Yeast

3/4 of a package of firm Tofu

1 Tablespoon Soy Milk

Another living in residence miracle as I make a vegan curry dip! I used a very small and simple blender to mix all of the ingredients - it has some kick and is now chilling in a jar in the fridge! I used an independant company's curry mix but I would normally just use curry powder itself and add all everything else in such as onions, cumin and any other spices to taste such as coriander/cilantro. Actually my friend Jessie and I stumbled into the fact that those two spices are actually the same but just referred to as either depending on the region! Definetely one of my favourite spices. Ever had coriander naan bread? WOW - but I digress. Check out this easy dip that is vegan and extremely tasty. I am serving it with pesticide free mini field cucumbers that I bought at the Farmer's Market in downtown Kingston. It makes an appearance 3 times a week until Thanksgiving and I have been enjying it alot!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Extremely Easy Vegan Dinner!

As of late I have moved! That's right - more veg challenges to face! I made a super easy, lazy you might call it, but tasty nonetheless dinner. Ingredients are as follows and are a basic last minute desperate craving for Thai peanut sauce flavour!

Rice Noodles
Rice Paper Wraps
Chunky Organic Unsweetened Peanut Butter
Whole Unsalted Peanuts
Soy Sauce

(that's right!)

Soak ripe paper wraps in room temperature water while noodles are boiling. A convenient way to do so is in a frying pan on the counter with the water inside it. Take out the wraps gently and let them dry briefly. Then once the noodles are finished you can make wraps with them and a previously mixed combination of soy sauce, peanut butter and peanuts!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

BON Appetit!: Julia Child's Vegan Ratatoullie

More aggrigation all! Last night I saw Julie and Julia and was completely astounded. I had seen parodies of her TV show The French Chef and impersonations of Julia Child and her various cultural manifestations. Sadly my most authentic Julia experience was on youtube! Maybe that will change when I try this recipe. Wondering whether a Julia meal with out eggs and butter was possible, I found that it was with this vegan recipe for Ratatouille!

1/2 pound eggplant
1/2 pound zucchini, trimmed
1 tsp. sea salt
7 T olive oil, divided
1 8-ounce onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
2 green bell peppers, thinly sliced into strips
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 pound firm but ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, cut into 3/8 to 1/4-inch-thick strips
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, mincedfresh ground pepper to taste
1. Peel eggplant; cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices, then cut into 3-inch-long, 1-inch-wide strips. Cut zucchini into same size strips. Place vegetables in large bowl; sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt. Let stand 30 minutes. Drain; dry with paper towels.
2. Heat 4 T oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add eggplant and zucchini to skillet; sauté until light golden, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to plate; reserve.
3. Add 3 T oil to skillet; heat over medium heat. Add onion and peppers; sauté until just tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in garlic. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper.
4. Place tomato strips atop onion-pepper mixture in skillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover skillet; cook over low heat until tomatoes begin to juice, about 5 minutes. Uncover; baste vegetables in skillet with juices. Boil until juices are almost evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.
5. Transfer 1/3 of onion-pepper-tomato mixture to 2 1/2-quart pot; sprinkle with 1 T parsley. Top with half of eggplant and half of zucchini then, remaining onion-pepper-tomato mixture; sprinkle with 1 T parsley. Layer remaining eggplant and zucchini over; sprinkle with 1 T parsley.
6. Cover; simmer over low heat 10 minutes. Uncover; tilt pot and baste with accumulated juices. Increase heat to medium; simmer uncovered, basting several times with pan juices until only 2 to 3 T juices remain in pot, watching closely to avoid scorching, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper.
Yields 8 servings. Serving size: 1 cup. Nutritional content: 152 Calories, 12.05g fat, 1.75g protein, 11.15g carbohydrates, 3.17g fiber, 440g sodium. *Can be made 8 hours ahead of time. Cool slightly, cover then, chill. Serve at room temperature or rewarm over medium-low heat before serving.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

For The Love Of Chutney!

Life Changing Peach Chutney Recipe
Add cardamom as a secret ingredient!
Servings: 8 cups (2 L)

2 tsp (10 mL) vegetable oil
2 cups (500 mL) chopped onions
1 tbsp (15 mL) yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp (5 mL) each ground ginger, cinnamon and salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cloves
1/4 tsp (1 mL) each hot pepper flakes and pepper
8 cups (2 L) sliced peeled peaches
2-1/2 cups (625 mL) granulated sugar
1 cup (250 mL) golden raisins
1 cup (250 mL) cider vinegar

heat oil over medium heat; cook onions, mustard seeds, ginger, cinnamon, salt, cloves, hot pepper flakes and pepper, stirring often, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes.
Add peaches, sugar, raisins and vinegar; bring to boil, stirring. Reduce heat to medium; simmer, uncovered and stirring often, until reduced to 8 cups (2 L) and thick enough to mound on spoon, 1 hour.
Pour into four 2-cup (500 mL) sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/2-inch (1 cm) headspace. Seal with prepared discs and clean bands. Process in boiling water canner for 10 minutes; transfer to rack to let cool. Store in cool dark place for up to 1 year.
Additional Information
Tip: Here's how to peel a large amount of peaches: with slotted spoon, lower a few peaches at a time into a pot of boiling water; blanch until skin starts to peel away, about 30 seconds. Submerge immediately in bowl of ice water until cool enough to handle; peel off skin.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Chutney & Cheese Toast

Latest favourite snack and way to eat soy cheese - also great with cheddar slices if not vegan or if you're a lacto-ovo vegetarian! Cheese has been one of the hardest things to give up in the path towards veganism. However this is one way that I think soy cheese tastes great! Chutney is a spicy jam like spread and is a part of Indian cuisine. Mango and tomato are popular and kiwi is great too. Simply spread on toast and place cheese slices on top!

Peach Chutney Recipe Post to follow!

Monday, August 3, 2009


I have just returned from an Atlantic Canadian month long road trip! Along the way my friend and I encountered many vegetarian and vegan successes and hurdles while camping, travelling and dining across the eastern portion of the country. I can't wait to share all of the amazing recipes and ideas on ecovegfootprint!
One of our favourite meals came from a restaurant in Montreal's Chinatown. My friend Jessie and I tried our first veg Pho! This is a Vietnamese noodle soup that is so yummy and really feels like it envelopes the whole body. It feels so healthy to eat and would keep anyone warm during cold Canadian winter months. The veg aspect of the soup is incorporated by easily using any other type of broth besides beef. Traditional ingredients are interesting and slightly complex if you are not used to cooking Asian cuisine. As there are many ways to make it depending on the region, Pho recipes can be easily morphed. I find that a key ingredient besides noodles is fennel. I have been growing this herb in my garden for the first time and it has been interesting! More about that in another post because I want to share this Pho! I tried a recipe that came from the memories of my taste buds. I recommend going out to try some that is authentic. Nevertheless here is what I came up with and my friends, family and I thought it was a very good!
Keep in mind that quantity depends on how large a batch you want to make. Also that these are the specific ingredients I used but any can be substituted. It only takes about 5 minutes cooking time which I suppose makes it a somewhat rawish dish.

Simple Veg Pho Recipe

In a small pot of water on the stove add:

Japanese buckwheat noodles
sea salt
soy sauce
green onions
nutritional yeast

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Veg Nachos

Well I've never been a big fan of ordering nachos in a restaurant and that's probably because they are usually smothered in ground beef, cheese and sour cream! This recipe turned out great so I finally found a solution in veg nachos.

Begin with spreading low sodium nacho chips on a pan and then lightly top with a mix of soy based vegetarian chili from PC (best canned veg chili ever!) and Yves Veggie Ground - the combination makes the mix more solid. Lightly and sporadically add one can of preferred salsa, previously drained so as to make these yummy and crunchy veg nachos instead of runny tomato juice veg

Add another layer of nachos and repeat. Add black beans and (soy or dairy) shredded cheese this time. Finally I garnished with chopped green onions from my garden. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes and serve!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Asian Hybrid Stirfry

In making this stirfry I spontaneously added various ingredients of south and east Asian cuisine to create a hybrid effect that was interesting and delicious!

Tossing a veggie medley into a frying pan and lightly dusting with curry powder (Ten Thousand Villages fair-trade from Sri Lanka to be exact) is what I did first. The oil I added sporadically while frying is roasted garlic grapeseed oil. Instead of rice I chose to add Japanese buckwheat noodles as a base which can be boiled for 3 minutes and added to the stirfry with additional oil so as to avoid pan-stick action! I added a chopped mix of coriander, basil and rosemary from my herb garden and garnished generously with sesame seeds, chopped mango and coconut sprinkles. I served this dish with crackers and the kiwi chutney that I bought at Windsor's annual Art in the Park that just passed.

After the health feast my friend Craig and I tried to make a vegan cookie/quickbread recipe and it was a complete mess/flop! Pictured below is my post-stirfry success and pre-baking disaster smile. Not all of the recipes I make up or get from other blogs work out of course and those go un-posted! I encourage all to perservere on the veg cooking journey because we all make mistakes and wow is it worth it when you make something new, interesting and yummy to add to the recipe book. And a DIY apron makes any cooking experience better!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Windsor Indie Art & Eco Action

Now that the grass down by the Windsor riverfront is long enough to braid - that is exactly what kind of eco action is going down! Leesa Bringas has been leading the process and I think it is a brilliant solution. I share the sentiments that have been expressed on various Windsor pages and blogs such as the recent post on the ever ingenuitive Broken City Lab! Click to see pics here

I also found this great link from a 2007 article but found it to be an informative and interesting take on Windsor's indie/artsy venues, including CJAM, and what they have to offer:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Garden Recipe Already!

These are the ingredients I used to make bruschetta - it is by no means a traditional recipe. I love reaping the benefits of DIY - I put on the apron I made as featured in a previous post and already got to use ingredients from my newly planted garden.



Red Onions

Basil Leaves
(Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil for example!)

Mix these ingredients together and drizzle oil over top before stirring. I like to use scissors in cooking so I chopped everything up a little finer once it was in a bowl. Serve on top of sliced french bread! Add feta and/or rosemary sprigs to garnish if you are not looking for a strictly veg recipe or are feeling ambitious.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Plants and Plants and Plants and

GARDENING TIME! This may very well be the last garden I plant while living at home (as I am moving in the fall) - lots of great space with a little shade and mostly sunshine! It was a perfect day to plant - I got out there in the late afternoon when it was warm but with a mild cool breeze. Tonight I will give the entire thing a light mist. I love this time of year and this is one of the reasons why. Planting season gives us an opportunity to physically and spiritually reconnect with nature by initiating the phenomenon of its natural life cycles. As I mentioned in a post about preparing quinoa, the feeling of running my bare hands through soil, much like grain, is a humble and organic experience!
No gloves for this girl...

Today in my vegetable and herb gardens I planted:

Tomatoes, green and yellow cucumber and zucchini, fennel, red and Spanish onions, eggplant, organic radishes and spinach seeds, coriander, nutmeg and lemon thyme, rosemary, pineapple sage and basil.

I also have some parsley, chives and dill already going with a few flowers here and there as well! As pictured right, the chives, perennial flowers and dill have spiraled a bit out of control! Below is a picture of my treasured herb garden.

Wish me luck - if you have any questions please ask and also look back to see summer veg recipes posted with the freshest ingredients of those listed above. If you know of any recipes that call for them then please do not hesitate to share them with me!

happy gardening!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Spontaneous DIY

This is the stuff I made! I am a hand sewer and do not own or know how to use a sewing machine and still these projects were really easy. First I made a simple square apron for all of my veg cooking endeavours. Value Village is a fabric goldmine! Made a pouch purse for my friend too with the same material. Very fun and easy process which also makes a great gift. These were some spontaneous crafts as I am new to creating other than bags and purses. DIY really saves alot of money plus all of the time and various forms of energy that would have been otherwise spent in the process of shopping/buying/consuming.

DIY Apron Instructions

Cut out two layers of fabric in the whichever shape you want your apron to be. Simply hand-stitch them together by looping the needle and thread around all the outside corners. Cut out additional squares if you want to sew on pockets in which obviously only three sides will need to be stitched. Use excess material to cut an approximately two 1 inch strips for the straps. I sewed these onto the sides and added a button over each.

DIY Purse Instructions

Another project I did with the same fabric was a pouch for my friend who likes to shove all of what are usual wallet contents into a small-medium sized purse-like thing. I made one custom for her which includes a pocket for cards!

Cut out a double layer fabric rectangle slightly larger than a standard piece of paper. The purse is going to fold like a letter. First fold up the bottom half and sew the sides together. Wen sewing the top of the bottom fold together, leave a space to act as the top of a pocket. Sew three sides down around wherever this opening is located. Fold down the top and cut the corners on an angle. Sew the sides of this together.
Add the button to the bottom of the bag and sew a few inch long piece of material to the bottom of the top flap, parallel to where the button is sewed at the bottom. Carefully make a button hole with scissors.

These are really basic and simple but I wanted to share the recent acceleration in my DIY initiatives! Get creative and use different coloured threads, patterns and accessories that look good together.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I-Actually-Made-Veganaise Post

I made this for my friends a few weeks ago and they loved it! I got the idea from an Ecogrl Cooks Vegetarian! recipe post and altered ingredients to accommodate what I had around. This lead to me making veganaise for the first time and it was a complete success! For the veganaise I acquired directions in a post from Epicurvegan. These are both blogs with stunning veg recipes in large quantities! Here is the recipe that I ended up using for this dish altogether, hope you get to make this or some form of it and enjoy it as much as I/we did. Sorry no photos for this one - life gets a bit too postmodern for me when I actually start taking pictures of every other meal I prepare! Hope you like the recipe!

Sweet Potato Fries & Spicy Dipping Sauce

1) Peel and slice yams or sweet potatoes. Put some muscle into it and use a good knife - be careful they can be a bit challenging to handle at times! Cut into desired length and width (pretty much the same size as a large french fry)

2) In a mixing bowl, add 1-2 Tablespoons of extra virgin sesame oil, 1 Teaspoon of Chili Powder and 1 Teaspoon of Cumin to the cut potatoes, distribute evenly over the batch and sprinkle with pepper

3) Spread out on cookie sheet and bake for half an hour at 425 degrees in the oven. I find it impossible to make them really crispy so be prepared for them to be on the soft side - this is how they are supposed to turn out when you make them yourself. So in my experience, if you want them to be crunchy then go to a restaurant where they have a deep fryer!!!

4) While these are cooking you can prepare the dipping sauce. The first ingredient is VEGANAISE: Put 1/2 cup of soy milk in a blender with 1/2 cup of canola oil. Add 1 Tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar, 1/2 Teaspoon of Dry Mustard Powder, 1 Teaspoon of salt1 small clove of finely minced garlic, freshly ground black pepper. I put in some chives too because I tend to put them in everything! Start with these ingredients and then add plain firm tofu until consistency is as thick as desired. BLEND AWAY

5) Combine veganaise with 3/4 of a fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1 pressed garlic clove, 1 Teaspoon of Paprika and 1 Teaspoon of Chili Powder. Serve on the side of fries.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Let's Have A Sushi Party!

Happy to say one of the goals of my summer has been fulfilled! The directions I followed to make sushi were helpful but fairly vague so I am glad I was given advice from the woman working at Enchie Mart! Rice vinegar must be added to the "sticky rice" (when unseasoned add sugar and sea salt). I definitely did not cook the rice properly because it ended up fairly mushy but it worked! Here are the other steps I followed:

First prepare and chop preferred veggies into long strips.

Place one sheet of seaweed on bamboo sushi mat, shinier side facing up! Then wet fingers and spread out a little less than one cup of sticky rice. The thicker the rice the bigger your sushi roll will be! Remember to smooth the rice out, packing it all the way to the side but leaving at least a half inch space of seaweed on the side of the sheet closest to you. Leave at least a one and a half inch space at the other end, leaving room for the rice to spread as sushi is being rolled.

Lightly wet the space of seaweed closest to you and begin to use the mat to roll the sushi with a forward motion. Gently push down on the top of the mat with a flat hand occasionally during the rolling process. Try it out, you kind of get the feel for it once you are doing it yourself! As pictured below, my friend Jessie helped me out and we were pretty proud of ourselves for finally giving this a try. As you can see we made quite a bit!

Slice the sushi roll with a sharp wet knife. Garnish with roasted sesame seeds on top and you have just made some form of sushi! We dipped ours in peanut sauce and soy sauce with wasabi (Japanese horseradish).

What I used to make sushi:
-rolling mat
-sticky rice
-rice vinegar
-sea salt
-seaweed papers
-orange pepper
-snap peas

Saturday, April 25, 2009

An Eco-Action Day

The weather around here has been such a treat, there is a warm breeze with partly cloudy skies - gorgeous! Yesterday was sunnier yet and my friend Craig and I went park hopping! Began the day with a matcha smoothie at Cafe Mondo and then ended up at Malden Park picking up garbage. Yes, that's right my goal has already been fulfilled - most likely motivated by keeping that Gandhi quote in mind. It reminded us that it is hypocritical to complain about the state of things without at least trying to improve them yourself.

Later we made a trip to Ten Thousand Villages on the West end of Windsor. This non-profit fair trade organization has stores accross Canada. They operate on principles of fair trade offering a variety of handmade goods where the individuals who made them receive fair compensation for their labour. It always surprises me to find out how little people know about this wonderful place. I want everything in that store! It is always the perfect place for buying gifts aswell. The coffee there is absoultely my favourite to buy around here and you get a free cup of whatever delicious roast they have chosen for the day. I am almost finished a dark roast from Peru so I picked up another dark roast but this time chose to support Ethiopia. Ten Thousand Villages has a number of recycling initiatives. For example alot of the products come from recycled materials and you can also do things like bring back the bags you bought coffee beans in.

"Fair Trade supports practices that minimalize environmental impact by using reclaimed or recycled materials, encouraging organic production, and limiting shipment of product by air"

At least go check it out and see what they have - give and be given to!

The Underlying Principles of Ten Thousand Villages:

At Ten Thousand Villages, we stand behind IFAT and have also added a few principles of our own:

  1. We honour the value of seeking to bring justice and hope to the poor.
  2. We trade with artisan groups who pay fair wages and demonstrate concern for their members’ welfare.
  3. We provide consistent purchases, advances and prompt final payments to artisans.
  4. We increase market share in North America for fairly traded handicrafts.
  5. We market quality products that are crafted by otherwise underemployed artisans.
  6. We build sustainable operations using a variety of sales channels, including a network of stores with a common identity.
  7. We choose handicrafts that reflect and reinforce rich cultural traditions, that are environmentally sensitive and which appeal to North American consumers.
  8. We encourage North American customers to learn about fair trade and to appreciate artisans’ cultural heritage and life circumstances with joy and respect.
  9. We use resources carefully and value volunteers who work in our North American operations.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Hope that everyone's earth day was productive! I rode my bike (in the wind!?) instead of driving my car to a coffee date. I noticed alot of garbage in the ditches and want to get out there with my friends this summer and bring some garbage bags. I hope no one drank water out of a bottle yesterday especially!


-mahatma gandhi

Later on I tye-dyed some tshirts green with friends. The weather was "sunny-rain" as my friend Craig informed me is often the case in Vancouver. However around here it is a rare occasion! We were greeted with a lovely rainbow - possibly the biggest one we've ever seen. It was a cosmic earth day, nature was encouraging/awarding our eco consciousness with it's beauty.

How to Tye-Dye T-Shirts

-select a clear white tshirt, preferably mostly cotton

-put elastics all over it! Search the internet for specific patterns if you want one

-fill buckets or medium-large sized containers with hottest water available (fill as many seperate up as colours you have)

-empty each fabric dye powder package into each container and stir

-get your gloves on! this stuff stains

-place the tshirt in the colour you prefer or hold the portions you want dyed in each specific colour - get creative, even leave a bit white..

-the longer the tshirt stays in the colouring the darker it will be and remember that the dye on the tshirt actually looks darker when wet

-let the tshirts drip dry for a bit and then rinse them

-afterwards take off the elastics and hang to dry, washing by hand or on gentle cycle with other items that any excess dye has no danger of bleeding onto


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Eco Chewing Gum

Wanted to share this article in March 9th's Windsor Star. For all of you who enjoy chewing gum, you now have an eco alternative! Check out the Chicza Rainforest Gum and see how it comes from the earth and returns to the earth.

"Chicza is not only a top quality chewing gum, but also an outstanding example of sustainability, active conservation of rainforests and fair exchange between humans and nature."

This argument says that making Chicza preserves the rainforest by extracting a natural and sustainable substance that contributes to the nurturing of rainforest grounds and the economic opportunity for the people who have been living there and taking care of forests in Mexico for centuries. Chicle is obtained by boiling the sap of the trees into a thick paste. This process makes me think of Canada's own maple syrup industry! At first I suspiciously thought "what exactly does this mean for the rainforests?" in the wake of hearing about the soy farming/rainforest issue. However once I thought about it as compared to making maple syrup, I realized that it is a healthy thing because harvesting sap is not clearing forest land to make room for farming. Also that the people who are involved in this process are performing it witihin the rainforest that they have to take care of even if they didnt want to because their product depends on it's health. Like any commodity, there is a danger that its popularity could change or effect the method or quantity of production. Interestingly, this product is only recently being heard about on a global level and is not sold in many places outside of Mexico. I hear the first place otherwise that it is or will be available is in the U.K.

What happens to Chicza once you spit it out? In other words, why is it biodegradable? Well Sustainability explains that Chicza is an eco-friendly chewing gum because it contains no petrochemicals like synthetic chewing gum which is why it doesn't stick to things and why in about 6 weeks it will completely discintigrate. Keep an eye out for this product in the future because it is not currently being sold in Canada or the U.S.

Mayans Sell Natural Gum

"Street cleaners in Britain may spend less time scraping gobs of chewing gum from the pavement after indigenous farmers from Mexico launch their own brand of natural gum harvested by hand in the rainforest.

A co-operative of over 50 Mayan communities in Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, where Sapodilla trees have been tapped for their sticky latex since before the Spanish conquest, will start selling biodegradable chewing gum in British stores this month.

Unlike common chewing gum made of synthetic rubber, which can take years to break down, the cooperative's "Chicza" brand is made from chicle, a natural substance that degrades quickly, Jesus Manuel Aldrete, the co-operative's director, told Reuters.

"Chewing gum made from synthetic polymers sticks easily to asphalt because both contain similar components," Aldrete said. "Chicle is organic."

Ancestors of the Mayans making the gum near the Cancun beach resort munched on chicle to help their digestion and clean their teeth, said Aldrete.

Modern manufacturers originally used chicle to make gum but eventually switched to cheaper polymer ingredients.

Japanese and Korean companies still demand the natural chicle -- extracted from the trees by crisscrossing cuts into their bark in a method similar to rubber harvesting -- but the Mayans say the market for their product has shrunk dramatically since synthetic gums were invented.

Chicza is producing its gum in red fruit, orange and cinnamon flavors, and plans to launch first in London and later in other European countries."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Southwest Veg Dip

I seem to want to put pictures and recipes of most of my meals on this blog! Ex. I just had some yummy lettuce wraps. This is a dip I made for my family during the holiday weekend festivities. I encourage you to use as fresh and local ingredients as possible. Today's Windsor Star included a comprehensive guide and map to buying local produce in Windsor Essex County so check it out!
Southwest Veg Dip

This recipe only requires layering! Start with a layer of 1 can of refried beans. Then add another of red and/or black beans. Mix sour cream with red sauce or salsa in a bowl and use this as the next layer. Finish with guacamole (made with fresh avocado and lemon juice) and finally coat the top with chunks of tomato!

Ingredients I used. Quantity depends on how much dip you want to make!
-refried beans
-red beans
-sour cream (low-fat)
-red sauce or salsa
-avocado (guacamole)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Power Pancakes

Thought I would share my pancake recipe - I made these this morning before an exam and they have me a stomach full of healthy yumminess! My mom called them my veg super pancakes and that really is exactly what they are. However they are not vegan so replace with a substitute at your discretion. I've heard bananas used as a replacement for this kind of thing and I have those in there anyways so it is possible to skip the egg content altogether. I had already sized down to one egg from the two that was called for on the recipe box. They turned out great! Hope you try the recipe and enjoy them as much as my friend and I did.

Power Pancakes

2 cups pancake mix
1 cup rice milk
1 egg (free run)
1/4 of a mango, sliced into thin strips of lovely mango mush
1 scoop of vanilla soy protien powder (a raw food tisc tisc)
1/2 tsp of matcha

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Meatless or Veggie?

Another question that I've been asked many times as a vegetarian is where to buy some decent veggie burgers. My recommendation is usually from PC's Blue Menu whose cartons are made from recycled and post-consumer materials. The 9-Vegetable Vegetarian Patty can be cooked in various ways including only three minutes in the microwave which I take advantage of my busy schedule. And its when I make this recommendation that the person asking specifies: "I want the one's that look and taste like real burgers!" Then I let them know that they are looking for what are not called veggie burgers but meatless burgers.

The difference is that veggie burgers taste like and are visibly made up of various vegetables which is most usually preferred by vegans and many vegetarians. Why eat simulated meat when you have lost the taste for it? Meatless soy-based options are definitely not raw food but they are still a popular choice. Meatless products try to mimic the look and taste of meat and veggie products do not. I sometimes eat both but I prefer veggie meat replacements over meatless meat replacements! This is especially true as of late with my raw food initiative! So if meatless burgers are what you prefer and are looking for the look and taste of authentic beef burgers then I recommend PC's World's Best Meatless Burgers.
There are countless meatless options, most of which are made from wheat or soy protien. With consuming any soy products, one should be aware of how much soy they are consuming and what the effects are. Soy is a highly processed food stuff and as The Whole Soy Story points out it is not a miracle food. For example, women should be aware of how it effects their system, especially while pregnant. And men watch out because it apparently lowers your sperm count. From what I understand, soy farming is also doing its part in destroying rainforests. To sum up the issue in my mind there are alot of good things about soy and it makes going veg easier as it was in my case. Sometimes it takes a while to loose the taste for certain meat dishes and soy based meat replacements helped me along. Though it seems to be a less harmful product than meat, soy has alot going against it aswell. Soy is not the answer to every meat replacement problem but it can be a relatively healthy and decent solution for alot of food items in particular situations. For example, compare this information to the meat and agriculture indisutry as touched on in a previous post.

Some Canadian companies offer meatless options and most are surprised to find out that almost all meat products can and are simulated, available in meatless form. President's Choice offers alot of options especially on their Blue Menu as linked above. PC is owned by the Canadian company Loblaws which actually has a green initiative, now offering such products as Green toilet paper, unbleached coffee filters and green cleaning products. Compliments which is owned by Sobeys also has quite a few choices as well. If you are wondering if someone has created a meatless replacement for one of your fave meat dishes then you are probably right. There is literally not one meat item that I can think of which has not been translated into a meatless alternative. The story is different with veggie choices however but if that is what you are looking for then the chances are you do not find meat simulation desirable. Hope this was able to clear up the veggie and meatless paradigm!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

What Is Eating Green Exactly?

You may have wondered "What do vegetarians eat anyway?". I know I've been asked that question enough times to realize that people are often curious. Others trying or attempting to make the switch to going veg are often left frustrated - variety in a veg diet does take effort but more so it just takes knowing what is available to you! I present to you a comprehensive window into my diet as a vegetarian in hopes of answering questions and generating ideas.

Theory behind being veg is about awareness but for me that also translates into keeping mental track of what I put into my body every day. This includes the terms of coordinating meals to ensure that I get nutrients from a variety of veg food groups which basically boil down to fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, nuts, legumes and beans (including soy). In all of these categories are food sources that are not widely known or incorporated into mainstream Western diet - whatever that is! This includes amaranth and quinoa which was addressed in a previous post.

Starting off my day with a Green Smoothie allows for a morning protien source and fruit serving. I usually use a soy protien powder and soy or rice milk base then add what ever fruit I happen to have at the time (today it was mango). Then I add probiotic yogurt but I really have to go out and grab some soy yogurt soon! More about this in a future post on the veg dairy issue. Once and a while I will throw in some green tea icecream but sometimes I make my smoothie green by adding avocado or cucumber. Almost always I use a small scoop of matcha (start with 1/4 tsp). Matcha (green tea powder) contains its maximum antioxident effects when steeped as a tea but is still good for you to add in food and smoothies of course! Begin adding this to your diet in small quantities and work your way up because your system will not be used to this substance.

Granola Museli Mix is a well-rounded breakfast staple that is easy to throw together but if you want some specific ideas, this is my recipe! Fill a bowl with mixed fruit: I recommend banana, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, kiwi, starfruit, avocado, mango and/or papaya (most of which are great in salads!) Add granola (this you can buy in cereal-box form or from a bulk or health food store), yogurt or soy yogurt and finally some crushed walnuts and a few raisins. I also like to add hemp seeds which contain lots of protien. As pictured here, they are also known as "hemp hearts" and can pretty much be used in anything. Finally I add a light sprinkle of matcha before I delve in.

So of course, veggies are a large part of a veg diet! Salads area great way to diversify a veg diet, despite the assumption that the opposite is true. It allows for an opportunity to add alot of protien and nutrients to your day. A dressing I like right now is soy based with organic ingredient which I purchased at Enchie Japanese Food Mart where I often shop. In terms of raw snacking I am really enjoying snow peas right now! My absoulte favourite is avocado (which is technically a fruit but I think of it as a vegetable lol). Be careful though because they contain a higher fat content. However this isn't often a problem because veg diets are most often low in fat and also because fat and protien sources in a veg diet are usually the "good fats" (including avocado). Avocado is a constant mainstay in my diet and I used it it many recipes. I put it in salads, green smoothies and the granola museli mix. Most often I enjoy avocado for breakfast or lunch, perhaps on a toasted flax seed bagel or croissant with hemp seeds and tomato! Guacamole is something I make as often as possible and there are so many different recipes for it. Lately I have been making it a little chunkier by not fully mashing up the avocado and using lettuce to eat it with as part of my raw food initiative! However low sodium seasalt red chips by QuePasa are my absolutely favourite! They are stone ground, hand-cut Tortilla Chips cooked in pure pressed canola oil, quite healthy and taste great! They actually bring out the flavour of whatever you are eating because they are subtle enough and a salty coating or extra preservatives dont interefere.

My Guac Recipe: Start with 2 whole avocados and get your hands dirty! Add fresh squeezed lemon juice. I use about 1/4 of a lemon but leave out this option if you are are concerned about acidity or striving towards an alkaline diet. At this point you can add any vegetables you want but I recommend tomato chunks and/or quartered cucumber slices. Guacamole mix powder adds spices and a lot of flavour but remember it makes your guacamole a non-raw-food item! However I recommend Guacamole Mix by Concord Foods. Stir and let sit for a few hours in the fridge if you choose to use it.

Hope you enjoy these suggestions and recipes and with luck some of your possible confusion over veg diets has been quelled! My next post will include issues of protien and meat alternatives specifically. Leave a comment if you have any questions :)

Monday, March 30, 2009


Raw foodism is a choice to eat whole foods that are unprocessed, unrefined and in their original and natural form. You may have guessed that this is a vegan or at least a vegetarian lifestyle choice since one can't really mow down on uncooked meat! So yes, by raw food I mean chomping on a celery stick or biting into a tomato. Though having its own health and eco-minded culture, raw menus are as diverse and elaborate as you can imagine!

I knew about and was intrigued as a vegetarian with the raw diet craze that had erupted out West, the most so in California from what I understand. But not anything about the hows or exactly whys. I visited these sites and found out alot of unbelieveable information. It always amazes me how little so many people know about how food choices affect our lives and lifestyles! I'm really exited about this raw food revolution and I definetely want to make at least some effort to try and contribute to it. It's better for our bodies and the environment, and promotes a veg diet which as I wrote about in a previous post about how it is crucial to ecological health.

The Best of Raw answers the question of "why not eat cooked food?" By cooking food it terminates the enzymes that promote health towards metabolic and digestive functions. Here I also found out the specifics to what exactly constitutes a food as raw. "Raw food" is:

a) uncooked - never heated above 42C/118F

b) unprocessed - as fresh (and wild) as possible

c) organic - no irradiation, preservatives, pesticides

Raw Food, Right Now! is an extremely helpful blog that contextualizes pretty much everything you need to know about Raw Food. I learned that people also turn to raw diets for health reasons and weight loss as well as the vegan and vegetarian aspect. It examines a plethora of issues including that going raw encompasses not just a food diet but everything you put into your body which of course includes beverages. Think of "raw beverages" as liquids that do not contain additives or extensive processes such as pop. In terms of alcohol, if any at all wine is usually preferred among raw foodies. The least desirable is hard liquor as it is distilled. I really learned alot about raw foodism from this blog including a new term:

Raw-ish: the act of eating something as raw as possible in a cooked food environment

To me this is a concept that also best describes the sentiment of striving towards a raw diet and lifestyle without necessarily being a strict vegan raw foodie. I have decided to make the effort so wish me luck! I got many ideas from the Oregon blog Big Raw Vegan which you should visit for more info and for a window into the dynamic menu and recipe options of raw foodism! One great idea is using lettuce leafs as a bread replacement which is way yummier and filling than it may appear. Already I have experienced the benefits of eating whole, raw foods and I haven't even come close to making it the majority of my diet. Delve in and discover fruits, vegetables, seeds and other edible items that you did not know existed!

What do you think about the raw-volution?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Taloola's: Not Just A Vegetarian's Paradise

Taloola's is an anomaly - it offers what no other cafe or venue does in Windsor! It's a whimsical escape: you are enveloped with a warm feeling as you creak on the weathered hard wood floors and take in the eclectic and enigmatic decor that literally covers every inch of the place. Then you are met with an oversized map of the world taking up most of the north wall, surrounded by artistic and mismatched chairs, cups and nickknacks. From the feminist art in the washrooms to the shelf of books and games, Taloola's participates in and celebrates in the Do-It-Yourself ethic and DIY subculture.

As I sit and read with a matcha beverage or have a tea and some good conversation with a friend, the afternoon sun shines through the West-facing window wall and creates a nice warm temperature. Cozy in the winter, airy in the summer and perfect for a spring or fall cafe retreat, Taloola's is a place that is an open space in multiple senses. As a vegetarian, feminist and supported of vintage and DIY culture, this place is a goldmine of welcomeness.

But it doesn't matter who you are, anyone can enjoy! Whether its over a soy late or the usual unexpected recipe for the soup of the day, sitting at Taloola's you are likely to realize that this cafe is to be taken advantage of as an all-seasons-must! The experience of eating, socializing, listening to music or studying there and meeting for tea are a few examples of how I enjoy loads of time there. Follow the trail with your bike and chill on the patio in the summertime or relax inside for a lowkey atmosphere. The small and friendly staff maintains excellent though casual service - remember to grab your own cutlery and napkins!

Drink Favourites:
As for coffee, Organic Fair Trade Dark Roast please! The Cairo Cocoa (with clove, ginger or cinnamon) for $3.25 is a wonderful warming winter treat. I also love the Masala Smoothie with almond milk. They also make what I've heard described as the best macciato's in the city for $2.25. Oh and the White Peach loose-leaf tea in the summertime should definitely be be sampled!
Food Favourites:
The Veggie Loola (a signature item that is all its cracked up to be) is a sure staple while I also really enjoy the Organic Peanut Butter and Organic Carrot "Toastie" sandwich with added organic hemp seeds for only $0.50. Any of the salads and other sandwiches are experiences in themselves and for meat eaters, a popular choice seems to be the deli-meat Roberto Panini! A variety of fresh desert and loose leaf teas are always available. The menu is extensive and diverse including probably the best selection of vegan/vegetarian, gluten and sugar free options available in Windsor.

Special features include Tea Rituals on Tuesdays from 4-7pm and weekly indie-folk-music that makes for an enjoyable Saturday evening. Aswell as charity initiatives, various seasonal treats and activites keep the venue fresh. For example, right now there are DIY creations for sale - arts and crafty flowers decorate the cafe front while hand made mini windmills dance lazily in the breeze. Come utilize this venue you may not have known was available to you in Windsor. Come back again and again and again as most customers do!

Taloola Cafe 396 Devonshire Road
Olde Walkerville, Windsor

519 - 254 - 6652

Tues - Fri Open 7:30 - 10 pm

Sat - 8:30 - 11pm

Sun - 10 - 4pm