Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chutney Chomp

When pursuing Maximum Joy, it is most important to have a spicy palette to compliment a vibrant existence! Like the experience of chopping into a fresh Spanish onion, mincing garlic cloves or cooking with jalepenos - it makes you remember you are alive! It is for this same reason that I adore preparing Indian cuisine. Ill take some lovely tumeric stained fingers any flavour-filled day.

Shopping at London, Ontario's fantastic Indian mart Indo-Asian Groceries and Spices reminded me of this the other day - found more varities of spices than I had ever knew existed. We found coconut and mango juice, gulab jamon and fenugreek seeds along with okra ("lady fingers") for a curry dish we made later that day. Along with these delights was mustard and sesame oil as well as very inexpensive bulk items like cartons of Nag Champa and massive jars of every chutney imaginable! Flavours such as coriander and tamarind looked delicious and got me in the mood for trying an impromptu recipe of my own. This are the ingredients for a medium-spice and medium-sweet level chutney...because savoury and sugary is premium! This was great on toast with soy cheese on a cold and snowy winter day. Serve with low or salt free dipping chips and garnish with cucumber. Of course, place this along side any Indian recipe for a fully enhanced dish.

Mango Ginger Coconut Chutney
Add ingredients in quantities of your own risk or ambition! Cook on low-medium until smooth consistency or until onions are well-done.
In a saucepan, combine:
apple cider vinegar
lemon or lime peel/zest
agave nectar
raw sugar
sea salt
shredded coconut
tumeric, cumin, corriander, curry powder, garlic (cloves or powder), ginger (fresh and/or paste), graham masala, masala, cinnamon, nutmeg, macha powder (for some good anti-ox mesaure!)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sunflower Valley Vegan Poutine Post


Sunflower Valley Vegan Poutine

4 sweet potatoes, chopped into wedges
Cover with sea salt, oil and vinegar.
Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until desired consistency.

3 zucchinis, grated or spiraled
Serve raw or cooked as desired.

Tofu curry scramble

Optional ingredients: hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, ketchup, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, paprika

Serve sweet potato fries topped with zucchini as gravy substitute and tofu curry scramble as cheese curd replacement. Courtesy of the maritime vegan festival throwers!

Tofu Curry Scramble
Can be used as scrambled egg substitute in breakfast, as tofu curry mayo for sweet potato fries or as vegan poutine sauce!

1 package tofu with - mustard, mustard powder, curry powder, salt, pepper


Plain soft tofu, curry powder, sea salt, nutritional yeast, organic mustard, orange zest, I small onion, chopped, one handful of sweet basil

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Masala Chai Tea Time

cloves can be used to add spice to any tea, any time
ginger root
anise seeds
masala spice
1/2 tsp raw organic cane sugar
fresh coriander, chopped
Bring to a boil on the stove and serve alone or with 1/4 soy/almond/rice millk!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fall Be Kind Apple Chutney

5 organic northern spy apples, quartered and chopped
2 tsps veg oil
2 tsps mustard powder
1 red onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large green chilli, sliced
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp masala spice
3-4 prunes, chopped
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp agave nectar
1 tsp vinegar
1 cup water
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lime juice
1 small handful of cloves
1 handful of chopped coriander
1 1/2 tsp cinnmon
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Simply combine ingredients while simmering contents on low. Sitr consistently, bring to boil on high and then on medium heat until thoroughly cooked. Pair with veg samosas, soy cheese and toast or eat alone! Many of these ingredients were inspired thanks to Savvy Vegetarian and the International Vegetarian Union.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

This Sh!t Is Bananas: Raw Pudding and Vegan Whipped Cream

Raw Banana Pudding
2 bananas, mashed
vanilla extract to taste
raw cane sugar to taste
apple sauce

mash by hand, let sit in freezer for a few hours
(stirring until desired consistency)

Vegan Whipped Cream

almond extract
almond milk
vanilla soy yogurt
spelt flour

whip by hand, adding ingredients for desired consistency

Friday, October 8, 2010

vegan baking doesn't always have to be a bitch

Vegan Banana Bread

1 tsp vegetable oil

4 ripe bananas

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 cups spelt flour

1tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 cup almond milk

1/2 cup apple sauce

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 chopped walnuts
Makes two loaves!
Top with chopped walnuts and bake for 30 minutes at 350F!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Common Denominator

The commons represent both the naturals systems (water, air, soil, forests, oceans, etc.) and the cultural patterns and traditions (intergenerational knowledge ranging from growing and preparing food, medicinal practices, arts, crafts, ceremonies, etc.) that are shared without cost by all members of the community; nature of the commons varies in terms of different cultures and bioregions; what has not been transformed into market relationships; the basis of mutual support systems and local democracy; in the modern world the commons may be managed and thus kept from becoming enclosed through private and corporate ownership by being managed by local and national government—municipal water systems and state and national parks are contemporary examples of the commons.

-EcoJustice Education

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Purposeful Perspiration: a curry of a morning

Curry Potato Mash & Cuke Salad with Always Special Sauce

A solid breakfast is a portal to a day of balance and happy bellies! This vegan recipe was made for me the other day, I made it for my friends for brunch - now I pass it on to you:

In a pan on the stove with vegan margerine and/or vegetable oil, cut potatoes into discs, cubes and strips. Variety is the spice of (vegan!) life. Take a cue from an Eastern European tradition - put shredded potatoes into the skillet as well. Fry on low while adding chopped yellow zucchini, fresh peppers and red onion. So important to remember to wash those pesticides off your to-be-breakfast unless it's an organic effort! Here is a post from the blog Creative Lifeskills to assist you in thoroughly cleaning produce. Also throw in a handful of chopped coriander/cilantro while continuously sprinkling curry powder to your preferred taste. If you are trying to beat the heat and don't think that getting a curry-sweat on sounds appealing, note that purposful perspiration from spicy cuisine is actually a method of self-cooling in hot climates! Serve Cuke Salad with Always Special Sauce on the side. Enjoy your I-can't-believe-this-is-vegan meal!

Suggested Ingredients:

Curry Potato Mash

vegetable oil
yellow zucchini
red onion
curry powder
hemp seeds

Cucumber Salad

red onion
lemon juice

Always Special Sauce

Blend and add to Cuke Salad...



veganaise (nayonaise)

basil, parsley and/or dill

soy milk (regular, not vanilla!)

nutritional yeast

Monday, June 28, 2010

adopt a personal ethic of pascifism!

In the use of civil disobedience as testimony against the despoiling of the environment, a credo of nonviolence is all-important. It is embodied in the Peaceful Direct Action Code many environmental protesters affirm before taking part in a road blockade or tree-sit:

1- Our attitude is of openness, friendliness and respect toward all beings we encounter.
2 - We will use no violence, verbal or physical, toward any being.
3 - We will not damage any property and will discourage others from doing so.
4 - We will not run.
5 - We will carry no weapons.

from Christopher Manes' Green Rage:
Radical Environmentalism and the Unmaking of Civilization

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Wheel of Change Spins in the Candlelight: Earth Hour 2010

Earth Hour was a success for us in the market square of downtown Kingston on Saturday! The KSC (Kingston Sustainability Centre) had a comprehensive, informative and fun display. Collectively, we who volunteered talked to about one hundred and fifty people! Featured was the Wheel of Change which prompted people to "take a turn for the better" by choosing an environmental challenge. Actions of great impact on an individual and community level were displayed on a corresponding info board. Steps ranged from one to three star level challenges from turning the water off while brushing your teeth to starting a community garden. Our categories of focus for this educational tool were waste, water, energy, transportation and of course - food! Talking to people, sharing and spreading in eco consciousness was an empowering and hopeful experience. People of all ages added these challenges to their already impressive plethora of environmental initiatives. It was a pleasure to see that the people of Kingston are making serious efforts to do their part in suport of sustainability. This was at least true of those who made it out to earth hour and turned off their lights and hopefully their power!

The evening itself consisted of accoustic and percussive entertainment and excellent performances by local artists while people shared an optimistic atmosphere of synergy. The moon and candlelights shone brightly and reflected the light in the darkness that the momentum of the current environmental movement represents. Another aspect of the KSC display involved a bike that converts human generated energy into electricity. To illustrate this we had people pedaling to turn on an energy efficient lightbulb. (below) It really was an illuminating method of showing how much effort and resources is actually needed for the smallest amount of energy use. This was yet another visible manifestation of how one person's force can account for alot of impact. Please use your personal power for environmental change!

Friday, March 26, 2010

UNLESS: Seuss & Sustainability

Motivating ourselves to maintain an enthusiastic and positive atmosphere at the sustainability centre has been interesting and fun! One of the ways we have done this so far is beginning the day with children's literature. Stories such as The Lorax teach crucial lessons about the effects of human behaviours (thoughts and actions) on earth's ecosystems - it is important to invite into the conversation those who will inherit the future of this planet!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sustainability Centre for Earth Hour

I would like to share the warm welcome that the folks at Kingston Sustainability Centre gave us upon arrival! As part of the program I am currently enrolled in, myself and two other students - Dave and Emily - have started a three week placement. We are very exited to be working with environmental initiatives, projects and displays! Promoting awareness and advocating for lowering one's ecological footprint are a main focus. I will use eco-veg footprint as a blog-log for documentation of our ideas and experiences. It is our third day into the centre in beautiful downtown Kingston, ON and we have already learned about SO much. Our current focus is collecting, organizing and presenting/displaying/distributing knowledge about water, waste, energy and food. You may have guessed that my area of strength is how our food choices impact the ecosystem! I was astonished for example though at my ecofootprint of water - using less of it is definetely one of my "challenges for change".

I am looking forward to sharing alot of environmental info including alot of how-to's! Many interesting and relevant topics have already arisen - stay tuned for future posts about solar power, vermicomposting, sustainable fashion and more. Upcoming this Saturday, March 27th is EARTH HOUR from 8:30-9:30pm which is the international initiative to conserve energy, showing government and mother earth how much we need to care about changing on an individual and collective level. The centre is part of the event occuring this weekend in the downtown Spring Market Square. From 7pm-10pm it will feature a candlelit evening of speeches, local vendors and musicians. We will be there volunteering with an inter-active game that challenges people to choose an environmental initiative in their own lives or communities. The night will also include a completely off-the-grid concert aswell! Here are Dave and Emily working on our display for the earh hour day event that we are so exited for! Looking forward to celebrating with you on Satuday if you're in Kingston or anywhere doing something for energy conservation!

Do you go to Queen's? Queen's University's Sustainability Office is also offering earth hour fun so check it out on campus too! "Queen's will mark Earth Hour in an exciting and celestial way this year. Earth Hour Among the Stars will take place on Saturday, March 27, from 7:30 - 9:30 at the Queen's Observatory in Ellis Hall."

Find out even more about Earth Hour on!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Eco Response to V-Day!

Why is the common (standardized) conception of love overwrought with gold and glitter? Seems more than a limited concept of it to me. Love is dynamic and complex but also a simple and pure, very raw natural feeling. How did it get to be so expensive to be in love and why don't we find it immoral to buy it?
I think a more dimensional note on what Valentine's Day really is includes the overarching and blatant commercial and consumerism. Yes, as in people being fooled into thinking they want and need to buy pink and red trinkets, cards, chocolates to verify their love. Otherwise for those who can afford it, the bar is raised and epitomies of materialist extravagance take the form of precious stones, metals and gems. I suppose nothing says "I love you" than a blood diamond! The occasion also perpetuates the status quo by the assumption heteronormative gender roles. One answer to this has been a paperless online options such as

However, to celebrate love any day of the year is a beautiful expression that I think should be encouraged! I like to think of this as an opportunity for a creative and critical response that includes an environment friendly approach. Below are suggestions for how to manifest these concepts into genuine and thoughtful gestures as an alternative to "buying in" to the Valentine's Day extravangza. Personally, I mailed the (very dark and witty, If I may say!) ones I made out to friends! Yes, through the post - snail mail as its called.

Shouldn't a broader representation of love be accessible to children and students aswell? Adopt athe DIY ethic and include these projects in your own home and classroom to foster a creative and eco-conscious environment. Don't forget to recycle the already recycled items afterwards! Many recycled materials can be used such as paper, cardboard, paper-rolls, fabric, buttons, etc..
-make garland from recycled paper by cutting heart shapes or what ever sybmol makes sense for your idea of the day
-write a love poem on recycled materials

-draw subversive cartoons and images on cards made from recycled paper

-spark ideas of your own by taking suggestions from sites like where you can check out the Subersive Vantine Cross Stitch patterns!

-make sock puppets of get the idea yes?


Friday, February 12, 2010

The Olympic Spectacle

-a sense of positivity, cohesion and inclusion among and within people, families, nations..

-a festival-like and exitement/celebration oriented atmosphere is created (because positive vibes can make a difference!)

CONS (just a few):
-a capitalist model of extreme competitiveness and commercialization of the event through sponsors, consumer products and commercials themselves we are exposed to inevitably in any form of olympic coverage

-an opening ceremony that had not been executed as such COULD have otherwise paid for so many better causes on a provincial, national, or international level i don't feel the need to list them...

-an elaborate presentation and artistic depiction of the birth of the world (the continental shift) was beautiful but oblivious to the multiple forms of decoposition, decay and death that is a direct effect of misplaced values and disconnectedness among human beings today (and therefore ironic)

-a light show of a stunning forest display when those dollars could have been spent on reforestation

-the advanced technology that came from valuable research dollars enabled the dazzling light display. This is yet more evidence of the "myth of progress" which has so poignantly been described in Ronald Wright's A Short History of Progress.

-a total disregard of Vancouver's recent push to ban bottled water:

So as I reflect on all of this after sharing the experience of watching the opening ceremony with others, spending a moment in our history together, I saw all of the honour, respect and energy being transferred. Not long ago my aunt was one of the olympic touch carriers near my hometown and we all gathered for a big family celebration I will never forget. I'm not anti-togetherness! but instead embracing unity while suggesting a very organic and different, humanitarian and eco-friendly approach to the olympics. It has such a massive potential to be alchemized into a force that does good on all fronts! Non? I noticed that this poem expresses some of the sentiment I an attempting to share!
Philosophia Perennis

I turned: quivering yellow stars in blackness
I wept: how speech may save a woman
The picture changes & promises the heroine
That nighttime & meditation are a mirage
To discuss pro & contra here is mute
Do I not love you, day?
A pure output of teleological intentions
& she babbles, developing a picture-theory of language
Do I not play the delicate game of language?
yes, & it is antecedent to the affairs of the world:
The dish, the mop, the stove, the bed, the marriage
& surges forth the world in which I love
I and I and I and I and I and I, infinitely reversible
Yet never secure in the long morning texture
A poor existing woman-being, accept her broken heart
& yet the earth is divinity, the sky is divinity
The nomads walk & walk.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Greenwashed Consumer

In the wake of the world-wide climate change crisis and the relatively popular resurgence of eco-consciousness, consumer dollars are being taken advantage of once again. Even while living on less or on a pattern of down-shifting, consumer choices are made sometimes inevitably. Just as much careful thought as reading ingredients for an allergy must be put into analysing what products we buy and what companies we support. In other words we have to start deeply caring about eachother and the environment in a crucial and fundamental sense just as we would look out for the best interests of ourselves. The latter point is a skill that many people in today's world have not shown difficulty in exhibiting.

Greenwashing is the act of advertising, marketing and packaging a product with the guise that with purchasing it not only are you making the ecologically responsible choice but in fact saving the environment more than if you had not boughten it. One example can be heard on a recent Mercedes/Benz commercial which literally exclaims: "you can't afford not to have one!" I examined a specific example of this in an old post called "Fur Is Bullshit" which critiqued the greenwashing techniques employed by the Fur Council of Canada in their latest controversial ads. This is exemplified by the slogan "Fur Is Green" (which of course, its not). Greenwashing may be said to have a close linkage with the term "eco-chic" and its rampant manifestations.

It is often difficult to tell the difference between products that harm the environment on a lower scale of impact than others. One hint is that if a company is large and if it sells other "non-eco" products then they are likely to greenwash (think Clorox's line of "green works" household cleaning products). I think it's important to think "Is this necessary?" before making a purchase of any kind. Coupled with public activism, protest and collective forms of making a difference, it must begin and include an individual level of consciousness. I am talking about daily habits on the smallest level to the point of avoiding that afternoon coffee if you've forgotten a reusable mug. We are all on different levels of environmental consciousness and at varying stages of acting on that awareness. Some may be coming to the realization that it is possible to live without the newest brand and fragrance of deoderant....or without deoderant at all (at least the kind that is packaged and bought in a store).

There was a recent post by George Monbiot which I feel is a poignant and explanatory deconstruction of this recent "eco-everything" phenomenon, which since it is a part of capitalist society, has been used to manipulate people into spending their dollars in the Marketplace. Furthermore, propogating the status quo's definition of progress.

"[C]onsumerism is a totalitarian system: it permeates every aspect of our lives. Even our dissent from the system is packaged up and sold to us in the form of anti-consumption consumption, like the “I’m not a plastic bag” which was supposed to replace disposable carriers but was mostly used once or twice before it fell out of fashion, or lucrative new books on how to live without money.

Orwell and Huxley proposed different totalitarianisms: one sustained by fear, the other partly by greed. Huxley’s nightmare has come closer to realisation. In the nurseries of the Brave New World, “the voices were adapting future demand to future industrial supply. ‘I do love flying,’ they whispered, ‘I do love flying, I do love having new clothes … old clothes are beastly …We always throw away old clothes. Ending is better than mending, ending is better than mending’”(7). "

The easy way to cope with this reality is to be cynical. It often seems like the "blazes of glory" descent of humanity (i.e. Brando actively degenerating in the chaos of Apocalypse Now!) is held in favour over repair, recycling and regenerating the ecosystem. Natural disasters and other environmental effects are not only impacting people significantly around the world but are causing millions of deaths (by the 100,000's in Haiti alone!). Cynicism and accepting the current direction of our fate will not only lead to more deaths and violations of human rights but also to ecological catasptophe. We must adopt a hyper-awareness when it comes to our lifestyles on a public and private level. Our ecological footprint includes our consumer choices. At the very least do not let yourself fall into the greenwash trap - support that it is "always in" to live green instead of look it.

A few texts I recommend that support the related "myth of progress" include:

A Short History of Progress - Ronald Wright

Ishmael - Daniel Quinn

Thursday, January 21, 2010

live simply so that others may live

How are natural disasters NOT related to climate change and how we impact the environment? How many hundreds of thousands of people must perish before nature must remind us in more and more drastic ways of the direction of its current fate? We as human beings have a deep rooted, timeless and sacred connection to one another and it is time to act on the innate humanitarian responsiveness in us that sometimes fizzles out and needs to be re-ignited. The cause of protecting people and preserving the environment are for one in the same cyclical good. It is the time to develop a unbreakable sense of ecological integrity on the individual and collective level - locally and on an international level. Never in human history has it been of such urgent importance to "live simply so that others may live".
Here are a few links that can direct you towards supporting