Sunday, March 21, 2010

Homemade Rice Paper Wraps

I don't know about you, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE Vietnamese food!  Well, I love ALL kinds of food, but Vietnamese is truly one of my top three favourites!  I was introduced to "Pho" (Vietnamese soup) about 7 years ago by my boyfriend...he brought me right down into the heart of the city where all of the best Vietnamese food is made!  I was in love, not only with my boyfriend, but with this new type of food that I enjoyed soooo much!  Recently, I've started to also enjoy rice paper wraps!  You can make them at home which is what we did last Saturday!  It was really fun to chop all the veggies up, break up the mint sprigs, and put a little fish sauce in a shallow bowl JUST like how they do it at the restaurant!  It was a lot of fun! 

What you need:

1 package of 22cm rice paper wraps  (Y & Y Brand)
Shredded Carrots
Cut lettuce
Fresh Corriander
Fresh Mint
Cucumber, sliced thinly lengthwise
Sauteed shrimp, pork, chicken or beef
Spinach Vermicelli  (cooked)
Warm water
Fish Sauce or Peanut Sauce

Soak the rice paper wrap in warm water until soft (about 5-10 seconds).  We used a pie plate for this!
Once its soft, let the excess water drip off into the pie plate.  Start filling your wrap with all the goodies!!!  Wrap it up and seal the bottom, enjoy!!! 

There's not much else to these fresh and delicious rice paper wraps, but they are so yummy and satisfying! 


Kay's "Busy Saturday One Pot Meal" (Vegan)

Yesterday I decided I wanted to make a nice healthy, hearty meal but I was kind of short on time!  I used up some of the ingredients that fill my cupboards and vegetable crisper and this is what I came up with, I hope you try it! 

2 tbsp.  Grapeseed oil
1/2 white onion chopped
1 garlic clove, diced
4 slices of ginger, diced
1 orange pepper
1 sweet red pepper
1/2 zucchini, chopped
1 big can diced tomatoes
1 big can pureed tomatoes
2 cans water
1 1/2 cups Barley
1 19oz. can black beans, rinsed
Dash of dried bay leaf
3 baby bok choy, chopped and white parts removed
1 tsp. Curry paste
1 loaf of nice crusty bread

On medium-high heat, add the grapeseed oil to the pot.  Add the oinions, garlic and ginger and sautee until softened.  Add the orange and red peppers and zucchini, sautee for about 3 minutes. 

Add the tomatoes, water, barley, black beans and dried bay leaf.  Stir until everything is coated.  Bring to a low boil and then reduce the heat down to low-medium and add the baby bok choy and curry power.  Add any other spices you like!

Cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes or until the barley is soft and tender.

Cut a thick slice of bread and put a little bit of Earth Balance butter on it and sprinkle a seasoning of your choice and toast!  I used "Epicure Crab Dip" mix on mine!

Place the toasted bread on the bowl and serve!

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone

I've been waiting and waiting to purchase this book!  I was soooo excited when it came in the mail, I couldn't wait to get home and read it!  I ordered mine off instead of buying it at Chapter's and I SAVED $10!!!  YIPPEE!!!

This book is so interesting.  I love how you can 'flirt' with the idea of being 'vegan' and you don't have to feel bad if you 'fall off the wagon' just get back on again!  I think Alicia is such a good writer and I feel like I'm reading a letter from a friend, it's an easy read and she gives tons of tips on the food items.  Let's be honest, how many of us have heard of "shoyu" or "kuzu"?  Not me!  Alicia explains what the food is, what color it is and what section you might find it in your local store!  There is a great table in the book that shows what brands she likes best too!

I think there are a lot of benefits to eating a "vegan" or "vegetarian" diet, and I am excited to continue my read and learn more about it!  I CAN tell you this though, I've been doing it for about a week now and I feel GREAT!  I have more energy and I am not tired at ALL!  Fantastic!!! 

I think that's is so important to feel and look our best and I fully believe that food is the #1 factor in all of it!  Some people may think "if you don't eat meat or drink milk, how are you getting enough protien and calcium?".  In "The Kind Diet" Alicia explains that if you are eating food from the EARTH and eating plenty of legumes, beans and leafy vegetables that you are getting enough of these things and you are getting them in their purest form! 

My boyfriend is still eating meat, but over the past week I've been cooking 'vegan friendly' food and we both feel like we're not missing out on anything!  Good deal!!!


Monday, March 15, 2010

Food Inc. Documentary

I highly recommend watching this!  It really opened my eyes to what I am buying and how I am shopping in my local stores.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Easy Red Velvet Cupcakes

I know there is a huge fuss out there over 'Red Velvet Cake' so I wanted to make some Red Velvet Cupcakes for an upcoming party.  However, I felt I didn't have enough time to make them completely from scratch, so I found a recipe that calls for 'yellow cake mix' and a few extra ingredients.  THIS I had time for! 

I was a little apprehensive over how much red food coloring to add, but, just follow the recipe and you're sure to love to color! 

I also cheated with the 'cream cheese frosting ( I know, I know!).  I didn't have time to make the frosting from scratch, so I bought a jar of it instead and it tastes delicious!  I don't think anyone will even notice!  :-)


1 (18 1/4 ounce) package yellow cake mix (for a 2 layer cake)
2 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa
5 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
4tbsp red food coloring
Cream cheese frosting (see recipe below)

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:  (or you can buy a jar of it in the baking isle!)

1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), room temperature
8 oz of Philly cream cheese (1 package), room temperature
2 - 3 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract


1.  Set oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Line 24 regular-size muffin tins with paper or foil liners.
3.  In a large bowl beat the cake mix with baking cocoa, eggs, oil, buttermilk and food colouring for about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
4.  Spoon the batter evenly between the muffin tins about two-thirds full.
5.  Bake according to package directions for cupcakes or cake.
6.  Remove from the pans immediately and cool on wire racks.
7.  Spread tops with cream cheese frosting.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My first TOFU experience

I'm not sure why I never tried tofu before, but I'm glad I decided (on a whim one day) to pick some up!  I bought the 'PC Brand' Coconut Curry Flavoured Tofu.  I wasn't clear on how to prepare it, so my boyfriend cooked it for us since he had eaten it before.  WOW!!!  I enjoyed it so much! 

We mixed it with sliced red peppers, zucchini and broccoli.  We also added (during the last 5 minutes) some spinach vermicelli noodles (cooked) and a little peanut sauce. 

QUESTION:  What's your favourite flavour/brand of tofu?  Also, what is your favourite way to eat it (i.e. stirfry's, smoothies, etc...)

~Fruit Blend~

I LOVE having PC 5-Fruit Blend on hand at all times!  It's great for quick and easy smoothies!  Mmmmm!

~White Wine~

I used to always drink red wine, until one hot summer day my Mom offered me a nice chilled glass of white wine.  I enjoyed it so much, that I've pretty much switched to white! 

Last Summer, while at an outdoor spa with my Sister...we ordered some wine and cheese in the afternoon.  She, being a red wine drinker, decided to follow my lead and order a glass of white because it was SO hot that day.  The waitress came, we tasted the wine, and we were both blown away with the flavours this wine had!  I just had to ask the waitress to write down what the wine was called.  She told me it was "Astica from Argentina".  And so the search began...not all the LCBO's carry this brand, but keep looking, it's worth it!

Fresh and rather tangy, this wine features grapefruit aromas and a zingy, fruit-filled palate. Goes well with porrk, fish, and chicken.

For only $7.45!!!  Definitely a good pick for the price!!! 

Cheers!  :-)