"The wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings. Let food be your medicine."
- Hippocrates

February 25, 2010

Applesauce Muffins

Muffins are the best, aren't they? You can eat them for breakfast, for a snack, or, sometimes, even for dessert. Who wouldn't love a food that's so versatile? In the past, I'd buy a muffin a day to have with my morning coffee...this is until I realized that store bought muffins are really just cupcakes in disguise. Not that there's anything wrong with cake, but it's not the best way to start your day!

These muffins are one of my favourites! They're really moist and sweet due to the applesauce and maple syrup...and I add whole wheat flour to give them some extra fibre and bulk. With no refined sugar or unhealthy fat, you can eat one (or more) with your morning coffee and stay completely guilt free!!

2 cups flour (I usually add all or half whole wheat flour)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 soy milk
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or raisins

Preheat oven to 375F. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add the milk, vinegar, oil, maple syrup, applesauce and raisins or walnuts. Mix together gently until "just mixed". Spoon batter into lightly greased muffin tins and bake for 15-20min. Test with a toothpick to see if done.


This recipe is from How it all Vegan by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer

February 18, 2010


Hey everyone, sorry for my absence last week, I was a touch under the weather...but I'm back this week with a great chili recipe!

Chili is one of those meals that hits the spot on a cold winter day! I had been searching for a good standard vegetarian chili recipe for a long time but somehow they always fell flat...or included strange ingredients that I didn't necessarily want to see in my bowl of chili! So I was determined to create one that met my tastes and was easy to make...

This recipe is really easy, especially if you're making use of a slow cooker. Don't get anxious, but there's one new ingredient that you may not have seen or used before...textured vegetable protein (or TVP for short). It's a high-fiber, high-protein meat substitute made from soy flour. To use it, you just need to rehydrate it - making it a great substitute for ground meat. I get mine at the Bulk Barn, easy peasy! For a bit more on TVP, check out
this explanation. If you can't find TVP, or are still a little weary, try adding veggie ground round, it's easy to find in most grocery stores and it works just as well!

Now go make some chili! Cozy up with a warm bowl and watch some Olympics!

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup onions, chopped finely
1 large pepper, any color, chopped finely
2 stalks celery, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
3-4 cups cooked beans (about two cans) any kind of bean works here, I usually use 1 can kidney, the rest adzuki or black beans
1 1/2 cups dry TVP or 1 pkg veggie ground round
3-4 cups water
4 tbsp chili powder (just make sure it's not the crazy hot variety)
2 tbsp cumin powder
2 tsp dry oregano
1/2 tsp - 1 tsp cayenne powder (depending on your taste for spice)
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn kernels

Add chopped veggies and garlic to large sauce pot with saute for about 5 min. Add all remaining ingredients except frozen corn (start with 3 cups water then add more if required later). Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and let simmer until veggies are cooked to a desired consistency - about 30 minutes. Add frozen corn at the end and warm through.

If using a slow cooker, throw everything in the pot; for quick cooking, set it on high heat for about 3 hours; for slower cooking, set it on low heat for about 6 hours. Add frozen corn at the end and warm through.

The best garnish for chili is avocado! Just chop some up and throw it on top. Another good way to eat it is to serve it with tortilla chips on the side - yum!

Enjoy everyone!

February 4, 2010

Salad - it's what's for dinner!

Yeah, yeah...I know what you're thinking, "Really, Leigh - salad??...Yawn!" But wait! Salad can be tasty, filling, and exciting with the right components!

I'll start with a confession...up until not long ago, I NEVER ate salad - unless of course, it was a creamy and fatty Cesar! I would pretty much turn my nose up to anything that had the semblance of a green salad. I did try though...I'd go through spurts where I'd buy all the fixings - lettuce, salad dressing, tomatoes, cucumber, etc. - then just let it all die a slow and slimy death in my fridge. Sad, I know.

This all changed when I discovered that a salad doesn't have to be just chopped lettuce and veggies topped with a never-quite-perfect store bought dressing. I thank my mother-in-law for this enlightenment!! There is a whole world of salads out there that include different greens, veggies, fruit, nuts, grains and home-made dressings! Once you find your perfect components, you'll never let your greens wilt alone in the fridge again! And you'll be healthier for it!

For a salad to be a complete and filling meal it should have a few things: greens, veggies/fruit, protein, carbohydrates and fat. Below I've included some of my favorites, but really, the possibilities are endless.

Organic baby greens (they are organic and prewashed so you just dump a few handfuls into a bowl - so easy!)
Other lettuce (Boston, Romaine, etc.) remember that plain old Iceberg lettuce is pretty much devoid of nutrition
Other greens (spinach, kale, cabbage, arugula)

Sweet peppers (any color)
Tomatoes (halved cherry tomatoes are particularly suited for salads)
Red onion, thinly sliced (an absolute must for my salads)
Green onion
Carrots, grated
Beets, grated
Radishes, thinly sliced

Any berry
Avocado, sliced (another must!)

Any bean/legume (I love black beans or chickpeas) - just open the can and drain!
Nuts (pecan, slivered almonds, cashews, etc.)
Seeds (sunflower or pumpkin are good)

Any cooked grain (barley, buckwheat, bulgar, corn)
Toasted pita (just brush on olive oil, toast at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes)
Whole grain bread croutons

Fat (aka dressing)
The best dressings are home-made and they typically include the following:
Vinegar or lemon juice
Salt and Pepper
Optional: Herbs, spices, garlic, other flavorings, mustard (mustard actually helps hold it together so it doesn't separate as easily.)

The ratio of oil to vinegar should be about 3 to 1. Shake it all together in a jar or whisk in a bowl. Super easy!! Below I've also included two of my favorite go-to dressings. These can be made and kept in the fridge for up to a week or so.

Both recipes adapted from Eat, Drink and be Vegan by Dreena Burton

Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
3-4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 small clove garlic, minced

Cumin-Cinnamon Vinaigrette
(This one is great for Mexican or Caribbean dishes like Burritos, Mexican Lasagna, or Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas)
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp lemon juice
3-4 tbsp agave or maple syrup
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 - 1/3 cup olive oil

Health Benefits: Eat your greens!!

Pound for pound, leafy greens are just about the healthiest food on the planet! They are low in fat, high in fiber, and rich in folic acid, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron and calcium, as well as containing a host of phytochemicals, such as lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene. The benefits of regularly including greens in your diet include cancer-prevention, lower risk of diabetes and heart disease, prevention of cataract and age-related macular degeneration, and improved immune function. Wow..Now that's a sales pitch!

Now go forth and enjoy mother nature's medicine!