Friday, August 22, 2014

Plant Powered Protein Smoothie



Ingredients:
1 Lb Silken Tofu
1/2 Cup Silk Soy Milk (Optional)
2 Frozen bananas (Mine were semi frozen)
1 Half Avocado
2 cup berries of your choice
Squeeze of lemon 

Place all ingredients in blender and pulse until mixture is smooth. 
Makes for a healthy protein treat! 






Thursday, August 21, 2014

Younique cruelty free BB Cream & Cream Foundation Review


I would love to share with you my latest cosmetic find... Younique makeup! What's great about this company is they have a line of vegan cosmetics! And what I love most about Younique is they are a company under way to becoming certified as cruelty free. Go Younique...don't stop until you get there! Although Younique is not officially cruelty free to date, my reason for writing this review is to encourage the purchase of cosmetics from companies such as Younique who do not test on animals. Also, their quality of makeup is excellent! Ever since I started using superior quality makeup, my overall appearance looks better. Even my husband commented that Younique makeup suits my complexion and is more natural looking. Bonus! I was so excited when I was sent a package of makeup in the mail to try out. I decided to do a review on it because I was impressed with the quality of their products. Take care to use makeup that is chemical free and more natural based. Our skin will thank us for it now and look better in the long run. Up your class of cosmetics for your own sake and go cruelty free for the sake of the animals:) 

(Please note: Younique does not trace in depth investigations into where their ingredients come from  in order to make their cosmetics.)

The BB Flawless Line is entirely vegan! There are a variety of colors for all skin tones. I chose my color in, "Bisque" as pictured below. I think this product is excellent! Goes on smoothly, beautifully and helps cover those flaws you don't want to show. Pick your color online at: https://www.youniqueproducts.com/vipretty/products/view/US-1074-00. 

                                                BB Cream in, "Bisque"



Once your BB Cream enhancer is applied you can choose from their Vegan Moodstruck Mineral Line to complete the look. 
Moodstruck Mineral Concealer: https://www.youniqueproducts.com/vipretty/products/view/US-1062-00
~~~ 

I also received some of their cream foundation and I really think it's great! I chose my color in, "Taffeta" and applied this over my BB cream enhancer.  (Cream foundations are not vegan).

Cream Foundation in, "Taffeta".

Here is a complete list of the Younique vegan line:
Moodstruck concealers
Moodstruck Blushers
Refreshed Rose Water
BB Flawless
Awake Facial Cleanser
Concealer Brush (Synthetic Hair)

My experience with Younique makeup has been great! I'm very impressed with the products and recommend them. A lovely representative named Cessna was very helpful in answering questions I had and helping me choose out my colors.

For further assistance in purchasing cosmetics from Younique, please visit:
Cessna Foster 
Younique Presenter



Friday, August 15, 2014

Sweet Berry Pie!!!



Baking pie without using eggs, or animal based products is so easy! Here's one of many pie recipes that's animal friendly. 

Ingredients for pie shell:


1 tsp. salt if desired
2 cup flour ( I recommend Robin hood)
1 cup fat ( I use vegetable based Crisco)
1/2 water

Place ingredients into a bowl. Mix very gently and preferably with hands. This will help to result in  a thiner and lighter crust rather than a thicker one. Gradually add water and mix in between pouring. Be extremely gentle at all times with the dough. Separate dough into two separate balls. Gently roll dough out. One part for the base and one part for the top.

Filling:

1 cup black berries,
1 cup strawberries
1 - 2 cup sliced apples
1 cup sugar
2 Tbs sugar
3 Tbs flour
Smart Balance butter ( I used flaxseed butter ...tastes better than dairy and it's healthier for you!)

Add fruit to a bowl. Add 1 cup sugar onto fruit. Mix. Add 3 tbs of flour onto fruit, mix and let sit for about 5 minutes.  Place pie shell into pie plate. Sprinkle 3 Tbs of flour on the pie shell. This will help thicken the juices that are extracted from the fruit during the cooking process. Add 2 Tbs sugar onto base of pie shell for extra sweetness. Place fruit mixture into pie shell. Place 4-5 Tbs of Smart balance butter on top of fruit. Cover the top with the rolled out dough and pinch the sides together. Brush top with butter half way through cooking.

Bake 425 degree for 10-15 min
Reduce temperature to 350 degree for 50 min

Tip: You may want to add additional flour to thicken up the filling to your desire. This recipe will create a center that has a sweet syrup which I think is nice. You can see the syrup in the picture. I recommend placing your pie onto something that will allow for the juices to drip onto as they cook in the oven. This will keep from your oven getting sticky and messy. By chance your pie crust doesn't turn out perfect the 1st time around, keep trying this recipe until you perfect it. It is the best recipe for a light crust! Hope you like it:)






Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Natures Gate & Jason Shampoo Review



I've been trying out some new cruelty free and natural shampoo's for a few months now. Nature's Gate shampoo in Tea Tree scent is wonderful! Even my step son casually commented on it's beautiful scent. I'm not usually a fan of tea tree but this shampoo and conditioner almost has the scent of peppermint rather than tea tree itself. This shampoo and conditioner is great! I give it 4 out of 5 stars. Sale price over $7.00 each. You pay more because it's better quality over chemical shampoo brands. 

Jason strengthens and repairs damaged hair shampoo has no scent. For some people this will be beneficial and appealing for health reasons. Jason shampoo is good if you need a little more body to your hair. I find it to be a little more drying than Natures's Gate shampoo. I give this shampoo 3 out of 5 stars. Retail price is just over $6.00. 

You can purchase these at Meijer, Walmart, Amazon or local health food stores. No way I'm going back to chemical brands that test on animals and are not as healthy even if I have to pay a few extra bucks! Cruelty free and natural is the only way to go:)


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Vegan Indian Red Lentil Curry




Another successful vegan dish and my husband loved it! I'm having so much fun creating new and delicious dishes. Our eating habits have become healthier and our taste buds are happier!
  • 1cups lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • ½ large onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • ½ tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 bulbs minced garlic
  • 1-2 teaspoon minced ginger (more the better!)
  • a few good shakes of cayenne pepper
  • 1 28 oz tomato puree ( I didn't use the whole can but most of it)
  • 1-2 tomatoes cut in chunks
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk 
  • cilantro for garnishing
  • rice for serving

Serves 2-3

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Cook the lentils according to directions on package. 
  2. Melt the butter in saucepan and add the onion. Saute for a few minutes until golden. Add all the spices (curry paste, garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, cayenne, sugar, garlic, ginger). Stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomato sauce; stir and simmer until smooth. Add tomatoes. 
  3. Add the lentils and the coconut milk. Stir and simmer for another 15-20 minutes (Longer is better so the flavors extract throughout the dish! I actually let mine simmer for 30min). Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro.



Thursday, July 31, 2014



Ingredients for main dish:
1 lb package of Firm Tofu
2 thinly sliced carrots
1 bell pepper
1 Cup snap peas
1/2 yellow onion
1/2 beet, cooked
1 can bamboo shoots
2-3 diced garlic bulbs
1 tbs cilantro diced
1-2 Tbs ginger diced 
1 tsp Ovega 3 (a substitute for fish oil) This is optional and not necessary for this dish. Please see: http://www.ovega.com/ovega3_vs_fish_oil 
Salt and pepper
Oil such as Vegetable or Canola

Cut Firm Tofu into thick or thin slices. For this dish I used thinner slices and prefer it this way. I base the bottom of my pan with just enough oil to fry the Tofu nicely.  Add salt and pepper. Additional option for extra flavor: Add Ovega 3 (an alternative to fish oil)

The trick with Tofu is to prepare it right or it doesn't taste that great. It's like anything, prepare it right and it will taste good. In my experience you need to add flavorful spices or sauces so it can soak in the flavors for great results. Tofu is an excellent source of protein.

While your tofu is frying, begin to prepare the Green curry Sauce as instructed below.

After your tofu is light golden brown start to fry the veggies in the same pan. Make sure there is enough oil coating the pan to sauté your vegetables. Fry broccoli for 5 minutes on medium heat with lid covering to lock in heat.  Saute carrots, bell peppers, snap peas 7-10 min.
Add your pre baked beet, bamboo shoots, onion, diced garlic, cilantro, and the magic ingredient..ginger!!

Green curry sauce: 
1 can coconut milk ( I use Thai Kitchen brand)
1 Tbs brown sugar
2 Tbs Green curry paste
1-2 stalks fresh lemon grass ( This enhances the flavor of the dish and I highly recommend it)
1 Tbs flour
1 cup cold water

Bring coconut oil to boil, and simmer. Add sugar and paste. Mix. Cut lemon grass lengthwise and snap it thoroughly to extract the lemon flavor. Add it to sauce mix and let sit for at least 15-20 min. After 15-20 minutes you will remove the lemon grass from the sauce.

This is optional but I like to thicken the curry sauce just a little. To do this I add 1 Tbs of flour with 1 cup cold water. Whisk with a fork. Now add approx. 3 Tbs of this mixture to Green curry sauce and mix.

One of the best recipes ever!!! Approx time 45 min. Takes a little while but worth it!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cooking with Essential Fatty Acids

Essential Fatty Acids are Important for optimal health. Let's take a look at the types:

Linoleic Acid (LA): An O-mega 6 fatty acid found in grains, seed, nuts, especially safflower, sunflower, corn and soy oil. Vegan friendly.
Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA): An omega 3 fatty acid found in flaxseed, chia, hemp, walnuts, canola oil, and some soy foods. Vegan friendly.

The other 2 types are DHA (docosahexanoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentanoic acid) found in animal products such as fish and eggs.

Vegans tend to get a high ratio of LA fatty acids in their diet when what they need is little more ALA in their diet. One way to help get more ALA in a vegan diet is by cooking with certain oils. These oils include: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Canola, "High-Oleic" Sunflower or Safflower Oil (must be labelled "High-Oleic"), Almond, Avocado, Hazelnut & Macadamia Nut Oil. Corn, Soybean and peanut oils are popular for frying but should be limited in a vegan diet as they have a high LA (Linoleic Acid) content and vegans tend to get plenty of this Essential Fatty Acid:)




Fun Fact: Oils with a low smoke point begin to break down at high temperatures, potentially producing toxins. Oils with high mono saturated fat content (as listed above) have a higher smoke point and are better to cook with.



Chickpea Cakes:

3 tbs oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1 celery stalk, diced
1 28 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp paprika
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp hot sauce ( I use habanero sauce for extra spiciness)
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
salt and pepper to taste
oil for frying

Directions:

Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Saute onion, green pepper, and celery until softened. Remove from heat.
Place chickpeas in a food processor along with the onion mixture. Pulse until chickpeas are no longer whole, but dont process them too much. Place chickpeas in a bowl and add spices, hot sauce, and parsley. Mix well. Add flour and cornstarch and mix well. Place in the fridge for 30 mins.
Heat oil in a frying pan over med/med-hi heat. Shape chickpea mixture into 6 patties and fry in batches, about 3-4 mins per side, or until crispy and browned. If you have trouble forming the patties, add some more cornstarch to hold it all together.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Why I chose to be vegan.


Truth is, I'm still learning about being vegan. I would consider myself mostly vegan. The funny thing I find is that people think it's either trendy or just plain strange. I didn't used to think much of what a vegan really was. I just assumed that the life of a vegan must be, "quite challenging" I'd say to myself. I couldn't comprehend how people could live without cheese or dairy chocolate! Neither did I understand their reason for it. I have to admit I had some admiration for people who could cook a dinner with what I thought were such great limitations. But I discovered that it was only my thoughts that limited me. To date I've explored my dinner options and they are far from limited.

I educated myself on the food industry further more and came to the realization that the dairy industry is just as corrupt as the meat industry.  One of many interesting facts is that when society started to spend larger amounts of time indoors, it was discovered that cows milk contained vitamin D and could be a supplement for the loss of that mineral associated with not getting enough vitamin D from being outside in the sun.

Do I think it's wrong to drink cows milk? Not if the cow is free range, lives a good life and we can share with it's offspring.  But that is not how mass milk is produced. The majority of these animals are confined to tiny cages where they are pumped full of unnatural chemicals that make the females produce milk constantly while it's body mass is, "bulked" for production. I think of it somewhat like a cow on steroids. This is not right. These cows are stressed to the max and in great pain mentally and physically. Baby calves don't get to feed from their own mothers and are taken immediately from birth to live a life of hell and then sent to the slaughter. Often the people who herd cattle to the slaughter use electric rods. They wet the animals faces with water and electrocute them just for their own abusive pleasure. How can anyone in their right mind support this? And this only guar touches what these animals have to endure.

 When I had made the decision to try a vegan lifestyle I decided to dive into it the best to my ability and with a positive attitude. That's the way to do it...positive attitude!

This lifestyle works for me because first and foremost I have a deep compassion for animals. From the smallest of creations I have a great love for them. It is my belief that God loves all his creations with a love so profound we cannot comprehend that love. I believe we have the capacity to gain deeper love in this life and certainly on a much higher level as we enter the eternities. I do believe in what I refer to as a, "higher love". To me this is beautiful. Imagine the love you have for your family magnified. For your spouse and children magnified. Imagine love for all creatures magnified. Nothing is more beautiful than this in my eyes.

It was in the garden of Eden that Adam, Eve and all creations lived off the grains and plants of the land. I believe that in the eternities if food is required, it will possibly be as was in the garden of Eden. It is my understanding through my religion (LDS) that we will not eat meat in the eternities and that the Lamb and Lion will lie side by side without and ire. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint who believes in the Word of Wisdom, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Word_of_Wisdom, we are taught that the Lord has ordained the flesh of beasts to man but that is is pleasing unto him that they should not be used, but only in times of winter, cold or famine. See D&C 89


I cannot forsake that the scriptures say God issued to us the use of animals for those who so choose to use them. For this I am not ungrateful and give thanks to him in all things for our temporal needs. However saying this, my God is not a God of abuse or violence and that is exactly what is entailed in the meat and dairy industry in our day and age. It goes beyond the slaughter itself to a mass abuse most people are not aware of or are willing to ignore. The easy thing to do is ignore such things. Ignorance is bliss as they say. But it is a life of pure hell for most all farm animals and to support this industry we are contributing to the cruelty. How can we think that God is ok with this? How can anyone say, "It will solely be the animal abusers who are punished for these vicious acts of cruelty and not myself because I am just the consumer?"All good things are of God and all evil things of Satan. There is no in between.

I choose not to ignore what's happening in this industry and try to avoid it all together. With all of the knowledge I have gained I cannot stand before a loving God one day and say, " I knew these things yet made no effort to condone them". For it is my belief that we will be held accountable for what we do know and understand. And we are wise to gain knowledge rather than have a lack of.

For me living this lifestyle works beautifully. I have come to feel more at peace with myself, the environment, and with my maker. I feel a more spiritual connection with Heavenly Father. In my experience I am healthier and happier. And I intend to keep it that way:)

Sarah