Esther The Wonder Pig

This book is funny yet heartwarming. It all started with one message- that one message changed their lives forever.

esther

By Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter with Caprice Crane. (Photo cred goes to whoever supplied Amazon with the photograph.)

 

I always thought Steve and Derek was vegan- so it shocked me when Steve cooked burgers with cheese and bacon. I stopped reading and flipped through the handful of recipes- all vegan- continued to read. Steve and Derek had to start somewhere- just like the rest of us did, because of Esther they went vegan.

Esther- oh my- she’s like any other animal or child for the matter. She has her own personality, her own likes, and like a child she gets curious. She gets herself into trouble. I was telling my kids the other day about The Wonder Pig. I told them that, Steve or Derek had left a bag on the stove. She stretched up to sniff it, decided whatever was in the bag was hers. One of the guys startled Esther- she squealed- took off with the bag of noodles. But as she was taking off she knocked over the stove. Running down the hallway, bag half open- noodles went FLYING everywhere. She’s also gotten into rice, little rice pieces showing up in places it shouldn’t have. I’m trying to control my laughter of the memory I read, after all I was driving the kids’ home from school. The minions laughed. Not a giggle or half assed laugh, but a full on belly laugh as I was telling the story.

Of course Steve and Derek faced many challenges.  The litter box, potty training, Esther’s growth, they didn’t have a big house. Speaking of housing, there was a little issue with the bylaw. No one was permitted to have an animal with hooves living within the city/town limits. So, the real challenge began- how would they handle things? Well, they were not about to give up Esther. So, they had to find a new home. With the help of others- they found their dream home and a new calling in life. Happily Ever Esther Sanctuary came to be. The guys still take rescue/ abused farm animals in Campbellville Ont.

I can’t say enough about this book. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and it gives you insight about what it’s like to live with a pig. If you have no idea who Esther is, visit her facebook fan page.  The guys’ video random things that she does throughout the day. I showed my son some of her videos today- he was laughing, or watching intently wondering what Esther would get up too next. It was funny, because I was also telling them that Steve and Derek couldn’t keep anything in the freezer because Esther would get into it. Well, we came across a video showing how she does it- my son just laughed saying ‘THIS IS WHAT YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT!!!!’ in between gasps of air.

If you are ever near the Campbellville area, see about their tour times, go say hi. Esther will change your life forever.

I was given permission to share Esther Approved  Cherry Cheesecake. Enjoy!

cheesecake

I was given a copy for review, and now here’s your chance to win a copy of Esther The Wonder pig by Steve Jenkins, Derek Walter with Caprice Crane, for yourself. Let us know what your favorite Esther approved meal is. Click here to enter. Must be 18 and older and a Canadian resident. Good luck. You’re going to enjoy their story🙂 Now, I’m off to make some Esther approved Mac N Cheese.

Baked Stew

It’s cold here today, not even in the double digits kind of cold. Perfect time to use the oven.  I wanted to make some jerky today, so while I’m waiting for it to marinate, I’m making stew. I have always loved Mouth-watering Vegan and her Baked Stew like Momma Used to Make.  It’s perfect as is, but I’m in love with Better than Bouillon Beef (it’s made from veggies, don’t worry), so I decided that I was going to take Mouth-watering Vegan’s recipe and put my own twist on it. Oh, and I was more veggies, because I wanted to bulk it up a bit more. If you have time, you should make some bread and add some garlic butter to serve with it. Nothing more perfect than stew and fresh bread on a frigid summer day.

Here’s the recipe adapted from Mouth-watering Vegan. For her recipe, please visit her site, and take a look while you’re there, she has some good recipes.

Veggie Stew

1 yellow onion

5-6 cloves of garlic (depending on size and your like of garlic, can omit, but I don’t suggest that- EVER!!)

4 carrots sliced diagonally want them kinda thin- but not see thru thin- that’s just wrong

3 celery stalks (cut like you did the carrots

24 ounces/ 680g of mini yellow fleshed potatoes (it’s a small bag- don’t sweat it)

¼ cup hot water- dissolve a tsp of beefless bouillon in it

2 cups hot water – dissolve a tbsp of beefless bouillon in it.

Method:

  1. Add about a tbsp of oil (use water or broth if you don’t use oil). Heat it up in a cast iron pot. (I use Kitchen Aid- it’s nice and heavy and I like the way it cooks up the food).
  2. You want to sweat the onions this takes a few mins over medium heat.
  3. Add the minced garlic, stir for about 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  4. Add the veggies, and the ¼ cup of broth, let cook for about 10 mins.
  5. Add 1 cup of broth, let cook for about 30 mins, lower the heat about- make sure you stir occasionally. It really doesn’t need to be babysat, but it still needs attention.
  6. After about 30 mins, add the last cup of broth and put into a preheated 350 degree oven, and let cook for 20 mins. Taste a carrot and a potato to make sure they are fully cooked. If not cooked then cook it for another 15-20 mins. You might find that the carrots and potatoes are perfect after cooking it on the stove for 30 mins.

For some reason, I do not have a pic to share with you😦 But it was delish.

Let me know what you think of my version of this to die for stew.

 

Vegan Bowl Attack review and recipe

More Than 100 One-Dish Meals Packed With Plant-Based Power by Jackie Sobon, Founder of Vegan Yack Attack.

 

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I have heard of Jackie before this book came out. I’ve made some of her recipes from Vegan Yack Attack. Her style, imo, is tasteful without a lot of fuss. I got really excited when I received a review copy. Everything you can think of- in a bowl. Who doesn’t love bowl foods? Some of the best things come in a bowl: ice cream, dips, nacho’s etc.

With school starting soon, Jackie has pretty much made back to school lunches and snack planning easy- or take the bowls to work, you will have a healthy lunch – you won’t even think about that evil vending machine.

Vegan Bowl Attack has: Attack of the Vegan Bowls (a bowl making 101 if you will), Bountiful Breakfast Bowls, Lil’ Snack Bowls, Satisfying Soup and Salad Bowls, Enticing Entree Bowls, Damn Good Dessert Bowl, Bowl Essentials (this is the DIY section for dips, sauces and more).

Listen to this: how does Mint Chocolate Chip Doughnut Sundae Bowl, Raw Apple Crisp Bowl, Summer Picnic Bowl, Cabbage Rolls Bowl, Upside-Down Shepard’s Pie Bowl, Mozz-Stuff Neatballs Bowl, Loaded Potato Breakfast Bowl sound to you? These are just a few I book-marked when I first glanced through the book. I know operation Cook Thru Vegan Bowl Attack needs to happen. Someone must organize that!! Has someone? Must look into that.

Anyway, back to the real reason why you’re here. The Loaded Potato Breakfast Bowl. This is simple- as in great for a weeknight meal. Made in less than 30 mins, 1 pot ok 2 pots- as you need one for the gravy. This recipe will be one of your go to’s when you’ve had a bad day, or caught in the rain, or you just want comfort food. Potatoes and veggies with mushroom gravy- in a bowl hot and savory- you in warm pj’s, watching a good movie to unwind from the day. 6 ingredients- 7 if you count the oil and 7 for the gravy, plus pepper and cheese if you’re using.

Enjoy- Give into The Vegan Attack Bowl!!

 

Loaded Potato Breakfast Bowl*

Loaded-Potato-Breakfast-Bowl

Gluten-free • Sugar-free
This crispy potato hash is covered in Heavenly mushroom gravy, and
it is the perfect breakfast food to serve your dad. I know firsthand that this bowl is a crowd-pleaser!

Ingredients

For the potato hash:
2 teaspoons coconut oil
1½ pounds (680 g) russet potatoes, chopped
1 cup (160 g) diced white onion
1 cup (180 g) diced tomato
½ cup (75 g) diced red bell pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup (20 g) firmly packed arugula

For the mushroom gravy:

1½ cups (355 ml) plus 1
tablespoon (15 ml) light coconut milk, divided
½ cup (80 g) diced white onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup (35 g) diced baby bella mushrooms
1 tablespoon (8 g) cornstarch
3 tablespoons (12 g) nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon (15 ml) liquid aminos
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Vegan cheese shreds, for topping (optional)

To make the potato hash: Melt the coconut oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot enough to make water sizzle, put the potatoes in. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Start your gravy now, if you can.) Add the onions to the potatoes, cover, and sauté until the onions become translucent. Lower the heat to medium and then add the tomatoes and bell pepper to the pan. Leave uncovered and sauté until the potatoes are crispy and cooked all the way through. Season the hash with salt and pepper. Wait until right before serving to fold in the arugula, so that it does not become too limp.
To make the mushroom gravy:

Make the gravy at the same time as the potatoes if you can; I wouldn’t recommend doing it afterward, as the potatoes may get mushy when reheated. Coat a medium saucepan with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the coconut milk. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Next, add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes and then stir in the garlic. Cook until the onions are almost translucent and then add the mushrooms. Sauté until the mushrooms have darkened and reduced in size. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the onion-mushroom mixture and stir until everything is coated evenly. Put the contents of the saucepan in a blender or food processor along with the remaining coconut milk, the nutritional yeast, and liquid aminos and pulse a few times for a smoother consistency. Pour the gravy back into the saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat so that the gravy simmers. Stir or whisk every couple of minutes until it reaches the desired thickness and then season with pepper.

Divide the potato hash among 4 bowls (don’t forget to fold in the arugula first!) and top with cheese shreds, if using, and the gravy. Serve immediately.

Yield: 2 large or 4 small serving.

*I was given permission to share the recipe and photograph.

Jackie Sobon is the mastermind behind all the photos in Vegan Bowl Attack published by Fair Winds Press. To purchase her book click on the Link.

Tell us, what is your favorite bowl?

Herbed Pizza Dough 

Today, I decided to tweak my pizza dough to add more flavour. I think I nailed it. Tell me what you think🙂

Herbed Pizza Dough

2 ¼ tsp yeast

1 cup warm water

1 ½ tsp garlic powder

1 tsp oregano

¾ tsp onion powder

½ tsp parsley

¼ tsp thyme

¼ tsp dill

1 tsp Vegan Magic Parmageddon (or your fave parm)

1 tsp Manitoba Hemp seed

½ tsp salt

2 tsp olive oil

2 ½ cups flour

Method:

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the herbs and spices. Add flour and mix. I use a stand mixer because I’m lazy and don’t find kneading dough fun.

If the dough is too wet, add a little flour maybe a tsp at a time, if it’s too dry add a little water at a time, again try a teaspoon. You will know be the feel of it. When the dough is come from the edges of the bowl, take it out and knead it a few times in your hand to shape it in a ball.

Place dough in oiled bowl, roll the pizza dough around, cover with a clean towel (I don’t think I really need to mention that, but I did). Let it double in size. This could take an 1 hour or two depending on what type of yeast you’re using.


If you are not using that day, place in an air tight container and place in the fridge. Before you want to use it, just make sure you let it sit on the counter and let it get to room temp. Voila 

If onion and or garlic aren’t your thing, try using 1 tsp garlic powder and ½ tsp onion powder- or just omit it all together. Your pizza not mine. lol

Do you like herbed pizza dough? Or do you like a clean slate and play with flavourful toppings?

Happy Birthday 2 Flirty Girls

Wow, where did the year go? I have no idea, but what a lot of up’s and downs, tears not only of happiness but also of frustration, creative minds butting heads- but when everything is said and done- we can look back and laugh! We’re standing tall, stronger than ever!

When Kayla and I first started the blog, we were only going to be talking about juicing, being mentally fit, and healthful eating. This was our journey we were going to share with you, and wanted you to join in on the fun. Looking back, we were (and still are) two like minded people who are still sharing a journey, but we are also on our own journey. We’re sorting things out, figuring out what we want to do: to write, to feature, to post. Kind of like parenting, we don’t always talk before we do something. Sometimes we agree to disagree on things. Don’t worry, we are sometimes mature😉 and we won’t let anything stand in our way lol.

We’ve been lucky to have worked with some amazing people who have written cookbooks, with publishers and with some of our favorite companies. Many of them I have tried before, but some were new to Kayla, so that were exciting when she fell in love with them as well.

I don’t have any *one* favorite blog post; I have enjoyed them all for different reasons. We were able to interview a few people, write reviews and all of them are different, some just came naturally because it they were  purely fun. I remember writing one review when I was extremely stressed out but I needed to get that review up and running as I was a part of a blog tour (those are fun) and hoped like heck that my life didn’t come through in the piece- that book is simply terrific and it needed my attention like any other project I’m working on. We’ve been able to host giveaways, which let’s face it, how fun are those?

I want to figure out how to share a slideshow of the past year, it would be awesome to see everything we wrote. Kind of like a face book “take a look at what’s happened in the past year” thing. If I was a better blog parent, I would’ve had something prepared for today. But I’m not. Don’t worry something will be worked out, it’s just not going to be today.

I just wanted to thank everyone from the birth and beyond- a HUGE thank you🙂 Stayed tuned for more reviews and giveaways, we’re not done yet. We’re going to be doing some pretty epic things.

Happy birthday 2 Flirty Girls and a Juicer, and Kayla Happy Anniversary- here’s to many more!! Luv ya to the moon and back! By the way, you owe me a tea😉 Just because, don’t question it (I can read her mind hehe).

What would you like to see us do? What do you enjoy most about our site? Let us know🙂